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Wordy C: Never confuse an "Artistic Ménage à trois" with sex... Although it can be quite sexy at times.



Carolyn Tann Starr


Wordy C: Never confuse an "Artistic Ménage à trois" with sex... Although it can be quite sexy at times.


Some of you may not realize this, but when you look at artwork or pick up a good book you are engaging in an Artistic Ménage à trois between the artists who create the work, the work itself, and you. The three elements converge to create an intangible connection that engages a participant's imagination and gently triggers an emotional response. Gentle being the operative word. Most people do not wish to be mind-f*cked and visually raped (although some do). Being receptive to the knowledge flowing through ones' senses is the influencing factor for the observer's decision to linger, stay and discover what else is in store...

I have a thing for great art. I gravitate towards it and crave it. That's why I love writers and spend an inordinate amount of downtime lurking on their blogs (especially Penelope Trunk's - LOL). Authors are amazing artists who paint complicated pictures with words and are phenomenal at getting readers to linger, stay and discover all kinds of interesting personal facts. I love discovering contests, sneak peaks and updates on their projects, characters and world views. Sometimes, you even get great career tips and unique perspectives as to what it is like to do the things that they do.

Penelope Trunk is mad fun to read and really good at taking an ordinary day and making it an extraordinary learning experience. "How To Reinvent Your Career" by Penelope must be read to the very end or you'll miss a useful relationship-career life lesson (plus all the fun of becoming a potential fan and habitually reading a blunt, snarky, fabulously transparent writer - LOL). I found "How to Cope with Self-doubt" very enlightening because I keep destroying my manuscripts and re-writing stuff.

Here's a PT quote to entice you to click the above link: "Tonight I am worrying that other people have greatness and there is a finite amount of greatness and it is slipping out of my hands. Also, it is embarrassing to admit to wanting greatness knowing that there is a risk that I will not achieve it. To calm myself down I eat some Oreos..."  Another interesting quote: "Once you decide that you really want something enough to shift your life to get it – at that point you want it so much that you will feel like your life is somehow incomplete if you don’t get it." I get that Miss P, in technicolor spades and bifocal shades (LOL).

Every time I find a great read I usually find something lacking in my own work of fiction and become determined to improve and fix it. Reading a great author is like going to a fun virtual school where you get to indulge in your favorite past-time, be marvelously entertained (Psst... @CTannStarr Twitter alert - FOLLOW: @melissa @burningbunnies @vickipettersson @PenelopeTrunk @JocelynnDrake) while also learning something useful and cool from their blogs, like:

Five shortcuts to make yourself more valuable - Penelope Trunk PT Quote: "Advice admonishing you to break rules is so shallow. How can you break rules without learning them first? People who understand all the rules know intuitively how to break them because they know the rules that really are not working. People who do not know rules are not breaking rules. They are annoying people."

Social Skills Boot Camp - Penelope Trunk PT Quote: "Like me, Melissa has Asperger’s Syndrome. So I can finish her sentences for her, and she can finish my sentences. Which is funny because neither of us ever shuts up. So there are really never any sentences to finish."

Swing Thoughts + Writing Tips = Swing Tips - Faith Hunter FH Quote: "Swing thoughts are the few, important, special things a golfer keeps at the front of his brain before and during each shot. It might be, “Pick a target, let it happens.” (That’s a real swing thought as said by a caddy with a lovely accent, caught by a mic, and sent out over the airwaves. That golfer won, as my hubby recalls.) So what do swing thoughts have to do with writing? A lot..."

On Endings - Vicki Pettersson VP Quote: "I’d much rather you rue the successful ending of the series than rue its continuation, and I was more afraid of the latter happening if I continued driving Joanna so hard and fast on her journey through the Zodiac underworld. Start strong, end stronger – that’s my motto (that I just made up. ;-) "

Discovering something or someone you like helps you discover new things about yourself you may not have otherwise noticed. Chatting about my fave authors/bloggers keeps my thoughts racing and brain primed and engaged because when those Skype and Facebook boxes start popping up I am sometimes on-line for hours with other fans looking to hang out in our virtual book and blog clubs (LOL). Didn't see that one coming but it's really nice getting invitations to talk. I actually get a lot of pop-ups when I log in. They don't call me Wory C for nothing - I earned that moniker and frequently chat my a$$ off (LOL). ;-)

If you're a visual person (like I am) then the more complex and vibrant the writer's world the better for inspiring readers like me to keep reading. Whether personal or fiction, I find myself enjoying the anticipation of discovering their next revelations. Some social media peeps are better than others when it comes to being themselves and transparent. These ladies are great at it, that's why I love reading Penelope, Kim, Vicki and Jocelynn. They give you their personal perspective of them simply being human... Nothing beats a page turner when you're locked into a stellar storyline or getting snarky-cool career advice, but when you feel connected to the artists that intangible good will crosses over to heighten the experience.

I don't know about you but I have quirky reading habits (LOL). Reading a good book and an interesting blog gives the cartoons in my head something fun to do (like watching them act out mind-blowing-mini-movies and inspiring me to continue writing my own books between doodles - LOL). I doodle a lot when thinking about Kim Harrison, Jocelynn Drake and Vicki Pettersson books because urban fantasy doodling is fun and it opens the artistic door for me to put my creative thinking cap on and let my mind wander and ponder at will.

Stephen Starr in Florida face painting in the park:

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011 Stephen Starr

Sometimes, I borrow the creative thinking caps of others (like when my girlfriends or kids are the boss of me and they make me function on demand - LOL). When creative people (and little kids) give you a tip or good suggestion you ought to pay attention and look into what they have to say. It can be very rewarding because sharing your pleasure is a good thing that can give you lots of fun stuff to talk about for days on end. I sometimes take my kids to work with me. I've discovered that Stephen, the Minion Blur has excellent taste. Shorty is only 5 years old but helps produce my blogs, albums, band swag, pending children's books and has helped host open houses (both sold - MD gal pal Margaret Rome).

Now shorty wants to be a graphic novel because we're impatiently waiting for our copy of Blood Work (LOL). Stephen frequently picks which paintings make it into the gallery, which songs go on what albums for iTunes and which sketches get released where. The wee people boss me around more than my hubby, mom and gal pals combined so I guess I'm gonna have to make my kids into a friggin' comic book for fun (I'm nuts about my little minions and frequently do what they want - LOL). Besides, that would be a nice daily distraction to keep me from constantly freaking out about my novella and novel (sigh).


Carolyn Tann Starr 2011 Kim Harrison

Just in case you're new to my blog, 1- been reading Penelope since April 2008 and 2- Kim is the reason why I read Vicki and Jocelynn (and periodically post a doodle on Facebook in the Kim-Stream - LOL). Kimi's fans are the bomb-diggity and I think she's simply amazing. We're a chatty group of readers who meet in the Facebook streams, direct message, tweet, text, e-mail, call and go hang out.

Yeah, we actually call each other and meet in real life. Well why not? We are going to go to Starbucks and Barnes & Nobles anyway so hooking up for books and snack-age is kinda cool (LOL).  The whole point of social media is to be social (Duh?). Guess which Literal Addiction Facebook Kimi-peep I'm hanging out with next? Carla Gallway, (Book Monster Reviews). How cool is that? Very! Carla has a couple of autographed urban fantasy books for me (I won a Book Monster Review contest) so I will be blogging about her Book Monster adventures regarding getting those signatures somewhere down the digital road plus show you the books. Sure Carla could have mailed them but where's the fun in that when we can hang out, have lunch and talk books instead?

Will there be some future Carla mischief in the works? (Insert evil grin here - oh horror! - LOL) Stay tuned for more Wordy C book reviews. Don't be scared... Um... Hmmmm... Okay, maybe just a little bit (silly grin).

If I seriously start getting really chatty about books (OMG - have you seen me anal retentive? - LOL) I'm going to take most of my cues from my fave authors to get started. I love their work, think they are fabulous and am curious about who they read. Vicki recently wrote a blog post entitled "RWA-Redux"where she mentions she has good peeps like authors Jeaniene Frost, Pamela Palmer, Karina Cooper and Larissa Ione. Being the anal retentive, Curious George kinda gal I am I've already added Vicki's friends to my book club list of people to read and tease on my blog later (LOL).

Yeah... I know - bad mommy blogger for planning book reviews of Vicki's friends simply because she likes them and I am sooooo easily amused (LOL). I like being amused and do not feel a need to give that up any time soon so don't expect me to repent - that is soooooo not happening (LOL). I just hope they are half as much fun as the fabulous chicks who currently have my undivided attention. If you could open my brain trust to dust off my mental dictionary to look up sexy, tongue-in-cheek, post-modern authors you'll find these chicks on the front row waiting to have their social media pictures embedded there as the Wordy C Urban Fantasy definition of people you love to be twitterpated by who give MAD COOL its meaning (LOL).

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

FYI: I have to  pause from grinning about Vicki to show you some of what makes following Jocelynn mad fun. I have no idea what I'm going to be doing with Invasion Of The Urban Fantasy Book Babes but you better believe your blogger's butt I will be cooking up some artistic fan mischief for the Jocelynn-Stream down the road. I could do a lot with the concept of Urban Fantasy Book Babes. You have got to admit that is a really cool name for a blog post and business page. How can you not visit there? You guys need to "Like" and "Share" those pages and come lurk with me for some fun. Jocelynn mentions she'll be posting an excerpt from Karina Cooper's "Lure of the Wicked" and reports "I got the chance to read this book long before it's scheduled release and I can tell you that it's fabulous! Dark, gritty, and totally sexy." I like dark, gritty sexy books. I am a native New Yorker (LOL). It's downloading in my Kindle to PC right now (dumb a$$ me brought the paperback - my bad - blog updated - LOL) since Vicki and Jocelynn each said nice things about Karina this week. Two thumbs up from two of my fave authors means she's a keeper for my book club so I will be messing with her later down the digital divide (it's what I do - LOL). Nicole Murphy's "Rogue Gadda" and Merrie Destefano's "Feast: Harvest of Dreams" also got a Jocelynn-Stream shout out. Will be taking a peek at both of those soon, but I digress... ;-)

Back to smiling about Vicki: The Joanna Archer saga by Vicki Pettersson has my imagination running wild (reading them now - downloaded five on Kindle to PC - got number six autographed - yay). My cartoons have decided Joanna Archer is The Matrix, Bourne Identity, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Underworld all rolled up into one construct to taunt a wise cracking, bad a$$ stiletto wearing heroine plopped into superherodom into giving the bad guys the Joanna Archer smack down. I hate spoilers so you need to go buy her books to discover what that's like. Hint: Agents of Light and Shadow war against each other for control over Sin City. Warning: Vicki's writing will seduce you into becoming a fan and make you want to see Las Vegas... I know because I want to see Las Vegas (LOL) I am sooooo driving over there before Christmas to take a look. Plus my editor lives in AZ so it's a very do-able road trip from the FL house. My kids will love this... We're a car happy blogging family. ;-)

Vicki also creates fun YouTubes and has a cool blog:


Carolyn Tann Starr


I love being seduced by the work of other artists. It takes an amazing amount of dedication and craftsmanship to produce a work worthy of admiration and support. Most writers rarely think of themselves as visual artists but I do because their words fill my head with visions inspired by their stories...


Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

When I create illustrations and paintings or go on a photography shoot I am a visual artist inviting you to see what I see... The hunt for eye candy is always the foundation for an Artistic Ménage à trois because it's a narrow and specific bit of voyeurism regarding the space/time continuum. Life is dynamic and always passing you by with every breath you take. Photography is seductive because it can capture your breath for eternity and give you many pleasurable moments with the visual reminder of the people, places and things that you love.

THE HUNT FOR EYE CANDY REALLY IS A HUNT... IT INCLUDES BOOK-CANDY. Book-candy is all about feeding your inner eye and imagination with instant gratification born from authors taking you on an intellectual ride. Just like stalking images with a camera, readers stalk the shelves hunting for authors that will satisfy their eye candy fetish. Ever hang out with a professional photographer? We will take 400 pictures just to get THE SHOT.

Photographers who blog are artists who seek venues to express visuals as an artistic enticement to make you wish that you were there. We like trying to make you wish you could peek just a little to the left or around the corner to see what else you might be missing... 

We pick our images to illicit an intimate response. Our goal is to get the observer to embrace the intangible qualities that makes them realize it's not just a fountain or pretty picture, it's a beautiful day. Same principle with a good book. You get INTO the story if you like it and notice the details that influence you to like or dislike a character or situation. Every page read is a new impression embedded in your mind, a piece of the whole picture. When you start falling in love with a series it's because you've been seduced to fall in love with the quirks, ticks and mannerisms of characters you enjoy spending quality time with...

Good art seduces people to linger and take pleasure in paying attention to what makes something unique. Writers who blog are amazing in that regard because unlike a photographer, illustrator or painter, their gift is to paint images into existence with their words and take you by the hand, leading you down the garden paths of their day and/or imaginations... The ones who blog have a huge advantage over authors who do not: they can answer a fan question that gives readers insight into the motivations, wants, needs, desires of their creations. They can write a novelette, a novella and/or participate in an anthology taking a character out of a series to play with another character on a side adventure. This can enrich the series for readers because if you read the additional material you will be in on the joke, recognize and understand significant statements and character growth turning points better than the people who don't get what's so funny at book club when peers take turn reading out loud their favorite sections.


Carolyn Tann Starr 2011


Make no mistake about it - if you are an author who blogs and you promise to lead someone down the garden path then it had better be a damn good secret garden... We lurk on your websites because we want to know YOU. The promise of more YOU creates anticipation and a craving for the next book encounter. Feeling connected and invested in supporting your art makes us miniature patrons rather than a reader passing through. Social media is amazing because interaction heightens a participant's senses and makes the willing reader fall in love with the mind that can take him or her out of reality and walk down the garden path of fiction, whether urban fantasy or any genre promising a good adventure.


Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

I take my authors everywhere I go because I am intimately addicted to their writing and don't want to miss a single social media update. I read excerpts. I pre-order. I lurk on blogs with my friends. We text the crap out of each other too, especially if there's a Kimi alert (LOL).

I am inviting you to read my fave Urban Fantasy authors because they give a whole new meaning to the concept of "intimacy addiction." Urban Fantasy really is an acquired taste and can be a complicated, interesting experience if you invest time in trying it out. If you do get hooked on them, then you may find yourself entertaining the urge to smack the crap out of me while you suffer from series withdrawal waiting for their next round of books to be published after you've read them all (said the silly Kim Harrison fan who has read everything available and is still waiting for something new from Kimi to read besides her cool blog where she confesses spending the last three weeks crocheting tomatoes. Seriously... I am actually NOT being facetious here (which is really rare - LOL). Click the cool blog link to find out more about that bit of Kimi creative mischief plus her recent trip to New York to attend RWA.

Author Jocelynn Drake is gearing up for a new book series and currently has me totally captivated by her Dark Days series (downloaded and speed reading like crazy - LOL). There's a Spanking-A 100 word media soundbite on her blog I'm quoting for my elevator pitch at book-club tonight: "Jocelynn Drake, dark urban fantasy author of the New York Times bestselling Dark Days series, was born and raised in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati, Ohio region where she still lives. After gaining her bachelors in literature, she pursued a career in the financial industry where she currently writes articles regarding the stock market on a regular basis. She is a member of both the Romance Writers of America and The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. When not at her desk, she is most likely to be found playing video games, watching movies, or hunting down hidden treasures."

Yeah...bookies do a round robin of author elevator pitches. It teaches us how to write our own when it's our turn to explain ourselves. You may only have a minute to make an impression on someone so don't squander or miss your opportunity to connect with people.

Jocelynn did a guest blog at where two readers will have an opportunity to win a signed copy of Burn the Night: The Final Dark Days Novel. This contest will end July 16th, the winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email with the results announced in their Week In Review post on Sunday, July 17th. Gotta be in it to win it. Don't forget to follow her on Twitter: @JocelynnDrake.

Fun is accepting my invitation to become intimately acquainted with characters from Rachel Morgan/The Hollows, Dark Days, Sign of the Zodiac and  Madison Avery. If you do you will discover my fave UF Authors will push your buttons, make you hot, ring your bell, flip your b*tch switch and high-jack your funny bone. You may even get a Facebook invite to one of our exclusive fan Skype parties or told where the brick and mortars fans are gathering for the evening's mischief.

Got a side hustle? Looking for stellar career advice? Penelope Trunk, Penelope Trunk, Penelope Trunk (LOL).

P.S. Of course there's mischief. I'm hosting some of those puppies. NY Book/Blog Night is outrageous. :-p

Admission is a club member referral. RSVP acceptance is sending me a shot of the book (or download on an electronic device picture) because we hate when there's an idiot who didn't read the book messing with the chat-flow mojo. Yeah, we're hanging out cracking wise but the subject is writing tips, the authors and their books. That's why we switched from first come first serve to invitation only. We buy and talk books and do our writer's workshop homework together so if you want to play our game you really have to read their blogs and books.

Yes, I'm the urban fantasy student from hell because I'm the newbie wanna-be-writer playing catchup with people who are a whole lot smarter than I am. It makes me work twice as hard to find good reads to pass along. No one wants to be the moron who made 69 licensed professionals buy a book that sucked. It's a Club Chaos / Realtors and Friends Who Read thing. Seriously... ;-)

Gotta finish reading Vicki so I can go play in Starbucks tonight. This is me leaving you with one last thing to smile about:  Vicki Pettersson YouTube: Tips From a Showgirl

Our book-club list of stuff we're throwing a Skype Party for at Starbucks:

Friday's park picks:

The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, Book 1) Vicki Pettersson

Nightwalker (Dark Days, Book 1) Jocelynn Drake

Holidays Are Hell by Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Vicki Pettersson and Marjorie M. Liu

Saturday's beach picks:

Prom Nights from Hell by Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Meg Cabot, Lauren Myracle and Michele Jaffe

The Taste of Night (Sign of the Zodiac, Book 2) Vicki Pettersson

Dayhunter (Dark Days, Book 2) Jocelynn Drake

Sunday Skype Party:

Lure of the Wicked: A Dark Mission Novel by Karina Cooper

Pale Demon (The Hollows, Book 9) by Kim Harrison

Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success by Penelope Trunk






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Comment balloon 2 commentsC Tann-Starr • July 03 2011 07:09PM
Wordy C: Never confuse an "Artistic Ménage à trois" with…
Wordy C: Never confuse an "Artistic Ménage à trois" with sex… Although it can be quite sexy at times. Some of you may not realize this, but when you look at artwork or pick up a good… more