A little story about how I met my cats

Over on Katrina M. Hart’s blog, I’m sharing the story of how I met my cats by chance, one freezing cold January day. I’d love it if you popped over. Thanks for reading 🙂

https://katrinamarie25.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/guest-author-kendra-olson-how-we-met-by-chance/

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My review of The Flower Angel by Katrina Hart

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! To celebrate, I’m featuring my review of Katrina Hart’s latest romance novella, The Flower Angel. Some of you may remember that her book featured on my blog a couple of months ago. If you missed it, you can view that post here: https://kendraolson.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/the-flower-angel-by-katrina-hart/

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“Have you ever made a choice in a moment of complete panic and lived every day since praying you could go back and make it right? But you know you can’t, even when the present blurs with the past in your mind?”

The Flower Angel is a heartwarming story of love and forgiveness which is perfect for cuddling up with on a cold winter’s day.

When Chris checks into the charmingly quaint Forget-Me-Not-Inn for the weekend, he’s doubtful he’ll find love, even though the inn’s brochure promises he will. His well-meaning friends convinced him to take a much-needed break and see if he couldn’t find time for a little romance in his life. Since his girlfriend broke up with him and he found himself at the centre of a distressing car accident, he’s been plagued by nightmares and constant anxiety. All he remembers of the accident is seeing a young woman lying in the road, the blue forget-me-not-flowers he’d been bringing to his girlfriend now strewn across this stranger’s chest.

Meanwhile, Lara has also checked into Forget-Me-Not-Inn, hoping to forget the trauma of her car accident and the devastation it’s inflicted on her life. After her accident she’d spent several weeks in a coma and had to move back into her parents’ house as she couldn’t manage on her own. Lara can’t understand why the man who knocked her down couldn’t so much as apologise to her—she knows he all but disappeared afterward and his seeming indifference to her suffering infuriates her.

Of course, soon after checking in, Chris and Lara discover each other and begin to fall in love. But when Lara discovers that it was Chris who hurt her so badly, she is conflicted and finds it difficult to forgive him. Will the magic of Forget-Me-Not-Inn prevail?

Besides the lovely romance in the story, I enjoyed watching Chris and Lara learn to conquer their fears and come to terms with the events of their past. Featuring characters who suffer from anxiety and the  after-effects of traumatic brain injury, The Flower Angel presents a refreshing, fantasy-filled twist on the age-old notion of finding one’s soul mate in the most unlikely of places.

The Flower Angel is available as an ebook and a paperback. You can obtain the paperback from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flower-Angel-Katrina-Hart/dp/1540629341/

The ebook is available from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flower-Angel-Katrna-Hart-ebook/dp/B01N579TF6/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Flower-Angel-Katrna-Hart-ebook/dp/B01N579TF6/

To check out more of Katrina Hart’s novels and novellas, visit her Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Katrina-Hart/e/B013KPPUGK/

The Flower Angel, by Katrina Hart

This post is dedicated to Katrina’s lovely nan, Jean, who sadly passed away yesterday. Jean was an avid reader and a quiet encourager of writers everywhere, but especially of Katrina’s writing, and also my own. 

Today I’m featuring Katrina Hart’s latest novella The Flower Angel.

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The Flower Angel is an imaginatively written contemporary romance which also features elements of fantasy. Here’s a brief description of the story:

The Flower Angel: Two strangers. One past. Can the Flower Angel help Lara and Chris find love? Lara and Chris are strangers when they meet at Forget-Me-Not-Inn, the place where lost and lonely souls come to find love. Drawn to one another from the start, Chris soon realises that they have a traumatic secret in common – something that Lara will find challenging to forgive… Will the Flower Angel be able to work her magic and help Lara and Chris find true love together? Anything’s possible at Forget-Me-Not- Inn.

But I thought that, rather than tell you my thoughts on the story, I’d let you read a little of it for yourself. So, without further ado, here’s an excerpt:

One Year Later…

Chris swung his bag over his head and waved to his friends who’d insisted, a week ago now, that he take up their offer of a weekend at Forget-Me-Not Inn. They’d told him its secret: that all who entered fell in love with their soulmate, destined to find forever love. Of course he’d not believed either of his friends as they’d followed him about his bar reading the brochure out loud. He’d thought it most likely seemed that way because couples took romantic nights there together or something.

He knew his friends were only being kind and believed he should relax and stop working every hour at his country club. They never stopped reminding him that he should get back to looking for love after his break up with a girl who’d never really loved him in the first place, no matter how much he loved her. In truth he’d been hoping that every moment he was working he’d heal from the dreams that consumed his sleeping hours. The night the accident happened not only left him broken hearted, but with a tortured soul and many questions he might never have answers to.

He turned to face the huge stone inn and started walking through the tall grass towards the building with stained glass windows and flowers around the door. As he got closer he noticed that all the flowers were blue and open in the sunshine. A flash of those flowers landing on the chest of the young woman he’d crashed into a year ago had him clutching his chest struggling to breathe.

Katrina Hart has also kindly agreed to answer a couple of my questions about the story and the writing of the novella.

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Welcome, Katrina!

Thank you for having me on your blog Kendra.

Firstly, where did the inspiration for this story come from?

Well, The Flower Angel started after I completed Love in Little Snow, my first novella. I was inspired to write my new novella by the publisher who had published my first one (Love in Little Snow). However, while writing the story of Chris and Lara, I found that I was also inspired by my boyfriend–those feelings of new love and the idea of two people colliding in a life changing way. Also how one moment can impact on a huge part of one’s life be it in a good way or not.   

I’ve always been fascinated by angels ever since I was around seven. I think they watch over us when we need it most, in a spiritual way. But also there are people in life who try to help each other and bring love and peace into each other’s lives. They kinda remind me of earth’s angels, a bit like Sally and George at Forget-Me -Not Inn.

Where did you get the idea for a flower angel? I love this idea.

I’ve always loved the idea of angels and believed in them ever since I was around seven, because at that age I believed one flew into my window and she transformed into my mum’s nan who died that night. I didn’t actually know that my mum’s Nan had died until I told my mum about the experience. But ever since then I believed that angels watch over us from just out of our eyes’ view, unless they choose to let us see them of course.

So, when writing The Flower Angel I imagined all kinds of angels and that’s how The Flower Angel came about.

How have you found the publishing process? I understand that the novella was initially going to be produced by a publisher who unexpectedly stopped trading.

I’ve found the publishing process very interesting. It was exciting working on the cover with the cover designer and then having the book formatted for both Kindle and paperback. I think it was a great experience getting to grips with how the whole publishing process works and it’s possibly something authors should consider trying at least once, to get to see how it all builds up and turns into the finished book.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about this story or the writing of it?

The Flower Angel is a mixture of a moment that changed two people’s lives and their inner strength to try again.

Thanks so much for sharing your lovely novella with us and for answering my questions. Best of luck with The Flower Angel and with all of your writing!

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The Flower Angel is available as an ebook and a paperback. You can obtain the paperback from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flower-Angel-Katrina-Hart/dp/1540629341/

The ebook is available from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flower-Angel-Katrna-Hart-ebook/dp/B01N579TF6/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Flower-Angel-Katrna-Hart-ebook/dp/B01N579TF6/

To check out more of Katrina’s novels and novellas, visit her Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Katrina-Hart/e/B013KPPUGK/

You can catch up with Katrina by visiting her blog: https://katrinamarie25.wordpress.com/

Checking out her website where you can also read her short stories: http://katrina134.wixsite.com/muses/books

Follow her on Twitter:@KatrinaHart2015

Like her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Katrina-Hart-1785712648319624/

 

Interview with Katrina Hart, author of Love in Little Snow (Snow Globe Christmas Collection)

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Christmas? But it’s barely summer, I hear you say. Of course, you’re right, and while I’m not quite ready to skip ahead either, I did want to take this opportunity to speak to the very talented young author Katrina Hart about the recent publication of her novella, Love in Little Snow, published by Lovely Christian Romance Press earlier this month. Love in Little Snow is currently available as an ebook and will be released as a paperback during July (full details to come later).

Katrina Hart is also the author of the fantasy novel Finding Destiny which was published by Pilrig Press last year (you can read my interview with her about her debut novel here: https://kendraolson.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/author-interview-katrina-hart-author-of-finding-destiny-fantasy-ebook-just-released-by-pilrig-press/ ).

My review of Love in Little Snow follows the interview.

Welcome, Katrina! Thanks for coming by to talk with us today about your writing, especially Love in Little Snow.

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Firstly, could you describe the story for readers?

Thank you for having me back.  Love in Little Snow follows Dr Bailey Cartwrite who is devastated when his girlfriend, Lucy, is killed. However, in her last act of love, Lucy appears to Bailey as an angel and sends him to the world of Little Snow – the snow globe world for Christmas. Now he must open his heart to the new woman in his life and find his way back to God before the end of Christmas day.

The novella has a Christmas feel to it, but it also speaks of new beginnings and helping one another and that in turn helps Dr Bailey while he gets used to his life in Little Snow. Also this novella has a lot of love to it. Love in Lucy and her gift to Bailey, and love in Holly and her devotion to Bailey in his new life.

How did Love in Little Snow come about?

I did a bit of reviewing for Lovely Christian Romance Press and the publisher asked if I’d like to take part in her Snow Globe Collection. I love Christmas, not just the lights and snow and happy music, but the feeling of love for family and friends and being together sharing in the magic. So of course I wanted to give it a go and I thoroughly enjoyed writing Dr Bailey Cartwrite’s story.

With summer creeping up on us here in Britain, how did you manage to get in the Christmas spirit while writing your story? Did you carry out any special, pre-writing rituals to assist you, such as drinking hot chocolate or playing Christmas music? If so, could you tell us about them?

I listened to a lot of Christmas music and had my snow scented Yankee candles burning while writing Love in Little Snow. I also drank hot chocolate and cold chocolate and just felt the spirit of Christmas. For me, Christmas can never come quick enough and I think those emotions of the holidays are always there with me when I’m around loved ones; I just feel that love and joy.

What is your writing process like?

For this novella I started with a synopsis and then just began to write with my music on and my candle lit. I love to just follow characters and see where they go and where the story really ends. I did a lot of thinking and day dreaming too on this story…  After I wrote it I sent the story out for editing and then back to the publisher. 

What inspires you?

Authors like yourself inspire me to write, reading great books really gets your mind all in dreamy land ready to write your own stories. My boyfriend also inspired me a lot while writing Love in Little Snow.  Love and the magic of being able to write about snowy lands always has me in a magical world of my own.

Love in Little Snow is a romance, and your first novel, Finding Destiny, is a fantasy. Having read and enjoyed both, I feel that they each contain elements of both fantasy and romance. How important is the idea of genre to your writing? Do you begin a story intending it to be in a certain genre?

Honestly, when writing, I normally just follow my characters and the worlds they are in, not really focusing on genre. I think I often discover where my story fits instead of picking either to fit it in. Although with Love in Little Snow I wrote it intending to create a Christmas romantic feeling.      

Your first publication was a novel. How did you find the experience of writing a novella?

I really enjoyed the experience. I love writing short stories and the novella felt a bit like an extension of writing a short story. It’s lots of fun and can be written in between writing novels.  

The novella seems to have had something of a comeback recently. How do you feel about the form? Do you think that novellas offer new opportunities for writers?

Yes, I think novellas offer other opportunities for writers to do what we love–write stories. And with a novella one can finish it within a week or so then spend time on editing and making it as perfect as one wants it to be. 

I understand that, in addition to Finding Destiny, you’ve also written other novels for which you’re currently seeking a publisher. Could you tell readers a little about these?

Sure. I’ve written two other novels since Finding Destiny. My second novel is called The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing. It follows Suzy and Bill from Finding Destiny on their adventure in a whole new town. Suzy, along with her friend, Bill, find themselves in The Lost Town of Man’s Crossing, a land to which the chosen few are transported by their personal Crossing Creatures to a second chance at life. On arrival, Suzy receives twenty coins and a mission she must complete before her coins run out, in order to move on to a new land – or everyone will die.

