What Are You Reading This Valentine’s Day?

In order to write, one has to learn how to read. If one wants to write romance, then one must read romance, or some would argue one must experience to know. I read not only to learn the skill of writing but also, I enjoy going into another world my mind creates from words on antique paper. Books take me on a journey. Not only to where the author has gone, but also to where I want to go next. I ask myself, what do I really like about this book? How can I combine these likes into my own writing? If you are a writer, you may experience this outlook for guidance. We look to our history to know where we want to go. It brings new ideas and prevents the bad ones from repeating themselves…even in writing.

I look back further to John Keats and wonder what so many saw in his work. I personally can easily pick out what I love about this Romantic’s work, but what interests me most is what I can take away from his poems of love for Nature and women. I can carry it with me throughout all my writing. I too love Nature and romance. I have discovered my writing style to be descriptive, I love describing things of Nature…who knew!

So as a writer, what am I reading leading up to Valentine’s Day? It may surprise many of you, but I have paired my typical “Sweet Surprise Collection” with…wait for it…Fifty Shades of Grey.

What? Some of you might be thinking, oh it’s terrible writing, while others might think, been there done that. Whether we like it or not, it is soon to be a major motion film…when? Valentine’s Day! As a writer, I ask myself this…if so many say the writing is horrible, why is it a number one seller? There must be something good in the writing besides sex…right? Or, does sex sell?

So far, I’ve discovered a love story flaming to begin. The writing is a distraction at times when a mistake is so easily noticed, but I find myself forgiving the author based solely on how intrigued I’ve become with Mr. Grey and Miss Anastasia Steele. The love story is fascinating as of now. I am almost done with the first novel, and I’ll see to reading the second and third.

Why read such a novel? One reason…the people like it! Heck, I like it! Sometimes in writing it’s not about perfecting grammar and all that comes with it. You have to intrigue your audience. Fifty Shades of Grey is doing just that. Romance writing has many twists and turns, and learning what people like is a huge help. Am I excited to see the movie? Oh, yes. Well, I’m off to romance land in both my reading and writing…enjoyment and work.

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Cozy Sweater Smile

Finding that perfect sweater for the holidays can sometimes be harder than biting into a peppermint candy cane. It’s sticky, but once you find that perfect sweater giddiness spreads joy in the eyes like that of candy in a child’s hand. And who says you can’t get one in all your favorite colors. That’s what I did…

A new sweater brings hope for the holidays and renews me in a way I’m grateful for. The softness of its cotton reminds me of pure, white snowflakes and the beautiful wonderland they create when millions come together. I love snuggling up with creamy coffee and a Nicholas Sparks novel only to read a snowy afternoon away. Word after word comforts me, yet frustrates me on the concept of gushy love stories.

Why do we read and then watch these gushy movies filled with the ideal, yet seemingly unrealistic train of events? Nicholas Sparks, the ruler of love stories, does not let his characters off easy. At least one will find love and one will die. I just don’t understand why I love, love, love these kinds of stories.

I do know, however, after I’ve seen a Nicholas Sparks movie (just recently seen Best of Me) I have this overwhelming experience that makes me question everything. Everything except this…

Love stories are life. It’s real life whether we want to believe it or not. There are no happy endings because it’s an ending. What’s exciting is a beginning. If you want a good love story, there is no ending. It lives on forever, much like the Christmas Spirit.

There is something magical in reading my favorite novel in a cozy sweater. Its plushy knit wraps around me like a million tiny marshmallows that should be in hot chocolate and inevitably makes a cozy-sweater-smile appear on my face.

Red, glitter gold, and green bulbs hang off branches on my Christmas tree as my tortoiseshell kitten paws them to the ground where she hides them under her belly. She too is soft, and smells like a pillow. The stockings are put up near lit-up garland and colorful sugar is sprinkled onto Christmas cookies. All while wearing my cozy-sweater-smile. This is me, this is real life. And this is what a genuine smile looks like.

Joy to the world is really how I feel. Joy for life, joy for every living thing on earth. This is why I love Christmas. To get this comfort feeling of love and kindness and actually see it and live it throughout the holidays. Now that my spirit is up high in Christmas joys, I need to start my Christmas shopping. Black Friday? No way. Everyone deserves to have off on Thanksgiving and Christmas. So what will I do instead? Wrap myself in my cozy sweater and shop from my laptop. This way I’m not just grabbing gifts and running to the register. I’m able to actually think of each person and show them how much joy they bring me.