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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Before. Behind. Between. Begin.

This was one of the best articles on characterization I have ever read and the reason, I believe, Cindy's books have become bestsellers. 


Cindy is also offering two copies of her latest release, The Scent of Cherry Blossoms, so leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. Continental U.S. residents only, please.

New York Times Bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall is an author, wife, and mother. Her real-life connections with Plain Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty years and the youngest of their sons.


Before. Behind. Between. Begin.
Finding the Four B's of Your Character

Before your character had control of his or her own life, who controlled it?

When beginning a writing project, it can feel easy to imagine a handsome or heartwarming character with an endearing personality and a couple of flaws that have the potential to get him into trouble. But is that enough insight to enable you, as the author, to know who the character really is?

The problem with not knowing your character well enough is that you won't know what he or she would say or do in certain situations. You may know what you would say or do or what your imagination could conjure up for your character to say or do, but to understand how each one would react, you must truly know who he is. When understanding any subject, it's best to start at the beginning - at the foundation - and build from there.

The lives of the characters should begin long before they were born. Who were their parents? What kind of people were they? What was the relationship like for mom and dad before they became "mom and dad?"

When your character was in his growing-up years, did Mom love to laugh, or was she void of humor? Did Dad love coming home, or did he drag himself in near or past bedtime? Was Mom fulfilled within, or did she pine her days away, remaining loyal to the family, but never psychologically embracing them or herself?

The most significant elements of parenting continue to make a difference in the heart, mind, and soul of an adult child. A drug-addicted, alcoholic or absent parent certainly leaves a mark on his or her children. But are these easily-labeled issues the only ones with power enough to show up on the written page?

Doesn't a mother or father who loves her or his life leave a totally different and equally powerful impression on a child? What about the dutiful and kind parent who is miserable?

The subtleties of your character's beginning are harder to show on the page, but if you know those nuances, such invaluable information will contribute to how your character thinks and what he or she will do or not do. How this plays out in the action and point-of-view of your characters may be as gentle as having the character show restrained disrespect for anyone he sees across a crowded room who is drinking too much or discreetly popping a pill. Such nuances will calibrate your character's response in a hundred possible scenarios that can arise in a novel.

It all matters.

How I felt about my parents' choices and decisions when I was growing up still dictates my choices and decisions today - and I have two grown and married sons. If I liked something my parents did, I did and do that for my own children. If I disagreed or hated something they did, I do the opposite for my children. But when I do things differently, what effect does it have on my children? Do they agree or disagree with my decisions? Is it harmful or helpful?

For example, when I was a child, all food put on my plate had to be eaten before I could leave the table. I gagged my way through many a meal, but I also learned to eat foods I didn't like. As a result of my own experiences, when my children hated something, I'd
give them a choice of other food items with similar nutritional value. I remember going through a list of acceptable substitutes for each child at mealtime. One son hated cooked carrots, broccoli, and English peas, but he would eat raw carrots and broccoli. He's twenty-five now and still won't touch English peas. Was my method helpful or did I teach him to always look for the easy way out? Did I give the subtle message that women are pushovers and that if you don't like what their hard work has provided, they'll find another option or solution for you? Hmmm.

Knowing about your character's parents and the cause-and-effect of your characters' beginnings will determine many of his actions and responses when he is an adult.



Behind every human's life are thousands of years of DNA that have been passed down. Thanks to that DNA, what natural gifts and struggles do your characters have?

In many ways, "behind" has as much influence over your character's behavior as the "before." Many people struggle to control their desires, urges, and personalities. Think about people with a Type-A personality. His patience is taxed before anyone around him has done anything wrong. A goldfish gets on his nerves, and its fish tank probably needs cleaning, organizing, and restructuring ASAP. Type-A personalities are often labeled as "difficult" or just plain "jerks." But much concerning who they are - athletic prowess, artistic ability, attention issues, good or bad habits, etc. - was all passed on to them from conception.

You don't need to study your character's genealogy, but you do need to be aware of what traits were passed down and give some measure of weight when developing your character.

Some of the sweetest people we know were born with a disposition that is relaxed and warm and easy to get along with. I remember wondering as a preteen if those people were less sinful than others who were, by nature, challenging and difficult. Was their sweetness a lack of sin? How could that be? They may have carried more special graces, but didn't the sin nature itself claw at their hearts and minds too? We know it does, so how does that "sin" show itself on paper?

When characters are built from "before" and "behind," making each one's strengths and weaknesses flow onto the page will come naturally - whether they are gentle and truly sweet or easily act like a jerk.

Between conception and the start of your novel, what else molded your character? One of the interesting things about being a human is that the same exact environment could easily be created for several human beings, yet each would have a unique perspective because of the thing we call "personality." If you have a set of identical twins, each one will react differently to his or her environment. A parade or a clown may excite one toddler and terrify the other.

This is where the author can choose more of who the character is. After plotting out the "before" and "behind," you're ready to choose the personality of your characters. Does she accept the pop culture-type thinking of her day, fight against it, or quietly disagree with it? If he lost a sibling in a war, did it make him want to protest wars or join the military? After the "before" and the "behind," who did your character become in the "between?"

Begin your novel armed with the full knowledge of who your characters are - the before, the behind, and the between. Then ask yourself, what would this person do - how would he or she react - when caught in the emotional or physical destruction in which your plotting places them? Once you've completed these steps, you won't have to know the answer to how they would react when placed in different circumstances. The character - who that person is - will dictate what he or she will do in any given situation. Each character will be true to himself or herself, because you know who they are and from where they have come.

Once your research is complete, the characterization throughout your work won't be about you, the author, deciding what the character should or shouldn't say or do; it will be about the author taking accurate notes as the characters speak for themselves.

I'd like to leave you with one last "b" word, but it's not for your characters, it's for you...

Believe

I could attempt to explain the power of that one vital element, but I think all of us know of its awesome, life-changing strength first-hand. Thanks for inviting me to express some of my thoughts and ideas...may you find who your character truly is.


The Scent of Cherry Blossoms


Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her Old Order Mennonite people, like those revered by her beloved grandfather. Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.

But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time amongst the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite are drawn.

Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm?

224 comments:

  1. This is definitely a 'keeper' and the best article on Characterization I've ever read. Thank you Cindy.

    I would love to be entered to win a copy of The Scent of Cherry Blossoms. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  2. Thanks so much for a great way to remember how to craft a strong character: Before, Behind, Between. Begin. (And I won't forget the "Believe" part too.

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  3. Thank you, Cindy. No wonder your books are so good. It goes into my file so I won't forget it. Would love to win your new book. I've enjoyed everyone I've read, and I know this one will be great, too.

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  4. Creating great characters is surely one of the greatest challenges fiction writers face. Thanks for de-mystifying the "how to."

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  5. Thanks for this! Sherri
    www.sherriwilsonjohnson.com

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry! I also needed to work on my spelling skills!

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  7. This was extremely helpful and something I'm going to apply before I start my next book. Thanks for sharing, Cindy.

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  8. Fantastic advice! I love Woodsmall's characters. I connect with them as they feel so real :)

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  9. You have created some amazing characters! They keep me turning the pages and looking forward to the next book!

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  10. I would so love to read this and review this as well!!! I commented on facebook and now going to try it here!! Love the cover and the pictures as well..

    julie lippo
    mrslippo@hotmail.com

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  11. I would love an autographed copy from Cindy Woodsmall!
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  12. I would LOVE to win a autograph copy of your book!!! I tend to read alot of Amish related books these days!!! It would be wonderful to add The Scent of Cherry Blossoms to my collection!!!

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  13. Love reading Cindy Woodsmall's book. Would love to win a copy of her new book. Thank you for the opportunity.
    Karen.
    kmgervais@nycap.rr.com

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. So glad y'all found it helpful! Isn't the privilege of writing such a gift to us?! I know it's hard work, but wow, it challenges us constantly and gives us the freedom to create something no one else can--the stories on our heart. That is such a HUGE blessing for all of us writers.

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  16. Love your books and look forward to reading this one! Please count me in for the contest! Blessings. Kathy S. (khsa@hotmail.com)

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  17. We're all part of something bigger than ourselves...in fiction or in real life.
    I enjoy your books, Cindy...and thanks for the chance to win.

    Blessings...

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  18. LOVE Cindy's books!Debra from OH

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  19. Would just love to win a signed copy of the book. Thanks so much..
    Leslie l5310@hotmail.com

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  20. I love Cindy Woodsmall's writing! Such a talented lady! Would love to win a copy!
    Angela Burdett
    faeriechic27@mchsi.com

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  21. Love Cindy's books! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  22. Cindy I have read all of your books and cannot wait to read this one. As soon as I see that you have a new one I request it from the library. ATRAM345@att.net

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  23. tina thehuf86@yahoo.com4:44 PM, February 08, 2012

    Amish books are my favorite. A thank you goes to God for giving you the awesome talents to write such great books. Keep up the good work.
    Tina thehuf86@yahoo.com

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  24. I love Cindy Woodsmall's writing and find each of her books captivating. I would love to be able to win a copy of her newest book. Thank you so much! ~Ivy ivybradford@gmail.com

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  25. I love Cindy Woodsmall, I love winning books. I love the generosity of these authors.....

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  26. I enjoyed reading this article and found it helpful. My dream is to write a book someday and I even went as Fargo write it in my head if only I couldg it it on paper.

    Gail martin

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  27. Never read books by this Author, but I love these type of books. Would love to win one to see what I'm missing! ;-)
    burns2fly@yahoo.com

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  28. I love reading Amish fiction and would love to win a copy.
    Ann Corder
    racorder6577@yahoo.com

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  29. I would love to win a copy of Cindy's book.
    Thank you.
    Wilma
    wilmamet6(at)gmail(dot)com

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  30. I am an avid reader especially of Christian fiction. I enjoy stories about the Amish and their simple way of life. I would love a copy of Cindy's new book!
    Jackie
    jsmithrock88@aol.com

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  31. I look forward to your new books with great anticipation, I read it, then it's back to waiting for a new release...lol Would love to win the book...

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  32. Have the series and read it . Have passed it along at church library. I would love to win this. god bless.

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  33. I would love to read this new book! Every book of yours that I have read, I have loved, and I am certain this one will be no exception.

    Melinda K. Busch
    melikay@ymail.com

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  34. Great interview and the story sounds awesome! Thanks for the giveaway.

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  35. Thank you for another chance to win one of Cindy's books. One can and will learn a lot from her!!!!

    Sharon@mhssystemsinc.com

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  36. Please enter me. I love her books!
    Sarah McKay
    srichter_84_03@hotmail.com

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  37. I can hardly wait to read this. Love Cindy's books.
    Mona Mason
    tmason2475@aol.com

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  38. I love all your books and would love to receive your brand new book! Emma, rwilliams@gmn4u.com

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  39. I so admire what you do! My head was spinning by the time I was done reading about having a good character, the background of that character and keeping things interesting. God has has blessed you! I'm grateful that you like to write books because I love to read them.
    jennydtipton[at]gmail[dot]com

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  40. Would so love to win an autographed copy of your book Cindy.
    I so enjoy reading them. They bring a peace and relaxation to my life that I need. May God continue to bless you with your wonderful writing talent!
    Cheryl Baranski

    Baranski1987@gmail.com

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  41. LOVE LOVE LOVE Cindy!!!!! Cant wait for this new book!!!! <3

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  42. Goldie Parsons goldieparsons@sympatico.ca4:49 PM, February 08, 2012

    I noticed that this is for US residents only but I will eave a comment anyways. I have read all of Cindys books and was very happy with them. I had always read Karen Kingsbury books and enjoyed them but I was getting bored waiting for something else to read and discovered Cindy's books. They are amazing/ I think her best one is The Sound of Sleigh Bells. I think I have read that about 3 times so far and have enjoyed it more each time. I would love a free book but unfortunately that can't happen as I live in Canada. I guess I will have to buy it. Cindy keep writing and I will keep reading. You are a wonderful author.

