Top Ten Ways Romance Writers Lie to You

As an inspirational romance writer, writing the title hurt a little bit. Okay, it hurt quite a bit. If you are in a serious relationship or married, you know what kind of pretty half-truths we romance writers love to employ to get you to melt into your chair and never leave it until gorgeous guy kisses beautiful girl in front of a glorious sunset. Just like the Masked Magician throws his fellow magicians under the proverbial bus by exposing the secrets of illusions, I’m about to reveal the top 10 “lies” romance writers use. So, just pretend you don’t see my profile picture on any of my social media outlets and play along while the Wrapped Writer (not so clever, but I don’t have time to come up with something else with fitting alliteration!) exposes the trade of selling romance.

#1: Man must be gorgeous.

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Newsflash: not all men are hot; some aren’t even good-looking; some have a face only a mother could love. However, looks really are inconsequential when it comes to finding the guy that will make you happy. Looks fade away; personality does not.

#2: Every kiss tastes of something besides real life.

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This one is my favorite, both to exploit readers and to be exploited by. But, if you have ever been kissed, you know the truth. Kisses, unless both kissers are prepared and have either brushed their teeth or chewed gum, taste nothing like romance books’ puckers. Here is a taste of real-life kisses: garlic, coffee, anything eaten for lunch (like tacos or salty fries), wine, and the mother of all tastes: morning breath.

#3: Two people must overcome battles to find each other.

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I met my future husband on a smoke break. Nothing romantic, nothing dangerous (unless you count smoking as dangerous), no spies trying to kill us, no ex-lover trying to win back my or his affection. We just met, liked each other, and the rest is history. You, too, can have this simple, albeit boring romantic adventure. If your relationship requires high level of espionage or unpacked baggage, you might be in for a world of hurt when the relationship settles around “Hey, will you pick up some lettuce on your way home from work?”

#4: Female protagonist is petite and pretty.

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This is a “lie” I try not to partake in as an author, but many romance writers succumb to this characterization ploy. Women come in all shapes and sizes and colors; a real man will look at personality and not the size on the label in a pair of jeans or the cup size of a bra.

#5: Female protagonist is outspoken and may occasionally throw something.

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So, I sin with this lie. Here’s why. Because part of me, and I’m assuming other romance writers feel the same, wishes I could be like my female character. I wish I could speak my mind when angry instead of stew in silence; I wish I could be brave enough to smash a vase against the wall to show my frustration at times. And because I can’t/won’t/shouldn’t do these things, my character does. Bye-bye sheepish author lady, hello sexy vixen who knows just the right words to say just the right things.

#6: Muscles are in.

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The only six-pack worth having, ladies, is a six-pack of your favorite beverage. Six packs are difficult to attain and even tougher to maintain, so unless your main squeeze spends all his time in the gym and eats a very specific diet, you will have to deal with some pudge and a slight love handle or two.

#7: Every time lovers touch, electricity happens.

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Um…no. Just a plain, big, old, fat no. It may happen that when you hold your significant other’s hand, jolts of hormones and pheromones and whatever else race up your skin. But if this phenomenon does not happen, please, please, please don’t freak out. You are not falling out of love; you are simply being human holding another human’s hand. Don’t expect butterflies, lighting bolts, or whatever other metaphor we authors throw at you every time you touch your lover.

#8: Weather as a barometer of The Love Journey.

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Authors use weather as a symbolic device. You will not experience rebirth or rejuvenation every time it rains; you will simply get wet.

#9: The end is the end.

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The end is only the beginning. Where the author leaves the couple in a passionate embrace is where real life takes over. Oil changes, spit-up, diaper duty, household chores, honey-do lists, and life begin at “the kiss.”

#10: Romance is huge, planned events.

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Romance is actually the opposite. It’s the little moments, the insignificant moments that add up to colossal romance. Late night grocery store missions, snuggling on the couch, a back rub just because, loading/unloading the dishwasher, getting the kids out of the house make up a true relationship. Don’t lose that for an ideal that literally only exists in fiction.

So, in closing, dear readers, please remember that fictional romance is exactly what it it: fictional. Read it, enjoy it, find escape in it, but then leave it and enjoy real-life romance as well. The real-life stuff is better anyway!

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Mr. Darcy, move over! A new leading man, Bo Corrigan, is taking your place!

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I’m not a fan girl of many people or things. Exceptions: anything chocolatey and Kristen Heitzmann. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this fan girl is here to tell you that Kristen has done it again. Hit a home run smack dab into the hearts of her readers, new and veteran. She has written a book that is so raw you’ll weep and so entertaining you’ll laugh.

Told You Twice, the sequel to I Told You So, is not your cookie-cutter Christian romance. This story has grit, pain, and a redemption story that illustrates the true power of Christ to change lives and hearts.

Bo Corrigan, the bad boy hottie from book one is center stage in this novel. The stage, rabid fans, and women are his life, his prison, until he sets eyes on Alexis “Exi” Murphy. Living amongst smoke and mirrors his entire life, he finally sees a reality. A reality he wants, despite Exi’s perfect fiancé and perfect plans for a perfect Grace Evangeline inspired wedding. And Bo always gets what he wants. Until outside forces put not only himself but Exi in life-threatening danger. In protecting her, he makes choices that bring him face to face with the man he is, the man he was, and the man he wants to be. But your job, as the next reader of Told You Twice, is to discover if Bo succeeds in changing is life, in defeating his demons, and in capturing the heart of the only woman who ever made him feel real.

Be prepared to cry, laugh, and occasionally scold/scream at the characters as you fall in love with them page after page. Oh, and don’t blame me if you dream of Bo; it’s just an added bonus to an amazing read!

Here’s the link so you can get your immediate Bo Corrigan fix:

https://www.amazon.com/Told-You-Twice-Book-ebook/dp/B01KAICYCS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1471023691&sr=8-2&keywords=told+you+twice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reasons Why Country Living Rocks!

As many of you know, I am a country girl at heart, and even though marriage and work have distanced me from the prairie in which I thrive, I get the honor of visiting during the summer. On one of my many long walks, I came up with a list of reasons why country living trumps city living any old day of the year.

Reason #1: Because sometimes a wild rose is more beautiful than a tame one.

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Reason #2: Because sometimes watching the breeze tickle the surface of a creek is all your soul needs.20160627_145703

Reason #3: Because sometimes the living gravestones of old farmsteads reminds you of the strength and grit which created you.20160627_145114

Reason #4: Because sometimes you want to make a scratch and sniff sticker that smells like this:

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Reason #5: Because sometimes watching the last rays of sunlight caress the water reminds you of the presence of God.

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Reason #6: Because sometimes you need to take four children, three dogs, and your mother for a walk down the middle of a county road.

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This is the world my beloved character, Corrie Lancaster, grew up in. She, in part, is a self- portrait of myself. To get a glimpse of her life, and maybe a peak into my soul, I hope you read Amber Waves of Grace when it is published. I can’t wait to share the country and story which is so near and dear to my heart!

Austen Characters: The Romance Continues

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Imagine for one delightful, delicious second that Fitzwilliam Darcy actually existed once upon a time. Now, if that did not titillate you, picture his great, great, great, great, etc. grandson flirting with you at a coffee shop. Even though he might not be wearing tan breeches with a hunter green overcoat, I can only assume, that his jeans and t-shirt will make you want him dive into a pond and come out on the other side, dripping wet.

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Okay, so I digress. Sadly, in my next project, it is the Darcy’s great to the nth degree granddaughter who meets and falls in love with Henry and Catherine Tilney’s grandson to the nth degree. Liza Darcy and Heath Tilney embark on a journey that will take them from South Dakota to their ancestral homeland, England. Throughout their travels, they will meet the extended family trees of all of Austen’s beloved characters; even the dastardly Willoughby makes an appearance.

I’m excited about this writing adventure of mine, and it gives me an excuse to put my nose in an Austen book and keep it there. I will keep you updated on any information I find during my research, and as the story revolves around a flower shop, be prepared for random pictures of flowers!

Is there any plot element you would love to see between your favorite Austen characters? Let me know in the comment section, and I will see if I can work it in the story!

Dear Stupid…Younger Me

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Dear Stupid and Younger Me,

Your stutter and lisp in elementary school do not define you.

Do NOT, for the love of everything that is holy and good in this world, get a perm in the 8th grade.

Those boys you crushed on were nowhere near the caliber of man you will eventually meet, and surprise…he will crush on you, too!

High school does not last forever, and it’s not as bad as you think. School lunches are as bad as you think, however.

That boy you made out with your sophomore year of high school is not worth the months of lost friends because of it.

Your parents are not as stupid as you think. You will come to see them as wise, and your mom will eventually become one of your best friends.

College is as fun as you think it will be. And then some.

Do NOT skip your 8 a.m. classes. Get your butt out of bed and go to class. NOW!

That football player you think likes you is just using you.

That cool kid smoking a cigarette outside Pugsley Hall? You’ll marry him someday!

This man will ask you to marry him in front of 400 people. Be prepared and dress nice, and put on some make-up. Trust me on this one.

