Friday, January 3, 2014


Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. In addition to being an award-winning novelist, she serves as an acquisitions and content editor for WhiteFire Publishing. Join her as she explores the unforced rhythms of grace.

The Psychology of Romance
By Dina Sleiman

My husband and I have been in marriage counseling recently, an experience we are very familiar with due to a cross-cultural relationship. Which is why my latest book features an Islamic heroine with Lebanese roots -- it's great for fiction fodder, not so great for smooth-sailing romance.

One counselor recommended we read a book called Getting the Love You Want. And boy was it an eye-opener. Talk about demystifying the romance process. The author breaks down those wonderful tingles, shivers, and ecstatic emotions in a very scientific, and not very flattering, sort of way. To summarize: romance is the process of picking someone who will trigger your worst emotional issues and wound you more deeply than anyone else could. And the more earth-shattering the romance, the more doomed it is for failure.

Ouch! I resemble that remark.

When I first read this book I joked that romance authors should stay far away from it. But as I have begun to see the fruits of this book in my own marriage, I'm starting to think the opposite is true. Every romance author—certainly every responsible Christian romance author—should probably read this book.

Let me give you a quick summary of how this all works to pique your interest. You know that “man of your dreams,” that person who you meet and feel like, “I've known him all my life.” That guy who “completes you.” In other words, the one who stirs up those feelings of “falling in love.” In reality that person just happens to fit a construct in your subconscious called your “imago” or image. And that image is created early in life through an odd combination of familiarity, emotional wounds, and unfulfilled desires. (You have to read the book to thoroughly understand this part and why it happens.)

But let me give you an example. A woman's mother is cold and distant. (This isn't me by the way.) All of her life she longs for her mother to be more loving with her. Enter appropriately handsome man who is cold and distant. He feels familiar to the woman. And in a sort of serendipitous moment, she strikes some familiar chord with him as well. The physical attraction is mutual and romance buds. In the early stage of the relationship the woman feels fulfilled because she has found a cold, distant person and magically created a warm, loving relationship with him. In that way, a sort of healing takes place inside of her, and she feels complete. Now without dragging this out too long, assume some similar but different phenomena is happening with the man.

Sadly, a few years down the road, the initial chemical spark wears off and the woman is left with a cold, distant husband who triggers all of her worst childhood wounds and fears. We've all heard a thousand times that the trait that initially attracts you to your spouse later drives you crazy. And the man is probably experiencing something similar as well. If this couple doesn't have a deep belief in vows and commitments, they will probably split within the first five years of marriage. If they do have those strong core values, they might tough it out ten, twenty, even twenty-five years until the kids grow up. But at some point if they don't get serious help, they won't be able to survive the relationship any longer. At best (or worst depending on your perspective), they might stay married but live separate lives.

However...this same potential for intense pain can be turned around and become an avenue for intense healing. If the couple learns to communicate properly, and even counsel one another, they can begin to heal together. If they can learn to meet one another's hidden needs and soothe one another's wounds, they will develop a deep and abiding love that lasts for the rest of their lives. A God kind of love.

In this way, marriage becomes a symbol for the ultimate romance between us and our Savior. It is a conduit for unconditional love, reconciliation, healing, and fulfillment.

Perhaps this is why I so often find myself writing stories of couples who wounded each other terribly during adolescence. With the help of the Holy Spirit, they come back together as adults and help each other heal, ultimately falling back in love. A love that is destined to last because it has endured adversity. The truest kind of love of all.

I know romance is fun. I know hot, sexy hunks who sweep women off their feet are exciting. Everyone loves tingles and shivers and passionate kisses. But in real life when a feisty heroine and domineering hero overcome their mutual stubbornness because of their intense sexual chemistry, they probably aren't headed toward happily-ever-after. Without some serious intervention, they are more likely doomed for disaster. It is the friendship relationship that gently blossoms into romance and results in a logical decision to join two lives that has the much higher success rate in marriage. Even arranged marriages fare much better.

I hate to be a killjoy. I'm not trying to rob you of your fun. And I'm not trying to make romance ugly by putting it under the scientific microscope. I just think as we start this new year, it's important to know the ins and outs of this subject we're writing about. Then we can write in a way that will draw people deeper into the great love story that drives the whole world.

All that being said, structurally my newest novel is more women's fiction than romance. But let me assure you that it in fact contains three romances: tingles, shivers, and all. So think of it as a three-in-one romance collection with a sisterhood frame story. How's that sound? If you give it a try, I think you will enjoy seeing how I use romance to develop deep healing and a true Godly kind of love.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment, and you'll be entered a signed copy of Dina's latest novel, Dance from Deep Within.

ABOUT Dance from Deep Within: 
Despite her conservative Muslim heritage, Layla Al-Rai longs for a chance to earn her degree in engineering and perhaps even...dare she choose her own husband. But young women from her background rarely enjoy such freedoms. When she finally talks her parents into letting her attend college, she is drawn to fellow twenty-something students, Allie and Rain, over a class project. Allie, the blonde ballerina, faces her own struggles as she deals with an ex-fiancé and a church she had hoped to leave behind. Rain, the bi-racial hippie chick, longs for something to believe in, but her questioning could cost her the love of her life. When Layla s childhood sweetheart reenters her world, it seems her dreams might become real. Until everything falls apart. When she meets truth face to face, will she find the courage to accept it even if it requires the ultimate sacrifice?


Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Check out her novels Dance from Deep Within, Dance of the Dandelion, and Love in Three-Quarter Time. For more info visit her at


  1. A different take on romance than I've heard in awhile, but it makes sense :) I'm completely with you on the "love built on friendship" thing. That's why I love the part from Love Comes Softly that says love isn't always fireworks (or something like that.)
    Thought - provoking post. Thanks!

  2. Wow! Amazing! I immediately checked my library, but your books aren't there! Would love to win Dance from Deep Within. I have always been fascinated about biracial issues! Thanks for coming and sharing on Seekerville. Thanks for asking her, Audra

  3. ooooh, must get book, breaking apart romance in a scientific way is right up my alley since I don't um, quite get it, but it's sure fun to write. ;P

  4. An interesting look at romance! I love what you said about true human romance being a conduit of the Savior's love. That is why I write romance. To show God's unconditional love through relationships of human characters. In His divine courtship of the soul, He has given us a wonderful pattern, hasn't He?

  5. Hi Dina:

    Thank you for a very thought provoking and interesting post.

    I must say that I think your theory of sexual attraction is based on what Abraham Maslow might call a study of abnormal psychology. To the extent you apply it to those who have actually had trying or dysfunctional pasts, to that degree it should apply and prove therapeutic. Indeed, abnormal psychology is worth studying but it plays only a minor part in the human condition. A study of psychologically healthy humans seems to be far more production. Of course, doctors learn how to treat sick people, so they study sick people in school. But human psychology should not be based on the dysfunctional.

    I would think that most cases of sexual attraction which lead to marriage are not based on a dysfunctional past. Psychologically healthy people can find lovers and even soul mates by seeing the good in them and being attracted by those healthy traits.

    I believe that for romances, especially for Christian romances, healthy reasons for a love attraction can provide the paradigm for paving the way to a lasting HEA.

    I’m not saying your model is wrong. I’m just saying that it is probably in the minority when it comes to finding romance. But then I favor Third Wave psychologists.

    BTW: I am very interested in reading your books and finding out what it means to “write lyrical stories that dance with light”. I can’t read this line without thinking of “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” by Milan Kundera. I just loved that book and I bought it simply because I was fascinated by the title.

    What is it to ‘dance with light’?

  6. Wow, a deep post this morning. Thank you for making me think so dark and early. :) It sounds like the book, Getting the Love You Want is a book every romance writer should have on their shelf.

    Would love to be entered for your giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  7. Very interesting!

    I have to say that if this book is right, then ALMOST ALL marriages would end somewhere between 5-25 years, even the Christian ones who are committed to their vows.

    It seems to me that this idea works for people who haven't done any healing or psychology work on their own issues before meeting their partner. If you're coming from a healthy place, psychologically, then the person you're most attracted to could be the one you most admire or the one you feel would be the best life partner or the best parent, rather than the one who echoes your past wounds.
    One we're self aware of those wounds (which most people are by a certain age, if they've done any introspection)then we'd recognize that trait right away as something we wanted to avoid.

    I hear you on the cross-cultural marriage. Sometimes we just shake our heads at each other, totally at a loss to understand what the other is trying to say. It's a lot easier to just take it on faith that his heart is in the right place, give him a big hug and move on. Maybe that's why we have six kids.
    Kidding. :P

    Great post and your books look lovely.

  8. This is so interesting, Dina!

    Thank you so much for being with us today... And a light side of this very informative post would be the quote from Sleepless in Seattle:

    Dennis Reed, Annie's brother: "Annie, when you're attracted to someone, it just means that your subconscious is attracted to their subconscious, subconsciously. So what we think of as fate is just two neuroses knowing that they are a perfect match.

    I laugh myself silly over that line, and then I run to read more romance about TRUE LOVE'S DESTINY, LOL!!!!

    While I see the scientific reasoning, I'm such a dyed-in-the-wool romantic that I just want to fix them and make them oh-so-happy... I have to pull myself back literally not to do that too soon. It's clearly the "mom" in me.

    Your post made me think, AND....


    Vince and Virginia, great thoughts this morning to join in.

    Anyone want a donut? Cream filled, chocolate topped.

    I'm so desperately needing my pre-holiday self-discipline back!!!!

    If you find it, ship it to me, please!

  9. Wow! I'll be reading this more than once.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. What a great post! Although now I'm analyzing my own marriage to see what deep needs my spouse and I are trying to fill with each other :)

    Thank you for the book recommendation! I'll add it to my to-be-read list.

  11. Hmmm, very interesting.

    I never really tried to understand the dynamics of romance—it's kinda like anything else that's important in your life. Handle with care and respect, the treasure you've found, daily asking God's blessing upon it.

  12. We were high school sweethearts....

    I think I figured I might never get another chance so I grabbed Dave and didn't let go!!!!

    The poor guy. Decades of dealing with Ruthy-isms.....

    You should all be feeling his pain right about now!

  13. Hi DINA, I always enjoy psychology and how it attempts to explain the human condition. The book looks interesting. And so does yours. Love the cover.

    Thanks for joining us in Seekerville today. Have fun. Looks like you have great minds churning already. smile

  14. I woke up to twelve comments already. I must be on Seekerville today :) Perking up my brain with a cup of coffee right now. A quick glance at the comments tells me I'm going to need my full brain power to engage in this interaction. Give me five minutes to get my last kid on the bus, and I should be ready to tackle them.

  15. VIRGINIA I laughed so when I read about your solution to the cultural differences. I think your hubby and mine must be kindred spirits. At least they have the same solution. LOL. Guess that's why we have made it 47 years.

    RUTHY your Dave is a saint.


    Breakfast is served -- Denver omelots, Irish potatoes, Vermont maple-cured bacon, and California fruit, with LOTS of cinnamon hazelnut coffee and a selection of teas. DIG IN!!


  17. LOL, VINCE ... smiling at you diving in so early. I just KNEW you wouldn't be able to resist with this deep discussion today!! :)

    Like you, I'm more of an optimist when it comes to love, but then I write "Calgon, take me away" style romance, not women's fiction ... :)


  18. VIRGINIA SAID: "It's a lot easier to just take it on faith that his heart is in the right place, give him a big hug and move on. Maybe that's why we have six kids."

    LOL ... spoken by the master!! :)


  19. Courtney - as I get older, I have so much respect for those friendship relationships

    Marianne - if you have an e-reader my books are all a great deal. Not in libraries or bookstores yet :( Working on getting to that new level in my career.

    Melissa - it definitely is fun to write. LOL. No argument there.

    Natalie - yes, romance can be so beautiful and wonderful when shared in the right spirit. I know last year Christian romance took a lot of flack. I can kind of see both sides of the argument, but I know so many ladies who are doing it well.

  20. Vince, your well-considered comment certainly deserves its own answer. I am no psychology expert, and I am aware that there are many theories. But I will say this, I grew up in a wonderful home and not a single one of our marriage counselors has suggested that I have any psychological issues. However everyone has minor issues and wounds, no matter how great their childhood was. If not because of parents, then because of teachers, or churches, or catty girls in middle school. All I can say for sure is that I definitely identified with the book. I take everything I read with the proverbial grain of salt, but I saw a lot of truth in this book that helped me to make sense of things. And I 100% agree that Christian romances should model healthy reasons for falling in love, which is why I think it helps to study unhealthy ones for contrast.

    Lyrical stories that dance with light: first, I'm a poet, and that's where the "lyrical" comes from. I don't use a heavy poetic hand in my writing, and honestly, it's probably not as noticeable in my contemporary work, but many reviewers comment on my "voice." "Dance" because I love dance, and I'm a worship dancer. It immediately says that I'm not just a "religious" person in the negative sense. And I want my readers to "live in the unforced rhythms of grace" as the Message version puts it. Now that "light" that fascinated you. I know it is a lot to hope for, but I really want all of my work to shimmer with Holy Spirit light and hope. I want God's anointing to flow through it. And again, it was a comment I often heard from early reviewers, so it became part of my tagline that I truly want to live up to. I'll have to look into that book you mentioned. Sounds like something I would enjoy.

  21. Cindy - I agree it's early for this. Man, Vince really challenged my brain. Glad you enjoyed it though.

    Virginia - of course you would have to read the book to understand all the subtleties. But it does seem to suggest that the healthier you are, the better you will choose. My marriage ended up having other issues that went beyond the scope of the book, but like I said, I found it very interesting.

    Ruth - thanks so much for the coffee and the awesome quote :) I'll pass on the donut. Sadly, neither gluten or sugar like me very much, and I can't afford brain fog and sleepiness if I want to keep up with all these great comments.

  22. SANDRA!!!!!

    Dave would agree!!!!

    Laughing in upstate!

  23. Dina.... Honey... they're pretend donuts. Shh...

    It's our secret, 'kay????? :)

  24. Jackie - glad it got you thinking :)

    Annie - I think the book could help anyone to grow in their relationships, although some of his specific suggestions are kind of challenging.

    Mary - good idea. To me one of the most important things in a Christian romance novel is to make a good case for the relationship being God's plan for both hero's and heroine's life.

  25. Sandra - yes, I've always loved psychology. And I love to read books about it. Despite the many different theories out there, I always find it exciting to get any hints on the human condition. I also use Meyers-Briggs to help create my characters.

    Julie - breakfast sounds great!

  26. Ruth, thanks for the explanation. LOL. I'm all about pretend donuts. I actually loooove donuts. They are one of my major weaknesses.

  27. Welcome to Seekerville, Dina! Interesting post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the psychology of romance. Your books sound wonderful!

    I can see that if a couple has a strong attraction yet they don't date long enough to see if they can develop friendship--not that there won't always be surprises LOL--they might have little idea if they carry wounds that might doom their HEA. Most of the longterm married couples I know had good childhoods. So perhaps that's key.

    I always give the hero and heroine in my novels wounds from their pasts that impact their goals and relationships, but through the journey they are able to face and heal those wounds before they commit. Real life is trickier.


  28. Janet, is now the time to confess that I married my husband two months after meeting him? Good observation. That probably explains a lot in my case, as does the fact that my husband grew up in a war zone.

  29. Dina, I just read your comment about having had a happy childhood and your suggestion we all are wounded in some way. Perhaps the reason that many read romance to escape reality. :-)

    Did the book suggest that similiar backgrounds might be an asset to a couple?


  30. Wow, Dina!! Two months? You're a courageous woman. :-)

    My heart goes out to your husband. I can only imagine the horrors he witnessed as a child and how that impacted him. Prayers for your HEA.


  31. Hi, Dina! Everything you said makes perfect sense. Unfortunately. Haha! My daughter says I'm the least romantic person romance writer ever, because I'm always trying to get her to see that life is not a fairy tale. Hm. And I write fairy tale retellings. Something's wrong here, methinks. Oh well, I'll save that analytical pondering for another time. LOL!

    I would like my daughters to read this book BEFORE they start seriously dating and thinking about getting married. It's too late for me, but I still pray for my daughters. LOL!

  32. Janet, it didn't really address similar versus different backgrounds. As for courageous, try stupid! I do not suggest whirlwind romances. I think I struggle with this a little bit in romance novels, because the short scope of the book often has marriages happening quickly, and I know that can be a really bad idea. On the other hand, I know the genre often requires it.

  33. Melanie, you cracked me up! But it's true of me too. I like to examine love in my books more so than just let people get swept away by it, and yet I love romance and always want the Happily Ever After.

  34. Oh, and your novel sounds REALLY good. I need to read it! If only I wasn't buried with writing and a TBR stack! :-) Maybe soon. Keep up the good work!

  35. I'm of the old school, Calgon take me away. If I wanted reality I'd read non fiction :)

    So I choose to believe my Alpha hero or Beta hero are still sigh worthy and are the heroine's best friend at the 7 year itch mark.

    Interesting point of reference.

  36. Melanie, I feel the same way. I've gotten to three of yours, but not the last two yet.

  37. Tina, I respect that :) But I guess a like to blend some reality in there. I kind of feel like reading too many romances played a role in me getting married too quickly :( Something for romance writers to keep in mind.

  38. To everyone, I feel like a topic that should always be added into these sorts of discussion is abuse. Often I hear a great sermon or great advice about marriage, except that if it is an abusive situation all of that great advice can unravel and even make the situation worse. Yes, the Bible is true, but forgiving and forgiving and forgiving an abuser without setting boundaries can just fuel the abuse. I always worry about the woman in the audience who needs to hear that message as well. I know of several CBA writers who survived and eventually got out of abusive situations, so I know it happens a lot. There are forms of emotional, verbal, sexual, and even spiritual abuse that can be very subtle and confusing for women. Okay, again, don't want to be a downer, but if someone out there is dealing with that, I don't want it to go unmentioned.

  39. hi from your neighborhood, Dina
    one of these days i'm going to have to hook up with the Va Beach writer's group.

    this post does give me good food for thought - a different angle to look at relationships and writing relationships in books. i appreciate your transparency in talking about your own marriage and love story as well. put me in the hopper for a chance at winning a copy of your book.

    oh, you and the ladies over at the Inkwell do a really great job there too. here and there are my two daily blog visits (even though lately the work machines block me from commenting at the Inkwell *sigh*)

  40. Well I think it was more of a generational thing. We were raised to get married. Romance novels had nothing to do with it.

