Christina Cole Romance

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Victory Dancing

How would you describe your victory dance?

Happy Dance

That’s the question for today straight out of my little Question and Answer a Day book. I love this little book. It’s always fun to open it and find an interesting, amusing, or thought-provoking question.

So, victory dancing…

I laughed a little when I read it because “victory dances” are so closely associated with football — in my mind, at least. That provoked a chuckle because early this morning as I made my way from sleep to wakefulness, I was thinking about professional football, specifically players from the past.

Who was that quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers that I liked so well? The one who took the helm after both Terry Bradshaw and Terry Hanratty went down with injuries? I struggled to remember his name and finally had to grab my smartphone to look it up. Yes, at 3:30 AM, I was “googling” Pittsburgh Steeler quarterbacks. The answer, by the way, is Joe Gilliam, Jr. who had a fairly short, unhappy life. He died on Christmas Day, 2000, a few days short of his 50th birthday.

Next, my errant mind wandered to Oakland. Who was that wide receiver back in the 60’s? My mind just was not working. Oh, yes. Daryle Lamonica, the “Mad Bomber”.  I was rather proud of myself for digging that name out of the depths of my memory…until I realized that dear Daryle was not the receiver I was thinking of. It was the other fellow, you know, the one with the Russian name.

By now, my husband was awake, too, so I was pestering him with the question. I had to come in here to MLWR (My Little Writing Room) to dredge up Fred Biletnikoff, but in the process I came across a book I’d love to read.

Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John Madden’s Oakland Raiders

badasses

Victory dances — those little displays of emotions after scoring a touchdown — have always been fun to watch, in my opinion. Of course, my opinion means nothing to the NFL — also known as the No Fun League. They have rules against deliberately “taunting” other players, and in their estimation, victory dances often fall into that category.

In 2006, they “taunting” rule was amended to include an automatic 15-yard penalty against any player whose “victory dance” includes leaving his feet, or using props such as towels or the football. This is termed an “excessive celebration” with the penalty yardage charged to the offending player’s team during the kick-off that follows. The good news here is that “spiking” the ball isn’t considered “excessive” — unless the player spikes it toward an opponent.

Just for fun, here are a few celebrations from the world of sports you might enjoy watching:

A Visual Guide to the NFL’s Anti-Celebration Rules

In my life, I don’t do “victory dances” because I don’t score any touchdowns. For what it’s worth, while growing up, I always wished I could play football, but despite that adage that “You can do anything you set you mind to”, I had to settle for cheerleading on the sidelines.

Of course, I do have many things in life to celebrate, so I’ve replaced the “victory dance” with a little “happy dance”. I love sharing my “happy dance” on Facebook when I have a new romance novel published, or when one of my novels hits the publisher’s best-seller list or gets a five-star review from a reader.

I smile a lot when doing my happy dance. I wave my arms around. I kick up my heels. I shimmy. I shake. I look silly, but as someone recently reminded me, it’s all right to dance like nobody’s watching because everybody’s looking at their cell phones, so in truth no one is watching.

So, whether it’s a victory dance following a score, or just a happy dance to celebrate the special moments in your life, what does your dance look like?

 


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Tweet, Tweet

Are you on Twitter? I am, although I don’t actively keep up with tweets going by. I don’t see how anyone could. All the same, it’s almost a matter of pride with me to say that I was on Twitter before most folks — my children included — had even heard of it.

Yes, I post regularly to Twitter, but only because my account is connected to my Facebook page. Anything I post on my Facebook timeline goes out into the twitter-sphere as well. I’m also “following” a lot of folks on Twitter, but seriously, folks, who’s got time to sit and read hundreds of messages as they scroll by?

All the same, I must confess I’ve had a lot of fun on Twitter. I remember the “duck” game. Oh, how I laughed. It’s the simple game of taking a famous quote and replacing a word with “duck”.  Imagine, for example, Teddy Roosevelt proclaiming, “Walk softly, and carry a big duck.” Or, for laughs, former president Bill Clinton informing the world that he did not “have sex with that duck.”  I remember contributing Richard Nixon’s immortal words: “I am not a duck.”

We kept the game going on Twitter for days. It was great fun.

NietoAnother Twitter-fest that kept me hanging on was the time Mexico’s presidential hopeful — and now president — Enrique Pena Nieto — fumbled on a television program when asked to name a few of the books that had influenced him in his life. He couldn’t think of any other than the Bible, and he managed to confuse a few authors’ names.

But that was only the beginning of his problems.

His teen daughter Paulina turned to her Twitter account and using very offensive slang terms and racial slurs, attempted to defend her father. Her tweet went viral then spun off into thousands of hilarious tweets, such as the game of “Books Pena Nieto Should Read.” My favorite? “How to ruin your father in 140 characters or less.”

The daughter’s boyfriend also jumped into the fray, Paulina made her apologies, and her Twitter account quickly disappeared. You can read about it here.

LA Times – Reporting from Mexico City.

And then, of course, there’s Alec Baldwin. I stopped “following” him long ago after yet another of his Twitter rants. He’s still at it, I see.

Alec Baldwin Arrested In New York – Turns to Twitter

So, why am I posting about Twitter? It’s because of today’s question in my little Q & A a Day” book.

In 140 characters, or fewer, summarize your day.

Yes, technology today is everywhere, and the Internet Culture now influences virtually (no pun intended) all we do.

My day is just beginning, but I suppose I could tweet my plans…in fact, I just did. If you follow me, you’ll find my little post:

th

Thanks for visiting today.

Follow me on Twitter @KCChristinaCole

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Make a Mess!

Creativity

I say these words over and over because they’re so very true. I don’t recall the source, but I do remember when I first heard them. I was sitting on the living room floor, surrounded by a mess of papers, drawings, art supplies, books, and snacks as I worked on a project. Yes, creative people make big messes.

It was then as I began the “cleaning up” process that I fully understood this little saying. As I sorted through ideas and inspirations — keeping some and discarding others — my mess turned into a completed project.

I approach fiction from this perspective, too. I make a huge mess with story ideas all over the place. I scribble notes on odd scraps of paper. I grab research books to keep close at hand. Putting a story together does get very messy indeed.

For what it’s worth, my current project — The Sheriff Wore Skirts — is a disastrous mess at the moment. Even though I began with a synopsis for the publisher, now that I’m working on the story, I’m seeing new possibilities. New characters are emerging. New complications and conflicts are happening.

What do I do?  I let it happen. It’s wondrous fun.

To me, it’s much like working a jigsaw puzzle…only first, I have to create all the pieces.

I won’t use them all. As with any creative project, I’ll find myself throwing away things that aren’t needed, sorting out what’s right for the story, getting rid of ideas that don’t fit. Gradually, the mess will be picked up. The research books will go back on the shelf. The little scraps of paper will be tossed aside. A finished manuscript will come together, ready to go to the publisher.

Don’t ever get discouraged when your creative efforts result in a huge mess. That’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s a process, and making a mess — the bigger, the better — is the first step toward success. Celebrate all the mixed-up, confused ideas. Scatter the pieces of your own puzzle around so you can look at them from different angles. Pick things up and play with them. Enjoy the mess!

Then begin the cleaning-up process. Throw away or set aside things you know you don’t need. Find what’s most important and build around it. Add in possibilities that might work. Discard ones that don’t work.

Slowly and surely, as you clean up the mess — whether it’s an art project, a poem you’re writing, a recipe you’re cooking, or any other endeavor — you’ll see a beautiful creation shining through.

 

 


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Playing by the Rules

I’ve been browsing through The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, written by pyschologist Linda Edelstein. It’s an interesting book, and I’ve enjoyed reading about various adult personality types.

I’ve always believed that understanding is a key component of good relationships — in real life and in fiction, as well. So from time to time, I’m going to share a bit of information regarding Edelstein’s basic personality types. Perhaps this knowledge will help us build stronger relationships — and for the writers among us, create realistic characters.

Today, I’m sharing a few thoughts about conformists.

Conformity2The conformist believes in following rules and regulations, going along with others, and acting in a responsible manner.

Conformists are staunch supporters of law and order in society, and generally consider themselves to hold high moral standards.

Life with a conformist can be comfortable. These folks don’t like to “rock the boat” or make a fuss about anything…unless someone goes too far afield of their traditional beliefs and values, in which case the conformist can become rigid and dogmatic. They will then insist on upholding what they perceive as “right”.  They can be extremely intolerant, demanding that others conform to their way of thinking.

There’s a bit of interesting history behind the word, Conformist.

In England, Conformists were individuals whose religious practices were in line with the requirements of The Act of Uniformity. These acts — there were several — established rites and rituals for the Church of England, specifying prayers books to be used and the order of services performed.  Those who opposed the acts were called Noncomformists.

Today the words have come to mean anyone who “goes along with the crowd” or one who “marches to a different drum”, respectively.

Our society sends very mixed messages about conformity. We place children in classrooms and teach them to behave in very specific ways. We give them rules to obey.

  • Sit at your desk.
  • Raise your hand to ask a question.
  • Walk in single file as you leave the classroom.

At the same time, we speak of individuality, the need to recognize our own uniqueness, and the importance of learning to think for oneself.  Little wonder we’re often confused about who we are…and who we’re supposed to be.

Overall, despite our efforts to teach it and instill conformist values in our children, conformity gets a bad rap throughout history.  Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke out against it.

nonconformist-quotes-2

So did President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Conformity-president-quote

 

Conformists rarely stand out in society. They’re content to follow others and can make valuable assistants, always well-versed in “company policy” and willing to do what’s asked of them.

In fiction, we find two kinds of conformists. We sometimes see a character who is intent on following all the rules — to the detriment of their own happiness. My latest release, “No Regrets“,  features a shy young woman who, in the words of the hero, is stuck being…

“…the prim and proper Miss Richards, the quiet little mouse who never disturbs anybody, has never once told a lie, and who would never think of breaking any of society’s rules.”
We see the overbearing conformist at times, too, in the guise of a well-meaning parent or a moral leader. As conformists, they often join others in their intolerance.  I’ve included these characters in my stories, too, most notably the women of the “Ladies’ Charitable Society” in my fictional town of Sunset, Colorado.  Here’s a quick look at the ladies, from “Keeping Faith“.
Not only Mrs. Gilman, but all the other women as well wore black. They reminded Tom of a bunch of crows perching in the parlor, hovering about, ready to peck the eyes out of him and his mother if they made a wrong move.
Maybe conformity is best treated as a useful tool, not as a way of life. There are times and places where perhaps it’s best to go along,  to do what’s expected, and to accept little things that aren’t really worth making a fuss about.

Yes, rules are important. So are laws.  Sometimes we do need to follow others…so long as they’re leading us in the direction we want to go.

When all is said and done, the most important thing is knowing who we are and living our life fully.
be-yourself-everyone-else-is-taken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Clothes Make the Man…or Woman

poloniusFor the apparel oft proclaims the man.

–William Shakespeare, Hamlet 

 

When Polonius gives out advice in Hamlet, much of it should probably be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Polonius was a bit of a blow-hard, a fellow who loved the sound of his own voice.

His immortal words have been transformed into the more modern adage that “clothes make the man,” to which Mark Twain once added, “Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

I’m not sure about that, but all of that’s a bit beside the point. The real question for today isn’t about the influence we wield but simply about the clothes we wear. More to the point, the clothes we love.

Often on Facebook, question games go around. Example: The last thing you ate plus the color you’re now wearing gives you your rock band name.  I usually end up with Plaid nachos. Hey, it’s kinda catchy, don’t you think?

If clothes really do make us who we are, I’m a comfortable, casual homebody. I love wearing baggy old T-shirts and flannel PJ bottoms. Yes, that’s me. It’s exactly who I am.

Today’s question from my little “Q & A A Day” book is this:

What’s your favorite article of clothing?

PJSI’d have to say my comfy, cozy plaid flannel PJ bottoms.  Years ago I bought one set (the ones on the left) and I loved them so much, I ordered a second set (the ones on the right.) I found them in the Lakeside Collection catalog, and would gladly order more if they had different colors.

I also like my Mickey Mouse T-shirt, my worn-out old sneakers, and, when the weather turns cool, an old sweatshirt that once boasted of the glories of Missouri but whose colors are now so worn you can’t read much of anything.

Obviously, to me, comfort is far more important than fashion.

 

 

What’s YOUR favorite article of clothing?

What do YOUR clothes say about YOU?

 

 


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New Resolutions?

k2-_77d96879-c52e-453f-ab60-ca61b22078b4.v1I think my Question and Answer book is a bit mixed up. It’s only August, yet it’s asking me about resolutions. I’ve heard of “Christmas in July”, so maybe they’re thinking we should have “New Year’s Day in August.” It makes sense in a somewhat crazy way, I suppose.

Here’s the question as it’s posed:

What is your resolution for tomorrow?

Throughout my life, I’ve had a tendency to do things backward. I think being left-handed has something to do with it. Most people, I presume, use this little journal late at night before they shut out the lights and go to bed. Not me. My habit is to grab my journal early in the morning soon after I wake up.  Like I said, yeah, I do a lot of things backward.

So, I’m revising the question a bit. I’m going to think about today and what I’m setting my sights on to accomplish.

sandiego

First on the agenda is a bit of housecleaning. Daughter Liz and her husband are moving to California later this month. Before she leaves, she wants to visit with family. She lives about two hours away from us now, and she’ll be driving up early on Friday morning, spending the night here, and then visiting with her sisters nearby. She wouldn’t care if I cleaned house or not, and if the guest room is a bit messy, it wouldn’t bother her in the least. As long as she gets some of Mom’s cooking — and a few popsicles — she’ll be happy. All the same, I want to straighten things up a bit, sweep the floors, and do a little dusting and polishing.

Second on my “to-do” list is writing. I have two more western historical romances under contract with Secret Cravings Publishing, and deadlines have a way of sneaking up. I’m currently working on The Sheriff Wore Skirts, and I’ve reached the point in the process where things are coming together, ideas are developing, and sitting down to write each day is wonderfully fun.

Third will be cooking. Today I’m planning one of my personal favorites. Salmon patties with creamed peas and potatoes. I’ll probably serve it with a spicy tomato drink and toss up a green salad, too. Hurry, dinnertime! I’m hungry already.

Of course, I’m hungry now because I haven’t eaten breakfast yet. I slept late this morning — almost 5 AM. My husband didn’t wake me until he was ready to head out the door. But he did leave breakfast for me. So now that I’ve checked my Question and Answer book and have officially got this day under way, I’m going to go grab a bite to eat.

Happy Wednesday

What’s YOUR resolution for today?


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Traveling the World

Another stormy morning here in the midwest. The house is quiet, I’ve got a cup of hot herbal tea to enjoy, and I’m about to pick up my little “Question and Answer” book and turn to today’s question.

Well, it’s certainly an easy question for me:

How many stamps are in your passport?

us-passport

My answer? None. I don’t even have a passport. I’ve never traveled outside the United States except in my imagination and through the pages of books I’ve read.

The closest I’ve come to adding stamps to a passport is in a solitaire game I used to play at Club Pogo — an online game site. I don’t recall the name of the game, but as you win different rounds, you travel to different destinations around the globe, collecting passport stamps as you go.

I’ve never been much of a traveler. Astrologers among us might scoff and say, “But, you’re Sagittarius! You’re supposed to love traveling!”   So much for sun signs, I suppose. For what it’s worth, my Sagittarian-born sister, Jill, has indeed traveled all over the world, and she’s got fascinating stories to tell.

My travels have been mostly short trips, quick visits with friends and family, or a short jaunt to a conference or convention. I’ve been to a few big cities — New York, Chicago, Dallas — and I’ve seen a lot of nature’s beauty in my travels.

I’ve been to the shores of the Great Salt Lake, seen the majesty of Mount Ranier, and have hiked many trails throughout the midwest. I’ve sat high atop the rocky red hills in Arizona, and I’ve fished the crystal clear streams of the Ozarks.

I’ve also visited many historic sites: presidential libraries, museums, art galleries, and landmarks.

By most standards, I’m not well-traveled, and that’s all right with me. I’m more inclined to say “There’s no place like home”, and do my traveling through books, magazines, and, of course, the internet. I do sometimes talk about places I’d like to go. The Black Hills is always high on my list, as is Jumonville Glen in Pennsylvania — a place connected to French and Indian War history. I’d like to visit Oaxaca in Mexico, and going back again to my fascination with the French and Indian War, I’d love to go to Canada and see the imposing sight of Quebec City.

Quebec City on the Saint Lawrence

Quebec City on the Saint Lawrence

While I’m not much of a traveler — domestic or international — I do love to hear travel stories from others. Even better, I love seeing photographs of faraway destinations, places I’ll probably never see in my own life. So, please share your journeys with me.

How many stamps are in YOUR passport?

Where have your travels taken you?