Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weighty Secrets

My in-laws called my husband yesterday about travel plans. They wanted to be here around my husband’s August 1st birthday. When they’ve been here over his birthday in the past, we’ve skipped our Lughnasadh celebration, so this news was met with a collective groan.

Lughnasadh is the summer harvest festival, and a family favorite because of the focus on bread baking, colorful garden flowers on the altar, and weather warm enough to carry some of the festivities outdoors. Living in Wisconsin, Samhain, Imbolc, and Beltane, the other three major sabbats, tend to be indoor celebrations--unless we’re gifted with an unusually warm end-of-October or transition into May. Imbolc, in February, is guaranteed to be celebrated indoors.

In any case, today my daughters and I called a family meeting, and lobbied to come out of the broom closet to the grandparents/in-laws. My husband wasn’t any more inclined than we were to cancel Lughnasadh festivities two years in a row, so he agreed to make the call.

Secrets seem to gather weight over time, and really, it’s a call that should have been made many, many years ago. We’d toyed with the idea back in May, before their last visit, but at the time my father-in-law was having major health problems, and we didn’t want to stress them out more than necessary. With him doing well now, that no longer presented an obstacle.

So, shrugging off the burden of years of furtiveness--hiding pagan books before visits, making sure the photos of seasonal altars don’t go up on Snapfish with the other family pictures, and other secret-bearing actions that made us all feel generally “ick,” my husband shared the truth.

After a brief chat with my father-in-law about his health, my dear husband blurted out, “By the way, we’re pagan.” Growing tongue-tied when asked what that involved, he then shoved the phone at our 13-year-old daughter, who was lurking around to hear her dad’s side of the call. She calmly walked her grandparents through the basic definitions of earth-based religion, seasonal festivals, and such, and then handed the phone back to my husband.

My mother-in-law was very supportive. Wow. That means a lot. My father-in-law didn’t say much. He’s devoutly Catholic, so who knows what he’s thinking. But for us, the weight of years and years of not sharing a very basic part of who we are evaporated with one phone call. Again, wow.

After that, letting it slip that I write erotic romance will be a cakewalk! That will result in a whole realm of other objects (dry erase boards, appointment calendars, to-do lists, recent book contracts, and anything else lying around our combined office and family room that reveals my book titles and/or pen name) that don’t need to be tucked away before visits.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Torrid Teasers Vol. 47 Now Available

My latest release, Torrid Teasers Vol. 47, is now available from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Three Nights with Adam

Determined to keep their sex life red hot, Paige plans a birthday surprise for Adam—his hottest fantasy come to life. But when she initiates a ménage with their friend, Lynne, she's unprepared for the emotional intensity of the experience.

The Ones We Love

Sarah struggles with her inhibitions as she prepares for a bacchanalian evening at her friends’ beach house. Within her close-knit circle of friends, the web of love and loyalties can get a bit—tangled.

Happy Reading!

Eden Rivers

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dreams as Inspiration

I’ve heard from several authors over the years that they’ve either drawn ideas or entire book concepts from their dreams. This fascinates me. I dream in vivid color, and I remember my dreams in the morning. But I can’t claim I’ve ever created a book out of my nighttime adventures.

Still, I believe there’s much to be gained in jotting down fascinating bits, keeping a dream journal, or simply remembering a dream setting or an interesting person to slip into a story down the line. Dreamed emotions can be a fertile source for writing, as well.

My 15-year-old daughter shared a series of dreams this week which could have come right out of an urban fantasy by Charles de Lint. In one, she created a host of trolls who loved bicycles so much that they stole them from people’s back yards. The writer in me delights in the image of blissful trolls pedaling down the street on their stolen rides.

In another, my daughter dreamed up a squirrel with fairy wings. “A flying squirrel,” I gleefully commented. “No, the squirrel couldn’t fly,” she replied. “It just had beautiful fairy wings.” Dreams seldom do what we’d expect. In that sense, they’re not so different from book plots or the characters we create and set loose in our fictional worlds.

And people in dreams seldom behave as we’d expect. Even ourselves. My daughter was delighted with a dream in which hummingbirds and butterflies surrounded her, and said she’d never seen anything so beautiful. She remains mystified, however, as to why she caught one of the hummingbirds, popped it into her mouth, and ate it. Any dream analysts out there want to take a shot at that one?

Some of the most fascinating dreams are the darkest. I had a friend during my law school years who, while expecting, had repeating dreams in which she and her husband ate their newborn. My own dark dreams often involve flight and pursuit, with the adrenaline charged escape set in eerie warehouses, dark forests, or over a series of perilously steep staircases which end halfway down and drop into nothingness. Often I end up flying (no wings, just flying) to escape my pursuers.

And then, of course there was the memorable night horror in college, where I awoke screaming at the top of my lungs because I’d dreamed there was a portal to hell in my dorm room closet. I a) scared the living crap out of my roommate and her boyfriend and b) convinced them I might have a mild psychiatric disorder. Both of us heaved a sigh of relief at the end of the year when we were able to go our separate ways.

I’d love to see a survey that addressed whether avid readers and writers have more vivid and elaborate dreams. I’m guessing we do. What about all of you? Writers, have you ever included dream elements in your stories? Readers, do you ever dream about what you read? Any especially humorous or frightening dreams you want to share?

Sweet Dreams,