Monday, April 5, 2010

Guest blog: Susan McBride

This blog has been on the back burner for awhile, and I'd like to thank Susan McBride for being such a good sport about all the delays. :) Her new book, I have to say, was probably one of the cutest I've read in a while. (Sure helped get me through jury duty *cough* though I can only imagine what people thought seeing me read it, hehe.)

We hashed out a nice post and contest for my readers. And I've really enjoyed speaking with Susan, the last few (thanks, Susan!). And, without further ado, I'm turning the mike over, so...please welcome, Susan McBride!

You Can’t Judge a Cougar by Her Stripes
by Susan McBride

Yes, I know: real cougars don’t have stripes or spots (not the animal kind anyway). They’ve got gold fur and big paws and think Ashton Kutcher would be mighty tasty for breakfast. But I digress. What I want to talk about are the misconceptions about THE COUGAR CLUB, my debut in women’s fiction that came out on February 1. For the first time in my career—after five humorous mysteries and two young adult novels—I saw ugly comments online about a book I wrote even before it came out, stuff like, “Do I really have to assign a book called THE COUGAR CLUB?” (Girl Scout’s honor, that’s a real Tweet from the fiction editor of a venerable publishing trade magazine, which didn’t end up reviewing COUGAR as promised.) And there were remarks along the lines of, “How dare this woman write such filth! How demeaning to her sex! This belongs in the DUMP.” (I’m paraphrasing, but the writer of one of those nasty pre-pub comments on my local newspaper’s site did capitalize “dump,” and I did envision her screaming while she typed it.)

I started to wonder if anyone truly believed the old maxim that you can’t judge a book by its cover anymore, because people were judging THE COUGAR CLUB before it even made its way onto bookshelves. Honestly, I never imagined that a word like “Cougar” could stir up such negative emotions. I’m a 45 year old woman married to a 36 year old guy, so I’ve been called a Cougar since our first date five years ago. Maybe I’m weird, but I found it funny, not insulting. I never hung out at watering holes in my leopard print hot-pants, on the prowl for a nubile frat boy. I’m more of an “accidental Cougar,” I guess, since meeting Ed happened purely by chance.

I think that’s what makes writing so much fun for me. I love busting stereotypes, in real-life and on the pages of a book. The women in THE COUGAR CLUB aren’t certified, card-carrying Cougars any more than I am (well, except maybe for Carla, who’s as much a Diva as a Cougar). Creating the characters in THE COUGAR CLUB—Kat, Carla, and Elise—gave me the opportunity to show the world how viable and amazing three 45-year-old women can be, even when their respective mid-life crises try to trip them up. I wanted these lifelong friends to reconnect at a time when they need each other most. As the book begins, Kat’s a successful ad agency exec, Carla’s a beloved anchorwoman, and Elise is a dermatologist with a thriving practice. Then Kat gets down-sized, Carla realizes the station’s GM is about to replace her with a newer model, and empty-nester Elise believes her plastic surgeon husband has lost interest.

The story is driven by their relationship to one another and the support they lend each other, through thick and thin. They live by the motto that you’re never too old to follow your heart while struggling with being middle-aged in a society that doesn’t treat middle-age kindly. Like so many of us, they’re seeking passion, in their careers and in love; and each of them, in different ways, finds it.

As a woman who found true love after forty and whose career came into full bloom after forty, too, it’s my great hope that readers of THE COUGAR CLUB will look past the C-word in the title (if it offends them!) and discover the humor and warmth that form the gooey caramel goodness at the center of the book. COUGAR isn’t so much about, well, Cougars as it is about celebrating life at any age. As Kat Maguire puts it:

Aging gracefully isn’t about aging gratefully. It’s about living life with your engine on overdrive, making love with all the lights on, trashing your diet books, and diving into the chocolate cake.

To that, I say “Amen!”
Me too! So, for a couple more things here; the contest: To enter, please leave a comment, and your email address so I can contact you if you're chosen (your is fine;and, US and Canada snail mail addresses only, please). And if you have not, please Follow Café Pearl with the google follow button to the right there. After all that's done, I'll pick the winner on Wednesday morning. :) Good luck!

All righty, a few more things. You have seen her book cover, right?

And how about Susan's cute videos?

on The Cougar Club:

and an interview with Susan McBride conducted by LipstickNLaundry

:) Cute huh? Well, go check out her new novel (links are in the Amazon banner to the right, or ...wherever you usually buy books. And...Thanks again to Susan McBride for the great post (and lastly to Jessica Rabbit for introducing us!). :)And thank you for reading. I hope you've enjoyed this guest spot!


Cherry said...

I can't imagine why the word "Cougar" would incite negative reactions. It's a cat! I just presumed that this is another shifter story... okey, so it's not... but I have to admit that on the marketing grid this cover art would garner a score of 1 or 2 out of 5. Looks to me like the publisher's art department needs a revamp... If I haven't read this interview, this book would never even register in my "buying radar". And yes, to me, the cover is important. Although one cannot judge a book by it's cover, it is the first point of contact between a reader and a book. It is where first impressions are made. If you are like me who is a "visual" kind of person, that "first impression" will play a big part in the "buying" decision. Although first impressions can change, like mine did when I read this interview. What if the reader does not take the time to read the interview? The first impression stays…

Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

What a nice blog post! So sorry to hear about the bashers. < start rant> I seriously dislike it what negative comments are given WITHOUT explanation. Gotta give the rest of the public a change to develop their own opinion instead of expecting them to just adopt yours. < /end rant>

:D Here's to daily sales and more positive reviews than negative. Happy release!

Miranda ~ Sweet Vernal Zephyr
mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

Vixen Pearl said...

Hey Miranda, I somehow missed the comment button on your new post, but big thanks for plugging this guest blog. :) I sure appreciate it!

Cecile said...

My mouth dropped at, 'I saw ugly comments online about a book I wrote even before it came out..."
I mean how could~ ugh~ some peoples children!
Well I am sorry to hear that about those people.. And what do I say to people like that... Well apparently they haven't gotten any lately or they would know what is going on!

And I agree with Sweet... Here's to positive reviews and great things to come!! Rock out Cougar Club!!!!

Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

Vixen *blush* Yeah, the comment button is at the top of the post. A little ungainly to say the least... and many visitors get confused and end up commenting on the post below the one they are reading.

Maybe I should try to fix that, huh? :)

Anonymous said...

What? How can you bash a book before it comes out? Susan, you know I have your back if the claws need to come out. ;) Dumb a$$es. lol. They irk me. I can't believe people would really cry over the word cougar. Cougar, cougar, cougar! Ha! I hope I made someone cry over my use of the C-word. lol. {Okay, so I may have spent the last 2 days in hell, and 10 hours riding around in a hot van today so I'm just a tid bit grumpy.} *hugs Susan.* You know I loved The Cougar Club Susan and that's all that matters. *snickers* God I'm tired. I'm going to bed. That being said, JAD, I already have this book so just skip me in the drawing. Good luck to the rest. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, ladies! Thanks, Juli, for letting me guest on your blog. I appreciate the nice comments and support. And don't worry, the good that has happened as a result of The Cougar Club coming out has far outweighed the bad. Since I always feel like my novels are my babies, any criticism stings...but that's how things go in this business so I'm trying to get thicker skin! Jess, I'm so glad you introduced me to Juli. She's a doll, just like you! I've had a lot of fun getting to know you both. :-))


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