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LOVE NEVER QUITS: SURVIVING & THRIVING AFTER INFERTILITY, ADOPTION AND REACTIVE ATTACHMENT DISORDER
by Gina Heumann
* Memoir *

Title: LOVE NEVER QUITS: SURVIVING & THRIVING AFTER INFERTILITY, ADOPTION, AND REACTIVE ATTACHMENT DISORDER
Author: Gina Heumann
Publisher: MadLand Press
Pages: 246
Genre: Memoir
WHACK… At three in the morning Gina was sound asleep, yet somehow she
was smacked in the head. She looked over at her husband, thinking
perhaps he accidentally rolled over and flopped his arm on top of her,
but he was sleeping soundly and facing the opposite direction. She
turned to the other side and glaring back at her was her eight-year-old
child.“Did you just hit me?”

“Yes, and I’d do it again.”

“Whyyyy?”

“Because you took away my video games.”

“That was EIGHT HOURS AGO. And you’re still mad about it?”

“I wish I could kill you.”

This is the true story of the hell one family lived through parenting
a child with reactive attachment disorder, a severe diagnosis related
to children who experienced early-childhood trauma.

This inspirational story covers over a decade of daily struggles
until they finally found resolution and made it to the other side. The
family remained intact, and this once challenging son is now achieving
things never thought possible.


https://amzn.to/2Z8tGOD
______________________

 

So let’s talk about this diagnosis
that we now suspect: Reactive Attachment Disorder. RAD is a fairly
controversial diagnosis as far as psychological afflictions are concerned, but
one that is extremely serious. Although this is not a diagnosis that is solely
reserved for adoptees, it is by far more prevalent in children who had some
sort of disrupted attachment. The
Institute
of
Attachment and Child Development defines Reactive Attachment Disorder
as “a disorder in which children’s brains and development get disrupted by
trauma they endured before the age of 3. They are unable to trust others and
attach in relationships.” Since adoption is a result of a disrupted attachment,
it is most common in children who are adoptees, foster kids, and step children,
but it can also occur in biological children who’s primary caregiver was
hospitalized, in prison, deployed, or had some other traumatic event that
separated them, even for a short time. Not all adopted children have RAD. And
not all children who suffer from RAD are adopted.
Symptoms of RAD include: severe
anger, lack of empathy, inability to give or receive affection, lack of cause
and effect thinking, minimal eye contact, lying, stealing, “mad peeing”
(urinating all over the house when angry or bedwetting into the teen years),
indiscriminate affection with strangers, inappropriately demanding,
preoccupation with fire, blood, and gore, hoarding food, abnormal eating
patterns, learning lags, and lack of impulse control. These can be more serious
in some patients than others, of course, but over the years, Maddox suffered
from most of these. In extreme cases, symptoms can include verbal, physical,
psychological and emotional abuse of the mother (yes), self-harm or threats to
others (yes), and hurting or killing pets (thank god, no). As hard as things
were for us, I read this list and know it could have been a lot worse.
RAD was in the news recently as
one of the descriptors of Nikolas Cruz, the school shooter at Stoneman Douglas
high school in
Parkland, Florida. Internet support groups for parents dealing with Reactive
Attachment Disorder were a buzz with comments like “that could be my kid
someday.” Honestly there was a time I thought the same thing. And of course,
the comments about the school shooter were focused on the parents: “why didn’t
they spend more time with him?,” “they should have given him more hugs/love,”
“why wasn’t he in therapy?,” “he needed more discipline,” “a good spanking
would have whipped him into shape”… judgments, judgments, judgments. I was so
accustomed to judgments from other parents, strangers, and even my own family.
Relatives gave us books on “Love and Logic,” gave Maddox timeouts that only
made him angrier, and yelled at me for my lack of mothering skills. No sticker
chart was going to resolve this issue.
In the heat of a rage, a child
with Reactive Attachment Disorder seems to be afraid of nothing. Maddox didn’t
respond to typical parental requests, bribes, or threats. If we would yell, he
would yell back, louder and meaner. “Go to your room” was never met with compliance,
and running away from home was an ongoing issue.
But underneath it all is a
powerful sense of fear. Fear of never being loved or accepted. Fear of not
making friends. Fear of not fitting in with normal society. As a mother, I
feared he might grow up to be the next school shooter.
Starting even before he was born,
his birth mother, desperately poor and managing a special-needs child at the
age of 17, was sending stress hormones to his brain in the womb, setting him up
for a lifetime of anxiety.
After his birth, he went directly
to a foster home, where he was neglected. Mistrust of adults and caregivers was
ingrained in his brain, and anger was his primary emotion.
It is hard to believe that the
first six months of life can have such a profound impact on a child and make it
so difficult to lead a normal life without serious intervention and extreme
love and care.
Being a RAD parent is one of the
hardest and loneliest jobs on earth, and that’s true without even counting all
the judgment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gina Heumann is a true Renaissance woman: wife, mother, architect,
designer, instructor, author, speaker, and sales rep for an
award-winning Napa Valley winery. She and her husband, Aaron, adopted
Landrey in 2001 from Guatemala and then went back for Maddox three years
later. Gina’s love of learning and dedication as a mother inspired her
research of different treatments and therapies that eventually led to
this inspirational success story about conquering Reactive Attachment
Disorder.Her latest book is Love Never Quits: Surviving & Thriving After Infertility, Adoption, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website Link: www.ginaheumann.com

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/loveneverquits

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

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Vernon Ennels grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and now makes Arizona home for he and his family. After a long day at work in the business world…he found that writing his book was most productive in the evening hours sitting by his swimming pool. Vernon holds a BS and an MBA in Business Management.  “I was inspired to write my book thinking of my own six-year-old son,” he asserted.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: www.vernonennels.com

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/vernon.ennels

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Vernonennels

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vernonennels/

About the Book:

Page six of Vernon Ennels, Jr. book, THERE’S SOMETHING YOUR SON NEEDS TO TELL YOU, reads, “I still remember his face, his breath, and hear his voice demand me to lie on my stomach. He would down my pants my mother so proudly dressed me in. And then my Superman underwear…When he was done, he walked me to school and warned me, ‘If you tell anyone, I’ll kill your mother.’”

