Birthdays and Gardens and Foxes...oh, my!
(and a wicked ass storm, too)
I've learned so much from my parents, too much to fit into a top ten list and some hard to put into words.But I'll attempt to do that for ten of'em. 🙂
Family first. Always.
Work hard. Do your part.
Marriage is work. But you love each other...it's worth it.
You have to be a parent first, not a friend. If you're really lucky - and I am - the friend part comes later in life.
Don't make a mistake worse by lying about it.
Love of reading. Because reading is awesome.
Some of the best times are the simplest - like sitting around a camp fire, just talking.
Be respectful and kind.
I can only control my actions and how I react to others.
I am loved. Unconditionally.
Happy Monday! It's time for another flash fiction. This one inspired by "Ever the Same" by Rob Thomas.
I love this song. It's one of my favorites. I went into the world from my "Albion's Circle" series for this flash fic, and wrote a glimpse into what I feel is one of the most important relationships in that series. And it isn't one of the romantic relationships.
I have delved into this world in flash fic before, so if you'd like to see those, here are the links.
I looked up and found Anna standing in the doorway, hand braced on the wooden frame, looking as exhausted as I felt.
“If you’re busy—”
I snorted and pushed my chair away from the desk. “I was paying bills. Nothing exciting, and nothing that can’t wait. What do you need?”
Her lips quirked upward. “Always to the point and ready to jump in without even knowing what I’m about to ask for. I'd forgotten that about you.”
“Well, It’s been a while, hasn’t it? A very long while,” I pointed out, familiar sadness weighing heavily over me.
“Yes,” she murmured. “My memories are coming back—the ones from Camelot that were hidden…” She blew out a long breath. “But I’m realizing that time may have passed, but you’re the same Arthur. And you are exactly who I need, right now. Who he needs.”
I stepped closer. “Merlin?”
“He won’t listen to me.”
I nodded, knowing things were still strained between the couple. Mostly because of Merlin’s self-sacrificing tendencies, especially when it came to the woman before me.
“And another thing I know, that I remember,” she closed the distance between us and took my hands, “is when I can’t get through to him, you always can.”
“That didn’t happen often—you not getting through.” I squeezed her cold, trembling fingers.
“It’s different now.” She inhaled deeply, closing her eyes a moment against the tears that welled up. When her bright green gaze was on my again, she continued, “He doesn’t see me as he did then. He looks at me and all he sees is his failures. Not how I look at the past, Arthur,” she said quickly when I opened my mouth. “But he does. All those lives, never finding me or being able to save me… I’m not the same Annwyl from Camelot. Not to him. Not really. So, I can’t get through to him the way I did then. But you can.”
I sighed, not exactly agreeing with her, but I wasn’t prepared to argue it. Not when there was Merlin to deal with.
“He won’t sleep,” she said before I could ask what the issue was. “He’s pushing himself too hard. For me, for you, for the Circle. He’s trying to figure out a way to find Jamie, to stop Mordred, to,” her voice cracked slightly, “to make things okay between us. He isn’t giving himself time to rest, and he hasn’t…hasn’t taken the time to grieve at all, let alone properly.”
“I’ll talk to him,” I assured then kissed her cheek.
“Thank you,” she said as we parted.
I headed out into the hallway then toward the stairway up to the third floor—Merlin’s space. I stopped and looked back at her. “You need to rest, too.”
“I will, when I know he is.”
Shaking my head, I made my way upstairs. Merlin wasn’t exactly alone in the self-sacrificing department. Hell, that could be attributed to damn near everyone in this house. Myself included. Of course, it was sort of a requirement when you vowed to come back, life after life, to fight against things most people believed were fantasy.
I didn’t bother knocking on the door and strode into the large open room. Merlin was at his desk, old books open and covering the space in front of him. His dark hair stood on end, from his habit of shoving his hands through the strands in frustration, and he was pale as fuck, with dark circles underscoring his eyes. Eyes that he could hardly keep open. Stubborn bastard.
I walked over to his side and settled a hand on his shoulder.
He startled slightly and sleepy blue eyes peered up at me. “Arthur?”
“Come on. Bed.”
Shaking his head, he turned back to his books, pulling one closer. “In a bit. I just need to—”
“You need to sleep. You can look at this with fresh eyes in the morning.”
