Perfect Romance

I tried to write ‘perfect romance’ but don’t know how . . .

Now that ‘Maybe Never‘ is done, and I’ve had some time to sit with it, I have to admit it was hard to let Brendan and Tracy go. When I first wrote about them in ‘Commitment‘, they weren’t a couple and only very gradually learned how to become friends. But it wasn’t their story, so I foreshadowed a little bit (without even knowing that that was what I was doing) to what would become their story. Tracy was Riley’s beautiful best friend who never seemed to have a man around, and seemed content to offer commentary on someone else’s love life rather than have one of her own. In ‘Unsuitable Men‘, we learned why–Tracy didn’t have relationships because she just couldn’t. And Brendan, the man she falls for, was barely able to do relationships himself. But somehow they found a rocky, painful, convoluted path to each other.

At the end of ‘Unsuitable Men’, Tracy was still working on some stuff, as was Brendan and there was always the lingering question of whether it was even possible that they might find a happily ever after. ‘Maybe Never’ was supposed to be a love letter, my Valentine’s kiss to readers who wrote to me, genuinely concerned that the ambiguity at the end of Unsuitable Men meant that maybe, somehow, Brendan and Tracy would break up. And so I set out to assuage those fears and give these readers a gift of a perfect romance.

messy loveBy now, if you’ve read ‘Maybe Never’, you know that it was many things, but it was most definitely not a “perfect romance” – not in the sense of its technical construction and execution and most definitely not in terms of the relationship between Brendan and Tracy. They have baggage, they have issues, they have problems and doubts and all kinds of shit to work out. And that’s because at the end of the day, as I work on this craft I’ve come to learn something about myself as a writer. I can’t do perfect. Not by a long-shot. I don’t know those people whose relationships end with a tidy HEA.  I know the people who love hard, who fight hard, who mess up, who have lousy relationships with parents that influence their love lives, or great relationships with parents that still influence their love lives in lousy ways, people who sometimes get horny looking at someone other than their partner . . . people who have messy, messy loves.

I tried to give the gift of perfect romance, but couldn’t. And fair warning for those who in future may be inclined to read what I write – I couldn’t do it in this instance and likely won’t ever be able to. I offer instead, stories about what I know to be true: that sometimes, through all the craziness and the chaos that we impose on ourselves, the drama and the messiness; sometimes we reach out and we find someone. Not someone perfect, but maybe if you’re lucky, they’re perfect for you . . .

Happy Reading.


Breaking Through

Maybe Never coverThe messiest of love stories to be found in any of my books, hands down, is the love story between Brendan and Tracy in ‘Unsuitable Men’. Tracy is beautiful on the outside, but feels ugly inside. She can’t love herself, and she can’t accept the love of a good man, Brendan, because she fundamentally doesn’t believe she’s a good woman. Even when there seems to be a breakthrough, with a woman as complicated and as troubled as Tracy, you have to wonder, can there really be a happily ever after?

This novella provides the answer: ‘Maybe Never‘. Coming Soon.

Now, because I know some people might be curious about when ‘soon’ is, all I can tell you is that I love giving Valentine’s Day gifts.  Having said that, I also love giving birthday gifts, but am generally the person who winds up calling to say ‘Happy Belated Birthday’ and sending the gift late by FedEx. And I’m also working on ‘The Art of Endings’ so that’s a factor as well.

In the meantime, my suggestion would be to (re)read ‘Unsuitable Men’ and fall in love with Brendan and Tracy (again, if you loved them the first time around). This book is both their (sort of) ending and the prequel to the book about Chris Scaife, the unlikeliest of leading men to come out of ‘Commitment’.

Happy Reading!


Messy Love

cheating heartWe say we want our love ‘clean’ and ‘drama-free’,  but I’m not sure I buy it. The big loves, the intense loves, the messy loves. Those are the ones we remember . . .

This month in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m going to be posting about messy love – you know the kind I mean. The love you have usually when you were somewhere between 16 and 25 and you do the sloppiest, dumbest shit, the kind of shit that makes you cringe when you later remember it. Feel free to post your messy love stories as a comment to this post. The messier the better. But to be fair, I should start us off by posting one of mine.

I was sixteen, and had a male best friend. We were tight, I mean really, really close. We talked on the phone for hours every day. He was the first person I thought about when I woke up, the last person I talked to every night. While I was quiet and pensive, he was outgoing and expressive. He was super-cute, like one of the DeBarges in the time when we still thought the DeBarges were cute. And it was clear to anyone who knew him that I was the most important girl in his life.

But for me, that wasn’t enough – I was “just a friend” albeit his best friend. I wanted more. He was oblivious – as most boys and men are when they think they have a female best friend when in fact they have someone who’s in love with them and just doesn’t want to ruin it by reaching for more. Anyway, this friend of mine was a bit of a bad-boy. He smoked weed, he skipped school, he hung out with dodgy characters, and my parents hated him. He got into scrapes a lot and then told me about them later, which I loved. He told me everything, in unvarnished language – all about the girls he bedded, the scams he pulled, the lies he told. To me, he was the most amazing person ever in the history of . . . amazing-ness.

One summer day I was home and bored and he called me from a pizza restaurant about three miles away. He’d been smoking weed with friends. They were hungry, and now they were broke. Could I bring him twenty bucks?  My mother disapproved of our friendship and was suspicious of it’s all-consuming nature (of course she was!) and so I couldn’t get her to take me to see him. I didn’t yet drive, so I couldn’t go on my own. So what did I do, desperately-in-love-with-my-best-friend sixteen year old nincompoop that I was? I couldn’t stand that he was stranded and hungry, couldn’t bear that he would experience a moment’s discomfort if I had the power to alleviate it.  So I walked- yes, walked– the three miles to hand him twenty dollars so he and his friends could be relieved of the munchies. And then I walked back home. And just like some John Hughes movie, on the way, as I walked, clothed in shame for being such a pushover, it began to rain. Served me right.

Now that was pretty ugly, so c’mon . . . tell me your messy love story . . . And remember to change names (including your own if you must) to protect the innocent.

Happy Reading!