Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WRITER'S WEDNESDAY: Finding the Twist by Tawny Weber

Tawny Weber joins Pink Heart Society to talk about twists and ties and how she built her latest Blaze...

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:

“So what is it? A new toy?” Rita asked her roommate, peeking out the window.

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.

“What the...?”

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


  1. What will she do with the box now?
    How I hate to be left hanging! LOL!
    Nice twist.

  2. WOW - fabulous twist! Like Nas I'm hanging to read the rest :)

  3. LOL - What indeed, Nas :-) I'm sorry to leave you hanging (but the book is in stores now *g*) but am so glad you liked the twist!!

  4. YAY- glad you like the twist, Rachael :-) Thanks so much.

  5. Tawny, this sounds like a fabulous read. I can't wait to check it out.

    I love twists in stories - that 'aha!' moment when you come up with a great twist for a book is one of the best feelings.

  6. Hi Annie :-) I really appreciate that, thank you!

    I do love finding twists, aren't those the best. They're what make our stories, well, ours :-)

  7. Tawny, this made me laugh out loud... Hot and hilarious is just what I need right now in snowbound London...

    Best twist I ever came up with is now looking pretty tame. LOL. Have gotta read this book!

  8. Sweet! I'm glad you laughed, Heidi :-) I love that reaction when someone reads my work (I regularly mourn the lack of a romcom market).

    Brrr, on the snow. I hope you have a warm fire, or a mug of something steaming and delicious to warm you up!

  9. I love twists in my stories, especially if they're romantic suspense or just plain mysteries or thrillers. It's no fun when you know the ending from the get go.

    Nothing comes to mind at the moment except for the movie GHOST. I loved the moment when the audience knew (before Demi Moore, of course) that the best friend was the cause of her husband's death. Gosh, I love that movie!

  10. Oooh, Jo!!! I love Ghost. What an incredible movie and, like you say, a fabulous twist.

    I'm with you in loving surprises. I'm not one to read ahead and know the ending of a book, but too often I can see how the plot will play out in the first few dozen pages. I'm always thrilled when I'm wrong *g*

  11. Tawny, I'm so looking forward to this story. Just from the excerpt, I can tell it has the combination I love in your work, a hot relationship and terrific characters.

  12. Hey, Tawny! I love the setup for this story. It sounds like a great twist on the holiday theme!

    I'm writing a beauty and the beast story right now, which is actually a challenge because I tend to write devastatingly gorgeous rakish sorts! It's also a marriage of convenience which is one of my favourite hooks. I think I like it because it guarantees the H/h will be together for most of the book.

    Congrats on the new anthology!

  13. Hi Tawny -

    Okay - so exactly how did you do the research for the various sex toys? There's a couple stores here that I've recently discovered that's perfect for that sort of thing...if ever you want to visit Columbus (grin).

    I love a good twist and I find it's easier for me to plot out a story if I keep a basic fairy tale premise running in the background. It might not be obvious to anyone but me, but it's there if you search for it. My most recent book - the one that comes out next August - has a little bit of a Cinderella story in it, but it's the hero that gets the makeover. That was fun.

    Love a hot seasonal story to warm up these cold winter nights (We had snow today!!!!) This anthology should fit the bill perfectly.

  14. Hi Nancy :-) Thank you so much for stopping by - and for those awesome compliments *g* You're the best!!

  15. Thanks, Christine :-) I love your books and can't wait to see your Beauty and the Beast twist. As you say, you do the yummiest heroes so this will be a fun twist ;-)

    Marriage of convenience is such a great hook, isn't it. It's a powerful foundation to create a story on -building on both the characters' issues and forcing them together to deal with each other :D

  16. ROFL Donna... Um, I'm going to take the fifth on that question and just offer a mysterious smile, okay?

    But a visit to Columbus does sound fun!!

    I love hero makeover stories!! I can't wait to read yours :-) And I agree, a good fairy tale is like a map that makes the writing a little smoother.

    stay warm!

  17. Sorry I'm a little late saying hello, but I'm so happy to read another Tawny excerpt! This story sounds like so much fun, not to mention, ya know ... H-H-HOT!!!

    And now I understand the Misfit Toys twist. Love it, you clever girl you! ;-) And I love Christmas stories, always! Can't wait to read it!!

  18. A Babe In Toyland is such a great story and your twist on the Misfit Toys is so clever! Curling up with Rita and Tyler's story is a fabulous treat after dealing with holiday madness :-)

    I'm not very good with twists in my stories - thank goodness I have you to bounce ideas off of! You always come up with some great insights *g*

  19. Kate!! Hello there my fave Desire author :-)

    YAY - so glad you liked my misfit twist. I did have a LOT of fun with it LOL. and thank you for all those wonderfully kind words.

  20. Awww, BETH :-D The bestest CP EVAH!!! Really really, everyone, Beth rocks.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, and for all the A Babe in Toyland love. And, as always, for all of your fab help so I could write it :-)