Romance Writer Who Doesn’t Like Valentine’s Day? Huh?

Okay, so maybe I roll my eyes when Valentine’s Day is mentioned. Maybe I don’t get all goo-goo over the prospect of flowers, candy, and a date on the “Special Day.” Does that mean I’m not romantic?

I love romance. I love to find romance in every moment of every day. If there isn’t a happily-ever-after in a book or movie, I’m seldom interested. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me despair or panic about what might happen, but give me a happy ending!

It doesn’t take much to make me ooh and ahh. If you read my small town romance series, you know I’m a sucker for a grand gesture when my hero and heroine need to grovel after behaving badly (but never cruelly!) But the things I find most romantic, and the things my characters are best at, in my humble opinion, are the small things. (I like to think that they do all of the things I mention below, even if off-screen, so to speak.)

In real life, I’m lucky to have a true hero–the kind who wants to lavish me with gifts and sweet gestures on what I have dubbed The-Most-Commercialized-Love-Fest-Of-The-Year, but he’s learned not to bother. It doesn’t impress me. (Remember how I said I roll my eyes? Yeah, I’m obnoxious.) What does he do? He shows his romantic and kind side every day. Even when he’s annoyed with me. (Believe me, I test this theory a lot.)

So what does this romance writer deem more romantic than roses, candy, jewelry/gifts, and well-planned date nights on February 14th? Oh, so much.

A sweet smile. A random massage. A surprise delivery of chips and chocolate when that time of the month is approaching.  An out-of-the-blue compliment. Taking out the trash. Helping to clean up the house without being asked. Listening when I’ve had a bad day. Being wonderful to our children. Driving them around when I can’t. Telling me I don’t suck when clearly I do.🙂 Reminding me of my successes when I’m feeling like a failure. Believing in me. Believing in us. Taking the dogs out when it’s freezing so I don’t have to. Not getting mad at me when I’m cranky. Supporting all of my crazy ideas–even when they’re truly crazy. Watching my favorite shows with me even if he’d rather not listen to me sob through another episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Making dinner after a long day at work because I can’t muster up the energy. Refilling my nighttime water bottle even though I could totally do it myself. Helping me with business and computer stuff. Holding down the fort while I travel. Having in-depth conversations about various topics and not acting self-righteous or condescending. Never criticizing what I wear, what I read, what I think, what I feel.

Let’s just say there is nothing sexier–and I mean, nothing–than a man doing dishes. Or vacuuming. Or playing with puppies. Or loving children. Or standing up for himself in a kind, sympathetic way. Or letting go of his work-induced anger before coming home. Or engaging in a debate and not losing his temper. Or appreciating his partner’s flaws and talents equally.

I don’t begrudge anyone the joy of Valentine’s Day. I love the paper hearts and lacy doilies we collage in my preschool class. I never say no to chocolate. Or flowers. Or date nights. (I’m more of a cheap jewelry kind of gal, so jewelry gifts are wasted on me.) I love the perfume of love in the air. The sunshiney warmth that brightens an otherwise dreary New England February.

I’m just saying that if that one night a year is the only night that encourages romance, I’ll pass. Because love is bigger than an overpriced Hallmark greeting card.

A friend and I were hashing this out earlier. Jena has been in a wonderful marriage for many, many years and with many, many children. She agrees with me, though. In fact, her words about Valentine’s Day? “Appreciate and love those around you all year long. Don’t fall into the once a year pay three times as much for everything to prove you love someone.” And more succinctly, “It’s poppycock. Balderdash.”

I agree, Jena.

So what am I doing to celebrate the day? I’ll probably make breakfast for my kids while driving my sweet love crazy with overly loud 90s pop music and a kitchen dance party. We’ll spend the morning together. He’ll spend the afternoon gaming with his friends like he does every Sunday, and I’ll spend the evening going out to a movie with my best friend, Alison. (We’ll be seeing How to Be Single. Isn’t it ironic? We’re both in happy relationships, but our friendship is happy, too!)  I’ll cap off the night with my sweetie by my side–well, across the sea of dogs who demand equal attention and affection. And before I drift off to a contented sleep, I’ll read a little from a romance novel.

Because love is all about appreciating and honoring your partner, but also about indulging in the things that make you happy. Giving each other space and being available when needed.

What better way to honor love than to celebrate it every single day?

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day (with minimal eye-rolling, I promise!) Whether you are single, married, dating, or whatever, I hope you are surrounded by the people or pets or hobbies that make you happy! Today and every day.❤

Big hugs,


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The Ugly Truth of Publishing & How BEST to Support Writers

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri

Well, I figure I have one more day to drunkenly torch my platform. Sad thing is I don’t drink. I am apparently this stupid when sober😛 . Actually I am writing this as a follow up for my rant from the day before yesterday, because knowledge is power.

Writers need this. Your friends and families need this. Readers need this. The more people get how this industry works, the more everyone can start working together for everyone’s benefit.

In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, I go into a LOT more detail and I highly recommend you get a copy if you don’t have one. I spend the first chapters of the book explaining how the various forms of publishing work so you can make an educated decision.

All types of publishing have corresponding…

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Solitary Writer at the Boston Book Festival

Each year, I try to attend the Boston Book Festival, held in October. It’s a well-organized event that has a little something for everyone.

As usual, I made sure to attend the event I look forward to each year, Writer Idol. It is exactly what it sounds like–a literary version of American Idol. Brave writers submit the first page of their work, and someone reads them aloud. Three agents listen intently. They raise a hand when they would have stopped reading the submission, and when two of the three agents have raised their hand, the work stops being read. The agents then explain why they stopped reading.

I have never submitted my pages for this event (I am SO NOT BRAVE!), but I love listening to everyone else’s work, and it’s always interesting to watch the agent’s faces as they listen. It’s especially interesting to hear their thoughts on why they stopped.

Here are the takeaway lessons I got from this year’s Writer Idol event.

*New writers often “over-write.” The agents stressed that excellent writing should sound like the author barely put any effort into the prose. It should not be clunky or “too creative.”

*Writers need to simplify. Or, as one agent put it, “You don’t need all that shit!”

*Get rid of all the adjectives.

All of these lessons are sort of the same idea, but since I’m not allowed to over-write my manuscript, I figured I could take advantage and spell it all out in a blog post.😉

I commend all of the brave, thick-skinned souls who submitted their work to be torn apart for the benefit of all.

So to my reader friends–please feel sorry for the writers who have to craft stories around all these dang rules we’re given every other minute. (No adverbs, no adjectives, no over-writing, no under-writing, no this, no that, blah blah blah). And to all of my writer friends–have a great big drink (and don’t forget to invite me!)



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Making Things Up As I Go Along

I’m a writer.

I make things up.

Stories, conversations, people.

When I write a story, I don’t model my characters after anyone I know. This can be hard for non-writers to understand.

Don’t get me wrong, bits and pieces of everyone I encounter make up the characters I create, much the same way we are all made of stardust. I can’t pretend to understand where my ideas come from… nor will I ever be able to truly explain the process. I shock myself with some of the things that happen with my characters and my books.

Do my characters act like me? Ha. I’m rather boring in person, so I hope not! My characters make decisions based on who they are, not who I am. (Imagine how boring the book world would be if authors only wrote about themselves???) Readers are way too smart–we know when a character acts in a way that isn’t congruent with their psychological profile. How many times have you screamed at the television, “She’d never do that!”

Just as I/we read to escape, I also write to escape. To dream up a world with problems that are different than mine. To coax two characters toward the happily-ever-afters they deserve. To give my characters the opportunity to say the things I wish I could or would say. (You know what I mean–like when the perfect comeback forms in your head HOURS after the argument? In a book, the author can go back and add that bit of dialogue when it percolates. Don’t you wish you could do that in real life from time to time?)

Writing can feel like magic. Seeds are planted early on in a story, and I’ll often have no idea WHY a certain something was mentioned. Later, it becomes clear. “Oh, so THAT’S why he grows flowers!” Or whatever. By the time the story is written (and rewritten, and rewritten, and oh, did I mention rewritten?), I hope to have pieced together enough of the magic to bring the characters to life in a way that can make them feel like living, breathing characters.

So someday someone can play the guessing game about who I modeled my characters after. Because if I tell you that the hot hero on the cover is really tied up in my basement, you probably won’t believe me.  But if I tell you that the people you’ve grown to think of as friends (hopefully!) were complete figments of my imagination and not my friends, family, or neighbors, it may be even harder to believe.

Loving a Wildflower - Amanda Torrey 1600x2560


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The world we live in…Man has it changed. ADDENDUM!

People should be ashamed of themselves.

38 Pitches

I thank God every day that Facebook and Twitter, instagram, vine, Youtube, all of it, did not exist when I went to High School. I can’t imagine the dumb stuff I’d have been caught saying and doing.

If you are a dad this is something you well know already, if you are a dad with a daughter this is likely to get your blood going. If you are a boy, or young man, or husband, and you haven’t experienced children yet, or haven’t had a daughter, it’s next to impossible for you to understand.

My daughter, my one and only daughter, has worked her ass off playing sports the past 9-10 years. She’s loved it, and I’ve loved being able to both watch, and coach along the way.

Last week we were told she’d been accepted to college and will begin playing softball there next year.

Clearly an incredibly proud day.

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New social network! :)

Join me on tsū, they are sharing social revenues with all of us #tsunation

It’s actually quite fun and easy to use!  All the cool kids are signing up.😉


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gluten free vegan garlic herb breadsticks

Making these ASAP.  As in, now. Wish me luck! 🙂

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Rising from the ashes

Here I am with a shiny new blog. I’m hoping to become more active on here now that I’m able to actually compose a blog and post it from my phone. (What has the world come to???) I’m still in the testing phase as I try out my new relationship with WordPress, so this one will be short and sweet.

I’ll leave you with a joke–my favorite joke of all time.

How do you say goodbye to a sandcastle?

With a WAVE!

Ha, ha, ha–get it???

See why it’s my favorite joke?


Okay, signing off now. Because clearly I need sleep.😉

Love and hugs and magical wishes to all,


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Testing new blog…

This is a test of the Amanda Torrey Blogging system, this is only a test.

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