Tag: romance novels

Nanowrimo Day 9- Girl Tax

WritingGirl.MR_Before I start.  We got the 300th follower on the blog today.  It is very exciting!  Thank you to everyone that reads.  Please don’t forget to comment and add into the discussion which I try to start.  I love my readers!

So today I did the Nanothon which is a day of writing.  After I got back from volleyball I wrote for 5-6 hours straight and got over 5k added to the story.  I have had repeated requests on twitter and this blog to share a bit of what I am writing.  I am hesitant to do so because I’m not 100% in love with my story.  Plus it is very, very rough (how can something you write in 30 days be anything but rough?)

But I’ve gotten enough requests that here is a section.  We are introducing the single character who grew up with a single Mom who felt that romance was a fairy tale and that life was going to be hard so you better be prepared.

She told her daughter about something called ‘The Girl Tax’.  This meant that any woman was going to have to work twice as hard as a man for success  because they are a woman.  She wants her daughter to prepare for the hard work and to not expect anything in life to be handed to her, especially a big ring on her finger.

I feel like there is potential in this dynamic.  I know people who feel there is a ‘girl tax’ or at least there certainly was and I can picture a weary single mom giving such advice to her only daughter.  Like I said, this is just my initial thoughts so don’t be too tough on it but the concept for a character is there.  Enjoy and I’ll keep sharing with you!

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Girl Tax-

This wasn’t the way life was supposed to turn out.  Growing up in a home with a single Mom Marnie knew that as a woman she would probably have to make her own way in the world. In fact, she hadn’t spent much time with men.  Aside from Becca’s husband she didn’t know her father and never bonded with male teachers or neighbors.  They were like a foreign oddity.

Her mother hadn’t helped with this either.  She would start her speeches with a give away about ‘saying I’m sure you will meet someone great who will love you but you need to make sure you are protected and can stand on your own.  A few people are happy  with men but most of us get a harder handout in life.

She would always end her speeches saying ‘nobody is going to hand you anything.  You better be ready to pay the girl tax”

“The girl tax?” marnie would ask.

“Yes, any woman is going to have to work twice as hard for everything as a man and don’t trust a man anyway.  They have the luxury of a world that expects them to lie and cheat and be successful.  It’s a man’s way in this world and life will not give you any favors” she says with more than a hint of bitterness.  It had been a hard life.

Marnie had seen her mother go through men like candy and a few of them were great.  There was one named Randy who would give her candy and take her to the movies.  Unfortunately he only stayed around for a couple of months.  Another nice one was named Sam who showed her how to bake bread.

It was amazing to see the yeast bubble and then punch down the dough as it blew up like a balloon.  The smells while it was baking was intoxicating and there is nothing better than hot bread with butter and honey.

Sometimes the speech would varied with men being “scumbags” and “disapointments” depending on the romantic entanglement of the moment.   That was why Marnie had moved so much.  Different men with all the same outstanding character traits of laziness and apathy.  Luckily none of them had hurt her but she couldn’t say the same for her mother.

Really the only constant was the playhouse her friend Becca and her shared at a field behind their homes (former home for Marnie but she was close).  It was beautiful, quiet and perfect.  This was the type of home she wanted.

One thing is for sure she would have a different life than her mother.  She wanted a career where she could support herself, a husband who loved her and kids that knew they were protected and supported.

She wanted love from more than just a mother who took care of her, fed and bathed her.  She knew that her mother loved her as much as she could but she also knew that she resented her for the life she could have led.  A life without a little girl to tie her down.

High school was the worst time of all.  She didn’t fit in with any of the clicks and all of the classes seemed so boring.  She wanted to be active, and busy not sticking her nose in a book.  That wasn’t the life that would work for her.  Fortunately she had her best friend Becca who stood by her no matter how many ear piercing or nose rings she got .  She had even thought about getting a tattoo at one point but Becca had talked her out of it.

Thank goodness for that because she’d still have a four leaf clover on her arm from a guy named Mike that she thought was her lucky charm.   For that act alone Becca was a lifetime friend but as long as she had been alive she had known that she had a friend in Becca.

