Sunday, June 26, 2011

AFK for a good reason...

The Charming Man and I are going to New York City for the Romance Writers of America National Conference!

(Yes, someone is staying at the house.)

I will most likely be updating my Facebook instead of this blog - I won't be taking my laptop (Yes, someone is staying at the house), so I'll be using my iPhone for communication.

We've not been to the East Coast before, so this will be an adventure!!

(Yes, someone is staying at the house.:)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dinner with The Flaming Chef and Dr. Snickerdoodle

The Flaming Chef (whose witty and politically aware blog is sadly on hiatus) is another writer trying to make his way in the world. He is working on a brilliant and funny memoir of being a gay man in the macho, intolerant atmosphere of the food industry.

We try to get together once a week to encourage each other and write together. Then The Flaming Chef will cook something spectacular and The Charming Man, Dr. Snickerdoodle (TFC's gorgeous husband), and I will eat like crazed cavemen.

Here is one meal he created last month.

Baguette and butter for a starter, followed by:

Salad made with avocado, tomato, olive oil, salt, lemon, and baby lettuces.

Yum, yum, yummy wine from Vino Vixens wine shop

Langostines  sauteed in butter, olive oil, shallots, and parsley!

And, finally, an amazing baked salmon to top it off.
You should have been there!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Passion, food, experimentation.

I believe that someone who reveals a love of food and is willing to try new foods also shows a passion for the other sensual pleasures in life. The Charming Man and myself try to surround ourselves with as many delicious foods and beverages as possible, and we try to surround our friends with the delicious bounty of the Pacific Northwest, as well.

I'm not much of a food photographer (I'm far too impatient to get to the eating), but I'm going to be sharing pictures and stories of a few of the delicious food adventures I've had.

Here's a teaser picture!
Persephone's  Choice from The Heathman Bar and Restaurant in Portland, OR

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Out of nowhere...

I love doing sit-ups. They do awesome things for my posture, my waist, and my general state of happiness.

What is your favorite exercise?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Advice to men, from a romance writer, Part Four

Of course, I have more personal pet peeves about male fashion.  It continues with my obsession with men's legs.

If you are wearing dark pants and dark shoes, please, please, PLEASE don't wear white socks. I hate to break the news, my sweet puddings, but it does not make you look like Michael Jackson when he was in his prime.

And this rule's corollary: No dark socks with sandals and shorts. Again, we're back to the stumpification of your sexy lower half.  Proportion remains the rule - you really don't want a torso that is two thirds of your body length.

The most important advice that I can give a man who is interested in a lady has nothing to do with clothes.
A poorly dressed man who understands the principle I'm about to reveal will have it all over a sharp dressed boor.

Here it is:
Look her in the eyes and let her finish her sentences.

In fact, I'll say it again, with a different font.

Look her in the eyes and let her finish her sentences. 
Nothing is more erotic, more sensual, more enticing to a woman than a man who genuinely listens to her concerns and ideas, and doesn't use them as a springboard for his own, much more important opinions.

This is what makes a romance hero so special. This is why women write and read romance - to find a man who values our intelligence even more than our bodies.

This is why I am giving you advice. Because I want you to be a sexy, awesome hero, too.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Advice to men, from a romance writer, Part Three

 It's very nice and all, but all we get is a nice view of your chin. And I'll be honest. Chins just don't rate as highly as eyes on the Sexy-o-Meter.

Another way to highlight your best features is to take off your baseball cap/trucker cap. If you are wearing one of these inside a building and especially on a date - take it off!

A man's eyes, eyelashes, lips, and smile are the prime attractors. A cap throws them into shadows, preventing soulful, sexy eye contact. You want people to see your eyes. WE want to see your eyes. And no, it doesn't matter if you are balding.

By all means, wear your cap if you are working outside in the sun. Once with a date, though, remove it. It makes you look courtly, stylish, and very, very classy. And what man doesn't want that?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Advice to men, from a romance writer, Part Two

Let's dive right into the important task of helping a man entice the kind of attention he would like. We'll start with clothing.

The point of clothing is to highlight your body's attractive parts and downplay what you are uncomfortable with. Every since fashion magazine, blog, and clothing store beats women over the head with this truth. For some reason, this rarely gets translated into action for men.

Let me give you an example.

I was sitting in a coffee shop when I drafted this post. A handsome young men came in to do some reading with his friends.

He had lovely curly blond hair and a wicked smile. He walked like a wrestler with a light and strong stride. But his pants bagged down past his mid-thighs. His hoodie drooped to past the waistband of his pants.

He didn't look sexy or interesting. The clothing made his body look deformed and disproportionate. The low pants and long jacket combined to make his torso appear to be three fourths of his body and shortened his legs into stubs.

It made me worry if he had been malnourished as an infant. This is not what you want someone thinking about when they look at you.

My very first advice is PULL UP YOUR PANTS and TUCK IN YOUR SHIRT.

Yes, I know this makes me sound like a grumpy old geezer. But go back to the basic principle of clothing- to highlight your best features and to downplay what makes you feel insecure.

Pulling up your pants will make you legs look long and strong. It'll show off your rear end and your package (and these views are a potent force for good in this universe! And who doesn't want to be a hero?). And it will put your body into proportion.

Many men who have bellies believe that a long shirt hanging down will disguise that flesh. But, remember, it merely stumpifies your legs! The long shirt is also likely to ride up, revealing what you are trying to hide. If you tuck in your shirt, it will make you look more together, more dressed, and will highlight your better parts.

Never fear! I have many more opinions on male attire and how to draw appreciative eyes. More tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Advice to men, from a romance writer.

I'm a romance writer. This means I am a student of interactions between people- especially interactions that involve sexual or romantic tension.

Basically, the above is a nice way to say that I  spend a lot of time watching men.

While I'm watching men, I study their body language, the way they talk, the way they move, and how they present themselves.*

If it is true that men think of sex every seven seconds,  they certainly do not dress in a way that invites the female to think sexy thoughts about them. And forget getting them interested to approach the guy!

When I've been out and about, I've seen far too many heterosexual couples out on a date where the lady has put on a flattering outfit, worn stylish jewelry and pretty shoes, and applied makeup, while the gentleman (and I'm using the term loosely here) looks like he has just finished mowing the lawn in his flip flops, droopy shorts, and baseball cap.

Let me tell you that under these circumstances, the ladies never displayed any preening behaviors, or exhibited attraction in her body language. None of them were impressed.

For the next few days, I will present a romance writer's guide to male style. After all, I want to use you as inspiration for a romance hero!

*(If you are a guy and you see an extra-curvy, middle-aged [yet glamorous] woman staring at you, then taking notes, square your shoulders, spread your legs a little and give me a wink. I promise I'll blush).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Writing exercises!

Every writer, pro or amateur, likes to play with ideas. Writing exercises such as writing to a timer, journaling, or engaging in microdescription (such as describing a single leaf on plant, etc.) can create huge amounts of joy and playfulness.

I found this writing exercise in my horoscope, of all places. Rob Breszny, author of the world's most delightful horoscopes, gave this as a prompt:

[An] exercise that's likely to energize you in just the right way is to picture yourself at age 77. I suggest you create a detailed vision of who you'll be at that time. See yourself drinking a cup of tea as you gaze out over a verdant valley on a sunny afternoon in June. What are you wearing? What kind of tea is it? What birds do you see? What are your favorite memories of the last 30 years?
Well! Who could resist such a delicious dream? Certainly not I! So I grabbed some paper and this is what I got.

I'm in the south of Spain, drinking peppermint tea with honey as I sit in a comfortable cushioned lounge chair. I'm wearing loose, cool pants and an ice-blue blouse that reveals my still magnificent bosom and nipped in waist. (Admitting my vanity is not comfortable for me. Oh, well. Might as well stay truthful, eh?)

I'm over looking the valley that leads to an open, golden beach below. The Charming Man and I are staying at a beautifully restored house with a lush, green garden. Hummingbirds and bees sing an early morning melody and share their amazing colors with the flowers and plants. The Charming Man is still asleep as I enjoy my tea and take notes for my next book.

I remember the first time I hit the Best Seller List. I enjoy knowing that I started scholarships for women who study history and that I support a non-profit that helps women start businesses.

I get up and do a few belly dance moves to express my happiness at reaching this moment in my life.


YOU tell me what you want to have happen when you are 77.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I can see clearly now, Part Four.

Goon Show Classics (Radio Collection)

After my surgery, I spent the day sleeping, taking Vicodin, and listening to The Goon Show. Is there anything that Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, and Harry Secombe cannot make better? :)

When I was awake, I used my Prednisone drops once an hour. The drops kept my vision a little fuzzy, but kept my eyes feeling relaxed and soothed.

I tried to be back to normal by the next day, but, as usual, I expected myself to heal too fast. So the Charming Man drove me to Dr. Teplik's office for my day after check up. Everything was closing up just fine!

It took about four days for me to completely adapt to my new vision. I have far fewer headaches than I used to when I had my contacts. In addition, my vision is improved beyond what contacts or glasses used to provide. I'll be using the sterile tears for another two months, but they feel so good, it's not a problem.

By the time of my one week check up, I was completely up to speed, vision-wise. I still have some habits that are hard to break - I still say that I need to take my contacts out, and I still reach for my glasses when I go to bed at night.

Being able to see when I get up is utterly weird. But it is also utterly fantastic!

LASIK was absolutely one of the smartest things I've done. :)