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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hump day with Dreamspinner Press's: Charley Descoteaux

Hello! Thank you so much for having me back to Guys Like Romance, Too! I'm always happy to visit a truly shameless place (and here I don't have to worry about pictures...).

The theme for this month is learning history, which presented a few problems when I sat down to figure out what to talk about today. The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds isn’t a historical, neither of the heroes is in school, and Labor Day isn’t mentioned! I like to think I’m creative, though, so here goes nothing!

Nesting Habits isn’t about learning (at least not any more than any other book is about a character learning something important), but I learned things while I was writing it. That counts, right?

One of my favorite writing blogs--where I do actually learn a lot--is Chuck Wendig’s and a lot of his guests talk about five things they learned while writing their books… Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

I’m going to assume you said right.

So I’ll borrow from the master. I probably learned a lot more than five things while writing the book, but hopefully these are interesting or silly or strange enough so nobody will be too bored.
  1. How to freeze a hummingbird’s wings in a photo. Theoretically, if I do everything J. Tanner told me, I should get results similar to his. I wouldn’t put money on it, though.

  2.  J. Tanner[/caption]
  3. If you bake broken Oreos in a cake mix, the cupcakes will crumble into delicious crumbs as you eat them. Pinterest is great for recipes and ideas, but I’m suspicious about some of the beautiful food pics. Those cooks must be magicians because my food might taste good but it never looks like the pictures.Apparently, I should've learned how to file my photographs so I can find them, but that's a work in progress. I made a batch of the cupcakes in Nesting Habits, even took pictures of them, but I have no idea where they might be saved to. So, if you'd like to see pictures of oreo cupcakes follow this link to my Pinterest board.
  5. Folk Art is more than paintings of tulips on recipe boxes. One of my favorite supporting characters ever, Becca Redding, knew how to paint on barns and cars and houses, so I had to learn a little about it too. While I was researching that, I found cool dioramas and colorful textiles and poetry and music and dance… I spent way too much time down the rabbit hole on this subject, but it was fun. Sadly, I'll never be a visual artist (unless you count fair isle knitting, and I don't really think that qualifies), but thanks to Becca I have more appreciation for it.
  7. Both heroes in a Romance can be strong, and both can be wounded, and neither has to be an alpha. It helps if they alternate, though, so they can help each other through the rough spots. I'm not knocking the alphas that are so popular in Romances--variety is good! But you probably won't find any of those guys in my books. To be honest, though, once I got to know Lee I wasn't sure Nesting Habits would work--I was afraid readers would be disappointed when he didn't rush in and sweep Phil off his feet and fix everything for him. Hopefully, the book works with both men being wounded, and taking turns being the strong one. To me, that's super-romantic... I hope you agree.
  9. Bruce is a good name for a dog. And a shark. ;)

  10. Okay, that last one was cheating a little… but I won’t skimp on the giveaway. A random commenter will get a copy of The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds. This is the last stop on my tour, so a signed paperback is going to the winner—as long as they live somewhere the U.S. Postal Service goes. (As far as I can tell, they go nearly everywhere, but just in case…)

    In this excerpt--which is exclusive to Guys Like Romance, Too--the guys are on their way out to Lee’s mother’s farm. Phil’s nervous about meeting Lee’s mom and sister.

    Lee drove in silence for a little while, and when they reached the highway, he sighed again. “I should probably warn you about my sister. She may ask some strange questions. I’ll run interference, if you want, just give me a signal.”

    Phil didn’t quite know how to answer that. He didn’t want to insult Lee’s sister—he hadn’t even met her yet—and wasn’t sure whether he wanted to know Lee’s idea of a strange question. He was saved from spiraling down into complete silence by a song on the radio. He asked about it, and Lee gave him a strange look that was mostly smile.

    “You like Tool?”

    “If this is Tool, then yeah.” Phil smiled. Being completely stupid about music bothered him less and less. He liked the way Lee showed him around the music he listened to, like a tour guide through a normal guy’s life.

    The next song was just a lot of growling and screaming. Lee smiled as he reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a cassette tape. He showed it to Phil and then slipped it into the player: Tool. The glove box door fell back open, and it took both of them shoving it into place before it caught. By the time that happened, Phil realized he’d gotten some wood—just from Lee’s hand being that close. He hoped Lee didn’t notice.

    They talked about music as the car shimmied and hydroplaned its way west. Lee turned off the main highway just past the trail, and the car strained a little up the hill. Phil was busy trying not to gape like a tourist at the natural beauty on either side of the two-lane road when he realized the song playing was about one possible future created by the sexual abuse of a child. He couldn’t help the sound that forced its way out of him, something like the Whoa he’d heard when he told Lee he didn’t listen to music.

    “Everything okay, Phil?”

    He nodded. His whole body trembled, but his smile wasn’t forced. “I didn’t know people wrote songs about stuff like this.”

    Lee was silent for a moment. “You want me to turn it off?”

    “No. It’s a good song. I l-like it.” And that doesn’t make any sense, but it’s true.

    The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds, by Charley Descoteaux
    All he ever wanted was to be a normal guy….
    Phil Brask spends his days in the basement of his mentor's Victorian home, converting legal documents into electronic format. When the pipe feeding the water heater bursts, Lee Redding arrives in the plumber’s truck and draws Phil away from the narrow focus of his computer and camera lens. Lee gives Phil hope for a life beyond the walls he’s constructed using the nesting habits of migratory birds and dense legal files, a guided tour through a world filled with romance and music…maybe even family. But there’s a reason Phil retreated behind those walls, why he panics at a simple touch.
    Lee has a good life—working with his uncle and on his mother’s farm, playing bass in a horrible metal band, and hooking up when he pleases—but he’s always suspected something was missing. When he meets the hot photographer with the icy-blue eyes, he knows exactly what that something is. Phil isn’t like other guys, but neither is Lee beneath his carefree exterior. Maybe Lee's the perfect guy to show Phil that everything doesn’t have to be done the hard way and "home" isn't a four-letter word.

    Buy The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds

    Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they let her sleep once in a while. Home is Portland, Oregon, where the weather is like your favorite hard-case writing buddy who won’t let you get away with taking too many days off, and in some places you can be as weird as you are without fear. As an out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o, she thinks that last part is pretty cool.

    Rattle Charley's cages, she’d love to hear from you!

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    Photo Credit: Folk Art Diorama: artfulblogger via photopin cc

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