Author Vernon Ennels, Jr. lived with the horrible secret of being sexually abused and ashamed for some 40 years before he was able to recently summon the courage to tell his own family. “Studies show that one in six men have been sexually abused,” said Mr. Ennels. “Most are afraid to talk about it.”

This book reflects the experiences of males, specifically black males, but encourages both men and women and those from various racial backgrounds to recognize the signs of sexual and mental abuse and to combat the epidemic. “My book,” emphasized Mr. Ennels, “is a mirror of my abuse to shed light on an on-going issue to inspire others to take immediate action when they suspect child sexual abuse. #Saveoursons is my mission to help spread awareness and spark change to save current and future victims of sexual child abuse.”

Forty-something Vernon Ennels, Jr. says his new book THERE’S SOMETHING YOUR SON NEEDS TO TELL YOU  is an “open letter” that prompts other men to step forward and share their very own experiences of child sexual abuse in order to save other young boys from the hands of an abuser.

My moniker ‘Save Our Sons’ encourages discourse and social activism to help boys and men who have been sexually abused,” said Mr. Ennels. “Many, many people believed these victims were lying, making up a story for attention. Since I am a certified ‘non-celebrity’ I wrote my book for every child abuse victim out there who is terrified of stepping forward.”

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ROniJL

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/30fPMzh

Xulon Press: https://bit.ly/2Ns26L6

Would you call yourself a born writer? 

No, this is my first book. Never thought I’ll ever write a book.

What was your inspiration for There’s Something Your Son Needs To Tell You? 

My 6 year old son. When I look at him I saw myself at his age and realize I was abused at 6 years old.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Sexual Abuse, Childhood Trauma, Mental Illness, Masculinity, Christianity, and Empowerment

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I completed the novel in 3 months.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

In order to stay focus I had to cut a few people off. Because I travel for work I found myself writing at night in the hotel room or next to the pool when no one was around.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Reliving my experience was extremely difficult.

What do you love most about being an author?

Hearing others stories and how my book gave them a voice to share their story.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision? 

I decided to self-publish my first book. I was happy with my decision at the end but it was a little stressful during the process. When you self-publish the all the weight falls on you.

Where can we find you on the web?

Website: www.vernonennels.com

Instagram: @vernonennels

Facebook: Facebook.com/VernonEnnelsOfficial

Facebook.com/VernonEnnels

Twitter: @VernonEnnels

 

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Pretty girl with violin

The dark background to Farewell My Life: War, Revolution and Pogrom

By Cynthia Sally Haggard

Writing about vanishing, dissolving and the crumbling of comfortable lives, assumptions, and civilizations, it seemed appropriate to end Farewell My Life on 9 November 1938 when Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass erupted. This was a pogrom against the Jews living in Nazi Germany, carried out on the night of 9-10 November by paramilitary forces and German civilians. The Oster Conspiracy was one of around twenty attempts between 1934 and 1944 to assassinate Hitler and destroy the Nazis. It was foiled by the actions of Neville Chamberlain, who sought appeasement to prevent another war. I was fortunate in being able to find a recording from the BBC Sound Archives of Chamberlain’s return from Munich on 30 September 1938.

Nowadays, the 1920s is celebrated for its glamor and embrace of modernism, when young women shrugged off the restrictions of Victorian society, abandoning long skirts and tight stays for shorter, lighter modern clothes. Just how revolutionary this was can be gauged by looking at the archives of The Washington Post, where several inches of copy were spent in discussing women’s clothes in much the same way that people discuss iPads or iPhones today. But 1921 and 1922, when much of Farewell My Life is set, occurred before the rest of the 1920s, before the freedoms of the flapper era took hold. Those were the days when women still had to worry about their reputations, when it was still common for girls to marry in their late teens. The period of the early 1920s is equidistant between our time and that of Jane Austen (1775-1817), but in cultural terms it was much closer to her time.

After the Communists overthrew the czar of Russia in 1917, Russian émigrés flooded into Berlin. It is true that previously wealthy Russian aristocrats fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and so the scene in which Violet and Grace encounter a Russian grand duke waiting tables would not have been uncommon in 1920s Berlin. Amongst those Russian émigrés coming to Berlin were the Nabokov family, including the celebrated novelist Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), who wrote a number of novels during his time in Berlin, including King, Queen, Knave and Laughter in the Dark.

It is true that Berlin had a drug culture. It is also true that there was a dancer called Anita Berber (1899-1928) who created dances based on her drug-inspired fantasies called the Morphine dance or the Cocaine dance. The activities and the settings I describe in the nightclub scene were true. (Some things you just can’t make up!) By the end of the 1920s, Berlin had acquired a solid reputation for homosexuality, avant-garde art, left-wing politics, jazz, and erotic cabaret. It is well-known that Adolf Hitler hated the place and after his ascent to power in January 1933, was determined to destroy the city’s culture.

About the Author

 

Cynthia Sally Haggard was born and reared in Surrey, England. About 30 years ago she surfaced in the United States, inhabiting the Mid-Atlantic region as she wound her way through four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer, and novelist.

 

Her first novel, Thwarted Queen a fictionalized biography of Lady Cecylee Neville (1415-1495), the mother of Richard III (whose bones were recently found under a car-park in Leicester,) was shortlisted for many awards, including the 2012 Eric Hoffer New Horizon Award for debut authors. To date, sales have surpassed 38,000 copies.

 

Cynthia graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, Cambridge MA, in June 2015. When she’s not annoying everyone by insisting her fictional characters are more real than they are, Cynthia likes to go for long walks, knit something glamorous, cook in her wonderful kitchen, and play the piano. You can visit her at www.spunstories.com.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cynthiahaggard

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cynthia.haggard

 

About the Book:

Angelina led a life which required her to fib. When Angelina, the black sheep of the Pagano family, meets the mysterious Mr. Russell, she has no idea that she has seen him before…in another country.

And so begins Farewell My Life, a novel in three parts, which spins an operatic tale of dangerous love and loss.

The Lost Mother, the first part of this novel, slices back and forth between time and space, opening in the charming village of Georgetown, Washington D.C. while reflecting a family’s troubled past in the lovely village of Marostica in the Italian Veneto.

An Unsuitable Suitor, the second part of the novel, is a Cinderella-ish tale with not-so-charming princes who inhabit the edgy setting of 1920s Berlin.

Farewell My Life, the last part of the novel, set again in Berlin, Germany, during the dark 1930s as the Nazis gain power, takes comfortable lives, assumptions and civilizations and crumbles them into ash.

And all of this revolves around Grace, Angelina’s younger daughter, whose fabulous talent for the violin promises a shimmering career.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

 

 

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ENCOUNTERS by Patrick Stull

Title: ENCOUNTERS
Author: Patrick Stull
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 250
Genre: Fine Art Photography Book

 
With photography at its base, Stull offers a nuanced explication of his encounters to allow the viewer an opportunity to form a relationship with his art. While looking within ourselves, exploring our own feelings, he hopes that he will inspire greater humaneness in response to his art.ENCOUNTERS is the second in a series of six large-format books in which artist, photographer and author, Patrick Stull explores a wide range of experiences. Using light and the physical body, the written word and his artistry he creates imagery that examines aspects of the lives of women.

Compiled over the last 18 years, the images in ENCOUNTERS, Stull says, are meant to “inspire and challenge the observer while always empowering the subject.”

Stull brings a powerful sense of the surreal and the spiritual to his work as he plots a course along the many paths of the human experience.

His imagery runs from the ghostly and ephemeral to the flowing and fiery.

As much as he concentrates on the human form, Stull never forgets to focus on the humanity of his subjects. His choice of the coffee-table style book format draws the viewer into an experience both intimate and
universal.

Stull’s first book in his series, titled EVOLVE, was published in 2006. A third book, titled HIDDEN DIMENSIONS, is completed and awaiting publication. Future titles in the series include DHARMA, BEING DIFFERENT, and YOGA, A HEALING MOMENT.

Stull hopes that his readers come away from the book with “a love for art and a respect for the female who gives us life and challenges us to be better human beings.

 

https://patrickstull.com/books-2/encounters
______________________

 

Encounters
is a collection of imagery created and compiled over the last 15 years to
inspire and challenge the observer while always empowering the subject. The
imagery is coupled with text, odes and perspectives about the human experience
and existence itself. The imagery is mostly an explication, an intimate view of
the lives of women and our relationship to them – on an individual and cultural
level. However, there are images of men included in this work. A portion of the
portfolio presents something more than a photographic image. Here the imagery
is developed into contemplative art pieces of the surreal genre, where the
viewer is transported into the depths of their own psyche challenging them to
see something new.

 

 

 

 

 

American artist Patrick Stull has spent the last eighteen years mostly creating imagery about the lives of women. He searches for what lies beneath the surface of his subjects, empowering each one he encounters. He has recently ventured into the realm of surrealism, creating powerful imagery that reflects on our humanity while dealing with the meaning and power of art.
Stull says, “My work has allowed me to venture past the camera into the realm of a humanist, an artistic life, delving into the intellectual, a more cerebral life experience, creating what I call ‘connectivism.'”
His ongoing work is based in large-scale digital photography accompanied by sculpture/body casts, composition art, painting, poetry/prose and drawings.
His art is then integrated, collectively, into exhibitions to provide the viewer a once in a lifetime experience. The presentation of the work is delivered to the viewer in a unique and emotionally powerful way.
Stull, 71, a self-taught artist, works in many artistic disciplines. Educated at San Diego State University with degrees in psychology, economics and philosophy during the 1960’s, amidst the backdrop of the counter-culture revolution and the Viet Nam War, where his social consciousness and political views were shaped. Stull emerged from a Catholic Irish/German family, one of five children where work, discipline and religion took precedence over emotional expressions of the self – a different kind of loving environment. Being a husband of thirty-plus years and father to
two has taught him the power of kindness, love and commitment.

His latest book is the fine art photography book, Encounters.

Visit his website at www.patrickstull.com.

_____________________

GIVEAWAY!


50 Amazon Gift card
 

Patrick Stull is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $50 Amazon Gift Card.
  • This giveaway ends midnight August 30.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

 

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Title: WOLVES AT OUR DOOR
Author: Soren Paul Petrek
Publisher: Editions Encre Rouge/Hachette Livre
Pages: 319
Genre: Historical/Action/Adventure

BOOK BLURB:

The Allies and the Nazis are in a deadly race to develop the ultimate weapon while supersonic V-2 rockets rain down on London. Madeleine Toche and Berthold Hartmann, the German super assassin who taught her to kill, search for the secret factory where Werner von Braun and his Gestapos masters use slave labor to build the weapons as the bodies of the innocent pile up. The Allied ground forces push towards Berlin while the German SS fight savagely for each inch of ground.

 

Finding the factory hidden beneath Mount Kohnstein, Hartmann contacts his old enemy, Winston Churchill and summons Madeleine to his side. While she moves to bring the mountain down on her enemies, Hartmann leads a daring escape from the dreaded Dora concentration camp to continue his revenge against the monsters who ruined his beloved Germany.

Together with the Russian Nachtlexen, the Night Witches, fearsome female pilots the race tightens as the United States and the Germans successfully carry out an atomic bomb test.

Germany installs an atom bomb in a V-2 pointed towards London, while the US delivers one to a forward base in the Pacific. The fate of the Second World War and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.

Read the first chapter at Booksie and don’t forget to give it a like!

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

https://amzn.to/2K2DlCx

CHAPTER ONE

Mid-August 1943

Peenemunde Research Facility

Northern Germany

In Northern Germany on a remote peninsula, jutting into the Baltic Sea, the Nazi government maintained a covert research station. Hoping to turn the tide of a stalemate war back in Germany’s favor, Adolf Hitler had become fascinated with the development of superweapons. The larger the weapons, the greater his interest and the Peenemunde facility was producing the biggest and most lethal ones ever conceived.

It had required ten thousand workers to build the twenty-five-square-kilometer compound. Schools and living quarters were erected for the families of the two thousand research scientists who had worked to produce weapons to satisfy Adolf Hitler’s desire to crush the enemies of the Third Reich. Liquid oxygen production plants sucked 70 percent of the electricity the on-site power station produced. Peenemunde was the largest military facility in the world. The work being done there had nothing to do with the development of atomic weapons; rockets were built and tested. Missiles that could reach cities and battlefields far away from where they were launched. Once perfected, their range could be increased to reach, potentially, anywhere on earth.

***

Late evening August 17, 1943

Peenemunde

The car that pulled up to the front gate was met by a security detail. As he stepped out of the passenger side, German rocket scientist Werner von Braun flicked his cigarette butt onto the gravel drive; he then reached into his pockets for his identification papers. He had been put in charge of the entire complex, and he was only thirty—an enormous achievement for someone who had been fascinated with rocketry since childhood. His area was liquid-fueled rockets, which he hoped would one day take men to the moon. For now, the research was used to develop a weapon that would flatten London. And he had produced one. A forty-six-foot monster: the V-2 Rocket. Most of the prototypes detonated on the launch pad or quickly skirted into the sea, but some of the missiles achieved altitude before crashing farther out. It was enough to keep his funding and the research moving forward.

Von Braun walked up to the main gate, where he was welcomed by a guard who took his papers. According to his orders, all visitors to Peenemunde were required to produce the necessary documentation. The facility was top secret, and, at least so far, the Allies hadn’t determined its purpose. Von Braun hoped that would continue until he had a reliable working model. With a flick of his flashlight and a smile, the guard checked von Braun’s face against his identification. It was hardly necessary. Tall and fit with a thick head of black hair, von Braun came across as a man of both position, thanks to his bearing, and wealth, thanks to his suits. It would have been difficult to impersonate a man the guards saw every day.

The main gate was one of the few access points to the sprawling compound. It was surrounded by two layers of fence with barbed wire and overlooked by several high guard towers. One hundred kilometers from the nearest town, there was no one around. Vast stretches of beaches along the Baltic Sea were deserted. There were no fishing boats or industry of any kind there except for Peenemunde.

Von Braun walked along one of the paved roads that crisscrossed the south end of the research and manufacturing campus. Reaching into his pocket for a cigarette, he glanced up at the sky. Even though the night was clear, motion stirred the sky. But what was it? He heard the whine of a large falling object.

He barely had time to react when the first bomb hit. He stood dumbstruck as masses of clustered bombs followed the first. Buildings around him popped open, spilling people from their dormitories and offices. Groups of men and women ran for the nearest fallout shelter. Detonations tossed torn-apart vehicles and bodies into the air. Against the backdrop of crumbling buildings, incendiary bombs set off raging fires that sucked in oxygen from everywhere. A firestorm raged through the compound, torching everything in its path. My research, von Braun thought as he ran toward his own office. Nearby coworkers raced after him to save the documents. The fire had not yet reached the second floor as he and his coworkers sprinted up the stairs to salvage what they could.

They were headed toward the records room when a flash of fire burst through the doorway. Von Braun dashed through the flames, shouting, “Throw it all out the window!” He picked up a file box and tossed it out an open window. Two men shoved an entire file cabinet out another window, and others followed suit, collectively rescuing months of work. Somewhere in the paperwork lay a clue of why the tests weren’t yet successful.

Waves of heat intensified as the men’s clothing started to scorch.

“Get out!” von Braun screamed, pushing his men ahead of him and out of the room. Had he missed anything? Only the fire drove him from the room.

He charged down the stairs and through the blaze on the first floor. Outside, he watched a guard, who’d had the presence of mind to shelter the research, loading the boxes into a truck.

The people who weren’t already dead crawled, bloodied, through fire and burning rubble. Screams of pain and yells for help compounded the chaos, coupling with the smell of burning flesh. The acrid stench of cordite hung in the air, left after the concussive blasts. What little oxygen there was fed the fires.

Von Braun watched silently as his dreams burned.

***

Dawn came as the broken buildings smoked. Walls crumbled under their weight as workers tried to find bodies in the rubble.

Notified of the bombing, the first of the Nazi officials showed up on the scene to assess the damage. A motorcade came through what was left of the main gate. There were no guards posted. There was little left to protect.

Stepping out of his staff car, SS General Hans Klammer looked over the compound. He held a Ph.D. in civil engineering and could easily see beyond the surface damage. The overall structural impact on the buildings was significant. A few fire trucks continued to spray water in an attempt to keep other fires from spreading, but there were too many of them. Most of them were allowed to burn themselves out as long as they couldn’t spread to the nearby forests and grassy areas. Klammer thought the Allies must have used thousand-pound bombs. And they certainly weren’t concerned with accuracy. The goal was to decimate the facility, and it was easily achieved.

Large bomb craters left the landscape pockmarked, as though an angry giant had pummeled it with a hammer. All of the buildings were damaged, some reduced nothing but piles of concrete and twisted metal. Even the ones still standing had scorch marks and shrapnel scars from bombs that had narrowly missed them. Crews of prisoners moved bricks and pieces of concrete manually, while bulldozers and tractors lifted the larger sections. It was beyond repair.

As von Braun walked across the compound, Klammer thought he looked like a stricken man, and he vowed to help sooth his nerves. After all, von Braun was a civilian and a scientist to boot, someone they needed for the project—someone they needed calm, level-headed.

