Dating Trends for 2023

While reading Bianca London’s article in a recent issue of Glamour UK, I realized that I was unfamiliar with the 2023 dating lexicon. In researching the article, Bianca enlisted the aid of dating experts Eugénie Legendre and Dennie Smith and Relationship Guru Alix Fox.

Note: Several of these trends are spin-offs of ghosting. As a refresher, ghosting occurs when someone suddenly ends all communication without explanation. No phone calls. No replies to your texts or emails.


After ghosting you, the person suddenly re-appears and acts like nothing has happened.


While the ghost has vanished, the “haunter” still hangs around your social media accounts, but no direct contact is made.


Similar to haunting, orbiting refers to keeping someone “in their orbit” after the breakup. Orbiters will like photos and tweets and spy on Instagram stories. They may even comment! Not quite in your life and not entirely removed, their objective is to let you know they are still around and thinking about you.


Also called “stashing,” pocketing occurs when your partner keeps you hidden from their family and friends. Pocket-ers are available only when their schedules are clear of any public encounters.


If you feel that the person you’re dating is also dating, you are being benched. You are someone else’s Plan B or C while they shop for a better deal.

Cookie Jarring

Two people have been dating for a while. One partner wishes to have extra security. So, they get friendly with someone else just in case the first relationship doesn’t work out.


You are being side-barred when you’re on a date with someone who is paying more attention to their phone. They are constantly on or distracted by their phone, unable to be completely present.


You bin someone or potentially recycle them into a friend because they don’t care enough about the environment.

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | LinkedIn | Amazon

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Writing Through Stress…Spring?

Sometimes I feel like it’s never going to warm up around here! We get one nice day and the next it’s freezing again! Yeah.. I know that’s Spring and normal, but I’m ready for the nice days! Bring them!

On the homefront – things are status quo. Yeah, there’s been some things–our daughter-in-law had some pretty major surgery (she’s doing well), vehicle issues, taxes, overburdened calendars…

It’s always something, isn’t it?

But there is fun stuff coming up and I do know that the weather will eventually be nice!

The writing is going well, though the craziness of the past few weeks has made me less consistent with writing time. Plus my computer is giving me fits and making me crazy. (hopefully that will be fixed this week though. IF it can be fixed…)

But I’m close to finishing this book. Really close. Once that’s done, I have three projects to edit.

Oh! And this happened after my last post… I signed a contract with Soul Mate for a novella! Super excited!

I hope all is well in your world and that you’re managing through whatever stress you’re facing!


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The Write Word with Wareeze

Point of View

Hello again writers and fellow readers. Thanks for joining me on the Soul Mate Publishing blog page. If this is your first time to read a Soul Mate Publishing blog post, allow me to introduce myself. I write historical romance novels with a dash of suspense under my pen name, Wareeze Woodson. Six of my books are published by Soul Mate and have been released on Amazon. Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman, An Enduring Love, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices, Captured by the Viscount, The Earl’s Scandalous Wager along with a historical romance western: Bittersweep. I have a self-published one as well. After She Became a Lady. That is number seven. Self-publishing is not for me, however.

First, allow me to wish you and yours a happy, safe Easter Sunday. Before I discuss the merits of the point of view of the characters in writing a novel, I must mention the different points of view concerning Easter in our nation. One point of view considers the welcome of springtime and the Easter bunny as special. That extraordinary rabbit lays eggs, all colored and fully decorated.

Another point of view is also a celebration. The remembrance of the crucifixion and the worship of Jesus at his resurrection, also extraordinary when the shouts of ‘He is risen’ ring out in song and praise.

There’s more. Many pay tribute to the sacrifice of Jesus plus enter into the fun and frolic of hunting those eggs deposited by that strange bunny. Each to your own belief. Happy Easter. Have a wonderful Easter Sunday with worship and enjoy the secular events as well.

Now, down to the point of view of the characters in writing. If this is your first time to read a Soul Mate Publishing blog post, allow me to introduce myself. I write historical romance novels with a dash of suspense under my pen name, Wareeze Woodson. Six of my books are published by Soul Mate and have been released on Amazon. Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman, An Enduring Love, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices, Captured by the Viscount, The Earl’s Scandalous Wager along with a historical romance western: Bittersweep. I have a self-published one as well. After She Became a Lady. That is number seven. Self-publishing is not for me, however.

The flair of the apparel, the correct manners, and dashing adventures take me back to another era of heroes and heroines painted in vivid colors with word pictures. If you’ll be kind enough to read forward, perhaps my words shall offer a little more insight into writing points of view and the turmoil therein.

First the scene must be set, where in time and place. After stating all the appropriate pieces of the picture, the colors, the sounds, the tastes, and the smells, the reader wants to visit these places through the character’s point of view and safely absorb the emotions as well. All rather a lot to provide for the reader and the bar is set high with expectations.

For the reader’s comfort, the writer must produce a safe haven for emotions, even the sensations encounter during danger but remain safely trapped on the written page. The reader can linger in the character’s emotions, shut the book, and escape back into real life.

Vanessa-not yet published.

What is the heroine actually thinking and feeling in the scene below? The reader experiences the emotions controlling Vanessa’s thoughts, her feelings through her point of view.

How could Vanessa ever look him in the eyes again without remembering the flame he set ablaze in her. Her lids fluttered down trying to hide her reactions even from herself, but nothing worked to extinguish the sensation of his lips on hers. He meant the entire thing to punish her, the embrace, the actual kiss, everything. His kiss had opened her eyes to emotions and sensations she’d never experienced before—and she was shocked at her own reaction. After all, she was a lady and ladies were not moved by such shocking, intimate contact—were they?

She couldn’t wait until dear Henrietta Franks arrived. She needed someone to talk too, to trust, someone that held her in deep affection. The same affection in which she held dear Henny.

Glancing at the porcelain clock on the mantel, she began to freshen her appearance. It would never do to be late for luncheon. Lord Danville would ring a peal over her head again, distasteful, and devastating to her nerves. Turning to leave her room, she viewed the bright sun, enticing, temping, inviting her outside. She longed to visit the stables. Anything to avoid Lord Danville and his guests for a period.

The reader can experience the uncertain, tantalizing sensations Lord Danville provoked in Vanessa with that kiss. The lingering hesitancy, the doubt about her own reaction, the torment and indecision about what her response should have been had her tangled up in knots. All those treacherous emotions Vanessa experienced should be there for the reader in the expression of her point of view. If not, I’ve failed in my endeavor to tempt the reader to read a little further.

An attempt to render the emotions from Vanessa’s point of view in an extremely dangerous situation are stated below:

From the view out her carriage window, Vanessa Ann Riventon scanned the trees flashing by. The coach had picked up speed for some reason. Her heart thumped in rhythm with the jingling of the harnesses and the creaking of the coach as it raced over the hard pack roadway. Something was definitely wrong.

The outrider thundered up to the window on his horse and yelled, “You ladies hold tight and duck down. Thieves is riding up on us. Careful like now.”

Her traveling companion cried, “Dear lord, we are going to be murdered. Robbed then hacked to pieces. Only yesterday I heard…”

The woman’s abrupt silence indicated hysterics would soon follow. That would never do. Vanessa patted her companion’s hand. “Mrs. Latham, calm yourself. The guard will protect us. That’s why he was hired to ride with the coach.”

Vanessa opened her reticule and pulled out her pistol. Uncle Charlie had always insisted she carry a weapon upon the rare occasion she traveled home to Hill House from The Young Lady’s Academy beyond Bath near the village of Sheffield. Her throat tightened and tears filled her eyes. Uncle Charlie would no longer be at Hill House to greet her, but this was not the proper time or place to allow tears of sorrow to overwhelm her. She blinked the moisture from her eyes.

Vanessa peered out the window and caught her breath. Indeed, three men with masks over their faces and pistols drawn were riding hard after the coach. A shot rang out and she jerked back, watching in horror as the coachman tumbled from his perch and rolled on the ground. The horses snorted and careened out of control. With every muscle in her body tensed, she clung to the strap above the seat. The carriage bounced in and out of a deep rut followed by a loud explosive crack sending the frightened animals into a frenzy. The scream of splintering wood filled the coach as the shaft convulsed allowing the panicked horses to break free. The carriage swayed, nearly over-turning before it verged into the underbrush beside the road and crashed into a tree. Vanessa was thrown to the floor with the other passenger on top of her.

If the reader can ride along with Vanessa, experience the tense situation, the danger, and the dread of what may happen next, I have succeeded in my quest…to draw the reader into the story through Vanessa’s point of view…in her mind, in her emotions.

Thank you for sharing a bit of your time with me. For more information about my writing, visit my website.


Wareeze Woodson


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The Importance of Friendship

I’m currently ruminating on how magical those friendships can be from the airport because I just spent the weekend in Las Vegas with one of my best friends from childhood. It was an amazing whirlwind weekend, full of fun and fabulous food and entertainment. But what really made it precious was being with a fantastic group of people gathered together for a common purpose and by the bonds of friendship. We might not have been accomplishing valiant deeds or facing dangerous foes like the people in my books, but I still got a taste of the camaraderie that is a hallmark of the found family trope, and a sense of why it is so central to my stories. My books, like my life, are made richer because of the friendships in them.

Found family is one of my favorite tropes, and really forms the heart of the Hands of Destin series. The main characters all know each other from training together as adolescents, meeting during a difficult period in their life, far from home and everything familiar. The bonds in their friend group–their found family–inform all of their actions in the books. Under all the magic and adventure, my stories are about human connection, the way relationships shape, challenge and support my characters. Friendships—found family—is a huge part of that.

The bonds we make with our peers, especially during formative periods of our life (like in college or high school) can be even more powerful than the bonds of family. There is something special about the support and closeness of people who are in your life by choice rather than the genetic lottery. As the saying goes, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”

Do you have any precious friends like that, or favorites that you’ve read about? What kind of relationships (other than the love interest) do you enjoy seeing reflected in romance novels?

Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.

When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The award winning first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018. The final book in that series, Crowning Courtship, came out in May 2021.

Learn more about her around the web:

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What do you look for in a home?

Bright and early on Tuesday morning, the hubs and I are headed to Mississippi (about thirty miles from Jackson) to help his brother pack and preen his house to sell. I’ve seen photos – it’s a roomy rambler, custom built by an architect, with a pool, on a small lake. But, it’s been a bachelor pad for over a decade.

My brother-in-law is one of the nicest men I know and he’s newly retired from doing social service type work in the Delta (aka not huge pay checks). I’m packing my favorite gardening tools, as I know about curb appeal. If you were looking for a house, what really matters? I have a realtor I can consult with, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on the most important aspects.

On my home front a bit south of Seattle, we received a half inch of grapple on Sunday!

I’m taking my laptop along to MS, and plan to write during the flights and in the evenings. The weather is in the high 70’s there. Dry warmth will be a welcome break from our un-spring-like weather. Keep in touch and Happy Trails, Sally.

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World Building for Romance

A book is a wonderful and amazing thing. You hold in your hands the key to another world, a world that previously only lived in the mind of another person, who may have died a hundred years ago, or live on the other side of the planet. Inside the imagination of the author live the characters, fighting and loving, the world being born and history happening. Wars, evolution, climate change and all sorts of weird and wonderful events. All entirely imaginary, and yet magical enough to first enthrall the writer, then drag a reader into that world. Who has not looked up from a book, feeling the real world to be but a pale facsimile? Who would not leap through the door into the world or imagination, or dream about the wonders of another’s world? Who has an unrequited love for a cherished book boyfriend? (Conan or Mr. Darcy? Enquiring minds what to know!)

That is the magic and wonder of world building. While I am an author, I was most certainly a reader first, and always. The worlds of others are still as magical and enchanting to me today as my own are.

The building of a world, and a book for that matter can start from the inside or the outside. Ok, what does that mean? You can start with the story, the characters burning to be written and already conjuring scenes. Then you can craft a world that answers the needs of your plot. This is from the inside out. An example is JK Rowling’s description of seeing Harry Potter in her imagination and then crafting a world to house the story.

The other way, and this may well be a hangover from dungeons and dragons and other role playing, is from the outside in. Build the world in detail, then a plot and characters arise from the world you have built, its history, customs and where the privies are. Tolkien for instance would fit into this category, building an entire language before writing a story set in middle earth.

                Which way is for you? I think you probably already know which way you prefer. However, it is worthwhile to consider the pitfalls of both methods. Building the world first may be an absorbing way to procrastinate ever actually writing the story. But it does add a depth of rich detail, and often research will inspire the plot. Building the story first may lead to a lack of description in scenes or running into rewrites due to some problem with the world. But the story is written, and you can add in depth of detail later.

 What aspects of world building are difficult for you? What author is your favourite world creator?

Disclaimer: I write a long running blog on world building, and you can sign up here.

About Cindy

Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The 30 Organizing Tips for Writers provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free Romance Short Stories.

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Dinner, Food, and Family in New Orleans:

In New Orleans, Mardi Gras gave way to the somber season of Lent. For many people in this very Catholic metropolitan area, we abstain from meat on Fridays; however, we also love food. As a result, we find wonderful ways to alleviate the pain of our sacrifice. (My words do contain a hint of irony).

New Orleans is a seafood city. In fact, most of southern Louisiana contains people love seafood, and luckily, seafood doesn’t count as meat! Aren’t we lucky? As a result, we munch on boiled crawfish, fried catfish, and seafood gumbo (shrimp, crabs, and sometimes, oysters in a wonderful type of soup). We drink beer and wine and share stories with each other. We discuss all of the things that are fun (music, movies, books) and even controversial things like politics. In Louisiana, we have no shortage of colorful political figures. We discuss our plans for the upcoming Easter holiday; most of us will indulge in barbecue and stroll around the Lakefront or City Park that day. The fasting is over!

For most people, the dinner table brings people together. Most of us talk about our day with our loved ones. We share important information. We say things we regret, and we sometimes argue over trivial matters. Sometimes, we learn something about ourselves or about our loved ones. As I write these words, I think of Magda, the mother in Love at War. She is a native German who married an American during the First World War.  While her sons talk in a too-casual manner about Hitler, the normally staid Magda erupts. She reminds all of them that war means death and destruction for too many people and that not all return home alive or in one piece. 

As we gather over our seafood dinners on Fridays, we, too, remember those who passed before us. We think of those who are victims of war now in places like Syria, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. We hope and pray for peace in this somber and holy season of Lent.

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In Praise of Napping

Today is National Napping Day, a day created by Camille and Dr. William Anthony in 1999 to spotlight the healthy benefits of catching up on quality sleep. Dr. Anthony noted: “We chose this particular Monday because Americans (and Canadians) are more ‘nap-ready’ than usual after losing an hour of sleep to daylight saving time.”

The benefits of napping are many, among them improvements in mental health and working memory (the ability to focus on one task while retaining others in memory) and reduction of coronary mortality. In a recent Greek study, researchers discovered that participants taking daily naps had a 37% less chance of contracting a fatal heart condition.

There is, however, one major disadvantage to napping: A nap is not a permanent solution to reaching daily sleep quotas. Sleep specialist Dr. David Dinges notes: “Naps cannot replace adequate recovery sleep over many days.”

Also, long naps (more than 30 minutes) can result in sleep inertia. As these nappers awaken from deep periods of sleep, they can experience grogginess and disorientation. While these feelings will dissipate within thirty minutes, they can affect performance in high-level tasks.

Afraid of being labeled lazy and slothful, some nappers downplay or conceal this daily practice. Non-nappers hesitate to start the practice, fearing they will develop some form of sleep inertia.

Wherever you are on this continuum, take a few minutes and read about ten high-powered historical figures who celebrated their napping and resulting productivity.

Winston Churchill

Sir Winston regarded a nap between lunch and dinner as essential for maintaining the kind of clear thinking he employed during World War II. In The Gathering Storm, he wrote: “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Coleridge took what can be considered one of the most famous naps in English literature. After waking up from a three-hour nap, he stumbled to his desk and penned the poem, “Kubla Khan.” He believed in seizing the thread of a dream immediately upon awakening and then taking action.

Leonardo Da Vinci

While painting the Mona Lisa, Da Vinci slept very little each night and took 15-minute naps every four hours. He criticized people who slept long hours each evening, commenting that there’s plenty of time to sleep when we die.

Salvador Dali

The founder of the micro-nap or what he called “slumber with a key,” Catalan artist Salvador Dali napped to stimulate his creativity. He started by sitting upright in an armchair, holding a heavy metal key in his hand. He then placed a metal plate upside down underneath the hand holding the key. Once that was in place, he allowed himself to fall asleep. Once that happened, he dropped the key which hit the plate and made a loud noise. All of this occurred within one-quarter of a second, enough time to revive his physical and psychic being.

Thomas Edison

All that Edison could manage was three to four hours of sleep each night. To compensate and inspire creativity, he power napped throughout the day, adopting a variation of Salvador Dali’s method. Edison held a handful of ball bearings that would clatter to the floor and wake him.

Albert Einstein

Einstein claimed that he needed 10 hours of sleep each night and frequent naps throughout the day. Like Salvador Dali, he practiced micro-napping; each nap lasted only seconds and was designed to boost creativity.

John F. Kennedy

President Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy enjoyed a one- to two-hour nap each afternoon. Blinds were drawn, and no interruptions were allowed; his staff had strict orders not to disturb him for any reason.


While Napoleon could go for days without lying down for a full night’s sleep, he had the ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Right before battle, he would sleep like a baby, oblivious to approaching cannons. After the battle was over, he would sleep for eighteen hours.

Eleanor Roosevelt

One of the most influential First Ladies in U.S. history, Mrs. Roosevelt sat on committees and gave speeches. Before each speech or public talk, she would sneak in a nap to refresh her mind and body.

Margaret Thatcher

During her tenure as Prime Minister, Lady Thatcher slept four to five hours each night and had a scheduled one-hour nap each afternoon. No one dared disturb her during that time.

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | LinkedIn | Amazon

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Writing Through Stress…It’s Almost Spring!

So…Yikes! I missed my last posting date! I’m not sure why, but I feel bad! It’s been five months!

Obviously, I survived the stress of the holidays! Actually, our holidays were pretty nice. I ended up doing a significant amount of unplanned hosting, which got to be a little old by New Year’s. Ha! I do enjoy hosting, but it was a lot! I only have to show up and help for the next holiday gathering, so there’s that at least.

Our son’s wedding was beautiful and amazing. They did such a good job with everything. They sang to each other during the ceremony and I bawled like a baby. The food turned out well, too. It was a long but awesome day!

So now we’re getting ready to enter Spring! I definitely don’t hate the season, but it seems like it takes forever to get to the time where you can actually plant things! Mother Nature is fickle, too. Well, she pretty much has been all winter, so that shouldn’t be a huge surprise! I am looking forward to putting flowers in, getting my plants back outside, and some of the projects we have planned.

Our calendar has very few open spots, which is equal parts distressing and exciting. Lots of fun stuff, but also a lot of work weekends helping my sister get her property ready for our niece’s wedding.

Other than that… the writing is going really well. I had an idea while on vacation and finished that book up a few weeks ago. It needs some seriously heavy editing, which I will get to shortly. Right now, I’m in the middle of the second book and working on editing a novella. I’ve been doing okay squeezing my writing time in with everything else, but this last weekend was rough.

And that is all! I hope everything is as good as it can be in your world! If it’s not, hang in there!


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An Ode to My Favorite Writing Buddy, Sweet May

By Jeanine Englert

Although it is a bit out of the norm, I decided to dedicate this month’s SMP blogpost to my sweet Maggie May, our beloved hound dog rescue who passed away on January 28th after battling a bad respiratory infection for several weeks. She was 14 and ½ and we adopted her when she was just a tiny 8-week-old puppy at Petsmart. From the moment my husband picked her up and she peed all down his shirt, we were smitten. She was a feisty, fiercely loyal, amazingly stubborn, and beautiful girl. She was also the absolute best companion and “dogger” (dog daughter) we could have ever asked for.

It’s also a terribly odd thing to be writing this, and well anything, without her. She was always with me, often right by my side at my desk or on her dog bed sleeping nearby as I wrote. She never failed to nudge my elbow until I couldn’t type anymore without a million errors to remind me to take breaks or get some fresh air outside with her. She was with me during house moves, job changes, brutal losses, and great gains. She was a constant and steady presence even when the world seemed to shift beneath my feet.

Maggie Never Met a Blanket She Didn’t Like and Was the BEST Nap Buddy

Our sweet younger pup Bella is doing her best to fill our house with love, laughter, and her usual dachshund shenanigans to lighten the loss, but it is impossible to fill the void of Maggie’s absence. It will always be there. My only hope is that she knew how much we loved and adored her and that the void may come to feel a bit smaller as time goes on and sweeten into fond memories and soft smiles as we think of her.

If you have a pet and favorite writing buddy, don’t forget to give them a tighter squeeze and extra kiss, for they are always, always, always, gone far too soon.

Especially our sweet May.

Rest easy now, sweet girl.

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a VIVIAN® and Golden Heart® Finalist as well as a Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery.

Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at

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