I Made it Home!

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been busy running my novel, Making it Home, through the Kindle Create program in order to give you, the reader, a better ebook reading experience. There should be no formatting problems in the Kindle edition now.

Plus, I have tidied up things like punctuation, a couple of spelling mistakes and given the book a general health check, and it’s ready to greet the day with a smile, face washed, teeth cleaned. Yay! Feeling fresh and good.

During this health check, I was willing to make any adjustments that seemed necessary, no matter how small or how large. Much to my joy, I found I still love the story and I’m still happy with how I wrote it – in fact, sorry to sound immodest, but I enjoyed my own novel tremendously.

Making it Home has had some lovely reviews over the years and it would be great if this new, spruced up version gained some more. If you haven’t read it already, there are a whole bunch of readers who could assure you you’d enjoy it, so why not give it a read?

It’s Women’s Contemporary Fiction, has a generous touch of romance, a good helping of friendship, a soupçon of intrigue, a pinch of humour, and a shake of mystery.

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Kate had a home, but her heart wasn’t in it – or in her marriage. So she left them both.

Phyllis had a home. Her heart was in it, but she was lonely. So she shopped.

Naomi had no home and her heart was in cold storage, frozen by grief and fear. So she shopped.

They found one another in a department store, shopping. There’s a problem with retail therapy – you can overdose.

As friendship grows between these three women, they help one another face up to their problems, realising along the way, that every heart needs a home and it takes more than a house to make one.

A contemporary novel about three women who want more.

At some point in the future, I hope to give the paperback version the same health check, though the formatting has not been a problem there. Meanwhile, you can be assured the story is unchanged and reads as happily in either version, paperback or ebook, and is available on Amazon. The paperback is also available in WaterstonesBarnes and Noble, or can be ordered in any good bookstore.

To find out about all my books:  Amazon Author Page

 

Gold Plated Reading

Looking for a book to take to the beach? To read on the plane? Or to cosy on the couch with? Do you prefer a paperback copy? Something you can see in the sunshine, something that feels good in your hands?

Well, Gold Plated is now available in both paperback and ebook format. And according to the early readers of the ebook, it’s a great read. Perfect for summer or winter reading, whichever way you prefer to read.

 Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage. Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul. What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

Is this the kind of book you’re looking for? A love story that spans five decades, but is under threat and may not survive any longer. One with this sort of recommendation? —

“An excellent story.”

“I was hooked from the first line.”

“I started reading Gold Plated at this at 7 am this morning. And finished it late this evening. First book I’ve read from beginning to end in a single day in quite some time. I simply had to devour it!!! Thank you for an exquisitely entertaining read! A beautiful treatment of love, betrayal, and resolve where self-love triumphs ultimately.”

“Loved it! What an enjoyable read!”

“Through life’s ups and downs this story was very enjoyable to read. I loved the different settings and how clearly I could see them along with the characters from the descriptive writing. Gold Plated is a perfect title and this book took me on a lovely journey into Rosanna’s life which is inspirational… I believe it’s never too late to start again, I will also now think differently when I hear something is gold plated. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting a good read.”

“I have just finished reading Gold Plated, and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

N.B. If, when you go to Amazon, you read that this book is ‘out of stock’, don’t worry. It’s never ‘in stock’. Amazon don’t ever store a stock of POD books. They are what the acronym indicates. They are Printed On Demand. So do go ahead and order the book. It shouldn’t take long to pop through your letterbox.

It is also possible to order Gold Plated through Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, FeedaRead or any good bookstore.

Enjoy!

 

Life in Fiction

Writers, what do your characters DO? When they’re not catching criminals, falling in love, crossing the ocean or solving mysteries, what to they do?

Readers, have you ever thought outside the book? Have you ever wondered what the characters you’ve come to know and love do when they’re not cavorting across the pages of your books?

Or have you, the author, told your readers already? Have you included the characters hobbies and interests as part of their story, part of revealing their character? Because, let’s face it, we all do something in our spare time, even if it’s sitting in front of the tv, or falling asleep on the couch. Our interests and hobbies tell a lot about us.

If someone tells you they like to go scuba diving and hillwalking, you quickly get the impression they are pretty active, energetic, out-doorsy. If they say they like to go fishing, taking the dog for a walk in the park, doing a bit of gardening, you’ll think of them as a little less adventurous but still active and still enjoy being in the fresh air. What about stamp collecting, video-gaming, knitting, reading – quieter pursuits? Perhaps they’re altogether quieter and prefer to be indoors.

Sometimes you meet someone who likes a real mixture of all of the above. Maybe most of the people you know like doing a good mix of things.

But, whatever it is they do, it can shape how they live their lives. It dictates how they use their time, how they spend their money, how much they interact with other people.

As writers, if we want to make our characters live on the page, if we want our readers to identify with them, feel they know them, almost expect to bump into them on the street, then we need to think about what our characters do when they’re not rushing about through the main plot of the story. We might only allude to it in passing, or we might build the story round it. Either way, it can enhance our writing to give our characters a hobby, an interest, a passion.

As readers, do you find it helps you identify with the character who enjoys gardening, as you do? Or who scuba dives like you’d like to? Who horse rides? Or who plays video games? Or knits? Or sews?

In my latest release, Gold Plated, my main character, Rosanna, loves to paint, to design clothes and to make them. She’s enjoyed these pursuits since she was a young girl.

Can you imagine her lying on the grass in her mother’s garden, sketching the shrubs and trees, painting the flowers? Or sitting at the patio table taking inspiration from the colours and shapes of the flowers for the next dress she intends to design and make?

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What about now she’s older? Can you picture her sitting in her conservatory, looking out at her garden, still allowing nature to inspire the dresses she designs

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What does her interest in such a pursuit, and the fact it has been the interest of a lifetime, tell you about her? She’s turned seventy now and it’s still her passion. Does that help you picture her?

Perhaps if she tells you about the dress she’s designed and made for her Golden Wedding Anniversary party:

“The dress I’m going to wear tonight is hidden in the wardrobe till later. I want it to be a surprise for Paul. He hasn’t seen it yet and has no idea of the peaceful hours I’ve spent sewing while he’s been out and about. It makes me smile every time I open the wardrobe door, push aside the things it hides behind, and see my handiwork hanging there. Inspired by the pale, creamy-yellow, woodland primroses that bloom in our garden every spring, designed and fashioned over the summer months after their faded beauty folded and faded further, it has been such a delight to make. Impossible to improve on nature, all I could do was allow the delicate flowers to inform my eye and guide my hand as I sketched and painted, desiring to capture the essence of their beauty in the spring to infuse into my work in the summer.
The chiffon material I sought out is gossamer thin and beautiful, the colour soft as sunshine on a misty day, and the dress slips over my still-trim figure in flattering, floaty, fluted layers to just below my knees.
Being so fine, it is one of the most difficult materials I have ever worked with, but worth every painstaking moment of the hours and days it took to cut and sew. Even the buttery silk lining had to be handled gently. Never have I worked so slowly and never have I been so rewarded for my care.
My fingers melt with pleasure as they linger on the fabric, and I long to feel my creation slip over my body to caress my skin.
I thrill with contented anticipation.”

~~~

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.

Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul.

What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

Gold Plated is available right now on Amazon Kindle. You can read it FREE if you have Amazon Prime. And the paperback will be published in a few weeks.

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Click here to buy Gold Plated on Amazon Kindle

Give yourself a treat!

Enjoy!

Music in My Fiction

Music in Fiction

Last year, I wrote a series of guest blogposts about Music in Fiction, in which we discussed books that featured or mentioned music as part of the story.

There are many devices writers can use to help bring our writing to life. In that short series of articles, published on Chris The Story Reading Ape’s blog, I took a fairly light-hearted look at just one of them.

Music.

Music plays a large part in Gold Plated, my latest release – in particular, the music of the sixties, and I’ve included a playlist at the end of the novel, with links to YouTube videos of the original versions of some of the songs I’ve referenced.

The story begins with Rosanna and her daughter, Heather, meeting up to continue planning Rosanna’s Golden Wedding Anniversary party. As she wanders through the garden centre on her way to meet Heather, her own version of a popular song from her youth runs through Rosanna’s head:

~~~

When a third stranger smiles at me, the realisation dawns not only am I humming an adapted version of Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit, It’s My Party, as I meander among the flower beds, but also, I sport a silly grin – and the blush of embarrassment that follows the realisation. But I can’t help myself.

There’s a party in the offing and, for a change, the butterflies fluttering about in my chest have gossamer wings rather than tackety boots. I’m not often a party-person, being more comfortable as a wallflower than a poppy, but …

“It’s Paul’s party and I’ll smile if I want to, smile if I want to, smile if I want to. You would smile too, if it happened to you.”

~~~

It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To – Lesley Gore – 1963

Gold Plated is now available on Amazon Kindle – paperback will follow shortly.

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Click to buy Gold Plated

If you’d like to read the series I wrote about Music in Fiction, click here.

Enjoy!

 

Gold Plated

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http://mybook.to/GoldPlated

We were walking on the beach in Embo in the North of Scotland, September 2016.

Often, walking together is a great time to chat, sharing thoughts and dreams, decisions and schemes, but today we were silent. There was a heavy mist on the North Sea and the horizon was hiding, taking our words with it. There was something about the haar: it silenced birds, the wind, the whisper of long grass as well as our words – but it couldn’t silence the continuous rolling waves as they broke onto the beach – and it couldn’t silence our thoughts.

Often, thoughts would tumble out of our silence and we would share them. There was no reason not to today – yet we didn’t. We were enjoying a world shrouded in a soft, white veil, from which rays of sunshine struggled to break free while the sea, ruthless, relentless, ripped through to crash on the shore.

I didn’t ask what my lovely hubby was thinking, but concentrated on the story that was forming in my mind.

We were here on vacation with our family and there, set like a pearl in the middle of the two weeks, was our anniversary. Forty-nine years of married bliss.

But that’s never true, is it?

No-one is perfect, so no two imperfect people can forge a perfect marriage – not even us. We’d had ups and downs – never ins and outs – and some years were better than others – but we’d never not wanted to be married to one another.

Our children asked how we wanted to celebrate our 50 years of marriage next year, our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

I got to thinking about it. What did we want? What would we do? What were the children plotting? We told them, ‘Nothing much. Nothing expensive, no silly gold ornaments that we don’t need, golden gifts that we’ll never use. It would be nice just to be together.’

The conversation still swirled in my mind as my husband and I walked in our misty, magical silence. 

Then, in a sudden rush of gold, the sun won the struggle to light the world, compelling us to pause to take a few photographs.

I stood at the water’s edge.

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Wave after wave of water rolling in, breaking with cold white froth over the landscape of the beach – year after year of life rolling in, breaking with warm love over the landscape of our marriage.

But what if?

What if it had been different?

So I wrote a story about a love that spanned more than fifty years.

Or did it?

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.

Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul. What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

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Gold Plated is with the publisher now so the paperback should be launched soon. Meantime, it’s already available on Amazon Kindle.

Launch Day

Three … Two … One … We have lift off!!

Released today!

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The third novel in The Reluctant Detective Series.

‘Find her,’ Agnes Donald begged. ‘Find my daughter.’
The words of a dying woman force Mirabelle to take on another case for the unofficial Missing Persons Bureau she runs from her Edinburgh flat.
Along with her assistant, Kay, she heads for the island of Skye where Esme Donald was last known to be. But is someone else looking for Esme too? And could Mirabelle’s own daughter, Summer, be in danger?

Rusty Gold is available as a paperback and an eBook on FeedARead,  Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Waterstones and can be ordered through most bookshops.

Get your copy today.

Enjoy!

~~~

New to The Reluctant Detective Series?

Here’s a bit of a catch-up.

Mirabelle had thought she and Summer were happy. Being a single parent may not be ideal, but they coped well with their situation. Sure, bringing up a teenaged girl on her own was hard work, and they had their ups and downs, but they were pals as well as mother and daughter. She might not have planned her, but she was certainly glad she had Summer, and would not have liked to be without her. They’d built a life together, sorted out some kind of routine, and were happy. On a day to day basis, Mirabelle reckoned that’s all you could ask for.

 Then Summer disappears one Friday night and Mirabelle is left searching for her daughter, not knowing if Summer is alive or dead, went of her own accord or was taken against her will. Casting all other concerns aside – food, sleep, work, relationships – in her desperate need to find the answers, she takes to the streets of Edinburgh in search of Summer. Searching along wynds snaking behind old buildings, through ancient doors and tiny spiral stairways, showing Summer’s photograph to everyone she meets in shops, museums and nightclubs, Mirabelle becomes a reluctant detective, gathering clues, trying to make sense of them in order to find her missing daughter.

Meanwhile, Mirabelle gains a reputation for finding missing people and reuniting them with their loved ones. As people turn up on her doorstep asking for help, her kitchen becomes the hub of an unofficial missing persons agency.

Traces of Red, the second in the off-beat Reluctant Detective Series about Mirabelle and missing people, is the sum of several interwoven stories about an abandoned baby, two missing young women, a missing husband … and a dead body. Why did one of them abandoned a baby in an Edinburgh pub? Which one of them lies face-down in the river? Mirabelle finds herself running an unofficial Missing Person’s Bureau from her flat in Edinburgh, and DI Sam Burns seems happy to use her expertise to help him find these people, and learn how their stories interlink.

In Book One of this series, Mirabelle’s search was centred in Edinburgh, widening out to include the Scottish countryside further North in Book Two. Now, in Book Three, Mirabelle is off to the Island of Skye.

~~~

***FREE*** Flying Free ***FREE***

FOR TWO DAYS ONLY
FLYING FREE 
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Flying Free is FREE on Amazon Kindle on Tuesday, 1st April and Wednesday, 2nd April

Not got your copy yet?

Why not download it now at

http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00HUHGQW2

What’s this book about?

Why not read the post from 30th March

You can also watch this video

and this one

and read the posts from 25th, 26th, 27th January

So many ways to find out what Flying Free is about.

And one way to download it FREE

http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00HUHGQW2

Get your copy now.

You’ll not regret it.

What’s That Book About?

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Flying Free is my third novel.

The blurb on the back of the book reads:

When Tom asks Jayne to marry him, he unwittingly opens her personal Pandora’s Box, and now she can’t seem to close the lid on all that rushes out at her, whirling her into a cycle of self-sabotage.
Unable to commit to a relationship, she pushes Tom away…along with everything else that’s important in her life.
There are things she had chosen to forget. There are others she can’t remember even when she tries. What she does remember is fear.
Feeling emotionally trapped by her past, her biggest challenge is to break through its bars and fly free.
Then she finds someone to help her make sense of what’s happening, but, instead of slamming the lid shut on all that has been let loose, he helps her open it wider and makes her face her fears in order to overcome them.
Remembering the past helps her make sense of the present and allows her to begin the process of healing and she finds that, as in the fable, there is one last thing left in the Box. That thing is hope.
But, when she is ready to commit to a relationship, will Tom still be waiting?

~~~

There is also the short video I made where I read the first chapter of Flying Free.

You’ll find that over there on the right, in the sidebar.

~~~

But what is Flying Free about?

I’ve made you a short video by way of explanation.

Amazon Link: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00HUHGQW2

~~~

I’d love to get your thoughts on both the subject matter of Flying Free and on whether it is helpful to have the video.

Thank you.

~~~

Tagged again!

Hello everyone! I was invited to participate in another tagging Blog Hop by Vashti Quiroz-Vega, a delightfully exotic name and a delightfully exotic lady. Vashti writes a blog which you can find at http://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/writing-process-blog-hop/

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Vashti has published a novel called The Basement, a tale of angst, teamwork and solutions, treasure hunts and adventure, and facing fears. It is a focus on the small world of one group of preteens and the very real and wondrous world they face. You can buy it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/The-Basement-Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/dp/162510555X/ref=cm_rdp_product

There are a few simple rules to this blog tagging:

1/ I must answer the four questions below.

2/ I must link back to the person who invited me to this Blog Hop.

3/ I must name four writers who will continue this Blog Hop and notify them.

Questions:

1) What are you working on?

I’m in the later stages of editing my NaNoWriMo novel. Its working title has changed several times and at the moment it is ‘Enough’  but I can’t make up my mind if that’s a great title or a terrible title. Any comment on that would be most welcome.

The novel is about Mhairi, a mother and grandmother who knows she did some terrible things when she was young, but can’t remember if she committed the heinous crime she was accused of. The trauma at the time and subsequent medication blacked out the memory, allowing her to built a good life with a loving husband, family and friends.

Her past feels like it belonged to someone else.

But now her daughter’s project is threatening to blow her life apart, exposing her for who she was. Rhona has decided to trace the family tree, to delve into the past and search out its secrets. Like a bloodhound, she refuses to be distracted from the hunt. Mhairi has to keep one step ahead or go on the run.

 2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

The last time I was asked this question I kinda opted out by saying that every writer’s work is unique, and I stand by that, but perhaps, in fairness, I should give you more than that.

I think my work differs from others in the genre in that I don’t think it quite fits into any genre.

Yes, it is Contemporary Fiction, written about ordinary people living here and now. Yes, it is General Fiction, which could appeal to men and women, old and young, and it is about coping with extraordinary ordinary problems. But it is so much more than that. My novels have an element of suspense in them, often a bit of crime and detection, sometimes romance, sometimes Family Saga, always exploration of relationships. They are character driven but with a strong plot line too. So, if any of you have read any of them…could you please tell me to which genre they belong?

3) Why do you write what you write?

I write about things I care about and things I am fascinated by.

I have always been fascinated by how someone can just walk away from their life, their family, their friends and disappear, leaving no trace, only heartbreak and worry. I explore this concept in my first novel, Family Matters.

Being happily married and surrounded by family, I care deeply about the loneliness others suffer: the causes of it and the solutions. I’m also fascinated by the modern phenomenon of shopping addiction, and its causes and cures. So, in my second novel, Making It Home, these are the areas I investigate.

My third, newly-released novel, Flying Free, takes a look at another subject I feel passioately about: recovery for victims of childhood abuse. I don’t know that there is ever a true recovery, but it is important to try to help there be at least a measure of healing. In Flying Free, the main protagonist’s life has been blighted this way and the story traces her route to recovery, in as much as that is possible. It is an ultimately uplifting, optimistic book.

4) How does your writing process work?

I’ve always been a bit of a ‘pantser’. Writing as I feel and as it comes. I try to have a notion of where I’m going, but it isn’t usually clearly mapped from beginning to end. The things I have a clear grasp of are who the characters are, what they want, what they need and what stops them getting it. And I know how the story ends. Apart from that, I like to go where the story takes me.

Look for the Blog Hop to continue next week at these sites:


Alana Munro, the author of Woman Behaving Badly, a book that attempts to understand women and to make sense of the huge expectations women place on each other. How can we avoid toxic women? What bad behaviours should we be looking out for? This book attempts to understand what is really going on between the females in our life. Alana is a great supporter of other authors and her blog is rich in writing tips, author reviews and other great stuff. Link for Alana Munro: http://alanamunroauthor.com

~~~

Dyane Ford, author of The Purple Morrow, book 1 of her adult fantasy series. As one reviewer says, ‘The Purple Morrow leads the reader on a romp through a detailed fantasy world at war.’ Another calls it, ‘A light fantasy with great characters.’ You can find out more about Dyane, her book and her writing tips on Dyane Ford:  http://droppedpebbles.wordpress.com

~~~

Stuart Turnbull, a poet and author of stories both short and long, including the wonderful Tweeties, stories in 140 characters or less. Great fun. You can check out Stuart’s writing on his blogsites. I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself.

Stuart Turnbull: http://diamondsanddross.blogspot.co.uk

~~~

Amanda L Webster, author of two books, Loosely Collected: A Book of Poems and NaNoWriMo Gone Wild: The Quest for 50,000 Words. Plus she writes an amazingly helpful blog, which you can find at  http://writeontheworld.wordpress.com

~~~

All blogs I’m certain you will enjoy for various reasons, so do visit them and be entertained and amazed.

Enjoy!

We Have Lift Off!

Okay! So I know I already had a victory dance for Flying Free when the Kindle edition became available, but this is it! This is the proper launch.

I have in my hands the BRAND NEW PAPERBACK EDITION of

FLYING FREE

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So, as well as being available to buy as an eBook on Amazon Kindle,

Flying Free is also now available as a paperback on Amazon.co.uk and FeedARead.com, Waterstone’s.com and Barnes & Noble…so look out for it there if that’s where you usually purchase books. And it can be ordered through bookstores everywhere.

Ask me if I’m happy?

Such fun!

~~~

What’s the book about?

Well, it’s not all ‘happy-clappy’ —  but, nor is it misery-lit. Far from it. It’s a novel filled with hope and positive energy.

~~~

 Flying Free is almost a contemporary novel, set in 1997, about someone who could be your neighbour, your friend, or even you.

~~~Perhaps you’ll recognise the situation~~~

Jayne has been hiding from her past. If fact, she thought she’d escaped from it when she and her mother ran away to Edinburgh when Jayne was a girl.

She thought the past would stay in the past, but, twenty years later, when her friend, Tom, asks her to marry him, he unwittingly opens her personal Pandora’s Box, and now she can’t seem to close the lid on all that rushes out at her, whirling her into a cycle of self-sabotage.

~~~Been there, done that, do I hear you say?~~~

Unable to commit to a relationship, she pushes Tom away…along with everything else that’s important in her life.

~~~Why, oh why do we do that?~~~

There are things Jayne had chosen to forget. There are others she can’t remember even when she tries. What she does remember is fear.

Feeling emotionally trapped by her past, she finds someone she can talk to, but, since trust is one of her major issues can she let this stranger help her?

Instead of slamming the lid shut on all that has been let loose, he helps her open it wider and makes her face her fears to allow her to begin the process of healing. When she feels ready to commit, will Tom still be waiting?

She finds that, as in the fable, there is one last thing left in the Box. 

That thing is hope. 

This novel traces a woman’s struggle to become the woman she wants to be in order to marry the man she loves.

~~~Hands up if you’ve never struggled with things from your past.

You win first prize. Lucky you.~~~

~~~

If you click on the link to your right, you can hear me reading the first chapter of Flying Free.

I hope you enjoy both the reading and the novel.

Thank you.

~~~

At Jo Robinson’s request :-)(see comments)

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and as a bonus for you, Jo…

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