Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: The Skinnytaste Coookbook by Gina Homolka

Get the recipes everyone is talking about in the debut cookbook from the wildly popular blog Skinnytaste

Gina Homolka is America’s most trusted home cook when it comes to easy, flavorful recipes that are miraculously low-calorie and made from all-natural, easy-to-find ingredients. Her blog, Skinnytaste is the number one go-to site for slimmed down recipes that you’d swear are anything but. It only takes one look to see why people go crazy for Gina’s food: cheesy, creamy Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli with only 420 calories per serving, breakfast dishes like Make-Ahead Western Omelet "Muffins" that truly fill you up until lunchtime, and sweets such as Double Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies that are low in sugar and butter-free but still totally indulgent.

The Skinnytaste Cookbook features 150 amazing recipes: 125 all-new dishes and 25 must-have favorites. As a busy mother of two, Gina started Skinnytaste when she wanted to lose a few pounds herself. She turned to Weight Watchers for help and liked the program but struggled to find enough tempting recipes to help her stay on track. Instead, she started “skinny-fying” her favorite meals so that she could eat happily while losing weight.

With 100 stunning photographs and detailed nutritional information for every recipe, The Skinnytaste Cookbook is an incredible resource of fulfilling, joy-inducing meals that every home cook will love.

Received for review.

Frankly, I'd never heard of the Skinnytaste blog but I couldn't resist the cover since I love cookbooks so I had to get this.

This is a low calorie cookbook so you might expect it to be packed with recipes that have zero taste but the creator did a nice job of incorporating a lot of flavor into her recipes.  It is important to note that while these recipes may be low fat and low calorie they are still quite high in sugar and salt.

The recipes are very easy to make and are beautifully photographed but many feature ingredient substitutions that may not be ideal for some people, such as avocados for butter in a cookie recipe or zucchini strips instead of lasagna noodles.  There are also some harder to find ingredients, such as faro, which may require multiple shopping trips and may make the recipes less convenient.

Overall this is a good collection of recipes for those looking into a lower calorie diet and I certainly recommend it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Author Interview: Sue Messruther author of Sock Seekers (Alien Capers Encounters Book 1)

Sue Messruther, author of the book Sock Seekers (Alien Capers Encounters Book 1), stopped by for an interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a very busy mum of 6 children, a hubby and a puppy of gigantic proportions! All of my children have grown up and with currently 3 grandchildren I want to write so they can enjoy reading and use their imagination too! Plus it is a lot of fun for me too, especially with books like my new series, these are fun to sit and think and type away being as silly as I want to be.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Oh golly you are going to be so sorry you asked! Ha ha ha, ok I am a mobile carer which means that I look after the aged, disabled and sick in their homes so they can stay there as long as possible and enjoy a good quality life with independence, so for this I do morning and early tea shifts which is when they need the most help. Then when I am finished morning run for this, I swap hats and do my web design business and SEO work for clients until the tea shift! After the tea run, I help other authors with formatting of their books for print or kindle, create covers and give advice.

It is on weekends and holidays that I get to turn my attention to my books where I write under a few names and do mostly fiction because it is fun to be imaginative! 

When did your first start writing?

I have to admit that writing was something that I learnt to do mostly for business, as a web designer for over 15 years I have written a lot of pages and blog posts for them. However, writing books began several years ago when a few friends asked me to give my recipes for scones and bread. Then I soon turned my attention to children with “Kids in the kitchen” these are a part of the “Just for Kids” series, some of which have been translated into French. I enjoyed the creativity of the children’s imaginative cooking so much that we have organized another 4 Kids in the kitchen editions.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

My favorite book is Alice in Wonderland; I just love the imagination and creativeness of this whole story that influenced a series (that I wrote under a pen name Jackie C Myrtle) the Series is “Wonderland”. However, for this particular series the influence is Dr Seuss. I love the silly poems and cute creatures so it was with these in mind that this series grew.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

Ok don’t laugh but this is what really happened… my daughter Rosheen now 15 years is going through this stage of wearing my socks – but with a slight difference, you see it is trendy to wear odd socks! Don’t ask me why I really have no idea and obviously, I am not in fashion because I quite like to wear matching socks!

