Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Non-Fiction, User Guide

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide 4*#Review James Essinger @JamesEssinger @ConradPress @rararesources #NonFiction #writingfiction #UserGuide #BlogBlitz #BookReview

#WritingFiction

‘Writing Fiction is a little pot of gold… Screenplay by Syd Field for film, Writing Fiction by James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.’

William Osborne, novelist and screenwriter

Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard.

It draws on the author’s more than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and ideas of writers including:

  • Anthony Burgess
  • Joseph Conrad
  • George Eliot
  • Ken Follett
  • Frederick Forsyth
  • Dan Harmon
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • David Lodge
  • Norman Mailer
  • John Milton
  • Ben Parker
  • J.K. Rowling
  • William Shakespeare
  • Martin Cruz Smith
  • J.R.R. Tolkien

The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.

Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Future movies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster  Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

What I like about this non-fiction guide, to writing fiction is that is presented in a logical easy to use way. Beginning, with what the author considers fiction to be. Moving through a chapter by chapter guide to the fundamentals of fiction writing, with examples of why they are important, with input from industry professionals.

It covers a wide spectrum of fiction, and includes interesting analogies with screenwriting. This isn’t a workbook. There are examples, but no specific exercises for new writers to judge their content by. However, as an overall guide, and a useful reference book, for fiction writers, learning, or perfecting their craft it works.

The tone of the book is motivational, and the author’s experience and knowledge of the publishing industry are evident.

#JamesEssinger

James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019). His novels include The Mating Game (2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project (2019).

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Posted in Author Interview, Blog Blitz, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama

The Fourth Victim John Mead 4*#Review @BookGuild @JohnMeadAuthor @rararesources #PoliceProcedural #CrimeFiction #EastEnd #London #BookBirthdayBlitz #BookReview #BookBloggers

Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of tranquillity and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder…

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight.  And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with fatal head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong.  The victim deserves more.  However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

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#TheFourthVictim
Author Interview – John Mead – The Fourth Victim

Is this story inspired by a real event? If not, what are the inspirations behind this story?

Most of the ideas I have are sparked by incidents I’ve heard about or been involved in. However, they do get greatly adapted to fit the plot.  For example, the idea to set the main narrative of The Fourth Victim in Whitechapel came from walking past Lehman Street police station and wondering what a modern-day Jack the Ripper might be like. It didn’t take me long to decide that the events if enacted today, would be more mundane – less sensational in this jaded age – and  Jack would be psychoanalysed to death. Though he or she would, no doubt, be a Twitter celeb – at least for a day!

Given that I wanted to write something about how the police deal with mental health issues, and how this impacts on the nature of criminality and victimhood; then that ‘Whitechapel Ripper’ setting seemed to put everything into place.

Is it important to create memorable detectives in this genre? Why do think this is?

In general, I would say it is important to create a memorable team of detectives. Even if it is mainly a partnership – Morse had Lewis but also Dr Max DeBryn and Strange, while Poirot had Hastings and Japp.  Although neither Morse nor Poirot could function in a modern police force. A better example would be Vera or Montalbano, both of whom have their teams and sidekicks.   It is the people around the central character and their relationships which define them and make them memorable.

It is, therefore, necessary to create characters which are relatable, well-rounded humans with flaws and inconsistencies. The interactions of these characters are what creates interest and bring the story alive. I tend to find ‘lone wolf’ characters unrealistic, especially in the police as these are organisations based on teamwork. If you consider some of the more modern ‘classic’ detectives, like Martin Beck or Wallander, they may not be the best team players but they are still part of a team and interact with them.  This is as true of the criminals – no one is all good or all bad – and the victims. Both of which are often used as mere plot devices and quickly forgotten, while in reality, they are central to the crime.

Do your detectives have to be likeable? Why is this?

No, not essentially, in reality, how many of the detectives you read about would you want to spend an evening with (Holmes would be insufferable and Jimmy Perez would be maudlin)? I would say it is more important to make them understandable, to show their weaknesses and vulnerabilities as well as their strengths – this is what makes a character interesting and, hopefully, why people want to read about them. 

Take Maigret or Elise Wassermann, these characters only become likeable once you start to understand their backgrounds and relationships. Both these characters might seem to be the typical ‘lone wolf’ detective but neither would be anything more than a cypher until you realise that Maigret needs his wife to give him a strong anchor in life and Wassermann, who is autistic, is really doing her utmost to fit in. Otherwise, neither of them would be particularly likeable.

Do you draw your characters from real life, your imagination, or are they a mix of both? How do you make your characters realistic?

Sometimes, someone, I come across sparks an idea for a character and, at other times, I realise a character I have written reminds me of someone I know.  But, on the whole, I find the characters develop a life of their own – once you have a few basic characteristics defined for a character it is surprising how complex they can become.

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

I enjoy books that teach me something: whether it is about writing technique, a moment in history or life in general.

Treasure Island is technically the best book ever written. Not a word is wasted, the plot is fast-paced, the characters are well rounded and every scene comes to life.  Which is quite a feat?

Though I like anything by PG Woodhouse for his wordplay, and CJ Sansom and C Hibbert for their impeccable research.

These days I generally read crime fiction – usually, police procedurals – and the masters of this genre are Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö who wrote the Martin Beck series.

What are you currently writing?

Having decided to write a trilogy based on the Metropolitan Police’s Major Investigation Team East – who deal with murders in modern-day East End of London – I have discovered this is actually a ‘trilogy’ in four parts. And I am currently working on the final two parts of this series, the second book in the series – Geraldine – is being published at the end of September. 

However, I am also working on the plot of another book, an allegorical story of modern life.  It’s about a paranoid white suprematist who befriends a homeless Muslim woman – now if I can pull that off who knows what will come next …

What are the best and the worst things about being a writer?

I absolutely love the act of writing, editing and all aspects of the process – I become totally absorbed by it. Unfortunately, because I am naturally lazy, I completely hate the thought of having to start writing, editing or anything else connected with the process, and do all I can to put it off.

Life is full of contradictions.

#TheFourthVictim

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The iconic setting of Whitechapel for this book puts you in the correct frame of mind for murder. Although this part of the EastEnd of London, is much changed, it seems the possibility of a serial killer is an uncomfortable echo of its gruesome past.

Detective Inspector Merry, who on the surface is anything but, and Detective Sergeant Lukula make an interesting an investigating duo. The other members of the murder investigating team are also distinctive, and despite their personality differences, the team functions well.

This is a character-driven police procedural, with well-drawn realistic characters whose multiple human frailties make them authentic. The plot gives heavier emphasis on the police team’s personal lives than is usual in a police procedural. This adds interest to the more routine parts of the story, but for some will detract from the main storyline.

The investigation of the crimes is detailed and well researched. There is also a mental health theme in this story, which is contemporary, and again, shows copious research.

The plot has twists and false information, and the ending draws everything together in a satisfying way.

John was born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs.

He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern-day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Historical Romance, Romance

Secrets of a Highland Warrior Nicole Locke 4*#Review @NicoleLockeNews @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #TheLochmoreLegacy #HistoricalRomance #Scottish #Scotland #BlogBlitz #BookReview #BookBloggers @rararesources

#SecretsofaHighlandWarrior

The key to his past…

…lies with the enemy sharing his bed!

Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Rory Lochmore had expected to wage battle, to claim land and finally secure his standing within his clan… Instead, he won a wife. A McCrieff wife. Their convenient marriage could unite the two long-feuding clans forever. But can a political alliance give way to a passion strong enough to stand the secrets of the past?

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The last in ‘The Lochmore Legacy’ series, takes us back to 1293 and the beginning of the Lochmore Legacy. Ailsa and Rory have a marriage of convenience, but although they marry for the good of their clans, their attraction and friendship grow.

This book is full of danger and intrigue, and a slow-burning passionate romance. The historical detail gives depth to the story and the authentic characters bring it to life. Ailsa and Rory are good characters, and you want to them to overcome the deceit and treachery.

The secrets discovered, in the first book in the series, are revealed here. The epilogue, written by the author of the first book ties everything together in a poignant satisfying way.

#NicoleCole

Nicole is the author of Harlequin’s #LoversandLegends series and co-author of the #LochmoreLegacy series. Currently, she lives in Seattle and can be reached via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. If you don’t hear from her, she’s eating Haribos and drinking copious amounts of tea while frantically trying to find a happily ever after. Instagram Facebook Twitter

Giveaway to Win 5 x copies of Secrets of a Highland Warrior  (Open INT)

Giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Suspense, Travel

Deep Blue Kristy McCaffrey 5* #Review #ThePathwaySeries @McCaffreyKristy #BookReview #Sharks #Adventure #Romance #Suspense #Marine #DeepBlueBlitz #DeepBlue @LoveBooksGroup #Environment #Conservation #Travel #LoveBooksTours

In the deep blue ocean lives an ancient predator…

Dr Grace Mann knows great white sharks. As the daughter of an obsessed shark researcher based at the Farallon Islands, Grace spent her childhood in the company of these elegant and massive creatures. When a photo of her freediving with a great white goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work.

Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. As he heads to Guadalupe Island in Baja California Sur for a three-week expedition, it’s clear that his fan-boy crush on Grace is turning into something more serious. But even more pressing—Grace’s passionate focus on the sharks just might get her killed.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I’ve always been fascinated, with sharks. This authentically detailed story, which features them and their conservation is what drew me to this book. Aside from the sharks, there is adventure, friendship, rivalry, romance and suspense, all intertwined into an easy to read, enthralling story.

The setting and the vivid imagery that creates it makes you feel part of it. The sharks are unique characters, and you empathise with them. The human characters are also believable. Grace is dedicated and driven but still vulnerable. Her love and respect of the creatures she studies is evident and makes her likeable. Alec is similarly driven. Their attraction is inevitable, and passionate, within the claustrophobic surrounding of the expedition ship. This intensifies feelings and gives their romance, impact.

There is an element of suspense in this story, both from the unpredictable nature of the sharks and the humans, who are in some cases, deceitful and secretive. The filming of the sharks and the danger it involves keeps you turning the pages, as you head into the deep blue ocean, with Grace and Alec.

Kristy McCaffrey has been writing since she was very young, but it wasn’t until she was a stay-at-home mom that she considered becoming published. A fascination with science led her to earn two mechanical engineering degrees—she did her undergraduate work at Arizona State University and her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh—but storytelling has always been her passion. She writes both contemporary tales and award-winning historical western romances.

With the release of Deep Blue, Kristy is launching The Pathway Series, a project she’s been developing for years. Each book will combine her love of animal conservation and environmental awareness, while also shining a light on unique and diverse locations around the world. Come along for high adventure with honourable heroes, determined heroines, and Kristy’s trademark mysticism.

An Arizona native, Kristy and her husband reside in the desert where they frequently remove (rescue) rattlesnakes from their property, go for runs among the cactus, and plan trips to far-off places like the Orkney Islands or Machu Picchu. But mostly, she works 12-hour days and enjoys at-home date nights with her sweetheart, which usually include Will Ferrell movies and sci-fi flicks. Her four children have nearly all flown the nest, and the family recently lost their cherished chocolate Labrador, Ranger, so these days a great deal of attention is lavished on Ranger’s sister, Lily, and the newest addition to the household—Marley, an older yellow Labrador they rescued in early 2018. Both dogs are frequently featured on Kristy’sInstagram account, so pop over to meet her canine family.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

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Posted in Author Guest Post, Blog Blitz, Friendship, Romance, Suspense, Travel

Deep Blue Kristy McCaffrey #ThePathwaySeries @McCaffreyKristy #GuestPost #Sharks #Adventure #Romance #Suspense #Marine #DeepBlueBlitz #DeepBlue @LoveBooksGroup #Environment #Conservation #Travel #LoveBooksTours

In the deep blue ocean lives an ancient predator…

Dr Grace Mann knows great white sharks. As the daughter of an obsessed shark researcher based at the Farallon Islands, Grace spent her childhood in the company of these elegant and massive creatures. When a photo of her freediving with a great white goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work.

Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. As he heads to Guadalupe Island in Baja California Sur for a three-week expedition, it’s clear that his fan-boy crush on Grace is turning into something more serious. But even more pressing—Grace’s passionate focus on the sharks just might get her killed.

Amazon UK

Kristy McCaffrey – Guest Post – Deep Blue

Thanks so much for letting me stop by today. My background is in engineering, but I’ve been writing since I was very young. When I was raising my kids, I wanted more flexibility with my schedule so I decided to hone my writing skills and pursue publication. Today, I write contemporary adventure romances and award-winning historical western romances.

Here’s the blurb for DEEP BLUE:

When a photo of Dr. Grace Mann freediving with a great white shark goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work. Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr. Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. But can he keep her safe when her passionate focus on the sharks repeatedly leads her into danger? 

Ideas come from everywhere, and I usually only have a general inkling about plot and characters in the beginning. I’m not a big outliner (although I’m trying to do more these days), so I start researching my subject and writing at the same time. There’s a lot of back and forth as I build plot and characters to complement each other. Because of this, my first drafts usually require a lot of revisions on the second pass (for instance, in DEEP BLUE I came to realize that several scenes were out of order—my brain knew I needed them, it just didn’t know where). After that, a third pass is for general clean-up. At that point, I’ll send it to beta readers, incorporate their comments, and then ship the manuscript to my editor. After I revise based on her comments, it goes to my proofreader. Most of my projects are self-published, so I do the formatting for ebook and print myself, and during this process, I’ll clean-up any last-minute grammar and logic issues that might pop up. Finally, the book is ready to be published.

One of my keeper books is THE EIGHT by Katherine Neville, a complex story of a magical chess set woven around historical events. I’m never without the non-fiction WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes, an excellent resource on the female psyche. I refer to it again and again. For pure escapism, you can’t go wrong with Ann Charles’ DEADWOOD series, filled with paranormal shenanigans, humour, and romance. I’m in love with all her characters.

I grew up reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy because that was on my mom’s nightstand, so I devoured Marion Zimmer Bradley and her epic Darkover books, as well as Anne McCaffrey’s (no relation) Dragonriders of Pern series. I was also obsessed with all things King Arthur. But when I was in high school, I read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and that book really showed me the dynamic that can occur in a great romance. So, while I certainly love to write love stories, I also need a big story behind it, and by that, I mean a highly thematic element. I’m also fond of including a bit of the ‘other’—a blend of paranormal and mysticism—so that often slips into my books.

I just finished THE UNHONEYMOONERS by Christina Lauren, a fun, sexy rom-com. Check it out if you haven’t. It’s a great read. And I just started RECURSION by Blake Crouch, and I’m hooked. It’s a sci-fi flavoured novel about scientists trying to download our memories so they can be saved for patients who later suffer from dementia. And, of course, it goes horribly wrong lol.

My favourite author moment is always finishing a project. The entire process of creating a book from start to finish is incredibly hard, so when I have my novel in hand, at last, I can finally relax and feel proud that I didn’t quit.

For my entire career, it’s been, my husband who has encouraged and supported me. He’s not a writer, but he has always been a big cheerleader for me. He also financially supported me for ten years before I was able to get my career out of the red. I can’t thank him enough.

Kristy McCaffrey has been writing since she was very young, but it wasn’t until she was a stay-at-home mom that she considered becoming published. A fascination with science led her to earn two mechanical engineering degrees—she did her undergraduate work at Arizona State University and her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh—but storytelling has always been her passion. She writes both contemporary tales and award-winning historical western romances.

With the release of Deep Blue, Kristy is launching The Pathway Series, a project she’s been developing for years. Each book will combine her love of animal conservation and environmental awareness, while also shining a light on unique and diverse locations around the world. Come along for high adventure with honourable heroes, determined heroines, and Kristy’s trademark mysticism.

An Arizona native, Kristy and her husband reside in the desert where they frequently remove (rescue) rattlesnakes from their property, go for runs among the cactus, and plan trips to far-off places like the Orkney Islands or Machu Picchu. But mostly, she works 12-hour days and enjoys at-home date nights with her sweetheart, which usually include Will Ferrell movies and sci-fi flicks. Her four children have nearly all flown the nest, and the family recently lost their cherished chocolate Labrador, Ranger, so these days a great deal of attention is lavished on Ranger’s sister, Lily, and the newest addition to the household—Marley, an older yellow Labrador they rescued in early 2018. Both dogs are frequently featured on Kristy’sInstagram account, so pop over to meet her canine family.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Literary Fiction, Thriller

One of Us Rachel Mclean 4* #Review @rachelmcwrites #Thriller #LiteraryFiction #TheVillage #BlogBlitz @rararesources #psychologicalthriller #Revenge #dystopian #NorthYorkshire #NearFuture

‘Leave, or die.’

Jess Dyer has won safety for her sister-in-law Ruth and proved her worth as the leader of her refugee community.

Sarah Evans has stood up to her parents and discovered who she can trust.

But the villagers still aren’t welcome. When the local population expresses its anger, can Jess keep everyone safe? And can she hold it together as Steward when someone she loves dies?

And how will Sarah react when her new fiancee Martin receives death threats, telling him he must leave her, and their village?

One Of Us is a gripping thriller about belonging and acceptance. It’s the third book in the Village trilogy and the sequel to Sea Of Lies.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Book 3 in ‘The Village’ series set in near-future North Yorkshire, is fast-paced, suspenseful with an undercurrent of menace.

Character empathy is easier, if you read the first two books in the series, ‘Thicker Than Water’ and ‘Sea of Lies’. Dystopian, it is set in a village founded after traumatic floods, and rising sea levels caused devastation, necessitating people to leave their homes and become refugees.

The final book is set in the aftermath of traumatic events involving outsiders and the villagers. There is a culture of mistrust and isolation between the indigenous population, authorities, and the villagers (refugees). There is sufficient backstory included to let you read as a standalone story, but it is a series that should be read chronically for maximum reader impact and understanding.

The characters are complex, vividly drawn, and realistic, their interactions among themselves and with outsiders are believable. The suspense building is good, the setting authentic and disturbing. Exploring the extremes of human emotions, once the status quo is upset.

A perfect series, if you enjoy suspenseful thrillers with a dystopian setting.

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at a breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

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Posted in #Sale, Blog Blitz, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Passport to Happiness – Carrie Stone 99p #PromoBlitz @rararesources @CarrieStoneUK #RomCom #Travel #Self-Realisation #Romance #PriceDrop

An inspiring and escapist read – Eat, Pray, Love meets Bridget Jones!

 Will the trip of her dreams…

Everly Carter is bored.

With her job, with her single status and with the never-ending line of rubbish men on Tinder.  Tired of going through the motions of seeming happy, Everly wants to be happy!
 
So, in a spontaneous moment of bravery (perhaps spurred on by a few cocktails) Everly books a holiday.  Time away, alone, to find out what she really wants from life.

Become the journey of her lifetime?

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Everly’s search for happiness takes her to picturesque Swiss villages and the sunsets of glamourous Bermuda.  But with every new stamp in her passport, Everly still feels as though something is missing…

Could it be that true happiness is hard to find until she finds herself?

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PRICE DROP ALERT! Passport to Happiness now just 99p! Grab your copy – http://hyperurl.co/passporttoeb ‘ 

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#PassporttoHappiness
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Carrie was born and raised in London, but her love for travel and adventure has seen her spend the last fourteen years living and working internationally. She is currently based in Spain alongside her husband, young daughter and adopted Indonesian dog, Bali. 

Carrie is a traditionally published author with Harper Impulse, as well as an independently published author. When not writing, she works as a Psychic Medium & Spiritual Coach (www.carriebattley.com). To find out more about her, connect on Facebook (Carrie Stone) or Twitter @CarrieStoneUK