Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Quest for Nice Things

Not our house, really
When Char and I were first married, we didn’t have an abundance of money. We did, however, have more than enough bills and a baby on the way. When we first started to set up house, we went to my father’s thrift store and he told us to pick out whatever we needed to get started. And so we did - couches, chairs, dressers, and a dining room table. A friend bought our bed as a wedding present and some others gave us a washer and dryer and we were set. Nothing was fancy looking and it was all obviously second hand, but it worked and that was all that mattered.

As time progressed, we accumulated newer things; decorated the house with more valuable knick knacks and pictures. The boys had new toys, books, and gadgets to entertain themselves with. About the only thing that never looked new was my long list of cars that were constantly handed to me on their last legs.
Still, we had nice things. Not expensive maybe, but nice nevertheless. We were proud of what we owned and never had regrets about having people over.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Freedom of De-Cluttering

All I need to carry when I escape
I swore I would never do another one after the chaos that was brought into my yard two years ago. It’s bad enough to have to deal with idiots in Wal-mart or on the road, but to invite them into my yard is one definition of insane. However, we did it again just this weekend. We had a yard sale.

If you’ve been keeping up with us on any of the social media black holes, then you know the girls and I have been redecorating the home front. The old furniture was tossed and new furniture bought. Even the 9-year-old’s bedroom is getting a total overhaul. She was excited up until the time she found out some of her possessions would have to go.

And that is part of the whole process, getting rid of things you no longer have room for. It’s been a process for me that so far has lasted five years and is continuing on even now. I’m not one, it seems, to get rid of things easily. I may have said I was keeping it for nostalgia’s sake, but really, what was the point? I never pulled this stuff out and looked at it or brought it out and showed visitors. “See? I won this gold ribbon in elementary school because I was there and didn’t get sick.” Not everything has to be kept. At least, that was what I was told and had to start believing.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Walking Purse

I hate carrying a wallet. I have one or rather I had one before I bought this new case for my phone, which now comes with a wallet of sorts. I can slide my license and credit cards in it, money goes in my front pocket, pictures are on my phone and that is about all a wallet would carry anyway. I hate it because I am not a fan of sitting on bulky objects. I’m afraid it makes me look lopsided when I sit down and could topple over at any moment. Besides, it’s just uncomfortable sitting on this brick that covers one of your ass cheeks. I was made for cushion.

So, I began to whittle it down and for the longest time used a business card holder as my wallet. It only had my license and a credit card. At least, that is how it started. Then the girls and I started going out more and I carried their licenses as well and the extra cards so that they didn’t have to carry their purses into wherever we were going.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Texting Breeds Bad Habits

The phone is always close.
One of the things I enjoy about texting is the ability to ask a bunch of questions at once and just send them off. If I think of something else before they reply, I simply type it out and send it as well. I don’t have to wait for the first reply to come back before sending the next one and that keeps me from forgetting what I wanted to ask. It may be a dialogue, but more in the form of an email conversation than a face to face one. I mean, I can answer a text while reading or watching television and not worry about offending the person on the other end. I can even do it while sitting on the toilet where having a normal conversation is just annoyingly awkward. Not that that stops people from doing it. That closed door should come with some respect of privacy.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Mess Welcomes Giselle Marks

Giselle Marks
Good morning, My Messy friends. Today I am pleased to bring you another great author. Giselle Marks has been writing for many years.  She has written two Regency Romances and a Fantasy/ Sci-fi series with erotic content.  Her first published novel The Fencing Master’s Daughter was published by Front Porch Romance in September 2013.  Her second Regency Romance, The Marquis’s Mistake, was released by them in November 2013.  Her Fantasy series, The Zeninan Saga, is currently being edited by Nevermore Press and should start appearing in the near future.  Giselle is currently working on an erotic fantasy novella called Lucy, which she hopes will be available in the New Year.

I came across Giselle on Twitter, where I have met some pretty creative people. Her novel, The Fencing Master's Daughter, is also on my list of books to read ASAP. I know you will enjoy sharing your morning with her. Afterward, please check out her novels and enjoy a great read.

Thank you, Giselle, for joining us at the Mess. We are pleased to have you and appreciate your support and friendship. Feel free to come back anytime.

And now, settle back with your morning cup of java and meet Giselle Marks.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One of the less talked about problems of writing Regency Romances is many of the traditional readership of the genre disapprove of anything more than a chaste kiss between your exquisite heroine and gorgeous hero. Many older readers feel nothing more should happen until they have visited the altar together and even after the ceremony and they have benefit of clergy, that any rumpy-bumpy action should be conducted behind a closed bedroom door.

This readership hope new Regency and other Historical Romances will be written to the same formula as Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer and are disappointed when modern writers include bedroom scenes. Georgette Heyer refused to write sex scenes even though she overlapped her writing time-span with Ian Fleming who included some fairly tame sex scenes by today’s standards. Her middle class up-bringing and respectability made the idea of writing sensual scenes anathema to her.

However many younger readers feel short-changed when there are no sex scenes in their Regency romances. They also expect a lot more emotional input than either Georgette Heyer or I include about my characters.  I argue my British aristocratic heroes and heroines will keep their feelings to themselves and not create embarrassing scenes. I find over emoting a bit wet.

I also think the sex should be right for the characters involved. Books where virgin heroines behave like well-trained courtesans seem unbelievable to me. If the heroine was a widow or former courtesan, then that would be immodest but just about acceptable.  But a well brought up girl would not behave so.

Regency women did not get much of a sex education before their wedding nights and then they were frequently told to submit to their husband’s desires and basically grit their teeth and endure. I have read a number of modern Historical Romances where the sex scenes dominated to such an extent; there was virtually no space for a story for them to cling to. Most of those so-called historical romances miss out almost all facts and details from their stories. When they do include “period details” they are often wrong and anachronistic!

So how should an author unite the two groups of readers with their different hopes and expectations?  I cannot state categorically that either side is right or wrong. The readers are our customers and it is up to writers to provide them with books they want to read. However as writers we must decide what we wish to include or exclude in our stories. If writers are not comfortable writing bed scenes then they should not be pressured into including them in their books. I suspect many writers discover their raunchier books get more sales which will encourage more writers to add them.

I am definitely a traditionalist about getting the details right historically in my Romances, so you might expect me to feel strongly that raunchy scenes should be excluded from Regency romances. I adore Georgette Heyer and have no complaints about the absence of sex scenes in her books, because she was writing from a more innocent point of view.  However I feel the world has moved on a little and if she was writing today, I believe she might well have included slightly sexier scenes. But I have used that argument with serious Heyer fans before and I got shouted down as my views failed totally to convince them.

Yet in modern Regency Romances I have no objection to such scenes, if the storyline requires sex scenes and they are well written; then they need to be there. The behaviour of the hero and heroine during those scenes should be in character with their established personalities. They should be tender and romantic if at all possible and should emotionally affect both hero and heroine. But if you are going to get your hero and heroine to do a strip tease, then the author had better get the details of the costumes they are removing accurate. And if she is wearing a corset and has back buttons, then he’ll need to help her redress!

My first Regency romance “The Fencing Master’s Daughter” has no direct sex scenes and the most my lovers get up to is cuddle and kiss before marriage. So if you do not like sex scenes in your Regencies it is a book that should please you. My reasons for not writing sex scenes in the book were not because they destroy books’ integrity but I felt in the specific case of “The Fencing Master’s Daughter” any sex scene would be inappropriate. My heroine Madelaine fell in love with Edward’s loyalty and determination rather than his handsome looks or sexual prowess. She took some time coming to terms with the idea of physical intimacy and her erstwhile groom understood her fears and was prepared to be patient.

“The Marquis’s Mistake” is slightly more explicit but the heroine still reaches St. George’s, Hanover Square less innocent than most Regency brides but definitely a virgin. My reason for the different level of sexual content between the books is not because I am gradually building myself up to writing erotic scenes. When my Fantasy series “The Zeninan Saga” emerges in spring published by Nevermore Press, you might realise I am not prissy about writing sex scenes and that I have written a large number of them.  However, I did not consider a full on sex scene right for the plot of either story. I am writing more Regency Romances and some will have sex scenes and others may not, and how raunchy they are will depend on the characters and plot. Regency romances ought to be given a rating according to their sensual content so those who do not want to read such scenes can avoid them. 

If you read Regency Romances then you should reach your own conclusions as to whether you want erotic scenes included in the stories you buy. If what you are looking for is straight erotica then there are many historical erotica books available for you to select from. If you are seeking romance, perhaps you might consider reading well written stories that tell a love story with accurate historical details and allow yourself to use your imagination for how they consummated their romance?

“The Marquis’s Mistake” and “The Fencing Master’s Daughter are published by Front Porch Romance and are available on Amazon in paperback and e-books! 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

About The Fencing Master’s Daughter by Giselle Marks

Edward, Earl of Chalcombe, walking home, is attacked by footpads.  He attempts to defend himself but is bludgeoned to the ground.  Death seems inevitable when a fat ugly man carrying a stick and a beautiful slender young lady appeared.

The young lady stumbles and picks up his dropped foil, dispatching one footpad and injuring another.  The fat man belabours a third with his stick.  The footpads flee, leaving their deceased comrade behind.  The rescuers bundle Edward home.

The young lady, Madelaine summons the Bow Street runners.  Refusing reward she provides no address.  But Edward fascinated by both Madelaine’s beauty and swordsmanship intends to pursue the acquaintance.  Edward seeks his rescuers and the culprits who wish to terminate his life.  Offering the elusive Madelaine marriage but she repeatedly declines.  Her father accepts an invitation to visit his estate with her over Christmas as he takes a liking to Edward. 

As Edward pursues Madelaine, the attempts on his life continue.  The sinister French spy, Major Furet, discovered as the arch nemesis in both Edward and Madelaine’s stories.  The mystery intertwines as their romance progresses and Madelaine eventually reveals the secret making her refuse to marry him. 

Did you enjoy what you read? Leave me a comment and then join me at The Mess that Is Me on Facebook!

See what you've missed ~ The Day of Love is Coming 
                                      That Lived In Look
                                      The Mess Welcomes Chris Eastvedt

Thanks for visiting The Mess! Keep chasing your dreams!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

That Day of Love is Coming

Happy Valentine's Day!
It’s almost here, only a couple of days away. Valentine’s Day. The day that some look forward to every year and others dread. It’s filled with candy, flowers, cards, dinners out and jewelry, and those are just the normal offerings. I can see the reason some love this day. It’s a time for them to be spoiled or to spoil the one they love. I can also see why some are envious. They don’t have that person in their life and hate being reminded of it.

However, there is a third group. They hate the holiday because “Why limit my expression of love to just one day?” Ah, this person feels it cheapens the romance to be told to do it on just one day. “I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I show my love all year long.”

Monday, February 10, 2014

That Lived-In Look

Definitely lived in
It was something my mother would use to judge a home we had visited. If it had a pristine, dust-free, clutter-free look, she would say that it lacked that lived-in look to it. Everything was in its place, no toys about, no magazines left bent as if being read, no blankets left on the couch or dishes in the sink. “It’s just too sterile for anyone to really live in it. It must be terrible to be one of those kids in that house.”

However, back at home, my father would follow us around tidying up after us in order to keep the house clean. If you left something on a table for longer than five minutes, it was suddenly back where it belonged and you were starting over.

I am a mixture of both. I don’t mind my mess, but heaven help if one of the girls or the kids leaves something out of place. “What’s a matter? You too lazy to pick this up and put it back where it belongs? I mean, the sink is only two extra feet away.” I avoid the 9 year-old’s bedroom at all costs. How she finds anything in there, I will never know.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Mess Welcomes Chris Eastvedt

Good morning, Messy people. This Saturday we have another great guest for you, especially to those indie authors out there who are always looking for new ways to market their writing. Today the Mess welcomes Chris Eastvedt, author of the children's book Free Toes, which can be found on Amazon. She is not merely your typical children's author. She wants her writing to do more than just make a child laugh or giggle. She wants to empower them to think, to draw conclusions for themselves and then want to know more. 

Chris grew up like many of us in front of a television or movie screen and devouring book after book. Because of that she developed a love of storytelling and character development. I wonder if she used her dolls as I did my Star Wars action figures acting out scenes from her mind to see her stories come to life. Like those books she read as a child, she wants her writing to inspire others. She believes that any subject can be interesting if the person is entertained while learning it and I agree with her.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Unexpected Messing

We looked at the boys and told them to get dressed and hop in the car. The sun had not even woken up, yet, and the morning had that slight chill that comes with the dew. The boys, never eager to wake up, rubbed groggy eyes and stared at us.

“Why? It’s still dark out,” they would each question Char as she helped lay out their clothes.

“You’re father wants to go messing.”

We’d all pile into the car, swing through a McDonald’s for breakfast, and then hit I-95. Their curious minds perked up. Music played softly as Char and I talked about this and that. The boys stared out the windows with curious eyes, watching to see which way we would turn. As we took the off ramp from 95 to 92, they started bouncing in the backseat. There was only one reason their father would be going the way he was and they knew the day was going to be a fun adventure indeed. They started yelling, “Yes!” and high-fiving each other as they were now suddenly awake and wide eyed.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Patience Needs a Study Hall

I can be patient here
“Lord, grant me patience and I need it right now!” I’m not sure where I first saw that saying, but it spoke volumes to me at the time. The problem with patience is that it takes time to develop it and the people around us need to have it right away. We need it right away in order to keep from killing those around us. Last month we started talking about how to live a more peaceful life and if we are to attain that goal, then patience will be a key ingredient.

Without patience, we are irritated easily, frustrated more often, and quite often a bear to be around. Ask the girls. When I am in a hurry or wanting things to move faster, I am not a very pleasant person to be around. That is especially true of the little blue-haired old woman in the car in front of me who has sat through an entire green light before realizing that she can go. At times, it’s even during that homework period when the 9 year-old isn’t listening to my profound wisdom. It could be when I have the car started and one of the girls suddenly remembers they forgot something back inside the house and we are already running late.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Some Guest Posting Etiquette

This Mess is for writers, specifically those who write for blogs and like to appear on various sites to broaden their audience. If you're not a writer, then you may wish to skip today's post and come back Wednesday when I'll share my frustrations with learning patience and about how driving through this town is not a good study hall for that. It's all right if you pass on today’s post; I won't be upset. If you are a writer, however, then I encourage you to read on as I share a few things I've learned along the way. These are merely tidbits I think might help you as you strive for success, simple items based off of my experiences inviting people to be guests at the Mess.

Several months ago I began opening up my Saturday spots to guest writers. I didn't have any rules really, just write about whatever floats your boat and send it to me. I've hosted people who wanted to promote their books, tell a funny or sad story, and even people who have never written for others before. That one I really enjoyed because I know how scared I was to send that first piece out. I just wanted someone to give me a chance and to see my words in print somewhere. Anywhere. I think part of our journey is to help others reach their dreams if we can and I see giving these writers a chance to do just that.