Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Insta-Love or Insta-Attraction--Part II

Good Morning!

Surprise! I'm blogging on Wednesday this week. Why? Well, it seems retirement has blasted me into my own special time warp where I was rendered incapable of reading a calendar. - red face - Sorry to any who encountered dead air on my usual blogging day.

I wanted to open with a reminder that March 25th is a very special day for many romance writers and authors. It's announcement day for the RWA(C) Golden Heart and RITA finalists for 2016! In past years, this day was like a National Romance Holiday for me. I'd take the day off work to monitor the constant announcements, updates, congratulate friends and peers, and join in the festivities. (The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog always throws a great cyber-party if you want to look in!)

And, of course, I'm always eager to see if any Science Fiction Romance books will be nominated! (If so, we'll try to track down the authors for an interview. That's actually how Sharon and I met so many years ago!)

This is the one competition in all the industry that is like a mini-Academy Awards. Nearly ALL the nominees show up in formal gowns for the glitzy award night production, wherever it may be (San Diego this year). Just like the Academy Awards, nominees have overwhelming competition and it's such a high honor just to be named--and getting that magical phone call to inform them they are a finalist is their ticket to the crazy train that is the Golden Heart/RITA experience.

Donna, Sharon and I were all fortunate enough to have been swept up in this whirlwind multiply times in years past, and it's an experience we will never forget.

This was the opening production for the 2011 Golden Heart/RITA Awards, and I was tickled to death to see some prominent SFR books and authors featured that you may recognize! (And yes...Donna, Sharon and I were there at NY Times Square that year.)

***Check back with Donna on Friday for awards coverage.***

But on to our topic this week...

Last week, we took on the topic of Insta-Love vs. Insta-Attraction, and offered up the opener of Farewell Andromeda in the jousting field.

I also mentioned a potential prize to a random commenter. :) We had six commenters, so a prize will indeed be awarded. I fired up the trusty Randomizer site and ran 1 through 6 through it to return a result.

And Randomizer SAYS:

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2016-03-23 16:05:03 UTC

Commenter #5 was Riley Moreland. Thanks and congrats, Riley. You are the winner of a nifty R2D2 measuring cup set from ThinkGeek. Here's their promo vid:

This week, I'm back to a look at the first meeting between Sair (hero) and Drea (heroine) of Inherit the Stars.

My question to readers is this: If the characters show or think about their attraction upon first encountering one another, does it relegate the story to being a victim of Insta-Love?

My feelings as an author may differ from those of a reader, so my purpose is to gain a better understanding of the "Insta-Love" label.

How I currently define Insta-Love:

If the characters immediately fall in love, show undying devotion and become instantly attached at the hip (or other important body parts) after only an encounter or two, then that's clearly Insta-Love.

On the other hand, I think that characters feeling or showing a strong attraction or reaction is very important to a romantic plot. I call this Insta-Attraction rather than Insta-Love, and in my universe that initial heart flutter needs to be present in a romance story (with the caveat that if it's a story in the enemies to lovers trope, the initial encounter may summon very different emotions).

But some readers--and at least one reviewer--may have a very different take on Insta-Love. And that's why I'm asking to hear your thoughts.

In your opinion, does this scene present a mere ember that may one day spark into a flame...or does it kindle an immediate and undying bonfire?


We join our hero in a scene already in progress: He's a desperate fugitive attempting to book passage off an enemy-infested planet, but the first mate of a potential transport has just made her feelings clear to the hero...via her knife.

“Zjel!” A woman’s voice rang out from the direction of the street.

The little slasher released him and backed off a few steps. Keeping one eye on his assailant, Sair cradled his wounded hand and stared at the blonde who strode toward him, a com set perched on her left ear. She wore the same olive-drab flightsuit, unfastened down the front with a sleek black t-skin underneath, and the tease of her curves made his breath catch.

The new arrival marched up, oblivious to the smaller woman’s incessant knife-weaving, and looked him in the eye before turning to his attacker. “What goes?”

“This Rathscum challenged me.”

“Challenged you?” Sair snapped. “I only asked to speak to the cap.” Blood seeped from his cut and fell to the dust below.

“What do you want?”

Gold stars glittered on her collar. This is the captain? One look at her and he knew he had to leave on this ship. “Passage.”

“To where?”

“Anywhere better.” He eyed the mate, still brandishing her blade, and tried not to think about his stinging, bloodied hand.

The captain appraised him with keen brown eyes. Wispy blond locks framed her face. “How much do you have?”

“We’re not taking this heo—

The captain’s gaze moved to her first mate’s face. No words were spoken, but her message was clear.

The smaller woman’s face screwed into a frown. “Peitchau!” She swiped her bloody knife on her thigh, sheathed it, and stalked up the gangway before disappearing into the ship. She’d sworn in Purmian, which should’ve come as no surprise. Her size made her subspecies obvious.

The captain turned to him, her eyes doing a slow sweep of his body, taking his measure. “How much?” she asked again.

Sair knew if he wanted to set foot on her ship, he had to show his hand. He reached for the front of his pants and tugged his coin pouch up past the waistband. He didn’t miss her cocked eyebrow before he took it in hand, offering it to her.

She shook her head. “Spill it.”

He poured the pouch’s contents into the cup of his good hand and held it out. It amounted to less than a hundred replas—what he’d stolen from the Ithian guard less what he’d paid the tender.

She perused the pile of gleaming gold markers and scattering of small gems then met his eyes. “It’s not enough.”

“I’ll pay the rest when you get me to my destination.”

“I’ve heard that before.”

He dumped the handful back into the pouch as she turned away. “Then what will it take, Captain?”

She turned back. Her eyes settled on his face before she spoke. “Who you running from?”

He straightened, debating his response. He didn’t think a lie would sit well with this woman. She had a look that could crack ice. “Ithian Alliance Intelligence.”

“Hm. You do have a problem, then.” Her gaze shifted to where her ship rested. “You have a headprice?”


“How much?”

“Fourteen thousand replas.”

“That’s all?” She snorted, meeting his eyes. “You aren’t wanted that bad, then.”

“Maybe not. But most of the headrunners in Eliptis would be happy to collect.” He gave her a soulful look. “I need transport.”

Her gaze left his face and slid over his broad shoulders, along his biceps, and down to his hands. She stepped forward and reached for his right; he gave it to her. Holding it palm up, she brushed her fingertips along the bloody trail her first mate’s knife had left across his lifeline. “Sure you want to chance it?”

He straightened his fingers and steadied his knees, surprised at the response her touch aroused in him. No female had affected him like this since…

He curbed a tug of grief. “I’m sure.”

“And you’d pay anything I ask?” she whispered, her attention moving back to his face. “No questions?”

Sair withdrew his hand. He understood. He needed a way off this rock; she was offering it at a price he could afford. Service in lieu of cash.


His stared at the invisible line the captain had traced across his palm with her silken touch. His body’s response was clear, but his conscience was slower to weigh in. Saybin would’ve wanted him to live, wouldn’t she? It was either this or face recapture—and worse.


Comment below with your thoughts on the Insta-Love question and if you think it applies to this scene--yay or nay--and feel free to be perfectly honest. I'm curious to hear any and all thoughts.

Oh, and am I offering another prize for a random commenter? Could be. -- grin --

Have a great (rest of the) week!



  1. What I liked about this scene, it was insta-attraction, with the seeds for more, because he felt attracted when he was still in mourning. You felt the push, the pull his resignation. I think in a way, the attraction made it worse for him. It would have been an easier decision if he didn't care? At least that was my takeaway.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Pauline. I'm glad Sair's tug-of-war with his conscience over Drea was clear. Yeah, I think it would probably have been a much easier decision if he wasn't lugging around some pretty heavy emotional baggage. :)

  2. I agree with Pauline. I think at this point, the attraction is a complication for Sair. Which really makes it more interesting.

    Changing subjects: Is the video showing us that the measuring cups are magical? Or is it the oven? I'm excited to win such a unique prize! Thanks!

    1. No such thing as the "M" word in Sci-Fi. Maybe the oven used The Force. LOL Anyhow, congrats on the empowered measuring cup set.

      Thanks for your comment, Riley. Two ticks in the Insta-Attraction column. (And that initial scene between Sair and Drea was really fun to write!)


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Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.