Valentine’s Day Cheer

Hi, it’s me again, with another bonus blog post in celebration of my upcoming sports romance, Ice Gladiators, being released tomorrow. Honestly, I was not intending on making a second post today; yet, here I am. I have to give a shoutout to my friends and colleagues Belle and Joshua, who really lit me up and dragged me across my carpet. How dare I write an anti-Valentine’s Day post on Valentine’s Day. How can I not believe in love and romance? How can I be a romance writer and dislike Valentine’s Day? Well, I don’t dislike I-heart-day. And I do believe in love. There are things that have become associated with the day that I find distasteful, but that doesn’t mean I dislike the holiday. This is what I argued, but my friends weren’t buying it. They said if I set my mouth just right and clicked my heels three times, they still would think I was blowing smoke. Aw, what lovely friends I have. So, okay. I’m here to prove it and redeem myself by listing eleven positive things about Valentine’s Day. Yes, eleven because I have to one-up my game from last time. So, here we go.

  1. Zero gluttony guilt. Oh, I know this sounds bad, but it’s not. Valentine’s Day is one of those days where people are expected to eat chocolate and candy and not feel bad about it. Sure, people do that at Halloween and Easter, but Valentine’s Day candy is so much better in my opinion. It’s all smooth, silky, and yummy. On Halloween, people hand out hard candy and little chocolate bites. And on Easter, there are those big hollow bunnies, marshmallow things, or jellybeans. But on Valentine’s Day, it’s strawberries dipped in chocolate, cocoa covered truffles, chocolate molten lava cakes, brownie cheesecake swirls, and sorted Godiva. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. And the packaging is so pretty.
  2. Valentine’s Day has got to be hands down the best smelling holiday there is. The fragrances and aromas from soaps, lotions, candles, perfumes, and flowers are amazing. I suppose if one has bad allergies this can be negative, but I’m there for it. It’s rare that anytime I go to the mall I don’t duck into Bath & Body Works to check out the scented candles. On Valentine’s Day, nearly every place I go smells like that. I especially love the flowery scents (e.g., Sweet Pea, Rose, Gardenia, or Cherry Blossom), but I’m also into the clean scents (e.g., Linen & Lavender, Sea Island Cotton, and White Birch & Citrus). Even if I don’t personally receive a delivery, someone in the office will and the smell will drift down the hallways.
  3. It’s a reason to get all gussied up. I guess one could say I was a late bloomer. I discovered manicures when I was in graduate school. Something about having my nails done was soothing. I felt like Elle Woods in the 2001movie, Legally Blonde, starring Reese Witherspoon and Luke Wilson. Distraught after an encounter with her ex-boyfriend, Elle rushes into a nail salon to brush away her sorrows with polish. To some, it may sound silly, but I totally get it. If I had a big test or was feeling a bit down, I destressed with a mani. Having pretty nails is cheery. Most Valentine’s Day, date or dateless, one of the items on my to-do list was a French manicure. Having my nails done made me want to wear a cute outfit. A cute outfit isn’t complete without stunning heels. Stunning heels need to be accompanied by eye-catching makeup. And, of course, one can’t have jacked up hair with a beat face. What this means for me, is whether I have a date/engagement or not, I’m paying a visit to the nail salon. If I have an event, I need to look nice. If I don’t, I’m going to want to have a treat-myself moment to lift my spirits. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I believe many women (and men) dress up a little more on this day. It may be to go out for drinks with friends, entertain business clients, or share an evening with that special someone. The bonus is that no explanation is necessary.
  4. This may be a regional thing, but on Valentine’s Day, lots of businesses offer discounts on goods or hold sales. It’s an opportunity to obtain a bargain. There are some products, like perfume, I don’t purchase for myself unless it is marked down. I like smelling good, but I often can’t see spending two hundred bucks on 0.5 ounces of a scent. I have a wish list and attempt to save throughout the year to purchase one either for a self-Christmas gift or birthday present. Frequently, those plans fall through, making Valentine’s Day and ideal time.
  5. Another similar thing is specialty items. Several retailers I like to shop only stock certain items during specific times of the year or events. One such store is a local candle shop that creates original scents for Valentine’s Day. I know many people who live for the day just to be able to purchase some of the specialty items. In the area, this has grown increasingly popular due to the decrease in appeal of the tax-free weekend, which in my opinion, has been decreasing since the mandate of a modified dress code in public schools. For those unfamiliar of the tax-free weekend, it consists of a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (usually in August, although the date isn’t set in stone) that generally occurs the weekend before most public schools start their school year. This state collects sales tax on all purchases, however, doing this weekend, all taxes (on certain items) are waived. The idea was to help parents with the cost of sending their children back to school. However, the failure comes in that while most clothing items are exempt, school supplies are not. With most schools requiring “uniforms,” parents are not flocking to purchase other clothing items on sale. Plus, since it a “uniform,” some parents purchase uniforms in uniform swaps or use clothing from the previous year. Many parents do want to stockpile more than a week’s worth of uniforms, and there’s no point in buying other clothes that their kids can’t wear most of the time. Therefore, Valentine Day purchases are more for pampering and come at a time when parents may have more money.
  6. I know I listed this one on my Valentine’s Day grievances list, but it can swing both ways. Valentine’s Day gives everyone the excuse to hold hands and smooch in public without others caring too much (likely because they too are engaging in the behavior). Suddenly, everyday things seem romantic—the moon, music, the streetlamps popping on at dark. (I never said it had to make sense.)
  7. The bakeries have everything, and I mean everything—that is until the sellout, which happens quickly. (And if curious, the petite fours go first. Get there early.) But if one is fortunate to arrive early enough, he/she is in for a real treat. First, the artistry of the bakers is not to be ignored. The decorating is outstanding. Everything is fresh, and the selection is abundant. The bakeries pull out all the stops. If nothing else, it’s worth going inside just for Instagram content.
  8. Love is good for the heart…literally. According to some physicians, a person who feels loved is less likely to suffer from heart disease. Now, I’m sure there are other factors that go into this (e.g., diet, and genetics), but experts state love boosts the levels of antibodies in the body, reduce plaque buildup in the arteries, and reduce stress.
  9. It’s not all commercial. There is historical evidence that indicates couples exchanged flowers and gifts on their wedding day as a sign of good fortune. Since Valentine’s Day is named after Saint Valentine who married people in secret after Roman Emperor Claudius II outlawed it, this continuation of gift-giving honors his memory.
  10. Valentine Day sales do help boost the economy and help small businesses. Anything that helps communities is always a good thing.
  11. Witnessing genuine happily-ever-afters. I saved the best for last. Seeing those couples who have been together twenty-five, thirty, fifty years is awesome. It warms the heart.

