Thursday, April 4, 2024

FOX TALE by Karen Hulene Bartell ~ Blog Tour & Giveaway

Fox Tale (Sacred Emblems, #1)
by: Karen Hulene Bartell
Series: Sacred Emblems
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: April 8, 2024
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Heights terrify Ava. When a stranger saves her from plunging down a mountain, he diverts her fears with tales of Japanese kitsune—shapeshifting foxes—and she begins a journey into the supernatural.

She’s attracted to Chase, both physically and metaphysically, yet primal instincts urge caution when shadows suggest more than meets the eye.

She’s torn between Chase and Rafe, her ex, when a chance reunion reignites their passion, but she struggles to overcome two years of bitter resentment. Did Rafe jilt her, or were they pawns of a larger conspiracy? Are the ancient legends true of kitsunes twisting time and events?

Tortured Heroes vs. Alpha Males

I’m not particularly fond of alpha males. Maybe it’s because I began life as an actress and dated so many actors, but in my experience, men who appear to be alpha males are phonies that play-act at being strong, and since they’re not “real,” I can’t relate to them.

Give me a tortured hero any day, one who’s authentic and deals honestly with doubts, disappointments, and defects.

In my opinion, both bodice rippers and machismo action flicks/stories have overindulged in ego-driven male characters for far too long. I prefer complex, multifaceted male characters, not superficial cardboard cutouts that parody true males.

By the term tortured hero, I don’t mean brooding or whiny. I mean a male character, who’s emotionally mature and whose emotions run deep--a man--neither a smooth-chinned boy, nor a bearded, iron-fisted caricature of a male.

Give me a healthy dose of compassion with the passion. Instead of macho bravado, let the protagonist demonstrate valor despite his fear. Instead of swaggering bluster and brawn, let him exercise his brain to resolve his dilemma--not muscle his way through the scenarios.

I find Rafe, the male protagonist in my latest paranormal romance, Fox Tale, to be an attractive leading male. He showed a protective, empathetic side during an earthquake as he “braced himself with his left hand but stood facing me with his right arm outstretched, as if poised to catch me if I stumbled.”

Rafe admitted he was wrong and apologized. “It’s taken me two years to realize my mistakes—and admitting them still isn’t easy. My behavior was inexcusable, and I’m honestly sorry.”

A tortured hero takes responsibility for his actions and is unafraid to ask forgiveness. He has emotional intelligence and knows how to control himself--not how to control his leading lady.

Maybe I’ve only known alpha wannabes, not true alphas, but to me, alpha males smack of deep insecurities, condescension, and patriarchy. Give me a male character who’s secure enough in his own skin to seek a formidable female protagonist. That’s sexy!
I applied my makeup with an artist’s hand, blending three shades of eyeshadow and going heavy on the mascara. Then I slipped into the black cocktail dress I’d bought for the occasion--a fusion of chic and slutty.

Wish I knew what Rafe planned for my birthday. Dinner at an upscale restaurant? Pub food at a sports bar?

“A surprise,” was all he’d said.

What’s the fine line between dressed to kill and overdressed? Glancing at the mirror, I glimpsed the exposed d├ęcolletage, then examined my naked left hand. More importantly, is tonight the night? After dating for three years, the conversation had finally turned to rings and weddings, and with graduation a month away, I was eager to take the next step.

At six o’clock sharp, I sat by the door, butterflies fluttering in my belly.

Ten minutes passed, fifteen. I texted him. An hour later, I called. When he didn’t pick up, I left a voicemail.

At eight o’clock, I checked my email. No messages, no texts--radio silence.

At nine o’clock, I removed my makeup, the black, smoky taupe, mauve, and greige streaks on the cotton pad mirroring my mood. After showering, I picked at soggy leftovers as I studied my bare left hand. Leftovers…

When the phone dinged, I flinched. Rafe?

