Saturday, October 22, 2011

Heaving Bosoms

Most historical writers could probably write a Thesis Paper on the corset. They look pretty sexy, but in reality they were seriously constricting to the point of creating health problems. The reason women fainted so often or swooned was because the corset restricted their breathing. With only the top part of your lungs able to fill with air, the constricted lower parts of the lungs filled with phlegm. It also created other catastrophic health problems due to the pressure exerted on the internal organs.

These days we are lucky girls, our corsets are made with plastic boning, instead of things like steel and Baleen from the throats of Whales. Most of us don’t have to wear a corset day in and day out either, however many of us wear Bras. The Brassiere is one of the sleek and beautiful Granddaughters of the corset, the girdle another.

We have a plethora in the types of Bras available; the rocket bra, the push up bra, the water bra, the padded bra, the seamless bra, the U plunge bra, the sports bra and so on. They come in fabulous colors, materials and beautiful designs. Even underwire bras have little spring loads at the ends of the wire for easier movement in the design. I think that people that design bras must be structural engineers.

There are a lot of us running around in the wrong sized bra. Your breast shape changes not just over the years, but over the monthly cycle as well. Also weight gain and weight loss can render a bra that once fit – not so fitting. I hear pregnancy can totally change the landscape. An ill fitted bra can give you bad posture and or dig into your skin. Not to mention sometimes it just doesn’t look right. Many department stores have ladies in lingerie that can measure you and give you a pretty good assessment of what bra size is best. If you haven’t done this before, I say give it a whirl, make a day of it with your girls.
If you can, only wear your bra for 12 hours a day. I even hold this rule for tight clothing like jeans or socks. If something is pressing into your flesh hard enough to leave an imprint don’t wear it all day. Your body has to have the space to pump all the precious fluids you are filled with. If it is uncomfortable for you to let the girls be free, try wearing a spandex/cotton tee shirt a size smaller.
Another thing I also encourage readers to do is a breast exam. You can Google Breast exam and find great information, even Youtube instructional videos, there is a good one by a gorgeous, beauty name Olivia. I know the ideal is once a month, I have not been so diligent, I am going to have to pencil it in my calendar -like a date with my girls from now on. Someone might discourage it later but I like to use my favorite lotion. Make the exam a beauty treatment too. Concubines for Chinese Emperors used rollers made of Jade to massage their breasts for optimum beauty. I imagine this was also really good for moving fluids in the lymph tissues well.

One more thing while we’re on the subject - don’t forget to get your mammogram if you are of that age or certain risk factor. I know, I know, I just had one last week and it wasn’t comfortable. But I gotta say it can’t be as bad for me, as it is for the men who have to have that done on their testicles. I give it up to them, big applause for the strength to get through that. I look forward to the day, when some blessed genius designs a comfortable, highly accurate mammogram screening.
So while some of you are donning your saucy pirate wench corset this Halloween, be glad it’s not made of steel and choking your innards. I’m sure you’ll look very sexy!
October is Breast cancer awareness month. Be aware and share with your friends- Love your girls and take good care of them. Aye Mateys, have a rousin’ All Hallows Eve!

Carmen Williams

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Theme is Travel

In the near future, I've got plane trips and blog tours. It's enough to send me into a tizzy. What has to be done before I leave for Mexico next week? Two weeks in Puerto Vallarta, lounging about breathing in the sea air, storing up Vit D the natural way, and doing my best to just hang loose.

And yes, I'll be taking my laptop. The mini one. I'm torn between hoping there's readily available internet or praying there isn't. After all, what better excuse to totally goof off? Sorry, but I just can't get to the internet easily.

Part of my goal is to get a really good handle on the next book in a series I'm writing. Maybe even start another one. But even more pressing, the day after I return I have a new release!

November 7 is the debut of my long awaited Romantic Suspense novel, Rachel Dahlrumple, by Shea McMaster. (That would be Morgan's sweeter side. The good twin, as it were.)

November 7 also is the launch date of a two week blog tour, celebrating the release of Rachel Dahlrumple. Or Rachel as the book is affectionately known.

