I first met Elisabeth online as one of the so called 3 Musketeers. She was the nice musketeer and when I finally had the opportunity to meet her at RWA, I quickly learned why. Elisabeth is one of the funniest people I know and she had me in stitches the entire time at RWA. I’m thrilled to have her here today in support of her newest release BLAZE OF WINTER.
Communicating … or not. By Elisabeth Barrett
I am thrilled to be back on Jessica Scott’s awesome blog! As you may recall, last time I was here, I talked about my love of Pride and Prejudice, and how that influenced the hero in my first book, Deep Autumn Heat. At the time I wrote that post, I’d spoken with Jessica by phone, but had not yet met her in person. All of that changed when we were introduced at RWA, the big national conference for Romance Writers. She was so tall, so glamorous, and so very military!
Given the fact that Jessica is an Army Captain and I’m a civilian, we sometimes had trouble communicating, although not for lack of trying! I am mindful that Jessica will appear on my blog in October to promote Until There Was You, and might retaliate reciprocate the favor, here’s an example of a typical conversation we had during RWA:
Jessica: When I was in the TOC downrange, our command & staffs kept getting in the way of my PT.
Me: I’m terribly sorry to interrupt, but could you please define all of your acronyms and terms of art?
Me: Well, everything, but let’s start with what TOC stands for.
Jessica: A tactical operation center.
Me: And downrange is…
Me: And a command & staff? What is that?
Jessica: A meeting where staff syncs with commanders.
Me: Ah. And PT is?
Jessica: Physical training. Did you really not know that?
Me: So, roughly translated, that means that when you were in your remote office while deployed, you were displeased that you had to attend so many organizational meetings because it impeded your ability to exercise.
Me: Ok, I get it. You can go on now.
Our conversations got me thinking about communication, and about my latest novel, Blaze of Winter, which features Theo Grayson, a novelist of swashbuckling adventures, who returns to Star Harbor to work on his latest book. When he meets Avery Newbridge, a guarded social worker who is helping out her Aunt Kate at the Star Harbor Inn, he knows she’s something special. But she’s working through her own issues, and isn’t open to a relationship with Theo. It’s up to Theo to show Avery that he’s the man for her—for now, and for always.
There are a few scenes in the book where one character speaks, and although the other understands the words, he/she still doesn’t get the message. As a novelist, Theo’s business is words, and he is more than clear about his desire for Avery. But Avery repeatedly ignores, sidesteps, or deliberately misinterprets him, preferring to hide from her feelings instead of confronting them. I love the scene where Theo, who hasn’t made much headway by talking, uses non-verbal means to show Avery how much he likes her, eventually succeeding in getting her to reciprocate:
“But you’re not giving it a chance.”
“I don’t go for players. Or for guys who hide what they do,” she weakly protested.
“I’m not a player, and I didn’t hide what I do.” At least, not deliberately. “Anyway, it’s not like you should talk. You’ve been hiding from me all week.”
“I had things to deal with,” she said, setting her mouth into a straight line.
“Let me help you with your stuff.”
She shook her head. “I have to do it alone.”
“Then let me help you with this.” He ran a thumb over her soft lips.
“I d-don’t want you,” she said, but her lower lip trembled.
His eyes warmed. “Oh, you do.” He bent his head until his mouth was nearly touching hers, but he didn’t span that small distance. It took all his considerable willpower not to seal his mouth to hers, to show her exactly how hot she made him. But this time she needed to be the one to come to him. “Tell me to go away.
Tell me you don’t want me again,” he whispered. “Just say it and I’ll leave you alone for good.”
Her gaze wavered and she closed her eyes. “I can’t,” she whispered back.
“Then kiss me like you know you want to.”
The words hung between them, like a thick cloud of steam hovering over a grate. Then, tentatively, fractionally, she tipped her head up.
By the end of the novel, Theo finally breaks through Avery’s defenses and they are able to communicate, using language she truly comprehends. Cue happy ending!
And as for me and Jessica, well, I think we’re on the right track, too. She talks, and I just keep asking her to clarify or translate into civilian-speak. Win-win, right?
One commenter will be randomly selected to win a NetGalley preview of BLAZE OF WINTER. Contest ends September 14th at midnight (EDT).You’ll need a NetGalley account, and to leave a comment answering this question: Has there ever been a time when you’ve had a miscommunication? How did you resolve it?
About Blaze of Winter:
Winter heats up in this hot new Star Harbor romance, as another sexy Grayson brother, a wickedly handsome writer, plots his happily ever after with a sweet stranger.
Frustrated with her job in Boston, social worker Avery Newbridge welcomes the opportunity to reassess her life when family asks her to help manage the Star Harbor Inn. Trying to figure out her future is overwhelming enough, but she doesn’t count on distraction in the form of one Theo Grayson, the gorgeous, green-eyed author who she knows is trouble from the moment he saunters into the inn.
Not only does he have a talent for writing swashbuckling adventures, but Theo also has a soft spot for big-hearted damsels in distress, especially a woman who’s great at helping everyone—except herself. Avery’s demons challenge him, but for desire this hot, he isn’t backing down. With every kiss and heated whisper Theo promises her his heart . . . if only Avery is willing to open up and accept it.
View an excerpt of Blaze of Winter on Scribd: Click here.
Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicked off with Deep Autumn Heat and continues with Blaze of Winter. Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children. She still doesn’t know what a QTB is. Find her online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads