Mary Imogen

I’m working on Emmeline/Always Kiss Me Goodnight right now, but Bob and I are setting up Wild Ride in the usual way: he’s choosing a classic Western to draw on a hero type for his guy Ethan (still hasn’t chosen an actor as a placeholder, though), and I’m choosing the first of what will probably be two or three women to combine as my girl Mary Imogen. If you want to read about Ethan, go here.

As for Mary Imogen, my plan was to NOT do an angry heroine this time. MI’s a little obsessive and hyper-self-critical and driven and hypomanic, so it seemed overkill to make her angry, too. I mean, people have to like this woman. I tend to fill in back story as I write, while Bob does his up front, but I know MI got fired from her last job for going beyond the call of duty because she’s an obsessive perfectionist; I’ll find out the rest as I write. Actually, I found that out as I wrote the first scene. But Bob needs a placeholder now, so I sent him a Kristin Chenoweth video from YouTube, telling him that MI was not that short, and definitely not that thin, and absolutely no hair extensions, but otherwise, that was her tense, driven self. Then I realized the character that Chenoweth is playing in this song is, uh, angry. And that maybe it’s time I did a short heroine. (Still definitely a no on the thin and the extensions, though.) So I’m still open on MI, but I can tell you for sure she’s gonna have issues.

People have been asking what the HWSW for 2008 is going to be since we did a year in the life of two writers for 2006 and the writing workshop for 2007. The answer: there is no HWSW in 2008. Bob and I are both working on several books, and it’s going to be all we can do to keep our personal blogs going. So on his suggestion, we’re going to respond to each other here on Argh and on his blog, which the last time I checked was still called Bob Mayer. (He’s a no-frills kind of guy.) And since we don’t have a contract for Wild Ride yet, this could all be jumping the gun anyway. But since he put up Ethan’s back story, the least I can do is give you a link to the video I sent him for MI.

Of course, six months from now, MI will look like Lucy Lawless. I just never know until I get there. And the good news is, you get to watch me fumble around trying to find her right here. And in the process lose all respect for me, but then anybody who’s been reading this blog for any length of time has pretty much lost any illusions in my direction anyway.

MI and Ethan. Did I mention this isn’t a romance?

56 thoughts on “Mary Imogen

  1. Wee! I’m the first —
    I’m probably more than a day late with this one, but have you heard ‘Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap? It’s new to me, but not really new I guess. I just thought of it, because I found it when I looked up the bicycles song when you mentioned that this summer.

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  2. MI and Ethan. Did I mention this isn’t a romance?

    Oooh, really? This should be interesting.

    I know labels are limiting, but would you slap a temporary one on it anyway? Adventure? Mystery? Thriller? Urban Fantasy?

    Does this mean no “yucky emotional stuff” and no sex?

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  3. Uh, paranormal adventure?
    Bob keeps saying Moonlighting and X-Files. That kind of works. The X-Files without the mythology but with the quirk, if we’re lucky.
    But sorry, Roben, no sex. At least that’s the plan. Sometimes characters sort of go their own way, but knowing MI and having met Ethan in Bob’s scene . . . that’s a long way to go in one book. At the end they’re going to be able to stay in the same room without strangling each other, but that’s about the best we’re going to be able to do.

    Oh, and I love Imogen Heap. “Goodnight and Go,” especially. Plus the video for that is fantastic.

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  4. I can tell you for sure she’s gonna have issues.

    Well, there’s a surprise:-)

    I love Kristin Chenoweth. Never heard of her before, but awesome.

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  5. What if MI’s a veterinarian or vet tech/assistant? She could have tried to rescue all pets in the area and bankrupted her last clinic? Those animal lovers have a soft spot for broken creatures (Ethan’s emotional brokenness) and aren’t afraid of a mean dog’s growls and threats. She could understand Ethan’s cowboy and smack him upside the head for his wallowing? Maybe she was retrieving her dog at the Wild Ride.

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  6. so, about angry? for me being angry has everything to do with paying attention. If I am not paying attention, I am not angry. Turn off the news, turn off the tv, get a rhythm for a day/week/month and just roll along doing my thing. That is contentment. When I listen to other people, other issues, then I get angry. Politics, dealing with the school(s) on behalf of the kids, trying to bump the husband out of his rut, those all make me angry. I wonder if anger is a necessary precursor to change? and if you are going to write books where the characters change, where they have any kind of story arc at all, you have to have some reason why they need and want it. Which means anger. Or depression. Depression tends to force change as well, but slower.

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  7. Speaking of Kristin Chenoweth — My favorite Olive moment from last night’s Pushing Daisies came after she asks that guy if he would remain in love forever if he couldn’t touch the one he loved. He’s gushing everlasting romantic devotion about what he would do to compensate for no touching, which isn’t the answer she wanted, and in the middle of the gush she just blows him off. Great timing and so typically Olive.

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  8. “Not a romance” … not an issue. As long as there’s snark and banter, I’m in. Did I mention that I like the idea of a short heroine?

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  9. So that’s one vote for the short heroine from McB.

    MI is a restorer of old buildings; that is, she researches them and then picks up a paintbrush, she doesn’t replace windows. But she does pick out the window that somebody else will replace. Her latest job: Restoring Dreamland.

    Where Ethan is a security guard.

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  10. Short is OK – and so is Angry. Anger is a sign that somthing isn’t right in a person’s world – that expectations weren’t met. Anger is good for a person. A great catalyst. I really like stories about people that deny they are angry, then find it, then use it to fix their world.

    A series. I LOVE this idea. I’ll be reading, the blogs, and the books.

    Kristen Chenoweth is from Oklahoma! Easy for me to see her as a placeholder. No extensions required. Short really is OK. Lot’s of interesting people are short. Gives them different perspective.

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  11. Short is good. There’s research somewhere that short folks live longer than tall folks. IIRC Kristen Chenoweth is 4′ 11″ — a height she shares with me and Judy Garland.

    Oh, but short is really not good for painting houses, inside or out. Need a ladder for everything, and it has to be moved constantly, b/c not much arm reach laterally.

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  12. As a short person let me toss in another vote for a short heroine. Goddess knows I love all your heroines Jenny, but do they have to be so darned tall? Nobody ever believes I’m the height I am, even though it says so right there on the measuring stick, so it’s not like short height-wise needs to come across as short personality-wise. Whatever that would be. Angry midget barbeque anyone?

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  13. I don’t have anything against short. I like a lot of short people. I am not anti-short.

    It’s just that I have to BE this woman while I’m writing this book and I was 5’9″ in junior high. It’s not a perspective that comes naturally to me.

    It’s like writing cats. I love my cat, we speak to each other each night as she’s curled up in her cat bed which is on my bed. Annie and I have a deep and meaningful relationship. But the two times I have tried to write cats, I have not done well. Maybe because adult cats do not have the clown potential that dogs do. Adult cats have dignity. Nobody in my books has dignity.

    Now, I’ll get pounded by cat people. Sigh.

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  14. Maybe you should get a second cat. My cat definitely has comic potential. He’s also very smart. And the cat we had before that, too. He could even open doors. (Good thing the local burglars never found out about that because on several occasions, we came downstairs in the morning to find the back door wide open. That cat could have made us lose a lot of our stuff.)

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  15. Nobody in my books has dignity.

    LOL (thanks, I needed that). No worries, sometimes dignity is over-rated.

    Bummer, no sex. Moonlighting was fabulous for loaded banter, but it was almost a disappointment when they finally did the deed. So, guess we’re looking at an extended period of bantering foreplay? That works, I have a vivid imagination.

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  16. I prefer petite.

    Jenny, I’ll be curious to see how an author successfully switches from one genre to another. Especially from the publishing and marketing aspect. You and Bob have been marketed as Romantic Adventure writers. Do you forsee any problems with the swtich to Something Else? Either with your readers or the Powers That Be?

    And have you figured out what that Something Else will be?

    Looking forward to following both blogs on the collaberation.

    Oh, wasn’t the success of Moonlighting and X-Files mostly due to the sexual tension between the two leading characters? Moonlighting in particular. But I haven’t watched the shows in years so what do I know.

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  17. I vote for short too. And my cat has comic potential. He was showing off for a girl and ran into the back of our truck. How’s that for comic relief?

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  18. I hate to tell you, but you’ve got link rot for the Chenowith video. YouTube says, “Video has been removed due to terms of use violation.”

    Any other places to go look?

    Also, you could have romance using cats. MI gets adopted by a very lady like, dignified cat with a bent for mischief (i.e. making her new favorite human scream) and Ethan befriends a battered tom cat with an attitude and great mousing skills — maybe Karl reincarnated.

    With all that spilled popcorn and dropped candy, I’m sure there are more than a few rats running around.

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  19. I’m still voting for one night of hot sex, inside outside upside down, it’s the catalyst for change, which of course won’t occur until book two. She rides off into the sunset (Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid) only it’s in a new Qantas Airbus 380, in a first class seat. She’s taking an assignment to redo Luna Park in Sydney, and while she knows sex with Ethan was the best she’s ever had, you can’t build a relationship on sex alone, yada, yada. He sees her off at the airport, (Casablanca)walks away and notices a billboard for a twelve step program and memorizes the phone number, yada, yada. Mucho sobbing. It’s bittersweet, a five hanky. Sniff sniff.
    Now I’m going to quit procrastinating and go write the end to my own damn story.

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  20. Well, Jenny, if you need assistance with the perspective (*snort* good one, Marcia) let me know. I’ll give you this one for free (okay, I’d give the rest for free, too): toes have muscles, and mine are particularly strong.

    Sometimes my cat forgets she’s an old lady and dignity completely goes out the window.

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  21. I don’t know, a cat might work in this one. They are forever alerting–seeing something you can’t see, hearing something you can’t hear–or dashing from one room to another for no good reason you can discern. Unlike a dog there is no sense of safety that a cat will protect you.

    Also unlike a dog, a cat will probably not come lick your face if you are crying. However, you might be sad, sit on the sofa, and suddenly realize you are stoking that warm furry cat, snuggled against you–just quietly there. Maybe a better symbol for the relationship between MI and Ethan than the more overt dog.

    I’m not sure cats are so much dignified as they can’t be bothered to humor us.

    (This is not a pounding. Please do not consider yourself pounded. Just thinking aloud here.)

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  22. I had a lovely (although evil) Siamese who would fetch socks, like a dog with a stick. Only socks though, and I have no idea why. I thought it was quite endearing until one day he came back through the catflap with a pair of what were clearly infant socks I can only assume he mugged from a small child.

    He could also get a claw under the seal of the fridge, open the door and raid the lower shelves, leaving the higher ones for the dog, who was too stupid to open fridges himself. I had to put a childproof lock on it in the end.

    I’m so happy you’re doing another book with Bob. It will be fun to see how MI turns out.

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  23. When tall people ask short people if they need help reaching something on the top shelf of the Super Glutton, it’s an insult. At least it is to me. But that’s my anger and I’m using it to be a better person. I think.

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  24. Maybe you could write about a cat that thinks its a dog. A neighbor’s cat thinks he’s a dog. He wags his tail, and always rolls on his back with his feet in the air for a belly rub. He has no dignity at all.

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  25. I’ve always felt that dogs come when they are called but cats take a message and get back to you. When THEY feel like it. Maybe things can freak out the dog, but the Cat in the story doesn’t really notice.

    McB is my placeholder for a short person. She is the greatest thing in a small package ever.

    A Crusie/Mayer series….be still my heart.

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  26. Kristen Chenoweth is a goddess, short though she may be. I think she’d actually make a great Crusie heroine. As for cats, I had a friend whose cat vomited beneath her bed whenever she brought a male friend over — not at all dignified but very effective (from the cat’s point of view).

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  27. Nothing wrong with being “short”.

    My DW is.

    Cats…can never tell about them..we have four in residence…much fun to watch at times…with their posturing and playfulness.

    Looking forward to this book.

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  28. First I loved that video. I have a thing for Broadway show songs. I live in a city that barely brings in the do for the people like Shania Twain, Beyonce, and Britney Spears. *sigh*

    I digress. I can’t do tall women in my books. I’m 5 foot even on a good day with me standing with my back pole straight.

    And I admire you’re bravery for trying something new and out of your genre. I’ve tried to write non-romance books, but my damn heroine’s keep looking across the room, dead body, what have you, and seeing a man that makes their heart go pitter-patter.

    Also, a series?! I’ll get my fix on the regular?! This is a good day. I should go get a lotto ticket.

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  29. Aw, shucks.

    ~~~~~~~
    Eva Gale said … When tall people ask short people if they need help reaching something on the top shelf of the Super Glutton, it’s an insult. At least it is to me.

    .
    Nope, doesn’t bother me at all. What bothers me is when I have to wait for someone to come down the aisle to reach it for me. There is never a tall person around when you need one. Seriously, when I missed out on the growth spurt thing I decided that I had a choice. I could accept and get over it, or be miserable the rest of my life. It’s only an issue when I run into idiots who equate being short with being stupid. And yet they still live.

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  30. I re-read the blog twice and still didn’t see it. I thought this book was a stand alone. Is it going to be part of a series?

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  31. In the grocery store, the last can is on the top shelf just barely out of reach. Touch the can with thumb and fore finger and it squirts backwards. Reach a little more, the big toe cramps. Look around for help, and there are only more short people. No wonder I lusted after being RubberMan in the comics. He could stretch to be any height he wanted.

    There. That’s what it’s like to be short.

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  32. Wait, I’m a bit confused. I know Lucy and Agnes were tall (IIRC, that is), but wasn’t Min short? My memory of Nell is that she was average height, neither tall nor short, but then I’m a 6′ woman, so I frequently fail to realize that people who are shorter than I am are nevertheless unusually tall or short. Which I suppose goes for characters too sometimes.

    Anyway, a Crusie non-romance should be interesting. I’m all about the banter, though, and of course issues! So…looking forward to it, write fast plz kthxbai!

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  33. If you need any pointers on what it’s like to be short, feel free to ask for some perspective. I’ve been 5′-4″ since 8th grade. *sigh*

    Also, the idea that my 10 year old cat is dignified makes me giggle out loud. My Chloe is very sweet, and very snuggly, but dignified she isn’t.

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  34. a) I love Kristin Chenowith. Loved her since Wicked. Love her in Pushing Daisies. She’s wonderful. (but I don’t like those hair extensions in the video)

    b) I’m all for short heroines. Hold a special place in my heart for them. (which is odd because I’m not short)

    c) You would love August Rush if you haven’t seen it yet.

    d) I am usually a little disappointed if there is not romance at all. But I ADORE sexual tension, so if there’s just a hint of romance, I’m in heaven.

    But whatever you dish up, I will love. It’s just kinda how it works. 😀

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  35. Awww no, not a series! Whatever you write is going to rock, its just…I’m allergic.

    My personal preference is to wait 5 years or until the author is dead* before starting a series because then I know whether they’re ever going to write an ending and if so I can read it like one long book or not bother.

    (*whichever comes sooner)

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  36. Oh please write a short heroine! I always try to make Min short, but she isn’t, dang it! I’m not sure I’ve read many short heroines, and alot of us out here are short. And we have lots of crunchy, gritty, cerebral spunk, I’m tellin’ ya! I may look like someone you could brush past, but I am a mighty, mighty, woman!

    I’m all for a non-romance relationship driven story. I love the way you two write and the dialogue between two people not looking to lay down will be something great on the page.

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  37. I was 4’9″ in junior high and still haven’t reached 5 feet. Perspective I’ve got. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with being short. When you’re the size of the average twelve year-old, the view can be very interesting. Of course, there’s short and then there’s me. I used to hate being short, and anyone who pats me on the head and uses the word cute may draw back a bloody nub, but over the years I’ve embraced my shortness. I have no problem asking a tall person to reach something for me. Isn’t that what they’re there for? No? Huh. 🙂

    The only time it’s been irksome is when I would pick up my daughter from school and I’d get confused with the students and some teacher would treat me like I’m a child. But, fun when they realized I wasn’t!

    Oh, and it’s completely acceptable to have to stand on counter tops and the bottoms of shelves to reach things after you turn 40. Step stools are for sissies.

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  38. Chelle said … and anyone who pats me on the head and uses the word cute may draw back a bloody nub,

    YES! 4′ 8″ here. I have decent upper body strength mostly from lifting myself up onto the counters when I need something from the second shelf. And isn’t it interest the things you can accomplish using just your fingertips? And I so rarely have to duck, which saves where and tear on my back. The whole 12yo thing used to drive me crazy, but now that I’m in my mid 40s … not so much!

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  39. I’m sorry Chelle, but I’ve met you in person. You do not come off as short. I think someone measured wrong. 😉
    Also, there is no way you are 40. Sorry.
    But, where is Jenny? Time to settle the series rumor…..

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  40. The series thing.

    Wild Ride is a standalone. But because we got so many requests to make Agnes a series (uh, how?) we decided to structure this one so that the premise and the ending actually made it feasible that this could be a series. So this may be the only Ride book ever, or it might be the first of two or it might be the first of twenty. We don’t know. We’re writing it as if it’s the only one because I hate those books that leave open ends to start a new book. I want closure.

    So series? We don’t know.

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  41. Life is too short to be tall.

    Actually the guy wearing that T-shirt was well over 6 foot, but I still thought it was a great saying. Probably because he was cute… at least, so far as I could tell.

    Whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always: taller. Now I don’t mind it so much. You can take a bath without hurting your neck, you can fit in airplane seats, and absolutely no one asks you what the weather is like up there.

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  42. I would love a short heroine! I never met a guy yet who turned down my request to “borrow their height” if I needed to reach something. That is why there are tall people, right? – to reach stuff for us! 😉

    And it never matters how tall a guy is to make sure he is taller than you. My tall friends always ask me “how tall is he?” And I answer I don’t know -taller than me – 5’2″! It is a non-dating issue.

    I thought you wrote Elvis just fine…You just need to meet a more outgoing cat. My cat will have long converstations with you, and tell me that the other cat is stupid and I should get rid it. She has lots of attitude.

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  43. It makes me laugh that you did not realize that Kristin was playing an angry person in that “If” video! She shoots the guy!!! So you think that was just OCD?? So now you are officially responsible for getting me hooked on Kristin AND YouTube. I had to show everyone the video of her singing Taylor the Latte Boy (a family name) at Thanksgiving. Oh my goddess. Next it will be Pandora. No, Doonesbury is responsible for that addiction. Love it.

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  44. Ok, the standalone-book-that-can-be-part-of-a-series thing is entirely understandable. Anyway, who am I kidding? I buy all your books as soon as they’re published. Its a struggle to think of a topic you couldn’t make me read about. The 100 Years’ War. Maybe.

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  45. I am so excited to see all these short people here! I’ve been obsessed with Kristen since finding out she’s 4’11”, same as me (sadly, I’d guess she’s about half my weight). So if MI is going to be short, can she be “proper” short? I mean, 5’4″ or something is tall to me…

    Oh and can I just mention I once had to ask someone to get something down from the Petite rack in a clothing store? Sigh.

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  46. requests to make Agnes a series (uh, how?)>>>>>>OK, coming in very late here, but it could be a series, if Carpenter is now Wilson, and shane and agnes keep the homestead as touchstone base kinda thing, he could send Shane out on assignments with agnes help, or have the house be a safehouse, with guests being guarded…..

    or agnes could just cook for everyone, turning it into a restaurent, joey and garth help, shane helps the local pd, LOrd knows they need it……. ok, shutting up now.

    happy new year……….pat

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