Here are 13 random things from my world that begin with the letter “R”, in no particular order:
1) Romance: For the past 24 years, I have divided my time between writing mystery and writing romance novels. I prefer to write stories that are focused on the emotional journey of romance rather than the physical. I mean, sure, the physical is a big part of it, and without the physical you’re writing about other kinds of relationships, but to me, love is emotional. I’m fascinated by what takes two people from strangers to the point where they decide to have a physical relationship. Of course, that used to require a journey in our society. Now, not so much. But that’s still the kind of story I like to read and write.
2) Reams of paper: When I first started writing, way back in the day, I typed everything on an electric typewriter with two sheets of paper and a sheet of carbon paper between them. Being a writer really took commitment in those days! Now, most authors use some form of electronic device to write, and I’m no exception. I do everything–almost–on a la[top. Haven’t graduated to a tablet yet. Even though I use my laptop, I still like to print out y finished book and read it in hard copy before submitting it to an editor or publishing it independently. That means I go through a lot of paper in the course of a year.
3) Rimrocks: I grew up in Billings, Montana where there’s a large bluff on (I think) the north end of town. That bluff is called the Rimrocks, and I have very clear memories of taking family drives along there when I was a girl. Apparently, some of my memories are not so clear. For years, I was convinced my dad would drive us off the rocks and down into town. I was an adult before I said something about that to my mom, who gasped in shock and told me that had never happened. The best I can figure, Dad used to say it looked like you could just drive down into town from there, and my kid’s brain created a memory in which he actually did.
4) Rain: Out west, I loved the rain. Rain always meant cooler temperatures in the summer and the air smelled clean and fresh during a rainstorm. When I was about 11 and afraid of lightning, my dad sat with me in front of my parents’ bedroom window and helped me lose my fear. My dad was the best at helping people face their fears and get past them. Out west, I never minded walking in the rain; in fact, I enjoyed it. But rain in Florida is a different species. Rain here comes in a deluge. Rain doesn’t mean cooler temperatures, it means more humidity–lots more humidity, and not just humidity pressing down on you from above. Rain means a second layer of humidity rising up at you from the ground, which I find miserable! Rain doesn’t make the air smell like ozone here. It smells dank and musty and humid. I miss the rain in the west, although I must admit that last time I was back home for a visit and the city got 2″ of rain in a day and everybody was freaking out about it, an the news did stories on it for days, I found it all quite amusing. You think that was rain??
5) Ranch Dressing: Yeah, I’m a western girl at heart. I like my ranch dressing. I don’t use it on everything, but if I have a salad, I usually have ranch dressing on it. Not always. Usually. My favorite brand to buy in the store is Wishbone. There was a brand I used to buy back in Utah that I believe was a local brand that was delicious. You could find it in the produce section of your local market. It’s not available here, so Wishbone it is.
6) Red: For many years, red was my favorite color. I loved wearing red. I had lots of dark hair and just the right complexion to pull it off, too. A friend once told me that when I appeared on the Today show, which I surely would since I would be such a famous author and all (LOL!) I should wear a red jacket. Then I got a little older and my hair got a little blonder, and red didn’t do it for me like it once did. In fact, I don’t think I have a single red item in my closet these days. But I miss it.
7) Road Trips: I love’em. By car is my preferred mode of travel. It’s private. You can go at your own pace, stop when you need to or want to. Eat what, when a and where you want. And you get to see things along the way. Of course, it’s not always practical to drive, but when I can, I do.
8) Reading: At this point, probably my only hobby. It’s been a lifelong joy, though. During the darkest times, books were always there. I would share what I’m reading now, but I can’t. I’m reading books for a contest, and talking about them is frowned upon.
9) Romance Writers of America: also known as RWA. I’ve been a member since 1992, with one short lapse in membership back in the last 90s. I spent four years serving on the board of directors and one year as president of the organization, and though I’m not really involved these days, I’m still a member and probably always will be.
10) Rita This word has a couple of meanings in my life. First, Rita Lucero was the protagonist in the Piece of Cake mystery series I wrote under the pseudonym Jacklyn Brady. I had a lot of fun hanging out with Rita and her friends. The second application is that I would dearly love t win a RITA award for one of my romance novels some day.
11) Roses: All my life until 2009, I had roses in my yard. My dad always planted a rose garden wherever he lived, and when I got married, my then-husband made sure I had roses in our yard. In 2009, ( moved to Florida, and I haven’t seen a rose in person since except when I went back to Utah to visit. I’d expected Florida to be bloom-central, filled with flowers, overflowing with buds and blooms. It must be too hot here for that to be true. I rarely see flowers blooming in a yard here–and by rarely, I mean maybe once a year. Maybe it’s too hot. Maybe it’s the salt air. Whatever it is, I miss flowers in general and roses in particular.
12) Raisins: I can’t eat many of them now that I have diabetes. The concentrated sugar in dried fruit is a big no-no. But raisins in the south were a pleasant surprise. I know I moan about the things I miss from back home, but there are some good things about living in a more humid climate, and raisins are one of them. Who knew they could actually be plump and juicy?
13) Raoul: When I was expecting my second child, people often asked me what I was going to name the baby. I hated being asked that question; first, because I had no idea whether I was having a boy or a girl, and second, because I have always thought it was a bit presumptuous to pick out a name for someone you haven’t even seen yet. My sister was going to be Ramona until she was born with a head of reddish hair. I was going to be Cynthia until my parents got a look at me. Sandra didn’t look like a Ramona and apparently I didn’t look like Cynthia — so when kid #2 was on the way and people asked what I was going to name him/her, I just told them Raoul. As time went on, I added more names so that her “intended” name became quite long and ridiculous. Even after 30 years, I can still rattle the whole thing off without taking a breath. I did it just the other day when Kid #2 called me from the restroom at work and put me on speaker so I could share her name with a co-worker.
And there you have it. 13 things from my world that begin with “R.” Somehow, that was even harder than “Q.”