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You are now entering the world of my thoughts.

This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

Copyright © 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 SN Taylor, All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratitude Hop Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the Gratitude Giveaway is ......................... (in my opinion you are all winners. I have been introduced to so many wonderful charities that are helping children and families because of all of your support and participation in this giveaway. so that you all from the bottom of my heart :)

And the winner is.......


She chose the EASTER SEALS for her prize of $25 to be given to. :)

Congratulations Maureen and thank you so much!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Author Blog Hop! 11/23/11-11/30/11

Welcome to the New Author Blog Hop! 
For the next week, hop along to the following new authors and get to know more about them and their newly published books. Below is the link to the requirements I posted on the initial post. Also, I would like to thank Michelle over at (check out her blog!) for co-hosting the blog hop!

And wait, there is more!
I will be checking out all the blogs participating. At the end of the hop, two authors will win one of two prizes :)
A) an interview and book giveaway hosted by Of Thoughts and Words :)
B) their choice of one book from the list of participant authors! Yes, after hopping through all the blogs, if you find a new author/book you really like, it will be yours!

I have not read many *NEW* authors this year. However the one that stands out the most for me because I absolutely loved it was The Secret of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle. One word everyone, Uh-Mazing!!!! :D
Book Blurb: It’s hard enough being a teenager under normal circumstances; imagine being orphaned, sent to live with an unfamiliar aunt—and learning that there really is magic in the world. Following the tragic death of her parents, Eren Donovan moves to Spruce Knoll to live with her aunt. Little does Eren know the entire town of Spruce Knoll is filled with “channelers”—a magical group of people who immigrated to the small Colorado town when they were driven out of their own lands.

Channelers are tied to the fate of the world. As the world slowly dies, so do they~and they alone have the power to stop the destruction of Earth. Now, Eren learns she not only lives among them, but she is one. When she meets local boy Aiden, who shows her being a channeler isn’t all bad; in fact, it’s kind of cool.

As Eren and Aiden’s relationship blooms, so too does a mystery in Spruce Knoll. The town holds many secrets—and many enemies. It soon becomes apparent that the untimely death of Eren’s parents was no accident and that her life might be in danger, too. Only time will tell if young, inexperienced Eren has the power to protect the people she has come to love.

Another author I would like to give a shout out to is Stephanie Worlton and her book Hope's Journey.
Cover blurb:
A couple since their sophomore year, Sydney and Alex are looking forward to graduation and a bright future together. Sydney is straight-A student trying to decide between college scholarships and Alex is a quiet jock preparing to serve a mission. Both active members of the LDS Church, their hopes and dreams painfully fade when they learn that Sydney is pregnant. The very foundations of their faith are shaken, as is their relationship. Separately, they venture through confusion, self-doubt, and failure as they learn the value of forgiveness and try to piece their broken lives back together.

get the InLinkz code

Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Giveaway Winner: Master of the Jinn by Irving Karchmar

Congratulations to 

Patricia Tilton!!!! 

You have won a copy of Irving Karchmar's novel: Master of the Jinn

Monday's Muse: Book Buzz!!

Last week I had the honor of reviewing a really wonderful book that is soon to be release. Ellen's Broom  by Kelly Starling Lyons. This book was right on time. We have so much to be grateful for as a nation. We have come a very long way. Some of you may remember I interviewed Kelly and her book, "One Million Men and Me." Well, her newest book will be released on January 5th 2011 but you can pre-order it on Amazon here. her newest picture book set in the reconstruction era. Before I post my review let me just tell you, I LOVE it!! I can't wait to have Kelly stop by during her book tour of Ellen's Broom which will be on the 12th of January!!!! My review is below the summary :)

Summary of Ellen's Broom
Ellen always knew the broom resting above the hearth was special. But after it's announced in church that the marriages of former slaves will be registered and made legal, she hears more about why it matters so much. For her mama and papa, who could be sold away at a master's whim and whose union had no legal protection, jumping the broom was a way to show their commitment to being husband and wife. Now, as the whole family travels to the courthouse dressed in their best, Ellen carries the broom with them. With love, ingenuity and pride, she finds a way to celebrate her parents' right to be legally married and remember their past.

