Canva for Authors – with Writers SA

Canva for Authors

When I self-published my first book in May 2014, I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I knew that I’d written a story I loved, but KDP (the back-end publishing program for Amazon) was something I had only heard of a couple of days earlier. I didn’t give any of it much thought. I had no notion of success nor sales and if I could have set the price to ‘free’ I would have. I just wanted to have my words out there – and if they happened to be read by someone else then that would be fantastic.

I didn’t have the budget for ANYTHING. Editing, advertising, a website, and definitely not a cover. I used the Amazon cover creator (a free online graphics tool with limited template covers). The cover picture I chose was vaguely romantic, though not at all reflective of the tone of the book, and compared to other stories in my genre, it didn’t really compete.

My cover as it was then

I continued to use Amazon cover creator for at least my first twenty books before trying to teach myself the ins and outs of photoshop. For someone computer-savvy, I found the commonly used graphics tool almost impossible to master. Ditto gimp. When a friend asked if I’d heard of Canva, I shook my head. With low expectations, I loaded up the free web-based site and had a tinker.

My mind was blown! 🤯

It took me one day to re-do the covers for my entire back-catalogue (over sixty titles at the time). I was in heaven! The graphics interface was a cinch, the layout intuitive, the effects amazing. But over the next two years, I continued to upskill in Canva, teaching myself the ins and outs and combining it with a couple of other online sites to get covers that I absolute adore!

The cover as it is now

This weekend, I’m running a three hour workshop on Canva (though I’ll be straying into a few other web based graphic programs as well). Designing your own covers isn’t for everyone and having a professional create something amazing for your book is definitely an option you should consider. BUT even once you’ve got your cover, there are so many uses for Canva that will revolutionise the way you present yourself online! From social media assets that promote your book, to universal branding across platforms (making sure your twitter, facebook and instagram all have similar theming), being able to quickly put together graphics in Canva is such a great skill to have!

Example of a promotional graphic

While my Mills & Boons have amazing covers designed by professional cover artists, I’m responsible for pulling together a ‘launch’ pack before these books go live, and also for when I’m running giveaways and promotions (see above). We’ll cover this and so much more!

We’re trying to keep numbers tight for this workshop so that I can spend some time with each attendee and make sure they’re covering what they need to. My hope is that everyone who walks away from the afternoon session will feel super confident to pull together their own graphics and marketing material!

Remaining spaces are very limited but if you’re in SA and keen to join us, contact Writers SA for more information.

Melancholia

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is a unique blend of happy and sad that accompanies the end of the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference. For a brief few days, every year, our tribe of Romance Writers gathers in a city hotel, and so commences an intense time of learning, networking, and arguably most-essentially, socialising with our favourite, like-minded writers. Be they aspiring, emerging or established, RWA is a place to simple *be*, in a state of open-minded brain-expansion, assimilating new ways of thinking, working, and managing our writing careers.

From informal dinners on Wednesday night to publisher commitments on Thursday, to the amazing, in-depth all-day workshops on Friday (Rachel Bailey should be required attendance at any and all conferences – she is a font of creative wisdom and has an almost-freakish ability to break things down and explain them in a way that leads to many, many lightbulb moments). Then, there’s the Harlequin cocktail party, always a fun time to let our hair down and mingle, before the core conference kicks off in earnest. The dinner on Saturday is a combination of fine dining, fun, great wine (Moet this year, thank you very much) and it is a time to raise a glass to the award nominees and recipients, and honour their achievements. Not to mention Keri Arthur’s spine-tingling STAND UP, which is a reminder that we all form a valuable thread of this evolving community.

And we are a community – a thriving, growing, ever-changing community filled with brilliance and generosity of spirit and so, so much love. Which is why I’m feeling a hint of melancholy as I sit here, in the airport, waiting for my flight to board. As a die-hard homebody and committed introvert, I am desperate to get home to my normal routines and rhythms, and to see my lovely little family.  I’m also inspired and reinvigorated, champing at the bit to hit my keyboard and write all the stories and ideas that have flooded me over the last few days. But there is also sadness here, at leaving behind this crew for another year. Our days together are too short, and very special, and I’m already counting down to 2019.

 

It’s a new-book kinda day! 🎉

Ever thine. Ever mine. Evermore.

The third book in my five-book The Evermore Series hits e-shelves today and I am so excited.

I had the idea for this series a while ago, and this couple in particular and their conundrum really lodged in my mind. The series itself is about love and romance, but also: destiny and fate, and the wheels that are always turning to pull us closer together. These are love stories that are bigger than time and space – they are forged in the stars. My couples in this series have so much thrown at them, from other people and life circumstance, but also from their own emotional vulnerabilities and character traits, that it’s almost impossible to see how they’ll find their own HEA. 💔

Fortunately for us, they do, and I so love their journeys!

Untitled design-13Xavier and Ellie’s book is out today (CLAIMING HIS SECRET BABY), and later in the year, we’ll get Arabella’s story (you’ll meet her in this book) and her sister Sophia’s story. And they’re Christmas books (my very favourite!). If you haven’t read any of the books in The Evermore Series, I’d recommend starting with THE SHEIKH’S BABY BARGAIN, followed by THE GREEK’S VIRGIN CAPTIVE. While each book is a stand-alone romance with its own very satisfying resolution, you meet the characters for the following book in the preceding book and they’re written to be enjoyed chronologically.

For now though, I’m going to bask 😊 in the delight of knowing that the thousands of you who preordered CLAIMING HIS SECRET BABY will have it live on your kindle within the next twenty four hours. If you haven’t already pre-ordered, the price will only be 99c until the book is live in all territories, then it will skip up to my usual $2.99.

One thing that would be so very helpful, if you’ve read this, or any of my books, is to leave a little review (or even a ⭐️ star rating). It makes the book much easier for lovers of love and readers of romance to find when it’s getting lots of reviews.

I’m off to celebrate 🥂 having a new book out in the ether, and one I love so very much, and I hope you have a lovely day (full of good fun, and great books!).

Love, and happy reading, CC. x

A six*-book-year.

 

IMG_7645-1

It’s a very strange feeling when your wildest dreams come true. Stranger still when life exceeds them. Just over eleven months ago, my debut novel for Mills & Boon was published and this week, my sixth Mills & Boon novel will hit the shelves.

IMG_7516
Celebrating my debut novel’s launch

That’s SIX MILLS & BOON books in less than a year.

Reading that, writing it, just blows my mind, but I’m also cognisant of the fact it creates the impression that my dreams came true ‘overnight’, when nothing could be further than the truth. My story isn’t one of ‘instant achievement’, so much as it is one of persistence.

I have wanted to be a romance writer for almost as long as I can remember. I wrote historicals as a pre-teen, when I had already been caught in the delightfully addictive nets of Austen and Heyer. It wasn’t long however before I turned my hand to Mills & Boons. I began to write, and to write earnestly, at fourteen, submitting my first manuscript to Mills & Boon at fifteen. It was rejected.

I continued to write and began to submit seriously back in 2013. I wasn’t writing cleverly though. I loved my stories but they weren’t a good fit for the series lines, and I wasn’t part of a writing group or support crew that would help me see that. To be honest, though I read Mills & Boons voraciously, I think I’m unusual in that I never gravitated towards a particular line so much as I did my favourite authors and tropes. More often than not, that took me to Presents/Modern/Sexy books, but I also adored medical and romance, so long as the hero was a dashing millionaire (inflation hadn’t caught up with our fictional heroes and a millionaire was still awe-inspiring). So I wrote love stories with scant attention paid to any one line in particular.

Rejections hurt. Every book we write, as authors, carries a lot of blood, sweat and tears and represents genuine, bonafide work. Never mind that writing might be, for you as it is for me, an absolute pleasure, it is still an act of effort. For me, writing also represents sacrifice. Time away from my family, socialising with friends that I’ve chosen to miss so I can hit my (often self-imposed and utterly crazy) deadlines. But we sacrifice because we can’t not – in my experience, it’s not a choice. I see my stories as the springs in my Jack in the Box, and they keep winding and winding until eventually they pop out of my head. If I don’t sit down to write, the spring keeps turning and my head just hits against the tin of the box! It hurts my brain! I needs to write, preciousses.

Each story I write is a story I cherish and love, and so the prospect of having it be rejected, having someone read it and not ascribe the same value to it as I do – it hurts. But it’s a part of the process, for most of us, and it helps to take comfort from the fact that you’re following in the steps of many, many, many authors that came before you.

It was seventeen years after I submitted my first novel to Mills & Boon that I had a manuscript accepted by them. My resulting experience with them has been beyond anything I could ever have hoped. I’m lucky because I didn’t give up in the face of rejection, and I’m grateful because I persisted, clinging to my dream of becoming a part of the romance publisher that the world trusts with its heart. What an honour; what a thrill!

I was contacted by a social media friend this morning and asked for advice. It’s got me thinking along these lines, you see.

So, here’s what I would say to myself five years ago.

No matter what you’re writing, I urge you to write for the love of it, because you can’t not, and see rejections as a stepping stone along the way. Like life experiences, each book teaches you something, and while it might not be a book that achieves publication, it will show you something valuable that leads to your next book’s success. Don’t let anyone else’s criticism frame your own love of what you’re doing. If writing is what you do, do it. Remember that rejections don’t mean your work isn’t good, they mean it’s not commercially viable for a publishing house at that point. If you want to write to become published to make a career from your writing, I believe you have to be, in part, commercially-minded. Pay attention to what’s selling, and if you’re targeting romance series, do as I say, not as I did, and familiarise yourself with that series completely, particularly the authors who are releasing lots of books and selling well.

And keep writing! As soon as you submit, begin the next book. Move on, let the other one go – it takes the sting out of rejection if you’re already knee-deep in the wonderment of a whole new world of people and their problems.

This was a far wafflier post than I intended so if you’re still here, thanks for reading and happy writing!

*I’m not counting my indie books in that total – if I were, it would be a fourteen book year. Okay. Imma gonna go nap for a decade now.

 

Happy-Book-Birthday-Me!

The Italian Billionaire's Betrayal
My first book! 

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but it’s been four years today since I published my first book. Where did that time go? Sixty Four romance novels later (what the?) and I feel like the last four years have gone by in the blink of an eye.

Birthdays are a great time of reflection, and I’ve been thinking about what this journey has taught me. So, without further ado, here’s:

FOUR THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN FOUR YEARS. 

IMG_5960

1.  WHEN YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO, IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE WORK.

My doctor asked me today what my hobbies are, and I had to stop and think about that for a minute. There are lots of things I love, like cooking and walking on the beach, but nothing I love so much as writing romance. It’s the last thing I do before bed each night and the first thing I do when I wake up, and I spend the day plotting and tinkering and writing and wishing I was writing when I’m not able to write.

2.  DON’T READ TOO MUCH INTO REVIEWS – GOOD OR BAD

I’ve become much better at ignoring reviews – good and bad. It’s hard to write the books you want to write when you have other people’s voices in your head. Not my characters’ voices, but reviewers’. Everyone has opinions, and those opinions are valid, but they’re not particularly helpful when you’re trying to do something creative. I can’t write the story I want to write if I have other people’s opinions swirling around my mind. Nurture the vision you have for a book, protect it from anyone’s bubble-popping until you’re one hundred percent happy with the book you’ve written.

close up of typewriter vintage retro styled

3. WRITING IS A JOB – A *REAL* JOB

This one took me a long time to accept. After all, if you love what you do, can it really count as a ‘job’? The answer is ‘yes’, absolutely, and it’s important to prioritise it as such. I keep a to-do list, and schedule my time, making sure I tick off small tasks in the morning, then hit my daily word count, before returning to some other marketing chores in the afternoon. Anything remaining gets dealt with after dinner, and then, if there’s time, I write a little more before bed. I have to guard my work time fiercely – and this is even more important if you’re juggling writing with another job, or other time-taking family commitments.

img_9418-1

4. REFILL THE WELL OFTEN, AND WELL

It’s important to switch your creating-brain off sometimes, and simply soak up someone else’s work. I regularly take a few days to read or watch a TV series or movie (When Harry Met Sally is a favourite of mine!), and find this time my most productive for solving plot problems or hatching new story ideas. I always feel more refreshed when I next return to my work, seeing a project with more clarity.

It’s important to carve out regular breaks, as well. I’m not actually good at this, but I know I write better and feel happier if I force myself to take a weekend with my family- or minimise my work to an hour or two at most.

I guess there’s a lot more I’ve learned along the way – the nitty gritty of self-publishing, the workings of traditional publishing, the pleasure of seeing my book on the shelves of major shopping chains, the joy of knowing people are reading and loving my books, the importance of finding your awesome book tribe and cheering on their successes whenever you can, and the delight of being able to do this for a living …

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 10.45.36 pmThank you for reading my books, and this post! To celebrate my fourth-book-birthday, I have 100 e-copies of THE SHEIKH’S SECRET BABY to give away to the first people to click over and claim!

Love, Clare. x

 

The songs of Burn me Once

THE SONGS OF ETHAN ASHSo my latest release for Mills & Boon has been out almost a week, and I’m so ridiculously thrilled to share Ally and Ethan’s story with you. I loved writing this book. I loved everything about it – I particularly ADORED my hero, Ethan Ash.

He’s the kind of rock star that dreams are made of. He’s every musician fantasy you’ve ever had, brought to life: and he’s soooo much better in the flesh!

The book is dedicated to Isaac Hanson, who was my first (and remains and enduring) musician crush for me, but there were lots of singers and bands that helped me come up with Ethan. I listened, ad nauseam, to my BURN ME ONCE playlist while I was writing this book. So if you read it and loved it and want to immerse yourself in the full Ethan Ash experience, have a listen on Apple music.  


BURN ME ONCE is out now.

“You. Me. Sex. It’s easy.”

All she has to do is not get hooked…

Ally Douglas has made a deal with Ethan Ash: just sex, no strings, no forever. All she knows about him is that he’s a world-famous rock star and he’s absolutely gorgeous. Their sexual chemistry is instant and magnetic, and this arrangement satisfies their needs. Only now that Ethan has started to break the rules, will Ally be able to stop herself from getting burned…

Facebook Cover BURN ME ONCE-2

Fifteen Years Ago

Fifteen years ago, my nana died. She was in her eighties and as fit as a fiddle right up until the day she died. I’m old enough now to see that this was a blessing – a long life, well-lived, healthfully lived, until the end, which was swift and painless.

But at the time, I felt robbed.  It wasn’t painless for those who loved her. We were left wondering why? We’d just celebrated Christmas together, for Goodness sake. Her eyes had shone with their usual degree of whit and vivacity, her lips had twisted with that quirk of amusement that oft sat upon her face, and she’d talked and nodded, laughed and eaten with all her usual degree of enthusiasm.

Less than a week later, she was dead.

I think of my nana often. I have her photograph right by my door and every day as I walk outside, often several times a day, I bid her farewell. I think about her life, which was full of so many road bumps, and so many joys. I think about what a gift it was that we had her for as long as we did, and that we were spared the pain of seeing her life and love dimmed by illness or disease. She was herself until the end.

I think about the lessons she taught me -resilience, perseverance, independence. My Nana Connelly was quite ahead of her times in these ways – widowed early in her marriage, with three daughters, she had to take care of herself and she did so with aplomb. She never remarried: my mother tells me Nana would say, “Better to be a young man’s darling than an old man’s fool.”

I’ve been nostalgic for nana today, fifteen years after losing her. As a child, she was a constant in my life, sweet-smelling and soft, stern at times, huggly at others, and also so very loved. I remember her laugh, more of a chuckle, really, and her kindness and her interest in me – an interest that was marked, because of her love. I remember her curious turns of phrase, borrowed from a faraway time, that were ‘uniquely nana.’ I remember feeling impatient with her, as I reached my teens, feeling that I knew so much more and oftentimes rolling my eyes at her stories. But nana wouldn’t have minded. She was young once, too, and that’s the way of the young.

Now, I wish she were here. I wish I could have a few more days with nana, to introduce her to my children’ and tell her about my books and hear her laugh and listen to her re-tell her stories.

I think of my nana, who died fifteen years ago, every single day, and speak to my children about her often. Is there more we can hope for, in life, than to make this kind of imprint on our descendants? I was so lucky to have my nana, and I’m thinking of her today, more than usual.

 

CC.x

My Writing Work Day

close up of typewriter vintage retro styled

I’ve had a few people ask me lately about my average working day. Only, I don’t really have an “average” working day, but I have phases of productivity which form a pattern. An overall working-month, more than a ‘working day’. I do work ‘full time’ as a writer, and yet it doesn’t resemble any other full-time job I’ve ever held, that’s for sure! I have a lot of flexibility in how I structure my diary, and I think it’s a very unique process. Every writer will have a different approach to their output. This is how it is, for me.

Phase 1. Plotting. This is a term I use pretty loosely. I’m not a keen plotter, in terms of detailed storyline development. I approach a story knowing my characters inside out, and their central conflict as well. I usually have an idea of how their conflict will come to a head, and how it will resolve. I also like to have a “Hollywood moment” in mind- that is, the scene that everyone would go, “ahhhh, awwwww!” at in the movie cinema. I’m often plotting up to five stories at a time (maybe more), in the same notebook and in my head. It starts as a kernel of an idea and drives itself around and around in my mind until it’s fleshed out enough as a concept for me to start writing. I’m plotting all the time. Even when I’m writing, an idea can come to me for another story and I add it to my notebook. Sometimes, it’s just a sentence, other times, the story is almost fully formed when it comes to me.

The plotting phase looks a lot like: vagueness. Distraction. Conversations that fade into the air, as my mind ticks over new ideas, distracting me from the real world completely.

Phase 2. Writing. this is, by far, my favourite phase. When I’m in a book, it is pretty much all I’m capable of focussing on creatively. I can’t read other books or edit books of my own. Apart from an errant idea for another book I’m plotting, it’s all about the Current MS. So, in this phase, I write obsessively. The only way to describe the intensity of this is ‘claustrophobic.’ I suffocate under the weight of my story until I have written it.

I want to put everything on hold except for my book, and to this end, when I’m gearing up for a ‘writing phase’, I do try to clear as much of my schedule as I can, but obviously, that’s not always possible! So I have to squeeze my writing into the gaps of life, around school drop off and pick up, grocery shopping, extra-curricular commitments, social obligations. Nonetheless, in the weeks I’m writing, I write diligently, usually getting a significant amount of words down per day. This means waking early, and writing late. And I love it! This is, without doubt, my favourite part.

I never feel like I don’t want to write. I resent it greatly if I’m not able to get into my story for any reason, and if I go too long without being in a writing phase, I get antsy and irritable. Writing isn’t just my job, it’s my passion and my hobby.

I often ruminate on the fact that I don’t consider myself a writer, so much as a storyteller. Don’t mistake me, I love playing with words, running them around the page until they find the right order, but what I really love is my people, and their world. I love their conflict, their tension and angst, and manoeuvring the pieces of their lives into place to find their genuine, authentic ‘happily-ever-after’. Once I have the idea for the story, I desperately need to commit it to paper. It overtakes me until it’s done, pushing all else to the extremities.

I write books that are between 50,000 to 55,000 words, with the exception of three single titles I’ve written that hover around 80,000 – 90,000 words in length (and are still being tweaked). I usually add a few extra thousand words during the editorial phase. A Mills & Boon is between 50,000 and 55,000 words.

The writing phase looks a lot like: endless cups of tea, a cramped neck, and a computer tan. I will dip into my story at every opportunity, meaning my MacBook often has toast crumbs spread across it from where I’ve been typing out a scene while getting brekkie organised for the kids…I’m also riddled with doubt for big patches of this phase. I doubt my story, my characters’ motivations and my ability to do them justice, but I know that doubt will disappear the closer I get to the end and so I keep my head down and push on.

Phase 3. Editing and promotion. Though I wish I could just write stories all day every day, there are other parts of the job that need my attention. When I’m not writing, I’m usually catching up on edits. I’m generally editing two projects at a time, one in structural and one in copy edits. On a day when I’m editing, I like to choose a time when I have a proper block to work at it. If it’s a day when my little girl is home, that’s during her midday nap. If it’s a day when both kids are at kindy/school, then I set myself up at the kitchen table with a pot of tea and have at it, not shifting until I’m happy I’ve done a solid chunk of the book. It’s important to see the book for what it is, putting aside all the visions that fill out your head when you’re writing it, and read it with as fresh eyes as possible.

To this end, once I finish a book, I usually put it away for as long as possible before I begin my first round of edits – sometimes that’s three weeks, other times, it’s several months. It means I can read it as a reader would, and I also find I pick up way more typos and mistakes this way, too.

I both love and loathe editing. Once I’m finished writing a book, I consider their story told, and I want to move onto the next adventure. I find the idea of revisiting it tedious. BUT, no book is perfect on its first draft. The editing process, once you can bring yourself to do it, is an opportunity to hone your words to make them really special. To cut out the waffle and tighten the prose, and to expand on ideas that you didn’t completely capture on the first pass.

I’m lucky in that I have always worked with fantastic editors, who hold up the PERFECT mirror to my words (a mirror that is both honest and kind!!) so that I can see what needs improving without doubting the quality of the book.

The editing phase looks like: I’m human, more or less, once again on top of the minutiae of daily life, able to function, grocery shop and finish an actual conversation.

If you’re a writer, I’d love to hear about your approach. Do you write every day? Or just on weekends? What keeps you glued to the screen until you’re finished?

 

 

SECRETS OF THE A-LIST

14-SECRETS-OF-THE-A-LIST-Twitter Header-1500-x-500

When I was growing up, I never missed an episode of The Bold & The Beautiful. I loved that show with an undying degree of commitment. I have lost track of how many times we went through a Rooke phase then a Raylor phase, but I was as invested each cast-of-the-bold-and-the-beautiful.pngand every time as though it were the first. There’s something enduringly appealing about the dynastic glamour of stories like this – not just because of the unimaginable wealth and social status that allows us to imagine we were them, for a moment, but also, there’s the air of reality. Beyond all the couture and paparazzi, these were real people with real emotions, and though they proposed with twelve carat diamond rings, their hearts were no less vulnerable.

Late last year, I was invited by Harlequin to take part in an incredible exciting project – a serial novel full of glamour, betrayal, sex and drama. From the very first moment I read the premise I was suckered in. The Santiago-Marshall family, with their powerful patriarch Harris02-SECRETS-OF-THE-A-LIST-Quote-800-x-800on in a coma after a mysterious car accident, reminded me of everything I loved most about the Forrestors and the Spectors.

With Harrison indisposed, a question arises with absolute urgency: WHO IS THE FIXER? And what is his relationship to the powerful businessman?

The mysteries (and there are many) of this series are set agains the backdrop of a rarified world – money, status, wealth, society… the cast of this series are instantly, infinitely fascinating.

And they did fascinate me. I wrote the second ‘episode’ of this series, but I have devoured them all voraciously! It is a fast-paced, page-turning read and I am so jealous that you get to enjoy it for the first time now!

16-SECRETS-OF-THE-A-LIST-EPISODE 1 FREE-800-x-800

A new episode novella will drop each week for the next ten weeks (the first, Joss Woods’s awesome introduction to this world is FREE for a limited time so read it now and catch up!), and they’re designed to be devoured in a little over an hour – perfect, fast, exciting reading that will have you on the edge of your seat, hankering for the next instalment faster than you can say Netflix-and-Chill.

So, what are you waiting for? Go, go, go! Don’t miss Episode 1 of SECRETS OF THE A-LIST while it’s free, and then power through the series.

Enjoy, lovies!

The lastingness of love

img_9423

I write mostly about romantic love, and romantic love is something that most people experience in their life. The presence of it, or the absence, I believe intrinsically shapes who we are.

But I’m thinking about enduring love today. Romantic love is – or can be – but I mean real enduring-in-the-face-of-adversity love.

The reason this is playing around in my mind is because I write from a cafe and have come to know the regular cast of characters who are here at the same times I am. There is one pair, and I cannot say if they are mother and son or husband and wife, to be honest. I know only that the woman, who wears a wedding ring, has suffered something, at some point in her life, resulting in her being silent and locked away inside of herself. And once a week, her companion brings her for coffee, and they sit and he reads the paper and she stares at other people, watches him, drinks her coffee, and every now and again, if she has stared for perhaps too long at any one particular person, he reaches across and taps her on the hand to draw her attention back to him. Her staring isn’t malicious, of course, but if you don’t see it against the background of her situation you might feel a little targeted.

In any event, the affection between the two never fails to bring a swelling to my throat. He takes such beautiful care of her, making sure she’s warm, patting her back as he settles her into a seat, laying a newspaper out in front of her to look at even though she doesn’t seem to read it.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe this is something we all think we would do for our spouse or parent, if they were to require it of us. It shouldn’t be extraordinary – this level of love should be more normal.

It’s just very moving and beautiful to see it enacted, and their love and connection gives me faith in the goodness of humanity and the lastingness of true love.