Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Today's Special - - Cathy Maxwell


It's always cause for celebration around here when Cathy Maxwell comes to visit.  This New York Times Bestselling author is not only one of my auto-buy authors but also one of my favorite people.  Her joy and positive energy is infectious and comes through not only in person but in her writing as well. Today, Cathy is celebrating the release of her newest book, The Bride Says No which is also the first book in her new The Brides of Wishmore series. 

Cathy spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, "Why do people fall in love?" It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. She lives in beautiful Virginia with her children, horses, dogs, and cats.

To learn more about Cathy and her books, check out her social media:

Website:  cathymaxwell.com




Cathy is also blogging today at the USA Today Happily Ever After Blog.  If you get the chance, stop by and say hello!  http://tinyurl.com/lzr649n


Happiness
by Cathy Maxwell

            Can reading a romance novel make you happy?

            Okay, this isn’t quiz. I know it can. 

            Books of all sorts have been instruments of change in my life.  I remember reading my first self-help book when I was fourteen. It was a Dell paperback, had been written by a female fashion photographer who loved to travel, and opened the world to me.

            For a long time, I was not a fiction reader.  My imagination was too active and since a good portion of the books I felt I must read had “real” endings where life is dismal, I wasn’t a fan.  My mother was an avid romance reader—but who wants to read what your mother likes?

            And then I got lost. 

            When my first child was born, I gave up my career, happily, I should add.  It was a good decision.  But I spent some years trying to find myself.  Then I had a second child, and discovered the baby blues.  Lost woman and depression--not a good combination.

            A mother with a herd of kids would come into my local library for story hour each week.  She had a spring to her step and a vitality I lacked, and she always brought in a grocery bag of books.  She’d check them all in, have the librarian refill the bag while she toddled around with her kids, and then she would leave—and come back the next week ready for more.

            Her bag was full of romance novels, the books Mother read.  I made some lame comment to the librarian and his reply to me was, “You should read one.  You might like it.”

            I don’t know why I followed his advice, but I’m glad I did. I loved the book.

            In fact, when I finished that book, I went back to the library with my own grocery bag. I’d start the day with a pile of books and have them finished by the time my husband came home from work.

            He’d look around the house and see what was undone.  He’d grow nervous.  However, the kids were still alive.

            Slowly but surely, the depression dogging me evaporated and I got back to the business of loving my life.
            I wish I could pinpoint exactly what it was in romances that pulled me out of an abyss.  Was it the sure fire happy ending? Or the idea of a commitment that can take on all challenges and last a lifetime?

            Maybe it was because I was reading her story and it was on an equal footing with his story?  Or that two people can admire and trust each other even when they want different things?

            And, yes, of course, love is the answer.

            Those books carried me then, and still do now, through days packed with chores and routine.  They taught me that love is both a verb and a noun and encompasses everything I value.

            Today, I and every romance writer I know, receives letters from readers who confide that reading one of our books helped them pass lonely hours or kept them company while they went through chemo or long hospital stays or provided some special insight that helped them understand their purpose. Our books are straight forward and easy to read but they also contain a wealth of nuances and a complex understanding of what is important in life, even when we are writing with humor or about shape shifters. (Maybe, especially when we are writing about those guys.)

            So let’s dish.  My “The Brides of Wishmore” series deals with women coming to terms with the decisions they’ve made and stepping out into their lives in search of what makes them happy.   There, that was my promo moment.

            My question to you is, what makes you happy?  And has a book ever helped you though a difficult patch of life? Or given you the impetus you needed to choose a new direction?

Cathy is giving away one copy of The Bride Says No to a randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on today's post. The winner will have a choice of either a print copy or e-book.  This giveaway is open to anyone living in a country to which bookdepository.com delivers (print copy).  




What happens when a bride says no? 

He is the bastard son of a duke, arrogant, handsome, a little bit dangerous, and, of course, one of the most sought-after bachelors in London. He is also about to be publically jilted by some chit of a girl! Blake Stephens' pride isn't about to let him be humiliated, so he charges after his bride to the wilds of Scotland, determined to bring her to the altar. What happens when the heart says yes? He is promised to one woman, but discovers his soul stirred by . . . the chit's sister! 

Lady Aileen Davidson's reputation was ruined ages ago, which is why she's buried herself in the country, but her fiery spirit and bold beauty threaten to bring Blake to his knees, making him wonder if he has proposed to the wrong lass. And now he must make a choice: marry for honor . . . or marry for love? 



75 comments:

  1. I especially turned to books when I was taking my mom for all her doctors' appointments (before her eventual death in 1995). The books helped me keep what little bit of sanity I seemed to have intact. To be able to forget your worries, for even a few moments in time, can be so replenishing for the soul.

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    1. I know what you mean, Laney. While romance novels bring me pleasure during happy times they have also been my salvation during the dark days that life sometimes hands us.

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  2. Congratulations to Cathy on her new book and series. It looks like a good one. It is so true that I have read romances for years and they have cheered me up through so many things.

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    1. I agree, Maureen! I love knowing that I can pick up a novel that will surround me with hope and a happy ending.

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  3. I know what you mean, Laney4. Books always help me slip away when I have challenges and heavy responsibilities. It I can read, even for a half hour, I feel energized. There have been times when I thought I really should be "worrying" but I was better for the break.

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  4. My kitties and my books make me happy. Looks great and can't wait to read it. I have almost all of your books

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    1. Last night I was curled up with a warm blanket, my dog and a good romance novel. Happy times, indeed! :)

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  5. Little things make me happy:

    a hug or kiss from my 2 yo granddaughter
    a call from one of my 4 children
    a video chat with all 4 of my children
    a visit with my sister
    reading a good book
    a fire in the fireplace
    exercising

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    1. Laurie, I'm going to take a guess that you'll probably be the only person here today who says exercising makes her happy! lol!

      I love your list and, it's true, it really is the little things that can make us happiest.

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    2. I like exercising! Me! My hand is up.

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  6. Welcome, Cathy! Morning, All! I'm on my way out the door to run a few errands but I'll be back to play later this morning!

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  7. Aloha, Cathy and THE ROMANCE DISH! I was very happy in Hawaii ... but I am also happy here in Maryland. The reason - I have learned to smell the roses and read romance books!

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    1. Kim, I'm happy that you're finding happiness in Baltimore. I know how hard it was for you to leave Hawaii. Isn't it wonderful that our happy stories can travel with us wherever we go?

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  8. Cathy, I really liked your post. It is evident that you find joy in reading and writing, and I enjoy the humor you put in your stories. I can't wait to read TBSN!

    Spending time with my husband, daughter, and my family makes me happy. Spending time with my parents makes me happy and sad because my dad has Alzheimers and he grows steadily worse. He was sad yesterday because he told my mother that he knows he should remember who she is, and she just gently tells him that she is his wife and it's okay. (58 years of marriage for them). I am going to visit them this weekend to make me happy and to help make my dad happy.

    Thank you for visiting TRD today.

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    1. (((Deb))) I walked that Alzheimer's path with my step-mom. My thoughts and prayers go with you and your family as you navigate the ups and downs of this illness.

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  9. Love the simple things in life. Faith,Family & Good Book! Work as a CNA & after stressful night love to unwind & get lost in a good book! Love your books so much!

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  10. Congrats!

    My 2 daughters make me happy. .. not all the time of course since they aren't saints....but they make me smile even on bad days.

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  11. Yes, family opens our hearts. Even during the painful times like what Deb is experiencing. I heard Dan Buettner speak on the Happiness Project he is a part of last Saturday night. He is a National Geographic reporter who covered stories on the places in the world where people live the longest. for his next gig, he started searching out where people are happiest and they are places were people feel a sense of community and have loved ones. He said it is very important for our children to be near us. Mine are strung out all across the US. I would move to be closer to one of them but I fear they'd stick me in a chicken coop in the backyard and I would not be happy! (Just joking. They would let me inside . . . I think.)

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  12. BTW, I had some fun with some of writing friends in today's Happily Ever After column at USA Today. "The Love Lives of Romance Authors" Turns out we aren't a for show romantic lot http://www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter/2014/01/27/cathy-maxwell-the-bride-says-yes-romantic-proposals/4953555/

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    1. Ugh. That is an ugly url. Sorry!

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    2. Here's a shorter URL for Cathy's blog at the USA Today Happily Ever After blog. http://tinyurl.com/lzr649n

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    3. Thanks for cleaning me up, PJ. I'm a computer ninny.

