Character Connections...of the Intimate Kind (Penny Rader)

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These are the 12 Stages of Intimacy made famous by Linda Howard. Several years ago I attended an RWA workshop she presented and was just blown away.
  1. Eye to body
  2. Eye to eye
  3. Voice to voice
  4. Hand to hand (or arm)
  5. Arm to shoulder
  6. Arm to waist, or back
  7. Mouth to mouth
  8. Hand to head
  9. Hand to body
  10. Mouth to breast
  11. Hand to genitals
  12. Genitals to genitals
Not all stories will use all 12 stages and not all stories will use them in order -- some may jump around.  I hope you’ll check the following articles for great explanations and examples of using the above steps.

Using the 12 Stages of Physical Intimacy to Build Tension In Your Fiction (Jenny Hansen)
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12 Steps to Intimacy (Terry O’Dell)

The Twelve Steps of Intimacy (Erica)

The Twelve Stages of Intimacy (Jana Richards)

Let's Get Intimate (Debora Dennis)

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Ideas for Developing Intimacy in a Romance Novel Relationship (Victoria Adams)

Twelve Steps to Real Intimacy 

Here are tidbits from a couple more articles I found about intimacy.

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How to Get More Intimate Without Having Sex

This article talks about 3 types of intimacy that don’t involve sex.  I've included an example given in the article for each step:
  • Being physical without sex.  Ex: Take hand holding to a whole new level.
  • Having fun together.  Ex: Make a date of watching the sky.
  • Bonding mentally.  Ex: Talk about your bucket lists.

Stages of Intimacy in Marriage (Alexis Aiger)
  • Passion and Romance
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  • Realization and Rebellion
  • Distraction and Cooperation
  • Reunion and Resurfacing
  • Completion and Contentment
Just a reminder: If you like any of the articles above, be sure to save or print them.  You never know when they'll disappear.


Do you have any tips you care to share on this topic?

Brick Walls, Summer Heat and Maximum Destruction

Yup, it happened. The whole month disappeared. My blog is due, and I’m runnin’ behind. I have no excuse other than being knee deep in edits. I’m not real fond of editing after the book is finished. My brain has all dialogue so deeply embedded it refuses to take an objective look. So, after staring blurrily at the computer for a few eons, I called in the cavalry. Her name is Pat J A fresh pair of eyes did the trick, my noggin has got its act together, and I’m off and running.

That doesn't mean life has become a bed of editing roses. Nope. It does mean I’m making progress, with an occasional brick wall to smack. That’s where you come in. I thought we would do some on-line editing.

Below is a short scene that I can’t quite decide if it needs something more or not. I want your opinion. I want you to poke as many holes in it as you can find, and tell me why. I want you to adjust, rearrange, and finagle to your hearts content.

Consider it an exercise in staying out of the heat. That has as much to do with my BICHOK right now as self-discipline. Ah, heck, probably more. If I’m going to hole up and hide from this fiery blast furnace we’re living in, I better work.

Here it is. Enjoy and destroy.

Wade pulled his pickup next to Debbie’s car. He stood up, turned around, and froze at the scene fully visible through the screen door. Coal holding Kelli’s face as they stared at each other, her choice plain when she laid her head upon his chest, then Coal’s capitulation. There was no doubt, whether Coal understood or not, Kelli had chosen him.
Pain bit deep. She hadn't wanted his comfort, his help or his strength. In fact, she flinched every time he touched her. Why, Father? What is wrong with me? First Lori, and now Kelli. What am I doing wrong?  
Nothing, my son. I will restore all that the enemy has stolen in my time. Trust me and hold on.
He barely noticed his sister’s greeting, her worried glance towards the house. She knew what this would do to him. Wade wanted to get back in his truck, to run away and lick his wounds, but he couldn't. His job, as Chief of Police, wasn't finished. Bending back into his vehicle, he pulled out a clipboard full of papers.
Help me, Lord. Don’t let me make a fool of myself. I should be happy for them. They’re my friends. I should be glad they've found each other, but I’m not. I’m angry. Kelli and I had made no promises, but this still hurts. Help me, Father. I can’t afford to lose it right now. Help me hold it all together until I have the time to deal with this.

If I Could Choose a Show From My Childhood to Bring Back (Penny Rader)

This month our topic is What show from your childhood would you love to bring back?
I had a huge crush on Bobby Sherman when I was a kid [HUGE!] and couldn't get enough of Here Come the Brides.  Bobby's character was Jeremy Bolt, the youngest of the Bolt brothers. [big sigh]  Don't get me wrong.  The other two brothers were quite sigh- and drool-worthy, too.  And I'm still a sucker for mail-order bride stories.  I didn't realize the show lasted only two seasons until I looked it up online.  Wikipedia says there were 52 episodes.  Hmm.  That'd make a cool Christmas gift, but when I checked I had severe sticker shock, so I don't think that's going to happen.  Funny how nowadays two seasons of a show would be lucky to have 12-24 episodes.   It makes me sad that some shows are barely given three or four episodes before being cancelled.

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Another favorite series of mine was Bonanza.  Hoss, the middle brother, always held a special place in my heart with his sweet, gentle soul yet fierce, protective instincts. I didn't care that he wasn't classically handsome...looks do fade, after all. I especially enjoyed the episodes when he fell in love.  Who could resist such a sweetheart?  But we always knew the girls any of the Cartwrights loved were croakers. Major bummer.

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When I was a little older the school librarian of the tiny Catholic grade school I attended  handed me a copy of The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  No clue why she started me off with the sixth book in the series, but I read it, adored it, and discovered there were more books.  I borrowed every one of them from the library.  The series was such a favorite of mine that I needed to own the entire boxed set.  I was certain that I would receive it for my 13th birthday.  Didn't happen.  I was crushed.  But, where there's a will...  I babysat and babysat and babysat and saved up enough money to buy the entire series.  I still have it, except for the last book which got lost somewhere along the way.  So, when they turned the book series into a TV series, Little House on the Prairie, I was beyond ecstatic.  I didn't care that they deviated from the book series.  They sort of had to, didn't they?  There were only nine books in the series and the show ran from 1974-1983. The important part to me was they stayed true to the characters.

I guess I better stop now.  We were supposed to choose one childhood favorite and I picked three.  All different but with wonderful characters and settings.  


What show from your childhood would you bring back?

Mild-Mannered Devil © by Sandy Van Doren

"-" is a mild enough punctuation mark when we're reading.  But it's a devil when we want to determine its correct usage.

I'd wager we all know to use a hyphen when splitting a word too long for one line.  We'd also hyphenate "blue-green eyes" or "dress of blue-green" or "a you-can't-kid-me book" or "two-thirds finished.

But do we write
bluish green eyes      or    bluish-green eyes?
life-insurance policy  or   life insurance policy?
badly written story     or   badly-written story?
happy-birthday-card  or   happy birthday card?
eat dirt cheap            or   eat dirt-cheap?

It is grammatically incorrect to hyphenate the first three choices.  Neither example is correct for the fourth line; it should correctly read happy-birthday card. The last line depends on what meaning you want to convey: eating doesn't cost a lot or eating dirt isn't costly.

Sometimes the only help is the dictionary.  Sometimes clarity dictates hyphen usage: farmer's co-op or farmer's coop; re-creation (making anew) instead of recreation (having fun).  Sometimes a hyphen keeps the reader from getting distracted: belllike or bell-like; antiinflammatory or anti-inflammatory.

A hyphen is no longer preferred to set off a prefix or suffix or divide a word with double consonants: redistribute, not re-distribute.  Nor should one separate two different vowels occurring in a word: semiannual, reappear.

Hyphens are always used with some words (half-baked, matter-of-fact) and never with others (high school, life insurance).  Everyday usage can change a hyphenated word to a "closed" one (mailman, sunbathing).

Compound nouns are usually not hyphenated: decision making; dictionary consulting.  If these words are used as adjectives, then hyphens are required: decision-making process, dictionary-consulting writer.  Remember exceptions exist: high school student, life insurance policy.

Compound adjectives occurring before the noun are hyphenated, but not when following it: well-known author, an author well known to readers; a so-called clue, a clue so called by amateurs.

The best advice for using a hyphen is to learn the few "rules" and to judge the phrase's readability on a single read.  If the reader is apt to be confused or misled, hyphenate.  If your meaning is clear, don't use a hyphen.

It's a wise writer who keeps a dictionary handy as well.

(Originally appeared in WARA's The Prairie Rose "Talking Technical" column, March/Aptil 1995)

What show from your childhood would you love to bring back? by J Vincent

I was in eighth grade when we first got a television set circa 1959. I don’t remember there being that much on in the then only black and white sets. Do any of you remember the Indian chief head shown before programming began and the patriotic montage and song at the end of programming before sign off?  How about Deputy Dusty, Freddie Fudd with Henry Harvey (later the best Santa ever), Major Astro by Tom Leahy (my brother actually won a bike on that show), Cap'n Bill (Bill McLean) and Popeye (Clarence Brown), John Froome’s IGA Party Line as well as his weatherman duties.  I spent nights during my high school years watching WW II movies after the news at ten.  Van Johnson, John Payne, John Wayne, Victor Mature, Cary Grant, Robert Mitchum, Jimmy Stewart, and Michael Rennie all helped to form my idea of what a hero should be.  Bu I digress.

There was a show that we watched as a family on Sunday nights and that is the one I thought of first.  The Ed Sullivan Show.  It was a variety show with vastly different acts throughout.  I remember one where a man came out and sat down on the stage and started laughing.  That’s all he did but it was contagious.  Soon everyone in the audience was joining in as did we in our home.  I’ve never figured out why it was contagious.  It seemed strange at the time and still does but it is also indelible in my mind.  The Sullivan show began in 1948 and was going strong when we joined the tv generation. Current stars of each year as well as some perennials like Topo Gigio appeared.  The Sullivan show was still on when I was doing my student teaching during which time the Beatles famously performed. I loved the variety that was presented and do miss this kind of show.

As an adult I still enjoyed variety shows and watched Garry Moore’s show from which came another favorite--Carol Burnett.  I did love that show which was always good for a fair share of laughter as well as good music and heaven knows what.  Remember the Gone with the Wind spoof with the curtain rod and curtains as Carol Burnett’s gown?

Variety show have gone the way of the dinosaur in our fast-paced, widely-traveled, internet age.  America’s Got Talent is the closest we have to one these days. I often wonder if I’d enjoy the Sullivan show now as much as I did when it was originally on.  Some things age well, some don’t. Did you also enjoy variety shows?

Begining Again. . . Again by Theresa Jaye

I owe a big fat apology to all my WARA friends for missing my blog posts the last few months.  I’m not going to make excuses. We all have our own hills and valleys to wade through. It’s impossible to bypass those roads that go nowhere and roads that are blocked. We waste too much time waiting for the roads that lead us to victory. I truly believe these challenges are what make us who we are.  

I’m not special or different. I’m not better or worse off than anyone else. I have hopes and dreams just like the next guy or gal. I control my own destiny tomorrow by the decisions I make today. If I choose not to write today, then tomorrow my goals will be set back even further. The only problem is that it’s easy to let those pesky excuses take over our lives and goals. We go out of our way to find reasons we can’t write right now. Time gets away from us—if we let it.

Like most of us, I’ve had this writing dream since I was a little girl. I’m still hopeful that I will be a published author someday. The one sure thing in this life is if I don’t write, it’ll never happen.  

I've set a major goal for myself and I've written more in the last week than any other week in 2014. Part of that goal was to blog again. I made that goal so who knows what I can do if I set my mind to it!


Book signings. The goal of every published author. NOT.

This is me at my book signing in San Antonio last month.
Lots of books. No one in line. I'm smiling. My face hurts and sadly, the drink in my hand is water.
This about sums up the great event that occurs in most published authors lives. Book signings.
The good, the bad and the ugly. 
I'd like to share some of my most memorable book signings with you.
My first at Towne West Mall where almost 50 people showed up to buy one of my books. I thought I was a star.
My second. 12 people showed up. Apparently, I wasn't as big a star as I thought.
My first book signing hosted by a library. It was in Hutchinson. Note to self...people do not come to the library expecting to pay for books. I sold 6 and 3 of those were to the same person who happened to be a friend.
Do you notice a downward trend here?
Fast forward to the BEA, Book Expo of America in NY in 2012 where there was a line waiting for me. A lady came from North Carolina to get one of my books. How awesome is that?
Skip ahead to the Literacy signing in Anaheim CA, also in 2012. I sold less than a dozen books after sitting for two hours in the noisiest place on the planet.
In spite of all that, YOU will want to dip your toes in this magical pond when your book comes out. After all, you dreamed about the day for years. So here are some tips to make it as fun as possible. 
When you do a book signing, be prepared.
#1. Know where all the nearest bathrooms are. People will stop and ask you.
#2. Know where the discount rack is. People want bargains.
#3. Never, ever, hold a book signing on Black Friday. Those shoppers are people on a mission and it does not involve impulse purchases.
#4. Keep smiling.
#5 Bring extra candy. That lady and her kids will come back three times. In San Antonio, I had taffy in cute bags. A lady stopped, poured them all out on the table, sorted through them and took five. She smiled at me and said, "I only like the licorice ones." She left without a book. I put the rest of the candy back in the bag while muttering unkind words under my breath.
#6. Bring your best friend or friends to sit with you and help you while away the hours. Having someone to talk to makes all the difference. It gets very lonely out front by yourself. A special big thanks to Theresa, Deb and my WARA friends for coming to so many of mine.
#7. Wear loose comfortable clothing. Tight pants can give you gas.
#8. Have a gimmick. Have something that will make people stop and look. A gift basket to give away is always nice. I once saw a lady with a black swan hat. She was memorable. I have a crazy quilt with some of my book covers on it. There are as many quilters as there are readers out there and since the Amish are famous for their quilts, the idea works. People stop.
#9. Be prepared to answer stupid questions.
     "Do you research all the sex scenes?" 
     "NO, this is an inspirational book. However, I do research all the prayers."
     "I'll bet you can turn one of these formula books out in a few weeks, right?"
     "No, it only takes me two days. I just fill in the blanks with the new characters names."
#10. Keep smiling.
As for the book signing in the photo, once the doors of the room opened, I and about 40 other Harlequin authors were mobbed. The book were free. One lady picked up my book to give to her punishment for complaining that the last book she gave her as a gift was too sexy.

As you are reading this, I will be signing books in Chapman, Kansas, at the public library. It's a fund raiser for the library, so I hope someone shows up. STILL SMILING.