Romance Novels: Why are they so popular?

Once, after reading one of my manuscripts, my agent said, “I really like the historical part of the story. Why don’t you write it as a stand-alone romance?”

I have a pretty good idea about where this book is going, don’t you?

I winced. A romance novel? Me?

I’ll admit here that I’ve been a bit of a snob in regard to that particular genre, which I was surprised to discover is the number one book-selling category on the planet. Not sure why I’ve often scoffed at romance novels. Perhaps it’s the covers: the swooning women with their heaving breasts, the muscular men, all sixpacks and flowing hair. Those books just never sang to me and I never understood why other people wanted to read them.

So, in an effort to learn, I contacted some of my lovely romance-writing friends. I put on my old reporter’s cap and grilled them like a detective looking for clues, my goal to understand why anyone would want to read a romance novel.

Boy, did I learn a lot!

Author Tina Ruiz says romance novels give readers a glimpse into another world.

“Romance gives us a glimpse into another world,” said author Tina Ruiz. “Sometimes it’s a world that we don’t have around us. Romance novels are like fairy tales to grown up women, where the men are nice, cater to our every whim, and shelter us from everything that might make us sad or hurt.”

“It’s possible the diversity of romance novels is a magnet for diverse individuals,” said romance author Nancy Kay. “From contemporary, to historical, to mystery and thrillers there are any number of themes to attract a number of tastes.”

Okay. But why are these stories tops in sales department?

“In my humble opinion it’s because we live in a shattered world that is full of bad stuff and romance is the ultimate good stuff,” said author Catherine Castle. “True love, loyalty, people who care about each other’s happiness.”

“Simple answer – escape,” said author Sloane Taylor. “Escape from the husband/wife who takes you for granted. Escape from the kids demanding all your time with not even a thanks. Escape from the boss who is a major ass. Escape from the bills that keep mounting. And especially in today’s world – escape from the pandemic and it’s personal repercussions.”

According to author Vonnie Hughs, it’s the happy endings that many romance readers enjoy.

“The mainly happy endings in a frequently bitchy world,” Australian author Vonnie Hughes explained.

Hughes went on to say that romance novels don’t cost as much as other genres and they tend to be shorter, so don’t require a big investment of time.

I have certainly read books that contained romance, though that part of the story was mostly secondary to the plot, so I was curious as to what exactly defines a romance novel. Of course, my first thought in our post Fifty Shades of Grey world was sex. But Ruiz pointed out that actual sex is not always the big draw.

“It is the illusion of sex that grabs our hearts,” she said. “In a lot of movies, the man and woman don’t even kiss until the very last scene.  That moment gets built up from the moment they meet until the end of the book or movie.  It’s the part we are all waiting for, so when it happens, it is absolutely wonderful.”

Still sex is often part of the format.

“Reading a book where sex is prominent is pretty awesome,” Ruiz said. “Because it gets portrayed in a different way than we have it in real life.  Some men…are not perfectly, let’s say, kempt, when they walk into the bedroom.  The men in the books and/or movies are like a Prince Charming. Every hair is in place, his teeth shine, his eyes twinkle, and his breath is probably minty fresh.” 

Author Nancy Kay says it’s the diversity of romance novels that make them so popular.

Another rather obvious requirement in a romance novel is that romance needs to be the most important part of the story.

“The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work,” Kay said. “There can be subplots as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.”

And, there’s something else I learned. Romance novels apparently should not end on a depressing note. There must be an “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending,” Kay said. “In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.”

That sounds nice, doesn’t it? I can now see the appeal of romance novels. Perhaps it’s time I gave one a try.

How about you?

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND

AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

Why aren’t kids going outside?

It’s rare for children to play outside today.

I was listening to the radio the other day when I heard a public service announcement that surprised me. It was sponsored by the Discover the Forest campaign, which according to its website “encourages parents of tweens to take their kids to nearby forests and parks to reap these benefits and instill in their children early on a love for the outdoors, thereby developing future stewards of the land.”

Anybody else sad? How did we get to the point where we need to encourage people to go outside and walk in the woods? As I recall, no one ever instructed me to do that. I just did. And memories of the forests and streams of Northern New Jersey are some of my fondest memories. Today, however, many children don’t even go outdoors, instead huddling inside four walls most of the day.

Screen time has many children huddled indoors. And fear of giving up their devices, even for a short time, has them shunning their natural surroundings.

One easy to pinpoint problem is their addiction to electronics. People under twenty were nursed on cellphones and tablets and now find it almost impossible to give up their devices. Tell kids they’re going to a place with no cellphone service and many will simply refuse to go.

Fourteen million U.S. children and adolescents are obese. Getting them to play outside would greatly reduce the problem.

Then there’s the news. As a former journalist I’m annoyed by the propensity of the media to reinforce the idea that our world is really dangerous. That strangers lurk behind every tree to kidnap and kill children. This stranger-danger paranoia is absurd. The reality is that kids are much more likely to be victimized by someone they know: mommy’s boyfriend, their baseball coach, or Uncle Bill. That’s why child abduction is such big news. It’s incredibly rare. And yet many parents won’t let their children explore the natural world out of fear. Kids sense this unease and become frightened at the prospect of being outside. One result of this mania is that we now have an obesity problem, with 18.5% of children and adolescents tipping the scales in the unhealthy range. That’s close to 14 million young people. Imagine if those children got up off the couch and went for a walk in the woods or played in a park.

There’s a big, beautiful world out there and seeing it in person is so much better than viewing it on a screen.

What can we do? Parents, while I appreciate your deep desire to protect your kids, try to relax and give them a little freedom. When they’re young, take them outside to explore. When they’re old enough to go alone, set rules that will keep you calm in their absence. Have them tell you exactly where they plan to play and when you can expect them to come home. Teach them the proper way to address a stranger. Explain that they should never go exploring alone, so they should always invite their friends along. Show them how to contact 911 in case of an emergency.

Then, try to relax. Your children are outside practicing valuable skills, like making their own decisions. Will they make mistakes? Of course. But that’s the way we learn.

The vast majority of kids–88%–say they like being in nature. So give them a chance. There’s a beautiful world out there, and seeing our wild lands on a screen is no substitute for being there.

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND

AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

Books to read during the pandemic

Authors love it when their books make lists, so I’d like to thank Hannah from the book blog Echos in an Empty Room for including my novel Wild Horses on the Salt on her list “Books to read in Lockdown by Authors that you may not know.”

Thanks for including me, Hannah.

Books to read in Lockdown by Authors that you may not know.

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND

AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Losing my clock addiction

Clocks have ruled my world for most of my life.

Time has always been a slippery and demanding mistress for me.

I retired from teaching in the spring and despite the fact that my alarm clock is not really needed anymore, it remained by my bedside, its glowing blue light a beacon in my bedroom, one to which I would always turn whenever I woke in the night. The idea was to see how many hours I might yet have to sleep before the horrible clatter that announced it was time to throw my comfy covers back and greet the day.

The thing is, I don’t have to get up at any specific time anymore. In fact, there’s little outside of the odd appointment that requires me to ever check the time. Even television no longer asks me to tune in at a particular hour. I stream what I want when I want.

How life has changed. My previous responsibilities—TV news reporting, teaching, and sports officiating— ran on inflexible schedules. I was either on the news set when the red camera light went on or I was not. I was at the front of my classroom when the bell rang or I was not. I blew my whistle to put the football in play to start the game on time or I did not.

My life has been so caught up in time that when I have nightmares, there’s no boogieman under the bed or monster chasing me through dark woods. Nope, there’s a clock. The horror for me in dreamland is having to get somewhere quickly. It might be a news set or a classroom or a ballgame or an airport. Despite the scenario, the idea is the same. I’m always on the verge of being late and horrified at the prospect.

I noticed recently that there isn’t a room in my home without a clock. There’s even one in the laundry room. But since retiring from teaching and football, and the effects of the pandemic that have me mostly at home, my clocks are slowly losing their grip on me.

And yet, my late dreams continue.

“It’s doesn’t matter when you get up,” my sweetie pie pointed out when I told him my old alarm clock had died. But letting go is difficult. It’s almost as if time has trained me, given me muscle memory that has me constantly looking at clocks.

