Tag Archives: The Lover

Bringing a Story to Life – Turn Up the Heat

sidewalk_eggAfter a bit of writer’s frustration [read: BLOCK], I decided to go sit in the sun.  Closing my eyes, I lifted my face and allowed the heat to seep into my soul.

EMF-Land.  Given the interesting [read HELLISH] turn my life – post-2000 Bay Area relocation – took, my first thought was that heat is radiant energy.

Analytical, if not truthful, it was kind of a sensual buzzkill.

As I sat there, I considered that I’m a fiction writer, and explaining heat as radiant energy was oversimplifying things.

And dull.

I challenged myself to describe the heat.

It was unlike what I was used to.  I stopped to think about about why that was.

To do this, I had to feel.

So?  The heat was not uncomfortable.  It wasn’t the kind of heat that would drive someone indoors or leave their clothes sticking to them, though they wouldn’t want to be reading an ebook on their phone in it.

The phone would overheat.

I continued to analyze the heat and how it felt.  The thermostat suggested it was hot enough that I should be uncomfortable, yet I wasn’t.  Why?  The answer was in EMF-Land!

Story of my life.

Radiant Heat.  If its radiant, it’s probably radiating from something.

Or, it could be bouncing off something that changes its intensity..

In this case, it was bouncing off natural wood, making it comfortable, not too hot.

Like sitting in a wood sauna.

The thought of a sauna reminded me of a scene in The Lover.

Hot it Hot.  Not!

Michigan.  Michigan summers vary depending on which part of the state you live in.  For the Detroit Metro area, the general pattern is warm and humid with heat and humidity increasing throughout the week so that many weekends have rain/thunderstorms, after which it cools, only to repeat the cycle.

Especially in late May and throughout June.

As the summer progresses, so does the heat and humidity.

As do the horse flies and brown outs.

By the end of August, it’s the Dog Days of Summer.  Being a Michigander, however, you’re loving every minute of it as you know cooler days are a-comin;.

Trick or Treating in a winter coat and snow boots is a real possibility.

Florida.  Once again, it depends where you live.  I was fortunate enough to live on the Suncoast, so the humidity wasn’t bad.

Though it did rain pretty much daily at 3pm – at least on one side of the street.

Louisiana.  Probably the closest I’ve ever come to getting heat stroke.

The bus drivers decided not to show up for work on the last day of school.  My  brother, his friends, and I had to walk home in that ungodly heat and humidity.  Not fun.

Fortunately, the friends’ mother worried when her kids weren’t at the bus stop and drove out to see what was going on – picked us up walking along the hot busy freeway.

San Francisco.  Well, once again we have the caveat of it depends. If you’re over near the coast, bring your Midwest winter coat.  If you’re on the bay side, you’re going to be fine.

If you’re north, south, or east of the city, you’ll be hot in the shade, though at least it’s a dry heat.

Scottsdale.  The day we moved into our house it was 118 degrees – actual.

The day we moved into our Fort Collins’ home was minus 18 – actual.

My husband and I unloaded the truck by ourselves.  I just had lots of bottled water to keep us going – along with the stares and comments from the neighbors who thought we were nuts.

Shrug.

Perception.  When I moved to the East Bay, CA, a local told me I didn’t know what heat was.

Really?  Try Louisiana.  Try Michigan in late August.  Humidity puts a whole new angle to a 90 degree day.

While living in the East Bay, I had someone from Chandler, AZ say I didn’t know what heat was.

It was 114 degrees in Walnut Creek.  I’d say that was heat.

Adjective please.  As I sat in the sun and searched for the words to describe what I was feeling, I realized that the answer was actually in EMF-Land.

Radiate.

The heat I was feeling wasn’t so bad because it was radiating off of natural wood.

As opposed to asphalt, gravel, metal, or some other man-influenced substance.

It wasn’t the kind of heat that left your clothes sticking to you.

Eloquently please.  A waiter in Durham once told me the difference between heat in North Carolina and heat in So Cal was that at least in So Cal you could cool off in the shade.  To me, this beautifully summarizes the different ways you can put context into heat.

Important in fiction writing.

Now That’s Heat!  Imagine an outdoor passion scene in those locales.  If everything else was equal, in one place you’d be peeling the clothes from your already sweaty body while in another you may be feeling a breeze off sunburned shoulders.

Bolsa_Chica_State_Beach_sunset

 

Or you might shiver as shoulders burned from staying too long on Bolsa Chica Beach touched cool clover grass.

 

There are just so many things to love about heat…

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Hero to Supporting Character – Writing Jeremy

In The Lover, Book 2 in the Awakening Series, Jeremy Williams, a romantic hero with a physical disability, takes center stage.  This character challenged me as a writer.

For weeks I was stuck in a scene where he is looking out the window, contemplating.  Why was he there?  What was he thinking about?  How could I move the two main characters forward romantically when there was such an awkwardness to get past and why was there such an awkwardness between two people who are supposed to be romantically attracted to each other?

 Working with this character definitely helped me grow as a writer.

Writing a romantic hero with a disability forced me to look at intimacy from a perspective outside what’s typical or predictable which turned out to be a wonderful experience, in spite of how challenging and humbling it was.

 At the conclusion of the manuscript I found myself missing working with Jeremy and though I knew he’d appear in The Messenger, he would be a supporting character.

I wanted to honor him as a strong character but I couldn’t rob Logan Doyle of his role as the romantic hero.

As I wrapped that manuscript, I knew that I was more or less saying good-bye to this character.

He and Josie had returned home and were theoretically carrying on with their happily ever after. 

When I began work on the final book in the series, The Seer, I realized that Jeremy wasn’t finished with me.

As I started  putting the pieces of the story in place I realized that this unique hero could play a significant role moving the story forward.  It seemed a great way to honor a fabulous character.

But Jeremy refused to be sidelined as a supporting character.

Supporting characters are often bit players in the greater drama.

So once again I found myself challenged by a character with a disability.  What was his day to day life like?  How were things between he and Josephina progressing?  How would he fit into an atypical family that was growing and evolving with each new book?

Looking at events from Jeremy’s point of view provided plot twists I hadn’t considered and showed me where various aspects of the storyline were weak.

Supporting characters are observers so they are able to come up with conclusions about characters and the characters’ behavior.  This can tip a writer off as to when something is a flaw or help them identify a quality that should be exploited further.

He shaped the book in ways I never expected, given all of my focus was on the romantic hero, Parmeet Sarin, and his challenges.

And my challenge of bringing a character who had been on the sidelines for awhile center stage.

I hope you will enjoy reading about Jeremy’s continuing adventures, along with those of the other characters, in The Seer, available this autumn.

When a Hero Rolls In

The-Lover-cover

In a short time I will be releasing what was one of the most challenging writing projects of my career.

Novelists find story ideas in a variety of places.

It isn’t always What If…?

Dream. In 1999, while on a business trip, I dreamt an entire novel, beginning to end.

It’s in the queue.

The dream was incredibly vivid, the type where you feel you are not just watching but are participating.

Yet I was not one of the characters.

Upon waking I grabbed my laptop and captured every detail. I tucked it away for the right time.

Dances with Wolves remained on a shelf gathering dust for several years before being produced.  

See. In 2007, I walked into my bedroom and saw two characters in my mind’s eye. Initially startled, I soon realized I was looking at a book in the making. I stood and watched them, taking in appearance, body language, and how they were with each other. Hint: Awkward.

I began considering reasons these two would find themselves in such a situation. The result of that exercise is Silicon Valley Hangover.

Life. As a psychic who regularly encounters ghosts, I’ve borrowed from my own experiences upon occasion to provide in-depth knowledge, exaggerating, yet keeping it real.

These are just a few of the ways I am creatively inspired.

When it came time for the Awakening series, I had the overall plot of four women, four gifts, one summer. What I needed were supporting characters, not the least of which were heroes.

I took each book on its own merit, creating a supporting cast for each female. When it came time to begin book two, Awakening the Lover, I was startled by the hero who presented himself. He didn’t stroll in, he rolled in.

In a wheelchair.

Just as I had with SVH, I spent time just observing this character. I slid my lead female into the scene with him to see how it felt.

Hint: It felt right.

Even as I knew this would truly challenge me as a writer, I was intrigued.

It had never occurred to me to write a hero who was in a wheelchair, but from the moment I saw the two characters together I knew it was perfect. He was perfect.

I began to consider backstory but he was having none of it. He wanted me to really know him, to understand what he brought to the story. How he came to be in a wheelchair was irrelevant compared to the kind of leading man he would make.

Not to mention the kind of lover.

Several times I had to stop writing and simply contemplate this incredibly complex, totally likable character. Over the course of the book I gained confidence. It helped that I had some experience to draw from.

Many moons ago I spent time in a wheelchair facing the possibility I would never walk again.

A fiction character is special to a writer. It was important to me that I do him justice.

I believe I succeeded.

Not only did this hero help me grow as a writer, he enabled me to take intimacy between two characters in a direction I’d not gone before.

I’m really excited that The Lover, Book 2 in The Awakening Series will be available soon.