This story started as many of mine do: As a compelling dream. In it, a woman with amazing body art was depressed because she’d been sent on a mission to find “generators” for her dying race, and she was failing her quest. Her understanding of the word meant she’d all but whored herself out testing one man after another and finding that they all fell short of her people’s needs. Then she stumbled across a woman who had the correct energy.
I woke up from the dream simultaneously devastated about the dying aliens and what the alien woman had had to put herself through to learn that generative energy can come from either sex, and intrigued by the scene’s possibilities in the context of a longer story.
Flipping the script to tell the tale from the perspective of the woman the alien found gave me additional scope for topics to explore. For instance: Why would my protagonist reject out of hand that someone could find her compelling? What in her background would make her own problems outweigh the wonder of meeting an alien?
The story became weighty as my protagonist revealed her history of abuse, and a powerful tale about the redemptive nature of falling in love. The surprise to both of these characters that they could find that connection with someone of their own sex was a fitting tribute to the fact that love is, in fact, love, regardless of anyone’s preconceived notions. That I got to play with the setup for what could be a bigger space opera was the bonus for me.
An Excerpt from The Builders:
Her shirt was still damp from the exertion of her work at CPR, and despite what she had said to the dispatcher, she didn’t feel right about abandoning Stephen to his fate, either. It wouldn’t hurt to make herself comfortable. Maybe check email, texts, and voicemails. Her boss might have heard she was on her way home—or have other out-of-state options to help pull her out of Milwaukee.
Tara stood and stretched, then saw a baggage cart flying past the small window overlooking the baggage claim area and ducked to avoid being seen. Her heart started thundering in counterpoint to the crashing noise she had been able to ignore just minutes previously. Why are they getting violent like this? It’s just a pattern—beautiful, mysterious, and compelling, but nothing that has actually hurt anyone.
She checked to make sure the door was truly closed, and discreetly adjusted the blinds on the window and door to further obscure her presence. Then she had to do a double-take. That can’t be Navenah.
The woman of Tara’s dreams stood bewildered at the edge of the baggage claim carousel nearest the office where she was trying to hide. She debated the sanity of exposing herself to the mob, but another few seconds of watching Navenah convinced Tara that the other woman had no concept of shielding herself from violence.
Tara darted out from the office, grabbed Navenah’s hand, and pulled her into the dubious safety of the lost bags office. “You have to be careful in situations like this. Humans fall into a dangerous herd mentality, and if they see an easy target…” Tara shivered and shook herself from the vision of violence her words had incited. “They didn’t hurt you, did they?”
Navenah seemed dazed, though she shook her head slowly. “My dear? I know you, yes?”
Tara grimaced. “Yes. We met last week at the bar. We were interrupted by someone you said you expected. He didn’t hurt you, did he?”
Navenah shook her head with more assurance. “No. He was but another in a long line of disappointments. I should have paid closer attention to realize what I sought stood before me.” Navenah clasped both of Tara’s hands in her own and brought them to her lips in a tender salute. “Thank you.”
It was Tara’s turn to be bewildered. The connection she felt to Navenah was as powerful in real life as it had been in Tara’s dreams. Her eyes were still magnetically drawn to the imagery tracing up Navenah’s fingers and wrists, disappearing under the three-quarter length sleeves of another stylish outfit. The links in the patterns seemed to move under the force of her mesmerized gaze.
A voracious reader since she was a toddler, and an ordained spiritualist, Tonya Cannariato has now presided over the marriage of her love of reading and her love of writing. She’s lived a nomadic life, following first her parents in their Foreign Service career through Africa, Europe, and Asia, and then her own nose criss-crossing America as she’s gotten old enough to make those choices for herself. She’s currently based in the Washington, DC suburbs with her four loves: her husband and three Siberian Huskies. She suspects her Huskies of mystical alchemy with their joyous liberation of her muse and other magical beings for her inspiration. She loves to sleep, to watch her interesting dreams, some of which are now finding new life in written form.
I’d like to thank Tonya for stopping by the blog today. Dreams can be powerful things, with powerful emotions. What say you, readers?
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