Monday 31 August 2015

Author Spotlight - Sasha Cottman's Regency Pumpkin Pie

with guest blogger Sasha Cottman

We are very excited to welcome Regency Historical Author, Sasha Cottman to the blog this week. Sasha has written three books with Destiny publishing including: Letter from a Rake and An Unsuitable Match. Her latest book is called The Duke's Daughter and is available now. (Links at the end of the post.)

Today Sasha is sharing with us one of her Regency recipes. I am sure it's as delicious as it looks below.

Regency Pumpkin Pie

This recipe dates back to 1765, but was still very popular in the Regency period. Susannah Carter published it in her book ‘The Frugal Housewife’. It was later published in the United States in 1772 and reprinted in England in 1803. I have adapted parts of it for the modern kitchen. It makes a delicious dessert.


2 cups of cooked and mashed pumpkin

2 cups of milk

½ cup of Malaga wine (I actually opened a bottle of reserve Muscat, but don’t tell my husband).

7 eggs

1 cup of softened butter

1 tbsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp salt (I didn’t bother with this but it’s up to you)

1 cup sugar

2 X 9” single crust pie shells
You can make your own pie pastry, but these days you can simply buy the shells in the supermarket.  Make sure to get the sweet ones not the savoury.


You can roast the pumpkin, but after having burnt some the first time, I cut the peeled pumpkin and simply boiled it. Drain the pumpkin and mash it.

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and pour into the prepared pastry shells. (Do this carefully as you may have some mix left over and don’t want to overfill the shell).

Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Garnish with pecans and whipped cream.

Are you a baker or a faker? Share your cooking triumphs or fails with us in the comments.  

Love to Love Saturday morning sleep-ins.
Love to Laugh some of the ridiculous things I do.
Love to Learn new places in the world to visit and see.

Author Bio
Born in England, but raised in Australia, Sasha has a love for both countries. Having her heart in two places has created a love for travel, which at last count was to over 55 countries. A travel guide is always on her pile of new books to read.

Her first published novel, ‘Letter from a Rake’, was a finalist for the 2014 Romantic Book of the Year.

Sasha lives with her husband, teenage daughter and a cat who demands a starring role in the next book. She has found new hiding spots for her secret chocolate stash. On the weekends Sasha loves walking on the beach while trying to deal with her bad knee and current Fitbit obsession.

You can follow Sasha and find out more about her and her books on her:  WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads, and The Duke's Daughter Pinterest Page.

The Duke’s Daughter:

When handsome army officer Avery Fox unexpectedly inherits a fortune, he instantly becomes one of the season's most eligible bachelors. More accustomed to the battlefield, he has no patience with the naive debutantes who fill the ballrooms of London.

Honest and impetuous Lady Lucy Radley is a breath of fresh air, guiding him through the season and helping him to avoid any traps. So when Avery is left with little option but to marry Lucy, he can't help but feel he's been manipulated. Nor can he shake the feeling that a duke's daughter should be out of his reach.

From the wildly beautiful Scottish Highlands to the elegant soirees of Paris, Avery and Lucy go on a journey that is full of surprises for them both. But will their feelings for each other be strong enough to overcome the circumstances of their marriage and survive the ghosts of Avery's past?

The Duke’s Daughter is available as an e-book at the following e-retailers.

Friday 28 August 2015

How Can BITB Help Your Romance Writing?

with Enisa Haines

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Image: courtesy of

It's day 5 of our Blogiversary. Are you enjoying the celebrations? I know I am and love that the fun continues today with another prize.
(Check the comment section below to find out if you are the winner of yesterday's give-away.)

Are you hankering for some down time where you can indulge in the delicious taste of chocolate as you immerse yourself in a romance novel? Answer a question I've placed at this post's end and this box of Lindt chocolate balls and lovely rural romance novel just may be yours.

But first, how can BITB help your romance writing?

Are you embarking on your journey to write or aiming to be a better writer? Are you struggling to write, searching for motivation? Have you received your first offer of publication and wondering what happens at the publishing end? Do you need to know about book promotion? Or about social networking for writers? Would you like your book reviewed by an experienced reviewer?

Visit our blog where we discuss the craft of writing. We have guest bloggers sharing their experiences of the publishing and selling processes, as well as offering advice and information. Our regular reviewer, Miranda, gives insightful, in-depth reviews that coerce readers to buy.

Writing is a lonely occupation. Whether alone in a room at home or seated in the midst of a crowded plane, your focus shifts from your surroundings to the story playing in your mind and stays there as you write. In those moments when you're not writing, you may want to connect with people as immersed in writing as you. BITB is just the place to find like-minded people.

What book or books grabbed you emotionally?

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Image: courtesy of

And now it's prize give-away time. I love those romance novels that yank at my emotions with such pull that I feel everything the characters feel. I've read a lot like that but there are four that stand out far above others,  that made me sob through the journeys to happily-ever-after. They are Linda Howard's Cry No More, Dinah McCall's Jackson RuleSharon Sala's Out of the Dark and Gayle Wilson's Only A Whisper.

A heroine desperately searching for the child snatched from her arms. A hero pleading guilty to murder to save his baby sister from prison. A best friend sacrificing his life to save a heroine from the clutches of an evil cult leader. A hero willing to die, and almost doing so, for justice. I was right there in the midst of angst and action in each story and the beautiful as I anticipated.

How about you? Did a book make you laugh out loud or shed tears or sigh in wonder? What book or books drew you right in until the last page? 

Answer in the comments below and do return on Monday. You may be the lucky randomly-chosen winner!

I love to love - romance writers and readers. You care, you share, and I am inspired!

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I love to laugh - enjoying the fun and games through this blogiversary.

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Image: courtesy of keep-calm-and

I love to learn - embracing social media was my 'stepping out of my comfort zone' moment but I persisted and persevered and triumphed!

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Thursday 27 August 2015

Blogiversary - Successes!

with Cassandra Samuels

Welcome to day four of the Breathless in the Bush Blogiversary. I really hope you are all having a great time with us.

Today we are going to have a little fun playing, Do You Want to Build a Hero? Did you just start humming that Frozen song? Basically, I will suggest a feature/characteristic and you get to tell me what you think the hero should have e.g. how tall, what colour eyes, occupation, etc. Get all your friends involved because there will be a nice little prize announced tomorrow, but you have to be in it to win it.
(Check the comments section below to find out the winner of  yesterday's $20US amazon voucher.)

But first today I thought I might spend a little time reflecting on the successes and achievements of my fellow bloggers. It’s been a big year for many of us, so here goes.

Marilyn Forsyth has had an amazing year. She was a finalist in the Valerie Parv Award this year but due to some very exciting news she had to bow out of the competition; the reason being that she has accepted a contract with Harlequin Mira for her Pearl Farmer story (not yet titled) which she pitched at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference last year. Hurrah! We are so excited for Marilyn and for you because you will get to read it sometime early next year!

Dee Scully has also had an amazing year. She has overcome her fear of contests and submitted to two RWAus writing competitions…one of which she won - The Ripping Start. Squee!! She was also a finalist in the 2015 Valerie Parv Award. This particular achievement is very close to her heart seeing as, way back when, this was the contest that gave her the fear of competitions in the first place. Now, with more confidence and having developed her writing skills she is showing all of us to never give up.

Enisa Haines has come a long way this year. Working on the blog and Facebook has given her confidence in connecting with social media, and she is less intimidated now. She really has created some wonderful blog posts for us this year and is currently working on a very exciting manuscript which she plans to submit to a publishing house when it is completed. Stay tuned.

Sharon Burke is the newest member of the BITB Blog. It has been over 10 years since she was an active member of "Breathless in the Bush" and RWA, and she has decided to return to romance writing because she's missed it. She has previously had a short story published. Her goals for this year are to be published in romantic short stories and to begin researching an idea for an historical romance based on her own relative.

Karen M Davis has also had a very busy year. She and two other authors went on a wild author road trip and visited readers up and down the coastline from Sydney. If you met Karen at one of these please say hi in the comments. Karen is currently working on a new book not connected with her previous series (Sinister Intent and Deadly Obsession). We can’t wait to learn more about her new book this year.

Our lovely reviewer Miranda has given us a plethora of fantastic book suggestions and reviews this year. Our TBR piles are groaning under the weight but we wouldn’t have it any other way. She hopes to bring you many more book suggestions in the future so keep coming back and checking out her blog posts.

As for Cassandra Samuels? Well, I have had a very steep learning curve going on since my debut book, A Scandalous Wager, was released last November. I am hoping to have a new book available for you all next year. I have been working on many new story ideas and am excited by the prospect of having them available for you to read in the future.

Thank you all for your support of the Breathless in the Bush blog; it really does keep us motivated.

Do You Want to Build a Hero?
Now let the fun begin. How tall should a hero be? Leave your suggestions in the comments but keep coming back because the rest of my prompts will be in the comments.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Miranda's Musings

What's made the biggest difference in my romance reading?

But first... Thank you, lovely readers, for visiting with us during this exciting BLOGIVERSARY week! I'm gifting one Amazon $US20 gift voucher for a comment posted below, selected randomly by putting all commenters' names in a hat and pulling one out. Ooh, quick, what are you waiting for? So DO comment, and come back tomorrow when I will post the winner. Good luck!
(Check the comments box below to find out yesterday's Treasure Hunt winner.)

So... what has made the biggest difference in my reading?
Easy. THE INTERNET. I grew up pre-internet (yes, I'm that old, le gasp), and information about romance books wasn't easily found. My best find was the upcoming books listed in the back of the Mills & Boon romances. Or hitting op shops and fetes (my purse was smaller then). The library's always been trumps, bless their cotton socks. Any of this sound familiar?

When I found Romance Writers of Australia I nearly wept for joy. And, I met famous authors. I had some severe cases of writer worship happening ... (ahem, this still happens). Join, everyone, join, or find your sister organisation (eg. Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of New Zealand). The conferences and publications are awesome. You meet authors and get free books. Meet authors! Get free books! Make friends!

From RWA I found RT Book Reviews, which was
then called Romantic Times, and my bliss expanded. I subscribed instantly; a whole new world of information about the romance genre opened up. Not only were there reviews about every romance you could want, other genres and industry trends, but the magazine linked me into a community of international romance readers.

I loved finding websites such as All About Romance and joining a Yahoo romance readers' list. I discovered subgenres within romance (who knew?). I read my way through the early days of the paranormals, and charted the huge change in historicals from bodice rippers (a thing of the distant past) to fantastic I-Can-Save-Myself-Heroines. Cue fave film Ever After...

The Australian Romance Readers Association is also tremendous to belong to. I came home from their last conference with a huge load of books and great new friends. What a terrific way to spend a weekend; and there was much laughing and fun involved. I love ARRA's Facebook page, their monthly newsletter, and the way people enjoy themselves with everything about reading romance.

I'm now so spoilt for choice in my reading. I can choose a 'book' book or an ebook. I can choose chick lit, inspirational, contemporary, historical, paranormal, romantic suspense, whatever! I can find backlists and the order of a series (eg. via Fantastic Fiction, or author websites). If it's on the internet, you can find it. Fabulous.

Tell me, what's made the biggest difference in your romance reading over the years? Anything like my journey? Can't wait to hear from you.

Love from Miranda. xx

I love to love... the fun we're having with the Blogiversary!

I love to laugh... at how easy it is today to find romance books to read.

I love to learn... other people's stories about their reading journeys. Please tell all?

Picture Credits:
Romance Writers of Australia from:
RT Book Reviews from: RT Daily Blog | RT Book Reviews
Ever After from: Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998) - IMDb
Australian Romance Readers Association from:


Tuesday 25 August 2015

What a Difference a Year Makes

with Marilyn Forsyth

Break out the champagne! It’s our first blogiversary and to celebrate we’re treating you to a whole week of great posts and gorgeous giveaways.

This glorious ‘I Love Red!’ prize pack, consisting of a silk kimono, 2 x blingy candle-holders, a set of coasters and a packet of heart-shaped push-pins, is up for grabs to the commenter who correctly answers all the questions at the end of the post (answers can be found on our author pages). Good luck everyone!

What have we loved to love?

First and foremost, the people who subscribe to and/or visit our blog! Even if it’s just to skim a post, we love you (although, if you leave a comment we love you even more because that’s great feedback for us). The fact is we’ve received nearly 16 000 page views over the last year, which staggers us all, and we have YOU to thank for that. Mwah! Mwah! Mwah!

We’ve also loved all our interviewees and guest bloggers: Catherine Lee, Fiona Greene, Cathryn Hein, Alli Sinclair, Nikki Logan, Suzi Love, Nicole Hurley-Moore, Maree Anderson, Michelle Diener, Cathleen Ross and Jenny Schwartz. A huge thank you to each and every one of you for contributing to our success, and you’re welcome back any time.

And let’s not forget RWA. It was their Group Grant that enabled us to hire Eleni from Helzkat Designs (contact her at to design our beautiful blogsite. (Thank you Eleni!)

What have we loved to laugh at?

Usually each other, when we get together once a month to discuss the blog and all things writing. We may each write in a different genre but we share a sense of humour, not to mention a sense of the ridiculous.

What have we loved to learn?

How to create and maintain what we hope is a high-quality blog. And what an achievement that is! See, it wasn't always easy; every single one of us had teething problems to begin with, but through perseverance and hard work (we are writers, after all, so that comes with the territory *grin*) we’ve managed to present an informative blog every week (bar a short break over Christmas) for 12 months.

So there you have it—that was our year—and we're looking forward to continuing to provide more quality posts for your enjoyment into the future.

Treasure Hunt

To win today’s fabulous prize (sorry, Australian entrants only) find the answers to these questions on our author pages then email them to In the event of a draw, the winner’s name will be drawn from a hat. That winner will be announced tomorrow morning, so don’t forget to check in. It could be you!

1. Which blogger writes paranormals?

2. Who among us may have kissed a frog (purely for research purposes, you understand)?

3. Which blogger really should have been born in the 1800s but had the misfortune to be born instead in the 1970s?

4. Who’d spend all day reading if she could (and frequently does in order to bring you her thoughtful book reviews)?

5. Who among us might you tempt with a Tim Tam?

6. Which blogger, based on her experiences in the police force, wrote ‘Sinister Intent’?

7. Who has recently joined our blogging team?

Monday 24 August 2015

A Breathless Birthday Bash--Just for YOU!!

Let's celebrate!!  It's party time!!

Breathless in the Bush!!  

But this isn't just our birthday bash--it's a celebration of you, our viewers/commenters/subscribers too!! To show our appreciation for your support throughout the year, we've scheduled a week of blogs, competitions, and giveaways--just for you!!

Marilyn Forsyth—A Year in Review
Competition—Treasure Hunt
Giveaway—Kimono gift pack

Miranda--More Musings
Competition—“How has your romance reading changed over the years?"
Giveaway—$20US Amazon voucher

Cassandra Samuels—BITB Success Stories
Competition—Do You Wanna Build a Hero?
Giveaway—Book & Swag

Enisa Haines—How Can BITB Help Your Romance Writing?
Competition—“What book grabbed you emotionally?"
Giveaway—Chocolate box & Book

At the start of each day, we'll post a blog and instructions for the competition to be played (or the question to be asked) and how a daily winner will be chosen. Remember to check the comments the following morning to see if you've won!

If you haven't already done so, subscribe to our fabulous blog! Simply scroll to the email or subscription bar on the right hand side of the home page, fill in your details, and you'll receive notices of our new posts!

We love to love...celebrating with you this week and throughout the next year!!
We love to laugh...enjoying all the fun blogging games with you this week!!
We love to learn...from your comments--so make sure to leave one...or two...or as many as you'd like!!

Monday 17 August 2015

10 Reasons Why I Love the RWA Conference

with Enisa Haines

Are you counting down the days to the National Conference? Get fresh RWA Melbourne 2015 kicks off this Friday.

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Image: courtesy of

It's a weekend of learning and sharing and mingling and cheering. An experience I'll relish. Why? I'll give you 10 reasons.

You will:

  1. Meet other writers. From sign-in to the last goodbye you'll be surrounded by hundreds of writers gathered together, including internationally acclaimed authors Anne Gracie and Jane Porter, USA Today best-selling author Patricia McLinn and New York Times best-selling author Mary Jo Putney. Say hello. Engage in conversation. Writers are very friendly and supportive of each other.
  2. Attend the Cocktail Party. A break-the-ice, fun-filled way to mingle with fellow writers and editors and agents.

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  3. Meet industry professionals. Not sure who to submit your manuscript to? Hear attending editors and literary agents talk about the genres their publishing houses and agencies seek and what they expect of authors.

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  4. Be informed about other sub-genres. Are you uncertain about the genre to write for? Perhaps you write historicals but fantasy interests you. A genre-specific workshop may help you decide.

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  5. Learn more about the craft of writing. Character. Plot. Dialogue. Narrative. There are workshops aplenty focused on these aspects and others. If the workshop times clash, consult with friends and share notes, or split your attendance between each workshop.

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  6. Learn about the practical aspects and new technology. You're not sure how to format your manuscript or query an agent or editor? You've had your first book published but are unaware of what you can claim as tax deductions? Which online course, writers' program or digital publishing house to choose? The information is there.
  7. Be energised and inspired. Hear how the speakers pushed through obstacles to reach their goal of publication and be encouraged to persevere with your author dream.

  8. Pitch your story to an editor or agent. Talking about your story in a 5-minute face-to-face interaction is nerve-racking but a conference pitch appointment is a great way of getting the attention of an editor or agent.

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  9. Attend the Australian Romance Readers Book-Signing Event. An opportunity to meet authors and leave with your arms filled with autographed books. An avid reader's dream.

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    The epic book-signing event (Photo credit TM Clark)
  10. Attend the Gala Awards Dinner. It's RWA Awards night. The moment RWA celebrates the competition wins of aspiring authors and the success of those published. Feel the nervous anticipation and excitement. Immerse yourself in the joy! Experience the finale acknowledging the year's feats by aspiring and published authors. An awesome event first introduced by Anne Gracie and now an awe-inspiring tradition not to be missed.

Are you attending this year's conference? What do you see as benefits?

I love to love - the camaraderie among conference attendees.

I love to laugh - at the Facebook personality quizzes and the answers I get.

I love to learn - about all things romance-writing related.

Monday 10 August 2015

What Was Your Romance Starter Book?

Darlings, Miranda here. Now, we've all got special books from waaaaay back that have graced our keeper shelves for years. These are the special books that kick-started our romance reading, and which we'll love and adore and remember fondly for the rest of time. Let me share a few of mine with you - and I'd love to hear which book(s) were The Ones that hooked you in.

A Man Called Masters by Lucy Walker, an Australian outback romance with a 'manly man' hero, was one of my starter reads. Despite the manly man it was a sweet read, and the exotic setting of the outback was irresistible for city me. I borrowed it from the school library about sixteen million times (no exaggeration), until my sister gave it to me for my birthday. Best! Birthday! Present! Ever! I still have that book, dog-eared and falling apart, but so treasured. Hmm. Maybe it's time for a reread.

Then I studied Jane Austen's Mansfield Park in school. I could not believe we had to read something so wonderful, although there were a few fervent naysayers who did not appreciate Austen anywhere near as much as I did. In hindsight, Mansfield Park was a slightly unusual book to study, but I wasn't complaining. Bliss, bliss, bliss... My sister was given Pride and Prejudice which she hated, and I loved (naturally). Is it time for English class? Fabulous! Race you there!

Then I discovered Leopard in the Snow by Anne Mather. Oh my. Does anyone remember the film that followed? That visual of her floundering around in the snow with the leopard, and the brooding hero who seemed to appear out of nowhere... Ooh. This book sent me off on a huge Mills & Boon readathon - which continues to this very day.

Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer was next, absolute heaven to read; a marvellous gem to discover. Heyer's books sparkle with wit and verve and I delight  in reading them still. Then there was Sarah Dane by Catherine Gaskin, a colonial  Australian romance which handily tied in with my Australian History class. (I'm reading it for research, Mum, honest!) My reading life just kept getting better and better - and I've simply never stopped. I mean to say, why would I? Not when there's so many wonderful books around; we're so beautifully spoilt for choice. So marvellous.


So tell me, everyone... What was The Book or Books that kick-started your romance reading? What are the ones that still grace your Keeper Shelf, the ones you can't bear to part with? Old or now, please tell all!

I love to love a new little baby in the family called Atticus. Kissable! Cuddly! Fat and happy! Totally scrumptious!

I love to laugh at memories of myself when I was studying, trying to carve out romance reading time when I had assignment deadlines. All sorts of procrastinations ensued.

I love to learn what other people are reading. So, do tell!


Until next time, my precious pets.

Happy reading and love from Miranda. xx

Monday 3 August 2015

Google+ for Romance Writing/Reading: Set Up to Circles

with Dee Scully

What Is Google+
Google+ is a social network. I know. I know. I hear your groans. “Not another social network. I’m already on Facebook.” Before you scroll to the comments and leave me a ‘thanks, but no thanks’, hear me out. 

Google+ Is Not Facebook 
Google+ is not Facebook. It does connects you to people, but with Google+ Circles you can more easily customize your ‘friends’. You can assemble them into various groups such as ‘family’, or since we are talking about writing/reading romance…‘writing colleagues’, ‘editors and publishers’, ‘agents’, ‘historical romance authors’, ‘Harlequin authors’, etc… Circles help you target who sees your content and what content you see.

Privacy or Piracy 
One other thing that sets Google+ apart is its security. Google+ does not distribute your personal information and it allows you to assign a privacy setting for each piece of content that you share instead of a single setting for everything. This may seem tedious but it’s actually quite protective for those of us who don’t want our private information hijacked and sold to marketing companies.

Getting Started
To get started you’ll need to set up a Google+ account. Once you set up your account, I suggest visiting Google’s Get Started page. It’s a simple five-minute walk through of how to connect and create Circles.

Suggestions for Writers
  1. Your profile page acts as a business card, so when setting it up choose a cover picture that reflects your writing and use your ‘writing as’ name (if different from your given name) to best promote your writing persona.
  2. Use the space under your name for either a tagline such as Historical Romance Author or your web/blog address to make it easier for people to connect with you and your writing.
  3. You can further detail your profile page with your unique bragging rights (e.g. “I survived contest judging and lived to talk about it”), your occupation, skills, education, contact information, etc.

When you’ve set up your account and profile page, you need to add contacts. You can import contacts when setting up your account and Google will automatically add anyone with a Google+ account. Or you can add contacts one by one via your home page or your profile page. Simply go to the ‘Search for people, pages, or posts’ bar at the top of your screen. Type in a name and hit the blue and white magnifying glass button or enter.

Alternatively, you can scroll over Home and a dropdown box appears. Click into People and Google will suggest contacts, add your Gmail contacts, or ‘search for new contacts.’

To create Circles, click into People (see above). From there scroll over and click into More and then into Your Circles.

Hover your cursor over the grey dot with the big plus in the middle.

Do as the prompt directs and “Drop or click to create circle”. Create as many circles as you want/need. Add your contacts to one or many Circles.

Once you’ve created a few Circles and added your contacts, send a message to a single contact then to one of your Circles. Make sure you add Dee Scully Romance Author to your contacts and Circles!  Play around with the Google+ tools and get to know it a bit better.

Let us know in the comments below about any Google+ Community or contact that is of interest to romance readers and writers.  Let's get a list going!!

In the next instalment of Google for Romance Writing/Reading Part II we’ll learn how to use Google+ Circles to target readers and writers.

I love to love…the Top Positive Quotes community on Google+.

Top Positive Quotes-Fathima Afra

I love to laugh…at what I used to think was important.

I love to learn…as much as I can about Google+.