Without a doubt, the woman I most often hear other authors laud as the writer who most influenced their work -- and the one they just adore reading -- is today's very special GuestBlogger, Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Please, Bellas, a warm buongiorno for everyone's favorite...
So…you’re walking in the woods minding your own business when this genie pops up in front of you. Not one of those pot-bellied genies either. This genie is 6 feet plus of steely muscle; dark, rumpled hair; blazing blue eyes, and -- But I digress.
“Babe,” he says, because that’s the way Hunky Genie talks. “I’m going to grant you a skill.”
“A skill?” you say. “No offense, but I’d rather have cold, hard cash.”
“Too crass,” H.G. says. “Trust me, this’ll be a lot better. I’m going to grant you mastery of a skill you’ve always wanted. Any skill.”
You eye H.G.’s tight-fitting genie jeans. “Like…X-ray vision?”
But H.G. is not to be trifled with. “You have exactly thirty seconds to stop messing around and decide what skill you want me to give you.”
Which brings me to this question.… What skill do others possess that you wish you had? I know from many conversations with readers that a lot of people would like to be able to write a book. That’s a skill I already possess, along with the ability to form my tongue into a straw and nag my grown sons. There are, however, many skills I’d like, including the ability to remember my multiplication tables.
One great aspect of being a writer is that I get to vicariously possess the skills of my characters. Sports, for example. I’ve been writing about the NFL for over fifteen years in my books about the Chicago Stars football team. It all started because of my own insecurities as a non-athlete. What would happen, I wondered, if a woman who knows nothing about sports inherited a professional football team? That idea eventually grew into IT HAD TO BE YOU, the first book in what would become my Chicago Stars series.
The last (final?) book in that series is NATURAL BORN CHARMER, the story of quarterback Dean Robillard and a woman dressed up in a beaver suit. (See the Sneak Peek at RBtheBook) But, as alluring as it would be to have Hunky Genie transform me into a great athlete, I’m going to pass for something I really, really, really want.
I want to be a great rocker.
There, I’ve said it. A little late in life, I know, especially for a woman born with a tin ear, but that’s what I want -- a gravelly, pitch-perfect voice and kick butt mastery of the electric guitar. The closest I’ve come to living my dream is through a character named Jack Patriot, who also appears in NATURAL BORN CHARMER. Now there’s a man who could park his Fender Stratocaster under my…uh…kitchen table any time he wants. Alas, writing about him didn’t improve my ability to carry a tune.
Oops… Hunky Genie is impatiently tapping one glossy black boot.
Quick… What’s skill do you wish you had? Tell him (and us).
Visit Susan at SusanElizabethPhillips.com to learn more about NBCharmer and the rest of the Chicago Stars series!
Encore! The handsome guy with Susan in the Hawaii shot above, left, is her own Natural Born Charmer, her husband, Bill!
Encore due! One of SEP's favorite places that do good stuff is "Teens Alone," right here in my MN backyard. You may want to check it out.
Encore due! Samara O'Shea GuestBlogs tomorrow. The love-letter writing expert will tell us just what guys think about a sweet, sexy Valentine's letter.