Therefore, after a week of her pinching my socks there actually came a day where I ashamedly had to wear odd socks to work!

Oh my! Now my little old ladies and gents thought it was all very cute and yes, you guessed it that is where the idea for this book originally was born.

So you’re wondering now where do the aliens come in? I was showing my odd socks that I had worn to work that day to Shirley a friend of mine, after laughing and being silly somehow, aliens came up in our conversation, now, why I can’t remember, I remember suddenly shouting “Aliens”! A very puzzled look came across her face but she is used to me and knew something was brewing in my mind and it certainly was, Sock Seekers suddenly turned from a silly idea into a reality.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I think the best part is the parade of aliens marching into the room, I mean who would think these creatures would enter a bedroom to play with socks! Now why is easy, I could create all sorts of cuddly, funny and silly creatures with lots of features!

What is best writing advice you can give?

I like to sit, close my eyes and imagine then speak – I use dragon naturally speaking so this allows me to do this and by closing my eyes I can let it flow without interruption or getting side tracked with a wondering mind! Then after I am done (these books took an hour to write initially) I go back and amend a day later, then print and read and edit again then send to the editor. While at the editors, I can then begin with the drawings, which is actually the longest part of the whole process!

Now surprisingly nobody told me off, nobody told me I was silly and nobody laughed at me, rather it was, oh when can we buy it! So don’t sit there and think any more, get in and do it!

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about the book?

These children’s poems are part of a series and the other 3 books are all written and edited, currently they are in the cue for me to get the images done and the covers etc. I will have them all published by 7th November 2014 ready for Christmas sales.

Of course I had a little fun and created a book trailer too which you can have a look at and naturally if you want first hand news on when the others are released you can find out either at my author website or on Facebook

About the book:

We all have them and we find them everywhere, but never the matching pair! We are talking about odd socks, now we have heard all sorts of stories, including the most common - the dryer ate the other sock!

Now you can find out what could really be happening. Who is pinching your odd sock? Have a little fun and imagination on our Sock Seekers adventure - the Alien Caper Encounter kind!

To help you enjoy this book with your child, we have included some notes for parents. Book 1 of a 4 part Alien Caper Encounter series. 

Click the text and see it pop! Happy reading! 

About the author:

Hi my name is Sue with a family of 6 children, a hubby and a puppy of gigantic proportions! With a variety of books that I have written for both on and off Amazon. I have just started writing “Kids in the kitchen” which is part of the “Just for kids” series and what fun it has been! I have to say I really have enjoyed it and have plans for another 4 Kids in the kitchenthis year. With the “Just for kids” series I plan on not only doing cooking but we will do some fun craft ideas to keep the youngsters entertained during holidays and weekends.

So why do I write? Well because it is fun and it is somewhere for my creativity to have an outlet – apparently I am a Gemini because I am born in June and the year that I was born in was the year of the rabbit, now my research tells me that Gemini’s are very creative and very active they need to be learning and discovering something new constantly and because of the year of the rabbit apparently this helps to bring my creativity to fruition or in other words finds a way to make it come to life or applicable to my life – ah so that explains it!

When I was young I would constantly start something new or seek out new ideas but never finished them and the adults in my life would always complain saying “Sue why don’t you finish …… “I must have been very frustrating for the adults in my world he he he

And so writing was something that I learnt to do mostly for business, then a few friends asked me to give my recipes for scones and bread which I did but of course I would give them many and so they turned into books as well

Now I am the first to admit that spelling is not my strong point and grammar well – no again not another strong point but I pour my personality into my writing and pass my work to get “graded” to spot any mistakes, but I am not perfect and neither is this a perfect world, I enjoy what I do and my only wish is that my grandchildren were in the same country as me so I could enjoy them!

This photo above is of Oscar at the time he was 7 months!!! Now you understand why I say he is a puppy of gigantic proportions! He has just turned 1 year this May.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Author Interview: Nefretiti Morant author of the Perspectives Series

Nefretiti Morant, author of the Perspectives book series, stopped by for an interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm a proud mom, a loving wife, and a big dreamer. I always like reading and writing. But never thought about a career as a writer until two years ago. In 2012 I started a poetry blog. After a few months of writing and posting I decided to write a short story called Perspectives. Well boy did that unleash a passion that I didn't even know was dormant. I started writing like crazy. And I was having so much fun doing it that in seven months Perspectives The Saga was done. After receiving the first proof in the mail I was just so encouraged to keep going. I couldn't stop. That's was the birth of my crazy dream of being an author. I decided to chase that with my everything.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Spending time with my husband and kids or reading. I love to curl up in my favorite chair with a blanket and a book. But writing is definitely my favorite thing to do other than spending time with my family.

When did your first start writing?

I wrote my first poem about my husband when we were teenagers. As a young adult I loved writing poems and short stories, even though I didn't think I was good at it. I didn't start writing consistently until two years ago. To tell you the truth I wasn't even sure I could write a whole book until I tried. Completing this series has been so fulfilling on a personal level. The joy writing brings me has encouraged me to pursue it as a career.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I read allot of Toni Morrison books as a teenager. I also love Maya Angelou's poetry. She's the one celebrity I always wanted to meet. Her life was a living inspiration. I always loved poetry, but through reading her work I began to understand how powerful it is to touch people with words. She was a literary genius.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

I worked in the social services field for ten years. And the idea for this book came from the realization that although we have different stories, were not that different. What makes the difference in our lives, is our Perspective. I'm a firm believer in that and I try to weave inspirational messages in my work.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I really enjoyed writing Kenneth's(Perspectives II) and Ebony's(Perspectives V) chapters in the Series. I think they are the most likeable while flawed character's in the series. Although allot of my friends love Marissa. But Kenneth and Ebony's relationship was so star crossed and tragic that is was a welcome challenge to expand their Perspectives. I love their struggle and the type of people they become by the end of their stories.

What is best writing advice you can give?

Persistence is everything. If you love something and are passionate about it, just never give up on it. The more you work at it the better you'll get and even if you don't reach stardom. As long as your having a good time doing it, its so worth pursuing. The journey is often more defining than the result.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

Perspectives is feel good roller coaster of experiences. So if your looking for an engaging collection of experiences told with vivid prose then you'll love this series.

About the books:

Seven People living in Queens New York learn the value of family and friends. Calvin struggles with alcoholism, Kenneth is in love with a woman who doesn't love him, Ebony's marriage is falling apart and she's sleeping with her boss. Marissa is a single mom attempting to provide her daughter with the best. Kaliq and Zanay fall in love under unlikely circumstances, and Althea; well Althea is in a class by herself. Journey with these seven individuals as they learn life is all about your perspective.

Kenneth the ultimate playboy finds himself falling for Kenya. A beautiful, smart ambitious Psychiatrist. Kenneth is ready to trade in his player card and settle down with Kenya. But just as it seems like Kenneth will begin his happily ever after, an old flame blows into town. Will Kenneth be able to reform his ways or will he falter under the weight if temptation.

Calvin has triumphed over a plethora of obstacles. His wife is talented and beautiful and his children are adorable and smart. Everything seems to be falling into it's right place when he lands the job of his dreams. Will Calvin finally get to enjoy life or will the actions of a manic destroy his chance. Journey with Calvin as he learns not to take his blessings for granted.

Kaliq and Zanay are college bound and ready to face the world together. Their love is strong and their bond is unbreakable. But college is a new playing field. Is their love strong enough to brace the storm of the real world. Or will the pressure of campus life tear them apart. Enjoy a roller coaster ride of deception, lust, scandal and jealousy as Kaliq and Zanay learn to navigate through the trials that come with adulthood.

Ebony is a girl from the hood with big dreams and lots of ambition. As an infant she’s abandoned by her mother. While she juggles feelings of rejection she meets and falls in love with Calvin.

Together they dream of escaping the projects and creating their own happily ever after. Calvin’s love fills Ebony with the hope that even a girl like her could have something beautiful. But soon Ebony realizes Calvin has a lot of maturing to do.

When another man confesses his love for her she's faced with making a choice between the man she loves and the man who's good for her.

Enjoy an itinerary filled with lust, romance, and intense drama in this final chapter in the Perspectives Saga. 

About the author:

Nefretiti A. Morant was born in the United Kingdom to Barbadian Parents. Nefretiti always loved reading and writing poetry. In 2004 she graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors in Psychology. Nefretiti worked for New York City's Department of Social Services for ten years before deciding to pursue her passion for writing full time. In 2012 Armed with lots of ambition and a desire to create beauty with her words Nefretiti started a poetry blog on her popular website; Within 19 months she created the tantalizing series; "Perspectives". Perspectives follows seven individuals who through their struggles learn to appreciate their loved ones and life. Nefretiti’s inspiration for writing comes from her belief in positive thinking and her desire to inspire individuals from all walks of life. Nefretiti currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Book: Balanced Effectiveness at Work: How to Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor without Driving Yourself Nuts by Flip Brown

About the book:

Balanced Effectiveness at Work: How to Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor Without Driving Yourself Nuts is a useful compendium of tips, tools, and techniques to make being at work work better. 

Within each chapter there are conceptual definitions, sample scenarios, frank assessments, "Flip's Tips" action plans for real traction, and positive reinforcement. 

With a light-hearted but in-depth look at twenty-four wide-ranging topics, presented in a unique news-you-can-use format, it will provide you with real options, helpful resources, and renewed optimism. 

"Flip Brown's Balanced Effectiveness at Work is full of big reveals. One of the most important is how to replace perfectionism and judgment with empathy and engagement. This changes everything. You'll find inspiration on every page" -Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times bestseller What Got You Here Won't Get You There

"'Flip' your conceptions about balance, with Flip Brown's thoughtful, fun, insightful book Balanced Effectiveness at Work. It's pragmatic, simple yet profound, and fosters moving from speed to significance to create a more meaningful life" -Kevin Cashman, bestselling author of Leadership from the Inside Out

About the author:

Flip Brown is the founder and owner of Business Culture Consultants in Burlington, Vermont, a solo practice focused on helping organizations be the best they can be. He does this through assisting leaders, managers and employees to experience more meaning and fulfillment at work. He has a background in business, psychology, organic gardening, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Author Interview: Lisa N. Alexander author of Put It Out There!

Lisa N. Alexander, author of the book Put It Out There!, stopped by for an interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m the owner of a creative agency called PrettyWork Creative and I firmly believe in collaboration as a means for women business owners to grow their businesses. Recent statistics state that nearly 70 percent of all women business owners in the United Stated earn annual revenues of $25K or less. I believe that women who want to make more, should be able to do so and collaboration is one way to reach that goal. 

What do you do when you're not writing?

I’m plotting world domination! I’m growing several businesses at the same time, which is a lot to chew at one time, but I’m thankful for good friends to keep me sane. I volunteer for the only safe house in Texas that helps rehabilitate young girls and women rescued from sex trafficking. In between all of that, I’m Elgin’s wife, mom to a high school football player and grandma to the sweetest eight-month old you’ve ever met. 

When did your first start writing?

I started writing back in high school. I loved creative writing and even got away with writing a poem instead of an essay for an English class. My teacher was that impressed! I wrote my first book almost five years ago and have been a blogger for about that long. 

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

If you know my background this is going to sound really weird but I loved Edgar Allen Poe as a teenager. His writings were so dark but they intrigued me. He painted such descriptive pictures that I could easily see the scene and I think that’s so important in writing. Can you paint a scene with words that the readers can place themselves in the scene? It’s what I strive for in my own writings. Then there’s Judy Candis, a Christian fiction author who writes great suspense novels. Still Rage and All Things Hidden are my favorite pieces from her.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

It goes back to that 70 percent figure I mentioned earlier. I know some women are terrified to put whatever their “it” is out there and put it out there in a big way. Some women talk themselves out of their greatness even before they get started. I want to be the counter voice in their head telling them to put it out there! I want women to succeed and not shy away from their gifts, their callings, their greatness. They have to put it out there. 

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

The first chapter on throwed-off thinking. Because we all have thoughts that are contrary to the truth of who we are. So I love that I had the chance to expound on what throwed-off thinking is and how to cure it. If you can get someone to change their mind, the battle is won.

What is best writing advice you can give? 

Write deep and cut later!

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book? 

The book is inspiring and thought provoking but it’s also practical. The steps are something you can do immediately and they don’t require tons of money but they do require effort.

About the book:

Put It Out There! 5 Steps To Kick Fear's Butt and Move Your Dream Forward is written by Lisa N. Alexander and part of her This Woman Knows Project. 

Alexander explains how fear keeps us from pursuing our dreams and putting ourselves out there and how we can overcome those fears. 

Always the great storyteller, Put It Out There contains stories that will make you laugh and have you nodding in agreement. 

Alexander weaves it all together in five steps you can take today to move your dream forward.

About the author:

Known as The Marketing Stylist™, Lisa N. Alexander has worked as an art director, graphic designer and marketing consultant throughout her 20 year career. As a consultant and now CEO of PrettyWork Creative LLC, she helps entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their businesses through strategic marketing and planning. Lisa is also a Houston Business Blogger andHouston Business Podcaster.

Lisa describes this process as helping clients develop their WOW factor for their big marketing red carpet events. Web launches, advertising campaigns, social media marketing, new business launches are all big events that require the expertise of a stylist to help businesses put their best face forward and her clients love her for this.

Lisa is also a talented speaker and according to motivational business speaker, Karen McCullough, Lisa is one speaker she would go out of her way to hear speak. She infuses her ability to make the crowd laugh with her marketing know-how and  personal growth lessons. She leaves her audiences, inspired, informed and empowered! Lisa has even shared a story at The Moth Story Slam in Houston. She’s keeping her fingers crossed that her story may one day air on NPR.

Lisa is also the author of This Woman Knows, her personal story of coming into her own place of knowing and power. She shares this message with women through public speaking opportunities and encourages them to become women who know. Lisa also recently launched her third book, Put It Out There! 5 Steps to Kick Fear’s Butt and Move Your Dream Forward.

Lisa has been featured on Lisa Stein’s site as one of the 10 Examples of Mom-Owned Businesses with Kick Ass Unique Selling Propositions, and Marjorie Clayman’s list of 60 Women Whose Praises Must Be Sung. She’s also appeared in an article on the American Express Open Forum Blog, and was a guest blogger for Marketing and PR expert Susan Harrow. Lisa has also spread her message abroad. She was featured in Vital Woman, a magazine based out of the UK and shared her marketing wisdom with this international audience in a Vital Woman’s Business Growth Ladder Online Event.

One of Lisa’s greatest achievements was going back to school and graduating with honors from Ashford University with a B.A. in PR and Marketing. She’s also very proud of her volunteer work. Lisa currently volunteers at Freedom Place — a safe house for young girls rescued from sex trafficking and was the former Chief Communication Officer for The Freedom Coalition.

Lisa married her highschool sweetheart, Elgin Alexander and the two have been happily married for over 25 years and have two children. The two reside in Houston, Texas.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Featured Book: Max Blizzard and the Gem of Camelot by Patrick Hatt

About the book:

Max Blizzard was like any other worker drone living in Earth's realm until the arrival of his eighth birthday. On that day his imagination awoke and Max started thinking for himself. He was an outcast the moment he let people know about his imagination. That moment also unknowingly set forth a chain of events years in the making. By having imagination, Max had given Sir Dreadvent exactly what he wanted, a way into Camelot's realm.

Now Max and his friends, Trudesile and Lester, must complete the quest that Max's father, Merlin, set out for him years ago. They must find the Gem of Camelot to defend the realm from Sir Dreadvent and his sevesties. Their perilous journey will take them from the shores of Merlinia and the ship of Davy Jones to the fields of Avalon, in the hope that they can save Camelot, save Earth, and save all the lost realms that have been consumed by Sir Dreadvent and his sevesties on their quest to remake the universe.

A tale about where your imagination can lead if you choose to follow it, with creatures large and small joining Max Blizzard on his journey. King Arthur, Oberon, Hercules, Apollo and other heroes of imagination believed to be myth will become truth as Max and his friends face the trials ahead. Let your imagination lead the way to Max Blizzard and The Gem of Camelot.

About the author:

Patrick Hatt can be found in the East Coast of Canada. He hates writing these things but doesn’t mind talking in the third person. He dabbles in a little of this and a little of that, not afraid to attempt something new.

He is owned by two cats, one of whom has his own blog, It’s Rhyme Time. Yeah a rhyming cat, who knew? He would be considered a both person when it comes to cats and dogs.
He is also quite the movie and TV buff. As you can probably tell does not take himself seriously and has more stuff in his head than is needed. Thus the novels as just one more form of release.

Visit Pat at  Thanks for the visit and enjoy!

Guest Post: Jeannine Wiest author of The Alchemy of Self Healing

Jeannine Wiest, author of the book The Alchemy of Self Healing, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.

About the book:

We have more power to heal ourselves than we have been led to believe.

Your body is "Instant Messaging" you all the time.

These messages contain a unique cellular treasure waiting to be accessed. The discovery that your body (not your mind) is listening to you will transform your life. Your mind runs old programs, "defaults" to all that is familiar in your life, even when what's familiar is pain. The Alchemy of Self Healing will show you how to tap into your body wisdom that craves health and joy.

Take the Alchemy Quiz, follow the exercises, read the essays. At the end of 30 days, when you retake the quiz, you'll discover you have new resources and tools at your fingertips.

Jeannine Wiest, CMT, CST has created a week-by-week guidebook for tuning into the body so you can:

  • Transform old stories energetically lodged in your body that drain your well-being.
  • Reconnect with your body wisdom to access your creative resources.
  • Develop habits to navigate the cellular information your body communicates.
  • Respond to challenges with calm, focused energy.
  • Transform into the extraordinary version of you.

About the author:

Wiest is an advanced certified craniosacral therapist, Reiki master, and holistic coach. She has danced on Broadway, dissected a human cadaver, and today works with a wide variety of clientele from movie stars, stressed-out executives to clients who are living anxiety-ridden lives.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Featured Book: Tall Storeys by Harry Swiers

About the book:

Trapped between his amour Shirley Wrigley and the glamorous Laura Davies his latest admirer, millionaire Peter Sykes finds himself threatened with financial death by bankruptcy.

2,500 acres of English land have lain derelict since 1944. Fred Evans wants to develop the site adjacent to Heathcity-upon-Sea. But Fred is in financial trouble. The bankers have heard a whisper that Fred, ever secretive, is in dire trouble caused by the local taxman; the narrow eyed, humourless, George A. Fronrome. Furthermore, the deviant Fronrome is licking his lips; Fronrome eager to gain promotion, along with the ensuing honours for bringing about the downfall of Evans.

Fred has been made aware of the same threat through the services of his expensive accountant, Arthur Wolfson; Arthur dwarf sized but a giant in financial stature. So, keeping it to himself, Fred has devised a scheme.

President Fred recruits a fellow golfclub committee member to ease the way towards completion on purchasing the2,500 acres. And so Peter, against his better judgment, embarks upon his latest project. Firstly to save the Evans Group from collapse, and secondly, to extricate himself from the vituperative and deadly charms of Shirley Wrigley.

His own monetary and personal fortune now in peril, Peter curses the name of Fred Evans and all that his foster brother Fred stands for.

Fred has disappeared to sunnier climes.

About the author:

Over the years Harry Swiers has written a number of articles about rough collies and contributed to photographic journals.

For 30 years he practiced as a qualified, registered insurance broker, initially running his own practice before joining with other companies in the building trade, including heavy demolition.

Harry Swiers has written and been published by Collie Rescue (rough and smooth) UK.

Tall Storeys is available at Amazon: