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redman photo 115 fb kids fav scarf vert headshotHi, everyone!

I couldn’t be more thrilled to have been invited to participate in the celebration of romance throughout the month of August at READ A ROMANCE MONTH. I was lucky enough to get the invitation because I’m lucky in my wonderful friends. A big hug and big thanks go out to the beautiful Lorelei of Lorelei’s Lit Lair for inviting me to participate. Another hurrah to the amazing Bobbi Dumas, founder of RARM, for being so generous and supportive!

lorelei white t shirt
If you missed Lorelei’s guest blog here, I hope you’ll go back and catch it. And don’t miss her RARM essay, which is wonderfully inspiring! She’s one of the sweetest, most generous people you’ll ever meet, and she’s a great friend of all romance writers!
 

THE JOY OF ROMANCE

Have you ever heard this quote?
 
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

The source of those words is unknown or at least interwebally disputed, but I love the quote, because it’s true. It’s true of the best friends, and I’ve always thought it’s also true of the best romance novels.

Dry rose on an old book/ Vintage Books and Roses

Most of us carry the romance “song” in our hearts. If we’re lucky, if we’ve found the person who makes us come alive, we sing it loud and clear, sometimes from the rooftops, carried away by the bliss of it.

But sometimes we can feel as if we’ve completely lost the melody. We can’t remember how it goes, and everything we try comes out sounding harsh, discordant and wrong.

Young lovely smiling woman wonders on flower, tearing petals, close-up.

Maybe we’re facing a failed relationship, or maybe the person with whom we shared that joy has died. Maybe we’re enduring a rough patch in a committed relationship. Maybe we’re just temporarily overwhelmed by life’s other problems—health, money, deadlines, tragedy—and romantic joy seems like a mirage, shining from a shore we can never reach.

In those moments, a great fictional romance can be a lifesaver. Whether it’s a classic, like Heathcliff and Cathy, or something trendy, like Castle and Becket—or even something futuristic, like The Doctor and Rose—love stories remember the song, and they will sing it to us until we’re ready to try again. Like a lighthouse beacon, like a robin in winter, they remind us never to give up hope.

And so, as Read-A-Romance Month begins, I couldn’t be prouder to honor this wonderful genre. It’s been my nearly thirty-year privilege to write stories for you, and it has been indescribably rewarding to get your notes and emails telling me how much they’ve meant to you in times of sorrow or loneliness.

A big, heartfelt thank you to all the readers who have found joy in my books, and to all the other fabulous authors who have offered their “songs” for me to turn to.
Here’s to the joy of romance–and romance novels! May the song play on. ❤

Pink roses and old books on wooden desk

Recommendations:

Have you heard of MIMI WELLS?  Maybe not, because her novella with Tule Publishing has just come out, and it’s only her second published book.  But I hope you’ll make a note to check out THE BILLIONAIRE’S DECEPTION, because it’s fabulous.  All the books in this AMALFI NIGHTS series are (Nancy Robards Thompson, Eve Gaddy, Katherine Garbera and I each have one there, too), and I wholeheartedly recommend every single one.  But I’ve singled out Mimi Wells for a special reason.  I’ve known Mimi for years, and loved her sense of humor and loyalty, her intelligence and spunk.  But when I finally read her work, I was blown away.  She’s marvelous, and I believe she’s someone to watch!

THE ROSIE PROJECT, by Graeme Simsion.  This likely isn’t news for you…I know this book is hugely popular.  But it’s just so wonderful I have to mention it.  I haven’t read the second, THE ROSIE EFFECT, but I can’t wait.  If you’ve read it, please let me know what you think!

AUTHOR QUESTIONS

Describe a moment when you’ve experienced pure joy.

On our tenth anniversary, my husband and I took a trip to Charleston.  We were married in April, so we encountered a city in full spring glory. Wisteria, azalea, dogwood, camillias…everywhere you looked, the gardens were hosting their own parties of riotous color.
closeup roses
I knew he would have planned some special gift, because he’s a traditional kind of guy. No birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day or special holiday ever passes without roses arriving at the door.  But I also knew he hadn’t brought along anything big enough to notice, so I assumed his gift must be something small…like, perhaps, a jewelry box.

Now, as you probably know, receiving surprise jewelry for a special occasion is a little nerve-wracking, even for someone like me, who isn’t exactly a jewelry fanatic.  What if you don’t really care for the piece? You’ll always cherish the sentiment and affection behind it, but will you love wearing it day in and day out? And what if the absolute worst happens, and he can sense your ambivalence?  Hurting your husband’s feelings on a day like this would be unthinkable.

So when, at our lovely Charthouse steak dinner, I saw him reach into his pocket and pull out a little black velvet box, I was prepared. I’d thought it through, and I knew the jewelry didn’t matter.  Only the love mattered, and we had plenty of that to spare.

heart necklace

And then…I opened the box to find that it held the most exquisite little diamond heart pendant I had ever seen.  It was the pendant I would have dreamed of, if I actually dreamed about jewelry, which I don’t. 🙂 It’s graceful and sparkly without being gaudy, and I was absolutely enchanted. Not only did he care about me…he knew me.  He understood me.  He understood what I would love.
Publicity shot for Kathleen O'Brien Pynn (Kathleen has royalty free license for image)
He put the pendant around my neck that night, and it’s been there ever since.  We just celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary–yes, I was a child bride <g>–so that’s a long, long time. I’ve been forced to take it off now and then, for the births of my children, or mammograms, or cleaning…but otherwise it’s always there.  Sometimes, in tough times, I close my palm around it like a talisman. It holds the memory of that night, and all the nights in between, and the pure joy of being loved and understood.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

irene at slea head
Dingle, Ireland.  I’m Irish, and the air in Western Ireland just sings to me.  The little beach at Slea Head, with its caves and winds and its crystal water trickling down stony cliffs, is pure magic.  We traveled there as a family a few years ago.  The day we visited Slea Head, my daughter, who has inherited a slightly aloof dignity from her daddy and isn’t a reckless hugger, had reached the beach first. When I arrived she came running up to me, threw her arms around me, and hugged me until I’m quite sure the air twinkled around us with fairy dust.  That memory is like medicine to me, or like a spell to keep away loneliness forever.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

little yellow duckling swimming towards the camera
Moving water.  Waves, rain on water, even fountains plashing or sprinklers hissing.  I grew up in a house that overlooked Tampa Bay, and I think water is the background music to all my happy childhood memories.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

The Wishing Star cover
When I was in sixth or seventh grade, I checked out of the library a book called THE WISHING STAR by Norma Johnston.  It was so beautiful, the imagery so vivid, the characters so delightful, that I read it over and over.  I’m pretty sure it was while reading that book that I decided I wanted to be a writer.  I wanted to be able to create sparkling, snowy worlds like that.  When I grew up, I looked for another copy of that book for decades and finally found one, thanks to the power of internet searches! I re-read it every few years, just to remember that joy of discovery.

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer.

Hmmm…from that list, I’d have to say Christopher Plummer.  The Sound of Music is one of my favorite films, and Maria’s softening effect on him makes their romance so touching–a real Beauty and the Beast story!  But if I could pick any Christopher out there in the big, wide world, I’d pick Christopher Eccleston, who played the 9th Doctor on Doctor Who.  He’d be a little gritty for me, ordinarily, but he was the first Doctor I met (I hadn’t ever seen the earlier series), and you know what they say about your first. 🙂

DRAWING!

Everyone who comments here will be entered, and on September 1st one randomly chosen poster will be offered a 25.00 Amazon gift certificate, and this wonderful plaque, with the quote I mentioned earlier about the song in your heart.
friend is someone

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I hate starting a new book.

I’m probably not supposed to say that. First Rule of Social Media Club seems to be “Never talk about negativity.”

StubbornBut darn it. I hate starting a new book.

I’ve sold forty books. It ought to be a snap, right? Nope. I’m scared to death every time. What if I can’t think of anything new? What if the characters are just finger puppets? What if the plot’s too stale, or too thin, or too impenetrable? What if the well’s run dry, or the Muse has departed?

As I start out, I usually have names, a basic conflict, a theme-ish-sort-of-kind-of-idea-thing…and that’s about it. Obviously that’s not enough. I’m still a stranger in my own story. I wouldn’t know these people if I saw them on the street. I have no idea what they want, or how to help them get it.

blind man's bluffSo for some indeterminate, tortuous time, I stumble around with my hands out, feeling for walls and identifying markers, bumping into things like a kid playing Blind Man’s Bluff.

Yeah. Hate this part.

But apparently there’s no avoiding it. There’s only the hope of getting through it.

I’m just beginning the fourth book in my Sisters of Bell River Ranch series–a series I’ve loved so far. WILD FOR THE SHERIFF came out earlier this year, and I’ve received such nice mail about it from readers–hurray, hurray! betting on cowboy box of books
BETTING ON THE COWBOY
comes out in just a few days, and got a great 4.5-star review from Romantic Times Book Reviews. (Also hurray!) Book Three, THE RANCH SHE LEFT BEHIND will be out in December, and is safely written and in my brilliant editor’s hands.

But now…now I have to start from scratch again. This fourth and final book in the series will be about the Secret Sister. The one Rowena, Bree and Penny didn’t ever know they had. I’ve been so excited about this book. Tess’s story always seemed like the “fun” one, the one I couldn’t wait to write.

Then it really was time to write it, and suddenly the enthusiasm evaporated. For the past two weeks, this “fun” book looked as terrifying, as dark and shadowy and fraught with unanswered questions as every other book I’ve ever written. Blind Man’s Bluff…and I was losing.

great ideaHere’s the great thing, though. Eventually, if I soldier on, allowing myself to bump and hunt and face the fears, I reach the “aha” moment. The blindfold comes off, the light flicks on, and suddenly I can *see* the story. The people. The places. “Ohhhh,” I say, blinking happily. “So that’s what you look like!”

Yesterday, at my critique group meeting, it happened. AHA! Tess Spencer is no longer just “the secret sister.” Her story is no longer a dark, shadowy landscape filled with half-perceived obstacles. out of focus man

And best of all, because I’m a hero-driven storyteller, Jude Calhoun isn’t just “The Hero.” They are both real people with fears and flaws and dreams and quirks.

And I like them. Whew! Hugs and kisses to my clever critique partners!

How about you? When you start something new, are you excited and invigorated–or intimidated, like me?

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Today is the official Day of Joy recognized by every writer on the face of the earth, I would be willing to bet. Today is the day after I finally submitted my overdue manuscript. My book is complete. (Until my brilliant editor finds the goof-ups and guides me toward revisions that will make it GOOD book!).

I am a free woman.

redman photo 82 side k pref head vert typa

But that first day of freedom, after weeks and weeks, sometimes months and months, of enslavement, is always strange. I come creeping out of my deadline cave, hunched and blinking at the daylight, asking everyone, “What year is it?” And then, just when I thought I would run skipping all over my world, screaming, “FREEDOM! BRING ON THE FUN!” I am oddly paralyzed. I’ve forgotten how to do anything but write. I’ve lost the knack of feeling anything but guilty, pressed and terrified that my words won’t be good enough.

That’s when a quiet day of reading can provide the perfect bridge. The quiet place between deadline Hell and (temporary) freedom Heaven.

I’ve got so many books stacked up I hardly know which one to select. Here are the ones I’ve started with:

penelopiad coverTHE PENELOPIAD, by Margaret Atwood.
This one will probably win, because it’s a very cool retelling of the Penelope/Odysseus myth, only this time from Penelope’s POV. I’ve begun it…and Penelope is such a wry, honest voice that I don’t see how I can switch to something else till I’ve heard what she has to say. Plus, this is a library book, and it’s due soon.
🙂

zelda book
Z: A NOVEL OF ZELDA FITZGERALD, by Therese Anne Fowler.
No, wait! This one might win, because I just saw THE GREAT GATSBY, and it put me in the mood!
I loved the Luhrmann version of Gatsby, though I have some great friends who disagree with me…almost violently! 🙂 If you saw it, I’d love to hear what you thought!
Shakespeare and Dickens booksSHAKESPEARE’S TREMOR AND ORWELL’S COUGH, The Medical Lives of Famous Writers, by John J. Ross, M.D.
This is one I can pick at, a chapter at a time, so it’ll probably just wander around with me for a few weeks, filling in odd moments. But doesn’t it sound cool? It explores the “medical mysteries” of some famous and fascinating writers.

DICKENS AND THE DAUGHTER OF THE HOUSE, by Hilary M. Schor.
This one probably appeals only to lit-geeks, because it explores the role of the daughter in Dickens novels. However, because I *am* a lit-geek, it’s made the short list.

babysitting ShoshieOr, I could just go out on the back porch and watch my son’s puppy play in the yard while I get started on my next book. We’re puppy-sitting for a few days, and the little rascal provided a wonderful excuse to write outside as I polished the last few chapters. I love my office setup, but there’s nothing like birdsong and sunshine to provide the inspiration a romance writer needs!

What about you? When you finish a long and difficult task, what do you do to celebrate?

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kissing computerIf you’re a social butterfly, you might not want to consider a job as a writer. It’s a pretty lonely endeavor. Most of the time, the computer is your only companion–unless you count the characters in your book, which I don’t, since my characters and I disagree about almost everything. For instance, I think they should provide me with clever banter and fascinating, fast-paced action, whereas they seem to think they should be able to loll about on the page, doing nothing at all for days at the time.

However, I’m getting sidetracked… 🙂

My point is that, while I can certainly see why writers love to hear from readers, I’ve never been really sure why readers want to connect with writers. After all, the reader has paid his money…he doesn’t owe the writer anything further. The book is right in front of him. He can read the very best ideas the writer has to offer, the funniest jokes and the wittiest one-liners. (Believe me, with a few notable exceptions like Neil Gaiman or Truman Capote, we’re rarely more interesting in person than we are on the page.)

And then, whenever the reader wants, he can set the book down and go dancing.

lorelei and k from fbSo when I was lucky enough to meet the lovely local reader who has started Lorelei’s Lit Lair on Facebook, I couldn’t wait to ask her why she seems so enthusiastic about meeting and corresponding with writers. Turns out she’s one of those wonderful people who just love to discover new things, learn about new people, and “give back” when she feels she’s been lucky enough to “receive.” She’s the kind of reader we all hope to run into someday…the kind that makes us feel pretty darn good about all those hours we spent in solitary confinement, telling stories to our keyboards.

Her enthusiasm is so infectious, and her account of her correspondence with author Kristan Higgins so uplifting that I asked if she’d share it here. I hope you enjoy reading it!
lorelei white t shirt

Q) Have you always been such an enthusiastic reader? Have you always preferred romance above other genres?

A) No, I started when my daughter wanted to read the Twilight series. I never enjoyed reading, not even paperbacks, much less would I want to read a book THAT big. ( I know, what was wrong with me!)
I asked her what it was about: Vampires and Werewolves, she said. HA! Really? I went to the first page, just to check it out, you know, to see what all the commotion was about.
7 days later, I read all 4 books and it was like a switch in me was flipped ON. Since then, I was hungry for more. I’ve read women’s fiction, drama, then I really found my match in romance!

Q) What made you decide to be more than “just” a reader–and to interact with and support your favorite authors?

A) In 2007, I found an author that I really connected with. She had all the elements I love in a story, truly gifted in my opinion and that author was Kristan Higgins. She has a great voice, makes you laugh, swoon, cry (the touching kind), and always has happy endings.
When I finished reading her 4th book, I wanted to learn more about her. I found the Dear Reader page in her book . She seemed so down to earth, and approachable. It did say, “Let me know how you enjoyed the book. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from readers.” That gave me the courage to write her an email. I told her how much I loved her work .
Honestly, I thought I’d get a response in a month or so, or maybe never.
To my surprise she replied the next day! I was ecstatic! I told my best friend and she said it was probably her publicist. I knew it was her, because I recognized her voice. I remember replying then with OooMmmGgg!
She was so nice, and I immediately followed her on Facebook. I became her BFF: Biggest Fan Forever. I realized what a wonderful group of women are out there and felt encouraged to support them. It lead me to you, Kathleen 😉

Q) Obviously you’re a huge fan of Kristan Higgins. Are there other writers you have written to, as well? What draws you to a particular writer?

A) Oh, yes. While I had to wait months for KH’s next release, she recommended other author friends. I was very impressed by the support displayed, all great recommendations. I read Nancy R. Thompson’s Angel of Provence, and wrote to her on FB. I was so thrilled and lucky to meet her! I Also wrote to PJ Sharon, Robyn Carr, Lauren Clark, Jill Shalvis, Marliss Melton, just to name a few.
These are women just like me, but with a special talent. You can tell they love what they do and are genuine.
The connection authors have with readers is what draws me to follow them and cheer them on.
It’s a special bond that’s created and I believe that’s what makes the difference in the reading experience all together.

Q) What is Lorelei’s Lit Lair? What do you want to accomplish with the site?

A) I created Lorelei’s Lit Lair to connect with readers and authors, to share our common passion for reading. It’s also a great way of supporting authors, too. I hope friends join so we can chat about what they’re reading, to find inspiring posts and have some fun! It can be about books or how your day has been or something great you’ve stumble upon. I’m a big believer of paying it forward, too.

Lorelei’s Lit Lair fills me with good vibes and I hope friends will find that, too. I love cheering people up. Once a reader was feeling down, and I shared music videos to cheer her up and it made her laugh! If feels so good helping others… My page is not just about promoting books, but connecting with people of similar interests.

I’ve made some great friendships across the world, in France, England, Canada and Australia which is awesome. The authors I’ve met, all absolutely amazing ladies.
If you like read, doesn’t matter the genre, I encourage you to join! Readers have different interests and tastes, and I hope they find something they’ll enjoy.

Q) How has your friendship with the authors you’ve met affected you? What does it bring to your life?

A) If I hadn’t gotten a reply from my first email, I probably would have continued reading or maybe I would have found another hobby to fill my days.
But what I can truly say, is the anecdotes I can share, the causes I’ve supported, the prizes I’ve won, the joy and laughter that have filled my days and most specially the friendships I’ve made with readers and authors, would never have been possible if I hadn’t received Kristan’s reply that day. It has changed my life in a positive way, brightening my days, my little escape of this busy and hectic life we live in.
I believe in the phrase ” Everything happens for a reason.” One of them, was meeting you, dear Kathleen!

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This has been a week for socializing more than reading, which has been a lot of fun. I’m about 75% introvert, but that other 25% really loves to get together with like-minded people…often other writers! I’ve had out-of-town writer buddies stopping by (something about Florida’s balmy temps while their hometowns are still getting snow flurries, perhaps?), and so I’ve been lunching, brunching, coffee-ing and dinnering like a fiend. I’ve loved every minute.

However, even during weeks like this, I read a little. I couldn’t get to sleep without reading at least a few pages of something wonderful. Here’s what I played with this week:

STUMBLED ONTO AND BREEZED THROUGH, UNEXPECTEDLY: ELLEN FOSTER, by Kaye Gibbons. I hadn’t ever heard of this little gem, though apparently it’s one of the Oprah Book Club picks. I saw it at the library, and for some reason I can’t explain, it called to me. It came out in 1987, so it’s not new, and it’s not exactly a happy read, but I loved it. The story is told by an eleven-year-old girl named Ellen Foster, and it could all by itself provide the basis for a master class in the art of voice. She’s brave, unsentimental, and unique. I won’t forget her soon.

books reading wolf gibbonsGOT SIDETRACKED BY: THE KANDY-COLORED TANGERINE-FLAKE STREAMLINE BABY, by Tom Wolfe. I wasn’t anywhere nearly cool enough to read Wolfe when I was younger, but isn’t it weird how your tastes can evolve? Because I’m excited about the upcoming HBO movie about Phil Spector, I decided to read Wolfe’s essay, “The First Tycoon of Teen,” written about Spector when he was only 23. All I can say is…wow. Strange, brilliant, stylish. Now I have to read the rest! This, too, could form a master class in writing. Except I’d want to title that class, “Great Stuff You Could Do With Style if You Were A Genius, Which You Aren’t.” Or…”Don’t Try This At Home.” 🙂

FINALLY GETTING INTO: GARDEN SPELLS, by Sarah Addison Allen. I’m probably not past page twenty, but I love it already. I understand not everyone likes magical realism (where trees throw apples over fences, and neighbors know you’ll need a breath mint long before the hunky neighbor unexpectedly drops by), but I really do.

It’s tricky, isn’t it, this matter of personal taste? So inexplicable, and yet so powerful. Take the one single issue of “paranormal,” for instance. I’m fine with it. Unless I’m not. I love Sookie Stackhouse, for instance, but was lukewarm about Jim Butcher, who is obviously brilliant. Why? I can’t put my finger on it…so how on earth is a writer to know what will work?

I even have “hot” words…words that, if I read them on the jacket blurbs, will make me put the book down like a hot potato. Some of the hot words, for me, are “espionage,” “arms dealer,” “Vietnam,” and “Mafia.” Okay, you might think, she’s just a sheltered little priss who doesn’t like disturbing topics. 🙂 And that’s not entirely untrue. But then how do you account for some of my weirder “tingle” words, the words that, if I read them on jacket blurbs, will make me hug the book and squee? “Tingle” words include “plague,” “psychopath,” “Bedlam,” and “Civil War.” If I get “hypnotically enigmatic” and “hauntingly evocative” in the same blurb, I might as well kiss my money goodbye.

And then there are the abrupt about-faces I can do if the writer somehow transcends his “hot” word. I tend to avoid “religion,” AND “1930s,” and yet I was obsessed with Susan Howatch’s series about British clergymen in the 1930s. Sometimes it even goes the other way around–I’m a fanatic about anything Tudor, and yet, in spite of a dozen enthusiastic recommendations, I can’t bring myself to read WOLF HALL.

So…what’s a writer to do? I guess the moral of the story is you have to write what you like, because, in the end, there is positively no guarantee of pleasing anyone else.

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For the past couple of weeks, most of my reading time has gone into judging the RITA awards. For those of you who aren’t romance writers, that may not mean much. But the RITA is like the Oscar for those of us who do! 🙂 The Romance Writers of America holds the contest each year, and the awards are handed out at the national conference in the summer.

Judging is hard work, but it’s fun–and being part of honoring the best in our genre is pretty exciting. This year, the writing in the entries sent to me was, overall, of very high quality. Of course, some of the stories and characters really stood out–but that’s the part I can’t share! I will, as always, be watching for the list of finalists to see if anything I judged made the cut!

FINISHED: ROUND HOUSE, by Louise Erdrich. Wow. Just as powerful as everyone promised it would be! I may be about to embark on an author binge. You know what I mean, I’m sure. Get excited by one book, scour the bookstores and the libraries for everything else the author wrote, read, read, read until your eyes are crossed, your soul fed, and your palate ready for something different. 🙂 I had my first author binge when I discovered Jane Austen in middle school. Even now, finding a new binge-worthy author is almost as exciting as falling in love!

STILL CHEWING ON: DROOD by Dan Simmons still sits on the end table, unfinished. I tell everyone how good it is, and I mean it. But it’s just too heavy (not usually a problem for me) and too dark (sometimes a problem for me).

UP NEXT: GARDEN SPELLS, by Sarah Allen Addison. I would have read it before ROUND HOUSE, except that I couldn’t find it. 🙂 It turned up neatly beneath the end table, where I’d placed it to protect it from the cat hair.

Elizabeth Gordon The Turned-Intos illustrationJUST BOUGHT: At a new antique mall in town, I discovered a darling old children’s book called THE TURNED-INTOS, by Elizabeth Gordon. Best thing about it–the illustrations by Janet Laura Scott. I casually collect wonderful children’s illustrations, and this one is a gem!

DRACULA, by Bram Stoker. If I ever read the whole book, it was ages and ages ago. My daughter, who often turns me onto great new/old things :), listened to it recently on Audible, and she says it’s fantastic, so I’m going to add it to the pile. The tall, tall pile…
Good luck making it to the top after all these years, Bram! 😉

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wild for the sheriff cover 235I’m hard at work on the third in my Sisters of Bell River Ranch series, although it’s not feeling all that much like work right now. 🙂
I love this phase of a series. By now I know the town, the houses, the businesses, the people, the trees and even the horses so well that it’s more like going to visit old friends than anything else.

Of course, I can’t reach this easy phase without doing the preliminary work of building a word rich enough to sustain several books. And part of that richness is the secondary characters.

As I play with mine, I got to thinking about some of the secondary characters I love best in other books. Here’s a list of some of my favorites. Are any of yours on here? Which wonderful creations have I overlooked?

Worst in a silly way: Thing 1 and Thing 2 from “The Cat in the Hat”

Worst in a terrifying way: Nils Bjurman, the creepy lawyer from “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Most attractive criminal: Sirius Black, from the Harry Potter series

Most delightfully depressed: Eeyore, from “Winnie the Pooh”

Most quotable: Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride”

Highest-functioning drunk: Haymitch Abernathy from “The Hunger Games”

Sweetest, but infuriating: Melanie Wilkes from “Gone With the Wind”

Most endearing weirdo: Oh, this one is a tie!
Boo Radley from “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Miss Havisham from “Great Expectations”

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