Showing posts with label Paranormal Romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paranormal Romance. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Endless Night

In my next book after 'So a Psychic and Rocket Scientist Walk into a Bar' called 'Shuttered Vision' one of the large installation paintings that my female lead Fiona paints is called Endless Night and it is a painting of my male lead Colan's personal nightmare hellscape. I wrote this about someone I'll always love after I wrote the first few pages regarding his hell.

I think of you when the lights go down
In the shadows I feel you smile
Dark and burning with lavacious delight
You beckon me close, my endless night

The walls they peel with falling light
Tearing through their normal plight
The world I see is built for flight
You hold me close, my endless night

The scene is bathed in black and red
All that survived the death was the bed
Dizzy I am from the staggering sight
Here we are again, my endless night

Time is lost as the world shifts
The tug, the pull, the burn are gifts
Into this place free from all sight
Never let me go, my endless night

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Welcome to W.A.R.M. from Sandra's Social

“Second topic on the agenda.”  Sandra interrupted.  “I was offered a very interesting proposition today, and I wanted the board to vote on it.”
The ladies gave Sandra their undivided attention.
“I had an interview with the local news network today, and they showed interest in me having my own segment.”
“What would you talk about?”  Brenda squawked.
“That is the appealing aspect, whatever I want.”
A collective hum went up as the ladies digested that information.
“Whatever doesn’t always mean whatever.”  Rachel began, “They may want you to maintain a certain degree of political correctness”.
“That’s what I figured too so I made a clause that says that they get to review my discussions, but not edit them at all.  The station is hoping that it will become some kind of syndicated broadcast that the station gets the rights for of course.”
“Of course,” mocked Charlotte.
“So they want you to be like that quack Dr. Phil,” Deborah muttered under her breath.
“I’m nothing like Dr. Phil,” Sandra started indignantly. “I’m much shorter.”
“Will this show end up being a soapbox for W.A.R.M.?”  Brenda inquired showing her seldom seen serious side.
“I don’t know how much of one it can be.  I would have to branch out to other topics. Although I was thinking that my first guest could be a certain W.A.R.M. board member. Someone who has had their finger on the pulse of this movement; someone who has been there since day one.” Slowly the women started to look at Charlotte who was sitting quietly typing.  Then suddenly she popped her head up sending blonde hair flying then cascading softly to rest in slight disarray as she stared at Sandra in growing comprehension and horror.
“No way, I’m horrible at things like that.”
“It would be a good time to get over your performance anxiety.”  Deborah shrugged.
“No, I suck at public speaking.”  She looked to her left. “What about Brenda?”
“Not me love, being affiliated with a rogue social movement would most definitely put me out of the running for the new Collin County Arts Center project.  Any other time I’d love to, but I have to stay uncontroversial for another month or so.”
“Deborah,” Charlotte sang hopefully.
“I’m a hired county official that gets W.A.R.M. information from other county officials.  The fallout would be immense.”
Getting desperate. “Rachel, please.”
“No can do, I’m leaving tomorrow for an 18 month tour with Aerosmith.”
“It’s not like you perform, they could get someone else to do their tech.”
“Besides the fact that it’s always the best money I’ve ever made, they asked for me and my crew personally. I’d hate to let Steven and the boys down.”
Sandra elbowed her friend. “That just leaves you Charlotte.”
Charlotte stomped her feet in protest. “There has to be another way.”
The meeting room door opened, and a pretty brunette took a couple of steps in, and then stopped. “Dr. Dalianas.  Hi I don’t know if you remember me.”
“Michelle, of course I remember you.”  Sandra jumped up and shook her hand.  “I’m so glad you could make it.”
“Was I interrupting?”
Charlotte smiled devilishly at her. “Not at all, hi I’m Charlotte Rhoades, vice-president and secretary.” She put her hand out to shake.
Rachel stood. “Rachel Adams, operations and field management.”
Brenda smiled wide. “Brenda Margiani, treasurer, legal and basic training.”
“Dr. Deborah McKilligan, parliamentarian, case follow-up, and board counseling.”
Sandra laughed. “Since we’re being formal, Dr. Sandra Dalianas, president, founder, advanced trainer, and head recruiter of Women Assisting the Reclamation of Man.  Welcome to W.A.R.M.”



