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Reader Hall of Fame

March 2021 winner: Marti Panikkar

Home: Northwestern Arkansas

Patricia McLinn romance mystery writer Readers Hall of Fame ReadHeads public libraryWhat is the most recent book of Patricia McLinn’s that you’ve read? Proof of Innocence

How did you discover Patricia’s books? A free book offer hooked me!

What’s your favorite spot for reading? My recliner

What is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? The entire Caught Dead in Wyoming series. I love the humor, the clean, slow-burn romance, and the well-plotted mysteries.

What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told? I can’t remember anyone reading to me. Somehow I learned to read when I was 4 years old and from then on read everything within reach (age appropriate? What’s that?!). My favorite memories are of being dropped off (a few years later) at the old ornately beautiful, two-story Carnegie Public Library and literally reading my way through the stacks. The librarians allowed me to check out 10 or 12 books a week!

Do you share your reading experiences with others? Absolutely! A very few rare and special souls even get to borrow books from my personal library.

Part of any reading groups? On-line, informal fan groups: Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (Liaden Universe) and Jodi Taylor (Chronicles of St. Mary’s).

How do you feel about your local public library? Love/hate relationship. I love any free library (and ours is gorgeous) but I hate that they never seem to buy the works of my favorite authors — especially science fiction. Sometimes I wonder if they even know what an indie author IS.

What do you love about being a reader? I have lived thousands of lives. I have traveled the world and the galaxies in the past, present and future. I have met, loved, hated and learned from millions of different people! 

Have any books made a difference in your life? Of course. How could all those experiences NOT affect me? 😊

Reader Hall of Fame, Extra for Readers, anonymous readerSeptember 2020 winner:
Eileen Aberman-Wells

Home: East central Minnesota

What is the most recent book of Patricia’s that you’ve read? Match Made in Wyoming

How did you discover Patricia’s books? I have no idea, maybe through a recommendation from another author. Although I’ve been Facebook friends with Patricia for a long time.  I checked and the first book I purchased written by Patricia was in 2012, Almost a Bride.

What’s your favorite spot for reading? I love reading curled up in a comfy chair.

What is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? I don’t know if I have a favorite, I guess it would always be the last one I read.

What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told? My mom, who wasn’t a reader, would take me and my brother to the library to get books. We always came home with these tall piles of books that we gobbled up. We appreciated her support and encouragement to read. As a mom I loved reading with my four kids, usually alternating pages as we read. Now adults, my kids are all readers.

Do you share your reading experiences with others? Part of any reading groups? I post my reviews on a variety of book sites but I’m not really in any reading groups.

How do you feel about your local public library? I love my library and the selection of books they have to offer. They are also open to book recommendations for purchase, which I’ve done a number of times. My kids grew up going to the library from the time they were babies. It helps that I live in a large city with the library having many branches.

What do you love about being a reader? Being a reader has given me a way to escape the negativity or stress in my life. It has also taken me on adventures, back in time, or into the future. Books also give me new friends that I find between the pages.

Have any books made a difference in your life? I always say Fun with Dick & Jane because it taught me how to read, which opened my world to all sorts of opportunities.

Anything else you want to say? I’m a retired math teacher and occasionally helped in the school library. I loved surprising my students when I would recommend books to them and then having them tell me thanks because they loved a book.

[Like Jo Ann below, Eileen also prefers to keep an anonymous public face. But her Yorkshire terrier mix, Teddy, was featured in August’s Awww-some Pets newsletter feature, reading Eileen’s kindle.]


Have a nominee for the Readers Hall of Fame? (Don’t be bashful about nominating yourself!)

Drop me a note about why that person – or you — should be recognized as a Hall of Fame reader.

Send it to me at:
P.O. Box 494
Burlington, KY 41005
email me

If your nominee is selected, I will need to get in touch with her/him through e-mail (preferable) or surface mail — they’ll need to respond to questions for their “plaque.”

Nominees must be:
a) a reader,
b) a frequent reader of Patricia McLinn books (it is my Hall of Fame, after all )
c) not related to the author (sorry, Mom!)
d) not incarcerated, wanted by law enforcement or under indictment,
e) a generally upstanding human being

All decisions are final, and are at the sole discretion of Patricia McLinn.

May 2018 winner: Jo Ann Willard Reinhold

person reading book by patricia mclinnHome: Northern New Jersey

What is the most recent book of Patricia’s that you’ve read? I started reading her Caught Dead in Wyoming series just lately and just finished Last Ditch (Caught Dead in Wyoming, Book 4). Can I say that I really love this series? [Yes, you can, Jo Ann! 🙂 )

How did you discover Patricia’s books? I found Patricia’s books when I got my first Kindle. … I found Almost a Bride and have been hooked ever since.

What’s your favorite spot for reading? I love to read curled up on my couch.

What is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? I don’t know if I have a favorite, I guess it would always be the last one I read.

What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told? My favorite memory is my sister reading to me at night when I was little. She read all kinds of stories to me; Alice Through the Looking-Glass and Snow White and Rose Red are two that stand out.

Do you share your reading experiences with others? I share my reading with anyone who will listen!

How do you feel about your local public library? I haven’t made it to my new local library. … I just moved to New Jersey and am still settling in.

What do you love about being a reader? I love that books will take me anywhere with anyone I choose … they have always been my friends no matter what was going on.

Have any books made a difference in your life? Wow, a lot of books have affected me. When I was in school (which was a very long time ago), we had to read the book Hiroshima … even today that book stays with me.

Anything else you want to say? [Jo Ann let us know she really doesn’t like using her photo in public media; hence our use of a mystery reader to take her place above.]

October 2018 winner: Elaine Coghlan
Reader Hall of Fame, ReadHead, Patricia McLinn, fans, readers, Authors Love Readers, amreading

Elaine Coghlan

Home: Stanmore, Middlesex, United Kingdom (in the greater London area)

What is the most recent book of Patricia’s that you’ve read? Proof of Innocence, Back Story

How did you discover Patricia’s books? From a BookBub back in 2015. It was the second book I got for my new Kobo reader.

What’s your favorite spot for reading? In my lounge.

What is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? This is a hard question as I love them all (I have 42 to date). It may be the very first one I downloaded, the Wyoming Wildflowers novel, Almost a Bride, that is what got me hooked.

What do you love about being a reader? I love being drawn into a book into another world.

Have any books made a difference in your life? I read more now, didn’t like it when I was younger, so making time up now. I google the places to see if they are real so I can get a picture of the location.

Anything else you want to say? Just to say a huge thank-you to Patricia, for writing such lovely books, and I look forward to many more. Patricia is my Number One author.

Kathy Nesfeder patricia mclinn

Kathy Nesfeder

April 2015 Winner: Kathy Nesfeder

Home: Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

What is the most recent book of Patricia’s that you’ve read? Not a Family Man

How did you discover Patricia’s books? I purchased a Kindle several years ago and was given an Amazon gift card for Christmas. I found Patricia’s books on Amazon and have been a fan ever since.

What’s your favorite spot for reading? My favorite spot to read is when I am camping and sitting outdoors. I have no distractions and it is very relaxing.

What is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? It is difficult to pick a favorite book because I have enjoyed all of her books. The Wedding Series would probably be my favorite and I ‘m anxiously awaiting the sequel to The Christmas Princess. I also enjoyed the Wyoming Wildflowers and A Place called Home trilogies.

What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told? When I was young, my Aunt and Uncle gave me the Hardy Boys Complete Series. I would spend hours reading the books.

Do you share your reading experiences with others? Part of any reading groups? When my husband and I started camping we went with my brother and sister-in-law. My sister-in-law Gloria is an avid reader and we share books and discuss the stories and authors all the time.

What do you love about being a reader? In my previous job, I traveled a lot (I have traveled to 18 countries), so when I had down time, I would pull out a book and read. It was enjoyable and helped pass the time. I especially like book series because the characters continue to live on in the next book.

