Tag Archives: creative writing

New Shoes – Young Louisa Williams

‘Martin, we need to go to the shops and get Louisa’s school uniform sorted out.’
‘Can’t we leave it for now? We’ve still got a month before she starts.’
‘Martin! There is so much to be done! I need to start it now!’
Martin sighed and put down his newspaper. ‘Why do you need me to go with you?’
‘Because you have the money, Martin.’
Martin rolled his eyes and looked at Louisa. ‘Well, at least I’m good for something! Okay, Louisa go and put your shoes on. Hurry now! I don’t want to waste the whole day.’
‘What did you have in mind for today, Martin?’
Louisa’s father looked confused. ‘Er, well, this and that. You know the kind of thing.’
‘No, I don’t. I’ve got plenty of things for you to do though.’
Martin glanced up at the clock and jumped out of his chair, allowing his newspaper to fall to the floor. ‘Look at the time! Come on! Let’s get this started. We’ve got so much to do. Have you made a list, Angela?’
Now it was Angela’s time to look confused. ‘Er, yes, okay. Louisa! Hurry up! Before your father changes his mind!’
Louisa ran to get her shoes and coat and came back into the room with one arm in a sleeve and hopping as she tried to put on a shoe.
‘Whoa! Here, let me help you.’ Martin laughed at his little daughter. ‘You’re in a big hurry now!’
‘Yes, Daddy! We’re going shopping!’
Martin suppressed a sigh. Another woman eager and ready to spend his hard-earned money.

The bus ride into town was quick but to Louisa it was the best part of the day. She loved watching the world go by as she sat high up on the seat. Her mother insisted that they always sit in the middle of the bus if they could, as she said the further back you sat the more bumpy the ride would be. Louisa longed to sit on the back seat and feel the bumps. As much as she loved the bus, the smooth ride could only be improved by a few bumps!
The bus stopped in the centre of the town and the family got off along with other shoppers.
Angela took Louisa’s hand. ‘Now, don’t let go of my hand! Remember what I said about strangers?’
Louisa nodded absently. All the lights in the shop windows! And so many people!
‘Louisa! Are you listening?’
‘Yes, Mummy.’ Louisa allowed herself to be dragged along. She tried to take in everything as she walked.
‘Come on! Stop dawdling! You’re pulling my arms off!’
Louisa stared at her mother’s arms. They didn’t seem to be coming apart but perhaps that was because her coat was hiding them.
‘Now what’s wrong? Come on, child! We haven’t got all day! Your father has work to do when we get home!’
Martin paled. ‘Let the child look around, Angela! She doesn’t get out often!’
Angela gave her husband a stern look but didn’t reply.

Their first stop was the shoe shop. Louisa had never seen so many shoes in one place.
‘Mummy! I thought you had lots of shoes, but this shop has even more than you!’
Martin burst out laughing. ‘Out of the mouth of babes!’
Angela gave him a sour look before pushing Louisa towards a stool. ‘Sit down there so the man can measure your feet. Take off your shoes. Come on! Quickly now!’
Louisa did as she was told and sat swinging her legs as she waited for the man.
‘Okay. Well now, what kind of shoes are you looking for?’
‘Something suitable for school.’
‘Okay, let’s get her measured and then I’ll bring out a few pairs for her to try.’
Louisa watched in fascination as the man put her foot into a strange contraption with lots of numbers on it. He slid a piece of metal down until it was just resting against her toes. Her heel was cradled in a little metal holder, so he was able to read her size using the numbers. The he took a strap and pulled it firmly over her foot, so it looked like she was wearing a strange looking metal shoe.
‘Mummy? Is this my new shoe?’
The man laughed. ‘No. This tells me what size will fit you best. See this number here?’ He pointed to a number level with the tip of her toes. ‘This tells me what size to try. This strap here …’ He indicated the strap … ‘tells me the width of your foot so I can get the most comfortable shoe for you.’
Louisa looked at him with wide eyes.
He smiled and addressed her mother. ‘Black, I suppose?’
‘Oh, yes. Definitely black.’
Louisa turned to her father. ‘Daddy, can I have pink shoes? Like those over there?’
Her father looked shocked. ‘For school? Of course not! Yes, black it must be!’
Louisa was disappointed but not for long.
‘Okay, let’s try these on.’
The man was back with two long white boxes. He opened the first box and there, nestled in tissue paper were two shiny black shoes. He slid one onto her foot and buckled the strap. Then he began to squash her toes and tug at the shoe until he was satisfied.
‘Yes, they should do her for a while.’
Louisa’s mother dived forwards and began squashing Louisa’s toes and tugging at the shoe the same way that the man had.
‘Yes, I think you’re right. Martin? What do you think?’
Martin shrugged. ‘They look fine to me.’
‘Oh! You’re no help!’ Angela dismissed her husband with a wave of her hand. ‘Okay, they seem fine. Let’s try the others now.’
Louisa sat patiently as the process was repeated.
Finally, Angela seemed happy. ‘Yes, they are perfect.’ She pointed to the first pair.
By this time, Louisa didn’t really care which pair she got, she just wanted to get out of the shop and on to more adventures.
Martin followed the man to the shop counter. Louisa watched as he pulled out his wallet. He stopped for a moment but one look from her mother silenced him and he reluctantly handed over the cash.
As they left the shop, with their purchase tucked under Angela’s arm, Martin took Louisa’s hand. ‘Okay, so we’ve got the shoes. What’s next?’
‘Now we need to get some black stockings, a pinafore, a vest, blouse and a cardigan.’
Martin looked at her in horror. ‘If it took that long to get shoes, how long is it going to take to get all the rest?’
‘As long as it takes, Martin! The child has to have the proper clothing for school!’

By the time they had finished shopping for the rest of her outfit, Louisa was ready for the bus ride home.
‘Okay, will we go to the hotel for a bit of dinner?’
Angela smiled. ‘That’s a great idea!’
Louisa sighed. She had hoped that the long day was finally over, but it looked like she was wrong.
As soon as they arrived at the hotel, Martin made his way to the bar and ordered a pint. ‘What’ll you have, Angela?’
‘Orange juice.’
‘Louisa?’
‘Could I have a pint too, Daddy?’
A quick clip on the ear from her mother silenced her. She could feel her tears welling but she refused to let them fall.
‘She’ll have a lemonade, Martin.’
Louisa sniffed and quickly wiped her nose on her sleeve.
Martin brought their drinks to the table before going back to the bar for his pint. He spent the next ten minutes deep in conversation with the barman. Louisa looked around the bar. It was quiet. There was an old man in the corner falling asleep over a pint and a younger man nervously checking his watch every few seconds sitting near the door.
Martin came back and sat down beside Angela. He inclined his head towards the barman. ‘He says the jewellery shop got raided last week.’
‘Did they get much?’
‘Cleaned the place out. The police haven’t caught anyone yet.’
‘They will. They’ll put their best detectives on it.’
‘Yes, poor old Mr Richards, he didn’t have any insurance.’
Angela tutted. ‘In this day and age? How did it happen?’
‘A young man walked in and demanded the goods. He threatened to kill the old man.’
Angela looked shocked. ‘You just don’t expect it here, do you?’
‘No. They have a few leads to follow up—people saw the man leaving the shop—so hopefully, they’ll get his goods back.’
Louisa looked from one parent to the other. ‘What’s a detective?’
Angela glanced at her. ‘You shouldn’t be listening to grown-up conversations.’
‘A detective is a man who solves mysteries. He’ll look for clues and try to find out what happened.’ Martin explained.
‘So, he’s like a superhero?’
Angela rolled her eyes while Martin laughed. ‘Yes, something like that. He’s one of the good guys.’
‘Can a girl be a detective?’
‘No, Louisa. Only men have the right brains for the job. Right! Let’s take our drinks into the restaurant and order dinner!’

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The Wrong Shoes

Jerry locked the car and turned to Susie. ‘So, where are you going and when do you want to meet up?’ 

‘I’m going to look for the shoes first but don’t worry about meeting up – you’re coming with me!’ 

‘But I was going to watch a bit of the match!’ 

‘Well you’re not now, so come on. I’ve a lot to do.’ 

Jerry sighed. He had learned the hard way that arguing with his wife just didn’t work. Somehow or other, he would end up paying, and paying for her shoes was bad enough, never mind getting on the wrong side of her. He followed her out to the street. 

‘I’m not putting up with you sulking all day, Jerry!’ 

‘I’m not sulking.’ 

‘How do you expect me to concentrate if you’re sulking?’ 

‘I’m not sulking!’ Jerry envied men who could stand up for themselves. He wondered what would happen if he dared to walk away. Perhaps if he waited until she was in the shoe shop, she wouldn’t notice him slipping away? 

‘Come on, Jerry! We haven’t got all day!’ Susie pushed open the door of the nearest shoe shop. ‘Sit down there and help me choose!’ 

Jerry groaned. He knew she intended to keep him firmly in her sights. Flopping down onto the uncomfortable stool, Jerry awaited his fate.  

She arrived in the form of a helpful assistant. 

‘Good morning, Madam. How can I help you?’ 

‘Hello, I’m looking for shoes to match this dress.’ Susie scrolled through the pictures on her phone before thrusting it under the assistant’s nose. ‘That one there. I’m going out for cocktails with my husband’s boss.’ 

‘That dress is beautiful! Perfect for cocktails! Is it by that up and coming designer from Meath?’ 

‘Yes, it is! How did you know?’ Susie was impressed. 

Jerry wondered if he could take out his phone discreetly and keep up with the match live-updates. As he tried to slip it out of his pocket, a glare from Susie stopped him. With a sigh, he resigned himself to perching uncomfortably on the stool and trying to look interested. 

‘I saw it in a magazine the other day. That colour will suit you perfectly. I’d never be able to afford a dress like that.’ 

‘It was a bargain! I got a great deal on it!’ 

‘Did you? I saw it priced at five hundred euros.’ 

‘Yes, I know but it was marked down in the sale and I got it for four hundred and fifty euros!’ 

Jerry’s coughing fit momentarily distracted the two women. 

‘What’s wrong with you now, Jerry?’ 

‘How much did you pay for the dress?’ 

The women rolled their eyes and turned to a display shelf. 

‘I think those heels would suit the dress very well.’ 

Susie looked doubtful. ‘I’m not sure, perhaps that pair there?’  

‘Oh yes! They would look amazing with the new dress!’ 

Now it was Jerry’s turn to roll his eyes. 

‘Would you like to try them on?’ 

‘Yes, and maybe that pair there too.’ Susie pointed to another pair like the first pair. 

‘What size?’ 

‘Six.’ 

‘I’ll fetch them from the storeroom.’ 

As the assistant went out the back of the shop, Jerry cleared his throat. ‘Er, why can’t you try on that pair right there?’ 

Susie looked horrified. ‘Try on shoes that have been on display? Whatever are you thinking?’ 

Privately, Jerry was thinking that it would have saved a lot of time and effort but obviously, he was missing something. He decided to hold his tongue. 

The assistant reappeared with two shoe boxes. Susie sat down beside Jerry and watched almost reverently as the assistant opened the first box. Slipping off her own shoes, Susie slowly slid her left foot into the new shoe. Jerry watched as she flexed her ankle, trying to see the shoe from every angle. 

‘How does it feel? Is the size alright?’ 

Susie nodded at the assistant. ‘It’s perfect!’ 

The assistant wordlessly handed her the other shoe. 

Jerry breathed a sigh of relief. That had been much quicker and easier than he had feared. He watched as Susie slipped on the second shoe and then stood up. She stayed still for a moment or two, enjoying the look and feel of the shoes then began to walk up and down the shop, checking them out in the many strategically placed mirrors. 

‘Oh, they look wonderful!’ The assistant beamed. ‘Now, here are the others for you to try on.’ 

Susie sat down once again, pointing to another pair on the display. ‘Can you bring me those to try as well?’ 

‘No!’ 

Both women turned to look at Jerry.  

‘What’s wrong now?’ Susie glowered at her husband before turning to nod at the assistant. 

‘You said they were perfect! Why are you trying on more now?’ 

The women exchanged sympathetic glances. 

‘They are perfect but I’m not sure if they’ll go with the dress.’ Susie explained patiently before turning once more to the assistant. ‘While you’re getting those, you might as well bring out the red pair too.’ 

‘Of course, Madam. What about that blue pair? Would you like to try those too?’ 

Jerry thought his brain was going to explode. He stood up to go and get some fresh air.  

‘Where are you going now?’ 

‘You’ll be here all day! I’m going to watch the end of the match. Text me when you’re finished.’ 

‘Sit down!’ Susie dismissed his outburst. ‘Oh look! These are lovely!’ She opened the second shoe box and glanced up at Jerry. ‘Sit down or you’ll distract me! Don’t you realise how important this is? I have to get the right shoes!’ 

Jerry was about to say no but the flinty look in her eyes stopped him. Deflated, he sank back heavily onto the stool. 

‘Now Madam, I also brought this black pair for you to try on. They won’t go with the dress but they are beautiful shoes.’ 

Both women ignored Jerry’s strangled gasp. 

Susie lost track of time as she slipped her feet in and out of the shoes. Jerry’s aching back found no relief as he shifted on the hard stool. He watched helplessly as pair after pair was pronounced perfect and then discarded in favour of the next pair. 

Other customers came and went and Jerry found himself wondering why only his wife seemed unable to make up her mind. The assistant was kept busy but Susie didn’t seem to notice. 

The pile of shoes around them grew steadily until Jerry thought there mustn’t be a pair left in the shop that Susie hadn’t tried on. The assistant was determined to make a sale and kept placing fresh boxes beside them in between serving the other customers. 

Finally, Susie sighed and reached for her own shoes.  

‘Well, have you decided on a pair?’ 

She looked at him in surprise. ‘This is only the first shop! You can’t expect me to make up my mind before I’ve seen everything!’ 

‘What do you mean? You’ve tried on every shoe in the shop! There’s none left to try!’ 

‘Not here, there isn’t, but there’s another shoe shop a few doors down. We’ll try there next.’ 

Jerry could almost feel the blood draining from his faced. ‘Another shop?’ 

‘Of course! You want me to be happy, don’t you?’ 

Jerry was sure the only thing he wanted just then was to go home and pour himself a large whiskey. 

‘Well? Don’t you?’ 

Suddenly, Jerry knew he had to get away. He walked quickly towards the door. He had to force himself to keep control and not run out of the shop.  

‘Where are you going?’ 

‘Home!’ 

‘What do you mean, home? Get back here this minute!’ Susie struggled to put her shoes on. 

Jerry reached the door and as he put his hand out to open it he felt as if something was pulling him backwards. 

He awoke with a start and glanced at the pillow beside him. He was alone. Wiping the sweat from his brow, he swore that he would never again complain about being single.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letting Go

Sally yawned and stretched. Glancing at the clock she realised that she had ten minutes before the alarm. Snuggling back down, she closed her eyes and allowed the memories to wash over her. 

The nightclub had been packed and she and Julie hadn’t been able to talk over the music. Shrugging it off, they danced until their feet hurt. Julie inclined her head towards the bar and Sally nodded.  

The barman followed Julie’s pointing finger and reaching out, touched the vodka bottle. At Julie’s nod, he quickly poured shots into two glasses and placed them on the bar. Grabbing the lemonade bottle, Sally splashed a little into each glass while Julie handed over the money. 

As the girls turned from the bar with their drinks and made their way to the seating area, neither of them noticed the man leaning against the bar watching them. 

The girls had almost finished drinking when two fresh drinks appeared in front of them.  

‘Harry! I didn’t think you were coming tonight!’ Sally shouted over the music.  

‘I wasn’t, but then I thought, why not? The boss is away tomorrow so I can get away with a bit of a hangover!’ 

The girls laughed and picked up their drinks. 

‘Cheers!’ 

Conversation being almost impossible, they drank up quickly and hit the dance floor again. They had been friends since school and met up most weekends. Sally and Julie shared a flat and Harry sometimes crashed on their couch. 

The night ended and the girls got their coats while Harry waited by the door. He smiled as he saw them coming towards him but he didn’t notice the man standing just outside watching them. 

‘Who wants fries?’ 

‘Harry! You’re always thinking about food!’ 

‘I’m a growing lad!’  

After a brief trip to the burger bar, they made their way back to the flat.  

‘I thought you didn’t want fries!’ 

Julie snatched her hand away as Harry slapped at it. 

‘Ah, go on! You’ll only stink out the flat anyway!’ 

Harry laughed as he held out the fries to her. ‘What about you, Sally?’ 

She smiled and shook her head. ‘No, thanks.’ 

‘She wants more than fries off you, Harry!’ Julie teased. 

Sally blushed and turned her face away quickly. 

‘Leave her alone, Julie! Come here, Sally.’ Harry held out his arm and Sally laughed and allowed him to drape it over her shoulders for the rest of the walk home. 

‘Anyone want tea?’ 

‘It’s two in the morning! We’ll be up all night, Julie and we have work tomorrow or have you forgotten?’ Sally reminded her. 

‘That’s why I prefer going out on a Saturday night. I said we should go last night!’ 

‘You said a lot of things last night but Joey managed to quieten you when he came around.’ 

Julie laughed. ‘Well. I’ll leave you two at it then. Goodnight.’  

Sally was about to make her own excuses when Harry stopped her. 

‘Sit beside me for a minute, Sal. I want to talk to you.’ 

As she sat next to him the old memories resurfaced. ‘I think I should go to bed too, Harry. It’s late.’ 

‘I won’t keep you long, I promise. I’ve been thinking. It’s a year since Rob died and I have been patient but I think it’s time to start moving on now, don’t you?’ 

Sally hung her head, allowing her hair to fall over her face. ‘It still seems like yesterday.’ 

‘I know but the last time we talked you said you would think about it.’ Harry slipped his arm around her shoulders and drew her close. He held her loosely ready to let her go if she tried to pull away. 

With a sigh, Sally allowed him to hold her. She had to admit it did feel nice to be held. She stiffened as his lips touched her cheek. 

‘Don’t worry, there’s no rush. I just need to know that I have a chance with you.’ 

Harry’s breath felt warm as he spoke against her hair. 

Sally sighed again. ‘I like being with you but I’m not sure that I feel that way about you.’ 

As his lips gently touched hers, she thought that perhaps she did feel that way about him, after all. 

Reluctantly, he sat back. ‘Off to bed now or we’ll both be late in the morning!’ 

Sally smiled and with a quick, backward glance, went into her bedroom. As she closed her curtains she thought that Harry was right. It was time to let go. She had mourned long enough. 

She didn’t notice the man across the street staring at her over his shoulder as he walked away.  

 

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Story Ideas

Aspiring writers often wonder where they can get ideas for their books. I wondered myself at one time but now ideas seem to flow easily and my only problem is not having enough time to get them all down.

For me, the secret is to just write. That’s it. Plain and simple.

Pick up a pen, or open a blank document on your writing device of choice, and just begin.

Write gibberish, write ideas, write thoughts, write to yourself, write to your significant other – it doesn’t matter. Just write.

It doesn’t have to make sense at first. That will come in time. The important thing is to develop the habit.

Write about your day. Write as much detail as you can remember. Write your feelings and thoughts. When you have done this, you will have written your first story!

Write about a happy experience or a sad one. Pour out your feeling on the page. Don’t worry about spellings, grammar, syntax or any of that boring stuff. There will be time for all of that later. Just get it written.

Use the beauty of nature for inspiration. Just let the words flow.

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Barley Lake, Co Cork

Use historic buildings to stimulate your imagination. Who might have lived here? When? What did they do? Write a list of questions and then try to answer them.

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Muckross Abbey, Co Kerry

Use funny pictures, scenes or sightings to help you create a story.

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Gracie, my pony, waiting patiently outside my front door

The ideas are endless. Look around and write about life, love, past, future, night, day.

Get your words down on paper – and when you do, I’d love to read them!

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The Start of it All

People often ask me how I first got started on my writing. Well, the truth is, I have always loved reading and writing. There was no particular starting point.

If I had to pinpoint a time, I suppose it was when I saw an advertisement for a creative writing course in my local town.

I jumped at the chance and couldn’t wait for the evening of the first class. The excitement! The joy! The anticipation!

I remember walking into the building and looking for directions to the room. I could feel fluttering in my stomach but I was still excited.

I walked up the stairs and there, in front of me, was the door.

As I reached for the handle, the first doubts began to creep into my mind. What was I doing here? I was no writer! Yes, I loved to put my thoughts down on paper but that was a far cry from being a writer!

I took a deep breath and opened the door.

Ellen, the tutor greeted me enthusiastically and before I knew it, I was sitting among the other students waiting to find out what it was all about.

To my delight, a neighbour of mine came into the room to join the class. At least I knew someone!

By the end of that first class I had already learned some valuable lessons.

Ellen brushed aside my insecurities and made me feel that, yes! I could do this!

As I listened to the first assignment, I suddenly realised that I knew exactly what I wanted to write and I couldn’t wait to get home and begin.

Within a few short weeks, we had become a team, sharing thoughts and ideas while being guided by Ellen’s expertise.

I grew to love hearing her read our assignments and the constructive advice that followed.

That class taught me to discipline myself. To sit and write. To just do it no matter how little time I thought I had. To enjoy it and look to forward to it.

Every week I turned in a new assignment – short stories – and every week I left with a better grasp of how to craft them.

Towards the end of the course, we held a public reading of our works which included a wonderful short play written by one of the students. Carol has since gone on to be a regular contributor to local newspapers and her pieces are well-written and fresh – a joy to read.

I also made a wonderful friend – Ruth, my neighbour. All these years later and I still remember her wonderfully quirky sense of humour which came through so clearly in her writing.

She has a passion for animals and rescued cats ad kittens long before people were aware of the problem. Her calm gentleness and quick laugh are some of the things that still inspire me whenever I sit down to write.

Most of us were in class simply for the love of writing but a few of us have taken it a step further.

Wherever it has led, I still think of that creative writing class as the time in my life when I realised that to succeed, you first have to try.

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Blah Blah Blah

Been feeling a bit “Blah” lately – probably because of a reaction to the flu jab – so been finding it hard to concentrate.

Started plotting a new novel but it’s not coming together yet – I’ve never actually tried plotting one before – perhaps try again in a week or two.

Did some marketing but lack of funds kind of limits that! Still, did the usual social media whirl etc.

Started a Thunderclap for “A Little Book of Horror” – due for release October 12th

Pre-order Here or Support Thunderclap Here (it’s FREE)

Finally sent off an assignment for a course I’m doing.

Still feeling “Blah”.

Opened up new novel file – I’m twenty thousand words into a new historical romance – and a couple of hours and two thousand words later, I’m not feeling “Blah” any more!

The secret?

Just do it!

Stop procrastinating and just make an effort. It will come. Give it the right time and place and anything can be accomplished!

Must get back to the novel now!

#amwriting #histfic #romance

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The Girl in the Shadows

Just a sneak peek of the cover. Release date to be announced….
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The Girl in the Shadows is growing up in rural Ireland in the middle of the twentieth century. Share the laughter and tears as she makes her way in a world so different from the one we know today.

Soon to be released in Paperback as well as an eBook

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Choosing a book

What makes you click that “add to cart” button?

You go to your favorite book site. You put your genre of choice into the search box. The list comes up. You start scrolling through. Suddenly, you see it. The Book.

What makes you stop there, at that particular book? Are you even aware of why you have stopped there?

I know what makes me stop. Think about it and let me know if one of these makes you stop.

If your reason is not on the list feel free to add a comment below.

 

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Finally!!! A novel or three in progress!!!

After years of thinking I should stick to short stories or non fiction I finally found the inspiration.
And then inspiration became a short story.
The short story turned into a longer story.
The longer story turned into three longer stories.
20,000 words in and the well is getting fuller every day. I can see the story right to the end and even if it never becomes a bestseller it is just bubbling to be born.
I’ll keep you up to date here and when the first draft has been edited I’ll post a sample to give you a taster….

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