Monthly Archives: July 2012

Why All The Romance?

I’ve never really considered the reasons why I write what I write. I didn’t grow up thinking, hey, one day, I’m going to write romance and only romance. And I don’t just write romance. I may not post it all where you can see it, or submit for publication, but I do write many different kinds of stories. I always have. In fact, more than anything, I grew up writing fantasy stories. When I was younger, these would have, of course, been considered young adult fantasy, but that was just what I most enjoyed writing. I used to think that I could just create a world and not have to follow any rules except the ones I made myself. That turned out to be more complicated than I’d thought. It hasn’t stopped me from writing in that genre but I just make sure now to take careful notes of my ‘rules’.

When it comes to romance, and especially the stuff I write for Lit, it all started as an experiment to see if I could write something that could compete with what I read on there before. I’d been a reader of the site for some years before posting my first offerings. Let me check… I was a reader starting in 2003, I think. Then I became a member in December of 2006, posting my first story – no longer available on-line – in January of 2007. Since then, I’ve never really looked back. πŸ™‚

Now, moving forward, most things I try my hand at always have a romantic theme to them. It may not be foremost in the story, like in “Body of Water,” but I still feel the need to include it. I don’t know why that is exactly. It’s not because of some lack of romance in my own life, though I hate that misconception about romance writers. I’ve heard that often, that some think we write within that theme because we’re lonely or unromanced in our personal lives. That’s like saying James Patterson only writes murder mysteries because he’s a serial killer in his spare time. No one thinks or says that about those kinds of genres, so why is that the assumption with romance authors???

Sorry, went off on a tangent there. Where was I? Oh yes. I don’t personally write romance because it’s not a part of my own life. I also don’t write it because I feel that I’m a romantic person by nature. I’ve said before how I can view something or hear a story and acknowledge that it’s romantic, but until recently in my life, I’d never gone all gooey at the thought of certain gestures. I also don’t feel the need to write romance or sex scenes just to see if I can. I used to, as I mentioned above, but the challenge has changed to including those things in genres I haven’t touched on before. That’s also something I’ve mentioned before.

Regardless of whether I’m trying something new or not, I do seem to feel the need to include romance or a romantic relationship of some sort in all my work now. Why is that? I don’t know for sure. There are a few different reasons I suppose.

One, because it is such a part of our every day lives. If you’re in a relationship, it’s important to you. If you’re not in a relationship, you’re either defending why you’re not or wishing you were in one. You’re thinking about how to meet someone, or wondering if you can set up your single friends with someone. You wonder how that person could be attracted to that one, or how you could spice up your relationship if it feels that it’s gone stale. Maybe not everyone has romance or relationships on their mind all the time – life does go on! – but you can’t deny that it’s not there, that it’s not a presence in every day life, as I said.

Two, I write within that overall theme because it’s fun. It’s fun to describe first impressions, good or bad. It’s fun to have a couple dance around each other, tease and flirt, and get all worked up about that first kiss, touch and… all the rest. πŸ˜‰ And it’s definitely fun to throw a wrench into things just to see how they react. Why else would I write something if I didn’t get some enjoyment out of it, right?

Three, it is still a challenge to write romance and all that goes along with it. I think I’ve covered this before but it doesn’t hurt to say it again. It’s challenging to write what is basically the same story over and over again and make it sound fresh and new and exciting every time. It’s difficult to convey feelings of attraction and frustration in a way that hasn’t been expressed before and it’s definitely a new challenge every time I have to hook the couple up in bed for the first, second, third and whatever times. You try it. Try it just two or three times and let me know how you do. I struggle every time I start something new, no matter the genre or story-line. Maybe it’s my own fault, because I’ve posted so much up to now. At this point, I’m going to repeat one thing or another from some story I’ve written before. Not intentionally but it’s just a fact. My brain can only compute so many synonyms for sex and my thesaurus is finite. πŸ˜‰

I guess, looking back on this, I don’t have a clear answer for why I write romantic stories. I like them. I like to read them and create them. For now, that’s enough to get me motivated.

I’ll leave you now so I can get back to writing one!

Take care and happy reading.

1 Comment

Filed under Free Stories, Writing

It’s Complicated

I’ve joked in my stories sometimes about the stereotypical differences between men and women. You might remember some of the bits I’ve written about it. Women talk about their feelings and men talk about sweat and sports. πŸ˜‰ Women require seduction and attention. Men are much more simple creatures. Well, not simple… Oh, you know what I mean.I recently saw this picture/poster that someone had posted on their facebook page and it reminded me of all the differences between men and women. It also made me wonder, are women really guilty of needing so much from their men, while giving next to nothing – or so it is implied – in return? I like to think I’m more giving than that, and I sure hope I don’t write my women that needy. But then again, is it really all that needy?

Let’s break this down:

1. When she pulls away, pull her back.

Well, sure. Unless she’s pissed at you, in which case you’re just as likely to get mauled as hugged in return. πŸ™‚

2. When you see her crying, just hold her and don’t say a word.

Hmm. I sort of agree. At the same time, I’d sure love it if my guy could also make me stop crying. Which he does. He’s awesome that way. πŸ™‚

3. When you see her walking, sneak up and hug her waist from behind.

I like this move. I would think most men in love would. Maybe that’s the trick, isn’t it?

4. When she’s scared, protect her.

Oh yeah. Again, my guy does a great job with this too. Especially at scary movies. πŸ˜€

5. When she steals your favorite hoodie, let her wear it.

Not sure I agree with this one. It’s yours. Let her wear it around the house but hey, if you need it to go out, then take it back. Tricky though. Very tricky. You’re kind of on your own with that one.

6. When she says that she loves you, she really does mean it.

Duh.

7. When she grabs at your hands, hold hers and play with her fingers.

Oh yes. Bit o’ foreplay there, I’d guess. πŸ˜‰

8. When she tells you a secret, keep it safe and untold.

Uh, doesn’t that go without saying for anyone telling you any secret. Otherwise, why would anyone trust you, right?

9. When she looks at you in your eyes, don’t look away until she does.

I don’t know about that. It’s nice to have the eye contact but if he looks away, it doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Maybe he’s just moving his gaze to other… Parts of you that he likes.

10. She she’s mad, hug her tight and don’t let go.

Well, again, this depends on whether or not she’s mad at you. For my part, if I’m ticked at my guy, I would rather not cuddle. That’s not to say I want to shut him out but sometimes it takes more than a hug to make up for what’s made me mad.

11. When she says she’s OK, don’t believe it.

Or you know, believe it, because I’d like to think most women say what they mean. The word you want to worry about is ‘fine.’ πŸ˜‰

12. Treat her like she’s all that matters to you.

All right. Can’t really argue with this one. But she should also be doing the same thing.

13. Kiss her in the pouring rain.

Sure. If it’s raining, and you’re close enough to home or somewhere that you can change out of your wet clothes soon. Otherwise you just both end up with a cold. πŸ™‚

14. When she runs up to you crying, the first thing you say is: “Whose butt am I kicking?”

Definitely. SO hot.

All right, looking back, it seems I’m medium-level complicated, judging by this measure. Take a look through the list and let me know if you agree or disagree.

Of course, this is just me, and this is a very narrow look at women’s preferences. And anyway, so many times, you hear stories about women complaining that their guy didn’t get them what they wanted for birthday or Christmas, or didn’t realize they wanted a surprise Valentine’s Day dinner. Or they didn’t know they wanted a back rub or wanted to see that new comedy instead of the action flick. All that goes through my mind is, did you tell him these things? I mean, men aren’t mind readers.

In the end, it makes me feel sorry for men. Women really do expect a lot from their men. We do want someone to stand with us, beside us, supporting us, comforting us, being strong for us when we need it, being soft (you know what I mean, pervs!) when we want it. We want a gentleman and a bad boy, we want a stable figure and a spontaneous man, we want romance and independence and so much more. Poor men. No wonder you have no idea what’s wrong sometimes.

Back to making this fit into my stories, I said above that I hope I don’t write my women as needing all this from their men, without telling them. I like to think I write my women as strong enough characters to speak their minds and not be afraid to tell their men when they need their space. I also try to write them with some flaws and insecurities so the men still feel like they’re needed. πŸ™‚ I’m kidding! What would romance be without the drama anyway?

It’s fun to talk about the differences between men and women, because we are different. Some women do expect their men to know automatically that they need all these different things and some men just know what their women need. Other women aren’t afraid to say what they want and some men need that. I write about all different kinds of people and the differences between us make it easy for me to come up with new and twisted characters all the time!

I suppose, in summary, the average woman just wants a man who will care about them and be committed. Men, I imagine, want the same thing. The trick is to tell each other about it.

Until next time, take care and happy reading!

2 Comments

Filed under Writing

The Wild West

It looks like summer has officially arrived here. Perfect timing, as the Calgary Stampede is underway now and for the next week. I know I’ve written about the Stampede before, but this year is special. This year, the Stampede is 100 years old. That’s right. It started as a much smaller event 100 years ago and today it’s bigger, better, more controversial, and still the biggest party in Canada at this time of year.

Due to work and my busy schedule this summer, this weekend would have been my only opportunity to attend the Stampede. However, I opted out this year. It’s a big party, and the rodeo is SO much fun, but it’s also expensive, we’re in the midst of our first real heat wave of the summer – not my favourite time, as you may recall – and actually, the rodeo is sold out. You can’t even get tickets to the rodeo or chuckwagon races now. If I’d planned ahead, I would have purchased rodeo tickets but oh well. There’s always next year. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I started to think about all the things that may have changed in this city, and for the Stampede, over the past one hundred years. Back in 1912, Alberta was a new province and most of the economy was dependent on farming and ranching. Oil wasn’t a huge part of the industry in Alberta at that point. Calgary was home to a small contingent of businesses and ranch settlements.

I’m looking at a picture of Calgary right now, circa 1885, and there are a few buildings, mostly homes, and what looks like a church in one spot. Having only lived in Calgary since 1992, it’s hard for me to imagine that it was once contained in such a small area. So much has changed in 100 hundred years. I know, that should go without saying but when you think of all the progress and technology that has been born in the past century, it’s strange to think of how we all once got along out here with a few horses, farm animals and a growing railway.

There’s something so romantic about the old West, isn’t there? Sure there is, it’s why that genre of romance remains one of the most popular in the reading/book industry today. Even stories about modern-day cowboys and cowgirls are wildly popular. πŸ™‚ For my part, I prefer other genres of romance, as you know, but I do enjoy thinking about what it might have been like to live in those golden olden days.

I remember being younger, loving horses and ponies, and wishing we could live on a farm. I recall one day telling my mom wouldn’t it be nice to live like they did in the old days, with no cars, and no pollution? She said, sure. But there’d also be no electricity, no heated and insulated homes, no running water, no garbage service, no health care, etc, etc. I reconsidered and decided having warm running water was a benefit I’d miss greatly.

On the other hand, there would be no pollution, more natural eating choices, a greater sense of community, a closeness to family and neighbours that is missing these days, it seems. There was an overall simplicity to life back then that I can appreciate, however hard the days might have been and how cold the winters. Perhaps it’s why I enjoy living outside the city now.

Of course, if I had no electricity, that means no internet and no computer and no writing. πŸ˜‰ I could write long-hand, just like I used to when I was younger but that would definitely mean less writing overall. I’d be too busy cutting wood, hauling water from the well, tending the garden, baking biscuits and prepping the side of beef for cutting into portions. πŸ˜€

I’ve gone off on a bit of tangent here, but I’m sure you’re all used to that by now. I’ve never lived anywhere but in a city – until recently – and as much as I love the idea and romance of living in the Old West, there were certainly a lot of problems and troubles to the era that we often forget about or fail to mention when reminiscing. Disease, lawlessness, deadly heat and cold. Hmm. Then again, we do have disease today, and different degrees of lawlessness, and isn’t a large portion of the US suffering from one of the deadliest heat waves in recent history? Maybe the Wild West hasn’t changed all that much after all.

For now, I’ll leave you with a friendly reminder that if you’re Stampeding this week, to be safe and smart. If you’re elsewhere in the world, try to stay cool and drink lots of water. Or stay warm and read a good book inside, if you’re able. Maybe something about the Old West, with rugged cowboys and dainty damsels. πŸ˜‰

As always, take care and happy reading!

And… YA-HOO!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy Birthday, Canada!

I don’t have much to say today, except Happy Birthday Canada. Today is July 1st, once it had been known as Dominion Day, and Canada is now 145 years old. Not old by a country’s standards but not too young either.

Here are some facts about Canada, some not terribly boring. πŸ˜‰

It is the second largest country in the world and home to the geographical and magnetic North Poles.

Our population is just shy of 35 million. According to Wikipedia, that’s a population density of 3.41 per square km. Hmm. A whole lot of open space, I’d say.

There are two official languages in Canada: English and French. When I was growing up, learning French was a requirement from grades four to six. After that it was optional but I continued learning and now… Well, I’m not fluent but I wouldn’t be completely lost if I was dropped in Quebec City or Paris, though the dialects of French differ between Canada and France. Actually, they vary within the country as well, just ask anyone from Acadia.

Yes. We are wild about hockey. Currently, the NHL is peopled with approximately 54% Canadian-born players. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything on its own, but it does show how passionate we are about it and how much a part of our lives it is while growing up. With that much interest in the sport up here and so many children’s and youth leagues, talents and skill are bound to emerge at some point.

We make, or have made, money – more specifically, coins – for several other countries that include Barbados, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, Panama, Brazil, Fiji, China, Italy, Israel, Jamaica, Norway and the United States. I’ve been to the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg. It’s pretty neat. The security is tight and they don’t actually let you get close enough to see anything of importance. Although, they do have a real gold bar sitting in the gift shop… with an armed guard standing over it, watching every move you make.

Some famous Canadians include (and I’m sorry, but a bunch are actors. πŸ˜‰ ) Ryan Gosling, Keifer Sutherland, Bryan Adams, David James Elliott, Peter Jennings, Eugene Levy, Lucy Maud Montgomery (one of my favourite authors), Leslie Neilson, Mary Pickford, Christopher Plummer, Captain Kirk… uh, I mean William Shatner, Jacques Villeneuve, Fay Wray, Neil Young, Romeo Dallaire, Jack Warner, Rick Hansen, Terry Fox, Sydney Newman, Sir Frederick Banting, John McCrae… And many, many others. If you don’t recognize some or any of these names, take a few minutes on Google or Wikipedia to learn about them. You never know. You might be surprised to realize you do know who they are. πŸ™‚

There are cities and towns in Canada with some interesting names. Here are a few: Witless Bay, Paradise, Moose Jaw, Blow Me Down (not kidding. Not even a little bit), Dildo, Gander, Spread Eagle, Moosomin, Vulcan, Balzac, Chilliwack, Hope, and a bunch of others.

And that’s about all the fun – or boring? – facts you’ll get out of me today. I’m Β  about ready for a nap, or as my nephew calls it, “quiet time.” πŸ™‚ Hey, leave me alone. I was up at four thirty a.m.

I’ll leave you with this, a link toΒ this list of some common Canadian myths – debunked!!

Take care and happy reading.

And Happy Canada Day!!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized