Category Archives: Articles

Why Men Are Uncomfortable with Ambitious Women

What is it about an independent and ambitious woman that makes most men squirm? I have a few thoughts …

ambitious-women | I Am Rosa

My boyfriend came across an article talking about how men aren’t comfortable with ambitious women. He’s a pretty forward-thinking guy who spent years looking for a lady actively pursuing her own ambitions. He’s genuinely baffled by the news that other men aren’t comfortable with strong, independent women.  He asked me:

Who are these guys?

I’m afraid I had a bit of knee-jerk reaction and blurted out:

OMG!! Almost every effing man I’ve ever met!

“Why?” he asked. “I don’t get it.”

Why are some men afraid of women with ambition? Good question. There are a lot of reasons. Let’s look at some of the ones I’ve encountered throughout my life:

  • Insecurities;
  • Jealousy;
  • Being raised with specific expectations and views of women …

And some guys are just plain jerks. Over the past 20+ years as an adult with dreams and goals, I’ve run into a staggering number of responses from men that warrant some mighty big WTF?? reactions. Some of these were from the important men in my life!

  • If I have an idea, it’s not good enough until a man comes up with it. (I’m not alone and thank goodness the women on Obama’s staff taught us how to deal with that!)
  • If I don’t have an equal education, I’m not considered smart or even useful beyond a certain point.
  • If I want to learn more, I’m so “cute” which sometimes includes being patronizingly patted on the arm, back or head!
  • If I clearly and respectfully express my boundaries, I’m a bitch.
  • If I don’t respond to a pick-up or turn down a meet up, I’m a snob and anti-social.
  • If I go out to karaoke or dancing and don’t want to hook up with some random dude, I’m a tease.
  • If I don’t want sex, I’m an “Ice Queen”.
  • If I do want sex, I’m a slut or “needy”.
  • If I express my likes or dislikes, I’m bossy, picky, and can’t be pleased.
  • If I make a certain amount of money, the men who don’t make as much think I’m greedy, sleeping with someone, or outright try to derail my progress.
  • If I get groped or kissed without permission, I  am told to be grateful that someone found me attractive.

Some men who say they want a woman who is equal or has goals, visualize that reality with a limitation for the woman. It’s either because he doesn’t see himself going very far (so she can’t either) or because she “should” also be running the home, popping out babies, and raising them while meeting her goals (!?!).

Each of these statements were said by men who claimed they wanted an ambitious, independent women:

  • How did you ever get along without me?
  • What would you do without me to do this for you?
  • You’d never survive without me.

You may have noticed these statements invalid my ability to think or function. They presume I did not – and would not – do well on my own. Like having a penis in the home saves me from the incompetence they presume upon me.

Not all men are jerks, obviously. Some men are afraid of women with ambition, strength, and skill because they don’t know what they can offer. These are men who cannot see their own worth or value to an ambitious woman.

It’s important for men to know that a strong woman values her man for other reasons. She may not need him in the traditional ways our society has trained them to be needed, but there are things a strong man can provide that will make her thrive, including:

  • His autonomy in the relationship;
  • Unconditional support;
  • Sincere encouragement;
  • Admiration …

These things make him a priceless asset. A man she will love, adore, and depend on more than if he just opens the pickle jar or changes the oil in the car. If a strong woman doesn’t need you, it’s because you’re not giving what she needs.

“And a strong man doesn’t see his S.O. as a servant,” my boyfriend piped in. “He sees them as a partner.” He gets it. That’s one of the many reasons I’m dating him. Now, he needs to explain it to the clueless men around him.

 


Want to know what strong women want in a relationship?
Read 10 Things Alpha Women Need in a Relationship
by Power of Positivity.

5 Free Stock Photo Sites

One of the questions I come across frequently is: “Where can I find good stock images for free?”

5-stock-sites-header | I Am Rosa

Whether you’re making inspirational quote memes, marketing images for your book or product, social media cover image, or a book cover, you need quality images. Preferably for free. And, if you’re like me, you need them to be available for commercial use without having to pay huge subscription or licensing fees.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a huge list that I barely use and 5 that are my go-to sites, because they’re easy to use and usually have what I need.

Public Domain Sites:

 

Royalty Free Sites:

 

Update: Need a bigger variety of stock photos? Check out Rosa’s List of  Stock Photo Sites (pdf here). The list includes no-fee, paying, public domain, and royalty free. Be sure to double-check the licensing terms of each site before using their images.

 

Don’t see your fav on the list? Drop me a link in the comments!!

Bonus

If you don’t have the time  or skill to create your own memes from scratch, Pablo is easy to use and produces gorgeous results.

stock-sites | I Am Rosa

5 Ways to Give to Your Community Without Spending a Dime

Looking for ways to get on Santa’s “nice” list? Maybe you’re looking for things for your Kindness Elf to suggest. Here are 5 Ways to Give to Your Community (without spending a dime).

5-ways-to-give | I Am Rosa

This article was originally posted on Hubpages 12/09/13

What to Do When You Can’t Volunteer or Give Cash?

Presenting a thank you certificate to a local volunteering business man who helped with the Haunted House Fundraiser for our local Boys & Girl's Club. Source: © I Am Rosa
Presenting a thank you certificate to a local volunteering business man who helped with the Haunted House Fundraiser for our local Boys & Girl’s Club. Source: © I Am Rosa

 

We always mean to do something to help improve our community, volunteer, or donate to good causes, but the time commitment or financial cost of helping others can knock the wind out of our sails. Here are five ways that we give without straining our budget or busy schedules:

 

1. Fill a Need at the Women’s Shelter

Women’s shelters are always in need of gently used clothes, socks and shoes for those who have fled without packing. They can also use gently used baby and children’s clothing, family games, movies and books to help pass the time.

If you don’t mind spending a few dollars, they always need toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, and other toiletries that can be bought at the Dollar Store. Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving are always hardest time of the year, so little gift bags of toiletries and treats for the families spending their holidays at a shelter is greatly appreciated.

(Note: These things are also needed a men’s shelters, but so few communities actually have a safe haven for abused men … If you have one, please find a way to include them in your generosity.)

 

2. Books and Magazines

Bestow gently used books and magazines to your local library, doctor’s office and hospitals. But, not just to the emergency waiting room; all the departments have waiting rooms where people sit around for long periods of time, including the maternity ward where bed-ridden mommies need something to help pass the time.

 

 

Gently loved kids’ books are great donations for day cares and children’s clubs. Children’s wards and hospitals, Ronald McDonald House and other medical care facilities that focus on children would also be glad to have books and movies in good condition and age appropriate. Of course, a few family-friendly books and movies for the adults are also valued.

 

My daughter enjoying a
My daughter enjoying a “Wild Book” we found at the park. Source: © I Am Rosa

Surprise a Stranger

You could also surprise a stranger by leaving a “Traveling Book” or “Wild Book” in a clearly marked bag somewhere public, such as a local park, play ground, or restaurants. These are books left in the public for someone to find, read, and set lose again (aka Traveling Book) or to be found and kept (aka “Wild Book” ).

 

3. Coupons

I’m regularly inundated with coupons from various sources; coupon packets in the mail from marketing companies, flyers in the newspaper, even coupons and samples from companies that produce baby-related items and foods. I’m not a big coupon user. I prefer to buy generic brands which are often much cheaper than a brand name, even when using with a coupon. However, I know other people prefer name brands.

Clip coupons and leave them at the local welfare office (if they have a coupon drawer) or even at the announcement board at the grocery store. Coupons for baby and children’s items can be given to local Early Year’s Centres, child care businesses, and even Health Units.

 

4. Baby and Children’s Clothing

Most of us generally try to sell our unneeded children’s clothing via local Facebook “yard sale” groups or consignment shops. You could also share gently used clothing with a family member or friend with a child who would fit them. Local woman’s shelters, maternity wards or Early Year’s Centres also appreciate gently used baby clothes. Of course, toys and educational items in good condition are also desirable.

 

 

My daughter in the NICU was so well cared for! We were happy to leave some newborn pajamas for other families in need of them Source: © I Am Rosa
My daughter in the NICU was so well cared for! We were happy to leave some newborn pajamas for other families in need of them Source: © I Am Rosa

Newbie Needs

It surprised us to learn that the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where we delivered our daughter have a need for pajamas. Many parents, just like us, are caught off guard by their child’s premature arrival. And, just like us, many of them were from out of town without access to their baby supplies, including jammies. If you have spare newborn pajamas, hats or mitts, check with your local hospital to see if their maternity or NICU unit would like them.

 

 

 

 

Baby clothes for the 2013 Philippines relief efforts .... with love from our family. Source: © I Am Rosa
Baby clothes for the 2013 Philippines relief efforts …. with love from our family. Source: © I Am Rosa

Social Media Call-Outs

Keep an eye out for posts on local Facebook groups about families who have experienced loss and need help. This is a great way to help out your community. If you have what a family needs and can spare it, give what you can.

There is also the occasional call-out for clothing donations to help the relief efforts for the victims of the latest natural disaster. Don’t be shy! Contact the coordinator and find out what they need. If you have it to spare, box it up to be collected and shipped out to help those in need.

 

5. Pantry Items

We all have items in our pantry that we meant to use but never got around to it. If the items aren’t too close (or past) their expiry date and are in good condition, donate them to the local food bank.

What do we have to spare? Source: © I Am Rosa
What do we have to spare? Source: © I Am Rosa

 

If you’re really ambitious, you can host a get-together (or event through your church or other favourite non-profit organization) that requires guests to give canned or dried goods in exchange for entry, with the goods going directly to your local food bank. If you’re a little less ambitious, but still like the idea of mixing it up with others in your community, attend a local event like this and bring all you’ve got to share from your pantry.

 

[UPDATE: Since originally posting this, I've learned more about food banks. Apparently, they get a lot of food they can't use because there is too much of the same thing or they're really odd food items most people don't eat. The Vancouver Sun published a great article about it here which explains how food banks are able to get really good discounts from partners with the cash donations they receive and how you can better help your local food bank. If in doubt, call and ask what food items they need most.]

 

 

WWYD? (What Will You Do?)

Now that you have a few ideas to run with, what can you do to give back to your community?

Please, share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below for others to read and maybe even use in their community!

7 Things that Help Me as a Writer

Question: “If you could go back to 7th/8th grade, knowing what you know now about writing, is there anything you wish someone would have told you?”

bookshelf | I Am Rosa

Frankly, if someone told me in junior high that I was going to write for living, I would have laughed at them. Or fainted. Or possibly both. Sure, other students told me my stories were good and I should write them professionally, but – pfft – teenagers and their self-esteem issues … or was that just me?

However, there are some things that have helped me and thank goodness I picked them up along the way! On the off chance they help other authors, I’ll share them here:


1) A strong grasp of proper spelling and grammar. It makes your job a lot easier if you are able to self-edit the basics before you unleash an editor on your work. Plus, editors will love you.

2) “Show, Don’t Tell” was good advice that stuck with me. Instead of telling your reader “John was angry” you can show them by writing, “John’s face flushed and his hands curled into fists”.

3) Acting classes helped. A LOT. Learning about internal dialogue, body language, communicating without words, and thinking like “other people” helps me keep each character unique and believable.

4) Yoda said: Do or Do Not.  There is no try.

do-or-do-not | I Am Rosa

This holds true for writers. You don’t “work your way” to being a writer. You either are or you’re not. There’s no “try” because the second you start to write, you are a writer, so give it your all from the start.

5) Research is your friend.  Write about something you’re interested in, so the research keeps you interested.

6) Writing is like a skilled trade, but without the useful apprenticeship. You have teach yourself from whatever resources, classes, and workshops you can find and afford. Learn all you can about your craft and find what works best for you.

7) Study your genre and practice different styles until you find a voice that fits.  If you write in multiple genres, you may end up with various “voices” since your “Romance Voice” won’t be the same as your “Murder Mystery Voice”, which will vary from your “Horror Voice”, etc.

So, there you have it. Things that have helped me as a writer. I hope they help you, as well 🙂

Beta Reader Team: Assemble!

header-beta-reader-team | I Am Rosa

 (Or, “How I Found My Beta Team”)

 

My latest book, Eyes of the Hunter is currently in the hands of a wonderful team of beta readers. Even though they’re still reading, I’ve already received some very constructive feedback.  I’m thrilled!!

Today, I received this question from a fellow author:

May I ask how you got a team of beta readers? Because when I tried to get people to read my book before it was published no one was interested!

The short answer is:

I do my homework and am picky about who I ask.

The long answer:

I try to approach people who I know have beta read in the past, are interested in the genre of my book, have a good eye for detail, and have given solid feedback (to myself or others) in the past.

 

5 people agreed to beta read Eyes of the Hunter. Here is how I chose each one …

 

Beta Reader 1

This lady actually found me. She’d read a review I was under attack for writing, loved how honest and fair I’d been, and tracked me down on Facebook to ask if I would review her fantasy novel. I agreed, but couldn’t make it through the book. So, instead of writing a review, I asked if I could just give her suggestions on improvements. She agreed. She made the changes. She got picked up by a publisher (I’m not taking credit for that, btw) and has just release the sequel.

We kept in touch. When I see a snippet or article she’s written, I read it and comment. She’s improved. A lot. She’s serious and dedicated, so I continue to support her. And, she also freelances as an editor. So, when it came time to assemble beta readers, I asked if she’d be interested. She said, “Yes.”

 

Beta Reader 2

Amusingly enough, I found this lady exactly the same way Beta Reader 1 found me! She was being attacked by another author for the honest review she wrote on GoodReads in exchange for an ARC. Curious, I read the review. It was actually a very fair review, praising the author’s writing skill, but pointing out there were issues with the story that didn’t sit well with her. She didn’t finish reading, so she marked it DNF (Did Not Finish) to make sure it wouldn’t hurt the author’s rating. I sent her a message, apologizing on behalf of authors who aren’t dicks, and told her that I really liked how honest and fair she’d been. Since I knew from her GoodReads profile that she liked stories similar to Eyes of the Hunter, I asked if she’d be interested in beta reading it and gave a her brief description. She agreed.

 

Beta Reader 3

About a year ago, a lady in one of the Facebook writing groups I’m part of asked if someone could do some artwork for her. I was interested in what she wanted done and offered my services. I really liked her honesty in comments and noticed she always had great suggestions. So, instead of cash payment, I asked if she’d be interested in beta reading for me. I gave her a brief description of Eyes of the Hunter. She liked the story idea and had read some of my other writing, so she felt confident that she’d enjoy this and agreed.

 

Beta Reader 4

This one, I can thank Beta Reader 1 for. She’d talked me up to this gentleman and I apparently made a good impression in the Facebook groups we were part of. We chatted back and forth on Facebook for months. When he found out I was almost ready to hand off Eyes of the Hunter to beta readers, he expressed an interest in reading it. From our conversations, I knew he’s very honest about his opinions and he has a great eye for detail. Even though the story is aimed for YA female readers, I thought a male opinion would be beneficial. So, I asked if he’d go one further and beta read it for me. He said yes and  offered some amazingly helpful insights.

 

Beta Reader 5

I met this lady through – you guessed it – a Facebook writing group. She sent me a friend request after we’d exchanged comments in the group. I had a favourable opinion of her; plainspoken and insightful. I accepted though we never actually chatted after that … until I saw a status update from her one night as I was about to shut down my computer for the night. She seemed to be in distress and I was worried that she was suicidal. Facebook had just implemented its suicide prevention feature, which was totally useless. So, I sent her a message which led to a conversation that lasted several hours (until I felt satisfied that she wasn’t going to do anything harmful to herself). Being writers, we naturally talked about books and writing. I told her a bit about Eyes of the Hunter and it was apparently up her alley of interest. She told me that she beta reads, critiques, and reviews. So, I asked if she’d like to beta read it for me and she said, “yes.”

kapow-1601675_960_720

And, there you have it: My amazing beta team for Eyes of the Hunter <3

Finding quality beta readers is a long process:

  • I observe the feedback a person gives to others and what they contribute to conversations in groups.
  • I build a sincere rapport with them. (Note the word sincere. I care about these people and they care about me.)
  • I find out if beta reading is something they’re interested in and what genres they prefer.
  • When I ask them to beta read, I give them just enough detail about the story to hook them, but not enough to ruin the fun.

Some people I asked were swamped with other projects or felt the story was not quite to their interests. No problem! I’ve asked enough people that a couple of “no’s” still leaves me with a fair size group for feedback. Plus if anyone has something come up where they can’t follow through, I wouldn’t be stranded for feedback.


Want to know what guidelines I give my beta readers?
Read my follow-up article, Beta Reader Checklist for Useful Feedback.