Posted in Adventure, Children, excerpt, Giveaway on June 19, 2017


Sir Kaye the Boy Knight, Book 4


Don M. Winn

  Genre: Children’s Chapter Book / Adventure / Medieval

Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press

Date of Publication: June 16, 2017

Number of Pages: 166, B&W illustrations

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Kaye’s father is in danger! The young knight, Kaye, and his friends Reggie and Beau enter Eldridge in search of the only man who can save Kaye’s father. During their journey, they encounter and make a powerful enemy of Baron Thomas—the self-proclaimed heir to the throne of Eldridge—who also has his sights set on ruling the country of Knox. Together, the boys dodge the baron’s henchmen and race against time to stop an assassination that would plunge the two kingdoms into war in this exciting conclusion to the series.

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“This set of books just gets better and better. Yes, it’s a non-stop adventure, packed full of nasty barons and battling knights. But it’s also a story which is strongly-themed and where the bond between the characters is highly prized.” —The Wishing Shelf Awards Book Review

“Books of adventure and challenge that still offer an emotional component are hard to come by for middle-grade readers—and even more so for middle-grade boys—yet Don M. Winn hits the mark dead center with The Eldridge Conspiracy.” —Patricia Reding, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“This is more than just a fictional story; it teaches children about life, about friendship, making decisions, and about not putting too much stock in pride all the time – sometimes pride gets in the way of making the right decision. Great story. I would recommend that the whole series be read in order to get the most out of it and I think all kids will enjoy this tale.” —Ann-Marie Reynolds, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“The Eldridge Conspiracy was a rewarding read due to a wonderful writing style of incorporating dynamic characters, humor, relevancy, and the thought that even without superpowers, children can be heroes.” —Stacey Waltzer, Urban Mommies


Excerpt from Chapter Three

The Eldridge Conspiracy

by Don M. Winn

Beau woke me in the gray light before dawn. “It stopped raining,” he said. “Let’s go.”

My stomach felt so empty, it tied itself into knots, but I kept quiet and saddled my horse. I was tired of hearing myself complain, and I’m sure Beau was too.

As we rode, the birds sang themselves into fits of joy over the coming day. The sky grew pink and golden, and the birds fell silent as the tiniest sliver of sun like molten steel peeked over the edge of the world. Then it popped up into the sky all at once, the birds so wild with excitement that you’d never think it happened every day.

Beau whistled a cheery tune and I rode up alongside him. “I’m sorry I was grouchy yesterday,” I said. “I was wet and worried about Kaye.”

“You’re still wet and still worried,” Beau said. “What’s different now?”

“The sun’s up, I guess. I can see where I’m going. And you promised a fire and maybe a bed later at the abbey.”

He nodded. “And soup. At least, I hope they have soup. There’s a cold spot inside me that only hot soup will fix.”

“I was thinking about hot cider last night,” I said with a laugh. “It’s almost fall. Look at the trees.” Tiny patches of orange and yellow edged a few clumps of leaves in the trees along the road.

Soon we came to a crossroads in a village with an old gray church. People moved about, stopping to eyeball the strangers riding through.

“Pardon me,” Beau asked a man nearby. “We’re looking for the abbey. Can you tell us how to get there?”

The man grunted. “Most boys would be helping with the harvest these days, not traveling about to abbeys. We barely got the wheat and barley under cover yesterday before the rain came to spoil it.” He yawned. “And now there’s threshing to do.” He yawned again. “Wislett Abbey is the closest. Keep following this road and you’ll find it.”

“Thank you,” Beau said. “Good day to you, sir.”

As we passed the old church, I heard a familiar neigh. “Wait. That sounds like Kadar,” I said. Sure enough, Parsnip whinnied back, as if greeting an old friend.

We rode behind the ancient building and found Kaye’s fine warhorse Kadar grazing under an apple tree at the edge of the churchyard. He nickered to our horses like they had been parted for months and sniffed at Acorn, which is what I had named Birket’s roly-poly brown horse. Then Kadar went back to munching the apples littering the ground.

Kaye sat under the same tree. He held a parchment in one hand and a half-eaten apple in the other. “What took you so long?” he asked. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

I scowled at Kaye. “Why didn’t you just take us with you in the first place?”

“Because you would have tried to stop me,” he said. “And just so you know, I’m not going back. I’m going to find my father and warn him that he and the king are in danger.”

“We know,” Beau said, sliding off his horse.

I stared at Kaye’s hand. “Are you eating apples from the churchyard?”

He took a bite. “Why not?”

I swept my hand around the yard, which seemed empty except for a few flat stones. “There are people buried here!”

“It’s public land, and anyway, they’re not eating them,” Kaye said. “These are good apples. They shouldn’t go to waste.”

I shook my head at Kaye.

He shook his back at me. “Look, I found something important. This was nailed to the church door.”

Click to read all of chapter three and its illustration!


about the author



Don M. Winn is a multiple award-winning children’s author of ten picture books and three children’s novels. His Sir Kaye the Boy Knight® series of novels for independent readers include The Knighting of Sir Kaye, The Lost Castle Treasure, and Legend of the Forest Beast. Don’s picture books include The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon; Superhero; Twitch the Squirrel and the Forbidden Bridge; Shelby the Cat; Space Cop Zack, Protector of the Galaxy; and many others.

Don has been writing for over 20 years. After beginning with poetry, Winn moved on to writing children’s picture books. Almost immediately, his growing young readers begged for chapter books, which led to the creation of the Sir Kaye series. As a dyslexic himself, who well knows the challenge of learning to love to read, Winn’s goal is to write books that are so engaging they will entice even the most reluctant or struggling reader. Winn lives in Round Rock, Texas.

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6/14 Book Trailer Chapter Break Book Blog
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6/20 Review Reading By Moonlight
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Posted in Adventure, excerpt, Religious Fiction on October 23, 2016



This is the most important book in the history of literature.

