I Love Trouble!

Trouble In The Making

I’ve always had a passion for romance novels. Historical, contemporary, paranormal. It wasn’t until the discovery of ereaders that I was introduced to what would quickly become my new favorite….erotic romance. One of my first favorite authors was this wonderful writer named Lissa Matthews! She had a way with words and strong, interesting characters with a love of spanking (receiving and giving). I was an instant fan. Then she wrote Trouble In The Making and made me feel like I was reading a book about one of my closest friends and one of my biggest fantasies.


Why am I telling you all this? Because it’s like Lissa crawled into my brain and dug out my fantasy man and put him on paper. But did she write me into the story? If only.

Imagine, this, if you will. You’re painfully shy. A writer and a teacher, but attention is not something that sits well on your shoulders. It takes a lot for you to trust someone to loosen up and gain your trust. You’re willing and able to go after what you want careerwise, but always seem to find yourself tongue tied in your personal life. Until one night, hanging out with your old friend (you know, the rock star), your fantasy just slips out.

One weekend of wild, uninhibited, unadulterated sex with a rock star. And not just any rock star. A rock star named Johnny Trouble who has been there, done that…and also happens to be that old friend. (Johnny Trouble? Perfect rock star name, Lissa.)

Here’s the truth about the painfully shy, unassuming type. Shy does not equal no imagination, no dreams and no fantasies. In fact, quite the opposite is true. In fact, many of my writer friends are living proof of this fact! So when I read Liz and Johnny’s story, I found myself nodding and thinking…”you go, girl!” Why shouldn’t the shy girl have her fantasy weekend with the guy?

Unfortunately, only hours into their “fantasy weekend” business calls…. Johnny’s songwriting skills are needed….across the country. It’s important for a musician at the end of his performing career to build the future he really wants for himself. He’s got to go.

But is Johnny Trouble going to leave Liz hanging? Is he going to take a raincheck? Or does he want more from Liz than just a weekend? What does Liz want?

I know the answers, but I’m not going to tell. Instead, I’m going to tell you that you need to buy Trouble In The Making and find out for yourself!

A Splash Of Summer Tunes

Summer songs have always drawn me. There’s a freedom and playfulness about it, much like splashing in a cool lake with friends. Also really awesome is how the music has such a broad range…from the laid back summer breezes to the boy-meets-girl summer romances to the reminiscing about the past…to simple joyrides.

So, as summer is beginning to wind to a close (sad, but true) I thought I’d share 5 of my favorite songs of celebration.

Is there anything cooler than the combination of Ella and Louis? Really. Not much… Listen to the way they play with each other through their voices and Louis’ trumpet. You don’t find that kind of musical interaction these days. Doesn’t it make you nostalgic for warm nights, a cool breeze and a song that is all sultry heat, yet soothing as a lullaby?

What about that first summer crush? Trying to impress… The rush, the excitement… Knowing you’ll never forget the memories you’re building. Yeah, there’s something bittersweet about that kind of nostalgia, but it never fails to bring a smile to your face. Brad Paisley is great with songs like that for me. His music warms my soul.

For those of us who aren’t spring chickens anymore…who doesn’t think of Henley and Bryan Adams. Boys Of Summer was good, but nothing did it for me quite like this one. Running around with friends. Thinking we were cool. Yeah, thinking back on the 80’s and early ’90’s can still make me smile.

And what about those coming of age moments? That last summer before college can be both fun and traumatic. Or the summer before your senior year…when you realize your life truly is moving toward adulthood….It’s energizing, but it’s also a little scary. Throw in your first “romance”…..makes for some great summer snapshots in your mind. For me, that’s what Deana Carter’s managed to capture.

Did you ever go somewhere else for the summer and find romance? Maybe it was camp. Maybe it was somewhere exotic. Did you think it would last forever? Was it really the person or the place that drew you? This playful Simple Plan song makes me smile and my body move…yup! This ditty has me dancing.

So what about you? What are your favorite summer songs? Favorite summer memories? Would love to hear about why they’re meaningful to you.


The Danger of “Never”

Never Say Never?

Never Say Never?

I know, Bieber and Connery together is enough to make a person start to twitch, right? Believe me, that was my first reaction, too, when I google imaged the words “Never Say Never”. I mean, it’s not like the boy invented the words, right? They’ve been around longer than I’ve been born, and I was born many, many moons ago.

Then I started thinking…. Maybe the comparison was actually perfect for what I wanted to talk about today. Although the tabloids show “the boy who needs his hair combed” in a not so flattering light these days, he’s young. Immature. And he’s probably the perfect example of when, in youthful naiveté, we said “I’d NEVER do that…”

Those "Doh" Moments...

Those “Doh” Moments…

Everyone’s familiar with the everyday moments… But in the spirit of Youth v. Experience, why not make this a bit more interesting? Let me elaborate….

Think back. Remember back in the day when you were fairly innocent to the inner workings of sexuality and all you had to go on was whatever your parents or friends told you about sex, maybe a dirty magazine or two…and your imagination? Maybe you’d already caught sight of your first porn video and it left more questions than answer, but you knew it was pretty hot?

Hubby tells a story about how his older, wiser 8th grade brother (they’re 3 years apart) found his dad’s Debbie Does Dallas video. (Little sidebar—this is not the reason I became a Dallas Cowboys fan. The coincidence is strictly incidental.) His older brother, wily as he was, realized early that the best way to keep from getting caught when involved in hijinks was to make sure little brother was also knee deep into whatever mischief he’d created. So what happened this time? Big brothers and his buddies decided to have a viewing party. Included in this little party were hubby and one friend of his choosing.

As with most porn material, ejaculation was a big outward show, causing this conversation to occur:

Hubby’s Friend:Ewww! He’s peeing on her!

Hubby: Uh. Dude, that’s not pee.

Hubby’s Friend: Gross. What IS it, then?

Hubby: Shhhh! I’ll explain it to you later.

Yes, big brother and his friends were laughing. Yes, the poor friend was pretty darned shocked when the details were explained to him. Yes, this can also serve as a warning for WHY you want to talk sex with your children early and often. If you don’t, someone else will…and you may not like how it happens.

Why did I bring this up? Because, open book/wild child that I am now, I wasn’t always that way and I doubt you were, either. I definitely had some “I’ll Never Do That…” moments revolving around sex in my younger years.

Prime example?

I’ll Never…give a guy a blowjob. Yeah, yeah…. go ahead and laugh. But seriously, back in the day, I still remember talking to a guy friend of mine and saying “No way, No how, Not EVER!!!!” Why?

“Eww! They pee out of that thing!”

“It’s unsanitary!”

I know what you’re thinking… Since when has sex ever been sanitary, right? My whole thought process about blowjobs have gone well past the way of my naïve notions and headed straight down 007’s way — which is to say, I’m “down with it–both literally and figuratively. There’s a power and exhilaration in being able to draw such visceral responses from a lover. A few pointers to remember when giving head:

  • Relax– If you’re tense, you’re more likely to trigger your gag reflex
  • Breathe through your nose — Trick learned at the orthodontist’s office making my teeth molds. Breathe through the mouth=gagging and tears. Breathe through nose=no triggers.
  • If you’re still having trouble, there are creams that can numb the parts of your mouth with the gag spots
  • Some find that exhilaration can make for better oral. Be spontaneous! For me, this equates to road head. LOL!

Funny little tidbit….I didn’t really have any qualms about a guy going down on me. If he was willing to do so, more power to him…and I loved every moment. LOL! Obviously I fell off my high horse….but I don’t regret it!

Okay, so in this matter, it wasn't love, but you get the gist

Okay, so in this matter, it wasn’t love, but you get the gist

I’ll Never… have anal sex. Ever. That was another shiny little tidbit from my youth that found me eating my words. My reasons? Very similar to the ones used regarding oral sex. Heck, it’s the poop hole! Of course they still applied! It didn’t even sound the slightest bit interesting. In fact, part of me wondered…”if someone shoves something up there, does it come out brown?” Hey, don’t laugh. It was an honest question.

I’ll even tell you my first foray into the whole experience wasn’t very fun! I mean, back then it wasn’t like people actually talked much about the “how to’s” of sex. Not nearly as candidly as many of us will today. Plus, that sort of thing simply DID. NOT. HAPPEN. in the romance novels I read. So it “couldn’t possibly” be a thing that anyone but gay men and porn stars did, right? WRONG!

