Please join me in welcoming author Pia Veleno to Friskbiskit. Pia has a great post for us about emotional intelligence (and the lack therof) on the internet. Words of wisdom, folks.
Pia is also sharing an excerpt from her new release, Hounded by Love, and she's giving away a copy to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave a comment to this post with your email spelled out (like this: jessicafreely at gmail dot com).
Thanks for inviting me over, Jessica! It’s nice to step out of my private fictional world momentarily. Well, kind of…
Yes, I’m a writer, but I’m also a reader. I read a lot of M/M Romance, of course, but I also read horror, thrillers, and a variety of non-fiction, mostly gender identity and financial topics. Recently, I read a sample from Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead With Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. (Sounds exciting, huh?) Goleman’s original work, Emotional Intelligence was recommended to me to fine tune financial planning discussions at my Job That Pays The Bills. I have the skills and knowledge to create sound financial plans, but since I work solely by phone appointments, I can sometimes struggle to connect with people I can’t see. When I can’t read physical signs like facial expressions and body language, and struggle to hear through static and background noise of a poor phone connection, it becomes harder for me to hear all the facts, let alone make that very important emotional connection with my client.
I’ve only just started the free sample available for my Kindle, but Goleman hooked me right in with a discussion of how emotions spread. He illustrated his point with a Yale study where positive emotions spread quicker and easier than negative emotions. A laugh, he points out, is hard to resist. Listen to someone laugh, and try not to laugh along with him. Try not to smile. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Are you smiling yet?
So why am I rambling on about a book I’m reading for what probably sounds like a boring office job to most? Because the internet has a unique place in emotional contagions. It seems that online, behind the mask of a computer screen where we don’t have to look anyone in the eye, or worry about a punch in the nose, people tend to be meaner, more bitter, and more pretentious than in person. Is it because we feel a layer of protection in enmity, striking the first blow before someone can see who we really are? Or is it because we can’t see the smiles, the laughter, the emotion we all carry, share, and thrive off of those more positive feelings?
Maybe if we purposely read web content (especially social networks like GoodReads, blogs, and Twitter) with a positive outlook, we can harvest the better emotions off the internet. I put it to you, next time you see someone being rotten, close that screen and read a love story, tell your best friend you appreciate her, or simply response to the obnoxiousness with a positive spin. I won’t give examples, because I won’t drag my own emotions down by feeding the trolls the attention they crave. Just know that a smile really does spread naturally, and laughter really is the best medicine.
Looking for a sexy Happily Ever After to recharge your pool of positive emotions? Try my latest Loose Id release, Hounded By Love.
Sebastian gets what he wants. Music, lovers, fun. Now, he wants Reed. Reed likes his quiet, secluded life. He’s not looking for love, just peace.
Do opposites truly attract, or will their differences hound them into an unpleasant end?
Hounded By Love
Reed ducked out the door and into the cool, crisp breeze of the parking lot. He dashed between a car and a motorcycle and nearly tripped over a small tricolor beagle sitting beside the back wheel of the bike. She leaped up, not to get out of his way but to wag her tail at him. She whined and wiggled as if Reed were her best friend in the world, while her tail whipped back and forth so fiercely it appeared to brush her sides with its blur of motion. Her big brown ears flapped with her excited hound-dog dancing. Reed glanced around but saw no one except the sexy man chatting up the beaming, excited woman—just where he’d left them. His nickname might be dog related, but he sure didn’t look like a dog person.
With a shrug, Reed squatted and set his grocery bag behind him to scratch behind the dog’s ears. She put her paws on his knee and stretched her neck up to sniff him. Her warm tongue rasped over his chin as quick as a snake strike, but when he pulled away, she sat back and cocked her head to the side, studying him with deep, dark eyes.
“It’s all right,” he said. “Just no licking.”
As if she understood, she stood and wiggled, her tail flying back and forth at double speed, happy with the negotiations.
“You’re lonely, huh? Don’t I know that feeling.” He rubbed her back from neck to tail. When she shoved her muzzle into his hand, he scratched under her jaw. She flopped over on her side and lifted a leg, begging for a belly rub, which Reed happily provided.
“She doesn’t usually like strangers.”
Reed would normally jump if someone sneaked up behind him, but the beagle had lulled him into that content, relaxed state that only dogs could provide. He glanced over his shoulder, intent on making a friendly comment in return, but lost his voice when his gaze hit leather knee-high boots and then traveled upward over thick leather-encased thighs to an impressive leather-cupped package. Reed gulped and licked his lips. He tore his gaze off the man’s crotch and looked up into chestnut eyes lined with smudges of black.
Just like the dog. The beagle’s eyes looked lined too, thanks to her well-bred coloring. Though on the dog, they looked soulful, and on the man… Reed swallowed hard. Maybe an extroverted bad boy wouldn’t be so bad after all.
