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Chandra's Blog


Entries in Kelly Simmons (2)


Monday Musing... SHARE THE LOVE

Dear Readers,

  The newest book I am working on is a love story, something I dreamed all in one night while I was on tour in Santa Monica last October and had the window open so I could hear the carnival at the pier and smell the salt air of the Pacific. It is a departure from some of the grittier, more realistic stories I have done in the past. The story I dreamed is a testimony to the mysteries and transcendental nature, the incredible power of love. Very Nicholas Sparks. The trouble is, as I am writing, the reality of relationships keeps finding its way into the story. All I see are the obstacles, the challenges, the everyday.

  I want to be swept away by a love story again. I remember in the week leading up to our wedding an incredible giddiness, a goldenness, feeling like our feet didn’t touch the ground, that we were both the essence of love, in large part because we were surrounded by it. Everyone we held dear was in one place, friends from all corners of our lives meeting and mingling. Meals magically appeared, and disappeared. (thanks Mom!) My aunt arrived from Boston with boxes and boxes of lily of the valley from her garden packed in damp paper towel and its incredible spring-like scent filled the air. Every moment that I was not with J was bittersweet with the anticipation of seeing him again. When we were near each other but not actually touching, it felt like magnets, a pull to be closer.

We didn’t have to do anything that week except go through the carefully orchestrated steps of my dream wedding week: rock climbing with all of our friends, then sushi and champagne and dancing in the city for the girls while the boys went to surf and rock the night in Atlantic City, then spa day, and down to the Victor Café by bus for incredible Italian and opera. The morning of the wedding there was a fun run, and golf, and 27 May 2000everyone decorating the reception tables with buckets and buckets of flowers, and people fussing over my hair and makeup, and then the ceremony, where I cried actual tears of joy.

I remember leaving the church feeling like I had just taken a deep breath, that I was diving into something huge and hopeful. I love the photo (left) that captures this moment. And then I remember the weather clearing so that we could walk from our ceremony to the reception in a wooded path lit with fairy lights and luminaries… It was the happiest day of my life.


I need more of this in my story, to remember the love as I write this. I love my husband now, (see A wedding planner hangs up her headset) so fiercely. More than I did that day, more honestly and deeply. I appreciate all the things that he does, how hard he works for his family, the way he brings me coffee or tea just when I need it, the power of two. Every time the phone rings, I hope it is him, even if we have just hung up.

This week, he took each of our children on a special date—Hayden downtown to the DaVinci exhibit at the Franklin Institute, Max to Dave and Busters where they hit it big in the arcade and came home with armloads of pixie sticks and ring pops, and Piper, out to lunch where they split a trough of Nicoise salad and lemonade and rode the carousel twice. And for me? J speaks my love language. My favorite part of this weekend was Saturday night, while the kids were watching a movie, J and I worked side by side on our basement, him muttering curses and hammering in the subfloor, me painting. That’s modern romance, fifteen-years-in romance.

While there is no denying we make a good team, there is nothing romantic about holding up my side of the garbage bag while we drain the stagnant vomit water from Max's barfed-on linens out of the broken washing machine.


Here's where you come in. Here's the SHARE THE LOVE.

This story I am writing is about that new love, about tumbling into love, that kind when your feet don’t touch the ground. I need a little inspiration here. Recently, SheWrites and the Huffington Post Divorce editor ran a writing contest for people to share the moment when they knew it was over. (Incidentally, my friend Kelly Simmons was one of the winners—see here.)

I want to try something else. I want to hear from you the moment you knew this was The One. Celebrate your love story—flood me with the happiest moments of your relationship, of the 'A-ha, I want to spend my life with this person'. Or simply tell me the most romantic thing your partner has ever done.

You can share them by commenting below, or send them to me privately at chandrahoffman @ mac dot com.  And just so we're clear, if it's really good, you might see hints of your love story in my upcoming novel. 


With thanks and love, 



LEAST Favorite on THURSDAY--bad hobby blogger review

Tomorrow is Friday, and I was planning to write my Favorites on Friday post as I fly over the southeastern United States about how much I love my winter sojourn to the warm, to my old stomping grounds in the Caribbean where my sister and friends and sunshine and glorious ocean wait for me. I was going to talk about how my kids have been debating for the past week what they will do very first: Run to the Climbing Tree--a wild and gnarled sea grape up the beach, or catch lizards or hermit crabs, or maybe mole crabs, or maybe just run into the ocean? They consider the merits of going right to Aunt Linden's house to feed the iguanas in her yard, or knocking on doors to see if any of their Christmastime friends are home, if anyone wants to do any of the above with them.

And I realized I don't want to be fussing with internet connection when I get there, don't want to worry about getting my Favorites on Friday post up. It's bad enough to actually have to unzip our suitcases to get out the bathing suits. So I thought I would get a jump on my Friday post a day early, and talk about one of my least favorite things: waking up to a crap review from a blogger. 

Prior to my book going out, I didn't know how this worked, but here's what I understand: these bloggers get your books for free from the publisher, in hopes that they will spread the word, taking a risk that instead they might be spewing a little venom. And a couple of mornings a week, I get a Google alert, open the link and hope for the best. More often than not, it's a lovely way to start the day. And then there was today. I get that not every book is for everyone, and that it is all part of the game--this new world of amateur internet reviewers.  But it still feels lousy to hear that my book had the 'worst ending of any book they read all year'. 

I would love for all hobby review bloggers to read this post by Jenna Blum. There are real people on the other end of these books. I really did ignore my children in the years it took to write this story. I have given up cozy nights with my husband and early mornings in bed and all television in favor of editing. I love my characters, flaws and all. I wrote this novel because I believe in it, and I sent it out to be published hoping for connection. I really do get up each morning with a cup of tea or in today's case, lie in bed with my laptop and a snoring toddler, and read the google alerts of my paper baby. 
So... to this morning's naysayer: I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. Thanks for taking a chance on it.

Today I'm packing my bikini and flip flops and some books. I'll be reading Leah Stewart's The Myth of You and Me, Kristin Kimball's The Dirty Life, Kelly Simmons' Standing Still and I will be editing two manuscripts for friends. 
Tomorrow, I am doing one of my most favorite things on Friday: I'm off to the Climbing Tree with my kids.