The Struggles of Male Dancers by @AliciaStreet1

Male Dancers

Many prominent male dancers tell stories about taking their sisters to ballet class and deciding to give dancing a try—and finding that they love it. Ballet, modern dance, hip-hop and many of the performance-oriented forms require athleticism that is every bit as challenging as most sports. An advanced-level dancer can easily measure up, if not surpass, other athletes in terms of strength, endurance, and of course flexibility.

While times keep changing and gender roles are expanding, there are still parents, mostly fathers, who do not like the idea of their sons studying dance. Maybe it’s the music? Or the ability to look graceful while doing something hard? Or the fact that male dancers wear tights in ballet? Having spent a good part of my youth in dance studios and my early adult life as a professional dancer, I’ve seen these struggles repeatedly.

Teaching Male Dancers

As a dance teacher, I often encountered parents who weren’t happy to have sons who danced. I remember one teen who was particularly gifted. I helped him develop his skill and later apply for and receive a scholarship to a prestigious performing arts school. His father called me up and lit into me, demanding, “What have you done to my son?”

Having years of experience dancing with and teaching male dancers, how could I not use this subject in my DANCE ‘N’ LOVE romance series?

In KISS ME, DANCER, the divorced father of a talented young boy runs head-on into a determined dance teacher and sparks fly in many ways, especially in the romance department.Male Dancers

“So much depth, emotion, passion and love…A brilliant script for a chick flick we girls would love to cry and swoon about!”—Unputdownable Books

KISS ME, DANCER will be FREE on Amazon March 12 – 14. And it will be on sale for 99¢ through March 25.

Male Dancers

A spinoff from the series, FINN’S CHRISTMAS DILEMMA, features a former male student who becomes a successful host on a popular TV dance show. He returns home at Christmas to help his mentor with a holiday program. Finn hopes to heal a rift with his father. He runs into the unresolved romance of his first love.

FINN’S CHRISTMAS DILEMMA will be on sale for 99¢ through March 25.

And remember, Spring is almost here, so keep on dancing!

 

Fifty Ways to Love your Lover (and Friends)

Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

It’s Valentine’s Day, and all through the land, flowers are given and brunch is being cooked. But did you know that love can be shown every day and in little or large ways? The key is surprise and changing things up. Neuroscience has shown that humans get habituated fairly easily to both good and bad stimuli. For example, the first time you tasted a particular dish or dessert, you had a memorable moment of thinking it was the best ever. The next time you went back to that restaurant or cooked the dish or picked up the dessert, you wonder, did it change? Or it wasn’t the way I remembered. It’s the same with rewards and gifts, as well as things people do for you. Your first kiss? The first time a guy gave you a trinket? Going on a first date? Your first [fill in the blank]?

So, let’s change things up a bit this Valentine’s Day. We’ve come off a hard year of social isolation and the inevitable loneliness. If you have someone with you, count yourself lucky, but you don’t have to have a special someone to love someone else. Just send out some love and that itself is a sweet reward.

Here are fifty ways to show someone you love them.

