This week I've been celebrating the release of my romantic suspense novel "Prisoner of Love" by guest blogging with various authors. Today I'm appearing on best selling author Rebecca Zanetti's blog. My topic is my most romantic date...Ever! I hope you'll drop by to see just where and what that date was, and how it managed to curl my toes! http://rebeccazanetti.com/my-most-romantic-date-ever/
The rest of this week I'm blog hopping. Today I'm on Entangled's blog discussing the worst pick-up line I've ever heard. Here's the link so you can laugh along with me! http://www.entangledinromance.com/?p=18054
Then visit Nancy Fraser's blog to get in the know of some of my secrets. http://nancyfraser.ca/wordpress/?p=1063
I look forward to hearing from you!
I love Halloween. I love the little children in their costumes, ringing my doorbell and shouting “Trick or Treat!” when I open the door. I love the color orange that goes with Halloween, the pumpkins and the various decorations that people display in their yards. And I love the candy(Three Musketeers rock any Halloween stash!).
When I was little I loved trick-or-treating. My sister and I would go out with hordes of neighborhood kids, running from house to house, never heeding our parents’ calls to “slow down.” We kept up with the other children, making sure we didn’t get short-changed in the candy haul.
As I got older, trick-or-treating morphed into Halloween parties and school dances. And even later when I became a teacher we were still allowed to celebrate the holiday in school, so the other English teachers and I dressed up. I remember being Elvira, with a modified neckline, of course (does anyone still remember her? I’m sure the men do!). One time I left work and went straight for a doctor’s appointment in my costume. I have never forgotten the look on that man’s face when he walked into the exam room and saw me in my Elvira costume. I bet he didn’t forget, either.
After I got married and my husband and I had children of our own, the cycle repeated itself. We chased our sons through the neighborhoods, admonishing them to “Slow down!” even though they never listened. We watched them plan their own costumes, some of them totally awesome while others were epic fails (think a mummy made out of unwinding toilet paper!).
Nowadays our sons are grown, though they still live with us, but that’s a subject for another blog post. They love this holiday like I do. They love it when I bring out the Halloween decorations and place them around the house. They ask where the Halloween cookies are. You know, the sugar cookies with the ghost or pumpkin in the center that you bake and pretend are homemade? Of course, my sons can hold five or six of those little delicacies in the palm of one hand, but that’s kind of the point. They’ve grown up, but the holiday still lives inside them.
Instead of trick-or-treating, now they go to theme parks that have scary parties. They go to restaurants or (yikes!) bars that have adult parties with adult costumes. These days the words “Trick or Treat!” take on a whole new meaning for an old-fashioned mom.
But even with the twenty-first century worries that can plague a parent of young adult children, I still enjoy Halloween. I still put out the decorations that I’ve had since they were little, and I delight in the tiny smiles of satisfaction I spy on their grown-up faces. And I can barely refrain from dancing a jig when my oldest son asks me if I bought the orange and chocolate candies from the local candy store, the candies his grandma bought every year and the ones I continue to buy since her passing seven years ago.
It’s those little instances, those encapsulated flashes of time that underscore the importance of holidays throughout our lives. No matter how old we get, when we see a carved pumpkin or a toddler with a sheet over his head, our mind casts us back into our own pasts, allowing us to relive the true moments that matter. The moments with our family.
Now, go out and make your own happy moments. Happy Halloween!
Twas the day of release for Prisoner of Love
And the author was praying to the powers above
That her baby would travel to the ends of the earth
In hopes that it showed its potential and worth.
The book was all primed and ready to sell
Awaiting the chime of the midnight bell.
That sound would herald the buying phase
As well as the visions of cash it would raise.
While readers all snuggled in late for a snooze,
This author and others awaited reviews.
West coast or east coast, it mattered not.
Adulation was what every one of us sought.
The wait was interminable, the anxiety high
Not a sound could be heard; not even a sigh.
When what to my frazzled brain did appear,
The memories of what had gotten me here.
The desire to write I’d always held close
A fierce longing, not evident to most.
As years went by I buried the thoughts
Until they burst forth, a multitude of plots!
Now mystery, now romance, now murder and love
On action, on humor, there’s never enough!
To paper, to laptop, the words they all flowed
The ideas I conjured a quilt to be sewed.
Like random musings my writing resembled
Nothing expressive, more apt to be fumbled.
But then in a twinkling Jake and Lucy appeared
Their chemistry so hot my thoughts they did sear.
They argued, they fought; they cried and they swore.
And all I could do was write more, more, MORE!
At last the story was finished; complete.
The readers on Wattpad exclaimed “What a feat!”
And then my family also gathered around;
“You should send it out now, Mom, for fame to be found.”
With lack of confidence I hoped in my heart
That a beloved writing career would very soon start.
To this publisher; that publisher, my little book went
Until Entangled was the one I finally sent.
And now two years later with numerous edits,
Prisoner of Love awaits its possible credits.
At last it’s official, the wireless world awaits
The debut of what only I could create.
But before its fate is finally told
Happy Release Day to me! May many books now be sold!
(Prisoner of Love is now available; buy links are below)
Have you ever felt helpless? That you couldn’t control what was happening in your immediate vicinity, either in your personal life or in your loved ones’ lives? Where you know what needs to be done, and your entire being itches to take over, but something physically keeps you from doing so? I have, and often, I’m sorry to say. And it’s the most hopeless feeling in the world.
For example, when my son got hit in the mouth with a baseball at the age of fourteen, I was helpless to stop it. He was playing first base, and the runner bumped him so that he shifted his stance while waiting for the ball to come to him. That altered position was just enough for him to miss the catch. The ball slammed into his face. He went down like a rock.
Luckily my husband was also there. We raced him to the dentist, who began shifting all the loose teeth back into place. We were later told that his braces were what kept them from being knocked out. And the whole time I was a blubbering mess. All I could see was my baby (who topped me by about four inches already) in excruciating pain. I knew I had to do something, anything. Through my tears (yes, I’m a crier), I pulled myself together enough to call around until the emergency dentist met us at his office. Our quick action, and the braces, are what saved his teeth. Nearly ten years later and he still hasn’t had any repercussions.
Another helpless moment was when it came time to put each of our dogs down. Our first dog, Princess, lived to be thirteen. She developed arthritis, and that type of medication wasn’t readily available for dogs then. Unable to watch her in pain, I cried buckets when I had to say goodbye to her. I felt so helpless, and unable to make her whole again. I couldn’t do anything but tell her I loved her and say goodbye. The same went for our male Sheltie, when he developed Lymphoma at twelve years of age. It is sad that animals have such short lifetimes, yet they give us triple the amount of love.
This same feeling of helplessness can transfer into fiction, where it perhaps can illustrate to readers more clearly how it feels to be in a hopeless situation. How often have we read a scene of such emotional desolation that we were actually relieved not to be in that book? Reading about someone else’s powerlessness can aid us in putting our problems in perspective, or it can give us an inkling on how to/how not to react.
In Prisoner of Love, my debut romance novel, the heroine is kidnapped by Jake Dalton. He forces her by knifepoint to take him where he wants to go, and she has no way of escaping, even though she makes attempts to do so. She’s paralyzed by fear, yet she makes at least three escape attempts before subsiding. For the moment. She doesn’t accept her fate.
Throughout the book, her mind is always working, accepting or rejecting different avenues or actions. She may not like the results of her decisions, she may cry (she’s like me, after all!), but she refuses to be helpless. It’s a trait to which we can all relate, and which I tried to illustrate: there’s a way out of every predicament, if only we think on it hard enough.
I hate being helpless, boxed into a corner, where every decision seems to lead to a bad outcome. But continuing to find solutions makes a person (and a fiction character) strong. Not accepting one’s fate blindly is the only way people can maintain their independence, even against insurmountable odds.
I started wearing glasses when I was eight years old, when Nehru jackets were cool, baby, and The Beatles were becoming hot. I remember moving from (at the time) rural Bakersfield down to southern California, where my second grade teacher eventually caught me squinting at the chalkboard (yes, chalk, not dry erase markers).
I cried when I was told I needed glasses. Well, I cried a lot when I was little, probably the aftereffects of moving to a new place. But I got the hippest pair of blue, cat eye glasses a second-grader could have. I loved being able to see and not have to sit in the front row in the classroom anymore. Until one day a big fourth grade boy called me “Four Eyes” on the playground, which made me cry, which then had me dubbed as a crybaby…You get the picture, right? In 20/20 Technicolor?
I grew up in a time when different did not mean better. The glasses set me apart, and, while many children and adults were kind and positive about my transformation, still others were not. Four Eyes, bookworm, nerd… all those unkind labels became part and parcel of my adolescence. It was a well-known adage back then that “women(or girls) with glasses seldom get passes” (hence the title to this piece).
When I turned fifteen, contact lenses were the rage. They’d been around before then, but my vision changed so much year to year that I was advised to wait until my teens before I could trade in my frames for contacts. I could hardly wait.
I got my first pair of soft contacts that summer, and it was an instant love affair. When I started high school that fall, no one knew who I was! After all, I’d been stuck behind Coke bottle lenses and braces for far too long. I was an immediate success. I got my first date that October, to Homecoming, and the rest of my high school years were a blur of social engagements and good grades. The ugly duckling (or so I thought) had turned into a swan, and all because of two little circular lenses.
My contacts were my constant companion throughout my dating career. I only wore my glasses at home. I dated a lot, and was sure it had to do with my less studious appearance. Remember, “girls with glasses…” You know the saying by now. It was only after I was safely married to a man who loved me “warts and all” (and still does), that I at last began to admit that my eyes were too dry to comfortably wear contacts. I returned to my glasses and haven’t regretted it.
The point I’m trying to make is this: be comfortable in who you are. It’s a hard lesson to learn, and I’m still learning it. If you like and can wear contact lenses, more power to you. But if you are only wearing them to impress people, at the expense of your personal comfort, think again. Chasing that Holy Grail of perfection only leads to dissatisfaction; I know. If you are happy and satisfied with yourself, that outlook transfers into everything you do. And people react to it positively.
Society does judge us by superficial appearances. I could be the best English teacher in California, but I still can’t walk into a classroom in my muumuu and gardening clogs and expect to teach. So, yes, looks do matter according to certain situations. But not at the expense of our psyche and comfort.
In my book, Prisoner of Love, the main character, Lucy, judges herself by society’s standards and comes up short. She wears glasses and is about ten pounds overweight. When sexy Jake Dalton shows an interest in her, she can’t believe it. After all, hot-looking guys like him have always passed right by her. She’s been programmed to accept her lot in life, and it’s painful to see how she accepts that image the general public has placed on her. How she grows and comes out of that debilitating shell is a big part of this romance novel.
“Women in glasses never get passes” is an outdated adage that doesn’t hold true nowadays, thank goodness. If it ever did. Most people look past the superficial trappings to see the real person underneath. But if even one person still believes the myth, our work isn’t done. Our children’s future, and their world’s future, depends on the judgment of deeds, and not appearances. Only then can there be true equality.
Just starting out in this writing process. It takes over a person's life. After all, there are no set hours, no specific place to go, no definitive wardrobe. But the worlds you can visit? They make up for everything!