Broken by Raine Norman Launch Party Giveaway time!

February 19, 2014

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Hi guys!

In the early part of the novella, Oliver is upset when Joel says they should take a break. He vents his despair at the cost of some damage.

Have you ever broken something in a fit of temper, frustration or despair? Give your reply in comments and I will randomly select one lucky person to receive a free copy of Broken.

I will give you an instance when I broke something. I used to have a silly ornament called Egg Whip which was in the shape of an egg with a scrawny chicken’s head sticking out of it which was dressed to represent a jockey. I bought it as a joke as my now ex-husband had been a professional  racehorse jockey in the past. Well, I was dusting one day and I noticed the peak of the cap was broken. My ex was really clumsy and I was cross he’d broken it without telling me that he had. When I asked him about it, he denied that he had done the deed. Pretty weak defense really as there was only the two of us in the house!  Long story short, I got so cross at his denial that I snapped the head of the ornament and yelled that it was really broken now! LOL!

So, were you as daft as me by making a slightly damaged ornament only fit for the dustbin? Or have you got even funnier stories to tell? Tell your tales of destruction below for a chance to win a free copy of Broken! The winner will be chosen later tonight.

Edited to add – this giveaway is now closed but check out my blog as there may well be another chance to win when I guest blog at the weekend – full details will be put up there on Saturday! 

Broken – buy at Dreamspinner Press.

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Broken – Raine Norman – The Cover Art

February 19, 2014

Hello again!

One of the most exciting things about getting a story published in its own right, rather than as part of an anthology, is that the story got its own book cover. I filled out a questionnaire about my likes and dislikes of book covers to help the team at Dreamspinner Press decide who to get to do the artwork. I really do have to say that many of the examples I liked were by Brooke Albrecht, and so I was delighted to be informed that this talented artist would be doing the cover.

You’ve seen a little hint of the cover art on the headers on these posts, but I thought it was about time that I shared the whole thing. It is so beautiful I am really hoping that it gets nominated for awards as it so deserves to be.

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The model is simply beautiful and the background really sets the scene. I really couldn’t believe my luck in getting such beautiful artwork and can’t thank Brooke enough!

I know we shouldn’t ‘judge a book by its cover’ but  have any of you ever bought a book based purely on its cover, and if so did it live up to expectations? Please take the time to let me know in comments and stay tuned as a giveaway is coming up later and also an excerpt!

 

Broken – buy at Dreamspinner Press.

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Release Party for Broken by Raine Norman

February 19, 2014

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Hi, Raine Norman here again. My novella, Broken, is about relationship problems brought about by a physical injury to one of couple.  This leads to Oliver’s self-esteem taking a plunge in the face of his ‘surfer-dude’ partner, Joel’s, physical fitness and outgoing personality.

These traits in Joel are what attracted Oliver to him in the first instance, but now he misreads all the signs and Joel, too, fails to realize how his normal behavior is now causing Oliver to have doubts about his commitment to their relationship until its almost too late.

I think the old adage ‘you need to love yourself before someone else can love you’  has a little truth in it. Negativity can cause many problems. Have any of you had a loss of confidence in yourself lead to relationship troubles? I’d love to hear your stories in comments.

I was employed riding racehorses out at exercise when I was in myearly twenties. Falling off is an occupational hazard in that line of work – put simply, if you ride enough horses you will end up on the ground at some point! Obviously a bad fall can shake your confidence, but weirdly for me, the horse that led me to losing my nerve (losing my bottle in horse-racing jargon) only gave me a couple of easy falls where I landed on my feet beside him.

The trouble was the damn thing had got it down to an art form and with a wriggle and a toss of his head could give you an unscheduled dismount at any time and in any pace! (I only ever fell off in walk thankfully). But riding him everyday made me more and more nervous and eventually I changed occupations! My partner, however, still worked within the industry and I hated that he still had all the confidence in the world when sat on a flighty racehorse or on our own horses.

