If I loved a woman…


If I loved a woman I’d know that sometimes her emotions are so hot that she could set the world on fire with her words. That she feels everything with her entire soul, and when she’s ready she will let me know when it’s safe.

Sometimes you look at her and you know, she is the one who hangs the moon and has the power to destroy your world, because you gave her all the secrets. But you love her and want to make a life with her.

Why does that have to be so hard?

Women are complex, gentle, and even a little bit dangerous.  They have this way of being so complicated that nothing makes sense, and yet the only thing you want is to try and understand her. You won’t, not fully.

That’s because she doesn’t fully understand herself, not really.

She has no idea how crazy it sounds when she says “I don’t want you to fix this, I just want you to know” and yet you sit there trying to find something to say that doesn’t sound like you have no idea what to say. Still you try to make everything better when she’s upset, tell her it’s going to be alright, then listen to her vent about how nothing is ever going to be “alright” and how stupid it is that you can possibly think that by just saying things will be alright that it will just be.

But if I loved a woman, I’d be gentle and soft when she needs someone to hold her close and wipe away her tears. I’d tell her that I understand she’s hurting and that I want to make it better. I’d understand that sometimes I screw up and hurt her or make her mad.

I am sorry because that’s how I feel.

When she’s so mad that she can’t even stand to be close to me, I’d give her space just for a while and tell her softly that I am not mad at her for needing to get some distance from the person that makes her more angry than anyone else ever could, because she loves me and that love sometimes hurts us because love and hate are so passionate.

I’m not perfect.

I do things sometimes that just made sense at the time and then don’t when they fall apart. If I loved a woman, who happens to be there most of the time when I make mistakes I’d be the first one to tell her when she does something wrong that it’s okay, mistakes just help us learn what not to do.   I’d hope that she’ll do the same for me.

When she stands up for herself, she means it. She doesn’t want to have to do it, but she will when pressed against the wall about something. Sometimes she’ll come out with claws and teeth and other times she’ll push back so gently that it is almost unnoticeable, but you had better notice… and not forget.

When she does little things that are done to show how much she loves me back, I won’t let them go without something in response. Perhaps just as little as running her bath for her after a long day or bringing her flowers when you see that the vase has been empty for a while.

I’d see that when she walks away from my temper, when I am feeling like venting about how things aren’t going right for me, that she’s trying to keep things from getting worse. But she is still there for me when I need her most. I won’t follow her and demand that she feels just as bad as I do, it’s just not right. When she asks too many questions, I’ll answer the best I can and if I can’t… then I’ll just tell her that I don’t have the answers but I love her for her interests. Maybe I’ll find something nicer to talk about that will make us both feel better. Like a nice trip away to some imaginary place where there are no speeding tickets, bad work reviews, or neighbors with annoying dogs.

When it’s quiet, I’d take her hand and we’d go watch the sunset without needing to talk.  Because sunsets are best when seen with someone you love.

I’d make her dinner, something to amaze her with the things I would do just to bring her joy. I’d love that she was there with me, watching… talking… enjoying.   She works hard to make sure I have all that I need, this is what I can do for her to show that those things don’t go unnoticed.

I know that I don’t have to have all of the right words. But I will learn what the best words might be if that would make her happy.

If I loved her the best that I can, maybe she’ll be there for me.  She’ll be the one to take care of me in the middle of the night when I am sick.  She’ll be my best friend and laugh at all of my stupid jokes. Maybe if I treat her like she’s the most important person in the world to me, then she’ll ease my fears and tell me sweet things that make me smile.  Maybe if I bring her flowers for no reason, she’ll tell me her secrets too.  Maybe if I don’t push her too far, let it go when she asks to let it go, then she’ll not be so fearful of a fight the next time something brings us conflict.

I won’t hold a grudge, I won’t demand my way.  But I’ll be strong and protect her with everything I have.  I’ll be the one to stand up for her, let her see how much she means to me.  I won’t let anyone make her cry, because those tears break me into pieces that only she can put back together. I’ll be her hero if she’ll be my princess.

Those are the things that I would do, if I loved a woman.
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Beauty and the Beast



I loved the story, the beautiful girl who was solid and true. She was the beauty in the garden that the beast could not destroy. I was always attracted to the dangerous bad boy. I loved the bad guys with the playful pirate smile, the villains that had that little bit of good still left in them. I gravitated towards the rouge types, the ones with the reputation for being a hidden hero behind the dark cloak.

Perhaps in truth I wanted to find the good in them, hoping someone would find the good in me. Yet in all of the romance novels where the fearless maiden falls in love with the moody knight do they go on to tell you that sometimes you have to let go of that and realize that those dark seeds are sown really deep. When you move towards negativity in your relationships, you breed and become negativity yourself.

Maybe I am the breeder of dark things. I was the one always trying to rescue the underdogs, the unloved, and the risk-takers. I put myself out there to take them all under my wing and shelter them with goodness that I thought radiated to warm them. My fierceness was unstoppable when I championed for a cause that I deemed worthy of my attention, yet could it be that I was wrong and I myself was the last negative thing added to the pile that caused the damn to break? I dare to think that now the change that I saw that I contributed as being moved into a positive place was now because I forced them to take no more and dig themselves into the light?

I have no fear of pointing out the obvious, no regrets about shining the light on the cracks. I say the things that I think need to be said and yet I have no regard for timing. I am the frank friend who won’t lie, but I will help try to make things better.

But maybe that makes me the beast in the garden. Maybe I don’t know how to be good and I ruin everything because I have torn them all apart. Perhaps in this world I am the great beast so blinded by my own way of seeing things that I have become a monster by my own curse. Yet instead of looking for the one who will save me from this burden of my own bringing, I attract others that also have dark souls. Perhaps so I don’t feel so ugly when surrounded by monsters.

I don’t know that I believe in true love’s kiss being able to lift curses. In fact, I rarely believe in true love at all. I write about it, create lives in make-believe that are bound eternally by this magical concept. However life has taught me that nothing is forever and everything will change. You can’t hold on to anything too tightly because you will crush it, the same thing goes for love.

What a sad realization.


“The Widow on the Hill” ( Flash Fiction Piece )

My name is Christiana May, The Widow on the Hill. I look out over the people gathered and smell the foul odor of the fire, I know that soon I will die. The crowds have come together to watch this moment. They will cheer and they will mock, some will cry, and others will turn their heads knowing that there is nothing that can be done. But I will go, I will hold my head up and I will not turn away from those that come to watch my final breaths. Though the executioner will tie my hands to the pyre, he cannot hold down my spirit.

The fires lick my toes like playful pups and I feel nothing but relief. For there is no deeper pain than to know that you will die simply because he said he loved you. He whispered promises as he pressed himself against my silky flesh but denied me when the wicked tongues of jealous mouths declared that witchcraft must have been the reason a good man would stray. Then always stray… They always lie.

I stand here looking down at all of you now, and smile a witchy smile.. Yes, you stand there looking ill, your mean wife mocking my name. I watch her eyes and wait for her to see her tower start to crumble. Little does she know that poison laced upon my lips will be my final witchy spell. Now as the roar of fire comes to life my lover too will fall. Hemlock and berry wine, Belladonna to seal the deal.

One last kiss he dared to take, stolen between bars and lies. He could not resist a midnight tryst. I knew this oh so well. Now she’ll take my place as Widow on the Hill.


Did you take the challenge? You can find out more about the Flash Fiction challenge here.


Guest Blogger M. Erik Matlock – What men need to know about true romance



So I have been challenged to write a very specific article. I am supposed to separate fictional romance from legitimate romance. Ok. I am on it. Brace yourself. This is probably not what you are expecting.


As men, we rarely read romance novels or voluntarily watch the romantic chick flicks. That kind of stuff doesn't really appeal to us. Unless you can squeeze in some explosions or insane car chases, we won't even consider them. However, if you mix in enough sex, most of us will pay attention. If you use the film or book to convince us that romance leads to sex, we stay tuned longer. I think that's where the paths separate.


Hollywood has done an amazing job of teaching us about love and sex. The two seem to be inseparable. Whether you are forty somethings on the rebound from failed marriages or teens playing out the Romeo and Juliet tragedy. Either scenario always ends with sex. They always seem to skip the important stuff. The stuff that makes sex more than just an animal instinct. Dogs do it. Cats do it. I even caught a pair of toads doing it in my laundry room once. Sex is not romance.


At this point, we need to pause for station identification. Since this is written as a guest post, most of you guys don't know me, yet.  This is Erik. The guy who has had to learn everything the hard way. The guy who almost wrecked a twenty year marriage. The guy who had the perfect wife, and almost lost her, by losing his focus and becoming angry and abusive. All because I didn't understand marriage or what it meant to make my life count. Hang with me, I promise this is going to be good.


Here's the point. Sex is a vital part of a healthy marriage. But not the Hollywood or animal planet versions. Their concepts works great for selling tickets and advertising, not for sustaining a solid marriage. If you have an audience, maybe theirs works for you. If not, let's find a better way.


The fictional romance scenario seems to teach that romance leads to passion, and passion leads to sex. Two people meet, there's a connection. Maybe some trauma or turmoil that forces them together. They get connected. Passion develops. Opportunity arises. Then there a lot of messy thrusting and grinding. Then it's over. Whew! That's their life. Wow. Like I said, even dogs do that.


The romance novels never have Legos in the carpet. The electric bill is never late. The cars don't break down before payday. Their houses don't get foreclosed. They never fart in bed. Nobody has morning breath. Their cats never crap on the floor. They live a perfect life. All their problems have happy endings. The sail off onto the sunset every perfect day. Who lives like that?


My idea of romance is one of defiance. Mostly defiance of my own nature.


As a man, I fully understand carnal nature and selfish desires. Most of us, given the opportunity, would have sex three times a day with every available woman. Our mind and body craves sex. We have vivid imaginations of sex in all kinds of situations. The promise or even suggestion of sex is a powerful motivator for us. Most men go into marriage thinking they just found an “all you can eat” buffet of sex. They think it's going to happen every day for the rest of their life.


And once reality sets in, we get disappointed. Once we understand that our wife doesn't exist for the sole purpose of satisfying our every whim, we lose interest. Maybe not completely, but some. Women get sorely disappointed, too. They were baited in by a man who went out of his way to prove himself. He made her the center of his world, just long enough to get that ring on her. The shining armor tarnishes really quick.


I want men to understand romance. Women need romance. Not the movie type, the real stuff. Not just flowers and candy and the occasional date. The lifestyle adjustment that completely changes the way you think.


During the dating days, you had a basic understanding of true romance. Even if you didn't know it. If you didn't, she probably wouldn't have married you. Without some simple form of romance, you would have lost her attention. The romance I am talking about is the real stuff. The stuff where you rearrange your world and place her in the center.


You have to put her in her place. She isn't an accessory to your life, she is your life. Everything good about your life should involve her. True romance is in making the effort to reaffirm her value in every decisions you make. Legitimate romance involves defying our own selfishness and making her the most important person in the world.


Real romance is undeniable. She knows. She understands when you are being nice just to get sex. Sometimes she will play along. Maybe she actually wants sex. Maybe she is just being nice and trying to avoid hurting your feelings. Maybe she thinks she is doing the right thing. Maybe she thinks that this really is how it works. Maybe she has just given up hope for it being any better. That's a bad place to be.


Then there's the guy who won't have sex. He lives his life, demanding everything happen on his terms. He wants is when he wants it and exactly how he wants it. He wants her to be just like the women in his imagination. Or the ones on tv. Whatever. He is purely selfish. That guy doesn't have a clue about how good this can be.


My marriage was pretty good, right up until it wasn't. From my perspective, things were fine. The reason it looked so good was because she was trying to hard. She tolerated my attitude. She endured my abusive actions. She did everything in her power to hold our home together. Until she finally broke, I thought things were fine. Once she quit giving, it all fell on me. If the marriage was to be saved, I had to do it. Which is where it was supposed to be from the beginning. I started off as her hero, I had to do it again.


After I reassumed my place, as the man who loved her, things gradually changed. Three years later, we were reconnected. At the four year mark, she told me she loved me and was never going to leave again. We were stronger than ever, but only after I had proven to her that she was what mattered most to me.


That's when I understood romance. It's not selfish. It's about her. It's all about, making it, all about her. It's about proving yourself, constantly. About taking every opportunity to be the man she needs. We don't go to movies I like, but she doesn't. We don't eat at restaurants I like, but she hates. We don't have to compromise. She never gets dragged along through something she doesn't want to do. I don't ask her to endure things. I find things she enjoys and we do that. I have found myself in her. In being her hero again.


Flowers and candy are nice. Don't stop doing that. But don't do one thing, expecting to get another. That's not romance. That's just selfishness. Prove your self to her. Be the man. Learn to love. Be the romantic.




M. Erik Matlock lives in Palm Coast, Florida with his unbelievably amazing wife, Geri and two of their four awesome kids. Erik and Geri were married in 1989 and became parents in 1990. Erik is a self professed recovering knucklehead with a knack for learning things the hard way. After a twenty year spiral into becoming a dark, angry and abusive husband; he was confronted with the impending loss of his family and divorce papers. Four years later, they are best friends again and very much in love. Erik openly shares his mistakes and failures in hopes of saving other families from the same pain they experienced. Follow Erik at erikmatlock.com. Pinterest.com/erikmatlock. twitter as @erik_matlock



Interview with author Nana Prah

Nana Prah was born in Ghana, West Africa, raised in the US, and currently resides in Ghana where she loves her job as a nurse educator. She has been writing since she can remember (in her journal) and has been an avid reader of romance novels since the eighth grade. She has finally been able to utilize the years and years of inadvertent research by writing her own romance novels where love always conquers all.

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A Single Girl Looking for Romance (& Finding It). by Jamie Khoo

I’ve been single for about a year now.

Just before that, I was seeing someone for about six months in a whirlwind fling that seemed just so full of passion and lovely feelings. My heart cracked when we broke up—it’s never nice looking ahead to what feels like a whole lotta loneliness. I realized at the time that for all my “Independent Woman” ranting, I actually really liked being in a relationship, I liked being loved and surrounded by those warm, fuzzy, coddled feelings—who doesn’t?

So there I was, 32 years old and single again. Possibly, one of the only single people left in my huge family of cousins; and one of the only single girls left in my large gaggle of friends.

I set out, for the rest of the year with my heart wide open, if a little desperate, looking for love and romance again.

And you know what? I found it.

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