One of the things I love most about this time of year is cuddling up on the couch with my girls, a roaring fire blazing and the TV tuned to one of our favorite holiday movies.
So when I was given a chance to write a Christmas novella for Blaze’s MUST HAVE BEEN THE MISTLETOE anthology, I wanted to tie in one of my favorite holiday stories. After much consideration (okay, so really it was only a few seconds because it’s the first idea that occurred to me and I giggled a lot) I decided to go with that poor, maligned outcast from Rudoph’s story –the Island of Misfit Toys. A BABE IN TOYLAND features Rita Mae Cole, a heroine in a cash crunch at the holidays. To make enough money to buy a special gift, she takes a gift from her roommate... a box of misfit toys she can sell at a discount. Sex toys, that is.
I think one of the most intriguing things writers do is take something they know, and give it the right twist to fit where they want to go. For me, because I write Blaze my stories need that sexy hook. And the hook had to tie in with the holiday, and provide a solid foundation for the story.
That’s the fun of twists, isn’t it? Finding a hook, a platform of sorts, to build the story around. I’ve talked to a number of authors who use fairy tale twists, such as Beauty and the Beast, The Ugly Duckling and Cinderella to weave through their story.
How about you? Do you have a favorite twist in books? If you write, what is the most recent hook you used? And as a reader, do you recognize a twist when you read it and does that appeal to you?
And how did my hook work? Here’s a little excerpt from A BABE IN TOYLAND:
Not that she was anxious or anything. Tyler Ramsey was a first-class jerk, albeit one helluva gorgeous first-class jerk. But gorgeous didn’t matter because he was just a means to an end. Plan C.
She pressed her hand to her belly to settle the dancing nerves. Just because he’d knocked her on her ass with those magic lips of his didn’t mean she was itching to see him again. She hadn’t even put makeup on, proof positive that she wasn’t looking to make an impression.
If he showed up, that was. Which he probably wouldn’t.
“More like toys,” Shawn said, pulling Rita’s attention back to the mystery box with a gesture to open it.
Rita tugged up the flaps, then frowned. She shook the box, staring at the colorful array of vibrators, cock-rings and god knew what else as they tumbled together. Mouth dragging the floor, she gave her roommate a shocked stare.
Shawn poked her fingernail at a neon green rubber dildo. “They’re discontinued toys. Last year’s models, overstocks, a few rejects. There’s a product guide in there I printed with all their names, features, retail price. Should be all you need.”
Rita goggled, actually goggled. What the hell?
Her gaze bounced from Shawn’s sleepy face to the box of misfit sex toys. “I’m out of a job, homeless and heading to my parents’ for some holiday humiliation. And you’re giving me... the promise of satisfaction?” She glanced at the tightly packed box again and added, “Over and over again?”
Shawn smirked. “If that’s how you want it, sure. I figured you could, you know, sell them. Like they do at those toy parties and stuff? These are free and clear,” she assured Rita. Shawn owned an adult bookstore and while she was a strong supporter of all things kink, she’d never do anything illegal.
“Look, if you won’t take it as a present, take it as an apology.” Shawn stuffed her hands in her robe pockets and hunched her shoulders. “I hate that I can’t hold the room for you. It’s bad enough you’re out a job, but...”
“You need to make rent,” Rita dismissed, not wanting to add to Shawn’s guilt. “And I appreciate the idea, I really do—”
“Don’t refuse,” Shawn interrupted. “Just, you know, think about it. If you decide the idea sucks, you can dump the boxes on the side of the road.”
Rita snickered, not sure which amused her more. The image of some random traveler finding a box of neon dildos. Or the idea of heading home with the hunkiest man she’d ever lusted after, carrying her own arsenal of sex toys.
Tawny Weber is usually found dreaming up stories in her California home, surrounded by dogs, cats and kids. When she’s not writing hot, spicy stories for Harlequin Blaze, she’s shopping for the perfect pair of boots or drooling over Johnny Depp pictures (when her husband isn’t looking, of course). In December 2010, her ninth Blaze, A BABE IN TOYLAND hits the bookshelves. Come by and visit her on the web at www.tawnyweber.com