And there are my eleven reasons that Valentine’s Day is awesome. But just to prove to my naysaying friends that I’m really a fan of love, here’s a bonus: pets don’t get left out of this holiday. Pet owners flock to stores to purchase pet treats in the shape of hearts, cupids, and cupcakes for their furry companions. Happy pets make the day better.

What are your favorite things about Valentine’s Day? Are you a fan—yea or nay? If you haven’t checked out my Grievance list, check it out. If you would like to see more of these types of posts, please let me know in the comments below.

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. ~Robert Frost~

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love 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.

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

Resources

Valentine’s Day Grievances

Hello, all my romantic friends. Welcome to another bonus post in celebration of the upcoming release of my new sports romance, Ice Gladiators, being released tomorrow on 02/15/20. It is with a heart bursting with overwhelming elation and humble gratitude that I am able to share this experience with you. For all my new visitors here in the bayou, welcome. I’m so glad you came. Have a look around. I’m sure you’ll find something you like. For all my followers who have been with me for the long haul, thank you so much for the support.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air and assaulting people’s nostrils, I thought I’d go in the opposite direction and speak to those who do not have someone special or are not celebrating the day. See, Valentine’s Day is one of those hard days for many people. There’s not much getting away from it because it’s everywhere—restaurants, parks, department stores, worksites, media, internet, etc. While couples celebrate, many singles are saddened and discouraged. Some question if something is wrong with them or if they are worthy of love. The day before her wedding, a friend made a speech over drinks about how the love between her and her future husband had been placed there by a higher power that no one could destroy. I had no problem agreeing with her on this point. But then, she kept talking.

She followed up this sentiment by stating the higher power places and grants loved to those that are blessed because the great power itself loves the person. The implication, of course, if persons who do not have love are not blessed. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I can roll with that. However, what I cannot accept is the belief that love has not been granted to some because they are “unloved” by this greater power. To take this one step farther, it implies that the greater power deems some people as unworthy of being loved. These people are not only unloved by others on earth but also unloved by the greater power. This is especially cruel when considering the majority of people have an innate desire and/or need to feel and experience love. Nature versus nurture experiments have proven a lack of love during development may have devastating effects. So, instead of becoming all mushy in celebration of the day, I present the anti-Valentine’s Day post—the top ten things to dislike about Valentine’s Day.