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  13. My kitties, my books and my family all make me happy. I'm a huge reader and book reviewer which I consider to be my "reward" for working so hard until I could retire. I could easily be a Crazy Cat Lady and absolutely adore cats. They're all so precious. Knowing my family and my friends are safe, happy and well rounds out my contentment with my life.

    I'm looking forward to reading "The Bride Says No," Cathy. It sounds like a great story and the cover simply makes me smile. Congratulations on the new release!

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  14. Cathy, I loved The Bride Says No, and I'm excited to have an eARC of The Bride Says Maybe in my TBR queue.

    The things that make me happy are too many to list, so I'll go with the things that make me happiest: time with family--especially with the grands; chats with friends, real and virtual; reading--or rereading--a good book; talking about books I love with other readers who love them too; and listening to music that touches my heart, stirs my imagination, and/or strums the "resonant chords of remembering." I would include writing, but I'd have to qualify it because writing sometimes makes me crazy.

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    1. ". . . Writing sometimes makes me crazy."

      Amen, sister!

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  15. A romance book is a cheap form of stress relief.

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  16. LOVE this blog! Will be finding this book.

    Things that make me happy. Books, definitely; and art. Writing makes me happy, except when it doesn't *LOL* so I expanded this "necessary" to be art/creating in general. So whether I'm writing or painting or quilting or costuming or mosaicing or gardening, I'm putting myself into something and making something better, which makes me happy. Friends and family make me happy; cooking makes me happy (except when I'm too stressed to enjoy it or too busy)--but when I cook and enjoy it, I love it. So happy. Things in which I can put myself into and be accepted without judgment and that increases my well being in some way--those are the things that make me happy--friends, family, art, cooking, meditation...so I suppose "passion" makes me happy. Indulging my passions in a non-expectation way.

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    1. I like the way you phrased "Thing in which I can put myself into and be accepted without judgment and that increases my well being in some way." So true. I hate donating time or energy and finding myself in a negative situation. Hate it. (And I'm glad you loved the blog. It is always wise to please someone named "MsHellion!) :-)

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  17. Books have been my lifeline since I was a child. Home life wasn't so great and books were my entertainment and my lifeline. I read for all kinds of reasons but my love of reading has never changed. I never go a day without reading (especially before going to sleep). Historicals are my favorite - maybe because they are the most different from today's world but I'll read almost any genre and loved mixed ones too. I found your books through Kim from SOSaloha :)

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    1. Good point, cats lady. Historicals give us a nice veneer to watch the games men and women play. Sometimes the contemporaries can be too close to life.

      Glad Kim snagged you!

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  18. Yes books have been there when I needed them. It takes me away from my problems for a while! I love the cover of your book, its so pretty! I would love to read it.

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    1. Avon always does an amazing job with the covers. This one and the cover for THE BRIDE SAYS MAYBE are two of my favorite of my books.

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  19. I never would have believed that men too could enjoy romance novels until I started reading and editing my wife's stories. The range of emotions romance authors are able to elicit from printed words truly amazes me. I'm a guy, I'm not supposed to get teary eyed from reading a book. I'm so happy, Cathy, that you found your true calling and I look forward to reading your Brides of Wishmore series.

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    1. Welcome to the dark side! Nope, said it wrong. Welcome to the FUN side HaggisBaron! "Where men and women take joy in each other." I like that slogan. Anyone else like that slogan for romance novels?????

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    2. I like it too. Isn't that what life is all about :)

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    3. Where men and women take joy in each other." I like that slogan. Anyone else like that slogan for romance novels????

      Perfect! ♥

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    4. Hi, HaggisBaron! As Cathy said, welcome to the fun side! Hope you'll stop by to visit with us again.

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  20. As others have noted, books can be a great stress reliever. When things are particularly difficult, a good books means a few hours to escape from life's worries.

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    1. I think that's why I enjoy historical romance so much. I can lose myself in a world different from my own and leave worries behind for a few hours.

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  21. Books have often helped me decompress from a stressful day - I'd much rather go to sleep thinking about a romance story than the trials & tribulations that keep popping up in real life!

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    1. During my corporate years, I had a 45 - 60 minute bus ride to and from work. I loved spending that ride home in the evening reading romance. By the time I arrived home I had left the work stress behind and was ready to greet my family with a smile.

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  22. Thanks for the chance to win your book. What makes me most happy is peace and quiet and my books.

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  23. Cathy, I am so looking forward to reading:The Bride says No.

