Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love Schmuv

Okay, I'm not exactly the grinch when it comes to Valentine's Day, but at times, I feel like I'm dang close. It's never been a favorite of mine, mostly because I haven't found that certain someone that I want to be with for the rest of my life. I'm not necessarily begrudging others their happiness, but V-Day can be a tad neh-neh-neh-neh to all the singletons in the world. Nothing worse than watching other women receiving beautiful boutiques of flowers, gifts, etc etc all day long. Especially when you KNOW nothing is going to be delivered to you.

What's worse is that the day almost begins to make you despise the idea of being single--or see yourself as abnormal because you're actually...well, kinda happy most of the time. For that 24 hours every year, you're SUPPOSED to want to be in love. Well, whatever, yo. It makes me want to get all kinds o' street, saying, "I don't need no man to make me happy!" (Complete with a snap of the fingers and a neck roll. (g))

Anyway, where am I going with this? This is probably a horrible segue, but the whole love fest I bore witness to yesterday got me to thinking about relationships. Mostly about how for that one day a year, EVERYONE is MADLY in love. Their partner can do no wrong, they've never had an unhappy moment. In short, everything is bliss.

*Insert a big eye roll here* And a loud chuckle. Yeah, we all have those blinders on moments. I do, too.

But love, reeeeeeal love isn't perfect. We all have things about ourselves that annoy the hell out of our partners. We all have personality quirks that make our loved ones want to slam their heads in the car door. We make weird noises in our sleep, emit strange smells, have bad table manners (gah, sauce globbed in the corner of someone's mouth is SO disgusting)...we say the wrong things at the wrong times and in the wrong company (foot meet mouth)...we have that one joke that we just can't let go of, and which is slowly making our partner's brain bleed out of his/her ears because they can't stand to hear it even one more single time.

In short, there are times when you look at the person beside you and think, "W.T.F.?

But just as those things can annoy the hell out of you, they also make your partner the person that they are. And sometimes, their quirks are what make you love them so dang much.

In my opinion, we need to bring these quirks into our novels. The dashing hero without so much as a propensity to ever lose his shit over something the heroine does or says isn't real. Everyone gets on everyone's nerves at one time or another. If your hero thinks EVERYTHING your heroine does is cute and amusing, and just so dang special, gah.... You need to come back to planet earth and remember that to be human is to be annoying as all hell sometimes. It's what puts the character in our characters.

So, I want everyone to dig deep and find a small snip to share that highlights some disgusting/annoying moment that one of your characters experiences at the hands of his/her loved one. And to up the ante a bit, the one that I subjectively think does the best job of amusing/disgusting/annoying me, wins a Free MYSTERY Book! I'll announce the winner next week -- so get your snips in NOW! :)

ETA: If you're not a writer, dig up an excerpt from your favorite book.

A couple from me:

I awoke with my nose pressed into Gabe’s armpit. It wasn’t exactly the nicest way to start the day.

Maddy and Gabe, FAKING IT

I heard the scratch of Caleb’s lighter and found myself glaring at his lit cigarette with outright hatred. Everything in my wardrobe smelled like smoke; my hair smelled like smoke, even my skin seemed to be infused with the lingering effects of Marlboro’s, no matter how hard I scrubbed.

“That’s a disgusting habit,” I said, whipping the page of my book. He didn’t answer. I rolled my neck, trying to work out the kinks, but my annoyance only intensified as the seconds ticked by. When I looked up, he was engrossed in the pages before him, seemingly oblivious to my discomfort.

“I said—“

“I heard you,” Caleb said, flicking his ashes into the soda can he was using as an ashtray. That done, he took another long drag.

I bit my lip and fumed in silence. At least he had blown the smoke in the other direction.

Makenna and Caleb WALKING IN SHADOW

YOUR turn! Who's first? :)


  1. You know what is scary? I was actually thinking along these lines yesterday. lol. In truth, I've never really cared much for Valentines Day or New Years. Too much expectation. And yeah, those moments of real romance are the ones that come unexpectedly. And I agree; heroes should have dissatisfied moments too. Too perfect is too boring.

    Hmm... I'll go digging for some snips. Be back later. :)

  2. I too am single, and I do try to make the most of V-Day by celebrating my lurve for myself :D Hell, I take better care of myself than any man ever has, so yeah, I'm a definite Love Grinch right now. Except that I'm in love with my own fictional character, and a few other fictional characters I DIDN'T invent. hehe

    I love your idea of inserting annoying habits into our novels. I know that my pair get on each other's nerves sometimes, mostly relating to money (because he's rich and she's not, and she hates feeling dependent on him, and he gets exasperated by how much she fixates on money, for someone who supposedly doesn't want any :P). But I haven't considered any extremely annoying harmless habits yet.

  3. Okay, just realised I have nothing like annoying habits in my book, and since it's about three people trying to live together then these things should pop up all the time. The worst I've got is when one of the characters farts in a sex scene. I don't think I'll post that here.
    I must remember to add a bit of that in the rewrites.

  4. All right, then. Here's a little snip of two characters annoying the hell out of each other. It isn't a disgusting moment, though it does highlight Hunt's irritation with Olivia's habit of tapping on things when she's stressed. :)

    Olivia picked up the pencil resting on her notebook and tapped it against the pad in a steady rhythm. She had to release the tension in some way. Every dull thud upon the paper seemed to correspond directly with Hunt’s twitching brow.

    He turned to her. “Do you mind?”

    “Yes.” The pencil beat faster. “Why are you ignoring this line of thought? Have you something better?”

    His nostrils flared, the breadth of his chest expanding as they locked sights. Heat and irritation washed over her skin, making it tight, leaving her insides twitching. She would not look away. Her pencil blurred as the rhythm increased.

    “What do you suggest,” he snapped.

    “I suggest,” she said through her teeth, “that we continue discussing every possible angle and not ignore a topic because you don’t like it.”

    He went red. “Not like it? It isn’t a matter of like. I simply find it too asinine to waist time on.”

    “You! You!” The pencil flew from her hand. She watched in horror as it bounced off his forehead with a little clink.

    The air seemed to stop for a long pained moment as Hunt’s mouth opened in shock. Heat seared her cheeks but she didn’t turn from her deed. She lifted her chin a fraction and Hunt exploded.

    “Lovely!” He looked around at their silent audience. “This is what I have to work with? An out of control b–” He stopped, his mouth open as if trying to get the word past a blockage.

    “Say it!” she shouted, clenching her fists at the arms of her chair.

    The tabled suddenly rattled with a large bang as Peter slammed his hands down. “Jesus Christ! Enough out of you two!” He raked his hands through his hair, sending the curls on end. “Christ, you’ve made me the responsible one.”

    He spread his arms and looked around the table as if seeking assistance. The rest of the men simply studied far off points in the room. “It’s disgusting,” he said to no one in particular. “Do you have any idea how much I hate being responsible?”

    Peter looked at them both, raising a blunt finger for emphasis. “Look here. Go pummel the shit out of each other on the sparring mat, shag each other blind. Hell, do both! I don’t care, but take care of…” he waved his hand, “this, because the kids need mom and dad to take charge here!”

    Hunt and Monday from BRITANNIA

  5. Men can be *so* irritating sometimes! I love all the examples y'all added here. My two love birds are just too controling and sparks had to fly. This is from the last scene of Friendly Fire.

    “Laura Grace, what are you trying to do?” His voice hit like a shot.

    I carefully turned toward the door without tripping or sloshing the tea. “What does it look like, Mack? I’m getting some tea.” My frustration with him had risen by the minute as the week wore on.

    “Don’t fall!” His command pushed my ire to overflowing.

    “Or what, Gunny, Sir?” I emphasized the last word to push his buttons as hard as he had pushed mine. “Dr. Carter wants me to get moving and this is the prescribed method.” I sank into my chair and placed the cup on the side table. Leaning the crutch beside the chair in easy reach, I settled back and glared at him over my bulky boot on the foot rest.

    “That can’t be good for that ankle.” His tone was hardening, matching mine, note for note.

    “Oh, and now you’re going to tell me about the medical degree you’ve been hiding?”
    His face grew red and I couldn’t care less.

    Rosemary joined us. Her face didn’t match our tone. Not at all. She was laughing at us.
    “And you can forget trying to tell me what to do, too, Rosemary.” I turned a glare on her, but it didn’t take.

    “Wouldn’t think of it.” She smiled at both of us.

    My attempt at command was obviously falling far short with my legs in the air and my face still yellow and green around my left eye. In fact, that eye was watering, traitor that it was.

    “A man has to try to help or he’s useless.” Mack’s seething voice called me back to the original topic of discussion.

    “You’re trying too hard to make my decisions for me, Mack Singer. Just stop. Stop it now.” My right eye joined my left in watering.

    His face was now beet red and he turned on his heel. “Fine. ” He flung the word over his shoulder as he went back out.

  6. These are some hilarious examples! I love having characters be real and find things that annoy each other. I don't have any snippets on hand, but, I've enjoyed reading them.

    Especially love the "I woke up with my nose pressed into Gabe's armpit." Totally awesome.

    I'm in your crusade group, saying hi!

  7. I'm afraid I'm a real Valentine's grinch. I don't see it as romantic at all, and neither does my husband. It's probably the *least* romantic day of the year for us because we're so busy grumbling about the commercial nature of it all (g). Perhaps my attitude explains where my character Len's unromantic streak comes from (wg).


    He stood up and went over to Fanny, slipping off his coat, relishing the coolness of shirt and braces.

