Monday, January 30, 2012

Sparks fly

How do you make your romance sizzle?

I, for one, favor a love-hate dilemma. The hero and heroine teeter dangerously between not being able to stand each other and not being able to get enough. I love to write strong and feisty women who don’t easily swoon. At least they think they don’t. The tension of these kinds of relationships fascinate and excite me. One minute they are tearing each other’s heads off in a battle of wits, the next they are nose-to-nose, suspended in a heady spell of heated desire.

I think part of the reason I prefer this saucy version over say, a sweet romance, is because of my very own love story. Jaded, heart-broken, man-hater, (okay so that’s taking it a little far, but just go with it) has no intention of being swayed by any man after the last one bludgeoned her heart into an early grave. Let alone a baseball player, whom she has been forewarned are all bad news. The ruggedly handsome center fielder has caught her eye, much to her dismay, but is as aloof as a brick wall.

Unforeseen circumstances have them paired up for a tutoring session. The brain schools the jock on statistics to find that yes, in fact, he has a brain. And a sense of humor. And a dead sexy smile. Trouble! Head-butting ensues as two strong will’s clash.

Okay, so there is some interest there, she’s brave enough to admit it to herself. But girls don’t chase boys. At least, girls like me don’t. And the big, dumb oaf has had more than a dozen tutoring sessions of sarcastic and witty banter—some of my finest work—and has yet to ask the girl out. Could the rumors be true? Is he really a player working her over with some serious game?

Then, the girl discovers the ball player is a believer. He even suggests that they do a bible study before they tutor. What girl wouldn’t swoon over a hunky, self-assured man of God dangling himself as tasty man-bait? Oh, but no, the heel dragging continues. Frustration mounts, sparks fly, and hearts finally collide.

Let’s just say, my husband knew what he was doing. Informed me about his little plan to get my attention after he’d reeled me in. But as exciting as it was, I remember it being infuriating! I told my girlfriends I though he was the biggest idiot on the planet and had officially washed my hands of the imbecile. But I will admit it set the stage for one steamy, albeit rated PG-13, romance.

It’s hard not to infuse some of ourselves in our writing. The way we felt when we were being chased. The zsa zsa zoo that defined our very own romances slips out onto the pages. Ahh, I love to remember falling in love.   

What about you? What is your love story? And how does it relate to the way you write your romances?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Telephone line

I’m back! Holiday break/sick leave/ten month old started walking and getting into everything adjustment/reading extravaganza has come to an end. Hope 2012 has been good to you so far!

Okay, back to business.

A recent snafu with my internet/telephone company had me thinking about that old game of telephone. While I have been explaining myself over and over to the very convincing con artists who run the AT&T call center for two months now regarding the issue, I see that they neither pass along the correct information, nor do they actually fulfill those promises to resolve the issue. Humph! Needless to say after more than a dozen phone calls, and more than twice as many wasted hours on hold, I am at the end of my rapidly fraying rope of gracious tolerance. And apparently, I have learned the hard way that I am far too trusting.

Hear me AT&T, you have poked mama bear one too many times. Watch out!

And so, to avoid any further miscommunications, I have drafted a very bold, and comically enraged short story masquerading as a complaint letter to the incompetent criminals who continue to work me over with their ‘can do’ attitude and their contrite apologies. The silver-tongued jezebels. I think it is some of my finest work!

But the whole process got me thinking about how naive we can be. How trusting. How easily we can believe blindly in decency and honesty. Whether from a person we know and trust, or a complete stranger on the other end of the line, we all put some trust in humanity to do right by us and shoot straight.

The novel I am working on centers around a great deception the main character believes from the mouth of his best friend when they were in high school. The ramifications of that blind belief come to the surface ten years later with an unexpected and horrifying outcome. We have all engaged in gossip at one point or another, and know how something seemingly innocent can have a rippling effect that ends up causing great devastation.

Much like that tried and true game of telephone. The facts get tweaked and twisted bit by bit until the truth has been rewritten into something else entirely. A lie. And more often than not the consequences of lies (okay, not generally when we are referring to the harmless game of telephone) are great. Often irrevocable.

How different things might have been had the person sought out the truth from the source instead of buying into a slew of lies that altered the course of their life.

I remember, all too well, being the subject of such demoralizing rumors and lies. How absurd they sounded. No one could possibly believe something so outlandish. Right?


Those tentacles of deceit can be like Stretch Armstrong. Much more far reaching than seems possible and far more damaging than a stretchy lump of rubber that miraculously shrinks back to size.

Are there any lies you chose to believe that affected your life in a major way? The devil is the master of lies, he knows just what seed of doubt to plant to make you buy in, hook, line, and sinker. How do you protect yourself from gossip? And for my sanity, has anyone else ever been worked over by the crooks on the other end of your phone line?