Launch day: Gray Genesis

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Today is publication day for the new Tom Gray thriller

By Alan McDermott

Miriam Dagher had never had a fear of flying. But as she stood at the gates waiting to board the British Airways flight to Kabul, she felt ready to throw up. Her hands trembled as she gripped her boarding pass, and the sweat accumulating in her armpits was growing increasingly uncomfortable.

Am I doing the right thing?

She’d asked herself the question a hundred times that day, and she still didn’t have the answer. Only time would tell. It was too late to back out now, anyway. The decision had been made, plans put in place, promises made and bridges burnt.

Her old life was over.

A cheerful steward motioned her forward and held out her hand. Miriam gave her the sweat-stained card.

“Are you okay? You don’t look so good.”

“I’m a nervous flyer,” Miriam lied with an apologetic smile.  “I’ve done it hundreds of times, but it never gets any easier.”

“Well, don’t you worry.  You’re in good hands.  This is one of the safest planes in the sky.”

Miriam tried to smile graciously but it came out as a grimace. She hurried through the gate and down the tunnel that led to the door of the Boeing 777, where a stewardess checked her seat number and pointed Miriam towards the first class section. As this was going to be her last flight for some time—perhaps forever—she’d splashed out on an expensive upgrade.

She took her seat by the window, buckled herself in and clasped her hands together, her eyes closed tight. 

Why am I doing this?

She wanted nothing more than to leap from her seat and run from the plane, go back to her home and undo everything she’d done. But that was impossible. She’d made a deal to protect her country, to take lives in order to save lives.

That was the hardest part; knowing she’d be responsible for countless deaths. It flew in the face of the Hippocratic oath she’d taken as a medical student, as well as the years spent looking for ways to improve healthcare outcomes.

A stewardess cleared her throat to get Miriam’s attention, and when she opened her eyes she was offered a hot towel.  She took it and wiped her hands and face, knowing that little luxuries like this would soon be a thing of the past.  Where she was going, all she had to look forward to was baking heat and basic sanitation at best.

The itch under her breast was annoying in the extreme, exacerbated by the sweat accumulating under her ample bosom.  She turned to face the small window and massaged the area gently, the sensation clawing at her like the never-ending doubts that flitted around inside her head.

She declined the offer of a pre-flight drink, preferring instead to try to sleep. But her vision was immediately filled with images of the dead, men young and old torn from families, their agonising death throes ringing loud in her ears.

And it was all her fault.

Gray Genesis

Tom Gray is back in his most explosive adventure yet!

Afghanistan. As the war on terror intensifies, Taliban leader Abdul al-Hussain has plans to turn the tide in his favour. His objective: a US virologist named Miriam Dagher. She’s about to pay a visit to the land of her birth, and al-Hussain has her in his sights.

Out to stop al-Hussain is Sergeant Tom Gray, SAS veteran and leader of 8 Troop. His team are tasked with disrupting Taliban operations, snatching high-profile targets and wreaking havoc on enemy supply lines. Their missions are routine, until the Taliban unleashes a new breed of warrior.

Gray Genesis is a prequel to the million-selling Tom Gray series, a familiar blend of intrigue, camaraderie and explosive action.

Alan McDermott

is a husband, father to beautiful twin girls, and a full-time author. Alan lives in the south of England, and in 2014 he swapped writing critical application for the NHS to penning thrillers that have gone on to sell close to a million copies. His debut novel, Gray Justice, was well received and by the time he’d written the follow-ups, Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption, it had attracted the attention of a major publisher.

Alan signed with Thomas & Mercer in 2013 and has now written six novels in the Tom Gray series and a spinoff called Trojan. Alan’s eighth novel, Run and Hide, introduced a new female lead, Eva Driscoll, and a new thriller series that includes Seek and Destroy and Fight to Survive.

Alan can be found:

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

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Clipped Wings

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Enjoy this sample of the brand new Paradise Crime Mystery Novella Book 4.5 with Hawaii Recipes

By Toby Neal

Rosario dried her hands on a clean white towel and took the order sheet on its clipboard off of the metal rack that held her favorite pots and pans, and headed for the walk-in refrigerator.

She pulled open the heavy steel door of the walk-in, and parted the dangling plastic panels that helped keep the cold inside. As she stepped through, she inhaled deeply, taking in the rich smells of ginger, onions, garlic, and fresh vegetables, with overtones of the tropical fruits that were a unique part of Hawaiian cooking. She stepped forward on the raised rubber flooring with its round holes for traction and drainage, and examined the rack of metal shelves that lined the chilly room.

She had established an order of storage for the items, so it was a fairly rapid process to check how many eggs and how much butter, cheese, salad dressing, sauces, fruits and greens she had.

Rosario and her brother Wayne had grown up poor on the Big Island. They were the surviving offspring of a Portuguese paniolo ‘Hawaiian cowboy’ on a big Waimea estate, and his Hawaiian wife, their beloved Mama, who’d cleaned and cooked for the family that owned the ranch. Wayne had taken to the paniolo lifestyle in his father’s footsteps, while Rosario had learned her mother’s skills in cooking and estate management.

Photo of the Island of Hawai’i by Sarah Humer on Unsplash

Their parents had died in a car wreck when she and her brother were in their late teens, and Rosario had moved to California, hoping to build a better life for herself—which she had done in working her way up to into establishing Aunty’s Hawaiian Food Place with her partner, Momi.

Rosario ticked down her order sheet on autopilot, her mind drifting back to the ways that life had taken dark turns: her brother Wayne and his wife Maylene falling into drugs. Maylene’s death by overdose while Wayne was incarcerated, which had brought their feisty daughter Lei to live with Rosario at age nine.

Her niece Lei had had a traumatic and abuse-filled childhood that had left her with lasting scars, but Lei had come so far in overcoming her past that she was now an FBI agent on Oahu.

And with any luck at all, she’d be coming to her aunt’s for Christmas this year.

Rosario inhaled the smell of baby new potatoes, parsley, mint, and ginger in their boxes, instinctively sniffing for anything spoiled.

There was—a small red potato with a spot of black rot. Rosario extracted the offending tuber from the box and opened the square, sealed bin where she stored spoiling food and leftovers from the restaurant to feed to pigs at a friend’s farm, in trade for a supply of fresh pork.

Her eyebrows rose as she dropped the spoiled potato into the bin.

It should be nearly full after three days. She had the waitstaff scrape plates into a special garbage bag, and then deposit it in the bin along with any expired, unsold food from the stand of convenience foods Rosario kept stocked at the counter. Several bags of leftover food and a half dozen expired hard-boiled eggs, along with some papayas and avocados she’d bought for garnishes that had been overripe, should be in the bin.

But there were only two eggs, no papayas or avocados, and a couple of white plastic bags of leftovers.

Rosario was the one to take the bin to the pig farm twice a week; who would take food meant for the animals?

Clipped Wings

Clipped Wings cover

Even Christmas can be darkest before dawn.

She just wants to survive.

The sixteen-year-old Robin Hood bandit responsible for starting an anarchy movement in Hawaii is now the target of an escape plot at a juvenile detention center, sparking FBI agent Lei Texeira to get involved with a manhunt.

She just wants to find the burglar.

Someone is stealing food from Aunty Rosario’s restaurant kitchen, but the holiday takes an unexpected turn when she catches the thief in the act.

Favorite Hawaii recipes submitted by readers and served in Aunty Rosario’s Hawaiian Food Place restaurant are included!

Clipped Wings 4.5 takes place between Broken Ferns #4 and Twisted Vine #5. A portion appeared as a short story in an anthology.

Find out more on the author’s website.

Toby Neal

Award-winning, USA Today bestselling social worker turned author Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. Neal is a mental health therapist, a career that has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her stories. Neal’s mysteries and thrillers explore the crimes and issues of Hawaii from the bottom of the ocean to the top of volcanoes. Fans call her stories, “Immersive, addicting, and the next best thing to being there.”

Neal also pens romance, romantic thrillers, and writes memoir/nonfiction under TW Neal.

 Visit her on her:

And follow her on Twitter @TobywNeal.

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The Quisling Factor

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A Thursday preview of the forthcoming new novel

By J.L. Oakley

Photo by Kererra Williams on Unsplash

Downstairs at the French doors, there was a faint light from a new moon caressing the glass panes. Haugland heard nothing, but his eyes caught an irregularity with the doors and going over, he discovered that they had opened and shut, but not completely. Moving as softly as smoke, he gently opened the door and looked out.

The pine forest beyond the grounds was dark and impenetrable. There was no wind, no call of night animals. He cocked his head again, straining, then heard a sound to his right. Easing back the hammer on his gun, he went forward stealthily, then stopped. A cat emerged from a bush close to the house and came out to serenade him. It was Tomsin, his mother’s cat.

Disgusted, Haugland drew back and returned to the door to the study. At the patio’s edge, he turned the flashlight on and shined it on the flagstones. There in the light’s yellow pool, he found two partial prints. Looking closer, he saw that they had been made by wet boots, possibly a man’s. He straightened up and pushing the doors into the room, looked for signs inside on the wood floor, but found none. They only appeared to be outside going in. He knelt down and closer for any depressions in the Oriental rug in the center of the study, but he could only see his own feet in passing. Further investigation in the hallway revealed nothing more. It was as though a ghost had come and drifted into the house, dissipating through the roof. He went back and closed the door. He was positive that something had been moving in the house, possibly outside his door upstairs, but whatever it was, it was gone. 

The Phoenix and Mission hotels, Trondheim, Norway, wartime headquarters of the Norwegian Gestapo.

Upstairs, he paused outside the children’s door, then on impulse went in. Lisel was still sleeping in the same position he had seen her last, her mouth slightly open as she slept. He pulled the summer blankets higher up on her, then gave her a kiss. Next he checked on Nils in his crib, remembering that he had not actually seen him the first time he had looked in. Shining the light near the baby’s face, Haugland was relieved to see that he was alright. The sweet blonde face was quiet, his thumb stuck into his mouth and from time to time he sucked as he slept on his stomach with his little fanny sticking up into the air. Haugland chuckled and wondered if the position was normal. He reached over and tried to unplug the thumb and discovered that the hand was grasping something.

Haugland put a hand on his tightening chest. The baby’s little fingers were gripping tightly onto what appeared to be a piece of newsprint. Gently, Haugland unrolled the fingers and slipped the paper out. It had been folded several times. It opened out into an eight by nine inch scrap. On one side there was text from several news items. On the other side—

Nazi paraphernalia from the occupation of Norway, Trondheim.

Haugland gasped. The noise in the house had been real. As he turned the paper around, he stared into a newswire photo of a scene from the Cloister. It had only been published yesterday, but it was old news to him. He did not look at the men demonstrating some torture method for the press. He only saw the poster of the skeleton on the wall. Above its bony frame in vaguely familiar printing were the words:

“I’M COMING.”

The Quisling Factor

Ex-Norwegian intelligence agent, Tore Haugland, is a survivor. In post-WWII Norway, he adjusts to life in his newly freed county with the woman he loves, German-American Anna Fromme.

A demonstration of torture from the trial of Henry Oliver Rinnan in 1946.

But first he must keep his promise to testify against one of the greatest monsters of the German occupation, Henry Oliver Rinnan. When mysterious notes threaten Haugland and his family, he must choose between protecting them or bringing to justice the man who captured and tortured him and destroyed the village that hid him.

The Quisling Factor, the sequel to J.L. Oakley’s bestselling World War II-set novel, The Jossing Affair, is coming soon.

J.L. Oakley

writes award-winning historical fiction that spans the mid-19th century to WW II. Her characters come from all walks of life, but all stand up for something in their own time and place.

