Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Today's Special - - Ann H. Gabhart


We are delighted to welcome inspirational romance author, Ann H. Gabhart to The Romance Dish today!  A Kentucky girl with deep roots in the Outer Bluegrass region of the state, Ann lives just a mile away from the family farm where she spent her growing up years.  She started writing when she was ten years old and hasn't stopped since.  A busy wife, mother, grandmother and dog mom (We love dog moms here at TRD!), Ann has still managed to publish twenty novels.  Please give her a warm welcome! 




The Romance of Writing

Have you ever thought about making up a cast of characters and dropping them down into a world you created? A world where they might find love? Are you in love with words? Do you like how words look spilled across a page promising knowledge or adventure or romance? Are you amazed at how you can rearrange the twenty-six letters of the alphabet to tell endless stories? If you smiled and nodded yes to any of the above, then you may have been captured by the romance of writing.

I fell in love with writing when I was about ten. I wasn’t thinking much about writing romantic stories then. I was too busy scribbling words to solve a mystery the way the Hardy Boys did in their books I so enjoyed at the time. While I might not have been worried about romance, I was definitely in love with the written word. I’ve written about dozens of characters since my first attempt at writing that mystery years ago, and love has seeped into most of the stories. Romance can sweeten any story.

A few times my characters have also been in love with the written word and the idea of stories the way I am. Jessamine Brady in The Gifted (Revell trade paperback, On sale now) is one of those characters. From the very beginning of the story she’s wondering about love. She might live with the Shakers who try to teach her that romantic love is not proper, but her heart won’t be convinced. Before she came to the Shakers, her granny told her fairytales. Princes ever showed up in those stories, and love always curled up in the hearts of the characters with a pleased sigh of contentment. Her granny promised the same would be true for Jessamine. A prince would come. If only she’d wait. But then she ends up with the Shakers who not only frown on the idea of romantic princes but also try to quell Jessamine’s love of story. The Shakers’ creed is “Hands to work and hearts to God,” and that doesn’t leave any room for fanciful stories. While they get very imaginative in their worship, they prohibit reading or writing fiction. In spite of their rules, Jessamine can’t stop the stories dancing in her head. It’s a gift she wants to embrace but one she worries might not be proper.    

Stories dance in my head too until I coax them out onto paper or the computer screen. I love stories. I love the way a book can carry a reader off into a new world with characters who capture my heart. While the actual act of writing is often hard work and not nearly as romantic as we might wish or imagine, once the story is written, then the romance of writing can bloom between author and reader. I’ve always believed storytelling takes two – one to tell the story and one to listen. A book can’t truly come to life until a reader adds his or her imagination to the author’s and lets the story play in his or her head. That’s the romance of writing and the joy of reading.   

Have you been captured by the romance of writing or reading? What do you like best about the books you read? The romance? The adventure? The history? Tell me why you love stories.

Ann is giving away two copies of The Gifted today.  A print copy will go to a randomly selected person from the U.S./Canada leaving a comment and a digital copy will go to one randomly selected international commenter.  Please indicate US/CAN or INT in your comment to be eligible for the giveaway.

Check out more about Ann's stories on her website, www.annhgabhart.com

73 comments:

  1. Written words have always fascinated me since I was a child, in whatever fashion they come : fiction, non-fiction, books, magazines, comics...The fascination went through stages and right now I am in an escapist fantasy romance mood. Must be the stress-relief power of happily evet aftet love stories!

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    1. Must be the stress-relief power of happily evet after love stories!

      There's a lot to be said for that, Mina!

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    2. Mina, I like a story that ends well. I have at time been angry at an author after leading me down a fictional path and then making everything end badly. Sounds like you're the kind of girl who read the cereal box while you were eating breakfast if nothing else was handy. Words, words, words. So many of them out there to read.

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  2. Welcome, Ann! It's such a pleasure to have you visit with us today. I can't remember a time when I wasn't in love with the written word. From children's classics to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Gothic romances to general fiction and non-fiction, I've always loved to read. One summer in my early teens I was suffering from some eye strain. The doctor told me I had to give up books for the entire summer. I couldn't imagine anything worse!

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    1. Thank you, PJ, for inviting me over. I love writing, reading and talking to people who love writing and reading. So this is fun. I can't imagine having to not read for an entire summer. Cruel and unusual punishment for sure. Did you sneak a few books that summer?

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  3. I have been captivated by the romance of reading many years ago. It transports me to another realm and place. It provides great enjoyment and is meaningful and special. I love the adventure and the romance as well as the history of the era.

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    1. Petite, you sound like my kind of reading. Let's have some adventure and romance in our stories, right?

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  4. Books which resound with me have depth, characters and plots that are strong and a storyline that is unforgettable. Reading is my only form of entertainment and when I lose myself within the pages of a book I am enthralled. US.

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    1. You know, traveler, if I had to pick one form of entertainment, books would be it. What else can you do that takes you to some many places and allows you experience so many different lives? Hope you read many more exciting stories in the days to come.

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  5. REMINDER: Please put US/CAN or INT in your comments so we know which giveaway draw to put you in. Thanks!

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  6. I can't say why but reading has always been a great way to relax for me. It really does make me forget all my worries for whatever time I have to spend reading. US

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    1. Maureen, for sure reading is more relaxing than writing. When I'm writing all those worries and concerns of my characters are stirring around in my head. When I'm reading, I can just sit back and enjoy.

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  7. I have been reading romance novels since time began ;-) I'm enthralled by regency romances because I learn so much about the history of the period, the dress, the manners, the homes, the balls, the food and the huge differences between the "haves" and the "have nots," in addition to enjoying a delightful romance between two great characters. As I child, my reading habits started with devouring every Nancy Drew mysteries and biographies that I could check out from the library. I also enjoy contemporary romances, inspirational and chicklit. I feel as though I'm captured by each and every novel I pick up to read. It's like opening the door to another world and another scene. I get to sit on a comfy chair and watch the "action." Love it! My big hope is that Heaven is filled with lots of books! US

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    1. Oh, Connie, I'm pretty sure there is a huge library waiting for people like us up in heaven. And plenty of time to do all the reading we want. Thanks for sharing the types of books you like. Regency romances are very romantic.

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  8. My love of reading started at an early age. I was good at it lol. And it was definitely a way to escape and that has continued all my life. Reading is the only thing that can take me away and let me forget everything and to be taken to such wonderful places. I put myself into the lives of the characters (which always comes first for me - once I care for them the author can take me anywhere). And what a better way to learn but in an enjoyable story. And I like all genres. My husband's side of the family has a lot of Mennonites so your story would probably give me added insight! US

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    1. Thanks for joining the conversation, catslady. Actually my book is about Shakers and not Amish of Mennonites, but you still might enjoy the story and learning about this unusual group of people. You are certainly right that the characters are what make a story. At least that's true for me.

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  9. My mother read the KJV Bible and Victorian poets to me when I was in the womb. one of my friends swears she "marked" me because I've been fascinated with words, spoken and written, longer that I can remember. I was reading by the time I turned five and teaching my younger sister to read when I was six. I've been reading and teaching ever since and writing almost as long. I love the sound and the feel and the power of words. That love is one of the reasons I read.

    Other reasons can be summed up in two favorite quotations. Flannery O'Connor wrote, "There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored." At one level, I read to see the fallen, the broken, the failed, the wounded restored. I think it was C. S. Lewis who said, "We read to know we are not alone." I also read to experience the "me too" moments--those times when I relate to a character or an author who may be unlike me in many ways but who evokes that feeling of "Oh, yes, I know that too."

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    1. The power of words. I like that, Janga, because you're right. Words do have power. Love your quotes and the reasons you read. Oh yes, I know what you're saying. :)

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  10. I love reading for so many reasons. Relaxation, adventure, and learning about different people and cultures. I guess you can say I am in a learning stage right now. I can't seem to get enough about the Amish/ Shaker culture. Ann Gabhart and Beth Wiseman are just two of the wonderful authors I have been reading. US

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    1. Hi, Linda. Thanks for chiming in. So glad you enjoy my Shaker books and learning about different things. So many reasons to read. So many books to read.

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    2. Hi Linda! Thanks for the author recommendations. I'm looking forward to reading Ann's book.

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  11. I've loved reading from the time I learned to read. We'd go to the library every couple of weeks and check out a huge pile of books and I couldn't wait to get more. I don't think there has ever been a time in my life that I haven't enjoyed reading. Some of my favorite types of reading are Christian fiction, Civil War fiction/nonfiction, mysteries, Amish fiction. The list goes on. I do enjoy happy endings and a bit of romance. US
    Nancee
    quiltcat26[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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    1. Hi, Nancee. Thanks for following me over to leave a comment. I love libraries. I went all the time when I was a kid and it was like being in a literary candy shop with all the candy free for the borrowing. Loved it. Made sure to take my kids to get books when they were young too. I'm dipping back into the Civil War era for my work in progress.

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    2. Hi Nancee! Libraries are wonderful, aren't they?

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  12. My introduction to words started as a toddler, my mother had labeled everything in the house. Hoping I would recognize the words and learn to read. Our stove was labeled and all of the other kitchen appliances. I can't seem to pass by anything that has words, reading constantly. I have quite a collection of books and always have since I was a child. I also, love to give books to all the children in our family. Not all children are excited about books which is a shame. Books have so much competition with electronic toys, today.
    Thank you for this giveaway, I would love to have this copy of "Gifted". US

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    1. Good luck in the drawing, Carmee. It's always fun to see your comments. I too give everybody in my family a book at gift giving times - especially Christmas. Whether they want one or not. LOL. I want to share my love of books with my grandkids and children. I did finally get a Nook, but haven't downloaded the first book.

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    2. Carmee, I share your love of gifting books. I've done my best to share my love of reading with the younger generation of my family.

      Thanks for stopping by today!

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  13. It's wonderful that you fell in love with writing at such a young age. I love reading and writing and reap many benefits from it. I can't imagine a world without books. Scary! There are so many things I love about stories and it's a bit of everything: the characters, the storyline, the romance, the history and adventure. A little bit of all this in a story couldn't hurt ;) They help me escape and makes me think. Canada

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    1. I'm with you, Na. The more of everything in a book, the better. As long as it works. That's the challenge - making the story work. But I love the escape of a great story when I read one that does work on every level.

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  14. have always loved romance books...love it when there is a HEA after the characters go through some strife to find each other...my WIP is a romance...US

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  15. Oh, you must be a texter, dstoutholcomb. It took me a minute to figure out HEA. I did a blog once about how clueless I am with all those texting abbreviations. I do know about WIP. In fact I need to be working on WIP. LOL. Thanks for chiming in.

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  16. I love romance stories. I admire the people that have the imagination and discipline to write them for those of us that love to read them!! Thank you and best wishes with The Gifted, it sounds like a great read.

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    1. I'm with you Betty. Thank goodness for all the wonderful imaginations of the writers who continue to bring us their stories. I can't imagine a life without books!

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    2. Thanks, Betty. Romance sweetens any story. And it does take discipline. Maybe that and perseverance even more than the imagination.

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  17. Hi Ann, I think I like all the things you said about reading but mostly the wonderful people that you get to walk with them for awhile learning what they are doing and where they are going..I love sequels that let me continue the story and not have to say goodbye for awhile
    thanks for sharing your thoughts and your book today.
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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    1. Hi pol! I'm with you on not having to say a permanent goodbye to characters we love. That's one of the reasons why I so enjoy reading books in a series.

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    2. Hi, Paula. Great characters make for great reading. I like series okay, but I really like each story to end and not leave me hanging from book to book. And I don't like being lost if I happen to pick up the second in the series first. I try to make my books stand alones even when they are part of a series.

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  18. Hi Ann,thanks for your lovely blog today. I have been a reader since I recognized ny first printed word. I know I inherited the reader gene from my father who always had a book in hand. In college I majored in languages and literature and enjoyed every minute of it. However, after receiving two BA's and a Master's Degree I felt somewhat burned out on serious and profound world literature and I turned to the more light hearted genre of romance in all of its forms. I enjoy Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Inspirational...well you get it! I can't wait to read your newest book "Gifted," it sounds like something I would very much enjoy.

    PS. I live in the USA.

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    1. Flora, I have the same memories of my dad. He was a big reader and that's something we have always shared.

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    2. Flora and PJ, too, I like that my grandparents and my mother and father liked to read and passed that love on down to me the way your fathers did to you. I wrote a book, Angel Sister, with a background and setting based on my mother's memories of growing up during the Great Depression. In it, my character parents were big readers and that's what helped them know they were in love. That was fun and something straight from my reader genes, as you say. It's true that something not so heavy is a great spirit lifter, but sounds as if you've got the literature background, Flora.

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  19. THE ROMANCE. ANGELA FROM KY
    ANGELAC@MCHSI.COM

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    1. I love a reader who knows what she likes. Thanks for chiming in, Angela.

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  20. Just wanted to let everyone know I'm not ignoring your comments. I'm working today but I'll be around later this evening when I get home to respond to everyone.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  21. I love the history, the romance, the inspirational encouragement and just the story in general. It is an escape from stress for me.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

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    1. They're a lovely form of escape, aren't they? That's one of the reasons I so enjoy romance in all its forms. It's a moment out of time from the stress and challenges of everyday life.

      Thanks for coming over today!

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    2. Hi, Jane. Good to see you here and thanks for adding your input on what you like in your reads. All those things are great elements that I need to consider when I'm writing. Of course, the story in general is mostly what I have to concentrate on and what I hope to pull out of my imagination.

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  22. I love Ann's blog today-actually love all she writes-blogs, journals, books-she is so inspiring, has a wonderful insight about everything,and shares that in her writing. I really admire her writing, esp. her books- Shaker series,I would love to win a copy of The Gifted.
    I love to read,and there are so many books out there with romance,inspiration,mystery,history,etc,etc-I just want to read them all,yes, my "to read" list is very long,lol.

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    1. Janie, I joke that I would have to spend a full year on a desert island to even make a dent in my "to be read" stash. I guess it's not such a bad problem to have. ;-)

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    2. Hi, Janie. So sweet of you to give me a pat on the back about my writing. So glad you came over to read my post here. And my to read stack is very tall too. I think we both better join PJ on that desert island for a year. Let's make sure we have hammocks and lots of ice tea.

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    3. O0ps..forgot to post US-janiefreeman@live.com

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  23. I love to read romances. I enjoy the romance, history, kick-ass heroines and heroes, and the many different stories I read. It is fun to escape from life for a while and envision yourself as the heroine.

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    1. Cathy, I like strong heroines too. I don't like having the hero rush in at the last minute and save the day. I want the girl to figure things out and maybe take the first steps to fix things. That's a little harder to write in the historicals because women didn't have nearly as many options then as they do now. It is fun to go adventuring with the characters in a book and forget everything but the story.

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  24. Hello and welcome, Ann! It is so nice to have you dishing with us today. This story sounds absolutely wonderful. :)

    I, too, am a lover of the written word and have been since I was little and first read Dr. Seuss. I gobbled up mysteries like Nancy Drew and later Mary Higgins Clark and Sue Grafton. And then I discovered romance with its chivalrous heroes, strong heroines, sweeping locales, and happily ever afters, and haven't looked back since!

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    1. Hi, Andrea. So good to be here enjoying such a sumptuous feast of words. I love reading Dr. Seuss and try to get my grandkids to pick one of his Horton books to read aloud every time. Sometimes it works. I like my romance mixed with history or mystery, but I do like for my stories to end well. Happily ever after works for me!

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  25. I have always loved to read from a very young age. Would always be at the library checking out new books. Like suspense, romance, historical fiction, almost everything that takes me on a new adventure while I am still sitting in my living room. I have learned more from historical fiction about history than I ever did from a dull history book in school. Loved the Shaker books because I learned so much about the Shakers in the setting of an enjoyable story. Also loved the classics like A Tale of Two Cities and all the others. Am beginning to have an eye problem, but hope I will never have to stop reading. I know there are audio books, but that is just not the same to me as having a real book, the smell, the feel, etc.

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    1. Oh, I do hope your eyes won't let you down on reading. That's one thing that has endeared some to the e-readers, but I hear you about wanting the experience of holding that real book. I'm there with you on that. Thanks for sharing the types of books you enjoy. Sounds as if you're a reader who is willing to try lots of different stories. Thank you so much for trying some of mine. And fiction books can be a great introduction to history. Some of the readers who read my historical romance, Words Spoken True, said they went out and looked up the historical background facts to see what else they could find out about what happened in 1855. I've had readers say they research the Shakers after reading my books too. Love that.

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  26. Ann, thank you so much for visiting with us today. I wish you all the best with The Gifted and look forward to reading your entire Shaker series.

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    1. Thank you, PJ, for letting me visit. I love hearing what other readers and writers like about books. I do hope you will enjoy the stories if you read more of my books. I appreciate your good wishes and encouragement.

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  27. Nice post. I like the happily ever after in the books.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks, bn100. Glad you came over and really glad so many of you have liked happily ever after because I do too!

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  28. Love your books.
    O Norman
    onorman@wilkes.net

    US/Can

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    1. Ola, so good of you to comment. And I'm smiling when you say my books are the books you like. Thanks so much. I appreciate my reading friends.

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  29. US/Can
    I read stories for the adventure and history. It is always nice to have romance part of it, but not enough to overpower the story itself. The adventure is nice and a good escape from the normal life I live. I love history and consider historical fiction/romance an opportunity to to learn more about that era, culture, and location. There is so much we miss in the dry text books we study. These books give that history a face, a feel, a physical setting, and color. As I said, I don't want the romance to over power all that. However, romance is part of life and should be part of the story. I look forward to reading your books.

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    1. Romance is definitely a part of life, librarypat. Something the Shakers didn't want to believe. They tried to stomp out any kind of romance, but somehow romance would sneak into their village and end with converts leaving to live a different kind of life. I hope if you get a chance to read any of my books, that you will enjoy the stories.

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  30. I read stories to take me places that I don't get to visit and to see how others live and find happiness.I would love to read the Gifted.I am in the U.S.T hanks

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    1. Jackie, I like being transported to other places and times in books too. And I like it when the characters work through their problems or overcome their challenges and leave me thinking they're going to be okay. Hope you get to read The Gifted.

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  31. I enjoyed reading this post. I love reading. When I read my Bible, I find promises of a better life one day and directions on how to live a good and happy life. When I read my other books, I can just relax and go into another world with the charactors for awhile. When I am finished reading I feel as tho I know these people. And then, I wonder what will happen to them later. You can go so many places in books. Ann, I would love to win The Gifted. If I try enough times, maybe I will finally get lucky. God bless, Maxie In the USA. ( mac262@me.com )

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    1. Good luck this time, Maxie. You're always a winner with books to read and the Bible to guide you. Thanks for reading the post.

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  32. i love reading for the adventure the book offer. it took me around the world, through space and time.. i just loved reading.

    International :)

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    1. I just love reading too, sienny. Adventure, romance, history, suspense - it's all good.

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  33. Thanks again, PJ, for having me over. And thanks to all those who left comments. It was great fun reading about what you like about reading. If I tried, I could make a tongue twister out of that. :) Always good to connect with reading friends.

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