Tag Archives: writing

FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOUR CHARACTERS

Could this be Cyrus?

Well, it’s happened, I’ve fallen in love with one of my hero characters, Cyrus Hassani. Cyrus is the “you-gotta-love him” hero of the book I’ve just finished writing, No Way Out of Iran (working title).

Who would have thunk, that I would become infatuated with a deep-cover, MOSSAD mole, with an Iranian name? He’s a sexy, alpha male with Nile green eyes, and black hair. A cigarette smoking, nuclear physicist;  Cyrus is the classic anti-hero, dedicated to his mission with no interest in love or relationships. Why you might ask, is he so appealing? Cyrus has this one attribute; he is dedicated to preventing Iran from becoming nuclear. He risks his life on a day-to-day basis for the safety of mankind. Cold, calculating, and unlovable, he needs nothing and no one. He’s a MOSSAD trained, a lethal killer, who would have remained undercover in the shadow world of espionage were not for a Jewish Harvard student who manages to get herself kidnapped in Dubai by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Now Cyrus has been activated and assigned a new mission. He must rescue Layla Rose Wallace and escape from Iran, or he must eliminate her before her nuclear physicist father can become a target of blackmail. The complication: Cyrus and Layla are dangerously attracted to one another. Fighting that attraction is a battle that both are determined to win. But, who knows in love and war, what the outcome will be?

The hunt is on, with Cyrus’s boss, Jalal Rahimi, the Deputy Director of Oghab2 (Eagle2), Iran’s covert nuclear watchdog, promising to find and kill Cyrus for his treason, and take the beautiful Layla as his concubine and tool for power and domination over Israel. This is an epic battle of wills, and a battle to survive. Can Layla and Cyrus escape Iran? Can they ever find their happily-ever-after?

An international thriller that exposes the fanatical regime in Tehran, Iran, life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the opulent world of Dubai, and the struggle to survive of Israel. You won’t be able to resist this thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Everything in this book is a real possibility and well researched. Iran stands poised to continue its path to nuclear proliferation. Let’s hope there is a real Cyrus Hassani out there behind the scenes.

The Power of Music

There is nothing that inspires me more in my writing than the power of music. I can be suffering from writer’s malaise, a failing of words or ideas, and hearing the words of a song, will release a plethora of fresh ideas and direction. It really is uncanny, the connection that occurs. It often feels as if the music forces the computer to reboot, untangling the knots of inertia that are strangling creativity, and like an infusion of nourishment the brain’s neurons fire up and the engine once more chugs forward. I have pretty well convinced myself that there is no such thing as “writer’s block”, only a temporary clog that calls for a dose of writer’s Drano—musical catnip.

In every book I write there is always a song inspiring the emotion of a scene. Oft quoted, inserted, like a love object, it breathes life into the scene. In my first book, The One, my heroine Adelia’s marriage has imploded, she faces a bitter custody battle with her wealthy ex-husband, she is at the lowest point of her life. Her best friend, Detective David Weiss, is determined to help her pick up the pieces of her broken heart. Believing in her, he knows that she must fight to live again; that the curtain of darkness dropped into her life will disappear if only she can see her way through to pull the cord and raise it, flooding the room, hence her life with light.

He brings her a compact disc and the printed words of a song that he hopes will better express the depth of his feelings, whereas he fears the ineptitude of his words might fail. The songwriter is Peter Gabriel, the CD version I use is sung by P!INK and John Legend, the words are simple:

Don’t give up

‘Cause you have friends.

Don’t give up,

You’re not the only one.

Don’t give up.

     She cries, they embrace, and she gains the fortitude to fight.

In the third book in The Only One Series, One More Time is Not Enough, which is in edit with my publisher Soul Mate Publishing, my hero and heroine, now divorced, are thrown together again and sparks fly. In a romantic scene, where what they still feel for each can’t be denied, they dance to John Legend’s “All of Me.”

EXCERPT:

Adelia hit a button on her iPod and the romantic lyrics of John Legend’s “All of Me” filled the silence. She lit candles, and then took a bottle of champagne from the wine fridge in the bar and poured two flutes with the bubbly vintage. Handing him a glass, they sipped and listened until their glasses were emptied.

My head’s under water

But I’m doing fine

You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind

She didn’t know if what she was doing was wrong or right, and she didn’t care. She felt an inexorable need to follow it through. She had once loved him so completely. Perhaps it was possible to love him again.

You’re my downfall, you’re my muse

My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues

I can’t stop singing, in my head for you

She stood inches from Miles, and when he opened his arms to her, she walked into them. She clasped her hands around his neck, and his arms encircled her waist, pulling her close to him. They slow-danced, turning in circles to the music.

Love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

“Did you pick this song for a reason?”

“Maybe.”

Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts

Risking it all, though it’s hard

‘Cause all of me

Loves all of you

“What happens when it ends?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t end. Maybe it just continues.”

“The song or us?”

She smiled, “The song.”

His brows furrowed.

She placed a finger on the deep vertical line between his brows, smoothing the tension away. “What if I said, us?”

“I’d think I was dreaming.”

“Why do you love me, Miles?”

“I’ve tried not to.”

“I know. Me too. I’ve tried not to love you.”

I give you all of me

And you give me all of you

“We belong together.”

“How do you know?”

“I just know.” His hands encircled her face, he bent to kiss her. “It’s playing again.”

Her eyes were closed, and her lips held a shadow of a smile. “Is it?”

“It is.” His kiss was like the song. It swept through her taking with it all of the debris of the past. She could feel his body tense against hers. She released her hands from his neck and slipped them beneath his shirt resting them on his strong muscular back, encouraging him.

***

It’s easy to understand why so much of our lives and memories, are linked to and recalled because of the lasting imprint of lyrics and notes; the creative coalition called music that reflects who we are, or where we were, at any given time in our lives.

 

 

 

Sex, And Why Not Write About It?

The first book in my romantic/erotic/thriller series entitled The One is nearly ready for publication. Part of me wants to woohoo with joy. For the heck of it, I looked up the word ‘woohoo’, and discovered that it is also a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Who knew? Considering that my book has plenty of steamy, romantic intercourse in it, oh, and sex too, I guess woohooing is the perfect reaction to completing the first in this series.

What I discovered by exploring and writing about the behind closed doors side of people’s lives is that it is a hell of a lot of fun to write, and even more fun to read. How many times have you read a book, and just when the hero and heroine are about to finally get some serious physical interaction in you find that all you get is an innuendo of what is to come, and then…the chapter ends? You’re left on edge, wondering, what happened when the lights went out, and why you were left feeling gypped and unsatisfied. For instance when Scarlett woke up with that titillating grin and stretched languidly with pleasure as she recalled the night before when Rhett swept her up in his arms and carried her upstairs to bed. Wouldn’t you have loved to be a fly on the wall during that earth shattering consummation of passion? I’m pretty sure Mitchell’s heroine wasn’t having a “fiddle dee dee!” moment with the macho Rhett Butler.

Real life doesn’t stop, why should a novel? If sex is written well it can only enhance the story and reveal nuances of the characters and their lives that otherwise would be missing. The film and television industries have figured it out, and as for the visual arts, painters have been obsessed for centuries with the object of desire and fulfillment.  So, what’s different about the written word? If sex is an integral part of the narrative then by all means let the reader experience it.

The negation of that argument is, yes, the world has changed and the reading public is far more adventurous than in the past, but aren’t you degrading the art of literature, and more importantly can one dare to even call it literature? The answer is, of course one can? If there is an exciting plot, a worthy theme, compelling characters, stylized writing, and a clear voice, there should be no deterrent to enjoyment.  After all, a good read is a good read.

How you may ask did I come to write in this genre? First, after hearing all of the fuss about Fifty Shades of Grey I was intrigued just like everyone else. I read the first two in the trilogy, and even though I pooh-poohed the quality of the writing, I found I couldn’t put it down. Fifty Shades led to my reading a few others in the genre. Some were better than others just like in any genre. I did find that the novels I read that were romantic and erotic also tended to be a quick read, absorbing, and oft time’s funny. When an idea came to me for a new novel that had a subplot of crime and murder, I thought why not. Why not enhance the erotic, obsessive angle of the story. After all, so much of the story I had in mind was about passion gone wrong. Why wouldn’t that passion be realized within the pages of the book? Without the development of the sexual relationship between the main characters the driving force of passion would be missing and the story would never ring true.  It seemed a worthy challenge, and one that deserved to be attempted. What I didn’t know is how difficult it is to make sex scenes feel fresh and new. That, however, will need to be addressed in a future blog, perhaps entitled ‘Reinventing Sex’.

The fact is, even with my own convincing argument fresh on the paper before me, I still find it necessary to use a penname. Why you may ask? Are you ashamed? No not ashamed, but cautious. I have an award winning novel that I wouldn’t want to tarnish in any way. He who reads one genre doesn’t necessarily read another genre. Why muddy the waters. Then there is the question whether family and friends might find themselves in an uncomfortable situation because of my public persona. Children, grandchildren, wow this really could get ugly. It all added up to my decision to free myself from the fetters of convention and take on a second persona, and so Belle Ami was born. After all who wouldn’t want to be Belle Ami?