Sunday, April 22, 2007

Outdoor Amore

Outdoor Amore... in honor of earth day Alyson and Macy came up with the Blog topic of "Best outdoor lovemaking scenes". This topic is a bit difficult for me for two reasons. Number 1: I think I am in the early stages of Alzheimer's - I literally have a memory of a sieve. Number 2: since we live in a 1000 square foot military house with little to no storage, anything that is not absolutely needed is donated, pitched or sold. Very unfortunately...this includes most of my books. So, although I may not be able to give you the exact titles and authors, I can give you the setting, in most cases.

1. Hannah Howell is a master at lovemaking scenes. Her specialty seems to be outdoor and, uhm, creative, lovemaking. She seems to also have a knack for food-lovemaking. I no longer have my Hanna Howell collection to reference, but any of the 13 or so books in her highlander series offer a foray of outdoor “activities”. There are numerous lovemaking sessions under the trees in the dark outside edges of a military encampments. With only a blanket or the long wraps of the Hero’s plaid to cover them, or conceal their activity, these scenes could appeal to someone who likes to live on the edge of danger.

2. I can not remember the particular author, but there were three books in her series. She has had several scenes from separate books, where her hero and heroine are making love besides a freezing cold loch in Northern Scotland after bathing. Her heroes must be very well endowed or her heroines must be hotter than Aphrodite, for after a dip in 40 degree water, there is noting holding these couples back. These scenes will warm you up in the middle of a North Dakota Blizzard.

3. Shannon Drake is my next recommendation for tumbling in nature. Under the moonlight, in a grassy clearing of the wood, her hero and heroine laid bare their souls and the rest of their bodies. This seems to be the most romantic setting to me. Who doesn’t look good in moonlight? The soft wind blowing through the grass and gently rustling the leaves. Quiet, sensual lovemaking. The kind that lulls you softly to sleep when you are finished. mmmmmm......

4. Jackie D’ Alessandro wrote a great scene in the Love and the Single Heiress about making love in a hot water spring outside in a garden. It was very sensual. My heart was racing the whole time because the story took place in Regency England, and I was terrified they would get caught by prying eyes or by the antagonist who was trying to kill the heroine. In the water lovemaking is very sensual, but hard to imagine.

5. I can not remember the novel’s name or the author’s name, but there was a historical novel set in 1700s of Italy where the heroine and hero made love in a grotto by the sea. The details of the grotto, the waves crashing along the rocks, and the silky sand still stand out in my mind today. What a beautiful place to consummate your passion.

6. The last on my list is a shameful advertisement for myself, Jacqueline McDermott - My Father’s Bride. The Waterfall scene. Details - well, you will have to wait and read the book to find out. :o)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Purge! Purge!

Discipline is remembering what you want

Well, here it is 11:11 pm, and I am just getting my blog started. I think the idea is for the blog to be up in time for everyone to read at night. Well, let’s see who is left to read it at this time at night...hmmmm...the Samoans? No, I think they are on the other side of the international date line. Dang! I keep saying that my goal should be tuesday night, that way the blog is up for Wed morning. OK, that is the goal for next week!

Speaking of Goals, in keeping with the goals I discussed last week, I have been working all this week to eliminate all the things that are preventing me from writing, minus of course my darling offspring. I resigned from the last of the committees I lead and I elected not to run again for office of the largest organization I serve, my commitment will be up at the end of May. I still have several projects that need to be taken care of before I can fully throw myself into my work, but I am quickly checking them off day by day. Even though I am not actively writing scenes, I am jotting notes here and there, working on my GMC and pondering things over in my brain.

The act of freeing myself of all these other hobbies and commitments has been exhilarating. Not only am I freeing up my time and space in my closets, I just feel so unencumbered and light! For example: I have approximately 50 books of english smocking patterns, and literally hundreds of yards of fabric. At one point in time I was going to smock and sew everything my daughters wore. Hello!? Where the heck was I going to get the time for this? (I only made about 10 dresses) This week I freed myself from all the guilt and anxiety associated with the incomplete projects. I donated most of the fabric to Project Linus and I am Ebay-ing all the pattern books! It is amazing how great I feel. I just gained 100’s of hours for writing.

Do you have any hours you can gain for writing? Seriously, take a good look at your schedule and the things you are doing in your life. There may be items that can be eliminated or delegated. What about incomplete projects? Even though they may be out of sight, they may not be completely out of mind, they may be weighing on your subconscious draining your creativity at this very moment. Can you put your writing aside for a day or so to get all those things caught up? Perhaps you do not want to loose your momentum, perhaps only reduce your writing time and get these other items out of the picture.

What about multitasking? Personally I completely suck at multitasking, my brain is entirely too scattered, but for others people it works, or does it? Studies show that multitasking can really fry your creative processes. According to an article written Lauren Morton-Farmer of the Pepperdine University Graphite there are newly released studies Which show that people may feel more productive by by multitasking, but “they may be doing themselves a disservice”. She quotes David E. Meyer, director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan, in a recent Time article, saying “habitual multi-tasking may condition the brain to an overexcited state, making it difficult to focus even when we want to.” So even though we may not be multitasking when we write, when our brains are preoccupied, we can not put all our effort into what really counts.... our MIP.

So Jacqueline’s advise for this week is to find at least one thing to purge from your life that will keep your brain from doing so much multitasking while you write. Lets watch your creativity soar. Happy Writing!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Roles and Goals

If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased- Katherine Hepburn

It is 10:40 at night on Wednesday and it is my night to blog. I am just sitting down to write and I better hurry as my AOTP friends on the east coast will be getting up for the day in about an hour. Luckily, Samantha is blogging tomorrow and she is on the west coast of the mainland, so there should be a few hours in between blogs. Isn’t it grand being half way around the planet?

It is not procrastination which has kept me away from writing my blog tonight, but commitments. During my teenage and college years I became committed to my own needs and the needs of my family. Somehow after marriage and children there was a shift, and everyone else’s needs came before my own, and sometimes even before my family’s needs. Criminal, isn’t it? What changed my desire from meeting my goals to assisting everyone else with their goals? Is it a need to be liked or feel included? The answer to that is a resounding “no”. So, why do I feel the need to help everyone? It is good to help, to a point. Where do we draw the line?

Lately, I have been out of sorts, full of anxiety, and just completely discombobulated. As I spent five hours cleaning up the home-school-disaster-area today, I had a little conversation with myself. Writers often do that. At least I hope they do. I am not crazy, am I?

I said to myself “What is going on with you!!!! Why is your life and your house such a mess? Where is all your time going, why can’t you seem to get anything done?” So I pondered these questions for a while and I think I have found my answer.

Commitments. What commitments have I made to occupy my time? I thought about all of the things that I do during my day. I won’t bore you with the details, but my day was filled with quite a bit of stuff I neither cared about nor wanted to do. So, why then was I doing all of these things? Excellent question. I really shouldn’t be doing any of them. So, if I shouldn’t be doing those things, what should I be doing? Are you still with me?

I needed to figure out what my roles were in life and what goals I want to achieve. Then I would know what I should be doing with my time!

Role #1 Wife - Goal: Be a supportive & loving wife. - Actions: Lots of hugs, good listening, nookie, hot meals, and a nice clean house. (Guys are easy to please)

Role # 2 Mom - Goal: Be an excellent example and loving teacher. - Actions: Love, hugs, good listening, play every day & firm discipline.

Role # 3 Teacher - Goal: To provide my children with an excellent education until they can attend a quality school. - Actions: Prepare adequately, foster learning and motivation, and be patient (that one is really hard for me).

Role #4 Writer - Goal: to write a complete novel and foster relationships with my fellow writers. - Actions: Write every day and support my on-line writing friends.

Role #5 Sister, Daughter, and Friend - Goal: Provide love and friendship - Actions: Be readily available to those who need me.

OK, so where does it say anything about serving on boards and committees, organizing field trips, sewing all my kids clothes, watching all the older kids at the chapel during meetings, being the testing coordinator for all of the military home-schoolers on the island, training and competing in Triathlons with my neighbor, and coaching swimming? Nowhere. So why am I spending hours and hours everyday working in these activities if they do not meet my personal goals? I do not know either. Perhaps I am too soft hearted and I do not want to disappoint people when they need assistance. But, what about disappointing my family, or myself? Is that selfish? Do we need to be a little selfish to complete our goals in life.

The other day I said “writers write.” What about the writer that doesn’t write? Are you being true to yourself, your roles in life and your goals? What I have written tonight seems like a big whine session, which absolutely was not my intention. It was more of an epiphany of sorts, a breakdown to the simplest form of what my life is about and where it should be focused. I wanted to share it with you because I do not want you to be as far off track as I have become. I hope you can define your own roles, what goals you want to achieve for these roles, and find the actions you need to meet your goals.

Good luck, and may your foster the writer and all the other roles within.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


He who shirks action does not obtain freedom; no one can gain perfection by abstaining from work - Bhagavad Gita

Aloha from Honolulu. It is a warm Saturday afternoon, and I feel I can tell you all that without the worry of nasty rebuttals. It is finally warming up on the mainland, right?

Well, like Alyson I really struggled with what to blog about today. I spent all of today cleaning my house, and it is still not done! I have to say this is probably the second messiest my house has even been in my entire life. There is not one clean surface to eat on. By “clean” I mean non-cluttered. There is stuff everywhere! Laundry waiting to be washed, laundry waiting to be folded, but now so wrinkled that no one will want to wear any of the clothes. Toys, books, mail, home-school supplies, and other odds and ends strewn from one end of the house to another. And the clock is ticking. I only have 2 hours left until the hubby is home from Maui. He is a great guy, but he does get VERY crabby if the house is a mess, and since I am the stay at home Mom, well, you can guess whose job it is to clean it. Which brings me to my blog topic today, actually......

Family Support of a Writer.

Now, I am by no means Cinderella, but I do get a little overwhelmed by the amount of work I do and the amount of help I receive. My hubby works 14 hour days - sometimes 16 or 18 when things in the military world are extra tense- so I feel very guilty asking him to pitch in. However, when I get comments like “You are on the computer again?”, “Did you spend all day writing, is that why the house is a disaster?”, I get a bit irked. Interestingly, there is a flip side to these comments. I also get “ You always talk about being a writer, why don’t you just do it?”

Oh honey, did that fork land in your temple? I am so sorry, I can’t imagine how that happened!

My problem is, and it is highly dubious that it really is a problem, I am married to a Type A super hero. The kind of guy who can diaper a baby, scour the house from top to bottom, cook a four course meal using one pot and a fork, and finish his dissertation on orbital mechanics, all in the time it takes me to drive to the grocery store to pick up the gallon of milk I forgot when I went shopping earlier that day. I, however, am not that type of person. I can barely keep track of what day it is. Knowing this, how do I convince my hubby to let the little things go, like a tidy house, and let my creativity soar? Good question.

My loving offsprings’ particular talent is interruptions. Following Macy and Alyson’s lead, I have been getting up at 5 am to start my day and write before the little ones are out of bed. 5:05 am - “Mommy why are you on the computer?” "Mommy is being a writer today, Go back to bed, please.” “Mommy I am hungry now, can I have a cookie?” “No it is 5am, you can have a cookie after lunch, please go back to bed.” “Momm-” “GET BACK IN THAT BED BEFORE I TIE YOU TO IT!!!”

Ok, I am not that crabby in the morning, maybe by 7 p.m. I can be heard yelling things of that nature. There must be a inner Mommy meter in their head that lets them know when I have risen from my bed. This is the same part of their brain that lets them know that you are on the telephone for the first time in months and all of a sudden they will die if you don’t help them find their blankie, get them a snack, or listen to the latest round of “Mommy, know what?..”

They are still pretty secure in their ego and the whole world revolves around their needs, so I can hardly blame them for that. Following the advise of my AOTP gals, I have explained to them that I want to be a writer, and I think they are getting it. They have stopped interrupting chats, and as soon as they get used to my new writing schedule they will stop interrupting the early morning writing sessions as well. I think they know how bad I want this, and they also instinctively know that I am not willing to sacrifice their childhood to get it.

In order to succeed as a writer, you have to write. Not just chat about it, read about it, and take classes and workshops about it. A writer writes. It is that simple. My plans earlier in life included just that. I was going to be a writer. I was going to live in the woods, on top of a mountain, in my log cabin with a dog. I was going to write. Now I live with 2 cats, two kids, and a man. So not in my plans! But, I would not change a thing, at least most days I wouldn’t.

To continue with my dream, I must meld my fantasy life with my real life and find a workable solution. Life is about compromises and balance. I mean this in both a physical and spiritual sense.

So, what is the answer for winning your family’s support? I guess I would suggest four things:

1. Follow the AOTP gals’ advise: Sit your family down and explain to them how bad you want to write.

2. Give your family a set plan or itinerary. If they know ahead of time what you are going to be doing and what time you will be doing it, there may not be so much resistance. “Sunday afternoons, and Tuesday evenings are Mommy’s writing hours. Please do not disturb Mommy during these times. Mommy will take care of everything before or after these times.”

3. Take the time to organize as much of the rest of your life in order to allow yourself the time to write without guilt or apprehension!

4. Well, #4 just pertains to me, but you can use it too, if you want to: End each day with a glass of good wine.

Here’s to hoping your family is supportive of your dreams and ambition! Cheers!