Happy Valentine’s Day! Will your relationship keep you alive longer?

Valentine heart chocolates, via freeimages.co.uk
© freeimages.co.uk
The annual day of candy- and card-pushers is here. For many, it’s just another day. For some, it’s a time to feel the pressure of making a grand romantic gesture. For Stuart Heritage, a journalist who writes for the UK’s Guardian newspaper, it’s a day to examine whether your relationship will keep you alive longer – or lead you to an early grave.

Brits are so fun.

Stuart put together this infographic – A one-page guide to your romantic happiness (or doom) – to tell you whether your life is happier with your partner in it. Since Smarty Pants and I have a baby on the way, I’ve discovered that this baby means my life is statistically likely to last longer. Apparently childless couples die younger, but have great holidays in the meantime – so it’s not all bad.

So tell me, where do you end up on this infographic?

Guest post & giveaway by Heather Thurmeier: From reality TV to romance novel

Heather ThurmeierThis week I’m happy to host contemporary romance author Heather Thurmeier, who’s here to talk about how a popular reality TV series sparked an idea for her latest romance trilogy. She’s also giving away a digital copy of her book, Falling for You (see below for details).

Take it away, Heather!

Thank you so much for having me here today, Kat! I’m thrilled to share with you how I came up with the idea for Falling for You.

The inspiration for the book was pretty simple really. I was watching an episode of the Bachelor or Bachelorette (I can’t remember which or what season it was) and I couldn’t help but wonder how the people on the show ended up there. What drove them to attempt to find love in such an unconventional way? Was it the thrill of the spotlight, the chance to date a fabulous person they probably wouldn’t have met in real life, because their love life stunk really bad, or something else?

Once I started asking myself the questions, I just couldn’t stop asking more. But of course, I had no way to answer any of them. It wasn’t like I could call up the producers of the show and just drill them with twenty questions.

How I wish I could! Could you imagine how awesome it would be to get to ask the questions you’ve always wanted to know about your favorite reality TV shows? That would be awesome…

Later on, after I asked myself all these questions with no answers, a story idea hit me. What if a girl went onto a show because she hoped to find love but the bachelor turned out to be her ex-boyfriend?

Uh-oh.

Continue reading “Guest post & giveaway by Heather Thurmeier: From reality TV to romance novel”

What happens when science meets love?

Romance writers spend a lot of time trying to come up with new and interesting ways to describe what a person feels when they experience love.

It turns out that scientists are also finding intriguing ways of showing what happens when we love someone.

This wonderful video shows a light-hearted competition between six people who are put into an MRI machine and told to think about love. Whoever’s brain lights up the strongest and longest wins.

It’s a simple premise, but what comes out of it is more than a visual depiction of our brains’ reactions to various chemicals or memories. Do yourself a favor – take 15 minutes out of your day to listen to the “contestants” talk about their experiences of love and what it means.

From a 75-year-old man who spends the time reflecting on his wife of 50-something years, to a young man whose heart has been broken, to a 10-year-old boy who thinks about his new baby cousin, it’s a beautiful and life-affirming statement on how varied love can be.

Did you watch it? Did the winners surprise you? If you were taking part in the experiment, who would you think about?

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Married to the Military: Guest post by Catherine Mann – & giveaway!

Catherine Mann is perhaps best known for her gripping romantic suspense novels featuring military heroes. She’s married to her own real-life Air Force hero, and here she gives us an intimate peek into how life as a military wife has as many joys as challenges. She’s also giving away two copies of her latest release, Under Fire – see below for details!

I’ve often been asked, “How do you handle life as a military wife?” I usually stumble over an answer. Because how do I explain that’s just who I am? That’s how we lived our lives for my husband’s twenty-two years as an Air Force aviator.

Cathy and her husband visiting his alma mater, The Citadel
Cathy and her husband visiting his alma mater, The Citadel

So when Kat asked me to write this blog, I found myself stumbling over my answer again. Finally, I discovered my answer in old family photos and a poem my grandmother shared with me. I’ve included the poem at the end, but first I want to tell you a bit about my maternal grandma.

Cathy and her husband on their wedding day, with Cathy’s grandparents
Cathy and her husband on their wedding day, with Cathy’s grandparents

Grandma was a military wife as well. I grew up hearing her stories about my granddad’s career as a pilot in the Army Air Corps and then the USAF. While drinking tea in her kitchen, I listened to her explain about the tough times as well as the joyous adventures.

Through those stories, I learned to see the big picture, the balance that comes over the years. I now know those stories have carried me through the difficult times and made the happy ones all the sweeter.

That’s a life lesson I will carry with me forever. Thank you, Grandma, for teaching me how to love a military man!

Cathy's family
Cathy's family

“Family Tree”
Author Unknown

How often my mother has said to me,
“Where are you planting your family tree?
Uprooting the children and moving each tour,
How can they possibly feel secure?”
But how can I explain about children’s hearts?
When love is present, fear departs.
For we love a man who flies o’er the earth,
Who visits Manila, Hong Kong and Perth.
Someday I hope to make Mother see.
We live by a star, not by a tree!

AUTHOR BIO

USA Today best-selling author Catherine Mann writes military romantic suspense for Sourcebooks and Berkley, as well as steamy romances for Harlequin Desire. Catherine resides in Florida with her flyboy husband, their four children, and an ever growing menagerie of pets.

For more information:
Website: http://catherinemann.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CatherineMannAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/CatherineMann1

Under Fire

Giveaway!

Who was your mentor growing up? Or do you have a mentor now? Two commenters will be chosen at random to receive a copy of UNDER FIRE by Catherine Mann. I’ll announce winners on Tuesday May 29th.

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My favorite quality in a romance novel

I went to an extremely small high school. There were only 46 students in my graduating class (36 girls and 13 boys – yep, pretty crappy odds for a chubby girl with a feathered mullet).

I babysat for my vice principal and our English teacher acted as a chaperone at one of my friend’s sleepovers.

I tell you this so it won’t seem strange that I remember my class getting into a personal conversation with one of my teachers in which we asked him about the women he’d dated before meeting his wife. And I remember how flabbergasted we all were when he shrugged and admitted, “I probably could’ve been happily married to any one of them.”

Shock horror!

We were incensed that he could believe such a thing. Surely marriage was about finding that one person you couldn’t live without, the one who made your life immeasurably better.

Fifteen years later, I still believe wholeheartedly that romantic love is about finding that one person who fulfills you, understands you, and (to borrow a cliche) completes you like no one else.

No. One. Else.

Strangely, it’s taken me twenty years of reading romance to realize that that’s my favorite quality in a romance novel. I want characters who are incomplete without each other.

And even more strangely, I’ve read a lot of romance novels where I just don’t feel this between the characters. These are the books that leave me feeling ‘meh’. But when an author creates characters who fit together like no one else…

that is a book that I’ll read over and over.

What’s your favorite quality in a romance novel? Do you believe it’s possible in real life to find the one person who fulfills you better than anyone else, or is there more than one possible “love of your life” out there?