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Genevive Chamblee: How to Find Daily Joy
Friday, January 22nd, 2021

After a year filled with natural disasters, unemployment, political and civil unrest, supply shortages, illness, quarantines, and death, I’d never seen so many people looking forward to a new year than in 2020. However, 2021, so far, has seemed to say, “2020, hold my beer.” Are we in for round two or the next level of Jumanji? Or maybe, it’s as some has speculated, the opening of the Hunger Games.

Whether we are or not, there comes a point where it can all become overwhelming and one needs to take a break. If life and reality is so heavy that all one can think of is despair and feel sadness, it is time to create an avenue of happiness, hope, and light in one’s life. Here are some ways to bring some daily joy into your life.

  1. TikTok. It just isn’t for kids anymore. If you don’t want to create videos, just watch those that do and enjoy the fun they bring to life. Try the dance challenges or play one of the practical jokes on a close friend with a good sense of humor. Enjoy the many artists and musicians that are on the platform. Learn to cook a new meal or about a new culture. Find new books to read or meet your favorite author on a Livestream. Make new friends. There have been some who have even found love there.
  2. Collecting. Begin a new collection. For many, collecting has a connotation of being a boring, dull, or introverted person. And objects collected have been thought of as being limited to art, stamps, rocks, leaves, dolls, and insects. However, anything can be collected. A good friend of mine who loves coffee collects mugs. It is a small way she inserts a bit of happiness into the beginning of her morning by pouring in her first cup of java. I recently met a group of people who collect Mini Brands. Granted, these things are as cute as the dickens. I’d walked past the surprise balls for over a year, never having noticed. Then, I saw a video of someone opening one and became hooked on the cuteness. There’s a whole community that collects and trades these. Some of the Mini Brand collectors have styled mini-kitchens and displays, while others have converted them to refrigerator magnets and jewelry. Another person stated that she collected eye shadow palettes. Some she uses, while others she displays.
  3. Family time. Unfortunately, many people have been furloughed, laid off, or had a reduction in hours. Others, who may still be working from home. Believe it or not, there are positives and negatives in this. A friend who now works from home admitted that although it was complicated at first and took some adjustment, she enjoys not having the mad rush in the mornings to get ready for work or her children off to school. She confessed that she has been able to save money by not eating out for lunch, not spending money on wardrobes and gas, not having to attend conferences or pay for school trips, and not paying for daycare services. Since she commuted to work, she spent over an hour each way driving. Now, she spends that extra time with family. She confessed that she always wanted to be a stay-at-home mother but couldn’t afford it. However, now she is able to have the best of both worlds. Although it isn’t perfect, she is enjoying the time she has while it lasts. She and her family have created new routines. They all participate in making dinner and find creative and fun ways to make cleaning (and other household chores) a game. They have found time to bond and grow closer as a family. Another friend who was furloughed stated that he despised his job but didn’t have the nerve to quit for fear of what he would do to support himself. He was eventually laid off, but he found another job that he is much happier at doing as well as starting a business that he has always dreamed of doing.
  4. New skills. As mentioned previously, many people have found themselves with extra time. Learn something new. A colleague who was planning to get married in 2020 postponed her wedding due to the pandemic and issues with venues and vendors. At first, she was very upset by this and confessed that she cried for weeks. Then, one day as she was watching videos on YouTube, she began getting new wedding design ideas. Later, she saw a DIY project that she wanted to try as centerpieces. Soon, she found herself creating decorations for her wedding that not only is she having fun creating but that also is saving herself money. A coworker reported that she took a page from the movie Julie & Julie. She’s always wanted to learn to cook, and she’s taken this time to do just that.
  5. Increased awareness. This came from my bestie and was a shock to me. I don’t know why since it’s basic. My bestie stated that when shelter-at-home regulations happened, he began to go stir crazy with such a disruption of his life. He’s truly a man on the go. However, once he became limited in where he could go and things he could do, he stated that he became more aware of his surroundings. He began to notice things in his neighborhood and community that he hadn’t previously. One of the most interesting things he said was the following. “When I purchased my home, one of the selling points was the backyard and view. As time passed, it just became a part of my every day, and I overlooked its beauty. I’d never enjoyed it fully. Being home all the time made me feel a bit stir crazy. One day, I took a book outside and read it beneath an oak in my backyard. It was so peaceful, and the weather nice. I wondered why I’d never done that before. I ordered a hammock from Amazon, and now, it’s one of my favorite places to relax, think, read, and meditate.”
  6. Pampering self. Roll the clock back to the fall of 2019 when the world had no clue what was looming around the corner. I had begun making plans for the 2020 football season as well as vacation. In December that year, I planned the items I would need. I decided that each month, I would purchase a few of these items to spread the expense over several months and prevent having to rush at the last minute. In February, when talks of a lockdown began, I didn’t believe it. In March, when it actually happened, I thought it would last only a couple of days. Therefore, I continued planning for my vacations and activities. By the time I realized they weren’t going to happen, I regarded what I had amassed and sulked. I had wasted my money. Or had I? Vacations are about relaxing and escape from the normal world. I wouldn’t call a pandemic being my “normal world;” although, I will admit that it has shaped me a new normal. However, just because my vacation plans had changed didn’t mean that I had to chunk all my ideas. I would just have to find ways to use the items at home and pamper myself. Fortunately, many of the items were skincare and perfumes. Who says one must have an audience in order to be smell nice or have clear skin? I also played with makeup that I had purchased in ways that I wouldn’t normally for work. For example, I had an opportunity to experiment with colorful looks instead of neutrals. Because work has been slower, I’ve found more time to read and watch television series that I’ve missed out on. And instead of feeling I’m missing out on being out with friends, I find soaking in a long bath or giving myself a facial isn’t a bad substitute. We’ve even had a few cyber girls’ nights in which were truly fun, and in all honesty, may have been more fun than actually being out, where parking is a hassle and some people can be real jerks. No matter why it occurred, taking time to do something positive for oneself is never a bad thing.
  7. Neighborhood book libraries. Until recently, I never knew these were a thing. For a couple of years, I’ve bypassed one in the downtown area but mistook it for decoration. It’s shaped like a house. And although it is clearly labeled as a book library exchanged, the words didn’t resonate with me. These are a great way to bring happiness into your and someone else’s life. For one, I hate the thought of throwing a book away. It seems like a waste. The public library system in my immediate area is, in my opinion, under horrible management. In the past, it has been proven that they throw away book donations without considering what they are, are rude to patrons, and act in ways that are most convenient for staff but not borrowers. For example, they keep the restrooms locked because children have not kept the area clean. There are two stalls in both the men’s and women’s restrooms. However, libraries in surrounding areas that have triple the daily traffic, restrooms with a half dozen stalls on each floor, and the same number of staff (percentage-wise), they keep their restrooms both unlocked and clean. But that’s a story for another time. The point is, neighborhood libraries offer communities a place to share books without the complications of library cards, due dates, or the fear donations will go straight to the trash. I will, however, point out that some public libraries feel threatened by the neighborhood libraries and have made partitions to the local government to place restrictions and limitations on neighborhood libraries.
  8. Music. Since the beginning of time, people have found solace in music. It is an easy way to relax, and with so many genres, a person most assuredly can find something he/she enjoys. When I was younger and suffered from migraines frequently, loud thumping music (I know. One would think I would seek silence.) would ease the pain away. Maybe the drumbeats vibrated out the pain. The entertainment industry has long used music to set moods and increase the ambiance. Injecting happy music throughout one’s day can lift the spirits and bring inspiration.
  9. Breaks. Then again, sometimes all that is needed is a break and time away. Media can be toxic, bringing into our homes and living rooms negative energy and bad news on a loop. The week after Christmas, the local media kept harping on severe weather that would occur on New Years Day. During nearly every commercial break it seemed, there was the news commercial to watch for the latest update of the weather at five, six, and ten. And while I’m all for people to be informed, I could have done without the constant reminder of what was to come. And dread was building. At the gas station, people were filling up gas cans for their generators. People planned to hunker down instead of attempting to have at least some type of New Year celebration, even if it was no more than grape juice in a plastic cup in the middle of the kitchen. On New Year’s Eve, there was rain (heavy at times) but no wind, thunder, lightning, or tornadoes. No watches or warnings were issued. And while everyone was relieved, the anxiety had built in so many for days. There is a difference between informing the public and inundating them with fear. And I know there will be those who will think it’s no big deal and that the meteorologist simply missed the mark. And would one hundred percent agree with that if I didn’t live in an area where so many people have PTSD from Hurricane Katrina and tornadoes? But the purpose of this point isn’t to place blame on the media. On the contrary, it is to point out that people need to recognize in themselves those things that are begin trigged and tune them out. Shut off all of social media and chill. There was a news article of a man who had isolated himself in a remote area for over a year. There were no cell phones, cable, or internet. When he left to return home, he had no idea of the pandemic. He’d not panicked, stressed, or been bothered.
  10. Great books. Of course, as an author, I’m going to end by saying a great way to bring happiness to any day is to curl up with not just a good book but, rather, a great one. And why not read something from an author you’ve never tried. During the holidays, I know I stocked my Kindle with new reads. Having a favorite go-to author that will never fail you is wonderful. But when I travel, I know I like to try new things and new adventures. If I’m going to always do the same-o same-o, why not remain at home?

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Genevive Chamblee: November Silver Linings
Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Bonjour. It’s November, and it’s a month that has so much happening for so many. For YouTubers, it’s Nonstop November, where creators aim to post videos daily. In the sporting world, it’s No Shave November where the men are allowing their beards to grow. And then, I heard of No Sex November. I’m not sure of who’s participating in that—I mean what group of people developed it—but it’s happening. Additionally, for many of my fellow writers, it’s National Novel Writing Month, also, known as NaNoWriMo or NaNo, that has a goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by the end of the month.  I’m sure there are so many more, but the final one I’m going to mention is the media trend of posting daily what is thankful for, especially here in the United States, where many people are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving—well, that is, the people who didn’t jump from Halloween to Christmas. Granted, my social media presence has been lacking from some platforms, but thus far, I have not been seeing many Thirty Days of Thanks posts. I imagine for many people, that is hitting very differently this year.  It’s hitting me differently, too. That’s why today will be a different kind of post for me, but hopefully one that is found to be uplifting and inspiring.

On January 1, 2020, when people where celebrating the ringing in of the new year and making resolutions to follow their hearts’ desires, I don’t believe anyone knew the swift kick in the teeth the year was bringing with it. I can’t speak for other countries, but I know here in the US where people are used to doing nearly anything (legal) that they want, being told what to do on a large scale by the government was shock. Our go-go nature was dumped in timeout, and people had no idea what they were supposed to do sequestered in their home for weeks. Face it, I live in the south, and we get antsy when we have to spend a day inside because of hurricanes. (We throw parties during that time, BTW). And, oh my gosh, it was not just having to remain sheltered-in-place, it was that what we normally do inside was gone, too. For a culture that binge watches, many of us flew threw Hulu and Netflix in no time. Resources become like a forge. Mask-wearing was viewed as something from a B-film Sci-Fi. People lost their jobs and homes. Education became a nightmare. People got sick and died. And politically… Whew! Now, eleven months in, and it is no surprise to me that some people are struggling to find a happy or thankful place. But there have been some shining spots in 2020, and that’s what I will focus on today.

  1. Woke culture.

I’m one of those people who can walk through life, and if something does not bother or affect me, I will not notice. I think most people are like this, and that’s not a criticism. It’s human nature. Again, I live in the south. I do not on a regular think about how to react in a blizzard. Likely, I define and would behave differently in a snowstorm than persons who live in areas where winter is actually a thing. I mean, if there are snow flurries here, chances are, businesses are going to close. Now, I know that seems laughable to many, but why would southerners spend a lot of time thinking and preparing for icy conditions when it happens once every five years or so? We don’t know how to drive in it because we do not have an opportunity to practice. Most of us do not have the proper clothes for it because our coats are made for fashion and not warmth. Currently, the temperature outside is seventy-three degrees, and for us, that’s getting a bit chilly. I can count on both hands the number of times in my life that there has been one-inch or more snow in my yard and still have fingers left over.  So, I get it when Northerners laugh when Southerners freak out about snow flurries. The perspectives are different.

I think woke culture, which some people criticize for being too thinned-skinned, is nothing more than the intention of viewing a situation or event from a different perspective or point of view. It is a call to be objective and instead of subjective. It’s going beyond our small box of a world and showing empathy and compassion to others around us. How many times during an argument in relationships does one partner want the other partner to agree with him/her? The disagreement has sparked because of two varying points of view most times. Stepping back and considering from a different angle does not mean that one will agree, change positions, or diminish his/her morality. All it does is allow a person to stand a moment in another person’s shoes to understand that their feelings are valid to them. They are entitled and have a right to how they feel. And their feelings are independent to your feelings and have nothing to do with you. How does a wife feel when she attempts to communicate with her husband that she does not feel appreciated by him and he brushes her off with a “you’re being silly” or “get over it”? He might even shove in her face something that he has done for her in the past and insist that she be appreciative that he did it for her and attempt to make her feel guilty or belittled for asking for more? That’s the same in woke culture. It’s not asking a person to change. It’s asking for awareness, acknowledgement, and respect.

I think 2020 has been a year of wokeness for many. I for one had my eyes opened about a lot. Two of the biggest areas that I’ve come to learn about has been the struggle of Indigenous people and the treatment of the transsexual community. These were things that I had never heard discussed and was not aware that existed. I’m not around people who were affected by these issues. But once I heard them mentioned, I stopped to listen and learn. I’d assumed things that weren’t factual. And instead of arguing to hold steadfast the beliefs I’ve been taught, I grew quiet and opened myself to take in new information. Am I an expert now? No. Do I understand everything? No. Do I still have much to learn? Yes. Am I willing to learn those things? Yes.

When I write, I write with love. I write with the belief that true love exists. I write with the hope of bringing smiles and happiness to readers. To be able to do that, I need to understand people and multiple points of views. For me, twenty-twenty has been humbling. I have experienced human growth in ways I could not have imagined. And I don’t believe I’m alone in this. I have watched some of my closest friends grow as well.  Hopefully, this growth will be seen in my writing and in my acts as a person. I always strive to better my craft. But on a personal level, I strive to be a better person—a better friend, daughter, sibling, parent, and neighbor.

  1. Productivity

I’ve watched dozens of videos of people completing home improvement projects or taking on life goals. People who lost their jobs spent their time doing the things that they have been postponing indefinitely. They now had time to clean out the garage or convert the basement into a media area. They had timing to put together a shelving unite or finally organize and catalog the items in their collections. Some had time to research their family history or write the novel they’ve been wanting to write their entire lives. Others reconnected with their families. A friend confessed to me that he had re-fallen in love with his wife during the pandemic. “I knew I loved her, but I think over the last ten years, I had forgotten why. Being at home with her and our children every day around the clock for three months reminded me not only why I fell in love with her but deepened my love and appreciation.” I beefed up my writing game. Another friend, who lives across the street from his parents, stated that he and his father finished restoring a car his father had purchased more than twenty years ago. “It sat in the garage as his ‘project’ and has always been a source of conflict between him and mother. Especially when they would argue, he would lock himself in the garage for hours and tinker with it. Us kids were never allowed to touch it. He’s owned it for as long as I could remember. I had to have been a toddler when he bought it. I’m now 42, and he and I completed it a couple of weeks ago. It allowed me to get to know my father on a completely different level, and we got a cool car out of it.”

  1. Creativity

I believe many people may have overlooked the role creativity has played during this pandemic. People have had to develop and devise ways to handle problems that they have never had before. Persons who lost their jobs have found other means of income. Some have allowed their artistic sides to bloom. Reflecting back to March when the news media was advising everyone not to wear masks because they would worsen the situation. Now, there is much debate about who put that information out there and why, but that’s not to point here. The point I am attempting to make is that by the time the public had been instructed mask-wearing would help slow (not prevent) the spread and suppress the curve of cases, there were no masks available for purchase. So many people with sewing skills took to making masks. Some made businesses out of it or vastly grew their small business. No one has released the numbers, but it is evident that mask-masking is a lucrative business, as mask-wearers want to express their personality in this 2020 accessory. I suppose some people enjoy wearing masks regardless of the reason why. For a great many others, though, I believe that since they have found themselves in this situation, they have simply found a way to make it a little more tolerable.

  1. Progression

A coworker who is near seventy years old used a computer for the first time two months ago. She had avoided it, and the company had never pressured her to conform. She continues to do everything by hand. Any document that is electronic, someone must print it for her. Vehemently, she rejected change, and her stubbornness slowed the progress of her coworkers at times. However, a conference changed things. She needed to renew her professional license, and since all in-person conferences had been suspended, she was forced to do cyber attendance like the rest of us. What she found is that she didn’t like it, but it wasn’t as terrible as she’d expected. While it’s done little to convince her to change her ways or venture into the millennium, it has allowed her to see how her nonconformity makes it difficult for her other coworkers—not that she cares. However, she now remains silent when someone complains about her because she realizes her coworkers’ complaints are valid and have merit. Plus, she also recognizes that she now must tread lightly. Since she’s had some computer training, if she continues to upset coworkers, their complaints may be loud enough for administration to order that she comply with the same procedures as everyone else. She can no longer use the excuse that she does not know how. She knows very little about the computer, but she has demonstrated her ability to learn.

Another coworker stated that she was hoping to travel one day. Currently, she does not have the finances, and she contends that she may never earn enough to travel out of the country. In fact, she does not believe this will ever be possible for her. However, it is a dream, and as a dream she decided to work towards it in small ways that she can afford. One way is by learning a foreign language. She has downloaded apps that teach you to speak another language and listens to them in her spare time or while she is commuting to and from work. She admits that her progress has been slow but that she definitely knows more than when she began. Sometimes, achieving small goals can be as satisfying as reaching larger ones.

  1. Experimentation

This one I found to be so much fun. People let their guards down and began attempting things they’d never done before. Take a look at TikTok and how many people joined during the pandemic. People who would barely pose for family photos were encouraged and branched out to do dancing challenges. People laughed at themselves and opened up to just have fun. Some looked at the pandemic as the pre-apocalypse and decided to begin checking off items on their bucket lists. People adopted the attitude, if this is the end, why wait any longer? Therefore, they began experimenting and trying new things.

  1. Maintaining

While much of the focus has been on losses and gains, some people are very thankful for maintaining what they have. Although they haven’t had it easy, so many people are grateful that they have not been as effected by 2020 as others have been. Essential employees may have had to pull longer hours for the same pay and risk exposure to the virus more than others, but many are thankful to have been able to maintain their homes and livelihoods. They’ve taken everything in stride by taking recommended CDC precautions to keep themselves safe.

A YouTube content creator stated that her life has been minimally affected by the pandemic because she’s an introvert, used to living alone and working from home. Before shelter-in-place was an ordnance implemented by her city, she was already having most of her meals delivered and remaining in her home.

These are just a few of the ways that the year 2020 has not been a complete bomb and failure of a year. While there is a tendency to see all the things that have been troubling or traumatic this year, there have been some promising things to happen as well.

What good have you found in 2020? What are you thankful for this year? What are you doing this November? Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving?

