21 February 2013

Language of Love: Hats?

This month I've been ardently researching the clothing and culture of the 1920s. Two reasons. One, I'm helping costume the actors in my daughter's spring musical theater recital, set in the 20's. Two, I'm presenting a costuming workshop at my RWA chapter's writer's retreat. So I gladly combined my two efforts into one tax-deductible order of vintage costuming books :).

So what does this have to do with the language of love, this month's theme? In one of the books I read that women, supposedly, used to tie the ribbon in their ubiquitous cloche hat hat differently depending on their love relationship. (1) Picture a cloche hat with a stiffened ribbon through the side, sort of like a feather. The wearer left the ribbon straight, like an arrow, if she was single but committed romantically. She tied a simple knot if she was married. And she tied a fancy, frou-frou bow if she was looking for love, hopefully in all the right places...or speakeasies, since this was during the Roaring 20s!

While that doesn't seem to make logical sense -- surely the knotless ribbon should represent the unentangled single gal -- it is a type of love language represented symbolically. General engagement rings and wedding bands, the color of flowers (http://www.teleflora.com/flowercolors.asp) -- though this is more in the meaning of the gift than what it represents about the wearer, or how you wear your claddagh ring (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claddagh_ring) -- these are other various cultural symbols beyond the FaceBook status that quietly whisper the language of love, of a sort, without the wearer having to state it aloud.

I found a couple references to the meaning of circle pins (http://thevintagevillage.com/profiles/blogs/50s-circle-pins-do-they-have) and here for pretty pictures (http://mid2mod.blogspot.com/2011/08/back-in-day-circle-pins.html) but they seem a bit more vague than the aforementioned examples. Here's one about what the color of your cravat supposedly represents: http://academia-cravatica.hr/interesting-facts/speech  which I had not heard before.

Can you think of more examples? I don't write historicals so, while I'm enjoying my foray into vintage fashion research, I'm not well-versed in other "love language" representations that might exist in other times and cultures.

Jody Wallace
Author, Cat Person, Amigurumist
http://www.jodywallace.com * http://www.meankitty.com  

(1) Herald, Jacqueline. Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s. BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1991. Page 30.

18 February 2013


Last week - Valentine's Day, to be exact - marked a milestone for me. It was the 7th anniversary of my being a published author. I can't believe I've come so far in a direction I never, in a million years, expected to go. Wow. Seven years and 20-something books later... I'm about to hit another milestone - sort of - and come full circle.

You see, the first book I ever had published was Dragon Knights: Maiden Flight, way back on 2/14/06. It was reissued last August in a new edition with a new, sexier cover, but the story is essentially the same.

The milestone comes in when you realize that next week, my seventh Dragon Knights novel will be released. Keeper of the Flame is brand new, novel length, and will bring us all back to visit Draconia, it's dragons, knights, shapeshifters, etc, yet again.

To be precise, there are - or will soon be - a total of 10 Dragon Knights stories. Seven novels, if you count Keeper of the Flame, and three novellas. One is already out and has been for years. It was part of the I Dream of Dragons anthologies several years ago. It's called Wings of Change.

Later this year, two new novellas will be released. Dragon Knights: The Dragon Healer will come out in ebook in July and be part of the new print edition of Maiden Flight (the print book will have the novella in it as a bonus story). Dragon Knights: Master at Arms will come out at the end of August and will likewise be in the new print edition of Border Lair.

I'm really enjoying going back to my roots with the dragons and knights this year and I can't wait to see how the new stories are received by readers. I'm always nervous until I start to hear back from the readers!

And this year is also marking a return of sorts for me. I took quite a bit of time off from writing the past three years and only in recent months have I started to write more. I hope to continue to improve on that and get quite a few more stories out this year. Wish me luck! ;-)

Meanwhile, here's a little bit more about Keeper of the Flame and links where you can pre-order it and The Dragon Healer (which is already on sale on Amazon). Hope you like it!

Keeper of the Flame

A warrior, a maiden... and a passion that could set the whole world aflame.

Dragon Knights, Book 7

Despite the fact he is the largest of his half-dragon brothers and better suited to fighting, Hugh has been sent on an undercover mission. Forced to stay in human form, he must discover if the land of Helios is truly the Draconian ally it pretends, or something more sinister.

When he witnesses injustice in the form of a misshapen baby gryphlet kicked out into the cold, he cannot remain in the shadows and watch the child suffer. All he can hope for is that his act of kindness will go unnoticed so his mission can continue.

But someone does notice. When Lera cautiously approaches Hugh, she is drawn to his strange, foreign magic. She is entranced by its irresistible allure -- until assassins come calling and reveal her true identity.

She is Valeria, queen of Helios, Keeper of the Flame. And she has been betrayed. Together they must risk everything to uncover the traitors and reforge the alliance between their lands. Yet beneath their blazing passion, both are still keeping secrets. Secrets that the Sacred Flame will reveal -- if their love survives its cleansing fire.

Warning: When a dragon prince and a Flame Keeper come together, the conflagration is definitely too hot to handle!

Pre-order Keeper of the Flame now from: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Samhain

Pre-order The Dragon Healer now from: Amazon

17 February 2013


How was your Valentine's Day?

Although, I think love, especially the language of love, transcends more than just a holiday.

In fact I know it does.

I LOVED the card and the raspberry chocolates my husband left me. My kids love getting Valentines from their classmates, but I've been thinking about other moments in my relationship and I have to share the moment where my DH & I first said "I Love You."

In the summer of 2001, I was finishing up college and the Brooks & Dunn song "Ain't Nothing 'Bout You" was released.

I'd just started dating the DH seriously and it was a long distance relationship. There was a 3 hr distance between us. Listening to that song made me think of him when I wasn't able to see him.

Then I heard Brooks & Dunn were coming to Toronto. The midway point for us, but having just graduated and the DH had another year I was more concerned about getting a job.

And then he called and told me he bought tickets. His Co-op paid money. Mine didn't.

He picked me up and we went to Toronto to see the BEST concert ever. It was hours and hours of music. I loved all the artists. It was a concert where Keith Urban was still an up and comer and hadn't married Nicole Kidman.

Anyways, Brooks & Dunn came on the stage and sang our favorite songs, but when they sang that song I looked over at my DH and just knew. KNEW.

And we both said it. Eleven years married, with three kids and if I play that song he still comes running. The song still makes me swoon, brings a flush to my cheek and brings me trouble of the smooching kind.

14 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day - the Language of Love

Language of Love, eh?  According to Google, in French, "langage de l'amour."

I think love is about so much more than just the usual chocolates and pretty nighties.  Actions are an expression of love.  This includes our everyday behavior, the way we talk, work, and interact with other human beings.  Love can be simple, such as for a friend or lover, or more complex, such as for a deity or humanity.

One of the most amazing expressions of life-long love is that expressed by Mother Teresa.  I've always admired her steadfast commitment to her cause and her willingness to sacrifice for her beliefs. Here are some quotes by her that I love.

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls."

"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty."

"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home."

How do you love?

11 February 2013

Hearts & Flowers & Words & Stuff

Greetings Kittens,

It's February and that means the non-stop hearts and flowers of Valentine's Day, and all thoughts turned to love. I have to say, this year, I'm just not feeling it. That's not to say I'm not in love. I've had the same valentine for the last seventeen years and I'm just as happy to have him "Be Mine" as I've always been.

And I don't mind the commercialization. I like the fact that I'm guaranteed some fluffy plush bear or bunny at a discounted price on February 17th or so each year. The same discounts can be found on my beloved chocolate covered cherries and all manner of delicious, nutritionally devoid treats. I like the kitschy bits and baubles, heart-shaped pizzas, candied roses, pink and red everything.

I'm less enthusiastic about the cards. Don't get me wrong, I love the greeting card industry as a whole. I appreciate the fact that someone spends their day coming up with cute, quaint, sentimental and even corny sayings to bring smiles to millions. I know how much a "get well" card can brighten someone's day. They're great. I just don't think they should be the designated expression of love for the season.

In the time of emails, chat and text, the concept of taking a moment to express ourselves in original thought should be a given. How then, is it perfectly acceptable to drop a card in the mail, tuck it into flowers, or heaven forbid, send an e-card with nothing more than a signature attached? When did our own words become less valued this time of year? When did the mass produced sentiment meant to enhance our personal words, replace them? When did we forget how to speak the language of love?

I don't expect ten page flowing prose to spill from the pen of all in love or lust this season. I realize that not everyone is as in love with language as I am. But at the very least I expect the 140 characters a tween on twitter can manage. Perhaps that's the very thing that will turn it around. The more we become enamored of expressing ourselves concerning everything from lunch to politics, the less we'll be willing to surrender our words when it matters.

Here's to love. Here's to language. Here's to a month where everything, even a card with someone else's words, all mean the same thing. "I love you."

Ramble Done,


10 February 2013

When Shifting Goes Bad...

Shapeshifters have become pretty popular among authors and readers, from dragon shifters to dolphin shifters to bull shifters. (Really. I kid you not.) When I was growing up I never thought much about the perils and pleasures of having the ability to shape-shift.

But now that I'm working on a series with cat shifters I'm paying more attention to the little things, the details that bring a character to life. And the problems that being a cat shifter would have.

For example, Rebecca, my cat shifter, has exquisite hearing—to the point of pain. Imagine if you could hear so well that you could eavesdrop on conversations in another room. It sounds like fun, right? Until you expand that to walking down a busy city street and the noise, the noise, the NOISE around you like a huge wave of sound slapping you with every step. Just imagine the sounds battering your senses and the effort it'd take to lock yourself down and control the constant input.

The same with the sense of smell. I've smelt some pretty disgusting things in my life but I can't imagine how it would be to have that amplified. I've walked through some pretty ugly alleyways in Toronto where every puddle was a toxic dump and the dumpsters were overflowing with rotten food. Sure it'd be great to pick people out by their scent or smell their fear through bitter sweat but add in rotten Chinese food and a dash of vomit and suddenly it's not such a great thing.

But it's not just cat shifters who'd have to deal with problems. Werewolves, or wolf shifters, would have their own twist on these problems. And I love seeing writers deal with the reality (for lack of another word) of the negative side of shifting. It's easy to write and relate to the positive aspects of being a shifter—not so much when there are ongoing issues from living in two worlds.

We all point at the werewolf loving his rare steak between full moons or sniffing out his mate in a crowded room, sensing their connection in a raw, animalistic form. But there's a lot of downsides and I enjoy reading about how the grass may not always be greener on the other side when you're more than just human.

So let me toss the question out—what do you think would be the biggest downside of being a (blank) shifter? Dragon shifter always setting fire to the curtains? Cat shifter clawing up the furniture? Selkie leaving wet towels on the bathroom floor?



08 February 2013

Sometimes it's not What You Say

The language of love/slips from my lover’s tongue/Cooler than ice cream/And warmer than the sun…
            Annie Lennox, Who’s That Girl?

Words are strange things. We who speak the same language learn many of the same words as children, are taught what those words mean and how to combine them into sentences and paragraphs so as to get our points across. Yet, for each of us, comprehending what we hear is dependent on a number of personal attributes—what part of the world or country are you from, how did you grow up, what’s most important to you? Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to love.

Have you ever had a girlfriend whose boyfriend/husband/significant other says things to her you find distasteful or offensive? Or heard a woman say something to her male partner that made you cringe? For you those things might be a deal-breaker but for the couples involved it may be nothing big. In the language of their relationship those words might not mean the same thing as they do to you. As authors it can be a difficult task to get our characters to say the right things, to speak of love in a way that’s authentic to them and yet both recognizable and heartwarming to the reader. And it’s not always sufficient for them to simply say, “I love you.” Sometimes that just won’t cut it.

The language of love is just like the language of pain—the more you know the person, the more effective your words are. There are things I know about my husband that a casual acquaintance, or even a fairly good friend, wouldn’t. Since I like to use my powers for good, not evil (hehehe), I often use that knowledge to say things I know will make him feel amazing. Some of these things can be said in front of others, and they wouldn’t have a clue that I just said something extremely personal and important to my man, using our secret language of love. (No, I’m not going to give you an example! *shoo, shoo*)

I try to use the same strategy when writing, but it’s only effective if the reader knows and understands the characters, can hear the underlying nuances of the words. I have to let the reader into the characters’ secret selves for them to appreciate the sentiment behind the dialogue, even if sometimes the character being spoken to doesn’t yet fully appreciate what the person speaking is trying to do.

And at other times it’s not the words but the actions that speak of love. Sometimes it can be one character giving in to another’s needs, stepping back when they don’t want to, stepping up to the plate when what they really want to do is turn away. Saying, “Yes, I’ll do that for you,” when every instinct says, “Run like the wind!” can be a far more loving phrase than, “I adore you.”

So the language of love has its own vocabulary both in real life and in fiction. Learning your own and your mate’s, I think, really is key to a happy relationship. Likewise, understanding your characters in the same way, what they want, what they need to be happy, allows your reader to see why sometimes even the word, “No,” is a declaration of true and sincere love.

07 February 2013

Saying "I love you," in not so many words

It should be the big moment in a romance, where someone confesses "I love you." But my favorite declarations of love tend to be, well, no so direct.

The most famous example, of course, follows Leia's declaration of love in The Empire Strikes Back. Han Solo, instead of answering in kind, simply says "I know."


I tend to love these moments, where more is said by not being said and when it come down to write those moments in my own books, it wasn't a simply "I love you," followed by "I love you, too."

The favorite declaration I've written is from an unpublished manuscript, Above the Fold, about a hard-charging reporter and a security agent who's trying to put his life back together. They've been dealing with how outwardly incompatible they are through the whole book, even while dodging bullets and defusing bombs. She thinks he wants to fix her and the way she lives. She's mistaken.

"I chose my life, as messed up at it is. I don’t need a rescuer.”
“I do,” Grayson said. 

In Phoenix Legacy, my hero, Philip Drake aka Hawk, is convinced he is so damaged he's incapable of a proper relationship. (He has a point, given his morals are basically 'protect those you care about and the rest can go hang.') A simple "I love you"  is out of the scope of his comprehension. Instead, he gives the heroine, Delilah Sefton, what he thinks she needs.

“I’m not trying to put you off. I’m telling you, honestly: whatever you want, I’ll do it for you. Whatever you want.”
She sensed the depth of that statement from him this time. He meant that literally. If she told him to stay away, he would. He might watch her from a distance to ensure her safety, but he’d fade from her life.

Philip repeats whatever you want several times. It's his version of "I love you."  But Del knows this is not the way to a true partnership.

“You didn’t fail me, you saved my life.” She kissed him lightly on the lips. “I’m pregnant from a medical rape, I’ve been thrown in with a bunch of would- be superheroes, been chased by minions of some villain, and we’ve just had a hell of a reintroduction. I know very little of what I want.” She laid her head on his shoulder.

“But please don’t vanish, Hawk. Please don’t vanish. I don’t think I could stand to say goodbye to you again.”

And finally, Del doesn't exactly say "I love you" at the end but she does use words that Hawk understands perfectly.

“It was the right thing.” That Cheshire had shot him didn’t matter. That he’d
reached the point where he could give Cheshire a second chance, that mattered. That meant he could change. He didn’t have to be a killer.
“How is the baby? Is he growing normally?”
“Our son is fine. Alec told me they finally found Cheshire’s back-ups in his home, buried inside his stereo equipment. Once we find a doctor we can trust, they’ll have the right information in case of any complications.”
“Good.” A long pause. “Stay with me.” 
She lay down beside him. He sighed happily. 
“Now what?” he asked. “
Whatever you want, Hawk,” she answered. “Whatever you want.”

They finally do exchange "I love you"s at the very end of the book but, by that time, it's a done deal. The words are confirmation of what they already know, not revelation.

So what's your favorite declaration of love?

Corrina Lawson is a writer, mom, geek and superhero, not necessarily in that order. You can find her at www.corrina-lawson.com or www.geekmom.com

04 February 2013

Introducing The Language of Love. Also? On Introductions.

I'm not blogging on my regular day this month. There's a reason why, too...

The first part of the reason is just...silliness. I got my days completely mixed up last week, and thought my blogging day was the first of February, instead of one of the last days in January. So I thought I had to introduce this month's topic...and I had no idea what to say.

When I figured out my mistake...I realized that I wanted to take a peek at what other people had to say about this topic before I posted.

And then, poor Kimberly was sick and asked people to take over for her today. Since I missed my day on Wednesday, I volunteered.

and realized I was stuck. The first person to post on this month's topic.

Which is:

The Language of Love. 

It looks pretty, doesn't it? But I'm not really sure what to say. I mean, I could ask you to try to convince me that Italian isn't the sexiest-sound language in the world. Or I could do some research into the fact that Tolkien created his own linguistic system, and wrote his books...around that. (A method I really can't wrap my head around. I mean...man must have been eighteen shades of brilliant.)

Fortunately, since I'm just doing the introduction, I can also pass the buck :D Everyone else will bring their own idea to the table, their own interpretation of what the language of love means and how it applies to them in the context of our blog. (No pressure, guys!)

I will leave my own small contribution, though, because otherwise, I'm likely to find myself cleaning the Dunvegas toilets or something.

The past two weeks, I've been reading this very interesting book: What Every BODY is Saying, by Joe Navarro. (That link will take you to Amazon.com to check it out. This is not an affiliate link.) Anyway, Joe has mastered reading body language, and shares some of the more universal tells and signals that people will use.

In my Real Life, I've never been great at reading people. I trust too much on their words, and not enough on their behaviour. My dad on the other hand? He's been brilliant at it his whole life.

In my writing life, I recently (re)read a scene a friend of mine had written. I couldn't get over how she cued the READER into things that the point-of-view character was so. completely. oblivious to. And she did it by using body language. Body language that the reader could interpret, but the character couldn't.

And yet...with all that said, I'm still going to have to admit that verbalization is still my language of love. When my husband brings me chocolate when he knows I've had a bad day, I know that's an expression of love, but it isn't quite complete without an "I love you" to go with it.

Still, it's nice to have some tools to decipher the subtext of the language of love...

03 February 2013

Super Bowl Sunday - EH?

I was watching a commentary this morning on a non-football fan and how he struggles to enjoy the 3-4 hours he'll spend with friends in front of the TV.

I can totally relate.  I live in rural North Dakota where Friday Night Lights Football in the Fall is king and garners as much excitement as the Super Bowl.  It was a huge adjustment when I moved from the big city of Fargo to a small town. 

Life moves at a much slower pace out here and passion around High School Football is palatable.  I follow the local teams and I know some of the players.  They went to school with my kids, it's always interesting being greeted by this man-boys as "Hi Suzie's Mom"  not "Mrs. Holland" not "Tina", "Suzie's mom"

Today my husband is blowing out the driveway from all our snow and we'll be making are weekly trip for groceries to the big city of Fargo - mostly cuz the critters are out of treats.  :)

I hope those of you die-hard fans enjoy the big game and the couch-gating that goes with it.  Meanwhile I'll mourn that my beloved Patriots didn't make the cut and enjoy a nice quiet lunch - note to self stay out of the bars today. :)