Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Safety Pin Nation: The Movement


As one who truly cares about human relationships, I immediately adopted the practice of wearing a safety pin to signal that I’m against bullying, hate speech, and discrimination in any form. My safety pin places me with the larger Safety Pin Nation Movement.

My pin also signals that I will intervene if I see/hear bullying, hate speech, or discrimination. I will not tolerate it and I will stand with those being so treated. For example, I have told people I don’t appreciate a deprecating joke and point to my pin. If someone is being bullied, you can place yourself between the bully and the bullied and ignore the bully while engaging the bullied in neutral conversation about the weather or what a sports team is doing.

I introduced the movement to my Unitarian Universalist Church last winter. I provided a container of safety pins for congregants, and a small dish of others remains at the back of the church for others to pick up and wear. Some of us wear our pins every day as a reminder to ourselves and others how we can live what we profess to believe.

This is an excerpt from Safety Pin Nation-AZ (http://www.strongertogetheraz.com/)
Not sure about the significance of the safety pin? Here is our take on it: The safety pin first presented itself after the "Brexit" vote as a symbol of solidarity representing those who stand with immigrants, those who are against racism and the hate crimes that surged after the decision to leave the E.U. The safety pin later became a symbol of unity among the anti-Trump movement, continuing the idea that those who wear safety pins are considered "safe places". In Spanish, the words "safety pin" translate to "los imperdibles", or, "those which cannot be lost".

And this from the same source:
Safety Pin Nation™ AZ is a movement of individuals that believe in the power of unity and community-based action. Safety Pin Nation™ AZ is composed of bully blockers, embracers of diversity, advocates for the environment and its wildlife, supporters of women’s rights, Arizona Dream Act Coalition backers, troops for better veteran care, champions for the disabled and mentally ill, defenders of black lives matter, fighters for healthcare as a human right, LGBTQ allies, helpers of the homeless and hungry, supporters of sensible gun control, supporters of refugees, defenders of children's rights, fighters against human trafficking, leaders in comprehensive immigration reform, backers of religious freedom, front-runners for equal pay and paid maternity leave, supporters of prison reform,  cohorts for properly compensated teachers and quality preK-12 education, Native American allies, believers in higher education access for all and much more.

You can come together on Facebook with others who are embracing the movement to ensure everyone is safe from discrimination, hate speech, and bullying. Go to the Facebook page and “like” and “follow” to be part of something larger. Here’s the link:
https://www.facebook.com/safetypinnation/

There are strategies about how we can respond if we observe inappropriate language or behaviors. We don’t want to put ourselves at risk, but we can’t stand idly by when we notice wrong doing.

I am asking my church members to help produce a list of pacifist strategies to put in our newsletter so everyone could have the resources they need to spread love and acceptance while combating hate and intolerance.

If you found this post interesting, please share with others. I’ve even prepared some messages you can copy/paste.

Facebook: Have you heard of Safety Pin Nation? Sharon Arthur Moore tells you why she wears a safety pin on her clothes every day. If you’re against bullying, hate speech and discrimination in any form, maybe you’ll wear one, too. http://bit.ly/2uyB9M4

Twitter: Wear a safety pin to signal you are against bullying, hate speech, and discrimination. Learn more: http://bit.ly/2uyB9M4

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review: The Haunting of Thores-Cross


Maybe this is not an overtly romance novel, and the relationships displayed in the book are often not the healthy kind given the pedophilia, possession, and rape, but I really got caught up in the tale and wanted to share it with you. Besides, this blog is about relationships, not just romance writing.

I left this review on Amazon for The Haunting of Thores-Cross: A Yorkshire Ghost Story by Karen Perkins:
This book had a lot going for it that I already liked: ghost story, two time periods, alternating entwined stories, well-researched historical fiction, triggered by a true circumstance. Then you add in the engaging ghost story across centuries, and I couldn't put it down. Such empathetic characters and wonderful villains. My first book by this author, but I'm sure it won't be the last.

This story was inspired by the author finding, as a child, an old ink pot in a stone wall at her family’s frequent vacation area. She has her protag in the novel find an ink pot, too, but the protag, Emma and her husband, Dave built her dream house by the stone wall and awakened Jennet, the 230-year-old ghost owner of the ink pot.