I still remember a conversation I had with a gal pal of mine on the subject back in the day.

My Friend: So the boyfriend’s been begging to try anal with him.

Me: What did you say?

My Friend: I told him I’d only let him do it to me if he’d let me do it to him first.

Me: (laughing) So what happened?

My Friend: We’re going shopping for a strap-on this weekend.

Knowing what I do now about prostate orgasms, this may not have exactly been a hardship for him if she did it correctly. Of course, back then, I didn’t ask… The truth is, though I’d heard many of my gal pals threaten the same thing, she was the first one I knew who actually followed through. Most of the time the conversation was simply dropped.

After my first, not so auspicious, foray into back door play, it took me a while to be willing to try again. Still, it got me thinking…and doing more research. Unfortunately, erotic romances were still not readily available (or very good) during that time, but at least there was the internet. Also, pleasure parties were all the rage and the sales women were quite knowledgeable. And yes, I’ve backed down (ha!) from the I’ll Neverpoint of view.

Anal sex can definitely be quite pleasurable for women…but we, like men, need to be prepared. Those of you who have read some of the fabulous erotic romances out there know that there are several universal truths:

  • Make sure you have good, quality lube. Yes, there are some made specifically for anal sex (and some even have a numbing agent).
  • Build up to it! Start with smaller anal plugs and work your way up to the bigger sizes.
  • Have a candid conversation about it in advance so you’re both on the same page about “prep” (The last thing you want is someone who will just slide it in there with no prep or warning!)
  • Guys- don’t pull the “Oops, it slipped into the wrong hole” stunt. First, you wouldn’t like it if it was done to you. Second, it destroys trust. Third, I’ve been told it hurts like an SOB!
  • Breathe! And don’t force anything in…take your time!

There are more steps, but these will put you on the right path. Have you figured out why the two Never Say Never’s work well together now? Because one is the naive, “I’ll Never…” where we inevitably find ourselves backing down because the “I’ll Never…” was based on lack of knowledge, understanding and fear. The second? Well, you know the Mae West saying:


If after you’ve actually tried it, and you’re a bit more “seasoned”, you STILL decide to say “I’ll Never..” Well then, dagnabbit, you’ve earned the right. The one lesson I’ve got from all of this? “I’ll Never…” pretty much guarantees it’s going to happen.

What about you? What things were you absolutely positive that you’d never, ever try (preferably sexually speaking) that found you eating crow? C’mon…I’ve shared my awkward moments and tips with you…I’d love for you to share some of your own with me!

That Awkward Moment When…

That awkward moment when

Come on, be honest…. We’ve all had one or two or zillions of those awkward moments. That’s kind of what makes them so funny…well, to the rest of the world, at least. For us, it may take a few days/weeks to recover (or sometimes never) before we find the humor in those awkward moments. So, you guessed it…I’m going to share a couple.

That Awkward Moment When…..

When you think you may have double booked your lunch date and you realize the person you’ve been talking to isn’t the same person you thought you’d be meeting. Okay, so maybe this moment was a little more awkward for my fantastic friend, Renee Schuls-Jacobson, but she’s got a way of spinning things like this into hilarity. Don’t believe me? Check out her So Wrong section of her blog. It’s dedicated to these kinds of moments!

The only time I’d ever been double booked had been by a cheating ex-boyfriend back in high school (he double booked me and 3 other girls for the same night). I broke up with him and it never happened again…until yesterday.

So here’s what happened. Renee and I had been chit chatting back and forth between our blogs, email, Twitter and Facebook. She’d recently bought a summer place down in my neck of the woods and we’d discussed meeting up. A couple of days ago we messaged each other about finally meeting face to face (Yup! You’ve got it. Up until yesterday we’d never actually met in person). Anyway, we talked on the phone and decided to meet at a restaurant in her part of town. Having arrived early, I texted her to let her know I was going to look around in the store next door. Heck, I’m a sucker for Kirkland’s and they had a big sale going on! She had arrived early, too. She sent me a message telling me she’d meet me in there, so I responded with the color of my shirt–just in case she didn’t recognize me from the few pictures I’ve put up online.

Renee walks in, gives me a warm hug and we do a little browsing, then head to the sporting goods store next door. Suddenly she stops dead in her tracks and shushes me.

“Hang on for a second while I figure this out,” she says, fiddling with her phone, flustered. Under her breath she keeps muttering something about “how did this happen?” and “crap!” and a similar things.

Concerned, I ask her what’s going on. She finally tells me she thinks she might have double booked me and a new neighbor friend she’d been talking to at the same time, but she wasn’t sure. The problem? She had talked to both me and this new neighbor friend of hers at around the same time…and didn’t save our names in her phone, so she had thought she was talking to the neighbor lady when she’d been talking to me. Icing on the cake, she thought she might have told one of us that she wasn’t going to be able to meet with one of us based on a prior engagement, but wasn’t sure who…or if she’d imagined that conversation. Even better, when she assigned my name to my number she inadvertently deleted this other woman’s number and how to contact her.

The whole thing was a hilarious cluster fuck. Was I offended? No. I was too busy laughing. She had vacation brain! Plus, once she realized that it was me she talked to both times, she started breathing again and we had a riot of a day. There are some people you meet for the first time and it’s a bit strained for a while…. This was NOT the case with us. Of course, we had the mother of all icebreakers with the little snafu beginning, but I think it would’ve been that way regardless. In fact, our introduction was as fun to me as my first meeting with my BFF, Amadiex. Her little brother was throwing rocks and sticks at me- I put him in a full Nelson to make him stop, and a lifetime friendship was born!

I’m sure, as this is only from what I know of this story, Renee probably has a slightly different view on what happened. But it’s not fair for her to be left out to dry alone, so here’s one about me….

That Awkward Moment When…

You find yourself on your knees in front of a Dom and his submissive…at work. You guys are well familiar with my playful streak. You may have even figured out that my tastes can be somewhat less than “vanilla”. As if that’s not enough, I’m a bit of a control freak…and I understand the connotations to kneeling for a Dom. To say I was a bit disconcerted is putting it mildly!

Imagine this scenario. There I am, a manager in retail, wearing a skirt and heels. I’m working a double and it’s nearing the end of the evening. My employees are all with customers when a guy walks in with his lady. They get checked in and sit down on a nearby bench sofa. Because there is a wait, I decide to walk over and try to triage this tech support related issue. The young lady is pretty soft spoken, so I lean down to hear what she’s trying to say. Because my feet are aching and I’m in a skirt, I decide to kneel in front of them. Afterall, I’m not trying to stick my butt out for the whole world to see and it gives me a chance to take some pressure off my abused feet.

I ask her for her phone, and as I hold out my hand I happen to look up. She is wearing a hemp necklace (something other folks may refer to as a “collar”). This particular necklace had a circular silver colored pendant woven in. The thing was engraved….”Property of…” I’m sure if the disc were flipped over, I would’ve found the gentleman’s name.

I won’t lie. My first reaction was to blink a couple of times before looking back up. Nope. It was not just my imagination. My second reaction? “Oh, HELL no!” Fortunately that one was only in my head. I took a deep, calming breath and let it out. I was working. As long as the guy didn’t try to approach me or make a comment assuming my kneeling meant more than it actually did, we’d be good. Honestly? I’m not sure at all how I would’ve responded if he’d misconstrued my kneeling as a sign of my submission to him.

Thankfully, that awkward was only in my mind…. Ah, how different situations can be read through the eyes of someone with a granule of knowledge. LOL!

C’mon. Admit it… One or both of these situations made you either laugh or shake your head. I’m pretty sure you have a few “Awkward Moments” of misunderstanding you could share with us…. In fact, I’d love for you guys to tell me some of yours so Renee and I won’t have to be embarrassed alone!

Guess it could’ve been worse…. At least an awkward moment like the one in this Alan Jackson video!

Sexy Younger Guys–Cougartime!

“Older men are great playmates and younger men are great playthings.”

Once upon a time, before I got married, several of my gal pals used to jokingly call me Demi Moore. Why? Certainly not because we looked alike. The truth is, it was uncanny. If we were out somewhere and there was a hot guy or three between the ages of 18-25, they seemed to gravitate my way. It used to leave me shaking my head and laughing. I won’t lie…it was flattering being asked to judge an impromptu “Hottest Ass” competition when I was over 30. Those guys are lucky I always used my superpowers for the forces of good. 😉

Many of you have already figured out by the above quote (which, incidentally, may be a Kitt original, but I can’t recall with any certainty) that I’m an equal opportunity man lover. In fact, it’s because I love men of all ages that I felt men under 25 deserved equal time. Afterall, I’ve already done a Sexy Older Men post a while back.

These guys are my top 5 faves in no particular order….

Zac Efron (age 25) – There’s something about dark hair and blue eyes that has always done it for me. Add musical talent and I’m weak in the knees. Did I mention he also has tattoos? Yummy! Though I was tempted to include a clip of him singing (High School Musical or Hairspray), I decided on something else.

Then there’s Taylor Lautner (21 years old). With him, I practically feel like I’ve watched him grow up. I’ve even watched his Sharkboy movie. It wasn’t until I saw him all wolfie in the Twilight series that my eyes were opened. Truthfully, though…I enjoy him in action movies. He was completely droolworthy in Abduction. With him, there’s a sense of confidence that I find really appealing…not to mention I don’t really get the egomaniac vibe from him.

Third is one of my Glee guys, Jacob Artist, the 20 year old who plays the younger Puckerman brother (the older one is over 25). Not only can he sing…He can move that body in ways that has me thinking sinful thoughts. He’s got the whole soulful thing down to a science. The below is probably one of my all time favorite vocal music performances by him.

Then there’s Tyler Hoechlin (age 25). The first time I saw him was on 7th Heaven. Little Ruthie had a huge crush. Since then he’s been mostly in movies, but he’s currently back on tv in Teen Wolf. He definitely does well with the darker, animalistic tendencies. There’s something very magnetic about his appeal.

Finally, Alex Pettyfer, 23. Yeah, there are women who will recognize him from Magic Mike, but I actually preferred his moves in I Am Number Four. He’s got a vulnerability to him that blends well with his natural sex appeal.

What stars 25 and under do you find to be attractive and why?

Congratulations to the WINNERS!


Thank you to everyone who participated in the Hot Summer Romance Giveaway Hop! It was a blast to have so many new names stop by and comment on my blog. I’d also like to send a special shout out to Malia Mallory for inviting me to participate.

My winners were Heather A and Booklady. Their congratulation emails and prizes have been sent off! Hope you enjoy your new book!

Wishing For A Highlander

Since it was all about love and summertime…I figured I’d post a song about winning and love. Who’s better than Shania Twain for that?

Hot Summer Romance Giveaway Blog Hop!


Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be participating in the Hot Summer Romance Giveaway Blog Hop sponsored by Insatiable Reads book tour! It’s all about romance, Romance and more ROMANCE! Did I mention Romance? Oh, and books!

What has me even more thrilled are the prizes you guys can win just for commenting.  I know, I know… You’re wondering what that might be, right? There are two Grand Prizes for the Hop!What can you win? How about this? #1 is a Kindle Fire. #2 is a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate.

But they’re not the only one handing out prizes. So am I and the rest of the participants! What am I giving away? My most recent favorite Highlander ebook, that’s what! I know I’m not the only person with a weakness for men in kilts, so I’ve decided that I’ll be giving away an e-copy of the awesome Jessi Gage’s novel, Wishing For A Highlander. The best part? Since it’s an ebook, everyone (including people not in the US) are welcome to enter!

Wishing For A Highlander

What do you have to do to enter? It’s simple. As you guys know, I have a passion for romance novels (especially erotic ones) and music. Since the blog hop is romance themed, here’s what you’ll need to do to be entered. Tell me about your favorite romance novel or most romantic song and don’t forget to leave an email address.

All winners will be selected randomly! Click the button below to check out the other participants and their prizes!!!

Good luck!

A Little Variety

How can people eat at the same place All. The. Time????

As a whole, human beings are creatures of habit. I know this… Yet I had a mini-meltdown last Friday at the idea of eating at the same place…AGAIN. Hubby and I have a couple of friends that we meet with most Friday evenings for dinner. Back when I was working in a traditional job, I worked non-traditional hours, so I was often working on Friday nights. Fine. Perfect! Hubby would meet up with this other couple and enjoy dinner.

Now that I’m not working in a retail environment, I’m free every Friday evening. Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy getting out. But eating at the same restaurant every. single. time? I couldn’t take it anymore! Seriously.  First, it’s a wing place… Yeah, there are a few other things on the menu, but it’s basic American cuisine of salads and burgers and wings. Blah!

This last weekend, I chose to stay home and relax rather than go out to eat because the thought of going there again drove me bat shit crazy. It wasn’t like I hadn’t voiced my thoughts on the whole thing. In fact, I’d definitely voiced my opinions the week prior to the other couple. Some people can eat the same stuff over and over…. I’m not one of them.

Come to think of it, I think that trait may lend itself to the rest of my life as well. I wonder if I can blame my mom for this… after all, she’s the one who told me when I was younger that I should date as many boys as possible while I was young so that when the “right one” came along, I’d recognize him. Then there was the fact that we moved a lot…Yeah, it’s a hazard of being a military brat…that case of wanderlust that appears from time to time.

Well, I took my mom’s advice… I dated. A lot. And during my teen years, I messed around…a lot, though, oddly enough…I didn’t lose my virginity till I was 20 by choice. Why? Because I just didn’t feel emotionally mature enough to make that call…or deal with the consequences (and I damned sure knew that there was a possibility of all sorts of consequences).

The other reason I waited? I didn’t want regrets. Too many of my friends lost their virginity early simply because they wanted to be cool or because they allowed their boyfriends to pressure them…only to wish they hadn’t done it later. My thought was, I don’t necessarily want to marry the guy I lose my virginity to, but I do want to love him so I won’t be sorry I chose him. It worked for me. No regrets.

However, I also knew I’d want to know what was out there…so I experimented with “everything but”. It was quite the learning period. I had a lot of fun. Truthfully, I think I was 17 when I first experimented with bondage in the form of thumb cuffs…on my 6’1″ boyfriend. I’m 5’3″. It was a ton of fun for both of us. It was also during my teen years that I realized that I had an exhibitionistic streak.

As for the control thing… Well, it’s always sort of been there (some of you are probably thinking to the above cuffs comment and thinking…duh!). Most people who’ve known me well know that I’m not someone who likes to be out of control. It’s why I’ve never tried drugs. It’s also why the only two times I’ve been mildly drunk has been in a gay bar with my best friend where the likelihood of me being a target was not very likely at all.

The things I’ve learned? Variety truly can be the spice of life…for certain people. For others, it instills fear. What about you? Can you eat the same thing over and over again or are you like me? Does it drive you crazy?

While I’m at it…many of you know I’m a huge Gleek…so I’d like to just say…Rest In Peace Cory Monteith. Another talented soul, gone way too young.



Taken In in my back yard yesterday

Silver winged chariots
The distant rumble
Announce their ascent
On endless span of crystal blue.
A blink of the eye
And they disappear
Yards of white
Draped in casual decor,
A delicate wisp,
Like smoke,
Thick and rich and sweet,
Like cotton candy
From a fair,
Calling to mind
A childhood,
Long past.
They sway
And glide
On gentle breeze,
Changing partners.
A dance,
Guided by the winds,
To create
Something new,
moving pictures;
As I lay back,
Pillow my head
Over crossed arms,
Search for shapes and images,
And dream.


Wispy clouds from back yard yesterday

Summer is the perfect time to be still and daydream…. When was the last time you laid back and explored your sky? What did you see? Are you a cloud watcher? Do you see shapes? Does it inspire you?

Characters From Our Youth and Lessons Learned

I’ve always been two things: an extrovert and a bookworm. I don’t think one came before the other, but rather grew simultaneously. Before I was able to read on my own, my mom spent a lot of time reading to me. It was the benefit of being both a military bride and stay-at-home mom.

According to my mom, I started reading on my own when I was 3, but before that she would read me Bible stories and a set of books called Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories. I used to love these little stories about children like me. Through those stories I learned the importance of kindness and sharing and doing nice things for others while expecting nothing in return. These stories showed me that my good and bad days were under my own control.

It was also during this time that I found my first favorite heroine. Who was it? A young girl from my Bible stories named Hadassah, who later became known as Queen Esther. Not only was she beautiful, kind and loyal, she caught the eye of a king and won his favor….putting her in the right place to save her uncle who raised her as well as the entire Jewish race. She was, even from my young view, bold, brave and a bit heroic. And so began my love of strong female characters.

As I got a little older I read books like Heidi , but found them to be nothing but interesting reads…until at about 7 or 8, I discovered Little Women. When I met Jo, it was love at first sight. She was a bit of a rebel and outspoken…and (in my opinion) a bit of a tomboy. Yup, I completely related. Maybe that’s also why Jo from The Facts Of Life.

Of course, along the way there was The Wizard Of Oz series, A Wrinkle In Time and Encyclopedia Brown. The first two encouraged me to open my mind to fantasy and other worlds while the second one had me looking for clues everywhere. Of course, he was also my gateway to The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew (I preferred the Hardys, by the way).

Then I discovered Ponyboy Curtis. I was in 4th grade when I read The Outsiders. That poetic soul who wanted to be the loyal friend and brother while dreaming of being a writer/poet. It touched my soul in a way few books have….and opened me to the idea that books and poetry could touch a heart and change a life. It also showed me that there is a hero in all of us if given the proper inspiration. Sometimes, what appears to be a lost cause can simply be a case of being mistreated and misunderstood. I saw a bit of that in Dally… Ponyboy changed the way Johnny viewed the world…and Johnny changed Dally for the better. It also reflected how different people handle loss. Losing Johnny destroyed Dally, but strengthened Ponyboy’s resolve to be the writer he was meant to be.

Not all my lessons were so solemn. I think it was 5th grade when I discovered Kit Montgomery and The Witch Of Blackbird Pond. This is probably what I’d call my first “romance”, but it was so much more than that. Kit was a young lady who sold everything she owned after her grandfather died and travelled from her home in Barbados to stay with the rest of her family in Salem, Massachusetts during the Salem witch trials. Kit spoke to me…the way she stood up for what was right, even when it meant the disapproval of the only family she had left…and the potential accusation that she was a witch. Who would have thought that knowing how to swim and read (and teaching a young girl how to read), not to mention an old, widowed Quaker woman could be grounds for that kind of accusation. It was a lesson in bigotry and the importance of tolerance and love and kindness. It was another example of how people fear what they don’t know or understand…and how family can surprise you in a good way if you let them.

Probably the last character from my younger days was Eleanor of Aquitaine. I think I was in 7th grade when I ran out of books to read in our school library, but we were required to check something out. Shoved in a tiny corner was a book I hadn’t remembered seeing before. Maybe it was the unusual title…or maybe it was that the bordering along the cover reminded me of stained glass, but I checked it out.


The book was called A Proud Taste Of Scarlet And Miniver. It was a historical fiction based on the life of one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages…a time when women weren’t really known to have power. She was the wife of not just one king, but two…and her second husband was 9 years younger than her. Her first husband, Louis VII of France, married her because she was land and money rich, while he only had his crown. When it didn’t work out, the Pope allowed their divorce (where she got to keep all her lands/monies thanks to a progressive thinking father) because she hadn’t given him sons. Henry II of England (the younger man) married her next.

Though she’s not the most famous of women, she had always been my favorite female historical character. She was smart, cunning, with a bit of a temper…and she is actually known as the Grandmother of Europe based on the matches she made for her children across the world. Heck, you know you’re pretty badass when Katharine Hepburn played you on the silver screen. What movie? The Lion In Winter. It’s about the time when she finds out her husband cheated on her and nearly lost his kingdom…because her sons went to war against him on her behalf. Yeah, one of them was the infamous Richard The Lionheart. Yup, I’m sure you guys can see why such a strong minded powerful woman would be someone I’d relate so strongly to.

So now you know a little bit about my influences in my youth. What were your influences? Were they book characters? Movies? Athletes? Maybe even musical…? What historical character most impacted you? Why?