mollyringle: (chocolate)

Everyone knows what Valentine's Day is really about: chocolate!

I ran a search on my books, and predictably enough, nearly all of them mention chocolate. Some examples:

Summer Term:
He set down the glass, thought a moment, and said, “I would like to make chocolate chip cookies.”

Persephone’s Orchard:
Adrian peeled the plastic wrap from the brownie, broke it in half, and handed the larger section to her.

Immortal’s Spring:
Must be the scents and nourishment of a proper home-cooked meal at last. And the wine. And the chocolate cake—from scratch.

Of Ghosts and Geeks:
When Gwen heard the knock, she imagined it was a local kid selling fundraiser chocolate bars, or Uncle Bert dropping in to beg more details about her “student’s” ghost.

The Ghost Downstairs:
“But he did. He had chocolate with me.” Lina closed her mouth before disclosing what happened after the chocolate.

What Scotland Taught Me: (To my surprise this one has the most references to chocolate of any of my stories. Here are a few.)

“Can we just get some chocolate,” I said, “and go home?”

“Be a dear and serve your boyfriend some chocolate trifle, won’t you?”

Coffee, I needed coffee. No, better yet, chocolate. Chocolate might put my calendar in perspective.

“I was wondering if an old friend could stay at your flat tonight, if that friend brought like a cubic buttload of Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars.”

Valentine’s Day resolved nothing. That afternoon apparently featured Amber wearing lingerie and chocolate body paint in Laurence’s room, and still not getting laid.

---
My apologies for the damage this post may have done to anyone trying to cut calories.



mollyringle: (passiflora - cara_chapel)
Some writers are unable to write a story without including a recipe. Others can't resist reciting song lyrics. Others always insert a dog or a cat or an exotic animal. For me, my random habit appears to be plants--flowers and trees in particular. It isn't intentional, but it's an accurate reflection of my gardening hobby. Here's a quick review of flowers appearing in my novels (we'll do trees some other day):

The Ghost Downstairs
Lots of mentions; the Seattle mansion has a lovely garden, and tending it is among Ren's duties. This may be my favorite flower moment:
"She walked to a clump of daffodils growing at the base of a tree, picked one, and brought it back to the grave. She kissed its petals before dropping it."


Summer Term
Hey, it's summer. Lots of stuff's in bloom:
"But he did say we'd go out into Woodbine Park and eat in the rose garden. That sounds kind of romantic, doesn't it?"
"It sounds suspiciously romantic."


What Scotland Taught Me
Eva is interested in botany and horticulture, and notices violets sprouting in Edinburgh at one point. She also notes regarding one of her crushes:
"...he smelled like that alluring bed of carnations, with a dose of boy pheromones sprinkled on top."


Of Ghosts and Geeks
Paul is Gwen's gardener, so naturally flowers and other green growing things abound. Their first scene together is a skirmish over the little daisies in the lawn:
"They're in the grass. You wanted the grass cut, right?"
"Yes, but not the daisies. They make this gorgeous spangled carpet of--" She stopped before she started comparing her lawn flora to some scene from a fantasy movie. "Don't cut those!" she repeated.


Relatively Honest
This one probably has the fewest number of flower mentions, because my narrator is an 18-year-old urban male who doesn't think about stuff like that. Still, Daniel does think briefly of making out with his girl-crush "under lilac trees" come April. And when sidling up close to her, he notes:
"Her hair smelled delicious, like apples and the star-shaped white flowers that grew all round a French hotel I had once been to."
(Daniel has no idea that was jasmine, but it was, of course.)


In my novel in progress, a Hades/Persephone story, flowers and other plants play a huge role. After all, in the original myth, what was Persephone doing when Hades kidnapped her? Yep: picking flowers.
mollyringle: (my life is so thrilling)
Novelist [livejournal.com profile] kateelliott first introduced me to the Bechdel Test in this post about epic fantasy. The Bechdel Test was originally created for movies, but can be applied easily to books too. As its official page states, the test rates a movie (or a book, we could say) on the following three criteria:

1) It has to have at least two women in it,
2) who talk to each other,
3) about something besides a man.

This test has stuck in my mind ever since reading Elliott's post, because, as she says, it's kind of astonishing how many books and movies don't pass all three criteria. I do believe in basic equality, and those three simple rules seem more than fair.

So naturally it made me look at my own novels. And I'm chagrined to say that some of them barely squeak by, or might even fail. Quick rundown:

The Ghost Downstairs: Passes with full marks. Lots of female characters--in fact, more females than males. They do discuss men (it's a romance, after all), but they also discuss ghosts and jobs and stuff.

Summer Term: Hmm. I do have a number of active female characters, but most of them don't interact with each other, or only meet briefly. The two best friends, Paige and Ky, do chat a lot, but it's almost always about men. Again, in my defense, it's a romance, and of the most frothy sort. Still, they take sidetracks into movies and academics for a line or two here and there, so maybe this book gets a pass.

What Scotland Taught Me: Passes just fine. Of the four main characters, three are young women, who do plenty of interacting. Again, squealing (or squabbling) over boys constitutes a lot of their subject matter, but there are soberer discussions involving family members and career plans and ghost legends.

Of Ghosts and Geeks: (Novella; likely soon to be published--yay!) Highly silly, given that one of the main female characters is an obnoxious ghost, but it does pass. She and the living female protagonist occasionally talk of non-romance issues, but not much, since the whole point is that the ghost is obsessed with romance.

Boy in Eyeliner: (Not yet published. In revision.) Eek. This might fail! But my defense this time is somewhat better. It's from a first-person male point of view, and his main love ends up being with another man. Hopefully that regains some of my gender-equality street cred. Also, I've scattered the characters across the globe--Portland, Seattle, and London--so the three or four important female characters simply aren't in the same location at the same time, on the whole. Still, maybe I should reconsider that.

