Monday, August 10, 2009

Here comes the Sun

I recently returned from vacationing in New Jersey. We go two or three times a year to visit my husband's sister and her family. They live in this gorgeous area nestled between Red Bank and Coltsneck in a lovely little town called Holmdel.

The forrested landscape is sprinkled with green pastures, grazing horses, million dollar homes and sparkling marinas.

It's a wonderful place to visit, but not just because of the atmosphere. The company, our gracious host and hostess, are two of the dearest people on earth.

I get along very well with Paula, my sister-in-law. She loves shoes, Oreos and Italian food about as much as I do. We share a love for the History channel, can't stand most reality shows, and both find Dennis Leary oddly attractive.

We have a lot in common.

One thing we don't have in common, however is our preference in reading material.
I love losing myself in a good romance.

Paula admitted to me she's never once read a romance her entire life.
After I woke from a dead faint I asked her what she does read.

The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Economist, Forbes and The Atlantic, to name a few.

I felt like a moron.

The only magazines I read are Elle, Bazzar, Vogue and In Touch weekly. And to tell you the truth, I don't read them, I look at the pictures.

Not one of them could be be remotely considered intellectual. Unless...well, I suppose Vogue throws in an article on botox now and then. And I once browsed an expose' on counterfeit handbags in Elle. And I learned that Cindy Crawford has cellulite on her thighs last week in In Touch. So I suppose I'm being educated...

We talked a bit more about our taste differences and I almost gave up thinking we'd ever find a common ground in reference to reading material until she mentioned her very favorite magazine.

It's called...The Sun.

I was sure she'd label it as political, educational or at the very least intellectual, but she surprised me when she called it a writer's magazine.

Basically, The Sun publishes essays, interviews, fiction and poetry.

She pulled out a copy and handed it to me. I took a moment to thumb through it and realized this magazine doesn't contain any ads at all. (My fashion magazines are 90% ads)
The whole publication is filled with stories and poems in every genre, written by people just like me...individuals in need of a way to express themselves creatively.

She loves the magazine for that reason and gave me a few of her back issues to take home. She also encouraged me to submit a short story or two. Paula knows I'm having a little trouble getting "my butt in the chair" so she hoped the prospect of a shorter tale, a quicker response time and the lure of 3,000 dollars (The Sun pays its authors) might give me the motivation I need to jump back on the wagon.

I haven't written the short story yet (I've been really under the weather since my visit), but the talk I had with my sister-in-law on writing motivated me just the same. I typed a page and a half yesterday on a novel I had simply stopped working on. That page and a half is the first thing I've written in over three months. God it felt good to visit those characters again.
So all though we don't have much in common when it comes to material, my sister-in-law and I share a mutual love of reading. And I'm glad for that, because I might never have found...The Sun.

Keep reading and writing.

Have a lovely, productive Monday all.



Sandy Elzie said...


Very interesting article. Yes, I've met a couple of those women who say they've never read a romance novel. I feel sad at what they've missed in life! In my case, the girl who told me that has a terrible marriage where they both exist in the same house and she has no enthusiasm to make things better. SHE NEEDS TO READ A ROMANCE and maybe it would help her get her thinking in the right place and make an effort with her marriage. Things can improve and she can have "happily ever after".

I'm interested in checking out The Sun. I'll google it and hope I find it. Do you have the link?

Writing is, for the most part, a solitary gig, so thanks for reminding us that we have things in common with the masses out there.


Debbie Kaufman said...

After you can manage the butt out of bed from being sick, go for it (butt in chair)! The Sun sounds like an interesting publication. Do they have that around here or is it regional.

Sally Kilpatrick said...


Interesting post. I can't imagine not reading romance, but I do know folks who insist on only reading nonfiction which boggled my mind. Then I was depressed to discover that Americans, on the whole, read far more nonfiction than fiction. My professor said it went along with the Puritanical work ethic and an American attitude of "real" things being those that have vale. Which is really funny considering the "reality" TV craze, but I digress.

I have seen a copy of The Sun, and it is an interesting and very literary magazine--funny you should mention it after I discovered it just last semester.

As for writing, you go girl! My advice: just tell yourself you're going to write a sentence then see what happens.

Keep on keepin' on,

Cyrano said...

I agree with you whole heartedly on reading romance to get your "romantic life" in the right place. Of course a romance can't solve ones relationship issues, but many of the books we write with such passion can help readers think with such passion. In the end they might even learn to live their lives with such passion.
Plus, they often come in handy in other ways. Believe it or not, My 16 yr old sons middle name came from a romance novel - McKenna. The hero inspired me so much I used his last name as my sons middle name. (I would have used the heroes first name - Blade, but my husband didn't want his first born to to be named after a knife. He worried about the poor kids social life)
Thanks for the comment.
Have a lovely morning,

I've mapped out today with your comment in mind. Wake-up, gulp coffee, get daughter off to school, answer comments, WRITE!!!
Thanks for stopping by.
Have a sunny Monday,

My sister-in-law could have made me feel insignifigant about my choice in magazine, but she didn't. She's so wonderful. And it's true, most Americans do pass the time reading non-fiction. And yes, it is depressing. But we have the power to change that with exciting, well written, love stories. Just think, one day an intellectual will be browsing the non-fiction shelf, a low, dark cloud of reality hanging over her head...when from the corner of her eye she glimpses the torso of a scantily clad Scottsman weilding a Claymore and holding his lady love in a well muscled arm, and POOF, she's intriqued. She picks the novel up, turns it over, reads the back cover blurb and suddenly forgets The New Yorker, the stock market and the economy, wanting instead to lose herself in a different time, a different place and an incredibly hot, incredibly sexy hero.
We've gotta convert them one at a time. And I plan to convert Paula as soon as I'm published.
Have a GRRRReat day,

CiCi Barnes said...


Hope you're feeling better and now with school in session, you have a quiet house and more time to write.

I'm very interested in checking out The Sun. Thanks for educating us on that particular publication.

And for those who haven't read a romance, you should, just once. I'll bet it won't be 'once' for long.

Have a great day, reading and writing, to one and all.


Marilyn Baron said...

You shouldn't feel bad about your taste in magazines, books, etc. Everyone has their preferences. We're all different and that's what makes the world go 'round.

I'm sure if your sister-in-law picked up a romance novel she'd become addicted.

The Sun publication sounds interesting. And writing something short sounds appealing. I wonder how many words they consider "short."

As far as fiction vs. non-fiction, I almost always read fiction. The other day I went to the library to try to find a book recommended by a friend and found out it was non-fiction. I didn't even want to go there. But I respect her opinions so I tried to find it and realized in all the years and times I've been to that library (which is a lot) I didn't even know where the non-fiction section was. I'd never been there.

Oh, well. Thanks for the great post.


Cinthia Hamer said...

Good morning, Tamara. I, too, have a hard time believing that there's a woman out there who has never read a romance. Boggles the mind.

Aren't we, as females, hardwired to seek the HEA? I'm sure that you'll win over your SIL. It took many years, but I won over my HUSBAND, if you can believe that one. He's not so much into historicals as the paranormal romances, but there are certain authors whose time travel historicals he will grab the moment they hit the shelves.

So glad that you found The Sun and even happier that you've shared your new-found knowledge!

Have a lovely day!


Maxine Davis said...


I really enjoyed your post! Holmdel sounds like a great place to visit.

Romance readers? I'm the only one in my family. Brother likes history. Sister likes magazines and self-help books. I gave my sis a couple of really good romances-one big, thick hard back and one paper back. They're on an end table with a lamp on top of them. (She thanked me; it made the lamp the perfect height--I got the hint).

Glad you are back in the chair. It's amazing to me how much I can find to do when I really need to write.

I'm with the rest. I'm trying The Sun. Thanks

Carol Burnside said...

Tamara, I enjoyed reading your post. Best of luck keeping your butt in the chair. I've been struggling with that a bit myself. :)

Anna Steffl said...

Man, I know how easy it is to let three months slip away. I vow never to let that happen again.

My 12 year old daughter, who draws non-stop, rolls her eyes at kids who think they can "get good" by drawing once or twice a week. Made me get my butt in the chair and type.

Good luck. Get those fingers moving.

Linsey Lanier said...

What a wonderful post, Tamara. I love your description of Holmdel. Makes me feel like I'm there.

I'm very glad to hear you are writing again. I like the advice about writing just one sentence. It's not writing we're avoiding, it's getting started. Once we start, it's hard to quit. So just find a way to make yourself start. Every day.

I'm partial to some self-help non-fiction books, but there's nothing like romance and mystery. We need stories to escape! And yes, they can help the marriage. :)


Cyrano said...

You're right. My mother gave me my first romance when I was 14. It was Velvet Chains by Constance O'banyon. I gobbled it up in two days, loving every purply prose bit of it.
People don't know what they're missing if they've never experienced a romance.
Thanks for the comment.
Have a great afternoon,

Cyrano said...

You know, I've never visited the non-fiction section of the library either now that you mention it. I've always read fiction myself. I've tried to read Economic magazines and political mags (in the dentist office where magazines go to die) but I could never get into them. And yes, you're right about differences. If we were all exactly the same the world would be a really boring place.
And The Sun considers 7,000 words on the higher end. They accept less, in fact, some of the poems are only a couple of sentences long. And people even write little paragraphs and submit them.
Some of the articles are a little boring, but others are really evocative and thought provoking.
Thanks for commenting and asking how I'm feeling. I'm doing alot better by the way.
Hope you're having a great.
Happy writing,

Cyrano said...

Hey Cinthia,
As a kid and a teen I never saw my dad read books. He's incredibly intelligent, an electrical engineer with multiple degrees in science and math, but he just never read books.
About 5 or 6 yrs ago I gave my mom Outlander and found out that my dad (retired now) read it, loved it and wanted the rest of the series. So yes, even men as manly man-i-fied as my dear old pop can get into a well written romance!
Love that.
Have a wonderful afternoon and thanks for the comment,

Cyrano said...

Holmdel is the best! It's got a country feel, but it's close to great shopping and only 45 minutes from some great beaches. I look forward to visiting every time we go.
And I laughed out loud when I read what your sister did with the books you gave her. She sounds like Paula, but maybe she'll come around one day too. We must convert them all!
Thanks for stopping by.
Have a lovely evening,

Cyrano said...

How about this Carol, we both make a promise to park our rears in the chair, at least 10 minutes a day. Who knows, that 10 minutes might turn into 20, 30 and so on. Like it did for me today. I parked my butt and wrote for an hour.
Good luck.
Have a productive week,

Cyrano said...

Your daughter has the right attitude Anna. Practice definitely makes perfect, or in my case, pages.
And the only way to get pages written is to actually sit down and write them.
Happy writing and have a nice evening!!

Cyrano said...

I agree Linsey,
Some books are so good, so well written, so bursting with heart and soul they're nearly impossible to put down. I've read some great books in my life, but there are only a select few I've actually lost sleep over because I was so engrossed in them.
And I'm sure those authors wrote those novels one sentence, one word at a time.
Thanks for the comment.
Have a wonderful evening,

Susan May said...

Great post. It is always great to find a nugget of something new from an unexpected place. I'm always interested to hear what others are reading and why.

Marilyn Baron said...


If you like Outlander, Diana Gabaldon's new book in the series, "An Echo in the Bone," is coming out Sept. 22. I can't wait.


Tami Brothers said...

Hey Tamara! Glad your feeling better. I've been doing good so far. The weekend was kind of bleh, but now that I'm back to work, I don't feel like such a slug. It's amazing how fast the time goes, though. I can totally relate to the 3 months, but mine is more like 15 months.

I've still done articles here and there and of course the blog posts. BUT I tried to sit down and write for an hour today and man is it hard getting back into the mindset. I bet I got up 5 times during that time to go to the restroom and I didn't even have to go...grin...

I did get two paragraphs written, but a whole slew of chapter ideas. We shall see how it progresses from here.

Best of luck to you and I will definitely look for that magazine. I too have a hard time relating to someone who hasn't read a romance. But then again, I'm not much on the classics and I KNOW there are people who look at me funny when I say that.

See ya.


Cyrano said...

Me too Susan,
especially when the reading material is something I've never heard of before. It's always great to be exposed to something new. You never know what you'll learn from it!
Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great Tuesday,

Ana Aragón said...

Hey, Tamara,

Tried to get to your side of the room at GRW on Saturday, but all the new people were in the way! Wasn't that fun to see new writers, with all their excitement? Made me want to come home and write!

I read as much fiction as non-fiction, but I limit my fiction reading to romance. Frankly, I'm at that point in my life where I want an HEA at the end of the book, period. Much of my non-fiction is about teaching, specifically reading. I've decided that being a reading teacher is good for authors!

Have a great week!