Bandit Book Bloggers: A House of Light and Stone, by EJ Runyon

A HOUSE OF LIGHT AND STONE

by

EJ Runyon

Cover

Giving a voice to the silent. A House of Light and Stone is the first full-length novel from writer E. J. Runyon, which follows the daily struggles of an abused young girl as she takes her first tentative steps into growing up. Secrets and lies abound in the backstreets of late-sixties Los Angeles, and coming of age here is no mean feat. For Duffy, whose talent and creativity far exceed her years, growing up is about making immutable choices and learning one simple lesson: that understanding oneself is absolutely everything. In charting Duffy’s quest, Runyon illuminates the dark corners, shedding credible light on a subject that could easily slip into the realms of melodrama. The result is something believable and profound; a true testament to the strength of the human spirit.

PURCHASE LINKS for A HOUSE OF LIGHT AND STONE

Amazon

Amazon (eBook)

Website

Blog

Twitter

Interview with EJ Runyon

E.J. Runyon lives in the US Southwest. Since 2002 she’s found herself moving on to smaller and smaller desert towns, while working to become the author and writing coach she planned to be. First, she quit working in software and sold her home to finance her degree in Creative Writing and her Grad-work in Online Teaching and Learning. She’s never looked back since. Now, her life revolves around her own writing and Bridge to Story – an online creativity coaching business that she runs– and you know, being a better person day to day. E.J.’s passion is focused on writing fine prose and on getting folks writing, her aim is coaching them in writing well. She participates yearly in National Novel Writing Month – an event she’s been involved in since 2001. Her first collection of short stories, Claiming One was published by Inspired Quill in 2012, which was followed in 2013 by Tell Me How to Write a Story, a guide for writers new and old alike.

 

Thank you for this opportunity, EJ. Let’s start at the beginning. Who designed that eye-catching cover on your debut novel?

That was Venetia Jackson, out of the UK. Is it fab or what? We all went around a few times, IQ, she and I, and that was the end result. I love what she captured of the novel’s essence in her work, back and front covers. I’ve used her artwork to make many Book Memes for posting to FB and a lot of folks mention how much they think of that cover. Lots of thumbs up.

Have your life experiences influenced your work in any way?

For real long time, my life experience was to work really, really, hard and ignore my art, as if it was something to shove aside for a later time. The biggest shift in that experience was realizing I was really good at working hard and really good at writing, so why not work hard at the writing for the rest of my life?
I think that’s the biggest life experience that’s influenced my work. Because now that’s all I do. I work at my writing and I work at other people’s writing. And I work really hard at both.

As a writer, are you a planner or do you jump right into it?

I’m the type who gets an idea in the form a scene or a line of dialogue that pops up in my mind then I jump right into planning what I’m going to do around it.
I’ve written ending lines first. And then built backwards. When it comes to planning, mine takes the form of a whole bunch of ”What if…?” questions that I ask. Mostly about how would someone react…, what would happen when…, how would they think…, what would lead to…
Answers
to those types of of question make it very easy for a not-much-of-a-planner to get a grip on what the story might end up being about.

How long have you been writing?

As a non-dilettante, non-lip service, not posing at it, really siting down and writing, then editing writer-person, since 1992.
That’s when I became very serious about everything. Even though my doing so was small and confused. And very novice at my attempts.
I started sending my work out in 1996 or so. The first short story I sent out got accepted. In 1997 I stopped my day-work to focus on a group of 8 short stories, by 2001 it was on to novellas via NaNoWriMo. Then in 2011, the first short story collection got accepted, then the first novel…
Now there’s three titles out by Inspired Quill, and I’m self-publishing my 2001 novella this year. In 2010 I built my Bridge to Story coaching site. And Writer’s Digest has let me guest-blog a time or two for their ‘There Are No Rules‘ web posts. But as we see, there were years of revisions in the mix. This year it’s another Writer’s Guide. Next year, another novel.

You’re also a skilled story editor, how much of your time is split between writing your own work and editing others?

I work maybe 14 hours out of the day, because I run my own business and no one can say, Hey stop that!
And I’d say it’s about 40%/60% for my work/their work.
That’s just because any time where there’s no editing to do, the full time then goes to my own work. As of 2015 I’ve got three other novels ready to go for submissions. And five others under final round edits. In the years altering with placing those novels to good homes, it’ll be working to put out writing guides.

When you’re not writing or editing, what hobbies keep you busy?

What I enjoy is miniatures. 1 inch scale types. Though I’m much more the armchair enthusiast. I’ve only made a few things of my own that I’m really proud of. I did splurge once and got to go to a Miniatures conference, where I signed up for a class in ¼ scale room box creations. I made a spectacular (in my eyes) adobe casita, and furnished it to look like a painter’s studio.  It was brilliant. Out in the patio were planters with flowering bushes, a tree, a cat, brickwork, and a tiled fountain. Best time in my miniatures career to date.

What book or books are you reading at the moment?

I’m re-reading a few things and also working through a list of 50 books that I planned for this year’s reading agenda. The re-reading is above and beyond the 50 books. And I usually have two or three things going simultaneously. So as far as re-reading goes, it’s Catherine Ryan Hyde’s ‘Earthquake Weather’. And for the book off my 2015 list, this week it’s, Lev Raphael’s ‘Rosedale In Love (The House of Mirth Revisited)’. Strangely, I happen to post a lot on FB with both those authors.

 

And lastly, do you prefer mermaids or flapjacks? 🙂

If you mean which do I prefer for a nice long chat, I’d have to say Mermaids—hands down.
Now if you meant what I’d like to share with a Mermaid I’ve experienced an excellent conversation with, that would have to be the flapjacks. No question. 🙂

 

Of course we’re keeping this one, that’s the most sensible answer to that question I’ve ever heard! Goodness, I’m building quite a collection of authors here, I’m gonna have to build a bigger pen…

 

Blessed be, my darling pixies

RK )O(

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Bandit Book Bloggers: Chasing Azrael, by Hazel Butler

CHASING AZRAEL

by

Hazel Butler

cover2

Chasing Azrael: Gritty New Paranormal Mystery Series Raises Vital Awareness of Bipolar Disorder.

 

The ‘Deathly Insanity’ series uses gripping urban mystery and heaps of the paranormal to keep its readers on the edge of their seats. However, the series is also serving a vital dual-purpose by openly examining societal attitudes towards Bipolar Disorder and Depression. The first volume, ‘Chasing Azrael’, sees author Hazel Butler serve up the perfect start to what’s poised to be a best-selling series.

 

PURCHASE LINKS for CHASING AZRAEL

Amazon UK Paperback

Amazon UK eBook

Hazel Butler Website

Interview with Hazel Butler

Hazel is a twenty eight year old author, artist and archaeologist from Cheshire, England. She is currently in the final year of her PhD, which focuses on Gender Dynamics in Late Iron Age and Early Medieval Britain. She studied archaeology at The University of Manchester, then Bangor University, and spent two years doing corporate archaeology and research excavations, both in Britain and Austria. She has had papers published in international journals and online.

Since 2010, she has been working on Chasing Azrael, a Gothic Literary novel and the first in the Deathly Insanity Series, a set of Paranormal Mystery/Urban Fantasy novels with overlapping character and plot-lines. Although these novels have a strong supernatural element they also explore themes of mental health, in particular Bipolar Disorder, which Hazel herself has suffered from since her early teens.

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Hi Hazel! Sooo, let’s start at the beginning. Tell me a little bit about Chasing Azrael. No spoilers, though!

Chasing Azrael is primarily a ghost story, following main character Andee Tilbrook as she attempts to recover from her husband James’s death. Andee has the ability to see ghosts, and as a result can still see and speak with James on a regular basis. At the start of the novel, two years have passed since his death, but for Andee the grief is still as fresh as the day he died, and she is contemplating suicide. Her personal problems take a slight backseat when Josh, one of her closest friends, is threatened by a very unstable ex-girlfriend. Andee has a gut reaction to this woman that tells her something is very wrong, and soon enough is proven correct, when it transpires she is wanted in connection to a string of murders. Andee gets dragged into the murder investigated by Robert, the same detective who investigated James’s death, and she ends up torn between James, Josh, and Robert, as she tries to puzzle out how she feels and use her abilities to solve the murders.

On a deeper level however, Chasing Azrael is more than simply a paranormal whodoneit. It examines depression, suicide, and mental illness, as well as societal attitudes to bipolar disorder and the effects those attitudes can have on people with the condition.

I like the cover, who designed it?

The cover has actually just changed, so I’m not sure which to talk about. The original cover was a digital painting done by myself. I was never entirely happy with it however, as I found the colour scheme a little dull, and the composition too busy. I have just changed it for a new design – this one a digital photo manipulation, also done by myself – which has a much brighter colour scheme and a far simpler composition. I am very pleased with the new cover, although it is very different.

You’re a very talented artist in your own right. Have you created any artwork to go with Chasing Azrael?

Yes I have, although I haven’t released any of it. I may at some point, but there are no plans to do so as of yet.

When it comes to writing, do you prefer to plan ahead or do you just write and write and write until you pass out?

It depends what I’m writing. Chasing Azrael was very cathartic for me. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010 and writing became a way for me to order my thoughts and feelings, come to terms with the diagnosis, and try to express in a way others – who had never suffered any form of mental illness – could understand, just what it was like to live a bipolar life, or live with someone who was bipolar. I had no idea where the book was going when I started writing. I just kept writing until suddenly I had the bones of a book. I then built it up from there. Other projects I plan meticulously. I’m currently working on the sequel to Chasing Azrael, the second book in the Deathly Insanity series, Death Becomes Me. That one has a very complicated plot, and has taken a great deal of time and effort to plan properly. The whole series gets complicated at this point, because the books have different bit overlapping characters and plotlines.

How long have you been writing?

Fiction? Since my very early teens, although it wasn’t particularly good back then. I wrote a few short pieces that impressed my English teachers at school and I think that encouraged me to continue, although to be honest I think I would have done whether I was any good or not. I wrote my first full length novel when I was about nineteen and kept working on that for a couple more years. I had started a second one but gave that up when I started Chasing Azrael. There have been numerous short stories, novellas, and novel plans done since then. I’ve also started two other novels, one of which is about half done.

Do you write full time or part time?

Erm… tricky question. I write fiction part time, but my full time job is as a freelance editor, proofreader, copywriter, researcher, and artist, so I generally spend most of my time writing or doing art work.

When you’re not writing, what keeps you busy?

More writing? Seriously the writing never ends. I spend a couple of afternoons/evenings a week with a writing group and that’s my main time off. I run my own business, so I don’t have a lot of free time. When I do, I walk my dog, who is very loyal and sits patiently under my desk as long as I’m working. I also do my own art work, and I play the piano. I have two god-daughters and a young niece and I spend as much time as I can with them. I’m also an avid reader, and a huge fan of a wide range of TV shows and films, so it all keeps me busy. Multi-tasking. I’ve found that’s the key.

What book/books are you reading at the moment?

I’m actually in the midst of my annual re-read of all my Robin Hobb books. I love Robin Hobb, she’s by far my favourite author (so much so that the Fantasy and Science Fiction imprint of my publishing house, Astrid Press, is named after her). Every year I re-read her books. I’m doing it a little earlier than usual this year, it’s usually an early winter thing, but I’m going to London on the 19th August to meet her and George R.R. Martin, and she has just released a new novel, so I’m doing it early. I’m delaying reading the new novel until I’ve finished and it’s agony – I treasure her books so much, having a new one I’ve never read before is the biggest treat imaginable.

And lastly, most importantly, do you prefer dragons or pancakes?

To eat? Or which do I prefer? I prefer dragons, but I would not like to eat one, so if the question was food related definitely pancakes.

 

The Force is strong with this one. We’ll keep her for a while.

 

Blessed be, my little pixies

RK )O(

Bandit Book Bloggers: Felinity, an Anthology by Kristell Ink

FELINITY, AN ANTHOLOGY

by

KRISTELL INK

felinity

 

Felinity, noun, plural fel-in-ities. 1. The quality of being cat-like. 2. A divine being, a cat.

Grimbold Books is proud to present our first Kristell Inkling, a collection of feline inspired flash fiction stories written by authors from all around the world.
This collection celebrates what we regard as the most important factor when writing: write foremost for pleasure. The stories showcased in this book are full of laughter, grit, odd contraptions and a lot of fur, with a loud purring nod to our beloved genres of science fiction and fantasy.
From A.F.E Smith’s unique twist on Schrödinger’s cat, to Joel Cornah’s world-jumping old queen, from Clare Neilson’s steampunk creation to Tina Closser’s dragon fighting dreaming kitty, these alternate feline worlds are bound to delight sci fi/fantasy readers and cat lovers alike.

PURCHASE LINKS for FELINITY, AN ANTHOLOGY

Amazon UK Ebook

Amazon UK Paperback

Kristell Ink Facebook

Grimbold Books Facebook

 

INTERVIEW WITH JOEL CORNAH

JOEL CORNAH hailing from a small isolated village in Lancashire, is the author responsible for The Sea-Stone Sword. He was awarded a degree in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moors University and spent seven years writing a comical newspaper for The Barrow Downs Tolkien discussion forum. Accompanying this paper was a comic strip series called The Phantom and Alien, a bizarre story of bus drivers, dead people, and a slime child bent on inconveniencing everyone around him.

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Hi Joel! Nice to chat to you. So, first things first, tell me a little bit about your short story. A spoiler-free version, if you please.

A cat as old as time itself, who can jump from world to world, faces the ultimate decision of her life. She’s been to ancient Egypt, to the edge of the universe, and has done things that most humans couldn’t even dream of. But her great choice could put an end to all of that.

It’s a pretty cool cover, who came up with that?

Hazel Butler, a wonderful artist who I happened to meet the other week at a book signing. She’s cool. She’s also drawing the map to my novel, The Sea-Stone Sword. I keep saying ‘more trees!’ and I think she wants to put me on a tree-free diet! Spoil sport!

*chuckles* I read that you’re a Tolkien fan. Does his work inspire you when you’re writing?

If you’re writing fantasy it’s hard to avoid JRRT. I’ve grown up with an online community of Tolkien fans and discussing and rereading his work a million times has definitely rubbed off on me. From obscure discussions about the linage of the Feanorians, to wether Balrogs have wings, it all builds your understanding of how to make an imaginary world that bit more deep and intriguing. Well, I hope so, anyway.

I’m guessing you’re a fan of cats. Do you own any?

Not now, but I used to. His name was Sammie and he was very fond of sitting on laptops.

Did Sammie inspire your story in any way?

Sammie was a one-eyed cat who was very, very old. We found him already living at our house when we first moved in. In the shed besides the house, anyway. He was sat there next to a brush with the name ‘Sam’ written on it, and that’s how he got his name. We nicknamed him Marcel, too, because he would jump up at the glass patio doors and paw along it like a mime artist trapped in a box.

We lost Sammie back in 2006, and ever since I’ve wanted to remember him in some way. I hope this story does his memory justice.

When it comes to writing, do you prefer to plan ahead or do you just write and write and write until you pass out? We won’t judge, don’t worry.

I tend to work in character arcs. I know roughly the kind of personal journey each character needs to go on and I build around a central theme. There are major events I try and steer them towards, but they don’t always get there. And that’s okay, if a character isn’t ready for that big confrontation, the trip into a volcano, or a meeting with a wizard, then they go to where they need to be at that time.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been telling stories since I was very young. I’ve had siblings all my life and we entertained ourselves with games and tales. Most of these revolved around a troupe of toy dinosaurs, penguins, dragons and bears who all had very odd adventures. I enjoyed writing stories in school, but was diagnosed with dyslexia at around 6 or 7 and felt distinctly discouraged from pursuing writing as a vocation.

It wasn’t until I was leaving collage that I realised that it was still very much what I wanted to do. So I wrote and wrote as if to make up for lost time. It’s been about eight years or so since I first wrote a complete book – a dreadful monstrosity called ‘The Dinosaur Prince’ which ended up being nearly 200,000 words long.

I think I’ve calmed down since then.

Phew, quite the feat for an eight-year-old! So do you write full time or part time?

Part time, I’m afraid. I have a day job that takes me away from it.

And when you’re not writing, what keeps you busy?

I manage a café in the village where I live, Parbold. But, aside from that I am also kept busy by all the Doctor Who memorabilia I have acquired over the years. (Aha! A Whovian!) I think I have a problem. But sometimes a new Peter Davison action figure comes out and he’s got a new hat and I just have to have it!

What book/books are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading God’s War by Kameron Hurley. It’s science fiction and is pretty kick ass. Also reading The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter at last! It’s been on my to-do list for a while.

And lastly, most importantly, do you prefer unicorns or waffles?

I am an animal lover, but I hear unicorns can be dangerous. So, I might go with the waffles. As long as they are potato waffles. I love those things. Good source of protein.

He’s clever, this one. We’ll let him stick around for a while.

 

Blessed be, my lovely pixies

RK )O(

Bandit Book Bloggers: IN THE SHADOWS: AN OUTSIDERS MYSTERY, SUSAN FINLAY

IN THE SHADOWS: AN OUTSIDERS MYSTERY

by

SUSAN FINLAY

IN THE SHADOWS

 

There is a stranger amongst the residents of the cave-riddled village of Reynier, France. Suspicious, they believe there’s only one reason Maurelle Dupre would be lurking in their small village—she’s a gypsy, a thief. But a former Chicago detective turned mystery author, Dave Martin, who happens to be visiting his French grandmother, isn’t so sure about the beautiful stranger when happenstance causes them to meet. He wonders why she seems so frightened and distrustful. He knows he shouldn’t get involved. The last time he trusted a woman in distress, the consequences resulted in the loss of his detective’s shield and his wife. But, as always, the detective in him can’t seem to leave well enough alone.

However, what Dave couldn’t know is how persuading Maurelle to reveal herself will ultimately unveil something far worse than mere theft.

In the Shadows is a story of trust, belonging, and murder.

PURCHASE LINKS for IN THE SHADOWS: AN OUTSIDERS MYSTERY

WordPress

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Bandit Book Bloggers: ACTS OF VIOLENCE, ROSS HARRISON

ACTS OF VIOLENCE

by

ROSS HARRISON

(WARNING: ADULT CONTENT)

acts-of-violence

 

My name’s Jack Mason. I made a mistake. Took home the wrong girl. Now she’s dead. Cut up. And they’re telling me I did it.

It’s the same cop that tried to take me down ten years ago. Now he’s coming at me hard. And he’s not the only one. Cole Webster, the city’s crime lord, thinks I stole from him. Broke me out of custody just to ask me about it. Then I killed his son. Now he really wants me.

Add to this equation a government agent, and I’m a real popular guy right now. Pretty much everyone I meet wants me dead, lawfully or otherwise. There’s nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. I’ve got till morning to uncover Webster’s trafficking operation and take the heat off me. And all I’ve got to go on is a pissed off homeless girl with a thirst for revenge.

Guess it could be worse. Can’t quite figure how.

PURCHASE LINKS for ACTS OF VIOLENCE

Amazon US (Kindle e-book)

Amazon UK (Kindle e-book)

Smashwords

Bandit Book Bloggers: ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES, MARY FAN

ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES

by

MARY FAN

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Release Date: 
February 25, 2013
Genre: 
Science Fiction (Space Opera/Cyberpunk/New Adult)

Artificial Absolutes

Jane Colt is just another recent college grad working as an Interstellar Confederation office drone—until the day she witnesses her best friend, Adam, kidnapped by a mysterious criminal. An extensive cover-up thwarts her efforts to report the crime, shaking her trust in the authorities. Only her older brother, Devin, believes her account.

Devin hopes to leave behind his violent past and find peace in a marriage to the woman he loves. That hope shatters when he discovers a shocking secret that causes him to be framed for murder. 

With little more than a cocky attitude, Jane leaves everything she knows to flee with Devin, racing through the most lawless corners of the galaxy as she searches for Adam and proof of her brother’s innocence. Her journey uncovers truths about both of them, leading her to wonder just how much she doesn’t know about the people she loves.

PURCHASE LINKS for ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES

Amazon US (Kindle e-book)

Amazon US (paperback)

Amazon UK (Kindle e-book)

Amazon UK (paperback)

Barnes & Noble (Nook e-book)

Barnes & Noble (paperback)

Kobo (e-book)

iTunes

Bandit Book Bloggers: THE BINDING, SAM DOGRA

THE BINDING (Chronicles of Azaria #1)

by

SAM DOGRA

The Binding

What do you do when you can’t trust your heart?

 All seventeen year-old Eliza Bryant wants is to avoid a Binding— the ancient spell that forces couples into a lifelong bond. It cursed her sister, and for the last two years it’s tried to claim her, too. Her monthly hiding ritual worked brilliantly, until the night she ran into Ryan, a mysterious bounty-hunter. Now Bound to him, Eliza must spend every moment at his side, else she’ll transform into an Unbound; a lifeless husk without mind or soul.

Unfortunately, Ryan’s not looking to settle, and Eliza is dragged into his crazy life on the run. Still, she’s not going to take this lying down. Between grappling with the false feelings conjured by the spell and fleeing an unseen enemy, she plans to find a way to break her Binding; a feat nobody’s achieved in two thousand years. The key to her freedom lies closer than she thinks, and it’s deeply connected to Ryan’s past.

Read an excerpt

REVIEWS

What an interesting concept, just seeing someone by chance and then provided the timing is right, you find yourself bound to them forever. Sounds a bit like a “love at first sight” only the two people have no choice in the matter due to a “Binding Curse.” Eliza hoping to outwit the curse escaped into the forest only to be thwarted by a wild bear so was it fate or circumstance? I liked Eliza though I sometimes felt that honesty would have been the best policy. I did understand why she was reluctant to own up to the binding as she barely knew Ryan.

Ryan was actually a good guy and he seemed genuine though he was on the run himself and had secrets of his own that he was keeping from her. Desperate to hide the truth from her family, she flees her home with Ryan making up a sordid past for herself. A love triangle of sorts ensues when her childhood friend Adam finds out about the binding as he yearns for something more and sets out to find her.

When all the secrets have been revealed, will Eliza be able to distinguish how she really feels. If there is a chance that the curse can be reversed, who would Eliza pick if she was free to choose? Her childhood friend Adam that she shares a history with or Ryan who claims to love her now despite his binding to another. I can’t wait to read the next book to find out more about this triangle and will true love eventually prevail? – Nereid, Amazon

 

4.5 Stars. This exciting tale for New Adult/Older YA crosses genres making it difficult to categorise in any one area. Set in another world it has elements of sci-fi, fantasy and a just touch of steampunk. The characters are magnetic and quickly draw you into this exciting world where curses and magic become real. This passionate tale becomes unstoppable leaving you devastated that the second instalment is yet to be published – not a cliff-hanger, just totally addictive writing. – Tracie, Goodreads

 

Awesome! Can’t wait for the next one!!! – Molly Bonville, Goodreads

The Binding, by Sam Dogra, is an excellent read, with superb settings and characterisation. I really cared what happened to the main protagonist and the first person point of view, really helped me to become immersed in the story. Only one minor criticism. The, use of the word “to” instead of “at”. For example: “Ryan looked to the moon”, or “I looked to my lap”. This jarred me a little, but apart from this nitpick, this is an almost perfect story and one readers of all ages will enjoy. Highly recommended. –Kate Jack, Amazon

PURCHASE LINKS for THE BINDING

UK ebook

US ebook

UK paperback

US paperback

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Dogra

 Sam Dogra is a junior doctor working in the UK, and is currently training to become a General Practitioner. Between reviewing drug charts and X-rays, taking blood, saving lives and getting grilled by consultants, she also writes fantasy fiction and is a fantasy artist. She has co-written ‘Fated: A Timeless Series Companion Novel’ with author Lisa Wiedmeier, and has also published her first novel The Binding, and its sequel, The Parting, with a third book in progress.

She’s widely traveled, and has enjoyed her visits to France, Germany, Norway, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Rhodes, Turkey, Cyprus, Lesvos, India, Dubai, Australia, Canada and Idaho, Washington, New York, Seattle and Alaska, USA. Her other main interest is fantasy art.

In what little spare time she has, Sam also enjoys reading, baking, shopping, watching movies and anime, astrology, video games, collecting cuddly toy animals, and photography.

LINKS

Website/blog

Facebook

Twitter

Artwork

Blessed be

RK )O(