The Evil Writer Award

I saw this award over at Smudged Thoughts and I couldn’t not do this. It sounds like such a fun tag and there is no doubt I’m an evil writer *evil laugh*, all of my characters had the worst childhood ever and people drop dead like leaves in autumn in this story.

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How many characters do you typically kill per book? And how many people have you killed in real life, dear? Do you… feel any remorse about this? I’m concerned about you.

I haven’t finished my book yet but I’ve written about 20k and there are is only one death on paper, but there are probably about four-ish that died before the story started. I plan on having a massive kill-party near halfway and probably another near the end. But okay seriously, I expect there to be at least 20 deaths (not including the ones that died before), but probably no major characters.

I’m not going to answer the second part of this question 😛

Do you prefer to use weapons of mass destruction like explosions and famine and world war or more personal torture like killing family and friends and pets?

Personal torture, thank you very much. That way I can cause my characters some more pain because apparently, I like doing that.

Are you more like Loki, who perpetrates great evil with a creepy grin, or… give me a minute… Darth Vader, who secretly weeps inside his… fake head, whilst destroying the world? 

Creepy grin. But at the same time, I cry for my characters.

What is the most dastardly crime you have ever committed as a writer? 

So far, killed the (only?) person my character loved, in a very very awful way *grins*.

What kind of chocolate do you most like to devour as you burn things? White, milk, semisweet, or dark? Bonus points if you are so evil you find unsweetened cacao palatable!

Milk! I love milk chocolate. While we’re on the topic *takes a bite of chocolate*. You can never have enough chocolate while writing.

What is your villainous title? You may not have “Evil Overlord” because that one’s mine.

Uhm… Miss Heartbreak. Because I like to break my characters’ hearts (I’ll fix them again, I promise).

Which of your characters would actually be a match for you if you were to duke it out one on one?

Emery. No doubt. She’d kill me on sight. But honestly, I wouldn’t want to meet Felton or Noa in a dark alley either. Brim I could probably fight, and like, not lose to in the first few seconds.

Which character, in all the many books you have undoubtedly written, is most likely to be your Archnemesis?

*has not even 1 finished draft of book*

*smiles sheepishly*

I don’t know.

Do you wear a cape? Face paint? A mask? Special underpants? Or do you hide in plain sight… like Moriarty? Give me details!

I wear my special cloak because CLOAKS.

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Are you an evil writer like me? Then you should do this tag, because it’s lots of fun! What is the worst thing you’ve done to your characters? How many characters will die in your book?

What Cats Do Book Tag

I was tagged for the What Cats Do Book Tag by Faith from Adventuring Girl and because I love cats and books, I decided to give it a go! Thank you, Faith for tagging me!

Rules

  1. Credit Kate
  2. Answer the questions
  3. And tag as many people as you like

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Purr – as cats do when they’re happy or relaxed, what is the book that makes you happy or relaxed?

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Sometimes the best thing is just to read some romantic, slightly cliché book and relax. I don’t do it often, but sometimes. Isla and the Happily Ever After is definitely one of those sappy books that makes me happy.

Sleep – what is a book that put you to sleep, or was just boring?

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SeQuence was just so boring… Sorry.

Twitch While Dreaming – have you ever dreamt of a book you read?

Not that I can remember. I did once dream about Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine, which I haven’t read but I dreamt that the writer was about to give me a copy of her book and then she decided to give it so someone else :/

Seems to Play Nice…until the claws are out – which book had the biggest plot twist?

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Plot twists don’t get much bigger than the one in Red Queen!

Cuddles – which book character would you (want to) give a hug to?

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My answer to this question will forever and always be Oskar from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Please let me hug Oskar, okay, he needs it so much.

Catnip – what’s a book that made you have warm and fuzzy feels?

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The Color Project gave me a lot of fuzzy feels!

Cat Breeds – what are your favorite books?

Both Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Serpent King have a special place in my heart.

The Vet’s Office – least favorite book.

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I don’t really have one least favourite book but The Way Back Home gets pretty damn close.

Being in Places They Shouldn’t – least favorite cliche.

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I have very many pet peeves and 99% of them are related to love-stories. I don’t like love triangles and insta-love, but what I hate even more is the “sort of plain, insecure girl who desperately needs a boyfriend”. I hate that it undermines the whole idea of that you’re your own person and that don’t need anyone to feel complete. I hate that so so much. (I didn’t hate this book (at all), I just hated that aspect of it).

