Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Character is Destiny." (Heraclitus, 544-483 BCE)

I am participating in NaNoWriMo this month, so I may get erratic with these blog posts. Never fear, if that happens, I’ll be back shortly.

Follow my progress with The Quick and the Dedd at my “Write Away” blog at www.samwriteaway.blogspot.com

I modified a blog post from February, 18, 2010 on on character and characters. Original post at  www.samwriteaway.blogspot.com

Thursday, I am traveling to Iowa for my brother’s wedding, so I will post again in a week.

I took classical Greek in college. I loved it, sort of like doing word puzzles. What letter is this squiggle, what is the meaning of that series of squiggles? One thing I learned was that spacing between words and punctuation were relatively modern conventions meant to make literacy more accessible for larger numbers of people. 

Since few Greeks learned to read, it was assumed they could figure out the meaning of the text. Admittedly, Greek was a highly inflected language (word endings signaled part of speech, verb tense, etc.) so an ancient Greek kid just had to attend to those things to make sense of the sentences.  

I guess. I used to be a first grade teacher and someone who worked with struggling readers, so there had to be some problems with that theory (or why invent spacing and punctuation).

I digress. Heraclitus was a pithy kind of guy, lots of quotes are attributed to him. Like the one above. Tammy Greenwood (Two Rivers), one of my session presenters at a Southern California Writers Conference session used the quote of this blog title as she discussed a topic many conference sessions addressed. 

At heart, a novel is about characters. The plot is just a device for showcasing their human frailties and strengths. The humanity of the characters is what keeps us reading, not that they solved the problem in this book, or didn’t. It is the quest to solve the problem that reveals those aspects of the characters we can relate to, or not.

Tammy said, “Getting to know your characters is your main job as a novelist.” Until you know your characters as well as you know your best friend, you can’t reel in the reader with characters who don’t jar. That got me thinking.

Even when the reader doesn’t know what a character will do, once the action is revealed the reader knows it was an appropriate action. One of the roads the character could have taken on the way to resolution. And, if it is not a consistent action, the author reveals something about the character that justifies an act seemingly out of character (so to speak).

I am thinking about some of my WiPs that are giving me fits. In every one (so far), I am struggling because the characters are the glue holding my great story premise together, not the propelling force that will move the action forward. So, looks like I am going to be spending a lot more time in conversation with Alli, Isabella, Carrie, Lucinda, and oh, so many others. 

Character IS destiny. Who they are, what they need, how they react. That is what makes a novel compelling.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

More Relationship Quotes and a Writing Tip

Hey, Authors! A few posts ago I gave some relationship quotes to build stories around. Well, here are some more I have collected. Surely one or more of these will resonate so you can create a viable story premise.

To turn one of these into a story premise, try these steps:
1)   Select a quote that speaks to you. (I know, that is so woo-woo! Just do it!)

2)   Identify the characters that first come into your mind for the roles in this relationship.

3)   Describe each character’s perspective on or relationship to the quote in 25 words or fewer. (Do you know that most people misuse “less” and “fewer”?)

4)   Where is this happening and when? What is the relationship of the characters to the where and when?

5)   Write down five “what ifs”: (Using the first one below) What if a woman’s boyfriend doesn’t come home one night? What if he called later to say he was in trouble and couldn’t make it there? What if the reason he didn’t come home was that a love child showed up at work hunting for her father? What if the woman saw her lover and his child, not knowing of the relationship? What if the child is malevolent and wants to hurt her birth father?

6)   See how that worked? If you don’t have a story idea going after 5 what-if’s, maybe you should choose another line of work.

So read, enjoy, and speculate with the relationship quotes below. Can’t wait to read your book!

Having someone wonder where you are when you don't come home at night is a very old human need.  ~Margaret Mead

Man is a knot into which relationships are tied.  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, 1942, translated from French by Lewis Galantière

If you want to feel rich, just count the things that money can’t buy. ~Proverb

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.  ~Swedish Proverb

Remember, we all stumble, every one of us.  That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand.  ~Emily Kimbrough

If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. ~Erica Jong

Don't smother each other.  No one can grow in the shade.  ~Leo Buscaglia

For lack of an occasional expression of love, a relationship strong at the seams can wear thin in the middle.  ~Robert Brault

Sometimes it is the person closest to us who must travel the furthest distance to be our friend.  ~Robert Brault

Assumptions are the termites of relationships.  ~Henry Winkler

Life is like a moustache. It can be wonderful or terrible. But it always tickles. ~Nora Roberts

I like her because she smiles at me and means it.  ~Anonymous

Hope is a waking dream. ~Aristotle

Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings.  ~Miles Franklin

In the end, who among us does not choose to be a little less right to be a little less lonely.  ~Robert Brault

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.  ~Frederick Buechner

Present your family and friends with their eulogies now - they won't be able to hear how much you love them and appreciate them from inside the coffin.  ~Anonymous

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.  "Pooh!" he whispered.  "Yes, Piglet?"  "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw.  "I just wanted to be sure of you."  ~A.A. Milne

I felt it shelter to speak to you.  ~Emily Dickinson

Are we not like two volumes of one book?  ~Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Trouble is part of your life, and if you don't share it, you don't give the person who loves you enough chance to love you enough.  ~Dinah Shore

Lust is easy.  Love is hard.  Like is most important.  ~Carl Reiner

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is That Erotic Romance or Erotica or Porn?

As people choose their Halloweenie costumes, some will be drawn to the salacious. Halloweenie. Get it?

What is it about sexually-charged costumes that attracts men and women to choose them (not for trick or treating, thank goodness; the phenomenon seems limited to house parties)?

This is also a topic for discussion on a couple of the writing groups I belong to as well as the subject of multiple blog posts. What is the line between pornography and erotica? A lot of us have wrestled with that and settled it in our own writers’ minds.

What is it about titillating text that causes us to buy it and read it? When folks ask me what I write, I tell them “naughty and nice” allowing their brains to fill in what that means to them.

The whole question has come up again (so to speak) because of the phenomenal success of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. New York Times Best Seller List? That is unprecedented for a book, much less three, in the genre.

In one of my critique groups I was challenged on one of my naughty books they were helping with. “Is that what you want to be known for?” I was asked. My response that I just want to be known was met with little support.

Clearly people who don’t read much erotic romance have pre-conceived notions of what it must be. Dirty for the sake of being dirty. All about physicality rather than emotionality. Commercial. Provoking acts of exploitation and abuse. You get the idea.

I avoid pornography. But not because I am offended by sexual acts. I’m a farm girl, as I tell my husband. Lucky him that I think pretty much anything goes if it’s not hurtful and mutually agreed upon. We are sexual beings. We are meant to have sex.

Pornography, however, is boring. How many ways can they stick it how many places? I mean really. I want characters who are impacted by the act, not just holes in a mattress. What are the implications of the sexual act(s)? That’s why we read these materials.

I don’t read widely in erotica and erotic romance, either. But I do read some, mostly as mentor texts for my own writing. I find that while I just love writing sex scenes (and practicing before writing), I really don’t enjoy reading them so much. Weird, huh? I expect love scenes to be integral to the plot, not just pasted in for titillation.

Here’s a recent blog by Maree Anderson on the same topic that I know you’ll enjoy:  http://www.mareeanderson.com/porn-erotica-erotic-romance

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Speaking of Brides as Prostitutes . . . Dolly Arthur: A Prostitute from Not So Long Ago

Brides used to be sold (see previous blog entry--thus the reference here.)

Some of my family and friends are concerned about my interest in prostitutes as maybe being not quite, umm, healthy. But, good grief, they’ve been with us for a long time. Shortly after the population increased (post-Garden of Eden), we find reference to “harlots” in the Old Testament.

Sex for sale. Old, old story still being retold today.

We even have a family story about it. My maternal grandmother died when my mother was five, and the family was split up for a while. Then Grandpa married Lily1 (Lily2 was the stuff of horror tales, but Lily 1 was a good guy except for one little thing!)

This was the teeth of the depression in one of the most depressed states even in good times: West Virginia. Grandpa married Lily1 and brought the family back together, and purportedly, she was a good stepmother, keeping the passle of kids clean and fed. But money was always tight. Grandpa worked nights in the mines. And that’s when Lily1 worked, too. Oh, dear. Grandpa divorced her, a really big deal in those times, and the family was dispersed again.

But, I’ve always had sympathy for Lily1. I wish I could have met her because she was clearly a pragmatist. A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do for survival of her new family. I even admire her, but perhaps I shouldn’t go so far.

So when I came across the name of Dolly Arthur (Arthur being my maiden name), I was intrigued. Here was a contemporary of Lily1. And do both sides of my family include sporting women?

Well, I don’t know. I haven’t seen her on any branches of the family tree, but it could be. Even if not true, I’ve done some reading up on old Dolly. For some reason Blogger won't let me upload a picture, but you can Google her. She was quite the looker!

Born in Idaho in 1888 as Thelma Dolly Copeland, Dolly knew she couldn’t make the same money from serving men in a restaurant as she could if she served them relative to their baser tastes. She left Vancouver, where she was working at the time, and headed for Ketchikan, AL in 1919 where she opened her establishment catering to fishermen, loggers, miners, and town residents. Interestingly, at the time, drinking was illegal in Ketchikan but prostitution was not.

Dolly’s place, and Dolly herself, was known for providing companionship, not just sex, in an isolated area with far fewer women than men. And men paid well for both. She charged $2 for each, and she is said to have made $100 a day--a huge amount at that time.

In keeping with the location, Dolly’s house wasn’t an elaborate Victorian affair such as you might equate with San Francisco. Her furnishings were simple and durable rather than ornate.

Dolly had a long-standing relationship with a man who wandered in and out of her life over the course of 26 years. She knew he was unfaithful (wasn’t she?), but she could always count on him coming back. You can still see Dolly’s house at 24 Creek Street, which is now a museum. When she died at age 87 (in 1975), big West Coast papers carried her obituary in tribute to one of the real pioneers of the Pacific Northwest. She was quite a gal. And not that much older than Lily1. Circumstances and location make all the difference.

Is this fascination with prostitutes was where Streetwalker came from? Could be. Could be.

Want to read more? Check out:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Bells are Ringing . . .

Lil Bro is getting married in a couple of weeks. In Iowa. In November. Sigh!

He and NuLove have been planning this wedding for quite a few months, but I don’t really think they know what they are doing. I mean, getting married, good. Thumbs up! But I’m sure they’re ignorant of where all this tradition stuff comes from. In fact, would anyone do any of it if there was general knowledge about wedding customs?

I’m here to blow the lid off the multi-gazillion dollar wedding industry!

For example, this blog title refers to the custom of ringing bells for a wedding. That originated to scare off evil spirits who might mean harm to the new couple.

Tying the knot”, meaning to get married, goes back to Ancient Rome when the groom would untie the knots on the bride’s girdle to consummate the marriage.

Groomsmen? They were the kidnappers of the bride and to establish ownership of the bride, she was “carried over the threshold”. The bride stands on the left of the groom at the wedding ceremony because the groom would hold/restrain the captured bride with his left hand, leaving his right hand (sword hand) free to fight off her defenders. Nice, eh, and certainly relevant in today’s world. NOT!
Wedding rings were initially woven circlets around the woman’s ankles and wrists to keep her from running away. So apt today, right?

Giving the bride away goes back to the old custom of the bride being property transferred from father to husband--for a price. Umm, isn’t that the definition of prostitution?

The bridal bouquet was of herbs and spices and meant to frighten off evil spirits.

Tossing rice meant wishes for a bountiful harvest (very important in NYC) and many children.

The first wedding cakes were thrown at the bride, not eaten by her, to ensure her fertility since wheat is a symbol of fertility.

Bridal showers originated when the father disapproved of the groom. Because of that, he would not provide what she needed to set up her household, so her friends had to.

And of course, bridal veils. Those hid the face of the bride-never-met, I guess so he couldn’t change his mind at the last minute. Alternatively, it was so evil spirits wouldn’t ruin the ceremony.

Enough! But trust me, this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Wow! Are you superstitious? Do you really want the happiest day of your life tied to pagan rituals? Maybe a courthouse wedding with a judge IS more in keeping with your beliefs. Dump the paraphernalia of tradition and make this day your own!

Read more. I used a lot of resources to come up with this list, including, but not limited to:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dear Advice Columnist . . .

And the winner is . . .The Quick and the Dedd! Thank you to everyone who voted. Follow the development of this story now through the end of November at my writing blog, www.samwriteaway.blogspot.com

 In keeping with the theme from the last blog, I wanted to share with you another source I use for story themes or subthemes: advice columnists.

OMG what a treasure trove! The three major ones I can follow in my newspapers are: Dear Abby, Ann Landers, and the well-named, Carolyn Hax. I cut their columns frequently to throw into a novel potpourri folder. It is bulging.

While Ann and Abby are similar in the number of questions per column and length of answers, Carolyn is different. She often has only one question with an extended response.

Abby and Ann tend to be, while direct, kinder in their responses and supports offered. I intuit that Carolyn doesn’t give a flying leap about sugar coating the response. She is direct and often snarky. I like it, by the way. It’s refreshing to hear someone call out a miscreant.

Carolyn’s voice is distinct, but I think you would be hard pressed to tell Abby from Ann without the by-line. The tone of Ann and Abby is one I tried to re-create and mock (Sorry, Ann and Abby), in a short story I wrote for my Land’s End short story anthology.

Sometimes I don’t cut out their columns, but I make a computer tickler file for the story line by introducing potential subplots, character names, and fold it in with other story lines (like from the daily paper astrology fortunes). I’ve talked about my extensive tickler files before that contain the dozens of stories I’m sure I’ll write one day!

Brooklyn and his wife, London, make a party game out of the advice columns. One will read the question, and the others will generate responses which can be scored correct by matching the columnist, or by majority vote, be considered a better response than the columnist! Isn’t that clever of them? But, then again, they are both novelists!

Until next time, mine the paper for story ideas. Life is happening everywhere, just waiting for you to catch it and share.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Relationship Quotes

This morning was your last chance to vote. Thanks for helping choose my NaNoWriMo topic!

Are you on Facebook or Twitter? Then you know how many times people post advice or aphorisms or motivational quotes. Sometimes with attribution, often not.

I thought I would share with you some of the ones I have collected from there. I’m sure you have your own you could add. If so, feel free to do so in the comments section below.

For writers, I think these quotes could easily function as story premises. Take #1 below. Can’t you see a story about the persistence of love? They encounter various travails, sometimes he gives up, sometimes she does, but in the end they work together and never give up, together.

Or the last quote on the list: I see a humorous book where the straitlaced friend and the adventuresome one have conflicts over each of their behavior patterns. Then the straitlaced one unlaces her straits and does something REALLY stupid, and who is there for her? Right!

So take what you want from this list, add to it, and you will never lack for story ideas! Oh, and you might want to run your relationships with some of these ideas in mind.

A perfect relationship isn’t actually perfect. It’s just one where both people never give up.

If you love someone tell them because hearts are often broken by words left unspoken.

Men are like coffee--best when they are strong, hot, and don’t let you sleep at night.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.   Plato

Hurt me with the truth, but never comfort me with a lie.

Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can’t change.   Noelltty.tumblr.com

You can’t start the next chapter of your like if you keep re-reading your last one.

We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.

Love is friendship set to music.   Joseph Campbell

Good friends don’t let you do stupid things--alone.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Okay, Okay! I'll Write You. Just Get Out of My Head. Deal?

Don’t forget to vote at the poll at the bottom of the page for the story you want me to write for NaNoWriMo. Thank you for your help!

Since I am in the throes of prep for NaNoWriMo (I type for 9 straight hours to build stamina--not real words, I just type letters), I thought it might be fun to talk a bit about being in the flow, being visited by the Muse, and other ways writers think to describe that magical kind of writing where it just seems to happen.

With each book, there has come a time when I lose track of everything and the language flows out my fingertips onto the computer page. It is amazing and it is uncontrollable. There are many more times when I chug along, hoping to make the day’s word count while it is still the day.

But for two of my books, Lucinda and Streetwalker, I lost control to my heroines. I truly felt as if I were channeling them, not writing my own creation. The feeling is so palpable that I have a tickler file on a writer who has that experience and is channeling another’s words and ideas until she decides to take control back--if she can.

Lucinda was my first completed novel. It’s historical fiction that takes place in two time periods that alternate chapters to tell the story of how Lucy solves Great-Aunt Lucinda’s murder 70 years later. I am an early morning person, and I wrote then. But I found myself with a tape recorder in my car to capture scenes for the book as I drove to work. I worked into the night! It was bizarre how Lucinda ensnared me. Turns out, it wasn’t Lucy’s book at all. Lucinda demanded star billing.

The other book in which the MC wrote the story was Streetwalker. Carrie’s story of prostitution, abuse, and sexual addiction absorbed me every bit as much as Lucinda had. I could not stop writing. I wrote at my “off” times. And I wrote the story quickly, just as I had written Lucinda, even though, to my knowledge, I don’t even know any prostitutes.

When characters take over the story (or a section of the story), I have learned to step aside and let them. And that’s great if that’s the manuscript I’m working on. But I’ll tell you, sometimes I’m working on a manuscript and another story starts batting at me for attention. It demands I notice it.

What I have learned to do is make a tickler file for that story--a special folder with pages inside the folder to put down plot points, scenes, character descriptions, etc. That’s the only way I can get them to shut up and let me write.

Writers are weird people, aren’t we? What do you do to stifle the stories?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Is NaNoWriMo A Cute Stuffed Animal? Uhh. No.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled show for this
service announcement.

Today will NOT be about sex, weird or otherwise, or relationships, or
sex toys for fun and profit, or any other reason for showing up here.

I need your help. I am entering the NaNoWriMo this November,
 and I need your help selecting a story to work on.

Here is a blog entry being posted on all three of my blogs this week
trying to get enough people involved to pick a story. Here goes:

Is NaNoWriMo One of those Cute Boutique Animals for Grandparents to Buy?
Someone in one of my FB groups asked that (cute, huh?), so I thought I would rip it off, err, borrow it for the title of this blog. No. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a non-profit organization, so any donations made are fully tax deductible.

NaNoWriMo is my new Pillsbury Bake-Off. For years I said that I was going to enter some of my delectable dishes in that contest. One year I finally said to myself, “Put up or shut up.” So, that year I entered 4 recipes. None were ever even acknowledged, let alone placing in the competition. I call them my Pillsbury Bake-Off Losers”--and I still make them.

Same thing with NaNoWriMo. I want to enter. I want to be a winner. But, I just never got around to it. So this year, “Put up or shut-up.”

The rules are pretty simple: you write 50K words during the month of November and upload at the end for a word count to verify. 50K? You’re a “winner”. Has to be done from scratch, but it’s on the honor system. You can plan in advance, write character sketches, and do research--just no composition of scenes or chapters. 

That sounds pretty clear.

What shall I do? I have tickler files with dozens of story ideas. I kind of wanted to work on my Slippin’ into the Future book (daughter/father relationship complicated by dementia) or book two of my culinary mystery series (Prime Rib and Punishment) or even book two of my erotic romance “Sex Sells” series, but you can’t have written any of it--honor system--in advance, and I have.

So digging deeper into the tickler files I find three plots that really, really interest me. (Who am I kidding? There wouldn’t be a tickler file if it didn’t really, really interest me!) So help me pick one of these three! Vote below or with your comments. As a side note, I have never written a novel in any of these genres, so I am stretching myself that way, too.

1)    My paranormal rom-com I call my Quick and the Dedd series. Isabella Quick owns a security agency: I.Q. Security, “Your intelligence is safe with us”. Isabella is hard-boiled divorcee, carries a gun, votes Republican, and is a founding member of the N.F.A. (National Firearms Association) .Riley Dedd, a widowed hunk, was one of her investigators. He was a liberal on social issues, but tough on crime. That is, before he was killed by an unknown assailant. She had a thing for him, sexual tension between them, but it was never pursued. He’s been dead now for several years, but recently he has been appearing to her in her dreams. At least, she assumes she’s dreaming brought on by stress. When he finally convinces her he’s real, but a ghost, they set about getting his murderer caught and convicted. Working title: The Quick and the Dedd

2)   Another paranormal takes a different tack. My tagline for this maybe-series/
maybe-single title is, “Djinni are the new vampires.” 28 year-old Gwyneth Catrin (Welsh meaning for the two names: luck, happiness and pure) Warlow, who recently broke up with long-time boyfriend, receives a letter from a Welsh solicitor regarding an inheritance. She is the closest living relative to her great-uncle, Emrys (Welsh meaning: immortal). She arrives in Wales to claim the estate left to her. It is all hers to dispose of as she wishes with the exception that she is not to touch anything in the attic. Emrys was a world-traveler and collected many things. All in the attic is to be gathered up by a mover and burnt without an examination by Gwyneth . She of course does and uncovers an artifact that is home to a djinn, Abdul Wahid (Arabic meaning: Servant of the Unique One). Complicating things is Uncle Emrys who has tricked the djinn into giving him partial immortality, and trouble ensues when he shows up. Working title: I Dream of Djinni.

3)    Number three is Sci-Fi medical thriller. I clipped news items from three disparate events that I combined into a story idea.  There is a document that always makes the list of undecodable text--the Voynich Document contains unreadable text and illustrations of strange objects and flora. The second news item detailed a mystery sunken craft in the Baltic Sea. And the third was a description of a strange new illness (named Morgellons) which causes open sores, sprouts of strange fibers on the skin, and a feeling like bugs crawling on the skin. All three cool, huh? The story premise is that Dr. Nia Parker, a marine research microbiologist is recruited under the pretense of discovering a cure for Morgellens but in actuality it is a secret government group out to discover more about the alien roots of the disease. A cryptologist, Dr. Rhys Fenner, was similarly recruited under false pretenses. He is given pieces of the document, presumed to be an ancient accounting of the disease, to decipher. The two form an immediate disdain for the other since each their needs are at cross-purposes and each is told to share info in isolation. He thinks Nia is in over her head, and she thinks Rhys is a prima donna. When they discover the government agency may be a rogue group set to control the alien resources for their own purposes, the two form an unwilling bond to fight the group.

Vote--tell me which one you’d like me to write and update you on.

Recap: 30 days; 11, 669 words per week; 50,000 total words. Now if I subtract the time I’m at my brother’s wedding in Iowa and add those days’ word goals to other days, I can still do this. On average, 1667 words per day or less than 7 pages. Pshaw! Nothing to it!  Find out more, and sign-up yourself, at www.nanowrimo.org

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Infidelity and the Married Woman

The vet handed Maggie Baxter a plastic specimen bag containing a pair of size-tiny lavender thong panties extracted from her dog; but they were not hers. Or rather, they were hers now since she'd just paid $734 to have Dr. Carter surgically remove them from Kona's gut.

This is the opening to Jackie Bouchard’s honest, wrenching tale, What the Dog Ate. Her tale of a husband’s infidelity and betrayal and how Maggie deals with it, hits us where we feel it most. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s heartbreakingly real.

If one of my friends were to ask, “What is your deepest, darkest, scariest fear?”, I’d have to say (excluding the safety of all family members), infidelity.

That might sound weird because I have the most wonderful marriage, but all around us are stories, movies, TV shows, songs, and friends’ stories about a straying spouse. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sordid, seemingly clueless tale is just the latest. If it can happen to Maria Shriver--beautiful, accomplished, talented Maria--couldn’t it happen to any of us? Shiver!

DH and I will be watching a show in which one spouse, typically male, wanders. He is contrite. He begs for forgiveness. He claims temporary lapse in sanity. He wants to move on and put it behind them.

I snort. “No way,” I advise the injured wife. “Don’t believe him.”

“That’s pretty harsh, isn’t it?” DH suggests cautiously. “Isn’t there ever room for forgiveness?”

Hmm. Is there? And why would he ask that question???

Yes, in theory, there can be forgiveness. I admired that Hilary Clinton chose to work on her marriage instead of tossing Bill aside (as I was inclined to proffer were she to ask me). Yet, could I be so magnanimous?  Would I be a patsy setting myself up for future hurts? Could I every truly “forgive and forget”? Would I ever trust him again or would I always be looking for the next slip?

Here is an interesting take on whether women make men cheat. Check out the video at http://bit.ly/PcsAf6 Interestingly, one expert contends that untrusting women precipitate the behavior.

Here is a link to a woman’s story of how she got beyond infidelity to an even better life and learned to trust again. http://yhoo.it/Q0ExBl

And that’s what it comes down to for me--trust. Trust is the most precious part of a relationship. If trust is broken, what is left? “Love”? Right!

Love is an undefinable, maybe even just chemical, if you believe some reports. But trust is foundational. Trust allows us to be in love, one of the riskiest ventures we ever undertake.

Trust is what lets you, dog-like, expose your vulnerable underbelly. Once kicked there--by infidelity, abuse, or another trust-breaker--you are much less likely to expose the underbelly again. Something is missing from the relationship.

What about you? Could you “forgive and forget”?  Would you “stand by your man”? Or would you say, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice . . .?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Case for Eclectic

Recently, a FaceBook group I belong to, Chick Lit Goddesses, asked us to use one word to describe our writing style. There were wonderful answers: “quirky”, “snappy”, “clean” (!), “sassy”, “true”, and so on.

I didn’t know what to write.

So, I “walked away” from the FB question and did other stuff. Meanwhile, the question of what one word describes my writing kept percolating in my brain. I just had to wait for it to be brewed.

I went back later and typed in my word, hit the return, and sent it out to my group trepiditiously (Is that a word??? Who cares. I am a neologist.).

My word? “Eclectic”. I even got one Like from someone.

So why eclectic? Though that does help explain why I couldn’t think of a word--I write in so many styles the tone and impact I want to create changes with the genre.

Some writing critique group partners have urged me to not write in so many genres. If I stuck with one, they argue, I might be able to get really good with it instead of being only okay in a half dozen. I kinda do get it, but the stories bang at my head, demanding to be written and written in a specific way.

So I write historical fiction, comedic plays, short stories, culinary mysteries, erotica, paranormal romcom, and women’s fiction. Eclectic, yes?

The good news about eclectic is you may never get proficient in one genre, but you for sure never get bored or writer’s block. There’s always another piece waiting if one story line won’t play nicely.

So do I write “Romance”, well, yeah. But I don’t know that I set out to do it. The story dictates how much relationship stuff is included. It’s a secondary story line in Mission Impastable, my culinary mystery, but in Streetwalker (erotica) and Lucinda, historical fiction, the romance/sex/love predominate.

How do you describe YOUR writing style or the style of your favorite novelist? Leave a comment below and let’s chat about it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sex and the Single Movie

Lots of famous movie lines sexually loaded and filled with innuendo. Many of them are hysterical. And quite a few reveal relationship truths. What are your favorites? Add some in the comments section below so we can all enjoy them. Meanwhile, read over the few I’ve collected and see if any of your favorites are here.

Monty in “Waiting": "See the way I see it, with chicks, there's really only two possible things that can happen, either they won't sleep with you, and there's really no need to ever call them again, or they do sleep with you, and there's really no need to ever call them again."

Rick in “Casablanca”: “We’ll always have Paris.”

Maria Singer in “Fight Club”: “I haven’t f**ked like that since grade school.”

Elderly woman diner in “When Harry Met Sally” re faked orgasm: “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Bonnie (while caressing a gun barrel) in Bonnie and Clyde: “But you wouldn’t have the gumption to do it.”

Alvy Slinger in “Annie Hall”: “That sex was the most fun I ever had without laughing.”

Alvy Slinger in “Annie Hall”: "Hey, don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love."

Command center voice in “Moonraker” re James Bond who is screwing on the spaceship: “I think he’s attempting re-entry, Sir.”

Mitch in “City Slickers”: "Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place."

Gym teacher in “Mean Girls”: "Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant. And die. Don't have sex in the missionary position, don't have sex standing up, just don't do it, OK? Promise? OK, now everybody take some rubbers."

Christi Ann in “Strictly Sexual”: "I know that everyone's a little... self-conscious about how good they are in bed and I was never really, I guess, great in bed because I didn't read Cosmo's latest article on how to please my man because I don't read those magazine articles and, quite frankly, I haven't really been too concerned about pleasing him.”

Joe in “Strictly Sexual”: “I like f**king. I like it a lot. Who doesn't? But people make such a big deal out of it. There's so much emphasis put on appearance. I don't know why. I've had sex with fat girls, with skinny girls. It's really all the same.”

Delores in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”: “Is that a rabbit in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weird Sex Facts: Part 2

The previous blog on weird sex facts was fun, wasn’t it? I have compiled more fun, so keep on reading for to get more factoids to share at cocktail (?) parties.  If you still aren’t satisfied (???) check out the page of sites for weird sex facts (page on right hand side) that I drew from.

311 is the police code for indecent exposure.

Sex burns 360 calories per hour.

Norman Mailer published The Naked and the Dead with the word “fug” as an alias for the four-letter word.

The band “Steely Dan” took its name from a William Burrough’s novel (Naked Lunch) in which a prostitute uses a dildo named “Steely Dan”.

The band Buzzcocks took their name from the erection bus and truck drivers get (“bus cock”) from engine vibrations.

The band “W.A.S.P.” is an acronym for “We Are Sex Perverts”.

“Lovin’ Spoonful”, a band, is slang for semen.

There are 80 reported cases of men with two penises.

Humans, bonobo monkeys, and dolphins are the only ones who “do it” for pleasure.

Condoms exposed to smog and ozone are less effective.

The average man ejaculates about 10cc of semen, about 1 teaspoon.

Semen contains only 15 calories.

Semen has 150 mg of protein, 6 mg of fat, 3 mg of cholesterol, and 11 mg of carbs.

The higher the room temp, the hotter the orgasm.

85% of the men who die from heart attacks during intercourse are cheating on their wives.

A woman is more likely to cheat on her mate while ovulating.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Was Jesus Married? Who Cares?

I don’t usually address current hot topics, because, well . . . just because! But in a blog dealing with relationship issues, it seems as if I should share my thoughts about Jesus’ marital status.

Decades before the tiny 1 ½” x 3” scrap of papyrus was found and echoed around the world, I had a professor in a college class (lost mostly in the mist of time) tell our class that at the time, it would have been unusual for a Jewish man of His age not to be married. In fact, so odd would it have been, that that would have been noted and part of the record. I don’t know if that is true, nor do I care.

I took classical Greek in college, but that is so far in the past, I cannot pretend to be able to translate the Coptic Greek of the papyrus found. The added concern of unknown provenance would make any scholar/translator nervous. So, I will trust that the translation we have been given is accurate. There are numerous online articles re this topic, but in case you haven’t heard about it, here is the link to the first one I read: http://bit.ly/PRIVV5

I know that translators have huge power in shaping our beliefs by the words they put into the Bible. For example, in the Christmas story, the actual translation should have been, “Peace on Earth to men of good will.” Now that’s a different message!

Also, “virgin” was substituted for “unmarried young woman”. Maybe Mary was virginal, but not necessarily. These sorts of choices shape the religion being described.

I have long been fascinated by the Gnostic gospels, those early Christian church accounts NOT selected to be in the official canon. I have many of them and find them an intriguing read. Were a different group were to be selecting those books, we might well have the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Thomas. Maybe the Gospel of Mary Magdalene would have appeared and be read by us.

The point is the New Testament was formed from the selections of books that the early Christian church leaders thought best to form their church around. Of course they had to make choices. Some of those Gnostic gospels had Jesus doing the equivalent of magic tricks and weren’t credible. So they had to pick, but what criteria did they use? If women were to take a less prominent role in the early church, then leaving out Mary Magdalene’s account makes sense. Women could play a support role, but not be priests. If the Jesus they wanted to base the religion around were unmarried, it would be easier to go with celibate clergy later down the road.

I don’t care. Married or unmarried, the moral actions of the historical Jesus are what should matter to Christians. What guidance is provided should trump inconsequential questions of marital status.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Weird Sex Facts--Part 1

In my continuing efforts to provide you with information, I went searching for weird stuff you may not know about sexual matters. Wow! Now that is an interesting hunt! Oh, and the number of spam e-mails offering to enhance body parts I do not own have skyrocketed. What I do for you people!

Anyway, here’s some stuff I found interesting. I’ll do more of these next blog and sometime down the road. The world of sex is fascinating!

1/3 to 2/5 of women report orgasms lasting 30-60 seconds.

It takes 116 muscles to orgasm.

Average male orgasm, 3-5 seconds.

Average female orgasm, 5-8 seconds.

The record for the most female orgasms in one hour: 134.

The record for most ejaculatory orgasms in one hour: 16

Percentage of people who orgasm every time they have sex: Men, 75%; Women, 29%

10% of women report being multi-orgasmic.

While the average guy can have another orgasm after 30 minutes, that varies by age. The average for 18-year-olds is 15 minutes and 60-year-olds is 20 hours.

26% of women have trouble regularly reaching orgasm vs. 2.5% of men.

On average, men can sustain an erection for 30-45 minutes.

70-80% of erectile dysfunction is caused by medical problems rather than psychological.

Frequent erections provide the penis with oxygen-rich blood. Without that, a tough tissue forms that can interfere with blood flow. Spontaneous erections while awake or asleep may be nature’s way of ensuring the blood flow.

73% of seventy-year-old men are able to get it up.

15% of people say they’ve had sex at work.

For every “regular” web page, there are five pornography pages.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Book Waitress: A Review

Do you like your paranormals sprinkled with romance. Well, this is your author.  Deena Remiel just keeps getting better and better. You might know her from her Brethren series. Those “mangels” of hers are like no angels you’ve met!

In Remiel’s newest offering, The Book Waitress, Camille is one kick-ass librarian by the end of the book. Can’t wait to see her in books two and three (coming out soon), Devil du Jour and Demon ala Mode.

Not to spoil the story for you, but Camille finds herself a reluctant librarian in a small island’s library. At sixes and sevens in her personal life, she doesn’t like the disruption of a forced job change as well. But, of course, where would the story go if she’d been all giddy about the opportunity? Woulda been a different book!

When her past collides with her present, Camille faces challenges none of us could imagine--or survive. This paranormal suspense has plenty of twists and turns. And it doesn’t hurt that Camille partners with a hunky investigator to save not just her life, but the world.

Check out The Book Waitress for a quick (only 100 pages) jolting ride into the world as it may become. Is this “the end of the world as we know it”?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weird Sex Laws

I don’t know about you, but if two consenting adults want to engage in kinky sex or unkinky sex, it’s not my business. So why is the government--local, state, and federal--making laws? Get outta my bedroom!

There are websites out there that sniff out weird sex laws (posted at end) that you have just got to check out. Here’s a sample:

*Bestiality is okay in Utah as long as there’s no money involved. (If you did pay, who would get the cash?)

*Women can go topless in Arizona since breasts aren’t sex parts. (Just don’t try to breastfeed in public. That is sinful in most places.)

*You can’t have stand-up sex in a meat freezer in Wyoming. (So, can you sit or lie down instead?)

*You can’t climax during foreplay before your partner does in California. (Wow! Busted! I mean if the foreplay is good, it’s gooood.)

*No sex toys allowed in Alabama. (Only bought ones or can’t you make your own either?)

*Women can’t wear patent leather shoes in Cleveland, OH. (Are those Catholic school girl stories true???)

*You are not allowed to masturbate while watching people have car sex in Clinton, OK. (Gee, sounds like it would be hard to resist with the right peep show going on.)

Don’t even think about having sex, in Idaho, if the two of you aren’t married or be prepared to pony up $300 or spend six months in jail. (Wow, talk about a way to fill jail cells.)

The lesson of today’s blog is BE CAREFUL (even more than Mom said). Check out your locale before any hanky panky. Be safe!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Welcome to My Blog on Love and Relationships

As a young teen, when I first heard that Nevada allowed legalized prostitution, I was appalled. Didn't those people read the Bible? With age and perspective and lots of experiences, I have moderated my views.

Now this is not to say that I am necessarily advocating for legalized prostitution, just that people should consider the pros and cons. I'll be writing about some of those issues here.

I am Angelica French, and the fact that I write erotica might lead you to believe I am a libertine. Not so. In my world, there are rules and there are dumb rules. For example, states with laws restricting what adults do in their own bedrooms, as long as it doesn't break other rules like hurting people, are dumb rules. There are some lulus out there I'll be writing about.

I also want to delve into the history of sexual experiences--like prostitution and sexual mores--and invite you to learn some more about them. Sex is a primal need of humans. It is healthy, rich, and necessary, not just for procreation.

Come again and comment on topics of interest. You might even suggest possible blog topics I could work on and post.

Remember: the happiest married couples have sex frequently!

You can get more of my thinking on Twitter @RomanceRighter or Facebook at Angelica French. Follow me!