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  43. Would love to win!!
    jlscott49 at roadrunner dot com

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  44. OH I CAN'T WAIT FOR ANOTHER GREAT BOOK! your books always keep me wanting more. I hate when I have to put one of your books down. I have been praying for a good snow so I can set all day and read.Another book to add to the rest of your collection in my bookcase if I get to read it first, my mother and my grandmother take them from me to read sometimes before I get ahold of them.

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  45. I loved the Bridge Of Peace I am Christian and try to have a smile and be caring to everyone.
    luckylady4163@yahoo.com

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  46. I would LOVE to win one of your books, and to have it autographed would be amazing. Thanks for the great stories, I love them.

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  47. Would love to win one of Cindy's books, and an autographed one makes it even better!

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com
    wrensthoughts.blogspot.com

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  48. I LOVE Cindy's books. she is wonderful!! would love to win her book :)

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  49. Thank you for this great article. Cindy is my favorite author, and I would be thrilled to win her new book autographed!! Thanks for the giveaway!!

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  50. Love your writing, Cindy, and would be delighted to win one of your books. Sher slbergm@aol.com

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  51. I would love to read your new book. I am an avid reader and mainly read historical christian fiction. I used to read Amish when I was younger..but stopped since they all seemed the same and so much of it...but then I read one of yours...and I am now a huge fan. You do a great job...I hope you know what a blessing you are..thank you for your hard work...it shows!

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  52. Margaret (ohwhutevr@hotmail.com)4:52 PM, February 08, 2012

    Can't wait to read more of Cindy's books.

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  53. I am dying to read this book. I would love to win a copy of Cindy's book. Thank you so much for the chance.

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  54. Looking forward to this book!!!
    suess60atgmaildotcom

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  55. I would love to win a copy of this book. I have read all Cindy's book and can't wait to read this one.

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  56. I love your books. I feel as if I am part of the story. Thank you for giving me a wonderful escape. Kathy Byerly

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  57. I would love to win a copy of this book! Can't wait to read it!

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  58. Always look forward to another Cindy Woodsmall book coming out!! love your writing!!




    Beth9-9@hotmail.com

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  59. Would love to win this one. I love Cindy's books.

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  60. Love this. Enjoy to read this and your books. Love how deep you are in both. Can't wait to read your next book.

    April T
    Amcadtobias@yahoo.com

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  61. I am so looking forward to this book being released and would love to win it.

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  62. I would love a copy of this book. Please, consider me to win. I will consider this a true blessing. Thank you! kokodi2005@yahoo.com Diana Gilliland

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  63. would love to win one of your books.I have several of your books and always enjoy them Thanks.
    Diane

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  64. Cindy has a way of pulling me into her stories. Her characters are so real with their problems and worries, but what I love most is how it all works out with the presence of the Lord working in their lives.

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  65. Valerie lucy2114@aol.com4:57 PM, February 08, 2012

    I am currently reading The Harvest of Grace and would love to win a copy of Cindy's book. I am a huge fan!!

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  66. I would LOVE a copy of The Scent of Cherry Blossoms, and I LOVE all Cindy's books!

    Deanna Hufford
    deanhuf@aol.com

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  67. I've just recently started reading novels about the Amish. Yours are definitely among my favorite! I've completed the "Ada's House" series and look forward to reading more of your books. I'm looking forward to the upcoming release of "The Scent of Cherry Blossoms". Please enter me into your contest. May the Lord bless you as you continue to write and share your stories.

    dustbunny209@yahoo.com

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  68. Would love to win this book. Enjoy reading Cindy's books.
    thiakiki{at}verizon{dot}net

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  69. Yes I too love to read Cindy Woodsmall's books...they are soo full of hope and inspiration........they tear at your heart strings too...look forward to reading Cindy's newest book..'The Scent Of Cherry Blossoms'.......babyruthmac16@yahoo.com

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  70. I love Cindy's books and I would love to win a copy of this book.
    luvsherfam @ gmail dot com

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  71. Huge fan of Cindy's and would love to be given a chance to win an autographed copy. Thanks
    1millers@bellsouth.net
    Sonya Miller

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  72. Great advise! Developing Characters is so exciting! It's one of my favorite parts. Thanks for the article.

