Sunday, December 6, 2020

Calendars of Love and Surprises

One of my most favorite things about Christmas are Advent Calendars. Which is kind of odd considering that I didn't even know they existed until my freshman year of college. My non-religious college roommate from France received one from her parents. It was like a care package to last a month and I was fascinated by the idea of getting a new surprise every day. I loved the intricacy of hers and I love the variety that you can find today. Beauty calendars, beer calendars and you can't ignore the chocolate ones, the list really does go on and on. I even bought a wooden one of a manger scene a few years ago that I can fill with whatever I want, though usually I'm too lazy. But it's still my favorite Christmas decoration, I just love the promise of it. This year I purchased McCrea's caramel calendar that my wife and I are enjoying everyday. It's just a wonderful way to bring a little bit of joy into the Christmas season. So do you love Advent Calendars as much as me? What's your favorite kind? Extra points if you can recommmend one for me to try next year. Have a wonderful Christmas y'all, I'll see you in the new year.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

WED--Write Every Day

So I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo this month. Actually I've never done it. Too much pressure. A book in a 30 days? Produce 50,000 words? Don't do anything for a month excite write? No thanks. But my writer's group, MVRAI, has decided to have our version of NaNoWriMo--Write Every Day (WED). This version asks us to work on our novels. Every day if possible, but no pressure. Maybe working means brainstorming, or writing a sentence, or editing a book. Far more doable and thus more attainable and thus a potential win at the end of the month. And because I have been dragging my feet on my current work in progress, I have volunteered to be the cheerleader for WED. Which means I must keep the online thread going, clap for member success and show up every day and report my own progress. Yikes. But I need this. And if you're a writer who hasn't gotten much done during COVID, you might need this too. So do your own WED, you might just find you've birthed an entire book at the end (see what I did there :)?) Have a great month y'all and happy writing and reading!

Sunday, October 4, 2020

She Loves Me Like a Rock

Do you ever notice that moms are missing from romance novels? Many times dads are left off the page too, but it is the lack of a mother's love I notice most when reading a romance. I think it is because writers know if heroines had moms, their lives wouldn't be so empty, they'd have a home to go to when times are tough and there would be somebody to talk them out of those bad decisions they make. I've always said there's no one who loves you more than your mama. With that kind of love screaming off the page, it could be tough competition for romantic love. And since romance novels are about romantic love, them mamas have to go. So, although we are nowhere close to Mother's Day, kiss your mom for me. By staying out of romances, she's made the lives of all romance writers just a little bit easier!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Jesus In a Romance Novel

One of the good things about the current pandemic is that I've been getting back in touch with my spiritual side and going to church, virtually of course. And with more religion in my life has come a desire to read about characters who are in touch with their spiritual sides too. Pretty easy you would think since we live in a Judeo-Christian society, except it isn't. Actually, it's hard to find God in between the pages of a romance novel. Yes, I could search the Christian market for reading material or maybe crack open a Harlequin Love Inspired. But I'd have to give up reading about sexual attraction and sex, some of my favorites parts of a romance. For some reason those marketing to Christians think God and sex don't mix. But I think they do and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I haven't done an exhaustive search but I have stumbled across a few boooks that aren't afraid to marry sex and the Lord. If you haven't had a chance, check out Patricia Gaffney's historical To Love and To Cherish, a wonderful romance about two different people who find love with each other. And if you're looking for a contemporary romance, Noelle Adams' Married for Christmas is a great friends to lover story. Both have men of God as their hero, which might be the work around for bringing the love of the Lord and love of the flesh together in romance novels. But, I hope it isn't the only one because I think there could be so many great stories with God and sex. I will continue to search and I pray that I can find more romances that take into account characters' spiritual lives as much as their romantic lives (see what I did there?). If you have any books to recommend, please feel free to leave their names in the comment section. I'm dying to get my God on while I'm getting my love fix.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

I Love Country

I love country music though I don't fit the demographic of a typical country fan. Growing up I was exposed to all kinds of music, though I can confidently say my parents never turned on a country station. Diversity was simply in the air, literally. My love of country music expanded with the help of a college friend who turned me on to artists like Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood. And with the introduction of the Dixie Chicks, it was official, I was a big country fan. And yet, over the last decade I've found myself listening less and less to country radio. Subconsciously when country radio stopped playing women, I found myself less drawn to this art form. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Garth, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and so many other male artists, but without the ladies I find some of the spice gone. Recently I've been missing my country music, and reminiscing. If you'd like to reminisce with me, here are my top ten favorite country songs, with both the guys and the girls. But way way more girls. What can I say, I love the ladies :)

1. Talking In Your Sleep--Crystal Gayle 2. Girl Crush--Little Big Town 3. Strawberry Wine--Deanna Carter 4. Broken Wing--Martina McBride 5. Merry Go Round--Kasey Musgraves 6. Blue Ain't Your Color--Keith Urban 7. She's Got You--Patsy Cline 8. Let Him Fly--Dixie Chicks 9. Three Wooden Crosses--Randy Travis 10. To Make You Feel My Love--Garth Brooks

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

I'm Getting Married Y'all !

After 18 years together, my honey and I are getting married today. I think this joyful Glee performance sums up how I feel today. Oh happy day!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

A Secret Love for My Darling Vivian

Social distancing has been great for watching tv without remorse. What else am I going to do,exercise? I don't think so. And this weekend I had the great pleasure of watching two documentaries that, at their core, explored love. My Darling Vivian is about Johnny Cash's first wife and the seemingly deep love they shared, well at least in the beginning of their marriage. Sadly his love was later transferred to June Carter, while Vivian's love lasted for the rest of her life. A Secret Love focused on love that had lasted for more than 60 years and survived oppression, disapproval and even old age. It warmed my heart to see that love can survive the years and be just as strong even when the object of your affection is wrinkled and grey haired. Both films touched my heart, and are wonderful. Don't sleep on them, they are definitely worth your time.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

90 Day Fiance--True Love or True Lust?

I love the show 90 Day Fiance and have from day one. Okay there was one season where the couples were that painful to watch, so I didn't, mostly. It is a fabulous mix of hopeless romance and cynicism (sometimes the participants, most times the audience). At it's core it's like most romance novels. People, from all walks of life, throwing caution to the wind to find true romance. Did I mention the foreigners are usually good looking and from very depressed countries? Did I also mention most of the Americans are looking to find love in the arms of a hottie with an accent? And didn't I mention that I'm sometimes cynical about these relationships? And yet, in every season there is at least one couple that convinces me they should be together, language and cultural differences be damned. So it shouldn't surprise you that on my list of romances to write there is one about a solitary man who finds his true love on a foreign dating site. He's American, she Mexican (or maybe Ukrainian) and sparks are going to fly. Of course it will be a while until that book is written, so do yourself a favor and watch an episode or three of 90 Day Fiance. You'll either love it, or hate me :)

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Hooping Has Sprung

As spring has sprung I'm starting to have fantasies of getting into shape. You know, like the heroines in many of my romance novels. So a week ago I blew the dust off my hula hoop and started hooping again. In my head I imagine myself looking sleek and sexy while shedding the pounds, a la Hoopalicious in the video above. The reality is that my hoop hits the floor a lot and I'm never going to be a dance goddess, like my heroines. Oh well, I'll keep trying and maybe I find my groove.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

You and I Both Love Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. And what says love more than a boy in love pursuing a girl (well, maybe a girl pursuing another girl)?  Enjoy some Jason Mraz during this month of love. You and I both deserve it (see what I did there?).

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Before and After

This guy, Kumail Nanjiani, is my January inspiration on so many levels.

1. He could be two different types of heroes. The guy on the left looks like a great beta hero, fit for a chick lit type romance. The guy on the right is a total Alpha, ready to rip off my heroine's clothes. Both are yummy in their own way.

2. This guy could be the before and after in the same novel, going through a great transformation and learning a lot about himself his love and along with way. Hmm, I'll have to put that in my idea folder.

3. And lastly, this guy is totally inspiring me to get on my diet and exercise grind. It's a new year, heck it's a new decade and I need to get on it.

Thanks Kumail for inspiring me this month!