Mia--Guess who’s at Tootsie’s? And Rafe’s not alone. What’s going on?--

I sat back, stunned. He wouldn’t break up with me on my birthday--without even the courtesy of telling me--would he?

Purchase Fox Tale from:
(Affiliate Links Used)

Author of the Trans-Pecos and Sacred Emblem series, Karen is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life, who writes multicultural, offbeat love stories. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved often, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Texas Piney Woods with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.

Places to find Karen Hulene Bartell:

You can follow the Fox Tale Blog Tour here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

197 comments:

  1. I like the cover art. Looks great.

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  2. What was the most surprising aspect of your writing journey so far?

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  3. Looks like a interesting book.

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  4. Paranormal Romance- I love this genre and the unique cover!
    Thank you for sharing it.

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  5. Do you normally think of the plot first or the characters first?

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  6. David HollingsworthApril 12, 2024 at 7:03 PM

    Sounds like a very solid book.

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  7. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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  8. Great excerpt. Makes me want to read more.

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  9. Really enjoyed t he excerpt. Good work!

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  10. I liked the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  11. What is your favorite book that you have written and why?

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  12. David HollingsworthApril 14, 2024 at 4:58 AM

    What do you enjoy about being a writer?

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  13. Are there any characters in the book that you relate to on a personal level?

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  14. I enjoyed the excerpt. My only complaint was that it wasn't a full chapter! Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Thank you for hosting this giveaway.

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  16. Are there any sequels coming?

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  17. David HollingsworthApril 20, 2024 at 4:10 AM

    What's your favorite book genre?

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  18. How did you start writing this story?

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  19. Do you write anything outside of Paranormal Romance genre?

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  20. What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

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  21. How do you start a new story?

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  22. How do you come up with names for your characters?

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  23. If you could step into the world of one of your favorite books as a character, who would you be and what role would you play?

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  24. Have you ever fantasized about taking one of your books to film?

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  25. What's your favorite book-to-film adaptation?

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  26. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

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  27. David HollingsworthApril 27, 2024 at 3:27 AM

    How is life these days?

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  28. Do you write on a schedule or just as the whim strikes you?

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  29. How do you know when a story idea is worth pursuing?

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  30. David HollingsworthApril 28, 2024 at 3:44 AM

    Have a good Sunday.

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  31. How do you approach developing your characters?

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  32. What was the hardest scene to write in your book?

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  33. How do you come up with the names for your characters?

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  34. Was writing your original career choice?

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  35. Which character from your book do you secretly wish you were more like?

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  36. Do you put "easter eggs" in your stories?

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  37. Did you go to school for writing?

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  38. David HollingsworthMay 7, 2024 at 2:49 AM

    What's your favorite book?

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  39. What authors were an inspiration for you?

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  40. David HollingsworthMay 8, 2024 at 2:56 AM

    How many books have you written?

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  41. Was there another author that was an inspiration to your works?

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  42. What's your favorite writing snack?

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  43. David HollingsworthMay 9, 2024 at 1:40 AM

    How do you relax?

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  44. Do you plan to self-narrate if you have an audiobook?

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  45. David HollingsworthMay 10, 2024 at 2:15 AM

    What is your favorite poem?

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  46. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

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  47. David HollingsworthMay 11, 2024 at 1:10 AM

    If you weren't a writer, what would you be?

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  48. What is your favorite author?

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  49. David HollingsworthMay 12, 2024 at 2:31 AM

    What's your favorite movie?

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  50. Did anyone specifically influence your writing style?

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  51. David HollingsworthMay 13, 2024 at 12:19 AM

    Sounds like a charming read.

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  52. What's your favorite summer read, and why does it hold that place in your heart?

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  53. David HollingsworthMay 14, 2024 at 4:02 AM

    Hoping your week goes well.

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  54. Who's your favorite author to actually read.

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  55. David HollingsworthMay 15, 2024 at 4:05 AM

    The book excerpt is terrific.

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  56. Do you have a favorite film?

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  57. David HollingsworthMay 16, 2024 at 2:04 AM

    A great sounding book.

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  58. What is your favorite book of those you've written?

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  59. Do you find it easier or more challenging to write during th summer months?

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  60. David HollingsworthMay 17, 2024 at 3:09 AM

    Very interesting bio.

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  61. David HollingsworthMay 18, 2024 at 2:44 AM

    Have a decent weekend.

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  62. How old were you when you first started writing fiction?

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  63. Hope you having a super Saturday!

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  64. David HollingsworthMay 20, 2024 at 1:34 AM

    Do you read your own books?

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  65. Do you have any plans for Memorial Day?

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  66. How many hours per day do you write?

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  67. Have you ever written a story about a summer friendshhip?

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  68. Which comes first the characters or the plot?

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  69. David HollingsworthMay 22, 2024 at 9:48 PM

    Do you watch the news?

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  70. What's your go-to summer beverage while writing?

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  71. I know you have both cats and dogs, so, if you could only have one or the other, which would you choose, cat or dog?

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  72. David HollingsworthMay 23, 2024 at 6:52 PM

    Are you an extrovert or an introvert?

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  73. What are you doing for your long weekend?

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  74. What's your favorite way to recharge and relax?

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  75. David HollingsworthMay 24, 2024 at 9:22 PM

    Hope your book is a success!

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  76. How do balance writing time with outdoor activities during the summer?

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  77. David HollingsworthMay 25, 2024 at 10:26 PM

    What's your favorite snack?

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  78. David HollingsworthMay 26, 2024 at 9:32 PM

    The cover is amazing.

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  79. I hope you are having a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day. Let us not forget the reason for the holiday.

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  80. David HollingsworthMay 27, 2024 at 8:34 PM

    Do you have bad dreams often?

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  81. Do you have a go-to writing food?

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  82. David HollingsworthMay 28, 2024 at 6:41 PM

    What genre of music do you listen?

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  83. How do you stay inspired and motivated to write during the summer months?

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  84. How many books have you written? Do you have an ultimate goal?

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  85. David HollingsworthMay 30, 2024 at 2:27 AM

    Do you have someone to help you with your books?

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  86. What's your favorite writing food?

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  87. David HollingsworthMay 31, 2024 at 12:36 AM

    How do you come up with the ideas for your books?

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  88. Who is your favorite author and why?

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  89. David HollingsworthJune 1, 2024 at 1:54 AM

    Are you great at math?

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  90. David HollingsworthJune 2, 2024 at 3:59 AM

    Great contest!

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  91. Do you write yourself into your stories?

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  92. Here's hoping you are having a beautiful MONDAY!

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  93. David HollingsworthJune 4, 2024 at 2:52 AM

    Do you speak different languages?

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  94. David HollingsworthJune 5, 2024 at 12:42 AM

    Hope your week is good.

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  95. Do you have any plans for the summer?

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  96. David HollingsworthJune 6, 2024 at 2:10 AM

    Do you have a wild imagination?

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  97. What do you do when you have writer's block?

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  98. David HollingsworthJune 6, 2024 at 9:44 PM

    This is a book written by a genius!

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  99. Do you have a goal as to how many books you'd like to write?

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  100. Do you have a favorite summertime treat?

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  101. David HollingsworthJune 8, 2024 at 2:35 AM

    What do you like/dislike about Summer?

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  102. Do you write more depending on the season?

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  103. David HollingsworthJune 9, 2024 at 3:13 AM

    Have a good end of weekend.

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  104. Which comes first, the plot or the characters?

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  105. How many books have you written so far?

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  106. David HollingsworthJune 11, 2024 at 3:54 AM

    Hope a good week.

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  107. Are you right-handed or left-handed?

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  108. David HollingsworthJune 12, 2024 at 1:22 AM

    Do you prefer comedy or drama?

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  109. Is writing your primary job or a hobby?

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  110. Congrats on your tour. Best wishes!

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  111. What's your favorite season?

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  112. David HollingsworthJune 13, 2024 at 9:41 PM

    This book sounds like brilliant.

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  113. Have you started writing your next book yet?

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  114. David HollingsworthJune 15, 2024 at 4:07 AM

    Hope your week was okay.

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  115. David HollingsworthJune 16, 2024 at 3:23 AM

    Do you like math?

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  116. Do you have any hobbies? What are they?

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  117. David HollingsworthJune 18, 2024 at 3:37 AM

    Another week of madness.

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  118. What is your favorite color?

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  119. David HollingsworthJune 19, 2024 at 10:16 PM

    I hope life is treating you well.

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  120. Love the fox art on the cover.

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  121. David HollingsworthJune 21, 2024 at 12:32 AM

    Do you procrastinate often?

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  122. How do you tackle writer's block?

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  123. David HollingsworthJune 22, 2024 at 2:55 AM

    Do you ever have a really bad day?

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  124. What's your favorite season?

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  125. David HollingsworthJune 23, 2024 at 2:03 AM

    The characters in this book sound intriguing.

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  126. What are your plans for the summer?

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  127. David HollingsworthJune 24, 2024 at 8:00 PM

    Do you like dark comedies?

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  128. What is your favorite genre to read?

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  129. David HollingsworthJune 26, 2024 at 2:06 AM

    Do you speak different languages?

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  130. What is your favorite book to film redition.

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  131. Which do you prefer? Dogs or cats?

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  132. David HollingsworthJune 28, 2024 at 3:16 AM

    Do you prefer paperback or hardcover books?

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  133. Do you have any plans for the 4th?

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  134. What is your all time favorite book?

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  135. David HollingsworthJune 30, 2024 at 1:47 AM

    Do you like math?

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  136. Have you always known you were going to be a writer? Or is it something that came later in life?

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  137. Do you prefer hardcover or softcover books?

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  138. How long does it take you to write a book like this one?

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  139. David HollingsworthJuly 3, 2024 at 4:47 AM

    What's your favorite Christmas movie?

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  140. What do you think about the transition to ebooks?

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  141. Happy 4th of July! Stay safe!

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  142. David HollingsworthJuly 4, 2024 at 9:39 PM

    Happy Independence Day!

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  143. David HollingsworthJuly 5, 2024 at 9:02 PM

    Hope you're staying cool during the heat.

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  144. What kind of schedule do you keep?

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  145. I would have a hard time putting this book down after starting to read it.

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  146. David HollingsworthJuly 8, 2024 at 1:30 AM

    How was your weekend?

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  147. Have you ever started a book that you decided not to finish?

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  148. Hope you had a great weekend!

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  149. Hope you have a wonderful tuesday!

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  150. What inspired you to write this book?

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  151. Hope you enjoy the middle of summer!

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  152. David HollingsworthJuly 10, 2024 at 1:46 AM

    Do you get nervous often?

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  153. How do you come up with names for the characters?

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  154. Do you name characters after friends?

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  155. David HollingsworthJuly 11, 2024 at 3:02 AM

    Are the characters in your books based on people you know?

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  156. What part of the book was the most fun to write?

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  157. looks like a fun one

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  158. Where do you come up with your character names?

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  159. David HollingsworthJuly 12, 2024 at 3:01 AM

    Do you like long books?

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  160. Did you have any writing education?

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  161. This sounds like a great Paranormal Romance book. I like the cover.

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  162. David HollingsworthJuly 12, 2024 at 8:23 PM

    Do you ever have fantasies?

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  163. Do you have another book in the works?

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  164. David HollingsworthJuly 16, 2024 at 5:41 PM

    Do you enjoy technology?

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  165. This sounds like a great paranormal romance. I like the cover.

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