Sunday, November 25, 2007

It’s My Party And I’ll Read If I Want To

Yippee. *toots party favor weakly* It’s my birthday today, which naturally made me fantasize that I’m someone else’s age instead of my own—like the age of younger, perkier heroines, to be exact. *wistful sigh* But not too young…

Currently, I’m reading an historical romance with a publication date a decade ago. The story is set in the 12th century, and after I'd invested lots of time into the book, I learned the heroine is...17. I’ll admit, this made me squirm uncomfortably, especially when she witnesses the hero getting, um, how shall I say…orally pleasured by another woman.

But let me back up a century or so ago…

I began reading romances at the tender age of 13, and at the time, my drug of choice was historical romances only. If I recall correctly, back then (and keep in mind I’m old now, so the memory isn’t as sharp), it seemed heroines were always 17 or 18, which to this 13 yo, felt very old. LOL So at the time, I wouldn't have batted so much as an eye at the current book I'm reading. I suppose it’s because I’m older now that a seventeen-year-old heroine in an adult romance (even historical) seems so young to me. But I’m about halfway through the book now, and the author—a best-selling, highly prolific author, by the way—did a fabulous job of characterizing the heroine and demonstrating that this was the way of that time period, where females were expected to marry young and grow up fast. And thankfully, the characterization is such that it’s easy for me to pretend she’s much older. ;)

This made me examine my past reading patterns and what I’ve gravitated to over the years as far as heroines, their age, and the stage they’re at in their lives. I dug back in the thick cobwebs of my creaky mind and realized something that gave me pause. Up through my twenties, I mostly read books with heroines that were older than me, no matter the genre. Yet as I moved into my thirties, I started searching for heroines that were closer to my age, or even a bit younger. It seems that pattern has carried me through to my current age of *mumbles secret number* where I seem to look for heroines who are closer to me in age and life stage. Perhaps a few years older is fine, too—but not too much older, at least for now.

Therefore, I concluded for me as a reader, although I do have personal limits that I just can't get past, I guess in general, my comfort of a heroine's age in a steamy romance is dependent on three things: my age at the time I purchase/read the book, characterization, and the genre and acceptable behaviors of the time period. As a writer, it’s dictated by the character herself, her circumstances, and yes, again the genre...although I do have my own secret cut-off that I just don't feel comfortable going below. ;)

So what’s your ideal age for a heroine in both reading and writing romances? How young is too young for you, and how old is too old? Does it change with your own age, or is it dependent on the expectations of the time period and/or genre of the book? Also, do you look more to escape to another age (be it younger or older), or do you prefer to read about characters you can identify with, who are closer to your own age? Or does it matter at all?

Titania Ladley also writes as Roxana Blaze. Check out Roxana’s new release SHADES OF PASSION, now available at Ellora’s Cave! And coming soon by Roxana Blaze…

FIRES WITHIN ~ Red Sage Publishing ~ April 2008
BREATHLESS ~ Ellora’s Cave Exotika ~ TBA

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Does sex keep you young?

Last night my husband and I (ages 43 and 42 respectively) went out to play some pool with some new young friends. And when I say young, I mean YOUNG! Celie recently took a maternity leave for a co-worker (here in Canada that means a full year) and although this is Celie's first full time job and she's tips the scale at a meager 23 years, she and I immediately hit it off. We've been out for drinks together, done some shopping....and planned a trip to the adult toy store so I can help her pick out her first vibrator! lol...So, last night when she and her boyfriend were looking for something to do in this new town, we invited them out to play pool...and we had a blast!

Perhaps that in itself, isn't blog-worthy. But what I decided WAS worth mentioning, was the fact that this seems to be a....trend with us. I have found in recent years that I tend to gravitate towards the younger crowd. Those young in well as young at heart. I find I have much more in common with my neice these days than with her mother. And I find that so many of the women I have called friends for the last 25 years have, bafflingly (is that word?) become OLD on me! If I am out for the evening with these friends our conversations tend to revolve around mortgages, kids and work. If I happen to comment on a young hunk that is walking by, I get only disapproving stares. And when 11:00 pm rolls around and I am just thinking it's time to hit the dance floor...they must head home, lest they turn into pumpkins.

So, while I still spend some times with my "old" friends, I have found I get much more enjoyment from interacting with young'uns (from ages 23 to 50)....people who like to indulge themselves in hedonistic activities like dancing and pool playing. Who aren't above trading dirty jokes, or discussing the advantages of battery-powered over glass. And who aren't always watching the clock, lest they stay out a few minutes past their bedtime and end up with bags under their eyes to mar their pristine-Sunday-morning persona.

So, I look at myself and ask...why? What is it about me that seems to make me so different from the friends I had so much in common with for so long? And the only answer I can come up with is...SEX! The erotica that I write and read, and the romance that is such a key part of my creative life... has spilled over into my "real" life and has had the unforeseen benefit of rejuvenating me. Of keeping the passion and spontaneity in my and my husband's life and, frankly...keeping us YOUNG! (Of mind, anyway, if not of body. Because I've still got the aches and pains of a 42 year old, that's for sure! lol)

So, my question, I guess is....what keeps YOU young? Do you think sex and passion can serve that function? That when our libido shrivels up and dies, that the rest of us will follow? Or am I imagining it and there is more to this equation that I am just not seeing?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Gearing Up For The Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and I’m sure you’re all gearing up as I am. I’m also trying to concentrate on what I toss between my lips because I know the holiday months add to my waistline, my thighs, and the extreme enlargement of my ass. Shoot. I think I'm in trouble. Why? Because just the other night, me and the hubby were in the sauna. I felt something knocking on the back of my knees when I was standing under the shower spray. I thought it was him. Hell no. It was my ass. God darn gravity and gravy is really going to do a number on my aging body between now and the end of the year!

That whole episode got me to thinking about planning a way to lose those liquid gravy pounds and enter 2008 in the same pants size—if that’s possible—or at least try and stay on top of my game. So today I started to exercise. First, I sat in a chair and I limbered up my fingers. Then I grabbed on to my belly roll and lifted, two,, two, three...managed to get in ten sets. Then I ate a plate of pasta for energy. Yup, I'm in training now! And tonight? I'm using cholesterol-free butter on my popcorn.

Okay, that’s the funny part of the holiday season. The BEST part will be sharing time with my family. Traditions are big with us. We make our entire dinner from scratch. A big red Italian meal that everyone has learned to expect. I know if I altered the expected menu there would be a riot all around! So the lists are starting: presents, food, guests, drinks…the beat goes on and on and doesn’t calm until January 2nd of the following year!

It’s amazing how our family group grows by the years. In-laws, grandchildren, friends stopping by. I love it. Oh yeah, don’t let me fool you. I stress like anyone else but in the end, it all comes together and I just keep reminding myself how fortunate I am to have so many wonderful people in my life. Oh, here would be a great place to mention the family growth. I’m going to be a grandma again come June of 2008!

So in honor of the holiday season, I’m spotlighting one of my holiday stories called WINTER’S ROSE. This book is part of a Christmas Studs series written along with Diana Hunter and Ruth D. Kerce. And I’m sooooo excited to announce that each of these digital stories are being combined in a PRINT holiday anthology that is being released in December!! Be sure to check my website for release details!

I guess it's time to wind down and make a chocolate malt. Okay, so I start my real regimen tomorrow. It’s always good to start a diet on a Monday, ain’t it? I want to wish each and every one of you a holiday season blessed with health and peace! I’d love to hear about your traditions – come on! Shout it out!

Love, Ruby

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Driving with a new teenage driver

I've reached that section of life that all parents arrive to when their children turn the ripe old age of 16. They know everything including how to drive. 6 hours of driving school and their the experts.
Now I understand why my mother never rode anywhere with me behind the steering wheel.
Curves are taken at a much faster pace and the car always seems to be on two wheels. Of course, they're not they just seem that way. I have to say I've never stomped the invisible brake on my floor board so hard or gripped the dashboard and car door handle so much to stay in the seat and I've got the seatbelt on.. But I'm wrong?
I guess it doesn't help that I tend to chant the mantra of Dustin Hoffman's character in 'Rainman"..I'm an excellent driver...and time for Wapner.
The occasional 'I'm gonna die' tends to slip out at times too when he gets a bit too close to the car in front of us. And I should have the strongest leg of all times with all the stomping I keep doing on the passenger side of the car. One of these days, I'll probably pull a Fred Flintstone and
push my feet through to the ground...ouch!
How is it that when you try to remain calm and explain what was done wrong, they look at you
like your that creature popping out of the guys stomach in that scary movie? Like--what moi did something wrong--no way. He knows it all.
Thank god for hair dye because he's turning it grayer at a phenomenal pace.
But I have decided, learning to drive a stick shift is all his Father's pleasure. I've done my time.
The only good thing riding around with a 16 year old driver has done..its kept the blood flowing to the brain and many ideas of how to kill off the villain have popped into my head. many have ties to driving a car with a teenager.
Thanks for listening to my rant
Tara Nina