… changing tenses when writing and my Aubrey Beardsley Art Nouveau lock screen just for the hell of it.
The four queens you see in my lock screen there look pretty pleased to have happened upon the lovely Lancelot. He’s just hanging out sleeping innocently in the garden. And what are they doing? Stalking him much? I think so, after all he was the gorgeous rock star of the Arthurian court.
Queenly stalkers aside, right now, in the romance genre first person point of view and, increasingly, present tense are popular ways for authors to write. Just to be different, both my rock romance books are written in third person past tense. Undeniably, there’s something satisfying in the immediacy and the flow of first person present that makes it incredibly fun to dabble in.
In Siren’s Wave I used it for the more poetic mystery-dreamer sequences. I enjoyed writing them so much that in book two I’m using a similar device—present tense third person—for Bran’s mystery stalker’s chapters. Here’s an example … warning Australian spelling coming right up. This one’s called WATCHER.
EYES FIXED ON the movement of his shoulder blades, the girl stands hypnotised. Frozen, watching every ripple of muscle, angle and glide of bone. The perfect curve of his butt in faded jeans. The golden hair falling in messy waves around that face. Those sinful lips.
All of it hers.
All of him, hers. Well not hers quite yet, but very soon. Not that cow’s that he pampers like she’s some lust-worthy queen to be obeyed and bowed down to. Ava. What a cobwebbed-spinster-Aunt’s name.
He reaches the front of stage, eyes scanning the swarming crowd, and the drone rises, rushing at her ears.
To distract herself from the wildness, the zapping inside her head, she concentrates on his fingers turning guitar pegs, adjusting and feeling into the sound, like he always does.
Watch him. Watch him and don’t think of anything else. Especially not her.
“Hey!” he shouts into the mic, long and deep. “Y’all hot enough?” The crowd reaches fever pitch and he turns to grin back at Nate. His laugh stabs at her chest. An attack she has no desire to protect herself from.
The endless sea of fools all wanting a piece of him, scream. And scream. They lurch and push forward, fingers reaching and mouths gaping like black holes. Wanting to swallow him up.
She knows the feeling.
She stands motionless but for the head she nods in sync with the drum beat.
Up and down.
Down and up.
In a steady pattern, so she won’t look out of place.
Hokusai tattoos, coffee, and rock and roll love stories …
Right now I’m pretty happy to be drinking coffee and reading The Age newspaper. I’m getting all fired up to head to Melbourne’s National Gallery, the NGV as we Melbournians like to call it, to dream my way around the Hokusai exhibition.
I love all his work, but I can’t wait to see The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, undoubtedly, the most famous of the woodblock prints in his fabulous series Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji.
Meanwhile, in Siren’s Wave Book 2, Bran and Ava have already paid a visit to the NGV and checked out the print that inspired their tattoos. While there, Ava discovers something shocking that hits her exactly like a tidal wave. Something she’ll have to keep hidden from Bran or risk blasting their happiness into smithereens.
Grinning, he said, “What are you looking at? Wanna find a column to hide behind and make out for a bit?”
“No! God. Is there any place in the world you think unsuitable for getting it on?”
“That question’s rhetorical, right? You already know the answer.” Waving the catalogue at her, he said, “Hey, says here that Hokusai used around thirty different names over his lifetime. Mostly ones he made up himself.”
“Maybe you can use one of his spares when the limelight gets too stupid for you and you need to go incognito?”
“Huh. Maybe. How about Gakyojin? I think it suits me.”
She pulled the paper from his hand.“Um, lets see … that means ‘man crazy about drawing’.”
Trailing heat up her thigh, he ran his finger over the paper in her lap and asked, “Is there one for ‘man crazy about sexing up his girlfriend’?”
She laughed while he gazed at the art blazing bright against the dark-blue wall.
“What is it about that wave, Ava? I fucking dream about it. It’s weird.”
Bran and Ava at the NGV’s Hokusai exhibition – from The Wave chapter, Siren’s Wave book 2.
And dialing up the angst factor, check out the new ebook cover!
