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Friday, August 24, 2012

GUEST BLOG: ERIN O'QUINN

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Congratulations to Ivy, the winner of today's post.

Hi, everyone! I would like to challenge you to answer a question, after reading my comments and considering your own reading and/or writing: Can lust become meaningful love? The winner receives a copy of my “scorching” new Strand novel. First, here is a blurb from the M/M historical Warrior, Ride Hard which may serve as an introduction to my remarks:



The armsman Gristle is aptly named, for he is tough and hard to swallow, not just to his former Roman soldiers but to his liege lady Caylith. Only once in his 40 years has he allowed someone to get close to him--the beautiful, sorrow-filled Tristus whose parents were murdered by Picts and who entered his Roman outpost in Cumbria, Britannia ten years prior to the present action.

Through a flashback, the reader learns that Gristle’s seduction of Tristus was uncharacteristically slow and tender, and that the two men formed a close emotional bond. One night Tristus disappeared from his sentry duty, pulled away by a brother he thought had been killed, leaving Gristle to think the worst.

The disappearance of Tristus resulted in a deep subconscious despair for Gristle, who as the story opens reminds himself that he will never again take a lover and leave himself open to the whims of fate. But his thoughts begin to fill with a young, sensuous pony trainer named Wynn. In spite of his reservations, Gristle takes the 21-year-old as a lover when he arrives in Hibernia (ancient Ireland), and the two begin to enjoy a passionate affair.

The stories of the three men interweave until at last they all three meet briefly in sacred Tara, home of the High King. Wynn is abducted by druids with sinister and lustful designs, and Tristus wants to follow another man--the famous bishop Patrick. Thus no sooner has Gristle found an old lover and a new one than they are all pulled apart by the one whom Gristle calls “the bitch goddess Fortuna.”

Writing the novel proved to be a challenge. It wasn’t the manlove part, which I found hugely exciting to write about, but the task of balancing the stories of three men, two of whom love the Alpha, without resorting to a menage. Even more challenging to me was the conviction that this story had to delve behind the straightforward lust of the men and into those cracks in the heart that allow real love to enter.

How could I show the deeply sensuous and emotional relationship of Gristle, the former Roman soldier, with not one, but two different younger men? How could Gristle, tough as his army-issue hobnail boots, possibly allow himself to feel love the second time around?

I worked out my dilemma by writing the novel in three parts. Part 1 tells the story of the attraction between tough-as-nails Gristle and the humor-filled Welshman Wynn. Part 2 sends tendrils back ten years prior to the current action when Gristle seduced another young man--his first real lover--the sorrowful Tristus. After Tristus disappears, I trace the story of what happened to Gristle and Tristus throughout the next ten years and up to the story’s present.

The third part of Warrior, Ride Hard hard tells what happens when this time Gristle’s new lover Wynn disappears. Of course, Gristle is bitter, thinking Wynn has deserted him. In truth he has been abducted by men with evil on their mind, and he is fated not to re-enter Gristle’s life for four months. Wynn is attacked, poisoned, and at last left to die--while Gristle continues from the Hill of Tara to the ancient settlement of Derry in the north of Ireland to begin a new life. The entire time, of course, Gristle is convinced that Wynn, still too young to understand him and his strict training, has simply left him for other adventures.

One more quirk in the story finds Tristus now in Ireland, determined to follow the ministry of the new bishop Patrick who has been sent by the Pontiff to convert the Irish pagans. Through the whim of “the bitch goddess Fortuna,” Tristus has already met and befriended Wynn, and he encounters Gristle just as he and Wynn are set to start a new life together.

I will leave it up to my readers to determine whether I have worked out the complex lives and emotions of these three men. The final resolution comes later, in the sequel Warrior, Stand Tall. But for now, have I created a “happily ever after” that readers will find satisfying?

As my tag line says,
For two passionate men, where does lust end and love begin?

Leave a comment and let Erin know Can lust become meaningful love? The best answer, in relation to her article as well as their own reading or writing, will win a copy of the novel.

About the Author: I adopted the name Erin O’Quinn as my pen name, because I have dedicated most of my writing to the setting of ancient Ireland. There, in a beautiful but wildass land, roam former Roman soldiers, sensuous clansmen, Britannic immigrants, cattle barons, druids, and St. Patrick himself. I try to incorporate as much history, language and culture as possible into my novels. In fact, my “straight” blog listed below is dedicated to the Gaelic spirit. I live in the drought-parched hills of central Texas, far from the Emerald Isle, with my husband and four snotty cats.

Erin O’Quinn’s Gaelic blog
Erin O’Quinn’s Manlove blog
Storm Maker
The Wakening Fire
Captive Heart
Fire & Silk
Warrior, Ride Hard

20 comments:

Rachel Firasek said...

I absolutely think it can. In fact, I think it needs to. Without lust/attraction whatever you want to call it, where is the interest? And, if I'm not interested in someone, I sure as heck won't fall in love. True Love. The kind that lasts, takes time and effort. I think lust is much easier and the reason we reach out to people that interest us in the first place. Great Post!

Tina said...

I think all love starts as lust. That is initially what draws two people together and keeps them together long enough for deeper feelings to develop.
tmadamski(at)msn(dot)com

Erin OQuinn said...

Dear Rachel and Tina,

To me, there's a difference between fullbodied, all-out lust and the kind attraction that leads to love. I think that lust can burn itself out quickly, and then what remains? Not even the husk of friendship, often enough.

In the case of Gristle, he has spent most of his life hiding his real nature, so that when he does feel a powerful attraction, he's bewildered and resentful, plagued with doubts and jealousies. And yes, it all leads to love. But it ain't easy.

Thanks, ladies. Your comments mean a lot to me! Erin

Kim McNiel Smith said...

I don't think flat out lust turns into a relationship. I think there has to be a mixture of attraction, probably a little lust too, but they have to connect on a different level of attraction if it's going to turn into love.

Erin OQuinn said...

Dear Kim,

I'm intrigued by your notion of connection "on a different level of attraction." Try turning that into a novel...not easy! But that's close to how I wanted Gristle to feel at last. Not right away, and not until after a lot of hardship. But finally, fighting it tooth and nail, the next level was inevitable.

I really apreciate your tuning in. All best, Erin

Ivy Bateman said...

In my personal experience, lust never has turned into a worthwhile relationship. On a couple of occasions I tried to convince myself that there was more below the hot surface...that the root of real relationship had to be there...but once I realized we only got along when we weren't...um...talking...then I knew that it was a relationship with no real meaning. I'm not saying that they weren't fun on some level...but...

With my husband, we were friends for a year before we started dating. When my crush turned to a passion I couldn't ignore, I finally asked him out. I already loved everything about him and so the lust I felt when we finally got together was a delicious mix of friendship, passion and something real and strong that has lasted, at this point, 17 years.

Great post Erin! Thanks for sending me the link!

Erin OQuinn said...

Wow, Ivy, your personal story sounds like a hott novel waiting to happen....

I like what you say about the "root" of a real relationship. Human feelings really are a kind of root, aren't they? A taproot that can make its way past fissures and cracks in rock itself--like the wild-ass cedar trees out here in central Texas whose roots grow through kaliche. That's the kind of love-passion-friendshuip-mystery that makes for human love.

Thanks very much for sharing your personal story.

May Water said...

I actually had to look up the meaning of lust recently. I realized I did not know what it actually meant. I thought it meant attraction but it really doesn't. "Lust is an emotion or feeling of intense desire in the body. The lust can take any form such as the lust for knowledge, the lust for sex or the lust for power. It can take such mundane forms as the lust for food as distinct from the need for food. Lust is a powerful psychological force producing intense wanting for an object, or circumstance fulfilling the emotion." So lust is the wanting, not the actual thing that attracts you to a person. In that case I think that most likely it doesn't turn to love, but the wanting mechanism is transferred to another person or object :)

Erin OQuinn said...

Dear May,

I agree completely that lust is an all-consuming kind of irrational wanting for someone-something. So the feeling itself is what is under discussion here. Can such a powerful emotion (that is definitely not "love") BECOME love? Can the lust slowly transform itself, as Ivy pointed out, into a complex emotion that emcompasses lust but is much more besides?

Your thoughts make us all think much harder... Thank you so much! Erin

msspencerauthor said...

erin--i'm going to read this a little later--spent the mornin trying to post on yahoo groups & I want to see if this goes through. Looks like you have a good discussion going! Meredith

gestosodovalo said...

lust is base on physical atraction. people have sex but don't talk about who they really are, share, cuddle...as soon as the fantasy is over they happily leave until the next time... still I do believe lust can lead to love.

Erin OQuinn said...

Dear gestosodovalo...

You leave us wanting more! Are you saying that if we're in lust, we don't necessarily linger after the sexual gratification...no cuddling, no sweet words in the ear, only an after-sex cigarette at best? I tend to agree with that. As soon as that more tender emotion starts to sink in, the one we call love, we may not want to cuddle--but by God we want our partner to be happy, so we'll do what it takes, and even end up liking it.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! Cheers, Erin

gestosodovalo said...

that's exactly what I mean. once the experience is over the couple move on to someone else, seeking new adventures, more fantasies... Yes they body is replete and satisfied, but what about the soul?
But as I said lust, sex, can lead to love....

Vickie Harvey said...

Erin,

About 10 years I was a wild woman out to conquer the world. As a young lady I was too shy to date much so when I found myself single again after an ugly lengthy relationship I decided that no man was going to tie me down. For about a year I dated a lot, 4-5 men a week. Some were boy toys, others just a quick dinner and a ride home (you know the date where you know from the second the door opens that you should just close it again). But, when I met "The One" I felt like I was on fire, the lust was out of control, our passion consumed us every moment of every day. After our 3rd date I told him I was heavily "in lust" with him but he could go home and do his own damn laundry thank you very much. Then about 6 months later I realized that there had been no other boy toys, and one night in the throes of another awesome "bonfire" I looked into his eyes and realized that crap, somewhere we'd fallen in love. Shortly there after we got married. 9 years later we are still "in lust" as well as love. I think if done right they can go hand in hand.

Erin OQuinn said...

Dear Vickie,

Well told, ma'am! I especially like your expression: "I told him I was heavily 'in lust' with him but he could go home and do his own damn laundry thank you very much." A woman who knows both what she wants and what she won't tolerate!

I'm not sure, but I think most women have experienced a little of both ends of the spectrum you describe. But few are lucky enough to have settled down with the "lust" of their life.

I guess I'll conclude that not only can lust turn to love--it can remain and spice up a relationship for many years to come. I enjoyed your remarks! Thanks, Erin

Elaina Davidson said...

Lust is great, but doesn't last. I don't think it leads to love, not the long-term kind, not in reality. Full-bodied attraction, the kind that you seek to uncover the mysteries to, now that's a different story. Ten, twenty years into a relationship you'd probably still be attracted...and in love.

Erin OQuinn said...

Dear Elaina,

I'm not so sure lust cannot become love...not if one allows that mystery to be raveled out, as you say, over a long period of time. But the very idea of lust presupposes a kind of immediate, here-and-now satisfaction, doesn't it? So when we're in lust, we don't give that mystery a chance to grow and become an unsolvable yet necessary part of our lives.You've presented a conundrum, an enigma wrapped inside a mystery....I'll need my first cuppa coffee even to think about this one!

Thanks for giving us a thoughtful answer, Elaina. I think I lean toward the "lust CAN become love" school of thought, but with asterisks and footnotes attached. Smiles, Erin

Catherine Lee said...

Full-bodied lust CAN become love, and lasting love, with time and patience. In the best possible HEA, it becomes a passionate love, where you still get a rush at seeing your lover, or a tingle when he or she brushes against you. After more than 20 years of marriage, I still get that tingle when I see my hubby. I don't think that all love begins with lust, but love CAN emerge from lust.
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Debby said...

Lust is a good start on the way to love.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Erin OQuinn said...

Dear Catherine, and Dear Debby,

Both of you are saying what I think most of the commenters agree on: lust is a great beginning to real love, if you let it happen...if you nuture the pleasure you take in your partner and let him/her know it...

To all you folks who commented: I can see why you are writers, and successful ones at that. You see behind the obvious to what I call the "cracks in the heart," through which love leaks into our soul.

Thanks sincerely for taking the time to visit and comment. Warmest, Erin