Tag Archives: PoiMe

“Emotions Are Overrated”

pointless meanderings

This is a subheading in Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I totally vibed to this section. He talks about emotions being “feedback mechanisms” that notify us when something is right or wrong for us in our environment. Like eek a snake… fear! Or mmm a cupcake… happy! Those are simple ones obviously, but even the more complex ones are feedback too and it’s less stressful to consider them as such. Oh, I’m feeling anxious, why? And then I can logically go through the things in my environment that are making me feel out of control. Which are all the things, but still. It’s helpful (for me)!

You know where it’s super useful? In dealing with unpleasant stuff online. Look, someone said a mean thing to me and I am feeling all sorts of sad and bad and rage. Instead of immediately acting on that, I think about why I’m feeling those things. Is the comment partly true? Are there things I could do better ~ I’ll work on them! Is the commenter just a trolling jerk trying to get a rise out of peeps? Most of the time this is it and the correct response is to ignore, mute, block, or sometimes simply make a silly joke to defuse the situation. Responding heatedly only encourages more of the same. This is a hard lesson for some people to learn, but my online presence was born in the flames of Usenet, so I usually can step back.

This dovetails with the other way I like to think about emotions ~ the train metaphor. I strive to envision my mental landscape as a serene, calm, beautiful place with lush gardens, fluffy clouds, pretty butterflies, and sparkling lakes. There is also a train track and periodically an “emotion car” comes through. The car could be full of anger or sadness or joy or hope. But whatever it is… it will pass. Sometimes it’s a long-ass train, car after car of yucky emotions, but even so, eventually it goes away. So very important to keep in mind, for me anyway. I realize it’s just a fancier way of restating “this too shall pass,” but that phrase isn’t evocative for me like the train image.

We like to think of the negative emotions as transitory, but as it turns out, the positive ones are too. At least for me. I can’t sustain joy 24/7, nor would I want to. If every hour was filled with balloons and candy cars, that would get dull. Unfortunately, back when I was “dating” (barf), I and the men I dated wanted constant happiness. If we weren’t feeling awesome all the time when we were together, then obviously something was wrong and we should bail. That’s pretty unrealistic. I think our expectations are set by the media though, which says you need to feel continuous joy in a romance or it’s wrong.

The romances and romcoms I grew up with had this trope. No matter what obstacles life put in the way, the “perfect” person for you would vanquish them so that the relationship could be bliss 24 hours a day. But no one has relationships like this. What happens after the happily ever after ending? That, as my friend Don noted on FB, is the interesting story. That is where the story really begins.

“A fixation on happiness inevitably amounts to a never-ending pursuit of ‘something else’ […] And despite all of our sweat and strain, we end up feeling eerily similar to how we started: inadequate.” ~ Mark Manson in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

~*~

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Image originally found on Pixabay.

TSAONGAF 1

pointless meanderings

TSAONGAF is the abbreviation for Mark Manson’s self-help book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I’ve read MM’s articles with some regularity, and last week I read his bestselling book. It was a great experience for me and I learned a lot. As I said earlier, I’m going to blog about some of my thoughts on his various concepts.

What does MM mean by not giving a f*ck? He points out that most of us are wrapped up in caring about so many things that we feel perpetually entitled to a perfect world and freak out when things don’t go how we want. I guess you could say that our giving f*cks too freely has turned us into a bunch of whiny Karens. MM suggests we drill down to our basic values (and change them if they aren’t working for us), and then find the few, important things to focus on. “Let the little things go.” We’ve heard that before, right?

Obsessing over way too many unimportant details has been a huge problem for me my whole life. I can’t simply decide not to and that’s that. “Don’t do that” is a negative statement, and when you focus on a negative, well, you know what happens. “Don’t eat potato chips”… now all you can think about are potato chips. I’ve been trying to substitute the negative statements with positive ones. Focus on work. Pay attention to family. Engage in self-care routines. Get more sleep and exercise. Read more books.

