Sick Day

Sandpaper throat, foggy head, low energy, and coughing fits that make me fairly certain it is indeed possible to cough up one’s own internal organs can only mean one thing. The traditional Thanksgiving week (or at least late fall/early winter) cold has arrived. Yesterday was also the first snow of the season, the holiday lights are up in the park that is literally five minutes walk from my front door. I had planned to walk through said park and take in the lights, while drinking hot cocoa from my favorite coffee house, but that, obviously, is not what happened.

What happened was that I woke on Saturday with that feeling that something was off, but we had Saturday stuff to do, and I am a big old stoic, which meant power on through it. About halfway through errands, well past the point of no return, my body had some choice words for me. As soon as we got home and put groceries away, I flopped. If there is one thing taking a sick day or two is good for, it is sneaking in some extra reading time. I have now officially read all published Bertrice Small historical romance novels.

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This is both a good and a sad thing. On the one hand, I have now read all published Bertrice Small historical romance novels. On the other hand, I have now read all published Bertrice Small historical romance novels. For new readers (hello, and welcome) Bertrice Small is the reason I got into historical romance in the first place. That moment of cracking my purloined copy (from my mom’s nightstand) of The Kadin was pure magic. Destiny, some might say, or calling. All that I know was that I, even at far-too-young-t0-be-reading-that-book, knew there was something mine in those pages.  One guess as to the topic of my next book report. Bless Mrs. Potter for rolling with it. Also for the A, and asking if I wanted to be a writer, because yes.

Strong heroines, heroes worthy of them, and love stories played out against the pageant of history, that’s what grabbed me then, and what I still love the very best now. Since I’d been saving the very last book I had not yet read by the author who sparked my love for the genre for a special occasion, a sick weekend seemed like the ticket. So, that’s it. Now what? Reading-wise, that’s not a question. I have a stack of library books, a fully loaded Kindle, and fully stocked TBR shelves, so I am not lacking for books to read.

There’s that pang, though, that this is it. I’ve read all there is to read in this genre by this author. I want to live with that for a while, roll it around in my brain as I continue on. Thought processes while brain is sick-fogged are probably not ones fit for public consumption, but there’s something in there. Bertrice Small has been an influence, absolutely, and, while our books are not exactly the same (she’s written and sold a heck of a lot more, for one thing, and the content is a little, ah, different in certain areas) there was a seed planted when I snuck that book off my mom’s nightstand, and I am forever grateful. I don’t think it’s any accident that it comes at the time it does.

I’ve passed a milestone birthday, first snow of the year, frustrated at being sick when I want to be doing stuff, and yet – there is always an “and yet”- this fits, somehow. Writer people who know the  Hero’s Journey also know that the mentor can never make it all the way to the end. There comes a point where the hero (or heroine) has to go the rest of the way on their own. They’ve been taught all the mentor has to teach, and now it’s their time. A new chapter begins.

Right now, I’m sitting here in my recliner, bundled in pajama pants and hooded sweatshirt, looking out at gray clouds that are not yet done sifting snow down up0n us. This, again, will not be a walk through the park evening. It will, however, be a bundle under the blankey evening, with a good book or two (or ten) and, maybe, depending on how industrious I feel, a legal pad, because the voices in my head don’t take sick days.

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