When Americans are polled on their favorite hobbies, you know what usually comes out on top?

You guessed it.



Of course everybody reads for school, work, research or just to figure out how to install the latest whatever-it-is they just bought. But when it comes to reading for ourselves, it is usually fiction we choose.

Being lucky enough to have older siblings and parents who loved books, I was one of those strange kids who started reading before I hit kindergarten. Growing up, I found as many friends in the pages of novels as I did among my neighbors and schoolmates. So, of course I am now a total fiction addict who goes into withdrawals if I get stuck waiting in a dentist’s office without a book or my e-reader.

I used to worry that this was escapism or at the very least, guilty pleasure. But those of you who share my obsession can relax. According to a couple recent studies, reading fiction not only helps you develop better social skills, but it can make you superior at interacting in business situations. (So, go ahead and load up your kindle with a vengeance!)


So, yeah, I think readers are special. And I think the act of a reader and author sharing a fictional world that is created solely out of words is a magical thing. After all, you’re living through situations together that are often more intimate and dramatic than those you’ve shared with people in your day-to-day life. (Am I sounding schizophrenic? Well, maybe all writers need to have a fluid sense of reality.)

I will be starting a series of READER2AUTHOR interviews on the RG2E blog as well as here.  They’re interviews that focus on the reader. Each author chooses one of their readers to participate with them and asks them questions. The reader also gets to question the author. And I get to question both of them. 🙂

In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment telling me about your reading addictions, er, I mean habits.

Happy Valentine’s Day

To celebrate Valentine’s Day I was planning to begin my Meet Cute series of posts, but because the universe threw me a difficult curveball recently, I instead have a Valentine Mash-up courtesy of some amazingly talented blogging friends.

I’ll start with my very favorite from the super fab writer and super fit founder of #Writersbutt Ginger Calem, who’s got a great vid of romantic movie couples.

Colin Falconer offers a historical perspective to Valentine’s Day.

Kristen Lamb, beloved social media mentor to us all, wrote a poem for those who fly single on the day that celebrates couples.

Debra Kristi’s Immortal Monday had a fun post this week with Karen Rought talking about Love Goddess Aphrodite.

Susie Lindau takes us back to those awkward first experiences of romance.

The ebullient Natalie Hartford offers a warm &fuzzy — and intelligent — take on couplehood.

And I added this vid because for me, well, romance always means a dance . . .

P.S. Our randomly selected winners from the Romancing the Valentine blog hop are – Pam for KISS ME, DANCER and Mary for APHRODISIAC  🙂

Beauty of a Woman Blogfest

In celebration of upcoming Valentine’s Day we are participating in August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest.

People love to philosophize about how inner beauty is all that counts, but let’s get real. Studies have shown that good looking people get more jobs, higher tips, better service and of course more social invitations. Plus we live in a society that worships celebrities and forces us to look at their beautiful faces everywhere we go. Who can even buy a quart of milk without seeing the latest on Angelina and Brad?

And who wants to be completely immune to it? Physical attraction is definitely one of the fun things in life. No wonder people envy those who are beautiful.

Especially when girls growing up as ugly ducklings can face such awful times in high school that they never quite get over it.

That was our underlying theme in APHRODISIAC, a rom-com mystery featuring a female sleuth who is short, round, and never outgrew the horrendous nickname of “munchkin.” Her best friend throughout childhood was a skinny geek dubbed “scarecrow.” The geek grows up to be an archaeobotanist and recreates an ancient perfume that can give her all the allure and attraction she missed out on.

Point being, beneath the crime-comedy adventure, the heroine, like the rest of us, has to decide what beauty is worth. And to realize that the narrow parameters of our society’s definition of beauty are arbitrary ideas that have nothing to do with what it really is.

Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and qualities. It is a changeable, mysterious, and perhaps even a mystical thing that we each have to discover for ourselves. It’s not easy to do with all the messages hammering at us from the outside world. But if we persist, we might just be able to shut them out long enough to hear the quiet voice of wisdom telling us that beauty isn’t about faces or figures or clothes, but about heart.

Stop by August’s blog Friday to read all the amazing posts on this subject—and for a chance to win prizes.

We’re also one of the stops on the Romancing The Valentine Blog Hop. So be sure to check out our Meet Cute post for info on giveaways for that.