The Wedding(s) of the Century

Hello Friends!

Wedding weekend extravaganza is officially over. Joe and I were married this weekend…

Or were we?

That’s right, we had a bit of a surprise during our ceremony.

But now the cat’s out of the bag, and you all can be in on it too! During the wedding, we showed a slideshow, and today I’d like to share it with all of you! (It’s 7 minutes long, so those wanting to jump to the really good part, should fast forward to 4:30ish.)

*All music composed and/or arranged by Joe Gantzer, except the Greek song, all vocals by Joe Gantzer and Jess Witkins.

 

 

The Highlights and Hiccups of our Grecian Honeymoon

I’m baaaaaaaaack!

Kah-lee-MER-ah, Everyone! (That means ‘good morning’ in Greek! And yes, I wrote it phonetically, because I do not have the Greek alphabet on my keyboard, nor would most of you be able to read it if I did not do so.)

Thank you to Misty and Deanne for keeping you all company while I was away!

Greece was magnificent! We thoroughly enjoyed our pre-wedding honeymoon (yep, it’s backwards thanks to Joe’s gig schedule, but I’m just happy we got to get away).

The Highlights:

We started in Santorini, which was breathtaking.

DSCN1062I would like to go back now please.

We stayed in one of the southern most cities, Akrotiri, which is the historical part of the island. It was quiet and scenic as our room overlooked the caldera, with Nea Kameni (the volano island) right in the middle.

This is what breakfast was like each day.

DSCN0832I miss breakfast in Greece.

We rented ATV’s a couple times and cruised all around the island, checking out the northern most city Oia (pronounced Eeh-ah), relaxed in Perissa on the Perevolos black sand beaches, and headed down to the southern tip where we watched the sunset from the rocks around the lighthouse.

DCIM100GOPROOia

DCIM100GOPROPerissa

DSCN1140Lighthouse

Our next stop was Athens. We left the beaches and wineries of Santorini for the Capital city. We got lost – in a good way – on the streets of the Plaka. We buzzed about Adrianou Street and ventured out to dine in street cafes where we listened to local musicians and stared up at the Acropolis.

On one of the hottest mornings of our trip, we trekked to the Acropolis. And it was totally worth the heat.

DSCN1188Behind us is the Parthenon – the Temple of Athena, Goddess of War and Wisdom, and whom Athens is named for. The temple was completed in 438 BC.

DSCN1193Just one view of the city of Athens. The population is estimated to be 10, 767, 827 people!

We visited the National Archeological Museum, the largest in the country. My favorite room showed the items and murals found in ancient Thira (Santorini) in the ruins of Akrotiri – an ancient trade port that was covered for centuries by volcanic ash and uncovered in the 1800′s. We walked the ruins in Akrotiri, and had to wait till we got to Athens to see the murals that were recovered there.

DSCN1289

Famous Mural – The Boxing Boys

Did you all read Deanne’s guest post about the Greek Changing of the Guard? We did see the Evzones.

DSCN1316

We had a date night at one of the most famous outdoor theaters, Cine Thissio, which was built in 1935.

DSCN1219

And of course, the FOOD was amazing!!!

DSCN0831DSCN0852DSCN0925DSCN1007DCIM100GOPRO

DSCN1303DSCN1365

The Hiccups:

1.)  Shockingly, I’m sure to you all, we only got kind of lost one and a half times. The first was after our ship docked in Piraeus and we had to find the metro to connect to Athens and check into our hotel. This was all after 9 o’clock at night, so it was dark out and there weren’t any signs for the metro that we could see.

We basically got there by meandering the city and following some other tourists for a bit, all while dragging our luggage along. We were hot, sweaty messes when we finally checked into our hotel. Oh…and I had what I thought was motion sickness, but ended up being vertigo, so I threw up a bunch that night!

2.) Yes, I got vertigo – actually still have vertigo – and that made touring Athens interesting. We had to take several breaks throughout the day for me to sit and cool down and start believing the walls and pavement were not in fact coming after me. For the record, vertigo sucks.

