There’s so many different kinds of kisses to write. The goodbye kiss, the first kiss, the kiss gone terribly wrong, the Great Kiss of Passion. And I’ll admit that I love writing all of them. My most recent novel, The Green Memory of Fear, has some of my favorite Great Passion kisses, exchanged between two of my favorite characters - Alex and Jaguar, two telepaths who work on Prison Planetoid Three, rehabbing criminals by making them face their fears. Their relationship has been up and down for a few novels, as they try and figure out what they want, but this moment asks no questions: He pulled her close and a moan rose from the back of her throat, perhaps the back of her skull. Then his mouth was on hers and she moved against him, and he thought he'd go mad with joy. A very satisfying kiss, for all concerned. I’ve cautioned my students that writing the kiss, no matter what kind, is a delicate matter, and the opportunity to reveal a great deal about the relationship between the kissers effectively and efficiently. Don’t tell us ‘he kissed her passionately,’ I remind them. Give us something physical to work with, like, “She tasted of wild strawberries, hidden and nurtured under summer grass.” Don’t tell us ‘he felt grief as he kissed her goodbye.” Give us the transfer of energy from her skin to his lips, like this: “Her forehead was cool, her flesh already moving toward the frozen state of memory and death.” And be careful how you end the kiss. I once had a student who wrote, “Slowly, they removed their lips.” Unless you’re writing zombie stories, that’s not the image you want the reader to see. Kisses, e.e. cummings tells us, are a better fate than wisdom. I’d agree with that. They should be practiced often, in all their forms, and written with the same skill used in the practice."
On Prison Planetoid Three, Jaguar Addams uses her empathic gifts to make criminals face the fears that drive their heinous acts. Very few escape the telepathic web she weaves around them. . . . until now.
When Jaguar takes on an assignment investigating a psychiatrist on trial for abuse of a little boy, she finds a killer unlike any she’s faced before. Dr. Senci’s psi skills are a match for her own, and unless she consents to do as he wants, he’ll use them to kill everyone she loves.
Once she realizes who and what he really is, she leaves the Planetoid to go after him. But Supervisor Alex Dzarny isn’t about to let her go it alone, even if it means losing his own life to save hers.
Barbara Chepaitis is author of eight published novels and two nonfiction books. Her most recent novel is The Green Memory of Fear, fifth book in the ‘fear’ series featuring Jaguar Addams. She is also director of the fiction writing program at Western College of Colorado’s Master’s program in creative writing.