Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Love Dilemma

After I finished writing my second novel, Bluey’s Café, I decided to develop a career as a romance novelist. Why? I spent my teenage years reading romance novels. I could read a Mills and Boon in two hours, and they saved me from the boredom of secondary school. For whatever people might think of this genre, the truth is that it’s the best selling genre of all. People want love. They need love. If they don’t have it in their lives, then they want to live it through someone else. And even if their relationship is brilliant, it can’t hurt to enjoy the pleasure of sharing in someone else’s love journey, can it?

My dilemma as a romance writer is this: when I met my husband, Paul, it was ‘I’ve known you forever at first sight’. We literally moved in with each other next day. We simply ‘knew’. There was no long engagement, nor dancing around the dating scene for months on end. Nope, not us. We knew we had ‘found’ each other, and immediately wanted to create a family.

Now, I’m rather fond of our love at first sight/you’re-my-soul-mate story, but this just doesn’t work in romance novels (well, I let it work in my novel Bluey’s Café). A romance novel needs drama and tension and hurdles to overcome. Sheesh, aren’t there enough of those in life anyway? Can’t they just get together like Paul and I did, and then face the drama, shoulder to shoulder? Nope!

Our romance novel lovers have to face challenges before they get together, and then they live happily ever after. Romance lovers don’t have dramas once we’ve finally hooked them up!

I began my first novel specifically for the romance market on May 16th this year. Since then, my days have revolved around the stories in my head, and the drama of the characters. I’ve almost finished writing my fourth novel of this sort.  I have ideas for an assortment of novels, but for now, the romance ones have taken centre stage in my writing head. They are what get me bouncing out of bed each morning before sunrise. It is my duty to take these characters beyond their egos and into the arms of love. 

The Power of the Written Word

We all have that little something that we’re passionate about. For me, that is communication. You’d think with the advent of modern technology such things as laptops, emails, and so on, would make the life of a communicator a bit of a breeze. Far from it.

Most of human communication comes from our body language. Without it, the recipient of our words doesn’t get the gist of whether we’re happy, sad, joyful, thoughtful, apprehensive, joking and so forth.

I hate emails. I despise them as a form of communication. Sure, they’re quick. And yes, you can keep in touch with people from all over the world without relying on Royal Mail or planes/ships to carry your precious words, but there is SO MUCH missing from the message that relationships can be tarnished. Many people have fallen out over a wrongly worded (but more accurately, wrongly interpreted) message.

When we receive a communication, we bring ‘baggage’ to it so that regardless of what the sender was implying, the recipient will see the message through their own eyes (pain/agenda).

I remember in 2001, a dear friend phoning me from Latin America and asking me if I had email. ‘I don’t need email,’ I laughed. A year later I was editing and publishing The Mother magazine, and emails were part of my daily life. At first, it was fun. Now, it’s a drag.

Two days away from my inbox brings me a karmic load for daring to be away from a computer for so long. The inbox groans and heaves with so much correspondence all demanding my immediate reply. It gets to the point that I can’t even log onto Facebook for a quick nosey at what my friends are up to without feeling huge guilt for knowing there are dozens of emails waving their little red flags up at me.

There is always the dilemma of a box full of emails: who to read first? That one from a dear friend travelling the world or the one querying a subscription? The one from a friend who is struggling or the one wanting advice about their teething toddler?

Where possible, I try and reply to emails first thing in my day when I’m well rested. The day brings so much my way through family, friends, strangers, and all their needs, that I find it best to steer away from written communication at the end of the day when I’m tired (or feeling particularly hormonal!).

I love the written word, and take great care to ensure that I communicate as clearly as I can. What I have learnt, though, over the years, is that there is no such thing as perfect communication. We can never have ‘control’ over how someone perceives our message. The best we can ever hope for is to write from the heart, and to always come from a place of love.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter ‘k’.

My keyboard is missing the top button above the k. Very inconvenient when your name is Veronika, and you have to type it dozens of times a day when signing off emails. Now, the ‘k’ is still accessible, but it requires a much firmer approach than my touch typing needs for the speed at which I navigate my keyboard. However, over time, muscle memory has made hitting that key, at three to four times the strength needed for every other letter of the alphabet, instinctive. One of my daughters (also a writer) refuses to use my laptop because of said ‘k’.

One day, I’ll have a new laptop and a new ‘k’.and I’ll have to retrain that finger to be gentleever so gentle and quick, like the other fingers and thumbs.

We’re funny, us humans. We can get used to all sorts of things, and to retrain ourselves. Often, the only thing that stands in the way of progress is our determination or lack of it. My missing ‘k’ has taught me a lot.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Writer's Block

I can't say that writer's block is something I experience. The limitations I have are due to time, family and other unavoidable commitments ~ oh, and a job! To make the most of uninterrupted writing time, I wake up very early, feed the cats, and head to my laptop.

There are times, though, when I come up against a pause in my story line and wonder which direction to go with it. I know better than to sit at a computer screen when I reach such a crossroad. I head to the shower. 

Hot steamy water is relaxing, and also changes the brain waves. Ten minutes in the shower always gifts me with the ideas I need in order to make progress. 

The other antidote to writer's pause is to walk in nature. It never fails to ignite stories, character habits and qualities, and plot twists. The world around us is rich with ideas, and we need to immerse ourselves in it if we wish to find our writing voice.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

lost for words

My writing blog has been neglected because I've been....writing! I recently finished my fifth novel. Now for the editing. I shall return soon.