Fourteen years and a pandemic later…

It is my firm belief that all great love stories start with a spark of madness. I know mine did. My relationship with my husband was like a volcano – for years it burned so slowly and silently no one knew it was there, until one day when it erupted and the hot lava consumed everything in its path. Except there was nothing destructive about our love. All we had was a burning desire to be together. But since many people were opposed to that idea, we did the only thing we could so that everyone would leave us alone: we eloped and got married.

output_IT5Cf3Was it crazy? Definitely. Impulsive? Hell, yeah! Was it wrong? Not by a long shot. It was the best decision we ever made, and the proof is that on April 15th we celebrated our 14th marriage anniversary. We didn’t actually realize we were soulmates when we said our timid YES fourteen years ago, but now we know we were born to be together.

I see a lot of couples going nuts because they’re quarantined together, and I have a confession to make (please don’t hate me!): my hubby and I love it! We enjoy every moment spent together, we find ways to accommodate each other’s schedule, and when one wants to do something relaxing that the other doesn’t care for, we simply go our separate ways and give each other some space. Neither of us are very sociable creatures, and we always prefer each other’s company, so the pandemic didn’t change our lifestyle as much as it did for others.

The only thing that I regret is not being able to go ahead with our plans for this year’s anniversary. My husband is a great fan of André Rieu, and I wanted to surprise him earlier this year with tickets to a concert. But then the coronavirus happened, proving to us once more how much life can change in a month, or in a week, or even in a second.

I woke up a little sad the morning of our anniversary, but when I told my husband why I was sad, he said the only thing that matters is that we’re together and we’re healthy. That alone makes us blessed. I confess I felt ashamed of my shallowness. Here I was, pouting because we couldn’t go to a restaurant, or a concert, while people all over the world were taking their last breaths, defeated by a war with this invisible enemy.

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Husband and wife, fighting on the front line together.  

This was only one of the many precious lessons I learn every day from the wonderful man I share my life with – to treasure every moment, to be more patient, to appreciate the small things and find joy in everything.

What many people don’t understand is that marriage is hard work, but sharing your life with the right person is the most beautiful and rewarding thing. Not because of social status, not because of any obligations, but because finding true love as is rare and precious as an exotic flower. And in that spirit, you don’t need only to discover that flower, you need to take care of it every day, to help it grow and thrive.

I’m sad for all those who don’t get to experience the wonderful, ultimate fulfillment of growing old with the person you love. Loneliness is hard, whether it is by choice or by fate. Not many people are willing to give as much as they get in a relationship. Not many people realize how much – or how little – they have to offer, and have unrealistic expectations from their partners. They don’t know how to be tolerant, how to be altruistic, how to love and be loved. Some think they are entitled to a lot, others are willing to give much more than they receive and end up abandoning themselves completely to someone who doesn’t want or deserve it.

It’s crazy that such a simple but fragile balance leads to so many broken lives. All I can say from my own experience is that not everyone is cut out for marriage, and not everyone wants it. If I’ve learned a valuable lesson it’s that before you make your demands you have to make sure you’re ready to give as good as you get. But not like in a bargain. Like in a partnership. Like in a two-piece puzzle that you want to be part of for the rest of your life.

Be happy, and be loved! ❤

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A different kind of celebration. Happy 14th anniversary to us! 

Creating A Series

 

I now have three books in my Death By Chocolate series up on Amazon. A Ghostly Affair, A Christmas Wedding To Die For and my first book in the series, Chocolate Worth Dying For.

Oh, I know a lot of hard work went into it but, to me, it still seems magical. I’ve blogged on creating a series previously but at that point I was in the process of planning it out. For the first time in my life I sat down and seriously (and sometimes not so seriously) thought out what I wanted in the series. With the help of Power Point, Pinterest and Lisa Wells’ class on building a series I was well on my way.

Chocolate Worth Dying For, a cozy mystery series would be set in Victoria, BC and revolve a chocolate shop owner and caterer, Maxine Peters. Smart, sassy and too nosy to keep her nose out of other people’s business she’d have to find out who was behind any crime committed around her. In real life I don’t advise that. There’s a certain truth to the saying, ‘curiosity killed the cat.’

Then I came up with a side kick, Heath. Part of it was practically. Catering requires a lot of heavy lifting so her side-kick Heath is 6’2′ and a recent graduate of cooking school. He’s young, enthusiastic, works for cheap and he can do the heavy lifting, as well as giving her moral support. I gave her an on again off again love interest who was a policeman. There’s more but that’s the backbone of it.

I’ve stuck with the backbone and all those ideas and pictures of what the characters wore, car they drove etc really paid off. Plot points changed. Characters were added or deleted and I’m sure that to many looking at the starting ‘bible’ and the end result, it would seem as if I should have just started from scratch. They’d be wrong.

Since then I’ve been to ThrillerFest and heard some exceptional writers such as Michael Palmer, Catherine Coulter and Michael Connelly talk about their writing and how they do it. Most didn’t give such formalized directions on creating books or series. But most did spend a fair amount of time thinking about their characters and ideas for their books before they actually started writing them. In their own way, whether they’ve admitted it to themselves or not they’ve all come up with their own ‘bibles’.

Michael Connelly KNOWS his main characters, such as Harry Bosch, better than many of you know your friends. Characters get major thought and research before they make it to the page in Catherine Coulter’s books.

Given that I also work full time, with no assistants in sight to help organize my work or life, creating a ‘bible’ is a smart way of keeping track of the details so that I can create another story in my Chocolate Worth Dying For Series.

Right now I’m working on the fourth in my series, Soul Mates. One of Maxine’s best friends has just opened a matchmaking service. After all who doesn’t want love, romance and happily ever after? The question is how far will someone go to get it? And what happens when someone decides to take advantage? One of Maxine’s best friends, Tanya has decided to open a dating service, Soul Mates and Maxine wants nothing but the best for her. But…

You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens. If you want to start at the beginning Chocolate Worth Dying For is free on Amazon.com every day this week except the 28th.

Chocolate Worth Dying For  FREE  on April 27, 29, 30 and May 1st.

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