The other day, I focused on the blank face of my alarm clock, wondering if all it needed was a battery or a charge. Its blank eye stared back accusingly, as I placed it in a bottom drawer under my socks.

I still have to think about its fate.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND

AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

Spotlight on Wild Horses on the Salt

My thanks to Elizabeth Silver of Silver’s Reviews for her spotlight on my novel Wild Horses on the Salt. https://silversolara.blogspot.com/2020/11/spotlight-of-wild-horses-on-salt.html

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND

AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

Drowning in plastic

Ad campaigns in the 1960s and 70s encouraged us not to litter.

I worry about the planet. I have since I was a child. Maybe it was the camping and fishing trips my parents took us on where the adage leave nothing behind was drilled into our young heads. Or maybe it was those anti-littering ads that ran on TV and billboards,  or the lessons I learned as a Girl Scout about the importance of protecting nature.

Whatever sparked my concern was enough to make me pause one day as I overlooked a small stream near my home. A rusted bicycle stuck up from the water as an eddy of garbage swirled around one wheel. The vision so disturbed my 12-year-old self, that I waded into the river and extracted the bike and some of the garbage. When the stream again flowed free and clear, I rejoiced.

I’m in a constant battle with my loved ones about what trash goes in which bin, so much so they call me Eco Annie.

As an adult, I have worked hard to do my part, so much so that family members sometimes derisively call me Eco Annie when I complain about who forgot the reusable cloth shopping bags or who put the wrong stuff in the recycle bin. I ball up plastic bags to return to grocery stores. I compost, feeding the insects that make beautiful soil for my vegetable garden. I purchase products that are biodegradable and, when I scuba dive, I retrieve garbage that has found its way into the sea.

Plastic bags are ubiquitous, cluttering our oceans, rivers and landscapes.

I mention this because of an article I just read, one that has me damned depressed. “More than a million tons a year of America’s plastic trash isn’t ending up where it should. The equivalent of as many as 1,300 plastic grocery bags per person is landing in places such as oceans and roadways,” said the Associate Press article, “Study says much trash is going astray.” While the U.S. was not previously ranked in the world’s top-ten worst offenders for plastic waste in oceans, the study says we now sit as high as third on that list.

Mismanaged waste we ship abroad litters our land and oceans.

One of the problems is the fact that many countries no longer take our garbage. According to the study, U.S. exports of plastic waste have declined nearly 70%. And those countries that still accept our recyclable plastic, are not doing their jobs. Fifty-one percent of the plastic waste we ship abroad is routinely mismanaged.

Consider, as just one example of our plastic trash problem, that The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to cover an area twice the size of Texas, a swirling storm of mostly floating plastic, one of five such patches in our oceans.

Industries are trying. Modernized recycling operations are being funded and there’s a push for new packaging standards. But, let’s face it, if we, the people, don’t do what we can our world may one day resemble a vast garbage dump.

There are those who say other countries must also bear the burden of cleaning up the Earth, and while they’re correct let’s remember that the U.S. is the number one generator of waste in the world, with one study estimating that each of us produces 1,600 pounds of garbage annually.

Jena Jambeck, an environmental engineering professor at the University of Georgia, had the last world in the AP article. “The best thing you can do environmentally is to produce no waste at all.”

While that’s probably an impossible goal, I believe we can, at least, do better.

Don’t you?

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND

AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

Writers: don’t quit your day job

My thanks to Sarah at The Reading Nook for taking the time to interview me about my writing and for promoting my novel Wild Horses on the Salt. https://readingnook84.wordpress.com/2020/11/05/author-interview-wild-horses-on-the-salt-by-anne-montgomery/

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND

AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

Nothing is more valuable than memories

A while back, I returned home to find the front door ajar. My first concern was that my dogs had gotten out, but when I went inside, they both stared at me and wagged their tails. Did I spy a wee sense of guilt on their doggy faces?

Turns out my girls were useless when it came to dissuading a burglar.

Though I saw nothing out of place in the living room, something felt wrong. Then, I approached my bedroom and a chill ran down my spine. The mess inside showed I’d been burglarized. I briefly wondered if the perpetrator was still in the house, but since the dogs were sitting placidly, I realized I was alone.

“Really?” I squinted at my two cattle-dog pups. “You couldn’t bark or something?”

They responded by vigorously wagging their tails.

I turned back to the mess in my room. The drawers had been rifled. The decorative boxes on my dresser had been dumped onto the bed, what remained of my jewelry scattered in glittery bits on the bedspread and floor. It was easy to see that the good stuff was gone. That the really good stuff was in a safe gave me a moment of relief. But then I thought of my ring, the emerald and diamond piece my sweetie pie presented to me on a beautiful day in the desert, an adornment he purchased because of my love of emeralds and because he wanted us to be together forever.

The box where I kept the ring was empty.

It wasn’t until later that I noticed my office had been searched as well, but nothing appeared to be missing.

My dive log, where I kept all my dive memories, disappeared with the burglar.

Sadly, I was wrong. “I can’t find my log.”

I’m sure it’s here somewhere,” Ryan said.

But we searched and the book was gone. I was heartbroken.

What had disappeared was my dive log, a planner, of sorts, dedicated to those of us who scuba dive. The idea is that when you’re a new diver, reflecting on what happened underwater is a good way to become a better diver. Generally, we document the conditions: water and air temperature, dive site, date, and dive profile. Then we write down what we saw – beautiful jewel colored fishes on a sunlit reef, magnificent sharks, charming dolphins, sea turtles and star fish and eels and nudibranchs.

But we also revisit what went wrong on a dive: losing track of your partner, not paying attention to air consumption, getting caught in a current, misplacing the dive boat. The log contains stamps, as well, verifying special dives on wrecks and others where we descended below 100 feet.

So, the log is a reflection on our dive memories and underwater performance. The idea is to document your first one hundred dives, a milestone I was approaching.

It seems, I now have a lot of diving to do.

The other day, Ryan and I were walking our dogs. I don’t recall how the question came up, but it hung between us. “Which do you miss more, your emerald ring or your dive log?” he asked.

I didn’t answer right away, but I couldn’t lie. “My dive log,” I said wistfully.

“I knew you’d say that.” Then he smiled.

I’m so glad he understood.

Now, I have a new dive log that Ryan bought me, one with lots of clean, white pages. I guess I’ll just have to start over, so I’ve got a lot of diving to do.

Yes!

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND

AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

The most useless job in sports broadcasting

I spent about 15 years as a sports reporter. I’d like to say things are getting better for women in the field, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

I was a sports reporter for about 15 years. I spent about ten years in television, where I worked for five TV stations – anchoring and reporting – and about five years as a print journalist. I mention this because I pay attention to media sports positions, having given a large chunk of my life to that world.

Back when I wormed my way into the sports world, there were few other women. In my daily interactions, I almost never dealt with others of my gender. But, as more women joined the ranks, I truly believed that eventually the field would become more welcoming.

Sadly, that hasn’t happened.

Some of you may be thinking, “Gosh, Anne. You’re wrong. There are women sportscasters all over the place.”

Well, technically there are more women working in sports media today, perhaps because there are so many more broadcast outlets when compared to the days when most towns had just three TV stations and cable and the Internet didn’t exist. A handful of women have even had the opportunity to share their expertise in the booth, doing play-by-play and color commentary. But the numbers are dismal when compared to all the sportscasting jobs out there.

Kate Scott has done play-by-play for the Pac-12 network.  In The Ringer article “Where Are All the Women in Play-by-Play Broadcasting?”, Scott called the lack of women in the field a numbers game.

Most sportscasting jobs, especially the ones in color and play-by-play, are still held by men.

“If there’s 10 guys applying for a job, and one woman, there’s more of a possibility that a guy’s going to get hired, just strictly because of the numbers of it,” Scott said. “Plus, many of the people in charge are men, who may be more likely to hire other men for the job. And on top of all of that, women need to have champions in order to succeed in these roles, or people willing to take the risk. Hiring a woman to call a sports broadcast still goes against the industry norms and often requires taking a chance on an unknown. But recently, albeit slowly, that’s starting to change.”

When women do get a shot at the booth, it’s most often to call games where the participants are women.

Most often, the women called on to work in the booth are covering sports with female athletes. I’m not complaining here, just stating a fact. The logic seems to be that since women play basketball, for example, giving them a shot in the hoops booth isn’t that great a stretch. But women who call baseball, football, or ice hockey – especially at the male professional level – remain a rarity.

And when networks do decide to give women a chance, a closer look reveals they don’t have much faith in the viewing public’s willingness to listen. Remember the Thursday Night Football game when Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer – two women who’ve been in the field for decades – became the first female team to call an NFL game? Nice! I thought! It’s about time. But then I discovered that that broadcast was an alternative feed, one that viewers had to select instead of the “normal” booth team that featured Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. That clearly showed that the folks in charge aren’t quite sure the viewing public can handle women in the booth.

Sideline reporters like Erin Andrews are often asked to be nothing more than a pretty face.

That leads us to the most useless job in sportscasting, one which, perhaps not surprisingly, is often held by women: sideline reporting. There is absolutely no reason, in my opinion, for this job to even exist. Sideline reporters rarely talk about anything but injuries. It would make more sense to have a medical professional manning the sidelines than a sports reporter. “Now let’s go down to Nurse Becky on the field!” And I’ve watched entire games where the guys in the booth only go to the sideline reporter a couple of times. So, what’s the point? I sense the position was created just so the networks can brag about how inclusive they are. “Look! Wow! We’re letting a woman step onto the field. Aren’t we great!”

Here’s the thing. Sports broadcasting is not rocket science. So, can we move along here? Open those doors and give some women a chance.

Really, what would it hurt?

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND

AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb

Yes, boys and girls are different

Ten years ago, I found myself escorting a 15-year-old into my home. I hadn’t really thought about it much when I agreed to become a foster mom. All I knew was this small boy – who’d previously been my student – found himself alone. The spur-of-the-moment decision set me on the path to foster mom school – yes, there is such a thing – where one learns the proper ways to nurture children who’ve suffered in their lives.

As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy. Teenagers in the foster care system are hard to place, because, well, they’re teenagers. Not the most pleasant time to be a parent. Still, we persevered.

Later, two more boys who’d spent time in the foster care system called me Mom.

While the boys are younger here, they’re not often in the same place at the same time.

Today, my three boys are all in their twenties working toward their goals. They are positive, contributing members to society, working at their chosen professions. Which is a really big deal. The reason? Twenty percent of kids who age out of foster care become homeless immediately. Another 20 percent are homeless within four years. Twenty-five percent end up in prison within two years. Only 2.5 percent graduate from a four-year college, so when my youngest boy – now a junior at Arizona State University – graduates, he will be one of the very few who’s earned a degree.

As you can imagine, I’m very proud of my boys and I’m excited to see what they become.

I must mention here what a good sport my long-time partner has been, since Ryan was thrust into parenthood as abruptly as I was. He’s wonderful with the boys, all of whom needed a dad, maybe more than they needed a mom.

That said, recently, we had a change in the family dynamic. A young lady has come to stay. Also a former student, Makayla is a sophomore at ASU. She’s bubbly and determined and a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

So now Ryan has a girl, which is just a wee bit different.

“How does my hair look?” Makayla positioned herself in the living room, a tight bun situated atop her head.

Makayla is teaching Ryan that girls are different than boys.

“It looks nice.” I smiled.

Then she turned to Ryan.

“It’s OK,” he said.

I cringed. Makayla frowned and walked out of the room.

“What’d I say?” Ryan looked bemused.

“Not the right thing.”

Ryan spread his hands.

“Honey, she’s a girl. Just say she looks nice.”

“Of course, she looks nice.”

“Then say so.”

Poor guy. I almost laugh when he listens to Makayla talk about boys and clothes and hairstyles. He just looks so damned lost. “It’ll be OK, honey. You’ll catch on.”

The next evening, Ry and I were in the kitchen preparing dinner. Makayla walked in with a big bow in her hair.

Ry looked up. “I like the bow,” he said. “You look nice.”

Makayla graced him with a radiant smile.

Who knew my sweetie pie was such a quick learner?

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

A WOMAN FLEES AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND
AND FINDS HOPE IN THE WILDS OF THE ARIZONA DESERT.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb