Romantic Life Lessons, Shameless Promotion

The Birthday Wish Candle

Do you keep things? I cerphoto (37)tainly do. It’s a little much. I keep a penny from every year I’ve been on this earth. I’ve saved the embarrassing diaries, sentimental poetry, pictures from every cringeworthy phase, and, yes, all my ticket stubs from Jersey Boys. I still have the shoes I wore all over France in the 80s–they fit but are more a museum piece–and I can’t seem to throw away the notes Sam leaves me, even if they’re scrawled on Post-its. When I clean, I go through these items and cherish fond memories…and my clutter grows.

Speaking of clutter and fond memories, in my book, I describe a birthday wish made during a moment of jadedness. At 41, I had decided to stop dating–but perhaps amp up my romance reading pace. Real-life dating just wasn’t fun anymore. I was dead tired after twenty-five years of dating and heartbreak. Of course, this was when I dared myself to jump even though I was afraid of heights. My birthday wish was that I’d wind up engaged within a year. Talk about fantasy-land! The idea of my settling down seemed ludicrous so I felt comfortable making this wish. Of course, I pocketed the candle then went about my business. As a single gal, I had found the path to Happy–in my own moody way–but what transpired three weeks after the birthday wish only broadened the scope of that happiness. I’m incredibly grateful Sam showed up.

During my spring cleaning–and a little sentimental journey through my wedding album–I found said candle taped inside with a note to myself. I’m learning to let go of some items (like my ticket stub to Anchorman 2), but I’m really glad I kept this candle!

 

Ps. Up until last year, I’d kept all my baby and wisdom teeth, but Sam happened upon them and they’re now gone. (I think)

Romantic Suspense, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

Some Things I Love in a Romance Novel

Where have I been? Well, let’s just say that Sandy delayed me from posting. Oh, it’s so romantic to live like olden times, burn candles and play Scrabble. Sure, for a night or two, but not five. It wasn’t that fun, except when I went to see a certain Broadway show for the 4th time. My heart goes out to those still suffering from the storm’s aftermath. I got off easy and count my blessings that we were just mildly annoyed.

As promised, back to what I love in romance novels:

Really messed up characters. One author asked me if she could make her hero suicidal and I thought, COOL! I realize this is a serious issue, but if you can show your character overcoming a tremendous obstacle, I’ll cry buckets and vote him/her into office.

Sweet or hot? I edit sweet, mild and hot stories. I guess I appreciate sweeter stories because if you can relay emotion and romance without the sheet-tangling, I’m impressed. Then again, one of my authors had a great opening seduction scene that thoroughly wowed me. So, I know nothing. Romance novels do need to convey a strong connection between the characters. If you’re not used to writing love scenes, I suggest practice. But if you really object to writing them, that’s okay and you should research what lines carry sweeter stories.

Setting description. I work in an office all day and like to see the places the hero and heroine go.

Feminism runs in my blood, but I love a good boss-secretary romance! She’s naive and little awkward, but earnest and good at office work. Yes, I love this woman and I adore office work, too. She’s ripe for the repressed adoration of a take-charge boss.

Food descriptions: This is a new thing since discovering the Food network. Strange since I don’t cook, but if you can describe a meal (omitting the “garden salad” and “crusty bread”), it adds some color to the scene and usually compels a voyage to Starbucks for the chocolate covered graham crackers.

Don’t you love chemistry so good you forget what the story’s about? I’m reading one now. The characters are amazing, their interaction intense. The romance is one long scene and I can’t stop turning the pages. What are they doing? Practically nothing.

Bad girls can be a hoot, especially if you can identify with the heroine. She does something bad you dream of doing, only she gets away with it, often–like Emily Giffin’s Darcy character. A bad girl doesn’t need to have tattoos or a leather jacket. She’s just kinda bad, but you love her anyway.

I enjoy being shocked, traumatized and scared (not in real life!). This is evident in my television choices: A Haunting…, Sons of Anarchy, Prison Break, The Shield, Homeland, Dexter, Snapped, Deadly Women, and some Cupcake Wars/Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to balance my mentals.

High school reunion stories are fun.

Plain Janes rule. But if your heroine is a glamazon, that’s okay too. Just give her some flaws. Can we the reader relate to her?

I have many more “loves” for my list, but these are just a few…