General

It’s All About Love

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“Where there is love there is life.”

~ Gandhi

“The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved.”

~ Victor Hugo

“Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedlyand without law, and must be plucked where it is found,and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.”

~ D. H. Lawrence

Everything in life boils down to love. Without love in your life (whether it be spouse/significant other, parents, children, siblings, friends, extended family) nothing else really matters.

You could have millions of dollars, the most powerful job, the most prestigious career…you could be a genious, a movie star, an opera singer…but at the end of the day, when you curl up on your couch to relax, if you don’t have someone to sit beside you out of sincere love (any type of love–friendship, romance, familial), you’re empty.

Have you ever noticed that about 99% of all songs are about one type of love or another and about 75% of those are about romantic love?

Have you ever noticed that tombstone engravings talk about the loss of a beloved family member–not a CEO or stock broker or real estate agent?

People live life to be loved. Loved makes us happy. There is nothing more important.

And I often remind myself of that fact when I feel embarassed to tell others I write romantic suspense.

Do you find yourself embarassed to admit to writing in the romance genre? Have you gotten nasty remarks or condesending attitudes when you tell them you write in the romance genre?

>It’s All About Love

>

“Where there is love there is life.”

~ Gandhi

“The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved.”

~ Victor Hugo

“Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedlyand without law, and must be plucked where it is found,and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.”

~ D. H. Lawrence

Everything in life boils down to love. Without love in your life (whether it be spouse/significant other, parents, children, siblings, friends, extended family) nothing else really matters.

You could have millions of dollars, the most powerful job, the most prestigious career…you could be a genious, a movie star, an opera singer…but at the end of the day, when you curl up on your couch to relax, if you don’t have someone to sit beside you out of sincere love (any type of love–friendship, romance, familial), you’re empty.

Have you ever noticed that about 99% of all songs are about one type of love or another and about 75% of those are about romantic love?

Have you ever noticed that tombstone engravings talk about the loss of a beloved family member–not a CEO or stock broker or real estate agent?

People live life to be loved. Loved makes us happy. There is nothing more important.

And I often remind myself of that fact when I feel embarassed to tell others I write romantic suspense.

Do you find yourself embarassed to admit to writing in the romance genre? Have you gotten nasty remarks or condesending attitudes when you tell them you write in the romance genre?

Spring Fever

>I’m discovering there is a lot of science behind things I took for granted were…well, they just were.

In my post at Romance Worth Killing For on Valentine’s Day, I outlined a few interesting tidbits of information on the chemistry of love.

I just finished a class on creating sexual tension and discovered, yet again, that the sex drive, attraction and love are all evolution and chemistry based.

Now, I try to look up a bit of info on spring fever and what do I find? More science!

Here’s what the experts say:

  • That surge of optimism? Merely the serotonergic response to increased daylight.
  • The distraction and dreaminess? The neurotransmitter dopamine is responding to light and warmth.
  • The “gathered fragrance” of romance in the air? The sensitivity of the olfactory system has been proven to directly relate to pheromones, the essential chemical ingredient of sexual attraction.

This information echoed the article in National Geographics on love chemistry: novelty increases the dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonine are chemicals that give us that high we experience with new love. Key word there: New. Novelty.

Which got me to wondering…is that why some people have affairs? Why they can get addicted to affairs and have serial affairs or continue an affair even when their logical mind tells them it’s not ethical or practical?

It’s been proven that people with OCD and people newly in love have similar brain chemical make-ups. Are affairs a combination of novelty and obsession? Of high dopamine and low seratonin? And if so, could someone prone to affairs be phamaceutically treated for such a bent?

I could go off on all kinds of tangents here. Interesting concept, don’t you think?

>Spring Fever

>I’m discovering there is a lot of science behind things I took for granted were…well, they just were.

In my post at Romance Worth Killing For on Valentine’s Day, I outlined a few interesting tidbits of information on the chemistry of love.

I just finished a class on creating sexual tension and discovered, yet again, that the sex drive, attraction and love are all evolution and chemistry based.

Now, I try to look up a bit of info on spring fever and what do I find? More science!

Here’s what the experts say:

  • That surge of optimism? Merely the serotonergic response to increased daylight.
  • The distraction and dreaminess? The neurotransmitter dopamine is responding to light and warmth.
  • The “gathered fragrance” of romance in the air? The sensitivity of the olfactory system has been proven to directly relate to pheromones, the essential chemical ingredient of sexual attraction.

