Happy Valentine’s Day!

A little late, but just wanted to say I hope you all had a great day. If you’re in a relationship, I hope you get everything you dream out of tonight. If you’re single, I hope you own it! Freedom and independence are gifts. Check out my latest video if you need a pep talk:

Quick writing update:

My apocalyptic series is flowing. I thought that writing my first book was the deepest learning experience I could ever know, but tackling this series has already taught me a lot. A lot of it writes itself, which is the magical experience I live for.

There’s a romance brewing, too. These characters developed an intense connection against my will. She was supposed to be with someone else. I didn’t want anyone to get hurt, but this was too powerful to be stopped. And I’m so glad it wasn’t! These two are one of the best couples I’ve written. They’re a perfect match, and it makes me happy that it wasn’t planned.

That’s it for now. Happy Valentine’s!


Writerly Wednesday: Letting People Read Your Sex Scenes

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, this #writerlywednesday I thought I’d talk about something that has been on my mind since I began writing: sex scenes.

I always knew that sex would be included in my writing. I like raw, emotional stories with both fantastical elements and a realistic edge. Even when I don’t show sex, my characters talk about it openly. Why wouldn’t they? It’s a part of the human experience. It’s the same with drugs. Or violence.

A simple truth about writing is that people are going to witness the stuff you think about. With sex scenes, you’re giving them a view into some small part of your erotic mind. Sure, I could sit down and piece together a scene that wasn’t at all based on my own desires. But what fun is that? Not that I’m an expert on writing arousing sex scenes or anything. I just figure if I’m turned on, someone else might be too.

That’s why it’s creepy to think about family members reading it.

There are a few routes you can take with this:

  • Conform your writing to a standard you feel comfortable sharing.
  • Write sex scenes, but tone them down as much as you can.
  • Adopt the life of a hermit and put out freakier sex scenes with each book.
  • Take the IDGAF approach. Write what you want. Get as freaky as you want. If it ever gets brought up, be willing to talk about it openly, because it’s your scene. You should be proud of it.

I’m pretty down with the IDGAF approach. Whether there’s anything “freaky” in Edge of Something More (my previously published book) is a matter of perspective. There’s what I would consider a normal amount of sex and sexual talk. My other books will probably have more. I’ve grown and matured a lot since I started working on this book many years ago.

I don’t think my parents have read much of my writing, but they know it includes this sort of content, and they don’t care. I am lucky to have a pretty laid-back, liberal family. No matter what, they are supportive of me working hard toward something I believe in. Plus, I was pretty wild when I was younger, so the fact that my stories show sex and drug use isn’t that much of a surprise to anyone.

In life, you have to do you. I’ll continue to write what I want and hope it finds its way into the hands of those who will enjoy it as much as I do. That’s all I really care about.

My Response to “5 Reasons Marriage Doesn’t Work Anymore”

By now, a lot of you have probably seen the viral article “5 Reasons Marriage Doesn’t Work Anymore” floating around social media. It was written by 29-year-old Anthony D’Ambrosio, who has a popular column in the Ashbury Park Press. D’Ambrosio is also a divorcee, and he seems to have little hope that marriage will ever work for the younger generation.


Here is the original article: http://www.12news.com/story/news/2015/12/31/sex-columnist-5-reasons-marriage-doesnt-work-anymore/78123994/


This whole thing rubbed me wrong. It’s clear that I’m far from the only person who felt this way. There have been numerous rebuttals, some of which are also going viral. After reading a few of those, I felt like I should write my own. I’m single, and I’ve never been married, but I have experienced a few long-term relationships that were like marriages, so I do relate. Also, as a romance author, I tend to think about human relationships a lot.


Before I go any further, I should point out that I too am unsure whether marriage is realistic in this day and age, or whether it’s ever been realistic in any age. I don’t place any value on getting married myself, at least not in the legal sense. I wanted to get married when I was younger, and looking back, I think it was only social conditioning that caused me to feel that way. Therefore, while I’m not closed off to the idea of marriage, I do agree with D’Ambrosio that for most people, a lifelong marriage isn’t realistic. I just disagree on the reasons why.


D’Ambrosio’s Five Points: My Rebuttal


I’m just going to go through the article and quote, and then respond to, the parts that I found annoying.

“I’ve spent the better part of the last three years trying to understand the dating scene again. Back when I met my ex-wife in 2004, things were just so different. Social media had yet to explode. I had this desire to ask her about her day simply because I didn’t know.”



That wasn’t one of his main points, but right off the bat, it irked me. No matter how much we might vent about our day on social media, people still go home and talk to their partners. This guy acts like people just come home and sit in silence because once you’ve mentioned something on social media, that’s it. You can never talk about it again. Sorry but that’s just not reality.

