Star Trek and Harlequin Presents

This weekend, I took a mini-break from the deadline and went to a movie with my hubby. We both wanted to see Star Trek. I remember the original series, in reruns of course, when I was a kid. It came on late at night, and I just loved it. Then came TNG. That was also a great series, and I’ll just bet the producers thought that Will Ryker was going to be their Kirk equivalent (handsome, tall, alpha) instead of Picard. And yet it was Picard that often got the sexy storyline and the girl.

Fast forward (or backward, LOL, if you’re serious about your canon) to the new Star Trek movie. Without giving away spoilers, I just have to say that while Kirk is indeed the womanizing sexy guy he always was, the show-stopping majorly sexy guy upon whom I now have a major crush: Spock. OMG, Spock. Who the heck knew?

It’s not because the actor, Zachary Quinto, is all that. (He is good looking, yes, but it’s not that.) It’s the emotion he puts into Spock. And the fight with that emotion. Spock is not the unfeeling intellect we’ve known and loved. He’s still the supreme logical guy — and yet he’s fighting with himself, warring with his emotions, and it’s the most incredibly sexy thing imaginable.

There is so much more, and I just don’t want to say because if you haven’t seen it then I don’t want to ruin it. But oh my. Kirk is over the top alpha, as always, but it’s Spock’s tormented alpha that strikes a chord for me and reminds me so much of why I love Harlequin Presents.

Presents heroes are always Captain Kirk in many ways. They are large and in charge. They take a backseat to no one. But they are also at war with themselves once they’ve met the heroine (if not before). They are brave, strong men trying really damn hard not to show or feel emotion. They battle like hell to keep a lid on it. But when they lose? When they cave in to the heroine and admit they’re in love? I am so weak at the knees by then.

I’m writing a hero now who is battling emotion. He’s battling some dark stuff, and yet he won’t be able to keep it in ultimately. The heroine will know that while he’s strong and capable of battling the world, he can’t battle her. She is the one who gets inside, who is able to help him accept that emotion is fine and good and not at all contrary to strength and power. Ooooh, shiver, I love this kind of stuff.

And I totally love Spock. Can’t wait for the sequel!

Have you seen Star Trek? What did you think? Are you crazy for Spock? Or does Kirk’s swaggering alpha do it for you? (Don’t get me wrong, I love a swaggering alpha too! And Kirk is also tortured, but his torment isn’t as bad as Spock’s.)

I’m so sure that Spock is a tortured Harlequin Presents type hero that I’m giving away a copy of my book today to one lucky commenter. See if Alejandro de Ramirez isn’t holding something in and fighting it with all his might! (Be aware you will have to wait about a month or so before I get copies, but soon as I do, I’ll send it over!)

Inspiration

I’m working on Book 3, getting deep into character and motivation, and generally having fun exploring the relationship between these two volatile people. And when I ran across this picture, the light bulb went off — this is my hero. Cristiano is strong, sexy, and tortured by the past. And he’s absolutely determined to get what he wants from the heroine — and to leave her with nothing when he’s done.

Oh be still my heart! Wounded heroes are so sexy to write.

Yeah, I love this job. πŸ™‚

In other news, the website is inching closer to reveal day! I’m so excited about it, and can’t wait to share it with you all! There will be a new website, blog, and newsletter. And when it goes live, I’ll give away some goodies. πŸ™‚

One last thing — my book is up for pre-order on Amazon, but now it has a cover — and that makes me delighted to share the link with you!

Words you never want to hear when flying

A US Airways plane with 155 people on board went into a chilly Hudson River, apparently after striking at least one bird upon takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, according to officials and passengers.

No doubt you’ve heard of this. I was so into my WIP yesterday that I didn’t know until the hubby came home and told me. And then I had to go read about it. When I read that the captain came on the intercom and said, “We’re going down, brace for impact,” it made me cry. How terrifying must that have been for everyone?

Thank GOD they all survived, thank God the pilot was so well trained, and thank God it wasn’t any worse. I’m just amazed. Talk about the right man at the right time. He is truly a hero.

I already don’t care for flying, though I will still do it. But I wonder about people who are in accidents like this. When my car got hit in Hawaii, I was terrified to drive in traffic for the longest time. I can’t imagine what something like this must feel like. I’m just so happy it didn’t turn out the way these things usually do.

Just when you think they don’t pay attention

Thursday, I typed The End to THE SPANISH MAGNATE’S REVENGE. It was sometime Thursday evening, and I went downstairs doing the Rocky fists in the air thing. Hubby said, “So you finished?” πŸ™‚

Nothing is better than the feeling you get when you finish a manuscript. But, the work is never over. Friday morning, I printed it out for the first complete read on paper. I knew I’d have to revise — that’s part of the process for me — and I knew by Friday afternoon, I’d be depressed with what I had to do.

Friday afternoon, yep, I’m depressed, convinced I can’t write and I’m going to embarrass myself by sending this manuscript to my editor. But I’m determined to get to work on it, of course. I will fix it, I will! It won’t defeat me! I’m the writer, it’s the creation. Yeah!

And then hubby comes home. He’s a little late, but sometimes that happens and I didn’t think much of it. Until he gave me a bag with two bottles of wine, a card, and a dozen roses. Awwwwww! I was so touched. He knew how much it meant to me to finish this book, and he was proud of me. *sniffle, sniffle*

I’m halfway through the revisions and feeling much better. But it all started with roses and a card (and wine!) from my sweetie. I enjoyed the flowers all weekend, the card is sitting with the congrats cards that my chaptermates sent for the GH and Presents contests, and the wine disappeared.

Being a writer can be a solitary business, but it’s great to have the support of the ones you love. Even when they don’t quite understand why you have a glazed look or why you didn’t hear the question they asked you three times already. πŸ™‚

Have you ever embarrassed your loved ones by saying something along the lines of, “So, if I kidnap the sister, how do I get the yacht to crash?” in a public place? Guilty as charged….

Military commandos versus international tycoons

People have asked me since I won the Presents contest how on earth I got from writing military romantic suspense to writing about a Spanish magnate bent on revenge. What could my special forces guys possibly have in common with tycoons?

Lots, in fact. First, yes, switching from suspense mode to Presents mode requires some mental adjustment. In a suspense, there’s an element of danger. In a Presents, the element of danger is typically that wonderful alpha male tycoon we love to read about. He’s sexy, thrilling, and about as untamed as a tiger.

Military guys are sexy, thrilling, and daring. They eat danger for breakfast. They are alpha males accustomed to taking care of themselves. They are commanding, authoritative, somewhat arrogant from time to time…..sound familiar? πŸ™‚

Basically, I write alpha males, those sexy, irritating, arrogant men that not one of us modern ladies would put up with for a second. But we love to read about them because they are larger than life, they would kill to protect what is theirs, and all that passion gets turned onto our heroine — and becomes hers forever when she tames the tiger. He is only tame for her, though. The rest of the world he will still chew up and spit out if it messes with him.

In that respect, I think I could write about a medieval knight or a duke (and I have done both) and, except for era and research, it wouldn’t be a problem because my men are always warriors. Whether they wear silk and Armani, chain mail, a cravat, or BDUs and greasepaint, they are warriors. I love to write about warriors, men who are intense and extreme and who still have, somewhere inside, a core of vulnerability that only the heroine can find.

The lovely Jane Porter once gave a workshop where she talked about how we write to a myth, perhaps something that resonated with us as children. It could be Cinderella (ragamuffin woman becomes gorgeous woman who meets prince, leaves him, and he tears up the kingdom to find her again), or Snow White (virginal heroine, evil stepmother), etc. My myth is Beauty and the Beast. I think Presents novels are perfectly suited to B&B — nasty hero not quite what he seems, transforms into handsome prince with the heroine’s love, happy every after.

Yeah, gets me every time. πŸ™‚ Whether it’s a military commando or an international tycoon, my beast is transformed by love. That’s it in a nutshell. The lay of the story may be different — military guy helps heroine escape from and find killer versus tycoon getting revenge on heroine for leaving him and almost ruining his business — but the man is, at his core, the mythical Beast in pain. The heroine helps him peel away those layers and find his true self.

If you’re a writer, what’s your myth? Can you look back over your work and spot one particular myth at work? Do you perhaps have two myths or more? Look for the core elements and think about it. It’s fascinating!