Author Archives: lauralstapleton

Now is NOT a Good Time. #MondayBlogs

Laura Stapleton's BlogSo when IS a good time for love and romance? Like everything else in the world, the answer depends on what you need and what stage of your life you’re in.

For example, and he’s going to LOVE this, my husband made up his mind on how exactly he was going to fall in love, with what type of woman, and approximately where he’d meet her. And? He did. The guy had a template in his mind and while he might have dated around, he didn’t deviate from his internal list.

Side note: If you’re in for a quick lesson on how to create your own perfect partner template, check this out. I plan on having a longer post later on how perfect is a moving target when it comes to people so click the follow button wherever it is at the moment.

Me? I’d been building my internal list all of my life by dating men who were almost but not quite right. One had the master’s degree and physical appearance but not the sexual preference. Another had the solid family background but not the appearance or ambition I wanted. Still others didn’t have the financial knowledge, something I lacked and wanted my life partner to have, but did have mechanical knowledge.

Another side notes: Turns out, my perfect partner doesn’t have mechanical knowledge after all, but knows how to hire people who do. Thus, a good example of how perfection is a sliding scale at times.

And that’s the bottom line. My perfect is not only NOT your perfect, sometimes, I have no perfect and that’s okay. No one is 100% every minute. The secret is to find the person who compliments you without needing to complete you.

I know this is another short and sweet, but in author news, I’m researching the Pony Express like a fiend, planning for the Vancouver Author Event and week researching the Pacific coast’s history, and marketing our latest release with my anthology partners. In personal news, I’m helping a friend by being a quilting guinea pig, studying for my ice skating test (yes, it’s a thing), and resuming the five to six miles a day trail walking.

Whew! I need a nap. 😉 Comment below with what you have going on this spring. It’s my favorite time of the year and I love how everyone celebrates the new season.

Who Do You Want To Be? A #MondayBlogs Post.

I’d spent the weekend hibernating which means I’m playing catch up today.

I had this lovely blog post typed up with so many words to say in relationships, don’t look to others to fix you. Don’t look to others to complete you. Don’t look to others to improve you.

Or to put everything in a positive light:

Fix your broken parts first. Take care of your heart, mind, body instead of putting the responsibility on someone else. Unless…they happen to have letters after their name like MD, Ph.D and you’re not dating them. In that case, let them fix you because it’s their job.

Be an entire person for yourself. “You complete me,” is a lovely quote but in real life? No one should be another person’s missing half. Stronger Together is always better than Need Each Other To Survive. Another unless…unless you’re in a frozen wasteland like my backyard in the above photo and have only the two of you to rely on for survival. Then yes. No rules.

Self-improvement is best done by yourself. Not someone else’s self. My final unless? Unless you’re paying fees to a trainer, nutritionist, life coach, or doing another sort of expertise swap, your significant other isn’t your guru. In a perfect world, each person is improving and sharing the improvement instead of dragging each other along.

Bottom line? We aren’t puzzle pieces but whole human beings. Situations and people knock chunks out of our well-being and it’s up to each one of us to Spackle our own wounds. When you’re looking for a new relationship or trying to keep a marriage strong, go in as a complete person.

 

Thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Betrayal and #MondayBlogs

My husband is going to see the above title and think, “Finally! She’s talking about her books!” Which is somewhat true. Yes, I have a book named Betrayal in my Nova Scotia Murder Mystery series. It’s awesome, and it has two short stories in the beginning. You should download a sample from the vendor of your choice.

But no, this is a post about betrayal in a relationship. I’ve been on both sides, the one doing and the one receiving. I’ve also been the other woman in a relationship. Let me tell you what I’ve learned.

