Do You Speed Read?

Some people devour books, racing through them in record time and finishing two, three, four, or more in a single week.

Others read slowly, taking days or weeks to make their way through a single story.

I’ve never considered myself a fast reader. Not that reading is a race, but I can’t blast through a book the way our daughter can. Like some of the reviewers I’ve interviewed, she can polish off a 300-page story in a few hours.

I recently began reading while walking, thanks to a tip left by Katie Ganshert in a comment on my post Your Reading Time. I’d never tried combining the two before that, but it works for me, since I walk on a dedicated hiking trail where I encounter only other walkers, joggers, cyclists, and the rare equestrian. This rails-to-trails path is paved and has well-marked lanes, so I’m able to walk along one edge using my peripheral vision.

I’ve learned that I can read about fifteen pages in the time it takes me to walk a mile. Since I can walk a mile in around sixteen minutes, that means I’m reading roughly one page per minute. When I complete the round trip on my favorite section of the trail, I log six miles and savor ninety pages of a novel.

I seem to read more quickly when I walk. My theory is that my steady pace down the path seems to keep me turning pages at a brisk rate. While I’m not normally a fan of multitasking, this is one time when doing two things at once works well for me.

My reading speed might be faster than some and slower than others. Comparison isn’t important. I’m interested in increasing my reading speed for my sake. I have limited time and oodles of great books I want to read.

• • •

Are you a speedy reader, or do you consider yourself to be a slow one?

Have you discovered ways to increase your reading speed?

Have you ever walked and read at the same time?

Image from Dreamstime.
Posted in Reading | Tagged , | 49 Comments

Friday Fun Victorian Style

I recently made a list of some of my favorite shows set in Victorian times.

So that this post wouldn’t be too long, I forced myself to narrow my list down to three. That was not an easy task, let me tell you, but I made my choices. And here they are. . .

Clark Davis is one of the nicest heroes ever. I love Dale Midkiff’s portrayal of him.

I love tortured heroes, and when they’re as drool-worthy as Richard Armitage, I’m a goner.

The fact that this love story really happened totally melts my heart. Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend did a great job bringing Victoria and Albert’s romance to the screen.

• • •

Which Victorian-era shows would top your list of favorites?

(For those, like me, who tend to forget the dates, Queen Victoria reigned from 1837-1901.)

Posted in Fun & Friends, Romance | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Romance Languages

What do you think of when you hear the words “romance language?”

My daughter, a German-French major, immediately thinks of French.

While French is one of the romance languages, I’m not thinking of that kind of language. I’m thinking about one’s personal romance language. Mine is mushy.

Gwynly learned years ago that if he picks out the mushiest card he can find, he’s sure to score major romance points.

His choice of a Mother’s Day card this year was spot on. How did he know? He watched the tear-o-meter. If I get misty-eyed, he figures he nailed it. And this card had definite tear-producing power.

Since Gwynly is a logical science teacher guy with a dry wit, his personal romance language is a far cry from mushy. His lingo is humor, so I look for cards sure to make him laugh. If he reads one I give him and cracks up, I know I scored.

• • •

How would you describe your personal romance language?

Do sweet words work for you, is humor your thing, or would a hug make your day?

Posted in Romance | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Beach Reads

Here in California, summer is already knocking the door. While visiting our college daughter down in the Sacramento Valley this past weekend, the thermometer in my truck hit 100 degrees at one point. Thankfully the temperature dropped as Gwynly and I headed home and was in the low 90s by the time we reached Placerville in the Sierra Foothills.

When the mercury moves upward, thoughts turn to summer activities. Families racing to the end of the school year are eager to embrace more relaxed schedules. The big kickoff of the season takes place Memorial Day weekend. For many, holiday plans are underway.

One of the prime destinations in our area is Lake Tahoe. The locals here in Placerville–the halfway point between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe–know to avoid Highway 50 during the getaway. A seemingly endless stream of vehicles hauling camping gear, bikes, boats, and more will pass through town that Friday afternoon and evening.

Many of those cars will be carrying people who are looking forward to relaxing with a good book. Some of those readers will stretch out on the sand somewhere around the massive alpine lake, bask in the sun, and prepare to lose themselves in their beach reads. Others will lounge around the plentiful pools at the many resorts and hotels.

The sound of lapping waves or kids splashing in a pool, the unmistakable scent of sunscreen, and a good book. Does life get any better than that?

• • •

Are you busy making Memorial Day plans? If so, do they include devouring a good book?

Do you read more books during the summer months than at other times of the year?

• • •

Drawing for a Book and a Bag!

I’m giving away a tote bag just the right size for a soda, some snacks, and a book. The winner will also get a copy of Wish You Were Here, a contemporary romance by Beth Vogt.

To enter the drawing, leave a comment by Tuesday, May 15. (Be sure to provide your email address in the appropriate field so I can contact you if you win.)

I’ll select the winner on Wednesday, May 16 and post the name here and in a comment.

Congratulations to the winner, Lindsay Harrel!

No purchase necessary.
Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to number of entrants.
Posted in Reading | Tagged , | 31 Comments

Friday Fun California Style

The heroine in my debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, likes to take long walks through the Sierra Foothills of California. The hero accompanies Ellie on one of her treks. While walking, Miles warns her of some possible dangers she might encounter and advises her to keep a lookout for them.

Bearing in mind that my story takes place in 1870, which one of the three possible dangers shown below do you think Miles tells Ellie does not pose a real threat to her?

Grizzly Bear

Poison Oak

Rattlesnake

• • •

Update and Answer

Miles tells Ellie that the grizzly bear doesn’t pose a real threat because most had been killed by miners and others who were scared of them or by hunters who wanted their furs.

The grizzly bears that still remained in California in 1870 would have been found high in the mountains, not down low in populated areas such as the Gold Country.

The last remaining grizzly bear in California was shot in 1922.

The grizzly bear is our state animal and is pictured on our flag.

• • •

Images are from Wikimedia Commons.
Posted in Fun & Friends, Research | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Romance by the Light of the Moon

This past Saturday morning as I lay on the couch checking email on my laptop, Gwynly was on his over at the kitchen table doing research on something he referred to as the Super Moon. Although he was excited about this special event, I didn’t know what it was.

Gwynly was happy to educate me. He explained, in true science teacher fashion, that a Super Moon occurs once each year when the moon is at the closest traveling point to the earth, causing the milky orb to appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons.

My guy invited me to take a top-down drive that night in his classic British sports car, a 1968 MGB roadster, so we could witness the astronomical extravaganza together. Being a romantic at heart, I was delighted at the prospect and quickly accepted his offer.

Around 8 p.m. Pacific time, the moon appeared on the horizon. While it was quite bright, I wouldn’t have noticed that it was any bigger if Gwynly hadn’t told me that was the case.

At 8:34 p.m. Pacific time, the moon reached perigee–the closest point. The people around us oohed and aahed, camera’s clicked, and Gwynly grinned. My guy was in his element.

What did I do? I snapped a few shots of my own, but mostly I watched my usually staid fellow get more outwardly excited than he has in a long time.

And I smiled. Why? Because Gwynly had spent hours anticipating our moon-watching excursion, one he considered quite romantic, and yet we were witnessing the spectacle from a park-and-ride just off the freeway. The lot was littered with construction cones and barricades. My shots above were taken through a chain link fence, which I cropped to remove the numerous highway signs.

Lest you think me ungrateful or unappreciative, that is not the case. I understand my guy and found his eagerness to share this event with me quite romantic. The setting was irrelevant really. Just being with Gwynly on a date he’d planned made it special.

While the actual moon viewing didn’t do that much for me, the drive home under the stars with the Super Moon bathing the night sky with light was romantic indeed.

• • •

Did you and your special someone view the Super Moon together?

Do you have any moonlit night memories you’d be willing to share?

When’s the last time your special someone planned a date all on his/her own?

Posted in Romance | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Your Reading Time

I enjoy interviewing book reviewers. One question I ask them is, “when do you read?” Not surprisingly, these voracious readers tend to give the same answer. They read whenever they can, wherever they can, as much as they possibly can.

When I began writing, my reading time dwindled. I used to be able to grab a book and savor it from start to finish in a few delightful hours. I miss those days, but the reality is I no longer have that luxury.

Click on photo to go to Amazon page for Beth’s book.

These days I use reading time as a reward. When I reach the end of the day, I indulge in my nightly Calgon-scented soak and savor a few chapters of a romance.

While I plan to read two or three chapters each evening, I often look at the clock some time later to find that an hour or more has gone by, the water is ice-cold, and my skin resembles a raisin. I blame this on the fact that there are so many talented authors out there writing unputdownable books. Not that I’m complaining, you understand. :-)

Now it’s your turn to answer my question. When do you read?

Posted in Reading | Tagged , , | 32 Comments