Posts Tagged “romance”
I had fun this week chatting with the Blaze authors about their favorite ideas for Valentine’s Dates. Stop by the eHarlequin Blaze Spotlight this week to read what fun and sexy things they shared with me!
Chatting about romantic dates got me thinking about some of my personal favorites. In the beginning of a relationship, dates happen all the time because that’s the only time you see each other. And when you first meet and you’re in that crazy blush of new romance, you can spend your time staring at clouds and it’s wildly fun and sexy because of the company.
Later, we have to try harder with our dates because who has time to go stare at the clouds when there are work deadlines and family commitments? But we do try—or we should—to spend time with the one we love and focus on each other.
That’s why I love Valentine’s Day. It’s a big fat heart on the calendar that reminds us to put romance first. Set aside the laptop, turn off the phone and go talk to each other. Hold hands. Fun things happen when you put forth the effort!
Often, I’m thrilled to have a nice dinner on Valentine’s Day, but occasionally we put some more creativity into the day and do something fun and different. One year we went to a Winter Carnival in Lake Placid and my husband brought heart shaped cookies and a thermos of cocoa. I have a goofy picture of us somewhere in winter hats and scarves, bundled so you can hardly see our noses, holding a big pink cookie.
Now that I think about it, a lot of our Valentine’s Day dates have been in cold weather climates, necessitating ice skating dates or a sledding outing. I realized my new boyfriend was way too competitive on an ice skating date, by the way, when a romantic spin around the ice turned into a fierce game of pond hockey played with branches for sticks and a rock for a puck. Luckily, no one lost an eye. I scored two goals before I convinced him to just hold hands instead.
This year, we’re in sunny Florida for February and I’m wondering what we should do. He’s been talking about concerts we could go see—which I’d love. But I have the feeling we’ll end up on the beach, possibly seeing who can throw a seashell the farthest. And that sounds romantic enough for me.
**What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Or do you have a favorite memorable Valentine’s Day memory or tradition? Share with us on the boards today for a chance to win a free digital download of your choice of any of my FIVE Harlequin Temptations being released into digital formats for the first time this Saturday, 2/15/14—LEARNING CURVES, ONE NAUGHTY NIGHT, REVEALED, TALL, DARK & DARING or HER FINAL FLING!
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I used to believe novels happened like this:
Then I realized novels actually happen like this:
The brutal truth left me reeling. I mean, I thought a lot of want and a little magic would make the book appear on my computer screen. Okay, not really. (But the reality wasn’t far off.) Then I began to write. The first two chapters were like skipping through a field of daisies, with all the plot bunnies, or ideas, skipping gayly alongside as I started the journey of a new story. By chapter three, the bunnies had grown sharp claws. By chapter four? They were sporting fangs. By chapter five? Holy crow, by chapter five the little buggers were out for blood. They all wanted to be first in line and they all crowded in close and if I showed any sign of fear, I was doomed to die a grisly death. Suddenly Monty Python’s “Rabbit of Caerbannog” wasn’t funny. These rodents were EEBIL!
What I’ve learned over the course of many manuscripts is that I always love my work in the beginning. I love the stories I write and believe in them, and I want to champion them to the death. (You should see my manuscript morgue.) By chapter four, I begin to doubt I’m capable of writing anything more than a grocery list, and that must have spell check available at all times. It’s discouraging. By the middle of the novel, I begin to believe my husband should make the grocery lists because “ketchup” can be spelled too many ways and mustard comes in too many varieties for me to choose.
The rabbits circle.
Then I begin my slog out of the darkness. I begin to realize deadlines don’t actually kill people. And it’s usually around here I fall in love with my characters again. I remember why I wanted to tell their stories so badly, why it was important to immortalize them in print. I remember why I love to write, and why I started writing in the first place.
The fanged rabbits are replaced with new plot bunnies who are demanding the next story. Somewhere in the process, I forget about the threat of all previous rodents and begin to look forward to the next story.
Re-reading this, I realize I may have crossed that invisible line between sanity and…not. Oh, well. I’m so happy here with my pet bunnehs. I think I’ll stay awhile. After all, I have another novel to write.
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My name is Denise Tompkins and I’m a geographical transplant. Actually, I’ve lived all over, but I grew up in the unbelievably beautiful Pacific Northwest where snow was a given every winter. We waited for it, prayed for it and rejoiced when it arrived, dancing through that initial appearance. Now, as an adult, I’m at the absolute opposite side of the United States. Winter here only means the trees are naked and there are a few more grey days than those boasting blue skies. I have made the most amazing friends here in the Southeast, but my heart will always belong to the rugged Pacific coast and the cold waters of Washington. While I miss everything about the Pacific Northwest, what I miss the most is the snow.
I miss the wonder of catching a flake on my tongue and feeling it disappear. The cold had a taste, undefinably sharp and clean.
I miss the burn of hot chocolate held by hands with numb fingers. It hasn’t ever been as rich when drunk on a sixty-degree evening.
I miss the hush of heavy snowfall, when you feel like you’re the only person in the silent world. It made me feel invincible and microscopic at the same time.
Knowing how much I miss Washington, it only made sense that I’d set my first Blaze trilogy there. The men of “Pleasure Before Business”–Eric, Justin and Levi–are a guaranteed dose of heat on a wintery night, whether you’re bundled up in the Canadian Rockies or sunning in the South Pacific. They’re a tight group of friends with no interest in falling in love. That makes the fall that much sweeter, doesn’t it? And the women they love are as different as the men are. I’ve had so much fun creating this hybrid world of the familiar and the fictional that I’m loathe to give it up. I’m finishing book one and handing it in this week, and diving straight into book two. I’m too anxious to share with you the remarkable journeys these couples go through to find each other and their shot at true happiness.
There’s more to come immediately after the men of “Pleasure Before Business,” but I’ll save that for another post.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll visit my website to learn a little more about me–www.denise-tompkins.com. One of my favorite things is chatting with readers, so drop me a line anytime! Also, I’ll be hosting a holiday giveaway that starts this Friday and runs through January 3rd. I’d love to have you enter if the prizes are of interest. My website is currently undergoing a complete overhaul, so things might be a bit wonky, but I promise you’ll find the contest if you simply go to the “Blog” link.
Thank you to the Harlequin Blaze team, the fantastic Blaze authors and you, the readers, for welcoming me to the Blaze family.
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Recently, I asked the Blaze authors about Romantic Holiday Dates- Blaze Style, for a special feature at eHarlequin during the Holiday Open House this week (hint: join us today!!). This was fun for a few reasons… seeing what my creative fellow authors had to say and also for thinking about what I could do for fun with my sweetheart over the holidays.
Anyone who has been in a long relationship will tell you that romance does not happen. Romance comes from the effort to create a warm and engaging atmosphere around you and between the two of you as a couple. In other words, it might be romantic to have the snow fall as you walk hand in hand near the holidays. But is it really romantic? That same moment, fast forwarding ten years into a relationship, can also be a huge headache as you realize you’ll have to shovel the driveway when you get home and you forgot to put on snow tires. The snow – and the moment—is all in how you look at it.
So I try to make the effort to put on my romantic glasses sometimes. Not to be confused with my near-sighted glasses and the far-sighted ones, both of which I now require. My romantic lenses help me see with the eyes of a girl in love, a girl who hasn’t discovered all her guy’s flaws over the years. A girl who sees a hero first and foremost when she looks at her man. You remember that feeling. It’s why we read romance. We all want to recapture that magic of seeing something perfect that completes us in another person. Yes, it only happens with a very special person. But it also only happens if you’re open to romance and willing to make yourself vulnerable to love.
I’m going to suggest you find this vulnerability and romance within this holiday season. It’s going to be a great gift to yourself and a really awesome gift for your spouse, boyfriend or even the friends you meet and celebrate the season with, because this openness to life translates into the way you interact with every aspect of your world. Be open to happiness, romance and love. See the world with joy and maintain the attitude that anything can happen. That love can be around the next corner. Think how beautiful the snow is and put all thought of shovels firmly from your brain. Then, romantic lenses in place, you’re ready for whatever holiday date you make. For those of us who’ve been in long relationships, we know that means letting your husband be your hero and sighing happily that you found a keeper. It’s what romance is all about.
*** In the interest of inspiring one another, how about we share a romantic date idea/location/activity? Have any places that are special to you that you like to visit during the holidays or couple traditions you try to engage in at this time of year? Share with us on the boards today and I’ve got one holiday prize pack with a copy of my holiday Blaze, UNDER WRAPS and some other seasonal goodies for one random poster! Also, don’t miss my December Undone, Maid Until Midnight, available now. Plus I’ve got a big Cover Reveal for my first YA story as J.K. Rock this Friday!
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Recently, I posted over on the HEA/USA Today blog about my favorite Christmas movie being Love, Actually (You can still post there and on my blog to qualify for all of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaways). My favorite Christmas TV Shows have always been The Grinch (the original, not the movie) and to some extent, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, since I like the Winter Warlock and the bit o’ romance in that one. Hubby and I also like to watch Christmas Buffy, of which there was only one, (“Amends”) — but it’s a touching episode. I think most people have favorite Christmas movies, song, TV shows and books, but what about the other holidays, Thanksgiving and New Years? Thanksgiving in particular seems to be the least inspiring when it comes to romance, and I wonder why.
Thanksgiving — so much about gratitude and yummy goodies — would seem natural for romance. (I happen to have one out this month, Yours For The Night, which includes a sexy hero serving Thanksgiving goodies to his heroine, and a family dinner with all of the typical complications.) There have been a lot of New Years romances, and Valentines, of course — so why do some holidays have a more romantic mood about them?
So what is it about Thanksgiving? I can think of several romantic moments cooking Thanksgiving dinner with my honey, and remember fondly the first year we were together at my parents’ house, and when we went around the table and said what we were thankful for, he looked at me with those brown eyes and said “you.” So how can Thanksgiving not be more romantically inspiring?
Maybe it’s because it’s a happy time where the focus is on food and fun, and there’s not a whole lot of angst? (God knows, we must have angst!) While we can be sentimental about the Christmas tree, the Menora, or the many New Year’s moments, I guess it’s a little tough to get too emotional about turkey and stuffing, and maybe when you are full after dinner, you don’t really feel like getting romantic? Or are people just resting up for the frantic month ahead? Or perhaps it’s because this is a national holiday rather than an international one, so it just doesn’t have the same universal appeal.
Share your thoughts on why Thanksgiving is or isn’t romantic, and perhaps share an idea for a book or TV show/movie that you always watch or read for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I’ll give away a set of Berringer books along with a Godiva goodie to one commenter, announced on Friday. And if you celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving!
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Posted by Samantha Hunter in Blaze Authors, Contests, tags: autumn, Berringer Bodygards, Blaze, fall, giveaway, holidays, romance, Samantha Hunter, sexy
So, here we are in Fall. . .not entirely my favorite season because of what comes next, but I enjoy the nice parts of Fall. It’s pretty, the heat and mosquitoes are gone, and the colors are bright. There are apples, pumpkins, and I’m pretty sure that I’m seasonally conditioned to start wanting to bake more and make things like casseroles in cooler weather. All good things.
And then there are the books! It just so happens that my next book, YOURS FOR THE NIGHT, is set in autumn, right at that cusp of winter, before Thanksgiving. Fall is a lovely time for romance, and for falling in love again, which is what happens for Garrett Berringer, the oldest of my Berringer Brother Bodyguards.
Garrett feels the sadness that sometimes comes with Fall in an acute way, as he lost his wife at this time of year, and so he’s escaping the anniversary of that event by heading to the California coast for a vacation. But Garrett is about to fall again, big time.
As a way of celebrating Fall, and falling, here’s an excerpt from the book, due for release November 1. It’s the first of three Berringer books in the row (with cousin Luke Berringer’s book coming out later in 2013) and I hope you’ll enjoy it.
From YOURS FOR THE NIGHT:
Garrett survived the rehearsal and in the end, he was glad he’d agreed to help Ed out. Mostly because of her.
Distracted from any sad memories by the woman he’d walked down the aisle with, he watched Tiffany look at the clock for what might have been the hundredth time in an hour. She appeared to be in a hurry to leave, saying goodbye to Isabel from what he could tell.
Ed was in party-mode the night before his wedding, and they’d all decided to go out for a round of drinks and some dancing after the church. Garrett had planned to go, hoping that he might get to know Tiffany a bit more. It had been a long time since his first thought upon meeting a woman was, how do I get her into bed?
She’d seemed responsive enough at dinner, flirting with him, unless he was seriously out of touch. Then, mysteriously, her attitude had cooled down considerably, inexplicably. Conversation on the drive to the church was limited to brief, general topics. She didn’t laugh at his jokes, and she didn’t meet his eyes once. Her posture was rigid as they had linked arms to walk down the aisle during the rehearsal.
And she hadn’t stopped looking at her watch since they’d gotten there. Was she in that much of a hurry to get away from him?
So what had he done to turn her into the ice queen? And how could he reverse that trend? He wasn’t used to this, feeling unsettled, unsure of what to do next. Berringer Bodyguards was his main focus, and he liked it that way. He knew what to do there, and he did it well. The business was gaining more prestige – especially since his brother had married a US Senator’s daughter – and it took even more of his time and energy.
But he wasn’t there right now. He was here, watching Tiffany, whom he’d only known for a grand total of four hours. Less than that if you counted only the time they’d spoken directly to each other.
The rings on her fingers sparkled as he watched her talk, her graceful hands accenting her conversation. He knew in his gut that she would be as expressive in bed. He liked the loosely-tied knot of long auburn hair at the nape of her neck and he wanted to untie it. Let it fall down over her shoulders, his fingers. He liked the scooped back of her dress, how it revealed the contours of her shoulders and neck. He liked the idea of planting kisses there.
A fling suddenly sounded like a very appealing addition to his vacation itinerary, but he wasn’t sure she would agree. And now she was leaving, before he could find out what he had done to offend her. Watching her kiss Isabel’s cheek and head to the door, he found himself following her out.
“Hey, Tiffany, hold on a second,” he called out, watching her pause and turn, her shoulders sinking a little as she seemed to accept her fate.
What the hell had he done to cause this reaction?
“So are you going to tell me what I did?” he asked, looking directly into her gorgeous green eyes. Directness was usually best.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she said testily. “And I need to go,” she said, clearly agitated and wanting to leave.
“Hmm. Did you know that while it’s commonly thought that people who don’t make eye contact are unreliable, in truth, someone who is lying will go out of their way to make eye contact, trying to convince you they are being honest?”
He saw irritation flash in her eyes, and her cheeks warmed, making her even prettier.
“Are you saying I’m a liar?” she asked and tried to break away, but he held her fast. “Funny, I thought the same about you.”
“When did I lie to you? We’ve only known each other for a few hours.”
She glared at him, facing off in the middle of the small parking lot, until she sighed and shook her head. “Look, drop it. I don’t get involved with married men.”
“That’s a good policy, but I’m not married.”
“Really? Here’s an FYI: just because you don’t wear your ring doesn’t mean you’re not married. Thanks but no thanks,” she said, turning and walking staunchly away, back stiff, nose turned up.
He thought she was amazingly cute, even though he had no idea what she was talking about. “Wait,” he said as he hurried up to follow her. “I’m not married. Who told you I was married?” he asked.
“You. You said you’ve only been in two weddings, your brother’s and your own.” She punctuated the last two words with an accusing finger poked into his chest.
“Ohhhh.” He was used to everyone around him knowing, and saw how she would have jumped to that conclusion. “I’m sorry. I was married. My wife died several years ago.”
She gave him an even dirtier look. “Right. Listen, I get that you want to hook up while you’re out of town, but I’m not interested. And it’s pretty awful to say your wife died just to get some other woman to-”
Garrett reached into his back pocket, pulling out his wallet, sliding out a memorial card with Lainey’s picture, and her dates of birth and death.
“This was my wife, Elaine,” he said softly, showing Tiffany. “And this is her obit,” he added, flipping the picture over where the funeral home had printed a lovely quote that he had selected at the time. He watched Tiffany read the back of the card, as if convincing herself it was real. Garrett knew what it said by heart: Elaine Elizabeth Berringer. Born May 20, 1978. Died November 15, 2006. Remember two kisses, the first and the last.
Tiffany stared at the picture for several long minutes, turning it in her hands, and when she looked back up at him, her eyes had welled.
Damn, now he’d made her cry.
“Don’t cry, please,” he said, almost desperately, taking the picture back and slipping it into his wallet. “I just wanted you to know I wasn’t lying. Completely understandable how you would misinterpret what I said earlier,” he added, and put his hands firmly on her shoulders, making her look at him.
Obviously he didn’t quite have the ways with women that he used to. “I’m sorry for making you cry, too,” he added for good measure.
“No. I’m the one who’s sorry. I always do this, leap to conclusions, leap into relationships, leap into trouble. . .I just tend to . . .leap. And what I said was horrible, considering. I am so sorry,” she repeated. “She was lovely.”
Garrett’s heart softened even more. “Yes, she was. But it was a long time ago,” he added, experiencing a little kick of surprise at how easily the words fell from his lips, accompanied by a tiny sting of guilt. He’d never before tried to push Lainey’s memory away.
“How long were you married?” she asked.
“Six years,” he said. “I put this in my pocket at the funeral. It took me two years to clear a lot of her things out of the house, three years to take my ring off. . .I guess I thought I should keep something of her with me.”
Tiffany smiled a little. “That’s sweet, and sad.”
Garrett frowned. First Tiffany thought he was a player trying to have an out-of-town fling behind his wife’s back, then he’d called her a liar and made her cry. Now she thought he was clinging to the memory of his long-dead wife. When he’d lost Lainey, it was as if Garrett had died, too. He would wake up, move, breathe, eat because of the demands of his body and because he knew his family worried about him. They grieved too, and he didn’t want to cause them any more pain.
Gradually, it got easier, better. The business had saved him. His brothers, his family, had saved him. His heart had scarred over sufficiently that he could go on. But he hadn’t really moved on.
Meeting Tiffany made his blood move again, coursing through him with new vigor. He was excited for the first time in a long time, his heart doing more now than just keeping him alive.
And he was alive. He’d never known that fact more keenly than when he looked down into Tiffany’s face, her beautiful green eyes still a little blurry with tears.
Garrett pulled her closer, experimenting, operating on instinct and sheer male desire. It coursed through his blood like a river that had been held back for too long. He could only think of one way to convince Tiffany that he was very much living in the present, not the past.
He kissed her. It was as simple as that.
So, there is a little taste of Garrett’s story, and also included in YOURS FOR THE NIGHT is my very first Blaze, VIRTUALLY PERFECT. “Sunsets and Seductions” has all three of our 24-Hour Blackout books released in 2011 – and MINE UNTIL MORNING is Jonas Berringer’s story, in case you haven’t read it. This is where you first meet Garrett, as well, and Ely and Chance (HERS FOR THE HOLIDAYS, Dec ‘12, HIS KIND OF TROUBLE, Jan ‘13).
Share something you like about Fall (or something you like about Garrett or any of the Berringer Brothers!) and I’ll pick three people to win a set of the books pictured here. (US, Canada, and UK only please).
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It’s time to announce this month’s contest winners! Congratulations to:
You’ve each won a complete set of September Blaze titles!
So everyone here, of course, loves a good romantic read. I also love romance on TV. I love how a well-written show can tease you for years about whether your favourite couple will ever really get together. You wait with bated breath as they come so close to that first kiss, only to turn away or be interrupted. I loved Josh and Donna on The West Wing, Niles and Daphne on Frasier (though upon reflection, the fact that Niles was married throughout their flirtation is creepy!), Adama and Roslin on Battlestar Galactica and Beckett and Castle on Castle. But here are my top three favourites (spoiler warning for Remington Steele, The X-Files and Gilmore Girls):
The first will-they-or-won’t-they TV couple I rooted for were Laura Holt and Remington Steele. I watched reruns of the show, part film noir and part screwball comedy, all through the summer between grades 7 and 8, immersing myself with a daily dose long before such things as DVD marathons existed. I wanted to be Laura, with her fashionable fedoras, her courage and her ability to not take any garbage from dashing grifter-cum-PI Remington (who, of course, was played by a 29-year-old Pierce Brosnan). The romantic tension was there right from the beginning, as were all of the obstacles, both situational and emotional, that kept them apart. There were lots of smooches and steamy just-missed moments, but it wasn’t until the very end, in a castle in Ireland, that they were finally able to be together.
Dana Scully and Fox Mulder were also kept apart because of work and fraught emotional histories in The X-Files. For the first seven years of that show (and then even after David Duchovny and therefore Mulder’s departure for most of seasons 8 and 9), Mulder and Scully worked so well together, became so intimately connected, that it was a tease every week just to see if one would smile at the other, if one would let a hand linger on the other’s shoulder. They consoled each other through murder, conspiracy, death threats, major illness, and all with barely a hint of innuendo or impropriety. It was all conveyed in the emotional connection the two shared.
But my all-time favourite, my most beloved TV will-they-or-won’t-they couple ever is Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls. The grumpy diner owner and the spunky single mom were fast friends who knew that even as they teased each other, they could always count on each other, too. The subtext was there for something deeper between them, but circumstances always kept them apart. They got together and broke up twice between seasons 4 and 7. I still burst into honest-to-goodness tears every time I watch this scene, where a giggly Lorelai starts serenading her graduating daughter Rory at Karaoke night, but the ballad turns far more serious when lost-love Luke walks in:
Seriously. Tears on my cheeks right now. Just from watching that scene. That’s romance.
Who are your favourite will-they-or-won’t-they couples?
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Well…maybe it’s not desert hot here in New England, but there have been days this summer when it sure feels like it! I love summer, and this one is promising to be more memorable than most. The best thing is that my husband returned from Afghanistan at the end of April, and I’ve really enjoyed having him home. But he loves summer even more than I do, because it’s boating season. He loves boats…a lot. In fact, he’s the only guy I know who spent six months in the desert and came home with a boat (he found it on Craig’s List). The day he returned from Afghanistan, he made a 2-hour trek to Cape Cod and hauled it home. I’ve posted a photo of it here. The previous owner had left this sitting out in his yard for nearly eight years, and it shows. But my husband says this boat is really something special (you have to love a guy who can see the beauty of something despite its outward appearance), and he’s now two months into the process of painstakingly restoring it to it’s original condition. So keep this image in mind…I’ll repost the “after” photo in September!
Adding to the excitement, our oldest daughter graduated from high school and will head off to Simmons College in the fall. I get a little melancholy at the thought of her leaving, but am thrilled that she’ll be close enough to come home whenever she wants to. Her dad is thrilled that the Simmons campus is within walking distance of Fenway Park, and that Caitlin will be able to get discounted tickets to see the Red Sox (with him, of course)!
So these past weeks have been a whirlwind of activities, from awards banquets to senior celebrations, prom and graduation, to college orientation and the knowledge that our lives are inevitably changing and there’s NO GOING BACK. Which reminds me, did I mention that I have a book out this month??
I loved writing this book, which is related to my May release, COMING UP FOR AIR, in that it features heroes who are twin brothers. Both books are seriously hot…you might even call them desert-hot! Perfect for the beach! Or pretty much anywhere, since I think temperatures are breaking records across the country this past week.
And finally, at the end of July, I’ll be heading out to Anaheim, California for the national Romance Writer’s of America conference…four fun-filled days where I get to reconnect with my editor and other authors, and recharge my creative batteries. If you’re in the Anaheim area, come to the literacy autographing event at the Anaheim Convention Center on Wednesday night, July 25th, from 5-8 pm, where dozens and dozens of authors will be signing books. I hope to see you there!!
Have a wonderful summer, and thanks for stopping by!
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Posted by Karen Kendall in Karen Kendall, Uncategorized, tags: deadlines, friendship, life vs. fiction, romance, sexy romance, stranger than fiction, writers, writing, writing life
I was eleven days from my last deadline when my home phone rang at an ominously late hour. Half asleep, I barely registered that the phone was ringing, and I certainly didn’t answer it.
Then, even more ominously, my cell phone began to ring. “Okay, okay,” I muttered, scrambling out of bed and hurtling through the dark towards my handbag. I tried to open the cat, instead. Needless to say, the cat did not appreciate my actions.
At last I retrieved the phone from under a mountain of receipts, gum wrappers, grocery lists and stale candies escaped from their wrappers. I squinted blearily at the number, and determined that it was a dear friend’s. I called back.
It was not my friend who answered, but her husband. “I’m leaving Jane,” he announced. (Not her real name.)“Will you call the house again in ten minutes so that she has someone to talk to?
Huh? Evidently he wasn’t done destroying her world, and needed a few more minutes.
The next day, he put my practically suicidal friend on a plane to come see me . . . evidently he didn’t want to deal with the fallout. Nice.
Let me tell you, it is difficult to write romantic comedy when one has a raging, sobbing, suicidal man-hater in one’s guest bedroom. Yet these are sometimes the challenges of a romance writer’s life, since real men don’t always behave like heroes.
Here’s a sample.
Friend: “I’m going to Bobbitt him!”
Me: “Oh. Um. Good idea . . . now where was I in that steamy sex scene? Noooo. It won’t work in the absence of a certain organ. And now all I can picture in my mind is a sort of bloody stump. Thank you, Jane. More wine?”
Friend: “Romance was invented to fool women into a lifetime of domestic slavery!”
Me, typing away: “Yes, indeed. I couldn’t agree more. Now . . . how am I going to structure this happily-ever-after scene? Dang. All I can see on the page is my formerly chic heroine, dressed like a slattern with hairy legs and pink foam curlers in her hair. She’s screaming like a fishwife at the hero while opening a can of spam. More chocolate, Jane?”
Friend: I’m going to kill myself!
Me: “Give me that knife, Jane. I don’t mean to sound callous, but I have to write 15 pages today, and I simply don’t have time to clean gallons of your blood off my kitchen floor. Do you know how hard it will be to get it out of the grout? And really, it will be very distracting if you haunt me during revisions . . .”
Yes, I’m being facetious. No, I didn’t get any writing done during poor Jane’s visit. She’s doing better, by the way. And somehow I met my deadline—though I’m glad that I won’t be a fly on my editor’s computer when she reads the draft!
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I blogged earlier
this month about where I found the ideas for RIDING THE STORM
, my October Blaze. I got thinking afterward that all my life experiences these days seem to end up in a book.
Not that my life is always a romance novel. Thankfully, I’ve already battled my way to my happily-ever-after and I’m fortunate to live it with my husband and three sons. But the world around me provides ideas constantly. And if it doesn’t, I tend to kick start things with a vacation or a new adventure that will provide food for thought.
For example, I took a cruise just so that I could write a book set on a cruise ship. (A particularly Machiavellian bit of wifely manipulation, but my husband ended up having a great time.) The Pleasure Trip was the result. My yearly trips to the nation’s ballparks wound up in Double Play and Sliding Into Home. An old trip to the Jersey shore (pre-dating the show by the same name) provided the inspiration for my Wrong Bed, Up All Night. The months I lived in Miami’s North Beach area gave me tons of material for my Single in South Beach series, starting with Sex and the Single Girl.
But I don’t always need to travel for inspiration. Sometimes, I fall in love with a TV character or a great book, and that morphs into an idea. The summer I read about Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands area transplanted into Getting Lucky for a fun American Gothic setting. The year I watched all the Sopranos shows came through in my Night Eyes books, especially Don’t Look Back, where a cop has to deal with a gangster in her past. Oh, and remember the Gilmore Girls? Their snappy dialogue really informed my mother/daughter characters in Wild and Willing.
A frequent interview question that I’ve gotten is “Where do you get your ideas?” It would probably be easier to answer “Where don’t I?” as the list would be much shorter. Ideas are all around me in the form of character voices, settings, conflicts and happily ever after moments. I just have to be observant and take it all in.
***See a book of mine that you’ve missed? Tell me what stories are missing from your collection and I’ll send one random poster a copy of the book they need!
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