Katherine Woodiwiss died this week.

It doesn't seem possible but it's been 36 years since my sister handed me Katherine's Flame and the Flower and Wolf and the Dove. Those books changed the course of my reading life and shoved me from mysteries and juvenile fiction into the world of romance fiction for women. It wasn't long after this that I discovered Harlequin. The joy of this was complete when all my high school friends were reading these, too. I like to think of it as my first reading and discussion group.

I believe that if not for The Flame and the Flower, I might never have found the years and years of enjoyment romance novels have brought to my life with their strong alpha heroes, gutsy heroines, and their happily-ever-after endings. I am not unique in the world of stay-at-home moms. I kept my sanity with toddlers run amok by reading, escaping, enjoying, and dreaming just like so many others. I have literally read thousands of other books by dozens and dozens of other authors now, but I always remember those first books and they sit proudly on my bookshelf.

Because of Katherine, I am pursuing the goal of becoming a romance author and to write those same happily-ever-after stories. So, while I mourn the loss of such an icon in my reading world, I am grateful she was blessed with a talent that impacted my life and that her stories live on and on, to be pulled from the shelf and enjoyed again and again.

Rest in peace, Katherine. Job well done.

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