“I’ve lost my main design engineer and several other key scientists,” von Braun said, lighting a cigarette with a shaky hand. His drawn face appeared to have aged years in a matter of hours. “One hundred and seventy key personnel killed and the extent of the damage hasn’t been calculated. We were able to save most of my most important documents. I almost died pushing files out windows with my staff,” he said, throwing his hands in the air. “This is a scientific facility. And then this.” He gestured. “Most of the men aren’t even in the military.”

“Herr Doctor, I know you’re upset and feel partially to blame.” Klammer placed a gloved hand on von Braun’s shoulder. “You’re not to blame. We are at war and would have done the same to the British if they had been building rockets. Your project is too important to let this dissuade you.” Klammer gesticulated passionately against the ash-colored sky. “Clearly the facility needs to be moved beyond the range of their bombers. We can’t rebuild this, and even if we did, they’d just bomb it again. No, clearing away all of this debris and tearing down the buildings will cause an unacceptable delay. We will find a more suitable location, somewhere in central Germany.”

“We’ve also lost five hundred prisoners,” Von Braun added. “Some of them were highly skilled at assembly.”

“The survivors will work when we locate an appropriate site. We’ll have work for many others as well,” Klammer said with a smile. “Don’t worry, Doctor; you’ll be back in business in no time. Just leave it to the SS. We’re very efficient at construction. Down to the last Mark and Pfennig.”

“I worry about using new unskilled labor to build the rockets,” Von Braun confessed. “Each one is individual to itself. With three thousand independent parts, consistency is vital. Conditions have to be optimal for assembly and testing. Do you know what kind of location you are considering?”

“Underground,” Klammer told him, “where bombers can’t do any more damage. We have already begun an exhaustive examination of potential sites within Germany, and we’ve narrowed it down to a few. The Fuhrer wants no more delays caused by destruction. He has great expectations for the use of rockets against England. He hopes to fire at least a dozen per day at London with no loss of German lives. When they land, only the British will die. We’ll test their resolve to keep on fighting with London in flames.”

“But construction of another factory will take months,” von Braun argued.

“Three or four, if everything goes according to plan.”

“Three? Isn’t that a bit aggressive?”

“The Jews will build it. They’ll work day and night. We will find a suitable location that won’t require an enormous construction budget.”

“When can we relocate?”

“We will move the equipment that can be salvaged to a temporary location. Your testing and experiments can continue there. Don’t worry,” Klammer assured the scientist, “I’ve built several work camps under budget and ahead of schedule. I know what I’m doing.”

“We will determine what equipment is viable and catalog it immediately,” von Braun said, nodding his head. “Several rockets survived, and testing can continue as soon as we can relocate.”

“Fine, the future of your project depends on continued progress. The Fuhrer often grows impatient and loses faith when things don’t go according to plan. As a fellow engineer, I have the utmost faith in you, Dr. von Braun. I’ve rarely seen a man so driven to succeed.”

“Thank you,” von Braun said. “This research could win the war. My hope is that we can settle this nonsense on our terms. So that we can pursue the real goal, Germany’s conquest of space.”

“We all want that. Everyone is tired of war, but we must win a decisive victory. Now I must get back to Berlin. Keep me abreast of your progress, Werner.”

“I will, sir. Thank you for lifting my spirits.”

“We’ll be up and move forward in no time. You do the science and leave the rocket building to me.” With that, Klammer climbed into the back seat of his car. He waved at von Braun and motioned for his driver to leave.

Von Braun watched Klammer depart. He felt better, but the design problems with the rockets nagged him still. He walked back to his makeshift office to begin the cataloging project. No doubt with enough cruelty and loss of Jewish life, the SS would accomplish their task. A new factory was one thing, but he had to find out why the rockets weren’t achieving altitude. With the structural design team in tatters, what would von Braun have to do? Stand underneath one of the things as it crashed back down to earth?

***

Half of the Jews forced to work at the Peenemunde installation were killed or wounded. Those with superficial wounds were herded among the other men. Those too far gone were shot where they lay.

The survivors were crammed into cattle cars in which hay and dung littered the floorboards. They were pushed inside until it was standing room only. Many pairs of lungs competed for the thin and stifling oxygen.

As they left the Peenemunde facility, those men near the sides of the car tried to see through the tiny slits serving as windows. Other than briefly glimpsing civilization as the train passed a town, the men saw nothing but trees and open fields; they had no idea where they were going. Hungry and tired, they gratefully took turns sitting when they could no longer stand, though sitting room diminished as the train meandered down through the middle of Germany, picking up other prisoners as it headed south.

In the late afternoon of the first day, the train stopped. The men were offloaded and given some weak soup and water. They were permitted to sit as the food was distributed. The guards had been given orders to deliver them alive; dead workers were useless. They were allowed to relieve themselves at the side of the tracks, long ago having lost the privilege of privacy. Few of them looked at one another, and none spoke.

They were jammed back onto the train, and there were no more stops. On the second afternoon, the train reached its destination. With Mount Kohnstein looming above them, their rail cars were opened by SS guards. As they were herded toward the face of the mountain, they were handed pickaxes and shovels. They moved toward a small track railway that led into what looked like a mine entrance protruding back into the dark recesses of the mountain. A guard hit a switch, and a string of dim lights illuminated the tunnel farther than sight could follow. Men were already chipping away at the Gypsum rock that lined the walls. Metal clanging against rock echoed. It was a soft mineral and came out in large chunks that were immediately loaded into metal carts and pushed by hand out of the mine. No indication was given to the workers as to what they were supposed to do, other than keep digging.

Inside the mine, there were no mechanized engines, only manpower. If a cart tipped over, the prisoners were beaten until the car was set upright and the rock reloaded. The dust choked the workers and made it hard to see. Fumes from blasting perpetually hung in the air.

They worked around the clock, and the shifts changed every twelve hours. Afterward, the prisoners were taken to an area where wooden bunks were stacked four high. The thin mattresses brought no comfort and allowed for little sleep. Stale bread and a thin foul tasting soup gave little nourishment. Over the weeks and months, as many men died from dysentery and Typhus as were executed or worked to death. The lack of proper nutrition gave the prisoners violent diarrhea; a bucket was their sanitary facility. Every straw filled mat they slept on was stained with excrement and vomit. Lice, scabies and other insects, tormented the men constantly.

The passageways were widened, and the ceilings made higher. The main tunnels needed to accommodate fully assembled rockets as they were put together. Scaffolding was necessary to reach the roof. Men fell on every shift. Some died while others were injured. The men who could no longer work were shot. Their bodies tossed on rail cars laden with rock. Outside, they were transferred to piles of human corpses. Every day and night, the piles of dead grew.

The progress was rapid despite the inhuman conditions. The two main S-shaped tunnels ran parallel and snaked through the mountain. Forty-six connecting passageways had to be dug through rock walls. Storerooms and barracks for the prisoners and guards were hollowed out along one of the main tunnels. A small hospital was constructed and various workshops and laboratories. The pace was brutal. When a prisoner died, there were always replacements coming by train from concentration camps all over Germany, Poland and elsewhere.

About the Author

Soren Petrek is a practicing criminal trial attorney, admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 1991.  Married with two adult children, Soren continues to live and work in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Educated in the U.S., England and France Soren sat his O-level examinations at the Heathland School in Hounslow, London in 1981.  His undergraduate degree in Forestry is from the University of Minnesota, 1986.  His law degree is from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota 1991.

Soren’s novel, Cold Lonely Courage won Fade In Magazine’s 2009 Award for Fiction.  Fade In was voted the nation’s favorite movie magazine by the Washington Post and the L.A. Times in 2011 and 2012.

The French edition of Cold Lonely Courage, Courage was published January 2019, by Encre Rouge Editions, distributed by Hachette Livre in 60 countries.  Soren’s contemporary novel, Tim will be released along with the rest of the books in the Madeleine Toche series of historical thrillers.

His latest book is the historical action adventure novel, Wolves at Our Door.

Website: https://www.sorenpetrek.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SPetrek_Toche44?lang=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/soren.petrek

 

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FOUR TIMES BROKEN (A Burdened Novel – Book 1)

BOOK BLURB:

When Tracey’s life spirals out of control, who will help her pick up the pieces?

Tracey Warren’s last year of high school is mapped out: stay focused, graduate in a few months, and get the hell out of Bennington, Virginia. The finish line is in plain sight and everything is going according to plan. Until a car accident sends her plans spiraling out of control.

After a chance encounter with a diabolically handsome stranger, she is left with questions that only Nathan Newcomb can give her the answers to. But being around him makes her head spin and being away from him makes an unbearable pain consume her.

There is only one cure, and being the girl mated to a Burdened Sephlem won’t be an easy road. It will be destined for chaos, but Nathan’s magnetism draws Tracey in, and she can’t resist him. Once they are bonded, danger lurks around every darkened corner, and the greatest one may be coursing through the bloodlines running through Nathan’s veins.

Can their love survive or will their burdened souls surrender and fade away?

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THREE TIMES TORN (A Burdened Novel – Book 2)

BOOK BLURB:

Tracey’s fun and free life has taken a nefarious turn. Since releasing her heart to Nathan, the repercussions for choosing to love a Burdened Sephlem have been deadly, daunting, and more dangerous than she ever predicted.

If life only allowed her a moment to breathe, to break away from her tainted father and chaotic friend, the injurious bonding may be easier. But there are sentiments rushing through her veins that is twisting her through a whirlwind of bliss and chaos. And a breath of fresh air only resides in one place. . . Until he’s changed. . .

Someone who lives to destroy Tracey’s mate, Nathan, has the perfect concoction for tragedy and Tracey is his primary ingredient. Influenced by the sinister intentions of Roehl, Nathan’s half-brother, Tracey’s outlook on her bond has faltered. She will be required to choose again, and all signs point in the wrong direction; for her and her friend.

We’ve made it onto Lunis’ radar. A full-blooded Sephlem who’s driven by torturing others. He claims he’s owed a debt and Nathan will do anything to protect his family from him. He’ll put his life on the line if needed, and Lunis guarantees he will take it. This threat seems far more likely to succeed when we invade his guardhouse to rescue Olar.

Can bonds tied to the soul be broken, or will a Burdened Sephlem have to bare his soul to keep his mate?

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TWO TIMES SLAIN (A Burdened Novel Book 3)

BOOK BLURB:

Loyalty, deception, honesty, and death.

These factors in Tracey’s life have taken her from an innocent teenager to a strong-minded young adult when she took the leap that no human or Sephlem would dare to. And while none of the promised perils have materialized, her strength has yet to be tested. Now, the secrets behind the midnight eyes of her mate have started to come to light, and this unbalanced truth affects her, her parents, and what’s left of her friends.

When her mate’s mother gets abducted and everyone leaves to find her, Tracey’s left to fend for herself. She finds peace in finally being alone without the bond of her mate overwhelming her and revels in a freedom that she has tried to obtain since mating. But it is short lived. She wakes, bound and blindfolded, awaiting a torturous greeting from an unlikely foe… Someone who has an appetite for vengeance.

The Burdened has rule over Nathan and his life. The more he fights it, it prevails. But rescuing his mate and his mother is a dead cert, and Nathan will destroy anything and anyone who stands in his way.

A prophecy has set the fate of Nathan and Tracey’s relationship and the Sephlem race—their union more significant than either realizes. As the future unfolds and their love is tested, will it endure the deepest pain of their loss?

Love has found its match.

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ONCE TIME PASSED (A Burden Novel Book 4)

BOOK BLURB:

Time flying was far better than it standing still.

Tracey’s life will always be a battle against darkness. And just when it seemed over, the choice of love or sacrifice sends what’s left of her existence spiraling into a realm she never knew existed. Any curse is bound to set burdened souls free, but only at the cost of an innocent’s heart.

The bond has always been resented, but she’d give anything to pump a beat into my mate’s lifeless heart.

There’s no place like love.
There’s no time for mourning.
Love may have struck a nerve.
But time struck the heart.

Once Time Passed is the long anticipated fourth installment in A Burdened Novel, the dark paranormal romance cross-over that dabbles in love, loss, and coming of age.

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Amazon

 

Book Excerpt:

I flick my enamored gaze back onto the black-and-white tiles, cheeks on fire. Crap! He probably thinks I’m like the floozies from earlier, stupefied by a cute smile and well-lined beard.

And to make it worse, he cackles, head falling forward, having a few strands of his hair fall onto his forehead.

I snort, hating I’ve become his amusement today.

There’s cautiousness in his movement when he drags his hands from his pockets and approaches me. “Let me help you,” he drones. His reach is precarious, but when he latches onto my waist, his grasp is steady. I’m ambushed by a plethora of sensations from the contact; my heart stutters and my breaths rush from my lungs as he lifts me off the bed.

“Thanks,” I mutter, meeting his eyes. Which, is something I’ve been trying to avoid since I had passed out.

They take me in, and the hazel-brown swirls. I stare in awe as liquid emerald blends with milk chocolate.

He blinks and backs away, releasing his hold. I didn’t notice how aware I was of his hands being on me until they fall away, an immersing sense of comfort and warmth going with them.

“Let’s go. It’s getting late; you need to get home.” His rigid, deepened voice differs from the discerning one he used only moments ago.

“Um,” I mumble.

He lifts his gaze and looks past my shoulder toward the doorway, eyes brown again.

My eyes narrow and I point to his face. “That’s different.”

“I know,” he says. “It’s also a pain in my ass.” He sweeps his hand toward the door.

Not wanting to pry, I shrug and walk out of the room.

“Hi, Mrs. Waturstrom,” I greet the woman behind the nurse’s desk. “I’m a little better, but my head still hurts. May I have something for my headache that’ll tide me over until I get home, please?”

“Of course, Tracey. Nice to see you’re okay. I’ll give you a Tylenol for your pain and a bottle of water. Wait there a moment,” she adds, turning away to her cabinet of pain-relieving goodies. Our school nurse is a nice little lady whose smooth skin and perfect posture is a compliment to her age. She says it is because her late husband kept her young. He passed away a year or so ago, and it’s noticeable his passing broke her heart. She lost the spring in her step. Now, she’s the basic happy nurse, keeping a smile on and speaking with a slight hint of excitement but it’s not from her heart. If it weren’t for the small, tear-shaped scar under her right eye, she’d be flawless for her age.

I rest against the counter. “Thank you.”

“Now, Tracey. I’m not trying to meddle, but sometimes I can’t help myself.” Mrs. Waturstrom examines the label of a pill bottle and continues, “Are you two dating?”

My eyes bulge. I hurry to sober them, knowing he can see my expression with him only being a foot away. “No, ma’am. I don’t even know him,” I hurry to say, wanting to clear up any confusion. “There was an accident.”

“Oh!” she gasps as if my denial of our involvement is unbelievable. “I’m sorry, dear. I thought, well, with the way he carried you in here and his concern over you being well. That boy even fell asleep in that hard chair, waiting for you to wake up.”

About the Author

Felisha Antonette writes young adult and new adult romance, paranormal and contemporary, sweet and sexy. There’s a little bit of something for everyone! She cares most for the enjoyment of her readers and loves making others happy may it be through her stories, encouragement, or volunteering. When she’s not writing and ‘momming’ she’s a team leader for kiddos and teens at her church (Cornerstone – Chandler, AZ), working out at the gym, binging on a Netflix series, or trying to defeat Mr. King Dice in Cuphead with her daughter Namia!

Website: www.felishaantonette.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/peiriann

Facebook: www.facebook.com/feeantonette

GIVEAWAY!

Felisha Antonette is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a 4 book set of her A Burdened Novel series!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive either $25 Amazon Gift Card or the whole 4 book A Burdened Novel series!
  • This giveaway ends midnight July 19.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on July 20.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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After a career in medicine, Mike Houtz succumbed to the call to hang up his stethoscope and pursue his other passion as a writer of fast-paced thrillers. A rabid fan of authors such as Clancy, Mark Greaney, Vince Flynn, and Brad Thor, Mike loves series writing with strong characters, fast pacing and international locations, all of which explode into action in his debut novel, a 2017 Zebulon Award winner. When not at the keyboard, he can be found on the firing range, traveling for research across the globe, or trying out the latest dry-fly pattern on a Gold Medal trout stream.

He lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

His latest book is the thriller/international/action novel, Dark Spiral Down.

Website: www.mikehoutz.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/michaelhoutz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.mikehoutz/

https://www.facebook.com/mike.houtz.77

BOOK BLURB:

COLE HAUFNER is a reluctant superstar in the professional mixed martial arts world. After his latest fight, his wife and child perish in a car crash. His grief deepens when his brother, BUTCH, a Delta Force operator, is absent from the funeral and reported missing by two furtive strangers who show up unannounced at the burial. Despairing, and acting on a tip, Cole travels to his childhood home in southeast China, looking for his brother.

Butch and his teammate, HAMMER, are the sole American survivors of a gun battle between their unit and North Korean commandos, both sides fighting over possession of a stolen suitcase containing a miniaturized fusion device that could either provide unlimited clean energy or be converted to an undetectable bomb seven times more powerful than a nuclear explosion. Leading the North Koreans is the sociopath, Commander PARK. Pressed into helping the Koreans is a disgraced former CIA operative, BARRETT JENNINGS.

Cole meets with the uncle who raised him, MASTER LI, and is warned to stop his search for Butch. Barrett discovers Cole’s identity (with the help of a genius computer hacker, LILLY), which opens a twenty-year-old wound when Barrett was blamed for the disappearance of Cole’s father, along with the man’s invention. Barrett enlists the 14K organized crime syndicate to help capture Cole. Hammer, separated from Butch during the fight for the device, thwarts the gang’s attempt to kidnap Cole, and the two then set off to find Butch and the device. All parties converge on the city library where Butch, now disguised as a monk, is attempting to communicate with the Pentagon. Barrett and Park capture Butch, while the 14K gang nabs Cole.

Danger mounts as Chinese authorities begin investigating foul play within their borders. Cole fights his way free of the gang and reunites with Hammer.  Both men find Barrett’s apartment and discover Lilly (the man’s stepdaughter), who divulges Barrett’s identity and plan. Cole clashes with Hammer, who is willing to sacrifice Butch in order to recover the fusion device. Lilly offers her help in exchange for her and Barrett’s rescue from Park’s grip. Meanwhile, Barrett discovers the true nature of the case the North Koreans are pursuing and, sensing he and Lilly are to be assassinated by Park once he has the device, frees Butch. Butch, trusting Barrett was sent to rescue him, leads the turncoat to the site where he hid the device. Barrett, hoping to make a quick fortune selling it, shoots Butch before escaping with the case.

Cole, along with Hammer and Lilly, arrives at the location of Butch and finds him gravely wounded. Butch fingers Barrett for shooting him and for stealing the case. Cole wants only to save his brother but Butch makes him promise to kill Barrett and recover their dad’s invention. The revelation that the device is his father’s scientific discovery propels Cole forward to fulfill his brother’s mission. Cole is forced to abandon Butch at a hospital. Cole pursues Barrett to a remote dock where the ex-CIA man is planning to escape China by boat. With the Chinese military now actively looking for Cole, Cole confronts Barrett and Park sparking a gunfight. Barrett kills Park. As Barrett turns the gun on Cole, Hammer kills Barrett. Cole, Hammer and Lilly escape via the boat, and the fusion device is safely returned.

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https://amzn.to/2UpXJmK

 

Would you call yourself a born writer?

For me, I believe the better description is ‘born storyteller’. The process of writing has always been a way for me to collect my thoughts and present my fiction in a way that isn’t jumbled or misses the point I’m attempting to convey. Writing allows me to fail before the reader sees the finished work. I’ve written with the intent to entertain as far back as junior high school, but I needed life experience and years of practice before I considered it a career. I’m only beginning to accept the notion I’m a ‘writer’, and I have a long way to go.

What was your inspiration for DARK SPIRAL DOWN?

I’ve been involved in children’s concerns—professionally and personally—for most of my adult life. My series shines a light on a little-known issue with the kidnapping of America children by one parent and taken to a foreign country against the will of the other parent. In 1983, a small consortium of countries adopted the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child abduction. Only about half of countries worldwide recognize the status quo child custody arrangement existing before an unlawful removal of a child from their home country. DARK SPIRAL DOWN introduces the readers to the main character, Cole Haufner, a trained Shaolin monk, as he looks for his missing Delta Force brother in Southeast China. At the end of the book, he comes to realize he has a knack for rescuing people. The books explore his journey with returning kids to their rightful caretaker. When the court system fails a child’s return, Cole delivers his brand of justice.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I’m forever drawn to the Good vs. Evil arrangement. I probably spent an unhealthy amount of time watching the Star Wars franchise growing up. A small band of rebels fighting the oh-so powerful bad guys with little chance of success. Who doesn’t like a David vs. Goliath story? I have a particular disdain for bullies, and I love scheming ways for their demise. I’d say another key idea for me is love and loyalty. The bond that people have with family, or a developed attachment based on shared experiences, is the basis for much of who we are and our motivations in life. Understanding what drives individuals explains most of their behaviors. That layering helps me develop a more complex and believable character with all the good and bad traits we all have. There I go with that good and bad theme again.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I was in the middle of working on my medical thriller when this storyline just kept poking at me from the back of my mind. I became so frustrated I threw that manuscript into a drawer and pulled out a note pad and started outlining DARK SPIRAL DOWN. I had a completed rough draft of 84K words in about 5 months. This was my first full-length novel—ever. When I say rough, I really mean it. I entered a contest solely for the review from an experienced author and came away with an award. About 6 months later, I had a book deal and then another year before edits and details completed for final publication. Start to book launch took around 2 ½ years.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I’m disciplined up to the point my life allows. I travel frequently with my kids as their sports require a lot of time away from home. As time passes, I find myself necessarily more focused with my needed production. A typical day involves going over emails and social media then writing from eight am. until noon on a manuscript. I’ll take care of family items and other busy work over the lunch hours and try to pick up around Two. I’ll get pulled in many directions when the school bus comes home soon after. Some of my better stuff comes when I return to the story after everyone else goes to bed. That 10:30 pm to 1:30 am slot is when I can really crush it.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

As a debut author, I had little training and barely any idea how to properly write a novel. Some random idea would jump into my head and I’d race to get it on paper. I ended up acquiring chapters written for different sections of the book and little idea how I’d connect them. Though it worked out well, I wouldn’t recommend that type of scattered writing to others. I’m certainly not striving for a repeat.

What do you love most about being an author?

When someone, anyone, tells me they loved it, I get a rush of adrenalin knowing I entertained them, and their time was well spent. When I chat with someone face-to-face and see that excitement in their face and hear the elevated emotion in the voice reliving a scene I poured myself into, I can’t help but relive that same enthusiasm and feel a shared bond with them. That type of connection is powerful.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I pitched my newly awarded manuscript to The Wild Rose Press, a smaller traditional publisher out of New York, at the Colorado Gold conference. After a request for a full, I was quickly put in touch with a senior editor who pushed the book through their committee at light speed. The communication along the way was outstanding, and I had that gut feeling I was in good hands. Because of how they’d treated me along the way, I had zero qualms of accepting the contract they offered. Working with my wonderful editor, Leanne Morgena, I’ve learned a ton this past year, and my writing has improved immensely. A great start to my career.

   Where can we find you on the web?

You can find me on various social media platforms including:

http://www.mikehoutz.com

https://twitter.com/michaelhoutz

https://www.facebook.com/author.mikehoutz/

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=dark+spiral+down&i=stripbooks&crid=

 

 

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