How to Self-Edit

Self-editing is a task that I absolutely have a love-hate relationship. I love knowing that at the end of the process, I will have a much better story. And of course, my main aim is to produce quality work. I despise it because it is tedious and, at times, seeming impossible. It can be a daunting job to tackle. In fact, some writers get so entangled in editing that it is the sole reason for them never completing their novel.

I need to stop here and point out that there are different types of edits and different styles of editing. There is no right or wrong other than omitting it completely. That’s a no-no. Some writers choose to edit as they go. Some choose to edit at the end. Some do a hybrid. What I’m writing about today is the process of self-editing. Self-editing should not be the only editing that a writer does. I realize that hiring an editor is expensive, but think of it along the line of having your car serviced. There’s nothing that says a person cannot change his/her own car oil. Having a professional do it is simpler in many ways. For shorter works, only doing self-edits may be feasible or even wise. However, professional editing versus self-editing is a controversial discussion for another day.

I’ve previously written posts about editing. Those have been some time in the past. I’m sure that much of the information may be repeated, but I’m sure that new stuff is included here. Also, a refresher never hurts.

Briefly, let’s discuss the type of book editing. (NOTE: The types of editing are listed in alphabetical order and not necessarily in the order that most writers do them. It also should be noted that some will argue that there is no order for these edits to be conducted or that all of them are necessary. However, it makes practical sense that some types of edits occur before other types of edits. Otherwise, the writer will waste time doing double work. For example, what is the point of doing line edits when the entire section of work needs to be deleted/omitted?) Furthermore, the following list of types of edits are not exhaustive. However, these are some of the most common ones.

  1. Copy Editing/Text Editing: This type of edits focuses on ensuring clarity and consistency by looking at issues such as capitalization errors, filler words, grammar, dangling participles, dialogue tags, industry-standard writing style (APA, CMoS, MLA, etc.), pacing, passive voice punctuation, sentence structure/parallelism, spelling, story inconsistencies, typos, verb tense, and word usage. This list is not exhaustive.
  2. Developmental Editing. This also is commonly referred to as structure editing. Developmental editing usually occurs at the onset of a writing project. This heavily focuses on plot and direction an idea to help shape it into an organized story.
  3. Fact-Checking: This is exactly what it sounds like. This type of editing may be covered in other types of edits, but sometimes, it is good to do this as a separate edit. When a writer focuses on one aspect, he/she is likely to find more errors or items that need to be corrected. Quick aside: I once was working on two manuscripts at the same time. In the process, I accidentally mixed up a character’s age. It seemed to be a small thing, only the error caused another aspect of the story to be factually inaccurate. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have caught this error, but I’m sure readers would have. It was a significant goof on my part. Luckily, my fact-checker caught this.
  4. Formatting: Again, this is self-explanatory. A formatting edit focuses on the manuscript looking the way it should. This edit is especially important when a manuscript has been edited by multiple people. It is easy for a tab to be hit or button click that causes a formation error. A tip I use to assist with formatting issues since I write in MS Word is that I turn on formatting symbols. At first, I found this feature to be annoying. But as I advanced in my writing, I’ve come to appreciate that it helps me quickly see extra spaces, inadvertent page breaks, and other formatting problems. For example, if I’m having difficulty with a section, I may put it in red or bold. When I get ready to turn it off, I may not select everything. Then, when it prints or I add something, it’s the wrong color or font.
  5. Line Editing: This is very detailed work that examines a story’s content and flow in-depth the content. This carefully scrutinizes characterization, pacing, and the point of view from which the story is told. A line edit is an equivalent to a microcopy edit. If this edit is done properly, it can elevate a story from good to great.
  6. Proofreading: Proofreading is the last edit that is performed typically. This occurs when the manuscript has been finished and is about to be submitted for publication. The purpose of a proofread is to identify any typos, inconsistencies, and/or formatting issues before the novel is printed. Consider this the last call of writing that ensures that every possible mistake is found and corrected.

Now, that the type of edits has been identified, it’s time to look at how to go about self-editing. The best way I know how to do this is to discuss my self-editing process. Editing is one of those things that is very personalized. Each writer will need to determine what works best for him/her.

Keep in mind that I’m a panster. That makes a difference in the order and how I edit. For me, a developmental edit isn’t something that I do initially. I write the first draft. Most times, I write scenes as they come to me which means the first draft usually isn’t in the order it needs to be. So, it’s only until I have the complete first rough, rough draft to I attempt a structure edit.

I do light copy edits as I write. For example, if I complete a chapter, I may read through it and correct typos, grammatical errors, or note errors in pacing or plot. I also write notes about what needs to be added or deleted or something to keep in mind. Something I recently started to do is to write down the characters’ names. I have this habit of changing a character name, and when I get to the end, I may have multiple names for the same character. I also do this for location. By having this list, in the end, I can do a search and replace. It makes life easier.

By this stage, I do another structure edit. This time I’m looking for pacing and if I created new plot holes after shifting around the text. I look at flow and chapter transitions. I check to ensure that I’ve included all key elements that I want to be included and be sure that I have all the necessary story beats. I don’t have to have any of this perfected at this point. I only need it to be workable. At this point, I’m still working in sections, and I’m noting any problem areas that I don’t have an immediate solution. By the end of this, I should have a true first draft.

Here is where I differ from many writers. Now, would be the time for my first read through. If the structure is good, I do a very heavy-handed copy edit. I refer to this as a line-by-line edit. Basically, I look at everything. I clean up as much as I find, whether it be grammatical mistakes, formatting issues, plot holes, character development, or whatever. This is the version that I will use as the foundation. I won’t make major changes to the structure or the characters. If I were a plotter, this would be my outline. All essential elements will be in this draft. I critique every sentence. This perhaps is the most brutal of all of my edits. But I don’t do just one line-by-line read through. I make several passes, evaluating if the changes that I made work. My line-by-lines tend to be in some people’s opinions as “obsessive.” I usually make more than a dozen passes, each pass focusing specifically on a certain aspect. For example, one pass I may be looking closely at the dialogue. Another pass I may be focused on location descriptions. Here is when I stop counting my draft numbers.

After the line-by-line, I do another overall structure edit. This is to ensure that I didn’t accidentally shift or delete something crucial to the overall plot while being nitty-gritty with everything else. I check for inconsistencies and most of all fluff and flow. If I’ve done everything as I should, this is the easiest of my editing, and I am able to quickly move on.

The next step for me is fact-checking and polishing. I refer to my notes and reach out to critique partners to ask questions. For example, I wrote a story that the protagonist was a firefighter. I contacted someone I knew who worked at the fire department to double-check if what I had written sounded authentic. Polishing, as I like to call it, is when I go in with my personal touches. This is when I make the writing sound like me. It’s getting deep into character and breathing life into the words on paper. This is the most fun of the edits.

After the polishing, I do several more line by line. For these, I use a check sheet. There are some errors that I make no matter what I do. I specifically check for those mistakes as well looking to pick up any others. (Search and replace is my friend!)

Finally, I tackle formatting, but I need to be honest. I’m probably very loose on this. I mean, I do clean it up as best as I can, but generally, by this time, I’m sick of looking at my manuscript. I can’t see any errors because my mind is allowing me to see what I want to see whether it is there or not. In short, I’m incapable of seeing my mistakes. I’m more relaxed on this edit, only because I know it will be heading to a professional editor at the publisher.

I’m traditionally published, and my manuscript will go through several professional edits by different editors. Typically, it will have a structure edit, two copies (at minimal), one fact (usually mixed in with the structure), one formatting, and two proofs (one from the editor and the final from me.)

Hopefully, reading my editing process will help other writers discover a writing process that works best for them. Again, editing is very personalized. So many writer friends have told me that my way of editing would never work for them. A plotter friend told me that if I outlined, I wouldn’t need to do so many passes. WHATEVER! I say to him, “Mind your business.”

Let me know in the comment section about your editing process. Was this post helpful?

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 Develop a Writing Plan

It’s been a while since I did a writing post, and I figure I’m a bit overdue. Actually, I’m probably overdue on a lot of things, and I’ll be doing a bit of catch up here, soon. However, today what I would like to focus on is how to develop a writing plan.

A writing plan is simply an outline or statement about what a writer hopes and expects to accomplish. Consider it a detailed syllabus of what is to happen with one’s writing. It’s probably best to write this down somewhere (electronically, pen and paper, audio, or a combination) just to serve as a reference and a reminder. How long or detailed a writing plan depends on the writer. However, the more detailed the better. The important thing to remember about a writing plan is it is a guideline and not an absolute. It can be altered whenever necessary. It also does not have to always be followed in order or on a specified timeline. There is much flexibility in a writing plan. However, caution should be given that if one strays often and consistently, then the writing plan likely is not going to be very helpful. If one finds himself/herself regularly drifting from the writing plan developed, chances are the plan needs to be revised or restructured to better fit the writer’s needs.

  1. The first step in developing a writing plan is defining what the writer hopes the writer should make a list of all the things one hopes to accomplish and the writer’s definition of success. Will one define success by sales, accomplishment, readership, completion of a manuscript, etc.
  2. The second step is brainstorming. This means making a list of what must be accomplished in order to achieve step number one. Things listed here could be daily writing goals, procuring writing materials (e.g., computer, flash drives, dictionaries, writing guides, etc.). It may also include identifying locations to write or times that one can write. It could include compiling a list of writing competitions or professional writing organizations to join.
  3. Third, set realistic goals. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what is realistic and what isn’t. Therefore, it is best to start small and work from there. A beginning writer may not have hours each day to write. Therefore, he/she may need to settle for writing an hour a day.
  4. Once the first three things are done, the writer should create a way to hold himself/herself accountable for adhering to the writing plan. In the past, I used to publicly post my quarterly writing goals on my blog. To avoid embarrassing myself, I did strive to meet those goals. The reason I stopped writing those posts was that my goal timeline conflicted with my posting timeline. Therefore, my goal updates were always going up late and looking confused. However, it did work well for a while. Currently, I use my critique group to hold me accountable. I tell them what I’m working on and what I expect to accomplish. When I’m slacking, I get phone calls, emails, and texts lighting a fire under my feet to get moving. A friend writes a contract to herself, and in that contract, she makes restrictions on herself for not meeting goals. She also rewards herself for meeting goals.
  5. Next, set a schedule of when you’re going to work on your writing goals. Not having a solid plan is the best way not to fulfill goals. It’s too easy to push things to the side and not work on them without some type of schedule. The schedule does not have to be rigid, but it does have to exist.
  6. In addition to a schedule, one needs to make a note on that schedule of deadlines. Using a calendar is extremely helpful in making a visual of when events need to occur and to avoid being sidetracked by other projects. It is easiest to note deadlines first and then prioritize what needs to happen around those deadlines.
  7. Write down ideas. Many times, a good idea will come at an inopportune time. By the time you’re able to begin writing, the idea or motivation is lost. Having a place to quickly jot down ideas allows one to have something to reference at the time that is more convenient for writing. I use a notebook to write in when I can’t use my laptop or phone. If I’m driving, I use the recording app on my phone. There’s no rule that dictates one can’t utilize multiple ways of tracking ideas and thoughts.
  8. Some writers are able to multitask. However, for many, it is beneficial to focus on one project at a time. Many full-time writers split their day into areas. For example, the first three hours may be spent editing a manuscript that has been completed. Then the next three hours may be dedicated to writing new material. The next three hours may focus on marketing. And the remainder of the writing day may be spent on all the other things associated with writing such as responding to readers, updating social media, cover art, itemizing for taxes, ordering writing supplies, researching, etc.
  9. Do the research. Be sure to include research in the writing plan. Many good stories fall short of being great stories due to a lack of research. Think about books or movies when you come to a section and are thrown by something in the text that isn’t plausible or is known to be incorrect. Details can yank a reader straight from the story. This is not to say that writers do not have artistic freedom or creative license. However, it has to make sense of the story.
  10. Look at what other writers use as their writing plan and modify it to meet your own needs and requirements. There are many videos on YouTube of writers imitating the writing plans of popular/famous writers. For instance, there are videos that use J.K. Rowling’s method of writing. The problem is that this works for J.K. Rowling. It may not work as well for other writers, especially writers whose primary source of income does not come from their writing. But again, writing plans are intended to be flexible and should always be personalized. Therefore, it is possible for a writer to use another writer’s writing plan as a guideline to create one that is personalized.
  11. Update frequently. A writer should be sure to keep writing plans updated. The world is constantly changing. Writers need to adapt. Equally important is writers grow. Their growth may warrant a new writing plan. For example, one of my favorite subgenres to write is sports romance. I have written several around hockey. Over the years, the rules of hockey have been changed by the sports commission to make the game safer for players. Stories that I wrote ten years ago could not be published in today’s market unless they were published as retro stories. There is nothing wrong with writing period pieces as long as they are identified as such. Consider the comic, Superman. In the 1950s, Clark Kent dashing into a phonebooth to don his superhero ensemble is not as plausible in 2020 as most places no longer have public phones due to the invention and commonplace of cellphones. Additionally, the public phones that do remain, many are freestanding and not in a booth.
  12. Writers should research all the elements that need to be included in a writing plan. Writing as a hobby and writing professionally is different. Likewise, writing short stories is not the same as writing novels. The industry standards and guidelines often are different for the various genres and types of writing. Thus, when developing a writing plan, these guidelines should be considered so that all elements are included.
  13. Writing plans do not have to be perfect. Spending too much time on developing a writing plan may be counterproductive. The purpose of a writing plan is to act as a guideline to assist writers in writing. However, if all a writer’s time is devoted to perfecting a writing plan, that writer is not spending time writing.

So, those are my tips for developing a writing plan. I hope they are helpful? Tell me what tips you have in writing your plans? Are there things I missed? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Also, 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.

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 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. Keep safe.

Finding Happy Employment

Ask an author what is the most frustrating thing about being a writer, and he/she likely will say that people devalue the profession and think anyone can do it. Writing is a very difficult and complex discipline. The really good writers only make it appear simple. It’s a job, craft, and skill like any other means of employment. There is a difference between someone who writes as a hobby and a professional writer. When a person makes a living from writing, he/she must put in as much time and effort as a traditional nine-to-five job, even if they work a day job. Basically, those writers have two jobs, and they must find ways to divide their time to give their writing adequate attention.

No, writing isn’t like a job that requires physical labor. That doesn’t make it less of a job. Most accountants, attorneys, and computer software developers aren’t required to perform extraneous physical labor. Yet, their jobs are very real. Books aren’t going to write and edit themselves. It takes time, self-motivation, flexibility, and the ability to wear multiple hats. Many people begin writing a book but never finish, and many more proclaim they will write a book but never start.

Writing is an art like painting, dancing, acting, or singing. I like to think of it as the outward illustration of creativity that has been shaped and developed either formally or informally. I write because I enjoy storytelling and entertaining others. I love bringing a smile, giggle, or even cause a person to blush. In a world where so much goes wrong and many negative events headline the news, I enjoy being a part that brings a sliver of happiness. I had one beta to tell me my character was an expiative and she hated him. I howled with laughter and did an air fist-pump. This brought me so much job because it meant I had gotten it right. The character was intended to be dislikable. He was the antagonist. The reason she disliked him was because of his actions towards the protagonist, which meant she was relating and sympathetic to the main character. My writing provoked emotion in her. That is a writer’s success. There is no better feeling and makes all the frustrations associated with writing worth it.

Another thrilling aspect of being a writer is being able to meet the readers. Oh, I know this may sound cliché, but for me, it really is the most. This is such an awesome experience that I can’t express it in words. I’m an extrovert; thus, I enjoy meeting people any day of the week. Meeting fellow booklovers is amazing. Each reader has a different experience. It is exciting to hear how each has interpreted a story and hearing their stories. When readers communicate the types of stories that they want me to tell, the connection allows me to become an improved writer in the future. After the release of Defending the Net, readers informed me they wanted more action and bigger passions. In Ice Gladiators, I responded to the feedback. I do what I do for my readers. But it’s not just my stories I want to discuss with readers. I enjoy listening to them tell me about their lives, passions, and hobbies.

If I’m unable to meet readers in person, the next best thing is when they reach out to me on social media. Now, I don’t profess to be the most computer savvy person. I used to be decent at it, but I declare, I believe all my electronic devices have declared mutiny in the last year. Emails disappearing and going to spam is a regular headache. Therefore, it may take several days before I discover emails or messages to reply to, but I do reply once I find them.

Another fun aspect of being a writer is just learning to horn the craft. Writer workshops and conferences are great experiences. They allow me opportunities to meet my writing peers as well as gain skills to enhance my writing. Writing can be an isolated profession if one allows it to be. It’s refreshing to be able to share with others who are making a similar journey.

Being a writer has what I call happy perks. If I’m having a horrendous day where everything is sourer than the inside of a pig’s belly, I can create a world to escape to on my computer. I can type out frustrations, rewrite real live situations to have positive outcomes, or add laughs to depressing situations. After all, what are books than small manmade fabrications that allow readers and writers to temporarily divert their attention to something more pleasant or to alleviate boredom? In this day and time, many could use some diversion and positivity. Lately, much of social media has not been anything pleasant—filled with death, dying, and ghastly tales. Some people purposely stooping to publishing sensational lies or misinformation for profit. Now, I’m not speaking of any type of political conspiracies or personal views. I discussing people who are mean, borderline evil, on any given day of the week. I have a coworker who never checks her sources before reposting articles on social media. For example, she’d post articles about celebrity deaths, businesses closing, and chain letters. Many of these posts contain links to harmful spyware or computer viruses. When called out on these posts, her response is always, “I just reposted.” She always fails to accept responsibility for her part in spreading these harmful posts. What’s worse is that she refuses to stop.

She’s also one of the persons who read the title of posts but never read the content. She’s actually reposted some pretty foul stuff. When accused of supporting something awful, she’s quick to say, “Oh, I don’t know about all that,” and blows it off as being not important. I know this about her, so I never share anything she posts, even in the event that the information may be accurate. It’s important to be diligent in maintaining integrity and truth.

Fiction allows one to drift into fantasy or land of make-believe with no detriment to others. Readers understand from the beginning that what they are reading is created. It is clearly communicated that the events are not real and the imaginary world of words that they enter allows them to be transported from their real-life problems even if only for a short period of time. Books and stories can offer hope and reprieve. I enjoy being able to create works of fiction in my novels as well as provide self-help tips in my blogs. And feel free to discuss how you’re feeling in the comments. The bayou is a community of supporters.

What do you find most rewarding in your profession? What helps you to escape? Let me know in the comment section. Also, if there is a topic you would like to see covered, please let me know.

And also, don’t forget to check out my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series.

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.

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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 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 how I write, my stories, and my 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.

Copies of my romance short stories, anthologies, books, and novels are available in paper, eBook, and audio on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The links are listed on my Writing Projects page (http://bit.ly/2iDYRxU) along with descriptions of each of my stories or novels.

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.

Don’t forget to visit Creole Bayou. New posts are made on Wednesdays, where no Creole, Cajun, or Louisiana topic is left unscathed. Plus, get how-to self-help tips, how to writing tips, and keeping the romance alive and fresh suggestions. 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.

Finally, take the fear out of rush/pledging. If you or anyone you know are interested in joining a college Greek life organization, check out my special series posted each Monday for everything you wanted (and didn’t want) to know about college fraternities and sororities. In these posts, you will find information about both formal and informal recruitment for both NPC and NPHC organizations. Don’t know what NPC and NPHC are? No problem. It’s all explained in this series. This series also provides loads of information for parents who are unfamiliar with the processes, what is expected of parents, and how to be supportive. Visit Sorority Bible Table of Contents to view any or all of these posts.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

How to Survive Being Single in a Couples’ World

Today’s post has been a difficult one to write. When researching, I found this was a very polarizing topic—in that people have one of two opinions with no gray in between. Usually, it’s the shady gray that creates the problem. In this instance, it’s the absence of it that is the issue. I’ve changed my mind multiple times about posting—hence, why it’s late. But here goes. Today, I broach the sticky subject of being single in a couple world. Hang on, cause this ride is bumpy.

First, it should be put out there that not all people (and yes, this does include women) want to be a part of a duo. I’m not just talking about marriage. Some people do not want to date or to be in any kind of romantic/intimate relationship. There seems to a very popular assumption that every woman wants to have a huge fancy wedding that will submerge her into debt for the next fifty years, pump out an army of babies, and live in the suburbs with a white picket fence and Labrador Retriever. I mean, who doesn’t love Labs? But it’s not everyone’s dream to own one. There are some people who are perfectly satisfied, not only not being in a relationship but not dating at all. And this leads to the first series of dilemmas.

Coupled people often feel compelled to match their single friends with other single friends no matter how horrible the match. They are convinced a single person cannot be happy because well, people are meant to be social. Next dilemma: people are social.

It cannot be denied that many single people desire to be a part of a couple. Even people who are not distressed by not being a couple half may want “coupledomness” in order to simplify their lives. Face it, single people often can be made to feel like third wheels or defected. You may know the pity-look one gets when dining alone in a restaurant—the “oh, poor dear” or “how unfortunate” stare. The awkwardness of being alone in a room filled with couples may cause some singles to forego some events. A friend said to me that she dreads attending Sunday worship. She stated that when she looks around all she sees are pews of families expressing their love and devotion to each other while she sits alone. Although the fellowship is not the main reason for her attendance, she admits it does sap some of her joy to feel isolated in a place filled with so many. She further stated there a part of service where everyone turns to give a blessing to each other. Families and couples turn and embrace each other while she stands waiting until they are done. “There’s always an emphasis to celebrate family. The problem is not everyone has family, and, as a result, not everyone feels included in the ‘church family.’”

Some of the real issues come when a person is single not by choice but by circumstance. A former coworker stated that all her greatest desire in life was to have a family of her own. When she turned forty, she began to sink into a depression because she did not believe she would have the opportunity to become a mother. In this day and age, being single is not a damnation of being childless. There are options. However, she stated that she wanted to do it the “traditional” way with a two-parent home and that she would not be able to afford to raise a child alone. A few years later, she began experiencing health problems that resulted in a hysterotomy. She was devastated. She’d never been married and had clung to the hope that dream would be fulfilled. She’d had a few relationships, but the one serious one had occurred when she was in her late teens. Because they had been so young and life was budding for both of them, the relationship failed. She often looked back in regret, stating that likely had been her only chance. We all reassured her that this couldn’t be the case. We were wrong. She died suddenly of cardiac arrest. Her dream of being a bride never came to fortition. She wasn’t even fifty. Some said she died broken and longing.

Now, some critics would argue she should have had bigger dreams than a husband, children, and home. But who is anyone to judge another and dictate their dreams? This was a woman who had struggled and despite putting herself through college and helping her younger siblings pay for their education as well, she struggled to make ends meet. She didn’t live above her means. She didn’t desire riches and prestige. She wasn’t above working menial jobs to pay bills. That’s not to say that she never had days that she desired more. However, what she expressed the most was having a modest home with a loving family, something that she, as a child, only had partially.

In the following years, I have met others (both men and women) who have that same desire. On romcoms or movies, it’s often shown singles who are beautiful, bubbly, and hugely successful but who just haven’t met the right person in a town with decent prospects. In interviewing singles that I know, what I heard most often are the words “ordinary” and “limited.” One person told me when she first moved to town, everyone was already “coupled-off.” She stated in the conservative Bible-belt town there were no bars, and internet dating was frown upon. But even if she deviated and took to social media to find a love interest, paid dating sites did not have matches for her within fifty miles or more. And that brings me to the next dilemma: region.

Region is a big one. This is the one that I heard the most complaints. A mutual acquaintance put it eloquently by stating, “It’s ironic how the haves believe they are superior enough to spout the rules for the have-nots. They encourage not to be impatient because love will come when they’ve been comfortably married for twenty years. They say that it’s morally wrong to engage in premarital sex to satisfy innate, carnal needs while they wallow in sexual bliss with their spouses. For all the things they tell me to don’t or wait, they do and have. When they live my life, then they can tell me all about it.”

Another mutual acquaintance expressed her distaste for the view of single life from couples. According to her, the old adage of “It’s better to have lost at love than never to have loved at all” has been flipped. “My friends all tell me it’s better that I’ve never been in love because I’ve never experienced being hurt. They tell me that my fate has preserved me for someone very special. It’s a crock, and I don’t know if that is to make me feel better or because they are so jilted. Not to have been in love also means not to have experienced being loved. While it may not have worked out for them in the long haul, there was no period of time in that they were happy. And had the relationship ended at that time, say do to the death of their partner, they wouldn’t be calling foul. They would cherish that time. But instead, because it went beyond that time of bliss, they chunk it all and call it garbage. I’ve nothing to chuck—not the good or the bad.”

So, it comes to this when being single.

  1. Make yourself happy by following your dreams that do not involve having a significant other.
  2. Be sure to have single friends as well as those in couples. Those friendships will give you an alternative to being that extra, undesired wheel.
  3. Make choices for yourself. Listen to that inner voice despite what others say. Not all advice is good advice. And even good advice may not be the best advice to you. A cousin of mine wanted to be a musician. He quit his job at the postal service to pursue this path with much criticism from family and friends. He didn’t find his fame and fortune in the music industry and eventually returned to the postal service. Of course, he was met with an overwhelming number of “I told you so.” Yes, he failed (kind of). But what would his life have been like if he’d never attempted to seek his dream? BTW, on the local level, he’s still involved in the music industry. He has a small band that performs in local clubs and private events. The advice to have a steady job was not unsound. However, it was not the best advice for him.
  4. Do not be afraid to take chances. Even if the prospects do not look promising, it’s never a done deal until the ink is dry. That blind date that sounds disastrous may be a frog prince or princess. (Or he/she just may be a toad.)
  5. Keep your private life private. Yes, it’s good to have people to discuss your problems with. However, once you discuss these problems these people know. So, don’t be surprised when you hear about it later and have it thrown smack dab in yourself. Don’t be hurt when you’re reminded how the person lied or cheated on you or how you were embarrassed by something that happened. Also don’t be shocked if they mention it to their spouse, or worse, the person you’re involved with. If you’re compelled to confide in someone, ensure your confidant is trustworthy with tight lips and little judgment.
  6. Have a bucket list so that you are not focused on just one thing.
  7. If you’re a person who wants to be in a relationship but is not, understand that you must be proactive in making that happen. This may mean venturing outside of your comfort zone. Go to places where other singles may be.
  8. If you’re not a person who wants to be in a relationship, do not feel pressured by family or friends to enter into one. Move at your own pace. Repeatedly explaining you’re happy being alone is probably a waste of breath. Demonstrate your happiness by doing all the things that make you happy and leaving no time for your family and friends to meddle.
  9. Be accepting. A devote religious person once said to me that God hears all prayers but he sometimes says “no.” If it’s not meant to be, move on to something else. This is the time to have that Plan B and move forward. Don’t dwell and die of a broken heart like my former coworker.

And that’s it for today. What did you think? Did you find any of this helpful or relatable? If so, let me know in the comments.

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.

ICE GLADIATORS

The games begin when the gloves come off.

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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 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.

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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

Copies of my romance short stories, anthologies, books, and novels are available in paper, eBook, and audio on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The links are listed on my Writing Projects page (http://bit.ly/2iDYRxU) along with descriptions of each of my stories or novels.

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.

Don’t forget to visit Creole Bayou. New posts are made on Wednesdays, where no Creole, Cajun, or Louisiana topic is left unscathed. Plus, get how-to self-help tips, how to writing tips, and keeping the romance alive and fresh suggestions. 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.

Finally, take the fear out of rush/pledging. If you or anyone you know are interested in joining a college Greek life organization, check out my special series posted each Monday for everything you wanted (and didn’t want) to know about college fraternities and sororities. In these posts, you will find information about both formal and informal recruitment for both NPC and NPHC organizations. Don’t know what NPC and NPHC are? No problem. It’s all explained in this series. This series also provides loads of information for parents who are unfamiliar with the processes, what is expected of parents, and how to be supportive. Visit Sorority Bible Table of Contents to view any or all of these posts.

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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~

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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