    She looked up at him with smouldering eyes, mouth half open as she forgot what she’d been saying. He knelt down in front of her and took her hand. The first glove came off one finger at a time, and then she slid free. She swapped the cigarette, and he pulled off the other one, kissing the inside of her arm. Her wrist. The palm of her hand. The tips of her fingers. Imagining pale skin and golden hair, freckles.

    A swell of smoke drifted from her half-open lips as she stared back, lust written all over her face. He lunged in to kiss her, tasting acrid tobacco and stale wine, letting his hand land on her tit.

    She groaned and grabbed his hair, and he managed to get his arm behind her and haul her up off the seat. They staggered five paces before she hit the edge of the bed and pulled him down on top of her.

    The pink headgear tumbled off and her hair spilled free, dark and loose as oil. She had his braces down over his arms, half his buttons undone, and she was gnawing on his lip. Christ, he hated it when she did that. He bit back, tasting blood- hers or his, he didn’t know- and her hips rose up against him.

    He hated her. Hated this bloody awful girl with her stupid cigarettes and her pretty, stupid face, and her willingness to give him everything he wanted.

    He didn’t want it from her, that was the problem. He shoved at her skirts, frantic. If he didn’t get it from someone, he was going to explode, and he didn’t have any other choices. But Jesus, he’d had it with her. This had to be the last time.

  8. Great snips you guys! Yea, Valentine's Day... DH and I spend a lot of the day going "you didn't get me anything, right? Cos this Hallmark holiday is so ridiculous, right?"

    Okay, my snip isn't quite... see, my two are in the first flush of love, still, and willing to overlook all sorts of things that might bug them later on. They do, however, argue... (mind, this is all very SFD)

    Baha's eyes blinked rapidly in his sleep. Fever dreams. He'd called out in his sleep only the night before, Ottoman words she did not understand, and she'd had to wake him, bathe his head, change the sheets, fan him – anything to try to cool his body. Doctor X had promised to obtain ice three days ago; perhaps today would be the day he finally did so.

    She'd been washing his forehead again as he lay on the sofa. When Ayten came in bearing soup, she the cloth in the near empty bowl and swapped it for the tray.

    "Do you think he might be able to finish it today?" the girl asked, looking up at her with large eyes.

    "I'll try," she said, as if it was her fault her husband couldn't eat.

    [Ayten leaves and she wakes him, i.e. tickles a sleeping dragon]

    He put up a hand, blocking her as she tried to set the tray beside him.

    "Do you want to hold it? It's hot," she cautioned.

    "I don't want it at all. I'm weary of trying to force down food I can't taste." He turned his face away, into the cushion.

    "Well, it'll help ease –"

    "No, it won't." He struggled to sit up, tangled in the blankets. "There's nothing you can do, Rosa."

    "At least I'm trying," she snapped, not moving to help him. "You never know what might do some good."

    "There's nothing." He switched his glare from the blankets to her. "Don't you think if there was, I'd – I'm the one that's dying!"

    "I'm the one that has to live without you!" Her hands shook. Hot soup scalded the tops of her feet. "Ow!"

    She clattered the bowl onto the floor and stalked across the corridor to their room to change her stockings. There were no other clean ones; she hadn't yet [sent out] the week's laundry. She slammed the trunk lid shut and barged into Arcturus' room.

    What a mess! She wasn't about to root through all that linen to try to sort clean from soiled.

    Baha's and her room was just as [bad]; they didn't even fold up the bed anymore, as he usually spent most of the day in it. And still he refused to take any sort of treatment!

    She dashed away tears with the back of her hand and tidied up the bedclothes.

    What's the use? She thought, pounding the pillow into shape. Why should I keep trying if he won't? If he's going to –

    She pitched face first into the pile, stifling her sobs in the folds of the sheets, smelling his [cinnamon] scent with every quaking breath.

  9. @Kristen -- Ah, great minds, eh? (g) LOVE your snippet, you winner, you! LOL. Gah, can't wait to read this book! HURRY.

    @Trisha -- You definitely have to treat yourself. I'm a BIG fan of that ideology. LOL. And the money issue between your characters sounds like a great source of tension.

    @Jill -- Glad this sparked some inspiration for you. It really got me to thinking about whether I've incorporated something like it in all of my books... I don't think I have. I'll definitely be going back through to add some tidbits here and there.

  10. @Zan Marie -- Ah, the man trying to play nursemaid. Never works. (g) What I love is when THEY'RE sick...good gawd. The whining. The suffering (on everyone's part). Thanks for playing!

    @Devin -- Thanks for dropping by! And double thanks for the armpit line... that one still has the ability to crack me up. (g)

    @Claire -- VERY nice. Gah, men. Why do they do the things they do? Makes you want to smack 'em.

    @Deniz -- Nice! :) Ah, the sick man who's unwilling to accept help. Definitely needs a good smack. (g)