Are you a lover of romance in literature?

I have to admit that I’m more drawn to books that have a romance thread in them, than those that don’t.

I even went through a phase of reading one Harlequin romance after another. While they weren’t necessarily the best reading quality, they were fun, light, a quick read, and the men were simply yummy.

But it also didn’t take long for me to grow bored with them. And they certainly weren’t memorable. I can’t even tell you the name of one book or character from those days.

romance

Then I transitioned into better quality romance, such as those by Julie Garwood. The Clayborne brothers sticking with me the most. But none of her books disappointed.

I find it interesting that in my own young adult years I was more drawn to romance novels with heroes who were unquestionably “men” – the teen romance novels just didn’t really do it for me.

Yet now in mid-life, I’m far more drawn to young adult books, with a romance thread. I really don’t feel that it’s so much about the age of the characters, but more about their characteristics. I find that I enjoy the fantasy/paranormal/magic angles more so than other genres and sub-genres and with that I really enjoy the type of characters the male roles tend to take on.

Some may say that they don’t find the male roles depicted in YA books to be accurate to their age. I’m not so sure, I think the behaviours we see from many teens these days can be a lot more mature than what we may expect (I know my own teens constantly surprise me). But I also feel that the sub-genre of YA that I read tends to lean towards a more mature nature for the actual ages of the characters – there’s something about life and death scenarios wrought with sudden onsets of immense magic and power that causes an individual to mature a wee bit quicker!

romance

But either way, I feel that the writers of these YA novels are definitely building in some ageless traits that simply make the male leads quite irresistible! (Do others feel the same way about the female counterparts?)

I’ll admit that the Twilight Saga is one such YA series and I never was able to settle on team Edward or team Jacob. Other YA books that pulled off a nice thread of romance that added enticing dynamics and male roles that caught my attention include: The Auctor Trilogy, Elfin, Fallen, Mortal Instruments… just to name a few. Which are your favourites, any of these or others?

I’ve been trying to consider if I’ve had any book crushes over the years, but I can’t honestly say that anyone in particular jumps out at me. Though there have unquestionably been several that caught my attention!

What about you? Are you for or against romance? Do you, or did you, have any boy- or girl- book-crushes that you care to share?

romance

What is an aura? Can they truly be seen?

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of auras. So it’s not really surprising that they took a role in my books.

Aside from the slightly crazed look in this guy’s eyes, this picture is a pretty good visual representation of the experience Amanae has with auras as described in Dreams of Beautiful Whisper.

Did you know that there are people who claim that babies are capable of seeing auras naturally up until about 5 years old? It’s claimed to be the reason that babies are more drawn to some people than others. And why they often seem to be looking above your head instead of directly at you.

I say “claim” because so far as I can find, as of the point of writing this article, there are no actual scientific studies to prove any of this. Now in my opinion, that point is irrelevant. But there may be some that disagree with me and that’s cool.

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So basically, an aura is the electromagnetic energy field that surrounds people. Some research indicated that anything that requires oxygen will have an aura. Multiple articles also support the theory that there are seven auric bodies (layers) consisting of physical, astral, lower, higher, spiritual, intuitional, and absolute planes.

There is also a reported connection between the seven auric bodies and the seven Chakras.

an aura

I personally find this topic very intriguing, though I am by no means well educated on it and most certainly not an authority on the topic. But it is one of the few “fantasy” concepts that seems to have a place in our real world. That in itself gives me hope that we’ll be communicating telepathically in no time!

A world full of real magic? Yeah I’m ok with that, even with all the complications and risks it brings!

But I digress.

Being the curious sort, I’ve read up on several articles that talk about how we can actually train (or retrain) ourselves to see auras.

Now I have two confessions.

  1. I haven’t succeed in seeing my own aura yet.
  2. I haven’t really practiced it much because I’ve been too busy reading about it and writing!

 

But I intend to keep trying!

an auraThe most common approach to seeing an aura seems to be by standing in front of a plain white wall, in a dim, nearly dark room. Hold your arms out in front of you, with your index fingers touching. Then slowly separate your fingers just slightly and, with a soft gaze, focus on the wall beyond them. The theory is that you will see a sort of hazy, bluish colour surrounding your fingers. With practice you will see more and more colour and the colours will eventually become more vibrant.

The exercise reminds me of when I once attempted to learn the art of Reiki. One of the beginner exercises has you hold the palms of your hands just above your thighs without actually touching until you feel a heat movement between your palms and your thighs. I was able to succeed with that exercise, so I’m hopeful on the exercise of seeing auras!

I think part of my problem is that I need to meditate more to calm my mind. Stillness, of mind or body, is a rare thing for me, and something tells me that the ability to see auras does require a certain amount of stillness discipline.

Sounds like it’s something I could benefit from on multiple levels!

