Thursday, September 27, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: The Yin to his Yang by Josephine Myles & JL Merrow

I am so excited to have Josephine Myles and JL Merrow on the blog today. You can check out my reviews for their latest releases, The Hot Floor and Pressure Head.


Hot Pressure Blog Tour banner
Why opposites attract.


Josephine Myles: I remember once reading a blog post where the author complained about there being too many opposites attract romances out there, and how it wasn’t realistic as successful couples in real life tend to have more in common than that.

 I’ll admit that blogger probably had a valid point, but let’s face it, whose real life relationship would provide enough sexy conflict to fill the pages of a romance novel? No, there’s no need to answer that in detail ;)

 I’m a huge fan of the opposites attract romance, because to me it’s a strong foundation for a character-driven story. If you have big conflicts of personality and lifestyle (and they have to be big, not merely cosmetic) then you have huge amounts to work with. You can just put your two characters in a situation, sit back and watch the sparks fly. Of course, you do have to cross your fingers and hope they’ll be sexy sparks rather than the third degree burns kind.

 What about you, Jamie? Do you think pairing opposites is too contrived? Too much like something that happens in a book rather than real life? And if so, is there anything wrong with that?



JL Merrow (Jamie): I think like most things in life, what it comes down to is this: everyone’s different. Yes, there are couples who seem more like clones - but there are also those who find love by complementing each other, rather than by having absolutely everything in common. And I know which I’d rather read about! A pet hate of mine is romances where I have to struggle to remember which guy is which. I’d much rather see two very different guys work to find the common ground they can meet on.

 Even if I didn’t believe opposites attract in real life, I’d still like to read about them. Although obviously there has to be believability, I don’t accept that books have to be exactly like real life. Think about all the conversations you might have in a day - then imagine writing them, word for word, in a book. If you’re anything like me, they’d likely be full of repetition, mis-hearings, and honestly, not that riveting to a reader. The primary purpose of writing is to entertain, and it can’t do that by being boring.


I think my favourite mis-matched couple of yours is the one from Boats in the Night: Giles and Smutty. Uptight alcoholic posh boy v. teetotal hippy firedancer. Do you have a favourite fictional odd couple yourself? (and no, it doesn’t have to be one of mine!)

 Jo: But what if my favourites are your characters?! I adore the pairing of large, tattooed and uneducated Al with diminutive professor Larry in Muscling Through--you couldn’t find two more different men, yet they work together so well! I’m also a huge fan of K.A. Mitchell’s mismatched couples, and out of her back catalogue, I would probably vote for Mason and Jon in Life Over Easy.


I have to admit, my whole character planning process revolves around finding opposing characteristics for my two leads, as well as a few areas where they will mesh perfectly. This method proved to be a real challenge when planning The Hot Floor, as how do you create three sets of opposites? I originally intended Josh to be a much more confident, tarty kind of fella, but the moment I started writing I realised that he wasn’t that way at all--that was Rai. Or at least, that was how Rai appears to be, when you don’t know him all that well.

I also had fun creating opposing physical characteristics: tall, skinny and blond Josh; lithe, compact and Asian Rai; and enormous, muscular, bald Evan. You really couldn’t mix those three up! Just as you don’t want your two leads to be too similar in character, it’s confusing if they look alike too.

What about Tom and Phil in Pressure Head: were their opposing characteristics a result of planning or simply the characters forcing you to write them that way?



Jamie: As you can guess, the guys in Muscling Through were deliberately opposites, but it wasn’t quite the same thing with Pressure Head. Tom, my narrator, was pretty much his charming, cheeky self from the word go; Phil needed a few rough edges knocked off him, but is still basically the same character I envisaged right at the start. He’s more reserved than Tom, and finds their shared past harder to let go of, but in some ways he sees things more clearly than Tom does.

So although they’re not quite opposites in the way Al and Larry are, there are still a lot of differences between Tom and Phil - and you know what? Those are my favourite bits!


And how about the readers? Do you like to read about the attraction of opposites? Have you met any real-life examples?



Hot Pressure Blog Tour banner



Comment to win! Jo and Jamie are both offering a choice of a book from their backlist to one lucky commenter on this post, and all commenters will also be entered into a draw for the grand prize (details here), to be announced on 8th October.

  About the books: 

Pressure Head
Some secrets are better left hidden. When Tom, a plumber with a talent for finding hidden things, is called in to help the police locate the body of a missing woman, he unexpectedly encounters a familiar face. Phil, Tom’s old school crush, now a private investigator working the same case.

Tom’s attraction to the big, blond investigator hasn’t changed—in fact, he’s even more desirable all grown up. But is Phil’s interest genuine, or does he only want to use Tom’s talent? Meanwhile, the evidence around the woman’s murder piles up...while the murderer’s trigger finger is getting increasingly twitchy.







The Hot Floor cover
The Hot Floor
Two plus one equals scorching hot fun. Every time Josh overhears his sexy downstairs neighbors, Rai and Evan, having loud and obviously kinky sex, Josh is overwhelmed with lust…and a longing for a fraction of the love he’s never managed to find. On the night a naked Josh falls—quite literally—into the middle one of Rai and Evan’s marathon sex sessions, the force of their mutual attraction takes control. But just as Josh dares to hope, he senses a change. Leaving him to wonder if the winds of love are about to blow his way at last…or if history is about to repeat itself.




About the authors:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour.

 Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com/

 English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

 For more information about Jo’s published stories, regular blog posts and saucy free reads, visit JosephineMyles.com

Yin Yang picture courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

57 comments:

  1. I love reading books with opposites attracting. Even when they seem to be complete opposites, they usually have at least one characteristic in common that brings them together.

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    1. Me too! And of course, any long term relationship leaves time for characters to grow new interests, both together and separately.

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  2. Oh, absolutely. It's all about finding the common ground - and then working on what they're going to do about everything else! :)

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  3. I like opposites attracting, though I'm not usually a fan of the "hostility hiding sexual attraction" cliche. (I was surprised that I enjoyed that in Eden Winters' DIVERSION, but I think part of that was that Lucky was so funny and gleeful about winding up Bo that it didn't seem so mean.)

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. I haven't read that book, but Eden's a great writer so I'm not surprised she could make something work for you :)

      I don't mind the hostility thing myself, so long as it doesn't carry on for too long. I need to see him drop the attitude fairly soon.

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    2. I think like most cliches, the enemies-to-lovers thing needs a skilled hand for it not to seem hackneyed. I'll have to check out that book by Eden! :)

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  4. Do like it in novels, not really got any RL examples that immediately spring to mind.
    I like when the first impression of someone turns out to be wrong - bit like your LIAW story Jo, cant remember the names, but guy in suit then turns up in leathers on bike!
    Suze
    Littlesuze at hotmail dot com

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    1. Hehe - yeah, no surprises that's one of my favourite tropes too! I love revealing a different, unexpected side to a character. And the story you're talking about is Screwing the System, which is coming out in novel form in February :D

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    2. Oh, yes, that's a fabulous one to play with! And you're going to love the much-expanded version of Screwing the System! :)

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  5. I really enjoy reading opposites attract stories, and there can be different types such as rich/poor, confident/shy, conservative/flashy, city/rural etc.
    It's interesting to see how the couple resolve their differences or biases (if there are any) to appreciate the special qualities about the other.
    Jess1
    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

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    1. Hi Jess! True--there are all manner of different opposites, aren't there? Maybe I should make a list of them to spark off some ideas for the characters in my next project. I have a few ideas for one half of a pair, but not their partners. No good trying to write an m/m romance with only one hero.

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    2. Yes, it's great the number of ways there are to play this one. :)
      My next novel has a very flamboyant guy paired with a straight-acting one.

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  7. Thwe cover of Boats in the Night makes me smile every time I see it. tmadamski(at)msn(dot)com

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    1. LOL! That cover is so Jo - canal boats and feet! ;D

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    2. That's good to know! I do love that cover--especially the feet ;D

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  8. A few more books added to my wish list!! Please count me in. Thanks!

    gisu29(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Ah, the ever growing wishlist... I have one of those too!

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  9. I've read works by both of you and have enjoyed them immensely. Immensely, I say. :)

    storyfan1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. I'm never sure whether absolute opposites do truly attract (unless they're magnets, of course!) - I suspect that when it comes to people it is really the similarities which enable them to make contact. I think that actually they're using that common ground to overcome the outward differences, and that it's the process of finding that common ground which occurs while they're developing a relationship.

    Maybe its the fundamentals which have to be the same, while what other people notice are relatively superficial differences. By that I mean - do they agree about what is right and what is wrong in a moral sense? Do they agree about what is or is not being unfaithful? And I don't know if I could ever have a meaningful relationship with someone whose politics were fundamentally different from mine. Their appearance and background etc. may be wildly different but once one gets past that - do they matter?

    But I agree that for a romance novel to work the characters have to be sufficiently different that one can remember who is who, and it generally helps if the differences make for some tension, etc.. And both of you do that very well!!

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    1. I do think people, when they're with someone they're attracted to, actively look for the common ground. I guess it's all part of the bonding process.

      I vividly remember just after I'd met the guy I spent most of my college years with, thinking "OMG, we have so much in common!" whereas after we'd split, it was more a case of "WTF did we ever have in common?" ;)

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    2. Thanks, Helena! I agree that there really do have to be those underlying areas where characters are compatible, and those are the important ones about ethics and dreams for the future. All the rest can be dealt with, so long as you're both heading the same way and have similar enough moral standards.

      Oh yes, and I had exactly the same experience as Jamie with my first boyfriend, who was a right wing, homophobic bigot.

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  11. Lol, Boats in the Night vanished from my e library today, so I'm gonna have to get it again! Opposites always give a little tension and spice to a story. I also like to fantasize which guy I would rather have, should they ever become available.

    Dang, I need a new Myles or Merrow, please! Thank you!
    brendurbanist AT gmail DOT com

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    1. LOL! Yep, a romance with opposites definitely means there's something for everyone there! :D

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    2. It vanished? My Kindle made a couple of books vanish recently too. Most vexing :(

      I'll send you another copy if you like. Just let me know your format.

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    3. I just read Hot Floor and Pressure Head, enjoyed the slippers off of both. A little too short--both of you should write books that are 400 pages long. Please? I am so bereft when they end.

      Josephine, I think Amazon should restore are replace my Boasts in the Night, don't you? I mean, they absorb the majority of my minuscule discretionary income. But thank you!

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  12. I like the whole opposites attract thing. I agree that it adds a whole lot of chemistry to the pairing.

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    1. *g* I like to think of it more as adding physics. Friction, sparks flying, that sort of thing! ;D

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  13. Although my husband and I have a fair amount in common and we agree on the big issues in life our outlooks and how we come at life are polar opposite. We balance each other though ;) So I completely get that type of story line.

    Kassandra
    sionedkla@gmail.com

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    1. Fabulous to hear that, Kassandra! It's very encouraging to hear it really can work out IRL. :D

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  14. I like the opposites thing in books but in RL i think you have to have a basic sameness under there somewhere to have a LASTING love. I have liked all of the books, by both of you, that I have read so I would enjoy winning another. Keep up the good work. Thank you, chellebee66(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Yes, I think the things we like in books are not necessarily what we'd go for IRL.
      And I'm glad you've enjoyed our books! :)

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  15. I think opposites really can make a relationship more interesting! Some aspects need to be the same but a little bit of difference is fun!
    OceanAkers @ aol.com

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    1. Oh, definitely! I can't think of anything worse than being with someone who's exactly like me.
      Hmmm... although it would make arguments over the TV remote less of a feature in the Merrow household! ;D

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  16. I can't think of too many extreme opposites in my life, but I have friends who I think if they ever hooked up with someone like themselves, well, hospitalization or at the very least large doses of medication would be required. That level of whirling dervish anxiety could not be maintained by two people without exploding. They need that calming stable influence, so definitely an opposites attract and it takes a special kind of person to be able to deal with that for the long run.

    I suppose you need some basic similarities. if one person believes children are the anti-Christ and will never tolerate them, and the other person really believes that's part of their destiny to be a parent, it's unlikely to work. Both have to share some basic core values, but I think a lot of differences are quite workable if both are open.

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    1. I think whether or not you want children is one of the big deal-breakers for any relationship. It's such a fundamental human need for some of us.

      And yes, no relationship needs two people constantly on a cliff-edge. There has to be one calm person to talk the other one down! :)

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    2. God, yes! My best friend is exactly like that. She needs a calm man, but is terminally attracted to the unsuitable. Thank God she's single right now.

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  17. I am all in for the opposites attracks and I am an even bigger fan of not everything is as it seems.
    I like a good portion of cheeky struggle and fight with my romance, even in RL I tend to test my loved ones from time to time. For me all harmony is way to boring.

    dorome at gmx dot de

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    1. I'm now imagining your loved ones trembling when they see you coming! I have to admit, I like a fair bit of harmony - but it's fun seeing the sparks fly on the way to getting there! ;)

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  18. I love books where opposites attract. If someone's your other half, it would stand to reason that you'd be somewhat of opposites, which is how I view it.

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  19. Mmm, fitting together like jigsaw pieces. Makes sense to me! :D

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  20. I have just finished reading The Hot Floor which I very much enjoyed. Would love to read more about the three of them and how their relationship develops
    Opposites in fiction always make for interesting reading, especially how they find the points where they do connect.

    avaliereads(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Absolutely - it's all about working around those differences, and finding where you come together! :)

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  21. My husband was tall and I am short. He was Republican and I am a Democrat. He had been a high-powered executive and I had only worked piddly-assed jobs. But we always found a lot to laugh about and enjoyed having deep philosophical discussions. I miss him greatly and believe I could talk him into voting for Obama.

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    1. It's great how you managed to make your differences work for you. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. :)

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  22. That's all bullshit I say.
    All of the girls some of my girl friends have dated were WAYYY opposite and boy did they attract alright. Those relationships lasted much longer than if they dated someone with the same likes, there was, for some reason, more conflict. I don't have any gay male friends (;A; to my utter sadness LOL!) to compare that to but by all my lesbian girl friends that "opposites attract" was way real for them. My friend Jasmin is having a tough time with her girl Gypsel but they're still going strong. It's just bumps like always, but they're way opposite, the only thing they have in common is their love for anime, and music. not the same type anime either just that they like Japanese stuff. lol.. I have never seen two people more in love then they are.
    All I can say is... look how "successful" straight couples that have everything in common last. oh, three months before they divorce? lol.... I think Opposites attracting is a recipe for success.

    and so, I think that sure does answer the other question.. I LOVE novels that have opposites attracting. ;)

    Judi
    arella3173_loveless(At)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Glad to hear the opposites thing is working for your friends! I guess what makes things more interesting in books works in real life too! :D

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    2. Opposites really can work--yay! :D

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  23. I'm not big on writing big polar opposites, but I like the idea of characters who are superficially opposed, even though they have the same core values.

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    1. Yes, that always seems to work well, doesn't it? :)

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  24. I really like reading opposites attract stories. I find them exciting & interesting reads because of the differences between the characters, coming together in developing a loving relationship.

    Take Care & Stay Naughty,
    PaParanormalFan (Renee’ S.)
    paranormalromancefan at yahoo dot com

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    1. Agreed - like you, I always get excited by opposites attract romances :)

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  25. Oh definitly! Books where opposites are attracted to each other are great.


    gisu29(at)yahoo(dot)com

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