Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Guest Blogger: Randy Jeanne

Randy Jeanne grew up a child of the 50's in "The Valley," a suburb of Los Angeles famous for its Bob's Big Boys and indoor shopping malls. A fan of Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, and Victoria Holt, she aims to evoke old-fashioned romantic values in her writing while at the same time creating heroines to whom modern women will relate. Stealing Amy (a romantic adventure along the lines of Romancing The Stone) and Lights! Cameras! Love! (a romantic mystery set on a TV studio lot) are available as digital downloads at all the usual outlets. Visit her blog at www.randywrites.blogspot.com and her website at www.randyjeanne.com.

Pssst!
Over here!
Don’t tell Carol, but I’ve hijacked her blog for the day, and instead of heading for the Tiki Hut, we’ll be spending the day…
Under The Palapa!

Yes, I’m down here in sunny (er, that isn’t a raincloud in the distance, is it??) Puerto Vallarta. (Go away, thunderhead. Take your lightning elsewhere!) First order of business, as always, is a visit to bartender Javier for a piña colada. And, what luck! There’s a cooking demonstration going on, and Jorge’s got shrimp tacos on the grill. So what if I just finished breakast? I’m on vacation!

Anyway, now that we’ve covered the cocktail and snacks portion of our program, let’s proceed to the third part of Carol’s summer challenge. Namely, as I haul out my laptop, what’s distracting me?

Sigh.

I know you’re waiting for me to describe the hunky guy swimming laps across the pool…or the one standing waist-deep in the shallow end flexing his biceps.

Sadly, they’re not what’s distracting me today (which may also explain why I’ve managed to make it to 57 without getting married, but I digress…)

No, what’s distracting me is the mother-daughter duo on the other side of the bar. They’re giggling with their heads together, sharing a private moment of laughter…y’know the type. Best friends. Great characters for a novel.

And that’s when it comes to me that…geez…all my poor heroines have mother “issues.” Which is kinda funny since, although my own mom died when I was young, I couldn’t get along better with the woman who became my stepmother. (Sidenote: Man, if she ever reads any of my books, she’s gonna have cause to wonder!)

Take Stealing Amy, for instance. In that story, the heroine’s identity has been stolen, causing her all sorts of grief—to her socialite mother’s undying embarrassment. And when Amy finds herself tangled in a web of international intrigue (with the requisite hero, of course), her mother arrives on the scene to make things worse.

Likewise, in Lights! Cameras! Love!, plain-Jane Daphne Smith blogs as a seductive alter ego who’s got Tinseltown (not to mention her hunky boss) all a-buzz with gossip. Who do you suppose threatens to expose her identity? Right, dear old Mom.

Finally, in Leftovers (available soon), Rose Thornton laments the life of hand-me-downs which began the day her father married a former actress…and includes the current situation where she finds herself falling in love with her step-sister’s estranged husband—the ultimate leftover of all.

What about you guys? Are there characters across your novels who consistently carry more weight than others? Do you see patterns of re-occuring character types who happen to appear in your real life? And to you readers, what kind of secondary relationships do you enjoy reading about? What sort of dynamics bring those relationships to life?

Hey, thanks for joining me here today…let’s have another round of piña coladas while we discuss, ‘kay? Drinks are on me! (And don’t let the approaching storm scare you—we’re always safe under the palapa.)

 P.S. to Carol—Thanks for letting me hijack your blog today!

54 comments:

Teresa aka Journaling Woman said...

Randy, Me too!
1. born in the 5os and did some growing then.
2. read Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, and Victoria Holt (in the 70s) and still have some of their books.
3. Grew up in the Valley...of Missouri. Ok that's not the same.

I love the premise of your books and want to read them.

Carol, thanks for being hijacked.

Linda G. said...

Aw, man. Another tropical spot I'm not at. Pass a Pina Colada and wait while I drown sorrows.

Seriously, Randy, your books sound like fun!

Manzanita said...

Thanks Carol for hosting Randy.

Your post made my morning and it was delightful hearing about your books. I'll be sure to look them up.
Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

VR Barkowski said...

Your books sound great, Randy! I was an absolute Victoria Holt junkie growing up. Her heroines were always intelligent and kind and that meant more than beauty - but her men we're always great looking. :)

My current protagonists are two men, best friends, one is an attorney the other a security consultant, both womanizers. Likable and relatable? I hope so...

Stephen Tremp said...

Great to meet you, Randy. And pour me another. And I like storms, so please pour me two!

Jan Morrison said...

Randy - hmmm...I think my mums have issues too, however I think that is based on my ambivalent parenting, not my mum's. I'll have to think about it. As a psychotherapist, I am always thinking about why I am attracted to certain characters and stories. It's why I write.

Randy said...

Hola! Great to see everyone here!

Theresa, we sound a lot alike :) I've never been to Missouri, but I LOVE the south--and I especially love books set in the south because their characters are always so richly drawn.

Randy said...

Sorry, Linda G :( But I'm ordering a special pina colada for you! Javier has a secret ingredient he won't tell me about.

Randy said...

Hey Manzanita, what a lovely thing to say. I'm glad I made your morning. :) You just made MINE.

Randy said...

Hola VR...you know what I have?? I have an OLD magazine--shoot, I don't remember which one, maybe a Ladies Home Journal--from the 50's and it has an excerpt of Mistress of Mellyn in it. Crazy, huh?

Randy said...

Stephen, truth be told, I love storms, too. Being a California girl, we don't get many, er, ANY, so I don't mind Mexico off-season. Thunder and lightning...plus the cloud formations are a huge thrill. I always take a gazillion photos.

Randy said...

Jan, as a psychotherapist, I would imagine you create some pretty interesting characters. One of the things I love about writing is how much it reveals to us about ourselves. I didn't set out to insert these mom issues into my stories--they just happened! So the repeating pattern has caused me to examine my own "head" in a different way.

Randy said...

Omigosh...I'm in the infiniti pool, overlooking the beach, and a vendor just arrived with a huge tray of killer earrings. Must browse! Be back in a half hour!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I had no idea you saw me and my daughter beside the pool having a good time. We were actually talking about the muscle man across the way, the guy you didn't notice. ;)

What a fun post! My mother and I were very close, so there was no angst between us. I'm hopeful my two daughters feel the same about me. I go on a lot of adventures with my second daughter, who is still looking for Mr. Right.

Your books sound wonderful!

Randy said...

Kathi, I have a friend who travels with her daughter and she reports that the young guys go for the mom and the older guys go for the daughter. Figures, huh? No wonder it's so hard to find Mr. Right! BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed eavesdropping on you and your daughter under the palapa this morning. Where did you take off to? I just spent mucho pesos on some earrings I'll probably lose before I get home.

Ann Best said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy said...

Ah, yes...the 50's. What a time to grow up, huh? After WWII, my dad moved to southern California from North Dakota in order to get in on the aerospace biz. He founded a manufacturing company in 1951, and today I run it. I have to admit that when it comes to writing, although I espouse traditional values, I've been a little schizo when it comes to the level of sensuality. For instance, Stealing Amy is much sexier than Lights! Cameras! Love! Now that I'm self-publishing, I'm going with what's more comfortable to me than what may be popular.

Ann Best said...

Blogger Ann Best said...

Very happy to meet you, Randy Jeanne. I was a teenager in the 50s. A great time to grow up. And I'm certainly drawn to "old-fashioned romantic values"; thus, your stories interest me. I'm glad Carol hosted you today.

(To Carol: I just returned your follow on Twitter, and then emailed Caroline Whatley, telling her how happy I was that you sent me to her!)

p.s. Sorry for the mixup here, Randy. I guess just after I deleted my comment you commented. Anyway, this comes before your lovely comment. I think this may be "one of those days"!)
Ann Best, Author of In the Memoir, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Ann Best said...

Randy: I applaud you for going with what you feel comfortable with. That's the beauty of self-publishing.
Ann Best, Author of In the Memoir, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Randy said...

Oh, Ann...we ALL have those days, don't we? One morning, on the way to work, I took a swig of what I thought was water and it turned out to be Vick's Vapor Rub! (Picture me roaring down the road at 70 miles an hour madly trying to find something to spit it out in...)

Nicole North said...

Awesome and fun post, Randy! I could go for a pina colada right now, even if I'm not on a tropical island.

Everyone, I recommend Randy's books highly! She has a fun, entertaining voice that you will fall in love with!

Randy said...

Aw...thanks, Nicole. Just for that, I'm sending a cyber pina colada your way and adding a taco fresh off the grill. Enjoy! (And don't worry, since I'm on vacation, I subtracted the calories for you.)

Julie said...

Your books sound great, Randy! It's so nice to "meet" you, and I'm definitely going to check out your work. And you've got me craving a pina colada! :)

Randy said...

Hi, Julie. Nice to meet you, too! Carol gets a really nice group here under the tiki hut--um, I mean, under the palapa. Speaking of palapas, although that picture of me is at a hotel called Villa Premiere (my favorite in Puerto Vallarta), a place called Las Almandas was my inspiration for the resort Nick and Amy wind up at in Stealing Amy. Anyone interested can check it out at http://www.alamandas.com/

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Hey, Randy! Saw your post on FB and followed the link. I'm glad to see you're out spreading the word about your fabulous books. You know I really enjoy your voice and find your books entertaining and fun, but meaty at the same time.

Had to have my say before I approach Javier for one of his special pina coladas, or two or...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No mother issues, but I keep writing characters in need of a friend.

Randy said...

Hi, Carol! Javier is blending up a special batch just for you! Please feel free to put it on my tab. ;)

Randy said...

Alex, that sounds intriguing to me. Definitely a character trait to hang growth on. I have a lot of special friendships in my life, yet my heroines are usually loners--which, hm. I never really thought about before. The exception is Rose, my heroine in Leftovers (available soon LOL). In that story, her friend Tory is an over-the-top kook who nevertheless plays the role of "voice of reason." I find that sometimes my secondary characters are more interesting than my heroes/heroines--something I have to be careful of!

Geo said...

I love the way you think and write Randy...enjoy your vacay...maybe your could write a modern day Sense and Sensability...fantastic Mother-Daughter relationships in that book!

Tamara D Hanson said...

Randy, you sound like such a fun person. I hope you ahve a great vacation.
Carol - I couldn't send you an email now. Ugh, what is going on?

Randy said...

LOL...to be mentioned in the same sentence with Sense and Sensibility sends shivers down (up?) my spine. (And, ooh--check out the sibilance in that sentence!)

Carol Kilgore said...

You can hijack my blog any Wednesday, Randy!

Hi to everyone, and welcome to newcomers.

Not sure why my email didn't work or why I've been having difficulty leaving blog comments. I think the Google Gremlins are at work.

Randy said...

Allow me to zap those gremlins with some bug spray, Carol!

Rula Sinara said...

Fun post, Randy! The Tiki Hut is a great place to hang :). Your stories sound wonderful. Best wishes.

Randy said...

Thanks, Rula...I was beginning to think the thunderstorm that just rolled in scared everyone off! And, please. No laughing now--just because I didn't drag myself out of the jacuzzi during the downpour--is no reason to make fun of my hair. Oh, wait. Let me see that mirror. Okay, maybe y'all are right--I DO look pretty scary. On that note, I'm gonna run upstairs to repair the damage, but I'll be back in an hour or so!

Lydia K said...

Thank you for the pina colada, I needed that!

Great post, Randy!

Randy said...

Lydia, there's plenty more where that one came from. In fact, it's Happy Hour, isn't it? Let's all have another round. BTW, yes...you may have noticed it took longer than expected to repair the rain damage to my hair. What can I say? Primping these days is a rather complicated affair. In other news...while accomplishing said primping I was thinking once again about secondary characters, and it occurred to me that Daphne's alter ego in Lights! Cameras! Love! is, in truth, a secondary character even though she's not "real." In the book, Daphne entertains herself by anonymously blogging as Sexy Sascha--someone who's a 180 from Daphne's own character. I even created that blog on the Internet--if you're interested, it's at www.sexysascha.blogspot.com (don't know how to do the link, sorry!)...it's best to scroll down to the bottom and read upward. :)

Randy said...

Yawning....did everyone go to bed? Does this mean I have to hit the disco by myself?

Carol Kilgore said...

I might be good for a glass of wine.

Randy said...

Does that mean you'll join me at the disco, Carol? {Yawning again} Okay, I confess. This old girl is way past her disco days. I'll settle for a Bailey's and coffee, a good romance, and a night in.

Janet, said...

Hi Randy, your books sound like fun. I was also born in the 50s, but I come from the hills and valleys of WV. Keep up the good work - and the writing!

Randy said...

Hi, Janet! Well, I grew up in a place called Hidden Hills so we're practically related LOL.

Randy said...

Well, I guess it's time to un-hijack Carol's blog and send y'all back from under the palapa to the Tiki Hut. Although I'll check back for stray comments, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Carol for allowing me to do my FIRST EVER GUEST BLOG. :) Everyone was so supportive and welcoming--what a fun day I had!!

Helen Ginger said...

I rather like the idea of having the mother step in to create havoc. Just the thought makes me smile and my kids cringe. Like I said, good idea.

Theresa Milstein said...

Fun hijack! Nothing like people-watching to get some good ideas.

I try to diversify my characters. It's easy to slip into a certain character - especially if it's one you really liked! I even try to change the foods they like and hobbies.

lbdiamond said...

Interesting post! Definitely has given me something to think about.

Randy said...

Hi, Helen! LOL...Not being a mom myself, I guess that's why creating them--and giving them the dirty work to do in the story--is so much fun! Naturally, I ALWAYS redeem them, of course! ;)

Randy said...

Theresa M, you are SO right to diversify your characters. I find that since we all have our own world views, and our own unique lenses through which we view people, sometimes we fall back on the archetypes that stick most in our minds. I'll confess, one of my weaknesses as a writer is that I have to work against creating caricatures instead of characters. There's a fine line between making them unique/fascinating versus over-the-top/silly.

Michelle Teacress said...

I don't think I've written enough to pick up on a pattern, or perhaps I just haven't paid attention. Either way, you make a good point.

PS I love Puerto Vallarta (my honeymoon spot). Enjoy yourself!

PSS Hi Carol. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Hi Michelle, and everyone else who commented.

I want to especially thank Randy Jeanne for being our guest blogger this week. She presided over a great discussion and gave us lots of good tips about how to craft the characters in our stories. Especially the mommas :)

Thanks to everyone for stopping by. And thanks to Randy for guest blogging.

Randy said...

Thanks for having me Carol--I had a GREAT time and plan to spend more time under the tiki hut in the future. :)

P.S. To Michelle--you have excellent taste in honeymoon spots! :)

LR said...

Love shrimp tacos and pina coladas. ;)

Carol Kilgore said...

LR - Is there anyone who doesn't?

Randy said...

Now I'm hungry for BOTH all over again. ;)