This information echoed the article in National Geographics on love chemistry: novelty increases the dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonine are chemicals that give us that high we experience with new love. Key word there: New. Novelty.

Which got me to wondering…is that why some people have affairs? Why they can get addicted to affairs and have serial affairs or continue an affair even when their logical mind tells them it’s not ethical or practical?

It’s been proven that people with OCD and people newly in love have similar brain chemical make-ups. Are affairs a combination of novelty and obsession? Of high dopamine and low seratonin? And if so, could someone prone to affairs be phamaceutically treated for such a bent?

I could go off on all kinds of tangents here. Interesting concept, don’t you think?

Vanilla

>That’s how I’m feeling at the moment…blah, boring.

You may have noticed there’s a lot of talk right now on Voice. I must be on the collective blogger’s wavelength, because I wrote about it on RWKF last week. And in talking about voice, the topic of originality always comes up. Unique story lines, fresh voice, intruiging perspectives.

Its all been on my mind lately, and I have to say I’m feeling quite…vanilla. I can’t find any of that in my past or present works. It may be that I’m too close to it, that I can’t see my own growth when I’m working at it everyday. I’m sure that’s true to a point. But I also think I’m objective enough to realize my work doesn’t have the spark it should.

I’m rewriting Dead Man’s Hand, and have found it lacking in every aspect. Why was I writing this story? What was it about this that intruiged me to begin with–enough to get through the first 15 chapters?

My characters won’t let me in their heads. They stick their tongues out at me or turn their backs when I try to engage them in coversation. My red herrings are more green than red, my twists more a slight curve than a corkscrew.

Do you ever feel like your work is rather vanilla in comparison to what’s out there or what’s selling or what agents/editors say they’re looking for? When you find your work tending toward the ordinary, what do you do to spice it up?

>Vanilla

>That’s how I’m feeling at the moment…blah, boring.

You may have noticed there’s a lot of talk right now on Voice. I must be on the collective blogger’s wavelength, because I wrote about it on RWKF last week. And in talking about voice, the topic of originality always comes up. Unique story lines, fresh voice, intruiging perspectives.

Its all been on my mind lately, and I have to say I’m feeling quite…vanilla. I can’t find any of that in my past or present works. It may be that I’m too close to it, that I can’t see my own growth when I’m working at it everyday. I’m sure that’s true to a point. But I also think I’m objective enough to realize my work doesn’t have the spark it should.

I’m rewriting Dead Man’s Hand, and have found it lacking in every aspect. Why was I writing this story? What was it about this that intruiged me to begin with–enough to get through the first 15 chapters?

My characters won’t let me in their heads. They stick their tongues out at me or turn their backs when I try to engage them in coversation. My red herrings are more green than red, my twists more a slight curve than a corkscrew.

Do you ever feel like your work is rather vanilla in comparison to what’s out there or what’s selling or what agents/editors say they’re looking for? When you find your work tending toward the ordinary, what do you do to spice it up?

Remeber when…

>Ah, young love.

I get to relive it all over again vicariously through my daughter. At fourteen, she’s prettier than I’ve ever been, and smarter, sassier, more confident, more athletic more savvy than I was even at twenty. She’s also a really great kid.

Sure, we’ve had some rough spots, but we’ve come a long way and found a comfortable place together–for now. I know it will change. Everything changes. So, I’m enjoying the innocence of young love while it lasts.

She’s liked one boy in particular for about six months (a long time by teenage standards). I’ve met him, he’s cute (tall, dark and cute), shy, polite. He’s got a few stumbling blocks–divorced parents, each remarried who care more about their new spouses than about him. But, from what I’ve heard through my daughter and my daughters friends (and the parent networking of a small town), he’s a pretty decent kid, too.

He hasn’t admitted to liking her yet. So, we’ll see. She knows she’s not allowed to “date” until she’s sixteen, and even then she’s going to have some strict limits, but of course there’s little I can do about her liking a boy and him liking her back.

Fortunately, she’s incredibly open with me. The minute she gets in the car after school or track practice, she tells me what transpired that day. It’s always something small that makes her glow, makes those dimples pop into her cheeks when she smiles. “He texted me first today.” “He laughed at my joke.” “He ran laps with me at track.” “He gave me that smile, you know the one.”

God, she’s giddy with the infatuation. And I’m telling you, it’s infectious.

Yesterday, she said they fought all day. When I asked what that meant, turned out they were playing all day–tripping each other, pushing each other, stealing backpacks. She thought it was all fun and games, I knew it was an excuse to touch each other.

Today, she comes to the car wearing a sweatshirt I don’t recognize. “Whose is that?” I ask.

She says, “Wait, I’ll show you.” She takes off her backback and turns around. His last name is sprawled across the back.

When she turned back to me, her eyes were sparkling bright, deep dimples in her cheeks, straight, white teeth (where she got any of those, I don’t know) grinning at me. I could feel her excitement. My own chest got tight, my heart beat a little faster, my body felt lighter.

“Where’d you get that?” I asked. “Or, rather, how did you get it and why did you get it?” And what exactly does it mean?…but I didn’t ask that one.

“I stole it,” she says with a sly smirk. “It was lying on the bench, so I took it and put it on.”

“Doesn’t he want it back?” I ask.

“No. He said I could wear it.” She does a luscious eye roll. “And it smells so good. It smells like him. I’ve been getting high from the smell of it all afternoon.”

Oh. My. God. She is so damn cute.

I laugh. “He owns you now, girl. He’s got his name plastered across your back.”

“Uh-uh. No way. I own him.”

Sigh. I wish I had that kind of self-assurance when I was 14. Or 20. Or 30. At least I have it now.

As romance writers, we could learn a lot by observing and reliving those first delicious stages of interest, attraction, infatuation and love.

What do you remember (or relive via children) about young love?

>Remeber when…

>Ah, young love.

I get to relive it all over again vicariously through my daughter. At fourteen, she’s prettier than I’ve ever been, and smarter, sassier, more confident, more athletic more savvy than I was even at twenty. She’s also a really great kid.

Sure, we’ve had some rough spots, but we’ve come a long way and found a comfortable place together–for now. I know it will change. Everything changes. So, I’m enjoying the innocence of young love while it lasts.

She’s liked one boy in particular for about six months (a long time by teenage standards). I’ve met him, he’s cute (tall, dark and cute), shy, polite. He’s got a few stumbling blocks–divorced parents, each remarried who care more about their new spouses than about him. But, from what I’ve heard through my daughter and my daughters friends (and the parent networking of a small town), he’s a pretty decent kid, too.

He hasn’t admitted to liking her yet. So, we’ll see. She knows she’s not allowed to “date” until she’s sixteen, and even then she’s going to have some strict limits, but of course there’s little I can do about her liking a boy and him liking her back.

Fortunately, she’s incredibly open with me. The minute she gets in the car after school or track practice, she tells me what transpired that day. It’s always something small that makes her glow, makes those dimples pop into her cheeks when she smiles. “He texted me first today.” “He laughed at my joke.” “He ran laps with me at track.” “He gave me that smile, you know the one.”

God, she’s giddy with the infatuation. And I’m telling you, it’s infectious.

Yesterday, she said they fought all day. When I asked what that meant, turned out they were playing all day–tripping each other, pushing each other, stealing backpacks. She thought it was all fun and games, I knew it was an excuse to touch each other.

Today, she comes to the car wearing a sweatshirt I don’t recognize. “Whose is that?” I ask.

She says, “Wait, I’ll show you.” She takes off her backback and turns around. His last name is sprawled across the back.

When she turned back to me, her eyes were sparkling bright, deep dimples in her cheeks, straight, white teeth (where she got any of those, I don’t know) grinning at me. I could feel her excitement. My own chest got tight, my heart beat a little faster, my body felt lighter.

“Where’d you get that?” I asked. “Or, rather, how did you get it and why did you get it?” And what exactly does it mean?…but I didn’t ask that one.

“I stole it,” she says with a sly smirk. “It was lying on the bench, so I took it and put it on.”

“Doesn’t he want it back?” I ask.

“No. He said I could wear it.” She does a luscious eye roll. “And it smells so good. It smells like him. I’ve been getting high from the smell of it all afternoon.”

Oh. My. God. She is so damn cute.

I laugh. “He owns you now, girl. He’s got his name plastered across your back.”

“Uh-uh. No way. I own him.”

Sigh. I wish I had that kind of self-assurance when I was 14. Or 20. Or 30. At least I have it now.

As romance writers, we could learn a lot by observing and reliving those first delicious stages of interest, attraction, infatuation and love.

What do you remember (or relive via children) about young love?

Cookies are in!!

>Girl Scout cookies are here! An my garage is FILLED with them. 111 CASES to be exact.

From Jan – March, I am officially, the Cookie Nazi! (A.K.A. Cookie mom.)

And I was going to start back on my healthy eating and excercise road on Monday! My goal is to lose the remaining 24 pounds I’d like to lose (lost 26 already) before Nationals in July. And now — those DANG cookies are calling to me from the garage.

The new flavor this year is named Lemonades. Oh. My. God. Shortbread cookies with vanilla-lemon icing. They are to die for (and I’m not even a big lemon fan).

Here’s a complete list:
  • Caramel deLights: coconut, caramel and chocolate
  • Shortbread: traditional shortbread recipe
  • Thanks-A-Lot: shortbread with chocolate
  • Thin Mints: Chocolate mint wafer with chocolate coating
  • Peanut Butter Patties: peanut butter wafer with creammy filling and chocolate coating
  • Peanut Butter Sandwich: peanut butter wafers with creamy peanut butter-flavored filling
  • Cartwheels: Oatmeal and cinnamon–low-fat, too.
  • Lemonades: Described above.
This is soooo not good.

What IS good is that this year the Girl Scouts have put together a donation program. If you’d like to donate cookies to the U.S. Military troops overseas, you can pay the regular $4 a box and GS will ship the cookies.

The donation is tax deductable when you buy for troops (as opposed to buying for yourself) so, it’s a great thing.

You should buy from those girls you’ll be seeing stationed outside your supermarkets and drug stores, etc. Or, you could buy through me and pay via Paypal. I’ll even kick in the deduction Paypal takes for the transaction, and mail you the deducation form. If you live somewhere where you don’t have access to these delicacies and don’t mind paying the shipping, I’ll send them to you also.

E-mail me at ultraswan @ hotmail . com (without spaces, of course) if you’re interested.

Remember – almost $1 per box goes directly to the local girl scout troop, so support your neighborhood girls!

>Cookies are in!!

>Girl Scout cookies are here! An my garage is FILLED with them. 111 CASES to be exact.

From Jan – March, I am officially, the Cookie Nazi! (A.K.A. Cookie mom.)

And I was going to start back on my healthy eating and excercise road on Monday! My goal is to lose the remaining 24 pounds I’d like to lose (lost 26 already) before Nationals in July. And now — those DANG cookies are calling to me from the garage.

The new flavor this year is named Lemonades. Oh. My. God. Shortbread cookies with vanilla-lemon icing. They are to die for (and I’m not even a big lemon fan).

Here’s a complete list:
  • Caramel deLights: coconut, caramel and chocolate
  • Shortbread: traditional shortbread recipe
  • Thanks-A-Lot: shortbread with chocolate
  • Thin Mints: Chocolate mint wafer with chocolate coating
  • Peanut Butter Patties: peanut butter wafer with creammy filling and chocolate coating
  • Peanut Butter Sandwich: peanut butter wafers with creamy peanut butter-flavored filling
  • Cartwheels: Oatmeal and cinnamon–low-fat, too.
  • Lemonades: Described above.
This is soooo not good.

What IS good is that this year the Girl Scouts have put together a donation program. If you’d like to donate cookies to the U.S. Military troops overseas, you can pay the regular $4 a box and GS will ship the cookies.

The donation is tax deductable when you buy for troops (as opposed to buying for yourself) so, it’s a great thing.

You should buy from those girls you’ll be seeing stationed outside your supermarkets and drug stores, etc. Or, you could buy through me and pay via Paypal. I’ll even kick in the deduction Paypal takes for the transaction, and mail you the deducation form. If you live somewhere where you don’t have access to these delicacies and don’t mind paying the shipping, I’ll send them to you also.

E-mail me at ultraswan @ hotmail . com (without spaces, of course) if you’re interested.

Remember – almost $1 per box goes directly to the local girl scout troop, so support your neighborhood girls!