Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I DO it!!!!! No Apologies

I'll be the first to admit that I've always written HOT. I love getting into detail. So what?

When I moved over to the "dark side" and started writing erotic stuff, I was really worried about it. Using certain "words" and phrases bothered me a bit but I quickly realized it was more about being raised by a proper southern baptist family than how I really viewed things. Now I'm a grown up and I view things differently, write pretty much what I please. I think what I want and my values are my own.

I find the whole idea of pitting erotica versus porn intriguing. Bottom line: I write about love, relationships and SEX. No apologies! I aim to tittilate and I don't care who knows it. I tell a love story with a highly erotic element. Don't like that stuff? Don't buy it! I've had plenty of people in my highly religious hometown say with a smirk...I don't read trash. No kidding. I actually had someone SAY that. At a kids' party, no less. Inititally I was embarrassed to be singled out in such a manner but later several women came up to confess they LOVED to read that stuff.

This isn't about me but about a whole troup of people who write what they love to read. I think that's worthy, worthwhile and righteous. We can read what we want, worship where we want and love whom we please in this world and don't let anyone tell you differently.

A recent RWR (Romance Writers Report) article spoke of the difference between erotic romance and romance. It was pretty simple really. Erotic romance just takes it a little further. The language is a little bit MORE explicit but love is involved. Pornography eliminates love and caring from the equation. And that's the bottom line folks!

There are plenty of erotic references in the bible. Consider the Song of Solomon which is biblical erotica. Beautiful. That being said, I'll continue to write what pleases me. I don't apologize about it and readers can read what they like. Yeah, it might be considered PORN by some but I really don't give a fig what they think.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Propagating Pornography

Yesterday Anny provided definitions of Pornography, Erotica, and Artistic meaning. I found myself agreeing with her and wondered how the heck I was going to follow with a controversial discovery. So I got to thinking... as I will sometimes do (shh. I like people to think I'm slow, just don't treat me slow) about those definitions.

These, I've decided, are liberal definitions. Why do I say that? Well if you ask my family what constitutes as pornography you'd get a much narrower interpretation. I suspect that many Americans, when pressed, would agree their faith limits the scope of our chosen art form. As authors we place artistic meaning to our work. If we didn't, we wouldn't care about it enough to write. And while I agree that Anny is correct in saying it's a matter of interpretation, I suggest that the interpretation is where the entire argument lies.

For example. I write mainstream romance (sensual). I tried to break into inspirational romance (Christian). I discovered that there are guidelines for inspirational romance which are especially stringent for authors wishing to breach the gap from one genre to another.

Inspirationals follow CBA (Christian Booksellers of America) guidelines. When I went looking for what, precisely, these guidelines were, I could not locate them. I joined online groups and asked for a copy of the CBAs and was told to look at Harlequin inspirational submission guidelines as they were the closest thing in print. While part of me wanted to smack someone for making it next to impossible to obtain the holy grail of Christian writing regulations, another part admitted it was extremely clever of them if their goal was to keep out people like me.

In speaking to a very prolific Christian writer I asked her to explain some of the regulations in a clearer format. She said if a man is alone in the middle of a forest, chopping wood, he may not remove his shirt if he gets too hot. She went on to say the h/h cannot be in the same room alone, the same house overnight, or think of the other person in any sexual context. This was furthered by the realization that if a hero wishes to kiss the heroine, he must wish to do so because he finds her mind attractive and her faith desirable. At no time should his physical attraction be addressed. THEN he may chastely place a kiss and back off.

Folks. That's ridiculous. You all know I'm a pastor's-wife-in-training. I assure you, we have sex. I have two kids to attest to that fact. I can also say that while I'm sure my brain powers and faith are stunning to my husband, there has to be a point where I physically, er, arouse him. Chaste kisses? Only in public, darlings. He is, after all, a man. And I am a sexual creature who responds to him.

So why do I bring all this up? Because many readers see these guidelines as normal. They think anything pushing the parameters is pornography. Am I looking at the naked chest when a man is chopping wood? Did the author describe the way his muscles glistened with sweat or the flex and shift of bone and sinew beneath the surface of his bronzed skin? Ah, I just overstepped. Does my heroine lick her lips, catch her breath and secretly pray her hero will kiss her? When he does, does she feel it to her toes? Does her body respond to his attention in any preparatory way? Oops.

In the Bible a woman should not paint her eyes because she seen as a woman of ill repute. Have you seen my avatar for Blogger? Dang. Messed up there, too. I absolutely paint my eyes. No, I don't turn tricks and I don't have eyes for anyone but my husband. I paint my lips too. GASP. And I think we all know I stain my hair in flashy colors. Looks like I'm a pornographic slut monkey.

These are extreme cases. However my extended family finds my mainstream writing risque, pornographic. I have been accused of propagating pre-marital sex (yep, in some books), drugs (nope, never been addressed), alcohol (I do have a few toss backs when the guys are really upset but they always limit themselves), teenage pregnancy (not one of my heroines is in her teens), the downfall of youth in America today, including the eventual decline of my children (um. these are the same people who tell me what a great parent I am and how wonderful the kids are. besides they don't read my stuff. they aren't allowed). How did I become this pillar of sinfulness? I write mainstream romance. In 300 pages of writing I have a scene or two of steaming sex (what's that, maybe twenty pages? skip 'em then. The book is about more than sex. see the other 280 pages). I don't shut the door on them, I invite you in to watch. You voyeur, you.

I've warned my family this won't stop, that in fact I am escalating and am not ashamed of my writing. I've told them not to buy me as I will disappoint their sensibilities. And yet I have been told they will read everything I write. Okay then. But you've been warned.

Pornography and Erotica are touchy subjects. They don't just skim across the surface and hope to take hold of your understanding. They grow tentacles and grasp different aspects of your psyche. They are entwined with your faith, your sexuality, your respect, your relationships, your sense of who you are. When someone attacks those things, you get your back up. And you should because for some reason the judgment of pornography is a judgment of your fundamental character.

What is pornography? It no longer is limited to sex is it? Pornography is that oily word thrust at you when you are disapproved of, for whatever reason, whichever genre. It is the all encompassing word meant to say "you are dirty and you don't measure up". What is erotica? Well, I guess I didn't really address that. But I do believe they are completely separate issues. Pornography is unlimited disapproval. Erotica is specifically about sex. That's a whole 'nuther blog.

~Kelly~

Monday, April 28, 2008

Erotica or Porno?

At one of the workshops I attended at the RT convention, a man in the audience asked the panel to explain the difference between erotica and pornography. I was a bit taken aback when the entire panel agreed that there was no difference. One panel member went so far as to emphatically state that as writers we were doing ourselves a disservice if we insisted on trying to impose a separation between erotica and pornography.

Hmph. I never in my wildest imagination aspired to write pornography. To be absolutely truthful, I didn't aspire to write erotica or erotic romance, either. But it seems to me that if we as writers are going to insist on the differentiation between erotica and pornography, then we ought to be very clear where the lines are drawn. To that end, I offer you two definitions from dictionary.com:

erotica~~literature or art dealing with sexual love.

pornography~~obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, esp. those having little or no artistic merit.

Now looking at the definitions, it would appear that the sole difference is a determination on whether or not our work has "artistic merit". Pornography doesn't depend on a happily ever after ending--it depends on whether the story can be judged to have artistic merit.

According to Wikipedia~~ Artistic merit is an English language term that is used in relation to cultural products when referring to the judgment of their perceived quality or value as works of art.

Artistic merit is a crucial term, as pertains to visual art. Whether or not a work is considered art is a question of artistic merit. And the quality of a work of art is largely based on the artistic merit that people attach to it.

It is also a term frequently encountered in obscenity and censorship trials. For example, it has been said that the difference between erotica and pornography is artistic merit.

Ah, that cleared things up, didn't it? No? As I understand it then, whether my work is called pornography or erotica depends on the value my readers and I place on it as a work of art! Based on that, it appears that any given work could be both erotica and pornography, depending on who is reading it and their personal moral parameters. My father, the Baptist minister would no doubt consider all of my writing pornography. My friend is not quite sure whether it is pornography or erotica. My publisher markets my work as erotic romance.

As I pointed out to a friend earlier today, everyone has a line that they will not cross. One side of that line is permissible levels of eroticism. On the other side is the "ick" factor. For each individual, that line is in a different place. As a young married woman, I cut my teeth on Victorian Erotica that would no doubt be called pornography by the vast majority of readers today. Those Victorians were quite a hot blooded lot. As far as I can tell, there wasn't much that they didn't try out. Quite frankly, I haven't encountered anything in the current era that could come close to giving the Victorian underground literature a run for its money.

Think about that. Apparently, there are no new perversions in the modern era. I suspect that there were no new ones in the Victorian era either. Nor in the time of the Ananga Ranga or the Kama Sutra.

I believe that my writing has artistic merit. It brings joy and laughter to my readers and that is merit enough. So what do I write? I write romantic erotica.

Anny Cook
www.annycook.blogspot.com
www.annycook.com

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Wrap-up

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.~~Albert Schweitzer

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself

Hello, I’m James Goodman. I’ll be your perpetual Saturday guest blogger. I suppose a bit of background information is in order.

Let’s see… where should I begin? Oh, I know!!! Perhaps, with a peek into my childhood.

I remember the first time I killed a man. I was twelve. It was spring. The rain pelted the window outside the room. Its rhythm almost hypnotic, but I couldn’t let it distract me from the task at hand. It may have trapped me in the house, but I be damned if it was rob me of an escape. I knelt beside the bed, but leaned further in as I looked him over again. I made up my mind: He had to die. I steadied the sheet with my left hand. The other was poised, ready for action. I steeled my nerves, brought my hand down, pen met the sheet of paper, and the rest is history.

What? You didn’t actually think I would come in here and tell you that I really killed someone when I was twelve, did you?

I was born in Dover, Delaware in 1971, but I’ve traveled extensively. Some of my adventures around the world have been in service to my country. Others have been in service to my family, but most have been in service to my heart.

I graduated from Peach County, Georgia before joining the Army during Operation Desert Shield. I served with honor, pride and a whole lot of spent shell casings. I attended college at Oklahoma State University and eventually received a BS in EET.

I now reside just north of Tulsa, Oklahoma with my loving wife and our rambunctious son. We are an active family and I spend much of my free time wakeboarding, hiking, practicing mixed martial arts, riding motorcycles, geocaching and taking road trips.

And of course, I’m avid reader. I try to make time to devour at least one book a week, but I’m most pleased when I can get three or four in. I’m currently reading The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson. So far, Repairman Jack is shaping up to be one helluva character.

I’m also a music geek. I have fairly eclectic tastes, but my favorite genre would probably be alternative or indie rock. I listen to music while I write, read, play and just about anything else short of watching movies. I believe that life should come with a soundtrack.


I write romantic horror/suspense/thrillers (pick your favorite) for Resplendence Publishing.

I wrote The Dance, which recently came out in print. Here is the cover:



You can click on the link to read the official blurb, but I thought it might be fun to give you my interpretation of what the book is about.

The Dance is really two stories wrapped up in one. On the one hand, it’s the story of a broken hero. We catch him near the end of his downward spiral, see him hit rock bottom and rise from the ashes as a better man. He and his partner Anna will constantly have their sanity tested as they pursue what they think is just a sadistic killer.

On the other, it’s the story of how far a man is willing to go to prove his love for a woman. Unremarkable, in itself, but when you take in account that the man is a serial killer and the woman a lusty demon, well…you can imagine how he goes about proving that love.

Take a journey into the mind of a serial killer as you watch Kyle transform from a murderer, wrestling with his demons into a supernatural predator who embraces them.

When the two stories collide that’s when the fun really begins.


I just received the cover art for my next release, Pixels and Pain. I love it so much, I just couldn’t help but share.



Johnny Walker is a FBI agent in need of answers. His sister was murdered a year ago and the police still don’t have a suspect.

Mary Marshall founded a watchdog group to rid the world of online predators after her sister fell victim to a charismatic stranger she met on the popular website, HiyaSpace.

The similarities of their losses bring the two together and hurl them down a path wrought with peril, betrayal and unimaginable suffering at the hands of a madman whose unspeakable deeds threaten to destroy them all.

Will they be able to put an end to his reign of terror? Or will they be forever lost in a maniac’s world of Pixels and Pain?

I also have an e-book out with Wild Child Publishing called The Writing on the Wall.



A chance encounter in a bar plunges Dennis O’Brien into an adventure wrought with death, love, and the fragility of the human mind. When he realizes he’s had a brush with a killer, things take a turn for the worse. Not only is Dennis unable to stop the madman, but he finds himself the chief suspect in the murder investigation. Following a trail of bodies and revolting clues, Dennis uncovers the true motive behind the slayings. Yes, killers kill, but nothing is more shocking than the reason why. He should have seen it coming, shouldn’t have become involved. After all, the writing was on the wall…


Well, it seems that I’ve gone and turned this into “Pimp James’ Work Day”. I can assure you this will be the exception rather than the norm.

Now, I’d like to turn it over to you fine readers for questions. Is there anything you would like to know?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday? Already?

Ack, where did the week go? I'm still not completely unpacked, and I've not even begun to catch up on the work I missed. Not to mention getting started on all the great ideas sparked by the convention.

I had a wonderful time in Pittsbugh, which is a surprisingly lovely city. Except for the construction both in and around the hotel. And of course, there are always a few people who try to ruin things for everyone. Some conventioneers could have benefitted from a refresher of basic manners, the kind they teach you in kindergarten.

1. Say please and thank you, and smile when you do it. It amazes me how many folks wer rude to the over worked hotel staff. The construction issues were not the fault of your waiter or the nice lady who cleans your room. If there's a problem, address it calmly and politely.

2. Smile and say hello. It cheers up even the famous authors you are afraid to talk to.

3. Wait your turn. At any convention, there are lots of lines. Try using them to meet new people, instead of pushing and shoving.

4. KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF! This seems to be the bggest complaint running around on the loops. Cover models getting too friendly with authors, AND authors getting too friendly with cover models (many of whom are married.) The party atmosphere is no excuse.

5. And finally, my biggest piece of advice for anyone in any situation: Don't take yourself too seriously. If you can laugh at yourself and at the situations you wind up in, life becomes a lot less stressful. And yes, other people really will laugh with you. Beats having them laugh AT you!

Have a good week...now where did I put my black tennis shoes....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Daily Haiku

I've never been one to enjoy Haiku. Years ago, when I was younger, I'd make a show of understanding this beautiful Japanese poetry. I'd ooh and ahh because I didn't have the guts to just flat out say...um, I don't understand this. Maybe I was just an Emily Dickinson girl and Robert Frost made me shiver, made me think. I just don't get Haiku. Are we supposed to make sense of those seemingly disjointed words? Umm. Not me.

Lately I've been thinking there might be something to the whole "disjointed" and "disconnected" thing and I've figured out that life is sometimes a lot like Haiku and it's just a matter of putting everything together and trying to make sense of things. So while my friends are decompressing from a manic and wild Romantic Times convention I'm trying to get organized in both my everyday life and my writing career. It's tough and I've been known to make a list or ten of the things I'm trying to accomplish. Sometimes though it seems unknown forces can work against you and that's what's happening to me. Very frustrating.

Tempting Tess releases at Ellora's Cave on May 8 and I'm beyond thrilled about it all but in the meantime I'm struggling with a work in progress and promoting plus the other daily things and I'm starting to feel a need to decompress, too. Hm. Have you ever felt pulled in many, many directions? Felt frustrated about what to tackle first?

Join the club.

