Archive for the Category » Historical Romance «

Reading Books!

This was my journey with books except for the frustration part.

Somewhere around #7 “Rediscovering books” I began to seriously write. Stage plays to begin with…then children’s books….

then full length novels and poetry. And then more stage plays. But always reading…reading…reading.  Non-Stop! 

Books take you away…to far off lands, to adventures which you’d probably never have, and
to meet other people from all walks of life. 

Keep reading, keep writing……remember,

Writing isn’t a calling….it’s a doing! 

 

 

 

(acknowledgement: www.grantsnider.com)

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   
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Conclusion: Interview with Regency Author, Jennie Goutet

Author, Jennie Goutet

Q. What makes a writer great?

JG. There is natural talent, of course. But I think what makes a writer great is being able to handle critique and to incorporate the good critiques into future works – to constantly learn and grow in the craft.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

JG. I get a rough idea and write a few chapters that I love. Then I crash and don’t know what to do next so I call my development editor and we talk through the ideas. I write a really skeletal first draft and hate it. Then read through and think it’s not quite so bad. I get my critique partners to have a look and take their advice. I edit again then send it to the developmental editor in completed form (or at least at 80%). I edit again on the computer then on paper and send it to the line editor. I edit again with her changes and do text to voice to catch repeats or strange wording. Then I read it on my kindle to see it as a reader would before sending it to the proof editor. In the final stages, I send it to early readers who catch all the typos and other mistakes no one else caught. Then it’s ready to go out.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

JG. I’ve lived in a lot of places. I’m curious about human nature. I observe. I’ve suffered from the darker things like grief and depression. I’ve known wild joy and adventure. I think my characters come to life from what I’ve experienced.

Q. What’s your down time look like?

JG. This is a weakness of mine. I do not have down time. I work all day on writing or the other aspects of the business (marketing, social media, production, translation, audio), then make dinner and listen to my teens talk about their day. On the weekend I’m doing ministry stuff. (We serve the teen ministry). I know this is just a phase, though – these teen years – so I’m okay with it. I really enjoy reading in bed at night. And we go away a few times a year, which is great. Sometimes I take a walk by the Seine river, or visit a friend, or go into Paris, but there is no regular downtime.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

JG. I’ve written contemporary romance. A Noble Affair was my first novel and it’s not the finest in terms of literature but it was good practice for a full-length fiction work. And A Sweetheart in Paris is a decent book, I think, but it hasn’t attracted much attention. I’ve written a memoir as well, Stars Upside Down. I think if I were to switch genres I wouldn’t stray far. Georgian or Victorian as opposed to Regency. But I really love what I write.

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

A. Well, this won’t be relatable to everyone, but my main life’s lesson is that when I draw my last breath my books won’t matter. Only my relationship to God will. So I need to make sure that success doesn’t go to my head and that failure doesn’t destroy me. I am just God’s kid, and He’ll make sure I have all I need.

Did you miss Part 1 or Part 2?
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Goutet
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Interview with France based author, Jennie Goutet (part 2)

The summer Alps

Q. What does it feel like to be an American writer, living in France, writing in an English, historic romance genre. (Special challenges? Funny stories?)

JG. I can usually forget about where I live when writing my Regency England books. But it can be tricky when translating the books, especially when the Napoleonic wars are portrayed. My latest book was set in Waterloo and we all know how that turned out for the French. I’ll be putting a disclaimer in the front and the back of the book for that one. (Oui, oui, I love my adopted country). Otherwise, I think it helps for the historical details. I have a much easier time getting to the French chateaux, but they can easily inspire me much in the same way the English ones would were I able to visit them.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

JG. Sometimes I start out with a good idea of the character and who he or she is. At other times, I discover my character as I go. He or she takes control of the story and runs off with it in an unexpected direction.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

This blogger is a big fan!

JG. I had tried writing when I was younger. A handwritten book in the 8th grade, 10 chapters of a book that went nowhere when we were living in Africa, a fantasy book that I mapped out and abandoned. It was finally the freedom of writing for the sake of writing on my blog that allowed me to see how much I enjoyed written expression, and it was my memoir that allowed me to see that I could finish a book. From there I wanted to keep writing books but I had already told my own story. It was time to tell someone else’s.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

JG. It truly depends on the book. I might start with Character: ‘I want to tell the story of a woman who keeps her poise when faced with a series of difficult situations’ (A Fall from Grace); or Situation: ‘I want to tell the story of an arranged marriage where the bride is furious to be sold off and the husband is feeling sheepish about having arranged it’ (His Disinclined Bride); or it could be that I know the character from previous books and tackle Both: ‘I want to put shy, retiring Phoebe with her unrequited love through the fires of Brussels in 1815, which will show her just how strong she is.’ (A Daring Proposal). It just depends.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

JG. I should say yes. That is what a proper writer is supposed to say. But no, not always. Sometimes it’s just a job and I have to get the word count in. Fortunately (for the reader, I suppose) there will always come a point when I am fully invested. But in terms of proportion of time spent getting lost, it’s a little less like first dates / falling in love and more like married for 25 years and still grateful – if that makes sense. Even if a lot of the writing feels like work, I do love it.

