Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sex Lives and Dental Chairs by Michele Riccio

Sexy Lives and Dental Chairs
Michele Riccio
Genre: Romance Drama
Release Date: July 2013
Publisher: GMTA Publishing
Jane Tynan wants to be happy. Her needs are simple: a satisfying job, a quiet home, and the man she loves.

But since she testified against her ex-husband, what she has is: an assumed name, a crap job, an apartment upstairs from the world's loudest sex addict, and no man at all. Unless you count the cute-but-suspicious deputy investigating her neighbor's disappearance, the Ski-Mask Wearing man camping in her yard, and the dentist she "accidentally" assaulted before her root canal.

Faced with dental bills rivaling the national debt, the revelation of her past to the police, and zits Jane figures she's hit bottom. Then her ex-husband turns up looking for payback. Jane must decide between running away and calling in a favor from the man she loves, but can't have.


Most of my favorite authors are indie or self-pubbed, what made me you decide to go that route?
Short answer: I hate query letters. 
Longer answer: I loathe and despise query letters with every ounce of my being. Also, I'm not good at selling myself. A friend suggested I skip the traditional route and self-publish. So, I took a weekend to figure out formatting and self-published my first novel "I Do-Over" in January. Once the format-induced headache faded I felt quite proud of myself. Until readers started pointing out the typos I'd missed when editing...
A few months later another friend told me GMTA Publishing LLC was actively looking for manuscripts - his had been accepted and he thought my novel, "Sex Lives and Dental Chairs" would be a good fit. He introduced me to Kitty Bullard and the rest is publishing history (SLDC was published July 31 by GMTA Publishing)

From what I can see, technology is changing publishing - and traditional publishers haven't quite figured out how to cope. This opens up the field for people willing to try new things. While I'd love a huge advance and three-martini (OK, three ginger-vodka & tonic) lunches with my agent discussing movie rights... I'm not doing this for filthy lucre. I write because I really love stories. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The past CAN be re-written, given enough correction fluid, ink and perseverance.

No, the surprising thing is - I like writing more than I like being published. I really thought I'd be all giddy and unbearably smug once I saw my name on the cover of a book. I admit, I feel a great deal of pride in what I've created, but by the time the novel becomes a physical published book - my interest is focused elsewhere. On the current project: on the plot hole I'm trying to pave over or what to do with the character who insists on falling for the antagonist rather than the 'heroic male lead'.

Being published is great - but it means the journey is over for the writer. 

Which of your characters are you most like? Least like?
Since they all come out of my head - they're all "me". I supposed the hero(ines) are most like me, or most like a stylized version of best-me. The version which has been polished and tempered and whose future is plotted out (hopefully) in a neat arc. Which, I suppose, makes the antagonists a perfected facet of my less noble characteristics.
Or, I just have a really wild imagination. 

Do you have a particular writing habit?
I really want to make a joke about jodhpurs here - but will refrain.
Habit, yes. Three days a week I get up, have coffee, work on any critiques I have pending with my writing group (writing group plug:  IWW is a great place to learn about writing) then I spend the bulk of the day writing/editing - when it's going well, and procrastinating - when it's not going so well. The rest of the week I go to my day-job and wish I were home writing. Then I come home and spend a few hours critiquing or reading (or sometimes goofing off - playing computer games and watching TV) before sleeping and starting over.

The glamour and excitement never ends.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
All of them. Every book is an opportunity to look behind the curtain, as it were, and see how a story is built - or how it failed. 

As a child I spent an inordinate amount of time reading, but my selection was haphazard. Anything I got my hands on, I read (I even read the books assigned in school - usually under protest - I wasn't THAT abnormal a kid). After maybe twenty or so years, I started to grasp the difference between a an OK story, a good story written well, and an absolutely fantastic story as written by a demi-god. I started trying to figure out HOW it was done. How did she know to build the plot in a spiral? How did he get the story arcs into three sets of seven chapters? How did the sullen character become caring?

I'm still trying to figure it all out. But every book I read teaches me something. Even if it's how NOT to write a novel.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Most of what I read these days is through my writer's group (as plugged above): Tamara Pratt, James Lockhart Perry, and - the guy who gave me my 'big break' John Tucker. All three have very different styles and write in a variety of genres, but they give good story. (All available on as well)

What is the hardest part of your writing?
Typing coherently. When I'm on a roll I can fill a computer screen almost entirely with red squiggles. Despite the fact I'm right-handed, my left hand types faster, garnering: teh - adn - and always putting the e before the i  (except after c - when I type in a d for teh e)

Do you have any advice for other writers?
In "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction" J.D. Salinger's character, Seymour, gives this advice to his brother (a writer)  which I will paraphrase to avoid copyright issues: Imagine a book you really want to read. Now write it.

I know characters are like children but if you could chose, who’s your favorite from your books? Of all time?
My favorite is always the one I'm working on now. The character who is running around in my head, acting out, refusing to conform to the story I originally conceived, and basically being a pest until I give in.
Of all time? Maybe Anansi, the trickster spider-god from Neal Gaiman's Anansi Boys. Because all stories are Anansi's - so who better for a writer to pal around with? 

Any song or songs that could basically sum up the overall mood of your writing?
The first two novels would probably be happy with Calliope music - or something the circus plays when the clowns come out. The novel I'm working on now is a bit more serious, less slapstick - so maybe something from Clannad, "Diolaim"  or "Legend" - a good mix of happy and nostalgic-sad songs.

Do you plot out your books or just freely write them and let the characters tell you what to do next?
I'm a total pantster - I start with a vague idea, or sometimes a single scene, then write and hope I get somewhere interesting. It makes for a lot - a WHOLE LOT  - of re-writing but it also helps  keep me interested. I mean, I don't know where it's going most days, I have to keep writing if I want to find out.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider the biggest influence in your writing?
I'd like to say authors like, Neal Gaiman, Ursula Le Guin, or Anthony Burgess - because I admire their work. But I'd be closer to the truth to say "Monty Python's Flying Circus" - my comedy beats seem to be very British (which I'm not) and I'm not adverse to tossing in a random guy in a dress.  

What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Currently I'm working on a novel called "Ursula" - because I haven't come up with an actual title. I had an idea of a scene where a woman is surprised while at work by an old friend. The scene would NOT let me go. It persisted and intruded and became a royal pain in my butt while I was desperately trying to edit a completely different novel (a retelling of Sleeping Beauty). I eventually gave in and wrote the first draft in six weeks. Edited and polished. Offered it to a couple of beta readers - made two major changes based on feedback, and I'm currently having it critiqued via IWW.
The story follows Ursula in the present -  as a single mother, divorced from Jack, and running computer security in a small law firm who runs into an old friend, Robbie, who drags her into a bit of less-than-lawful intrigue  - and Ursula in the past studying computer programming, in love with her boyfriend Jack, and being dragged into some less-than-lawful antics by her friend, Robbie.

Thanks for inviting me to your blog. It's been fun!




  2. Thanks Michelle for the donation, great post Jenny! Oh and ooohhh this sounds like a very... interesting read :)

  3. I seem to be a bit tardy with 'you're welcome' and 'hope you all enjoy the book' - sorry

    You're welcome!
    Hope you enjoy the book!