Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Keeping the magic alive with Carol Mason, plus a book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

In honor of romance month and "The Love Market" being released as a Kindle e-book, Carol Mason has come back to share her thoughts about love. She was here in August and we're glad to have her here again!

Carol Mason is the author of "The Love Market," "Send Me A Lover" and "The Secrets of Married Women" all recently re-released as Kindle E books. She is giving all THREE books away in paperback to some lucky readers (one book per reader) anywhere in North America.

You can find Carol at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is harder.
Confessions of a Women's Fiction Novelist.

I was travelling with my husband in Italy. We were dining in an authentic Roman restaurant when I noticed that seated at the next table was the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. As though magnetically drawn by the heat of my gaze, his eyes met mine, and for several moments neither one of us could look away. As silent fireworks went off between us for the duration of dinner, I caught myself wondering what might have been if I had been single.

Four years later, I still remember the effect he had on me. I was even going to pen a novel inspired by his face. Perhaps another “what if” that would appeal to women much like me – happily married, generally content with life, able to count their blessings, but not immune to the occasional escape fantasy – a fleeting window onto life without him.

In fiction, this is hardly unchartered territory. How it’s handled is what separates the real fluff from the real stuff. There was a time when women’s fiction was mostly about single girls searching for Mr Right, as though achieving that goal were an end, instead of a beginning in itself. When I began writing my first novel, "The Secrets of Married Women," I wanted to explore the marriages of three best friends with the kind of brutal, and often amusing scrutiny and honesty that Candace Bushnell did with "Sex and the City." I wanted to make the point that the universal quest for romance lives in all of us whether we are single or married. We are all on different paths to the same destination. Even though social scientists say that romance lasts between 18 months and 3 years, a secret part of us wants it to last forever. Nobody truly aspires to be in a relationship that needs to be worked at. And when we find ourselves having to put up a little effort to keep the magic alive, it’s an easy leap from there to wondering if less work would have been required with some other person – perhaps my handsome Italian. After all, the intensity of our attraction was huge, and we’ve all been led to believe that true love requires this; that our love story should be as epic as humanly possible - with a latent promise that, if you start out head over heels in love, your relationship will be stronger in the long run. Yet experts tell us that living compatibly together can happen whether or not you found the person who set off all those firecrackers in you, and put you off your bowl of spaghetti carbonara, the instant you looked at him. Quite a change from what a lot of romantic fiction has suggested over the years: that it’ll never work out if we marry the short guy.

At some point in our lives many of us feel the need to swim against the current whether in our jobs or relationships. We become bored of bobbing along, and need to experience the rip tide of change and adventure. Married women apparently fantasize about having their freedom again – even temporarily – more than any other thing. Yet, marriage is supposed to be forever. And even if it’s not, it usually starts out with the right intention. So when we are in a relationship – generally a very good one, one in which we have invested every cell of our being, one-hundred percent – perhaps we have to be content with changing, if not our partners, then our outlook.
Valentine’s Day isn’t long gone, and apparently more people join Ashley Madison – an Internet dating site for marrieds looking to cheat - on February 15 than at any other time of the year. I have friends who belittle romance and loathe Valentine’s Day. Usually those whose husbands would rather buy the family dog a heart-shaped cookie with its name written on in carob, than make a romantic gesture toward their wife. Others boast of the grand gifts they’ve received from their partner, on a mission to “best” you in the marital department. I have friends who can’t find anything romantic, or even positive, in their relationships and want out. And others who would not hesitate to say that they would marry the same person all over again – which, notwithstanding the flirtation with the handsome Italian – would be me.

The way I see it is, we chose what - and who - we chose in life for reasons we sometimes may forget, especially when it feels convenient to forget them. If it wasn’t a bad choice, then there’s a good chance that it was the right choice. Mr Right doesn’t have to be reduced to Mr Good Enough. He is Mr. Right in All the Ways that Really Matter.

Whether this is romantic enough, often enough, is a bit like having a honking slice of triple-layered red velvet cake and bemoaning its lack of creamy vanilla frosting.

Post script: When the handsome Italian got up to leave, he was tiny. I’ve seen taller pepper mills. I could have taken him on a date in my pocket. So I’ll believe what I’ve been told over the years: we’d never have stood a chance.

Special thanks to Carol for visiting with us again and sharing her books with our readers!

How to win one of Carol Mason's books: Tell us which celebrity you fantasize about the most these days. Please include your e-mail address or another way to contact you if you should win. One entry per person.

North America only. Giveaway ends February 27th at midnight EST.


Kritters Ramblings said...

I am currently on a Glee kick, so I definitely enjoy Corey Monteith.

Anonymous said...

For me it would be Ryan Gosling, he is just everywhere!

Literary Chanteuse said...

Just can't get enough of Hugh Jackman!


Stephanie said...

I'm really liking Michael Fassbender right now.

Cher B said...

Jude Law as Inman in Cold Mountain, not as his imperfect self... Thanks for the chance to win.


Lilian said...

Harry Shum Jr (Glee's Mike Chang)..*drools*

lilianxcheng AT

Ramona said...

Rupert Penry-Jones, preferably as Captain Wentworth in Persuasion. I like the heroic types.

rubynreba said...

I still think Brad Pitt is hot!

Krystal Lynn said...

My favorite is Jimmy Fallon! He's adorable, hilarious and dorky. Perfect mix. I know most women like the Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling types but I'd rather have Jimmy. :)

Jilleen said...

What a question....I have to say George Clooney, only because he has been in all the mags due to the Oscars.

Thanks for the awesome giveaway


Seasidebooknook at yahoo dot com

Shannon said...

Ever since November I have been on a Wes Brown kick. First saw him in the Hallmark Channel's Love Begins and then recently in the Hart of Dixie as the vet.
Thanks for the giveaway!

bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

sneakerdoodle said...

Chace Crawford is pretty dreamy *sigh* haha Thanks so much for the giveaway!

Bonnie said...

Definitely Ryan Gosling.

sunnydaysrule AT hotmail DOT com

Linda Kish said...

George Clooney

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Jeryl M. said...

My girls on I love Eric Stromer who is on HGTV.

StereoQueenBee said...

Channing Tatum. If I woke up and he told me he was my husband, I don't think I'd argue at all!

queenofcrunk at gmail dot com

Kim W. said...

First of all, I agree with SteroQueenBee and said the EXACT same thing after I saw his latest movie.

For me though, gotta say I'm a HUGE fan of Taye Diggs. L-O-V-E him!!

Na said...

I'm a fan of many of The Amazing Race contestants. I like seeing how different sort of relationships (parental, sibblings, friends, marriages) develop or changes during their adventure. Some handle pressure well and others fell.I like women's fiction that explores different types of relationships :)

GFC follower

Kat said...

Without a doubt, Ryan Gosling. Although Zac Efron is looking pretty yummy in the trailer for The Lucky One.

Anonymous said...

I am SUCH a cougar, but I am currently crushing on Josh Radnor (Ted from How I Met Your Mother). Of course, he's a fantasy. NO guy is that sweet, romantic & considerate! Oh, & adorable!


Nancye said...

Mario Lopez! What a hottie inside and out!! Those dimples and those eyes.......Oh my!! And his bod!! Drool!! I hope his wife knows just how lucky she is!!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

karenk said...

george clooney.

thanks for the chance to read these fabulous novels.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Nancye said...

Mario Lopez-----I get lost in those dimples!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net