Monthly Archives: August 2014

Sex and Emotional Intimacy

As someone with a passion for psychology, one of my favorite aspects of writing fiction is doing the research for new characters. For example, in my upcoming debut, my hero’s mother abandoned him when he was nine. Having no personal experience with that situation, I read many articles about the impact parental abandonment might have on a child’s psychological/emotional development, and the ways that impact might manifest itself in adulthood. Hopefully that work helped me create a realistic character.

But beyond writing, sometimes my research helps me with my own life and outlook, as happened recently while doing some homework on barriers to emotional intimacy (a very common problem for heroes and/or heroines in romance novels).

Throughout my life, I’ve been very comfortable handling criticism and openly discussing difficult personal issues. However, I usually have not been as comfortable accepting compliments or professing positive, intimate feelings. For some reason, I feel more vulnerable admitting to those emotions than I do addressing problems.  Perhaps the risk of rejection seems higher when saying “I love you” (where you don’t expect rejection) than when dealing with obstacles (where you are already confronting some kind of rejection). Whatever the reason, this difficulty can lead to feeling disconnected from the people I love.

If pressed, I could offer a dozen reasons why I’m so inept when it comes to ooey-gooey stuff, but one reason I hadn’t considered until today involves premarital sex. Not the fact that I had it, but apparently the “when” I had it matters. According to Five Levels of Intimacy, a relationship can get stunted at the level of emotional intimacy in which you first have sex, even if you’ve been married for fifteen years!  Because many people have sex very early in a relationship, getting stuck at a less-than-ideal level of emotional closeness is a real possibility.

Of course, working with your partner, you can “unstick” the relationship through counseling and other methods. The “sex fast” mentioned in the article might not be too appealing to your partner, but maybe the lasting benefits make it worth considering.

If you are feeling emotionally disconnected from your partner, you may want to read the full article. Although the author is working from a faith-based position, I think her points resonate even if you do not share her religious beliefs. In any case, I’m impressed by her honesty.  It’s inspired me to do some of the hard work I need to do in my own relationships.

As I embark on my journey, do you care to share any tips for increasing emotional intimacy?

XO-Jamie

Romantic Summer Reading

Many people believe summer is the most romantic season of the year. I’m not sure I agree with them, because my summers typically consist of a house full of kids and lots of travel with extended family…not intimate trips to France for wine-and-cheese picnics with my husband.

But there are some very romantic elements of the season, like the late evening sunsets, warm summer rain, the slightly slower pace people adopt in their daily lives, and the crickets’ chirping music drifting through the open windows at night. And let’s not forget those wonderful beach books, full of romance and adventure.

Sunrise at Palmetto Dunes, HHI 2014

Sunrise at Palmetto Dunes, HHI 2014

Long flights or car rides are ideal for finally getting around to one’s “to be read” pile. Mine is growing dangerously long. Thank goodness it’s electronic, otherwise I’d be dealing with a bit of a storage problem in my office.

I read some fun romances this summer and tried some “new to me” authors, but there are a few books I still need to get to, including some recent and upcoming releases. Courtney Milan’s The Suffragette Scandal is sitting on my virtual bookshelf, unopened. I’ve been waiting a year for Karen Robard’s third Charlotte Stone book, Her Last Whisper, which drops next week–FINALLY. Then I also have friends with debut books launching this fall, like Regina Kyle’s Triple Threat, and Sheila Athen’s The Truth About Love, among others.

One bonus of a long list is that, as summer turns to fall, the books let you extend the “romance” a little longer.

So tell me, what books are still on your TBR pile?

XO–Jamie

Girlfriend Getaways…and Sangria!

Short getaways with my gal pals always do wonders for my energy level. Getting out of Dodge for quick trips is a favorite way to rest and recharge so I can return home ready to tackle real life again. For me, any destination will do the trick, but I especially love my family home in The Land of Enchantment: Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Sunset in Placitas

Sunset in Placitas

Lucky for me, Jamie’s writing convention in Texas coincided with one of my visits home. So she hopped over here, and we spent the last few days hiking the beautiful Tent Rocks, enjoying a massage at Ten Thousand Waves, and eating the spicy local food (I got Jamie to try her enchiladas “Christmas” style, which means having both red and green sauce). Despite those activities, we spent most of our time “porching”. Just sitting under our covered porch in rocking chairs talking, laughing, crying, watching the storms roll in, and okay, sipping white wine sangria.

Tent Rocks National Park

Tent Rocks National Park

Now that I’m back on my own for a few days, I’m reminded of the restorative power of friendship.  We may rely on our husbands, boyfriends, and children for love and support, but the type of trust and love in friendship among women is one of the strongest and most crucial I know.  It’s not a relationship we should ever take for granted.

"Porching" with Sangria

“Porching” with Sangria

Have you been hanging out with your friends enough? If not, pick up the phone and make a plan. And just in case you need the white wine sangria, here is the recipe:

Martha Stewart’s Summer Fruit Sangria…A pitcher of this made with white wine, fruit and liqueur will get the party started!

Ingredients

6 cups assorted fruits (such as mango, peaches, cantaloupe, and pineapple)
¼ cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
1 to 1 ½ cups fresh basil or mint leaves
½ cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
1 bottle crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
Ice

Directions

In a large pitcher, combine fruit, ginger, basil or mint, and orange liqueur. Mash gently with the back of a wooden spoon until basil is bruised and fruit releases juices. Add wine and lemon juice and stir to combine. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to one day). To serve, fill eight glasses with ice and top with sangria.

XO–Katherine