You often hear that writing is a solitary job. It’s true. We sit by our computers (or with our pens and notebooks like I do) and conjure up people from our imaginations, sometimes entire worlds, and creatures no one’s ever heard about. We bury our noses in research; reading books on interesting topics, scour the Internet for the information we need, and fall into black YouTube holes about the body language of rabbits for when we’re writing bunny shifter stories. (Heh, yes, that was me.) And when we’ve found what we’re looking for, we hang up the DO NOT DISTURB sign on our office door, hand our significant other the takeout menu and tell them to feed themselves, and start writing. Alone in our writing cave.
This is all true.
But it’s also an exaggeration. Just like everybody else, writers need people. Like my beloved morning writing crew who, by now, are experts at giving my ass a swift kick when it needs it. Like my most trusted betas who always, always find time to help make my stories better. Like my poor editor who’s probably deleted a gazillion “sit down” and “stand up”s by now. Like my publisher for continued support in my writing.
All these writerly people that I’ve never met in real life but talk to every day (at least some of them) also have another important role in my life: they’re my sounding boards. They listen to rants about problematic stories and give helpful suggestions. They give ideas when I’ve written myself into a corner. And sometimes they outright throw ideas at me when I need one.
They Met in the Woods is one of those ideas. I had finished writing They Met in the Library and was in the middle of writing another story about two guys meeting in the park when it hit me: I could make it a meet-cute story, too, like Library, and name it They Met in the Park. But I also thought that if I was gonna do that, I’d need a third one to complete them. A third They Met in the … But my mind was blank, and I couldn’t think of anything, so I brought it up with my dear writer friend (and fellow JMS author) Kris T. Bethke the next time we spoke. She started throwing ideas at me, and when she suggested the woods, my brain perked up and started plotting immediately.
And the rest is history … as they say. The result is They Met in the Woods. So if you read and like this story, be sure to blow a (COVID safe) cyber kiss to the lovely Kris T. Bethke because without her, Måns and Viggo’s story would never have been written.
Måns Elemander had A Plan. A researched and well-thought-out one, devised to help him avoid getting lost while foraging for mushrooms in an unfamiliar forest. But his cell phone battery didn’t get the memo, died unexpectedly, and thwarted The Plan, leaving Måns with a basket full of mushrooms, but no idea where to go. Until the sounds of someone chopping wood reaches him.
Måns follows the sound and finds a quaint cabin … and its owner, Viggo Moberg. Viggo is kind, understanding of the situation, and willing to help. He’s also smoking hot and their connection is instant, threatening to ignite and burn down the woods. Will the sparks burn fast and fizzle out, or will the attraction grow roots, just like the trees in the forest?