This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a close friend’s wedding. It was a gorgeous event with a Christmas theme and a bride who looked like Winter Wedding Barbie. I tell you this because as I’m sitting there in a tiny hundred plus year old chapel with the sharp sent of old wood and cracked leather going up my nose, my mind is moving at Mach five in story idea mode.
I tell you this to illustrate that no matter where a write is or what she/he is doing, they are probably writing a scene or gathering data to use at a later date. I can’t remember a time in the last ten or fifteen years where my brainpan wasn’t squirreling away ideas like a…well, squirrel…preparing for the winter freeze. It’s gotten to the point of not just being casual observation but habitual information storage.
Being that I write primarily sci-fi/futuristics and paranormals the data once gathered generally takes on extremely distorted proportions, but that’s all right. I have other writers constantly asking me how my mind works. Where do I get the ideas to twist certain things together and make them work? Answer: I really couldn’t tell you. I feel a desperate lack of control over what weird factoid is going to spew out of my head and onto the page at any given moment. Not that I don’t plot my novels. For the most part, I do. But I’ve found over the years that detritus from some long gone magazine article or documentary sometimes lands right smack in the middle of a chapter no matter where the story seems to be going.
Take for instance my November release, Bad Religion. What started out as a quickie erotic romance about a sexual mystic and a warrior who hunts by pheromones, turned into a three book colossus all because of an iconic image left over from a movie I saw as a child.
Let me explain.
I don’t really remember what year 2001: A Space Odyssey came to the big screen, all I remember was that I was in elementary school when I went to see it with my sister and had no idea what in the hell was going on. (I later discovered that was largely the fault of the filmmaking stylings of Stanley Kubrick and not the fact the material was that much over my head.) However, one thing stuck in my mind above all others: the giant sinister monoliths that showed up in the oddest places. Or at least as a child I saw them as sinister. I really never figured out what they meant, though I believe my husband told me his take on them. (He actually read the book where concepts were a little more fluid.) So, when I needed a symbol of repression and evil erected by the villains for my intrepid hero and heroine to fight, I rolled out my own twisted version of the monoliths with much more malevolent intent than either Arthur C. Clark or Stanley Kubrick ever intended.
I might have waited almost forty years to use that information, but I did use it. Sometimes concepts just have to germinate for a while before they are of any use.
Which brings me back to the wedding I attended this past weekend. While sitting there with tears running down my face because of the joy I felt for my friends, a concept for a book started growing in my head. It’s about a woman who gets left at the altar. Not once. Not twice. But three times.
You’ll have to wait and see how that one turns out, but for now, let me leave you with a little snippet of Bad Religion. Sorry, no monoliths in this scene. Well, unless you count the one in Eavan’s pants.
Kree Janus is a sexual mystic.
As the head of the Order of Sopha, it is her sworn duty to ensure her religion continues under the threat of genocide. Trapped in a warehouse by one of the theocrats enforcers, a Druma warrior who hunts by pheromones, Kree is captured and taken to a secret hideout away from the long arm of the guards. Kree’s survival depends on the plans of her sworn enemy, a man who brings all her sensual desires and pleasures raging to the surface, even in the face of peril.
Eavan desMort is a Druma warrior.
Contracted as an enforcer for the theocratic council, he has taken an assignment to bring in the Sophite premier, Kree Janus for execution. Eavan has plans of his own. Charged by his people to bring Kree to their settlement, he has taken vows to die for her if necessary. Nothing, however, prepares him for the overwhelming call of her flesh. It is a temptation that could mean the very loss of his honor if he gives in. It is a chance he is willing to take, to protect his lover from those who pursue them.
Pretending sleep, Kree held still. She forced deep, even breaths through her trembling lips. It was probably too late. He’d most likely seen her movement. She only prayed her captor had been looking elsewhere when she woke.
Why hadn’t he killed her? Had someone saved her after the enforcer shot her? It really didn’t matter. She was alive and as long as she remained so, she could still save her people.
“I know you’re awake.” His voice had the timbre of ground glass. But at the same time the confident tone sent desire shooting from her breasts to her sex.
Liquid heat settled between her legs.
Her heart pounded. Not even fear had caused such an adrenaline rush.
Her captor took in a deep breath and moaned. A swath of light spilled from a floor lamp. Kree couldn’t see his face, but his erection was visible behind the seams of his leather pants.
He dropped a tattooed hand to his thigh and shifted in the chair.
“I’m not going to hurt you.” He finally leaned into the light. Those same eagle-sharp eyes caught her in their snare like prey.
His raspy velvet voice and hypnotic gaze enfolded her, pulling her under like a drowning woman. The mystery of the other missing Sophites had been solved. By hiring the Druma warriors as enforcers, the theocrats hadn’t even given the sisters a chance at survival.
Drumas hunted by pheromones. A more effective tool when hunting a population of sexually charged female mystics had never been used. The worst part was the fact Kree’s own body had begun to betray her.
All along her nerve endings the sweet hum of desire caressed her under her skin, leaving a hot trail of need in its wake. All her strength and concentration remained fixed on her fake slumber. If he moved or came near her now she’d go up in flames without a fight.
But she had to fight. That’s all the Sophites had left.
Despite her best efforts, her nipples hardened under her thin shirt.
The Druma enforcer let out a long hunger-filled growl.
He stood, his pants hugging every hard curve of his impressive physique.
“If you don’t want to talk now, that’s all right. We can have an entire lifetime to know each other. But make no mistake, Kree Janus, you will obey me on this journey.”
He put one knee on the bed. Leaning over, he brushed his mouth against hers. “I have ways of making you cooperate.”
From Bad Religion by Kathleen Scott, a Loose ID release. Now Available.