The Good Old Cardboard Box – most underrated book series.

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The Wolves of Mercy Falls is such an underrated Maggie Stiefvater series. I adored these books so much and I think I always will.

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What’s your least favourite cliché? Which character would you want to give a hug?

If you want to do this tag, go for it! I am not tagging anyone in particular but you’re open to do it as you please!

Blogger Newbie: Leanne (@ Bookish Revolution ) | 3 books that changed my life

I got an exciting guest post from Leanne over at Bookish Revolution! Let me just give her the word!

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Who Are You?: I’m Leanne, I’m relatively new to the world of book blogging. I’m an avid (but slow!) reader, and I’ll read pretty much anything except romance, which no matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to get into! I also love belly dancing, running and my cat Coconut.

What is your blog about and what are your plans with it?: My blog is about books, but I’m not doing many straightforward reviews. I prefer to look at how books have shaped my view of the world, or how they’ve helped me in some way. I also like to do a light-heartes post once in a while – like pictures of my cat with books!

Why did you start blogging?: I wanted to connect with people and discuss books with them – that’s pretty much it! I also want to improve my writing style and develop my own “voice”. I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I finish a blog post.

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Which books changed your life? Here are 3 of mine

This week I’ve been reflecting on my reading progress for the year. Not just in terms of the number of books I’ve read, but also the quality of those I’ve read and the level of diversity I’ve managed to achieve.

I’ve read some great books this year that have all resonated with me in different ways. That said, with the possible exception of Roxane Gay’s wonderful Difficult Women, which I talked about in an earlier blog post, nothing has jumped out at me yet as a book that I’ll remember for years to come. You know the sort I mean, the book you look at sitting on your shelves and immediately start reminiscing about the time you read it and how it made you feel.  It makes you want to capture that feeling again and again.

Now, I know we’re only in July, so there’s still a few more books left to read before the end of the year. I also recognise that the important books in your life tend to be few and far between, and that’s part of what makes them special – you’d probably be rather emotionally drained if every book you read left you pining so deeply for the experience of reading it again, and sometimes that’s really not what you need from a book anyway.

But it got me thinking about some of the books I’ve read that have had a big impact on me over the years, and some are probably ones you wouldn’t expect! Here are 3 books that, in very different ways, have changed my life.

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

To be honest, I can’t remember exactly when I first read Harper Lee’s classic. It wasn’t when I was at secondary school, although I certainly owned a copy at that point – I think I may have been at university before I finally managed to read it.

I could see immediately why it’s such a popular choice on the curriculum in American high schools, and I really hope it still is today. It addresses so many important themes – race relations, gender stereotypes, what it means to have courage and to follow your own moral compass. To have compassion for others who aren’t like you. Things that I think are more relevant today than they ever were.

To Kill A Mockingbird taught me that doing what you think is right isn’t always an easy option – but you should do it anyway. When I re-read this book a couple of years ago, I remember sitting on a bus and reading the end of a particular chapter – and having to close the book for a second so I could hug it. I never do that.

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight – Linda Bacon

And now for something completely different!

I first read this book about 4 years ago, after having a conversation with a work colleague on the bus home. I’d been going to Slimming World for about a year by that point, and I’d never really considered any other viewpoint than the one espoused by pretty much everybody, from doctors to friends – being fat is unhealthy, and you’re only going to be happy if you can get thin and stay thin.

Oh, how the science in this book completely changed my perspective.

I’ve never been happy with my body. I come from a family where dieting is the norm, and being fat is just not something that is acceptable. This book helped me move away from the diet mentality – and consequently away from low self-esteem. Until I read this book, I hadn’t realized how much of my self-esteem was wrapped up in trying to attain a socially-acceptable body (or how much emotional energy I was expending trying to do it). I’m not only happier because of this book, I’m healthier – I don’t obsess about eating, but I’m still able to make food and exercise choices that help me maintain my well-being and a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to the constant weight cycling and “all-or-nothing” approach to healthy eating that I had before. It also got me into reading other books about the obsession with the obesity “crisis”, as well as size-acceptance movements and intuitive eating.

I have a lot to thank Linda Bacon for – I can’t imagine what my life would be like now if I hadn’t ditched the diets and started living my life.

Kindred – Octavia E. Butler

This is the first book by Octavia E. Butler that I read, and I hope to add more to the list!

I enjoyed this book so much – the plot had me gripped and the nuanced relationships between the characters had me hooked. But these aren’t the reasons it’s important to me.

Kindred made me look at diversity in books in a new light. I’ve felt for a long time that it’s important to read more than just white male authors, who generally don’t experience the barriers to publishing or exposure in the book community that other writers do.

This is hard for me to admit, but reading this book made me realize that I’d been making assumptions about black writers and writing that really weren’t true. Embarrassingly, I’d never heard of a science fiction book written by a black person, never mind a black woman, and this had never occurred to me as odd. I’m cringing as I write this, because it all seems completely ridiculous to me that I could ever have thought this way.

I’d never really considered that black writers who get publicity in the UK tend to be writing about particular subjects such as slavery, or the political situation in Nigeria, themes that you’d probably expect black writers to explore. There is nothing wrong with this – I’ve read some brilliant books on these topics. But I think it does lead to black writers getting pigeonholed, because the reading public is often only showcased a particular sort of writing. I think this can often be true for writers from other backgrounds too. I’m sure it’s not an accident that science fiction is overwhelmingly white, and male. Even though Kindred is widely dubbed a classic, and isn’t a new book, I’d never heard of it. I know it deals with slavery and race relations, but I’d never seen them approached in this way.

As I said, I loved this book, but it also raised some questions about diversifying my reading that made me feel uncomfortable. I’m glad about that. It made me realise that, if I was going to make sure that diversifying my reading didn’t turn into a tokenistic gesture, I needed to make an effort to find authors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds other than those established enough to be getting a lot of publicity, or those writing in mainstream genres that tend to have big marketing budgets. It’ll need a bit more effort, but I think it’ll be worth it. There are so many books by a diverse range of writers out there that we don’t get to hear about because of the barrier such writers face, and I’d like to help remedy that if it’s possible.

So, there you have my 3 life-changing books – which books are important to you?

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If you enjoyed this post, make sure to follow Leanne on her blog, twitter, litsy (@LeanneAslin) and/or instagram! Which book(s) changed your life?

Review: Girls Made of Snow And Glass: an Enchanting Retelling of Snow White

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust is a retelling of Snow White. It is a YA fantasy story about Lynet and her stepmother Mina with magic and is about friendship and family and love and it’s just amazing.

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32768509Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairy tale

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.
Continue reading “Review: Girls Made of Snow And Glass: an Enchanting Retelling of Snow White”

The Liebster Award

I’m sooooo late with all my tags and awards, therefore 2-in-1! I got nominated for the Liebster Award two times! So hereby thanks to May and McKenzie!

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May’s Questions

  • If you were to stop blogging, what would be the reason? – Because I would be dead. Okay no, the only reason right now I could think of if it would be that I would no longer have time.
  • What are some hobbies you have? – You want a list? Because that could go on forever. Some of my main hobbies are drawing/hand lettering, photography, blogging, watching tv shows, reading.
  • Would you rather be dead or die? (Yes, there’s a difference.) – well… in order to be dead you have to die, and dying seems a bit more painful than simply not existing, so let’s skip the dying part and just be dead?
  • Do you like mangoes??? – I feel like I cannot answer this question with a no haha. I like mangoes, yes!
  • What book would you not feel guilty about stomping on, tearing, and burning in a fire? – I use my copy of Lord of The Rings as a doorstop/windowstop haha, it’s big and I don’t care about so I wouldn’t mind ruining it, though, then I would have nothing to keep my doors/windows open…
  • What blogs do you ALWAYS look forward to reading? (Or, if you’re afraid your dear readers might feel bad: What type of blogs do you tend to follow? ie. book blogs, lifestyle blogs, writing blogs, etc.) – In general, I love blogs that have a lot of discussions and original content. I don’t feel like looking up all the urls so I’m just going to keep it like this.
  • What’s one moment in your life you’d choose to play over and over again (aka re-experience over and over again?) – This might be weird, but I once was at the sea in the evening and the waves were crashing against the walls of the boulevard and it was honestly the most calming wonderful thing ever. I wish I could stand there every evening.
  • You have the choice of reading a book you HATE, every single day, or reading one good book per year. Which do you choose? – One good book obviously. I love reading but I’m not going to make myself read horrible books all year through, I would get depressed.
  • What’s one food you will never get tired of eating??? (ONE food, people, ONE.) – Pasta. I love pasta and you can basically make it everything you want it to be.
  • What would you do if someone walked up to you and gave you 100 bucks? – uhm be very surprised, try to give it back but probably be too surprised to do anything. Maybe do some random acts of kindness or spend it on books to give away (and keep)
  • How are you right now? ❤ – right now I am awesome, the weather is amazing and I’ve got a pup playing at my feet. Thanks for asking ❤ [edit: the situation got even better, now I’ve got a popsicle]

McKenzie’s Questions

  • Whats your favorite book trope? – Friend becoming lovers. Or just really great friendships.
  • Have you ever been to an author signing? If so who? – No sadly not, I live in The Netherlands so… only Dutch authors sign here and I barely know any of those.
  • Put your music on shuffle, whats the first song that played? – Last Nite by The Strokes
  • Whats your dream job? – Something in marketing, preferably neuromarketing (which uses brain scan techniques to understand people’s buying behaviour)
  • Which bookish pet would you gladly adopt? – I’ve always wanted a stormhunter from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. They are huge majestic flying animals that remind me of dragons.
  • Whats your favorite book of 2017 so far? – The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner.
  • What type of pet person are you? Dog? Cat? Fish? Dragon? – Dogs and cats equally.
  • Favorite food to snack on while reading? – Eating and reading don’t go ver well together, so nothing.
  • Which Harry Potter book would you reread, rewrite, and burn? (Or pick your favorite series to do!) – I don’t really have a favourite HP book. My favourite series would be The Lunar Chronicles, so I’m going to have to reread Winter, rewrite Cinder and burn Scarlet (sorry Scarlet 😥 )
  • Whats the biggest book on your shelf? (Size or length, you pick) – Winter by Marissa Meyer is 800+ pages so I think that counts as the biggest book.
  • What advice would you give to new bloggers? – Connect!!! Get in touch with the rest of the community! Or take part in my new project!

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What’s your favourite book of 2017 so far? Do you have a moment in your life that you would redo over and over again?

Thanks for reading and if you want to do this as well, just pick 11 questions from this long list and let me know! I’d love to read your answers!

The Book Titles Tag

I saw this over at BooksAndLala‘s youtube channel and it sounded like so much fun I’ve decided to do it here on my blog as well. This tag is a combined edition of two different ones from Rachel Reads and Books and Looks.

The idea behind this tag is that you have 18 questions/statements and you answer each of them with a book title. I have decided to answer solely with the books on my physical shelves, to make it a bit harder for myself (not that this isn’t hard already haha)

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1. Title that’s the story of your life

The Perks of Being a Wallflower” – Okay, that one was surprisingly easy. I am definitely a wallflower haha.

2. Title that describes your perfect weekend

I’m trying to find something with reading in the title but I don’t have anything… So I’m going to have to go with “Let’s Get Lost“, because I’d love to get lost (in a story? haha).

3. Title of an adventure you’d like to go on

I’d love to go on the adventure: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe“, if that means I get to go with Ari and Dante to discover the secrets because that sounds like a lot of fun!

4. Title you want to name your child

I’m not going to call my kid “The Maze Runner“, “Legend” or “Heartless” or something like that. It’s really hard to find a one-word title. I’m going to have to go with “Scarlet“, or maybe “Illuminae” because that’s quite pretty I think.

5. Title of your ideal job

Titles I can come up with: “Red Queen“, “The Martian” and “The Book Thief“. Though Red Queen and The Martian sounds pretty cool job descriptions, I think I’m going to steal some books.

6. Title of a place you’d like to visit

I don’t have any city/country related book titles, except Auschwitz, and let’s not go there. I do own however a copy of “City of Fallen Angels“, which I think is a well enough description of Los Angeles. I’d love to go back to Los Angeles!

7. Title of your love life

UHm haha I think I’m going to have to go with “Silent to the Bone” because my love life is non-existent. “Radio Silence” is a good option as well.

8. Questions you ask yourself

Am I Normal Yet?

9. Title of a kingdom you want to rule OR name

Options are: “Narnia” (which is pretty much taken and also not exactly the title of the book), “Crooked Kingdom” and “Hollow City“. I choose Crooked Kingdom because that sounds pretty cool!

10. Title you’d name your band.

If it were like metal/hard rock, I’d go with “The Death Cure“. “Requiem” also sounds pretty cool for a band name, but I don’t know what type of music they’d play. For a soft indie/folk band, I’d go with “Pigeon English“. I think I’m going to go with the last one. I am also a little bit in love with Lala’s idea of a band called “Eleanor & Park” because that sounds like something I’d definitely listen to.

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This is part 2 (the other tag)

1. What is your current mood?

Great Expectations” is as close as I get to how I feel right now. I’m excited and hopeful so I think it fits.

2. What is your favorite color?

The only book I own with a color in the title is “Scarlet” so I guess I’m going to go with that.

3. Describe your BookTube bookblogger bestie.

Man, this one’s hard, but I own this Dutch book called “Lieveling“, which translates to something like “darling” or “favourite” and I think that’s quite perfect!

4. How do you feel about 2017 so far?

2017 has been a pretty good year so far (for me at least) so I think I’m going to go with “Everything is Illuminated“?? Because I can’t find anything better haha.

NO NO WAIT: “My Most Excellent Year” 😀

5. Where do you want to travel?

Okay, this is pretty much the same question as before so I skip it!

6. What is your relationship status?

Happy and single, but I don’t have a book called that so. I do own a book called “Forever” but I don’t own one called “Alone”. That’s a bummer haha.

Okay I got something (this took me forever): “Enders” because I ended my last relationship (that’s the closest I could find. I literally own nothing else that could describe my single-ness).

7. What are your summer plans?

Gosh, I really do not own enough books to answer all these questions. I GOT IT. I have this Dutch how-to book about writing called “Schrijven, Kreng” which translates to “Write, Bitch!” (yeah rude I know) but I am going to write this summer!

8. What are your 2017 goals?

Same answer as before but also “Graduation Day“? (and also the other books in the Testing Trilogy; “The Testing“, “Independent Study“) Although that won’t be this year but beginning of next year. BUT I WILL GRADUATE in the upcoming 12 months!

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Okay that was a lot harder than I thought! I own a lot of fantasy novels with fancy titles such as “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”, “An Ember in the Ashes” and “The Bone Season”, which are all really nice but don’t really help me with this tag!

How would you describe your life with only the titles of books on your shelf? What’s the title of your ideal job in book titles? If you want to do this tag, go for it! It’s lots of fun!

Newbie Bloggers: Tina (@TinaHoganGrant) | Lessons about writing

Welcome to another edition of Newbie Bloggers, in which I introduce you to new bloggers! This week I’ll introduce you to Tina, who is not only a blogger but also a writer!

I give the word to Tina:

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Who is Tina?

Tell us something about yourself: Who Are You?: Hi, My name is Tina Grant and yes a newbie. Less than a week in fact and I’m excited to be a part of this community. I live in southern California and trying to grasp the fact that I will soon be a published author. (Yeah!) I just signed the contract earlier this week with my publisher to publish my works “Reckless Beginnings.” A fiction novel based on actual events. I’m married (24 years). We have a son and two wonderful grandkids. My husband is a professional falconer, We built our home in the mountains of Frazier park. My passions are reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, boating, gardening, fishing, exploring small remote towns and antiques.

What is your blog about and what are your plans with it?: I just launched my blog yesterday announcing the news of my book. I plan on using it to share with others the process and events that evolve up until launch day. It will be used to promote the book and other works. (Right now I am working on a sequel “Better Endings”) I plan on sharing writing tips and ideas and making new friends with my same interests.

Why did you start blogging?: I started blogging to mainly promote my book and share my interests with others. I also find it a great way to learn from others too.

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My passion is writing and reading. there is never enough hours in the day for all the books I want to read. I developed my passion for these from my father famed science fiction writer James P. Hogan. Books were his world and are now mine. Sadly he passed away suddenly seven years ago but I cherish the lessons he has taught me and lives my life by them.

Never Give up

If you have pushed yourself hard, give yourself one more shove

Never use the word carn’t.  [note from Lia: I am assuming this word should be can’t but I would also recommend to never use the word carn’t 😉 ]

If you are afraid to do it.. just do it.. you will discover that it wasn’t that bad after all

Your mind can be your worst enemy.. sometimes you just have to stop listening to it
I could go on, these are just a few lessons my dad taught me.

I live a content life in the mountains with my husband of 24 years with our two dogs (a Brittney named Tess and a Jack Russell named Ellie. We designed and built our house ourselves (When I say ourselves .. I mean just that. We did most of the work ourselves.)

My husband is a professional falconer and does bird abatement for a living. I’m at an exciting time in my life with the launching of my first book in the near future and I’m very excited to be here.

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What did you think of Tina’s life lessons? What is one lesson you learned in life that helps you write? Or just in general? If you liked this post and are interested in more of Tina’s posts (or her book!), go check out her blog here.