What I’ve Learned From Fiction

I was watching a romantic comedy yesterday in which the heroine announced she was a pluviophile. A what? Good thing the movie was recorded. My husband and I ran it back, listened a few times and finally caught the word. Then I looked it up. As it turns out, a pluviophile is someone who loves the rain. Those folks get the same euphoric boost from rainy weather that others do from sunny days.

It made we wonder what else I’ve learned from fiction. Aside from historical fiction that sent me to the library or, in this century, to the Internet to learn about such staples of Georgian life as reticules and Corinthians, what other elements of trivia had I picked up by osmosis as I read romance?

Well…I now can identify monkey puzzle trees (from “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”) and have a keener appreciation of beach glass thanks to Claire Cook’s novel “Life’s a Beach.” Recently, reading Cora Seton’s “The Navy Seal’s E-Mail Order Bride,” I learned that cattle, while counted by head (as in “Zane has 40 head of cattle”) are also counted by pair, as in “I need to buy 6 pair — cows and calves — to rebuild the herd.” Growing up in ranching country, you would have thought I’d have known that!

My life is richer for these bits of information. Sometimes they’re even worth a few points in Scrabble.

Moral of the story: People learn from the darnedest things. Sometimes it’s just a snippet of fresh knowledge. Sometimes it’s a lot.

My soon to be released novel Home to Glenhoolie, is an example. Laird Glenhoolie is developing a wind farm. Naturally, details from real wind farms are woven into the story. Did you know it takes 1,000 tons of concrete to form the base of a large wind turbine? Or that the industrial scale blades have been thrown a few feet short of a mile when they came apart during operation? That’s not the focus of the story, but it’s part of the world the characters inhabit so it’s good to get the facts straight.

Think about it. As writers, you can entertain and inform, imparting snippets of knowledge that enrich readers’ lives in small, but countless ways. As readers, what tidbits have you found that make your life more interesting?

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Get Ready for the Capital Indie Book Con

Authors from all over western Washington and Oregon are convening at Evergreen State College for the Capital Indie Book Con in Olympia Washington July 16.

This is a great time for readers to come, meet favorite authors and get acquainted with some new ones, too, at this free readers conference. Authors writing in pretty much every genre will be there, from romance to sci-fi, westerns to fantasy.

I’ll be there with the Olympia chapters of Romance Writers of America and will have copies of three of my books available for sale: “Perspective,” “Giant Tales Beyond the Mystic Door” and “Giant Tales From the Misty Swamp.”

I look forward to seeing you there!

Details:
FREE

Capital Indie Book Con
July 16, 2016, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Evergreen State College
2700 Evergreen Pkwy NW, Olympia, Washington

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For Weddings, Beautiful Can Also Be Practical

June is wedding month. But all that romDSC04212ance comes with a hefty price tag. According to The Knot’s Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $32,641. That’s nearly half the average down payment on a house ($72,590), according to RealtyTrac. The average guest list include 139 people. (That’s just over $234 per guest.) Europeans, if you’re wondering, spend an average of $5,494 on weddings. I’ll bet theirs are just as nice.

Least you think I’m against romance, I’m not. The gorgeous dress, the horse and carriage, the spectacular cake and everything else is wonderful.

I’m just a fan of practicality, even as a romance writer. I’ve witnessed beautiful weddings that weren’t enormously expensive. For instance, the wedding at the park, just as dawn was breaking. The wedding and reception on a paddle wheeler in the bay. Flowers from the farmer’s market, placed in Mason jars tied with ribbons. The antique fire truck, owned by a friend, rather than a limousine.

As a romance writer, I encourage my couples to use what they have to create a beautiful wedding, but more importantly, a beautiful life together. To me, that means starting out with minimal debt. So, have your horse and carriage, if you or friends have a ranch. Have your beautiful dress (the best sales on wedding dresses are in December – or find a seamstress to make one just for you). Whatever you choose – for yourself or your characters – give it meaning, and get the marriage off on the right foot!

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