Scene of the Scene???

I am a compulsive re-reader of scenes.

Wow, the way I wrote it prompted me to think in terms of a twelve-step program.Mary Connealy

Hi, my name is Mary and I re-read great scenes from books.

I suppose, of all the Obsessive Compulsive behavior in the world, this one doesn’t cause that much trouble. Unless you’re my husband and you want to thin the herd of books over running my shelves.

What I’m wondering is—does anyone else do this?

Is this a writer thing? Or have invented my very own addiction.

And should I try and get it named after me. Instead of AA, we’ll call it MCA.

Mary Connealy’s Anonymous. I’ll work on that. I want something catchy when I approach the American Psychiatric Association.

I think it might be a writer thing, but maybe not.

I’ve got this huge stack of books I love. Combine that with my chronic insomnia, made far, far worse if I’m reading a book that really catches me…a NEW book…late in the evening, I pick up books I’ve read before and skim through re-reading favorite scenes.

The seventh chapter of Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips when Ren is dressed up like a priest and he and Isabel takes turns congenially insulting each other in the Italian sun.

 The scene in The Bride by Julie Garwood when the English Maiden Jamie doctors Angus when he’s been given up for dead and wins the loyalty and love of her new clan. ‘She started four wars the first week.’

 The scene in MacKenzie’s Pleasure by Linda Howard where Zane is furious because two of his Navy SEALs were shot in a training exercise. ‘The captain was unhappy.’

The scene in Boo Hiss by Rene Gutteridge when Dustin says to be on the look-out for his escaped two-headed boa constrictor named Bob and Fred. -I had to lay the book down I was laughing so hard.

The scene in The Doctor’s Wife by Cheryl St. John when Caleb takes Ellie to meet her child. (yes, I’ve got Fillies in my collection)

The scene in Midnight at Ruby Bayou by Elizabeth Lowell when Walker backs down Faith’s stalking ex-boyfriend, Tony. “You got the nice one with me.”

  The scene in Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie when Gabe takes Nell to lunch and yells at her until she eats. “Do you really want to have this argument with me now!”

The scene in Perfect Partners by Jane Anne Krentz when Letty explains to Joel why she broke off her engagement. “Compromising situation.”

The scene in Unspoken by Angela Hunt when Sema the gorilla saves Glee. To me, the amazing part of this scene was how totally I didn’t see it coming and how it was the foundation of the whole book.

 The scene in A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman when Collin the rogue proves to good girl Faith that she has desires like everyone else…as if she didn’t already know.

 The scene in Matchmakers by Jude Deveraux where Cale, the novelist, and Kane Taggart… well, okay forget it…I can’t read one scene in that book. I have to read every word. “I have always fantacized about being likeable.” (this remains my favorite line ever written)

 I could go on for a long, long time.

 I’ve even got some in my own books.

 The avalanche in Calico Canyon leading up to the moment Grace says, “I used to be brave.” Grace ends up punching Daniel in the nose.

 The fight leading up to the wedding in Petticoat Ranch. Clay is thrilled, Sophie not so much.

 That would be stupid,” Clay bellowed. “Do I strike you as a stupid man?”—Sophie arched an eyebrow, and didn’t respond.


Braden finding Amy clinging to a cliff in Golden Days. He thinks she fell. She says she was pushed. While they’re fighting over that, a bear attacks. Love that scene. 

Alaska Brides by Mary Connealy“You call me a clumsy…”

 “I didn’t.”


“You’re not stupid.”


“You work hard. I never said…”


“Well, you should have told Ian…”

“Is that about it? Perhaps you would be as well to toss me back over the cliff before my inferiority destroys your family.”


Maybe that’s a goal to strive for, how many enduring scenes I can fit into my own novels.

A lot of times it seems like really steamy scenes are compelling but I’ve noticed, for me, it’s what leads up to intimacy and the aftermath where the real power is, the four to ten pages of ‘put his hand there’ ‘move her body there’ ‘he caressed’ ‘she trembled’ isn’t all that interesting and I usually skim through that. But what leads up to it is often explosive and passionate and powerful. And usually the aftermath ends in disaster (if it’s early in the book) and that makes for a good scene.

Do any of you have scenes like this? Or is this a personal quirk of mine?

Scenes where the words just come to life, sing, become more than the sum of their parts? Usually there’s a powerful emotion on the line in that scene. Usually, for me, there is humor and action and lots of perfectly paced dialogue.

So tell me your favorites.

Favorite moments, favorite novels. Do you know why they’re your favorites? Put it into words.

Linda Howard’s Alpha Males. Julie Garwood’s Barbarians and Maidens. Suzanne Brockmann’s vulnerable supermen. Jude Deveraux’s sharp, funny dialogue. Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ humor. Angela Hunt’s ability to take the most unusual ideas and bring them to life in powerful ways.

Do you have favorite scenes?


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27 thoughts on “Scene of the Scene???”

  1. welllllll…Mary-I cant fit all my faves on here!! LOL

    I dont just reread scenes-I reread the entire book! I just did this yesterday …I reread Johanna Lindsey’s ANGEL!

    I guess I might need to come to your MCA meeting too!

    Does anyone have any meetings for people who take reading way too seriously? …anyone??

    My husband has atleast stopped thinking Im crazy for having a notebook filled with pages of authors-in ABC order of course! I keep my books grouped together also-by author (have not put them in ABC order yet though…hmmmmm…a future project perhaps??)

    I say—IM very passionate about my books and my favorite authors! When I reread books-there are of course scenes that stand out!

    if you dont want to call it MCA-we could go more with RRA- Re Readers Anonymous? what do you think?

    Im rambling here-yes..I reread-however..I dont think I can put into words why I reread each particular book!

    One scene that really sticks out in my mind is from a book by Mary Balogh-in her “Slightly” series-(SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS)it’s the last book…so, through the whole series-you’ve gotten to know this character and how powerful he is..etc…Wulfric-The Duke of Bewcastle is in love with a lady-and I cant remember the exacty wording in the scene-but it’s near the end of the book and he’s in love with a lady! He goes to her and begs her to love the man and not the Duke…etc! I LOVE that scene-it’s very touching!

    ok..seriously-I could sit and type for days about this..but I wont!LOL I’ll stop now! 😉

  2. RRA, huh? I suppose it makes more sense, but since I went first in my confession, I think I’m going to have to insist we name this after me.

    I had a friend who was so crazy for Louis L’Amour that she kept a list of all his books and very carefully searched for all the books. She carried it with her everywhere and knew exactly which ones were hard to find. Her goal to read all one zillion of them. Like re-reading scenes, I suppose there are worse uses of your time. 🙂

  3. Hi Mary!

    I’m with Melissa on this reread the whole book. I must have read SHANNA 10 times — and OLE DOC METHUSILA (can’t spell that name) at least 6-7 times. Not to mention countless others — do the same thing with movies. But books are a special love.

    Love this post, Mary.

  4. You are definitely not alone, Mary! I just dug out my copy of Debbie Macomber’s Morning Comes Softly to reread how Travis’s view of his plain-Jane bride has changed, and I’ve reread scenes from SEP’s Ain’t She Sweet, Heaven, Texas, and It Had to Be You; Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation (at the beginning when Sophie and her sister are going down the list of how to convince your mark) and Faking It… as Melissa said, I could keep going on and on! 🙂

  5. I actually has a sort-of game I play about re-reading the whole book. Usually in winter…I’ll drag out a favorite and think, “I’m reading every word.” Then I’ll do it. But I have to be FIRM.

    I pulled out Jayne Anne Krenzt “Grand Passion” last night. This is so funny and sharp. Cleo and Max. I have a hard time skipping a single word of this one, too.

    If I start reading a NEW book late at night, I’m in trouble. I just about can’t put the book down. Needing to know What-Happens-Next seems to fuel my insomnia. But if I KNOW what happens next and can just read the book for the pure joy of revisiting genius, then I can read until I get drowsy and get to sleep.

  6. well-I suppose it does make sense we name the support group for you Mary…since you did confess 1st and all! 😉

  7. First off, I’m honored to have a story listed among your favorite scenes to reread. Thanks so much.

    I do have favorite scenes, and I’ve read them many times over, most often in the rereading of the entire book. Occasionally, though, something will remind me of a scene, and I’ll go dig it out and read it. LaVyrle Spencer stories come to mind, but titles have jumbled together in my head. There’s a scene with the h/h sitting side by side in the kitchen, late at night in front of the heater. One where he is a photographer and poses her for her wedding picture, but with her hair askew and looking well-kissed. :::sigh:::

    Emotion and dialogue woven together are what grab me.

  8. Well, if we have any more confessions, instead of naming a support group to handle the addiction, we will instead declare ourselves a protected class, come out of the shadows and perhaps try and get a candidate on the slate who will speak for our ‘community’.

    The scene re-reader community.


    United Scene Perusers URP

    Literary and Proud LAP

    Literary Internationaly Compulsive Kommunity LICK

    I just heard someone speaking out for the “Ballooning Community” (people who ride in hot air balloons) so it can be a fairly exclusive group and still qualify.

  9. I love to re-read favorite scenes. It’s usually the funny or really romantic passages in a book that require several re-reads. I don’t keep a book unless it’s worthy of re-reads, and my keeper shelves are almost full.

  10. Wonderful post, Mary, and wonderful scenes! I’m pretty much like Kay…I like to reread favorite books. Among them are Shanna as well, Knight in Shining Armor, the oldie but goodie Bride of the MacHugh, The DaVinci Code…oh, and Dickens’ Christmas Carol. There’s a ton of others but these will do.

  11. Mary,

    If you form the MCA organization, I’ll be card-carrying member! I imagine you’ll have standing room only at your meetings.

    Certain scenes in books really make me tingle and sigh. Or laugh and cry. They have to evoke plenty of emotion and that’s what I remember long after I lay the book down.

    The Flame and the Flower has so many good scenes- a strong hero and plenty of tenderness for a girl who has nothing. I loved McKettrick’s Choice by Linda Lael Miller. The opening scene where the heroine burns her wedding dress in the town square starts the story off with a bang. I knew there’d be lots of conflict. Then the scene with her mule is one of the laugh-out-loud funniest I’ve read lately.

    Then there’s Klondike Doctor by Kate Bridges (see, I have some of the Fillies’ books in my keeper stack too.) I loved the funny banter between the H/H and the sexual tension that oozed from the pages.

    There’s a wonderful scene (actually more than one) in Pam Crooks’ Kidnapped by the Cowboy where T.J. gets so frustrated with the heroine he can’t see straight. And in Stacey Kayne’s The Gunslinger’s Untamed Bride where Juniper puts Lily, tied up and gagged, in the back of a wagon under a tarp to take her down the mountain. So funny.

    And I’d be totally remiss if I left out Jodi Thomas’s The Wedding Raffle. So full of emotion.

    Yep, I’d say I love re-reading scenes in favorite books. The only thing is I have far too many to list.

    Great subject! 🙂

  12. Linda-
    I just started reading about the McKettrick Men-the contemps she wrote-McKettrick’s Luck and I’ve just finished McKettrick’s Pride…OMgosh…those books are just so emotional and wonderful-I cant wait to read about their ancestors later!

    And I must say…Linda-that most of the books you mentioned are on my shelf now and I’ve reread some of them too!

    Mary-I kinda like “LICK” myself-that has a really catchy name! LOL

    “yes-Im a proud LICK member”

  13. How about in the book Jubal Sackett, when Jubal finds a cave long abandoned in the mountains and goes inside and there are dead bodies in there, I can’t remember one or several. Laid out like mummies, very obviously left there for above ground burial.

    And he’s staring at those long, long dead bodies and hears the words, “Find them.”

    As if the words were spoken aloud. But no one is there.

    Yikes. Cool, eerie moment. And that voice haunts him through the whole book. And it haunts me to this DAY because Louis never cleared that up. I always believed he intended to write more about that and about Jubal…there’s such a huge span of years between him and the more standard cowboy Sacketts.

    I will never know what that meant. Maybe L’Amour didn’t know either.

    And I love, in Ride the River when Echo Sackett realizes she’s got to take Chantry along with her while she runs for her life. And faces the fact that he’s so determined to protect her and how badly he’s going to slow her down. And how much harder it’s going to be keeping them BOTH alive than just herself.
    But he’s cute and he means well, so, fine, you can come.

  14. Hi Mary! Love your club. MCA.

    I don’t reread the entire scenes so much, but the dialogue. I love it when they sass each other, like your books, Mary! And I really notice the opening line of a book. Especially if it makes me laugh. Julie Garwood’s HEARTBREAKER comes to mind, with “It was hot as hell in the confessional.”

    I’ve gotta catch up with all these Filly books!:-)

    Linda, thank you for the compliment!

  15. First lines.
    How about Linda Howard in MacKenzie’s Mountain:

    Wolf MacKenzie needed a woman. Bad.

    Or my personal favorite, though there’s a prologue so it doesn’t probably count as a first line…
    Kate McKenna’s Wonderbra saved her life.

    And I am also ridiculously fond of Alex Kava’s first line in A Necessary Evil.
    “There was just no good way to pick up a human head.”

  16. Mary your last comment reminds me of my own all time favorite scene from one of my very early books, CHINA SONG. The heroine finds a beautiful lacquered box on a bench. Inside is an object wrapped in layers of fine silk. Curious, she begans to unwind the silk. Is it a porcelain vase? A jade carving? The silk falls away. She is looking at the severed head of her friend’s father.
    OK, so I’m a sicko.

  17. I guess I’m the only one to admit – nope, never do it! I will reread books that are series if it’s been a long time between books. There’s just too many books out there that I want to get to and not enough time.

  18. Hi ladies

    sorry so late, my nephew is moving into his very first house. I am so proud. How dare you ladies have so much fun without me.

    of course I reread a lot of books and scenes. Some of my favorite books are old like “Fever Moon” (Susanna Howe) it is about Jean Lafitte. Ashes in the Wind (Kathleen Woodiwiss). I also have reread all the Malory Series by Johanna Lindsey.

  19. I seldom reread books. Just not enough time as there are hundreds of books out there that I want to read. Next on my list is Alaska Brides. Thanks for the autograph Mary.

  20. So many books,not enough time, but I’m trying! Rarely re-read because I’m too busy reading all the
    books by all you wonderful authors that catch my attention!

    Pat Cochran

  21. HI CONNIE!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀


    That just mean so much to me, Connie. Thank you for coming.
    I was hoping your stop by so I could say thank you for all the world to see.

    And Pat and Jeanne, I think NOT re-reading books makes more sense. I blame this habit forming because of my insomnia. As for the rest of you re-readers, no idea WHAT YOUR PROBLEM IS!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Hi, Mary,
    Great visiting with you at The Abbey. Just started reading Calico Canyon and am loving it.
    You had me laughing right off the bat with Miss Calhoun’s plight.

    R- reading isn’t one of my things. I prefer to pick up something new. I loved the scene in Petticoat ranch with the girls fighting over hair ribbons. Does that come from reality? i.e. you and your sisters fighting over clothing?

  23. Hi, Sue. Thanks for dropping into the blog.
    I’m glad you’re enjoying Calico Canyon.

    I suppose we did our share of squabbling, although we were so poor I don’t think we actually HAD hair ribbons.

  24. Hi Mary,
    Charlene coming in a day late to say I love to re-read scenes and then again, I’d get hooked and re-read the whole book! I’m terribly guilty with 2 authors, LaVryle Spencer and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

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