I thought I’d talk about my first novel as March 16th marked my one year anniversary as a published author. (What a trip!) Hermes online from the get-go was designed to open doors. Many years ago in the days before e-publishing, there was a point where I thought I’d never manage to get published. Though I’d sent out dozens of manuscripts, most queries went dead. Actually, I’d received few rejection letters by comparison…mostly I just heard crickets chirping! And so I gave up until one week in 2010 where all roads led me to try again, and I’m glad I did. :)
A few weeks ago Hermes Online was given the CataNetwork Reviewer’s Choice Award for 2011. I was told the reviewers felt it one of the best they’d read and reviewed that year. I’ve been through a wide range of emotion with this book, and that was the topper! Without further ado, I’d like to introduce Hermes Online followed by one of my favorite excerpts.
I hope you all enjoy:
Imagine if you will a story begun in the halls of Mount Olympus long before this modern tale was conceived. It was a time when the god Hermes flew on his winged sandals and carried messages from the gods to the mortals below. And between that time and this, couriers became postmen and handwritten letters became bytes. It is said the gods still speak to those who listen…
Setting the stage for Hermes Online ~
Have you ever known someone who thoroughly compliments you? You share likes and dislikes, views and outlooks, and a soul connection unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. It takes your breath, quickens your pulse and consumes your every thought. When you make love for the first time, it’s as if every cell in your body confirms this is your twin flame. Now imagine the timing is horribly off. In my first novel, Hermes Online, Vivienne joyfully discovers such a love amid the ancient ruins of Greece – a love so complete and soul satisfying but one that just isn’t meant to be.
As surely as seasons change, life moves on. Grieving the love she found and lost beside the impossible blue waters of the Mediterranean, Vivienne eventually takes another chance at happiness but unfortunately her next relationship turns out to be one of betrayal. Her faithless boyfriend intentionally administers a low blow to deflect the attention off of him and on to her – if she weren’t so dull in bed he wouldn’t have had to look elsewhere. Not being one to deliberately hurt someone herself, his unaccountable words become a yoke of self-doubt that spills over into every aspect of Vivienne’s life. Hungering for a good word, on a whim she enters a short story written during happier times, to an adult literature site and makes a connection with a compelling man known only as S. The two soon embark upon the world of anonymous Internet communication where their suggestive emails lead her to try erotic chat, where cybersex leads to Skype, and C2C sends both into the arms of a love they’d believed lost forever.
Excerpt: The Kiss
I closed the Word document and absently twirled my hair, lost in thought. There was so much of me in there, even the decorations in Jonathan’s house said much about me. The fact that Lily looks identical to me was rather Freudian too, come to think. I laughed out loud at the thought. It’s funny how our subconscious mind tells us what’s what sometimes. The subconscious mind intuits what the conscious mind misses at first glance. Yes, the phone sex story was a whim, and who would have thought six years later, it would help me find my way back to myself? I wished in that moment my pen pal stood right here so I could say thank you. I’d thank him for lighting the match that eventually relit the candle of my self-confidence. I’d kiss him for real.
I pressed my fingers to my lips, imagining this curious and compelling green-eyed, chestnut-haired, large-handed, well-endowed man kissing me. And unbelievably, my panties got soaking wet. I flexed my fingers and crafted a scene from the sizzling phantom fire playing over my lips.
Having experienced amazing kisses in my life added just enough realism to the blend of movie kisses. I told the screen, “So, you want a kiss, eh? Then what will you think of this?”
There is so much more to kissing for the first time than meets the eye. The would-be lovers laugh and smile and delight in each other’s company. They talk, getting to know each other, trying to find the choicest morsels of their life and personality to share. They might hold hands for hours as they wander here and there. And when they sit side by side, perhaps on a bench at a museum, they’ll look in feigned interest at the passersby, glance again and again at the exhibit, but not really seeing it. First, one will turn inward, the movement slight, barely noticeable. And then with no clear knowledge of doing so, the one will magically mirror the other. Their knees may touch, and one set of clasped hands might rest innocently upon a knee. And then a noise, a temporary distraction, might take their attention for a second, and both heads will turn to the sound, inadvertently closer now than before. When one turns back, their faces will be mere inches apart. Their eyes, green and gray, will hold each other’s gazes, darting from one sparkling pupil to the other. They might unfocus to drink in the entire face for a second, perhaps lingering on the person’s smile before meeting the gaze once more, a gaze noticeably warmer than a moment ago.
One face may turn a little, and in mirrored image, the other follows, only slightly tipped in the opposite direction. And the eyes ask the silent question as two thoughts become superimposed — May I kiss you? Will you kiss me? The answer is subtle, missed by nearly everyone passing by, everyone save the smiling elder couple holding gnarled hands and assisted by their canes. Perhaps they, too, once shared a kiss sitting there, or plan to again later. But locked in their own world, they don’t notice the elder pair walk by.
They are aware now only of each other, aware of little things, the flush on her cheeks, the gleam in his eye, the color of her moist lips, the imperceptible flare of his nostrils as he subconsciously reminds his body to breathe. They touch now. The kiss is at first soft, the lips asking permission for the firmness they crave. Another kiss grants this and another and another as faces turn to fit around chins and cheeks and noses. And then loose and pliable, those lips part now to make way for tentative tongues. These too begin their searching, gently at first then becoming bolder as they instinctively react to the warmth of each other’s mouths and thrust as hands cup cheeks and arms wind around shoulders, drawing each other ever inward into the private space that shuts the waking world out and lets the dream begin.
Little did I realize when I began this kissing scene that I would abandon the amalgamated movie kisses. I stopped and read those words, my words, my kiss. That kiss had been real, as had the love behind it. My eyes filled with tears, but I sent it on. Feeling alone, I rose from my chair and walked away.
The next morning there were dozens of legitimate emails waiting for me amid the pile of crap I normally got each day. It wasn’t like me to leave my email program running all night, so it was sort of a surprise to see so many at once. It was Saturday. I had nowhere to go and had only the usual weekend tasks to see to before Monday came rolling around again. Sometime in the mid-afternoon after my groceries were put away and a week’s worth of lunches had been made, I sat down at my computer and took a moment to clear the spam and download another spam chaser with a tighter net for catching those intrusive things. I answered a few emails from friends and saved his for last.
That was extraordinary. I could see your gray eyes, see them dart from one to the other of my own as our faces drew close. That was perfection, dearest V. I could almost feel you upon my lips. And now to kiss you in return, a second kiss…
Feeling breathless, we rose hand in hand from our bench and walked mere blocks away to my apartment. Once inside the door, our eyes locked again, our faces drawing closer, closer. Your lips are parted, your lovely breasts rise and fall, your body waits. My hand rises to brush your autumn-colored hair back from your face. Our kiss from before still lingers, but we need so much more from each other now. And we take it. Just how, I will leave to you.
Somehow this stranger, this S… Ssss. I rolled the single syllable over my tongue like the end of a snake’s hiss. This sensual conjurer from the shadows was an alliteration. I saw the poetry of him, and every word began with S, a shadowed, sexy, sensual stranger, S.
I had no clear true picture of him, so once more my mind, armed as it was with a small basket of his self-descriptive words, extrapolated. He was a beautiful male of course, with his fern-green eyes, his swarthy skin, and his shining chestnut hair. The image my mind created surprised me, and in self-preservation, I shook my embellishment aside.
He had only said green eyes, dark skin, and chestnut hair. No, my mind replied, see him clearly…shining brown, fern green, swarthy…no, I amended. Not swarthy…more…more…sun-kissed, bronzed. I thought on this a while. Though I initially wished it otherwise, in the end I could find nothing wrong with the enhanced image my mind was compelled to assemble from the recesses of memory. My smile widened as I gave myself permission to live this dream. And with my dream view filling in the blanks of the mysterious S, my fingers found the keys.
You stand with your back to the door, facing me. Your large hand brushes my hair back yet lingers upon my cheek once the deed is done. It slowly moves past my ear to the back of my head and gently and purposefully pulls my face closer. Your eyes lock to my lips and mine to yours, both pairs soft, moist, beckoning. They meet again, less tentative, more sure of the yearning behind them. Soft but a moment before, the fingers on the hand at the back of my head curl into my red-gold hair in a grip that clearly says this kiss will continue. And it does.
And when the lips have had their fill for now, they leave to burn a scorching swath down my neck and back along my jaw, accentuated by the stubble of your beard. We realize clothing is a hindrance. Panting, we pull apart, eyes speaking at once, “Please make love to me. If I don’t have you, I’ll burn alive.” I nod breathlessly. The small acquiescent gesture fires your blood. You grab me hard and pull me roughly against you, your mouth slanting over mine, your tongue conquering any reserve I might have.
I touched my lips. I hadn’t been kissed, but my brain had, and the brain told me it was real enough by the tingling I actually felt there.
I hope you liked that!