Can Predictability Spawn Uniqueness?

Predictability. It wraps us in its far-stretching embrace and offers us comfort on oh-so-many levels. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially with Valentine’s Day approaching. When I was younger, roughly around the time the Redwoods were forming their seventeenth ring, it was waiting for the parental presentation of the Whitman Sampler. Really, there was nothing better than lifting the lid of that box and finding the Holy Grail of childhood happiness—the cherry cordial. Ahhh, what a great couple, my mom and dad! Laying the groundwork for a life-long chocolate addiction while unwittingly ensuring a fear of dentistry wasn’t far behind. My fillings tingle right now at the thought of that ooey-gooey sweetness.

Fast forward to the present and you’ll find me still waiting for something rectangular and wrapped in cellophane to arrive on February 14. I’d prefer it be delivered by someone dressed in uniform. Delivery guy in brown shorts or landscaping dude in the green polo shirt— either work just fine for me. But more than likely it’ll be one of my great girlfriends who’ll come through for me. And why is that? Because they know predictability is just fine when it comes to feeding the creative center of my being— which is what I call it when the hankering for a little Godiva hits. Yes, I’ve moved up the coco-licious ladder one rung at a time over the years. Yet, when it pertains to the outcome of that literary weaving, predictability isn’t so grand.

Time and again I encounter readers who say they’re looking for something new and exciting in their romance reads. According to them, nothing negates a well-crafted story of conflict and passion faster than dull characters. With the amount of talented writers whose books are available to the masses, cookie-cutter heroines are the kiss of death. Readers want to relate to these women on a variety of levels. Whether it’s the ‘girl-next-door encountering everyday obstacles’ mindset or the ‘I’m a warrior at heart and WILL kick your ass if need be’ sort of thing.

When I first began writing erotic romance, I gave my heroines unique careers that I would have loved to have called my own. Graphic airbrush artist, tarot reader, change-at-will mermaid, professional baker, tattooist …and the list goes on. And yes, I would totally be down with having a sparkling, double-finned tail every now and then if I was able to go through the orgasmic-induced change from human to mer form like my character in SEDUCING THE SIREN, which is a perfect example of avoiding conceptual predictability. No sitting on a rock commiserating with a singing crustacean for my girl, Ali. Oh, no. It was guardian-protected sea crystals and a naked, finely-chiseled guy perched on the side of the tub to help facilitate her transformation. Yep, that story took ‘just add water’ to a whole other level.

The quest for new and unusual characters is ongoing and a must for me. I’m asked how some of my recent characters have taken shape and the answer is simple. I pay close attention to the people I encounter in real life. The heroine in FILIGREE AND FANTASY is a jewelry intern who’s made a trip to Macedonia to refine her silver skills. My daughter’s dear friend was that intern. Granted, she didn’t encounter any shape shifting canines during her adventure but she was a wealth of knowledge when it came time to refine the details of that story. Thank you, Whitney, I’ll forever be grateful.

I have a notebook full of unique professions I’ve become privy to and will hopefully use each and every one at some point. Just this past weekend, while on vacation in Puerto Rico, I met a woman has recently taken over her late husband’s sailboat business. Chatting with her while cutting through the gently rolling Atlantic Ocean was fascinating to say the least. Her previous career was that of a geologist and I learned that she was also a flutist at one point in her life.  That single encounter has afforded me characterization for three future novels!

But any writer can turn a very traditional career into something a bit more unique with very little effort. When I decided to write a story for my publisher, Ellora’s Cave, that had a theme centered on beverages, a heroine who was a bartender immediately came to mind. It’s a role I could envision myself in. But I didn’t want to craft a tale of my hero merely encountering her in her

usual environment so the brainstorming began. It’s a scary thing at times, kids. Something you might not want to try without a net. Somewhere between the slightly edgy (placing her behind the bar of a swanky bondage club) and the totally fantastical (let’s all think Star Wars bar scene) I became hungry. It happens. A lot…and I was undoubtedly out of chocolate or I wouldn’t have had to leave my favorite writing chair and head toward the kitchen.

While standing in front of my opened refrigerator door wondering what I could do with leftover cooked turkey bacon, a small wedge of brie, one somewhat stale thin bagel round and the last piece of red velvet cake, the missing piece of the story presented itself to me. What if reaching her goal was dependent on taking simple bar ingredients and making something utterly fantastic from them? And with that, Susanne from SHAKEN AND STIRRED went from a bartender to a competitive mixologist. A true case of predictability spawning uniqueness. Because, really, when the going gets tough, the tough get food…and sweets. And they write about both every chance they get. you’ve got a very tasty snack, my friends. The red velvet cake stands alone, as do most things that can be considered true perfection. Like chocolate. And men in uniforms.

And for those who are secretly wondering the most important part of this blog, open the bagel round and line up bacon on each half. Microwave for 15 seconds before cutting the brie as thin as possible and placing on top of the bacon. Heat on ½ power for 45 seconds to 1 minute and


M.A.’s latest release, JUST PRESS PLAY, introduces readers to an aspiring romance-writing heroine who lives out her exhibitionistic fantasy at the hands of her very sexy, very kinky, very proficient younger lover. M.A. likes readers to believe it’sautobiographical…but since there’sno reference to chocolate in any variously yummy forms, we don’t believe her. But it definitely does have a little something for the voyeur in all of us. For the blurb and purchase link visit  For an expert of this book or M.A.’s other romances, visit her website at

2/11/2011 14:17:13

Really enjoyed reading this!

2/16/2011 01:12:49

Instant is good, no seizing the moment is sad.

2/17/2011 05:35:35

Wonderful. I could taste it through the screen!

2/17/2011 23:30:14

Thank you for yor post!it is amazing!i like it!


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