Sunday, May 28, 2023

Balancing Ledgers by Day and Love Stories by Night – A Thrilling Double Life #RomanceWriter #ADayInTheLifeOf #Author #TheDayJob

It’s an ordinary day in the office, shuffling through invoices, bank reconciliations, and expense reports. Little do my colleagues know that come evening, I’ll be trading my calculator for my laptop, spreadsheets for Microsoft Word. Instead of financial jargon, my evenings are filled with whispers of love, witty dialogue, powerful emotions, and passionate reunions. A stark contrast to my daytime persona, you might say? Welcome to my life – assistant accountant by day, romance author by night.

Every morning, I don my professional armour – neat blouse, trousers, ankle boots – ready to immerse myself in the meticulous world of accounting. The day progresses in a predictable fashion. Budgets, financial forecasts, and tax calculations – these are my daily bread and butter. Conversations at work are filled with numbers, payroll, and the dreaded month-end closing. The hustle and bustle of the corporate world give me a sense of satisfaction, the thrill of having all numbers balanced and equations tied up perfectly.

Yet, beneath the accountant’s demeanour is a heart that flutters at the thought of star-crossed lovers, the passion that ignites between characters, and the intoxicating dance of courtship. As dusk descends and the day job ends, another part of my persona comes to life.

The transition from accountant to author is seamless, a switch from left-brain thinking to right. My home office, a romantic contrast to my shared office at the day job, is my sanctuary. The scent of my aromatic herbal tea, the dim light cascading from my Himalayan lamp, the soft click-clack of laptop keys – this is the backdrop of my moonlit sonata.

As an assistant accountant, I’m trained to think logically and methodically. Surprisingly, this helps my creativity. Plotting a story isn’t that different from solving a complex accounting problem. Both need structure, the ability to link several elements into a cohesive whole. And let's not forget about deadlines – those are as crucial for manuscript submissions as they are for financial reports.

The dichotomy of my life provides me with a unique advantage. The precision and meticulousness I’ve learnt in my day job help shape my writing. On the other hand, the creativity and emotional intelligence required for my novels provide a refreshing counterbalance, making me a better, more empathetic assistant accountant.

Living a double life has its comedic moments too. Picture this – in meetings, while others discussed revenue and expenditures, I’m secretly deciding whether my protagonist should come clean about her secret dalliance or enjoy the thrill of secretly dating her make-a-girl-go-weak-at-the-knees co-worker.

My two worlds, as different as they are, have a strange symbiotic relationship. They provided a sense of balance, grounding me in reality while letting my imagination soar. The characters I create become my escape from the concrete jungle, while the stability of my day job allows me the freedom to write without financial stress.

In this journey of numbers and narratives, ledgers and love stories, I’ve discovered that one could straddle the world of facts and fantasy. It’s a tightrope walk, balancing both lives, but the thrill of it is unparalleled. After all, how many can claim to navigate financial ledgers by day and chart the tumultuous course of love by night?

So, here I am – by day, ensuring the company's finances are in order, and by night, spinning tales of love, passion, and happy-ever-afters. Accountant by day, author by night – two worlds, one incredible journey!

Sunday, April 30, 2023

The Psychology of Laughter: Why Humour is Good for You #SundayBlog #Humor #Laughter #Stressrelief #Healthyliving #Healthylifestyle

I love to laugh! I’m a happy person. People are constantly asking me why I’m always so happy. I believe it’s because I laugh so much. Let’s face it, laughter is a universal language. It transcends cultures, age groups, and social boundaries, bringing people together in moments of shared joy. For decades, psychologists and researchers have been interested in laughter, as they attempt to understand the underlying mechanisms and benefits of humour. 

There are several theories in psychology that explain why we laugh. Among the most prominent is the incongruity theory, which suggests that humour arises when expectations and reality differ. 

For example, a joke often leads to a punchline that defies our expectations, creating a sense of surprise and triggering laughter.

Other theories include the superiority theory, which suggests that we laugh when we perceive ourselves as superior to others or when we witness someone else's misfortune, mistakes, or incompetence. According to this theory, laughter serves as a way to assert dominance or to feel better about ourselves in comparison to others. The superiority theory dates back to ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, who believed that mockery and ridicule were at the core of humour.

The relief theory, proposed by Sigmund Freud and Herbert Spencer, posits that laughter serves as a release of built-up tension, stress, or anxiety. Laughter allows us to release negative emotions and return to a more balanced state of mind. This theory suggests that humour and laughter provide a psychological escape from the pressures and demands of everyday life, allowing us to momentarily forget our worries and concerns.

Another theory is the benign violation theory, developed by psychologists Peter McGraw and Caleb Warren, which combines elements of both the incongruity and superiority theories. According to this theory, humour arises when a situation is perceived as a violation of norms or expectations (similar to incongruity theory) but is simultaneously seen as harmless or benign (similar to superiority theory). In other words, we find something funny when it transgresses social, cultural, or personal boundaries without posing any real threat or harm. Humour, according to this theory, must strike a delicate balance between provocative and safe in order to be effective.

Whatever the theory, there’s no denying that laughter is the best medicine for releasing built-up tension, stress, and anxiety. 

So how is humour good for you?


Physically, laughter boosts our immune system, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress hormones. When we laugh, we release endorphins, the body's natural painkillers and feel-good chemicals, which uplift us and even temporarily relieve pain.


The power of humour lies in its ability to manage our emotions. It helps us cope with difficult situations by enabling us to view them from a different, less threatening perspective. Laughter can also serve as a distraction from negative emotions, allowing us to refocus our attention and gain perspective.


As a social lubricant, humour helps to break the ice and ease tension in social situations. Shared laughter connects and bonds us, making it easier for people to communicate, collaborate, and build trust. Moreover, a good sense of humour is often seen as an attractive quality, making it easier to form and maintain relationships.


Humour can enhance our cognitive abilities by stimulating our creativity and problem-solving skills. Jokes and puns often involve complex cognitive processes, such as recognizing patterns and making connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. By engaging in humour, we can hone our mental agility and promote cognitive flexibility.


Laughter has been linked to increased psychological resilience, helping us to bounce back from stress and adversity. By finding humour in challenging situations, we can reframe negative experiences, making them more manageable and less overwhelming.

The psychology of laughter reveals that humour is more than amusement – it is an essential component of our well-being. Laughter offers numerous benefits, making it an invaluable tool for maintaining a healthy, balanced, and happy life. So, the next time you're feeling down or stressed out, remember that laughter truly is the best medicine!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Understanding Your Partner's Love Language: Discovering the Different #LoveLanguages to Improve Your #Relationship and Your #Romance #Stories

I first heard about love languages a few years ago. In fact, I wrote about them on this blog at the time. I thought they were fascinating then, and I still think they’re awesome. One of the reasons I think my marriage is so amazing and has lasted so long—32 years and counting—is communication.  

In any relationship, communication is key. This is especially true when it comes to expressing love and affection and creating bonds. Everyone has their unique way of giving and receiving love, often referred to as their "love language." Understanding your partner's love language can significantly improve your relationship by giving you a special connection. Let’s take a look at these love languages.

The Five Love Languages 

Dr. Gary Chapman, a relationship expert, identified five primary love languages in his bestselling book, The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. He has since gone on to pen several more books in this area. 

These love languages are:

1. Words of Affirmation: People with this love language value verbal expressions of love, encouragement, and appreciation. They feel most loved when their partner offers sincere compliments and verbal support.

2. Quality Time: This love language is all about giving your undivided attention to your partner. People who value quality time feel most loved when their partner spends time with them, engages in meaningful conversations, and participates in shared activities.

3. Receiving Gifts: For some people, receiving thoughtful and meaningful gifts is their primary love language. This does not necessarily mean materialism; rather, it's about the thought and effort put into selecting the perfect gift that shows how much you care.

4. Acts of Service: Those with this love language feel most loved when their partner performs actions to lighten their load or make their life easier. This can include tasks like cooking dinner, running errands, or helping with chores.

5. Physical Touch: Physical touch is essential for people with this love language. They feel most connected to their partner through hugs, kisses, hand-holding, and other forms of physical affection.

You can discover your love language by taking the Love Language Quiz Dr. Gary Chapman developed to help you and your partner identify your love languages. Both of you can take the quiz and compare your results for better understanding. I did this with my husband and discovered that my love language is Words of Affirmation. Hub’s love language is Physical Touch. Discovering our love languages made all the difference once we knew how to show love effectively to the other. Up until then, I’d tell him a zillion times a day that I love him and, since his primary love language is touch… 😊. Now he verbalises his love more and I’m the touchy-feely one.

If your partner hasn’t taken the quiz, you might still be able to identify their Love Language:

To understand your partner's love language, consider the following steps:

Observe their behaviour

Pay attention to how your partner expresses love towards you and others. What actions do they take to show their love? Do they frequently offer compliments, spend quality time, give gifts, perform acts of service, or engage in physical touch?

Listen to their complaints

When your partner expresses dissatisfaction, take note of the underlying issue. Their complaints can reveal what they feel is lacking in the relationship and may hint at their love language.

Ask them directly

Have an open and honest conversation with your partner about their love language. Discuss the five love languages and ask which one resonates most with them. Be prepared to share your love language as well.

Improving Your Relationship Through Love Languages

Once you've identified your partner's love language, make a conscious effort to incorporate it into your daily life. Here are some tips for each love language:

Words of Affirmation

Regularly express your love and appreciation for your partner through compliments, praise, and encouragement. Be genuine and specific in your expressions.

Quality Time

Schedule regular date nights or activities that allow you to focus on each other. Engage in deep conversations and listen attentively to your partner's thoughts and feelings.

Receiving Gifts

Surprise your partner with thoughtful gifts that reflect their interests and desires. Remember, it's the thought that counts, so even small tokens of affection can go a long way.

Acts of Service

Look for ways to lighten your partner's load or make their life easier. Offer to help with chores or errands, and make sure to follow through on your commitments.

Physical Touch

Cultivate physical affection and closeness in your relationship to make your partner feel loved and secure.

Here are some tips for each love language:

1. Words of Affirmation:

Leave heartfelt notes or messages for your partner to find.

Publicly acknowledge your partner's achievements and express how proud you are of them.

Send loving texts or messages.

Reassure your partner of your love during difficult times.

2. Quality Time:

Create a technology-free zone during quality time to minimize distractions.

Try new activities together to bond and create lasting memories.

Share your goals, dreams, and aspirations with each other.

Learn about your partner's interests and participate in them.

3. Receiving Gifts:

Keep a list of things your partner mentions they like or need for future gift ideas.

Celebrate milestones and special occasions with personalized gifts.

Create handmade gifts to add a personal touch and demonstrate your effort.

Plan surprises or experiences, such as a romantic weekend getaway or a  surprise date night.

4. Acts of Service:

Be proactive in noticing your partner's needs and addressing them.

Learn about your partner's preferences and tailor your acts of service accordingly.

Team up to tackle larger projects or chores together.

Be consistent and reliable in your acts of service to build trust and security.

5. Physical Touch:

Establish regular routines for physical affection, like hugging or cuddling before bed.

Hold hands or put your arm around your partner when walking or sitting together.

Give your partner a massage or a comforting touch when they're stressed or tired.

Learn about your partner's preferences for physical touch and make an effort to meet their needs.

Of course, as an author, I started thinking about how romance writers can use love language to add depth to their novels.

Romance authors can skillfully incorporate the concept of love languages into their novels to create engaging and relatable stories. By understanding and integrating the five love languages, authors can develop rich, dynamic characters and compelling romantic relationships. Here are some ways to incorporate love languages in romance novels:

Character Development

When creating characters, consider giving each one a primary love language. This helps establish their personalities and motivations, making them more relatable to readers. Understanding a character's love language can also guide their actions and reactions throughout the story.

Relationship Dynamics

Use love languages to add depth to the romantic relationships in your novel. Show how characters with different love languages might struggle to understand or appreciate each other's expressions of love, leading to tension or conflict. Alternatively, explore how characters with the same love language might find a unique connection or deeper understanding of one another.

Conflict Resolution

Utilize love languages as a tool for resolving conflicts between characters. As the characters learn to appreciate and adapt to each other's love languages, they can grow individually and as a couple. This growth can serve as a catalyst for resolving misunderstandings or disagreements in the story.

Plot Points

Love languages can be used to create interesting plot points or challenges that the characters must overcome. For instance, a character might struggle to express love in their partner's love language, leading to feelings of inadequacy or frustration. Alternatively, a character might need to learn their partner's love language to save the relationship or win their love.


Use the different love languages as symbols or motifs throughout your novel. For example, a recurring theme of physical touch might symbolize a character's longing for connection, while acts of service could represent a character's desire to prove their love and commitment.

Emotional Depth

Incorporate love languages to create emotional depth in your story. As characters express love in various ways, readers can relate to their feelings, desires, and insecurities. This connection can evoke strong emotions, making the story more engaging.

Teachable Moments

Use love languages as a means to educate readers about the importance of understanding and appreciating different expressions of love. By showcasing characters learning and growing through their relationships, you can offer valuable insights and lessons to your audience.

You know I had to bring this back to writing, right? I hope this has given you some ideas. If so, please let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

10 Unconventional Date Ideas for Couples: Inspiration for Romance Authors #romancewriters #writerscommunity #writersoftwitter #writers #writerslife

As a romance author, I’m always on the lookout for unique and exciting date ideas for my main characters. To me, there is nothing more boring than reading about the heroine and the hero going on a date. I prefer the “date” scenes to be unusual. Let’s face it, the dinner date has been done to death. Yes, I have a few in my romances, which is probably why I’m sick of them. But, on the other hand, I always make sure my dinner date scenes are in some way unusual. At the end of the day, it's the chemistry and connection between the hero and heroine that creates a memorable date scene. 

Anyway, now that I’m back to writing, I’ve been on the hunt for date ideas that would inspire me to write stories that create experiences for my characters. Dates that are not only romantic but also allow the hero and heroine to grow closer and strengthen their bond.

I thought you might enjoy some of the ideas I’ve come up with. 

I’ve searched for inspiration in a variety of places, from personal experiences to travel blogs, and even social media. I love the unconventional and unexpected. These have got to be the most memorable dates, I think. Why go out to dinner, when you can go for a more adventurous date. 

Something like:

1. A hot air balloon ride. It's a unique and romantic way to see the world from a new perspective. Can’t you just picture your hero and heroine taking in the fabulous scenic views and creating memories that will last a lifetime?

2. Volunteer together: I also like the idea of my characters volunteering together, whether it's at a local animal shelter or a community garden. It not only shows their selflessness but also allows them to work together, giving them lots of bonding time.

3. Cooking classes: Watching the MC and love interest learn to cook a new dish together can be both humorous and romantic, especially when they make a mess or get into a friendly argument over the recipe.

4. Dance lesson: There are so many ways we can incorporate this into a romance and it's a great way for the hero and heroine to get out of their comfort zone and experience something new together.

5. Explore hidden gems in their city or wherever they happen to be: I LOVE exploring! Discovering new places is just the most amazing thing and it can create a sense of adventure and spontaneity in the character’s relationship.

6. Scavenger hunt: I love the idea of a scavenger hunt. This would be a fun way for the hero and heroine to work together to solve clues while discovering new places, things about each other, and experiencing unique challenges.

7. Picnics in the park: Enjoying the outdoors and each other's company can make for a romantic and intimate date.

8. Escape Room: Solving puzzles and riddles together in an escape room sounds like a fun and challenging way for the hero and heroine to work together and bond over their shared love for problem-solving.

9. Attend a murder mystery dinner: This sounds like it can be a lot of fun for the hero and heroine as they put their detective skills to the test. Not only will you get to dress them up and write the fancy meal, but the MCs will get to work together to solve a fictional crime.

10. Stargazing: Send the H/h to a secluded spot away from the city lights and let them spend the night stargazing. What a romantic and peaceful way for the hero and heroine to connect with each other and the universe.

And, of course, there’s always the Surprise Date. I think it’d be romantic to have the hero surprise the heroine with a mystery date, where she has no idea where they're going or what they'll be doing. This has got to be a great way to add excitement and spontaneity to their growing relationship.

Since the romance story is all about creating memorable moments that will stay with my readers long after they finish the book, I think sending the characters on exciting dates would serve the purpose, don’t you?

As a writer, how do you come up with ideas for the “date” scenes in your romance?

And, as a reader, what are your favourite date scenes from romance novels that have stayed with you?

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Sunday, April 2, 2023

The Art of Writing Heart-Wrenching Breakup Scenes #WritersLife #WritingRomance #Author #WriteTips #WritingCommunity #BloggingCommunity

The Art of Writing Heart-Wrenching Breakup Scenes

It's been a while, but I am thrilled to announce that the Pull Up A Chair With Mon writing series is back! I'm kicking off the series with a new look and plans for a ton of new posts in the coming months. I don't think I've mentioned this here, yet, I'm writing a How To book on writing romance. It's going well and I can't wait to tell you more in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

This post is specifically aimed at romance writers, and I shall be using the pronoun “her” when referring to your readers, given that the majority of romance readers are female. 

So, let’s dive in.

Breakups can be tough, and writing them can be even tougher. But if you're looking to add real emotion to your writing, there’s no better place to start than with a good old-fashioned breakup scene. 

The key to crafting a truly heart-wrenching breakup scene, also known as the Black Moment, is to delve into your characters’ raw emotions and connect with your readers. You want your readers to feel the pain and heartbreak as if they were in the room with your characters. To achieve this, you must be willing to explore complex emotional situations and be vulnerable in your writing. Remember that it’s your character’s wound that leads to the Black Moment but it’s their fear that causes it. 

When we're going through a breakup, it's often insignificant memories that trigger emotions, such as the sound of our ex's laughter, their fragrance, or the way they used to say our name, the tender moments and all the shared fun times. By highlighting these memories, you can create a sense of intimacy between your characters and your readers. It's like you’re letting your readers in on a secret, and this can be incredibly powerful.

Have you ever noticed how movie breakup scenes often contain a lot of conflict? There's a reason these scenes are featured in movies and TV shows - they're inherently dramatic. But you don't want to rely solely on drama to carry your scene. Instead, focus on the underlying conflict between your characters. What are their true motivations? What are they really feeling? By exploring these deeper emotional layers, you can create a sense of tension that will keep your reader on the edge of her seat. 

Of course, dialogue is also incredibly important in a breakup scene. This is where your characters can really let loose and say what's on their minds – you know, the internal conflicts they’ve been fighting the entire book. Like, “I knew I could never trust you, you’re just like every other man who’s ever let me down.” Or, from the hero’s POV, “I need a woman who prioritises me over her career.” But again, you don't want to rely solely on melodramatic dialogue to get your point across. Maybe focus on the subtext - what your characters aren't saying is often just as important as what they are saying. By using dialogue to reveal your characters' innermost thoughts and feelings, you can create a sense of emotional depth.

To make your breakup scene more impactful, there are certain techniques you can employ. For instance, utilizing flashbacks can be effective in showcasing your characters’ journey toward the breakup. By revealing the history of their relationship, you can create a sense of nostalgia and regret that will really tug at your readers' heartstrings. However, it is important to exercise caution and not go overboard with flashbacks, as excessive use may cause confusion and disrupt the flow of the scene.

Another technique is to use sensory language to create a vivid sense of place. Where is your breakup scene taking place? What does the environment look like? What sounds and smells are present? By using sensory language, you can create a fully-realised setting that will immerse your readers in the moment.

And what about visceral reactions and sensations? How is your character feeling this breakup on a physical level? Maybe the character is feeling a deep, throbbing pain or tightness in the chest or stomach that’s overwhelming and all-consuming. 

It's important not to shy away from trying out different structures when writing breakup scenes. You can mix up the timeline, change the pacing, and even switch perspectives to make the scene more interesting and unpredictable. By breaking some traditional writing rules, you can generate a sense of excitement and suspense that will capture your readers' attention.

There you have it – the art of writing heart-wrenching breakup scenes. Remember, the key is to tap into your characters’ raw emotions. In doing so, you will also make your readers feel those emotions and your love story will stay with her long after she’s turned the last page. 

But remember, when writing a breakup scene, it’s important to consider certain factors. It isn’t necessary to make every breakup scene overly emotional and dramatic, as it should align with the tone and message of your story. Avoid forcing your characters into a breakup just for the sake of the scene.

Be careful not to rely too heavily on cliches. We've all seen the classic breakup scene where one character says "it's not you, it's me," or the other character dramatically slams the door on their way out. While these can be effective in small doses, overusing cliches can make your scene stale and unoriginal.

Finally, make sure your breakup scene serves a purpose within the larger context of your story. It needs to be a turning point for your characters and it should reveal something new about your hero’s and heroine’s motivations, wants, and needs. By tying your breakup scene into the larger themes of your romance story, you can ensure a lasting impact on your readers.

It is true, writing a heart-wrenching breakup scene can be a challenging, but rewarding, experience. My advice would be to recall your worst breakup and utilize your personal experience of heartbreak to fuel your imagination. Harness those intense emotions and go forth and write compelling breakup scenes that will leave your reader thirsty for more!