Girls Write Out
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My dear father-in-law, Carroll Coble, is about to step into eternity. From the first moment he met me, nearly forty years ago, he took me to heart like his other girls. His greatest legacy is that he taught his sons how to love their wives. Dave is the great husband he is today because of his father. Dad's grandkids adored him, his sons and daughters have always looked up to him with great love and respect.

He's been in a coma since the weekend and we thought he wouldn't last until Monday. Medicare insists he be moved from the bed where he is so we're taking him home with the help of hospice, and I'll be staying at the house to care for him. I've walked this road before with my dear, dear grandpa, and it is truly a bittersweet time. You get a chance to say all those things you always wanted to. We can sing him hymns and love him into eternity. But I would love your prayers that this sweet and good man would pass gently and quietly. His beloved mother and his siblings are waiting his arrival. That's the joy that gets us all through this. He loves Jesus and he's ready to go.

Though Alzheimer's has taken his mind, up to the last, if you said to him, "I love you," he would mumble back the same. And that's one thing we will always remember. He loved us unconditionally.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:01 AM  
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Sunday, March 29, 2009


It might be a break, but it's definitely not Spring around here. At 35 degrees, it's closer to winter break than spring, and here I am in Indiana with big plans. 

Oh, yeah, big plans this week. Clean out the attic, catch up on cleaning, groceries (which will last about 4 hours in this house), and writing. Hopefully, we can work in a movie and a fun thing or two, but no big trip for us this week.

I'd really love to hear about your big plans. A trip to Florida, a jaunt to New York, a Caribbean cruise? Go ahead, rub it in. No, really, I want to hear. Make me feel like I'm there in sunny Florida soaking up sun and smelling cocoa butter. Meanwhile, I'll just flick on my heat lamp and pretend.

Denise Hunter  
posted at 7:39 PM  
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Colleen is a guest on the Harvest show this morning! Go to and click on "Show Info" to see what channel. You can also watch online.  With Denise's news and Colleen on TV, we're just having all kinds of fun this week!

I was thinking this morning how I'm such a creature of habit. Eyes pop open, slug my way to the morning coffee, sit down and drink it while working on my Bible study, shower, then open my computer for email and then on to writing. How predictable.  Notice I didn't have "exercise" in that mix. I haven't quite made that a habit yet. Once a week habit, just isn't cuttin' it. 

After writing, I almost always go visit my daughter and grandkids. Then it's back to the house to prepare dinner and settle in to a nice, restful evening with hubby (or go to whatever meetings we have).

Anyway, I might shake things up this week. Notice I said "might." Habits don't break easily. Just ask the lady who's sat in the same pew for 250 years.  Not sure how I'll mix it up, though.  Any ideas?  Anyone else brave enough to share their "routine?"

Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:49 AM  
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I am SOOO excited to announce that our own Denise Hunter has finaled in the Rita Inspirational Contest. The Rita is Romance Writers of America's biggest award, and it's a very prestigious thing to be nominated. Colleen was nominated in the past, and now our Denise for "Convenient Groom". SOOO exciting.

Here are the other finalists, and yay for our good buddy Rachel and Robin Lee Hatcher (who I want to be if I ever grow up!)

2009 RITA Finalists for Inspirational Romance

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist
Bethany House Publishers (ISBN: 1590529286)
David Long and Julie Klasseneditor, editors

Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh
Random House Publishing, WaterBrook Multnomah (ISBN: 978-1-59052-929-4)
Julee Schwarzburg, editor

Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren
Tyndale House Publishers (ISBN: 1-4143-1019-6)
Karen Watson, editor

Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck
Thomas Nelson Inc. (ISBN: 1595543384)
Ami McConnell, editor

Mulberry Park by Judy Duarte
Kensington Publishing Corp. (ISBN: 978-0-7582-2015-8)
John Scognamiglio, editor

The Perfect Life by Robin Lee Hatcher
Thomas Nelson Inc., Women of Faith Fiction (ISBN: 978-1-59554-148-2)
Ami McConnell and Leslie Peterson, editors

Where Love Abides by Irene Hannon
Harlequin Enterprises, Steeple Hill Love Inspired (ISBN: 9780373874798)
Melissa Endlich, editor
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I've been cruising by the Thomas Nelson booth at ICRS for years, always lusting after the graphics they had their for other authors. I finally had a graphic! I can die happy now. :-)

