Very tired today, but in a good way. Yesterday was a rather long day.
It started early in the morning with Wacky Russian and ended with bar testing late last night. I had a pretty good workout yesterday. I’ve lost twelve or thirteen pounds since Mardi Gras, depending, and have about thirteen or fourteen more to go before I hit my goal weight of two hundred pounds. I can already see a difference in my face–I have dimples again, and it’s not as easy for my chin to disappear into my neck depending on how I hold/position my head as it used to be, which is lovely. I also can see a reduction in my middle–not quite as much as I would like, but definitely progress–and that’s also fine; it usually goes from everywhere else first anyway, so some progress is inspiring. This has all come about from a change in diet–reducing portions mostly, and not eating anything after eight pm–so if I can ever drag my lazy ass to the gym more than once per week, I can get there even faster. And I don’t even have to do cardio. I can just do weights. I lost weight the first time (and the second time) without doing cardio at all; just from weight-lifting, so there is that.
As Constant Reader may or may not know, I often struggle with self-image issues, and have all my life (being told, repeatedly, that I was dumb, fat and ugly as a child took its toll), and when I initially started going to gay bars and so forth, I was overweight and always wore my glasses. It was unpleasant, and after being told that I would basically never find anyone because I was fat and ugly (it was much worse than that brief recap, I might add) I decided that I could do something about my body, even if I couldn’t about my face. I transformed, and my life changed so much as a result I became a personal trainer, so I could help other people change their lives–and realize that it’s about being healthy, not being sexy, which was the mistake I made. It’s a story for another time, really, but this made me want to write an Ugly Duckling transformation story, and when Kensington wanted me to do another fratboy book, I said yes–and decided this was the time to do it. As I wrote it, I called it beautiful, but Kensington wisely changed the title to Games Frat Boys Play, to further develop that brand, and it got the same style cover as the original.
I didn’t think it was possible to get a better cover than the original, but I was wrong. I liked this one even more than the first!
I’d kind of wanted to do a Dangerous Liaisons kind of thing with the fraternity boys, but my editor wasn’t keen on that idea, so I went with an ‘ugly duckling’ story. I’ve always been a sucker for a revenge story (not sure what that says about me, frankly), and so I kind of patterned it after an old ABC Movie of the Week, written by Joan Rivers, called The Girl Most Likely To, which was Stockard Channing’s first big role on television or in film. The premise was her character was frumpy, overweight, and unattractive, but incredibly sweet if naive. She was also a genius. So when she went away to college, everyone treated her horribly, humiliation after humiliation, and then she was horribly humiliated in a terribly public way. In tears, she drives away from the campus and is in a terrible car accident, and winds up in a coma. She didn’t have her driver’s license on her, so they reconstructed her face based on her bone structure, and while she was in the coma she lost thirty pounds—so, she came out of the coma beautiful and thin–and unrecognizable. So, she goes back to the campus and gets even with everyone–killing them all in ingenious ways. I loved that story, and wanted to do something similar–but how to transform him in a very short period of time without using a coma?
Hmmmm. Finally, I realized that the only way the character could be naive and shy, or at least for me, to work would be if he had spent most of his life in private boarding schools…which meant he had to be filthy rich. I also decided to bracket the story around a police investigation, starting with a cop coming to talk to my main character at his apartment to find out what happened at the fraternity when someone was injured (possibly fatally; we don’t know that until after the main character finishes telling the cop his story). I created Jordy Valentine, a sweet, nerdy, incredibly smart kid whose father invented accounting software and made hundreds of millions, and sent Jordy to an exclusive, expensive boarding school in Switzerland, where he didn’t fit in and basically kept to himself. Jordy’s decision to attend CSU-Polk rather than Harvard or Yale or any of the other Ivys is because he wants to interact with more normal kids, have a normal college experience at least for a couple of years, and maybe learn how to be better with social interactions. Jeff and Blair from Every Frat Boy Wants It live in the apartment across the hall from Jordy, and they’re the ones who convince him to rush Beta Kappa. The brothers aren’t particularly interested in Jordy as a pledge until they find out who his father is–and that he is, therefore, swimming in cash. He falls hard for handsome and sexy Chad, the bitchy rush chairman–and the story is off and running.
“This,” reflected police detective Joe Palladino, “is an awfully nice apartment complex for a college student to be living in. How the hell does he afford it?”
The Alhambra Apartments, he knew, started at a mere $1500 per month for a studio and went up–way up–from there. When they’d opened a few years earlier, his then boyfriend, Sean, had wanted to take a look at them. Joe had failed to see the point–there was no way they could afford the rents there, even with their combined incomes–but Sean had insisted, and it was easier to give in then to have an argument. And yes, the place was gorgeous–you had to be let in by security, and there were fountains and tennis courts and swimming pools conveniently placed throughout the complex. Each building had a laundry facility, and near the clubhouse was an on-site dry cleaner. There was even a fully equipped workout facility with state of the art equipment that put Joe’s gym to shame. The apartments themselves were large, full of light, and luxurious–but after the tour, Sean had pouted all night because they couldn’t afford to live there, as though it were somehow Joe’s fault. But everything had always been Joe’s fault, which was why he’d dumped Sean shortly after that. There was, after all, only so much complaining that anyone can put up with. Sean wanted everything but didn’t want to work for it–and Joe eventually tired of being compared to Sean’s previous, much older boyfriend and being found wanting. Sean was young and handsome–and so thought everything should be handed to him. He didn’t like having to work, and he didn’t like that Joe’s income wasn’t enough for him to live a life of luxury and idleness while being supported.
Like I said, the book was a lot of fun to write, and it’s still available as an ebook–and it still sells, all these years later, just like its predecessor.
And now, back to the spice mines.