Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Second Verse, Same as the First, plus an excerpt.

First, the excerpt. Warning: mildly controversial content, bordering on edgy, with a healthy side of "you filthy rule-breaker, you."

* * *

From Chapter 3 of SKIN DEEP:

"What the hell, Noah? Are you drunk?" But she already knew the answer to that. He didn't smell of beer or wine or whiskey. The scent rising from him was muted, but she couldn't mistake it from this proximity. She'd experienced it before, rising from the bodies of men thrown down over the hoods of police cruisers, their hands cuffed behind their backs. He smelled like desperation.

He tangled his hands in her hair, pulled her head back and went for her throat, fastening his lips and teeth on her collarbone. The same spot on which he'd left a mark just a month before. There were traces of it still, purple and brown, but she'd quit covering it with makeup, thinking it was faded enough to escape notice. Now it would be dark again. Part of her...the stubborn part that wouldn't listen to reason...the part that had nearly got her killed by a seventh grader...was nothing but glad.

She struggled at first. Because that's what a woman's supposed to do in a situation like this. Fight off her attacker, or at least make a good show of it. Except he was coiling like a snake around her, his endless leg hooking behind both of hers to pull her tight against him, and his arms wrapping around her like he meant to crack her ribs. No space to breathe or move. No space for anything but giving in. Why did that feel so good when it shouldn't? When she should hate him for overpowering her?

The first kiss felt like a bare-knuckled brawl in her mouth. She let him have her anger then, and all her frustration. Bit his lip, hard. Tasted copper and liked it. So did he, if the way he snarled was any indication.

Then they were on the cold tile floor. The only sign he wasn't completely out of his mind was the way he lowered her. Not gently, but carefully. Mindfully, politely. Like the bank robber who wishes the teller a nice day.

He humped her good leg as he tore off her T-shirt, ripping it at the neck. Her sweats were gone next, leaving her in nothing but a pair of wool socks. Jesus, those tiles were like ice against her bare ass. Then his tongue was back in her mouth, tasting sour with whatever emotion fired him. Distracting her from whatever he was doing...which was opening and pushing down his jeans because there he was, hot and heavy against her thigh. His fingers fumbled at her nipple, too rough for pleasure, though he was clearly trying to make her want this. And God help her, she did.

* * *

In other news, the debate rages on over what should and shouldn't be included in a romance. Check here for Jenny Crusie's opinion, here for Lynn Viehl's, and here for further discussion.

I grow weary. There will always be those in the world who will want to control how people express themselves, through labels and veiled insults and assumptions not based on evidence and threats of abysmal failure for those who refuse to adhere to the "rules." I think that's how an artist or a crafts-person knows he or she is breaking boundaries and challenging preconceptions and actually doing something of value. When all the right people are pissed off? SCORE!

But I maintain that the story is what counts. I've never broken rules for the joy of hearing them shatter. I only do it -- when I do it -- if it serves the story. And, as I've said elsewhere ad infinitum, the marketplace will decide.

SelahMarch.com - Romance of Dubious Virtue


Blogger Lynn Viehl said...

"The first kiss felt like a bare-knuckled brawl in her mouth."

I am utterly, completely green over this line. Look south, I swear you'll see the verdant glow. Great excerpt.

When I was in high school, there were good girl/bad girl rules: good girls held hands with their boyfriends in the hallways, bad girls made out with their boyfriend in the bleachers. On the subject of virginity and sex, the good girl response was only to smile and coyly flutter eyelashes; the bad girl response was to be caught popping your birth control pill during lunch period. Girls who had steadies were nice, girls who played the field were sluts. Meanwhile, boys could do anything they wanted, they only had to be cute, strong, or have a nice ride, and not cheat on their girlfriend. If they did the latter, they could blame the girl for being a tease, and everyone would forgive them.

Someday I hope we'll outgrow these rules. They enforce the sort of thinking that belongs back in the Dark Ages, when we women were owned like property and treated like cattle. But I'm not holding my breath, Selah.

4/10/2007 12:16 PM  
Blogger Selah March said...

Thanks, Lynn. Glad you liked the excerpt. :)

I've been a "bad girl" all my life, in many respects of the word. Not because it's easier than being good, because it's not. Don't let us kid ourselves on that point. And not because I like being "edgy" or "controversial" for the sheer sake of watching others' hackles rise.

But because it's my nature to question rules that make no sense to me, and break them when I feel I have a good reason, or when I feel the rules themselves are in error.

Ironically, the only person I've ever hurt with my rule-breaking behavior (with the possible exception of my long-suffering mother) has been myself.

I'm raising my children, particularly my daughter, to question every rule she comes across. Does this make my life easy as a parent? Do I occasionally find myself saying "because I said so, that's why!"? Of course. Luckily, she doesn't take that shit from me, and I hope she never takes it from anyone else, either.

My philosophy: Question the rules. Ask for explanations. If the reasons given for why you "can't" or why you "must" ring false to you, think about the consequences for breaking the rules, and then follow your instincts and conscience.

Sometimes this philosophy has gotten me into a metric fuckload of trouble. But I believe it's made me a more open-minded, compassionate and enlightened member of the human race. And I've certainly never been bored. Who could ask for more?

4/10/2007 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

One of these days, I'm gonna write as good you, Miss Thang. Seriously, that's just such a great passage and I personally love the bank teller line.

4/10/2007 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

definitely picking skin deep up

4/11/2007 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find some of the assumptions, such as this in the dearauthor post, interesting...

"To each author who wants to write the infidelity scene, ask yourself what you are trying to prove? Is his ability to get hard and lay his pipe in a woman offered up as some type of measure of virility? Is the ability to have sex and pleasure other women indicative of his alpha male status?"

This assumption was loosely echoed in various threads ... followed by the advice of "if you prove "it" without having the *infidelity*, then don't include the *infidelity*"

So even people who think they're being open minded about the mere possibility of including the scene--aren't.

What if the author wants to examine how it is possible for a woman to still care for a man after any number of possible negative events ("dubious consent", forced seduction, rape, infidelity, etc.). What if the author wants to examine how a man can be reformed in his own eyes, as well?

puts me in mind of 2 houseman poems...
They say my verse is sad: no wonder.
Its narrow measure spans
Rue for eternity, and sorrow
Not mine, but man's.

This is for all ill-treated fellows
Unborn and unbegot,
For them to read when they're in trouble
And I am not.

And "Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff" too long to repost.

Loved PBW's insanely long entry on her blog! Must hurt to keep a tongue-in-cheek for such a sustained period.

4/11/2007 5:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home