My third novel is called Thawing Hearts. It follows Courtney as she travels to Snowlight City and while there she sees that everyone is frozen until she meets Miss Snowglow, child of Lightcity, who sends her on a mission to stop Xaviershadow, a monster of the water. However, this leads her to find more of herself and her heart than she’s ever imagined.

I’m also working on The Awaking Spark of a Dying Man, so I’m looking forward to seeing where this story leads…

Thanks so much for taking the time to come and speak with us about your work. Best of luck with Love in Little Snow, and with all of your writing!

Love in Little Snow is available from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01FL4SAPQ/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Little-Globe-Christmas-Collection-ebook/dp/B01FL4SAPQ

Finding Destiny is also available from Amazon. In the UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Destiny-Katrina-Hart-ebook/dp/B00U1WUFSE/

In the US: https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Destiny-Katrina-Hart-ebook/dp/B00U1WUFSE

Find out more about Katrina’s writing by visiting her blog: https://katrinamarie25.wordpress.com/

Like her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Katrina-Hart-1785712648319624/

Follow her on Twitter: @KatrinaHart2015

Kendra’s review:

As with Katrina Hart’s debut novel, Finding Destiny, this too takes place in a magical world which parallels our own. Of course, not everyone is a fan of Christmas—that one time of year when everything is meant to be perfect, but never quite is. And the main character in this story, Bailey Cartwrite, is no exception.  Since losing his girlfriend, Lucy, in an accident, his life hasn’t been the same. He’s lost faith in everything: love, life, God and himself. But when Lucy appears to him holding a snow globe, his life changes forever. Yet will he be strong enough to take the second chance she’s offering him?

A lovely romance containing all the Christmas touches: there’s hot chocolate, gently falling snow, carollers, snowmen in abundance and (perhaps most importantly) love—not only of the romantic persuasion but also love of family, friends and the less fortunate. While listed as a Christian romance, Love in Little Snow can also be enjoyed by non-believers as it is a story which heartens, and heartening is exactly what is needed at Christmas-time.

By the time you’ve finished reading this, you too will feel that all truly can be made right, and not just for the one day, but year-round, if we’d only let a little of that “Christmas magic” into our hearts every day.

Love in Little Snow is the perfect story to get you in the holiday mood, whatever the month!

A short story by Katrina Hart to celebrate Halloween

To celebrate Halloween this year, I’m sharing a special (and rather creepy!) story written by my good friend, Katrina Hart. Katrina is the author of the brilliant fantasy novel, Finding Destiny, which is available from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Destiny-Katrina-Hart-ebook/dp/B00U1WUFSE/ . You can visit her blog https://katrinamarie25.wordpress.com/ to read more about Finding Destiny and all of Katrina’s other writerly activities. Follow her on Twitter: @KatrinaHart2015 and like her author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Katrina-Hart-1785712648319624/

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The Memories of Home…

Looking Through the Mirror of Life.

By Katrina Hart

Monica-The Reflection of Life’s Mistakes.

Monica screamed at her bruised reflection in the kitchen window as her husband leaned over her shoulder to wash her blood off his hands. She turned so her small body was pressed close to his, and waited until he turned off the tap and moved so they were face to face. She had decided she would not stand for this again. She knew this wasn’t her home anymore.

‘Darling, you shouldn’t push me so, then we wouldn’t fight,’ her husband Sam whispered in her ear as he stepped away from her shaking body and picked up the fallen chair before sitting on it.

Monica wanted to say something; she wanted to scream for real and believe that this would never happen again. But the laughter in the mirror that was covered with a pink sheet against the wall stopped her. She heard the song that her mother used to sing flood the room.  She began to sing:

When Mummy’s little girl cry, Mummy’s comes to sing her a lullaby. When Mummy’s little girl loses her way, Mummy shines the light home. When Mummy’s little girl cry, Mummy comes to sing her a lullaby.’  The words felt like they had taken over her body and filled her brain with a sense of being home. She reached for the mirror and began to drag it out of the room. She didn’t look back to see if Sam followed her as she hurried up the stairs pulling the mirror into her bedroom, locking the door behind herself. Then she flopped onto her bed panting for breath.

Monica lay for the longest time remembering Sam, how at the beginning he had made her heart whole again. He had been a nurse caring for a patient in the next bed to her mother’s. She remembered looking over through her tears as her mother’s doctor had told her, her mother had shut her out of her failing memory. Monica remembered gripping her mother’s shoulders, shaking her, begging her ‘not to let go and leave her.’ Sam had come over to her and taken her out of the room, he had promised her ‘things would be okay.’

After that day she had come to see how truly alone she was apart from Sam. Her sisters were too selfish to care about anything apart from their own needs.

Sam had been her hero. He was a tall, handsome man, with the bluest eyes she had ever seen. He would buy her flowers and tell her things like ‘I’ll never leave you,’ ‘I love you’ while she cried out her worries over never being recognised by her mother again and her fears that she would be alone in the world. Never really belonging anywhere.

Then he changed. He lost his temper over silly things, until he couldn’t control himself. It was like some beast had taken him over and Monica was his prey. Monica could still hear the giggle in the mirror as she drifted into a deep sleep.

****

Monica- When one reflection freezes the other moves.

Monica woke hours later to the moon shining through the window. She felt lighter as she found a note slipped under the door. She debated if she should leave the safety of her room and face Sam or stay a little longer. The note read… When my little girl cries painful tears, Mummy slay the monster my little girl fears.  Monica dropped the note as the red blood like ink dripped onto the floor. She ran back to her bed and sat legs crossed, the tips of her toes dug into her soft quilt as she gripped hold of the sides of the pink sheet that covered the mirror.  She remembered that this mirror had been in every place inside her mother’s home.

This mirror reflected her mother singing in the kitchen, and moved when her cat had pawed its reflective glass, and helped her mother be sure her tear-filled eyes were not red anymore before she greeted her husband.

Now she mouthed, ‘When my little girl cries, Mummy brings her home safe.

Monica was ready to go home to the memory she was promised this mirror could take her to, and she would never have to leave. She remembered her mother telling her as she made her take the mirror with her before she got really ill.

Monica yanked the cover off the mirror and blinked at her reflection. She was seven years old again with two pink ribbons in her black hair. Her seven year self waved at the mirror before she moved towards Mother, who was baking a chocolate cake and singing her favourite song blasting out from the radio.

Monica’s heart pounded as she reached for the safety of that kitchen. Of her seven year old self. Her palm slipped through the glass like she was a ghost passing from one phase to another. She could hear laughter as her body went through the glass. And all her troubles left her mind as her feet touched the kitchen floor.

Monica looked down and realised she was seven again. She ran to her mother who turned and gave her the warmest smile that filled her heart with such happiness that she let out a childish giggle. Her mother winked at her as she picked up Daddy’s hammer that had blood dripping off the end and walked to the mirror, smashing it into so many pieces. Monica breathed a sigh of relief, now there was no way back for either of them. Then Monica’s mother turned to her and held out her hand. ‘My girl, you know you’ll always have a home with me.’ Monica smiled up at her mother and she knew she had found her home, where her heart belonged.

The End

Happy Halloween everyone!

Author Interview: Katrina Hart, author of Finding Destiny, fantasy eBook just released by Pilrig Press!

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Today we have Katrina Hart here with us to discuss her newly released eBook, Finding Destiny, available now from Pilrig Press http://www.pilrigpress.co.uk/books.html and on Amazon.

What motivated you to begin writing creatively?

I’ve always loved writing in diaries and found writing a great release. However, for me, writing really hit me one summer a few years ago. I was sitting looking out of my window thinking about writing, amongst other things. I just knew I wanted to start writing in a different way. So, I think my writing really came alive when I took a writing course online and had a great tutor who helped me focus on bringing out the stories that are in my mind.

How did Finding Destiny come about?

Finding Destiny started as a short story for one of my creative writing assignments. I’m honestly not sure exactly where the story came from. I just started writing and discovered all these people and their world, and from there, their journey grew. 

Which character do you feel most strongly about, and why?

Wow that’s a very hard one because every single character has a special place in my heart for different reasons. But I think Miss Talk A Lot (Lotty) is a character I feel strongly about, because she has some hard times and changes a lot but deep down she just wants to belong. Also, she has a scary side that endeared me to her character. 

If you had to describe the theme of your novel, what would that be?

My novel is about the journey of Alex and how he has to face the past to try and save the future for the people he loves.

What obstacles, if any, did you encounter when writing your novel?

Writing is full of obstacles. For me, I think it was getting my story out of my head and then making it just the way I wanted it. But I also think that was the fun part too, learning how to turn my writing–which sometimes only I could read–into the story I was following in my mind.

What was your greatest joy when crafting your story?

The greatest joy was getting to know all of my characters and following their stories right to the end. Also, getting to know other writers, like yourself, while writing my novel really meant a lot to me.

Once your story was down on paper, did you do a lot of rewriting? Could you talk us through this process?

Once my novel was on paper I started reading it over and making notes for changes, rewriting etc. Then I set about putting the changes in until I was happy I had it the best I could get it. Also, I got some great feedback from people, and my tutor who I got to know on my course, and that helped a lot too. Then it went off to an editor who helped me polish it to the best it can be.

Once you finished writing your novel, how did you go about finding a publisher?

Once I had finished my novel I got the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and started looking in there, but how I found the publisher who is publishing my eBook was through the person who edited my novel

Do you have any future novels in the works?

I do have other novels written/in the middle of being written that I’m still tweaking and working on…

Thank you Katrina for the interview and a big congratulations on the publication of Finding Destiny, available now from Pilrig Press http://www.pilrigpress.co.uk/books.html and Katrina’s blog: https://katrinamarie25.wordpress.com/

Until next time!

Writing achievements and support

Today I received something very special in the post–my own copy of The Single Feather by R.F. Hunt!

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This is certain to be a terrific, thought-provoking read. Ruth and I both took novel writing classes at writingclasses.co.uk. It was there we got to know each other, albeit virtually, and to encourage each other with our writing. It was also there that we became friends with Katrina Hart, author of soon to be published fantasy ebook, Finding Destiny, which you can read about here: http://www.pilrigpress.co.uk/books.html .

When we became friends, starting a virtual writers’ circle of sorts, we were all beginners, now three years later, we are all published or soon to be published novelists. This is due in large part to determination, persevering at our writing and editing even when it felt like it was time to give up. Speaking for myself, it was writing friendships such as I have with Ruth and Katie which helped me through the difficult times, when writing felt impossible, as though I would never get anywhere with it. Writing is hard and it’s difficult to maintain self-belief in your project through hundreds of pages, which makes having the support of other writers who will support you with your ‘crazy ideas’ all the more important.

So…hip, hip hooray and three cheers for Ruth!

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I can’t wait to read The Single Feather!

Speaking of writerly support, I would be remiss to not mention how grateful I am for the support of Marianne Wheelaghan, whose writing classes assisted me tremendously on my writing journey. Her new murder mystery novel, Killer Shoeshine, is coming out soon with Pilrig Press, Here’s a photo of her previous novels, The Blue Suitcase (historical fiction) and Food of Ghosts (the first of the DS Louisa Townsend series), both are available from Pilrig Press and both are excellent reads: http://www.pilrigpress.co.uk/books.html

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Also, Anne Hamilton assisted Ruth, Katie and I greatly both as a teacher as well as in the preparation of our manuscripts and with much needed mentoring in my case. She is the author of the intelligent, humorous and thought provoking travel book, A Blonde Bengali Wife, about her journeys in Bangladesh, which you can buy here (all profits go to the charity Bhola’s Children): http://www.ll-publications.com/nonfiction.html Here’s a photo of it’s lovely cover:

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So a big thank you to all the wonderful, inspiring and helpful writers in my life! I can’t wait to read all of your books when they come out!

Are you a writer, and if so, have you found having the support and encouragement of friends or a writers group valuable to your own writing practice? Looking back on your own writing journey, what are the milestones which stand out to you and how do you think you managed to arrive at each? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment below.