Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finishing the Hat by Darcy Lundeen || SIZZLE

Hi, Melissa, and many thanks for letting me visit both you and Snarkology. I readily admit I have no talent in designing anything, least of all a hat, but today I’d like to give you my take on the topic of “Finishing the hat,” or, as I wanted to extend the metaphor, of “FINISHING THE HAT OR THE GARDEN OR THE PIE…OR THE BOOK.”

Hi Darcy! Welcome to the Snarkology! It's great to have you here with us today. Please go ahead and tell us about your take on the creative process.

First off, “Finishing the hat” is the title of a song from Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Sunday in the Park with George” about French Pointillist artist Georges Seurat. In my humble opinion, it’s also arguably one of the best evocations of the pains, problems and joys of the creative process in whatever form it takes.

Have you added the final vital brushstrokes to a painting, tended to the planting and weeding and watering that will make your garden bloom, taken that luscious blueberry pie out of the oven to present to your family at dinner? If you’ve done any of the above, as well as so many other things (completed that project at work, run a marathon, told your child a bedtime story that made him or her giggle with delight, and the list goes on and on), then in a sense you’ve finished the hat.

Granted I’m extending and expanding Sondheim’s meaning. He was talking about the kind of single-minded immersion some people have in their creative endeavors. I’m talking about another part of his meaning, the fact that in finishing any of the above you’ve done or created something new and wonderful, something that in a sense never existed before—you’ve painted a lovely picture, cultivated a gorgeous garden, baked a delicious pie, completed a grueling marathon, impressed your boss with your superior work ethic, enthralled your child with your distinctive storytelling talent.

Well, I have no artistic ability, couldn’t bake an edible pie to save my life and don’t know the first thing about keeping a garden happy and healthy (What can I tell you? City folks often lack green thumbs.) But I do write. So in my case the important finishing-the-hat occasion is when I finish the book.

As soon as those last magic words “The End” are added to the story, there‘s a wonderful sense of exhilaration and relief. Whew! It’s finally done. So, of course, a short celebration is always in order. Just a half hour or so to congratulate myself on a job well done.

I’m not much of a drinker. I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage since about 2003 or 4, when I drank two glasses of wine at a reception. And I’m not a big coffee drinker, either. But I love tea, so that’ll be my celebratory drink of choice. And it couldn’t have a better partner than some of that layer cake in the refrigerator. After all, I can always start work on losing those extra ten pounds in the morning.

So I brew the tea, cut off a congratulations-size serving of cake, and
then…uh-oh…then as I put the cake box back in the fridge, I start thinking maybe the cliffhanger at the end of Chapter Five wasn’t compelling enough, and probably the villain didn’t need to torch both the orphanage and old-age home on the same night, and might it have been more effective if the story took place on Twenty-third Century Mars rather than in Twelfth Century Bavaria, and could the timid librarian heroine really turn into such a take-no-prisoners, kick-butt fighter in time for the big showdown? And, of course, if a publishing company did contract the book, there’d undoubtedly be even more revisions to make to the manuscript, possibly many, many, many rounds of them.  

So I push the cake aside and focus on the computer screen again to make a few…okay, more like a few dozen…necessary changes.

Sigh! Oh well, let’s admit it. Some hats take a lot longer to finish than others.

Now here’s the blurb and an excerpt from my most recent book, SIZZLE, published by Secret Cravings Publishing.


Betsy Kincaid has no sexual sizzle.

At least that’s what her boyfriend claimed before he dumped her.

Determined to prove him wrong, Betsy puts learning to sizzle at the top of her to-do list. And who better to provide the lessons she needs than the safe and oh-so-willing gay guy who just moved in with her gay buddy?

Matt Pollard has had his share of disastrous relationships, so when the chance comes to help a foxy lady develop her sexual mojo while also enjoying some no-strings-attached bedroom action, he’s happy to oblige.

Unfortunately, they get more than they bargained for when romantic emotions threaten to complicate their simple arrangement.

Then Betsy discovers Matt isn’t gay. Her sense of betrayal at being misled is matched by his resentment at being blamed for an innocent mistake. But their anger could cost them the thing they both want most: a chance at true love.

EXCERPT SET-UP:   Betsy Kincaid’s boyfriend has left her for a woman with more sexual sizzle, so Betsy turns to Matt Pollard, her good buddy’s new roommate, to help her develop the sizzle she lacks. In this excerpt, Matt has just embarked on their first lesson and is demonstrating his menu of kisses. They’ve already been through what he calls his “appetizer kiss” and are now working on his “main-course kiss.”

“This kiss is like a main course,” he said as his mouth came closer. “More intense but still not the hot-as-hell version. That one we save for dessert.”

“Dessert,” Betsy murmured.

Then his lips touched hers, pressing gently to coax her mouth open, and for a moment she forgot about dessert and willingly concentrated on the main course as the primal thing he did got more primal. He nibbled gently at her lips, then let his tongue come out to play, licking at the places he’d just snacked on until Betsy gladly opened her mouth to him. No coaxing necessary. Again, his tongue invaded—an intrepid explorer that seemed determined to know every inch of her. He did it so slowly, too, as if he would happily take days to do the job right if he had to.

“See the difference?” he asked a long time later when he finally broke the kiss but still kept his lips against hers.

“Difference?” she echoed dreamily.

Oh yes, she saw the difference. The starter kiss had turned her body into one gigantic quivering goose bump. This kiss had drenched her thong. She took a breath, almost afraid to think what his dessert kiss would do. Probably burn the skin right off her lips.

“Now the dessert kiss,” he said, and Betsy thought, Oh well, what’s a little singed flesh when measured against the benefits of higher education?

Buy Links:

Author Bio:
I’ve been a writer and researcher for more years than I like to recall and in that time I’ve worked on topics as diverse as multiple sclerosis and the Soviet Union (when there still was a Soviet Union). In my free time, I enjoy visiting the Ancient Egyptian and Etruscan exhibits in museums, taking long walks, and concocting stories about everyday people who laugh a lot, cry a little, and ultimately find the happily-ever-after they deserve. My debut novel, Finding You Again, was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2012, and my second book, Sizzle, was published by Secret Cravings Publishing in June 2013. 

Darcy can be found at the following sites:
Twitter: @DarcyLundeen

Again, thanks for inviting me here, Melissa, and for being such a warm and generous host.

Darcy is kind enough to offer one randomly drawn commenter a chance to win an ebook copy of her romance novel, FINDING YOU AGAIN.  Please leave a comment to enter!


  1. Good morning, Darcy! Welcome to the Snarkology! I agree with you completely. Finishing a novel is a thoroughly satisfying experience. :-)

  2. Yep. Been there, Darcy. It's so wonderful to feel that rush of accomplishment before the sense of I'm a fraud sets in. LOL Sizzle sounds like a fun story. Congrats!

  3. I've never had a celebratory ritual, but I'm adopting yours. Tea and cake sound perfect, Darcy! Best of luck with Sizzle. It sounds like a winner.

  4. Wow! Sizzle sounds like a great read! Wonderful post. Thanks, Melissa, for introducing me to Darcy and her work. Off to share.

  5. Good morning to you, Melissa, although my truth-in-advertising gene has to make me admit it's already well into afternoon here. Sorry about my delay in answering all your posts. As everyone here is well aware of, that crazy thing called life somehow got in the way, as it so often does. But now that I've made it, I have to thank you again for letting me join you here, Melissa.

  6. Hi, Calisa. So nice to see you here. And, yes, definitely, that first grateful feeling that somehow you've accomplished something is incomparable...until, of course, all those dang second thoughts somehow sneak up to smack you upside the head. And thanks for your congrats and the comment on Sizzle.

  7. Greetings, Alison. It's wonderful to see you here. I'm trying to finish my current WIP as quickly as possible so I can indulge again. In the meantime I've done the sensible thing and hidden the scale in the closet so I don't have to get on it and see what that last celebration did to my hips.Thanks for your good wishes on Sizzle and for joining me here.

  8. Hi, Sandy. Whew, I really appreciate your comments on Sizzle and on my post. Those things always make a writer feel a special glow, and I have to admit that it really does brighten up a gloomy, rainy day like the one we're having here. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and read my post and excerpt.

  9. Hey Darcy,
    Just popping by to wave. You know how much I adored the combination of passion and comedy in this story...hurry up and write another one!

  10. I loved Sizzle you created the perfect "hat" with that one ;) I can't wait to see what you might have in store for us next

  11. Hi, Elf. It is so terrific of you to stop by. And, what can I tell you, I always love compliments. So thank you, thank you, thank you for those too. I'm writing my current story as fast as I can. If I had any sense of color and design it would be going a lot faster, since the heroine is an interior decorator. Yeah, I always choose occupations for my characters that I know nothing about.

  12. Oh, Crystal, you are so good for my ego. I thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to come by and make me feel so welcome. As I said to Sandy, comments like yours really do make a dark, dreary, rainy day, like the one we're having here, seem a lot brighter.

  13. I do drink, and although I haven't written much other than academic papers for the past few years, when I would get them done it was usually a celebratory glass (usually large) of my favorite wine. There were times though, that my muse wasn't cooperating and I had to start the celebration a little early. :-) Loved the except, going to have to check it out.

    1. A very late "Hi" to you, Laura. I'm so glad you took some time out of your busy day to stop by. And, yes, I've definitely had those early celebrations, too, since my muse is often off somewhere refusing to have anything to do with me. A month ago, I finally finished a very short story that took me five weeks to finally cobble together and I think the only reason I managed to get it done was because another author I know, who had been having one of those glorious times when she couldn't write fast enough kindly sent hers to me to help me kick-start my writing motor again. Really glad you enjoyed the excerpt, and thanks so much for leaving a comment.

  14. Really enjoyable post thank you Darcy. And to think every time I finish off a pie I also finish of my hat - brilliant! Sizzle sounds like a wonderful read - congratulations.

    1. A late Hi to you, too, Kathryn. Yes, definitely, in my humble opinion, every time you do anything as well as you can do it, even if it takes you more time than you hoped it would, you've created something special and unique that reflects you alone and that you can be proud of. I think we kick ourselves around so much for not being perfect that everything we do create, even if it's not perfect in every detail, should give us at least a small sense of pride. So, hey, finish that pie, then congratulate yourself for a job well done. And thanks so much for visiting and for your much-appreciated comment about my book.

  15. Loved your post, Darcy. You've inspired me to get off my butt and finish my latest hat, that I've been sitting on for too many months, and letting life get in the way. Good luck with "Sizzle". Looks like a fun read.

  16. Hi, Barbara. Late greetings, and you go, girl! Finish that hat, which I strongly suspect is going to be another great book. I know life too often gets in the way and we can't find the time, energy or inspiration to do some of the things we want to do. So relax for a while. I mean you have the perfect right to take a short vacation while you recharge those internal batteries, but after that, please get right back in the game. And a big thank you to you for visiting and wishing me luck with my book.