While I’ve read many articles in the research of auras for both my books in the past, and more recently again for this article, I honestly wouldn’t be able to cite them all, there were far too many. But one that was more recent that I found to be quite informative was found here: https://exemplore.com/auras/How_to_See_Auras – if you’re interested in reading more on this.

What about you? Do you believe in auras and/or the ability to see them? Have you tried? Have you succeeded? Will you try now after reading this article? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear about it.

 

What if your life wasn’t really what you think it is?

Have you ever wondered “what if”? What if magic were real? What if mythical creatures were real?

What if you’re not actually human?

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I’m sure you’re starting to gather from the nature of my articles that these are definitely thoughts that cross my mind!

I’m frequently asked where I came up with the idea for my book Dreams of Beautiful Whisper, and to be honest, I never really have a particularly good answer. It’s just something that kind of happened.

But the question plays in the back of my mind and I’ve been coming to the conclusion that it likely came from years of fantasizing about these very “what if” ideas.

what ifWhen I was a child I loved the Smurfs. I had (ok let’s be honest, I still have…. Yes at 42) a life size Papa Smurf stuffy. Well life size to a 6 year old! I also had a much smaller (and less scary) Smurfette stuffy.

We lived in a rural area just outside of the city of Calgary, Alberta, and when we would go to the city there was a farm on the outskirts that had this tiny little building. I’ve since learned that this little house was the cover for some gas pipes, or maybe a well head. But as a child my grandparents convinced me that it was a house for “the little people”.

Well Smurfette went missing one day and I was super upset. My grandparents convinced me not to worry, that she had simply gone to visit “the little people”.

Months later, a once loved, but since forgotten, Smurfette reappeared. Terribly dirty, but fully intact. An occurrence which my grandparents latched onto to solidify their story that Smurfette had simply been on a journey to visit “the little people”.

I suppose this was the start of my secret desires and beliefs that such things COULD be real!

Fast forward a couple decades (yeah ok, three), and my dormant childhood “what if” ponderings resurfaced with an urgency that couldn’t be ignored.

what ifWhat would it be like to be an Elf? Elegant and regal and magical? What if, one day I were to find out that my life as I knew it wasn’t the full story? What if I had 74 years of a past that I couldn’t remember, along with a twin sister (another childhood dream and many hours of pretending I did have a twin… I got really good at fast wardrobe changes in an attempt to convince neighbourhood friends!)?

So many of these scenarios have taken on a life of their own in my books. One might think that it’s a great way to get such whimsical thoughts out of my head, but I fear it has simply made them grow! (Ok I don’t fear it, I love it actually!)

One of the best compliments that I’ve received from a reader is that by the end of the first book they very much wished that THEY were an Elf! How delightful!

I know for myself, that I do very much love the idea of so many mythical possibilities being real in our lives.

Of course there are many dangers that could also potentially surface if all things mythical were in fact real, and there are considerations of what it would do to life as we know it if they were. These considerations are the premise for many of my weekly articles, I find them quite fun to explore!

So what are some of your childhood “what if” fantasies? Did you dream of being an Elf? Of having magic? Of being a time traveler? Being able to talk to animals? Oh there really are so many “what if” scenarios that can bring the imagination to life!

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What do you think your life would be like if your deepest, mythical “what if” desire were to become reality?

what if

If you could shape-shift, what animal would you pick?

Since I’m a lover of animals, both real and mythical, choosing an animal form that I would have the ability to shape-shift to is a nearly impossible choice for me.

There are many animal forms that are majestic, beautiful and powerful – which really sums up the whole reason I would want the ability to shape-shift in the first place. Aside from the fact that it’s a magical ability, and we already know how receptive I am to magic in general, there’s simply something about being that closely connected with an animal form/spirit/guide that I personally find enticing.

In an attempt to prevent this article from turning into a book of it’s own, I’m restricting myself to exploring three possible animal choices! Those would be dragon, wolf, and horse… nope, make that four, tiger as well, since this is my Chinese Zodiac animal.

A dragon would without question be my first choice. But why? Well, really? Ok, I suppose some might need a reason… but we’re talking about dragons! LOL

shape-shift

For me, dragons are the be all of magic. They’re majestic, powerful, graceful and simply to be revered. I know there are all sorts of tales and variations of dragons in literature across the decades. But for me, I’m drawn to the best of everyone and everything. I rarely see the darkness even in dark beings. So when you strip away all the potential badness that goes with the image of a dragon, you are left with pure magnificence.

As a demonstration of my deep admiration of dragons, here’s a very small, teaser excerpt from book 2:

His scales glisten like diamonds; his claws are massive, sharp talons; his wings are perfectly symmetrical with an elegance to them that almost makes them seem delicate; even his tail is deceptively beautiful though it doesn’t take much imagination to know the damage that could be done with a simple flick of the spiked tip.

So hands down, with the magic, flying, fire-breathing, power and grace – dragons would be my first choice.