So off to college she’d gone and so had Becca.  They spent every minute together but the boys were more taken with Becca than Marnie.  It was unclear exactly why but it wasn’t long before Becca was pairing up on dates with different men and eventually one stuck named Scott.  He was a handsome man with dreams of a career in the army.

They would excitedly tell the story to anyone who would listen about meeting at the ROTC on campus and how Becca helped him register for class and how she had sworn off dating.  For some reason that whole sworn off dating thing worked better for Becca than it ever had for Marnie.  In fact, dating at all wasn’t her thing.  She couldn’t figure it out.

“A man in uniform” she remembered Becca saying with a sigh.   “That is the life”

Now a marriage and 4 kids later Marnie’s best friend seemed to have gotten everything in life.  A handsome husband, beautiful kids and a house in the suburbs and what did Marnie have to show for her life?

She had gone into hospitality and then on to the culinary institute to become a chef.  Food had always been a fascinating thing for her and was a way she could make her mother happy on her long days of working in a factory making wheel barings  or waiting tables.  Food was love and she learned early h ow to make stews, sauces and pastries.  A specialty of hers is called Indian fry bread and it is fried dough that puffs up into a cloud and covered with powdered sugar.  Marnie and her mother would make it and get powdered sugar all over their noses and take photos of their sugar whiskers.

Sadly her mother was now gone.  She’d worked hard till the end and had a stroke 2 years ago.  Becca had been there for Marnie but she still felt so alone.  She hadn’t been able to give her Mother any grandbabies or show her what a great life she had gotten for herself.

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Super Date- Nanowrimo

A super date from my novel
A super date from my novel

So I Nanowrimo is coming up and I thought it would be fun to post another section of my last book.  In the story the 2 characters have spent a lot of time together but have never actually been on a date, so the male character decides to set up what he calls the ‘superdate’.  This is an all day affair that tries to help the female character conquer her fears, make her feel bold and empowered.

Remember this is a romance and it is not supposed to be realistic. Dating can be anything but super but I thought it was fun and these stories require a little bit of fantasy so enjoy.

With lunch done there are a few more hours of work and then it is time for the big date.  Oliver comes up to me and is visibly excited and this makes me excited! 

“Let’s go!” I squeal with delight.

Oliver makes me close my eyes as we pull up to a big cement building. As he guides me inside like a blind person I feel anxious with anticipation. 

“Open your eyes!”  Oliver says.  I look and at first am disappointed when I see what looks like an old grimy gym.  “Where are we?”

“It’s called American Boxing.  You can do boxing, mixed martial arts, kickboxing, whatever” he says with enthusiasm.

I give him a skeptical look.  Sometimes I wondered if he saw me through some type of magic filter.  “I don’t know if I can punch and kick like that” I say pointing to the all of the boxers who seem to kick and punch so hard and high. 

“You don’t have to be like them but trust me you will love it.  I bet you’ll become addicted to it.  Give it a shot”.

“Ok.  Why not!”

The teacher is named Isabella and she is a stunning athlete with rich Latino features and a big smile.  I look at her and look at me in the mirror and then look at Oliver.  I don’t get it.  You could date her, I think, what are you doing with me? Anticipating my thoughts he gives my hand a little squeeze and a kiss on the cheek.  I melt a little bit. Whatever he wants me to do I will try!

“First you wrap your hands” he says handing me a long pink roll that looks like an ace bandage for an ankle or wrist.

This looks tricky but with his help I get them over my hands until I look like a pink mummy. Then the red boxing gloves come over the wrapped hands.  It feels heavy but not as awkward as I might have expected.

Isabella holds up 2 punching mitts and shows me how to do a basic jab, undercuts and round kicks.  At first I worry about punching Isabella in the face but she seems to catch everything I do.  After about 15 minutes of awkward kicks and punches I forget where I’m at and it all feels more natural.  Kick, jab, and kick, uppercut, jab, and kick.  Before I know it 30 minutes has come and gone and I’m gasping from the exertion.  I’ve even forgotten about Oliver for a second but I look over at him and his mouth is agape.  “Whoa!  You were awesome!  I think we have found your gift!”

“Really?  You really think so?”

“Yes, it was awesome!”  Isabella agrees.  “We will definitely have to get you in here again soon.  Let’s set it up!”  I can’t believe that anyone thinks I can be good at something like this and that maybe I am?  It’s just an activity I never even considered.  It is so exciting!

“All right.  Let’s set up another appointment.”  I grab my phone from my purse and schedule ‘Meet Isabel’ for later that week.

I’m so thrilled by my unexpected success that I give Oliver a big kiss in front of Isabella and everyone.  It feels exciting and passionate.  Perfect for a super date!

“Ready to move on to the next adventure?” Oliver asks me?

“What else could we be doing?  This was awesome!”

Back into the car we go and he makes me close my eyes again. 

“All right.  Phase 2 has begun.  Open your eyes”.  I look and it’s another cement building but after having so much fun the last time I decide to give Oliver the benefit of the doubt and head inside. 

‘We are going to learn how to shoot! This is something I’ve never done so I thought it would be fun for both of us” he says.

“I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that! This is awesome!” I say with delight.  I have always wanted to learn how to shoot.  Strange I know but true!

Our instructor Ray gives us the massive ear covers and teaches us how to aim, shoot and withstand the force of the shot.  Keeping the target relatively close I take aim and fire! The bullet goes in the posters shoulder. 

“That’s good for your first time” the Instructor says.  Oliver tries and has better luck closer to the heart.  Wet a couple rounds for each of us and honestly at the end my shoulder and arms are sore (especially after the boxing!). 

“That was awesome! I loved it!” Then I add “Thank you so much” I give Oliver another kiss. 

“You’re kind of cute with a gun.”  he says with a wink.

“Gosh I love you!” I say with a smile and give him another kiss. 

“I love you too!” he says and we head out of the building.  All it took was shooting and boxing but we had both said we loved each other.  The big L word!  This was definitely the best day of my life!  I can tell that he is thrilled with the moment also.  His smile says all the work on the super date was just made worthwhile!

“One more stop!” he says with excitement.

“What, no.  This is enough!” I protest.

“We’ve got to eat something! He says.

Again he gets me into the car and makes me close my eyes.  And again he tells me when to look. 

When I open my eyes I see another cement building.  At first I don’t get it and then I see it is Mel’s Wing House.  What on earth?

When we get seated Oliver will not let me order but places it at the front desk away from me.  The wings arrive and they look delicious but before I dive in Oliver gives me a warning.

“These are the fieriest wings they make.  You’ll love it!” 

With great trepidation I pick up a wing and take a bite.  “Oh my gosh!  That is so hot!”  I grab a drink of milk and Oliver laughs.  My eyes are watering and my mouth feels numb. 

“Try one more and here are some lighter ones as well but the spicy really does have a deeper flavor”

After about 3 of the spicy and a few of the mild I can start to appreciate the experience of eating the spicy wing.  It shocks you but that is part of the fun of it and eating above all things should be fun shouldn’t it?

“It’s delicious!  Thank you.  I’m so excited to know about this place.  It is totally the type of place that I would never have gone to on a date before but it’s delicious.”

“Why wouldn’t you have gone here on a date?” he asks

“Because it’s messy and unladylike.  I would have been afraid of spilling on my clothes.  I had about 3 items I could order on a date and most of them required a lot of cutting with a knife and fork.  No fingers.”

“I’m glad we met in the way we did.  You weren’t trying to impress anyone and neither was I.”

“Me too.  We could always be real with one another.  Once you are caught crying about your mother visiting it is hard to be not be real” I say with a smile. I had sauce all over my fingers and my lips felt fiery with all the heat.  When we kissed his lips felt spicy and it made my whole body tingle.  It was certainly clear to me why Oliver had picked this restaurant. 

As my body and mouth started to cool down I could feel the chili peppers in my stomach. I hope I didn’t get sick but luckily the wing place had frozen yogurt as well and that helped cool everything down.  It was all unforgettable!  The whole night was unforgettable.  It really was the super date.

“So you did it.  Best date in history! I only have one question for you…” I say with a flirty smile.

“What’s that?” he asks

“How are you going to top this?  Setting the bar pretty high for the first date don’t you think?”

“That’s how I intend to do things! Set the bar high and keep jumping over it”

“I have one more question for you” I say with a slight degree of awkwardness.  This is the big question.  “Why me?”  I couldn’t help for a second to think of Isabella at the gym.  “You could have anyone you want.  Why me?”

“I could ask the same thing of you.  Why would you a master’s graduate want to be with someone who is a college dropout?  Believe me I’m every bit as insecure about that as you are about your weight. “

“But that doesn’t matter to me at all” I say in amazement. 

“See, I feel the same way about you.  Will you finally believe me?” he says

I look into his eyes deep inside. I have to know for sure and I finally I know.  He is the real deal.  He really loves me as much as I love him.  Wow.  I still can’t believe it!  

“I meant what I said earlier.  I love you! I’ll never be perfectly secure but maybe if I am loved by someone as great as you it will get better. It’s been such a long year I don’t know what I think about myself.  On one hand I feel strong and the other it has been a very weak year. Panic attacks, anxiety and more”

Another kiss and I look down and ask one more question “What would you think if I still quit my job?”

He looked surprised but nodded “Even with all the changes Rich has installed you still want to change?”

“Yes, I just keep getting this feeling that God needs me somewhere else.  It won’t be right away but maybe at the end of the summer? Who knows why God wants us one place or another? I couldn’t tell you but I keep hearing the direction to ‘make a change’.  I’ve been hearing it for three years and I can only ignore it for so long.  Believe me I know what it feels like to push against what God wants you to do and it is not a pleasant experience.”

“If that is what God wants you to do than he will prepare a way for you to accomplish it? Go for it!” he said with more enthusiasm than I expected. 

“It seems crazy to quit a job with benefits and good pay in this economy but I’ll end up having another panic attack if I don’t follow what God has in line for me.”

“Who cares what other people think?  Your family and friends will support you and that’s what matters.” He says

“You are right.” I feel like this was the lesson I have to keep relearning again and again throughout my life.  “Don’t’ care so much about what other people think” my mother used to say.  Caring what others would think of me had caused my panic attack and yet I couldn’t quite get it out of my head.  Perhaps nobody can but I will try and do better at it.  I know my life would be a lot happier if I could figure out that one thing.

“I’m not sure when I will make the announcement but it will be such a crazy day.  I think I will talk it over with my Dad while he is here because the last thing I want to do is appear ungrateful”

“That’s that caring what other people think thing again…” he says.

“Oh yeah, darn it but it is good to be considerate of other people’s feelings” I say in response.

“True.  Just be cautious and don’t use other people’s opinions as validation for your own self-worth.  That is the most important thing.  God should tell you who you are and your value not any person, even me” he says.

“Do me one favor” he adds “give me a couple days heads notice when you are leaving.  That might be a good time for another super date!”

“Deal! If it’s anything like this night I am in for a treat.  It has honestly been the best night of my life!  Thank you so much!” I say with glee, giving him one longer, soft, still a little spicy kiss.

“By the way, I think it might be a good idea for us to implement a new rule, I will call it the 20 seconds in heaven rule.”

“What is that?” he asks with a questioning expression.

“It’s that we cannot kiss for more than 20 seconds especially when we are alone.”  I then explain that I made a promise to God years ago that I would remain morally pure until marriage and it’s just too darn fun and exciting to kiss him.  “I don’t want to risk breaking a promise to God.”

“That’s going to be hard but I agree. Most of the married couples I know who waited seem to have the best marriages.  I think if we work together on this we can do it.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever loved you more than at this moment.  Let’s do it!” and then we kiss maybe longer than 20 seconds.  It will take some getting used to!  At least we are heading in the right direction and on the same page.

“Life is certainly going to be interesting the next few months.  I’m curious to see how it all turns out” I say with a sigh.

“Me too.  Curious and excited!  Let’s go home.  I’m exhausted. “

So that was the end of the super date.  The great thing was each part of the date was repeating many times in the months to come.  I started going to the boxing gym at least twice a week and the wings joint became a regular favorite.  I would certainly never look at hot sauce the same way.  Probably the greatest blessing of the super date is I learned ways to release adrenalin, aggression and frustration in healthy productive ways.  It was so exciting and I was so grateful for Oliver to introducing me to every part.  My rapid heartbeat lessened with each balanced happy day and I became all the closer to being an anxious free, happy person.

Ah, the good a super date can be!