Happy Friday, Liz, I could not let this great story go unshared. I am so glad you found time to return and share with us.

First off, thanks to Mary for inviting me back again to this great blog to hang out today. I’m talking about something we see in a lot of movies and books.


Most romance writers know that TSTL means a hero/heroine that is “Too Stupid To Live.” (Think about the stupid people in the Scream movies who go outside at midnight or down to the basement when they hear a noise, knowing there is a killer on the loose. I was surprised to find out it is not a common acronym with other genre writers, especially those who don’t belong to RWA (Romance Writers of America).

I decided that would make a great topic, so I’ll start with a story TCTH (too close to home). A few years ago, I was on a Caribbean cruise with my hubby, son and daughter-in-law. We had signed up for the excursions at the beginning of the week for each of the ports, and I was looking forward to them, especially the cave-exploring one in Belize. That was before clumsy me broke her baby toe and couldn’t go since it involved a lot of walking over rough terrain. So, I sent them on their way that day and decided to go ashore and check out the shopping.

The ship anchored out at sea, and we had to be shuttled to shore in smaller boats. There were two, long, storage-shed-looking units surrounded by a chain-link fence. In a matter of a few minutes, I had walked through both of them and was unimpressed. Being the shopper that I am, I wanted more. So, I walked to the edge of the fence where a policeman sat at the gate and many Belizean vendors (??) called out to me. I almost paid a guy $20 for a tour of the city in his limo, by myself, I might add. And then I decided I should stay close and shop since my toe had started to hurt.

I stepped outside the security of the gate and asked where I could find a souvenir shop. One young man appeared by my side and pointed to a little store about two hundred yards away. I headed that way with him right behind me, joined by a second young man. For some reason, I didn’t hear the Jaws music in my head (Da dump! Da dump!) I was hell bent on spending money since I had missed out on the excursion.

The little shop was a bust, and as I walked out the door, one of the boys said there was a really great shop in the alley. By now, I could hear the little voices in my head shouting “Get out of the water. Can’t you hear the music??” Suddenly frightened, I turned toward the cop and the safety of the fence and headed that way. One of the young men grabbed my arm and tried to persuade me to go to the alley with him. When I refused, he said he would be my bodyguard and not let bad things happen to me. Yeah, right! By this time, my smarter self had taken over my brain, and all I wanted to do was get back inside that fence. So, I handed each one ten dollars and made my way as fast as I could to the gate.

Back on the ship I was still shaking To this day, there is no doubt in my mind I would have been robbed or murdered or both. It was really a very stupid thing to do since we had been warned by the cruise staff to be careful.

So, for a few minutes, I became that heroine TSTL. Playing devil’s advocate here, I once heard Donald Maass say to think about what your character would absolutely not do and make him do it. But I don’t think he had stupidity in mind. I can’t tell you how many contest entries I’ve judged where I’ve had to take points off because of this. If you wouldn’t do it, why make your characters do it?

Oh wait, I forgot. I did do it! Does that make me stupid? Absolutely. For those brief minutes when I put myself in harm’s way, I was stupid. Fortunately, it only cost me twenty bucks. In today’s world we have to be on guard constantly for people who have no regard for our safety, especially in foreign countries.


But hold the phone. In those steps to the basement, or in my heroine’s case her walk under the bleachers, think about this. What if your heroine knew her child was down there and needed her? All of a sudden, not only is she not stupid, she’s a hero, igniting every maternal instinct in our bodies. Think about those TV shows where a man straps a bomb on his back because some terrorist has his family or where a bank manager robs his own bank, knowing his child will be killed if he doesn’t. Matter of fact, my sequel to my ghost story has a similar plot.

Moral of the story - it isn’t always black and white with the stupid thing. And you know what? I think that’s just what “The Donald” had in mind.

