BLOG TOUR – Murder She Meowed – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Argh. So far not starting off on a good start with this trying to blog more. Not only did I miss posting earlier in the week, I’m sorry to say that this post should have been up yesterday and I just realized it! 😦 My sincere apologies to the author, Liz Mugavero, for the lateness of my post.

This post is part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Murder, She Meowed by Liz Mugavero. I’m presenting an author interview that Ms. Mugavero was gracious enough to answer my questions for.  Information about the book, including purchase links will be below the interview.

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Author Interview with Liz Mugavero

Q1: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?  Do you enjoy your day job?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I do have a day job! I work in marketing and communications, and currently lead a strategic communications team at Freddie Mac. I enjoy a lot of what I do.


Q2: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a set # of pages or words? How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I try to write a thousand words a day, usually as part of my morning routine. Otherwise the day’s distractions pile up and it’s harder to focus after a long day of work.


Q3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reins” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I am in the middle of being a plotter and a pantser. I used to be way more of a pantser, but now I work from an outline and do some plotting. It’s helpful especially with deadlines and day jobs. But I often pivot during the writing, because sometimes the book just needs something different than what I thought when I initially sat down to outline it.

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Q4: How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I never wanted to quit. I always knew I wanted to write. It took me 10 years to get published after I started seriously writing mysteries, and then it kind of happened “overnight” when an agent reached out to my chapter of Sisters in Crime and inquired about authors who might want to develop a cozy proposal. I wrote a proposal, sold it, and I was off and running. I will be forever grateful for that experience!


Q5: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: Given my schedule I don’t have the luxury of lingering over a finished book for a long time. I do a lot of revising when I write, and then I rely on one or two beta readers to give me final feedback right before I turn the book in.


Q6: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I didn’t have a real-life inspiration for this villain – it unfolded naturally as I thought about my victim and why he might have ended up dead. I had to get into my killer’s head to think about the why and the justification for taking such a dire path – but that’s part of the fun!

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Q7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: Oh, a lot of my coworkers show up in my books…often as the dead people! But shhh…don’t tell them 🙂


Q8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I would love to write about Nellie Bly. Her story and her dedication to her work and the truth inspired me to become a journalist years ago, and I think there could be some great stories there.


Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I really enjoyed Becoming by Michelle Obama. Also Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. I’m currently reading John Woman by Walter Mosley, and it’s excellent.

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Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: Starting with when I was a kid – Nancy Drew, of course. And Trixie Belden. Dennis Lehane has been a huge influence on me – I am in awe of his writing. Mystic River is still my favorite book to this day. And Joyce Carol Oates’ We Were the Mulvaneys – a haunting story of a family affected by a tragedy.


Q11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day? 

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I’d love to hang out with Jake McGee at his Irish pub, McSwigg’s. It seems like a fun place to be! And Jake’s pretty cute, so….


Q12: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I do read them sometimes, and I’ve learned to take the bad ones with a grain of salt. I’m always up for constructive criticism, but if it’s a bad review for the sake of it, I’ve learned to ignore it.

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About the Book


Murder, She Meowed (A Pawsitively Organic Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496717589
ISBN-13: 978-1496717580
Digital ASIN: B07CWDC8G9

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Synopsis

Kristan “Stan” Connor loves concocting tasty organic treats for dogs and cats—and she also loves her fiancé, pub owner Jake McGee. But she’s not so enthusiastic about finding a dead body at her own bachelorette party . . .

Stan and Jake’s wedding will soon take place on the town green in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, followed by a reception at their beloved Irish pub filled with friends, family, and their four favorite canine companions. Stan just has to endure the traditional girls’ night out first. Male strippers jumping out of gigantic cakes aren’t her preferred entertainment. But the hired hottie never gets around to taking it all off . . . because someone takes him out first with one of Stan’s kitchen knives. A heartbroken Stan recognizes the victim as one of the delivery men from the local farm—who must have been moonlighting for some extra cash. Now the guest list has turned into a suspect list—and Stan’s making a vow to find the killer . . .

Includes Gourmet Pet Food Recipes!

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Thanks for joining me! My sincere apologies again to the author, Liz Mugavero, for the lateness of the post and my thanks for being willing to answer my questions. If you wish to visit other stops on the tour, please click on the banner below to be taken to the main tour page!

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Goals for the year

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Greetings!! We’re about a month into 2019. I’ve been trying to figure out goals for the year. Not resolutions because let’s face it, those get broken quickly; rather goals that I can work on throughout the whole year.  I’m making note of them here to help kind of keep myself accountable.

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Goal One: Post More on my Blog

Right now, my goal is to get at least two posts a week up. I used to do a lot of blogging at work because I’m a librarian and book blogging is work-related. About a year and a half ago, my job changed and the time I had for blogging at work disappeared like any chocolate that is near me.

I’m not shooting for specific days right now, though I’m going to try to do Mondays and Thursdays, but I’m NOT being strict with myself on the days. I’ll just be happy if I get two posts up per week. There may be weeks that I get more up because of blog tours or whatever, but goodness knows I have plenty of books that I’ve read that I have not written reviews for, so here’s hoping that I can get more of those up and update this blog more consistently.

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Goal Two: Keep Using “Thrive” To Help Me Be My Best Self

A few weeks ago, I received a sample of the “Thrive” wellness program from a friend. It’s mostly vitamins and minerals with a little natural caffeine but not enough to make you jittery. I was interested in it because it touts a claim of providing more energy. Since I have so many mental health issues, energy is always at a premium for me. I never seem to have enough of it.

The three day sample I had was wonderful. I wasn’t overly jittery or anything of that nature. I simply had more energy to do things. Before I would have to choose between cleaning my bathroom and helping my dad with snow removal. I was able to do both in one day while I was on my sample. I’m ordering my first order this weekend when I get paid and I’m looking forward to just having more energy to do things.

Some people use the program to lose weight and get in shape. Perhaps sometime down the road that will be a goal, but right now, my goal is just using it to give me more energy so I can get things done around the house on my days off work. I want to also be able to do more things with my Tribute Rosie sisters and I’m hoping this will help.

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Goal Three: Get My Finances in Order

I know this is often a goal for people, but I’m really going to work hard at this this year. I want to be able to start leaving the deposits I make into my savings account IN my savings account.

I’m working with my therapist to take care of some anxiety issues with riding the city bus to and from work most days. This would save me almost $200 a month in parking fees. Right now, my anxiety is too high to be able to really do it, but my therapist and I are working on that. I’m maybe pushing myself harder than I should on it, but I really want to start saving that money each month!

I’ve had some overdrafts in the last year from forgetting about automatic withdrawls so I want to get better at accounting for those right when I get my paycheck so I don’t have the overdraft fees.

Finally, I want to better balance saving and buying things I want. Sometimes I go on impulse shopping sprees which is not good. Thankfully it’s not often, but it can really mess things up and cause overdrafts too. I need to balance that impulse with my actual budget so I know what I can and cannot spend.

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Goal Four: Go Through My Boxes in the Basement and Downsize

I have way too many boxes in our basement right now. There’s a lot of stuff that I’m potentially never going to use again that I can give to Salvation Army or another resale shop in the area.  There are papers that need to be shredded. And who knows what treasures I’ll find down there.

This is one of the things that I’m really hoping having extra energy from Thrive will help me get done. I’ve been wanting to do this for a few years, but the constant drain of energy just left me unable to do it.  I’m certainly not going to get rid of everything, but I’ve got cookware, books, games, knick-knacks, and other things that I just don’t need now and won’t need for the foreseeable future.

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What are your current goals (if you feel like sharing, of course! No pressure!)? Are you trying to get something specific done or are your goals more long-term? These are just the four large goals I have for the year. We’ll see how they all go!

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BLOG TOUR – Broken Heart Attack – REVIEW

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Welcome! Today I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Broken Heart Attack, the 2nd book in the Braxton Campus Mystery series by my friend, James J. Cudney! I’m so excited about this tour and happy to be apart of it!

About the Book


Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Independently Published (November 25, 2018)
Paperback: 270 pages
ISBN-10: 1731310501
ISBN-13: 978-1731310507
Digital ASIN: B07KGGJX1T

Purchase Link: Amazon

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Synopsis

Who killed Gwendolyn Paddington?

When an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies. But when one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D asks Kellan to investigate.

With family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.

But can Kellan find the killer, or will he get caught up his own stage fright?

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Review – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Wow! This book is so full of twists and turns! Many things happen that completely rock Kellan’s world, the mystery is quite compelling and full of red herrings, and Nana D is running for mayor. All of this combines for a fast-paced, exciting read!

All our favorite characters are back and getting into all kinds of shenanigans. I love the addition of Emma, Kellan’s daughter. She’s so sweet yet smart and precocious. I just love her and am glad we’re getting to see her more and more.

This time around we get insight into the drama department instead of the sports and baseball programs. I love the insight into the various departments of the school.

I did not figure out the villain in this one before it was revealed. The red herrings were powerfully convincing!

I think I like the first book more, but that isn’t meant to detract from this one. It’s incredibly fun and full of twists and turns!

You should definitely read this series in order, starting with Academic Curveball and you should start today!

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About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

List of Books

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4

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Thanks for joining me today! If you wish to visit other spots on the tour, please click on the banner below to visit the main tour page!

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BLOG TOUR – Steamed Open – GUEST POST

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Welcome! Today I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Steamed Open by Barbara Ross. Ms. Ross has graciously provided a guest post for us today. Information about the book and author, including purchase links, will be below the guest post.

Guest Post

What Makes a Cozy Mystery?

It is true that cozies are the comfort food of the crime fiction world. But like good mac and cheese, cozies don’t have to be bland, or made the same way by everyone, every time. And it’s not true, in my experience, that cozy readers read the books because they are incapable of reading anything “more challenging.” They choose to read the books, often in times of stress or simply at the end of a long, busy day. On most cozy online boards when fans discuss the other things they read, it runs the absolute gamut.

So what makes a mystery a cozy?

Those of you who’ve followed me know I don’t like seeing the genre defined by what’s NOT in the books. You know–little swearing, no graphic violence or sex. After all, before I write a word, my books contain none of those things. Yet my editor won’t accept 300 blank pages. There have to be words that add up to a story. It’s true that some readers are specifically looking for the absence of such elements, but most readers are looking for the presence of something, not just the absence.

What are these readers looking for? And, important to my writing journey, what am I trying to do? To say?

The answer came to me as I listened to a podcast where Tom and Lorenzo tried, with difficulty, to describe their love for the movie, “The Big Sick.”

At the beginning of their very positive review, Tom says, “At it’s heart it’s just a light family medical drama.”

But later, after some analysis, responding to Lorenzo, he says, “I feel bad saying it’s light. I think you’re right. I say it, too. But I think it makes it sound like it’s not nuanced. I think when we say light, we mean deeply humanistic. Everyone is afforded some level of dignity and voice. It’s a really pleasing experience for the soul.”

When I heard this, I thought, “Yes!” Everyone afforded their own dignity and voice. A pleasing experience for the soul.

I haven’t quite achieved that yet, especially the “everyone” part, but that is where I’m trying to go.

As far as I’m concerned, my contract with my readers is this: There will be a crime. There will be a solution. You will want to turn every page. It will be a pleasing experience for your soul.

Everything else is up for grabs.

About the Book


Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1496717945
ISBN-13: 978-1496717948
Digital ASIN: B07BV3RCDG

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

It’s summertime in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and the clamming is easy—or it was until a mysterious new neighbor blocks access to the beach, cutting off the Snowden Family Clambake’s supply. Julia Snowden is just one of many townspeople angered by Bartholomew Frick’s decision. But which one of them was angry enough to kill?

Beachcombers, lighthouse buffs, and clammers are outraged after Frick puts up a gate in front of his newly inherited mansion. When Julia urges him to reconsider, she’s the last to see him alive—except the person who stabs him in the neck with a clam rake. As she pores through a long list of suspects, Julia meets disgruntled employees, rival heirs, and a pair of tourists determined to visit every lighthouse in America. They all have secrets, and Julia will have to work fast to expose the guilty party—or see this season’s clam harvest dry up for good.

About the Author


Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. Readers can visit her website at MaineClambakeMysteries.com.

 

 

BLOG TOUR – Academic Curveball – REVIEW

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Good morning!  Today I’m super excited to be hosting a spot on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Academic Curveball, the first in the Braxton Campus Mystery series by my friend, James J. Cudney! It’s not only a terrific book but it’s my friend’s terrific book! That makes it extra special!

About the Book


Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Independently Published (October 14, 2018)
Paperback: 281 pages
ISBN-10: 172877876X
ISBN-13: 978-1728778761
Digital ASIN: B07HMYSQFH

Purchase Link: Amazon

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Synopsis

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.

Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up.

With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. But who is behind the murder?

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Review – 4.5 stars out of 5

This book is a terrific start to a brand-new cozy mystery series. I love everything about it!

The main characters are a lot of fun. They’re well-rounded, well-thought-out, complex, and full of personality. I just love Nana D!

The settings and other descriptions were very well done. James tends to be more wordy than I would normally like with descriptions, but somehow he makes it all work without it being boring and dragging the story down.

The plot line was intriguing. I did have an idea of the villain before the end of the book but it was still a well-planned plot with plenty of red herrings and if you weren’t paying close attention to the subtle clues, the villain will come as a surprise.

All in all it’s a wonderful start to a new series and the second book is just as terrific! I do recommend reading the series in order as there are interpersonal things that are not going to make sense if you don’t.

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About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

 

List of Books & Blog

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

 

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

 

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4

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©Graphic Garden

Thanks for joining me today! If you wish to visit other stops on the tour, please click on the banner below to visit the main tour page!

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