What if your afterlife was a dud? Would you want to spend your whole life following a religion if it led you to a terrible eternity? In this fun-filled guide I visit Heaven, Hell, Hades, and the afterlives of the Buddhists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Australian Aborigines.

The definitive book to change your (eternal) life!

“The Travellers’ Guide To The Afterlives” truly is the most important book in the history of literature.

Whether you’re deeply pious or a hardcore atheist, just imagine this: what if the afterlife really does exist? And what if the afterlife you end up in depends on which religion you follow?

What if some of the afterlives are great and some are awful?

Wouldn’t you want to know? Wouldn’t you want to spend your life following the religion with the best eternity? Because life is short and eternity is really, really long.

Despite being a lifelong atheist, I didn’t want to take the chance of being wrong and ending up floating in an infinite pool of embryonic fluid forever after. So I devised a way of travelling to the afterlife and returning to my body back on Earth. In “The Travellers’ Guide To The Afterlives”, I visit Heaven, Hell and Hades, as well as the afterlives of the Buddhists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Australian Aborigines. Join me as I recount my adventures and enjoy the tales of life, death, life again, more death, more life, a bit of sex, and an adorable couple of koalas.

Find out which religion will take you to the best afterlife so you can make an informed decision about your hereafter.




I never was a religious man.
Until a couple of years ago, I hadn’t put too much thought into religion. I was your typical atheist. Whenever someone talked to me about God or Satan or the Bible, I would find as many ways as possible to prove them stupid.
I wasn’t a believer, but when push came to shove, I didn’t really care that much about religion, so long as it wasn’t smeared into my face like a clown’s pie. Whatever you want to believe behind closed doors is fine by me.
My views didn’t suddenly change when someone stopped me on the street to tell me the Good News, nor did I re-evaluate my beliefs after meeting some drunk guy in a pub who splurted out a surprisingly profound cliché I’d never heard before. There was no epiphany; no life-changing moment.
In fact, my views on religion haven’t changed much at all. Or more specifically, my views on the religious haven’t changed. I suppose I can’t call myself an atheist any more, seeing as how I visited Purgatory, Hades, Heaven and Hell, met tribal ancestors, was reincarnated, and dined with a bunch of long-forgotten gods.
It started, like many things start, with a catalyst. I met a girl at a party while I was living in Germany. She was obsessed with death – terrified of it. Not so much dying, but what happens afterwards. What if we just stop existing? What’s the point of that? What’s the point of living just to die and disappear?
I’d personally not worried much about the thought of my existence ending at the time of death. If that is our destiny, then so be it. We have no influence over it so there’s no point wasting our time with something we can’t change.
What we should be concerned about is if there is some kind of life after death. According to the popular beliefs of most religions, our lifestyles influence where we go after we shuffle off the mortal coil. If one follows a religion, one can end up in its afterlife.
So what if one of the afterlives was a dud? Imagine being stuck somewhere really crap for the rest of eternity. Imagine dedicating your entire life to being a good Christian, then discovering that Heaven is duller than three accountants debating stationery.
I decided then and there to visit as many afterlives as I could and write reviews on them so that humanity could make an informed decision as to where they will end up for the rest of time. My German friend’s well-justified fear of the unknown drove me to write the most important book in the history of literature; a handbook on life-after-death: The Travellers’ Guide to the Afterlives.
The problem was, I didn’t believe in the afterlife.
But like all good problems, there was a solution. I found my solution not in religion, where one might suspect would be a good starting place, rather, in spirituality.
The path was made clear by hippies.

About the Author

Pete Malicki is a versatile writer and a maverick of the arts and entertainment industries. He’s won writing awards all around the globe and holds a world record for running the longest short play festival in history.

As a writer, Pete began by writing five novels before broadening his horizons and diving into the theatre world. His first published novel, “Eyes And Knives”, was named book chain Berkelouw’s “Book Of The Week” upon its release. His fifth novel, “The Travellers’ Guide to the Afterlives”, is an endearing mock-autobiography affectionately thought of as The Most Important Book In The History Of Literature, because no other book tells you how to secure the best eternal life!

In theatre, Pete has had over 750 productions of 70 different plays in 20 countries. His plays have won 21 awards between them at nationwide/international events. “V.D.”, his full-length one-woman show, has toured Australia, England and New Zealand to great critical acclaim.

His speciality is writing theatrical monologues which actors love to perform. These have rich, textured characters and engaging stories, and with 200+ performances of them each year they are among the most popular and successful monologues in the world. Six volumes of these monologues have been published and a Complete Works anthology is coming soon to SmashWords.

Outside of writing, Pete is a heavyweight producer in his hometown of Sydney Australia. He’s run the world’s largest short play festival – Short+Sweet Sydney – four times and been the coordinator of artist development program Crash Test Drama for close to a decade. He founded The Monologue project in 2013, which offers live shows, a script resource and workshops for drama students. He’s directed dozens of award-winning actors and stood at the helm of major Sydney productions. On top of that, he runs workshops on business skills and monologue performance, works as an editor for New Holland Publishers and his own company Editors Australia, and holds regular writing courses.

He is also developing Monologue Master, an online educational resource for actors wanting to get better at performing monologues, and co-founded Horizon VR, a virtual reality production company.



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Posted in 5 paws, Adventure, Children, Review on November 23, 2015

Chickadees Book Cover


Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half, by Jeffrey Politsky, is a vibrantly illustrated adventure book meant to inspire children to follow their urges to explore and to appreciate diversity. It is recommended for ages 4-9.

“Kids who still have their parents read to them really like the book, as do kids who are independent readers,” says Dr. Politsky. “The reviews of parents and children who have read the book are very favorable: adults really like the message and the children just love the story. I hope many more children will get to read it.”

The book starts off when “One day a little brown monkey with dazzling olive green eyes, a friendly smile, and a long curly tail asked his father if there was more to the life than just hanging around with other monkeys and eating bananas.” Before long he meets a lovely grey cat and a majestic blue pelican each on their own quests. Together, they explore a foreign island and when their journey takes them into a private swath of land, they befriend a local dog who takes them further than they ever imagined.

Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half emphasizes several significant values, which help us subsist and ultimately thrive: learning through independent exploration, the need for friendship, the importance of respect and tolerance for other cultures, languages, and lifestyle diversity, along with a healthy understanding of the powers of mother nature.


Buy the Book – Fifty percent of the proceeds of the sale of each book will be donated equally to research programs dedicated to the study of dementia and memory dysfunction, and to the study of breast cancer.


This may be a children’s book but what a tale it weaves with some good life lessons disguised within the pages about diversity and acceptance.

This is the tale of 3 animals that take a journey to an island off of Maui to see another part of the world than where they live. Along they way they meet up and experience the island together and come in contact with other animals and learn something from each of them and each experience.

This would be a great book to read with your children because it is longer (but at most a paragraph per page) and discuss the adventures of the animals.

The illustrations are beautiful and depict the stories well and we give it 5 paws up.


About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Politsky grew up in Toronto, Canada. He obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Toronto and his medical degree at the University of Western Ontario before moving to Vancouver for his residency training in Neurology. He moved to Boston in the late 1990’s to complete his epilepsy fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and has lived in the United States ever since. Today, Dr. and Mrs. Politsky live in New Jersey with their two children and two giant schnauzers. While he has written numerous articles and chapters related to the neurologic sciences, Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half is Dr. Politsky’s first serious non-academic venture.

Dr. Politsky began writing Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half on Formantera, one of the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean Sea off of the east coast of Spain.

“As I began pondering what makes free-form travel so interesting, I decided to try and create a story that would be appealing to youngsters. All of my back-packing adventures, like so many other travelers, had common themes: selecting a location, landing in a foreign place and feeling very foreign, attempting to understand the culture and fit in, survival, discovery, problem solving, raw happiness. I incorporated several of my own experiences in the text,” says Dr. Politsky. “I decided to weave into the story the linguistic nuances that my grandfather used when he would joke with my brother and me when we were youngsters – in essence we would ask him a question and he would answer using neologisms and in a manner that made absolutely no sense at all and then start laughing in a jolly fashion, quite amused with himself. I cherish my memory of my grandfather. His good nature and terminology stuck, much of it is incorporated in the book. In fact, some of his favorite expressions make up the book’s title.”

Dr. Politsky’s grandfather died in 1989 of complications related to multi-infarct dementia.

Tony Santiago illustrated the book with Dr. Politsky’s children and grandfather individually represented in the characters.

In 2011, Dr. Politsky’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is fine now; but the process was quite an ordeal. Anyone who has been through this or a similar experience understands this. Dr. Politsky sees and treats patients every day with epilepsy and related neurologic & medical conditions – in many cases illnesses appear like an unexpected storm and can turn people’s lives upside down and inside out like a tornado. By the end of 2012, Kim had been diagnosed, treated, and had achieved full physical recovery.

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Posted in 4 paws, Adventure, Review, Young Adult on August 29, 2015


pirates time cover


Careful what you wish for…

Sarah Schilling’s twelve year-old brother is wicked smart. But this? Pure genius. Brian snagged an invitation to spend the summer with their favorite aunt and uncle on St. Croix. Uncle Jack tells them, “There will probably be some swimming, some diving. We like to run. There’s a range, so maybe you’ll learn to shoot. Cooking. Your Aunt Helen is a classically trained chef. You knew that, right? There’s the Mallard seaplane, so maybe you’ll learn something about flying. That sort of thing.”

That sort of thing sounds like too much work for Sarah Schilling’s summer on the beach. Until Brian’s scuba regulator mysteriously fails sixty feet underwater. Her training snaps into laser focus. During Brian’s rescue they unearth the 250 year-old secret of Black Bart—the pirate and his ghost. The discovery launches them into a hurricane of peril at the hands of modern-day pirates. The Schilling family will not survive unless Brian and Sarah discover the most powerful weapon that is within themselves.

A Pirate’s Time Served is a YA thriller of a ghost story. It shows how two teens can dig deeper than they thought possible, discovering what it means to lead, to follow, and to never ever give up—especially on family.

Kindle * Amazon – Paperback * NOOK * B & N – Paperback * Smashwords * Kobo * iBooks


Just when you thought you knew what was going to happen, the book takes an interesting turn!

This YA book is a bit fantasy (since it involves a ghost) and a lot of adventure. Brian and Sarah decide they don’t want to stay in NY over the summer and wrangle and invite to stay with an aunt and uncle on St Croix. However, the summer they were expecting is NOT what they experienced.

While parts of this book are not realistic (IMHO) it was still a fun read and definitely kept you on the edge of your seat. While the book spans about 3 months, the first 2 months only takes up about 25% of the book and the last month is the remainder of the book and where all the action really takes place.

I thought the book a tad too long and maybe some of the book could have been left out, but it was still an enjoyable read. I think tweens (especially boys) would enjoy this book, but girls would enjoy it too since there is Sarah and her typical teenager attitude, at least in the beginning when she first arrives on the island.

We give this book 4 paws up.


About the Author

chrismalburgChris Malburg is a widely published author, with work spread over 11 popular business books–including How to Fire Your Boss (Berkley) and Surviving the Bond Bear Market (Wiley, March 2011).  In his other life, Chris is a CPA/MBA, a former investment banker and now the CEO of Writers Resource Group, Inc., providers of professional financial literary content to corporations (  That’s the professional side of Chris’ career.  The fun side began when UCLA’s Writers’ school taught him to transition from biz-speak to fiction. GOD’S BANKER and the first installment in the Enforcement Division series, DEADLY ACCELERATION, both combine Chris’ natural talent for story telling with his professional command of the high-stakes investment world and what money and power do to some people.

GOD’S BANKER  came to fruition from Chris’ hospital bed while recuperating from an athletic injury.  As a long-time endurance athlete, Chris is no stranger to the surgeon’scalpal.  Over 130,000 words later, GOD’S BANKERwas complete.  “It just poured out me,” says the author.  “I carried my note pad to physical therapy; made plot notes during the hours in the gym doing rehab; even while on my long bicycle rides through the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean where we live.  Slowly endurance returned and with it, GOD’S BANKER.”

Chris Malburg lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Marilyn.  Their hobby is raising service dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind.  As of this writing, they have raised eight Labrador retrievers and have had three make the cut for placement with their disabled partners.

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Posted in Adventure, e-books, romance, Sale on August 22, 2015

DON’T MISS THIS SALE! On Sunday it’s gone.

**More than 2000 adventurous and romantic pages.

CLEAN ROMANCE AT ITS FINEST– Let’s propel it to the NY Times Bestseller list. To see clean make it to the top would be Awesome.

daring hearts

Daring Hearts: Fearless Fourteen Boxed Set ~ Nine All New Novels Plus Five Bonus Books for the Adventurous and the Romantic

ALL For One Low Price of .99Cents!

From gorgeous heroes that make us swoon to the super sleuths and feisty heroines that make us cheer, this exclusive collection has something for everyone. Nine clean, sassy and BRAND NEW novels–a delicious mixture of fun, addictively romantic, action-adventure stories — each handpicked by an award-winning gathering of some of today’s most popular YA/NA authors. PLUS five bonus books from Elana Johnson, Leigh Talbert Moore, Rachel Morgan, Katrina Abbott, and C.L. Stone!

Over 98% off retail for the individual books sold separately (a thirty dollar savings!)

Hurry! Only available until September (so get your copy today).

REBECCA ETHINGTON ~ Monsters are real… Through Glass

RASHELLE WORKMAN ~ Alice is half demon and totally kick ass! Blood and Snow 10.1 ~ The Dark Moth Society

CINDY M. HOGAN ~ Some secrets are better left dead and buried. Kate Unmasked

ELLE STRAUSS ~ Time traveling is wonky enough… and this time it’s worse than ever. Counter Clockwise

CHRISTINE KERSEY ~ College is murder… Witness

JULI ALEXANDER ~ Solving mysteries is in her blood, but it might just get her killed. Paxton Private Investigations

AMBER ARGYLE ~ A storm is raging and not everyone will survive. Of Ice And Snow

WENDY KNIGHT ~ Her army of lost souls stand between us. The Soul’s Agent

LILA FELIX ~ Fasta is an artist, not by choice, but by force. Sketchy Love

C.L. STONE ~ Meet Kota, Victor, Silas, Nathan, Gabriel, Luke and North in a story about differences and loyalty, truth and mystery, friendships and heart-throbbing intimacy. The Academy, ever vigilant. Introductions
ELANA JOHNSON ~ If a picture is worth a thousand words then Olivia’s captured Trevor’s whole story. Something About Love

LEIGH TALBERT MOORE ~ She did not expect to be kidnapped walking to work. And she never expected to be a hero. Behind the Stars

RACHEL MORGAN ~ Stolen magical object? Check. Villainous faerie bad guys? Check. Complicated feelings for super hot, pain-in-the-ass assignment partner? Check. Not winding up dead? Working on that one. The Faerie Prince

KATRINA ABBOTT ~ Brooklyn’s new celebutante boarding school is missing one thing: boys! Taking the Reins


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Posted in Adventure, excerpt, Giveaway, romance, suspense, Time Travel on March 8, 2015



Sex. Coffee. Time Travel. by Elle Brooks
Romance / Adventure / Suspense
Date Published: Jan 20, 2015
(Time Frame Series Book Two)

In Book Two, Adventure-Romance author Lesley Meryn has her ‘second date’, a little bit of Time Travel, with the volatile yet seductive scientist Miles Sherwood. She wakes up to a spring day in 1765 Yorkshire. Miles should be there, waiting for her, but he’s nowhere to be found.

Circumstances spin rapidly out of control. Someone keeps trying to kill her new Eighteenth Century companion and self-appointed protector, Mick Kenning, a handsome and hunky stableman at the New Inn. Lesley helps him to foil these clumsy, but persistent and mysterious attempts on his life.

As the days pass, Miles remains missing. The clock is literally ticking down the days. She has less than two weeks to find him or she may be trapped in the past. Has Miles fallen victim to the very real dangers of an earlier time?

Complications multiply with the appearance of an elusive, badass, Highwayman. With a hefty price on his head, agents of the Crown have arrived at the New Inn to track him down. For Mick it’s personal, he despises the Highwayman. The Highwayman, not satisfied with jewelry, and coins, stole away the woman Mick once loved.

Will Lesley find Miles in time? What has happened to him? Will Mick ever find out who wants him dead? Will he ever find out why?

Balancing between high adventure, sword fighting, fisticuffs, pistols, and daggers, Lesley must use her wits, imagination, and every trick from her own books to find Miles, survive the Eighteenth Century, and return to her own time.



“Nah gawp ah missen,” the driver muttered darkly.

“W-what? Are you talking to me?” Lesley stammered, confused at his sudden flash of glowering anger. What had she done wrong? What the hell was he saying?

“Yer claht’ead, Ah’ll skelp yer arse!” He leaned his massive bulk over her as a huge gauntleted hand seized her by the shoulder, shook her, and then released her, tossing her backwards a few feet.

Lesley stumbled but did not fall. She stood her ground as he came to her again. He pulled back his arm to deal her a blow. When he struck out at her, she ducked out and away, and the momentum took him stumbling awkwardly past her.

When he turned to face her again, his sword was drawn, his face fixed on hers mottled with rage. He slyly glanced about the yard, to be certain that there was no one else about. Lesley felt a drop in her stomach that had little to do with her brain-pounding hangover nor the aching soreness she felt with every move. It became obvious in an instant the man was foul-tempered and a bully. But, he was slow and his movements clumsy and he was too confident in his bigger size and strength. She eyed the lethal sword as he waved it around with a distinct lack of finesse, threatening her, expecting fear to cow her before him. But, her years of training with Gilles galvanized her instincts. She knew how to protect herself.

“Is this a blood sugar problem or are you just this incredibly stupid?” Lesley commented drily as she backed off even more, her eyes flickering from side to side, looking for something she could use to defend herself. Making him angrier would actually work in her favor.

It worked.

The man gave an enraged roar, and lunged at her with the sword. Lesley spun away much as a bullfighter, and reached out with one hand for a long pole that rested against the Inn building. She flipped the pole with a flourish into en garde and when he came for her again, she parried the blow away with authority, and then twirled the pole to answer with a riposte that caught him with an audible crack on the side of his head. He staggered slightly to the side, shaking his head.

They stood there frozen, each watching the other. Dazed, he brought his hand up to the place where Lesley had struck her blow. He stared at the smudge of blood and then snarled at her.

She broadened her stance and stood ready to defend herself again. She felt as though she were one throbbing hurt, and the only thing keeping her up, keeping her going, was the shock of adrenaline surging through her body. Fight or flight. Only this was real. She swallowed, realizing that this fight had serious consequences; she was not playing. She trusted in her years of training with Gilles. They would serve her well here. She could not lose.

“Lesley!” Mick called out and her attention was diverted momentarily as she saw Mick running from one of the smaller outbuildings. Following closely behind was a shorter, slim, dark-haired young man.

The driver took advantage of the distraction and came in again with the sword. Lesley instinctively parried with authority, returning a sharp blow to his substantial belly.

“How do you like that, you great hulking pile of shit?” Lesley spat at him. Her pain and frustration were propelling her to places she should not have been going, making her say things she should not have been saying, and doing things she should not have been doing.

Mick stopped short, and could do nothing more than watch as the huge man came in once again. Lesley sidestepped, angling the pole much as a lance, driving the end sharply up into his solar plexus, his own weight and momentum doing most of the work for her, pulling the pole from her hands. With a great surge of effort she twisted, extending a long leg to boot him in the small of the back, at the same time, wresting his sword from his grasp, disarming him as he went down.

When he rolled heavily over onto his back to face her again, she stood there above him, his own sword held raised in both her hands, pointed directly between his eyes.

“What is your name?” she asked of him softly. The man muttered something indistinct. “Your name?”

She took a step closer swinging her boot up to rest lightly on his broad barrel chest. The man’s eyes grew wider as the point advanced even closer, mere inches from his eyes.

“Albert Quince,” he replied in a sullen whisper.

“Listen to me well, Albert Quince, and take heed of what I say,” Lesley went on quietly, pressing her boot a bit further into him for emphasis. “I think that you would do well to consider before you decide to take on someone who is so obviously smaller and weaker than yourself. For as you can see you never know just who you might be dealing with. Do I make myself clear?”

The man gawped at her in shock for a few long seconds and then glanced over to Mick, who could only stand there staring at the two of them.

“Do I make myself clear?” she asked again, softly enunciating each word. She felt as though she had taken on a character in one of her own books. She then realized that she could make good use of some of the dialogue as well.

“Aye,” he grunted reluctantly.

“Good.” Lesley stepped back as she re-directed the sword, driving the point into the soft ground just south of the man’s crotch. “For if there be a next time, I’ll make damned sure that you are qualified as a gelding.”

About the Author

Elle Brookes grew up in Los Angeles, California, but lived in Jamaica for three years when she was a Peace Corps Volunteer. She moved to San Francisco and studied at the California Culinary Academy, and went on to become a private chef to a well-known L.A. based television production company.

From an early age Elle was a voracious reader of adventure stories and from elementary school through high school, she started writing her own stories of places foreign and exotic.  She studied Art History and continued writing in college, focusing on short stories.

A dedicated and passionate traveler, Elle has explored river caves in Jamaica and Costa Rica, hiked glaciers in New Zealand and Iceland, and done dogsledding in Greenland and Iceland. She’s danced a fa’a Samoan haka and slept in a fale on the island of Savai’i in Samoa, hiked in the northern mountains of Thailand along the border with Myanmar in the Golden Triangle, and in Haiti, she witnessed a white goat ceremonially sacrificed to Erzuli Freda by a powerful Houngan. For a time she did Performance Driving in Southern California, and has years of study and experience dedicated to fencing, theatrical combat, archery, and horsemanship.

Elle currently lives in the central highlands of Costa Rica with her dog Pixie, and her hedgehog, Quiller.

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Posted in 5 paws, Adventure, fiction, Historical, Review, romance, Time Travel on September 19, 2014



Author: John A. Heldt
Series: Northwest Passage No. 1
Words: 90,200
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Genres: Romance-Time Travel, Historical Fiction, Adventure



In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.
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I loved this book, great combination of time travel, romance and history. And of course the ending leaves you wanting more and of course the 2nd book.

I thought the book was well written and it makes you wonder about time travel and what you would do if you were thrown into the past knowing you have to be careful not to change the past otherwise it might affect your future…assuming you manage to get back to your time.

I did sort of suspect how the book would end just based on some things near the end, but that is my suspicious mind!

John did tell me that Grace and Joel’s story doesn’t continue until the 3rd book….oh the torture of waiting!  But the second book looks really good too.

We give this 5 paws up


About the Author

Heldt-Bio-Mug-3John A. Heldt is a reference librarian and the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage time-travel series. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life on his blog.

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Posted in Adventure, Cover Reveal, Dystopian, Science Fiction on September 5, 2014

after day one web


After Day One by Benjamin Levi Seims

Publisher: Booktrope

Expected Publication: December 9, 2014

Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure

2083, John Howe a genetic, and cybernetic, enhanced cyber operations solider who came home After Day One only to find the country he fought for broken, and his wife and son murdered. By 2096 he rebuilt his home and was trying to live a comfortable life on the outskirts of the Free Territories, the Pacific North West.

That was before Sierra and Quinn. The twin thirteen year old orphans he was saddled with the minute he saved them from a fat, greasy, gypsy couple holding them. Now he’s a man who is just trying to get rid of them before they all end up dead.

As fate would have it, a super soldier and two kids with abilities that could save the country, and maybe earth, are going to be hard to separate.

The world is fragmented and looking for a hero. Some heroes come in rough packaging.



Ben SeimsAbout the Author

I live in Wenatchee, WA with my wife and our three teenage boys. I work full time as a Cardiac Nurse and I am currently an Officer in the Washington Army National Guard. After Day One is my first full length Novel and is the first book in a planned trilogy.

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Posted in Adventure, Blog tour, excerpt, Science Fiction, Spotlight on August 14, 2014

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Double Blind


Title: Double Blind
Author: Tiffany Pitts
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Pages: 280
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Delilah Pelham’s brother, Paul, is missing. She should probably be worried about that but honestly, he’s been in trouble since the day he learned the words “trust me.” In fact, if it weren’t for his roommate, Carl, she would gladly leave him to his fate.

Carl is a good guy, even if he’s a bit of a dork. Okay, a large slice of a dork. Possibly the entire cake.

But he wants to help, as do his gamer friends, which is how Deli finds herself in the middle of Hong Kong with the King of the Dorks, running from creepy guys with slicked-back hair and shiny black guns.

Back at home, Carl’s friends aren’t faring nearly as well. All they had to do was monitor the situation and feed Deli’s cat while she was gone. How could that possibly end in bloodshed?

There is an answer, of course, but no one ever thinks to ask the cat.



Deli’s Living Room

Later That Evening

Because of his size, most people assumed that Toesy was more dog-like. To some extent, that was true. He liked to go for walks. He liked chasing cats. He even played a very specialized game of fetch, which could be very rewarding—provided, of course, you were in need of a dead bird or half a rat.

But in some important ways, Toesy was very feline indeed. For instance, the second Jake’s breathing slowed from the syncopated wheeze of someone doing too many things at once to the drawn-out rhythm of sleep, he pounced.

No, pounced is too harsh a word. He crept, as well as any thirty-two pound cat can creep, from the far side of the couch to the man’s lap. It wasn’t easy. The man had minimal lap to start with and it currently held many electronic whatsits. However, Toesy’s ability to squish all thirty-two pounds of himself into tight spaces was quite remarkable, and soon he was cozied up between the man, his gadgetry, and the back of the couch.

After a while, the man woke up enough to move the whatsits from his lap to the coffee table. He discovered Toesy tucked in by his side and took the opportunity to reclaim the other half of the couch by propping his feet up on it. Toesy allowed the man to get comfortable before stretching out again. Delighted at this turn of events, he began to purr.

“You’re not such a huge monster, are you?” The man mumbled more contented laziness at him and scratched behind his left ear. A small drop of saliva gathered on Toesy’s lips.

The man must have been very tired because he soon returned to snoring. Toesy took advantage of the situation by climbing up to sleep on his chest.

Toesy considered his mistress a near-perfect human. She was easy to live with, generous with the catnip, and willing to stay in bed until noon on Sunday mornings if it was raining outside. Yet for all her fine qualities, Delilah Pelham had one major flaw. She was too small for him to sleep on.

Usually, as soon as he achieved the prime comfort position, she complained that he was too fat or that she could not breathe. Sometimes her arms fell asleep. Toesy loved Deli endlessly, but occasionally he suspected that she might be a bit of a wimp.

This man, who knew to feed him the Seafood Flavor without any prompting, would not complain about Toesy’s extra girth, for he had extra girth himself. Toesy suspected he might be a holy man. Certainly, no regular human he ever met had been so awe-inspiring.

He kneaded the lumps of stuff in the man’s shirt pocket into an arrangement conducive to long-term napping. Perfection attained, he tucked his nose into his furry belly and purred himself into a trance.

Or at least that’s what he intended to do.

A few moments into his joyous nap, Toesy heard a faint tick-tick sound and opened his left eye halfway. Normally, he didn’t allow tick-tick noises, on the principle that they always precluded some sort of funny business, like a bird or a squirrel. Then he would have to go kill something, eat it, and spend the rest of the day fighting off vermin-induced heartburn. But thanks to this great man, he wasn’t hungry just now. He refused to allow one tick-tick to ruin his repose. He closed his tawny eye.

Another tick-tick ticked. Both of Toesy’s eyes shot open.

One tick-tick was understandable, but two tick-ticks? He would not stand for it. Toesy was a sweet creature as far as sharp-fanged, mildly feral cats go, but there was a streak of murder in him that would not stand for a good nap to be ruined by ticking jackassery.

He lifted his head to look at the nearest window. If that crow was back again, he intended to kill it completely this time. But the kitchen window was empty.

More ticking ticked, this time followed by faint scritchy-scratchy noises, which confused his senses. Toesy closed his eyes and focused his ears on the unusual sound. It came not from the window, but somewhere close.

He flicked his ears twice, once in recognition and once in disbelief. The ticks were coming from the man’s trouser pocket!

Toesy searched until he found the fold of the man’s pocket and cautiously stuck his nose inside. The smell of cheese overpowered him for a moment, so he lay still and waited for his brain to adjust. After a moment, he was able to pick out more subtle scents. The tangy brine of coins, oily keys, and the cold, blank smell of glass—all surrounded by a diffuse aroma that Toesy could not place. It smelled awake.


The glass jumped toward him, hitting him in the nose. Toesy backed away, affronted.

Surely this man does not want all this tick-ticking in his pocket, he thought. I must put a stop to this nonsense.

He reached in through the folds of cloth with a giant furry paw. The glass surface was round like a tube, with a little fluff stuck in one end. As Toesy rummaged, the tube slid free from the man’s pocket and started to roll away toward the floor. He flashed a claw and caught it by the fluff.

Inside the tube, small bugs hopped and popped. Normally, Toesy wouldn’t bother with bugs of this size, as he preferred something juicier. However, these particular bugs had just punched him in the nose and obviously needed a short, sharp lesson in consequences.

The wad of fluff at the end of the tube squeaked along his claws as Toesy dug deeper. He got a good grip and shook hard, loosening the cotton until suddenly it jerked free. This caused the glass tube to shoot across the room, where it hit the television with a tink and dropped to the floor.

Toesy did not want the bugs to escape before he could inspect (and possibly eat) them, so he power-jumped across the room.

When using all the muscles in its hind legs, the average house cat can jump six to seven feet from a resting position. Toesy, however, was not an average house cat. He was more like two or three average house cats shoved into the body of one. The force exerted by all thirty-two pounds of Toesy, power-jumping off the man’s sleeping abdomen, was approximately equal to being sucker punched by a gorilla.

That’s why the man woke up gasping for air and clutching his gut. He tried to roar, but without any breath, it came out a thin squeak.

“What the…” Wheeze. “…hell…” Gasp. “…are you doing?” Cough, cough.

Toesy had no attention to spare. He landed within inches of the glass tube, all thoughts laser-focused on the floor.

Now that he was better able to see them, the bugs didn’t look like bugs at all. They looked like shiny, hopping beans. He sniffed them. They smelled like shiny, hopping, metal beans. He reached out with a tentative paw and batted at them. One of the beans popped up, half an inch into the air. Toesy quickly clamped his paw down on it.

“What have you got there, Toesy?” the man asked after he went back to breathing right.

Toesy flicked his tail in deference to the man but did not turn around. He was trying to figure out how to let go of the shiny bean and eat it at the same time.

“Let me see, boy.”

The man was on his knees now, shuffling around on the floor next to Toesy.

“What’s this?” he said, holding up the cracked glass tube. “That’s not… No, it can’t be. What have you got?” His voice grew alarming and insistent.

No! No, no, no, no, no! What have you done?”

Toesy admired his volume as the man yelled and scooped two of the beans back into the cracked tube.

“What are you doing with the Elevators? You can’t have those! They don’t even work! Carl is gonna kill me!”

Another bean popped into the air. Toesy clamped a free paw down on it while his eyes dilated all the way up to crazy. He loved everything about this day.

“What the—?”

The man sat back on his haunches and examined the two beans he captured earlier. They sat at the bottom of the tube, vibrating back and forth gently.

“That…has not happened before,” he said. Then he looked at Toesy and added, “Do you see this?”

Toesy, still splay-legged with trapped beans, rejoiced at this turn of events. The man was getting in on the game, too! They would eat the beans together! He broke into spontaneous purring. The beans under his feet began to wiggle around, and he dug his claws into the carpet wildly.

The beans in the man’s hand vibrated faster. He peered at them, then he peered at Toesy. He brought the beans closer to Toesy. They began to pop inside their tube. He drew the beans away from Toesy. They quieted down.

“Holy shit,” the man said. “Cat, do you realize what this means? I could kiss you!”

But he did not kiss him. Instead, the man leaned over, lifted Toesy’s right paw and extracted the bean from underneath. Then he tousled Toesy’s shredded ears. Toesy dug the claws of his other paw deeper into the carpet. He did not want the man to take away his last bean.

“You,” he said, pointing to Toesy and smiling huge. “Are the most awesome cat in the universe! I gotta tell Carl.”

He stood up, grabbed something from the table, and walked to the kitchen. He was making little boop-boop noises on the electronic whatsit when he stopped suddenly.

“Shit, he’s still on a damn plane.” He turned to Toesy and continued talking. “I’ll have to email him about how awesome you are, Toesy.”

At the mention of his name, Toesy purred louder. The bean struggled beneath his paw.

“Now, where does Deli keep your cat treats?”

The Great Man continued to talk at him as he combed through the kitchen, but Toesy had stopped listening after cat treats.

There was no doubt in his mind now that this was indeed a holy man. Toesy loved him, whisker and claw. Deli was gone for now, but she would return. When she did, could he convince her to let this man stay? The thought of him sleeping on the couch forever made Toesy purr even louder.

The bean beneath his paw struggled again. Cautiously, in case it escaped, Toesy lifted his foot. The bean popped up but fell back down in the same spot, seemingly resigned to its fate. Toesy sniffed it twice, then ate it.

It tasted of metal and victory.

About the Author

Tiffany PittsTiffany Pitts grew up in the Seattle area in a time when the Super Sonics were huge and Starbucks was just a store at the end of the Market. Tragedy struck early in her life as her family moved to New Jersey mere months before Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” album hit record stores. It took nearly a decade to wean herself off the hairspray. But Seattle called her back, so she went; eventually earning a degree in Botany (pronounced “Bar tending”) at the University of Washington.

She made one more valiant attempt to leave the PNW after college by travelling around the country doing not much of value and making very stupid decisions. She is thankful every day that the internet was not a huge deal in those years. Then Seattle called again so she picked up and moved home where she spent many years being a scientist of middling talent in several labs that she absolutely did not blow up—except for that one time and everyone agreed not to talk about that any more.

Now she divides her time between writing fiction and raising two kids who are wonderful but, for some reason, will not stop licking things.

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Posted in Adventure, excerpt, mystery, Spotlight on August 1, 2014

noise book cover



The world is an ugly place, and I can tell you now, I fit in just fine.

Lily is the only person Leon ever loved. When she left a suicide note and disappeared into a murky lake ten years ago, she left him alone, drifting through a silent landscape.

Or did she?

A postcard in her handwriting pulls Leon to the winter-cold concrete heart of New York City. What he discovers unleashes a deadly rage that has no sound.

A grisly trail of clues leads to The Bear, the sadistic Russian crime lord who traffics in human flesh. The police—some corrupt, some merely compromised—are of little help. They don’t like Leon’s methods, or the mess he leaves in his wake.

Leon is deaf, but no sane person would ever call him disabled. He survived as a child on the merciless streets of Nigeria. He misses nothing. He feels no remorse. The only direction he’s ever known is forward.

He will not stop until he knows.

Where is Lily?




The sounds I cannot hear: The whistle of the hammer as it arcs through the air. The wailing of pain and the begging of The Bear. The dripping of blood from thawing meat onto the wet concrete floor. The beautifully crude threats.

My own hideous voice.

I drag The Bear into a walk-in freezer by the hook sunk through his shoulder and toss him into a corner on the floor. When I reenter the freezer, dragging the oak table behind me, The Bear is hard at work on the hook, trying to muscle it out, but it’s sunk deep, through the tendons. Hope is adrenaline, fear masks pain, begging helps no one.

I yank him up by the hook and then hold his hands outstretched, one at a time, as I nail his wrists to the table with railroad spikes. I put all of my 240 pounds behind the hammer, but even so, it takes several swings. His body shakes, the nails sink further into the wood, his face is pain. He screams, but I cannot hear.

The building above burns a deep blue hue with my smuggled-in accelerants.

The sound of the hammer into The Bear. The pain in his eyes. I have never seen so much hatred. It is beautiful to me, to reach this center, this uncomplicated base, to disassemble the past and honor a new history. It is another film, also homemade and rough, an overlay, an epilogue. The Bear is broken but I have spared his face, and to see those eyes, that is what I needed; to see his hatred flow into me, my own eyes sucking down the scum like bathtub drains. His life whirls into me and I taste the fear, the hope, the sharp sting of adrenaline pumping and the reeking muck of despair. His pain soothes me, a slow, thick poison. We will all die.

I know it now; I am a broken man. I always was. I imagine Lily watching me, Lily keeping score, making lists, balancing all. As a child from far away, she was the queen, even more so than her mother. But she didn’t survive. The world was not as we had imagined, not even close. The world is a cruel, bastard place, Lily cold and lost somewhere, me hot and bleeding and swinging my hammer. Life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

The sounds I cannot hear: The laughter of the watchers. The groan of my sister as The Bear cums inside of her, pulling her hair until the roots bleed. The Bear screams and shits himself inside the dark freezer. Lily’s wailing and cursing and crying. I scream at The Bear with all my mighty, damaged voice, swinging the hammer at his ruined hands, hands that will never again touch anyone. Lily at the end, beaten and pissed on and begging to die.

Lily is dead. I am dead. It will never be enough.

I remove the stack of photos from my wallet that I’d printed at the Internet café a lifetime ago and place them face down on the table in front of The Bear. I draw an X on the back of the first photo and turn it over, laying it close to the pulp of his ruined hands.

The Bear offers me anything I want. An animal can feel pain but cannot describe or transmit it adequately. The Bear both is and is not an animal. I lack hearing, so the Bear cannot transmit his experience to me unless I choose to see it. His pain is not my pain, but mine is very much his. I swing the hammer into his unhooked shoulder, and then I draw another X and flip another photo.

His lips move, and I understand what he wants to know. Five photos.

In my notepad, I write: you are a rapist f*ing pig. I put the paper into the gristle of his hands and swing the hammer against the metal hook again. It’s a sound I can feel.

Anything, The Bear mouths. He is sweating in the cold air of the freezer. Crying. Bleeding.

In my pad, I write: I want my sister back. I swing the hammer claw-side first into his mouth and leave it there. His body shakes and twitches.

I turn over his photo and write one last note, tearing it off slowly and holding it in front of his face, the handle of the hammer protruding from his jaw like a tusk. You are number four. There are a few seconds of space as the information stirs into him and I watch as he deflates, the skin on his face sagging like a used condom. He knows what I know.

I turn over the last photo for him. I turn it slowly and carefully, sliding it toward him. Victor, his one good son, his outside accomplishment, his college boy, the one who tried to f* him and they f*ed my sister instead.

I remove another mason jar from my bag, unscrewing the metal top and letting the thick fluid flow onto his lap. I wipe my hands carefully and light a kitchen match, holding it in front of his face for a few seconds as it catches fully. He doesn’t try to blow it out. He doesn’t beg me to stop. He just stares at the match as the flame catches, and I drop it onto his lap.

The Bear shakes so hard from the pain that one of his arms rips from the table, leaving a skewer of meat and tendon on the metal spike. I lean into his ear, taking in his sweet reek and the rot of his bowels and, in my own hideous voice, I say:

“Wait for me.”



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Praise for Noise

“A staggering, compelling work of fiction…mind-blowingly perfect. It has everything. Exquisite details, world-weary voice, and people worth knowing. It is truly amazing!” – MaryAnne Kolton, Author and Editor of This Literary Magazine

“Strong, compelling, raw and human in the best sense. Beautifully written.” – Susan Tepper, Author of Deer and Other Stories

“Perfect, compact and explosive, closing with the gentlest word.” – James Lloyd Davis, Author of Knitting the Unraveled Sleeves

“Wow. Beautiful and wonderful and sad and real.” – Sally Houtman, Author of To Grandma’s House, We . . . Stay

“Frighteningly good.” – Meg Pokrass, Author of Bird Envy

“Superbly explosive. The rage escalates and careens out of control. Amazing.” – Ajay Nair, Author of Desi Rap


About the Author

brett garcia roseBrett Garcia Rose is a writer, software entrepreneur, and former animal rights soldier and stutterer. He is the author of two books, Noise and Losing Found Things, and his work has been published in Sunday Newsday MagazineThe Barcelona ReviewOpiumRose and ThornThe Battered SuitcaseFiction AtticParaphilia and other literary magazines and anthologies. His short stories have won the Fiction Attic’s Short Memoir Award (Second Place), Opium’s Bookmark Competition, The Lascaux Prize for Short Fiction, and have been nominated for the Million Writer’s AwardBest of the Net and The Pushcart Prize. Rose travels extensively, but calls New York City home.


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