In my new book, the contemporary romance, All About Charming Alice, my heroine, Alice is a herpetologist but Jace, my hero, has a snake phobia. Big problem ? The end of romance ? Certainly not.

As we all know, a phobia is an irrational fear of something that poses either very little or no danger at all. Two of the most common phobias are the fear of snakes, Ophidiophobia, ophiophobia or herpetophobia, and the fear of spiders Arachnophobia or arachnephobia.

How about you? How do you react to snakes and spiders? Do they terrify you? Wouldn’t it be nice to live without that terror? Of course it would. Especially since we usually know that our fear is not only unreasonable — it’s downright silly.

Silly? That’s right. First of all, just think about your fear. If, like my hero, you live in a big city, you’ll rarely have a reptile encounter. If you’re in the country, just try remembering that snakes will never attack a human unless they are teased, attacked, threatened or poked. If a snake happens to wriggle by somewhere near you, that’s only because it’s going from one place to another and, more than anything, would prefer to be ignored. As for spiders, we do run into those on a daily basis, and if that puts you into a panic, you’ll have to do something if you want life to be a more pleasant, interesting experience.

Of course you can consult a therapist who will help you overcome your fear, but you can also use your intelligence. And that means learning more — about snakes, about spiders. Learn about those creature’s habits, their enemies, their love cycle. Find out how snakes and spiders help us, make our existence more agreable. And once you become more knowledgeable, fear starts to diminish. And appreciation increases. Just think : if you get to like or love these creatures then start protecting them, you’ll have done something wonderful for yourself, for our environment— and for the whole planet.

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