Thursday, February 13, 2014

Some of the Sweet Stuff

It's almost Valentine's Day and we've been celebrating all kinds of love all month long. Today, we're providing you with a sneak peel at some of the sweeter romances, one already available and two coming out in the next few months. Tomorrow things will get a little steamier, but for now, here are some tasty bits of three YA romances to get you ready for a day of hearts and flowers tomorrow.

First up, Jessica Rodriguez Brooks' Pity Isn't An Option.

Jessica says, "Jonas and Hattie don’t exactly have a specific “romance” in Pity Isn’t An Option, mainly because Jonas is still waiting for just the right moment to tell her how he feels and there is so much going on in the lack-of-hope area that it’s just never the right time. That doesn’t stop him from appreciating everything about her, however."

 Here’s an excerpt from a scene where they’ve traveled far in search of her father, Heath, in hopes they can convince the Union to let them bring him back home:

Sometimes I wonder how a dream can be so real, that the deep, terribly panic-stricken sense of urgency is still there when you wake.
I hate when that happens.
I hate it enough in real life—last thing I need is to have the same problems in my sleep.
So the kite, with its pointy wings and red eyes, woke me up from outside. Probably telling its fowl friends where to find mice—there’s a large clearing of grassland slightly west from the trees in the backyard.
I could almost hear them as I lay, sweating, on the floor. Run away! The mice chattered. A kite is near!
I thought the sweat was from the terrible dream of words that wouldn’t do what I tried, but when I opened my eyes and looked down, Hattie was by my side. I was surprised to see her lying so close to me—and pleasantly surprised by her skin on my skin, her warmth melting into the space of my warmth.
If we hadn’t been in an empty house on a freezing cold November on the way to find her missing dad, I don’t know what would have happened. I might have blurted out exactly how I feel.
I lay there for a moment, breathing softly, and soaked it all in. Her blonde eyelashes, her perfect complexion, the trail of freckles across the bridge of her nose. I watched as the blanket rose and fell with each breath she took and said a prayer over her—something I never do, for anyone—that if there was a point in all of this and/or a solution to what we were going through, it would make itself evident very soon.

You can purchase the book here now. Why wait 'til Valentine's Day?  

 From a Greek original of the 2nd century BC Marble, cm 125,4 From Aventine Hill, near the Church of S Balbina Capitoline Museum, Rome.}} |Source = |Author

Adrianne James' LIFE ON LOAN is about Paige, a homeless young woman struggling on her own to survive, until she meets Noah:

As the sun started to set I was frantic with worry. My eyes stung from the traitorous tears that refused to stop when I realized Noah may have been identified and that I may have lost him too. I shivered when the wind blew past me and pulled out the warn blanket and wrapped it around myself.  Then I just sat there and waited. The street lights clicked on and the sounds of families died down as everyone returned home for their holiday meals until it was just me, sitting there in the darkness.
                One of the other homeless men had walked up and sat down beside me. I had never talked to the man before, because frankly, he scared me. He was one of the men who gave us all a bad name. He was a drunk and was mean to everyone who walked by him. I glanced over at him and saw that he was staring at me. I could let him know how much he truly did frighten me, so I addressed him.
                “Hello, Merry Christmas.”  He simply looked at me some more. “Did you need something?” the sooner he got to the point of this little impromptu visit the better.
                “I saw them take your boy this morning, Wasn’t too long ago they took Dani, too. You some kinda bad luck charm?” He had scooted closer to me while speaking and I hugged my bag to my chest and rested my head on top of it as if I wasn’t holding on for dear life, but simply using it as a resting place. 
                “Nah, She isn’t a bad luck charm. Paige is the best thing that has happened to me since I got to the street.” Noah’s voice came from behind us and I jumped up, letting the blanket fall and rushed to him. Wrapping my arms around him and held on tightly.
                “They let you go! Oh I have never been so worried.” I said into his chest, which I am sure came out mumbled because I didn’t pull away at all before speaking. His arms just held me close. After a few minutes I pulled back and looked up into his brown eyes and smiled. My eyes began to scan his face, as if I were checking for any bruises or marks that weren’t there this morning. I couldn’t help it, I had heard horrible things about the local lock ups. When my eyes landed on his beautiful full lips, I just stared at them, wondering if they were as soft as they looked. His tongue darted out licking them and I raised my gaze back to his.  His hand moved from my waist and brushed the hair that had fallen in my face back behind my ear. Only this time, he didn’t pull his hand back. He left it cupping my face and he leaned in slowly then I felt his lips brush mine. I was shocked and just stood there, trying to grasp the fact that Noah was kissing me.
                He pulled away quickly, with an ashamed look on his face. But the minute his lips were gone, I felt the longing to reconnect with them. I threw my arms around his neck and pressed my lips to his. My heart began to race as our lips melded together. It felt so right, like it was the simplest thing in the world. Noah wrapped his arms back around my waist and pulled me closer to him. We only pulled apart due to lack of breath.
                “Do you know how long I have wanted to do that?” he asked, smiling down at me.
                “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize how much I wanted that until today.” I rested my head against his chest, feeling the warmth.

If you want to feel more of that warmth (and who doesn't?) check out the book here on Amazon.

 Allegorical figure of painting of wreathed cupid

And Prom and Prejudice, the final installment of my YA spin on Pride and Prejudice, comes out in May.

I don't think I'll be giving away too much of a spoiler when I say that Georgia and Michael FINALLY figure out how they feel about each other, but since this is Georgia and Michael we're talking about, they don't do so easily.  Here's a little tease (and my first attempt at making my own little promo blurb). When Georgia discovers that he's not dating someone else, she can't wait to find me, and tracks him down on a cross-country trail.

If you want to catch up on what leads a snarky vegan girl to chase an uptight preppie through the woods, check out Snark and Circumstance (enovella #1 in the series), Charm and Consequence (#2), and Pride and Prep School (#3).

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone, and happy reading!

Robert Indiana sculpture photographed by Jean Gagnon, 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Love is love is love... but what about all of the other stuff?

So... we all know what love is. Or know what we think/ feel/ have determined from our own experiences that love is. 

When it comes to writing this, however, lines can get blurred and, in trying to make so much work in a set amount of pages, sometimes explanations/feeling descriptors that help make the relationship work are sacrificed. 

The problem with this is that understanding the differences/connections between stages of love and the feelings that comes with them enable us to help our characters and their relationships move and grow. If characters' feelings towards each other do not change in some way (not even always necessarily for the better, but at least feel something new, or different), readers get bored, annoyed, or complain the storyline doesn't "work" anymore. 

I'm sure most of you have heard about the three basic types of love: agape, eros, and phileo: Agape is an unconditional love; eros more lustful--or romantic, or both, and philio is one you would have for a best friend, sister or brother.

Most long-term relationships sway/mix back and forth with agape and eros, as philio is affectionate and sentimental but not romantic at all. As I was trying to come up with a universal example of two characters feeing different "loves" for each other, I thought of Peeta ( from The Hunger Games series). He probably has more of an agape love for Katniss than she does; her feelings toward him is probably phileo bordering on eros for most of the series. 

So... what is my point? Well, my point is that knowing the above info is nice... getting the whole "love" thing is nice... but one doesn't go from hi, nice to meet you to love in a few seconds. Which means there are feelings that either contribute TO falling in love, or KEEP us there, once we have. 

Love is love is love... but what about that other stuff? No one says, I love you a lot but not the love where I'm ready to spend the rest of my life with you, or, I love you so much that I am fine with us being exclusive but this will probably only last a year or, I love you so much but yeah if you can't start paying for some of this stuff, that's the last straw. I'm outta here. Yet in the English language, they all are said the same way: I love you.

There are different spectrums of feelings that are less general than love itself, however. As I was searching for a few different descriptions, I ended up on none other than, which is where that chart up at the top came from. And check it out... every single one of those words describes actions associated with some sort of love at times, with the dark words on the left being the closest to it, all the way to the right side with "iffy" ones listed. I appreciated some of those words in the second darkest column, because they are wonderful descriptors of what goes with love but isn't always spoken outright: allegiance, attachment, delight, even enchantment. And yet, every single word in that box is an example of what we can have our characters show/feel to prove their love when we want to go beyond the usual, I love you that comes from their mouths.

Last, in researching "love" words, I came across a great many sites regarding words not in the English language that have more specific meanings for precise descriptions. I leave you with two posts I found inspirational and intriguing, writing-wise (especially the latter--talk about a lot of work put into language and communication!): 

1) The Top Ten Relationship Words That Aren't Translatable Into English


2) UnspeakablenessAn Intervention of Language Evolution and Human Communication (A project by Pei-Ying Lin--a four part series in which Pei-Ying explores untranslatable words, emotions, trans-language communication, and personalized langage)

Well what are you waiting for? Go try some of this stuff out with your characters! ;)