Kensington and Megan Records

Hello everyone.  Last week I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 RWA National Conference where I got to meet several people including a few from Kensington. I had already met today’s guest in March and knew instantly that I wanted to be published with Kensington, but now after meeting Alicia Condon I know I HAVE to keep trying to be one of their authors. I attended a workshop where five of Kensington’s top people spoke about what happens between you, your book, and them. I learned so much about the “behind” the scenes workings and the people who really get your book sold. I’m amazed and have so much respect for those people. Today’s guest is an editor of two of my writing friends and one that I enjoy twitter stalking cause she’s just fun. One day Megan will either block me from everything or I will be a Kensington author. I’ll keep you all posted and yes I’m open for you all to take bets on which will happen 🙂

But for now let’s get down to the interview and give Mrs. Megan Records a huge thank you for stopping by and participating today.

What made you become an editor?

It was a very logical thought process, actually. I wanted a job I really loved. What did I love to do? Read. How could I get paid to read? Become an editor.

 

How did you go about becoming an editor?

I did the typical track—English major. I got an M.S. in Publishing (not necessary at all, but it was a relatively “safe” way of getting to NYC…no immediate panic over jobs and apartments). I had a great internship at Harlequin that solidified for me that I wanted to work in romance. My first job was with an educational publishing house. Oh, the nightmares. It was just the wrong job for me—copyediting math problems is not fun for an English major. And then I landed at Kensington.

 

Did you ever think of becoming an agent?

No. As a kid, I couldn’t even go door-to-door in our neighborhood to sell fundraising things. I am just not the “outgoing salesman” type. Ironically, as an editor, I have to “sell” my books to the editorial board and to our sales team, but it seems less daunting when you are making a salary and not working on commission.

 

How many authors (currently contracted) do you edit? How many do you feel is too many at one time?

 I think I’ve got about 14 currently under contract. I don’t mentally have a number that is too many in total, but sometimes I‘ll read a sub and think, “Do I really need another paranormal author writing this creature?” or “Do I have room for another historical author writing this time period?” It’s all about how the group meshes, not how big it is.

 

If you get a manuscript on submission on you like it but just don’t love it do you ever offer any advice on what would make you love it?

If I can. Most of the time, when I run across a “like not love” manuscript, I can’t pinpoint what would make it jump that fence for me. I mean, I did like it. There was nothing “wrong” with it. It just didn’t have that je ne sais quoi that would have me begging my ed board to let me buy it. More often in this situation, I ask if the author has any other projects in the works.

 

I’ve heard you say that you contract around five new authors a year. With your promotion has that number increased?

Yes and no. My promotion didn’t create any more spots on our list, and it didn’t make any of our other acquiring editors invisible so I could take their spots. But it will give me more attention from agents, who will start sending projects that they hadn’t sent here previously, and I will also have a little bit more leeway in my buys (i.e. they might allow a riskier buy that they wouldn’t have allowed before). So while I don’t have an annual quota of manuscripts I must buy, I do expect to buy more this year than I have previously.  And remember, after a certain point, it’s bad if an editor keeps picking up a lot of new people. I want to get to the point where I am constantly renewing the authors I have, and therefore picking up fewer projects.

 

What is the next step in editing for you? What are your future plans?

I plan to discover many bestsellers and become a legend in the world of publishing, of course. :]

 

I can say without a doubt that I truly believe that Ms. Records is well on her way to becoming a legend and I’m convinced that she has at least two Best Sellers in her catalog now. Especially since I am a critique partner of one, I mean really it has to happen 🙂 Thanks again to Mrs. Records and all her hard work  in the publishing industry and to the others at Kensington who work so hard to make the publishing industry the best field to work in. Thank you all.

The Sizzlers’ Anniversary Celebration: Don McNair

     Welcome to the August 2nd edition of the Sizzlers’ Anniversary Celebration. Don McNair, a long-time and multi-published fellow member of the Gulf Coast RWA, is our guest today. Don writes (as Donna McClaire), teaches online writing classes (WritersUniv.Com and WritersOnlineClasses.com), and provides professional editing services to writers through his business, McNairEdits.com.
     Don’s first novel, The Long Hunter (Medallion Press, 2006 as Don McNair), was a moving YA novel on coming of age on the Virginia frontier. It was followed by EPPIE finalist Attack of the Killer Prom Dresses (Calderwood Books, 2008). Don then published two novels with Red Rose Publishing in 2009—Maxwell’s Mansion (inspired by his own home restoration experiences) and Valley of Love. Don’s most recent novel for Red Rose, Waiting for Backup!, which he co-authored with Elizabeth Hollaway (writing as Khandi Turneo), is scheduled for release this August.  Don’s shares with us today his unpublished short story, Man on the Park Bench.

MAN ON THE PARK BENCH
By Don McNair
McNairEdits.com

     Jim Morton tapped an idle rhythm on the park bench’s iron arm as he looked up Christopher Street toward the town’s center. No one was in sight except for two old men standing under the maple trees lining the sidewalk, talking together with hands clasped behind them. A cold breeze rustled red and yellow leaves around their feet.
     Morton shifted his thin body and looked south. That day he’d left town for good a generation ago, he could still see the river from there. Now, little Monopoly houses blocked the view. Third rate houses with dark roofs and grey plastic weatherboard, with decrepit cars outside, and junkyard bicycles leaning against same size trees that hadn’t even been there before.
     Maybe Betty lived in one of those houses. She didn’t say where she lived when he’d called her not an hour before, and he didn’t think to look at the address in the telephone book. But then again, maybe she’d married well and lived uptown in one of those condos he’d heard about. Maybe she did.                                                                                                                                                                            

     He turned toward his bench partner, a black man wearing a neat tweed jacket under a London Fog overcoat. “I ain’t seen her since she was a young’un. Think I’ll recognize her?”
     “You might, man. You just might. How old was she then?”
    Morton’s thick eyebrows bunched up. “Hell, I won’t recognize her. She was only five.”
     “You might. Family resemblance, that type of thing.”
     “Yeah, I guess.”
     If pigs could fly. He’d tucked her into bed one December evening, took off, and here it was twenty five, thirty years later. A lot of water had gone over that dam.
     “Remember what she looked like then?”
     The black man seemed bound and determined to keep it going. He turned toward Morton, who was hunched down in his khaki overcoat and wrinkled dungarees. Thick grey hair peeped from under his baseball cap. He was in his fifties, and on days like this when the wind gusted and the air smelled of snow, he felt his age.
     “She was pretty as hell, just like a picture book. But I couldn’t pick her out now, even if she waved a flag or something.”
     Something moved in the park. A woman in a faded blue cloth coat and high rubber boots took quick steps toward them, head down against the wind. She looked up with squinted eyes, saw them, and stopped. She took a cautious step.
     “That’s her,” Morton whispered, sitting up. “God, don’t ask me how I know, but that’s her.”
     “Right. Well, you don’t need me here. I’m moving on.”
      The black man stood and walked north, whistling an unfamiliar tune. Morton looked back toward the woman. He stood and pulled the cap from his head, felt the wind’s bitterness, and put it back on. She walked across the street toward him, head down and turned away from the wind, and stopped by the bench.
     “You Jim Morton? I mean–Dad?”
      He took his hat off again and wadded it with busy fingers.
      “Yes ma’am, I am. Didn’t take long for you to get here Betty.” He shivered, and pulled his cap over his ears to lock out the cold.
     “I live over there in them apartment buildings.” She pointed across the park. “I’d’a been here sooner, but John, he drove the car to work.”
     For several seconds they were silent, both looking down.
     She looked up. “Hey, why don’t you come over to the apartment? It ain’t much, but it’s warmer there. You have time to do that, don’t you?”
     “No, I I really don’t. I gotta move on in a minute. Gotta catch my ride.”
     “Well, let’s sit down, then. How you been?”
     They both sat. “Tolerable. Nothing to brag about, but tolerable. You doin’ all right?”
     “I guess. Daddy, why did you leave us?”
     Just like that. He looked at his dirty knuckles, then toward the park. “Just one of them things, I guess. Your Momma and me, we just didn’t get on.”
     “She said you beat her up.”
     “Well, yes, and I’m sorry for that.” He tried to think of something, anything, to change the subject. “What’s happened to you since then?”
     “I’m married, got three kids. Guess you already knew that.”
     “I didn’t know about the ‘three kids’ part. Knowed you was married, though. I found that out.”
     She shivered, and pulled her coat collar up around her ears. Her hair was unkempt, dirty looking. It was blonde, but the dark roots meant she’d grown out of her natural blonde hair. She had the family resemblance, though. Slit like eyes, a broad nose, high cheekbones, even the dimple. He rubbed his own chin absently, watching her. Was it the light, or did she have a black eye? He reached up to touch it.
     “An accident,” she said, pushing his hand away. “I had an accident.”
     “Looks like somebody beat you up. Your old man treatin’ you all right?”
     She looked away. “He he hit me there. He don’t mean to. But sometimes he’s been drinkin’, and I say something he don’t like. I guess it’s as much my fault as his.”
     “Mebbe so.”
     He used to hit her mother, too, like she said. Sometimes she’d leave him, and then he’d cry, and promise not to do it again, and she’d come back. He’d beat her up pretty bad that last time, the night he’d left. She called the cops, and he just walked out and left her. Left with only a dollar in his pocket. He’d hitchhiked west, got as far as Kansas City before he robbed that store to get something to eat. He blinked, trying to make the picture go away. The frightened clerk, her screaming sobs, the popping noise the Coke bottle made when he hit her to shut her up. It made headlines the next day, about her being nearly dead. He’d hid for three days before hitchhiking out of town.
     “Three kids, you say.”
     “Two girls and a boy. The oldest’s fourteen. She’s got a mind of her own, I’ll tell you. She’s pregnant, too, don’t know who the daddy is. I know’d who her daddy was, but he wouldn’t marry me. One of them snooty people, know what I mean?”
     He nodded. “Yep, sure do. Enough of them in the world.”
     “My boy’s eleven years old. Sharp as a tack. Wants to be an astronaut, or a policeman, or some such thing. Seems like it changes every day. But he’ll probably wind up like his daddy and me, working at the tractor factory.”
     “I worked there once. You know they’ve been there since before World War I? Made tanks for Uncle Sam, I think. Long time, ain’t it?” He looked at his wristwatch, then up at her. “Well, I’d better get goin’ now.” He shuffled his feet, as if to get up.
     She stood, and adjusted her wrinkled coat. “When you goin’ to be back through here again?”
     “You cain’t never tell. I’m goin’ out to California, now. Probably spend the rest of my life there.”
     “If you come back, you can stay at our place. We’ll make room.”
     “Maybe I will.” He looked at his watch again. “Well, I’ll be seein’ you.”
     “I can stay and wait with you,” she said. “If you want me to.”
     He reached up and touched her arm. “I appreciate that, darling, I really do. But you know, I–I’d like to remember how you look when you walk away. So I can see you all at once.”
     She looked puzzled, then nodded. “Okay, Daddy, if you want me to. Well, goodbye.”
      She started to leave, then hugged him awkwardly, brushing her lips on his cheek. She crossed the street and walked up the park path, and was soon out of sight.
      Morton leaned back and watched the spot where she’d disappeared. He wiped tears away with a dirty finger, and looked toward town. The black man was coming back. He stopped by the bench and reached into his jacket pocket.
      “Well, how was it, man? She like you thought she’d be?”
      “Guess so. But I don’t really know what I was expecting, Ron.”
     The black man fumbled in his pocket, and brought out a key. He knelt and inserted it into the leg iron that anchored Morton’s right ankle to the bench leg, and turned it until it clicked. Morton rubbed his ankle.
     “You tell her you killed your old woman, an’ was on your way to prison for life?”
      Morton shook his head. “Didn’t seem like a good time. She’s got her own problems.”
     “Don’t we all. Here, stick your arms out.”
      Morton did, and the other man snapped handcuffs onto his wrists.
     “You know we broke the rules here. They find out, they’d probably fire me. Keep your mouth shut, understand?”
      “Sure, no problem.”
      “Don’t think I’m getting soft. I even hear you breathe wrong, I’ll stomp you with both feet.”
      “Okay, Ron. I hear you, man.”
      “Well, let’s go. The van’s right around the corner.”
     They walked up the block. As they turned the corner, Morton looked back across the park. No, he’d never see her again. Life in prison was a long time. Even if he did get paroled, it would be a long time from now.
     Besides, she was in her own prison.
     He turned, and they walked toward the van.

The End

Thanks so much, Don. Tomorrow, Editor Megan Records of Kensington/Brava blogs. Rita VF

Moonday’s Heroic Hunk: The Sleeping Faun & A Visit from Barbara Vey

     The Southern Sizzle Romance blog for Moonday’s Heroic Hunks in History features a sleeping faun, but first, a Silken Sands Writers’ Conference tidbit. Barbara Vey visited the Sizzlers while looking for the Tiki bar at the Silken Sands Conference Friday night. The bar was closed but we had a nice Pinot Grigio to offer. She’s one classy lady that we hope will become a regular face at Silken Sands. 

Barbara Vey at Silken Sands by gothicdweller

 

     The next night she won two (yes, two) door prizes. She’s shipping the baskets—chock full of books and other treats–home to Wisconsin to donate to an American Cancer Society fundraiser. Like I said, classy. 

     Finally, this Moonday’s Heroic Hunk in History is the “Sleeping Faun” by Harriet Goodhue Hosmer (1830-1908) which is displayed in the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Hatty’s” upbringing by her physician father in Watertown, Massachusetts was considered extremely permissive for the time. In 1852 she moved to Rome, a center of cultural richness and diversity, and eventually became a popular-sometimes controversial-artist. Over a long and prolific career she produced numerous sculptures in the neoclassical tradition. 

     In Roman mythology, a faun was a woodland place-spirit usually depicted as a goat below the waist. Hosmer’s “Sleeping Faun,” completed in 1867, obviously omitted the goat features.  The artist also sculpted a “Waking Faun” which we might view on another Moonday.    

      Tomorrow, the Sizzlers will post our first group blog. During the Silken Sands Conference, we pitched to the following: Laura Bradford (Bradford Literary Agency), Elaine Spencer (The Knight Agency), Joyce Holland (The D4EO Agency), Lindsey Faber (Samhain Publishing), Megan Records (Kensington Publishing), and Patience Smith (Harlequin/Silhouette). Visit us to see whether we struck out or hit home runs.       Rita VF

Kick Off of The Countdown to Conference

Hello everyone! Today the Sizzlers are kicking off our Countdown to Conference. What  conference you ask? Why the 2010 Silken Sands  Conference at Pensacola Beach March 19-21 of course. Today we are honored and elated to have an interview from one of the fabulous editors who will be attending the conference. So I welcome you all to read, comment, and learn from Kensington Publishing Corp, editor Megan Records.

First off on behalf of everyone reading this I would like to thank Mrs. Records for taking the time to participate in the countdown and attending the Silken Sands Conference. So without further ado, I give you the questions and answers we’ve all been looking for:

[Sizzlers]. Tell us what you think is hot and what’s not. ?

[M. Records]

Hot: dark paranormals. I am seeing a larger variety of creatures these days: angels, genies, etc, but werewolves and vampires still dominate. I hardly ever see funny paranormals. Shame, because I like those too!

Hot: historicals in which the characters have “modern” issues. I say “modern” because these issues existed back then, but were not really discussed or brought to light until more recently. For example: domestic violence.

Hot: historicals where the heroine is not a virgin, or is a virgin but grew up on a farm and/or reads, so is not completely ignorant of the mechanics of sex. I’m seeing much more of these than I have before, and loving it. I don’t mind the naïve virgin, and I know that’s historically correct, but I can only read so many where the heroine wonders exactly what is in a man’s pants.

Not: I never say something is “not.” I say that it might be more difficult to make these elements work. For instance, it is probably easier to make a white tiger shifter a sexy hero than, say, a 3-foot tall leprechaun. But will I say it can’t be done? Never. I’ve bought books in which the premise didn’t sound like my thing, but the writing sold it to me (a historical set in Mongolia? Who would have seen that one coming?). It’s all about the writing. If the writing makes it work, then you can sell me anything.

[Sizzlers] What types of work are you most interested in seeing at the 2010 Silken Sands Conference?

 

[M. Records]

 

I have a lot of room in Brava at the moment. Brava is our more sensual imprint; sexier than Zebra, but generally without the kinkiness found in Aphrodisia (ménage, sex in animal form, bondage, etc.).

I also buy for Zebra, and I’m certainly willing to read manuscripts for this line, but right now there is so little room that I’m having to turn projects down even if I like them.

I would like a good urban fantasy, or perhaps a historical fiction novel.

I don’t work on Aphrodisia, gay fiction, non-fiction, mysteries, etc. I am perfectly happy to give you the name of an editor at Kensington that does, but my insight into these genres is limited, so I probably won’t be able to give you much feedback.

[Sizzlers] This question goes back to the “writer rumors”, but so many times I’ve heard that agents/editors will throw out a manuscript if they see grammatical errors. Personally, this is a huge one for me as I am grammatically challenged.  Many times authors will edit and edit then send to a contest and have their manuscript ripped to shreds because they used “ing”, “ly” or “was” to much for the judges liking. Do you look for these issues when reading requested material or is it more about the story?

[M. Records]:

I like to use an analogy of a job interview to explain this. If you walk in and your shoes are a bit scuffed, or you are just really having a bad hair day, that shouldn’t be held against you. However, if you are in torn, wrinkled, dirty clothing, and smell like you haven’t bathed for days, that’s going to be a big black mark.  Similarly, if you have a few typos or grammatical errors, most editors will not hold that against you. But if there are glaring errors repeatedly throughout the manuscript, that’s going to be a problem. In dialogue, ok, because most people don’t speak in perfectly grammatically correct English, but otherwise, too many errors are going to hurt you. It may sound unfair, but you have to set some standards. If a singer hit too many wrong notes, you probably wouldn’t want to continue listening to them. Same principle applies.

As to using “was” etc, too much, that speaks more to the writing style than grammatical errors. If the writing feels repetitive, or the sentence structure is always the same, it makes it hard to stay interested. I don’t think I’ve ever said someone used “was” too much, but other repetition can really get to me. For instance, if you use the word “stunning” 3 times in two paragraphs, and it isn’t a situation where the character is dumbstruck and can’t think of what to say, then that stands out when I’m reading. If you end every bit of dialogue with an adverb, e.g.“he said quickly,” “he said glaringly,” “he said grudgingly,” “he said invitingly,” after a few pages, my brain will go on overload.

After that long ramble, if you want it in one sentence: The writing should never hinder the story; it should only enhance it. Case in point: this interview. I can almost guarantee that it’s not entirely grammatically correct. But that doesn’t detract from its general readability (I hope!).

[Sizzlers] What is your opinion on emarket vs. traditional print? I know this is a hot topic and we all appreciate whatever comments you can give us.

 

[M. Records]:

To me, they are two similar but different animals. E-books have the advantage of being able to take risks that traditional publishers are not. I’ve seen more than one trend start in e–books and then move to print once it was deemed “successful enough.” And I’ve bought several authors that originally started in e-books and are now writing for Kensington. On the other hand, print publishers have distribution, and a certain reputation that can make readers stick with them instead of going to e-books. The goal of both is the same: to sell books. But how they go about it and what they are able to sell is different.

I like to think of it as the young rebel teenager vs the senior citizen (can you tell I like analogies?). The teenager has fresh ideas and a new perspective, and often evolves and adapts more quickly than the senior citizen because they haven’t been around as long and aren’t set in their ways. But does that mean that all the experience and methods of the senior citizen are useless? Of course not. Both have something to bring to the table, and once they both realize this, they are able to learn something from each other.

Full disclosure: I have an e-reader. I use it for manuscripts, library books and free e-books, but I haven’t bought an e-book in the 3 months or so that I’ve had it (and I didn’t usually buy them before that because reading entire books on the computer gives me migraines.) The books I read in my spare time are generally from traditional publishers. Partially this is because many of my longtime favorite authors are from print houses. And partially this is because I am more aware of new authors in the print market, seeing as that’s what Kensington does and what most of my contacts focus on, and I get a lot of these books for free. It also helps to have something physical to point to when my husband asks, “Wait, how many books did you buy this month?”

[Sizzlers] I know that when I am researching an agent or editor, I Google them, check their Facebook page, and tweet them. I read their posts and blogs.  I try to see if their tastes would lean toward my writing style or not. And I try to get a feel for their personality to see if we might “mesh well” if the opportunity ever arose. If you have a manuscript on your desk, do you ever check the same accounts for that author?  Do you ever check to see what he/she is posting? If so, have you been influenced by what you’ve learned?