Available on AmazonBarnes & Noble and Goodreads

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sandra's Social Teaser

She was jolted by the realization that they were pulling into his garage, and next to Brenda’s Lexus. Sandra started then sat knowing that he would be offended if she didn’t let him get her door. She chastised herself for caring whether or not he was offended. That was all the time he needed to open her door for her. Silently they started for the elevator which from this point of view provided so much more space than the car had. He either had nothing to say to her or was waiting for her to start the conversation up again. Well he was gonna wait cause she was not starting anything. She had made it clear that his comment had made her very uncomfortable. He should’ve apologized by now. Obviously his manners weren’t as good as she had thought.

The elevator door opened, and he unlocked his door stepping aside for her. Sandra practically ran in, and like a tornado she went to his bedroom to grab her dress, then back out to grab the pumps by the green sofa, her jewelry on the coffee table, and her clutch hanging on the coat rack. She smiled coldly to herself as she realized she wouldn’t have been able to pay for the meal had he let her have her stand. That led her to wonder if he had been aware of that, and was merely saving face for her. No man that would openly question a woman’s self-respect would care about face. Not hers at least. Sandra looked at herself still dressed in his clothes, and decided she’d have to return them, but at a later date when she wasn’t so unsettled by him. Politely he waited at the door as she did this, and together they stepped back into the elevator.

“There’s no need –”, she started without looking at him.

“Nonsense, you were a guest in my home. That’s all the reason needed.”

The elevator stopped, and they stepped off. She pulled her keys out of her clutch, and he snatched them from her to use the automatic locker to unlock the doors. Opening the door he grabbed what she had in her hands, and threw them in. Then closed the door, and closed in on her until her back pressed against the Lexus. Slowly and deliberately giving her plenty of time to move away his face closed in on hers. The closer he got the faster her heart pounded. Slap him if he kisses you, she screamed to herself. Slap him. . . .Low-lidded dark blue eyes held hers, and she was quite literally caught in them. Slap . . .he had to understand what a weapon they were towards the opposite sex. His scent almost like sandalwood and musk scattered her thoughts completely.

The first touch of his lips against hers was feather soft. Just a brush it seemed to test the waters. Sandra was quite frozen at the moment. Her heart stopped, and then raced. What was I supposed to do if he kissed me, she wondered vaguely. Softly he pressed harder waiting for her to bolt. No other part of his body touched hers just his lips, and his eyes. It was the single most erotic kiss she had ever had. She could see his pupils dilate until his eyes were just a thin ring of blue around them. Nothing disturbed this moment not even breath as his mouth slowly opened over her, and his tongue lightly touched the seam of her lips. His eyes still focused on hers. Tentatively he prodded her lips, and she parted them slightly. Just enough for him to lightly dip his tongue inside of her mouth. The gasp she made when she finally made herself breathe opened her mouth completely, and his breath hitched as they held for a moment open-mouthed. After a small groan his eyes slid closed, and he took full advantage by sealing his mouth to hers.

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Blast from the Past - Redefining Romance circa June 2011

When I started writing romance novels it was because I wanted to try and establish some realistic and attainable ideas about love.  I enjoy the over the top romances as well as any other fan of the genre.  However I have grown up with certain expectations of people that are generally unfounded.  Romance novels ingrained that lovely fairytale aspect of idealized love that we all secretly crave.  That level of knowing another human being and that sense of safety, trust, assurance, and dedication. Often romance writers inadvertently imply that this can be attained through sex.  This is a pervasive theme of confusing sex with intimacy.  Which leads to confusing good sex with true love.  Most romances have a basis of physical attraction that leads to a permanent relationship.  The real world tells you that physical attraction doesn't even always lead to sex, less alone a deep and abiding love.  There are the extraordinary cases where circumstances have forced higher levels of intimacy in a short amount of time. Which I believe is what most romance novels are actually trying to shoot for with hit or miss results.

1 of my all-time favs
Please forgive me because I'm about to be sexual orientation biased to try and explain my perspective. When I first started reading romance novels as a teenager I remember the popular trend was that the woman, who was unaware of her beauty, was shown how lovely she is by the hero.  The hero usually has certain kinds of women interested in him.  Usually mean, unintelligent, vapid, women who are the peak of physical beauty for that time frame making the heroine feel like a sow's ear in comparison (this is actually a reference from one of the novels I read during that time). Despite that, the heroine usually trumps the other woman in every other way, and the man can't help but eventually notice leaving the she-beast of extraordinary physical beauty for the woman of impeccable manners and character.  The unfortunate reality is that this is a female fantasy, and thus why it is a basis of the formulation of these stories.  In the real world the most beautiful woman you know isn't usually a terrible person. If she is, the guy usually doesn't take the time to even notice any such thing. He ends up with the same kind of woman over and over again. Men very rarely leave women they are committed to in any regard. This speaks to a certain fantasy perspective for certain women. Male and female fantasies are not the same, and in many situations, have very little in common.  Despite the blurring of gender roles, as our society delves deeper and deeper into inequality this rift only widens.

There can be no equality between the standardized male and female egos because we aren't told the same stories, and society has tried to engrain different expectations based on gender. The female is to be focused on love, family, and home life.  The male power, status, and social mobility. These goals don't necessarily correspond and they aren't necessarily accurate for every person you meet. But for those that believe in this system of equity how can intimacy establish itself? While love and family is mutable because it is supposed to be a declaration of a woman’s happiness and acceptance by a male, status and social mobility are set with only certain types of relationships achieving idea male goals in such an unequal society.  This is not to say that members of both don't focus on aspects of all listed.  It is to declare that in these situations true love is not the goal, so intimacy becomes something that is in essence 'getting in the way' of these goals.

When you research Erik Erikson's much debated stages of psychosocial development he devotes a brief but telling amount of narrative to stage 6 which is young adulthood.  This stage is called Intimacy vs. Isolation.  This stage is about discovering how to actually be involved in close personal relationships with other people.  This is not just about romantic relationships, this is about highly evolved ties with people who are not family in the traditional sense, but somehow in the course of knowing each other become so.  It is needful to note that part of this theory specifies that being sexually intimate with a person does not result in intimacy.  True intimacy is the desire and ability to share who you are with another person, and seek knowledge of the other person beyond what is visible.  The opposite of this is isolation which is a constant process of purging others from your life in fear of their identity compromising your own. The term opposite intimacy is distantiation, and it is the act of putting other people at an emotional or intellectual distance from the person that you are. It is relationship classism.  The results from this are self-absorption, inequality in relationships, and sometimes various forms of abuse i.e. physical, sexual, and most commonly emotional. The person suffering from this is cut off, and tends to have a negative view of people and relationships. They hold themselves above others to compensate.

It is fascinating that when you look up the term intimacy, the images are usually sexual with two people naked in each other's presence.  The definition is almost noncommittal in its self identification in explaining that it is the state of being intimate.  It goes on to explain that it is a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving relationship with another person or group.  The very lukewarm nature of the definition somehow makes it seem like a casual occurrence that happens frequently as opposed to in special situations.  The most interesting thing is how it is defined when in conjunction with a thing or subject.  There it is a close association with detailed knowledge and deep understanding of something. And I wonder why can't that be the definition of intimacy when applied to another person? Is it too hard to generate a detailed knowledge and deep understanding of another human being?  It seems to be the only thing that actually generates long lasting loving relationships.  One definition implies a begrudging tolerance due to being fond of something.  Almost like choosing chocolate over strawberry ice cream.  You don't mind strawberry, but you LOVE chocolate.  The other implies the investment of time, energy, and resources to maintain.  The difference in observing someone responding to you in a certain way, and actually KNOWING why they respond to you that way. Which one sounds more like a successful relationship to you?

Mars and Venus action
In this new age of perceived and computer designated compatibility an ugly trend is developing. People are choosing mates that fit the formula of who they would like to be perceived as instead of who is most likely inclined to understand them. Mostly because compatibility isn't about understanding or compromise anymore.  From what I can tell it has the complexity of ordering dinner.  I want a mate that is this religion, this race, this height, this weight, makes this much money, has this eye color, this hair color oh and likes babies. They are rating musical tastes as opposed to life philosophies. They are letting insecurity dictate what their mate's habits can and cannot be. The act of having sex and tolerating that person the rest of the time is replacing the actual meaning and content of intimacy. They are letting who the other person is be an extension of how they define themselves instead of accepting another fully functioning identity into their lives, and developing a deep knowledge and understanding of who they are. Now according to Erikson's stages of development it is because they have yet to establish an identity.  I don't necessarily agree.  I believe the fault lies in the socialization by peer groups, family units, and media.  Just think about the constant influences of advertising that insists on declaring desirable standards in males and females.  This categorizing and predeterminations are actually measures for choosing isolation over intimacy. People can't see the forest for the trees.

So every time a man says that he doesn't like women as smart as he is, it is a method of isolation.  Whenever a woman declares that a man is too effeminate for her, it is a method of isolation. It seems that all of our dating habits and trends accomplish the exact opposite of intimacy.  They instead try to redefine intimacy as something that can be quantified by personal preferences as opposed to being an entity of only itself.

Intimacy
My goal when I started writing romance was to try and regress this process and make falling in love less about sex and more about intimacy again.  I try to make my characters establish high emotional content before the first kiss even happens because without that, the first kiss means nothing. They are practically in love with one another before the first time they make love because they have been shown this capacity for care and intimacy the other can provide to them.  Without that it's just sex and there's nothing romantic to me about just having sex.  It’s the emotion behind it that moves it and gives it potency.  In a sex sells society where highly emotional and dedicated relationships seem to be looked down on, I think storytellers should be more dedicated to these ideas and not less.  It’s time for the lovers to take back romance.

Gentle Rogue cover courtesy of:
http://dreaminginbooks.blogspot.com/2010/09/your-bossoms-and-ravishment-are-not.html

Mars and Venus action courtesy of:
http://www.mindreadersdictionary.com/what-should-i-do/intimacy/

Intimacy courtesy of:


http://christykrobinson.blogspot.com/2010/04/intimacy.html

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So A Psychic and Rocket Scientist Walk into a Bar

Clair finally asked. “Is there any reason to believe that someone would want to hurt you?”
He nodded quickly. “Yeah, this project that I’m here for is under much scrutiny and debate.” He leveled his impressive eyes at her. “There are people who would rather not see it done.”
“How pertinent are you to its completion?”
“There’s the thing Clair, without me, it doesn’t happen.”
“You want to talk about it?”
He hesitated for only a moment, “Virgin launch.  The ideal has been humming around the aerospace industry since we first got people on the moon.” His eyes started to glow again as he started talking with his hands. “What if we could charter people into space, like airline carriers charter people around the world?  It’s a huge undertaking because you would have to be able to eliminate a bulk of the physical limitations to being in space that astronauts train years for.”
“Okay.” Clair inserted following.
“What is the one thing missing from space that makes it so damn difficult for people?”
Clair thought for a second. “Gravity.”
Sergei smiled at her then. “I have developed a rather crude and preliminary gravitational system that would not alter regardless of the gravity, or lack thereof, of space. Currently it can be isolated to a single hub.” He shrugged, “So far I’ve only been able to stabilize a hub the size of a Lear jet, but that’s just the beginning.”
Clair felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. “You’ve found a way to create gravity?” she said in a disbelieving fashion.
Sergei shrugged. “Sort of, I’ve mostly found a way to borrow gravity.  Gravity is one of the big four forces of the Universe, it just exists, the trick is tapping into it.”
“How?”
He shrugged. “Same way it exists now, orbiting bodies in a circular pattern, cyntrivical force meeting rotating atoms.”
Abruptly he grabbed a napkin and pulled a pen out of his jacket pocket.  He drew a crude looking cigar shaped vessel and drew several rings around it.  On each ring he attached various circular objects of varying size, and with arrows he displayed the directions each ring would move and the directions each circular object would rotate in.
He showed her the crude drawing. “Mankind’s problem is that we always think we need to reinvent the wheel. We don’t need anything new. The solution is in the application.”
Clair’s mind wrapped around it instantly. “A roving solar system, with the hub as the sun.”
Sergei nodded. “It would move in space just like our galaxy does, creating it’s own gravity as it goes.”
Clair shook her head. “That’s so simple it’s brilliant.”
Sergei nodded. “I had this thought for quite a while and I often thought that it really couldn’t be this simple so I never brought it up.  But people are chomping at the bit to get into space.” He shrugged. “So I put a little more time and planning into it, mapped out the physics of it all and I was able to generate a gravitational field on a model airplane.”
Clair was holding the napkin, staring at it blankly not really believing how unerringly brilliant this man was. “Talk about thinking outside of the box.”
“I find the only issues with science are all the rules. We’ve made things too complicated.  None of us can see the forest for the trees.” He shrugged. “God had it all right in the beginning, why mess with that.”
Her thoughts got captured by his mention of God. “Don’t tell me you’re a scientist that believes in God.”
He fixed her with a very serious look. “No true scientist can look at the evidence and not.  It’s too balanced, everything is.  I don’t know if religion has it right but I do know that something holds this all together.  We’ve broken things down to their smallest component and we have no ideal why everything doesn’t just fall apart.  That’s either magic or some other divine force.” He fixed her with a knowing look. “And I don’t have to tell you about all else in this world that is inexplicable.”
Clair stared at him more than a little transfixed. “You’re not surprised that I understand.”
His expression showed a large amount of confusion. “Why wouldn’t you understand?”
“I’m a musician.”
To his credit he laughed. “Clair you don’t play an egg, you play the piano and you compose concertos.” He shook his head. “The ideal that artists, musicians in particular, are not bright people is without merit.  Music is the finest thing math has ever created.”
Looking at her with a touch of awe he said gravely. “The ability to look at nothing and fill it with something that was only just a thought is the greatest genius of all.  Math, Science are easy, there are guidelines and charts, mapping and theories.  Creating something with just the raw materials given is what the pioneers of science, math, and language did, not us, we just work with what has been found.  People like you still dabble in actual creation, not us.”
Clair smiled at him as the waiter sat their plates in front of them.

