Friday, January 14, 2011

A Fascination For Independent Heroes

My guest is contemporary romance author, Robin Kaye. She has a fascination for, what she terms, Domestic Gods. Her fascination gives me a read with lots laughter and always a great Happily Ever After.

Ahhh, those are the best kind of reads, aren't they? 

I asked Robin; what is the fascination with hot looking men who can cook and clean? I hope you enjoy her answer as much as I did. :-)

Independence is sexy and there’s nothing sexier than a man who can cook and clean and look good doing it. I figure if that’s what I want in a hero, that’s what a lot of women want and I have to write heroes with whom I’d fall head over heels in love otherwise it would never be believable. I love every one of my heroes.

So how did I get so hung up on guys with skills you might ask?

I dated a guy from Chicago, let’s call him Dick (and no, Dick was not his real name) I was living in Florida at the time and Dick came down often to golf. He looked just like Sting, knew how to dress, was a great dancer, and owned his own apartment building as well as a seat on the Board of Trade. Dick was young, successful, intelligent, fun to be with, and I thought he was everything I was looking for in a man until I spent a weekend with him. I was making breakfast and asked if he’d like to split an omelet. He said no, and proceeded to order breakfast, including fresh squeezed orange juice. I made a joke and he didn’t see the humor. He was actually serious.

Dick wasn’t shopping for a girlfriend or a wife, he was shopping for a maid with benefits. No matter how good looking or fun he was, I could never be with a man who would treat me like a servant. Needless to say, that relationship changed what I looked for in a significant other.

Let’s face it, in contemporary romance and real life, most women have careers and busy lives. They come home from work exhausted. After a terrible day is there anything more wonderful to hear than a deep voiced, gorgeous man ask, “Why don’t you get comfortable while I start dinner?” I don’t think so!

I married a Domestic God. When my husband and I were dating I always had to clean the house on Saturdays. He lived 60 miles away from me so he’d spend every weekend at my house (sleeping on the couch of course) under the watchful eye of my mother. Unfortunately, the house still needed cleaning. That first week when he offered to help I almost fell over with shock. Not only was he willing, he was an amazing cleaner--much better than I’d ever be! One day Stephen and I were cleaning and I ran into my mom’s room to tell her something. Together my mom and I walked into the living room and there was Stephen lifting the couch with one hand while vacuuming under it. My mother turned to me and said, “Marry him.” so I did.

Is it any wonder I write about men who cook and clean and know how to take care of their women? Stephen isn’t much of a cook, he can follow a recipe and as he says, he hasn’t killed anyone yet. When I’m home and not on deadline, I usually cook which is fine with me. I enjoy it. He does the cleaning which is also fine with me. When I started writing toward publication, he sat me down and told that since I had two jobs--I stay home with the kids and I write—and he only had one, he thought he should take over the laundry. Now to a harried mom of three who is always running around like a chick with her head cut off, there are no sexier words. Sigh…That’s why I love writing heroes like my husband. He might not cook like the Galloping Gourmet, but hey, it’s fiction. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Yours For The Taking Blurb:

He might be too good to be true...

Ben Walsh should be single. Handsome and wealthy, Ben is equally at home in Idaho where he grew up and in Manhattan where he's now an art dealer. Suave and successful with impeccable taste, he normally has women beating down his door. But the one woman he wants can't be convinced that he's for real...

And she doesn't have the luxury of believing in fairy tales...

Gina Reyez has fought for every bit of her success, and it's about time for things to start going her way. So when Ben makes a proposal that will allow her to take care of her family the way she wants to, she agrees. Besides, a guy this perfect would never be interested in her...right?

By the time Gina figures out that she's read Ben all wrong, their lives have become intertwined, and seriously complicated... Excerpt 

Sia – Thanks so much for inviting me! I’ll give 2 lucky commenters a copy of my new release, Yours For The Taking and I’ll be checking back frequently so if anyone has questions, just ask away!

Robin Kaye was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge next door to her Sicilian grandparents.

Living with an extended family that's a cross between Gilligan's Island and The Sopranos, minus the desert isle and illegal activities, explains both her comedic timing and the cast of quirky characters in her books.

She's lived in half a dozen states from Idaho to Florida, but the romance of Brooklyn has never left her heart.

She currently resides in Maryland with her husband, three children, two dogs, and a three-legged cat with attitude.

Robin is the author of; Breakfast In Bed, Too Hot To Handle, Romeo Romeo.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Negotiating with God (Humor)

~John Philipp~

It is a new year and time to get down to business. Normally at the beginning of each year I review the previous 12 months to see what I might improve upon. This year, I decided to review my entire life and I discovered a disquieting fact.

Looking back, I’m sure I made more than one deal with God, especially during my hypochondriac phase that lasted several decades and, while not cured, is currently in semi-retirement. Generally the deal took the form of “I’ll do X if You’ll let me live to be this old.”

Now I am this old and I find I'm not ready to go. Not quite yet. I still have things to do. The leaves need to be raked, I promised I’d fix the leaky faucet and I still haven’t learned conversational Lithuanian.

My last serious negotiation with God was conducted either at my confirmation or perhaps in my name by my parents when I was baptized — also known as contracting by proxy. But those negotiations were made in the context of how I understood God and the world. Things are different now, the world is different now and it’s time to update those contracts.

My first questions were: Do I need an agent to negotiate with God? Will my literary agent take this on? Could it be a whole new “genre” for him? I mentioned this to my agent. He told me that unless God has his own section at Borders, he doesn’t have the time.

Making a contract with God isn’t the same as making a contract with the devil. When you contract with the devil you are contracting for your afterlife. When you contract with God, you are contracting for this life — how long it lasts and the quality thereof.

Contracts with the devil are always suspect. The devil appears to you as a nice, regular guy with a hell of a deal (pardon the play on words) like “sign here and you will become a best-selling author” or “you will become rich” or “you will never suffer the heartbreak of psoriasis.”

There is always a catch when you deal with the devil. Once you have achieved your dream, he takes your immortal soul and, in hindsight, ten years on the New York Times best-seller list seems a high price to pay for an eternity of hellfire, which I have on good authority is a lot worse than psoriasis.

With God, you ask for a favor. In exchange, you promise to do something such as go to church every Sunday — even if the playoffs are on, always take out the garbage or stop hitting your sister on the head. If you renege on your promise to God, you won’t burn for eternity but you might get a “time out” in purgatory. At minimum, you will not get a cloud in heaven with a great view.

The contracts I made with God were specific: let me live until this age, or make sure this pain in my stomach isn’t cancer or tell Mary Sue to like me and I’ll never swear again, or I will always do my homework before turning on the television or I will stop doing that thing my mother says will cost me my eyesight.

Most of those promises had a life expectancy of a New Year’s resolution made with a lampshade on my head.

Given my checkered performance, it seems logical that when God has a chance to catch up on his paperwork, he might simply lift my life-extension guarantee and tell Saint Peter to expect a new guest.

So I prayed that God would give me a list to remind me of what I had promised to do and what we might work out as a settlement — one that requires I hang around here for a while to fulfill. I’m waiting for an answer.

If you break a contract with God, you’ll get no sympathy from your friends and relatives. Whereas, if you can figure out a way to break a contract with the devil, everyone is impressed with how clever you were to outwit Satan on his own court.

Your choice.

However you decide, good luck and have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


John Philipp is a weekly humor columnist for four Marin County, California newspapers and has won numerous humor and memoir writing awards.

His humor columns are posted at

Monday, January 10, 2011

Paranormal: A Search For Heroes?

Charles Dickens began his book, A Tale of Two Cities, with the words: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…”

I got to thinking, the other day, about the times I live in and how those times are reflected in what I read and what I write.

I’m drawn to paranormal and truth be told, I always have been. As a kid, back when I predominately drew my stories; I did a piece on a cemetery. There were ghosts and monsters but the girl in the story made friends with one of the monster beasts and the ghost he traveled with. When the girl went to bed she had an invisible cadre of animals who lay on her bed. They were her protectors. Yes, I was a strange child, lol! I also lived next door to a cemetery at the time.

I’ve always loved stories set around mythical beings and special abilities. It’s probably why I was drawn to Sci-fi. It was a blending of some of my favorite things—mythology, adventure, tough characters and an element of romance. That depended upon the author, of course.

I think I read everything Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne wrote. Loved their imagination and the golden age of adventures. I also read all of what Andre Norton wrote (she also loved animals and I loved her alien cats). I also loved Alan Dean Foster. I love how he can entertain me and make me laugh. I have to admit a special fondness for Pip (a mini Drag)—big surprise I’m sure. But then I discovered an author (whose name I can’t recall and I’d have to search my stored books to find) from the late 70’s who wrote a series with a rather sexual woman heroine. Oh, how cool sex, romance, and sci-fi? Woohoo!

Even my favorite romances had elements of otherworldly before it was popularly coined paranormal. While I read and enjoyed Ann Rice’s Vampire series, it left me wanting a bit more romance. Who remembers Draycott Abbey stories by Christina Sky? Or Knight In Shining Armor? Breathe of Magic? I devoured those stories. I’ll admit I fell hard with Christine Feehan’s 1999 Dark Prince and the world of Carpathians. What did I love about them? Strong women dangerous men.

I’ve since read many paranormals, dark and light, serious and funny (I enjoy Kerryln Sparks, Judi Fennell, Linda Wisdom’s Hex series, and Gabi Stevens. I also love Sherrilyn Kenyon’s sense of humor although I wouldn’t classify hers as light).

I’m a sucker for strong women characters able to take care of themselves, some who are warriors themselves—like Jax in one of Feehan’s stories, or Tabitha in Kenyon’s book. Both men and women can be dangerous in Christine Feehan’s books. How about those female and male Ghostwalkers in Feehan’s series? I like dangerous men who can be tamed, okay slightly domesticated, by love. Strong enough to be faithful and cherishing while kicking ass on the bad guys.

I think the appeal of Para, at least for me, is while there may be monsters but they can be defeated. Those monsters can be damn scary, too. God knows we have enough scary and evil beings living in our real world. Perhaps we gravitate to those sorts of stories because we need to know the bogeymen can be beaten and conquered. That love is just as strong and can conquer and modify a person. I guess in darker times we need heroes tough enough to fight the forces of darkness but aren’t bad themselves.

Perhaps we need to feel evil can be defeated although it may take special powers to conquer some evil. In dark times we need things to laugh about, too. We look for books and movies that make us feel good. We need to believe in the power of love.

  • What do you think? What makes you feel good?

  • What are some of your favorite otherworldly characters? Or movie characters?