Her books have been recognized with a 2013 Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award, the 2013 Chanticleer Grand Prize, the 2014 First Place Chaucer Award, 2015 WILLA Silver Award and the 2016 Goethe Grand Prise.

When not writing, Janet demonstrates 19th century folkways, including churning some pretty mean butter.

Her most recent historical novel, Mist-chi-mas: A Novel Of Captivity, launched in September 2017. It is set in 1860 on San Juan Island in Pacific NW during a time with the British Royal Marines and US Army jointly occupied the island—peacefully.

Visit her on her:

And follow her on Twitter @JlOakley13.

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Beautiful Finale now out!

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It’s the day readers have been waiting for: a new bestseller published

By Raine Thomas

On the eighth anniversary of the publication of her award-winning Daughters of Saraquel trilogy, bestseller Raine Thomas has just released the fourth and culminating novel in her House of Archer rock’n’roll romance, Beautiful Finale.

Beautiful Finale

A rock band. A reality show. A marriage on the rocks.

In the span of four months, Lily Montgomery has gone from touring with her best friend to marrying him. It feels like someone has stomped on the gas pedal that is her life. Right now she is more than ready to pump the brakes.

But that’s not how it works in the world of show business. Her new husband is off filming and recording more often than he is at home. He sees more of his beautiful co-star than his own wife. Lily is finding it harder and harder to distinguish between performing and reality, adding more stress to a marriage that the tabloids already wager won’t last the year.

Thank God for Jada Morgan.

Lily’s new assistant quickly becomes indispensable, covering The Void’s social media while Lily pursues her own writing. When Lily learns that Jada is temporarily rooming with Void guitarist, Xander Phillips, she isn’t concerned. Xander has hard-and-fast rules when it comes to relationships with women. The only way he’ll break Jada’s heart is if he breaks all of his rules.

Even with Jada’s support, Lily struggles to adjust to her new life. From her own personal stalker and ongoing family drama to the constant bombardment from the media, she’s quickly reaching her breaking point. She’s about to learn if marrying a rock star will result in a beautiful finale … or in absolute disaster.

The end?

The House of Archer series until today has comprised three novels:

While Beautiful Finale is the culmination of the story arc, author Raine Thomas says it’s not necessary the end of the story of the characters House of Archer readers have come to love.

“I have loved crafting the House of Archer series, and I look forward to weaving these characters into my future books much like I threaded the characters from my baseball romances into this one,” she says.

So as Raine says, “it’s not truly the end. It’s merely goodbye … for now!”

Where you can get Beautiful Finale now

About the author

Raine is a hopeless romantic with a background in the fields of mental health and wedding planning…two areas that intersect far more than one would think. Her years working with children and young adults with emotional and behavioral challenges inspired her to create protagonists who overcome their own conflicts. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Where to find her

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Tumblr  |  Instagram  |  YouTube  |  Goodreads  |Linkedin 

Raine Thomas’ titles

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Tuesday teaser: Once Upon a [Fallen] Time

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We know, it’s not Thursday, but we’re excited about the launch today of a brand-new time-travelling paranormal romance

By Samreen Ahsan

“I asked you, Edward, have you ever had a dream?” He looked me in the eye, examining my every expression.

I sank deeper in the velvet armchair and leaned against the backrest to look up at the ceiling. “Dreams are illusive fantasies. They never come true.” I looked back at him.

He didn’t take his deadly eyes off me. “So, you have fantasies?”

“You called to interrogate me?” I asked, irritated.

He chuckled and picked up the book. “I can assure you, dreams do come true.” He opened the book and handed it to me. I looked at the book carefully; the first illuminated parchment grabbed my attention. The book was written in Latin, but I knew it was the translation of Roman de la Rose (Romance of the Rose) by Guillaume de Lorris, a French poet who had existed almost two hundred years ago. I had seen this book back when I’d been a child. I knew it had been given to my father—a gift from an English poet I had once met in my childhood.

I focused on the image, a man lying on the bed, traversing into a dream. The image was surrounded with a text and decorated initials.

“Many men say that there is nothing in dreams but fables and lies,” he watched me as he read the verses. It seemed like he had memorized it. “But many may have dreams which are not deceitful, whose import becomes quite clear afterward.”

I regarded him with a sour expression. What was he trying to imply? That he had some stupid dream, which held some significance in his life? I looked back at the parchment and focused on what he was saying before I closed the book and placed it back on the table. I didn’t want to go down this road with him.

“What is the hurry, son? Don’t you fancy a drink with your old man?” he snickered and handed me a drink in a crystal goblet. He had never spoken to me like this—in a father-son way. It had always been a king and his descendant. I took a sip and looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

“Do you know why I have called you here, Edward?” he asked, drink in his hand while he blew another puff. I waited for him to continue. “Remember I told you how hazardous a beautiful woman is?” I held my breath tightly. I had a feeling this was not going in a good direction. “She could poison our lives.” I bridled my wandering thoughts. “But…”

He stood up and walked about the darkened room. My eyes followed his haughty poise. There was something on the tip of his tongue he wanted to spill, but I didn’t know why he paused.

“But sometimes… a woman can change perspectives too.” He was walking back and forth. When he went towards his bed, I noticed his mirror was missing. Had he moved it somewhere else? He stopped walking and sat back in his chair. I looked at him, waiting for him to elaborate. “Don’t be so indifferent, son, that you don’t know what I’m talking about!”

I averted my eyes and looked towards the missing mirror, followed by the door that led to the secret spring.

“The woman…” he lit another cigar and looked at me, “that you call your captive,” he took a deep puff, “I’m trying to understand who the captive is and who the captor is here.” I threw daggers at him but held my tongue tightly. Anything I’d speak might go against her or me.

“From what I see, you didn’t even ask once if she was a peasant and you invited her to the royal table.” I moved forward while clasping my hands on my knees. “So, get to the point.”

He reciprocated my act by moving forward as well to look me in the eye.

“Didn’t you notice her?” God knew how much I noticed that woman so closely. “She is here…” he moved back and spread his arms, “in this cursed castle,” he shook his head, “and still the flowers in her hair didn’t wither.” He was completely drunk in his fascination for her. “Do you honestly think she was peasantry?” He looked agitated. “The silk she wore, and besides, do you think peasant blood is capable of bringing flowers inside this castle?” There was nothing I could say. I’d have to stick to the lies to protect her. “She is no ordinary woman, Edward.” He looked me in the eye. “The flowers on her didn’t wither. Do you know what this means?” I sod inside but tried to curb my temper. He was completely struck by her powers.

“She is a witch?” I asked hesitantly.

Once Upon a [Fallen] Time

Samreen Ahsan continues the saga that began in Once Upon a [Stolen] Time.

In Once Upon a [Fallen] Time, the past and future collide in the tale of love, obsession, betrayal and the hope for redemption.

The tortured Edward Hue, the last king in the cursed dynasty, is in deeper anguish over the woman he loves when he discovers which woman his father has chosen for him to marry.

It is available on Amazon today, May 21.

“The author’s style is magical in itself as she sets the past and present onto a direct collision course. 5-stars!”—Tome Tender Book Blog.

Once Upon a [Stolen] Time

2015…

All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castles—and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. Now, wealthy videogame designer Steve Bernard wants her to model for a princess character in his new game. Myra can’t resist his offer, especially when she learns that Steve plans to film inside the mysterious Hue Castle—a cursed, barren, colorless place forbidden to visitors for centuries. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to Hue Castle by blood and sorcery. When she enters its doors, she awakens dark powers that will reach through time—stealing her past, torturing her present, and rewriting her future.

1415…

Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman who haunts his dreams—who will either break his curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly.

For Myra and Edward, past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

Find it on Amazon.

About Samreen Ahsan

History, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities.