  1. Say, “I love you.”
  2. Give a hug.
  3. Tuck a note saying “I love you,” in an unexpected place.
  4. Talk to him, and make sure you do a lot of listening. Paying attention is love.
  5. Respect his opinion, especially if it differs from yours.
  6. Go on a walk and don’t talk, just be together.
  7. Play a game: Checkers, backgammon, gin rummy, etc. where it’s the two of you only.
  8. Play with your pet together. Appreciate your pet and let them run back and forth between you.
  9. Cook together, or watch him cook or have him watch you. It feels more like love and less like a service when you’re interacting.
  10. Do an activity together you’ve been putting off.
  11. Trade backrubs and footrubs.
  12. Ask for his opinion on what you should wear before going out. Shows you value his observations.
  13. Form a book club of two. Agree to read the same book and discuss after finishing.
  14. Ask him if there’s something he wants you to do but hasn’t asked.
  15. Play a harmless prank on him. Good for laughs and retaliation.
  16. Take something off his “honey-do” list. Either do it yourself or hire someone.
  17. Show appreciation and tell him so.
  18. Surprise him with a gag gift–not socks or ties, but something funny.
  19. Find something he’s better at than others and tell him so.
  20. Declare a work-free day. No chores. No fixing things. No mowing grass.
  21. Join him on an activity he goes alone.
  22. Let him talk about his childhood without interjecting your own.
  23. Suggest he splurge on something you know he’s been secretly wanting.
  24. Play music together and do funny dances. Let him play his selection.
  25. Mix shampoos and conditioners together and come up with love potion names and blurbs for them.
  26. Exercise together or sit by and watch him exercise or vice versa.
  27. Invite his family to your celebration so no one will feel left out.
  28. Find a good trait about his mother and tell him how you appreciate her.
  29. Let him do things his way. If he ties the socks together instead of folding one into the other, let it be that way.
  30. Surprise him with his favorite dish or dessert.
  31. Let him sleep in or make sure you do not disturb him when he’s napping.
  32. Give him a stuffed animal to sit on his pillow. [Hey, it’s over 30 tips and I’m digging deep here].
  33. Collect a photo montage of his best moments and make a poster.
  34. Read him a passage from your favorite romance novel [I have over sixty, hint, hint]
  35. Ask him to make a muscle and admire how big it is.
  36. Give him a pedicure so his lethal toenails won’t snag you in bed.
  37. Shoot hoops with him.
  38. Stay up late and tell ghost stories, then go exploring in a dark barn.
  39. Go birdwatching and look for lucky birds–they all are. Hummingbirds, crows, bluejays, cardinals, and sparrows.
  40. Write him a love letter and tell specifically what you love about him.
  41. Go shopping with him for a his/her set of something. Be creative.
  42. Have a private karaoke night and sing love songs together.
  43. Cheerfully help him witht he yard work. Rake leaves while he mows.
  44. Hold hands while out for a walk in the park.
  45. Find strange places to take selfies together. Caption them.
  46. Play remember when. Write down separately and compare notes. You might be surprised when he doesn’t remember things the same way as you.
  47. Play spin the bottle. Hide in the closet for your kiss.
  48. Have a pillow fight.
  49. Take a drive out in the countryside with no where in mind. Top down if you have a convertible.
  50. Finally! Let him surprise you with an outing [no help from you or looking up directions].

I hope you found some ideas for a smashing Valentine’s Day. Please check out my three Valentine’s romances. If you listen to audiobooks, go to https://smarturl.it/ContactRachelle and request a free promocode [specify US or UK] for Valentine Hound Dog (sweet), Valentine Wedding Hound (sweet), or Going Hearts Over Heels [steamy]. – while promocodes last.

request from https://smarturl.it/ContactRachelle

And, another Valentine’s gift for you [Free ebook on Amazon, Feb 14-15], Going Hearts Over Heels. Ginger is a fast talking New Yorker who wants to try life in the country—along with hot country boys. Marsh yearns for the excitement of the big city and a certain redhead who has his imagination sparked. Ginger and Marsh decide to trade places over Valentine’s Day, except neither one expected their hearts to get in the way of their heels.

Going Hearts Over Heels (click to go to Amazon)

Traditions Stay Alive by Changing… A Little

Traditions are who I am; not to the exclusion of everything else, just the basic platform I catapult from for family gatherings. The friend who made spaghetti for Christmas enjoyed her holidays just as much as I did, (even though I was horrified when I found out). Traditions helped when grew up as a Coastie Brat, and later when we raised Army Brats, and even after retiring from the Military, we brought children into our home as a helping family. Familiarity was key, not only with my own children, but with all those precious children and families that came in and out of our home. Until a couple of years ago, my autumn and winter holidays included snow, cold, dark days and darker nights, ocean, and mountains surrounding my island of less than 15,000 people. Change is not to be avoided, even for a traditional holiday celebrant. Embrace whatever they are, where ever they are, for it is how you view them that makes all the difference.

My husband retired for the last time and all but our youngest is now a full fledged adult. So, we left our home of many years to our daughter and struck out on a new adventure. My parents are now aging, and we have moved closer to them. Now, it isn’t me heading up our large family in the ways of tradition but our children have each taken a part to create holidays without us. This year, we will be there for Thanksgiving. I will have been 14 months away from most of my children and grandchildren and I’m already dreaming of what we need to do to make the holiday happy and familiar.

But, now I am following the children’s lead instead of them following mine and that’s how it should be. They take the traditions from their home and incorporate the ones they loved the best into their own home, meshing them with their spouse’s or tweaking them to fit their lifestyle. I think it was a success, my traditionalist ways. Home, warmth, security, familiarity, and most importantly, LOVE.