Having said that, I’ve always felt a profound connection to wolves, horses and tigers for various reasons.

shape-shiftHorses have been one of my passions since before I was old enough to walk, that simply grew as I grew. The Black Stallion movie and book series were my go-to for years. I’ve owned horses pretty much my entire life and their wisdom and intelligence fascinates me. They’re incredibly loyal and let’s face it – Unicorns are horses too, which brings us back to magic!

 

shape-shiftI’m not sure that I can explain my connection with wolves. It could perhaps be related to the fact that my parents bred Malamutes when I was a child and they were my real-live-teddy-bears as well as my protectors. People often relate wolves to loneliness, but the reality is that wolves travel in packs and there is something deeply admirable about the leader of the pack who tends to rule fairly but firmly. I’m also very drawn to their protective nature, as I too am a protector.

Then we have tigers, which clearly I have a connection with because of the Chinese Zodiac. Since I’ve always been drawn to both the Western and Chinese Zodiacs, I’ve read a fair bit of literature on being a “Tiger” and in fairness, the vast majority of the descriptions associated with being a “Wood Tiger” are very accurate, so there is a level of logics behind being able to shape-shift into tiger form.

shape-shift

But even after speculating on all four of these, I still come back to dragons. So maybe this really wasn’t as nearly impossible as I first thought it would be!

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Out of curiosity, after completing this article, I posed the question to my 15-year-old daughter. Without hesitation she declared that a wolf would be her choice for shape-shifting. When I asked her why, she chose to write out her answer and send it to me by text:

shape-shift

She never ceases to amaze me. Those are 100% her words and insight – and to think, I’ve had two people try to suggest to me that the voices of the teens in my novel aren’t realistic… Anyone who has read my first book will very likely feel a slight draw to the text above, since it’s been the teens in my life over the years who have significantly influenced my writing.

But I digress (she just truly amazes me at times…) – getting back to shape-shifting… what would be your animal form of choice?

Never be late again with Teleportation?

So I have this rather horrible trait of constantly running late, for pretty much everything in my life.

ladies watch photo - teleportationIt doesn’t come from a lack of caring or irresponsibility. It’s more akin to Murphy (as in Murphy’s Law) and I having a severely ongoing battle of who’s going to get the upper hand. I’m sorry, but he really is kind of a jerk and he’s a sore loser. So any time I actually manage to be on time for something, you can guarantee that the next several days or weeks of my life are going to be hell.

But he’s also incredibly crafty, because he recruits pretty much everyone in my life to conspire against me. I can honestly say that the vast majority of the time that I’m late for something it’s because of a delay caused by someone else.

Sounds like an excuse or me trying to place blame. But that truly isn’t my nature, I’m a firm believer that we all need to take responsibility for our own actions and destiny, and be accountable for our own lives.

So if I dig a little deeper, the truth of the matter is that I have a massive challenge with saying “no” to people. If someone needs my help, I’m all hands on deck without a second thought. I try to be clear about my obligations and responsibilities, so I’ll be up front that I have to leave by a certain time.

But yet again, this is not an area of strength for me. Everything has a habit of taking longer than we expect (at least in my life… a lack of project management skills perhaps?). So as the clock ticks by, I end up feeling massively guilty at leaving someone in the middle of something that I know they still need my help with.

It gets to the point that it’s typically best if I just make sure that I don’t actually need to be anywhere at a certain time. In fact, my daughter has declared that “I’m in a Hurry” by Alabama should be my theme song!

Now these are personal traits that I could absolutely work on (and I do) and strive to be better… but you know, if we had the ability to teleport? Well I have to say that with teleportation my problems would be SOLVED!

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For starters, if we could all teleport, then I wouldn’t have to play taxi for my kids several times a day. And really, if they needed to be accompanied (which at their ages is rare), it would only require minutes of my time as opposed to hours.

When I think about how much time I spend commuting for different things, it’s ridiculous how much time I lose for things that are more productive or fun.

Having said that, I am what people call a “driver” – meaning I enjoy driving, I’m a good driver, and you RARELY see me as a passenger with anyone. So even with the ability to teleport, I wouldn’t want cars to become obsolete.

1972 barracuda photo - teleportationOf course with teleportation being a thing there wouldn’t be the need to drive as much or as often, it would become more of a thing we do for pleasure… a lovely Sunday drive into the backcountry or the mountains. Or as a means to just get away for a bit for some quiet thinking time or to listen to an audio book.

Think of how much less road rage there would be too!

If you’re running late or in a hurry – teleport. When you’re relaxed and time isn’t an issue – drive your favourite car. (And yes, a 1972 purple Barracuda would count as my favourite car!)

I really would be ok with a lifestyle that included teleportation and can’t really think of any downside to it. I wonder if millions of people teleporting would cause some kind of air or particle jams (I really don’t know the science behind this lol).

Over to you – what are your thoughts on teleportation? Would you enjoy the ability? Would you be uneasy with it?

teleportation

Photo by emiliokuffer  Photo by sv1ambo Photo by GuySie