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Friday Favorites – Relationships, Writing & Language Fun

Another week gone and only one more until the kids are out of school. I’m beginning to worry about keeping up with 3 posts a week while they’re home. I’ve gone back to teaching part-time (college level writing) and although it’s only one night a week, I spend hours prepping and grading. Add in the kids and keeping them busy, and something’s probably going to give. Usually my writing suffers over the summer, but this year, I have a deadline, so that can’t really happen. Right now, I’m ahead of schedule and I’d like to keep it that way.

Anyway, onto great links for the week.

Modern relationships:

Samantha Warren likens modern online romance to romance when back when. She has some interesting ideas about how contact through email mimics communication only via letter. Since I’ve been married a long time, I don’t know if this holds true, but I do agree with her that the idea of building a relationship with words is far more fascinating that jumping into bed together.

Mike Stolar is guy getting his 15 minutes of viral fame for sending a survey out to his dates when things didn’t work out. Some articles call this creepy, but isn’t this the stuff of a fine romantic comedy?

Speaking of romantic comedies, Fabio Bueno has an excellent post on building your own romantic comedy. I’m thinking I should bookmark it for future book ideas 🙂

Writing:

Chuck Wendig has one of his fabulous 25 things post up. This time it’s 25 reasons you should quit writing. I know most writers will tell you that they can’t NOT write. I don’t know if I fall into that category. It’s certainly true at this point in my life, but I stopped writing from the time I left college until about 5 years ago. I was busy building my career and writing didn’t enter the picture. I don’t know if that would happen again if I went back to teaching full-time. I tend to throw myself 100% into whatever I do. Chuck’s points are great, though. Writing is tough and it’s not for everyone.

On the other end of advice, Ingrid Schaffenburg was recently at a conference and she shares the advice she learned from seasoned professionals. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: conferences are a great way to fuel yourself as a writer (even if you’re an introvert like me)

Tonya Kappes writes about how often writers are expected to produce books. It used to be that an author could be successful writing one book a year. Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes one about every 18 months. But with the advent of self-publishing and ebooks, readers have gotten impatient. They want it NOW. I get it. I hate having to wait for a favorite author’s new book (I’m looking at you Julie James) and we want them to write faster. I’m currently set to release 2 books a year. I hope that’s enough to build a following.

TV:

Tiffany White has a post this week about the return of one of my summer favorites, The Glades. When I posted a couple of weeks ago about returning TV shows, I talked about The Glades. It’s a cop show with a lot of sexual chemistry and conflict between the main characters. Tiffany does a great job explaining everything if you’ve never watched. (plus, you can catch up on Netflix)

(this one’s a little TV and more on writing, but…) Over on Romancing the Naked Hero, Paula Altenburg writes about secondary characters who steal the show. She opens with talking about Boyd Crowder from Justified. How could I not include this?

Fun:

So Bad So Good has a post on words that don’t exist in the English. My favorite?

Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan): A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire

OR maybe…

Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing

Here’s another list of relationship words that don’t exist in English (I’m getting the idea that our language is quite boring)

And finally, a little inspiration to find happiness from Pink Chocolate Break.

Who is your favorite secondary character either from a book or movie/TV?

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Men Fall in Love Faster than Women – Really?

image taken from http://www.proprofs.com

Recently I saw a news article on the topic of men falling in love. I went to find the original source and couldn’t find anything from the past couple of weeks, but I did find this one from last summer. Why it took Yahoo 9 months to run something similar is beyond me. Basically, a woman, Elizabeth Noble, wanted to write a novel about reunited lovers and did some research. What she found was that:

1. Men fall in love more quickly than women. “Nearly a quarter said they believed in love at first sight and knew whether a girl was ‘the one’ within seconds.”

2. Men fall in love more often than women. Women tend to have just one true love and the average British man falls in love three times.

3. Men are more likely to pine after their first love.

4. Men tend to say “I love you” first.

There are more observations that the author makes, but these are the ones that stand out for me as a romance writer. I think for the most part, numbers 1, 2, and 4 go hand-in-hand. If you’re quick to fall in love, you’re more likely to say it and do it more often.

I wonder why it is, though, that it always seems to be that the woman is painted as the romantic. According to the research, women are more likely to take their time falling in love and they seek advice from friends and family. I’ve talked about my belief (or lack of) in love at first sight here.

I think that because men are visual creatures and are more likely to equate physical love with emotional love, they are then more likely to turn insta-lust into love. I have no basis for this, other than my own experiences with men I know. So, if there are men out there, please chime in.

I wonder if what they think is love, really is. Of course, there’s no way to measure love, but when I look back at the one guy I thought I loved, it doesn’t compare to the love I have with my husband. Does that make sense?

Men are do-ers not thinkers; therefore, if they believe they’re in love, they’re going to say it. I can believe that men would say “I love you first,” especially because I think a lot of women think that if they say it too early, they’ll scare the man off or they’ll be seen as clingy.

Number 3 is the one observation that really makes the most sense for me. I believe this and I think it’s the reason why reunited lovers stories sell so  well. I think men do have  a hard time really letting go of that first love. Because of that, if at some point that first love re-enters a man’s life, he’d definitely consider another chance, even if she broke his heart the first time around. In most reunited lovers stories the man has never truly gotten over the woman. Sure he’s had sex with plenty of women, but no serious relationships. Sometimes this holds true for the woman as well, but I think it’s almost expected for the hero.

