Blog Posts-A Day in the Bayou

How to Create Tailgating Makeup That Won’t Sweat Off During Sex, Dancing, and other Hot and Humid Activities: Part I

If you’re a female sports fanatic like me, you love tailgating but still want to look cute on the jumbotron. And if you’re in the south, you already know the main problem with that. You start the day looking cute, but the humidity makes you look like you got dragged from one end of the field to the other. And with restrictions on bag sizes that can be carried into stadiums, you may not have the products to repair the look. We’ve all been there. Of course, the simple solution would be to forego makeup—maybe toss on a little lipstick and mascara then call it a day. However, if you decide to brave the day with a full-face, that may require a bit more effort.

The best way to deal with this situation is to devise a gameday makeup strategy that will keep you looking like a winner. To do this, each product must be taken into consideration.

First, before I get into it, this post is not sponsored by or affiliated with any product, brand, or company. This is a complication of products that I have found to work for me and my skin type. I have paid for each with my own money, and none have been gifted or sent as a promotion. This only my opinion and these product recommendations may not work for you. If you are interested in any of these products please visit the company websites for more information.

  1. The first product is one that I have mentioned in previous beauty posts. It is affordable, readily available, and efficient. It’s the Jergens Multi-Purpose Face Cream. I like using this product as a mask to loosen any dirt or makeup residue on my face and soften the skin. Many times, I put this on at night and wash off in the morning. But sleeping in this product can be messy to sheets, and one may want to take that into consideration before using that approach. As an alternative, I apply this product and after allowing to sit for several hours, use a dry cotton ball to remove the excess. This still leaves the product on my face but not reduces the amount transferred to my sheets.
  2. This second step is extremely important if you use a product like the Jergens Multi-Purpose Cream. While this product may leave your face feeling smoother, this is a product that can be used to remove makeup. The purpose of this post is to give tips on how to get makeup to last. Therefore, I don’t want any product that has the ability to remove my makeup on my face as a primer or base. I like to use a goatmilk soap to cleanse my face first followed by a facial cleanser such as Clinique Liquid Facial Soap.
  3. Next comes toner. I like to use the Heritage Store Rose Petals Rose Water Facial Toner. I find that it’s mild for my sensitive skin without a lot of fragrance, and it’s super affordable. As a quick aside, let me say that I’ve tried many toners that have worked well. What has made me stick with this toner is that it is readily available and sold at multiple outlets. I buy a lot of my skincare products from TJ Maxx because they are discounted prices. However, my criticism of TJ Maxx is that it is not consistent with the products sold. For example, a face cream I found there being sold for $5.99 and fell in love with it. I haven’t found that product in any of the TJ Maxxes I’ve visited since that time. Nor have I been able to find that product at any other local store. I did manage to locate the product online and the price was $21.99 plus shipping, handling, and tax. I loved it, but not that much. A person should base the selection of their toner on their skin type (dry, oily, combo, sensitive, etc.). Take into consideration personal preferences (e.g., vegan-free, paraben-free, animal testing-free, etc.). Remember that being more expensive does not mean a better product. Some inexpensive products work as well as more expensive ones. Clinique also has an excellent range of facial toners.
  4. The next step many people choose to do, but I often skip. This is using a skin serum. Although I have dry skin, most serums make my skin feel oily or bring out the oil in my skin. However, using a serum is a good way to hydrate the skin beneath makeup. If this is something that works for you, you should not skip it. I have begun using the Farsali Skintune Blur-Perfecting Primer Serum. Warning: this is not pocketbook or wallet-friendly. I decided to give this a try after seeing so many beauty influencers using it for years. So, either this is some really good stuff or the company shells out megabucks to keep beauty gurus promoting their product. I’ve yet to test this in August heat (which will be the ultimate trial.), so the jury is still out on that part. However, I have high hopes for this product. When I sweat, my pores look like craters. I need the blurring effect of this to minimize that if nothing else.
  5. An important step in the regiment in moisturizer. This is not only beneficial to the health of the skin but it also sometimes causes makeup to feel more comfortable wearing, especially if you will be wearing for an extended period of time. The key to selecting a tailgate moisturizer is to ensure that it is hydrating and lightweight. I don’t have a brand recommendation. I tend to switch moisturizers, as I don’t have one that stands out as a forerunner. I do enjoy the SkinLab Moisturizing Gel Cream, but when I use it beneath makeup, my pores look huge which isn’t cute. I also like Frudia (Citrus) but it’s hard for me to find.
  6. From here, the order of application of products may vary. Some people like to move to eyebrows next, while others do foundation and yet others concealer. My next step is a primer. I did not always use primer but this has been a gamechanger for me. Primer really extends the life of my makeup, and the heat, that is exactly what I need. My go-to primer is the Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer. Yes, yes, and yes. I’m so thankful this product has entered my life. The Milk primer basically adheres my foundation to my face so that it does not move. Pocketbook warning again…not cheap. I hear that the e.l.f. Jellypop Primer is a dupe and less than half the cost. I’ve not tried the e.l.f. simply because it has been sold out everywhere for months (close to a year) and frankly, I’m sick of waiting for it. I need to have dependable products—ones that when I reach for them, I know will be there or can be replaced with a few keyboard clicks or a quick run to the mall. If I have to scourer the earth for it, forget it. I rather take my losses and pay for the more expensive product. The Milk primer has proven itself multiple times. I’m a loyal customer for life. A second primer that I use in conjunction with the Milk is e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer. But didn’t I just say…? Yes, I did. And I had the same issue with the Poreless Putty Primer as I did with the Jellypop. I had to wait for over a year for this to be in stock. Never again. It’s a good product and lasts a good while. Hopefully, when it is time to repurchase it will be available. If not, I’ll kick it to the side just like the Jellypop. This primer not only extends the wear of makeup, but it controls my pores—which is important for keeping it cute in the heat.
  7. Some people use concealer to prime the eyelids, but I don’t. Eye primer helps block the oils the eyelids produce. Concealer, while it is tacky and can make for a good eye base, it does not control oil—at least, not usually. And it’s fine that it does not, because that is not what it was intended to do. However, some concealers are waterproof (e.g., Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Full-Coverage Concealer) and may be a viable option for the hot, humid, and sweaty nights. However, as stated previously, I prefer using an eyeshadow primer. The primer I prefer to use is an oldie but goody in my opinion. It’s a brand that seems to have fallen out of favor with many in the beauty industry but whose quality can’t be overlooked. That’s the Mac Pro Longwear Paint Pot. It does not take much of this product; therefore, it will last a long time. It is water-resistant, long-wearing, and does not become cakey. This product comes in a choice of colors.
  8. There is no bigger tailgating mess than a foundation that sweats off. Now only will your face look like the Bride of Chucky gone south, your clothes will, too, if it drips off. I’ve experienced this hell. For now, I’m going to skip foundation and circle back later.
  9. Because this is getting long, the last product I will discuss in this post (I’ll be sure to do a part 2) is setting spray. But isn’t setting spray supposed to be a final step? Yeah, but there’s nothing that says you can’t use it in between. In general, I prefer a matte foundation. I don’t like to look “dewy” or have an “inner glow.” That looks like sweat to me. However, I don’t want to look like I’ve been dipped in powder like a donut. I find that after adding power, a quick spritz of setting spray will prevent caking. The Morphe Continuous Setting Mist is a perfect option for the following reasons. A.) It is lightweight. B.) The spray is continuous. C.) It’s affordable. D.) It’s available at several locations. I spray a light coat of this setting spray after I apply my foundation and again after I apply my powder. This gives me significantly more hold. After I have applied all of my makeup, I spray myself with the Huda Beauty Resting Boss Face Waterproof Setting Spray. This spray has a maximum hold. However, it does contain alcohol that may irritate sensitive skin, and it is heavily fragranced. A close runner up for me is the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. Both products are in the same price range, but the UD offers slightly more product in the bottle. The only reason I lean to the Resting Boss Face more so than the All Nighter is because the Boss Face is marketed specifically as being sweatproof and waterproof. UD only claims to be waterproof.

Now, this may seem like a lot of products—and that’s because it is! No one ever said beauty was uncomplicated. I’m teasing, of course. There’s nothing more powerful than natural beauty, and no person should ever feel the need that makeup is a must to feel confident or good about themselves. That’s just not a thing. Makeup only enhances the beauty that is already present. So, this post is by no means indicating makeup is necessary. It is a personal choice. But remember, this is a routine with products that I have found to be successful for me. Someone else may find they can achieve the same or better results using less products. There’s nothing wrong with that. This isn’t an exact science. Do what works. I tend to sweat a lot. Once while shopping with a companion, my foundation separated and peeled off due to sweating in a way that it could not be repaired without removing my entire face. The heat index that day was 110 degrees. The more I attempted to repair with blotting tissues and more foundation, the worse it became. Although I knew I felt self-conscious for the rest of the outing, I wasn’t imagining some of the stares I received. And to add insult to injury, the shirt has a permanent stain.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

To Cancel or Not to Cancel: Cancel-Culture

Remember when everyone went around saying “drama, drama, drama” and the term “drama queen” became a thing? Well, the beauty community in 2020 has taken it to an entirely different stratosphere with Karmageddon/ Dramageddon III. And there are other terms being tossed around like “toxic” and “cancel-culture.” They are used so frequently, that they have no meaning or worth anymore. “Disgusting” and “gross” also be tossed in as overused, useless words at this point. (Learn some new words already.) It makes one wonder if anyone knows what these words even mean anymore. Let’s start with the word toxic.

Toxic has several definitions. The first is toxicosis or showing/exhibiting signs/symptoms of infection/contamination. A second definition is containing, pertaining to, acting as, or being poisonous material/substance caused by a toxin, especially when capable of causing grave debilitation, serious illness, or death. The next definition of toxic is to be extremely harmful, harsh, or malicious. And the last definition I want to list is relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market. It is the last two definitions that are of particular interest. I’ll circle back to this later.

The next term that needs calling out is that of cancel-culture. One definition of cancel-culture is online shaming, which is not accurate but probably closer to reality. The original definition is to withdraw support from companies, brands, celebrities/entertainers, and/or public figures that behave in an offensive or objectionable manner.

Why am I writing this post? Frankly, it’s because I’m a little upset by the situation, and I don’t believe I’m alone. Now, one may wonder with the hell on earth 2020 has brought so far why would I be bothered by something so petty. And it’s because of the hell 2020 has produced that has made me upset. So far, there’s been killer insects, aliens, hurricanes, a pandemic that the world into hibernation quarantine and a toilet paper shortage, civil unrest, riots, and an economic depression. Unemployment has skyrocketed. People are losing their jobs and homes. People’s mental health is being pushed to the utmost limits. The news is all doom and gloom with so much confusion. Misinformation is amuck, and one hardly knows who to trust. Each state, county, city is doing its own thing. There’s no consistency. And the U.S. has shown the world just how divided she really is. About the only thing that has improved is liquor sales.

