Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Freaky Fun Facts by Joan Reeves

History is full of quirky little facts. In Heat Lightning, my most recent book--available for pre-order even as we speak--the heroine entertains the hero with the story of how the vacuum cleaner came to be invented.

I found it interesting so I hope that bit of trivia educates and entertains readers too.

I like to toss in entertaining tidbits in my books by adding a little quirk to a character so it's actually the character tossing in those tidbits. It's kind of fun, you know?

Outlaw Ridge, Texas

Heat Lightning is the first novella in the Outlaw Ridge, Texas series. In the second book, Heat Wave, Mercy, the heroine, is a history teacher so I'm having loads of fun finding quirky historical facts that she breathlessly spouts when she's trying to avoid the hero's seduction. (Why avoid it? Well, that's part of the story of course.)

It seems most people--who aren't historical authors--think history is a bore. I've often thought that's because of the way history is taught with an emphasis on dates and who did what and when. But history is just the adventurous exploits of the famous and infamous. Television writers seem to know this. They're doing a great job of bringing the Revolutionary War to life with series such as Sons of Liberty and Turn. (Hey, if the "Skin-emax" treatment gets people interested in history, it's all good.)

Freaky Facts

Here are a few things I learned in gathering oddball historical tidbits. Enjoy!
  • On this day in 1439, Kissing was officially banned in England in an effort stop disease from spreading. Bet the whole nation became a bunch of lawbreakers.
  • In 1912, a Paris orphanage held a raffle to raise money and gave away live babies as prizes!
  • John F. Kennedy, Anthony Burgess, Aldous Huxley, and C.S. Lewis all died on the same day.
  • Karl Marx was once a correspondent for the New York Daily Tribune.
  • Ronald Reagan was a lifeguard during high school and saved 77 people’s lives.
  • The Aztecs made human sacrifices. In 1487, 20,000 people were sacrificed at the dedication of the temple in Tenochtitlan.
  • The Romans used human urine as mouthwash.
  • In the 19th century a popular medicine for kids was Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup which included morphine.
  • In early Rome a father could legally kill anyone in his family.
  • In colonial America, pregnant women were not given anything to relieve the pain of childbirth because pain was considered God’s punishment for Eve’s eating the forbidden fruit.
  • Attila the Hun bled to death from a nosebleed on his wedding night.
  • People have been wearing glasses for about 700 years.
  • February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.
  • There is no known civilization that did not tax. Even the very first known civilization, the Sumerians, recorded their tax history on clay cones.
You wouldn't believe the historical facts about people murdered by various world leaders since the beginning of time!

Next time your kid bemoans history, throw a few fun facts at them. Maybe it will interest them in the underlying drama that is history.

Joan Reeves, is a bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. Her next release, only 99cents on pre-order is Heat Lightning. Available as ebooks and audiobooks, her romance novels all have the same underlying theme: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Joan lives her happily ever after with her husband in the Lone Star State. Sign up for WordPlay, Joan's free email list for readers:


  1. I know that some teachers made history boring, but I was lucky enough to have some great history teachers along with the boring ones. I love history and so do the other members of my family. Great post, Joan!

  2. Me too, Caroline! I had some great teachers in every subject plus a mom who loved history and kept scrapbooks all the way through WWII. With her love of history, she became the family genealogist and compiled several volumes of family history. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Thank you for commenting on Smart Girls Read Romance. We love readers and love their comments. We apologize that due to a few unethical spammers we've had to institute comment moderation. Please be patient with us... we DO want your genuine comments!