Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Why Can't Life Be Like a Romance Novel?

(Well, below is sort of a regular column Faye Hughes and I run over at PASIC's blog. And since I forgot to post on Killer Fiction about this blog, I'm cheating today and posting it here. Yup, cheating! Enjoy!)

Two romance novelists ponder the meaning of life, love and anything else that comes to mind.

I wish someone would have told me that becoming a full-time, dead-line driven author could lead to the appearance of . . . stalkers. Naked Stalkers at that.
It happened while I was standing in Macy’s dressing room, I was just about to try on the new suit to buy for the RWA national conference when I saw her. She was just standing there, practically naked, staring at me. Oh, lordie!
I looked away and so did she. I could tell she wanted me to pretend I didn’t see her. But how could I? She’d been stalking me for quite a while. Most of those occasions, I’d simply tried to avoid her, but this was a tiny room. Of course, it wasn’t the lack o f space making her presence so avoidable, it was the wall-to-wall mirrors. When I turned around, I saw her from behind, and boy howdy, the rear view wasn’t any better than the front.
Yup, that woman, the half-naked woman staring back at me from the mirror, the woman who had belly rolls where no belly rolls had been before, whose backside was a lot to behold, had been showing up a lot lately. Not only did I see her in the quick passing of a full length mirror; I’d see her peering back at me from a glass store-front window. Ahh, but I’d pretended she wasn’t there. No more. I had to do something. I had to get in shape so the women in the mirror didn’t feel like a stalker anymore.
I sat down and wrote up some goals. Don’t let deadlines be an excuse to overeat or under-exercise. Don’t let a hectic schedule be an excuse not to take care of myself. And lastly, as I work on a better image, see what I can do about creating a better mental body image—because even when the belly rolls weren’t there, when I was at a good weight, I’d never felt good about that women I’d spot in the mirror.
Five Things That I’ve learned About Exercising, Eating Right, and Body Image from Reading Romance Novels:

Exercising doesn’t have to be a chore, but you probably are gonna never really love it. Most every heroine I’ve read who runs, does sit-ups, or hits the gym to stand behind some itty-bitty, curvy aerobic instructor isn’t into it for fun. Nope, they do it because they don’t want to end up with Aunt Sue’s thunder thighs or Aunt Doris’s Jello butt. Sure, the results may be worth the effort, you’ll feel better and may even become addicted to this new found form of torture, but trying to convince yourself that exercise is going to be a blast is like saying non-fat, sugar-free chocolate is just as good a Reeces Peanutbutter cup. Which leads me to number two:
You can’t, CAN NOT, give up all your favorite foods. Saying butter will never cross you lips again, is like a romance heroine swearing she’s given up on men and sex. And you know that by page 100 she’s gonna have bumped uglies with some suave talking, good looking hero. And it’s gonna be so good, that she’ll probably over-indulge—get pregnant or find herself in a compromising situation like having sex while doing the dishes—Wedding Can Be Murder—and having the hero’s father walk in and find herself trying to share pantry space with the Pork-n-Beans. So, allow yourself a little temptation, in moderation of course.
Make a meal more about sharing company than consuming calories. The good scenes where food appears in romance novels are more about two people sharing conversation than wolfing down the mashed potatoes and gravy. Savor the food, but savor the company more.
Make sure your reasons for achieving change is for you and not just for some deadbeat boyfriend, the type of man who is always staring as the ex in romance novels, the jerk who wants Barbie in his bed.
How we look on the outside is hugely dependent on how we feel about ourselves on the inside. There isn’t a woman alive, or romance heroine, that is truly happy with her body, (only egotistical men achieve that success) the trick is to learn to love yourself, flaws and all, while you take the steps to be the best you can be.


About the authors: Christie Craig, an Alabama native, is a multi-published photojournalists and award-winning writer of both romance fiction and non-fiction who is happily married to her prince charming. Faye Hughes, a Mississippi native, is single and an award-winning romance author who is still searching for her own prince after having kissed a lot of frogs. Together, they are the co-authors of The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel (Adams Media, September, 2008) and an upcoming humor-filled relationship/self help book (Polka Dot Press) slated for release on Valentine’s Day, 2010. Visit them online at www.WritewithUs.net.


Hellie Sinclair said...

Thank you! I so totally needed this today--after I spent the weekend running after the wagon I completely fell off in a "carb fest folly". And when I say "run after", I mean it in a sort of ambling, winded, holding my side as I trotted after it and cursed it resoundedly sort of way.

Keri Ford said...

I've picked up one of those stalkers, too. 14months after I gave birth and I was SO close to being back where I was and BAM medicle problems arise and so did my weight. Now I'm on medicince with a side-effect of weght gain. just perfect. Off to do some doctor ordered excercise.

Christie Craig said...


I think I've fell off that same cart once or twice. :-)

We just have to pick ourselves up and get back on.

Thanks for posting.


Christie Craig said...


It's the pits girl. I hate it when life gets in the way of our well-made plans. I'm dealing foot problems keeping me from doing speed walks. So Thursday, I'm getting up early and getting my butt to the gym to see if riding one of their stationary bikes will be do and not hurt the pulled tendon in the arch of my foot.

Good luck girl.


Anonymous said...

Hey, Christie,

Love the blog, but then I guess I'm totally biased here. LOL.


Terri Osburn said...

Wheel that wagon around my way. I was actually good over the weekend. I just gave in during lunch. I've been craving fried chicken since Friday and I broke down and bought some. Though it didn't taste as good as the craving. So I didn't eat it all. That's my saving grace. LOL!

My daughter and I joined the rec center. Have yet to grace the door. This week. Gotta do it this week...

Sorry to hear about the bum foot. Maybe swimming would work?

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to diet right now and this blog was just the inspiration I needed to stay away from the Reese's peanut butter cups at the checkout lane.

Vickie D.

Anonymous said...

I think I read this over at the PASIC blog but it was even better the second time. Good job.


Anonymous said...

What a clever blog!

Wish you a fast recovery with your foot,

Mary M

Anonymous said...

Where is the PASIC blog? I'd like to read more of this column.

Christie Craig said...

Ahh, Faye,

You biased? Ha!

Thanks for posting.


Christie Craig said...


Okay, I'm sad your fried chicken wasn't sinful, but then again, our taste buds change when we start eating healthier. I used to love Italian sausage, but now I can't handle it.

And yeah, the foot is a bummer. I'm hoping the bike won't bother it, and I can still get my exercise in.

Get to the gym. I'll be cheering you on.


Christie Craig said...


Oh goodness, Reeses are my favorite. I swear they call my name as I pass the candy racks. I'm pretty good about not listening. I can usually resist temptation in the stores.

When I have the biggest problem is when my hubby or son brings it home and then leaves some on the counter. I swear it just jumps off that counter into my mouth without me realizing it.

Good luck and may you find a big stash of will power.


Christie Craig said...


Yup, it was posted at PASIC. Faye and I post our column about once a month over here. I knew someone might have stumbled across it, which was why I confessed up front. :-)

Thanks so much for visiting.


Christie Craig said...

Mary M.

Thanks. We try to be clever here at Killer Fiction. We may not always pull it off, but we give it our best shot.

I think the foot is going to be okay. I went to see a podiatrist and I have those $400 inserts in my shoes. The foot was better until I started back walking my two/three miles in the mornings. Then it pulls that tendon again.

Thanks for posting.


Christie Craig said...


You can get to the PASIC blog at http://toberead.wordpress.com/

Type in Why Can Life be Like A Romance Novel into the serch engine and it will bring up all the columns.

Thanks for posting and stopping by.


Unknown said...

I have always had one of those stalkers following me. I can't seem to get rid of her. I have tried everything and do try to exercise daily. I guess I just don't eat right,because that stalker follows me every where I go.