Welcome to the Love is in the Air Giveaway Hop, sponsored by Under The Covers Book Blog! I`ll be giving away a copy of my new hockey romance, Pink Pucks & Power Plays to one lucky commenter. The scoop on my giveaway is at the end of my post about my rather unconventional leading lady in Pink Pucks. I hope you enjoy getting to know a bit more about Viviana, and why she is how she is.
You know as an author that you`ve tapped a touchy nerve when your hockey guru/number one beta reader says:
"You know, I had a really hard time liking your leading lady at first."
To which I said:
That was what I was shooting for with Viviana Land, heroine of Pink Pucks & Power Plays. I knew as soon as Viv uttered her first words she was going to make readers dislike her before they liked her, if they ever did. I`m sure some readers will never warm to Viviana. Heck, there are times that I have to shake my head at the things that she says.
But that`s what I wanted.
I wanted different. I wanted each woman in my To Love a Wildcat series to be as far from the standard blond-haired, size two, cookie-cutter romance leading lady as possible. And Viv, bless her sometimes far-too-honest heart, is about as far as one can get from Sally Sunshine who blushes her way into the heart of her leading man. We discover that as soon as Viviana begins lamenting her lack of batteries for her vibrator early in the book.
Viv is brassy, brutally honest, rather egocentric, and slightly snarky. While she may rub readers the wrong way at first, over time, and with the help of Alain Lessard, she begins to soften. The abrasive edges to her personality are worn down by the adoration of a good man. She begins to reveal the good heart buried under the tough, frank exterior. As the series progresses, we`ll see deeper into Viviana. Her fears will be revealed. Thankfully, Viviana will have friends to share her worries with as her relationship with Alain matures.
How about an excerpt with our gal Viv doing what she does best? We get a peek at the weekly staff meeting at the Green Hills Gazette when Viviana innocently drops the bomb about meeting Alain Lessard.
Be warned, there is grown-up language in this passage, so if you`re easily offended, best not read the snippet below.
“So, what did you do this weekend?” Liz asked, taking a sip of coffee and leaving that miserable black lipstick stain on the mug. I tried to smile but I`m sure it was a grimace.
“Oh the same old.” I waved my hand around airily, trying to overhear what Frank Bowers, the editor in chief, was saying to whoever he was talking to on the phone. Oscar`s flippant comments made eavesdropping difficult. I crossed one leg over the other, leaned towards our staff photographer, and pretended to pluck a thread from my thistle-colored skirt. “I went to the Botanical Society Spring Fling as you saw in yesterday’s Life section.”
“Sounds like fun,” Elizabeth moaned into her mug.
“It was tripe,” I said, pushing against Oscar so he would lean back slightly. “Then I took my sister`s daughter and part of her scout troop for a nightmarish ride through the country. We ended up breaking down and having to walk for miles to get to this frumpy little ice rink.” I stopped nudging Oscar in his side when that playful smile of Alain Lessard`s appeared in my mind’s eye. “I did meet the most adorable man there though. His name is Alain Lessard and…”
All talk stopped instantly. Even Oscar turned to look at me. I looked from one stunned face to the other.
“Did I say something offensive?” I asked. Oscar squealed when Frank shoved the photographer`s rolling chair out of the way to zoom across the empty space in his own wheeled office seat. Bert Dibble was choking on his coffee. No one was slapping his back. I drew back from Frank`s wide grey gaze. Our news editor was a living testament to stress-related hair loss and dyspepsia. Frank was built like Lou Grant, talked like a toad with terminal laryngitis, and always seemed to be one hissy fit away from a stroke.
“Did you just say you met Alain Lessard?” Frank croaked. I nodded, noting the droplets of sweat on his very high brow. Frank threw a look at Bert who had stopped hacking although his pale skin was still blotchy. Elizabeth was trying to pat down Bert`s rumpled brown hair with a wet finger but he kept swatting the tomb dweller`s hand away. His comb-over looked out of place. “Did you hear that, Bert? The fucking society page broad scoops you with Lessard!”
“If I can interject,” I cut in snappily, “I am not a broad. I did not scoop Bert, and I wish you would stop blustering in my face!” I reached out to shove my editor back a bit but his chair stayed firmly planted. Oscar came wheeling back up on my right mumbling angrily.
“How the hell did you get into see Lessard? I`ve been trying to grab a minute with him ever since he announced he`d be staying in state after the playoffs to volunteer as a coach. Shit, I even tried tailing him in the grocery store! That fucking bulldog assistant, or whatever the hell Bonbano is, keeps Lessard so far from the press you`d think the kid was a gilded pussy with no chastity belt in sight!” Even the Goth queen gasped at Bert`s crudity.
“I am taking offense to all of this!” I snapped and shot to my feet. “Can we please speak as if this were not a locker room?!” I railed.
“You tell them, honey,” Oscar piped up while adjusting the raspberry beret perched
atop his shimmering head.
atop his shimmering head.
“Land`s right, we can`t talk about pussy in front of Oscar and the other girls,” Frank said, leaning back in his chair to cross his arms over his rather large Scotch belly. My eyes rolled to the ceiling. Oscar snorted in merriment. “Can you get back in to talk to Lessard?” my editor asked as I sat back down primly. I glanced at Bert. He looked ready to pop a tart and not the hussy woman sort either.
“I`m afraid I don`t know what all the commotion is about,” I admitted, tugging my grey scoop necked tank down to cover the waist band of my purple skirt. Every eye in the staff room widened except from mine.
“Land, don`t you ever read the sports section?” Bert asked, tugging his previously nicely knotted blue tie with a yellow and red buffalo from his ironed collar. Bert only wore officially licensed sports ties.
“Do you ever read the society section?” I fired across the round table. Bert rolled a lip.
“Look, Land,” Frank spoke up gruffly, “Alain Lessard is notorious for staying away from the media. He hates the press with a passion.”
“Can you blame him?” Elizabeth interjected her voice small and timid as a wee mouse amid a room filled with howling cats. “When his parents were killed in that plane crash last year the media crush was terrible,” she explained to me, her dark brown eyes hooded and filled with melancholy. “They were flying down from Quebec to watch their only son playing in the championship series,” she told the only one here not up on the happenings of the jock strap set. “The fire was barely out when the news crews started digging through the smoking bits of that little twin-engine plane, just like dogs looking for carrion on some Roman battle field of yore.” She sighed and swept her jet-black hair from an ashen cheek. “Alain was horrified and revolted at how vile and callously the press corps treated the tragedy. I mean, who goes to a plane crash site in hopes of finding some sort of memento a mother was taking to her son? It`s just beyond sick,” the frail young woman hissed then withdrew into herself once more.
I looked at my boss. He blinked at me.
“So, can you get back in touch with Lessard? I`ll give you a front page sports run if you can bring me something hot about him.”
“What?!” Bert rocketed from his seat. The chair flew across our small office and rocked the water cooler soundly. Oscar reached out to steady the bobbling bottle. “You can`t give her the front page! I`m the senior sports writer,” Bert roared, throwing his arms around. “She doesn`t know the difference between a puck and a football!”
“You can`t get close to Lessard. Land can,” Frank argued coolly, settling a look of finality upon our irate head of sports. I finally snapped out of the stupor I had fallen into upon hearing about Alain`s loss of barely a year ago.
“Frank, amazingly, Bert is right about something,” I said and got the glower that was called for from the jock worshipper. “I know nothing about sports,” I reminded our editor.
Frank stood up. “Everyone but Land out!” He motioned to the door that let out into our newsroom. Bert was the first one to fling his angry self out the door. Lucretia of the Undead followed, her hair now obscuring her face completely. Oscar departed. He blew me a kiss before closing the door gently. My editor folded his arms over his stomach. “Okay, what`ll it cost me?”
If you`d like to see how things turn out for Viviana and Alain, you can grab a copy of Pink Pucks & Power Plays at the following online retailers:
I`ll be giving away a pdf copy of Pink Pucks to one lucky commenter! Just tell me in the comments section below what your favorite Valentine`s Day memory is. I`ll toss all the names into the always sassy Random Thing Picker and announce the winner on the morning of February 15th. This is an international giveaway.
Please, make sure you leave your contact information. I will skip over any entry that doesn`t have an email address, so don`t be left out! Jot down that email addy after your comment.
Good luck! Thank you for visiting and make sure to drop in and say 'Hi!' to all the other authors who are taking part in the Love is in the Air Blog Hop.