Do You Have the Courage to Read: Last Call to Action

This is it. This is the moment. The Last. . .Call. . .to Action.

You have a choice to make: Do what you’ve been doing (or worse, do nothing at all). You know where that will lead. No imagination. No inspiration. Wandering through aimless stories that exhaust you and lead you nowhere. Is that really where you want to go? Take a new action, and get a new result. Buy The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor. Finally immerse yourself in stories that will profit your life.

What do you really want for yourself? If you still have not purchased my books, I’m sending this post as a last reminder. Sure, I’ll remember to include their links in future posts, but my topics will shift a little to other writing aspects.

Do it. Take the course of action that will unlock the key to:

1. understanding what imaginative, inspirational, and wholesome stories are.
2. You will be able to spot in your local library what a good story is and what it isn’t.
3. You will enjoy your life much more and be more content.
4. You will have a deeper imagination and love for the outdoors and for stories that use them.
5. You will have started on a path to a much . . . healthier . . . life!

Purchase these stories today:
The Williams House at Amazon
Treasure on the Southern Moor at Amazon

Always your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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How to Eliminate Boredom by Keeping Things Fun!

Have you ever wished that you could imagine something at any time of day? Do you ever pause your work to take a glance outside and see what the weather’s like? If I gave you something that could with %100 certainty help you enjoy your day, would you take it?

Not wanting to spend money, yet? Try reading The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor for free! Go to my Free Resources tab and read free chapters of them in PDF form. Also go to their perspective Amazon pages and read the sample Kindle previews of them!

The Williams House at Amazon
Treasure on the Southern Moor at Amazon

All you have to do is take a few minutes away from your social media networking and watch how imaginative and inspirational stories can impact your life. In a day and age when fiction portrays hopelessness, read something that gives hope and light. After all, good stories cannot be written unless they are read.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Here’s More FREE Stuff!

I completely understand where you’re at. Sometimes, we need to just gather as much free material as we possibly can while not putting any money on the counter, yet. If your curiosity is still perked about the books I have written, then please enjoy more free excerpts of all of them!

Thick and dark clouds had now massed overhead, and threatening rumbles could be heard in the air. It had scarce been ten minutes since Adrianna had pointed out the clouds that the first raindrops fell and only another five before the full force of the storm struck. Adrianna then realized that storms can come up quite suddenly at sea.

“You two must get to safety,” said Captain Underwood to Adrian and Adrianna. “Go into our cabin by the doors near the helm on the quarterdeck. Once we get a little settled in this storm, I’ll be calling you, Adrian, to help – maybe in a day.”

The wind was tearing at Adrianna’s hair. “Do they really last that long?” she asked.

“Oh, much longer,” said her father. “Storms can last for weeks out at sea.” His eyes looked tired, and he was holding his hat from being blown off his head, yet he didn’t flinch as the vessel rolled again, another thin cataract of sea water spilling over the deck. It was colder than Adrian and Adrianna expected, and before five minutes were over, they were soaked through. The captain gave his hat and wig to them.

“You have not had any sleep yet,” said Adrian.

“I’ll be fine,” said the captain. “Now hurry.”

And with that, Adrian and Adrianna were forced to leave, knowing they would only get in the way to the crew who was rushing above and below decks. They made their first steps toward the stern, unsteady on the pitching deck, and had to cling to the railing as they ascended the spiral wooden steps of the aftercastle to the quarterdeck. Winton Northrup and two sailors were at the helm, doing all they could to keep the ship straight and steady.

The decorated wooden doors with windows in them that faced opposite the helm were latched. Yet Adrian was able to force them open, and the doors slid and folded smoothly to the left and right. Inside was a very small cabin, mostly bare, that housed a few navigational tools whenever the helmsman, captain, or other crewmember needed them. A couple yards in, they reached the back of this, where a single thick door stood with a lock in it, yet the lock was open. Inside was a wide room for the officers to dine in, with a long table stretching from port to starboard, and at the end of this room was the door to the captain’s cabin, which was currently locked. The curtains to the officers’ dining room windows on port and starboard were still open, and they could see the rushing of the storm outside.

“Father gave me this,” said Adrian as he pulled out from the folds of his clothing an iron key attached to a string. He fumbled with the lock for a moment as the ship rolled about. The creaking, snapping, and groaning of the ship sounded all the louder within the ship than it did without. Adrian knew it would only be all the worse below decks in the belly of the ship.

The lock finally gave way, and they entered, shutting out the rain and sea water behind them. Yet the sounds intensified within the ship, and they could not shut out the noise. A long central table ran down the center going from abaft forward, and along the side walls of the captain’s cabin were their three cots and mattresses. There was a large window seat at the stern windows, and a dark and hazy gloom came from those windows of the cabin, showing thick dark waves and rain and clouds. They could look out and see the rolling waves at the ship’s back, and it looked a gloomy gray sea. There was so much tossing about that they became dizzy looking at the rollers rising above them and tossing the ship about countless times. Adrianna stumbled over and pulled the curtains closed, fastening them tight. Yet she could not drive out the sound of the creaking ship, snapping and groaning in the storm, and she huddled up on one of the long, cushioned seats that she would be using as her bed. Adrian lit a lamp that was fastened securely to the ceiling. It was pointless to attempt any sleep, so they sat on their bunks and just listened to the horrendous groaning.

“How long do you think the storm will last?” asked Adrianna barely above a whisper, her voice echoing in the dark.

“I don’t know,” said Adrian, and his face looked gloomy himself. “We knew storms would come.”

“But did they have to come this soon?” blurted out Adrianna. “We’ve only just started sailing.”

~Treasure on the Southern Moor, Chapter 4: Rough Sailing

“Listen to the trees,” said Will. “They sound eerie. Hear all those creaks and cracks? It sounds as though there were a thousand boughs all dancing in the wind.”

Everyone sat quietly for a moment as they listened to the sound of the wind from over hill and under roof and around the trees. A gentle stirring was in the air, and as Ann opened the window, they could hear the wind come softly in. It blew in their faces and ruffled their hair, and they could smell the scent of earth and wood. Yet it was also a cold smell, and they soon started wrapping in blankets to ward off the chill. Yet no one wanted to close the window. They could hear the wind, blowing the clouds together and sending threatening rumbles against the darkened sky.

Then Margaret walked over to the light switch, still wrapped in her blanket, and turned the light off. A quiet hush came over everyone, and they did not feel like stirring, yet their eyes were wide awake.

There is always a special and different feeling to be wrapped up in a blanket with the cold all around you. It is the way most people have lived during cold winters for thousands of years, and my own grandmother, whom I wish you will meet one day, said she remembered what it was like to wake up in the morning and see a glass of ice upon her dresser, when she had put it there full of regular flowing water the night before.

A great rumble came through the attic window and echoed throughout the room, and then a raindrop came. Water started coming down, slowly at first, going pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter. Then it picked up, starting to come down in sheets.

~The Williams House, Chapter 5: Uncles, Aunts, Nephews, and Nieces

If you are more satisfied with the content and style of my stories, then purchase The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor today!

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

Say ‘Hello’ to My Examples in Five Minutes

Let me convey my message through example, today.

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” ~Albert Schweitzer

Take five minutes, read through the excerpts of my books below, and see if you can easily imagine the scenes described.

The trees were swaying in the gentle breeze. Long shadows of branch and limb stretched across green grass and winding trails. It was near dusk, and the red sunlight was lighting up the sky and reaching down to the earth in a burst of a million rays. A line of trees stood along a fence and marked the end of the park. Several black lattices arched over many trails, wreaths upon wreaths of flowers dangling from them. Winding stone and brick trails snaked through the wet grass, long shadows covering some of them, and warm sunlight drifting down on others.

It must have been raining earlier in the day, for several puddles were reflecting trees upside down. Dry patches of grass baked warm in the sunlight, yet other grasslands of the park were quite wet, little or no sunlight reaching their soft blades.

~The Williams House, Chapter 1: In the Park

Now the attic had long ago been considered the great place to imagine the most impossible games and congregate between the working orders of the day. It was a singular but very large room, taking up about as much space as one of the great rooms on the floor below. The ceiling curved around to a few points, revealing the shape of the roof with its wooden timbers. Window seats were in front of three large dormer windows, their bases wide and their tops narrowing to a peak. Two narrow staircases spiraled down from either end of the attic, reaching to the floor below. Their closed stairs were made of wood and creaked when tread upon. In two places in the room were a set of sofas and chairs that were fairly worn, yet still comfortable, and the children would at times string sheets and blankets across these to make a large tent. The carpet was not as thick in the attic as it was in the rest of the house, yet it was still soft and a nice shade of blue. The worn down piano lay against the wall that did not have a window, and the instrument looked weather-beaten and old. Yet it was in tune and sounded almost as good as ever. A few stacks of books and several toys lay scattered around the room, with plenty of space in-between.

~The Williams House, Chapter 2: The Start of School

One light that did not extinguish over the now quiet town of Plymouth was that of the old Southgate Inn. Its yellow firelight could be seen glowing from the windows and shining out upon other walls and roofs in the streets. If one had looked into its front window, he would have been able to observe a few customers, chatting around a few randomly placed tables. Firelight danced upon their faces and made their eyes glow as they laughed and spoke in soft, quiet voices. Some of the sailors were there as well, mostly keeping to themselves along the wall nearest the fire.

An older gentleman could have also been seen, coming in now and then to stoke the fire and serve late supper for those who had put off the occasion until now. There was an abundance of fish – freshly cooked trout (that had been caught that day), codfish cakes, warm soda bread, and great slabs of Muenster cheese. There were also steaming mugs of tea and warm milk with honey for those who wished to soon be asleep.

Into this inn trudged a tall gentleman, sleek but well built, late at night (a quarter after twelve), and it was clear he had been out in the very bad weather for several hours. But a different look in his eyes suggested that he had been out in bad weather his whole life and didn’t mind in the least. Everyone remaining was scattered thin now, in groups of threes or fours. They were speaking in even quieter tones than before. Some cast wary looks at the stranger, except the sailors and the innkeeper. The innkeeper seemed to know the man, whispering in his ear and ushering him over to a table in the corner. They exchanged a few words before the innkeeper left.

The stranger looked up and around and smiled brightly. He seemed well familiar with the old inn timbers, and after looking about, he settled down to his own supper and contented himself for the moment about that business. A sheathed cutlass dangled from his side, and on its sheath, inlaid with gold, were the letters C. H. for Captain Horne. His eyes continued to glance at the room with a glint of old memories and a sense of hominess, and he gave his coming voyage no thought at all, looking on cheerily, as if he had spent every night of his life in that inn, eating and laughing at the other customers’ remarks.

~Treasure on the Southern Moor, Chapter 1: The Voyage

If you want to gain more benefits than what you already have in this post, purchase The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor today!

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Give Yourself 30 Minutes and Change Your Life

Did you know that the average person spends about an hour and forty minutes on social media every . . . single . . . day? I looked up several articles and found this to be the most CONSERVATIVE estimate. When I think of that statistic, I’m overwhelmed by how that time could be cultivated to do more for the betterment of a society. Maybe, you are not like the average person. Maybe, you spend less time (or none at all, like me) on social media.

However, what if you took 30 of those minutes and began reading stories with redemptive themes? Think for a moment of the impact it could have.

1. You could have a much deeper love of the world around you, including nature and the outdoors.
2. Your imagination would become virtuous and focus around how you could aid society.
3. Your mind wouldn’t be cluttered with so much of the junk floating around the internet, television, and the other major media venues of the day.
4. You would understand better what makes healthy society.

