Hope your Monday was better than mine. My commute this morning was hell. I got stuck in a subway tunnel for an hour. First, the conductor said there was a stalled train ahead of us; then it was a signal problem, then it was a power outage. Didn’t matter much to me why I was stuck in the tunnel, I just wanted to get the heck out.
I became annoyed somewhere around the fifty-minute mark because despite it being a breezy sixty-six degrees in NYC today, the subway car was freezing due to the AC being turned ALL the way up. I don’t know what it is with me and cold climates. We are mortal enemies. I always seem to get stuck in places where I’m left to turn into an icicle.
I should also mention I did not have coffee. I usually wait until I get to work to indulge in my caffeine addiction but I regret not having a cup o’ hot java before leaving my apartment. Bright side? I had a book on me. LOL, two actually. I never leave home without a paperback and thanks to the delay I was able to get some reading done. Down side? I ended up shelling out twenty bucks this morning on a cab, but I’m safe! Things could always be worse. I can whine about it now, but life is good even with poopy morning commutes.
Anyway, since my day has gone completely off the rails I’m late getting this post up, but it’s worth the wait.
This week’s spotlight features a woman I’ve been following for some time. Not in a stalkery way. Y’all, I love her blog SO MUCH. We share a lot of similarities which is probably WHY I LOVE HER BLOG SO MUCH. Of course, at RWA Nationals when I finally got to meet her, I kinda lost my shit. Within reason. I didn’t want to be a total hot mess (by my estimate I was only 70% hot mess).
Librarians and book bloggers are some of my favorite people, so when I get to meet one I adore, I momentarily lose all sense of sanity. Get to know Super Wendy; she’s the bomb.
Authors and bloggers were asked this question, and my librarian interviewees should have a shot at it as well. I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. I’m sure the same can be said for librarians. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?
I have a horrid potty mouth. I can swear like a drunken sailor on shore leave. This is something that general acquaintances and people who know me only in passing always seem to be surprised by when someone lets them in on my secret. This is not the greatest trait for a librarian to have, but luckily I can turn off my colorful language fairly easily. When I last worked public service “Fudge” and “Oh shoot” were perennial favorites.
If someone had never read romance and came to you seeking advice on where to begin, what book would you recommend to pop their cherry?
In Librarian Speak, I’d start with a reader’s advisory interview. The great thing about romance is the variety. I’d start by asking the person what they do like to read and the names of the last three books they really enjoyed. Then I’d tailor my recommendations accordingly.
That being said, there are books within the genre I think everyone should read. Quiet reads that pack intense emotion. Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath. Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist. His Wife for One Night by Molly O’Keefe. Simple Jess, Courting Miss Hattie, Wild Oats all by Pamela Morsi. Dirty by Megan Hart. To Dream Again by Laura Lee Gurhke. So many. And yes, I tend to gravitate towards swoony historicals. They’re my first love in romance, so they’re a hard habit to break (not that I would want to!)
What’s your favorite romance trope?
If you were going to force me to choose one: friends to lovers. But I also love boss/secretary (I know, it’s shameful!), virgin heroes, and enemies to lovers (when it’s done well).
If you had the power to change one historical event, what event would you change and why?
This is like asking me to name my favorite book. It’s nearly impossible. I’ll go with what popped into my head first - the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and World War I. The roots started much earlier but World War I begat World War II which begat the Cold War which begat Vietnam and so on and so forth. World War I really sucked.
What’s your favorite dessert?
True New York-style cheesecake. Light, fluffy, creamy - if someone in the City is reading this can you overnight some to me right now?
What problem do you face every day that nobody has solved yet?
Traffic. Unholy, ungodly, southern California traffic.
What’s your favorite 90s TV show?
Law & Order - the original flavor. I LOVE Law & Order. It could literally be the only TV show at my disposal and I’d be OK with that. Also, if not for Melrose Place I don’t think I would have survived college with my sanity somewhat intact.
Who are your top three favorite authors?
Tess Gerritsen, Molly O’Keefe, Maggie Osborne (Why are you torturing me like this! Only three?!?!)
How many items on your bucket list do you have left to check off?
Almost all my bucket list is travel related. The big one staring me in the face is Ireland. I want to visit Ireland SO badly.
Finish this sentence: I really wish people understood ______ better.
History. The daily news is filled with instances of history repeating itself. The worst of it is that the people we expect to know better…don’t. Pick up a book already, it’s good for the soul and you just might learn something.
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?
I am a mild-mannered librarian with a reputation to uphold. I reveal nothing! Bwahahahaha!
*You know what they say about mild-mannered librarians* ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Active in the online Romance community since 1999, Wendy the Super Librarian is a former RWA Librarian of the Year, a beleaguered Detroit Tigers baseball fan, a connoisseur of cheap wine and a legend in her own mind. She is hopelessly devoted to category romance (you will pry her Harlequins out of her cold dead hands!), historical romance and books with dead bodies in them. After living in Southern California for over a decade, any sanity she may have left from the horrid traffic is all thanks to audio books. Long live audio books!
Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!
*I am throwing every ounce of shade at Columbus and this “holiday.”*
Allow me to dive straight into this week’s author spotlight. I met Avril at RT earlier this year and in typical Harper fashion; it happened in an offhand manner. She made a Facebook post announcing her presence in the lobby of the hotel where the convention was held, and of course I hop on her post with, “OH, MY GOD, WHERE ARE YOU?” Not that I’m a weirdo. *blink blink* I’d read a few of her books, so I was in full fangirl mode. Miraculously I didn’t embarrass myself. Yay, me!
Anywho, you should get to know this wonderful woman and while you’re at it, pick up her work. Her sex scenes are scorching (I swear it’s hot porn on the page). Rawr!
Take it away Avril!
I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?
Ha! Not questionable—and probably not really a surprise—but I’m really not good at socializing with people. I just can’t be bothered, which my husband says makes me mean as hell, but whatever. That attitude also kinda sucks, you know, because I feel like dude, I’m awesome. I should have friends and ish. But then I remind myself that I hate talking, and I’m like, “Nah, I’m good.”
Two-part question! You wrote an excellent blog post on imposter syndrome. I appreciate your honesty regarding the topic.
(a) Why do you think talking about it is such a taboo thing?
I’m really not sure why it is that we don’t hear more about the dark side of what we do. I wrote it because I felt as if there had to be other others out there who feel like I do. I text with a fellow author all the time who commiserates with me when I’m all in my feelings, so I knew I wasn’t the only one.
(b) Why aren’t more authors willing to share this aspect of themselves with the public?
Maybe we don’t want our readers to see how much we struggle? Maybe we don’t want to dwell on it? For me, I just wasn’t ready or willing to admit to that weakness. I’m doing what I love, right? How hard then could be it be? Turns out, it’s pretty damn hard, and admitting that, admitting that sometimes—despite my obvious success—I still feel like I don’t belong kinda makes me sound whiny and ungrateful. So that’s why I kept silent for so long.
Who’s your favorite actor?
I really dig Clive Owen in anything. I think dude is being slept on, for real.
What’s your favorite Caribbean cuisine?
It’s Caribbean cuisine, I can’t possibly choose! I like bake and saltfish for breakfast, maybe a nice beef roti for lunch, and some jerk chicken, rice and peas and fry plantain for dinner. That’s day one, though. Day two can be a whole different menu. That’s the thing about our food, so many options.
Another two-part question. I am all about the twofers.
(a) Did you find it difficult to transition from writing M/F romance to writing M/M romance?
Not everyone can do it seamlessly. It wasn’t difficult at all, and maybe the reason was that I hadn’t built up an extensive MF backlist yet. I’d really just gotten my foot in the door, before I switched over.
(b) What was the scariest part of the process for you?
The scariest part for me was actually making the first steps into writing M/M. I wondered if I could possibly be half as good as the best authors who’d already made their mark in the game.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about this business that you wish you’d learned at the beginning of your career?
I wish I’d learned that there really isn’t one way to do this. It’s really more about what works for you. That’s all that matters, and it’s something I embrace now, but it took a while for that knowledge to settle in.
Put on your reader hat for a sec. What makes a book a five-star read for you?
Depends on what I’m reading. If it’s MF, I want filthy sex galore. I want a strong woman, not afraid to do what she wants, who she wants, along with an alpha AF hero, with an engaging storyline and gripping emotions. For M/M much the same, except ease up on the angst. For some reason, writing angsty M/M is easy. Reading it? Not so much.
Not that I have a lick of experience regarding this but word on the street is parenting is hard. What’s one lesson you’ve tried to instill in your daughter?
I think our children should have a healthy fear of us to keep them in line. Growing up in the West Indies, manners is everything, and it’s something both my husband and I drill into our daughter on the daily. Manners, it goes a long way in this world.
Finish this sentence: Bad sex is like _____.
Ugh. Bad sex is like trying to replicate a recipe off Pinterest. No matter what the hell you do, that ish never turns out the way it does in the pictures, leaving you dissatisfied, with a big ole’ mess to clean up.
What’s your favorite song of all time?
I don’t have one, actually. I love music, it goes hand in hand with my writing process. I’m a fan of hip-hop, rock, reggae, soca/calypso, soul, RnB. If it’s music, it’s my favorite.
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?
I have, and while I’m not fully entrenched in the lifestyle, I’m not not in the lifestyle ;-)
*LOL, I see what you did there!* ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
A Grenadian transplant, Avril now lives in Tucker, GA, with a madly tolerant husband. Together they raise an eccentric daughter who’s pretty meh about reading and school. Avril’s earliest memories of reading revolve around discussing the plot points of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys with an equally book-minded mother.
Always in love with the written word, Avril finally decided to do the writing in August of ’09 and never looked back. She’s been nominated for numerous awards, including Best Author, Best series, and Favorite All-Time Author. In 2013 Avril won Evernight Publishing’s Reader’s Choice Award for the LGBT (Male/Male) category.
Addicted to cupcakes, the ID Channel and the UFC, Avril writes Gay and Erotic Romance with happy endings; she remains a believer of love in all its forms.
Visit her website: http://www.avrilashton.com
Friend Av on Facebook: http://facebook.com/writeravrilashton
She’s on Twitter as @AvrilAsh
Sign up for her New Release Newsletter: http://t.co/RaWn5SBeYg
Join Av’s Gang on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AvsGang
Wanna activate your one-click finger? Check out Remi’s Betrayal!
I don’t even know where to begin.
My heart is heavy.
I’m furious as fuck.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Folks, we are living in some nutty times. Very very nutty. My thoughts are with the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and their loved ones.
I want change, and I will continue to demand change from elected officials. I will never stop being the squeaky wheel. These people have fallen down on the job by not ensuring our citizens are adequately protected. We deserve better, and our safety shouldn’t be compromised by greed. This isn’t about the right to blah blah blah. It’s about BEING and FEELING safe doing mundane things such as going to school, attending a concert, taking in a movie.
Rather than flood your newsfeed with more depressing news, allow me to be a little ray of sunshiney goodness on a horrific news day. Today’s blog post features a remarkable woman I’ve been following on Twitter for some time now. I spotted her at RT, but I didn’t get the chance to chat with her. I was determined to introduce myself the next time I spotted her at an event, and it finally happened at RWA Nationals this year! If you follow Robin on Twitter you know she is all about giving it to you straight, LOL and I adore her for it.
Get to learn a little about this wonderful woman!
I posed this question to authors and bloggers, and my librarian interviewees should have a shot at it as well. I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. I’m sure the same can be said for librarians. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?
Okay, I love question one! The problem is, I kind of AM my own evil doppelganger. For better or worse, I don’t fake politeness very well. But, to play along, I guess I would say that I’m quick to anger and slooooooooooooooooooow to forgive. If you’re out here acting a fool in public, or if you are somehow disrespectful to me, or people close to me, that’s it. I’m done. I often give second chances, but I rarely give thirds. I wish I could say I was patient and forgiving but…that just isn’t the case. It’s even less of the case post 2016 election.
Who is your favorite Disney character?
The genie from Aladdin. I thought I would have to think about this more, but the answer came almost immediately and I haven’t wavered.
What’s the oddest request you’ve ever received from a patron?
“Can I come home with you?” If you mean the oddest that related to the collection…I can’t really think of one. It’s been over 10 years since I worked reference daily, so I have limited contact with patrons. And the ones I see now, they really haven’t asked anything strange. The one that seemed to trip my dad up, however, was when I told him someone had called and asked how to cook a roast. He just couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that someone would call the library to ask that question. Even though he’s asked me the same thing (before he learned he could do it in the slow cooker!) I always laugh about this because it just goes to show how people don’t realize the variety of questions we get.
What are three characteristics you believe a librarian should possess?
Intellectual Curiosity – librarians should always want to know more. About everything.
Humility – way too many librarians I know think they’re better than everyone: their patrons, the people they work with, the people who give them money. It is not a very flattering characteristic in anyone, but it’s especially unattractive in librarians.
Fearlessness – On the other end of the spectrum, there are librarians who don’t trust their own awesomeness. I want them to get an extra shot of fearlessness and step forward. It’s why my twitter profile pic right now is “But what if I CAN do it?”
As a child, what was the best Christmas gift you received?
Wow. I wish I remembered. I was a very lucky kid, and got a lot of things. I’m sure each thing was my favorite at the time!
Say all books are banned (God forbid!) what three books would you risk life and limb to keep in your possession?
This is a tough one and I don’t know. I mean, one of the best things about reading is the discovery, so I almost want to pick 3 books, that I love but just don’t know it yet. And it’s too hard. I love so many books, I’d be the witch in the woods with the contraband.
What relaxes you?
Music. Always music.
Best Boy Band: New Edition, New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, or *NSYNC?
I hated Backstreet Boys, so they’re immediately off the list. I liked N’SYNC, but I was a little on the older side when they came along. I love New Edition and NKOTB both with the heat of a thousand suns, but I have to give the edge to NE.
*I want you all to know I gave Robin’s “I hated the Backstreet Boys” part of her answer some serious side-eye. I WANT IT THAT WAY IS A GODDAMN MASTERPIECE* ♪♫♪♫ Tell me whyyyyyy. Ain’t nothin’ but a heartache… ♪♫♪♫
Finish this sentence: Romance means ________.
Best book to movie adaptation?
I have to name 3:
Dennis Lehane’s Gone, Baby, Gone. It seemed to capture the book’s vibe/atmosphere as well as the story.
S1 Game of Thrones. Everything was exactly as I’d imagined from the scenery to the perfect casting. And it was very faithful to the book.
The Martian. I loved the book, and so had REALLY high expectations for the movie. And the movie delivered.
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?
I am allergic to submission. I’d be the one trying to top from the bottom. Could I be taught? Maybe…. I’m not sure I’m D enough to work the other half of the equation. That said, I’ll try almost anything once…or twice. :)
Robin is a librarian in the western part of Washington state. She’s also a lawyer, book blerd, and baseball addict (#WhiteSox fan). She’s got the degrees to prove her badassery (BA, MA, MS, JD). She’s a Romance reviewer for Indiepicks Magazine. And lastly, she’s the recipient of the 2016 RWA Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year Award.