Debbie: Good Morning, today Laura and I are on the shores of Lake Erie, talking with guest author, Jennifer Van Gunten.
Laura: Yes, she’s got a new book out, Love Kinection. Can’t wait to talk to her about it. Wow, that’s some lake.
Laura: Hey, there’s Jennifer now!
DEBBIE: Welcome to Garland & Gould, Jennifer.
LAURA: Hey Jennifer! Great to have you here.
DEBBIE: So, I’m curious, what is the Garfield Mansion?
JENNIFER: That’s where Jim Davis lived. He would sit on the big ole veranda out front and watch a fat red haired kid chase the ice cream truck in the summer and came up with the idea for his comic strip. J....Actually, it’s the house that President Garfield (of the United States, in case you’re not sure) lived in. It’s located in my home town, Mentor, Ohio, right next to a really awesome public library. I’ve been in the library loads of times. I probably owe them money. I’ve never been in the mansion. *hangs head in shame*
....It looks really cool from the outside though! It’s got a big porch, and tall windows, and curlicue wooden ornamental thingies all over it. I bet it’s haunted or something. If I was a ghost, I think I’d hang out there. I’d mess with all the visiting tourists every chance I got.
DEBBIE: I think it would be sooo cool to check out a haunted house…well, as long as they were friendly ghosts.
JENNIFER: Here’s a link if you’re curious: http://www.nps.gov/jaga/index.htm
DEBBIE: You like fishing. So I assume you do a lot of fishing on Lake Erie. Any fun facts about the lake? In Vermont we have Lake Champlain which hosts Champ.
LAURA: Seriously? Lake Champlain has a monster? Have you seen it?
DEBBIE: Pictures. Never met him in person though. I think it would be pretty cool to meet him, as long as he didn’t want to eat me. Does Erie have a lake monster?
JENNIFER: Lake Erie is rumored to have a monster. A couple dudes out fishing one night claimed to see one out there. All the people in charge said it was probably just a floating tree or log. After bad storms, debris finds its way out to the lake – whole trees and stuff will be floating around. So, those guys were accused of having too many beers and mistaking a runaway oak for Ohio’s version of Nessie.....I say they saw something though. The truth is out there, my friends. Linkage: http://www.weirld.com/Paranormal/Nessie-Aquatic-Cryptids/South-Bay-Bessie-Lake-Erie-Monster.html
....Fun facts…hmmm…Lake Erie is extremely shallow, and therefore tends to produce massive waves that will kill you in a hurry. Quite dangerous. There are some crazy people who surf it when there are gale warnings (ie: super bad storm that no fool should be out in. With huge waves, crazy wind, thunder, lightning…)
....I once caught a yellow catfish, which my father told me was not a product of the nuclear power plants nearby, but a naturally occurring phenomenon. Lake Erie also boasts sturgeon, bowfin, walleye, perch, and snakes! Yes, snakes. And they bite. They tend to hang around Kelly’s Island (super cool fun place to go and party your pants right off) and will chomp the crap outta you if they get the chance. Thankfully they’re not poisonous.
LAURA: Hmm...me and snakes? Uh, no.
....I see from your bio that you like martial arts…Kenpo Karate in particular. What is the difference between Kenpo karate and just plain old karate?
JENNIFER: I don’t really know. I think it’s simply a style or “genre”. Like paranormal romance is still romance. I loved taking it. Such a great workout, and you get to kick the crap outta stuff and throw your sparring partners around. Working on focus mitts and getting a good running start to do a flying kick – that’s fun stuff right there.
LAURA: Ooo. Yeah! That does sound like fun. (turns to Debbie) Hold up your hands, let me try some of that focus stuff.
DEBBIE: Uhhhh, hell no! I know how well you focus.
LAURA: Yeah, you’re right. I do suck at focusing. Which is why I thought the hand thingy would help.
DEBBIE: Yeah, lol, see if Jeff will volunteer for you.
LAURA: Hmm. There’s an idea. So, Jennifer, I’m a dirtbike girl. Love it! Your bio says you used to race stock cars. I haven’t ever done that. How about you Deb?
