When I take a break from writing, I do an awful lot of reading. I read a lot of romances because it’s market research. God, I love that excuse. And I read some science fiction that my husband recommends because I am a Trekker, for many decades now. I read funny books because I love laughing, and I read whatever they have at the used book store on CD. I hate being on the road, even if it’s just a few blocks to the store, without the comfort and joy of imagination going on.

I find so many Gems while listening or reading, so I thought I would share a few of them with you. I don’t know if you will get the same impact as I did, but hopefully you will.

From The Villa by Nora Roberts, I picked up the older couple (out of three, and the most touching to me) knowing each other so well. Still the woman told her husband, “I don’t need you in my life, but I want you here.” That’s the key to a great relationship. I feel the same way about my husband, and I want my heroines to be strong women who can stand on their own two feet. They have room in their lives for a love interest because they want that person there. It’s so freeing to not be stuck somewhere without a choice to leave or stay. Financially, religiously, or whatever reason. Stay because you love them and you want to be there.

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From Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Jacob can’t remember exactly how old he is. It’s not a matter of a lack of documentation, it’s just that he’s 90. Or 93. The character explains that when you are a kid, you know exactly how old you are, and how long until your next birthday. Then eventually you start to dread the arrival of another birthday. Finally, you can’t really remember. The years pass by without our awareness. I’m at an age where I feel so much younger than I am, and I am motivated to stay at least as healthy as I am now, and improve as much as possible. But the years are certainly rolling by at a fast pace. I want this realism in my characters, and it’s so very important for Regency Romances where the women became “on the shelf,” unwanted goods, at an age when modern women are just starting to live independently. It’s chilling to think time could move any faster due to circumstances like that.

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Sir Terry Pratchett, much beloved and missed author of the Discworld books, had a character, and I apologize for not remembering the book or her name, who had not been a pretty child, had looked awkward as a young woman, but now in her golden years, she attained a measure of beauty beyond other women her age. I think I am like that, in many ways. I am happier at this age than I have been at any other time. That must be reflected in my face or my smile, in my walk and my social skills. I never hesitate to talk to anyone, especially if I can think of a funny like. Usually, my efforts are appreciated.

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I highly recommend Christopher Moore and any of his series or stand alone books. He’s taken a stab at Shakespeare that is so worth the read. The book is titled Fool, after the main character. And it has a beautiful Happily Ever After. But can Mr. Moore leave well enough alone? Of course not. He wrote another Shakespeare adaptaion, The Serpent of Venice, and while very humorous and fun, there’s a unhappy in it that makes me want to write him a letter. But the gem that has me laughing enough to include in this post makes up for it. You see, Pocket is a Fool, in motley with bells on. He has a monkey. The monkey does occasionally do something for which monkeys are well known. It involves body waste products. And just when you are least expecting it, Pocket tells his star-crossed friend to go start flinging woo. I wish I could steal that, but without the monkey, it loses a lot in the translation.

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Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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