“I stand by my previous assessment of you.” She said candidly after thanking the waiter.


Grab your copy of So a Psychic and a Rocket Scientist Walk Into a Bar
Amazon (Available in Print Exclusively)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Those With Sight

Book one of the Life Goes On series Arc One The Artists Book One "Those With Sight" Shuttered Vision


“What are you doing here?”  She snapped.

He smiled at the little beauty, she felt him as soon as he showed up this time.  She was getting better and better at it. He loved her dress.  It looked like it was patched together like a quilt. All those lovely loud and soft colors that did wonders for her dark skin. It fit her like a glove. She was shorter than him by five or six inches.  She wasn’t a very slender woman. Not fat by any means but she wasn’t one of those super slender super model skinny numbers he had gotten used to in Hollywood.  She had full breasts a slim waist, ample hips and thighs.  He was willing to bet the backside was as well thought out as the front. Her blue black hair fell in soft wavy curls to her shoulders thick and full. Those amazing gray eyes were on him.  She was furious.
“Mad at me for the stolen kiss?” he teased her.
“No I was mad at you for interrupting me with my father.”
“Your father, so you were talking to somebody.  Here I thought you were nuts.”
“You’re in my dream, I’m not the one that’s nuts.”
He laughed at the matter of fact way she said it. “How is that possible huh?  I can be in your dream but you can’t be in mine? I think you have that wrong.”
She just stared at him confused.  He tried to imagine her near him again.  It worked all of two seconds and then she stopped and stared at him.
“Stop that. If you want me to come over there, ask don’t demand.”
It was something about the way she said it made him ask instead. “Would you, if I asked?”
“Why don’t you find out?”
Seemed simple enough. “Will you stand closer to me?”
“How much closer, be specific.”
His hands itched, his mouth watered. “Close enough to touch.”
He watched spellbound as she shifted her hips stepping lightly and smoothly walking over to him.  The motion of her hips was distracting him.  She flowed like water, well set music.  He felt himself respond to her.
“Will you listen to what I have to say to you?” she asked.
“Why do women always need to talk, we have nothing to talk about.” He placed his hand on her face cupping her cheek, it felt like the smoothest silk. “Touching, that’s what we need to do.”
She cupped his hand in hers as she looked him in the eye. “Why are you here?”
He stared at her oddly as the question vibrated in his head like an echo.  Her eyes expanded and started to glow a bit.  He saw a part of her, like a shadow or illusion of her shift away from her and fly into him. He could feel her in his head starting to tear around.  His childhood flashed briefly in his mind and was passed on to his first sexual experience.  He was in his bedroom when he was 17, Janet Tully taking him into her hand for the first time.  He has his first realization about Hollywood as two skinny blondes with fake tits offer him cocaine on their exposed breasts.  The strips of his mind peeling away as he started to lose control of his motorfunctionality lying in the middle of his gameroom.

“No.” Colan sat straight up in bed naked sweating, breathing hard.  
He dropped his head into his hands, the dream vivid in his mind.  The feelings of helplessness and vulnerability were stark in his person. He threw himself back down on the bed with a thud, then gave a disgusted look at his sheet tenting over his erect penis.
“Well good to know you still work in moments of crisis.” He muttered.
He couldn’t blame it, she was gorgeous, that creature he had dreamed about constantly for months now.   Really it was the dreams before that had eventually led to her. It had started sometime after his nervous breakdown.  He would be sleeping and have the most horrific nightmares.  He was in hell and all around him were roaming beasts and fire breathing creatures.  And always some new lamb for the slaughter would drop from the sky and be unmercifully eaten.  He had tried to defeat the beasts and they would come back stronger, more evolved.  After months of these dreams he had resorted to trying to escape.  One night he had gotten to the top where people were dropped in and he had heard singing.
He closed his eyes and recalled the dream.  She had been singing Amazing Grace.  Simple lovely and it had actually sounded like salvation.  He had waited till she finished and then pulled himself up and he had been in that odd field.  She hadn’t seen him.  Just continued about her way.  She would lay in that field humming to herself.  She would do such odd things there as if she was somewhere else seeing something else.  It was like this odd form of pantomime. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago she had sensed him and now they actually spoke to each other.

