At this point when I make my writing collage, I go find a stock photo, because when the cover artist asks for my models, I can send them something they might actually be able to use. I worried at first I’d be limited to stock polished, boring specimens, but to my happiness, this is not the case. In fact, I’ve found some real characters in those stock photo files, and my favorite of all time is Giles.
I hadn’t fully fleshed out his character—sometimes I use the collage building as a way to find bits of the story that elude me, and Giles the stock photo guy delivered big time. In every one of his poses, he always looked a bit off the mark. His hair was a bit weird. His gestures seemed a little forced. He was not the most graceful man I’d ever seen. And I absolutely loved him for it.
As Aaron became a very hunky hero, their dueling positions on the appearance spectrum wove into the plot. As I stared at the collage, Giles told me all about how irritating it was to be skinny and awkward when he wanted to take the world by storm. He told me how he got around the shitty hand life dealt him, how he got the better of the guys who wanted to bully him. I realized how much his looks affected his character and his conflict. In the same way people assumed things about Aaron because he looked like a poster boy, people saw geek in Giles and relegated him to certain roles, ones he will be the first to tell you he didn’t sign up for.
I can definitely relate to Giles’s complaints. In my youth I was six feet tall in seventh grade, and I wasn’t a fashion plate. I wanted to be pretty and fashionable, but even if my family would have been able to afford 80s shopping, it was always hard for me to find pants and shirts that fit, and don’t get me started on shoes. People asked me, constantly, if I played basketball. My quick-growing body made me uncoordinated, so I was awful at sports. What I wanted was to be a dancer or a cheerleader. I wanted to be like everyone else, but I was always this very awkward duck on the sidelines, hunching my shoulders because I hated being the class giant.
I’ll be the first to warn you not to judge Giles for his bad hair, skinny body, and sticking-out ears. Maybe he doesn’t look great on a book cover, but he wouldn’t give any guy a complaint in bed. He can convince the toppiest top to bottom for him. He might not be big enough for the football team, but he plays a mean violin. His life thus far has made him a bit cynical and disinclined to trust, but once he lets you in, he’s loyal to you for life.
Hunky heroes are great, and they certainly have their place. But I have to tell you, I love a geeky, awkward guy more. Anybody can be pretty, but it takes some serious character to be sexy despite your appearance. Decidedly, I’m biased, but I encourage you to give Giles a try. He can definitely get you there.
Learn about Aaron’s thoughts on being judged for his beauty over his brain on October 6 at The Blogger Girls.
Coming September 30 from Samhain Publishing
Book Two of the Love Lessons Series
Sometimes you have to play love by ear.
Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.
Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.
Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.
Buy links: Samhain, Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, iTunes
Book Page on Website
Book Page for Love Lessons (book one in the series)
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
The Giveaway: To celebrate the upcoming release of Fever Pitch, Heidi Cullinan would love to give you a couple of ways to win prizes.
To enter for a chance to win an e-copy of Fever Pitch, leave a comment here on Heidi’s post by Midnight Pacific Time on Monday, September 22, 2014. One winner will be selected at random on Tuesday, the 23rd, and notified via email for prize delivery.
The second chance to win this tour’s Grand Prize is via Rafflecopter and includes the following:
* an e-copy of Fever Pitch
* a signed paperback copy of Love Lessons (ships worldwide)
* choice of a $10 iTunes gift card or one month Spotify membership
* choice of St. Timothy store item
24 thoughts on “Guest Post and Giveaway: Heroes With Big Ears by Heidi Cullinan”
**crying** Thank you so much for posting this, Lisa. This book really touches my heart. I feel very close to Aaron so please, count me in for the giveaway.
Isn’t it great?! When we sign up for Heidi’s tours, she gives us a list of blog topics to choose from, and this is the one I chose. I love it too.
Thank you, Lisa. We need this kind of books to help others to see that not everyone’s life is all smiles and love. Thank you, again.
please count me in
I’m on Living80 side on this one. Family can really destroy you..makes you feel worthless..Mine almost killed my soul, Thank you Heidi for writing this book.
Please count me in for the giveaway. Thank you.
I’m sorry tea58 you had a painful past. I know too well what it feels like so my special tight hug is flying to you <3
It’s good that after you get out of school some of these issues aren’t nearly as important, even though they still leave a mark. :-)
I love the guy on the cover – this cover feel really fresh and inviting. Thanks for the great post, Heidi. And yes, I’d like to be in the raffle!
Wonderful. Love the cover.
I do love a geeky hero, they are more approachable, and undoubtely cute. I am looking forward to reading your book.
The book sounds great. I love a geeky hero! Thanks for the giveaway.
Looking forward to reading this so much! Thanks for your post and the giveaway!
I am always interested to learn about the authors choice behind the cover model and how well his image fits the character of the book. I know exactly what its like not to ‘fit in’ and be a geek during high school and longed for the escape to college. A friend of mine recently went back to their high school reunion and when I said I never would go back, but maybe one day I might. I really look forward to reading this book, as I loved the first one.
Thank you for sharing. It’s always interesting to find out the authors procedure for approaching the cover design and model for their books.
Love hearing about the background to the characters! Loved Love Lessons so I. Sure this will be great!
This new book sounds terrific. Count me in, please.
This is one of the books that can really help others. Sometimes you need someone that can understand you without saying the words. This book is really going to be important to me. Count me in for the giveaway, Lisa. Thanks
Please count me in.
Reading about this kind of family/life matter brings me back in time when I was still living with my family. Count me in for the giveaway. Thank you.
Please count me in too. Thanks!
Please add me too!!!
This looks to be a very interesting book
I’m a HUGE fan. I can’t wait to get my grabby grabby hands on this one; only one more week!!! Woohoooo!!! It sounds fabulous and actually – I adore everything by Heidi so I KNOW it will be fabulous. :-) <3