WHY MEN NEED HELP

Hello, my lovelies.

This was taken in the lovely Cheshire town of Wilmslow last week. I’m a regular visitor, usually with one or both of my daughters where we enjoy a coffee at a French cafe people watching before surfing through Benetton. We’ve shopped at the Benetton store in Wilmslow for over twenty years. And if you just happen to be passing feel free to pop in and say hello because the people who run it deserve a big gold star for customer service and buying choices. The stock is always fantastic. Awesomesauce.

Speaking of sartorial choices, a recent survey came to my attention a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, and this is true, fifty per cent of the men responding to the survey admitted to being dressed by their wife, partner or significant other. For example, ‘helping them choose which tie went with which shirt.’

Hmm. I can hear many of you sputtering over your coffee, ‘Nonsense!’ I hear you cry.

Well, I’ve got news for you. I don’t let mine out of the door unless I’ve cast a wary eye over what he’s wearing. You see mine likes to wear his ‘favourite’ shirt/jeans/cords/shoes etc., until they’re threadbare which is fine as long as I’m not with him. BUT when I go out with him, he’d better be polished, coordinated and a picture of sartorial elegance and that includes zipping up his fly.

Why is it a man can forget to zip up his fly? I remember once walking down the high street in our town and out of the corner of my eye I realised his gate was open. ‘ZIP!’ I hissed and walked in front of him so that he could do it unobtrusively. Can’t call me a passive-aggressive – I’m aggressive all the way.

Anyway, I asked my good friend Mags about this. Mags is a card carrying feminist. Did she dress her husband? I wondered.  She rolled her eyes and said, ‘Of course I do. I’ve better things to do with my time than argue with him about choices. I make it easy and don’t give him a choice. If I left it up to him he’d look like reject from Oxfam.’

‘That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?’ I said. Her husband’s a big pussy cat and lovely.

She snorted. ‘I draw the line at matching anoraks. Those woollen hats with a pompom irritate the hell out of me too.’

Oookay. Since I’ve been giving the survey much thought (instead of editing the hard bits of Run, Rosie, Run) I reckon being married is why men can’t be bothered. Once they’ve snared won the woman of their heart’s desire, most married men care about their clothes the way they might look after bird seed: with a total lack of care and attention.

However, there is one part of Hugo’s wardrobe that certainly claims his attention. Gilets and cargo pants. He has duck down gilets, quilted, cotton, waterproof and many more and in many colour ways and the reason for that is they have plenty of pockets. It’s the pockets that do it for him. A pocket for his cell phone. A pocket for his keys. A pocket for his wallet. A pocket for loose change. A special pocket for pens. A pocket for his camera lens. A pocket for his glasses. A secret pocket for his secret cigars. (Supposed to have kicked that habit, darling.)

I blame David Beckham for the unfortunate rise in popularity of the woollen cardigan among middle-aged men who should know better. It is not a good look, guys. David is built like Adonis and as much as it pains me to tell you this. You do not.

So, guys, do you allow your wife to dress you?

Girls, do you dress your husband?

You know I adore hearing from you!

Christine

PS Reckless Nights In Rome is at varying levels in the top twenty in iTunes across many countries and sales of A Stormy Spring are rocking too. Click on the iTunes link on the top right hand corner of the blog to get your free copy of Reckless! Enjoy!

WHY HUSBANDS COME IN TWO VARIETIES

My friend, Jeanette, has a very interesting husband.

I’ve thought so for quite some time. You see, he gives her unsolicited advice on what to wear and when to wear it and has even bought an entire outfit for her when she wasn’t with him.

This made me realise that husbands come in two distinct varieties. The first type roll through life tremendously interested in bikes, iPads and the latest football score, without unduly bothering about what’s living (or hiding) in their wives closets. Fortunately for me, I’m married to this first character, and I must admit, it’s a very good thing. I can surf from new shoes to new purse to cooking spaghetti bolognaise to an evening dress to my ripped jeans and he’ll never notice, unless I leap into his line of vision and SHRIEK about the absolute fabulousness of my NEW DRESS. Otherwise, I could walk into the house carrying twelve shoe boxes, teetering under the weight and he’d say, ‘Hey, babe, have you seen the remote?’ Or, ‘Did you know we’re out of chips?’

Of course, there are one or two disadvantages to being married to type one. He wouldn’t notice if I ran around the garden naked, shouting ‘Hello! Here I am, wearing nothing but a silver bracelet and ready for luuurrvvve.’ But most of the time, it works. If I had a husband like Jeanette’s, I’d be spitting nails and swearing like a trooper.

Her husband watches her like a raptor, always wittering on about what’s appropriate attire for the trip to the supermarket or that the plunging neckline is not suitable for the pub quiz night. He even buys her underwear not kidding, and usually red or black. Jeanette appears thrilled by all the attention and lovely gifts he bestows on her. It would drive me to drink. I don’t know about you, but I feel a man who’s interested in woman’s clothes is well, odd. I’ve never met a straight man for example who can genuinely understand the brilliant cut of Victoria Beckham’s clothing line.

In my humble opinion, a woman’s closet should be a very personal space, a place where she can simply be herself, where she doesn’t have to follow anyone else’s personal agenda.

To be honest, I don’t think my husband even knows what’s in my closet or even where it is. He certainly has no idea I have ‘fat’ clothes and ‘thin’ clothes, ‘winter’ and ‘spring’ clothes.

Which is why I was not at all surprised when Jennifer Lopez divorced the odd Marc Anthony due to his endless enthralment with what she wore and when she wore it. According to those in the know (miles of gossip fodder) he threw all his toys out of the pram because her clothes were too sexy (hello, this is J.Lo!) and not ‘appropriate’ for a 42year old mother of twins. I know exactly why she did it – she was saying ‘Up yours! I’ll wear whatever the hell I like!’ If I had a body like hers I’d be shaking my booty up and down the red carpet. Just try stopping me.

However, all this being over particular about what your wife wears is an insidious form of control in my honest opinion and can only end in tears. Just remember, marriage is about devotion not about ownership.

And J.Lo’s moved on and we’re seeing a great deal more of her amazing body – you go girl!!

So tell us the truth women (and men). Does your nearest and dearest buy your clothes?

Does he know the difference between boot cut and skinny jeans?

Does he know if you’re an Apple or a Pear?

Does he buy your knickers in packs of five from Wal-Mart or pure silk from Victoria’s Secret?

Tell us! We demand to know!

You know I love hearing from you! Don’t be shy, you’re among friends and we won’t tell anyone – so come and share your closet secrets!

Oh, and Episode fifteen of Desert Orchid is out and Khalid in on his knees. Just say’in!

What Are You Wearing?

From PassiveAgressiveNotes.com

What Are You Wearing?

If one woman asks another the question in quite that way, fur flies, nails rip and hair is probably pulled out by the roots, especially if that person is a sibling.

Working in an office a certain sartorial elegance is required, depending on the office. Girls on beauty counters tend to wear white uniforms, almost like medics, to sell their lotions and portions. Look at politicians, on second thoughts don’t. But you get the drift.

Now authors, us writer types and people who work from home, don’t need to bother too much about what we’re wearing while we chip away at the coalface of creativity. We roll out of bed, drag on sweatpants, uggs, a hoodie and we’re good to go. But this week I had a moment when I was sure I could be the sort of person who goes to the supermarket in their pyjamas. I actually saw a man in the supermarket with blue striped flannelette bottoms, rocking uggs, a woolly hat with a pompom on the top, matching scarf and blue duck down gilet. And no, I wasn’t wearing pj’s but I had to admire his courage. My mouth opened to ask him if he was an author but my DH caught my eye at just the right moment, the look saying ‘don’t even think about it’.

You see, I don’t get out much these days. My world is my wip and characters who are closer to me than my own kith and kin. I’ve turned into a woman with no filter when it comes to observing life and needing to know all the deets of what’s going on in the lives of perfect strangers. It’s got so bad that the family won’t let me go out alone. The ability to strike up intimate conversations with people I’ve never met is a worrying development. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, ‘Who was that?’ and I’ve absolutely no idea but they were lovely, poor things, because they always have issues. And issues are what we writers live for.

(Note to readers – be very careful in coffee shops – if you see a person banging on a laptop wearing earphones do not be fooled it’s an author. We have ears like cats and we hear everything. The affairs, pregnancies from aforesaid affairs, dumping a girlfriend, breaking bad/good news etc., is like gold dust to us. And my personal favourite – tears and tantrums – love them.)

Anyway, I’ve digressed. I bet you lot are wearing some of the following: leggings, jogging bottoms, thick socks, uggs, over big sweaters, layers, hoodie with fleece lining or pyjamas – COMFY clothes – am I right? However, if any of you are wearing those all-in-Onesie things then there’s no hope for you.

HUGS

Christine xxx

 

 

 

Writing, feel the fear factor.

 

WHY FEELINGS ARE YOUR ENEMY WHEN YOU WRITE.

 

I’m in the middle of reading the wonderful Kristen Lamb’s ‘Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer’ – I also follow her blog.  In the first chapter she talks about how our feeeeeeelings can sabotage our writing habit, and she is absolutely right.

We’ve all done it, had that extra glass of wine that’s tipped us over the edge and meant we can’t write.  Followed by the feeeeeling of guilt we haven’t reached our 3,000 word goal of the day (we wish.)  Followed by the feeeeeeling we’re useless, write crap and will never get there.
Followed by the feeeeeling to give up.
Followed by the … get the picture?

Or, we’ve had a domestic with our other half, or our boss is a pain in the ***, or our friends don’t understand that the muse is a fickle beast.  Of course, all of these events affect our feeeeeelings and those, in turn, affect our writing.

Kristen says ‘feelings can be the enemy and steal your dreams’ I love that statement.
Feeeeeeelings LIE!

What to do?

Set goals.  I should say, set achievable writing goals.  Every single day.

My list of writing goals for today are:

Blog

Revise competition entry

Read last scene of wip

Write next two scenes of wip

It might not look a lot, but I’ve learned the hard way to have no more than four things on my list.  I don’t know how long it’s going to take to revise that competition entry because of the copious notes I’ve made and I’m not sure if what is in my head will work.

Reading yesterday’s work isn’t straightforward either.  We’ve all done the fiddling and
faffing about, even though WE KNOW not to go back until we’ve finished the
first draft.

Then the planned scenes might not gel, or the characters might – hopefully – grip us by the throat and we end up writing reams of stuff.  Isn’t is great when that happens?

And sometimes, out of the blue, a new idea springs to mind.  If that happens, we stop what
we’re doing and make a note in our ‘ideas’ book, don’t we?

However, that all sounds wonderful and organised, disciplined and writer savvy, right?
Well, yeah, but it never ever turns out like that.  Why?  Well, because we’re not perfect people.

We are writers which means for most of the time we inhabit a place that is not real in our psyche.  Our characters talk to us ALL the time, they make demands and insist on
telling the story in their own way and doing stuff that can cause no end of headaches.  The outline we sweated over for four long days our characters totally ignore and that is a scary feeling (ah,ah, see?  Fear has just popped in to
say hello, how ya doin, so you think you can write?)

In my opinion, fear is a writers greatest enemy and it takes many forms.

Fear of failure

Fear of making mistakes

Fear of other writer’s opinions

Fear of being mediocre

Fear of being laughed at

Fear of success

Hmm, one of my critique partners accused me of the last one when I edited my voice and joy out of a piece.  And she was right.

Fear steals our joy of creativity, it throttles it and kills it, if we let it.

What to do?

Embrace it!
Seriously, because when we get that sliver, that tickle in our gut then it might mean we’re on to something big.

Our intuition knows that we are on the right track.  We’re doing something wonderful,
something that could even be the next step to SUCCESS.

What holds you back? Do you have an inner gremlin chuntering in your ear?  How do you get
rid of it?

Links: Kristen Lamb’s blog http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/

And “Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer.” https://whodareswinspublishing.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=59