    I didn't read my first romance novel until the summer after my first year of law school. My husband and I were on our way to the Rockies to camp. It had been a particularly brutal summer for us and we were, in effect, escaping to the mountains. We stopped at a gas station on the way out of town and I, as usual, stopped at the book turn-style. I'd read all the male spy thrillers, all the mysteries and as many of the self-helps as I could take. I took a chance and bought my first romance novel. I read that bad-boy all the way through. When we got stuck in a sand storm in Omaha and couldn't even pitch our tent for the night, I read by flashlight in the back of the truck. I've been hooked on romance ever since. Love, laughter, light and getting through the seemingly insurmountable makes the journey worth while. That's why I read romance. It makes my life that much better. Wonderful article!

    What makes me happy…family, travel, community, all things Scottish, reading, great food and doing good work.

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    1. Love, laughter, light and getting through the seemingly insurmountable makes the journey worth while. That's why I read romance.

      Well said, Morganne!

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  24. I have already purchased this latest book of yours, Cathy, so I'm not entering for the draw. But I wanted to tell you that I LOVED your promo moment and the words you gave to us today. Yes, reading romances has given me many, many moments of peace, joy and entertainment. It is what I do during the quiet moments I have to myself at the end of the day. And I've also recalled words and phrases from those same books that have stuck with me and that I pull out at random when I need them in times of stress or sadness. They help me be "gutsy" and tough when I need to be, and they allow me to weep when I need to do that too. Thanks so much for your post!!! jdh2690@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Janice and for sharing your thoughts. I love this: "They help me be "gutsy" and tough when I need to be, and they allow me to weep when I need to do that too."

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    2. Thank you, Janice! I hope you love the book as well. :-)

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  25. I agree with everyone who mentioned your wonderful cover, Cathy. I started smiling as soon as I saw it!

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    1. I think the cover for these two books are absolutely some of the best I've ever seen. The Avon Art Dept out did themselves. I'm fortunate to be working with them.

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  26. I use romance novels to lift my mood all of the time. If I am having trouble sleeping, I reach for book by an author that writes easy,happy romance, or even a book I have read before that gave me good memories. This invariably gets my mind off what my problems are & helps me sleep.

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  27. What makes me happy, is having just enough to not have to worry and plenty of books to read. Books have always helped me when I have difficulties, they're my escape for the worries of the day. I haven't really become inspired by a particular book, but I've read enough inspiring stories to give me ideas at times. :D

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  28. Sharlene and Barbara--you are right. Books are "mood lifters."

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  29. Cuddling with my dog while reading makes me happy :) I've always loved to read ever since I was a little girl. It gave me a release that I've always relished and gives me an escape from the doldrums of real life. When I was a teenager I had leukemia and reading gave me an escape from the chemo and long hospitalizations. Even now as a healthy adult, I love reading, now more romance b/c it restores my faith in all the good that is possible in life. And it's a much need break that I cherish. Thanks so much for such a great post. This articulated a great reason why so many of us read. Congrats to Cathy on her new release as well!!! :)

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  30. I think more than anything else, romances are a good distraction. The historicals, especially, have on most occasions, been educational. I am a history buff and find some authors give an interesting perspective and good information on times, places, people, and events. All the sub-genre have their own appeal. The kids driving me nuts: take off for the land of the fae or shifters. (Some days it doesn't seem like much of a change.) Life boring: grab a good romantic suspense or thriller. Heart pounding action, danger, suspense, and you are back in time to fix dinner, none the worse for the adventure. The rat race getting to you: take a trip into one of the many small town romances where the pace of life is slower even if life can be complicated.

    These side trips make me happy. There are times, even in the best of families, where we just want to get away from it all. Reading romance is an easy way to do that without upsetting the family or your life (except the house may not be as clean as it could be). Few of us can take a break to go to an expensive spa, but we can all buy a romance or check one out from the library. The escape of reading someone else's rocky road through life & love and eventual HEA helps us regain our balance. It gives us time to heal, sort things out, and for a few minutes forget there is a sink full of dirty dishes, clothes to be washed, kids to pick up, and a house to clean.
    As long as we don't live entirely in the fiction of the romance books and forget the real world and our responsibilities, it is a good way to relax, escape, enjoy, and stay happy.

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  31. Congrats on your new book, Cathy! I love reading romances--they make me happy when I'm having a bad day. Sometimes I just need an escape from all the stress and responsibilities of home and work. While listening to music and watching movies also provides avenues of escape, I find that relaxing with a romance just hits a good spot. I love following the hero and heroine's journey to their HEA and it just makes me feel good to read! And I can't wait to read Blake and Aileen's story!! :-)

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  32. Congrats on the new book/series, Cathy! I can't wait to read it and the cover is gorgeous!

    I had some major surgery in 2012 and was on a really loud floor in the hospital for a week. It was almost impossible for me to sleep at night. Thank goodness I had my e-reader. It got me through many sleepless and painful moments while I was there and also served as a great conversation starter with all the new staff members I met. I'm not that outgoing in real life, but I'll always talk about a good book. ;)

    Marcy Shuler

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  33. Congratulations on your new series, Cathy!! I'm so excited that it's out, can't wait to read it!

    Besides books, I love collecting hockey cards/memorabilia. Sports are a huge passion of mine, hockey in particular, so ever since I was a kid and got my first set of cards, I've been collecting when I can. Opening a new pack is like starting a new book by one of my favorite authors, so much pleasure in it!

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    1. Ada, I was raised in Kansas so hockey is a foreign sport to me. I was charmed by the idea of your card collecting. I wonder if they have cards for horse lovers????

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    2. Hi Cathy, after being in many card shops, I'm convinced that they make cards for just about everything so I would not be surprised to find sets for horse lovers! :)

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  34. I can't wait to start this new Bride series Cathy. Love your books. Congrats on this new release.A gorgeous Kilted Highlander makes me very happy. :) But until I find one I have to say nothing makes me happy and pulls all my attention better then a good Historical read. When my daughter was 8 and diagnosed with Bone Cancer it was those books that kept me sane whenever she slept. I was so involved in the characters story it took my mind off of my own worries.
    Thanks for being here today and the opportunity to win a print copy of The Bride Says No.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  35. I'm looking forward to catching up with THE BRIDE SAYS NO.

    So much makes me happy these days. Life seems to be humming along beautifully.

    Books and reading have been my solace many times over the years.

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  36. Currently using romance novels to deal with my mom's health issues. She's constantly going to the hospital & even though I promised not to worry... I do. Been reading A LOT, sometimes it's not going smoothly. Other times like last night I give up sleep to finish the book :) Who was it again that said sleep is good but books are better? So true, absolutely loved The Marriage Ring Cathy & The Bride Says No sounds awesome too!!!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words about THE MARRIAGE RING, Jo, and big hugs over your mother. I lost my father last Fall after years of health issues. Reading helped me find balance. Like the saying. Wonder if Sharlene should make a card for it? :-)

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    2. Sorry to hear about your father Cathy, sending you a virtual hug!!

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  37. All, I heard a talk the other day about what makes people happy. The speaker, Dan Buettner, said that Philanthropy triggers the same stimulus in us as sugar or crack cocaine (crazy to think those are linked together!) Anyway, I wonder if the satisfaction of enjoying a great read does the same thing? Just musing . . .

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  38. Hi Cathy!

    While I adore my friends nothing makes me happier then the love I receive from my husband, sons and their families.

    My husband in particular is my rock and foundation. He somehow always knows when to push to get me to discover new things but also to pull me close and when sometimes a hug is all I need. He has sat by my side and comforted me thru good times and bad from cancer and heart surgery to the birth of each of our grandchildren.

    Some may say a good man is hard to find but sometimes you have to see beneath the exterior and you'll find the person inside is warm and loving. While others often think he's gruff inside there is a big teddy bear who loved watching and helping his children grow and nurtured them to go out into life and help others as well as treasuring their own families with love and devotion.

    What makes me happy is my family!

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  39. My kids make me happy and there have been times when books have been escape from reality especially when I was younger and my father was abusive towards my mother and use to hit on us alot

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

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  40. Hi, Cathy! Being alive and well makes me happy. Romance books have gotten me through a lot of difficult times in my life -- hospital says and staying with my mom and husband as they were dying. They gave me something else to think about.

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  41. Like so many other people, I use books to escape. And, what better place to escape that into a Historical Romance!!

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  42. My husband and my grandchildren make me happy. My romances helped a lot in the early years of my marriage, when I was a stay-at-home mom with a husband who worked long hours.
    jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

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  43. Cathy is amazing and I love her books. Never been to a Burns night.

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