In my book, found in the DEAR SANTA Box Set, you will find it set in Bellingham, Washington and surrounding area, near my Alaskan home, full of snow and typical winter wonderland weather for North America. The main characters are surrounded by loving family with one member who had been gone for years, returns for good. It’s all a happy ever after kind of Christmas.

Join me in Christmas Wishes and you.

Beth’s Wish: A second chance at love with Trevor

Beth’s Christmas Wish of a Second Chance at Love could happen if only she would be willing to risk her heart… again.

 

Barnes and Noble      Amazon        KOBO        iBook

 

Excerpt:

The sirens could be heard in the distance, and Beth heaved a sigh of relief. She hadn’t worked Emergency or triage in several years. She was glad old protocols came back to her quickly, her adrenaline infusing her veins, responses crisp and clear. Most of the victims were shaken up, but no obvious life-threatening injuries were self-reported or observed.

There seemed to be fear, disorientation, and blood from assorted scrapes and cuts but not from more worrisome places like the head region. Beth helped those who had bleeding wounds to put pressure on the areas affected and attended the things she could see, like preventing the teens in the second car from getting out and walking away since they appeared well. Looks were deceiving, but she knew teenagers thought themselves to be invincible. She stationed her pedestrian helper outside the teen’s vehicle to encourage their compliance.

Three car collisions were often much worse than this one, and the occupants were luckier than they knew. Nonetheless, there were still injuries, and reinforcements should be coming around the corner now. The sirens were faint but getting louder.

The older gentleman in the first car, the one who was rear-ended by the teens, seemed to be moving the slowest. “Are you still doing all right, sir?”

“Yes, I ache, but I don’t feel as though I’m injured badly.”

“Well, do you mind if I stay here with you?”

The older gentleman with the kindly face smiled. “Worried about the old man?

“No, I have the best viewpoint to see the scene from here.”

“Now Beth, don’t spin a tall tale this close to Christmas.”

Beth quickly tried to think back to how the man could have gotten her name. Was he a patient? He might have been, but she didn’t think so. She certainly hadn’t told him. At least she didn’t think so. Could he have heard the pedestrian that was walking around with her say her name? Maybe.

“Have we met before?” she asked.

“We have over the years. I’ve been visiting this area long before you or your parents were born.”

Beth could imagine that to be true. “Oh. Then I’m sorry I don’t remember who you are. Do you know you look a bit like—”

“Yes, I know. I get that all the time. People want to hire me this time of year, but I’m too busy to do it. I don’t think I’d even be good at it.”

“Oh, I think you’d be great.”

“Maybe I’ll be the Community Christmas Party Santa this year. Be my guinea pig? Let me try it out on you?”

Beth laughed. “I don’t think you need to practice.”

“Please? Just to see. It would help me keep my mind off the sore arm.”

“Oh, well. I’d be glad to help.” Anything to make him stay as comfortable as possible. She felt for his pulse and relaxed. Not worrisome.

“Right. So, Beth, what is your fondest wish for Christmas this year?”

“Oh…”

Beth’s tongue tangled, and the flippant answer she was going to give him flew from her mind.  All she could see was Trevor Darrington right after he had qualified for medical school. That last devastating Christmas when he broke up with her for her own good.

“I can’t ask you to wait for me, Beth,” said Trevor.  “It’ll be too long. It’s better if we just stay friends. I want you to date if you find someone else.”

He had choked on his own words and had looked away. If Beth had known then what she knew now, she would have known immediately it wasn’t what he wanted, but at eighteen, she hadn’t had enough life experience to help her see that.

“Do you want me to find someone else?”

“No, but it could happen. I won’t hold you back.”

But Beth couldn’t simply be friends. It wasn’t what she had wanted with Trevor, and she couldn’t disguise her love for him. She had begged and pleaded, but for once, she had not been able to sway his decision. She’d stormed off the patio and never looked back except in her dreams. She’d been a nurse for ten years now, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner the last five. Three years older than she, Trevor had been a practicing doctor at a hospital for five. Wow, it had been over a decade now since that fateful day.

The kindly older man smiled at Beth. “What is it you want more than anything this year?”

Her brain shut down, and her self-preservation filters folded. She spoke softly, almost to herself.

“Trevor Darrington. Every year, I just want him. It’s silly, really,” she smiled and shrugged, “but there it is.”

The white-bearded man nodded sagely. “The one who got away. Yes, that would definitely be a gift to cherish.”

