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Monthly Archives: March 2016


How to Write an online Review

bookshelfIn addition to buying one of your favorite author’s books, one of the nicest things you could do for him/her is to write a review. If you love me or at least my books, would you please consider writing a review? Writing a review isn’t that hard. Amazon for one makes it easy. Whenever you finish reading a kindle book, Amazon almost always has a pop-up asking for you to review the book you just finished reading. Also within a day or so of you finishing reading that same book, Amazon will ask you in an email to review that same book.

Don’t think of a book review like those boring book reports that you wrote in school. Although the structure of a book report and a review of a book online are similar, an online review of a book is more informal and geared toward helping a reader decide whether or not he or she wants to read the book.

A book review should begin with a short summary of the contents of the book (50-100 words) and then (if you wish) you can describe the book’ s quality by further discussing what the reader thought of the book in as many as a thousand words. This review can examine in depth what the reader believes author was trying to communicate.

Write a lead sentence that attracts readers’ attentions. In my nonfiction books (Simply Vegetable Gardening, Using DE, or Help from Kelp) take a comment from the book and discuss why or why you agree or disagree with the author’s point of view. With one of the novels from the Locket Saga, articulate what you found interesting in the storyline and how it was similar or different from other books you’ve read in that genre.

Next identify the author and describe the story line. Explain whether you felt that the author told the story well or if (in the case of nonfiction) the author understood his or her topic.

In subsequent paragraphs create supporting arguments. Do the characters seem real? Is the plot coherent and well organized? Do plot holes exist or are their questions that have been left unanswered that should have been answered more accurately by the book’s conclusion?

End your review by restating your general impression of the book and point out whether you endorse or reject the book and why you give the book the score (if any) that you gave it. Also are you likely to read other books by this author?

Places to write Book Reviews

If you haven’t already, go to Amazon and write a quick review of any of my books that you have read.  Here’s the link to my author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK  Click on the book you read, click on customer review link, then click on write a customer review button.

Amazon, however, is not the only place to place book reviews. If you have a blog, include your book review there for you own readers. (Be sure to send me a link so that I can promote your blog as well.)

Post a review on Goodreads. Here’s a link to my author profile on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6448849.Cygnet_Brown

Where to Post Your Book Review

Once you have written your review, post it on your social media page. Let your friends know what you thought of the book. Tag me in your status or in the comment section.

Here’s how your FB or twitter status may appear:

Just finished reading Cygnet Brown’s Book-A Coward’s Solace. (or one of Cygnet Brown’s other books) Loved it so much I wrote a review! (then provide a link to where you wrote your review.)

Goal 2000 Contest

And remember to let me know when you have written a review so that I can include it in the Goal 2000 contest.  First prize is autographed copies of Cygnet Brown’s (my pen name) first four books of Locket Saga Series in paperback. Second prize is an autographed copy of my soon to be released: Sailing Under the Black Flag.

Get Paid to Write Reviews!

Did you know that it is possible to make money writing reviews? Here’s a link to an article that I found online that tells how to get paid for writing reviews. http://hellboundbloggers.com/2009/12/sites-that-pay-to-write-reviews-4396/

 

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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angel and elijahA Drought in the Land

Do you feel as though the Lord has called you to service?  Take a lesson from Elijah. In I Kings chapter 17, God called Elijah the Tishbite and told him to tell Ahab the kind that there would not be rain or dew for the next three years in the country of Israel.  He then took him to the brook called Cherith. The name of this brook is very interesting because the name means “covenant”. It was hear that God allowed Elijah to stay and be fed by the Ravens every morning and evening until the brook dried up.

A brook represents living water which according to the New Testament is the Holy Spirit. This interaction is reminiscent of many Christians in Christian churches.  Christians like to sit in church and allow others to feed them. Week after week they drink of the spirit of God. Never growing. Eventually, if the Christian stays in this position, the spirit dries up. They are no longer fed by others and if they stay where they are, their spiritual lives will dry up.

