Love from a guy’s point of view?
Recently, we went to see Wedding Crashers. (Spoiler Warning about the ending, if you haven’t seen it yet.) My husband and I both enjoyed the movie. It had some really hilarious parts. Two friends crash weddings to meet women (mostly bridesmaids) and have one night stands with them. It’s a huge scam hobby and they’re sooo skilled at it, almost becoming like a member of the family by each wedding’s end. One of the guys wonders if they aren’t being a little sleazy. Um, yeah! Well, their streak of one-night-stand luck quickly changes. Attractions and conflicts arise, setting both men on the road to true love. But the two love stories couldn’t be more different. One is sweet and innocent, while the other is like a trip to an S&M club. I loved seeing the guys get their comeuppance, but watching them change and grow as people was even better. The end reward for them...being with the women they fall in love with. And I always like Owen Wilson in comedies.

After the movie was over, I started thinking...that was a romantic comedy for men. My husband normally hates romantic comedies, but he loved Wedding Crashers. Hmm.

Speaking of love from a guy’s point of view... as a romance writer, I enjoy writing scenes from the hero’s point of view. In fact, I feel I’m better at male POV than female. How do I, a woman, think like a man? I have no idea. Maybe I was a man in a past life. :-) I think it’s because I know exactly how I want a heroic, attractive, manly guy to think.

Men and women really do think differently. Men are less inhibited, more to the point. By instinct, they are protectors. And sometimes they have a heck of a time expressing themselves emotionally. It isn’t their fault. They’re wired that way. I drive my husband crazy asking him things like... how do you feel when such and such happens? And he’ll say something like...I don’t know, just good (or bad or whatever short word he can think of.) So much for research. :-) If you’re a writer, do you enjoy/have more skill with male or female point of view?
Wisdom of a Quote
Yesterday I started spring cleaning. I'm not late, (really!) I'm getting an early start for next year. Ha! It's the writer's curse. When we're in the throes of writing a novel, we clean only what has to be cleaned. I'm talking, the bare minimum. I'm almost finished cleaning the master bath top to bottom. Yep, I even washed the ceiling, walls, everything. And I have several more rooms to go. Whew! I'm tired already.

I thought I'd share this picture I took in my flower garden of the rose called 'America'.

As for writing...in case you haven't noticed, I love quotes. I have several posted on my regular website. Here's one of my favorites:

"Many a clever boy is flogged into a dunce and many an original composition corrected into mediocrity." Sir Walter Scott writing in 1826.

This is a smart warning. I believe it means you shouldn't go overboard rewriting and editing your story. This often happens when you let several people (dozens) critique it or when you enter a lot of contests. You will get opinions from one end of the spectrum to the other, and you can't possibly follow all the advice you get. Use your own instincts. You shouldn't rewrite your first chapter twenty times, nor your first book for years. After a certain point it's likely to only get more muddled and bland with each edit.
Reality Rocks
Reality TV is all the rage. Dozens of new reality shows pop up each season. When the first reality shows came on the scene several years ago, I wasn’t a fan. I thought they were dumb. But within the last two or three years I’ve found some I love. It makes me sick to watch people eat worms and bugs. Sorry, I have a weak stomach! AND...I hate watching people being mean to each other. What does that leave?

The reality shows I like are the ones in which people are getting a chance to achieve their dreams. I find them inspiring and motivating. I’m pursuing a dream myself, the dream of publication. America’s Next Top Model is a show I can relate to. Not because I want to be a model (Ha! are you kidding?) but because these girls have a chance to have their dream career, maybe something they’ve wanted their whole lives. But modeling is a difficult profession to break in to (much the way writing is.) I like watching how hard they work, how much they’re willing to sacrifice to get what they want. But in the end, what's important is talent and skill, and the looks they were born with. Still, only those willing to work the hardest will make it.

Another of my favorite shows is Rock Star: INXS. Again, the show begins with about fifteen talented people who have been chosen from thousands to compete for the ultimate prize. In this case, to be the new lead singer of INXS. What a dream come true for someone. Not for me; I can’t sing. Watching them perform and work so hard to win is truly inspiring. In addition, I love rock music, have always been a fan of INXS. I like picking my favorite contestants based on personality, talent, and style. One contestant did a fantastic performance of the INXS song "Never Tear Us Apart." Have you read the lyrics of this song? Check them out here. Wow, how romantic and passionate! That’s the way my hero and heroine feel about each other. (I find inspiration everywhere.) What are your favorite reality shows and why?
Lucky Seven?

Today I officially completed my latest manuscript. But is a story ever truly finished until it is published? No. Okay, we’ll call it "finished" and ready to go out the door. Now comes the long process of submitting it to agents and editors. Perhaps entering it into more contests. Why is this a long process? Because editors and agents are extremely busy, their desks and shelves piled high with manuscripts. As most of you writers know, it can take anywhere from a week to two years to get a response. The more usual response time in my experience is four months to a year. Quite often you can have another manuscript or two completed by that time.

Some people I know (non-writers) wonder why I keep writing books when I haven’t sold yet. Several reasons. First, I’m one of those people who has tried to stop writing but can’t. I always come back to it. I only feel I’m being true to myself when I’m writing. Another thing, if I want to be published, I know I have to keep forging ahead. I’m not giving up. Stubbornness--er... I mean persistence is an important word if you’re trying to break in. With each successive book, I feel that my craft improves, my voice becomes more clear and defined. I stretch and grow in new directions. Or at least I hope I do.

I once heard that Danielle Steele wrote five books before selling. Early in my writing "career" I figured if I had to write five before selling, I could. It would be hard, but I was willing to put that much time and effort into it without monetary reward. Okay, so I’m past five, up to book number seven. What gives? Books four, five and six are still out with editors and agents. So it could still happen. Trying to think positive here! :-) For me, the writing of the first, second and third books was the hardest. They were a joy, too, but sometimes writing them felt like a journey of a thousand miles, on foot. (When will I ever finish??) With each successive book the process becomes easier. Or maybe only this last book was easier. I was incredibly inspired to write it and I knew where I was going with it. (Book number eight, please be easy to write!) P.S. I took the above picture earlier this year near my house.
Chocoholics Anonymous

Romance writers (and readers) are the most passionate chocolate lovers around. Am I right? Recently at a writer’s conference I placed multiple bids on a charity chocolate basket. It contained all sorts of gourmet chocolate candies and fudge. I know there must have been dozens of other writers there who wanted it. But I won! Wow, it was incredible. I savored each morsel of chocolate until it was all gone. Then I was sad. :-(

My husband hates chocolate. Ninety-nine percent of his family members hate chocolate. I don’t know what’s wrong with them. Seriously warped? :-) When I make the most incredible, rich chocolate desserts for family dinners, they eat one bite, their eyes widen and they say something like, "Dang, that’s rich," and set it aside. When did "rich" become a negative term? Sometimes my husband says, "That tastes so bitter." Huh? Special Dark is my favorite bar. Semi-sweet chocolate chips, ambrosia. Chocolate coffee (or mocha) is a part of my daily ritual. My inspiration. Below is the recipe. What is your favorite recipe involving large amounts of chocolate? Please feel free to share it here.

Hot Quickie Mocha
1/4 c. Hot water
1/3 teaspoon instant coffee
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 heaping teaspoon cocoa powder
3/4 cup milk
You will need two coffee mugs to make this. In one mug, heat 1/4 cup hot water in microwave for 25 seconds. Take out and spoon 1/3 teaspoon instant coffee into the hot water, set aside. Mix sugar and cocoa powder dry in 2nd cup. Stir liquid coffee and blend 2 teaspoons of the liquid into the sugar and cocoa mix. Stir until it forms a thick liquid. Stir in the rest of the coffee. Then stir in 3/4 cup milk. Heat in microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds or until hot.
(For red hot quickie, add a dash cinnamon.)
Thank you for rejecting me...
For the first time in my life, I am thankful for a rejection. Seriously. Here’s how the story goes...near the beginning of the year I got a rejection letter from an editor. A few days ago (six months after the first) I got another rejection from the same editor for the same manuscript. (No, I hadn’t resubmitted it. But she still had the manuscript because I’d asked her not to bother returning it. I figured she’d shred it.) The second rejection is much nicer. It compliments my writing and asks me to submit future projects. Yay!! Is rejection better the second time around? Has anyone else had a similar experience?
Going into the Dark

Do you cry during your stories’ dark moments? If you’re a writer of popular fiction you know what a dark or black moment is...when it appears all is lost. Your main characters won’t triumph or get what they want. All successful movies have dark moments as well. In romance, it’s when it looks like the hero and heroine won’t end up together, just before the (happy) ending.

In my opinion, dark moments need to be emotionally wrenching so the reader will experience catharsis through the character’s emotional pain and disappointment. We want to drag the reader to an all time low along with the characters so that when they overcome their obstacles, make a way to be together and triumph against all odds, the joy will be that much sweeter. We want the reader to cry. Well, I cry too. I figure if I don’t cry at my own dark moment while I’m writing it, the reader won’t either. It’s very difficult to read the computer screen through the blur of tears so it takes longer to write. :-) I always like them to be real tear-jerkers, the more emotionally intense the better! This is the big payoff the reader has been waiting for. Throughout the whole book you’ve shown why your characters’ conflicts won’t allow them to be together. And now it appears the conflicts have won out.

I think I used a half box of tissues a few days ago while constructing my dark moment. Yeah, it’s tough to get on this emotional roller coaster but the payoff is worth it. A fantastic ending to the story. One your reader, hopefully, won’t forget. In the happily-ever-after resolution, the hero and heroine will get back together, they will triumph and get what they want. I will sigh. The reader will sigh.
What kind of dark moments do your favorite books/movies have? If you’re a writer, do you create tear-jerker dark moments?
An ending and a beginning
I’m finishing my seventh romance novel manuscript this week (woohoo!!!) and thought it would be a good time to jump into the blog mosh pit. I’ve heard blogging is beyond its saturation point and who has time to read all these blogs, anyway? I don’t know. I’m thinking no one will read mine so I may as well relax and have fun with it. I thought about calling it A Secret Blog. :-) I plan to share a few thoughts, ideas, inspirations, motivations or whatever pops into my head. I may not post here every day but plan to do so a few times a week. Oh, about my latest manuscript...it’s a sexy werewolf story with lots of paranormal happenings. Yummers!
Do you blog? Why, and have you found it rewarding/helpful?
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