You don’t have to just read fiction. Find stories that are real as well as stories that aren’t real but that have the same virtues. Read stories that have stood the test of time, and measure it up with stories told today that have the same virtues.

See for yourself how it will impact your life.

I have purposefully written The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor to demonstrate this sort of writing. Don’t want to spend money, yet? I understand! Then check out some of the below books from the library. Some are a little eccentric with the imaginative flare, yet it will definitely take you away from most of the Hollywood-ish tales being told today, which is the objective.

Frances Burnett’s The Secret Garden
E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children / Five Children and It
Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows
Kate Wiggin’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Mary Dodge’s Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates
Laura Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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A Further Insider’s Look

I wanted to share something with you today.

If you’ve read any of my former posts, you may be interested in stories that captivate your imagination. Below, I would like to give you a further insider’s peek to the stories that I have written.

This is a story about eight children whose names are Lilly, Ann, Will, Johnathon, Timothy, Margaret, Susan, and Maria. They live in a very large and mysterious house where they have all sorts of adventures. It is a stone house on an old country lane, and it is not only the place where they explore, imagine, tell stories, sing, and play musical instruments, but it is also the place where they do school and study, and so you see, between the work and play, they became very familiar with the house indeed. Yet it never ceases to surprise them, how it can look in the moonlight, or on a rainy day, or with morning beams of sunlight flowing through its windows. Join them in the attic for a story on a stormy night, or find them in a park on a summer afternoon with the warm wind in their faces, or see them bent over candles as they look at old rooms and dusty shelves.

Friends of theirs are the Bentley family, who are allowed a peek into many of their family adventures. Find them all listening to birds sing while they look for buried treasure, or listening to bassets howl on an autumn night. Though there is a sad moment between them, it is also strangely filled with joy and contentment, as those who are filled with light cannot be anything else.

Perhaps the most exciting moment of all is when the Williams’ children find something on the basement landing of their home. The basement is not a place they are allowed to go to often, and the children have called it the cellar among their whispered stories, yet the discovery makes the cellar stairs a more easily traveled lane. . .

~Back Cover of The Williams House

The thrill of the sea – the song of the ocean winds – out sails and up anchor! – guided by the compass and stars – as a poet once said, “to the lonely sea and sky”. It is the eighteenth century, and the sailing vessel is the only way to travel the raging seas. The Southern Moor sets sails from England to Africa with a crew of forty-two persons, guided by a captain with his son and daughter, where those of the trusted crew hope to find treasure with only the guidance of a map an old friend of the captain’s had given him and a handful of the treasure itself, brought back from the African shoreline. With the smell of cooking from the galley, you may find them about on the weather decks reefing the sails or lashing down the ship’s boats, or listen to the captain play on his fipple flute with the accompaniment of the cello and violin. Hear the ocean waves lap against the bows, or have cataracts of sea water come flooding over the main deck in the midst of a raging storm.

In Plymouth, England, there are those few friends of the captain who wonder if he will ever return. Is the Southern Moor, newly finished vessel and never before tested in the ocean waters, strong enough to sail through storms and cannon fire to reach the warm lands of the African shoreline and make the same journey back? With all of its rectangular sails billowing in the wind, bowsprit brass tip of heather shining in the sunlight, and the polish of the wood shining without a fingerprint to be seen, the Southern Moor leaves the harbor of Sutton Pool to test itself in the ocean and plough the stormy seas. . .

~Back Cover of Treasure on the Southern Moor

Both of these stories are meant to do the same thing: Captivate the imagination while awakening the reader to good storytelling. You can look up my books at my bookstore, or purchase them from Amazon below.

The Williams House
Treasure on the Southern Moor

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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The Amazing Secrets of My Stories

Does the following story snippet perk your curiosity, interest, or imagination?

Evening rays of sunlight cast long shadows of trees on the little house. It was not a small house, but it was fairly snug to the number of people that lived there. The Williamses owned it, and it had many long windows and four stories, including the attic and the basement (though the attic and basement were smaller than the first and second floors). The Williams children called the basement “the cellar” and were normally not allowed to go there because it was filled with plumbing pipes, wiring, a water heater, and other house necessities. Yet they were allowed to play on the stairs to the cellar and the short landing at the bottom that extended six and a half feet out (they had measured it once). The Williamses had eight children, totaling a house of ten people, and the children’s names from oldest to youngest were: Lilly, Ann, William, Johnathon, Timothy, Margaret, Susan, and Maria. Everyone called William “Will” so as not to confuse him with their last name. Lilly was fifteen years old, and Maria was four.

The house was in the country in Northern New York, and the Williamses had lived there for three years. They had formerly lived in England, but Mr. Williams had a job change (which had to do with matters relating to “higher demands” and “eighty-hour work weeks”), and so they wound up in America. Susan and Maria could not remember living anywhere else. Their old English habits were not diminished, and some thought their eating habits slightly strange, and sometimes elaborate.

No one was currently in the house. All its doors were locked up tight and its lights were out. There were no vehicles in the driveway. If one peeked into the dark windows, they would be able to catch glimpses of smooth wooden and polished stone walls (though mostly wood), thick carpets, and great rooms. As for the outside, it looked simple enough. The house stood on a slope, the back door lower than the front, and the outside was made of stone. It had one long chimney that poked out of the roof, and a couple of pillars that supported an overhang at the front door.

Thus begins the first chapter of my first published book, The Williams House.

The secret of my stories is that I actually apply the ten points of healthy reading that I gave in a previous post. What’s more, I hadn’t even come up with them when I wrote my book. Yet, I was influenced by such stories that carried these principles of imaginative, inspirational, and wholesome storytelling.

For free, you can find PDFs of whole chapters of my books on my Free Resources tab on my website. Please check them out. However, snippets of a good story are generally not enough. You can purchase my books on Amazon as well! Check them out below.

The Williams House
Treasure on the Southern Moor

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Why Unhealthy Reading Results in Unhealthy Life

Remember my ten points of a healthy book? Do you find yourself wishing that more stories followed those points? If so, then you have already realized there is a cost to not reading healthy stories.

The following state describes those who do not care for good storytelling:

1.    Their minds are constantly plagued by stories they find exhausting
2.    Living in these stories harms their family relationships
3.    They find themselves lonely in these stories
4.    The world was a place they remember being nice when they were children, but now, they strangely do not find it so

Unhealthy reading will always result in unhealthy life. More than half the books at your local library deserve to feed a bonfire. Don’t get me wrong! There are plenty of great stories in your library. There are just so many other stories that aren’t good, and their poor storytelling is drowning out the voice of those stories that are good.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve found a secret to writing books that give the reader imagination, inspiration, and a foundation for wholesome living. Here’s the story: Living in the modern world, I found it difficult to avoid all the draining stories circulating around every possible media venue. Yet, I knew it wasn’t always that way. I started reading some books that were slightly older – books that had stood the test of time – books that are so loved that we call them “classics”. I especially studied classic children stories, which are worth more than many lengthy adult novels. All the best stories that gave me the most imagination and inspiration in this life had one thing in common: They were all wholesome and centered on plotlines that could be believable (pretty much). That’s right. The stories were so imaginative that their plotlines didn’t have to focus on a crutch like brokenness, the turmoil of despair, or even the adrenaline pumping method of space explosions or one long series of fast action scenes. Instead, the stories focused around things that are common in life. The end result was characters you could relate with and trust, relationships that relied upon one another, places you could imagine and try to recreate, and a refreshing night’s sleep where you dream of how you can improve this world to be more like the story you read.

I read these stories . . . and then I wrote them. My stories have begun with The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor, and they are only growing!

If you agree with my ideals, then you will love my authored books The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor – both fictional novels that put to practice these principles. I don’t just theorize! Purchase these books today at Amazon.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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The Top Ten Points of Healthy Reading

Agree with these points, and you have the same appetite for literature as I do! Apply these points to your life, and you will have a much more imaginative, inspirational, wholesome, and healthy lifestyle. If everyone applied these points to their lives, Social Media would die within a few years. It will anyway. . .though it might take a little longer (a couple generations tops). Don’t understand that statement? Keep reading!

1. A good story has a theme of redemption instead of a theme of despair.
2. A good story doesn’t keep you in suspense on EVERY page. There are places of refuge where the reader’s imagination can fully develop – these places are places the reader will want to re-read the rest of their lives.
3. A good story doesn’t exhaust its readers – it invigorates them in their daily lives.
4. A good story builds strength/resourcefulness on every page and not conflict. There can/should be places of conflict or at least suspense, but they should be balanced with strength.
5. A good story builds new descriptions on every page. If readers are not continually re-brought into the story, they will not be able to fully picture and imagine it for themselves.
6. A good story should be something that can be enjoyed by everyone of all ages even though it might focus on a particular age group. If a story is only enjoyed by a few who grow out of it, then it is not a good story in the slightest.
7. A good story encourages healthy society in some way or another. Literature that does not do so is only used by those who change society for the worse.
8. A good story shows the reader how to live life and not how to escape it.
9. A good story shows that we are not merely individuals but that we belong to a family.
10. A good story encourages virtue and not vice in the reader, and as such its main focus should be on virtue.

So, what did I mean about Social Media? Social media (similar to Hollywood) has not been encouraging these ten points in the stories that it focuses on, and that’s one reason why you won’t find me on SM! For instance, it does not encourage healthy society because it encourages people to become more and more involved with it until your energy is consumed. Did you know that most social media companies hire “attention engineers” who study Los Vegas tactics to make social media more addictive? Want to know more about the ills of social media in today’s society? Watch the below video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E7hkPZ-HTk

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

P.S. To get you started on a more imaginative, inspirational, and wholesome life, buy my books The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor today!

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What Makes a Good Story? Demystified!

Have you ever wondered what makes a good story? When you were a child, why was it that some stories you loved, and other stories you hated. I think that as children, we sometimes can have a much better mind for judging stories than when adults. This is because as children, we are always wanting to go back to the secure world we live in. If we see a scary movie, we want to sleep in our parents bedroom the next night so that we can be reassured of the stable world we live in. If we read or are read an inspiring and imaginative story, we want it to be retold to us over and over again. In this, we could be considered very critical as children.

But, let me say something: As adults, we shouldn’t change our screens for what makes a good story. No, I’m not saying that there won’t be stories we’ll understand or appreciate better as adults. As our minds mature, so should our appreciation for proper storytelling. However, our minds shouldn’t change. They should only mature on what we knew as children.

In other words, the secret ingredients that make a good story for a child ARE THE SAME ingredients for what make a good story as an adult.

So, what are these ingredients?!?

Simply put, these ingredients are the same ingredients that encourage healthy society – that is, stories that build up the reader – stories that the reader can think about any time of day with fondness – stories that give them hope, inspiration, imagination, and wholesomeness.

To be more boiled down than the above: “There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.” ~C.S. Lewis

Ultimately, good storytelling is that which looks to Him. I think many stories of the past understood this principle better, even if the author wasn’t aware of it, which is why many stories have stood the test of time to be called a classic.

E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children / Five Children and It
Frances Burnett’s The Secret Garden
Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows
Beatrix Potter’s many short animal stories, including Peter Rabbit
Kate Wiggin’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Mary Dodge’s Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates
Laura Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie

This list can go on and on. . .

Why is it that these stories have stood the test of time? In some way, they all give hope, inspiration, imagination, wholesomeness, outdoors adventures, vivid and wonderful descriptions, a theme of redemption.

Such elements in storytelling are the ingredients to making a good story.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

P.S. As further extrapolation with what I mean by “good storytelling”, check out my authored books The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore! You can find free chapters of them here.

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