I can't tell where the idea came from to dress up as a pregnant bride, but before I knew it, I was in a bridal store, buying a beautiful gown on sale, with my husband of 44 years. It was so funny how the owner of the store, a man, came up to us, smiling.
“When's the big day?”
“Oh, we've had it,” Don said.
The owner didn't quite know what to say.
“It's a costume. We've been married 44 years,” I said. I was thinking to myself, as I stood in this beautiful white satin dress with beaded bodice, I'd never owned something so nice. I didn't really have a wedding dress, although the one I wore those 44 years ago I made myself. I also made Don's shirt. I was stitching the buttons on it as he was racing to the wedding site. But now, after 4 children and 44 successful years of marriage, I was finally buying a wedding dress.
My husband was beaming and gave me a big kiss. “You look prettier today than you did back then,” which was something this lady can never hear enough.
“You okay with this?” I asked him.
He shook his head, and with that twinkle in his eye, said, “Am I going to be able to stop you?”
Of course, the answer was no. “Well, I'm using my money from my book sales.”
“I know that. It's yours to spend however you want.”
The Russian lady who did my fitting asked me, “So when are you getting married?”
“I'm already married.”
“I'm buying the dress for a costume.”
“Oh,” she said as she cinched up my bodice. It kind of hurt.
“I'm doing a book signing, and sponsoring a bachelorette party. We're doing fun games. It's a chance to have fun with readers, my fans, and other authors.”
“You do this book signing in a book store in a wedding dress?” she said in her thick Russian accent.
I knew I'd lost her.
Whether or not it was wise, I'm sure the moment was memorable. I'm sure people remembered me, and they certainly did have a good time. I missed the raunchy music, low lighting and some candlelight, but it was okay. There were no male strippers even though there had been rumors of such. But it was a photo op time. A chance to get WAAAAAY out of my comfort zone.
Like the time I drove to SFO in an MG with the top down (my roommate's boyfriend drove me), dressed as a nun. I was going up to Portland to see a boyfriend who swore if I transferred to Santa Clara I'd become catholic. My friends in the dorm helped me “act nun” like walk leaning into the walls and to keep my eyes downturned. No one sat by me in the waiting area, or on the plane. When I walked past, people stopped talking. One woman came up to me and said, “Oh honey. You're so beautiful,” like I should be making babies instead of helping the poor.
When TJ took pulled up to the SFO terminal, we happened to park behind a taxi full of real nuns. And because his door was broken, I had to climb out by standing on the seat and climbing over the side of the car. The nuns stopped and looked at me, and then went on.
Well, it would have been nice to have my cinderella dress and dance the night away to a full orchestra, doing big turns and waltzing until I dropped. I was looking forward to one nice dance, but that was not to be. Perhaps that will be another story. Now I just look forward to coming home to my prince charming, who has watered my roses, fed the dogs and been more than patient in my folly of the past few days. The wonderful thing about him is that he has learned to take me with a grain of salt, and to patiently wait until my feet hit the ground again.
|I love the chemistry of this couple.|
I got married in 1971, and back then, I didn't understand what I do now about long term relationships. As I've said so many times before, I got lucky. I stumbled along the path of hearts and flowers, probably because my head has always been safely tucked in a rich fantasy life. I remember things as no one else does and I've stopped second-guessing this and just accepted this fantasy world as being every bit as real as anything else I've actually experienced.
Not to worry. This will be very PG in words, but hopefully a little X in the fantasy of our minds. I'm a collector of ideas, especially about love and lust. Partly it's my job, and partly it's because it interests me more now than at any other time in my life. I used to wonder what it would feel like (and yes, I might have dreaded it a bit) being over a certain age (a lady never reveals her age but she will get nekked with the right guy). I distinctly remember being in my twenties and knowing my life would be over at 29. Anything after that didn't look interesting to me at all. And boy was I wrong.
In fact, I think love, romance, sex, lust and all things in between, either practiced, dreamt about, read or listened to is even more important the more mature we become. Nice thing that happens and a little secret to aging: we don't get old. We just enjoy all those fantasies in our head more than the reality of what's really going on as we climb the ladder of life.
I've read a lot of Sarah Ban Breathnach and find her writing touches me deeply. Her discussion of the word Casanova, that mythical great lover every woman wants to meet, literally means new house. She suggests a woman cannot be in love with herself or life if she is living in the wrong place. I think men are the same way.
I have Romancing The Ordinary by my bed and often read a chapter before I fall asleep. Here's a little quote: ‘The true courtesan was traditionally more than a beautiful prostitute. Many of the most successful courtesans in history were cultured and sophisticated, enjoying considerable power and prestige. Courtesans were accomplished women of great beauty and intelligence. Highly sought companions of royalty, prime ministers, and wealthy gentlemen, they were expertly skilled in the elegant arts, which, besides lovemaking, included conversing, flirtation, entertaining, music, poetry, art, sports, politics and intrigue. The courtesan might seem at first to represent the antithesis of love, but in many ways her history is spectacularly romantic…These women often commanded intense love and prompted great works of art.'
|Is there anything more exciting than sharing our passion?|
She also talks about falling in love with love, how, she smiles more, expects to see her lover, whether real or fantasy, around every corner. She possesses more of the 2 extra senses SB says woman have: knowing and a sense of curiosity and exploration. Food tastes better. Drinking wine is a sensual ancient act. Shower gel and bubble baths are more important. Intimate tucked away places and soft music, tuscan orange hand lotion and bright fabric clothes and smooth Egyptian Cotton sheets that are way more expensive than we can afford — all these things come into our lives.
Why do we do these things? Does our lover make us do them? No. We do them because we want to enhance our own lives, because it feels good to be in love, especially to love intensely, deeply. She calls it the practice of the sacred self-nurture. We listen to or write poetry, paint, sew, garden, listen to music, AND WE READ LOVE STORIES!
In short, we become the courtesan of our own bodies, our thoughts and dreams. We seek to create the environment where love is not only something that feels good, it sustains us, and alters everything around us.
SB calls it the place of belonging. And isn't the state of love, bliss, lust and excitement where we all belong? Is there any wonder why so many men and women read/write and enjoy romance? As I've said before, when we love deeply our truest, most generous and miraculous selves are revealed, unfolded like the shedding of our clothes. When there isn't anything separating us.
Nothing at all.
|Print/Audio books Available 9/25|
Navy SEALs. As readers, we can't live without them. Like pirates of the High Seas and heroes of the Wild West, Navy SEAL heroes are big, big business in romance today. Mystery and suspense writers are having Navy SEAL and former SEAL characters show up in books. Paranormal writers have been adding SEALs to their menu of colorful characters. They are indeed the stuff of legends.
I'm not a purist, and I certainly take great liberties with non-fiction stories I've read, people I've interviewed and conversations I've overheard. I would hope that no one takes any fiction writer's words as gospel because the knowledge of the community is all over the lot when it comes to military romance. Some complain about the lack of “getting it right.” I say a story is a story. We get ideas when we go to movies, but does anyone really believe the plots we view on the big screen are real? Even plausible?
After all, life is a story. It's all made up, anyway. We're all here acting out our little drama for this brief time on this planet. If we were all seeking pure truth, we'd still be arguing about how many angels could fit on the head of a pin and still we wouldn't have the answer.
|Releasing 10-14-15 including Audio|
Good stories are just that, good stories. A kernel of truth, some mixture of angst, lust, love, desire to become better, more whole, loved more, respected, rooting out bad guys and seeking the elusive Happily Ever After – all these things make up for a good story. When we suspend disbelief, when we believe in things greater than ourselves, we say a book or a story inspires us. As writers, we all want to write that book that makes someone stay up all night long finishing. Grabs hold of you and never lets go.
When I first wrote my Navy SEALs back in 2011, there weren't a lot of other writers doing it. Now it seems like everyone is, and I say all the better. My first book faire was miserable. I sat and asked if people liked reading military romance and readers looked at me like I was nuts. Like the words military and romance didn't belong together. I even had a lady ask me, “What's so romantic about war?”
Heck, today we have zombie, ghost and caribou shapeshifter romance. I can remember when the critics used to argue with how much action and how much sex a military romantic suspense novel should have. Say what? That's like the judge who marked me down for having a female guardian angel, “because everyone knows guardian angels are all male.” Apparently her antennae was not as bent as mine is and she got the straight scoop.
Well, I'm completing my 11th Navy SEAL book as you read this. And someone in advertising said no series should go beyond five or six. Meanwhile, I'm disobeying some law of fictioncraft (happily, I might add) and don't see an end to this series on the horizon.
I've attached some new covers of things you'll see coming soon, most of them will be completed before the end of the year and some of them on preorder or better.
I can honestly say to you dear friends, that I am not chasing the trend. I prefer to think I helped start it. The sound you're hearing is a big old pat on my back. But now I have to get back to my computer. After all, we are only as good as our latest book.