Romance DOES Exist!

Midnight Captive - Audiobook - Vampire RomanceTrue Romance is REAL!

“Your books have changed my life!”

What author WOULDN'T want to hear that? It was the most amazing moment of my life as a writer when a local reader named Violet said those very words. I felt I'd finally accomplished a goal I set out to do with my novels. When I started writing, though, I wasn't sure I could do it. I mean, heck…how do you change someone's life with vampire romance? Kind of a round-about goal, right? A cure for cancer would be more direct. Maybe feeding the homeless? But I was better at writing than those other things, so I stuck with writing.

Though “changing someone's life” was the goal I set to accomplish through my stories, the more specific method to do this…at least with my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles…was to show people the face of true love. Show them the characteristics of a healthy and supportive relationship. Show them genuine love in action! But with vampires?? Just go with me on this one. 😉

At the heart of all stories are the relationships between the characters. I happen to LOVE vampires, so I chose them as my vehicle, but the relationships between my main characters was the focal point. I'm speaking of Broderick and Davina, and more personally for my reader Violet who was touched by James and Cailin in Midnight Captive.

Just to give you a little backstory…

Midnight Captive - Book 2 - Vampire RomanceJames and Cailin were betrothed very young, their parents business partners. But it wasn't forced on them. At the age of 17, James asks for the union. Cailin was only 12 at the time and the intention was to wed when she grew to womanhood. But James knew deep inside it was their friendship, respect and compatibility with each other that would make them an ideal match. Love is more than just the butterflies in our bellies. Marriage is a partnership that should be open and, more than anything, you should be able to completely be yourself around your partner. No judgment. So many people in the world don't have this…but I did and still do, so I wanted to share this.

James and Cailin have some communications problems throughout the book and most of them revolve around what she thinks James wants in a wife. So, instead of just being herself – a dagger-toting hellion who wants to fight vampires and protect her family – she tries to be the dutiful wife who's mastered the task of embroidery and running a household because she thinks that's what James wants. Nothing could be further from the truth! Through their adventures, James and Cailin learn it's okay to be who you are with no excuses. That's exactly what I have with my husband. We can COMPLETELY be ourselves with each other. It's liberating!

It's Not Them…It's YOU!

So, back to Violet. My husband and I walked into the local restaurant where Violet works and she said with wide eyes, “Oh, m'ija!* I have to to talk to you!” She glanced at my husband, standing beside me. “But not with him around.”

“I'll just be over here,” my thoroughly accommodating and amused husband said, and he picked out a table for us.

After I gave Violet our food order, she pulled me aside. I said,”They're too hot, aren't they? My books are too hot.”

She fanned herself. “Eiye, caliente, but I love that. No, I wanted to tell you…your books have changed my life!”

Cailin MacDougal - Midnight Captive - Vampire RomanceCertainly, I was taken aback. “What? How? What do you mean?”

“The relationship between James and Cailin is just so loving.” She sighed canadian pharmacy valium dreamily. “All this time I was in these relationships with men, I always thought there was something wrong with me. But James and Cailin made me realize I was just with the wrong person.”

Of course I was in tears and we hugged.

“For the first time in twelve years,” she continued, “I started dressing up again, feeling better about myself. I started dating. And you know what?” She grinned. “I met someone and he's a really nice guy.”

We hugged again and I told her how happy I was for her and was honored by her compliment. I don't know about you, but I'm tearing up right now as I write this, and as I always do when I tell this story. 

Honor and privileges aside, what I want you to notice is what Violet did and what changed. SHE did the changing. SHE shifted her perspective from judging herself to being open to the idea that she just needed to find the person who was more suited to HER. Violet told me she felt free to be Violet and didn't have to make any excuses. She was also free to look for a guy who was more suited to who she was, what she liked and how she wanted to spend her time.

James Knightly - Midnight Captive - Vampire RomanceMy sister Linda told me once,

“You have to stop pretending to be the person you think other people want you to be and just be yourself. Trying to be someone else is like putting on a mask. The people who REALLY love the person you REALLY are will miss you…because you're hiding behind that mask.”

It was a profound moment in my life that helped me make the same shift in perspective Violet did. The more I act like myself, the more I attract the people who like the real me. Only then was I open to seeing who was the right guy for me…and that's when I met my husband and romance novel hero.

Part of finding your true mate is also learning more about yourself. What do you like to do? Who are you as a person? The more you know about who you are, the more you realize the type of person you want to have in your life. It frees you up to easily let go of those people who don't match your ideals or have the same interests. Why would you want to hang around people who criticize who you are, what you do and what you like? Wouldn't it be more fun to hang around people who enjoy the same things? And above all, your life-partner should be your best friend.

If such a notion scares you into thinking you'll be spending your life alone, then perhaps the truth is you don't like who you are. Look…no matter where you go, there YOU are. You can't get rid of you, so you might as well learn to love YOU. If there are things about your personality you don't like, strive to change them. Strive to love YOU, though, and change for YOU…not for someone else. And when you do, when you can feel comfortable in your own skin, then you can relax and be yourself…and be okay with being yourself. Once you do that, you'll attract the right person.

I hope this was helpful! Have YOU found your true love? Does any of this ring true with you? I'd love to hear if you have a story to share!

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉

*informal Spanish for “friend” or “mate”

Nicholas Sparks Gets Divorced – Love is Dead?

Nicholas Sparks - TMZ.com photoIs Nicholas Sparks Divorce the End of True Love?

Of course it isn't the end of true love! But you'd think it was if you listened to all the Twitter chatter about Mr. Sparks's separation and pending divorce with his wife of 25 years. I'm just flabbergasted at the drivel that people are spewing because this bestselling romance novelist's marriage didn't work. Here are some of the ridiculous quotes flashing around the Twittersphere and I don't want to put the author credits because they just don't deserve the attention – but you can do searches on Twitter for them yourself if you're interested.

  • “PSA: I was just informed that nicholas sparks got a divorce so basically love is dead”
  • Nicholas Sparks is getting a divorce and love is officially dead.”
  • “Nicholas Sparks is getting a divorce?! There's no hope for love :(“
  • Nicholas Sparks got a divorce this week so basically there's no hope for any of us”

I could continue, but I'm sure you get the point.

Reality Check

As a romance novelist myself, and having been through two divorces AND now in a very successful and healthy relationship, I think I have a pretty solid soap box on which to stand. Since this is my website, I'll take the liberty of climbing on top of said makeshift podium and pontificate. TRUE LOVE IS NOT DEAD. I know because I'm living it. MUCH of the romance in my books is based on the true love principles I'm sharing in this article. I've said many times before, my husband is the heart that beats within Broderick MacDougal, the main character in my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles.

How bloody absurd it is that people are taking this leap just because Nicholas Sparks had problems in his love life! BUT it highlights how unrealistic people are about love today. I'll make a couple of important points I've learned the hard way through the years: Continue reading

Moving On!

Ok, folks! I've had it!

I love my story MIDNIGHT CONQUEST, but since I've been working on this story for 17 years, I think I'm ready to puke on it! I understand the editing process and what one needs to do to get a book to publication. I've had several technical manuals, marketing materials and web sites published to know that true enough AND I've seen friends go through the process. However, in my recent experience with returning my revisions to The Wild Rose Press, I've discovered that I have a blind eye to the mistakes I am making. I wrote “passion” or some form of that word at least 10 times in two pages! I did this even though I re-read the pages AT LEAST five times. I'm usually pretty good about something repetative like that, but it's clear I'm not seeing things like that on this project. I think there are two reasons why… Continue reading

Book Signing – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Last night I attended a book signing for Sherrilyn Kenyon at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA. She was there for the release of her newest and most awaited Dark Hunter Novel – “Acheron“. I'll be reading this once I finish with “Twilight”.

Sherrilyn was a JOY to meet! It was a long wait – about 120 of us stood outside with a number, patiently waiting to get some time with her and have her sign our books – but it was SOOO worth the wait! Not only was she sweet and open, she was even loving and affectionate. I was able to give her a big hug for a picture or two.

I told her about being an aspiring writing and having read all her books. She seemed genuinely excited for me and wished me luck, telling me to keep her posted on the progress of my newly finished novel – “Midnight Conquest“.

I loved it that Sherrilyn was so warm and loving to all her fans. She listened to each of them attentively and celebrated with them when they told her good news. Living here in Los Angeles, you see all kinds of celebrities and famous faces. I'll have to say that authors – by far – are the most approachable and maintain a semblance of humanity when they become famous. It is the rare actor you meet in this town that is down-to-earth and approachable. Of the authors I've met, I'll have to say Sherrilyn was the most friendly and sweetest to meet.

Sherrilyn (left) & Me

Sherrilyn (left) & Me

Dark Delicacies did a great job in organizing the event. 20 people at a time went into the store while the rest waited outside. It was a smart idea to arrange the number system to avoid any kind of animosity between fans about who was first, etc. Nice job!

If you get a chance to see her on her Acheron Tour, I highly recommend the visit. Check the venue at which you're going to see her. Dark Delicacies required that you purchase something from their store in order to be able to have Sherrilyn sign anything you brought with you. Also, I found out from a friend that she was able to purchase her copy of the book AND get her number several days BEFORE the event! That will save you time standing around if you get an early line number. Don't forget to bring one of those small canvas, fold-up stools to sit on during the wait. It will help the time pass with less pain for the feet and the back! But it really is worth the wait!

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉

Romance – Fact or Fiction?

What IS it that women love about romance novels? For me, it's the fact that the Hero of the story can't get enough of the Heroine. She walks across the room and he gets a hard-on just looking at her! THAT'S the kind of relationship I wanted! Eh…that's simplifying it, but it's an element.

Both my ex's said men like that didn't exist…as most men will agree. As a writer of romance novels AND having gone through two divorces, I myself began to wonder if any man would be able to live up to that image. “But,” I reasoned with myself, “there has to be SOME truth about these romance novel heroes.”

Believe it or not, there really IS some truth to those stories. I know. I finally have my Romance Novel Hero! But here's the fact and fantasy that I've learned about finding your true Romance Novel Hero and what the misconceptions really are…misconceptions that I also fell into.

WHAT IS The Romance Novel Hero?
In the books, the Hero usually can't keep his hands or his mind off the Heroine (e.g., libido through the roof), he pursues her with a passion, is physically appealing, and he sees something about her that's irresistible. When you break it down in those terms, doesn't he look a little more realistic? No? Then let me explain…

SCHA-WING!!!
The part most men seem to be intimidated about and why they feel they can't measure up to the Hero is the libido. I've done my research and I've asked a LOT of men about this topic. It's their manhood that is threatened. Having been through two divorces and finally finding my own Hero gave me a lot of insight into the truth about that constant libido. Another source was the book “He's Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. Ladies…do NOT avoid this book! This book tells you the TRUTH about men and how they behave toward women…and sometimes the truth hurts. Read it!

The truth about the romance novel heroes is not sexual virility. It's true love. When a man is head-over-heels in love with a woman, he cannot get enough of her! The Hero feels that way about the Heroine because he has found his true love. It is NOT about how he can go “SCHA-WING!” by looking at ANY woman. Any man can go “SCHA-WING!” when he's with his true love.

Look Into My Eyes!
You know the saying…”Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” I understand that sex sells and the eye candy on the cover is what gets us to pick up the book. But when we're talking about the truth, he's sexy to HER. Both the Hero and the Heroine only have eyes for each other. It goes deeper than the eye candy, but frequently the covers of our books distract the average individual from that truth. YOUR Hero in real life is attractive to YOU. He makes YOUR pulse race when you see him. He makes YOUR stomach flip when he draws near. And you should be doing the same for him…it's a two-way street. That's what makes it true love. One-sided is just bordering stalker level.

Simply Irresistible!
Both the Hero and the Heroine find SOMETHING about each other they can’t explain or they don’t understand. Her faults may grate on everyone else around them, but to the Hero they don’t matter as much; and the same goes for the Heroine about the Hero’s faults. This CAN happen. Everyone has faults, but your true love has too many pros to worry about the cons. That’s how you know you’ve found the right person…you BOTH feel that way about each other.

One big lesson I learned about relationships: You CANNOT change the person you’re with nor can you expect them to change in any way, shape, or form. If you list the pros and the cons about the person you’re considering spending the rest of your life with, look closely at that list of cons. Ask yourself one question: “If s/he NEVER changed any of those things, could I live with that for the rest of my life?” If the answer is “no”, then you’re with the wrong person.

Raise That Bar!
Can you find the true love of your life and find the one you dream of? Absolutely! I’m a firm believer of that! So why are we unhappy or our relationships end in divorce? I think it's because we settle for second best. Meaning, we grab onto the first guy that comes along because we think we’re not going to get any better than that. Here are two steps to success in finding your Hero:

  • Look into that mirror and truthfully be able to say, “I love that girl I’m lookin’ at!” And you need to MEAN it! Yeah, you have flaws – and it’s not to say you can’t work on those. But when it comes down to the end of the day, who are you inside and do you love that woman? If you cannot say you love yourself and that you would be your own best friend, then you need to work on that. It really is true: If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else. That's how we attract losers…if we think we're a loser, we get a loser – like attracts like.
  • KNOW what you want in a life partner…AND DON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS! The fear that we are going to miss out on the perfect mate is completely unwarranted. There are SIX BILLION people on the face of this planet. Odds are there is more than just ONE person out there that meets your criteria.

Love yourself FIRST. Then know what you want in a mate. Believe it! Put that energy out there and it WILL happen! (Watch “The Secret” if you don't know how to do that.) And don’t give up! I am a firm believer that anyone can find their Prince Charming and live happily ever after!! Go for it!

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