In the meantime, enjoy the Haiku if it's your thing. I think I'll stick with Robert Frost. Life is just too complicated and thinking too much give me a headache!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesdays with Kelly

Oh the decompression. Do you ever get like that? Do you ever find that after being surrounded by crowds of people you need to go home and just deflate? I do. I require it. Scott calls it decompression because I'm putting everything back into its rightful place. My happy place, my place without noise or chaos.

Haven't had it yet. It will be another week or so. I'm looking forward to it though. And after tonight I will have one less unknown on my plate. I will finally know where we are moving!! Yes, sound the trumpets. Packing will make more sense as we will know just how much and what we need to pack finally. I will also be able to start the rounds of doctors and schools which makes a planner like me very, very happy.

Check in with me tomorrow at www.kkirch.blogspot.com if you want to know where we are headed.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Have Fun At RT

If you see my sister Sabrina Jeffries be sure to tell her hi. Oh, and look up my myspace buddy, author, and friend Caprice Crane (picture on left)... she is supposed to be getting some kind of award. And make up something nice to tell her about me.

Can't wait to hear more about the conference.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Live from Pittsburgh

RT is in full swing. Toninght was the E-Book Fair, which was chaos, immediately followed by Ellora's Cave Golden Age of Hollywood Party. Many sparkly gowns and bare-chested cover models--in other words, a feast for the eyes. It was fun to walk across the stage on the arm of the guy on the cover of Teach Me.

Meeting all my friends in person has been fabulous. Many I feel like I've known forever. Very cool thing was sitting in the e-book signing and having someone look at a cover flat and someone else said, "That's a great book!" Was actually stopped and asked for an autograph by a fan--I was so excited. She'd read "One Good Man" and loved it.

Finding food and catching elevators is tricky, and tomorrow's schedule is nuts. My feet are already sore and it's only Wednesday night. Most of my compatriots are still down in the bar, but I'm beat. Everyone have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow!

Cindy

Sniff. Sniff. WAHHHHHH

Okay, I'm seriously pouting here. My friends are at The Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Pittsburgh and I'm here...curled in a fetal position, sucking my thumb and feelin' depressed. First let me say, I don't only LIKE my friends, I LOOOOOVE them. I can't get through a single day without talking to one or all of them so yeah, I'm feeling a bit left out here. However, I'm consoling myself with the fact they aren't stingy women. They'll happily share all the gossip with me and I can't wait.

At the moment, I'm consoling myself that I'll get scads of writing done. My WIP has been calling my name and I attacked it with a vengence yesterday...but today??? Uh-uh. Not happening. So I crawled out of my writing cave and emailed other unfortunate friends who didn't get to make the trip to Pittsburgh and we all whined together.

I always try to put an optimistic spin on things but I was too busy feeling lonely and depressed to find ANYTHING. But sometimes my hopes are reaffirmed in a big way. Tonight I found my upcoming Ellora's Cave title Tempting Tess listed on the coming soon page. Yeah, I know, it shouldn't be a big deal but it IS!!!! This is my first Ellora's Cave title and I knew it was coming but it hadn't really seemed REAL until that exact moment. Soooo...I uncurled from that damn fetal position and took my thumb out of my mouth. I actually smiled a whole bunch.

I may not be in Pittsburgh with my buddies but they are here with me anyway. They are firmly planted in my heart and I know that once they read THIS, they'll be celebrating with me!!!

Can't wait to hear of your adventures and about the new people you'll be meeting. In the meantime, I'm here at home waiting.

For Anny, Cindy and Kelly...have fun. I miss you. MUAH!

Regina

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hi ho, Hi ho

It's off to RT I go.

I have the car packed. I have a fixed spare. There's fresh oil in my motor parts and gas in my tanks. The blue juice which cleans my windows and a car loaded with water bottles are all prepped and ready to go. All is well.

Looking forward, I get to see many of my writing friends and hopefully some potential fans. I get to sign at both the eBook signing and the print book signing. I'm very excited about RT, but there's something even more intoxicating which completely floors me. The book signing. I have been in love with books for years. I've read them, stroked their covers (yes, I have), shelved them with care, smelled them, alphabetized them. I longed to write like my favorite authors, to be taken seriously. I've wanted to see the words from the computer screen take on life and be "out there" for others to read... a litmus test to whether or not I was capable of telling a good story.

And it's happened. Not only do I have an eBook but a print book. And it's just the first of many and yes I am finally being taken seriously in my beloved industry. THAT is what is exciting. The possibility of fans is icing on the cake. But the tangible evidence that I have eked into the edge of my goal is a reward which has my hands shaking and my heart pounding. What an amazing sensation! What an incredible affirmation of my dream.

I recently realized that I had not yet signed my pen name. Not once. This week I'll be doing it in two different forums. Ha! I guess I'd better get on that huh? I'm running out of time.

On an alternate subject, you should know that we bloggers have extended an invitation to James Goodman, horror writer as a sixth blogger... a second male perspective. James has agreed and will begin blogging Saturday next week after RT is over. So please welcome him to the crew!

~Kelly~

Monday, April 14, 2008

Romantic Times Week

So we've been talking off and on about going to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and I suppose you're wondering what all the hullabaloo is about. Well, click on the link and read all about it. Cindy, Kelly, and I will be there for the rest of this week so we'll be reporting on our life and times from the city of Pittsburgh. Rita and Dr. Daren will be holding down the home forts.

This is my first RT convention. Actually, this is my first year as a published author. My first book, Chrysanthemum, was released May of 2007. The year has flown by with a mighty rush. I'm not really sure what to expect, though I'm looking forward to meeting many of the fellow authors I've become friends with via the internet. Some of them I feel like I've known forever.

My househunk is going along to keep me out of trouble. There are some who would wonder if that was a good thing, but I figure if he's along he'll protect me from all those sexy male models. I heard that Adrian Paul and Fabio will be there somewhere. I sense that I would be in great danger if I went off to RT all alone.

I'm looking forward to having a great time. (And pictures... shhhh. We won't tell anyone!)

Anny
www.annycook.com
www.annycook.blogspot.com

Friday, April 11, 2008

Of course you know in some cultures....

...i began with a sly grin on my face. My too young date just started laughing. "Are you really going to go down that road?" (she had obviously heard this line before - necessarily from an old guy!)

Of course guys like older women. I remember in the 4th grade being in love with my teacher Mrs. Sullivan! As I have gotten older I have to admit the pendulum has swung a little the other direction. I have buddies who praise me when I go out with a girl that is significantly younger. I have to admit, I am disappointed when I find out a girl I like is in the “too young” category (whatever that is!) I am an equal opportunity dater and have dated girls in their 20’s as well as in their 40’s. Common denominator, I was attracted to them in some way given the mix of variables (fun, pretty to me, intelligent, full of life…)

What I discovered is….

The Young Ones: Fun to hang out with. Generally not looking for a commitment. Full of life and energy. Nice arm candy. The downside: If things were to get serious they generally want kids. I had to play out in my mind the whole what am I going to say to her dad and how would I introduce the future step mom to my kids – ha! The big downside, this nagging fear in the back of my mind that they would wake up ten or twenty years later and say “man you’re old!”

My age: Went out with one lady my age who was classy, very pretty, well established…and turns out still in a relationship! Another lady my age grilled me on the first date and ended up having massive issues. Not much luck in that arena.

Girls in the 29-35 range. Perfect. Old enough to know better (whatever that means!) yet young enough to be fun and energetic. My self determined sweet spot. I went out with a girl tonight who is cute as a button (only old guys say that!) My friends who saw her picture on the internet kept asking “how old is she?” to which I had to reply, “I don’t know, afraid to ask.” Great dinner, much in common, then she finds out I have a 20 year old son. She asks THE question, “How old are you?” “45 I reply” She laughs. She tells me to guess how old she is. I wince and say “I’m afraid to ask”. Turns out…she’s 29….this could be the one. ☺

Thursday, April 10, 2008

True Love vs. Trophy Wives

Okay let me start by saying that I really don’t give a rip if two people who are of disparate ages—in either direction—fall in love. Weirder things have happened. It’s hard enough to find love in this world, take it where you find it, hold on with both hands, and don’t let the details bog you down.

Something that does make me roll my eyes on a good day or gag on a bad one—the trophy spouse phenomenon.

This isn’t about love. Trophy spouses are power plays. And yes, since we live in a world where there are still more men in positions of power than women, trophy wives are far more common than trophy husbands. Though Hollywood may be showing us a few of those, and maybe someday the corporate and political worlds will catch up.

I find it incredibly tacky, not to say asinine, when someone reaches the age of forty or fifty and suddenly decided to ditch the spouse who helped them build their career, usually the mother of their grown or nearly grown children, and replaces that spouse with a younger, shinier model. Frequently half their own age, and often, it seems half their IQ. Yes, this is a stereotype, but trophy spouses are often chosen because their intellect is not sufficient to challenge the spouse in power. They deliberately choose someone attractive, dim and usually the age of their first round of children. The original spouse is frequently shafted in the divorce because they have given up so much of their own time and identity to helping build their spouse’s career that they’ve set aside nothing for themselves.

This is a mid-life gesture to say, “I’ve still got it. I have the best car, the best house, the hottest spouse, and that makes me better than you.” Like I said up front. It's not about love. It's a power play, pure and simple.

Pathetic. And frequently a short-term solution at best. Soon the trophy spouse starts to age. Of course by then our serial jerk-off usually has a nice sound pre-nup in place. And the whole process begins again…

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Perfect Fit

Okay. I'm going to get right to the point here on the whole age thing. I don't really care whether and older man chooses a younger woman over an older woman...or, for that matter, whether an older woman really digs a younger guy. To me, it's all about the fit. Now, don't get me wrong, some behaviors, like hurting someone are never cool. I'm not talking about the classic case of the guy who leaves his longtime wife and his children for a young bimbette. EWWWW. That's just mean. I'm speaking of people who make a choice that is the right fit for THEM.

Popular stereotypes aren't always correct. There are lots of younger women who display a wisdom and class beyond their years. Why wouldn't they enjoy the love and affection of an older man? The same deal applies to the guys. What woman of maturity wouldn't appreciate a younger man who is not only great on the eyes but possesses an appealing charm and sensitivity? Nope. She wouldn't kick him out of bed for cracker munching and might be liable to chain him to the headboard. (ummm...that's a joke).

The important thing, in my view, is that the FIT works. Compatibility, compassion, and humor are stronger than the whole AGE THING. If it's important to find a single mate, make sure it's someone with whom you could see yourself with thirty years down the road.

And if wrinkles and sags are the problem? Hey, there's always BOTOX!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Alpheta, anyone?

Fifteen years, huh? That's what Anny said yesterday. She's a smart lady. I figure she knows a lot of random facts that I take for granted or else she's pulling numbers out of the air. Personally, I've never dated someone my age.

In highschool my boyfriends were younger, athletic and way too eager. In college one boy thought he was psychic. I remember him telling me he could "feel my emotions cascade over him like waves upon the sand". Quite a line, that. I, however, laughed. He was the same boy who pushed me on a swing in front of my dorm and told me that if I trusted him, he would teach me how to fly. Still think he meant drugs.

My husband is older than me by twelve and a half years. I just turned 34. That makes him 46. Gotta say I am much happier with my older man than the younger boys. But there have been trade offs. I just can't think of any.

The fact is that while I have dated younger men, I have always been attracted to older ones. My dad's business associates when we entertained bank executives at the house overseas... my English teacher in 8th grade (sexy 21 year old Hawaiian. What's not to love?)... my choir director in Indonesia who was from some midwestern State... There's something about the lure of an older guy. And I think I finally know what it is.

It's the control they exhibit. It's the confidence of having lived life, the stability of a job, the taboo of catching his eye and knowing he wants me too. It's control. Confidence and Control are the sexiest aphrodisiacs known to (wo)man. I'm a strong woman. I put the men I dated through the ringer, pushing and pushing them to see if they would buckle. No I didn't do it on purpose, but I can look back and recognize it now. If they buckled, they were weaker than I and I lost all interest. If they didn't, if they had that alpha dominance, I was sucked right in.

Sexy, confident, alpha. Oh yeah! He's aloof and perhaps slightly disdainful until you get him alone. His shoulders are strong and his walk somewhere between a swagger and a stride with a presence that screams power, masculinity, and economy of movement.

We want it all though. At least I do. I want that alpha but I want him brought to his knees with romantic sentiment and tenderness for me alone. I want to spar with him when we're together. I want him to challenge me and if seduction is required, so be it. I want humor and intelligence, sensitivity and snuggling. I want him to know exactly what he wants can only be found with me and only I see his vulnerability. I want to know that while he could dominate me, he sees me as his equal and treats me as such.

Is that so much to ask for? He's not Alpha. He's not Beta. He's a new breed: Alpha wrapped in Beta coating like soft lips which hide the flash of hard, white teeth. Don't give me a simpering man I can push over or a man who is too whiny to know his own worth. Don't give me a man who is arrogant or cocky. Give me an honest man who works hard and loves hard. What do we call THAT guy? What type of guy is HE?

~Kelly

Monday, April 7, 2008

May-December Love


In Cherished Destinies (a book I wrote) there were two couples and both had one partner who was significantly older than the other partner. There were reasons that the romances worked for those two couples. In most May-December romances though, the drawbacks far outweigh the advantages.

Most successful relationships depend on commonality of experience, culture, religion, and interests. When there is a significant age difference, chances are that the intersection of those factors will be less. I'm sure that there are couples who are able to make it work, simply because they are willing to put the effort into it.

When one partner is fifteen years older than the other--or more--there are more likely to be difficulties adjusting to each other's expectations. I know it sounds silly, but consider the difference in cultural background that a mere fifteen years can make. Gender roles have changed drastically in the last two generations. What an older woman expects from the relationship may be very different from what a younger woman expects. And the same is true for men.

I often wonder what such couples find to talk about. What common ground can they find? Okay so passion runs wild for a while. Then what? While he's looking forward to a night in front of the television, his sweet young thing is thinking about a night spent club-hopping. Or she anticipates a quiet evening reading, but her young hunk has planned a night out with the guys.

What about children? One of them is finished with the whole kid thing while the other is just getting interested in the idea.

What about careers? The elder partner is thinking about retirement while the younger one's career is just starting.

I've seen such marriages that worked. But it requires a lot of compromise. So what do you think? Would you be willing to go for a May-December romance? What do you think you would have to change to make it work?

Anny

Friday, April 4, 2008

And another thing...

Okay so... you caught me on the wrong day. I am pretty easy going but here goes.

George Carlin said, "Men are stupid and women are crazy... Women are crazy because men are stupid." Hmmmm .... interesting. I prefer what I read on a bathroom wall in Richmond, "No matter how pretty she is, no matter how much money she has, not matter how smart she is... someone, somewhere is tired of her sh*t."

These are some of the top things that irritate me about girls.

I'm in, I'm out, I'm in... Otherwise know as fickleness. It is annoying! Make up your mind already!

Girls who think you should buy their drinks just because they are girls. Case in point, I walk up to the bar several weeks ago at my local pub. E., 21, cute, is sitting with three friends. She calls my name in a sing song voice and asks "Are you going to buy us a shot?" I respond, "Why in the hell would I buy you a shot?" Her response, "Because you love me". Needless to say they went thirsty.

Coyness. Believe it or not, our egos are shaky enough without having to constantly guess at whether you are playing a game and are really into us or if you are just being evasive. Yes we like a little bit of a hunt but it is refreshing to meet a girl who is confident enough to let you know very directly that she is into you. Whew, what a relief.

Sporadic call backs and responses to texts. Translation, "I am a girl so I can respond to your call whenever I feel like it." I have had a number of girls tell me, "That is just the way I am...I am like that with everybody." Well don't let the door hit you on the way OUT. We all miss a call, get busy, respond much later to a call or text than we would have liked to... When this happens consistently it is a sure sign of a girl who is WAY too into herself. Bottom line, it is about politeness.

And the top most irritating thing of all about girls... All their whining about finding a nice guy when they CONSISTENTLY gravitate to the guys that treat them like crap. And yes, I am talking about you! (No, not you who are reading this...her! :) Many girls mistake poor treatment for strength. Out of desperation they cling to an unresponsive, disengaged, or even abusive male like a heroin addict chases down their next "high". Because a guy treats you with kindness and respect doesn't mean he is a weak.

Disclaimer: None of this applies to all of the wonderful female colleagues of mine who participate in this blog. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Five things that make me want to scream…

Unlike my much nicer colleagues, I can think of many and have to narrow the field to get to five. A few have been well covered by Anny or Kelly or Regina, so I’ll leave alone the horrible selection of clothing available for the short and round and the deplorable lack of manners shown by people who discuss personal business loudly on their cell phones. So...

#5: Politics. Hate them all. Pretty much every single thing about our process and the people who are good enough at the game to make it to the national level. I spent one four year term as a local elected official and I’d rather have a bikini wax done by Attila the Hun than get mixed up in that cesspool again.

#4: Religion.
Religion is fine in its place. And that place is between you and your god, or gods as the case may be. Keep your beliefs away from me, and don’t even think about using them to tell me how I should live my life. As a corollary to number 5 above, please don’t use your religion to legislate how I should live my life. Allowing that gay couple next door to exchange vows and become next-of-kin does not in any way undermine the security of my marriage. Or yours. Bugger off, live your own life and let others live theirs.

#3: Romance vs. Erotica. Reference #4. First of all they are NOT mutually exclusive. Secondly, if you don’t like what I write, don’t read it. I’m even okay with you not selling it to minors. But don’t go calling me a prostitute because I write sexy books. You write and read what you want, I’ll write and read what I want. That’s that whole free market concept in action.

#2: Money: I could go off on this one for hours. Days, even. It has become a crime in our society (I live in the US if anyone was wondering) to be short on cash. Generally what happens if you are five minutes late paying a bill is that you get slapped with a very hefty late charge—the penalty for being broke. Pretty soon the late charges add up to more than you make in a month. And we have no sympathy for people who would like to work but can’t find a job—whether there is no available work, or they can’t find transportation (we’re the only so-called civilized country with NO mass transit to speak of) or because the jobs that are available pay less than day care costs. (Yes, other countries subsidize that, too.) or Because there are simply fewer jobs in the US than there used to be.

#1: The medical establishment: Yes, there are doctors and nurses who are smart, kind and thoughtful as well as good. Those are the priceless gems of the industry. Unfortunately the system does not reward those people, and far too many of them are only in it for the money. They are also trained to believe that every single patient they speak to is an utter idiot. “I have strep throat.” “Sure, you do. I’m the doctor, I’ll decide.” “Okay, but I get it twice a year every year and it always feels exactly the same.” Then they proceed to run expensive tests only to decided you do, indeed, have strep throat. And don’t get me started on hospitals. When I worked in animal rehab, one thing we saw over and over is that the lower the stress level on the animal, the better the chances for recovery. And yet hospitals do everything they can to stress you out continually from the minute you walk in the door until the minute your insurance company tells them they have to boot you out.

Okay. There’s a start. I’m off to my exercise class now (yes, some overweight people really do exercise regularly!) and I’m sure that as I’m doing crunches and jumping jacks I’ll think of a dozen more things to say. So leave a comment and check back later—I might add more!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Regina's Rants and Ravings

So Amarinda wants us to get down and dirty, huh? Okay. I'll bite. Although I'm a laid back person as a rule, there are a number of things that get my back up and I'm prepared, right here, right now, to let off some steam. Let me start with something big and controversial that's been in the news lately. I'm a political junkie who keeps up with all the stuff on the campaign trails of the various candidates for Prez. Now, I remember the Clinton years and, for the most part, I thought they were pretty good. In those days, Chelsea, the first daughter was pretty much sheltered from the press and the limelight which was a good thing. I recall how badly I felt for her when as a pre-teen, she was faced with her dad's little "oval office escapade". It was sad to see her in the middle of this very public airing of family dirty laundry and the things that followed. Impeachment, loss of stature and scandal for her dad.

Now she's a woman, 28 years old, and after all the years her parents have protected her, she's campaigning for her mom. That's a cool thing but why all the outrage over questions from kids at college campuses that make her squirm? After all, she's a grown woman! Didn't she and her parents figure she'd be asked tough questions about uncomfortable things? And couldn't she be more prepared than to simply say...it's none of your business? I'm not saying the questions about the past scandal are appropriate. In fact, I think they are pretty mean but surely her folks knew this was coming but they trotted her out in public anyway. My take on this whole mess is this...if she can't handle these nasty little questions, she needs to campaign on a more low key level or not at all. Okay 'nuff of that!

Plenty of other things get me pissed and here they are:
1) Do NOT show me your food during a meal. I'm not interested in seeing or HEARING this. What the hell is the matter with you? Were you raised in a barn?

2) Do not bring your screaming child into a restaurant and allow that child to disrupt my time out with my family. I don't appreciate it. I've raised kids and I wouldn't have allowed mine to behave that way in public. The solution is simple...take them AWAY.

3) Parents, would you PLEASE, not discipline your children in a public place? There is nothing that steams me faster than watching someone man-handle an unruly child while I'm at the mall or grocery shopping. I find it disturbing to see an adult punish a child for everyone to see. Get a grip! I don't want to see demonstrations of your parenting skills and embarrassing a child isn't cool.

4) Condescending behavior unnerves me. We've all seen that LOOK, heard that TONE. I don't go to your church? Get over it! Don't judge me or mine. I'm entitled to live the way I choose. I can befriend whom I want and hold different social or political views. Don't smirk at me!

5) I'm not just a writer but a READER and I find it beyond strange to pick up a book and find the author is caught in a "time warp". It's really hard to get a proper visual when the author hasn't done her homework and fails (in contemporary work) to address fashion, hairstyles, etc. I don't want my heroine wearing a 70's caftan and frumpy clothes. If you're not up on the latest trends, flip on any television show, watch a current movie, or pick up a fashion magazine. For goodness sake, do your research. One of my favorite authors makes this mistake all the time and I've gotten so frustrated with her work because she has zero fashion or decorating sense. I'm not kidding, I just grit my teeth when she describes what the heroine or hero is wearing. Drives me NUTS! Keep waiting for the heroine to finally strip down for a love scene so I don't have to think about those awful clothes. Does this make me a snob? Maybe.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pissing off Kelly

Cell phones in bathrooms—Cell phones have been addressed in a previous gripe. I have a particular gripe about the uses of these cell phones. NO ONE WANTS TO TALK TO YOU WHILE YOU PEE. Yes, I said it. You’re in the public toilet, turn off the damn phone. And even if YOU don’t care whether you’re peeing is being picked up and broadcast out on sound waves, I care if mine is. And while smello-phone isn’t invented yet, the grunting and groaning of the poor sod next to you doesn’t need to be heard either.

I have been unfortunate enough to have taken a call as the agent on the phone took his pee. And flushed. Then laughed and said, “Oh, you caught me.” Yes. I did catch you, yay for me. What the hell are you thinking, calling me at my job so I could hear you pee as though it’s an elevator symphony? Are you mad? Keep your private activities private, man!

Fat suits—There is a recent trend among talk shows. The idea is to dress the host or some production manager in a fat suit, apply appropriate fat makeup (cause all fatties apparently apply makeup the same) and slip their plus sized bodies into sweats (cause again, all fatties only ever wear sweats as we care not for what people see—low self esteem does this to all and sundry. Do not argue I’m getting started). Then they traipse around town for a few hours, riding buses, trains, trying to get into clubs or go shopping. Sometimes they employ a whine to their voices (because yes, we all whine too) while they ask for directions, the time, a date, or pocket lint.

Then on camera they cry at the unfairness of it all. “Oh I used to be so beautiful and men bought me (insert diamonds, cars, trips to Maui, silk umbrellas here) and now they won’t *sniff* even *sniff, sniff* look at me.” I hate this posing simian. Later on, the talk show host laments over the last acceptable bias in our culture. How the media portrays the sad percentage of large individuals while the radio makes fun.

We all know it’s a bias. Those of us who don’t spend mere hours in a fat suit but entire lives in one, have lived it and usually don’t spend hours bawling our eyes out every day. We are heavy but we aren’t pathetic. We have trouble finding stylish clothes but if we wanted to wear sweats that would be okay. Make up is personal and whining optional. But don’t freakin’ portray all fat Americans as pathetic. We aren’t.

We hold jobs. We have families and friends who love us. We roll our eyes at your stereo-types. And yes, we have ears too. WE HEAR YOU! We aren’t desperate and while we don’t appreciate being made fun of we know you’re doing it. So don’t pander down, or act surprised when you're caught. Don’t pretend you understand my life after a few hours in makeup and video technology. You’ll never know until you’re actually there. Asshats.

Chewing with mouth open—If we chance to be out together enjoying a meal kindly keep your food in your mouth and away from the viewing public. Don’t want to see it. Your luscious smacking and spittle reducing your food into masticated mush is of no interest to me. I don’t want to see it, I certainly don’t want to hear it. Were you raised in a barn?

And on this note, if you are chewing gum or sucking a cough drop DO NOT make sucking noises, PLEASE? I understand you are enjoying your strepsels but kindly keep it to yourself.

Which brings me to nose blowing. We all have occasion to fight the hassles of a runny nose. Some have to do so with more regularity than others due to allergies. I sympathize and completely understand your nose blowing necessities. But after you have blown your brains into your tissue, do you have to look at it? Do you? Did you produce crown jewels that you must inspect? “Hey here’s a pearl and a giant ruby. I’m rich.”

I have seen the nose blowing maneuver regularly. Take a look next time someone blows. Did they peek? Are they proud of what has come out? A smug grin of pleasure? Ew. Just, EW.

Mothering is another one for me. I’m an adult. I do not require mothering so don’t. I know I look young and naïve and perhaps I am, but you lived your freaking life so don’t tell me how to live mine. Do not offer me advice on raising children, on keeping my husband happy, on how to lose weight when you only ever lost five pounds at most. Do NOT mistake the doe eyed look I shoot your way as blissful ignorance. Yes, I do this look very well because it shuts you up unless you are the mothering sort, then I’m screwed.

Don’t pat me on the hand or scold me for not thinking the way you do, I don’t want to hear it. Just piss off and leave me alone. I have a mother and even she’s gotten the message.

~Kelly~