Following up on yesterday's post, since I got some e-mails asking the question, and it's quicker and easier to respond all at once here, The Book That Would Not Die is a new project unrelated to my series, which is why I'm trying to get it absolutely perfect. It's the one I dashed off a first draft of in a few weeks back in August, and then have completely rewritten a couple of times. I don't really want to talk about what it is or what it's about because it hasn't sold yet, and I like to keep unsold projects under wraps (I don't want to potentially undermine my agent's efforts in talking to editors about it). Meanwhile, yesterday I dealt with the issue of getting more emotion in my work in a properly cerebral, analytical way: I checked a couple of psychology books about emotions out of the library. I may be a hopeless case.
This morning, I went out to run a couple of errands before it started raining (and I almost made it, too -- it started raining as I was walking from my garage to my house when I got home). The local fire department was doing one of their charity "fill the boot" drives at the main intersection, and I finally got my fantasy firefighter.
I have learned that there's a sad reality about firefighters in that very few of them actually look like those men in firefighter calendars or on the covers of romance novels. A lot of the guys I went to high school with are now firefighters, and let's just say they aren't exactly the calendar guy types. Then there was my one big encounter with my neighborhood fire station that completely shattered all my illusions and ideals.
This was back when I had a regular job and had to get up early in the morning to get to work, so it must have been around 6:30. I hadn't even put the kettle on to make tea, when suddenly my security system went nuts. I'd already disarmed it to bring in the newspaper, so it wasn't an intruder, and when I checked the keypad, it said it was a fire. There was no fire. There was no smoke, no flames, absolutely nothing. The system had just gone nuts, and I couldn't get it to turn off. And then I heard sirens approaching. As I said, it was 6:30 in the morning, and I'd just got out of bed, so I was still in my nightgown. A nightgown from Victoria's Secret with a lacy bodice and a slit all the way up my thigh (yeah, I live alone and sleep alone and haven't had a boyfriend in forever, but I love pretty nightgowns). The part of my brain that had managed to wake up said that maybe those sirens were coming to my house, so I grabbed a bathrobe. And then the doorbell rang, and I had the fire department, in full gear, on my front porch.
Sounds like the set-up for a romantic comedy meet-cute, right? (Or I guess a porn movie, but that's not the way my brain works.) We've got the flustered heroine in her sexy nightie and the handsome firefighter who needs to make sure it really is a false alarm, even if he is distracted by what the nightie reveals. But the firemen were so disappointing. I'm sure they were totally competent at the firefighting stuff, but they were much older and grizzled (which I guess that job might make you). Definitely not calendar material. I clutched my bathrobe tighter around me as I explained that I was pretty sure my security system had freaked out, since you could see the smoke detectors and fire sensors from the front door, and it was clear that there was neither smoke nor fire anywhere near them. They said they'd had a number of this kind of call that morning, and apparently the security company's computer had freaked out, but they still had to respond to the calls. While they were still there, the security company called to check on the alarm. It was reassuring to know that the fire department can get to my house in less than five minutes, but it was a waste of a sexy nightgown.
But today, though, I finally got my cute fireman for the fill-the-boot drive. At my lane, the guy was built kind of like a fireplug, short and stout, and clearly much older, but one lane over, the guy was tall, cute, well-built and red-haired. He reminded me of Carrot in the Discworld books. I was just about to whimper to myself that it wasn't fair that I didn't get the cute one, but then the one in my lane moved to the next lane over, and the cute one headed right to me. He even called me "sweetheart" when I put my money in his boot. Alas, he was wearing a wedding ring (so there's no point in committing arson in order to lure him to me). But still, I got the cute one! And my faith in the ideal of the hot firefighter has been restored. There is at least one out there! In my neighborhood!