Steppin’ out with the Beautiful Blogger Award …

Big thank you to mlfables for nominating me for the beautiful blogger award.  I feel so special.  🙂  

Blogging transcends continents and countries and it gives us the opportunity to  touch so many people without leaving our homes.  I’m glad I’m along for the journey.

The rules for this award require that I write seven things about myself and then pass on the love (my nominations for this award are listed down below).  So here it goes:

Three Things I’ve Learned About Writing

  • A muse is the best friend a writer can ever have
  • Grammatical rules can be broken for the right price
  • Once you’ve written your first book, or story you’ll never read a book the same way again.

Three Things I’ve Learned About Reading

  • Biographies are wonderful means of measurement.  They offer a glimpse into someone else’s life and give me assurance that my characters’ lives can never be over the top.
  • Readers (especially lovers of romance) like to read about someone whose life is spiraling downward and how they fight to climb back to the top.
  • For a writer, other people’s books become textbooks.

One Thing I’ve Learned About Life

  • It has the potential to get better every day. It’s up to me to recognize that and act on it.

Now, I’d like to acknowledge the following bloggers and say thanks for making my world a little nicer.  My nominees for this award are as follows:

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Be a Brady: Spread the love one page at a time

“When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any if left, I buy food and clothes.” –Erasmus

Last Thursday, I met a woman at a volunteer event and we started chatting. We then (don’t ask me how) started talking about the oddest things that made us cry.

She cried off of The Three Bears. Yours truly, cried over the Brady Bunch. (Particularly the episode where Marcia enters Mike in the “Father of the Year” contest)

Be warned. I couldn’t get the Brady Bunch theme out of my head, so the poem below was written by the tune. Apologies for this. But there is a silver lining—you can’t hear me sing it. 🙂

Read on!

Here’s the story of a man name Jerry,
Whose children could read and write and spell
When they asked him how do you spell “ferry”
Of that, he could not tell

Then the one day Jerry met a student
And he thought she could help him, yes indeed
He was happy because he had done the right thing
The student taught him to read

Whew! Glad that’s out my system!

If you haven’t guessed, I was the student–one of 20 people–who taught a group of men and women to read. Jerry was a father of four who worked as a manual laborer and any document he needed to sign or know about, he’d ask a friend or neighbor to read for him. He came to the program wanting to better himself and have his children be proud of him.

Three months later, he could read all Dr. Seuss’s books, a few Nancy Drew books (He liked mysteries) and some articles in the newspaper.

In addition, he could finally fill out an application for employment with some assistance. That was a big moment for him. But an even bigger one for me–a mere 19-year old. I’d done something useful, and in turn, I’d deepened my love of the written word.

As writers, and lovers of the written word, we basically know when we fell in love. Imagine, those who can’t experience that joy, because they can’t read.

There are literacy programs nationwide such at UNESCO and the World Literacy Foundation that need people to teach others how to read. But you don’t have to go that far, look in your towns at the high school and colleges and libraries. They’re always looking for people to join an adult literacy program.

And once that task is done, and “your student” discovers the love of reading, there’s no stopping them.

Children love to hear a good story. My three-year-old grandson will grab a book and “read” to me, which is remarkable since he hasn’t learned as of yet. What he has learned is that at certain times during our reading sessions, the inflection in my voice means that trouble is brewing or something wonderful is about to happen. Now when he “reads” he imitates me.

There’s always a need to teach children to read through mentoring or just participating in programs such as Read Across America and RIF.

RIF “Reading is Fundamental,” continues to ring true. Without reading, it would be rather difficult to translate and understand other areas of study such as science, mathematics and technology.

If you’re thinking about it, or just want to keep in the back of your mental Rolodex, check out some of the places mentioned. If you’re really ready, then grab a book and get to reading or tutoring. Trust me. Your love of the written word will deepen.

And who knows you may get all choked up–just like I do from the Brady Bunch. Oh, and for your singing pleasure, the Brady theme song. Okay, everyone, once more with feeling!

Mr. Romance 2005 Speaks …

wood6randy02As most of you know I have a page dedicated to fine-looking men or as I call them, “yummy pops.”

Some months ago, I blogged about a few gentlemen who I thought fit the description of a yummy pop—men who are pleasing to the eye, and who hold a little something extra in their walk, talk and being.

It’s my pleasure to welcome and introduce one of the these homegrown yummy pops from, New Jersey, the Garden State: Mr. Romance 2005, Randy “Wood” Ritchwood.

Wood is no stranger to romance or making a woman’s heart flutter. As the first African-American to wear the title “Mr. Romance,” he has graced the covers of many romance novels including those from bestselling authors Brenda Jackson and Rochelle Alers, and appeared on the first episode of the reality show, “I Love New York.”

A few weeks ago, he completed a tour in Tyler Perry’s new stage play “Laugh to keep from Crying,” and in 2010, Wood takes romance prime time when he hosts blog talk show, “What Women Want Prime Time TV.” A hardworking entrepreneur, Wood’s New Jersey entertainment company offers something for everyone, especially the ladies. Visit his Web site at Kija Entertainment.

Wood has graciously agreed to pop in and share thoughts on love, life, relationships, and more important, “What makes it sizzle and how to keep it hot.”

N: Wood, According to Romance Writers of America, romantic fiction earned 1.375 billion dollars in sales in 2008, which is a great thing for romance writers. The current economic climate has been said to be one factor. However, women wanting that happy-ever-after have a lot to do with it as well. Any insights on why more people are reading romance novels?

Wood: The economy has a lot do with many things—unfortunately. From a male perspective, we’re losing jobs at high rates; some of us are working two and three jobs to make ends meet. People are giving and receiving less attention at home. And it can put a strain on the relationship. Sometimes you’re just too stressed or tired.

But I’m happy that romance fiction is earning money, because it keeps the writers working and the readers happy. It’s a good thing because whatever our women experience reading they can bring home to us and share.
N: What’s your advice to women and men who want to keep their relationships spicy and sizzling?

Wood: Change the bedroom scene. Don’t get too comfortable doing the same thing. Change up your routine. Ladies, for example if you go to bed nude, switch it up and put on pajamas, a gown or wear your man’s shirt one night. Even though we know already what’s underneath, men still like to wonder.

Same goes for the men. If you normally wear cologne, go without it one day and see if your woman notices. Or if you wear pajama bottoms to bed, switch it up and wear boxers. Don’t settle for status quo. Gentlemen, treat your woman to a foot wash and massage, give her the full treatment. Ladies, you can do the same. It’s all about appreciating the spontaneous things that keep relationships hot.

We look forward to more chats with Wood, and advice from a male point of view. Questions for Wood can be submitted using the Contact Me form on this blog.

All questions that are not considered relevant to this blog will be deleted.

Balancing Joy: Writing and Reading

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I know, I know. It’s been a long time. I’ve been a rotten blogger.

The summer is winding down, and Fall is in the air. Kind of, maybe, sort of. Some parts of the country are still sweltering while the east coast is finally cooling down. I say that with my fingers crossed. After all, it is only September. Indian summer is still a major possibility.

I’ve been working on my second manuscript and trying to churn it out during the past few horrendous hot days. It’s hard to put my fingers to computer keys when I’m constantly drinking water, ice tea or anything else I could get my hands on that would help beat the heat.

But I have five chapters down and it’s coming together.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done much reading. I usually don’t read while I’m writing, and I’ve heard quite a few writers say the same.

Can you read while you write, or do you have to wait until you’re finished?

If I do read, it’s usually not my genre. I catch up on my westerns, my ménages and paranormals. One-on-one erotic or steamy romance, I won’t read while writing.

However, I continue to add to my ever-increasing wish list of books. I have a few books that I’ve purchased, and lovingly placed on my shelf for near future reading.

Here’s my very short list:

Celeste Norfleet – When it Feels So Right
Kimberly Kaye Terry – The Sweet Spot
Beverly Jenkins – Captured (To be released in Sept.)
Brenda Jackson – One Night with a Wealthy Rancher
Lena Matthew and Eve Vaughn – Ever After
Francis Ray – And Mistress Makes Three
Maya Banks – Unbroken
Rochelle Alers – Man of Fate

As I mentioned, this is a short list. I can’t, and won’t list all the items on my wish list. There are just too MANY. And if I did decide to list them all, you’d probably think I’d succumbed to the heat. I would. 🙂

My writing goal today was 1,000 words. I’m at 743. I should get back to Chapter 6 before, I stray any further and pick up one of the above mentioned books.

Everyday I work to balance the joy I get from writing and reading. Setting a writing goal helps a great deal. It helps me stay focused, because the quicker I write, the quicker I can read!