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  73. I've loved all her books I've read. need to read this one.

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  74. I have read all of Ms. Woodsmall's books and I can't wait for this one to come out! Would love to win a copy! :)
    melissancaliendo[at]gmail[dot]com
    Thanks for the giveaway.

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  75. I love all of Cindy's books that I have read so far. Would love to win her book.

    debw.88[at]gmail[dot]com

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  76. Love her books n love her attention to her fans thanks for the oppurtunity.
    Lilsisi.rodriguez@gmail.com
    Mayra Rodriguez

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  77. I too love to read Cindy's books. From the very first page to the very last page, you never want to put her books down. I would love to win a copy of this book. thedishmans@gmail.com

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  78. I would love to win a copy of The Scent of Cherry Blossoms. The first Amish book I read was When the Heart Cries, and I Loved it. Now I can't seem to read enough Amish books. Thanks
    jessicadarbonne1@yahoo.com

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  79. I would love to read this, I love Amish fiction!
    adanger@live.com
    April Dangerfield

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  80. It is always interesting to know how characters are developed. This makes me wish I could meet favoritr authors to find out more about their characters.

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  81. Great article. I love Cindy's books but haven't read this one yet.
    Cathy
    cathyann40 at yahoo dot com

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  82. If you have not read Cindy's books, they are a must on your list of books. They will stick to you like glue long after closing the book.
    I can only imagine this book will be no different.

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  83. Thanks for taking the time to write such a great article about writing, Cindy. I would love to be entered to win a copy of your book, as I live near the Amish in PA and have always been intrigued by their way of life.
    Sherri Myers sherri5 at pa dot net

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  84. I've read all of Cindy Woodsmall's books. The first Amish Fiction book that I read was When the Heart Cries and then I was hooked. I would love to read the new book, can't wait!!!

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  85. I would love to win a copy.
    Shaun
    srpaulsen3@gmail.com

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  86. I would love to have a signed copy of this book. I would be the envy of all my friends. luvtogod@charter.net Rose Thanks for entering me.

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  87. Your blog was very insightful. I think that it applies to character development in fiction and in real life. I love your writing and am anxious to read 'The Scent of Cherry Blossoms'.

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  88. I love Cindys books, She is a great writer. I have a son named Aidan. Cant wait to read this one!

    Terri
    terrikem@aol.com

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  89. Still trying for that book. If I don't get this one I am so having to go buy it.

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  90. Wonderful article. Cindy knows how to make her characters come to life. Love her books! Would love to win a copy! Thanks!

    ~Bev

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  91. Love your books! Would love to win this one!

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  92. Yes Please! ~Gretchen
    dreamwriter07@gmail.com

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  93. I loved reading about the 4 B's of writing books. I would love to win this book, Cindy, The Scent of Cherry Blossums. I just know it will be good. I've loved all of your books I've read so far. I have two three book series, and will probably read them again. Have already loaned one series to one of my daughters. Thanks for another chance to win.
    Maxie Anderson (mac262@me.com )

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  94. Carol A Fabianovicz5:12 PM, February 08, 2012

    I have read all of Cindy's books & would really LOVE to win this one. I really enjoy reading Amish fiction.

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  95. I would love to read The Scent of Cherry Blossoms. The characters sound so intriguing. I have rad all of her books, so this should be added to my reading list.

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  96. Cindy you are one awesome Author, thanks for all the great books! Dawn ~~~~~~Searcy4U@aol.com

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  97. Loved this article. Interesting things to think about. Made me think about how much things my parents affected the way I deal with certain situations.
    elbedford@comcast.net

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  98. Oh, O would love to win this book - love all your books!!!!! Thanks for another chance to win!

    Dianna Bupp
    dibupp@yahoo.com

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  99. Cindy, Thanks for all the great information you gave us if we do wish to write a book. Some I was familiar with but most I had not really thought about. Love books about the Amish and love your books.
    Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us and the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  100. Enjoy your books hummingbird74@frontier.com

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  101. not a writer, but love to read! Great article!

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  102. Interesting article on character development that I have never thought about.

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  103. I would love to have all of your books lined up on my bookcase. I love your stories! Awesome Author!

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  104. Great article and I would love to read this book.

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  105. I enjoyed the article. I'm anxious to get the new book.
    Your stories are always the best!

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  106. Cindy is an great author...would love to win her book. Thanks for the chance to try to win. Keep up the good work.
    God Bless.
    donnac.taylor@hotmail.com

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  107. would love to win a copy of your book!!!

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  108. Please enter me in the drawing.
    Can't wait to read the book.
    Thanks,
    Char

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  109. would love to win a copy of this book
    cindyflynn2001@aol.com
    cindy flynn

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  110. Thank you for the great books that you write; I have enjoyed them all and would love to win this new book!
    eileenaltieri@hotmail.com

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  111. Cindy, I own and have enjoyed everyone of your books. I would love to have an autographed copy of The Scent of Cherry Blossoms, but will buy one if I don't win one. I am so fascinated by the Amish People. I have the utmost respect for them but honestly could not live their lives. Thank You for the chance to win this book.

    rmadobato@hotmail.com

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  112. Love your books, would be an honor to win an autographed copy of THe Scent of Cherry Blossoms. Thank you for sharing.

    Have God Filled Day
    Shirley

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  113. LOVE ALL of Cindy's books - can't wait to read this one and would love to win a copy!
    Susan Ferrell
    susan828(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  114. I love Cindy's books!
    Megan
    mderry@HCTC.net

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  115. i love all your books and will buy if I don't win. Thank You
    schmuckyalater@cox.net

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  116. Please enter me into your drawing as well! THANK YOU!
    Southernsky3@Aol.com

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  117. I absolutely love your books. A book with as beautiful a name as The Scent of Cherry Blossoms has to be just wonderful. Would love to win a copy! Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent! Candace Cook

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  118. I would love to win. please notify me at cindy[@]cvstom(dot)com

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  119. I would love a copy Cindy.
    Tracey Berthiaume
    poohcrnr110@aol.com

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  120. Excited to read another one of Cindy's book! She is a true talent and a gem at portraying the Amish!
    I would love to win a copy of this book!
    Allyson

    allysonlangworth at gmail dot com

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  121. I would love a copy! tpashnya@bainbridge.edu

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  122. Would love to win a copy. Lee Ellen Hicks. glhicks69@Yahoo.com

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  123. Would love to win this book. Can't wait to read it! It sounds so interesting. Thank you :D

    Ruth

    jsluvsu2@comcast.net

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  124. I so loved Plain Wisdom. How blessed to have such a friendship with Miriam Flaud your Amish co-author.I would love win and read The Scent of Cherry Blossoms 'cos you're the best, Cindy :)
    Thanks,
    gracegirl@wowway.com

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  125. This looks like it's going to be a GREAT book!! I hope I win!!!!!!

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  126. I have been wanting to read "The Secret of Cherry Blossoms" and winning a copy would be marvelous.

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  127. As a resident of Pennsylvania, I love reading Cindy's portrayal of the Amish. Having an autographed copy would be a real treasure :)

    rebbiej@gmail.com

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  128. Cindy is one of the best writers! I wish I could write such great stories.

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  129. Thats awesome Cindy. I never thought about a character defining his own story. Keep the heartwarming stories coming.
    Alvinh63@suddenlink.net

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  130. Love Cindy's books!
    bskigold@aol.com

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  131. Thanks again for another chance to win a great book to read. I just love reading all your books.
    Bonnie
    Punchbug193@msn.com

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  132. Love the stories of Cindy Woodsmall and winning one of her books would be great, great post today with lot of food for thought here. thanks for sharing.
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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  133. That was a really interesting article! I'm looking forward to reading The Scent of Cherry Blossoms!

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  134. I agree with you. I did my child rearing entirely different from how I was raised. Kept what I enjoyed and did not repeat what I did not.

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  135. I like all of Cindy's books and I sure would like to win a copy of her new one.

    Mary Ann (plumcatcher@aol.com

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  136. I would appreciate winning Cindy's book to share with a neighbor in need.
    Sheila
    babygirljacoby@gmail.com

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  137. Loved the article and love all your books!Really hope to win the book. If not I will still be reading it! Thanks for all of your talent and being so generous and interactive with us fans! csmtoni@gmail.com

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  138. I would absolutely love a good wholesome book to read and I know The Scent of Cherry Blossoms would be just that!

    aleashinn(at)gmail.com

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  139. gail chevalier (mwaltripfan99@yahoo.com)6:05 PM, February 08, 2012

    Cindy I love your books, and I would be honored to win this contest.

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  140. I know some ladies who will benefit from the article.
    Would love the book!

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  141. Loved the article. Please enter me in this contest. I would love to
    read this novel.
    mike_michels2005@yahoo.com

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  142. I love her stories! Her stories are so colorful and engaging - I would love to win!

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  143. Exceptionally well-written with many thoughts about parenting that I think about often. Thanks for the entry for the novel! :-)
    Monica
    lopiccolomb@gmail.com

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  144. Pam peanuppy@pstel.net6:10 PM, February 08, 2012

    Cindy is a beautiful lady, inside & out. I love this artcle, & would love an autographed copy of the book!

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  145. Hope to win.Penny pbennett123@windstream.net

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  146. I would LOVE to win a copy of the book! :o)
    Janetnush@hotmail.com

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  147. I am an avid reader of Amish Fiction. Cindy's books have a way of warming your heart. I can not wait to read this book. I would love to win this book and share it with my mother loves Cindy's books as much as I do. Keep writing Cindy. Your books are a must read.

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  148. I love Cindy Woodsmall!! Great author!!

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  149. Just was introduced to Cindy's books and I can't put them down....what an honor it would be to have a autographed book!

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  150. Wonderful article! Looking forward to reading your books.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  151. I wish I had an entire library of Cindy's books. I am so hooked on them. I've gotten so attached to the characters that I don't want the stories to end. I can't wait for the next series. I would love a free book but I would buy it anyway.

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  152. This article was actually very insightful especially as I continue to work on my first story! Thank you Cindy and God Bless your continued writing!! Kym Godwin... christdied4_me_n_u@yahoo.com

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  153. I love Cindy's books. I would really love to win a copy.

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  154. Would LOVE to win a copy of this book. I would read and then pass on. Love to read.

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  155. I have read nearly every one of Cindy's book and am so looking forward to this one. Cindy...you are just flat amazing. How you come up with the various stories is beyond me. Blessings from Central Oregon and me. :)

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  156. I love to read Cindy's books and the posts that she puts on facebook. When I finish one of her books, I can hardly wait for the next one to be released. I would love a free copy of the book, but I will buy it anyway. Having one that she had autographed would be really awesome.

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  157. I love Cindy's books. They are very intriguing, but also very helpful in many situations.

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  158. Very nice article..am looking forward to reading your new book.. angadair@nwcable.net

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  159. I have a couple of Cindy's Amish books already and would love to add this to my collection. Please pick me.

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  160. I would love to win The Scent of Cherry Blossoms. I love Cindy Woodsmalls books.

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  161. I love Amish fiction. Please enter me to win. Thanks.

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  162. I would be thrilled to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the opportunity! God bless! :). Jcastle2@cinci.rr.com

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  163. love Cindy's books and would love to win this one. Thank you.

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  164. I am a mother of 3 children and have just recently been able to start taking time for myself and enjoy reading again. My grandmother passed away two years ago and we found Cindy's books in her collection. We live in an area that has had Amish move into the community lately. I have to say, I LOVE Cindy's books. I love the fact that I get obsessed with finishing it. I will admit that I held off reading the 2nd book of the 2nd series because I knew I had to wait for the third book to come out. I can't put them down. I have also got my cousin obsessed with them too! Can't wait to read her new book!

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  165. Thanks, Cindy. It's a great article. Characterization is one of my favorite parts of writing. I love Cindy Woodsmall books and would love to win The Scent of Cherry Blossoms.

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  166. I would love to win Cindy's book. Please add my name to the contest.
    Debra - debsredbirds@yahoo.com

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  167. Thanks for the chance to win!! Have a blessed day!!

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  168. I would love to read this book—please enter me to win!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

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  169. I love all of Cindy's books and would love to be able to add this one to my collection. Thank you for the opportunity. God Bless You. Vicki

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  170. I love Cindy's books!! An not wait to read this one!
    Blessings, Kimberly
    rk.smick@comcast.net

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  171. I love Cindy's books. It would be wonderful to win!

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  172. I love Cindy's books. I would love to win a free book!

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  173. I know this book will be another of Cindy's that I can't put down! I would love to win! Love the cover too!
    (I can so relate to being made to sit at the table until I ate certain foods! Mostly green beans!)

    fritzlindak@gmail.com

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  174. We have all of Cindy's books in our church library except this one and would love to win it for our church!

    nancy@kennethssales.com

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  175. Ever since I saw this cover, I know I'd love this book! I love Cindy's Amish fiction writing style as it is and I hope to win this! Thanks Lisa MacNeil hsrmom@msn.com

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  176. I love Cindy's books and would love to win !!

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  177. Thanks for another good book Cindy!!!!! Can't wait to own one

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  178. The book sounds great ! Your bio too !!

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  179. I love all of Cindys books. Everyone Ive read was hard to put down. Would love to win this new one.
    Diversifiedconnie@yahoo.com

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  180. This was a a great article. I came away with a much deeper appreication for authors. Thank you!

    Lourdes11743[at]gmail[dot]com

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  181. Ah those beloved prepositions! I almost started reciting them.
    Excellent article in character development. I so appreciate your wisdom and talent.

    Cheers!
    Sally Jeffery

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  182. Glad to add this to my collection!
    Thank you for opportunity.

    Loretta

    eveningstar888@aol.com

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  183. I have read n own all of Cindy's books but this one would love to win it. Thanks Cindy. angel4god@charter.net

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  184. Well, just when I was about to give up on getting to leave a comment......I did it! I love to read it is really one of very few things I get to do for pleasure. I would cherrish a signed copy of your book. It would truly bless my heart to have a little escape in this hectic time of my life. Thank you and keep up the great work - may God Bless. Thank You, Mitzie e-mail mitzie(at)arkansas.(net)

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  185. Thank you Cindy! Sharon(codysquilts@yahoo.com)

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  186. Cannot wait to read this book! I hope I win! Dana dl_stinnett@yahoo.com

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  187. Thanks for the chance at winning this book :) I love Cindy's books and an autographed copy would be an awesome addition to my collection. Also love this post on characterization.
    Linda Morgan (mslafate@yahoo.com)

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  188. Ruth Picton (Ruthpicton@comcast.net)7:44 PM, February 08, 2012

    Amazing author! Once I discovered her, I had to get all her books!!

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  189. What an interesting way to develop a character. It certainly explains why each one of us is so different, as should be fictional characters!!
    Knowing both the Mennonite and Amish religions, I am looking forward to how this issue is resolved.
    Thank you for your wonderful books............I have meet a lot of "friends" there.
    Yvonne (MarkleVon@aol.com)

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  190. Looking forward to the release of Cindy's newest book! Margaret manderson1956@hotmail.com

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  191. I love all of your books. Always patiently awaiting a new one! Thank you for writing. Wendy
    Coquita38@comcast.net

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  192. Your blog on novelrocket was very interesting. Good pointers. Maybe that is why your books are always enjoyable and hard to put down. I always say, "just one more page" and continue way past my stopping off point. Keep up the good work.

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  193. I have really enjoyed Cindy's books. Sisters of the Quilt was the first series I read by Cindy. Hannah Lapp has always been a memorable character who endured a rape and then was rejected by her own community. We follow Hannah through hard times as she works through these hardships. I would love to win her new book.

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  194. It would be very exciting to win one of your books...

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