Sure, there are steamy love scenes and interesting locales for engaging in them in my books. I've grown to love writing those scenes because they provide more details about the sort of people Ren and Galen are through how they treat other. And for me to get into characters, whether I am the reader or the writer, I want the details, no matter how personal or private. Sex scenes offer opportunities to reveal a couple in their most vulnerable state. Are they having fun together? Or simply fulfilling physical need? Do they tease with love or a need to dominate? Does the intimacy in the bedroom (or in this case, the museum, the forest...you get the picture) continue into their everyday lives? More than anything else, I want my characters to navigate true, selfless love--the sort worth fighting for. Just the other day, I saw--in real life--where I wanted Ren and Galen to end up in their later years:
I was at an event at a church. Further down my row, I found myself startled to see an elderly man playing with his wife's hair. It seemed such a 'young couple' thing to do and it floored me. I actually got teary. Occasionally, he would squeeze her shoulder, then go right back to twirling a lock of her hair. That was a couple who had seen life together. They probably saw the good, the bad, and the ugly and came out of it together. Sure, people express love in different ways, but I was so touched by them, that I could see Gale twirling Ren's hair in their golden years and it was such a perfect moment. That simple action spoke of partnership, friendship, attraction, the need of one to be near the other, and true love. And that's what I want my character couples to project to readers. I hope it's coming across.
Thanks for reading,
The much debated question ... which is better? Sex or chocolate? You'll have to decide that for yourself, but the decision is that much tougher when you throw this chocolate bar into the equation!
Another plus is that it's chocolate with a conscience.
From Tony's website:
"Right now, slaves are working on cocoa farms in West Africa. Many of them are children. Tony’s Chocolonely exists to change that. Our vision is 100% slave free chocolate. Not just our chocolate, but all chocolate worldwide. With incredibly tasty chocolate we lead by example and show the world chocolate can be made differently: in taste, packaging and the way we treat cocoa farmers. Alone we make slave free chocolate, together we make all chocolate 100% slave free. So we ask you to join in. The more people choose slave free and share our story, the sooner 100% slave free becomes the norm in chocolate.
The choice is yours. Are you in?"
Well, I'm in. I don't know how eating Tony Chocolonely is going to figure in with new eating plan I decided I would begin next week, but everyone deserves a reward, right?
Every tried Tony's? What did you think?
"Look!" my daughter said as the plane flew low enough to see the lights of New Jersey and New York. "Civilization!"
I couldn't have agreed more. It felt that way, anyway. We went "home" to New Jersey/New York/Connecticut over spring break and it was as if the 'real me' floated back into my body the moment the wheels slapped onto the runway. I don't belong where we live now. But the Northeast? The need to see the people and places I love made the slow crawl of disembarking torture. Really, I envy people who have moved a lot during their lives; I imagine the constant longing for a place isn't quite as bad.
I need a mere five pins to label a Florida map with the people and places I need in my life there. I need a large box of pins to label the tri-state area.
I'm back in Florida now and reflecting on the serious battery charge I received from ten days surrounded by friends, favorite locales and the general energy of the area. I had three malls within a ten-minute reach whenever I needed it. (I didn't need to go, but loved knowing I could!) I said what I wanted to say when I wanted to say it, because friends who are like family know me well enough to either understand where I am coming from or love me enough to not care that we disagree. I had endless access to amazing food establishments, yet sometimes was happy just to grab a coffee at an indie cafe. I explored new places despite having lived up there all my life. I enjoyed unexpected bagpipers in Port Authority to snowy winding roads in the Catskills.
Winding roads and a frigid reservoir in the Catskills, NY
It's all very different from Central Florida; the endless miles of newer, cookie-cutter buildings and homes, predictable store and restaurant chains, and rather conformist points of view. I know there are places in Florida I'd probably enjoy more, and hell...you can't beat palm trees, but I guess, for now, I have to learn to bloom where I'm planted.
The trip was bliss, really. Although, I do know the grass is always greener. I mean I had to remind myself after a day of traipsing through Manhattan that I hated every minute of rush hour, commuting, and sometimes rude people when I worked there. The snow was beautiful in the burbs, but I can say for certain that I do not miss shoveling it. We went to a play at my kids' former high school and instantly felt more engaged in a school building than I had since moving. But ask me how much I hated the gossipy, Queen Bee mom scene when we lived there!
More than anything else, I miss my friends. The way they all went out of their way to spend time with me only made me realize more how lucky I am to have them. They really are a life line through calls and social media. Hubby is lucky I love him so much--he was one of the few reasons my daughter and I got back on the plane. :)
So, does it get easier to move the more you do it?
