Christina Cole Romance

Discover the power of love


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A Thought for Today: Change

 

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If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.

Sometimes we get stuck in ruts in life. Sometimes we feel that things will never change. Truthfully, changes are taking place around us — and within us — each day. Even though the positive changes we desire may seem slow in coming, we can recognize and celebrate every small step we take toward our goals.

Butterflies have long been a symbol of change and transformation. It’s amazing to see the process taking place.

Life caterpillars morphing into butterflies, we are continually in a process of becoming. We change, we grow, we learn. It’s not always easy, and sometimes we’ll struggle, but if we stay focused on the positive results we seek, we can become who and what we hope to be.

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Who are you becoming?


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A Thought for Today: Little Things

 

 

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Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.

We’ve been brought up in a culture that says “bigger is better”.  We tend to look down on and scoff at “little things”.

In truth, it’s the little things in life that can bring us the most pleasure.

A little smile.

A tiny hand holding ours.

One quiet moment in the midst of a busy day.

So often in life, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Gathering your courage and taking one chance can be enough to set you on the course to your dreams. One step forward along the path will move you closer to what you want for your future.

One positive thought can change your life, and one kind word can change the life of another.


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Visions of a Better World

Why do I write? Of all the genres in literature, why have I chosen to write love stories? What is it about historical romance that I find so appealing?

From time to time, I sit down and ask myself these questions about my work. It’s important, I think, for me to understand the meaning and purpose behind my writing. In many ways, it’s not simply the act of stringing words upon a page that makes storytelling a satisfying endeavor, but the stories themselves. If my stories don’t hold an element of truth, if they don’t reflect my view of life, and most of all, if my stories aren’t filled with hope and happiness, I haven’t successfully accomplished my objectives.

Yes, writing, for me, is far more than telling a story. Although I don’t write stories of any mythical Utopias, I am always thinking about the world around me and seeking ways in which I can make it a better place. I write because in my heart, I have a vision of a better world. I want to share that vision.

Vision 1I know I’m not alone. All writers, I believe, are visionaries. We see things that don’t exist. We converse with imaginary people. We freely travel realms of the past and the future, visiting times and places that aren’t real. Through our writing, we make these things real. We bring these people to life. We unite past and future with present reality, giving others a glimpse of the world we’ve envisioned.

I write because I have a vision of a world where people are open to love, a world where, despite hardships and struggles, the essential goodness within the human heart is celebrated. It is an imperfect world, filled with imperfect people, yet through the gift of love those imperfections lose their power to hurt, a world where weaknesses are shed and strengths emerge. It is a world where lessons are learned, truth is revealed, changes occur, and above all, where justice ultimately prevails.

Perhaps I could express these ideas as well in contemporary romance as in historical tales, but my love of history runs deep. It’s in my blood, I think. While growing up and living with my grandfather, I heard stories of his 19th-century childhood and my imagination took me there to the Kansas prairies, to a sod house where he and his brothers worked hard, played hard, and grew to be good men.

The past was a time when the world moved a little slower. In our modern world, we routinely travel hundreds — even thousands — of miles in a day. Recently, I heard a news clip about astronauts zooming through space at the rate of about 18,000 miles an hour. Such numbers absolutely boggle my simple mind!

Sometimes I feel that our lives are moving so quickly, we have little time to think, little opportunity for the valuable personal reflections that are necessary for knowing who we are. Life is an ongoing series of decisions, and without time to ponder, how can we make good choices? If we’re always rushing from one place to another, from one activity to the next, when do we find the time to figure out where we really are?

For me, writing about earlier times and places serves as an antidote to the disease of fast-paced living. When I settle down here and begin to tell my tales, I’m able to slip back to those times when a woman devoted an entire day to doing the wash instead of grabbing a basket of clothes and tossing them into a machine in between doing her make-up and fixing breakfast before rushing out the door. I take a deep breath, look at the work to be done, and set about it. Slowly. Surely. At once, a sense of peace settles over me.

