Thursday teaser: A new book release

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Walking Out of War

by Scott Bury

The third volume of Scott Bury’s trilogy of the World War 2 experiences of a Canadian drafted into the Red Army will be published in February 2017. Here’s a sneak peek.

Most of the new recruits were very young, the last remaining boys from the farms and villages across Ukraine, those unlucky enough to reach their seventeenth birthdays before the war ended.

Not all were young, though. Old Stepan was in his forties, and Maurice wondered sometimes if Stepan’s story wasn’t similar to his own. But Stepan obviously had no experience with weapons or army life, and could not keep up with boys half his age.

One very hot day, the sergeant assigned Maurice, Stepan and eight young boys to pull an obsolete, heavy cannon up a hill. They knew better by this time than to grumble. Four boys put leather straps over their shoulders and pulled; Maurice and another got behind to push, leaving Stepan and the remaining boys to pull a wagon of ammunition. With the sun beating down on them and the humidity making every breath a chore, they hauled the massive gun across a muddy field to the bottom of the hill. The wheels squeaked and stuck, then sank into the mud.

“Get moving, you lazy buggers!” the sergeant yelled. “You think Fritz is going to wait for you to get your lazy asses moving? You’d all be dead a hundred times over by now on the battlefield!”

Maurice wondered if the sergeant had ever been to the battlefield, and decided that, in all likelihood, he had. There was almost no one left in Ukraine or Russia now who hadn’t been scarred in some way.

So they pushed and pulled the gun across the mud, trying as much as possible to stay on grass so the wheels wouldn’t sink so much into the ground. The sergeant had chosen their route to be as difficult as possible.

Halfway up the hill, the wheels stopped turning. The boys paused barely long enough to determine that the cause was too much mud caked around the axles before the sergeant was screaming at them again to keep moving. “The Germans aren’t so polite they’ll let you clean up! Your comrades are dying on top of that hill unless you get that gun up there! Get moving, you little girls!” Pushing the cannon became dragging the cannon.

It was nearly noon by the time they got the gun to the top of the low hill. Their uniforms were soaked and caked with dust. All the boys fell onto the ground, exhausted.

“Get up!” said the sergeant. The heat was getting to him, too: his shirt was wet with sweat and he wasn’t raising his voice anymore. “The Germans have retreated. Take this gun back to the base.”

The boys couldn’t help groaning, but the sergeant let that pass. They all stood up wearily and picked up the straps. Only Stepan stayed on the ground.

“Won’t you join us, comrade?” the sergeant sneered.

“I can’t,” Stepan puffed. “I’m worn out.”

The sergeant pulled his pistol from its holster. “Get up, or I’ll shoot you right now!”

Eyes wide, Stepan got up, picked up a box of ammunition and led the troop down the hill.

What it’s about

Canada-born Maurice Bury fought against the Germans invading Ukraine during Operation Barbarossa in 1941. Captured and starved, he escaped a German POW camp with the 11 men under his command. He fought in the underground resistance against German occupation for three hellish years. And now he’s back in the Red Army, which is soaking the soil of the Eastern Front in German and their own blood all the way to Berlin.

Maurice is determined to get back to Canada. But to do that, he not only has to survive the ferocity of the reluctantly retreating Germans, he also has to get away from the Communists. For if they learn his secret, they’ll kill him, too.

Launches February 22 on Amazon.

About the author

Scott Bury can’t stay in one genre. After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s story, came out in 2011. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, “Dark Clouds.”

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

He has written in the Lei Crime (Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes, Dead Man Lying), Jet (Jet: Stealth) and Sydney Rye (The Wife Line) Kindle Worlds.

His military memoir trilogy includes Army of Worn Soles and Under the Nazi HeelWalking Out of War will be published in February 2017.

He lives in Ottawa, Canada with two sons, two cats and a loving wife who puts up with a lot.

Visit Scott’s:

And follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

 

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Thursday teaser: Broken Wings

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By Dawn Torrens

Angelina could not stem the tears falling down her cheeks. She could hardly breathe from the fear that this could be the last time she ever saw him alive. Joshua ran his finger slowly over the small scar etched into her right eyebrow. He held her face in the palms of his large hands and kissed it, brushing the tears from her sodden cheeks. He felt her pain. He was feeling it too. No words could take their pain away; it was something they had to endure together until his return.

They lay on the bank together side by side with nothing but the glistening stars and the glow from the moon as cover. Their silence was a comfortable one—one that could only be shared by two souls that truly understood one another completely. Angelina turned to Joshua and surveyed him, taking in every inch of him. She searched his face as if discovering him for the first time.

Her heart was beating so fast that she feared it would burst. Joshua sensed her anxiety and pulled her to him, “Angelina, we have to go now. I wish I could stay here like this with you but I have just five hours before I have to report in.”

He was hurting now, feeling the pull of his heart. He had to be strong for Angelina, and he did not want to make his departure any harder for her than it already was. “Joshua, I want you to write me whenever you can. I want to know how you’re feeling out there and what you are going through. I want to know everything. I need to feel close to you as if I am right there with you. Please promise me you will do that for me?”

Joshua’s eyes glistened while he held her face in the palm of his hands, “I promise, darling.” He pulled her close, holding her as if for the last time.

About Broken Wings

Two people who have both suffered tragic loss in their young life; both of them avoiding love for completely different reasons. Joshua, a soldier in the British Army, a bomb disposal expert and the very best at what he does. Angelina, an editor for a local newspaper and writer in her spare time. Both of them focused on their careers.

Brought together unexpectedly, they fall unconditionally and irrevocably in love with each other. All is perfect in their lives until Joshua is unexpectedly posted to Afghanistan for six months. Angelina’s worst fears are finally realized. Joshua has to go; it’s his duty as a soldier, but the pull in his heart is strong and he leaves her behind with a heavy heart.

Angelina is devastated and she prays for his safe return. Until one day, a few weeks into Joshua’s deployment, there is a knock on her door that changes her life forever.

Find it on Amazon.

About the author

D.G. Torrens is the author of 14 books, including the bestselling trilogy, Amelia’s Story #1, Amelia’s Destiny #2 and Amelia The Mother #3. This is an emotion-charged true story that the author wrote for her daughter.

Born in England, passionate about writing, D.G. Torrens is married with a daughter. She is a prolific writer and in 2013, her works were recognized by BBC Radio WM, where she has given several live interviews in the BBC studios in Birmingham, UK. Thereafter, D.G. became a regular Headline Reviewer for the radio show for the next 12 months.

Visit her:

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Monday musings: peering through the fog

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Misty Foggy Road Mystery Fog

As I drove through an extremely foggy morning last week, I thought of all the people who try to make predictions about the future at the beginning of every year. It struck me that it’s like trying to tell which way an unfamiliar road will curve when you can only see 30 metres ahead.

If there’s one thing that 2016 taught me, it’s to keep my predictions to myself. But I have read a number of others’ forecasts for the directions and the curves the writing game will take in the next year.

These predictions may seem pretty safe, but what’s interesting is the way they fit together to have an impact on readers as well as writers.

Amazon’s dominance will grow

Amazon has been the number one retailer of books (and a whole lot of other stuff, too) for years, and this market dominance is only going to increase.

Retail sales are also suffering, and “brick and mortar” retailers are losing market share to online retailers—like Amazon, but also to others, even their own online operations. Barnes & Noble reported its 2016 holiday sales were 9.1 percent lower than in 2015. The company attributed that to lower traffic in its stores. In contrast, online sales rose 2 percent.

Other bookstore chains are struggling, and are devoting more and more floor space to things that are not books: music and movie disks, decorations, novelties, even food.

The only way for independent bookstores to survive is by specializing.

Amazon has opened some brick-and-mortar stores of its own, and while it has enabled authors to publish their own books for years, it has started a number of publishing imprints of its own, such as Thomas & Mercer (the publisher of one of BestSelling Reads’ members, Alan McDermott).

More market share will go to e-books

While paper will never go away, e-books are taking up more market share. As of 2016, the estimates in the U.S. were that print books represent 39% of book units sold, and e-books 61%.

The ease and economy of publishing e-books is one of the factors behind the staggering growth in the numbers of self-publishing authors.

More writers will self-publish

Some writers call this “increased competition,” but that term doesn’t quite capture the reality of writers. Books are not like cars or washing machines—we read them in a matter of days, usually, and move on to the next book.

Restaurant cluster in Paris

The situation is more comparable to restaurants. Restaurant owners are smart to cluster together, because more options bring more customers. Diners love to come to a street crowded with restaurants, and will come back many times to try all the choices available.

Readers are the same. After all, a traditional bookstore brings together thousands of different authors, and readers prefer bigger bookstores with more choice.

Writers will band together

Another prediction I read was that authors will work together to increase their audiences. That’s interesting, because working with other authors is how I began self-publishing fiction. I find my experience with BestSelling Reads, and another group I belong to called Independent Authors International, to be hugely rewarding—in terms finding other great writers, learning how to improve my writing, as well as finding new readers.

The big challenge for writers is not to out-compete other writers, not to sell books (although that’s a nice thing to accomplish), but to learn how to engage with audiences. That’s what a story is: a connection, an experience shared by reader and writer.

For readers

When I was young, I cannot begin to estimate the time I spent hanging around in bookstores, looking at all the titles I had to choose from. Readers today can spend hours just perusing books, trying to decide which one to open next. That’s why sites like Goodreads and Library Thing are so popular—they help readers decide which book to read next, to find good books in the e-mountains of words available.

I promised I would not make any predictions for 2017, but I will tell you about one other trend I noticed over 2016: the increasing number of services and systems for sale to help authors sell more books by learning how to tag their titles on Amazon, set up mailing lists to readers, send enquiries to book reviewers, build platforms and more. “This is the secret that bestselling authors use.”

As I said, no predictions. Just a warning: some of these services and subscriptions are very expensive, and none of them guarantees a writer will sell more books.

No predictions, but a question to the readers out there: how do you want to engage with writers? Answer in the Comments.

 

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Announcing: Elise Stokes returns to BestSelling Reads

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A founding member of BestSelling Reads, Elise Stokes has come back to the author’s group.

Elise Stokes’ first book, Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, burst into prominence when it was selected by a middle school class in the U.S. in 2011. Written for a teenage audience, it’s an adventure tale about a teenage girl who’s turned into a superhero. It quickly rose to bestseller status.

Since then, she has published three more titles in the series: Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant, and Cassidy Jones and the Luminous. All have achieved bestseller status, as well as praise from critics and readers of all ages.

The fifth book in the series, Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame, is due to be published in early 2017.

Her aim was to write adventure books that are “fun and relatable, and a bit edgy without taking the reader uncomfortably out of bounds.” With a daughter in middle school and two in high school, Elise lives with her husband and four children.

Find out  more about Elise on her

And follow her on Twitter @CassidyJonesAdv.

 

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Thursday teaser: Trojan

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By Alan McDermott

Founding BestSelling Reads member Alan McDermott returns to the group for 2017 with a brand-new book in a brand-new series: Trojan.

The moment the sound of the shot reached him, the SAS sergeant issued his order.

‘Light ’em up!’

He rose from his position on the roof of the elder’s house and picked off two Saif al-Islam soldiers who were staring at their dead leader; his rifle was soon seeking the next target. He found it in the form of a man guarding the young women of the village. Two bullets left his weapon and scored headshots.

His fellow troopers were also making light work of the opposition. The sniper and his spotter, hidden in the mountains almost a kilometre away, had counted twenty-five enemy soldiers in the trucks. Updates had continued to come in about their locations, and within ten seconds of the leader’s takedown, another twenty-two of his men followed him to the grave.

Two remained, however, and had enough wits about them to take cover among the villagers. One rose with his arm tightly wound around a young girl’s neck, his pistol jabbed into the side of her head, and he began shouting. The other was cowering among the elderly, raising his head now and again to take a pot-shot at the men on the roofs.

The sergeant, chosen for the mission because of his fluent Arabic, understood the terrorist’s order: drop your weapons or the girl dies. It wasn’t an instruction he was about to obey.

‘You got the tall one with the girl in your sights?’ he asked into the radio.

‘Just say the word,’ the sniper responded.

‘He’s all yours,’ the sergeant said, never taking his eyes off the target. Within two seconds, half of the terrorist’s face disappeared in a crimson cloud, leaving just one x-ray to deal with.

The sergeant knew the sniper couldn’t get a bead on the enemy, as a hut lay in his line of fire. It was up to him to end it. Unfortunately, this fighter had taken note of his friend’s demise and forced three women to stand in front of him, making it impossible to shoot him without striking them first.

The target had his back to a wall. On the roof above him, one of the sergeant’s men knelt near the edge.

‘Jones, he’s right below you,’ the NCO said. ‘Stand up and move one foot to your right, then get ready to fire.’

‘You have nowhere to go,’ the sergeant called out. ‘Lay down your weapon and put your hands in the air.’

He waited until the terrorist began his response, then whispered into his throat mic: ‘Take him.’

Jones leaned over the side of the building, pointed his weapon straight down, and sent three rounds through the target’s skull, ending the stand-off.

The sergeant climbed down from his perch and told the sniper to keep an eye out in case any of the enemy had managed to call in reinforcements, then ordered the troops to gather the bodies and photograph them before loading them onto the back of the trucks. Once the task was complete, he ordered his men to climb into the cabs and went to have a word with the elder.

‘We were never here,’ he said in Arabic, then pointed to the trucks. ‘And neither were they. Hide any bullet holes and throw away our shell casings, just in case they send someone looking for them.’

About Trojan

To be published January 12, 2017 on Amazon

When MI5 learns that a horrifying new weapon is in enemy hands, agent Andrew Harvey is called in to track it down before it reaches British soil.

But then a woman is found murdered by the roadside and it soon becomes clear that London is in the crosshairs. The clock is ticking. Andrew and his girlfriend, Sarah, also a secret service operative, have only one lead: a beautiful refugee, desperate not to lose her son. But is she desperate enough to betray everything she believes in? And will she do it in time to help them prevent a terrifying attack?

As Andrew and Sarah race to unravel a convoluted web of subterfuge and exploitation, they discover there is more at stake than even they knew. And somewhere, at the heart of it, lurks a faceless enemy, who is prepared to use everything—and everyone—at his disposal.

About the author

Alan McDermott lives in the south of England,  and is married with beautiful twin daughters. He recently gave up his job of creating critical applications for the NHS to write action thrillers full time.

His debut novel, Gray Justice, was very well received and earned him bestseller status. The next two books in the series — Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption — were enough to attract the attention of a major publisher, and he has since added Gray RetributionGray Vengeance and Gray Salvation to the list.  Alan’s seventh title, Trojan,
is a spinoff featuring MI5 agent Andrew Harvey. It will be released in early 2017.

You can find more information on Alan’s:

BestSelling Reads author page  |  Amazon Author page  |   Website and blog  |  Facebook page

And follow him on Twitter @jambalian.

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Alan McDermott joins BestSelling Reads

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Bestselling action-thriller author Alan McDermott has rejoined the ranks of BestSelling Reads authors for 2017.

Alan published his first book, Gray Justice, to critical and commercial acclaim in 2011. It tells the story of an ex-SAS (British special forces) member who takes justice into his own hands following the death of his son in an automobile accident caused by a repeat car thief, and the subsequent suicide of his wife. It struck a chord in the English-reading world.

McDermott followed his first book with Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption, at which point his success attracted the attention of a major publisher.

Since then, he has published three more books in the Tom Gray series:

His latest book, Trojan, is a bit of a departure from the Tom Gray saga. “I have decided to give Tom Gray a rest after all he’s been through, not least in his latest adventure, Gray Salvation. My seventh book focuses on Andrew Harvey, Veronica Ellis and the rest of the MI5 team my readers will be familiar with. It may not have Tom, Len and Sonny, but it’s the normal fast-paced read with a mighty twist.”

Trojan launches on January 12.

McDermott publishes a blog, Jambalian, which features interviews with other authors in the action-thriller genre. He is also a member of Independent Authors International, an authors’ collaborative publishing group.

Alan McDermott and his books will be prominent features of the BestSelling Reads website and promotions through 2017.

Read Alan McDermott’s BestSelling Reads author page to find out more.

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Year-end Teasers: The 2016 spotlight

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Your favorite bestselling authors have been very busy over the past 12 months. Altogether, BestSelling Reads member authors have published 46 titles. Here’s a quick look back at all the great reading available for your enjoyment this year.

Claude Bouchard

Scott Bury

Barb Drozdowich

Julie C. Gilbert

DelSheree Gladden

Emily Kimelman

Emily’s Sydney Rye Kindle World also launched in May 2016.

Seb Kirby

 

Toby Neal

Renée Pawlish

Kathleen Valentine

Even though Kathleen passed away at the end of October, she published two books in 2016:

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Holiday greetings from BestSelling authors

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This is the last Monday post before Christmas Day, and BestSelling Reads authors want to extend their wishes for the holiday season to all readers.

Samreen Ahsan

May this Holiday season bring joy and peace to your life. May your new year bring lots of happiness with lots of books. May you achieve your reading target in 2017.

Claude Bouchard

Wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year. You have all given me the best Christmas gift ever, year after year… Your support.

Frederick Lee Brooke

To all my reader and writer friends: a special holiday greeting, with my best wishes!

Scott Bury

Have a happy Christmas, Hannukah, Yule and every other holiday through the year.

Barb Drozdowich

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Julie Gilbert

I hope everybody gets to spend some quality time with their families this holiday season.

 

DelSheree Gladden

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, I hope all our readers enjoy time with their families and friends over the holidays and finish out 2016 with a wonderful holiday season!

Emily Kimelman

May your holidays be filled with family, love, and good cheer!

Seb Kirby

Best wishes, health, happiness and peace to all in 2017. Let’s make it a year to remember with affection.

Toby Neal

Dear readers: you are my alo-ha! “Ha” means breath, and your passion to read is the breath that energizes me to write, that fuels the fire of my creativity. If a story is not read, does it exist? You never make me wonder–you are always there for me, and I for you.

Renée Pawlish

Wishing everyone a blessed holiday season. Stay safe and keep reading.

Raine Thomas

Wishing you a holiday season filled with hope and love, and the most incredible year yet in 2017!

Gae-Lynn Woods

Cass Elliot and the good (and bad) folks of Forney County wish you a very Merry Christmas and a New Year full of mayhem and murder – of the fictional sort, of course!

 

 

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Monday musings: Looking back on 2016

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Photo courtesy of Jannes Pockele (Creative Commons)

By Renée Pawlish

2016 has been a busy year for me. I started the year by publishing the first novel in the Dewey Webb historical mystery series. Dewey Webb first appeared in a Reed Ferguson mystery, Back Story, and I thought it would be fun to develop Dewey into a spin-off series. This year, I published three Dewey mysteries (Web of Deceit, Murder in Fashion, Secrets and Lies). The stories take place in the late 1940s, and it’s been fun to write the stories, but also challenging to make them as historically accurate as possible. I’ve been blessed with a few beta readers who grew up in the Denver area, and they’ve helped me with tips on Denver during that time, and they’ve also corrected some of my mistakes. When I started this series, I didn’t know if it would take off or not, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Readers seem to like Dewey, and I plan to write at least three or four more in the series.

I’ve also continued the Reed Ferguson mystery series, adding two more novels, two novellas, and a short story. The challenge for this series is to keep Reed fresh. I always thought I would stop this series at eight books, but I’m about to release the fifteenth book in the series. With each new novel, I try to come up with a new and interesting premise, and make sure that Reed’s supporting cast is involved in fun ways (my readers love the cast around Reed almost as much as Reed himself). I don’t plot out my stories ahead of time, and it’s refreshing to see what’s in store for all the characters.  

One of the things I challenged myself to do in 2016 was to release a novel every other month, and a short story or novella in the months between those releases. I wasn’t able to do this the entire year, but I came close. It’s not been easy, but when I’m writing a novel, I try to keep to a goal of writing one chapter per day. I don’t ever hit this, and a day here or there gets missed, but overall I am able to write a novel in about six weeks. For me, that’s about as fast as I can write a book and still feel that it’s a quality product. I’d like to keep up this schedule in 2017, but I’ll only do it if I feel like I’m still producing good stories, and if my readers say the stories are good. If not, it’s time to slow down.

Finally, I’ve had my best sales year yet, and I am very pleased with that. Amazon continues to make things challenging for authors, but I’ve still done well. I hope that this growth continues in 2017 and beyond.

Thanks for reading.

Renée Pawlish is the award-winning author of the bestselling Reed Ferguson mystery series, horror bestseller Nephilim Genesis of Evil, The Noah Winters YA Adventure series, middle-grade historical novel This War We’re In, Take Five, a short story collection, and
The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, a nonfiction account of a haunted house investigation.

Visit Renée’s

And follow her on Twitter @reneepawlish.

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Christmas teasers: Holiday books from BestSelling authors

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The gift-giving season is here. If you’re looking for a Christmas holiday-themed read for the discerning reader on your list, here are some top picks from BestSelling Reads. Because it’s a busy time of year, we’re teasing you with very short excerpts today. Follow the links to find out more.obliviousgirlshandbooktitle

Greenly squeezed my hand and listened patiently as I told her about finding the apartment half-empty, Monroe coming to investigate, Joseph admitting he’d left me, having to move out on Christmas, and how I hadn’t seen any of it coming.

— From The Oblivious Girl’s Handbook by DelSheree Gladden: Being oblivious to all the signs that your life is about to fall apart doesn’t stop it from happening to Sara Taylor.

Check out DelSheree’s latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects!

Well, Agent Scott, you wouldn’t be my first choice for an ally, but I’m just a cog in this machine. We either make this work or die trying.

— From Christmas Makes it Chaos (Shadow Council Book 3) by Julie C. Gilbert: FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott works to stop a madman bent on making Christmas chaos.

Find more of Julie’s books:

 

Cole, you’ve got three choices: don’t do anything and deal with the pain, go public about the injury and seek the services of a specialist … or Everly.

— from For Everly by Raine Thomas: In a desperate bid to save his career, major league pitcher Cole Parker hires Everly Wallace to treat his injury and keep it off the record and out of the media.

Get to know Raine’s books:

Snowflake is the newest designer drug. There have been six teenager deaths in the past two months, and best intelligence shows Honolulu as its point of entry.”

— From Palm Trees & Snowflakes: A Lei Crime Kindle World mystery by Scott Bury: Snowflake has a whole new meaning in Hawaii. The new designer drug being trafficked through Oahu gives users the perfect high—and slowly kills them.

Visit Scott’s:

If Nick had given me more warning I would have stayed in the woods until December was over. I can’t believe he’s making me do this.”

— From A Very Marienstadt Christmas (Secrets of Marienstadt, Volume 3) by Kathleen Valentine: You are invited to spend the holidays in a community where tradition is strong and love is all around.

Kathleen Valentine passed away in October 2016. You can still find her work:

 

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