Monday, February 23, 2015

Beautiful People - A Beast and a Rose {February 2015}


Beautiful People Button

Yes, it’s that time again! Okay, it has been that time for nearly 3 weeks now, but didn’t we learn from last week’s post that I’m always late to parties? Hey, I never said I was a good role model.

I’m sure you know the drill. Beautiful People is a linkup for writers by the ever awe-inspiring Sky and Cait. They give us ten questions to answer about any character we have of our choosing. Always a good time! BUT being as how this is the month of flowers and heart-shaped things we get a special edition centered on, you guessed it, COUPLES. Now I know the romantic in you is itching to get in on this, don’t deny it. There’s still a week (okay, almost a week) left of February! So get your warm and fuzzy hearts on over to Sky's post or Cait's and linkup! Even those of us who don’t write in the romance genre constantly find those heart-shaped things slithering into our writing, am I right? It’s inevitable I fear.

For me, this edition of BP popped up at just the right moment being as how I’m deep into plotting for Burning Thorns, my Beauty and the Beast retelling. And with a B&B story comes a romantic couple, obviously. This is just what I need to get deeper into their not-always-so-fluffy-but-still-rather-sweet relationship.

Allow me to introduce my Beauty and Beast, Rose and the Beast (or the Dragon, he’ll answer to either, probably not politely but he will answer).

Rose and the Beast

The Beast had barely stepped through before the girl zipped past him, bare feet tapping across the hall as she hurried to the fire.
"Rain really has no right to be so icy this late in spring," she said, holding her palms out in front of the flickering flames.
The Beast eyed the trail of dirt on the once polished floor leading to the girl. He stomped the mud from his own boots and gave the doors a mighty slam. The girl jumped.
"This way," he grunted, moving to the far left end of the foyer to the wide stairway.
The girl chased after him.
Patter, patter, patter.
One new dirt spot with each step.
He growled under his breath and led her down the vast halls of the second floor, the walled candles guiding their way.
"I appreciate your hospitality," she said, bouncing up next to him. He quickened his steps ahead of her. "I mean, I'm not really sure what I'm going to do now. Since I'm on the run and all." Her words faltered, but in seconds returned to that quick, jaunty tone. Did she always talk like that? "I'm sure I'll figure something out though."
"I'm sure." He shoved open a door and stepped aside, head low. "You may sleep here." He had already made it halfway back down the hall when her response echoed after him.
"Thank you! I never knew dragons could be so kind."

1. How long have they been a couple?
Well, they first meet at the beginning of the story and don’t become a “couple” until the end you could say. I haven’t entirely figured out the timeline yet, but I’m thinking the whole book takes place in a manner of a couple months maybe? Still working out how long everything progresses. Since this is a novella being turned into a full novel, constructing a timeline is hurting my brain a little.

2. How did they first meet?
It was a dark and stormy night. . . No, but really. It was raining torrents and Rose was running for her life from people who wanted to enslave her. She got entangled in the Beast’s rose garden, he found her, nearly sent her away but realized she might be just the person to help him break his curse. . . Maybe not in the way you may think though. *wriggles eyebrows*

3. What were their first thoughts of each other? (Love at first sight or “you’re freakishly annoying”?)
Rose found this tall man completely clad in black a little intimidating, but when he offered her a warm place in his castle she decided he was very kind. (Ah, na├»ve little Rose. . .) While Rose’s chatty, over perky personality definitely grated on the Beast’s nerves.

4. What do they do that most annoys each other?
The Beast thinks Rose talks way too much. Rose thinks the Beast is too quiet. Yeah, some issues to work out there.

5. Are their personalities opposite or similar?
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!!!!

Ahem.

Let’s just say Rose and Beast are like putting a frisky puppy and an old, bored cat together.

6. How would their lives be different without each other?
Rose would probably be living a torturous life of enslavement in enemy lands.

Beast would forever be cursed and probably out of his mind from hatred and solitude.

Needless to say, it’s a good thing they stumbled upon one another when they did.

7. Are they ever embarrassed of each other?
This is about the same answer as the things that annoy them. The Beast often wishes Rose would cease her constant chatter and let others get a word in every now and again, and Rose wonders why oh why the Beast won’t participate during social events.

8. Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?
Oh, just about two, maybe three, entire kingdoms. Apparently associating with the Dragon that thrust the world into shadows and chaos is frowned upon. Who would have thought?

9. Do they see their relationship as long-term/leading to marriage?
This is a fairytale. What do you think? *winks*

10. If they could plan the “perfect outing” together, where would they go?
The Beast lives in an enchanted forest filled with all sorts of otherworldly wonders. He’d love to take Rose on a picnic to some beautiful, magical place in the Forest where she could play with sprites and pick flowers. Yes, despite all you’ve just learned about the Beast, he can be a romantic.

Now I have a question for YOU.
Who is your favorite fictional couple?
I LOVE hearing about everyone’s favorites, so come, gush. I beg of you!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine’s Day Tag


Hello, my dear bloggings, I do hope you had a LOVEly Valentine’s Day weekend (see what I did there?). As for myself, I enjoyed a good dose of family time involving many laughs and a lot of food. Because laughing and eating is what my family does best.

My sweet friend Rachel W. over at Secret Scribblings has formed together a fun Valentine’s tag and passed it my way. Thank you, Rachel! I never can pass up a fun tag. And do go check out her blog. Her witty, hilarious posts constantly trigger an explosion of laughter from me. It’s always a good time over at her entertaining blog.

Now, I know Valentine’s Day is over, but we’re still living in the spirit of it, right? And we all know I’m fashionably late to parties. Yes. So here we go!

Heart Sky Balloons

~Rules~

-Answer the questions
-Tag whoever you want
-Link back to the person who tagged you

Simple as that!

~Questions~

1. Are you currently in a relationship? (if this one is too personal, it can be skipped)
Pizza Love TriangleYes. It’s only a matter of time before Pizza and I are to be married.

Ahem.

No, I’m quite single. But, though I dream of a Prince Charming, I’m perfectly content with where I am in life right now. I have a lot of growing spiritually to be had before I’m ready for anything like marriage. God has many beautiful plans for my life, I know that. He has me exactly where He wants me right now and that’s okay with me.

2. Do you consider Valentine's Day a Big Deal?
The actual holiday, no, not a bit. I have no real use for Valentine’s Day right now and just don’t think about it deeply. I don’t see anything wrong with it. Having a special day for couples to show their appreciation for one another is sweet, and that’s especially an important thing for married couples. But for me personally, it’s just another random holiday that comes and goes and that’s that.

But this time of year is rather exciting and busy because my family hosts a big Valentine’s party for the young children in our homeschool group. That’s definitely a highlight for Valentine’s Day. I really enjoy it.

Also, on Valentine’s Day 3 years ago my bestie’s husband asked her to marry him. So this holiday has had some special moments for me.

Books instead of Roses3. Do you like flowers? If yes, what kind? If no, why?
I think flowers are beautiful, and my favorites are absolutely roses. BUT if a guy were to buy me something I wouldn’t want it to be a thing that just wilts away after a few days. I mean, have you ever noticed how expensive flowers are? That’s a ridiculous amount of money for something you can pull out of the ground! No, I’d much, much rather something I can keep and cherish forever. Like. . .BOOKS. Basically, if you’re buying me something, buy me a book. That’s all I ever want. Ever.

4. What's your favorite kind of chocolate?
The kind that doesn’t exist.

I. . .um. . .don’t actually like chocolate. At all. I think it’s disgusting and even the smell makes me wrinkle my nose. I know, outrageous. What can I say? I’m a unique specimen. Again, buy me books. I’m not the flowers and chocolate sort of gal.


5. What's you LEAST favorite kind of chocolate?
The kind that exists.Extra Fries

6. Date night! Would you prefer to go to a fancy restaurant or go somewhere more laid-back? Or order in?
Take me to Pizza Hut over a steakhouse any day! I’m really just not a fancy food person. I’d live off McDonalds if I was allowed to. Sure, there’s some places. Olive Garden is one of my favorite restaurants. But really, I get just as excited over fastfood as I would any fancy meal you could come up with. I’m honestly easy to please. McDonalds and books. Boom. Happy Christine!