  1. If or when your significant other cheats on you, it’s not entirely about you and your defects. While the event feels so very personal, it isn’t. There are a billion reasons a person will stray. Things like they don’t feel special, their physical or emotional needs aren’t being met, or even the ever-popular they cheat because they can. Name the most beautiful, attractive, (no, they’re not the same) and wonderful person you know, and I’ll bet someone has cheated on them. We mate for life but aren’t always monogamous animals.
  2. If you cheat on your partner, for shame. Really. Did you at least try to get what you needed from them first? Made the concerted effort to not stray? I know I’m being Judgy McJudgerson, but a person really needs to have done everything to avoid stepping out. If you’ve not communicated with your partner about what’s lacking, you’re the problem and cheating is not the cure. On the other hand, if you’ve talked yourself to death and they’re not paying attention to your PowerPoint charts, it may be time to move on or at least get counseling on how to communicate more effectively.
  3. So. You’re the homewrecker who can’t resist the cheater. Not cool and you know it. I’ll assume you’ve heard the if they cheat with you, they’ll cheat on you. The missing piece in your guilty partner isn’t you. It hurts, I know. You want to be better than what they have at home and their solution. Sorry. You’re not, and no one is. This isn’t the first time they’ve betrayed their spouse or significant other, nor will it be the last. I know you want to think what you have is unique, a love to transcend all time and space. Thing is, you’re not the one washing their dirty underwear, cleaning up the mess when their kids get sick before reaching the bathroom, or any other of a hundred things a committed person does that another wouldn’t.

All this is kind of rough and sad isn’t it? Sometimes, love is ugly and the wrong needs to be dealt with as much as the good is enjoyed. If I were a professional counselor, I could list definitive things to do. Everyone is different, and I’m unwilling to order people around. Instead, I have a self-care list for each person in the triangle or quadrangle.

  1. They cheated on you. Again, it’s not about you and if it is, no. It isn’t. Whatever excuse they gave is bogus unless you have this need for humiliation. Even then, their betrayal says far more about them than you. Take care of yourself by doing kind things you put off for later. Fill in your own blanks for “I didn’t _____ because they needed _____.” And go out to change “I didn’t into “I did.”
  2. You cheated on them. For shame. Does your partner know? If yes, you’re going to be reminded until your transgression doesn’t matter to your partner anymore. You will endure this like you should or just get out of the relationship you don’t deserve. Your partner doesn’t know yet? Good. You will take the affair to your grave because your guilty conscious doesn’t deserve to be cleared by hurting another person. You’re in the wrong, and we both know it. My suggestion is to treat your partner like you wanted to be treated by your fling, special, loved, unique. If they return your love, great! If not, the relationship has problems which need a professional’s help more than a romance blogger’s.
  3. I can’t even with the other person and yes, I was one. My ex had slept with escorts, so I had a deep need to know what the other women had that I didn’t. Turns out, nothing. We live in a world where beauties like Elizabeth Hurley, Jackie Kennedy, and Deepika Padukone have been cheated on. Some people are drawn to the seamy side of love. A fact I know you’re ignoring is you deserve your own undiluted lover. You deserve to be the one and only for someone who’s not a sneak. Care for yourself enough to demand your place as a partner’s #1.

I’ll admit, this was a hard post to write! How to be helpful to everyone without being preachy or sanctimonious? Ug! It’s not a disclaimer to suggest professional help if my post isn’t enough. I want to improve the romance and love lives of people and have no problem admitting my influence can only go so far. Everyone and every situation is different. Please do what’s best for you and your loved ones.

Next week? Curing the commitmentphobe! I’m writing a short romance about a guy with commitment issues. Of course, he’s met his soul mate. I’m having a blast torturing him with a woman he can’t resist.

 

#MondayBlogs and Leaving My Comfort Zone

This is going to be one of those short and sweet posts because I have words to write. Lots and lots of them.

pexels-photo-235922.jpegWhich leads me chatting about comfort zones and why they need to be crashed through sometimes. I’d read in Canadian Runner about how embracing the discomfort makes a better runner. Speed goes up, the mental outlook improves, and crossing finish lines are easier when someone accepts and ignores the desire to stop.

Tamed by Laura StapletonWhen I sit down to write on my latest story in progress, the article came to mind because Tamed, a paranormal shifter romance, is way way outside of my comfort zone. Not that writing had become easy. I don’t know if telling stories and fretting about my Shatneresc use of commas ever will be. What I’m sure about is researching a new genre to make sure readers’ expectations are met is not my usual work.

The best part about this project is interacting with the other authors in the anthology. I’m an extrovert (ENTP if you’re curious) and love people most of the time. Another enjoyable aspect is “having” to read paranormal romances by the other authors. My job is the best.

So now, while I’m here trying to figure out where the guy’s clothes go when he changes from man to lion and back again, I have a challenge for you. What is a comfort zone for you and how can you break out of the rut? Or add to the activity and make it tougher than usual? Comment below and tell me about your comfort zone.