I know for me, now that I’ve read this research, I’m going to pay closer attention to the books I read to see if they reflect this. Off the top of my head, I couldn’t guess, but now I’m going to check it out.

What’s your experience? Do men fall in love quicker than women? If so, why is it almost always portrayed as the woman falling fast?

Want or Need?

I remember a conversation I had with my mother-in-law years ago, long before I was a romance reader. She had said something to the effect that I should tell my husband often how much I need him because men need to hear that. I responded that I don’t need him and I wouldn’t lie about it. For me, needing a man would make me feel trapped, like I had no choice in the matter, and that is a situation that I promised I would never find myself in.

I relayed the conversation to my husband and he understood my side of the issue and didn’t say much else about it, but over the years, I’ve noticed that he absolutely LOVES it when I need his help with something.  When I ask him to open jar, he’ll often respond with, “See, you do need me.”

The need vs. want issue is prevalent in a lot of romance novels. I know many people take issue with insta-lust between a hero and heroine. Personally, I prefer insta-lust to insta-hate that is magically resolved so they can find HEA. I can accept people finding immediate attraction or lust and wanting to build on that. When the relationship builds, though, I get uncomfortable when one partner thinks he/she can’t live without the other. The “you complete me” thinking irks me. (although I adore Jerry MacGuire)

In paranormals, often there is destiny or soulmate issues that draw the hero and heroine together. That, to me, falls under the need category. They need to be together to find fulfillment. Because this is often an alternate world, I find it bothers me less than the need to be together in a contemporary.

I think it says a lot more that I choose to have someone in my life. It says that I could have picked anyone, but it’s you I want to be with. I like to believe I have some choice in the matter.

Maybe that’s the romanticism of it — not being able to choose who you fall in love with and needing to be with that person. I don’t know.

This isn’t a deal breaker for me in a book. If an author has captured me with great characters, I’ll still go along for the ride, but I prefer it when the hero and heroine choose to be together.

What do you think is more romantic? Wanting or needing?

Be a Good Apple

Okay, today’s post is a bit of a copout. I’ve been fighting a tension headache for days. Can’t seem to beat it. Might have something to do with the kids being home for another week. (For those of you whose kids went back today, I am very jealous.) Although I liked the idea of my kids being in school that last week before Christmas because I had time to finish doing what I wanted and needed to do (like lunch with grown-up friends), now I’m faced with this whole week of nothing. Thank goodness they all got great gifts to keep them busy at least part of the time.

Anyway, today’s post is a picture representation of a quote. Pete Wentz is credited with saying this, but after some digging, I couldn’t find the actual source, so I’m going with the flow and giving him credit. The image itself comes from Google images.

I love everything about this quote. I have 2 young daughters and part of me wants to blow this up into a poster to hang in their rooms. It’s a powerful message that I don’t think enough girls get.

Right now, I’m revising a manuscript that I finished a couple of years ago. It was a hot mess when I finished the first draft, but I didn’t know how to fix it. Then I did, or at least I thought I did. I hacked it to pieces and started again. It’s closer now, but still not right. Part of the problem, I realized, is that I keep breaking my character. I do it repeatedly. (This is be another post for a different day.)

And just now, I realized that the reason I keep breaking her is that I have always been a good apple. Although my heroine has the potential to be a good apple, she sees herself as a bad one. Having never been an easy apple, I’m having a hard time writing it. I know her in my head, but she doesn’t quite make it onto the page the way she’s supposed to be.

Do you like to read about characters who are more like you or more different than you are? Which character that you’ve read lately is most like you or most different?

Pick-Up Lines – the Good, the Bad, and the Truly Disgusting

I think most women have been assaulted by some bad pick-up lines in their lives. Fortunately, I’m in the minority. I’ve been married for 16 years, and prior to that, I didn’t do much dating. Don’t get me wrong, if a guy asked me out, I almost always said yes. I was broke and a date meant a free dinner and a movie. (Don’t judge me — it was just a date.) But I was too busy going to school and working to worry much about dating.

Anyway, I can’t recall any pick-up lines, good, bad, or disgusting. Maybe they were just so bad, I blocked them from memory. I’ve seen them in movies and on TV, but in real life? Not so much.

I met my husband at the beginning of my senior year of high school. I worked at a hot dog stand and he came in for food one night. While waiting for his food, he asked, “Do you want to join the Marines?”

I laughed and informed him I planned to go to college, but thanks anyway. At the time, I didn’t consider this a pick-up line, but now, looking back and knowing my husband, it totally was. It had my co-worker flitting up to the counter to take his recruiter’s business card. She had zero interest in enlisting in the military, so I guess it worked.

Since I write about single women finding love, whether they’re looking for it or not, I wanted to see if I could find some interesting lines. Here’s a clip that highlights some really bad ones.

Warning: Don’t drink while watching.

I don’t know how the guys managed to stay straight-faced while asking a woman if she farted. Farts? Boogers? Toilet water? Can any guy really think this will interest a woman?

I write contemporary romance. I can’t see one of my heroes ever using farts as a pick-up line. It’s just not sexy. Maybe if I wrote about pre-teen boys. I’m sure my son would find that humorous. But I don’t think even he would consider using that as a means to get a girl.

What’s the worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard? How about any really good lines?