 

[M. Records]:

I freely admit I am an Internet addict. Generally speaking, though, I only look up authors after I’ve already made an offer. The exception to this is if something in their cover letter feels sketchy. For instance, if you say you are a published author, but do not mention any houses, I go look it up. If you say you are an award-winning author, but don’t mention any specific awards, I Google it. Or occasionally, I get a submission and think, “Why do I know that name?” and of course cannot rest until I’ve found the answer on the web. But for the majority of manuscripts, I do not do any initial sleuthing. With the number of submissions I get, it’s just not feasible unless I already have an interest in the book.

[Sizzlers] If an author has queried you and you’ve rejected that query/partial and the author emails you asking for details on why you’ve rejected their ms, what is your process here? Do you give specific reasons on why the manuscript may not have been for you?

 

[M. Records]:

This is probably the biggest single pet peeve of any editor you will encounter. When an author does this, however nicely, it puts them on my mental blacklist as “high maintenance—stay away!” If I had any details about why I passed on it, I would have said that in my initial letter. Authors seem to feel it’s an editor’s job to give them feedback, and it is, if you are an author under contract. Otherwise, I have no obligation to do so. And let’s be honest, sometimes I don’t get far enough into a manuscript to give any viable feedback, or I can’t say what I really want to say without being horribly impolite, so I send a rather generic letter.

That said, I do appreciate that authors want to improve, and when I have something specific to say about the manuscript, I say it. If I think the manuscript could be great with some revision, I mention in my letter than I’d love to see it if/when the author revises. If I think the writing is just amazing but the particular project just doesn’t fit well with us, I ask to see any other projects the author has in the works. I always try to be very honest in my rejection letters, without being harsh.

Related to this is the “rejection rebuttal,” in which you explain why a comment in my letter is incorrect, or tell me you don’t think I “understood” your book. Only do this if you want an ironclad way to ensure that I will never buy your book, and you don’t want any other editor at my house to buy it either (because yes, we talk).

[Sizzlers] As a final wrap up could you tell us some of your pet peeves in the industry? Or is there anything happening in the industry you’d care to comment on or discuss?  We’d love to hear some of your views and opinions on the state of the craft and the market.

 

[M. Records]:

Oy, pet peeves could go on for a while :] Besides the one mention above, another one is the “equality complaint.” Various versions of this are:

“I sent you my manuscript in Oct, and this author send you hers in Nov, and you sent her a letter already and not me. Why?”

“This author at your house got 25 galleys and I only got 15. Why?”

“I heard you got a quote from [insert big name author here] for this book, why not for mine?”

I will say to you what my mom sarcastically said to us kids whenever we made this type of complaint: “It’s because we love him more.” Publishing is not equal. Marketing attention varies. My response time for manuscripts varies. Do not make comparisons.

Caveat: I can hear the voices now…“But what if I think her response to me might have gotten lost in the mail/email or I just want to double check that she got the manuscript?” Sure, go ahead and ask. Just don’t mention another author when you are doing so. And for heaven’s sake, wait at least 3 months before asking for an update, unless you have an offer. Excessive checking in will get you blacklisted. I am a very stubborn person; if you nag and push me to do something, I will resist just to be obstinate. Childish? Yes. But at least I can admit my faults, right?

On to happier topics, the industry. Romance is still selling. It is one genre that where sales were actually up for us last year, when many other categories were falling. Ironic, when romance is what I like to call “the bastard child of the publishing industry.” But I’m convinced it’s this very stereotype that has helped romance remain successful. Romance authors and readers are a community like none other in the publishing world. We band together to help each other succeed. We blog, we cross-promote, we give each other quotes. Do you know how rare it is to find a group of general fiction authors sharing a blog? And yet, that’s pretty commonplace in the romance community. We can go to local conferences where readers can actually meet New York Times bestselling authors…usually you don’t get to do that unless you buy a book at a signing. We all know that there are a lot of naysayers out there that think romance is fluff and nonsense, so we do everything we can to promote ourselves and the genre as a whole. Would romance be the top-selling paperback genre if this wasn’t the case? Somehow I don’t think so.

Okay I forgot to mention that Mrs. Records will be checking in from time to time. Feel free to ask questions as she may answer them. Thanks again to her for this great interview and remember Thursday we will have author Cat Johnson guest blogging. All right off to ask Mrs. Records one more question 🙂

Moonday’s Heroic Hunk: The Naked Celt

Hi, I’m Rita and it’s Moonday and my day to blog. This week’s Heroic Hunk in History is a naked Celt. BUT FIRST, the Sizzlers will feature interviews with participating editors and agents as part of the countdown to our RWA Chapter’s SILKEN SANDS WRITERS’ CONFEENCE at Pensacola Beach, March 19th-21st. Tomorrow, the Sizzlers will interview MEGAN RECORDS with KENSINGTON PUBLISHING.
THEN, Cat Johnson, a multi-nominated, award-winning author of more than a dozen published romances and the voice of All Romance eBooks’ weekly Blog Talk Radio show “What’s Hot in Romance” will blog here on Thursday, Feb 25th.