FAQs

I know this is supposed to be a MondayBlogs post, but honestly? It’s after 8pm here, and I’d rather have a great post out that’s necessary instead of something thrown together. Besides, my husband/business partner has been on me to write these up so why not?

pexels-photo-221164.jpegFavorite author, book, writing place? There are so many authors I read, 99% of them indie, and they’re all wonderful. Likewise with books. How can anyone choose just one? My favorite writing place is a lot easier. My sofa. I’ve tried writing on the beach, too stressful due to the sand. In a coffee shop or Panera’s, bathroom visits mean packing up everything every time. So, sofa it is! 😀

Writing music, location, drink? Music is fun. I have specific music for writing, running, and sleeping. The writing music needs to be in a language I don’t know, and Bollywood worked for a while. Then, I looked up the word “dil,” and my learning Hindi began. Now I have to listen to Korean pop and happily, I can’t seem to learn Korean at all. It just won’t stay. Location is my sofa, and drink? Coffee in the am until tea in the pm, and more tea or maybe wine in the evening.

Best place for ideas? Shower, walking trails, and road trips. Really anywhere I’m in a distracted but busy headspace.

What does my office look like? Like a huge mess because I’m storing and not officing in there.

What’s my daily schedule? I wake up at 6am, meditate, exercise, drink lemon water, shower, and begin writing at 7am. I keep going until 2pm and start marketing until 6pm. That’s when my husband is home, and it’s quality family time until 11pm when he goes to bed, and I clean house until 3am. I catch a few hours of sleep and am up at 6am again. My goal is to wake up every morning before I go to bed.

No, really. What’s my daily schedule? Okay, you’re on to me. I’ll wake up around 8am, closer to 9. Coffee and PC games until I wake up. Glass of lemon water and playing on the Wii Fit games, shower, and settle in to work by 10:30am. Write to the daily word count goal, lunch, more writing, and then clean house until 6pm’s husband time. We go to bed at 11pm. I’ll turn on my background noise on my iPod. If something happens and my writing is taken over by appointments or my husband’s day off, I’ll push the writing time to the evening or weekend.

What hobbies do I have? Oh gosh, I haven’t factored in hobby time, but when I’m in an enforced waiting time like on road trips, I’ll knit or read. I’d like to sew more and scrapbook, but there’s too much to do around here for me to indulge.

How long have I been writing? For forever. I should be better than I am, considering I started writing for publication in 1991. There was a long hiatus between 1995 and 2013 while working and raising our kid.

When did I know I wanted to be a writer? When I started writing my first daydreamed story and people liked it back in 1990.

How many books have I written and why is this so tough to answer? Thirteen to fourteen and it’s tough because I’m always writing something and not everything is a book. I’ve published eight short stories, eleven books, and have just finished writing a rough draft. I’ve started another short story and am plotting another book, so there’s never downtime for long.

Have I written anything you’ve ever heard of? Probably not. I’m indie published which is DIY. I don’t have a way to get my paperbacks on those supermarket racks, so I have to hustle to get the news out about what I do. It’s fun and perfect for control freaks like me.

What is my favorite food? Yes. I love everything, but my comfort food is Indian. I grew up and love meat and potatoes, still, but Indian is a special occasion food. I like just about everything else.

Who would I want to co-write with? Good question and one of those I can’t answer. I really do have so many awesome writer friends that my answer would be yes. I’d love to write with all of them.

Do you have any other questions I’ve not answered? Ask in the comment section below and be sure to follow this blog to see the answer. 🙂

Love, Sex, and #MondayBlogs

Programming note: FAQ answers have been pushed to next Monday because of VALENTINE’S DAY!!!! OMG!!!

Yes, I am very married and very happily. Thus, I don’t hate the V-Day.

I do remember what it was like to be single and sans romance back then. It sucked until the 15th, aka Cheap Chocolate Day. Then the 16th was horrific because of Migraine Because I Ate Chocolate Day.

By now, my husband and I both know what, when, and how we want our romance. We also talk to death everything and anything. This isn’t as bad as it sounds because even early on in our marriage, no one was ever surprised by a problem. If one of us cleaned out the house and were gone in a U-haul, the other would know exactly why. Something we agreed on before we married was to make communication a priority. Be kind, always, but don’t hold back if something’s going wrong.

So our plans? Earlier, we picked up the dinner for two at Hyvee. Not the deluxe because we already have a couple of lobster tails getting freezer burned. This saves us the time, expense, and irritation over sharing a romantic dinner with several hundred other cranky couples. We’re also verbally duking it out over fresh flowers versus potted plants. He wants to give me roses or at least flowers to put in a vase. I want a couple of Boston ferns to replace the ones I accidentally killed while on a book deadline. (Ferns need water more than once a month, oddly enough.) You and I know who’ll win this argument. Me.

So the bottom line for your own happy Valentine’s Day? Talk about it! Tell your crush they’re not half bad or remind your significant other of why you fell for them in the first place. You’re alone and enjoying the solitude, so nothing applies? Cool! Treat yourself, a family member, and/or a pet. Plan the route to stores you’re going to hit as soon as they open for the discounted candy. Go buy the floral rejects for yourself and enjoy. Or the best ever, take yourself out to dinner on the 15th and enjoy the quiet.

Next Monday, the faqs for reals. Before then, there’s so much going on for me professionally, and I’ll have to write all about it later this week.

Alone vs Lonely: A #mondayblogs post

Alone is pretty easy to define. You’re by yourself, a party of one, and the time where a team does have an I in it.

Lonely? Not so easy after all. Where alone is a state of being and a tangible, lonely is so much more ethereal. Everyone has heard of being lonely in a crowd and has probably experienced the feeling at least once in their life. Very few have never been the new kid in a classroom, even if they have to wait until college.

But now, Valentine’s Day is looming. All that red and pink reminds some of us how lonely being in a partnership can be. Surprisingly, I never felt one second of loneliness in the time during my husband’s deployment to Kuwait. How did we manage to stay in touch and still feel the love? Communication.

Chitchat during a war is different now that it was as recently as a couple of decades ago. In 2003, we had international phone calls once a week and email all the time. Skype and other video conferencing were new, and mail was okay but slow. I did happen to send him care packages of things he mentioned missing. With the once a day check-ins and weekly chats, we probably talked more than most busy couples have a chance to under the same roof.

How to combat this? In knitting (one of my fave hobbies), there’s a saying of “Take time to save time.” We’re supposed to do a test knit to make sure the stitches per inch is accurate. For a marriage or any other relationship, I’d say block out your time to interact with each other. Make doing so a priority and necessary for each of you. Both people must care because nothing’s sadder in a couple than being the one hand clapping.

If you’re the one initiating and not getting a response, there are a few things to try on your own.

  1. Kick it old school and write a letter by hand. Then rewrite in case you were angry about having to write one at all to get their attention. I know I’d have to.
  2. Text them a kiss. Emoji or your lips in a kiss, either work.
  3. Stop off on the way home from wherever and grab their favorite anything. No reason or occasion necessary.
  4. A phone call can be a problem for some to give or receive. We’re lucky because I’m my own boss and my husband’s workplace isn’t a pain about phone calls. I know I always love hearing his voice instead of a robocall or telemarketer. So speed dial if you can.
  5. Sex it up! Oddly enough, this wasn’t effective for me in the first couple of decades of my marriage, but this third decade is turning out to be very unusual. <-not a complaint! Everything I do now is a turn on when it never was during the early years. What do I mean by turn on? Well, for you, it may mean wearing the sexy clothes as a normal instead of a special occasion. Wear the boxers with lip kisses or the red teddy in the evenings. (Now that I think about it, our kid is older and not around as much. Sexy is a lot easier with just us in the house. LOL! Light bulb moment, right?)
  6. To get around the kids might know/hear sexytimes issue, letting your significant other pick the sexy unders you wear. This makes the undressing time after the kids are asleep a lot more fun, too.
  7. Find a similar activity you enjoy. We like long walks in the park and watching Canadian television shows, but our finding these likes didn’t happen overnight and haven’t been constant. In the beginning, we liked the Civil Air Patrol and dining out. Clearly, our tastes have changed through interest or necessity. We still have separate activities, but the ones we share are a lot of fun, too.

 

Photo0087[1]

It’s all fun and games until someone needs CPR.

Finally, if none of these ideas brings you closer together or you’ve been there, failed that, you know what to do. Talk to a professional. My job is to write about a fictional couple’s conflict and communication problems. So far I haven’t had a character seek counseling, but you never know. A story might make it necessary someday and if you need it, take advantage of the help.

Next Monday: Answering FAQ’s because my husband needs me to do so on my new website. You won’t even notice the switch except everything is much prettier.