Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Guilty Pleasures by Jo Ann Brown

Guilty pleasures.
We all have them. We treasure them, and we may talk about them a lot or not at all. Some we feel a little guilty about. Others we feel the full weight of "Well, I shouldn't...", especially if we're doing them instead of knocking off something on our always long to-do list or when a deadline looms. One thing all guilty pleasures have in common: we look forward, like a kid waiting for the first firework to burst, to the times when we can indulge in them...and then we wonder if we should have spent that time with them.
My guilty pleasure? Crossword puzzles. I love everything about them. The clues. The answers. Filling in the first square. Filling in the last one. Okay, I don't love everything about them. When I get the whole puzzle done except one square, and I can't figure it out in either direction, I wonder why I started working on puzzle in the first place.
But overall, crossword puzzles fascinate me. I love how words mesh together, and I enjoy groaning over puns in the clues. There's the fun of learning new words, although I'm not sure I'll ever use the word "eft" (name of a young newt/salamander)in everyday conversation or in a book. Can you imagine the handsome hero of your favorite romance novel, leaning a shoulder nonchalantly against a tree and turning to the heroine who is looking up at him with a soft, come hither gaze, as he says, "Pardon me, darlin', but you've got an eft on your shoulder"?
One thing I've discovered about my guilty pleasure with crossword puzzles: It can become consuming. I don't like giving up on puzzles until I've exhausted all other routes to the solution (every route except googling the answer). Walking away unfinished from something that I've put so much effort into annoys me because I know once I give up on it, I won't go back. So I stubbornly will sit there and stare at the clues even though I've tried every letter in the alphabet and none of them seem to work.
The heroine of my new Harlequin Love Inspired An Amish Proposal (which releases today in print)
has a similar problem with being stubborn and feeling guilty. Being both obstinate and guilty keep her from seeing the truth right before her eyes and reaching out to grasp her heart's desire when it's offered.
Rescued: Mother-to-Be
Pregnant and without options, Katie Kay Lapp is trapped between two worlds—abandoned by her baby's Englisch father, not ready to return to her Amish family. With nowhere to go, she's rescued by the unlikeliest of heroes—the man whose heart she shattered. Months ago, Micah Stoltzfus courted her, envisioned a future with her, until she chose the big city over him. Now bound by duty to protect mother and child, Micah offers a solution—marriage. Though his heart never healed, he still cares for the Amish beauty. He knows he'll be the father Katie Kay's baby needs…but can he show her he's also the love she's always wanted?
Katie Kay's solution has to be - just as mine is when dealing with that last empty crossword square - to stop letting stubbornness and guilt keep her from savoring the joy of the blessings right in front of her. I'm going to try to keep that in mind the next time I try tackling the New York Times crossword puzzle on a Sunday afternoon.
So while crossword puzzles are my guilty pleasure, I'm trying to feel less guilty about it. What is your guilty pleasure and how do you keep it in balance?


  1. The book sounds great. I love those marriage of convenience stories especially if they are modern day. My guilty pleasure—probably too many to list. Maybe shutting off the world (and getting supper on the table) when I have a new book to read from a favorite author.

  2. I so love Amish romances and this one sounds terrific, Jo Ann. I think my guilty pleasure is procrastinating on social media when I should be writing.

  3. I LOVE crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles, both of which I work on my iPad because my husband got fed up with all detritus around our house from my guilty pleasures. I also love to cook, crochet, sew... The one thing that gets me in the most trouble, however, is reading in bed at night. If I'm not careful, the sun will be coming up before I realize how long I've been at it, so now I set a timer. And try not to ignore it too many times. HA! I'll try not to read your book that way!

  4. Facebook Scrabble. I keep it hand by playing with only two friends.

  5. I enjoy word searches more than crossword puzzles. My guilty pleasure is superheroes. I will watch and read anything about superheroes. My favorites right now are Guardians of the Galaxy with Wonder Woman a close second.

  6. I love the idea of setting a timer. Otherwise...

    And I'm sorry for the late arrival. My hubby needed minor surgery today, so we're just home. He's feeling great. Probably because we came home by way of our favorite ice cream shop!

  7. Jo Ann, I'm glad your husband is okay. Ice cream helps! Love your cover and the story sounds great. My guilty pleasures beside reading and shoe shopping--I love to play solitaire. I paly while I'm watching television!

  8. I love puzzles and games. I can get obsessive about jigsaw puzzles, so I don't dare start one with a deadline looming!

  9. Your book sounds amazing, Jo Ann. Guilty pleasures, hmmmm... Let's see, reading, obviously. Oh, okay. I'll admit it. Music is my guilty pleasure. I will crank up the volume and sing at the top of my lungs. good thing our neighbors aren't too close. Also, I can sit and watch you tube videos of anything musical...Broadway, sound track clips, The Voice auditions.