Dear Romantically Diffident: Resurrect Romance. You’ll be happier.

Some years ago, to learn how to use Windows Movie Maker, I borrowed movie clips and music that I cobbled together for some sort of makeshift music video. Stripped of other scenes and selected for their relevance to the music … Continued

How Do I Love Paris? Let Me Count The Ways

I love Paris. Don’t you? My fascination with it compelled me to set two short stories in Brief Encounters with Solitary Souls in Paris. In my last post I refer to one of them. That story is not entirely fiction. … Continued

Art-Making: Express Yourself with Pictures, Not Just Words

We’re lucky, we humans. We have words to express what we think, what we feel, and what we dream. But words are just one way for us to “say” who we are. Many of us also find art-making or music-making … Continued

Dear Kristen: Letters, A Disappearing Art

My niece—the only one I have—sent me a letter. Yes, a letter, with words in black ink that she packed tight on a card. Rarely will you receive letters like this, anymore. Or, at least, rarely have I. Emails are … Continued

No Broad Shoulders? No Romance.

I nearly zapped a historical romance out of my iPad in exasperation, while reading it one evening. Not because it was badly written. Nor was it boring. Rather, it annoyed me that for the umpteenth time, the author describes her … Continued

A Large Income Is The Best Recipe For Happiness — Jane Austen

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A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of. So says Jane Austen—like her heroines, the ever sensible woman. She probably did believe that. Which is why her heroes are often rich either by inheritance (Darcy, … Continued

Calla Lilies — A Small Remembrance of Things Past

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“Come and see what I found on the side yard today,” my husband said three days ago while we were in the garage. He sounded so excited that, instead of rushing my bag of fresh groceries into the house, I … Continued

Court Your Love With A Serenade

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It’s Valentine or maybe you’ve just begun a-courting. Serenade or champagne? Would you take Honoré de Balzac‘s word for it? Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane. That works. But, maybe, only where you can get champagne. … Continued

Realism in Romance Novels?

Romance novels are escapist fare. We read them to be entertained. Or to have a few delicious moments of tingling. Is it a contradiction, then, to inject realism in romance novels? Someone more in the know than I told me … Continued

Words. Sometimes, Like Daggers

Words. We’re inundated with them. From friends and loved ones. From strangers. From the constant assault of media. And from words that churn around in our heads—as they do a lot in writers. Or in some people afflicted with certain … Continued

The Kiss On The Train Platform: Gaskell’s North and South

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Thornton lifts Margaret’s bowed head gently and with great tenderness, touches his lips to hers. But that’s just how it begins. He kisses her a little more insistently. Not once more, but a few times more. She doesn’t pull back, … Continued