The Voice

This post is for the writers out there who are always ready, willing and quick to disbelieve that readers enjoy their writing.

Yeah, I’m talking to you...

“The Voice”.

As writers, some of us have it and some of us don’t.

To me, “The Voice” is the kind of writing that makes me lean into what I’m reading. The kind of writing where I can actually “hear” the writer’s tone, rhythm and cadence of their words in my head.

It’s almost as if the writer is a friend sitting across from me at the coffee shop talking to me.

“The Voice” can be raw with emotion, drip with sarcasm or be as gentle as a whisper. And with each and every sentence, that voice is always genuine, vulnerable and authentic.

We all strive to have our voice shine through but like I said, some writers already have it and when we “hear” it, we should tell that writer. It could give them the boost of confidence they may need.

That’s what I plan on doing from now on when I hear “the voice” – when I hear it, I’ll say it.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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Great Sex Requires Effort

(Repost)

Just enough intensity …anticipating what will happen next …before diving deeper…visualizing just how …

love girl kawaii heart hearts

*This updated post from February 2017 now includes a link to a short scene I wrote*

Rekindling passion was part of my 52 Things In 52 Weeks challenge, that is, my passion for reading.

I signed up for a Kindle Unlimited because I’m always hearing about how writers should read outside of their genre and it seemed the most efficient way to have access to tons of books.

Mind you, I’m guessing my genre of writing fits into “women’s fiction” but I knew that I couldn’t go wrong with choosing books under the “romance” category. Or so I thought…

I think that the definition of “romance” may have changed when I wasn’t looking.

I started and stopped reading a number of books after just a few chapters, either because lots of Easter Eggs and back story were given away within the first few pages or because the book was simply a string of sex scenes strung together by an anemic storyline.

Call me old-fashioned but great sex scenes in a novel require more than sexually explicit words tossed carelessly onto a page. Or a bed.

In my opinion, writing a great sex scene requires effort, patience and some kind of love thrown into the mix in order to give the characters a happy ending.

That pun was totally intended! 🙂

But there was one e-book that had me shaking my head at just how quickly things unfolded and then deflated.

The breakdown of the book?

4% : Female character (FC) tells her boyfriend that she’s pregnant and the boyfriend dumps her.

6%: FC gets upset, storms out, has a minor accident and is helped by a sexy rugged stranger who takes her home because he lives nearby.

11%: FC tells sexy man her entire story and that she is pregnant. There’s a storm brewing so sexy man insists that she stay in his guest room.

13%: FC and sexy man fall into bed. He declares his love for her and tells her that he is ready and willing to love her and her baby.

Really?

All of that at the 13% of the book? Isn’t that a little quick? Where could the rest of the story possibly go?

I was curious enough to speed read through the rest of the 87% so I really can tell you where the rest of the story went:

Spiraling fast downhill until it crashed and burned.

  • No tense sensual build up between the characters.
  • No slow burn towards that first kiss.
  • No flirty moments between the two characters.

Nothing. Nada. Nein.

I’m not looking for the chaste vanilla of the Harlequin romance books my Granny devoured or the BDSM of Fifty Shades of Grey. There’s nothing wrong with themthey just aren’t my preference.

I can do without the 20 different words to describe the same body part and the blow-by-blow accounts of which body part went where and at what frequency…

I like my “romance” with just enough intensity between main characters that leaves me anticipating what will happen next between them. Romantic scenes that make me want to read and reread certain scenes before diving deeper into the book. Visualizing just how a scene would unfold in my mind.

Less is more.

And a little imagination is good for the soul.

Update: When I reread this post, I decided to write a “sexy” short story. Inspired by being on the beach, I started with one sexy scene and worked my way back to drafting a story line.

If you’re interested and over 18+, feel free to take a read via the link below.

*Mature 18+ content warning*

Straight, No Chaser

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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Lessons from The Good Old Days

Yesterday, I wrote about the Good Old Days.

If you are a “younger” reader who didn’t experience any of what I listed yesterday, it probably sounded like a frightfully archaic time.

Yeah, I see the wheels in your head turning and thinking, “What was so great about all of that? And no internet? She’s cray cray!”

Those were good times because when I look back as a full fledged adult, I realize just how great of a training ground it was – hardships and all.

I won’t speak for any of the other “seasoned” readers here but I will speak for myself when I say that :

  • I learned the art of patience – like saving up birthday money over a period of years to buy something I really, really wanted which made the purchase sweeter and the buzz lasted longer;
  • I appreciated the non-material things in life – like hanging out listening to old stories of family/friends or taking a impromptu day trip across the border (5 of us piled into the backseat pre-mandatory seatbelt days) to Pizza Hut before they existed in Canada;
  • I understood the clear difference between “needs” and “wants“. Just because I wanted something didn’t mean that I would get it. And with South American/Caribbean parents, even if I could use my birthday money and they said no, I knew better than to ask “why”. “No” was a full sentence and no explanation was provided;
  • I learned that good behavior and manners were expected (and not always rewarded);
  • I developed reasoning skills by figuring out certain problems on my own and being self-reliant because my parents weren’t, wouldn’t and couldn’t be at my beck and call;
  • I appreciated the boundaries between work life and home life that my family tried to keep;
  • I understood that the more effort I put into getting something I wanted, the sweeter the feeling of accomplishment was when I actually did get it;
  • I enjoyed that every minute of each day didn’t need to be filled with “doing something” – it was okay to just sit back and do nothing sometimes.

Today, life is all about expediency with less efficiency...

Throwing money at the latest trendy gadget the moment it’s released when its not necessary to even buy…

Keeping up with or trying to outdo the Joneses because of FOMO (fear of missing out)…

Being trapped in an addictive loop of “fake busyness” that does nothing to advance the important things in life.

Yeah, I sound like an old fuddy duddy today but I’ve been witnessing some incredibly ridiculous ridiculousness these days as “Back to School” shopping has begun. 🤔

What positive lessons did you learn from the good old days?

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews

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The Good Old Days

Do you remember the good old days when:

  • a letter from a friend or a monthly magazine in the mail was one of the highlights of your day;
  • your elementary school participated in “penpal” programs with other schools in far away exotic lands;
  • you looked forward to getting a loot bag at a friend’s birthday party;
  • stores and malls closed at 5PM and nothing was open on Sundays;
  • dinner meant eating as a family, homemade food, fresh and hot off the stove because your mother would only heat up the pot once;
  • you had to wait an entire summer to get the answer to the cliffhanger of a tv show (à la “Who Shot JR?”);
  • the only way to record your favorite song was to leave your tape recorder next to the radio and race to press the record button;
  • dropping the needle on a 45 album was the only way to re-listen to your favorite part of a song;
  • fun on a Saturday was a matinee movie at the cinema with snacks “sneaked in” or breaking out Monopoly, Scrabble or a deck of cards around the kitchen table;
  • squabbling over the big clunky channel box (pre-remote days) was normal because there was only one tv in the entire house;
  • librarians helped bookworms like us to sort through library index cards to find just the right books for a project;
  • you only got your messages at the end of the day, after school, on the big tape recorder-like machine attached to the landline telephone;
  • taking “real” photos meant waiting to finish an entire “roll” of film before taking it to the store to be developed and waiting an entire week to get them back – you could easily have two birthdays and Christmas on the same roll;
  • getting your mother to buy a certain cereal had nothing to do with its taste but everything to do with the Smurf toy, Jungle Book figurine that you could hang off a cup or the secret ink detective pen at the bottom of the box.

The older folks out there know what I’m talking about…

It sounds corny but I wouldn’t trade in those sweet, simpler memories of the old days.

What could you add to this list of sentimental nostalgia? Feel free to add as many as you want in the comments box.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews

When You’re Tired, You Should Never Play With Your… (2015)

Focus

Photo credit: dkalo / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

(Repost from 2015)

I was tired and sleepy. But instead of going to bed like a normal person would, there I was, playing around with the WordPress templates to see if I could freshen up my blog.

I was debating it since it took me so long to tweak what you see right now. You see, when I first started on WP, I spent an entire weekend figuring out the difference between pages, posts, tags and categories. It was frustrating but definitely a learning experience.

You’d think that I now know enough to test out new templates without screwing up my current one, right?

Wrong.

I hit Customize instead of Try and my blog went haywire.

After more than a little panic, I undid the damage but that definitely took the sleep out of my eyes.

This lesson just adds to my already long list of things not to do, especially when I’m tired.

If it ain’t broke and it’s working just fine, maybe it’s best to leave it alone.

Except for the widgets. Well, maybe the widgets and the menu…

Are you thinking about freshening up your blog? 

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Originally posted on December 20, 2015.

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Are All Writers Introverts? 

Photo credit: hang_in_there via Foter.com / CC BY

Naturally, all writers are not introverts.

But most of the blogs and books that I read are written by self-proclaimed introverts – the kind of writers who grew up spending lots of time in their own thoughts and who thoroughly enjoy their own company.

One of the items on my 52/52 list is to stay at home in my pyjamas for an entire weekend and not leave the house so yeah, I’m an introvert. But I’m by no means shy…well, at least not for a very long time.

This Huffington Post article lists 23 signs to determine if you are introvert.

My score?

21/23 but I won’t tell you the two I “missed”. 😊

But since I told you my score, you’ll need to tell me yours. How do you score in this article below?

“23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert”

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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The Things Women Go Through

In response to “Recreate A Single Day”

scared

Photo credit: San Diego Shooter / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

When I felt his eyes on me, I immediately regretted having pushed my to-do list late into the evening hours.

With the change of seasons, it was already getting darker faster and in the badly-lit and bare parking lot, this dude was totally creeping me out. I hustled into the entrance of the hardware store as quickly as I could.

I’m usually aware of my surroundings so that’s how I noticed him almost right away. He had been staring at me as he had approached his car with one lonely bag in his hand. He had popped his trunk, thrown the bag into it and then continued staring. What creeped me out was the “something” in his eyes that I could see through the darkness. It gave me a sick ache in the pit of my stomach.

I was even more creeped out when he slammed his trunk and I realized that he was following behind me.

Strange how your brain processes information really fast when it needs to.

Why is he going back into the store when he just came from there? Is he following me? No, relax and stop being paranoid!

I joined the returns line near the main entrance and waited for what felt like an eternity before nonchalantly turning around to see where he had gone. Our eyes immediately made four. He was about 3 customers away from me in the same line.

What the f***? He’s got nothing in his hands to return…

For the first time in my life, I was glad that it was a long line. It gave me time to think.

Did I tell anyone about my errands and where I was going tonight? Should I call my brother and tell him where I am in case something were to happen? No, that might freak him out.

If I leave the line now, Weird Dude knows where I parked and could simply follow me back to my car…or even home. No, you can’t go straight back to your car.

It was my turn at the cashier. I handed her my bill and credit card and all the while, my thoughts were elsewhere. I looked back. Now, there were about four customers behind him.

As I placed my credit card back into my wallet, I played it cool and walked through the turnstile into the main part of the store. Stopping at the first aisle, I turned around to see that he was unsuccessfully trying to get himself out of the line, first from the back and then from the front. Other customers were getting annoyed with him trying to jostle past them.

I need to lose him. If I walk along the back aisles of the store, it would be easier to do it.

But as I did, I realized that with only one set of exit doors, he could be waiting there or even near my car. I immediately regretted wasting time and not going back directly to my car in the first place.

I called a friend who stayed on the line with me as we tried to decide on my next move.

And that’s when I decided to act like a creep myself.

I shadowed a man and his young son who was enjoying a lollipop headed in the same direction as my car. Fortunately, the man didn’t realize that I was invading their personal space but I was close enough for the child to eye me suspiciously as if I was about to steal the lollipop out of his hand.

Sorry kid, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

©2017 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Originally posted on September 24, 2015

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