Soul Mates

I don’t believe in soul mates. I used to, when I was young and stupid. Now that I’m old and stupid, I know better. The idea that there’s one person – one perfect person who will love your quirks, embrace your flaws, and provide perfect balance to your otherwise topsy turvy life – in a world of like 7 billion people is too ridiculous to be true.  Not to mention mean spirited on the universe’s part. I prefer to think there’s a team of lets say like 5000 or so people with whom you could, under the right circumstances, have a happy life. A different happy life with each of them.

Of course that’s not what I write about. Soul mates are the bread and butter of the genre.  They’re what every romance novel I’ve ever read – whether the heroine spent her time twirling a parasol or swinging a sword – was ultimately about. In Inbetween, Tab Bennett, the heroine, has a soul mate (or Homecoming as the elvish call it). They belong together. Undeniably. Everlasting.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to get them to their happy ending.

 

 

work in progress

unlike inbetween, which was a talking book, its sequel, underneath, is about walking around. there’s adventure, several ambushes, torture, and knife throwing. there’s a dark forest to cross, a dungeon to escape, and bad guys to vanquish. all of which is a lot harder to write about than tab’s feelings about robbin or lust for alex.

just describing where everyone is standing during a fight is enough to drive a sane person to madness and i did not start out sane. here’s a little excerpt from the fight scene that’s going to be the death of me:

And strangely, although I stood there dotted with blood from a recent impaling and Daniel and Alex were locked in some kind of deadly, magical  pissing contest, I was okay. The old magic that filled the room embraced me, soothed the bite of Daniel’s attack and left me completely blissed out. Which is probably why I didn’t notice the fact that the serving girls were rushing from the shadows, their red eyes glowing in the darkness, ready to rescue their king – or die trying – until they were crouched down in front of him, daring us to move.

“Hello Finnegan,” the beautiful one snarled.

He nodded to her. “Serena.”

“You came back.”

He shrugged. “Said I would.”

With her pale skin and slight frame, it was hard to believe Serena was a threat. But I could tell by the casual, bored to tears tone of his voice, and by the way he kept me pinned to his side but slightly behind him, that Finn felt she was. Later he told me it was stupid to confuse an opponent’s size with their potential to kick your ass.  Second best piece of fighting advice I ever got.

“And this? Is this really what you want to do?” she asked, eyeing him suspiciously.

The conversation was dense with subtext, leaving me on edge but in the dark about why.

“This is what I was born to do,” he replied.

That’s what set her off. Without warning, she leapt at him, growling, a fury of teeth and nails. He pushed me away, attempting to get me out of her reach. Unfortunately, I collided with the edge of the table then slammed into the tallest of the three girls. She rounded on me, punching me before I had a chance to find my balance.

I want to win, I thought. Got to stay on my feet.

Ignoring the ringing in my ears, I hit her back, hard, and she crumpled to the ground. When the middle girl left Daniel’s side to defend her sister, I picked up a crystal goblet and swung wide, snapping it neatly into her chin. She fell beside her sister and stayed down.

Tab Bennett 2, bad guys zip.

Love is exposed

When I was 11 my best friend gave me a diary for my birthday. It was a pretty pink book, the kind with the little lock and key and gold deckle edged pages.

I hated it.

My mother had warned me about the inherent danger of recording your feelings the summer before when I’d innocently asked for, and been denied, a similar volume. If you write down your feelings, she warned, there’s proof and, worse yet, the risk of exposure. As a kid with a massive crush on Johnny Depp, circa 21 Jump Street, this was the worst thing I could imagine. What if someone found my diary, picked the flimsy lock, and read all about my secret, tender feelings for him? I would die of embarrassment.

Now, of course, I want people to read my work. I hide my secrets in plain sight on the pages I write. I put my thoughts in my character’s mouths and let them say the things I don’t. It’s liberating and cleansing and the best kind of letting go.

That said, I have never kept a diary.

love is irrational

A few months ago a pretty well known agent read and liked my book. She called the story original, praised my writing, and then just when I thought she was going to represent me, passed on the project.

Want to know why she decided to pass? She felt that the hero didn’t act rationally. He did things that didn’t make sense, said things he shouldn’t have, and seemed incapable of thinking through the consequences of his actions.

Um…that pretty much describes my entire romantic life.

Love is Hard

You know how all this romance novel stuff got started? I read the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries (which, by the way, are in no way mysterious) and thought “I can do that.” It seemed so easy, like a math problem  even I could solve. In my head, it went like this:

1 beautiful (but unassuming) woman
+ 2 gorgeous (and vastly different) men who want her
÷ circumstance
+ danger
+ grope, grind, squeeze
= instant bestseller

Easy, right? Nope. Wrong. It turns out love is hard. It’s hard to be in, hard to hold on to, and really hard to write about.

Would somebody please tell Charlaine Harris that I’m sorry for doubting her.