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May 15, 2017

Eyes shut, I lay there. Warm, snug, and alone, wrapped within a cocoon of heavenly bliss, I find my sanctuary. Eyes closed, I listen. Not even Webster, could adequately define the rush of emotions that surge to the surface. Peaceful. Grateful. Blessed. Filled with thoughts of God, my family, my dog, my friends, and those darn birds with their obnoxious squawks and chirps outside of my window, my lips curl and arch towards heaven. Silently, I ponder what in the world those adorable, noisy birds could possibly be gossiping about. Then, I sigh, content to be a small part of this miraculous life and thankful for nature’s gift of joyous song. Small rays of sunlight battle for my attention. Through small cracks in the sealed blind, their bright orange hues penetrate the thin layer of skin that shields my hazel eyes, daring me to open them. No, I don’t want to. If I do, it will come come crashing down. Security threatened, my limbs turn to lead. Squeezed shut, wetness lingers within the tight confines of my eyelids. Haunted by the hurts of the past and the fears of the coming day, I pray, allowing my soul to cry out.

When emotions spiral out of control, you have two options. You can dwell in solitude, feeling sorry for yourself and hating the world or you can get up, push forward and use your angst to create something bigger than your sorrow. For this reason, I write romance.

The greatest strength of a writer is found in their ability to connect with their reader’s emotions. Growing up, my father often reminded me that I took everything to heart and warned me that it would be a difficult trait to manage. He was right, of course. My over-developed sensitivity weighs heavily upon my shoulders. Like a seesaw, it teeters between being my greatest strength and my worst attribute. I feel the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and everything in between. I’ve chosen to view it as a gift and it has graced me with the ability to empathize with individuals that many would dismiss as difficult, odd, or simply a waste of time. Since a young age, I’ve known that the most interesting people always have secrets locked inside. Are we products of our environment? Have we been grafted at birth with certain traits? Probably, a bit of both. One thing is for sure, none of us are perfect. A writer takes that imperfection and spins it into a perfectly imperfect character. With a bit of patience, a lot of tolerance, and steadfast observation, you can delve below the surface. Once there, you’ve found treasure. Overflowing with tales of triumph and despair, a literal pot of gold presents itself before you. The mystery of self-discovery is not for the faint of heart. It’s a responsibility to value, admire, and share. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t long to be loved and accepted. No matter how beautiful, talented or wealthy, each person has their own obstacles to overcome in their quest for happiness.

Romance writers should be viewed as teachers who instill lessons in survival, not unrealistic narrators of fairytales. Although rare, nothing is more precious than unconditional love. Romance writers offer a source of inspired complication, blending words into a web of character struggles that result in personal freedom over demons. Each story is unique and yet, tugs at our heartstrings with its emotional truth. The best thing about writing romance is the knowledge that there is going to be a happily ever after. When I write, or read romance, I know without a doubt that everything will be all right. All the discouragement and despair will be left behind. A new beginning has dawned and I welcome this fucked up adventure called life.

“Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone,
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, ’til our Life shall be Done.”

― Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

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Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland photo courtesy of Pixabay

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Although she only published one novel, Margaret Mitchell is world-renowned for her epic novel, GONE WITH THE WIND. This classic story centers around the life and times of Scarlett O’Hara. Born into wealth and privilege, Scarlett is a force to be reckoned with after she and her family plummet into the depths of poverty. Unwavering in her quest to save the family plantation, Tara, Scarlett’s fight for survival in the war-torn South is raw and inspiring. Although self-absorbed and lacking empathy for the opinions of others, readers often overlook the fact that Scarlett was a fierce protector of both her family and her land. No matter what trials came before her, Scarlett possessed a grit and determination to be admired.

Along with conveying the socioeconomic and social status of the times, GONE WITH THE WIND offers its readers a dramatic love triangle. Favoring herself in love with Ashley Wilkes, much of Scarlet’s behavior is clouded by her obsessive jealousy of his wife, Melanie. Placid and kind, Melanie overlooks Scarlett’s flaws and as the story evolves, proves to be much stronger than she had been given credit for.

And then there was Rhett Butler. A larger than life character that could make any woman swoon. Who among us isn’t familiar with his famous quote, frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn? I doubt anyone who has watched the movie rendition featuring Vivian Leigh and Clarke Gable hasn’t experienced the rapid fluttering of their heart as Rhett whisks Scarlett from the floor and sweeps her up into his arms. Then proceeds to carry her up the grand staircase to their bedroom. Ahh! How exciting it would be to experience that passionate encounter.

Unfortunately, Margaret Mitchell’s untimely death didn’t allow her to pen another masterpiece. The legacy she left with GONE WITH THE WIND is a priceless literary gem that continues to delight generations. Happy reading!