Q. Are you working on something now or have a new release coming up? If so tell us about it.

a trip to Rouen

JG. Right now I’m in the process of launching two season finales. A Daring Proposal is just released in the Memorable Proposals series. This is the one about Waterloo. And The Sport of Matchmaking is set to come out in May. This one is the last of the Clavering Chronicles series, and it’s fun and light in tone. There is a pretty strong contrast to A Daring Proposal, which is more about the deeper emotions. So now it’s time to start something new. I am in the process of thinking about a series. I’m working out the setting, the characters, the covers and the names, but it’s too early in the process to say anything because it might yet change.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

JG. I was a regular and invested blogger for years, but those were always short posts rather than the longer works. I published my memoir at the end of 1813 (Oh my gosh. That is how much of a Regency writer I am – I literally wrote that date instead of the 21st century) in 2013 and I have not looked back since.

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

JG. I’m not sure. If we increase bamboo production and start to use that instead, and start to reduce battery-operated small appliances … maybe we’ll keep paper? Unless the e-readers all become solar charged? I do think that the trend will be based more on the needs of the environment rather than readers’ preferences.

Did you miss Part 1 of our interview?
Join us for the conclusion next week. 

Did you miss my REVIEW of this author’s book?
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Goutet
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Interview with Regency Romance Author, Jennie Goutet

Jennie Goutet is an American-born Anglophile who lives with her French husband and their three children in a small town outside of Paris. Her imagination resides in Regency England, where her best-selling proper Regency romances are set. She is also author of the award-winning memoir Stars Upside Down, two contemporary romances, and a smattering of other published works. A Christian, a cook, and an inveterate klutz, Jennie sometimes writes about faith, food, and life—even the clumsy moments—on her blog, aladyinfrance.com. You can learn more about Jennie and her books, and sign up for her newsletter, on her author website: jenniegoutet.com. Oh! Did I mention that she’s funny?

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

JG. My main writing spots are the desk in my bedroom, my living room couch, or my bed if it’s one of those kinds of days. Work happens amidst the shouts of my boys as they wrestle or is sometimes interrupted by my daughter to tell of her character development. (She’s studying to be an illustrator / storyteller). My husband turned the outside studio into an office for me, but he ended up using it. I find I like to be where the action is, and someone needs to stir the soup for dinner.

Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

JG. Very often, for new content / first drafts, I record the story then translate it into text and rework it afterwards. In this case, my ritual is to pace back and forth trying to gear up enough courage to speak the story. I’m never in the mood. First drafts are my nemesis. However, later drafts and edits are done with music through my sound-canceling headphones. And if I’m lucky, it’s with a cup of coffee and gluten-free cake at my elbow. (But not too close to my elbow. Cue the panic: have I emailed the latest draft to myself in case I lose everything?)

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

At a retreat

JG. I’ve lived in four continents. In Asia, it was in Taiwan, and I used to speak Mandarin pretty fluently. I now live outside of Paris and have French citizenship through marriage. My husband and I spent a year in East Africa as newlyweds on a humanitarian mission. And the other continent, of course, is North America where I grew up. I’m from Upstate New York. My dad was a symphony musician before retiring, so we went to the symphony a lot, and I think that’s pretty interesting.

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

JG. As I said, I use a recorder for first drafts. Other than that, I have colored notebooks for each book to note details that are important to the story. But mainly I use my computer. Writing longhand seems like a colossal waste of time to me, although I know it’s an important step for some writers. But I’m a Type-A, ‘get-er-done’ type of person, so I generally just dive right in.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

JG. My preference is always to write in the morning. That way it’s done and I can feel accomplished and free the rest of the day. But writing competes for the morning slot with quiet times (I like to start my day with reading the Bible and praying), working out, grocery shopping, organizing my paper clip collection … basically anything that distracts me until the deadline is looming too near and I have no choice but to get to work.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

JG. Um. Given my answer above, I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer that question. But, all right, I’ll give it a stab. Although I know a few authors whose story ideas flow fast and furious so that their fingers can’t keep up, for many authors it’s just work. You show up and you get your word count in, whether or not you feel like it. Eventually something will tug at your heart and you’ll be glad you’re telling that particular story. And you can always make it all shiny later on in the subsequent drafts. You just have to get the first draft out before you can get anywhere.

Q. What does it feel like to be an American writer, living in France, writing in an English, historic romance genre. (Special challenges? Funny stories?)

Join us next week for Part II of this entertaining Interview!
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Goutet
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A Study in Elegant Writing ~~ Book Review

  5 out of 5 stars  ~~  Book Review

We can all agree that historic, Victorian romances are a dime a dozen. Some writers are better than others and the market place doesn’t seem to care. Unless, of course, the reader stumbles upon Jennie Goutet (as I did). 

Ms. Goutet writes with an uninterrupted elegant flow. She never drops out of the genre with a more modern turn of phrase or word. The formality of this period deserves a formal treatment when writing the story. It takes great talent to never break the flow, never break the cadence or flavor. And until you have read Jennie Goutet, Grace Burrowes, and Mimi Matthews, the reader will not notice the glaring difference. 

Selena Lockhart comes with neither dowry nor connections, and she knows better than to expect Society to give her a welcome—especially after her father gambled away his fortune, precipitating the family’s sudden fall from grace and Selena’s betrothed to break off their engagement. It therefore comes as no surprise that her new neighbor, Sir Lucius, treats her with disdain. Why should he look beyond appearances when her own promises so little?
 

A Fall From Grace was a speculative purchase on my part, having never read anything by this author.  I am so relieved that I didn’t miss this author or this book. I look forward to reading some of her other books, which I have on order. 
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Goutet
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Interview with author, Mimi Matthews (conclusion)

Mimi with her horse, Centelleo

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

MM. Both. The ideas for my novels usually start with a single disconnected scene. I imagine the characters in a specific situation. That scene helps me to understand them and their motivations, but it also helps me to understand the goal of my story as a whole.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

MM. At the best of times, yes, when the words are flowing and the story is unfolding without too much mental anguish on my part. It’s one of the primary reasons I write. Because of my spine injury, I suffer a lot from pain. When I’m lost in a story, I can forget the pain, at least temporarily. For that reason alone, writing is incredibly therapeutic for me.

Q. Are you working on something now or have a new release coming up? If so tell us about it.

MM. I’m really excited about my upcoming January release, The Siren of Sussex. Set in Victorian London, it features Ahmad Malik, the half-Indian tailor from my Parish Orphans of Devon series, and Evelyn Maltravers, a bluestocking equestrienne who hires him to make her daring riding habits. Siren is the first in a new series I’m writing for Berkley/Penguin Random House. It will be out on January 11th.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

MM. I wrote my first novel at thirteen. At eighteen, that novel got me my first literary agent. That novel didn’t sell, nor did the next one I wrote. After that, I took a very long break from writing fiction while I went to college and law school, traveled a bit, and did some other exciting things. It was only my spine injury that brought me back to writing fiction again.

Jet trying to find the delete button

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

MM. Gosh, I hope not. I love the look, feel, and smell of books—both old books and new ones.

Q. What makes a writer great?

MM. I love an author who can tell a compelling story that grabs hold of you from the start and won’t let you go. Beautiful prose is a bonus.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

MM. For me, the process involves lots of work and lots of writerly angst. It usually starts with me loving my characters and ends with me being sick to death of them. Seriously, by the time a book is finished, I’ve reread it so many times I can’t take it anymore. Hopefully, all those rereads and revisions result in a polished story that my readers are going to love.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

MM. My own experience with a life altering injury has a huge impact on the stories I tell. I write a lot about people who are experiencing similar life altering circumstances—a devastating loss, a debilitating physical injury, or a change in fortune. My characters have to work through these situations, to adapt and grow in order to ultimately find happiness again.

Stella

Q. What’s your down time look like?

MM. I’m terrible at down time. My laptop is often open on my lap, even when my family is watching a movie. Shutting off technology and learning to relax is something I’m struggling to get better at.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

A. Yes! I recently indulged the urge to write a Victorian gothic vampire novel. I had so much fun. Not sure I’d do it again, but I loved that I could—and that some of my readers even enjoyed it.

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

MM. Be kind, both to other people and to yourself.

Did you miss Part I of our interview with Mimi Matthews?
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews
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  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

Interview with Historical Romance Author, Mimi Matthews

Bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, & Booklist, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provide a photo of you at work in your shed, room, closet, barn, houseboat….) Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

Jet and Stella

MM. I mostly write in bed. This is owing less to laziness than to a cervical spine injury I suffered several years ago. My neck requires lots of propping and support to keep it from flaring up. My room is wonderfully bright and spacious, though, with high ceilings and lots of big windows. I have built-in bookcases filled with history books, law books, and all my favorite novels. I also have a capacious secretary desk, which I don’t use as much as I should. One perk of writing in bed is that my cats and dogs all pile in with me. They’re basically my co-writers.

Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

MM. I have no quirks, rituals, or writerly affectations. My process consists of opening a word document on my laptop. Of course, peace and quiet helps tremendously. And diet Cherry Pepsi, too, if I can get it.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

MM. I love to travel but hate to fly. In the past, I used to master by fear in order to go to the places I wanted to go. Now however, I’m not sure I’ll ever fly again. Even thinking about it makes me anxious. The last time I was on a plane it had to make an emergency landing. There were firetrucks waiting for us on the runway. That may have been it for me.