“Arthur, I don’t need a fucking keeper,” he snapped. “What I need is to work, to figure out what to do, what to…”
And there were those hands in the hair…
I shifted and, gripping the back of his chair, pulled it back. Then, I grasped his elbows and yanked him to his feet, ignoring his protests. I pulled him around the desk, past the shelves of books and the table weighted down with even more books, to the large bed at the opposite side of the room.
I pushed him to sit on the edge of the mattress then crouched down to untie his boots. He jerked away, and I grabbed him by the calf, scowling at him.
“Merlin!” He stilled, and I pulled off both boots, tossing them to the side before standing. “If you want to sleep in something other than what you have on…”
He glared up at me, and I returned the hard look, not giving an inch. He pushed to his feet, hands clenching and unclenching at this sides.
“Don’t need a keeper,” he said again.
“Not a keeper. A friend,” I murmured. “A friend who worries. A friend who loves you.”
His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed audibly. “Low blow.”
I lifted a brow and waited. He muttered under his breath, and in a blink, he was standing there in a pair of pajama bottoms and threadbare t-shirt.
“Now, you’re just showing off.” I bent, reaching around him, and pulled back the duvet and sheet. “In.”
He looked as if he was going to argue again, but after a moment, his shoulders slumped as he sighed.
“In,” I repeated, a bit more gently.
Woodenly, he moved onto the bed, laying on his back and staring up at the ceiling. I toed off my shoes and stripped down to my boxers and t-shirt before climbing in beside him.
“Turn off the lights, Merlin,” I instructed.
“Arthur, please,” he whispered.
“Lights,” I said, adding a bit what Merlin called my “royalty” into my voice, knowing what needed to be done, knowing what he needed.
He blinked rapidly, then all the lights, save a small lamp across the room, went out. His breathing quickened and became harsher with each exhale. When his trembling shook the bed, I rolled onto my side and laid a hand on his chest, over his heart.
“It’s not all on you, Merlin. Stop carrying it all.”
His entire body jerked, and he shook his head frantically.
“You need to give some of it up. Give some of it to me, so you can rest. So you can be better and do what needs to be done. The weight of it all is crushing you, my friend.”
“You’re one to talk, sire.” The snarkiness of his words was completely ruined by the tears in his voice.
“Yes, and when the time comes—because it inevitably will—when I need to give up some of what smothers me, when I need to rest, you’ll be there to remind me, won’t you? It’s what we do.”
“I can’t sleep. Every time I close my eyes, I see…”
“What? What do you see?” I asked when he fell silent. Because it could be so many things. Living the lives we did, there was no shortage of horrors to relive in the quiet unguarded moments.
“Arthur," he said, voice small and quiet. "I killed him.”
I closed my eyes as my throat tightened, the pain from that loss still a very fresh wound. “It wasn’t your fault. You know that.”
“No, I don’t. I don’t know that,” he bit out. Then, his hand covered mine. “Whose fault is it, if not mine? I should have…should’ve done it differently. Should have figured another way to stop it.”
“It was Mordred,” I said, loud voice echoing through the room. “He set that in motion. And don't start down the road of questioning or diminishing the choices we make. We all made the choice to be here, and to give our lives if necessary. He did what he believed to be right." Even as I was assured Merlin and believed everything I said, with every ounce of my being, I couldn't quite bring myself to say his name, yet. My fallen knight. The first of the fallen in this life. "And he’d be pissed as fuck, Merlin, if he knew you were blaming yourself. Don’t lessen his choice, his sacrifice like this. Honor it. Be better.”
“How many more are we going to lose, before this is over? Before we stop him?” He gulped. “Am I going to lose her again?”
Merlin moved closer, just an inch or so, but it was enough. I pulled him the rest of the way and held him—like I had hundreds of times before, like he had held me just as many times, if not more, when I was the one in need.
“We will stop Mordred. And we’ll keep Anna safe.” I said firmly, closing my eyes, praying I was right, this time.
“I’m so tired, Arthur.”
I had to fight to keep quiet, to not cry at the depth of pain and sorrow in those four small words. Silence settled over us, and slowly, Merlin relaxed and grew heavy in my arms. I continued to hold him as sleep finally stole over him, trying to give him what strength I could, hoping it was enough.
(and a big welcome to Siobhan who will be joining us for flash fics!)
So, we decided when we were setting up the blog schedule this year that we'd do monthly check-ins. We have no hard-set rules for these posts - they can be whatever we want them to be.
For me, I'm looking at this as an opportunity to keep myself accountable, to look at how I'm progressing toward the goals I set for myself, and to really look at what is working (and keep doing it!) and what isn't (and stop and come up with something new!).
That's all well and good, yeah? Problem is, I didn't really set concrete goals for myself for 2017 like I'd done for previous years. When the year started, I was overwhelmed - for myriad reasons I won't get into in this post - and while I needed something to focus on and strive for, setting up specific goals (# of words written a week and that type of thing) was just too much for me at that time. So, for January, I decided I would look at areas of my life I wanted to do better in. I chose to focus on and establish routines with self-care and keeping my house in order (which, really, is kinda self-care because if there is chaos around me, my mind is chaos).
I used my bullet journal to help me out here. On each day, in addition to appointments, family obligations, and day job stuff, I had the same two checklists - one for self-care and one for the house stuff. It seems overly simple, I know, but sometimes in the midst of 4 kids' school and work schedules, a husband who was traveling overseas for work, work from the day job... Well, some days, it was a struggle to be able to fill in those little boxes. But I did it. And I figured out what worked for me...how and where to fit those things that were important to me, my health, and my sanity.
And another moment of harsh honesty--there were some days in there that those 2 little lists were the only thing I accomplished that day. And doing them, filling in those boxes, sticking to it would make a really shitty day marginally better.
So, what now? I'm going to keep with those checklists, because the importance of self-care and being at peace with my surroundings hasn't gone away. But now, I'm going to focus on getting back to what I love. Back to writing. And I feel ready to do that.
It has taken me quite a while to set aside the guilt I've been feeling for not finishing books that were meant to be finished this last year. A lot of stuff happened, and I wasn't in a place where I could do it. Taking care of myself - physically, mentally, emotionally - had to take priority. Writing, as well as many other things, had to take a backseat while I figured out how to do that. But, now that I have, writing gets to be on the top of the list again, and I'm super happy and excited about that.
From now on, in these monthly check-ins, I'm going to look back at the previous month and how I've been doing, and I'm also going to write down some goals for the following month. So, here we go for February...
A new feature! Woot. We're going to be blogging about music - our faves and our not so faves.
So this month we have...
FAVE SOUNDTRACK - I love a lot of soundtracks, but right now, in this moment? Hamilton (I know, I know, shocker, right?)
Absolutely love this cast album, and at least once a day, a random line is sung in this house. And not always by me!
SONG THAT MAKES ME WANT TO DANCE - "Time Warp" from Rocky Horror Picture Show
Okay, it's usually this parody that is in my head lately...but they both make me want to dance!
...but they both make me want to dance!
SONG I LOVE TO SING ALONG WITH - Oh boy, this is a tough one... My kids will tell you (with varying degrees of disgust and embarrassment), I sing along to everything, all the freaking time. LOL But one I particularly love? "Gang of Rhythm" by Walk Off the Earth
This month, I'm going to revisit some of my favorite boys - Michael and Aric - sort of. This is a snippet seen through the eyes of Michael's sister, Trina.
If you want to see the other pieces with the boys, here you go:
The prompt will be bolded in the story itself. 🙂
"I'm coming, for fuck's sake!" Trina called out, supremely pissed at whoever was banging on her door, interrupting her Criminal Minds marathon. The rest of her words - all cuss words, sure, but that wasn't important - died on her tongue when she yanked the door open and found her brother, Michael, standing on her doorstep in the pouring rain. With a huge shit-eating grin splitting his face.
"Hey, sister," he said, swaying side to side.
She grabbed his arm and yanked him inside, shutting the door behind them. "What the fuck, Mikey?"
He stumbled slightly and laughed brightly. "Oh shit, you were doing Criminal Minds tonight, weren't you? Sorry to interrupt your gawping at Derek Morgan times." Another laugh burst from his lips, and he covered his mouth, eyes wide as he stared at her.
"You're drunk...and you've got glitter..." She gave a vague gesture in his direction, because honestly, the sparkly shit was everywhere, and she'd probably be finding it on her carpet for years to come, now.
"I am, but not too drunk. Just...happy." His words were muffled against his palm as he nodded. He lowered his hand and continued, "It was a good fucking night. Until he got called back into work. And your place is closer to his so I had him drop me here. Figured you loved me enough to let me take your spare room for the night." He batted his lashes playfully. "Pretty please?"
She sighed and stopped herself from asking who "he" was. Michael never shared about the guys he hooked up with. Part of her was grateful - because who wanted to hear about who their little brother banged? - but another part was sad he didn't even try to find someone to be serious about. Then again, it was a Saturday night, and she was in her jammies, watching TV by herself. Who was she to judge on that point?
"Go on." She shooed him toward the spare bedroom. "Shower that shit off yourself, and I'll grab you some dry clothes. Then, it's back to Criminal Minds and Derek Too-Hot-For-His-Own-Good Morgan. You can join or not..."
"I'll join, but you know I'm more of a Spencer Reid man. Rowr."
She snorted as she strode into the laundry room to grab some sweats and a t-shirt from the stash of clothes Michael kept at her place. When she went to the bedroom, Michael was standing in the middle of the room, bare from the waist up, still swaying slightly, Her eyes widened when she took in the marks on his neck and shoulders and the ones - definitely from rough fingers there - peeking from beneath where his jeans hung low on his hips.
"Fuuuuck, Mikey." She whistled low and tossed the clothes onto the bed. "Did you send him to work looking like you? Sparkly and marked up?"
He didn't even startle, just looked at her, strangely somber, as his cheeks pinkened. When he didn't say anything, she prodded. Just a little.
"You normally don't go for the club scene." She walked up to him and thumbed some of the glitter from his cheek. "I'm assuming that's where your night started..."
"I normally don't," he agreed. "Neither does Aric, but he needed to let off some steam, and so did I." He sighed and lifted his shoulder in a weak half-shrug. "Dad called."
Fuck. No need to explain, she thought. Their dad had been mostly absent during their childhood, but when he bothered to show up, emotionally and verbally abusive, homophobic asshole didn't begin to cover it.
So she did what she had to do, to spare her brother more pain he didn't need. She sidestepped that particular landmine and grasped onto the other nugget of information he'd given.
"Aric? Are you actually seeing someone? Regularly enough to actually learn his name?"
He narrowed his eyes. "I always learn their names, I'll have you know."
"Mm hmmm." She crossed her arms. "But you never share them with me. So..."
His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed. "Been seeing him for about a month. He's...he's..." He looked at her, expression almost panicked. "I love him, Trina. Fuck me, but I love him. Enough to go to a damned club, get all sweaty and glitter-bombed just to see him freaking smile."
"Wow." She took a deep breath then grinned. "Okay, you go shower the stink and sparkle off. I'm going to pull out the wine, and you're going to tell me all about this Aric."
"I mean it, Trina. He's...he's it for me." He scrubbed his hands over his face then met her gaze. "That's the real reason I had him drop me off here. I needed you to know. You two are the most important people in my life."
Chest aching, she closed the distance between them, braved the glitter and kissed his cheeks. Then, grasping his shoulders, she turned him and gave him a push towards the bathroom. "Can't wait to hear about him, so hurry."
Once she heard the shower turn on, Trina went into the kitchen. She couldn't help but laugh as she opened a bottle of white. How does she find out her brother has found someone to love and be with? He showed up at her door, soaking wet, bruised and covered in glitter. So fucking typical...
A new feature in 2017...monthly Top 10 lists. Woot.
This time, my top 10 is in no particular order.
Happy New Year! Here's the very first flash fic of 2017. And I give you a whole lot of fluff, my friends. Because, frankly, I just needed a feel-good story, so that's what you get, too. 🙂
“Mm hmmm.” Remy agreed with Max’s quiet words, though his gaze, unlike his friend’s, wasn’t fixed on the sky. He should be looking upward, taking in the brilliant display above them—the colors, the pulsing lights dancing through the dark night. But, no. Instead, he couldn’t pull his eyes from Max. An all-too-frequent problem Remy’d dealt with lately.
Who the hell was he kidding? This wasn’t a new thing, something that had recently happened. His feelings for his friend—the instant relentless attraction he’d felt when they’d met years before that had grown exponentially every second he was in the other man’s presence—were his cross to bear. And he did so gladly, even when he thought he’d suffocate under the weight of it, sometimes. He’d rather deal with that than the alternative—no Max in his life.
Maybe Remy was a glutton for punishment—he could own that. But he’d take what he could get, even if that meant he had to witness Max dating people who were so wrong for him, had to listen to every post-breakup analysis and comfort him afterward. Telling his friend, again and again, he’d find the right one, while swallowing down what he really wanted to say.
Me! Dammit, I’m the right one. Why can’t you just see that?
But, unwilling to risk their friendship, Remy kept silent.
And, now, instead of oohing and aahing over the most vivid display of Northern lights, he tried not to drool as he took in the intense look on Max’s face as he took photo after photo and nearly vibrated with excitement.
He’d known, when Max had invited him along for a weekend of camping, it’d be difficult to hide his feelings. More so than usual because there was no one else around acting as a buffer. There was no escape, no place to run to when it got to be too much. He couldn’t excuse himself to get another drink or make a mad dash to the bathroom.
So far, though, he’d managed. Mostly because Max was too distracted to notice Remy staring at him like an idiot. And, really, as hard as he tried, he wasn’t being very subtle. Max’s full lips, parted slightly, damp from a thoroughly arousing swipe of his tongue… Remy shifted as his cock twitched. Fuck, that mouth had starred in more of his fantasies that he could count. He was a fucking whore for that mouth. Or he would be if he thought Max would go for it. If it wouldn’t take him from Remy’s life the second things crashed and burned—like every other relationship either of them had been in.
He dragged his eyes away, only to be caught by another frequent flyer in Remy’s spank bank—Max’s ridiculously gorgeous hands. Long elegant fingers that just begged to be sucked on. Heat curled low in Remy’s belly as he imagined doing just that. Drawing them into his mouth, swirling his tongue around each digit, getting them good and dripping so Max could slide them inside…
“Fuck,” he muttered under his breath, angling his body away and tipping his head up to look at the sky. Willing the images to vacate his head and his body to calm down.
He closed his eyes as Max’s voice—low and gravelly and oh so fucking sexy—washed over him.
“Yeah,” he managed.
Max hummed in response then, after a few quiet moments, spoke again. “Gotta say, I’m surprised you agreed to come out here with me.”
Remy straightened and turned toward his friend, frowning at the flat tone of the words. “What? Why?”
Max lifted one shoulder then lowered the camera. “Just seems like you’ve done everything you can to avoid being around me lately. Or at least avoiding being alone with me. Just wondered…worried that I’d done something to piss you off.”
Remy’s face heated as he watched Max drop into a crouch to pack his camera in its case. His stomach flipped and his heart raced when he saw Max’s hands trembling.
“No,” he said quickly. “You didn’t do anything. I mean, I’m not pissed off about anything.”
Max pushed back to his feet. “But you are avoiding me?” He closed the distance between them before Remy could respond. “Don’t deny it. I’m not stupid, Rem. Something’s not right, and you need to tell me what the hell it is, because…” He shoved his fingers through his already messy brown curls. “Well, at the risk of going full-on chick-flick here, I can’t lose you. And it really feels like I am.”
“Just tell me. I’d rather get hit with something I don’t like, and fix it, than keep going like this—feeling like I’m losing what we have little by little every day.”
Remy swallowed past the lump in his throat as panic gripped him, an icy sickening hold that tightened every second Max stared him down. He didn’t know what to do, what to say. The risk of losing Max had always kept him silent—he’d never dreamed he’d lose him anyway. And that’s what seemed to be happening. Shit.
“Max,” he said again, eyes stinging. “I never meant… It’s not that I… I just…just…” With a huff of frustration, he spun around and stalked a few paces away, annoyed with his inability to form a complete sentence.
Max sighed loudly then the grass crunched beneath his feet as he moved. Remy turned and watched helplessly as he grabbed his camera bag and walked to the tent.
After opening the flap, Max looked back, shoulders slumped in defeat. “I thought you trusted me, that our friendship was stronger than this.” Another sigh and a shake of his head. “Goodnight, Rem.”
He ducked inside, and the sound of the zipper closing the tent—closing Max off from him—made Remy want to throw up. Seconds later, the tent glowed from the lantern inside, and he could see Max’s silhouette as he got ready for bed. Pressing the heels of his hands to his temples, Remy squeezed his eyes shut and inhaled deeply.
This couldn’t be happening.
He dropped his hands and strode toward the tent. Hell if it was going to go down like this. If he was going to lose the most important person in his life, it sure as fuck wasn’t going to be because he sat by quietly and let it happen.
Fumbling slightly, he managed to get the tent open and nearly tripped over his own feet getting inside. He didn’t look at Max as he closed the tent—taking the moment to steel his nerve.
When he straightened and faced his friend, Max stood closer than he expected—silly since it was a small tent and he should have seen that coming. He could feel Max’s warm breath against his cheek as they stared at each other.
Wetting his lips, Remy met Max’s beautiful green eyes—losing himself in them, as he always did. When one of Max’s brows lifted, he spoke. Blurted out the first words that came to mind.
“I like you.”
Even though he would’ve liked to smack himself for being ten times an idiot, Remy pushed on as Max watched him, bewilderment in his wide eyes.
“I’m not avoiding you…being alone with you because of anything bad. I like you. More than than like you, and I didn’t want to fuck up our friendship. Though seems like I did just that anyway.” He pressed his lips together and drew in a deep breath. “I didn’t want to make things awkward, you know? And what could be more awkward than a friend saying they’re in love with you, for fuck’s sake? I’ll do better, okay? I mean, now that you know, you get that I’m not upset or pissed. I’m just dealing with...with how I feel. Just let me get a handle on it, and things will go back to normal and—”
“You love me?”
Unsure how to interpret the quiet, measured tone, Remy nodded and opened his mouth. But before he could speak again, Max stepped closer and dragged a fingertip over Remy’s lower lip—pulling a ragged groan from Remy.
“How long?” he asked.
Max gave a choked laugh and closed his eyes briefly. He shook his head and met Remy’s gaze, again.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” He shifted his hand and cupped Remy’s cheek.
Remy shook his head, shoving down the hope that flared inside him.
“I asked you out, Rem. Years ago. You laughed…made a fucking joke.” Max’s voice cracked slightly.
He knew exactly the night Max was talking about and, again, shook his head, a bit more forcefully this time.
“You were drunk off your ass,” he protested. “I thought—You were serious?”
“God, yeah. And I wasn’t that drunk. Just needed the liquid courage to ask out my best friend, who was hot as fuck and so far out of my league...”
“Shit,” he whispered. “I never thought…”
“I’ve wanted you for so long. Been in love with you,” Max’s lips quirked, “forever.”
“I’m an idiot.”
Laughing, Max slid his hand into Remy’s hair as he wrapped his other arm around Remy’s waist. He pulled Remy close and whispered against his lips, “Touch me. I need your hands on me. Dying for it.”
Remy dragged his palms up over Max’s chest, stopping to feel the hammering of his friend’s heart.
“Just like that?” He leaned in, a brief press of mouths, still not quite believing this was happening.
Max returned the kiss, slipping his tongue between Remy’s lips. Both men groaned as they tasted each other for the first time. Max tightened his hold and rolled his hips, the hard length of his cock dragging against Remy’s.
“Hardly ‘just like that’. Years,” he ground out. “Years and years. We’re both idiots—could have had this all along. Want it all, everything, with you.”
“Me, too. Fuck,” he moaned as Max ground against him, fingers rough in his hair and on his hip. “God, me, too.”
“Feel so good,” Max murmured, releasing his hold and shoving at Remy’s clothes. “Knew you would, dreamed of this for so long…”
Fumbling, they stripped each other, and finally, finally, they tumbled down onto air mattress. Remy nearly sobbed as Max settled between his thighs, pressed against him hotly, skin to skin. With shaky hands, he framed Max’s face and stared up at him.
“I never actually thought I’d have this. Thought you’d eventually find someone you wanted forever, and I’d just have watch it all play out, always being just the friend, dying inside while trying to be happy for you.”
Max turned to kiss one of Remy’s palms, nuzzling against the sensitive skin. “Oh, Rem. All I’ve ever wanted was you. Just you…my beautiful idiot.”
aka 5 Celebrities I Can Jump and It Doesn't Count as Cheating.
Assault, on the other hand... o.O
And, for the record, David Schwimmer? NOT on my list.
#1 - Colin Morgan - This man...oh, this man. He would BE my list. SOME people will accuse me of playing favorites...and well, it's the truth. And I'm not even a little sorry. Not. Even. A. Tiny. Bit.
*ahem* okay...four more... Cause I'll follow the rules and shit.
#2 - Grant Gustin - A perfect mix of adorable and hot.
#3 - Bradley James. Now, as a rule, I'm not really that into blonds. But every rule has an exception, and Bradley is mine.
#4 - Andrew Lincoln & Norman Reeds. Okay, a bit of a cheat - a two in one. But in my mind, they are a package deal. 😉#5 - Richard Madden - swoon
Happy Wednesday, friends.
When we plan out the blog topics for the year, I'm always excited when a Behind the Scenes post comes around, and planning 2016 was no exception.
Now that we're here and it's time to write the post, though... "Can I be real a second? For just a millisecond?"
(Actually, my singing Hamilton lyrics is probably as good a look behind the scenes into my life right now as you can get - as my family can attest.)
Anyhoo... Truth is, as I posted about a short time ago, this year has been challenging for me as a writer, and I'm now just getting back to where I need (and want!) to be. So, sharing behind the scenes is a more difficult task than it has ever been, but I'm going to give it a shot.
My most current project is my next Bound book, Safeword Protected, so I'll share a bit about it and how as an author I"m connecting with it.
Clara Turner loves her life—her career as a travel writer takes her to places most people only dream of. But with the birth of her cousin’s first child quickly approaching, Clara happily trades her fast-paced adventures for the quiet Irish village to be there for the new arrival.
When Clara’s laptop acts up, her cousin decides to do Clara a favor and takes it to Niall Walsh, the village’s unofficial tech support. Clara panics at the thought of Niall—sexy, sets-her-lady-bits-tingling-from-afar Niall—discovering her secret stash of filthy kinkery living on her hard drive.
Niall lived the big-city life for years and dated the glamorous woman that came along with it before coming back home. He’s heard about Clara for ages, but nothing prepares him for the instant attraction he feels when he first sees her. He ignores it though—knowing she’s only there for a short time.
Besides, she’s the type of woman who fit in his past, not his present. He doesn’t have anything to offer that she’d want. At least, that’s what he’d thought…before he delved into her computer and discovered exactly what Clara likes. As he learns more about her, Niall realizes he can offer her something no one else can—the chance to explore her deepest desires instead of just watching on a screen.
It should be easy--a hot fling before Clara’s job takes front and center again--but when the time comes, will either of them be able to slip free from the bonds that now connect them?
Writing Safeword Protected? it's been both extremely frustrating and incredibly rewarding. The frustration stemmed for there "other stuff", not the book or the writing of it. I will admit something here that I'm probably not supposed to. As an author, I do have favorite characters. Don't get me wrong, I love them all , but there are some I just really, really love and seem to connect with. One day I may even share who tops the list, but for now, I will say Niall and Clara from Safeword Protected? They're pretty damned high on that list. No matter what chaos and...stuff was going on, whenever I could sit down and work on Niall and Clara's story... Well, it's pretty much this...
Grabby hands and all.
Why do I love them so much? Hard to put into words (You're an author, Jarman; get with the program!) Niall is a hot Irishman who is ready and willing to guide Clara though her initial exploration into the world of BDSM. So right there? Ticking some boxes, yeah? But there is something about the character that just makes me melt. I think I'll let Brody, Niall's best mate (who happens to be married to Clara's cousin) tell it:
“Niall is one of the most loyal and loving men you’ll ever meet,” Brody added, gaze intent on Clara. “He would do anything for the people he cares about. He came home for his family. He places people, especially people he loves and cares about, above anything else.”
A hot guy is all well and good, but finding something worthwhile when you delve beneath the pretty surface and push past the flaws - because he's still got to be real, right? Man's gotta have layers...
And Clara...she's very real. Has her faults, has the tendency to think things to death and often arrives at the wrong conclusion - usually the one that has her freaking out in a major way. There are times...
All right, I'm going to let you in on another secret, because we're behind the scenes and all. 😉 Readers aren't the only ones who want to wack some sense into characters, to just shake them until their brains come back online and they're making good choices. But that's good, right? Who wants to read a book about two perfect people with no conflict? It's that conflict, those mistakes that the hero and heroine make - the human element - that makes a story really work, isn't it? I think so. And over the years, the best piece of advice I've ever gotten has served me well in creating those real characters that I connect with and sincerely hope readers do, as well.
Trust the characters. Trust the story.
Not groundbreaking advice, really. I've heard similar things from pretty well known authors since I first had that knocked into my thick skull. But it took the right person at the right time to get me to see how necessary it was in the writing process. I still, with pretty much every book, have had those words spoken to me or have said them aloud to myself.
And that is it from me this week.
Make sure to head over to the blogs below to get a peek at what these incredible authors are working on. Also i want to welcome Torrance Sené to Wednesday Randomness blogging. Glad to have you with us. 🙂
Until next time,