Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Guest Blogger: Roxanne St. Claire

Cindy here - letting you know how delight we are to have our guest blogger, Roxane St. Claire, join us in the convertible. I met Rocki a few years ago when she and I were both writing for Silhouette Desire. She's one of those women you'd really like to hate because she's so talented and gorgeous and cool. :o) But you just can't do it because she's also a really neat person, too. Case in point: last summer in Atlanta, I was with Rocki on a 'field' trip with the Kiss Of Death chapter of RWA when we visited a gun shop and took a few turns on the indoor shooting range. Rocki was scared to death of the guns. Shaking in her boots, knocking in her knees scared but she soldiered on and she went through all the stations and fired those weapons even though her hands were sweating and her pulse was pounding. You've just got to admire that kind of courage. It's no big deal to do something that doesn't rattle you but it's a very big deal to face that fear down and defeat it. Way to go Rocki. And now, here she is.....

Some (Day) Dreams Never Die

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Riders for inviting me to take a top-down spin! There are so many great friends and writers on this blog, and I admit to being a major lurker from time to time. When Cindy Gerard asked me to guest blog, I only had one question: When?

Like my friend, Cindy, most of the writers on this blog, and many of its readers, I write about…men. Not just any kind of man, but the kind I think of as “out of my league” men. Fearless, funny, fantasy men. Men so tough and tasty on the outside and sweet and gooey on the inside that they are like human Tootsie Rolls just waiting for you to take a lick. Men who cut a sly glance, a sneaky smile, a wink that whispers you’re the one, sweetheart. And we almost believe them.

Men like this, who is the inspiration for Adrien Fletcher, the hero I’m writing right now.

They are, of course, born in my imagination. (That’s really Gabriel Aubry, by the way. When my husband spied him on my computer screen and asked who he was, I said, that, my love, is what you get to wake up to when you are Halle Barry J.)

But I digress…inspiration for heroes is everywhere. Somewhere in my past, in a movie, on the street, in an elevator, in a classroom, at a party, stopped at a red light in a convertible…a man attracted my attention and gave me a reason to weave a fantasy about him when I tried to fall asleep that night. Those fantasies, I believe, were the foundation for my romance writing today.

This morning, while answering reader mail, I was thinking about a particular hero in the Bullet Catchers series I write, after a fan emailed that she was anxiously awaiting his story. His name is Dan Gallagher, and he has definitely captured some attention, even though he’s only been a peripheral secondary character in the series so far. It was early when I wrote back to her, pre-coffee, and I sort of blurted out the truth about Dan Gallagher. He’s based on a real guy. In fact, several of the Bullet Catchers are inspired by real men I’ve known and talked to, and one I actually kissed. In eighth grade.

Yep, three of my heroes are loosely inspired by those larger-than-life, cuter-than-Christmas, so-cool-you-drool boys who ruled my elementary school, and my heart, lo those many years ago. The names have been changed…ever so slightly…but their essence remains the same.

There was the husky, quiet one named Mark Roper. Today he is Max Roper, a big, bad bodyguard who tries to steer clear of emotion in Thrill Me To Death.

There was the dry-witted Italian boy named Danny Ferrari, who morphed into a wise-cracking, kitchen-friendly quasi-mobster in Take Me Tonight.

And then there was Jimmy Gallagher, he of the grass green eyes and the insanely cute crooked smile. Somehow he grew up to be Dan Gallagher, the current odds-on favorite to be the hero who cracks the shell around Lucy Sharpe, the former spy who owns the Bullet Catcher agency.

No, not all of my heroes are culled from the eighth yearbook, I assure you! It started when I introduced Max as a DEA agent and a secondary character in my very first book (an unpublished manuscript at the time), Tropical Getaway. I did it as a sly joke to amuse one person only – my BFF from grade school who remains a dear friend today. Purely for fun, I based him on a boy we’d both fluttered over a thousand times together. It worked. When she read the manuscript, sitting by my pool, she spewed her margarita all over the page and proclaimed that “some dreams really die hard.”

