Posted by Beth Andrews Sep 12 2012, 4:00 am in Ellen Hartman, Harlequin Superromance, Out of Bounds, The Long Shot
I’m thrilled to welcome back Super Author (no, really, she’s super *g*) Ellen Hartman to the lair!
I have a scientific discovery to share with you. I didn’t do the science, but I tested the conclusion and here it is: if you pretend to smile, you’ll actually feel happy.
I had a paper route when I was ten and started babysitting soon afterwards. What I really wanted was a steady paycheck, so the second I turned sixteen, I applied for my first real job at McDonald’s in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania. That job brought my first unrequited crush. It was on my manager, the aptly named Mr. Mark Paradise—he was almost twenty years old, with Bo Duke’s golden curls, who could resist? During my time at McDonald’s, I learned many valuable lessons, including these gems memorized from my boss’s managing phrase book:
- “If there’s time to lean, there’s time to clean.”
- “If you fake a smile, you’ll actually be happy.”
The first one is obviously true. Although I’d offer that it’s equally true that if there’s time to lean, there’s time to read a book, to write bad poetry about cute managers, or to check in on the Romance Bandits blog.
That second managerial axiom, though, sounds ridiculous. How can pretending to smile actually make you happy? (Especially if you’re a sixteen-year-old girl suffering an unrequited crush on a guy who has no interest in her beyond the question of whether the cash in her register drawer balances at the end of the shift.)
Turns out Manager Mark Paradise was not only swoon-worthy, he was smart. There’s real science to back him up. You all know that Botox injections make it impossible to stop smiling, right? (Google “worst Botox faces” if you’re unfamiliar with this phenomenon.) People who have had Botox injections have these permanent, slightly frozen smiles. Scientists in Wales gave a quiz intended to uncover anxiety and depression to women who had received Botox and to women who hadn’t. What they found was that those women who’d been chemically treated to create permanent, fake smiles were actually happier than the un-Botoxed ones.
Fake smiles = real happiness.
Last winter, when I was starting the first draft of my current Superromance, Out of Bounds, I was feeling blue about a number of things. If you’ve ever written a Superromance, you’ll know that “blue” is not the optimal mental starting point. Supers are driven by serious, realistic emotional conflict. I was staring down 75,000 words worth of intense emotional exploration. Happy was far away and funny was even farther, but this book needed funny scenes. I’d already sketched out a pet for the heroine, an adorably evil Schnoodle. This semi-feral, half-Poodle, mutt-with-a-heart-of-gold named Angel deserved an author who could write funny stuff. But how could I force myself to write funny scenes if I was stuck feeling blue?
I decided to tap into the fake-a-smile science.
Fortunately for my forehead, I live in the middle of nowhere and there aren’t any Botox providers listed in our yellow pages. Plus, I’m afraid of needles. So the injected smile route was out.
So how did I do it?
Okay, pause for a confession: at this point, I’m reconsidering writing this blog. When you find out where I found my fake happiness, it’s possible you’re going to lose all respect for me. (That is, if the Bo Duke reference above didn’t already do me in.)
Here goes nothing.
Justin Bieber made me happy.
No laughing! (I hear you Arcade Fire fans snickering. Stop it.)
Have you listened to Bieber sing? Here, try “One Less Lonely Girl.” Say what you will, but that is one happy song. Some might say fake-happy, but all of the science-minded people like me (along with all those women in Wales getting Botox) know by now that fake doesn’t matter when it comes to smiling. I downloaded a bunch of music by the Biebs and threw in a little Taylor Swift. Then I put on my headphones, shut down the real world, and wrote.
And you know what? The Romantic Times review for Out of Bounds called it a “fun read” which just goes to show you that everything Manager Mark Paradise ever said is brilliant and perfect, just like him.
It goes to show that Justin Bieber really can fix everything that’s wrong with the world.
It goes to show that sometimes, faking a smile will lead to the real thing. I’m going to keep this little bit of science in my back pocket. I have the feeling it will come in handy this winter.
