Monthly Archives: April 2012

X stands for X-Rated

That’s right. I went there.

Now that your eyes are sufficiently bugged out, let me continue on.

My first experiences with colorful reading were a couple of Judy Blume novels. Forever and Wifey. I believe I was in my teens when those hit the bookstore shelves. Now, they weren’t listed as x-rated, per se, but if you’ve ever read them, you’ll know they skirted a thin line. I wasn’t supremely impressed by either of them, to be perfectly honest.

Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz came next. And that one I would definitely put into the x-rated category. There was a decent plot (princess loses her family through a series of circumstances and becomes a high fashion supermodel), but it was so hidden by the pages upon pages of explicit, and needless, sex it was difficult to see the forest through the trees (if you’ll pardon the cliche).

I even read Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence, but come on… who hasn’t?

There is a way to write sex without being x-rated. It’s done via innuendo and subtle language, by leaving nearly everything to the reader’s imagination ~ after all, the idea is to stimulate your reader’s senses…and everyone has a different idea of what’s sexy.

 

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V stands for Vegetables

My kids loathed vegetables for years. Not when they were very, very young, but definitely as they grew older. There were, of course, certain vegetables that never made it to our table. Asparagus, for instance. And okra. (Yuck. Not even Indian curry can make okra okay, in my opinion.) Peas were out, too, even though I sang the ‘pea’ song. “I eat my peas with honey, I’ve done it all my life. They may taste kinda funny, but they stick well to the knife.” Yeah. My kids weren’t impressed, either.

But then my foodie husband started baking the vegetables. Especially the broccoli. With marjoram leaves, olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic.

And the kids loved it.

We expanded our horizons. It worked really well with green beans, as well as those frozen mixed bag vegetables. The best part? If you don’t have any marjoram, or run out of it (like we did), any other available spice you enjoy works well.

So enjoy those vegetables!

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U stands for Understanding

Understanding comes in many shapes and sizes, not all of them pleasant and comfortable. It can roll in during an ‘Ah-ha!’ moment while you’re struggling through that last bit of schoolwork, or sneak past you when you’re asleep and dreaming.

Most of my understanding moments come when I’m in that 3/4’s asleep, 1/4 awake moment, lying in bed listening to the fan whirr overhead. That’s when the walls around my heart drop and everything turns crystalline. All the things I struggle with during my waking hours are brought to the surface and the answers are laid before me in neat little rows. It’s a magical ‘between’ time.

Those same moments of clarity can come when you’re writing. But you have to be open to the possibility that truly understanding your characters might very well lead the story in directions you don’t have planned out. That understanding them might just unravel your neatly lined up plot points and send your novel careening off into the wilds of your imagination; that your precisely ordered world might well come crumbling down, and what is rebuilt is nothing like you’d hoped.

And that’s no bad thing.

 

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T stands for Teaching

I’m not the world’s greatest teacher. I’m not even close. I get frustrated when the boys don’t grasp what I’m attempting to teach them, or when neither of them can spell a simple word after what feels like the gazillionth time I’ve told them. Or a zillion other examples of home education.

But then there are times when I look at my sons and the way they behave and I think ‘Oh, yeah! I am sooo doing this right!’ And it feels like my heart will burst with pride at the men they are becoming.

My teen stands up for girls when he sees wrong. He knows what a true, loving relationship consists of and he strives to be that kind of a man. He got into a friend’s face when that friend’s girl was crying and being ignored for a text on a phone.

My pre-teen always comes home before dark… and, if plans change, he calls home to ensure we know where he is.

My sons communicate with adults on an adult level and are not shy about voicing their opinion, even when it differs from everyone else.

Both the boys understand that respect is earned, not automatically given. This doesn’t mean they’re unnecessarily rude. But they treat people with the same respect they are shown.

Neither of them care one iota about differences relating to race, creed, color, sexual preference or religion.

That makes me incredibly proud. My husband and I have done well.

No, we don’t *do* official school every single day. But I’m a firm believer that learning is far more than reading, writing and arithmetic. Yes, they do actual pen and paper schoolwork. But they also work in the yard, do their own laundry, clear their dishes off the table, feed the dogs and help clean the house. All of which are just as important to life as what other children learn in their brick and mortar schools.

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S stands for Sore, Sultry and Schoolwork

S stands for sore. As in my feet are. And my back is. But it’s an accomplished feeling sore, not an ‘Oh, crap, what did I do?!’ sore.

Or seven, as in the seven miles I walked today with my best friend, my Great Dane and her toddler in a stroller.

Or schoolwork, which I just got completed, 2.5 hours before the deadline. Whew!

It was going to stand for sultry, or sensual, or even sexy.

None of which I’m feeling at this particular moment in time. 😀

But those last three are very important, if you writing a certain type of book. It doesn’t have to be paranormal romance, or, really, even a romance at all. But most women (and yes, I’m well aware I’m completely generalizing) like a bit of sensual in their reading material. It doesn’t even have to lead into sex. In fact, my personal opinion is, the less written means more left to the imagination… which allows your reader to go as far as they’re comfortable.
I’m currently in the throes of writing a ‘light’ paranormal romance. I say ‘light’ because there is no sex. But there’s plenty of heat and sensual. (At least in my admittedly biased opinion.)
(excerpt… rough draft)
“If she was committed to you,” Bett purred, sliding off the stool and over to me. “She wouldn’t be with someone else.”

I shook his head. “I can’t—I can’t think when you’re this close.” I scraped my chair backward across the hardwood floor.

Bett licked her lips. “And I can’t think when you’re so very—” she leaned over me, the top two buttons on her blouse falling open almost of their own accord, “far away.”

“Bett…” I stared at the expanse of smooth skin, the color of ivory piano keys.

“Michael…” Bett straightened…
(end excerpt.)
I may or may not add some actual sex in… but thus far, that’s not where the story is heading. I’m letting my characters decide where to go. After all, it’s their story, not mine.

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R stands for Rosemary

No, not Rosemary as in ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. Rosemary, as in the oh so fragrant herb which took over much more than its allotted space in my garden and became a very full plant about the size of the monster plant of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ fame.

I spent an hour outside, trimming it down to a manageable shrub. And then two hours processing all that rosemary into trimmings I could freeze and dry for future use. I never thought working outside could be so stress relieving, but thanks to one of my best friends, I discovered a great pleasure in the ‘old’ skills ; gardening, weeding (rather than paying someone to do it for me), and canning, which I have yet to do on my own, but am definitely putting on my ‘list’.

As a result, I have six baggies of rosemary in my freezer, sixteen bunches of it hanging in my bedroom closet, and a small patch of garden waiting for more herbs. 😀

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Q is for Quitting

But not forever… I’ll be back with my ‘R’ blog tomorrow. Tonight, I have a final paper to work on for my IT course.

TTFN!!

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