Monday, February 22, 2021

These are a Few of my Favorite Words

Hi-it's Mia Kerick here with a hopefully funny (and at least, quirky) post. It's my last week as GRRC's FEBRUARY FEATURED AUTHOR and I wanted to leave you with some food for thought...

A gay romance author’s favorite (and most avoided) words and terms.


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. Bert 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 because both nuggets and tenders, especially moist ones, were forbidden from my language!

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. 


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 shrugbring 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 mineYes, please…

And even better: You. Are. Mine.  Did you hear me sigh?


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.)



My post is like an opposite mullet haircut. Party up front and business on the back end. Okay, now for the business part of my post.


I have a new release on March 3rdDead Sea is YA Coming of Age Gay Romance. It will make you think and wonder if only… and remember in that way YA books are known to do. It’s fiction in the truest sense—two characters meet their adult selves under some difficult circumstances. But it is also romance, which I wish would understand. I think I need to look at the categories again... LOL




Here’s the link and the blurb:Dead Sea

Standalone Coming of Age Stories

Kyle is a swaggering bully; Lenny strives to be invisible. 
Kyle has been left alone in the world; Lenny is the world’s biggest loner. 
When Kyle saves Lenny from drowning, their lives will never be the same.

After a brutal encounter with school bullies, Lenny swims out into the ocean, determined to let the current whisk him away. Next thing he knows the meanest kid in town is pulling him from the waves, promising to be his Dead Sea, and to never let him sink.

All Kyle wants is to get out of beach cleanup, is that too much to ask? So he goes for a swim, only to come upon the most epic “nobody” in the senior class drowning in a riptide. Lenny’s haunted gaze grips him, and Kyle makes the impulsive decision to save his life or die trying. And through this ordeal, Kyle and Lenny are transformed.

Kyle’s heroic act sets him on the straight and narrow, and he opens his heart to the young man he dragged from the ocean. Lenny changes too but is still unable to reveal the truth of his pain. While drowning in a sea of secrets, the reformed bully and wary victim fall in love. But staying afloat in the Dead Sea is not as simple as it seems.

Trigger Warning: Unsuccessful attempt to die by suicide of main character and further discussion of death by suicide


And it is on KU or is only $2.99


I’ve loved being GRRC’s featured author. I hope you downloaded The Red Sheet, which is another great example of YA Coming of Age Romance that gives you characters to root for while offering you food for thought. 

<3 Mia



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