Romance 101

Welcome readers to Week 19 of the MFRW Blog hop.

Week 19: My Most Romantic Memory

Do you have any idea how difficult it is for a guy to romance a romance author? Hmmm?  Seriously,  how does any man ever compete against our book boyfriends?

OK, so I’m not really a mushy, gushy type of gal with frilly lace around my house with romantic decor, the rooms filled with soft mood inducing elements.  In fact, I’m a bit of a slob if truth be told.  As I look around at the moment,  I need to do some serious houseleaning.  But that’s another story.
Plus,  this isn’t my first rodeo. We’ve been married for almost 33 years.
I could list so many things in that amount of time, not to mention the 6 years we dated before tying the knot!
I remember our first kiss like it was yesterday,  but I have to say it pales in comparison with the deep passionate kisses now.
I remember our first time, . . . well, you know.  We were young, clumsy, neither of us knew what we were doing. But now, bow chicka wow wow!
But, passion is not the same as romance.

Romance is so much more than a hot date that ends with sex! Romance is being pursued.  It’s connecting, caring deeply in such a way that he makes me know that I am his heart! 

How can I pick just one thing?
My husband is an engineer.  He overthinks most things. He’s not Mr. Romance. BUT, he’s got such a wonderful heart and he gets me.  He loves me despite my bad habits,  my insecurities, and struggles. It’s so hard to pick just one thing or event.
I think the most romantic thing he has ever done for me is forgiving me.  We were very near divorced a few years back. I was done, fed up, hurt.  He never cheated on me – I want to make that clear.  It was other things.  We weren’t connecting,  we weren’t being considerate of each other, and in my hurt I was angry.  So very angry.
I wasn’t nice to him at all. Yet,  he was willing to go to marriage counseling,  bare his soul in front of someone else in order to work things out. We both had some changes to make  and my husband was better at it than me.  I was all for talking about the actions but when the counselor wanted to address underlying issues. . .  it took a long while before I opened up.
At the time I had shut him out but he wooed me back.
I Know it may not seem romantic to some people,  but changing a lifetime of habits is difficult. We had to change some elemental behaviors, both of us. The fact that he was willing to change for me when there was nothing really wrong with him, to begin with, . . . well to know that someone loves you so much they are willing to sacrifice everything else,  that’s LOVE.
Fictional characters never stink up the bathroom, they don’t leave their clothes on the floor, or their plates on the table.  They don’t have bad breath or get sick.  They don’t say the wrong thing at the wrong time and fictional characters don’t share our physical space.   BTW,  it’s not just the men that are guilty of these things. I’m sure the men could add a few more things to that list.
In real life, I found my Prince. Real life love trumps any fictional romance every time. We’ve been together for  39 years between dating and marriage –  I think we may have figured out a thing or two.

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This is us!
I am blessed to have him in my life! He’s my best friend!
You can check out what the other authors are saying HERE.
Write on my friends, write on!

Literary Lead – #AtoZChallenge


My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.


Today is brought to you by the lovely lavender letter L.


See? In the image, the letter is lavender. . . .  Fine! We’ll just get after it then.

Lead: The first paragraph of a manuscript. This is where the “hook” (to grab the reader’s attention) should be.

Lead Time: The time between getting the query or article and the publication of the article. Vital for seasonal articles and stories. This was more of a concern for article writing than for  novels, but  having said that, it would be best to coordinate the release of a Christmas story in December than to release it in June. 

Legend – a story or narrative which lies somewhere between myth and historical fact. As a rule, is about a particular person or figure.  (Legend of Zorro) Conversely, a legend is also the “map” of the story much like a legend on a map. 

One sentence description of a manuscript.  Some people call this your elevator pitch.

 Love. Not the soppy Valentine kind. The life’s work kind. Love what you do. If you do not love writing, you cannot become a better writer. Being a writer is a lonely isolated existence. You have to love it in order to spend hours isolated from the rest of the world. Also, having written romance – love is a hot topic in various genres.  How many stories have some sort of romance within them?

Also, having written romance – love is a hot topic in various genres.  How many stories have some sort of romance within them?  Whether you think love is for saps or the ultimate prize for each individual or find yourself somewhere in  the middle, love is a huge topic for authors.

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,


Put A LIttle Love in Your Heart

Warmest Wishes to everyone!

THIS is how I feel this morning.
I was greeted this morning on Facebook to find out that I was reported for posting an offensive picture of Santa’s little helper.

Santa's little helper

Santa’s little helper – I do not own the rights to this image,  I borrowed it from Cherry Adair!

