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Wednesday, April 28, 2010:
Guest author post: Nikki Duncan on Things our Parents Teach Us
Things Our Parents Teach Us...

I’ll admit I never gave much thought to what I was learning from my parents on a day to day basis, but now that I’m a mom, habits, sayings and behaviors my children are learning from CIS (hubby) and me are jumping out all the time.

For example, CIS, on a constant quest for what he sees as perfection, will correct the accuracy of a general statement. If I say something weighed a ton, making the point that it was immeasurably heavy in my mind, he will say something along the lines of it more than likely weighing closer to 100 pounds. It’s a frustrating habit that now has both children correcting any general statement they hear and have a differing opinion on. More frustrating, I don’t know how to stop them, but it’s drivin’ me nutty!

This nuttiness has me wondering what traits our favorite book characters learn from their parents. Granted, a lot of times their relationship hang ups are because of parents, and that’s true of my SCENT OF PERSUASION heroine Kami and even a little true about my hero Breck, but what else do they learn?

Kami’s father taught her some hard life lessons early, and while they toughened her enough to make her strong, they also left her jaded to men she saw as fitting in the “white collar” world. On the flipped side of the coin, as hard as she tried to leave behind the lifestyle that had been bred into her, it flowed in her blood and she called on it to get through rough situations. Things her mother had taught her, like lessons on how to mingle at a ritzy fundraiser, or size up a person to determine their “worth”, or how to appear interested in everyone and their interests failed to leave her. Not only did they stick with her, but they became a deeply ingrained. The lessons fueled her intuition, enabling her to choose trustworthy friends and advocates. They helped her pinpoint her pool of suspects to prove her step brother did not kill himself. And much to her surprise, those lessons turned her into the steel-spined woman Breck fell in love with – even if he did represent everything she avoided.

Breck on the other hand, didn’t have his own parents around to teach him many lessons. Well, aside from a love for music and dancing he’d set aside until Kami waltzed into his life. He did however have his best-friend’s parents (Jane Ann and Leon Masters) to raise him and teach him. Though their teachings didn’t turn out as they’d hoped. In Breck’s work first enjoy life second lifestyle, he’s shunned all relationships with women that show signs of strings. At times, like the first night of his ritzy fundraiser, he’s resorted to employing escorts to provide no strings companionship for a night. Interestingly, it’s not that he’s anti-relationships. He’s anti-anything not like the Masters’ relationship. Considering his expectations for “relationship perfection” he’s settled into his life. He hasn’t learned these lessons from Jane Ann and Leon. If anything, he’s taken their teachings and twisted them.

Sure, he embraces all the advice they gave him that it’s up to stronger, able people to help those less fortunate. He’s proven his respect of that by becoming the team leader of the FBI Specialized Crimes Unit. That’s professional. That’s easy. The lessons on relationships are the ones he’s twisted. He’s convinced himself that only one kind of relationship will be enough for him. Until he finds it, nothing else is worth exploring. And until Kieralyn joined his team, that rule even applied to having women as friends.

So let’s play. Tell me what traits, habits or lessons you’ve seen passed on. Maybe you learned them. Maybe you passed them on. Maybe their things you’ve seen someone else do or things you’ve noticed about your favorite fictional characters.

Chat it up to be entered into a drawing I will be having for a copy of SCENT OF PERSUASION. Kami will announce the winner Monday, May 3 (at 7:00 Central Time) on my website during a live Chat. If you can’t make that, be sure to include your email and preferred eBook format so I can contact you if you win.

Read more about Kami and Breck, and their story SCENT OF PERSUASION, here!

Visit Nikki at her online homes:”””””http://

Thank you Nikki!

Folks, please leave a comment for your chance to win :)



  1. I see many of my traits in my son. Not always the best ones either.

    Sounds like an interesting story, Nikki.

  2. What an interesting post, Nikki! As I've gotten older I find myself possessing more and more traits of my mother and even more, her sister (my favorite aunt). My daughters tease that they think I have little bits of both of them in me. I, on the other hand, have noticed on occasion that my girls, now 19 and 24, have picked up some of the same things! I've decided not to share that with them, but it makes me smile.

    Your book sounds amazing, Nikki, and I'm definitely making note of it for the TBB list.

    Thanks so much for being here with Stacy today - she's sweeter than sugar, isn't she?

  3. Lynda, it's funny how the not great traits are the ones that stick out the most. At least until you really start looking.

    Laurie, I've noticed a lot of my younger sister's habits in my oldest daughter. Her dramatic flare and the way she phrases things. The funny thing is that even with my sister living in AZ the habits are still there.

    I hope you both love the book. I certainly loved writing it. :)

    And yes, Stacy is super sweet.

  4. It's not something I've stopped to think about. But now that I have, I hear myself saying things to my kids that my mom said to me, or I've found myself thinking about what my dad would have done or said in a certain circumstance. Also, my youngest probably reflects my dad's mannerisms the most, and he was only 6 when my dad passed away.

    What is really eerie is how much my husband and my mom think alike!

    If your book is as interesting and thought provoking as your blog post I know I will enjoy it.

  5. My parents work ethic is something they passed on to us. We hate being still and always do the job with perfection. Never call in sick no matter how bad we are and go above and beyond what's asked of us. There's times I feel that that gets us taken advantage of, but it's something I can't change in myself.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  6. My parents instilled in me that you have to work for what you want in life and that you should not expect things to just be handed to you. They also taught me to believe in myself.

    I don't have kids myself so I don't notice the sayings and such so much as others might as being passed on but I am sure that I have habits and traits of my parants. I noticed a while ago that I have my mom's hands...if I look at my hands just so they look exactly like my moms.

    Nikki I was noticing your book cover. The male cover model looks remarkably like Adam Rodriguez who plays Eric Delko on CSI:Miami. Do you happen to know who the guy really is?

    You book sounds interesting. Will have to add it to my ever growing TBB list.

    Thanks for an interesting and thoughtful blog.

  7. Awesome post, Nikki! I see lots of traits in my child ... most of which are good. Some, umm, not so good. Guess that's the way of it, though, isn't it?

    I really liked your post, though. Very thought-provoking! Thank you!

  8. It's fun thinking about what we got from our parents or others and what we're passing on. Scary at moments, but fun. :)

    Lisa F, I like to think the book is better than the blog. Man I hope so. lol

    Joder, I absolutely know what you mean about the work ethic getting you taken advantage of. I'm in the same boat with you there.

    Barbara, I absolutely agree you have to work, and sometimes fight, for what you want. Nothing that truly matters is easy.

    And I don't know who the guy on my cover is. I have a friend and we joke he's her hubby because he does look a lot like him. lol

    Yes, Daphne, we do tend to pass on the good and the bad.

    I'm glad you guys are enjoying the post.

  9. Oh, and if you want to be entered in the drawing, but don't want your email posted for all to see, you can email me at with Kami in the subject line. :)

    Should have thought of that earlier.

  10. Neat post, Nikki! Like Lynda, I can see some of my traits in my children, and not always the ones I WANT them to inherit! I feel like I need to nudge them to overcome or improve on those particular ones :) One amusing one is that my middle one is already a crazy reader--she's got her nose in a book ALL the time! Love it, even when it's annoying! ;)

  11. How fun! I am seeing more of my mom's traits in me every day and sometimes they scare me! lol Not that she was a bad mom - she was great but it just makes me realize I'm getting older. :)

    I think some of the traits I tend to see in myself are just sayings that she used to use with us that would annoy the crap outta me...and here I am saying them to my kids. Do I think they'll be less annoying for them? lol

    But one thing my mom passed down to me that I love - and she did it for a few of the other kids too was her love of reading. That's my favorite one.

    With my dad he passed down silly sayings and jokes that I now share with my kids and they love. Of course most of the time they say - hey! You got that from Papa lol

    I probably won't be able to make it on the 3rd but please count me into the drawing. My email is redneyrae AT ca DOT rr DOT com and I love pdf formats.

    Great post!

  12. You know, I'm wondering now where I got my love of books. I can't remember anyone who loved reading in my family, but my oldest is as voracious as I used to be with books, so that excites me.

    Stacy, thank you for having me here today. It's been fun, and I'll be back tomorrow in case people come late. :)

  13. Nikki, thank you so much for your blog post and for stopping by. I really appreciate it. I think this book sounds really good and I can't wait for the hard copy :)

  14. What an interesting post! What my parents taught me was to embrace life, live it to the fullest and enjoy every moment of it. And the one thing I always wanted that my parents had was a respectful and loving marriage. A marriage like theirs, with love, respect, fun and sticking through all the rough patches that life deals us, was what I wanted. It was that or nothing. Luckily for me I found the partner to have such a marriage with and have been experiencing it for almost ten years now.

    The bits I took away from my parents characters are a bit contradicting.
    I have the laid-back, don't worry be happy, why do today what you can do tomorrow if it doesn't bother anyone attitude of my dad.
    On the other had I totally took over my mom's obsession with punctuality and need to have order!

    An example: excessive list making (especially to do lists) and not sticking to them because: "hey I can do that tomorrow...or next week too" LOL

    Oh and I look forward to SCENT OF PERSUASION! It's on my Samhain Release List (and believe me my booklists are the rare ones I do stick rigorously to).

    With the time difference I don't know if I can make it to the life chat announcement Monday so my email is

    mbarten72 (at) upcmail (dot) nl
    preferred format: epub

  15. Woops--I forgot to include my e-mail address:
    f dot chen at comcast dot net

    My kids have chess club during your live chat time :( I'd much rather be chatting! ;)

  16. Thank you Nikki - that was a very thought-provoking post.

    I'm only know coming to realize what I learnt from my parents, specifically my father...and I have a feeling it's going to take me a lot longer to unlearn them than it did to learn them... Because children are so...vulnerable, and pick up more than you realize and twist it in ways you can't begin to imagine. Sorry to be so negative. On the plus side, I loved being able to share my love of books with my grandfather.

  17. Stacy, you know it's not going to be hard copy for awhile, right? lol SOUNDS TO DIE BY will be in print in August though. I'm hoping to sign it at RWA. :)

    Pearl, first off congrats on getting that marriage. They're rare and hard, but extremely valuable.

    And boy do I hear you on lists and punctuality. lol

    I have you in the contest. I have you too, Fedora. :)

    Orannia, don't apologize for negativity when it's more accurately you taking an honest look at things. I've been doing a lot of that lately and while it's a downer at times it's needed. How else can we hope to make our lives better?

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