Top Ten Things Alpha-males would NEVER do

I don’t know about you but I love rough and ready heroes who stomp through the pages of romance novels with dominance and confidence, yet fall to pieces from the softest touch of their woman. Notice I said “their” woman…deep down we like the possessive streak in them too. When I think of strong alpha-males from recent books I’ve read, Wrath and Rhage from the Black Dagger Brotherhood come to mind. They’re courageous and strong, would stand up for their woman under any circumstance and would never, ever think of living without her.

Got the picture yet?

Good. For Top Ten Tuesday this week, I’m flipping things around and shaking things up. I give you “Top Ten Things Alpha-males would NEVER do.”

10-Make you pay for a date. Can you imagine reading about a lovable hero who kept “leaving his wallet at home”? Not too hot.

9-Wear a Hawaiian shirt. Okay, unless you’re in Hawaii or at a luau themed birthday party for your Great Uncle Harry, this is beyond unacceptable.

8-Wear socks with sandals. I’m sorry, I just can’t take a man seriously when he’s confused about the weather feet level. If the weather is warm enough to wear sandals, do it and leave the socks at home. Period.

7-Carry a murse. Oh, Lord. Man purses? Really? How much stuff does a hero need to carry? ID? Credit card? Protection? Those things can fit in a leather wallet just fine. The jury is still out on messenger bags. I think those are situationally all right…like if you’re a teacher or lawyer and need to transport papers, files and binders, I suppose the rules could bend a little. But on a regular basis? Not so much.

6-Fake curse. I want you to imagine Jack T. Colton from Romancing the Stone. I want you to remember the scene where he comes down the mountain, shooting the creepy man in the tailored white Columbian suit. When he peeks beneath the underbelly of the bus and sees his woman in distress what does he say? “Darn it, are you okay? Shoot, he tore apart my birdcages.” Nope. He lets his temper flare saying all kinds of bleepage I can’t mention here. Atta boy.

5-Plays air guitar. The image that comes to mind is going on an awesome date with a self-proclaimed alpha-male, going back to his place, ready to be romanced like only alpha-males know how. As he turns on some mood music, Queen blares from the speaks and he rocks out like he would in private–busting out his sex face and all. That’s when I hit the door.

4-Overly aggressive or obsessive sports fanatic. This one’s tricky for me. I LOVE sports, especially football. But if he’s one of the guys with season tickets, tailgating after every game, glued to the Draft every season, screaming obscenities at other fans, there’s just something missing. And I think I know what it is…if he’s showing that much attention to a sport, how much attention is left for his woman? I’m betting not much…unless she’s an off-season gal.

3-Wear jorts or japris. For the fashion naive, jorts are jean shorts and japris are jean capris. Unless your hero finds himself in Regency Scotland, pants and shorts should remain at their appropriate lengths in the right fabric.

2-Be abusive to his woman. I know this one is of a much more serious nature than the others, but I couldn’t leave it off the list! I don’t care which type of abuse, no woman should be treated like they’re unworthy.

And the number one thing an alpha-male would NEVER do…

1-Give up…on anything. Most of all, he would never give up on his woman or their love. Remember Jack from Titanic? That’s the kind of love women are looking for. Love that transcends race, status and time. A love that holds on when there seems like there’s nothing left to hold onto.

What about you? What are some things you think an alpha-male would NEVER do? Care to weigh in?

Top Ten Things Not to Say to an Agent

Another Top Ten Tuesday! Woohoo! This one’s going to be fun. Let me first say that I’m unagented, searching for representation for my last romantic suspense and my recently finished (Yippee!) paranormal romance. I obviously haven’t figured out exactly what agents are looking for, but I’ve learned a lot of things from people in the industry about what agents are NOT looking for. (This info comes from agents, editors, or published authors I’ve met and personally talked to.) I thought it’d make a hilarious Top Ten Tuesday post. Please, people, for the love of all that is Holy, don’t think for a second that I would’ve tripped on one of these hurdles. Some things are common sense…

…then again reading some big named agent tweets, maybe not..

Top Ten Things Not to Say to an Agent in a Query

10. “Email me if my log line sounds interesting enough to query you.” *I mean, really? Agents get thousands of queries a month. Do you really think that your log line is so unique, so “have to have it” that they’re going to take time away from their existing clients to contact you? No. They’re not. Query the story right away. Don’t ask permission. And follow their guidelines!

9. “I’m the next Nora Roberts.” *Okay, I haven’t heard an agent say they’re read this one, but I couldn’t imagine it would go over well. Don’t say you’re the next Nora Roberts…prove it. Knock ’em dead with your work. (And remember Nora Roberts wrote three novels before getting an agent. So if you feel the need to say this one, keep working.) **Side note: I don’t feel there’s a single thing wrong with wanting or striving to be the next Nora Roberts…

8. “I’m the New York Times Bestselling Author you’ve been searching for!” *Well, gee, I’m sure they appreciate the heads up, but this is their profession. They’re able to judge from your work alone whether or not you can get there. Just a thought. It’s kind of like a baker needing a sign differentiating between bowls of sugar and flour.

7. “To whom it may concern,” *And with that single opener, you’ve earned yourself a rejection. Agents don’t want to be lumped into a massive query submission of four hundred random agents and editors you found online. They want you to pay attention to them and their submission guidelines and rightly so…aren’t they going to pay attention to your and your career when they sign you? Pay them the same respect.

6. “Confetti and candy are included in this box. You can thank me by email.” *I had fun with this one. I’ve heard from an agent who came to speak at SFARWA a few months back that she once received an unsolicited manuscript in a giant box with candy, rose petals and confetti. She said the second she opened the box, her office was a disaster. Not the first impression you want. If you have to sugar coat your book with bells and whistles, write another book.

5. “I’ve queried everyone in your office and they all rejected me, but I think this one is right for you.” *Oh boy. First, most agents say that once you query one agent in their office and receive a rejection, it’s the same as getting a rejection from the whole office. They work closely together…don’t waste valuable time by parading between them. No means no.

4. “I have three manuscripts I’ve written over ten years. I’m going to query all three.” *First, I think if all you’ve written over ten years is three books, you’re not going to have a solid career. Agents and publishing houses want to publish writers who are going to continue writing at a steady enough pace that they can build a following. Three in ten years won’t cut it, I’m afraid. Second, you shouldn’t query three books at once. Pick your best one and query that one only.

3. “I’ve attached the whole manuscript for your convenience.” *This one may not sound like a no-no, but it is. You need to read agent submission guidelines either from their website or Publisher’s Marketplace. Sending a manuscript when they didn’t ask for it insults their intelligence…and yours. And most agents won’t even open attachments. Period. Can you imagine the kind of computer viruses they get on a daily basis?

2. “I’ve CC’d this query to my lawyer so there is no chance of copyright infringement.” *I wish I could say this one is a thrown-in phony, but it’s not. I picked up this example from an agent’s tweet this morning. (It’s actually the inspiration for today’s post.) How could a writer wanting to build a career really think this idea is a good one? Do you really not trust the agent you’re querying? Do you really think they’re going to try to steal your work? Come on. If they like it enough they’ll want to sign you, not steal your ideas and pimp them out to other writers. I’ve heard the saying before and I’ll repeat it now. “Agents don’t steal ideas, Writers steal ideas.”

And the number one thing you should never say to an agent in a query is…

1. “I have an idea for a book and I was wondering if it was something you’d represent before I started writing it.” *Simple answer: No. Write the book. Query when you’re finished. Agents bounce ideas with clients, not writers who may or may not even finish the book. Why waste the time?

I hope some of these made you cringe and some made you laugh. A few of them were written in jest, but most of them were *sadly* real examples from agents who open our queries. Now go forth and query your book! But please, please, don’t do any of the Top Ten. It’ll save you some headache.

