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Review of The Ripper’s Shadow Laura Joh Rowland via @crookedlanebks

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Ripper’s Shadow by Laura Joh Rowland from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

I have to say I loved this book. At first I was a bit leery reading another book based on the history of Jack the Ripper but this was such a fresh take on something that has been done time and time again.

In order to make ends meet Sarah Bain takes a side job shooting illegal boudoir photographs of Whitechapel’s ladies of the evening.  When her models are being slaughtered one by one by Jack the Ripper, Sarah feels she needs to stop him.  Not being able to go to the police Sarah and a group of eclectic friends put themselves in danger to try to save the rest of her models before Jack the Ripper makes another appearance.

It has it all; a fast-paced intriguing plot, dynamic characters, a touch of humor, edge of your seat scenes and some heartwarming moments between the characters. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to lose themselves in a good book.

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Interview and New Release from author Lynn Hallbrooks (@ LynnHallbrooks )

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I’m fortunate enough to welcome back a familiar face to this site, Lynn Hallbrooks. Lynn is back to tell us about her  new book “Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human.”

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Welcome Back Lynn, can you give us a summary of your new book?

Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human” is a Non-fiction book of suggestions for dealing with everyday housework.

What lead you to write this book?

I have been cooking and cleaning for a household since I was a tween and my parents divorced. I was the eldest of four children. More recently, I’ve been living with friends who have put a roof over my head in exchange for my abilities. One day it occurred to me that I should share some of what I’ve learned. So I would make mental notes while I was cooking, cleaning, or doing the laundry.

 What style did you choose?

One reviewer likened it to being a message from mom to her child setting off on their own.

Are you a mother?

Yes, I have two grown children and one grandson. I also have two godchildren who I lived with for 4 years. So I guess I’m a mother in three different ways, Mother, Grandmother, and Godmother.

Would you say you have a natural instinct to nurture?

Yes, very much so. That may be why I tend to help other authors.

I have noticed that. So where can people connect with you?

They can start by visiting the website – http://cswcllc.weebly.com/ – At the bottom of the page are icons that link to some places where I can be found on Social Media. Also each book that I’ve had a part in writing has its own page with links to where it can be found globally. Here’s the page link for Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human: http://cswcllc.weebly.com/household-hints-global.html

Below are a couple of other places to find and connect with me:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4950577.Lynn_Hallbrooks

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LynnHallbrooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnHallbrooks

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2017 Moving Forward…

“Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” ~Gilda Radner

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It’s the start of a new year and I’m moving forward with lessons learned and more determination than ever.   Working on new projects that I have been laying the groundwork for the past year and still in the throws of juggling two course loads; coaching (business) and history/archaeology/palaeography (academic). I will also still be writing copy, book reviews, volunteering and trying to work on my manuscripts…oh and stay sane…oops! Well that ship sailed a long time ago! 😝

Here’s to hoping 2017 turns out to be a stellar year of new beginnings for everyone!

Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re making each and every moment matter!  🙂

Live, laugh & love! ❤

“Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.” ~Ralph Blum

#amwriting #researching #historicalfiction #urbanfantasy #learning #studying #archaeology #history #arttherapy #coaching #art #volunteering #palaeography #transcribing #amreading #photography #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling #organizing

My Spotify Playlist ~WIP Catacombs #HistoricalFiction #UrbanFantasy

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson

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Review of “Note to Self” by Author Laurie Buchanan PhD ( @TuesWithLaurie )

 

 

Review ~ Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude & Growth

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I recently had the pleasure to interview author Laurie Buchanan about her new book Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude & Growth and this book is now one of my favourites. If you’re looking to make changes in 2017, Note to Self  is the book for you.  This will be one of my go-to books when I need to regain harmony in my ever-changing life.  Articulate, authentic and relatable, Laurie’s book Note to Self  will resonate with so many as will her motto “whatever you are not changing, you are choosing”. Often, we are so incredibly busy or too frightened to make much needed changes in our lives and as a result, get weighed down by our “baggage” and do not live our best life possible. Note to Self breaks the focus down into “Seven Selves”: Self-preservation, Self-gratification, Self-definition, Self-acceptance, Self-expression, Self-reflection and Self-knowledge. By using a holistic approach and breaking areas of our lives into small manageable pieces Note to Self helps us focus on specific areas one at a time and makes the task of self-discovery a little less daunting.   Each section invites you to ask questions, offers advice and exercises that are thought provoking and meaningful. I particularly like the Internal Inventory Questions which help us peel back the layers and get to the heart of our baggage.

 

About Laurie

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Embracing the belief that “Life is an expression of the choices we make,” Laurie Buchanan is a teacher and student of purposeful living. With tremendous respect for the earth’s natural resources, her goal is to leave the slightest footprint on the planet, while at the same time making a lasting impression on its inhabitants—one that is positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing.

A minimalist by intent, she lives a beautiful life with fewer things—simple, yet full.

Laurie can be found online at Tuesdays With LaurieTwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Just wanted to wish everyone who celebrates….

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a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Wishing you and yours all the love and joy the season has to offer.

I will be back in the new year with some exciting news …stay tuned!

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Review~Painting Life: My Creative Journey Through Trauma by @CarolKWalsh

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I was recently honoured to have had the opportunity to interview author, therapist and artist Carol K. Walsh about her memoir, Painting Life: My Creative Journey Through Trauma. I have always been an avid believer in and advocate for the healing and transformative powers of living a creative life. Inspiring and powerful, Carol’s memoir shares with the reader the healing and empowering potential of the creative process to not only overcome, but to thrive and recreate oneself through life’s traumatic and challenging moments.  Authentic and graceful, Carol shares her story in an honest, relatable and insightful prose, as she walks us along her journey of self-discovery through a challenging childhood to the trauma and heartbreak of the death of a fiancé. Each time she faced challenges she called upon her creativity to help her rebuild and redefine her life. Her words are like her paintings, they flow, carrying you along her journey interspersed with artistic antidotes that blend seamlessly with her story. I loved this book and know it will definitely be one I go back to time and again.

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About Carol K. Walsh:

Carol Walsh’s life was turned upside down in seconds when she pulled her dead fiancé from the bottom of a diving well, after he had a sudden, massive heart attack. Even though she was a psychotherapist working with clients suffering from trauma, this personal shock felt unbearable. Nonetheless, she had to heal herself while working with clients and, as a single mother, supporting her two children. Using the creative interests she developed during childhood while emotionally saving herself from a difficult mother, she fully recovered from her grief and PTSD symptoms.  More importantly Carol thrived by recreating her personal, artistic, and professional life.

Carol Walsh graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA.  As a serious artist she wrote and illustrated a hard cover book for fiber artists, Design for Weaving, published by Hastings House of New York and reprinted in paperback by Interweave Press.  Carol was a part of numerous exhibits, won international prizes and lectured nationally.

Later Carol graduated from Catholic University of America with an MSW and opened a private practice, where she has worked for thirty-two years.  As a therapist she wrote and self-published The Art of Awakening Spirit.  In addition, she wrote and illustrated forty, 3000-4000 word articles for Pathways a Washington D.C, metropolitan publication and subsequently consolidated her articles into a paperback book,  Break Through: Coping Skills for Chaotic Times

Carol lives in Maryland where she has a large studio.  She has been happily married for 22 years and is the proud mother of two daughters and four grandchildren.

Find Painting Life: My Creative Journey Through Trauma on Amazon here.

To learn more about Carol and connect with her on social media check out her website  www.ckwalsh.com or connect via Twitter @carolkwalsh, and Facebook Carol K. Walsh

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Creative Life Summit via Carol K. Walsh (@carolkwalsh)

I wanted to share a quick message  from a familiar face on our site ~ Author and Artist Carol K. Walsh.

To all my fellow Creatives:

I am excited to  tell you about an opportunity to hear 41 speakers discuss creativity, during the “Creative Life Summit”. The Summit is a two week event designed and sponsored by James Taylor in London, the founder of the C-school of Creativity, who also consults with major organizations. The Summit will be aired on the internet during the first two weeks in January.  It is  free, and will feature James in conversation with 41 people about all areas of creativity, including: the creative process, marketing, flow, creative blocks, finding your voice, etc.  There are many topics to choose from.  All we have to do is sign up. 

Because of my newly published memoir, Painting Life: My Creative Journey Through Trauma, I was asked to be one of the 41 speakers.  My specific topic is: “The Power of Creativity to Heal”. My interview with James Taylor will be aired on January 5th

Just click on this link and sign up.  It’s free.

Carol K. Walsh

www.CreativeLifeSummit.com

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December~the home stretch!

✨”Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ~ Les Brown✨

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It’s hard to believe we are in the home stretch of 2016 and in retrospect I would have to say that the word that comes to mind that would perfectly describe this year would be “challenging”.  Don’t worry it’s not all in the negative context, although there have been some tough moments a great deal of them have led to growth and in my mind, that is always a good thing (…unless of course it’s my waistline…and well yeah, not so good 😉 !) 

On the downside, I have had to say goodbye to some dear friends and family, losing them broke my heart but all of whom have left an indelible mark on my heart and contributed to making me the person I am today. I will always carry the lessons they’ve taught me as I move forward in life. 

On the upside, I have been given some wonderful opportunities to travel a new path that I will be continuing to pursue well into 2017.  Although I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo, I did make a healthy dent in my manuscript that will hopefully lead (fingers-crossed) to a published novel in 2017.

I will have a few more posts this year but I would like to take the opportunity to wish all my friends and family a wonderful, joyous holiday season! (Chanukah, Christmas & Kwanza)

Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re counting your blessings, not your problems!  🙂
Live, laugh & love! ❤

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”~Walt Disney

#amwriting #researching #mythology #urbanfantasy #learning #studying #archaeology #history #arttherapy #coaching #art #volunteering #palaeography #transcribing #amreading #photography #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling #organizing

My Spotify Playlist ~ #AmWriting #UrbanFantasy ~ Uisce

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Christmas reads from Author Annamaria Bazzi ( @AMBazzi )

 

Looking for entertaining Christmas reads? Check out these four titles from author Annamaria Bazzi…

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An Impossible Rescue

Christmas is no joy for Julia who’s husband, a high-risk investor, comes around only to ask for money. When a handsome stranger and his cute Pomeranian puppy move in next-door, Julia feels guilty for their mutual attraction.

Michael’s not the rescuing type, but when he spies Julia’s husband haranguing her for holiday cash, anger flares and he is determined to rescue Julia from another miserable Christmas.

~~~

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A Miracle For Happiness

Brian Kemps is ready to love again.

Amelia Pappas is afraid to love. She holds him at a distance and he worries he might not be the one she’s dreamed of. Amelia reveals her secret. She tells him in detail about her two marriages and how she buried her two husbands.

They discover love.

Cancer, the silent killer invades Amelia’s body.

Brian is not willing to give up the woman who stole his heart and refusing to accept the medical judgment, books tickets to Lourdes.

Where science fails, faith may find a way. Through the power of love.

~~~

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Harmony in the Vineyard

Alicia Giordano struggles to learn the wine business from her crusty Granddad Contrino, but if she’s to be ready to run the family vineyard, she has to follow his directions. Alicia dutifully complies with everything, but the old man may have gone too far when he hires a new accountant, Anthony Grassi, son of the famous corporate raider.

Uncertain of how much Granddad Contrino knows of her past with Anthony, she discovers that ACI, the company his father uses for his legal pillaging, has targeted the family’s Contrino Vines for acquisition. Alicia must confront her runaway feelings and decide if Anthony is being honest or if he’s only playing with her heart to help his father. And she must decide before her Granddad makes an irrevocable choice.

~~~

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Rescued By A Gambler

Natalia’s world changes forever when her husband gambles and loses everything…including her. Things go from bad to worse when Brad, the winner, moves in to collect his winnings: the house, the cars and maybe even Natalia.

Unknown to Natalia, Brad has sworn an oath to protect her, but he can’t stop his growing feelings and even the signed contract is no shield for his heart. But, the longer he stays, through flares of attraction and fading trust, his only hope of fulfilling his agreement and walking away seems an unreachable goal. Saving Natalia’s heart and helping her to love again might be an impossible rescue.

~~~

 About Annamaria Bazzi

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Love is an important part of life, not just something to be experienced but also to be read. After 31 years of marriage, and going strong, Annamaria Bazzi believes in the happy ever after. This strong belief transcends into her romance novels—every person deserves their own happy ever after.

Annamaria writes contemporary romances to bring new love experiences to her readers. She also writes young adult sci-fi/fantasy and dabbles in paranormal short stories.

You can visit Annamaria at:

Blog http://annamariabazzi.com

Website http://www.annamariasbooks.com

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Author.annamariabazzi

Twitter https://twitter.com/AMBazzi

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6890526.Annamaria_Bazzi

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/annamariabazzi/

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00API579Q

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New Release from Author Carol K. Walsh (@carolkwalsh)

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I had the fortunate opportunity to interview artist, writer, therapist and personal coach  Carol K. Walsh about the launch of her new memoir  ~ Painting Life: My Creative Journey Through Trauma.  Welcome Carol!

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November 2016

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your new book, Painting Life: My Creative Journey Through Trauma.

The title, Painting Life reflects my life philosophy. I believe that our lives are our most important creation. Each role in my life, as a wife, mother, artist, author and psychotherapist, requires creative thinking and action. The choices I make in every area of life need to reflect who I am, as well as echo my broader vision.

When I wrote Painting Life I wanted to show how I used that philosophy in healing from my personal trauma, with the hope that I would help others. I was once asked if this book had a happy ending. Yes it does. I am happily married and have two lovely daughters and four grandchildren

What was the inspiration behind Painting Life: My Creative Journey Through Trauma?

My inspiration came from two different areas of my life. The first was retrospective. When I was in my mid-forties and engaged to be married, my fiancé died in a nanosecond three months before our wedding. How I dealt with that trauma – both in the moment of his death and during the aftermath — has never left my mind. In writing this memoir I understood more clearly how I was able to not only survive, but thrive. Writing Painting Life felt like putting a period at the end of that sentence.

The second source of inspiration was my work with clients. I noted that clients, who utilized creative thinking and action in their daily lives, were more successful in achieving and then maintaining their mental health.

Will you describe the storyline?

My memoir takes place over during the first 50 years of my life and begins when I discovered that my mother handwrote on my birth certificate that I was male. That was a symbolic beginning of a tumultuous relationship. Mother and I had totally opposite temperaments and for this I am now grateful because it forced me to forge my own path. When I was three years old my father left to serve in WWII, and in order to emotionally survive losing him along with my mother’s temperament, I used creative expression. I have continued to develop creative skills throughout my life, which has brought some rewarding successes.

The driving force of my memoir is my fiancé’s traumatic death and how I used creativity to survive the grief and post-trauma symptoms. The last section of the book describes how I met Bob, and the synchronistic and mystical occurrences that happened during our two years together. Even though it sounds trite, it was such an amazing experience, it felt as though powerful source of Energy, beyond our understanding, had intervened.

How are you defining trauma?

Trauma occurs when we have a life-altering experience forcing us to make major changes in our selves, our circumstances and our vision of the future. Often people don’t realize that trauma can be caused by many things including: accidents, incapacitating illness, death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. The older we are, the more common it is for us to have experienced, not just one, but multiple occurrences. According to The National Center for PTSD, 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced at least one traumatic event during their lifetime.

What did you learn from your traumatic experience and your journey afterwards? 

Each phase of my recovery from Bob’s death was a growth experience, during which I learned something new. After the first year anniversary of his death, I learned I could survive a tragic experience and yet rebuild my life. Even though my life would be forever different, I was still me.

After the second or third year, I realized how important it was for me to have a healthy, intimate relationship, so I began searching. Once I met my current husband, Tom, I was determined to bring into my new relationship the skills I had learned from my relationship with Bob.

Now, after writing Painting Life, I developed an even broader understanding of the process I went through to survive and then heal — all influenced by thinking and acting creatively. As I reviewed my creative process, I realized that being creative takes a tremendous amount of energy and that creative energy has many different phases. Ultimately I delineated five steps in this process: Curiosity, Courage, Commitment, Consistency, and Completion.

How does creativity help mend wounds?

When we are wounded emotionally, physically and/or spiritually, it throws us off-center. Much of life, as we have known it, disappears – including losing a connection to our core Self. We feel out of balance, resulting in a feeling of (what I call) being “homesick for the Self.” Creativity helps us find our Self, and in turn regain our balance.

On the surface much about me and my life changed after Bob’s death, but the essence of who I am has not. By using the creative process, I was able to keep in touch with my core Self, and make healthy choices for my new future.

Your title indicates that you are on a creative journey. Can you talk about what that means?

All of life is a creative journey. We age, our life-circumstances change, and we experience ecstatic times, as well as difficult times and traumas. By utilizing the creative process, we can navigate these changes by making healthy choices. We always have choices, except about death.

You seem to use creativity in all aspects of your life. How did you learn the value of creativity?

When I was about three years old my mother would put a sheet over a card table and I would crawl under it with crayons and paper and make colorful marks. The action of making marks on paper was soothing and made me feel safe, and peaceful.  It became the perfect defense mechanism against my very controlling and intrusive mother, who was happy when I was occupied with my artwork, because it kept me out from under her feet. My love of drawing stayed with me throughout my life, and I eventually received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. I have continued to pursue artistic expression throughout my life.

What would you say to parents about raising children to be creative?

All children are innately creative, and yet they tend to lose their creativity as they get older. According to the World Economic Forum, by the time my grandchildren reach the job market, creativity will be the third most important required job skill.

I wish all parents would encourage their children to regularly engage in some form of creativity. We’ve all heard it said, there is far too much screen time, which numbs the brain and stifles creativity.

How do you express your creativity now?

Most important to me is expressing my creativity by how I live my life and the choices I make. I also use my creativity in different art-forms. Historically I’ve used many different mediums, but currently I am working on mixed-media large drawings, and artistic photography. I have a large studio on the top floor of our townhouse where I spend at least four hours, beginning every morning of the week in my studio.

What does your average work/creative day look like, how do you manage to find a balance?

Because creative expression is so important to me, I always make sure I have studio space.  Once I had children, I worked in my studio while they were in school and was present for them when they came home.  In my mid-forties I needed a way to earn money, so I went to graduate school to get an MSW degree (master’s in social work) to become a therapist in private practice. To do that I had to close up my rented studio, but I made a commitment to myself that after I graduated I would open up another studio and work part time as a therapist, part time as an artist and still leave quality time for my children and home. I am fortunate that my career choices have allowed me to do this.

I begin each day by exercising for a half hour, to gets my creative juices flowing. I enter my studio around 9 o’clock, take a break until about 11 o’clock, and go back to work for another two hours. By that time I am creatively spent, yet emotionally energized.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a creative and how do you overcome them?

Two things come to mind. First, I am a strong introvert, so letting people see my work is hard for me, because I feel exposed and vulnerable. Writing and publishing Painting Life is a huge emotional risk for me. Second, I fight that inner critic. Not only do I try to keep that critical voice out of my head, but I try not to worry about why I am creating something. Sometimes I just wonder if making art is a meaningless activity. Ultimately I decide it is not.

What message do you hope your readers walk away with after reading your book?

I would love them to believe that with creative thought and action, there is always hope. No matter what the circumstances, it is possible to make choices that will help you feel connected to your inner Self, and empowered. If I was successful in re-creating my future, anyone can be.

Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?

The biggest event is my book launch party on December 2nd, at the Writers Center in Bethesda, Maryland and I am in the process of scheduling other book signings. Beyond that I am continuously blogging, and writing articles about the power of creativity. I am also on Twitter @carolkwalsh, and Facebook as Carol K. Walsh.  Now that Painting Life is out, I am looking forward to spending more time with my artwork. To see some of my art and to read my blogs, check out www.ckwalsh.com

About Carol K. Walsh:

Carol Walsh’s life was turned upside down in seconds when she pulled her dead fiancé from the bottom of a diving well, after he had a sudden, massive heart attack. Even though she was a psychotherapist working with clients suffering from trauma, this personal shock felt unbearable. Nonetheless, she had to heal herself while working with clients and, as a single mother, supporting her two children. Using the creative interests she developed during childhood while emotionally saving herself from a difficult mother, she fully recovered from her grief and PTSD symptoms.  More importantly Carol thrived by recreating her personal, artistic, and professional life.

Carol Walsh graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA.  As a serious artist she wrote and illustrated a hard cover book for fiber artists, Design for Weaving, published by Hastings House of New York and reprinted in paperback by Interweave Press.  Carol was a part of numerous exhibits, won international prizes and lectured nationally.

Later Carol graduated from Catholic University of America with an MSW and opened a private practice, where she has worked for thirty-two years.  As a therapist she wrote and self-published The Art of Awakening Spirit.  In addition, she wrote and illustrated forty, 3000-4000 word articles for Pathways a Washington D.C, metropolitan publication and subsequently consolidated her articles into a paperback book,  Break Through: Coping Skills for Chaotic Times

Carol lives in Maryland where she has a large studio.  She has been happily married for 22 years and is the proud mother of two daughters and four grandchildren.

Find Carol’s books on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Carol-K.-Walsh/e/B01D1PI16U