Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Romance Style

By: Christina Wolfer

Twas the night before Christmas with a silk teddy draped over the chair
She put on the last of her makeup and ran her fingers through her hair.
The stockings were snapped to the garter with care,
In hopes that her hero soon would be there.

Into the teddy, she slid with delight,
And checking the mirror knew it looked just right.
With tiny lace straps and in the color of red,
Instead of waiting by the fireplace she chose to wait on the bed.

Soft candle light flickered as her internal flame burned.
Every nerve ending pulsed and her stomach churned.
He was all that she wanted and wished for tonight.
She had only this moment to get everything right.

And then to her wondering eyes he did appear
She could see by the look, his desire was clear.
Oh, how handsome, tall, dark and rough,
She knew in a moment, one night would not be enough.

He strode to the bed, trailed a finger down her face,
Then continued on down to touch the silk and the lace.
He said not a word as he let his hands roam.
She drew in a breath and let it out on a moan.

He lay down beside her, so lively and quick,
He took her to heaven, for he knew every trick.
More rapid than eagles, he too then came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called her by name!

She lay quietly beside him, waiting to hear,
The words “I love you”, she waited in fear.
For every good romance must have a great plot.
And in the tangled story the heroin got caught.

For in the beginning, she thought what a jerk,
But as the story moved forward, his charm it did work.
They worked through the conflict, both internal and out.
And then, in a twinkling, she fell in love no doubt.

But now at the end, as Christmas morning drew near
Only one thing remained she needed made clear.
And she pondered and wondered as she stared at the wall,
Did he feel the same thing or nothing at all?

She started to speak, but he stopped her in stride
His eyes – how they twinkled – his mirth he could not hide.
He kissed her mouth roughly, then kissed her once more
As he reached for his pants that lie on the floor.

And out of his pocket, our hero did take,
A shiny, bright diamond and it wasn’t a fake.
He held it out for the heroine, who smiled with glee
For all of her wishes this Christmas had come to be.

“I love you,” he said as his sexy lips drew up like a bow.
Outside in the beautiful Christmas morn, it began to snow.
And all was complete, wrapped up neat and tight
They heard in the distance “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Family You Choose

You've probably heard it before. It’s the new slogan used by American Family Insurance and a slogan we can all relate to. We all have the family we’re born into and in which we have no choice. But then there are those we’ve chosen to have a part of our family – the family we choose.

But before I get to the family I choose, I have to talk about the one I didn’t. Of course, I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. I love them dearly, count on them endlessly. My mom and my niece are two of my best friends. I didn’t choose them, thankfully I didn’t have to, but I’m thankful for their presence in my life.

Realistically, there is some choosing when it comes to the family we had no choice in because we choose how much they are a part of our lives. And some of us may have family members we choose to have no connection with at all.

Then there’s the spouse, and this is probably the biggest decision any of us will make when it comes to family. And in choosing a spouse, you usually get other family members – the in-laws. For me, it included a step-son that I would proudly call a son and having been raised with all brothers, it also included a couple of sister-in-laws that I’d gladly call sister.

But I think what the theme really refers to is those people who aren’t always a daily part of your life, but people you know will be there when you need them – just like your family. These are the people who bend over backwards to lend a helping hand, whether its physical help or emotional support.

Family, both the chosen and not chosen, is about a support system and most of us have more than one support system.

My first experience with the “family you choose” came when I was sixteen and I helped a classmate with a problem after a prom dance. Helping this person turned into a friendship that has lasted twenty-five years. Even after that first meeting, if it hadn’t been for Keri’s outgoing personality, we would never have become such good friends. But she sought me out in school the next week and we’ve stuck together ever since. We’ve been through so much together. For me she is the sister I never had, she is family and I feel that I am a part of her family.

More recently the family circle has begun to expand to a group of ladies whose support is invaluable. While these ladies are fairly new to me, it’s amazing how quickly you connect with people when they share the same passion, when they understand, like no one can, what it means to complete a manuscript, to have a story run away with you, to fall in love with your characters, to get the request and the rejection. For a writer, even our characters become the family we choose for a short time, maybe some even stick with us forever.

The absence of any one person above could have easily changed the direction of my life. Some in major ways, others in small, but ultimately changed.

Tell me about the “family you choose”.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Superior Scribbler Award

Thank you, Becke Martin aka Becke Davis, for honoring me with the Superior Scribbler Award. You can visit Becke at http://the-garden-muse.blogspot.com/ or http://www.beckemartin.com/.

Want to find out more about the Superior Scribbler Award visit http://scholastic-scribe.blogspot.com/.

There are rules for accepting this award and they are as follows:

1. Pass the award on to 5 other authors/bloggers.

2. Link to the author & name of the person/blog from who you received the award from.

3. Display the award on your blog and link to http://scholastic-scribe.blogspot.com/2008/10/200-this-blings-for-you.html, which explains the award.

4. Each winner of the award must visit the above link and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky list.

5. Each winner must post these rules on his/her post.

Unfortunately, Becke gave this award to most of the bloggers I know, so I only have one winner to name:
Christine Glover

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Does No Sex Still = A Good Romance Novel?

It was mentioned several times at the RWA National Conference and in several articles written in the weeks that followed - Romance novels aren't just about sex. The perception is changing and the old term “smut” books isn’t used like it once was.

But the majority of romance novels contain several scenes where the heroine and hero have sex or make love.

I just finished the first draft of my third book, “Emotional Warfare.” It wasn’t until the twelfth chapter, out of an anticipated fifteen, that I realized not only had my hero and heroine not had sex, they weren’t going to by the end of the book. There wasn’t going to be an opportunity, and it didn’t suit their personalities to force an opportunity. Oh, there’s plenty of sexual tension, but they don't lose complete control or give in to their desire for each other. At the end you know they will, but it will all be in your imagination.

Technically, I know the answer is yes, it can still be a good romance novel without the love scene. But what do you think? Does it matter to you if the hero and heroine don’t make love? Does the story lose something for you if they don’t consummate their relationship?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is 40 the new 20?

Oh yeah, I’m liking the sound of that having just turned 41, but I have to admit that turning 40 last year hit me differently than I expected. More on that later. I’ve been hearing this term more and more, and even Andy Rooney had something to say about women in their forty’s, which I’ll post below.

Then I saw a commercial for “Cougar Town”, a weekly sitcom premiering this fall on ABC starring Courtney Cox. She’s a recently divorced, forty-year-old woman wondering what the hell has happened to her body. Noticing how her forty something hot, male neighbor is running hot, younger women through his door like a Kings Island turnstile, she decides to take a gander at the younger male. Anyway, Jules, played by Courtney Cox, struggles with turning forty, her body image, and dating younger men. Give me a break, at least pick an actress who we could believe would struggle with her body image.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to be twenty. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have the really tight butt again, and I wish there wasn’t loose jiggle under my arms when I held them out, but does it bother me enough to change it – which I could with exercise – no. I still eat my nutty bars, Dairy Queen Blizzards on occasion and sit my pretty nice, but not so tight, butt on the couch most nights and write or read or watch television.

I like being forty, okay for forty-one. But last year, the night before my fortieth birthday, I was sitting on my couch next to my husband and burst into tears. I’d felt it building for a couple days, but didn’t quite understand why. I’m not a crier, nor has age ever bothered me, so it came as a shock to me, and my husband, that I was getting so emotional. I still can’t explain it. I guess I thought the wrinkle ferry was going to strike at midnight of my birthday or something. But I woke up the next day with no changes to my appearance and the thought of being forty never bothered me again, neither did turning forty-one.

I like the confidence I have now, which I lacked in my twenty’s. Recently, I’ve even gotten good at confrontation, something I avoided short of jumping off a cliff before. I don't have a problem telling people what I think or feel, and I’m okay if they don’t agree as long as they treat me with respect. I understand that happiness, strength, peace and beauty come from within and nothing outside of our being can give that to us. Everything outside of ourselves that adds to what is within is just icing on the cake. I think these realizations take years of building and isn’t the result of turning forty, but of all the years leading up to forty. It’s just a good place to be.

AC Associated Content put out the top 10 things women resolve to do when they turn forty.

1. Schedule a mammogram and Pap smear – no thanks, I seriously doubt they’d be able to grab enough to reach the machine and then I’m afraid the skin would never go back to its original shape.
2. Get your financial house in order – I recommend you do this before forty.
3. Lose weight – happy to say I did this one and have lost 22 pounds since March.
4. Stop smoking – better advice, don’t ever start.
5. Get clutter under control – done.
6. Eat dinner together – I assume they mean the family, but I’d like to add eating dinner with my female friends goes a long way in my forty something happiness.
7. Learn something new – Blogging is pretty new to me.
8. Learn to say no – I learned that when I was two and still do it pretty well.
9. Give back – this one I could use to work on.
10. Become a “glass-full” person – yeah, got that one taken care of.

And now for Andy Rooney’s take on women in their forty’s:

As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting. Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!

Tell me what you think, is forty the new twenty?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Chest Collection

Obviously, we're not talking about the wooden square boxes used for storage. No, we're talking about men and their fabulous bodies gracing the covers of many romance novels. The pictures above and below are courtesy of two of my writing friends: Rosie Murphy w/a Gabriella Edwards and Becke Martin. Rosie started the collection and Becke began posting them on her site. I couldn't resist getting involved. They've been generous in letting me use a few of their favorites for the purpose of this post.

We all have different tastes in the type of stories we like to read. The same holds true in our taste for the looks of our hero. We have preferrences we instinctively gravitate toward whether its blondes, baby faces, or tall, dark and handsome. When it comes to the look and feel of our leading man's chest, well, the differences continue. We go to extremes, liking the smooth and hairless to the furry bear like types. Personally, I like a light sprinkle of hair running across the chest, down the center, playing around the belly button and leading south. I'll pick tall, dark and ruggedly handsome every time.

Jenny Crusie said in a workshop at this years RWA Conference that we don't need to describe our characters in great detail because the reader sees in her/his mind their own version of the character. This is so true, I do this more with the hero, inserting my preferrences. The author can tell me he's blonde and slender, but you better believe in my mind I'm beefing him up and putting dark hair on his head and chest.

So, tell me your preferences. When reading a good romance novel what image is in your head of the hero you and the heroine are falling in love with? Take time to enjoy the pictures and then tell me about your hero, whether he's your real life hero or the leading man in your favorite novel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Experiencing it for the first time.

My travel partner, Rosie, put it perfectly when she cheerfully sang to her roommate (not me thankfully) early one morning “I've had the time of my life” from the movie Dirty Dancing. She was describing her experience to date at the 2009 Romance Writers of America National Conference in Washington, D.C. Obviously, her roommate was disappointed when Patrick Swayze wasn’t in the room when she opened her eyes after only the typical 3 to 4 hours of sleep – who could blame her.

As a first timer to the conference it was an experience and opportunity beyond anything I could have imagined. I am grateful to the RWA staff and the many volunteers who orchestrated such a fabulous event. It was nothing short of the Oscars for writers. I also want to give special shout out to those experienced members of the Ohio Valley RWA chapter for preparing me so well to take this journey.

When it comes my time to attend this annual celebration as a published author, I will remember the way I was treated by so many of the published authors I met. Their willingness to share their experiences, their struggles and successes, was priceless. I came away with the hope and belief that I too will succeed. I will pay this generosity forward.

As we made our way home Sunday, exhausted and motivated, my travel partner and I tried to pinpoint our favorite part or moment of the trip. We couldn't. There were things that stood out of course – meeting an agent in the lounge and getting to give an impromptu pitch, the PRO workshop, and meeting fabulous people, both published and unpublished, ranked right up there as top favorites, but there was so much gained by everything we encountered. The speeches given by keynote speakers and those accepting Rita and Golden Heart awards made us laugh and brought us to tears.

There are stories we will tell for years to come, as well as memories and friends that will remain with us for a life time. I know that no matter how many RWA conferences I attend in the future none will ever be as special as this first time. We, the first timers from OVRWA, are no longer virgins. We have learned on our journey that we are or have become promiscuous readers.

So, what was your first time like?

Um, I mean to an RWA conference. If you haven't been to an RWA conference, is there an event, a person or anything that made a major impression on you or influenced your writing career?