So that’s all from CouchBoredomLand. Wish I could say I’m breaking out of this fabric hell sometime soon, but I think there’s a few more days ahead of me. Oh the joy! *disappearing grin

Top Ten Reasons I love being a writer

First, I can think of a million and a half reasons why I love writing and being a writer. I’m sure if I sat down long enough with this blog post it’d be the longest yet. But it is called Top Ten.

So here we go.

10. I get to set my own hours. Okay, this one’s awesome. Usually I feel most creative in the mornings. I sit with my breakfast and coffee and write as much as I can. But if something comes up and I can’t get to it…I just write later in the day. No biggie!

9. I get to wear whatever I want to work. Usually I chose pajamas. *grin

8. Those pesky ideas in my head finally get the voice they need. Most writers I’ve talked to say they started writing because they had a story idea that wouldn’t go away. Until one day they got that story down…and hopefully finished it! (And yes, I’m talking to you Novelnan! You can do it!) If I didn’t get my ideas down I’d live the rest of my life wondering “what if”. “What if” I could’ve written a bestseller out of this story? I’d hate to wonder something like that all of my days.

7. I fall in love with my characters. It’s the most amazing feeling to watch a character grow and change before my very eyes. I’d like to say I know everything about the character when I start writing, but I don’t. They develop like children and I love them…I just hope I don’t end up killing one of them off at some point.

6. I can take my work with me where ever I go. Week long trip to Bora Bora? Sign me up! I can take my story along and pound away in the airport, on the plane, in Bora Bora under a grass canopy with a MaiTai. Ahhhh…hard day at work…

5. I get to network! Who doesn’t love talking about what they love? Talking about writing or the writing industry only makes me feel more connected to this business that I’m going to be a proud part of. Twitter I still don’t get, but I suppose I will eventually.

4. Rejection. Did you hear me right? Yup, that’s what I said. Rejection. Every time I get a rejection it tells me to write harder, more precise, smarter. It fuels my fire and I truly do get better every time I write. Eventually I’ll perfect the craft and all those rejections will have got me there.

3. I get to do what I love every day. I am blessed to have a husband who supports me. One who doesn’t mind the laundry piling up and the dishes in the sink. I simply love to write. The fact that I can do this on a daily basis really is heaven.

2. Attainable and Unattainable goals. I think everyone should have these all the time. There should be goals you know without a doubt you can reach. Finish a book this season. Go to writers groups, conferences, workshops. Save money. Then there should also be goals that are so lofty that you have to claw and scream your way to them. New York Times Bestselling list, anyone? Yeah, that’s about right. Somewhere after my few years of teaching and before I started writing, I lost those goals. I wasn’t a very happy camper and couldn’t figure out quite where I went wrong. I’m telling you now, it was here. Set goals and don’t let go.

And the number 1 reason I love being a writer is…

1. The writers, authors, editors and agents I meet along the way. I used to think everyone in the publishing industry was scary, mean, crude, and business-minded with no desire to help an unpub like me. Wrong! Okay, they are business-minded, but the rest is wrong. I’ve met and personally talked to NYT Bestselling authors, RITA winners, Edgar nominees (Hello Sophie!) and editors and agents who’ve graced country-wide Top Ten lists on their own. Each one of them has been kind, welcoming, helpful beyond words, and have become great friends. Among writers I am home.

Top Ten Movies of All Time

I kinda liked the Top Ten thing I did last week and I think you did too. I got a lot of people calling and emailing me about it. Here goes another round. (And again, don’t get all uptight when Gone with the Wind or Casablanca doesn’t make the final cut–I’m not one of those gals who likes to sit with a bowl of popcorn and box of tissues and cry over black and whites. Gimme a action packed shoot-out with a hunky guy who gets the girl and I’m in love!)

Oh, and to top if off with another High Fidelity quote for giggles:

Rob: John Dillinger was killed behind that theater in a hale of FBI gunfire. And do you know who tipped them off? His
f@!&ing girlfriend. All he wanted to do was go to the movies.

Top Ten Movies of All Time by Kristin (Followed by my favorite lines from those movies–boy these were hard to pick)…

10. Back to the Future (1989, Michael J. Fox)
Younger Dr. Emmett Brown: [running out of the room] 1.21 gigawatts? 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott!
Marty McFly: [following] What-what the hell is a gigawatt?

9. Matrix (1999, Keanu Reeves)
Oracle: You’re cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you.
Neo: Who?
Oracle: Not too bright, though.

8. The Usual Suspects (1995, Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro)
Verbal: The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.

7. Moulin Rouge (2001, Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor)
The Duke: You expect me to believe that scantily clad, in the arms of another man, in the middle of the night, inside an elephant you were rehearsing?

6. V for Vendetta (2005, Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving)
Evey Hammond: Who are you?
V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask.
Evey Hammond: Well I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I’m not questioning your powers of observation I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.

5. The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman)
Andy Dufresne: Get busy living, or get busy dying.

4.Titanic (1997, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet)
Jack: Rose, you’re no picnic, all right? You’re a spoiled little brat, even, but under that, you’re the most amazingly, astounding, wonderful girl, woman that I’ve ever known…

3. Braveheart (1995, Mel Gibson)
Murron: You’re going to teach me to read, then?
William Wallace: Aye, if you’d like.
Murron: Aye!
William Wallace: In what language?
Murron: Ah, you’re showing off now.
William Wallace: That’s right. Are you impressed yet?
Murron: No. Why? Should I be?
William Wallace: Oui. Parce que chaque jour j’ai pens√© √† toi.
[Yes. Because every single day I thought about you]
Murron: [hesitates, impressed despite herself, then smiles] Do that standing on your head and I’ll be impressed.
William Wallace: Well, my kilt will fly up, but I’ll try.

Okay, okay, I had to pick another…

Malcolm Wallace: Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it.

2. The Notebook (2004, Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling)
Young Allie: Now, say you’re a bird.
Young Noah: If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.

And the top movie of all time in my opinion is…

1. Pride and Prejudice (2005, Keira Knightly)
Elizabeth Bennet: And those are the words of a gentleman. From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.
[they look at each other for a long time as though about to kiss]
Mr. Darcy: Forgive me, madam, for taking up so much of your time.

So that’s it! All my favorites rolled into a single blog post! There were TONS of good ones that didn’t make the cut and I wished I could’ve picked more quotes from those movies…maybe sometime.

What’s on your list?

Top Ten Books of all time

I watched High Fidelity yesterday. My brother would be proud–I bet it’s one of his top 5 movies of all time. Heh. If you’re not laughing you haven’t watched the movie recently. Get to it. John Cusack rocks.

In the spirit of High Fidelity and Top *whatever* lists, I give you…Top Ten Books of all time. (In my opinion anyway. You twilighters out there, don’t send me hate mail when Twilight doesn’t make top 10. And *shocking spoiler* it won’t.)

To kick off my first Top Ten list it’s only suitable to post a quote from High Fidelity:

Hey, I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m certainly not the dumbest. I mean, I’ve read books like “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and “Love in the Time of Cholera”, and I think I’ve understood them. They’re about girls, right? Just kidding. But I have to say my all-time favorite book is Johnny Cash’s autobiography “Cash” by Johnny Cash. –Rob Gordon

Top Ten Books by Kristin

10. No Greater Love–Danielle Steele
9. Message in a Bottle–Nicholas Sparks
8. Born in Ice (2nd book in the Born In Trilogy)–Nora Roberts
7. Cold Fire–Dean Koontz
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (5th book in the Harry Potter series)–J.K. Rowling
5. Valley of Silence (3rd book in the Circle Trilogy)–Nora Roberts
4. Lover Eternal (2nd in the BlackDagger Brotherhood Series)–J.R. Ward
3. Time Traveler’s Wife–Audrey Niffenegger
2. A Knight in Shining Armor–Jude Devereaux

And the #1 of all time…*insert Chevy Chase freaky-tongue drumroll here*

1. Rebecca–Daphne DuMaurier

Bet that last one was a shocker, wasn’t it? If you’ve been reading my blog long, you know it’s my go-to novel. What’s in your Top Ten? Better yet, what’s your #1?