Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Road Less Traveled

Friends who follow me on social media still talk about my dual-flush toilet glee a couple years ago when we were renovating a bathroom. There was an article in the paper last weekend talking about water conservation and mentioned them (and water barrels…have that, too!).

Like so many things in my life, it became fodder for my writing.  I used that dual-flush toilet in my
December book, A Valley Ridge Christmas:

“I told the plumber I’d do the demo work in here, and the stupid toilet is stuck. I don’t know what else to do.”

“We’re replacing it, right?”

“Yes. We’re replacing both with dual flush toilets.”

“Dual flush?”

“They’re very water efficient. You use one button for little jobs and one for big …” She could feel her cheeks heating up. “Needless to say, they’re a green alternative. Tori’s dad suggested them. He said as long as we were doing all this work, we might as well make the house as green and energy efficient as possible.”

Aaron sank down next to her and examined the bolts, then turned so that his face was inches away from hers. “You are the first woman I’ve ever met who can get excited about a dual flush toilet.”
Maeve shrugged. “That’s me. Save the earth…one flush at a time. But only if I could get this nut off the bolt.”

“Let’s try it together.”

That working together moment was so important to the characters' changing relationship.  I loved that scene, but I was afraid my editor wouldn't see the merit in characters falling for each other over a toilet. I thought about cutting the scene, but in the end, I left it.  And she didn't even bat an eye.

I'm working on getting a few older books ready to reprint as eBooks.  One of them, Bosom Buddies (published as Baby, It's You), has a lactation consultant heroine meeting a hero with a nipple-confused baby.  He comes to her for help, and she has an idea.  It's called an SNS (supplemental nursing system).  Breastfeeding moms can supplement their milk by using the tubing that comes from a bottle and taping it next to their nipples.  The baby is supplemented as they nurse.  BUT the heroine in Bosom Buddies is suggesting the hero use the tubing taped to a finger.  Finger feeding will often work for babies who won't take a bottle.  BUT what the hero is hearing is she wants him to tape the tubing to HIS nipples and feed the baby.  Their miscommunication made me laugh as I reread it.

Yeah, it was a weird, convoluted scene.  More than a decade ago as I wrote the book, I almost cut it.  But I decided not to play it safe and sent the book, weird (but hopefully funny) opening scene in place.  I got a call days later from the editor.  She'd read that opening and called to tell me she couldn't stop laughing and she was buying the book…she'd get back to me with contract info after she finished more than just that first scene.

So what's my point here?  Well, you could say my point is conserving water is a good thing (it is), or that if you have a baby with feeding issues, go see a professional (do).  But really, my point is, sometimes we second-guess ourselves.  We take what we perceive as the safer path.  And that isn't necessarily the best path.  That weird SNS scene sold Bosom Buddies, and the dual-flush toilet scene was definitely something you don't find in a lot of romances.  It gave me glee, and some of my readers who follow me on FaceBook remembered my stories of my dual-flush and commented on finding it in a book!

I hope that you all take a chance…take that road less traveled.  Sometimes that makes all the difference!


PS. If you don't have it on your Kindle, Spruced Up is on sale today for 99¢

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