Perkins said she felt compelled as a child to tell a story about the inkpot and this is it. She has Emma feeling compelled to write Jennet’s story. But it is even more than a compulsion. Emma is driven and possessed. The book is handwritten in ink from the old ink pot and in a handwriting that is not Emma’s. Vengeful Jennet wreaks havoc on the present-day ancestors of her adversaries in the 1770s. Two marriages are jeopardized and death has to happen before Jennet is put to rest. Or is she?


I’d love it if you’d share this post on social media. I even made a FB post and tweet for you to share easily. Thanks for spreading the word.

Facebook post: Angelica French reviews Karen Perkin‘s book, THE HAUNTING OF THORES-CROSS: A YORKSHIRE GHOST STORY, a tale across centuries told in two voices http://bit.ly/2uVQ2b5

Twitter: @romancerighter reviews @LionHeartG’s book THE HAUNTING OF THORES-CROSS http://bit.ly/2uVQ2b5

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Turning 10 Big Marriage Fears into a Romance Novel, Part 2


Continuing on with the story premises/concepts started last week, here are five additional ideas for your next romance novel.

The article I used as my basis for this series is “How to Conquer Your 10 Biggest Marriage Fears” by Jane Greer, PhD a marriage and family therapist. See Part 1 for the first five novel ideas in this series. 
 
"I'll resent him for the sacrifices I've made."
This novel could also use the prompt from last week about forgetting who one is. But this prompt goes further. Resentment fosters revenge often. Maybe you’ll write a domestic romance thriller. Brian and Melissa have been married for a couple of dozen years. Since Brian was an established entrepreneur at the time of their engagement and Melissa was just out of clerking for a Supreme Court judge, they decided that she would stay at home and be the corporate wife helping foster his successful career. He told her that with her credentials as valedictorian at an Ivy law school and her several clerking opportunities, she could always pick up her law career at some future time. But she didn’t. And, over the years, as she read court decisions and trial transcripts she regretted more and more the decision to leave law. Now it was too late. She wanted to get back at Brian for her lost years. And her brilliant logician’s mind finds just the right tool.

"I'll get less attractive with age while he'll get 'distinguished,' leading him to look elsewhere."
Ripped from the pages of yesterday’s headlines, the royal Elizabeth, never a beauty, is besotted with the elegant, erudite Philip. Despite warnings from her parents and others around her, she sets her mind to capturing Philip for herself and marrying him. After all, as future monarch, she has a lot to offer. The years show her to be a pedestrian monarch with little imagination but great heart for her country and her responsibility. Rearing children when one has a full-time job is difficult not matter the job, but when the mother is also mother to a nation, something has to give. More and more parenting duties fall to Philip and as he is limited in the role he plays in the marriage and as her subject, he fills his time in wastrel ways. He hangs out with men who encourage him to get the intimacy he is lacking in his marriage from other sources. Rumors swirl around the royals and Elizabeth confronts him many times about his indiscretions. Increasingly he is critical of his children and Elizabeth. Would being prettier help her with her marriage or are other factors in play?

"Money problems will ruin us."
Champagne tastes but a beer budget. Barb used to tease Dave about that when they were dating. More than half the time, she picked up the tab. But she didn’t mind. Dave was exciting, fun, and very good looking. Plus, he adored her, and after her last several disastrous relationships, Barb needed the self-esteem boost. Even his $50K in student debt didn’t deter her. She figured he’d pay it off with his salary from his social worker job. Maybe if she’d known about the additional $30K in credit card debt she would have hesitated. But she didn’t. And as a computer programmer with a good salary, she figured he made good money, too. Not! Dave and she financed their own elaborate destination wedding and reception because, as Dave told her, “Your parents $5000 contribution can’t give us the wedding we deserve.” It was her dream wedding, and her American Express credit card happily recorded the $40K cost. Barb was shocked that they were turned down for a mortgage after she eventually paid off the wedding. How could that be? Since they maintained separate accounts, she didn’t know that Dave was in arrears on his student loan and that his credit card debt had ballooned to $50K. In a desperate attempt to get more money, Dave was taking kickbacks from suppliers at work. When did Barb find all of this out, and what can she do?

