An ending and a beginning… and an ending.

We were together for six years.

He took my life from 27 to 33.  Stole them, really.

I’m not a stupid person.  If we’re being honest – I’m a smart fucking guy, so I should have known better.

From Rock Island, IL; to Edwardsville, IL; to Ft. Leonard Wood, MO; to Ft. Sill, OK; to Ft. Benning, GA; to Ft. Bragg, NC; to Kandahar, Afghanistan; to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA – I followed my career.  I followed my heart.

I like to think that we always know that feeling.  We know to trust that inner voice.  We know when it’s not crazy to check those Facebook messages.  We are vindicated and angry, and hurt, and devastated when the messages show, not only, that your partner of 6 years has been cheating, but that there were feelings involved…that they “missed each other;” that they were fucking bareback.

It wouldn’t be a problem, really, if I hadn’t given him the option months before.  It’s a whole year, we’re guys, and I’m not stupid. But, if you want to have sex, no feelings and be safe.  In the end it was just lies.

What I discovered was raw sex, “I miss you,” and no mention of me.  There were dick pics, ass pics, underwear and sex toy pics… no mention of me.

What about me?

With the advice and help from friends… the relationship ended and that’s a good thing, I think.

I moved back home to the Quad Cites, IA/IL (I don’t what him to know where I am). I have a new house, a new job, and I’m back with my friends and family.

I’ve never felt so alone.

I don’t know if I need to be in a relationship or f I’m just used to being in one.

What I do know, is that that I want to be around people and I want to be alone.  I want to hurt something or someone.  I want to be strong and I want to cry.  I want to fuck but I’m insecure. I’m surrounded by people I’ve never felt so secluded.

I dream of adopted kids, my loving dogs, amputated legs that look like wooden pirate legs, blood, screaming, mortar and gunfire, tears of love and sadness, brothers and sisters living and gone, families enduring without…

I’m here and I’m not.  I want to live forever and I want to end it all.  I want to do everything for those still here while I am

I’m a veteran who tried and tried again… who tried and failed.

Book Review: Boardroom, Bedroom by Gemma Snow

Book Review: Boardroom, Bedroom by Gemma Snow
— Read on

Book Review: Aloha, Baby! by Ann Omasta

Check out my review of Aloha, Baby!

I Love Romance Blog

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Aloha, Baby! by Ann Omasta. If you’re looking for a quick, entertaining read – this is the novella for you! ❤

Set in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, Leilani is a resort stakeholder-employee who gives her virginity and heart away to a handsome tourist. But, as the title suggests, it really canhappen the first time. After some indecision, Lani sets out to spread the news. Along with her best friends, Honi and Kai, they agree on a baby-raising pact.

When feelings are hurt, jealousy rears its ugly head. But, happily ever after makes a sweet surprise ending.

Well written and enjoyable, but the fast pace and short length leave some holes in the romance – I give Aloha, Baby! by Ann Omasta 3 HEARTS!

Recommended Read

If you read more for the story than the heat, definitely add this to your…

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Free Book Thank You!

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Thank you!


Chapter 1

Six months later…

          Kurt stepped from his family’s doorway and crossed Apostel-Paulus-Straße before entering the church courtyard.  It was a shortcut, true, but he really just liked the walk through the little bit of nature. Amidst the old trees, the red-brick church rose high; made even higher by the towering copper steeples.  They had long turned green as the church endured season after season, but his parents could still remember when they shone brightly.

          “History…” his father said, “Watching the steeples turn, is like watching what was once new, become history.”

          Kurt was sure that family is what made them part of history.  The von Schönberg family had a rich legacy in the area.  They were respected and dependable, though the Weimar Constitution changed everything.  The area they lived in retained the name Schönberg, but the fallout from the Great War caused changes to come to the most remote parts of Germany.  The nobility were stripped of their titles, and in some cases, their names.

          Now the von Schneider family, they retained a large piece of property in the heart of Berlin.  The garment factories and warehouses survived the war, somehow. But, Kurt’s family almost didn’t.  His mother, who was once the life of the party and a most gracious, noblewoman, was left frayed and disheartened with the death of her oldest son.  The German leadership said that the war was necessary, but that they just couldn’t hold out. But, in the last days of the war when Kurt’s brother was killed, it was believed that the German government had deceived them.  The Countess von Schönberg was left a bitter, angry woman.

          After all that, Kurt was left with the heavy burden of being the next head of their own small empire.  What were once his brother’s duties now fell to him. Giving up his dream of becoming a great architect, he set his mind to becoming a great son.

          Shaking himself from his daydream, he covered the distance through the courtyard quickly.  His father, a proud and strict man, would never let it down if he were late to work. The bus ride to their Tiergarten warehouse was quick, but things had started to change.  Germany was in financial trouble, and times were hard for many. The Chancellor had given people hope, a purpose, but when the Reichstag burned, the demeanor of a whole nation shifted.

          Using the powers granted him, Hitler rounded up anyone associated with the communist party.  One day, a coworker and good friend of Kurt’s was taken in for questioning. While Kurt was certain that the friend had no political aims, he couldn’t be certain.  So, when he returned to work a week later covered in bruises and obviously shaken, no one said anything. That’s how it went on. People would dis- and reappear.

          Kurt was uncomfortable at the thought.  It even made him angry. But, more than that, it made him nervous.  If it started with the communists, it would move on to others as well, and he had his own secrets to keep.  Looking to the window and into the reflection there, Kurt inspected his features. There were no outward signs, no writing on his forehead, or rouge on his cheeks.  But, the thought that one day there would be questions, “Why aren’t you married?  Why do you have no children?”  made his palms start to sweat and head ache.

          Then he smiled.  The night before had been fun.  Aside from all the fear, was the excitement.  He’d made his way to Werner’s after work. He spent the next hours sharing drinks and laughs with his closest friend.  The walk to The Eldorado was exhilarating.  The feeling as people stared was as intoxicating as the feeling of silk on his legs was luxurious.  The emerald green gown fit him well and was exactly what he’d hoped he’d wear his first time to this club.  One couldn’t just waltz up and expect to see Marlene Dietrich. For his birthday a few months ago, Werner had surprised Kurt with his own wig.  It was more expensive than Werner could afford, but it was real, and it was his.

          They drank and danced with the elite of the Berlin underworld.  As it always was, men would float in and out of conversation. There was everything from women as men to men as women, to men who were obviously men.  Though many had offered to take him home, Kurt shied away and left alone like he always did. After transforming back into a von Schneider, he made his way to the family home.  

          The two parts of himself were always at war, and no matter how much he tried, he couldn’t think of how he could ever reconcile them.  With a deep sigh, he looked through the window instead of the reflection in it as the large warehouse came into view. For the moment, he locked away that side of himself and pulled the string to signal his stop.

widerstad diary 1

Book Review: Beneath This Mask by Meghan March

He’s all in. She’s on the run.

Check out my review of Beneath this Mask by @Meghan_March!

I Love Romance Blog

Hi, readers! Please welcome Kevin Ethan, our new official book reviewer, to ILRB! He’ll be hanging out with us once a week from now on, taking the time to give us his take on ⭐the coolest romance novels⭐! 😎

Let’s give him a hand… 😉

Kevin, take it away and show us what you have for today.

Thanks! ❤ This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Beneath This Mask by Meghan March. I have to tell you that I just kept reading and reading! The story, which juxtaposes the “normal” romance roles, will definitely keep you interested.

Charlotte was a rich girl with many, many silver spoons. But, when her father is locked in a cell without a key, she has to learn to find her own way. Falling off the grid and on the run from the FBI, Charlotte “Charlie” Agoston leaves the world of Chanel and…

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March 4, 1933

          Dieses Tagebuch bekam ich von meiner Mutter. Es macht nur Sinn, dass ich es benutze. It was Friday yesterday, and the club was full. They were too busy getting drunk to notice us, though. Walking amongst them, we are like a sideshow from the carnivals. We sit at the table in the corner and they all look, but don’t approach anymore. Not since the brownshirts started with their raids. They all just drink and wait for the night where they burst through the door. I’m not convinced that some of the people there aren’t part of the police.

          I managed to sneak my mother’s dress back into her closet this morning before she woke. Some of the other boys think I should have my own, by now. But, there’s too great a risk that my family would find it.

          There was one man last night. Tall and broad-shouldered, his features were hard and beautiful. We crossed eyes several times, but I couldn’t tell if the look on his face was interest or disgust. Probably the latter. Beneath his thick eyebrows, his deep-set eyes held me in my seat while he finished the last of his beer. Then, he simply stood and walked out.

          Things used to be so different, freer. I could walk from our home to anywhere in town as I was, dress and hair, and no one would look twice. But, with the socialists rising in power, things are worse.

          On my way to work yesterday, one of the police just attacked a man on the sidewalk. Only walking to work, I’m guessing. Within seconds all that was left where he stood were his briefcase and some blood from his nose. Everyone just watched. We knew that if we interfered, we’d be taken just like him. Word had spread about the national socialists. They have ideas about what is right and wrong.

          We discussed it last night, some of my friends think they will go into hiding soon. Not actual hiding. Just that they would stop coming out at night. It’s too dangerous they think. But this is who I am, and I won’t stop it for anyone. My features lend more to my nightly activities anyhow. Most days, people think I’m a woman in a suit. If only they knew. I tried to be different; more like that man in the club. It was no use.

          Time to begin the day. Saturday chores are waiting.

Overusing Adverbs

Most writers know that adverbs, which generally come in ‘ly’ form (swiftly, snidely, nervously), are considered the hallmark of overwritten and lazy prose, right? We’ve all heard this a lot in our writing courses and critique groups.

Adverb Clutter Writing

In theory, if you choose a strong and appropriate verb, you do not need to add an adverb, especially one that carries the same meaning as the verb. Adverbs are often tacked on to dialogue tags to describe how something was said. But good dialogue does not need props. The words should convey the emotions of the speaker by themselves. Adverbs are often an indication that the writer has a habit of telling rather than showing.

There is a strong consensus that one should use adverbs sparingly.

One rule of thumb is to use no more than one adverb per 300 words of prose. While it is a good rule of thumb, do not get bogged down in things like this while you’re writing – let your Copy Editor do that. Once, in my own writing, I did a count of ly words in a 20-page chapter and was horrified to learn that I had 18 adverbs. Cue a panic attack about my writing —at least until I realized was that each page in that chapter was 300 words and therefore I did have one adverb per 300 words—fewer in fact. But even pointing that out did not satisfy some readers. They had been hammered with the concept that all adverbs are bad adverbs.

Should writers use no adverbs?

So were the readers and editors right? It’s easy to do a search on ‘ly’ in Word and expunge every last one of them from your piece. Or, it’s even easier to use a tool like ProWritingAid. The program scours your writing and points things like this out. Sometimes when dialogue words are necessarily banal because the person is being sarcastic or lacks affect, adverbs are the only way of conveying whether the speaker is being flippant or serious.

Adverb Counts in Popular Books

Literary Fiction Results

This time the lucky literary fiction contenders included: Republic Of Dirt: A Return to Woefield Farm by Susan Juby, The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Constant Princesss by Philippa Gregory, and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.  Random number generator says start on page 128. I read five pages of each.
Adverb use ranged from one adverb in five pages for The Road to six for The Bishop’s Man. The average was four adverbs in five pages.
Given that the average novel page contains 250 words, this is about 1 adverb per 300 words. The adverbs were most often used to modify ‘said’.

Genre Fiction Results

Genre fiction contenders included The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, Doctored Evidence by Donna Leon, Hot Six by Janet Evanovich, Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts and How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. I did the same thing as with the literary fiction books—started on page 128 and read five pages.
Adverb use ranged from one adverb in five pages in Chesapeake Blue to nine in How the Light Gets In. The average was six adverbs in five pages. So a bit higher than in the literary fiction novels. These adverbs were utilized most commonly in dialogue.


Writers use adverbs to add color to their writing and reflect how people actually speak—and people occasionally use adverbs.

Although it is helpful to reduce the use of adverbs, it’s not necessary to strip them entirely from your writing.

I am still conscious of ‘ly’ words in my own writing as part of my editing process, and consider stronger verbs as alternatives. However don’t listen to critiquers who tell you that they are forbidden and don’t be haunted by the occasional use of an adverb.

If you like what I have to say, don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list here or follow this blog and never miss a post.

Writing Improvement Software

Copy Editing Standards

Individual copy editors consult a range of manuals for copy editing. These include The Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Stylebook, and Words into Type. Editors also set a specific dictionary as the authority, such as Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Using these references as guides, copy editors will correct errors and fix inconsistencies in details like number treatment (should it be a numeral or spelled out?), compound words (should it be open, closed, or hyphenated?), and punctuation (should it be a comma or semicolon?). For example, on this page we’ve decided to write “copy editing” and “copy editor” without hyphenation. And then we’ve had a copy editor take a look at it to make sure we had done so consistently.

To keep track of the styles in use in a single manuscript, copy editors create a style sheet as they edit. A novel’s style sheet should include notes on typography, punctuation, numbers, and spellings; a list of characters, real people, and places; and a timeline of events. A detailed style sheet is an organized way for an editor to maintain consistency and communicate a manuscript’s style to the author and future proofreaders.

Click HERE to get your free Style Sheet Template

One of the BEST, affordable resources for copy editors.

So, whether you choose to use an established, professional copy editor, or choose to give it a try on your own – make sure you know your resources!