So here's the schedule. There will be a quiz later, and I'll be asking for people to drop by.
As of this time, I'm only about half done writing the blogs. The interviews are done and I've only just begun to gather things to pack for my trip.
With all this traveling in the near future, both live and digitally, I'm feeling a bit frazzled and have started a check list.
  • Snow tires on car. Check. (It will snow any day now. Any day. There were ice crystals falling from the sky yesterday.)
  • Swimsuit, cover-up and hat - because I'm a red head who has been hiding from the sun for the past 6 years - Check.
  • Launch tour dates set. Check.
  • Sunscreen. Still need to buy.
  • Books for trip, both paperback and ebook. Almost check. Have the first four books of the Game of Thrones to read, in addition to several other selections.
  • Interviews written. Check.
  • Sandals and flip flops ready. Check.
  • Shorts and tops. Check.
  • Sundresses. Check.
  • Blogs written. Well, two down... not even close to check.
Ah, the list, it never ever ends. How do you cope with traveling? I do it so rarely, it's all one big adventure until I get to the airport. Lines. Pat downs. Worrying about what will be stolen from my suitcase once it leaves my hand. Long, long, long hours of sitting. Twenty hours from start to destination, if there are no delays.
Here's hoping the destination is worth the journey!
Morgan O'Reilly / Shea McMaster

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Oh, I don't read."

A few days ago, I was chatting with a young woman who expressed an interest in being an author. We had talked about all the typical stuff: you have to write in order to be a writer; make sure you finish your project; have a lot of patience and a thick skin. She’d seemed to be solid and on track, until I asked her what the best book was that she’d read in the last year was. As an answer, she shrugged, waved her hand, and said “Oh, I don’t read.”


For a moment, all I could do was blink at her. Speechless. Completely speechless. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why she would want to be a writer if she didn’t even like to read.
See, any of us who love to write, loved to read first. Every author I know fell in love with the words, and the stories, and the story tellers. We each have the author(s) who captured our fancy and made us think I want to do this (Andrew Greeley and Nora Roberts, in case you’re wondering). We love to read as much – and sometimes more – than we love to write.
Is writing a cool profession? Oh, yeah. Not even going to try to lie. The other day, I was sitting outside, enjoying some late-season sun, reading a book, when a neighbor stopped by. With a smile, she called over “I thought you were working today!” I laughed along with her and decided to let it go, but truth of the matter is I was working. Reading other authors’ works is indeed part of my job. My first editor sent me several of Lucy Monroe’s books in order for me to notice how she developed her characters and resolved conflicts. My first agent had me reading category romances, to get a feel for how concise a story must be to be told in 50,000 words.
In spite of that, writing is hard work. It’s a skill, something that can be learned and honed. Starting with natural talent is hugely helpful, of course, but it doesn’t stop there. Instead, we work on how to develop characters, write fight scenes, build tension. We spend hours agonizing over our critique partners’ notes. We read dialogue out loud and study reactions in front of mirrors to literally see what we’re trying to describe. We pace, we bitch, we grind our teeth, and figuratively beat our heads against our desks trying to come up with the perfect turn of phrase. Our friends, significant others, and colleagues have learned “five more minutes…” actually means “go ahead without me, because we’re looking at hours before I can walk away from this scene.” When we’re writing, we stress over the words. When we aren’t writing, we stress over the lack of words. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other reasons to stress. Most of the authors I know have to squeeze writing time in and around a scheduled day job. It can be a heart-wrenching and all-consuming profession, and that’s before we put the finished product out there for Monday morning quarterbacking from total strangers. Why anyone would choose it when they don’t love the end result is beyond me. Except…
On this day in particular, I happened to be sitting on a deck overlooking the truly magnificent Priest Lake, in Coolin, Idaho. I have written all over the state of Alaska, from Kenai to Prudhoe Bay. I started a book in Mexico and finished it in Connecticut. Once people find out I’m a writer, they answer questions and tell me stories that they wouldn’t otherwise dream of telling a stranger. And let’s be honest; you cannot beat the writer’s commute.
Now, I still don’t understand why someone would choose to be a writer if they don’t love to read. I figure that would be akin to becoming an elementary school teacher when you don’t like kids. The idea of being an author is very different from the reality of being an author. But I will admit, I have been reminded of the allure, and that was good for me. There is nothing easy about this job. At the same time, if you love it – love reading the words, love writing the words, love it all – writing can indeed be worth it. Worth all of it.

--Pauline Trent