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Heather Ashby: Age is Just A Number (Contest)
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

I’ve been a sport flirter since the first grade. I played first string in middle school and was a varsity flirter in high school and college. I was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia for my tour in the Navy, and with a ratio of one hundred men for each woman in that town…well, you do the math. Talk about a kid in a candy store.

But wait. Why is the title about age if this blog is about acting confident, sensual, and flirty? Simple. Harry S. Truman may have been president when I was born and I may write about heroes and heroines who are younger than my children, but I’m not giving up flirting any time soon. I plan to be a force to be reckoned with when I check into my nursing home some day.

In French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano has this to say about older women: “The French rightly acknowledge there is a particular mystique to une femme d’un certain age, an expression with layers of meaning, including respect but also worldliness and hits of seduction. In Europe men naturally find women of this age group desirable, even sexy, and are often caught turning to look at them.” Embrace it, ladies. Just because one has reached a certain age, doesn’t mean she can’t continue to let her confidence and sensuality shine through in a look or a smile—that might possibly be held a nanosecond too long. On purpose.

I’m a happily married woman of 37 years, so the kind of flirting I’m talking about is no longer wooing some guy into bed (unless it’s Mr. Ashby, who has no complaints about being married to a romance author.) It might be a little banter with a salesman at the hardware store. Or striking up a conversation with a handsome man while waiting for your train. Maybe sharing a laugh about something witnessed together in public. Perhaps a smile with your thank-you for a gentleman who has held the door for you. Instead of seduction, it’s more “Catch and Release.” You get the rush of catching the fish, but you’re not planning to take it home.

Sometimes it’s not appropriate to actively flirt, but that doesn’t stop me from checking out guys I might want to put in a book. As a romance author, I get to chalk it up as “research.” I write a Navy romance series called “Love in the Fleet.” Since I live near the Navy base about which I write, there’s plenty of research available. If I go to the base gym to work out around 0730 on Friday mornings, the crew of the USS Stud Muffin is there performing Command Physical Training. I get to watch the show—completely incognito in my old lady body—and they have no idea I’m taking mental notes. I mean, who knew a man’s pecs could behave that way when he’s doing pull-ups? Just because you’re on a diet, doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu.

One day I was standing in line at the base post office, silently ogling the back of the flight-suit-clad pilot in front of me. I’m sorry, but there’s just something about a guy in a military flight suit. Not sure if all the pilots are sexy as hell or it’s just the addition of the flight suit—which is doubly sexy when they roll back their cuffs—as this pilot did. Now, flight suits have zippered pockets on the arms and legs to stow survival gear when flying. So this hot pilot goes to pay for his postage by unzipping his shoulder zipper and pulling out a credit card—which was pretty sexy in itself. But then he turned his head, smiled at me over his shoulder, and said, “You won’t tell anybody about my little secret hiding place, now will you?” I managed to smile back and say, “No,” which was difficult because I had already melted into a puddle of goo on the post office floor. Here’s how that experience played out in Book 2 in my series, Forget Me Not, about a playboy Navy pilot named Sky Crawford:

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Sky flipped through his Rolodex of smiles, selecting just the right one because he would need the receptionist on his good side if he was going to get on any side of Dr. Untouchable. Usually chicks that didn’t fall for his I’m-the-bad-boy-of-your-dreams-honey smile succumbed to his aw-shucks-golly-gee-ma’am grin. Worked like a charm.

Certain he had Lillian’s attention, Sky unzipped a shoulder pocket in his flight suit and extracted his credit card. He glanced around dramatically, leaned over the desk, and said in a low voice, “You won’t tell anybody about my little secret hiding place, now will you, Lillian?” She took the card, her smile filling the room with sunshine. Too bad he wasn’t interested in the receptionist because it was clear he had her hook, line, and sinker.

Ladies, why do many of us read romance novels? Because we love that rush of new love, affection, and attention. Just because you may no longer be a teen, a twenty-something, a thirty-something, or even a forty-something, (and some of us will keep counting) age is just a number. Attitude is everything. Stand proud, embrace your sensuality, and let your beauty shine through—especially when there’s a hot guy around. Just don’t forget to throw the fish back if you’re not supposed to be taking home trophies.

Thanks for inviting me today, Delilah. I’d like to leave a question with your readers and an e-copy of Forget Me Not for one lucky commenter. Do you enjoy a bit of flattery and flirting now and then? (And if you’d like to stay in touch with the captain of the sport flirting team, Sky Crawford, feel free to LIKE his Facebook page:

Blurb for FORGET ME NOT:

Suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome and survivor guilt, Navy helicopter pilot and renowned playboy, Brian “Skylark” Crawford, swears he’ll never marry, uncertain he deserves happiness—besides there are too many hot chicks to choose from. War widow and veterinarian, Daisy Schneider, swears to love only animals after her Marine pilot husband is killed in Afghanistan—but work fails to ease her loneliness or the guilt that she might have saved him. Between one matchmaking, rescue cat and a fiery battle with drug runners at sea, the fur flies as Sky and Daisy learn valuable lessons about life, love, and second chances.

Forget Me Not:


Heather Ashby is a Navy veteran who taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Navy husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In gratitude for her Army son’s safe return from Afghanistan and Iraq, she now writes military romance novels, donating half her royalties to causes that support wounded warriors and their families. Forgive & Forget, Book 1 in “Love in the Fleet,” was voted “Best of 2013” by Suspense Magazine. She lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her husband and two rescue cats.

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Twitter: www.@HAshbyAuthor

23 comments to “Heather Ashby: Age is Just A Number (Contest)”

  1. Heather Ashby
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 6:41 am · Link

    Thanks for inviting me today, Delilah. I look forward to chatting with your readers!

  2. Susan Hemphill
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 8:12 am · Link

    It’s that look of approval from a stranger or male friend that keeps the flame simmering inside. A wink, nod or tip of the hat, as they do so well in Montana, is all it takes. I’ve loved these little silent acts of appreciation for decades. Age is oblivious to “wonder” lust.

  3. Heather Ashby
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 8:15 am · Link

    I love “wonder-lust,” Susan. Yes, it all does keep the flame simmering inside. And I’ll just bet it’s delicious to get “a tip of the hat” in Montan! Thanks for stopping by, Susan.

  4. Susan Hemphill
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 8:32 am · Link

    I remember watching my grandmother subtly flirt when I was a child. She was a model and it game naturally to her. But it was always a bit perplexing to me because I thought flirting was reserved for young women. WRONG.

    I can imagine you noticing the pilot unzipping his shoulder pocket while he smiled at you. Instant material! It’s a spark that, in a writer’s case, can ignite a page.

  5. Tracy P
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 8:34 am · Link

    I’ve always been an “innocent” flirt. In high school flirted with my friends’ boyfriends (because I didn’t have one) not that I was interested in them or trying to steal anyone’s boyfriend, I was just very friendly and liked making others feel good. I still flirt – you can make someone’s day by just being nice and don’t cross the line to coming onto someone. Don’t we all want to feel visible and special? Flirt on!

  6. Heather Ashby
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 8:45 am · Link

    Love you watching and taking noes from your grandmother, Susan!!! Tracy, I totally get what you’re saying. Yes, we all want to feel visible and special. I like the term “flirt on!” (Maybe I can use that for Sky somewhere. “He knew it was time to get his flirt on.” Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Kathleen Bittner Roth
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 9:03 am · Link

    Love your post! I guess I’ve always been a flirt and not really known it until I was accused of flirting…many times over! but now that I write romance? I’m always ogling. I live in a big city and am constantly on public transportation (which everyone here takes) and I have never enjoyed people watching so much as when I’m writing (which is all the time). I notice details, a lush mouth here, great eyes there, etc. When my Hungarian friend accompanied me to the hospital to interpret for me, she leaned over and said, “Stop ogling your doctor, Kathleen!” I didn’t realize I was. But he is hot. And has that sexy accent.

  8. Heather Ashby
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 9:12 am · Link

    Ah, yes, Kathleen, throw in an accent and it’s all over but the shouting! Besides, what else can one DO when the doctor with the accent is HOT? I’m thinking that all the flirting over the years has helped us become better romance novelists. Write on, girl! And enjoy those European lush mouths on public transportation!

  9. EmKay Connor
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 9:24 am · Link

    Women like to know they are attractive. Men need to know they are attractive. Thus, flirting is actually therapeutic. Now go forth and flutter those lashes.

  10. Heather Ashby
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 9:36 am · Link

    Yes, we all like compliments – spoken or unspoken.

    LOVE “now go forth and flutter those lashes!!!”

  11. Sheri Humphreys
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 10:45 am · Link

    Puddle of goo? Oh, yeah, that would be me right now after reading your experience with the man with the secret hiding place. Love how Sky borrowed it.

    Love it when I’m behind a Mr. Gorgeous in line and he turns around and is nice and friendly (to a woman old enough to be his mom–aka me). Reminiscent of recent past when I stood waiting in the popcorn line at the theatre. Cowboy dad with two cute little girls stood just in front of me in nicely fitting jeans and boots. He turned around, smiled, talked a bit. Then I wondered—did he SEE me ogling his fine a** in the mirror behind the concession stand?

  12. Colette Auclair
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 3:01 pm · Link

    OMG, Heather, I love flirting so much, I flirt with everyone. As far as flattery, in my case it WILL get you anywhere. I’m a compliment junkie and friends are obligated to inform me of any compliments I happen to receive from any quadrant, ASAP. Thank you for this post, because now I can consider my flirting as research. Pure research. Yup.

  13. Catherine Rull
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 3:42 pm · Link

    Great post, Heather! I’m a strong believer in being only as old as we feel! And most days, I feel at least 5 years younger than my real age! As for flirting, I think a bit of innocent banter is the spice of life 🙂 Nice brain exercise, and a great way to come up with lines of dialogue for our characters 🙂


  14. Suzanne Galbo
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm · Link

    Great post (as always) Heather. A bit of flirting is healthy for a stable relationship…or that’s what I tell my hubby of 32 years…and yes that means him as well. And..who doesn’t like a few sexy looks aiming your way…Of course one look from Sky may taken me over the brink…thanks for sharing!! 😉

  15. Heather Ashby
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 4:37 pm · Link

    Yup, it’s research. Anybody gives you any guff, you just tell them I gave you permission to flirt for the sake of literature 🙂 You make the world a happier place, Colette!!!

  16. Heather Ashby
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 4:39 pm · Link

    Absolutely: “a bit of innocent banter is the spice of life!” And it keeps us young. AND it does help with the writing. ergo: it’s research!!! Thanks for stopping by, Catherine. Write On!

  17. Heather Ashby
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 4:40 pm · Link

    Yes, a bit of flirting is good for any relationship. And yes, if we don’t get any flirting in, we can always go visit Sky 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Suzanne!

  18. Jean Willett
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 5:48 pm · Link

    Love the term, “flirt on!”, Heather. So wonderful just thinking about it. I agree with another comment about being friendly and smiling. I do that a lot. I don’t know a stranger as I talk to everyone. As a result, I meet the most interesting people…on airplanes especially. If that’s flirting, then onward 😉 and light up someone’s day.

  19. Heather Ashby
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 6:02 pm · Link

    Right, Jean. Just being friendly these days – a smile, a hello when unexpected. People are used to this more in the South and in small towns, so I’d love to see people shaking up others in different parts of the nation by just being nice 🙂 But, hey, if it’s a hot guy and he smiles back…well, there you go. Write ON, Jean!

  20. Pansy Petal
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 6:30 pm · Link

    Thank you for giving permission to “flirt on”. My daughter thinks I am too old to be flirting. But, well she is my daughter and I guess Mom’s aren’t supposed to do that. 🙄 But being the good mother that I am, I continue to set the example, and continue to flirt anyway. 😉

  21. Heather Ashby
    · April 2nd, 2014 at 7:02 pm · Link

    LOL! I didn’t post this blog to several of my social networks because my daughter would see it AND she’s 35 years old! 🙂 Our kids do not want to know we have a sex life or a sensual thought, but yes, Pansy, I give you permission to get your flirt on! Have fun.

  22. Sharon Menear
    · April 5th, 2014 at 6:03 pm · Link

    I loved the flirting blog, Heather. Wish I could attend the workout facility on the Navy base. Eye candy is good for the soul. Your description of the pilot in the post office sent my heart rate up to the workout level. Sorry I didn’t get to this sooner. I’ve been off the grid trying to meet a deadline. 😮

  23. Heather Ashby
    · April 5th, 2014 at 8:23 pm · Link

    Ha, Sharon, I love “Eye candy is good for the soul.” It’s SO true!!! Hope you met your deadline okay. Write ON!

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