DEBBIE: Well, I’ve owned several Trans Am’s in the past and there is this mile long flat stretch of road near home…oh, wait, you mean legally? No.
LAURA: LOL So, Jennifer…Dirt track or paved and do you have a preference?
JENNIFER: I raced on paved tracks. Sorta. Mostly crashing and swearing and waving my fist at the men around me. I did win a feature race once, but it was the “these cars are about to fall apart feature.” I wasn’t much into working on my car so much as driving it. I blew up several engines. My father was not happy.
....Actually, the racetrack is where my husband and I sorta started our relationship. He needed tires for his car (this is before I had one), my dad had some to sell, and *lighting strike!* I saw the boy. I wanted the boy. I pursued the boy. J
LAURA: Aww. Sounds like a romance story!
JENNIFER: Our first date: Lorain County Speedway, Labor Day, 1996. I had invited him to a football game the weekend before but he couldn’t make it – had to fix his car. But he was free the following weekend. We had a great time watching the races and picking our favorites. A Whopper Junior meal for dinner after that and I was hooked. I’m a cheap date.
....Wait, that’s a lie. I crashed my husband’s first stock car so badly it had to be totaled. I ended up with 8 stitches in my tongue; poor hubs lost his car and got the evil eye from my parents. As if it was his fault that I had a tantrum after being knocked into the infield by a more experienced jerk of a driver and decided to try and crash him in turn. No, I don’t always think clearly. And yes, I’ve gained control of my road rage.
....Hubs wasn’t even angry with me. That’s the kind of guy he is.
LAURA: Wow! He’s a keeper, for sure!
DEBBIE: LMAO at road rage, and does he have a single brother?
LAURA: Debbie! (elbows her) You can’t just ask like that. You have to let it come up in conversation.
LAURA: Really? (sighs) Never mind. We’ll discuss interview etiquette later.
|Nice do, dude....|
DEBBIE: Switching gears here… Where did your creepy monster fetish come from? Mine came from growing up on Stephan King and I think the first Horror flick I saw was Pit and the Pendulum with Vincent Price. I was really young and really only remember the last scene, but it was a doozy.
LAURA: Ooo, yeah I grew up reading King, too. And Dean Koontz. Used to love to watch scary movies on Sunday afternoons…werewolves and vampires. Scary fun!
JENNIFER: Well, my dad always had King, Koontz, and Straub novels hanging around. I snuck quite a few. I also have a brother 7 years my senior, so he let me read and watch stuff I shouldn’t have. I remember being totally freaked out by Gremlins. Convinced myself Stripe was hanging out in my stuffed animals and was going to eat my eyeballs. Also, The Labyrinth. That movie is a messed up piece of work. Holy crap! The talking hands? Those goblins in the basement? David Bowie with that Aquanetted mess of hair and the spandex??
LAURA: LOLOL Wow, Deb…sounds like some of our paranormal stories.
DEBBIE: We would get along so well, lol.
LAURA: You and Jennifer or you and the ghost…or you and David Bowie with the hair and spandex?
DEBBIE: All of the above?
JENNIFER: I still love to watch bad sci-fi and horror movies. The Descent still lives in my top ten scariest movies. The claustrophobia the atmosphere of that movie evokes is incredible. The Paranormal Activity movies also freak me the eff out (I totally typed an F bomb there and had to delete it. Trying to keep my potty mouth under control!) I grew up in a haunted house, and am still scared to be alone in it. I’m 33, and I’m scared of a ghost.
|For Realz...or are someone's |
burgers burning on the grill?
LAURA: I hear you. We had a poltergeist in our house when I was a kid. Would knock stuff off the shelves and slam doors. Freaked me out! LOL Course, when I lived in California, that was the first time I actually had a ghost SPEAK to me. Freaked me the eff out, too! Lol
DEBBIE: Ohhhh, me too! It was a female voice and kept calling my name from outside the bedroom window. Freaking scary, that!
LAURA: Okay, enough with the eeriness. I’m wicking out. LOL Onto Love Kinection.
DEBBIE: And ice cream.
LAURA: Mmm…ice cream. Fess up, Jennifer. You totally love Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream don’t you?
|Mmm...Ben & Jerry's...|
So many choices and only one spoon.
JENNIFER: I do! All my books and characters get some sprinkling of things I dig in them. My favorite flavor? Hmm…do I have to pick just one? I love Chubby Hubby and Chunky Monkey. Also, Mint Chocolate Cookie, and the one with the peanut butter cups in it.
....Unfortunately, after giving birth to Tiny Diva #1, I gained lactose intolerance along with my little dictator. So, if I want ice cream, I have to eat it with copious amounts of Lactaid, and an understanding that me and my toilet will be besties for most of the next day. TMI? Oh well. Sorry. I’m sure there are a few people out there nodding in understanding.
....I stay away as much as possible, but sometimes the siren song of the heavy cream and all natural ingredients mixed with hippie love yanks my common sense aside, feeds it illegal substances, and then spins it on a merry-go-round.
DEBBIE: LMFAO!! Oh, you and my daughter would get along soooo well. You sound just like her. I introduced her to soy milk which she uses in her protein shakes. One day she ran out and had to use whole milk. She felt the need to tell me, ON FACEBOOK, the results of switching and how she, and everyone around her, paid for it.
LAURA: I remember that FB conversation! lmfao!
DEBBIE: Yeah, gotta love her.
LAURA: Your daughter is very cool.
DEBBIE: Awww, thanks!
LAURA: So, Jennifer, I must confess, I have an Xbox360 and tons of computer games. I love playing all types of stuff. Are you a gamer?
JENNIFER: Nope. I happen to like the Final Fantasy series a ton and have lots of gamer friends. But with two kids, a job, college courses, and the fantasy land where I’m a bestselling author taking up time, I don’t get to play video games very often. (If I had time, I’d be on Skyrim and all that stuff pwning peeps and shooting stuff.)....Our last gaming system was destroyed in a lightning strike on our house that ruined half our electronics. It hit upstairs and ruined a whole heap of stuff on its way to the basement where we were watching a movie at the time. Nothing like seeing an actual lightning bolt in your house.
....That happened once before when Hubs and I were newly married. Lightning came in the living room window, hit the furnace, (it was in the living room – that’s another story for another day) hit the TV, and then went out the front door. We had to call the landlord and tell him the furnace was messed up. He thought we were drunk.
....So, I’m pretty sure that’s how I’ll die. Struck by lightning.
DEBBIE: LOL, that’s not supposed to happen, you know all that mathematical probabilities of being struck by lightning and all that BS. BUT, I wouldn’t stand out in an open field in the middle of a thunderstorm if I were you, lol.
LAURA: OMG! When I was a kid, I was spending the night with a friend and their house was hit by lightning. When we checked to make sure nothing was on fire, we realized somehow the screws in the air vent had been fried…a nice little charred ring around each one.
DEBBIE: How has the whole “letting go of your first baby” thing gone?
LAURA: Yeah, what did you do to celebrate your first contract?
JENNIFER: Things are great. I’m nervous about how it will be received of course, and have a knot in my belly at the thought of those first one and two star reviews where someone eviscerates my book. It’s gonna happen. Nothing I can do about it. Except freak myself out.
LAURA: You can also rant, rave, and throw shoes….
JENNIFER: That first letter from my content editor was looooong. I hope that on future sales I’ll have honed my skill enough to garner shorter ones. But everything my editor Dana guided me through has made my little book so much more incredible than it was to start with. Editors are an author’s BFF.....But I like sending work out. I’ve come to look forward to rejections. That sounds weird, doesn’t it? But it’s a numbers game. I know that if I keep plugging away, I’ll find a home for my work. So I try to look at rejections as being one step closer to an acceptance.
DEBBIE: Great way to look at it, I guess, lol.
LAURA: It’s true, too.
JENNIFER: When I got the email, I jumped up and down, in a circle in the kitchen so hard a mug fell out of the cabinet and shattered on the floor. J Then I had to tell Valerie (Decadent Publishing’s Gal Friday Extraordinaire – she emailed me the acceptance) all about that. She laughed at me. Hell, I laughed at me. But it was such an awesome moment.
DEBBIE: Yes! And each acceptance keeps getting better.
LAURA: So, knowing what you know now…any advice to new authors?
JENNIFER: Don’t give up. The only way to fail is to stop writing. With every word on the page you get better. And don’t freak out over your first draft. Because you’re going to revise it. Then revise again. And again. And again. First words on a page are never the last words.....Find a good critique group. If you can get in with people who are at a higher skill level than you, that’s great cause those people will pull you up. The best way to find critters is by referral. Don’t be afraid to be shameless and ask a published author you like if they know of any groups. The Wild Rose Press has a group where I met a really fantastic critter, Sabrina Garie, who just got offered her first contract. (And it was a piece I critted. I was so excited! And her story will melt your undergarments, peeps. Whew! Hot stuff.)
....Look on publisher’s websites at their submission calls. That’s how Love Kinection was born. They wanted Valentine’s Day stories. They also (in a different call) wanted geeks. And military men. Somehow that all congealed in my head. I think a novella or short story is a great place to start.
....If an editor works with you on one of those and likes your voice and thinks you’ve got chops they may ask if you have more stuff. Or you can be shameless like me *grin* and tell them “Hey, I’ve got this vampire-erotic-UF yumminess over here. You interested in seeing it? Cause I’d love your help developing it.” And they may just say, “Send me that bad boy and let’s see what you got, kid.” You have to be your own biggest fan and lose the fear of rejection. You never know what can happen if you ask the question.
DEBBIE: “You have to be your own biggest fan and lose the fear of rejection. You never know what can happen if you ask the question.” Great advice for life in general!
LAURA: Yeah! You have to stay positive. The industry is very subjective.
DEBBIE: Tell us a little about Love Kinection.
JENNIFER: Abby had her heart broken when she was left at the altar on Valentine’s Day. Even bigger than that betrayal is finding out pretty much everyone around her had the 411 and no one clued her in. Tom is the office tech geek hottie determined to show her a good time – playing Xbox, of course! (You pervs! Get outta the gutter. But, okay, he is good at the sex stuff too. J )....There’s nerd humor, movie line quoting, an idiot named Charlie, treadmill thigh torture, and a cardboard cutout of David Tennant. But best of all? Abby gets a second chance at love with a guy worthy of her who is more than happy to share his light saber.
LAURA: Sounds intriguing. And I love the light saber sharing. Lol
DEBBIE: LMAO, light saber????? Is that a metaphor?
LAURA: HAHAHA What do you think?
DEBBIE: I’m thinking a double entendre.
LAURA: LOL Me, too!
DEBBIE: So, what’s the hero’s biggest flaw?
JENNIFER: Well, I think Tom would say his irrepressible urge to flirt. Abby would say his impatience with getting naked – he leaves his socks on all the time. My take? The fact that before Abby gets a hold of him he’s never tasted Ben and Jerry’s.
LAURA: Good gosh…let’s hope he’s not lactose intolerant, too. Could make for a short story!
DEBBIE: With a messy ending. LMFAO
LAURA: HAHAHA Okay, Jennifer, on to the heroine. Tell us four things about her that aren’t in the book….
JENNIFER: Okay, but only if you guys promise not to laugh at her. She’s a nice girl.
1) On her first ever date with a boy; she threw up all over him. They went to Cedar Point, and she ate cotton candy, a hot dog, and slush. Along with a ton of salt-water taffy. When Billy took her on the Magnum (once the world’s tallest, fastest roller coaster), it was all over. The first few hills were fine, but then they went into the tunnel and the strobe lights hit and it was all over.
2) She has a huge collection of very long, dangly earrings. Abby loves sparklies, and has invested quite a bit of money in costume jewelry over the years.
3) Every now and then, especially if she’s sick, she sleeps with a stuffed dragon. His name is Herbert the Bravehearted. (She was in a Mel Gibson faze when she got him.) The Herbert part was because she thought it sounded strong yet could be shortened to “cute” when appropriate.
4) Tony Stewart (NASCAR driver) once autographed her boob.
4) Tony Stewart (NASCAR driver) once autographed her boob.
LAURA: Okay, so I have to admit…I can relate to the second fact. Most women probably have a huge shoe collection. Me? Dangly earrings. Love ‘em!
DEBBIE: LMAO, okay so I crossed my fingers, but come on, Herbert the Bravehearted, now that’s funny. But the Tony Stewart autograph? Umm, yeah, I’d be so totally there!
LAURA: Admit it…you’re wanting your boob autographed.
DEBBIE: LOL. I doubt I would ever do that, but who the heck knows. Never say never.
LAURA: Yep, cause it’ll bite ya on the booty! Okay, Jennifer, I have to ask…Ever seen a UFO?
|Military flares in the night sky or|
something more? Hmm....
JENNIFER: I don’t know. Maybe. There tend to be a lot of strange lights over Lake Erie at night, and I love to camp. Some of those times I was mostly drunk staring at the night sky I had to be seeing alien spacecraft and not just satellites.
....I refuse to believe we’re alone in the universe. It’s so vast, believing it’s empty of no one but us is simply ridiculous.
....I refuse to believe we’re alone in the universe. It’s so vast, believing it’s empty of no one but us is simply ridiculous.
DEBBIE: LOL, totally agree! Even with the drunk camping bit. Did that last weekend.
LAURA: Oohhhh, okay. That explains your surliness last Monday. LOL But yeah, we’re not alone. No way.
DEBBIE: I was not surly!
LAURA: Riiiight. Of course you weren’t. You were just a tad churlish—or was that hurlish?
DEBBIE: That will be enough of that! (turns to Jennifer) What’s your fav cartoon?
LAURA: Good gosh! What kind of question is that?
DEBBIE: Inquiring minds want to know this stuff.
JENNIFER: Crap, again with the picking of only one. I refuse to play by this rule. I love Scooby-Doo. Smurfs. Voltron. Thunder Cats. Total Drama Island. PHINEAS AND FERB!! *doobie doobie doo waa- doobie doobie doo waa – Perry!* Rainbow Brite. She-Ra.
DEBBIE: Hmmm, Laura, she doesn’t like to play by the rules, sound familiar?
LAURA: Yup. Rules are BO-RING. And Scooby ROOOOCKS!
|This goat-sucking baddie is on the loose...|
JENNIFER: Pfft. I got this. I am going to pawn those fish and make the chupacabra wish they’d decided to stay all incognito Mexican goat sucker fools.
|The Doctor & the TARDIS|
....After speaking with the Doctor (because anytime I’ve got to practice politics with an intergalactic government, I want him on my side. Ford Prefect came to mind, but after careful consideration I realized all he may have to offer is running, screaming, and a prolificness of towels emblazoned with “42”.) We’ve decided that first we must deal with the Landhanas.
....The Predator wants to hunt them. Rambo suggests napalming most of the affected land mass. After careful consideration, the Doctor and I come up with a plan. We’re going to feed them cattle infected with a prion that infects the brain – a sort of mutated mad cow disease. This prion will cause the Landhanas to lose their legs and be reduced to flopping around on the ground. Our only problem will be ensuring that none of the people in the affected countries try to eat either the cattle or the Landhanas. Or we’ll have a whole other problem on our hands. The prions affect people differently than they do animals.
|Rambo & the Predator|
Will these two ever settle their differences?
....I feel terrible about this, but the Doctor has a plan for the poo. Rambo and The Predator are happily rounding up Landhanas smart enough to avoid the infected cattle with spears, grenades, and really large guns.
....The Doctor rolls up on Romulus 4 in typical fashion, spouting lines about fish out of water, the ridiculousness of destroying humanity when we clearly have so much more evolution to endure, and the shortage of goats on planet Earth.
....After some debate in which the leader of the chubacabrans throws a pint of Ben and Jerry’s at me (after I graciously offered it to him as a peace gift), I decide it’s time to shut this bitch down.
....I load my industrial sized sling shot with the biggest cow patty I can find and shoot him right in the face. The fecal matter burns his skin, an acidic reaction taking place, and soon his face has melted away to reveal……dundundun! It’s Prince Charles of England! No, wait, there’s another face under there. It’s Spock! I can’t believe this! Spock!
....Apparently he’s been furious over his portrayal in Star Trek and was determined to take over the planet to remake the series the proper way – where HE was the captain of the Enterprise. The chupacabra were simply his device to make that happen. They were content sucking the blood of goats in the Mexican desert before he came along.
....After some fist shaking and an offload of cow patties for our trouble, we convince Spock to turn his attention to Hollywood.
....He’s currently working on yet another remake of the Star Trek world. And this time he’s going to tell it right. (His words, not mine.)
....All the Landhanas carcasses ended up sold to the Romulans. Apparently the prion acts as an aphrodisiac on their planet.
....And the chupacabras? Well, they’re back to being featured in grainy pictures on Weekly World News. The way they like it.
DEBBIE: HAHAHAHA! I do believe this is one of the more detailed and inventive answers we’ve gotten to date. LOVE IT!
LAURA: Wow! Yeah, I’d say you survived it! Dr. Who is an excellent choice. But I must give you extra points for picking the Predator as a team member! Brilliant!
DEBBIE: Well, Jennifer, this was a great interview. Loved having you.
LAURA: Yes, thanks so much for visiting with us today, Jennifer! And good luck with your new release.
Laura: Deb, we should have a blurb and excerpt around here some place, right?
Debbie: Sure do!
Laura: Soooo…wanna go kayaking on the lake?
Debbie: LMAO, do you think they’ll be some cute guys out there motor boating?
Laura: Might be! Hey, if one comes by, you can flip over and yell for help. Maybe he’ll rescue you…give you mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Debbie: If I flip over, I’ll be underwater. Won’t it be a tad bit difficult to yell at that point?
Laura: Well, you’ll come up for air, of course! (rolls eyes) Now who’s having trouble focusing? Your goal is to have some hot guy pull you out of the water.
Debbie: Okay, lets go, but you better have my back if no hot guy comes swimming over.
Love, romance, hearts, flowers, cupid…. Rubbish.
Abby Fine still hasn’t gotten over the pain of a year-old betrayal and plans to spend this Valentine’s Day drowning her sorrows with a ménage of men named Ben, Jerry, and Riesling.
Her plans are diverted when she drops and breaks her new iPhone and gives in to a momentary hormone surge, agreeing to let office hottie and tech god Tom Walker squirm his way into her condo to fix it.
Tom shows up with his Xbox, spicy Chinese food, and a habit of stealing kisses every time she lets her guard down.
Can a weekend of laughter, video games, and movies change Abby’s opinion of stupid Cupid?
His hands crossed the gap between our bodies and rested on my hips. Backing away would be the smart thing to do. But hope filled my belly he’d kiss me again. The stupid part of my brain had taken control again, and I didn’t fight it. I wanted a real kiss. “So if you are in fact the geekier geek, what do I get as a forfeit?” he asked.
The shadow of stubble covered his chin and his upper lip, ran up to the short sideburns he wore. His ears begged to be nibbled on. What would that stubble feel like brushed against my skin? Dangerous thoughts, especially since my hands had somehow ended up on his waist and my fingers clenched his shirt. I looked at his arms, still surprised by the size of muscles when they flexed. If the biceps were any indicator of the body hidden under the cloth, it broke the mold of a stereotypical geek’s.
“Yeah. You know, like a prize.”
“I think you already got a forfeit. You got to see me naked.” And all I’ve gotten is a few stolen kisses.
“That was an accident.” He grew hard against my belly. It pleased me to wonder what direction his thoughts had gone. I wondered if ice cream intoxication existed. “How about sex in my truck?”
“No. Car sex isn’t really comfortable. And who said anything about sex?”
“A man can hope. Besides, I know you’ve thought about it.”
“Shut up and kiss me.”
He shook his head. “I promised to behave. You kiss me.”