As I came around the far turn into my forties, a master's degree in conflict resolution caught my eye, and back to school I did go.
One tenet of conflict resolution is that much of what bothers us in life isn't about That Guy or Those People, it's within us. We can't handle the traffic because we're driving to the wrong job for us. We married the person exactly designed to help us replicate out parents' discord.
Conflict professionals are thus enthusiastic about "knowing thyself." If you're going to sit between rival gangs and suggest they learn how to get along, you'd better not be adding fuel to the flames. You'd better have a clue how to get along WITH YOURSELF.
We thus took a bunch of personality assessments, for two reasons. First, some of the most popular "tools" are the least valuable (and the most monetized). For many of us, taking those much touted, industry-revered, old, “reliable” tests was an exercise in being mislabeled. That's a sure means of developing empathy with parties in conflict, because mislabeling is one of the ways we both dehumanize an antagonize each other.
The second reason we subjected ourselves to those exercises was that many of them have some value. In my case, the most astonishing insight they yielded, consistently, is that I am not naturally a verbal thinker. By ability, by inclination, I am a visual/spatial thinker.
My natural style is to Leave Stuff Where I Can See It. If I can see it, it's real to me, though the result looks like clutter and mess to other people. Tuck it in a filing cabinet or closet and I lose awareness of it. I don't use a GPS--cannot stand to have somebody jabbering at me when I need to figure out where I'm going. I can tell you exactly where stuff is in my house, my office, my world because as I'm describing to you how to find it, I SEE it.
I suspect this is why I love physical books. I can SEE them. I can look across my bedroom at my keeper shelf, and know Loretta Chase and Mary Balogh, the Carsingtons and the Bedwyns, are right there with me. An ereader doesn't give me that assurance.
Maybe this is the reason I am inordinately pleased that this week, two of my favorite stories, for two of my favorite characters, have found their way to print. Percival and Esther, Duke and Duchess of Moreland, had to wait until AFTER I’d written books for each of their eight children before Their Grace’s courtship and marriage novellas were written, but the stories were worth the wait, and now they’re bound into a two-novella volume available in all those lovely bookstores.
Let’s celebrate this happy development by giving away three signed copies of The Courtship/The Duke and His Duchess. Enter to win by leaving a comment about why you prefer either ebooks or print books—or why you MUST sometimes have both!