When something is really bothering me, I’ll vent about it on social media, then I’ll vent about it in real life, too. People still talk. Healthy, happy couples still talk. Unhappy, unhealthy couples have never communicated properly, and that was true long before social media.


Okay, now to the main points:


  1. “Sex becomes almost non-existent.”

I’m baffled by couples who neglect having sex, especially younger ones. We all desire physical connection, so how does cutting that off lead you to believe your marriage will be successful? It’s like telling someone you’ll take them out to a restaurant but they can’t order food.”

Uhhh… okay. Who are these couples who have just decided to stop having sex? I’m sure it can’t be denied that having children or being super busy can get in the way of your sex life, and chemistry and attraction can dry up between people for a number of reasons.  But D’Ambrosio seems to be implying that today’s young couples have made some sort of anti-sex pact, and I’ve never heard of such a thing.


If anything, people are more sexually free today than ever. Women are more open to discussing their desires, and there’s a lot less stigma about acting out whatever your kink might be. Look at the mainstream success of Fifty Shades of Gray. We liked it, and we weren’t afraid to show it.

It’s not just boredom that stops sex from happening. Everywhere you look, there’s pictures of men and women we know half naked — some look better than your husband or wife. So it becomes desirable. It’s in your face every single day and changes your mindset.”

Everywhere D’Ambrosio looks, he sees men and women he knows half naked? Interesting. I can’t even think of the last time I saw one of my friends half naked.

“It’s no wonder why insecurities loom so largely these days. You have to be perfect to keep someone attracted to you. Meanwhile, what your lover should really be attracted to is your heart. Maybe if you felt that connection beyond a physical level, would you realize a sexual attraction you’ve never felt before.”

I don’t think that’s true. I’ve dated a variety of men, and most of them haven’t expected physical perfection at all. If anything, it was the opposite. They thought I was beautiful in sweatpants and no makeup. Most people don’t look like movie stars in everyday life—not even movie stars. I don’t think that’s ever stopped anyone from getting it on.

I’m not saying there are never exceptions, just that out of all the issues we have in our society, I don’t see how a lack of desire for sex is one of them. When a couple stops having sex, it’s because something else is wrong. It seems D’Ambrosio is identifying a symptom, not a cause.


  1. “Finances cripple us.”

“Years ago, it didn’t cost upward of $200,000 for an education. It also didn’t cost $300,000-plus for a home.

The cost of living was very different than what it is now. You’d be naive to believe this stress doesn’t cause strain on marriages today.”

People also make more money today than they did decades ago. It’s all relative. If anything, wouldn’t harder financial times make people want to get—and stay—married? Things are easier if you have a partner that you trust to share finances with.

“You need to find a job to pay for student loans, a mortgage, utilities, living expenses and a baby.”

You are not required to take on loans you can’t afford, and you’re definitely not required to have a baby. If you can’t afford it, you probably shouldn’t. If you want a kid, awesome, but acknowledge that it’s your choice, and be aware that it’s expensive.

“This strain causes separation between us. It halts us from being able to live life. We’re too busy paying bills to enjoy our youth. Forget going to dinner, you have to pay the mortgage. You’ll have to skip out on an anniversary gift this year because those student loans are due at the end of the month. Vacations? Not happening.”

Once again, why did you get a mortgage you couldn’t afford?

Ugh. Officially annoyed. I should have just avoided this entire section, because the way people are about money really bugs me. Don’t do stuff if you can’t afford it. It’s that simple. You aren’t entitled to a house. You aren’t entitled to anything. And if you and your spouse are going to both agree to do stuff you can’t afford, don’t complain when things are stressful!

3) We’re more connected than ever before, but completely disconnected at the same time.

“You told your wife you made dinner reservations … through a text message.

Your husband had flowers delivered to your job … through an app on his phone.

You both searched for furnishings for your new home … on Pinterest.

There’s no physical connection attached to anything anymore.”

Here he lists out a bunch of stuff without saying why any of it is bad. Yeah, I text my friends. Yeah, I read their words instead of hearing their voices. So what? I’m also able to talk to them all day long while working. I’m also able to leave funny messages for them at night so they’ll smile and see them when they wake up in the morning. Because of texting, I’m available to communicate to the people who matter most to me—some of whom live states away.

“We’ve developed relationships with things, not each other. Ninety-five percent of the personal conversations you have on a daily basis occur through some type of technology. We’ve removed human emotion from our relationships, and we’ve replaced it colorful bubbles.”