History and Traditions: Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Staring Lyons

Traditions are a wonderful way to remember history and how far we have come as a community and a nation. In Ellen’s Broom, one such tradition is portrayed. In the old days when many African Americans were slaves and at the mercy of their white slave masters, the sanctity of marriage was not protected or even viewed as legal. Slave husbands and wives could be torn apart and their families separated. One tradition some were allowed to have during a wedding ceremony was “jumping the broom.” That was a way an enslaved couple could prove their commitment to one another. Of course that was no proof in the eyes off the law.

When slavery ended, many married couples went to the courts and finally got marriage certificates to prove they were married. But there is something very sweet and endearing about the tradition of jumping the broom. The slaves did not let the law stop them for doing what they saw was their God given right, to marry. While there is no need for the tradition as a means of proving the validity of our marriages, the history behind the tradition shows a people’s strength against very hard odds. As an African-American, I’d love to see such traditions carry on. Ellen’s Broom beautifully illustrates how this tradition began and how important such traditions are to respect and protect.

Ellen’s Broom is told through the voice of Ellen, a young girl, as she witnesses her parents become legally husband and wife. She has always heard the story about the broom above her fireplace but when she realizes the importance as she watches married ex-slave couples get marriage certificates, including her mother and father, she decides it is only right that her parents jump the broom again to celebrate. But her father thinks the tradition is from the past and that it should stay there now that they are free. But Ellen reminds him how important the broom is and vows she will “jump the broom” when she grows up and gets married too. 

I’m with Ellen; some traditions are worth keeping! J

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Gratitude Blog Hop and Giveaway!

I would like to thank Iamareadernotawriter and all-consuming books for hosting this giveaway. I have so much to be grateful for and sometimes, I don't think I always show it. But I praise God for all His wonderful blessings on me and my family. I praise Him for all the wonderful friends He has sent my way through good times and difficult times. I thank Him for my health, my wealth and my life.

For this giveaway, I will donate 25 dollars to the winner's favorite charity. I only ask that the charity deals with either children and families of abuse/addiction, homelessness, poverty or children's education.

I will also send a children's book to a child in need on the winner's behalf. Winner may choose where the book should be sent to, ie to a shelter, library or to them so they can give it to a child in need.

Please leave a comment below with name and contact info so that I may contact you if you are the winner :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Warm Fuzzies: Weeks Four: Why I Write!

Warm fuzzies blogfest

This is the last week of the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest. I know, I’m sad too. It has been a lot of fun celebrating writing and writers and our passion for the craft. J The past weeks we talked about how tough it can be being a writer. But this week we will talk about why it’s worth it.  So why do we write? Why do we put up with the difficulties, the anguish, the fear and the rejections?

Well, I for one write because I love it. Writing makes me happy. I love penning my thoughts and ideas on paper. I love creating worlds and characters that are nothing like me (and some that are. J)  I also like sharing my stories with others. I know I still have a long way to go before I’m publishing ready, but I still get warm fuzzies when I read my stories and when others read them and like them too!

So tell me, why do YOU write? What makes it worthwhile? 

Here’s a short piece from a story called, “The Cave of Crystals.”

Muna adjusted her breathing mask. It was getting harder and harder to breathe as the exploration party climbed deeper into the cave. At first, the climb was a rather gentle slope, then, after about six miles, they came to a steep climb.
“Hurry up, Muna” her brother shouted down at her. “I don’t want you getting lost or left behind.”
Muna took a few more breaths, deep and slow and then continued the climb. She grabbed on to the rope and began hammering spikes into the rock. Each pound echoed in the dark cave.
“Muna!” he shouted.
“I heard you, I’m fine. I just needed to take a breather.”
She looked up. Her brother’s helmet light was beginning to get dimmer and dimmer. She had to keep up. She had to push on. Muna needed to prove she was capable of taking care of herself. Though she was an excellent scientist and geologist, her father had forbidden her to go on the search for the legendary cave of crystals, and since it was his money funding the project, she had to abide by his request. With the help of her mother and brother, Rashid, however, she was able to convince her father that her being present would best serve the success of the project. Muna stopped thinking about her father and continued to climb, one step after the next.
“Clink, clink,” the metal to rock echoed around her. It was getting hotter in the cave. She wiped a trickle of sweat from her brow and loosened her scarf a bit. She checked her thermometer. It was reaching 53 degrees Celsius, humidity 100%. She had six more hours of air coolant and her suit still had over 75 % of its ice cubes sealed in the lining of her suit to help keep her cool. She needed to reach the site in less than 2 hours, if she was going to get accurate testing results and samples of the legendary Butah Crystals.
Just as Muna lifted her spike to hammer in another nail, she felt a slight tremor. The rope swayed a bit and a few small rocks loosened sending specks of dirt falling onto her head and arms. Moments after the tremor, she heard a low rumble. A moment later, another tremor rocked the cave. This time, one of the spikes came a loose sending Muna swinging along the face of the stone rocky cavern. She banged against the rock face a couple of times until she caught hold of a protruding rock. She clung to the rock, breathing heavily, gasping for air.
“Muna!” she heard her brother call. “Muna.”
She could not see anything and she was beginning to loose air in her suit. She could hear a low hissing sound as the air seeped out of as a result of crashing into the ragged rocks. She felt a tug on her rope. She was moving, upward.
“Hurry, Rashid,” she barely whispered.
Her eyes slowly closed as the air in her suit hissed. The last thing she saw was a dim light approaching her.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (5)

Here's another little teaser from "The Protected Bloodlines."

Batu and Yuli sat in the food court watching a few Mat’hool interacting. They spoke in low, garbled voiced, barely intelligible. Batu sat back in his chair and watched them, he then turned and looked at Yuli. He had always grown up quite sheltered, he never traveled with the Shanti war parties or interacted with other races. The furthest he ever went was sailing to the other side of the great sea in search for wild wilder beast to breed into his herd and even still, he ran into other Shanti from other clans and tribes. But Yuli had grown up on a trading post, where he met a diverse amount of people and cultures from the far reaches of his galaxy and beyond. He even learned to pick up words from the different languages that his many customers spoke. The boys sat and tried to listen to the Mat’hool.

“Anything?” he asked Yuli.
Yuli shook his head, “Nothing. I got nothing. I don’t think I have ever met a changeling before until I got to Sumatra.”
“I wonder….” he said cocking his head, “nah, probably not.”
“What?” Yuli asked.
“Well, I wonder if they have children and what a young Mat’hool looks like.”
“I do not know, maybe just a smaller blob of goo?” Yuli guessed.
“I wonder if they would think I am being rude if I asked.”
“I think so,” a voice said nearby. The boys jumped. Startled, they looked around and behind them.
“No, over here,” another voice said.

This time, Batu’s chair turned into a thick fluid. Batu yelled as he started to sink into the chair. He struggled to get out be was stuck. Yuli jumped up and tried to pull him out but the table they sat at swallowed him whole.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday's Muse: I'm an emotional wreck!

Yes. This dang cold and sore throat has got me in a pretty emotional state, which is making it really hard to concentrate on writing! It didn't help that I've been listening to a couple of songs that really got me thinking about my mom, especially this last song I listened to. She passed away four years ago losing a battle against cancer. Well, it's probably a good thing I didn't go in to work today! Before a break down into another ball of tears, here are the songs: I'm Already There by Lonestar and "You Can Let Go Now, Daddy" by Crystal Shawanda. I hope everyone has a wonderful Monday and work week. Happy Writing!

This song really moves me, well, actually a few my characters who are having to come to grip that they have to now fly alone to a new home world leaving behind some family and friends behind on a dying planet Earth.

This is such an emotional song. I am grateful I still have my daddy though it did make me cry for my mom. Those were the last words she said to her mother on her death bed and it was the last words we said to her on hers (that and the kalamatan. It is a Muslim tradition that on the death bed of a Muslim to repeat with or for them the Kalamatan which are I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger.) There must be something soothing in those words for a parent on the thresh hold of moving on, knowing that there children will be alright without them, leaving their children in God's trusting hands.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Giveaway Hop Winner!!!!

