When we met I was fifteen years old. He's been my lifeline ever since. Love love love this man! I couldn't write without his support... literally, and according to him I wouldn't eat if he didn't cook. That may be true. :D
Thoughts from a nice girl about mean girls...
There are days when I wonder “Why can’t I just be like the mean girls?” The ones who say whatever they think and feel without filter or tact. Or the ones who can mean mug you through a plate glass window and somehow make you feel like your soul purpose is serving them.
And then there’s the people, hundreds, maybe even someone reading this, who will either correct my grammar (no biggy) or correct my thinking with a happy quote like “No one can make you feel anything” Except that’s not entirely true.
Mind over feelings is foolishness. Feelings are important and valid and healing. Without them we aren’t whole. And let’s not forget that quotes from famous people aren’t necessarily true. They aren’t magic. They’re just something someone famous once said.
I do my best to live and be the best version of me since there is no other version out there. Apparently, I serve a purpose. I'm needed by the mean girls because without nice girls meanness would mean nothing.
And in the end when I have a bad day and I’m hurting because of a mean girl, I dream of things I’d like to say, mean things, and naughty things, and things with four letter words in them. But I don’t because, all in all, I’m relatively nice, and most of the time fair.
I do, however, have some plans for two mean girls. They will find themselves in a book that may never be read, but will definitely be published. And something yucky will happen to them. Not fatal, or maiming, just yucky.
Does that make me a mean girl? I hope not. Their names will be changed to protect their non-innocent mean mugging selves. So there's that. As for me it's a great real life lesson in body language.
Writers don't let anything go to waste. Somehow all feelings find their way onto the page.
I know in the proper vernacular fairy tale is two words. A fairy tale. A fairy that tells tales. Tales as told by fairies. And so on.
But for me it can only be one word. Fairytale. The singular word embodies more than a story. It’s an entire fantastical life. It breathes a happily ever after. It’s the grown version of fairy tale. No longer a child’s dream and a frog prince, now it’s strong men and stronger women working toward the same happily ever after.
It’s more than a glass slipper and singing birds.
It’s a romantic interlude. A softly spoken declaration. An overindulgence of love.
It’s a romance.
It’s a dance. A kiss. A throbbing pulse. A reason to breathe.
It’s true in the moment and a healthy distraction.
It’s the best of fiction and non-fiction combined.
It’s word play and roll play. Farce and fantasy. And sometimes in the best of times, it’s a true love story.
It’s why I write romance and why I read romance. Because I believe in the Happily Ever After.
I look at my computer calendar and it's definitely 2018. I'm sure it will be another month or two before I get a current paper calendar for the wall.
Everyone anticipates a new year. We set resolutions that often fail and sometimes don't. I'm not a big fan of resolutions. I don't need a daily reminder that I'm lagging behind. But I am a believer in goal setting. Small goals, big goals, creative goals, and out of reach goals.
My goal this year is to grow my newsletter. I haven't a clue how to do this except to keep trying and reading and moving. Survivors never stop moving, either physically or emotionally. I read books and articles. I ask friends and I pray A LOT.
Writing is a lonely affair of the heart. It hurts. It's isolating. It's nerve racking and it's disappointing, much of the time. But when it's not these things, it's oh so good.
2018 feels like a marathon year for me. It's the year I must make some huge decisions like whether to continue pursuing indie publishing or tackle the traditional route. Either way I plan to have a publishing date by the end of summer.
My husband keeps telling me "fake it till you make it". While I'm considering his words I will rest upon one of my favorite conversations between Pooh and Piglet. "You are braver than you believe."
p.s. If you're a reader please friend me on goodreads. I'd love to share bookshelves with you.
I know what you're saying "Never be obligated" don't let the shoulda coulda woulda's get you. So I won't. But I am putting up a post simply because I want to and I thought everyone should know what I eat for breakfast.
December literally means: COOKIE. Am I right? Today it's a snickerdoodle and my cold brew.
WARNING: Obligatory part ahead.
No I haven't decorated for Christmas because I'm lazy and I have a November hangover from NaNoWrimo. I give you all permission to set aside the obligatory decorating if you need to. Seriously, in this season of joy, cheer, and depression, do what you can, do what you want. I love Christmas, but I learned a long time ago the best way to love anything is to go easy on yourself. There are times in life when this is especially necessary.
Now, for the gift part. My office is full of boxes, unwrapped stuff, and a locked safe for my credit card because I have grandchildren and I can't stop myself from buying toys that I want to keep at my house so I can play with them. (if you're an editor, just ignore that last sentence and this one)
This last week I've slowed my writing schedule way down and I'm choosing to read and basically stare at my lack of decorating genius. I'm busy on my boudoir reads. This coming week is a short story by Marlow Kelly which she has graciously offered for free as a Christmas gift to her fans.
Don't forget to check out my Book Boudoir.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays however you may keep it.
End of Year Request
This month I'm asking a favor of my fans. As most of you know my Book Boudoir features not only books but lingerie. I try to match something I like about each book with something special to wear. It's all comfy. Some of it's sexy. Most of it's affordable. But this month I have a blank page. My last lingerie pick is pretty in pink and a little razzle dazzle, after all it is Christmas.
However, I'm missing a book title. I need a book to read that matches this lovely piece of lounge wear ;) If you have an idea that fits, please leave the book title and author's name in the comments section. A nice cozy Christmas read would be most appropriate.
Doctor’s visits. The Dentist. The grocery store. Even Target. All places that little kids get free stickers just for showing up. When I was a kid we had treasure boxes with plastic rings, super balls, jacks, and tiny decks of cards. I don’t miss the treasure box, except maybe the tiny decks of cards. However, I find myself wanting to ask for a sticker and a snoopy bandaid every time I get a shot.
That little thing inside me that craves a surprise bonus never went away and, since I don’t have a paying job, there’s no one to grant me a yearend bonus of any kind. I guess I could ask my husband for a sticker. It would sure be a lot cheaper than all the mochas I buy during the week.
Writing is lonely and the kudos are either nonexistent or few and far between. For me, I’m in the nonexistent part of the journey and stickers would definitely cheer me on. Stickers, and coffee mugs, and bookmarks.
It’s the little things that keep me going.
And, hey, I have a NaNoWriMo hangover and I need a prize.
Join me on Twitter @shanRpatterson
Laughter is carbonated holiness…. Anne Lamott
It's Friday. I look forward to Fridays, not because I work deathly hard all week and deserve a break--because truthfully I work almost every day of the month. Writing never really stops, and each day has little distinction except for Friday.
Friday my husband plays hockey well into the night and I get alone time. I do things like color my hair wacky colors, or play a video game, or watch my favorite old sitcom (Mary Tyler Moore) or binge watch Poldark. That last one I've been doing a lot lately.
I check my calendar and pretend I've met my goals, and I never make my bed on Friday. Out of all the housework I do and don't do (mostly don't do) making the bed makes the least sense. It's kind of like bagging groceries that are already in a bag. ie. potato chips.
Saturday through Thursday I live in the heads of people who only exist in my head. But Friday I live in my real made up world. I live it as me, but I pretend the world is a nice place where I needn't worry about anything, and I celebrate the good things like: my family, mochas, chip and dip...you know, all the important things. I let go of the things I have no control over and give myself permission to indulge in happiness.
Then I do the best thing of all, I drink prosecco. Ice chilled almost frozen prosecco. A good movie, my coloring books, and prosecco.
I don’t write romances for the sex. And, believe it or not, I don’t read them for it either.
What I look for is that feeling of falling in love. The chemistry. The heart pounding insecurity when you first meet someone you’d like to meet again and again and again.
I read them for the ultimate escape from reality. Because let’s face it, if you met one of these book boyfriends in real life, you’d likely never give him the time of day.
I write alpha-heroes with soft hearts. And soft women with stubborn resolve.
I write the kind of sex scenes that depict an affair of the heart and not a sleazy affair with the 2am bar drunk—not that a 2am bar drunk isn’t okay…when you’re married to him/her. (as long as my mother isn’t reading this, I’ll admit that I’ve been there) p.s. my mom just signed up for my newsletter.
When I first started reading romances I seriously skipped most of the sex scenes because what I craved wasn’t that skin to skin bond, it was all the tension that led up to it. I craved the relationship and banter and the quirky personalities. I craved to read the weird ways people meet and to discover what it was that makes us fall so deeply in love that we’ll never leave. I learned about struggle and conflict. I learned about places I’d never been and eras I’d never know. Most of all I learned what I wanted, and what I didn’t want, in a man.
I truly do give credit to romance novels for helping me recognize my husband when I met him. And no he doesn’t look like Fabio…thank the good Lord. But he loves me intensely.
The basic rule for writing romance is: 1. It must have a Happily Ever After 2. It must have sex, open or closed door (not my rule, this info came directly from an agent). Now, I will admit that the second rule has changed some over the years. We now have cozy reads and inspirational reads and reads with romantic elements, not to mention chick lit. So…yes, I could in theory, write a romance without sex, and I’ve fought the moral side of my upbringing for years trying to find the right balance. But I can’t do it. I can’t morally write these characters I love without giving them what they want.
These are not easy scenes to write, but I’ve found them to be important.
Truth: sex exists in more than just romance novels. It’s in almost every other book of fiction on the market. The romance genre is just an easy target for bashing it. And if we’re completely honest, it exists in our homes too. **blush** And thank you God it exists in the Bible.
My mom keeps asking to read my current book, but she doesn’t want to read a kissing book. Sorry, mom, there’s kissing, and sex, and body parts. When I hand over my precious cargo of words to a friend, I live in a little world of bashful denial. I simply ignore the fact that I wrote all those sexy parts. My characters have minds of their own and they write themselves.
So, fair warning my friends and family, I can’t stop you from buying my books when they’re published, but if you ask about the sex, I'll never admit that “Yes, I wrote THAT.”
Song of Solomon 1:2
Oh, how I wish you would kiss me passionately! For your lovemaking is more delightful than wine. (New English Translation)
How do you read?
I like paper. Not paper bags or cardboard, but paper. That smell when you crack the binding on a new book is kind of like that new car smell. Or for those old enough, the smell of dittos and fresh purple ink.
This last week I’ve been enjoying the fresh old dusty scent of a classic favorite. The pages are yellowed, and some are dog-eared. The nostalgia of this book lowers my blood pressure and sends me to far away places. “Almost Heaven” by: Judith Mcnaught. For me it is a little bit of heaven. I have the old cover version with a soothing picture of a meadow covered in purple flowers, maybe lilac. Reading this favorite is like meeting up with an old friend you haven’t seen in years. The conversation is reliable, just like the story.
I never thought I'd enjoy my e-reader. There is an advantage to electronic reading: No wasting money on book lights that don’t stay put or run out of battery. No waking up my husband. No corner dog ears. I can read in the dark, change the font, even change the background color.
With change comes loss. I lose out on that paper smell, but I gain physical shelf space and I take my library with me wherever I go--Not to mention a built in highlighter and dictionary.
My favorite e-reader is my iPad. A downloadable app keeps me in kindle country and the book nook, but whenever possible I download an iBook. As a result I have three unlimited bookshelves and I couldn't be happier.
To keep the nostalgia going, I'm often reading one paper book and one e-book. They both release their own kind of serotonin.
How do you read?
Join me the last 10 days of this month, and witness the debacle...I mean the incredible transformation. I may even pop some bubbly.
The debacle is over and I had a great time! I even uncorked a bottle of bubbly. The talented Jessica Kellogg of The Spanish Fly, did a fantastic job of artfully weaving magenta into my natural hair. My daughter cheered me on and my hubby brought snacks for the three hour operation.
Now I feel well prepared for my romantic science fiction read. And I can’t wait to get back to the pages of Nick and his lovely Saku. Thank you all for joining me. Don’t forget to check out the Boudoir and keep in touch with Book Boudoir sign-up.
Before and after pics follow…
Next up: Hair...
I've done some weird things. Not so strange to me, but things that have raised a few eyebrows. A dozen years ago I had my belly button pierced--and almost fainted, I might add. The tattoo guy and piercing person (these are my official names) didn't blink an eye when I asked if fainting would be a problem.
"No," he said. "We have smelling salts."
Somehow that didn't make me feel any better. But here I am, a decade later and I can't imagine my belly without the piercing.
And then there's the time I asked my amazing photographer daughter to take some artfully discreet pictures of me because I wanted to embrace the idea that all women are beautiful in nature's skin. She honored my request and snapped a few shots of me in a silly hat and made my mommy marks a thing to be proud of.
Few have seen these pictures, but I love them.
Now I'm thinking about my hair. It's the longest it's been since I was seventeen. Which creates a marvelous opportunity to do something I've always wanted to do: dye it an unnatural color. Either dip the ends in magenta pink, our dye a stripe. My son thinks it's time to go full unicorn. I do admit I'm a little tempted.
Join me the last 10 days of this month, and witness the debacle...I mean the incredible transformation. I may even pop some bubbly and get some new jammies.
***Two of these photos are from my infamous photo shoot with Amanda Rose Photography
And Lookie Boo Blog with Tiffany Reese***
https://www.photobyamandarose.com/ https://www.facebook.com/photographybyamandarose/ http://lookieboo.com/about/
The lopsided Grin...
Sometimes… okay, much of the time, writing feels like a game of charades. Body parts fly, eyes shudder, feet tap, and my favorite, the lopsided grin. Oh the handsome lopsided grin. I can’t get away from that. Honestly, I don’t want to get away from that one.
The lopsided grin is one of the affectations that made me fall in love with regency men. Strong, alpha hero, regency men. Men who are confused and tamed by unusually freethinking women of their time.
But I digress. I blame it on the grin.
What I started to say, was that every day I’m challenged to re-imagine walking, talking, smiling, and brow scrunching. I’m terrible at charades, but ironically competitive. When my characters begin to resemble the hotdog dance on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse series, it’s time to rewrite and rein in all those loose arm waving, feet flapping, obnoxious forehead wrinkling mannerisms.
And concentrate on sounds and smells and idle pottery.
You can probably guess I’m editing and seeing visions of that handsome smirk.
Don’t hate me for the lopsided grin, even Prince Phillip in Sleeping Beauty delivered one when his horse threw him in a creek bed. Disney turned a cartoon character into a dreamy man with that one scene.
I salute the half-grin, the smirk, the mouth shrug… the infamous and beloved lopsided grin. And oh, Mitchell, you do it so well.
Creativity can be a double-edged sword. I’ve always had a fondness for sewing. That’s my way of saying “I can sew…and I’m not too bad at it”. But when I was younger this wonderful creative gift came with hemming everyone’s pants on Christmas.
Hemming is one of my least favorite sewing things to do.
You can guess that I obliged. I can’t leave my family wanting for clean hemlines. And this week I can’t leave my mom wanting for team aprons for the Opening day of pre-football. I never really understood the whole pre-game thing, but that’s another story. You all know how much I love to procrastinate.
So, these aprons have turned into a semi-rush job. With edits coming in last week I’ve got a lot on my mind and sewing aprons sort of took a backseat. (cliché alert) It’s only fitting that I should be working on these on Sunday, since football lands on Sunday.
Two Forty-Niners, one Steelers, and two Packers. Aprons, that is.
Now that I’ve started, however, I’m in the zone: lining up gathering stitches, salivating over my good scissors, threading needles, and oh the iron. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh, crisp, new fabric under the heat of an iron.
Funny, most of the heroines I write don’t sew. This is the one subject I could write about with a modicum of expertise, and I don’t. Hmmmm, some unsuspecting Regency female is in for a needle and thread, me thinks.
What would an independent Regency woman sew?
Procrastination should be a job with a salary because it’s awful work. Tedious and boring and painful, and it takes skill to do it well.
Every writer I know has this special gift.
Last week I received my much-anticipated developmental editorial report. It’s so official. The problem is that procrastination has taken on editing as an excuse. My brain is just editing and editing and editing the edits, and writing none of it down.
What am I so afraid of?
I’m afraid of being wrong. These characters aren’t just words, they’re people who have lived a life one way and are about to get it tweaked another. Where their lives were simpler and less hectic, they’re about to get a rude awakening and find themselves in a dark alley (not literally…at least I don’t think so). But they will change in subtle ways that will make them better people and in turn make me a better writer.
My writer friends won’t let me wallow in this fog for long. They’ll poke and prod me on my way to imperfection, because if writing is anything, it’s imperfect every time.
My stomach turns until I get a gander at all the fun things I just bought to keep me from procrastinating like: colored sticky notes in every size, and special shaped stickies, and a new journal, some colored tablet paper, index cards (cuz I can always use index cards) and a coffee. Does that not sound like the perfect shopping bag full of procrastination?
And right next to these things is my Editorial Report. Which by the way, was worth every cent. Thank you Sue-Brown Moore.
In the end I’m gonna get an idea, it’s gonna hit the keyboard, and I won’t stop until it’s done. But until then, I’ll sip my cold brew coffee and eat some trail mix and decide what all this colored paper means.
I’ve been racking my brain for blog subjects. I have a section for Disney pins because I love my pins. I have a section for events because eventually I plan on having some. But right now, I just feel stuck.
Until today. Today I remembered what my characters are all about. They’re about falling in love. They’re about overcoming obstacles. They’re about the happily ever after. And that got me to thinking about my own happily ever after story.
I met my hubby in high school. That’s right, sickening though it is, we are high-school sweethearts. I blame romance novels on finding him so soon. My addiction started at fifteen, maybe even fourteen. Every paycheck went to books. Every book had a picture of a pirate or a castle or a flowing haired beauty with a dress worth destroying.
We married soon after I graduated. Had children. Had marital struggles. Financial obstacles. But above it all, we had each other. No matter what, he’s always been my prince charming. He’s cared about my dreams and taken care that I should be happy.
And the man has spent more on lingerie than he’s spent on my clothes. My closet is stuffed with silky sheer fabrics, stretchy lace, pretty patterns, polka dots and flowers. I love lingerie. It’s addicting. Sometimes I wear it just to lounge in. Don’t get excited. I’m not suggesting I look fabulous in it and my hair is often a mess. I don’t wear make-up most days and I’m not a size 0. Not even close. But every Friday night my mirror is his eyes. True story.
I do my best to let him enjoy what he sees and give up on my dreams of perfection (bubbly helps). My kids call before dropping by on the weekend (very wise of them).
So what does all this have to do with my books? My characters aren’t just happily-ever-after fairytale dreams. They’re women who wear naughty and nice very well. Who have men that appreciate them, love them, adore them, and allow them to be free.
Sassy. Annoying. Dangerous.
Obnoxious. Childish. Exacting.
They have huge dreams, big voices, and they bring out the best in their men. All the things my Friday night hubby makes me feel.
Desired, adored, beloved. He cherishes the woman in me.
Delicate. Strong. Fearless.
So, I’ve decided to add a section about lingerie. Because I believe that every woman can look delicious in the right clothes. And out of them too. ;)
Live free ladies.
This week's book: Marrying Winterborne by: Lisa Kleypas / Jammies: Victoria Secret
TV or no TV, that is the question.
So, we’re thinking of giving up TV. Not really TV, pretty much what most people refer to as cable. Where I live it’s satellite, which in many ways makes it more difficult to eliminate given we have no other option for TV. But who’s watching? That’s the real question.
I write most of the day and I can’t do that with the flat screen humming. I can’t even write with music on. Silence is my buddy. That and my Toodles. He sleeps at my feet. In fact he just made a loud flop and drop.
Here’s the deal: we pay well over a hundred dollars for satellite, and that’s without HBO (except during GOT season) and the like. That’s a lot of moola to fork over just to get Judge Judy twice a day and the season finale of Survivor.
The hubs likes his hockey, so there’s that. His obsession with the sport is medical. Quitting is an issue of withdrawals, but only during hockey season and the extra dollars might help. I’m convinced there’s another way for him to enjoy alllllll the games.
What’s the worst that could happen? I’d get more reading done, maybe listen to more music.
What to consider? Game of Thrones just started!
Winter is coming…
Color books? Yes, please.
I fight my extra time minions almost daily. Do I spend an hour reading? Crocheting? Sewing? Gaming? Or Coloring?
Okay, it’s not really an hour. It’s more like, “oops I forgot to go to bed on time.” Let’s get serious, who reads for just an hour or crochets or games. I can get stuck playing a PC game well into the night. My husband and I are like bluebirds and owls crossing paths at 3am.
But on to coloring. My bestie, confidant, and all-time favorite coffee house buddy, Kathy, loves to color as much as I do, but recently we had an argument about outlining.
Do you? Or don’t you?
I do. She doesn’t.
I plan a color scheme.
She picks colors randomly.
So, which is better? Obviously, whichever gives your brain a break. I have books with Savannah animals, frogs, sea creatures, bugs, flowers, and garden houses. I don’t have a favorite book except that I like pictures with small lines. Yes, because I like to outline.
But more than anything, I like to color. I like to lose my day in it. I like to unwind my characters. And I’ve been known to Netflix binge while working through an intricate garden.
It’s all in a day.
Enjoy these pencil links. My favorite is Ubrand.
And color books. Johanna Basford and Millie Marotta
So I've been sick. Big deal. Right?
Right! Today I'm eating a normal breakfast. It's even better than the Weight Watchers portions I've been eating lately. Remember I lost those last 3 lbs being sick, I think I deserve something spectacular.
And anything with jalapenos is fabulous!
Simple and one of my favs: Eggs, a dollop of light sour cream, local made salsa, a stove crisp tortilla, and.... freakin jalapenos. Frankly, with this breakfast, I can stay on the weight watchers wagon without worry. But I'm starving, so who's worrying.
Did you catch the rhetorical device? 5 w's in a row? Two points if you can name it because my memory is lagging and I'm too lazy to look it up.
Have a well week my friends.
PS. no Toodles today, I figure a pic of a cat and a plate of food... (shaking head)