Focusing on these positives has had the effect of pushing some of the trivial crap away. It really does work. I don’t have time (or the inclination) to engage in social media arguments (a huge source of past stress) when I’m in the middle of a good book. If I’m filling my time with pleasurable activities, I’m less inclined to click on a new dating site “just to see.” I know that leads down a bad path. I can step back now. It’s a bit harder in some areas, such as driving ~ I still get enraged when someone does a dangerous maneuver. What does MM say about that?

It’s okay for life to suck sometimes, is what he says. We are not entitled to a perfect life, and there’s no need to feel inadequate when something fails to be perfect. So I had a frustrating drive to Los Angeles. That’s just how it is some days and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me or the way I’m living my life. Sometimes traffic is sucky and frustrating. That’s okay. I literally had this ridiculous conversation in my head the other week. I was so stupid for letting my daughter go to UCB. She had a full ride to UCD and wouldn’t have met her future husband there probably. I’d have more money now and wouldn’t have to make this horrible drive when I want to see her. God, I’m so dumb!

But then I got to her house (a half hour later than expected) and had such a great time with my family. I’m not “dumb” because there was a detour and some other drivers were being rude and awful. It’s okay for things to suck sometimes. I’m not entitled to perfection. It’s hard though to keep that mindset all the time… I’m constantly reminding myself to stay positive and not dwell on small annoyances. Being positive is more of a habit now than it used to be though, so I am improving. Slowly.

Okay, that’s the end of this PoiMo. I’ll do more MM musing another time. 🙂

~*~

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Image originally found on Pixabay.

Like A Buttered Eel…

pointless meanderings

Get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about Monday and how it slip-slid away from me. All day I was thinking about making a post ~ there were some truly great prompt words that went together nicely (depression, zilch, connect, human, etc.). But I needed to do other things first, mainly work, but also laundry, and I’m determined to start carving out time for exercise (I did). I also cooked a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, then had to clean up the dishes. Naturally, I made time for chatting with my family because that’s important too. Upshot is that I didn’t open up a new post until 11PM. By that time, the prompts had faded into new ones and I lost my motivation to create fiction.

Speaking of, I’ve been working a lot on Ghosted again. I’m very pleased with the progress right now. It’s always been tricky for me to get the crime just right… complex enough to be interesting, but not so ridiculous that no one can follow what’s going on. It is mainly a family drama after all. And a love story, of course. Where would we be without love stories? I’m not sure my pacing is so great, but I really need it to stay how it is. I’ll edit it at least once more though.

I do have a smile for Trent this week and I’ll write that up tomorrow. Maybe I’ll do the SYW for Melanie too. It didn’t really grab me tonight. Sadje has an interesting picture to prompt us… maybe I can do something with that. And I look forward to the FPQ on Wednesday, as always.

I have loads of books ready to read on my Kindle, but I think I’m gonna try to get a few extra ZZZ’s tonight. Catch you tomorrow!

~*~

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Image originally found at Pixabay.

Unlinked Twitter…

pointless meanderings

You may have noticed, if you pay attention to such things, that my “follower count” just dropped by 1200 or so. No worries! That is not a real number. Those were my tweeters, and I delinked Twitter. Last night I realized that my blog posts get practically no engagement there, so it’s pointless to keep sending my posts over every time one goes live. They just sit there like a smelly old salami no one wants on their sandwich.

My use of Twitter is almost exclusively for poetry prompts and a tiny bit of politics. I like to see what’s trending there so I know the major news of the day right away. It also gives me hot takes on celebs, and I confess that I still like to know what some of them are up to. There are miscellaneous accounts I follow, such as the earthquake bot, which I find useful.

But Twitter and Blogville never integrated in any meaningful way for me, unlike say the way Facebook used to. I may send posts over to FB again, but not all of them. We’ll see. The problem with FB is that people will discuss the post there, not here, so later when I check comments on a post, I won’t see the full convo here on my blog. Annoy!

