Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Guest Blogger: Isis Rushdan

Isis Rushdan is a native New Yorker, but has been globe-trotting since the age of 12. Wanderlust and her insatiable curiosity keep her on the move, where she seeks out great food and exceptional wine. Although she is a Major in the Air Force reserves, writing is her true calling. Her debut novel, a paranormal romance about star-crossed lovers who start a civil war over salvation, KINDRED OF THE FALLEN, is currently on submission. Her second novel, PARADOX, a sexy and fast-paced urban fantasy about supernatural badasses stuck in a hardcore rehabilitation program governed by angels, just landed in the hands of her agent. To learn more about Isis (yes, it’s her real name), swing by her website http://isisrushdan.com/, or blog http://isisrushdan.blogspot.com/.

Thank you, Carol, for having me, and a big hello to all readers!

Well, I’m in paradise. Lounging on a chaise under the Tiki Hut, I can’t get enough of the fresh air, azure sky—not a cloud anywhere, balmy sunshine, and frothy waves. I take a sip of my third ice-cold Sea Breeze cocktail (Belvedere vodka and cranberry juice with a splash of grapefruit). Ah, perfectly blended. I can’t get enough of those either. Hey, no judgment allowed in the Tiki Hut.

After one more hour of unwinding, I’ll pull my attention from the idyllic horizon and focus on starting my next novel. At least that’s what I tell myself. I glance at my laptop to my left and cringe with guilt. Then I turn to my right. My muse is napping, quite peacefully yet again, sprawled spread-eagle in the powdery sand. Nothing is stopping her from relaxing. So, what’s my problem?

Down the beach, a couple approaches, strolling hand in hand. Toned bodies, flawless tans, and rock star shades. Touching my tummy, I’m grateful I didn’t order the artichoke and cheese dip. Major bling on the wife’s left hand catches the sun and my gaze. The perpetual breeze acting like their very own wind machine doesn’t help the image percolating in my mind. They’re that couple. You know the one. Gorgeous, wealthy, not a care in the world. Lost in a bubble of love.

I suddenly miss my husband, who graciously offered to hit the gym back at the hotel to give me time to write so we could enjoy the rest of our day with none of the characters in my head barging in. Guilt pricks me once more, but a long drag on my drink seems to help.

The hot husband says something to his beauty queen wife. I expect her to smile or laugh. She doesn’t. Yanking her hand from his, she stands still as a palm tree. Her flowing curls make her stance seem more rigid and hard. The husband drags his fingers through his hair, letting out a sigh so deep even I can see his chest heave from this distance.

Finally, she says something, stabbing the air in his direction. He shakes his head, wraps his hands around her shoulders, his mouth moves faster than a lip-reader could decipher. For the first time, I wish I could turn down the volume of the waves. So I can eavesdrop. Does that make me a bad person?

The wife wrenches free of his grasp and slaps him. Hard! Throwing her arms up in the air, she paces, yelling. Darn those loud waves. He massages his brow. His head continues to whip from side to side. She rips something off her hand—her left hand—and throws it to the ground at his feet. Whirling on her heels, she storms off down the beach. Alone.

He drops his gaze to the sand, where her wedding bling sparkles. His shoulders slump, giving him the appearance of something beautiful and strong that is now horribly broken.

My heart clenches and I remember my rule about no judgment.

The husband looks in the opposite direction, perhaps back at the hotel. As he stands, deliberating, his wife marches farther away. Then he turns, picks up the ring from the sand, and races after her. Although she’s walking, her pace is enviable and he’s got a lot of ground to cover.

When catches up, he stands in front of her, palms up. “Please!” he begs. Now that they’re closer, it’s the one word I do hear.

Not only does she slow down, she actually stops. He drops onto his knees, throws his arms around her waist, pressing his cheek to her bare stomach. She tries to break away, but he doesn’t let go. The wind shifts, whipping her long locks behind her. Tears stream down her cheeks, past the shield of her sunglasses. She clutches his head. Their bodies sway to and fro.

He dares to draw back slightly. Just enough to slip the ring onto her finger. Holding her, he speaks. His free hand gesturing, emphasizing the passion I can’t overhear. She nods and kneels in front of him. Foreheads pressed together, they linger, sandy fingers stroking cheeks.

Talk about great inspiration. I’m pumped, creativity on full throttle. No thanks to my muse, who is now snoring. I set down my drink and crack open my laptop.



So, what are some of the elements that made a particular book one of your favorites? Passion? Conflict? A dose of the unexpected? Grab a beverage and share.

Big hug to Carol for letting me visit!

60 comments:

Rula Sinara said...

Beautiful post, Isis. Granted there must be conflict, but I love it when I hit the unexpected in a story...when I'm a bit in awe at how the author came up with a certain twist.

Linda G. said...

Nice! Now I'm itching to know the beautiful couple's story.

Passion, conflict, and the unexpected? Sounds like the recipe for a perfect book to me. :)

Janet, said...

Good post and a good story. I like a story to grab me in the beginning and take me along for a ride.

Isis Rushdan said...

Carol, thanks again for letting me have some fun in your Tiki Hut!

Rula ~ Lovely name, btw. A good twist is what really gets me going. Enough to make me grab my husband and say, "You won't believe what just happened in this book!" Even though he has no idea what I'm talking about.

Linda ~ Glad you enjoyed the story and actually want to know more. Grin.

Janet ~ A solid opening hook is so important. But an unforgettable ride will get readers to pick up your second book. Happy you enjoyed the post.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

I really like your post! I love the conflict and the sexual tension in a book. Love that initial meet that has me wondering how they'll get together in the end.

Hoping to hear news of a sale soon, Isis!

Isis Rushdan said...

Thanks, Stacey. Fingers, toes, arms, and legs crossed I get good news soon.

VR Barkowski said...

Terrific post, Isis (and wow, what a great name!). People watching isn't just inspiration, it's the writer's classroom.

As a reader, the one element that always resonates for me is truth on the page. Even if I'm reading a paranormal, fantasy, or myth, if there's a fundamental truth I can relate and grab onto, I'm hooked.

Waterworks said...

Whoa, I want to read the rest of that!
Awesome post, Isis.

Sonali

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks Carol and thanks Isis. This was a great way to start my writing day...
Like VR - I look for truth on the page and a sense of rhythm in the language. I don't care what the genre - I want to feel the pulse of life in it. Your story has me hooked.

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, Isis! What a scene and what a cool job you have, both as a traveler and as a writer. btw, eavesdropping is a wonderful tool. *grin*

Hi Carol! I saw you in my followers and just wanted to pop by and say hello. :-)

Isis Rushdan said...

VR ~ I was blessed in the name department. Kisses and hugs to my mother. Truth woven into the layers is essential to good storytelling. It helps us to suspend disbelief about the fantasy elements, delve inside the characters so we feel like we know them, and get carried away.

Isis Rushdan said...

Sonali ~ Thanks so much for stopping by.

Sandy said...

Isis, I could see it as if I were there. You didn't need words at all. I can't wait to read a book from you.

Isis Rushdan said...

Jan ~ You and VR are spot on about needing to sense the truth in a story. I put myself in all of my characters, strengths, weaknesses, mistakes I've made, desires I once or still have, struggles with temptation, beliefs I hold, questions of faith. I hope it will resonate on the page for readers.

Isis Rushdan said...

Jessica ~ I truly feel blessed for my life, friends and family. It looks like I'll be moving from England later this year. Sad to leave Europe, but happy to return to the great USA.

Sandy ~ You are the sweetest. Big hug to you.

Theresa Milstein said...

Carol, nice guest post. Hi, Isis!

I'm amazed by people like you who move so easily.

For me, character is the most important part of a novel. I have to care about him/her to care about the rest.

StephB said...

Isis, I loved my time in Europe, too. What a visual scene you painted. I'm a sucker for more of the introspective scenes. Guy finds a scarf girl wears often and brings it to his face to feel her - revel in her scent, think of her, that kind of thing.

Good luck on your paranormal.
Smiles
Steph

Manzanita said...

Thanks Carol for this great post.

What a scene, Isis. And those dang waves making all that noise. That is why I never liked living on the beach. I will be waiting to read your book.
Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

Talli Roland said...

Wow! Talk about an inspiration. Beautifully told, too!

Arlee Bird said...

You certainly are a nosy person. At least that's what my wife tells me when I'm people watching. There are great stories all around and it's a shame to miss those really good ones. You painted the scene well.


Lee
Tossing It Out

Isis Rushdan said...

Theresa, moving has never been easy for me. After a couple of years in the military, I simply got used to it. Had no choice. Now, once I hit the 2.5 yr mark I start to feel restless. It's so weird, but my husband is the same way.

Isis Rushdan said...

StephB, living in Europe is amazing. I love being able to hop a one hour flight to Germany or be in Venice in under two hours. Thanks for the good luck.

Isis Rushdan said...

Manzanita, eavesdropping is so much easier without background noise, that's for sure. I lived in a beach house for six months and loved every second of it. I definitely want to retire near the water, along a coast somewhere. Would love to have you as a reader once I'm pubbed.

Isis Rushdan said...

Talli, what an unique name! So glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Isis Rushdan said...

Arlee, I like to think of myself as "curious" :). Nothing wrong with taking an interest in others, so as long as it doesn't cross the weird threshold.

Medeia Sharif said...

What a great scene to see unfold. I enjoyed it, Isis.

Joan Leacott said...

Oh for supersonic hearing when such a scene is unfolding before your eyes! No wonder you're inspired. The author's voice is what keeps me coming back for more. And I love it when I say to myself "Wow, I didn't see that coming."

Elspeth Antonelli said...

You've got to know he'd told her he'd forgotten to make dinner reservations. Seriously, you've painted a great scene, Isis. Enjoy another Sea Breeze. No judgement allowed at the Tiki Hut!

Diana Cosby said...

:) Loved your story, Isis, it dragged me in, made me want to ask questions. My favorite aspects of store is the conflict, the tension that seems to breath its own life. And setting so real it's as if you can reach out and touch it, with the smells incredibly vibrant. Wishing you every success! *Hugs*

Lydia K said...

Lots of imagination here! The Tiki Hut always has a good effect on writers.
:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a lot of drama for one beach!

Isis Rushdan said...

Medeia ~ The scene was so much fun to write. Glad you enjoyed it.

Joan ~ There have been a couple of books for me where I didn't fall in love with the voice, but the story was so good I kept reading. An unexpected twist can truly elevate a book, making it one of the elements that transform a novel into something unforgettable.

Isis Rushdan said...

Elspeth ~ LOL, you are too funny. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Diana ~ You are the best. Big hug right back to you. Can't wait to read your next book. You are amazing.

Isis Rushdan said...

Lydia K ~ The Tiki Hut did wonders for muse...when she was awake :). Happy you enjoyed the post.

Alex ~ I love a juicy drama I can dive into. The more layers the better.

Amish Stories said...

Greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa. Richard from Amish Stories.

Clarissa Draper said...

Chemistry between my characters are big but I'm also looking for a great setting for the characters to be in. Great time on the beach!

Ciara said...

Wow, that gave me goosebumps. :)

Carol Ericson said...

Great post, Isis. I enjoy snappy, witty dialogue. Best "meet" scene ever is in Georgette Heyer's Black Sheep - roll on the floor funny!

Isis Rushdan said...

Richard from Amish Stories ~ Happy you found me. Thanks for stopping by.

Clarissa ~ Chemistry is huge. Every now and again I'll come across a story and wonder why two characters are together, when the author fails to show us why they click. I love it when a couple truly works and seems to fit.

Isis Rushdan said...

Ciara ~ That is the best compliment. Thanks so much!

Carol E ~ I haven't read Heyer, but you've piqued my interest. Thanks for coming by.

Michelle Fayard said...

Hua, ma’am, for serving our country and being an author!

Maryann Miller said...

Enjoyed the story. Really want to know what happens next for that couple. Happy writing.

Isis Rushdan said...

Michelle, are you Army or have you been around members of the US Army? I did four years enlisted before getting out and going to the Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) and joining the Air Force. I never realized how much I actually used to say "hua" (who-ah/hoo-ah) until I saw Black Hawk Down. They nailed it in that movie!

Isis Rushdan said...

Maryann, so glad you stopped by and enjoyed the post!

J.L. Campbell said...

This is one of those times when feeling like a voyeur isn't so bad. Of course, my imagination is piqued, wondering what could have happened between the hunk and the beauty queen. Nice writing, Isis.

Carol Kilgore said...

It's late, but I wanted to check in and say hi to my old friends here and welcome to those who are new. Feel free to hang out here anytime.

Mason Canyon said...

Carol, thanks for the introduction to Isis.

Isis, great post. Character interaction and a dose of the unexpected keep me reading. Best of luck with your reading. It sounds intriguing.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Isis Rushdan said...

J.L. ~ Happy to pique your interest. Thanks for the compliment. You're very kind.

Carol ~ You're such a great hostess!

Mason ~ Thanks for taking the time to swing by and read my post. Even better that you enjoyed it. I appreciate good luck from all sources :).

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Isis, its great to meet you! I like a lot of conflict and twists and turns. Keeps things fresh and unexpected. A few wormholes help too.

Randy said...

Wow. It's not easy to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end complete with good characterization, black moment, and HEA ending in such a short space. Kudos, Isis!

Savannah said...

Hi Isis,

Coming in late, fab post! I was dying to know what he'd done!

Savannah
ps - you didn't happen to see my muse snoring next to yours, I can't find them anywhere!

Isis Rushdan said...

Stephen ~ Great to meet you as well. I've been introduced to a whole new group of people here. And I agree, I've never read a book, seen a TV show or movie where a wormhole has hurt the story.

Randy ~ It was fun to write. Glad it entertained. Thanks!!

Savannah ~ As a matter a fact, I did see your muse when she took off with mine to get a hot stone massage. Oye! What are we going to do with them?

Carol Kilgore said...

Thanks, Isis, for being such a wonderful guest blogger. We all loved having you here.

Isis Rushdan said...

Thanks again, Carol, for having me. I met a lot of nice people and hopefully made some new friends. I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

LR said...

Sea breeze cocktail sounds awesome. And great story!

What grabs me in a book? Honesty. When something inherently human is touched on. Something we all recognize as true.

Carol Kilgore said...

Isis - I'm glad you had fun :)

LR - I think the Sea Breeze cocktail sounds good, too.

jessicaaspen.com said...

Must be those seabreezes you are on a roll with this one! I too am a people watcher. Every person at the gym (who I don't know) I have a story for. The couple who are both incredibly tall, fit and with such black hair it can't be real- must be in the witness protection prrogram. The 40ish guy who always comes alone, is recovering from a divorce and looking for love. Stories everywhere you look!

Carol Kilgore said...

I do the same thing with people I see, Jessica. Live-In Handyman often tells me to stop staring.

Conda V. Douglas said...

So that explains my catastrophic life these days! Thank you, Carol. (And now you know why I haven't been blogging as often...)

Carol Kilgore said...

There you go. Blame it on Mercury :)