Please welcome, Michelle Osgood, author of The Better to Kiss You With to Book Reviews & More by Kathy. Thank you for chatting with us today.
Hi, thanks for having me! I’m a writer who lives in Vancouver, BC, with my partner Elizabeth and our two black cats. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and have been fascinated with storytelling for as long as I can remember. The Better to Kiss You With is a paranormal romance about Deanna, the moderator of an online werewolf role playing game, who falls for the mysterious woman living above her.
What are your five favorite TV shows (past or present) and what did you love about them?
- Grey’s Anatomy has been a long time favourite of mine. I started watching it the summer I graduated from high school, and it’s felt like family ever since. Which I think is fitting, because one of the things I love so much about Grey’s is that while it looks like your typical doctor drama (with a healthy dose of romance), it’s at its heart about chosen families. I think the writers are making that theme especially clear this season, the show’s twelfth. Getting to watch Meredith create her own family, when the one she came from was so broken, has been wonderful. Additionally, Grey’s makes such a point of being centered around women, and women’s lives, and stories about women are so important to tell.
- I love Broad City. It’s smart and hilarious, and above all makes such a point of prioritizing Abbi and Ilana’s relationship above everything else. We get so many shows about best guy buds, but it’s rare to find a TV show that lets the focus, and arguably the main romance, be between two women. Seeing Abbi and Ilana support each other, be continuously delighted by each other, and want nothing but the absolute best for one another, is heartwarming. If I ever need a quick pick-me-up, this is the show I turn to!
- Girls is another great show that prioritizes female characters (sensing a theme?). What Girls does that I haven’t seen another show do as well, is give us female characters who are so real and flawed. Hannah, Jessa, Marnie, and Shoshanna are selfish, ambitious, and unrepentant. They’re anti-heroes who we don’t really like… except that we see so much of ourselves in them that it’s hard to hate them! I feel especially connected to Hannah, as she’s the first character I’ve seen on TV who feels like me. She’s comfortable in her body, confident in her value as a writer, and a little too self-involved 😉 It’s refreshing to be exposed to women who portray these traits, and who are celebrated for them.
- Outlander! I nerd out about Outlander so hard. I started reading the books as a teenager and I loved them, so I was over the moon when they’d be making a TV show about the series. And when I found out that it would be with the same creator as Battlestar Galactica, another show I love, I was even more excited! After having spent years in the pages of Outlander, it’s wonderful to see it on screen. My favourite thing about the show and books has always been the relationship between Claire and Jamie—from the beginning they are equals, and they spend a lot of time negotiating their relationship to make it work for both of them. The mutual respect and admiration they feel for each other soon grows into love, and I adore getting to witness it. Plus, everyone in the TV show is super.
- Orphan Black—Tatiana Maslany—need I say more? Watching this woman inhabit six, nine?, roles at a time is spectacular. This show has amazing things to say about women’s body autonomy, who counts as family, and what it means to create your own destiny. It blends all sorts of my favourite kind of stories; scifi, mistaken identity, queer families, and fighting back against evil corporations / the patriarchy!
Title: The Better to Kiss You With by Michelle Osgood
Publisher: Interlude Press
Genre: Contemporary, Lesbian, Paranormal, Romance
Length: 182 pages
Deanna, the moderator for Wolf’s Run, an online werewolf role-playing game, wanders the local forest with her dog Arthur and daydreams about Jaime, the attractive, enigmatic woman who lives upstairs. When threats from an antagonistic player escalate, Deanna wonders if her job could be riskier than she’d ever imagined—and if her new girlfriend knows more about this community than she had realized.
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“I think I know blood when I see it,” Deanna pointed out. “It was definitely blood.”
Beside her on the floor, Nathan leaned his head back against the couch and, behind the black frames of his glasses, rolled his bright blue eyes. “I’m not saying it wasn’t blood. But just, like, blood happens.”
“‘Blood happens.’ You sound like a tampon commercial.”
“Not true.” Nathan snickered over the top of his glass. “They never use the word ‘blood.’”
Deanna choked on a mouthful of wine.
“Anyway,” Nathan continued, “it was probably just a dead animal. Dogs love that stuff.”
“He wasn’t happy, though. He was scared. Something scared him. And Arthur’s brave. He doesn’t scare easily.” Deanna wiped the Pinot Gris from her chin and they both leaned forward to look at Arthur, who was sprawled artlessly on top of his dog bed and snoring loudly. Deanna smothered a giggle with the back of her hand and grabbed the bottle of wine.
“Just don’t confuse fantasy with reality. I think your job is messing you up.”
Deanna snorted. “Wolf’s Run is a just game, Nathan. I haven’t forgotten that.”
“Really? Because you’re talking about mysterious bodies torn up in the woods, and if that doesn’t sound like werewolves…”
Deanna gave Nathan a shove. “Ha, ha, very funny. I’m not like that weirdo who thinks that werewolves actually exist. It’s role-playing. Playing being the key word.”
For the most part, the players of Wolf’s Run were a good crowd—with the exception of one user who seemed to think that he actually was a werewolf. Apparently, he took offense to the game’s depictions of “his species,” considering them inaccurate and insulting. The rants had been going on for months, and the situation would have been laughable, except that in the last few weeks his posts had taken on a more threatening tone. Every time Deanna deleted his posts and blocked his username he simply created another account. The Wolf’s Run team didn’t want to block his IP address because IP addresses could be shared by a large number of people, and doing so might block legitimate players from the game. Besides, it was child’s play to circumvent a block by logging in from a third-party app or web service, or just logging in from a different location. Deanna could only shut him down and hope that this time he finally gave up.
“Well, then just accept that Arthur found a bunny rabbit or something and decided it would be a good idea to roll around in its mangled corpse.”
Deanna shook her head. “You didn’t see him. It was a lot of blood.” It had taken two desperately unpleasant baths and an entire bottle of shampoo to get Arthur clean. Deanna had had to scrub her bathtub three times before she’d felt comfortable using it again.
Nathan grabbed her hand with his long, thin fingers. “Listen, you’re my best friend, and I love you, and I’m sure that it was really terrifying, but I’m also one hundred percent sure that you are blowing this way out of proportion. No more fantasy werewolf role playing nonsense for you.”
“Until my shift starts in…” Deanna tapped the screen of her phone. “Ten hours.”
“Until then,” Nathan agreed and clinked their glasses. “Now, tell me more about your hot neighbor.”
Deanna buried her head in her hands and groaned. “It’s awful. She’s gorgeous. And I can’t think around her. Or speak. I turn into a spluttering sixth grader with her first crush.”
“That’s disgusting and adorable. Tell me more. What’s her name?”
Michelle Osgood lives in Vancouver, BC, with her partner Elizabeth and their two cats. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and has been reading, writing and blogging in online communities for five years. She likes to read romance novels, speculative fiction and feminist pop culture critique.
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