"I'll never be first in his life."
She loved the way he cared for his mother. Widowed when she was in her late 20s, Jack’s mother was his best friend when he was a youngster. They remained close even during his teen years. As an adult, he lived away from his mother for several years since he worked in another state. But as his mother’s health deteriorated, he gave up his dream job and took a lesser position so he could take care of her. Eventually he realized that living with her would make that easier. Jack had never dated much, but when, Gillian, a new associate joined his firm, he fell hard and fast. The decision to marry hinged upon Gillian agreeing to move into his mother’s home. “So sweet,” she thought. “A man who is that thoughtful will be kind and generous to others.” She agreed. Jack didn’t know his mother was jealous of his wife. She didn’t want to share him with anyone and thought Gillian was selfish to marry before she had died. With Gillian she was nasty, snarky, and manipulative. In front of Jack, she was sweet and kind. He never saw what Gillian complained about. In fact, he discounted it because his mother had never displayed such behaviors before. Gillian wrestled with how to handle it. She loved Jack and didn’t want to leave him, but she couldn’t tolerate the atmosphere Mom created. Should she tape some interchanges? Talk to an attorney about a separation? Should she issue an ultimatum: put Mom in a facility or I move out?

"A vice will spiral out of control."
They met in rehab, so Frankie knew that Joey battled demons, the same ones that afflicted her. But they were both clean and committed to staying that way when they moved to a remote rural community in Northern Arizona. Rural, sparsely populated—that signaled safety to Frankie. Less access to drugs increased the likelihood of losing control again. A fresh beginning. Frankie had plans. She’d go back to school and become a dental hygienist. She encouraged Joey to get more training, too. But Joey was a school kind of guy. Instead, he patched together a network of part-time jobs to meet his half of household expenses. Getting full-time employment with their histories was nigh impossible. Frankie found that to be true as well. Graduating in the upper third of her class didn’t mean dentists were lining up to offer jobs. Depression set in for both of them. For Joey, the solution meant dealing drugs. Not using them, he told Frankie. There was money in drugs, and he meant to get some of it. But when was self-control ever one of Joey’s strengths.

So there you are. Five more book ideas. What? Still here? Why aren’t you writing?

I’d love it if you’d share this post on social media. I even made a FB post and tweet for you to share easily. Thanks for spreading the word.

Facebook post: Angelica French gives romance writers five more book ideas based on the biggest marriage fears people have. Check out these story starters at http://bit.ly/2uNDnpE

Twitter: @romancerighter gives #authors 5 more ideas for #writing about the biggest marriage fears at http://bit.ly/2uNDnpE

Twitter: @romancerighter gives authors five more ideas for writing about the biggest marriage fears at http://bit.ly/2uNDnpE

 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Turning the 10 Biggest Marriage Fears into a Romance Novel, Part 1


Here you go! For free. I am giving you story premises and concepts for you to flesh out and turn into a blockbuster book. How’s that for a gift?

Well, the blockbuster part is up to you, but I came across an article (“How to Conquer Your 10 Biggest Marriage Fears”) by Jane Greer, PhD a marriage and family therapist.

To me, that signals book ideas! You, too, right? The premise is the header in bold face. The concept follows and develops the premise. So here goes:

"We'll eventually have nothing in common."
Dick and Jane were childhood sweethearts. After high school graduation they married. Jane worked in her dad’s company to support them while Dick got technical training to be a plumber. Once Dick had a regular plumbing job, Jane stayed home to rear the kids. She was very involved with school activities for the kids. Then Dick got a hankering for a new job that required more schooling. Eventually, Dick was a white collar worker who traveled a lot. Jane worried that Dick had moved past her, that she was part of his old life. She didn’t know how to talk to him about his life now. Was he looking for someone who was a better match? What clues did she find, or think she found?

"If I get sick, he won't be able to hold it together."
Even when they were dating, Chuck would become frantic if Cassie got sick. Common colds had him showing up at her apartment with chicken soup and hot lemonade. She tried to conceal her minor illnesses so he’d stay calm. Most of the time he was a perfectly logical and reasonable fellow, but if she fell ill, he freaked. That’s why when the doctor told Cassie that she had a particularly aggressive kind of brain tumor with a low survival rate, she delayed telling Chuck. Could he handle serious illness? Would he step up to the plate and stay calm for her sake? She doubted it and fretted about when and how to tell him the news. Or even, if she’d tell him. Does he figure it out on his own?

"I don't want to end up like that couple."
Engaged Karen and Michael laughed at couples they observed when still dating. They’d go to restaurants, the park, or other such places couples frequented. They’d watch and make up for one another the dialogues they imagined from the body language. The angry and happy ones were easy. It was the silent partners or the emotionless couples who drew their attention the most. “There’s no passion. No there there,” Michael would say. “I don’t want us to end up like that couple,” Karen would add. “Give me passion, good or bad, but I don’t want to be emotionless when we’ve been married five years.” So what happened when they got drawn into a friendship with one of those couples? What secrets did each of the four have that impacted their entwined relationships?

"I'll forget about the person I once was."
Highly successful, independent, and financially secure Kendra meets Levi at a beach resort in Belize. She has given herself this trip in an attempt to forget a failed relationship and increasing stress at her high-powered job. Levi left all that behind four years ago and “retired” at age 32 to Belize to live a better life. Kendra admires the loose and easy way Levi lives his life and in a moment of madness phones her boss and joins Levi in the tropical life. All is well for a while, but Levi’s indifference to money, planning, and relationship commitment gets to her. She is torn because part of her loves her new lifestyle without schedules, killer heels and professional suits, but part of her yearns for the challenges she conquered and the power she yielded. When pregnant, she must decide whether to stay with Levi or return to her profession. Even if she goes back to the New York lifestyle, a child may cause her to forget about who she once was. If she stays in Belize, she must forget that person. Kendra realizes not matter what she is in danger of losing her sense of self.

"Sex will get less exciting and frequent."
Freddie is an amazing lover to Georgia, their sex frequent and passionate in their early months of marriage. It’s an unusual day if they don’t make love and sometimes they have more than one session. After several years and kids, sex has slowed down. Freddie is ten years older than Georgia and he’s slowing down. Georgia is in her peak. She wants more sex than he feels ready to give. She dresses up in outfits but he is turned off by the mother of his children in a French maid costume. She tries to “pick him up” in a bar by pretending to be someone else. Nothing brings excitement back to their routine and perfunctory couplings. She feels he is merely servicing her. Georgia creates an elaborate fantasy world where she is desirable and sexy. Freddie discovers what she’s doing and suspects an affair. Does he consider counseling? Will he talk to her and try some of her ideas to spark their relationship? Or do they head for divorce?

Next week, tune in for five more novel premises and concepts. Get busy outlining that next book!


I’d love it if you’d share this post on social media. I even made a FB post and tweet for you to share easily. Thank you so much!

Facebook post: Angelica French gives romance writers book ideas based on the biggest marriage fears people have. Check out these story starters at http://bit.ly/2umUy0I

Twitter: @romancerighter gives authors ideas for writing about the 10 biggest marriage fears http://bit.ly/2umUy0I

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I "Conference Know" a LOT of People


This blog is about relationships, and mostly here I deal with intimate, close, personal ones. But conference relationships are in a different ballpark, as they say. Maybe even a different sport.

I attend a number of writing conferences each year. As a writing professional, I see attendance as part of the package for getting to be a better writer. I wrote about that earlier this week on another one of my blogs: “Why I Go to Conferences and Why You Should,Too”.

At conferences, I paste on my happy face and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to me. I ask what heesh writes and I express interest. I take the proffered business card and hand over my three.

Is that bragging, I wonder? Look at me! Multiple pen names! Does that seem too forward? After all this is a conference on writing historical fiction. What does my seatmate care that I write plays, short stories and novels? What interest could there be in my writing in so many genres: mystery, women’s fiction, paranormal, science fiction, middle grade biographies, oh, and yes, historical fiction set in two time periods?

My seatmate might in fact infer what I have long feared to be true of myself: dilettante!

So we dance. “Tell me your concept.” “How long have you been writing?” “Traditionally published or an indie author?” “What’s next after your current WIP?”

And then the session begins with either a single speaker or a panel. I listen. I make notes.

Session over. “Bye. Have a good conference.” Then it’s off to dance again at the next session.

Are these superficial encounters the equivalent of the one-night stand?

At each conference there is at least one person I connect strongly with. We sit and talk over adult beverages. Or we sit in some lounge area on session breaks. We sometimes find ourselves attending the same sessions and sit together multiple times. Those exchanged cards I hang onto and communicate with at least a couple of times. And of those, a mere handful have turned into what might be called professional real friends. Especially if you see them each time you attend that conference.

I find a similar pattern within my on-line affinity groups on Facebook. A few people emerge as folks you’d really like to have on your team.

Is the dance a phony social convention or is the social glue of trying to connect a value beyond the superficiality of the interaction?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Personality Quirks: Z is for Zealous


A zealot is an uncompromising character who fanatically pursues shis religious, political, or other ideals. One who is zealous is not considered a reasonable rational person. The object of the zealotry overrides normal social strictures, thus some are merely in-your-face offensive to you and others blow up train stations.

Historically, the word represents a member of an ancient Jewish sect that resisted the Romans until 70 CE and aimed for a world Jewish theocracy. Zealot has expanded well beyond that historical beginning. We have had all flavors of zealous folks since then.

I found an interesting etymology for zealot. The word derives from ecclesiastical Latin and originally comes from the Greek zelos meaning ‘be jealous.’ How did jealousy turn into fanaticism?

You of course can see the potential to use your religious zealous character in a thriller where heesh is trying to protect shis religious beliefs/icons from what heesh considers to be sacrilege. Perhaps your zealous character believes that the Pope is an impediment to shis religious beliefs and sets out to rid the world of him. Is your zealous character Catholic or is heesh from another faith tradition or even an atheist? How could your zealot get close enough to the Pope to harm him? Is heesh working alone or in concert with a group?

Another kind of book is murder mystery. This time your zealous character is a fitness and health guru whom many hundreds of thousands follow unquestioningly. Heesh writes books, has a video series for cooking and exercise, and has frequent large-scale workshops. Is it a fa├žade? Is the zealot for real or a fraud pretending to be a strict adherent as a way to milk the gullible public? What if a spurned lover writes a tell-all that threatens the comfortable lifestyle and image of your zealous character? Might the spurned lover end up dead? And if so, by whose hand? Your zealous character is the obvious suspect. But did heesh do the deed?

If you enjoyed this post, please share the link on Twitter, Facebook or other social media you frequent:
Here are some ideas for #writers on creating zealous #characters from @RomanceRighter http://bit.ly/2p9004I

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Personality Quirks: Y is for Yobbish


To be yobbish is to act in the “rude, noisy, and aggressive way” that a yob acts. What that means in action may vary from one person to another. I may have a lower tolerance than you for rudeness or noise or aggression. That allows a lot of latitude for creating tensions among characters.

What an interesting etymology for yobbish! A yob is a rude, noisy, and aggressive young man and the word originated in the middle of the 19th century from the backward spelling of boy. That’s an interesting way of creating neologisms.

I can imagine a family moving into a new neighborhood. The quietness is disrupted by loud music played late into the night by the yobbish teenager of the new family. How do the neighbors react when the teen discards trash on their lawns or won’t give way on the sidewalk for an elderly neighbor using a walker? Is there any way to break through the incivility and turn the yobbish young man around? Perhaps a kind neighbor realizes the yob is acting out to get attention and reaches out. Or maybe the yobbish teen is in a situation wherein he must help someone or callously disregard the need for help. What does the yob do and what is the aftermath of the choice?

Another scenario with a yobbish character could be the supervisor at a fast food franchise. He’s a Class A jerk. He picks favorites. Employees never know if today they’ll be praised or punished. Do employees plan retribution, some sort of retaliation? Do they video tape him and send the tape to the corporate management? Is there one event that pushes other employees to finally stand up to him like his humiliation of a physically or mentally challenged person? What if the supervisor’s supervisor is yobbish?

If you enjoyed this post, please share the link on Twitter, Facebook or other social media you frequent:
Here are some ideas for #writers on creating yobbish #characters from @RomanceRighter http://bit.ly/2oBZGwJ