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Posts tagged ‘romance’

The Unsolved Desire


Her heart was breaking, but she would not give him the satisfaction of knowing it. Her resolve faltered as he took her face in his hands.

“My darling,” he rasped harshly. “I can hardly bear to leave you-”

“Then don’t,” she sobbed.

“You know I have no choice.” A look of pain fleetingly distorted his stern features. “I must go – but I will count the seconds until we are reunited once more.”

“How much counting is that?”

“I don’t know,” he husked. A frown crossed his noble features. “I have not booked my return flight. I may be deceptively unfeeling and ridiculously passionate bordering on volatile, but I am totally disorganized. Do you-” His voice faltered momentarily. “Do you hate me for that?”

Her heart melted in the face of his despair. “How could I hate you when I- I love you?” she breathed helplessly.

“Fair enough,” he muttered thickly. With an inaudible groan, he drew her savagely into his arms and crushed his lips against hers in a bruising kiss.

He thrust her from him abruptly, roughly. As she watched him walk away, she pressed her trembling fingers to her mouth in a futile attempt to keep from crying aloud.

He stubbed out his cigarette with the sole of his shoe. How had he ended up in a crime noir? He must have taken a wrong turn along the way. Just the latest in a long line of goddamn wrong turns.

Last thing he remembered, he was in a romance. He vaguely recalled some broad with heaving breasts. Unsettling effect.

He missed his ripped six-pack and savage, cruel good looks. Apart from that, this genre suited him better, he thought. For one thing, the clothes were more comfortable. Those goddamn breeches were tight as hell. Cut off circulation. He had not felt his legs in months.

For another thing, all that husking and rasping played hell with his throat. He lit another cigarette, narrowing his eyes against the smoke.

Something stunk worse than a barrel of dead hoods. If someone had given him a nickel for every barrel of dead hoods he’d seen – wait. It WAS a barrel of dead hoods. His hand reached for his revolver. Crouching, he surveyed the scene of carnage.

Oh, swell.

It was only a pineapple.

Returning his gun to its holster, he thought of the broad with the heaving breasts, felt a pang of regret. He stubbed that out with the sole of his shoe too. Dames like that were a dime a dozen. Any other guy would have smacked her into next Tuesday. If naked emotion was illegal, he’d bust that lousy broad faster than she could say ‘gimme a nickel for the jukebox, Slick’.

He could tell you something for nothing: he would show her his revolver soon as look at her – and use it if he had to.

Indecent Obsession


Trembling with anticipation, she waited.

He was not there but then, suddenly, he was. His strong, masculine form striding unmistakably towards her through the swarming hordes of weary travellers. Her eyes feasted on his manly thighs, the reassuring breadth of his chest, and his firm, jutting jaw. Their eyes locked irrevocably.

Time seemed suspended for an eternity, before he swept her into his strong, firm arms and crushed her brutally to him. The burning flame of his desire ignited her. He branded her tremulous lips with a searing kiss that seemed to go on forever, for another eternity. (Possibly even longer.)

“I missed you so much!” she gasped, tears trembling at the corners of her luminous, green eyes.

“I was a fool to leave you, a damned fool,” he rasped harshly.

“Yes, but let’s forget all that. Just don’t ever leave me again,” she sobbed, wracked in desperate throes of emotion that, remarkably, did not displace her mascara.

So, that’s pretty much how Husband’s homecoming went down – although my eyes don’t generally glow.

The rest of it is pretty accurate

How to avoid painful paper cuts

Before I started Smart/Casual, my greatest literary accomplishment was a Top Tip published by Viz.

I don’t know whether Viz claims copyright on Top Tips, but it’s not as if the bastards paid for it. In fact, all I got for my tip was an empty envelope with a Viz pen-shaped hole in the side. Since the transaction is still incomplete nine years later, one could argue that the following remains the intellectual and creative property of Niamh Shaw:-

Avoid paper cuts by carefully cutting off the sharp edges before handling

After this pinnacle of achievement I considered myself ready to move on to bigger things, so I started writing my first novel. My book was going to have it all: plots, twists, Ming the Merciless style villains, slaveringly handsome heroes, characters with depth and quivering emotion, maybe a dragon or two.

At the time, I was happily ignorant of the fact that I possessed not even half an iota of a clue what I was undertaking. I knew nothing about plot, technique, tension, pace, or the sheer scale of the project.

Smart/Casual started out as a parody of the general romance genre. Despite being a chick-lit fan, I was frustrated by the eroding quality in a market flooded with crap since the success of the original chick-lit queen, Marian Keyes. I could barely read them for all the eye-rolling they inspired. I figured I could do better than these half-dimensional characters, backfiring jokes, and wafer thin plots featuring contrived and/or implausible misunderstandings.

The first five chapters of Smart/Casual came effortlessly, possibly because they had little to no bearing on the plot, which had yet to be conceived.

Five chapters in, it struck me how arrogant it was of me – an unrepresented, unpublished, barely author – to send up the romance genre. Also, I realised there was probably only a small to non-existent market clamouring for that type of work.

At that point, the book morphed into a standard chick-lit style novel until, five years later and roughly halfway through, I felt the plot would benefit from the addition of a habanero chili or two. Whereupon it turned into a kind of comi-tragedy supernatural thriller murder-mystery without the corpses.

Kind of.

Please rest assured that the manuscript has been subjected to NUMEROUS editorial evolutions.

As has the title. It started out as ‘Memos to Self’, but there were no memos in the story. I changed the working title to ‘Plan Z’, but experienced similar issues with that (distinct lack of plans A through Y, never mind Z).

Smart/Casual was one of those 4am revelations inspired by a dinner of beans washed down with margaritas

Measuring love

Me: How much do you think I love you?

Husband: <holding his thumb next to forefinger> This much?

Me: More!

Husband: How about this? <employing the fisherman’s rule>


Husband: More than anyone has ever loved anyone else in the history of the whole world, possibly universe?


Husband: Ok, now you’re just exaggerating

Still at the airport

“My one true love!” screams Husband, brokenly.

I try to respond, but gag on my tears. Wrenching myself out of the burly policeman’s clichédly vice-like grip, I stumble back into Husband’s waiting arms.

“I can’t live without you!” he whispers.

“Just . . . try your best,” I sob.

*sigh!* The glorious tragedy of it all! I almost regret being granted residency so soon. It was like having two versions of Husband: the real Husband, and an imaginary version tenuously modelled on the Husband template

Romantic snapshot

Earlier today as I drove us to Mt Wellington, Husband picked up my hand and kissed it.

“Do you think you’ll still be kissing my hand in twenty years time?” I asked dreamily.

Yes indeed, I subject the poor man to conversation like this.

“I don’t know,” said Husband. “I might lose my lips in a freak train accident.”

“You think that’s likely?”

“I’d have to get electronic lips.”

“And why wouldn’t you be kissing my hand with your electronic lips?”

“You mightn’t have a hand.”

“Freak train accident?”

“Don’t look so skeptical – it’s entirely probable you’d be on the train too.”

Qualified author

I have just been offered a publishing contract! Yippee! Apologies in advance for the number of exclamation points in this post – I’m not proud of it! Little Black Dress Books have offered me a one, two or three book publishing deal!

This afternoon, Husband and I went into Borders at Sylvia Park to check out Little Black Dress publications in the romance section. Husband demonstrated an uncanny ability for opening books at the paragraphs detailing hot shafts and throbbing rods. He did a rather unheroically unmanly amount of giggling.

When I thought about Smart/Casual fighting for space on these shelves I got quite squeaky and overexcited. With any luck the cover won’t feature martini glasses, fluffy mules, poodles in raincoats or female apparel.


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