Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Unexpected

Look, it's me, petting a skunk! I never expected to do that on a visit to a zoo.
This past weekend, a reader told me that she had read The Bartered Bride and really enjoyed it, and was re-reading it already. One of the things she liked was the unexpected turns in the story.
Made me happy! There needs to be a sense of inevitability with a romance, but never a sense of predictability. Though there are set expectations brought to the table by romance readers, they also demand originality and they long to be surprised. They want the familiar brought to them in a fresh way.
What a great challenge! I LOVE writing romance!
Question for you...have you ever petted a skunk? If not, what is the most exotic animal you've been close to?


  1. I have never petted a pet skunk... can they even be pets!?

    But I have gotten up close and personal with snakes in Thailand, Monkeys in Hong Kong and Singapore and a rather stubborn Moose Thing in Colorado USA. :)

  2. I went on an African safari and almost got eaten by a hippo. That was a little too close for me. Oh, and a monkey tried to break into our van beccause somebody (not me) brought a small box of cereal (unoppened)...MAJOR no-no.

    I also just pet a salamander last week. Not too exotic. But cute and slimy.

  3. LOL

    Hmm, I'm trying to remember if, oh, I know. My hubby, daredevil that he is, caught a nurse shark by the tail in the ocean and I got a quick pet in before it got away.

    He doesn't do that anymore though. Last time he grabbed one, it turned around and bit him. Nurse sharks use suction to eat, so it took a few hours to get that thing off. *shudder*

    Predictability, imo, can be the death of a good romance. I need to get my booty in gear and buy your and some others' books soon. :-)

  4. Most exotic animal I've been up close to? A coyote which we saw one morning from the safety of the sun room. That's as close to one of those as I want to get.

  5. No skunk petting for me!!!! and I'm not sure what the most exotic animal was... a dog? HA! J/k:-)

  6. I hope it was de-smelled!

    Let's see...I don't do the animal thing so this is hard for me....

    Found fresh bear poo in the woods in Alaska so he must've been close. Does that count?

  7. We were at a small zoo where most of the animals were roaming around and you just walked among them. One deer kept following me and was trying to eat my shirt, the one I was wearing! Three times my hubby had to help me get it out of his mouth! The deer would follow me until I wasn't looking and then stretch out his neck and suck in my shirt and start chewing on it. Everybody else thought it was funny.

  8. We were country kids. When we were little, my brother used to have a skunk. We kept it in a cage beside the house. I can't remember how we got it or where it came from; he was always wheeler-dealing for things. :) I also remember once he got sprayed by a skunk. Hard to remove that smell. His teachers made him sit in the hall during class.

    I love this picture. You look great!

  9. Oh, thank you for this reminder today, Erica. I think that's one of the most challenging aspects of writing a romance--trying to keep the romantic tension that everyone wants, but also trying to present it in a new way that keeps them wanting to turn the page. I'm still learning how to do that!

  10. What a cute skunk! :-) I'm not sure what you'd consider "exotic" - I've kept reptiles for years, and my dad had a Macaw for awhile...

    I adore twists and turns in any book...that's what keeps me reading. It's what keeps me writing too - not knowing exactly what comes next is key to holding my interest.

  11. It looks so soft! I wanna pet a skunk!

    What a wonderful thing for that reader to say. High praise indeed!

  12. Look at you, brave lady!

    And what a nice piece of reader mail to receive :)I'm always appreciative when people take time to write.

  13. Um, petted a skunk? No, but sometimes on summer nights sneak onto the golf course across the street and watch them play. They stumble around like they're drunk. Someone told me they just can't see good.

    Hmmm. I'm not big with petting "nonpet" animals!


  14. I've loved hearing all your answers.

    The skunk was at the Cheyenne Mt. Zoo in Colo. Spgs. And she had been 'de-skunk-i-fied' as she had been a pet.

    The hair was surprisingly coarse for being so shiny and soft looking. I suppose, as a scavenger/omnivore, skunks need coarse fur for protection against the stuff they are digging into and through.

  15. This is so serendipitous. I have a skunk in my just sold book. I was reading that he Pilgrims had skunks for pets. The domesticated skunk is a pretty cool animal apparently. Who knew?

  16. When we lived in Germany years ago, my husband and I got to rescue a hedgehog that had gotten stuck inside the American High School where Gwynly was teaching at the time. Since I collect hedgehog figurines, stuffed animals, etc., this experience was way cool. Well, except for the fact that hedgehogs are rodents that burrow in the dirt and stick something terrible. :)