Where’s The Love? An #amwriting post.

Okay, so I didn’t come up with anything romantic for yesterday because there was a little too much romance in my own life. Lunch date with my husband, grocery shopping together, a nap because it felt like -10F outside and 10F is my limit on coldness when it comes to walking in the park.

So, what now? Writing! The MLK holiday is over, and the house is quiet. I’m smashing everything I should have done yesterday into today’s schedule. Laundry, dishes, writing 6,000 words, which seems a little much. Fair warning, I might not get to my word count goal.

What am I working on? A historical romance set in Liberty, Missouri during the 1870’s. Alice, a lovely young woman from New York City, is bringing three young children to their new parents, Jack and Ellie Dryden. Only, they arrive at the Liberty depot to learn Ellie has gone back home to Boston. Does the adoption go through, or does Alice turn them over based on Jack’s promise to be a good single parent? ::cue dramatic music::

I love this story. My only problem with it is there’s not enough about the orphan situation overall. The romance needs to be front and center, and there’s nothing romantic about children selling newspapers by day and sleeping in the streets at night. In an era where birth control wasn’t as easy to find as it is today, the amount of abused, neglected, or abandoned children was incredible.  There’s no definitive number, but it’s estimated that 250,000 children and babies were sent west to new homes.

In this book, like all the other historicals I write, I’m researching to the nth degree. I have plans to photograph the depot where the kids arrive, to not use the word “kids” no matter how tempting it is, and to research 1880 farms near Jack’s fictional place.

There are three more books planned for this Pioneer Romance series. Next up is the Pony Express based story, the Santa Fe Trail story, and the Northwest Shipping story. They’re all plotted. I just need to park my butt and write them.

African lion

This guy? He’s a hint for an anthology story I’m also writing at the moment.

Meanwhile, if there’s a romantic topic you want to be researched between now and Sunday, comment below! I personally LOVE researching stuff, especially romance.

#MondayBlogs and New Year’s Romantic Resolutions

In my last blog post, I alluded to the lump in the easy chair you married years ago. With all the Valentine’s Day products in the store, expectations ratchet up to a dizzying height until the hard fall on the day of when nothing happens.

What to do? Is there anything that CAN be done without the help of pharmaceuticals or a cattle prod?

Yes! Lots of things. Here’s a handy list. Not every item will work for every couple, but there are lots of fun things to try. Some will require planning and others can be last minute.

  1. Recreate your first date, especially if it was a good one. If the time was horrible, but your love survived anyway? Great! Recreate the first date you wished you two had had back then.
  2. Flowers are popular and rightly so. But cut bouquets on THE day? Eh, expensive and I’d suggest something with a twist. Planting flowers instead of buying floral arrangements. In some parts of the world, the idea of gardening now is a bad idea. However, planning a flower garden together, visiting a local greenhouse or store’s gardening section, and working together on your flowers in the future is a fun way to bring a couple together.
  3. I personally love going out for dinner on V-Day evening. But the crowds! OMG, no. Not romantic at all. So how do you cope? Cooking together at home! Now, my husband brought home a fondue fountain, but you don’t need to be that fancy. It’s wonderful to fill it with chocolate and dip frozen strawberries. You can bake heart shaped cakes, pink cupcakes, anything you both enjoy eating.
  4. This is a little on the naughty side, but still lots of fun. Mainly because I get embarrassed and crack dumb jokes the entire time, but visit an adult store. No, it’s not something for everyone. If you’d like something a little spicy or way out there sexy, why not give it a try? I secretly want every pair of stripper shoes, but no. I have my limits.
  5. All of the prior suggestions assume you don’t have children or have a sitter in case you do. Thinking you can get someone to watch the kids for the weekend, you two can plan a simple honeymoon weekend. In one of my books, I had the hero do just that. The VERY Best Man, if you’re interested, and it’s free at the moment. Since the hero has a friend who’s a manager at a big name hotel, he arranged some time in the place’s pool and hot tub. Why not take that idea and run with it? The hotel can be as fancy as you want, or not. Room service or pizza delivery for dinner, and a weekend alone, together.

These are just a few things you can do, and the idea is to remember why you fell for this person in the first place. No matter what you try, the primary goal is you do them together. My husband loves surprising me with a small bouquet from the grocery store and a mushy card. I like surprising him by forgetting the day entirely or even better, buying him a card and misplacing it until July. I did mention he’s the romantic one of us two, right?

Which makes this a good time for reminding everyone to make time for your relationship. Nothing says you have to spend only one day out of the year for romance. It’s not as tough as you might think to plan the occasional date night. My husband and I do this, and we don’t go all fancy most of the time. We’ll find a new walking trail to explore, get a Groupon to a new restaurant, or just order a pizza and have a Netflix binge night. The main goal is to spend an evening or two together to reconnect and remember why you started liking this person to begin with.

(I had lovely photos planned but scrapped it because part of showing your love for someone is hanging around, cleaning, until the DirectTv guy shows up to fix the broken thingy so your someone can watch the game on the biggest tv in the house.)

 

Valentine’s Day in December? #MondayBlogs

Oh. My. God. This year is already on greased skids. We went to the grocery store the day after Christmas, and some proactive goobers had the Valentine’s Day merchandise on shelves. Seriously?

Happy New Year!

By the time this posts, I’ll be up five pounds and face down recovering from New Year’s wine. There’s so much pressure out there to make every second count, to share every moment with a special someone. Even worse? Society expects people to create this perfection on as little sleep and food as possible.

I happen to know a couple of people who can accomplish the feat of a sparkling life. The talent is natural to them. For all of us with tarnished lives, keep reading, and I’ll share some ideas for coping with the romantic pressure.

The crafter side of me understands the need to be on top of the next holiday. Nothing is more fun than knitting Christmas gifts on Boxing Day. I’m working on a gift for someone’s 2016 Christmas. I know, I know. As close to being done as I am, he’ll get his gift Christmas 2018 for sure.

The side who had spent a bunch of Valentine’s alone still feels that “No,” feeling when the aisles start filling with red hearts, roses, and sappy everything. It’s hitting all the lonely buttons when the whole world seems to be full of happy couples, and you’re a sad single. If you’re not glum and want a significant other for February 14th, I’ve written the solution already. Click here.

My solution for when you want to spend the holiday alone but not lonely? Don’t, because you don’t have to. Everyone has a single friend. Have a Valentine’s celebration with your best unattached pals. If I weren’t married, I’d call up my knit group friends first. They’re all fantastic people, Happy New Yearand each one makes everything much more fun. Dinner, clubbing, going on a yarn store crawl, whatever you all enjoy will work.

What if, like one of my V Days (because ‘my’ and VD don’t go together, sorry), you’re in a new town with zero single friends? Be your own date. Do something fun and esoteric just for you. Every married person knows that nine times out of ten, you’re compromising with your spouse over where to go, what to eat, what you watch on tv or movies. Enjoy your singlehood by being as wild or mild as you’d like for the day.

Bottom line? Plan now to eat all of the chocolates and toss the yucky ones without guilt. Drink all the bottle of wine whether it’s sparkling juice or the hard stuff. Watch the sappy or action-packed movie you enjoy. Go to a fancy place for dinner and dress up for the occasion. Treat yourself like the great person you are.

Next week? What to do when you’re stuck with the anti-romantic spouse on Valentine’s Day and how it’s probably too late to ask for a refund on them.

Merry Christmas and happy #MondayBlogs!

There’s going to be so much in this post! Grab something to drink and get comfy because this’ll be fun.

First off, happy holidays! No more Christmas music! Yay!

Whaddya mean you're glad it's over?

Whaddya mean you’re glad it’s over?

I know. I’m one of those people who dread the music every year. I do try to like it, but nope. I’ll let others enjoy the tunes. Even better than the lack of Jingle Bells sung a million different ways? Free trash pick up! That may be for only our city, but it’s wonderful and I love it. Trash men are magicians, no kidding.

My writing is my life, but my publishing is my business and I have goals for 2018. Readers will be happy to know I’m expanding a beloved series and adding more to a currently in progress series. If I stick to plan, I’ll have at least eight novels and three short stories drop in the next year. They’re all plotted and waiting for me to write them. Along with all the writing, I’ll be creating  another spin off series and maybe launching it late in 2018. Everything depends on God not laughing as I plan.

Meanwhile, 2018 will find me upping the romance in my life and hopefully in your life, too. I’ll be researching and posting practical action items we all can take to help add love and romance to our day. I don’t intend for my posts being all for married people. I want to help singles find their best match possible or how to enjoy being on their own.

I hope you either join or continue on this vastly fun journey with me in 2018. Click subscribe or follow me on the various social media outlets I play on right now.

 

Make Time for Love

It’s Christmas! No matter if it’s the most wonderful time of the year or a colossal bah humbug to you, I know everyone’s busy with gifts, parties, and end of the year activities.Laura StapletonIn all the craziness, my husband and I made time to reconnect and remind ourselves of what’s truly important.

Our Decembers tend to be like everyone else’s, rushed and focused on others instead of each other. So how do we cope? There are several ideas and here are just a few:

  1. Go on a date night! Ideally, couples should already be doing this. Even if it’s wandering around looking at Christmas lights or going for a twilight stroll in the park, anytime can be a date night with the right attitude.
  2. No time for even a dinner out? Shop together! My husband and I do all the time. It’s a great way to make sure we get milk AND butter. Two brains are better than one when it comes to remembering to pick up cat food. Plus, he buys snacks, and I buy produce, providing balance in our pantry and fridge.
  3. You have to sleep sometime. Even if you’re too tired to tango, go to bed together for quality pillow talk. Laura StapletonSet aside the devices for better sleep unless you’re like my guy and me. We go to my Twitter feed, getting angry or laughing together at what people post online. A mutual foot massage would be terrific, too. Bath and Body Works has some wonderful anti-biotic lotions available. I went on a shopping spree several years ago and still have some stocked up.

These are my favorite things to stay connected with my guy. How about you? What are ways you keep the bond going with your significant other during this time of the year?

 

My Husband Wears The Romantic Pants in This House.

You’d think the resident romance writer would be the one remembering anniversaries, wouldn’t you?

Nope!

Every year since 1993, I forget the day my husband proposed to me. Every. Single. Year. So I wake up on December 10th to flowers and a mushy card about how he’s glad I said, “Yes!” He doesn’t wake up to anything but my snoring.

Maybe I need to get all of us “It’s what day???” people in a huddle and talk about ways to remember significant events.  I asked my husband just now how he remembers and he said, “I just do. It was a big step in my life.” He adds he’d be traumatized if I’d said no. I can imagine since he had us fly to Magic Mountain ski resort to ask me. Best proposal ever and he’s such a romantic.

For the rest of us in the memory challenged department, I have some hints and helps.

  1. The obvious: Put it on your calendar. Not the pretty one on your fridge, but the one where you grab all your social media birthdays. Set it up to reoccur every year and voila! You’re set.
  2. See #1. Kidding! Mostly. I have Cortana as my assistant, thanks to Microsoft. No matter what your assistant’s name is, you can set up a reminder for the occasional dates. I’d use this feature for anniversary dinner reservations, but not for the day itself.
  3. Make it special. Plan ahead, plan for every year to have the same fun tradition and you won’t forget the day again. I need to pick an extraordinary thing to do for my husband on our proposal anniversary beyond the usual, “Oh crap! It’s 12/10!”

Now that I have an idea of what to do next year, how about you? Do you remember special days in a way I’ve not listed? Comment below and tell us how it worked or works for you because I could use the help. ❤

Hey baby, in the mood for a quickie #MondayBlog ?

This is the US’s Thanksgiving holiday week and National Novel Writing Month. How are those two related? One is a time for family, and the other is time for a panicked meltdown.

Okay, maybe they’re a lot more related than I thought. If you’re single and staring at the green Jell-O salad with carrot strips, wondering if your mom is right and you should settle down with someone, anyone, I have your solution.

Before you ask, no. This fix, though as powerful as, does NOT involve duct tape. Leave it at home this time. Instead, I’m giving you something to guarantee you have a significant other by Valentines Day if that’s what you want.

What do you do for this matchmaking miracle?

Write a list of what you want in a partner. Be specific. Be greedy. List every attribute that’s important to you. Does your person need to like dogs, or cats, or both? Write it down. Do they have brown eyes, blue eyes, or one of each? They’ll be a little tougher to find, sure, but list it. The list is more powerful when handwritten, but typing is fine, too.

I know you’re tempted to blow this off as all mythical hoo-ha stuff and I totally understand. Write the list and magic happens? Whatever. The science and psychology behind writing down the attributes you want in a forever or even temporary partner is real. What happens is when you come up with what you need, this action gives your brain a pattern to match.

Don’t believe me? What about when you start researching a new car? You want a red Honda and what happens? They’re everywhere now and more so than ever. Actually, no they’re not. You notice more of them now because that pattern is in your head. There’s a quick way to break that because now that’s all you see out there, and it’s not by saying, “I want to stop seeing red Hondas everywhere, dammit!” Just think of green Land Rovers or yellow Ford Mustangs. There! Fixed!

In seriousness, this list idea works for more things than silencing the, “Who are you dating now, dear?” crowd. Writing a list for anything you desire helps lock in what you want and tells your brain to start looking around for what you’ve listed. It’s pretty awesome and powerful as well.

Comment below if you’ve used this technique and it’s worked. Follow this blog if you want more romantic #MondayBlog posts in the future.