The Royal Wedding

I am watching with amusement the royal wedding with all of its craziness.  It is truly a romance novel in the making.  Poor mixed race girl makes her way to the top, on her own, meets Prince Charming, weds him and lives happily ever after.

Except she forgot about the ugly step sister, the brother and the absent father.  All of them viciously trying to get their share of the lime light (and any dollars that might come that way) . Meaghan should have remembered the Cinderella fairy tale along with dozens of other stories of romance and what people will go through out of jealousy and a desire for their own fame and fortune. Perhaps then the palace could have put some boundaries on the whole affair. Invite them but make them sit at the back. Let them come to the first lunch, but not the evening celebration. Threaten them with being uninvited if the come.

On the other hand, it is her and Harry’s day and I can well imagine not wanting those people at my wedding. You’ve cut them out of your life because you see them for who they are; you have nothing in common with them and just want them as far away as possible.

In my version I imagine the Queen inviting Meaghan to tea and telling her not to worry. I think the Queen is probably kind and also aware of errant family members and bad behaviour. Her own uncle was pro-nazi and probably spied for them against England. Fergie and her toes being sucked, Charle’s affair with Camilla and that stupid phone call. In no way could the royal family have any negative feelings toward Meaghan over her ugly relatives.

Then again, maybe the Queen cautioned her and said, ‘All well and good for your relatives but listen missy, don’t you start pulling stupid things and embarrassing me.”

Or perhaps Meaghan does a runner, realizing that all this fame is not worth the sacrifice.  She escapes, dyes her hair and hangs out on a tropical island, away from the press. But of course she meets another Prince Charming, wealthy, but not so much n the media.  Or lives in a wind blown house on a moor in Scotland.

But no, it is so clear that Meaghan wants the notoriety.  She wants fame, one way or another.  And money. And so she has it.

I don’t feel the least bit sorry for her. All families are dysfunctional and all of us have crazy relatives. As Tolstoy wrote, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” And after all, she gets the Prince, the castle, the money and a lifetime of fame.

Romance Novels

I sometimes feel that writing romance novels is ‘less’ than writing ‘real’ fiction. But I think that is a bias that I have inherited from literary world. Only uneducated housewives read romance novels, right?

Wrong. It turns out that stereotype is dead wrong. The average romance reader is a woman (15% and growing are men – what is that guy on the bus reading on his e-reader?) but well educated, a busy woman, often with children and a professional job. She isn’t a single woman yearning for a husband…well okay, there are some of those. And she isn’t a spinster sitting at home with her cats.

The romance reader is a well-rounded woman who also knows good writing vs bad. She reads romance to escape the mendacity of her life. She reads it for the same reason I read New York bestsellers on my vacation. I don’t want to think. I want to disappear in another world for awhile and forget my own. I want to take part in adventures vicariously while sitting in my lounger at the beach. It restores me to go somewhere else in my mind, away from family, work and other stresses.

So I’m proud to write romance.

The morning…

Having my office at home requires me to have great discipline.  This morning I have done the usual that I would do if I was off to commute to work – emptied the dishwasher, showered, ate breakfast, discovered I’m out of coffee etc.  Then the temptations come in; I could do laundry, or weed the garden, or sweep the floor or go for a nice long walk.

And then I have to stop myself and sit down at the desk and get to work. My commitment is four hours a day of writing or a minimum of 2,000 words a day. Which is all I can handle. After that my eyes get blurry, my thoughts wander and I can no longer focus on the screen or paper. (I switch to writing out in long hand when I get ‘stuck’ which seems to cure my writer’s block).

Having just published 2 new novels I am now beginning the next one. Plotting out, finding characters, letting characters evolve. All part of the writer’s work and it is exciting to see what will come but also hard work. I like it best when I have the concept clear in my head and I sit down to just write.

Okay, I MUST have coffee so I am going to walk over the nearest coffee shop. Then I will write.

Nxivm

I became curious about this cult after reading all the current press about the organization Nxivm. If you are curious, like me, do a google search and you will find tons of information.

My curiosity stemmed from a line in one of the first articles I read which mentioned the leader, Keith Raniere having created a technique to teach others how to enhance their lives after taking a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP )courses. As did his co-creator Nancy SalzmanThis struck a chord, as I also took NLP Practitioner and Master courses. I’ve also attend other workshops with John Grinder, Richard Bandler, Tony Robbins, Tad James and others associated with NLP.

I love NLP. What I learned greatly enhanced my life. It didn’t fix it by any means but it gave me tools that changed my relationships and in many ways, freed me. Freed me from traps I’d often created myself and allowed me to understand that I am responsible for my life. No one else. All my choices, all my decisions, my way of being come down to me. No blaming others for perceived obstacles or failures. Very powerful.

AND I have always known, from about day 3 of an 18 day intensive practitioner course, that NLP could be used for downright evil. In my naivety I thought someone using NLP for bad would be the used car salesperson getting others to buy cars they really didn’t want. Or worst case, those sleazoid men using it to pick up women in bars because they were too misogynist to take the time to figure out how to talk to women with heart and perhaps build a relationship. (Or at least have a legitimate one-night stand where the woman wanted it that way as well.)

I didn’t worry about it. I saw some of the above happening, but the people I knew in NLP including Grinder, Bandler, and Robbins were full of integrity and that clearly came across in their books and workshops. The people I attended classes with were equally honest, open and there to enhance their lives in a positive way.

And the potential was always there for a Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman or Alison Mack. But the women who so willingly followed along, did so under their own choice.  If any of these intelligent, well-educated and wealthy women had bothered to examine where their beloved cult leader got his ideas, they would have found NLP. And if they found NLP – attended a workshop or two, read a few books, they would have seen that NLP  teaches you the tools to make your own decisions, and evaluate what people like Keith Raniere say, so you don’t get sucked into garbage.

When you willingly restrict your diet to 800 calories or less a day to please a man, you, as an intelligent capable woman, able to open up a laptop and google, would have found this is a classic cult move because long term it affects your brain, and your ability to think clearly and make logical decisions. When you willingly lay down naked on a bed and allow someone to brand you, you have not been hypnotized or seduced into it. You were looking for ‘The Answer’, and guess what ladies, there isn’t one. There are tools that will help you get through this life but they don’t involve a regular guy off the street deciding to call himself a saviour.

Try therapy, go to church, go back to school and learn a real trade.  Just make sure you are making the choices and that you haven’t handed your life over to anyone else.

Rainy Sunday morning

A light rain is falling, the sky is grey but it’s spring so everything is green. New leafs, new branches make the world plush and lovely. Add in the lilacs blooming, tulips and red camellia bushes and the world in front of me is quite astounding.

There at two other writers (one woman, one younger man) in this small cafe, working away. The rest of the cafe is full of older men. A group of three in front of me chat away, perhaps a regular Sunday morning ritual? A man sits alone reading the paper while drinking his large coffee and eating a very large pastry. He can, he has been running and has that skinny runner look. He wears a wedding ring. I imagine his wife at home, drinking her own coffee, moving slowly, perhaps reading a book. People used to go to church on Sunday mornings, now they congregate in coffee shops.

 

Busy

It’s been a busy time. A death in the family, spring gardening, an aging cat having to be put down. All of which could have interfered with my writing but it didn’t.

I am pleased that I know have completed the first draft of my novel. I am on to rewriting it. So excited that I have come this far, despite numerous walls, moats and other obstacles being put in my way. I could have used any of them as an excuse to stop, to put the writing aside and do other things. Instead I managed to keep focused and put in my four hours a day of writing, taking care of the other tasks in the afternoon.

Well mostly. I did take the day of the funeral off.  But that is appropriate. The focus of my writing is not to madly ignore the rest of my life. I still am kind and caring. I stop to let others share their pain and joy. I leave it to one side when appropriate.

But the focus is there and I continue to push through. I can do this. And I will

Spring Fever

I am at my Friday writer’s meet up where we chat for 15 to 20 minutes and then get to it. Heads down writing, some on laptops, others hand written. I have my laptop open, I know what comes next on the page but  I can’t seem to focus. I write a few lines, then I’m people watching, writing in my journal instead of my novel and planning my day. Spring fever?

Today I didn’t wear a jacket, just a sweater. Not even a really heavy sweater.  It makes my heart sing to feel the earth warming and see daffodils blooming. I remind myself that even if I was working at a job I would be feeling this way.  But as a professional I would go to the office and complete my tasks, perhaps skipping out for a coffee or a lunch time walk.

So as a professional author, I need to apply that same discipline to my writing.  This is my job. It is what I do. I may never make a living from it (maybe a few dollars though!) but it is my job. And as such I can’t afford to lose the discipline.

So back at it.

Slowly the words fill the page

I am still in the new phase of treating writing as a job. For several days the words flow, the hours are put in but then the discipline evaporates leaving the work unattended. I push forward, every backslide is eventually caught and I am back where I need to be…writing.

I have discovered that when I hit a blank (where should I go now with this character, plot…) or the words won’t come, if I switch to pen and paper it seems to break the pattern and allow words to appear on the page again. Then of course I have to type in what I’ve written…a bit of a pain but better than staring at a blank screen.  I am going to try dictating the words in and see if that speeds up the process or not. Although I do edit myself as I type the written words in so perhaps I am not losing any time at all.

Another day. Commitment.  I want this novel to move forward.

The Snow Shines A Light

Woke this morning to snow covering the ground. Unexpected at this time of year on the West Coast but it is still winter. On my walk here to the cafe for my almond milk latte I heard snow shovels being pushed along sidewalks and driveways. Snow lets people be friendly. They are outside, it is bright and so they smile and say hello and chat.  But the sun is shining, the snow is melting and everyone will go back inside their little (or some cases big) cocoons.

I didn’t write yesterday and I am feeling regret for that. It is my intention to write everyday unless something important shows up. There was nothing important going on, I was just lazy and undisciplined. It was Saturday and old habits slid in to play. There was nothing in particular I needed to get done…certainly nothing that couldn’t wait until the afternoon after a few hours of morning writing. The snow is a reminder for me to stick to it and not flitter away my time. Time like the snow, disappears and when you shine the bright day light on it and you’ve done nothing, it is not pretty.

Goal today is to hit my word requirements despite it being Sunday. Goal for next Saturday – WRITE.