Happy Easter!


The preceding 40 days. 

For me, it's time to reflect on life and on my choices. One thing that happens every Lent [those 40 days prior to Easter], is I get smacked in the face by how little discipline I have. Always a struggle for me to give something up! [and don't talk to me about food! As a T1D, i gave up giving up food a long time ago!] When I look at my life as a whole, I see that lack seeps into other areas. Like writing. Am I disciplined enough to sit down and work without checking Facebook and Twitter? Can I reach that goal in one hour or one day? Or do I let distractions stop me?

Even with the best of intentions, I often fail at being disciplined. 

But it's Easter today, and in my house, that means I get to celebrate the fact that it's okay to be imperfect. Even though I will fail over and over, I'm still loved. Getting up, starting over, taking a new road, trying again... that's all I can do. And it's enough. God loves me. My husband loves me. And if you see anything in my books, I hope it is that LOVE. The love that sees beyond faults and quirks and even out-right wrongs.

May the joy of Easter and this gorgeous season of Spring bring you Love.



When romance mirrors real life, how high are the expectations for the hero? Does the author set the bar too high? Are the men we read too romantic? too loving? too sensitive? Where is the line between real life and a good book, and how blurry can the line be?

This is on my mind...mostly because in RL, something happened to me that made me go, "Ugh! Really?!" And it involved something I wanted to do...something we thought wasn't going to be able to happen, but then the turn of events that would allow it to happen, but apparently what I wanted to do was no longer in the forefront of anyone's mind. [sorry to be so vague, but you get the idea] Let's just say, life has its disappointments.

Sooo, that got me thinking about the books I read and how good the heroes are... but, I have to admit, the mark of a great book--for me--is when the characters reveal some of those real life tendencies. The hero who doesn't ask before planning something. The hero who forgot about the so important event. And yes, those books are out there. I read them in the romance genre. And I always smile when the hero messes up. Because it reminds me that we can love imperfection.

Of course, we have to...if we want to love anyone human, that is. hahaha.

And I think the way we romance the reader--as authors--is by revealing the hero's deep down. Deep down, they want to make the heroine happy [and most good men do in RL, too]. Deep down, that oversight or mistake is as innocent as their personality. Men think differently than women, but they want the same things--love, respect, passion. Authors can bring those feelings to the surface.

Romance the reader with Real Life. Just do it.
With Love,

The Book Post

I've started this blog about four times now...
I have so much running through my head that I want to get into it, that I've decided to focus!! Focus in on one topic rather than spew half-heartedly about several--love, sex, faith, family, books...

And so, I'm going to talk about the book I finished today. It's called Enchanted, and it's by Elizabeth Lowell. She has a small series, a trilogy, of  Medieval Romances, which I absolutley adore. In my early romance reading days, I'd favorite an author and then read through their entire back list... She was one of those, with her romantic suspense--Pearl Cove (LOVE THAT BOOK) and The Diamond Tiger (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that book). She has a Western series that I love too....

Are you seeing the pattern? haha.

As you can see, Enchanted was a re-read. And it made me cry. And that made me think that I haven't written anything that good yet. I hadn't hit that depth...the true, raw emotion that makes you cry. As a student [of life...yes, I just said that :P], I'm always questioning. I want to know what makes this book so good. And then....I read her Afterword. And that made me cry, too!! [maybe there's something wrong with me, after all.] Though we don't always know where a story comes from, Lowell was nice enough to share how she'd come to write her Medieval stories. [yes, you'll have to borrow the book from the library and read it yourself.] I was so touched by her words, by her inspirational journey that lead to these strong characters and this incredible story in which she didn't skimp on anything... the hate, the evil, the good, the sex, the love.

She just put it all out there.

So that I could read it.

And cry.

I think, when I am finally able to do this, I will have a measure of success... a measure still much smaller than that of Elizabeth Lowell's.

With that in mind, National Novel Writing Month, here I come.
Have a great week.
With Love,


Walked into my office this morning, caught a glimpse of the family bible [ie Matt's bible, given to him by his parents in 1994] and thought, maybe i'll open it real quick. It's true, I pray. Probably not enough. For sure, I'm not Mother Theresa of Calcutta. I'm not even like the repentant man on death row. You know the saying about living like we're dying. Maybe it should be, Live like you're about to die on death row. haha.

Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. Wisdom 7:7-8

The following lines in the chapter are beautifully written poetry about Wisdom. It's very romantic, showing Solomon's Love for Wisdom and all the good things he has because of her. So there. A little off the beaten path, Poetry...

Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, 
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
And I chose to have her rather than the light, 
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Wisdom 7:9-10

*sigh* Poetry. I've never been a poet, never liked the poetry sessions in school. I don't often get it. I've got to be honest with you... Poetry usually goes way over my head. And that includes the deluded poetical lyrics of the 60s and 70s and 80s. But this is easy to understand. This, I can get. Maybe it's love in its simplicity. As a romance author, I get that. At the end of the story, love is the key. 

Love defines us, molds us...

and makes us absolutely crazy. And that good friends is where all the stories reside!! :D have a great weekend.

With Love,
Bethanne Strasser

Music Monday

It's Memorial Day again in the States.
Time to remember all those who made the greatest sacrifice, giving their lives to protect our Country, our freedom. For me, I don't mind hearing people say, Happy Memorial Day. I don't mind if people go out and picnic--laugh, love, live. There were no limitations to the sacrifice. There should be no limitations to the celebration of those lives.

Each one, another life, a man or woman who died so we could live. It only stands to reason that we actually live. We remember them by living. We remember them in life.

And yes, that could mean a barbeque...
or a day hiking...
or sitting under the stars and watching fireworks.

It's not always about going to their grave.
Like Lee Brice says... the warrior we think about on Memorial Day is not there.

So, enjoy your day. Thank God for the sacrifice. Thank a veteran for all he does. And live. Because without that, the sacrifice is lost.

With Love,

I guess I'll go eat worms...

New rules...
No rules.
No chores.
No obligations.
No discipline.

No yelling.
No swearing.
No caring.

I am just sick to death of being the bad guy, the yeller, the one who gets dirty looks, the one who can't control a temper. Why do I give a you-know-what? Why do I let it bother me when no one listens? When no one does what they are asked to do? 

I don't need to yell. Or swear. [or burp or sneeze or fart <--sorry, couldn't help myself. LOVE Despicable Me!] I wonder what they would do if I...like, started praying in tongues every time I usually lose my temper? Or sang Broadway Musicals? Or did a little tap dance? Or performed a dramatic reading from my current book?

Does anyone really LIKE being a parent? I see photos on FB. Status updates from other families. And they all look so happy. And it used to be okay. I mean, when the kids were littler and still loved me, it was wonderful! Now, I don't know.

I used to be fun. I smiled a lot. Laughed a few times a day. I knew how to relax, enjoy stuff. Now it seems like I'm always looking for the next 'me time' or the next out. Always looking for an exit, a chance to get away. The kids know it... I suppose maybe they feel as unloved as I do.

I think tomorrow I will start by getting out of the car at school and hugging the kids goodbye...
Win me any points??? I don't think so, but you know what? [see New Rules above] No caring.

I don't care.

Woman of Faith...

Please come to the front office. Woman of Faith...your Father is here with your lunch.

That's kind of what I feel like right now. Embarrassed because all my classmates are looking at me funny, a few are snickering, and my good friends will say, I'm not laughing AT you, I'm laughing WITH you. I forgot my lunch. I would rather my father not have brought my lunch to school at all. How embarrassing! As I walk down the hall, he's standing there by the office door holding that brown bag up and waving it a little. As if I might not recognize the lunch I made this morning. Or as if I don't know I left it on the counter when I walked out the door. I quickly look behind me, to make sure no one is there, relieved when I find the hall empty.

I'm taking my writer's hat off...again. It's possible you think I'm crazy by now. Or perhaps you have stopped following my blog because it's too unpredictable!! If that's the case, you aren't reading this anyway...so I move on. :D

I struggle with Christmas every year. Keeping this time of year joyful and peaceful has become a trial. First it was so easy when the kids were little. No one complained. No one had lists... every year, it gets a little tougher to hold onto the true meaning.

This year feels like a crisis. With a teenager and an almost teenager, there are times I feel like cancelling Christmas. I even thought of this great idea to encourage goodness and kindness by having the kids earn Christmas points throughout the year[next year]. Not a punishment where they would be taken away if they were bad. Just complete a reward system. Simple Acts of Kindness. Helping one another. We can do these things...and be naughty on occasion. So this seems the answer! My kids must EARN what I spend my hard-earned money on.

But then I hear someone say...Christmas is about giving. God gave us Christ. We didn't deserve Christ. Or deserve the sacrifice he made for us. We were already a broken race. Humans hurting humans. We did not have perfection. Our gift from God is life eternal. This is the true meaning of Christmas. This is why I will set aside all the ugly that keeps popping up. If we are to love as Christ loved, then we should be able to show love even when we want to rip people's heads off instead. Christmas can be [will be] peaceful because I do not have to worry about how good my kids have been. There is no list of naughty or nice. There is only Love. I love them.

In light of the tragedy in Newton, CT. I have so many thoughts on love, on children, on consequences. Sometimes, it's hard to realize that if my children were to leave this earth, they would not recognize that I love them. Punishment must come with the gentle hand of teaching and love. Love your children unconditionally. Do not let them think that they must earn your love by being good.

That lunch up there? It's Love. It's the eye-opening reminder that I am not perfect but my Father loves me anyway.

Now that I've Christianed all your asses...
Enjoy the coming weekend!
With Love,

Love and Friendship

With my daughter in sixth grade this year, talk of boys and who's dating whom has come up on occasion. I know she has a very good friendship with a guy in her class... and I wondered [ridiculously] about what it was going to be like when dating became part of the process. Would she want to date him? Or would he be 'a friend'.

My husband and I met in college. I first met him when he was dating someone else and I thought, "Oh, too bad." But the next semester, tada!, he was single again. :D Lucky me. He was a manager at the student union and I took a job at the switchboard that year. We worked together for a couple of months and finally, he asked me out on a date. A double date with a buddy. We went to Drovers, this great place for wings, in his piece of crap Chevette. For the next year, it was romance--dates, skipping class[ONCE! and believe me, it was highly unusual for him. I think he might have even gone to confession for the offense. :D], flowers[which his buddy told me I shouldn't get used to--thanks Michael, but I still get flowers about once a year when the rose bush and the peonies bloom]... We had a few ups and downs. What couple doesn't? Then he asked me to marry him. When he tells me he loves me today, it's with words and feeling he couldn't have understood back then. And still, we made it all these years.

Contemplating the stories I write, I found a tendency to write of romance that started as friendship. But, my husband and I definitely started with romance and became best friends. How STRANGE! As if I'm wishing for something else! I'm not. I love the whirlwind romance my husband and I had over the year we dated. In the long run though, it's the friendship that I value more. I suppose this is why I write of women who fall in love with friends--for the most part.

WOW, spoiler alert!!!  Hey, the stories aren't ALL like that!  I swear it! You'll see... as soon as I'm published. :D

So tell me about you. I know you want to talk about your love story. And I really want to hear it!
I'm giving a prize to a random commenter who comes in and tells me a love story...
A box of goodies. Yes, that's the same as saying I don't really know what's going to be the box!
You know me though. It will probably include a book, some chocolate... and whatever tickles my fancy when I'm shopping that day. :D

Winner will be picked next Saturday, so feel free to send your friends by throughout the week. Leave a name, link and/or email so I can contact you if you do win. Of course, if I know you and you know I know you, you know I don't need to know your contact information.
Enjoy the weekend, Friends!
With Love,

Bottom Lines

Chastity and Charity

After a bible study that featured these two elements, I couldn't help but think of how sexuality and love are such key elements in writing.

Especially in romance, readers are looking for heroes and heroines who are pure of heart. So, what does pure of heart mean? For me, this means, selflessness: doing for others first. Doing for my spouse and for my family and for friends, too. [and just so you know. I fail horribly! ALOT!]

Fitting traits of a lofty nature into your characters is part of the craft.

Let's face it, we're human and so are our characters--for the sake of this discussion, they're human. :D Can't forget those shifters, though! People are not perfect, they're possibly selfish at times, and on occasion, they're downright mean. The key is finding the glimmer of goodness within your character, your hero. Maybe he's harsh and stubborn, yet everytime that kid from down the street stops by, he can't help but give him undivided attention. By the end of the book, the goal is for the heroine to recognize the goodness because it doesn't really matter if he's still stubborn and occasionally rude. She sees the whole picture and loves him anyway.

And that's what we all hope for, someone who looks at us and sees the good in us. Love, the bottom line, the element in humanity that offers hope, and the emotion that pulls us to one person in particular.

Maybe LOVE isn't exactly or always about romance, but romance is definitely about LOVE.
Have a great weekend.

I should ASK

When I was growing up, my mom would move all the furniture in one room, all by herself. Sometimes twice in one task in order to get the desired effect. Maybe this is why I almost never ask for help. Carrying laundry baskets, moving furniture, changing diapers, emptying the seasonal bins... I do all! Not to be bragging, because it's not a brag, and it's not exclusive, either. Matt does his share of the same tasks.

This morning, I carried a bin sized load of laundry downstairs to the washer and dryer. A few seconds later Matt pops his head down and says, "If you want help carrying the laundry basket--"

"I'll ask," I said. Funny thing is, I thought to ask, but didn't. I mean, I'm going down anyway, right? On the other hand, how can my hubby serve me, honor me if I don't give him a chance? So, remember ladies, sometimes we can be strong and independent, and sometimes, strength means giving up our indepence, too.

Writing at Work

I write at work. *Gasp*
My job is taking care of four children, their home and their father.

Right now, I've been working overtime.

The youngest has been up at night. I've been getting calls at 1 am or 3 am. Occasionally, the call will come before midnight even occurs and I'll be ticked that I haven't forced myself to bed. And perhaps it is my fault. I should go to bed instead of sit here thinking just one more page of edits is worth it. :)

Tonight I'll head to bed early with hopes that i'll be sleeping when my alarm rings at 6am.

Because, wouldn't it be nice to get some writing in before I have to go to work at 7am? I don't think it would matter, though. I'd still steal a few moments here and there to jot down a few thoughts or add that scene that's been stuck in my head.

I guess I'm lucky that I'm a stay-at-home-mom.

Thirteen Things THAT INSPIRE ME
1. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

2. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

3. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Okay, maybe not exactly INSPIRATIONAL, but sure sexy...

4. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

5. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

6. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

7. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

8. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

9. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

10. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

11. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Really big zuchini...

12. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

13. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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