Tag Archives: romance writer

Escapism Is Not a Bad Thing

j0309600A few years ago, when I was in my master degree program for creative writing in Sydney, I was telling a friend that sometimes it’s hard to take my work seriously enough to put in the long hours necessary to find success.

“My sister helps kids walk,” I told my friend, Nic, a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Randwick Children’s Hospital. “I write romances.” I made a face. “It’s hard to think of myself as helping the world be a better place.”

“But you are helping,” Nic insisted. “When I lose a patient at work, forgetting about it for a little while in the pages of a book is exactly what I need.”

Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it that way until Nic said it. But that’s what I do; when life is getting to be too much, all I want is a little down time with a good book. I want a story that will make me laugh or gasp or in any way take my mind off my own troubles.

Nic put me on the road to having the right attitude about being a writer of silly stories. Silly isΒ exactly what people need sometimes. I mean, really, why else do I love reading about a wizard in Chicago battling the forces of evil? (I love you, Jim Butcher! In a purely platonic and professional way, of course. πŸ˜‰ )

I write about superheroes because I love stories of good versus evil. I write romantic stories because I believe that love is the answer to everything. And I write things that make me laugh because I love to laugh! And I love to make other people laugh!

So thanks, Nic, for helping me to see that my job is important. I take my silly stories more seriously since talking to you that night. Now I’m focused on making sure I become the best escape artist I can be – to help you and everyone else who needs a little break now and then. πŸ˜‰

Marriage Madness: The Beginning

j0309372Can you be truly happily married in the twenty-first century? I’m talking “till death do us part” long-term, forever happiness.

I decided to start a new column on Mondays – Marriage Madness – to explore the good, the bad, and the downright hysterical things that make up a good marriage. I write about Happily Ever Afters in my books, and I’ve been wanting to write about the real life Happily Ever After that I’ve been living. πŸ™‚

In answer to my question, I say – Yes, you can be happily married! And I don’t say that lightly just because I’m a romance writer. I may write fantasy (the people I write about are imaginary, after all), but there is real Truth in my stories, too.

John and Kitty at HF2 wrap party

Me and John at the Happy Feet 2 wrap party in 2011

Yesterday, John and I celebrated our twenty-third wedding anniversary! We’ve been married longer than we were single! That’s incredible. I mean, when we met and I decided I was going to get this guy to fall in love with me and marry me, I thought that to be 45 was to be middle-aged. (At 19, 45 was over twice my age!) I figured people didn’t really have sex anymore at 45. I figured there would be no more date nights, no more surprises.

Surprise! I was so wrong! (Thank God!)

I believe that, like with so many things in life, being happily married is a choice. You have to choose every day that you’re happy with your decision to spend your life with this person. (Yes, sometimes it’s a difficult choice! For both of you! LOL!)

You also have to choose to nurture your romance like a plant. Remember that there is a certain amount of water and sunshine the plant needs – and not all plants need the same things. (Last week, when I got help repotting a tiny bamboo plant, I found out bamboo plants don’t need soil. Who knew?!)

For John and me, we need fun and laughter. We also need to be on the same path spiritually, both believing that God has an amazing plan for our lives and that we need to focus on that hope when times get tough. (Experience has proven us right on this point!)

I’m no marriage counselor, but I believe you can probably have a Happily Ever After marriage, too. πŸ™‚

Our 20th anniversary party in Sydney, Australia, in 2010

Our 20th anniversary party in Sydney, Australia, in 2010

When was the last time you did something fun together? (John and I spent the whole weekend celebrating our anniversary – movies, ice cream, nice dinners, great wine, and that other thing I didn’t think “old” people did when I was 19!)

When was the last time you were honest with each other? (Um, try something positive first like, I love your gourmet hamburgers, they’re better than any restaurant. Let’s save the I-hate-that-you-leave-the-toilet-seat-up for another time. Positive first, then constructive suggestions later. πŸ˜‰ )

If you want to catch up with my stories on marriage, I wrote a post a few weeks ago about How I Became a Romance WriterΒ with pictures of my wedding dress. I also wrote a guest post at a friend’s blog called How Hotel Sex Turned Me Into a Romantic Comedy Writer. If you haven’t read that one, you’ll never believe the prank John pulled on our honeymoon!

What do you think? I heard a pastor say last month that marriage has moved into the top five things people are afraid of. Do you think that’s true? Do you think people can still have a Happily Ever After?

When Games Aren’t Just Games

j0179010I read the coolest article Friday about Game Theory and cheating at college. Peter Nonacs, a UCLA professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department, wrote an article about an experiment he conducted in one of his classes.

Let me start by saying if I had known this was even a field of study when I was in college, I probably wouldn’t have been a business major. πŸ™‚ Fascinating stuff! While I don’t know much more about Game Theory than what is presented in the article, and what I can infer from personal experience, you can bet I’m going to read up on it!

Why? Because I’m a novelist. I write stories about people. And I particularly love to write stories about people who are learning to live together and merge two lives into one. (Commonly known as “romance novels.” πŸ˜‰ )

Let me quote Professor Nonacs directly so you can understand what Game Theory is about.

Much of evolution and natural selection can be summarized in three short words: β€œLife is games.” In any game, the object is to winβ€”be that defined as leaving the most genes in the next generation, getting the best grade on a midterm, or successfully inculcating critical thinking into your students. An entire field of study, Game Theory, is devoted to mathematically describing the games that nature plays.Β  Games can determine why ant colonies do what they do, how viruses evolve to exploit hosts, or how human societies organize and function.

j0289307Most of my life, I’ve been learning to compete – be first in my class, get the boy, win the race, get the promotion, get to the next red light first.

So how do you reconcile that with sharing a life? Giving the bigger slice of pizza to him, taking turns to pick the movie, telling her she’s beautiful when she’s sick.

After 23 years of marriage (can you believe we hit that mark next week?!), I’ll tell you what I’ve learned. The key to a happy and successful marriage is to have fun. So if evolutionary biology suggests that “life is games,” I can assure you that making the marriage game fun is the way to win. Winning, in this case, means making it to the “till death do us part” finish line without resorting to cheats like murder or suicide. πŸ˜‰

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that maybe you’d find some of my marriage stories fun and funny. I’ve published articles before that revolve around our married life, and the new superhero series I’m writing –Β The Adventures of Lewis and Clarke – is about how two people with two totally different lives learn to braid them together.

So starting next week, I’m introducing a new column on Mondays – Marriage Madness. Sets just the right tone, don’t you think? My dual goals will be to make you laugh and make you think that maybe marriage isn’t such a bad thing. πŸ˜›

Meanwhile, I think you should read the article on Game Theory. It might open your eyes to how life is operating around you. Maybe even make you think about making some changes to the way you’re playing.

How I Became a Romance Writer

Yesterday, I guest blogged on my friend Louisa Bacio’s site*. I wrote a piece called How Hotel Sex Turned Me Into a Romantic Comedy Writer. It was so fun to write! If you’re not offended by a little risque talk (my stories are pretty “sweet” so my idea of risque is still pretty tame), I think you’ll like my piece. πŸ™‚

With so many friends commenting on that blog, and since I wrote a little about my honeymoon in the post, I though you might enjoy these pictures. John and I got married in 1990, so we don’t have any digital pictures. (I should have some made, shouldn’t I, just in case something happens to the originals.)

But my sister Bonnie found my mom’s wedding dress – my wedding dress, too! – when she was cleaning out Mom’s house. This is just a snapshot in the living room, I didn’t try to make it look awesome. I was just so surprised when I opened the box that I told John, “Oh, oh! Take my picture! It’s my wedding dress!” LOL!

The bodice is soooo lovely!

The bodice is soooo lovely!

There are little bits of the softest lace ever - some on the hips, some down the sides.

There are little bits of the softest lace ever – some on the hips, some down the sides.

Mom's wedding doll.

Mom’s wedding doll.

I think my parents got married in 1956 or so. As I understand it, Mom’s parents bought the lovely dress and gave her the doll. (You don’t realize how many stories you should’ve written down until it’s too late to ask anymore.) Then my dad’s sister also wore the dress.

It was packed away, as so many wedding dresses are, with the hopes that a daughter would one day wear it. But those girls in the 1950s were way more careful with their figures! LOL! My two sisters picked out their own wedding dresses, and Aunt Nancy didn’t have any children.

When John and I got engaged, I asked to try on Mom’s dress. I think all three of us girls had tried it on for fun when we were around 12, but would it fit me as an adult? Well…let me just say that I’ve never dieted so much in my life! LOL! We took it to a seamstress who let out every conceivable seam she could. (Mom had it taken in a few times before she got married because, she said, she was so nervous she couldn’t eat.)

With the help of a strong corset, I made it! LOL! The only problem I had was that I ripped one of the sleeves in the receiving line. All of that hugging. πŸ™‚

I’m so excited to have my dress back! (Mom was storing it for me.) I told John when I was twirling around, “I wonder if I can lose enough weight before our 25th anniversary so I can wear it just for a few minutes at our party.” He just groaned and shook his head.

But two years and six weeks from now I expect to be having a BIG party! And just maybe I’ll be able to wear the dress for a few minutes. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the gym.

*If you go to Louisa’s blog, be aware that her books are of a much hotter variety than mine. If that might bother you, either don’t visit, or just stay on the page where my guest blog is. That’s the page I linked to. πŸ™‚