7. Stuffed bears! They're cute, they're cuddly, they keep you safe from nighttime monsters. If your significant other got you one for Valentines, would you think it was ridiculous, funny, or cute? (the act, not the bear)
Uh, HELLO. It’s a stuffed bear! Of course I’d be happy! They’re happiness wrapped in stuffing. Who doesn’t love stuffed bears? I think that’d be adorable. Stuffed animals are amazing. I still sleep with a stuffed bunny. (I know I’m 22, don’t judge.)

8. Favorite romantic-type book?
Does The Horse and His Boy in the Narnia series count? I mean, come on, Shasta and Aravis.

Yeeeeah, I don’t ever read romance. I don’t like romance novels. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy romance as much as the next girl, but I don’t like a whole book’s plot merely centered on the romance. I want a big, epic, adventurous plot with a tinge of romance dotted here and there. I honestly can’t think of a single book I’ve read in the romance genre. . .

9. Favorite romantic movie?
Again, not a fan of the romance genre. But I have seen a few. Um. . . Does Fireproof count? I really love that movie. Oh! I know. The Disney animated classic Beauty and the Beast. Looove it! And, now that I think of it, my love for fairytales outweighs my distaste for romance novels, that goes for books or movies. So there you go. If it’s a fairytale, even a heavily romantic one, I’ll love it.

Fairytale Love

10. What's your love language (physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts)? Here's a little quiz to help you determine that, if you don't already know!
Heart BalloonsWords of affirmation, absolutely. I’m a writer, I love words. Nothing uplifts me more than receiving sweet words from a loved one, or a stranger, or anyone.
Quality time would be my second one. I love spending time with people and getting to know them better. I’m a people person, it’s true. The other three love languages don’t do much for me. I do enjoy gifts, of course, but sometimes I feel awkward receiving them or guilty that someone went to the trouble to get me something.
I’m rather independent and tend to want to do things for myself, plus very picky and OCD about things, so acts of service tend to make me cringe because. . .I want to do it my way. I knooow, isn’t that just awful?
Physical touch, eh. I’m really not much of a touch-y person.
Annnnd that was probably way more information than you wanted. Whoopsy.

And there you have it! My take on Valentine’s and romance-type things.

Thank you again, Rachel! These questions you came up with were too fun.

As for nominations, since Valentine’s is behind us I’d feel a bit odd nominating a bunch of people. So instead I’m going to leave it to you. This tag was tons of fun so if you want to snag it, have at it. Please do! YOU, right there, who is aching to answer these questions. YOU’RE tagged. Have fun!

And while we’re still thinking of Valentine’s and all that love stuff, I want to remember Who are GREATEST love is. Jesus came down on this earth and SACRIFICED Himself for all of us, the greatest act of love to ever be. Whether you’re single, dating, or have been married for years, Valentine’s is a beautiful time to remember the eternal love given to us. God created us to be loved, by Him, always. Now that’s a better Valentine’s than McDonalds and books could ever be!

Happy (late) Valentine’s Day!!! ♥

Monday, February 9, 2015

Of Roses, Dreams, and Bubbles


Bubbles

It’s a bit funny (and maybe a tad annoying) how quickly I can change my mind about something. Really, I never make up my mind about anything. I float on a bubble of indecision, being tossed to and fro in the wind.

Remember my story Fallen Matter? If you were around here any time last year I’m sure you do. That’s basically the only thing I blogged about all year. Saying it took over my life is a bit of an understatement. It consumed every fiber of my being. As a result, I had every intention of rewriting it this year and polishing it up to the point of querying with it. I’ve never done that, queried, and I think it’s high time I took that next step in my writing. But to do that, I need an actual novel ready for such. My laptop is full of first drafts, but not a thing polished. So Fallen Matter was going to be it. I was finally going to really rewrite and polish something. I even started reading through the document and jotting down notes.

Then last weekend happened and my little bubble swooped and swirled in an entirely different direction.

On February 1st I woke up, snatched up my tablet, and loaded the winning results of a fairytale Beauty and the Beast contest put together by Rooglewood Press that I had entered. The contest was to write a Beauty and the Beast novella 20k words or under. Five winners would be chosen to have their entries put together in one beautiful collection. And February 1st was the day they announced the winners.

With pounding heart, I scrolled through the list of names, the five winning entries and, well, my name and my story, Burning Thorns, wasn’t there. But an odd thing happened. Instead of the expected disappointment, I had this strange sense of. . .peace.

All that week I had thought about my novella, and I couldn’t stop. I kept thinking and thinking how fun it would be to expound it from a 20k word story to a full out novel. While writing it, I had so many subplots and ideas I wanted to explore but couldn’t due to the word count limit. So when I discovered Burning Thorns wasn’t to be one of the novellas in the collection, I realized now I could. Now Burning Thorns could be shaped and formed and expounded into anything I wanted it to be. So instead of disappointment, I felt excitement for the possibilities ahead.

This week, I sat down and really began exploring the story and the idea of expounding it, to the point that I’ve already started an outline for it. And boy am I excited about this story!Roses

My true love has always been medieval fantasy and fairytales. For the past couple years I’ve tentatively slipped out of my comfort zone and explored new things—steampunk, modern fantasy, sci-fi—and if I’ve learned anything it’s that stepping out of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do for your writing. I’ve learned so, so much from writing stories different from my usual medieval fantasy novels. But sometimes your comfort zone is that for a reason. I love tales set in medieval type worlds full of whimsies and fantasies and otherwordly beauty. It’s permanently ingrained into my very being.

Writing Fallen Matter was an escapade I’ll never forget, and that story will forever be near and dear to my heart, but settling into Burning Thorns feels. . .right. To be honest, I’ve never written a fairytale retelling, but I’ve wanted to for years and years and years, and fairytales still have that medieval setting that will always be home to me. It’s the sort of thing I’m meant to write.

I’ve whiled away at a lot of stories. Writing first drafts and then abandoning them. Never rewriting them or keeping at it until they’re perfect. I’ve done it for 13 years. But I’m tired of that. It’s time I settled on one project and stick to it. And I really want Burning Thorns to be that project. It just feels right. It’s got that classic fairytale feel that I’ve loved since I was a very, very young, my entire life, really. And not only that, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale. It’s something special to me. Turning Burning Thorns into the best it can be would be an honor.

Sure, there was definitely disappointment when I discovered I didn’t win the Rooglewood Press contest. Self doubt came with it. Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe I shouldn’t be writing at all. Why do I even bother? But then I realized how much I had gained from that contest. It was the very first thing I’ve ever submitted any of my writing into, which was a huge milestone for me. I made some friends along the way. Discovered that I can actually write a full story that isn’t 100k+ words. And I now have a new story that I love in my arsenal, something I can strive to make beautiful. Maybe Burning Thorns is just meant to be a novel. I didn’t lose anything from that contest. With each story we write our craft grows. I wouldn’t have this novel or all the knowledge I gained through writing it if not for the contest. I’m so grateful for it. And now I have something new to pour my heart and soul into, something I love. Something that feels like me.

All that to say, never stop chasing your dream, no matter the bumps in the road. Sometimes those bumps can toss you somewhere even better.

As for Fallen Matter, it may still get a rewrite in the near future. There’s a chance I’ll juggle both projects at once, and if one decides to dominate the other, that’s fine. I don’t mind too much my little bubble being shoved wherever it may go. I believe we should write what’s closest to our hearts, what gets us excited. So whatever that is, I’m looking forward to it!

All in all, the contest did wonderful things for me. But not only that, we’re soon to have an absolutely thrilling looking Beauty and the Beast collection in our hands from Rooglewood Press! Go look for yourself! You can even add it to your GoodReads. Seriously, you’re going to want to. Just from the blurbs I can tell why those novellas were chosen. I get chills just reading about them and canNOT wait to get my hands on that collection! It’s going to be beautiful.

Five Enchanted Roses Cover

I want to give a big CONGRATULATIONS to all five talented writers! I’m counting the days to when I get to read each of your stories.

Exciting stuff right there!

And don’t be surprised, dear readers, if you get even more Beauty and the Beast exposure from me. You’ll probably start seeing a lot of Burning Thorns talk around my blog this year. What can I say? Once a story has gripped me it’s everything I can do to stay away. Not that I want to.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

6 Authors Who Deserve a Lotta Love {Love an Author Month}


Yesterday over at Go Teen Writers Jill Williamson proclaimed February Love an Author month. I think this is a fantastic idea! All those loveable books on our shelves were put there by a lot of work. The author behind our favorite tales wouldn’t be able to write those stories without their fans. They can’t keep producing stories if they’re unable to get readers, nor would they want to if no support ever came their way. We writers are a delicate people, am I right? A little support and encouragement can go a long, long, long way.

Love an Author Month

Jill Williamson shared a perfect list on ways to support that favorite author of yours. I mean, when we find a book that speaks to our hearts and changes our lives and causes us to irresponsibly stay up until the wee hours of the morning turning the pages we want the world to know about it. Right? We need to shout about it loud and proud!

In honor of this Love an Author month, I’ve decided to do a highlight of some of my favorites. Of course, this just covers the authors that still, you know, are alive. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis don’t really have blogs and twitters so. . .ahem.

Let’s show ‘em some love!

Bryan Davis

Raising Dragons Book CoverIf you’ve followed my blog for any length of time I’m sure you’ve picked up that Bryan Davis is one of my absolute favorite authors. There are no rivals to his stories purely by the uniqueness of them. I could read his Dragons in Our Midst and Oracles of Fire series forever and ever and ever and never grow tired of them. They’re modern fantasy stories with some Arthurian Legend thrown in for good measure, the most loveable characters you’ll ever meet, and issues that will strengthen your walk with God and grow your faith. They probably have the most intriguing plots I’ve ever read. These are not simple stories. The plot just gets bigger and bigger, with plot twists thrown in around every corner. I never could guess what would happen next because only Mr. Davis’s imagination could produce such interesting, epic happenings. Though those are my favorites of his, all his stories have the same unexpected, intriguing plots. His Echoes from the Edge trilogy is another favorite of mine. I enjoyed the Tales of Starlight and Dragons of Starlight series but they didn’t grip me quite as much as his others. But they were still great reads. Um, hello, DRAGONS. And I totally loved one of his newer projects Reapers.

If you love fantasy and complex plots, go read this man’s books!

Also, he just recently started a new blog that’s an awesome network for writers. I’ve already greatly benefitted from it. Even if you’ve never read any of his books but are a budding writer, I highly suggest checking out The Author's Chair.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Jill Williamson
By Darkness Hid Book Cover

You saw me just mention her, with good reason. This lady. . .wow. She inspires me. Her writing is phenomenal. I can’t even conceive how she makes her characters so REAL and everything so clear in her stories. It is just astounding. Her fantasy trilogy, Blood of Kings, instantly went on my top favorites list when I read them. Epic fantasy with amazing characters and gripping writing? Yes please! I also read Captives, the first in The Safe Lands trilogy, and I NEED the other two, like now. And though her Mission League series is a bit. . .different and I’ve only read the first of it as well, it still took me only about two sittings to read because it’s just impossible to put her books down, no matter what they’re about. As her bio says, she writes weird books for teens, but I LOVE that. She’s another one who you’ll find produce some very unique tales. No run-of-the-mill stuff from this author. And only real quality storytelling.

Not only does Mrs. Williamson write amazing books, she gives back by co-hosting Go Teen Writers, THE source for writers aiming to get published. Seriously, I don’t care if you’re not a teen (I’m not either, it’s okay) this blog has invaluable information for ALL writers. Just from reading this blog I went from not having a single clue how publishing worked to knowing the system thoroughly, and my writing quality has vastly improved since subscribing.

You know what else is awesome? Jill Williamson and Stephanie Morrill (the creator of Go Teen Writers) co-authored a book, also titled Go Teen Writers, all about turning your first draft into a published novel. It is my source for all things writerly. Honestly, I don’t know how I ever lived without this book. Don’t you just love authors who give back?

AND Mrs. Williamson has recently come out with another writing source book called Storyworld First, a guide to creating a unique fantasy world. I’ve yet to get my hands on it, but if anyone’s qualified to teach how to make interesting fantasy worlds, it’s her.

Basically, Jill Williamson is awesome. ‘Nough said.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Stephanie Morrill

Me, Just Different Book CoverOf course you can’t bring up Jill Williamson without mentioning Stephanie Morrill. She’s the creator of Go Teen Writers and works tirelessly encouraging writers and aiding in their constant quest to write better stories. And boy does she do a good job! I really believe she has the gift of teaching. There has been so many times that she’ll post about a concept I’ve struggled with for years and put it so simply I grasp it instantly. I owe so much to this sweet author. She has helped my writing journey blossom.

Mrs. Morrill writes contemporary young adult fiction which is a genre I never dabble into, but I couldn’t help but read some of her stories and I’m glad I did! I devoured her The Reinvention of Skyler Hoyt trilogy and I NEVER read contemporary, chick-lit stories. But these I read in just a few days! Her characters got me from the beginning and I had to see their journey to the end. And the tight, easy writing style made for a very enjoyable read. I also read the first book of her Ellie Sweet series and absolutely loved it. It’s about an awkward writer’s journey to publication, so obviously it had my interest.

This author is amazing. She spends SO much time helping us writers out. I can’t thank her enough!

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Anne Elisabeth StenglHeartless Book Cover

One day many years ago I was in a bookstore and a book titled Heartless caught my eye. The back cover blurb gripped me so much I bought it then and there, and back then I NEVER bought books that I had never heard of or hadn’t been recommended, especially at full price! But something made me buy this book, and thus began my Anne Elisabeth Stengl obsession. I remember while reading the book I kept thinking that if I could one day write as beautifully as her, my life would be complete. I still feel that way.

Mrs. Stengl has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. Her flowing, vivid prose is enchanting. She writes original fairytale stories called the Tales of Goldstone Wood series. Though each book is its own story, every one adds and builds to the story world more and more in a brilliantly unique way. I honestly cannot even express how much I love these books. The writing is reason enough to read them, but the plots themselves are so masterfully constructing just. . .agh! There are no words.

If you love fairytales, unique worlds, loveable characters, and beautiful writing BUY THESE BOOKS.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Mirriam Neal

Monster Book CoverThis girl. . .she is amazing. Mirriam is a good writing buddy of mine and an author whose talent blows me away every time I read any bit of her work. I’ve very, very, very shamefully yet to get my hands on her published book Monster but I have read quite a few of her WIPs and. . .wow. There really aren’t words. Mirriam is The Master at characters. Seriously. If ever an author writes real and loveable characters it’s Mirriam Neal. You just can’t beat quality like that. But it’s not just her characters. Her brilliant brain comes up with plots that drive me to threaten her with torches and pitchforks to send me the next chapter of her WIPs now. The gripping stories and plot twists this girl comes up with!

What blows my mind even more is her ability to seamlessly change her writing style to fit perfectly to whatever book she’s writing at the time. She has a beautiful writing voice and can spin a tale like Rumpelstiltskin spins straw into gold.

Also her blog is one of my favoritest blogs of ever. So yes.

Blog | GoodReads

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Gillian Bronte AdamsOrphan's Song Book Cover

For over a year I’ve followed this sweet girl’s blog and adored every post. So when she announced she signed a contract for a book deal, well, excitement is putting it lightly. I was thrilled. Just through her blog I could see the talent oozing from this girl. I NEEDED a book from her.

Her debut book, Orphan’s Song, is the first of the Songkeeper Chronicles, and is a delightful fantasy tale. This book is full of precious and fun characters, peril around every corner, and adventure galore. It’s not an easy book to put down, let me tell you! And Gillian’s imaginative, descriptive style brings the story alive.

In March she’ll have a new story, Out of Darkness Rising, releasing that I NEED to get my hands on, desperately.

Gillian is a sweet, fun, amazing person and I can’t wait to read more of her charming stories! And her blog is just a delight, with all sorts of fun writerly things!

 

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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I could probably spend an eternity raving about my favorite authors, but these are some of my top picks. Each of these talented people deserves so much love. Their stories have touched me in many, many ways and they themselves have inspired and influenced me more than I could ever express. I am so grateful to each and every one of them.

Who are some of YOUR favorite authors??? Please tell! I’m on an ever constant search for more good books.

And don’t forget, show ‘em some love! They need our support, and deserve it.

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