New TV Season So Far


I didn't do much yesterday besides watch Tivoed shows. Well, I did the grocery store thing, and had my MIL for dinner and talked to my mom and watched my SIL's sister get married in Vegas on the Internet, but mostly I watched TV.

What I thought:

I enjoyed the first episode of Heroes. I particularly love Hiro's story.

I like that Bones is going to have a story arc with the cult murders. I know that bugs some people. I thought Hodgins's new haircut was adorable.

Reaper was enjoyable. Maybe not Must See, but enjoyable.

Bionic Woman - meh. Interesting that THREE actors from Battlestar Galactica were on.

My Name is Earl - I'd kind of lost interest in this show last year, but DANG, did it come back with a bang. I LOVED the way it was written, the dilemma Earl was in in prison. Just awesome. Best premiere yet.

The Office - wish they'd had more Jim and Pam, of course. Otherwise funny.

Grey's Anatomy - meh. After last season I expected Shonda to come back with a bigger bang. This didn't feel like a season premiere and I hate George/Izzie and Alex was a wimp and I miss Burke.

Las Vegas - enjoyed Tom Selleck, but that was it.

Moonlight - didn't Tivo on Friday because LV was on 2 hours, so it Tivoed on Saturday only the football game went long, so I only saw 10 minutes. Enough that I want to see it again, but why does the vamp look like Tad from AMC? I tried to watch on, but it crashes my browser. Do not like that.

Still to come: SUPERNATURAL, Friday Night Lights, Men in Trees, and Jericho.

What did you see this week that you liked?

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Sore and Shallow Mary


I printed this one out to take to school. My desk is a serious mess.

I'm feeling a little too sore today to sit at the computer chair - I got my Indiana Golden Opportunity contest results back via email and Ghost Hunters got SPANKED. I came in 4th from the bottom. Ouch! So I moped last night. I figured I must like this story more than I thought for it to bother me so much. I should feel better knowing that the same entry was the one that got the mean remarks in Golden Gateway, and I've since revised, but still....ouch. Perhaps contests with the word GOLDEN are not for this story.

I started reading Shelter Mountain last night, a book I've been looking forward to reading. But the description of the hero put me off. Yes, he was in Virgin River, but not the hero, so I didn't care. But he's described as big (not a problem), balding and with a diamond stud earring. I'm picturing a wrestler type, and that doesn't appeal to me. He started talking to the heroine and reminded me a bit of Rocky - not the "Yos" and the accent but the way he goes on and on. Even though I don't find ROCKY attractive, I love the character.

Is it important to you that the hero in a book you're reading be attractive? What turns you off?

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My Title

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So I’ve made the cover for my new untitled book. It looks great.

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Needs a title.

I thought, well, At (Name of Town) would be good, right? Only I haven’t named the town either. It’s a coastal town in Northern CA. I’m thinking craggy rocks, isolated beach, and a forest, but also a marina.

My heroine Ellie delivers mail and loves the outdoors, my hero Noah is a widower who owns a sporting goods store, an outdoorsy guy who likes to fish. My heroine just broke up with her boyfriend, the high school coach, and the town is mad at her for it. So she’s hesitant about getting involved with the hero under the watchful eyes of the town.

Any ideas?

Slowest Week EVER!!!

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How can it only be THURSDAY???? And today's the worst day yet - I have a meeting during planning, then one after school, then the boy's band is playing tonight. I miss being ALONE. And since I'm directing our student program, I don't get a break all day.

I've almost given up on getting to school early. I get nothing done because everyone comes into my room. I didn't even get to eat breakfast yesterday (because I didn't want to share my Krispy Kremes - bad Mary.)

I was supposed to call a parent when I got home last night but totally spaced. And tonight's not looking good, either. I called during the day, but no one's home and no voice mail.

I watched 2 episodes of Friday Night Lights, Bones and the Monk season finale. REALLY liked Bones, and cried during Monk. We WERE going to watch Burn Notice, finally, but the boy wanted to watch a presidential debate. Did I mention he's mad because he can't vote in the next election?

Still sitting on the fence. Yesterday I'd swung my legs over to the "yes" side, but today I'm straddling. Sigh.

The Wet Noodle Posse is planning to blog about entering the GH next month - different Posse members taking different days. I have no idea what to blog about - any suggestions?

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So, I have this decision. I kind of see myself on a see saw, sometimes balanced between the two decisions, sometimes leaning one way, sometimes leaning another. Last night the dh and I had a LONG conversation (at 10 PM - NOT my best time) and he just handed me a coin. "Flip," he said. Right. After days of researching and talking to people and exploring every nook and cranny, that's going to happen.

(I haven't made a pro/con list yet, though. I don't think I've sat long enough to!)

How do you make decisions? Do you take days or are you spur of the moment? Are you a list maker, or would you flip a coin?

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I Heart Charts

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I love charts. I feel when I make a chart, I’m organized. Plus, I like the sense of accomplishment I get when I change text color/enter page counts/cross off what I’ve accomplished. One of the things I loved about Nano was the chart and the progress I saw. It’s one of the reasons I love the word counter bars.

Here’s how I keep track of my contests. This was before I got Excel. If you can see the numbers, you can see how many contests I’ve entered the past 5 years. And this isn’t all of them – I used to delete the contests I didn’t final in. Now to keep track, I change those entries to pink. Blue means finalled, red is outstanding and black is planned but not yet entered.

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I got this chart from Kresley Cole. It’s a very cool page count tracker and includes a pie chart. You get encouraging comments if you reach your daily goal, and butt-kicking if you don’t. I don’t use this one as much as I used to.

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I made this at the end of last year. This is my life at a glance. I find it really hard to keep up with, though. I like that it has everything going on in a week, but … maybe too overwhelming.

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This is very simple, but also very easy to keep track. I only have my writing goals on it, each story in a different color. If I get ahead, I cross out ahead, if I get behind, I divvy up the lack among the remaining days. It’s my current favorite, and I have one for each month for the rest of the year.

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But making charts can be time consuming – it’s a great procrastinator, but can also be a great motivator. Do you use charts to keep you on track?

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Goals for Season Premiere Week!!

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I slept in till 5:30!!! I didn't sleep WELL, kept thinking about Friday Night Lights. Then I dreamed we had to move to our old house (a rental which I HATED) and that I was late for work because I was watching a JDM movie before I left, and was ignoring the time. Then every time I tried to call school, the voice mail was on. All I could think of was that I hadn't left any assignments for the kids!

Goals for Season Premiere week

1) write 35 pages on new book (I started chapter THREE last night!! I know, the sidebar says 20 pages, but I'm using a fun font and it's small. When I change it to Courier, it's 25 pages.)
2) revise 70 pages on Ghost Hunters
3) enter Ghost Hunters in Emily, Hot Shot in Golden Palms and DLB in Superromance contest
4) boy’s band playing Thursday night
5) keep up at school
6) keep up house

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Professional Jealousy

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Last night I watched 2 episodes of Friday Night Lights and a Grey's Anatomy. FNL is pretty darn emotional - I think 2 episodes at a time is all I can handle!

Yesterday as I swept the front porch and threw away some dead plants, I listened to the RWA workshop on professional jealousy. The workshop itself struck pretty close to the bone, because I'm in the chapter the presenters talked about, and I was one who felt acute jealousy of the speakers' overnight success. After all, I had been writing longer, shouldn't I be the one having more success?

I did something right with this jealousy and something wrong.

The wrong thing was that I let others know. And when those others sympathized with me, they let me feed my jealousy. And the objects of my jealousy found out and were hurt.

The right thing I did was that I started working harder so I could have the same successes. Dang it, they were doing it, and I could do it too.

This was my worst case of professional jealousy, but not my only. The Hive knows of one, and Trish knows of both. That's it. I know, not admirable, but I have learned my lesson. I don't talk about it. I don't let it eat at me, I let it spur me.

The thing about that workshop is that the speakers made it seem like professional jealousy is common. I disagree. I'm around the internet a LOT. I go to blogs, I see message boards, I'm on several loops, including 4 GH loops (most inactive now, but....) and I don't see jealousy. Maybe it's there, behind the scenes, but these ladies made it seem like it's out there. I think overall there's a great support of each other in the romance writing business, from buying each other's books, reviewing them, passing the word. I've gotten support when I've been down and when I've been on top. I think for the most part, I've been supportive.

What do you think? Have you been the object of professional jealousy? Have you felt it? Am I stupid to make this admission on a public board??

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Look, Ma!

iz will takes the ring

I woke up at SIX! After going to bed at TEN! Eight hours! (Well, kinda, I did wake in the middle of the night because I had a dream about Sarah. I dreamed she'd come to visit me and my dad was staying with me and my mom was going somewhere on a plane (she never flies) and I was late for work, like, leaving ten minutes after I was supposed to be there, and Sarah was going to come with me, then Dad was going to take us out to dinner. Weird.

Yesterday I woke up at three. I didn't get up till four, but I typed in comments for two contest entries and revised 30 pages of Ghost Hunters.

Of course, then I went to school with minimum make-up, couldn't find my school shirt, and forgot earrings and watch. By the time we started practicing at 2:00, I was wiped. I need to try to sleep more. THEN, one of my parents is a hairdresser and she gave me coupons to go get my hair done. Mind, she sees me at 3:20, I'm red and sweaty from dancing with the kids, my hair is in a clip or ponytail to keep it off my neck....

Our school library sells pens and pencils and erasers, little cute pencil sharpeners, things to raise money. When we were in on Friday, they were putting out a big box of gel pens. I bought three. My kids went crazy, too, and just my class almost decimated that box. But when I started writing Thursday night, the story just flowed with that pen! I love new pens and new notebooks for a new story, don't you?

I finished watching Supernatural Season One last night. This weekend, Friday Night Lights. Next week, Supernatural Season 2.

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Check out my writing progress!!

Zokutou word meter
291 / 291

I'm blogging over at Wet Noodle Posse today.

And ready to dive into my New Book! I listened to the Bantam spotlight yesterday and they want straight romance. Now, if I can pull it off.....

Silhouette Romantic Suspense

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I got up, started making breakfast, and a voice comes from the couch - "You slept in till 4:45, huh?" My dh slept on the couch last night and I didn't even notice!

This is what I did when my kids were in computer lab the other day.

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Let's see if I can actually stick to it.

My Friday Night Lights DVD came yesterday - I want to glom it and Gilmore Girls this weekend.

According to the informal ranking poll on, I came in the top 100 with votes/views. Oh, well. Still a small chance of getting chosen by the panel.

From Cynthia Sterling's newsletter:

Mary Theresa Hussey spoke on behalf of Patience Smith for Silhouette Romantic Suspense – formerly Silhouette Intimate Moments. The line was re-launched in February 2007 with a new look. These books are love stories with a hint of suspense. The word count is 55,000 - 60,000 words computer word count. Writers should jump into the romance write away and get to the heart of the conflict within a few pages. The stories have elements of suspense but the focus is on the romance. This is not the place for gritty details of the suspense plot. Paranormal elements are welcome as long as these elements are very subtle and shouldn’t play a major role in the story. They welcome military stories, espionage, international settings. They’re actively looking for new authors.

Um, what am I missing here? Why is it called Romantic Suspense if there's just a hint of suspense? Am I NEVER going to fit in at HQ?

Any suggestions of good SRSs to read?

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Great Titles

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As I am playing with my untitled story in an unnamed town, I’m listening to the RWA CDs. One was on crafting a good proposal (Karen Kendall was the presenter) and the other was on Titles and Premise with Leah Hultenschmidt and … the author’s last name was Ashley.

Anyway, both are talking about the importance of titles, which frankly, I stink at.

So I was thinking about some really good titles.

Chris Fletcher finalled in the Golden Heart with a book called NEVER TRUST A MAN WITH YOUR BRA IN HIS HAND, and with another called THE CALL OF THE WILDER.

Published books:













What are some of your favorite titles? And how do you pick your own?

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A Plea for First Chapters Romance Entries (pinned post)

Read and Vote Now on First Chapters Romance Entries

Please go vote for Hot Shot (I revised this post AFTER Kim's comment ;) ) - this is a different contest, though it's the same book!

If you would, could you spread the word? I have less than 50 votes - some people have 500!!! There's one week left!

Animal Week


We're studying animals this week. The snake we had for a week goes home this AM - good thing, because he was getting cranky. He had his head drawn back most of the day, and was hissing at the kids by the end.

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I think it may have been because one of my kids brought his sugar glider and the snake sensed it.

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Isn't it the cutest thing? Nicholas took it out and it jumped on one of the girls. Much screaming ensued, but all the kids wanted Gizmo to crawl on them. One girl asked me over and over if it hurt when he crawled on me. Another girl held out her hand and when Gizmo went to her, she started screaming, so he jumped on another girl. He was still So Cute.

Today another student is supposed to bring his bearded dragon.

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I am just not as excited about this, mainly because this is the kid who NEVER gets picked up on time, the kid with the jerk of a daddy.

Plus, that is one ugly animal.

I remember as a kid in 5th grade we had a LOT of class pets, including hooded rats called Laverne and Shirley. The kids anxxiously looked forward to our turn to take care of the different animals each week.

What about you? Do you remember class pets? Are you an animal person?

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Weird Day and Songs


Weird day yesterday. Went to Barnes and Noble so the boy could blow money on CDs (and The Time Machine by HG Wells). Baby Brother called, asking me to go with him and mom to the church festival down the street. Sigh. I’m really not good around people right now, but I hadn’t seen them in a couple of weeks so said yes.

Mind, I went to middle school in this parish, and while I’m happy with my life, I’m not thrilled about how I look, especially since I haven’t had time to do my roots. We won’t talk about the weight.

And of course I ran into my former best friend’s mother, who was always judgmental in the best of circumstances. I'd walked past her, but my mom called me back. "Look who this is!"

They had a booth called Trash to Treasure, with stuff donated by parishioners, flea market style. There were already burned candles. Who would donate already burned candles???

So, lots of time wasted, and I didn’t get started on BD till after 8. I DID, however, make my goal of 6 pages and write 3 pages on the new story.

Then I had terrible dreams, that I was in the Army, that Baby Brother was in a plane crash....awful.

Anyway, I need to make a soundtrack. So far I have SANTA MONICA by Everclear and TUNNELS by Arcade Fire. I don’t even know where to look for new music. Any thoughts? Small CA town, straight romance, football involved. (Speaking of, I bought Season One of Friday Night Lights because it’s only $20.)

Would love some song ideas!

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the iraq, maps

I graded 44 essays yesterday, judged two Gateway entries and played with my new story. Oh, and encountered a case of road rage. Yes, probably my fault (though I did check the lane before I turned) but DAMN, this old guy followed me, just laying on the horn. It was pretty damn scary. Scariest part? How mad I was getting.

Okay, this week.

1) SARA, new restaurant, far. Bleh.
2) 50 pages on BD – all new. I have a strong ending, I just need, well, what I’ve needed from the beginning, how they find the kid.
3) Enter Hot Shot in Golden Palms
4) Enter BD in Emily
5) Send query and synop of BD out
6) Get PTA songs and start practicing
7) Keep up house
8) Keep up at school

Back to Justin while I finish BD for real - I LOVE this picture!

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No Emmy nomination for the dh this year. He says he's okay, but I'm bummed. His friend is nominated.

Ghost Hunters is struggling in contests as well. To be fair, the same entry went to both contests. I've since revised for Gateway.

I spent my evening writing the play for the PTA program and grading papers. Started the play at 4:30, stopped at 6 to go out to dinner, was back at it by 7:30, finished entering grades at 11:45.

And I still have 66 compositions to grade.

I've never been this far behind, never brought this much work home. I don't know what's different this year. Can 4 more students be that much more work? Is it because other teachers in my unit are always in my room?

Speaking of my room, we got snakes for our classrooms this week. Thursday one of the teachers walked in my room with her snake twined around her arms. Today the new teacher took my snake out. I told the kids I'd take him out if they worked quietly, so they did, but I got really nervous and put him back after a couple of minutes. I took him out again while they were at music and I was more relaxed. But now I'm worried about leaving him over the weekend. Did I leave enough water? Will he be too hot? Too cold? This is why I don't have classroom pets.

Oh, and the dad that yelled at his kid for not waiting out front? The kid has waited out front all week till 3:30 - I know because I wait with him. So today I kept him with me, in the AC, so I could get some grades done before I went home. Guess who was waiting, pissed off, when we went out at 3:20? I told him we were expecting the mom, later, but he wouldn't even talk to me. Jerk.

Tomorrow (today?) I will grade one set of compostions and work on my query and synopsis for BD.

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This week was fast but stressful BECAUSE it was so fast. 2 fire drills - one when we'd FINALLY gotten to Social Studies for the first time this year. We have a girl who comes from the college and helps out 4 hours a week. She's been there two weeks and I've had her an hour total. Another teacher hogs her.

I have a better handle on the PTA program. Could use some suggestions about what pop songs ghosts or skeletons could dance to. We're already doing "Thriller" with the zombies.

I'm going to try to leave earlier today and treat myself to a Sonic Diet Coke with lime. That will save me time and I can get straight to grading.

Oh, and the big raise? $44 a paycheck. Hey, at least it's an increase for me. People who get insurance through the district took a pay cut.

I finished HAUNTED last night, checked out WAIT TILL HELEN COMES from the school library. I'm reading that during silent reading time (which we've had ONCE.) The book I started last night, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, I bought because when I went to the WHRWA Emily luncheon last year I met the author, and her book is JUST out. That's a long time, matey!

I worked on conflicts for the new story while I rewatched the season finale of Supernatural. Here's my collage so far:

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Just Say No


I am feeling HUGELY overwhelmed right now. Progress reports go out next week and I'm not finished putting my grades in my gradebook. Heck, I haven't even graded any Language Arts papers, or social studies. My kids are good, so yesterday I graded some while they revised their stories, and while they took their math tests. I thought about skipping lunch (just eating in my room), but I want to talk to my grade level about the PTA program.

I'm chairperson of the website committee. Mind, I can't get into my OWN website, so I have to contact someone to set me up.

Our PTA program is coming up in less than 3 weeks. I want to do Scooby Doo and the Haunted School, but that means I have to write and choreograph at least 3 dances. I have a young teacher who will help me, but I don't know about the other three.

I need to stop at HEB for celery this AM for science.

I have 4 Gateway entries yet to judge.

Critique group is Saturday at 10. No WAY will I have time to read their stuff, even if they sent it this minute, so I'm bowing out - third month in a row :(

So what did I do last night? Made a collage of my new book. I'm out of glue, so will take a picture tomorrow. Then I went to bed at nine and woke up at 5:15! Late for me!

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New TV Season


Fall has always been the best time for magazines. When I was a girl, it was the August SEVENTEEN magazine and the Fall Preview TV Guide.

Yes, I love the new TV seasons! (Remember when they used to have shows previewing all the new shows? LOVED that!)

So in the tradition, I sat down with my Fall Preview Entertainment Weekly. Sadly (or, maybe a good thing), not many new shows intrigue me.

Sunday’s out – nothing I want to see there.

Monday – I suppose we’ll watch Heroes, though the guys around here are bigger fans than I am.

Tuesday is a bit of a conundrum (hey, I thought of that BEFORE I saw the kitty picture!!) The boy wants to see Cavemen, which is against Bones. And he wants to see House, which is against The Unit and Reaper. Yes, we have a Tivo, but it only records one thing at a time ☹ So decisions still have to be made.

Wednesday – I’ll give Bionic Woman a go. I was a huge fan in the 70s, though I know this will be way different. Still intriguing.

Thursday gets even more tricky. The Office is now opposite Grey’s AND Supernatural. SN gets the Tivo spot – I may be watching Grey’s online.

Friday’s messed up, too. I started watching Friday Night Lights, but it’s against Moonlight. And Men in Trees is opposite Las Vegas. I know, really, no contest, but TOM SELLECK will be on LV this year. TOM SELLECK! I love Tom Selleck. Not THAT way, but how charming is he?

And what’s up with Saturday? Nothing scheduled?


Tivo schedule: Heroes (even though we’ll watch it), Bones and House, probably, Bionic Woman, Supernatural, FNL and Men in Trees.

Watch: Heroes, Cavemen, Reaper, Bionic Woman, The Office, Moonlight and Las Vegas.

What are you watching? Any conflicts for you?

Found this of JDM's new romantic comedy.

Oh, and my hero? Noah Weston. I think. Pretty sure. Now, for a conflict.

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The Anniversary

I will never forget.

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If you haven't read Meg Cabot's essay on the day, you must. Have tissues ready. It's in the September 2005 archive - I couldn't isolate it to link to it. She was in Manhattan. It's very powerful.

On the lighter side of the news, it's release day for Season 2!



1) Revise 45 pages on BD
2) Don’t obsess about Indiana’s Golden Opportunity announcements on Wednesday.
3) Enter Hot Shot in Golden Palms (attach the actual chapter this time)
4) Get ready for face to face critique
5) Judge two of my (SIX!!!! Just say no, Mary, just say NO!) Gateway to the Best entries (on Google Docs, did you know about this feature?)
6) Read ms for SARA member
7) Decide which ST to enter in The Emily – Hot Shot or BD (you can only enter each category once)
8) Finish collage for small town story
9) Play with possible ways to turn Surface paranormal.
10) Keep up house

Can I take a day off yet?

This is a hoot:


M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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