by Dame Toni
A couple of years ago, I was chatting with a fellow novelist. She was telling a story about a nighttime disturbance that had awakened her husband, and his funny reaction. I have to admit, I don’t remember the exact details of the story, which had a table full of women, all writers, laughing uproariously.
What I do remember is how she started the story. “I was lying in bed, running through one of my favorite fantasies…”
No one at the table reacted to this opening salvo with anything more than a nod. We all understood what she meant, and knew it probably didn’t involve anything battery operated.
I’ve done this as far back as I remember—climbed into bed and fantasized. When I still slept with blankies (I had several, although one held pride of place), they became the other characters in my stories. Sometime in my elementary school years, pillows took over.
During puberty, the fantasies took on a more sexual tone and, for a short period, featured real people. Jim, the object of my unrequited high school longings, became the face on my saliva-and-tear soaked pillow. I remember clutching it, wondering how it was possible to live through the intensity of the ache caused by his indifference to my deep, undying love. **Sniff.**
Eventually, I went back to fictitious characters, although they often resembled whatever celebrity was topping my list of five at the moment. (If you aren’t familiar with the list of five, I shall refer you to Friends, Season 3, Episode 5. And about a million related blog posts.)
Over time, the nature of the fantasies changed. They became more elaborate, and had histories and mythology. They became stories. And, at least one of them got written down and published. (Shall I tell you which of my books originated in half-awake, pillow-clutching fantasy sessions? Not yet.)
As a teenager, I was a nerd-girl, so I lived in fear that other people would find out about my bedtime rituals, which would just be more fodder for ridicule. A few other close girlfriends admitted to fantasizing. I remember one saying, “I imagined that Neal was in my bedroom, and I was kissing him,” and thinking to myself, “Yes, but was it your room? Wasn’t it a dungeon, and you were a princess, and he broke in to free you? And then you killed the guards together, and he was wounded, and you had to carry him out, and…”
I gradually came to understand that other people had fantasies, too, but they didn’t seem involve elaborate costumes, settings, or circumstances. They didn’t have history or, eventually, a continuing plot. Other people didn’t climb into bed and start by thinking, “Now, where did we leave off last night? Oh, right. Legolas and I were in the forest, hiding in a cave, and I had just cast a magical spell that made us invisible to the orcs. Then…”
I didn’t realize that there were other people who, like me, routinely slid between the sheets and mentally acted out entire stories. Until that conversation at that table full of writers, when everyone just got it. I can’t tell you how much better it made me feel to know that I was not the only nerd-girl out there.
Now that I am a fully grown up woman, embarking on the second half of my life, have I given up the just-before-sleep fantasy scenario? You tell me. Last week, I finally broke down and bought a body pillow.
I told my boyfriend it was for back support. I think he believed me.
Oh, and you wanted to know which of my continuing fantasies eventually made it into print? It’s Men in Chains, a Virginia Reede title. It’s the book of my heart and the one that most often invokes the question, “How did you come up with this?” I just smile and obfuscate.
But now you know.
Now, for some business.
Winners of the Mission Statement Contest: In my last post, I invited you to write a personal mission statement. There were so many good ones that I despaired of picking a top three, so had to resort to random drawing. Here are the winners–contact through my website www.toniandrews.com to arrange to received your books.
#4 – Silver James
#29 – Carol Shenold
#37 – Anthea
New Release. I had one, too. It’s Carnal Healing, book 1 in the Carnal Magic series by Virginia Reede, my slutty alter-ego. It’s just out in e-book; it’s generally about six months before the trade paperback comes out. But I get way better royalties on the e-books, so I encourage you to EMBRACE THE ELECTRONIC BOOK REVOLUTION.
Here’s the trailer.
New Contest: Since Carnal Healing is a 1500-years-later to Witch’s Knight, my first Ellora’s Cave release, if you watch the Carnal Healing trailer and leave a comment (here, not in YouTube comments), I will select 5 commenters and send them an electronic copy of Witch’s Knight, in your choice of PDF, PRC, or LIT files.