Sunday, January 20, 2013

Everybody wants more happiness, right?

Well, there are several simple ways to boost your feelings of happiness. Most of these involve increasing production of the hormone serotonin. (This is the "feel good" hormone.) Everyone is under stress, no matter what they do for a living. However, writers face a different set of challenges. For one thing, writing is by its nature a very lonely profession. We spend countless hours alone with our computers. No matter how much you might be in love with your PC, it can't talk back and the closest it comes to showing affection is not contracting a virus. LOL

With that in mind, here are a few helpful tips to increase your level of happiness.

Eat oatmeal for breakfast. One cup of oatmeal contains 94 mg. of tryptophan, an essential building block of serotonin. Plus, if you add a banana to the mix, you get extra vitamin B6 a nutrient that helps convert tryptophan to serotonin. Eating this first thing in the morning helps you get off to a "feel good" start.

Snack on carbs. Yes, I used the "c" word. Ha. Ha. Ha. Eating a snack of carbohydrates alone speeds up the production of serotonin within 20 minutes. Don't grab a doughnut though. Go for fruit, veggies, and whole grain crackers. That way you can do something good for yourself and not feel guilty. Or, if it's been a really crap day, maybe go for the doughnut.

Get more vitamin D. Vitamin D is relatively cheap and can be purchased at most any supermarket. Taking this supplement daily can boost your serotonin levels by as much as 26%.

Read a book. This is a great way to keep your stress levels low. If you can only spend one hour a day reading something you enjoy, it will do wonders.

Drink hot chocolate. The combination of calcium and antioxidants in hot cocoa boosts your brain's serotonin output for up to seven hours. Indulging in this treat can make you calmer and happier, plus sleep sounder if you have this before bedtime.

Using these stress busting tips can decrease your chances of headaches, indigestion, joint pain, and even weight gain.

Now, doesn't that sound relaxing?

If you're wondering how I know all this, I researched it. Thoroughly. Now that's just one less stressful thing you have to worry about. You can just collect the information and move on with your busy life. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

You can't please everybody

The truth of this doesn't make it any easier to handle. As a writer, I always want my readers to be pleased. I want them to enjoy the experience of my stories. So, when you read this post, don't take it the wrong way. I definitely care what readers think, and I always have.

So, what prompted this post? Well, I read someone else's blog, of course. LOL I was reading a blog that had this REALLY long list of reader pet peeves and complaints.

It went on and on about one thing and another that readers hated to see in a romance novel. Some of these were obvious. For example, nobody wants a stupid heroine or a hero who is a total jerk.

But some of them were very surprising. Who doesn't want to hear that the hero is well-endowed? Really? Why would anyone want to read a romance novel where the heroine finally got him naked and was like, "Meh?" Ha. Ha. Ha. Sorry, but that was what I pictured when I read that complaint.

Another complaint that I think is a little nit-picky is people complaining when the heroine puts herself in danger. Okay, I get this in general. Don't go running around with a pair of scissors and a lit match in a dry corn field. But seriously, people expect the heroine to not be in danger in a paranormal story? Many of these stories include danger as part of the premise. If the woman is a vampire hunter, for example, she not only has to be in danger at some point, she will likely put herself there on purpose. I understand not wanting someone too stupid to live, but there must be some danger to move the plot forward. Otherwise, it's boring and goes nowhere.

I had someone complain once that Lilith in my Werewolf Hunter series put herself in danger too much. Um, what part of werewolf hunter did they miss? It is her JOB to put herself in danger to protect other people.

The post I read went on and on about how "I want an average guy instead of a hunk all the time." There are many publishers that address this as a part of their guidelines for submitting a story. Many say that if you want to write about the guy next door, write for someone else.

Same thing about being well-endowed. I've seen guidelines that state the hero is "always gorgeous and always well-endowed.." Period. It is not up for discussion with most publishers of erotic romance.

One reader wanted the hero to be extremely alpha-male and always in charge while another said that type of take-charge behavior came off as pushy to her.

I guess my point is this, you really can't please everybody. Some people will like your stories and understand them and some won't. We all like different things.

Most importantly, DO NOT read posts like the one I mentioned and then try to write. It will kill your creativity in a heartbeat. You can't write and try to keep everyone's pet peeves in mind. If you do, you won't be able to tell the story for wondering if someone will complain about it. You will end up tearing apart every little detail and possibly lose your sanity.

I do my best to entertain. That's all any of us can do.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thank goodness it's only once a year

For those of you who know me, you know I try my best to remain positive. However, that is difficult when I'm not getting enough sleep and the stress of the holiday season has not yet passed. Or perhaps I should say, it has passed but I haven't recovered. It's the one time of year that I don't feel great, simply because there is so much damn pressure to be in a good mood. Everyone is supposed to be magically happy, no matter what is going on in their lives. Give me a break. Most days I am grateful for my life and everything in it. There are few days that go by that I don't remember to be thankful for my blessings. And yet nothing makes me feel worse than the holiday season. Me! The one who is always cracking jokes and wearing a genuine smile.

Today is my day to post on a shared blog and I try to remain upbeat and positive. Unfortunately, the post below is what came out when I started writing. I didn't have anything good to say, but I couldn't say nothing at all. It was my scheduled day. I couldn't think of a single recipe to share. I didn't want to post about one of my books because that seemed like drive-by promo and I didn't want to do that. And don't even get me started on New Year's resolutions. No offense to anyone who has blogged about resolutions. They are a fine thing if they work for you. The do not work for me. Rather it makes me feel inadequate, as if I'm facing a mountain that I must immediately try to climb even though I don't have the right shoes.

Anyway, I figured I couldn't be the only one who is glad the holidays are over. So, I thought I would share my post here as well.

I'm glad the holidays are over.

Wow. That sounds so bad when I say it out loud, but it's true. The thing is, most people don't understand my reasoning. Recently, my sister-in-law asked me, "What did you get for Christmas?" I could barely summon the will to answer her. What I wanted to say was, "Does it matter?" What I actually said was, "I can't think straight to remember."

This was the day after Christmas. I was doing my best to be sure everything was in the oven that needed to be. My mother-in-law (sweet lady) had just had back surgery and I was helping with our holiday get together. This Christmas was particularly hard. My husband lost his grandmother and then his sister in a matter of 6 weeks this past spring. Oh, and some jackass hit my dog with a car on Christmas Eve.

Sam, my beautiful big baby is going to recover. Unfortunately, his right eye still looks horrible and he will most likely be blind on that side.

My sister-in-law knew all of this and still she asks me if I had I good Christmas. Hell no, I didn't have a good Christmas!

The fact that Rita (my husband's sister) wasn't there was just as tangible as if she had been. My heart hadn't finished breaking over one thing before one after another was piled on.

I'm sorry, but I couldn't summon a happy face for anyone but my mother-in-law, who had lost her daughter and her mother this year. If anyone deserves a hug and a smile, it's that dear woman. Who by the way, was kind enough with all that was going on with her to say she was praying for my poor dog.

I hate the holidays. They are filled with obligations and rush, rush, rush. When I told my sister-in-law that, "I'm not much of a Christmas person." She asked, "What holiday do you like?" I answered honestly, "Halloween." She made a face and proceeded in a holier-than-thou voice to say, "We don't do Halloween." As if the fact that I enjoy the holiday means I worship the devil.

You know why I enjoy Halloween? Because it happens right in the middle of my favorite time of year. The weather is beginning to change, pumpkins are ripe, and you can give candy to children without anyone thinking you're a weirdo. It is a pleasant, no-obligation holiday and I like that.

I realize this is supposed to be a fun and flirty blog by nature and I apologize for my shortcomings today. I'm normally a very upbeat person. I find a way to look on the bright side even if I have to invent a bright side. But I am also very honest by nature and I must say that I am thrilled that the holidays are over.

And there you go, my holiday rant. It feels good to get that out.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bitten has been nominated for an award!

I've been so busy trying to take care of Sam (my injured dog who is slowly improving), that I missed this entirely.

Thanks to my friend Stacey Jo (who is a total sweetheart), I got the awesome news that Bitten has been nominated for an award.

Bitten is up for Best Menage Romance at Sizzling PR! I am so excited. It is an honor to be nominated. Period. It is even more of an honor to see my name beside so many others that I respect.

If you have a minute (and you enjoyed the story), I would really appreciate your vote.

Instructions for casting your vote can be found through the link above. Voting ends January 20th.

For whoever nominated me, Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. :)

Bitten is available at Amazon as well as other online retailers.