3 Things I wished I’d learned much earlier in life

Huh, so I have to keep this to three things? Jeez, there’s like a boat-load of stuff I wish I’d known sooner. For instance, when you reach 30 you still don’t know shit. I really thought that when I reached 30 I would just know things. Like what I wanted in life and where I was heading. Yeah, that so wasn’t the case.

Okay so the first of the big top three is money management. I was a child of the 70s  and parents didn’t think about stuff like that. I had no clue how to handle money. I wasn’t the kid who said “just write a check” when Mom said there was no money, but I didn’t do a good job. I wasn’t a saver and didn’t know how to be. I’m paying for it now, but lessons learned painfully are lessons that stick.

The next thing is self-care is so damn important. The reason we hear about it so much is that it didn’t happen before. Hello, 70s. We didn’t even have seatbelts. Forget about putting yourself first and focusing on what you need. Hell no. That wasn’t a thing. I’ve come to realize over my Year of Self-Care that first, I’m horrible at it and next it’s not something I can do for a year. It needs to be a concerted effort on my part all the time. It’s taken me forever to realize this, but hey, better late than never.

Finally, and this is kind of funny, but nonfiction books are awesome. I never read them. I thought they were boring. Then I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Devil in the White City and I was hooked. Now, I probably read nonfiction more than I read anything else. Mary Roach really sealed the deal. I think it was her book Spook that made me realize that nonfiction doesn’t have to be dry or boring. Her stuff is so funny, while still educating.

Now run over and check out the 3 things Bronwyn picked.


Best lesson I’ve learned . . .



This week our topic is the best lesson we’ve learned from a work of fiction. Truthfully, the very first book that popped into my head was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. My lesson: don’t be all sweet and self-sacrificing because you’ll die early, just like Beth. You laugh, but I remember reading this book at maybe 9 or so and I just didn’t like Beth. She was just too goody-goody for me. Then, like that, she died. So, yeah, no being good for me.

That was only reinforced with The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The main girl, Mary, was a total brat and I loved her. First, she didn’t die. Then, she got to go live in a huge house, make friends, and hang out in a secret garden. Bam! Being a brat totally paid off for her. To this day, TSG is still my favorite book of all time.

Another book was Jane Eyre. Lesson: don’t fall for some brooding man who lives in a crumbling house because he’ll have a mad wife locked in the attic. So, yeah that one saved me from heartache and the possibility of dying tragically.

Truly, the real lesson is don’t believe everything someone tells you. Rochester totally lied to her about his wife. Jerk. Oh then he had the nerve to ask her to run away with him and pretend to be his wife. Assface. In the end, he’s blind and sad and she goes back to him. Uhhh, no. Once a liar always a liar.


In the midst of reading the classics I was also reading romance novels. Romance novels written in the 70s. Yeah if you don’t know what special little snowflakes these books were, you so have to check them out. Young virgin heroine, much older “hero” who treats her horrible and often rapes her then proclaims in the end that he’d always loved her. Bleck!!  From reading these books, I learned my most valuable lesson and it was:

I can write better than this!

Yep, that was it. Even at 12 I realized I could write way better than what I was reading. In fact, as I read, I was rewriting the book in my head to the way it should have been. Strong, older heroines. Alpha males who loved and cherished their partners. Action and adventure they took on as a team.

Now go visit Bronwyn and see what big lesson(s) she learned.

January 2019 Top 10

top 10

This month we are counting down our top 10 children’s books. This is going to be hard for me since I’ve read so many. Between being an elementary school teacher and then holding the title of kids’ lead at B&N my list is endless. I will attempt to give you my top favorites, though these are in no particular order, except the first one.



My very favorite children’s book is: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I know I’ve talked about this book before,  but I can’t say enough good things about it. If you’ve never read it I say go and read it right now. I probably have, at least, 6 or 7 different copies as well as an ebook. I can now read it any time I need a pick-me-up



2 is Nancy Drew. I know it’s not a single book, but I love the series. I started reading them when I was probably eight and they remain a favorite.


3 is Skippy Jon Jones. If you’ve never read it you’re missing out. When I was teaching, this was the book my kids wanted me to read to them. I think I read it like thirty times and, not only to my students, but to other classes too.


4 is Harriet the Spy. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read this book. I loved the idea of her having a “secret” notebook she kept all her observations in. I had a notebook too, but I made up stories. Sort of the same thing.

5 is the Little House books. I didn’t watch the TV show. I didn’t like it, but I loved the books. My favorite was These Happy Golden Years since it was the one where Laura and Almanzo fell in love. *sigh*



6 is the book Auntie Claus, which I purchased when I was teaching. It’s all about children who discover their aunt is Santa’s sister.