  1. As mentioned previously, Valentine’s Day has the potential to make individuals ashamed of being alone. It hints that being single is pathetic, unfortunate, and curse. However, the truth is there are plenty of people not in relationships that are more than happy with their lives. They have other priorities and do not define themselves by their relationship status. They do what they want to do when they want to do it and answer to no one.
  2. This is true of many holidays and not just Valentine’s Day. Commercialism removes and sucks out some of the joy the day is meant to have. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a celebration of love, not what a lover can afford to buy. Money is tight for some, especially in this economy. Store-bought gifts can be expensive, while handmade/DIY gifts frequently are considered cheap. The effort and consideration behind these handmade/DIY gifts often are overlooked.
  3. Real and fake public displays of affection (PDA). It seems Valentine’s Day is the day that people come out of the woodwork to publicly express their love (or lust) for each other. They slobber all over and maul each other in settings that should be a comfortable setting for all. Does a person who only is trying to enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich on his/her lunch break really need to be forced to watch two people tongue strangle each other? Can’t they just get a pay-by-the-hour hotel room and call it a day? Some people genuine are touchy-feely and are showing their true emotions because they are incapable of keeping them bottled inside. Others are grandstanding and doing it for the show, as to say, see I have someone and you don’t; I’m blessed and you’re not.
  4. It limits love. What I mean by this is frequently Valentine’s Day is associated solely with romantic love. It ignores love shared between relatives or friends, while sometimes those are the most important and the longest-lasting relationships some people have.
  5. Along the same lines, Valentine’s Day attempts to threaten that love be expressed and celebrated only one day of the year. People in loving relationships should be pampering and conveying their love daily through small, caring actions and words. In fact, I believe the reason so many relationships fail is due to the couple taking each other for granted. They do not tell or show their partners how they feel. It’s as though speaking of love at any other time of the year is a blasphemous no-no.
  6. Another Valentine’s Day pet peeve of mine is that it causes some people to jump the gun and rush into saying words and sentiments that they do not mean. They feel pressured by the significance placed on the day instead of focusing on what’s in the heart. How many couples engaged on Valentine’s Day get divorced? Now, some may argue that this number is no higher than people who become engaged on any other day of the year. I can’t prove and have no statistics to support this claim. However, I will argue since more people get engaged and/or married on Valentine’s Day than any other day of the year, the percentage of the divorce rate is higher, too. Again, I have absolutely no evidence to substantiate the hypothesis, and it is solely my opinion.
  7. It encourages showboating. This is related to other items previously listed (e.g., commercialism and PDAs). Showboating takes it one step further. This is not only a public display of commercialism; it is a person desiring or having a need to show up another as if there were a competition. The best way I can explain this is through an example. Two thoughts come to mind. First is the scene in the first Harry Potter, movie/book where Dudley complains of getting fewer birthday presents than the previous year. On Valentine’s Day, couples sometimes feel that that they must have larger celebrations than the year before, and if they don’t, it’s an indication that the relationship is beginning to go south. This is especially sad when it’s a couple that decided to have a momentous Valentine’s Day celebration their first year together, and most other celebrations will pale in comparison. The second illustration can be expressed as keeping up with the Joneses. Couples compare their celebration to what other couples are doing. But if the entire idea of Valentine’s Day is to celebrate the love between the couple, then the celebration should not be dependent on what anyone else is or is not doing. It becomes reduced to a competition.
  8. Kids are being taught to take it too seriously. When I was younger, I remember purchasing a pack of Valentine’s Day cards (with envelopes included) for my classmates. The week of Valentine’s Day (or maybe the week before that), we would decorate a brown paper lunch sack with our name during art class. We’d then hang our sack along the wall, and during the week, students filled the bag with cards. The rule was that despite whether or not you liked a person, the student had to give each of his classmates a card. These cards were approximately the size of an index card and on good quality card stock—not this thumbnail fold in half and seal with a sticker junk that is peddled nowadays. On Valentine’s Day, there was a small party that we had cookies and juice and allowed to open our cards (basically admiring the pictures). Imagine my shock when my daughter’s first year at daycare, I saw parent sending huge balloon bouquets and elaborate flower arrangements… TO A DAYCARE! Some of these kids weren’t even potty-trained. Students who couldn’t afford to do this felt left out and disappointed. Bad enough they had to endure bare Christmases, but then, to have a second holiday anguish hurled in one’s face. It became so out-of-control, that the school board put a band on any gifts being delivered or brought to any of the area schools. And if this Valentine’s Day contraband somehow was smuggled onto the school’s premises, it was not allowed to be transported on buses.
  9. The cheese on television attempting to convince me what I’m watching is love. It’s no secret that there are a couple of romance tropes that I’m not all that fond. It may not be that they are bad troupes but, rather, poorly executed in my opinion. Usually, these are stories where the hero and heroine have no choice but to fall for each other. They are the only single, attractive, decent same-age people in town. Usually, it’s a small-town environment where one of the leads returns to take over an inherit property or develop some obnoxious cooperate structure/business that will ruin and destroy a community park that has two birds. The other main character is either a native that already has dated everyone in town or returning from being gone for years and never has moved beyond his/her high school sweetheart. Now, I know readers will argue these troupes demonstrate that it’s destiny for the two main characters to become a couple and experience a HEA. To me, it usually feels contrived. The reason they are forced together in their first place is contrived, and the element of choice is erased. Or worse is the troupe where the main character is engaged or soon-to-be engaged to someone, he/she doesn’t love to fulfill an obligation of some sort but decides to marry his/her love interest instead. You mean to tell me if the love interest hadn’t entered the picture, the character would have been content being a spouse to someone he/she didn’t love? Or would they will themselves to love the other. Yuck! I’m not a fan. But this gets pushed down my throat on Valentine’s Day. Again, these troupes in and of themselves probably aren’t bad if handled cleverly.
  10. Only men are expected to give gifts. What’s wrong with a woman sending a man flowers? Why can’t the woman plan a romantic evening that does not revolve around sex? Because that is what is often portrayed. If a woman is preparing a Valentine’s Day treat for her man, it usually involves lingerie, as if sex is the only way a woman knows how to express love to a man. Men are expected to create ambiance and romance, to arrive armed with chocolates and a bottle of expensive wine. But what rule says a woman can’t do that for a man? Or a woman does it for another woman? Or a man for another man? The stereotypic gender roles when it pertains to Valentine’s Day just need to go.

And speaking of going, that concludes my list. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and if you would like to see more posts like this one, let me know in the comment section below. Do you agree or disagree with the items on this list? What are some of your not so favorite things about Valentine’s Day? What is the worst Valentine’s Day experience you’ve had? Sound off below.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love 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.

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

Resources

Hockey Players Exposed

Greetings everyone. As you know, my sports romance novel, Ice Gladiators, is being released on 02/15/20, and that I am blogging at least one post each day until its release in celebration. For today’s topic, I will introduce you to the cast of Ice Gladiators.

This is a spoiler-free post. I will not reveal anything about the characters that will be a spoiler to the plot. However, if you do not wish to know anything about any of the characters and prefer to read the story with no knowledge of anything that happens, please skip to the bottom of the page. Since I like to save the best for last, I’ll begin by introducing some of the minor characters first. Please note that the characters mentioned in this post are not the only characters in the story. Since hockey is a team sport, the cast is large. Some of the cast have very small parts. For that reason, some readers may be happy to learn that at the beginning of Ice Gladiators, there is a team roster to keep track of who is on what team easily. However, you’ll find that once you begin reading, it is not difficult to determine which characters are the most important and what team they are a member. However, the roster is listed for reader convenience.

The first character I will discuss is Donavan Sawyer. He is a defenseman for the Lafayette Ice Water Moccasins, the same team as the leading man, Taz. Donavan is big, broad, and mean. He is an enforcer. For those unfamiliar with hockey slang, an enforcer is a player who hits hard and responds aggressively in an effort to deter or respond to violent plays committed by the opponents. In other words, enforcers are the fighters on the team. Although Donavan and Taz are on the same team, they do not always see eye-to-eye.

Opposite Donavan is Eric Chapel. Eric, too, is a defenseman for the Moccasins. He is one of Taz’s three closest friends (along with Ian and Kaden) on the team. Eric is strong on the ice, but very levelheaded and not quick-tempered. Eric can be the moral conscience of the team.

If anyone things all hockey players are dense or not smart, think again. Ian Whittaker is the intellect on the Moccasin’s team. Perhaps this is why he is the team’s pest. A pest is a player whose main role is to agitate and distract the opponents to draw penalties on them while giving his own team a power play. He incites the other team not by with his fists but with his clever wit and silver tongue.

Next up is Kaden Blanc is the teammate who could talk Taz down the easiest. He always seems to know the right thing to say at the right moment. Kaden is a forward and on the same line as Taz. In hockey, a “line” consists of three forwards (left wing, right wing, and center) and two defensemen (referred to as partners) that play in a group. In general, Kaden is jovial and considerate. However, these characteristics do not make him weak. He is an outstanding player who scores goals.

Coach Pernell holds nothing back when coaching his team. His only goal is winning. Well, maybe, that isn’t his only goal. It boils down to what one considers winning. Pernell wants to be on top, and being on top does not necessarily equate to winning. To say he and Taz do not have the best relationship doesn’t tip the animosity between these two. They have a working relationship, and even that is tense.

Spencer is next. He’s not a member of the team, but he works for the hockey franchise. He’s also Taz’s blind date, which is arranged by Jackson, one of Taz’s two roommates. Spencer works in accounting, but he’s seen Taz on the ice and has developed a huge crush on him. He’s also used to getting what he wants.

Jackson is Taz’s ambitious roommate and a bit of a jokester. He wants to move up in the Whittle, Darbonne, & Shaw corporation and actively looks for ways to do so. He also encourages his roommates to advance their careers as well.

Victor is Taz’s second roommate. He is a videographer who wants to make an award-winning documentary. The problem is, he has not shot one millimeter of film for it. Instead, he works in editing game footage of the Moccasins. This does not make him happy, but it pays the rent. He also has a boyfriend.

And speaking of boyfriends, cue Liam Jolivet. This eccentric hottie looks as if he rolled off the pages of a 1930’s GQ magazine. He’s has a classic style that speaks the moment he enters the room and a warm nature that draws people to him, including Taz. It’s too bad that he’s Victor’s boyfriend. Well, he’s Victor’s boyfriend if you ask Victor. Liam considers himself a free agent, which means he can go after Taz.

Liam is attempting to rebuild his life after a bad business decision nearly financially ruined him. All he has left is his determination to succeed. He cannot afford to be distracted or another bad investment, including poor emotional investments. He notices in Taz that their outlooks are significantly different, and he questions if that gap between them is too large to close.

Rounding out this cast is the leading man, Dalek Tazandlakova, referred to as Taz by his friends and as Blue Devil by his fans on account of his electric blue hair and his devilish antics on the ice. There’s a story behind the hair color, and he’ll tell it if one cares to listen. Taz is what is known as a defensive forward (also called a two-way forward) is a player who handles both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game. These players are versatile and can be vital in winning the game. Taz is not the team captain, but he certainly commands this story.

Taz is from Stockholm, Sweden; so, sometimes, what he says and hears is lost in translation. Taz makes it no secret that his life is complicated. One would think he’d seek to simplify it. Instead, he decides to flirt with his roommate’s boyfriend. He’s self-assured enough that nothing will come of it. But when Liam flirts back, the fireworks spark off the ice. Game on! Taz is placed in the position of having to choose between his best friend and the man who flips every one of his sexual switches. Not to mention he has a dragon coach huffing down his neck every game.

Who’s ready for some hockey?

These are the main characters of Ice Gladiators, but don’t be surprised by the appearance in the locker room (and other places) of some of the favs from Out of the Penalty Box and Defending the Net. Ice Gladiators can be read as a standalone novel, and readers will not be lost if they have not read the first two books of my sports romance series.

That’s all I have for today. I hope you have enjoyed reading about the Ice Gladiator characters. Which character are you the most excited to read about? If you are interested in reading more about their backstories or outtakes, please comment below. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more bonus content this month. I have plenty of additional good stuff planned as the days continue to count down until release, and it includes a little something for everyone’s entertainment and enjoyment. If during that time you have anything you’d like to know or questions answered, ask me on any of my social media accounts. I will be extremely active on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and I love to chitchat.

If you have not entered my giveaway, what are you waiting for? Enter for a chance to win great prizes.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love 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.

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

DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored or affiliated with any person, brand, or franchise. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

For information about the rules of hockey or teams, visit the National Hockey League (NHL) website.

Resources:

Writer Meeting Their Characters

Writing is fun, but it also has its odd moments. I recently asked some of my writer friends if they meet their characters. After being side-eyed, one finally fessed up that she did. I smiled at the rest because I knew they were holding out on me—cause that’s just how my friends are. They like giving me a hard time and have me thinking I’m off my rocker. And I suppose for the non-writing world, this does seem odd. So, I’ll explain what I mean.

As I’m creating a character, that is what he/she is—a creation in my head, a piece of fiction or an image that does not exist. Sometimes, it isn’t even an image, but rather, an idea in a shapeless, faceless, voiceless form. My characters usually transpire from a concept. I wouldn’t call it a plot because it is too vague and abstract. For example, it may be something as simple as a person laughing on a porch. I’ll start thinking about the porch, the kind of furniture there. Is it in the country or city? What season is it? Is it day or night? As the scene begins to flush itself out, that’s when the character develops. What kind of person would sit on this porch? Is it a man or a woman? What is he/she wearing? What does this character physically look like? Eventually, the character is given a name, but I don’t put much stock in that. I usually change a character’s name five, six, fifteen times before I settle on one that I believe is fitting to his/her personality. Because at this stage in writing, names aren’t important, and they will come in time.

What’s interesting, though, is sometimes I will write an entire story, and I’ll have a vivid picture of this character in my mind. Then, while I’m out gallivanting around town, I will see a living, breathing, walking person who I’ve never laid eyes on previously, and that person will be the spitting image of one the characters in my mind.

That recently happened after I completed Ice Gladiators and had sent it for editing. I kid you not, I was sitting in bed, channel surfing late one night. I ran across a movie I’d never seen advertised (which isn’t all that shocking for me). The scene was of two business partners disagreeing, with one on the verge of a temper tantrum. I paused to watch the meltdown play out and determine if it would be something I’d be interested in occupying my time watching—and also to determine if I would be able to pick up on the plot since I’d missed no telling how much of the beginning. It did not take me long before I was hooked. A few scenes later, I literally stopped breathing for a second and had to blink. On the screen was my Liam Jolivet, in appearance and mannerisms. He even sounded like I thought my character would sound. It gave me a sense of deja vu. There wasn’t much off about the character on the screen and the one that imagined, other than their motivation and personalities. Well, personality is a big deal; so, allow me to clarify. Much of their personalities were the same—their easygoingness and playful nature. However, the screen character was far darker than the one I envisioned for my character of Liam. And my character was slightly more modern with a different motivation and outlook on life. So, the two characters were not replicas, but it just goes to show how real characters can become to the writers who create them.

There were no other similarities between the movie and Ice Gladiators. And honestly, this is not the first time I’ve experienced this. I’ve walked into coffee shops or looked over while waiting at a red light and have seen my characters’ doppelgängers. Rarely have I ever spoken to them. That’s really very weird, and if I have, I never deluge it. I mean, how would one work that into a conversation? Besides, it may freak the other person all the way out. Heck, it freaks me out. Plus, I wouldn’t want someone to get it twisted and believe that a character is based on him/her. As I said, in the case of my Liam character, Ice Gladiators had been submitted to the publisher for weeks prior to me seeing the movie. Not only that, I had never heard or seen the movie advertised until that night. I guess it’s no different from a screenwriter who creates a character and then the casting director finds an actor who embodies or is reminiscent of the character. It just sounds really bonkers when spoken aloud.

Now, I know some people are going to ask me what was the movie. Well, I’m not going to say because I do not want people to make comparisons between the two. I think that would only serve as a distractor to both stories. And as I said, the characters’ personalities are very different. They’re also one key physical characteristic that is different between the two as well. I would like to think of the screen character as my muse, but being that I didn’t see him first, that can’t be the case. I am slightly surprised that Liam was the character that I found, though. I would have guessed it would have been another character. But then again, I spent a great deal of time developing Liam. Although it is not seen in the story (because it didn’t have a place), he has a lengthy back history. His character is complex, and there exists a certain consistency to his behavior that makes him unpredictable. I know that sounds contradictory, but once Liam is seen in the story, it makes sense.

One of the things I frequently advise other writers when we’re having a conversation about writing is that before allowing anyone to edit, proofread, critique, or beta read is to know one’s character. I firmly believe and follow this. When a writer intricately knows his/her characters, that writer is better equipped to accept and apply critiques and criticism. That is because the writer knows what he/she wants to say and the only question is the application of how its expressed. When I saw the screen character, it made me confident that I truly heard my character’s voice and envisioned his style. I knew for certain how he should come across the pages to readers.

This brings me to another point. Some writers argue that authors should reframe from providing too much detail and allow readers to fill in details for themselves. That works for some writers, but not this chic. No, I don’t want a blank canvas or even a paint by numbers. I want the reader to see what I see. As the writer, I want to create a world that readers enter and simply enjoy. I’m not going to say there’s food on the table. I’m going to details the sights, aromas, feel, and tastes of the buffet. This does not mean I’m going to bog down a story with purple prose of useless fluff. But I’m not going to leave the reader wanting for anything, either. Since I tend to write deep point of view, the reader experiences what my main character experiences, and most people don’t exist in fill-in-the-blank environments.

If you’re a writer, have you ever seen one of your characters in real life this way? If yes, how did it feel? Where were you? What was the experience like? Have you ever discussed this experience with anyone? Were you surprised? Do you generally write characters about people you know or people you know of (e.g., actors, musicians, etc.)? Have you ever introduced yourself to a stranger who reminded you of one of your characters? Let me know your experience below by leaving a comment. I look forward to reading them.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love 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.

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

Writing resources:

Sports Romance Writing Tips: How to Write Sports Romance

All this month, I’m celebrating the release of my sports romance, Ice Gladiators. In the spirit of the release, I’m sharing posts of all my passions and how they are related in some way to Ice Gladiators. Regulars of Creole Bayou, my blog about anything and everything Creole and Cajun related as well as romance and writing, know that I dedicate the first Wednesday of every month to a writing-related post. I do not wish to disappoint today. Today, I thought I’d write about what I found useful in writing a sports romance.

Sports romance is something that I began writing about three years ago. It’s interesting because it was not my intention to write a sports romance initially; although, it did seem like the logical thing to do. What truly prompted me to attempt writing in this subgenre was I met a writer who stated he wrote rock fiction. I like to refer to it as music fiction because according to him, any type of music (e.g., classical, punk, blues, country, etc.) can be used and considered rock fiction. Basically, a story in this subgenre is based on a song or a cluster of songs, and the influence of the lyrics of that music can be seen throughout the story. This fascinated me.

Rock fiction entails more than being inspired by music. Therefore, writing rock fiction is much harder than it sounds. Music is the principle story even if is not apparent in the story’s plot. The characters may have the names of the musicians or the setting is a place sung about on the song. The title may even be the same as the music title. It’s all intricate, and I do not claim to be an expert. I attempted to write a rock fiction story and failed. The story turned out decent, but in the end, it wasn’t rock fiction, which just goes to illiterate again on another level how difficult fiction writing can be.

When I learned that music could be used to write stories this way, this further encouraged me to combine my two loves of romance and sports. I found this to be a niche for me and a genre that I could write organically. I have dabbled in multiple other genres for challenges and not all of them have turned out well. And while I believe a person could learn to write in any genre of choice, it’s my philosophy that writers tend to have natural talents in writing some genres. As the saying goes, they take to it like a duck to water. And I also will say that some writers have this natural ability to write in multiple genres. When I speak of natural ability, this is not to discredit or diminish education or learning. Many writers have discussed how they began writing in one genre but over time discovered they were better suited in another. However, that is slightly off-topic. My point was that learning about rock fiction solidified my ideas about combining the two passions that I love.

But prior to one jumping in to write a sports romance, there are a few guidelines to consider. Again, I would like to note that while some people use the terms guidelines and rules synonymously, there is a difference between the two. Guidelines are suggestions that are optional to follow. Rules are agreed upon standard practices by experts, lawmakers, and/or the general public that when deviated from will result in some type of consequence (e.g., fines, jail, criticism, rejection, etc.). These are more rigid. Grammar has rules. Writing stories, in general, mostly has guidelines. The following are guidelines that I have found to be useful.