He got out of bed to start his day.  It was such a silly foolish thing, his dream woman.  Everything about her was completely different from what he usually looked for in a woman.  She was a dark skinned brunette he usually went for pale blondes.  She didn’t mince words, his women where usually cunningly coy.  She stood up to him, he hadn’t had a women tell him no in a little over a decade.  The oddest part of the whole thing was that every once in awhile he had to work very hard to convince himself that what happened in his dreams wasn’t real.  That she wasn’t real.  He had done all kinds of research on it.  Dreams were just an extension of repressed desires.  Really he wanted something different from what he was and where he was and she represented it.
He stood in the shower letting the hot water fall over him.  He dropped his head and felt it running through his hair down his neck and shoulders. She was an interesting creation he had to admit. She was black from what he could tell, but those eyes and her hair, the black women back home had never looked like that, not women of any of the races he had grown up around.   There were things that were still considered taboo in Oklahoma, especially in the country.  Dating someone not of your same color was one of them.
Honestly he hadn’t ever really thought about it.  His mother hadn’t raised him to care.  But the people surrounding you always ingrained it in your make-up.  White privilege is what it was called by people who studied it.  This whole dichotomy of entitlement and empowerment. He knew about the theories, those with power and all that. He also knew that they were one hundred percent true.  This had been part and parcel to his breakdown.
All his life he had told himself that he wasn’t a racist.  That deep down inside he wanted equal rights for all people.  But the world was the way that it was and nothing could change that.  Such a scapegoat that was created with that one thought.  Colan knew better, he made movies, he created and recreated the world everyday, every week every hour as a new person was exposed to what he was directly responsible for creating.  
The world is not the way that it was because it just was, it was the way the people in power created it to be.  Through all open forms of media, radio, television and film Americans are being told what to do, how to do it and most importantly who to do it too.  It wasn’t too long until books and magazines converted and now you even had to second guess what you read in the newspaper.  Then the internet came along and changed the face of the game.  There was information out there for those willing to look for it about the true face of things in the media and the world.

Colan realized that he had gotten lost in his thoughts but like a well trained automaton had dressed himself, drank his morning health shake and was firmly seated behind the wheel of his jaguar.

Coming June 2015

Friday, November 18, 2011

Prologue of Shuttered Vision from the Series Life Goes On


Prologue


 She was surrounded by flowers.  They ranged in fragrance and hue.  Some were lilac, some daisies, lavender, roses, orchids, hyacinths.  It was the colors that captured one's attention.  Unlike any she'd ever seen.  They were vivid, vibrant shades of sun orange, amethyst purple, sapphire blue, ruby red with amazing emerald greens.  Some shown in multiple colors like red and green for bloodstones. Dark carnelian red, smoky iridescent quartz. She stared into her sky; it always looked like sunset with vivid blues and purples mixing with reds and oranges. Cloudy enough to make a lovely image, but never so cloudy that it seemed gloomy.

She inhaled deeply as she lay in the field of flowers understanding the message she was being given as the scent of white sage floated laced with the fragrance of the flowers. Eyes closed she pushed deeper into herself.  From her field she could determine all she needed to know.  She needed to find who was calling her, had been calling her for months now. But always lingered the thought, this one is a stranger and doesn't want to be found. She felt the pressure of a hand. It was larger than hers, firm and rough.  The breath on the back of her neck was steady and calm.  He lay right behind her, right under her, right beside her.  In this place he was practically a part of her.

She tried to turn around to face him, but was stopped. The sensation was odd for her, these things were always under her control.  No one got to make choices for her here yet here he was stopping her. She pressed harder and was met with more force. Abruptly she turned and the world pitched to black.  She was falling through her field.  The flower base being ripped away as her nose was assaulted by burning flesh.  Her eyes flew open and she saw the petals smoldering beside her as they all fell.  She looked down to see herself falling towards pits of lava, banked flaming mounds of earth and oceans of burning water sizzling away, salting the air with it's demise. Creatures colored with flame and smelt snapped their jaws at her ready to devour her.  Flame winged imps and demons swarmed above them taunting them with the kill they couldn't have whipping them into a frenzy.  Sea leviathans with several heads and tails swam freely in the burning oceans eating all that crossed their path. Stubby, stumpy moss covered beasts resembling jackals roamed the flaming mounds unheaded.  There was peril at every stop.

She threw her hands in front of her face to shield what was coming her way.  Then suddenly she stopped falling.  An arm secured her at the waist as strong arms pulled her around and she pressed her now tearstained cheeks to his neck.

"Who are you and why have you brought me here?" she asked.

"I'm sorry. You were never meant to be here. I like your field," a deep masculine voice replied.

"What hell are you from?"

"The worst kind, the one of my own making."

She vaguely noticed that they were moving upward.  And within moments she was as she was before on her back in her field his presence there but not intrusive.

"How did you get here?" she asked him knowing that if she tried to face him again she would be dumped into his hell.

"I don't know. I've been trying to figure it out.  But I'm selfish enough to not mind if it doesn't bother you."

"You need my help."

"I have all the help from you I need.  Right here in your field."

"It's more than that.  You don't understand what I am, what I do.  No one shows up here that I don't already know."

"I should go --"

"No wait --"

"See ya next time Flower girl."

 Fiona awoke from a dead sleep with the stranger's voice still clear in her head. She clutched her head and doubled over in her bed for a moment.  She straightened and with a deep sigh reached for her journal and started cataloging the points of her dream so that she could analyze it when morning came.  She lay back on her headrest when she was done shaken.  Who was that man haunting her dreams?  He had been there for months now.  And over the course of time his presence had gotten stronger as he felt more comfortable with her. 

At first it had been just a brief but untimely intrusion.  She hadn’t even really noticed anyone was there.  Almost like an itch that was easily scratched.  She had determined it was nothing and it became so.  A brief irritation she had swiftly evicted.  But somehow he had found other ways in and had made her sanctuary his safe haven. 

Fiona lay back down and sighed willing herself to go back to sleep.  Maybe by the light of a new day she would be able to make sense of this chaos.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Romance - Redefining Intimacy


When I started writing romance novels it was because I wanted to try and establish some realistic and attainable ideas about love.  I enjoy the over the top romances as well as any other fan of the genre.  However I have grown up with certain expectations of people that are generally unfounded.  Romance novels ingrained that lovely fairytale aspect of idealized love that we all secretly crave.  That level of knowing another human being and that sense of safety, trust, assurance, and dedication. Often romance writers inadvertently imply that this can be attained through sex.  This is a pervasive theme of confusing sex with intimacy.  Which leads to confusing good sex with true love.  Most romances have a basis of physical attraction that leads to a permanent relationship.  The real world tells you that physical attraction doesn't even always lead to sex, less alone a deep and abiding love.  There are the extraordinary cases where circumstances have forced higher levels of intimacy in a short amount of time. Which I believe is what most romance novels are actually trying to shoot for with hit or miss results.

1 of my all-time favs
Please forgive me because I'm about to be sexual orientation biased to try and explain my perspective. When I first started reading romance novels as a teenager I remember the popular trend was that the woman, who was unaware of her beauty, was shown how lovely she is by the hero.  The hero usually has certain kinds of women interested in him.  Usually mean, unintelligent, vapid, women who are the peak of physical beauty for that time frame making the heroine feel like a sow's ear in comparison (this is actually a reference from one of the novels I read during that time). Despite that, the heroine usually trumps the other woman in every other way, and the man can't help but eventually notice leaving the she-beast of extraordinary physical beauty for the woman of impeccable manners and character.  The unfortunate reality is that this is a female fantasy, and thus why it is a basis of the formulation of these stories.  In the real world the most beautiful woman you know isn't usually a terrible person. If she is, the guy usually doesn't take the time to even notice any such thing. He ends up with the same kind of woman over and over again. Men very rarely leave women they are committed to in any regard. This speaks to a certain fantasy perspective for certain women. Male and female fantasies are not the same, and in many situations, have very little in common.  Despite the blurring of gender roles, as our society delves deeper and deeper into inequality this rift only widens.

There can be no equality between the standardized male and female egos because we aren't told the same stories, and society has tried to engrain different expectations based on gender. The female is to be focused on love, family, and home life.  The male power, status, and social mobility. These goals don't necessarily correspond and they aren't necessarily accurate for every person you meet. But for those that believe in this system of equity how can intimacy establish itself? While love and family is mutable because it is supposed to be a declaration of a woman’s happiness and acceptance by a male, status and social mobility are set with only certain types of relationships achieving idea male goals in such an unequal society.  This is not to say that members of both don't focus on aspects of all listed.  It is to declare that in these situations true love is not the goal, so intimacy becomes something that is in essence 'getting in the way' of these goals.

When you research Erik Erikson's much debated stages of psychosocial development he devotes a brief but telling amount of narrative to stage 6 which is young adulthood.  This stage is called Intimacy vs. Isolation.  This stage is about discovering how to actually be involved in close personal relationships with other people.  This is not just about romantic relationships, this is about highly evolved ties with people who are not family in the traditional sense, but somehow in the course of knowing each other become so.  It is needful to note that part of this theory specifies that being sexually intimate with a person does not result in intimacy.  True intimacy is the desire and ability to share who you are with another person, and seek knowledge of the other person beyond what is visible.  The opposite of this is isolation which is a constant process of purging others from your life in fear of their identity compromising your own. The term opposite intimacy is distantiation, and it is the act of putting other people at an emotional or intellectual distance from the person that you are. It is relationship classism.  The results from this are self-absorption, inequality in relationships, and sometimes various forms of abuse i.e. physical, sexual, and most commonly emotional. The person suffering from this is cut off, and tends to have a negative view of people and relationships. They hold themselves above others to compensate.

It is fascinating that when you look up the term intimacy, the images are usually sexual with two people naked in each other's presence.  The definition is almost noncommittal in its self identification in explaining that it is the state of being intimate.  It goes on to explain that it is a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving relationship with another person or group.  The very lukewarm nature of the definition somehow makes it seem like a casual occurrence that happens frequently as opposed to in special situations.  The most interesting thing is how it is defined when in conjunction with a thing or subject.  There it is a close association with detailed knowledge and deep understanding of something. And I wonder why can't that be the definition of intimacy when applied to another person? Is it too hard to generate a detailed knowledge and deep understanding of another human being?  It seems to be the only thing that actually generates long lasting loving relationships.  One definition implies a begrudging tolerance due to being fond of something.  Almost like choosing chocolate over strawberry ice cream.  You don't mind strawberry, but you LOVE chocolate.  The other implies the investment of time, energy, and resources to maintain.  The difference in observing someone responding to you in a certain way, and actually KNOWING why they respond to you that way. Which one sounds more like a successful relationship to you?

Mars and Venus action
In this new age of perceived and computer designated compatibility an ugly trend is developing. People are choosing mates that fit the formula of who they would like to be perceived as instead of who is most likely inclined to understand them. Mostly because compatibility isn't about understanding or compromise anymore.  From what I can tell it has the complexity of ordering dinner.  I want a mate that is this religion, this race, this height, this weight, makes this much money, has this eye color, this hair color oh and likes babies. They are rating musical tastes as opposed to life philosophies. They are letting insecurity dictate what their mate's habits can and cannot be. The act of having sex and tolerating that person the rest of the time is replacing the actual meaning and content of intimacy. They are letting who the other person is be an extension of how they define themselves instead of accepting another fully functioning identity into their lives, and developing a deep knowledge and understanding of who they are. Now according to Erikson's stages of development it is because they have yet to establish an identity.  I don't necessarily agree.  I believe the fault lies in the socialization by peer groups, family units, and media.  Just think about the constant influences of advertising that insists on declaring desirable standards in males and females.  This categorizing and predeterminations are actually measures for choosing isolation over intimacy. People can't see the forest for the trees.

So every time a man says that he doesn't like women as smart as he is, it is a method of isolation.  Whenever a woman declares that a man is too effeminate for her, it is a method of isolation. It seems that all of our dating habits and trends accomplish the exact opposite of intimacy.  They instead try to redefine intimacy as something that can be quantified by personal preferences as opposed to being an entity of only itself.

Intimacy
My goal when I started writing romance was to try and regress this process and make falling in love less about sex and more about intimacy again.  I try to make my characters establish high emotional content before the first kiss even happens because without that, the first kiss means nothing. They are practically in love with one another before the first time they make love because they have been shown this capacity for care and intimacy the other can provide to them.  Without that it's just sex and there's nothing romantic to me about just having sex.  It’s the emotion behind it that moves it and gives it potency.  In a sex sells society where highly emotional and dedicated relationships seem to be looked down on, I think storytellers should be more dedicated to these ideas and not less.  It’s time for the lovers to take back romance.

Gentle Rogue cover courtesy of: 
http://dreaminginbooks.blogspot.com/2010/09/your-bossoms-and-ravishment-are-not.html

Mars and Venus action courtesy of:
http://www.mindreadersdictionary.com/what-should-i-do/intimacy/

Intimacy courtesy of:
http://christykrobinson.blogspot.com/2010/04/intimacy.html