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Thursday teaser: Defenders of the Realm

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This week’s urban fantasy teaser is from

The Aumahnee Prophecy Book 4

By Lisa Manifold and Corinne O’Flynn

I spun a U-turn and parked the car in one of the angled spots outside the bookshop and fought to stop laughing. Something about that billboard struck me funny. Here we were—a fae warrior with an invisible sword and magic portal stones that didn’t work, and me, a witch who had recently been turned into a wolf shifter—driving across country, looking for the keepers of an ancient portal to allow us to travel to the Fae Realm. And as we arrived in this tiny town, the first thing we saw was an advertisement for conspiracy hunters? What are the odds?

“Marigold, I do not see what has made you laugh so.” Eamonn was so earnest and serious it made me laugh even harder. I sputtered, fighting to get the words out between fits of the giggles.

“Maybe we should… should call them. You know? The crackers, or whatever they were called, from the billboard. We could report a witch-wolf and a fae spotted in Eureka.” My voice rose up higher and higher until I squeaked out the words. The unreality of everything that had happened over the past few weeks seemed to have finally caught up with me.

Eamonn smiled and laughed a little, the moment finally growing contagious. “It is nice to see you…feeling better. Happier.” His sherry eyes held mine, bringing me back to earth and stirring something else inside me.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and checked my face in the mirror. Life at the no-tell motels hadn’t done me any favors. I pulled my unruly hair into a braid and tied it with a hair tie I wore around my wrist. I had no makeup on—wolf shifting was not at all kind to mascara—but on the whole I just looked tired. Whatever. It would have to do. “Okay, so what’s the plan? How does this go?”

Eamonn looked at me and the setting sun made his sherry eyes seem to glow. Damn. 

“Well, I suppose we walk inside the shop and request the portal from the portal keepers. Then we will be on our way.”

“There’s no secret handshake or anything? That doesn’t seem very secure.” I couldn’t understand why he didn’t seem to be more bothered about this.

“Honestly, I do not know what we shall find. I have never used one of the old portals for travel. I’ve never met a portal keeper for that matter.”

“Alright-y, then. Let’s do this.” I turned the key and listened as Matthias’ old Buick rattled to a stop. That we’d finally be out of this car was a blessing no matter where we ended up. This thing sucked. 

Eamonn opened his door and used it for cover as he attached his sword to his belt. The moment he let it go, the sword and scabbard became invisible.

“Do you really think that is necessary?” I asked, eyeing his sword.

“Given the current climate across all the Realms, I’m not willing to take any risks. Besides, would you have me leave it behind?” He smoothed the front of his black T-shirt, checked his hair in the window’s reflection, and looked through and caught me watching. He arched an eyebrow at me and smiled.

I rolled my eyes, hoping he wouldn’t see me blush as I walked around the front of the car to meet him.

About Defenders of the Realm

War is here. There is no escape.

A witch at risk.

For Marigold, the questions keep mounting while answers remain elusive. With the drama surrounding her mother growing darker and the intrigue regarding her missing sister deepening, Marigold struggles to face reality over the lengths her family is willing to go to get what they want.

A Fae warrior in turmoil.

Navigating his new position in the King’s court should be enough to keep Eamonn busy, but he can’t stop thinking about Marigold’s illness, and her willingness to put herself in harm’s way–both of which could be deadly. He failed the king once before, he will not do it again.

The portals between the realms are broken and the Veil is under attack. The battle waged by the wolves–and their odd alliance with the witches–threatens everything the Fae hold dear.

And despite it all, the prophecy continues to unfold.

Available on Amazon.

Corinne O’Flynn

is a productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, and the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books on her website or on Amazon.

Anyone interested in staying connected can sign up for her emailsWhether you’re a fan of mystery or fantasy stories, or a fellow busy human looking for ways to build your own productivity systems, Corinne O’Flynn invites you to join her as she shares what she learns on her adventures.

“I believe in doing things with intention, and making sure those intentions are good. :)”

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