Tag Archives: Happily Ever After

On #bingewatching, #beingcool, and #Millennials

I used to consider myself one of the “cool” people. Really. I did. I was always up on pop culture so I could talk to any age group; my daughter’s friends always asked me questions, opinions, and actually liked sleepovers in our house. They valued my opinion.  I was relatively thin ( for a few years!) and dressed in all the new season’s styles every year.

But something changed and I don’t know when it happened…

Let me esplain it, Lucy.

I was binge watching the E! show So Cosmo about the lives, loves, and careers of twenty-something millennials who all work at COSMOPOLITAN magazine.

I wanted to watch because I wanted to get a “feel” for what millennials are up to these days, to – maybe- use in my writing. I know about women in their 40’s and 50’s but I write about younger gals, so I thought I’d use this show as a sort of reference for putting my finger on the pulse of today’s woman.

What’s that saying about the best laid plans?? Yeah, not so much.

The basic plot line of the show involves the magazine’ surprising turnover of its Editor in Chief Joanna Coles to a new editor. Joanna is 2 years younger than myself ( me, 56; her, 54) and is a powerful, assertive, smart smart smart woman in an industry that has been typically defined and run by men: publishing. She brought COSMO  to the number one magazine women buy – both in trade ink copy and e-zine – during her tenure. To say she is a woman who gets things done and has her finger on the pulse of the Cosmo “girl,” is true. For the purpose of disclosure, Joanna was offered a new position with the Hearst organization ( the parent company of Cosmo) – a much more powerful position, which is why she was leaving Cosmo. You go, girl!

As I started watching the show I was quickly invested in the lives of the cast – all 20 and early 30 somethings. Most of them were single ( one was married with a kid), lived in Manhattan and took full advantage of city living by going out most nights to “party” and de-stress. Now, when I was their age (a millennia ago!) “party” meant literally that. Have a party to celebrate something. Apparently, it doesn’t mean the same thing anymore and this is where I realized my cool moniker was starting to shift.

By the third show I realized I was not only NOT cool anymore, I wasn’t going to be again in this lifetime if this was the yardstick to measure cool-dom by! I didn’t even understand most of the references the cast was using about fashion, life, and relationships. COSMO prides itself on being the voice of female empowerment and I totally buy that.  The Cosmo girl is billed as successful, smart, and sexy; able to live life to the fullest with no regrets, and the women in this cast are. Their purpose is to advise, counsel, and acquaint women on a myriad of topics relating to life, love, career, and finances.

But as I watched this show and the lives of its cast unfold, I began to realize that female empowerment does not mean the same thing to all women. For instance, the word “party” again. To some of the cast women it meant – basically – going out and getting as drunk as they could in an effort to unwind from the stress of their work lives. In the next breath, during the cast interviews, they would say they were living the dream life. So why then, is their work life so stressed they need to get drunk to unwind from it?
See what I’m saying?

They also look at relationships in a much different way than I thought. It’s cool now ( apparently) to hook up ( another word that doesn’t mean what it used to!)  with a series of people randomly, casually, and with no strings attached until you find one you may want to stay with…for a while. Maybe. Cosmo millennials don’t appear to view that whole Happily Ever After with a single mate concept as a  valid thing.

Okay, so now I am not only NOT cool, my whole existence for being -writing the HEA – isn’t ( apparently) relevant!

Before you write me scathing letters, hating me for trashing an entire generation of millennials,  know this: I realize this is just one little “reality” show on a network known for scripted reality shows. My daughter is a millennial who happens to live in Manhattan and I know she and her friends – who are all successful, smart women – don’t think and act in the typical Cosmo Girl fashion portrayed in this show.

Believe me – I get it!

It doesn’t erase the fact that I am no longer cool,  though!

When I’m not bemoaning my lack of cool, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Life challenges, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Introducing #author Devon McKay

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Today is a treat for me. Not only do I have a great interview with one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, DEVON MCKAY  it’s also the release day for her new book BETTING ON KINCADE, a romantic western featuring a feisty redhead ( my favorite kind of heroine!) So sit back, meet Devon, and stick around because she’s giving us a little taste of her western flair in Betting on Kincade.

Devon, The Writer

1. What drives you to write?

Usually it’s a phrase I can’t get out of my head. Or a character I think needs their story told. Mostly at 3 a.m.

2. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?
Contemporary Western. Love those cowboys!
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3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?

I read anything I can get my hands on. I love to read. However, I prefer to read stories that end with a happy ever after.

4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?

I try to. Sometimes life gets in the way.

5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

I have a “me” room. The space is dedicated to writing and my stained glass art projects. It’s awesome. I don’t have to share.

6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision?
Quiet please. Too many things going on will make me lose my mind!

7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

No music. I need complete silence. I tend to get distracted easily.

8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

My current WIP is a historical western about mail order brides. I’m fascinated with the Wild, Wild West, so a story about the era is always in the back of my mind.

9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

Character. Always a character first. I’m not sure why. I guess I have to picture the person first.

10. What 3 words describes you, the writer?
Romantic. Passionate. Inquisitive.
Devon, The Person

Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!   

I’m super shy. An introvert. I live vicariously through my characters.


– Who was your first love and what age were you?  

Gavin Montgomery from the Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux. I was twelve, maybe thirteen, and just discovered the world of romance novels.

– If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….   

I’ve been really blessed in my life. I’ve had many great days. But I guess the one I’d relive would be the day my first story was accepted.

   – Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?   
Boxer briefs.

– If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?   

Any kind of makeup. I don’t wear much of it. However, I can’t live without Chap Stick.
What three words describes you, the person?   
Kind. Compassionate. Trusting.

– If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?   

Come On Eileen. I think he’d make it even more fun and silly.

– If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?   

Oh my. This is a tough question. Any one of Stephen King’s characters. And we’d plot a murder, of course.

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

1.     Favorite sound : My Granddaughter’s giggle.

2.     Least favorite sound : The dentist drill.

3.     Best song every written : I will always love you.

4. Worst song ever written :The Mcdonald’s mcpick two jingle.( Peggy here: Now that’s a new one on me!!!!)

5. Favorite actor and actress : At the moment Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia from the tv show This Is Us.

6.     Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) :Elvis

7. What turns you on? : A positive attitude. A smile can go a long way in brightening someone else’s day. It’s contagious.

8.     What turns you off? : Negativity or mean people

9.     Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)
So, what’s wrong with you?

10. What’s your version of a perfect day? : I’m a homebody. The perfect day would be spent in my jammies, drinking coffee, surrounded by my dogs and writing.

Betting On Kincade by Devon McKay

Blurb:

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Everyone Cassie Wilcox loved is gone. And now, thanks to her drunken stepfather, her house and family business will be taken from her, too, unless she can find a way to buy back the ranch from the new owner. With less than two months to come up with money she doesn’t have, her options are running out, and apparently, her common sense as she rents out rooms to an eclectic group of strangers.

Returning home for Dalton Kincade is bittersweet. Not a damn thing has changed. Two years on the rodeo circuit weren’t able to shake free the memory of the feisty redhead who’d broken his heart into a thousand pieces. Nor the sting of her parting words…Never trust a Kincade.

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Winning her beloved ranch in a drunken bet is the last thing he expected to happen, but at least he saved it for her. Now, he has to figure out how to break that news to a woman who never wants to see him again. Renting a room in the house he now owns might be a risk, but it’s nothing compared to betting his heart on winning back the love of his life.

Excerpt:

“Are you going to play or just sit there?” Gary Evans slurred in drunken angst as he kicked back his chair and leaned over the table. Not waiting for a reply, he picked up the crisp piece of paper lodged between them, waved it in the air, and then, slammed the deed to the Wilcox land back down on the hard pressed wood.

Cautiously, Dalton stationed a deadly stare on the intoxicated fool and noted the shimmering of glee highlighting the steel gray of the man’s eyes. Tapping the top card, he slowly trailed his finger along the swirled red print.

