Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Pew, Mind Blown, a #MondayBlogs

What happened to me blogging every Monday? Where’s the love? Where’s the romance?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Deadlines. Deadlines are what happened. It’s tough to publish a book every two months even if those books are more novella than a novel. What hasn’t been a book signing, a family reunion of some sort, or a ball game (I brake for the Toronto Blue Jays,) has been me with my butt in the chair and writing. It’s rather grueling to write historical romance and goes something like this:

Patrick gave his horse to the stable hand at Fort Leaven…..wait. What did they do with horses at Leavenworth in 1866? Google, horses at fort leavenworth1866. Nothing. Okay, assume there are stables… Fort Leavenworth. Grabbing his saddlebags…no, would he have saddlebags? Google, army officer saddlebags? Crap. Army officer saddlebags 1866. Eh, no. Again, we punt and assume there are saddlebags. Where was I? Oh, right, Grabbing his saddlebags, he went to the…..crap. They’re not BLQ (bachelor living quarters) or were they? Google, history of army blq. Okay, not an answer.

See? Okay, so this is the hard way. The easy way would be to read all the research first, then write. Maybe. I’ve been to Fort Leavenworth, Fort Larned, and Fort Dodge many times but there’s only so much that’s been carried forward from history. The land has been cultivated and modified into something the early trail riders wouldn’t recognize.

So yeah, when you add the historical accuracy to the spelling and grammar, writing well and engaging the reader, making an ongoing hook to keep the story flowing and interesting, and managing interruptions of all kinds that pull you out of the world you’re writing? It takes time.

I do have two other topics in this makeup post. Romance: My husband has been a darling this past week. We were out getting out the votes for the midterms when I tripped on a dodgy sidewalk. I’m an expert at stumbling and catching myself but when the second foot comes forward to hit the same thing my first foot caught? Boom. I literally landed on my face. My husband ran and brought our vehicle to me, brought every bandage from the drugstore along with ointments, aspirins, and wine when needed. I’m fine, and the injury looks far worse than it hurts. I suppose if I had to be housebound with a black eye, a deadline week was the best time to happen.

Second topic? A writing tip. Okay, when I hit submit to Santa Fe Woman on Friday, I was free at last. Free to play computer games, go shopping (my eye and face looked a lot better by then), and even better? Read! I had a new story in a genre I LOVE but don’t write in to read. Yay!

I already have an author who I worship in that particular genre and made grabby hands for the new author in the same genre. They are worship author equals author A, and new author equals author B. Okay, B was good. I read her first book in the series and loved the world, the couple, thought the sex happened a little too soon after traumatic events, but I’ve been married 24 almost 25 years. My perspective is different. Author A tends to wait longer for her naughty stuff even if the attraction is instant between the couple.

Still, I did love author B and will, of course, read more. But it got me thinking about something. Why will I read the grocery list of A as soon as she writes or types it and I don’t mind waiting when B does the same? Why the hero worship of one and not the other when most things about their work are the same with the same elements?

I was laying in bed thinking about this before going to sleep when it hit me. Emotional events and the point of view. Boom. I’m going to make up the events, so they’re fiction, but here goes. Let’s say, and I’m going to use situations NOT in these authors’ genres, that a train’s boiler explodes when our hero is nearby and hurt. The heroine comes up on the scene and begins to help him with his near-fatal wounds.

Author A would have the hero’s point of view during the explosion. We would feel his fear, surprise, and pain during the event. Then, when the heroine arrives, we’d switch to her point of view to feel her fear, surprise, and empathy for the hero’s injuries. All the feels.

Author B happened to do the opposite, and I bet I’ve done this in my books, too. She wrote the explosion in the heroine’s point of view when she arrived. Then, in a bit of a tell, not show, we got the hero’s point of view during the heroine is caring for him scene. So we missed out on the initial shock from him of the explosion, and we missed the fear for the hero’s life from the heroine. We do feel, but superficially.

I’ve always known point of view matters. The same story told by different characters ends up being vastly different. I use this in the last half of Undesirable and the first third of Uncivilized. Undesirable is through Sam and Marie’s point of view. Uncivilized is the exact same events, conversations, everything, but through Del and Ellen’s eyes. Words in the conversations are identical, but the feelings surrounding them are vastly different. Making sure the dialogue perfectly matched was tough but I had a blast with writing those books because of the point of view shift.

So there you have it! Part of what I did on my summer vacation! By the time you’re reading this, I’m getting ready to or on my way to Florida for a conference. I plan on learning more and meeting people I’m in awe of while there. The husband and I are crossing off Cape Canaveral from our bucket list. Should be fun!

Comment below with any concern, questions, or even random thoughts.

3 Steps in Getting to Know You, a romantic lifestyle #MondayBlogs entry.

It’s about time I got back to the love and romance stuff, right? Launching a new book in a new series kept me distracted for the past couple of weeks. But now, I’m back to it, giving advice gleaned from twenty-four years of married bliss. By bliss, I mean no one’s been murdered, yet.

So. You’re in love. Can’t live a moment without each other. This is forever, and you know it. This time, anyway. Which was a lot like the last time, oddly enough.

Really, though. You’ve found the perfect for you person and want to make the relationship work. Today it’s easy. Tomorrow? Eh, your tomorrows tend to fall apart.

What do you do?

  1. Road trip! Pick a place as far as time will allow you to travel and spend the night. The best thing to do is find somewhere neither one of you have been before and go. Why overnight? No reason and you are encouraged to make the trip longer. A road trip will tell you what another person is like when they’re lost, tired, hungry, or at the end of their compromise limit. I would recommend sharing a room even if you don’t share a bed quite yet. If you can tolerate the other person’s bedroom habits, it’s a checkmark in the Keeper column. Once you’re back home and remembering the trip, your feelings will tell you how much longer the relationship will last. Relieved to be alone? Yeah, unless your excursion lasted a week or so, it’s a warning.
  2. Family or friend reunion! Does the idea scare you? Before you pull the ripcord on either your loved ones or loved one, think. Are you worried about them liking him or her? Or is his or her perception of your roots the problem? If you can’t introduce your significant other without qualms, you might rethink the whole in love thing. I’m assuming your relationships with reunion attendees are somewhat normal. A family with extreme dysfunction or toxic friends might be the ones you reconsider keeping in your life versus the love you’ve found.
  3. Share the disinterested! Huh? He used to ski, you used to antique shop. Or, she used to run races, you used to put together model cars. Now, you both do neither for now. And that’s a point to consider. Train for the 5K with her, hit the slopes with him. Even if one or both people can’t get into their partner’s interests, they should at least be able to empathize.  My husband doesn’t knit, and I don’t Knights of Columbus, but we appreciate how the other likes doing so. He brings me Tootsie Rolls from their fundraising, and I’ll knit him sweaters. I’d say if one person has a destructive habit or a red line activity, really take a step back and reconsider if this is a relationship you want to work on. Expanding your interests or point of view are all right but compromising them is quite another.

Are there more ways to truly get to know a person in a hurry? Leave a reply and tell me your ways!

In my day, Tinder was for picking up sticks, not chicks. A #MondayBlogs about modern love.

So. Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m struggling with finding a place on the cake for all the candles. I catch myself almost saying, “You kids get off of my lawn,” and “Is this where you want to be when Jesus comes back?” far too often. And in both cases, I’m thinking those phrases about today’s political climate in the United States.

Sunset and someone's sleeping on the couch

I’m ignoring you.

I’m personally tired of the fighting and want to get back to the love. Turns out, love can be automated! Who knew? Okay, everyone under a certain age did, but still. Swipe, and voila! Someone new to accept or reject. While the saying might be don’t judge a book by its cover, everyone goes by appearances at first. We have to, until we’re able to dig deeper.

Does digital hookups mean we’re finished with random dating and plunging all in with love at first swipe? Maybe, and maybe not. Thing is, if you’re out there living your best life, you’re going to run into interesting people because they’re going to be focused on their best life, as well.

If you’re socially active and know to get out of the house to find datable people, you probably already know to expand your interests to meet ideal people for dating. What do I mean by that? Simple. If you date men, attending female-oriented clubs or organizations won’t be the best way to find guys and vice versa. Of course, there are exceptions. You know there always are. But if you want to meet a straight man at a knitting class, the odds aren’t in your favor. Which is good for the straight guys and honestly? Non-knitting men are missing out. Seriously. If you’re wanting to meet cute, hip, and crafty women, knitting and other fibery arts are the way to go. Don’t want to sign up for a “girly” class just to pick up chicks? That’s cool. Someone else can meet and marry one of your soulmates, no biggie.

The bottom line? Meeting a romantic interest in real life is possible. If you’re rarely finding anyone new and interesting, get out of your comfort zone. Shop in new places, work out in a new park or gym, link up with your friends and go on a day or weekend road trip.

Do you have a story about trying something new and meeting a dating partner? Comment and tell me all about it! Obviously, I love romances and want to read yours. ❤

 

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.

 

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.