So. How do your favorites--or your own creations--measure up?
mollyringle: (Powerpuff - by Xenia)
So many of you out there are the creators, owners, or performers of fabulous goods or services, any of which would make excellent holiday gifts. I want more of the world to know about you, plus I want some good ideas for my own holiday shopping, so here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to give you this space for free advertising!

If you have anything you want to advertise that could potentially be given as a gift, tell us about it in the comments below. Keep in mind that good ad copy gets more click-throughs, so I advise keeping it to a brief, clear, fun paragraph, complete with handy link.

I'll start by (of course) reminding you of my books currently for sale:

The Ghost Downstairs, for anyone who likes moody ghost stories. (Purchase from the publisher, Amazon or an indie bookstore near you. Ebook or paperback.)

Summer Term, for the steamy-beach-read fans. (Purchase from the publisher, Amazon, or an indie bookstore near you. Ebook or paperback.)

What Scotland Taught Me, for snarky teen girls who require comeuppance, anyone who remembers the perils of being 18, or anyone who adores Edinburgh. (Ebook only; purchase from the publisher or Amazon.)

Now you! What are you selling? Tell us of your wares. Offer open for as long as this LiveJournal shall live, though readers will likely diminish the older this post gets.
mollyringle: (parfumerie)
My copies of Summer Term arrived, all glossy and beautiful! And the ebook version is now exploding onto the e-reading screens of the world too, via Kindle and other formats.

Also, I recently discovered a very cool site that helps you support indie bookstores. It's called Indiebound, and from it you can order practically any book (including mine) and have it sent to an independent store near you for pick-up. Give it a try!

And now for today's perfume review: New Haarlem, by Bond No. 9...

Yum! Delicious! Last time I was chatting with the proprietor of Knows Perfume in Seattle, I mentioned liking the smell of coffee but not always having luck with it in fragrances. She pivoted, pulled a sample of New Haarlem from her cupboards, and handed it to me. And from first sniff, it's pretty much been a "yum!" for me.

One time years ago, at Garden Botanika, I mixed my own perfume spray from their available fragrance oils. I used coffee, vanilla musk, and mint, and I think that was all. I was no pro at it, but I must say the resulting mix smelled pretty good. Well, New Haarlem smells like my early attempt done ten times better--that is, done right, by professionals.

It's interesting to see that it's such a difficult scent for some people to wear. It's strong, yes--only takes a drop or two to keep me pleasantly scented for the majority of the day--but it's an approachable and comfy scent for me. Makes me think of a Saturday morning: coffee, brunch treats like pain au chocolat or cinnamon French toast, a hint of manliness like my husband's shaving cream and/or deodorant, even a suggestion of newspaper ink. It also puts me in mind of an airport concourse, in a good way: the coffee and food and new-magazine scents, along with the clean-and-cologne-doused travelers wandering through. In short, New Haarlem carries that mix of "cozy yet exciting" that I adore finding in a perfume. Smells great on me and would be fabulous on a man too. Keeper!
mollyringle: (girl reading with moon)
Woohoo! You can now pre-order Summer Term, my latest frothy/raunchy/chick-flicky novel, either direct from the publisher (I get a bigger kickback that way), or from Amazon.com.

And I'm proud to say Summer Term does not include this occurrence that pops up left and right in films and books, and which annoys me into hives every time: namely, when a character receives a significant letter from someone, and, basically out of spite, doesn't read it. They send it back unopened, or shelve it for years (until it's Tragically Too Late!), or burn it, or rip it up, and--arrrrgh. Who does that?? Seriously? Have you ever done that? Can you explain why?

I'm far too curious to do such a thing, ever. If someone sends me a letter, I read it, even if I'm furious with the sender. Maybe especially if I'm furious with the sender, because maybe--hey, ever think of this?--maybe the letter explains the sender's motivation in doing whatever made me so furious. And maybe reading it will make me feel better. Even if it doesn't, failure to read it will make me look like an idiot later on, because I will not have absorbed the information I was sent and was supposed to absorb.

So, I don't let my characters do that. Rant over. Thanks! Enjoy your week.
mollyringle: (sex - Stage Beauty)
If you feel like readin' some romance on your Valentine's Day, I just put up a preview of SUMMER TERM--the full first chapter. (Much as I did for THE GHOST DOWNSTAIRS.) Enjoy!

And, once again, yes, this is fiction; meaning, when I was a grad student in linguistics, I neither dated nor flirted with my professors or students. I was all married by then and stuff. I've also never been involved with a film star, alas. But I couldn't help thinking the grad student situation did contain the potential for a good romance novel...
mollyringle: (MST3LOTR-dance - arwen_elvenfair)
I got the cover art for my upcoming novel Summer Term:



Whew, it's not of the gleaming-torsos/"gimme back my shirt" variety! And it does look like a chick-flick DVD cover, so that conveys the mood pretty accurately. For what it's worth, I did sort of picture Robert Pattinson and Lauren Ambrose as the leads...




...but I understand how they weren't available to be cover models.

(Yes, it does annoy me that I find RPattz attractive and likable even though the Twilight series and fandom annoys me further the more I hear of it.)

What are some examples of book cover art you've loved? Or hated?


---

In totally "other" news, more evidence that my husband is funny...

At his place of work, they finally decided to throw out an old manual electric typewriter. A slew of facetious emails ensued upon this decision. This was his contribution, in the form of an official memo:



(No, he doesn't work for the European Space Agency. It's a different ESA.)

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