He was a loser no matter the outcome. Should’ve just walked away. Ignored Gary’s foolish bet and the taunts that followed once the hook had been set. It wasn’t as if Cassie would appreciate his effort anyway. Regardless, he couldn’t walk away and let her lose it all.

Clenching his jaw, he folded his fingers around the squared edges and paused before picking up the pile.

“Read ‘em and weep,” Gary squealed gleefully as he tossed his cards next to the deed. “Four deuces.” He stumbled from the end of the table, closing the gap between them in one stride, before managing to shove a quadruple of stubby digits in front of Dalton’s face. “Four.”

Dalton studied his hand with guarded fury, then stifled the drunkard’s premature victory with a flick of his wrist.

Buy Links: Amazon // Wild Rose Press  //  B&N

A little more about Devon

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Devon McKay writes contemporary romance with a western flair. If she’s not writing, she’s busy with chores on her small ranch, working on a stained glass project or walking one of her three dogs through the woods. Her greatest joy is putting a smile on a reader’s face and hearing from fans.

You can find Devon here: Website //Facebook // Twitter // Amazon

 

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Filed under Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, Romance, WIld Rose Press AUthor

HEA?

What, exactly, does happily ever after mean?

It’s written as the last line of every fairy tale; it has its own acronym – HEA – in the romance writing world, and every English speaking girl and boy has heard it when read a bedtime story.

But what does it really mean? Does HEA happen and then the hero and the heroine NEVER go through another bad moment for the rest of their lives? They live on the wings of their love for evermore, never to have a bad day or  a moment that’s not filled with undying bliss?

Does it mean never to grow old and complacent with one another? Never take the other for granted, or become so dependent upon the other that you lose you own identity?

Does the happily ever after take into account how the hero and heroine’s lives are changed forever when they have kids? No longer allowed to sleep through the night because of feeding schedules, diaper changes, midnight upset tummies and bathroom accidents? Not to mention all the childhood illnesses and traumas that come hand in hand with child rearing. And don’t get me started on the teen years.

Does the HEA provide for lost jobs, school tuition bills, mortgages and braces? Aging parents and no health insurance?

I think for me, as a romance reader and writer, the HEA that comes at the end of the story, is not the end of the story, but the beginning of two lives filled with all of the above.

And a lot more.

The easiest way to explain myself is to simply refer to my own life.

When I found my HEA and married the love of my life, we moved away, right away. We were now geographically far from family, friends, secure jobs and the lives we’d made for ourselves where we’d been. Skype hadn’t been invented, and there was no such thing as a cell or mobile phone yet.

No, this wasn’t the Stone Age, just the 80’s.

We were entirely dependent on the two us, alone. Weekly phone calls to family were the norm, but the friends began to wax and wane, too involved in their own lives to devote much time to catching up.

To say I was lonely in the beginning would be to underscore the situation. Hubby was at work all day, while I was looking actively for employment, not an easy feat in a small, rural upper mid-west town.

Many things could have affected our relationship at that time. The isolation, loneliness, dependency on just the other for emotional, spiritual, and varied kinds of support, could have led to a negative outcome for our marriage. The saying “familiarity breeds contempt” has some backbone to it.

But it didn’t because we had each other and knew we only had each other. I’ve always thought that being taken away from family, friends and familiarity could either make or break a young marriage.

It made mine. Totally.

When you have just one person – a person you love without end – in your corner all the way, all day and every day, your HEA can’t help but come true, despite the outside influences that topple into your lives on a continual basis.

You’re forced to talk to one another, lean on the other, seek advice from the other and just plain interact with the other. You must support one another in any way, and every way, possible. In its simplest form, you’ve only got one another. From this, bonds can be tightly formed.

Everlasting bonds. Happily Ever After bonds.

So, when you come to  the last page of that romance novel, and the hero and heroine have declared their love and desire to be together for eternity, believe it. Because those kinds of HEA’s do come true. Every day.

And for ordinary people, too, not just fictional characters.

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