Yes they do. For me, some of those childhood fantasies, those first crushes, those early days of breathless admiration across the cafeteria fueled the fire for my romance writing. And I sense I’m not alone in turning my girlhood boy craziness into a lifetime of loving the fantasy of romance.

So, tell us, ladies. Who was he? What was his name? Was there a boy you imagined could grow up to be your hero? And any writers out there…will you own up to being inspired by a middle school stud? I’ll give an autographed copy of one Bullet Catcher book – winner’s choice – to one commenter who dares to share and gets us to giggle the way we did when that certain someone strolled by your locker, and smiled.

Thanks again to the Riders for the invite – I’ll stick around all day and would love to chat on the comment board!

All the best,

xoxo

Rocki

PS. You want to know which one I kissed, don’t you? It was Dan Ferrari, while dancing to “Ooh Ooh Child” at my first boy-girl party. Sadly, I can tell you what I was wearing. And I can also tell you that I had one thought during that blissful slow dance in heaven: “Oh, my. That is not a belt buckle.” I never kissed him again, nor any of those other young Bullet Catchers. But I do get to live that fantasy every time I write. My friend was right, of course. Some dreams don’t ever die. They just grow up to be romance novels.

43 comments:

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Rocki
Welcome to the convertible! Hope you have a good ride today :o)

Playground Monitor said...

All the cool boys must have been in your town because I don't remember getting all gooey over anything with a Y chromosome until college. I'd actually forgotten about Paul McCollum until now. He was blonde and a cheerleader. Huh. That sounds funny doesn't it. Oddly enough, while he was easy on the eyes, he was hell on the lips. Worst kisser in the known universe. When you read the words "crushing kiss" in a novel, that author probably had kissed Paul McCollum. You almost had to apply ice packs afterwards to prevent bruised lips.

Great to see you here, Rocki! And what a great topic.

TTFN
Marilyn

Roxanne St. Claire said...

A cheerleader?! Marilyn - that's almost TMI. Perhaps my threshold of cuteness was lower then.

Thank you for that lovely intro, Cindy. I *knew* you'd tell that story! I have a pic of that day on my web site where I look far more in control than I felt.

Good luck with the new book, Cindy! Buy it TODAY, everyone, so she hits BIG lists!! I can't wait to read it.

Rocki

Tambra said...

Hi Rocki,
Great topic! There was one guy in middle school, that I thought was so cool. His name was Mike O'Mara. Geez, I haven't thought of him in years. I think what attracted me to him was his bad boy alpha attitude and those are the kind of heroes I write.
I guess maybe there's a little bit of Mike in some of those men I created and sighed over.
I'm really looking forward to getting started on the Bullett Catcher series. I've loved reading romantic suspense for years. I'm finally taking the plunge and writing one.

Great blog, ladies! I'll be back to visit.

Polly
w/a Tambra Kendall

Valerie said...

Oh dear, my life has been dreary and dull....no school crushes, no hunks drool worthy. I'm afraid my school days were filled with school, girlfriends, popstars and wondering where the hunks are! LOL!! The one kiss I got in highschool was wet and sloppy and a big turn off!!!!

Wasn't till I was a working gal that my interest for that Y chromosone hightened, and then mainly film stars and popstars.

See? Told ya I was boring. But I did manage to marry...in my opinion...a wonderful man who makes my heart race!!! Been together now for 30 years!!!

Valerie

Roxanne St. Claire said...

Not boring, Valerie - not if your heart races!

Okay, Tambra. Here's the real test. Have you googled Mike O'Mara????

xoxo
Rocki

Anonymous said...

Rocki, what a fun blog! Thanks for inviting Deidre's Knights over today. :)

Because I married the man I couldn't keep my hands off of in college (I hope my mom isn't reading this!), I've had the hardest time trying to get gooey over my pretend heroes in my writing life (unless they're based on John!). It never occurred to me to think of the boys from my girlhood. Let's see...there was Doug Berkshire, the first boy I ever "kissed" - we were in kindergarten, and one of my best friends until we realized boys and girls aren't supposed to be friends! LOL! Tobey Goodale and Clarke Clouse, the only boys to beat me up. Shaun Raudman in the third grade, who told me he'd give me a quarter if I kissed him - so I kissed his hand. (More shrewd than slutty, huh?! LOL!) And the list couldn't be complete without Dan Forstner, best friends from 1st grade, who told me I'd broken his heart in the 2nd grade when I announced I wanted to be a nun. Then he showed up at my door in the 10th grade in a tie - I was so confused! My first boyfriend and the first boy I was *sure* I'd marry! But he wanted me to stay home and have babies, and I wanted to go rule the world. (I thought the movie "Sweet Home Alabama" was made about my alternate life!)

I can't imagine being as happy with any of them as I am after 17 years with my college sweetheart, but all of a sudden I have TONS of ideas for hot, interesting heroes! LOL! Thanks! I owe you!

Have fun today!
Kitty Bucholtz :)

Lover of Books said...

Let's see. I was homeschooled so I never really had any boys kissing me. We did have one neighbor boy that lived across the street. I was 5 or 6 at the time. I was taking my afternoon nap and when I woke up, he was sitting on my bed. He leaned over to kiss me and I was like what just happened? lol I saw him at least 6 years later when we went shopping back in that town. We had moved. I saw him again from a distance and couldn't believe how hot he was after all that time. lol But he was a bit of a bad boy dress though I never saw him again. lol Boy I wish I could remember his name. lol

Anonymous said...

Hey Roxanne, My most memorable kiss was laid on a poster of Paul McCartney - HOT! Well, maybe in my own head, at least. But, could that guy sing - and to me! Seriously, Cindy is my very good friend and she has nothing but super things to say about you. Audacious request: Recommend one of your favorite titles for me - the one with the BEST KISS you've ever written. Susan Connell

blueberritea said...

Hi Rocki!!! Thanks for this great blog link. :)

I loooved your delicious hero background stories. :)

I have a hero I still dream of. His birthday is two weeks before mine, so every time November rolls around I remember our "marriage" all over again.

It was a grade school play. His name was Mark. I was the blushing bride, and he was the handsome groom. Mark had handed me a dried bouquet from his aunt's wedding to carry on stage for our "wedding ceremony", and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Mark's aunt told him to tell me I could keep the bouquet as a souvenir of the wonderful play.

But he grabbed it and carried it back home with him after the play, not wanting to have anything to do with me. Even after all the parents said we made such a cute couple!

Sigh.

Unrequited love is the hardest to get over. Especially when you're already wearing the bridal gown!

Hugs, Nancy

Valerie said...

AW Nancy....

so cute and I'm sure painful. When I was five I had a boyfriend, John West was his name. We hung out together in the playground...I think we even *pecked*...lol. But then my family had to move and I had to change schools and my little bitty heart broke.

Valerie

blueberritea said...

Oh, Valerie!!!

That must have been heartbreaking.

This is a lesson to treasure each day with each friend we have. :)

Helen Brenna said...

Rocki, thanks for visiting us and for bringing along such hilarious friends. I've been chuckling my way through all the comments!!

I was in 8th grade, he was in 9th. Had a crush on him all through high school. I think he liked me too, but we were both too shy to do anything about it. Then my first year of college, it appeared my dreams might come true. We went on an actual date. Unfortunately, I couldn't keep my hands off the poor guy. Scared him to death, I'm sure. LOL!

And yes. I have googled old flames!

Liane Gentry Skye said...

Ohhhh, great topic. Mmmmm, the object of my middle school affections--Johnny Crigger. OMG. Tall, dark, tanned to perfection. Johnny came armed with the brightest smile, and he knew exactly how to use it to his advantage. His bangs were so heavy and thick that they were forever tumbling over his brown eyes. He had this way of tossing them back with a shake of his head--so cool. The only thing darker than his eyes were the lush, black lashes that framed them. Hubba. Bubba. Baby!