My hope is that readers will also feel this sense of peace as they journey with me to the past. I want readers to sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy stories of this world I’ve envisioned where men and women work hard, play hard, fall in love, and learn what gives meaning and value to life.

My vision for a better world is one where maybe we can all slow down a bit, enough, at least, to think about our lives, to think about the people we love, and to think about how we treat one another. I want a world in which we respect each other, where we celebrate and learn from diversity, and where we encourage others to live their dreams.  This is the world of which I write and this is why I write.

What is your vision for a better world?

 

 

 

 

 


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Let’s Peel Off the Labels

I’ve been browsing my bookshelves this morning…yes, real bookshelves. As much as I love my Kindle and my Nook and all the ebooks between the two, I still cherish “real” books, as well. Each book on my shelf brings back memories of who I was when I read — or wrote — it.  I often enjoy re-reading books, even ones I’ve written, and each time I do, I learn new things about myself. I see characters differently; their experiences affect me in different ways. Quite simply, I’m not the same person, so my reaction to a story won’t be the same as before.

I find that fact to be interesting and intriguing. It’s rather thought-provoking to realize that fictional characters can grow and change as our perceptions change.

What’s perhaps even more thought-provoking, though, is how often we fail to accept growth and change in people around us — not fictional characters, but friends, family members, loved ones.  Funny, isn’t it, how our perceptions of an individual can become so rigid that we won’t let them change.

These thoughts were prompted as I scanned the romance novels on the shelf. My gaze fell upon Once an Outlaw by Jill Gregory. It’s the story of young Emily Spoon.  Uncle Jake’s been released from jail. He and the boys swear they’ll go straight. But can Emily believe them? No one else seems willing to trust Jake and his sons, and soon Emily, too, sees evidence that her outlaw uncle has gone back to his old ways. As the saying goes, once an outlaw, always an outlaw.

That’s how it begins. We get an idea into our heads, and sure enough, before long we’ll start seeing evidence to support our beliefs. At least, that’s how it looks to us. Actually, all we’re seeing are the labels we’ve affixed to situations — or, more likely, to the people involved.

We expect outlaws to behave like outlaws. We expect the rowdy kid next door to cause trouble. We expect that no-account, spendthrift cousin of ours to come around begging for money.

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Maybe we get so caught up in our expectations that we can’t see beyond them.  We can’t believe Cousin Sam would actually drop by just to visit. We can’t accept the idea of that rowdy kid ever offering to help. He must have have some ulterior motive if he volunteers, right? Just like Sam ‘s probably just waiting for the right moment to take us aside to try to mooch a few bucks.

Yep. Once an outlaw…once a rowdy kid… once a worthless, no-account spendthrift… whatever the label, it’s too often permanently attached.

In Not the Marrying Kind, my newest historical romance from Secret Cravings Publishing, hero Joshua Barron knows all too well how it works:

Once a man—or even a boy—got tagged as a trouble-maker, a law-breaker, or any one of a half-dozen other labels the legal authorities liked to bandy about, he’d find himself surrounded by suspicions wherever he went. His life would be lived in the shadows of the doubts people had about him.

What about “good” labels? Isn’t it helpful, perhaps, to affix positive labels on people?

Maybe. Certainly it’s better to label an individual as clever or intelligent rather than dim-witted or slow, but there’s another lesson Joshua’s learned in his life. He knows that good intentions sometimes lead to bad outcomes.

Instead of making labels and sticking them on everyone we meet, how about dealing with each individual and each situation in the moment? Instead of basing our perceptions on what’s gone  before, or on what we expect to come in the future, why don’t we enjoy whatever the moment brings?

I know I’ve changed a lot over the years. I imagine you’ve changed, too. Everybody changes. If we’d be more willing to accept changes in others, we might be surprised by the results.

What do you think?