When I started writing the Hands-On novella set, I only had three planned: Rhythm & Blues, Tongue & Groove, and Heart & Soul. But since each story stands alone, and my brain has a tendency to play with other story ideas in the background while I’m working, a fourth idea gradually coalesced. And this story was different, because instead of a romance between men, this would be my first foray into writing a romance between women.
Graphite & Glitter was a title first, without a story. But about a year ago, a Twitter conversation with fellow author and friend Vanessa North led to a quickly sketched-out blurb. Vanessa’s enthusiastic response helped drive me to add the story into the series, and my amazing cover artist, AngstyG, gave me another gorgeous cover to go with it.
What did I learn from writing Graphite & Glitter? Well, aside from the little details I researched—I even attended an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performance, not exactly a hardship—I learned that writing romance really does come down to the characters. Writing a female couple was a different experience in some ways, but for the most part, it was the same as any story for me: get into the characters’ heads, and the story will flow from there.
Are there differences when writing women as main characters rather than men? Of course. There are a million things to consider. Part of that goes into the character development, along with all the other influences that make for a well-rounded person. The rest comes through the plot, although the length restriction of a novella means those issues generally don’t go as deep as they would in a longer story.
I liked both Adrienne and Tessa as soon I started writing them, and I think they fit together well—the introvert artist and the extrovert musician. Their initial chemistry kicks the story off with heat, but it’s the deeper connection between them that keeps them coming back for more.
In this excerpt, Adrienne has just attended a symphony concert in which Tessa led the orchestra as concertmaster. They meet in the lobby afterward…
The crowds had thinned out to almost nothing by the time Tessa walked out from a side door, a black case in one hand, and caught sight of Adrienne. She grinned and crossed over, bending down to press a quick kiss against Adrienne’s lips.
“Walk me to my car?” she asked. As if Adrienne could possibly turn her down.
She stood and fell into step behind Tessa, following her outside and toward the parking deck. Just a few feet outside, though, Tessa paused to let Adrienne catch up and reached out to take her hand, twining their fingers together.
“So what did you think of the concert?”
Adrienne shook her head. “Amazing. I don’t know much about classical music, but I loved how different things were. The last one especially. I know what you mean about it wearing you out.”
Tessa laughed. “Tchaikovsky is always a challenge, but I love his work. It just reaches inside and yanks out the emotion, you know?”
“Yeah.” Adrienne glanced at Tessa’s face, which glowed with happiness. “How often do you get to lead the orchestra like that?”
Tessa shrugged. “Not often. The concertmaster’s awesome, and he rarely misses a performance, but like I said, his wife just had a baby, so he’s on leave. There are three assistants, so we’ll rotate to fill in until he’s back.” She squeezed Adrienne’s hand. “Tonight was my first turn, so I’m really glad you could be here.”
Adrienne squeezed back. “I’m really glad I could be here too.”
Tessa sighed. “I love my job, but man, it was sure nice to be in the first chair for a change.” She shrugged. “It’s tough. Only so many concertmaster jobs to go around. All three of us keep tabs on the other orchestras at our level.”
Adrienne shook her head. “I don’t know much about any of that,” she admitted. “I wouldn’t have a clue what orchestras those are. New York?”
“That’s a couple of steps up.” Tessa flashed her a grin. “No, it’s more like Cleveland, Houston, and Seattle. Mid-sized cities like Atlanta.”
Three cities a country away. Adrienne swallowed. “So you’d have to move away to get a promotion?”
Tessa squeezed her hand. “Not necessarily. I mean, I’d have to consider it if I did get some interest. But that’s not on my radar right now.”
Tessa slowed then as they approached a small, black SUV with Georgia tags, an “I Know String Theory” sticker on one side of the back window with a picture of a violin and bow, and a pink triangle decal on the opposite side. Tessa unlocked the car and set her violin case in the back seat before she turned back to Adrienne and reached for her with both hands.
Adrienne went willingly, tangling their fingers together and bending to capture Tessa’s lips with hers. Tessa’s mouth opened to let her inside, her tongue coming out to slide along Adrienne’s, light and teasing. She pulled one hand free of Adrienne’s and reached for Adrienne’s hip, coaxing her in closer, until Adrienne’s body had Tessa’s pressed up against the side of the car.
Tessa moaned into Adrienne’s mouth, the soft sound shooting fireworks through Adrienne’s body. She cupped Tessa’s face with one trembling hand, kissing her deeper, harder, and still it wasn’t enough.
Tessa broke free, gasping against Adrienne’s neck. “Jesus, you’re potent,” she muttered, making Adrienne shake her head.
“It’s not me,” she replied. “It’s you.”
Tessa laughed softly. “Maybe it’s both of us together.”
- Title: Graphite & Glitter
- Author: Shae Connor
- Cover artist: AngstyG (www.angstyg.com)
- Length: Novella (25,700 words)
- Price: $2.99
All that glitters might just be gold.
Adrienne Michaels’s best friend is getting married, and Adrienne’s not feeling it on the night of the bachelorette party. Then she meets Tessa Smith, bass player for an all-female glam rock tribute band. After a one-night stand worthy of the hottest rock star fantasies, Tessa surprises Adrienne by asking her on a real date, and Adrienne soon finds Tessa’s side gig pales in comparison to the down-to-earth music geek beneath the glitter. Tessa even helps Adrienne through a family loss, but when Tessa gets a sweet job offer in another city, Adrienne has to make a choice: let her go, follow her halfway across the country—or become part of the reason for her to stay.
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAWZMH8
- B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/graphite-glitter-shae-connor/1125813885
- Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/graphite-glitter
- PayHip: https://payhip.com/b/8oDh
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33986241-graphite-glitter
Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. When she’s not in front of her laptop, she enjoying cooking, traveling, watching baseball, wearing tiaras, and hugging a lot. You can find Shae hanging out on Twitter most any time @shaeconnor, but for the more direct route, visit her website at shaeconnorwrites.com or email her at shaeconnorwrites At gmail DOT com.