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text 2018-01-16 12:47
Evy Journey Interview + "Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies" Giveaway

 

Evy Journey is the author of several novels, most recently Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies, published in late November 2017. Read our BookLikes interview and get to know the author!

 

Evy has been very generous to BookLikes readers and offered as many as TWENTY (!!) ebooks of her newest book Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies.

 

Enter our giveaway contest to win!

 

Giveaway: Jan. 16 - Feb. 16, 2018 

Enter to win a unique food romance mystery!

Request an e-book

 

Let's start with a few questions about writing itself, and your books: I've noticed that you’ve published many books so far. How often do you write and how long at one time? What does your writing schedule look like, if you have one?


I engage with words a lot. If I’m not writing, I read. I think reading is essential to a writer. When I’m working on a novel, I write two or three hours in the morning and three more at night, usually after 10 p.m. I’m hooked on writing not just novels or short stories, but blog posts/articles on art, travel, and food (https://eveonalimb2.com) and book reviews (https://margaretofthenorth.wordpress.com). I try to post once a month on my three blogs including my author website (https://www.evyjourney.com).

 


Do you work on several books at once, or do you write them one by one? For example, did you write the Between Two Worlds books one at a time?


I’m not that organized in my novel writing. I wrote Hello, My Love! (#1) initially with no intention of producing a series.  But then, I got intrigued by the mother of Elise, the book’s heroine. That’s how Hello, Agnieszka! (#2) came about. After that, I thought I should write the story of Elise’s brother Justin. I wanted to make it an interracial pairing because that happens a lot where I live. So I created Leilani in Book 3

 

Hello, My Love! (aka: A Modern Love Story) (Between Two Worlds Book 1) - Evy JourneyHello, Agnieszka! (Between Two Worlds Book 2) - E. JourneyWelcome, Reluctant Stranger (Between Two Worlds Book 3) - E Journey

Between Two Worlds series


I wrote my latest novel after leaving a French “deli” in our area where you can get gourmet food in vacuum-sealed bags. It resurrected my delight in Babette’s Feast, a wonderful movie I saw years ago. From there, the characters and the story just took off. I just hope the French guy who owns the “deli” doesn’t find out I murder him in my book!


I need to be inspired to invest the serious amount of energy, time, and imagination to write long fiction.

 


Do you have all the stories and characters planned out from the beginning and then just write them, or do they come to you as you finish one book and start the next?


I do have characters worked out well in my mind when I start a novel. The plot, not so much. My first draft is usually pretty fluid.


Characterization drives the plot quite a lot; it can dictate or at least help shape what happens in scenes that move the plot along. But while those scenes advance the story, they also present multiple facets of a character that can compel me to make changes in my original conception of the character.

 


Tell us about your characters. Are they completely fictional, or are you inspired by people and stories you know? For example, Agnieszka, the character in the second installment of the Between Two Worlds series, has a Polish name and heritage. Did you know someone like her, or did you create her story from scratch?


Agnieszka is not based on a specific person, but she’s inspired by the many stories my husband told me. He is second generation Polish American and lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Agnieszka’s story is set. So, his memories of relatives and his lasting impressions of Pittsburgh where a lot of Polish families settled enriched the novel.

 

Elise in Book 1 was born out of a “what if” question—what would Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) be like if she had grown up in the 21st century? The other two heroines (Leilani and Gina) are mostly made up but, of course, one can never really get away from what one knows., For instance, I personally know people who went through the unsettling experience Leilani goes through when, as a child, she flees her country of birth.

 

 

Do you have writing goals - as in a certain number of books to publish per year, or in total?


No goals although I try to finish one book a year. You can say I go with my groove. I’m lucky in a way because I’m not in this game for the money. But I do want readers and I try to write stories that appeal to a specific niche. My particular conceit is I write love stories for the thoughtful woman and that rare sensitive, thoughtful man.

 


Who designs your book covers? Are you very involved in choosing the covers, and, if so, how involved?


Covers for my latest book and the book series were all done by book cover designers who always ask for the author’s input. I did covers for my first novel and my short story collection. I have some art background. I started sketching as a kid, went to art classes, and now I paint and do digital art.

 


Let's move away from your books and talk about literature and reading in general. Who are your favorite writers, who do you admire, look up to? Any contemporary writers you are fond of? Any favorite books?


I’ve always had eclectic tastes although I’ve never been big on science fiction, horror or paranormal. I’m seduced by beautiful prose like those of Evelyn Waugh or G.K. Chesterton or Robert Hughes (art critic/writer/historian). As a teen, I devoured both Dostoevsky and Jane Austen.


I still love the classics but my current #1 book is Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See. Great story, lyrical prose. I also loved Chitra Divakaruni’s Palace of Illusions based on the Indian epic Mahabharata. For similar reasons. When it comes to romance or women’s fiction, Ms. Austen continues to be my favorite.

 

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel - Anthony DoerrThe Palace of Illusions: A Novel - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


To sum up this interview, please tell us a little about yourself. You did not start out as a writer, you gradually took up writing as a regular hobby, or do you see it as a job? Are you happier and do you feel more fulfilled as a person now that you started doing what you love and dreamed of in the past?


I didn’t start out as a fiction writer except in those occasional stories or beginnings of a few I wrote ages ago, stashed away, and lost in the many moves I’ve made. Or short stories I wrote for the high school paper. But my professional jobs involved a great deal of writing—research proposals, research reports, rehashing of research studies both mine and those of others for the consumption of “lay people.” Add to those grad school papers, a master’s thesis and a dissertation. So, no, I didn’t take up writing as a regular hobby. I’ve been doing it a long while and I got paid to do it in jobs after grad school. I also got paid to critique or evaluate the content of what other people wrote.


Do I feel more fulfilled now writing fiction? It’s a different kind of writing from what I used to do, which was grounded in facts, analysis, drawing of conclusions or recommendations, and which often followed a more rigid structure and its own special lingo. Fiction requires much more imagination, gives you much more leeway. In some ways, it’s scarier because there are no must-follow rules. But it’s freeing. When you create a character and a fictional story, you have a lot more control. And yet, you also have to be open to circumstance, to have the courage or imagination to veer away from your original story because of how characters or scenes develop. That’s what makes fiction writing occasionally surprising and exciting. I love it.


But fictional or factual, writing is work. Not a job necessarily, but work.

 

 

Follow Evy Journey's blog on BookLikes: http://evictoriajourney.booklikes.com/blog

 

 

Evy Journey's books on BookLikes (click the cover to add the books to your bookshelf):

 

Hello, My Love! (aka: A Modern Love Story) (Between Two Worlds Book 1) - Evy JourneyHello, Agnieszka! (Between Two Worlds Book 2) - E. JourneyWelcome, Reluctant Stranger (Between Two Worlds Book 3) - E Journey

Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies - Evy JourneyBrief Encounters with Solitary Souls: Two Paris Tales + Three - Evy JourneyMargaret of the North - E. Journey

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text 2018-01-14 12:17
Interview with debut YA author Heather Christie + "What the Valley Knows" Giveaway

 

Heather Christie is the author of a debut novel, What the Valley Knows, due to be released on January 25, 2018. This will be the first installment in a very interesting series! Heather is already working on the second book.

 

Read our BookLikes interview to get to know this exciting new author, and enter our giveaway contest to win a paperback copy of the book!

 

YA Giveaway: Jan. 12 - Feb. 2 2018

Request your signed ARC

 

 

Let's start with a few questions about writing itself, and your book. How often do you write and how long at one time? What does your writing schedule look like, if you have one? And, finally, how do you manage to juggle family life, a full-time career in real estate, and writing (not to mention your MFA in Creative Writing studies, now complete)?

 

Generally, I try to block a couple hours to write in the afternoons, after I’ve attended to my “real job” tasks as real estate agent and before my “mommy” duties start in the evening. If I don’t have real estate appointments at night, I will often revisit what I wrote earlier in the day. My home office serves as my writing space, but I do keep a pen and notepad by my bedside for those middle of the night ideas.

 

 

What The Valley Knows - Heather ChristieHave you written one book so far, What The Valley Knows (which will be released in paperback on January 25), or have you written more that are waiting to be published?

 

What The Valley Knows is my first book. I am currently at work on the second book in the series And The Valley Wept.

 

 

Do you have writing goals - as in a certain number of books to publish per year, or in total?

 

My immediate goal for 2018 is to complete several drafts of And The Valley Wept and have it ready to go out on submission by the third quarter. In a perfect world I'd like to write one book per year.

 

Watch the book trailer of What the Valley Knows:


 

When you write, do you have all the stories and characters planned out from the beginning and then just write them, or do they come to you as you write the book?

 

I try to map the plot and the characters in advance of the actual writing. However, I've found that occasionally a new character will find its way onto the page organically, growing out of the circumstances at hand.

 

 

Tell us about your characters. Are they completely fictional, or are you inspired by people and stories you know?

 

What The Valley Knows is narrated by three alternating points of view. The main character is seventeen-year-old Molly Hanover who has reluctantly moved to Millington Valley at the start of her senior year. She’s smart, pretty, terribly shy, and plays the sousaphone in the marching band. Molly soon attracts the attention of the football team’s star, Wade Thornton, a good guy with a bad drinking problem. The third voice belongs to Molly’s mother, Ann Hanover, who is struggling as a single mother, working two jobs: one as a paralegal during the day and another as a bartender in the evenings at the local legion. There are kernels of real people in my characters, but certain aspects of their personalities and mannerisms are completely fabricated.

 

 

 

Who designed your book cover? Were you very involved in choosing the cover, and, if so, how involved?

 

My publisher, Black Rose Writing, has a cover designer on staff. At the beginning of the publication process, I was asked to complete a questionnaire about the vision for my cover and submit inspirational photos. From what I sent, the designer created a mock-up and we went back and forth for several weeks until we settled on a cover that suited everyone.

 

 

Let's move away from your writing and talk about literature and reading in general. Who are your favorite writers, who do you admire, look up to? Any contemporary writers you are fond of? Any favorite books you'd like to tell us about?

 

Heather Christie’s Top 10 Authors

Stephen King—for his incredible characters (The Stand)

Anne Lamott—for her no nonsense advice (Bird By Bird)

Colum McCann—for his beautifully structured sentences (Let The Great World Spin)

John Steinbeck—for his sweeping narrative arcs (East of Eden)

David Sedaris—for his ability to make me laugh (Me Talk Pretty One Day)

Fredrik Backman—for his heartwarming storylines (My Grandmother Told Me To Tell You She’s Sorry)

Celeste Ng—for her expert use of the omniscient narrator (Little Fires Everywhere)

Liane Moriarty—for her compelling plots (Big Little Lies)

Khaled Hosseni—for his raw depiction of humanity (A Thousand Splendid Suns)

Emily St. John Mandel—for her world building (Station Eleven)

 

 

Heather Christie’s MUST READ reading list 

The Stand - Stephen KingBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott

Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCannEast of Eden - John SteinbeckMe Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry: A Novel - Fredrik BackmanLittle Fires Everywhere - Celeste NgBig Little Lies - Liane Moriarty

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled HosseiniStation Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

 

 

To sum up this interview let's introduce a little bit of magic and move away from the real world for a moment. If you could choose one character from a favorite book to have dinner with, or spend a day with, who would that be? What would you ask that person?

 

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne LamottThis is a tough question and I might be cheating with my answer because I'd chose the narrator of the non-fiction book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anne Lamott is the author/narrator/main character and she's funny, brilliant, and inspiring. I would love to spend the day with Anne and ask her what the most important tasks a young writer should aim to master.

 

 

Heather Christie's books on BookLikes

(click the cover to add the books to your bookshelf):

What The Valley Knows - Heather ChristieAnd The Valley Wept - Heather Christie

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text 2018-01-03 19:35
Interview with Kaylin McFarren, author of Twisted Threads + Giveaway

Kaylin McFarren is the author of several novels, most recently the fourth title in the Threads series. Read our BookLikes interview and get to know the author!

 

Kaylin has been very generous to BookLikes readers and offered SIX (!!) ebooks of her new book Twisted Threads! Enter our giveaway contest to win!

 

 

Giveaway: Jan. 03, 2018 - Jan. 25, 2018

Win this splendid thriller story!

Request an e-book

 

Let's start with a few questions about writing itself, and your books. How often do you write and how long at one time? What does your writing schedule look like, if you have one? And, finally, how do you manage to juggle family life, helping in your community, and writing?

 

I begin my day at 7:30 a.m. on a daily basis by taking my two high-maintenance puppies outside, sipping a hot cup of Chai tea, reviewing and answering dozens of emails, and posting comments and photos on my social media sites. By 9 a.m., I’m ready to rock. I review previous chapters, send my husband off to work, and orchestrate new developments in the story I’m currently working on. This can involve 4-5 hours before I take a break, stretch, and then put my energies toward a non-profit event that takes nine months to organize. After sending out dozens of letters to sponsors, music and restaurant event coordinators, I call family members and set aside a few hours every week for family-only time. Its truly a challenge with traveling so much and participating in social engagements.

 

 

Your most recent book, Twisted Threads (book 4 in the series) was released quite recently, in November. Have you written more books that are waiting to be published, or will you start working on a new one now?

 

I’m currently working on my next book, titled High Flying, which involves a time travel story resulting from a near-miss plane accident.

 

 

Do you have writing goals - as in a certain number of books to publish per year, or in total?

 

I try to write one book each year, as it takes time not only to write the story I’d like to tell but also to edit it thoroughly and to publish it in a timely manner.

 

 

When you write, especially in the case of a series, do you have all the stories and characters planned out from the beginning and then just write them, or do they come to you as you write the book?

 

When I began writing the Threads series, I had characters in mind and actually wrote detailed descriptions of each one in a notebook for easy reference. As the series progressed, I became more acquainted with them and knew how my characters would react to various circumstances, which made it easier to continue their stories.

 

 

 

Tell us about your characters. Are they completely fictional, or are you inspired by people and stories you know?

 

I tend to base my characters partly on my own characteristics, and partly on the various people I’ve met over the years. I like them to be flawed, damaged, and filled with doubt, which makes their transitions into stronger, more caring individuals believable and more rewarding for readers.

 

 

Who designed your book covers? Were you very involved in choosing the covers, and, if so, how involved?

 

My youngest daughter, Amanda Tomo Yoshida, is an incredible, talented artist. She listens to my storyline and is quick to understand the message and thread I want to convey to readers when they ultimately see my covers. Although they all look like photographs, my covers are truly original designs, and they help me to translate my ideas into a real story while Im still writing it.

 

 

Let's move away from your writing and talk about literature and reading in general. Who are your favorite writers, who do you admire, look up to? Any contemporary writers you are fond of? Any favorite books you'd like to tell us about?

 

I read dozens of books every month and have hundreds of authors I love. The ones that influenced me the most are Jodi Picoult - for her internal conflicts, personal interactions, and controversial current events - and Lisa Jackson - for her graphic descriptions, believable dialogue, page-turning murder mysteries and horror stories. I greatly admire both of these writers and continue to strive to be like them even today.

 

 

To sum up this interview let's introduce a little bit of magic and move away from the real world for a moment. If you could choose one character from a favorite book to have dinner with, or spend a day with, who would that be? What would you ask that person?

 

I would have to say Jane Austen's Emma mainly because she is so human. She is always plunging into such embarrassing mistakes, and yet they're the mistakes one longs to make oneself...like telling the tediously garrulous Miss Bates to shut up. And, bless her, she is truly ashamed when she does, because she is actually very nice. I guess I’d want to know why she believes herself incapable of truly loving someone and believing someone would love her completely.

 

 

Follow Kaylin McFarren's blog on BookLikes: http://4kaylin.booklikes.com/

 

Kaylin McFarren's books on BookLikes (click the book covers to add the books to your bookshelf):

 

Severed Threads - Kaylin McFarrenBuried Threads - Kaylin McFarrenBanished Threads - McFarren Kaylin,Yoshida Amanda Tomo

Twisted Threads - Kaylin McFarrenFlaherty's Crossing - Kaylin McFarren

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text 2017-12-27 15:12
Interview with romance books author, JD Corbett + 2 Giveaways (e-books and signed paper copies)

 

JD Corbett is the author of two romance novels, both published in 2017. Read our BookLikes interview and get to know the author!

 

JD has been very generous to BookLikes readers and offered two e-books of her new book Planning Christmas, as well as two signed paperback copies of her first novel, Leaving Kate! Enter our giveaway contests to win!

 

 

Giveaway: Dec. 13, 2017 - Jan. 01, 2018

Enter to win 1 of 2 SIGNED copies of the contemporary romance, Leaving Kate!

Request a book

Request a book 

 

I see that in the space of one year you’ve published two full-length books! Wow, this seems like quite a lot! How often do you write and how long at one time? Do you plan to keep up this pace in the future?

 

Well, that was kind of a fluke! I won't lie, I worked on Leaving Kate for almost two years, and it actually stemmed from a story I wrote as a teenager. Planning Christmas was a bit of a faster deadline...my publisher asked me if I'd ever considered writing a Christmas story, and I responded with 'no...but I can!' So I pushed myself to get that together quickly. Turns out I work much better when there's a deadline involved. I'm a procrastinator, so it forced me to sit down and write for at least 2 hours a day. For my next, I think I will need to give myself a false deadline to follow!

 

Were you writing the two books at the same time? If so, did the characters and/or plot get mixed up as you were writing?

 

I was already done with my first novella before I started on Planning Christmas, so I didn't really have any issues there. But as I'm writing my upcoming romance, I keep getting distracted with another idea for a spin off of Leaving Kate. So, yes, my leads have definitely appeared in the wrong story from time to time.

 

Giveaway: Dec. 13, 2017 - Jan. 01, 2018

Enter for a chance to win 1 of 2 FREE e-books of a light and funny holiday romance story!

Request an e-book

Request an e-book

 

In your opinion, do the books have a lot in common? I know they are not part of a series, but is there something that makes them similar?

 

A:  They don't have too much in common, besides the fact that they are both love stories. Leaving Kate  has a bit more of an edge and serious tone, while Planning Christmas is very light and funny. You may be able to see some of my sarcastic tone from both books, however.

 

Do you think you resemble any of your characters?

 

If I had to pick which character I am most like, it would have to be Paige from Planning Christmas. She is super Type-A and gets so obsessed over minor details that it distracts her from the bigger picture sometimes. I can totally be this way...to my detriment!

 

Have any of your characters, or things that happen in the books, been inspired by real people or real events?

 

Lots of people have asked me about this and where I get character ideas. Truthfully, the personalities of the characters and story lines are completely fictional, but I have strategically placed names, places they went to college, career goals, etc. in to both books that are based on my closest friends.

 

You seem to like reading books from various genres, and you read quite a lot. Do you tend to read specific types of books while writing?

 

I was reading a lot of Nicholas Sparks while writing Leaving Kate, and I found myself almost adopting a different writing style, so I had to switch it up. I stayed with romance, but changed authors frequently to get a taste of several writing styles. I have learned that the more you read and write, the better author you will be.

 

What tips and tricks have you gotten from reading your favorite books and writers, have they taught you anything in particular? If you could ask your favorite authors for advice, what would it be?

 

I haven't really found any tips from their writing, but I do constantly learn various ways to say something or describe a place or person. The best lesson from authors so far is how to get your writing out there! Promoting and building a name is way harder than the writing!

 

Let’s move away from the real world for a minute. If you could choose one character from a favorite book to have dinner with, or spend a day with, who would that be? What would you ask that person?

Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell 

I would choose Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind. Her character flaws are endless but I love her. I would ask her why she wouldn't get her act together and drop Ashley already! Rhett is so much sexier!

 

 Follow JD Corbett's blog on BookLikes: http://jdrapp.booklikes.com/

 

JD Corbett's books on BookLikes (click the cover to add the titles to your bookshelf):

 

Leaving Kate - JD CorbettPlanning Christmas - JD Corbett

 

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text 2017-12-26 14:39
An Interview with Mary Anne Yarde + The Du Lac Chronicles Giveaway

 

Today it is a real pleasure to welcome Mary Anne Yarde, author of The Du Lac Chronicles, on BookLikes! If historical fiction is your cup of tea, find yourself a cozy spot and read on.

 

It's holiday time and Mary decided to play Santa! :) Make sure to take your chance in the giveaway and win a signed copy of the first part of the Mary Anne Yarde's series, The Du Lac Chronicles! What a treat!

 

Giveaway: Dec. 26, 2017 - Jan. 16, 2017

Request a signed copy of

The Du Lac Chronicles

Request the book

 

I see that in the space of one year you’ve published three full-length, award-winning books, and one novella (cleverly labeled book # 1.5!).  How often do you write and how long at one time, to keep up this pace? It really seems like a lot of writing!

 

When you say it like that, it does seem a lot! I should really try and get out of the house more. Joking aside, my writing time is sacred. I write for three hours every day.

 

How long will be The Du Lac Chronicles series be? Do you have a plan, or will you just keep writing until the characters have something to say? Are you now working on book #4?

 

The Du Lac Chronicles started out as a trilogy. So much for good intentions! When I finished writing The Du Lac Devil (Book 2 of The Du Lac Chronicles), I realised there was no way I was going to get the story I wanted to tell into three books. I am currently working on book 4, and the way the story is going, there will definitely be a book five as well. Maybe even a six. As for a plan, I know where the story ends. I just have to get my characters there!

 

The Du Lac Chronicles - Mary Anne YardeThe Du Lac Devil - Mary Anne YardeThe Du Lac Princess - Mary Anne Yarde
The Du Lac Chronicles

 

You seem to like reading books from various genres, and you read a lot. Do you tend to read specific types of books while writing?

 

I love reading. If only there were more hours in the day! As you said, I read from a wide and various genres, I always have done. I think if I stuck with one genre to read I would soon become bored.

 

I still read a lot of fiction when I am writing, but I also spend a lot of my time reading non-fiction books about the era that my books are set in. I have more than my fair share of books on the Saxons, the Celts, the Franks and the Dark Ages. I also have quite a library on the subject of King Arthur and his Knights.

 

Your books are based on history and mythology, on your blog you say you are inspired by where you live and the history and mythology of England. How much studying did you have to do to get to know all the details behind the setting you created for your characters?

 

How much studying...? Hours and hours and hours! More hours than can be counted. It has very much been a lifetime of research.

 

I am very passionate about Folklore. I truly believe that Folklore is its own special brand of history. It is often overlooked by historians, which I think is a shame. You can tell a lot about a people by the stories they tell.

 

Saying that however, I am also an historian. My books are set in Dark Age Britain, Brittany, and France. I wanted to keep the history as real in the telling as I could. The only way I could do that is by research and that unfortunately takes time. But I enjoy it so it is not too much of a burden.

 

Request a signed copy

 

Let’s move away from the real world for a minute, since you write about times that are removed from today’s reality. If you could choose one character from a favorite book to have dinner with, or spend a day with, who would that be? What would you ask that person?

 

Oh my, that is quite a question. Who would I choose to have dinner with? I don't know. Umm... I'll get back to you on that!

 

Who designs your book covers? Do you personally design them, or only oversee the process?

 

I wish I were clever enough to design book covers! I am afraid that is something that I do not have any talent for. I work with the brilliant designer, Peter O'Connor, from Bespoke Book Covers. All credit must go to him for my covers. He came up with the whole concept of what the series would look like. He is also very patient with me and never complains when I want him to change something. He is a treasure!

 

Follow Mary Anne Yarde's blog on BookLikes: http://maryyarde.booklikes.com/

 

Mary Anne Yarde's book on BookLikes (click the covers to add the books to your shelf):

 

The Du Lac Princess - Mary Anne YardeThe Du Lac Devil - Mary Anne YardeThe Du Lac Chronicles - Mary Anne YardeThe Pitchfork Rebellion: The Du Lac Chronicles - Novella - Mary Anne Yarde

 

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