“Daisy,” the sexy hound said, nodding at the dog by means of introduction. “She’d much rather sniff out lingering evidence of everyone who’s been in this lot in the past week than greet someone actually standing before her.” He shook his head, and his dark hair flopped around his face. Reed wondered if the Mohawk was meant to be falling down like that, because if it was, it was definitely working for him. The sides weren’t shaved but trimmed short and messy. Did that define a Mohawk nowadays? Reed admitted he didn’t know, and it didn’t matter. Two thin blue streaks raced through the longest part of the Hound’s floppy hairstyle. Reed hadn’t noticed the extra-unnatural color from across the lot. He could picture all that teased black and blue hair falling around his face like a veil as the man leaned over to kiss him. If only.
“You must have a dog spirit,” the Hound said with a friendly smile.
“Huh?” Reed blinked and corralled his thoughts as he rose to his feet. Most men couldn’t strike him dumb, but the Hound looked even better close up than he had across the parking lot. And strangely familiar, again, but Reed couldn’t quite place him. Reed had to consciously struggle not to touch him, not to lick his lips as his gaze traced the line of—What’d she scream? Bass?—Bass’s jaw. Though Reed stood now, the Hound still towered over him by a good five inches, but three of those had to be the boots. He’d never seen a man in platform boots before, but the Hound pulled it off while still looking masculine and tough. Daisy whined and leaned heavily against Reed’s leg, reminding him to breathe and answer the hot man standing in front of him.
“I don’t know about that,” Reed said, “but I nearly tripped over her. She seemed to like the attention.” He paused, silently trying to avoid the dirty thoughts racing through his mind. He’d love to pin the man down and have his way with him all night long. “She’s a nice dog.” He winced as he said it, his lack of social skills offending even him. He had no intention of actually trying to pick the man up, but for once it’d be nice to be able to talk to an attractive man without sounding like the introverted office mule he was.
“She gets plenty of attention. Don’t you, Daisy, you spoiled pooch.” Up close Reed noticed the shift in the man’s smile. It was brighter than the expression he’d worn for the girl. He obviously cherished the beagle. She, in turn, pranced in place as she whined at him and then spun in a circle, tangling her leash around her front leg.
“Oh, Daisy, for such a smart girl, you never could figure that out.” The Hound crouched down and untangled the dog’s leg and then gave her a hardy rubdown that had her wiggling to keep up.
Drinking in one more long look at the man for later use, Reed shuffled back a step, picked up his groceries, and quietly headed for his car.
* * * *
Bas scratched the beagle’s belly, back, ears, and every other spot she loved. The stranger had floored him with the most exquisite eyes he’d ever seen. Windows to the soul, they said, and now Bas was certain of that. He looked tortured and peaceful, nervous and eager, beautiful and fractured, all wrapped in those eyes that reminded Bas of thunderheads. He also didn’t seem to recognize Bas at all. Bas recognized him, and it felt weird—not only to miss the recognition of his band, but this guy, a total blank, apparently hadn’t remembered the look they’d exchanged while he’d been chatting up Nicole at her office last week. Bas shook his head and gave Daisy one more hardy pat before looking up, intent on taking Mairin’s advice.
The man was gone. What the fuck? Bas froze and looked around. Daisy flipped her feet underneath her and then lifted her head to lick his chin. Normally she’d draw his attention with that maneuver, but Bas spotted the stranger across the lot, climbing into a beige compact in dire need of a good wash and wax.
“Hey!” Bas called. He stood and took two steps but stopped short when the car flew backward out of the parking space. Bas called out again and walked closer. The man either didn’t hear him or ignored him completely as he shifted the car into drive and sped away.
Daisy barked repeatedly, unusual for her, pulling his attention back to his beloved pet. “Yeah, girl, I know. Weird.”
“Weird doesn’t begin to describe him.”
Bas turned and plastered his greeting-the-fans smile back on his face for the girl who’d already trapped him in the parking lot once today. He loved his fans, he really did, but this one didn’t know when enough was enough. He’d signed her notebook and her employee smock, but only because she started by asking him to sign her ass. He’d been considering her for a quickie in the storerooms until he spotted Daisy charming the skittish man with alluring gray eyes. Still, if she knew the sexy guy with the canine spirit, Bas would do more than sign an old, stained apron.
“You know him?” he asked.
She nodded. Her gaze raked his body with the movement, but he’d long since grown accustomed to the leers from men and women alike.
“Who is he?”
“Oh, I don’t know his name, but he lives up on Liberty Ridge, I think. He keeps to himself. He talked to your dog more than he’s ever talked to me.”
She rolled her eyes, but Bas refused to reciprocate. She was pretty, but the stranger was drop-everything-and-strip-naked hot. Bas frowned in the direction the car had gone. He knew where Liberty Ridge was, but he’d never explored that part of Jackson Village. The houses, he’d heard, were miles apart once you passed the unofficial northern line marked by Gary’s Auto Repair and the Old Times Diner.
“Thanks,” Bas said. He turned his back to her and untangled Daisy’s leash from her legs and his bike. With tender care, he lifted the dog into a milk crate strapped to the back of his bike and then threw his leg over the seat, hitting the ignition.
The girl said something else, but he shrugged and shook his head, unable to hear her over the roar of the engine. He waved and smiled at her before easing the bike out of the space and angling it toward the exit and Liberty Ridge.
Thanks again for sharing your wonderful readers with me, Jessica. And thank you, dear Readers, for your time. Have a great weekend!