Elijah, of course, did not stay where he was, but listen to God when he told him what he needed to do next. He went to the home of the widow woman and we all know the story of how when she gave him all that she had, the Lord provided for her, her son, and Elijah all ate for many days. We then learn of how Elijah brought her son back to life.

The Drought Ended but the Real Problems Began

We then learned in chapter 18 about how Elijah trusted God and God consumed with fire Elijah’s water soaked offering. Then Elijah slew the prophets of Baal near the brook of Kishon. After that, Elijah predicted that it would rain and  it started raining in exactly the way he said it would.

When in chapter 19, the queen discovered that Elijah had killed off all the prophets of Baal, she threatened to kill Elijah Elijah went and requested himself that he might die and said that he had not done enough. He thought he was the only one. He felt like a failure. Elijah was depressed all he could do was eat and sleep. Then the angel of the Lord told him that he would need nourishment for his journey and fed him again. After that, Elijah didn’t eat of forty days and nights as he journeyed to Horeb. There while standing in a cave he heard a wind, an earthquake, and a fire but God was not in the earthquake. Rather, he was in the midst of a still small voice.

The instructions of the Still Small Voice

There God told him to go to through the wilderness of Damacus and to anoint Hazael as king over Syria and Jeru over  Israel and Elisha as the prophet to  take his place. God also told Elijah that he was not alone, that God had 7000 others in Israel who did not worship Baal.

I think that there are a lot of Christian workers who feel they have failed God or that whatever they have done in this life while serving God was simply not enough. Like Elijah, they feel alone and that their work is in vain.

Our Own Spiritual Droughts

I know that I have felt like that lately. Recently I attended a revival it was the best experience I have had in a long time. I have been trying to serve at this church since November and have had very few people attend.

I have seen the Lord provide for me month after month during that time, but still, there has been a spiritual drought. I have felt that time of refreshing, only to be threatened with a depression that made me feel as though I was useless and a failure. Like Elijah, I just wanted to die.

Like Elijah, who was looking for God in the wind, earthquake, and fire, I was looking for big things to happen. That wasn’t how God is working right now. Rather, he is speaking to me in a still small voice telling me that depression is not where God wants me. He has other things for me to do. He has reminded me that I am not alone either. He has others getting ready to listen to his voice, who are ready and willing to be obedient.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


The prolific writer this week is not one of my own. This week I am sharing a blog by Kristen Lamb about why we should develop characters with both lies and secrets.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image courtesy of Nebraska Oddfish via Flickr Creative Commons Image courtesy of Nebraska Oddfish via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s tempting for us to create “perfect” protagonists and “pure evil” antagonists, but that’s the stuff of cartoons, not great fiction. Every strength has an array of corresponding weaknesses, and when we understand these soft spots, generating conflict becomes easier. Understanding character arc becomes simpler. Plotting will fall into place with far less effort.

All stories are character-driven. Plot merely serves to change characters from a lowly protagonist into a hero….kicking and screaming along the way. Plot provides the crucible.

One element that is critical to understand is this:

Everyone Has Secrets

To quote Dr. Gregory House, “Everybody lies.”

All good stories hinge on secrets.

I have bodies under my porch.

Okay, not all secrets in our fiction need to be THIS huge.

Secret #1—“Real” Self Versus “Authentic” Self

We all have a face we show to the world, what we…

View original post 1,443 more words


If I saw this kind of damage in my garden, I would use Diatomaceous earth!

To get a little more green into your life, (saving money and healthy plants) read my free e-book Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, it is available through Smashwords in e-pub (Nook), mobi (kindle) or pdf formats. and to keep up with all my writing and events that I will be attending this year, sign up for my free newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bPpzXX

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


 

My friends and I at last year's book signing.

