As some of my nearest and dearest friends know, it's been a rough week. (For those who don't know, life exploded a bit, or part of it; I'm not the only person affected or hurt, but the husband, kid, and animals are all fine, so no worried phone calls, please.
I struggled to write even a hundred words this week, because when I'm stressed, my urge toward creativity goes out the window. I spent most of the week trying to do my best to be there for the other people involved in the poop that hit the fan, being sad and unhappy, and generally getting nothing done--that is, getting an unproductive sort of nothing done.
Today, I finally took a breather and read Drawn Together, by Z.A. Maxfield (Loose Id.)
To me, this is a productive sort of doing nothing--reading, especially within one's own genre is always a productive activity. It's good to see how other writers do things--and frankly, it was just relaxing.
I was initially drawn to Drawn Together because Heidi Cullinan gave it Five Stars, over on Good Reads. Heidi's book, Special Delivery is one of my absolute favorites, so I figured if she liked Drawn Together there was a reasonable chance I would too (and I did, by the way). Also, one of the main characters is an artist, and so am I, which got my attention. AND, I really loved the premise: small town boy (do not read 'hick' or 'bumkin', although Rory does a fine job of turning on the good ol' boy charm when he needs it) spends his last few dollars to drive half way across the country to meet the woman of hid dreams, a famous, reclusive artist from Japan. Imagine poor Rory's surprise when he finds out the love of his life is a man!
Now, sometimes what starts out as a great idea falls flat fast; such was thankfully NOT the case with Drawn Together. What follows after Rory finally meets the "woman" of his dreams is a true fairy tale of a romance, complete with a slightly spoiled princess (no, really, he might be a boy, but Yamane is definitely a princess--and still a very strong man), a knight in shining armor (with a Louisiana drawl), and a psychopathic villain. Oh, and a great Southern sheriff, and a couple of grandparents who are the kinds of grandparents I think we all want... even if grandpa did a little dope peddling back in the bayou. I suppose I should be appalled, but I couldn't help but love Grandpare Claude. I loved Grandmare even more, she's one smart cookie.
Rory and Yamane have a number of obstacles to get past, not the least of which is that Rory is straight--or at least he's always considered himself straight, and there are a string of girls back at University who would certainly attest to the fact. Yamane, on the other hand, is 100% gay, and not into the idea of being some college boy's gay experiment. He's a few years older than Rory and has been hurt pretty badly.
The book wasn't without its flaws, sometimes the dialogue was just a little cheesy, but then again, sometimes I think the characters were being cheesy on puropse, which was part of their charm. I also read a few reviews from people who found Yamane annoying and not worth Rory's time; I couldn't disagree more. Yamane's sharp exterior hid a battered heart; it didn't take much to see that, IMHO. Yamane and Rory are a pair of well matched, strong, beautiful men. I won't give away the details, but my nearest and dearest know that I can't abide anything other than Happily Every After, so (eventually) these two stubborn men got themselves together and made it work... it just took them a while.
Drawn Together is longer than most books of the genre (400 or so pages in print, I think I'm remembering from Amazon), but it's well worth the time it took to read it. I consider it a day VERY well spent... now I just have to go catch up on my own writing!