So, now I’m anxious to hear any stories you have about TV shows, your own writing, or your personal experiences where for a brief time, you transformed into someone TSTL. Two lucky commenters will receive a free download of MORTAL DECEPTION. Here’s the trailer from MD. Check out my website www.lizlipperman.com for information on how to download it. For the entire month of October, it will be offered at $.99 as a promo tool for LIVER LET DIE, my cozy that released last week.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q530quKsSqQ&noredirect=1


MORTAL DECEPTION

A mix of deceit and lies rocks the world of a dying child, an ex-cop on a mission to clear her dead husband's name and an anesthesiologist who desperately wants out of a loveless marriage. To save her nephew's life, the young widow seduces the doctor accused of murdering his wife. But even as she collects evidence that proves he's the killer, she can't stop her heart from falling for him. Until the game turns DEADLY...


Excerpt;

(I promise this was properly formatted. Blogger doesn't like me tonight.)


Before the night ended, she would be in bed with a total stranger.

Oh, God.

Taking a deep breath Dani Perez walked toward the hotel bar, her red stilettos clattering like a Riverdance audition on the black marble floor.

What the hell are you looking at? she wanted to scream when the desk clerk glanced up with a knowing smile. But she knew exactly why he was looking. The stupid dress damn-near showed the cheeks of her ass.

Dani smiled, thinking when she got home, she’d have to make a big deposit in Abby’s pickle jar decorated with commodes. Her daughter called her creation the “potty-mouth jar”. Since Christmas, Dani had to pay up every time she cursed. She and Abby were saving for their dream vacation, and at the rate she was going, Hawaii wasn’t an unrealistic destination. Hell, the F word alone was worth a whopping twenty bucks.

Dani wasn’t proud of the way she talked, but old habits die hard. Five years on the Cimarron Police Force riding with Jerry Spigoretti had added a variety of colorful words to her vocabulary. She’d thought when she left the job last year, she’d clean up her language, but working with Harry Fielding, another hard-nosed, ex-cop-turned-PI, hadn’t helped. On a good day, she was able to keep it under control.

Today wasn’t a good day.

She stopped in front of the door, a sudden rush of apprehension overwhelming her as she struggled to keep a falling ringlet of hair out of her eyes. Silently, she cursed her twin. Her usual ponytail would have been so much easier, but Nikki had insisted on pulling her unmanageable hair up and curling it around her face--said it was sexy. How freakin’ sexy would it be if she landed on her barely-covered tush because she couldn’t see?

The huge purse they’d picked out felt like it was full of rocks, but she needed one this size to hold the equipment she would use. She jerked it higher on her shoulder, glancing back to see if the clerk was still watching.

He was. She fought the urge to flip him off.

Breathe, chica. A lot is riding on tonight.

The minute she opened the door, her eyes widened, a reaction to the darkened room, lit only by the neon signs behind the bar and the candles on the ten or so tables strategically placed around the room. Even in this light, she could see the entire bar area, praying he’d be there, petrified he was. She’d counted on him being a creature of habit and doing the exact same thing he’d done every Thursday for the five weeks she’d tailed him.

Dr. Nathan Randall didn’t disappoint her. He was alone as usual, at the far end of the bar, mindlessly twirling a glass on the counter. The lump in her throat threatened to cut off her breathing while she watched him put down the drink and rub his forehead, probably unaware he did that often. She didn’t have to see his searing blue eyes to know they were squinted in deep thought, an image she’d captured on film many times.

She hated what she had to do to him.

Eyes finally adjusted to the dark, Dani chose a table far enough to be out of sight from where he sat but close enough for observation. She attempted to sit down gracefully without compromising her dignity in the skin tight dress, but it was a losing battle. She reached behind and tugged at the hem of the red jersey number as it rode up her thighs.

Oh, hell!

She was sure she had given everyone a peek all the way up her legs to the thong panties she was dying to pull out of her butt. She didn’t get the whole thong panties thing. Number one, they’d cost eight dollars on sale. Who pays eight dollars for panties that barely had enough material to qualify as a G-string?

And damn! Who wants to walk around with a constant wedgie?

She plopped the heavy purse on the floor and glanced up to see if anyone had seen her flash. Her eyes connected with a middle-aged man sitting at the corner of the bar, facing her. He lifted his glass and smiled.

Christ!

She lowered her eyes. The last thing she wanted to do was call any more attention to herself before she was ready. And she needed a whole lot of courage to be ready.

Liquid courage.

Dani waited until the waitress approached before she looked up again, afraid the guy in the suit might consider any further eye contact an invitation. She’d prided herself on reading people, had actually avoided danger on the job because of that particular skill. Her radar said this guy definitely had the married-but-trolling-for-stray-action look all over his Midwestern face.

“What can I get you?” The flat tone in the waitress’s voice conveyed her disapproval.

Dani didn’t blame her. Hell, she’d disapprove of herself, too, in this outfit that screamed I come with a price.

“What’s the latest drinking rage these days?” she asked, knowing the Corona she craved wouldn’t go with her on-the-prowl persona.

Marcia, according to the nametag on her blouse, looked surprised by the question. “Depends on what you like.”

What does someone whose ass is hanging out of a dress usually drink?

Well, ladies, ask questions and make comments. Liz wants to give away free books!


25 comments

  1. Tamara LeBlanc // October 14, 2011 at 8:38 AM  

    Liz, when I read this post, my heart started slamming out of control when I read your 1st very dangerous near brush with what could have been a very bad limo ride. When you went on to describe the other events I gasped out loud.
    I'm the last person to call anyone stupid...I've done some pretty brainless things in my life, many, many brainless things, but girl, you are sooooo lucky that Jaws music finally started palying.
    I'm so glad you got out of there unscathed, but know that a desperate desire to shop (especially shoe shopping in my case) can make us do some crazy things.
    Hope the rest of your trip was fun, and hope that toe didn't hold you back too much:)
    I really enjoyed the excerpt! Thanks for that.
    And thanks for sharing your tale.
    Have a great weekend,
    Tamara

  2. Liz Lipperman // October 14, 2011 at 11:11 AM  

    Tamera, I WAS stupid. I think sometimes we think that bad things only happen to other folks. And you're right. I was very fortunate to get out here only losing a few bucks.

    Thanks for your comment. And you have a great weekend, too.

  3. Cynthia D'Alba // October 14, 2011 at 11:42 AM  

    I wish I could say I've never done anything stupid like this, but I have. Granted, I was much younger and much more naive than today.

    But my first husband and I went off with a couple we did not know while we were on our honeymoon in St. Thomas. It was a great day but still, if we had disappeared, no one would have had any idea who we'd been with.

  4. Mary Marvella // October 14, 2011 at 12:02 PM  

    Cyndi, that IS scary.

  5. Mary Marvella // October 14, 2011 at 12:03 PM  

    Liz, you really were fortunate. I shook my head as I read what you did.

  6. Beth Trissel // October 14, 2011 at 12:27 PM  

    Hello Liz and welcome to the Fuzzies. Beth has her hand up for a book, sounds fascinating, and I loved your post. I've been caught earlier on in my writing endeavors for my heroine being too stupid. I now try to justify any idiocy, as you pointed out, it's all about motivation. It drives me crazy in mystery/suspense movies when invariably some dummie goes off alone to investigate an ominous sound. Or when cops act alone with no partner or back up. Again, I really enjoyed your post.

  7. Judy // October 14, 2011 at 12:53 PM  

    Liz, this is terrific! I loved the excerpt...great writing and lots of fun! Good luck with it. There's nothing stupid about it! LOL

  8. Liz Lipperman // October 14, 2011 at 1:30 PM  

    I her you, Cyndi. We never really think of the consequences, especially when we're young and stupid. Thanks for sharing that story.

  9. Liz Lipperman // October 14, 2011 at 1:31 PM  

    Mary, I shook my head, too. WTF was I thinking?

  10. Liz Lipperman // October 14, 2011 at 1:33 PM  

    Beth, there's a fine line sometimes in having your protag do something stupid and having her accidentally fall into a bad situation. Motivation IS the big thing that differentiates the two.

    Fingers crossed for you and the free copy!

  11. Liz Lipperman // October 14, 2011 at 1:35 PM  

    Judy, thanks for those nice words. I wish I could say I did that when I was way younger, but in fact, it happened about 6 years ago. Sheesh!

  12. Nightingale // October 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM  

    That sounds like a near miss, Liz. I've done some incredibly unsafe things as well. Loved your excerpt and great cover.

  13. Dale Mayer // October 14, 2011 at 3:56 PM  

    Hi Liz,

    You're just ripping through the media right now - good for you!

    And that's a freakin scary story! I don't have anything to compare. Just happy you survived to write about it.

  14. Liz Lipperman // October 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM  

    Nightingale, I don't know what happened to my earlier reply to you, but here goes again.

    Thanks for commenting and for the nice words.

  15. Liz Lipperman // October 14, 2011 at 4:04 PM  

    Dale, thanks for commenting again on yet another blog on my tour. Nobody told me the easy part was writing the book!!!

    Thanks again. One of these days, you'll win a book!!

  16. Mona Risk // October 14, 2011 at 5:59 PM  

    Hi Liz, in your case you haven't been warned that it could be dangerous, so you're not TSTL! But when I see heroines, who've been warned several times by the heroes NOT to do it alone, or to better wait, and yet they still go ahead on their own, thinking they can prove something, and then they put the hero and themselves in danger. That's what I call TSTL. LOL Great post. Love your voice.

  17. Liz Lipperman // October 14, 2011 at 6:05 PM  

    Oh, Mona, I wish I could say I hadn't been warned. The cruise ship people warned us several times about Belize, yet there I went, right out the gated area. The fact that it was gated should have been my first clue.

    I agree 100% about stupid heroines though. And thanks so much for your sweet words.

  18. Barbara White Daille // October 14, 2011 at 6:25 PM  

    Liz - great post. I know you lived to tell the tale, but I was afraid for you, anyway.

    I'm sure I've done the TSTL thing many times but at this hour on a Friday afternoon can't think of any one incident.

    What I'd like to know is...how did you research that scene in the excerpt? LOL

    Barbara

  19. Liz Lipperman // October 14, 2011 at 8:16 PM  

    Good question, Barbara. Some of you know I married my HS sweetheart. What you don't know is that the man still looks good from the back in his jeans, just like Alex. And he can still make me laugh.

    Although he doesn't cook (I'm a great casserole cook.) he does the dishes every single night.

    Ah, he's my Alex!

  20. Mary Ricksen // October 14, 2011 at 8:55 PM  

    God there was an angel on your shoulder that trip! Nothing is worth that danger! Now in my twenties I might have done the same thing. But not now!!!!

  21. Liz Lipperman // October 14, 2011 at 10:41 PM  

    That's the stupoid part, Mary. I wasn't in my twenties. And yes, I did have an angel on my shoulders that day.

    Thanks for commenting.

  22. Pamela Varnado // October 15, 2011 at 5:57 PM  

    Welcome, Liz. In my twenties I did so many stupid things I lost count. Even thinking about them makes me cringe. So I won't. Instead, I tell you how much I enjoyed your excerpt and would love to win a download.

  23. Hildie McQueen // October 16, 2011 at 5:48 PM  

    Great Blog! I laughed because I could see me doing just what you did, I love the idea of a little shop that only a few 'lucky' could find! I'm so glad nothing bad happened. The excerpt is great!

  24. Josie // October 16, 2011 at 9:59 PM  

    First, thank you, Liz, for stopping by the Pink Fuzzies blog.

    Second, thank you for your witty and fascinating excerpt. Looks like you have a winning book on your hands.

  25. Mary Marvella // October 19, 2011 at 3:36 PM  

    Winners! Tamara LeBlanc and Mona,Risk.