Tag Archive | England

How to beat writer’s block

NaNoWriMo: The Curse of Being Prolific

I’m delighted to welcome Elle Amberley to the Write Now! Coach Blog. Elle is a super-prolific author who writes in both French and English. Enjoy!

The Curse of Being Prolific by Elle Amberley

Writer’s block? What’s that?

I often hear about the dreadful writer’s block, sounds horrible. I always fear of it landing on me and enveloping me in its gloom. Yet, it’s never happened to me.

On the contrary, I seem to have been blessed, or cursed, with an overactive brain. I say blessed because of course I absolutely love writing and crafting new stories.

So, why would it be a curse, I hear you ask.

Well, imagine, it’s the middle of the night, the whole house is finally quiet and you’re lying there, tired to the bone, desperate to shut your eyes and go to sleep. And yet, you can’t, that mind of yours keeps wandering through the night, opening more and more doors.

That’s me I’m talking about by the way. My long suffering husband will at some point sigh, switch the light back on and pass me pen, paper and my Mac, if that particular night is very productive.

Truth is I have far too many ideas, files full of them for my next projects. Maybe this is one of the reasons I now have two pen names, because no publisher can keep up with this flow.

I always have several novels on the go and switch from one to the other as inspiration strikes or as publishing constraints demand. And maybe this is the secret, I never get a chance to get bored with one project. It also keeps my writing fresh, to me anyway. The only problem is I’m over-stimulated.

To make things worse I also started writing in French, which is rather bizarre but there you go, I never do things the way I’m expected to. Writing in French happened by accident or rather following a trauma. I felt such grief but was unable to express it and writing in another language unlocked these emotions I had kept hidden. It has also helped me developing as a writer.

As for NaNo, I wish you all good luck. Last Christmas I did my own NaNo in one week. 70,000 words to be precise. This is how I like my first drafts, fast and furious. Once I have an idea in that thick brain of mine, I’m gone, nothing can stop me, not even the flu. In fact, I could say I was in a trance.

About the Author. Please visit my website Elle Amberley Author to find out more about me and don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I’m always very happy to hear from readers or fellow writers. You’re very welcome to follow me on Elle Amberley Twitter and Elle Amberley Facebook where you will find updates and details of book signings.

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Author to Author with Jae De Wylde

 

Interview with Jae De Wylde, author of The Thinking Tank

I met Jae through my publisher, she’s a very friendly lady and talented writer. I’m thrilled to ask her a few questions for my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any writing quirks? 

Oh my goodness – so many. I guess the most annoying one – and irritating for my husband, is that I have to have the whole house clean and tidy in order to be able to settle to writing – bonkers, hey? But if there is something that needs to be done on the domestic front, I just cannot concentrate until it’s sorted. However, the upshot of this is that my house sparkles the whole time that I am immersed in a novel!

Where do you most like to write? 

I have an old chaise longue that has migrated from house to house and room to room – but wherever it is, that’s where I like to write. I do also enjoy writing in coffee shops though. I spent lots of time in a well-known brand place in Town Centre Dubai when we lived over there – they were so lovely to me.

How much does real life inspire or shape your writing? 

I have had quite a lot of life’s so-called T-shirts. I think you bring your thoughts, feelings, and senses to your work, as well as familiar places – but keep it rooted firmly in fiction. Real life would be in danger of being far too pedestrian told as it is. That said, The Thinking Tank was conceived when I had to spend two hours per day, five days a week in a hyperbaric oxygen tank (see my blog ‘Life’s Crappy Stuff’ for details).

Are you a disciplined writer? Do you make yourself sit down every day or do you write in bursts? 

When I am properly in the flow I make myself write 1500 words a day, 5 days per week plus I always edit the previous day’s work. If I don’t manage my target, I make up for it at weekends and never let myself off the hook

The dreaded writer’s block, have you been struck with it or blissfully spared? 

I have been lucky to have been spared thus far. Sometimes the first 20 minutes or so of what I write just has to be scrapped – but then I get in the zone and I become very uncommunicative for a few hours!

What do you like best about writing? 

Discovering what’s going to happen next! No – seriously, I have tried planning until the very last page but in reality, the characters just take over to the extent that I can’t wait to see how it ends. Characters just develop as you go along – so what you had intended for them no longer suits their personality – it’s fascinating. There’s a huge twist in my plot, which just kind of wrote itself. Honestly!

The Thinking Tank is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle, in all branches of Walkers and through branches of Waterstones and Waterstones.com

www.jaedewylde.com

Also available through: www.expatbookshop.com

Facebook: Jae De Wylde/ Twitter: @jaedewylde

Blog: Life’s Crappy Stuff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio:

Half Dutch and born between the in-and-out gates of a distillery on the borders of Wandsworth and Battersea, way before the area became chic, I loved the whole London culture vibe as I was growing up. I went to Grey Coat Hospital Girls’ Grammar School in Victoria (a real privilege – I am grateful for the experience to this day), and then on to read BA Jt Hons Modern Languages at the University of Bristol. I loved my early career as a Modern Languages (French and German) teacher, working in both the state and private sector. Writing has been in my blood for as long as I can remember. Following on from freelance journalism, my work as Editor for Travelsphere holidays was fantastic – travel is a great passion and I am blessed to have done a lot of it, and to have lived for a spell in Spain and in The Middle East. I also enjoyed editing Embrace Magazine for a couple of years – an intensely busy time, bonkers but good. Life has not all been easy. When one of the closest people to me died I thought that the world would end and it almost did. When I surfaced, I realised that it had simply changed forever, and decided to honour her memory with the passion I try to inject into everything I do. The Thinking Tank was inspired by a desire to turn life’s crappy stuff into something meaningful and enriching…our past doesn’t always have to dictate our future. I am now living in Lincolnshire with my husband and two chihuahuas.

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Author to Author with Michelle Betham

Please welcome on my blog today lovely author Michelle Betham. I’ve had the pleasure to meet Michelle through the Famous Five Club, a wonderful group for authors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • What inspires you the most when writing?

Music.  I am a huge fan of music anyway, it’s always been such an integral part of my life, and I can’t write unless I’m listening to certain songs because music sets the mood for me.  Every single one of my books has a “soundtrack” to it, a list of songs that were played as I was writing that particular book, songs that inspired events or character changes, songs that gave me ideas.  Just listening to certain lyrics can point me in the right direction when I’m suffering the dreaded writers’ block, or when it feels like all the ideas have dried up.  It’s not the only thing that inspires me, of course, but music is a huge part of my inspiration.

  • Where do you most like to write?

At my desk in the back bedroom.  I’ve set up my own little office in there, and it’s my territory, it’s where I got to get away from it all.  It was probably a mistake to place the desk facing the window, though, as I can be found just staring out of it when my concentration level is low, but it’s great to have my own space where I can go to write.  Of course, given half a chance (and a nice lottery win) I’d love to be writing in a little Spanish villa overlooking the sea but, for now, my desk in the back bedroom will have to do!

  •  Are you a disciplined writer? Do you make yourself sit down every day or do you write in bursts?

I try to be a disciplined writer, but it doesn’t always work out that way!  I do try to write every day – even if it’s just a blog post, or making notes for a new book – but I can have a terrible habit of getting easily distracted.  I think I was actually far more disciplined before I actually published any of my books, because I had nothing to concentrate on except writing, so that was all I did, all day every day.  I just wrote.  But now that the marketing side of things has come into it, and my involvement with social networking has grown, it’s far easier to get distracted, but it’s something I’m working on.  The self-discipline needs to come back into force because my new book won’t write itself!

  •  Marketing, a necessary evil?

Absolutely!  When I first started out on this journey as an independent author around six months ago I had no idea – and I mean, no idea – just how much marketing was involved when it came to getting yourself as an author and your books known.  It was a shock, to say the least, especially to someone as shy as me because I am just not used to putting myself out there.  So it’s been a very long and very hard learning curve, and I’m still learning new things every day.  But the one thing I really wasn’t ready for was how much time it takes up, and I think the hardest thing I’m finding right now is that balance.  I really want to have days where I just sit down and write, but I also need to be out there marketing as much as I possibly can.  So, yes, marketing is definitely a necessary evil, but it’s something you can’t ignore.  It has to be done.

  •  What do you like best about writing?

Being able to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing – make up stories for a living!  I love the fact that I can sit down every day and create new scenarios, new characters, sending them off on a journey that will, hopefully, allow readers to take that journey with them and escape into those characters’ lives, just for a few hours.  That’s what I love about writing.  Being able to get all these thoughts and ideas that I’ve had in my head for so long down on paper and finally turn them into something real.  Something that, I hope, people will enjoy reading.  Creating escapism, that’s what I really love about writing!

 

About Michelle: 

Born in the North East of England, Michelle is an ex-media technician turned Independent author of glamorous, sexy romance novels No Matter What and See You At The Show, and the more chick lit-inspired comedy romance Too Much Trouble in Paradise.

Having spent a couple of years living on the Spanish Canarian island of Tenerife – which was the inspiration for Too Much Trouble in Paradise – she now lives in County Durham with her incredibly tolerant husband and West Highland Terrier, and spends most days at her desk drinking endless cups of tea as she creates more stories and new characters for future novels.

A huge fan of music – especially rock – she loves watching movies, reading, and she’s at her happiest with a large bar of chocolate and a glass of wine!

She’s currently working on her fourth novel – Illusions of Love – a follow up to No Matter What.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links

My blogs – Michelle Betham – Romance Author http://michellebethamwriter.blogspot.com/

and Michelle Betham: Romance Author – It’s All About The Books http://michellebethamindieauthor.blogspot.com/

 

Find me on Facebook – My normal account https://www.facebook.com/michellebetham.author

and my Facebook Author Page  https://www.facebook.com/michellebetham.romanceauthor

 

Follow me on Twitter –  https://twitter.com/#!/michellebetham

 

Book Link

No Matter What on Amazon.co.ukhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Matter-What-ebook/dp/B00537TKN8

No Matter What on Amazon.com –  http://www.amazon.com/No-Matter-What-ebook/dp/B00537TKN8

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Author to Author with Paige Toon

An interview with lovely author Paige Toon!

 

Paige Toon was born in 1975 and her dad’s career as a racing driver meant that she grew up between England, Australia and America. She worked for eight years as Reviews Editor at heat magazine, before leaving to have a baby. She now lives in Cambridge with her husband and two children. One Perfect Summer is her sixth book.







 



 

 

  • Born with a pen in your hand or writing came as a shock brigade?

I was definitely born with a pen in my hand. I’ve always wanted to write books – ever since I was a little girl. I remember I often used to write stories with sad endings, because I knew that that wouldn’t be what people expected from a little girl, and I didn’t want to be predictable. The day I got a book deal was one of the best days of my life – I had started to fear it would never happen, and I know it would have been one of my biggest regrets. I feel very lucky indeed.

  •  Plotter or pantser?

I’m a plotter, for sure. I know how my stories will start, continue and end. All of the main story arcs I know beforehand… with the exception of my new book, One Perfect Summer (10 May 2012). To my total surprise, I realised about twenty thousand words before the end, that I didn’t know what was going to happen to my characters. One of the main characters turned out different to how I imagined at the beginning, and because of that, it had a knock-on effect with the other characters. I literally didn’t know what was going to happen as I was typing my last few pages – it was a truly bizarre, but extremely exciting. Maybe I need to plan less in future…

  •  What do you like best about writing?

I love losing myself in another world. My stories and characters feel very real to me. When I’m into a story, I’m itching to get onto my computer so I can put my thoughts down. As I’m a full-time mum, this isn’t often immediately possible, but I can daydream about my stories any time I like, and live vicariously through my characters!

For more information, join Paige’s Facebook page :

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Paige-Toon-Fan-Page/142441769168819

or follow her on Twitter @PaigeToonAuthor

You can also visit:

www.simonandschuster.co.uk

www.paigetoon.com

Thank you Paige, it was a pleasure to find out a little more about you and your writing process.

 

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Meet Author Trisha Ashley

An interview with lovely author Trisha Ashley.

 

 

 

 

Trisha Ashley gave up her fascinating but time-consuming hobbies of house-moving and divorce a few years ago in order to settle in North Wales. She has had many part-time jobs over the years, but her current one as a seasonal worker for the National Trust neatly combines three of her greatest interests: historic houses, gardens and meeting people. She also paints, usually in oils and occasionally watercolours.

 

 

 

 

  • Born with a pen in your hand or writing came as a shock brigade?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I started getting poems published in the local paper when I was eleven and wrote my first (unpublished and unpublishable) novel at eighteen. I learned to touch-type at fifteen, and made the transition from typewriter to keyboard quite easily so that’s how I now work: directly onto the computer.

  • How much does real life inspire or shape your writing?

I will often take an event that has happened to me, or that I have observed, and use it as a springboard to jump off in a different direction. Most writers play the ‘what if?’ game./ Indeed.

 

  • Your favourite social network and why? How much time do you waste, sorry, spend on social networks?

I’m always popping into Facebook or Twitter. Susan Hill said recently that it was the equivalent of meeting round the water cooler and she is quite right. Authors generally work alone, so a quick chat with a friend from time to time is very refreshing.

  • First person or third person? Present vs past tense? Love it, hate it

I love to write in first person, mostly past tense but slipping into first when she is ‘in the moment’. Only attempt a whole novel in first person present tense if you are quite sure you are as brilliant a writer as Sophie Kinsella.

For an example of how an excellent author can make the impossible seem easy, Read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – multiple first person viewpoints!

I also love it that I can chat directly with my readers, wherever they are in the world. Because they love my books, I already know that they have a good sense of humour and we are going to get along fine. I don’t stop and work out what I’m posting up, so you get a short, sharp burst of unadulterated and unedited Trisha, typos and all.

  • What would you like people to remember most about you?

That I was a good friend. And I like to think that my Cheshire Cat grin will be lingering in the air long after I am gone.

 

You can find me on Twitter at @trishaashley and I also have a Facebook fan page. Visit my website www.trishaashley.com to see my backlist, leave a message in my guest book, join my quarterly newsletter group or email me. You can also see me talking about books on Youtube!

And here it is:

Avon recently interviewed Trisha and quizzed her about where she finds the inspiration for all those lovely foody, snuggly, cosy things that fill her novels

http://www.youtube.com/user/AvonBooksUK?feature=mhsn#p/a/u/0/Taohm3fBRgg

 

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An interview with Molly Hacker

This interview was such fun, loved doing it. I highly recommend my friend Lisette Brodey’s blog.

Do check it out: Too picky?…I think not!

My special guest this week is author Elle Amberley. Although a British author, Elle likes to dabble in French too and hopes to resume work on her French novel when time allows. She also enjoys writing articles on women’s issues and whatever she feels passionate about.

Hi, Elle. It’s an honor to have you as my guest this week. Please, tell the cool peeps about yourself.

I’m British. I love reading and writing. I am passionate and engaged. Most importantly I’m a mum to two lovely children.



How interesting that you have lived in many countries from an early age. How has that experience molded you into the person you are today?

It has given me a love for different cultures and languages but also means I find it hard to settle anywhere. I’m not sure how much of it has influenced my eccentric side.

I probably look at issues from a different angle and more empathy as I understand the difference between cultures.

You write in many different styles — both fiction and non-fiction. Tell us more about your writing.

I love writing and the freedom to write different things in different styles. I’m not one to fit into boxes and I don’t like to be restricted.

When it comes to non-fiction I mostly write articles in a knee-jerk reaction, issues that I’m passionate about.

In a recent blog post on your website, you wrote an interesting post called “Should we mourn the end of chick-lit?” Can you tell us about your feelings on the term “chick-lit” vs. “women’s fiction?”

LOL, I feel quite strongly about this. I certainly don’t like the term “chick-lit”, although I have nothing against that genre. Many women authors find themselves patronised in that way and resent the label especially if they feel their novel has nothing to do with the genre. Others will argue that we should not have such label as “women’s fiction” either.

I loathe labels and stereotypes of any kind but I recognise the need to label books for marketing purposes. Like it or not.

That said as a reader I don’t look at the genre and am quite open-minded about what I read.

Tell us about your novel, Nowhere Left to Hide.

Natasha is a young British student. She is tired of running scared and when offered the chance to study in California she jumps at the chance.

She finds love and friendship away from the ghosts of her childhood. But what will she do when her visa expires and her boyfriend asks her to marry him?

Santa Barbara holds a piece of my heart and became a life-changing experience for me. So, when Natasha popped up in my head, demanding to be written, I knew this was the place for her. A safe place, away from harm, where she could relax and drop her guard, find and be herself.

Natasha is very special to me because we share similar experiences. However, I did not want to write a story that was merely about living in fear. I wanted to show that many of us who have gone through dreadful events do get stronger, that we can all break the cycle. Sartre said that we always have a choice. Indeed how we react is up to us, we can lie down as victims or pick ourselves up, live to see another day and grow from it

This has been the story of my life. As a young child I thought of ending it all, I did not know the term “suicide” then but I knew about finality and deliverance. As an adult, grieving many years later I came close to that feeling again, although this time I just wanted to slide away. Being in so much pain that you want it stop just for a minute, but having too many responsibilities to allow this selfish act of giving up. Only two little blond heads carrying you through another day but enough already, that’s another storyline altogether.

Social media helps us make extraordinary connections, but it has a downside for many. What are your thoughts about the pros and cons of social media? Any advice for those struggling to use it effectively?

I’m by no means an expert. I have made such extraordinary connections that I’m very grateful about. People whom I would otherwise never have met.

When I started out on Twitter I never imagined I’d end up with nearly 4000 followers, especially since I used a pseudonym. It was only supposed to be a bit of fun with some friends of mine and my husband. Little by little I found some great people and it’s grown from there. I particularly like the fact so many writers are on it.

I’d always said I wouldn’t go on Facebook, yet, I’m on there too. My publisher nagged me about this and also insisted I used my pen name. I am stubborn but occasionally I do listen.

The advice I’d give? Be nice and don’t believe everything you read. Not every self-proclaimed expert is what he/she says. Don’t forget life and if you’re a writer, focus on that. Yes, I hear it’s all about platform but if you waste all your time on social media, what’s going to happen with your writing?

The world of publishing is changing so rapidly. It’s hard to keep up. Any thoughts about the ever-evolving landscape? Predictions?

It is hard. I believe people will always want to read and hear good stories. Ebooks are catching up but I still prefer paperbacks.

You said that you’re shy, but no so in the right environment. Can you elaborate? As an author, what do you do to overcome your shyness?

Me and my big mouth! I get very nervous when I do interviews or any public engagements. I haven’t found the magic trick to overcome that, I shake and wish to run away. I’m all right if people are friendly and start talking to me, it’s the first contact I dread. Otherwise it helps if somebody holds my hand, literally. I’ve done some interviews where my husband was right there by my side. OK, OK, don’t say it!

But saying that, I’m not scared to stand my ground. I have been in scary situations and roared very loudly, then shook and whimpered when it was over.

Elle’s private universe

 

Elle’s writing grotto — “Maybe I’m a hermit,” she says.

I was intrigued to learn that you’ve had to start your life over a few times. What was that like?

Scary and liberating. In the first instance I had to run away when I was a teenager and I lived in fear, it never really goes away completely.

Also, I nearly died a few years back. I don’t know how I survived, some instinct. Had it not been for my family, I would not have cared. I lost my unborn baby in the process. It was one of those moments where I wished I could have slid away and come back to life again. Which I sort of did, over a period of time.

When did you first develop your love of reading and how did it progress over the years?

I cannot remember a time when I was not reading. Apparently I picked up a book, aged three, and that was it. I haven’t stopped since. When living in France I was so desperate to read I picked up books from the local libraries and picked up the language.

Please tell us what it’s like to homeschool your children.

Rewarding, exciting, exhausting and time-consuming.

What do you hope to know in five years that you don’t know now?

How to do everything in record time and not be a perfectionist.

I’ve been forever called picky, but I maintain that we’re all picky creatures. What are you picky about?

I like things to be put away properly, I can’t sit down if I see something out of place and I can’t stand rude people…OK, stop me now.

Where can people find you online?

Elle’s Website
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon
Amazon UK


Any parting words for the masses? Any shameless plugs?

I hope you will have liked finding out a bit more about me and enjoy what I do.
Come and check me out, I always enjoy interacting with readers.

Thanks again for the interview, it’s been a pleasure.

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Living in fear, and writing about it

Living in fear, and writing about it

 

Elle Amberley

Having your name out there in public can be a frightening thing for some, especially for us denizens of the internet. Mother and author Elle Amberley talks about fighting that fear and coming out as a writer and about her new book Nowhere Left To Hide.

This madness possessing me, the one that stops me in my tracks, forcing me to write, so compulsive and obsessive.

I’m a mum first and then an author. I’ve been very good at hiding the writer side of me for the last few years using a pen name and keeping my private life well out of my professional life.

So why am I coming out now under a new pen name? Why was I not content with being known as the hermit author on the other side of the Atlantic?

I’ve stopped being a wuss? Well, let’s just say when I started I was scared, I had been living in fear for years. I broach this in my latest novel but also I’ve been talking more publicly about my own experience and grown more confident.

 

Imagine living in fear for most of your life, your first memory being of terror. Dreaming night after night of escape plans, only to be woken up by your worst nightmare.

Writing has been a wonderful healing process and talking about it helps, sharing with others has surprising rewarding benefits. I still have lightbulb moments when I get a better understanding of past events, where I can see how people are sometimes driven to do what they do, or fail to (re)act.

Furthermore, time has passed and the nasties have got older, time to let go of the childhood ghosts. As a teenager I ran for my life, I escaped several times until I realised I had to go further away in order to get on with my life. This time I escaped for good and ended up on the other side of the world.

I always find it easier to express myself through my writing and also on my own blog than on other people’s. I suffer from the Great British reserve and fear to be seen as a “look at me” type. Truth is I really suck at promoting myself. But I’ve been asked to do interviews and nudged to go on Facebook. God, I was dreading that and yet, in only three months I have a fantastic group of friends and so much support.

 

So this is how I came to write Natasha’s story. It is not my story although there are similarities. I wanted to show “victims” do not have to accept labels, we can all break the cycle. Sartre said that we always have a choice. Indeed how we react is up to us, we can lay down as victims or pick ourselves up, live to see another day and grow from it.

Nowhere Left to Hide is not a sad story, but a positive one. You will not find graphic details in my book but you will meet a strong woman who is determined to turn her life around. She is not a victim, she’s a fighter and a go-getter.

Writing for me is fun, it’s what I enjoy the most. I can write anywhere, I even have to stop the car sometimes to get hold of my notebook. Nobody around me bats an eyelid, well not the people who know me anyway. The others I wouldn’t notice, my head is down, I’m in my own universe.

Characters speak to me and yes, I used to fear for my sanity. Is this normal, and what is normal anyway?

The good news is men in white coats have not come to take me away yet. A friend of mine, who also happened to be a novelist, once told me “You’re not mad, you’re creative.”

I like the sound of that, that’s my excuse anyway.

I’m always very happy to hear from readers or fellow writers. You’re very welcome to follow me on Elle Amberley Twitter and Elle Amberley Facebookwhere you will find updates and details of book signings.

Nowhere Left to Hide now on Amazon

 

About the author

Although she is a British author, Elle Amberley likes to dabble in French too and hopes to resume work on her French novel when time allows. She also enjoys writing articles on women’s issues and whatever she feels passionate about, as well as poetry. A follow up to Nowhere Left to Hide is due for publication in Spring 2012.

 

Nowhere left to hide Elle Amberley

Nowhere Left to Hide by Elle Amberley 

Described as “A heartfelt tale, told with a deft touch” by novelist Rowan Coleman.

Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes romantic, this much awaited novel is a story of hope, fighting against the odds & the determination to do the right thing.

 

‘Lyrical from start to finish, Elle Amberley embraces the essence of women and friendship in Nowhere Left to Hide. Natasha, a young poet and writer, is wise beyond her years, as she lets us accompany her on her year long journey from England to the sunny coast of Southern California as she finds courage, her true calling and love.’ Ana Lewis, Founder, WomenontheVerge.net

 

This post was originally posted here : Guest post on Heather Sunderland

Please visit Heather’s wonderful blog, many thanks to her for hosting me.

 

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