Today is "Wildcard" Friday here on the Prairies. With nine of us blogging at present that means we have one unassigned day every couple of weeks, so we're taking turns every other Friday with a smorgasbord of treats for you. Today is my turn and I hope you'll bear with me for a little shameless self-promotion!
Only five more days until my novella “Burning Love” is released by The Wild Rose Press (http://www.thewildrosepress.com/) on January 20 and I’m as excited as a kid counting the sleeps until Christmas! Let me share a blurb and a short excerpt with you:
After causing three cooking fires in her apartment, Iris Jensen finds herself homeless. She lands on Riley Benson's doorstep, looking to rent a room in the beautiful old home he's restoring. It's only for six weeks until Iris leaves Portland, Oregon for her new job on a cruise ship. Firefighter Riley knows exactly what a bad tenant she can be. But he needs money to finish the work on the house he loves. And something about Iris pulls at his heart…
Meanwhile, in Heaven, two angels watch over the young lovers. Angelica and Hildegard work in Heaven's Relationship Division, where angels match mortals with their soul mates. The angels believe so strongly in Iris and Riley’s love that they break Heaven's rules to help them. Can the the angels convince them their love will last a lifetime before time runs out?
Riley looked into her beautiful blue eyes and her smiling face and did the only thing he was capable of doing at that moment.
He kissed her.
Maybe later, he told himself, when sanity returned, he’d think of a hundred reasons why pulling Iris into his arms, holding her tightly against his body, and plundering her soft, sweet mouth was not a good idea. But for now, right now, as she wound her arms around his neck and made tiny sounds of excitement deep in her throat, it felt exactly right.
Heaven. Having Iris in his corner made him believe everything was possible.
He stepped backwards towards the stairs, pulling Iris with him, intent on taking her to upstairs to his room. He suddenly tripped, nearly losing his balance. He glanced behind him and saw the object he’d stumbled over. A set of luggage sat next to the stairs, still bearing tags from the retailer.
“What the hell is this?”
Iris kissed his neck. “I’m sorry. I should have taken them up to my room.”
Iris had bought new luggage for her trip. Her plans hadn’t changed.
She’s leaving me.
The thought acted as effectively as a bucket of cold water tossed over his head. What was he doing? She was leaving in three weeks and didn’t plan to return. The calendar in the kitchen reminded him of that every day. Why start something that would only lead to heartache?
No, this was crazy. Why couldn’t they take pleasure in each other for the next three weeks? Why should they deny themselves what Riley knew would be the best sex of their lives? Why was he throwing it all away?
Because he’d already lost too many people in his life.
And Riley instinctively knew that if he let himself get close to Iris, let himself love her, a part of him would not survive when she left.
“Burning Love” came about as result of a writing exercise, plus the amalgamation of two ideas. At a meeting of my critique group, my friend Kathy placed bits of paper with names of heroes in one container, heroines’ names in another, occupations for heroes in a third container, and occupations for heroines in a fourth. We were instructed to pick a slip of paper from each container. I ended up with Ogden the firefighter and Iris the travel agent. Yes, I said Ogden. I’m not sure where Kathy got that name but I quickly changed it to Riley. Anyway, the object of the exercise was to take this information and create a scenario where these two characters meet. I had Ogden/Riley respond to a fire at Iris’ apartment. She loved to read about exotic places to travel and often forgot she’d been cooking. Later, after Iris was evicted for causing the fire and she was searching for a place to live, she arrives at Riley’s house answering his ad for a room to rent. He reluctantly agrees to rent her the room, as long as she promises never to cook again!
Even though this was just meant to be an exercise, I really liked the little scenario I’d created so I typed it up when I got home and filed it under “Stories to be written at an undetermined future date”.
Fast forward to spring 2009. I read that Samhain Publishing was having a novella contest. The story had to be 20,000 words or less and it had to feature an “other-worldly” creature such as a werewolf, vampire, ghost, fairy or angel. I’m not a werewolf kind of writer, but I did have another story idea in which an angel who is far too preoccupied with clothes and manicures figured prominently. So viola! Riley and Iris would find true love with the help of match making angel Angelica and her friend Hildegard. Angelica has a penchant for the clothes of dearly departed designers and a habit of messing up every job she’s been given in Heaven. Matching Riley and Iris and making sure they live happily ever after is her last chance to earn her wings.
I wrote the novella in record time and sent it to Samhain just before the deadline. My story wasn’t accepted, but I still liked it and thought it deserved a chance. I did some revisions and sent it to The Wild Rose Press. After many, many more revisions I was offered a contract.
The moral of my little story is that writing exercises really do have power. Also, no idea is a wasted idea. Maybe it won’t work on your current story, but sometimes that little gem of an
idea will be perfect in the future!
Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from a writing exercise or put two ideas together from half written stories?
Please visit Jana's website at www.janarichards.net to enter my current contests and to check out the stops on my virtual blog tour.