Love Bytes welcomes Amy Lane back to their blog !
Welcome Amy 🙂
Hel-lo, Snake Pliskin
I have to admit that for someone from my generation, Kurt Russell does set sort of an unreachable bar for sexy. For me, anyway, his smarmy, sweet-faced appeal was even more interesting because he never played it straight.
Everybody thinks he’s a boy scout? He does Used Cars and shows us sleazy. They think he’s a politician? He does turns around and gives us shit-go-boom. Horror movies, comic adventure, romantic comedy—his turn as the smarmy Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 surprised nobody—although the truly monstrous nature of a giant smarmy ego was certainly a brilliant touch.
But for me, his sexiest role, the moment when we said, “Oh, hell yes, his penis MUST BE as big as his ego!” came in Escape From New York. Eye patch in place, match between his teeth, Snake Pliskin gave zero fucks and was not afraid to blow shit up to prove it.
I wasn’t writing Snake Pliskin.
I was, instead, writing a category romance about a wounded veteran who ends up caring for four kids.
Now some people would have played up the fish-out-of-water thing with the big strong veteran and the chaos of four children. (Hell, Kurt himself did it in Overboard.) I guess I have too much innate respect for male caregivers to do that. If my husband wasn’t going to be competent with little people, I probably wouldn’t have married him. (For one thing, I’m not exactly the most mature person either of us knows—if he could be patient with ME I figured he could deal with the family hamster wheel.) But I DID want Taylor to look tough. And sexy. And capable of blowing up zombie hordes without batting an, uh, eye.
So I sort of channeled Snake Pliskin. I channeled Odin and Nick Fury and Rooster Cogburn.
And I gave him the heart of a wounded child.
He’s a valiant soldier—even in civilian life. He tries to diffuse violence—or control the blast if it’s inevitable—and he can walk into a situation, assess it, and take action, in a matter of minutes. But the minute he thinks his heart’s going to engage, he calls a silent retreat.
Mmm… Snake Pliskin, but no ego. All competence and human vulnerability. But the eye-patch—he got to keep the eye-patch.
My heart’s beating triple-time just dreaming about it.
So, when I asked for “Snake Pliskin with a kid on his hip” I knew I couldn’t get Kurt Russell. And, given the parameters of the cover art—we need one grownup face, there needs to be a smile or a smirk or a quirk, no broodiness, no scowling, remember, this is light! This is fun! This is happy!—I knew that the cover Taylor was going to look a little different than the sober, grim, reformed bad-boy I envisioned.
But what I got back wasn’t bad.
I looked at it and asked my friend, “Why doesn’t it look right?”
“Oh. Oh yeah.”
“But it’s a good cover. Except why the trees?”
“Well, part of it is in Truckee.”
“Oh yeah. It looks like Oregon.”
“Well, that was another Kurt Russell movie.”
And we both went “Hmm…”
“So,” she said, “it’s like Snake Pliskin’s younger, less violent cousin’s cover.”
“Yeah—Lizard Pliskin.” Of course, I liked Lizard Pliskin because of the consonance—old poetry habits die hard.
“No,” she said. “Gecko. Gecko Pliskin. In escape from Oregon.”
And that did it. I love this story—and I think the cover is great. (The model really does look like a smiling Taylor.) But I’ll never look at it again without thinking Gecko Pliskin: Escape from Oregon.
I hope you guys can read it, though, and enjoy the story of a reformed bad boy in Manny Get Your Guy.
The Mannies Starting over and falling in love. Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job. After years in the service and recovering from grave injury, Taylor has grown a lot from the callow troublemaker he’d been in high school. Now he’s hoping for a fresh start with Nica and her family. Jacob’s cousin Brandon lives above the garage and thinks “Taylor the manny” is a bad idea. Taylor might be great at protecting civilians from a zombie apocalypse, but is he any good with kids? Turns out Taylor’s a natural. As he tries to fit in, using common sense and dry wit, Brandon realizes that Taylor doesn’t just love their family—he’s desperate to be part of it. And just like that, Brandon wants Taylor to be part of his future.
June 24 – MM Good Book Reviews
June 27 – My Fiction Nook
June 28 – Open Skye Book Reviews
July 1 – Boy Meets Boy
July 3 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
July 5 – Love Bytes
July 6 – Long and Short Reviews