Because of social distancing, most television shows were forced to stop filming. Movie theatres were closed. Concerts, ballets, operas, gyms, parks, beaches, malls, amusement parks, restaurants, schools, and nightclubs were all closed. People were stuck in their homes for months with instructions to stay six feet away from others. Overnight, life changed. I like other people who hoped to remain sober even if only for short periods of time, turned to social media for brief escapes in reality. Mind you, I’m considered an essential employee in a realm between healthcare and education. Our risk of daily exposure was not as high as workers in hospitals but a heck of a lot higher than many others. There were diagnosed cases and eventually deaths. Going to work was rattling. Thus, I needed an outlet.

Many social media platforms, I had to tapout. Facebook became one huge, extremist political debate. There were no gray areas or willingness to compromise for bipartisanship. My page opened to nothing both posts of anger and rage. Pinterest and Instagram were meh. Since people weren’t able to travel or do a lot out, I didn’t find a lot of interesting posts. Therefore, I search for videos to lighten the mood and make me smile. Most YouTubers work from home with a small staff. So, I figured, they would be pumping out the videos to get all the views from persons at home who hadn’t embarked on home improvement projects. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the case. Many stopped filming. Some YouTubers said their views actually went down. I think it’s a chicken and egg situation. Did views go down because people were busy binging on Netflix and Hulu all the shows they were missing while at work? Were they passed out from all the White Claw? (Honestly, I’d never heard of this brand before COVID.) Were people too depressed to watch? Or was it a content issue?

I know I was there to watch, but I struggled to find videos. Many of the YouTubers I enjoy and subscribe to weren’t posting. And I do understand. They were affected just like everyone else. Some had children at home that they had to homeschool. Some had to Wi-Fi and data overloads. Reviewers were having delays receiving products. Resources in stores were limited. Those who worked day jobs were financially affected and stressed. Mentally, they were going through it like the rest of the world. I get it. But that still didn’t stop me from signing in in search of giggles. I assumed one safe place would be to watch beauty videos. Makeup makes me happy. It’s a comfort that’s always there. And then, here comes Karmageddon/ Dramageddon III. I mean, seriously? Just suck the little fun left out, why don’t you? In rolls, toxic—the harsh and malicious atmosphere that drags attention away from makeup and beauty and into a cesspool of ugliness. Then, making its appearance is cancel-culture; although, it not to cancel. To cancel something is to be done with it. Cancelling does not include continuing to discuss or watch. Cancel is the finale of being over and done. If a person cancels a purchase, it means that person is not going to receive it.  But what cancel-culture in social media is chastise someone to a pulp but have no long-term standing effect. Gary Hart was canceled. Milli Vanilli was canceled. Jim Bakker was canceled. Betamax and palm pilots were canceled. These are people and things that took public bashing and never returned to their former glory. Some were lost forever.

In the social media beauty world, canceling is more like time-out in the corner. Yes, one may take some heat, but just wait a few months or even a year and they’ll be right back where they started. And their behavior probably will not have curved all that much. In fact, they’ll feel vindicated and invincible. They will continue to profit from their poor and bad behavior. Why? Because the same people who drag them for their wrongdoing are the same people commenting and liking their videos—which is one way that generates them money and makes them more popular. In addition, they have stans that have elevated them to the level of God. To stans, these people can do no wrong ever. So, what was that definition of cancel-culture again? To be an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market. Obviously, that’s not what happens in the beauty community.

Now, is this an advocation to cancel people? I’m in no position to judge such a thing. If one is to think about the death penalty, it is definitely the utmost cancellation. The theory behind it is that the person has engaged in an act so hideous and reprehensible (usually without remorse for the act but perhaps disappointed for being caught) and is believed to be nonrehabilitative. It someone shows a pattern of willfully and unapologetically engaging in the same maladaptive and adverse behavior(s) repeatedly, this appears to be a good indicator that the person has no desire or intention to better themselves. For that reason, they probably should be canceled. However, persons in the beauty community can in no way be compared to persons who have been convicted of committing acts so vile that they have been sentenced a death penalty. Furthermore, people are not infallible. They will make multiple mistakes. How many times have smokers, dieters, or substance abuse addicts fail at being successful before getting their act together? Sometimes, it takes major falls and hitting rock bottom before being able to proceed forward. How can people not be given second (third, fourth, or however many required) chances? This would suggest that cancel-culture not be appropriate—or at best, should be very selective for the worse of case scenarios.

But what happens to the downfall of people, especially the ones of influence or power? Often, it does not affect solely one person. If a restaurant is boycotted, the servers are affected, too. But it goes further. It also affects the person who rents the space (if rented), the food distributors, delivery persons, and possibly accountants and website programmers/public relations. It could affect local charities or school sports teams that they contribute to. It’s a rabbit hole. If one thinks it isn’t, notice the end credits of a movie to see how many people behind the scenes had a part in having that movie come to fruition. If the movie was canceled mid-production, all those people listed in the credits would be affected (unless they’d all acquired their money/payment upfront). Cancelling does not occur in isolation. Even when the person is guilty, it affects others. A criminal condemned to death still has family and friend who love and care for him/her. People who get divorced may come to despise their ex due to hurt. However, it’s likely that at one point they cared for this person deeply or they would have not married the person. The canceling comes because one or both parties is unable to forgive. A great quote about forgiveness is that it for oneself and not the other person. Not forgiving allows another person to maintain a certain degree of power over you. However, forgiveness is personal and something that must occur organically when the forgiver is ready. It cannot be forced or coerced.

So, what then is going on with cancel-culture? Is it real? Does it exist? The answer seems to be that it exists in theory and is rarely applied. It appears more accurate to suggest that cancel-culture is a trendy term that in some instances makes people feel empowered or that they are making a change. It may even be like a shark feeding frenzy that once the first bite is taken, it is easier for the other sharks to get in on the kill. For people to be “woke,” so many appear to be missing the mark on this.

However, don’t think this only pertains to the YouTube beauty community. It can be seen in other professions and areas. It became the topic of this post because it is something that I felt closely. With so many serious issues occurring in the world, it was a punch in the gut to have an escape outlet stripped away. As the days pass, the Karmageddon/ Dramageddon III grows larger. But it is important not to get it twisted. People are being hurt. Public images are being trashed. And some people are making boocoos of money off of this scandal.

What is your view of cancel-culture? Do you believe it exits? Do you believe there are people who deserve to be canceled? Did I forget to list something in the article? Has cancel-culture affected you? If so, how? What are your opinions on Karmageddon/ Dramageddon III? Leave your thoughts, opinions, and questions in the comments below.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

How to Push Through Writer’s Block

I’ve discussed writer’s block (as well as story block) in previous posts. However, it’s been a while, and I thought it was time to revisit to update it. Writer’s block is one of those things that affects just about every writer at one time or another. It’s not a trend that miraculously goes away. It may strike at any given time, and when it does, it is one of the most frustrating things to happen. For that reason, I find it always helpful to read articles or find tips on how to deal with it. Some tips may seem like common sense while others may seem generic. Others are overly stated.

Each day that I write, I discover new lessons and tips. My latest WIP has been a struggle for me. It’s because I’m challenging myself to go beyond what I’m used to doing. Anytime something new is tried, there will be growing pains. For me, this has led to many instances of writer’s block and story block. When none of the methods I knew to work appeared to be working for me, I went internet searching for new tips/advice. Unfortunately, most of what I found was years old. So, I did what I do best and I phoned my writer friends and began asking them what are their methods for working through writer’s block.

  1. Don’t panic. Most times writer’s block is a short phase that writers must get through. Accept it for what it is—a phase. It will not last forever. However, increasing anxiety about having writer’s block will only intensify it and make getting rid of it that much more difficult.
  2. Having perspective is the most useful tool a person can have in solving any problem. When it comes to writer’s block, writers should understand that they are not alone. This happens to many writers; therefore, it is not something that is unique to you as a writer. In many ways, having writer’s block at some point in time is a normal part of the writing process/cycle. It may even happen more than one. It’s like a bad cold or allergies. You catch it and are annoyed by it for a period of time until it resolves itself. Sometimes, all that can be done is to wait until it passes. But while you wait, you should still take care of yourself and do the writing things having writer’s block isn’t interfering with (e.g., designing cover art, writing the glossary or acknowledgment, creating a marketing plan, etc.). There is no shame in experiencing writing block.
  3. Identify the cause of the lack of inspiration/motivation. Remember your goal. Have you ever been gotten frustrated in the middle of doing something and stopped to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” If the answer to that question is a valid/motivating one, likely will continue. For example, if you’re dealing with a person who is particularly nasty to you if the reason for working with that person.
  4. Return to the beginning. If you have begun writing but have found yourself stuck, go back to the beginning of the story and see if there are any major flaws or issues that is tripping up the writing the remainder of the story.
  5. Take a short break to give the mind a rest and time to regain creativity. When I have lots of events happening that are predominating my thoughts, I’m not very capable of writing. My mind keeps wandering away from my story. Sometimes, I stop what I’m doing to complete the thing that is weighing on my mind. For example, if I’m worried about whether or not I’ll get my blog written in time, I may stop to write a blog post. Once that is done, I’m no longer focused on having to strike that from my to-do list. However, be careful here that the break isn’t indefinite. However, taking a day or a week may be beneficial. The thing to keep in mind here is any deadlines that will need to be met.
  6. Work on something different. Maybe your brain needs a break not from writing in general but just from a particular project. When I’m working on a story and get stuck, sometimes, I set the story aside and write my blog instead. This is productive in a couple of ways. One, it allows me to regroup and brainstorm my WIP some more. Two, I have to get my blog written anyway. I simply switch the times. Then, when the time I’d planned to work on my blog rolls around, I work on my WIP instead. The time where I may have writer’s block (which is actually more accurately described as story block in this instance) is wasted doing nothing is focused on producing content for my blog.
  7. Get the endorphins pumping. Endorphins give a person energy. The more energized the brain, the more creative it can be. Now, there are numerous ways to increase endorphins. An obvious way is exercising. However, this does not mean a person has to run a marathon or swim ten thousand laps in an Olympic sized pool. Exercising could be taking the dog for a walk or spending an evening dancing with friends. For some (although I don’t know who) brisk house cleaning. Basically, any activity that will get you moving can increase endorphins.
  8. is to gain a huge promotion at work, you may find your way to push through the project. Likewise, if you have set an end goal to your writing which is important to you, remembering that goal may alleviate your writer’s block.
  9. Be consistent. I know this will sound odd coming from me—someone who hates adhering to routine but is a creature of habit. Yeah, I know. How can the two co-exist? Well, it works something like this. I may have ten things on my to-do list, and each one of those ten things is broken into parts that I do in a particular order. While I may do the individual subparts of tests in a ritualistic way, I may perform the individual tasks in random order. I like to explain it as having organized chaos. It makes sense to me but no one else. The point is that writers must get in a habit of writing. Does this mean a writer must write every day? Only if that is what works for that writer. I have days when writing is not possible, and I don’t stress over those days. But not being consistent about writing can lead to writer’s block. For one, a writer may forget parts of the story written and have to spend days reading just to get back to writing. Another thing, writing for the sake of writing is useless if what is being written is crap. I hear writers bragging that they have written 5,000 words, and 4,999 of those words get cut from the WIP. A famous writer said it very well when she expressed that writing was her business. She does not have time to invest in writing things that she will have to throw away. She has deadlines. And if she wastes time throwing away content, she will not meet her deadlines.
  10. Relaxation techniques. Ensure that you’re mentally in a space to write. This goes along with some of the other tips. If your mind is preoccupied, how can you write? Take some time to clear out your mind so that your only focus will be on writing.
  11. Do not try to write the first draft to perfection. It’s a draft. There will time to edit, correct, and polish later. Even if the story sounds terrible, if the plot is solid and the voice strong, it is a durable story. Continue plugging at it. Trying to perfect all the details and every aspect in a first draft will bog you down to the point that you will be incapable of writing. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. In writing, create your foundation/structure first. Frame it and lay the bricks. Worry about the paint color and furniture later.
  12. Perhaps, a writer is experiencing true writer’s block where he/she just can’t come up with an idea or topic to write about. In this case, the writer must find inspiration. Inspirations can come from songs, movies, books, art, and just about anything. Now, when I say get ideas from these other mediums, I do not mean ripping them off. It was years after watching the cult-classic Clueless that I was informed it took inspiration from the Jane Austen novel, Emma, despite having read the book. I wasn’t the only one in my circle who didn’t make the connection. One reason for the lack of connection is due to the change in time period, language, and additional subplots. And while the characters shared many similarities, there were not carbon copies of each other. Also, it may be some small, overlooked detail in what is seen or read that is the starting point for a new novel. The takeaway point here is to pay attention to the environment in order to be able to draw inspiration.
  13. Limit distractions. A huge distraction for me is the internet. It used to be Pinterest, but I put myself on a band. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I spend a lot of time there, more in the last few years than previously. However, my true kiss of death is YouTube. I don’t know how that obsession started, when or where. But I’m drawn to so much. It used to be the place that I would visit when I needed to figure out how to program something on my phone. Now, I’m watching short movies and all up in people’s live chats. When I’m trying to write, YouTube is not something I need to touch. Now, if you wondering how one falls into this pit if it’s a known problem? Simple. I may be writing a scene and realize I’m uncertain of a fact I need to use in the story. I search it on the internet, and there’s a YouTube video. I watch it, and then another one to make sure the first was accurate. Then, a suggestion pops up for other videos, which I visit. Next, a notification is in my inbox that one of my favorite YouTubers has uploaded a new video. Before long, hours have passed. So, if a writer is one who is easily distracted, identify those distractions, and keep them out of the writing area.
  14. Healthy living. Getting a good night’s sleep and eating healthy foods allows the body and mind to be more energetic. While some foods are tastier than others, they can sometimes drain or zap energy. This is a small thing that can easily be done and help writer’s block.
  15. Make the time you have available to write productively. Okay, follow me on this. Many writers work a day job/full-time job. That limits the amount of time they have to write. That means filling in the downtime with writing. If a person works long hours, when he/she returns home, he/she may feel too drained to write. This may lead to writer’s block because either the person is too tired to physically write or he/she is too mentally drained to create content. However, if the person works in writing during downtimes, he/she may find that she is getting a lot more writing done that if trying to write at the end of a long shift.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

How to Deal with Stans

Stans can’t be reasoned with. Why is this even a post? I asked myself that when I sat down to write it. It would seem that this is common knowledge. But nah! It’s not…either that or some people don’t possess commonsense. (Make of that what you will.) It is stans that are harming society and creating chaos. Now, this is not aimed to be a political post; although, much that will be stated can be applied to politics. However, it cannot be applied more to one position and/or party than to another. This is something that expands across any board and is bipartisan. However, it is important to note that a stan is an individual. Any large group will undoubtedly have stans embedded. Thus, it may be the few stans that cause an entire group to be labeled, stereotyped or discredited. That isn’t fair, but that how it goes. However, I’m jumping ahead.

So, where to begin? Let’s start with the standard definition of a stan. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a stan is an extremely or excessively enthusiastic, overzealous, obsessive, and/or devoted fan of a particular celebrity—and I’m going to add cause or movement to this definition as well. Another definition is also required and that is the meaning of fan. By definition, a fan is an ardent admirer, enthusiast, or devotee of a celebrity, sport, performing art, or pursuit and who is usually a spectator. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a stan is not a fan. Why? Because a fan, at least on the surface although not defined as, appears to be a positive influence. Stans are anything but positive. But wait? How can I say that when stans say positive things and support the person or cause that they stan for. It’s because stans are biased. Stans have no perspectives. Stans cannot and will not hold their celebrity at cause to any accountability for wrongdoing.

For example, let’s rip an event that happened years ago and made national news. A woman claimed to have had her car carjacked. In the rear seat were her children. The car was later found in a lake with her children deceased in the backseat. The cause of death was drowning. The woman later confessed to having killed her children and lying to the police. CONFESSED. Let’s break it down.

Prior to her confession, her stans who rushed to her side swore this was something that she simply could not and would not do. They claimed that she was an excellent mother who loved her children; although, there was some evidence to suggest she had been neglectful to them for quite some time (more emotionally than physically). Persons who were closer to her, who grew up with her, stated that they questioned if she could have done this. However, her stans who never met her a day in their lives stated that it was impossible to have done it because she looked like a good mother during a news interview. So, we’re basing the quality of motherhood on how someone looks on the five o’clock news. Okay. She looked innocent. How many people have fallen prey to serial killers because the serial killer did not look dangerous? Stans will disregard information given by credible people and persons who have more insight and knowledge of the situation. Stans do not care about the truth.

Now, if you’re saying that’s not true and this woman’s stans would have changed their opinion after her confession, you’d be absolutely wrong. They didn’t label her a monster for killing her babies. Instead, they diverted and defended. Rather than focusing on the crime, her stans brought up all the good she’d done in the past. They pointed to her work history. When that didn’t seem to wash, they focused on her mental health and how she was driven to do it out of postpartum depression. No, she didn’t. She murdered her children because they were in the way, plain and simple. She wanted to be with a man who did not (according to her) want children (at least, not children who had been fathered by another man). She determined the only way to be with this man was to get rid of her children. Now, in my mind, a logical person would have chosen their children over someone who may or may not have remained in his/her life. However, I understand that some people aren’t equipped to be parents. Parenting is difficult, and some parents crumble under the pressure. That doesn’t mean they kill their kids. She had options. She could have transferred custody of them to their father. She could have allowed her parents or family to raise them. If those were not options, she could have called child social services to intervene. But stans overlook her options use mental health to excuse her act of murder.

Her horrible behavior didn’t just include murder. First, this woman was married which meant she was cheating on her husband with this man who didn’t want children. This shows she exhibited very little regard for the sanity of marriage or the feelings of her husband. She didn’t care how if this affair (even had it not come to murder) would tear her family apart. Since she was still with her husband, did she plan to kill him, too? Why would she choose to take his children away from him?

Another issue was her blatant lying. People gathered in search parties and spent days looking for her children. The police spent time and officers looking for these babies when those resources could have been going to help someone in true need. Her lies stole and robbed her community. Furthermore, her accusations worsened racial tensions.

For the stans who do acknowledge her behavior as being irreprehensible, they diminish it by stating she is remorseful. Remember, this is a woman they have never met. Their opinion of her remorse if from what they see on television. Other viewers who watched the same news footage would disagree. They would point to the fact that she doesn’t cry or make eye contact. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt because people grieve differently. Not everyone cries, cries immediately, or cries in front of others. However, if one listens to her words, she only seems sorry that she was caught. She was sorry that people criticized her lying and believed that she should be punished. She appeared sorry not to have won the affections of the man she wanted since he left her after this incident. She didn’t speak on the hurt that she caused others and focused on her own pain. Yet, stans excused her. The beautiful lives of two innocents who had no chance of saving themselves perished at the hands of a person who was supposed to love and protect them. Instead, she discarded them like garbage for a man she wanted to a future. She took her children’s future to enrich her future.

When she was found guilty and sentenced to prisons, her stans claimed the sentence of life in prison was too harsh. But at least, she has her life which the same cannot be said for her children. They will never have a first day of school, graduate, get married, or have children of their own. The world will never know what they would have contributed. Maybe one of them would have grown to become the person who invented a cure for cancer or become president. But her stans do not acknowledge this either, and it wouldn’t matter if they did. They respond with “Haven’t you made a mistake?” or “It happened so long ago people need to stop punishing her.” The worst excuse stans make is that she has apologized; therefore, she should be given. Again, wrong!

Apologies are for the person(s) who has been hurt or offended. It is theirs to accept or decline. While outsiders may have an opinion, the apology isn’t intended for them. In other words, the majority of her stans who are accepting her apology are accepting an apology not meant for them. A clearer example is if someone vandalized your car. The person apologizes to your neighbor. The neighbor then says to you that you have to accept the apology. Stans dictate how others should feel about a given situation. If a person’s opinions differ from that of the stan, the stan often will engage in bullying behavior.

As long as stans exist, truth and justice become irrelevant. Progress becomes unachievable because their stans are not open to compromise or admitting failures. Their mind and ideas are single-focused, not for the betterment of the hole but only in support of one cause or purpose. They will allow an entire city to burn to the ground in order to save a single person. They will never look beyond themselves and their point of view. They will never care about others. They will always internalize every situation to revolve around what they believe of the person or thing they are stanning for. They will bring in extraneous and immaterial (and at time inappropriate) factors that distract from the main issues.

So, how should one reason with a stan?

  1. Don’t waste your time.
  2. Don’t waste your breath.
  3. Don’t waste your energy.
  4. Move onto something better.
  5. Ignore stans, and eventually they fade away. It’s hard to argue with self.
  6. On social media, block them. Do not repost anything they publish. In isolation, a stan isn’t as damaging. His/her voice isn’t loud unless it’s in a crowd.
  7. Many stans are keyboard warriors. In real life, they are cowards and will not act unless in a group. That’s why they seek out other stans. And the way they find other stans is through people spreading the word.
  8. Stans turn on other stans. They get so wrapped up in their cause that they will actually argue with people who hold the same beliefs as they do.
  9. Stans believe that they are in some type of relationship with the person they stanning for when the majority of the time they do not know the person. They do not grasp that the person who they are stanning for likely does not care two cents about them. That person doesn’t know their name or owe them any allegiance. That is why stans are often devastated when they meet the person they stan for and that person is cold or indifferent to them.
  10. Stans have closed minds. Nothing said against their beliefs will cause them to change their beliefs. Write them off as a loss and have a conversation with a rational person instead.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

How to Commit to Writing

Today has been one of those strange days where I feel that I’ve been busy since my eyes opened; yet, I’ve accomplished very little. When I looked at the clock, it was bedtime, and I questioned where had the hours gone. I knew I needed to get to bed because tomorrow is an early day, but I couldn’t bring myself to doing such when I hadn’t met any daily goals. But I shut down the computer anyway. I closed my eyes to sleep, and despite being tired, my mind was too wound up to drift off. To avoid just lying there and waking all the way up, I slipped in a pair of earbuds and turned to a podcast that I had saved in a to-do folder. I have plenty of professional development articles, podcasts, and videos that I need to listen to/view. One would think with the state of the world, I would have done that over the past month. Again, I must ask myself, what have I been doing each day? But I digress.

So, I flip to this podcast that I’m very interested in hearing the topic is how should a writer determine whether their story idea is a good one. I don’t know one person serious about writing who has not pondered this. Although I’ve never thought there to be a definitive Holy Grail answer to this question, I have always believed there are likely strategies (other than pure luck) that can guide a person to the answer. The most obvious answer, however, is the follow the trends. The problem with following the trend is that often by the time a trend is discovered, it’s just about over. That’s one of the issues with writing to marker. For example, if the big trend is dystopian novels unless a writer is an extremely fast writer and self-published, chances are the writer will not be able to cash in if he/she does not already have dystopian novels in progress. Here’s why. Let’s begin the scenario in January. That’s when dystopian novels begin to sell really well in the market. It may be February or March before publishers and writers realize dystopia is trending. So, in March, a writer decides to write a dystopian novel. I don’t know many writers who can pump out a novel from start to finish in thirty days, but we’re going assume that is the case in this scenario.

It’s April, and the dystopian novel has been written and self-edited. So, now, it’s sent out for queries. Any writer who has queried an agent or publisher knows this can be a very time-consuming process. However, playing devil’s advocate and best scenario, let’s assume that a publisher responds with acceptance after two weeks. Contracts are sent and signed. It’s now May.

The publisher sends the book to editing and cover design. These things alone take months. Add into that listing the book on a publishing schedule with all the other authors who will be releasing and marketing planning. But here we’ll say it takes two months. This puts the book to be published in August. That’s eight months from when the trend began. That’s seven months that the market has been being flooded by dystopian novels (already completed) but other authors. By the time your novel hits the shelf, readers may be tired of those types of books, and the trend begins to fade out. In reality, traditionally publishing a book takes much longer than this. Some writers wait two years to have their books published. Think about how much a trend will change at that time. Of course, self-publishing writers have more control over the timing, but writing, editing, and cover art still take time.

Therefore, I wasn’t listening to the podcast for someone to tell me to pay attention to writing trends. Common sense dictates all writers do this. However, it is not something that a writer can totally rely upon because there is too much variability in trends. Now, this is in no way to knock the authors who typically write to market. But this is a talent not all writers possess. Heaven help if I was ever to try to quickly write a science fiction piece. Could I write Sci-Fi? Probably, but not without effort, research, and help. It’s not going to come naturally to me.

The podcast begins and there’s this long spill about how writers all think their ideas are brilliant. Well, yeah. Again, commonsense. Serious writers do no set out purposely to write a bad story unless it for as a parody or challenge And story ideas are different than completed stories. A writer may have a strong story idea but execute it poorly. The reverse of that is probably also true, but I imagine it is a rarer occurrence. In either case, I can’t imagine either of the books selling well. Again, this is a point that I could have done without being told. But okay. I get it. The person doing the podcast wanted to be thorough. And perhaps, there were writers who had never heard this information. No shade there. However, I would think if that were the case, the podcast would have been marketed more to beginning writers than people who have been in the publishing community for years. I kept waiting for something new or insightful to be revealed, and none came.

So, after wasting an hour of my time, and yes, I considered it to be a waste, I asked myself what helps a writer determine if he/she has a good idea for a story. I conferred with some writer friends (because they don’t sleep, either) and came up with the following list.

  1. Identify a niche. This is different than selecting a genre. Fantasy is a genre. Dragons fall into this genre. A shape-shifting dragon maybe a niche of dragons. It’s still fantasy, but it may appeal to a slightly different sort of fantasy reader than just a reptile dragon. There’s always a risk with niches. Theoretically, niches are smaller. Therefore, fewer readers may be drawn to them. This may not be such a bad thing, however. Niches may not sell as big of numbers, but they may sell very well. I hate to bring this up but look at masks. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, how many people wore and purchased masks? How many people began making cloth masks and selling them for profit? It was a smaller market that quickly expanded. Makers are doing well. But how does this relate to books? Just because a market does not appear large does not mean it doesn’t exist. People who needed masks prior to the pandemic sought out places to purchase. There were customers. Readers who like the less written about topics will search for them. They need writers who will give them what they want.
  2. Being different/unique. I detest being asked what makes my writing different. It’s not something that I can explain other than to say that I was the storyteller and told the story the way I tell stories. I call it voice. I have my voice. I can’t describe it beyond that other than to say—take the risk. Be daring. Be bold. Go there to the place where other writers may stop. Now again, this could lead to some trouble if the wrong lines are crossed. I remember being a teen going on a family vacation to Texas. I was bored out of my mind on a road trip that seemed to drag on into eternity. I would like to have occupied myself with a videogame or something, but my father was convinced a handheld game would be a waste of money. He thought a much better investment was a console for the television. (Yes, this trip pre-dated common use of smartphones.) I didn’t have an e-reader. For some reason, we stopped—maybe for gas or to eat. I don’t recall how I ended up in a business that sold lots of books. It may have been a bookstore. I don’t remember. I picked up several books to occupy myself for the rest of the drive. One of those books as part of a series (I didn’t know this when I purchased it) about a group of teen girls who were friends. Each main character had a different zodiac sign, and their personalities and behaviors were based on the traits associated with their sign. I had never read anything like that. I sought out more. When I analyze the plots, they were very similar to other stories I’d read. It was the approach that was different. That what made them work, and it was an element not being pushed in other books at that time.
  3. Nothing is unique. OMG! I wish people would stop saying that. To me, that is the equivalent of being brain dead. It means that no one anywhere in the world has original ideas. That means at some point in time all the original ideas were taken. I wonder who thought the last original though. And when they were thinking it, did they realize they were making original thought extinct for the rest of us? So, if the world exists another 3,000 years, it will only have 3,000 years of regurgitated thought.

Okay, so here’s the rub. Don’t even think about “uniqueness.” If one looks hard enough, similarities can be found in just about everything. Do you. I believe uniqueness exists because unless people are cloned, all DNA is unique. If our DNA is unique, it only stands to reason that our thinking would be unique from each other, too. It’s called diversity. You write your story. Don’t attempt to mimic anyone or any style. At my day job, my work is very easily identified. That is because it is unique to me. And the same goes for my coworkers. We do not have to read the names on back pages to know who has done what. A writer’s style will be what makes him/her unique. A writer’s style will come naturally and develop (possibly even change) over time. When I first started writing, I was a bit timid in writing my characters. As a result, they felt lacking and shallow. They just didn’t seem authentic. Then one day, I decided to edit a story I had written years prior. That’s when it dawned on me why the writing was weak.

  1. Any topic will work as long as it makes sense. Not too long ago, there was a movie receiving a lot of hype. It didn’t seem like my type of movie, but I went anyway. Approximately ten minutes in, I asked a question. The people watching it with me gave me the stink eye because they knew I’d spoiled the movie without having seen the end. There was a huge plot hole. Well, it wasn’t so much of a plot hole as I don’t think the writers thought most viewers would ask. They thought it would be a twist at the end. But see, they didn’t do anything to draw the audience away from asking the question, either. As long as that question lingered in my mind, the movie didn’t make sense, and I wasn’t satisfied with anything happening on screen. When the movie finally made it to the end, I was over it. A similar thing happened in another movie. The movie had a good number of big-name actors. About fifteen minutes into the movie I noticed one of the big names wasn’t getting a lot of screen time while lessor known actors were. It seemed odd he would be so underutilized. Since it was a mystery, I deducted that the attention was being “drawn away” from him so he could be the surprise culprit. So, while all this time was spent on casting guilt on other characters when it came time to villainizing him, it fell short. So much didn’t make sense at that point. It all felt forced and contrived. It would have worked so much better if the screenwriter had just thrown him into the mix with everyone else so that his guilt made sense. A reader will buy whatever the writer gives them if it makes sense. Did any reader ever doubt that Dorothy clicking her heels to get back to Kansas? (Or New York if you watched the Wiz.) The writers made it make sense, even if it was a bit silly.
  2. Putting the story in front of the appropriate audience. This goes hand-in-hand with a niche. It doesn’t matter how clever of a story one writes, if it’s presented to the wrong audience it is not going to end well. In college, a friend of a friend stated, “I can’t stand me no singing movie.” Aside from the piss-poor grammar, the statement stuck with me. He never gave opera or musicals a chance. He blindly decided he didn’t like them. His mind was closed to giving them any sort of chance. I dropped out of a book review group for this same reason. At the beginning of the month, we would vote for a book to review. The book that was selected one month just wasn’t my cup of tea. It was well-written grammatically and no plot holes. The characters were developed. I just didn’t click with the characters. I felt that there was a lot of exposition, but, at the same time, there wasn’t enough. Part of that wasn’t the writer’s fault. When writing in a niche, people in the niche do not need to be spoon-fed information. I’ve struggled with this in my own writing. For example, if two characters are chefs, one character would not have to explain barding or concasse to the other. They would just say the words. A non-cooking read may be loss. The writer would then have to work in a way to explain it. However, if the majority of readers are cooks, then a lengthy explanation about this going to bore them. I was the wrong audience for this book. I felt it unfair to say that I didn’t enjoy the book (which I didn’t), but it was not because the book was poorly written. The debate becomes if should I write an honest review saying I didn’t like it when I generally don’t read that genre. The problem was that participants in the group had to agree to certain conditions prior to becoming a member. One rule was agreeing to leave ah honest review for a free copy of the book. It was the same situation for the next book selected for review. I realized the people in the group would always vote to review this genre and no other genre would win the vote. Putting a book in front of the appropriate audience includes publishers and agents. They may say a wonderfully written and clever plot is awful if it’s not something that soothes their personal taste.

That’s some of my tips for helping writers determine whether or not their story idea is worth pursuing. I’d like to say, don’t ever allow anyone to dissuade you from your dreams. Even bad ideas have a purpose. Some of the best lessons come from mistakes or things that go far left. Additionally, not everything one’s head can be explained. Think about how many ideas failed only to later to become profitable due to timing. What works for one person may not work for another. Just because someone previously failed does not mean you will. Look at the field of medicine. How many chemists, biologists, physicists, and physicians have spent endless hours researching a vaccination or treatment to turn up goose eggs before one person discovers the solution. Heck, look in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when no one else can brew the Felix Felicis potion to perfection.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

How to Create a New Norm

Two things that a person never wants are shoes that pinch his/her toes and underwear that bunch in the crack. When I was young, I remember having my feet measured on a metal sliding foot ruler. (I’m sure this has a technical name, but I don’t know what it is. If you know the name of this tool, drop it in the comments below.) Whatever that measurement came to be was the size shoe I wore until I complained that my toes were being squished at the end of my shoe and my mother dragged me to the shoe store to be remeasured. Many years later after having become a parent, I asked a clerk in a popular athletic shoe store to size child’s feet, I was informed (and not too nice I might add) that this was no longer practice as shoe sizes were not uniform. While this may be true, I suspected that the clerk was making an excuse because she just didn’t want to do the measurement—which later developed into a huge ordeal. But that’s another kettle of rotting fish. As I was saying…

Earlier today, I went to a department store for a pair of shoes. I’ve been needing sneakers for a while but was hesitant to purchase online. I prefer brick and mortar shoe shopping because it’s less complicated.

  1. First, and most obvious, I don’t have to wait for shipping. I can walk out of the store with them on my feet if I wanted. Instant gratification.
  2. Second, I can see the true color and material. Sometimes, photos can be deceiving. 3. Third, I can try the shoes on not only for fit but for how they aesthetically look on my feet.
  3. Fourth, I do not have to worry about return shipping packaging, invoices, or making a trip across town to stand in line at the post office. Recently, I have found returning parcels are more trouble than just losing money on something that doesn’t work or fit.
  4. Online shopping is convenient, but now that so many people are doing it, it seems the rate of package theft from doorsteps is on the rise.

But allow me to backtrack for a moment to provide the context in order to not seem like I’m rambling. Before I went shoe shopping, I had a dentist appointment. I left work early, to arrive at my appointment early to do all the sign-in stuff. When I pulled into the parking lot, I saw colorful poster boards plastered to the windows. Well, I’m blind, so I get out and track up the sidewalk to read that the sign says to remain in the car and the number that was printed. Fortunately, one of the perky assistants saw my apparent illiteracy and came outside to inquire if I had an appointment. I told her my name, and she disappeared inside again. When she returned, she was carrying a clipboard and proceeded to ask me a series of health questions related to identified symptoms of COVID-19. Now, anyone who knows me knows at this moment exactly what is going through my head. What person who really wants to be seen and have possibly been exposed is going to truthfully answer these questions? I would like to say that I have one hundred percent faith in man, but that would be a lie.

A coworker of an associate confessed that her son had been tested over the weekend for having COVID-like symptoms. At the time, she was waiting for the results. Both she and her husband were advised not to go to work until they were certain their son did not have the virus. So, what did that mean for the rest of her coworkers? Should they have been sent home, too? If yes, what about their families? Do they need to self-isolate until the results are known? And how many times should a person be tested for COVID? Because of the job, the same workers have found themselves exposed or potentially exposed to the virus repeatedly. As a result, they have been tested previously. Do they need to be tested with each new exposure? It’s a murky, bumpy rabbit hole.

I answer the assistant’s question and get my temperature checked in the foyer. After my temperature is satisfactory, I’m allowed into the empty lobby. All the chairs are taped with notes of where not to sit. I’m immediately taken back to where the hygienist is waiting. At this point, it’s like a sci-fi movie. I hop int the chair and remove my mask while my hygienist who is already wearing a mask adds a second mask over it and a large face shield. I’m asking myself if I’m getting my teeth cleaned or entering a hockey match. (Oddly, there’s not much difference between the two.) I’m not one to fear the dentist. However, today, I was nervous because it has been almost a year since my last appointment. Due to a scheduling conflict, I had to reschedule my original appointment that put me a month behind. Then COVID came alone, and the dentist office closed for all visits except emergencies. That pushed my appointment back another three months. So, now instead of having two biannual visits in 2019 and 2020, I only have single visits for each year.

Now, what does all this have to do with shoes? Hang on. I’m getting there.

So, I finish my appointment. Honestly, this is the first painful visit I’ve had. Yes, the baking soda pressure washing is uncomfortable and cracks the corners of my mouth, but the hygienist didn’t even do that this time. It also was my longest visit. By the time my cleaning was complete, there were fifteen minutes left in my workday. I decided it wasn’t worth burning the gas to return and decided to get shoes instead.

The store where I needed to go is a forty-minute drive in rush hour traffic. And here is where the story really begins. Due to Ms. Rona, all the store hours have shortened. I can only have enough time to go to one store when I have errands. Now, shoe shopping may not seem like a necessity, but it is when you’ve worn holes in the soles. I don’t shoe shop a lot, and keep shoes until they literally fall apart. I do a lot of walking on hard surfaces; so, it’s fair to say I’m hard on shoes. As I’m checking out, the clerk (who is the manager) makes small talk and says that they are $159.63 away from their goal of beating their sales numbers for the previous year. Then, she points out, they have almost met this goal with the store hours being cut to less than half due to city regulations—which I still don’t understand fully. Do they think COVID has a bedtime? Does the Rona disappear after 6:00 PM? The clerk continues and explains the store’s situation. She states that she is looking to hire someone because she only has two employees and asks if I know anyone interested. She further explains that the paychecks will be small due to the limited hours that employees are being allowed to work. That’s when I asked her when would the store revert to the previous hours. She stated that she didn’t know and that perhaps  in a few weeks the store would extend the hours slightly. However, it is likely that this is the new norm.

New norm. I hate those words. I don’t like it, but it may be that I have no choice, as these new norms may be made for me. Just as when I went into Sephora the other day, there are no longer testers. I may as well buy from drugstores. That’s when it struck me. If I don’t want to have forced down my throat someone’s else definition of a new norm for me, I better get to planning my own norm. So, I called up my friends, and we got to brainstorming and researching. Here’s what we’ve devised.

  1. Define what is important to you.
  2. Priority your list, create a hierarchy
  3. Don’t limit yourself. Try new things. Open your mind to new experiences.
  4. Modernize the old. Evaluate how you previously did something and develop ways that you can update and improve it. For example, it having cable is too expensive, consider purchasing a cheaper rate or switch providers. Another solution would be to discontinue cable and change to streaming service.
  5. Make new friends. This does not mean dump the old ones. Adding new people into your life may change your perspective or lead you to explore new hobbies.
  6. Don’t focus on a past that cannot be changed or revisited. This is a difficult one for a lot of people. There is a saying, “You can never go home again.” While I do not believe that is true, I do believe there is some truth in it. I remember after I graduated with my undergraduate degree and returned to my hometown, the place did not feel the same. A lot had changed over that course of four years, including me. I’d matured. My view of the place was that of an adult, and not as a child. Many of my friends did not return from college. The daily watchfulness of my parents felt odd. I had become accustomed to coming and going as I pleased without having to notify or explain where I’d been to anyone. I no longer fit into places where I’d previously hung out. My memories and reality no longer matched. It only took a few weeks to realize that maybe the “home” that I grew up, but it was no longer going to be the “home” where I spent my life.

When parts of our lives change, no matter how much we desire, it may be impossible to have a familiar return. It’s pointless to pine for the impossibility. This is a type of grief—mourning for a loss of familiarity. That focus and energy should be on creating new memories and future. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed businesses and homes, it forever changed communities. Some people returned while others did not. The business and homes that were rebuild, even if replicated with the same blueprints, were not exactly the same.

  1. Acceptance is key to moving forward. This is also another huge hurdle. Many people do not like change. I remember the griping when were I worked switched to using timeclocks. Initially, it was extremely stressful for many employees. The machines didn’t work as they should. There were glitches, and workers’ time calculated incorrectly. Information kept getting lost, and human resources repeatedly requested duplicate data. It was a mess. However, years later, there are still those glitches and issues from time to time, but no one is up-in-arms about it. Occasionally, someone grumbles about the timeclocks. However, workers have accepted that they aren’t going away and that they needed to adapt to the new requirement. Now the natural argument here is that by accepting something a person does not want the person losing something. Why must it be thought in terms of winning and losing? Change is consistent. People adapt continuously. There are people who have never lived in a world without Google. Google has been a game-changer on multiple levels for many reasons. For those who pre-dated Google, do you use the search engine now? Has it improved or harmed your life? Would you prefer to return to a world without it? Now go back a little further. There was a time when cars and telephones didn’t exist. When these modernizations happened, I can bet there were people opposed to them. Despite their objections, the changes happened anyway.
  2. Consider that initial changes may seem bad but really are just different. I have a coworker who does not use a computer. She was resistant to the change, and the company has never demanded that she use one. She insists on doing things “the old way.” The problem with the “old way” is that she does not consider how her actions is inconsiderate and infringe upon others. For example, her reports are not entered into the system as others are. This can delay the progress of other people completing their part of the projects. Or when an important email is sent that we’re required to do something, she is unaware of the change and doesn’t comply. Again, this may interfere with her coworkers’ work. Her inflexibility impedes growth. This was significantly noted when she took an extended leave of absence to care for a family member. The flow of the office was much smoother. The work was completed quicker. Some workers were sad for return—not that they disliked her. Change is scary. However, becoming well informed and openminded to it reduces the fear.
  3. Take it one day at a time. No one ever said that a person has to be a superstar and do it all at once.
  4. It’s okay to be sad, angry, or frightened about changes that have occurred or may occur. The secret is not to remain in that negative space and move forward. However, remember that your feelings are valid. Also, keep in mind and respect that others may have have thoughts and feelings that differ but that their thoughts and feels are just as valid to them as yours are to you. Agree to disagree and keep it pushing. Moreso, don’t concern yourself with someone else’s actions or feelings until you have addressed your own mental health and how you’re feeling. It is important to take care of yourself. If you do not take care of yourself, you will be incapable of caring for anyone else.

I hate to think that I will live in a world that I no longer can walk into a store and try on a pair of shoes. It may come to that as more brick and mortar stores close or shorten their hours. As I walked out of the department store, I wondered how others were coping. I had to rush shop because, by the time I’d arrived, I only had thirty minutes to shop before closing. I began thinking about the planning that would be required if my new norm includes ordering mostly online. I’ll have to begin a routine of anticipating what I will need and when. Spontaneity will be reduced. I’ll have to prioritize my shopping. It means finding a list of trusted shopping sites because of some of those companies… In a nutshell, if I’m to have a “new norm,” I’m going to have to start shaping what that norm looks like. I may not control changes happening, but I can certainly control how I respond to those changes.

What are your views on the “new normal” concept? Are you aboard? Do you think that it’s really is not a thing but just ideas being tossed out there? How are you coping with the changes? Is it affecting your mental health? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

Practical Tips for Writers

And here is why writers should develop their own process and take advice with a block of salt.

On my current Work In Progress (WIP), I’ve been struggling with story block. Well, some time ago, I learned that there was a distinction between writer’s block and story block, and I determined that what I was experiencing was most definitely story block. Story block, you wonder? For those unfamiliar with the term, basically, writer’s block is an inability to develop ideas for a project. Story block is having a story idea but lacking the ability to produce content for a particular story.

Anyway, writing on my WIP has been a struggle for months. Mainly, I would write a paragraph, scene, or chapter, and then, I’d get stuck. Where does the story go from here? How do I advance forward? Am I hitting arc beats as I should? Now, the last isn’t a question I normally ask myself, and I didn’t start asking that until I notice I was receiving a consistent suggestion in reader feedback. Quick aside…Bear with me. It plays a part in the points I’ll later make.

I became a writer to entertain others. I’m constantly striving to improve and advance my craft. I 100% listen to reader feedback. So, when readers inform me they want something specific, I’m going to try my best to give it to them. This may not be without challenges or hurdles. Thus, the fact that I was adding something to my non-routine routine was throwing me. See, I’m not a plotter. (Oh, don’t start with me, plotters.) For me, intentionally adding specific elements require a certain degree of planning. Well, my avid (and vocal) plotter peers attempted to convince me that my panstering ways were the culprit of my story block dilemma. (Uh-huh!) And they almost had me convinced until I analyzed my situation further. Now, back to the regularly scheduled post.

So, it’s Wednesday, and I wake up early to a good start. Of course, Wednesday is when I post on my blog, and it tends to be my busiest day of the week. Posting rarely goes smoothly (always a tech glitch), and I end up getting the post uploaded close to the wire. Today, I had seven minutes to spare, which I think is a record for me. Even when I call myself doing it early, it always comes down to having to do something on Wednesday morning. And as is par for the course, things start to get stupid busy. I’m suddenly sleepy even though I’ve had a restful night, and I’m making all sorts of mistakes—I mean mistakes I generally don’t make. I tell myself I need to take a few minutes to break, wake up, and regain my focus. I take the break, but it doesn’t help much. However, I’m able to get the post uploaded. My intention is to return to working on my WIP, but I can’t. Story block is in full swing. Each word I try to write is a mumbo jumbo to my eyes. I can’t make sense of the text I’ve written. The story isn’t making sense. I’m not liking the scenes. So, I stop and decided to do the unspeakable. Edit. Yes, I’m going to start editing what I have before it’s close to being finished.

Editing as I go is nothing new to me, but it seems to be taboo—just ask my critique partners who nearly stoked out when I informed them what I was doing. Every time I have mentioned it to a writer friend, I’m dragged through the gutter for it. It’s a carnal sin to edit as one writes. Who knew? Fortunately, I don’t listen well. However, before I begin editing, I decide to give outlining one last-ditch go. Dumb, dumb, dumb! The small functioning part of my brain convulsed and died on the spot. I was in worse shape after having attempted outlining that when I was staying in my panstering lane. So, this is where it gets interesting.

I printed a hardcopy. Normally, I don’t print hard copies until I’m double-digit drafts in and close to sending it to my publisher who will ship it off to editing. On the title page, I attempt to map out the arcs for the two main characters. OMG! I was so lost. I went to YouTube and watched fourteen billion videos. None helped. I couldn’t see how my characters plugged into the model. They probably did (do), but my brain doesn’t function that way. Desperate, I began writing the things that I did know about my characters to see if I could make any of that fit into some type of outline. Nope. The only thing I was doing was wasting more time and creating more chaos. I needed to do something productive. Therefore, I began editing.

On the first page, I didn’t find many corrections. Granted this is a draft, so missing something at this point isn’t a big deal. I’ll go over it plenty more times. But on the second page, there was a sentence that popped out. I asked, “Should this character know this?” I highlighted it and moved on. A few pages over, there was a paragraph, and I asked “Should this be the behavior of the assigned character?” Next, I saw mention of a minor character that I completely forgot about but makes total sense he would be there. And slowly, it began to make sense as to why I was struggling. I have small gaps in the flow. (Stop it, plotters. I know what you’re thinking. That wouldn’t have happened if I’d had an outline. Oh yes it would have because I wouldn’t have realized the problem in outline form, either.) The overall story works, but these small gaps are what’s making it difficult to go from A to B. My writing needs to stop, and I need a full edit of what I have so far. The elements that were requested in feedback that I’ve been trying to work in, can plug in the gaps.

The takeaway is each writer needs to develop their writing process from scratch and not be convinced there is only one correct way. Do not allow others to convince you that your process is wrong if it has been working for you. The snarky remark that I received from one writer that being a panster wasn’t working for me couldn’t have been the farthest off base. It wasn’t working because I had altered it into a form that no longer worked. I changed my panstering which is natural (to me) to intentionally (i.e., plotting which deviates so far from my norm) to include certain requested elements. It was the attempting to force add (i.e., plotting) that was tripping me up. By editing, the elements will organically fit into what I’ve created instead of me attempting to create the situation for these things to occur—chicken or egg. I can’t explain my process to others well. I only know when it works and when it doesn’t work. I know editing as I go is something that works well for me. When I get stuck, I edit. It clears out the garbage and gives me a cleaner slate. I look at it like cooking.

When I’m cooking, I have all the bowls, utensils, and ingredients spread across the counter. As I use and dirty them, I set them aside. If I run out of counter space, I wash them at that time. I don’t wait until I’ve completed the entire meal before I do the dishes. I clean up as I go along. By the time I’m finished cooking, there’s little cleanup left. I like it when I finish my first draft that it is pretty good shape. In editing, it allows a different part of my brain to work. I’m not creating something. I’m improving what already exists. It allows me to refocus and sense a new perspective. I know to stick to my guns. Why I wasn’t doing that early on, I have no idea.

So what is the takeaway?

  1. I took a moment to write about this experience because I felt it may help another writer struggling with self-doubt. However, in reality, this could apply to any given situation. You must understand your self-value and capability. Do all those clichés. Listen to that small voice inside of your head. Follow your heart. Go with your gut instinct. Believe in yourself.
  2. Another reason I wrote this is because I’ve been requested to get back to doing more writing-related posts. At the beginning of 2020, I announced that I likely would stray from doing a writing-related post on the first Wednesday of every month, as I was beginning to experience scheduling conflicts. But that was back in January, and since then, we’ve all seen how 2020 has been working out. After I meet some obligations, I will re-evaluate it this needs to continue to be the situation or if it is feasible for me to go back to the old way. Let me know what writing topics you’ll like to me cover.
  3. There are very few writing rules. However, there are plenty of guidelines. Guidelines may be helpful, but they do not have to be utilized. That being said, many guidelines are useful and should be followed.
  4. You’ll never get ahead if you’re chasing the pack. In a race, if you’re chasing the leader when you cross the finish line, you’re not in the first place. You didn’t win. You did well, but you may have done better. It is the same with writing. If a writer spends his/her time merely trying to copy an established writer, the writer copying will never produce anything original. The most popular writers are popular because they found a style unique to them to tell their stories. When readers reach for stories written by them, there is a certain level of expectation.
  5. Use everything as a learning experience. There are no bad lessons. Even if something works out negatively, there’s a value in it. You learn what to avoid and how to avoid it the next time.
  6. Forms and styles change. You will never advance your craft if you don’t push yourself to try more.
  7. It’s all about trial and error. Very rarely will a writer get it right the first time.
  8. They are words on a screen or piece of paper. They can be changed and corrected. There’s no need to become frustrated because anything can be fixed. Becoming frustrated will slow and worsen the process.
  9. Story block and writer’s block happens to everyone from time to time. Many times, it can be overcome by eliminating the stress that frees the mind to be creative. Finding ways to relax will help with writing.
  10. There are lots of videos on YouTube about popular author’s writing processes. If you don’t have a writing process that you’re happy with or that is working for you, gain some ideas of what works for others by viewing these types of videos.

**Yes, I know this article states Wednesday but it’s posted on a Monday. That is because it was uploaded for last Wednesday but I decided at last minute not to upload due to having a bonus post.**

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

How to Not Live in Fear

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines fear as an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. I define it as anything that prevents or interferes with a person living his/her best life due to dread that the outcome will be undesirable, detrimental, or unsafe. By no means would I advocate anyone to engage recklessly in any activity. But if fear prevents one from engaging, how is one supposed to live? For example, a child may fear the first day of school. Well, even if the child skipped the scheduled for the first day and attends the next, the next day will still be that child’s first day of school. There’s no getting around having a first day at some point unless the child never attends. Unless the child is homeschooled—and face it, not all parents possess the skills for homeschooling—not attending school most likely is going to have detrimental effects on the child in the long haul. It will affect what jobs the person is qualified to do. In this state, it affecting obtaining a driver’s license. How difficult is life for someone who is illiterate and unable to do simple math? That’s not to say a person who incapable of reading, writing, and performing basic math can’t live independently or a quality life, but there’s sure an easier way to do it.

Anyone who awoke on any day in 2020 is aware there is a lot going on in the world—and a great deal of it is not pleasant. If there was ever a year to be canceled, I do believe 2020 would be the frontrunner. Since that is not possible, we all just muddle through and pray that we don’t get eliminated in some level of this Jumanji before December 31 arrives. So, until then, people will need to strangle their fear. Now, I’ve

  1. For many, this is the first step because people either do not know what is scaring them (rarely), or they are afraid to admit what is. It is fear stacked on fear as if admitting being afraid is a sign of weakness or in some way makes the fear more real or dangerous. However, once a person admits what the fear is, he/she can begin to address it.
  2. Once a person has admitted that he/she is afraid of something, the person must then identify what they are afraid of. One would assume that a person knows what scares him/her, but frequently that is not the case. However, perhaps the most common fear is the fear of the unknown. This is sometimes expressed as, “It is better having the demon you know as opposed to the one you don’t know.” Perhaps a better way to think of this is if one knows all his/her demons one can determine all of his/her options and adjust accordingly.
  3. Ask how truly bad is the thing that is afraid of. Sometimes, people overrate or blow things out of proportion in their mind like a fish tale (i.e., “It was this big!”) when in reality the thing that is feared isn’t as dreadful (e.g., a minnow compared to a shark.
  4. Not isolated. This occurs in two parts.
    • Fears are often related to or lead to other fears. Sometimes, a person doesn’t even know this conditioning has happened. Both Pavlov, John B. Watson, and B.F. Skinner demonstrated how the repeated pairing of events can generalize a behavior or action. In Watson’s Little Albert experiment (which he surely be locked away today for some type of child abuse charge). In the experiment, Watson paired a loud sound with a white rat that Little Albert showed no fear initially. However, after several pairings of the noise with the rat, Albert showed fear of the rat. But the fear didn’t stop there. He began to show fear of other white, furry objects (e.g., dogs). If fear is left unaddressed it may affect multiple areas in a person’s life. For example, a person who is in a house fire may later fear cooking on a stove or attending to a bonfire when these things may be necessary or required. I know a person who avoided concerts out of fear of phytotechnology.
    • Other people share the same fears. As a child, I enjoyed going to the circus. One of my favorite parts was watching the clowns. I was an adult before I learned that people were legit afraid of clowns so much so that it has a name (coulrophobia). I’m a person who sat through part of IT thinking “Okay, this is a bit weird, but who’s afraid of an ugly clown other than his makeup leaving a stain that won’t wash out?” (BTW, I didn’t finish watching the movie because I kept commenting about how bad Pennywise must smell and my friends insisting that I was missing the point. No, I wasn’t, but whatever. I digress.) Having fear is not a reason to be ashamed. Reaching out to others with similar fears may help.
  5. Fear may be stagnant but looks different. This is a conversation/debate I have with a coworker frequently. She likes to point out how some things have gotten worse. For example, she will say there are more storms occurring. I won’t disagree with that because I don’t know. However, I do question accuracy. Are there really more storms, or are we just now paying attention to the information? Ten years ago, it took much longer for people to have access to information. Remember print newspapers? These became relics because the internet gives updated information. Another example is the argument that the number of people with Autism has grown. Then, some stats are thrown out there in support. But the criteria for Autistic Disorder changed to a spectrum disorder. This allows more people to be included in that diagnosis. Furthermore, some if the stigma around mental disorders and/or mental illness have been removed. In return, more people seek help, which means more people can be diagnosed. A third factor is education. Physicians and educators are trained better to recognize the symptoms. So, did the number of persons with Autism increase because more people are being born with it? Or did the number rise because more people were allowed to be included? The point here is a person may fear something because that thing feared appears to be getting worse. In reality, it’s the same but the person experiencing the fear is labeling it differently. Thus, the question is: has the fear grown or is the person more cognizant of the fear. There is a reason for the saying, “Ignorance is bliss.”
  6. Fear accomplishes nothing… or very little. Therefore, one might as well be proactive rather than reactive. It is true that sometimes fear keeps us safe. Fear is an instinct that allows people to know the presence of danger and time to take action. I know when I hear the weather sirens, my heart starts thumping and I kick it into high gear. I ask very few questions. My fear does nothing to stop or block the weather. However, it is the inciting motivation that gets me to moving my family and myself to safety. There is no guarantee that my safe space will be truly protective or withstand the force of nature coming. And that’s the next point.
  7. Change is not always possible. A person may not be able to change what is scaring them. In the previous example, I am able to control as being in a more secure place than another and improve my odds of survival should worse come to worse. In cases that change is not possible, one must play the hand dealt with the best of his/her ability. However, folding should not be an option. To allow oneself to be at the mercy of others is rarely a good idea.
  8. Fracture fear. Take life one day at a time—minute by minute or second by second if necessary. Thee is nothing that says one has to try to conquer fear in one pass or as a single gulp. Sometimes, it is easier to chip away at it and deal with it in smaller, more palpable, does. Within four months, my cousin lost her father, grandfather (who raised her mostly), and mother. For months, she watched each of them slip away, slowly and painfully. Her father and grandfather to different cancers and her mother to alcoholism and depression stemming from her inability to cope. My cousin, a middle child, had all the burdens of caring for and burial placed on her all while caring for her own family. (Her husband walked out on her and their three children, leaving her with nothing.) And as what happens in many families, after each death, her siblings crawled from beneath their rocks to see what material possessions they could obtain. My cousin feared so much—losing her loved ones, raising her children as a single parent, keeping up with the demands of her job. She feared taking risks and making decisions, especially medical ones. She feared disappointing those that she loved. It was all too overwhelming to handle all at once. Therefore, she began the process of addressing her fear in each area one by one as they came along. She forced herself to go inside the funeral home despite her having a lifelong fear of death and seeing caskets and/or dead bodies. She forced herself to ask for help when she needed in spite of her nature to always remain independent and do things herself. To be successful, she had to break her fear to a level that she could manage.

If you enjoy these types of posts, please let me know in the comments below. Also, let me know your other thoughts on the matter. Did I miss something? Do you agree with these tips? Did you find them helpful? As always, I love hearing from you. If you have other comments or suggestions, please leave them below.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

How to Write Sports Romance – Part II

In February, I wrote a blog post titled: Sports Romance Writing Tips: How to Write Sports Romance (https://bit.ly/2U4nmav). In that post, I created a list of generalized tips that I have found useful in writing my sports romances and thought may be helpful to any writer who wishes to explore this subgenre. What I failed to realize is just how sparse the information on this topic is. Now, if you’re asking how could that be since I already wrote one post about this topic and should have discovered it then, I at that time did discover that it wasn’t a widely covered topic. However, after the first post, I began to think that perhaps I had not having conducted enough research. First, I went old school to several brick and mortar libraries (yes, they still do exist) in the area. I believe I visited six all total. I found a lot about sports and a lot about romance. I even found a good deal of sports romance novels. What I did not find was the process of writing a sports romance. Mostly, the how-to discussed how-to-write romance—which is important. However, there are some considerations that are unique to sports romance that isn’t included in general romance.

Therefore, I expanded my internet search to include more media outlets. I still did locate much. And when I searched for specific questions about sports romance novels, I came up with even less. So, I’m back with some additional information. Strap in and away we go.

  1. Explore sports. Many sports romances are about characters who play football, baseball, basketball, or hockey. Occasionally, one may find a story about tennis, soccer, rugby, swimming, or gymnastics stars. These are sports that have huge fanbases and are widely popular. However, there are so many other sports (e.g., lacrosse, bowling, archery, fishing, skiing, wrestling, skating, etc.) that are very underrepresented in sports romance novels. Don’t be afraid to change pace, switch it up, and bring readers something new. It may not be that readers are uninterested, but rather, writers know little about these sports. Many readers who enjoy this genre are sports lovers in real life, and they would not mind seeing other sports. For example, I’m not a huge basketball fan, but that doesn’t mean I’m not down for a good basketball romance. Why? Because there’s something about athletes and the way they approach issues pertaining to their profession. Ever been to a sports bar and notice that most of the patrons don’t care what team or sport is on the screen? Take, for example, Buffalo Wild Wings. When patrons come in, many will ask to sit in an area that their favorite team is playing or ask the screen to be switched to a game. However, if they are told that their team isn’t being shown for whatever reason, most enjoy whatever game(s) is (are) showing. In fact, many times, they enjoy watching several games while they eat. There are plenty of restaurants (many cheaper) that patrons can purchase wings. However, BWW is a popular hangout because people want to watch sports on big screens with other sports fans. They are there for the experience. Books offer experiences. Give the reader a good sports to cheer, whoop, and holler for, and they are happy. In the past, I’ve found myself engrossed reading (and watching) novels about sports I thought I had no interest in (e.g., roller derby, monster truck, and darts).
  2. Sports romance is still romance. As mentioned in my previous post, sports romances follow the same guidelines as all other stories in the romance genre. The romance comes first. If the romantic relationship between the lead characters can be omitted without altering the plot, then it is not a romance and falls into some other genre. The romance must be the focal point and not an afterthought. And a huge point of contention that it must have a happy ending. Yes, I said it. If it does not have a HEA or HFN, it’s something other than a romance. Now, does HEA and HFN mean everything is smooth and easy peasy for the main characters? Nope. They may have suffered a lot along the way and lost much on their journey. It doesn’t even mean these characters won’t have future problems. However, it does means that the two love interests are together as a couple. But what about Romeo and Juliet? What about it? It was a tragedy. Not a romance. Often, it’s listed as a romantic tragedy. I think it’s fair to say that stories such as these now are more commonly referred to as dramas. Now, I know many of my fellow romance writers will disagree with me on this point, and that’s okay. That’s why I previously stated that it was a point of contention, and I’m not here to debate the issue. At the end of the day, a story belongs to the writer. Writers are free to label and market their story however they like. It’s not my place to say otherwise. However, do not be surprised that when a novel labeled as “romance” does not have a HEA or an HFN ending, that a large portion of the readers may be unhappy. NOTE: there is one huge exception to this rule. If the writer is writing a series that the romance is spread across several books, the HEA or HFA may not occur until the final book in the series.
  3. Percentage of sports incorporated. The amount if sports included in a sports romance novel is determined by the author. This is an area that I personally find the most trying at times. There’s no secret formula that dictates a percentage or how many scenes must be related to sports. However, as with the romantic relationship, the sports element must be included and related in some way to the plot. As the romance can’t be viewed by the reader as an afterthought, the sports elements included can’t, either. Just because the main character is an athlete does not by default categorize that book as being a sports romance. Let’s take this real old school for a moment and think about the 1950s sitcom, I Love Lucy which aired from 1951 to 1957 on CBS. In the sitcom, breadwinner Ricky Ricardo was a musician who performed in a nightclub while Lucy was a housewife. Ricky’s profession was important because many of the episodes centered around Lucy wanting to be famous, perform in the nightclub, or meet a famous person performing in the nightclub. Now, think to Leave It to Beaver which aired from 1957 to 1963. Again, a happily married couple where the husband (Ward) is the breadwinner and the wife, June, remained at home. But what did Ward do? He worked, but what was his profession? Was it ever important to the storyline? All viewers ever saw was that wherever he worked, he wore a suit and carried a briefcase. He could have been an architect, stockbroker, real estate mogul, or anything. Where he worked never mattered to any of the plots. In a sports romance, the element of sports needs to be the Ricky Ricardo kind in that it must affect the story and shouldn’t be easily interchangeable with another profession. Sure, Ricky could have been an actor or dancer, and the character still would have worked because these professions remained in the entertainment field. However, what if Ricky was a politician, an accountant, or a mechanic? Many of the episodes wouldn’t have worked. Likewise, changing the main character from a football player to a baseball player may not significantly alter a sports romance (although it might due to football being a contact sport and baseball not). However, if a football player character can be switched to an accountant and the story still works, then likely there is a problem.
  4. Percentage of sports incorporated part II Continuing down this same path, it sometimes is difficult for a writer to know how many sports scenes are enough. If as a writer you’re struggling with knowing the writer balance of sports to include in your sports romance, understand that this is a common problem with sports romance writers. Do not allow this to frustrate or discourage. Write the story anyway and save those questions until you’re ready to begin the self-editing process. Often after a draft is completed, a writer is able to determine what is needed. Additionally, this is an area that beta readers can guide the writer in what direction he/she needs to head.
  5. Move forward. Each sports scene should move the plot and the romance forward. Having a great sports scene solely for the purpose of meeting a sports scene “quota/ requirement” will come across as fluff and disinterest readers who are invested in the story. This leads directly to the next point.
  6. Don’t underestimate the audience. Too much exposition on explaining the sport may be boring or put off some readers. Remember, much of the audience who read sports romance are sports fans. They won’t need the rules of the game explained to them. However, this does not give writers free-range to be overly technical. Just because a person is a fan of a sport does not mean that person knows or understands everything about the sport. There also may be readers who are completely unfamiliar with the sport. A good rule of thumb is to use as much technical jargon needed to keep the text sounding authentic and enough exposition to avoid or eliminated confusion.
  7. Sports romances can be either plot-driven or character-driven. This decision is up to the writer. Plot-driven stories are ones that external conflict happening to the characters. Often in this type of story, character development is secondary to the plot. This is not to say that character development does not occur in plot-drive stories. However, it is not the major focus. Character-driven stories focus on the internal conflict happening within the character. These types of stories tend to deeply explore the emotions and thought processes of the characters.
  8. Keep the audience in mind when writing. In previous posts, I’ve discussed the topic of writing to market. Now, for some writers, this is what they enjoy doing, and they do it well. It is not something without risk. I won’t go into those risks because that is not the topic of this blog. But when a writer writes to market, that writer is specifically making a conscious choice to write for a specific audience. When one writes in a subgenre, it very important to understand that mainly the writer is targeting a specific audience. For example, if an author writes a contemporary romance, it may draw the interest of readers who enjoy paranormal romance, suspense romance, romcom, chic-lit, etc. It’s a broad category that will interest many readers. When an author writes a sports romance, it’s probably a good bet the reader enjoys sports. That reader pool is smaller. Therefore, it essential that the readers wants and needs are satisfied. Now, that may sound like a “well, duh!” In all fairness, it probably is. However, many times, this is an area that gets slammed in beta reading because the writer did not carefully select the beta readers. I once got a really harsh criticism of a manuscript. I was truly bothered by it until I realize the person giving the criticism was unfamiliar with the topic. Things that she said were incorrect were actually things that I had verified with experts in the field. It wasn’t that her critique was incorrect, it was incorrect for me. The problem was that we lived in two different areas, and the procedures followed here were different. Think about it. Persons living along coastal lines react differently to the word hurricane than persons living in the Midwest. Likewise, blizzards are interpreted differently in the Southern US than in the Northern US. Following the advice of persons who are not interested in or familiar with sports romance may lead you astray. In short, be selective in critique partners, beta readers, and some editors.

Let me know if you found these tips helpful and if you would like more posts on this topic.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

Good People Exist and So Does Silence

I have to say it, despite any political views. Good still exists in the world. Good people are real. They aren’t myths. But the problem with most good and good people is that they are overlooked because as the cliché goes, one bad apple does spoil the lot.

During my school years, I attended a private school. The rules were strict. Believe it or not, speaking was viewed as a privilege. Talking was not allowed in hallways at any time other than the end of the school day, in the classroom only when called upon by the teacher, at lunchtime in the cafeteria, and on the playground and/or gym at recess. All other times, students were expected to be silent. Literally, a pin could be heard to drop anywhere in the school for 85% of the time. As adults, I’ve had other adults argue with me that was not possible. I’m here to testify, as will my classmates, that from kindergarten to sixth grade this was the truth. (The high school, which began at seventh grade, wasn’t as strict.) The silence existed because as students we didn’t know there to be any other way. We were told by our parents and teachers and punished if we didn’t. Yes, I said punished. I don’t recall anyone ever getting whipped by a teacher, but plenty got popped a time or two by a ruler or was forced to stand in a corner. However, the three most frequent punishments were writing lines, being denied recess, and having talking privileges taken away.

But, Genevive, what does this have to do with the title of this post you ask? Bear with me a little longer and I’ll explain.

The school set the rules. The students followed the rules. When the students didn’t follow the rules, there were consequences both at school and home. The general rule was for most of us, if we got in trouble in school, we also go in trouble at home by our parents for getting in trouble at school. The problem here is that the teachers weren’t perfect. They, at times, did get it wrong. Therefore, students, at times, were unduly and unjustly accused and punished. As a result, some students who go in trouble at school (even if they were wrongfully punished) would not communicate this with their parents out of fear of further home punishment. But also, they remained silent because they did not believe their parents would believe them over the word and accusation of a teacher—an adult who had been placed with authority to maintain obedience. This was a silence that was chosen by some students.

A second silence was enforced. This was when the teachers took away students speaking privileges. This was especially the punishment administered if the teacher felt a student was being too boisterous or had said something inappropriate. How? Simply, they would tell the student(s) that he/she could not speak during lunch. Sometimes, this punishment was given to a single student or a handful. Other times, it may be administered to an entire table (and, by the way, we had assigned seats in the cafeteria as well as the classrooms) or a class, or a grade, or the entire school. Yes, the entire school of 500 students (elementary school) eating their lunch in complete silence. (In high school, lunch silence wasn’t a typical punishment, as the preferred method of punishment there by teachers was after-school detention, in which silence was a part of that.)

Now, if silence seems like a harmless punishment, don’t be easily fooled. One of the worst things a person can have done to them is to have their voice stripped away and not be heard. The saying children should be seen and not heard is something I personally believe my school adopted as a motto; although, no one ever said that. It most certainly wasn’t written anywhere that I know. But that is how it felt. It felt that our opinions didn’t matter, that our thoughts and feelings didn’t matter. And parents and teachers saw nothing wrong with this. After all, that is how it had been handled for years. The silence didn’t bother adults. In fact, many of them preferred it.

But there was a second issue with this silence, and that is in how this punishment was administered. First, it could be administered for any infraction. Chewing gum—no talking. Running in the hallway—no talking. Not using an inside voice—no talking. However, the most problematic administration was when it was globally applied. For example, if one person at a table was deemed to be speaking too loudly the entire table or class may have talking privileges restricted. The innocent suffered the same consequences of the guilty. The ideology was that the peer pressure from the other students would check the disobeying student(s). And this was an effective strategy… until it backlashed. If the innocent is already condemned and punished, what is the incentive for that innocent person to remain following the rules and doing as instructed? How many people would continue to obey speed limits if there was a zero chance of ever getting a ticket? Some would, and some wouldn’t. I remember once being informed that I had class detention when I had been absent the day the detention was given. When I got up to leave at the bell, the teacher yelled at me for attempting to skip detention. When I informed her that I had no idea what she was talking about and she checked the roll and verified I had not been there, she said I still had to serve it. I complained to the principal, and his words were that he understood my complaint, but that staying for detention was not a huge deal because all of my friends would be there. Ironically, these same teachers are the ones who complained that they had to pay healthcare for other people and opposed any bill for student loan forgiveness by the government. They question how is it just that they are forced to pay for the actions of someone else. That they see because it affects them. But they don’t see that same principle/concept in action when they silence their students with an across-the-board punishment. Perspective.

The interesting thing is that the majority of my classmates are vocal and garrulous and will strike up a conversation with a brick wall. A great many are now attorneys or in other professions where communication is a major portion of the job. I can’t prove it, but no one can disprove that the educational system we attended for those thirteen years didn’t have an effect.

Now, all of this may seem to be coming off as negative, or at least as, less than stellar. But I’m going to do some bragging. The dropout rate of my school was quite low—close to zero percent, actually. Of course, some students did withdraw, but those students did so to attend other schools. They didn’t stop their education. Nor did they opt for a GED or graduate more than three months after scheduled. And more than 80% graduated from college with bachelor’s degrees. Approximately 50% continued to achieve post-graduate degrees. The school did not, overall, scar students so severely as to churn out degenerates. So, aha, the system worked. Well, sure, but there probably was a better way to reach these same end results. But that’s not the point.

The point is lumping everyone in one pile can be very dangerous. It can cause the focus to be shifted from the good (or a bigger issue) and go south quickly (or stray from the issue). It’s like screaming squirrel in the middle of a conversation. It adds a distracting element that doesn’t belong. One of the things I loved the most about the series Picket Fences is that the inciting incident at the beginning of the episode often did a 360 by the end. While this made the show interesting because it was difficult to predict the ending, in real life, this is very messy. Most people enjoy order and predictability. It is comforting for people to go to bed at night with the expectation that the sun will rise in the morning. If that didn’t happen, the sun not rising would certainly bring panic to many.

The point is, when a silence is forced, it does not only keep the negative from speaking. It also keeps the positive from being heard. Lumping all into one category is a stereotype, but not taking the time to acknowledge differences can lead to prejudice. Dismissing someone’s feelings and opinions as not being valid is as harmful as those agreeing to oppress, suppress, or ignore. Compromise involves meeting in the middle. Love involves tolerance. Humanity involves embracing. Sometimes, people must agree to disagree agree and walk separate paths. As long as no one is harmed by this, this may be a viable solution. However, the best way to find a resolution is by being willing to listen and hear. To stand in another’s shoes. Ask yourself if you would like to live life as that person for a month. If the answer is no, ask yourself why. Sometimes the answering who is right and who is wrong. Sometimes, the answer is, who has enough love to open one’s mind and heart to hear the other’s voice.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.