I blocked someone on Twitter last night for hijacking a post from here (which is what prompted the review of my posts there). People are so rude and thoughtless… and tempers are short now. There is no reason to put up with obnoxious behavior online, none. I see people unfriending others on FB all the time for being jerks, and I get it. If you disagree and can’t be decent about it, go sulk in private or start your own post on the topic. Don’t take over mine!

So far so good regarding my return to FB. I haven’t even been that careful, but I don’t go on and on either. I don’t need to have the last word on other people’s threads. I say what I want to say and get out. I think it’s rude to get into arguments on posts that aren’t your own. I don’t like it when others take over one of my threads for their own ego fest either. Go yell in front of a mirror!

It’s always men… 🙄

~*~

Image originally found at Pixabay.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Exhausting Week…

pointless meanderings

Nice that the block editor keeps the alt text of previous images unlike the classic editor. I’m always forgetting to add it and Ashley says we should. If we copypasta an entire post, of course, the alt text is kept, but (1) I haven’t found the copy button yet on Blocky, and (2) sometimes that’s annoying anyway because you have to delete so much. Ideally, my saved pieces will have All The Things.

This is my first post today (Friday, June 5)… though I realize for some of you it’s already Saturday and you’re onto the Stream of Con thingie. I’ll do that next if I don’t collapse here at the table as I do sometimes. Fan. Fan fan fan. Lots of ways to go there. Again, I failed to do the flashback… maybe that won’t be a regular feechur here any longer, idk. I’m pretty bored with it, plus I like to write new things. I did do a brief search yesterday, but only one year came up and I didn’t like anything. Remember that, even though this blog is a decade old, there were times I didn’t post much and other times I went through and hosed vast amounts of jabber off the sidewalk. That was because (1) I like getting rid of old, negative vibes, and (2) I kept restarting the dating stupidity and thought men might go back and read it and get the (correct) idea that I’m a big crab. I should have been searching for a lobster, or someone relatively crunchy.

I’ve been posting more from my laptop instead of my phone. That’s because my hand hurts. Idk if it’s arthritis or what. It seems like it probably is. In any case, normal typing on a keyboard is much more comfortable for my hand than poking at the phone buttons. That’s why, if anyone wondered, I’ve been using fewer emoticons… sometimes I save a post and then open it on my phone and “decorate” it before publishing, but not always. I told my doctor about my hand on our tele-visit and asked if it was okay to use ICYHOT. He said sure but it didn’t do anything except excite my nerves to distract me from the pain for a bit. Ever since then, the ICYHOT has lost its appeal, lol. Which is great because I have a multipack of the stuff from Amazon that I ordered to get a great bargain. [insert eyeroll]

I had trouble sleeping this week. All the chaos in the streets/media just got to me (again). Worry for myself, my work, my family, their work, health, safety, finances, all of it, circles and ripples and spirals of worry. I haven’t been able to fall asleep for real until way after midnight (sometimes I have a crash nap for a few minutes here & there)… sometimes not until 2AM. And I don’t sleep that much later to make up for it… I am usually awake by 6:30 at the latest, though I will try to doze off and on for another hour, if I can. I get up tired, which I hate, and muddle through the day, sometimes finding energy in the afternoon, depending on the day. It’s just an exhausting cycle. I’m hoping to get it under control this weekend with some good self-care.

Needless to say, I’ve had to focus what little mental sharpness I’ve had on work and there was nothing left for my writing projects. That’s just how it is and I refuse to beat myself up over it. I didn’t go outside and exercise, even though things are opening up, because of the protests and random weird stuff going on. I absolutely do not want to get involved in anything. That’s just how I am, and if anyone has a problem with it, please go rant on your own blog about the joys of activism. I’m in chronic pain and can’t fix the world, sorry. Marching/yelling/being in a glob of people would certainly give me migraines and back pain for days. I was glad to see that the protests in Orange County, California stayed peaceful and purposeful however. That didn’t interest the major news media, since they only want to show violence to get more shares and clicks.

Facebook is a drag. I was happy to return during the pandemic to reconnect with peeps… it was wonderful to be so warmly welcomed back. I totally dug that. It was easy enough to steer clear of most of the ranting politics and instead chat with peeps about their pets and recipes and what-all, but then along came this latest round of screaming. Peeps are diligently reposting links and memes and lecturing everyone else on the exact way to say things and do things and yada yada boo. I do feel proud that I received a “bless your heart” from a Texas conservative. I must be doing something right, eh? Mostly though I tiptoe around now because I don’t need someone to messily explode at me for not wording my feels in the prescribed manner. I hesitate to post anything myself in fear of starting a massive war of words in my comments, since I have friends from all over the political spectrum. Meh.

Twitter is nuts. I keep losing followers, though I don’t say a damn thing. How could I offend anyone? Maybe they die, idk. Yesterday I complained about my sinking stats and a few returned. Who even knows what is up with that place. I shouldn’t care about the numbers, and I wouldn’t except they’re right on the splash page of your profile. At least here on WP, I have to click somewhere to look at my pathetic stats. Yes, I know they are bad because I did look. Pffft. Don’t care. WHY don’t I care about my WP stats, when I’m writing here, but I care about my number of Twitter followers, when I barely tweet? There is a mystery…

Okay, this is long. I should go make some tea and write the fan thing now.

~*~

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Image originally found on Pixabay.

Not A Flashback #PoiMe

pointless meanderings

Yep, it’s Friday. And yep I did a search for May 29th posts last night, but nothing grabbed me. I had a One-Line Wednesday that came up about migraine tigers (triggers), but if I’m going to post about head pain, I’d prefer to ramble on about it anew. Oh! Did I tell you… I’m sloooowly going off one of my meds? Yep, my doc and I discussed it in a virtual visit last week and I’ve now cut Topamax 25% and am okay so far. It’s a good time to try this when I don’t have so much going on and can lie down if I need to. The drug was a lifesaver at a time when I was super-stressed, but things are pretty chill now and I don’t like all the side effects, especially feeling so blah. I can always go back on if my migraines get too horrible to bear, but my hope is that I can cope without it and I’ll have more energy again and can start to exercise more (i.e., at all). The goal is to be completely done by June 30. Since my head gets really bad toward the end of August through September, whatever I do, this will be a good way to make sure I don’t confuse that inevitable badness with going off the drug. I’m determined to be optimistic even though I did this a couple years ago and it was a big fail. I had more stressors then though.

Not that things aren’t stressful in the world now. Right? I mean gah! But I feel lucky that I’m able to stay pretty isolated from it all and I’m also the kind of person who doesn’t mind being isolated. My personal life (knock wood) is calm, even while the world is falling apart. I’m sorry world, but there isn’t much I can do about the things out there except try not to make them worse. Perhaps staying in here, as I do, helps a little. At least I’m not using much gas anyway. But things are “opening up” again, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me as the virus numbers are climbing, but what do I know, eh? Maybe they felt more and more people were going to take to the streets in protest so they’d better let them start going to the Cheesecake Factory (just an example ~ I don’t actually know if the Cheesecake Factory is open). Nothing is perfect. Personally, I am not going to sit in a restaurant, or anywhere else, among a giant glob of people, anytime soon. I just don’t see why I should take that risk. I’m fine at home by myself, going out to get groceries once a week, and stopping at my office (alone) to pick up the mail and water the plants. I understand that some people are going out of their minds without actual physical companionship, but I’m not one of them. The only thing I truly miss is not being able to see my family and the routine of going to the office 9-5 daily. I’m one of those weirdos who likes doing that. There are very few of us apparently… most people prefer blobbing around the house in sweatpants. Bleh.

I don’t really have interesting thoughts about current events. My view is likely the typical “liberal” one on most things, except I don’t allow disgust for a leader to create my reaction to every issue. One thing I differ on from many is my view about social media. I’ve already mentioned my unpopular idea that I do think there is something wrong with the idea of providing a platform for people to be utterly horrible to each other, even to the point of ganging up on someone and driving them to suicide, in order to make money from ads, and then shrugging off all responsibility for it. I’ve said that one possible solution is to disallow anonymity. One account, one person, and it trails you forever like a fingerprint. Well, no one likes that because it’s as scary as a microchip in a vaccine. What about forcing the companies to enforce their own TOS and not selectively as they do but consistently and fairly? Maybe they’d make less money, boo hoo. I don’t think children should be on social media at all. It’s bad. But if “everyone else is” and that’s how teachers are giving out lesson plans, well, whaddayagonnado?

One thing I really dislike about this new block editor is that I don’t see my word count as I type. Where is it? Last time I copypasta’d my writing into a Word document to obtain it, but that’s just dumb. There should be a word counter somewhere! It’s probably here in some menu that makes no sense off to the side and I’m just not finding it. I know, what a weird thing to get annoyed about, but hey that’s me! Weird things annoy me. I need to know my word count, grrrr. Otherwise, there’s literally nothing wrong with typing in blocks and I don’t know what people are so fussed about unless you have some huge complicated page with moving parts you need to paste in. I’m just straight up typing and it’s fine. I don’t know if I can add my photo here (but that was the case with the old editor as well) ~ if I can’t, I’ll save the post and add the photo from the app. (Added the photo!)

Today I need a stamp. Why can’t we pay the water bill online? I don’t think that’s enough for a whole Monday Peeve, so I’ll just leave it right here. Maybe something will annoy me when I walk over to the Post Office and it can be my Monday Peeve, but it’s just a stamp. What could go wrong?

I FOUND THE WORD COUNTER! It’s the little “i”. Why wouldn’t you know that? Who wouldn’t think to click the little “i”…

~*~

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Image originally found on Pixabay.

I Think It’s Tuesday #PoiMe

Pointless meandering

Warning: this is not gonna be one of those smell the flowers in the pandemic posts, but there are plenty of those around, so if you would rather read something cheery, move along now.

I’ve been doing my side work from home as usual but not my main work. It would be complicated to set up. The days blend in a haze of sleeping late, sweatpants, coffee, news, news, and more news. 😢

It’s depressing to live this way and never see any of my favorite humans. I don’t know when I’ll be able to visit my daughter up North again. Or even see my family in Los Angeles. Everything seems terrifying. But I’ve been staying indoors mostly and not even going for walks. I don’t like getting the mail because I never know if someone will stand too close. Today was okay. No one was at the mailboxes when I was.

The worst thing is reading these constant bits of news and feeling more horrified. But I need to know what’s happening! I live near a busy street and traffic never stops whooshing by… where are they all going? Why aren’t they staying home like they’re supposed to? Aren’t they hearing the same stuff I am? 😡

I’ve been cleaning a lot. I have nothing else to do but keep checking the mishmash of news. I read a book. Probably will read another. Been chatting with friends. I was gonna bake banana bread, but no one else is around to help me eat it, so I didn’t. No need to turn into a chubby hermit. Got bored with the phone games. I’m finally working on Ghosted. 👻 Luckily, I really like it.

I am grumpy and sad. I don’t find the beauty in this. Maybe if I had a partner? Then we could be having luscious sex and engaging in wonderful deep conversations and playing chess and watching lovely old movies and making lasagna and planning our escape from this mad mad world, but instead I just keep checking the cat boxes to make sure no poop needs to be removed.

It’s not that I mind being alone. I like to be alone. It’s the forced aspect of it. And it’s the constant uncertainty in every direction. Health, family, finances, job, future. What’s going to happen? Even if things tentatively begin to improve, will we be re-whomped with this, or a new version, next winter?

Sorry, I can’t put up some Hallmark card type of post. This really sucks. 🙁

~*~

Image originally from Pixabay.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Whatever…

Pointless meandering

I guess I haven’t posted anything today. What’s left to say? I was looking forward to the FPQ, but then I saw I would have to listen to a news clip. Ughhh. Like I’m not glued to the news enough already? Too much and yet I can’t stop looking at it like I’m passing a car wreck except it’s the whole world in a wreck and I can’t just pass by because I’m living in it too.

Then I was gonna post for the Color Code Challenge, but I didn’t have anything. I had pics with colors, but no pics with groups of colors. Boo. That would have been a fun post, if it had materialized. 🌈

I thought about Sadje’s pic of the woman on a cliff with the broken god, but eh. Then there was a “glorious” sunrise or something too. Meh. Just not feeling the fiction. Or poetry. The challenge from last week was humor, but I’m too consumed with anxiety to be funny right now.

The weird thing is that I had a relatively good day, very productive. Things ended on a happy note too, and now I have a 4-day weekend. I had planned to go to Vegas with some friends, but obviously that’s not going to happen now. I’ll read, write, exercise, and maybe watch a few movies alone at home. Those are the kinds of things I enjoy, so I’m not upset about Vegas, but I dislike uncertainty. A lot. 🙁

Believe it or not, I watched Contagion last night. It’s a good movie! People wonder why I’d watch that now, but now is a great time to watch it imo. Absolutely stellar cast too. It’s weird to see Bryan Cranston before he played Walter White. (Never watched Malcolm.)

So anyway… I’ll be around. My Thursday Inspiration is coming right up tomorrow morning and I’m working on my April A-Z game posts here and there. It’s a good time to catch up on things.

Stay safe! 💖

~*~

Image originally found on Pixabay.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Writing Oddities #PoiMe

Pointless meandering

This isn’t a peeve because I don’t care. I’m not even asking for an answer, such as does this do any good? I know exactly how that will go. I’m just… meandering… 🦋

So, there are like 87 kajillion books around online with more coming out every minute of every day. There are “literally” more books than readers now… a real pyramid and soon we’ll all be competing for that one last reader at the tippy top who hasn’t written a book too.

The few writers who are lucky enough to be published by a house with a marketing department can sit back and keep writing per their contracts, but the rest of us have to do our own. I suck at it, barely doing any at all because I hate it so much. Still, I pay attention to what others do, sometimes.

Two things I have noticed lately. One is the “cover reveal.” Usually it’s for a book I had no idea was in gestation in the first place. Oh, great it has a cover! Um, do I care? No. Most of the time I don’t open the post or tweet. I guess this is like a “teaser” for a movie or something to pique our interest so we’ll be all excited to buy the book the second it’s released. Yah okay. 🙄

Problem with that idea is… it’s not a movie backed by gobs of ads. I’ll likely forget the name of the book the instant the post is off my screen. Since this is undeniably true, I have no intention of doing cover reveals for my future books.

Second thing is audience participation. I assume this is to get people “invested” in some way emotionally so they will then be more inclined to invest a few bucks in the finished product. For example, I might say hey peeps, what should the name of my protagonist’s son’s band be in Ghosted:

A. Snake Charmers
B. Viper Invasion
C. Venom Cult
D. Rattlefang 🐍

You guys vote and then you’re all, yeah baby, now I’m part of the process here! And then when I get around to publishing my book later this year (hopefully, since it’s been hanging around since 2018, but that’s not even old compared to some stuff I have sitting there), you’ll be thrilled to buy it. 💰

Or not. This will simply be one more post that disappears from your mind the instant it vanishes from your screen…

Kinda like Ghosted… 👻

~*~

Image originally from Pixabay.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

PFF40: Another Review!

Friday Flashback

Welcome to Paula’s Friday Flashback! This is a challenge begun by Fandango and it’s fun to see what we posted back when (as well as the comments). The post below is a reblog of a post I made exactly 7 years ago. As I said in my #PoiMe, so many of my reblogs are reviews because I hosed most of my old meanders. Oh well, I hope some of you enjoy reviews. 🙂

Safe Haven, Part II

So, I’ve been noodling on this Safe Haven novel by the famous Nicholas Sparks (Part I of my reviewish thingie is here). The entire concept of the book is much like a novel I read a while back called  Running Wild by Linda Howard and Linda Jones (except SH was published first). Makes sense then that I’d do a compare and contrast ~ spoilers will abound, so if you’re planning to read either book and want to be surprised, you should exit now and check out some otters.

1. Basic premise. Heroine runs away from her life to escape Bad Man (abusive husband in SH and crazy stalker date in RW) and ends up in a small town in the middle of nowhere (North Carolina in SH and Wyoming in RW). She takes a job as a waitress.

2. Stolen ID. Heroine steals/fakes a new identity when she starts her life over because Bad Man is a cop who will not only find her if she resurfaces for one second under her old name but also kill her. He will also have immunity, natch, being a cop, or so she believes. She must therefore act secretive and weird, which intrigues the hero.

3. Hero haz problems! In SH, Alex is trying to run his business and take care of his two kids, but the wife/mommy has died ~ oh noes, now what? It is so hard doing all this alone. In RW, Zeke is trying to run his ranch and take care of his aminals and men, but his cook wants to retire ~ oh noes, now what? Should he hire that secretive, sexy new waitress at the diner? Omg, decisions…

4. One slip-up. In SH, all it takes is one kind word from a neighbor to get Bad Man Kevin hot on Katie’s trail (IIRC, this is way similar to Sleeping With The  Enemy). In RW, Zeke’s old cook does an internet search on Carlin, which pings Brad and lets him know that someone in WY is looking for his honey.

Here are some major differences in the novels.

5. The Bad Men. While both Kevin (SH) and Brad (RW) are horrible creeps, Sparks took the time to make Kevin an actual character you can feel some degree of sympathy for here and there. It’s interesting, in an awful way, to take that journey down to NC with him. Brad’s just a cartoon Bad Man.

6. The Good Guys. This is the opposite of the Bad Men. In SH, Alex is bland and boring; while in RW, Zeke is sexy and exciting. Alex is way too nice for a romance novel hero ~ then again, Sparks says his books aren’t RNs, but “love stories.” Gak. Okay.

7. Motivations. Sparks does a good job in laying out his protags’ motivations. Katie needs to escape the abuse; Kevin wants her back ~ and they both love each other (or did at one point) in a sick way. This is all believable. And even Alex’s sweet gentle kindness is believable, though not very sexy. The Lindas didn’t do quite as well in this area. We’re supposed to believe that Brad, a cop, went totally bonkers after a couple dates with Carlin, and began trying to kill her when she turned him down. Now I know guys can be nuts ~ we’ve documented that right here on this blog, but EVEN SO.

8. Sex. Now this is weird. RW is a typical contemporary romance novel in that it contains a good amount of steamy sex between the hero and heroine. SH has none, zero, zilch. Actually SH has no sex between the hero and heroine, but what it does have are abusive sexual encounters (mostly fade to black type) between Katie and Kevin. Don’t you find this odd? Here’s a purported “love story” (not a “romance novel”) where there is no sex between the two main characters during the time of the story, yet there are descriptions of sex between other characters. It’s almost like Sparks is saying that his protags are too pure to be sexual.

Well, whatever. There’s enough room in the world for Sparks’ love stories as well as sizzling hot romances, right? It’s funny though that the Sparks’ books are respected and made into movies while romances are still best hidden away in brown paper bags. I mean, it’s perfectly fine to read Safe Haven out in the open while eating your lunch in the office despite the fact that there is a cute couple on the cover about to kiss, but I wouldn’t bring Running Wild to work with the shirtless cowboy cover since I know what all goes on in there. That’s meant to be read in secret while eating DS Oreos.

/end reblog

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