Ice Gladiators

And also, don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my sports romance Locker Room Love series.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him. Grab your copy of Ice Gladiators at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Missed the first two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

Defending the Net can be ordered at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Locker Room Love is a steamy standalone gay romance/ MM romance series revolving around professional hockey players. Set primarily in the Cajun and Creole bayous of south Louisiana, these love stories have a diverse cast of characters. These sexy athletes are discovering their own voice and the best romance of their lives, even if that isn’t their intention. Find tales of friends to lovers, enemies to loves, billionaires, bad boys, forbidden romance, first times, gay for you, and more. These alpha males are guaranteed to work up a sweat and melt the ice.

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays (with bonus posts sometimes on Mondays), and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors or BookBub.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Keep safe.

Genevive Chamble: How one writer stays organized…
Monday, March 16th, 2020

A question I’m frequently asked is how do I keep my characters, storylines, etc. organized? The first answer that always lingers on the tip of my tongue is that I don’t. However, that isn’t true. It merely seems that way at the time. Let me explain.

First, according to results on the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), I’m what is known as an ENTP. For those unfamiliar with the MBTI, it is a self-report personality questionnaire developed by Isabel Myer and Katherine Briggs that identifies a person’s personality attributes and preferences based on theories of personality archetypes formulated by the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung. Now, I’m not going to diving into Jung’s theory. (Been there; done that in grad school. His writings aren’t exactly light reading.) Fortunately, one doesn’t have to be familiar with Jung’s work to understand the MBTI, as the creators already did the work.

The MBTI divides personality archetypes into four categories.
1. Extroversion – Introversion
2. Intuition – Sensing
3. Thinking – Feeling
4. Judging – Perceiving.

These four categories in combination form sixteen personality types. I won’t be discussing the ins and outs of the MBTI. Readers interested in learning more or taking the MBTI for themselves are encouraged to visit the Myers & Briggs Foundation website.

As previously mentioned, my personality type is ENTP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving). The N is what denotes my creativity; however, it is the P that causes me issues in organization. I generally like to substitute the P to mean procrastination instead of perceiving. Oof! However, I have an organized type of procrastination going on. For other Ps that probably made a lot of sense while all the Js are likely scratching their heads. See, I’m aware of deadlines and schedules and am mindful of how long it will take me to perform tasks. From the moment I’m first aware of a task, I begin mentally preparing a plan. Granted, this may not be a good or solid plan, but it’s a start. Don’t come for me. It is the P in me that has me, um…should we say lacking in organization? Which brings me to my second point.

I’m a panster. Yep, card-carrying. I know most of my fellow writers who are plotters have just come unwound. It’s okay. We’re all different. Look, I tried doing the outline and was about to cast myself into the Pontchartrain, but these waters have gators. When I write, I don’t need a bunch of Post-Its telling me what comes next. I write the scene as I’m feeling it. If it doesn’t belong in the final draft, I cut it.

I’ve heard the argument that creating an outline prevents plot holes and allows one to write faster. Uh huh. It does only if your mind is designed that way. Outlining slows me. I get caught and hung up in details and forget what I want to say. My work comes across as being contrived and forced. This isn’t a criticism of being a plotter. It’s just not a process that has worked for me.

According to the MBTI, women are more likely to be Fs than Ts. My T score is much lower than all my other scores. In fact, my scores on all the other scales are towards the falling off extreme end, while my T score is in the single digits. Instead of going on emotions, I really analyze matters. If one asks my friends, I analyze too much. This over-analyzation is the N in me trying to find a deeper meaning. Typical Ts make judgments that are based on logic. I must see and identify the problem before I am able to formulate solutions. If I tried to outline that, I’d extinguish an entire ecosystem with the number of index cards. As they say here, “Naw, sis, that ain’t happening.”

But make no mistake, there is organization. I do jot down ideas. I have two notebooks that I use to track ideas as well as things that I’ve learned in the past. For example, when I receive constructive criticism, I make a note of it. These notebooks are also where I write all of my notes. Now, why don’t I write them electronically? Two reasons. First, I’ve had computers to crash and suffer premature death, losing all of my work. I do back up, but I’ve had flash drives to be corrupted and cyber storage (e.g., Cloud) to be wiped out and vanish. Now, if this isn’t this next example isn’t the dumbest thing to happen to me, I don’t know what is. I was using my laptop while in bed. I sat it on the mattress to go to another room. As I was leaving, I tripped over the cord, and the computer slid onto a bench at the foot of the bed. The flash drive splintered.

Second, it’s easy for me to have my notebook beside me as I write and easily flip through it instead of bumbling through multiple screens. It’s an easy reference for me, especially when I’m editing. A lot of what I write in the notebook, I don’t keep long term. For example, I often use editing checklists. As I edit, I scratch items off or make notes. Since I make multiple self-edits, use the list several times. Often, my checklists are specific to the story I’m writing.

There’s also a third reason that I didn’t want to mention but guess I should if I’m being completely transparent. I really just like pretty notebooks and doodling in the margins.

As far as keeping my storylines and characters organized, I don’t find that difficult since I give them each a distinctive personality and image. If I find myself unable to remember my characters, that’s a problem, and that character either needs a major overhaul or the guillotine. One thing about me is that I’m not afraid to slash into my story to bring readers the best story possible.

I think a huge element in my organization is that much of my story is written in my head prior to my sitting down at the computer. I know most of the key elements, and I need to get them on paper before they evaporate. Once I get the large chunks down, I can add the sprinkles. It’s the life of a panster. Don’t hate.
And that’s how I keep organized.

For more of how I write, my stories, and my shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

And also, don’t forget to check out my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series.

Ice Gladiators

• Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Lsg90b
• All Retailers: https://books2read.com/icegladiators
• Add TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48084505-ice-gladiators

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

Genevive Chamblee: Frank Talk about V-Day
Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

I love the fall. I don’t know why. It’s not that we have much fall weather here. And I prefer when the flowers are in full bloom and the extended daylight hours. I enjoy the warmth of the sun on my skin while walking in the park. In essence, I’m really a summer/spring girl, but I don’t dislike fall.

Fall is fun. With fall comes the warm tone colors of browns, golds, and oranges—all colors that I look fantastic wearing. Well, some browns and a few oranges, but that’s a story for a fashion post. I like to think of fall as the beginning of the festive season. Typically, spring is seen as the season of rebirth; it’s said that mother nature springs to life. (See what I did there?) But if one thinks about it, it’s the fall that things happen that people get moving. Fall is where everything starts booming and falls into place. (See, that I did it again?) Before anyone disagrees, think about it.

In the U.S., it kicks off with Labor Day—the official storage of white clothing. At least, traditionally, that was how it used to be prior to the invention of “winter white” and “I wear whatever the heck I want.” Kids go back to school with the latest uniform fashions. (Being a high school fashion icon is no longer what it used to be and slowly becoming a relic.) Television fall lineups premiere. Usually, there’s a string of fall festivals/Oktoberfests. Pumpkins start appearing and then transform into jack-o’-lanterns. (Does anyone used that term anymore?) Things start to get spooky with the anticipation of Halloween.

Actually, the spook factor is no longer a given with more and more people opting for cute and over-the-top sexy as opposed to ghoulish. People gorge themselves on chocolates and candies (not once or twice, but several times during this season). People get jovial with pranks and having someone make the hair stand on the back of their necks.

Then, there’s a shift towards focusing on family and togetherness and the commercialization of buying overpriced gifts that no one needs, and spirals buyers into debt. In the meantime and in-between time in the U.S., there’s a huge feast fest where no turkey is safe that mainstream media—but not the Board of Education—basically ignores. Dinner tables are stacked with Grandma’s sweet potato pie and Aunt Helen’s (everyone has an aunt Helen) stuffing.

On a side note, when I was in grade school, we got two days off for Thanksgiving—the holiday and a day of recovery from gluttony… Well, that and the fact many people traveled to see family. Nah, the teachers just wanted the day off. Now, kids get the full week and adults are promised earlier and earlier bird sales. What started as opening early at 7:00 AM or 6:00 AM long ago was scaled back to 5:00 AM, 4:00 AM, 3:00 AM, midnight, Thursday evening. Anymore and “Black Friday” will begin November 1. And let’s not forget: Cyber Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. At this point, it’s all ridiculous in my opinion.

But this joyful (for many) time is saturated with nostalgic movies, tall trees with branches sagging from ceramic ornaments, snowball fights (or so southerners are told), and more food (and weight gain). Good will becomes a theme, and red kettlebells can be heard ringing across cities. There are tree lightings and parties after parties. By now, people are calling it winter.

There’s lots of buildup, and before long, Christmas has come and gone. There isn’t much time to recuperate before people drink themselves into a new year with a hoard of self-promises (you know, a.k.a., resolutions) that they break within a month.

Lurking not too far around the corner is V-Day. (No, the other V-Day and not the one that happened on May 8, 1945.) I’m talking about the red heart, baby wears a diaper and shoots pink candy arrows at folks (allegedly). Yes, I’m speaking of Valentine’s Day, which leads us to the present. (Talk about a dissertation for an intro. I think I’ve outdone myself.)

I’ve always known Valentine’s Day to be a crazy bipolar type of day. By bipolar, I mean the mood of most people/shops are to the extreme. Either people love or loath this day. Some consider it one huge money grab, and from the way it is promoted, I honestly can’t disagree. Locally, schools and businesses have limited, restricted, or even barred deliveries on this day. I remember my school office looking like a funeral visitation for a dignitary. Balloons, flowers, and stuffed animals covered ever available surface space. My understanding is that the situation has grown worse, and on Valentine’s Day all deliveries are redirected to tables erected in the gym. Students are allowed to visit at lunch to see if they have a treat and only remove anything after the final bell. A teacher is posted throughout the day to monitor and guard deliveries. Reportedly, public schools have taken steps further and disallowed any school deliveries but allow the student council to sell Hershey’s Kisses and paper heart cutouts.

During my time (to make myself sound antiquated), this was a day of great distress. Students with overly indulgent parents, puppy love-stricken significant others, or birthdays close to that date would hit the jackpot. They would be loaded with so much loot that they had to make multiple trips to load all their goodies into their cars. Other students were left feeling unloved, forgotten, and abandoned as they received nothing. Most times, their feelings were unjustified. Flowers are expensive, and not all families could afford large bouquets, especially for parents with several children. And it wasn’t like today where one could make a run to Walmart or even the dollar store and purchase a bouquet for a couple of bucks. And other parents were clueless. (That would be me.) Who would think to send a kindergartener a dozen roses? Yes, parents did that. Talk about peer pressure at it’s finest. I felt horrible having not thought to send my five-year-old anything and having her see all the other kids with gifts. For what? She didn’t even like flowers. I took her for a Happy Meal that afternoon, but you best believe the next year I didn’t forget. But where I work, they make Valentine’s Day baskets filled with chips, a soft drink, and candy for a reasonable price.

But let me tell you what I think the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift is. It is showing kindness. It is being there for others. It is taking an extra step to make someone feel wanted and loved. And this isn’t something that is done one day of the year. It is something that is done throughout the year. It is an action that should be shown and expressed daily. Because one day, there will not be another Valentine’s Day.

Over the years, I’ve received Valentine’s Day gifts, and honestly, I don’t remember most. But I do remember the day when I was still in high school when thunderstorms cropped up without much warning. Either the meteorologist had missed it or it didn’t show up on his radar. That afternoon, it was pouring. Few people had come to school prepared. When I exited, I saw my father standing with an umbrella, waiting for me. Not only had he thought about me, he’d taken the time to act. That is something I’ve never forgotten. Now that he’s gone, it’s one of my most precious memories. And that day wasn’t Valentine’s Day.

So, the message is don’t look for love in one day. Don’t only store the sincerity of feelings in diamonds and flowers. Many people make wedding vows and exchange rings only to pawn them after a bitter divorce. Flowers die. Chocolates can grow stale and mold. But true love in action is trapped in our hearts and extends into eternity. Have a happy Valentine’s Day.

For more of how I write, my stories, and my shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. And speaking of giveaways, I have one coming soon in celebration of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Ice Gladiators is being released February 15, 2020. Check her out. If you like makeup, you won’t want to miss this beauty of a prize.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

Nalini Warriar: New Release Sizzling Contemporary Romance! Karma’s Slow Burn (Excerpt)
Monday, February 10th, 2020

Thank you Delilah for this opportunity to showcase my newest release, Karma’s Slow Burn, about a sports journalist and a pro-ball pitcher turned chef. This incorporates my second and third passions: food and baseball.

This book is out of my hands now and out there, finally! Each time this happens, it is a thrill. Which I why I keep doing it. I’m actually exhausted by the planning and slotting of promos this requires. Which means I’m less inspired to write which in turn pisses me off. Which brings me to the eternal mystery: Why am I doing this?

Ah yes, I bloody love it! Things are quiet now before a new storm of promos hits me early next week. I will be googly-eyed after that. Still grabbing the time here and there to work on my next contemporary romance, the second in my East meets West series, 100 Acres of Separation: The Princess and the Cowboy. The first, Bollywood Blues, is somewhere out there, and I’m waiting for that boomerang to hit me any time now.

I know many of you are seasoned writers comfortable navigating NetGalley and Edelweiss, but I will not be using NetGalley or Edelweiss for my next book. It was a waste of money for me (as an unknown writer) and all stats and testimonials should be taken with a hefty pinch of salt.

Karma’s Slow Burn

Karma’s Slow Burn, only $0.99, new release!
Buy Links:
www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZJSZD5X
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/957769

Sportswriter Karma Huntington is going to hit Rafael Henley, star pitcher for the Sliders, hard to avenge her husband’s death. Rafael cannot ignore the chemistry between them and decides a one-night stand is in order. Karma agrees. Just to get that itch off. But once they get into each other’s pants, things get complicated. Revenge and guilt take a back seat with sizzling chemistry in control. Rafael likes willowy blondes and women who don’t look to him as their protector. Yet here is, lusting after the complete opposite: petite, raven-haired, Karma with a rose tat running up her neck. Can Rafael overcome the dark secret he hides and give in to what his heart wants? Will Karma finally admit she needs Rafael?

Excerpt from Karma’s Slow Burn: X-rated

Henley got back the very day the Sliders swept the White Sox. He got in late but Karma heard him anyway. She was reading, her face illuminated by the light from the e-reader. She put it down when she heard the door click. He came in, kicked his shoes off and sat down next to her, sighing deeply. She knew the feeling. He was happy to be home.

“I see you were up to the challenge.” He undid the top four buttons on his shirt and un-tucked it.

If he took his shirt off she was going to scream. Or jump him. It all depended. She was not going to ask him if he had eaten or if he wanted a drink. She was not his maid or his wife. He could very well get anything he wanted from his kitchen.

“Yep, I was. Great trip sweeping the Sox.”

A smile bloomed on his lips. “Indeed it was. Thanks for making it happen.”

“No worries. What are friends for, right?”

“So I’m a friend now?” He stood up and unclipped the cufflinks, pecs flexing, drawing her eyes to them.

“You’re not a lover. And friends cannot be lovers. That’s rule number 5.”

“In what book?”

“In my book of life.”

“What’s rule number 4?”

“You’re not an enemy. Enemies cannot be lovers either.”

He frowned then a smile twitched on his lips. “Hmm. Good to know.”

“Wait a sec! What was the smile all about?”

“Oh, just that I’m not enemy so I can be a lover.”

“No way!”

“That’s what you said. I heard you clearly. You said and I quote, ‘You’re not an enemy. Enemies cannot be lovers.’ I distinctly heard you say it.”

“Yeah so?”

“It means I can be a lover.”

“Yes a lover, just not mine.”

“You will not admit defeat.” He turned away from her. “Going to hit the shower. Be right back.”

His shirt flapped open as he walked away, patches of tanned skin flashing at her, leaving her hungry for more. She knew she should skedaddle out of there while she still could. But she was moored to the sectional, an unusual lethargy invading her limbs. Henley after a shower would be impossible to resist. She was a sucker for challenges and this one had her name written all over it.

Rafael stood in the doorway to the corridor leading to the bedrooms, watching Karma as she stared out into the night, her e-reader by her side. She’d gone way beyond a simple favor. And she’d done it, no questions asked. Karma was beautiful and he wanted her in his life. She was loyal and honest, all five feet nothing of her. From the top of her ebony head, down her luscious body to the tips of her delicate feet, she was in his dreams all the time.

He had to accept it. He had to forget the past. What was done was done. She was gorgeous and brave. He wanted her. He craved her touch. And right now all he wanted was to take her in his arms and make her disappear in them. Kiss her sexy mouth and see her with the lights on. That night had been unforgettable. It was not a one-night thing for him anymore. He had a hunch it wasn’t for her either. Her kiss told him that. He wanted to be buried deep inside her again feel her slick velvet folds clench around him and relieve him of this sweet torture.

He came toward her. She turned her head and watched him approach. He wondered if she was wearing the blue lace thing under the black satin top. Her hair was loose and hung down her back in soft waves. He wanted her body on red satin sheets, black hair fanning out and legs spread out for him to feast upon, her brown eyes watching his every move.

Hot desire welled up in him. His dick thickened. From his towering height, he looked down at her. Gray eyes hit her smoldering dark ones pulsing with black and gold flecks. Wisps of her irresistible scent lit sparks and fanned the embers of his desire into a raging fire so hot he took a step back. It would consume him. He would devour her. She would make him forget who he was.

It was what he craved.

He dropped to his knees by her side.

“I want to break the deal, Karma.” He heard her take in a sharp breath. “What happened was not a one-night stand for me. I dream of you all the time, of burying myself deep in you. I can’t forget that. I want to touch you again. Taste you again. Sweetheart, this is not something I can forget.”

He didn’t know it but the endearment was the third strike against her disintegrating defenses. She fell into his arms. He wrapped them around her and she disappeared.

“Rafe, break it then.” Her voice was a husky whisper.

And the deal was toast.

*~*~*

Fireflies in the Night

Literary Fiction, winner of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award; Best Books of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews; Starred Kirkus Review; Finalist Foreword Reviews Indie Fiction Award. A historical, coming-of-age novel.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HZS28CW

The Enemy Within

Literary Fiction; Women’s Fiction

-Profound, Heart-Wrenching Story 4.5 stars, Amazon.com: Recommended for the mind and the soul

– Intense and Beautiful Look at Life, Love and Purpose, 5 stars, Amazon.com: From the familiar of India to the total unfamiliar of Quebec, Canada, where emotionally unsupported by her arrogant, selfish and traditional new husband, Sita must chart a way for herself through the myriad of problems being a different coloured, different cultured immigrant brings.

-Beautiful but heartrending, 5 stars, Amazon.com: …covers a multitude of issues from the iniquity of arranged marriages to the racism inherent in Quebec’s society to the rivalry and jealousy in the academic world.

Buy Link:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N6QVRHJ

About the author

Nalini Warriar dreamed of being a writer then forgot the dream for a bit as she went on to garner a Ph.D in Molecular Biology. While in her lab, the dream came back and hit her on the head and she’s never looked back writing through her years as a scientist. After more than a decade in cancer research, Nalini returned to the creative part of her soul and now devotes her time to dreaming up the perfect alpha male and feisty woman to appear in her books. Her novel, Fireflies in the Night, was a Foreword Reviews Fab Award finalist and won the Next Generation Indie Book Award in 2017. Kirkus Reviews awarded Fireflies in the Night a starred review and named it Best Books of 2016. Karma’s Slow Burn, a contemporary romance will be released in February 2020. She’s working on her next romance, a Crenshaw Brothers book, to be released in 2020. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Author Links:
www.facebook.com/authornaliniwarriar
www.amazon.com/author/naliniwarriar
Twitter: @nwarriar

Genevive Chamblee: When romance gets real… (Contest)
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

I think it’s pretty obvious that I love romance. I mean, how can a person write about romance without loving it? One of my favorite past time is curling up with a good romance novel or snuggling under a blanket while watch on television. And it’s fair to say that I love almost everything about romance. Yes, almost. There are some things that I don’t fancy—the biggest one being perpetually beautiful heroines. Now, I’m not saying that heroines can’t be beautiful, and I’m not hating on the pretty girls. And I’m certainly not saying that there is no such thing as natural beauty. However, most women I know put some effort into their appearance. No, I don’t mean facial injections, cosmetic surgeries/procedures, or slathering on layers of makeup. If a woman feels that she wants to do any of those things, it is certainly her prerogative. I’m referring to the heroine who dashes through an obstacle course of fire and water, tumbles down the side of a mountain, sprints ten miles to the nearest roadhouse in stilettos, downs half a dozen shots of premium tequila, hooks up with the local hottie for an evening of adult fun, and manages to look absolutely gorgeous the next morning with barely a hair out of place.

What is even funnier is when, in movies, the “ugly duckling” is beautiful from the beginning. Granted, it is difficult to make bombshells like Julia Roberts, Gabrielle Union, Scarlett Johansson, Ashleigh Murray, Keira Knightly, Zoe Saldana, or Megan Fox look homely or even average. However, it is not impossible. Just look how they transformed Charlize Theron in the movie Monster or Mariah Carey in Precious. One of the biggest criticisms of the film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is that Hermione Granger’s transformation for the Yule Ball is underwhelming. That was due to Emma’s Watson’s stunning beauty never being downplayed. And no, I’m not suggesting a woman should have to downplay her physical appearance. The point is, most women that I know need to take a few minutes to make themselves look presentable. They don’t roll out of bed looking like a supermodel.

When I discussed this topic with a colleague who is single, she laughed and expressed her fear of what would happen if she got married or a serious boyfriend. She said, “I don’t know how my husband is going to react to sharing a bed with a sea creature. I sleep with a seaweed mask or facial cream nearly every night. I have extremely dry skin and tons of blackheads on my nose. If I don’t follow a beauty routine nightly, my skin looks and feels horrible in the morning. And it’s not in my head, either. Since I started this routine about three years ago, I began receiving compliments on my skin, even without makeup. I’ll be waiting in a checkout line, and a stranger will comment how even my complexion appears.”

Another colleague expressed the following: “It’s difficult seeing unrealistic expectations of beauty. I have a teenage daughter who compares herself with the images she sees on social media. I try to convey to her that most of these aren’t real images because the photos have been airbrushed and retouched. But when these are the images she sees on a daily basis, it’s hard for me to get through to her. I want her to feel positive about her body image, as she is.”

Yet, another colleague said this: “I’m not high maintenance and do the bare minimum. In the mornings, I shower and brush my teeth and hair. I wear comfortable clothes that may not be stylish but are clean and unwrinkled. I wear my nails short and natural but trimmed. I wear sunscreen as a preventive health measure to avoid sun damage and lip balm to prevent my lips from cracking or chapping. I make myself presentable for my job which is very laidback. I’m content that this is my aesthetic. My sister, however, does the most. She is in an industry where fashion matters. She doesn’t go a single morning without either curling or flat ironing her hair unless she has to wear it up. Her face is always beat to the gods. I don’t see how she does it, but she does. She puts a lot of effort into looking that way. But neither of us can hop out of bed and just go to work without doing any grooming. That’s not realistic.”

Realism is an element I want to see in romance novels. This is not a knock at romantic fantasies or science fiction romances. Even in those genres, I must buy into the characters and relate to them. And sorry, I just can’t connect with a character who awakes looking like Sleeping Beauty, and I like a reject from The Walking Dead. Therefore, I write heroines who need a little work. But I don’t stop at my heroines. My heroes are conscious of their appearance—some more than others. No one in my romances gets a free pass. However, I do like getting free stuff.

Contest

The only thing better than receiving is giving, and that is what I’m doing. So, in celebration of the release of Ice Gladiators, my latest sports romance in the Locker Room Love series, I’m giving away the Moon Child Glow Kit by Anastasia Beverly Hills. I picked this palette as a giveaway because it reminds me of many of the themes in Ice Gladiators. The names of the shades include Blue Ice, Star, Purple Horseshoe, Pink Heart, Blue Moon, and Lucky Clover. To enter my giveaway, go to my Instagram page for instructions. Details of the giveaway will be uploaded soon.

Coming February 15, 2020 … Ice Gladiators

Preorder: www.books2read.com/icegladiators

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Copies of my romance short stories, anthologies, books, and novels are available in paper, eBook, and audio on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The links are listed on my Writing Projects page (http://bit.ly/2iDYRxU) along with descriptions of each of my stories or novels.

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click https://genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com/newsletter/ and signup today.

Don’t forget to visit Creole Bayou. New posts are made on Wednesdays, where no Creole, Cajun, or Louisiana topic is left unscathed. Plus, get how-to self-help tips, how to writing tips, and keeping the romance alive and fresh suggestions. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Finally, take the fear out of rush/pledging. If you or anyone you know are interested in joining a college Greek life organization, check out my special series posted each Monday for everything you wanted (and didn’t want) to know about college fraternities and sororities. In these posts, you will find information about both formal and informal recruitment for both NPC and NPHC organizations. Don’t know what NPC and NPHC are? No problem. It’s all explained in this series. This series also provides loads of information for parents who are unfamiliar with the processes, what is expected of parents, and how to be supportive. Visit Sorority Bible Table of Contents to view any or all of these posts.

Genevive Chamblee: Holiday Guilty Pleasures
Saturday, December 21st, 2019

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for a good holiday romance. It is one of my top guilty pleasures. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching two characters fall in love at this most special time of the year—a time when most people are filled with joy, kindness, charity, forgiveness, and hope. Visual reminders (ignoring the commercial ones) are spread widely throughout cities and across media. Family and friends gather, or at least, take time to reach out to each other to spread a blessing of good fortune or word of cheer. And if you’re like me, you always have that one friend—that Debbie Downer or Bitter Betty—who proclaims you’re delusional because romances like that don’t exist and never happen. Ugh! Well, my life will never be like a Hallmark movie, that I can agree upon since I live in a city far too large to be considered “small-town USA” and there’s rarely snow. (See my blog Not Dreaming of a White Christmas on my blog page Creole Bayou about this holiday snow business.) However, that does not mean I can’t invent a little holiday romance for myself. So, here are some ways to give the holidays a festive romantic boost.

  1. Hot chocolate. This can’t be any old box hot chocolate. This must be the real deal—you know, homemade. There are some great recipes out there. I recently bumped into one made in a slow cooker with red wine. Talk about getting your sexy love vibe going with that one with your special someone. Making hot chocolate works romantically in so many ways. First, it gives a reason to invite someone inside or to extend a stay. Second, it’s a process. It’s not just boil some water and dump in a packet. It has multiple steps during which the time can be filled with conversation. The smell is simply delightful. It makes one feel tingly just by sniffing. And the taste is divine. It is wonderfully smooth and chocolately. (Yeah, I know that isn’t a real word.) But the best about this treat is that it gives you a reason to snuggle with that special someone as you sip.
  2. Fire. When I was discussing this post with my bestie and stated fire was on my list, he replied, “No one is going to want to burn down their house.” You just got to love friends like that. But no, I wasn’t talking about arson. I meant a fire in a fireplace. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I live in the deep south. We rarely have a need for a real roaring fire. If we had one, instead of roasting chestnuts, we’d likely be roasting ourselves. So, if your situation is one as such, a faux (cause there’s nothing sexy about “fake”) fire will suffice. Dim the lights, turn on soft music, put on the fuzzy socks, and chill in front of the faux fire with a cup of eggnog. (You may want to spike the eggnog for good measure.)
  3. Sleigh ride. This may be a little difficult to pull off, especially if you don’t have access to a horse, sleigh, or snow. For most people, the sleigh would be pretty much out of the question. But no fear. There is an alternative. See, here in the south, a hayride can be just as romantic (granted, probably a lot itchier) as a sleigh ride. Just hitch up a mule, throw on a couple of bales of hay, and trot off into the woods. Add a few blankets, a bottle of wine, and cheese and crackers in a picnic basket, and you have yourself a grand date.
  4. Holiday scented candles. One can never go wrong with a nice smelling candle. (Well, almost never.) The selection of designs, aromas, and wicks to choose from are abundant. And the best part is that they do not have to break the bank. Plus, there’s no rule that states they can’t be swapped daily to invoke a new mood.
  5. Mistletoe. Yes, it is a thing, and it won’t kickstart the allergies since it has no discernible scent. It’s pretty, inexpensive, and can be statically placed to garner a kiss from that secret office crush or hot next-door neighbor. It’s the perfect excuse to lock lips. Just don’t eat it and keep your pets away. Mistletoe is poisonous if ingested. If you’re feeling especially amorous, check out these Kiss Me There Mistletoe Plaid Christmas Box at BestGot.myshopify.com. (DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored or affiliated.) And kind of overlook the fact that origin of the word mistletoe roughly translates to mean dung hung on a tree. That totally kills the romantic, sexy vibe.
  6. Reflection. I love this one so much. This can bring two people closer together, especially if the two people in question have been going through difficult times. Reflection involves taking a moment to look back and remember good times. Share those thoughts with someone who is or you want to be special with you. Usually, these types of memories are deeply personal and cherished. Sharing will allow a type of bonding. And speaking of sharing…
  7. Give of yourself. This may not seem like something especially romantic, but giving to others and giving of yourself makes you feel good. This act not only will make the holidays so much better for others, but it also will put you in the headspace to enjoy the holidays more. Thus, you will appreciate that someone special even more, and that’s very romantic.
  8. Going to church. Not everyone is religious, I get that. But for many, it is the reason for the season. Being in touch with one’s spirituality can be enlightening.
  9. Treat you and your boo to something ritzy. Every now and again, a person deserves to be pampered. What better time to do that than doing the holidays? Give yourself a gift and make it a fancy one. How about a trip to a swanky spa with that special someone? Or if you prepare to stay in, why not feast on upmarket delicacies, such as lobster tails, foie gras, hanger steak, caviar blinis, paella, or Scotch egg. Not only are these delish, they also can be fun and romantic to make with the right person.
  10. Twelve days of (Christmas) dating. Instead of singing this classic tune, go on twelve consecutive dates. Make it even more special by giving each date a unique theme or doing activities you’ve never done before.
  11. Snuggle up with a good movie. I would say book, but unless you’re willing to read aloud, reading would be difficult to create a romantic experience with another person. If you’re alone, reading a lovely romance would be a great ending to the night or spending the afternoon. However, if you’re with your significant other, bundling on a couch and watching a movie together can lead all sorts of places. However, I would suggest shying away from slasher films for romance to be in its full effect.

BONUS ROUND

  1. Go on a cruise. I like this idea a lot, but two of my critique partners said this wasn’t something that should be on the list because a cruise may or may not be romantic. Well, shucks. Is anything guaranteed? They always raining on my carnival. I say if you can get a good deal, why not sail the Seven Seas? After all, the Love Boatwas a real ship and cruise.
  2. Building gingerbread houses. Okay, let’s talk. I put this on the list per request (and insistence) of one of my closest girlfriends, but I honestly added it under distress. Why? Seriously, have you ever worked with gingerbread? It isn’t as easy as people crack it up to be. And “crack” is the most appropriate word. Gingerbread has to be at that exact consistency or it will split like the Weber Deep fault or cave like a nasal valve collapse from a botched rhinoplasty that leaves one looking like Lord Voldemort. No one has time for that. Oh sure, they make it look as simple as painting by numbers. Lies, all lies! Gingerbread is extremely temperamental. Now, I’ve said what I said.

And those are some ways to spice up and have a very romantic holiday season. What do you have planned that is romantic? What should be on the list that I missed? Let me know in the comments. Happy Holidays! Be blessed and merry.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

Coming February 2020… Ice Gladiators… Hockey so hot it melts the ice.

Preorder: www.books2read.com/icegladiators

Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Copies of my romance short stories, anthologies, books, and novels are available in paper, eBook, and audio on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The links are listed on my Writing Projects page (http://bit.ly/2iDYRxU) along with descriptions of each of my stories or novels.

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Don’t forget to visit Creole Bayou. New posts are made on Wednesdays, where no Creole, Cajun, or Louisiana topic is left unscathed. Plus, get how-to self-help tips, how to writing tips, and keeping the romance alive and fresh suggestions. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

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