Anything else you want to say? I think Patricia is a great author and very sociable with her fans on Facebook. Patricia shares pictures of her dog, Kalli, flowers from her garden and lets you know about great deals on books. She also asks for help on character’s name when she is writing and personally answers you on Facebook which I think is pretty special.

patricia mclinn paula gibbs

Paula Gibbs

December 2012 Winner: Paula Gibbs

Home: North Central Indiana

What is the most recent book of Patricia’s that you’ve read? Sign Off

How did you discover Patricia’s books? I was browsing through books at a used book store. The title and cover art of At the Heart’s Command  caught my attention, so I took it home to read and became an instant fan.

What’s your favorite spot for reading? My favorite spot is any place I happen to be with a few extra minutes to read. I always carry a book with me just in case I do have the time.

What is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? At the Heart’s Command is my favorite. My husband is a Korean War veteran, and I have always had a deep respect and admiration for our military.

What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told? As a young child I did not enjoy reading. I guess my first enjoyable experience with a book was reading Ben-Hur for a book report when I was in junior high school.

Do you share your reading experiences with others? Part of any reading groups? I enjoy discussing books with friends but do not share on a regular basis.

Have any books made a difference in your life? Now that I enjoy reading, just the chance to escape the everyday stress and at the same time enrich the day’s experience makes an awesome difference.

What do you love about being a reader? I love getting to know the characters. It is fun to share in their experiences and at the same time to learn new things for yourself.

Anything else you want to say? My husband is a Certified Flight Instructor, and I do all of his scheduling. It is fun meeting all of his students and helping them to complete their pilot certifications. My husband and I also love to do the old car shows. We have a 1955 Willys M38a1 Army Jeep and Trailer and a 1981 Chevrolet El Camino. We meet a lot of new people each year plus get the chance to see so many of the wonderful old vehicles. We enjoy attending veteran’s activities and visiting any of the military museums.

patricia mclinn beck davis

Becke Davis

August 2009: Becke Davis

Home: Grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, also lived in New Jersey and London, England. Have lived in Cincinnati for 16 years.

Favorite Spot for Reading: Anywhere! In bed, at the table, curled up in a cozy chair – I’m not particular.

How did you discover Patricia’s books? I think I read the first one when I subscribed to several Harlequin, Silhouette and SuperRomance lines. Then I was hooked. I kept an eye out for Patricia’s new releases long after I stopped subscribing, and finally sent her a pestering email when I hadn’t seen a new one for awhile!

 Which is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? Wedding Party. I’m not sure why that one hooked me – I read this series out of order; this may have been the first of Patricia’s books I ever read. I loved the Chicago references (Marshall Field’s, Frango mints, etc.) and I loved the whole Michael-Tris-Grady relationship (or non-relationship, in the case of Tris/Grady). I thought the scene with Michael’s holey sweatshirt was a sizzler, and I’ve reread this book several times, partly because I love that scene so much. I loved this whole series, but my second favorite is The Runaway Bride. (I love ALL of Patricia’s series, but I have a soft spot for this one.) My second favorite series – hard call, but I’d say the one that takes place in Wisconsin. [Wedding of the Century, The Unexpected Wedding Guest, A Most Unlikely Wedding, Baby Blues and Wedding Bells.]

What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told? My parents used to read A.A. Milne’s stories to me when I was very young, as well as Golden Book stories. Milne didn’t just write about Winnie-the-Pooh; in fact, as I recall my earliest favorite was King John’s Christmas, a poem about a king who wanted an India rubber ball. Another favorite was The Tall Book of Make Believe (someone blogged about it here). It was a wonderful book that I read to my children, too. I’ve tried to buy extra copies of it, but it’s out of print and used copies cost the earth.

Have any books made a difference in your life? Yes, in so many ways. It would be hard to select individual books, because I think my life has been enriched by every book I’ve read, if in different ways. Books that have meant a lot to me over the years were mostly books I discovered when I was young: Madeline l’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World – those are just the first to come to mind. I’ve loved the mystery genre since I read my first Nancy Drew at age 9, and I’ve loved romance and romantic suspense since I was a teenager. I’m just a bookaholic – always have been.

What do you love about being a reader? Well, you’ve nailed it – reading is a love affair, plain and simple. Every time I open a book, there is a sense of anticipation, almost like an electrical buzz. When a book meets (or exceeds) my expectations, it’s a thrilling experience – no matter what the genre. Reading is always an adventure, and I tend to approach books with a sense of wonder. The people and places in books become very real to me.

 Anything else you want to say? This may sound odd to people who make a study of literature, but I have always read for the sheer joy of it, and never analyzed the why’s or wherefore’s of that enjoyment. It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve stood back and studied books with a writer’s eye. I think I purposely avoided analyzing books because I was afraid I’d lose the magic if I knew too much about the author’s process. Instead, the more I consider books with a writer’s eye, the more I’m awed that so many marvelous books were written by (relatively!) normal people.

I’d always placed authors on a different plane of existence; as if authors had been endowed with mystical powers of bringing imaginary worlds to life. This sounds naive, but in some ways I still believe this is true. As far as anyone knows, we are the only species to create stories about people and events that exist in a world of the mind. If that’s not magical, what is?

February 2007 Winners: Sisters Erin Tanner and Deane (Dee) Hay 

patricia mclinn erin tanner deane hayHome: Erin (on right in photo, on her wedding day): Barcaldine in Central West Queensland, Australia

Dee (on left in photo): Taroom in South West Queensland, Australia

Favorite spot for reading? Erin: My lounge, with my feet up on the coffee table. Dee: wherever I can get some peace and quiet – I have three small children

What is the most recent book of Patricia’s that you’ve read? Erin: The Right Brother. Dee: Least Likely Wedding (now titled A Most Unlikely Wedding) 

How did you discover Patricia McLinn’s books? By spending time with our Grandmother Petersen in Bundaberg, she and our mother are avid romance novel readers, Grandma keeps a large box of books under her spare bed that we all swap and go through whenever we visit her.

What is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? A favorite for both of us is Hoops. We have a long running battle (about 10 years) over Hoops and who owns the copy. We take turns stealing it from each other’s house whenever we visit each other. Dee gave the book to me as a wedding present in 2005 and has been unsuccessful in stealing it back ever since, much to her frustration! Ha Ha.

What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told? Erin: Having When Willie Went to the Wedding read to me every night for about 3 years (Loved that book). Mum got so sick of reading it that she used to pay Dee 20 cents a night to read it to me.

Dee: Pinching mum’s romance novels and quickly skimming to find the rude bits, before she caught us! The both of us being bored one rainy day and deciding to write our own romance novel, We named the leading lady “Cochaneal Carnation” and the leading man was “Spam Lamb”, but afterwards was changed to “Lunge Randolf” – a lot of laughs were had during the writing of that story….

Do you share your reading experiences with others? Part of any reading groups? Just each other.

Have any books made a difference in your life? Erin: Inheriting Jack – shows you how important best friends are.  Dee: Edward the Emu – because it makes you realize that it is ok to be who you are.

What do you love about being a reader? Meeting the wonderful characters that are living these fabulous lives. By the end of the book you feel like they are a part of your life.

Anything else you want to say? Dee is my best friend, she always supports me, helps me and is there for me, I look forward to many more book battles over the years to come. 

patricia mclinn joelle deveza

Joelle Deveza

June 2005 Winner: Joelle Deveza

Home: I live in France, near Orléans and about 130 kilometres from Paris

Favorite spot for reading? In my bed, with the cat close to me

How did you discover Patricia McLinn’s books? I read a book translated in French “Lost and Found Groom” (“A Force d’Amour” in French) I won in a contest sponsored by Harlequin.

Which is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? “At The Heart’s Command” is amongst my favorites. The characters seem so real, so human. The dialogue are so vivid. Ordinary people with ordinary life but the power of love is so big that they become unique and unforgettable.

