Me Being Me, Thoughts

Simple Comforts

Yesterday at four-ish in the afternoon, just before the sun was thinking about getting ready for bed, my husband walked into my office and said, “I started a fire.”

I was seconds away from working, but I’ve had a hell of a time concentrating this last week. It’s been like pulling teeth. Starts and stops. Stalls galore. So I decided to lay my work aside and go sit outside in the beautiful fall air and enjoy a fire in my backyard.

John and I had a great conversation, as we often do around a fire. There’s something about the focus being on those orange and black embers rather than on faces that helps words flow. And as the sky darkened around us, we shared our fears about the future and tried to figure out what we could do right now to make a difference.

We also talked about small comforts beyond cheese, pasta, potatoes, and chocolate. For the last several months, we’ve been focused on goals, getting shit done, planning the next thing, and never taking time to slow down and just be.

The talk around our maple-syrup-scented fire filled us up in a matter of minutes, and we both sighed with contentment. It was a beautiful few hours I’m glad I took the time for. I’m a workaholic, so I rarely allow moments like this.

As much as I’d like to have a fire every day to wind down in the evening, it’s simply not feasible. So we came up with a few things that make us feel content and help us live in the moment so we have the strength to fight again the next day.

Hockey. I’m going to subscribe to NHL TV again, even if I despite all the games that are blacked due to cable company monopolies. I can’t change greed, but I can watch hockey at the click of a button and shut my work brain off for a few hours.

Water. There’s something about warm water flowing over skin that is healing. So I’m going to take more baths and try new soaks and bubble baths and whatever else strikes my fancy. Any recommendations?

Light. Candles and fairy lights and mood lighting can change my entire outlook. I’m going to use light when I’m feeling down or uninspired. I’m going to light my favorite candle every day rather than saving it for a special occasion.

Journaling. Putting pen to paper helps me transfer my anxieties to the page. My lists get the junk out of my head so I can concentrate on what I want.

Driving. When gas prices went up, we stayed home a lot more than we used to. No more day trips to walk across the Mississippi River headwaters. No jaunts up to Lake Superior to be awed by Mother Nature. The drive to those places was half the fun. Gas prices are down, so I’m going to get in my car and get lost again.

TV/Movies. It’s been a whole lot of years since we’ve vegged out in front of the TV since we haven’t had live TV in years. Most of my entertainment is reading, but that’s also my job as a writer, and even more so, my job as an editor. I need to turn my mind off from words and switch over to visual more often.

As you can see, I don’t need extravagance to make my happy. I enjoy a simple life.

What are your comforts? I’d love to have more ideas so I don’t gain 20 pounds in the next weeks. What helps you come back to center when the rest of the world keeps engaging you?

And yes, the fire last night truly did smell like maple syrup.

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GLBT, LGBT, Thoughts

Stop Salting Wounds

Since late Tuesday night, much of the United States is in mourning and dealing with their grief in various ways. I’m one of them. And yes, it is grief. Hope for the future, the promises we made to our children about growing up in a safe, inclusive, equal world were ripped from us election night. That was a significant loss.

Words like shock, numblost, and afraid describe emotions since election night. I watched the TV with hope and excitement at first. My best friend took a picture of us and we were all smiles. Two hours later, after a healthy dose of denial and then reality crashing down, I was crying. In the wee hours of the morning, I was sobbing.

It was as if I were on a highway watching a car filled with all my loved ones crushed by a semi-truck.

In slow motion.

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Kübler-Ross Stages of Grief

I bled beside my friend and then at home with my daughter and husband. We tried to heal each others’ gashes, punctures, and lacerations, but we were so stunned we didn’t even know where the blood was coming from yet.

Five days later and I’m still not entirely sure I’ve staunched all the bleeding, and some of what I’ve seen on social media has only made the wounds more painful.

Move past it. It’s not that bad. It’s only four years. Not all Trump supporters are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamiphobic haters, so try to see it from their point of view. It’s time to build bridges and stop whining.

I’m still gushing blood over here, yet people are giving me physical therapy instructions on how to get flexibility back in my thigh. My lacerated muscle is mince meat exposed to poisonous air, so physical therapy is a long way away.

Please don’t forget, we are still in mourning.

stages-of-griefAnd these messages of get over it are being met with a lot of hostility, which has been a shock for some. Friendships have been burned, respect lost, and nerves frayed.

Person A might be at the Adjustment phase of their grief—congrats on getting there so quickly—but Person B doesn’t need to match the speed of your process. This isn’t a contest. Many are deep in the Loss-Hurt phase. Some of us are still dealing with emotional outbursts. I cried several times yesterday and I have panic attacks about how I’m less safe today than I was last Monday.

And these aren’t hypotheticals. These are realities some of us have already lived.

I was raped when I was eleven by a boy who thought he had a right to my body. When I was thirteen, three boys held me down to see how many fingers they could “get in her pussy.” They only stopped because the sound of my flesh tearing echoed in the room. I was raped again when I was twenty. Mere weeks after finding out I was pregnant from that rape, a strange man lifted me from behind by my breasts and carried into a hotel room filled with men! I was on my way to visit my mom to figure out what to do about the pregnancy.

And now we have a president-elect who thinks grabbing a woman by the pussy without her consent is something to laugh off and dismiss as locker-room talk.

That’s not even my greatest fear because balls can easily be crushed. I fear for my daughter’s future, one I thought would only get better, more equal. One where I hoped she’d see the glass ceiling shattered. One where she could kiss her girlfriend in public and no one would give her a second look.

I fear for my friends’ safety. I fear the beast Trump unleased, essentially giving permission for all the haters to come out of their caves and show their true colors. What about my friends who can’t hide or diguise themselves for one reason or another? And no one should have to feel that need in the United States of America.

The last thing I want is for closets to be considered the only safe space.

We kicked down a hell of a lot of closet doors in the last decade, and there’s no way I’m going back into the darkness. I will fight. I will fight like I did in the past by boycotting businesses who promote hate. I’ll donate to causes that promote equality. I’ll keep coming out and telling people I’m bisexual so their delicate snowflake worlds can be put on edge again and again. I’ll speak up and stand up and fight back rather than hoping someone else will step in. And I’ll keep writing books where men fall in love and find their happily ever afters.

But I still need time to grieve. Allow me to do it in my own way, in my own time, and with my own process, not yours or anyone elses. Try to respect that.

Please stop pouring salt and vinegar into open wounds.

We will get to the reorganization phase soon.

grief_wheel

  • Grief is normal.
  • Grief can occur with any significant loss.
  • Grief is a personal and unique experience.
  • Grief takes time, which is unique to each person.
  • Grief cannot be sped up by outside or inside forces.
Social Issues, Thoughts

Oddly Fascinated by Naked Man in a Box

I’ve been watching Almar Atlason, a 23 year old Icelandic art student completing his final art project for his Methods and Process class at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts. He is hoping to spend a week inside a transparent box. Oh, and he’s naked, so he’s very exposed. His project is streaming on YouTube but is #NSFW. I learned about this from a friend’s Facebook post that lead me to an article on Iceland Review Online. He called this “A perfect anarchy.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 6.52.24 PMHe brought nothing inside his see-thru box and is relying on the generosity of others, who have brought him food, water, blankets, an iPod, books, and many other items. He has an IN door and an OUT door, and from what I’ve seen in the time I’ve watched him, he’s not speaking, but communicating with sign or through writing.

On the YouTube stream there is also a chat box* as part of the project. If you are watching in Chrome, you can right click (Control-Click for Apple users) to have the chat translated. People quickly pop in and out while others have been hanging around for a time. The newbies seem to ask the same questions again and again, so here are the answers before you even go to watch Almar.

What is this?

This is interactive art and an experiment. Viewers are a part of it and Almar has set this up so that he needs people to be a part of his installation. Those of us who can’t partake in person can engage with other viewers through the chat option on YouTube and possibly with him. He has looked at the camera and has possibly waved at us, though he may be waving at someone behind it too.

Where does he pee and poop?

Often this is the first question and it was one of mine as well. After all, we know that it’s unhealthy to eat and poo in the same place, so immediately, people are curious and/or concerned. He pees in a urinal like one uses in a hospital or an empty bottle. He poops in a bag he disposes of through the OUT door. Yes, he has TP.

I bet it stinks in there! He must reek! How does he wash?

Perhaps it’s a bit rank in there, but he has been given baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Someone brought him a fan to air out the place one day. He occasionally props a door open with his roll of TP.

Has he fapped yet?

Not that I’ve seen. Stike that. Was it to completion? Hard to say. His stream died for a time. It came back on, but I don’t think he realized it. It was quick and he sat up as his breathing increased, so I don’t know if he came or not. Then someone came into the room and helped him with his computer. Not sure he knows if we saw that or not.

Why is he naked?

Why not? That’s my first thought whenever anyone asks that in the chat. He’s in a see-through box, exposed, and on display, so why on earth wouldn’t he be naked? Isn’t that part of this?

Why’s he really doing this?

He told mlb.is that he wanted to see if he could spend a week in there, but is there a larger meaning? I think we’re going to have to wait for him to tell us.

Where is he?

He’s in Reykjavik, Iceland, and despite some people in the chat playing and saying he’s in Sweden or Poland, he’s in Reykjavik. My friend even brought him hand sanitizer, ear plugs, and pain meds there, so firsthand account and visit.

Why am I watching this? Why am I still watching this?

Yeah, I asked that one too. I find watching Almar living in his box oddly relaxing. He reads, he taps his feet or slaps his chest when he listens to music, and he does yoga-like stretches. I’ve watched him sleep and eat and even take care of the other business (which he does in a very matter-of-fact manner).

This is not a sexual display; this is art, which is how it is on YouTube. It’s interesting to see him carry out his compromised existence on the screen with very little self-consciousness. I appreciate that.

This is art?

The real beauty in interactive art is that it means something different to everyone who takes part in it because meaning is shaped through individual experiences, past and present. He took nothing in and has to rely on his community for help, which has engaged us. He needs things to help him survive, which he now has thanks to people being generous. He needs viewers for this to mean something as well, so we are now a part of his art.

His art has encouraged many of us to go beyond the pee and poop questions so we can ask deeper ones. Many viewers empathize with him, as though he’s like an animal in a cage at the zoo. He chose this existence, however, unlike those animals.

When watching Almar interact with his surroundings, I can’t help thinking about our reliance on not only the kindness of others but also our dependence on things. These things take up space in our own boxes. Almar is now surrounded by items he didn’t bring in with him. Some he’s obviously come to appreciate. From what I’ve witnessed, he is thankful for the soft items like the blankets and pillows. His tailbone area was red on the second day and the cushioning seems to be helping. The earplugs my friend brought him helped him get a good night’s sleep last night, at least the time I saw him snoozing. Other items he’s disposed of, but I’ve noticed how he stacks various objects because he might need them later.

And today I saw him being much more demonstrative. He “hugged” his friends, arms outstretched against the glass, before they left him for the night. He tapped his toes against the glass when talking with someone, as if he wanted to touch them. He blew numerous kisses to friends. Even though he can see out and people can see him, I’m wonder if he’s feeling isolated.

So yeah, I’m oddly fascinated by the naked man in a see-thru box in Iceland right now. No apologies.

*There are some trolls in the chat box trying to incite political and social arguments. Don’t feed them. 😉

Me Being Me, Thoughts

My Blogging Birth & Rebirth

I’ve been remiss, ignoring my blog for the last year. I’m sorry.

Back when blogging was brand new, I was there posting at least once a week, if not once a day. There were even a few times I blogged twice in one day.

Again, back when blogging was new, before Blogger or WordPress even existed.

I blogged on GeoCities.

“I have a blog,” was often heard as me either having something caught in my throat or me gagging. No one knew what I was talking about, so I rarely used the words blog, blogging, or blogger when I spoke of this new fangled medium I was dipping my toe in.

I came across this blogging phenomenon by chance. I had just given birth to a very sick little girl, who was spending most of her time in the neonatal intensive care unit or the operating room, and I had friends and family begging for updates on her condition.

Yahoo Groups saved my life (and probably my daughter’s) when I discovered 7 other parents who had kids with the same birth defect my kiddo was born with. One of those dad’s had a blog on GeoCities. He told me it helped him disseminate information to concerned citizens quickly without having to make 25 phone calls after a hellish day of surgery, so I quickly started a blog. It’s a lot like what people do on CaringBridge today, but this was ages before CB existed.

I made business cards I printed at home on my new color ink jet printer and shared the web address with anyone who asked about how my little one was doing. My mom passed them out to all the church ladies who had my kiddo on their prayer list.

Side note: when we travelled back home for my step-dad’s funeral, those church ladies came up to my daughter and told her how many prayers they said for her. Poppy still talks about that. “It’s just so weird, Mom! They were stranger and they prayed for me. How did they even know me?”

That’s my blogging birth story.

Newborn baby right after delivery

So I know how to blog, but I’ve been so bad about doing so in the last year. Last year I started writing a monthly column for Prism Book Alliance®, Outside the Margins. That was about the same time I was homeschooling my kid, so I easily let the responsibility of blogging here go. But that’s going to change. It’s got to.

This will be my blogging rebirth!

Okay, maybe that’s too much, but I want to blog more regularly. I enjoy writing in this forum because it’s less… it’s more…. I just like it! Okay? 😀

I’m thinking a weekly thing, possibly on Thursdays, and then some flash fiction, because that’s good for the ol’ writing chops.

What sorts of things do you want to read about? What type of columns interest you from writers?

Thoughts

Seeking the Perfect Cover Photo

For weeks I’ve been looking through stock photo sites for an image to use on the cover of my next book. My main character Gil is a man closing in on 40 who has been through a traumatic event that changed his life and left him with scars. Since then, he’s decided to shave his head bald and often hides under a fedora.

Try finding photos of bald men on stock photo site, and you usually end up with three types of shots.

bald3 bald2 bald1

  1. Exercise fanatics – Because if you don’t have hair, you need muscles to make up for the loss? Uh… no.
  2. The wah wah guy – Life never goes his way. It sucks. And it’s all because he doesn’t have hair. *stomps foot*
  3. The goofball – This guy makes the silliest faces imaginable in an effort to distract from the fact that he’s bald.

To say my search has been frustrating is an understatement. After finely honing search terms, I’ve found some good images, but stock photography doesn’t offer a wealth of choices for book covers unless you’re willing to use the same model featured on 100 other covers.

Today I clicked on a link posted on my FB feed which led me to yet another link, as so often happens. I found a great image, which he gave me permission to share here.

It’s nearly perfect, especially for Gil, the bald guy who often wears a hat. The other character in the story is Keith, who has also had personal tragedy. They help each other re-imagine their lives, giving them both new hope for the future.

I wish this could be used on the cover of my book.

Sketch's fight

Ben Heine is the guy in the hat, the perfect Gil.

Sébastien DEL GROSSO is the man whose work I was initially drawn to.

I contacted Sébastien. Wish me luck.

GLBT, LGBT, Me Being Me, My Novellas, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Coming Out in Our Own Ways

So why on earth would someone who identifies as bisexual and is technically out be afraid to tell their family they are dating someone of the same sex?

That’s been a common question in the last few months related to a character I wrote. My character Cal in Feathers From the Sky has a very loving family who has known in theory that he identifies as bisexual since he was in high school. Now at age 26, he is basically coming out again or in a new way, because all his family has known about him is that he dates women. They’ve never once seen him with a man.

Coming out can be scary no matter how supportive your family might be, because losing that loving family is not something you’d ever want to consider.

When I wrote Cal’s character, I wrote from my own experience as a bisexual woman. According to my mother, I’d only been with men. Yes, I knew she was supportive. I knew she could no longer kick me to the curb, but she could shut me out of her life. Being cut off from her and her love and acceptance would’ve been horrific. She was the foundation of my childhood, the woman who made all things right when everything around me went to shit. To lose the women who had always helped me rebuild my world would’ve been tantamount to a disaster.

I did come out, but I was “old” when I did it. For a long time, I was happy allowing my mom to think she had raised a heterosexual daughter. But then I started writing M/M Romance. I was facing the truth telling of coming out in so many stories I’d written as well as read, and yet I was, in essence, lying.

Was I scared? Hell yes, even though my life was stable. I didn’t need to rock the boat. Yet, I wanted to rock it, because I wanted my mom to know the real me, especially as she was getting closer to the end of her life.

So when people say they just don’t get why Cal was so nervous, I want to ask those people how they felt prior to coming out to their families. My suspicion is that many of those people never had to do that. Because coming out is essentially what Cal was doing again, even if his parents and siblings knew in theory that he was bisexual. In reality, he was straight to them, at least from Cal’s perspective, which is truly what matters. If he ever experienced any sort of bisexual bias, he was even more justified in his concern. Bisexuality is hugely misunderstood, and the stereotypes of being confused, undecided, gay-for-you, or being easy are never far behind the admission, “I’m bisexual.” Cal thought his parents were on the “he’s confused” wavelength, and in the story, his own father admits to that even.

In the end, how the individual feels about exposing this part of themselves is the most important thing, not what other people think you should feel or do or say. You should never be forced or coerced to come out. Coming out happens in small stages. Cal sharing Philip with his family was one of those stages, possibly one of his last stages.

As for me, when I chose to tell my mom about my bisexuality, she wasn’t surprised at all.

And she still loves me.

Never once did I think my fear or rejection was unjustified though.

Thoughts, Writing Process

Can You Say Trust Issues?

Maybe it’s just me, but I wonder if other authors experience this conundrum.

persaud-brain-common-core

When experiencing the labor pains of getting a new story sorted before I can even begin writing, I do a few things. I write characters sketches, take a lot of random notes, and write about the setting, or anything else that is rolling around in my head. Sometimes I let that all marinate for days/weeks/months, and other times I just start writing.

For those moments I need to give the flavors time to soak in, I often find I benefit from talking about the story with another person.

But it’s terrifying to share your unwritten story with someone.

What if they steal it?

What if they take parts and make them better than you ever could?

What if they look at you after you’re done talking and tell you it sounds like the biggest steaming pile of poo they’ve ever heard?

So I often keep my thoughts to myself. I don’t work out problems with writer friends or ask them if they think a plot point is too far out there, until I’m completely done with a draft of my manuscript.

Can you say trust issues?

All of North Star was discussed with a friend as we walked around the lake and many times after that over several bottles of wine. Last night I talked to my husband about the latest story poking at my brain. The working title is Cherry Circle. Who knows what it will end up being considering how often I change titles lately.

But I wonder if I’m alone in this paranoia. Do other writers worry about sharing their ideas? If you do share them, who do you share them with? Is it another writer? A reader? A friend? I’d truly like to know, because my brain works best by talking, talking, talking. And then I can write!

Me Being Me, Thoughts

Writing Because of Tears

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The last time I absolutely had to write or else my brain would explode was in June. I’d watched something and I truly needed to write about it in order to process it. Let me put it this way, someone died in a horrific way. I watched this show on a Sunday night, and then all day Monday, I took my mom to many doctor appointments. We ended up at the hospital for her final appointment. We’d taken the shuttle over and had some time to kill, and she was excited to look around the gift shop.

See, her husband was in the intensive care unit there after his bile duct cancer, and despite him having a very good prognosis, he had given up. Eventually he was flown home, admitted to a nursing home, and died there, but before that, he spent months in that hospital. And so did my mom, often taking breaks in the courtyard filled with beautiful flowers and shopping in the hospital gift shop. It truly is a great gift shop, and they carry amazing things.

That hospital is also the place where my daughter “lived” for much of her first year, and so did my husband and I. It was our home away from home. I knew which days they were going to serve Chicken and Wild Rice soup in the cafeteria, and I knew the best waiting rooms to escape to when I needed a break. Luckily, after many operations, my daughter is doing well and thriving and growing, but we didn’t know the outcome back then, so the hospital is not a super place for me.

After watching that horrific death on my large screen television and reeling from it the night before (I bawled and stared at my screen as if it would suddenly show me a different image), I was then thrown into a situation where my mom’s health and the risks of her upcoming surgery, were being talked about. In a hospital that holds a lot of memories.

There’s a lot of green marble and warm wood in those hallways. The lighting is odd—dark but light somehow. There’s a courtyard that has a beautiful fountain bubbling and mounds and mounds of tulips bloomed. There was plenty of construction at the time as well. That bothered me. For over a year, that was my second home. I knew how to get out to the fountain so I could sit next to it and be calmed by the lull of the splashing, and I knew exactly how to get to the beautiful stained glass windows in the chapel. In June, it was all different and much of it was closed off to the public.

And the image of that dying girl from the television kept popping back into my head.

In the gift shop, my mom and daughter looked at every little thing on each shelf with such interest that it took them forever. After all, we were killing time until the next appointment. What I noticed were the Lindt truffles my husband used to buy for me as a diversion while we waited for my daughter to be returned from another day under doctors’ knives. And I saw toothbrushes. People often need to buy a toothbrush at the hospital, because so much of the time, you don’t know your loved one is going to be there. Sweaters for chilly waiting rooms. Robes. Decks of Cards. Shower caps. Who uses shower caps anymore?

I had to leave the gift shop because as I stood looking at a shelf filled with games and inspirational magnets, that dying girl was back behind my eyes. When I shut them, the image was even more vivid. I could actually hear the noises she made as she died on my television the night before.

I went out and stood in that green marble hallway and looked out toward the burbling fountain. I assumed it was burbling, but I couldn’t hear it. I could see the yellow and pink and peach tulips though. And I cried.

I tried very hard not to, but my throat closed up, my vision blurred, and tears streamed down my face. Nurses and nuns and patients walked by me. Some paid attention to me, but other’s looked away. I’m sure they assumed someone I loved was ill or injured or had maybe even died. Instead, I was crying over a stranger, a fictional character that I had initially hated when she was introduced on the show.

My daughter came out to find me, asking to show me something, so I did my best to pull myself together. Nana, my mom, bought it for her, of course. Even in the store the tears started again. I went back to the hall, running my hand across the warm wood, hoping it would comfort me better than the cold marble. Then my mom and daughter were ready to go.

No one ever asked me what was going on with me that day. I think it was because I was crying a lot that week because I was under a great deal of stress. When not sad, I was very grouchy.

Yet the image of that girl taking her last breath refused to leave me, and as soon as I got home, I sat down in front of the computer and wrote a very short scene. The girl was replaced; I wrote about a man, and I wrote about his lover who had to walk in and see that man take his last breath. As soon as I wrote, the intense emotionality left me. It was like I was able to type it out of me.

But that is the last time I felt compelled to write. I want to write like that again, but without all the drama, please.

I added on to that little scene, but it still needs a lot of work. I thought that would be my next big project, but I don’t think it can be. It makes me feel stuck. But yesterday I had a crazy, light-hearted story come into my head. That’s been bouncing around all day, and I even took time to play around on baby naming sites. My other character naming tool is my daughter, and she had a fun time coming up with secondary character names today.

Many times, I think writers wait for those moments of what feels like “divine intervention” or their muse “talking” to them before they will write. I certainly find more joy during those moments. For months now, I’ve been editing and reworking and doing all the not fun parts of writing. I miss it. I miss writing so much that I ache when I think of that day in June when I poured my soul into a keyboard.

I think it is time to write again.

Me Being Me, Social Issues, Thoughts

Boxes Aren’t for People

I’ve been so busy editing and writing and filling out forms that I’ve had no time to write here. How horrid!

I get very introverted in the summer which is probably what helps me get all the words down on paper. See, I have to be the ultimate extravert at my day job for nine months of the year, so in the summer I nest. I shut the doors, windows, blinds, and drapes, and I’m totally cool if they don’t open until I’m getting ready to go somewhere. This is the joy of being an ambivert, both introverted and extraverted. I understand both sides extremely well, and I do both sides very well.

But “sides” is a very divisive word, isn’t it? Is life black or white? I’m in the middle of a lot of things. Heck, I’m bisexual, and people have tried to get me to choose straight or gay. Some have had the audacity to choose for me. I think at times we forget how many characteristics really exist on a continuum rather than the distinctive categories that have been labeled for us. Look at this great infographic on gender alone. It’s so much more complex than the few labels that are so easily thrown around.

Why do we need to stick people in boxes and slap labels on them? Because it’s easier? I wish there was more personal balance and greater societal ambiguity, but there are too many people ready and willing to shove us into boxes and place expectations on us so their lives are easier to sort.

Balance between my introversion and extraversion is what I’m seeking right now. What do you seek balance on?

GLBT, Me Being Me, Thoughts

In For The Long Haul

I’m one of those people that if often labeled “passionate.” I’m okay with that because it’s often true, but I only get passionate about a few, choice things, even if those things are on a perpetual carrousel. That comes with being a Jill of all trades and a master of none, I suppose.

One of the things that I am very passionate about is relationships. You’re surprised, right?

Haha. I thought not.

What I mean to say is really this: I value people taking the time to make relationships work. That’s not to say that all relationships are worth working on. Sometimes breakups and divorce just need to happen. I learned that the hard way during my training as a therapist.

I love to write about relationships beyond the initial lust stage. Lust is easy. We fall head over heels in love and go crazy for each other, but then things change. Relationships get harder. We have to start compromise and negotiation to see how to fit two different lives together. I love this part when I write. I love this part in my own relationship with my husband too. We’ve been together since 1992 and not all those years were happy. Some were complete shit, to be honest, but we are together, growing and changing and finding new ways to fit with each other still.

My first novel, Fall Into You was about finding ways to get past that initial attraction and work through those really challenging times to come out the other end still loving each other, even if it wasn’t the same as how it started. I find more value in that then the quick attraction that could easily disintegrate into nothingness, even if we never see that on the page.

My soon to come NorthStar trilogy explores some of this as well. More than the long term relationship, it really looks at how to keep a relationship going in spite of very stressful life events. It’s not always easy, but when the love is still there, I think it’s worth fighting for, no matter what.

Is fighting for long term love as exciting as maintaining a relationship? Maybe not, but in the end, I think it’s far more valuable. What do you think?