Friday Fiction – Seven Crowns

Today on Paws 4 Thought I’m hosting SEVEN CROWNS by E.V. Everest. Isn’t that a beautiful cover? So of course it has a beautiful story to go with it!

A crown is dangerous. A crown split seven ways is deadly.

One year after the death of her mom, sixteen-year-old Anabella Halt is living on her own and breaking all the rules. Life is tough but ordinary.

Until Ana learns her mom’s dangerous secret—she was the heir to a fallen dynasty on a world ruled by seven families. Her family was murdered one by one. Now, assassins are closing in, and Ana could be next.

With the help of a handsome hobo, Ana escapes to the place where it all began—a starflung world where magic and technology coexist. A place where Ana must navigate a tangled web of friends and foes to unmask her would-be assassin before it’s too late.

Travel to a glittering, dangerous world with political alliances and ballgowns, perfect for fans of Cinder and The Selection.

Pick up your copy today!

The Legend of Jhara

In a village far away there lived a man called Aviano. Aviano was a merchant. He sold birds in silver cages. The birds came to him through magic. He beguiled them with promises and then trapped them in the cages. He imbued the bars of the cages with magic, so that the birds could only be set free by one who passed him silver. The magic was flawed though and sometimes he caught creatures in his cages that were not truly birds.

Once, for example, the raven he had beguiled turned out to be magician who took on a raven’s form. He was rescued by a young girl who was punished for her deed. The punishment was immortality. The curse to live through the centuries and never be at peace. That curse, from what I hear, was recently broken, and another who is more suited for the task has taken the girl’s place.

But I digress. One day Aviano bit off a little more than he could chew. He captured a fairy called Argentia. He thought that the fairy would make a fine prize and that he would sell it for a thousand silver pieces, especially as she herself was the color of silver. This fairy however, was far more than she seemed. As she sat in the cage, she didn’t stress but rather she plotted. Plotted to destroy the bird man. For that though she would need silver, lots of silver.

She watched while Aviano sold his flock that day. He did a roaring trade and she counted seventeen birds leaving in their gilded cages with their new owners. The Bird Man’s pouch where he kept the silver became heavier and heavier.

That night while he slept, he rested the pouch at the foot of his bed, but he was careless and didn’t complete the ward spells he normally put in place before he slept. Maybe it was the goblet of oogleberry wine that somehow had found its place on his bedside table. Who knows? But in any case he entered the world of sleep without proper protection.

That night Argentia was released by a girl with chestnut hair. She thanked the girl, but did not leave immediately. Instead she fluttered into Aviano’s cabin and used a spell to exchange his silver coins with rocks. And so she was able to filch every last one before she took her liberty.

She chuckled at the thought of Aviano carrying around the pouch of rocks the next day. He did this for hours until hunger sent him into the village in search of a meal at the inn. He ordered a fine feast and opened his pouch to pay.

“What is this?” demanded the innkeeper. “I’m sorry but I do not take this currency. Come back when you have silver.”

Aviano looked down at the rocks. How had this happened? He marched over to the witch, Grisela’s cottage. She must have something to do with this. But she just shrugged when she saw the rocks. “Why are showing these to me?” she asked.

“I thought maybe … as you sell stones you might want these. They are worth a lot of silver.”

“No, they are not. They are merely common rocks you could find on the ground anywhere in the village. Take them away.”

That night Aviano wept. His fortune—he had lost his fortune. But that was not all Argentia had planned for him, though perhaps that is where she should have stopped. But the silver fairy never did anything by half measures, and the spell was only half complete. The stolen silver had a purpose. With it Argentia fashioned Jhara, an artifact so powerful that it could devastate not only its target but all its surroundings.

That of course had not been the plan. Argentia wanted a precision weapon. She wanted to take out Aviano so that he could no longer trap the birds. It did not work. The fairy and the Bird Man wrestled and in the struggle a portal of silver opened into our world and the storm was flung through it.

The other side of that fateful portal was in the bay of New Orleans and the storm that was released would be remembered not by the name of Jhara but by another name—Katrina.

Argentia watched the devastation, the destruction of thousands of innocent lives and wept. She found the weather mage, Latisha Watts, to help, but her help came too late. Together though they formulated a plan to trap Jhara into an artifact and send it away. Argentia initially wanted to destroy the storm, but Latisha understood that that was not possible. That with its destruction it would take much of America with it.

So instead they coaxed it into the artifact with a promise that one day it would have a worthy target. The artifact was taken by hand to St. Louis, or rather by flipper, as Latisha transformed into her dolphin form for the journey and swam up the Mississippi with the artifact embedded in her flipper. Jessamyn met her and took Jhara from her and concealed it in illusion in her chamber where it sits to this day.

So Jhara was safe or at least they thought she was.

But Jessamyn would very rarely check her hoard, and she trusted her students. That would prove the fatal mistake.

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Want to read more? Pick up a copy of JHARA today on Amazon on paperback or Kindle or FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

YASH – YA Scavenger Hunt – Spring 2019

Yay! YASH is here and once again I’m on Purple Team!

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Look at all those awesome books! Keep scrolling for a change to win ALL of them in paperback. Plus on the very bottom are some special freebies AND a giveaway from me!

So here we go!

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Team Purple

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are FIVE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PURPLE TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, an green team, and a blue team, for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the PURPLE TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday April 7th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
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Today, I am hosting McCall Hoyle on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!

McCall Hoyle is a high school teacher who writes stories about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day.
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
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Meet the Sky, is about Sophie, a girl struggling to keep her fractured family together. Sophie’s all about sticking to the plan—keep the family business running, save money for college one day, and make sure her mom and sister don’t endure another tragedy—but when a hurricane forms off the coast of the Outer Banks, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control. She ends up stranded in the middle of the storm with Finn, the boy who broke her heart freshman year.
 
McCall shares with us a special recipe that features in her book.
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April is the perfect month to start basking in the sun and preparing for summer. To get you in the mood, I’m sharing a book-themed menu to pair with a summer reading of Meet the Sky, which takes place on the beautifully rugged coast of North Carolina.

Bon voyage, bon appetite and all that fun stuff!

Outer Bank Boiled Shrimp:

2 lbs. raw shrimp in shell

8 c. water

12 oz. beer (optional)

2 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning

1-2 Bay leaves

*lemon wedges for garnish

Bring water, beer, and other ingredients to a boil. Boil shrimp three minutes or until nice and pink. Drain shrimp and transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Cool and serve with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges. Fresh corn, hush puppies, and sweet tea round out a perfect Outer Banks meal to enjoy while soaking up the sun and savoring a good book—hopefully Meet the Sky.

Sounds yummy!


Now don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Debbie Manber Kupfer, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is. Well anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Douglas Adams fan. So of course my favorite number is

42

Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the purple team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!
And now a few bonus thingies from me, Debbie Manber Kupfer.
First up in honor of YASH I decided to release a new short story this week in my ongoing Tales from P.A.W.S. series. This is the story of Jenny, a young girl who likes to draw, but does her drawing hold magic and will it help her defy the bird man who holds her captive. Find out in Jenny on sale everywhere for just 99 cents.
Jenny
Next up – pick up another Tale from P.A.W.S. set in the village of Manus Wu. Ramora wishes to be free from an arranged marriage and so makes a bargain with a fairy. But sometimes you should be careful what you wish for.
Pick up your free copy of RAMORA here and while you’re at it sign up for my newsletter.
Ramora
And last by not least I have a giveaway!
Over on Amazon I’m giving away TWO COPIES of the box set of THE P.A.W.S. SAGA – books  1-3. This set normally sells at $8.99.
Note: as this is an Amazon giveaway it is sadly only open to US residents. However, if you are in a different country leave a comment on this post and tell me where you are and I’ll enter you into a separate giveaway to win another set of P.A.W.S. ebooks.
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Giant P.A.W.S. Sale!

Giant P.A.W.S. Sale

Hey folks, it’s almost the end of summer here. Hey, my kid actually went back to school last week. Anyhow seems like a good enough time as any for an awesome huge P.A.W.S. Sale. So starting today you can pick up ALL 4 books in my series for a steal!

P.A.W.S. – 99 cents/99p

Argentum – 1.99

Umbrae – 1.99

Londinium – 2.99

PLUS Come out and hang with me tonight at 8pm ET online at the I love YA Book Event on Facebook for some fun games and giveaways.

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Meet YA author, Megan O’Russell

Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome prolific writer, Megan O’Russell.

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  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Megan.

I am a Young Adult author with three series currently available: Girl of Glass, The Chronicles of Maggie Trent, and The Tale of Bryant Adam. I’m also a blogger at LifeBeyondExaggeration.com and the playwright/lyricist for Princess Camp: The Musical.

  1. When did you first start writing?

I first began seriously writing about seven years ago. I was in a show where I was really miserable, and I needed an outlet to keep me sane. Writing became a normal part of my life, and now I can’t imagine giving it up!

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

Madeline L’Engle is my all-time favorite author. I grew up reading her books, and they really shaped how I associate with fantasy. My more recent obsession is Leigh Bardugo. Her Six of Crows series is impeccable.

  1. What inspires you to write?

I really love storytelling. Bringing an audience into a world they haven’t experienced before is a truly amazing thing.

As for bits of inspiration that actually float into stories, those come from everywhere. I once made my husband stop at a gas station for twenty minutes because I couldn’t think of the right words to describe the way the flag was hitting the flagpole. I have a huge case of wanderlust, so things from Thailand, Ireland, and tons of other places both in and out of the United States have wiggled into my books.

  1. Tell us about your latest release?

Boy of Blood is my most recent release. Book two in the Girl of Glass  series, Boy of Blood dives deeper into a mid-apocalyptic world of chemically-induced vampires and explores the end of the world from the point of view of the privileged one percent.

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  1. I see you write both fantasy and dystopian. Do you have a favorite of the genres? And what is the main challenge when switching hats so to speak?

I love dystopian and fantasy, but if I had to choose one genre to write in for the rest of my life it would have to be fantasy. There are just too many enticing possibilities to give up magic and new lands.

The hardest part about switching genres for me is the subtle change in voice and mood. Finding first love while the end of the world is looming is a very different story to be told than finding love at a masquerade of fairies.

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  1. So when you’re not writing you do musical theatre I see? What has been your all-time favorite role?

That’s a tough one.

If I had to pick just one it would have to be Mavis in Stepping Out because who doesn’t love a play with tap dancing?

  1. If you could play any role what would it be?

I would love to be anyone in Come From Away. The music and story are both so compelling, I would be honored to be any role in that production.

  1. So what’s next? What are you working on?

Right now, I’m editing a new Young Adult manuscript for my agent, editing book two in The Tale of Bryant Adams, and working on the script for a new children’s musical. It’s a lot to have going on, but I am having a ton of fun.

  1. How can readers connect with you?

You can find me on my website: https://www.meganorussell.com/

Blogging my little heart out: https://lifebeyondexaggeration.com/

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ORussellauthor

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8061709.Megan_O_Russell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeganORussell

On Instagram as: ORussellMegan

And all links to audio clips from my lyricist work can be found at: https://www.russellcompositions.com/shows-music

Meet Melinda R. Cordell

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It’s time for another author interview. Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome Melinda Cordell. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Melinda.

I’m a former city horticulturist who now works as a full-time proofreader. I love working in air conditioning in the summer, but I still miss working in the city rose garden. Mainly, though, I’m an author. I’d been sending out novels since 1995, and during those 20 years I’d published a lot of magazine articles in national publications, but had only one book published. I finally quit traditional publishing, and between September 2016 and December 2017 I self-published 22 books. I had a huge backlog of finished, polished novels that were ready to publish. So I published them!

I’ve been going like a rocket sled on rails ever since I got into self-publishing, because I’m 46 right now, and heaven knows I’m not getting any younger. Now I’m working on some novels involving Vikings, dragons, and war, the first of which will be out this May. I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty intense, but I love it.

Outside of that, I live in northwest Missouri, have lived here all my life, and I have the best family that ever walked. If any of you have read Those Black Wings, then you’ll be pleased to know that Wyatt, in real life, is actually my husband. We’ve been together since 1990, married since 1995, and he’s the best thing that ever happened to me. We have two crazy kids and it’s really a great setup. I couldn’t have asked for better.

(Melinda also shared with us a picture of her family’s silky, Maximum Floof)

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2) When did you first start writing?

When I was four. I was reading pretty well and writing my name in all my books in this semi-cursive script. All through school I wrote stories. I always had teachers encouraging me, all through elementary school and junior high and high school and college. They’re the salt of the earth, all of them. These teachers were often the only people who saw my stories, now that I think of it, because I had absolutely no social life. I just wanted to stay home and write, and walk in the woods, and read. I was lonely, but people in general were terrible to me in junior high and I just didn’t want any part of that, thank you very much. Also I was terrible at conversations. It was like I had a wire between my brain and my mouth that constantly shorted out, so I’d have all this cool stuff in my head that I wanted to say, but I just couldn’t spit it out.

So all my conversations were in my journals, in my novels, in my stories. I did my living on the page. My writing was my letter to the world that nobody got to read.

But it was also life to me.

3) Who are your favorite authors?

In the past, I’d say E.B. White and Ursula K. LeGuin. Right now Nnedi Okorafor is my favorite author. She writes these amazing fantasy novels. Of course, the entire faculty at the Hamline University MFAC program are my favorite authors, hands down. I spent five wonderful summers up there in their residency program, and I love ‘em so much.

4) What inspires you to write?

Well, that’s kind of like saying “What inspires me to breathe?”

It’s not like I sit down and write, and roses flow out of my pen. Sometimes writing a novel is like more like wrestling a squid. But if I can’t write, I start getting really cranky and emo. That act of creation is something I need in my life.

I mentioned that I was trying to get traditionally published for 20 years – i.e. I was trying to get an agent or an editor. For all my novels, I think my accumulated rejections number in the high hundreds, or low thousands. I am perfectly serious. I was pretty thick-skinned, but after 20 years of coming very close in a number of places but still ending at “no” … it does something to you. You know in your heart that you have talent and worth, but every industry professional ends up telling you, “This story is very well written, but it just doesn’t have that spark,” then you start wondering if you’re really that much of a hotshot after all. I lost a lot of faith in myself, and I couldn’t even write anything, and I was miserable.

That’s another reason why I took off like a rocket when I went into self-publishing. There weren’t any gatekeepers saying, “No.” It was just me. Whether I succeed or fail, it’s all on me. Nobody else. And I can work with that. Now I’m controlling my own destiny – I have my own power – and I have a truckload of books already finished and published, which really helps.

5) Tell us a little bit about Butterfly Chaos.

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Butterfly is actually my creative thesis for my master of fine arts for writing for children from Hamline University, and I worked on it with Gary Schmidt and Mary Logue, both of whom are wonderful teachers and all-around good folks. I wrote the first draft of the story while my dad was dying of early-onset dementia. And the story came together as a big constellation of all these other deaths in my life, two of which I mention in the Dedication. There’s been a bus accident when I was in junior high that affected the whole community at large. And there were some deaths in the family that were very hard for all of us. And I have a close-knit family that is like Cassie’s in the book, and I wanted to write something about them. So this book seemed to grow out of all that.

Jake is based on a guy who I had a crush on when I was a freshman in high school. He was a sarcastic kid, super-smart, and he loved to argue with pretty much anyone about anything. I’m kind of laughing, writing this, because some of my friends hated his guts. But I’ll tell you this: He knew I was very badly afflicted. I stared at him all the time, and then I stopped staring and couldn’t even look at him. But he was always so kind to me. He could have used his sarcasm and completely crushed me. But, unlike the whole rest of the school, he didn’t, and he would even talk to me a little. He moved away the next year and I never knew what became of him. But I still appreciate that little act of mercy from him, even after all these years.

6) What attracts you to writing YA?

I like writing for high schoolers. They’re on the edge of childhood, getting ready to leap into adulthood, and there’s a lot of conflict in this, in moving out and letting go. Also, high school kids are kind of nuts and funny and smart. And they’re never boring. Adults are boring. They’re so settled in all these pre-conceived notions. High schoolers are still figuring things out and it’s all new and shiny, but also there’s all these hormones so there’s EMOTIONS.

Of course I have a high schooler living in my house who I have to kick out of bed every morning, and all the trauma that comes of having to wake up!  But I learn a lot about the world from her, and vice versa, I hope. And she’s a cool kid. But of course I’m biased.

7) I see you also write gardening books. How did you get started with this?

When I first dived into self-publishing, I had a bunch of gardening articles and columns I’d written over the years. So I started using those to write gardening books. My undergrad degree had been in horticulture, and I’d worked in horticulture for half my life at that point, as city horticulturist, rose garden potentate, greenhouse manager, landscape designer, independent contractor, and perennials boss at a garden center. So I grouped my gardening articles together by content, and used the first group to write a book about vegetable gardening, then roses, adding a bunch of new content and filling in new chapters. Those two books are my best sellers right now. I have nine gardening books out right now, and I’ll be adding to them through 2018.

8) Do you have a favorite plant?

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I have a *lot* of favorite plants lol. I used to go into the woods in May and hunt for showy orchis. Yes, that’s how it’s spelled. I also like apple trees, daffodils, calla lilies, larkspur and delphiniums (there’s this little larkspur native to Missouri that used to grow around Nodaway that was this delicious dark purple), roses of course, orchids. Dutchmen’s breeches, which is a little small Dicentra species that grows wild in early April. White oak trees. Dayflowers, just because they have this pretty cadmium blue flower. The list is endless. Plants are cool.

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9) What are you currently working on?

VIKINGS AND DRAGONS.

I’m writing a Viking series to market – writing again after those late years of frustration – and I love this story because I’m cramming it full of swordfights and dragons and storms at sea and looooooooove, and I have a sea battle coming up that I’ll be writing about this weekend. It drives me nuts that I have to work full-time. Leave me alone, full-time employment! I want to write this!

Also I need to pull together a little butterfly gardening book, and a couple more gardening books on the side. I have nine gardening books out and I really want to make it ten, a nice round number.

10) If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

I really want to fly, but I’m also scared of heights, so I’d be flying around like five feet off the ground. I kind of want to be able to morph into animals, and then I could turn into a barn swallow and dive-bomb everybody. Those guys really know how to have fun when they’re flying.

But then again, I always write about characters that fight evil spirits with song magic, so they’re having battles with song. This song magic is like all the things you want to do when you’re singing, only cranked up to 50. Now that would be glorious.

11) How can readers connect with you?

Through bird calls or semaphore signals (aka “wig-wag”).

An easier way is through Twitter at @rosefiend, or email me at hello@melindacordell.com – I’ll try to get back with you in a reasonable amount of time. If you don’t hear from me after a week, ding me again because I’ve probably lost your message, and I really try to reply to every message I get. I do like hearing from readers – I never get tired of it.

Check out Melinda’s books on Amazon

January Book Bash

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Hey folks – I’ve got together with a ton of other authors to give away a bunch of books in a host of different genres. There’s sure to be something you’ll enjoy. But wait there’s more there’s also a giveaway for a $50 Amazon card.

So click on the link below and start reading today.

Visit January Book Bash

Also for another chance to win and some more awesome reads check out the YA Kindle Unlimited bookfair.

KUFair

 

 

Londinium is here!

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It’s alive – Londinium (P.A.W.S. 4) is finally out in the wild!

This is a book of the heart for me. As many of you know I come from London and even though I no longer live there I still adore the city and visit every chance I get. LONDINIUM is peppered with my favorite places, Camden Town, the zoo and London’s beautiful parks. Miri gets to traverse the tube and ride on the buses. I hope you enjoy enjoy my story as much as I enjoyed writing.

As always I love to hear from readers and reviews of all my books are always welcome.

So here are the links to Londinium available everywhere in Kindle and paperback and FREE on Kindle Unlimited:

Amazon US    Amazon UK      Amazon DE  Amazon FR    Amazon ES    Amazon IT  

Amazon NL    Amazon JP      Amazon BR    Amazon CA    Amazon MX    Amazon AU  

Amazon IN

“The pea soup has spoken,” said Caradog. “You are destined for Londinium.”
“Londinium?” asked Miri.
“It was the ancient city from which London sprang. The P.A.W.S. Institute of Londinium is the oldest in the world. It started before the city of today existed and straddles the old and the new. Unfortunately, today it is run by a fool.”

Join Miri as she continues her journey through Umbrae and Londinium with the help of werecats, wild warlocks, an old dog, a duck, and a whole lot of pea soup.

The P.A.W.S. Saga continues with Londinium.

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But wait there’s more – do you need to catch up on the rest of the P.A.W.S. Saga? Well I’ve got you covered. For the next week you can pick up the box set of books 1 to 3 for just 4.99 (that’s 50% off the usual price)

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Want to party – join the FB celebration LONDINIUM IS HERE going on right now with a host of awesome guests, games and prizes.