Friday, August 31, 2007

Why Romance?

Why do we women crave romance?

I was pondering this thought last night while I listened to an old cd of 98ยบ. I think it was their first, and yes, I know just how cheesy that is, but their songs are sexy, sweet and romantic and I was just in the mood to hear that.

See, I was washing dishes, putting up leftovers while my husband was playing around on the computer looking at his sports news and I was wishing that for once, just once, he might actually wander into the kitchen and help me with the dishes...or at least OFFER to help me out without me having to ask or say something about it.

We've been together 6 years as of tomorrow, and he has made "promises" to help me out before, but after a while the "new" wears off and he just doesn't think about it anymore. In fact, while I was busy with all this other, he had to come in the kitchen, not with a mind to offer to help me, but to give me a long explanation about what happened to the guy who was "The Big Show" on WWE. (can we say my eyes almost rolled out of my head at that moment? LOL)

It's times like that I start thinking about the lyrics of these sappy love songs I listen to and the romance novels I read all the time. I wash my dishes with tears in my eyes that my wonderful husband overlooks some of the small obvious things that show me that he appreciates what I do around the house and makes me wonder why he never offers the tiniest bit to help me out.

So, why do we crave romance?

We do because in real life no man says the sweet things that are said in the sappy love songs. We do because in real life boyfriends/husbands don't ever express themselves the way we read about in novels. Oh, they do in order to "woo" us, yes, but that can quickly fade and get forgotten in the jumbled mess of real life.

We need to be reminded that we are beautiful, but even with the best of intentions, real men don't know how to express it and very rarely do. I must feed my craving with love songs and romance novels. I wish my husband would say things to me that I've heard or read, things that let me know I'm not becoming a frumpy housewife and mother. I guess that's why I love Robin Thicke's song Lost Without You. It would be nice to hear my husband say that without me he'd be lost. I know he would, but I don't think he'd be willing to admit it to me.

When I started dreaming of writing, it was around my pre-teens, when I started hoping I would find a happily ever after someday. I mean, come on. I was raised on HEAs.

Snow White and Sleeping Beauty were "awakened" to love by their princes.
Cinderella was whisked away from her tragic life by the handsome charming young man who could give her what her heart desired.
Rapunzel was locked away for her parents sins and rescued from the tower by a prince who lost his sight in the process and was later rewarded with regaining his sight so he could lay eyes upon her beauty and they lived happily ever after.

What more could any girl ask for? Right? My generation and probably plenty of others were raised to feel like, in the world of love, we're the damsels in distress, awaiting the prince charming of our dreams to come rescue us.

We want a man who wants us with all our flaws and faults and still loves us regardless and still finds us beautiful and tells us so. We want the strong handsome man who will support us. Nowadays it's not necessarily about financial support, because a lot of women have grown to understand they can take care of themselves, but we still long to have a man who will support our dreams, appreciate our inner beauty, our intelligence, our talents and strengths and even our weaknesses.

We crave romance to fill our hearts with joy and a sense of wellness. A sense that all is right with the world and that we are not completely going it alone.

For most of my teenaged life, having a boyfriend was all I dreamed about. I was overweight and the only time boys paid me any mind was to comment on the size of my chest. Yes, I was busty and in some ways it was embarrassing, but I still wanted a boyfriend. I wanted what all little girls grow up hoping for- their HEA.

Now that I'm a grown woman though, I see that life isn't about roses and candies and making love all the live-long day. Maybe that's why it's so nice to listen to those songs and get lost in romance novels. Real HEAs aren't as exciting, so we have to fill the void with something that keeps us going and still believing that maybe our man does feel that way, even when we don't hear it all the time. I know my hubby loves me, he just doesn't show it the way I wish he would.

My childhood fairytales didn't prepare me for the reality of my happily ever after. So in the midst of taking care of the kids, making sure the laundry is done, the dishes washed, supper's on the table, bills are paid and everything runs smoothly in our life, I do find myself grateful for sappy love songs and romance novels. It gives me an escape and fills my heart up with what seems to be lacking.

I crave romance most for what it once was and what it could be again. I don't think it's asking too much to have the man you love tell you that he loves you, to take you in his arms and look into your eyes and tell you that you are the most beautiful woman in the world to him.

Those were the things my teenaged dreams were made of. In a way, the craving is almost a desire to recapture that feeling of youthfulness again. That magical sensation you felt in your teens when you daydreamed of your first kiss, your first love. It was the dream of an everlasting love, that thread of hope that kept you believing that you would find the one who'd make your pulse race through your veins and make your heart pound like thunder.

Maybe that's it. Maybe the craving for romance is also about that physical reaction, the anticipation of feeling the most alive you've ever felt in your life. When it feels as though your skin could shatter into thousands of sparkling particles with one simple kiss, that your knees could turn to jelly with a few simple terms of endearment, that your soul could take flight in the arms of a man who adores you and only you.

I've always associated romance as the epitome of true joy and happiness. Days are brighter, life is sweeter and you feel everything more intensely, setting emotions free to be what they are meant to be. When it is lacking, there's an emptiness inside. Asking for it is a hard pill to swallow, so sometimes I think it's easier to escape into a romance novel or listen to cheesy love songs, than admit to yourself that you don't just crave it or want need it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Once Upon A Time...

In a land far, far away....

The grass shimmered with a hint of blue in the countryside of a little town in Kentucky. Horses and mules whinnied and munched on oats and molasses, hay and licked the salt block.

Amidst the quiet clucking of chickens as they pecked the ground and the breeze caressing her, a young redheaded girl curried the mane of her favorite horse. The massive creature was almost solid black with a white star on her forehead. Midnight Lady, the girl had named the horse.

The sky was pale blue with soft white clouds like pillows, wisping across and the young girl had not a care in the world. All she cared was that she was with her horse, whispering a fairytale in the horse's ear, of riding off into the sunset someday.

Her ideas were simple. She dreamed of having a home and a husband, children, pets and horses. She also dreamed of being a writer. It filled up her lazy summer afternoons, thinking of stories that she could write that might be interesting enough to be published or read by others. She read a lot but she also daydreamed about how wonderful her future would be if she could just have all those elusive things she imagined would make her happy.

Now grown, she has the husband, the children, a pet, no horses of her own, but she can look out the window down behind her house in the country and see the neighbors horses.

And as for writing, well, she's still working on that. Still thinking up stories, still daydreaming it into reality...still chasing that elusive butterfly of her heart.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cicadas and lost momentum...

The cicadas are out in massive numbers this morning and it feels as though they are drilling into my head...stealing my ability to concentrate on writing.

I actually have a LOT of stuff that's breaking my concentration...mostly my head still being stopped up and aggravating me, but also a feeling of loss. A feeling that my soul is empty this morning...a vessel drained.

I suppose the best thing to do is to throw myself into my revisions so that I can try to take my mind off all the things that are keeping me from my writing. I should just push through it.

And funny now...all seems quiet...I don't hear the cicadas anymore. It's like I wiped the cobwebs away so now I will go.

I hope that everyone else is having a fine writing day...fingers swift over the keys as well as pen to paper, words flowing out as quickly as the thoughts come to mind. :o)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Inspiration Through The Fog....

My head is clogged up. Sinuses. Dang Dang Dang!

But, amidst the fog that's clouding my days...I found inspiration.

As I was lying in bed last night on the verge of sleep, I thought, hey, what if my MC's cousin from the novel I just finished earlier this month, a young girl who's only 15, ran off with her beau from Virginia to Kentucky. This one would be set around 1789/1790, just a few years after ther other one ends. I have a vague idea of what I want to happen, but haven't jotted any of it down right now, but I thought maybe I could fit some "paranormal elements" into this one as well. Something tragic and a tad bit more extreme than what was in my other one.

It would be great if I could come up with another one for this though or several more, that would span down through history to the Civil War. A family tree series..hahaha!

Who knows...for now I'll just be greatful to my writing "muse" or whatever you want to call it for sending me this new idea last night. I'm just lucky I remembered it this morning when I got up! LOL My head is so clogged up and clouded, it's any wonder I remember what I did yesterday!

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Don't Sweat The Small Things...

Well, yesterday I did endeavor to fix my first novel by opening it along with a new blank document that I retitled slightly from my original.

I began by going in, and copying and pasting the section from my original file into the first chapter of the new blank one. Then after I got it down and changed some stuff, I hightlighted the section in the old one with bright red font color to mark where I'd been, and started extracting (by c & p) other sections and reworking them into the new file as well as highlighting all sections I was moving in the old one so I can keep up with what has been copied and pasted into the new file. My red font is bread crumbs to make sure I don't cross the same path twice.

I think I actually converted the first 2 or 3 chapters of my old version into about 5 or 6 now that I have been doing that and my stopping point on the old file last night was around page 42, but in the new file I have 51 pages. Not sure how I managed that, though I guess it could have something to do with the extra passages I added and the changes I made in certain scenes.

So far so good then. Everything else seems to be falling into place so fingers crossed and knock on wood, that might've been the most MAJOR change I had to make to it, other than minor revisions and such.

Off to do some more work!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Put My Jigsaw Puzzle Together Wrong~Time to Quantum Leap

I'm sitting here eating a 1/2 of a roast beef sandwich with colby jack cheese and a smidge of mayo and a few chips before I start working on revisions and such. I'm in contemplation mode.

I did make my way to the end of my most recent novel last night on revisions, but I still need to read my research books before I do anything more to it. Today though my thoughts of revisions are leaning toward my first novel.

It's the one I had so much trouble writing...that took me 10 years or so to finish it. I hadn't really opened the file or given it serious thought since last October, until last night. Right off I noticed how glaringly BORING the beginning is. Maybe that's what caused me to have so much difficulty getting it written. As I scrolled down through the pages, I could see how slow it was, how long it took to get to any kind of conflict and a LOT of how I phrased things or wrote the sentences irritated me.

Can we all say in unison- MASSIVE REVISIONS & REWRITES!

I don't want to chuck the entire novel. It was my first one and it is still close to my heart and I want to do something with it because it isn't beyond saving necessarily, but I realize what a difference age has made in me. I've done minor revisions and such to it numerous times and don't recall how many "redrafts" that makes, but my perceptions are different now and my female MC is, well,...kind of whiny and spoilt.

Or at least it SOUNDS that way to me. She is a rather young character, and I want her to have insecurities, but I don't want her to be some horribly irritating character that readers will hate. Right now I'm not too fond of her incessant whining thoughts...Poor poor me...

Now see, there is good reason for her to be insecure in her relationship, uncertain and withdrawn, and she will grow and gain confidence and strength as the story goes. She has a lot of ghosts in her past that she must contend with, but in the end she will be the woman the male MC will deserve for his wife.

So here's what I'm thinking...I don't want to break the story apart or start all over, but I do think that if I move the first major conflict between the two MCs to the very first page...the first chapter and moved the other stuff down, it would help to justify the "whining" which I can work on later to tighten up and make less annoying, to me at least, and to readers if I ever get it published.

This is what I meant by the title of my blog....somewhere in my youth, I put my jigsaw puzzle together wrong. I tried to put pieces where they didn't go and it's jumbled. I can't stand that. The picture didn't turn out the way I imagined. There's a dark cloud in the center of the sunshine and it doesn't fit properly. I must fix that.

So I'm off to rearrange my puzzle. To put the pieces in the places they should be to create the whole panoramic view that I meant for it to be. Maybe my characters won't be what they were before, maybe they will be a little changed, but it will be for the best if I come storming into the lives they have now, the lives I gave them, and change things for the better.

I'm on a mission, a quantum leap of go back in time, rewrite the history, put right what once went wrong and hope that this time around I will come home with a sense that all is as it should be. ;o)

{stepping into the Quantum Leap Accelorator....cue my vanish....}

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jumping Hurdles & Rambling Thoughts

I made some good strides yesterday with my revisions. Can I say that I'm proud of myself? LOL

I got more than halfway through my novel and corrected some mistakes and took a better look at some of the historic elements and corrected some of them as well. I even upped my word count just a smidge when I found a spot here and there that I felt needed a little more explanation or definition. A couple of weeks break from my novel seems to be helping me with revisions. Cleared my head a bit to help me see things clearer.

When I found a good stopping point last night before I headed off to bed, my vision was blurry and I felt a minor headache coming on from eye strain, but I felt more accomplished than I had in almost 2 weeks.

I feel refreshed and pleased with this turn of events.

I also got my books yesterday that I ordered to read up on information about history on Norfolk, Virginia. My characters live near there, not necessarily right IN Norfolk, but close enough and finding information on it has been a difficult task. Most books are about the general info in regard to population and such, and doesn't really give you an indepth look at how people dressed or things like that, especially when trying to find stuff that is for a specific year (late 1780's).

As I've said before, I'm not great at research and I'm not really all that fond of it, but I am finding a developing interest in the time period and the history of Virginia's coast. So I guess in a way I have started educating myself, without realizing I was doing so. I may develop a new hobby or interest in the process, who knows!

This year has been full of surprises for me, that's for sure. I would never have guessed I'd have spent so much time working on this novel or researching for it.

I would like to get this one done though, so I can move on to the next one. I'm not sure which one I'm going to work on though yet. I have a lot, but not sure which one will feel closest to my heart next. Right now this one is filling my heart so much to get it polished and done that I haven't really thought much about the others for a while. Plus, I still need to go back through my other two and do revisions and polishing on them as well. And I may just do that, rather than setting myself another WIP goal just yet.

I am also looking forward to National Novel Writing Month in November too. 30 days to write 50,000 words. I plan to participate in that again. I really enjoyed the fast pace and the looming deadline to get a novel pumped out.

Which makes me wonder if I will enjoy having deadlines in the future...LOL

Before last year's NaNo, I was absolutely certain that it would take me YEARS to write a novel, based on my singular experience with my first novel, that took me ten years of blood, sweat, and tears to finish. I had to literally DRAG the words out through most of it and some of the scenes were hard to write. I did a lot of deleting and rewrites over the years. There was a lot of emotion packed into it and some was a little too close for comfort.

But I never imagined I could write a novel in a month. That was Greek to me, a foreign idea I wasn't sure I could comprehend. But after my participation in NaNo last year, and having finished a 80K word novel in less than 30 crazy days, it gave me a different perspective of myself as a writer. I enjoyed the personal challenge and it gave me hope that I can actually complete something when I put my mind to it and in short order at that.

I'm stronger and more determined than I have ever given myself credit for. In my youth I didn't always follow through with my plans to do things, no matter how much I wanted to do them.

In my early 20's I did a novel writing workshop through the mail. I didn't finish it. Why? you might ask. Because I took the instructor's critques to heart and wore them like a badge of failure. I was young and stubborn and aggravated.

I thought her critques were a huge neon flag blowing in the breeze, showing every one of my faults and all my shining ignorance, for all the world to see. I took it mentally and emotionally hard and it didn't help matters that the man I was engaged to at the time basically told me he didn't support my dream of becoming a published writer (or believe it would ever happen) and he couldn't love me unless I had a "real" job.

Needless to say, he and I broke up and I quit my workshop and never looked back. I believed that I didn't deserve to be a writer or even dream about it. But it kept coming back to haunt me. Novel ideas would pop into my head at odd sporatic times and I would sigh and think how great it would be if I could be a writer, but still doubted I had any business thinking about it because I just wasn't good enough, no matter how that writing desire burned my insides up.

I've grown a lot in the past decade though and I've jumped a lot of hurdles emotionally and mentally to get me to the here and now. It took me this long to realize that if I want my dream to come true, if I start believing in me, and surround myself with good supportive friends and family, I can accomplish it.

That former self-doubting belief system I had relied on for so long is history. I can't live my life that way. My writing flame is stronger than that and has been burning inside me for far too long for me to let it snuff out without so much as a second thought. It won't let me. It's the driving force that keeps me thinking, desiring, wanting and needing to write.

It's an eternal flame that can't be put out. It's my heart and soul.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pen to Paper, Fingers to Keyboard...

For the past week or so I've been avoiding...avoiding writing that is. I finished my 3rd novel, a historical romance with paranormal elements. I'm still waiting on two books I ordered to help me research the time period, because for what it's worth, my novel is done, other than double and triple checking that I have my historical facts straight and doing revisions and polishing.

I'm nervous. Anxious. What have you.

I'm feeling overwhelmed today. I feel the rustling in my heart...the rustle of change, the quiver of jitters that tell me that something big is about to happen. I tend to sense things emotionally and physically.

Maybe it's just a change in the moon or planets, I don't know. But I feel almost nauseous and that tells me it's a big change. Now I could be wrong, but I can usually trust my gut instincts.

This morning, after avoiding writing for so long, I feel the need to open my file. It was the first thought that crossed my mind this morning as I climbed out of the bed. And that says something to me. I've given myself a cool off period and maybe it's time to open 'er back up and see what I need to fix, what I need to do to polish my baby up as much as possible before I send her out into the world alone.

Maybe not pen to paper, but I need to put my fingers to the keys today, in another way than to blog and send email. I need to do this. I have to do this. It's tugging at my heart...begging my soul to come play with it and do the best I can to get it down just right enough to submit it.

Now, see, this is the hard part for me. I have a few historical novel ideas, but more contemporary, and I'm dreadful about research. I'm just not that good at it. LOL I know I've heard that you should pick a genre and stick with it, find your writing style and don't try to do something that's "out of your element." But the thing is, though most of what I write IS contemporary, the few ideas for historicals I have nag at me, wanting, NEEDING to be told and I can't turn my back on them.

It does give me pause to wonder if I could sell all my stories under the same name, or if I will have to pen them under different names on account of their genre. I guess I'm really putting the cart before the horse, especially since I haven't yet gotten up my nerve to share my work with anyone other than my mom and I haven't sent out any query letters or anything as yet.

I think I will put these worrisome thoughts off till another day for now and pop open my file and go through it.

Hopefully the anxiousness of this morning will pass quickly and I'll be feeling like myself again in no time. Have a wonderful day of writing....Pen to paper or fingers to keys. May it all come swiftly and easily.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Books and The Condescending Librarian....

Writing is an extensive endeavor. Even when I'm not writing, I'm either reading something by a writer or reading something to educate myself on writing or doing research. Even when I'm not doing that, writing stays on my mind. I love to talk about writing.

My desire to write comes from somewhere deep inside me. I'm not even sure when it started to be honest. Some little ember ignited my love of reading and my mom even said that as a child I loved books and making up stories.

I know at one point in my life there was an instance that could've damaged my love of reading and writing for the rest of my life. It's any wonder it didn't.

I was in 3rd grade and I was going to borrow a book that was probably more advanced than my reading level. I always borrowed books from the school library, but that one time, the librarian made a point of telling me she thought it was too advanced for me to read and she didn't think I could read it before I brought it back. It could be that I had borrowed it before and hadn't read it and wanted to reborrow it. I'm not sure, but I told her I would read it by the time I had to return it a week later.

Of course, I didn't read it and maybe it was stubborness or just rebellion on my part, but when I brought it back, she asked me point blank if I read it. I told her the truth and she told me that if I didn't read the books I borrowed I shouldn't borrow any. Now I can't recall for sure if she didn't allow me to borrow books anymore, but I do recall that I didn't want to borrow any more from her and I don't think I did the rest of that school year.

I still look back and see her as a condescending adult who should've known better. She humiliated me, hurt my feelings and made me feel about this big.

I didn't borrow any books from the school library again until I started 4th grade, at a different school with a different librarian. I look back on that now and wonder how an adult could look at an 8 or 9 year old child and chastise them for something like that.

Now, I do remind my stepson not to borrow something if he doesn't really want or plan to read it, but I wouldn't tell him that he couldn't borrow ANY books from the library. I encourage both my kids (though my daughter can't read yet) to enjoy books for everything they are worth, the adventures and emotions that you get from reading a book that puts you in another world or another life.

It was shortly after that incident in 3rd grade though that I started collecting books of my own to read. I convinced my dad to get me a subscription to the Just for Girls book club and if I read a book I liked well enough, I ended up buying at some point. I started creating my OWN library.

Like I said, it could've ruined my love of reading and writing, but in some ways, that librarian's snotty attitude may have actually had the opposite affect on me. I wanted books of my own more than ever. In fact, I've got a LOT of books I've never even read in my bookcase. They are on my TBR list, but I know that I can read them anytime I want without someone looking down their nose at me and telling me that I have to do it their way or the highway...

It may well have been when I started dreaming of being a writer too, because if I never stepped foot in another library, at least I'd have my own stories I could read and no one telling me that I couldn't.

Isn't it funny how childish beliefs and issues carry over into adulthood, but at the same time might well have been the catalyst for my desire to write? Maybe I should be thankful for the condescending librarian, but moreso I'm glad that it didn't turn me against reading/writing altogether.

Was there ever anyone or anything that could've turned you off of writing? Please feel free to share.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

To Pen or Not To Pen, that is the question...

Here is my I use a pen name?

As you may well have noticed in my about me section, Taryn Raye was not the name I was given at birth. Nor is it my married name. I'm not trying to hide my real name by any means, but I don't think my given or married names are very eye-catching so to speak.

What are you're opinions about pen names? Do you use one, if you are a writer? What are your reasons for doing so? Does it pose a problem or conflict of personality to be known by two names?

I would really love some imput on the pros and cons of using a pen before I start submitting with one. Any advice would be wonderful and appreciated.


Hello Blogger

Hello there! I'm Taryn Raye, romance writer, wife and mother. I wasn't sure I was going to do a blog elsewhere besides my regular personal one, but I'm going to give this a try out.

I have been writing for as long as I can remember, but have only recently in the past year began to give my writing much needed attention. Since October of last year I finished my first novel and written two more. All need revisions and such, but I feel I'm well on my way to finding my niche in the writing world.

Hope everyone is well! I will write more later.