Sunday, 31 January 2021

Valentine's Day Special - Part One (HEA Match)

 With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought it would be fun to do a special dating app post for my characters.  Who would be your HEA hottie?

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Thursday, 21 January 2021

Things I Love: January 2021

This year has been so difficult and finding joy has been a challenge, so here's some fun stuff that's made my life livable.


I've been reading more non-fiction than fiction this month.  It's something that tends to happen in waves, especially if I find something that intrigues me.  And these two books definitely got me thinking.

The Secret Poisoner: A Century of Murder by Linda Stratmann

I promise I haven't taken up a new hobby.  This book is all about the development of toxicology detection between 1800-1900.  It was a fascinating look at a variety of cases and trial and experimentation to reliably detect poison residue after death.  Two things I learned especially stuck with me.  One, pharmacists and grocers use to be able to dispense "quieteners" over the counter, an opium-based solution that was explicitly marketed as a way for wives to sedate their belligerent and abusive husbands.  Two, the number of doctors who suspected that their patients were being slowly poisoned and didn't say anything to the patients in question is appallingly high.

On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane by Emily Guendelsberger

Guendelsberger went undercover at McDonalds, Convergys and Amazon and while I knew those companies didn't treat their employees well, I was shocked to learn how bad it actually is.  It was disheartening to learn how many of these corporations rely on high levels of turnover to keep salary costs down.  It starts with a historical look at Ford's assembly line, which paid far more than the standard day's wage but was considered de-humanizing and discouraging.

TV Shows:

Sleepy Hollow.  I started rewatching this a few weeks ago.  The story-telling is a little uneven but the chemistry between Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie is amazing.  I'll admit that the first time I watched the show, I was hoping that they would develop a romantic relationship.  But on this watch, I'm really appreciating the depiction of a strong friendship between a man and woman.  I like fish out of water stories so I enjoy watching Ichabod's reaction to modern society.

Star Trek: Discovery
, season 3 (spoilers).  I love Star Trek and I've always thought that the series worked best when it was looking forward, so I'm very much enjoying the season 3 switch to 700 years in the future.  I love the new character, Booker, and his relationship with Michael.  And of course, my girl Tilly is having an awesome season.

All Rise.  I discovered this show last year and it's become a new favourite.  I enjoy legal dramas and was excited to see one from the judge's perspective.  The cast is amazing and the dialogue is witty.  The second season is set during the pandemic and I think the show has handled it rather well.

Fictional Crushes:

I'm still loyal to the Mandalorian and Ghost Rider, but I can't watch Sleepy Hollow without being reminded of how undeniably hot Tom Mison is, especially with long hair and the beard.  He's courteous and a gentleman, smart and loyal.  And the man can rock a frock coat.  I like how he respects his partner's expertise and skills, but is still protective of her.

I also had a refresher of another cinnamon roll hero, Aram from The Blacklist, played by Amir Arison.  He's kind and sweet, a man who sees the best in people.  Add in the fact that he's a passionate defender and protector, and he's just the kind of hero that I adore.


I've been listening to my burlesque playlist a lot.  Most of the songs are from the movie Burlesque, but I added in some other classics like "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" and "Candyman."  I like the boldness and confidence of burlesque songs, but my favourites are the ones that include humour, like "A Guy What Takes His Time" and "I am a Good Girl."

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Thursday, 14 January 2021

Reclaiming My HEA: I Have A Heart and a Brain, Now I Need Courage

Reclaiming My HEA is a monthly feature where I share my progress through my separation and divorce.  It also includes snippets of a therapy exercise where I imagine myself in a healthy relationship.  The purpose is to remind myself of what a supportive, caring partner would be like, to try and offset the effects of over a decade without one.

I don't like rejection.  Yeah, I know, it's a complete shocker.  No one likes rejection.  But that fear has been holding me back for a very long time and it's time for me to face it.  In short, I've already gotten my heart and my brain, which means it's time for me to wizard up some courage.  (Possibly cute braids and an innocent yet sultry singing voice as well, but those are more optional.)

I'm a GenXer, which means I'm very comfortable with jaded nonchalance and self-deprecating jabs.  But I am also a geek, which means I couldn't maintain a cool facade if my life depended on it.  By nature, I'm bouncy, excited and eager to share.  And over the years, my exuberance has been slapped down many times as "too much" for the people I was with.  I get caught between the necessity of being myself and the desire not to drive people away with who I am.

Yet, the thing is that who I am isn't bad.  I'm not claiming to be flawless or unproblematic, but as I try to untangle the negative messages of a lifetime, I'm realizing that I'm also not difficult or demanding.  I'm not "too much" for the world, just too much for some of the people in it.  And that's about them.  Not about me.

However, that's easier said that believed sometimes.  Especially when I'm taking the plunge of signing up for a dating app.

As I'm filling out the initial forms, all I'm finding myself thinking is about how the whole online dating process feels like setting myself up for a lot of rejection.  I don't really want to open myself up to a whole new crowd of people who will tell me that I'm "too much."

And yet, that's the price of admission.  If I want to find someone who thinks I'm exactly right just as I am, then I need to be strong enough to face the rejections.

This month's HEA writing exercise is based on a favourite scene of mine from the 1997 movie Fools Rush In, where the hero comes in to find the heroine preparing dinner.  While she cooks, she's dancing around the kitchen and he pauses to watch her, entranced by her exuberance and passion.

I dance a lot.  I'm usually the first one on and the last one off any dance floor.  I dance when I'm doing chores and sometimes just because I feel like it.  According to home movies, I've been doing it since I could barely walk.  But I've never had a romantic partner who treated it as anything except a joke.

Here is this month's snippet:

   The weekend getaway had seemed like the perfect idea.  A rare opportunity to relax without the pressures of their day to day life.  It would have all been much more effective if his business partner hadn't spent the last two hours bombarding him with emails and phone calls.  The excessive barrage had required him to descend into the hotel's business centre instead of spending the evening with his partner.

   Crisis finally resolved well after midnight, he returned to the suite, expecting to find his love sleeping or lost in a book.  Instead, as he slipped through the door, he heard the muted thump of dance music.  He stopped just inside the entrance, a shy smile curving his lips.

   He treasured these glimpses of the free spirit that still thrived in her.  Her life had been hard, far more difficult than it should have been, but it somehow hadn't crushed her.

   She spun and saw him watching her.  Instantly she slowed, uncertainty freezing the smile on her face.  He smiled at her, reassuring her that there would be no mockery or dismissal.  He held out his hand, inviting her to dance into his arms.

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