Yay!! The winner of the $25 Barnes & Noble gift card is...................

!!!!!!Kelsey O!!!

Congratulations Kelsey!

Happy Reading :D

Friday, November 11, 2011

Author Interview and Book Giveaway: Irving Karchmar: Master of the Jinn

Hi everyone! It is an honor and pleasure to introduce to you another wonderful author, Irving Karchmar, author of Master of the Jinn, a Sufi novel.

Without further ado, welcom Bro Irving! Can please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am the son of Holocaust survivors who came to America in 1948. I was actually born in newly built American Army Hospital of a DP Camp, a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany just after WWII. In fact, I use that as a scene in Master of the Jinn. I have also been a writer, editor and magazine publisher most of my working life, and dabble in poetry :) In 1992, I was initiated as a darvish of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order, and began writing Master of the Jinn six months later.

What inspired you to write Master of the Jinn?

I was participating in majlis, our twice weekly meeting, saying my zekr in a meditation circle, and the idea came to me without my thinking about it. Of course, I had read about King Solomon and his ring, which according to legend controlled the men and Jinn, birds and animals. But it was at that moment that I thought a modern day story of searching for the original ring of power, would make a good novel, especially from a Sufi point of view.

Please explain the term, Sufi?

A Sufi is dervish, or darvish in Persian, who practices a mysticism that we believe is the heart of Islam, and involves spiritual poverty, that is, not being attached to anything, loving-kindness, honesty, generosity, charity,etc, in other words, all the legendary qualities of the Prophet (SAW).  Rumi, Attar, Junayd, Hallaj and Bayazid were famous Sufis of the past, as were, ibn Arabi and Al-Ghazzali.

Can you give us a little description of your novel, Master of the Jinn? 

From the book’s back cover: Master of the Jinn is a tale set on the Path of the Heart, a mystical adventure wherein a modern-day Sufi master sends seven companions on a quest for the greatest treasure of the ancient world - King Solomon's ring. It is the very same seal ring of a hundred legends, given to King Solomon by God to command the Jinn, those terrifying demons of living fire.

By sea and across deserts, they are led by a strange faqir guide of many names. Through the mightiest of storms and into a lost city, the travelers come at last to the gateway of the Subtle Realm, the land of the Jinn.

But the quest has a strange effect on everyone chosen to go: visions enter their dreams, remembrances and tears fill their hearts, and mysteries abound; unearthly storms and unending night, the Gates of Heaven open at last, and invincible demons of smokeless fire.

It is a tale woven of ancient legends found in the Old Testament, the Talmud, and the Koran, and although it is set in the present, the search for the truth of the ring leads them into a circle of ageless destiny, where the companions discover not only the fate of the Jinn, but also the Path of Love and the infinite Mercy of God.

What are the main themes one will find in Master of the Jinn?

The main theme is taken from the loving kindness of the Sufi path, and I try to show what life is like in a khaniqah, a Sufi house. Another theme is the adab, or good manners and courtesy we show to each other and our guests, and the states and stations of love that are inculcated into the heart as one progresses on the path. Of course, the quest, and the mystery of the Jinn are a great part of the overarching theme, but underlying it all is the infinite mercy of God. Readers find many themes in the book, and upon rereading it, I have been told, find even more :)

Was it difficult researching the topic of your novel?

Yes, there is really not much material on the Jinn, though I researched it for a long time, and tried to incorporate the legends I found in various sources. There was more information on the archeological aspect of the tale, as well as Tuareg tribal life in the Sahara, The rest came from my fertile and overactive imagination :)

While you researched topics for Master of the Jinn, did you ever get into any type of situations, be it funny, embarrassing or even a misunderstanding?

Not while I researched topics, but since publishing Master of the Jinn, I do get inquiries every once in a while that might be considered a misunderstanding, like asking if I am the Master of the Jinn, or if I have King Solomon’s ring, or if I can contact the Jinn to help them with their love life. When I tell them the story came mostly from my imagination, they think I am just keeping the secret for myself.  Also, some orthodox Muslims consider all fiction just another word for writing lies, so I have had some comments like that also.

What was your favorite chapter to write? Why?

I think my favorite chapters were the first and the last, which I wrote right after getting the idea for the book. I knew immediately how it would begin and end, I have no idea how, except to say that it came fully formed into my head, as if sent from above.

Can you share with us your road to writing and publishing Master of the Jinn? 

Writing Master of the Jinn took 12 year in total. The first five years were devoted to writing the first draft, which is really misleading, since I wrote it on a word processor and rewrote each sentence about a hundred times. There were also long periods of time between chapters, when I had no idea what came next. Finally I had a first draft, then it took another few years of sending it out, having it rejected, re-editing it, sending it out again, etc, until technology caught up with my intention and I could publish it myself inexpensively.

Master of the Jinn has been translated into many languages; just how many languages has the novel been translated into so far?

Master of the Jinn has been translated into six languages so far, including Russian (Povelitel dzhinnov), Turkish (Cinlerin Efendisi), Indonesian (Sang Raja Jin, German (Meister der Jinn), Croatian (Gospodar demona) and Spanish (El Maestro de los Jinn).

It is also being translated into Malayalam, the language of the Kerala state of India, Urdu, Bengali, and Malay.

Who has been the most influential in your life and writing?

The most influential in my life would be my father and mother, my children and grandchildren, and the Master of the Sufi Order I belong to. All good work is for them and because of them. I try to follow the admonition to keep the thought of everything you love in everything you do, which I think came from the elves in Lord of the Rings, but is also a mystical proverb. As for my writing, Tolkien, Frank Herbert, who wrote the Dune series, Idris Shah’s Tales of the Dervishes and other works, and countless works of fantasy and sci-fi. What I really like in writing is a truly unique style that works in the story being told. I wrote Master of the Jinn in a modernized “adab” style, which is the flowery poetic style of the original Arabian Nights and much ancient Muslim literature.

Are you currently working on anything now? Will there be a sequel to Master of the Jinn?

InshAllah, there will be sequel to Master of the Jinn, entitled Tale of the Jinn, but it is a very slow process. I might never be allowed to finish it. Like all things in a Sufi’s life, it is up to Allah.

What is something you wish you had known about the publishing industry before you became a published author?

I wish I had fully realized the relentless commercialism of modern publishing. Of course I was sending a manuscript to literary agents and book publishers about engaging and heroic Muslim character just after 9/11, so my timing could have been better lol. But the paradigm is changing with self-publishing so readily available, and Ebooks growing by leaps and bounds. It is a new day in publishing, or at least the first light of dawn of a new day :)

What advice would you give for those who wish to self-publish?

I would tell anyone who wants to self-publish to try the difficult path first, that is, send the manuscripts to literary agents that you have researched and know they handle your kind of book. It is much easier to find a good agent and let them do the legwork. And if you do self-publish, build a good website, and use social media and/or a blog to promote your work. It is a long journey, and you have to believe in your book to take it on.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule and sharing your journey with us! I look forward to your next book! :D For more information about his book, check out his website and his blog called Darvish. And now everyone, on to the book giveaway. Fill out the form below for a chance to win a copy of Irving Karchmar's novel, Master of the Jinn!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: StarGaze - Hubble's View of The Universe

I have been using this video and a few others in this series for inspiration for my current Nano project :) Enjoy!

Warm Fuzzies: Weeks 3 Character Arc

It's week three of the Warm Fuzzies Blog Fest hosted by Juliana L Brandt. This week's challenge is about character arcs. Here is the challenge in her own words:

Take a moment to look at the trouble you get your MC into. How do you kick them while they’re down? Without revealing too many secrets about your WIP- take us through your MC’s arch. Visit as many blogs as you can and based on their exert/summary, come up with a title for their WIP. Your title can be funny or serious, whatever you’d like.
So here is one of my WIP. It's a children's picture story :)
Meet Meepo. He loves to play space ball, just like his older brother Ashee. His brother Ashee plays very well. Meepo does not. In fact, when he tried out for the school team, he played so bad the coach sent him away, “Why don’t you find another sport to play,” the coach barked. Meepo’s father and brother suggest he goes to a Space Ball Camp. Meepo hesitates. But once there, he finds that there are some kids who play better than him and some who are just as bad as him. Meepo met a few friends and many more bullies who teased him when he gave up. On a walk he comes across a famous ex-space ball player who makes a potion that will make Meepo a great player. The old player warns that the potion is dangerous and will only solve his problem temporarily. But Meepo only thinks about being a strong and fast player. He takes the potion and finds that his new ability is not what he expected or wants!
So, can you guess the name of this story? :D

This week's giveaway is a nice little book of inspirational quotes: Random Acts of Kindness - An Illustrated Celebration

Monday, November 7, 2011

Giveaway Hop!!!

Welcome to The November Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Co-hosted by Tristi Pinkston.

This hop runs from Tuesday, November 8th through Friday, November 11th.

200 blogs are each hosting a giveaway for something a reader, author or blogger would enjoy, so be sure to check them out!

Giveaway Closed!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Warm Fuzzies: Weeks one and two WINNERS! :D

Hi guys,

Sorry I'm getting a late start on this. BUT Here are the winners of the last two weeks of the Warm Fuzzies Blog Fest, a month long celebration of writers and writing.

Week One: You're A Writer?!? (best/worst/most unique response you've received)


          Susanna Leonard Hill

Week Two: Guess My WIP

This week there was a tie :D
     Winners are:
          Deana and Tasha Seegmiller

So ladies!!! Go ahead and pick from my bookshelf the book of your choice. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (4)

Teaser Time!! So last week I did not post a teaser due to a blog hop I was a part of. So this week, I will post a longer tease to read through :) Enjoy!

Shayhu grabbed his communicator, “Engineering, you have forty minutes to get the thrusters back online

before we head straight into a ......”

Before he could complete his demand, the ship jerked violently throwing everyone to the floor. The ship 

came to a halt. Shayhu climbed back into his chair.

“What was that?” he said.

Shumee checked his console as he sat back down in his chair. 

“A tractor beam,” he said,” something has caught hold of us and pulling us out of the asteroid belt.”
“On screen,” Shayhu said.

Two large ships on both sides of the Hablas had tractor beams locked on them. Once safely outside the 

belt the ships unlocked their tractor beams. For a moment no one moved.

“What do you think,” Yuli asked looking back at Shayhu, “friend or foe.”
Static came over the ship’s communication.
“Hablas. You have one of our people on your ship. Lower your weapons and prepare to be boarded.”
Before Shayhu could stand up, six armed beings appeared before them on the bridge. Their pale faces looked like polished stone. The smallest being easily stood two heads above Batu. The Mat’hool guards pulled out their weapons to fire them, but their weapons did not work; they seemed jammed.
“Lower your weapons, Mat’hools. We are not here to harm the Sahabeeyeen or the Hablas crew. We merely wish to reclaim the daughter of our leader.”
“How do you know who we are?” Yuli asked.
The beings looked at him. “We have been watching each and everyone of you from the moment Shayhu entered our part of the universe. We have been waiting a long time for the coming of the seekers.”
“Seekers?” Yuli asked.
“Yes, the pious seekers who would join the protected bloodlines and gather the Sahabeeyeen from the four corners of the eastern universe.”
“We meant you no offense if we have taken someone who belongs to you. Please accept our apologies,” Shayhu said extending his arm.
“Your apologies are acceptable. Where is Nusa?” dismissing the gesture.
Everyone stopped and looked at the large wingless beings.
“Nusa is a Naqabashi, how does she belong to your people?” Shumee asked suspiciously.

Tuesday Tunes: Live Like You Were Dying

This song really touches my heart because it encourages people to really think about what living life really means. As someone who is religious I believe we are all living on borrowed time and that one day we will all return to our creator. I was raised to live my life in a way that was not just beneficial for me but for others as well. While I may work to pay my bills, enjoy the good things life has to offer but to also share my wealth, knowledge talents and time with others. I think the biggest thing I would do if I had a chance to do it all over again would definitely be to become a better friend, a better sibling, a better teacher and a daughter and a better believer.

What would you do with the last precious moments of your life?

Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators