Monday, February 10, 2014

The Road To You Week Two Discussion Chapters 7-12




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The Road To You Week Two
Chapters 7-12

Wow is all I can say for week twos discussion chapters. Theres a lot going on and we suffer some hard lessons. We also learn of the Route 66 connection and the beginning of its end in this section so Im sharing some iconic images for your viewing enjoyment.

The Blue Whale in OK


First have your opinions of any of our characters changed?

 
The Historic Sellgman Sundries, 2011 Sellgman AZ

Any real surprises to you in this section?


Clinton OK Route 66 Museum
http://www.theroadwanderer.net/66Oklahoma/clinton.htm

Donovan had a lot to take in in this section.
Did his handling of the different situations ring true for you or did you picture him going in another direction?
The Green Spot Motel in Victorville CA
http://mikeshistoricbuildings.blogspot.com/2013_02_01_archive.html


When the bad stuff starts really going down Aurora and Donovan do a 180º change in attitudes.
Did this surprise you?
The Big Texas Steakhouse in Amarillo
Originally built on Rt 66 but moved when the interstate was built


Are there any destinations that stand out to you on Route 66?
The Prior Creek Bridge OK



Have you stayed on course or have you finished the novel?

The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge St. Louis, MO
Here are some links for Route 66



51 comments:

  1. Deb,
    As always, you ask such fabulous questions!! Thank you for posting them and for sharing such terrific Route 66 pictures! My husband, son and I took a trek along the general route this past summer and visited several of the sites you've posted above: the Blue Whale, the Rt.66 Museum, the Big Texan restaurant...and more! I loved getting to see them firsthand -- and oh, my goodness, was the food good at that restaurant!! Someday I hope to see the parts that I haven't gotten to yet (mostly the California leg of the journey). All I'll say now is that we have a vast and beautiful country! xo

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    1. Oh Wow Marilyn. I would LOVE to take a Route 66 Road Trip that would be the end all. And wouldn't it be fun to do it with girlfriends. It could be like a Thelma and Louise with a happy ending :)

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    2. LOL, I *love* the idea of a happily ever after Thelma & Louise!!
      For anyone interested in seeing some more pictures of Rt. 66, this is the link to the page where I have some of our trip photos posted: http://marilynbrant.com/MBbooksROADTRIP66.html -- that Blue Whale just really cracked me up, and I fell in love with the Cadillac Ranch, too :) .
      We were in St. Louis for less than an hour -- just long enough to snap a picture of the Arch and get ice cream at Ted Drewes -- but I thought of you, Deb, and kept wishing I would've known exactly when we were going to be arriving, so I could've tried to talk you into meeting us there!! xox

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    3. Right! It's all about the HEA with me :)
      Oh I would have LOVED to meet you guys, well there's always next time right.
      thanks for sharing the link

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    4. For me, this section is where the rubber hit the road. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and how you set the tone for the story up in the first section, but WOW did you lay rubber when you hit chapter 7!!
      From the moment Aurora and Donnovan met Amy Lynn and she showed them the Super 8 Project film things seemed to go into overdrive. I really felt that Donnovan was onboard from that point on.
      It was also from this point that I really started getting into figuring out the clues with A&D in the diary. Prior to that, I just enjoyed the ride. :-)
      Once life started getting really dicey and the bullets started flying, the further along the "66" they drove, the faster my pages turned and the more sleep I lost.... bad girl, Marilyn. LOL
      I will address the Route 66 in a separate post. Loving this book. Karen

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    5. Deb ~ *Definitely* next time! I'm not setting foot in the St. Louis area without finally meeting you ;).

      Karen ~ The friend in me is apologizing for keeping you up, but the author inside me is Snoopy dancing a little, LOL. I'm glad you felt the pacing kick up in Chicago and really start moving as they drove along the road... That was a conscious structural decision, based on what I'd been learning about mysteries (esp. since this was my first attempt at writing one, if you don't count my "ice cream mystery" in Double Dipping :), but the plot presented me with a ton of challenges. Some readers felt that the beginning of the book was too slow going, and I could understand that, particularly in comparison to the TX/NM chapters. I felt there was a LOT that needed to be set up early on, and trying to figure out a way of packing that all in was HARD!! So, I found it fun when many of the clues were already on the table and I could start seriously speeding along :-).

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    6. You had it spot on. The early chapter homework paid off. ;-)

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  2. Route 66, where do I start? Accept for the distance between St. Louis and Chicago, I have travelled and lived on portions of Route 66. I was born in OK City, and have lived and travelled extensively on all of 66 from Tulsa to LA. I laughed out loud at some of the references in the book that I have known and seen regularly since childhood, like the Cadillac graveyard and the Big Texan in Amarillo, TX. I can remember begging my dad, everytime we drove through Amarillo, as a kid (and our kids doing the same thing to us) to stop at that restaurant for the "free" steak dinner. LOL We even watched the graveyard grow over the years. I can also remember when we moved "east" and started travelling back home and they were building the interstate system out through OK, TX, and NM and weaving on and off of 66 and I40 as towns and communities fought to keep the traffic for revenue and business.
    When you landed in Albuquerque you were on home turf and it was obvious that you had taken the time to visit and come through the area in preparation of the writing of your book. You got it point on, the essence, the feel... great job. I also loved your visit to Santa Fe.... just wish you had travelled there by The Roadrunner train that goes between Albuquerque and downtown Santa Fe several times a day. The engine is painted like a roadrunner. https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRGUrOpwo8QtHd0yZvrf69yFhIVH--2ojL7B19IcrXBXBwyDb_4og They would have had a blast travelling up the track and through the several indian pueblos to get to Santa Fe and disembarking at the rail station, just blocks from the plaza.
    When we lived in Glorieta, we actually lived near a part of the abandoned 66, because it had been taken over by I25.
    There is so much history and fun to discover with the wonderful ribbon of highway..... :-) Thanks for taking us on this mad journey through there and reminding us of how wild the west can still be. LOL,
    BTW, did you know that when you passed through Shamrock, TX, if you had turned south there and driven 20 miles, you would have come across the scene where the law and Bonnie and Clyde had their final shoot-out? Just saying.

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    1. LOL, Karen!! My son, as soon as he heard about the Big Texan, started hounding us to go there and order that "free" steak dinner, too! When we walked in and saw the display where they showed the sheer enormity of that 72oz steak, plus all of the side dishes, his eyes grew HUGE.

      My husband ended up ordered a quarter-sized version of the big meal, and he couldn't even finish all of that. I had a small filet, but it was one of the best steaks I've ever tasted...yum. Our son ordered the filet, too, but I think his favorite part was going into the gift shop, getting a commemorative "Big Texan" t-shirt and seeing the live rattlesnake they keep in there!

      I wish I would've known about the Roadrunner train in ABQ/SantaFe!!! I would've LOVED to ride on that! Okay, I'm adding this to my must-do list. And, no, I didn't know about the Bonnie and Clyde shoot-out site near Shamrock either! Clearly, I need to go back out West ;).

      Actually, we're not there yet in the story, but next week when we reach the final chapter, I have something funny to tell all of you about the last destination. In fact, you might have figured out an error I made already, Karen, since you're familiar with the region ;). Thanks for sharing so many of your personal thoughts on Rt.66 tonight! I love that you lived in so many fascinating places around the country!!
      xox

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    2. Sometimes it pays being a preachers kid.... You move a lot. Lol

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    3. In your case, I know that means you brought a lot of sunshine to people all over the place, Karen :).
      <3

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    4. Karen, what great comments and even greater memories. I of course as most of you know was born overseas but grew up and still live in the St. Louis area and as a teenager on Prom Night we rented a room at the infamous Coral Court Motel-http://www.coralcourt.com/main.html
      It was waaaay out of our area, but it was worth it just to say we "spent the night there" LOL oh and by we I meant a whole group of Seniors :)
      nothing nefarious went on, well I don't kiss and tell :)

      deb

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    5. Lol Deb! I bet you had fun, just because of WHERE you were. I was never so brave. But boy did I listen to all the stories the next day.
      But then I wad almost a senior Becke my first date, thanks to age and strict parents. I didn't start dating till college....but that's another story.

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  3. Grr to auto correct and phones. But I think you can figure it out.

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    1. Deb,
      You got to STAY at Coral Court??! Overnight! I'm so envious! When I began researching the motel for the book, I was so disappointed to find out that it was no longer there... I'm glad you got to experience it in all of its Art-Deco wonderfulness ;). And, one of these days, I'd love to hear those Prom Night stories -- nefarious or otherwise!!

      Karen,
      I didn't date much in high school and didn't have a boyfriend that lasted longer than a week until college. Part of that was because of strict parents...but mostly it was because I was just a geeky girl ;). And LOL about auto correct! Whenever I type the word "too" into my phone, it autocorrects with "Rio." I have no idea why!

      Love you, ladies! xox

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    2. Ah Marilyn maybe if you heard all the drug deals going down and the tricks being turned in the cottages down the way you may have changed your mind, but all of my friends had grown up hearing all about the Coral Court Motel and it's true we could have rented the room by the hour LOL

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    3. I can't believe they rented them to you kids. Wow!!! Scary, but exciting. Howmany went?

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    4. I echo Karen's thoughts, Deb -- scary but exciting!!
      And you're probably right that, esp. as a high schooler, I would've gotten a little freaked out by the drug dealing, etc., but that you did wild stuff like this is part of what makes you such a fascinating person :).
      Probably one of the scariest places that I've ever been when I was waiting for a late bus in Sydney, Australia's "Kings Cross" district (inner city, red-light district, home to strip clubs, drug deals, and organized crime...). I was 20 and had a large cricket bat with me that a Sydney friend wanted me to return to another friend in Brisbane. So, no one approached me, thankfully, but it was still a remarkably foolish thing to do, esp. since I was alone at night (!!) and didn't know the area. The parent in me cringes whenever I think about it, LOL.

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    5. Karen, There were about 15 - 20 I can't remember the exact number just that we had a blast!! :) at our very own no tell motel

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    6. Marilyn, wow. I remember the scariest place I ever was. My daughter was in honors orchestra in middle and high school, she in fact never sang until she was a Sophmore in high school and it was a fluke that she did. She needed a class and her orchestra teacher suggested taking a choir class that was taught by her husband, the rest is history! :)
      Anyway she was in high school and our class trip was to Austin to visit the University of Texas, wonderful campus, however it was just across the highway from the "wrong side of the tracks" there were drug deals and tricks being turned for the two nights we stayed there but the biggest, scariest thing was that while we were there they delivered the OJ verdict and pandemonium hit. Our cab driver was this huge hulking black guy and he was scared to be picking us up for our trip to the airport. Whew I was never more happy when that trip ended and someone should have done their homework better picking out hotels LOL

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    7. Oh, Deb, yeah, the time of the OJ trials was really something...I remember I was a teacher then and all of us were crowding around a TV in the school library watching... I'm glad your daughter found her ultimate calling, though. I LOVED hearing your story about the first time you heard her sing. What an amazing moment that must have been!!

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  4. Sorry Deb, Marilyn,
    It's been a crazy week and I'm behind...as usual. Just checking in, still alive over here. I can add a few comments, however. My feelings towards Donovan have softened somewhat. He has such a gruff exterior, I don't think he was allowing anyone to see how much his brother's disappearance hurt. So it's nice to see some human emotion surfacing.

    Don't have much to say about Route 66 except that, as a child, all of our family vacations were road trips, so I know I've been on it. Only as I grew older did I realize that it had some history. Thanks for the photos - they're priceless!
    Elaine

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    1. Elaine,
      No worries!! I know ALL about crazy weeks and being behind on things... ;) So glad you checked in with us. And, yes, Donovan was absolutely hiding his feelings about losing Jeremy. That he's finally allowing Aurora to see more of that emotion is a big breakthrough for him.
      And I love that you took lots of family road trips growing up!! My family and I did, too. With very few exceptions, we only traveled to places we could drive to, so I have lots of memories of being in the back seat of the car, having picnic lunches my mom had packed for us at rest stops, and stretching our legs by scenic overlooks. We mostly stayed in the Midwest, though, so I didn't get to see oceans, mountains or deserts until I was a bit older. The first time I was in the American Southwest I was awed by the landscape. It was so different from what I was used to seeing in Wisconsin!

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  5. Oh Marilyn, that's too cute! I just remember those trips as ENDLESS!! We'd all fight for the front seat, my oldest sister just had to sit by a window or she'd puke and somehow her lefthandedness played into the whole affair, my brother was annoying, and my younger sister and I just wanted to play with our Barbies.

    I love Wisconsin! I got my B.S. at Beloit, and I would happily move to Madison any day of the week. But alas, I can't seem to get the Texas out of my hubby....or get us jobs up there, either.

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    1. Elaine, this is really funny in a delightful way!! I grew up in the Madison area, and my parents still live there ;). Had I been able to get a teaching job in state, I would've stayed. One of my best friends, however, grew up in Texas, ended up in Madison for grad school, married a Midwesterner and is now stuck in freezing northern Illinois!! She keeps telling me that she's gonna get the family back to Texas just as soon as her husband retires... (She vows this with extra vehemence whenever it snows, LOL.) From all the stories I've heard, Texans tend not to leave willingly!

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  6. I truly think they invented the word road trip as a result of my dad. I can remember Sunday drives that lasted 10 hours, we'd leave in the am and drive to Hannibal or Springfield Il or just explore the rural areas and it wasn't fun with my sister and brother along in the car, I was the oldest and my two closest below me siblings would do everything in their power to get a rise out of me.
    Family vacations were Sunday drives on steroids we'd go to Texas or Philadelphia, NY or Florida and wouldn't stay in motels but camp. It's why now I'll only camp at the Hyatt :)

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    1. Did we all have the same siblings? Lol. I was the oldest, too., and mine were demons from bell.

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    2. LOL about having the same siblings, Karen!! This very well may be... ;)
      I was the oldest, too, and I'd try my best to bury myself in a novel during any car ride longer than 20 minutes, but my kid brother was SO annoying. He had this bizarre "organizational pattern" that he used to spread out the gazillion Matchbox cars, toys, and handheld electronic games (it was the '70s/'80s) on the back seat. So, even though there were just 2 of us, I only had about a quarter of the space available because he always brought along so much stuff and would flip out if I accidentally moved something. Thankfully, he has turned into a semi-normal adult, LOL.
      And Deb, I only "camp" at hotels/motels, too ;).

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    3. It's funny how we remember things from our childhood and that we all still speak to our siblings :)

      there were four of us my littlest sister got to sit in the front between mom and dad and that left the back seat to the rest of the brood. I got the middle seat to keep "the peace" while on either side of me my brother and sister were doing things to get my goat :) it only lasted until the car stopped LOL

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    4. Ha!!! That *IS* amazing, after all the trauma we suffered at the hands of our siblings ;-). My brother, of course, has his own gripes about me...but I try never to admit to those in public! xo

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  7. First have your opinions of any of our characters changed?

    I've always liked the characters, but in the beginning I wasn't sure how far to trust Aurora's instincts. I was just getting to know her and was almost waiting for the moment she slipped up. I felt at first her dislike of cops was biased based on her brother's disappearance, but the more I gotten to know her, I've learned to completely trust in her instincts. She's very perceptive and usually right about everything she feels. When things started getting dangerous and Aurora and Donovan were told by Andy that Gideon said it was okay to trust Officer James, Aurora's instincts told her not to trust him, while Donovan insisted it was the right thing to do. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to believe at that point, but my in my gut I believed her instincts to be true. We all know now how wrong Donovan turned out to be in that situation. I'm hoping as they continue on their search for the truth that they follow Aurora's instincts from now on.

    -April

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    1. April, I love that your feelings about the characters have evolved as you've gotten to know them! And I was hoping there would be a fairly strong element of doubt when it came to who to trust...whether Aurora's instincts were right or Donovan's logic...

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  8. Any real surprises to you in this section?

    Honestly I don't think I could have predicted anything that happened in this section, so much of it was a surprise to me. Being able to see all the clues starting to fit together has been a real aha moment . I think the biggest surprise though was finding out Officer James was cousins with Sebastian, the Amarillo cop. My mouth was hanging open in shock and all I could say was wait, what? Now I'm dying to read on to find out which of the police officers or if both of them are lying.

    -April

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    1. All I can say is YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      One of the biggest challenges I had with this story was trying to write it in a way that was both hopefully believable and still unpredictable, so I'm seriously thrilled that you were surprised!! :)

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  9. Donovan had a lot to take in in this section. Did his handling of the different situations ring true for you or did you picture him going in another direction?

    With Donovan, I felt there were situations that rang true to his character, things that I expected him to do, but at the same time he was also able to take me by surprise. The way he was so protective of Aurora all through the trip especially when they suspected someone had been looking through their things in the motel rang true to me. After learning that his brother was indeed dead according to Sebastian, I expected Donovan to throw in the towel and insist that the trip was too dangerous they needed to go home, but he surprised me by insisting they keep going.

    -April

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    1. Honestly? He surprised ME on that, too!!
      I actually remember the day when I figured that out about Donovan. I'd learned fairly early on with this story that I couldn't plot as far ahead as I was used to doing with my romance and women's fiction books. I'd think I was on the right track with The Road to You, and then I'd get to some point in the narrative and realize I had to throw away my outline because it no longer fit the characters as I came to know them...
      So, midway through drafting the book, I'd had this tentative plan of what I *thought* was going to happen next after Amarillo...and that just wasn't what made sense to me when I actually got to them driving toward Albuquerque. Aurora and Donovan's attitude reversal was a complete surprise!
      And it's times like that when I can't get over how strange it is to write a novel, LOL. We think -- as the authors -- that we're in control of everything. That we choose it all. But that's not entirely true, at least not on a conscious level. At a certain point, the characters make a transition from still being able to be molded to having enough background and personality that the writer can throw different plot points at them, but their way of responding to the world has been set.
      What complicates matters further is that the events and interactions within the story must *change* these people somehow (otherwise we wouldn't have any character growth). So the main characters we wrote at the beginning of the story need to react differently by the end of it, but we don't necessarily know them well enough when we start writing to predict who they'll end up becoming!

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  10. When the bad stuff starts really going down Aurora and Donovan do a 180º change in attitudes.
    Did this surprise you?

    I was really surprised. It was like they swapped personalities. Now that the situation was more dangerous, Aurora was ready to head home and Donovan who had wanted to go home was now determined to get to the bottom of what happened to their brothers. This made for a more interesting read, seeing their roles reversed and getting to see these two argue with each other about their next move.

    -April

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    1. Yeah! Aurora finally understood the degree of danger and that she was a mere mortal. And Donovan finally embraced the pure need to know the TRUTH.

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  11. Are there any destinations that stand out to you on Route 66?

    This book has really made me want to explore this historic stretch of highway. I've always loved going on a road trip, having an end destination but being free to stop along the way at any place that catches my eye. In fact my husband knows if we're taking any trip by car to expect many stops in between. You never know what kind of places you might find.

    -April

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    1. What are a few of your favorite places that you've taken a road trip to with your husband?

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    2. Hi Marilyn! We've found a place called Hell's Half Acre in Wyoming that had the most incredible scenery, giant ravines with gorgeous colors. Another of my favorites was Turner Falls in Oklahoma. You can spend all day there swimming and hiking and from the top you can see what remains of a rock castle. The best place we've found so far though is Rock City in Georgia. You can see seven states at once, stand under a 1,000 ton balanced rock and follow the path to squeeze through all the rock formations. We thought we'd quick just check it out, but ended up spending half the day there. Sometimes the best places to visit are the unplanned ones! :)

      -April

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    3. Wow! These all sound like wonderful spots, April! I haven't been to any of them yet, but I'm adding them to my list of must-visit places... I can already tell from your description that my husband and son would love to see Rock City. They both especially enjoyed rock formations and were in awe at Garden of the Gods in Colorado. Thanks so much for the fabulous recommendations!!

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  12. Have you stayed on course or have you finished the novel?

    I've stayed on the reading schedule but only because I have two little ones that keep me pretty busy. Every chance I get though, even if it's only five minutes, I find myself picking up my nook to see what happens next.

    -April

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    1. April,
      *HUG!!*
      I'm so glad the story is keeping your interest...thank you!
      :-)

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    2. April, thanks for sharing that. And it's so true!!

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  13. Now it's my turn to answer my questions
    My opinion of Donovan changed for the better, I started understanding his motives better and we get a little glimpse inside his head. The biggest thing that happened to change my mind was the emotion he showed when he learned of Jeremy's death and how even though it must have embarrassed him to let Aurora see it but he also welcomed her support. That made him a star in my opinion!!

    The whole section was a surprise- I knew to pay attention to Aurora's instincts but OMG, OMG. OMG I NEVER saw the cop from hades coming. How he made a joke of killing Jeremy I wanted to fly through the pages and TAKE HIM OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I totally thought that Donovan would want to pack it in and head home and never imagined him wanting to go to on.

    Yes the 180 did surprise me I expected just the opposite reactions from our stars

    Well the St Louis part interested me since I live here and I want to go the the Texas restaurant too!!!

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    1. Deb,
      I had to smile when I read how you wanted to "take out" that cop!! You are such a kind, warm, generous person -- the idea of you barreling through the pages of the book to punch out the bad guy just makes me adore you even more!
      A question about St. Louis -- did you go often to Ted Drewes? I hadn't heard about it until I began researching the attractions along Rt. 66, and it seemed popular when we stopped there quickly (though it was a hot day in summer -- anyplace with ice cream would probably be swamped!) -- but I wondered if it was a place you personally liked...

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    2. Marilyn, I love Ted Drewes custard, unfortunately it's about as far away from me as downtown Chicago is to St. Charles IL over an hour away so I don't get there often, But I know that it's a destination that many people will go out of their way for and they only close down a few weeks out of the year and worth the drive.
      http://www.teddrewes.com/home/default.aspx

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    3. Yeah... It's hard to drive that far, even for frozen custard ;). You mentioned St. Charles -- we're well over an hour from there, so I know the feeling... It's difficult to justify a trip, even though they have so many cute places to visit (and to eat at!) in their little town.

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  14. Ladies thanks for all your insightful answers

    Elaine I can't wait to hear what you have to say

    Karen your observations are always enlightening

    April I love to see a novel through your eyes because we see things differently and that's what makes this book club so enjoyable for me.

    I just wish it was more user friendly on the blog LOL

    I can't wait to see what you all thought about the ending.

    Marilyn THANK YOU THANK YOU for all the time and effort you put into these conversations You make this an incredible experience!!!

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    1. Oh, Deb ~ many thanks to YOU and to Karen, Elaine, April and anyone else who joins us this month!! I *love* getting to be part of these fabulous book clubs and I'm honored you're all spending this time reading and talking about my novel... Hugs and thanks to each of you, and here's hoping you all have a very Happy Valentine's Day!! (I tried to post a picture of a big heart here, but it's not letting me, LOL. Just imagine you're all being given a giant chocolate kiss. :)
      xoxox

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