What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told? As far as I remember, I was fascinated by “The Wild Swans” and “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen, then later by “Planet of the Apes” by Pierre Boulle. I discover romance books later; only in 1997, I was very ill and bought a book with a lovely cover at the supermarket (Lady of the Upper-Kingdom by Merline Lovelace)… I thought it was something easy to read and forget… And I fell in love! I bought 4 more in the same week and devoured them and never stopped since then.

Have any books made a difference in your life? Many of them made me more attentive to people around me. And all of them have a place in my heart.

What books have stayed in your memory over the years? Books like “Song of the Wolf” by Roseanne Bittner ; “For My Daughters” by Barbara Delinsky ; “The Book Club” by Mary Alice Monroe ; “Cypress Point” by Diane Chamberlain or “Cloud Nine” by Luanne Rice still live in my heart and in a way change my point of view about life.

What do you love about being a reader? To “fly away “ from this rude world for a while. To live an exciting life with many characters I probably never met. To listen to my heart and emotions.

Anything else you want to say? I dream I could come to USA someday to rob book shops; to come to an RT convention and meet all the writers I love and say to all of them how important they are for me and to thank them for all the pleasure given with their wonderful stories.

I can say this to you, dear Patricia : THANKS for all the great moments I spent with your books and also for your kindness.

** Don’t miss Joelle’s wonderful website: Click on the moon to enter, then on the button called “Livres en Vo”, choose “June” in the contemporaries section and… surprise !

madalyn reese

Madalyn Reese

January 2005 Winner: Madalyn Reese

Home: Smack in the middle of Minnesota

Favorite spot for reading? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the drivers seat of my car, or the ditch. It’s my office.

How did you discover Patricia McLinn’s books? I was lucky enough to meet Pat on the eHarlequin message boards, and loved her sense of humor, plus how down to earth she was. So I had to go pick up her latest–which was ALMOST A BRIDE at the time–and was very glad I did. Her books are just as funny and genuine as Pat herself.

What is your favorite Patricia McLinn book, and why? Boy, this is a hard one for me to answer, so I’ll take the easy way out and name two: ALMOST A BRIDE and MY HEART REMEMBERS.

ALMOST A BRIDE is where we get into Pat’s sense of humor–she almost killed me. Literally. I got impatient after leaving the store with it, so decided to read a bit of the first chapter while driving home from the store. Then I got to the bottom of page 13 (yes, can you say hooked?) and was laughing so hard I almost drove into the ditch. No, I won’t read and drive again. I swear.

MY HEART REMEMBERS sticks with me because of Shane *dreamy sigh* And the shiny things in it, of course.

What’s your favorite memory of reading or having books or stories told? I remember passing many cold winter hours curled up under about a hundred blankets, reading whatever I could get my hands on. And I remember thinking I was pretty hot stuff for choosing books with no pictures.

Have any books made a difference in your life? Wow, what a question. I think just about every book I’ve ever read has made a difference in my life somehow, whether it opened me up to a new perspective or just made me more mindful of how I treat others or myself because of whatever lesson the hero/heroine learned.

What do you love about being a reader? I’d have to say what I love best about being a reader is getting completely lost in a story, and letting a whole other world open up in front of me.

And what I love about being one of Pat’s readers is that her characters don’t get off easy. Everyone–from the main characters to the last secondary–gets exactly what they deserve, good or bad. Love that.

Anything else I want to say? Yes, I want to say thank you, Pat, for giving me hours of good reading, and a great example to follow. Not only in the writing of stories, but in how an author can remain a genuine person in this often crazy business we’re lucky enough to be part of.

diana tidlund

Pat and Diana (r) at the New England RWA Chapter Conference, Spring ’03.

November 2003 Winner: Diana Tidlund

Home: Western Massachusetts

Favorite Spot for Reading: In the bathtub!

How did you discover Patricia McLinn’s books?
I started in when Patricia first released HOOPS …My grandmother used to buy and read all the Harlequin/Silhouette Books and pass them onto me by the droves and one time there was this book called HOOPS that I fell in love with…I’ve been reading Patrica ever since.