    I don't preach that sermon to my own family.

    Marriage to your best friend is the icing on the cake. But it isn't the cake.

    But there's no way around it. Romance novels are what they are.

    Bigger than life heroes and kick butt heroines.

    Fairy tales. The core of our story telling.

  41. Dina, that's one reason I usually end my stories with a proposal, not a wedding. I'm giving the couple time to get better acquainted. :-)

    I've written two marriage of convenience stories where the hero and heroines struggled to overcome their differences. One reader hated one wounded heroine for not falling in love quickly with hero and didn't finish the book. I love that story. Which proves how strongly readers and writers can feel about characters issues.


  42. To summarize: romance is the process of picking someone who will trigger your worst emotional issues and wound you more deeply than anyone else could. And the more earth-shattering the romance, the more doomed it is for failure.


    That sentence packs a punch, and I agree 100%! The wounding comes from the fact that we (our characters) care so deeply about this other person. If they didn't care so much, they could shake it off and walk away.

    Must continue to read this post.


  43. DebH - Thanks so much :) Whether or not you agree with the theories, they certainly get you thinking, which in my opinion, is always a good thing.

    Tina - I do get what you're saying. And I have a lot of respect for romance writers. In fact, I've been called one a time or two ;)

  44. Pam - yes, we do deal a lot with "wounds" in fiction. And even psychologically healthy people have wounds. I would dare to say we all do. That's what makes this really interesting to me.

  45. To everyone, like I said, at first I thought romance authors should stay away from this book. LOL. But it's just really fascinating to consider.

  46. Good morning Dina.

    I can see where people w/troubled past search out people that fits their source of pain. Kind of like girls from abusive childhoods find men who will also abuse them. They know what to expect in the relationship. I had a friend who always picked guys who were beneath her so they would look "up" to her. She was afraid if she married a good guy, he'd be better than her. Needless to say, she's experienced several failed relationships.

    But I don't think me and my husband chose that route. From the time we started dating (when I was 15 and was 17) we could talk for hours. Still can. I like to think I was the opposite of any issues he had as a child. You know, just what he needed. If not, please don't tell him because I've been planting it in his head for years how lucky he was to find me!

  47. Also to everyone, this is making me want to tell you about my other books. Love in Three-Quarter Time is a romance, for those of you who might be interested in seeing what I do with that genre.

    Dance of the Dandelion is a historical that takes an in depth look at love and the mistakes young women make with love. It's an epic story spanning a decade. I think it's pretty unique. In the end she discovers God's love and gets the healing she needs for her happily-ever-after. Julie and Melanie were both endorsers for that book.

    Also, I can't say too much, but I think you will all be seeing more historical romance/adventure from me in the future. Hopefully those ones will make it into the libraries, Audra ;)

  48. That's awesome, Connie. I love to hear real life happily-ever-afters. And I do think it is safe to assume that the book I mentioned is written with troubled marriages in mind. Or else why would you read it :) The man who wrote it is a marriage counselor.

  49. The other ingredient in all of this psychology is just plain personality. Some people are just more sensitive and need more reassurance...male and female. that doesn't matter if you had a dysfunctional childhood or not. We all have expectations and have to learn how to see past them to reality. When the romance has 'matured' hopefully the marriage has too.

    I just asked someone this question because I had written a record breaking relationship and marriage at the end of my story. Historicals and war settings give a bit more leeway, I hope.

    Dina has a sweet little romance called Love in Three Quarter time (Zondervan First) that is Jane Austen meets Scarlett O'Hara, so she's not just about the contemporary women's fiction genre. Plenty of romance there along with the considerations that any couple should have before that next big step.

    Nice job, Dina! Sending hugs to you my sweet Inky sister!

  50. Julie, you need to tweak your statement about Calgon. Let's see...

    "Calgon take me away, but not before there is plenty of serious drama, tears, and lots of makeup kisses. ...Then, and only then, can you can take me away."

    Ha! :)

  51. Can't wait to read a copy of your book. It looks like the characters will certainly be unique.

    Also, I've definitely seen some marriages that certainly follow the "psychology of romance" pattern you've outlined here.

  52. Ruthy, I'll take Dina's donut along with mine! :)

    I hope they're fresh and hot from the oven.

    OMW, I can smell them from here.

  53. Deb, exactly. This isn't just about messed up people. We all have our little issues. Thanks for the support and the mention of my other book :)

  54. Jennifer - most of the reviews have had a lot of nice things to say about the characters. They are really cool. I wish I could be friends with all of them :)

  55. Welcome Dina, and happy new year!
    Thank you for sharing this post today--wow, it really made me think about romance in a different light.
    Your book sounds very intriguing, so please enter me in your drawing.
    And living near the oceanfront sounds delightful! :)
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

  56. Dina, when I looked at my phone this morning, the first FB post was yours mentioning your guest blog here. (This is Gina, btw.) my response here is partially because I wanted to see if I could leave a comment via phone. Have to get on to the dentist to have my crown adjusted. Will try to get back and respond to the actual discussion. xog

  57. Connie, your secret is safe with us! lol

  58. SANDRA, I just snorted my coffee.


    Men, they think they have the answer for everything. And it's always the same answer.

  59. Dina, I think you offer great words of wisdom, and a reference book to back them up.

    For me, I love reading pure, sappy romance and I get lost in the love that "passes all understanding" of feisty heroines and bull-headed heros.

    That's what I read, and that's what I write.

    In reality, I've been through relationships as you've described and am eternally thankful my husband - while a hero in his own right - is nothing like the characters I read about. I do insert a lot of my husband's characteristics into the heros I create, but let's be honest, people read romances to escape.

    At least I know I smile and sigh more reading a romance than I do paying the bills, LOL!

    Thanks for sharing, Dina!

  60. Wow that made so much sense! I mean it's like a light just got turned on. I'm so glad you I didn't miss this post.

  61. PAMMY SAID: "Julie, you need to tweak your statement about Calgon. Let's see... "Calgon take me away, but not before there is plenty of serious drama, tears, and lots of makeup kisses. ...Then, and only then, can you can take me away."

    LOL, PAMMY ... you nailed it, girlfriend! Yeah, the relaxing party of this "bubble bath" doesn't come till the end, after a little soap in the eyes and plenty of HOT water!! ;)


  62. Dina, this is such a great post! Something to really think about in creating characters and stories. (And to think about in real life!) :)

    Your story sounds amazing. I love the idea of three romances in a sisterhood frame. Great way to describe it! I love women's fiction with some romance in it.

  63. CatMom - I wish I could tell you it's sunny and 70 and I took a walk on the beach today, but it's actually a rare real winter day in Virginia Beach. Brr. We always joke that we have fall hoodies and winter hoodies, but this is a real coat day.

  64. Gina - your comment worked. LOL. Gina W. and I have spent many a late, late night discussing marriage, romance, and relationships. Not sure if we should subject you all to our lunacy ;)

  65. Audra - yes, there is something special about a romance. No doubt there.

    Jamie - that's how I felt. LOL. Glad I wasn't the only one. I know people are all very different, but I thought if it meant a lot to me, it would probably mean a lot to someone else too.

    Missy - I love that sweet spot where romance and women's fiction meet. I want to think hard and take a deep journey, but I also want my fun and happy endings. One thing I didn't really mention is that there's lots of humor in Dance from Deep Within too, so it is not a heavy or dark book.

  66. Great post, Dina!

    I guess that explains why I married my father and why my daughter married her father - an attraction driven by the subconscious. Fascinating information. Thanks!

  67. Lyndee - that's really the crux of it, romance is fueled by subconscious. Pretty fascinating.

  68. Dina, what a great discussion you got going this morning! I really enjoyed this post, and will have to take a look at that book.

    Honestly, I've ALWAYS loved the idea of childhood best friends becoming marriage partners. I think it started with my love of a certain mischievious redhead who talks too much and broke her slate over her future husband's head:

    “For a moment Anne's heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert's gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one's life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps. . . perhaps. . .love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. ” (Anne of Avonlea, by L.M. Montgomery)

  69. Wonderful article Dina. But then I totally agree with your thoughts and that of the book you mentioned. I guess that's one of the reasons we work so well together at WhiteFire Publishing. Love isn't all about tingly feelings, but getting to the root issues of true love. The sacrificial kind. LOVE your latest novel too. It's brilliant.

  70. Stephanie - I love that too. That's what I hope for for my children, although of course I know that sometimes you meet that special someone later in life. I've written those sorts of moments into my books too. Dance of the Dandelion kind of opens with a moment like that.

  71. Hi Dina:

    A poet who writes prose! That describes my all time favorite writer, Tarjei Vesaas. (See “The Ice Palace”.) I even took a course in Norwegian so I could read his sequel to “The Great Cycle”, in the original.

    About your comment:

    “Lyrical stories that dance with light: first, I'm a poet, and that's where the "lyrical" comes from. I don't use a heavy poetic hand in my writing, and honestly, it's probably not as noticeable in my contemporary work, but many reviewers comment on my ‘voice.’

    This motivated me to download your book and start reading it! No TBR wait here. Of course, having ten 5-star reviews out of ten reviews didn’t hurt.

    Also you started with a poem, “The Contemporary Dancer” but both my Kindle and computer place the line breaks in different places. I’d love to see that poem on a printed page to see where you put the line breaks.

    I also agree with you that it is important to know about the deviant in order to best understand the healthy.

    I don’t believe, however, that most women (or even a great many women), who were abused in childhood, seek out mates who will also abuse them as adults. This is contrary to human nature.

    Would a child severely bitten by a dog seek out other dogs to bite her as an adult? Most likely such a woman would have a fear of dogs and avoid them like the plague.

    In many romances, if a guy even seems like he might be like an abuser (or even too assertive) the heroine avoids him. In many romances the conflict centers around the hero having to jump through hoops to prove he is not like her father or ex-husband.

    And how about when both the hero and heroine have each had a spouse die of cancer? Do you think they seek out another person with cancer to marry so they can go through the death experience again? No, they will fight such a union no matter how physically attracted they are to each other. This makes for magnificent conflict.

    Also have you considered the important of ‘types’? Some people, like me, are strongly attracted to a physical type and this happens before they even know anything about the other person. They don’t even know why a type is their type.

    Have you ever asked yourself: “Do I want to wake up and look at this person for the rest of my life?” It is a consideration. I wrote a whole romance, “The Last Romantic” in which a war hero sees his perfect type in the college cafeteria and tells her he loves her and that he intends to marry and that it is love at first sight. He then has to spend the rest of the novel proving he is not a nut or a stalker. The heroine has a roommate who is a flaming feminist lesbian and yet the hero makes friends with her simply to win some support in getting to know the great love in his life -- the heroine. The hero is a great guy with nothing wrong with him except he is a hopeless romantic.

    Even a shy person can be so attracted to his ‘type’ that he can’t stop himself from introducing himself to the woman. I think being someone’s ideal type plays a big role in the initial fireworks of love. When two ‘types’ match up – there may come an attraction that ‘could convince even stones of Rome to rise up and mutiny’! (A little poetry to lighten the mood. :))

    Now, I believe that psychologists see, treat, and perhaps even write books about the women who truly are sick, perhaps even masochists, and these women may well seek out abusive mates (perhaps they feel unworthy of love or more likely they think they can change the man – that is nuts) and from these women, unfortunately, some psychologists make generalizations about all women. We are still fighting the damage that Freud caused by doing this same thing. I cannot buy this logic.

    To quote Leo Tolstoy — 'All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'

    Amen. Now I’m off to continue reading your book.

  72. Aww, thanks Christine. You and I have always been kindred spirits. Actually, Christine was my critique partner on Dance from Deep Within, which I wrote way back in 2010. I learned so much from both her and Roseanna White through that experience. Christine really pushed me to grow as a writer.

  73. Vince, you are hard core. LOL. And always happy to hear someone downloaded my book!!!!

    You can see the original poem here: Although I used a different name. See "After Isadora." I just didn't think many Christian readers would be familiar with Isadora Duncan, and it didn't completely go with the book anyway, so the publisher and I renamed it.

    I'm enjoying all of your thoughts. The book I mentioned actually goes into tons of depth that I wasn't able to, of course. And yes, you're right, a lot of abused women would avoid those kind of men. I actually think you would find it interesting if you decided to read it. But of course I'm happier that you downloaded and read mine instead :)

    One benefit to romance writers being aware of abuse, is that it could help them not to accidentally write abusive tendencies into their heroes. Honestly, I've seen a Christian hero or two that had future abuser written all over him, although of course I know the authors didn't mean to do that. I think the more authors know about psychology in general, the richer they can make their books and characters.

  74. Wow, very interesting, Dina! You got me to thinking that several of the novels I've written involve couples who were friends before they became romantically interested in each other. Gives me hope that my heroes and heroines really will continue their "happily ever after." ;-)

  75. Myra- the odds are certainly in their favor :)

  76. Vince, you piqued my curiosity too, so I had to look you up. Love the hat, and love the title of your blog. I think we would get along quite nicely.

  77. For Vince and the other psychology fans in the audience, something that wasn't addressed in the book that I think would be interesting to consider is how personality type plays into this. For example, I can't help but think that a Meyers Briggs Sensor/Thinker would make a much more sound and rational judgement about choosing a mate than say an Intuitive/Feeler (a.k.a. me).

  78. Great discussion on an interesting topic! I'd heard of that author (Hendrix) from the Oprah Winfrey show. He was on there a couple of times. I think Oprah credits him with her rescuing her relationship with Steadman.

    I just like romance. It's my escape.


  79. Great discussion on an interesting topic! I'd heard of that author (Hendrix) from the Oprah Winfrey show. He was on there a couple of times. I think Oprah credits him with her rescuing her relationship with Steadman.

    I just like romance. It's my escape.


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  81. Wow, Connie, that is very interesting and also so sad. As someone mentioned, it is probably good to do some of your own inner healing/self-discovery type work before getting married. Inner healing is a theme in Dance from Deep Within. To me it is part of how we find true freedom to indeed dance from deep within and be the person God made us to be. I am a huge proponent of Christian inner-healing, although truly damaged people probably do best with therapists who have a strong background in both inner-healing and psychology.

  82. Happy New Year, Dina! Interesting post. Thanks for sharing info on the book about marriage. Loved reading your take.

    I tend to think, as a number of folks have mentioned today, that those who have delved into their past wounds and learned from them are more apt to enter into good marriages...or at least, choose wisely and then work hard to keep the romance alive. Marriage does take work at all stages.

    Waving to Vince! Writing in the snow? Too funny!

    The sun is shining in Georgia, but it's cold!!! Brrrrrr!

  83. Susan - That's kind of funny about Oprah and Steadman. I had no idea about that.

  84. Debby, I think you and I were pretty much typing the same thing at the same time :)

  85. And about the hard work in marriage, that really is what the book I mentioned is about. It teaches you how to do the hard work instead of just remaining frustrated. It gives a lot of hope. I think some people think (certainly many non-Christians) that if you fall out of love you should just get divorced. The message of this book is the opposite is true. With hard work and guidance you can build love even when things look hopeless.

  86. Julie Lessman, you say you just like romance to sweep you away, but I'm not sure I'm buying it. LOL. You deal with some really challenging, deep issues in your books. I think you have a lot more going on in that pretty head of yours than you want to admit ;) I'm always impressed by your thoughtful observations about people and life.

  87. This comment has been removed by the author.

  88. Thanks, Connie :) I think it's hard for emotionally healthy Christians to understand that quoting a few scriptures doesn't always fix what is broken in people. But it's important for everyone to learn that and have empathy.

  89. Well I'm not sure how much of the psychology or science part of the book I would agree with, but since I haven't read it, I have no way of telling.

    I do think that the Bible is always the best place to go to for issues like this, and the best example of love we have is Christ, sacrificing himself for the cross. And yes, more marriage relationships need that kind of sacrificial love on an everyday basis.

    But, fiction is not real life. It's one of the biggest reasons I write under a pen name. I never want someone to come to my husband or me seeking advice, and then say something like "Well, one of your characters in a this book turned out okay and she did something worse." Because it's a book, and a good story with layered conflict certainly doesn't make for a God-honoring, real life marriage relationship.

  90. I also wanted to say that it's encouraging to see you and your husband in counseling and attempting to work through your struggles. I feel like many people today quit marriage far too easily. God has a way of making things right and healing the most broken of situations--if the people involved are willing to let Him work.

  91. Naomi, the book actually is all about building that love through sacrificial giving and serving one another. I just found the initial assessment of why we tend to fall in love fascinating. Hubby and I have certainly been through the long haul in trying to work things out, but we're in a really good period right now.

  92. I read your book Dance of the Dandelion and what a beautiful story. I would like to be entered in for your latest one. Thanks.

    sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

  93. Boos Mum - Sure thing! So glad you enjoyed Dandelion. If you don't win, it's a great deal for ebooks at $3.99.

  94. My goodness, I don't know how you Seekerville ladies get anything done. This is like a full-time job. LOL. Okay, a very fun full-time job.

  95. This is really fascinating, Dina and I suspect it's exactly right.

    And the thing is, it makes so much sense and you hear people say, "He married his mother." Or "She married her father."

    And sometimes I see that.

    But I really don't see that in my own life. My husband is so very unlike my dad. And my two married daughters husbands are really unlike my husband. At lest in really basic stuff, in character, behavior, attitudes.

    So it may be true sometimes. But maybe only in sort of harsh situations. Maybe if everyone is just fairly mentally healthy, that kind of romantic unhealthy relationship doesn't manifest itself.

  96. I do think things are different in historical romance for one really basic reason.

    There was no divorce.

    Such a thing existed but it was so beyond the pale that people just found a way to make their marriage work, found a way to co-exist. And ultimate I think that's about what intense marriage counseling does. So two people trapped together, figuring it out...well, it is a bit more possible to put a couple of outrageous, strong willed types together and just let them sort things out.

    Also on the frontier, you mostly only HAD really strong people. The weaklings went back east or died.
    So you were left with big, tough, outsized characters for real, you NEEDED to be like that to survive. So that's the kind of couples you got.
    And those couples had to get along because there was no divorce, so there you go!!!!!

  97. Dina, GETTING THE LOVE YOUR WANT sounds like something married couples should read. Thanks for bringing it to our attention...and mega congrats on your writing success!!! I bet the struggles you and hubby have undergone helped you with your own characters. As writers, don't we pull from within when we create our stories? At least, that's my opinion.

  98. Plus, they needed each other, Mary. Don't you think? A woman needed a man to grow the crops and kill the game. Conversely, the guy needed the woman to cook and wash the clothes and keep house. They had to work as a team in order to survive.

    Today, everyone is very independent.

  99. Mary - those are really interesting observations about frontier people. I imagine there was also a sort of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs element there. Basically what Debby just said. They had to work things out just in order to survive.

  100. Debby - I think today we also want a higher level of self-actualization etc... Today people want to feel fulfilled, understood, and cherished in their marriages, even many years down the road. I think sometimes in the old days spouses just figured out a way to tolerate each other. LOL.

  101. Hi Dina:

    I’m a philosopher. Not a psychologist. When I was in grad school I much preferred the company of physicists (they were discovering black holes back then) than I did the psychology students. When I took abnormal psychology, we went on a field trip to UCLA and saw the original monkeys with the electrodes permanently inserted in their brains. The psychologists were mapping the brain but all I could see were the sorriest looking animals I’ve ever seen. One little monkey looked up at me and ‘said’ in monkey looks, “Please won’t you help me?”

    BTW: Your poetry link goes to your site but not to the poem page. However, all one has to do is hit your poems button on that page and you will get there.

    I understand why you changed the title to “The Contemporary Dancer” but for fans of dance and poetry, “After Isadora” is much better. “The Contemporary Dancer” makes me think of the modern dance of the 1950’s. A young person today might take that to mean, “Dancing with the Stars”. But “After Isadora” puts it in the Belle Époque and the decades that followed. I can just imagine Isadora with Zelda Fitzgerald in France. That was the period when the breakout in dance mentioned in the poem occurred.

    Your beautiful lines:

    “They are not held safe
    in ballet’s constraining outwards shapes,
    arms and hands curved into beautiful

    nineteenth century artifacts.
    For the modern dance, an electrical current
    must fill the body, charging each cell,”

    express the spirit of Isadora and the dance that came afterwards.

    I believe the typography is very important for this poem. It is as if the very words are dancing and coming down where one might not expect them to and sometimes, by being part of two worlds, providing different meanings to each.

    You do indeed write real poetry. How I would have loved to have written just this:

    “to control each
    turn, jump, and post-modern pose in a delicate

    tango with gravity.”

    While I may be known to dabble in doggerel, I can still recognize poetic beauty when I experience it. Perhaps using your body as an instrument of art (in the dance) lends itself to being a poet with one skill reinforcing the other.

    I did find out that if I make the type face real small on my Kindle and on my computer, the line spacing of your poem becomes the same as on your website. However, line spacing goes haywire when the type size is made too large.

    I think we would get along well. My favorite art is the ballet. With ballet you have music and spectacle and story with no language barrier. I remember my first ballet in Milano when all those ballerinas jumped up in the air and landed without making a sound. It didn’t seem possible that the human body could do the things that those women were doing! It was almost like defying gravity. You can see why your gravity line really resonates well with my experience of the art.

    I look forward to reading much more of your work.

  102. Hi Connie:

    I don’t disagree with you at all. We need therapists because some people are in need of professional help. There is no doubt about that.

    Of course, by behavioral modification you can change one’s behavior to something that is abnormal. I think the Stockholm syndrome is a good example of that.

    There are human submissives who seek a master and claim they want to be slaves. But these are not the humans you would hold out to show aliens from outer space what it is to be a healthy human being. As Maslow would point out, you would show the aliens the healthy, self-actualizing, successful human beings and generalize from there. But then, I think of Maslow as much more the philosopher than psychologist.

  103. Vince - All that poetry praise is going to go to my head. LOL. Not many people get poetry enough to appreciate it on that level. You definitely made my day. Too bad about the kindle formatting. I suppose we could put just the poem as a pdf image, but it might frustrate people if they have to scroll around. It looks nice in the print book.

    I've done a little ballet. My daughter is a gorgeous top-notch ballerina. She just went to college, though, and it looks like she's going to go into engineering as a profession. Fortunately my youngest, a boy, is still taking dance (including ballet) so I still get to enjoy lots of local productions.

    And...I love physics too. No joke. It's my closet geeky side. Have you checked out Soul's Gate or Memory's Door by Jim Rubart? Also Steven James's new series with Placebo and Singularity has a lot of cool physics/philosophy kind of stuff.

    If we're ever in the same place, we'll have to hang out and chat. Do you go to any of the writers conferences?

  104. Oh, and Vince, you are going to looove the extended dance scene towards the end of the book.

  105. Dina, I haven't had a chance to read the comments yet but it looks like there's lots of discussion. Had to tell you that when I started reading your post I was thinking "no, no, no" ... but when I finished, I leaned back and thought, "My goodness, that explains SO much."

    Thank you for the insight!

    The book cover is lovely ... and it sounds like a good read. Definitely putting it on my 'to buy' list.

    Nancy C

  106. Great post, Dina! It's a different way to look at romance but it makes a lot of sense.

  107. Wow -- thanks to everyone for such an interesting discussion!

    Nancy C

  108. Debby, what you said about two people being partners really hits home.

    This is something I really believe about marriages in the past. There was none of this 'stay at home mom' stuff.

    LOL, sorry that sounds wrong.

    The thing is, a 'stay at home mom' was in fact essential to the survival of the family. My mother in law is such a good example of this because her early married years she had no electricity. She worked so hard to feed and cloth her family. She was a full essential part of that family.

    She was working from sun rise to sun set, as was her husband, to survive. Not a lot of self-actualization, but a lot of soul deep realization that they needed each other. They needed all the skills both of them brought to the marriage to make a farm work, to raise the children. The husband needed the wife to feed him after his long hard day's work because putting food on the table was a long hard days work.
    The gardening wasn't a hobby, it was life and death.
    All done on a wooden stove
    Summer and winter
    Never ending work.

    Stay at home mom? Who the heck's got the luxury of time to get a job?

    So marriage was far more of a true partnership back then and people truly NEEDED each other, physically, not emotionally. And that is a big difference.

  109. I love this topic, Dina. Very very thought provoking. Great day in Seekerville.

  110. Nancy - so happy to hear that :)

    Cara - glad you enjoyed it.

  111. Hi, DINA!

    Just an interesting post! You bring up some very good points, and I've enjoyed reading the responses. I've always enjoyed psychology - just wish I had studied it more (and applied it, and what I've learned through spiritual maturity)before I married, rather than after (I've now been single, but contented, for 24 years).

    I was interested in CONNIE'S comments re: her adopted child. I worked as a houseparent in a children's home for abused and neglected children, for a number of years. Some of the children had suffered unbelievable abuse (of ALL kinds), and even after extensive psychological therapy - were never able to function on what we would consider, a "normal" level. The goal was to reunite as many children with their parents, as possible - it was hard to see some of the children returned to parents. Because, unfortunately,"learned" behavior (whether bad, or good) is often the behavior they chose, as it was more familiar, and therefore, more comfortable in their mind's eye. Learned behavior, is often, too difficult to overcome, and often - the ONLY behavior some ever know; two reasons some children of criminals, continue in the same lifestyle as their parents.

    CONNIE, I applaud your choice to adopt 4 children - one never knows what they will encounter when adopting, but the experience can be rewarding, and there are SO many children who need loving, caring, parents!

  112. Hi, DINA!

    Just an interesting post! You bring up some very good points, and I've enjoyed reading the responses. I've always enjoyed psychology - just wish I had studied it more (and applied it, and what I've learned through spiritual maturity)before I married, rather than after (I've now been single, but contented, for 24 years).

    I was interested in CONNIE'S comments re: her adopted child. I worked as a houseparent in a children's home for abused and neglected children, for a number of years. Some of the children had suffered unbelievable abuse (of ALL kinds), and even after extensive psychological therapy - were never able to function on what we would consider, a "normal" level. The goal was to reunite as many children with their parents, as possible - it was hard to see some of the children returned to parents. Because, unfortunately,"learned" behavior (whether bad, or good) is often the behavior they chose, as it was more familiar, and therefore, more comfortable in their mind's eye. Learned behavior, is often, too difficult to overcome, and often - the ONLY behavior some ever know; two reasons some children of criminals, continue in the same lifestyle as their parents.

    CONNIE, I applaud your choice to adopt 4 children - one never knows what they will encounter when adopting, but the experience can be rewarding, and there are SO many children who need loving, caring, parents!

  113. Bonton - Wow, you read through all those comments??? I really enjoyed the discussion too. Gave me lots to think about :)

  114. Hi Dina:

    I find it hard to travel these days but I hope to have two nonfiction writing books out this year and I will try to get to some writing conferences.

    I went to the Crested Butte one a few years ago and my wife and I loved it. I would go back every year to that one but I got altitude sickness and all the pills they gave me did not seem to do much good. That’s a great location and wonderful people giving it. I’d love to go back again.

    I have not read the books you mentioned but I will look into them. I have kept up with the philosophical implications for the latest theories in physics because they are interesting and you don’t need the math to understand it.

    Now with string theory and the theory that there are particles that spring into existence out of nothing and particles that seem to go back in time – well these ideas if true have profound impact on classic ideas about materialism, freewill, and of course, cosmology.

    Even if the theories prove not to be true, trying to ascertain the philosophical implications of their being true puts stogy old philosophy on the cutting edge of human knowledge.

    For example, if particles can pop into being from nothing at the sub atomic level, that may be able to free materialism from determinism but can freedom at the subatomic level make its way into the macro world that a human being inhabits? (Can humans have freewill given this they of materialism?)

    Physicists are not set up to deal with these questions but philosophers are. That’s what we do. I look at theoretical physicists as being God’s gift to philosophers.

    BTW: it occurred to me last night that there is something offensive with the title “How to get the love you want”. It is almost as if the author does not even understand what love is.

    Is love really something that one can demand? That one can go out and get like a loaf of bread? Is love something that one can force out of another human by putting an electrode in their brain?

    Is love just a set of measurable conditioned responses? Is the spirit missing in all this? Are there techniques that a behaviorist can use for making another person love them in the exact way they want to be loved?

    I think you can see why I’m not a big fan of psychologists: many seem to be more about manipulation than they are about fully understanding the total and spiritual nature of man.

    Indeed, I’m looking forward to the dance sequence in your book. Whenever I think of dance in a literary work I think of Zelda’s “Save Me the Waltz”. You might enjoy that book. I think Zelda was very much underrated because her orbit was too close to her star.

    Maybe I’ll see you at a conference yet.


  115. Vince - Soooo many interesting thoughts. I would love to talk the philosophical ramifications of the new physics discoveries with you sometime. My favorite physicist is Dr. Gerald Schroeder, if you've heard of him. I'd say he is a bit of a philosopher and theologian too. I do see your point about psychology and also about the book title. But....I will defend it only by saying that the author's goal is to hook people who have wrong ideas about love so he can teach them a better more sacrificial way of viewing it. Evidently this system has a great track record of saving troubled marriages.

  116. Great discussion; thoroughly enjoyed it. Would love to read the book, Dance from Deep Within. Thanks.

  117. Hi Dina:

    Actually, I don’t have anything against “Getting the Love You Want”, except maybe the title. Since I have not read it, I feel I owe it to the author to read it. I’ve ordered the book on CD from our library. I’ll listen to it in my car. I would, however, change the title to something like: “How to become the right person to inspire a love worth sharing.” I think a successful marriage is a matter of being the right person and not just a matter of finding the right person.

    When I read your suggestion about Dr. Gerald Schroeder I thought right away that, of course, I’ve read his books. I checked and I have not read them. Instead I read “In Search of Schrodinger's Cat: Quantam Physics And Reality” by John Gribbin. The names are too close.(I did order Schroeder’s “God According to God,” and I think it is something I will really enjoy.)

    By the way, I’ve ordered a Kindle version of “Placebo” from the library. It’s on my Kindle now but first I want to read “Dance from Deep Within”. I have not read a three woman friendship novel since “The Summerhouse” by Jude Deveraux and I really enjoyed that book. I’m really enjoying ‘Within’ so far.

    I have to get busy. You’ve given me a lot to read. : )

  118. Vince - yep, sounds like you'll be busy. I hope you enjoy all the books and find lots to keep that sharp mind of yours buys.