Alycia Christine

Vivid Fiction, Epic Photography

A Marathon of Perspectives

Thank you to those who were kind enough to join me for the Skinshifter and Dreamdrifter Reading Marathons! I hope you enjoyed all of the games, quotes, prizes, and, of course, the daily photos. For those wanting more information on each of the 50 daily photos, I have them listed below in the order that they were shown during the marathon:

“Damsel Daintiness”
“Doorway to Wonderland”
“Living Sculpture”
“Thrush”
“Vitality”
“Flora”
“Window’s Many Faces”
“Twilight Mushrooms”
“Fanciful Feathers”
“Cheetah, Inverted”
“Metallic Pinwheels”
“Stone Straws”
“Lemur Looks”
“Peekaboo”
“Pansy Passion”
“The Pollinator”
“A Monarch for Granny”
“A Patch of Sky”
“Crying Monkey in Clock Faces”
“Marfa Yucca”
“Tuscan Sunrise”
“Windmill Promises: Old and New”
“Contrast”
“Afternoon Reflections”
“Dragon Warriors”
“Asteraceae Gilded”
“Agave Spikes in Autumn”
“Along the Tracks”
“Marbled Patterns”
“Winter Flower Silhouettes”
“Arched Elegance for Mom”
“Ask the Owl”
“Mountain Cloaked”
“Blue Jay Among Blossoms”
“Banana Leaf Lines”
“Blue Beneath”
“Weathered Hyperbolas”
“Misty Mountains”
“Split Sea Falls”
“Z Stripes”
“Yellow Gazer”
“The Lord God Loves Them All”
“Twig Window”
“Sun Dabbled Dune”
“Tulips Kindled”
“Texas Star for Bekah”
“Toucan Gaze”
“Moss Stream”
“Oryx”

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

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This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Blooming Through Adversity

Featuring the “Blooming Through” photo.

Adversity is the part of life we would all rather avoid. Yet no matter how much we try, we can never run from adversity, nor can we hide from it. When difficulties arise and evil times befall us, the only thing we can do is work together to endure and overcome each obstacle as it appears. As we face each new challenge, we become stronger, wiser, bolder, and more mature. To be certain, none of us will make it out of this life alive. However, those brave souls who go out fighting with hope still wrapped within their fluttering hearts will have waged a far more victorious battle than those enslaved by fear. This is a reminder that the brightest blossoms do indeed bloom through adversity.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Your Broken Potential

When life leaves you broken, remember that this is not the end. As painful as it is, this struggle is the potential for a new beginning if you choose to make it such.

Alycia

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This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Optimism

When life seems like one nothing more than a rusted disaster, remember that even the rusted places hold beauty if you are willing to see it.

Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Finally, that marathon I promised you…

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything because my new day job confiscated my life during the month of January. I’ve been stealing scraps of time to write my newest pirate novella, but haven’t been able to do much else. Consequently, I had to postpone the book reading marathon that was scheduled for January. That being said, I’m excited to announce that we are finally starting The Dryad’s Sacrifice reading marathon on Facebook today. We’ll be reading and discussing the Prologue and Chapter 1 if you want to join us. If you’ve ever wanted to know how a book was created–or at least how this book was created–now is your chance. For the next 10 days, we will have daily inspirational quotes, author insights, a lot of crazy Q&A, and, of course, daily prizes. I can’t wait to see what you have to say! Come join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1695736057307543/!

Warmly,
Alycia

P.S.-If you helped support author Brandon Barr in December and January, thank you so much! His fight with cancer is ongoing thanks in part to stem cell transplants. For updates on his ongoing fight, check out his YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaQbFWrJcQD1VKG_Zeb-TXQ.

When You’re Struggling Through The What, Remember Your Why

“Fallen Angel” photograph

I hear each tick of the clock—each second passing with the steady beat of my own heart. Time continues its inexorable slip through my fingers. The holidays are always hectic. There are always so many things to see and do. This morning, I feel the pinch of it all. My shoulders ache with the weight of all the hustle and bustle. The job needs doing. The clients need helping. The laundry needs washing. The papers need filing. My products need marketing. The family needs visiting. And on and on and on.

Every time I turn around, there is some new shiny distraction that keeps me away from the scrawling pen and paper and I long for simpler times.

“If only I were more organized, I can get all of the things done that I need to do,” I think.

The truth, however, is that better organization will only solve a fraction of my problem because, if I’m honest, busyness isn’t my core dilemma. The real issue is motivation. Motivation to work and to write has been scarce for me these days and it’s compounded by the constant whine of all of the distractions. Of course, the biggest, scariest distraction of all though lurks beneath all the petty stuff—the distraction of doubt.

Can I really do all that I need to do, and if I can, is it really worth all of the effort?

I think all people struggle with these two questions no matter what they are trying to do in life. One of the chief reasons that these questions can bog us down is because we ourselves haven’t quite answered the question of why the work we’re doing in this life actually matters. If you truly understand why your work matters, then that why will carry you through all of the muck of the what. If you don’t, all of the things you want to accomplish will quickly overwhelm and bury you in a stagnant mire of apathy.

Of course, why work matters is something of a subjective question that can change from person to person. For me though, work—whether it’s artistic, technical, or relational—only matters if it helps make someone else’s life better in some way. A kitchen appliance that makes it faster or easier for a person to prepare a meal matters. A spreadsheet software that helps its users better track company inventory and sales matters. A piece of art or music that entertains people and makes them think about life in a new way matters. Everything else is pointless.

Finding your why fuels your way.

In the end, it’s not a question of if I can write; it’s a question of why I should. Not everyone will understand why I do the things I do or say the things I say. Truthfully, I’m not even sure that half of my own family members understand why I am the way that I am. But that is okay because I don’t write for them. It’s for those men and women young and old who feel trapped in the corners and crevices of this flinty-edged world that I write. I write for the lonely, the aching, the weary, and the wanting. I write to remind readers that you are not alone—that we share this broken, grieving world together. My dearest hope is that my words will help to bind up your wounds.

In short, I write to remind you to hope again.

And though dark doubts and distractions may sing their shrill cacophony in the back of my mind, I’ll continue to pay heed to the bright Son of Hope rising before my eyes and ask that you do the same. Always remember that this perfect Son who was born of a virgin, crucified on a cross, and buried in a borrowed grave, did indeed rise again. Always remember that it is His what that laid the foundation for our true why, and it is His why that will always light the way through our what. Merry Christmas!

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia

~

The SCRAWLS blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

What Happens When Thanksgiving Feels More like a Thanks-Getting?

thanksgivingtable1-ac4x6On the eve of Thanksgiving Day, I must admit an ugly truth—I am less interested in giving thanks for the things I have than I am counting the things I want. Never mind the Turkey Day, I want to skip straight to Black Friday. Being grateful isn’t nearly as much fun as being enticed. The admission sticks in my throat like a half-swallowed barb. How could I, of all people, be so unwilling to give thanks?

How bad could a little ingratitude really be?

Apparently, ingratitude breeds catastrophe. According the Bible, the ruin of our world actually occurred because humans were ungrateful. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God and ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, it introduced several curses including death to humans (Genesis 2-3). Such a calamity happened because Adam and Eve were ungrateful. Adam and Eve’s exalted position of fellowship with God was not enough. Being able to walk with the Creator of the Universe in the utopic Garden of Eden was not enough. Instead of being grateful and content with being made in the image of God and having direct fellowship with Him, Adam and Eve were tempted to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so that they could become like God. In demanding more, they actually chose for themselves much less. Whether you believe such a story to be fact or fiction is not the point. The point is that this story highlights the misery that occurs when we don’t give thanks.

This cautionary tale brings me back to this morning in which I sit in an attitude of ungratefulness for the things that I’ve been given. Never mind the fact that I sit with a full belly on a comfortable couch in a warm home with electricity to power the lights and keep the clothes tumbling in the dryer. Never mind the fact that I am surrounded by shelves filled with books, movies, and art. Never mind the fact that my husband and I actually have enough money to cover all of our bills this month. Never mind the fact that I have had a good amount of work lately to help cover those expenses. Never mind the fact that more people have been interested in my books and my photography than ever before. Never mind all of the good stuff.

A malcontent multiplies misery.

Instead of the warm home, I focus on the creaking floors cloaked in ragged carpet under my feet. Instead of the paid rent, I focus on windows that weep every other time it rains. Instead of the ample electricity, I focus on the flickering overhead light and the groaning, pint-sized refrigerator in our tiny kitchen. Instead of being thankful for the work that I now have, I focus on the fact that we could well be homeless in a few months if sales and jobs don’t pick up soon. Those major worries and minor annoyances are that have occupied my mind for the last month.

A few weeks ago, I met a woman in the middle of the grocery store whose home sits less than a mile from mine. When the tornado came whirling and swirling through our corner of Dallas last December, she and her husband hid inside a closet. That closet was one of the few things left standing after the clawing winds did their worst. When I met her eleven months later, she was buying toilet paper for the RV where she and her husband live because the repairs on their house still aren’t finished. She lives in a twenty-foot trailer and I live in an 850-square-foot apartment. And yet I am ungrateful.

During yet another grocery run, I had a homeless man offer to help me load my groceries into the car. My newest acquisitions took up the entire trunk of my vehicle while all that he owned fit inside a child’s backpack. He has so little and yet was still generous to me who had so much. And yet I am ungrateful.

Three years ago, my husband and I were far more affluent than we are now. We owned an 1800-square-foot house and had more than enough money from our jobs to pay for all of our needs. I often had the option of taking only those freelance projects that I found interesting and was able to work from home. We had so much, yet I was miserable.

What is wrong with me?

We had some friends where we lived, but most of our closest friends were scattered far beyond the desert sands we called home. We might have had a glut of material possessions, but I couldn’t have been more starved in emotional health. I was still reeling from the deaths of three loved-ones and the incapacitation of a fourth when we decided to move to Dallas, and that blood-stained view has colored my perception ever since.

Dallas was an opportunity to start anew—to make new friends, seek more cultural variety, and trade our easy but mundane living for a chance to make a true difference in the lives of others. And yet I’ve often been less than grateful that we took this chance. We’ve endured a lot to come here and to remain here, but we have also been amazingly blessed. My husband and I have found real purpose in this city that we didn’t have in the desert. Life is still hard and often discouraging, but the work is some of the most fulfilling that we could do.

Even with all of my worries weighing me down, I wouldn’t trade my life here for my life in the desert—not even for a second. I still don’t know how all of this will play out, but I do know that the God who faithfully led us through the desert is the same God who wants to restore us back to Eden. Whether we get back to Eden or not, I think is up to me and whether I’m willing to accept His good gifts just as they are or if I’m still more interested in eating the fruit of ingratitude plucked from that poisoned tree.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia

~

The SCRAWLS blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

What Do You Do When The Monster Is Worth Saving?

Of_Kelpie_Lullabies_cover-1600x2400As many people, I am a huge lover of mythical creatures from lore and legend. The reason I love working with these strange and fantastic figures is because of the freedom they give me as an author. Using mythological creatures allows me the ability to explore different cultural archetypes and stereotypes without overtly offending anyone. Of the many stories I have written, “Of Kelpie Lullabies” is a perfect example of this technique. I created a deeply flawed heroine who longs for a normal life, but is cursed by corrupted magic to be a murdering monster. In the end, it is Keiranna’s choice to accept or reject love and forgiveness for her crimes that determines whether or not she can have that normal life that she so desperately craves.

The story itself may deal with sorcerers and magic, but I believe that most people can identify with its themes of grief, love, longing, despair, and forgiveness. How many of you reading this are cursed with the slavery known as drug addiction and alcohol addiction first hand? How many have become so angry that you have harmed someone with words, actions, or with your own fists? Who now hates yourself for the wrongness of you choices or the weakness of your habits?

Welcome to Keiranna’s hellish life.

How many of you know a drug addict or an alcoholic cursed with a need for a substance that is so powerful it controls every decision. Do you weep for them or are you beyond caring? What about those who hurt you? Do you write them off as a monster too loathsome to love or do you cry for them all the harder?

Welcome to Edwin’s predicament.

Edwin could have turned his back on the monster he saw destroying others from a distance, but he did not. He saw her, all of her. He saw Keiranna’s anger and her sadness. He saw her brutality and her fragility. In the end, he reached out to her because he understood that her pain matched his own.

Keiranna does not rely on her own strength to save herself nor does Edwin. Instead they make the choice to help each other and seek aid from a power far stronger than both of them to accomplish that goal.

Are you the monster or do you know the monster?

I ask you today, who is your Edwin and who is your Keiranna? What power do you rely on that is greater than yourself to remake your life and to remake the lives of others? I personally rely on Jesus Christ to help me love myself and love others—even the monsters. I know that many of my friends and acquaintances prefer to pray to other deities such as Allah or Buddha, but I prefer to worship Jesus because he is the only person I have ever known to prove his true love for me by dying in my stead. He took the penalty for my imperfections on himself to show me that, though I often make mistakes and do wrong toward others, I am still worth dying for. It is Jesus’s love, his sacrifice, and his defeat of death that I cling to daily because Jesus is the only person I have ever found whose loving faithfulness never wavers.

If you’re struggling with something that you can’t overcome on your own, I encourage you to ask Jesus for help. You’ll be amazed just how far his love and strength can shine in your darkness and your doubt.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia

P.S.-If you haven’t read the story, you can do so for free. It’s one of the stories in my Musings anthology which is given away on my Welcome Page.

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The SCRAWLS blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Write Where It Hurts

Blue_Undulations-AC4x6“Talented writers don’t write perfectly. They write courageously.” -Jeff Goins

It’s 6 a.m. and I’ve already been up for two hours. I’ve sent my husband off to work, finished a few house chores, and dressed for the day. Sitting in front of my computer with a steaming cup of tea and a half-eaten bowl of cereal by my side, I open a document and skim the last four pages of yesterday’s writing. I have a few precious hours of quiet in which to work before heading off to my regular job. I can’t waste them. Today starts me off in the middle of a scene in which one of my characters has been abducted and the other characters are still reeling from the shock of losing her. The tension couldn’t be higher—for them or for me.

After writing six books, you would think that book seven would be easy, but it isn’t. The newest novel has proven persnickety so far. Beginning a book in the right place is one of the trickier parts of writing for me. This means that I’ve written three different drafts of the Fireforger prologue before finally getting it right. I’ve been working on this manuscript for months now—living with it day in and day out. Dreamdrifter might be new to the eyes of the world, but it’s already 30,000 words behind me. I’ll sit at this desk for the next two hours refining and writing. I still have a lot of marketing to do today since Dreamdrifter just came out, but that will have to wait until I’m finished with my day job this evening. For now, I put aside all of the other worries and distractions. For now, I just write.

So far, life as a writer has been anything but easy or affluent. This is a full time job for me which pays less than minimum wage in exchange for long hours of emotionally-exhausting work. This may not be my only job or my easiest job, but it is my best occupation. Writing is the career that I feel called to do because it allows me to be a triumphant survivor by profession and to share my stories of encouragement with others.

I am a survivor and an adapter, and I always have been. I’ve dealt with three disabilities since early childhood to make it this far in life. In the past five years, I’ve buried three loved-ones, watched a fourth slip beyond sanity, and lost half of my belongings to fire, electronic failure, and financial downsizing.

As painful as life can sometimes be, there have been two constants to help me slog through all of the mess: my loved-ones and my writing. The blessings of true love and friendship have helped me overcome every obstacle—no matter how small or large. We cling to each other for support as we swim these turbulent seas. There are those I know who have endured lives far harsher than mine and I remember their stories as I write.

Like so many of us, my characters are all survivors of something—broken homes, broken hearts, broken hopes. Each has had his or her share of tragedy or catastrophe. Katja, the main character of Skinshifter, Dreamdrifter, and now Fireforger, lost her entire clan in a single bloody night. While she managed to survive the sudden massacre that destroyed her family, it took her much longer to relearn how to live. Her friends helped her find hope again just as my family and friends have helped me.

When I write, my yearning is to remind readers not to wade through this wonderful and terrible life by ourselves. Yes, sometimes the waves are gentle enough that we can make it a stroke or two on our own without drowning, but we don’t have to wade through it alone. We need each other to help celebrate each other’s successes and help to buoy each other up through all of the upsets.

My words help keep me swimming toward that new dawn peeking just over the dark shore, but they do no good for you or anyone else unless they are shared. I write not just to survive life, but to understand and overcome it. I write to hope. I write to thrive. My dearest hope is that my words help you thrive too.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia

(This article was originally published as a guest blog on Sarah Noffke’s website on 10/14/2016.)

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The SCRAWLS blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with vivid fiction, deep love, and epic art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Remembering 33 and the Birthday Bucket List

pansy_passion-4x6acI turned 34 this week. Hurrah! I survived on this planet one more year and I couldn’t be more grateful. While it has had its share of challenges, the year of 33 has been so much easier than the year of 32. The year of 32 saw a career change, lost job, house downsizing, 430-mile move, a devastating fire, hard drive crash, and a case of head lice. The year of 33 has happily been a little more mundane. We still endured life in a cramped apartment, more job hunting, tight finances, car transmission repairs, and a tornado scare, but we’ve also experienced so many blessings. My husband gained a new job working with good people. We found a good church home with people who care about us. We’ve made friends here in Dallas who are actually as quirky and nerdy as we are. I saw my sixth book published, started the Sylvan Scribes book reading club, was a guest speaker at a speculative fiction convention, met several amazing readers, walked the grounds of two arboretums, attended Major League baseball games, and toured world-class art museums. Even with all of that, walking into my neighborhood grocery store and seeing the sheer variety there compared to my small town’s store still makes me smile.

In the weeks prior to my birthday, people kept asking me what gifts I wanted and, quite frankly, I had no idea to tell any of them. Money? Clothes? A lamp to replace the broken one on my side of the bed? Nothing seemed right. Nothing seemed adequate because I have already been given so much.

As it turns out, what I really want for my birthday aren’t things that money can necessarily buy—although it can help. If I’m truly honest, what I most want for my birthday are things like: losing 20 pounds and being able to fit back into the sexy leather pants I wore in college, shooting photos of plants and wildlife in their native environment on some exotic island, seeing one or more of my books hit the USA Today bestseller list, replacing my sturdy but worn camera equipment, spending time with my closest family and friends, and being remembered on my birthday as someone who made a difference in others’ lives.

He didn’t know it, but my husband was the first to give me my best birthday present this week. As we both sluggishly crawled out of bed at 4 a.m. to get ready for work, he kissed me and wished me a simple happy birthday. Before anything else happened and before any other promptings, my husband took care of my first birthday wish: to have my birthday remembered by someone I love. My parents did the same about four hours later and my family and friends have kept the amazing wishes coming ever since. They all made me smile so much!

I haven’t celebrated my birthday yet, but I think I should tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, I think I’ll do some writing, finish a few house chores, get some of the junk cleared off of my desk, and go to church. In the afternoon, I’ll take the birthday money I have and go shop for a couple new pairs of jeans and maybe visit the zoo. After I’ve had my fun for the day, I’ll sit down and plan out the bucket list for what I hope to have happen by my next birthday. I think I’ll skip the exotic island trip this coming year in favor of a few more practical things.

Getting back in shape, helping other people, publishing more books, replacing the broken lamp and camera flash, seeing my favorite bands in concert, visiting more museums, and maybe hitting that bestseller list all seem like amazing goals. And the best part about each of them is that I won’t be working toward them alone. With a year’s worth of planning and several hundred people rallied to the cause, we might see all of this come together. So here’s what I’m asking for my birthday. If any of you had planned on spending any money on me, I’d ask that you would instead help me give gifts to someone else. Go online to your favorite bookstore, find a friend in need of a good book, and then give them one of mine. It’s a simple gesture and it won’t cost you more than what you would pay for a cup of coffee, but I guarantee you that it will make at least two people’s day a lot more fun. If we can each make someone else’s day happier, maybe we can all find our own smiles a little quicker.

Thank you all so much for my birthday wishes! Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia

~

The SCRAWLS blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with vivid fiction, deep love, and epic art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

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