The Christian Book Expo was in Dallas and was the first of its kind. It was specifically for the readers. I had great fun connecting with readers and seeing writer friends. The sad thing was how poorly attended it was. I think so many near Dallas didn't know about it, and that's a shame. The weekend was packed full of great workshops by top Christian authors. There was a debate between atheist Hitchens and Christian leaders like Strobel. Women of Faith speakers were there. It was a truly fabulous weekend. I hope they do it again, but I think they need to change up the venue. For one thing, it was a lot like ICRS with separate publisher booths. After attending a workshop, an attendee would then have to figure out when the speaker was signing in the expo and track them down instead of being able to purchase books on the spot. I think it would be better held in a festival-like atmosphere with tents. Or maybe in a conference hotel with that great intimacy. But I do hope it goes on.

Friday was spectacular. I had about 100 in my workshop on Christian fiction, then we got to spend the evening with the Hyatts. Mike and Gail Hyatt are two of my very favorite people. I feel like I can charge hell with a water pistol after being with them. I'm glad Mike is at the helm of Thomas Nelson. He's so intuitive and forward thinking. He and Gail are both the kind of leaders who makes you want to be better than you are and they lead by example. Every young married woman should read Gail's blog. She's the best example of how to love and respect your husband.

The Friday night event was truly life-changing.Max Lucado spoke about Fear LESS and I can't get his message out of my head. He talked about how fearful the disciples were in the boat with the storm and waves raging around them. Jesus asked them why they were afraid. And he asks us now why we're afraid. He's got it under control! I've had such peace since hearing Max talk about it. Right now we see the storm of financial problems raging around us. But God has that storm under control too. What peace. Another storm we're going through in the Coble family is my father-in-law's Alzheimer's. God's got that in his hands too. How wonderful to relinquish that worry and know God will help us through it all.

Are you going through a personal storm? We'd like to pray for you and ask God to help you turn it over to him.

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 12:54 AM  
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why is it that the instant I decide to go on a diet, fattening foods suddenly look better than ever? I wasn't even craving those Twinkies that have been in the pantry for three weeks until now when I can't have them. 

Suddenly yummy food is everywhere. I smell donuts as I drive by a shop, McDonalds flashes their fried delights at every commercial break, and where did those brownies come from? Ok, so I made them, but still. 

I have a sweet tooth that gets me every time. I hear diet experts recommending a dessert once a week to curb those cravings. Once a week? Hello, that is so not going to work for me. Maybe I can narrow it down to one sweet a day. Maybe. On a good day.

My husband does the low carb thing. No bread, no sugar, no starches, no life, no thanks. For a girl who doesn't like veges much, not the plan for me. I just want to eat what I want and be skinny too. Is that too much to ask?
Denise Hunter  
posted at 8:36 PM  
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

For Better or For Worse is going POLISH!!!!  Whoohoooo!!!  Just got the news this week and had to share. Is that fun or what?  I have two books in Dutch--which is my mom's roots, so that's kind of cool.  Don't know about any Polish roots, but still cool.

It just blows my mind to think that someone actually has to translate my words into their language. How frightening is that?

Another thing I love about writing--my books are taken to wonderful places in the world where I will never get to visit.  I.e., Turkey (waving wildly at Pam!).  Not exactly Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but sort of.  It's so fun to see where the books end up.

So where is the most unusual place you've read a book? A tropical island? The bathtub? Atop a ski lift, under a blanket with a flashlight (my mom used to do that as a kid after she'd been ordered to go to sleep--and she wonders where I get my rebellious streak), on an airplane, in a movie theater--please don't say church . . . .

Diann Hunt  
posted at 9:05 AM  
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Is it just me, or is there a rash of crap going on? Can I say that? Oh well, just did. Everyone I talk to right now, is really suffering in some way, and as an extremely-sensitive type, it starts to weigh on me. I know God has His reasons for suffering, but it just makes me want to wrap everyone up in a big group hug.

Actually, it makes me want to be a dog. My dog's biggest problem today is that I haven't opened the blinds and she can't see out the window from her window seat, so she's whining at me. Life is rough, huh?

But if you're out there, and you're suffering silently, consider this your daily hug and go do something nice for yourself. God is good. He is able. He can pull the blinds up for you. : )
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Actually, it's USUALLY stranger than fiction. If I wrote this story in a book, no one would believe it. I mean would YOU believe a man would follow a GPS for five days on a trip that took seven hours? Here's the link:

The gist of the story is that Ryan O'Donnell left VT to visit his girlfriend in PA. This was normally a 5 hr trip. He ended up driving clear to Montana over FIVE DAYS and was found out of gas and dehydrated along the road. When asked why he followed the GPS directions for so long, he said the GPS had never steered him wrong before. LOL

Okay, here's my advice for his girlfriend Izzie. Break up. Now. I fear for your future if you marry him.

Your turn. What's your advice for Izzie?
Colleen Coble  
posted at 2:29 AM  
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Sunday, March 15, 2009
A lot of things happened in 1989. This week, Kevin and I celebrate one of those things: our marriage. Just for fun, I looked up what else happened that last year of the crazy 80's. 

Seinfeld aired for first time
Acid washed and bleached jeans
Exxon-Valdez oil spill
Taylor Swift born (It's official, I'm old.)
Cost of a US stamp: 25 cents
George Bush Sr. inaugurated
Rainman and Driving Miss Daisy were among the top movies
Hurricane Hugo
Song of the year: Don't Worry, Be Happy
The last golden toad is seen (Yeah, never heard of it either)
Unemployment: 5.3 
Madonna and The Bangles were the top artist
A gallon of gas? 80 cents
Roseanne and The Cosby Show were TV hit shows

Many things have changed in twenty years. The TV shows, songs, price of gasoline (unfortunately) and fashions came and went but Kevin and me? Here to stay. So here's to twenty years of making a life together and may God bless us with many more.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 7:12 PM  
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Friday, March 13, 2009

GOOD NEWS!!!!  It's BENIGN!!!!

Thank you for your prayers!
Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:39 AM  
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Remember "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"?  One of my favorite scenes (this shows you how sick I am) is when Aunt Voula talks about her "bobopsy" and "hormonees".  My daughter laughs with me over this, so she sent me the link, and I thought you might enjoy it:

One of the ways God encourages me through the hard places of life is through humor. Nothing replaces time spent with Him, of course, but as I focus on the knowledge that He is in control and I have His peace, then I can totally enjoy the humorous nuggets that come my way.

Remember my post last week about the mammogram and yearly exams? Well, I got home later that night and found a letter from my gynecologist saying I need further examination for a possible problem they found on my mammogram. It seems they didn't like the picture of my "girls".  There's just so much I could do with that, but I'll let it go.

Okay, long story short, I went back for a second mammogram, ultrasound and today I had a needle biopsy.  Great fun on many levels, but add to the fact I've had a cold and fever since Sunday night and I'm telling you, the fun never ends.

So hubby and I are in the waiting room, well, waiting. Now my man, he's wonderful in so many ways. Loaded with talents, gifts, but knowing what to say when, isn't one of them.  For instance, AFTER I had taken cough syrup with codeine, AND two Valium pills, he forges into an oratory on the national debt and the state of the world today.  I'm quite sure my glazed eyes had reached the level of other-worldly, but for some reason, he just didn't see it. While my mind searched for clues as to what national debt meant, the nurse came in. 

The whole time I felt I had complete control over my tongue (a rarity) until the nurse asked my husband if I was always this entertaining. I had no idea what she was talking about.

The procedure was fairly harmless. The medical staff was fun and upbeat. I'll know either Friday or Monday what the results are, so I'll keep you posted. (Though the doctor nor I expect it to be anything of consequence). And in the meantime, I'm truly at peace knowing that God continues to be in control, come what may.

And the point of this blog? There IS joy in the journey!  Get your exams!

Diann Hunt  
posted at 12:00 AM  
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

(My daughter in 80's gear for a party.)
Life in the Silicon Valley is hard right now. Nearly 10% of people are out of work. Homes are going into foreclosure a mile a minute. Things are really tough here and I'm not going to get political on you, but I think this administration has no idea how to fix anything -- which means bring on the reality TV. Is there anything to make you feel better than the wild mess that is Paula Abdul freshly-botoxed? Or the Housewives of NYC convinced if they attend a party, it's an honor for the host throwing it? I state, there is not.

Last night, on "The Biggest Loser", Mandi sacrificed herself for her sister, voting herself off because her sister couldn't lose weight at home yet. What a beautiful gesture of what it means to be alive and in a family. So much better than wallowing in your ARM rate and analyzing tax statements.

God is in control, I get that. But did on last night's Biggest Loser, the black team won a luxury night out away from the ranch, and consumed something like 13,000 calories in an evening. Isn't that the perfect illustration of what America has done? We've been given a little rope and we can't handle it. We gorged on houses and stainless steel appliances and told ourselves we needed this and that, when really, we didn't. And we have ballooned to a weight we cannot handle because we did not live consciously. Only correction and self control can fix it and that is oh so painful, so I say, "Thank GOD for American Idol and spoiled housewives. Without them, losing the weight would be so much harder."
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm about to tell you a secret. I'm a Trekkie. Quit laughing. I'm really a total geek about Star Trek. I refused to leave the house on Friday nights when I was a teenager because I didn't want to miss the show. I've seen every episode countless times. Watched every movie countless times. I had a huge crush on Mr. Spock. If any TV show defines my growing up years, it's Star Trek. I just found out a new Star Trek movie is coming out and it's looks AWESOME!!!

Here's the link:

How about you? Is there one TV show or movie that takes you back to a special place and time? Oh another one that does it for me is Romeo and Juliet, the version with Olivia Hussey. I had a vinyl record of the movie and I could quote every line in it. LOL
Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:47 AM  
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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Reader Pet Peeves: A Random List of Things that Disrupt my Reading Pleasure

Stories that don't start until page 3o. Frankly, with stories like this, I never make it to page 30.

Books with glossy dark covers that show all my fingerprints. 

When I've finally reached the last scene of a good novel and I'm primed to savor every satisfying word--and the family walks in the door. 

Trying to read while other family members watch a blaring TV or channel surf. Equally distracting are those STOP EVERYTHING AND LISTEN TO ME voices of Talk TV, ESPN sports announcers, and televangelists!! GRRRR!

Long descriptions of clothing, floor plans, or the sunset. Yawn.

Abruptly reaching "The End" when I thought I had 30 more pages of story because of all the back matter.

Too many characters, all introduced on page one, and having nicknames too which I also have to memorize. Hello . . . I read to relax. 

Being interrupted by TV viewing family members saying, "Look at that" or "Watch this"or "Did you hear that?" every five seconds. Ahem, I'm reading because I didn't want to watch TV. Do you hear me saying, "Listen to this great line of dialog."? Uh, no.

Long paragraph after long paragraph after long paragraph. I'm a simple-minded girl with a short attention span. Give me some white space please.

Misleading covers. I bought a book last summer because of the cover: three kids sitting on a pier, viewed from behind. The back cover talked about three long-time friends separated by life who come back together again. Great stuff. I read the book and it's about 3 people who met in college. Huh? Why are there kids on the cover?

And now, just to end on a positive note:

Favorite Reading Pleasure

A book so good I'll stay up until 2 am to reach the satisfying conclusion. If I'm willing to miss out on sleep, you know it had to be good.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 10:25 PM  
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

The dreaded yearly exams--a necessary evil.

I don't know about you, but when I head for my yearly exam, I feel as though I have a neon sign on my back that says "Mammogram Alert." Why is that? The fear in my eyes? The silent scream on my face? The fact that they won't let me wear deodorant? What?

I went in this week. Let me just say here, that no matter how many of these exams I have, I never get the ties on that little gown thing right.  Well, this week, I decided to look at it. I mean, REALLY look at it. And I'm here to tell you that they have one tie that has absolutely NOTHING to do with anything on that gown!!!  I tried to find something to tie it into. I truly did. I searched high and low on that stupid gown and there was no where for that tie to go.  So there it hung. Alone. With nothing to do. No sense of belonging. Just a string situated there as testimony to the humiliations of life.

So I pointed out this conundrum to the doctor, and get this. She didn't know what was up with that string, either!! I felt justified.

Anyway, this post is really not about the string. It's about getting those nasty yearlys out of the way, well, yearly. No matter how much we don't enjoy them, the point is we have to get them. It's the smart thing to do and quite possibly could save your life.

So make the most of it! When I have something dreaded coming, I always make a party out of it. Afterwards, I reward myself with a mocha (you thought I would say a run on the treadmill?), and a visit to the grandkids. 

Caveat here:  I had a doctor one time tell me about this nasty little procedure I had to go through (and I do mean nasty). I told her "No."  She said, "Mrs. Hunt, you love your family, don't you?" I said, "Not that much."

Okay, so the truth is, I do love them that much. The same as you love yours. Do it for them. Get your yearly. Make that call right now and set it up if you don't already have an appointment!! They really aren't as bad as we think.  And here's a tip on the whole mammogram thing.  I'm telling you it WORKS!!!  Take an Advil before you go in. You'll hardly feel a thing.  That's the truth! I took two Advil before a procedure once because I had a headache. I hardly knew I had anything done. The tech told me her patients swore by Advil.

To set my mind at ease, post your appointment date in a response, so I won't worry about you.
If you don't have a date, get one. YOU matter more than you think. Your family will thank you and so will we.

Diann Hunt  
posted at 6:35 AM  
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009
So I'm 42 and I discovered this new concept. It's called a budget. B-U-D-G-E-T. Here's what the word has meant to me my entire life. "I want X, so I have to make Y." Simple math really.

I found a picture of me in my convertible Volvo from years' back, and I look oh, so happy. Dh doesn't believe in car payments, which meant the Y number really went up when I got married, because I am a car chick. And I drive a beater for no one. Jesus, please don't test me on that one.

So back to the budget. Hubby looked at the Visa bill (where he makes me put everything to keep an eye on me) and he told me my trouble spots:
Whole Foods
Barnes & Noble
Hannah Andersson (Elle's clothes)
The Lego Store (My boys are fanatics)

Now, in my defense. The kids have to earn their money through allowance. Dh says: "That still doesn't account for the book stores."

I spend an insane amount of money on books. And I hate the library. It brings out my OCD side. Don't want to touch someone else's books. And I seriously had good intentions. But then, I am interested in all sorts of things and I heard this anthropologist on XM talking about how love and chemistry work. And I needed that book. So while Seth was in guitar, I'd just pop over to Los Gatos (best coffee in the world, but I didn't get one!) and go to Borders. They were out of the book. BUT, they had a new MAEVE BINCHY book!!! I thought WHITETHORN WOODS would be her last for awhile, but nope. There it was.

Here's my ray of hope. I spent $20 instead of $70, which is my normal bookstore amount. SO yay! I am $50 richer! And Kristin math continues.

What's your weak spot?
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

We're often laughing and upbeat on the blog, but I've had a rough week and I'm going to share it with you, my friends. My dear father-in-law has advanced Alzheimer's. We always knew this day would come but we didn't realize how terribly hard it would be. On Friday, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law went with me and we took him to an Alzheimer's care facility. He seemed to be doing okay when we left, but we were called Saturday morning to come back to get him for the weekend. We found out he'd become obsessed with another little lady there that he thought was Mom and wouldn't leave her alone (tried to get into bed with her) and had hit two male orderlies. He's the kindest, most gentle man you've ever met and hadn't been violent at home (other than 1 time about three years ago when he kind of pushed Mom.) So we were unprepared for that. Then yesterday when we started to take him back so the doctor could see him, the admissions director called and said we couldn't bring him back until he'd had a psychiatric evaluation. So I called Lutheran's Generations unit in Fort Wayne and they were able to take him right away.

He'll have to be in there for 7-10 days as they evaluate what medications might help make the transition easier. He's always been such a sweet and gentle man. Alzheimer's is a dreadful disease. I'm always trying to stay up on research and make sure my husband stays well. Poor guy is on a fistful of supplements and I've taken away his Pepsi except for very special occasions. LOL But this disease will take my husband only over my dead body!

I also have a book to finish this week and it's been hard to concentrate with the trauma going on in the family. So I could sure use your prayers, my dear buddies!

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 7:37 AM  
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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Most days I find myself doing the same thing, oh, about 5 o'clock p.m. Standing in front of the pantry door thinking, What am I going to fix for dinner? This is usually followed by 2 or 3 kids walking past saying, "What's for dinner, Mom?"

Like I know. Sure, if I had it together I would've planned this out three days ago when I went to the grocery. I would've checked my recipe books, made a detailed list and had the whole week all figured out. But no. I went to the store listless and now I'm paying for it because I have ground beef and spaghetti but no Prego and I have chicken and noodles but no Cream of Chicken soup. 

Please tell my I'm not the only one. It strikes me as a miracle that families all over the world manage to feed their families every night with everything else we have on our plates. But I know I need to do a better job of planning ahead. I use the Crock Pot at least once a week, and I think it would be great to fix a whole week's worth of food in one day, but that never gets done.

 Do you find yourself trying to piece meals together or do you plan everything in advance? Are there staples you always have on hand so you can mix and match? Any shortcuts or tips you'd like to share? 'Cause otherwise, in just a little while, I'll be standing in front of the pantry asking myself that same old question. 

Denise Hunter  
posted at 8:53 PM  
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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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