I am over 21 – by  a long shot.  I sometimes have  thoughts that are of a sexual nature.  I appreciate the finer qualities of the human body. You know, like rippling abs and bulging biceps as opposed to gaseous emissions and under arm body odor.  My apologies to those that are offended by such talk. I’m tempted to say ‘grow up’ but as I refuse to. . . . to each his or her own.
It’s obvious that there are many, many people in the world that need some good cheer during this Holiday Season – whether it’s Christmas, Chanukah, Yule, Kwanzaa or whatever else you celebrate.
For me it’s Christmas. I’m not going to preach, but give me just a second of your time. When the angels appeared to the shepherds in the field (found in the book of Luke in the Bible) their message was “Peace on Earth, good will to men.” With the announcement of the birth of Christ.
That’s my Christmas wish to everyone – PEACE AND GOOD WILL TO ALL!
I don’t expect you to have the same faith as me, the same opinions as me, or the same values as I do. Diversity is a many splendoured thing – our differences help us to make this wonderful recipe known as mankind. Now wouldn’t it be sad if everyone was just like me? Or just like you?

I think that there is room enough on this big green ball of terra firma that we can all exist with our differences without condemning someone else simply because they are different. If we are to be warmongers, existing on hatred towards everyone that is different from us then we would have to kill our loved ones as well because they are –  different. Your spouse is different from you, your children are different with different personalities. Your parents are different from you!

You are a lone crusader for the YOU cause!

Is that really how we want to be? So caught up in our own egocentric existence that we can’t extend a little grace and humanity towards others? Why not be agents for change? I personally would rather be known for being one that cares and helping instead of griping about how things are. I can’t help everyone,  but I will help those that I can.

Years ago Rodney King said it: Why can’t we all just get along?










(Yes, my playlist this morning is retro 80’s but Annie Lennox is timeless!)

I realize that I am not everyone’s cup of tea.  I get that and I am perfectly ok with that because some of you,   you aren’t exactly my cup of tea either.  Like for instance, there are some people out there that eat beets. There are even some people out there that eat liver – willingly! I know right?

During this time of year, more people are prone to warm wishes than any other time of year. I wish that it was the case throughout the year but it isn’t.

So, for a few moments I want you to think outside of yourself. Fill an old purse with a few snacks, some wet wipes, some tissues, perhaps a pair of gloves and give it to the next panhandling female you see. Fill an old backpack  with similar items for a man. Stuff some peanut butter crackers in there, some beef jerky, perhaps a small package of cookies and a fresh apple.  Bless that homeless man who hangs out around the intersection that you drive through.

Extend a little compassion to the elderly man who walks with a painful limp as he enters the grocery store. He could have been a World War II vet that fought for your freedom but he’ll never demand your respect.

That elderly woman who can’t see over the dashboard, that nearly plows into your car may have recently been widowed.

The young man at the checkout counter that has been railed on for not being fast enough could have just lost his dad.

You don’t know what the other person is going through,  is it really too difficult for us as part of the human race to extend a little compassion to those around us?  Is it too much to be kind to the people who you meet on the street and in the stores?  Is it  so difficult to smile at someone? anyone?

I wish that every person would  get the gift of love this season. Not  just romantic love,  but the love for your fellow man.  The love of a brother, a sister, a child, a parent, that comforts your soul to the very depths of your being. I wish that love fills you to overflowing so that it spills out onto those around you!  I wish that laughter and joy are part of your holiday and the coming year.  I wish that love becomes not just a word to you but that it becomes a reality in your innermost being.

Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Put a little love in your heart today and let it infect those around you! For the person that reported me –  I hope a humongous bolt of love and compassion wallops you upside the head and  infectious laughter overtakes you to the point that you embarrass yourself in public!

NO, seriously –  a good healthy dose of joy and laughter to them so maybe they won’t be so uptight.

Warmest wishes to everyone!

Write on my friends, write on!

With lots of love and laughter ~



Showing The Crush

Continuing yesterday’s theme from Show Me,  I am discussing showing the crush.  In other words, conveying the “falling in love” or crushing stage.


I’ve read numerous romance novels where the author “Tells”  the audience that the female main character is falling in love with the  leading man. I personally find this disdainful.

Whether it is in a romance, or a romantic interest within another genre, it pays tobe a sensual writer. Sensual as in tapping into the senses. What are they feeling? hearing? seeing? smelling? tasting?

Memories are often correlated to smells.  I can’t smell Aqua Velva without thinking about my father. The smell of fresh-baked oatmeal cookies remind me of my mother’s kitchen.

