Tag Archives: Characters

#Long&ShortReviewsWednesdayBloggerChallenge 4.17.19


Today’s prompt was a thinker for me. We had to come up with 10 unusual things about ourselves. I actually think I’m the most boring person on the planet, so this was kinda tough to write. I had to dig really deep and even go back to high school days to come up with anything. So, here goes: 10 unusual things about me ( the most person alive!)

10. I love scary movies

9. my left eye is significantly smaller than my right ( 2 cataract surgeries, and 2 retinal detachments, plus facial fractures as a baby from an accident)

8. I have vocal cord polyps, which is why I sound like a big smoker when I’ve never had a cigarette in my life.

7. I can name every movie made in 1939 ( being a lonely kid made me a big TV movie watcher)

6. I can recite the entire Wizard of Oz movie along with it

5. I have a heightened senses of taste and smell because of an accident I had as a baby

4. I got a perfect English score on the SAT

3. I can sit in full Lotus

2. I can’t whistle, try though I might

1.  I’m a great mimic

Let’s see what some of the other authors in this blog challenge have that’s unusual about them: L&SR

And when I’m going about living my normal, boring days, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

And I can’t forget the OKRWA 2018 Award video

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#L&SR #WednesdayBloggingChallenge 4.10.19

Today’s blog prompt, Characters I never want to meet, was a hard one for me to wrap my head around. I wondered if it meant characters who are already out in the book reading world that are so heinous and unlikable I wouldn’t want to waste a breath on meeting them. Or… if it’s people who haven’t been written yet, just little nuggets of character profiles.

A conundrum to be sure.

I’m gonna go with my first thought that it’s people who are already alive and walking around in the pages of books who I simply want to avoid at all costs.

Hannibal Lecter for example. I mean, would YOU want to meet a cannibal? I’m kinda chubby and I know he’d be thinking LUNCH whenever he looked at me.  Pass.

Jack Torrance is another one who’d I’d rather not shake hands with. He could have an axe behind his back, at the ready to whip it out and go-a-chopping-crazy. No thanks. Pass.

I’m thinking Amy Dunne is a gal I’d rather not meet up for a chat and a cuppa at the local Starbucks for so many reasons, but the biggest one is anyone who has that expressive a resting bitch face is the kind of person you know is planning 50 ways to make your life miserable while she’s chomping at a biscotti. Yeah…BIG PASS!

And does anyone REALLY want to meet Voldemort? I know I don’t. Creep factor aside, there’s that whole moving to dark side thing that’s so unappealing. Pass. Big Pass. Never-gonna-happen-pass.

Maybe the reason I stick to writing romance is because none of my villains are terrifying. Just nasty and petty. I can deal with nasty and petty. Terrifying? Not so much.

Let’s see who some of the other author/bloggers participating in this challenge want to avoid. L&SR

And please don’t avoid me or my characters! We’re nice people. Really. You can find us here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

And I can’t forget the OKRWA 2018 Award video

 

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#L&SR #wednesdayBlogChallenge 3.20.19 Hope to meet’cha!

Today’s prompt is Characters I want to meet.

Have ya got a couple of days, ’cause this blog could take a while.

In the interest of hoping people actually read this, I’ll edit it down before I start and only pick a couple!

I’ve talked about this first one before on other blogs, but I’d really like to meet Elizabeth Bennet.

I need to know the answer to this question: did you marry Darcy because you truly loved him, like over-the-moon loved him, or because you loved Pemberley? I think it’s a legit question because I’ve always  found her motivation in falling in love with him after she sees his home, suspect.

 

I’m a huge JD Robb IN DEATH series fan. I’d lovelovelove to meet Eve Dallas and follow her around for a day. OF course, part of that following around would be to her home where I could also meet her ubersexy man, Roarke. Can you tell I’m drooling right now just thinking about that encounter? About how his hand, all warm and big and..Roarke-y, would feel against mine? How his angelic smile would be intent on me and me alone? How his “poet’s” mouth would form  my name…okay, gotta stop and move on to the next one because this is getting a little out of hand.

I’d love to meet Aibileen from The Help and talk about where she gets her strength from. She is one of the best-drawn females I have ever read. Complex and simple, wise and still naive. I think I could learn a great deal from her.

Stephanie Plum and Lula from the Janet Evanovich Numbers mysteries are two gals who I’d like to take to lunch and chat up. I want to know why Steph can’t make a decision on the man she wants in her life when it’s so bloody obvious to me she needs to pick Ranger!! Really. What is her problem?? And as far as Lula is concerned, I’d like to know how she started out in the ‘ho business.

I’ll stop it at those 6 characters, because, really…I could go on all day.

Let’s see who the other authors in this challenge want to meet, shall we? Click here: Long and Short WednesdayBlog Challenge.

And when I’m not drooling over fictional Irishman ( ROARKE!!!)  you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

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Filed under Characters, Romance

I love to read, but…

Yesterday, my writing friend, author Holland Rae, wrote a blog post titled  Why I DNF. I highly recommend you click on that link and read it.

Now, for those of you who don’t now what DNF means, it stands for DID NOT FINISH. Anyone who has judged the RITA awards has seen these 3 letters mentioned over and over again the past year in the judging instructions and online. To the regular world, the letters are for readers who have failed to finish a book. Not because of time constraints, but for reasons that run the gamut from not being on board with the subject matter, to hating the mealy mouthed, weak heroine. I’ve picked up books after reading the back blurb, thinking I was getting one story, and when I started reading, was given an entirely different one. This kind of publishing bait and switch isn’t common, but does happen. I think I’m getting a romantic comedy about a run away heiress and the private eye sent after her to bring her back, and once I get into the story it’s really about a spoiled bitch who doesn’t deserve to live, or the hero is a misogynistic bore.

I stop reading. Really, I’ll never get that hour I wasted back now and don’t feel I want to invest any more of the little time I have left to finish the dopey story.

I picked up a book recently by an author that I’ve read before and enjoyed and that was touted as romantic suspense and there was – literally – nothing suspenseful or romantic about the plot. The story  crammed as much sex into the pages as the author could while the h/h were being followed by a stalker. Sex in a tiny car, in a public bathroom ( yuk! Just…yuk), under a desk, in a closet. If the book had been marketed properly and not labeled a romantic suspense, I might have passed on it at the get-go. I have a large list of one-click authors, though, and she was among them, so I never really delved into the blurb.

I’ve stopped reading books and tossed them into the recycling pile, not even the donate to the public library pile because I didn’t think anyone deserved to waste their time on  poorly written, boring stories.

Judgmental, thy name is Peggy, I know.

In Holland’s well written article, she states,

  • “I…will finish problematic or frustrating reads because it teaches me how to avoid making the same mistakes. As an author, I think it’s important to read books that aren’t perfect so we can perform more effectively in our own stories.”

That is such a valid point, and I agree with it 100%…in principle. When I was first starting out in my fiction writing career, I did commit to finishing all the books I read, even though some of them were awful. Learning what not to do is as important as learning what to do, and this was my validation. Nowadays, though, I simply don’t have the time to devote more to a book that just hasn’t captured me in the first 3 or four chapters.

The deal breakers for me about whether to DNF a book or carry on til the end to see if it gets any better ( and really, haven’t we all done that?) are as follows:

The characters curse a lot.

I know this is kind of dumb, but I hate watching a movie where every other word is the f-bomb. Use our beautiful language to paint a picture, writers, and not depend on expletives to do it for you!!

The sex is all Insert A into Slot B, lather, rinse, repeat. 

I was a Registered Nurse in my before-writing life. I know how sex works. I don’t need an anatomy or a causal lesson in how to do it. What I do need – what I crave – is reading about the emotions the people involved in the act are going through while they are…acting.

Cruelty as a plot point. We’ve all read the redeemed hero. I happen to love a redeemed hero. What I don’t love – and what no one should – is a hero who starts out sadistic, mean, verbally or physically abusive, caustic, or nasty and then magically  – through the love of the heroine, someone who comes along to show him how to love for the very first time – changes into a sloppy puppy without ever finding out why he is the way he is. Dumb, just…dumb and lazy writing. I’m tossing that one down in chapter one.

Vapid, walk on secondary characters. 

 

(Holland and I agree on this one.)My real-life friends are fully formed human beings with working minds, opinions, and thoughts. They have jobs, families, hobbies, things they love and  things they hate. They were not put on this earth to walk into my life, act as a sounding board for my choices, and then walk out again. Another toss in the recycle pile if I find this in a book.

Voice.

(this is another point I have in common with Holland). I like to read books written in all points of view. First, third, revolving, omniscient. If the story is solid and the characters are well formed, the voice (or  POV) the story is told in shouldn’t be a negative factor. I know someone who says he/she never reads anything that is written in first person. Suffice it to say she isn’t reading anything of mine, then. But back to my point. If a writer has decided on telling his/her story in first person, that characters’s voice better be the best one for the job. I don’t want to read an historical romance in first person where the heroine states, Lord Suchanass was a total tool last night at Lady Fatass’s shindig. Um…no. Just…no. That’s a DNF straight into the garbage, never mind recycling. Having said that, if an author is going to use revolving first or third person, she/he better make sure the person speaking is immediately identifiable and doesn’t sound like every other person in the book. I’ve truthfully had to start a chapter over because I thought I was in the heroine’s POV when I was actually in the hero’s. There was no distinction between the two voices. That’s just poor writing at its core, peeps.

I need to own up to this: my DNF pile has grown exponentially as I’ve had more of my own books published. As stated, I simply don’t have the time to waste on a book if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do on page one or in the first chapter: capture the reader’s ( ME!) attention. I hope I’ve learned to write that way. I’d hate to be on anyone’s DNF list/pile.

If I have been on yours…have pity on my fragile ego and don’t ever tell me! I’m better off not knowing.

~Peg

When I’m not reading you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

 

 

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#CharacterNames #L&SR #WednesdayBlogChallenge 1.30.19

So the prompt this week is Characters I’d name a baby after. Great idea, no?

So why am I having so much trouble with it??

Here’s what I do know – characters I wouldn’t name a baby under any circumstances:

Boys first: Christian, Addicus, Ashley, Rhett, Fitzwilliam, Tom, Marvin, Bruce, Elvis

Girls next: Scarlett, Melanie, Lisbeth,  Portia, Juliette, Mulva, Hermione, Anastasia, Scout

Those names are so recognizable, and some of them are iconic, that I fear the poor child would be doomed to always being compared to his/her fictional counterparts.

 

 

 

Can you imagine a tomboy named Scarlett? Or a WWF fighter named Ashley?

I can’t either, but maybe to other writers, those would be perfect character names for their mismatched personality-typed characters.

But not for me. I like ethic names for my characters to enhance their heritage. I like naming my characters after their fictional grandparents or great aunts and uncles. I like the idea of family names and nicknames, like number-naming. You know what I mean: Harry is  grandpa, Pop in H-Two, grandson in called Trey ( for third). I know this is quirky, but I love it.

So I guess I’d better get to the actual prompt for today. Characters I’d name a baby after.

Girls first this time: Isabella, Jane, Nora, Eve

 

Boys next: Roarke, Dylan, Edward, Sonny

Since this is a blog challenge, here’s where you can find other authors who are participating and get their take on character baby names: L&SR WednesdayBlogging Challenge.

And if you’re looking for me, I’ll be busy naming my characters here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

and here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

 

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#MFRWauthor Blog Challenge. Character profiles

I’ve talked a great deal about how much of a people watcher and relationship voyeur I am in previous blogs on my website.  I have to admit, people watching is the best way for me to develop characters. Watching how strangers  act, listening to how they talk and treat others, how they speak, the gestures they make, all go toward making a character more life-like on the page.

But what happens once I see and know the character I want to write about? Well, then I do an indepth profile of them using a worksheet developed by ONE STOP FOR WRITERS and authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. One Stop is a paid membership service to their on-line support system which lists thousands of characteristics inherent in the human personality. Many of you may have heard of their breakout book THE EMOTION THESAURUS.

I own this book in print and believe me when I say it’s dog-eared, yellow markered up, and used almost daily. I also own an ecopy of it so I can always have it with me when I’m working and not home. To go along with this book I also have copies of the others in the series:

      

Each of these books is an excellent, must have reference book when writing anything emotion-worthy and characteristic-driven about your characters.

I also have a Book Bible for each book I write that lists all the characters, their physical characteristics, their relationship to one another, and their GMC’s. Because I write so many book in series, this is a fabulous way for me to ensure I never give a character green eyes in chapter one and brown eyes in chapter 8. Plus, if I’ve killed off their beloved cat in backstory, I can’t show them petting the cat in chapter 2. My mind is so chockfull of “stuff” that trying to remember each detail is just a wee bit of  a hardship for me. Having it readily available at a few taps of my fingers is paramount in keeping everything flowing smoothly.

Character profiles have come a long way since the times when just listing the physical details was the only thing important. Readers are invested in their fav characters and series and have looooooooooooong accurate memories when it comes to the minutia. If you have any doubt of that just ask anyone who is a long time soap opera watcher about the backstories of any of the main characters. They will give you chapter, book, and verse in major detail. Why do you think it’s called a “show Bible?” ( see what I did there? Bible…chapter, book, verse?)

Heehee.

Since this is blog hop, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.

AuthorBlogHop

Looking for me? here I am:

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and one last shameless plug: Check out my new AUDIOBOOK version of 3 WISHES, available now at Audible // Itunes // and Amazon.

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Am I getting too personal?

Week 3 of the 2018 #MFRWauthorBlogChallenge, and it’s another good topic: How much of myself is in my writing. In all honesty? A shitload!

Let me ‘esplain, Lucy.

That old adage write what you know only gets you so far in fiction. I could write tomes about Nursing, Parenting, the psychological ramifications of divorce on children. Truly. Tomes. But’s that’s non-fiction. In fiction, I’d only get about 2 books out of all that first-hand knowledge and personal angst. So writing what I know for fiction isn’t going to cut it.

But….

I’ve written characters who were lawyers, doctors, artists, Olympic athletes, chefs, and government agents. I’m not now, nor have I ever been, any of those things. Research into their professions, plus knowing a few people who are those things have helped. When to gets down to the meat and potatoes of the characters, especially my heroines though, well a lot of me, my habits and quirks, and beliefs are woven into their psychological makeup.

For instance. People who know me know I lovelovelove Diet Mountain Dew. Unhealthily so. It’s my drug of choice ( heehee). In A SHOT AT LOVE, I made my heroine Gemma Laine a DMD addict as the way in which she gets her caffeine hit. Just like me.

In THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, my heroine Moira Cleary is known as the quiet, calm twin. When she gets really, really angry, though, her voice and manner become deathly quiet. She doesn’t rant and rave like her mother and twin brother. Her verbal missiles obliterate and all the while her voice is as quiet as an empty church. I’m the same way. When my voice lowers, look out.

Another way there’s a great deal of ME in my writing is in the moral makeup of my heroines. They are all strong-willed women. Loyal, smart, and spiritual. They will fight to the death if someone they love is being hurt and when they take a stand on a topic, it takes a bulldozer to ever get them to change their minds.

Yeah. Kinda sounds like me.

I will never write a doormat heroine.

Or one who sees herself as a victim.

Being a victim is quite different than seeing yourself as one.

I will never write a heroine who does something morally repugnant and unforgivable. I wouldn’t know how to make her sympathetic with those qualities.

My tagline for my books is that I write about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. You will always know the makeup of my heroines based on that line. Always.

And because of that, you will always know a little about me, too.

Let’s hop on over to some of the other authors in this challenge and see how much of themselves they put in their writing.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Strong Women

I’m the visitor today!

Join me as I talk about characters and writing stuff over on friend, writer , and award winning Casi McLean’s blog today. Stop by and leave some love. Here’s the link: Writing about Characters

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Story inspiration; #MFRWauthors #BlogChallenge Week 14

 

Everywhere I look I find inspiration for stories. It doesn’t take a great deal of action or thought on my part, actually. I’m a naturally nosey person and I tend to eavesdrop on conversations that don’t involve me; watch strangers interact with people when I’m shopping; I even pay attention to how people react with one another when I’m on line in the grocery store. Little snippets of conversation, a careless wave of a hand while someone is speaking, and I’ve got a story jarring to be told shooting forth from the back of mind.

Like I said, I’m nosey. Not in your face ask you a million questions nosey and annoying, but I’m the kind of person people – strangers – talk to. I’ve got “that kind of face” I guess. Really, I could talk to a rock if I needed to. And it would probably answer back. This makes me sound like a harpy or a gossip, but I’m not. I don’t go forward and seek information from people – it is divulged to me willingly and without my asking. And just BTW, I’m that gal who people trust with secrets. So…just saying.

So, my writing process starts with people. I see people ( Now I sound like an M. Night Shamylan movie!), I watch them, and I build stories around them. Character always always always comes first. My husband has commented – frequently, I’ll add- that I tend to stare at people when we’re out in public, like at a restaurant or when we’re traveling. Some of my most influential character descriptions have evolved from watching how people behave when they’re on an airport check-in line. Think about the last time you traveled and were waiting….waiting…..waiting on that check-in — and then the security — line. You will see all kinds of human behavior just chockful of character insights.

So. First I see a person, imagine them as a character, then give them an imaginative ( my imagination) background. From there, a plot will form.

Here’s a quick example – and this really did happen. I was mall shopping one day and decided to have lunch so I hightailed it to the mall Pizzeria Uno. Love their grilled chicken salad. But I digress… As I was waiting for my lunch to arrive my eyes took a tour of the other lunch patrons. I saw this: 3oish man and woman across from me. Their body language said they were involved in some kind of an argument – he kept drumming his fingers on the table, she was looking down at her drink, a scowl on her face. They were dressed in business casual, so I assumed they were on a working lunch break. Here’s the snippet of conversation that drifted my way once my salad came:

Him: you need to deal with this. Today. Don’t waste any more time.

Her: Stop pressuring me. I’ll get it done. Just back off, will ya?

Him: Stop being such a bitch about it and just take care of.

So. What did I learn from this conversation? Nothing, really. But my mind went into hyperspace and overdrive at all the options available. Was she a whistle blower? Was he a corrupt banker? Was she pregnant and he was her baby daddy and her boss? Her married boss? Were they doing something illegal? Immoral? Unethical? Dangerous?
See? This is how my mind works.

Now, in all reality, they could have been a young married couple who were still waiting to get their cable television system installed and he was getting mad she hadn’t called the cable company to light a fire under their installing asses. Who knows?
My point is, this is how my writing process works: see a person, imagine them as a character, devise a back story and then a plot for them.

Easy peasy, right?
Yeah…not so much. But it is fun people watching!

 

Since this is a BLOG HOP, click on the titles/names of the authors below to find out what their writing process if like. You put 1,000 writers in the same room and you’ll get 1,000 different responses!

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Romance, Strong Women

Saying goodbye…

I’m usually not sentimental when it comes to leaving something or someplace. I’m not one of those people who take forever to say goodbye at gatherings. You know the kind I mean: just like that character from the old Saturday Night live routine The Thing That Wouldn’t leave!! So not me. When I say my goodbyes, I leave. Exit, stage right. Follow to the Egress. Jaeger, out!

vontrapp

But lately, it’s been a little more difficult to say goodbye to my characters when I’ve typed THE END in a manuscript. I’ve been living and breathing with them for several months and I’ve become devoted to them on so many levels, it’s maybe a little creepy. Well, maybe not creepy, but certainly unusual.  They are, after all, characters, not real people I’ve forged attachments to. But I’ve been in their heads,( okay, a little creepy!) showing their emotions, giving their dialogue a platform on the page to express themselves. I’ve been their mentor, creator, best friend, bon-vivant, encourager,  and chief comforter. And now they have left me…. I feel sad and restless and like an empty nester all over again.

Yeah, okay, I’ll admit it does sound like I need to get out more and be around real, live, people.  You’ve got me, there.

But hear me out. These characters, my babies for lack of a better word, are as close to me right now than my actual loved ones  are – maybe even closer – because I see the world through their eyes, hear their voices through my ears, and experience their crush of emotions through my limbic system. In the purest sense of  written form, they are me and I am they.

Okay, so now creepy and a little too science-fictiony for my sanity. But I think all the writers out there know what I mean. Here are a few pretty literary types explaining it much better than I am.

Cartoonist Berkely Breathed put it this way: “I will go to my grave in a state of abject endless fascination that we all have the capacity to become emotionally involved with a personality that doesn’t exist.”  Writer Teresa Mummert  says, “Sometimes I scare myself at how easily I slip inside my mind and live vicariously through these characters.”  But my favorite quote is from G.K. Chesterton: “I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”

So, that’s my rant for today. I’ll deal with saying my goodbyes to my most current characters much as Scarlett O’Hara did: “I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

scarlett

The newest characters I’ve had to say goodbye to live in THE VOICES OF ANGELS, available from The Wild Rose Press and my local Toadstool Bookstore.

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

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Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Available here: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me //Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Friends, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor