Tree of Life Series Branch 3 :
Be care what you wish for, because you just might get it.
Willow should have taken heed of that familiar warning, because she wanted Dane’s attention and then got it. She wasn’t ready.
On assignment protecting a paranoid client at a convention, Dane Karl has finally found his mate, a very young sidhe ill-equipped to deal with a legendary mercenary warrior, fierce weretiger, and powerful sidhe all wrapped up in one big, badass package.
His plan for a slow courtship ruined by the catastrophe that destroys the conference hotel, he claims Willow as his mate to keep her safe from the demons hunting sidhe flesh and sidhe magic. Willow must find her strength to stand up to her legendary husband’s overbearing ways, deal with the shade of his long dead, sidhe wife, and survive the demons after them.
Can an ancient warrior learn to love? Can a young, untried sidhe find her strength?
This is the third and final book of the Tree of Life trilogy.
Posted by brriske
Willow is a young sidhe who was determined to branch out on her own from her very sheltered parents and her village. Of all places for her to work, she works for the National American Vampire Association. But sidhe blood is poison to vampires. She’s a pure white sidhe, a healing sidhe and runs across a fallen woman. It’s her nature to heal. She realized she’s healed the famous bain sidhe, Rowan Nemad. Rowan gives her a parting piece of friendly advice of locking down her glamour tighter because there are many things hunting sidhe and would claim her against her will. They chatted through some of the conference and Willow’s eyes fall on the famed bodyguard Dane Karl. And for some reason, he asks her for coffee. She’s very intimidated by the weretiger, as much as he’s trying to put her at ease. He recognizes her as his soulmate and knows that he has to court her.
She concentrated, delicately calibrating her body and releasing the tiniest amount of tigress pheromones into the air.
A convention attendee stopped to ask about membership benefits, commanding Willow’s attention. She smiled pleasantly, showed him the list of membership benefits and explained them, and described the membership fee structure.
Dane stopped in front of a booth promoting eighteen karat gold fang caps, with and without gemstone embellishments. His nostrils flared and the back of his tongue tingled, detecting the stimulation of pheromones almost too faint to detect. He inhaled more deeply through his mouth and followed the whisper of scent to a slender brunette who seemed to be completely unaware of his presence as she addressed an attendee’s questions. There she is. A tingle of awareness shivered through his body as he studied her from across the aisle. He watched her thank the attendee for his interest, press some literature in to his hand, and slowly realize that someone was staring at her.
Authenticity requires realism.
However, I occasionally encounter too much realism in fiction. When authenticity overpowers fiction, it may turn offensive. This distinction may also determine the boundary between authentic and marketable.
One such example comes from "dark," motorcycle club, and BDSM romances. I know some readers get a kick from a hero (or antihero) calling his one true love a slut or whore or other, even more derogatory term. However passionate, that kind of terminology immediately switches a story from authentic to offensive for me.
The man who loves me ought to know better than to call me such a derogatory name, especially when speaking to me during moments of intimacy. Men who respect women don't use such language when speaking to those women. Women who expect respect don't accept such language when spoken to them.
The same goes for racial epithets, which some subcultures routinely use to refer to each other. Using those offensive words might be commonplace among that subculture--and using those terms with a light touch adds that necessary element of realism--but saturating dialogue with such terms overwhelms.
One cannot help but wonder if the author, too, thinks in those terms.
My thoughts on the topic go beyond mere profanity. Reflecting on the way too much authenticity tips over into offense, I'm reminded of comedian George Carlin's 1972 monologue on the seven dirty words you can't say on television. (If you can't tolerate profanity, then you shouldn't listen to this.)
The saturation of offensive words and profanity in characters' dialogue demonstrates the limitations of those characters' vocabulary, just as it shows the limitations in a real person's vocabulary. Most of us have encountered the individual who uses the "F-word" every other word when he or she spoke. That person uses it as noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. Speech saturated with such words loses its shock value because we become desensitized to it. Sometimes, I juxtapose eloquent literary verbiage against the deliberate insertion of such a word to add shock value.
Desensitization to offensive and profane words does not improve our language or strengthen our vocabulary. Those whose language is so limited lose the ability to deliver or understand stinging insults or high praise without them. Like stereotypes, language informs the reader by assigning a commonly understood trope or archetype. A gangsta from the 'hood employs much different speech than a church bishop, or a noble lady from a lowly maidservant. Our use of words and the variety of words used give rise to assumptions of education and intelligence and wit.
Like passive voice, when it comes to authenticity (aka realism), sometimes less is more. Authors seeking to tread the line between authenticity and offense often dance on a knife's edge.
The challenge of giving a personal gift is knowing the recipient well enough to anticipate what he or she likes and wants and probably does not have. For instance, I love fur. I love to stroke it and sink my fingers into it. However, I love fur best when it's still on the animal. I have a moral objection to furs such as fox, mink, ermine, etc., because those animals aren't killed for anything but their fur. We don't use their flesh or bones. In the same way, I have no objection to leather, because we eat cattle, goats, pigs, and deer. Their bones are useful, too. In short, if we're going to use the whole animal, then let's use the whole animal, including its hide.
With that understanding, someone who knows me well would know that I like fur, but I don't have any and don't want any.
I also love jewelry, especially jewelry with colored gemstones. Someone else can have the diamonds; I especially like emeralds. And rubies, amethysts, aquamarines, pearls, peridot, lapis lazuli, etc. I'm a bracelet junkie, but I don't wear rings. Someone who knows me well, will know that I prefer bracelets over necklaces and dangling earrings over studs.
However, it's impossible to always know well the persons to whom we give gifts. That's where investigation comes in. What does he or she want? Ask. Ask spouses, siblings, parents, cousins, friends, etc. Sometimes they don't have good ideas either, or perhaps they're struggling--like I do--to think of a suitable gift for the person who pretty much has everything he or she wants. Like my husband. Like my parents.
That's when we segue from "stuff" to "experience." For instance, that recipient might appreciate tickets to a concert or play. My elder son loved his gift of driving a high-end sports car around a race track. These gifts don't sit unused and collect dust on a shelf, they build memories. I think they make wonderful gifts.
Sometimes a compromise between "stuff" and "experience" works well. I'm thinking of food. If your recipient is an cheese aficionado, then maybe a subscription to the Cheese of the Month Club is just what Santa ordered. You can find a subscription delivery service for practically anything, from flower bouquets to beers.
Of course, books make great gifts. If you look around, you're likely to find a holiday bazaar or craft show in your locale or some other type of event at which you'll find at least one local author selling his or her books. If you know your recipient reads within a certain genre, buy the book and get it autographed. It's always a kick to get a book signed by the author, even if that author is someone completely unknown by the world. And if you buy a book for yourself, too, no one will blame you.
Speaking as one of those authors, come to the Writer's Block Author Fair on December 14 at the Franklin Park Mall, Toledo, Ohio. I'll be there! Buy a book and I'll be happy to sign it.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019.
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