Girls Write Out
Thursday, February 28, 2008

Did you see that news story on Fox & Friends about a cop's wife on the Moment of Truth game show? She admitted having affairs and also admitted she'd rather be married to her ex-boyfriend. She was willing to admit all the things she'd done on national TV, but when asked, "Are you a good person?" She said, "Yes, I believe I'm a good person." The lie detector technician said she was LYING! She DIDN'T think she was a good person. But she couldn't admit something that simple and get another $100,000!

The world tells us it's perfectly fine to do the things she was doing. That there's no such thing as sin. But her HEART knew better obviously. But she still couldn't come right out and say, "The things I did were wrong." She balked at real heart truth.

I found it an interesting commentary on how far we'll go to try to deceive ourselves. Inside we always know better. LOL But it made me stop and think about truth and being honest with ourselves. I don't know about you, it's uncomfortable to take an unvarnished look at our faults. And we all have them. I know, I know, you're shocked I would have any faults. Ask the other girls. They can give you the dirt. LOL I think this all must have a little to do with Jesus saying for us to take care of the plank in our own eye before we tend to the sliver in the other person's. We deceive ourselves so well, we'll deny to our dying day that there IS a plank even if it's gouging out our eye! LOL

I avoid a mirror because the reflection is getting OLD and FAT. What's up with that? I'm still nineteen inside and wear a size ten. I've been in search of the perfect face cream like they say on What Not to Wear. But it's just more of that self-deception. Facts are facts and I haven't worn a size twelve in twenty-five years. LOL And hey, here's an unpleasant reality: I'm not likely to no matter how hard I diet. And the way I try to tell myself I never get mad. Lies, all lies to myself. I can lose my top with the best of them.

So come on, take off the mask. Tell me one thing you don't like to admit about yourself. I'll never tell.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:05 AM  
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

There are two topics that make my eyes instantly glaze over. Numbers and, well, numbers. Doesn't matter what kind of numbers or what they represent. The results are even worse when numbers are combined for that mind-numbing task we call math.

Yesterday I had to figure how many days of writing until I reached The End. It was a sad sight: me, a sheet of paper, a calculator, and a right brain trying to make sense of it all. It's like reinventing the wheel each time.

How many words do I average per page? How many pages have I written? How many words do I owe my publisher? How many pages do I write a day? How many licks does it take to get to the bottom--no wait, that's a different equation. Now, where was I?

I don't think I'm alone either. My suspicions were confirmed last summer at a writers' retreat when Kristin and I roomed together. You want disaster? Combine two right-brainies and an alarm clock that's set an hour ahead of real time. We couldn't figure out how to change the time. (I swear, there was no button for it.) Each night we strained our brains. We need to wake at six. Do we set the alarm for five or seven? Insert scratching heads, counting on fingers, stubby pencil and eraser. It wasn't pretty.

Imagine my horror when the alarm clock for our writers' conference in the fall put Diann and I in the same situation. Again. Not pretty. Thank God Colleen was rooming with us or we'd still be trying to figure it out.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:24 AM  
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You ever wonder about dreams? I mean, when we have nightmares is that a premonition, because you had a disagreement with your mother-in-law, or the extra helping of lasagna you had for dinner the night before?

When I was younger I repeatedly had this dream where I showed up at school with no shoes. What does that mean? I'm proud of my toes? I'd one day be a pedicurist? A podiatrist? What? Or maybe it meant that I was ashamed of my shoes? Or maybe they hurt my feet--yep, I'm opting for that one. I had ingrown toenails when I was a kid.

Oops, sorry for the oversharing.

Okay, so I just think dreams are fascinating. Do you have any reoccurring dreams? What's your take on dreams? Is there anything to it besides heartburn? If I give a character a certain dream, does that tell me something about her????? Interesting thought . . . 

Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:08 AM  
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Monday, February 25, 2008

And the Oscar goes to...Another movie I never heard of!

What is with the blood and gore this year? And does "No Country For Old Men" really belong in a league with "Casablanca", "Rebecca", "Gone with the Wind". I think in the name of "cool", Hollywood has lost touch with reality -- well, this implies they ever had touch and I'm not sure they did. But America wants to root for a winner we can get behind -- you know, a movie we've actually seen!

But anyway, who cares? We all tune in to see the dresses anyway, do we not? Daniel Day-Lewis looks as good as he did the last Oscar he won and that was eons ago. My favorite dress for the evening was a tie between Nicole Kidman (who is pregnant no less!) and Calista Flockhart. I liked Hilary Swank's too, and she is usually not a great dresser, so more power to her!

My favorite all-time dress ever was Cate Blanchett's pale yellow Valentino (shown above!) Anyway, what say you, gals. Favorites?

I did love Jon Stewart's hosting. He cracks me up.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008
Kevin heard a Top 5 list on the radio that he thought I might be interested in so he jotted them down. The list? The top five romantic movies of all time. He had me guess them and I didn't do so well.
Here they are for the curious souls out there:

5. Sleepless in Seatle (cute romantic flick, I'll admit, but they spend the whole movie apart)

4. Pretty Woman

3. Jerry McGuire (Possibly the most selfish hero ever)

2. The Notebook (No arguments here)

1. Titanic (Am I the only one that thought the hero seemed like a little boy next to the heroine?)

Now, I'm not saying these movies aren't entertaining or even romantic. But the top 5 of all time? Don't think so. I'm not sure who they surveyed but it obviously wasn't me.

Here's my list, for anyone who cares.

5. Dirty Dancing (Great dancing and first love)

4.While You Were Sleeping (Sandra Bullock at her charming best)

3. The Notebook (Tender and passionate)

2. The Lakehouse (What a great I-wish-I'd-thought-of-this plot!)

And . . . Drumroll please . . .

1. You've got Mail. ("Don't cry, Shopgirl . . . " Sigh! The scene where she's sick in bed and he comes to see her, "One hundred and fifty-two insights to my soul . . ." "If I hadn't been FoxBooks and you hadn't been the Shop Around the Corner... ") I could go on and on, mainly because, okay, I've seen the movie about one hundred and fifty-two times.

Still, it never gets old. And that's how I know a romantic movie is list-worthy.

Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:42 AM  
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Everybody has a phobia or two, right? Okay, so maybe I have more than most. Let's see, I don't like spiders or bugs of any kind, snakes, and well, maybe a few other hundred things. But imagine my surprise the other day when I was blow drying my hair and as I looked at my reflection in the mirror, I spotted something dark shoot across the floor. I whipped around and looked, but didn't see anything.  I must have imagined it.

Back to my hair. A little product--okay, a lot of product, more blow drying, another whir of something dark. This time I whip around in time to see little beady eyes looking back at me. Yes, this five foot seven inch, 52-year-old woman climbed on her bed and screamed.

All right, I'm just kidding. What do you take me for anyway?

I did what any mature adult would do.  With a hike to my chin I walked over to the closet where Ratatouille (truly, if he came out with a fork and knife in hand, he was so dead) was hiding and I closed the door. Then I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, grabbed some heavy towels from the linen closet, and stuffed the crack underneath the closet and nearby doors. Smart, huh?

Yeah, that's kind of what my husband thought, too. He was my knight in shining armor, by the way. He came home before his PTO meeting that night, set some mouse traps, and went back to school--all while I hid--er, uh, worked in another room.

Needless to say, before bedtime, Ratatouille--or Mickey--had gone to his great reward. But he died happy, peanut butter still stuck between his choppers. Well, I assume so. I didn't actually look or anything.

There are just some things that I will NOT allow to share my house, and call me crazy, but I don't care how cute Mickey is, he doesn't belong in our homes! Am I right?

Diann Hunt  
posted at 9:29 AM  
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Little White Lies?

I have a new favorite cooking show. My husband can't understand why when he makes the mashed potatoes, the kids don't eat many. When I make them, they devour them. Do you want to know the secret, girls? It's called FAT. If mashed potatoes are to taste good, they need fat, and lots of it! Whipping cream, salt, butter. The essentials of any good dish.

But there my DH goes, innocently putting in the non-fat milk (milk should NOT be blue, am I right?), little Smart Balance and maybe a pinch of salt. In a restaurant, DH eats his baked potatoes with nothing on them. I know, huh?

So this new show: Down Home with the Neelys is this darling couple making very fattening, southern food. You know what I love about southern cooking? They make their vegetables unhealthy. Ever had collard greens in bacon grease? That's what I'm talking about!!

So Gina, the wife, made "Get yo Man Chicken", "Southern Creamed Corn" and "Brownie Crunch" I dare say she used a good quart of heavy whipping cream in the dinner and -- I love this, she says, add bacon grease, and she goes to this cute, little jar and opens it and scoops out some bacon grease. You have got to love someone who doesn't pretend to use Canola, oil and is comfortable enough with herself to have a bacon grease container at the ready. That is FREEDOM!!

And you know what? Gina and Pat are happy! You ever see scrawny people who don't enjoy food that happy? I think not!

So for dessert, she takes a brownie mix, mixes it up. Adds an extra egg to make it more cake-like. Pours half of it in the pan, drops a ton of pecans, then lines up Kit Kats, THEN pours the rest of the mix on saying you don't waste chocolate. Amen sister! THEN, she makes a chocolate ganache to go on top with chocolate and whipping cream. THEN, she mixes whipping cream and cognac to go on top of that! And then she sprinkles chocolate over the final concoction. Now that is a finish!

I saw Marylu Henner on Celebrity Apprentice and she eats all that raw, no dairy, no life food, and she looks like a skeleton with this giant head on a little body. And for all the work, she does not look any happier and certainly not any healthier than my new friend Gina. I'll tell you, if I get an extra three years out of eating dirt, you can have it!!! Give me tiramisu and joy and I'll take the years God gives me with gusto!

Big day today, I'm using my new fake Tod's my friend brought me back from Taiwan. It's yellow and happy and sunny, perfect for Spring!

She got her man! And he's too lethargic to move! I want to let you all know, while she had him under her spell, she asked for a new handbag. That is my kind of woman! You go Gina! I LOVE her!!!
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Monday, February 18, 2008

The Article!

Here's how Miss Donna told me about the baby:Just click the pic and it will grow big enough to read.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 12:34 PM  
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Friday night our son called and wanted us to go to dinner with him and Donna. We were excited to go. The kids got there and I was ready to go so we didn't have to wait so long. Donna says, "Wait a second. There's an article in the newspaper I want to show you." She hands me a Plain Dealer newspaper, and I'm thinking I wonder why she would think I would miss something in our newspaper? "It's on the second page," she says. I flip it open, and there is a big front page article she and Davy had done that reads:


I started screaming and crying and screaming some more. I paced the living room, saying, "I can't believe it!" Donna hands me this ultrasound of my new grandbaby. We can't tell what sex it is yet, but I can see he/she is growing arms and I can the head. They got to see the heartbeat in the ultrasound. She's eight weeks tomorrow and the doctor says everything is fine. The baby is the size it's supposed to be, and Donna is doing great, no spotting or anything. The doctor said they could tell everyone now so they came straight to our house from the office. Donna kept urging Davy to drive faster because they couldn't wait to see what we would say.

We went out to eat and I didn't let go of that ultrasound and kept showing it to complete strangers in the restaurant. LOL It was incredibly exciting. I kept tearing up for hours. Boy, when God pitches you a dream, He knocks it out of the park!

The little one is due Sept 30, 2 days before Donna's birthday. Davy was due on my birthday so that's really an amazing coincidence. Davy was born 52 minutes before my birthday so we'll see when this baby makes an appearance LOL SO I'M GOING TO BE A GRANDMA!!!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:06 AM  
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Not long ago, I wrote a book for Guideposts' Grace Chapel Inn Series that was available only through their book club. This book is now available, along with several others in the series, in bookstores. To celebrate the occasion, Guideposts has offered free copies to be given away on this blog! Four people will win a copy of my book, We Have This Moment (a story of a high school romance rekindled years later), and someone will win a Grand Prize of six books in the series:

Back Home Again - Melody Carlson
Hidden History - Melody Carlson
Ready to Wed - Melody Carlson
The Price of Fame - Carolyne Aarsen
We Have This Moment - Yours Truly :-)

So get ready to grab a cup of hot chocolate, kick your feet up,  and prepare for a feel good adventure as you settle into these gentle reads:

Once you visit the charming village of Acorn Hill, you'll never want to leave. Here, the three Howard sisters rekindle old memories, rediscover the bonds of sisterhood, revel in the blessings of friendship, and meet many fascinating guests along the way.

To enter the drawing, simply share your most romantic date, moment, whatever (keep it clean). My husband will then pick the five winners and I will post the names on the blog over the weekend.

Come on! Everybody join the fun!

Truffles anyone? 

Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:00 AM  
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This is my clan in Santa Cruz this weekend.

Yesterday, it was 75 degrees. Life just changes for me when it's sunny. That's why I can't live anywhere else. I am a happy person in the sunshine. I took my doggy to the park, and she's kind of embarrassing. She is so excited to see people she sprinkles whenever anyone wants to pet her. Which amounts to everyone because she IS the world's cutest dog.

I had big plans yesterday! I was going to clean the house, finish the laundry, send off the first three chapters of my new book. But it was sunny. And my fish are dying. So here is all I got done:
I took the dog for a walk.
I vacuumed and mopped the floors.
I created an artichoke omelet and had lunch in the sun.
I read a little bit on the deck with my sunglasses in a comfy chair.
I got my fish antibiotics (they're doing well by the way.)

And today? I'm craving more sunshine so I can be unproductive again. The first spring-like days are the best. I remember tanning at the dorms in college at this time and life is so much better now where I can sit in the sun with my doggy and instead of cutting class, I'm cutting housework. That is much more satisfying somehow.
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Monday, February 11, 2008

Any of you seen that Taxcut commercial where the guy is stuck working on his taxes? His wife comes up and he tells her he's stuck. She says, "Let's get some people to help us. Oh I forgot we didn't use people. You used box." She picks up the box and tells her husband to tell the box he's stuck. He does and then she mocks him more by saying, "Hellooo," to the box. I just cringe every time I see it. Did the Taxcut people think it was cute to have a real witch for a wife?

I'm not one of those women who think you can never tell your husband what you think. But I never try to make Dave feel like he's a total idiot. That woman on the commercial uses sarcastic ribbing that has a sharp edge on it. She ridicules him and goes on and on. I just want to strangle her! Whatever happened to treating one another with respect? I don't think ANYONE should talk to another person that way, let alone their spouse. Not an enemy, not a friend even. It's enough to make me want to buy another tax program even though that's the one I normally buy.

Speaking of taxes, anyone have theirs done already? I haven't even touched mine. I usually do ours myself too. And if you're wondering what the life of a writer is like, you should have been here this weekend. We tore out our kitchen to totally redo it. I was carrying old wood and cabinets outside to the trash pile. Everything from the kitchen is in boxes and piled on the dining room table and spilling into the living room. There's dust everywhere. It's a mess! Calgon, take me away! LOL It's going to be like this for a while.

Don't you love the way I'm rambling? LOL I've got an interesting piece of news to report. I had started on the psychological thriller set near Charleston, but after a talk with my publisher on Thursday, I'm putting it on hold until the next book and I'm writing another Rock Harbor book! It will be fun to be with Bree and Samson again! That series is still the one I get the most reader mail about. It will be out next February.

Any commercial you hate yourself?
Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:47 AM  
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No, I'm not talking about my characters' voices. All novelists have these people in their head and I'm told this is perfectly normal (by other writers, not by the general normal public).

I'm talking about those other voices. Voices from the past. Phrases said to me so many times they're repeated like a parrot's echo in my head. Some people have ugly voices that replay, but I was blessed to have been surrounded by people who didn't scar me like that.

My voices are more benign.

Like when I'm in a hurry and drop something, I grin because my Granny's words are already beginning to play. Haste makes waste.

When I feel guilty for leaving food on my plate at a restaurant, my mom's words always reassure me. Better wasted in the garbage than on the hips. Amen.

A cool breeze on a warm summer's day and Granny's words come rushing back. Thank you, Lord, for the cool breeze.

And then there's Grandpa. It wasn't so much his words that stuck as the sarcasm with which he said them. No worries, Grampa, your sarcasm lives on.

So next time that phrase replays in your head, just tell yourself your normal. Or at least, as normal as me. Now there's a comforting thought.

Denise Hunter  
posted at 7:33 AM  
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Friday, February 08, 2008

On a writer's loop of mine, we're doing our life stories by honing them down to six words. I love this idea, so share yours with us. What would it be?

Six word memoirs: life stories distilled -- here's mine

Princess by nature with good handbags.

I'm making one up for the rest of the girls, they can come on with their own if they don't like mine.

Colleen: Mom to everyone, kills for fun.
Diann: Hilariously overcoming bad luck with enjoyment.
Denise: Clean countertops, still waters run deep.
posted at 12:46 PM  
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I have a weak constitution. By this I mean, I NEED the good life. All of you who feel called to poverty, more power to you, I been there, and I do NOT like being back and yes, I know the standard for poverty is far different from my own. Long story short, we have four houses and currently, the funding for two of them. Even I can do that math and it isn't pretty. And here's what that math means to me:
Clean my own house.
No pedicures.
No facials.
One soy mocha a day (hey, I have to survive!)
The same purse since August. (The horror!)
I cut my own hair.
I did my own touch-up. (No pretty carmel highlights!)
No trips to, No trips to Loehmanns or
And worst of all? I have to COOK! I hate to cook!

I have been working straight since I was 13. My first purchase was a pair of Jordache jeans and a green sweater -- this is itself showed restraint because I could not afford the Calvin Kleins. I worked full-time at the Fairmont Hotel while going to college. I had two pseudo silk dresses that were so worn out at the end of their tenure, there was nothing left of the lining. (I'm surprised my office didn't take up a collection to buy me another dress!) I ate pressed sandwich meat, rolled together pennies to buy Campbell soup for dinner and worked every weekday so I could get a free meal at the hotel.

So I am not afraid of work. Work provides me with the lifestyle I was meant to live. The kind that eases my weak constitution. Hey, I know you're all thinking that I'm a spoiled brat, but I'm here to tell you I have always been a spoiled brat (ask my mom, I was born that way -- she could not be more down to earth, so I didn't get it from her. She doesn't even wear makeup -- and she has never DYED her hair! ACK!), but I have always worked hard for this option. My best friend understands. She's a high school counselor and she drives a BMW. She needs the Beamer. I understand this.

I heard a sermon where the Pastor (not my pastor) said, "Don't wear designer clothes when it's your Wal-Mart season and miss out on the lesson." Pastor darling, I don't care if I am scrubbing toilets until Jesus returns, but I will never, EVER lose my taste for luxury. It's who I am, central to my being. When DH and I lived in the hood (murder capital of the US that year), I STILL drove my Mustang Convertible home each night. You can take the diamonds out of my tiara, but I will never relinquish it. Say what you will, I understand who I am. Maybe it ain't pretty, but I am an economy unto myself!

The above picture is my first apartment after college. I'm standing in the same place. One way is the bedroom/futon/living room/closet. The other way is the kitchen/bathroom. Note the pink fridge! I was styling!

For those of you who agreed with me that people getting hurt is inherently funny, check out "Human Tetris II" on -- Japanese game shows are hilarious!

Kristin Billerbeck
posted at 11:52 PM  
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You ever notice how hair styles come and go? What's hot today is gone tomorrow. But what if you're, um, advancing in years? One camp says women should go short when they're over 40. Others say age is a number and you can wear your hair however you like it. But have you ever seen that woman on Angel network or whatever that thing is called? It's a religious show and there's this woman who has to be in her sixties at least--maybe older--from the wrinkles on her face. She has this gorgeous long hair. You see her from the back and think, oh pretty woman. She turns around and you about fall down.

I don't want to be like that. I've been thinking it's time for an update for my hair. It hasn't been cut in nearly three months because of shingles. My beautician moved an hour away and until 10 days ago I couldn't drive so I was stuck. So hear I am with this skanky hair and no idea what to do with it. Hair color has not touched it, and I think I'll keep it that way, thank you very much. But what do do about the style? I just turned 56 so I'm no spring chicken anymore. I've been pouring through hair style books but I'm not closer to making a decision. Which is the way I've been for the past year--wanting to change but having no idea what to do.

So I thought I'd bring my dilemma to my blooger buddies. What say you? You can give me a link to a hairstyle if you like even. Or just say, go short or keep it medium, or cut bangs or whatever advice you want to give. Just as long as it's not spiked. LOL My husband might come looking for you then!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 7:56 AM  
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Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Sometimes you just need a new look, you know? Your color is all wrong and you're weary of looking at the same old same old. Or maybe things have changed and you need a fresh new look to go with your new self.

Well, I did it. I jumped in there and made the decision for change--not an easy thing for my routine-oriented self. Yes, nervous and fearful, I took the plunge.

No, I didn't go brunette (sorry Colleen), plump up with collagen, or freeze my muscles with Botox. It wasn't me that got a new look, but my website. And boy am I loving it!

The website doctor responsible for my new look is Shelley from Web Crafters. All I have to do is point that woman in the right direction--in this case, Nantucket--and she delivers the goods.

If you want to take a peek, I'm at I'm open for comments and suggestions on the face lift.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:56 AM  
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Monday, February 04, 2008

Some children have a rebellious streak. Some children are born angels. 

Somewhere in between, there's Zoe.

She's not a rebellious child, really. It's just that every morning, her brain starts with a clean slate. As in, everything she learned yesterday is forever gone with the rising of the morning sun.

Ever notice how some four-year-olds can stop your heart cold? That's our granddaughter. Case in point.

Early one morning last week, our daughter answered her front door to find three police officers dressed in starched uniforms and impressive gun holsters stuffed with shiny pistols. Flashing squad cars lined the street behind them. My daughter's heart zipped to her throat, fearing the worst.

"Yes?" she squeaked.

"Ma'am, we've received a 9-1-1 call from this residence. Is everything all right?"

After blood started flowing through her veins once again, she uttered the one word that strikes fear into the hearts of our family:


The little four-year-old came bouncing into the entryway as though not a single thing could blemish her absolutely perfect morning. One look at the police officers, however, brought her to a screeching halt.

They gave her the warning speech I'm sure they've used on many four-year-olds before, turned and left. Something tells me it was nothing compared to the verbal reprimand her mother gave her. 

By the time I saw Zoe later that day, everything was once again right with her world, though her mother was still shaken.

Four-year-olds should come with a manual.

Diann Hunt  
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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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