My book Love on the Rocks with a Twist – Delightful Fiction with Lessons on Dealing with Others begins with an introductory essay, “What’s the Twist” followed by study notes introducing the most basic of the consensus building skills demonstrated by the characters in the remaining stories. Here’s an excerpt from that intro, “What’s the Twist”:

“Anyone who thinks interactional skills have no place in romance has lived a very solitary, or very naive, life. Indeed, enlightened communication skills can make all the difference in the quality of a relationship. How many lovers’ quarrels include the words, ‘It’s not what you said. It’s the way you said it’? So at the end of each piece in this anthology, I’ve provided study notes about the skills, or lack thereof, demonstrated by the characters. You’ll even find study notes at the end of this introductory essay.

“So much for ‘on the rocks,’ now here’s the ‘twist.’ The pieces in this collection share a common thread. They feature characters who are perfectly capable of living happily ever after on their own, and would prefer to do so than to settle for someone who would make lives worse, rather than better. Jerks, addicts, gold diggers, control freaks, and other life worseners need not apply.

“But the protagonists can’t live that preference if they feel they need—not just want, but need—a spouse or partner. Unfortunately, society saturates us with messages—some subtle, some not so subtle—to the effect that we can’t live happy, fulfilling single lives.

“Conventional romance fiction plays its part in this brainwashing, often adding the dangerous message that love can somehow transform a life worsener into a prince or princess. I guess it all started centuries ago, the first time a fair maiden kissed a smart aleck, sassy-mouthed frog. The ‘twist’ in this collection is that my protagonists can walk away from frogs with a ‘goodbye and good luck.’ They can walk away to live, not just well enough, but happily ever after.

  • In “Duet for Flute and Phantom,” our protagonist certainly doesn’t settle for a frog, but her method of removing him from her life is far too extreme.
  • “What Would Help?” rewards a man who seems to be on the road to rejection until he proves that he understands what respect really means.
  • In “Can We Talk?” a promising couple places hurdles on the track to love by texting rather than talking.
  • “Dinner Date” is a poetic snapshot of how not to get a second date.
  • “The Package” features a young man who’d like to eradicate his girlfriend’s aversion to routines and schedules, while she wishes he’d loosen up and be more spontaneous, but a crisis teaches them to appreciate the same traits that sometimes drive them crazy.
  • “Peaches” shows us a woman’s mental and emotional journey to the happily-walking-away point.
  • In “,” a woman learns to value an exceptional man who’s not much to look at.
  • And in “You’ll Get over It,” our protagonist must not only deal with rejection by a man who doesn’t appreciate her, but with even greater pain inflicted by a former friend.

“I hope you enjoy reading these tales and study notes as much as I enjoyed writing them.”