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, andthen…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?
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:
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!