June 27, 2011 | By: Tracy

It's the Little Things That Count

I'm in a romance-y frame of mind (must be the warm weather), so bear with me if my post seems to focus a bit more on that theme.


When it comes to romance in literature (whether the main focus or as a side-story) we tend to appreciate the big sweeping gestures. We're not fully satisfied until we've gotten the happily ever after where the hero was willing to risk it all for the sake of the heroine.

Those grand gestures are all fine & good, but it's the little things that make us (and our heroines) fall in love with the hero.

To prove my point, I've borrowed examples from a couple movies I'm sure most of us have seen before:

Josie realizes how special Sam (Mr. Coulson: AKA -- hottest English teacher. EVER.) truly is when he volunteers himself to ride the Ferris Wheel, despite his fear of heights, simply because she had no one else to ride with. And then he tops it off by telling her he feels like he can really talk to her. *sigh*

Jane and Kevin can barely stand each other, until one little song plays on the jukebox in a dive bar out in the middle of nowhere. Next thing you know, they're dancing on the bar and getting hot & steamy in the backseat of his car. Who knew "Benny & The Jets" karaoke could provide the spark for true love?

How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days
Andie and Ben were both secretly using each other in an attempt to further their careers. Neither expected to actually fall in love, but for Andie things changed quickly after an afternoon spent playing "Bullshit" with Ben at a cookout. Watching him interact with his family shot an arrow straight to her heart, where all his smooth loverboy lines had missed the mark.

Bottom line, it's all the little unique pieces of someone that make us fall in love with them. Don't forget to add those things into your stories. We tend to fall in love in fragments, which means our characters should too.
June 20, 2011 | By: Tracy

What if I Don't Like Her?

I'm going to be borrowing a couple of my favorite posts (they belong to me, no plagorism, I swear) from another blog, because I'm curious to see how my peeps think. So, if some of these happen to look familiar, you'll know why.


We spend a lot of time in our novels -- love stories most especially -- focusing on the hero. Is he cute enough? Strong enough? Sensitive enough? Funny enough? Charming enough? Etc., etc., etc.

It makes sense, because most of us females (and maybe the occasional secure male who's interested in exploring his feminine side) want to put ourselves in the shoes of the lead female character and live vicariously through her.

But what about the heroine herself? Don't we have to like her too?

Unfortunately, there have been quite a few books that I started and eventually stopped reading because the heroine got on my Last. Damn. Nerve.

The hardest part of writing a story geared toward a female audience, can be writing a female character that the majority of readers want to spend more time with. For me, I have to either want to be her -- or at least be her friend -- for me to stick with the gal through thick & thin.

She has to be humble, without being weak.

Elizabeth Bennett -- Pride & Prejudice

 She has to be able to take care of herself, and still retain her femininity.

Guinevere -- King Arthur

And she has to be just as willing to rescue the hero as she is to let him rescue her.
Elizabeth Swann -- Pirates of the Caribbean
(Apparently, I have a bit of Keira Knightly fetish -- who knew?)

Bottom line -- It's not an easy job being the heroine. Not only does she have to make the hero fall in love with her . . . she has to make us (the reader) fall in love with her too.

What about you? Anything that a heroine has to do/be in order to keep you reading?  Anything that completely turns you off and causes you to close the book, never to return?
June 15, 2011 | By: Tracy

My Soul Needs to Laugh

Do you ever have those days, weeks or even months, where despite having the best of intentions, you often find yourself feeling like this little guy?

Yeah, me too!

On any given morning, there are an endless number of things I wake up telling myself I am, without a doubt, going to accomplish today!!

Write. Walk the dogs. Blog. Get an oil change. Read. Workout. Clean the house. Change the wiper blades I bought 3 weeks ago. Catch up on emails. etc. etc, etc.

And, sadly, on *most* days I don't come anywhere close to making a dent in my self-imposed list.

Then--being the typical first-born child that I am--I get pretty down, stressed and feeling like I'm stuck in a rut.

I'm a loser. I'm a slacker. I have time management issues. I need more hours in a day.

It's taken me a while, but I've learned sometimes I need to pull back on the reins a little and remind myself that life isn't meant to be one ginormous "To Do" list.

Sometimes, I let myself get so wrapped up in what needs to be done, that I forget about my addiction to laughing.

I like to laugh, and I like to make other people laugh.

If I'm feeling uber stressed, it's probably because I've forgotten to give myself permission to lighten up & spend some time doing things that will release the pressure.

One of my current favorite pick-me-ups is www.damnyouautocorrect.com This stuff leaves me in tears!!

I also de-stress by doing online jigsaw puzzles

What about you all? Do you have any favorite websites, movies, activities, etc. that are guaranteed to make you laugh no matter what?  Please share!!

June 8, 2011 | By: Tracy

Summer Lovin' & A Bucket List

No, I haven't fallen in love...but the summer is still young (technically, it hasn't started yet) so I'm not giving up hope.

But I AM going to cut back to posting once a week. (Don't worry, Would You Rather Wednesday will be back in the Fall). I learned my lesson last year that most of us are way too busy during the warmer months to post/visit as many blogs as we do when we're stuck in-doors. This way, I'm hoping to be able to get back to browsing everyone else's blogs during the week as opposed to feeling like I have to rush because I've got to come up with three of my own.


Enough about the bloggy business.

I've also decided that I want to start a bucket list.

Not one in my head, but I actually want to buy a pretty journal (not that I don't already have a bazillion...I'm a sucker for a good notebook) and fill it with all sorts of things I'd love to be able to try, places to go, things to accomplish before my days come to an end. I think maybe if I have my dreams written down somewhere I might be more driven to strive for them more frequently rather than constantly laying back and waiting for "some day" to come.

Off the very top of my head here are a few things on my bucket list:

** Vacation in Ireland
** Go to Game 7 of the World Series (prefer Orioles, but Game 7 is Game 7!!)
** Find a man I love more than myself and marry him
** Vacation in Australia
** Make the NYT Best-Sellers list
** Have a couple of rugrats
** Take a roadtrip from Maryland to California and back
** Learn to speak Portuguese

That's just off the top of my head, so I'm sure I could fill many more pages with smaller things as well as a few crazy, off-the-wall ideas.

What about you all, do you have a Bucket List? Is there something you haven't done/ experienced yet, but you really hope you do before you die?

June 1, 2011 | By: Tracy

Ah, Bloody Hell, Blogger!

This does not appear to be my week.

Nothing catastrophic has happened, but I'm convinced there are gremlins out to get me. Between a big time snag with a few thousand scantron evaluations at work to a fried motherboard on  my laptop to finally falling victim to some of the latest blogger snafus...I'm without a blog post this morning.

I may be down, but I'm not out. 

Since my regularly scheduled post has been...erm...delayed, I give you some ManCandy instead.

Ian Somerhalder

As if there might be some of you who don't know who Ian is...he's the actor that plays the deliciously evil/ wondrously conflicted Damon Salvatore on the CW's Vampire Diaries. (If you have not been watching this show shame on you!!)

Ian is a 32 year-old hottie (Sagittarius) from Louisianna who not only owns the most amazing pair of blue eyes EVER...he's also extremely intelligent, has a body to die for, lobbies for animal rights and environmental awareness, keeps himself out of the tabloids...and best of all, can accessorize with scarves and hats in the most manishly sexy way.

Yes, I've used way too many adjectives when it comes to describing Ian, but I believe he's worth it.

Happy Hump Day, All!