Worldbuilding is our theme today for Snippet Saturday. You’ll have to forgive my lateness. I was up late writing on a book I’m trying to finish and today, well, I still haven’t gotten to it. Taking care of bookkeeping from last month, and all…
I know when I used to think of worldbuilding, I would think paranormal and sci-fi and fantasy, etc… But I didn’t think contemporary. But, I’m a contemporary writer for the most part and worldbuilding does go into it. I have a contemporary stock car racing world. I have a small town in North Georgia of construction type workers and their kinky counterparts. I have another small Georgia town of bad boys and girls just waiting to be shown just how good bad can be. These are my worlds that I have created, my fictional worlds and it stuns me now that I didn’t ever think about that before about a year ago.
When we read fiction, I don’t know about you, but I want a few things out of it… 1. I want to be transported into the story, no matter what time-frame or genre. I want to be transported. I want to see it with my own mind’s eye. 2. I want the characters, especially, especially, ESPECIALLY the female characters, I want them to be real enough that I can relate to them. Other readers want complete and total escapism. I’m good with that. I want someone I can relate to, someone I might like to have coffee with. I don’t relate well to the majority of female characters in fiction, but that’s just me.
When I’m creating these books, I am wanting there to be a mix of realism and fiction. This often gets me into trouble because, I either get called on the carpet for it being too real or not real enough (condoms come to mind and there will be a blog post on that soon). In my books, I let my characters talk how they’re going to talk. It’s not with proper English, it’s not with the prettiest of terms, it’s not with the most political correct ideas…
And I pick a world, the South (though I have ventured outside it from time to time), that I know well. I know its history, and I have it’s twang when I speak. I write books mainly around my beloved Southern states and I bring in characters that I have encountered, met, been in love with, been hurt by, been smitten with, been left by, etc… Because the characters are just as much a part of the worlds I build as anything, and in some cases, they are the world. (And don’t y’all dare start singing We Are The World)
Why am I telling you this? Because worldbuilding means something different to everyone, I think. We all look at the books we read in a different light. How the author intended the reader to see the world they’ve created, is not always the world the reader actually sees.
So for my snippet, I’m gonna grab from The Swing. This is a world of pain, sadness, forgiveness, and love.
He disconnected the line and rubbed at the two aches, first the leg and hip that had been surgically restructured more times than he cared to think about. Then his cock. It was as near a constant ache as his injured leg. Every time he thought about her, every time he tried not to think about her, every time he slept, showered, ate… It all led to her.
When he was building the swing that hung on his porch, after he got back from the VA, it was his way of dealing with the death of Marc. It gave him something to focus on, kept him sane, kept him from losing every bit of what little desire to live he had left. He built the swing with little use of power tools, shaping the wood by hand, sanding, carving the designs on the back. It gave him his life back. He’d even managed to turn it into a small business. He now made swings for others, donating half of what he made to a fund he set up for the families and wives like Caitlyn who lost their men to war. It wasn’t much, but he was trying to do something good, trying to pay back, trying to make some fucking sense of it all. His woodworking and Caitlyn were the only things in his life that made any sense and that was fine by him.
His family had all but disowned him after he returned from the war. Marc was the favorite son. Marc had the wife, had all the promise, but when he’d followed Jethro into the Army after the attack on the twin towers, Jethro had been on the outs with everyone. Except Caitlyn. She hadn’t hated him and that got him through more than she would ever realize, even Marc’s death.
Her pain over losing Marc, her pain over Jethro’s injuries, her pain from being torn between the brothers… Even if he’d died instead of Marc, she’d have hurt just as much, maybe more. What they shared, Jethro and Caitlyn, was something that couldn’t be hidden, no matter how hard they tried. She’d chosen Marc and that had been enough. There was never bitterness or jealousy and it didn’t change the close relationship he had with Marc. But his brother was gone now…
Jethro hadn’t meant to fuck Caitlyn on the swing that day, but when she showed up like that, out of the blue and in that pretty sundress, looking every inch like summer itself, he hadn’t be able to keep from doing it. And it felt right, if that was even a good word to use. Fucking her on that swing had felt right. It was homage to life, it was finally taking, tasting, letting go. He could breathe again.
He didn’t know if she’d come back, if she meant what she’d said about being ready to try. He just knew he had to keep hoping and keep moving through the days.
He picked up a sandpaper block and set to work on the slats that would form the bench of another swing. Moving with the grain of the wood, he sanded in long, even strokes, forward and back. Woodworking had been something he and Marc loved doing since they took that woodshop class in high school. Both worked in construction after, learning how to build more, assemble, learning the tools of the trade. It was hard work, but the honesty of it made them both happy. They’d even talked about opening their own business, but then 9/11 happened and everything changed.
Jethro leaned down and blew at the dust collecting on the wood then ran his hand over it. Smooth. It was so smooth. He moved a little so he could get to the other end of the slat when he heard his name from behind. He turned and couldn’t keep the shock from his voice or likely even his face.
What the hell was his sister doing there? “Hi.”
“Surprised to see me, huh?”
“You could say that. What are you doing here?”
She stepped into the workshop, slowly looking around. “I wanted to talk to you, see you. How are you, Jethro?”
“I’m doing okay.”
“Good.” She didn’t say anything else for a while and the silence was becoming uncomfortable, even for him. But then she spoke again, her voice soft and hesitant. “I was looking through some pictures of Marc the other day after Cait had come to see me. We had lunch and sat and talked for a little while.”
She walked, starting on the left side next to the work surfaces against the outer wall. Every now and again she would touch something, run her fingers through sawdust. He wanted to urge her along in what she was saying, but didn’t. He just let her take her time, figure out what she needed to say next. One of the things he’d learned after he got out of the hospital was that he needed to learn to be more patient with people. There really only was one life everyone got and while he might not be happy at times with being alive, he was glad he woke up every morning.
“Do you know there are no pictures of you, Marc and Caitlyn together except for those taken at their wedding? I hadn’t realized that before.”
He hadn’t realized it either and he didn’t know what to say. Saying he was sorry wouldn’t do anyone any good and he wasn’t sure what he had to be sorry about.
“Do you still love her?”
And there it was. No one had ever come right out and asked it, but he’d always wondered if they knew. “Yes.” He wouldn’t deny it. Not now.
“Does she love you?”
Clarissa was standing close now. When they were kids, he and Marc called her Risi, but when she turned thirteen, she’d declared herself too old for nicknames and had demanded they call her Clarissa. He smiled at the memory of a knobby-kneed, know-it-all girl standing there, hands on her hips, facing down her older brothers with all the fury that teenagers possess.
She’d turned into a beautiful girl, with long dark hair and bright hazel eyes. She’d stayed rail thin and wore a diamond that probably weighed more than she did on her left hand. Jethro felt a pang of guilt and a bit of sadness. He hadn’t even known she was seeing anyone, let alone engaged. They’d barely spoken in two years.
And it seemed such a waste. When his parents stopped talking to him, blaming him, being angry at him, he’d somewhat understood because he was angry and blamed himself too, but he had hoped Clarissa would still be there for him. After awhile though, he’d given up that she would come around. She and Marc were the angels, the light in their parents’ eyes. The first and only time in his life that Jethro had conformed and followed orders was when he’d entered the military. His family had been proud, had hoped the Army would help him find whatever it was that kept him so restless and at odds with most people, but then Marc enlisted too and all bets were off. Their parents were pissed as hell, thinking that Jethro was influencing his twin when in fact he’d tried to do everything he could to dissuade Marc.
Clarissa had been the only one to support the decision after that, but once Marc died and their parents blamed Jethro…well, he shouldn’t have expected she would defy their wishes that he was no longer welcome with them.
She was here now though and he was glad to see her, realized how much he’d missed her, how much he’d missed his family.
“Yes, she does.”
Clarissa nodded. “Then why aren’t y’all together?”
“It’s been hard on her.”
“It’s been hard on everyone, Jethro, including you. Probably harder on you than on any of the rest of us, but… If she loves you and you love her…”
“She loved Marc too.”
“And Marc was the better man and he’d want her to be happy. He was always the more gracious of the two of you, sharing his toys and things. You were always more stingy.”