This brought friction to our relationship and, strangely, when I regained my confidence on our own horses, my partner couldn’t handle the fact that I was competing in the show ring again and not him! The hobby we both shared and loved became my hobby alone, and over time this meant we spent less free time together and I am sure played a part in our separation.

It seems silly when I write it down, but when something that brings a couple together, be it a job, or hobby, like skiing in Oliver and Joel’s case , or horse riding in mine, is no longer possible or fun to share then it does put strain on a relationship.

What do you think?

Check out Broken at the Dreamspinner Press website and when I come back I will have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! Excerpts and more chat to follow!  :)

Broken at Dreamspinner Press

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Welcome to the release party for Broken, a novella by Raine Norman

February 19, 2014

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Hello, my name is Raine and I am ready to chat with all you lovely people. My latest novella, Broken, was released today, 19th February

Buy Broken @ Dreamspinner Press

I am very excited as this is the first story I have had published in its own right and not part of an anthology – more about that later.

Here’s the summary:

More than Oliver’s leg is broken after a skiing accident. The months spent in the hospital and enduring physical therapy leaves him bitter and insecure. His lover of four years, Joel, represents all he fears his weak and disfigured leg has stolen – the ability to live an active and carefree life.

Joel endlessly tries to lift Oliver from his despair, but after being rebuffed one too many times, he suggests they take a break and moves out.

After a long lonely week, Oliver is both delighted and terrified when Joel suggests they meet to talk things through. He discovers that Joel plans to make amends by helping Oliver realize he can still enjoy the snow. From Joel’s old apartment to the snowy peaks of a Canadian ski resort, Oliver and Joel will face their greatest fears together and with a little luck and a lot of trust, rekindle their love.

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Stayed tuned to the blog for more excerpts, talks about my new book, and may even be a giveaway or two!

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Win a copy of Sunrise Over Savannah by Scotty Cade

February 18, 2014

Good Morning,

Sunrise Over Savannah

My name is Scotty Cade and I’m looking so forward to chatting with you today. I’d like to introduce you to my latest novel, “Sunrise Over Savannah,” which released yesterday over at Dreamspinner Press. Here’s a link if you want to take a quick look. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4716.

This book is very near and dear to my heart and was inspired by a real life person named Thompson and an event that happened at a marina where Thompson worked in Savannah GA. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

On one of our many October trips down south on our boat, my husband and I, traveling with our best friends stopped in Savannah GA for an overnight stay. The deck hand who greeted and docked us was one of those young, gorgeous, friendly, and charismatic guys you stumble onto every once in a while. He had shoulder length blonde hair, emerald green eyes and a smile that might, if bottled up, finally achieve world peace. Although we had just met him, we were all instantly drawn to him and knew he was the type that you and everyone else wanted to hang out with. He was just that amazing. As I mentioned, his name was Thompson and the best thing about him was that he seemed oblivious to his charm and good looks or the affect he had on the people around him. Now imagine four homosexuals on a boat, Kell and I in our mid fifties and our friends in their mid seventies all making conversation and batting our eyelashes at this kid. He didn’t blink an eye, just smiled and chatted us up for over an hour. I knew immediately that I wanted to write a book about him, the only issue was the plot line.

Much to my surprise, it didn’t take very long for that to present itself either. The next morning just before sunrise. I was awake early, as we were leaving at first light for our next day on the water, and I always checked my charts and the weather, you know, all the nervous nell stuff boat captains do. So I was on the fly bridge of our boat listening to the marine weather loop sipping my coffee and saw a man standing on the edge of the dock holding his own cup of coffee watching the sun peak over the horizon. For most of the time, all I could see was his back and even with my limited view, I recognized his well, defeated stance . His shoulders were slumped and his head was tilted to one side. It wasn’t until he turned and made his way past our boat that I really saw the solum and forlorn expression he was wearing. The sight took my breath away and haunted me for a long timer. The whole thing left me feeling empty and yearning for answers. I asked around a little, not wanting to pry and no one knew the guy or had even seen him, so I never got the answers I sought. But the image of him on that dock watching the sunrise??? It stayed with me and still today, it is as clear as if it happened yesterday. And for anyone who knows me, if something like this stays with me, it will surely end up a novel or at the very least, in a novel of mine. Weighing heavy on my mind, the story unfolded rather quickly, practically wrote itself and I’m very proud of it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Much to my dismay, when we stopped at the same marina on our latest trip, he was no longer working there, apparently chasing an acting career. Go Thompson! See you in Hollywood!

So with all that said, today I will be giving away three copies of Sunrise Over Savannah eBooks and here’s how I’m gonna do it. Over the course of the morning, I will post three excerpts from the story. At the end of each excerpt, I will ask a question related to that particular excerpt. Starting at two o’clock this afternoon, you can posts your answers and everyone who answers all three questions correctly will be entered in the drawing. At five o’clock I will posts the correct answers and announce the winners.

You’ll need to check in multiple times because you have to get all three answers correct to be entered into the drawing.

Good Luck!

Scotty

www.scottycade.com

Posy Roberts North Star: Flare – last chance to play!

January 13, 2014

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This will be my last post.

I’m sad that North Star (Spark, Fusion, and Flare) are over. Yet, somewhere along the way, I realized Hugo and Kevin’s teenage story wasn’t one to just throw away, so I reworked it.

I’ve taken their junior year in high school, revamped it, and added 66% more (yes, I’ve done the math).  This book is called Private Display of Affection and written under the pen name Winter Sandberg. Yes, components of Spark are in it but the sexual bits are toned down. If you have a gay or bisexual son or nephew or friend, this might be a book for them. I address issues in PDA that men having sex with men will never get in a traditional sex ed class. I did that so teens might have a place to go for answers. You may enjoy it even more than them, because you get a better glimpse at what’s happening in Kevin’s head in this book, unlike in Spark, where he was often left out of the equation because of how the story was structured.

And It is my hope that I can write Hugo and Kevin’s senior year in high school as well. So far, it is much more Kevin’s story than it is Hugo’s in the planning stage, but that makes sense after Hugo’s tumultuous junior year.

One thing I tend to do is keep storyboards alive on Pinterest. I try to do this for each and every story, so if you want to follow me, feel free, or if you want to follow individual stories, peek around. I play on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterst, Google+, and other places too. I love connecting with new people, but I may be a bit shy at first. I also try to keep Winter Sandberg separate from Posy Roberts for the most part, but keeping up with the various sites does get exhausting.

So for my very last question of the night, what changed between the time you were 16 and the time you were an adult in your romantic relationships? I got a lot more practical or “realistic, ” if you will. How about you? I still expect magical kisses and moments that sweep me off my feet, but not nearly as often as I did at 16 years-old. :)

Posy Roberts Delves Beneath the Surface in Flare

January 13, 2014

So, how do you fit the real world into romance? Or why would you even want to? In Flare, I wanted to.

I started reading romance novels written for teens in the 1980s. I think they went under the monicker Wildfire Romances. OMG, I found a link to the spines of some. LOL! They were set in modern times, and the story almost always ended after boy and girl got together. And then I quit reading romance altogether for years. When I started again, my tastes quickly morphed.

I’ve obviously moved past boy and girl meeting and falling in love, and shifted to men going crazy for each other. But I also love a romance to go beyond the “Yes, I want to be with you” and the “I love you” moments.

I like to go deeper.

I like to see how those couples will survive outside the bubble of initial romance and lust, because that is the true test! Getting past “I love you” is hard, but it is nothing compared to dealing with real life or a chronic illness or a secret you’re positive will change everything.

Some of this comes from my personal experiences. I deal with chronic illness that has transformed me from the very energetic 18 year-old my husband met in college into someone who needed to temper herself and slow way down or I’d be bed bound for days. And then our baby was born. She was beautiful and sweet, but the poor child couldn’t swallow her own saliva without choking/aspirating, and she needed multiple operations to resolve all of her birth defects, not to mention the years of using a feeding tube before she could eat like the rest of us.

So how does a couple survive difficulties like these? Hugo and Kevin lived through the challenges they faced in Fusion. When I named book 2, I was thinking of cold fusion, even if it is still a hypothetical. But how do you survive beyond a bonding crisis like they experienced? How do you still live and love each other without the intensity of emotions you felt during the crisis? Sometimes you can cope better than you can in everyday life. When things become mundane, how do keep interested? And what do you do to keep life from getting stale?

This is what Flare is about and why the cover is green! Haha. It’s about finding life after death. Of course, Hugo and Kevin’s lives are much more interesting than my own ever could be.

That is reality for most of us at one point in our lives or another. Is it grief from the loss of a parent or partner? Is it being laid off or fired from a job? Or substance abuse to cope with? Or is it a medical crisis?

I think this is truly where the meat, the heart is in relationships. This is where it is enriching to watch and read about people growing and becoming more than they were at the beginning, especially when life is crisis free. “I love you” is easy now, but “I like you” or “I’m disappointed in you” might be harder. And how do you move past that so you can continue to grow, not just individually but as a couple?

That is what I really want to explore when I write romance. I want to explore the iceberg underneath.

What sort of depth do you enjoy in romance stories? When is too much, too much?

Have you ever related so much to a character that it’s scary?

Excerpt from Flare by Posy Roberts

January 13, 2014

To say Kevin, Hugo, and the kids had a bad six months in book two of North StarFusion, is an understatement. In Flare, they are coming out of that funk and trying to live again. Hugo has started to take more work because Kevin hired a nanny, Rowan, and insisted Hugo take more jobs… better jobs. That brings about a whole new set of stressors, and Summer wants to help give the guys a break while sharing the great outdoors with the kids.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Ten of Flare.


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SUMMER AND Russell had insisted on taking the kids camping up north in the Iron Range. Rowan begged to go along too once she heard where they were headed. They’d be spending a week in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, portaging from one body of water to another, cooking over an open flame, and camping in the wilderness. Kevin had been more than pleased they hadn’t asked him to join them—at thirty-six years old, sleeping on the ground rather than in a bed was not what it had been at sixteen. He also made sure Rowan knew what she was truly getting into before she agreed. Apparently her time in Montana had toughened her up to roughing it, and she was looking forward to a week in the forest.

“There’s been enough crazy, in a bad way,” Summer had said as a way to convince Kevin to agree to their plans. “Now Brooke and Finn need crazy in a good way. They need to see all the beauty that’s out there for them to explore.”

“Says the nature girl who’s gonna wear makeup every day she’s camping.” Hugo teased her despite all the time Kevin had heard him refer to Summer as his Earth Mama.

“Shut it, Cherrie. You love makeup just as much as I do,” she retorted, and Kevin couldn’t help but laugh at the good-natured banter between best friends. It was even funnier when Hugo shrugged, clearly giving the points to Summer on that argument, and then he watched Hugo pull out his pomegranate-raspberry lip balm and dramatically spread it over his lips, then smack them in Summer’s direction. Hugo could be a sassy little tease when he wanted, and apparently right then, he wanted to be. Kevin pulled his head back into the original conversation about camping, pushing out his desire to lick and suck at Hugo’s glistening lips.

“But you’ll be out in the middle of nowhere without cell phone coverage,” Kevin said, airing his fear of not being able to get in contact if something went wrong like a nightmare or injury.

“That’s part of the beauty, Kevin. Kids nowadays are too connected. Getting them away from electricity will be good for ’em. How else will they learn about how hard life is without power? And we’ll take care of everything else. Seriously,” Summer said with such conviction as she held out a complicated compass in her palm as if the antiquated tool should somehow remove all doubt. Kevin relented because he trusted her. Summer was a teacher, after all, taking care of twenty-odd kids on a daily basis. And there were Rowan and Russell as well.

Of course, Kevin had also gone to REI and spent far too much money on camping gear for his kids, demanding the best of everything. Hugo had laughed, reminding him about the time in high school when they had literally slept outside on one of their fishing trips because Kevin had forgotten the tent in his garage beside his dad’s car.

“They’ll survive without GPS and platinum sporks. I promise,” Hugo teased as they waved good-bye to the kids while Russell drove away.

Kevin and Hugo, on the other hand, were spending their second to last week of summer at the lake floating on the water, water-skiing, and trying to make the most of their time together. Lulu lazed about, sunning herself on the dock and then moving to the shady part of the deck, even getting in the water and swimming about to cool herself off.

It had been a trying few months with all the legal bullshit and the time Hugo had spent away from home. Despite his concerns over his kids being in the wilderness, they were with three responsible adults, and he honestly needed to have some time to relax.

As soon as it was dark out, Hugo had stripped, unsurprisingly, and jumped off the end of the dock.

“Always skinny-dipping, aren’t you?” Kevin joked.

“Always following me in, aren’t you?” Hugo looking up at Kevin who was still standing on the dock fully clothed. It was so dark out, just a sliver of the moon and tiny pinpricks of stars dotting the sky. Kevin could barely see Hugo from the nipples down because he was treading water. His pale body floating atop the dark surface was another story altogether, and moments after that thought flew through Kevin’s mind, he was dropping his clothes to the wooden dock.

Kevin jumped in the cool water and swam close to Hugo, then wrapped his arms and legs around his torso so Hugo was forced to tread water for both of them. Hugo drifted closer to shore and was soon planting both feet on the lake bed rather than struggling against the water. He held on to Kevin’s ass, holding him up, pulling him in tighter.

“I am always following you, you know that?” Kevin said.

“I’ve noticed, but why?” Hugo gave him a sly, sweet smile.

“Something about you always knowing where you’re going or some such nonsense.” Kevin smirked as he tugged on Hugo’s North Star pendant.
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Nature is a huge part of North Star, and Hugo and Kevin find many ways to relax outdoors: fishing, swimming, ice skating, water skiing, hiking, boating, to name a few. I’ve been many places to relax, and water is one of the best tools to help me feel calm.

Where was the most serene place that helped you truly shed the worries of your world? What was it about that place that made it so relaxing? Or is there a locale you want to visit that you think will be “your spot”?

Friendships in Posy Robert’s Flare

January 13, 2014

Hands Only PDAFriendship is at the heart of the North Star Trilogy and especially Flare. Hugo and Kevin have been friends—great friends—since they were in high school, even if there were years where they didn’t interact. When they meet again as adults in the book Spark, that friendship blossoms as if they were never apart. So does their love affair. But Hugo and Kevin both have very different experiences when it comes to friendships with other people.

Hugo

Hugo Thorson

Hugo makes friends very easily. He’s quite social, even if he does appreciate his alone time as well. He’s lived in his community of Uptown, Minneapolis socializing with many of the same people for years and his best friend is Summer, who is very outgoing. He also knows people around town by name and asks pertinent questions when he sees them. This makes him feel like he’s part of his community, which is important to him.

Kevin

Kevin Magnus

Kevin has a very different experience, in part because of how his father would pick and choose his friends when he was a kid. Kevin wasn’t ever given opportunities to make friends on his own because his dad always stuck his nose in Kevin’s business and dictated who was the most beneficial friend. In college and later in life, Kevin found it was easier to make friends though other people, like his wife, Erin or through the country club or even his job. He never truly trusted his own instincts because of the emotionally abusive things his father ended up doing to him, causing Kevin to doubt many decisions.

Yet, in Flare, Hugo and Kevin need to put down roots and make a stable home for Kevin’s kids, Brooke and Finn. That means nurturing or making new friendships for both men, but they run into the problems in Flare because of their differences.

It’s always been my suspicion that Kevin could more easily be friends with Hugo because he was his lover too. Somehow his dad’s “programming” didn’t get to those parts of his thinking, and he’s more able to let go and open up with Hugo than anyone else. He’s also more able to trust his own instincts with the more intense relationship of a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Friendships are amazing, but of course, we can’t have rich friendships with everyone. What does it take for you to go deeper with a friend? Do you find it scary when you go deeper? I sure do. I emailed a friend a very long note the other day, and five minutes after I hit Send, I wanted the email back. But I’m very glad my friend read it in the end. It made us just a little bit closer, but it was a risk.

I’ve also lost friends I’ve been very close to, and that’s never fun, even if I’m glad I had those people in my life for the short time they were there. I grew from knowing them or from what we endured together. What makes it worth loving and losing for you?

I’m also an ambivert like Hugo, which mostly manifests itself in me being terrified to meet people and leery to share the “real me” with them. What’s the hardest part about meeting new people for you?

Release Party: Posy Roberts & Flare are Here Today!

January 13, 2014

Good morning! This is Posy Roberts here ready to chat with you lovely people throughout the day. My latest novel, Flare, was released today, January 13! Flare is the final book in my North Star Trilogy, and I’m excited to finally be able to share all the books with you.

For those of you new to North Star, all three books revolve around the lives of Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus.

Hugo and Kevin knew they should be together all the way back in high school, but life took them in very different directions. When they have a chance to continue their relationship, life’s circumstances have other plans for them. But they know they are meant to be, so they fight for each other, and they will fight for the family they want to nurture together, even if the world around them doesn’t quite understand their “alternative” family and tries their best to keep them apart.

Spark is book one in the trilogy.

In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.

By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.

When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.

 

Fusion is book two.

How do you tell your friends and family you’ve fallen in love with a man when they’ve only ever known you as straight? How do you explain to your kids that you loved their mother very much, but your new partner is your best friend from high school and a man?

Kevin Magnus must figure it out while trying to build a relationship with Hugo Thorson, whose bigger than life, out-and-proud drag queen persona is simply too big to be contained in a closet—even for the time it takes Kevin to come up with an explanation for his kids and Erin, his soon-to-be ex-wife.

But Erin faces an even bigger obstacle—one that shakes the entire family to the core. When she unexpectedly turns to Hugo, they form a connection that forces Hugo to grow up and offers Kevin the chance to become the kind of father he wants to be. Despite the coming complications, they’ll all benefit from a fortunate side effect: it becomes clear that Hugo is very much a part of this unconventional family.

 

And now Flare, book three is ready for you!

Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus are learning to live again after the death of Kevin’s wife, Erin. They’re doing everything they can to make a stable home for Kevin’s kids, but that stability is threatened when Kevin is served legal documents: Erin’s parents want custody of Brooke and Finn.

Meanwhile, Hugo is offered several acting jobs; to encourage him to take them, Kevin hires a nanny who is very hands-on with the kids. But Hugo feels distanced from his new family, so he makes the decision to leave his eclectic neighborhood and moves in with Kevin. He quickly finds he has a hard time fitting in with the suburbanites, and Kevin’s passive-aggressive “friends” make Hugo feel anything but welcome. Yet he keeps his concerns a secret and tries to take it all in stride.

When Brooke is bullied about having two dads, Hugo realizes his mere presence might be doing more harm than good. The stress will force him to make a choice: does he stay and fight for the family he loves, or does he walk away to let them live in peace?

 

Now let’s interact!

When you hear the word “trilogy,” what comes to mind? I knew I was taking a risk writing one. What gets you excited about a trilogy or any sort of series with the same characters? Are you a “wait until they all come out” reader or a “read them as they come out” reader? Why?

Please leave comments. I’d love to hear from you, and I’ll reply as soon as I can. I have to go teach a class this morning, but I’ll be back as soon as I help solve all the parenting problems in my town. Haha.  Have a cup of coffee or tea while you think about your answers. No need to rush. And who knows what crazy things I’ll write about this afternoon.

If there are any questions you have about the trilogy, about Kevin and Hugo, about any of the secondary characters (who so many of you seem to love – yay!), or even about me or surviving in Minnesota during the winter, ask them. I’ll try to answer everything. Let’s make this blog as interactive as we can today!