Thanks so much to everyone who took part in my Valentine's giveaway! I really appreciate it. The winner (drum roll please ....) is
When I wrote Jigsaw Hearts, one of my goals was to develop and transform two people who filled in the empty places felt in heart, soul, and day-to-day life for each other. So I loved this necklace set when I saw it and had to add it to my Valentine's Giveaway Pack! But I want to ask you ... barring super personal stories ... unless you feel like sharing them, how does your significant other complete the puzzle that is you? Or, if currently single, what quality do you seek in a life partner to help you become a better, more fulfilled person?
Two examples from me:
Ninety percent of the stuff in the store I was in last week was supposed to ring up 40% off. The one thing I wound up actually wanting was this mug--which, of course, was part of the less thrilling 10% of merchandise that sat at full price. It didn't matter, though. "Great things never came from comfort zones," has become my mantra over the last couple of years. Combine the words with the color and I was sold.
At the time, I didn't realize the mug was part of a campaign by Natural Life (www.naturallife.com) called Fearless. The campaign aims to educate, empower, and reduce the stigma of anxiety disorders. Well, I could certainly get on board with that considering how many people I know with various forms of anxiety--including myself.
One of the things that used to give me anxiety was reliance on comfort zones. Truthfully, I'd be lying if I said that I never craved them anymore, but I find myself more anxious over giving in to them these days than wanting them. Maybe that's because I look back and see how much of my time they wasted.
There's nothing like losing a huge array of comfort zones all in one shot to make you realize that life does go on without them. It might not be pleasant--in fact, losing your stomping grounds, the close proximity of friends, the assurance that certain family members would always be there for you, financial security, and a bit of your identity all in one swoop can be breakdown material. When it's all over, though? You have to stop reaching for what is no longer there and move forward. It's then that you learn some things:
Warning ... I'm in a philosophical mood today! As I get ready to kiss 2017 goodbye, I know that--really--I can't go on a rant all over it. I have certainly had far worse years. It would be rather ungrateful for me to kick 2017 in the teeth when 2013, 2014, and 2015 were nightmares. I can look back at 2016 and see how my family and I steadied ourselves as if on a boat that abruptly met a calmer sea--albeit without a clue of latitude or longitude. So 2017 became a year for trying to move forward, direction be damned, but I can't help wishing I had made greater strides. So that leaves 2018 as the year I take control of the helm and start some serious steering. Time to set my sights on feeling like a true winner in 2018.
Where are you heading this year? What goals will have you feeling like a winner in 2018 once met? I know two people who are ending 2017 on a winning note. Tina R won my Winter Reading Romance Giveaway, and Ledondee (a member of my Street Team, which launches this month!) won the New Year's Flash Giveaway!
I hope you all hit the ground running for a winning 2018. I'm looking forward to announcing release dates for Ren and Galen's second novella in the coming month (it is sooo much fun to write!), releasing that and Corinne's novel this year, making decisions about the day job, and securing enough remote work so that I can work from anywhere years from now.
How do you organize all the irons in your fire?
It's a short but sweet flash giveaway!
What's up for grabs?
A 2018 Wall Calendar of hot dudes reading around
New York City
and an ebook copy of
Pieces of You, Pieces of Me, by me, Danica Raimz
What about the bottle of champagne, you ask? Sorry, that's for me! It's been a rough year, and I've got a ton of work to do in 2018. Going to start it off with a hopeful celebration!
Entries begin 12/27/17 at 12:00 am (EST)
and end 12/30/17 at 12:00 am, meaning...
ONLY TWO DAYS TO ENTER!
Why am I doing this quickie giveaway?
1) I miss New York
2) I like to be unpredictable
3) I love to watch hot guys reading and I assume you do, too!
Every year, I find myself wanting to display a whole new look for the holidays. In particular, I would love to go with a more 'natural, folksy' sort of Christmas theme this year, but it's just not going to happen. For one thing, I'm not about to spend the money it would take for a full set of new decorations. Tougher though, is the idea of not displaying the ornaments and do-dads my family has used for years. They have become tradition and something would seem amiss if I didn't put up the same decor each year. On the other hand, I know people who go for a new look each year.
What's your take? Do live to create a new look each holiday season? Or would it seem like a crime to ditch your Spode this year? I would love to know! And while we're at it, do you have a favorite piece of decor or holiday tradition?
Enter to Win!
Prize Pack includes:
$25 Amazon Gift Card Book Mark
Signed and ANNOTATED print copy of Jigsaw Hearts by Danica Raimz
Cozy sherpa throw
Birch/Cedar scented candle