Those babies you will hold in your arms for the first time will be seven, five, and two before you can catch your breath. Don’t hesitate to hold them for another minute longer.

Do not fear getting older. You share a birthday with a young man who will always be fifteen. Embrace age; it’s a roadmap of where you’ve been simply paving the way for new roads and journeys.

Trust God. Sounds cheesy, I know, but He never lets you down.

All the best,

Smarter and Wiser Me

While the above letter only represents half of the advice I’d give my younger, dumber self, this mainly explains why I LOVE to write. I get to create characters that, because I wish it, get a second chance. Who, unlike myself, can receive a fresh start. Creating characters is therapy in a sense. I get to live vicariously through my characters. I get to play God (I’m pretty sure I’d make for a horrible God…I’d overuse the fire and brimstone). I can create, I can take away to teach a lesson, I can solve all the problems. That is the beauty of writing.

Take a moment and write a letter to your younger self. What do you wish you could tell yourself? And then, more importantly, apply that to your present life. Whatever you wish for yourself, do it, make it happen, embrace it. Make the letter twenty years from now useless and irrelevant.

Until next week, take care and God bless!

Set in Stone

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Welcome to the last stop on our tour of South Dakota. Even though there are many places to visit in this vast state, I saved the most iconic for last. Mount Rushmore. This famous landmark in the midst of the beautiful Black Hills inspires those who visit with a sense of awe. How can something so big be so detailed, so life-like, so real?

The history behind to stone carving intrigues visitors. Seeing how brave men carved the mountain fills visitors with dread and maybe a belly dip or two at the thought of dangling over the face (literally) of a mountain in nothing more than sling. Fear probably snaked through their bodies as they chiseled and blasted and jackhammered their way across the dangerous precipice, but they did it anyway. They woke up every morning, got to work, cinched themselves into a sling, and dangled a thousand feet above the ground. And because of their refusal to allow fear to rule their decision, we today get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

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Before getting a close up of the faces, one needs to amble past each state flag. Every person from every state is represented in this monument. Just like the four men engraved in time represented the entire nation. Hopes and dreams of something bigger, something better live in the stone etched with faces of men who lived their dreams, defied the odds, and did more than hope: they risked it all for something greater than themselves. Sacrifice wasn’t a four-letter word; it was the only word. And through that this nation became a contender.

Imagine if we were to take some of that daring, a dose of that sacrificial attitude. Take inspiration from the faces etched forever in granite. Even though we might never have our faces carved anywhere, we can leave our imprint on those we leave behind: our children, our grandchildren, our friends, family, co-workers, strangers.

So even though life might be daunting and a little scary, strap yourself in and enjoy the view. It’s only at the top of the mountain where the view is staggeringly beautiful and the only place where you can see your journey’s trajectory.

Thank you for coming along on this ride with me. I’ve enjoyed it!

It’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s a jackalope??

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Welcome abroad for the next leg of the journey through the great state of South Dakota. Last week we visited my hometown, Eureka, and indulged our imaginary taste buds on the sweet, custardy goodness of kuchen, the state dessert. So sit back and enjoy the ride as we travel to our next destination.

South Dakota may not be the largest state or the most exotic state or a state with a bursting population, but what we do have makes up for it all. We have jackalopes. Yup, I’m referring to the jackrabbit/antelope things that roam the prairies until their lives are cut short by avid jackalope hunters looking for the prize trophy to taxidermy and then place on their mantelpieces. In fact, if you want the epic experience with this odd looking creature, you can even sit on a giant one at Wall Drug.Unknown

Now for those of you who are not familiar with Wall Drug’s location, there should be a billboard close to you advertising how many miles separate you from this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Even though these creatures were discovered in Wyoming, they migrated to South Dakota, establishing themselves as local legends and joining the hall of fame of hoaxes. Even though jackalopes would be the coolest animal ever (except for meerkats), these creatures are nothing more than the figment of some men’s imaginations and will to make a buck. This just goes to show that South Dakotans love a good joke and aren’t above making fun of ourselves in the process.Unknown-1

And while you are at Wall Drug, visiting the giant jackalope, take some time to look around. Grab yourself some free ice water or a 5 cent coffee, pop in on the jackalope’s next door neighbor, the fully-animated T-Rex, and then bask in the glow of history, the stories of this state’s exciting and often overlooked past. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; well, Wall Drug is worth a million.images

After our second installment of this epic voyage, I hope you understand a little why I love my home state. I hope you fall in love with it too and join me next week. I believe we’ll see some pretty famous faces!