One Ornament From My Home and Why I Love It by Author Chris Penhall

This week I’m joined by Chris Penhall who writes for Ruby Fiction, as she tells us about an ornament she loves.

Hi Morton, thanks for inviting me onto your blog to talk about the things I’m surrounded with every day – I don’t normally think about them, but this has reminded me of their stories. Below is the meaning behind just one.

I really don’t think of myself as someone who collects ornaments, but when I look around my house, it appears that I am!

There’s no common theme and I don’t have a collection of anything in particular, except for the tile place mats I painted when I was going through my tile painting phase. I was very prolific but there are  only so many you can use, and only so many friends you can give them to. That was a short but  productive part of my life. So, I wouldn’t call that a collection, more of an accidental overspill. 

There are bits and bobs that were given to me as gifts, that I bought as impulse buys when out and about, and trinkets bought back from holidays like the tiny carved elephant from Thailand, the painted bowl from Hong Kong and the scented candle from Wales.

But there is one rather random item, or should I say a small group of items,  that I am very fond of – and they have inspired me when I’ve written my two novels set in Portugal – The House That Alice Built, and New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun.

It appears that I love ceramic Portuguese windows and doors. I have a blue and white one on my mantlepiece, one in my bathroom, one in my bedroom and the biggest one of all in my dining room. And it all started with a decorated cobble stone that a friend painted for me and gave me as a gift not long before I left Cascais and moved back to the UK. Anyone who has visited Portugal will have enjoyed walking along the decorated pavements – the calacada Portuguesa – usually made up of white limestone and dark basalt and arranged in patterns and images, such as geometrical shapes,  waves, and seahorses, for example. There’s even a pavement of the face of fado singer Amalia Rodrigues in Lisbon. I must put that on my list of things to see. 

We’d lived in Cascais for three years and I loved the place. I still do. But our time there had come to an end because of work reasons and we were reluctantly moving on. So, my friend painted a cobblestone to look like a little Portuguese house. It’s white and blue, and has red flowers hanging from window boxes and in pots next to the door. On the bottom It has the date it was painted, which was just before we left.

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It’s simple, beautiful, personal and very, very thoughtful and I see it every day.

I had no idea at the time that it would help me conjur up pictures of Cascais and Lisbon in my mind when I wrote my novels.  That’s a lesson learned – no experience is ever wasted, no matter how long ago it was. 

Now I’m writing my third novel, which is set in the UK, also by the sea, and the painting of one of my favourite beaches is on the wall opposite the mantlepiece, and when I look at that, it takes me there too.

New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun was published in August 2020 and is a sequel to The House That Alice Built, published in August 2019. Both are available on all platforms in e-book and audio.

About New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun

Follow your yellow brick road ….

Alice Dorothy Matthews is on the road to paradise! She’s sold her house in London, got rid of her nasty ex and arranged her move to Portugal where friendship and romance awaits. All that’s left to do is find a place to call home.

But Alice’s dreams are called into question when complications with friends, work and new relationships make her Portuguese paradise feel far too much like reality.

Will Alice’s dream of a new home in the sun come true?

Book 2 – Portuguese Paradise. Follows The House That Alice Built

For information on where to buy the book click here http://www.chrispenhall.co.uk/new-beginnings-at-the-little-house-in-the-sun/

About The House That Alice Built

Home is where the heart is …

Alice Dorothy Matthews is sensible. Whilst her best friend Kathy is living it up in Portugal and her insufferable ex Adam is travelling the world, Alice is working hard to pay for the beloved London house she has put her heart and soul into renovating.

But then a postcard from Buenos Aires turns Alice’s life upside down. One very unsensible decision later and she is in Cascais, Portugal, and so begins her lesson in ‘going with the flow’; a lesson that sees her cat-sitting, paddle boarding, dancing on top of bars and rediscovering her artistic talents.

But perhaps the most important part of the lesson for Alice is that you don’t always need a house to be at home.

Book 1 – Portuguese Paradise. Followed by New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun

For more information on where to buy the book, click here http://www.chrispenhall.co.uk/the-house-that-alice-built/

About Chris Penhall

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Chris Penhall is the winner of the 2019 Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition, sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, with her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. The sequel, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun was published in August 2020.  Both books are available in e-book and audio, and The House That Alice Built will be released as a paperback in May 2021.

A freelance radio producer for BBC Essex, podcast producer and writer, Chris was born in South Wales and  has also lived in London and in Portugal, which is where both books are set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it! She has now completed her second and is busy writing her third. A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea. 
 
You can find more information about her on www.chrispenhall.co.uk 
or follow her on twitter: @ChrisPenhall 
Instagram: christinepenhall 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisPenhallWriter

Thank you for joining me this week Chris. I wish you every success with your books.

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

New Book Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook –Amazon Kindle,Apple iBooks,Kobo,Nook Books,Google Playand atChoc Lit.

Christmas at Borteen Bayis available now as both an eBook and audio download –Amazon Kindle,Audio,Apple iBooks,KoboandChoc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buriedis available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo,Apple iBooksand also as apaperback andaudiobook.

The Girl on the Beachpublished by Choc Litis available as apaperbackand from all eBook platforms –Amazon Kindle,Apple iBooks,Kobo, Barnes and Noble andGoogle Play.

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Caroline James – When I Decided I Wanted to Write and Why

I love nothing more than featuring friends on my blog. Today I have Caroline James talking about when and why she decided she wanted to be a writer. Over to Caroline

Huge thanks to Morton for inviting me onto her lovely blog.

I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a writer. From the moment I first started to read I clearly remember wanting to write stories myself and hold a book in my hands that I had written. When I was a little girl, my dad used to read to me. Generally, poetry or something that he too had read as a boy, such as J Milton Hayes, Mark Twain, or Rudyard Kipling. I was both fascinated and hooked.

Dad and me

But my school days were unhappy and the writing bug went on a back burner. I went to an all girl’s grammar school in Cheshire and absolutely hated it. I was bullied at school and couldn’t wait to leave and instead of going to university, my life went in a very different direction.

I went to college in Bournemouth and studied Hotel & Catering and the hospitality industry became my life. I worked on the front desk of a five-star hotel in London in the 80s and it was an exciting time. Famous guests stayed at the hotel because it offered rooms on a high security floor and I met politicians, film and music stars on a daily basis.

Later on, I owned a pub in Cumbria and a beautiful country house hotel and for many years I was an agent representing celebrity and TV chefs, a fabulous job that took me to many exotic places. 

My hotel in Cumbria

A hotel or restaurant is a revolving door and you never knew who was going to step through. I often felt like I was on a stage and each day a new play would be acted with the variety of people that I met and looked after. Perfect research for an author.

So, the years passed. 

But my writing dream had never left me and one day I had an epiphany. I ran a business and had a hectic life but I knew that if I didn’t glue my rear to a chair and write a book, I would go to my grave wondering, and so my debut, Coffee Tea the Gypsy and Me, was born and I’ve never looked back. I am both self-published and traditionally published and enjoy the journey with both, I try to inspire and enable authors at the start of their writing journey too.

Seven novels later and my latest book is called Boomerville at Ballymegille which will be published on 6th October 2020. Boomerville is a retreat exclusively for guests of a certain age, wishing to stimulate both mind and body and is described as, “Britain’s answer to the Marigold Hotel”. The book takes readers to a new ‘Boomerville’ – this time in Southern Ireland with a different cast of whacky and eccentric characters. It is available for pre-order now.

Happy reading everyone and thanks again to Morton xx

About the author:

Best-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, which includes talks and lectures on cruise ships world-wide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, the Society of Women’s Writer’s & Journalists and the Society of Authors and writes articles and short stories, contributing to many publications. In her spare time, Caroline can be found walking up a mountain with Fred, her Westie, sipping raspberry gin or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

To contact Caroline James you can use the following links:

Website : www.carolinejamesauthor.co.uk

Twitter : @CarolineJames12

Facebook : Caroline James Author

Amazon Author Page : Amazon Author Page

To order Boomerville at Ballymegille you can use the following Universal Link: 

http://mybook.to/BABE

Books by Caroline James:

Hattie Goes to Hollywood

Boomerville at Balymegille

The Best Boomerville Hotel

Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me

Coffee Tea the Chef & Me

Coffee Tea the Caribbean & Me

Jungle Rock

 

Thank you, Caroline. How lovely to learn more about you! I’ve recently read The Best Boomerville Hotel and have added my review below. Mx

What a delight! It took me a couple of chapters to get to grips with the cast of characters, but when I did, I loved every minute! Love irreverent, unpredictable Hattie – I wish I was more like her. This book has a touch of everything – love, mysticism, pathos, humour, dark elements, real life scenarios. When I retire I want to live somewhere like Boomerville and be more like Hattie…

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

New Book Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Nook Books, Google Play and at Choc Lit.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

 

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Lynda Stacey – A Charity Close to my Heart

This week I’m joined by another regular visitor to my blog, Lynda Stacey, this time to talk about a charity close to her heart. Over to Lynda

My chosen charity would always have to be Bluebell Wood Hospice and I have to say, this is the one charity that I would always give to when I see them out collecting, which they often do in my local supermarket. It also breaks my heart to think that these charities rely on donations.

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Bluebell Wood is close to my home in Yorkshire, established in 1998 when they began with looking after one 11 year old boy who wanted to die at home. Since then, they’ve done an amazing job of not only raising money, but also building and providing hospice care (end of life) for children and young adults, all of whose lives are cut short. The care they give is given in both in their own homes and at their hospice in North Anston, where they try to create magical memories with the children, whether they have years, months, weeks or days to spend together.

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Bluebell Wood is also a home from home for families facing the toughest of times, with a really lovely, comfy lounge, beautiful gardens and eight bedrooms for the children to stay in, along with separate rooms where the parents can be close.

This amazing charity needs to raise £13,325 to just keep their doors open, with only around 9% of that coming from the government. Everything else is paid for by donations. So please, if you possibly can… please help charities like this one. https://www.bluebellwood.org/letspledge

Seriously, I’d love to see this charity get more recognition and in 2021 (coronavirus permitting), personally I will make Bluebell Wood my charity of choice. I plan on doing some talks for libraries, for the WI and for other private groups where a donation from each book sold will go to this amazing cause.

About Lynda Stacey

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Lynda grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire.

Her own chaotic life story, along with varied career choices helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.

Lynda joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit Search for a Star competition.

She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her husband, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for almost 30 years.

To keep in touch with Lynda you can use the following social media links:

Twitter: @Lyndastacey

Facebook: Lynda Stacey Author

Website: www.Lyndastacey.co.uk

Lynda and I planned this blog post to coincide with  the publication of the paperback version of her novel Keeper of Secrets. Unfortunately this has been delayed due to production problems caused by the coronavirus lockdown. The good news is that you  can still enjoy this novel as an eBook and also as an audio download – see the links below.

About Keeper of Secrets

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Deadly Secrets Lie Beneath the Surface

For as long as Cassie Hunt can remember her Aunt Aggie has spoken about the forgotten world that exists just below their feet, in the tunnels and catacombs of the Sand House.

When excavation work begins on the site shocking secrets are uncovered and danger is never far away, both above and below ground…

What folks are saying about Keeper of Secrets:

Lynda Stacey is up there with Nora Roberts and Karen Rose when it comes to writing jaw-dropping, nerve-twisting and addictive tales spiced with intrigue, passion and suspense and she is on top form with her latest novel, Keeper of Secrets.

An outstanding tale full of menace, danger and desire, Keeper of Secrets is a book guaranteed to keep you reading long past your bedtime.

Keeper of Secrets’ is a gripping and emotional read that had me on the edge of my seat throughout. I will definitely be reading more of Lynda’s work in the future.

I loved how there was a little bit of everything within the pages of this book to keep you entertained, thrilled and shocked!

Buying Links

Kindle: https://smarturl.it/7v75yy

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2pLIiXC

iBooks: https://apple.co/2pNhUNb

Google Books: https://bit.ly/2PfHWDb

Nook: https://bit.ly/2N9N5dj

Audible: https://adbl.co/2PhM1a6

Maybe check out some of Lynda‘s other titles:-

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Thank you for joining me to talk about a charity close to your heart, Lynda Mx

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

New Book Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Nook Books, Google Play and at Choc Lit.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

 

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A Great Big Thank You

My fourth novel for Choc Lit, Sunny Days at the Beach was published on 18 August 2020 and I have been overjoyed and overwhelmed by the support of other authors in spreading the word by retweeting and sharing posts and also hosting me on their blogs. Thank you so much!

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This week I’ve already appeared on the following blogs:-

Angela Barton – Talking about my first novel.

Jane Cable – Family tree research and DNA.

Georgia Hill – Merlin the cat from Sunny Days at the Beach.

Gina Hollands – Interview.

Karen Mace – Review post.

And there are more to come…

I thought I’d just mention a few of the lovely reviews that are being posted about Sunny Days at the Beach.

I was so nervous before this one was published, so it’s a relief and a delight that it is being so well received. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I particularly liked the review that said that one part made her cry, as it made me cry every time I had to check it too!

Selection of latest reviews below:-

Jo

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely life affirming read…summer, sea, sand, romance and gin!

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 August 2020

What an enjoyable book, I loved it. When we first meet Mandy she’s suffering from another, too heavy, night on the town. She’s not happy…she knows that the image she presents isn’t really who she is, but her confidence is low and she has spent almost all her life living down to her parents, and others, expectations. Yet the arrival of Nick Crossten, a local troubled teen, into her life gives her the chance to change and express who she really is: a loving, responsible woman. It’s a fab read….and Mandy proves herself more than up for the challenge of meeting Graham Frankley’s demons head on. There are twists and turns on the way, but ultimately a life affirming book. And a welcome return to the beach!

IHJ

5.0 out of 5 stars Not as carefree as the title suggests

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 August 2020

Sunny days at the beach- well the title may give the idea of carefree time doing nothing in particular but for these inhabitants of Borteen Bay there are plenty of challenging responsibilities.
Mandy has it all, on the face of it, but has a secret.
Graham discovers that somebody else has been keeping a secret.
The secrets of gin making are uncovered!
This book has a very engaging feel, although all the characters have things to deal with they are all warm and interesting- except one, and even that character is dealt with kindly by the person they harm.
Have your own sunny day at the beach (at an appropriate distance of course) at Borteeen Bay, you will have a great time.

MelA

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 August 2020

Loved this book. Intended to read a couple of chapters and then get on with jobs around the house – the jobs never happened – instead read this book in one sitting! From the first page I was hooked.
I haven’t read the other books in this series but it didn’t detract from the story at all. The title of the book doesn’t do it justice. The vulnerability of Mandy, Nick and Graham was brilliantly written, and the story was heart-warming. Would most definitely recommend this book. Was disappointed when I came to the end because I so enjoyed the characters and would like to have known more about their adventures.

Ms. Yvonne Greene

5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional rollercoaster of a read! Highly recommend

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 August 2020

One of the best books this year! Party animal Mandy takes in an abandoned teenage boy – that is a massive undertaking for anyone but especially for someone who has never had children. Throw in the discovery of the boy’s previously unknown father and you have a wonderful read that is a rollercoaster of emotions – from humour to really deep feelings. I did have to get the tissues out. Highly recommend!

Dimitra

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book!

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 August 2020

Morton S Gray has written another lovely book based in Bortreen Bay! This time it is about Mandy who finds herself facing a life changing event when teenage Nick tells her that his mum has left him! Mandy knowing he cannot live alone takes him in as a temporary foster mother. When a man arrives and claims to be Nick’s father things are getting even more complicated. Is he who he says he is? What will happen to Mandy? And what if Nick’s mother comes back? All these questions will be answered once you read this book! Trust me you will not regret it !!

Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook on the following links:-

Amazon Kindle

Apple iBooks

Kobo

Nook Books

Google Play

Choc Lit.

 

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My New Book Is Out on 18 August 2020! Plus An Extract…

My new book Sunny Days at the Beach published by Choc Lit is out on 18 August  2020, and I am a mix of excitement and trepidation today. It’s always a strange time, because you want people to read your story, but you also want them to like it! Lol.

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Here’s a description of the book:-

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And I thought I’d give you a little taster from Chapter One…

When she looked along the road again, Nick was coming back, clutching a takeaway cup, a bottle and a paper bag. There was something strange about the way he was walking – fast, looking behind at regular intervals. Mandy stood up and went up two steps so she could see more clearly and realized he was being followed by a man. Her hackles rose. Who was he?

Nick spotted that she was watching him and sped up to reach her.

Mandy put her key in the lock to give them an escape route if they should need it, as Nick raced up the steps and almost threw the coffee cup at her. His face was flushed, his eyes wide.

‘You okay, Nick?’

‘Am now. That guy’s following me.’ He pointed unnecessarily with his bottle at the man hurrying along the road towards them.

Mandy stood up to open the door to Owl Corner Crafts and pushed Nick through it.

‘Inside.’

The stranger stopped at the bottom of the steps. He was out of breath, his chest rising and falling rapidly from the fast walk. Tall, broad shouldered and clean-shaven with copper- coloured hair that flopped long over his forehead, his eyes glinted like malachite in the early light. ‘Good morning.’

She dispensed with any pleasantries. ‘Why are you following Nick?’

‘As I’ve been trying to explain to him, his mother wrote to me. She claims that … that I’m his father.’

Mandy couldn’t speak at all for a moment, as if the air had been sucked out of her lungs. She scanned the stranger’s face again but wasn’t sure what his expression meant. He didn’t look comfortable as he stood shifting from foot to foot in front of her.

‘His father …? He hasn’t got a father.’

I hope that has made you interested, if so you can order the book here. Wish me luck for launch day …

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Exciting News New Book Sunny Days at the Beach coming on 18 August 2020!!! Pre-Order hereCover art

 

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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Jane Cable – An Ornament I Love

My series about loved ornaments is proving popular with visitors to my blog! This week Jane Cable tells us about hers. Jane has just published a superb new novel, Endless Skies published by Sapere and I’ve included my review at the bottom of the post.

It seems to be becoming a habit that I cry when preparing these blogs and this one was no different when I read Jane‘s Mum’s advice…

IN WITH THE NEW… AN ORNAMENT I LOVE

In my study I have a china cabinet full of old ornaments – in fact it was my mother’s china cabinet and it stood in her living room, loaded with family photos, for as long as I could remember. We started to clear the house together just before she died and she told me something very helpful and wise; something along the lines that I would find many things that had meant a great deal to her, but to only keep them if they meant something to me as well.

Freed from feeling I should keep everything I was able to keep what I really love… the tiny strawberry cup and saucer my grandmother took to the soup kitchen during the Welsh coal strike of 1898, a china chicken with the Wembley emblem on it my grandfather bought her when Cardiff were in the FA Cup final in 1926, the mug my mum always drank her tea from. To name but a few.

Rachel, the main character in my latest book, Endless Skies, loves old ornaments. Some of her happiest memories are mooching around antique shops with her beloved grandma and it breaks her heart when she is forced to move into a modern flat and Gran’s Murano glass animals and Royal Albert Festival tea set look so out of place she has to relegate them to a box in the cupboard.

But I digress. Slightly. Like Rachel I would be hard pushed to choose a favourite inherited ornament. So I’ve chosen a brand new one. When Jim and I moved to Cornwall three years ago we had cupboards and shelving made to fit the longest wall in the living room of our flat, with plenty of space for ornaments. New ornaments. The ones we would buy as we set out on our adventures together, travelling the world making memories.

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Photo credit to Samuel F Walsh Furniture

There was only one rule – whatever we bought, we both had to love it. What we didn’t expect to do was find the first item just twenty-five miles away in Padstow. We weren’t even there to shop. But we walked past the window of a gallery and there it was. A vase. We walked past it – we looked at each other – we went back. It was Cornwall recreated in glass; the gritty golden shades of the sand, the swirl of the waves and the clear blue of the sky.

Vase for Morton's blog

And because it was the first of a new chapter in our lives it has a very special place in our hearts. And it just goes to show you can go chasing around the world but still find what you’re looking for closest to home.

(What a lovely post – thank you, Jane)

About Jane Cable

Jane Cable 2019

Like Morton I write romance with a twist only my books tend to be more ghostly. After winning a national award I published my first two novels independently before being signed by Sapere Books in 2018. Both my Sapere titles are standalone contemporary romances with a nod over the shoulder to World War Two. My first dual timeline, set in Cornwall in 2015 and 1815, will be published next year.

I’d love to meet you on Twitter @JaneCable or through my Facebook page, Jane Cable Author. My website is www.janecable.com, where you can also sign up for my infrequent newsletters.

About Endless Skies

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What are the echoes of the past telling Rachel? And will she listen?

After yet another disastrous love affair – this time with her married boss – Rachel Ward has been forced to leave her long-term position in Southampton for a temporary role as an Archaeology Lecturer at Lincoln University.

Rachel has sworn off men and is determined to spend her time away clearing her head and sorting her life out. But when one of her students begins flirting with her, it seems she could be about to make the same mistakes again…

She distracts herself by taking on some freelance work for local property developer, Jonathan Daubney. He introduces her to an old Second World War RAF base. And from her very first visit something about it gives Rachel chills.

As Rachel makes new friends and delves into local history, she is also forced to confront her own troubled past. But could a tragic World War Two love story hold a lesson for her too?

https://getbook.at/EndlessSkies

 

Morton’s Review of Endless Skies

5 Stars – What a Delight

Loved the characters, the setting, the premise of the book. This author has a polished writing style that makes reading effortless, enjoyable and involves you in the story. Relished the echoes of the past and the hard-won romance. Stopped reading with a tear in my eye, which to me is always an indicator of a good novel.

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Exciting News New Book Sunny Days at the Beach coming on 18 August 2020!!! Pre-Order here

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Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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Carol Thomas – A Charity Close to my Heart

This week I’m joined by a regular visitor to my blog, Carol Thomas, this time to talk about a charity close to her heart. Over to Carol

I am a regular supporter of a few different charities, but the one closest to my heart would have to be Cancer Research UK, as I have volunteered in my local charity shop, in Arundel, for the past six years.

My mum is a breast cancer survivor. And so when my son started school, and I became a full-time writer, I decided to give something back to the charity by becoming a volunteer.

It wasn’t an entirely selfless act. As a writer, you spend many hours alone, and so volunteering allowed me to keep one foot in reality. Working with, and meeting people, feeds the imagination. Volunteering enabled me to take a break from my characters, and people watch while doing something useful.

My manager, Sue Stoves-Clark keeps our little Arundel shop looking good, smelling wonderful (she loves her diffuser), and stocked with quality items. The team of volunteers I work with are great – warm, full of good humour, and welcoming, as well as supportive of each other.

During lockdown, we’ve stayed in touch via a very positive WhatsApp group. Through this, Sue has organised a rota, to ensure a couple of volunteers who are having difficult times medically are receiving a card a day to remind them we are thinking of them. How lovely is that!

The people at the shop have also been very supportive of my writing. For three consecutive years, during the Arundel Festival, I ran a bookstall outside the shop, with a group of local writers called the Chindi Authors. We sold our books, come rain or shine, donating a percentage to the charity from each sale. It was a wonderful experience; we gained publicity for the shop, as well as our books, and raised funds at the same time.

Video about raising funds during the Arundel Festival

Cancer Research UK is dear to my heart in so many ways. My mum, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, when she was 57, is now the incredible age of eighty-two. Two years ago, my sister was diagnosed, while she is still monitored, she is, to date, all clear. And my niece, who was diagnosed and treated in her twenties continues to work hard to highlight that being breast aware is essential no matter what your age.

Cancer is a disease that has touched many people. I’m pleased I can support the charity with time and donations. As well as spending money in the shop – ask any volunteer, we spend way too much while giving our time! I’m grateful for all the charity has done, and for the lovely people and experiences volunteering has brought into my life.

About Carol Thomas

Carol Thomas 300dpi

Published by Ruby Fiction, Carol writes for both adults and children: Her contemporary romance novels, have relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads; while her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.

Carol lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively Labrador.

To keep in touch with Carol you can use the following links:-

Website

Facebook Author Page

Twitter 

Pinterest

Instagram

Blog

About Carol Thomas’ Books

Introducing Lisa Blake!

Do you believe in second chances? Find out what happens when Lisa Blake rediscovers the one she let get away.

The Purrfect Pet Sitter (Lisa Blake #1)

“The storyline is delightful and includes romance, drama and plenty of humour.”

getbook.at/TPPSAmazon

Maybe Baby (Lisa Blake #2)

“Fantastic characters, both furry and human – I loved it – very highly recommended!”

getbook.at/MBAmazon

Crazy Over You

Crazy Over You

Love can drive you crazy … in more ways than one!

“Affecting, absorbing and delightfully entertaining.”

getbook.at/COYAmazon

 

Thank you for joining me Carol and it’s lovely to learn about your charity work and the poignant reasons for you choosing this charity. Amazing to hear about your Mum too! Mx

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Exciting News New Book Sunny Days at the Beach coming on 18 August 2020!!! Pre-Order here

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Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

DED25A3E-2CEB-4E56-BE67-4784041D9BD5

 

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Book 4 – Sunny Days at the Beach

My fourth book for Choc Lit, Sunny Days at the Beach will be published on 18 August 2020 and is available for pre-order here.

If I am honest, I never thought I would be saying those words, because after publishing The Girl on the Beach, The Truth Lies Buried and Christmas at Borteen Bay I was hit by a period of ill health. This included severe migraines, strange food allergies and an excruciatingly painful shoulder. My days narrowed into inactivity, the highlight of my day became an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. If you know me at all, this is most unlike my normal way of being.

My doctor sent me to see consultants.

For the migraines, I was tested for brain tumour, mini-strokes, MS (and this one was scary as my dad had this condition). The last consultant I saw was in danger of me asking him to marry him, (if I hadn’t already been married), because he said he was convinced I was suffering from hormone surges at the end of the menopause and prescribed high doses of Vitamin B2 Riboflavin and acupuncture. I began to feel better almost immediately on the vitamins. Still have the occasional bout of bad heads, but nothing like the incapacity I had been suffering.

For the allergies, I had lots of tests and was said to be suffering with Oral Allergy Syndrome – a cluster of allergic reactions in the mouth and throat in response to eating certain (usually fresh) fruits, nuts and vegetables that typically develops in adults who suffer with hay fever. This consultant also concurred that the changes could be wrought by hormone surges at the end of the menopause. I have an Epi Pen in my handbag, but now I’m cautious around raw fruit, nuts and vegetables, I seem to be fine.

As for the shoulder, one consultant said I needed an operation, the next one disagreed (cue almost marriage proposal x2) – I’d started to see a structural alignment therapist, Ellie, who works with the Egoscue method – designed to get your body working properly – and this second consultant wanted me to continue persevering with her sessions before any drastic action was taken – and they worked, I’m now pain free. You can read more about this therapy on Ellie’s website here.

All in all, I’m in a much happier and healthier place now, but boy what a journey and a consequent gap in my writing career!

So, after thinking I would never write again, I have a three book deal with Choc Lit and my new book is out on 18 August. I had a few dicey headachy episodes during the editing of this novel, but it’s done now and I’m very excited that you will meet my gin distiller, Graham and craft shop owner, Mandy in my fictional seaside town of Borteen.

The inspiration for this book came many years ago when I read an article about a craft gin distillery in my favourite magazine, Landscape. My husband was treated to a tour of this gin distillery for his birthday, thinly disguised as my research trip.

About Sunny Days at the Beach

Cover art

From party nights at the pub to sunny days at the beach …

Craft shop owner Mandy Vanes has always enjoyed a commitment-free singleton lifestyle — in fact, she’s well-known for her wild ways in her small seaside town on the coast.

But when local teenager, Nick Crossten, turns to her for help, Mandy has the opportunity to prove she can be a responsible adult. Although things get tricky when gin distillery owner Graham Frankley comes to town with some unexpected news.

Could this mean that Mandy the party girl is finally ready to grow up?

You can pre-order Sunny Days at the Beach here.

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Exciting News New Book Sunny Days at the Beach coming on 18 August 2020!!! Pre-Order here

 

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Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

DED25A3E-2CEB-4E56-BE67-4784041D9BD5

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Vicki Beeby – An Ornament I Love

Vicki Beeby is with me today to talk about a fascinating ornament that she loves. I’ve known Vicki for many years now, so it’s lovely to find out something different about her. Vicki has just published The Ops Room Girls with publisher Canelo. I’ve read the book and loved it, so will share my review below. But first, back to the ornament that Vicki loves …

I may be cheating a bit, because my favourite ornament isn’t in my own home, but my mother’s. I’m also not sure it really counts as an ornament, being part of an ostrich egg. However, it has fascinated me all my life and, indirectly, led me to an unforgettable three years in Botswana.

ostrich-egg-display

During my childhood, the egg lived in a display cabinet in my grandparents’ house. It belonged to my grandma, who collected it during her childhood in South Africa. When she was only a few months old, her parents, my great-grandparents, moved from Somerset to South Africa in the hope the dry climate would cure my great-grandfather’s asthma, this being long before the days of Salbutamol. They set up an ostrich farm—ostrich feathers were a desirable fashion accessory in those days—and my grandma spent the first ten years of her life on this farm in the Eastern Cape. I don’t know how she came to own the egg shell, but I like to think it was an egg that hatched rather than one used to make a giant omelette!

Sadly for her, but luckily for my future existence, the family were forced to return to England at the outbreak of the First World War. My grandma often spoke of what it was like to grow up in South Africa, and I developed a longing to visit Africa for myself. My wish came true when I was employed via a British Council scheme to teach maths in state schools in Botswana. I’ll never forget the thrill of being driven out to my first school on the edge of the Kalahari, seeing an ostrich striding alongside the road on its powerful legs. Who knows, it might have been a descendent of the ostriches on my great-grandparents’ farm!  So now the ostrich egg is doubly special. It’s a reminder both of my grandma and my own time in Botswana.

How fascinating, Vicki Mx

About Vicki Beeby

Vicki-Beeby-Author-Pic

Vicki Beeby writes historical fiction about the friendships and loves of service women brought together by the Second World War.

Her first job was as a civil engineer on a sewage treatment project, so things could only improve from there. Since then, she has worked as a maths teacher and education consultant before turning freelance to give herself more time to write.

In her free time, when she can drag herself away from reading, she enjoys walking and travelling to far-off places by train. She lives in Shropshire in a house that doesn’t contain nearly enough bookshelves.

To keep in touch with Vicki, you can use the following links:-

Twitter: @VickiBeeby

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VickiBeebyAuthor

 

About The Ops Room Girls

I’ve put this cover in full size so that you can see the lovely detail Mx

The Ops Room Girls_amazon

It is 1939 and working class Evie Bishop has received a scholarship to study mathematics at Oxford when tragedy turns her life upside down. Evie must seek a new future for herself and, inspired to contribute to the war effort, joins the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as an Ops Room plotter.

Posted to a fighter station on the Sussex Coast, Evie befriends two other WAAFs – shy, awkward May and flirty, glamorous Jess. Faced with earning the approval of strict officers and finding their way in a male dominated world, the three girls band together to overcome challenges, navigate new romances and keep their pilots safe in the skies.

But the German bombers seem to know more than they should about the base’s operations, and soon Evie, May and Jess are caught up in a world more dangerous than they ever imagined…

Buying Links

Amazon: Mybook.to/OpsRoomGirls

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ebook/the-ops-room-girls

Google: http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN9781800320888

Apple: https://books.apple.com/book/the-ops-room-girls/id1509441974?app=itunes

 

Thank you for joining me, Vicki and for such a fascinating post Mx

My review of The Ops Room Girls

5 Stars : I so enjoyed this book! I was right there with the heroine, Evie all the way through each page, feeling her emotions and was sure I could even hear the aircraft engines. What a great depiction of life in World War Two as a WAAF. Loved all of the characters, especially Evie, May, Jess and Alex. Finished reading the story with a tear in my eye. I need the sequel now please.

 

And the good news is that Vicki’s next book, Christmas with the Ops Room Girls is now available for pre-order here

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When there’s so much to be afraid of, can May help bring festive cheer to the Ops Room?

After failing to help evacuee siblings whom she witnesses being separated, May wishes she’d had the confidence to speak up. When Jess suggests a pantomime to boost morale on the station, May is desperate to help – but is held back by her own insecurities.

With her low self-esteem also affecting her relationship with Squadron Leader Peter Travis, May is fed up with being her own worst enemy and decides to take charge of her destiny. But the past she ran from plus a crisis with one of the evacuees throw May into the midst of a drama that will test all of her newfound confidence.

May, Jess and Evie must work together once again to help each other through the challenges of war and of their own hearts.

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Exciting News New Book Sunny Days at the Beach coming on 18 August 2020!!! Pre-Order here

 

F25DEF06-6FA8-4AC6-8956-76E862A3448F

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

DED25A3E-2CEB-4E56-BE67-4784041D9BD5

 

 

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The Day That Changed My Life by Sue McDonagh

This week I have a very special blog post by fellow Choc Lit/Ruby Fiction author Sue McDonagh. I know and love Sue in real life and don’t see her often enough for my liking, so I was totally unprepared to sob my heart out when I received her blog post entitled The Day that Changed My Life. Over to Sue

Warning – you will probably need tissues!

I woke up in a single side ward, feeling weirdly pinned by the oxygen mask, drip and something on my stomach, none of which I’d had yesterday.

My best friend, Terry, was standing at the foot of the bed. She burst into tears as she met my eyes. I swivelled my gaze to take in my parents, alongside me. They looked grave.

Dad said, ‘Sorry Sue, it’s bad news. It’s cancer.’ I had just turned twenty four. It’s weird to think of it, but I was almost relieved.

I’d spent a fortnight on a hospital bed, with my stomach grown to the size of a full term pregnancy within that time, and various doctors shaking their heads and pronouncing that ‘my womb was tipped backwards. We want you to lie on your stomach and drink lots of water.’

What kind of quack remedy that was meant to be, I never discovered, as once I’d drunk litres of water, the giant tumour inside me blocked all the exits so I never managed to wee any of it out.

The turning point came when I asked the nursing sister on duty for a sick note to give my sergeant. I was in the police then. She told me, ‘we don’t give sick notes to people who swing the lead.’ Unbelievable. Thankfully, not all nurses are like her. Most really are angels.

They told me I could go home, as ‘there’s nothing wrong with you.’ My stomach had protruded so far by then that the loose, button through skirt I’d been admitted in was about twelve inches apart. In a week. As some of the guys from my shift sauntered in, wearing their uniforms, to visit me, I had a meltdown, kneeling on the bed with that skirt in my hands.

‘There is something wrong with me,’ I snarled, ‘and I’m not going anywhere until you find out what it is!’ Then I burst into tears. My mates muttered something about it not being a good time and backed out. I can’t really blame them. I can still picture it in my head.

Even after that, it was still a good few days before they sent me to be scanned. I came back up to the ward and they sent me back down for another one straightaway.

And then they said they’d found something, and I might need a hysterectomy. Definitely surgery. When? The following morning. Seriously? The previous week they were sending me home and now I apparently needed an emergency hysterectomy? I was twenty four! Single, childless, but with dreams of a family in the future.

My parents had gone camping, clearly also not believing that anything serious could be wrong with me. I was a fit policewoman. I thought nothing of cycling a hundred miles a day, and walking the length of the county with a tent on my back. How could there be anything seriously wrong with me? I rang the police station and asked the other WPC, Jo, who happened to be working the front desk, to track my parents down wherever they were camping. Both of us were in tears at the horror at what was happening to me. To their huge credit, they did find them. The next time I saw them, was the following day, after my surgery. The surgeon came in later and told me they’d taken a biopsy and to expect the worst. I had ovarian cancer, and it was not a very encouraging prognosis.

Well, I didn’t die, and that was a surprise to my oncology team at Barts Hospital, London, where I was transferred. I was lucky, and I had the best team in the world.

If anyone knows Dr Maurice Slevin, and Mr John H Shepherd, tell them I’m still here, and I still have so much living to do! X

IMG_0408Me as a Police Probationer at Training College, 1977, with some of the other girls from different forces. Spot which one is me!

IMG_8673Me on my motorbike with my camper van, packing my life with as much as I can!

About Sue McDonagh
IMG_3896

My career as a policewoman in the Essex Police was interrupted when I was twenty four by ovarian cancer. A year of surgery and chemotherapy meant a successful recovery, which led to a convalescent year in the Essex Police Press Office. This suited me as I’d always fancied being a journalist, and meant that I could play with joined up writing and stationary.

When I moved to Wales to marry a man widowed by cancer and became instant mum to his two little boys, I used my Press Office skills and wrote press releases and eventually, blog posts for the various clubs and organisations I was involved with.

Art evolved into a full time occupation and I made a living teaching and sketching portraits on the spot at agricultural and seaside shows, moving into more considered work as time went on and appearing on Sky TV in 2014 in the regional finals of the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year.

I now work almost exclusively to commission, but also give demonstrations and talks to art societies and other groups, which I enjoy.

In 1982, following chemotherapy, I cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End in ten days, fundraising over £8000 towards a cancer scanner for St Bartholomew’s Hospital, where I was treated.

After my first hip replacement sixteen years ago, I and three friends took part in the Four Inns Challenge and walked 45 miles across the Peak District in 16 hours, raising £10,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support.

When my second hip needed replacing, I thought about commemorating it with a further bonkers fundraising idea, but to everyone’s relief, found my excitement in writing.

Ten years ago I learned to ride a motorbike, and now help to run Curvy Riders, a national, women only, motorbike club.

I live in Wales, a mile from the sea. My Border terrier, Scribble, comes to work in my open-to-the-public studio/gallery with me, and thinks the customers only come in to see him. Sometimes, I think that too.

When I’m not painting, I’m writing or on my motorbike.

I belong to a local writing group and the Romantic Novelist’s Association.

To keep in touch with Sue, you can use the following links:-

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SueMcDonaghLit

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SueMcDonaghWriter/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mcdonagh.sue/

ChocLit Author page: https://www.choc-lit.com/productcat/sue-mcdonagh/

My blogspot: http://suemcdonaghwriter.blogspot.com/

About books by Sue McDonagh

Sue‘s latest novel Escape to the Art Cafe is out now:

Escape to the Art Cafe by Sue McDonagh

Heartbreak and cake at the Art Café …

It was meant to be the perfect romantic holiday. But then Flora Bexton’s boyfriend does the unthinkable, and she responds in the only logical way: she steals his motorbike and escapes for a holiday by herself on the Welsh coast.

Far from the lonely trip she imagined, Flora soon finds comfort at the friendly local Art Café where the legendary hot chocolate and cake help to ease her troubled mind. And when Aussie-Welsh lifeguard Jake Foley steps in just when Flora needs help the most, she realises that her ‘holiday’ feels more like home with every passing day …

Links for Sue‘s books:

Summer at the Art Cafe, Book 1 of the Art Cafe series, https://tinyurl.com/y8dgszmn

Meet Me at the Art Cafe, Book 2 of the series, https://tinyurl.com/yd6h4zy5

Escape to the Art Cafe, Book 3, https://tinyurl.com/yavtk7al

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I told Sue that she had made me cry when I was preparing her blog and this is what she said:

I’m sorry I made you cry!

It’s a shocking story though, and even as I write it, it still feels horrific. Some things really do stick in your mind. But hell, I survived and it made me strong and now I use all those experiences in my books.

It’s why I always feature stepchildren, and how life threatening illness changes your life.

What a fantastic attitude and I’m so glad you are still here, Sue! Mx

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Exciting News New Book Sunny Days at the Beach coming on 18 August 2020!!! Pre-Order here

 

F25DEF06-6FA8-4AC6-8956-76E862A3448F

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

DED25A3E-2CEB-4E56-BE67-4784041D9BD5

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments