Tag Archives: characters

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.



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.

Field Trip!

I have big plans for this weekend. Not as big as the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, of course, but big on the research for a new series.

For the RT lowdown, head over to here to read and then come back.

Fun, right? But what’s this weekend? And that new series? Drumroll, please…

Introducing the American West series. Four stories set during the American expansion era. I have four books planned for sure about the Santa Fe Trail, the Orphan Train, the Pony Express, and a Northwest Shipping adventure. Characters from my Oregon Trail series will make guest appearances, too, and I’m so looking forward to seeing them again.

I’ll post on Monday what we did and saw on our intense research weekend.

#MondayBlogs and Spring Fever!


Our weather in the Midwest US has been so lovely this week! I’ve struggled to stay inside and work but gave up on everything last Saturday. My husband and I spent the day running around town. I even took off a lot of Sunday. I’ve not taken off that much time in a row for weeks.

I needed the break. After going over The Very Best Man for its rerelease, Surplus, the fourth book in the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries needed me. I’m almost done with chapter three and while that doesn’t sound like enough, there are only twelve chapters plotted. My only hang up is the murder is a stabbing, exactly what happened in Pleasures. Does it bother anyone else when a murder mystery series has too many of the same kind of deaths? Appearances is going to have a unique murder, Rage is a bit predictable but not a stabbing, and Honeymoon? I don’t know how I’m killing that random character.

Creepy, isn’t it? Such fun, though! Being a writer is the best job I’ve ever had. The boss, me, is a bit of a hard ass, however. Never letting me goof off outside or anywhere else, really.

“You guys are being too noisy for me to hear the voices in my head.”

Yeah, I said it. Voices in the head.

It’s an occupational hazard for a writer to hear others’ conversations in your mind. Hearing these people created by an imagination, overactive or not, is something a lot of fiction writers will only admit to in closed circles. Creating a true three dimensional character is something like creating a child. After a certain point, you have no control over anything they do.

Some writers start with character. Others start with a setting or conflict and see what character best fits. I tend to be in the characters first, situations second. I also close my eyes and ‘watch’ the book in my imagination, like recalling a memorized movie. Often this movie will have deleted scenes inserted in places that just work. Like, I didn’t plan for this secondary character to be run over by a wheel. It just happened. I have to admit, accidental scenes tend to happen when I’m bored with writing description. Dialogue is my strong suit, not details. That’s ok, too. Somewhere there’s a writer needing me to read over their dialogue to see why the words aren’t flowing.  Just as much as I need someone to tell me they need to know more about what’s happening.

But, back to writers and their mentality. I can imagine living with a writer can be difficult. It’s their nature to extrapolate everything. It’s also their nature to tell you to look up extrapolate if you don’t know what it means. They also say weird things like, “I wonder what would happen if we found a dead body in there” when stopped at an interstate rest stop. Not comforting, no. Something I’m not sure my husband loves is how I can have an entire silent argument with him without us saying a word. He also doesn’t know we’re having one until I tell him, “Fine. You’re right. Whatever.” Though he likes being right, he has no idea how I had a thought, imagined his response, responded to that, and back and forth until one of us won. I know, not normal, but somewhat typical of fiction writers.

What’s the take away from all this? For me, the best part of writing is creating everything in my mind or on paper and then giving my imagination free reign. Second best part? Rereading and completely enjoying what I wrote.  No, that doesn’t happen every time.  Feeling odd because your characters have minds and voices of their own?  Don’t.  It just means you did a great job in creating them.

I Need More Sex

I’m halfway through with writing a book, Undesirable.  The plan?  To have it chock full of hot, romantic, adulterous pioneer sex.

The result so far?  Not even a kiss between the two main characters.  This is a romance, they’re supposed to at least kiss.

Not until chapter six, I guess.

So, the question on most non-writer’s minds is most likely why can’t I just force the issue?  Aren’t I, as the author, the one in control?

To which I answer, I was in control, but now I’m not.  I created the setting and conflict.  I created the characters, each with their own lives and motivations.  They’re not 3-D, more like 100-D, with that many dimensions to them.  Again, why can I not ‘write’ them what to do?

Because my work with creating them is done. It’s kind of like having adult children.  You can set things up to be easy or difficult, but in the end, character drives their actions.  I think in the best stories I’ve ever watched or read, the characters are always true to themselves.  Sam in Undesirable is a straight arrow, intent on right and wrong.  Even if wrong is where he wants to go, he won’t because that’s not who he is.  Marie, his love interest in the novel, is also an honest person.  Her feelings for Sam are growing but her love for her husband is keeping her from giving in to them.  Me?  I’d planned on them having a make out session in chapter one, and yet, it’s in chapter six that they kiss.  I’m not even sure they’ll do that, to be honest.

So now I put it back on you.  Are readers in an instant gratification world fine with extended sexual tension?  Can characters be truly that strong in a writer’s mind that they call the shots?  Is adding violence a good way to substitute for the lack of sex?