How did he know? He didn’t, she assured herself, it was a logical guess. “Yes, well, it won’t happen, but I think you did very well. You put me at ease. That’s the trick. Oh, I see the cavalry pulling in now, so I had better greet them and tell them what we have here. Don’t get out of the car until they help you.”

“I won’t. Nice chatting with you, Beth. You never know. That present might make it this year. Don’t give up hope.”

Beth tried to laugh, but once thoughts of Trevor were resurrected, there was no turning back. Sadness descended. “I suppose, but it has been a long time.”

As she walked away, the elderly man reminded her, “Don’t forget, my dear, Christmas is all about wishes, hope, and love. Allow the unquenchable hope that created your heartfelt wish lead you to healing love.”

Beth walked off with the strangest feeling that she had just spoken to someone special. She hoped he healed quickly, but her heart’s old wound had been tugged open just a little more, and her loss poured out. Not all things healed as well as others.

Soon the emergency personnel took over from her, and she stretched. Taking a few steps backward, Beth turned to go and crashed into a wall of human flesh.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I had no idea you were —”

His words collided with hers. “Beth? Beth Silverton? My God. It is you.”

The man sounded heart-stoppingly familiar and happy to see her. Very happy. She stared harder, and her heartbeat picked up the pace.

“Yes? Do I… Trevor? How… where…”

The jumble of emotions at seeing him left chaotic destruction in her mind. Beth closed her mouth and instinctively looked over at the first vehicle with the Santa lookalike, and for a split second wondered… but no, it was a coincidence.

“In the flesh. I can’t believe I’ve found you in the middle of this,” Trevor waved his hand over the scene before them. “We have to talk. I have been looking—” Trevor was interrupted by a shout from one of the EMTs. He glanced around watchfully. “Look, I’m attending here, so I have to go, but write your phone number on my arm. High so it doesn’t get washed off, and I’ll call you when I’m done.” Beth hesitated. “Please?”

When the rescuer shouted for Trevor again, he raised his hand in acknowledgment while giving her an entreating look. Before she took the time to think about what she was doing, she wrote on his bicep, his ridiculously hard bicep, above the elbow in case he had to scrub in for surgery. He reached over and dropped a quick peck on her cheek.

“I really have missed you.” It took all of thirty seconds, and Trevor had smiled and turned away.

 

IF YOU’D LIKE TO HAVE A LITTLE BITE, A SNACK IF YOU WILL, OF EACH STORY, ENJOY THE FIRST CHAPTERs ON US!

“FIRST CHAPTERS” from the upcoming 2020 Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish collection.

READ FREE. 

At Home by Mona Risk

Is it four weeks or six weeks that we have been locked at home? I can’t remember, but it seems like two years. Getting dressed, wearing a few pieces of jewelry, and fixing my hair are now nice memories. I stopped opening my closets. What for? My getting-dressed routine of the morning consists of choosing between two pajamas pants and a few black t-shirts–easier to wash it all together.

We live in a high-rise and we used to have a gorgeous view. Not anymore. In September, our building association had contracted a company for concrete restoration. So all balconies were blocked in September, the rails removed and the balconies’ floors repaired. And then the Pandemic started and the workers stopped coming. No rails, no balconies. No beach and no pool.

Who cares? For every problem, there’s a solution. Right?

Two weeks ago, I discovered that the catwalk, a walkway around the building used as an emergency exit, was still accessible, yet not used by anyone. A bit too high for my taste considering I suffer from ‘Acrophobia’ or irrational fear of heights. But in time of need, one would adjust to anything. At first I held my husband’s hand, and just looked at the floor, and then it got better…

The walkway became my walking track, with fresh outdoor air to breathe, no need to wear a mask, and a view to lift any mood. So now I walk four to five miles a day. Soon I’ll stop worrying about the extra weight I added at the beginning of our confinement. And I published a book, and started a new one.

Here is my new book, just released last week:

A Dance for Prince Eric: A ballerina with a promising career on the run for her brother’s sake. A charismatic prince who saved them both. Do fairytales exist?

I am also happy to share two new boxes, one with hilarious books and another with tender, emotional stories.

Sweet & Sassy Daddies

US: https://amzn.to/3bBBMGg #ad

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B084FJFCFB

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B084FJFCFB

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B084FJFCFB

IN: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B084FJFCFB

NL: https://www.amazon.nl/dp/B084FJFCFB

DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B084FJFCFB

Cute but Crazy

US: http://bit.ly/RomComCBC1
Universal: https://books2read.com/CBC1