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One More Day – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (7/31)

July 29, 2016 Leave a comment

If you’re not feeling going to a midnight party, have you pre-ordered instead? It’s available on Kindle!

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Categories: Book, Fantasy Tags: ,

Book Review – The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson @BrandSanderson

February 14, 2014 Leave a comment

The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

Book Description:

WINNER, 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novella 
Nominee, 2013 World Fantasy Award for Novella 

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Emperor’s Soul showcases a fascinating magic system as the clock ticks down for a condemned criminal.

When Shai is caught replacing the Moon Scepter with her nearly flawless forgery, she must bargain for her life. An assassin has left the Emperor Ashravan without consciousness, a circumstance concealed only by the death of his wife. If the emperor does not emerge after his hundred-day mourning period, the rule of the Heritage Faction will be forfeit and the empire will fall into chaos.

Shai is given an impossible task: to create–to Forge–a new soul for the emperor in less than one hundred days. But her soul-Forgery is considered an abomination by her captors. She is confined to a tiny, dirty chamber, guarded by a man who hates her, spied upon by politicians, and trapped behind a door sealed in her own blood. Shai’s only possible ally is the emperor’s most loyal counselor, Gaotona, who struggles to understand her true talent.

Time is running out for Shai. Forging, while deducing the motivations of her captors, she needs a perfect plan to escape…

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Well, no wonder Brandon Sanderson’s novella The Emperor’s Soul earned a Hugo – it’s a really good book, and I loved the creativity of the magical system it explored. It sure left me wanting more long after I’d finished it. I even checked Brandon Sanderson’s catalog to see if he might have written a sequel in the interim (from it’s release in November, 2012).

It amazes me, really, the creativity of fantasy/sci fi authors like Mr Sanderson. He explained in his afterword that he got the idea after visiting a museum in Taiwan and seeing the red signature seals you see in Chinese artwork. He went from that to – What if the stamp wasn’t just the signature of the artwork’s creator? What if stamping a work allowed someone to change the entire history of an object (for example, an empty wall becomes an exquisite wall painting once you add the history that a master artist once spent weeks convalescing in the room)? And a step further – is it possible for a master of the craft to do the same for a brain-damaged person, rebuild the person’s entire history and personality from scratch? Just blew my mind.

If you’re after an afternoon or two of “blowing your mind”  too – keep this book in mind. Maybe, if there are enough people wishing for more Shae, Gaotona and Emperor Ashravan – a follow-up might just materialize!

The Emperor’s Soul) by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment) is available on Amazon, B&N, Apple iBooks, Kobo books

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Indie Saturday – Author James Wharton on his books and writing philosophies @jamesmwharton

November 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, we have author James Wharton featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘.


James Wharton writes:

Real life is stranger than fiction. That’s the premise on which I work when I’m writing.

My name is James Wharton and I have written ten books in three entirely different genres.

Historical fiction has brought the most success with recently published The Destiny Project topping the sales list with over three thousand e-books in the last two months. I write that with great humility because just one person buying one of my books is thrilling and gratifying.

The Destiny Project was the result of an idea about the role of women in World War Two, specifically, the WASPs, Women Airforce Service Pilots. Their job was to fly bombers, fighter planes and every other kind of plane, ferrying them to different destinations around the country. Unlike today, these women weren’t in the military and couldn’t fly combat missions. But, what if unknown to everyone, they did fly secret, ultra-dangerous missions?

Hence, The Destiny Project:

“An ancient artifact with powerful secrets, a rogue government agency and a Nazi nuclear weapons factory cause the lives of two women from different times to spin out of control. World War II ended in 1945, but a bizarre incident on an American bomber on a forgotten raid over Germany now threatens the security of the United States.”

Oh, did I mention there is a bit of time-travel involved?

“In the present time school teacher Kate Darron’s bad day gets much worse when a strange woman wearing clothes from another era knocks on her apartment door. Kate is troubled that the woman seems to know every detail of her life. “Who are you?” Kate asks. “Think of me as the fairy godmother of death,” the woman replies. “You shall be dead in less than half an hour.”

The Destiny Project II will be published in 2013.

Detour is a second historical fiction novel which has also enjoyed substantial sales.

“Peter Krause is a German physics professor in 1935. David Kelly is an American history professor in 2010. In the closing days of World War Two, Adolf Hitler retreated to his Furherbunker in Berlin. Surrounded by thousands of Russian troops, no escape was possible. Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945. The world, including David, has long accepted this fact. Peter Krause was there when it happened. He knows Hitler’s death is a lie. In the present time Lomasi Goodwater, a beautiful Navajo shaman, is haunted by visions of a coming nuclear holocaust.”

Did I mention time travel is involved?

The Jaguar Queen, the first book in the Arizona Sheriff Jimmy Harris series, was just published. It is an action story, a tale of passionate love and tells of otherworldly secrets.

“The paths of an ancient Mayan queen, a sheriff haunted by a troubled past and a beautiful cartel boss intersect when the violence of the Mexican drug wars spills across the border into Staunton, Arizona. While Sheriff Jimmy Harris grapples with the murder of a United States Senator’s son, the violence spins out of control and a daughter he has never met is suddenly thrown in harm’s way.
As Jimmy Harris pursues the beautiful but dangerous cartel boss, he is increasingly attracted to her and forced to confront the shadowy boundary between good and evil. All the while, the mysterious loner Indian Joe prowls the fringes of reality.”

The second genre in which I write is humor.

The Deluxe UFO Tour Company, (not sci-fi) is the first novel in The Empyrean Arizona series. The second, Invasion of the Moon Women, will be published in December this year (2012). Voyeurs, a brief humorous book (actually a long short story) is about the Russian Intelligence Agency and the man who runs it who also happens to be the world’s worst boss. That he drinks lots of vodka and steals his employees’ wives are the least of his faults. I have also published two humorous short story collections, Strange Breakfast and Other Humorous Morsels and Ghost Pets, the latter being quite insane.

I have also published two short story collections dealing with ghosts. They are Ghosts of the Grand Canyon Country and Ghosts of Arizona’s Tonto National Forest. Most of these stories were inspired by actual events.


On his writing philosophies…

My writing philosophy is first and foremost “follow the story.” The story and its characters will take the writer where they intend to go. As an example, when I first planned to write The Destiny Project, I thought it would be a natural to have the main characters be a man and a woman in love. But, that is not the way the story wrote itself. The story shouted out that two women should be the lead characters. While that seemed unusual and definitely out of the mainstream, I couldn’t write it any other way.

“Kate Darron and Bebe Beardsley are forced to undertake a terrifying mission across continents and time, one on which survival is not an option.”

The second part of my philosophy is to not release a book for publication until I am convinced that I did everything in my power to write the best book possible. Once a book is “out there,” an author is judged by it alone. If that book is the first exposure a reader has to an author’s writing, he will judge the author by the quality of that book. If the quality is good, hopefully that reader will read another of that author’s books. If the writing quality is bad…..well, you get the picture.

Lastly, respect the reader’s time. The reader made a commitment to purchase a book. The least the author should provide is an enjoyable, fulfilling experience. When the reader finishes the book and can say, “I really liked that book,” the author has done his job. That is what I aim for with every book I write. It is also where I get the most gratification. I am flattered when a reader buys one of my books, but I am delighted when a reader tells me he or she really enjoyed one of my books. I got an e-mail from a reader just last night telling me how much he enjoyed The Destiny Project. Then he asked, “When may I expect a sequel?” That made my day!


You can check out James Wharton’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

To learn more about James, follow James on his official website: JamesWharton.Net, Twitter: @jamesmwharton and Facebook: jameswharton. Drop by and say hi!

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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample from “The Destiny Project” after the jump!

Read more…

Indie Saturday – Author Lola StVil on her “Guardians” Series @guardiansgirl

October 27, 2012 2 comments

Today, we have author Lola StVil featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her paranormal “Guardians” Series.


Lola StVil writes :

First, I would like to thank Randomizeme for allowing me to guest host.

I wanted to talk about writing Fantasy.

The best part about this genre is that you can still be a kid. You remember running around your house with a cape “flying?” Well with fantasy, you never have to take the cape off.

You can build worlds and planets. You can leap skyscrapers, make love potions and even save the world.

When I wrote book 1 of this series, there was so much action and adventure, my feet never touched the ground. I’m hoping you will feel the same way.

The first novel in my “Guardians” series is called “The Girl.” It centers around Emmy – a bookish, witty student who is rescued by six teenaged angels with powers, called Guardians. They’ve been sent to elicit the secret from her before the demons can; a secret hidden so deep, Emmy doesn’t even realize she knows it.

Things get worse when Emmy falls madly in love with Marcus, the well-intentioned but obstinate leader of the Guardians. He eventually confesses that he is in love with her as well. Unfortunately, Marcus has been warned by his clairvoyant and omniscient guide that should he and Emmy get together, the mission will fail and humanity will perish.

So, it’s okay if you are like me and can’t leap tall buildings and have no superpowers. Don’t worry. You can still save the world.

Lola St. Vil

Feel free to stalk me: )


Lola StVil’s Guardians series are all available on Amazon in Kindle format. Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3

You can also check out Lola StVil’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

More author links!

Lola StVil’s Blog: http://www.marcusandemmy.wordpress.com and Twitter: @guardiansgirl

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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample of “Guardians: The Girl” after the jump!

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Indie Saturday – Author Katella Stegmann on “The Barking Mad Tale of a Teenage Werewolf” Series

October 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, we have author Katella Stegmann featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her coming-of-age YA paranormal series – The Barking Mad Tale of a Teenage Werewolf.


Katella Stegmann writes :

Hey, you’ve never met me and this is crazy, but here’s my series … so read it maybe.

Now that you eternally hate me for getting that tune stuck in your head how about I introduce myself?

My name is Katella Stegmann. I’m a dreamer, a weirdo, and everything else most artists are known for. Writing has been a part of my life since the day I was born. I was a toddler when I wrote my first masterpiece about a group of superheroes banding together to save their city from an evil super villain bent on world destruction. I thought the tale was exceptionally good. My mother, however, was displeased with the scribbles of permanent marker I had left all over the wall.

I was a devious little child, always finding ways to be a menace to society. The one thing that seemed to qualm my thirst for trouble was writing. It has been as much a part of my life as anything else. It is etched into my soul. Through the years I have learned how to mold my words intricately into zany antics of tales of action, adventure, humor, and love. I truly can not remember a time in my life that I was not dreaming in some capacity. I have spent years perfecting my craft and take pride in the fact that I am an abstract artist who enjoys painting pictures with words.

My novels have always been about more than just one element. I’ve always believed that philosophy, character development, and plot are all equally important. I think that there is a balance of a perfect amount of love and strife in a good story. It was the great philosopher Empedocles that said, “At one time through love all things come together into one, at another time, through strife’s hatred, they are borne each of them apart.” There is both comedy and tragedy in my stories. I lean on humor, though, because I think that laughter is important. I don’t take myself or my writing too seriously, and I’ve been told that shines through in my stories.

I was sixteen when I wrote The Barking Mad Tale of a Teenage Werewolf. While other kids my age were dutifully taking notes in class about the fall of the Roman Empire I was engulfed in a world where a group of not so ordinary kids were protecting their town from rabid evil-doers. Imagine a world filled with secrets, corruption, and a wacky pack of werewolves who spend their time playing dare or dare and placing ridiculous bets with one another, all the while fighting crime and protecting innocent people. Trust me when I say that it’s not your average superhero team.

The first book, “An American Werewolf in Idaho” follows young Cassie Hill in her quest to find a place to belong in the world while she stumbles through her destiny to protect her small Idaho town from a band of evil werewolves led by an ancient angry wolf who has a vendetta against her. And as if her life isn’t complicated enough, Cassie also has to deal with the struggles of that awkward feeling of falling in love for the first time. Her love life is more than complicated, seeing as how she has to keep secrets from her admirer, the new kid in town, Jackson Tucker, who has a few secrets of his own.

As the series progresses in the second book, “A Tale of Two Shih Tzus” the reader watches the secrets and lies of the two lovers unfold. As our young protagonist uncovers those secrets she has to waver through difficult decisions about life, love, and family. She struggles with the internal battle in her brain and her heart while dealing with the impending battle on the horizon.

In the third book, “The Labrador of the Rings” the reader is taken on a fast paced action adventure where Cassie seeks to overcome the hurdles that are presented to her. She learns the true meaning of love, sacrifice, and loyalty.

In the fourth and final novel, “The War of the Werewolves” the journey comes to a close. The reader witnesses children become adults as the characters they have grown to love prepare to fight the battle of their lives. Good and evil are going to have it out. Who will be left standing?

The series has humorous undertones of government control, individuality, and battles between the sexes. It tackles cultural differences and discrimination in a language that young minds can understand. The novels were based on that (call me old fashioned) notion that beauty lies within the soul. Age, race, and gender are all meaningless because when it comes to being human we are all the same. Yeah, I’m a hippie. Aren’t most writers?

It took me ten years to publish this series. Ten years to perfect my story to my liking. Ten years to overcome my fear of putting my writing in the public’s eye. I have to give credit where credit is due. I have a lot of followers and supporters on fanfiction sites online. Without them I never would have been brave enough to jump into sharing my work. I have been a writer my entire life, but without my fans I never would have become an author. I count myself as lucky, because the fans that I have are great. And I hope to build my fan-base even more over the years. I like making new friends. I’m also one to take constructive criticism. I think it helps me grow as an author. So if you have any questions, don’t be shy! Speak up. If it’s one thing I’ve learned through this whole experience is that you should never be afraid to ask questions.

I’ve rambled long enough. Stop browsing the interwebs and get back to work or pay attention in school you naughty, naughty children! I’ll end simply by saying that if you’re into fast talking werewolves with wicked humor, non-sparkly vampires, and a whole lot of laughter then I urge you to check my books out. If not, that’s cool, too. I’ll just take comfort in the fact that you’ll be singing Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” all day. You’re welcome.

You can keep up with my books online on facebook (sorry, kids. I have not yet had time to build a real website for the series!)
https://www.facebook.com/AnAmericanWerewolfinIdaho

Or my facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/KatellaStegmann

Or the twitter:
@KatellaStegmann

And/or

@Barkingmadbooks

But be forewarned…I suck at the tweeting. I’m twitter stupid and have yet to really figure out how it works.


Katella Stegmann’s The Barking Mad Tale of a Teenage Werewolf series are all available on Amazon in Kindle format.

You can also check out Katella Stegmann’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample of “An American Werewolf in Idaho” and “The Labrador of the Rings” after the jump!

Read more…

Indie Saturday – Author Matt Posner on his “School of the Ages” Series

September 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, we have author Matt Posner featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for his magical fantasy series School of the Ages (Of a planned five,  three of the books from the series are already out: The Ghost in the Crystal, Level Three’s Dream and The War Against Love)


Matt Posner writes:

Hello. I’m Matt Posner, writer, teacher, and Dean of School of the Ages, American’s greatest magic school. Thanks for hosting me on indie Saturday.

I released the third book of the School of the Ages series in August 2012. Although I began to publish these books in 2010, I have actually been working on the series since 2002, so it is now ten years since the whole thing started, and I am now much older, now an independent author in the United States (I have a publisher in India), and I am working within the context of decisions I made ten years ago.

It was so different then. I was under forty, I was a yeshiva high school teacher, there was a new hole in the Manhattan skyline, and my greatest longing in the literary firmament was more Harry Potter. So different. These books were always intended to be about young people growing up, but I know that in 2002 I could not predict the ways they would grow, even more than I could do so for myself as I moved from a callow man not long out of graduate school and not long transplanted to this daunting city called New York, to whatever sort of man I am now, which is not for me to say. I think I am still shocked when people talk to me like an adult and a professional; I still feel like my teen characters a lot of the time!

School of the Ages is a magic school on a hidden island in New York Harbor. The students come from New York City and other places in the world and they are very multicultural. Half of the school consists of Chasidic Jews studying Cabala. The magic is mostly invisible, and based on meditation and inner focus.

The world is our own world, full of real-world places and events. There is no whimsy and more darkness than humor, but on the other hand, there are no prophecies, no “chosen ones,” no “dark lords” to take over the world. That has been done too much lately; I for one need a break from it. Instead, in my stories, teenagers are growing up, as teenagers do, dealing with their feelings and their increasing ability to cope with the world, as well as their recognition of how hard that can be.

The War Against Love, which is the third School of the Ages book, was inspired by my desire to work with very grand epic themes. They are in the title. War is one, and love is the other. Thus the book has two plotlines that run parallel for the majority of the book.

In one plotline, my protagonist Simon and his allies are forced to grow up too fast when a group of nasty wizards from Europe begin to attack them as part of a mortal struggle against their teacher, Dr. Archer, and School of the Ages itself. Simon is fifteen when he has decided that he is ready to kill an enemy. In a lot of fantasy literature, killing people is a routine fact of survival, but Simon grew up peacefully in Bayside, Queens and has never had to contemplate the consequences of taking life, what it means emotionally or spiritually. Yet at the same time that he has these doubts, he is also looking at enemies who have performed heinous acts of violence and with whom there is no possibility to reason or reconcile. And he decides to sacrifice a part of himself to do what has to be done. The book follows the consequences of this decision.

In the other plotline, Simon has been grieving for over a year (throughout the second book of the series, in which he is pretty much an emotional zombie) about the loss of someone he loved, when that grief is challenged by meeting Ana, the daughter of the Arch-mage of Prague, a girl who represents an escape from that grief and a chance for emotional renewal. But she is not the easiest person to deal with and he does not know if he can ever gain her affection. And even if he does, there is still this war going on, and being in love raises the stakes. Should he put aside the commitment he made, and focus only on his intense motivation to win Ana’s heart? Or continue the battle, knowing how much greater the stakes are are when he has something he wants to come home to?

As always, these themes for Simon are accompanied by similar content for the supporting cast. I am a big fan of dramatic foils and echoing motifs, and so the book looks at many romances troubled by war and strife, including Goldberry and her slimy boyfriend William breaking up over a perceived infidelity, the usually cute and goofy couple of elementalists Robbie and Avery strained by the arrival of an enemy from her past, and the consequences of Dr. Archer’s own relationship history.

So what kept me going as I was writing this book? I think I was drawn mainly by the desire to write the kind of book I would want to read. This has been my favorite book ever since I began drafting it, because I have poured into it the best cast of characters I could, including lots of horrendous foes human and monstrous, and lots of true heroism and intense tragedy. I wanted to hit all the notes with this book that perhaps books by other authors have not hit when I wanted them to. I can remember a moment of great cinematic excitement from 1999 that represents the feeling I was going for. When I was first seeing X-Men 2, I was really struck by the scene in which Wolverine leaps from the second floor landing and attacks the men invading the school. The audience in the theater where I was cheered wildly. That was what they wanted to see, their hero being a hero in the style they had always longed for on screen. I want this whole book to provide that feeling. I want my readers to be thinking, “Yeah, that’s perfect. The heroes have real courage, the villains get what’s coming to them, it’s just what I wanted, and I will remember this part for a long time.”

That being said, you will also leave The War Against Love with a sense of loss. War produces tragedy, in real life of course, and also in fiction.

All my books are available for Kindle, and many for Nook. The School of the Ages series has three books so far of a planned five. Start with The Ghost in the Crystal, and then Level Three’s Dream. Then you may wish to dip into the two short story books, Tales of Christmas Magic and Sara Ghost, which are Kindle exclusives. And then there is The War Against Love. Book four, Simon Myth, is set for next year, and book five, The Wonderful Carol, is tentatively for 2014.

Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from New York City. Originally from Miami, FL, Matt lives in Queens with Julie, his wife of more than ten years, and works in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Matt teaches high school English, with a fondness for special education students, and teaches world civilizations at Metropolitan College of New York.

His interests include magic and the paranormal, literature, movies, history and culture, visual arts, world music, religion, photography, and professional wrestling history.


You can check out Matt Posner’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

To learn more about Matt, follow Matt on his official website: schooloftheages, Twitter: @schooloftheages and Facebook: schooloftheages. Drop by and say hi!

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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample from “The War Against Love” after the jump!

Read more…

Indie Saturday – Author Corey Guerra on “The Dragon’s Eye”

September 22, 2012 1 comment

Today, we have author Corey Guerra featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for his fantasy novel The Dragon’s Eye.

“The story takes place in the land of Fael-wen, a land with humans, elves, magic, and of course, dragons. Hundreds of years ago, during The Great War, The Dragon’s Eye was used to help rid the land of evil. Believed to be lost, The Dragon’s Eye has since become legend.”


Corey Guerra writes on how he wrote his book:

It all started in a bar.

It’s amazing how a story forms for a writer. If you polled writers I’m sure you’d find a vast amount of answers as to how their book was formed, or what was their starting point. For some it could have been a character they wanted to see develop, or it may have been a theme they wanted to get across to the reader. For me it was two characters in a bar.

I grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons as a kid and many of our quests always started in a bar when someone would approach our characters and ask us if we wanted to go on a quest. It just seemed like a natural place to start. So when I was in high school and wanted to write my own book, it was where I started my book; two characters in a bar who are suddenly thrust into the story. It’s amazing how much of that has changed.

I have always been driven by snippets when I write. When I have I line a character says, or the detailed action of a sword fight, or how a person feels at a certain point in the story I want to try to incorporate that into the book any way I can. I feel that many times those small scenes are what people remember the most about a book. No one remembers every detail of The Hobbit, but there a certain scenes and lines that everyone knows. When I wrote The Dragon’s Eye I wanted to include as many memorable lines or scenes as I could.

This of course can prove to be problematic as I found out. If you try to force a line or plot point that doesn’t fit you end up with a crappy story. I think this is what took me so long to write my first book. I became attached to certain items I wanted to include, and like a square peg in a round hole, I tried to squeeze it in to no avail. It was once I took a step back to see the whole picture that it became easier.

In The Dragon’s Eye, the main protagonist is Makayla, a druid who discovers she is more important that she could have ever imagined. What really drives the story is how she evolves and copes with her newfound destiny. The way the other characters and the setting weaves with her is what makes the story so fun. Then it became easier to have some of my scenes and lines into the story without taking away from the overall theme of the book.

Corey Guerra was born in Milford Massachusetts in 1977. He has been an avid fan of fantasy and medieval fiction all his life. He began writing the basis for what became The Dragon’s Eye back in 2001. After building the continent of Fael-wen and it’s rich history, his first book was born.


The Dragon’s Eye by Corey Guerra is available on Amazon in Kindle format.

You can also check out Corey Guerra’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

To learn more about Corey, follow Cory on his official website/blog: thedragonseye and Facebook: The-Dragons-Eye. Drop by and say hi!

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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample of “The Dragon’s Eye” after the jump!

Read more…

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