Guest Blog by Heather Lin, author of The System
Hello, everyone! I’m so excited to be here at Love Romance Passion once again to promote my new release. This time around, it’s for a full-length science fiction romance novel called The System, which was released by Silver Publishing on August 11th. While it’s very different from Westridge, my contemporary romance novella published through Silver last year, I can promise you’re in for a roller coaster ride of a love story with plenty of action and a healthy layer of drama.
Sound like something you might like? Read on to find out more about The System and how music, as always, was a huge influence during my writing process.
Some of my earliest memories involve music. When I was little, my mother used to sing Hush, Little Baby before I went to sleep at night; I had a Disney mobile that played When You Wish Upon A Star; and CMT was on every Saturday while we did our chores. Music has always made me feel something; it’s always spoken to me. I could picture the story the lyrics told and I would immerse myself in that tale with as much enthusiasm as a good book or TV show.
Eventually, I began creating my own stories to go along with the music I listened to. These are the Moments by Edwin McCain became my theme song for Mandie and Joe from the Mandie mystery books I loved as a child. I used to make up and act out sad, romantic scenes in my bedroom to BBMak’s Back Here. And when I began writing, of course music helped me get in the right mindset and mood for particularly intense scenes.
In Westridge, Taylor Swift’s Mary's Song inspired the sweet, somewhat tragic, story about childhood sweethearts. In my very first ebook, Scandal, hip hop songs like Cyclone by Baby Bash helped me sort out sexy scenes that took place in a nightclub.
In The System, which is the darkest novel I’ve written so far, the music I turned to had to have a dark side. The main song I listened to while I wrote was The Dolphin's Cry by Live. For those of you who might not be familiar with it, it’s a passionate alternative rock song describing, very poetically, two people falling in love. In the first verse, they seem to come across one another by happenstance, and they make love. They’re separated by fate or by choice, but when they come together again, the singer says “It’s like we never left; time in between was just a dream.” And perhaps the most poignant verse is the very last one, where the singer states “Life is like a shooting star” and “We are lost ‘til we are found,” clearly expressing that life is fleeting and love can be our salvation.
The relationship between Brody and Capri is passionate and tumultuous. They find one another by chance, and Brody especially hadn’t planned on falling in love. He does everything possible to resist his own feelings, going so far as to threaten and lie to Capri. But eventually, he gives in, transforming from “the bane of her existence” to the one person Capri trusts most in the world to protect her. And although neither of them say “I love you” aloud, it’s obvious they share an ardor that would rival Darcy & Elizabeth—if Darcy and Elizabeth led slightly less desirable lives and lived 600 years in the future.
I also found myself turning to Love The Way You Lie by Eminem feat. Rihanna. But I honestly couldn’t tell you if it was because of the song itself or because of the music video. They both contain so much emotion, so much passion. I know it’s about a completely unhealthy, abusive relationship, but it embodies all of the angst and drama of star-crossed lovers. And although Brody and Capri aren’t exactly star-crossed, their love is certainly flawed. I watched that music video over and over again and just felt the music, and that feeling helped me perfect some of the more emotionally-charged scenes between Brody and Capri.
GIVEAWAY: Is there a song or a band that’s influenced you in some way? Be sure to comment below and leave your e-mail address for your chance to win a custom bracelet, engraved with a quote from The System. Winner will be announced on my blog September 1st!
Thanks for stopping by!
Capri is an alluring young prostitute with a painful past; Brody is a ruthless mercenary for a crew of thieves from the spaceship Gypsy Lass. When he enters her brothel, the attraction between them is instant, electric, and too much for him to handle. After a robbery gone wrong, the crew takes Capri hostage, forcing her and Brody to remain in close quarters until they see fit to drop her on another planet.
But Capri's plight and the intense feelings between her and Brody turn out to be the least of their problems. Together—whether they like it or not—they uncover a secret no one in the whole System could have expected.
Year 564 after the Migration
Brody walked along a quiet street on the outskirts of New York on Earth one. A car zoomed by every few minutes. The newest ones were held aloft over the street by opposing magnetic charges; others were navigating themselves as the drivers fixed their hair or ate their lunch; and the cheapest ones necessitated the driver to attempt to handle the controls while fixing their hair or eating their lunch. He glanced over to admire a new Ford Mustang before opening the door to a small, neatly-kept building.
On the outside, it looked like a nice, upscale bar, but the inside would have shocked any upper-class drink connoisseur. There was loud yelling and catcalling, beer splashed out of mugs, and scantily-clad girls sat around, waiting for their turn to dance on poles. Brody grinned and rubbed a hand over the stubble of his chin. This was his kind of place.
"Good evening, sir." At the intrusion of the male voice, Brody tore his eyes away from the dancing girls. "Will you be needing service tonight?"
"Yeah, how much?" Brody replied to the short, well-dressed man.
"Depends on who you like. Sit down and have a drink." He smiled accommodatingly. "There isn't any hurry to decide."
Brody gave a short nod before heading to the bar. He watched the girls for a while, took in the scenery. There were older girls who were too faded for his liking and younger girls who were too fake. He was well into his second beer before he saw one that really made him want to open his wallet.
She was coming out of one of the side rooms, tugging a heavy-set, bald-headed man by his hand. They were laughing and chatting, and by the flush of their cheeks, they had just finished something hot and heavy. The girl was a young one, barely old enough to be called a woman, with a slim figure and long chestnut curls that were scattered with braids and beads. She must have felt Brody looking at her and met his gaze for a brief moment. Brody gave her a grin and signaled to the brothel's manager. He came over to the bar with the scheduling window already up on the screen in his hand.
"Have you come to a decision?"
"Yeah. That pretty brunette there." He waved a hand in the girl's direction.
"Capri. She's a very good choice. But I'm sorry to say that was her last customer. Our girls only take five per day. They need their rest. Would you like to choose another one or make an appointment for tomorrow?"
"I think I can handle another one, Guy," said an alluring female voice.
Capri had escorted her last customer to the exit before approaching the bar. The barkeep handed her a glass of water, and she kept her eyes locked on Brody as she took a sip, examining him, sizing him up. He was keenly aware of his unshaven face, ratty jeans, and the gun strapped securely to his hip. But he was unapologetic. He might not be one of her upper-class clients, but he had the money for her. For now, she was his, whether she liked him or not. And by the way she'd jumped to get his pay, he doubted she was fazed by his rough exterior.
"I like the looks of this one," was all she said to Guy by way of explanation before beckoning to Brody and heading back to her room.
"That'll be five hundred," the man told him.
Brody took out his wallet and opened it. A pocket on one side held blank cash cards and the other side held a small scanning device with a numbered keypad. He entered his password and the amount of money and swiped a card. Then he handed it to Guy and followed Capri into seclusion.
She was sitting on the edge of a double bed, her long, smooth legs crossed, waiting for him. Dark curls fell elegantly over the satin fabric of her red dressing gown, and her hazel eyes gleamed green in the overhead lighting. She was the image of perfection, and Brody could feel desire pulsing within him. He sat next to her and fingered the smooth fabric of her outfit.
"Red's my favorite color," he said.
"I'm glad you like it."
Capri smiled and reached up to touch his face. He sucked in a breath at the tender gesture.
"It's been a while for you, hasn't it?" she asked softly.
"Don't get the company of women much in my career."
"What career is that?"
"There ain't one in particular," he replied, trying to focus on what he was saying as her fingers traced the muscles of his chest and abdomen. "The crew I run with just does… sorta odd jobs."
"Sounds exciting," Capri murmured, raising her eyes to meet his. "So how about you tell me your name before we get started?"
"Shots," he answered.
"Is that your real name?"
"That's what the boys call me."
"Well, as you can see, I'm not one of the boys." She gestured to her modest, but all-too-appealing curves.
"Brody," he answered after a moment.
"Brody," she repeated softly, grasping the bottom of his shirt and sliding it up over his head.
Heather currently resides in Delaware with her loving husband and beloved cat. She began writing romance and erotica in 2008 and hasn't been able to keep her mind out of the gutter since. Like Heather Lin on Facebook or visit her blog at http://heatherlin88.blogspot.com/ for updates, talented guest bloggers, and the occasional piece of free fiction!