  1. There is a difference between writing a story with an athletic main character(s) who falls in love and one where the sport has a role in the story. In other words, if you can change the character’s profession to any other profession and it makes very little difference, it isn’t a sports romance. For example, many 1950s family sitcoms portrayed a working father, stay-at-home mother, and 2-3 school children. The sitcom focused on the family. Although the father worked, many times the father’s job wasn’t specified or shown. That’s because it wasn’t crucial. In a sports romance, sports should have a part to make it noticeable in the story. Sports romances are, first and far most, a romance. Therefore, they follow all the normal rules of the romance genre. However, there are some differences that writers should be aware.
  2. It is important to know the sport you are writing about because your readers will. Funny aside. I began writing Ice Gladiator’s before I finished all of Defending the net final edits. I accidentally mixed up a detail about two of my characters. That minor mix-up caused me to write a line that broke a hockey rule. The rule was one that many readers wouldn’t have paid attention to, and it had snuck past a lot, including two editors. But one did, and I was busted. The silver lining is it was a beta who caught it. The correction involved changing two words.
  3. Knowing the sport really allows the story to sound more authentic. Readers want credible stories.
  4. That being said, if your work is fiction, there is room for creative license. For example, in you wanted to add a fictitious team to a national league, you can. If you want your favorite team who lost the playoffs to win, you can rewrite in your story that they did. Of course, someone may call you out for it. You can add and omit rules. It just has to clear to the reader that the change is intentional.
  5. While sports need to be present in the story, it does not need to dominate it. There must be a balance. If the sports overshadow the romance, then, it’s no longer a sports romance. It’s a sports story with a romantic subplot.
  6. Don’t make it too technical. Readers are coming for the romance. They may not be very knowledgeable about sports. Any noncommon sports jargon needs to be explained in order to avoid ostracizing readers. Use simple language and get through the explanation quickly. Readers want to feel included without feeling inadequate. However, don’t exclude all sports talk.
  7. On the flip side, do not dummy it down to the point of dribble. Readers do not enjoy feeling patronized. Do not assume your audience knows nothing or is a novice. Instead, consider that most are not “experts” but that they have a general knowledge of the sport.
  8. Have fun with it. People watch and participate in sports for entertainment. When writing a sports romance, the writes should have an equal amount of fun.
  9. Be sure that you acquire editors and betas who know the sport. If you make a mistake, then you want that to be resolved prior to publication.
  10. Have diversity in your players. They shouldn’t all sound the same. Avoid making them typical or a cliché. Allow them to be more than one note.

That wraps up this post. I hope that this information is helpful. Now, I’d like to know how many of you are writers of sports romance or are considering writing a sports romance. What is your favorite part of the genre? What are your dos and don’ts in sports romance? What is your favorite sport to see in sports romance? What sport have you not seen in a sports romance but are interested in seeing? Please leave your comments below. As always, I enjoy hearing from readers and will answer any comments or questions. Don’t forget to check out my giveaway that is going on this month. The details for entry are listed below.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love 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.

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

Resources

Ice Gladiators Blitz Q&A

I honestly had not expected to do a part three of behind the scenes of Ice Gladiators, but I received so many more questions, I felt that I had to answer. I am thrilled to have so many people interested, and everyone knows I aim to please. However, these questions were more general in nature than previous questions, and many of the answers are shorter. Therefore, this is more like a Blitz question and answer, which I found quite fun answering. That being said, let me hop to it and get this party started.

  1. What character was hardest to write and which was the easiest? I find that my lead characters are always the easiest to write. The more complex a character and the more time I spend writing them, the more they develop. The more a character is developed, the easier it is for me to write. I tend to write from a deep-person point of view. Some authors would say this is a very complex and complicated way to write. However, I find it the easiest. When I sit at my computer and begin pounding out the words, the scene may be difficult to make work the way I want it, and that becomes a struggle. But the characters I have down at that point. I’m in their heads. I know what they are going to do and say. What I don’t know is how the plot is going to pan out at that point. Yes, a plotter would, but everyone knows I’m a proud self-proclaimed panster, and that isn’t changing anytime soon. In Ice Gladiators, Taz was the easiest. The hardest was Pernell. The reason he was difficult was that he had a minor but important role. I did not want him to come across as one-dimensional, which is hard for any character that is only being shown for a limited time in a narrow role. In Ice Gladiators, there was no space for Pernell’s backstory or a glimpse into his home life. I dislike when a reader is left wondering why a character behaves a certain way. However, in life, some things are left unexplained or ambiguous. For others, there simply isn’t an answer. It is what it is.
  2. Which character is my favorite? If I consider this question to include all of my works, it is very difficult to answer. I enjoy developing characters. In fact, all of my stories are character-driven. I guess it I had an area of “specialty”, it is diving into the psyches of the characters I write. I enjoy complex characters that are diverse and have unique personalities. Not all are pleasant, but each is well-rounded. Sometimes, their complete backstories aren’t written in the text, but they each have one in my head as I develop and write them. With all of that being said, I believe in Ice Gladiators, my favorite character is Liam Jolivet. He’s such a good-hearted character with a streak of bad boy. His bad-boy persona does not fully emerge, but one gets a glimpse of it and can see he can truly mischievous. If considering all of my sports romances, the answer is far more complicated. I love characters, such as Nicco Bale and Semien Metoyèr, who steal the scene any time they are around. But I also love the characters who are a bit angsty and on the edge, such as Aidan Lefèvre and Brighton Rabalais. Then again, I’m a sucker for the sweethearts, such as Christophe Fortenot. However, by far the favorite character I’ve ever created cannot be named, yet, because he hasn’t been introduced anywhere, yet. However, he’s coming soon, so, just hang on for him a little while longer. I’ll give a hint, though. He’s in the project I not-so-lovingly referred to as “beast”. And no, the name has nothing to do with the subject matter and everything to do with editing.
  3. If I could be any one of my characters, who would I choose? Again, if this is a consideration for all of my stories, this would be difficult. Maybe impossible, decision. I think it would be easier to answer which character I would not want to be. I’ve created some vile ones in my day. They were good for the story but not anyone I would aspire to be. Yuck!
  4. What is the ship-name for Taz and Liam? I have no idea. I was thinking it would be Lata maybe. I couldn’t decide on a good one. I’ll let the readers come up with one.
  5. Are the characters modeled after anyone? Maybe very loosely some characters share some characteristics with persons I’ve encountered or met in the past and that I have shoved into my subconscious. Honestly, though, if this is the case, it is so convoluted I can’t tell you who any of the real people are. On the flip side, I sometimes see a photo of a person who is the physical embodiment of the character in my head. This is a chicken and egg moment for me. Did I see the photo and create the physical characteristics of the character, or had I created the character first? I think more often than not; it is the latter and not the former. But even if it is the former, due to my tendency to change my stories, by the end, the character becomes unrecognizable from the muse.
  6. Which do I prefer to write, the protagonist or the antagonist? I enjoy writing both. But I’ll confess, some of my antagonists after I’m done writing I’m thinking “Eww, that’s a person I’d like to shove in a black hole.” Some of them are not nice at all, but they are fun to read. And since I don’t like having characters with no redeeming qualities, I usually try to sneak in at least one. It doesn’t always work, but I do give it a genuine shot.
  7. What inspired me to begin writing? I have talked about this briefly in other posts, but I get asked this a lot, so I’ll give a quick synopsis here. I’ve always found writing as a therapeutic outlet for creativity. I was raised mostly around adults, and all I had for play was my imagination. Writing was both a time-consuming and solitary activity. My elementary school didn’t offer much in the way of the arts. Well, they did, but by the time I had come of age to participate, they had begun to fade away those programs. Plus, my parents were too busy to take me, and I wouldn’t have been able to participate anyway. I think that may be one reason as a parent, I have moved heaven and earth to be the parent that is always there and finding a way to make time for extracurricular activities.
  8. How long have I been writing? I can’t remember exactly, but I know I was young. In grade school, I would write short notes on holidays. These actually were poorly received by my family and led me to writing in secret and not sharing any stories. I was about fifth grade I believe when I wrote my first novel. It started out as a short story and turned into a trilogy. I still have it—all handwritten. I haven’t looked at it since I tucked it away all those years ago. Sometimes, I think I should revisit it as an adult and just see what I could do with it now. It’s a thought.
  9. What is my guilty pleasure? People closest to me probably would say milkshakes or ice cream. Some may even say chocolate. A close third would be makeup. I agree those are vices for me. However, I think perhaps my biggest guilty pleasure is Dooney & Burke purses. Okay, I’m going to need this company to block their website from my viewing. I love that brand. People used to say to me that I only like them because of the name, but no, that isn’t true. No joke, I can walk into a department store with no monikers above the brands and no insignias on the products, and my eyes immediately zone in on the D&Bs. It’s like I’m magnetically drawn to them. I’ll be across the aisle and see a purse on display. I’ll comment on how much I like the design, and when I inspect it closer, it’s a D&B. I went through a period when I refused to buy any just so I would have diversity in my purses. What ended up happening is that I didn’t purchase any purses for two years because I didn’t find any others that appealed to me. Finally, I admitted defeat and gave up. What really did me in was the D&B collegiate line. It was just pointless fighting it at that point.
  10. How long was I writing before I was published? I would guess about ten years or so if I count back to my grade school years. I was first published in college when I was a sophomore. I had a short story published in the college literary magazine. A few years after that I had works published in a professional organization in the poetry and short story section. My first novel came several years after my post-graduate studies, but I took a break from writing for personal reasons. When I returned, the industry had changed a lot in that time. Talk about snoozing and losing. But the break wasn’t a bad thing. When I returned, I felt I had better direction as a writer and was willing to explore more. Not only did I feel my work had matured in technique but also in content and style. So, it all worked out for the better.
  11. What’s my next project? How do I answer this? Honestly, I don’t know, and here’s why. I discussed this some time ago when I used to publish my quarterly goals. It was a fairly in-depth discussion, and nothing much has changed since then in regards to my plan. Several years ago, I had to shelf projects to meet other obligations and deadlines. I also had computer crashes that prevented me from completing some projects. In late 2017/early 2018, I made the decision that I would not take on any new projects (haha for wishful thinking) and would complete everything on my to-do list once I had fulfilled current obligations. My “beast” and “megabeast” were two projects on that to-do list. I decided to tackle “beast” first. I don’t know how wise that was, but I did. It took far more time than I had anticipated getting through it. But it is done. So, I guess that should be my next project. However, I have another project that is completed and ready to go. Only I don’t know how I want to approach it. It’s a shorter work, but I really enjoyed it. It is different than anything I’ve ever written before or since and completely transported me out of my element. The reason it was written specifically for a special collaboration event publication. The publisher decided to postpone the release and later canceled. Since it was promised to a publisher, I held onto it, because there was discussion to reconsider the project. In short, that may be the next project. But wait, there’s more. There is a third completed work that I was set back for such a stupid reason that I won’t even get into it. As with anything I allow to sit for any length of time, I will update. I would say I’m done with the possibilities, but nope. There’s a fourth WIP that was set aside. And if you think I’m finished, you’d be wrong. I know I said I wouldn’t take on any new projects, but another opportunity opened its door. So, there you have it. I have no shortage of what to do next. It may come down to a flip of a coin (or a couple of coins).
  12. What would I do if I couldn’t write? Besides, drive those closest to me insane? I’d probably adopt several dogs and play with them all day. Or maybe I would try my hand at flipping a house … or not. If I did a remodel, I probably wouldn’t sell once completed.

That’s it for this Q&A. If you have any more questions fire away. Either comment below or shoot me an email and I will be happy to respond.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love 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.

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

Resources

How to Buy Wine

Today, I thought it would be fun to discuss wine. In my new sports romance, Ice Gladiators, there are several scenes where the characters partake in having a glass of wine. And I must admit, I had a few glasses myself with my critique partners over the course of writing the story. Now, I’m no wine connoisseur. For one thing, wine goes straight to my head, and after a few sips, I’m done—which is strange since I do not have this same issue with cocktails, beer, or short. So, go figure. Therefore, I tend to shy away from wines. However, when it is my turn to bring a bottle to our critique meetings, I often (okay, always) show up with a bottle of Little Black Dress (LBD) in hand. (And no, this post is not sponsored in any way.) Usually, I show up with Diva Red but sometimes, I have the Merlot. (However, I’m really wanting to try their Rosé, which is neither here nor there and has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Back to the topic.) Diva Red is a great little go-to wine for this type of occasion. And it’s also a nice wine for me to celebrate Ice Gladiators release.

As I was sitting (yes, with a glass of wine on the desk) and considering what I wanted to write for today’s post, I was inspired by LBD packaging. The label has changed from when I purchased my first bottle. I don’t know which, the old or the new, I would say has a more “high-end” look about it. The wine itself is not very expensive, but I do enjoy the taste. (And again, I’m off-topic.) However, I do not think LBD is a wine most of my characters in Ice Gladiators would drink. Taz is more of a beer type of guy and wouldn’t care what was in his wine glass; although, he does have a very sophisticated taste palate. Liam, on the other hand, would be meticulous in his selection. He’d go for a Bordeaux or a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. (Talk about a writer getting into the heads of his/her characters.) In any case, I began thinking about the selection of wines and how I had to learn about buying wines, especially since my critique group told (no, demanded) me to surprise them at our next gathering. And this is what has led me today’s post on how to buy a whine. The following are some purchasing tips I was taught many years ago but that I still use today.

DISCLAIMER: Before I begin, I would like to disclaim that this post does not solicit or encourage underage. Please drink responsibly, and know your limits. If a person suspects that he/she has a substance abuse problem, please seek professional help. This post also is not sponsored in any way by any brands named. There are not affiliate codes attached, and I make no money or obtain any sort of financial gain or gifts from the mentioned brands.

  1. Shop for wine in a place that sells quality or specializes in wines. Grocery stores may not have the best tasting even if it is at a similar price point of wines sold at a winery or liquor store. This does not mean that a tasty or quality wine cannot be purchased from a grocery store. However, in a wine store, there will be a larger selection. Now, not every city may have a vineyard, but usually, there is a locale that specializes in selling wine or a really knowledgeable liquor store. If not, there are online wine clubs.
  2. Speaking of online wine clubs, they are an excellent way to learn what one likes. The Tasting Room sends a sample of six mini bottles of wine and creates a personalized wine profile for subscribers. Later, once it is determined what the subscribers like, full-sized bottles can be ordered. If interested, visit them at tastingroom.com.
  3. Do not be afraid or too embarrassed to ask others for help. Most sale clerks in liquor stores, wine shops, and restaurants that sell wine, know about the product and can make suggestions. Plus, they enjoy sharing what they know and taking about wines in general. They are an easy and excellent resource.
  4. Learn the wine language. This will help to communicate with clerks or wine experts.
    1. Weight/Body – this is the viscosity or thickness of a wine.
      1. Heavy-bodied: wine that is thick
      2. Light-bodied: wine that is thin
    2. Taste:
      1. Fruity,
      2. savory,
      3. bright/crisp,
      4. buttery/creamy,
      5. sweet/dry (NOTE: “Dry” has two meaning when it comes to wines)
        1. Dry can mean unsweet in taste
        2. Dry can leave a drying feel in the mouth
      6. Read wine reviews. There are many online sites that provide both expert and customer reviews about wines that may be helpful to shoppers.
      7. Keep in mind the occasion for which you are purchasing the wine. The type of wine purchased as a gift for an anniversary dinner for a boss may be different than one purchased for a casual evening being spent with friends at a backyard cookout. Some wines pair better with some foods than other wines.
      8. Keep a list of wines that you have tried and liked. This can be used as a reference in purchasing wines in the future. When creating this list, be sure to list the region (if known) of where similar wines are made. The types of grapes and the pH of the soil (in addition to how it is processed) affects how wines taste. Thus, the grapes and soil may be indicative of a specific region. This may mean a consumer may prefer the taste of wine from one region above another. Along with this, if you come across a wine that you enjoy, take a photo of the bottle/label to remember when shopping later.
      9. Speaking of lists, when going to purchase wine, take your list of favorites with you. If the store does not have a particular wine you want, showing the list to a clerk will give him/her a good idea of what the shopper likes and wants.
      10. Just as one should not judge a book by its cover, one should not judge a wine by its label. A fancy label is not indicative of quality wine. A wine with a less fancy or simple label may be of high quality. Some startup wineries may be investing all of their money in products and have a small budget for packaging. Therefore, they may have a great product but not so stellar labels. But ask yourself. Which would you prefer? An astonishing label with a not so tasty wine, or a fabulous wine with a dud of a label. Of course, if the wine is being given as a gift, the appearance of the label plays a more important factor in those instances.
      11. Do not assume one must spend a lot of money or make the piggy bank squeal to obtain a quality wine. Many affordable wines (especially French, Italian, and Spanish brands) are very tasty. Along a similar line, it is helpful/useful to have a budget of the amount one wants to spend prior to going to wine shopping. Do not be discouraged from or ashamed for selecting a less expensive wine.
      12. Take advantage of wine tasting if they are available. That allows one to experience a variety of wines and determine likes and dislikes. Some wine tasting events are free, while others have an admission fee. The admission fees vary according to event/host.

Those are the tips I have to share. I hope you have found this useful or enlightening. Now, it’s my turn to ask what you think. Are you a wine drinker? What are some of your wine buying tips? What is your favorite wine? Have you ever attended any wine tasting events? If yes, where and what was your experience. Besides wine, what is your favorite spirit? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below. Also, if you would like to have me write more posts like these, let me know that as well.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey romance series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love 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.

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

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click https://genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com/newsletter/ and signup today.

And speaking of GIVEAWAYS, be sure to enter my current giveaway on Instagram. Just go to my Instagram page for all the details. The link is listed below. Feel free to share this post and tell all of your friends.

Follow me on social media. (Pick a media, any media)

If social media isn’t your thing, you can hit me up in email at genevivechamblee@yahoo.com

Resources