What about you? Any bits of folk wisdom you’ve found to be surprisingly true? Any secrets to feeling happy? Want to share your embarrassing unrequited love stories? Or maybe just post a few of your favorite Bieber lyrics. (Hee.) Feel free to share in the comments.
Ellen is giving away two sets of books today – that’s two chances to win THE LONG SHOT and OUT OF BOUNDS!
*Note: I may have been kind of broadly interpreting the results of the Botox study because I wanted to blog about Justin Bieber, Mark Paradise, my writing process, but it’s a real study. You can read about it here in Scientific American.
Posted by Donna MacMeans May 1 2012, 12:14 am in Anna DeStefano, Cara Elliott, Casey Daniels, coming attractions, Ellen Hartman, J. A. London, Karen Kelly, Karyn Gerrard, kristan higgins, May, Sandy Blair, Sister Pact, Trish Milburn
It’s an exciting month in the lair! Not only do we have some fabulous guests chatting alongside some fabulous banditas – we also have a launch party! Trish will be introducing another in her Teagues of Texas series on May 4th. Doesn’t this cover just make you smile ?
Don’t forget to check out the contests offered for May at the bottom of the post. Prizes, prizes everywhere!
On Wednesday, 2nd May, we have great Aussie authors Ros Baxter and Ali Ahearn visiting the lair as Anna Campbell’s guests. Ros is a debut author and Ali is better known to the Banditas and Bandita Buddies under her Medical Romance persona Amy Andrews. (www.amyandrews.com.au <http://www.amyandrews.com.au> ) Ros and Ali are sisters and they’ve written a wonderful book together called SISTER PACT.
On May 3, Anna Destefano chats with Nancy about Anna’s new release from Entangled Publishing, HER FORGETTEN BETRAYAL.
Don’t forget Trish will be launching THE COWBOY SHERIFF on the 4th.
May 5th – We have the lovely Cara Elliott launching the second book in her “Lords of Midnight” trilogy, TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST!
May 6th – Prepare to have laugh. Kristin Higgins is joining us with SOMEBODY TO LOVE.
May 7th – Have you ever had the urge to travel back in time? How about forward in time? Karyn Gerrard joins us to talk about her unique time travel, TIMELESS LOVE.
MAY 16th – What’s a girl to do when she gets kicked out of hell and only has a week to steal a soul? Easy, she heads straight for the delicious corruptible looking cowboy sitting at the bar and all hell breaks loose. USA Today Bestseller, Karen Kelly is in the lair with WHERE THERE’S SMOKE. (and that cover is sure smoking )
May 18th – Casey Daniels is back! Can’t wait to see what she’s working on this time. It’s bound to be fun.
On May 21st Superromance author Ellen Hartman joins us to discuss her latest release THE LONG SHOT!
May 28th – JA London joins us with a debut YA paranormal DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN, The first novel in the Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy
May 31st – What a way to wrap up a month. Sandy Blair joins us with her print release of her book THE KING’S MISTRESS. (Another gorgeous cover!)
We do give a monthly prize of books selected from our newsletter subscribers. Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss out!
To celebrate the release of her novelette, “The Chinese Bed”, in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE which is available on 7th June, Anna Campbell is giving away THREE copies of this wonderful anthology to lucky readers. All you need to do is email Anna on anna @ annacampbell.info (remove the spaces) with the name of the hero and heroine of “The Chinese Bed.” Just a hint – you might find the answer here: http://annacampbell.info/chinesebed.html
The contest closes 30th June, 2012, and entry is open internationally. For more information, please check out Anna’s website at: http://annacampbell.info/contest.html
To celebrate the June release of THE CASANOVA CODE, Donna MacMeans is choosing a name from her newsletter list to receive a cherry blossom pendant necklace from the Smithsonian Institute(cherry blossoms play a role in the book). To see the necklace and to enter, go to www.DonnaMacMeans.com and sign up. A winner will be chosen for both May and June.