He might have taken offense had a small smile not been playing around her mouth. Marc might have been the more generous, but Jethro was always the one she’d come to when she needed a shoulder to cry on or a boy taken in hand. “I know he would and so do I. She just has to make it through this last little barrier.”
“I know you think we all hate you, but we don’t. Mom and Dad don’t. They’re just angry that Marc is gone, not that you’re still alive. You know them, they’ve always been tough with change and loss and acceptance. They don’t like either. They’ll come back around.”
“Even if Caitlyn and I get together?”
“Yes. They saw it too, Jethro. All those years ago in the wedding pictures. The camera captured you so well, the way you looked at her. Even Marc didn’t look at her in quite the same way. It was so naked, so raw the love for her on your face. She’s lucky to have had the two of you to love her.”
Speaking of love… And getting the focus off him… “Who is he? The one who gave you that rock?”
Clarissa smiled from ear to ear. “Well, do you remember Freddie Foureyes?”
Please visit these other blogs (which you likely already have since I’m the last one to the party) for worldbuilding snippets:
Now, I’m off to write and watch The Masters.
I didn’t forget Snippet Saturday, honest. I really wasn’t sure what to do for it or how I wanted to interpret ‘The Moment’.
When I think about it, The Moment I most adore is when they realize they’ve got something, someone special. It’s not like the other somethings or someones, it’s different, it’s almost an A-HA moment. The realization can happen when H and H are together or apart, but for me it’s that thought… ‘Damn, I can’t let him/her get away. I need to try…’
With that in mind, I’m gonna go grab a snippet from The Swing…
“You’ve been moping around here for days, Cait. What’s wrong?”
Margaret, Caitlyn’s best friend from the womb, or so it seemed, set a mug of hot coffee in front of her. The strong aroma hit her senses, jarring her out of part of her melancholy. “Marc has been gone two years and I fucked his brother on the anniversary, that’s what’s wrong.”
“You’re still hung up on that? You went to see him though. I thought you were over thinking that way.”
Yeah, not so much. “No.”
“Hmm. Was he good?” Margaret’s voice had dropped to a conspiratorial whisper and Caitlyn mustered up a smile.
She could lie and say he was awful, but she wouldn’t. There was no way to make it believable. “He was.” She could still feel him inside her, flooding her sex with his. “I’ve called him at least half a dozen times a day since then to apologize for saying harsh things, for running away, but he’s not answering and he’s not returning my messages. I think I hurt him.”
Margaret took her hand and squeezed. “Then you should go back out there. He can’t very well ignore you if you’re dogging his every step. Besides, Marc wouldn’t want you to be miserable.”
“Even if what made me happy was his own twin?”
“Yes. He wouldn’t want you to torture yourself like this, I know that. More importantly, you know that.”
“I loved them both, but I think I loved Jethro more.” She buried her face in the throw pillow she’d been hugging to her chest, groaning at the admission. Maybe she’d just loved them in different ways because they were such different men.
“I think we’ve all known that. They were brothers, but when you and Jethro looked at each other, the air sizzled and crackled. It was like lightning could strike at any moment. It was instantaneous and sharp. With Marc it was soft and sweet and sexy. It’s just flat-out naughty and hot when you look at Jethro.”
She smiled still, but the tears she’d been trying to keep from falling dropped onto her knees. She hadn’t cried over Marc in months, but she cried regularly over Jethro. She had loved Marc, but Margaret was right in confirming what Caitlyn knew to be true. She’d loved Jethro on sight and it was always electric.
“People will whisper.”
“Who cares? Let them whisper. Let them talk. All that matters is you and Jethro making peace with these feelings between you. Guilt over Marcus isn’t going to bring him back and isn’t going to change how the two of you feel about each other. Why are you fighting it so hard?”
“I don’t know. I am not scared of anything, but…Jethro told me I needed to keep running away from him. What if he means it?”
“Sounds like he’s just trying to protect you. Caitlyn, you’re wasting your life grieving for something you’ve never given yourself a chance to have.”
She hated when Margaret was right and she was nearly always right. She wasn’t up to admitting it verbally, so instead she nodded.
“Good. Now I have to get to work. Not all of us are well-to-do as you.”
Caitlyn laughed and saw Margaret to the door. She was hardly well-to-do, but she had received benefits from the Army and the life insurance policy Marc had on himself had been more than substantial. She knew another, separate smaller policy had been taken out by Marc and the beneficiary was Jethro. She didn’t know what he’d done with the money. Though smaller in amount, it was still fairly large. The policies had been taken out not long after she and Marc married.
Nearly ten years later, Marc had been killed in action and Jethro honorably discharged for injuries sustained during war. And her love hadn’t diminished, not for Marc, and not for Jethro. He had written to her here and there while they’d been deployed. She hadn’t really been surprised about the letters, but at the same time she had been. She cherished both sets of letters…Marc’s and Jethro’s. What had been funny about it though, was Marc talked about Jethro and Jethro talked about Marc. Being in the middle of the two of them, knowing she was loved by both had been something she’d never expected. They were the same but they were different and the feelings shared were different.
She could still remember the day Jethro knocked on her door to tell her about the blast that had killed her husband and taken a chunk out of his own leg. Marc told Jethro to take care of her, to watch out for her, keep loving her, and that had broken her heart, that even he’d realized it was Jethro who held her soul.
Not long after that, the dreams had started. Dark, wicked, sexual dreams of her and Jethro. While he had nightmares of war, she was having erotic fantasies that woke her in the midst of orgasms with his name on her lips. Some nights she never went back to sleep, so she’d get up and write about the dreams.
She had even sold a few of the short stories, using the money she made to purchase items to send in care packages to Marc and Jethro’s unit. She’d also taken up baking as a hobby and would take the cakes and brownies she made to other widows and wives. Then there were the sewing classes she took. Learning to make clothes that fit her, flattered her. She fell in love with sundresses and bright fabrics and she’d taken to making them a lot, filling her closet with all different colors, hoping the light would come back one day. It all kept her busy and she’d needed that. Life as she’d known it was gone and even though it had been two years, until she’d seen Jethro last week, fucked him on the front porch swing, she’d been walking around in a fog.
She hadn’t gone out there for sex but he’d looked so good, so hot. He was her wet dream, her every naughty thought. He’d let his hair grow out, gotten a few tats and hadn’t shaved when she saw him. When he said climb on, she’d been helpless against him, against the hunger that gnawed at her, clawed at her. Wanting him consumed her and her cool, calm persona had come crumbling down while he was buried so deep inside her.
Without thinking about it, she picked up her phone and dialed his number. On the fifth ring she started to hang up, but…
Check out the snippets from these other awesome authors, though since I’m so slow with mine today, you probably already have. 🙂
Helen Kay Dimon
Now, Miss Cari took a different approach here and decided to talk about naughty stuff, which as all of you know, I am more than happy to discuss…grins
First of all, I’d like to wish my friend Lissa a very happy birthday and thank her for inviting me to be part of her birthday celebration. She’s an amazing writer and a great person to boot. 🙂 Lissa will be giving away an ebook copy of my new Ellora’s Cave Quickie, Reveal Me, to a commenter during her prize giveaway.
Birthdays are so much fun. Sure, sometimes they cause you to reflect and think about things you wish you had accomplished in the past year. The good thing is you keep having them, which gives you a whole new year to start fresh.
My favorite birthday memory goes way back to when I was six. I’m a near-Christmas baby and every year when I was little, I’d take an afternoon nap and wake up to find the house all decorated like magic. I remember feeling so special that year when I woke up to see the tree, maybe because I was starting to understand a bit more about what Christmas meant. To this day, that hopeful, happy day is my favorite birthday.
Do you like to watch?
Which brings me to the other topic of my post: voyeurism. While I wouldn’t call myself a voyeur in the strictest sense, I admit that the idea of watching people explore each other sexually is a turn-on. Though I’m a tad too shy to visit a voyeurism club in real life, I did the next best thing. I created a fictional voyeurism club called Kink and wrote about some of the people who would visit such a club and why. Not all of the characters whose stories I intend to tell like voyeurism. Some haven’t experienced it yet, and some don’t get off on it. I wanted to tell their stories too, and how Kink is a catalyst for changes in their relationships. Or in some cases, the reason they find a relationship in the first place.
Reveal Me is about Alana and Carter, former high school classmates with a charged past. Carter fell for Alana way back when but she couldn’t see past his geeky exterior to the decent guy beneath. Neither one of them was prepared to revisit that past until they bumped into each other at Kink.
Carter’s not into voyeurism at all. He’d rather be with the girl of his fantasies in private, but he has to reconcile his own desires with those of Alana, who loves the spotlight at all times, including when she’s having sex. They’re a fun couple who have their issues to work out and their story is pretty hot too.
Next up in the series is the story of Kelly, Alana’s best friend, and the guy she “meets” at Kink. Except she already knows her hero pretty well, and she never expects to run into him at a voyeurism club. She also never expects to discover she enjoys voyeurism herself. This story is with my editor right now. Fingers crossed she likes it!
Other upcoming books in the series (I hope!) include a cougar menage (older woman, two younger guys) and a story about a woman who uses Kink to help get over a traumatic sexual event in her past.
Now it’s your turn. How do you feel about a voyeurism club? Is it something you’d like to check out or would you prefer to keep your voyeurism explorations between the pages of a book? Or is it not your kind of thing at all? I’m looking forward to your responses!
Visit Cari at www.cariquinn.com or at her blog: http://cariquinn.blogspot.com
I know, I know… I’m late. So, what’s new? I’m always late nowadays it seems. I had a meeting the other day however that I was NOT late for and thank goodness for that. That means there is progress, slow progress, but progress just the same…
Okay, music is the theme today for Snippet Saturday. I could talk your ears off for days about music. I love it. I crave it. I have to have it. I have a varied taste in music as you could see from the music videos I selected the other day. If you follow my blog, you know I talk about music from Sarah Brightman to Billy Joel to Duran Duran to Breaking Benjamin. And EVERYTHING in between.
I go to concerts every year. Most authors go to Cons, and I go to them as well, though the rest of the word for me is ‘cert’ not ‘ference’. I’ve been going to concerts since I was a kid.
Then there’s my playing of music. I played the flute through Middle School, High School, and what bit of college I went to. I love it still, though I don’t play much anymore. I do take it out, run my fingers over the holes and fingerings, and think about dreams unfulfilled.
But, music is as much a part of me as the blood that runs through my veins.
I guess then it’s odd that I haven’t written about it all that much. There are books in my head that surround music, but none so far that really touch on my love of it. Therefore, I am going to pull a couple of snippets out of my hat…
The drive in The Swing
The party in Ink Spots
So, let’s get to it.
Snippet: The Swing
How twins could be so completely different yet born only moments apart baffled Jethro, but different they’d been.
“I told her if she came back, I wouldn’t let her leave again. I love her and I know I can live without her, but if she comes back out to the house she’s mine and I’m keeping her. And you always knew how I felt about her. I didn’t even have to tell you, it was that strange twin bond thing.”
He didn’t know what he’d been waiting for. Maybe he just needed to say it out loud, to tell Marc in no uncertain terms what he planned to do. He wasn’t looking for absolution or approval. He knew Marc would know, that Marc had expected Jethro and Caitlyn to be together after he died. But here, in this place, his brother’s final resting place, Jethro needed to tell him. He needed it to come from him instead of the memory of Marc’s words of “It’s okay. I know you love her and will make her happy.” He needed to say it. Marc died after those words, a small smile on his face, his body limp, with peace etching itself across his face.
They’d had to pry Marc out of the Jethro’s arms there on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere Afghanistan, just as they’d had to pry Caitlyn away from them both when they landed at Andrews Air Force Base.
He knelt on the ground, plucking at grass blades. “I’ll take care of her, Marc. If she comes to me, I’ll take care of her. I swear I will.”
He stayed there for long minutes. He told Marc about the swings, about the family, about the war that was still going on. He told Marc of the small house he owned on the outside of town, away from everyone and everything, that he’d become a hermit, but that Clarissa had come to visit him, talk with him, that she was getting married. He told Marc he loved him when he didn’t know what else to say. It was time to get back to work, time to get back to the business of living. Marc would understand and wouldn’t want but the best for them all.
Standing from such a position was always hard on him now with the injuries to his hip and thigh. The limp was always more pronounced when he’d been in one position too long. The low-slung seat in the Mustang didn’t help either, but he’d been driving the muscle car ever since he could drive, upgrading every few years, and he didn’t figure that would change anytime soon.
Breaking Benjamin blasted from the speakers when he turned the key in the ignition and he had to laugh. Benjamin screaming into the mic could wake the dead.
And suddenly, having talked to Marc, having been there to connect with him when he’d been avoiding it for so long, lifted a weight. He felt lighter, able to breathe, and as if there were possibilities awaiting him that he’d been closed off to since returning to the States.
The drive back to his house was made with the windows down, the stereo at max volume and a smile on his face.
Snippet: Ink Spots
A collective gasp went up through the ladies in the small crowd and an equally collective groan went down through the men when Vinter stepped up to a microphone.
A small smile played about Elise’s mouth. Carrie’s eyes nearly bugged out of her head. Jackie was glaring daggers at Mac. And Mandi just couldn’t stop staring between the man center stage and the one directly behind him sitting at a drum set.
Vinter was still shirtless, and the ink covering his body just took her breath away. Jaz had shucked his shirt as well, and the muscles of his chest and those traveling his arms, his own inked skin… Her mouth was dry despite the glass of water in front of her. She didn’t drink alcohol and she didn’t have a taste for soda at the moment, so water was her friend.
At least until she’d looked up at the men onstage.
“Now, for those of you who don’t know me and, well, if you don’t, you should. My name is Vinter.” He spoke with a huge grin on his face that was open and welcoming and entirely mischievous. People laughed and the men still groaned.
Elise leaned toward the center of the table. “The man’s ego and sex appeal knows no bounds.”
“Maybe you should put a leash on him,” Carrie whispered, loud enough to be heard over Vinter talking into the mic.
“What fun would that be?”
“Hey, girls.” He was speaking and pointing in their direction. “Got something you want to share with the rest of us?”
Three of the four women shook their heads. Jackie did nothing as she was still glaring at Mac.
Mandi hadn’t been so embarrassed or had so much fun in years. It had been so very long since she’d had close female friends who were local rather than long distance. And the long distance one was Jackie. Most of her friends were actually business contacts and not people she’d had dinner with or a drink outside of a tradeshow hotel. However… Elise and Carrie, yeah she could see going out for pizza and a movie with them or just having them over for wine and girls’ nights. She and Jackie had done that a couple of times, but Jackie was most often at Katz, so those girls’ nights were far and few between.
At the same time, she didn’t know how awkward it would be hanging out with Jaz’s friends’ girlfriends if the two of them weren’t seeing one another.
“I think our birthday girl is off in space.”
Mandi blinked and focused at the mention of birthday girl to find that everyone was looking at her. Okay, this was probably the most embarrassed she’d ever been.
“Ah, she’s back with us. Missed ya, girl. Were you someplace fun?” Vinter was teasing her and it actually made the humiliation easier to take, what with his wicked smile and his even more wicked body half visible.
“Back to what I was saying… Mandi has been in our little community for a few months now and I think this plan was hatched the minute she got to town. Jackie had come to us, asking if we’d play for this shindig and, well, we optimistically said yes. We’ve not played in public for anyone before, but we don’t sound like a bunch of screeching cats either. And who knew our man Jaz up here would take a fancy to the guest of honor.”
Oh god, he didn’t. Mandi buried her face in her hands, both cringing and laughing.
“Then again, who knew she’d take a shine to Jaz, but man oh man, if y’all had seen what I saw earlier between these two, you’d know they were meant to be.”
“Remind me to kick your ass after the party.”
Vinter laughed at the grouchiness in Jaz’s voice and turned his head to look at his drummer. “Remind me to let you try.” He looked back at the small crowd of people gathered. “He actually could kick my ass. Okay, so we have it on Jackie’s authority that one of Mandi’s favorite groups is Nickelback. And yeah, they kick ass too. We do a pretty decent job at covering them and Mac here doesn’t sound half-bad so, without further rambling from me… Mandi, we wish you a very happy birthday.”
I know you’ve already done so, but on the off chance there are a few of you that haven’t, please check out the snippets from the following authors: