I have gone and committed to another boxed Downunder set with a Christmas theme, with a book that is barely written.
Idiot much.
Or doing my best work under pressure.
Both, I would say, because there is surely a severely strange masochistic streak at play here that would require the insight of several psychologists to resolve. None the less, I’ve gone and agreed, so what the heck.  Me and the internet are getting a divorce soon (we break up so much we need a song) so that I can write the thing.
The upside to this, is that I have the best friends who like talking about all this stuff, even if they don’t read it.
The men boys are actually the best when it comes to offering constructive comment. They aren’t steeped in the whole genre and so they don’t come up with same old-same old. They don’t know the romance language (oh, yes, there is a language and we are not talking swearing or those hideous cliches the media like to trot out when they do some banal romance fiction piece and think they are hi-freaking-larious.) It is, in fact, all about different perspectives and all that.
That’s why I quite like having boys (note that when I say boys, I actually mean grown men, not ten year olds) read my stuff. They don’t have to love it, they don’t have to even like it. They, of course, do it purely for the love of me  (I am convinced of this). However, they do require a certain degree of intelligence to (a) see a glaringly obvious plot disaster which I can’t see because I am too close to it, having written it, and (b) spot other stuff which I can’t see because… well, just because.
I have to talk about Barry the vegan. A man boy close to my heart.
Barry is a secondary character in a different book I am supposed to be finishing called All About Sage, but there is an issue with him, a problem, so a certain vegan told me when she read what I’d written about him.
Barry is a vegan and I have written him, I was told, like a cliche. Barry is tall and skinny, he rides a bike, he does yoga, he wears his hair in a bun, and he works at a vegan cafe. I made him up.
Now, the vegan isn’t happy about all this and said there are some things I should change. So I discussed some of the vegan’s issues with a non-vegan friend I shall refer to as Jack.
The vegan didn’t like that I described Barry as anorexically gaunt. Jack (who could lose a kilo – shit, I hope he’s not reading this) thought that was funny.
Vegan did not like that Barry wore his hair in a bun.  I changed his bun to a ponytail but Jack said he has to have long hair and he has to have it in a bun. I should say I love long hair on boys. Two of my legit boys (as in ones I gave birth to) have long hair. Their hair is better than mine. It is thicker, longer, stronger. I am so jealous of their amazing hair especially when I (to steal a quote) have a ponytail even John Key wouldn’t bother pulling. But I digress…
Barry has long hair and that is cool.
The vegan wasn’t all that fussed about Barry practising yoga. Jack said, bring it on.
So, as much as I adore the vegan and her vegan ways with all my carnivorous heart, I am going with Jack on this and making Barry all of the above.
I should add I don’t actually know any Barry’s because THIS IS FICTION!!   Maybe I know some vegan blokes and just aren’t aware they abhor the wonders of a Georgie Pie and a Big Mac.  I see boys around I kind of assume would be Barries, but I doubt they are all of the above, and I’m not even sure boys do yoga, unless they’re professional sports people in need of some limbering up.
So, here’s an excerpt, from the yet-to-be-finished ALL ABOUT SAGE.   He makes an appearance a few pages down… Barry the vegan…