You’ve time-travelled back to the 1970’s. It’s an icy, rainy night and you’re out the front of a movie theatre, shivering and indecisive in your green flares and massive orange bobble hat. You stuff your hands into your purple pea coat just as you spy the poster for a dark, erotic thriller starring a very young, extra-broody Kris Kristofferson as a messed up surfer-dude. Decision made! Now, what size popcorn shall you get …?
Disclaimer: Bran emphatically does not look like Kris Kristofferson 😉 Well, maybe if Kris had a son with a viking-princess super model we might be getting closer. I jest! Sorry, Kris!!
If you have the old version and would prefer the 1970’s sex-noir one – let me know – I’ll send it to you!!
Gorgeous shot of Hanna Sorheim and Ton Heukels by Matteo Montanari for Cargo Collective.
“Well, that’s confirmed it. I reckon you’re about seven parts optimist and three parts moron. That’s a dangerous combo, Ava.” – Bad Bran, Thin Ice.
“Finally,” she said. “You’re a bit slow, aren’t you?” His scowl grew. Don’t believe me. I’m lying, she thought. The words tried to break through her lips, but she wouldn’t say them. He needed to move on already, bother a different girl. – Angry Ava, The Kitchen.
Gripping the table with both hands, his eyes gleamed a translucent blue-green like chunks of raw beryl. “I . . . well . . .” He closed his eyes, rubbed his forehead and took a breath. “How can I say it, Ave? You’re the water. The wave. The ride. The whole lot.” – Brave Bran, This is What You Want.
“Okay then. I know you’ve never said it in the whole of your life. It’s hard. I understand that and I’ve been patient, but it’s only three words. And if you mean them, it should be okay, right? So I’ll be the brave one and say it first.” She took a big breath. “I love you.” Ava grimaced at her food. “Wow, it does make you feel vulnerable. But does that help?” – Amiable Ava, This is What You Want.
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung, Swiss psychoanalyst.
According to Jung, our dreams deliver subconscious information, long neglected or ignored, needing to be integrated into our waking lives. I like the concept of our wily night-minds waiting for the opportunity to show us things hidden from the daylight. ‘Yes, asleep again! Now come on you fool, look at this. Look!’
A while back, this vivid image of me on a mountain, for some reason naked and unusually happy about the great wave roaring forth, startled me awake and made me get the paints out before breakfast!
As you can see, I’m certainly no Van Gogh, but the picture rocked and rolled around inside my head, demanding to be exorcised.
I’m glad that I didn’t let it fade away and scratched it out onto canvas because it contained symbols that hovered and sparked feelings that eventually became my book, Siren’s Wave. So, from the watery dream realm came an earthy enterprise that kept me entertained and busy. And a little obsessed? Probably. Something long neglected was brought to life in Bran and Ava’s story. What exactly? Hmm, let’s see … Be brave. Face fears. Share the past. Be open. Be yourself. And more. So much more, in fact, but that’s another story.
Another lovely photo splice of Ton Heukels and Marthe Wiggers by Alvaro Beaumud Cortes for Stylist France…
As Bran and Ava’s story continues, the flames are burning several degrees hotter than in Siren’s Wave. Strangely, this seems to be happening beyond my control, and It’s got me thinking about the frequency and detail of sex scenes in contemporary romance novels and at what point it becomes a bore-fest or crosses over into the realms of erotica? Not that there’s anything wrong with erotica. If you’re into it—enjoy—I say.
Personally, rather than endure a blow-by-blow account, I like my imagination to get a good workout. Too many ginormous, clever appendages thrusting at quivering, slippery slopes start me yawning and skipping pages, hunting for the next bit of plot action. The real emotion. Or the heavy feels, as we like to say in romance land.
So, in book 2 I have a fairly hot scene in chapter 3. Good God, I hear you cry. In book 1, after our reluctant lovers finally got it on the main event pretty much happened off screen. Well, for their first session at least. How cruel of me!
Right now, this extra intensity between the sheets feels a vital energy that needs to burn a little wild, like their current relationship. And, yet, I don’t want to be overly descriptive and curb readers’ imaginations with surplus stage directions. Have I got the balance right? I’m not sure yet. At some point, Bran and Ava will likely tell me.
How much sex is good for you in a love story? If you dare, comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me if you like the heat in your books turned up, down, or set to a steady simmer?