After feeling disheartened and discouraged about the horrific things happening in the news day after day, week after week, I needed an extra dose of courage today. So, I looked to some words I'd written when things weren't so uncertain:
"Paranoia pushed aside, Sarah squared her shoulders and drew inspiration from the kick-ass heroines in the books she loved so much. They always knew just what to do and say in every situation. She could be like that. She would be brave and fearless even though it might be a little scary at first. This was her new life and she could write it any way she wanted."
~from Fresh Ice
"We can't live in fear," Hubby says to me. So I won't. I'll push it aside and be brave because the life I've written for myself isn't about letting others control my actions or dictate my choices. It's about being fearless and living life to the fullest because the time we have on this earth is too damned short to let someone else make it that much smaller and less fulfilling. I choose courage. RV
I have a confession to make. I'm a cheap date. Yep, all I need for a memorable night with my hubby is to pop a frozen pizza in the oven and plug in a Sly action movie. (If I'm not in the mood for Stallone, Arnold will do and Statham is even better.) Voila! My Friday night date night is complete. I know, I know, as a romance author, I'm probably supposed to be an advocate for long, expensive dinners accompanied by a lot of stuffy nonsense that society expects us to indulge in, all in the name of love. Well, I'm here to tell you that it's okay not to get dressed up on date night and to do something that you both want to do and not something that you're "supposed" to. Here are some of my favorite cheap date ideas, because spending quality time with the one you love doesn't have to cost a fortune. Leave your little black dress in the back of your closet, get comfy in your jeans and Converse, and have some fun together. Enjoy each other. Cherish that one-on-one time together and spice things up to keep your relationship interesting. Most of these ideas are intended to get you out of the house and away from your phone/computer/TV. Go somewhere and do something new and look at your surroundings with your own two eyes instead of on a screen.
1. Go to a local ball game, munch on hot dogs and cheer on the players. This date idea works for any type of sports, and even if you don't have a pro team in your city, do a search for minor league and community leagues near you. The players don't have to have signed million-dollar contracts to put on a good show and make the game fun to watch! 2. Walk the nature trail at your local wildlife refuge. How many different birds can you spot? My local wildlife refuge supports nearly 300 species of birds and has a six-mile auto tour and two walking trails that meander along marshes and riparian areas. Hold hands, sit on one of the benches and look out over the beautiful scenery. Listen to the sounds of nature and, most importantly, listen to each other. 3. Head over to your town's summer carnival or county fair. Play arcade games together, go on some silly rides and fill up on greasy food and cotton candy. Kiss each other on top of the Ferris wheel and enjoy the view.
4. Have a picnic by the lake. If there are no lakes in your area, find a nearby creek/river/waterfall you've never been to and eat on the shore. And if you live in the bone-dry desert where there's not a drop of water to be found, then heck, find a park to sit at. The point is to get outside, get some fresh air, and eat al fresco! 5. Check out a local car show. Even if you aren't a car enthusiast, broaden your horizons! People watching is always fun and sometimes there's music, dancing and food. 6. And if the weather isn't cooperating, you can always stay home and bust out a primitive deck of cards. Try an old favorite like poker (strip or otherwise), Rummy, even go fish. Or look up a new game you've always wanted to learn how to play. Winner gets a massage from the loser. So, basically, both of you win! 7. Try a new recipe. Now's the time to finally attempt one of the thousands of recipes you've pinned on Pinterest! Whipping up something new allows you to team up, work together, get messy, and hopefully have a great meal to show for it. If the recipe ends up being a complete #PinterestFail, then at least you'll have a story to tell about it. As long as the two of you are willing to try different things and embark on new adventures, you can turn any event into a date to remember.
How many of these dates have you already checked off the list? Got any cheap ideas I didn't include here? Let me know in the comments!
Throughout the years, I've posted playlists to go with some of the books I've published because music often plays a big role in the inspiration process. Certain characters listen to specific music and sometimes a song's lyrics can sum up the theme of a book in a few minutes better than I ever could. While writing Ice Flambé, it was impossible not to think of Lucas and Morgana while Jared Leto belted out hauntingly beautiful lyrics for 30 Seconds to Mars. I listened to Agnes Obel while writing Island Ice and even mentioned the song "Smoke & Mirrors" in the book. "Let Go" by Safetysuit could be the theme song for Home Ice. Learning how to let go was a main theme in the book and I find it funny that I heard the song long after I wrote the book.
So anyway, I thought it'd be fun to share some of those songs with you on Spotify where you can listen for yourself just how moving the power of music can be. Let me know if you like this idea and I'll add more books' playlists from my back catalog. Here is the link to the playlists on Spotify and you can also click on the book covers below...
I've also included a few of my personal favorites...
You hear it all the time: "I want someone to grow old with." Well, when you do find that one super-special human you want to spend the rest of your life with, that's exactly what happens. You grow old together. Literally. As the years pass, the gray hairs start popping up on the both of you, your skin starts to lose its glow and firmness, and wrinkles start creeping in. First, around your eyes in the form of crow's feet, and then between your eyebrows where you frown when you're trying to work out a problem. One day you wake up and you don't even recognize the face staring back at you in the mirror. And, in a comforting yet startling way, the person you lay your head next to at night is going through the exact same thing. Your bodies and hormones start to change and you get older. You say to each other, "Boy, am I glad I've got you here with me to hold my hand during this crazy ride that is life." Aging is hard. It takes a while to accept that you aren't 22 anymore. When you're young, your fearless and oblivious and you don't even think about what things'll be like in twenty years. And when you start having those milestone birthdays, it starts to dawn on you. You will change, you will age, no matter how much you want to fight it. There's nothing you can do to turn back the calendar. That's why it's so important to surround yourself with people who care about you. That's why it's imperative to pin all your hopes and dreams on someone who loves you unconditionally. Someone who respects you and laughs at your silly recycled jokes and doesn't judge you or your looks or your deepening wrinkles and thinning hair. That person is everything to you for a reason. They're the one who's there with you behind closed doors and who sees you at your worst when the difficult days outnumber the good ones. It's a great thing to have. And it's a great thing to have someone in your corner, someone who's on your side, encouraging you, comforting you, loving you. I couldn't make this climb up and over the proverbial hill without my hubby, and I wouldn't want to. We've been through so much. His stuff and my stuff combine together to make some crazy baggage, but it's ours. And I love him for the young man he was, the devoted man he is and the man he'll become as we get even older. He's a keeper--as long as he doesn't wise up and trade me in for a newer model! Here's to growing together. Wiser and older and everything in between. Happy Anniversary, D. I love you, R 💕
If I could have the wardrobe of any of my characters, I'd definitely choose Revecka's from Pixie's Promise. I know, I know, it would be awesome to jump into Avery's closet from Island Ice--she is a fashion designer after all--but I'm totally obsessed with Rev's pinup vibe.
So, I thought it'd be fun to put together a virtual closet full of all the looks I imagine are taking up space in the pink-haired goddess' wardrobe. Btw, all of these items are clickable and available on Amazon. I think I'll head over there now and do some ordering!
What do you think? Could you see yourself rockin' any of these looks? My next book is all about a rock star and I've got some ideas about what she'd wear on stage...
I could totally see Revecka on the cover of Vogue!