These are a few of my favorite words...
A guest post by author Mia Kerick
I’m a word-sensitive person. My first realization of this came with awkward squirming and heavy facial sweating in seventh grade Health and Family Living (sex ed) class when Mr. Benson employed certain rather necessary words (puberty,menstruation, ejaculate, breasts) that I… uh, had a problem with. Worse was speaking such words aloud in a prepubescent public discussion of the birds and the bees. Singing these words was out of the question. Unfortunately, my middle school guitar teacher, Mr. Lindemann—in all his long-haired, hipster glory—insisted upon teaching me to strum along to “singable” songs. “Rock-a My Soul in the ____ of Abraham! Rock-a My Soul in the ____ of Abraham!” Bosom was on my no-no word list. Guitar lessons ended almost before they began.
Severe word-sensitivity scarred twelve-year-old Mia.
From there, the situation only got worse. By the time I was in high school, my word-sensitivity had blossomed into a full-fledged phobia. Nugget, tender, bulbous, moist (okay, I just cringed), ooze, putrid. You get the picture. Maybe it was the sound of a certain word or its shape in my mouth. Maybe it was the image conjured in my mind. These words just didn’t work for me. Oh, they didn’t work for high school-you, either? Maybe I wasn’t so unique, but let’s not disregard that I had a problem—it was a challenge to order chicken strips at fast food restaurants!
Interesting on-topic fact: one of my daughters shared my teenage aversion to certain words. She kept a notebook, in which she listed a collection of words that grossed her out. Gross. That’s another word I avoid like COVID-19.
Poor Tyler Gross… a nice boy with a sophomore year crush on me. He didn’t stand a chance.
(FYI: ALL liquid-y words fall into the “most avoided” category. Dripping, soggy, juicy, damp.Blech.)
On the bright side, in adulthood my persistent word-sensitivity has produced some benefits. J
There are words and terms that make my romance writer’s soul sing. I probably should have led with this, huh? And where better to start than with coming undone? I can’t get enough of a character coming undone in response to the words or deeds of their beloved. Zippers and buttons and tiny little hooks coming undone ain’t so bad, either.
I’m majorly into unbridled* emotions in romance. I’ll take unrestrained, too, in a pinch. These words let me know the character is passionate. Maybe even wildly so.
I’m partial to taut things. Muscles, cheeks (facial and …um, not facial). And other stuff. Hehehe.
In comparative descriptive terms, I’m cool with “like a gladiator.” I’ve watched Spartacus; I know what gladiators look like beneath their armor. I’m equally cool with “like a highlander.”
Outlander TV series. Jamie Fraser. Kilt. YUM. Enough said.
The word collide thrills me. So many things can collide in romance novels. Gazes, hearts, lips (hopefully not teeth), sometimes fists… and even lives. That last part was profound.
Other verbs that stir me: plunder and tumble. No explanation required.
But quiver—nope, not so much.
Two-word terms that cause spine shivers: “fix you” (many would disagree, reminding me that you shouldn’t want to change the one you love, but it still makes the list) and “tortured hero.”Mmmmm. Variations on “perfect imperfections” is good, too. Thank you, John Legend.
And I can’t leave out broken. I write dark romance—almost all of my main characters are broken in one way or another. Damaged is an essential tool of the trade as well.
I’m not much into the wink, as far as gesture-words go. So short and clipped and precise. But a shrug…bring it on. A shrug is just so complicated—the word, in itself, sounds cryptic, and it indicates that a character can’t commit his unbridled* (see above) passion to the verbal realm. And that’s just plain hot.
First, only, forever, and mine.Yes, please…
And even better: You. Are. Mine.Did you hear me sigh?
I have a new release, Born for Leaving, in which the perfectly imperfect main characters, Oliver and Bodie, quite regularly come undone—emotionally and zipper-wise. You won’t be surprised to learn that their passion for each other is dangerously unbridled. Bodie, with his dark red curls and taut muscles, looks like a highlander of old. And if Oliver were a gladiator, he would be of the fair-haired, long and lanky variety. Broken from the pain of their difficult childhoods, these tortured heroes strive to fix one another’s damaged souls. Their hearts collide, although Oliver takes a tumble when Bodie plunders his heart by leaving town without a word. Oliver is Bodie’s first and only lover; he is everything to him. Will Bodie tell Oliver, in no uncertain terms, “You are mine,” so they can enjoy a blissful forever together?
See what I did there?
As an avid romance reader, maybe you endure the highs and lows of word-sensitivity. (Shrug.) Maybe not. Let me know in the comments section. I’m all ears. (Not literally.)
About the author
It is with pure candor I inform you that Mia Kerick had an author identity crisis. Oh-so-very-briefly, she adopted the name Jude Munro as her Adult Gay Romance pen name in an effort to separate writing genres. Jude is an author of strictly adult fictional characters who are drawn to the ocean. Complicated men who have sunbathed on the sands of many alluring East Coast beaches. Men who answer questions like “Who do you think you are, the sun god?” (who they often resemble) if they can hear you over "Boys of Summer" cranking on their headphones. Men for whom no shoes and no shirt is really not a problem. And now the two have names merged into the original—Mia Kerick—who writes Adult and YA LGBTQ+ romance and fiction. As always, her broken characters must earn their day at the beach. (Yes, there is always a HEA).
As Mia Kerick, this author’s mostly upper YA books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine. They won a 2019 IPPY GOLD award, a 2018 YA GOLD MOONBEAM, a YA Readers’ Favorite Award, several first place Rainbow Awards, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, a YA Indie Fab Award, a First Place Royal Dragonfly Award, a First Place Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award, and a YA category finalist for the Eric Hoffer award, and more.
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