What I Like About Us

blogXbearHappy Valentine’s Day to those who observe, as the saying goes. This is the time of year that libraries invite romance authors to speak to reader groups, and I had that privilege at the Howard County library in Ellicott City, MD, recently. When I give my library talks, I start off with a list of ways that we benefit from reading. Even a quick google search will generate something like the following… 

Reading delays the onset of Alzheimers and dementia.

Reading improves memory. 

Reading stabilizes mood. blogXpinkXheart

Reading reduces stress and the production of the stress hormone cortisol. 

Reading improves the quality of sleep. 

Reading strengthens analytical skills. 

Reading improves focus and attention. 

Reading (especially fiction) improves empathy and tolerance. 

And here, you thought you were merely entertaining yourself for a few hours. If you tried to find prescription medication that did all of the above, it would probably cost a bundle and have some peculiarblogXrose side effects.

One of the surprises in store for me when I became a published author was how LOVELY my readers are. Yes, there are a few folks who delight in playing Get the Author, or firing off snarky one-star reviews in all directions, but the overwhelming, vast, staggering majority of readers are delightful folks.  

Lawyers are not like readers, competitive equestrians are not like readers, musicians are not like readers (in my experience). This might be why every librarian I’ve met has been lovely–because they spend their days with readers, or trying to help people become readers. virtuoso_244w

Then there’s writing, especially “expressive writing.” The benefits of writing include… faster healing of wounds, lower blood pressure, resolution of trauma, better sleep, better memory, higher liver function (yep), and better immune function. 

When I sat down to write my first novel, I never in a zillion years dreamed I was embarking on something that would be good for me, or would result in a product that’s good for you. What a delight, to realize a little bit of the happily ever after isn’t just for the characters, it’s for us too–author and readers, together. 

If that’s not a Valentine’s Day sentiment, I don’t know what is. 

What do you do that’s both fun and good for you? Fun and benefits others? What would you LIKE to do that’s fun and beneficial? 

To one commenter, I’ll send a copy of The Virtuoso, ’cause, Valentine, ya know. 

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17 comments on “What I Like About Us

  1. I am so glad one of your books was a freebie at last year’s RWA convention, because it got me started on your entire list! Thank you for your gifts of humor, compassion, historical accuracy, not to mention your complex characters and sterling writing. I came late to your fan base, but I’m on board now.

  2. What is fun and good for me? Well, I read a lot. I knew it is fun, but I never thought about how good it was for me – but I’m not surprised.

    When I was young I read a lot. During my middle years – not so much. Too busy with other things. But now that I am retired and have health issues, there is not much else that I can do that gives me as much pleasure.

    I wish I was still able to stroll through book stores and libraries at my leisure. Can’t do that any more, but I am grateful I live in a time that I can browse and shop on line.

    • Aren’t we all? I’ve already one-clicked today, on “A Raisin in the Sun,” which is currently the top selling play script on Amazon. Don’t know how many gazillion gallons of gas and hours I’ve saved by letting my mouse do the walking and driving.

      My mom’s reading was a lifelong habit, but like you, it became a significant comfort to her in last years (though with my books, she told me she skipped Certain Parts).


  3. I have always loved to read. I was sick a lot as a child and reading kept me occupied and happy.
    I train and show my corgis which benefits me because I get excercise and learn something new. My dogs are much better behaved and socialized.
    Would like to train one of my corgis to be a therapy or reading dog and volunteer in that capacity.
    I have never asked you– What was the first book you wrote?

    • It’s a toss up. Gareth was my first historical, but for my master’s program in conflict, I wrote a manuscript about two lawyers. One loved the American legal system and saw it as one of civilization’s great milestones, the other had been caught up in that system personally, and never wanted to see the inside of a courtroom.

      That one kinda sorta turned into Hannah and Trent’s story in A Single Kiss, but in a barely recognizable form.

  4. I read (see above), I sing (helps with all over health because of the controlled, conscious breathing)and I walk (keeps my weight down) in my subdivision. I enjoy gardening and cooking, mostly healthy but I do take out the stops occasionally. And I enjoy talking about music and working with other music organizations in my community!

      • I read – a lot! Love well-researched historical fiction, historical romance, SF, fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy. I also needlepoint, which I find very relaxing and fulfilling. If I am not stitching in a group, I am listening to an audio book. Please keep writing your wonderful books!

  5. { read a lot now that I have a Kindle. No heading out to a library – adding to my Grace Burrowes collection with one click I love it. I also teach a Sr. group of 11 in Paper Arts (we make cards fancy boxes etc) its all for free and we are in year #12. We have a lot of fun and leave ailments at home. Being creative is so helpful to well being.

  6. Hmmm… well I love to read, I know you are not surprised by that. I am currently reading Jilting the Duke by: Rachael Miles. She is new author, she is quite good. I am listening to Angela’s Ashes on my phone. I am listening to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in my car. I rode my stationary bicycle on Saturday and started watching season 10 of “Bones”, I love that show. My husband and I saw “The Spy” last night staring Melissa McCarthy. I thought it was very funny.

  7. I knit. Sometimes while reading. Knitting also delays alzheimers, improves your fine and gross motor skills, improves your brain processing skills and gives you and your loved ones warm clothes. (No need to put me in for the book… I already own it 🙂

  8. I read a LOT! Just finished Will’s story this morning, now all I have to do is wait for your next book to come out. I found Jilting the Duke by Rachael Miles at Wal-Mart last week and I’m enjoying it now, can’t wait for the hero to be, figuratively, knocked on his backside. Lol. I also walk a lot and right now I’m waiting for the next two weeks to pass since my second grandson is arriving on the 29th.

  9. Surprise I read a whole bunch. 😉 I also enjoy spending time with my husband and pets. Hubby and I just got back from a long weekend getaway for birthday, anniversary, and Valentines. We didn’t do anything on a schedule except dinner reservations. We just wandered around antique stores and enjoyed being with each other.

  10. Grace, it was a delight to host you at the Miller Branch! Everyone really enjoyed hearing of your experience as a writer. You were so gracious in your responses to all of our questions. It was fascinating that it was 50/50 writing/your books.

    As I said Saturday I hope you kicked off an annual event.