Saturday, 22 September 2018

Inspire Me...Carrie Green



A lot of people are complimentary about my work ethic - some amazed I produce at least two 90,000 words novels a year. Yet, for a while now, I've felt my days unfocused. I wasn't achieving everything I wanted to achieve in any working day and could it be that I could be working smarter?

I started trawling the internet for inspiration, motivation and a general kick up the backside.

That's when I discovered female entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Carrie Green. I was immediately drawn to this enthusiastic and inspiring business woman who'd had a burning desire to set up a platform for female entrepreneurs. A place women could come for support, motivation and belief.

The more I watched Carrie's YouTube videos, the more my ambitions returned. It hit me that I needed to look at my work as a business. Attack it like a business. Treat it as a business. Nurture it as a business.


Carrie is the founder of a multi-million pound business (Female Entrepreneur Association) that she started from nothing. A woman on a mission who prevailed. A woman who had a vision, a dream, she wouldn't give up on. I was hooked by her words, attitude and strategies.

Having now signed up to the FEA Members' Club, I have access to the support and knowledge of thousands of other women who want to make their businesses a success, as well as endless motivational and strategic lessons.

I feel blessed and excited for the first time in many months - thank you, Carrie!

Happy Inspiration Day!

Rachel x

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Welcome the fabulous Jennifer Ash!! (AKA Jenny Kane & Kay Jaybee)



 I'm so happy to welcome my good friend, Jennifer Ash to my blog today - Jennifer is a fellow member of the Bath/Wilts RNA chapter and one of the hardest working women I know! As well as writing under three names, she runs writing workshops and mentors, too. Let's kick off with my questions, lovely lady...

1.)                What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was in my teens I decided I was absolutely going to be either an archaeologist on Time Team or the UK’s leading expert on Robin Hood.
Not the most normal child you may think- and I can’t argue.
I never did get to work on Time Team, although I was an archaeologist and I have worked with all of the original TT crew- just not at the same time or on the television.
As to Robin Hood – that didn’t work out too badly either. While I am far from an expert on the subject, I would be handy in a RH related pub quiz question scenario as I did a PhD on the subject. Well- why not? It’s come in very handy lately, as it means most of the research I need to do for my medieval crime series, ‘The Folville Chronicles’ is already done.


2.)                Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

Coffee. Black. No sugar.

3.)                What genre do you typically read? Why?

I read a wide range of genres, but at the moment I’m leaning towards Victorian crime as my genre of choice. It’s a period of history which fascinates me. If I hadn’t been so intrigued by medieval England as a child, I would probably have studied Victorian history at university.

4.)                Share a favourite childhood memory.

This is going to sound weird- but going to the rubbish dump with my Grandad.
When I was little we’d make it into an adventure- packing the car, heading off into the woods where the dump was hidden away and then climbing up ladders to throw everything away – I loved it.
We’d chat and sing all the way there and back. Happy times with one the best men who ever lived.

5.)                Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?

I really don’t. I’m terribly dull.

6.)                What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?

Not starting to write another one at the same time.
I always have more than one (or 5) ideas bubbling at once. It’s really tricky to concentrate on plotting just the one book at a time.

7.)                Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

All being well, I aim for a chapter a day. I write short chapters (1800-2000 words approx), so it’s doable. I’d love to do more each day, but I have a part time job and teach writing workshops as well.

8.)                What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I love writing series. I have several under my belt now, from The Perfect Submissive series (erotica as Kay Jaybee), to the Another Cup of Coffee range (romcoms as Jenny Kane) to The Folville Chronicles (medieval romantic mystery/crime as Jennifer Ahs).
Not one of these series however, was planned. Each one started with a novel that was going t be a standalone- only once the first books had proved popular did I keep going. I think if I set out to write a series from the off it would be too daunting.

Huge thanks for inviting me over to chat today Rachel.
Jennifer xxx

Bio
Jennifer Ash writes stories of medieval crime, steeped in mystery, with a side order of romance.
Influenced by a lifelong love of Robin Hood and medieval ballad literature, Jennifer has written The Outlaw’s Ransom (Book One in The Folville Chronicles) – a short novel, which first saw the light of day within the novel Romancing Robin Hood (written under the name Jenny Kane; Pub. Littwitz Press, 2018).
Book Two of The Folville Chronicles - The Winter Outlaw - was released in April 2018. Three more novels are planned for this series. Book Three - Edward’s Outlaw- will be published in December 2018.
Jennifer has also written three audio scripts for ITV’s popular 1980’s television show, Robin of Sherwood. The Waterford Boy and Mathilda’s Legacy were released by Spiteful Puppet in 2017. Her third script, The Baron’s Daughter, is to be released in late 2018.

As Jenny Kane she has written Abi’s Neighbour (Accent Press, 2017), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016), and the bestsellers, Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), and Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013).
She has also written 3 novella length sequels to her Another Cup of.....books:  Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent, 2016). These three seasonal specials are now available in one boxed set entitled Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection (Accent, 2016)
Jenny is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015)
Jenny Kane is the writer in residence for Tiverton Costa in Devon. She also co-runs the creative writing business, Imagine.
All of Jennifer and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at www.jennykane.co.uk
@JenAshHistory
@JennyKaneAuthor


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Welcome contemporary romance author, Sonja Price



            Welcome to my blog, Sonja! I love hosting fellow member of the RNA Bath/Wilts chapter and looking forward to hearing all about your latest release, THE GIANTS LOOK DOWN. Let's kick off with my questions....

1.)        What was your first job? Did you like or dislike it? Why?
My first proper job was teaching if you don’t count holiday jobs such as waiting on tables and filling jars in a gherkin factory. I always swore I’d never teach, even avoiding that option on the year abroad as part of my degree. But when I finally stood in front of the class, I found it came to me easily. I think I’m a bit of an entertainer; in another life I’d be an actor or singer.

2.)              Do you have a pet peeve? If so what is it?
I know this sounds silly, but I do want to be left alone when I’m out shopping for clothes. I know they’re only doing their job, but I hate being hassled by shop assistants.

3.)              Would you describe your style as shabby chic, timeless elegance, eclectic, country or ___­­­_?
I think it’s classical, but not in the sense of old-fashioned (I hope) and sporty but of course I’m actually sitting here in denim shorts and a T-shirt answering this.

4.)              Tell me about your book {THE GIANTS LOOK DOWN} and where you got your inspiration for it?
I was listening to a report on the terrible Great Earthquake that hit Kashmir in 2005. Despite the tragedy I got inspired by the description of the stunning Vale of Kashmir, which is surrounded by some of the tallest mountains on this Earth. It boasts a string of lakes among emerald green valleys and fields of saffron. I went on to write the story of young Jaya, who wants to become a doctor against the wishes of her mother and the patriarchal society she lives in. 

5.)                  Who is your role model? Why?
Iris Murdoch and A.S. Byatt simply because they write so beautifully

6.)              How much of your book is realistic?
I hope it’s quite realistic. It was difficult for a girl to become a doctor in 1960s Kashmir and this stunning location has been troubled since Partitian. The story is primarily one of perseverance and romance, but I was very conscious to depict the conflict that afflicts Kashmir (Pakistan, India and China all fight over it) as best as I could. My final draft was checked both by Indian doctors and publishers. 




7.)                   What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My next book BLACK SNAKE will hopefully soon be published. It tells the story of a widow’s quest to solve the mystery of her husband’s death out in the Canadian Wilds against the background of a pipeline being built across sacred Indigenous Canadian Land. I want to continue writing literary fiction, that entertains people.

8.)                   Share one fact about yourself that would surprise people.
I’m hooked by The Bachelor on TV. My husband loves to watch it and it was a case of if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.


Author Bio:

Sonja’s short stories appeared in Stories For Homes, the Shelter Anthology of Short Stories and In these Tangles, Beauty Lies, an anthology in aid of the Beanstalk Trust for children with reading difficulties, before her first novel The Giants Look Down came out in 2016. Longlisted for the Mslexia First Novel Competition, it also made her a finalist for the Joan Hessayon Award. Born in Bristol, Sonja studied at the University of East Anglia. She completed a PhD in English Literature and teaches English at Jena University in Germany. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Links
Website:                      www.sonja-price.com
Twitter:                       @PriceSonja
Facebook:                   Sonja Price Author
Buying links:  

Blurb: At the age of ten, Jaya Vaidya decides to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor against her mother’s wishes and all that the patriarchal community of 1906s Kashmir expects of her. When disaster strikes, Jaya is faced with obstacles as insurmountable as the Himalayas. She is transplanted to Scotland, where she has to navigate both a foreign culture and the rapids of love. Just how far will she go to achieve her dream? (Published by Robert Hale, 2016)

Excerpt: Soft moaning sounds, like the ones my Granny made in her sleep, were coming from the house. The moans turned into cries of pain and the dog pulled away. Why wasn’t Pa doing anything about it? That was why we were here. Even with my hands over my ears I could still hear the woman. On and on it went. The man started shouting and the dog collapsed on the ground with a sigh. The woman’s cries reminded me of a Tibetan fox caught in a trap up in the forests around Lake Gangabal. Kaliq had to shoot it as the iron teeth had bitten clean through its back leg.
       Silence. Even worse! Only swallows swooping overhead as the entire valley held its breath. Shattered by the cries of a baby and a jubilant ‘A boy!’ Brahma be praised, it was over. We could go home.
       The dreadful screaming recommenced. Perhaps Pa had done something to her. I had to see what was going on. Like a snow leopard stalking a deer, I crept into the house, which was only slightly larger than our woodshed. It reeked of animal hide and smoke. My eyes took a moment to get used to the gloom. I could make out two rooms: a kitchen and another one where the woman lay. Our house was all sunny rooms and places where I could be by myself. I edged my way towards the grown-ups, towards the man with the bundle in his arms and Pa tending the woman, still writhing in agony.
       She was so young. Why was the old man putting her through this? She could have been his granddaughter. Why choose a girl, in a place where so many women had been widowed by the troubles? Cast out by their families with children in tow. They would have been happy to have a husband, any husband. But this poor girl. It made me sick. I wasn’t going to have a baby, ever. She screamed and screamed and then I caught a glimpse of something round between her blood-smeared legs. Not another one! Pa eased out a head, then a shoulder and then the rest before the woman fell back onto the messy covers.
       Limp, lifeless and smeary-white, it looked more like a skinned rabbit than a real baby. Pa tried to rub it to life but the woman was not moving either. He looked to the man for help but he merely shrugged his shoulders as if to say why bother with a girl? Pa laid the baby carefully in the cot by the fire, turned to the woman and drew up a syringe.
       I ran around the bed and picked the baby up. I couldn’t believe how small she was. Tiny hands and feet just like my dolly. Only she was warm. The boy was crying for all he was worth, loud screeches that you’d never believe could come from someone so little. He was rosy and angry, and she was pale, almost white. Shiva! I wanted to shout. She was slipping away before she had even arrived. Pa was doing everything he could for the woman and there was no point in talking to the man if he wouldn’t even listen to Pa. I rubbed her like Pa had done before he put her down but she was growing colder and colder.
        I stared into the flames and then my eyes rested on the one set of baby’s clothes laid out in front of the fireplace. It wasn’t fair! Why should she have to die? A ragdoll nobody wanted to play with. No!  I wouldn’t allow this to happen. What had the herdsman done to the newborn yak? I bent and blew into her tiny mouth. Her cheeks soft and cool like goat’s cheese. No reaction. I blew more strongly into her. Nothing.
        Tears pricked my eyes. I couldn’t help her. There was absolutely nothing I could do. Stupid of me to think I could make a difference. All I wanted to do was run outside. I went to kiss her goodbye but instead found myself trying one last time. The baby’s lips puckered; her face screwed up. She turned a deep red before letting out the most wonderful cry I had ever heard. The woman opened her eyes. Tears ran down her face as she reached out for her little girl. Pa looked from the baby to me and smiled.
       Half an hour later we climbed back into the car, ‘When I’m big Pa, I want to be a doctor just like you!’
       He stroked my head and switched the radio back on.



Sunday, 16 September 2018

Inspire Me... J K Rowling


I was a little late coming to the Harry Potter novels...unlike what felt like the entire world, I didn't start reading the series until the third book had been released. I couldn't resist the temptation to read 'those kids books' until my mum couldn't stop raving about them.

Once I started reading Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone, I was hooked!

And with my new obsession came the need to know everything about this British novelist who seemed to have appeared from nowhere to take the literary world by storm. The more I learned about this single mother who had been broke, worked on Harry Potter in a cafe to keep warm and didn't just sit down to write a series of novels, but had diagrams, graphs and illustrations all worked out.

J K Rowling became one of my biggest inspirations - a woman of immense integrity, strength and determination. I was, and still am, in awe...

"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive."

Her quote of strength over adversity resonated so soundly with me that I have never forgotten it. I have had many personal setbacks this year, and often wondered how things would ever change or get better. Guess what? They have, they did, and now I feel stronger and wiser than ever before.

Thank you, J K Rowling, for your books, your wisdom, your success and the joy you've given millions all around the world.

Happy Inspiration Day!

Rachel x

Friday, 14 September 2018

Welcome the fabulous Lucy Coleman and her latest release, Snowflakes Over Holly Cove... *GIVEAWAY*







Genre: Cosy mystery/romance
Release Date:18 September 2018
Publisher: Aria Fiction

The perfect Christmas romance for fans of Karen Swan.
As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach...
For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article 'Love is, actually, all around...'
So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.
Tia didn't expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true...
Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly rugged Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands; the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.
As cosy as a marshmallow-topped cup of cocoa, fall in love with a heart-warming festive story from the bestselling author of The French Adventure.

EXCERPT

PROLOGUE


Mum and I link arms, faces turned upwards towards the heavens. Our eyes scan the dense and strangely opaque grey sky, as a flurry of large snowflakes rain down upon us. Like a feather pillow which has burst its seams, we are bombarded by a cascade of soft, white clusters of icy crystals. Having to constantly blink away the fluffy white particles as they hit our eyelashes, we hug each other and begin laughing, totally enthralled.

With cheeks starting to glisten as the ice melts on contact, already the heavier flakes begin to settle on our hair and thick winter coats. As carefree as children, we survey the scene in awe. The street outside our boutique hotel is being turned into a winter wonderland in front of our eyes.

The combination of a heavily-laden sky and the soft carpet beneath our feet muffles every little sound; even our footsteps no longer echo as we head off in search of the bright lights. I know that this is a memory that will be etched on our minds forever, as Mum squeezes my arm and turns to smile at me. I feel like Santa dispensing a little Christmas magic, as what I see reflected in her eyes is a moment of almost child-like happiness and joy. And to me that is priceless.

As we turn the corner, ahead of us is a cacophony of sounds softened by the backdrop that is almost a mini blizzard now – a snow globe brought to life. The traffic has slowed, but horns still toot and sirens still screech; a city that never sleeps cannot be stopped.

With last-minute shoppers and people now eager to make their way home, the sidewalks are so busy that the pitching snow is quickly trampled underfoot. Being swept along with the crowd, as if we are New Yorkers and not merely visitors, it’s easy to soak up the ambience.

Suddenly, a guy wearing a Santa outfit appears in front of us ringing a small hand bell and holding up a bucket, part-filled with coins. He’s an older man and his beard and moustache appear to be real. I’m guessing the flowing white hair is a wig, as it’s as white as the snowflakes that continue to fall. It looks like some of that padding around the middle might not actually be padding, though. He’s even wearing half-moon glasses, perched low on his nose. Everything about him embodies the Santa images I remember from my childhood.
‘Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, ladies. Do you have a few coins to spare to make my bucket a little fuller? Help the homeless at Christmas.’

Mum turns her head to look at me, a bemused smile on her face. We immediately dive into our handbags to pull out a handful of coins each, that clatter as we throw them into the bucket.
‘Merry Christmas and I hope it’s a truly wonderful one for you both.’
‘Thank you, Santa, and good luck filling that bucket.’
His eyes crinkle up when he smiles back at us and for some reason he reaches out to place his gloved hand on Mum’s shoulder.
‘The season’s blessings upon you, my dear. Enjoy this special holiday.’

With that he moves on past us, leaving Mum and me to stare after him as he continues to greet people and accept donations. Even when Mum and I link arms and begin moving forward again, the tinkling sound of that little bell seems to float on the air.

‘It’s like another world,’ Mum exclaims, totally captivated and more than a little overwhelmed by the skyline that towers above us.
‘So good, they named it twice – the city and the state!’
Ahead of us a Starbucks offers a chance to warm ourselves up a little and we hurry inside. There’s a table for two in the window and I settle Mum down before I head off to order our coffees.
In the background the sounds of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree add to the lively and festive atmosphere. Most of the people who are seated have a pile of carrier bags stuffed beneath their seats and there’s a real buzz in the air as the holiday season is about to begin.
‘Eggnog Latte or Chestnut Praline Latte?’
Mum looks up at me, raising her eyebrows and giving a shrug of her shoulders. ‘Surprise me!’
‘Eggnog Latte, then. Why not?’
When it’s cool enough for her to take that first sip, a little smile creeps over her face.
‘This reminds me of my father. He always made eggnog at Christmas. It was his only contribution, as my mother even carved the turkey.’ She laughs to herself, transported back to a special moment goodness knows how many years ago.
‘I’m not even sure how it’s made,’ I admit. I’m pretty sure it’s a drink I’ve never tried.
‘The secret is in the nutmeg, he always said. It’s milk, cream, a little cinnamon and vanilla mixed with eggs, sugar and bourbon. It was a luxury in those days. Even the smell of it conjures up Christmas, to me.’

It’s wonderful to sit here and hear her talking about Christmases from her own childhood. ‘This is truly magical, Tia, thank you so very much. My wonderful, darling daughter, what would I do without you in my life? Spending time with you is gift enough, so today I’m doubly blessed.’

I vowed then, that in future we’ll celebrate every Christmas Eve in style at a very special destination. I can’t think of a better way to repay her for all those wonderful Christmas memories from my childhood. Losing my father, and then a family row distancing my brother from us, has blighted far too many Christmases already.

Our first trip had to be New York; home of the iconic yellow taxi cab, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty. And, of course, the setting for one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time: Miracle on 34th Street. But who knows where we’ll be this time next year? My only wish is that the snowflakes will begin to fall, as that’s the little bit of magic that makes Christmas special, no matter what age you are.


BUY LINK
ABOUT LUCY COLEMAN
From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton - who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman - says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’
Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.
When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.
Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.
Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.
Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

COMPETITON!
A Christmas Book-reading Bag (a signed copy of A Cottage in the Country + treats) – UK ONLY


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Introducing Breaking Free by Megan Lowe... *GIVEAWAY*





Author: Megan Lowe


Title: Breaking Free


Series: Rocking Racers #6


Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance


Release Date: August 25, 2018


Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing


Cover Designer: Claire Smith

 Add to TBR


 Available now! 




All other links: books2read.com/breaking-free







Parker Ryan is cursed. His brothers may think they are, but Parker knows he is. There’s no way he could ever bring another woman into his bad luck.

Halliday Porte has loved Parker Ryan forever. After years overseas trying to forget about him, she’s back to finally let him know how she feels.

For Ashton Rhodes, Parker Ryan was the one who got away. She’s determined that won’t happen again.

With two women chasing him, will Parker reject a chance at happiness or will he realise happiness is within his grasp and break free?





 Available now! 


















She looks incredible. She was beautiful before, but all dressed up, she’s absolutely stunning.


“Damn, Halliday,” I breathe, taking a step towards her, “you’re a goddamn knockout.”


She chuckles and blushes, ducking her head. Her auburn hair, which has been curled but left down, covers her face.


Hal and I have been friends since forever, really. Our dads are best mates, so whenever they hung out, so did we. Growing up it was always the two of us, tinkering around with one of our dads’ bikes or tearing around town on our own. Either way, it was always just our bikes and us.


Then we matured. Pedal power changed to horsepower, but still, it was always me and Hal.


At school people looked at us and wondered. How could a guy and a girl be so close and just be friends? We shrugged and said “we just are.” Then things started changing. Halliday started changing. She grew boobs and curves appeared on her once rakish figure. I guess I changed too. I shot up, not a lot, but enough to rise above her five-foot-seven frame. My body went from lanky to lean, the very body type I would need to race motocross. But none of that mattered because Hal and I were just friends. Until we weren’t. I don’t even remember when my feelings changed for my best friend. All I know is, the girl, no, the woman, standing in front of me now is so fucking beautiful I can hardly breathe.


I offer her my arm and smile when she takes it. I look over her again, for like, the tenth time in five minutes, and chuckle.


“What?” she asks. “Wait! Are my boobs hanging out of this thing?” She stops to adjust her dress, which is still perfect.


“Stop,” I tell her. “It’s fine, I was just thinking how jealous everyone is going to be when we show up.”


“Oh,” she says, taking my arm again as we continue to my car. “Because you’re such a stud and all?”


“No.” I shake my head as I open the car door for her. “Because I’m obviously going to have the hottest date at this shindig.”


“Oh,” she says again, her cheeks blushing bright red.


“Promise me,” I say as I get behind the wheel, “that it’ll just be us tonight, that you won’t let anyone else in our bubble.” I don’t know why I ask this of her; it’s just the thought of some of the pigs we go to school with getting their hands on her… it makes my blood boil.


“Pfft,” she says.


“I’m serious, Hal,” I say, taking her hand. For once her nails are neat and polished, the oil that usually resides under them long gone. “Promise me it’ll just be us tonight. After tonight I’m not sure what will happen to us, where we’ll end up. I just want….” I blow out a breath and wipe my hand over my face. “I don’t know, I just want it to be us for one more night. Is that okay?” I look over at my best friend and the smile that’s lighting up her face takes my breath away.








***


Rocking Racers Series!





Book 1




 All buy links HERE





Book 2




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Book 3




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Book 4


All buy links HERE

Book 5


All buy links HERE







Megan Lowe is a lost journalism graduate who after many painful years searching for a job in that field, decided if she couldn’t write news stories, she would start listening to the characters whispering stories to her and decided to write them down.  She writes primarily New Adult/Contemporary Romance stories with Sport and Music themes. She is based on the Gold Coast but her heart belongs to New York City. When she’s not writing she’s either curled up with a good book, travelling or screaming at the TV willing her sporting teams to pull out the win.








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