Now, for the Naked Celt. The Dying Gaul is a marble copy (Roman, 2nd century AD) of part of a 3rd century BC victory monument from Pergamon, Turkey. The original bronze group containing six figures was erected by King Attalus I to commemorate his victory over tribes of Celtic Gauls who had migrated from France and spent the next 50 years or so plundering his realm and exacting tribute. The Gauls eventually settled down, hired out as mercenaries and converted to Christianity (Remember St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians?).

     The statue which was discovered in the ruined Garden of Sallust in the 17th century in Rome required extensive restoration. The left leg below the knee was reassembled using a pin which is concealed by the kneecap. The right arm and part of the base was also reconstructed. The spiky hair (The Gauls achieved the look by bleaching it with lime water.) was reworked because the longer locks had broken off.
     Our Gaul wears only a torc, a sign of nobility and high social status—a decoration awarded to warriors for their deeds in battle. (His moustache and clean-shaven face is also an indicator of high status.) His sword has fallen at his side and the battle trumpet lies at his feet. The large (by Greek and Roman standards) Celtic warriors, often went into battle nude to intimidate their enemies and display their own bravery before their gods. Our Gaul’s nudity, however, is not the “heroic nudity” of the Greek hero or semi-divine being. but the “pathetic nudity” the Greek sculptors allowed brave but defeated barbarian enemies. (Editorial comment: There’s nothing pathetic about this guy.) Our mortally-wounded Gaul’s pride and strength show, despite the pain which shadows his features as death approaches. His death—from the sword wound in his right side—will be honorable, however, since in the original sculpture it is at the feet of his chieftain whom we’ll meet next week.
Question: The PC police in previous centuries added fig leaves to Roman and Greek statues for modesty’s sake. What do you think—fig leaves or no fig leaves for future Heroic Hunks pics? HMMMM? Rita THE END

Badurday Birthday Boy (how’s that for alliteration)

Anyone who knows me at all will know I can’t miss this birthday coming up on the 21st.  This man has been my favorite actor for many, many years.  He is so versatile.  So sexy.  Just wonderful.   Today, I’m going to tell you all about some of his more obscure roles.  First is a stage role.  He played Valmont on stage. We all know how bad Valmont was. And I know Romancemama will try to compare Colin Firth’s Valmont with Alan’s and all I can say is they are both fabulous. 

                                                                                                                                                                              

There is a movie called Dark Harbor.  Very dark movie. You think its going in one direction and bam, surprise!  He is bad, really bad. The best thing in this one is his stripping down to his birthday suit (Note to self, watch this on his birthday to see that suit) and diving in the water. He then walks nude to his house.  Very nice thighs and buttocks.   Oh, and those calves… 

Dark Harbor:

The next little film is An Awfully Big Adventure.  Now, if you read the blurb on it, you may think it is a comedy. Nothing could be further from the truth.  My poor dear is a very bad boy in this one, not really knowing it until the end. He thinks he’s bad for sleeping with a young girl but it gets worse.  AND he does a fabulous Captain Hook in the play within the movie.  A must see.    

An Awfully Big Adventure:

And one more:  Closet Land.  There are only two people in this movie.  Alan plays an interrogator and he is absolutely marvelous. Just a stunning performance.   I can’t recommend it enough.  And, he could interrogate me anytime.  I’ll take this bad boy cop any day.

Closet Land:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALAN RICKMAN.  Here’s hoping for many more so we can continue to enjoy your talents.

EDITED to add:  Lost power at my house last night until 9:45 this morning. Sorry to be late.   The pictures in this post didn’t want to line up like I wanted. 

AND remember, we have Megan Records here on Tuesday on our countdown to the Silken Sands Conference on Pensacola Beach and on Thursday, we have a guest blogger, Cat Johnson.  Check back often in the next few weeks as we have a stellar line up.

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