Sunday, May 9, 2010

I'm crushing on my new WIP! Is that so wrong?

Before I get into any writing related stuff on this Sunday evening, I want to wish a heartfelt Happy Mother's Day to ALL of the Moms out there reading this blog (and even those who aren't).

To my lovely wife Jennifer, I say this (again): You are the best mother in the world! And you're welcome for the rocking black mini skirts and lacy black tights the 12-year-old and I got for you! (It's for roller derby; get your minds out of the gutter!) You're gonna knock 'em dead, babe!

And now, I want to talk about my new book. I spent two-and-a-half years working on The Devil You Don't Know, and while I'm fairly proud of how it turned out, there was not one moment during the actual writing period that I considered fun. Not one. For some reason, the book depressed and exhausted me, and I seriously worried that I wouldn't have the fortitude to write another one. It was that hard on me.

Fast-forward a few months to now, and WOW. What a difference! I am totally in love with this book, the story and the characters. Totally in love. Especially the characters.

Wanna hear something weird? I spent all day Friday writing an entire chapter that essentially was about my main character, Ian Cooper, falling in love with mysterious young Stephanie. It included some pretty steamy stuff, although nothing X-rated -- and after I finished it, I couldn't get it out of my mind! I was actually jealous of the guy, since the young woman I created is so, well, hot and smart and sexy and classy! Of course, she just might be a spy. But hey, you can't have everything. Right?

Here's a portion of the scene I'm talking about. Stephanie has followed Ian to Chicago, against his wishes. They barely know each other, although they have this easy, witty bantering relationship. Ian is 11 years older than Stephanie, who is 22. She talks him into having dinner together in downtown Chicago before heading back to the hotel where they are staying -- in separate rooms. Ian has a lot on his mind, including the fact that he's still in love with his ex-wife. But as the evening progresses, he finds himself totally enthralled by this beautiful young woman.

The scene here picks up right after they leave the restaurant after a lovely dinner. Enjoy!

“You’re a nice guy, Ian,” she said. “I haven’t met many nice guys my age.”

“I’ll bet,” he said, laughing. “Nothing like drunken frat boys to give all males a bad name.”

“So,” she said, looking around. “Now what?”

He looked at his wristwatch. It was nine-thirty. “I feel like dancing.” He looked at her. “How about you?”

“God, I thought you’d never ask,” she said, taking his arm as they set off down the sidewalk. It was a warm spring night and the inky sky was filled with a dazzling array of stars—barely visible through the concrete skyscrapers of Chicago’s Loop. They walked arm-in-arm, like high school prom royalty. Every few seconds, the sidewalk vibrated from a passing elevated train. A couple of blocks from the steakhouse, they found a nice club and danced to electronica, disco and rock and roll for more than two hours. Ian hadn’t had so much fun since he’d quit drinking.

He ordered a diet Coke and sipped it all evening. Stephanie had two glasses of white wine, and was a little tipsy by the time they decided to call it quits at midnight and hail a cab.

“I’m such a lightweight,” she sighed, sitting too close to him in the back of the cab. Every time the speeding taxi hit a bump, her bare leg pressed harder against Ian’s thigh. She smelled of perfume, wine and just the faintest hint of fresh, honest sweat. It was an intoxicating aroma, in Ian’s estimation.

“You only had two glasses of wine,” he said, smiling. “It’s not as though I need to carry you to your room or anything.”

She looked at him, deadly serious. “Would you, though?” she asked. Her green eyes sparkled in the dim cab light. “Would you carry me to my room if you had to?”

“Sure. If I had to.”

“My hero,” she said, looking out the window. She didn’t speak for the remainder of the ride, and Ian worried that he had somehow offended her.

“Hey,” he finally said as the cab neared the hotel. “Did I say something wrong?”

She looked at him and smiled. “No. I was just deep in thought. Sorry.”

He couldn’t resist. “What were you thinking about?”

She closed her eyes and laid her head on his shoulder. His heart skipped a beat and his breathing quickened alarmingly.

“About us. About you.” She looked up at him, her eyes half closed. “About how confused I am right now that I could have such strong feelings for someone I just met.”

“Oh,” he said, swallowing hard. “And what did you decide?”

“I decided I need to go to sleep,” she said, looking deep into his eyes. “But I also decided I want to do it in your room, next to you, with your arms around me.” She snuggled deeper into his shoulder and her smell was so incredibly sweet, so sexy, that Ian nearly passed out. “Would that be OK? Would you think less of me if we did that?”

“No,” he said, his voice husky. “I couldn’t think less of you if I tried.”

Twenty minutes later, Ian was stretched out on his bed, fully dressed, watching CNN on the little flat-screen television set. Stephanie lay curled up next to him, also fully dressed, although she had taken off her heels and tossed them onto the floor with a giggle. She was already asleep in the crook of his arm, her head on his chest. He could smell her shampoo, could feel her body heat. Her bare feet were so sexy he thought he might die. Sighing, he grabbed the remote, flipped off the set and leaned over, careful not to disturb the little sleeping beauty next to him, to turn off the lamp.

He leaned down and gently kissed her on the cheek. She smiled and snuggled closer. Outside the hotel room, a police siren warbled in the distance.

As he drifted off to sleep with Stephanie Schertz in his arms, it occurred to him that he had never been happier in his entire life.


  1. Holy crap! I am in love with this novel! Way to go Terry!

  2. I am delighted to hear you are so happy with your progress! That's awesome and ever so inspiring as I am also TWO years into my book project and FAR from loving it. Im still at the exhausted / depressing stage!

  3. That's great that you're feeling good about the new novel, Terry! But don't give up on TDYDK, I still want to buy that for Christmas gifts this year.

  4. Wow, that was one of the most sensual scenes I've read in a long time. Proof that intimacy is not always about sex.

    Maybe stepping away from the novel for a while gave some new perspective. This has a literary feel to the brief synopsis you posted, and that can be depressing, writing about all those emotions.

    I'm of the belief - and I'm unpublished so take my opinion with a grain of salt - that emotions are hardest to write about in first draft, and take a few revisions for the author to pull out of the immediacy of the scene. I use a lot of personal experience and the appropriate music to put me in the proper mood for the writing, but it leaves a lot of stirred up issues to do that well.

    This was a awesome scene. You did well with it.