My friends and I at last year’s book signing of A Coward’s Solace

Find Peers on Amazon

Those of us who have written need to find ways of getting our information out there with the reading public. One of the ways that we can find those readers in that genre is to get to know the other authors on Amazon in our genre. An article that I wrote a while back shows how you can get to know other writers by reading their books and writing reviews on those books and putting them into a blog. The article is called Writing Book Reviews to Jump Start Your Writing Career: http://hubpages.com/literature/Write-Reviews-to-Help-Build-Your-Writing-Career

 

Blog for Genre Readers Rather Than Writers

Not that you should make your blog only about reviews nor should your blog just be about writers. Write it about your genre. If you’re into science fiction, write about topics related to science fiction. If you write history, write about historical events that happen on a specific day. If you are a mystery writer, write about your favorite television mystery series. Tell about what you did and did not like about a specific episode. Tell about what you think of screenwriters in that genre. Do you write prepper fiction? Write blogs related to that field. If you do research on a topic for your novel, write an article for your blog about that subject so that your research does double duty.

WANA Tribe

Recently I joined an online writers group called WANA Tribe. This group of writers and writing associates all work together to help one another develop their online presence.  Started by Kristen Lamb, this site helps me focus on not only in honing my skills, but in getting to know other authors in my genre. There are forums to share information and bloggers looking other authors to share information and readers. This site will not only help with writing, but there are others there who are willing to help you succeed at marketing as well.

One of the strong points that we writers have over other online marketers is that we have highly developed writing and story-telling skills so it makes sense to share our stories with others and that’s what this website does.

Getting off the Sites and Getting Personal

Once you’ve gotten to know other authors on these sites, you should go out beyond the site and get to know them on their blogs and on their websites. Read and comment on their blogs. Become friends with them.  Offer to review their next book before it comes out. Do this not just with authors that you consider peers, but with the influencers as well. The more these authors get to know and appreciate you, the more influence you will have in your genre.

To get a little more green into your life, (saving money and healthy plants) read my free e-book Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, it is available through Smashwords in e-pub (Nook), mobi (kindle) or pdf formats. and to keep up with all my writing and events that I will be attending sign up for my free newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bPpzXX

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


There are a lot Marys in the Bible and it is easy to get confused about what Mary does what? Here is a true or false questionnaire based on what the Bible says (and only what the Bible says) about the various Marys. Take this quiz and see how good your knowledge of the Marys of the Bible really is.

Will you live forever with the one who died to save you?

Which Mary is this?

 

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was a Prostitute-

FALSE According the Bible, Mary had seven devils, but nowhere does the Bible say that she was a prostitute.

  1. T or F Jesus Mother Mary was a virgin.

TRUE-the Bible says that Mary asked the angel how it was possible for her to have a child since she had never known a man.

  1. T or F The name translated into Greek in the New Testament-Mary- is the name Miriam or the Latin name Marie

TRUE-Mary, Jesus mother was Miriam while the other Marys were Marie.

  1. T or F Mary of Caesaria was sister to Lazarus and Martha.

FALSE- Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha was from Bethany.

  1. T or F After Lazarus died, Mary went on the road to meet Jesus while Martha stayed behind.

FALSE– It was Martha who met Jesus on the road. Mary did not see Jesus until he arrived at the house.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene washed Jesus feet with her hair and a Spikenard ointment

FALSE Mary of Bethany, Lazarus and Martha’s sister was the Mary who washed Jesus feet with her hair and Spikenard.

  1. T or F If Moses’ sister Miriam would have been in the New Testament rather than the Old Testament, she would have been called Mary.

TRUE-As stated in question 3, Miriam was translated Mary in the New Testament. Jesus Mother Mary was Hebrew so her name was actually Miriam.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus alive after the Resurrection. She was the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons. The name Magdalene indicates that she came from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus cast seven demons from her, she became one of His followers. Luke 7:37, Luke 8:23, Luke 87:36-50

TRUE-She saw him early in the morning. She didn’t recognize him at first. She thought he was the gardener.

  1. T or F-Mary Magdalene had seven devils cast out of her.

TRUE-

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was a Prostitute-

FALSE According the Bible, Mary had seven devils, but nowhere does the Bible say that she was a prostitute.

  1. T or F Jesus Mother Mary was a virgin.

TRUE-the Bible says that Mary asked the angel how it was possible for her to have a child since she had never known a man.

  1. T or F The name translated into Greek in the New Testament-Mary- is the name Miriam or the Latin name Marie

TRUE-Mary, Jesus mother was Miriam while the other Marys were Marie.

  1. T or F Mary of Caesaria was sister to Lazarus and Martha.

FALSE– Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha was from Bethany.

  1. T or F After Lazarus died, Mary went on the road to meet Jesus while Martha stayed behind.

FALSE– It was Martha who met Jesus on the road. Mary did not see Jesus until he arrived at the house.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene washed Jesus feet with her hair and a Spikenard ointment

FALSE Mary of Bethany, Lazarus and Martha’s sister was the Mary who washed Jesus feet with her hair and Spikenard.

  1. T or F If Moses’ sister Miriam would have been in the New Testament rather than the Old Testament, she would have been called Mary.

TRUE-As stated in question 3, Miriam was translated Mary in the New Testament. Jesus Mother Mary was Hebrew so her name was actually Miriam.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus alive after the Resurrection. She was the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons. The name Magdalene indicates that she came from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus cast seven demons from her, she became one of His followers. Luke 7:37, Luke 8:23, Luke 87:36-50

TRUE-She saw him early in the morning. She didn’t recognize him at first. She thought he was the gardener.

  1. T or F-Mary Magdalene had seven devils cast out of her.

TRUE-

  1. T or F-Three Marys stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified. Mary, the Wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Jesus’ mother.

TRUE– In John’s gospel we read that “there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25)

  1. John Mark’s Mother was also named Mary. She was the sister of Barnabas.

TRUE-(Colosians 4:10)

  1. Mary was a very common name at that time in that culture.

TRUE-The Bible mentions nine Marys in the New Testament and Miriam in the old (which is the same name in Hebrew). This gives us a total of ten Marys mentioned in the Bible.

  1. T or F-Three Marys stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified. Mary, the Wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Jesus’ mother.

TRUE– In John’s gospel we read that “there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25)

  1. John Mark’s Mother was also named Mary. She was the sister of Barnabas.

TRUE-(Colosians 4:10)

  1. Mary was a very common name at that time in that culture.

TRUE-The Bible mentions nine Marys in the New Testament and Miriam in the old (which is the same name in Hebrew). This gives us a total of ten Marys mentioned in the Bible.

 

Any comments? Disagreements? I would love to hear what you have to say about this little pop quiz.

To get a little more green into your life, (saving money and healthy plants) read my free e-book Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, it is available through Smashwords in e-pub (Nook), mobi (kindle) or pdf formats. and to keep up with all my writing and events that I will be attending sign up for my free newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bPpzXX

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


What is Deep POV?

Mary mother of jesus passion of christ

Deep POV is much like first person, but at the same time it is a third person form. However, unlike first person, we not limited to a first person narrator, but can bounce from one characters head to the next. However, we are limited to the thoughts, feelings, perceptions and guesses of a single narrator per scene.

In deep third person deep POV, we can get close to the viewpoint of the character’s heads. Like actors, as we’re writing, we can actually become the character.  In a distant third-person mode, we may be privy to few of the character’s direct thoughts, and those are always related in italics. We may rely more on their actions and speech to characterize and understand them. Often, we’re acutely aware of what the viewpoint character is doing, as if we’re watching them with a tight focus, and every once in a while we get a voiceover of his or her thoughts

In deep POV, the character’s thoughts can form almost a running commentary on the actions of the story. We don’t just get the occasional Direct thoughts from the viewpoint characters’ heads are interwoven with the narration. In very deep POV, those statements might not even be italicized.

The objective in deep POV is to not hear the author’s  but rather the character’s voice. The reader gets to step right into the character’s eyes.  It sort of reminds me of the movie, Being John Malkovich where everything is processed through the eyes of the character, in that case, the actor John Malkovich. We don’t see the character standing at the side of a ship, but we see what he sees while he standing at the rail. We experience what the character experiences ourselves.  It is a powerful and popular narration form.

I have been doing a lot more of this in my own novels, although for a long time I didn’t realize that the mode actually had a name. Deep POV mimics the way we perceive situations in real life. With a deep POV, the narrator only tells things that the POV character is consciously aware of. Here’s an example:

 

Traditional limited: Lacey heard the bill ring over the door. She wondered if Matthew had forgotten something.

 

Deep POV: The bell over the door rang. Was Matthew returning?

 

In the deep POV, the words heard and wondered have been removed. Why?

 

In real life, we don’t intentionally hear sounds and rarely recognize that we intentionally wonder about things. We are much more likely to simply acknowledge the sound for what it is  and make a judgment about it.

Ways to deepen Third Person POV.

When writing the original first draft, I will often write in present rather than past tense. Instead of saying she went into the bathroom, I write she walks into the bathroom and I give a detailed view of what she sees.

During my edits, I cut out tags. I get away from telling and into showing what is going on in my character’s heads. Sometimes, I’ll take a single scene and write the scene from each character in the scene’s viewpoint.

I become a psychologist to the characters. I ask them “How does that make you feel?” and then I write it down. The character may say, “I feel sad.” And I would ask why do you feel sad? And describe that feeling to me.” Then I write down what the character tells me. I then ask the character, ”How do YOU act when you’re sad?” In other words, different people act differently. How does this character act differently than others might? How is this character similar? On television, when a woman is depressed, she eats some sort of chocolate ice cream (like death by chocolate).

Why Use Deep POV

Deep POV connects the  reader more closely with the protagonist. The reader connects with the protagonist more emotionally. The author seems to disappear, providing a more interactive experience for your reader. Because the reader is emotionally connected to the character, the story provides a more interactive experience. When the reader is emotionally involved with your characters, they more easily relate to the characters and are more likely to buy subsequent books about these characters.

Deep POV DOs and DON’Ts

  • Give your characters a strong voice. Use dialect, exclamations, figures of speech, colorful metaphors, personal interests and hobbies.
  • Stay with one POV per scene.
  • Refer to the POV character for intentional actions (She dipped her hands into the cold pond and poured it over his head.)
  • Use pointing words, like this/that, here/there, and soon/later.
  •  Internalize everything. All details and descriptions come from the POV character’s observations.
  • Choose verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and comparisons that show the characters individual opinion and viewpoint.
  • Use “a” to show something that has just been noticed and “the” to show stuff the POV character already knew about.
  •  Limit dialogue tags. Use said only when necessary.
  • Don’t Refer to the POV character directly when showing judgments, feelings, or observations. (experience through the character instead).
  •  Don’t filter the POV character’s experience. Some examples of filtering words are: thought, felt, saw, heard, realize, watch.
  •  Do not use passive voice. The POV character is in the subject of the sentence or clause whenever possible.

I will definitely be doing more of this as I continue editing my upcoming books. How about you? Have you considered writing Deep POV?

Have you read The Locket Saga yet? So far I have three books out in the series. Get a Kindle copy at Amazon. Get a print copy from Lulu.com. (or come see me at Faith in God Church or at one of my upcoming events!)

To get a little more green into your life, (saving money and healthy plants) read my free e-book Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, it is available through Smashwords in e-pub (Nook), mobi (kindle) or pdf formats. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/617019

IMG_8330 final copy

Would you like to keep up with all my writing and events that I will be attending? sign up for my free newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bPpzXX

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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