Sorry but this is just wrong. I’ve shared very deep emotions and had wonderful conversations that brought me closer to people–all through text. Just because you don’t know how to pick up on emotion or express it using the written word doesn’t mean no one does.

“You want to know why your grandmother and grandfather just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary? Because they weren’t scrolling through Instagram worrying about what John ate for dinner. They weren’t on Facebook criticizing others. They weren’t on vacation sending Snapchats to their friends.”

Actually, that’s not even close to the reason. But you hate technology. We get it.

4) Our desire for attention outweighs our desire to be loved.

“Social media, however, has given everyone an opportunity to be famous. Attention you couldn’t dream of getting unless you were celebrity is now a selfie away. Post a picture, and thousands of strangers will like it. Wear less clothing, and guess what? More likes.

It’s more than that though. What about the life you live? I see pictures of people decked out in designer clothes, posted up in some club with fancy drinks — People that I know are dead broke. But they portray themselves as successful because, well, they can. And they get this gratification from people who like and comment on their statuses or pictures.”

So, because the people you know are pathetic and narcissistic, that means social media is ruining everyone’s relationships? Come on D’Ambrosio. The majority of people are not like this, and you have to know that.

5) Social media just invited a few thousand people into bed with you.

“We’ve invited strangers into our homes and brought them on dates with us. We’ve shown them our wardrobe, drove with them in our cars, and we even showed them our bathing suits. Might as well pack them a suitcase, too.”

He once again made a point without demonstrating why this is a bad thing. I do agree that spending too much time photographing and posting can remove you from the moment. However, snapping a quick pic or two and then taking the five seconds it takes to upload to Instagram is not a big deal. Some people become addicted to social media, sure. But people can become addicted to anything. I don’t personally know anyone who has had their relationship end because of normal use of social media.

Why Marriage Doesn’t Work for Everyone Anymore: My Personal Opinion

Notice I said “for everyone.” Marriage obviously does work for plenty of people, so implying that it never works is just silly. I do, however, think the expectation of a lifelong marriage is unrealistic for many people, and viewing it as something that will happen for all of us one day if we just believe is problematic. A lot of marriages will eventually end, and there are obvious reasons for that. D’Ambrosio, in my opinion, missed most of them.

  1. No Stigma for Divorce

A lot of people in past generations stayed together simply because they felt they had to, not because their lives were a blissful paradise free of social media.

     2. No Stigma for Staying Single

These days, it’s possible to live a full and happy life, and even have an active sex life, without ever being romantically involved with anyone. Sure, a few people might think you’re weird, but who cares?

     3. Everyone is Career Driven

Those with careers can of course get married, but when people are financially self-sufficient and passionate about what they do, their lives are full and they don’t need a partner to help them avoid boredom or provide them with money. They might still want a partner, but not needing one makes a big difference.

    4. Drug and Mental Health Problems

Most people I know, myself included, have battled with addiction or mental-health issues at one point or another. It’s difficult to be in love when someone is dealing with stuff like that, and sadly, a lot of relationships end up destroyed. I’ve personally lost someone I once loved very much due to these issues.

     5. A Clashing of Cultures

In the United States, we have many different cultures. Two people in the same neighborhood can be raised differently and have two opposing views on how life should be. We all have our own thoughts on everything, from God to food to what to watch on TV. You don’t have to be exactly the same as your partner, but marriage is hard enough without one of you being a militant atheist and the other being a Christian. With so many different types of people and no set values that we all share, it’s hard to find a match.

     6. People are just Assholes

I wish we could be honest about this. A lot of people just suck. They’re dumb, they’re mean, they’re selfish, and they make poor choices. Maybe they’ll even hit you or sexually abuse you. A lot of us have been hurt one too many times, and we’re backing away from the idea of marriage because we don’t want to have to go through it again.

     7. No Respect for Sex

Whether you think casual sex is right or wrong, you can’t deny that getting it is pretty easy if your standards are low enough. In a world of instant Tinder dates, webcam girls, and thousands upon thousands of hours of free porn, there isn’t much reason to leave the house—let alone commit to someone for life.

And maybe that’s okay. Maybe instead of spending so much time pondering why marriage isn’t working for a lot of people these days, we should take a step back and ask ourselves why we want it to. What good is it doing us to have all these people trying to get and stay married when it’s so damn hard? What’s the point?

I’m not saying there isn’t a point. Just that we should ponder it for ourselves rather than blindly accepting the idea that marriage is simply something you do. It isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Rather than feeling pressured, take some time to consider what’s driving you to want marriage in the first place. It might give you some perspective that will help you if you ever do get married.

D’Ambrosio did say one thing I agreed with:

“Marriage is sacred. It is the most beautiful sacrament and has tremendous promise for those fortunate enough to experience it. Divorced or not, I am a believer in true love and building a beautiful life with someone.”


Despite everything I said here today, I do feel that marriage is sacred. I’m really enjoying my time as a single person, but if I meet a nice man one day, and we find our groove together, I’m at peace with being a wife, too. If I ever say “yes” to a proposal, I’m going to mean it from the depths of my heart–otherwise, I won’t be afraid to say no. We now live in a world where people have options, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Review: Far from the Madding Crowd [Film]

Far from the Madding Crowd is a period film set in England in the late 1800s. It’s about a young, independent woman named Bathsheba Everdene, who inherits a farm and ends up in a position to attract three very different suitors. The first is Gabriel Oak, a shepherd who meets Ms. Everdene as her neighbor but then ends up working for her after an unfortunate incident with his sheep causes him to lose everything. The second is Mr. William Boldwood, a handsome older man with plenty of money and resources to offer. Then there is Sergeant Francis Troy, a soldier with a bad-boy attitude.

The film stars Carrey Mulligan (Ms. Everdene) , Mathew Schoenaerts (Gabriel Oak, the first suitor), Michael Sheen (William Boldwood, the second suitor), Tom Sturridge (Sergeant Troy, the third suitor), and Juno Temple (Fanny, Troy’s lost love from before he met Ms. Everdene). It’s based on the book by Thomas Hardy. Here is the IMDB page for the film and the Amazon page for the book.

 Warning: This review contains some spoilers!

 What I liked:

The setting was gorgeous. It doesn’t get much more romantic than the English countryside! One of my favorite things about period films is that they usually feature a lot of pretty scenery, and this one was no different.

I also really liked Ms. Everdene, at least at first. She had some fierce independence going, which is great to see, especially during a time in history when women weren’t respected as equals. I’m big on independence, as you can probably tell if you’ve read my “single life” blog series, so right away I related. Then of course there was Mr. Oak. He was gorgeous, and the chemistry between the pair captured my attention.

What I didn’t like:

After Ms. Everdene meets Sergeant Troy, the story took a strange turn. Her falling for Troy was bizarre and seemed to clash with her independent nature. He was cute enough, I guess, and I get that a lot of women are enticed by the bad boy. But also the whole “meet me in the woods so I can almost kill you with my sword” foreplay was just too weird for me. She had already turned down two nice, handsome suitors, and then she marries this guy? It just didn’t make sense. Also, this is probably just me, but if a guy ever sliced off a lock of my hair like that, they’d never find his body.

Troy was an interesting character, though, because he wasn’t a full-on bad guy, but he wasn’t that good, either. He clearly could be an ass, and he had a gambling problem, but he did seem to feel true love for Fanny. In fact, I almost felt that Troy and Fanny deserved their own story instead of being crammed into this one.

I would have liked it better without William Boldwood as well. Not because I didn’t like him, but because I did like him and couldn’t stand to see him hurt. It was his own choice to kill Troy in the end, but everything that led up to it seemed unfair to him.

Basically, I would have liked the story much better had Ms. Everdene simply said yes to Gabriel right at the start. He was SO attractive, smart, kind, and sweet. I guess “woman receives lamb from cute guy and gets married” would have amounted to a five-minute movie. It was satisfying to see them finally come together, but knowing Mr. Boldwood likely spent the rest of his life rotting alone in a prison cell really put a damper on their happily ever after, at least for me.

This movie makes a strong point that is undeniably true: Love can be complicated, painful, and often leaves a huge mess behind.

Rating: 4 stars for beautiful cinematography, great acting, and a frustrating-but-juicy story.

PS. If you’ve read the book, was it similar to the film? I was thinking the book might explain a bit more about the relationship with Troy and what was going through Ms. Everdene’s head. If you have any thoughts on the film or the book, please leave a comment.

Embracing the Single Life: Why Being Alone Might be the Most Romantic Thing You Could Do

If you’re anything like me, when you’re in a shitty relationship, romance is the last thing on your mind. You don’t want to think about cuddling, kissing, and going to nice restaurants with some amazing guy. You don’t want to think about sex. You’re too busy planning a move to some rural part of the country, where you can hopefully acquire a small, dark shack to live out the rest of your days in.

This is why I’m now a firm believer that you should get out of bad relationships as soon as possible. If having someone in my life causes me to feel less happy than I do without them in my life, that person gets the axe.

There is one requirement for maintaining this policy. You have to be willing to be alone.

Finding Peace with the Single Life

Maybe you’ve just gone through a breakup, and the pain is still fresh. Perhaps you’ve been single so long that it seems you might as well take the rural-shack route. Either way, taking a few minutes to stop and embrace the beauty of your single life can benefit you.

If you’re happy being single—awesome. I am too, and it’s a wonderful thing that I could rave about for hours. However, for this blog, I wanted to talk specifically about how being single can actually be a romantic choice that can assist you in not just finding a person but also the right one.

How Loving Solitude Can Help Prepare You for Your Next Relationship

Most of us, even those like myself who enjoy being single, would like to find an ideal partner to share life with one day. That is far from easy. The majority of couples don’t last a lifetime. That’s just how it is. However, happy partnerships do occur, so we all have reason to hope. And by being sinbookreader.jpeggle now, you’re actually doing the best possible thing you can do to attract your ideal romance.

  1. You’ll Have the Time to Think About What You Want

If you jump from one relationship to another out of desperation to not be alone, you’ll never have the peace and solitude required to reflect upon what it is you really need.

I’m a very big believer in the law of attraction. It’s mentioned in most of my stories, because I believe it to be a basic foundation of reality. To find the right person, you need to know what the right person looks like, and I don’t mean physically.

What sort of qualities would your dream partners have, and most important, how would they make you feel? If you can meditate on the feelings your ideal relationship would create for you, such as the feeling of being supported or how wonderful it feels to have a partner who gets your sense of humor, you’ll start attracting someone who will make you feel that way. Creating a vision board can help with this.

  1. Intimacy Will Feel like New Again

Okay, this one doesn’t apply to some of you, but I figured I’d go ahead and mention it. I don’t believe in casual sex under any circumstances. I’m not shaming you if you do. Please don’t think that. People should have freedom over what they do with their bodies, so if you feel casual sex is right for you, then go get yours.

That said, I reserve all forms of physical intimacy, from sex to cuddling, for people I’m in a committed, monogamous relationship with. Therefore, when I’m single for long enough, I start forgetting what these things feel like. In the future, when I do experience physical touch again, it will feel like the first time. There’s nothing quite like getting butterflies the way you did when you were young.

  1. You Won’t Come with Baggage

When we get out of bad relationships, a lot of people have a tendency to immediately look for another one. There are a lot of reasons for this, such as:

  • Fear of being alone.
  • Wanting to punish the ex.
  • The desire for sexual intimacy.
  • Hoping there’s a reason for all of this, and projecting those hopes onto an innocent person.

It all makes sense. It’s not easy to accept when someone hurts you. It leaves you feeling jaded and hating the universe. However, as a single person, you have the opportunity to work on healing and clearing the baggage out of your emotional mind without any distractions.

takeback.jpgYou’ll also have the chance to sort out deeper issues, such as childhood traumas, addictions, or other conditions that might be holding you back in life and love. That means, by the time a love interest appears in your life, you’ll be able to throw yourself into it with an open heart. You’ll also have developed the tools to walk away if it that person doesn’t turn out to be as great as they initially seemed.

  1. You’ll be Available

The simplest reason why you need to be single to find the right person is obvious: You’ll be available. What do most great romance novels have in common? They begin with single characters who are doing their own thing in life. Okay, maybe some romances do begin with scandalous circumstances, such as cheating, but the easiest way to prepare for a monogamous relationship is to  be available for one.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have standards or play hard to get. Just remember that if you stay with the wrong person out of fear of being alone, it’s going to be a lot harder when you eventually meet the right one.

     5. You’ll be Ready

The majority of people will embrace the possibility of romance when it shows up, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready. I am guilty of this myself. I never took the proper amount of time to heal after one of the hardest and most toxic relationships of my life. I should have realized what I’m seeing now: I need a nice, long period of my adult life to myself before I attempt to settle down with anyone.

Of course, embracing the single life doesn’t mean you’ll find the perfect partner as soon as you’re ready. It might take twenty tries, or it might take a lot more than that. But I do believe with all of my heart that the willingness to be single is a crucial component to finding the right person. Now that I’m on my own, I’m starting to believe in romance again. I won’t be attempting to date anytime soon, but if it happens suddenly, the way it does in novels, I’ll be open to it.

Until then, I’ll be enjoying my peace and freedom, doing what I want with my time, and experiencing true joy, because that’s how life should be. The right person will only enhance that.


After getting brutally dumped by his ex, Devin was ready to embrace the single life. Then Cora comes along. He’s fixing to throw in the towel and settle down—but is she? Or will they keep hovering on the EDGE OF SOMETHING MORE? Available now at Amazon.