Catting around?!

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Yardley on her Cat D3 8/18/2013

Here, Kitty, kitty… Feral cats have always been in my life. From the kitties we ‘rescued’ from the hay barns as kids, to the cats my mother ‘stole’ from the park during her lunch breaks at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (to have them fixed), to the abandoned cats my husband started feeding during the minus zero weather in Alaska. (Yardley, left, is now a wonderful indoor/outdoor cat).

Cats are survivors. One reason cats survive is because of sheer numbers. A female (queen) can start breeding at five months and have four litters a year.
If she has four kittens each time, that means in ten years, she’s populated the area with nearly 1.4 MILLION cats! (See the t-shirt for the math equation)

I recently helped control the local population explosion of feral cats by transporting a dozen of the offenders to the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon. These citizens of the Oakdale Cat Colony were examined, wormed if necessary, checked and treated for ear mites, spayed or neutered, then given the ‘right ear snip’ that indicated a sterilized cat. These guys and gals already have jobs waiting for them and will be re-acclimated to their new work stations as barn cats in teams of two or more.

If you’d like to help, but don’t want to adopt a cat (or even transport a dozen or so), give to your local or regional agency or even to FCCO. I know they would appreciate any monetary help. Their suggested donation is $30 per cat. (notice the snipped right ear on the name plate)

So, where did the term ‘catting around’ come from? I don’t know, but if you do, please leave a comment so all of us will know!

Why do women go after these men who seem to be ‘catting around’? REBELS, ROGUES, AND ROMANTICS is a collection of five historical novels written by bestselling and award-winning authors about these types. Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited!

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Tourists Prayer (funny)

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Sharing a tourist prayer with those of you who are planing your next vacation:

Heavenly Father, look down on us your humble obedient tourist servants, who are doomed to travel this earth, taking photographs, mailing postcards, buying souvenirs and walking around in drip-dry underwear.

Give us this day divine guidance in the selection of our hotels, that we may find our reservations honored, our rooms made, and hot water running in the faucets.

We pray that the phones work and that the receptionists speak our tongue.

Lead us, dear Lord, to good, inexpensive restaurants where the food is superb, the waiters friendly and the wine included in the price.

Give us the wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we do not understand. Forgive us for undertipping out of ignorance or overtipping out of fear. Make the natives love us for what we are and nor what we can contribute to their worldly goods.

Grant us the strength to visit the museums, the cathedrals , the palaces and castles listed as ‘musts’ in the guidebooks.

And if perchance we skip a historic monument to take a nap after lunch, have mercy on us for our flesh is week.

For Husbands Only
Dear God, keep our wives from shopping sprees and protect them from ‘bargains’ they don’t need or can’t afford. Lead them not into temptation for they know not what they do.

For Wives Only
Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to us. Save them from making fools of themselves in cafes and nightclubs. Above all do not forgive them their trespasses for they know exactly what they do.

Available at Amazon

The perfect fiancé is a cheater and the fabulous Christmas wedding is off. But the would-be honeymoon cruise may fulfill the dreams of Julia and her unexpected companion.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk published more than twenty books, some translated in German and French.
She received an Outstanding Achiever Award at Affaire de Coeur Magazine and is a
Best Romance Novel winner at Preditors & Editors Readers Poll;
Two-Time winner of Best Contemporary Romance Novel at Readers Favorite;
EPIC’s Ebook Award Finalist; and Kindle Top 100 Bestselling Author

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Springtime is for roses

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Rainbow Sorbet grown exclusively in water with goldfish

Springtime! Time for fresh roses!
But also for late frosts or snow… What a bummer, having to wait to plant bare root roses because of fickle weather patterns.
But wait! I found a solution!

I plant my bare root roses in water. This may not work in all areas of the world, but it’s a real winner in Alaska where summers (at least around Anchorage) seldom get over 80 degrees. Your best bet for success is using a higher grade rose, at least grade one and a half, so it has a good root system.

There is a problem with ‘planting’ in 5 gallon buckets (or similar sized containers), though. Mosquitoes. Those little bloodsuckers love standing water, the perfect incubating area for their eggs and larvae.
Goldfish to the rescue! You can buy feeder goldfish at pet stores or larger Wal-marts for about ten cents each. I put a couple in each bucket of water and let them eat any mosquito larva that appear.

Queen Elizabeth grandflora rose grown in water with goldfish

There is an added bonus to the goldfish. Not only does their swimming keep the water from becoming stagnant, the by-product of their feasting (fish poop) is an ideal fertilizer. My Queen Elizabeth roses were nearly seven inches across one year!

Also, it’s fairly simple to move the containers inside if the forecast is for freezing temperatures. This works on both ends of the growing season. You can also ‘chase the sun’ if their once sunny spot becomes too shady later in the season. Note: all roses need at least six hours of sunlight.
Be aware, though. This method only works for one season. You are essentially forcing the roses to grow and there isn’t enough nutrition in the water to replenish the plant for a second season. If you’d like, you can plant the roses in the garden anytime, but at least six weeks before the first hard freezes. It takes at least that long for soil-feeding roots to become established. If your winters are mild, you will probably have success. However, if you have six months or more of sub-freezing temperatures, I recommend just tossing the plant in the dumpster. The stems and thorns are too tough to compost.
The blooms you get from growing your own roses may not be as fancy as the ones from the florist, but if you’ve chosen well, they’ll most certainly smell better.
More pictures and detailed ‘planting’ information at www.growalaska.net and www.chilloutroses.com. Note: emails and phone numbers are not correct. These are old sites for reference purposes only. I no longer sell roses, either.

Here’s a pretty bunch of roses for you! Yours for only #99cents!

Kiss Me, Thrill Me: As Only You Can. Seven great stories by USA Today and NY Times best selling authors. Available exclusively on Amazon (and for a limited time).

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Cold weather and Flu

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Winter may evoke a beautiful scenery of snow and Christmas time, but winter is also the time when cold and flu spread; the time for sweaters and coat; and probably hat, gloves and snow boots on certain days.

We spend more time indoors in the winter. In planes, buses or trains, at work or in school, we’re pressed against spluttering commuters, misting up the windows with their coughs and sneezes, it’s easy to see how this could send us over a tipping point that allows the flu to spread through a population.

A cold can leave us with the strange feeling that we’ve swallowed a scratchy throat, a running nose and a mild headache; if we’re unlucky, our body is wracked with a high fever and aching limbs for up a week or longer.

The flu season arrives so predictably when the mercury drops that it’s an integral part of winter. In the short days of winter, without much sunlight, we run low on Vitamin D, which helps power the body’s immune system, making us more vulnerable to infection.

How can you protect yourself and avoid becoming one of the flu victims? I have developed my own preventive system based on doctors’ recommendations, on reading various books and on my grandmothers wise advice.

  • Get a flu shot I have been taking it for twenty years. It doesn’t guarantee that you won’t catch the flu but it helps avoid complication such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Avoid shaking hands and hugging too many ‘friends’. Especially your adorable nephews. Children spread germs much faster than adults!
  • Keep a scarf in your handbag to wrap around your throat if it’s suddenly. When I fly I surreptitiously cover my mouth to avoid breathing the germs that the plane fans generously distribute.
  • Gargle with Cepacol morning, night and during the day. When I worked as a pharmaceutical analyst at Dow Chemical, the company placed bottles of Cepacol in the restrooms and insist all employees should gargle after washing their hands. I haven’t been sick during my years at Dow Chemicals.
  • Swallow a Vit C 500mg daily. It boosts your immune system.
  • Swallow a pill of Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc. Excellent to improve your immune system.
  • And now a few useful tips from my grandmothers that really, really work:
  •  Suck on ginger candies such as Ginger Chew from Trader’s Joe. They may taste bitter the first time and some of my friends spit them right away and yelled at me but others got used to the taste and like them.
  • Snack on pumpkin seeds from Publix or Kroger supermarkets–very rich in zinc that boosts the immune system.
  • Savor a tablespoon of honey with a few drops of lemon before you sleep.

Do you have any special suggestion to avoid catching a nasty cold? Please share with us.

Nothing like a hot hunk who adores you to keep you warm in winter!

Finally, Claire’s dream of a wonderful white wedding to the man she’s loved for ten years is about to come true. Two weeks before the big day, Claire and David receive an unexpected announcement that can destroy their relationship. Is their love for each other strong enough to turn the worst wedding surprise into the best?

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Little Drummer Boy

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Quick! Think of a Christmas song!

Now, not so quick, find your favorite one that is really about Christmas. If you’re like me, the two weren’t the same. It’s also quite possible that the first one you thought of wasn’t even a Christmas song, but rather a seasonal tune about winter.

The first song I thought of was Jingle Bells. Hmm. Not really Christmas-y, is it? Nowadays, travel over white and drifting snow usually means sitting in a four-wheel drive vehicle as it roars down the highway, not snuggled in a blanket, sleigh bells jingling, as a horse with an innate sense of direction brings you home in a fancy sled.

My favorite Christmas carol/tune is Little Drummer Boy. I guess it is popular with other folks, too, but Debbie Haston was the first to choose it in the Authors’ Billboard contest, so my book is dedicated to her. The song’s soothing tune blends well with its simple message. Thanks for entering, Debbie!

In this classic song, the little drummer boy was poor, but talented. He had no money, so instead shared his gift. The generous young man didn’t do it for attention. His parents didn’t coerce him. He did it out of love for the new-born king.

I always identified with the drummer boy in the song. We were poor when I was a kid, but I didn’t know it. I had siblings to play with, food to eat (even though it was often beans), and a dog. What else could anyone want besides the occasional soda or ice cream treat? We got gifts for Christmas, mostly pajamas and underwear, but Mom made sure we got at least one toy. We also had special food (turkey and real butter!), decorated a tree, and sang songs.

What I remember most, though, is being together. And healthy. Everything else was just stuff that was soon forgotten, broken, or thrown away. dani-leonard-janie-christmas-card-1955The card Mom made for her mother when I was three years old is still one of my most prized possessions. Inside was a picture of Mom’s three treasures: her first three children. A store bought card would have been lost or tossed long ago.

In my contribution to this boxed set the reader discovers how a 1780s family in North Carolina celebrates Christmas, and why love and giving of one’s self is more important than fancy wrapping paper and high dollar gifts. Little Drummer Boy, part of the Love, Christmas – Holiday Stories That Will Put a Song in Your Heart. Introductory priced at only 99 cents.

Amazon US   Amazon UK    Amazon CA     Nook      Kobo    Apple / iTunes

And remember to have a safe and friendly holiday season, no matter where (or when) you are.

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Last Christmas from Love, Christmas @JoanReeves #mgtab

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Cover of Last Christmas by Joan ReevesLast Christmas has always been one of my favorite holiday songs. Earlier this year, we ran a contest with Fresh Fiction and asked entrants to name their favorite holiday song–a classic carol or a popular song.

We authors had chosen a favorite song in advance. The first person to name the author’s song became the reader to which the author dedicated her novella.

My song was Last Christmas, made popular by Wham and recorded most recently by Taylor Swift. Several readers listed the song as a favorite, but Corissa Palfrey was the first to list it. So Last Christmas, my holiday romance in the Love, Christmas Collection, is dedicated to Corissa.

Why I Chose Last Christmas

I’ve always liked Last Christmas because the song is a study in contrast. The lyrics are poignant, but the rock and roll beat and tune don’t make you feel tearful and sad as so many Christmas songs do. When Last Christmas plays, you want to snap your fingers and tap your feet.

Further analysis shows that the song is actually one of optimism and personal growth. In the song, a girl gave her love unwisely to a man who didn’t value it, but she learned from the experience. That’s why this Christmas, she’s going to give her heart to someone special!

What If…

Every woman has probably had her heart broken at some time or other. The lyrics for Last Christmas fired my imagination and the story nearly told itself: a woman fell for a man and gave her heart to him. After a few days, he simply vanished!

Ever been told, “I’ll call you,” but the phone never rings–no matter how long you wait!

Sign says RetaliationWhat if the two lovers meet again?

What if he wants to rekindle the romance?

What if she wants to make him pay for breaking her heart?

Haven’t we all had similar fantasies of getting redress when wronged?

Blurb

Last Christmas Annabelle Cooper fell in love at first sight with a mysterious stranger. After a week of unforgettable passion, he walked out of her life with a promise to call her later.

ab_lc_lastchristmas_01_webA year of heartache accompanied by the dirty tricks life can serve up finds Annabelle back in her hometown, determined to forget the man who still haunts her dreams.

Who should walk into her grandmother’s Christmas party? Why the man who seduced her, lied to her, and betrayed her! He has a new name and a new identity, but his effect on Annabelle is as old as time.

Rick Lassiter thinks–hopes–he can woo Annabelle back to him–and his bed. But, he didn’t count on the passionate sweet-tempered woman he remembered as having a will as strong as his and a desire to make him pay for breaking her heart.

Rick wants redemption, but Annabelle has revenge in mind.

Special Price–Limited Time

Love, Christmas is the Collection of the YEAR, and it’s only 99Cents!!!

You’ll love this heartwarming collection of 20 all-new Christmas stories from NY Times, USA Today, and national best-selling authors. Every title in the set is from a well-known Christmas song, and we hope while reading these delightful stories, they will put a song in your heart.

love-christmas
Love, Christmas is on pre-order now! The Collection will publish on October 18. Get it now at these ebook sellers: Amazon Kindle * KoboBooks * B&N * iBooks.

Try Before You Buy

That’s right, we’ve put together a sampler, Book Bites 7, containing every first chapter of all the novellas in Love, Christmas. This Holiday Sampler is free! You’ll find it at these ebook sellers: Amazon * Kobo * B&N.

rsz_1bookbites7-1350-x-2015-resizedBut Wait, There’s More!

To celebrate the release of Love, Christmas, we are having Facebook parties with prizes, giveaways, and even a Treasure Hunt!

Love, Christmas Treasure Hunt graphicClick to join the Love, Christmas Treasure Hunt. There’s a lot of fun to be had and prizes too!

Click to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway–there are some great prizes!

The Rafflecopter began Oct. 1 and runs through Oct. 25.

ab_lc_tour_bookpartners_fb-eventJoin the Authors of Love, Christmas on Oct. 17 and 18 for Facebook Parties thrown by Book Partners. All authors are giving away prizes. I hope to see you there!

For information about these events, check the Love, Christmas Facebook Page.

ab_lc_collage-wideBook Links Encore

Book Bites 7: Holiday Sampler. FREE! Amazon * Kobo * B&N.

Love, Christmas Romance Collection. Pre-order now and find it in your Inbox at midnight on October 18. Amazon Kindle * KoboBooks * B&N * iBooks.


Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. (Audio editions available at Audible, and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “It’s never too late to live Happily Ever After.”

Joan lives her Happily Ever After with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State.

Readers, sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL . Writers, subscribe to WritingHacks, Joan’s free NL for authors. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Google+  * Twitter * YouTube.

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Romance Novel Defined by Joan Reeves

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Fresco_image-of-a-couple-on-the-wal-12147584_BSPWhat is a romance novel?

As a reader, you may be surprised that the answer to that question is frequently under discussion by romance authors and the main organization of romance authors.

Sure, you know that the romance novel is a literary genre, and that the primary focus in this genre is the relationship – the love – between two people. Once, publishers of romance novels demanded writers end the story with a happily ever after. Now, writers can end stories with an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

To me, there’s a huge difference between happily ever after and emotionally satisfying and optimistic. Personally, I wonder if this alternative ending for a romance novel merely reflects contemporary cynicism about long-term relationships.

Teensy Bit of Romance Genre History

In 1740, Samuel Richardson penned Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. Considered the first romantic novel, Pamela had two surprising elements that were different from other novels. First, it focused almost entirely on courtship. Second, the novel was told from the viewpoint of a female protagonist.

In the next century, the remarkable Jane Austen, whose Pride and Prejudice is now considered the pinnacle of romance, came along. She inspired Georgette Heyer – I always think of her as the twentieth century Jane Austen – who introduced historical romances in 1921.

About 10 years later, a small British company called Mills and Boon began publishing what were called category romance novels – short books with a set number of pages and standard elements. (In England, romance novels were often called courtship novels.)

The Mills and Boon romances were resold for a North American market by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. who marketed directly to readers and allowed mass-market merchandisers to sell the books too. The genre was off and running.

Then, in 1972, Avon published The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, the first single title romance novel to be published as a paperback original, and the modern romance genre was truly born.

Beautiful romantic couple of newlyweds holding hands & kissing near old castle

Beautiful romantic couple of newlyweds holding hands & kissing near old castle

My! How Romance Grew

From then until now, there have been a lot of romance novels published. The genre has grown and given birth to sub-genres of every possible variation. It has become the most popular genre in North America where it accounts for more than half of all paperback books sold.

Romance isn’t just a North America phenomenon. The genre is popular on every continent–well, maybe Antarctica might be an exception. Romance novels are published in more than 90 languages.

Romance Readers Out of Touch?

For years, the romance novel was decried as being lowbrow and read by women who were out of touch with reality. We’re not out of touch with reality. We just know what we want. We want romance!

A good romance novel sets the standard for the kind of love and romance a woman wants in a relationship. If a man really wants to know what a woman wants, he should read a good romance novel.

I find it heartwarming — and a bit ironic — that our beloved genre is now the most popular, best selling genre of all time. Tell that to your romance-dissing acquaintances the next time they start talking about how romance novels aren’t “real” books!

With all the changes and growth in our contemporary world, I guess it’s no surprise that the romance genre reflects those changes–providing the happily ever after some want and the optimistic and satisfying ending others may want. But, I’m not willing to give up my happily ever after – in real life or fiction.

All About Love and Commitment

Heat Lightning_NYTMaybe, I don’t want to give up the HEA because that traditional ending is all about lasting love. Today, in the wake of so much death and destruction in the news, I find myself thinking more than ever about the importance of love. In the end, it truly is the most important thing in anyone’s world.

With the romance novels I write, I always aim for that happily ever after for my characters, not just an optimistic, satisfying ending. In Heat Lightning, love once existed between Tessa and David, but amnesia stole every moment of their life together from Tessa. The desire sizzling between them makes Tessa want to discover their love again, but David is hiding something. Will she risk everything to love him again?

Well, my motto is: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” So Tessa and David have more than a fighting chance!


Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. (Audio editions available at Audible, and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “It’s never too late to live Happily Ever After.”

Joan lives her Happily Ever After with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State.

Readers, sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL . Writers, subscribe to WritingHacks, Joan’s free NL for authors. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Google+  * Twitter * YouTube.

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Forever and Ever: #WeddingVows #SumHtRom #mgtab @jacqbiggar

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love-163690_1280

 

When you’re young and in love, it can seem as though nothing can ever come between you.

He’s perfect (even though you don’t really like that annoying habit he has of leaving the toilet seat up, or his shoes in front of the door) and you can’t wait to start your life together; buy a house, raise a family.

Pure heaven.

But then, little by little, reality sets in and you realize, hey, this marriage stuff takes a lot of work. The kids need taken care of, meals need cooked, the house needs cleaned, shoot, even the pets need attention.

What happened to the little bubble of romance?

 

balls-313405_640

 

It seems to have floated out the door.

How could this happen?

We had a plan.

It’s about this time, when the overwhelming pressure of day-to-day living implodes a relationship, that many marriages crash and burn.

 

From the Government of Canada website:

Summary

  • National Picture — Fluctuating between 35% and 42%, the proportion of marriages projected to end in divorce has remained relatively stable during the last 20 years. In 2008, 40.7% of marriages were projected to end in divorce before the thirtieth wedding anniversary.
  • Age and Gender — In 2008, the average age at divorce was 44.5 for men and 41.9 for women.
  • Regions — In 2008, Yukon had the highest proportion (59.7%) of marriages projected to end in divorce before the thirtieth wedding anniversary, while Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest (25.0%).

 

What can we do as couples to change the tide?

  • Listen to each other- It’s too easy to block the anger and dissatisfaction. We need to learn to open our minds to our loved one’s feelings and seek a solution together.

 

  • Take time out of your schedule for you- not each other, for you. If you can’t wind down because you’re always ‘on call’ it’s bound to breed disharmony.

 

  • Date night- this is where you can increase harmony and intimacy with your spouse. Raising a family is hard, don’t forget to reward yourself now and then with a nice night out.

 

  • Learn to walk away- This one’s big! Fights happen, it’s inevitable. You need to learn to step back and reassess the argument. Often you’ll see things in a new light and realize it wasn’t worth all that anxiety.

 

  • Sleep in the buff- I learned this one from Doctor Oz! It’s good for your health and the skin to skin contact with your spouse creates an intimacy and closeness that will carry you through the day.

 

 

Marriage is about spending your life with the one person you can count on to be there, no matter what. Your best friend. Your lover. Your everything.

Forever and ever.

 

couple-915987_1280

 

My new novella, Summer Lovin’, is about two lovers who learn this lesson:

Mitch Taylor and Rebecca Sorenson share a secret.

 

Rebecca’s job as secretary of Cascade Elementary, the same school she attended as a child, is rewarding. She has a great group of friends, many of whom are married now. And if sometimes she wished it were her up there in that sparkling white dress…

Except, wait—she did get to wear bridal white. Granted, it was a slinky party dress and the justice of the peace was Elvis in a gold lame jacket, but still, the deed was done.

She’d tied the knot.

Mitch Taylor doesn’t do regrets. It would be a waste of energy bemoaning the mistakes he’d made in his life. The end of his promising football career taught him nothing in life was a guarantee.

Like love.

What were the chances two people from the same po-dunk town in Washington would end up together in a nightclub in Las Vegas?  A few too many drinks later, a hasty ceremony performed by the king of rock ‘n’ roll, and they’d been hitched. The night that followed lived on in his dreams, but when he’d woken the next morning she was gone.

Can these two mismatched lovers find a way past their mistakes, or will they keep their lonely hearts forever guarded?

Available now in the Summer Heat: Love on Fire box set

 

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JACQUIE BIGGAR  is a bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls.

She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.

Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site:

http://jacqbiggar.com

You can follow her on at http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggar , http://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar

Or email her via her web site. Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

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