Category Archives: Love

Luck for All & All for Luck

Luck (from Dictionary.com): good fortune, advantage or success, considered as the result of chance.

Luck is something people wish each other all the time. The problem is, traditional notions of luck may lead to negativity due to the element of chance. In March of 2018, Scientific American published this interesting article by Scott Barry Kaufman about how luck may be a bigger factor in life than we often realize. Kaufman lists findings related to the achievement of success, like country of residence or how a name looks or sounds.

While these elements may be part of the equation, I believe redefining luck may also lead to success in life…and in the art of writing.

L = Love

Everyone experiences love. We may not all feel the emotion the same way. Yet each of us loves someone: a parent, friend, significant other, our even ourselves. We may love our work, a hobby, the earth, or life in general.  As the song goes: It’s written on the wind, it’s everywhere I go. (from Love is All Around).

Some writers love what they do so much they don’t care if their work is popular; the act of creation is reward enough. Others love the idea of achieving best seller status without putting in the work necessary to make the dream a reality and become disillusioned when they don’t achieve their greatest desire. The former writer will most often be happier than the latter because of the element of love.

U = Understanding

Galileo said: All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. Understanding comes with familiarity. We can all learn a lesson by watching how children often repeat an experience over and over until they’ve mastered the task. People who are serious about learning something are willing to put in the work necessary to achieve a comfortable level of understanding. Even in maturity, adults can continue to learn and grow.

Understanding how to write well is difficult. As mentioned above, many wanna-be writers don’t have the drive to put in the time necessary to master the art. Loving what they do enough to achieve understanding is an important factor in achieving success.

C = Compassion

Most of us feel sympathy toward someone who’s facing a situation we’ve experienced for ourselves. While we can’t always ease pain, we may try to do something for them because someone helped, or didn’t help, us in our time of need. To quote the Dalai Lama, If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. 

While we don’t all experience life in the same way, I believe creating characters to whom readers can show compassion helps to enhance the reading experience. This is a great way to expand horizons in the hope that those readers may show more compassion to people they’re dealing with out in the world.

K = Kindness

A simple smile, a compliment, or even holding open a door can be a kindness. Being nice to someone doesn’t have to take much time or effort. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted (Aesop).

While equating writing with kindness may be a stretch, think about how often reading a book can make a bad day more bearable for a reader. Entertaining and inspiring authors provide a kindness. Popular authors like JK Rowling are often kind to their fans in more personal ways, too.

Looking at luck in this new way can be transformational.

Thinking of luck as a way of being loving, understanding, compassionate, and kind instead of just as an indicator of random chance can improve life in unimaginable ways. We all need more of this in our lives. Learning more about the ‘other’ who we may distrust is a good way of finding common ground and understanding. Showing kindness during disagreements helps diffuse tension. Being compassionate to someone else can ease our own pain.

And the world can never have too much love.

For those of us who write, following these principles will add depth to our work. Having our characters show some or all of these traits helps our readers relate to them. And using the components of ‘luck’ may just inspire us to write that best-seller.

Luck for all and all for luck!

A romantic touch.

The Best Gift: A Valentine Vignette

Loud voices and thumps filled the cramped compartment as she waited her turn to escape the uncomfortable seat. Switching her phone off airplane mode, she received her first message. Welcome home!

Her face warmed as she smiled. She couldn’t help herself. As the impatient queue surrounded her, she typed a response. Can’t wait to see you.

Get here as soon as possible, appeared on her screen right away. Be safe. LYL

LY2 SYS

She tucked the phone into the back pocket of her jeans and stood, head bowed beneath the overhead unit. An older woman motioned her into an open space in the aisle.

“Thank you.” Reaching up, she grabbed her bag from the luggage compartment, careful not to knock anyone in her vicinity unconscious. She stepped into the line.

The woman behind leaned close. “Heading home?”

She threw a quick smile over her shoulder. “Yeah. Been a while. I’m eager to get there.”

“You must have a hot date tonight.”

Why on earth would she say that? Am I so transparent?

The realization hit her like a ton of bricks. She’d been on the road since right after the holidays and hadn’t paid attention to the date. Her phone confirmed her fear. February 14th.

“Sure do,” she responded. “I hope you have fun plans.”

The woman laughed. “Got a date with my cat and my knitting. Been away from both for too long – though I always enjoy visiting the grandkids.”

They soon reached a flight attendant who ushered them out with a cheerful, “Thank you for flying Northwest Air.”

“Thank you,” she said, mind racing. Her love would be waiting at home, something special at the ready, while she’d forgotten.

As they entered the terminal, her companion wished her a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

“Have fun with kitty,” she replied.

“She’ll be all over my lap. Add a roaring fire and a nice cup of tea. A perfect night.”

“Sounds like heaven.”

They parted ways with a smile and a wave. As the older woman disappeared into the teeming throngs, she almost envied her. Not that she didn’t want to see her husband. They’d been apart much too long. Yet the thought of a hot bath and bed sounded divine. Especially since she’d forgotten to bring him a surprise.

She hurried into a shop to see if she might find a romantic gift. How could she have forgotten? Sure, she’d been caught up in endless meetings, trying to sell their big idea to angel investors. She still should have remembered the day. The love of her life awaited her at home. He’d been working just as hard as she had and deserved a token of her affection.

The display space beneath a heart-shaped sign sat empty, the advertised wrapped gifts for ‘someone special’ already long gone. Nothing else jumped out at her. She didn’t want a souvenir from their home city, for heaven’s sake, because that would just be tacky.

The displays in each shop she passed, at least the ones she could afford, were all cleaned out. No flowers, no chocolates, nothing except expensive electronics. No romance for sale.

She checked the time and found she’d lingered too long already. He’d be worried and waiting. Rushing out into the cold evening air, she hurried to a waiting taxi.

“Where to?” asked the cabbie as she climbed in.

“The Park Tower Apartments, please.”

The driver started the meter and drove into traffic.

Sitting back, she closed her eyes, trying to recall whether she’d bought anything fun during her time on the road. Nothing came to mind. She hadn’t even swiped hotel notepads and pens.

They passed a few florists and grocery stores. She pondered stopping for a quick bouquet…then realized she’d either have a running meter or the need to find another mode of transportation. Neither option seemed good.

Maybe she had a hostess gift left over from Christmas?

None that she could remember.

The taxi drew up in front of her building and she paid the driver before climbing out. After taking a deep breath of the chill air, she stepped into the lobby. Only five more flights to her love.

They’d both been busy. He wouldn’t mind…would he?

Her heart pounded and stomach fluttered as the elevator carried her upward. She dug out her keys while walking the hallway to the apartment.

The door opened.

“Babe!” Her husband reached out.

She melted into his arms. He smelled of Old Spice and hair gel with a touch of musk. A sigh of contentment escaped her. He wore jeans and a pullover sweater they’d bought on a trip to Ireland many years before, when they’d been younger and more impulsive. They had no money for expensive vacations until their dream launched. If they achieved financial success.

After several minutes he released her, reaching out to shut the door behind them.

She looked around to find he’d cleaned the place up. “Smells wonderful. Did you cook?”

He set her bag by the doorway to the bedroom and motioned at their small table. “Dinner courtesy of Pizza Heaven.”

On a red-and-white checked tablecloth he’d placed a couple plates topped with folded napkins. Wine glasses and a bottle of her favorite vintage reflected the light of battery-operated candles. The pizza sat in the center of the tableau, on one of their best serving plates. “Looks heavenly.”

He seated her and picked up her napkin. A ring box sat in the center of her plate. Trembling fingers went to her lips. He’d remembered!

“What’s wrong?” He knelt at her side.

She burst into tears.

He pulled her to the sofa and took her in his arms. “Whatever I did, I’m sorry.”

She ran her fingers through the curls at the nape of his neck as she sobbed into his shoulder.

“This isn’t like you. Did something happen on the road?”

Unable to speak, she shook her head. How could she tell him she’d forgotten Valentine’s Day when he’d done so much? He’d think she didn’t feel about him the way he felt about her.

He tilted her face and kissed the tears from her cheeks. “You must be exhausted.” He squeezed her tight. “I’m so glad you’re home. I’ve missed you, babe.”

The warmth of his embrace filled her with peace. As her sobs faded away, she took a shaky breath, dabbing at her eyes with the cuff of her shirt. “I’m sorry I didn’t get you anything…”

“Is that what’s bothering you?” He took her face in his hands and looked deep into her eyes. “I don’t care about stuff. You know that.” He again pulled her close. “This is all I need.” He kissed the top of her head and rested his cheek against her hair.

A wave of love washed over her. She snuggled closer.

Taking a deep breath, he murmured, “You’re the best gift of all.”

Valentine

Romantic Living Or How to Inspire Romance

Romantic Living

Creating the romantic life can be easy. For example, I enjoy spending quiet time with my husband. Sharing a candlelit meal at home is special, too. Even handwriting a note to say “I love you, have a good day,” can inspire romance.

Romantic Dinner.

I’ve spend a lot of time thinking about the subject because I’ve always loved reading romances. Now, I’ve also started writing them. So I did a little research into the meaning of the word romantic to get a better background for my work in progress and here’s what I found. This not only benefits my writing, of course, but also how I’m living my life. The little things I’ve started doing are ones that inspire romance for me. You’ll need to figure out what touches do that for you. Personalization is key.

The Romantic Adjective

A variety of meanings for the adjective form of the word can be found on Dictionary.com. These include: a desire for adventure, a preoccupation with love, displaying or expressing love or strong affection, ardent, passionate, fervent.

Enduring Thoughts of Romance

To prove this is a topic I’ve thought about for awhile, you can look back at my earlier post Romance in Real LifeI still feel the same way about the subject that I did when I wrote that post, but I’ve also refined my thoughts a bit. The little things are just as important now as they were then. I’ve just added to them.

For example, I now make breakfast each weekday morning. To create a romantic atmosphere, I serve our morning juice in wine or champagne glasses. Seasonal decor brightens our eat-in kitchen table and a wax-melt light wafts a light scent over us as we eat. These are little, inexpensive touches that make the idea of facing the outside world a little more bearable. This is just one of the many ways I’ve chosen to live the romantic life. Hopefully, this might inspire you to try out a few ideas of your own.

And remember…

Romantic decor.

 

Writer Wednesday: Georgette Heyer

fridays-child
The cover of my most well-loved edition of the book.

When I first read the Georgette Heyer Regency romance, Arabella, back in high school, I fell in love with the author’s style and story-telling ability. Everything about the book appealed to me: the large, impoverished, Tallant family; the arrogant Robert Beaumaris; and the descriptions of the Regency era, from the difficulties of getting into Almacks to the use of postillions for a traveling chaise. I re-read the book so often I started to think in the language of the time with a modern British accent.

While Arabella is near the top of the list of all the Heyer books I’ve enjoyed, I have to say that my all-time favorite of her romances is Friday’s Child. From the opening of the book, when the Viscount Sheringham (Sherry) decides he’ll marry the first woman he sees, until the convoluted series of improbable events of the climax, I couldn’t put this one down until I finished. I adore the heroine, Hero Wantage (Kitten), and how her innocent naivete keeps getting her into ‘one scrape after another.’ The way Sherry’s friends Gil Ringwood, Ferdy Fakenham, and George Wrotham want to protect Kitten is incredibly sweet. Wrotham’s desire to duel everyone who shows the least bit of interest in the woman he wants to wed, Isabella Milborne, is an amusing thread throughout the story. And the development of the relationship between Kitten and Sherry is not only well-done, but takes on a heart-wrenching quality about 2/3 of the way through the story. I can almost quote verbatim the beginning of my favorite chapter of the book since I’ve re-read it so many times.

Reading the works of Heyer has influenced my writing style in subtle ways. I tend to use more formal words than are common to most contemporary romances. The relationships between my heroes and heroines develop slower than many modern readers might like and physical intimacy between them happens late in the story. What I haven’t mastered is Heyer’s skill at conveying her stories in such a way as to make readers fall in love with them so they want to go back and read them again and again. That skill is a very important one to authors in any genre and can be difficult to learn, though some seem to have a natural talent for it. Heyer seems to me to be one of the naturals.

Georgette Heyer is credited with having created the genre of Regency romance. She did extensive research into life in Regency times: the language, the clothing, and societal trends. She wove her research into her books in such a way as to make the reader feel as familiar with the times as the author. Many of her readers were so inspired by her style and skill that they started writing as well.

I knew nothing about Heyer’s background or influence on others when I first came across her books all those years ago. All I knew was that her stories took hold of my heart and refused to let go. That’s why I continue to search for any of her books I haven’t yet read, why I often re-read my favorites, and why I continue to work to make my own writing better. If someone someday says something I’ve written has made them as happy as Heyer’s works have made me, I’ll feel I’ve achieved success.

Isn’t that what every writer hopes deep down inside?

A Romantic Journey

The fact that my wonderful husband, JT Hume, and I are both writers is no secret since we often talk about and joke with each other on social media. We’ve also mentioned that we both work day jobs in the public sector. As a result, the two of us spend very little time in the same room together and communicate for the most part through social media, e-mail, and instant messaging.

We bought a home together a couple years ago. The house consists of a basement, a main level, and a ‘half story’ (a converted attic with compromised head room). JT spends most of his evenings in the basement, or ‘Dungeon of Doom,” while I sit in my office on the main floor. Another portion of the main floor contains a narrow living area that spans the width of the house. The configuration makes arranging furniture awkward so at the moment I have the room sectioned in two; one end contains the too-large sectional, some shelves with our electronic components, and a fireplace, while the other is a small sitting area with a couple chairs and a tiny shelf of books.

This past weekend I came up with a grand idea to get JT up onto the same floor I’m on and suggested we use the little reading area as office space for him. The idea then evolved into changing the living room into a dual office space we can share while turning our basement into a home theater/living room. With this thought in mind, we left the house in search of a partners desk big enough to hold our collection of computers, monitors, and other electronic gadgetry.

After a series of disappointing stops at various office supply and home furnishing stores, we returned home, where I suggested that we change the focus of our search from a desk to a dining table – which would give us both plenty of room to spread out. So we again left the house and visited a variety of stores where we once more came up empty-handed. After spending the majority of the day driving many miles through parts of three counties, we’re still in our respective writing areas, tired and discouraged, but not yet ready to give up on the idea of a shared writing space.

You see, after thirty-three years as a couple, we still enjoy spending time with each other more than almost anything else. We like the idea of a shared space where we can talk out ideas, encourage each other, and maybe even play a little footsie while we write. We have a beautiful sunny space we can share. Now we only need to find the perfect piece of furniture to fit that space and our shared dream will come true.

If that’s not romance, what is?

 

Everyday Romance

Valentine’s Day is once again on the horizon. A day for declarations of love, flowers, candies, cards, jewelry, proposals, and weddings. This is a day when some want to enjoy a romantic date: dinner and dancing, a movie, or a weekend getaway. The day also seems to cause irritation or outright panic for anyone trying to create the perfect romantic gesture.

Trying to live up to outrageous expectations on Valentine’s Day isn’t a problem in the Carson/Hume household; we live our love every day of the year. I asked JT today whether he wanted to do anything special for the holiday and then realized I had no ideas of what might be any more special than our normal life. We enjoy meals together all the time, share movie nights in his “dungeon of doom” (otherwise known as our basement), take walks together, go for drives together…well, you get the idea.

Our relationship has been romantic since we met as co-workers at a local fast food restaurant. For our first date, he took me for a steak dinner and then to see Beatlemania at the local university. We had only a handful of outings as a couple before he left for the Air Force, but he managed a surprise visit at Christmas, which led to a New Year’s Day proposal. We married the following June.

Like any couple, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve survived the tough times and enjoy the good ones. In the days before instant and constant communication, we wrote each other notes when we were working different shifts and didn’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. We enjoyed time together at the arcade for video games and cheap hot dogs or saw the occasional bargain matinee when we couldn’t afford anything else. We’ve spent many an anniversary at a Wendy’s somewhere because that’s where we met (even when we lived in Japan and had to take trains to get there). I’ve got kitchen cabinets full of vases from the too-numerous-to-count flowers I’ve been given for birthdays, anniversaries, when I wasn’t feeling well, or just because he stopped off at the store for something else and picked up a bouquet. He also gets me cute cards, chocolates or my favorite ice cream, and other little mementos all the time. Now that we have computers and smart phones, we text and instant message each other whenever we’re apart. He tucks me into bed every night and I see him out the door each morning as we head off to work.

You can see how I’d have trouble trying to come up with something to do for Valentine’s Day. While I enjoy the holiday as much as anyone, I’ve already gotten boxes of chocolates, roses, and cards in the past weeks. We had a quiet breakfast out together just this morning and enjoyed a nice walk in the crisp February air afterward. This past Friday evening we watched Shakespeare in Love, one of our favorite romantic movies. What could be better?

The most special thing I can think of doing for my partner, best friend, better half, and the love of my life, is to let everyone know how much I appreciate him and all he’s done for me over the more than thirty-two years we’ve been married. I’m so thankful that we’ve been able to share our everyday romance for all this time and look forward to many more years of the same.

ValentineHeart

Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.