Songs or sound memories can be even more powerful. How many couples remember “their song”  that was played at their wedding reception or perhaps when they went to prom together?  Any time I hear Sweet Home Alabama,  I have an instant visual of summers spent at the pool,  playing foosball with my friends.

Conveying the senses is an important part of showing in writing. So how do you show the crush?

There are physiological signs that a person exhibits when they are in love, or at least crushing.

The brain – Obsessing over a crush creates anxiety,  which causes the logical thinking part of your brain to temporarily shut down (The part of you that says stop texting him until he at least returns the first of your twenty-seven texts)

The throat –  the larynx constricts, and your voice subtly changes.  This is caused by a sudden increase  in endorphins, blood flow increased to the area, engorging the tissue and lowering the  tension in the vocal cords – much like a  guitar string, the tone drops.  (When he asked you out to a movie, your voice suddenly  grew husky enough to pull a sled.)

Your heart – Getting close to your crush causes a burst of adrenaline, which causes your heart to beat faster, loader, which also makes you blush. That heart pounding out of your chest feeling is for reals.  Typically, the average female who is in “Crush” mode, easily drops a few pounds because your metabolism has increased.  Nice side benefit, eh? (I wish that would work now, beyond the crush stage to the living it out stage.)

Your stomach – Oh hi there little butterflies!  The sudden increase in blood flow causes the blood to flow away from your stomach – which gives you that fluttery feeling.  A nervous jittery sensation that lodges in your gut whenever your crush is near, or in your thoughts. Either that or you skipped breakfast again.

Your hands – With all this increase in blood flow is there any wonder that your palms get sweaty and itchy? Your sweat glands are in overdrive.  You might want to make sure you reapply that underarm deodorant as well.

Your knees  –  Stress hormones. YUP.  Stress hormones put a strain on your muscles, tiring them out quicker than normal.  Feeling like your knees are going to buckle  is a sure sign that you are crushing. OR that you are pregnant,  but lets not get the cart before the horse, shall we?  FYI,  pregnancy hormones have the same effect, also causing increased blood flow  and akin to the blushing is the pregnancy glow. We are talking about knocking knees not knocked up.

Your feet – Increased adrenaline, blood flow leads to  fight or flight response. Running through a field of wildflowers, or twirling in the sunshine, or  dancing – all of which are often accompanied by a ridiculous grin that you can’t seem to  wipe off your face.  You know you can  benefit from this in combining this effect with the natural increase in metabolism by hitting the gym or hitting the pavement to tone that body even more to get your crush to notice but be mindful of the weak knees that strike suddenly.

Keep in mind that the recipient of your crush is most likely experiencing the same effects.

So, with physical signs of falling in love, it should be easy to show this in your writing. Which is more exciting:

a)Dianna was falling hard for Mitch. He occupied her every waking thought and had even appeared in her dreams lately as well.

b) Dianna was flushed. Her palms were sweaty and her hands shook as she picked up her phone, excited that Mitch had texted her.  A smile quickly spread as her pulse raced. Nervously chewing her lip as she swiped open the text remembering how Mitch had starred in her dream last night.

Which would you rather read?

Showing your crush by using these physiological signs would make for a much better story than simply telling.

The same principle can be employed in any scene. One of the first milestones in my mind that I had a knack for writing was when I got back a term paper from a college professor in American History about the Battle of Antietem and he had written that my battle scene description nearly made him puke.

I call that a win.  I know,  I’m weird.  I’m a writer, what did you expect?

Write on my friends, write on!


When the world plots against you

Warning – when allowing the radio to choose your playlist for you, be prepared to be overwhelmed with:
a) googly eyed sighs
b) longing that which is currently unavailable
c) thoughts of fantasy and debauchery ( hey I’m an adult – I have adult thoughts)
d)  images of that one HOT and SEXY man that just sends me
e) what if . . . . oh it gets really bad then.
Radio’s are evil. They are torture devices.  They’re either romance or depressing or something silly.
 I was working, needed  some tunage.  Music always helps me write better.  It often helps with mood setting, and sometimes scene setting.   Today I’ve been distracted wanting to hear from my guy.  Wanting to  know he’s ok, wanting to see him. Wanting  to see his smile, hear his voice, and  laugh together.
 I swear at times the universe plots against me.  I know it’s an egocentric statement, but it sure feels as if it’s true and I have numerous friends that will attest to it  happening to them as well.

So, for my heart throb – here’s a sample of the playlist:

  I can’t  hear this song without thinking of him. Trust me I have my reasons.
dirty babe, you see these shackles  baby I’m your slave,  . . . it’s just that no one makes me feel this way, yeah I’m a goner. * shakes head*
OK, the first time I heard this I thought it said  ” the girl in the pink shirt”  and  a statement  that he made ” can’t stop thinking about you in that pink shirt”.  Stupid I know, but  hey my emotions are in high gear here.
 Writing, yes I am suppose to be writing.   I go back to my scene and begin afresh. tap tap tap tap . . . . What do you think he’s doing right now?  Do you think  he’s ok?  He was pretty run down last  night, do you think he’s getting sick?  GAH!!
 OK, get up and walk around, shake it off.  I get a glass of water do a few chores around the house and come back. The conspirators are at it again in full force.
* headdesk*  NO one else can  push all my buttons like . . . . STOP IT! STOP IT!  STOP IT!
Right, a walk.  The dog needs a walk.  For an hour.   Alright, I ‘ve got this now. I switched channels.  HA!  Cut those conspiratorial radio personalities off at the knees.
 Oh that didn’t help at all.   Very naughty thoughts. Bad girl!
Radio station switched again.  We’ll fix this!   Stick  with more off the pop charts.
Really?  * head desk*   I need to write this scene!  It has nothing to do with romance, with holidays, or sweet sugar.  There’s torture and pain.
 GAH! I’m doing it again!
Conflict – yes I am suppose to be writing conflict.  Right, use that for conflict.  Tension, definitely feeling the tension but not in the writing.
You don’t say much but I listen when you do.

* dies, sinking further under desk*
Right, this scene isn’t happening today so I’ll write a short story for the other blog.  Ten minutes later story complete, and as I read it through I’ve used his name.  It’s too intimate, too real.  I can’t use this. It feels like a camera in my bedroom. NO,  this one goes in the personal file.
I  message my friend.  Conspiratory theories, girl talk, and she says ” Lol! *hugs* you are so adorable when you swoon!”
Fine, I try to focus again to get back into the writing.

Slips into a puddle in the floor.   That’s it, I’m done.  Can’t focus.   The conspirators win.
I surrender.
Ever had those days when no matter what you hear, or what you read it reminds you of that special person? You hear their voice in everything, see them in everyone?  It  know it happened to me bad after my mother passed. It doesn’t have to be for   the romantic interest,  it can be a cherished family member.  Please, somebody tell me I’m not the only one that this type of thing happens to.  Am I?
As I clean up my stacks of notes, and put away my reference books  my phone rings.
Write on my friends, gotta go!

Love and Romance: Why We Marry

The first bond of society is marriage.   – Cicero

Happy Valentine's Day

Many still choose the traditional route of marriage, and often for good reasons. Yet the divorce rate climbs each year.

Marriage is not the ‘happily ever after’ that we were sold in the fairy tales.  It takes real effort to make a marriage last.  It takes a strong bond to survive some of the storms that life throws at us.  Some of our idealism comes from the fairy tales, some from our societal views, some from religious upbringing and sometimes from a deep caring of our partner.

In a 2008 survey on marriage and cohabitation, the following statistics are from a poll for why they married:

  • love 91%
  • companionship 88%
  • to signify a lifelong commitment 82%
  • security for children 79%
  • to make a public commitment to each other 77%
  • legal status or financial security 66%
  • religious beliefs 62%
  • response to family pressure 50%
  • desire for a special occasion 45%
  • arranged 27%

In American society it is the norm to marry for love, but this isn’t always enough to make a marriage last. Once past the honeymoon phase the couple has to learn to deal with sharing life with another individual.  The becoming or disillusionment stage is fraught with conflict at every turn.  From clothing left strewn on the floor to the toilet seat being left up, even the tiniest of things can cause conflict.  We learn our conflict resolution from observing our parents and how they handled things.

My mother was a hot head and blew up over the smallest of things out-of-order in her world. I was often out-of-order.  My dad was passive aggressive and I could write you a book on devious acts of the passive aggressive that provoke the hotheaded type A  into a fire-breathing dragon.  Neither approach worked well.  I can imagine psychotherapy attempting to fix their marriage.  The therapist would need a therapist. However, they must have done something right as they managed to last over 50 years together.  Trust me it wasn’t 50 years of wedded bliss.  There was bliss at times, but in between was vast stretches of death valley.

My own marriage has lasted over 25 years.  A milestone to be certain, but again not every moment has been bliss.  We try to work things out, try to be rational but there are times when rationality goes out the window and the gloves are off.  It’s amazing how infuriated the person you love the most can make you over seemingly stupid matters.  After the dust clears we can look back and realize how ridiculous we were, but in that moment of battle it’s on like donkey kong!

Lack of love is never an issue.  Lack of passion hasn’t been an issue either.  Misdirected passions often are.  Not the sort of infidelity passions, but misplaced as far as thrown into being right or getting our way.  It is just as important to BECOME the right person as it is to FIND the right person.  Learning to think outside of yourself is difficult, taking the other person into consideration isn’t our first nature.

Marriage is not about you.  It’s not about your happiness or your self fulfillment.  It’s not even about getting your needs met.  If that’s what your idea of marriage is you’d better hold off.  We are selfish beings.  You are and whoever you want to marry is also.

“Oh no, not my luvvy dovey benjy wenjy.  He’s the most thoughtful loving guy that ever lived.”

Honey, sit down we need to talk. If he/she is human then essentially they are selfish.   NO, no need to cry. I’m not making a personal attack on benjy wenjy. At some point the person you love the most will hurt you the deepest.  There is the true challenge in a marriage.  Working through the deep hurt and pain to resolve conflict and solve your problems together without killing each other, without accusing each other, without running back home to mommy or daddy, and without an all out war.  It’s difficult but not impossible.

Remember why you fell in love with them.   Remember the good times.  Never stop enjoying each other and remember that this is the mate you have chosen.  It is possible to work through the difficulties.

BUT, there sometimes comes a point when you’ve hit the wall, given all you can and tried everything you know of to try and just can’t seem to mend the damage that is there.  At the end of the day you have to be accountable for your own actions. We each have to make our own decisions, and live with the consequences of them.

I am not a marriage counselor, I am simply a wife that’s been married for 27 years.  I’ve made sacrifices and so has he.  When things are good they are amazing, and when they are bad, it’s the worst maelstrom imaginable.  I will emphasize one point – the person you love the most can hurt you deeper than you can imagine.  It’s part of making yourself vulnerable to another. That’s the part that is the hardest for me, exposing myself, making myself vulnerable.

You have to see that it’s a difficult scenario for him as well, it’s a minefield fraught with dangers; a damaged childhood, an independent streak, a rebellions streak, a mean streak – sometimes resembles a wild zebra! I guess all those rodeo trophies he has may count for something after all!

Whatever your reasons for marrying in the first place are, remember them.  Don’t be hasty to throw things away that can be repaired but don’t continue to put yourself in a  situation that is irreparable.  Abuse is abuse and any bit of it is reason to leave.

What does this have to do with writing ?   Romance? Love? Erotica?   I knew you were smart readers!

Write on my friends, write on.



Is Love Stronger Than Addiction?

Today is my birthday!  Yay!  * party horns sounding*  While I am out celebrating I thought I’d hand over the reins to a fellow writer.  The subject matter of this post however is not celebratory.  I know people that this applies to whether it’s heroin or another drug.  It’s hard to wrap my mind around the depths of this monster.  Unfortunately, this is a monster that is very real in our culture.  I have family that this applies to and while we struggle to comprehend thier actions, I find myself praying, pleading for their life.  Grab a kleenex and  welcome C. J. West!

During my research for Dinner At Deadman’s I learned a great deal about the power of addiction and the ways people get hooked on powerful narcotics. Every Internet chat room discussion and interview reminded me how addictive heroin is, and how destructive a drug habit is to families and neighbors. In all the sadness, pain, and loss, one story reminded me of the power of love and the strength of our human will.

To truly understand the power of love in this story, we need to start with the monster that is addiction.

The first surprise in my research was that many people who end up hooked on heroin don’t start by experimenting with drugs. It is easy to see intravenous drug users as beneath us and unworthy of our love and support, but many addictions spring from injuries that require prescription pain killers. For many, the end of a prescription leaves them with a psychological if not physiological addiction and they seek relief through alternate means.

They buy unused pills from someone else’s prescription then progress to buying pills stolen from homes and pharmacies. Soon, pills aren’t enough to “get off E” (stop feeling sick). Addicts need more and more of the drug to get through the day without feeling ill. Many addicts rarely get high after using for a long time. They simply need the drug to function. As the need for the drug increases, users progress from pills like Oxycodone to shooting heroin intravenously.

At this point, the physical need is so strong that users will do anything for the drug. The desperation is hard to fathom. Imagine something so powerful you’d kill for. So powerful you’d get on your knees and beg for. Something you need so badly you’d give your body to anyone who asked if they promised you money to buy it.

One of the most difficult aspects of writing this book for me was creating realistic scenarios with my drug culture characters. After sitting across the table with family members and hearing the desperate and dangerous things addicts will do for the drug, writing these scenes sometimes made me feel physically ill because I knew they were playing out every day across the world.

When I was nearly finished with the book, and really struggling to come to terms with this problem, I remembered the story of a woman I’d met years ago. She married and had two kids with a man who later became addicted to heroin. We worked together and over the years I heard story after story of the problems he caused her.

He stopped working and continually stole from family members. He sold their electronics even after she’d thrown him out of the house. He broke into the houses of relatives, stole their cash, sold their electronics. He drove the children around town while he was high.

This story played out in real time for me. If she’d asked my advice it would have been to divorce him and keep him away from the children. But year after year she struggled to provide for the family on her own. She raised her children by herself and encouraged her husband to get help. Years later when he’d recovered and moved back in, I was in awe of her love, strength, and commitment, to see her marriage through such a tumultuous time.

You will see a glimpse of this woman in my character Cynthia during Dinner At Deadman’s. She shows surprising compassion in one key scene given the circumstances. I hope you’ll give the book a try and see drugs and addiction in a new light.

C.J. West is the author of seven suspense novels including The End of Marking Time and Sin and Vengeance, which was optioned into development for film by Beantown Productions, LLC (screenplay by Marla Cukor). C.J. blogs at You can also find him at or at


An English Gentleman

You may have noticed that I didn’t get my Wonderful Women Writer series guest posted yesterday.  The previous post for those paying attention was a bit of foreshadowing on the matter.   See what I did there? I love it when the “story-spinner” turns chaos into usable material.  That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking with it!

Moving on:  Women Writers will continue through July!  (Yeah!  The crowd cheers loudly!)  I will also have some guests that are in the industry but not necessarily writers.  Thank you for the overwhelming response, it seems I’ve struck on a good idea.  You guys rock!

Today I’m handing things over to a friend.  We met during NaNoWriMo, as with several of my online writer friends.  I have truly found a family of support within the writing community.  I have the best online friends anyone could have! This particular friend is a great encouragement to me.  He is witty, charming, and has sparked many creative ideas.  He would tell you he’s cynical, but don’t let him fool you.  He’s quite the romantic at heart and well, since I am writing about fantasy, love, and romance I thought it might be good to get some input from a romantic gentleman!

On Being Ill, Writing, and Long Distance Relationships



 I have Cerebral Palsy and this condition makes certain parts of my life interesting. Even with painkillers sleeping can be shitty, it’s a pain but in some ways it is a benefit. I can write in peace through the dark hours without meaningless bullshit interruptions, phone calls from telesales pukes for example, even though making them cry can be an amusing hobby.  Similarly asking what they are wearing in a breathy voice or answering in fluent German can be entertaining. Working at home means that there are days where you do nothing productive as because you are home, friends, neighbours and family just drop in, knock, or beg favours because “you’re home all day of course you have time.” You have to schedule around stuff like the expectations that you can sign for parcels, wash clothes, iron and clean because being home all day the housework is obviously your responsibility. If I had the money I would rent an office just to avoid it, thank heavens that the traditional British publican has embraced words like E-cig and WiFi. I can drink and smoke in a little local pub that is older than the U.S. constitution as well as my writing and blogging.

E-cigs for those of you unfamiliar with the term are devices that heat a liquid suspension of nicotine with an atomizer to create a steam that is inhaled using a base liquid much like those used in nightclub smoke machines, being tobacco and burn free they generally are exempted from indoor smoking bans and have none of the toxic chemicals found in conventional or “analog” products.  The big drug companies hate them and so they have funded scare stories to frighten and misinform such as hyping up the fact that a trace of a base chemical in antifreeze was found in one cartridge. The fact that this chemical is the bit that stops antifreeze from jellifying and is a component of most liquid medicines is ignored in order to fuel fear. Personally I use an “ego-t” style device because the ones that look like real cigs don’t hold a big enough battery and I get annoyed when the battery dies. The best thing for me is I can go from forest fruits to a rich Cuban cigar simply by changing the liquid I use, I can even do a full three course meal of flavour if so inclined.  Start with an herbes de provence blend followed with a smoky bacon or a roast beef or if you are truly adventurous a clam and for dessert a blackberry cobbler followed by a thick rich espresso.  But moving on…

The real advantage to not sleeping though the pain is that it allows me to easily contact the woman I love, the woman I am writing this guest blog piece about in some respects.  She is my inspiration, my rock, she probably won’t ever log into this website and read this but I am playing the bragging boyfriend now talking about the love of my life.

Her being in the USA and me being based in blighty could be seen as a huge hardship and put a lot of stress on a relationship.  However, with the access I have to modern technology and being on a non standard schedule it means that I can be online at say 3am my time and be chatting to her and swapping silly little ‘ILU’s’, messages, notes about our days and the occasional steamier message.  It does mean that she has to put up with me dropping off when the nightly sedatives kick in, but we manage as best we can.  Most of my best writing is done with her beside me.  It’s almost as if we are there but rather than the fog of her breath in the cold room, it’s this orangish almost ethereal glow as my screen flashes with her missive. The air foggy with “smoke” that smells like the forest fruits liquid I use to carry my addiction,  I can almost imagine rather than the laptop battery warming my body it’s her body heat as she snuggles into my arms. We have never met in person but we have had around 6 months of nightly chats and shared intimacy to the point where we are writing together on a project that may soon be published. Sex when it comes; we will be fumbling first time lovers but we know each other, know each other’s bodies, know what makes us moan or gasp. We know how and when to nudge and caress, when to plunge hard and bite.  We know what and when we need and we do our best with each other and for each other.

We write, sleep, eat, bathe, shower and work together and I wouldn’t ever lose that. It’s just we do it currently through fibre optic cables carrying our messages as blips of light into the unknown, but I do not and cannot see our relationship being changed negatively by it becoming physical rather than digital.

Some day soon my love!


Romance is the top-selling genre, netting 55% of all sales.  Of that percentage, the vast majority of readers are women.  Is it any surprise that we want romance?

I read other genres, but nothing beats a good romance.  For a  brief period of time I can escape the sink full of dishes, the carpet that needs vacuuming and all the other less than glamorous things that are every day life.  I can experience by proxy the roller coaster ride that falling in love can be.  Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough that can keep me from you love. 

It can’t just be a simple boy meets girl, they fall in love kumbaya, and they live happily ever after!  How boring would that  be? Flash fiction has more oomph than that!

No, we want a romance that takes us on the magical mystery tour of love.  Undying devotions, a love that never fails, a passion so great that life is meaningless without it; this is the stuff of dreams.

Truly Madly Deeply

Ah! My inspiration, my love; the man who inspires me to write passionate scenes of ardor, the one that quickens my pulse and sets me on fire  with a mere glance.  The one!  The one that takes me over the edge, that laughs and splashes in the deep pools of my soul, the one I let inside. I dare to bare my soul, my heart.  The promise behind the eyes, the words spoken or barely whispered in intimacy that make my heart zing like a rocket launched  into the universe.  It’s more than a physical attraction.  It’s more than being friends. There’s nothing casual about it at all. With the internal fears of trusting someone so deeply and intimately comes the intoxicating seduction of complete passion.

When you would do anything for the one you love, feel that you could survive the worst if they are there for you, and are willing to lay your soul bare for them – that is love.

It’s the brass ring we are after when we lose our less than perfect selves into a fictional tale.  The hope of it happening in our lives propels us forward, seeking it in our own lives.  Some have become disenchanted and given up on it ever being real for them.  A few lucky souls have found it.  Many more are still seeking.

Love and passion can be separate things but the love we hope for, long for and desire is the passionate love that nothing else in life can compare to.  I can’t imagine a 14-year-old writing effectively about being heartbroken, or experiencing true love.  There’s a depth that has to be experienced in order to convey.

Ah, and I’ve touched on the other element of passion, the painful side.  It’s a fine razor’s edge when the heart is laid open, vulnerable to another.  It’s the ones closest to us that can hurt us the most.  Betrayal, heartache, pain – any time we make ourselves vulnerable we risk those.

Is it better to keep your heart guarded and never let anyone in?  Or risk having it broken?

We put characters through impossible situations and unbearable circumstances to test them.  We find out just how much they can trust each other, how much they care, and sometimes what lengths they go to show that love.  We throw natural disasters, impossible obstacles, and even dangerous villains across their path and make them perform like mice in a maze.  Dance little mouse and go for the cheese at the end.  I guess now would be a good time to tell you I’m a firm believer in happily ever after in my books.  I don’t care for noir fiction, life is dark enough.

The mere nature of our fragile mortality is often a driving force of passion.  Our lives are but a flickering flame of a candle and can be gone like a vapor.  Life is too short to not take chances for happiness and love.

Have you ever fallen in love; truly, madly deeply?  Do you have someone in your life that you feel this way about?  Have you expressed it to them lately?  Passion without expression is lifeless.  If you don’t live passionately, you’re not really living.  Just going through the motions in a daily grind,  where’s the joy in that?

If there’s someone in your life that you feel desperate for, can’t imagine a life without them in it; tell them, show them.  Let them know there’s someone there for them and hopefully it won’t be a unrequitted love.

The most tragic love of all, unrequited love.  To give yourself completely, without reservation to someone else, and they don’t return that love – well, that’s often a heart ache that leaves a permanent scar.  The deepest wounds are inflicted upon our souls and sense of self worth.  It leaves us shattered to the core, giving up on ourselves and life itself.  A few eventually rise from the ashes bearing their battle scars, but most never trust again.

We are at our inner beings delicate flowers after all.  Fragile petals that are easily crushed or bruised.  In the hands of one who cares, the blossom opens and becomes something of beauty.  A passionate love beckons the beauty even from a damaged blossom.  Be careful who you let in your inner garden.

Write on my friends, write on!

Time Passages

Disruptions to the space-time continuum exist in our everyday lives.  It can happen anywhere, anytime and especially when electronic devices are nearby.

Whether it’s the Black Hole of research into a never-ending spiral of related links, or a specific search that runs off course.  It happens all too often.  It starts simple enough.

Moving along in the story, typing away, not looking at the screen because I’ll have to stop and fix every single typo and I can’t because I’m on a mission.  The dialog is playing out in my head, and I need to concentrate on  hearing the character’s voices over the clacking keys.  Then it happens – the moment when I realize I don’t know some obscure fact like the rotational speed of the earth, which plays a part in the alchemy of time travel.  Or rather the return to the starting place.

Maybe I should explain, or maybe I’ve made it too complicated.  Whichever, I’m too far into this now to change it so you’ll have to bear with me.  Isabelle is from the 21st century – sort of.  That’s the first point of beginning for her time traveling anyway.  How do you guarantee a safe return flight or fall back to the future from the past when the mage is a bit scatter-brained to begin with?

My finger hovers over the tab, do I research or do I not?  My throat goes dry, my pulse quickens.  I wet my lips, hesitating, weighing the possibilities.  Do I type blindly ahead knowing that some fact geek such as myself will find this flaw and discount all my writings for a hack, or do I find the facts I need and lose valuable writing time?

It’s like a drug.  The subtle seduction of truth just a click away, with the risk of potential danger.  My skin is flushed, my palms sweaty – it”s a heady mix.  In a single second – a hasty decision, I open google.

According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, gravity is a curve in space-time and astronomers regularly observe this phenomenon when they study light moving near a sufficiently massive object. Particularly large suns, for instance, can cause an otherwise straight beam of light to curve in what we call the gravitational lensing effect.

 Any event that occurs in the universe has to involve both space and time. Gravity doesn’t just pull on space; it also pulls on time.  Speed also plays a role in the rate at which we experience time. Time passes more slowly the closer you approach the unbreakable cosmic speed limit we call the speed of light. For instance, the hands of a clock in a speeding train move slower than those of a stationary clock.

There’s nothing in Einstein’s theory that precludes time travel into the past, but the very premise of pushing a button and going back to yesterday violates the law of causality, or cause and effect. But what if time travel into the past and future depends less on speculative space propulsion technology and more on existing cosmic phenomena?

As made popular by everything from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” to “Donnie Darko,” there’s also the equally theoretical Einstein-Rosen bridge to consider. But of course you know this better as a wormhole.

Einstein’s general theory of relativity allows for the existence of wormholes since it states that any mass curves space-time. According to astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, wormholes may exist in quantum foam, the smallest environment in the universe. Here, tiny tunnels constantly blink in and out of existence, momentarily linking separate places and time like an ever-changing game of “Chutes and Ladders.”

Yada Yada Yada, get to the good stuff here.  This is about the time that the related links catch the eye.  Ooh shiny!  Doctor Who! Doctor Who blooper outtakes. Red Dwarf smeg ups! Tongue Tied!

I glance at the little clock in the bottom corner of my screen.  12 pages later, three videos, and the phone call that snapped me from my glazed condition, I’ve lost nearly two hours.  Knowing that my deadline looms before my like a monstrous storm cloud on the horizon,  I really didn’t need this excursion into the black hole.  Head-desk!

You know what? I think magic combined with fate can manage to return Isabelle to her proper time. Prophecy is much more powerful than mere physics can explain.  No one’s going to be lost in the quantum foam during my time travel.  I am master of this universe, and in this world Love is the most powerful force there is.  With the help of a little magic of course.

Write on my friends, write on!