Thursday, October 16, 2014

Writing pointers From Susan Daffron Author of Fuzzy Logic



Creating Animal Characters

by Susan Daffron

In reviews, many readers comment that the animals in my books are characters along with the human ones. Although I don't make the animals in my books "talk" because I loathe that concept in other books, I do make the animals behave in significantly different ways.

Anyone who as ever owned a dog or a cat knows that they have personalities. Every animal is different and I try to show that in my novels. For example, Fuzzy Logic, the second book in my series of Alpine Grove Romantic Comedies, includes two dogs that play key roles. One is a Samoyed named Swoosie. The other is a black Labrador retriever named Rosa.

Even though Swoosie is a furry white dog and Rosa is a sleek black dog, they are different in far more than just looks. Swoosie has many classic Samoyed traits. She is an extremely high-energy dog who is smart, stubborn, and used to having people fawn all over her. Rosa on the other hand is mellow and sweet, but not perhaps the sharpest tool in the shed.

When I develop my books, I take time to write out profiles of the canine and feline characters along with the human ones. Before I start writing, I know exactly how each animal will behave. In the case of Fuzzy Logic, it helps that I currently own a Samoyed and have had a mellow black lab in the past. So in the book, Swoosie is a lot like my dog Fiona, except probably a bit naughtier.

As with human characters, if you take a dog's basic personality and make it a little more extreme, it can be funny. So for example, although my dog Fiona tries to eat things she is not supposed to, she has never eaten half of the contents of a buffet table at a wedding like Swoosie does in Fuzzy Logic. (But then again, Fiona has never had such a glorious opportunity for badness either, so who knows?)

Because the critters play such pivotal roles, dogs and cats from the first book in the series, Chez Stinky appear in Fuzzy Logic too. (In fact, Linus, a large brown dog has a rather vocal fan base at this point.)

Readers can rest assured that Swoosie and Rosa will make at least a brief appearance in the third book as well. Alpine Grove is a small town and with only one dog boarding kennel, eventually most of the humans and canines are likely to meet.

Book Review and Giveaway: Fuzzy Logic by Susan C Daffron

 Librarian Jan Carpenter likes things just so. Nestled in her tidy little cottage on the outskirts of the small hamlet of Alpine Grove, she enjoys her quiet life with her friendly, rotund black lab, Rosa. 

Jan's orderly life is turned upside down when she attends her mother's latest wedding in San Diego. (Number six...or maybe seven, but who's counting?) There, Jan encounters Michael Lawson, the obnoxious neighbor kid from twenty years ago. He's still irritating, but not as annoying as his dog who has a habit of eating...everything. The last thing Jan wants to do is risk heartache on a vacation fling with a smooth-talking serial dater, even if he is sinfully gorgeous and finds her unusual ability to remember obscure facts fascinating. 

Amidst wardrobe destruction, canine digestive indiscretions, and episodes of extreme mortification, Jan's desire to avoid drama may put the brakes on her fiery attraction to Michael. But maybe being cautious and responsible isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Susan Daffron is the author of the Alpine Grove Romantic Comedies, a series of novels that feature residents of the small town of Alpine Grove and their various quirky dogs and cats. She is also an award-winning author of many nonfiction books, including several about pets and animal rescue. She lives in a small town in northern Idaho and shares her life with her husband, two dogs and a cat--the last three, all "rescues." You can read more about her at her website


The first thing that got my attention about Fuzzy Logic was that it was about a Librarian.  Yes I am a book nerd and work in the library system if you did not know already.  Then on top of it I am an animal lover.  Before even starting the book I was hoping that it would not disappoint and I am glad to say that it was GREAT! Susan writing talent shines through with how this entertaining and lovable story.  I loved it from start to finish and adored Jan and her crazy life.  She was such a great character and I would love working with her!  Without a doubt there wouldn't be any dull days, especially if her mom visits!  Looking forward to what my next read will be by Susan Daffron!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Views expressed are those of Two Children and a Migraine and not influenced in anyway.  A book was supplied for review purposes only and no compensation was received for this post.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: Pulled Within by Marni Mann (Bar Harbor Book 2)

  • Series: The Bar Harbor Series
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Booktrope Editions (September 12, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1620153688
  • ISBN-13: 978-1620153680

What happens when the one person who is supposed to love you unconditionally and protect you from pain is actually the source of your scars? 

Everything changed for Rae Ryan when Drew Stevens arrived in Bar Harbor. Saint, the man she really cared for, no longer wants anything to do with her and their rift ends up costing her job. With her best friend, Brady, dealing with his own darkness, Rae finds herself completely alone. 

Her world shifts further after a chance encounter with Hart, her first love who’s recently returned to town. Despite the agonizing ache she felt when he left her behind, the memories of their time together remind her of the lighter days. A time before she had her scars. But she’s not that carefree girl anymore-she’s hardened, damaged. She’s pulled within. 

Just as Rae starts to open her heart and let her emotions untangle and heal, she spots that terrifyingly familiar, rusty old pickup at the local tavern. Her nightmare from the past has returned-and she couldn’t be in a more vulnerable place to feel the pain he was capable of inflicting…


“Do you know what the rain is?” he asked.
I was curled in a ball in the corner of the couch. A candle flickered on the table. It was the only light in the house; we’d lost power from the storm. He’d even let me take the candle into the potty with me, but he told me not to flush. I kinda liked that. The noise the toilet made could be so loud and scary at night.
I pulled the blanket even tighter around me. “No…what is it?”
“It’s the tears from all the people who cried today. The sky pulls them out of all the tissues and sleeves and holds them up there until it’s full. Then, it comes raining down on us.”
A chill ran over me, covering my skin in tiny bumps as I remembered how mean the rain had gotten. It felt like our house had been shaking. “Why did the storm sound so angry?”
“The sky doesn’t just take tears; it also takes the sounds that people make. That yelling you did while you cried this afternoon came right back at us, didn’t it?”
I couldn’t control my temper sometimes. I wanted to. I tried really hard to. I just didn’t want Mommy to go to work because Darren got so sad whenever she left. And what made him sad, made me sad.
“So if I cry softly, it won’t thunder as much?”
“Come on over here, Rae.”
I glanced toward the rocking chair where he was sitting. The candle lit up his face and his open arms. With the blanket still around me, I tiptoed over to him. He pulled me onto his lap, tucking my legs into the side of the chair and wrapping his arms around me. We swayed back and forth.
“You’re a good girl. You have no reason to be shedding those tears, and especially no reason to be yelling like that.”
Back and forth.
Mommy said I was a strong girl, a smart girl. He always said I had the prettiest smile of all the girls he’d ever seen. Strong, pretty girls didn’t need to cry. Darren didn’t need to cry, either. I wanted to tell him that, but he was in his room. He was always in there. He said he didn’t like hanging out anywhere else in the house. He was so silly.
I stretched my hands out of the blanket and placed them on top of his. His knuckles were so rough and hard. Chapped like my lips after I cried. They held me tight, but it didn’t hurt.
“Rest your head on my chest and let’s see if we can get you to sleep. It’s past your bedtime, my good girl.”
I pressed my cheek against his shirt. It was soft. Much softer than his knuckles, and the hairs around his neck tickled my nose.
Back and forth.
“I want you to think of good things. Pretty things. No more rain tonight, only rainbows.”
His fingers moved out from under mine and he ran them through the loose strands of my hair. My eyes closed. My breathing slowed. His thumb dipped onto my neck, but the rest of his hand stayed in my hair.
Back and forth.
“You’re such a good girl, Rae.”
Back and forth.

About the Author: 

Best-selling Author Marni Mann knew she was going to be a writer since middle school. While other girls her age were daydreaming about teenage pop stars, Mann was fantasizing about penning her first novel. She crafts sexy, titillating stories that weave together her love of darkness, mystery, passion, and human emotion. A New Englander at heart, she now lives in Sarasota, Florida with her husband and their two dogs who subsequently have been characters in her books. When she's not nose deep in her laptop working on her next novel, she's scouring for chocolate, sipping wine, traveling to new locations, and devouring fabulous books. 

Visit her at:


My Review: I went into this book excited as I thoroughly enjoyed the first story about Drew and Justin.  I was left wanting more at the end of that book.  I picked this book up thinking it'd be a nice relaxing read like the last one.  I was surprised at the emotional roller coaster I rode on through this book.  I fell in love with Rae's strength before I even found out her story.  I was surprised she didn't end up with Brady as they seemed destined for each other.  

I am impressed with her smooth writing style and her descriptive scenes.  I was literally HEARTBROKEN and had tears when the climax of the story hit.  I thought Hart was an ok character but seemed lacking something.  He was in love with her from day one but allowed his parents to ship him off in the middle of the night and never looked back.  I don't buy that as easily as she fell for it.  I was shocked by the audacity of his mother to speak to any human in such disregard.  I must have been raise much differently and am proud to say I come from humble beginnings.  This book was a surprising read, but I loved every second of it from beginning to end.  I look forward to reading more of this series as the stories develop.  

I give this book a 5 out of 5. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Views expressed are those of Two Children and a Migraine and not influenced in anyway.  A book was supplied for review purposes only and no compensation was received for this post.