BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

GIVEAWAY EBOOK --NECKLACE & INTERVIEW WITH SHAWNA WILLIAMS


SHAWNA WILLIAMS BIO: I'm a lot of things: a Christian, wife, mother, friend, author, artist, rock hound, science geek and animal lover. The first four take priority. The rest tend to jostle for my attention. Since I'm always a dreamer, author usually wins.

Indeed, my first two books are the result of a dream -- an actual dream. It nagged me for six months as I mentally tried to fill in all of the gaps. I finally had to write it down. Since then, God has continued to bless with me inspiration at times of His choosing.

Technically, I'm an Inspirational Romance writer. But I like to think that romance includes more than the relationship between two people. It can also be about the era or place, or even a single moment in time, when an elusive whisper reaches inward and ever so gently taps the soul, saying, "This. Remember this."

It's my desire that my stories create such a moment.

Some of my methods for filling my creative reservoir are reading about the histories of small towns, pouring over old photos in antique shops and people's homes (if I'm at yours, I'll ask to see your picture albums) and asking prying questions about your best family stories. Oh! And if you ever see a lady on the side of the road, taking pictures of old, dilapidated houses and buildings, it's probably me.


1. How did you get the idea for No Other? What was your inspiration?








No Other and its sequel, In All Things, actually were inspired by a dream I had. This was about eight years ago, and prior to that I had not intended on becoming a writer. I did always have a knack for it though. Initially, I found the dream intriguing because the experience itself was very unusual -- not like other dreams I've had -- and I was also captivated by the spiritual message within the story. When I first began to write, it was primarily to put together all the details so I could satisfy my own curiosity. But over time I began to fall in love with writing, and also began to consider whether or not I wished to try and get the story published. It still went through several years of rewrites, and then I had to overcome chickening out of showing it to anyone.

2. Did you come up with the titles your books? If not, what were the working titles? Did you have any say so on the cover this book? The cover really sets a mood and catches your eye.

I wanted something that conveyed God's sovereignty. He is the only one who can satisfy a person's soul, and He sees the entire picture – not just the here and now from the perspective of a single person -- but all of time, with all of His creation in mind. In No Other, much of the story is centered around Jakob trying to fix everything for Meri. Of course, his own desires and his impatience play into this, and things get messed up. That's where the story of Grace comes in, though.

I got the title No Other from a series of verses in Isaiah 45. The book ends with Isaiah 45:6. The title for In All Things, which comes out in November and picks up ten years later, is from Romans 8:28. I thought it was fitting that No Other is very focused on just Jakob and Meri, and how their actions affect them. In All Things broadens the story to include their families, and how they have been affected as well. The two books are really one story, even though they each read as complete on their own.

I love No Other's cover! And yes, I did have some input. Desert Breeze gives each author an extensive questionnaire to fill out. We get to see the mockup before a cover is complete. DB has final say, but they do their very best to make sure the author is happy. In the case of No Other, Jenifer came up with the picture inside the chain. The locket with Jakob and Meri's name came directly from the story, and she used that. The house is also from the story, and it was included it at my suggestion. But the positioning, color and everything was her doing. She's so talented and I have loved every cover she's done.

3. What made you decide to publish your first book in the Ebook format? What has your experience been like? Would you do it again?

Choosing Desert Breeze had more to do with it being a small press than an epublisher. There were several things about going with a small press that appealed to me. First of all, it just fit my personality. Over the course of our 19 yrs of marriage, my husband and I have bought and fixed up houses that were beyond fixing. We turned a junk yard of a camp ground into a cute little place to stay. We moved onto a ranch with absolutely no experience and started raising grass-fed beef. So, for me, the idea of getting in on the ground floor with a new business and a burgeoning trend in the industry was rather exciting. I guess I'm weird that way.

Desert Breeze was brand new, but there were several authors whom I respected who had books with them. And when I contacted some of these ladies to ask them about their experience, they had only good things to say. The fact that DB was only doing ebooks did cause me to take a little longer in deciding, but after researching the changes taking place in the industry, and also having been reassured that DB intends to branch into print -- and much prayer -- I felt like it was the place for No Other and In All Things.

The other reason I focused on small presses when I searched for a publisher was that No Other is atypical, in style and content, for Christian Fiction. It's completely grounded in the Bible, no liberties there! But there are story elements that might be a little controversial. I knew that with this story, those things were something I was not willing to change, and I felt like there would be more flexibility with a small press.

Desert Breeze is very young, and print is in their future plans, but it has been very exciting to watch the progression of ebooks – especially during this last year. I think ebooks and print will evolve to compliment each other, providing a more efficient model for publishers, and more options for readers. It really is an exciting time in the industry!

My experience has been great, and I would definitely do it again.

4. What was your favorite scene to write in No Other? What was your most difficult to write? Why?

I love the scene where Jakob shows Meri around his abandoned childhood home. I, for one, am a very nostalgic person, so I really got into the emotion of writing this. The part where he takes down the chandelier is based a little bit on my grandmother, who has a chandelier she ordered way, way back from the Sears and Roebuck catalog, and that chandelier has traveled with her through about four or five different houses now. I just thought this was a beautiful scene.

The hardest to write, I suppose, was a scene where Jakob is having an imaginary conversation with his dad. His dad is severely impaired by a stroke, and Jakob misses being able to talk to him, and he needs to talk to him. In this scene, the two are sitting beside each other, and the only way Jakob's dad can communicate is to grasp at his son's hand. So, they sit there, looking out the window, holding hands, and Jakob imagines what advice his dad might offer. As a child with a parent whose health is failing, this was difficult to write.

5. I’m sure you must be working on a brand new book by now; can you tell us a little something about what this series will be about? Any sneak peeks for us about what we can look forward to?

I'm so excited about In All Things! No Other reads as a complete story, but it leaves a lot of small things open to explore in later years. One of these things is the motivation behind a promise that Jakob makes to Roger at the end of No Other, and how that promise might have influenced the course of Meri and Jakob's lives. There are other things too, like how did events in No Other influence Roger's future, Jakob's other family members, and Meri's parents. I love No Other. It's very young feeling. In All Things has a totally different feel, and is actually the meatier of the two stories. But as I said in an answer to a previous question, these books make up one complete story.

And then Orphaned Hearts comes out in December. It's a very sweet book set in 1930s Arkansas. The story was inspired by my granddad, who grew up in an orphanage during this time. I love this story! I don't want to give too much away other than to say that it's about three orphans finding a home.

6. No Other is an historical novel, what made you write about the time period this book is set in? What was the draw for you? What surprised you in the research that you hadn’t known about this time period before?

I've always loved this time period, but once again, that dream was the reason the story took place in this particular setting. I just had a feeling that the story took place during the '40s, and when I began to research, the time frame was pinned down to 1947. This had to do with Jakob's age, and that he would be close to Meri age, but had fallen just out of range from being drafted into service.

The more I researched the more fascinated I became with the time period. It made me think about how individuals would resume life after war, and the many ways people were affected. Jakob's situation with Meri is something that was highly feasible! I came across a number of stories of young men quitting school for various reasons; some went into the service, some were interned citizens, and some left to take care of family. Right before the book came out my husband was watching a documentary about grocery stores (Yes, a documentary about grocery stores) and it gave specific examples of family owned stores going under during the war because sons and fathers were called away. Jakob's story is a combination of several of these things, and while it's fictional, I'm sure that it was something that more than one young man faced during this time of recovery.

And, of course, what surprised me most was the information about the internment of German and Italian Americans. I, like many, knew about the internment of Japanese Americans, but not German and Italian. Theirs was treated as more of an imprisonment, with mock trials and total and permanent confiscation of property.

In the initial version of the story Jakob's family was discriminated against, but I wasn't satisfied with that as a setup. After watching a documentary on Japanese internment I began to wonder if Germans might have experienced something similar, so that's what prompted me to research it. Very interesting! Sad too. I don't want to make any judgments because war is frightening, and people were reacting out of fear. But it's a part of our history, and therefore it's something we need to remember.

QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK!!

1. If you had 24 hours to hang out with any TWO PEOPLE alive or dead in the history of the world (besides Jesus); what two people would you pick & Why? What would you do?

Umm... Hmm...

Lately I've decided that Bruce Lee was a really fascinating individual. I'm not sure how much your readers know about him, probably all are aware that he was a martial arts expert. What you guys might not be aware of, though, was how controversial he was in his field. The different forms of martial arts were very regimented and separated, and he was the first to blend them into a new form that he called Jeet Kune Do. He also caused quite a stir by teaching non-Asians martial arts. At one point he injured his spine weight lifting and was told he'd never kick higher than his knee.

There are a lot of things I admire about him, such as his physical and mental discipline, and his ingenuity. What I like most, though, was that he seemed to be an overwhelmingly positive person, who was actually quite caring toward others. Being an Asian in Hollywood, when the industry wasn't yet ready to accept his ethnicity, he put up with a lot of crud; and when asked if it bothered him, his reply was, "I wouldn't be Bruce Lee if it did." I think that's a remarkable attitude! I just think he'd be a really interesting person to talk to for awhile. It would also be cool if he showed me a few moves – even though I'd look silly doing them. I'm sure it's weird that I'm a girl and I'm choosing Bruce Lee.

The other is King David. Who wouldn't want to talk to him! I'd probably be too dumb-stuck to actually ask anything, but I'd be happy just to look him in the eye and see what a person with that much conviction and faith is like. I grew up with the story of David vs Goliath, but it wasn't until I was an adult that I was struck with amazement by the absolute certainty of David's faith. Imagine, the soldiers are trying to load David down with armor, and he's like, "Forget that!" and goes out and finds these smooth stone. And right before he takes on Goliath, he looks at him, and with no doubt in his mind says, "This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head." And that's exactly what happened. Wow! So, if I got to hang around King David, I would just sit and stare and listen to whatever he had to say.

2. Could you name three everyday things you just couldn't live without? (or wouldn't want to anyway!)

Since I write, and run several blogs I'm sort of dependent on my computer. Plus, I hate talking on the phone and prefer email.

I must have a toothbrush and toothpaste, but I'm going to count that as one.




And then I suppose the last thing would be... a working shower stall. Yep, I wouldn't do so well before indoor plumbing. If I get to choose four, then I want my Kindle.





3. Name two jobs that you’ve had that might surprise people?

I guess one would be that I since I live on a ranch, certain duties fall to me. The stuff involving our cattle is primarily handled by my husband, but I do look after the miniature horses when it's time for them to foal. I look like a girly girl, and I guess I sort of am, but even a girly girl's gotta do what she's gotta do. So I'm not squeamish when it comes to delivering baby horses.

I also used to work at a radio station, but I didn't talk on the air. Just as well, all listeners would've heard was , "Umm.... Hmm..... Hi?" I do much better with written communication, as is evidenced by the length of my answers to your questions.





I make jewelry.








4. What movie greatly impacted you as a child? Why?

E.T., it's the only movie I've ever cried at -- at the theaters. I think I might have cried when I watched Old Yeller when I was five. And, as an adult, The Passion of the Christ, which I watched between my fingers, made me cry – and cheer.




I don't like to cry, even as a child I didn't, especially in front of people so I was really embarrassed at E.T., but I couldn't help it. He was just so lovable. There was something wonderfully innocent about the movie too. It's still one of my favorites.














5. What are your three all time favorite books?

Oh! All three books in Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion trilogy; A Voice on the Wind, As Sure as the Dawn, and An Echo in the Darkness.

6. You’ve been given the opportunity to us a time machine and visit any TWO events in the history of the world. Which TWO events would you pick and why?

This is a hard one. I'm a bit enamored with ancient history, and there's a lot of stuff I'd like to see.

I said this in a couple of other interviews, but I'd like to witness Christ stepping out in front of the two Mary's after the Angel told them He wasn't in the tomb. I have this mental picture of these two women rushing to tell the apostles, and how they must have been half giggling, half mumbling, totally out of breath, and barely able to contain themselves as they clung to each other and ran. And when they burst through the door they must have both been talking ninety miles an hour, making no sense at all. I think Jesus had to laugh at the sight – not making fun of them, but their joy would have manifested in a wonderful and hilarious way. I'm a woman, and I know how I am when I get excited. Imagine that x 2, multiplied by 1,000 or more. It would have been funny in the most magnificent way. So I guess I'm saying that I'd like to witness two "crazy" ladies running through town – with the knowledge of why they're acting the way they are. They were the first to understand what had transpired!

As for a second event, it's hard to choose, so if I had a time machine I'd take a tour of ancient civilizations during their prime.

I'd start with the early Egyptian Empire, when the capital was still in Memphis, and see the construction of the pyramids. Then I'd head over to the Minoan civilizations on Crete and Thera, which is known as Santorini today, and check them out before the tidal wave from a collapsing volcano obliterated them. Then I'd make a brief stop at Mycenae in Greece, long before democracy took hold. Skip a few years, and head back to Egypt, where the capital is now in Thebes – except, I love to see the city of Amarna, which was briefly the capital, but completely destroyed when Akhenaten and Nefertiti's reign came to an end (long complicated story there. Very fascinating and I have a theory about it, but I'll save that for now).

Greece's Golden age was a magnificent time, so I wouldn't mind having a peek at Athens. I'm not as enthralled with Alexander the Great, so I'd fast-forward there, but I'd be interested in seeing the transition of the Egypt's capital from Thebes to Alexandria, and the progression of the blending of cultures while the Ptolemy dynasty ruled Egypt. Cleopatra was actually Greek. The longest stop would be for The Roman Empire, because, well, it lasted like 1,000 years, and some of the advancements were quite amazing. I'd also like to catch a glimpse of Pompeii before Vesuvius exploded. But I'd want to be out of there before the Visigoths lay siege Rome.

As far as the middle ages go, I wouldn't mind seeing a few castles, but I think what captures me with the earlier cultures is the evolving structure of society and technological advancements. The medieval period, while romantic in stories, is somewhat stagnant in these areas. I'd pick back up at the renaissance though. Somewhere in all of this, I'd like to go see how things are transpiring in China's history.

See what homeschooling three kids teaches you.

7. IF you had one FREE afternoon and you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?












If I had a time machine, I'd do what I said for number six. Since I'd be monkeying with time anyway I could take as long as I need. If not, hiking, reading, or exploring some new place is always nice.

8. Name two movies you could watch over and over again?












Galaxy Quest and Oh Brother Where Are't Thou. They aren't my favorites, but I never get tired of them. They're both parodies, and very clever. Plus they're full of great lines to quote.

FINAL COMMENTS YOU’D LIKE TO LEAVE MY READERS WITH??
Thanks for stopping by and letting readers get to know you and your books.
Blessings to you on your new writing adventures I look forward to you stopping by again. Oh, one more thing Nora, I'll give away a freshwater pearl and locket necklace  to whoever wins the drawing for my ebook. Below is a picture of a necklace I made!!



Wow!! How nice of you to offer the jewlery!! You do beautiful work. THANKS Shawna for letting us get to know you and your book. I'm excited about the discussion on the ACFW On-Line book club loop. NO OTHER is the ACFW On-Line Book Club's Sept. pick. You can join us for the discussion of her book at the Acfw book club loop. To join ACFW On-Line Book club go to the webiste http://www.acfw.com/ look to the left and it's under Book Club. Shawna will do a live chat the First monday night on October. I'll see you there Shawna.

Sincerely,
Nora :D
ACFW Book Club Coodinator
The Book Club Network
http://www.bookfun.org/

LEAVE A COMMENT ABOUT THIS INTERVIEW FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN NO OTHER – EBOOK.



MANDATORY - PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT About the interview for your name to be entered in the drawing for SEPT 8th

Be sure to leave your email address so that if you win I can contact you.

DRAWING WILL BE - Announced SEPT 10th on my blog.

For EXTRA CHANCES to win this book you can
1. Become a FOLLOWER of my blog (1) entry - please make a separate comment
2. Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/NoraStlaurent (1) entry - please make a separate comment
3. Twitter about this interview and give away!! (1) entry - please make a separate comment
4. If you want to join The Book Club Network here is the link for your extra chance
http://www.bookfun.org/ (1) entry - please make a separate comment
5. If you are a member of The Book Club Network you get an extra chance (2) entry - please make a separate comment
6. Grab my button on my site and add it to yours (1)entry - please make a separate comment for each entry
7. Make a post on your blog about this contest (2) entries - please make a separate comment for each entry

Contest will end SEPT 8th-- PLEASE REMEMBER to leave your email address so that I can contact you (Use (At) and (dot) so that peole won't be able to spam your email address)

ALL THE BEST TO YOU

Blessings
Nora :D

********DISCLAIMER: Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. Void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents, odds of winning depend on number of entrants *****

34 comments:

  1. I have to agree with Shawna, I would love to have witnessed Christ stepping out of the tomb!
    I would love to read this book, and the necklace is beautiful!
    Thanks for the chance!
    Andi
    andinewberry(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  2. Nora, This interview was fantastic! I'm looking forward to reading this book! Equally important is I'm a jewelry addict! The necklace pictured is stunning and would go with a number of my outfits. And as my sweet hubby always says, "but the jewelry and then you'll have to buy the outfit, the shoes, the purse.." He knows me well!!

    edwina(dot)cowgill(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  3. Nora,

    I signed up as a follower.

    edwina(dot)cowgill(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nora,

    I signed up to receive your blog posts.

    edwina(dot)cowgill(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Enjoyed the interview as always. Really sounds like a good book and I love the cover!

    Gail Mundy

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  6. WooHoo. I won her ebook and a bracelet. I love the bracelet. I'd love to win a necklace to match. thanks



    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  7. This sounds like an interesting book.I am excited to read it.
    wsmarple/at/gmail/dot/com

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  8. I am following your blog.
    wsmarple/at/gmail/dot/com

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  9. Great interview, Nora and Shawna!

    It was fun learning more about you, Shawna! I didn't realize you raised miniature horses. I don't know how you get so much done and still find time to write fantastic stories. You are amazing.

    I did the same thing when I watched The Passion of the Christ - I covered my eyes for certain parts. I agree with you about small presses - you have more leeway. I write out of the box and was grateful when I was able to get my inspirational romance, No Greater Loss, published with a small press.

    I loved No Other and hope your sales continue to climb!

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  10. Great interview, it is nice to get to know author's on a more personal level, and to see what interests we have in common. My kids just recently watched ET as well and loved it!

    kpuleski at gmail dot com

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  11. I love checking out antique stores and old houses also, what wonderful stories are hidden just waiting to be brought to life. Great interview! I'd like to be entered for No Other. Thanks.
    worthy2bpraised[at]gmail[dot]com

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  12. I'm a follower.
    worthy2bpraised[at]gmail[dot]com

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  13. I'm a member of The Book Club Network.
    worthy2bpraised[at]gmail[dot]com

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  14. Hi everyone!
    Diane, guess what I did yesterday! I started reading No Greater Loss. Yay! We actually have a mini that's about to foal any day now, though I've been saying that for two weeks.

    Sometime back I wrote about why I like to include jewelry made from freshwater pearls. It's because the pearl is formed from an irritant, and over time becomes beautiful in its own unique way. In a sense, a string of them is like a story. I feel like they represent God's Grace, and what He can do through our mistakes. This is a theme in my writing.

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  15. It's wonderful getting to know more about Shawna here and not just as a writer. Sounds like you lead a very very busy, but rewarding life. Thanks for the info on Desert Breeze. I'd love to win a copy of Only You. If chosen, the freshwater pearl necklace made by you would be great, too. Thank you, Nora.

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  16. Nora, I became a follower of your blog, too.
    Sorry, but I forgot to leave my e-mail address with my comment just posted above.
    Pat Jeanne Davis
    patjeannedavis(at)verizon(dot)net

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  17. What a fascinating interview. Great questions and answers. And "Galaxy Quest"? Really? That just made me smile. The 40's are a great era--congrats on your work.

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  18. I always love your interviews! This book sounds wonderful, and I loved getting to know a little more about the author.
    wmmahaney(at)att(dot)net

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  19. Danielle, Michelle Levigne and I can probably go back and forth for hours until we quoted the entire Galaxy Quest movie.

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  20. Great interview! Looking forward to reading this book.

    hewella1 at gmail dot com

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  21. I enjoyed reading the interview and I think I would enjoy the book as well. Thanks for the chance!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  22. Follower

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  23. I am already a member of the Book Club Network

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net
    #1

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am already a member of the Book Club Network

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net
    #2

    ReplyDelete
  25. Tweet! Tweet!
    @NancyeDavis

    http://twitter.com/NancyeDavis/status/23971306464

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  26. Oh, I love the cover--and your jewelry is gorgeous, Shawna!! I would be honored to win.

    roseanna [at] whitefireprinting [dot] com

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  27. And I'm a follower.

    roseanna [at] whitefireprinting [dot] com

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  28. And I'm a member of TBN. =) (One of the first, I might add! LOL)

    roseanna [at] whitefireprinting [dot] com

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  29. What a fantastic interview. I really enjyed reading it and would love to read this book. Please enter me.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  30. I am following you on twitter

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  31. I'm a member of the book club

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  32. Hopefully I'm not too late. Great interview, I love hearing about Shawna's different jobs more about her personal life. Thank you also for the link for the book club, membership pending. :)
    Blessings Nora thanks for all you do to promote Christian authors.
    hollymag(at)gmail(dot)com

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  33. I love the sound of this book - and I love jewelry!

    Blessings -

    Andrea
    andrealschultz[at]gmail[dot]com

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  34. We follow each other on Twitter!

    @andrealschultz

    Andrea

    andrealschultz[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete