March is doing its thing, coming in like a lion and dumping a foot of snow on our part of Oregon. I hope you’re staying dry and warm wherever you are. Meanwhile, life goes on and so does writing and reading.
Today I want to talk about the joys of writing cynical characters. But first, I’m excited to share the cover for The Player’s Protégé with you. Adrian Nicholas is the cover artist and they continue to do a fantastic job with the Campus Connections covers.
When his friends bet cynical Jerry that he can’t turn sweet Arlo into a player, Jerry might win the bet but lose his heart.
College senior Jerry Helstrom survived a gay childhood in Texas by being fierce and fabulous. At school he’s known as a player and has kept his heart so guarded that he’s forgotten he has one. When his friends bet him he can’t teach inexperienced Arlo Barnes to become a stud like him, Jerry takes on the challenge and quickly finds himself drawn to his enticing trainee.
Arlo kicks butt as a Tae Kwon Do black belt, but his sexual game is lacking. He’s been dumped by his only boyfriend and needs help getting himself out there. Enter Jerry Helstrom, player extraordinaire and happy to provide Arlo with some hands-on coaching. Jerry encourages Arlo to ask for what he wants in sex and in life, something Arlo struggles with. The struggle deepens when Arlo discovers that what he truly wants is the seemingly unattainable Jerry Helstrom.
Jerry can teach Arlo to play the field, but can Arlo teach Jerry to play for keeps?
The Player’s Protégé is available for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press.
I love writing cynical characters like Jerry, especially in romance. I’ve heard it said that underneath every cynic is an idealist with a broken dream. Cynics care, damn it! At some point in their lives they cared too much and their ideals were crushed. Now they know not to wear their ideals on their sleeves. But it’s that caring that turned them cynical and that caring is still there, lurking under their grumpy, caustic, and sarcastic exterior.
One of my favorite romance tropes is the cynic who drops their armor after getting together with an optimistic type. They don’t do it easily because cynics have learned not to trust anything or anyone. The sunny type needs to be patient and to prove to the cynic that they’re not going to disappoint them.
In The Player’s Protégé, Jerry is the resident cynic of his crowd and Arlo is the sweet, optimistic guy who breaks through his shield. Jerry bets his friends he can turn Arlo into someone he’s not and then regrets having done so. But Arlo remains true to himself and it’s Jerry who changes, or better said, becomes restored to who he really is, the idealist who’s been covering up his huge heart with his cynicism.
My dedication for this book is to the cynics of the world: This one’s for all the smart, cynical, prickly people who insist on excellence in life. May you find the one who sees you, honors you, and loves your soul and heart.
Today it’s my pleasure to talk about Ryan Loveless. Many of you know Ryan Loveless’s work from her wonderful story, Ethan, Who Loved Carter. She has many other outstanding titles as well. Not only is she a great author, she’s the person who got me into publishing with Dreamspinner and continues to encourage and support me in my writing, for which I am very grateful.
Ryan writes such unique books. They usually aren’t what you would call fluff. Her stories are very real and sometimes gritty, but always have a sense of humor and a love for her characters that shines through.
I had the privilege of beta-reading her upcoming release, A Cordial Agreement. This one has an asexual stripper and a bisexual billionaire who enter into a BDSM arrangement that fills a particular need for each of them. The “business arrangement” allows time for them to get to know each other and, of course, fall in love. It’s not predictable, but it’s damn funny and also heartwarming as the characters slowly drop their defenses and let themselves be seen. And the end is as sweet and fluffy as cotton candy.
Thanks for stopping by CJane’s Corner today. I’ll talk to you next month.
After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work, and her characters are travelers too, traveling into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming-out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her family supports her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intently at her laptop.
CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards. All the Way to Shore was Runner Up for Best Bisexual Novel in the 2017 Rainbow Awards.