I didn't think Johnny knew I was so crazy about him, but on the last day of eighth grade, when he found out I was moving away, he stripped off his football jersey right there on the track and gave it to me to remember him by.

Sigh. I've been a fan of the number 23 since. :D

Thanks for introducting us to the inspiration for your hunkalicious heroes!

Valerie said...

Well, as long as I am here I am going to enjoy these posts. Lovely stories ladies. Most are book worthy...hehe!!

Valerie

Valerie said...

HEY CINDY GERARD!!!

How are you?

Valerie

Arkansas Cyndi said...

Hi Rocki - Just dropping to say HI!

Don't you just love the name of this blog? Some great authors here!

Have to think about boyfriends, middle school, etc. It's been AT LEAST 10 years ago! LOL

Anonymous said...

Cindy - I'm off to get Dallas' book this evening. (You offered to send one to me signed from the blog this month, but I'd rather buy a copy to support you. Would like one sighned though - maybe I'll make it to a signing someday!)

Rocki - wonderful blog. I "glommed" all your Bullet Catcher books earlier this year. Waiting for Lucy's story.

Anyway - my crush was Brad. We sat next to each other in 9th grade science. I was in the band, geeky with glasses and skinny. He was blonde, built and played on the football (#42) & volleyball teams.

We competed for grades, and he told me about his girlfriends. I "settled" for having him as my best friend. We talked on the phone everyday. He waved to me in the stands at football games. I carried his picture away with me to band camp. He would walk me to my car after church, open my door, and always kiss me goodbye on the cheek. For my 17th birthday, he sent me my first dozen roses - yellow with orange tips.

He went away to one college (majored in Math) and I another, and we talked some less. But, he WROTE me actual LETTERS. We did go on two real dates, but we made better friends.

He's been married for 20 years and is VP of a bank. He "attended" the guest book at my wedding. And, we always send cards on our birthdays and he's been my Friend for almost 30 years. (My heart does a little trip everytime I see an e-mail from him in my in-box.)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be long winded, and NOT to sign, but blogger hates me.

That last one was from me -

Marcia in OK

and, #42's name is Brad. He's a man among men. (And, he still kisses my cheek when he sees me.)

Rachel Hauck said...

Rocki,

You have the best stories! Life and fiction.

Great blog.

Rachel

Steph said...

Hi Rocki. Thanks for the fun post. Now that I know you have real people in mind when you create your heroes, they will be more alive than ever!
I don't have any middle school memories but I do have one from college.
It was art school. He was blonde, beautifully tanned, with gorgeous blue eyes. He had a girlfriend, and it was clear to everyone that he would have eyes for none but her. Although I knew this, I still harbored intense feelings for him whenever he entered the room. We completed several art projects together the year I knew him and the one I remember most was when he asked me to help him put sizing on both sides of a large domed canvas. He was on the inside, I was on the outside. Our hands mirrored each others as we spread the sizing on in slow circles. Separated from him by the canvas I knew he wouldn't see by the look on my face how much it meant to me to feel his artistic touch. Soft and loving because he cared so deeply about his work (not about me *sigh*). I knew this would be the only intimate contact I would ever have with him and to this day I can still feel the warmth of his palm against mine.

Terry said...

Hi, Rocki!

This is somewhere I can't even think about coming close -- total nerd in school, even before the word existed. I'm sure I had a first kiss, but it wasn't anything I remember. Must have been a 'need to get this done' moment.

But funny thing -- about a month ago, someone started contacting our old Jr Hi class and I've made some great 'new' friends. Even found another writer, and we've exchanged manuscripts.

Valerie said...

Oh yeah, some of these stories would definately be good in books..hehe!!! Loving the posts here.

Steph's is beautiful, full of feeling and Terri, that is cool, meeting a fellow writer!!

Valerie

Playground Monitor said...