What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told?
That would be when I was 11 and started reading romance books…my grandmother read them by the droves and never had anyone to pass them on to so I said, “I’d read them Babci” … and from then on I was hooked on romance. (By the way, it’s almost 24 years later and I’m just as hooked as I was then.)

Have any books made a difference in your life?
I can’t pinpoint one particular one if that’s what you mean but as for romance books in general making a difference, then the answer is most definitely YES….they gave me something to focus on and kept me sane during an abusive first marriage and subsequent divorce…. they helped me escape the harsh realities of that time period so that I could regroup and get on with my life.

What do you love about being a reader?
Easy….the great friends (both readers and authors) that I have made because of the common love for reading romance we share.

September 2001 Winner: Mona Montana

Home: Southwestern corner of Montana, in Rocky Mountains

Favorite Spot for Reading: You probably don’t want to know #1 Favorite Spot.

Sure we do! ???? Tell us your favorite spot. This is seasonal for me and depends on weather . . . Summer: On-the-go, outside by a creek or river, on the deck, just outside. Winter: In a rocking chair by the fireplace, in bed, in a tub of hot water.

How did you discover Patricia McLinn’s books? Friend had Pat autograph a book for me at a signing in Texas when that busload of crazy lady writers came through town.. At the time, was roaming through Wyoming and Montana, looking for a place to light.

Which is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? RODEO NIGHTS, hands down. My kind of setting [cowboys-rodeo-Wyoming], reunion love [2nd chance] plus being familiar with Cody Summer Rodeo production. I loved everything about the story and the storyteller’s natural gift, especially in the category format. Wonderful characters/character building – impeccable research – believable story – and the beat goes on.

What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told? This would have to be Bible stories read and told to me by my Daddy.

Have any books made a difference in your life? Yes. Above all, the Bible is a given for me. There are many that have become a part of me, but MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION by Lloyd C. Douglas would have to top the list.

What do you love about being a reader? The Wings of Reading……..the innate ability to fly.

Anything else you want to say? Honestly, I cannot remember not reading. It is such an integral part of my life. Who knows why, but I’ve often wondered if I had to choose, would I give up my sight or my hearing. Reading the written word or absorbing the sound of music – both play such vital roles in life for me. The music could never leave my soul, so I’d have to go with my sight.

What I read is mostly determined by who wrote it. I welcome that wonderful partnership between the reader and the writer that occurs with some stories. Pat McLinn’s writing is one of my most valuable partnerships and brings me great pleasure. She resonates with me. I can believe and identify with what she tells me. She transports me into the lives of her characters – I like them, I care about what happens to them, I forgive them their unwise choices, I cheer them on to happily-ever-after. And I do love McLinn’s dialogue – she gets into their heads and the right words come out.

Admittedly, I am a Hero gal. Although I’ve noticed that for a book to be really solid for me, the heroine must have equal character strength. McLinn is particularly adept with her heroines and I am solidly drawn to that.

In addition to all this cerebral reading technology, I like, respect and admire Pat McLinn personally. I still believe in heroes and the need they fill in our lives. Pat is one of my heroes.

toby tobin

Toby Tobin

April 2001 Winner: Cornelia “Toby” Tobin

Home: Takoma Park section of Washington, DC

Favorite Spot for Reading In bed

How did you discover Patricia McLinn’s books? Through a co-worker of the author. I read HOOPS and I was hooked and have read every one of her books since then.

Which is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why? The one about the Wyoming ranch woman — WIDOW WOMAN — who inherited her husband’s ranch, it was set in the late 1800s, and the author handled the problems of the difficulties that women faced back then. For example, she split her skirt into a type of culotte to be able to ride normally, not sidesaddle, which was quite scandalous at that time.

What do you love about being a reader? An African guy wrote a poem about how he goes traveling in books. You go places you might not visit in person, and you get a feel for that area.

Anything else you want to say? I think that reading is the most fun you can have without getting arrested. When I was a kid, I used to drive my jock of a brother crazy when I’d paraphrase Vince Lombardi, that “Reading (instead of Winning) isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” And that was always fun, being the mean older sister! For bossy big sisters, I think that Lucy Van Pelt in “Peanuts” and Angelica from “Rugrats” were wimps compared to me! I could be a terror!

Fun Stuff

patricia mclinn what are friends for

“It’s Spring, and Time for Lilac Festivals”

The Lilac Festival in Lombard, Illinois, my home town, is the inspiration for the Lilac Festival in Drago, Illinois, that provides a convenient excuse to bring Anton “Zeke the Geek” Zeekowsky back to his Drago, Illinois hometown and the women who want him there.

Lombard has hosted its annual Lilac Festival and parade in May since 1930. Lilac Time in Lombard is a 16-day festival, complete with a Lilac Queen coronation, ending in mid-May. (In 2020, lilac festivals, like all large gatherings, were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.) In the grand small-town tradition, many lilac-themed events take place, including concerts, a Mothers’ Day Brunch, an arts and crafts fair, and tours of Lilacia Park, which now features more than 200 varieties of lilac.

Lilacia Park’s garden was established by Col. William Plum and his wife, Helen Maria Williams Plum, who visited the lilac gardens of famous breeder Victor Lemoine in France. They returned with two cuttings (Mme. Casimir Perier, a double white, and Michel Buchner, a double light purple), the forebears today’s collection. After Plum’s death in 1927 the grounds were willed to the city as a park.

The Lilac Festival in Lombard, Illinois

The Lilac Festival in Lombard, Illinois

Corey Seeman, a library services director at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, took this photo of the blossoms in Lombard’s Lilacia Park in 2011. As he wrote then, “This was one week after Lombard’s Lilac festivals, but many were still in bloom. What you can’t capture here is the wonderful smells from the blooms.”

Several other North American cities hold annual lilac festivals, including:

The Lilac Festival in Rochester, N.Y., held since 1898, is the longest-running and largest event of its kind in North America, drawing more than 500,000 people annually to the 10-day free event. It’s held in Highland Park, the gift of George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry, owners of the world-famous Mount Hope Nursery. They endowed the community with 20 acres of their nursery’s land and enlisted the help of noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to develop the park. Today, Highland Park has the most varieties of lilacs at any single place, many of which were developed in Rochester.

— The Arnold Arboretum in Boston, another Olmsted park, celebrates Lilac Sunday every May. The Arboretum shows off its collection of more than 400 lilac plants, of 194 different varieties. Lilac Sunday is the only day of the year when picnicking is allowed on the Arboretum’s grounds.

lilac festival in rochester ny

2013 Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, N.Y. LtPowers photo

— Mackinac Island, on Lake Huron in Michigan, presents a 10-day lilac festival and parade in early June. It’s the first and largest summer event on the Island, attracting thousands of visitors.

— Lilacs flourish in Taos, New Mexico, and peak the last two weeks of May The city’s Lilac Festival stages a Grand Festival Weekend that includes a pet parade and costume contest, live entertainment, food and crafts vendors and other family-friendly activities.

— Spokane, Washington, known as The Lilac City, in mid-May holds its lilac festival and parade, now known as the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, one of the nation’s largest military appreciation parades.

— The annual 4th Street Lilac Festival in Calgary, British Columbia, in early June marks the start of the city’s vibrant festival season.


“How do you procrastinate?”

Play a Game22.10%
Do Something on the Internet12.71%
Enter a Contest12.15%
Nothing or Sleep8.84%
Watch TV or a Movie8.84%
Visit Someone3.31%
Clean Something2.76%

“What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?”

And the winner is … Reading!

Watch a Movie or TV6.59%
Dance and/or Listen to Music2.99%
Surf the Internet1.80%

Olympic Memories

Readers celebrate The Games with their Olympic memories.

The most votes went to the 1980 Miracle on Ice, USA winning the gold medal in hockey.

Second place was ice skating/figure skating.

Other multiple vote getters:

  • Apollo Ohno skating/winning
  • Canada Bobsled win 1964
  • Canada men’s/women’s hockey team win
  • Closing Ceremonies
  • Dan Jansen winning speed skating
  • Eddie the eagle
  • Emily Hughes skating
  • Eric Heiden winning 5 medals
  • Female Australian skier winning gold
  • Jamaican Bobsled team
  • Kristi Yamaguchi’s gold medal
  • Mark Spitz winning all the medals
  • Mary Lou Retton winning/smiling
  • Nadia Cominece’s perfect 10
  • Olga Korbut winning her first gold medal
  • The opening ceremonies/parade of nations
  • Sarah Hughes winning the gold/skating her long program
  • Tara Lipinski becoming the youngest figure skater to win a gold medal
  • When the USA wins a medal
  • USA women’s bobsled win

Movies! Movies! Movies!

Wow! I asked for you favorite movies, and did you ever come through. I know it was difficult to choose a single movie as your favorite, and I appreciated the comments about “anything with Cary Grant” or “how can you go wrong with Fred and Ginger?”

I hope you all will enjoy the list and get as many ideas as I did.

Bring on the popcorn!

Your top three favorite movies:

  • Gone with the Wind
  • Pretty Woman
  • The Wizard of Oz

Other multi-vote getters:

  • A Beautiful Mind
  • An Affair to Remember
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • Arthur
  • Ben Hur
  • Blade Runner
  • Braveheart
  • Brian’s Song
  • The Bridges of Madison County
  • Caddyshack
  • Casablanca
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Dr Zhivago
  • E.T.
  • Ever After
  • Forrest Gump
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Ghost
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Kate and Leopold
  • Little Women
  • McLintock
  • My Fair Lady
  • Out of Africa
  • Overboard
  • Rebecca
  • Runaway Bride
  • Sabrina
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • Sixteen Candles
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Somewhere in Time
  • Star Wars (any or all)
  • Steel Magnolias
  • The Color Purple
  • The Matrix
  • The Notebook
  • The Quiet Man
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • The Sound of Music
  • The Way We Were
  • Titanic
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Top Gun
  • While You Were Sleeping

Top 10 favorite/fantasy vacation destinations

Patricia McLinn’s readers wrote in with favorite and/or fantasy vacation destinations for a contest. Imagine each one and enjoy a mini getaway!

  1. Sun and Sand

    Hawaii, Jamaica, “beach” and tropical island

  2. Australia

    The Olympics, Brisbane, exploring the outback.

  3. Europe

    Portugal, Ireland, walking tour of the British Isles, Italy, Greece, Crete, Paris.

  4. Disney World
  5. Cruise

    To Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean.

  6. The Mountains

    Canadian Rockies, North Georgia Mountains (Smokies)

  7. Pack the Books

    A week or a month. The Alaska woods, Bahamas, Jersey Shore or tropical island with “all the time in the world to lie on the beach with a good book and a cool drink. Wouldn’t that be heaven? … Yes!”

  8. See the USA

    Maine. Mackinac Island, Michigan, Alaska (“in the summer”) California, Florida, Palm Springs, Calif., walking the boardwalk at the Jersey shore, camping through New Mexico, Vegas.

  9. Family visits

    Go together or get together, location doesn’t matter.

  10. Exotic and fantasy

    South Pacific, Bora Bora, Hong Kong, Peru, Fiji islands, a tropical paradise with no kids, deserted island with significant other, first class grand tour of Europe – including a crossing on the QE II and a ride on the Orient Express, Patagonia, live as honored guest at historical park, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, back-country horseback or motorcycle nature tour of New Zealand, Ghost and Vampire tour, castles and more castles, cottage on the California coast, honeymoon in Mexico, exotic island.

Looking for More Good Reads?

If you enjoy my books, you might also enjoy these authors:

Contemporary Romance

Julie Ortolon

Kathryn Shay

Judith Arnold

Barbara Samuel

Barbara McMahon

Historical Romance

Patricia Ryan

Shelly Thacker

Julianne MacLean

Wendy Lindstrom

Mary Jo Putney


P.B. Ryan

Lori Devoti writing as Rae Davies

Dorothy St. James

Women’s Fiction

Diane Chamberlain

Emilie Richards

Judith Arnold

Barbara O’Neal