Coming! January, 2022

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

MM. I start with my laptop. That’s pretty much it.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

MM. I like to start by 1pm. Ideally, I start earlier, but 1pm is my “do or die” marker.

One of this blogger’s favs….

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

MM. For me, some days all it takes is opening a word document. Once I have the document in front of me, the words often come. If not, it helps to reread the last scene I wrote. Writing sprints can also help if I’m really feeling reluctant.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

MM. I always begin a story with an idea of them, even if it’s just a vague one. As I write and research, they become fully formed in my mind. I’m a pantser, not a plotter, so am accustomed to discovering things as I go.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

MM. When I was very small, I used to tell stories to my mom. She encouraged me to write them down. It was a personal exercise, done more for my own amusement than with any view to being a writer one day. I’m not sure I even understood what a novelist was.

Don’t miss the conclusion.
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews
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BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

Book Review ~~ Miss Delectable by Grace Burrowes

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing 

   5 out of 5 quills    

When you pick up a book written by Grace Burrowes you are one hundred percent certain you are in store for a good story. Filled with interesting characters and an fascinating plot.  Full stop! 
 
Grace Burrowes has begun a new series, Mischief in Mayfair. Miss Delectable is Book One, and it’s delicious!  Rag-a-muffin rapscallions abound with a hero who rescues them and the damsel in distress.  Book Two, Miss Delightful, is to be released shortly.
Burrowes is very prolific in this genre and what is amazing is how FRESH her plot lines remain.  She is constantly thinking of new story lines that have not been done before. 

Miss Pearson has dedicated years to learning the exacting science of the culinary arts.  She will never hold the title of ‘chef’ as that is strictly reserved for men. She will always be a ‘cook’, no matter how talented and creative she is.  It is, after all, only the 19th century. 
Colonel Sir Orion Goddard is Miss Pearson’s employer’s brother by marriage. They are slightly acquainted and really have no reason to meet each other. Persistent, vague scandal and rumors have haunted Goddard and being a recluse solves many of his problems.  That is, until his young protégé needs placement and only his brother-in-law’s kitchens will do. 

Burrowes gives her readers a good tale, characters that are deeply drawn, a little intrigue and a sweet love story. Recurring individuals keep her fans very happy. 

Available Soon! Miss Delightful  (9/14/21)

Did you miss my Interview with Grace Burrowes?

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry.
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Book Review ~~ The Iron Earl by KJ Jackson

reviews, authors, writing

 

1 out of 5 quills          ~~    BOOK REVIEW

My biggest complaint with this book was how shallow the story plot was. Pages and pages of how the heroine needed to escape. She was pretty much ‘one note’. Then pages and pages of how rage-filled the hero was. Boring. Mixed in were graphic sex scenes with little romance. The first time for this virgin was just this side of a rape. 
A missed opportunity for the author was to include a sub-plot exploring the relationship between Karta and Dommnel. Their story was interesting and a thread that was, sadly, not pulled by Jackson.
The villain is predictably the step-father until (handily in the last 30 pages) Evalyn discloses that she knows who her real father is and, conveniently, he is of aristocratic blood and owns land and she is his heir. This is sprung on the readers with no backstory of how she discovered her biological father. Sloppy writing. Sigh

The contents did not live up to the beautiful cover. 

Did you miss my Interview with Grace Burrowes?

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy.
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Book Review ~~ Band of Sisters

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing                                5 out of 5 quills                         BOOK REVIEW

This is an exceptional, sweeping saga about a group of women, all alumni of Smith College, who volunteered to go to Europe to assist the ravaged French villages during World War I.  What is extraordinary is, if an event happened in this book, it happened in real life. Based on old documents and letters, the new Smith College Relief Unit, composed of women from all walks of life, signed up for six months to try and assist villagers who were devastated by the war raging across Europe. They were later to be affectionately known as ‘the Smithies’. 

Their careers in social work, medicine, teaching couldn’t prepare them for the conditions they found when they disembarked from a train from Paris onto the muddy track leading to the village, Gricourt. The village existed hand in glove with an always changing ‘front line’ of battle between the Allied Forces and the German juggernaut.

Each woman’s life is showcased with beautiful writing from this author, Lauren Willig.  Sometimes novels that are based heavily on actual historical events slip into being dry and dusty reading.  It never happened in this novel, I am happy to report.
A real page turner to the end. A beautiful book of prose and an exciting, action-filled, story.  

Released March 21st
Did you miss my INTERVIEW with Lauren Willig?
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    November: Ella Quinn, December: Lauren Willig,
January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica  March: Lee Matthew Goldberg
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