Tag Archives: Marriage

It’s a conundrum, or two

I’m back in my room now. There was another junior thunderstorm, but it was right overhead. Some of you asked for photos, and I couldn’t get them. It shook the windows, but didn’t have the staying power of yesterday’s storm.

I also bought some ski-lodge quality slippers for my wife and daughter. Today is Old What’s Her Face’s birthday, and we exchanged texts and spoke on the phone. Seems to happen every year that work sends me out of town on her birthday. She already bought her own present, and the slippers are just for fun.

I had to attend a midday event, and wound up with some time to myself this afternoon. I have to go to a banquet this evening, but a couple of hours in between were well spent time.

The Hat is a finished draft. It came in at 25,500 words. My intent was to publish it as a novella, but my personal idea of a novella is 30K. Word count numbers seem to be pretty fluid. Am I worrying about something that doesn’t really matter?

There is a lot going on in this story. I demonstrated Lizzie’s symbiosis with the hat by having them play the upright bass together. He has all of the skills, but none of the arms and fingers. This is how they fight evil, by working together.

I’m a bit worried about the denouement part of the book. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up, and currently, I’ve done it using my bass clef section breaks. I have the aftermath of the big fight, the replacement (and upgrading) of musical instruments, the demonstration that complex characters will go forward together. That last part means as musicians and as fighters of evil.

I don’t like long denouements. I once beta read for an author who spent a quarter of the book defining a happy-ever-after for her characters. This included naming grandchildren that hadn’t been born to children that hadn’t been conceived in the main story.

I know I’m not that bad, but I still worry. If I eliminate some things that are dear to me, I could probably turn this into a dynamite short story. I want a novella and those parts are important to me.

If I turn each necessary bit of closure into an entire chapter, that will help with word count, but it will also push me toward the long denouement I’m trying to avoid.

Any suggestions?

I’m fairly sure either my critique group, or a couple of decent beta readers can help me out, but I’m not ready for betas yet. I have several passes to make before I can share it with betas.

Okay, I know someone is going to ask. Here are the slippers. I think those dingle balls are going to be Frankie bait though. They should be cozy on our new floor.

Advertisements

44 Comments

Filed under Writing

Odd Job Girl, on Lisa Burton Radio

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl. What if you had to completely reboot your life? Maybe it’s not so bad in your twenties, it might even seem common. But what about someone in their fifties? In the studio with me today is Imogen Smythe, and she’s had to do exactly that. “Welcome to the show, Imogen.”

“Thank you very much for having me on the show today Lisa it is great to be here.”

“My bio says you were happily married, but apparently that happiness was one sided.”

“I did consider myself happily married Lisa, and thought that my husband Peter was too. Unfortunately I discovered that for the last two years he has been living a double life. We have three amazing children, two daughters and a son and during the last twenty-five years we have faced challenges but also had some good years. In fact we were planning a special trip to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary when Peter came home and broke the news that he was leaving me.”

“Imogen, our listeners will want to know why. Was it something illegal, substance abuse, or violence?”

“No that would not be Peter’s style as he is very conscious about appearances and how people perceive him, which is why being a philanderer is the last thing I expected from him. But, it would seem that looking bad in the eyes of his family and his business partners was the last thing on his mind when he fell for the charms of what I call a ‘fast-tracker’ called Stephanie. A young woman who feels that she would rather have a wealthy husband that someone else has loved and supported through the tough years, than go through it herself.”

Philanderer! God that’s such a good word. And I apologize if there is some residual love there, but what an asshole. Did you take him for everything he’s worth?”

“To be honest Lisa I was in total shock when he calmly announced that he was leaving. It took me several days to just process it and break it to our children. Who, I am ashamed to say had their suspicions for some time; whilst I missed the signs completely. After the shock wore off, I asked him why after managing to keep it a secret for two years, he had decided to leave now. It turns out that she had wanted him to leave me for some time but he said no. Suddenly she was pregnant and he said he wanted to do the right thing!

“Considering his lack of interest in our children when they were born and his insistence that we only have the three, made this even more surprising. As if this was not hurtful enough, he managed to twist the cause of his affair around to making it my fault. Apparently, I had not shown him enough attention after the children were born and I had become frumpy and boring to come home to each night. Hurtful though that was, one look in the mirror and I had to admit he was right. I had become very frumpy looking.

“I didn’t have the heart to fight the terms of our divorce. Peter being a banker had taken care of all our finances over the years and he wanted to keep the house, or rather his new wife wanted to keep the house. He bought me the small home I live in backing onto Epping Forest and I managed to salvage furniture and items that reminded me of happier times. Stephanie his new wife wanted to completely redecorate and outfit the house with new furnishings throughout. With the children grown and at university he also settled a monthly sum for me to cover expenses. I think my children did intercede on my behalf, otherwise I am not sure what I would have been left with.

“It took me several months to adjust and I afraid that I took solace in ice-cream and white wine and barely left the house. Instead of taking care of myself however, I did transform my new house which gradually brought me back to life. But I was now bored and restless. I had always been busy with volunteering, taking care of our children and home plus Peter’s entertainment commitments. I discovered that I missed my old life more than I missed the trappings that went with it. I knew that I had to get a grip and look for something to get me out of the house and back into the world.

“Getting a job at 50 is not easy for anyone and I knew that I had to get myself into better shape before attending interviews. I was living on the edge of the forest with fantastic walks so began a daily exercise routine. I then went into London and had a complete hair makeover which cost a fortune but made me feel a million dollars, and of course there was the little matter of retail therapy that resulted in a new wardrobe. At the end of six weeks I was a stone lighter and ready for the next step of finding a job.”

“Makeovers are awesome, aren’t they? I do a ton of them on myself, but I also get them when I make Craig’s promotional posters. Oh, and you look great, by the way.”

“Thank you that is always good to hear especially from someone as glamorous as you, Lisa. And yes, it boosted my self-esteem and I did begin to get some compliments which at first I felt very uncomfortable with. And something else that I now see was a sign things were not right with Peter. I realized it had been a long time since he had noticed what I was wearing or complimented me on a new hairstyle.

“As good as I now felt physically, I still worried that I had little to offer a new employer. It had been so long since my last job before we were married, and I didn’t think that my little bit of voluntary work would count. However, I thought if I at least wrote down all the jobs I had before, then with some description of my duties, it might give a prospective employer an idea of what I could be capable of. I actually found myself reliving the events and experiences and slowly as I did so I began to gain a little more confidence.”

“So with a shiny new résumé, you’re about to go searching for work. It’s kind of scary and exciting at the same time. Tell me-

“Wait, we have a caller. Hello, you’re on the air with Lisa and Imogen. Do you have a question for Imogen?”

“Yes, and thank you. I am actually a long time listener Lisa and you can imagine my surprise when I tuned in today to hear that your guest is my former wife. This is Peter Smythe and at first I was not going to call in because I find this rather embarrassing. I haven’t seen my wife for several months and hearing her talking about us so candidly has hit me quite hard. I am hoping Lisa that you might let me put my side to the story.”

“I am not sure about that Peter; from all accounts you put your side of the story when you left Imogen. Is there anything you disagree with from what Imogen has told us of the break-up?”

“Well no I can’t, and I wish that I could. I know that it appears that I behaved very badly but I would like to say something to Imogen about how I feel today about it.”

“To be honest Peter this is typical of you. I don’t hear from you for months and you insert yourself into my interview with Lisa. No doubt to try and convince those listening that I was in the wrong and you were the injured party.”

“No I promise Imogen that I just want to put the record straight. You lost all interest in me when the children came along and I was working long hours. How did you expect me to be there as a full-time father. That is why I didn’t want you to work as they needed you at home. And we had enough money for you to take care of yourself and there was no need to let yourself go as you did. I am sorry, but when Stephanie came along it was as if I was in my 20s again and having fun like we did before the children came along. But, I have some news. Things have not been going well in the last few months since the baby arrived and Stephanie and I have split up. I am living in a flat in town and I realize that I made a huge mistake in leaving you. Our children don’t want to speak to me either and I want to try and see if we can make another go of it as a family. Don’t you think we could make another go of it? What do you think Lisa?”

“Sorry, slick, not having it. Seems to me you made a promise, a special kind of promise called a vow, twenty-five years ago. You broke your word, and now you want poor Imogen to believe your word is good. Why should she?”

“I was a good provider for twenty-five years, Imogen didn’t have to do anything but bring up the children and run our home. If she had been more attentive then perhaps I would not have had to find another relationship outside. It takes two to keep a marriage happy and I did my part.”

“You know what Peter, I think that you have just summed up the reasons we split up very well and also why we could never get back together again. I am sorry that your relationship with Stephanie has broken down and I am sure that she will make sure that she keeps the house and is well provided for. But I hope you spend more time with this baby than you did ours. My advice is to try and patch things up and make it work for the sake of your child as I am most certainly not interested in patching things up. It has gone too far for that now.”

“Well then there is nothing more to be said is there. I thought that I would give you another chance but it seems you don’t appreciate what I am offering you. And I won’t be listening to this show again either.”

“I am really sorry that you and your listeners had to hear that, Lisa. When I came on this show it was to encourage men and women to find a way through a sudden change in their lives. I had no idea that it would become so personal.”

“Please don’t apologize. Our listeners will be happy to see you confident and on your game. I sincerely hope you can find a job first, and then build whatever kind of happiness you can. As they say, you do you. If that’s crazy cat lady, or a nice garden somewhere, so be it.”

“Actually, there is someone special. We met through the employment agency that is working with me to find a job.”

“Oooo, I like it. So do you think this could wind up going somewhere?”

“We shall see. It is early days yet but he is a really nice man who seems to think that I am fun to be with. I shall be taking things very slowly.”

“Well, I for one, wish you all the best. Any closing comments for our listeners today?”

“Thanks for having me, and I had no idea that it would turn into such a dramatic interview. But it has confirmed to me that I am now on the right path. I hope any man or woman listening, who feels alone and at a crossroads, can now see that there is a way forward to a new life.”

“You can read more about Imogen in the book, Odd Job Girl, by Sally Cronin. I’ll post all the deets on the website.

“You can help Imogen and Sally out by using the sharing buttons on your way out. I’m sure they will do it for you when your character appears on a future episode.

“Speaking of future episodes, I’m always looking for guests. If one of your characters would like to appear on Lisa Burton Radio, have your people contact my people at the following: Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com.”

***

Imogen was fifty!

Life is unpredictable and will often throw you a curve ball that knocks you out of the park.

For Imogen this curve ball knocked her out of a twenty five year marriage and a lovingly renovated home into a single life at age 50. She had been a very contented wife and mother of two children, who for every one of those 25 years had thought her husband had been equally as happy. It was a shock to find out that she had been delusional and replaced so easily.

Her confidence was non-existent. She had forgotten any skills she possessed and was totally unprepared to enter the modern job market. Or so she thought.

When we find ourselves in a new place and time in our lives, it is not unusual to meet others who have experienced similar traumas and also those who understand how to help you pick up the pieces.

Surprising though these events had been, nothing prepared Imogen for the realisation that she still had what it took, both in the work environment and when it came to her heart.

It was a journey into the past to rediscover who she had always been and a step forward into the future and a new adventure in life.

Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Print & Ebook

After working in a number of industries for over 25 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a completely different career, one that I had always been fascinated with. I began studying Nutrition and the human body twenty years ago and I opened my first diet advisory centre in Ireland in 1998. Over the last 18 years I have practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as written columns, articles and radio programmes on health and nutrition. I published my first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then have republished that book and released nine others as part of our own self-publishing company. Apart from health I also enjoy writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories.

For the last four years I have been enjoying life as a blogger and post on a variety of subjects including Book and author promotions, health, short stories, poetry and humour. As a writer I love getting instant gratification and blogging is like chocolate… it does just that.

Sally would love to have you contact her at the following places:

Blog

LinkedIn

Twitter

Facebook

65 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Meet Rebecca Reilly, Spotlight Author

One of the benefits the Rave Reviews Book Club offers is being a spotlight author. This involves a massive amount of promotion, for the author who earns this spot, by the members.

I’ve personally benefitted from this position, and it’s amazing what a bunch of promotion over a short time can do for a title. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, you might want to check out the Rave Reviews Book Club.

There is a secondary benefit when it comes to the blog tour part of the Spotlight event. Members get to host the spotlight author on their blogs. As a member, I get the benefit of a whole bunch of new traffic. Some of those people will stick around for the insanity that goes on over here.

The spotlight is currently shining on Rebecca Reilly. Enjoy her post, leave her a comment, and check out her wares.

***

Foreplay

“The mistake the two of us made,” I said, “was that we skimped the foreplay. I’m not blaming you, it was as much my fault as yours, but it was a fault nonetheless.”

J.M. Coetzee

 

At times in your relationship, your body and mind readies for sex in the blink of an eye. The smell of him, the glance from across the room that makes you feel desired, the lighting of a scented candle, or some other meaningful act that cues that sex is on the menu is all you need to get your juices flowing.

 

Other times, nothing seems to get you in the mood.

 

The longer a couple has been married, the less time they tend to spend engaging in foreplay. And the more they need it.

 

Janice

Married 19 years

I barely have time, or energy, for sex. Adding foreplay means taking time away from sleep. I’d rather grab a tube of lube than wait for my husband to get my juices flowing.

 

Megan

Married 8 years

We have our routine down. I know by looking at him if he wants to, you know. That’s all I need for foreplay.

 

Trish

Married 22 years

It would be nice, really nice, if sometimes my husband would do more than grunt, or worse grab my breast, and expect me to be ready for him. When that’s all he does, I walk to our bedroom frustrated. I just want to get through it.

 

Suzie

Married 12 years

What is foreplay? Is it long making-out before sex? Because if it is, we don’t do that. If it’s knowing he loves me, and me being ready for him when we want each other, then yes, we practice foreplay everyday—except when we’re fighting.

 

Mark

Married 18 years

I don’t know what to do. I try to be romantic and add more cuddling or foreplay, and my wife seems irritated like she doesn’t have time for that. Then, when I skip straight to sex, she gets mad because I didn’t seduce her. I can’t win.

 

What is Foreplay?

I’m Scottish. My idea of foreplay is “roll over, Margaret.”

Andrea Speed

 

Foreplay is anything that prepares your mind, body, and/or emotions for sexual intercourse. Physically, foreplay stimulates sexual arousal. Maybe more importantly, though, are the psychological benefits of intentionally introducing desire to your mate. Foreplay lowers inhibitions, increases trust, and deepens emotional intimacy between partners.

 

The basic principles that apply to your relationship are confirmed in foreplay. Foreplay demonstrates your love, both intellectually and emotionally. When you take time to plan and initiate the beginning act of your lovemaking, you say without words, I think about making love to you when you’re not with me. Foreplay tells your mate that your love is unconditional and self-sacrificial. When you initiate foreplay, you invest in meeting his or her needs before your own. Planned foreplay lets your spouse know your love is erotic—he or she drives you to think about sex. Foreplay communicates respect, trust, and a desire for deeper intimacy.

 

If investing in greater foreplay with our spouse can exponentially deepen our intimacy, why aren’t we all foreplay enthusiasts? It’s not simple, routine, or mapped out and easy to follow. God created each of us to be unique. We bring our past, our culture, our sensitivities, and our fears into the bedroom. Your foreplay needs may be very different than those of your spouse, and different than what media culture tells us are normal.

 

A marriage counselor shared with me a story of a couple that did not understand each other’s foreplay needs. The husband insisted on at least an hour of kissing and touch before they had intercourse. The wife complained to the counselor that foreplay took too much effort. They rarely could carve out enough time for sex, and when they did, she was so tired her orgasms were weak or non-existent. When the counselor brought the husband into the conversation, he said that he’d always heard that a woman needs that kind of intentional care and seduction to be ready for sex. In his mind and heart, he was loving his wife the best way he knew. He thought she tried to hurry him to make him happy, and that he was being selfish if he made love to his wife too soon, even though she asked for it.

 

Lack of time and lack of energy are the two biggest deterrents to practicing regular foreplay. Foreplay does not need to take hours. For some, a text message, a special perfume, or music and candles set up in your room sets the stage and engages the mind and emotions. Then, the body works to catch up.

 

Others need their body stimulated by touch, and then their emotions join the party.

 

The pre-planning of foreplay raises the power level to that of a seduction. Thinking about foreplay in advance is probably the most potent aphrodisiac of all—for the one who does the planning. If you decide to take your mate on an arousing journey, you must visualize sexual activities with your spouse hours before they occur. Planning engages your mind and emotions on a deep level, and thus your body prepares. Many find it far more powerful to formulate a plan of seduction than to be on the receiving end. Therefore, if you want to raise your level of desire for your spouse, think of ways for you to seduce him or her.

 

If you and your spouse find your daily energy level too low for foreplay, focus on pre-planning. When you turn on her mind and emotions without being in her presence, you might find the amount of time needed for physical foreplay diminishes.

Send suggestive and loving notes, texts, or phone messages throughout the day. Use your phone alarm to remind you.

Make a habit of squeezing an extra ten seconds in your hugs (while whispering something sensual).

Bring a spontaneous gift.

Do things throughout the day that prepare your minds, emotions, and bodies to mate.

Foreplay Ideas

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.

Yo-Yo Ma

Turn on the stereo instead of the television. Dance together. Put your whole body into it.

Give her a back massage with scented oils.

Put something that reminds him of your sexual intimacy in his lunch, briefcase, or car. This can be a note, a silk tie, a toy, or something known only to the two of you. This is just for him. Don’t embarrass him by making it too obvious, or it may have the opposite effect.

Sit on his lap.

Undress her slowly.

Strip for him.

Hold his hand. Squeeze it suggestively.

Think about what makes her happy. Plan it. Take the time and energy to do it.

On Your Own

Evaluate yourself:

What activities does your spouse do now that helps your mind, body, and emotions prepare for sexual intercourse?

What activities do you wish your spouse would do to help your mind, body, and emotions prepare for sexual intercourse?

What activities do you do to help your spouse prepare his or her mind, body, and emotions for sexual intercourse?

What keeps you from investing the time and energy needed for foreplay?

What cues do you give your spouse to tell him or her you need to be seduced? Are they clear enough for him or her to read?

List things you can do to arouse the mind and emotions of your mate.

List things you can do to arouse the body of your mate.

List ten things you admire, respect, enjoy, or find attractive about your spouse.

Sometime this week, say these things to your spouse:

I rejoice and delight in you; I will praise your love more than wine (Song of Solomon 1:4).

I want to give you a back massage.

Please kiss me here.

I miss you when we’re apart.

I love you. I’m glad I married you. I’d marry you again tomorrow.

Open Communication

Conversation Starters

How can I know when you need me to spend more time pleasuring you before we consummate our love?

What fragrances make you think of me?

If you compared our sex life to a trail, what kind of trail would it be? (Climbing Mt. Everest—a lot of work but when you get to the top it’s amazing; A run down hill that ends at the dump; a beautiful mountain hike with surprising pockets of wildflowers; etc.).

What can I do to you to make you feel loved?

Just an Idea

Add an extra zing to your hugs this week.

Block out an hour of time on your schedule. Use it to deepen your physical love.

Take a hike together. Hold hands whenever possible.

Fix a meal together. Light candles, play music, and tell each other secrets while you cook and eat.

***

Rebecca Reilly is a pastor and has been working in ministry for over thirty years. A wife and mother of two and grandmother of one, Rebecca enjoys hiking, jogging, and taking cruises. When she’s in her Northern California home, she works as a pastor of student ministries, a massage therapist, a health coach, and a writer. Rebecca enjoys writing mysteries (Into Dark Waters and Haunting Megan), but has also written humor (Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey to Spice Up My Marriage), a children’s chapter book (The Geek Club), and two picture books (Heart of a Kitty and Jammers and His Flying Bed Adventure). Right now, Rebecca is working on follow- up novels in all four genres.

Facebook

Twitter

Website

Christian Sex & Marriage It’s Complicated

 

39 Comments

Filed under Writing

My Preciousss

Old What's Her Face* told me a few days ago that she needed a new iron. I figured, small appliance, they don't last forever, okay. I assumed we'd wind up at Target or someplace this weekend.

 

My phone rang at the office this afternoon. “Well, I got my iron.”

 

“That's cool. One less errand this weekend.”

 

“Well, I decided to go to Bed Bath & Beyond and take care of it.”

 

I might have done a small face palm. There are no witnesses, so I'm not sure. “I thought you were going to Kohl's or someplace.”

 

“I looked at Target last week, and I don't like what they have.”

 

“What else did you buy?”

 

“Just–” Oh yeah, notice how there is no attempt to deny anything. Also notice how the word “just” minimizes the shopping experience.

 

Just some tea tree oil, a new pumice stone, an iron, and a new dog blanket.”

 

“I didn't think there was anything wrong with his old blanket.”

 

“I've been watching these special dog blankets, and they're only eighty dollars, but I had a coupon and got half off.”

 

I leaned against my desk. Huh, I don't think we use an eighty dollar blanket.

 

She continued, “I needed the right iron. An iron is a very personal item – Gollum Gollum.

 

“So about two hundred bucks or so?”

 

“Pretty close.”

 

This is wife-speak for I've guessed too low. I've been married long enough to recognize the time to quit – while I'm behind.

 

I'm writing this at home. The dog is curled up with his new blanket. Old What's Her Face is in the kitchen filling The Precious with water. I'm pretty sure she's going to spend part of the evening on the couch working on her hooves with a pumice stone and tea tree oil.

 

*Not my wife's actual name.

37 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

My wife’s nefarious plot

Aha! She came back from town today bearing paint samples. She intends to paint our bedroom. Her good news is that our visitors are coming to help. All of this will happen while I’m at work, and she was only thinking about my knee. (Which is on the mend.)

Isn’t that nice of her?

The colors she chose are red and green. She has the idea of painting one wall a different color than the rest. It’s going to look like a Christmas present in there when she’s finished.

I argued for some nice neutral color where all the walls are the same. Men will understand this next bit… It was like – I wasn’t even speaking – at all. I suppose I should shut up about it. She liked 50 Shades of Grey, and it could become a red room of pain.

I had something else in mind. I think this is good:

image  image

She wasn’t impressed in the least little bit.

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized