Tag Archives: husband

ROMANCE…


I write romance novels.

Most of you know that. Normally, romance novelists evoke various reactions, such as the raised eyebrow, the wonder regarding those sex scenes,  or the disdain of cliché writing. The basic theory most believe is that romance writers know all about romance.

When I was dating my husband, his best friend warned him away from me. “Don’t date her, man,” he said, shaking his head. “She’ll expect roses and pretty words and you’ll never live up to her expectations. She writes romance for God’s sake. Get rid of her before it’s too late.”

Of course, he ate those words when he gave his best man speech at our wedding.

But the philosophy was certainly interesting to me. I had different views on romance. When I was younger and single, I voraciously read every Silhouette and Harlequin book I could get my hands on. I was dazzled by the intense experience of that first kiss, the endless possibilities stretched ahead, the push/pull of attraction between a new couple excited me. I loved men who opened doors and talked about their feelings and whose touch could put me in a frenzy. I trembled at the thought of alpha males and dated my share of brooding, starved artistis. As I matured, I started looking for more values I cherished in a mate, such as respect for my individuality, a sense of humor, and interests that matched my own. Romance was courting, and great sex; meeting friends and family and not being able to keep our hands off of one another. It was drinking all night and eating cheeseburgers at 5:00am at the local diner.

There were some traits about my husband I was disappointed in. We danced horribly together. I would watch  couples glide on the dance floor, melded as one, sharing whispers of endearments and I would get jealous. My husband and I bumped along a few steps, he looked awkward and ready to be anywhere but in my arms, and usually had nothing to say while we danced.

He always walked ahead of me, which I always thought of as rude. He says I walk too slow for him. So I trot along behind him like a lost puppy while other couples stroll in the moonlight hand in hand. He is not affectionate in public, and even in our home, prefers to stay on his own couch, on his own side of the bed, and will drop me like a hot potato at a wedding, choosing the company of his buddies over me. But all of that was negotiable, and not enough for a deal breaker, so we fell in love and made a commitment to each other.

When my husband and I got married, later in life than most, we delved immediately into the domestic bliss of baby and house.  Our lives veered off course rather quickly, and my views of romance went with it. I found myself steeped in baby books, and became fascinated with anything to do with motherhood. Romance morphed into appreciation for a cooked meal, an extra sleeping shift, or the occasional night out with a girlfriend. My husband and I lost a bit of each other through this journey in order to gain the necessity of partnering to take care of a new life. We became a tag team, close friends, and fell asleep exhausted at the end of the day. Romance to me, at that time, was no sex. Just sleep.

Since the boys are now 3 and 5, I surprised him with a cruise for his fortieth birthday. I wanted to re-connect and be able to finish a conversation without young children interrupting. I was deathly afraid of missing the kids, so I booked a five night cruise and made plans for both sets of grandparents to watch them in shifts for the week.

The cruise was simply amazing. Even the flight to Florida was relaxing. I watched what I wanted, listened to music on my Ipod, and drank coffee. On the ship, we passed masses of families with young children while we happily skipped past, not needing to take care of anyone but ourselves. The sense of freedom was exhilarating. We ate five star dinners every night and drank cocktails all day long. We gambled in the casino, watched live shows, and did Karaoke. We watched bellyflopping contests and danced in the nightclub to seventies music without feeling silly and without needing alcohol for courage. We had sex in the middle of the day. We went horseback riding on the beach of Grand Caymans, drove mini jeeps through the jungles of Cozumel, and snorkeled on the coral reef hand in hand.

I re-discovered romance with my husband. Catching a glimpse of our old selves, we cherished the experiences and talked again like adults. The main highlight of the trip came in the Caymans. We were in a jewelry store which specialized in diamonds called the Crown of Light. The salesperson put one on my finger and the way it sparkled and caught the light made me literally gasp in wonder. I had never seen anything as beautiful as this ring. When the salesperson asked me if I wanted it, I laughed aloud and said it was impossible. She said nothing was impossible. I snickered and turned to my husband, who I assumed would pry the ring off my finger in three seconds and march me out the door before I got any of my impulsive ideas. And boy, am I impulsive. I am the type to spend all of our savings on a trip instead of the kids college fund and hope for the best.

Ray shrugged his shoulders and glanced down at the ring. “Do you love it?” he asked.

Wordlessly, I nodded my head.

“Then let’s talk price.”

My mouth hung open. I had a small fortune on my finger. “We can’t,” I said.

“Do you love it?” he asked again.

“Yes, but—“

“Then let’s see what we can do.” Matter of factly, he spoke with the store manager, who came to an agreement and then broke open a bottle of champagne. We drank three glasses and walked out with the Crown of Light on my finger. When I asked him why on earth he did this, he said simply, “Because I love you.”

God, that is romance. The ups and downs and middles.  We may have sucked at ballroom dancing, and he still drops me at weddings, but my partner in this lifetime is a different kind of hero than the ones I write about. And that’s fine for me.

This one is for you, honey.

Play…


Children’s play is like our work, or so I have been told. Play is how a child expresses his or her individuality and explores his personality. I remember well when I was young my mother was obsessed with dolls. She loved everything about them and always hoped she would have a girl to share her hobby with. Unfortunately, I hated dolls. I loathed Barbies and the color pink. I loved any type of book I could get my hands on, roller skating, ice skating, tennis and all of my stuffed animals. One birthday, she surprised me with a doll carriage. I pretended to like it and went outside and cried. It was a piece of equipment I had no use for. My dad stepped in and told my mother to stop making me into something I wasn’t and to go out and get me a pair of ice skates I wanted. Poor mom. Ended up my brother liked the carriage better than me and strolled all his Star Wars dolls around. He denies it until this day but I was there and speak the truth.

My children have blossomed and now take play very seriously. They love their stuffed animals and can continuously be overheard using voices and creating dramas. This morning, I came out to find over 50 animals piled high on my couch. They were naked, yet again. They said they were the naked super-heros out to save the world and rescue all the animals from evil.  And I still keep wondering when they are going to keep on their clothes.

I also notice how my oldest dominates playtime. He is the alpha male and in charge of the games. Joshie usually follows along happily, but when he bucks the system my oldest tries to nib the rebellion in the bud. Joshie will pick his battles and just disengage and refuse to play. That drives the older one batty, but I discovered after a little while of playing by himself, he is all too happy to compromise for a playmate.

Last week, my husband and I were in the throes of watching The Bachelorette, one of my guilty pleasures. It was very quiet in their room (warning sign) so on a commercial my husband went to check on them. I heard his baffled roar echoing through the house. When I joined him in the room, they had a pile of their stuffed animals in a heap, a toddler pair of scissors, and a bundle of fur strewn over the carpet. Proudly, they announced they were playing barber and had given everyone haircuts. All of the fuzzy monkey hair now gone, the animals seemed frozen in a state of surprise with their baldness. Joshie informed me that their hair would grow back soon. Jake said he did it so he can see their faces more clearly. Echoes of my mother flew forth: “You would look so nice if you would just cut your hair so I can see your face!”

Ah, playtime. Important for adults too. My husband used to love Sony Playstation until the kids came and sucked up his time. Now he looks longingly at dirt bikes and older motorcycles and wonders if we will ever have enough money so he can re-visit his youth and go riding. And me?  I love to read and write – that is my favorite form of playtime. What I have noticed lately is the lack of playtime I see in my writing, and I have moved forward to correct this. I’ve been reading many blogs lately about the importance of the work itself and less attachment to publicity, blogging, marketing, and worrying about success. I think writers have it harder today than ever. Yes, there is much more information available to help us market our books, but I think we are in overload status. When I was writing years ago, it was just about the story. There were conferences, networking and the hardcopy of Writer’s Market to push us forward. Now, the story is so diluted with other factors it’s easy to write without any fun. And a writer continuously writing without fun is a writer that stops writing.

I enjoy my blog, actually, this is my playtime. And I am going back to core principles and am beginning to have fun again. I revisted my novella and cut out the last chapter that was technically good but written into a corner. I started the scene where I thought I would be interested, and things started working. I wrote 14 pages in two hours – the most productive I have been in a long time.

So, cheers to playtime. It should never be overrated or underestimated, no matter what age group we are in.