TMI, huh? *grin* Actually it was only one date. It was during summer school, he'd broken up with his main squeeze and he was probably seeing if "brunette and intelligent" was anywhere near as exciting as "brunette, drop dead gorgeous and large-busted." B,DDG and L-B apparently won out. Oh well, I've have my own cheerleader for 34 years now and he likes intelligent women.

Marilyn -- off to Google the cheerleader. That sounds wicked, doesn't it? *grin*

Betina Krahn said...

Hi, Rocki! (Dang, I love that name!) Boy what a day you've had here in the convertible! And more to come, I bet.

My all time favorite high school hottie was a football player named Aaron Phillips. A quiet simmer-er with a quiet reputation for being a big-time lover. Played football for VMI after high school, but I never found out what happened to him. Never got to kiss him. sigh. The two or three guys I did kiss early on were awful to the 10th power.

But Aaron set me up for the first real love of my life-- Don Krahn-- who was also a football player and a terrific kisser. So I named my very first hero "Aaron" but gave him the copper hair and golden eyes of my dear hubby.

Very first kiss? Four years old by the swing set in the Crookshanks's back yard. His older sister and my older sister were there and thought it was "cute." But then they told our mothers, who didn't think it was so cute and refused to let us play with each other again.

Now, a really interesting kiss was the first one after 23 years of marriage and three years of widowhood. Yikes. I was terrified spitless. He must have thought he was kissing a statue!

Roxanne St. Claire said...

I sense a serious spike in googles tonight. Me? I'm going for Liane's Johnny Crigger with the hair toss. Yum-mo. And Nancy, left at the altar by a second grader! A sin, that is.

And, Marcia in OK...have you read my book HIT REPLY? I might do that before you get the next email from Brad... Just sayin'. :-)

Steph, with the artist! The hands! You guys are all amazing storytellers.

Just remember when you google,if you do find an email...don't tip and type. You may regret hitting send in the morning. ;-)

I love these stories!

xoxo
Rocki

Susan Kay Law said...

wow, you are all brave! I couldn't tell. For one thing, my mother reads here. For another, more than one person from my hometown.

yes, the crushes may die, but the embarassment never fades!

Susie

blueberritea said...

These stories are beautiful and fun, Rocki. :) I had to wait all the way until I was 17 get married. LOL

These posts are where the heart is. Thanks for the great lesson on writing. :) I think I'll write a book entitled THE FORCED GROOM and then send it anonymously to Mark.

You guys are the best!!!

Lorena said...

Rocki -- what a great story. I can't possibly compete, since I grew up in a town of 500 people before moving to a town with 8,000 people, in rural Arkansas -- AND lived in a commune ... er, intentional community ... for much of that time. Until I was 16 I could count on both hands the number of boys I was acquainted with, and fewer I wanted to kiss. Fell in love with George Clooney when I was about 14, and that was it ...

Funny, but the real-life guys I've fallen for over the years (starting with Terry Whiteside when I was 12) tend to run about 4 inches shorter than my 6-foot something heroes. They all (every last one of them -- yes, I have a type!) have dark hair, sexy smiles ... oh, my!

However .... the love of my life to this day inspires the love scenes ... I have only to think back to our first kiss ...(sigh) and our second, and ....so on. LoL. He's not alpha enough to base a hero on, but ...oh, my (yes, again!) does he have it all over the rest of it.

You know Johnny Christiano is just my type ....especially since he cooks (in oh, so many ways ...)

tetewa said...

Hey Rocki glad to have you here today! My first kiss was by a boy who lived 5 houses down from mine when I was growing up. He was also best friends with my brother. WhoHoo still remember that kiss to this day and wonder what he's doing now.

Michele Hauf said...

Welcome, Rocki! And of course I've Googled all my old flames. Yeah, the one is in jail. Go figure. I always did go for the bad boys. :-)

My favorite memory was of nearly-unrequited love. I admired a boy in 11th and 12th grade. He was so cool. Always wore blue jeans and a white t-shirt (note: he was still wearing the same thing at our 5-yr class reunion). Todd Favro. Sigh...Feathery black hair and a bad boy to the core. Always in trouble. I actually caught his eye in 12th grade, and we'd brush up against one another when we'd happen to be at the same party. Or some of our friends ran in the same circles. A little touch here, a secret smile there. ANd then there was that groping session in the closet once—oh! When we finally did get a chance to ask one another for a date, seems the other was always attached to someone else.

Anyway, I bet he's still wearing jeans and a white t-shirt. He's not the one I found out was in jail. But I wouldn't mind knowing how life turned out for him.

M

agriffin1970@yahoo.com said...

As a very prolific reader (I read 40 books per month...*whew!*), I'm very excited to start reading your "Bullet Chasers" stories! I just cracked open Johnny's story this afternoon & am now just thrilled to be reading this gem of a story! Can't wait to read all the others! Very inspirational work for those of us still penning our first works...

Thanks for such awesome reads!

Cheers!
Andrea (self-proclaimed book geek)

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Rocki and everyone else who posted today. Sorry I had to skip out but I had appointments I had to keep. Would have been MUCH more fun to hang out with you guys in the convertible today.
Thanks, all of you for making Rocki so welcome. And I'm betting there are a few more stories of those first kisses out there to be told. Hummm??

Kaitlin said...

Hi, Rocki! I haven't read your books yet, but after seeing them I think I'm going to have to give them a try. Just finished reading Into the Dark & it was awesome! Are your books in the same family type (i.e. romantic suspense)

Anyway...ah, my first kiss. It was with my best friend in 8th grade (a guy). He was a skater, which made him a bad boy (in the school's eyes anyway). His guy best bud lived across the street from me, so Tony was around all the time.

He kissed me at my house after finding me asleep on the couch. It was very sweet, very innocent, and *sigh*. :)

KimW said...

Stopping by to say "hi" after a long day at work. Love your inspiration. Halle's a lucky girl.

My first boyfriend and kiss....hmmm, not that good of a memory. lol He was cute but along with that came a big, sloppy, wet (way too much juice) kiss. I don't even remember his name.

Roxanne St. Claire said...

The Book Winner!

First of all, thank you VERY much for such a wonderful ride down memory lane(s). How fun to hear about those early loves and first kisses. Thank you to all the riders and your fantastic readers for welcoming me so warmly.

I had a heck of a time choosing a "winner" since all the stories you shared were fabulous. I had to call in the Big Guns. My nine year old daughter (who just told me a boy she likes lives on our street, way at the other end of the island, and would I mind terribly if the next time we went out, we slipped down that cul de sac to see his house...a DRIVE BY, at NINE!)

Anyway, my daughter, Mia, listened to the stories and chose Liane Gentry's Johnny Crigger because of the football jersey move!

CONGRATULATIONS!

Liane, could you email me at roxannestc@cfl.rr.com with your addy and let me know which of the three Bullet Catcher books you'd like, and it's yours!

Again, tons of love and thanks to all. You guys were FANTASTIC!

xoxo
Rocki

blueberritea said...

Congrats, Liane!!! Your writing voice sparkles with life. I can't wait to buy your books!!!

Way to go!!!

blueberritea said...

Thanks, Rocki!!! That was great fun and you're the best. You're so beautiful and caring and talented!!! Did I mention magnetic? What a magic combo.

And the blog is pink!!! You were in your element. :)

Liane Gentry Skye said...

Ohhhh, I won? How cool, and even better, I appealed to my target audience in the process LOL.

Thanks so much! And thanks Blueberritea for the mahvelous complement. Mwah!

Traci (aka Liane)

Steph said...

Congratulations, Liane. The football jersey story was a charmer!
I would have melted if it happened to me.

Lover of Books said...

wow congrats Liane!
Krista

Valerie said...

Congrats Liane....all wonderful stories.

Valerie

kim h said...

wtg liane