Escape Velocity: Fun Friction Between Hot Characters

One of the best parts of writing romance is writing all those delicious little bits of attraction, all the little sparks, between the main characters. It’s like running around a candy store, really. Tempering the sexual rush with a little humor and awkwardness gives the moment authenticity.

In Escape Velocity, when Elios—a linguistic genius who’s all but sworn off romance—gets a look at Sender, his pilot for the day, he doesn’t stand a chance.


Long strides carried the man toward them. Even without anything out on the blacktop to compare him to, he was tall and broad. He carried two helmets in one hand, and he snapped off a salute with the other. “Yes, ma’am.”

Elios was sure he wasn’t letting anything show on his face right up until Doc murmured, “I don’t think they’ll let you keep him. But I could ask.”

Elios composed himself and wished he could keep from blushing. “I’ll be fine, thanks.”

When the pilot got closer, he was more than just tall and broad—he was downright impressive. His black flightsuit hung perfectly on his powerful body. Once he’d joined them, Elios couldn’t miss how blue his eyes were. He looked like a living recruitment poster.


Elios manages to contain himself, even when Sender is strapping him in for a ride in a fighter jet. It’s quite a feat given that he’s being all but tied down by a gorgeous man in close quarters. Riding along with Elios as he tries to stay cool and keep his distance is both a laugh and a thrill—we didn’t feel terribly sorry for him as we wrote the book. It’s awful the way we love to torment our characters, but everyone seems to win in the end, especially the readers.


Up close, Elios could see Sender in minute detail. His lashes were thick and black like his glossy curls. His mouth was so pretty that Elios wanted to lean forward and lick where Sender’s teeth sank into his lower lip as he concentrated on getting Elios settled in.


Sender doesn’t get away without a little teasing from us, of course. He’s the sweet and sensitive one, so we take it easier on him. His squad hassles him quite enough as it is. Still, he’s not immune to getting weak in the knees when he sees the man of his dreams. Elios is totally worth dressing up for…


Dozens of people gathered in the plaza but, for Sender, Elios stood alone in the expanse of white stone, alone except for the statues in the fountains. Sender’s hands ached with wanting to touch him. Elios wore a beautiful old-fashioned dark suit with a crisp white shirt and vest and tie. His hair was perfect, glossy spirals that reminded Sender of patterns in polished wood. Sender should have appreciated the elegance but his impulse was to undo all that neatness so that he could leave his mark.


And getting him out of his clothes is even better…


In the dim light of the bedside lamp, Sender could make out tattoos on Elios’s body, black vines that curled around from his back and continued to spiral around one thigh as Sender pushed Elios’s pants down. He couldn’t resist licking, following a tendril that wandered toward Elios’s groin, and Elios’s fingers found his hair again, tightening, then petting.


As writers, we love these guys and we loved telling the story of how they meet, fall in lust, fall in love, and fight for each other against the backdrop of a future world on the edge of a new era. Writing their attraction to each other was so much fun and we hope that you enjoy reading it at least as much as we enjoyed writing it. You can find Sender and Elios falling for each other in Escape Velocity from Carina Press.


—Anah Crow & DianneFox


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Twitters: @anahcrow and @diannefox@

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ONE REAL THING with Anah Crow & Dianne Fox

One Real Thing…and two very troubled heroes

Thanks to the Manic Readers for inviting us to drop by today!

Last week, our first book with Carina Press was released. One Real Thing is a contemporary gay romance about Nick Addison and Hollister Welles, two men who are each convinced that the other couldn’t possibly be interested in him—not that way. They’re friends and yet they both want more. How to keep them apart? How to bring them together in a way that matters?

In character-driven stories like this one, the best conflict comes from within. As authors, we’re always trying to push ourselves. Not just in terms of structure, but also theme. Troubled heroes are easy to do badly: are they too over the top? Beyond saving? Is manufactured trauma just a placeholder for character development?

Internal crisis is the most likely way that two people would get themselves backed into a corner like Nick and Holly do. The obstacles had to come from within. So we set out to create two people who were on different paths for the same reason—trying not to become what their parents had been.

The anxiety of parental influence is a theme most readers can relate to. The mundane nature of the core problem cuts some of the potential for unnecessary drama. Because it’s such a common trial, it’s easier to connect to it, easy to manipulate, and believable when resolved. The path the troubled heroes walk is one that everyone does at some point in their lives. To make it challenging, we simply started them in a harder place than most.

The other trials are also common concerns, magnified through the lens of too much to lose, too many ways to lose it. What does he think of me? He’s too good to be true. I don’t deserve him. If I’m going to fail, I might as well fail big.  I thought this was what I wanted, but when I got here, I found out I was wrong.

We knew if we could make the source of Nick and Holly’s troubles something easy to relate to, it would save them from being annoyingly melodramatic. If they are a bit frustrating at times, we all get frustrated with ourselves as well, so we can forgive them.

We hope that we’ve managed to do that with Nick and Holly—that in some way their experiences speak to your experience and that their troubles make them engaging, not enraging.

Excerpt from One Real Thing:

Holly woke up in hell. A nice hotel, sun slanting in the windows, Nick showering just feet away. Fucking Nick. Years with nothing but postcards and holiday cards, glimpses of Nick’s perfectly organized life, and then this. Like Holly had fallen down and needed rescuing. He didn’t. Holly pulled a pillow over his head and willed himself not to go looking for a drink.

He’d gotten where he was deliberately; he didn’t blame anyone but himself. He’d be damned if he’d give that away like he was some kind of puppet other people played with. Apparently Nick had missed that fucking memo. Now Nick’s interruption prolonged this continued failure to thrive that stretched in front of Holly like the Sahara. Christ, why did Nick have to pick now to give a damn?

Holly wanted a drink. He wanted not to be here, waiting for Nick to realize Holly was a mistake that didn’t belong anywhere near his life. Again. Yet, as desperately as Holly wanted to, he couldn’t bring himself to blow Nick off.

Nick walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, his dark curls waterlogged and his skin still beaded with moisture. He was across the room and digging through his suitcase before realization hit and his head came up. He stared at Holly for a long moment and then said, evenly, “Good morning.”

“Glad it is for someone.” Holly pushed up to sitting, trying not to whimper at the pain in his head. His own fault. He dragged the blankets up to hug them against his chest. He was tired of being looked at.

“Why are you doing this?”

—Anah Crow & Dianne Fox

One Real Thing at Carina Press:

One Real Thing at authors’ website:

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