7 is Tuesday. This book is so clever and so imaginative. And it has no words, just pictures to tell the story. If you’ve never seen it I highly suggest you check it out.




8 is a Wrinkle in Time. I’ve read this whole series over and over and it never gets old. I also shared it with my students every year I taught.

9 is, of course, Harry Potter. Of course, I was an adult when the first one was published, but I was going into teaching so asked for The Sorcerer’s Stone for Christmas. My sister had never head of it, since the book has come out a few months before, but got it for me anyway.



10 is The Borrowers. If you’ve never heard of the book it’s by an English author and was pubbed in the early 50s. I found the first one in my very tiny school library and instantly fell in love. The novel is all about a family of tiny people who live in the walls of a “human” house. So much fun.




Jessica     Bronwyn     Kris     Siobhan

Best & Worst: Sex Scenes

Best & Worst

Sex Scenes. The bane of my existence. I think actually sitting down to write one was what stopped me from finishing a book to begin with. I knew what I wanted to have happen, but finding the words to describe it  . . . yeah, that was the issue.

You have to understand, I started reading romance during the seventies where the prose were incredibly purple, the heroine was always stupid and a virgin and the “hero” was older (very much older) and the “love” scene very much resembled a rape. Ahhhhh, the good old days. NOT!!

So, to say that I have tons of examples of the worst of sex scenes is to put it mildly. Bless my mama, she had no clue to the content of what I was reading. I think I read my first “romance” novel at 11. In fact, I had just turned 11. The first book I read was called Savage Eden and then I followed it up with The Passionate Savage. Now I look back, they were not good, but from these books I decided that I could do better. So, something came from it. Now saying all that:

Worst Sex Scenes

There are a few things that make sex scenes bad, for me. First, if there’s no real context. For instance, they meet and ten pages later they’re going at it and declaring their love. Ummm, no, sex DOES NOT equal love. Next, if the sex scenes uses phrases such as “dell of love” or “sword of love” . . . NOPE! Also, if the couple is tossed up to pinnacles or sucked into vortexes  another NOPE! Another nope is no real connection between the couple. Like they’re having sex and it could be with anyone. Finally, the worst is when an author uses BDSM, but knows nothing about it or the lifestyle. For Goddess sake, do some damn research.

Best Sex Scenes

I love sex scenes that are fun and funny. For instance, Shelly Laurenston is awesome at making the scenes intense as well as hilarious. The best scenes add to the story. Sex Scenes, done well, make a reader understand why the couple is together or, why they should be together. They also allow the hero/heroine, and the reader,  to see vulnerability, usually in the male, when no one else does. The best scenes are also hot, hot, hot!


I think Nalini Singh does it really well. I especially love her scenes between Dimitri and Honor in Archangel’s Blade. Woweee!! And then there’s one of my new favorite books Rewritten by the amazing Bronwyn Green. Wowzer!! Angus is so fucking hot. The sex scenes between him and Eliza are amazing. Beyond that though, you can feel how connected these two people are.

And, there you have it. My takes on what makes the best and the worst sex scenes. Now go and check out what Jessica and Bronwyn have to say on the subject.



Best and Worst: POV

Best & Worst

Today in our best and worst were talking about POV, or for the uninitiated, Point of View. There’s so many opinions about this one subject it’s crazy. If you go out onto the world of the Interwebz you’ll see people a ton of differing opinions on how this should be handled. Here’s just a few images I found on the subject:




Yeah, I could keep going since there’s so many, but I will not give you my fabulous opinion on the whole thing.

Okay, so head hopping. They’re right, head hopping can kill your novel, UNLESS you’re Nora Roberts/JD Robb. She has the skill and subtle touch to carry it off. She is the master at it. No one else, though.

Anyone else who tries to head hop always screws it up and makes a mess. I’m sure this opinion won’t be popular, but I love Nora Roberts. I love how she puts words together to make these awesomely descriptive sentences. So, I suppose that’s the Worst of POV.

Now, the best of POV. My very favorite to read is 3rd Person Omniscient. What’s that, you ask. It’s what pretty much every single book is written in now.  Normally, you have two people you follow around and see the stories through their eyes. You might have more, if the book is really long, but two or three is the best. Anymore than that, and the story gets confusing and the possibility of head hopping occurs.

First person is also popular, especially with Cozy Mysteries. I like this POV for cozies, but, once again, if it isn’t done well, first person doesn’t work. I especially don’t think it normally works for romance. Not unless the author is really good and can balance the internal stuff with action. Truthfully, I think one of the best first person POV romance I’ve read though are by one of my besties Jessica Jarman.  Her series called Albion’s Circle is amazing. I highly recommend them.

Now go and check out what my fellow bloggers think the best and worst of POV are.


Bronwyn     Kris