Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Writer's Forum, The First Glance

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to hear Linda Howard talk on the twelve steps of intimacy, a talk she based on the works and studies of Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape. I found it fascinating. I began watching for intimate “tells” in the people around me. (Yeah, I’m an avid people watcher and eavesdropper, unless I’m thinking about a story I’m writing, then I’m pretty much oblivious. It’s a toss-up as to whether I’m dialed in and taking mental notes or I’m in my own stratosphere. I’m a risk.)

Today I want to talk about that first step of intimacy—the first glance. How many of us can recall the first instance we saw our spouse? I can, although it was more than 31 years ago. He sat on a nubby green, ugly sofa, friends on either side of him. He wore blue corduroy pants that matched his eyes. Of course, I didn’t know I had reached at a life changing moment, but I had. I also didn’t know that after he left, he told his friends that he had first dibs on asking me out. I don’t remember what we said to each other—knowing me, not much. But voice to voice is step three on the intimacy ladder, and we’re talking about step one— the first glance.

Dr. James Dobson, author of  Love for a Lifetime: Building a Marriage that Will Go the Distance, also recounts the 12 steps of intimacy. He wrote:

 A glance reveals much about a person — sex, size, shape, age, personality, and status. The importance people place on these criteria determines whether or not they will be attracted to each other.
When the man and woman who are strangers to each other exchange glances, their most natural reaction is to look away, usually with embarrassment. If their eyes meet again, they may smile, which signals that they might like to become better acquainted.

Here are the first glance moments in three of my novels.
A mean wind blew the clouds shrouding the moon and a beam of light landed on a lone figure near the bow.  She fought the wind for her hat and her hair, a tangle of dark honey, swirled around her head. The hat, pinched between her fingers, caught another gust, set sail and skittered across the deck.
The woman managed to capture her hair into twist, and she looked over the deck in his direction. Her eyes widened when she saw him and she backed up against the rail.
Stealing Mercy
The intruder flipped on the switch in the kitchen—her kitchen—and flooded the dark with yellow light. Penny pressed herself up against a tree, hiding and watching. Tall, thin, blond, dressed in faded jeans and a button down white shirt that offset his tan skin and startling blue eyes—he didn’t look like a Lurk. His gaze peered into the dark, looking past her and focusing on Wolfgang. “Shoo!” he called. “Go home!”
Losing Penny
Blinded by fear mingled with rain, Blair ran into a large, warm expanse of flannel. For a small moment a slicker engulfed her, and then she tangled with an umbrella. She slipped on the wet pavement and fell hard on her hands and knees. The creel landed beside her and the cat cried in protest. Rain and embarrassment washed over her. She pulled the creel onto her lap and checked its strap.
  “Are you all right?” A tall man with wavy, honey colored hair gazed at her with kind green eyes.
Stooping to pull her upright, his large hand swallowed hers. “You’re shaking.”
The Rhyme’s Library
Please feel free to share your own, either real life moments, or story moments…they’re all good.


  1. Tears threatened to overcome her and they ran like tracks into her hair. “Please,” she whispered.
    “Ah, gentlemen, what have we here?” An unfamiliar voice sounded and Fara lifted her head weakly to see a new face, a different man. She wondered if he was an ordinary spectator. He didn't look ordinary. He was big, intimidating but not frighteningly so. There was something about him she wanted to trust. She thought it might be his eyes, thought she detected a hint of concern as he glanced at her briefly. But, of course, she might be wrong. She had been before.
    The man who pinned her disengaged himself and got to his feet. He looked down at her uneasily. “To your feet, chère,” he ordered.
    She dizzily stood in response and he clutched her to his side as if to claim her as his possession.
    The stranger frowned. “She's quite a catch, gentlemen. Are you sure she's not off limits?”
    The man at her side stiffened. “What do you mean?”
    “She appears to be a lady.”
    Hope sprang from inside her. The man was no innocent bystander. He was a man with a purpose, but deep down she knew he could not be with these rogues.
    “And if she is, Monsieur?”
    “Then I would be curious as to why a lady is here with the two of you.”
    The one called Bernard replied derisively, “Perhaps we are just too irresistible.”
    The man laughed. “Hardly.” He sighed as her captor chose to resume his place behind her and blocked all attempts of escape with an arm across her chest. “Release her, gentlemen. Let's settle this in a civilized manner, shall we?”
    The man who held her grunted. “Why don't you go about your business, Monsieur? A simple matter like this shouldn't interest you.”
    “A woman's reputation may be at stake. Of course I'm interested.”
    “We could share her, Monsieur.”
    His gaze swept over her body and she shivered. Why, surely he would not take them seriously...he couldn't take the offer. For God's sake, he was her only hope. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she cursed herself for her maiden's sensibilities. Where had her strength gone?
    “You think I would participate in something so lewd? You mistake my character, gentlemen.” He pulled a rapier from its sheath. “The question is, what risks will you take..."

    Upon Your Return by Marie Lavender, available on Amazon.

  2. Dropping the paper and pen, she went to the door, pulled it open, and thought, Oh! My! God! It’s him! It’s the husband I’ve been looking for all my life. She just stood and stared. He was tall, his hair was dark brown with auburn streaks, a little too long; his eyes were blue, he was wearing a suit and tie, and she suddenly realized she was staring.
    “Can I help…?"
    “I wonder if you could help me?” He had a killer smile, even white teeth, a square jaw, and lots of laugh lines. “I’m looking for Evan Forsythe, but I’m having trouble finding his civic address. Do you know where he lives?”
    “Um, yes - next driveway on the right. It branches into two, and Evan’s house is the one furthest back from the road, on the left. I think some kids broke off his address number post when they were whacking mailboxes, and he hasn’t had a chance to replace it yet.”
    “Thanks. You’ve been a big help.” And just like that, he disappeared from her doorstep and her life, driving off in a big silver SUV.

    Breakfast For One by Jean MacIntyre -

  3. These are so great. Thanks for playing!

  4. I woke with something sharp poking my side. Slowly I opened my eyes, squinting against the sun. I heard mumbling nearby but it took me a while to understand what was being said. It was as if they had been speaking a different language.
    “….I tell you. She’s one of the Sky Guardians. Just look at the pendant she’s wearing.”
    “Aiyanna, she could have stolen it or it could be just a blue stone.”
    “It’s real, I’ve seen a Sky Stone before. Am I the town witch or not? And I tell you it’s hers; it matches her aura…she’s awake!”
    I turned my head towards the voices. A young man stood radiating suspicion and wearing well-worn brown pants made of a coarse material, comfortable boots and no shirt. I blinked at the lines his muscles made across his torso and looked away. He was standing next to a withered old woman. The old woman, who must have been Aiyanna, held an old wooden walking stick and wore a loose cotton dress in faded purple. Her white hair was slicked back into a bun, she wore gold bangles that should have been too heavy for her, and earrings in both ears with a large number running up the rim on one side. I propped myself up, cringing at the ache in my head, and looked down at myself. I was only wearing an off-white shirt that was way too big for me. I blushed and glanced quickly at the young man again who now looked a little amused despite trying to look anywhere but at me.