3.)  The second time we got lost was our first full day in Athens. We had a map of the city, which was in English, but once you venture away from the main streets of the Plaka, most street signs are only in Greek, so the map didn’t help a ton. And it was also 99,000 degrees Celsius. Yes, Celsius!

We were literally wandering inside the very mouth of Hades!

4.) And this one is minor, truly. But, I did get me some sun poisoning in Santorini. As any good ginger knows, being in too much sun will cause one to self combust, and sauntering all over that beautiful island caused my arms to break out in some form of minor hive-age.

I paid a visit to a pharmacy in Fira where a very kind Greek woman helped me purchase what I hope was Grecian benadryl and anti-itch cream. The “Greek-adryl” box was entirely in Greek and her only counsel on the drug was to take it for 5-6 days. I didn’t know the dosage or whether the stuff was non-drowsy or what, so I resigned to only taking it at bedtime, wherein I seemed to conclude that it was in fact the drowsy version. It worked wonders on our final flight home in which Joe tells me there was some serious turbulence and a lightening storm that I completely missed. :D

The anti-itch cream made me laugh as it was in Greek and Grenglish? My favorite part of the tube is where it read that the cream helps with “the itch of elderly people” followed directly by “contact with jellyfish.” It was most comforting to know that if I came in contact with either an old person or a jellyfish, I was covered itch-wise.

That’s our story! All in all, a very happy honeymoon!
As they say in Greece, “Cheers” or “Yah-mas!”

DSCN0873DSCN1041Ready to do a helmet wearing PSA if asked!

DSCN1067Yah-mas!

Beware Of Open Bars Near Your Open Bar

By Misty’s Laws

*****

Since Jess is about to embark on a journey of love and foreverness that many before her, including me, have taken (and somehow survived), I thought this might be a good time share my own wedding story, which might serve as a cautionary tale for her upcoming nuptials.

I was married on a rainy day in October, almost 12 years ago.  Leading up to that wedding, I was what could best be described as a dragon breathing, hair-trigger, insane beast . . . better known as a Bridezilla.  It happens to all of us.  I’m sure not Jess, of course, but pretty much everyone else.  I never thought in my life that I would be someone who stressed over details such as table
settings and flower arrangements, but there I was.

But a really strange and wonderful thing happened the day of the wedding.  I woke up and I had the weirdest feeling . . . complete and utter calm.  Today was the day and it was all over.  The planning, the stress, the details… everything was finished.  All that was left was to get married.  It was incredible.

Although I seemed very calm and happy, the people around me were wary of my new state of being.  They had experienced the monster I had become and were skeptical of my newfound peacefulness.  Hence, when we arrived at the hair salon and I realized that we had left my headpiece back at the hotel and asked my dad to run back to fetch it, they expected some type of rant or fuming state because of this mishap, and I watched as my bridesmaids and mom exchanged wary glances.  But
instead, I serenely sat and drank my mimosa, and patiently waited for it to arrive.

And despite the clouds and drizzle outside, I felt fine and knew it would be a beautiful day.  Some people say that rain on your wedding day is good luck, and I was convinced at that time of the truth of
this statement.

rain-on-wedding-day

When we returned to the hotel room to get dressed and ready for the wedding, there were a million people in the hotel room and I was starting to feel a bit claustrophobic.  It was the closest I got that
day to becoming annoyed.  But, instead of yelling and throwing a childish fit, I just took a breath and focused on getting into my dress.

Once everyone was ready to go, and the photographer had snapped a few “getting ready” shots, we went downstairs to catch the limo to the chapel . . . but it wasn’t there.  It was running late.  My maid of honor had the company on the phone and was very firmly explaining that this was unacceptable and that we couldn’t be late, but I just spent the time getting some more beautiful shots taken in front of the hotel.  I was still happy and calm.

The limo arrived soon after and we were off to the wedding.  By the time we arrived, the sky had cleared up and it was a beautiful day with a gorgeous blue sky above us.  The wedding itself went  smoothly, but I later found out that as we were doing a final prep before I walked down the aisle, somehow we got lipstick on the wrap I was wearing around my shoulders.  My bridesmaids wisely did not inform me of this, and instead just reconfigured the wrap to cover it up.  They told me later and I found it pretty funny.

The reception was wonderful . . . mostly.  However, all those little details that I had stressed over and meticulously planned?  I didn’t care at all.  People were eating, drinking, dancing, and having a great time.  And so was I.  Every once in a while, somebody would walk over and place a drink in my and my husband’s hands, but because we were always meeting and greeting with people, and then later dancing, we would usually set them down somewhere and forget about them, until someone brought us another.  This is to say that we weren’t drinking very much . . . at first.

Here is where we face our greatest problem of the day, and where I finally lose that zen-like calm.  It started the moment when my husband’s best buddies from high school realized that there was an
actual bar in the lobby of the hotel, directly outside our reception hall.  And when they decided to forego the open bar we had paid for for our wedding guests, and instead decided that they would go across the lobby and buy shots.  Mainly . . . mind-erasers.  These shots were then fed to my new husband, who drank them out of a sense of fun and responsibility, not because he’s a huge drinker.  A few of those bad boys, and it was all over.  Luckily, this was at the tail end of the night, but our last dance was not pretty, let me tell you.  I was holding him up as we clumsily swayed on the dance floor.

minderaserdrink1

Once the festivities were over, and we went to the front desk to get the keys to our honeymoon suite,  the night desk clerk was clueless as to what we were talking about.  In attempting to explain to him that we were the couple who just had the 4 hour reception in the room directly beside his desk, and that there should be a room waiting for us (supposedly filled with flowers, champagne and strawberries, per our prior request), he just looked at us blankly.  This was about the time when my extremely inebriated husband decided that he had had enough of this guy, and wanted to fight him.  So, we then had to hold him back and firmly place him on a couch across the lobby to chill out.  By the
time they found us a room (not the honeymoon suite, just a room), we were too tired to care.  One of us was about to pass out, as well, so you can imagine how exciting my wedding night was!

So, that is the story of my magical wedding day.  Mostly serene, until the very final moments.  To avoid this, I would suggest not having your wedding where there is a real live bar close enough for shot
purchases.  Either that, or put something in your wedding vows for Joe to recite, wherein he promises not to get wasted on your wedding night!  Mazel Tov and good luck!

MistyMisty is a lawyer by day, ninja by night.  At least one of those things are true.  Recently, she discovered that she is growing a baby ninja, and can’t wait until the baby starts training . . . inside her belly.  Misty sometimes finds the time to write about various inane subjects at her blog:  Misty’s Laws.

Are You Manly Enough to Wear Pom-Poms on Your Shoes?

By Deanne M. Schultz, @DMSwriter

*****

Now that Jess is gone for a couple weeks, it’s a good time to talk about pom-poms. Specifically the kind worn on the ends of shoes. If your grandma knitted her own slippers, she may have stuck pom-poms on the toes just for a sassy affectation, happy about the way they bobbled around as she did her housework.

For those of you who don’t know, Joe and Jess are on their honeymoon in Greece, and if they hit the right part of Athens, they’ll see men wearing pom-poms on their shoes. These guys goose-step around, too, which only adds to their allure. Thankfully there’s no ouzo involved.

When we were in Athens a few years ago, we spotted these guys at Syntagma Square. Our tour guide told us that they were Evzones, members of an elite force that guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And man, were they serious about their duty. They marched back and forth with such ramrod precision that I felt slouchy and undignified in their presence. When they met at the top of the stairs and executed an abrupt turn and marched down, a lady in our group grabbed her camera and started snapping away.

Greece 1Woe be unto her, because the Evzones kept goose-stepping rigidly forward, plowing right past Camera Lady, who almost bit the dust in her zeal to get a good shot. I imagined her, limp and bloodied on the sidewalk, a fuzzy pom-pom sticking out of her nose.

Really, what was the deal with those things? They seemed frivolous and unnecessary, almost humorous when compared with the semi-automatics the Evzones carried. Now those babies I took seriously. They elevated the goose-stepping to a don’t-mess-with-me meanness that made me gulp.

And when I found out that the Evzones’ shoes weigh seven pounds and have nails under their soles?

Boy, Camera Lady was just lucky to be alive, is what I thought.

Our tour guide told us that in the 1800s, when the Evzones prepared for combat, they would hide knives under the pom-poms. If they were captured in battle – fwip! – out came the knife, ready for action.

Greece 2Cool, I thought, mentally elevating the status of the lowly pom-pom to Fuzzy Defender of the Faith. Someone else in our group, a Mr. Historical Know-It-All, challenged our tour guide, saying he heard the pom-poms were used to keep water from leaking in the seams of the shoes. Sorry, buddy, I thought. Water leaking in?? What a yawner. Knives were much more interesting, and gave the soldiers a sinister presence. Water leaking in made them sound like practical gardeners.

So, Jess and Joe, if you’re reading this, head on over to Syntagma Square and check out the Evzones. Hoist an ouzo in their honor, and if you’re secure in your manhood, stick some pom-poms on your shoes when you get home.

Just don’t goose-step around the front yard.

*****

Deanne SchultzDeanne M. Schultz is currently working on The Green Hornet Suit and Other Musings, a book that takes a wry look at life as she sees it. Her hope is that her writing inspires and helps others, moving them to connect with those around them. She blogs at dmswriter – witty weekly writing to inform and entertain.

Pirate Ships of the Mississippi

This past weekend Joe and I went bumming around town for date night and happened upon an unusual sight.

A pirate ship.

photo 1Oh yah, and it’s also a bus.

If you can’t read the heading, it says Pirate Ship Hippies & Gypsies, No Bras or Squares.

As we walked by the bus, I snapped this photo, and the bus’s owner hopped up from a bench in the park and asked us if wanted a picture by his bus.

Uh, yah!

So he had us climb onto the back and told us to look “naughty.”

This is a true story, by the way. I think the guy really was a gypsy, and he most certainly wasn’t ‘square.’

photo 3What was so hilarious is that we were about to step down, say thanks, and be on our way, when he started choreographing our poses.

“Now stick your butts out.”

Um…this is awkward. And hilarious.

So this Mississippi River bus pirate was snapping pictures with my phone, and when we finally did take off, this is what we had to show for such nonsense.

photo 2Feet.

photo 4Half of a gypsy fingerprint.

And oh yah… our butts sticking out!

photo 5

Happy travels everyone!
Got some guest bloggers to keep you company while we’re off!

So give them a warm welcome, and maybe I’ll bring you all back some dolmades. Mmmm…

Quite Possibly the Worst Wedding Dream Ever

A few nights ago I had the craziest wedding dream yet!

You already know about my weird dream where I was on the road to interrogate a killer, but stopped to crash someone’s wedding reception just to take notes on what I liked and disliked about it. Note* I do NOT like Skittles as party favors.

But this last dream was far more outlandish!

First off, my dress started out as my real wedding gown, but somewhere in the dream it morphed into a gaudy black sequin and lace ensemble with layers of petticoats underneath and puff sleeves!

more rufflesI came out to greet everyone and ran into my friend, Cat.

“How’s my hair look?” I asked.

She wouldn’t answer me. She just kept prattling on about other things! I begged her to go to the restroom with me so I could see my hair in the mirror. It had been styled by a team of professionals and I badly wanted to see how it turned out.

When we finally got to the bathroom, Cat tried to block me from the mirror. I managed to step around her and catch my reflection.

The top of my head was a beehive of curls, mounded in a great glump. The back of my hair was a mohawk, gelled straight out to a point!

That’s not even the worst part.

matrimonial mulletThe bridal headpiece that was sewn into my hair can only be described as a large purple hula-hoop that was covered, and I mean COVERED, in women’s underpants!

I didn’t know what to do. Where does one even begin to fix a headdress that dangles lady knickers?

I went in search of my family.

When I got to the reception hall, guests were milling about restlessly. A few were seated at tables with odd chairs and stained linens. The staff on hand were way behind cleaning up from a prior event, so nothing was ready for us! There were hardly any chairs for people to sit on, and there was nothing for them to eat or drink but a few water glasses one staff member was lazily dropping ice cubes into, one by one, with a tongs.

Someone had asked our entertainment for the night to start performing, so the side room was filled with Asian dancers moving melodically. But no one was watching them. Because there were no chairs to sit on, guests assumed they were not supposed to be in that room yet. Only a few people who stood in the doorway witnessed any of the dancers we invited.

I started looking for my family again and saw my father, who was carrying in the wedding cake. He was dressed in a Bill Cosby-esque sweater! For his daughter’s wedding?!

Apparently that was the last straw as I woke up right after that, but WOW! I mean, what a circus!

I sat up in bed, stupefied. I turned, looking at Joe, “I had a nightmare.”

Here’s hoping our wedding will include less crazy hair and more of this…

love and cherish wineWhat about you? Had any weird dreams lately?

 

 

To Conceal and Carry…My Muffin Top, That Is

Flickr Creative Commons - Smileycreek

Flickr Creative Commons – Smileycreek

I’m making a confession today. I have a muffin top.

*phew* There, I said it.

I feel better now.

It started about a year ago when I quit my job. Don’t get me wrong, that is STILL the best decision I ever made. But I didn’t account for what would happen while transitioning from a 50-60 hour job where I was on my feet doing laps inside a mall…to sitting at a computer working, then coming home to…sit at a computer writing.

My diet habits changed drastically. While in retail, I worked so many hours and had interrupted breaks that I didn’t eat much at all for the 9-10 hour days I was there. But sitting at either my work desk or home desk, both conveniently right next to the kitchen…it’s a lot easier to snack throughout the day.

Without working out to balance my new lifestyle, my weight has fluctuated between 4-12 pounds in the past year. Now, I’m a rational person, and on a scale, that still has me at a perfectly normal and healthy weight for someone my size.

The problem is that it all sits on my middle.

I’m only 5’2″. I need all the length I can get, so adding width to my torso, not only isn’t working with my current wardrobe, but it’s affecting my self esteem.

Congratulations-Its-a-BurgerI might have been able to nip the weight gain in the butt tummy, if all I had to do this summer was lose a couple pounds. But I’m planning a wedding! And I’m on deadline to submit my book to potential agents.

My downfall has been that I want to go work out, but then I feel guilty that I’m not writing or working on wedding stuff, so I go home, but then I’m so stressed out I don’t know where to start and I end up moping around and wallowing the night away, making poor food choices on top it.

It’s tough to admit I’m still in transition. A whole year later and I haven’t magically “figured it all out.” As women, we grow up believing that on our wedding day we’re going to be the most beautiful woman in the room.

But I don’t feel beautiful.

All I see right now are my flaws. When I look in the mirror, I see my gut protruding over my pants and I see blemishes on my face.

And it makes me so sad and angry.

Sad, because I know deep down I’m pretty. And I hear my fiance tell me so. But I don’t listen, and worse, I’ve started countering him by pointing out my flaws.

Angry, because I have a degree in women’s gender and sexuality studies, so I know I’m suffering from body dysmorphia and yet, I don’t know how to turn that off.

But requiring two people to zip you into your wedding dress is a sure-fire way to put that doubt into hyperdrive.

I am a perfectly healthy and talented woman. But I’m struggling with doubt.

I am really struggling with doubt right now.

Is it just me? Is it the wedding? Is it the looming date of my 30th birthday and saying goodbye to the resilient body I had when things were good and I was still 25?

Is it potato chips? I have a hard time saying no to potato chips.

And what about society’s role in all this? My low body image issues have made me angry at society. Why have we invested so much energy into praising women for their looks rather than their brains? Why are more pages in women’s magazines filled with products for me to buy that will change my appearance “for the better” than there are articles about women making real strides for gender equality?

Aren’t we doing ourselves a disservice? Why does something as small as 4 pounds make a woman question her worth? Imagine if we spent half as much time renovating our education or health systems as we did staring in mirrors, avoiding mirrors, picking at our faces, being insulted by cat-calls, being insulted at our lack of cat calls, and only wearing open-toed shoes when our toenails are properly painted?!

We’d have solved the fucking issues by now! But instead, if you’re like me, or if you’ve been there before, we are too busy concealing that extra bit of weight we’ve gained.

 ~Sincerely, Miffed and Muffin-topped,

Jess

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Addicted to Stitch Fix

Have you tried or heard of Stitch Fix?

It’s a personal styling business for women based out of San Francisco, CA. I first heard about them on Twitter and started ogling all the cute pictures people were taking of the new clothes they received. I had to check this out.

The Scoop:

Sign up for an account, which is free, and fill out your style profile. It’s an in depth assessment of what YOU want and like, but it’s not too time consuming. I promise. It shows you pictures and lets you enter your sizes and comfort level with showing off various body parts. You input budget guidelines. You can also link to your Twitter and Pinterest accounts so the stylists can better get to know you when they select items for your fix.

Which is honestly why I started a pinterest account…but there’s writing stuff on there too!

The Cost:

$20.

For $20 a personal stylist will select 5 items for you and mail them to your house.

That’s right. To your house. No driving in circles for a parking spot at the mall, clothes shopping in places where it smells like big pretzels. You get five items personally selected for you to try on in the comfort of your own home. No shipping fee.

If you buy the whole fix, you get 25% off everything, but otherwise keep what you want, and send the rest back. Again, no shipping. Stitch Fix boxes come with a prepaid envelope inside. And that $20? Goes towards your purchase!

Stitch Fix 1This was my first Stitch Fix box. I asked for fun summer outfits to wear on my honeymoon, and the stylist wrote the sweetest personalized note to me.

style card note

The Deal-io:

Stitch Fix Founder and CEO, Katrina Lake, has always worked in some capacity with retail, but she always dreamed of starting up her own project. Her passion was in the potential for digital fashion sales. She partnered with tech wizards in Silicon Valley to create style algorithms based on people’s responses and worked with up and coming fashion designers to lower expenses of the clothes while still granting mass exposure of their labels.

Here’s a quick interview with Katrina – this woman knows her stuff.

A common thread she kept hearing from clients was how busy each woman was. Stitch Fix to the rescue! When you can try clothes on in your own home, you have your entire closet with you to see if that new top really does pair well those paisley gaucho pants you bought two years ago and have yet to match anything to. :D

The Fun:

Photo-ops! Take one look at the twitter hashtag #StitchFix, and you’ll see women all over the country gleefully unpacking their Stick Fix box, which by the way is packed adorably and professionally and comes with style cards for your new potential wardrobe items.

style cardsI’m Addicted:

This is fun! And you should Stitch Fix with me. The most you have to lose is $20. But I’m betting you’re gonna like it!

Stitch Fix 2Stitch Fix box #2. I kept the skinny jeans and the black top.

Still curious? Try it yourself!

*****

And, the winner of Roni Loren’s e-book, Still Into You, is… brickhousechick!!! Congratulations!
Your summer just got more sizzlin’!

Write Strong Women and Marry Your Best Friend: An Interview About Romance With Author Roni Loren

As part of my To Be Read Challenge, I included a (signed – squeee!) copy of Crash Into You by erotic romance author, Roni Loren (@RoniLoren). I met Roni at DFWcon 3 years ago and have attended her sessions on writing realistic romance scenes. She is fabulous.

So are her books.

*****

Crash Into You

Sometimes the past can bring you to your knees…

Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat—a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one Master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past…

 

 I am very pleased to welcome Roni to the Happiness Project!

*****

Describe yourself in three words.

Perfectionistic, Introverted, Curious

What drew you to writing erotica? What do you love about your genre?

It was a genre I loved to read, of course. But I was really drawn to the fact that it had very few boundaries. Like I could write suspense in my story but it didn’t have to fit the restrictions of a romantic suspense. And it could be contemporary but the romance didn’t have to be light and airy. All I needed to make sure I had was a happy ending and a lot of steam (which is fun to write.) So it allows for a lot of freedom in my stories, which makes my muse happy. :-)

I write nonfiction about my family and they all want pseudonyms. ;) How did your friends and family respond when your first book came out?
I’ve been lucky. My family is hugely supportive and not hung up on the fact that I write the sexy stuff. My mom even reads my books (even when I told her not to, lol) and tells her friends to buy my books. I don’t hide what I write from anyone because I’m not ashamed of it. If they ask, I’ll tell them. Though, people are usually surprised when they find out because I’m the quiet, mom-next-door type. I think some people expect erotic writers to fit some outrageous image. But the people writing it (and reading it!) are every day women (and men, for that matter.)

That’s awesome! What are you reading right now?

I just finished Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland because I’m a pantser with plotter envy (and am obsessed with writing craft books.) But fiction wise, I’m reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (YA Steampunk Paranormal) and rereading The Shining by Stephen King.

Oooh, nice picks!
Settled in for the night after conferencing, reading Roni's book

Settled in for the night after conferencing, reading Roni’s book

I read Fifty Shades of Gray, and hated it. The main character is pretty flat – quite literally, actually, she’s tied down and having sex so much. Your lead female in Crash Into You (Brynn) is really 3-dimensional. Her mother works in the sex industry, Brynn is a sexual assault survivor, she works in a social work setting with other domestic violence victims, and she struggles to claim her own sexual identity despite her past. In what ways do you think Brynn is a champion for women, and what do you think are her shortcomings?

It’s important to me to write really strong women, particularly because of the power dynamic I use between the hero and heroine. In Brynn’s case, I wanted to show how tough and smart she is because even though she has this urge to be sexually submissive in the bedroom, she’s an independent, brave woman in her every day life. She’s driven to help others, and ultimately, she learns to help herself. The theme in all my books usually comes back to healing and self-acceptance, so I think Brynn is a prime example of that. No one fixes her problems for her. She has to learn to move through her fear, heal, and then embrace who she is.

I’m getting married in 2 months. What’s your advice for keeping the passion alive?

Yay, congrats! :-) I’ve been married for almost 13 years, and it still feels like we just got married (so I guess that’s good!)

 

That’s wonderful! Congrats to you, lovebirds!

 

I think the key is to marry someone you have a deep friendship with, who gets you, and who makes you laugh. That takes care of a lot of things. But with keeping the passion alive specifically, I think it’s important to develop a level of trust that you literally can talk about anything (including fantasies, likes/dislikes, etc.) with no judgment or expectations, so that you can keep things fresh. When I hear that some husbands don’t like their wives reading romance novels, I want to bonk them on the head because—hello, that’s just going to give her new ideas of what she wants to do with/to you, lol. Buy her stacks!

 

Great advice! I know you love to watch Reality TV, what are your guilty pleasures right now?

 

I just finished American Idol, of which I’m a faithful follower. And now I am so ready for Big Brother. It’s the one reality show that I can convince myself I’d have a shot at winning (ha!) unlike shows like Survivor or Amazing Race where I’d last 3.2 seconds. But there’s something about watching all those intricate human dynamics that I can’t look away from.

 

If you could host a Romance Award ceremony, who would you bestow a trophy to for the following:

 

Hottest Big Screen Actor: Oh, so many. Bradley Cooper is always a fave. And recently I’ve developed a crush on Jimmy Fallon (though, not technically a big screen actor) because funny is hot.
Best Couples Getaway: I like cold places since I live in TX, so a mountain cabin in Lake Tahoe maybe.
Most Decadent Dessert: Cheesecake

Sexiest Thing About Women: Our brains.

What’s next for you? What can readers watch out for?

In August, I’m releasing a novella called BLURRING THE LINES that is separate from my Berkley series. It will be sexy contemporary romance with a paranormal twist and is part of a multi-author continuity series called Invitation to Eden. (I’m thinking of it like the show Lost but with more sex and happily ever afters, lol.) Then in September I’m releasing a novella, FOREVER STARTS TONIGHT, and in November, my serial novel, NOT UNTIL YOU, is being put into an omnibus edition. So lots of things coming up! (In other news, I won’t be sleeping until next February, lol.)

We’ll be watching! Thanks Roni for joining us. Always a pleasure learning from you and I love your advice (and characters) about being strong, independent women with PASSION!

RoniLorenAuthorHeadshot2

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son.

If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that’s it. She is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of The Loving on the Edge series from Berkley Heat. Website: www.roniloren.com

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E-BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!

One lucky commenter will be receiving an e-copy (Nook or Kindle U.S.)
of Roni’s book Still Into You!

Random drawing will be held on Wednesday @ 5pm CST,
winner announced on Thursday’s blog!

Must Reads for the Weekend

Happy Weekend Everyone! Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in. I’ve got your reading assignments right here!

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Tickle Your Funny Bone

Coffee Time

Be careful when you sip! You’re likely to drip.

I highly suggest you all meet and follow my writers group facilitator, Heidi Blanke! I just convinced Heidi to start blogging, so please give her a warm welcome. You won’t be sorry as she is an excellent writer and always adds a good dose of humor to her work! Check out To Sleep……..Not!

Got a fear of flying? All those who wanderlust – no matter your preferred method of transportation – should check out She’s a Maineiac’s I’ll Take 30 Bags of Tiny Pretzels Please. Beware the monster on the wing of the plane. ;)

The fabulous Kait Nolan shared Morgan Freeman…on helium in this week’s Three Awesome Things.

Writing Resources and Posts to Make You Think

Tiffany Lawson Inman guest posted at Writers in the Storm with Want to Write Like a Bestseller? Write Naked First! The woman behind the Twitter account @NakedEditor, Tiffany offers advice on writing emotion, dialogue, and active setting.

Also on Writers in the Storm, Kait Nolan, self-publishing maven and ROW80 founder, shared 10 Reasons Why You Should Know How to Format Ebooks. It is a wealth of information with in depth tips and I for one really appreciated this post because she made digital formatting not seem so freakin’ scary. :)

Triple times the love – Writers in the Storm has had some awsome-sauce posts lately. Margie Lawson guest blogged Write the Hard Stuff – Facial Expressions. That is tricky! Thanks Margie, for the tips!

Am writingKristen Lamb wrote an amazing post about “empathetic correctness” and what it could mean for writers. You must read Something Wicked This Way Comes & Why Writers Could Be In Great Danger. Very thought provoking and I’ve wondered the same thing myself.

Bob Mayer shared The 1 Thing Authors Need to Consider referring to Amazon and Hachette. Quality post with thought provoking questions about the nature of the writing industry.

What about educating those around you? Caitlin Kelly wrote The 12 Things You Should Never Say to a Writer.

What are your favorite books you’ve read? Deanne Schultz took her list and created The Top Five Ingredients of a Great Book.

G. G. Andrew also discusses What Good Books Do and takes us along for the ride!

Telling it like it is, Susie Lindau brings us Why Blog? And What the Heck is a Writers Platform? Happy 3 year blogiversary, Susie!

Jenny Hansen brought up a great point in her post, Do You Know How to Edit and Proofread? There is a difference you know.

Tawna Fenske compiled some amazing reader photos from the release of her new book in The Week You All Became Booksellers.

Do genre definitions confuse you? Marcy Kennedy to the rescue with A Crash Course in Thriller Sub-Genres.

Share a post of your own!

What’s on your must read list this weekend?

 

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