What Dwarfism Awareness Means To Me

Ever feel pressured about your body image? I know I do, but reading this puts my own hang ups into perspective! XX Amanda

What Dwarfism Awareness Means To Me by Stephanie Short

It’s time for some blatant self-promotion

October has turned into a very exciting month for little old writer me.

My second novel – A Heart Worth Mending – was published on the 8th October! Yay me 🙂
It’s a medical romance that is available from all good e-stores & if you like my writing I’m sure you’ll love my stories.

Getting busy with promoting this release means I’ve done some guest blogging and you can find these posts here: WIP Me Inspired & At My Desk

This has, unfortunately meant I’ve neglected my personal blog posts. Sorry! I’ve got lots of ideas bubbling away but no time to write them… fingers crossed I’ll get that time soon.

The other exciting news I’ve had is that some awesome reviews have come out about both my published novels. When my first book (A Life Worth Living) was released in December, I waited with nervous trepidation for the reviews. I waited. And I waited. And I waited. But none came out. Half of me was relieved. After all, reviews are a tricky double-edged sword. They could boost me up (if they were nice) or tear me down (if they were not so nice). But not having any… I was left kind of flat.

Well, in the last few weeks, that’s all changed. I’ve had my first official reviews appear on the web & I’m a little excited. I just had to share a couple of the snippets with you.

A Life Worth Living

Website ALWL“Why did I put off reading this book for so long?!?! What a sweet romantic story!!! The characters are so open and honest with their needs, wants and feelings. Stacey knows what she wants and pursues her own happiness.  It was so nice to read a book where the characters acted their age!! No unnecessary drama.”

Posted by: Terri on Goodreads

“…I loved the novel. I loved the way the author wrote her story, the way the relationship evolved between our heroes. And I absolutely loved the last chapter before the epilogue.”

Posted by: Fabiola on Les Romantiques & Goodreads

 

A Heart Worth Mending

A Heart Worth Mending_Final“Getting the balance between medical dramas and emotional dramas is tough…Amanda Canham nails both.”  Posted by: Jenny on Goodreads

“The descriptions were fantastic and it was easy to see the flow of the story. There were a few twists but mainly this was a good straightforward sweet story…”   Posted by: Valerie on Harlequin Junkie

 

That’s it for me & my blatant self-promotion. Next time we chat I’ll make it something more juicy, but in the meantime, be sure to add my books to your #TBR pile

XX Amanda

What’s your line in the sand?

line-in-sandCan you ever truly stay friends with an ex?

When I say friends, I mean a strictly platonic friendship, with no blurring of the lines, no falling back into bed, no mixed messages.

I can’t.

Well, at least, not until a certain line in the sand has been crossed.

For me, that didn’t happen until an ex told me he was in love with a stripper. After that, I knew there was no going back.

Looking at it now, I probably should have drawn the line earlier – for example, when he had a threesome with my best friend and a random stranger they picked up at a nightclub.

But I was young, and at the time it hadn’t seemed like a huge deal. After all, we weren’t together anymore. We were being wonderfully mature and had turned our relationship into a “friendship”.

The problem with being friends with an ex is that the relationship barriers are so easily blurred. There’s not a lot stopping you from falling back into old habits, even just for a night. Or at least you tell yourself it’s just for the night. But your emotions aren’t so easily controlled.

So, is it possible to actually stay friends with your ex?

Maybe.

But if you’re like me and constantly question your decisions then it’s almost impossible to do so without blurring the lines.

There are some people out in the big wide world that don’t have this problem. They are confident decision makers who never seem to doubt themselves. My husband is one of these freaks. Of course, my too-ing and fro-ing on decisions drives him insane 😉

For the rest of us “normal people” it’s not that simple. And when you stay friends with your ex, you can find yourself in constant turmoil. That’s when you need to cross that mystical line in the sand. Or, more specifically, your ex needs to cross that line.

The point of no return is different for everyone. Often, you don’t even know what that line is until it’s been crossed. And sometimes, once it’s been crossed, you don’t even want to be friends anymore.

Relationships are huge emotional investments, and ending them can cost us a lot. Trying to stay friends is a way of minimising the emotional expense, but if it leads to months or years of confusion and heartache, is there any point in trying to stay friends?

I’d love to know what you think in the comments below.

 

Till next time.

XX Amanda

Questions and Answers

Marianne Curley talks writer’s block on her latest blog in her Q&A series

Marianne Curley

Question from: Wilfredo, a Facebook friend, 20th June, 2014

Hello: I’m a big fan, and I’m writing a novel. I was wondering if you can tell me how can I overcome the writers block cause I’m stuck in a chapter and it feels like a dead end ….

Hi Wilfredo

ImageWriter’s block is something that can happen to the best of writers, so first rule is not to panic. But I’m wondering if you have writer’s block or you are a victim of poor planning. Some writers don’t plan much before they start their new book. Some don’t plan at all, and it works for them, but I like to plan from the beginning and plot my chapters, one after another, like scenes of a movie, if you will. You don’t need a lot of information in the Chapter Breakdowns, as I call them. You can have as little as a title, or one…

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Shh! You can’t talk about THAT

secrets1

There’s something you may not have realised about me yet: I have a tendency to over-share personal information.

It’s usually worse after a couple of glasses of wine, of course. For example, quite recently I decided an entire party needed to know my exact bra size. It was the wine. I swear it was the wine.

This week, unfortunately, I couldn’t even use that as an excuse. This over-sharing incident happened after work one night, with a colleague who I like to think I’m friends with. But once I’d crossed the boundary and blurted out what I shouldn’t have (and no, I’m not going to say it now – I have learnt my lesson) there was instant awkwardness and instant regret that trailed into the next day and followed me through the week.

Now, being one that does tend to over-share, this kind of regret is no stranger to me. This time, however, it was worse because I’d actually crossed a boundary even I know is pretty much forbidden (except with your closest friends… after a couple of glasses of wine…).

But through the torturing’s of my own mind, I began to wonder: why is IT such a forbidden topic?

It’s not so much an issue when you’re single – you’re expected to have an exciting sex life then, and can often find said sex life the topic of party conversations. But once you’re in a committed relationship it changes, and is discussed less and less in public arenas. By the time you’re married…

Eek! Yuck! Cover your ears!

No one wants to hear about shenanigans in the marital bedroom.

But why does this topic become such a no-go zone? Why do we blush, or stutter, or cringe when the topic is brought up?

I mean, we don’t giggle when we talk about breathing, or about eating, or about going to the toilet… hmm, actually maybe some people do giggle about the latter, but I digress.

Sex is a normal biological function, so why is talking about it so forbidden?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s because, in this world of over-sharing, where every thought, every action, every meal can be shared in an instant with your friends or followers, there is still something that is sacred. Something that is private.

Maybe, instead of wanting to be able to share such secrets with the world we should respect these boundaries and value that one piece of our partner that is ours alone.

XX Amanda

Is infidelity just about the sex?

Does anyone else watch House of Cards? For a politically based show, it can be a little racy… and most of the sex happens outside of the character’s committed relationships. I confess, I find the show quite intriguing – I guess it’s always interesting to see how the other half live. I’m more of your average Joe (or Jane) type of gal, a world away from the power-broking deals of Washington DC, where the show is set.

The particular episode I watched this evening had even more infidelity than usual – not one, not two, but three different characters cheated on their respective partners. The motivation for each individual infidelity varied, and it got me thinking about the nature of infidelity itself.

Why do people cheat?

Can it ever really be as simple as: man sees boobs, woman offers sex and all rational thought disappears until the blood recirculates to the male brain? Does that actually happen in real life?

The thing is, it’s not just men that cheat – women do too.

There are a plethora of articles online explaining why people cheat, ranging from low self-esteem to a lack of sizzle at home, from the thrill of doing something naughty to an inherent desire to leave their relationship. But are these just excuses? Are these just the modern human need to justify and analyse what is a basic carnal need?

Sexual desire is a biological function to promote the continuation of the species. When you enter into a committed relationship, you are not automatically blinded to attractive members of the opposite sex. So does this mean, given the right set of circumstances, anyone could cheat? That’s a rather scary thought and one I tend to disagree with.

See, I don’t think infidelity is just about the sex. I think the true infidelity isn’t the physical act itself which could in fact be over in a matter of minutes (or seconds if you’ve picked the wrong fella) but the intimacy of sharing the act which you have promised to share with one person only.

We, as humans, are stronger than our basic animal desires. Unless alcohol or other mind altering substances that take away our ability to reason are involved, the decision to cheat is just that – a decision. In which case, no matter the reason, the infidelity isn’t just for the sex.

But maybe I’m a little naïve. What do you think?

Till next time
XX Amanda

Nice guys, great sex, & the writing process blog chain

Guess what?

Profile 3I’ve been invited to participate in something fabulously exciting in my newbie-author career – an international author blog-hop on “The Writing Process”. The lovely Jacquie Underdown, a fellow Escape Publishing author tagged me, and you can find her answers to the following questions here.

Website ALWL

As some of you may be aware, my first novel, a contemporary medical romance entitled A Life Worth Living was published on 1st December 2013 by Escape Publishing. You can purchase it through Amazon or your favourite e-bookstores (more links are available in the sidebar). It’s the first of my planned St Mary’s Sleep Medicine Romance Series.

Now, to the questions:

1)           What am I working on?

I’m currently working away on the third instalment of my St Mary’s Sleep Medicine Romance Series. The working title is A Love Worth Saving, and it follows the tragic, seemingly doomed love of Dr Brad Lewis (a GP with a special interest in sleep medicine) and sleep nurse Ana Reed. Don’t be fooled by the clichéd doctor/nurse relationship, though. Brad and Ana are not your typical couple, and the complications that twist and entwine their lives will break your heart (trust me, it broke mine while I was writing it today). I’m hoping to release the second instalment (A Heart Worth Mending – currently awaiting review with my publisher) later this year.

Once I’ve finished A Love Worth Saving, I’ll jump straight back into my epic fantasy novel – think Game of Thrones with a little more romance – that I’m approximately a third of the way through writing. This is the first of six planned books – two linked trilogies set in the fictional land currently called Kandelhar and I’ve got so many thoughts for it buzzing through my head at the moment, I can’t wait to get back into it. If you want a little sneak peak, check out my Pinterest page.

2)             How does my work differ from others of its genre?

  • It’s the first medical romance to be set in a sleep medicine laboratory. You’ll learn new medical facts while you fall in love with my characters. See, learning can be fun!
  • My stories explore the deeply emotional issues that we all keep hidden. A Life Worth Living explores the pain and heart-rending after-math of the loss of an infant. A Heart Worth Mending looks at the crippling effect of guilt, grief, and misplaced blame. And A Love Worth Saving… well, I might keep that one to myself for now.
  •  My heroes are nice guys. Whilst the flavour of the moment seems to be bad boys and alpha males, if you took one of my heroes home, your mother would probably fight you for him.
  • Most sweet romances brush over sex scenes in very little detail, but not mine. You’ll get the touching, heart-warming story and plenty of sauce to keep your bed warm too. Because, seriously, nice guys have great sex too!

3)             Why do I write what I do?

Personally, I want to read stories that make me laugh, that make me cry and turn me on. I want characters I can fall in love with and stories I can lose myself in.

If that’s what I want to read, well, that’s what I’m going to try to write. It’s that simple.

Why the medical focus, you might ask?

My two all-time favourite shows are Grey’s Anatomy & Offspring, both medical dramas with a healthy splash of romance, and, well, a book is always better than a show, right?

I’ve focused primarily on sleep medicine because it’s what I know – I’ve been a sleep scientist for almost ten years now, and it’s a growing field of medicine that few people know a lot about. The prevalence and long-term effects of sleep apnoea are not widely known in the general community, and if I can raise awareness of this disorder through my novels, whilst leaving you thoroughly entertained – that’s just an awesome bonus.

Why the sweet stories & nice guys?

I don’t set out intending to write sweet stories, they just… kind of… happen. Apparently, it’s because I’m a super-sweet person married to the ultimate Mr Nice Guy 😉

And finally, why the fantasy? It’s as far removed from medical romance than you could possibly get, surely? It is, but it’s always been my passion. It is the ultimate escape, and I’ve been hooked since I read my first Sara Douglass novel – BattleAxe. My all-time favourite character was Damon Wolfblade, from Jennifer Fallon’s Hythrun Chronicles and I can only hope to one day write as consuming stories as these two legends in the field.

4)           How does your writing process work?

There is much debate in the writing world about planning vs pantsing (i.e. nutting out every inch of the story versus running by the seat of your pants).

Me? As with most things in life, I seem to be a little from Column A, a little from Column B.

I start out with the germ of an idea, whether it be about the characters, or the situation, or the world. I let it ferment in my mind until it’s just ready to tap, then shift into planning mode. I nut out the character profiles, write myself a strict chapter-by-chapter breakdown. And then I start writing, and all the planning goes out the window. Characters get scrapped, others are created, scenes are written and rewritten and then deleted if they don’t work.

What’s often very hard for someone who doesn’t write to understand is that a writer is often just the tool by which the characters come to life.  They rule us, they talk to us, and if they don’t like what’s being written, they’ll just shut right up and there’ll be no more writing until you get it right.

Please, please, please, let me get it right!

Thank goodness that’s over! Now comes the fun part. As part of this blog-hop, I get to tag other authors to face the same drilling. The following authors will be posting their answers to these questions on the 3rd of March:

Marianne Curley (my Mum) – Marianne’s debut novel, Old Magic, and her Guardians of Time trilogy established her place as an exciting and original voice in the world of young adult literature, and are sold in 14 countries. Marianne was then absent from the writing scene for 8 years due to a terrible battle with bone marrow cancer. A battle that she fought and won, and which helped inspire her latest stories “The Avena Series”.

Over 500,000 copies of Marianne’s books have sold around the globe so far. Hidden, the first instalment of “The Avena Series” was released in 2013. Broken, the second book in this series will be released in Australia & New Zealand on the 1st of March, shortly followed by the UK, with the US release scheduled for later in the year. To celebrate the release of Broken, Marianne will be attending the Book Launch & Signing at Marks & Gardner Café on Tamborine Mountain on Sunday 2nd of March. All are welcome.

Maggie Gilbert – Maggie can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a writer, even when she was otherwise occupied. She’s been an executive editor, an equestrian journalist and worked with horses for the Modern Pentathlon event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She has an Equine Science Degree and wrote for Hoofbeats Magazine. Currently she’s an administration officer with an Agricultural Society by day and a writer of romantic stories by night, an ideal combination. Maggie lives on a property in country NSW with her family and dogs.

Have fun & we’ll chat again next time.

XX

What are we really celebrating on Valentine’s Day?

redrose on black rockHow did you spend your Valentine’s Day?

Was it thoroughly romantic? Were you one of the spoilt few that was showered in roses, chocolates and diamonds?

Or, like most of us, were you left with the bitter taste of a not-so-romantic night?

I know I shouldn’t complain. I did get roses & chocolates & a child-free dinner date which is more than a lot of people, single or coupled up. But my lovely romantic Valentine’s Night ended with watching the latest test cricket match with my in-laws. Not quite what I’d hoped for.

It’s the damned hype surrounding the day that gets your hopes up. The movies, the adverts, the publicity about this universal day of romance – it makes you want to feel special, to know that you are special to someone, even if it is just for that day.

But when you don’t get that special moment the disappointment can be crushing, especially if you were half-expecting something. I still remember, year after year hoping to receive a rose at school. And year after year I was disappointed, always the nerd-girl in the corner watching the popular kids receive rose after rose.

These days, since the rise of Facebook and Twitter, it’s much worse. When your newsfeed becomes clogged with the gifts people receive, it can make the loneliness that’s usually hidden in a dim corner of your heart shine brightly. In some ways it’s even worse than Christmas. At least the posts at Christmas are generally well-wishes to others. On Valentine’s Day all it seems to be is people posting their damn roses. The day is no longer about love, but bragging.

It’s easy to get cynical about this day. From movies to roses, dinner to chocolates or even diamonds, we are being conditioned to think love equals money. To believe that unless we are spoilt to the nth degree we are not loved as we deserve.

That’s a lie, though. We don’t need to be spoilt to know that we are loved. That’s not what this day is about.

When you break it down, in essence, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating our humanity. All animals, humans included, must mate to reproduce. But we, as humans, do so much more than perform our biological duty for the continuation of our species.

We love. We hope. We care.

And yes, because we feel so deeply we do also hurt. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.

XX Amanda

 

Psst… don’t forget to share the love if you like what you’ve read

Can a toy replace the real thing?

Guess what I did last night?

I went to a sex party!

Now, before you get too excited, I should clarify that it wasn’t like a ‘70s fishbowl party, where the ladies put their keys in a bowl and ended up with a new partner for the night. It was more like a tupperware party but with lingerie and sex toys rather than plastic food containers.

Have you been to one?

It’s rather fun. We played a few games, learnt a little bit about each other (including finding out my friend’s grandmother was more sexually adventurous than most of the twenty-somethings at the party!), and got to check out a few items I wouldn’t normally go shopping with the kids for.

The lingerie was gorgeous, some of the products interesting, but it did get me wondering…

Would a sex toy ever replace the real thing?

Ranging from self-thrusting mm-hmms, to vibrating butterflies and tongue simulators, there seemed to be everything to get a girl off in any way she’d want. Hell, there was even a gel to get you all warmed up – who needs foreplay with a substance like that?

But how do these toys compare to the real deal? There’s next to no mess; you’d be sure of your happy ending; and you wouldn’t have to worry about a vibrator snoring afterwards – there’s an off button for that. Put like that, one really does wonder why we don’t all switch from the man to the toy right now. Batteries are cheaper than beer.

Sure there are good things about having a man (or woman) around – they might put the garbage out, or rescue you from spiders, but how do they measure up where it counts? Based on the sales pitch I heard, not all that well.

Maybe I’ve got it wrong, though.

Perhaps the saleswoman was just rather good at her job – she almost had us convinced you wouldn’t need a man if you bought her kit of goodies. But once she started passing the toys around and we could have a proper feel (hands only, above our skirts) I have to be honest, I found them rather… lacking. The materials didn’t quite feel right, the vibrations too set, too controlled, as for the tongue simulator – well I’m really not quite sure how a ferris wheel of plastic flaps is supposed to feel, but it certainly wasn’t good.

I’m sure the toys are great, in the right place, or the right setting. But for me, the toy just won’t cut it.

Give me a real man any day of the week.

Till next time Peeps! Xx

Psst… If you like what you’re reading, feel free to share on your social networks or hit the follow button to get email notifications for future blogs.

Would you bring a holiday romance home?

Hi Again!

It’s the holiday season here in Australia. For me, this means hot sunny days, ice cold wine, the cricket on the telly, and my ultrabook glued to my lap. For many others though, there are fun-filled adventures to be had.

In lieu of an exciting adventure of my own, I thought we’d talk about the holidays instead. Or, more specifically, about holiday romances.

Have you ever had a holiday romance?

Ooh, you lucky thing if you have. You’re doing better than me!

Was it absolutely awesome? Were you frolicking around in the ocean or snowbound with a sexy stranger? Did you have the time of your life?

I know when you’re in holiday mode, you’re often more adventurous, more relaxed, even just plain happier. It’s almost like you are the best version of you, without all the stress and pressure of everyday life wearing you down. And if you are meeting someone who is also on holiday mode – who is the best version of them – then surely that is the ultimate romantic experience?

I imagine it would be like a communion of souls. You could almost reach that place of pure paradise and enjoyment without a care or concern in the world. Maybe you stayed up night after night talking about every topic under the sun. Of course, you just had to. After all, you had to cram months’ worth of getting-to-know-you talk into just a few days.

Maybe you jumped into bed faster than you normally would too. After all, there’s no time to play by “the rules” when he could be leaving in three days.

The existence of this time-limit gives everything a sense of urgency. It makes the sex hotter and the connection stronger. No way are you going to wait, when you could be missing out on the greatest experience of your life.

In fact, people in advertising and marketing use a similar time-limit strategy frequently. Every sale has a time-frame and the shorter the time-frame the more people will rush in for fear of missing something special.

But thinking of it like that takes the all the fun away from the holiday romance.

Unfortunately, though, holidays, by their very nature, must come to an end. At some point you have to return to reality – go back to work; pay the bills; live your life.

So what happens to the great love you shared on your holiday? Can it survive this drop after such a blissful start? Do you even want to try? Or do you want to keep it as a beautiful happy memory? Because if you don’t follow the “what happened on holidays stays on holidays” motto, if you try and make your romance go the distance, you run the risk of it failing. And failing abysmally.

Certainly some holiday romances last. I even know of one that worked out in real life. One of my friends met her partner on holidays and four years on they are still going strong.

But many don’t last.

Is it really worth tainting the wonderful memories of a blissful love with the harsh light of reality? Of finding out that maybe he’s hopeless with money or she’s completely neurotic? Or trying to make a long-distance relationship work and when it doesn’t maybe you uproot your entire life, saying goodbye to your friends, your family, to move half-way across the world to recapture two weeks of pure bliss?

Okay, enough with being the Negative Nancy. Perhaps I’m too cynical.

Because some holiday romances do last. There is a chance the hottie by the pool on your next cruise could be your one true love. Can you really afford to risk turning your back on that once-in-a-lifetime love just so you don’t end up with a bag full of bad memories?

I’d love to hear what you think, so drop me a comment or vote on the poll.

That’s all from me today. If you are going on holidays, remember to stay safe but most of all… have fun!

Chat again soon XX