ARCHIVES

February 12, 2020
“The vast, vast (vast!) majority of women and men know that love and romance and intimacy and pleasure have plenty of room to exist and thrive in a space and a culture that also frowns on (and prosecutes) sexual harassment and assault.” —Balancing Act columnist…
February 12, 2020
February 11, 2020
We all dream, but I was a little surprised when I discovered I’d inadvertently put two songs right next to each other on a play list without knowing that they’re both about imaginary lovers. I think we all have imaginary lovers. I, for one, have…
February 11, 2020
February 10, 2020
Teri Gender Bender, the singer and writer of this song, opens by saying she’s not sure what it’s about. I don’t, either, but I know one thing for sure–I love her voice. The link goes to an acoustic live version, but the fleshed out electric…
February 10, 2020
February 8, 2020
A few months ago I was looking through music on my computer and found a bunch of songs with female singers that I could barely remember downloading. That led to a “project” that involved creating play lists for music with just female singers. I’ve listened…
February 8, 2020
May 16, 2019
I love neuroscience. Or, more specifically, I love the neuroscience of love. It’s kind of the opposite of what we think of as “romance.” Especially when it comes down to the effect that sniffing T-shirts worn several nights by men who were not wearing deodorant.…
May 16, 2019
March 26, 2019
A while back someone alerted me about The Very Big O being sold on some website I didn’t recognize. I checked it out and asked the people who ran it to remove the novella from their listings. Which they did. Which was too bad, in…
March 26, 2019
March 25, 2019
In The Incompetent Witch and the Very Big O (now available for pre-order on Amazon), the thing that terrorizes the countryside comes to life when Prudenzia has a particularly big–dare I say, very big–orgasm under, shall I say, unique and favorable, circumstances. But here’s what…
March 25, 2019
March 25, 2019
The first installment of the chronicles of the snarky, lovable witch of Douchecanoe is up for pre-order from Amazon now. Prudenzia La Strega is different from most witches. Her magic doesn’t always come out right–but it does come out funny. In The Very Big O,…
March 25, 2019
April 17, 2017
Since my blog still isn’t working, I’m offering this as a blog post. It’s not that long: I read a quote today from Eudora Welty: “To write honestly and with all our powers is the least we can do, and the most.” That mentality is…
April 17, 2017
April 16, 2017
Thanks to everyone who participated in the release of The Incompetent Witch and the Very Big O. In the coming months, I’ll be getting my online house in order (including a new website and reviving the Man Writing a Romance blog) and releasing My Fairy…
April 16, 2017
March 12, 2015
My guest today, Vicki Batman, is a true ManWARrior. Not just because she has that cool last name, but also because she’s not afraid to use the word “panties”—and you know how the Man Writing a Romance feels about that. In her humorous romantic caper…
March 12, 2015
February 23, 2015
My guest is Laura Roberts, a ManWARrior who writes about sex and travel, one of which is a familiar topic to regular readers of this blog. Laura knows what she’s talking about, as she wrote a column called V is for Vixen, which chronicled the…
February 23, 2015
February 7, 2015
Wine? Seduction? Bare-bottomed cherubs shooting arrows at potential lovers? What the hell is Valentine’s Day supposed to be about? As usual, I turned to the Internet for a hasty and incomplete answer. Witchology.com, the official website of the Witchcraft Information Centre & Archive, eschews our modern…
February 7, 2015
January 17, 2015
Hmmm…haven’t posted in a while. I probably will. Pretty soon. Until then, every post since 2010 is still archived here, so check out Classic ManWARs. Or check out the two ManWAR books, aptly titled Man Writing a Romance and Man Writing Another Romance to read…
January 17, 2015
December 24, 2014
I promised author Gin Jones that I would post a Christmas cookie recipe this week as part of a blog tour. Easy right? Right, because The Man Writing a Romance knows exactly one cookie recipe, and it’s the one on the cover of every box…
December 24, 2014
December 15, 2014
You’d think that six-pack abs had something to do with the type of tummy one would get from consuming too much beer, but “six-pack” is, of course, the correct name for what looks like a waffle strapped to the midsection of the typical shirtless male…
December 15, 2014
October 25, 2014
My good friend Pamela DuMond said, “Hey, Dave, you want to do this ‘Meet the Character’ blog tour thing?” and I thought, “I like meeting characters, so sure.” Then she explained that I wouldn’t be meeting characters, but introducing them so that other people could…
October 25, 2014
October 8, 2014
I recently ran across this quote: “If a man loves a woman’s soul, he’ll end up loving one woman, but if he loves a woman’s face, all the women in the world won’t satisfy him.” It sounded good, but I kept wondering exactly why. I…
October 8, 2014
September 18, 2014
A 27-year-old dude calling himself “Available in Illinois” recently told Dear Abby he had “no clue on how to read women’s subtle interest cues, if they ever display any.” They apparently have never simply ripped off their shirts to show him their silicone-enhanced breasts, as…
September 18, 2014
September 3, 2014
One of the great pleasures I find in writing fiction is making up character names. Considering the names you see in TV credits and on movie marquees these days, how could that not be fun if you’re writing romance novels set in Hollywood? To some…
September 3, 2014
August 16, 2014
You know the joke: A man’s intelligence goes down as the size of a woman’s breasts goes up. It is to laugh. But it is also something to test, which TV’s Mythbusters did recently. Buster Kari Byron has breasts that have struck men dumb for…
August 16, 2014
July 23, 2014
Every now and then someone I’m telling about my Fast Lane books seems enthralled—until I mention the sex. Then I get a sour look and a snide comment, as though I should know that sex kills romance the way cancer kills comedy. One time I…
July 23, 2014
June 19, 2014
Since my last post was about two guys kissing, I wasn’t planning to address the topic again so soon. Then I read this passage in How to Write Sexy Descriptions and Sex Scenes by Val Kovalin: The ultimate romantic action is kissing. Sometimes males who…
June 19, 2014
May 13, 2014
A headline on a TV at the gym said, “Michael Sam kiss ignites firestorm.” Michael Sam is a University of Missouri football player, and after the St. Louis Rams drafted him, he kissed his boyfriend. This should not have surprised anyone, since Sam said several…
May 13, 2014
April 25, 2014
If you’re like me, you wonder how it could be, as many studies have shown, that 103% of men cheat on their spouses or lovers while less than 0% of women do the same. It doesn’t add up, of course—partly because I exaggerate, but also…
April 25, 2014
March 31, 2014
The Man Writing a Romance has been writing about sex, love and panties for more than three years, but this the first time I’ve addressed sex, love and panties as part of an international blog tour. My good friend Pam DuMond invited me, so thank…
March 31, 2014
March 21, 2014
Writing sex scenes isn’t necessarily rocket science, but it can have something in common with rocket science. Such as when the male participant goes all Cape Canaveral. Because, you know what they say: “What comes up, must go down.” Or something like that. Anyway, after…
March 21, 2014
February 14, 2014
A recent Facebook meme showed a photo of a Skyline Chili sign urging lovers to visit on Valentine’s Day for a Three-Way. And you should have seen the comments. Not the ones making jokes about three-ways.  The ones hinting that any man who even considered…
February 14, 2014
January 28, 2014
Everyone loves good news, and the judge who critiqued Malibu Bride as part of the Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards contest gave me plenty. The news is so good that I’ve decided to print most of that critique here in its entirety: This is a…
January 28, 2014
January 21, 2014
Here in the Midwest, we get weather known as “a wintry mix.” The sky spits down every manner of evil: snow and rain, freezing pellets and sleet, ice and fog—all at the same time. They don’t mix very well, and the result is chaos. The…
January 21, 2014
January 12, 2014
A friend recently asked for comments on an idea she had for a romance novel. I gave it a thumbs-up, but suggested she give the hero normal abs. Now, who in the world would say such a thing?  Except a guy who has normal abs.…
January 12, 2014
December 24, 2013
The Man Writing a Romance wishes everyone a wonderful Christmas. I know that even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, your life is likely guided by three essential principles: peace, forgiveness and love. Every romance novel needs to end with a “happily-ever-after.” On the way, though,…
December 24, 2013
December 13, 2013
This week the Man Writing a Romance welcomes MJ Schiller to talk about her Christmas novella Upon a Midnight Clear, which delivers everything on your holiday list: Snow, a cute kid, a hunky rescue squad guy, murder and dollops of hanky-panky. MJ is a romance-writin’…
December 13, 2013
December 5, 2013
I just got back from a weeklong trip to L.A., where we visited family and friends for Thanksgiving. It’s really an amazing city, though the driving does suck. But…palm trees. Ocean breezes. Warm nights. Roses abloom in December. Hard to get any more romantic, which…
December 5, 2013
November 12, 2013
I was disturbed to read in a recent morning paper about a University of Illinois professor who may lose his tenure for making jokes in class about sex. And what disturbed me was not that he may lose his tenure. Maybe you’re thinking, “Dave, you…
November 12, 2013
November 3, 2013
I recently participated in the second SexScenes reading event of the season. For those who don’t know what SexScenes is, it’s five other authors and me reading—duh—sex scenes from our novels. In public. To people we don’t know. On Friday, we played to a throng…
November 3, 2013
October 14, 2013
The Man Writing a Romance has covered the topic of women’s underwear early and often, but he’s left a gaping hole in the conversation when it comes to men’s under…things. The reason is that The Man Writing a Romance is not interested in men’s undergarments,…
October 14, 2013
October 4, 2013
Not long ago I had the pleasure of meeting Robyn Peterman Zahn. Well, we haven’t actually met. And, to tell you the truth, sometimes just knowing of her scares me. I’m talking about a woman who writes time-traveling vampire romances and types the term “pork…
October 4, 2013
September 25, 2013
The hastily-researched hilarity that you expect from this blog will continue next week. For now, please enjoy this guest post by a character from my new book, a non-romance called See You in Hell. Sometimes the Man Writing a Romance writes something other than a…
September 25, 2013
September 13, 2013
Author Robyn Peterman Zahn invited me to participate in the online “launch party” for her new novel, Fashionably Dead. I was terrified. Not because I’d be the only rooster at a hen party—I’m used to that—but because I’ve read Robyn’s other books. There was a…
September 13, 2013
August 30, 2013
I didn’t know what I would blog about this week until—thank god—Miley Cyrus became the first person ever to do something lascivious on TV. What she did was prance around the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards in what looked like 1950s underwear, sticking…
August 30, 2013
August 11, 2013
The women in my writers group were surprised that Holt, Sushma’s suitor in Malibu Bride, is enamored with four-eyed women. Although I am well aware of what boys don’t make in regards to girls who wear glasses, I was surprised by that reaction, though my…
August 11, 2013
July 25, 2013
The idea that women alone make the world a better place has been around for a while, but every now and then, someone comes up with a new twist. The latest twist comes from a study of what happened when 10,000 Danish boss-men became fathers.…
July 25, 2013
July 9, 2013
My Sunday paper arrived with an article about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, but no doubt more so if you’re a woman. Bra fitting. The column by the Chicago Tribune’s Ellen Warren lamented what a drag it is getting told your…
July 9, 2013
July 1, 2013
One way I like to establish that my hero and heroine are connecting is something I call “the double fantasies.” The characters have already met and find themselves fantasizing about each other, not realizing how similar their scenarios are. The excerpt below involves Sushma Vishnuveda…
July 1, 2013
June 21, 2013
Three other authors and I are booked to read sex scenes from our novels at a bar in the hipster part of Milwaukee. And, yes, there is a hipster part of Milwaukee. We refer to our loose collective as SexScenes. For the obvious reason. The…
June 21, 2013
June 14, 2013
“Broken-field running” is a football term that describes what happens when a play breaks down, forcing the ball carrier to improvise to get past obstacles and progress toward the goal line. My life for the past month has been one big broken-field scramble of work,…
June 14, 2013
May 23, 2013
You might feel like you have a book when you finish the outline. Or the first draft. Or the second draft. Or when you give the manuscript to your editor. Or when you finish making all the damn changes the editor “suggests.” Or when you…
May 23, 2013
May 10, 2013
A friend posted on Facebook that she had seen a headline about the “top three reasons men leave,” but couldn’t bring herself to read the article. A friend of that friend then posted this: 1. He’s selfish. 2. He’s an asshole. 3. He’s immature. That…
May 10, 2013
April 20, 2013
Whether you’re a romance writer or reader, sooner or later the topic of alpha males is going to rear its ugly head. In a chiseled-featured, six-pack-abbed sort of way. One friend of mine, an avid romance reader, says, “Please don’t equate alpha male with romantic…
April 20, 2013
April 8, 2013
Sex and romance go together, right? Right? I think so. And so did one woman I know who read Palm Springs Heat and told me there should have been more sex to go with the romance. Another was of a less-is-more state of mind, saying…
April 8, 2013
April 2, 2013
Coming clean about something he says he regularly does in the shower—and I’m not talking about washing behind the ears—Ray Romano explains one of the burdens of guyhood. “We were given the gift of fantasy,” he says in a 1996 HBO comedy special. “I know…
April 2, 2013
March 19, 2013
“Why He Hates Your Orgasm Face.” That, says comedian Jessi Klein, is the Cosmopolitan magazine teaser that inspired her to write a joke about angst-ridden women staring into mirrors, screwing up their pusses to practice looking more comely when they’re climaxing. “He hates?” I thought.…
March 19, 2013
March 11, 2013
One of the things about creating characters is that you can find yourself forgeting they’re not real. You start seeing flesh-and-blood people who make you say, “That woman looks just like someone I know.” Only not quite. For example, someone once asked me who I…
March 11, 2013
February 27, 2013
I haven’t posted in an unusually long time because the missus and I spent last week on a romantic getaway that fell into our laps when a relative got sick and couldn’t use a time share. In South Carolina. A half a continent from Milwaukee.…
February 27, 2013
February 14, 2013
In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t avoid the parade of clichés that indicate our inability to move past some brick headed Stone Age thinking about romance. If you believe all the childish ads, comic strips and sitcom teasers, a man’s role is to…
February 14, 2013
February 9, 2013
A member of my writers group has suggested that my heroes might be too nice—a fate worse than death. She believes it’s because I’m such a nice fuckin’ guy I may lack the dark side required to make a man seem dangerously sexy. She sees…
February 9, 2013
February 1, 2013
The “special bridal issue” of a local magazine that gets stuffed into our newspaper every now and then arrived today. Good timing, I thought, as I happen to be writing a novel called Malibu Bride and therefore have to know something about bridal issues. A…
February 1, 2013
January 24, 2013
There wasn’t enough news happening in the world, so some media focused on the awfulness of a Super Bowl ad featuring “the voluptuous Kate Upton.” In the ad, we’re told that Upton, wearing short shorts and a tank top, is going to wash a Mercedes…
January 24, 2013
January 17, 2013
The link said “Porn star who became teacher denied job,” so I had to check out the article about how California middle-school science teacher Stacie Halas, who was fired after students learned she had appeared in pornographic movies as Tiffany 6, had hoped “not just…
January 17, 2013
January 9, 2013
It’s been a while since my last post because my left kidney thought this would be a good time to boot a few pesky kidney stones. They weren’t really bothering the kidney, but my left urethra is none too pleased about hosting squatters. I’ve been…
January 9, 2013
December 30, 2012
As I was wrapping an iTunes gift card for my college-age niece, I couldn’t help but recall getting vinyl record albums for Christmas. The only thing better than seeing that twelve-inch-by-twelve-inch package under the tree was witnessing the cover unfold as I tore the tissue…
December 30, 2012
December 22, 2012
The idea came to me that there must be a romance in the story of the Nativity. But then it also came to me that even suggesting such a thing might upset some people in the post-“Fifty Shades of Grey” era. Because romance novels these…
December 22, 2012
December 13, 2012
I have spent time in these pages addressing the body-image concerns of women by putting forth the notion that if you’ve got a body, there’s a man out there who likes its image. Or maybe a million men. I have specifically noted that there were…
December 13, 2012
December 4, 2012
Every December for the past twenty-five years or so I’ve watched what I think of as The Fantastic Five. They are: A Charlie Brown ChristmasMr. Magoo’s Christmas CarolHow the Grinch Stole ChristmasA Christmas StoryIt’s a Wonderful Life As much as I love watching them, I…
December 4, 2012
November 28, 2012
Rachel Thompson goes by the handle “Rachel in the OC,” and her job is writing funny books about guy/girl things, like A Walk in the Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Here at ManWAR, we’re all about humor and guy/girl things, so Rachel fits right in. On…
November 28, 2012
November 22, 2012
When you’re trying to make it as a writer, you bump into people who’ve already made it. Most of the time, these people are nice to you. Sometimes, they even become cheerleaders, helpers and friends. For Thanksgiving this year, I’m naming some of the people…
November 22, 2012
November 14, 2012
I have long held this theory about what I call the No-Win Society. In this society—modern American society—whatever you do is wrong. And someone will be sure to tell you. For example, if an opportunity arises, what should you do? Pounce on it, right? Opportunity…
November 14, 2012
November 3, 2012
Working through the Fast Lane Romance series, I learned that some women consider “panties” an offensive word for underwear. More recently, I was told that “short” is an offensive word for…well, not tall. I read the following passage from Malibu Bride to my writers group:…
November 3, 2012
October 25, 2012
I recently posted a link to Katy Perry singing a duet with an autistic girl on Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars and got a few snide comments about Katy Perry. Which bothered me since the video is of her singing a duet with…
October 25, 2012
October 16, 2012
The Yahoo.com news link seemed promising: Worst “Sexy” Halloween Costumes. I clicked and saw that I was right. In a guy sort of way. I mean, if these fourteen costumes are the worst, I don’t think I could survive the best. Shine from Yahoo mentions,…
October 16, 2012
October 5, 2012
I ran into one of my former journalism students, The Fashion King. Thatwas my nickname for him, at least. When he was in my class, he also worked for a local fashion magazine, which amazed me not because he was only a sophomore, but because…
October 5, 2012
September 27, 2012
I went through the pile of notes, newspapers and pictures I keep next to my writing desk and discovered that comics from the daily newspapers are my No. 2 source of inspiration. The No. 1 source comes from another section of the paper: lingerie ads.…
September 27, 2012
September 20, 2012
The comic strip Argyle Sweater recently showed two cavemen checking out Raquel Welch in her One Million Years B.C. bikini, and saying, “She’s no Venus of Willendorf.” The Venus of Willendorf is a 25,000-year old figurine in the shape of a woman who today might…
September 20, 2012
September 13, 2012
I’m sure lots of women like the One Direction song What Makes You Beautiful because it seems to be telling a woman she’s more gorgeous than she knows. Not knowing she’s beautiful, the song says, is exactly what makes her beautiful. Pretty clever. But is…
September 13, 2012
September 7, 2012
The NFL season is nigh upon us, and since women have been so kind (and eager) to explain stuff to the Man Writing a Romance, the Man Writing a Romance offers this primer on football for the ladies. And a few guys he knows. And…
September 7, 2012
August 28, 2012
An American-born-and-raised Caucasian woman who’d been married to a Hong Kong-born-and-raised Asian man recently said to me, “There were some big cultural differences between us, but the biggest was gender.” I’d never before thought of “how men act” or “what women think” as “men’s culture”…
August 28, 2012
August 21, 2012
A Facebook friend—a woman—recently posted a beefcake photo of a dozen shirtless male “firefighters” showing off their perfectly chiseled abs. I guess I’m supposed to think, “Ha, ha—girls will be girls.” But let me ask: If I posted a picture of a dozen female “firefighters”…
August 21, 2012
August 14, 2012
There’s this writerly saying about “killing your darlings.” It sounds god-awful, but all it really means is that if there’s something in your book that you love, but seems out of place or slows the read, get rid of it. And so it goes with…
August 14, 2012
August 8, 2012
As a meeting I attended wound down, I excused myself early and waited outside for my carpool mates, a man and a woman. One eternity later, only the woman emerged. And she was irate. “He’s having an idiotic conversation,” she said, “even though I stood…
August 8, 2012
July 31, 2012
The Sunday tabloid article said there’s a thing called The Lipstick Effect. It’s apparently not about how lipstick affects your lips by making them a different color, but about lipstick sales going up when the economy goes down. The blurb said a recent study attributed…
July 31, 2012
July 24, 2012
The other day a woman asked Mary Jo if my football-watching buddies knew I wrote a romance novel. “Of course,” she answered, “and they think it’s pretty cool.” Which they do. No surprise there—why would I be friends with guys who think it’s not cool…
July 24, 2012
July 14, 2012
ManWAR focuses on romance, but mystery can be romantic—and the lovin’ kind of romance can blend quite nicely with tales of mayhem and murder. The lovin’ kind of romance in MJ Williams’ novel On the Road to Death’s Door is understated, found mostly in the…
July 14, 2012
July 7, 2012
Someone on Facebook asked what movies made people cry. The length of my list nearly brought tears to my eyes. I’m not talking about balls-on bawling. Just, you know, that choked-up feeling that might cause a guy to reach under his glasses and fake like…
July 7, 2012
June 30, 2012
A few years ago a friend gave me a ticket to watch a Brewers baseball game from the Lawyers-Only level at Miller Park, which meant I’d get a peek at how the other half lives. But I made a horrible mistake. I wore a tank…
June 30, 2012
June 22, 2012
Here’s a question I never thought I’d hear my wife utter: “If there’s a really hot guy riding his bike with his shirt off, is it appropriate for a woman to shout, ‘Woo! Woo!’?” This was strictly a hypothetical question, as Mary Jo said she’d…
June 22, 2012
June 18, 2012
At a writers’ conference I attended, people kept talking about whether men can write female characters and women can write male characters. First a female author said that trying to figure out men is like parachuting into a jungle without a map and trying to…
June 18, 2012
June 8, 2012
Holy crap! I’m in danger of dwelling on Fifty Shades of Grey, but today I’m going to spin it in a different direction: How Fifty Shades encourages me as a writer. And it’s not just that the book started out self-published. Sometimes when I’m bumming…
June 8, 2012
May 30, 2012
I read Fifty Shades of Grey expecting loads of bad writing and S&M up the kazoo…and got neither. But questions? Oh, I came away with questions. What is good writing? Some reviewers lambaste the writing—and Fifty Shades has its quirks. Christian Grey, the dark hero,…
May 30, 2012
May 22, 2012
A woman I knew in high school posted on Facebook a picture of her daughter heading off to prom. That sparked a flurry of reminiscences; my contribution was about how prom night was raining and cold. A second woman I knew in high school commented…
May 22, 2012
May 14, 2012
I’m reading Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James because I have to find out what all the fuss is about. I’m on page 142, and I have no idea. So far, it seems about as traditional as a romance can be. I’ve heard it…
May 14, 2012
May 8, 2012
One time after my dad took some heat for dropping a few F-bombs, he turned to me and said, “That’s how men talk.” It was probably in 1976, and in 1976, men dropped F-bombs while, as a rule, women didn’t. We all know what happened…
May 8, 2012
April 30, 2012
More than 1,100 people signed up for a shot at winning Fast Lane in a Goodreads giveaway last month. Since only five could be winners, I want to thank everyone else with a free day and a sale. But I’m gonna need some help. The…
April 30, 2012