Crutches & Chairs

Crutches & Chairs

It’s amazing the way we subconsciously attach ourselves to things– or people, and it becomes a crutch. Comfortable as it may be, and harmless as well, years can pass without us or anyone around us noticing this almost metaphysical hold that person or thing possesses. The saddest part about a crutch: it has absolutely nothing to do with our attachments or how deep they root.

Of course, we typically associate drugs, alcohol, abusive lovers, etc as a crutch. Those huge red flags waving from every direction warning of addiction and the almost impossible feeling of life afterward. Unfortunately, not all crutches are so toxic to come with red flags, warnings or support.

My father died twenty years ago. I kept a zipper sweater of his and I wore it when I was sad. I wore it to write. I sat and wrote everything I held in. I was rather lost and sad too often. I wore that sweater when the zipper was broken, the pockets had ripped and over a decade of depression left the fabric bare and rough. I stopped wearing it because it made me feel worse but I kept it on a hanger just the same.

The decade passed and withered my security sweater to find the passing of my grandmother. Only weeks before she passed she sent me to get her something she’d never owned before. My grandmother wanted her very own hoodie. Of course, she couldn’t have a normal hoodie. It had to be right for her. I found it. Grey with pink trim, soft, not too thick and bedazzled down the zipper sides.

My family went through her things and I ended up with that hoodie (and other things obviously) with the bedazzled zipper. It was too large for her wrists, so she’s sewn these large black plastic musical note buttons to each wrist to make it smaller. It was sure something to see. I wore it, though. I wore it like a hug I’d been waiting for all my life. I wore it when I was sad, which had lessened before I lost her. I wore it to write.

She was a writer and damned supportive of my love for the craft as well. I found happiness writing in that hoodie. I wrote my first novel in that hoodie. I also revised and went through about twenty rounds of edits in that hoodie. We were a team after that.

A tradition was started and everything I’d written and published came with the embrace of that hoodie. More loss faced me. My marriage and my health both failed. I rushed into a relationship with all my heart like a fool. My health continued to fall and I ended up alone, a single mom, homeless, in the worst health of my life. I wore my hoodie like armor.

By now, all the crutches in my life have become like that picture in the back of Highlights magazine where you find all the things wrong in the setting. Welcome to my life at that moment. I knew it, too. Here is the part where I surprise both of us with where this story is heading.—

I’d set out to write this post for this massive epiphany I had while talking to my kids today about my lack of writing since I became a chronic illness warrior. It was a chair. In all these attachments/crutches I kept, I’d figured out the reason I hadn’t written since I became sick was the night I moved home at my marriage-end. My ex and I (friends) shared the U-Haul and I was second- We were tired. I was going back home to North Carolina, and my writing chair wouldn’t fit. We argued, probably made a big scene in the neighborhood looking back, and when he was insistent it would not fit, my temper hit my highest, or lowest point-depending on the scale.

Before I knew it, I had this beloved writing chair, this heavy, business grade office chair over my head, as sick and hurting as I was, and in pure anger, I did throw that chair over a chain link fence next to our garbage and screamed some f-bombs, mf’s, sob’s—basically, I might as well had gone through the alphabet. I still remember the slow-mo sight and sound of that chair hitting the ground. Not a bit broken, the strong wooden arms didn’t touch the ground for the thick upholstered seat with those brass brads framing the edges. The wheels spun in the moonlight.

I was writing in that chair before my feet could touch the ground. My dad’s office had a second desk with a typewriter and a three-hole punch. That was my desk. I sat there in that same burgundy floral chair and drank my Nu-Grape, ate my Gold-n-Cheese and would spin until I regretted everything. I typed letters to my dad, feet swinging beneath me, and hid them for him to find when I wasn’t there. I did book reports, projects and sometimes, I just typed bad words really fast and threw it away before anyone saw. (I was an odd kid.)

When I grew up and moved out, my dad gave me that chair. It was my chair. I signed on AOL there. I paid bills there. I wrote my Christmas cards there, and when I wrote anything, I wrote it there. In that one chair. He died two weeks after I married. I planned his funeral in that chair.

My grandmother was disabled. A chronic illness warrior, herself, she couldn’t take just any seat. When she came to my house, guess where she always went? Yes. That chair. It was my chair unless my grandmother was there. I didn’t mind that one bit.

The crickets chirping made the same sound as those squeaky wheels turning on the other side of the fence. On the side of my life that was over. I resented him for what felt like purposefully not making room, even if it meant leaving something lesser out. I never understood why everything fit but it, or why it was last. I was tired, defeated, angry at things that led to where I was in the moment that night. Basically, everything I’ve said rushed through the moment the chair went flying out of my hands. I resent me for it, too. Most of all.

I resent me for what I wanted to tell you. I meant to say this chair has been my problem, my crutch for almost another decade now- Seven or eight years. I don’t even count anymore because everything then was then. I am not anything like I was or who I was. She is a stranger. Things are things. People are people. One of those matter.

Pain pumps through me every moment of each day, and I have had to relearn me, my life, and my new. Nostalgia can creep in like an infection, make you question why everything happened the way it did and why those crutches were so damned crippling. I miss people. Zipper sweaters. Hoodies. Y’all, I really miss that fucking chair.

Crutches. We need them when we can’t walk. But we don’t know if we can walk until we try without the crutches. Honesty hurts, especially if you fall, but for at least seven years, I’ve been grabbing crutches. All these life changes changed everything about me from politics, to music, to food. It changed my spirituality, my parenting, everything I have ventured… What if, no matter how much I love it, I’m not a writer anymore? But maybe I shouldn’t doubt myself because I have a mouthy ass daughter. —– Also, my oldest daughter hated the way this ended and added that last line. I left it for her. 

Why Valentine’s Day is Nothing to Me.

It was the late 1990’s. I was young, wild, and in love. His hair was longer than mine and he was my polar opposite. I liked darkness and sarcasm. He was a hippie metal head. We had a long term back and forth relationship so what else could we do to express our commitment to one another? It was time to get married. So said the brains of a seventeen and eighteen year old.

We had a semi-long engagement, mainly we knew I could not get married for another year, anyway. It seemed like “doing it the right way.” The only issue was not thinking about the extended future. Sure, I was going to go to college, and then he would, we would just be those mature married college kids. The dark one and the hippie.

In the year of engagement and brushing over the story of how very not pleased my parents were with this idea, signs burst out in neon around us, but we didn’t see them- or didn’t want to see. His family hated my planned Renaissance styled dress and called it so many degrading names, I switched from the style of dress I’d known I would have since I was a young girl watching Labyrinth. It hurt, but it was just a dress and as immature as I was, I knew marriage was about more than the wedding.

Then, I was informed we must get married in the church. I was against this. I also always had my own ideas of a wedding. Small, simple, elegant, self-written vows and no sermon. It was a huge deal for them. I agreed, and then found out we had to meet with the pastor to see if he would even marry us since we were young sinners. Well, wow. What is the percentage of non-sinner weddings? But I agreed. Sarcastically, but agreed.


Shortly after the big bombshell, in my opinion hit. We were to follow his family tradition of being married on Valentine’s Day. Remember the mention of my darkness and all? Where does the most lovey-dovey commercialized holiday fit into that? Not to mention, I’d never had a good Valentine’s Day. Even the year before, he and I were broken up for a short spurt running through Valentine’s and well, things happened and Valentine’s was not a shining good memory for either of us. But, it was this long ran family tradition, and who was I to ruin a tradition just as I was entering the family? That would be rude, right?

Well, my parents were bothered as their opinionated, my-way-or-the-highway daughter relayed information of what was obviously not plans from my mind or heart. But, like parents tend to do, they stood by me, and fit the bill for most everything I never wanted.

The pastor liked us and due to my bluntness, agreed to even mum the sermon part to a minimum. We had this glorious Valentine wedding. I managed some black roses into my my flower pattern and our wedding party looked like the November Rain video. I was informed the night before the wedding that we couldn’t even dance, which was great, since my mom secured one of the best pianist around for the wedding and reception. He was on my side enough to play as we entered the reception hall, including playing, “The Stripper” as my mom walked in- I guess he liked her. LOL.


After the reception and cleaning beside my family, we finally were able to leave the church well past unrelated guests that were not cleaning with us. I discovered our honeymoon money was conjured off my new husband by his parents because, well… it was their anniversary. We didn’t even have money for dinner. We went straight home and I locked myself in the bedroom and cried myself to sleep in my wedding dress.

Welcome to the real world. Welcome to Valentine’s Day and how it always worked for me.

Fast forward to family time. Getting married on Valentine’s sounds good and sweet until you need a baby sitter because not only is it Valentine’s but it is also your wedding anniversary. Forget the pressure of trying to double the fun and gifts. Babysitters do not exist. Asking someone to babysit on this day is the most insulting thing you can do. First, even though I later found out some people (like his sister) were not obligated to the Valentine wedding tradition and I swallowed that bitter pill, any of the one’s I would ask to babysit were indeed also celebrating anniversaries on this date, and I guess if they weren’t conning the date night money out of my husband’s pocket, I should be thankful.

If you ask single friends to babysit, you assume they are not worthy of plans that night. If you ask married friends, you are assuming the spark is gone in their relationship. Thank goodness businesses exist for professional sitters now because NEVER ASK SOMEONE YOU LIKE AND CARE ABOUT TO BABYSIT ON VALENTINE’S. Those new to an anniversary on this date or are contemplating the date to marry, note this. Note it well.

As years passed, it was easier to make it about the kids and less about us..and by less, I really mean not at all about us. So with this day, we really lost a commercialized holiday to compete with which of our friends got the best gift or romanced the sweetest, to also losing the day of our vows. I won’t say it was the ax in us, but along with many other things, it sprinkled bitterness on everything like Paula Dean spicing a ham.

Once in a blue moon, we had a night out the day before, day after, week after- whatever we could do, but in time, it just ho-hummed. In reality, we were fighting to celebrate one of the worst days of us. I recall one Valentine anniversary crying on the floor with my wedding dress I so very much hated and I do not even recall getting the scissors, but needless to say, I felt some enjoyment that year.

A horrible wedding day, a wedding nothing as I wanted, and a date that is impossible to consider “your special day,” is great for something. I learned what mattered and what did not. Valentine’s did not matter to me. Anniversaries did not matter to me. Weddings did not matter to me.

Things that do not matter

The individual date of marriage

The dress

The event

The invitations

The food

The music

The general money spent on entertaining other people to celebrate the love between two people

The holiday everyone celebrates the love they normally take for granted

The money spent on this day

The place you eat on this day

Jewelry or precious stones

Things that do matter

Everyday, even the bad ones

Not letting other people control any situation not about them


Foundation of friendship






Small things on days that mean nothing that turns that nothing day into an important memory

Knowing when to keep holding on

Knowing when to let go.

If you know me at all, you likely know my marriage ended over three years ago. Through this time, on February 14th especially, I have not pondered so much the dress, the sitters, the date or the music. I don’t care about the cake, the lack of dancing, diamonds or gold. I have also not rushed into making sure I am not alone, in fact some may say I enjoy being single too much. Those morons likely still think the color schemes and expensive cake make a wedding and marriage. After a three year separation, we finalized our divorce this week, a few days before what would have been our 16th Valentine anniversary.


So when I say I hate Valentines, it has nothing to do with my anniversary, the lack of sitters, or a wedding I did not like. It is because after turning this day into an icon to represent us for so many years, it means nothing to me. When I think of the good times and what I miss it is not the wedding, the cake, the yearly attempts at February 14th. I miss not cooking when I am sick. I miss popping my back at night like a routine so I am not in pain. I miss not going to the ER alone. I miss relaxing on the porch on summer nights, with crickets in the background as we talk about what it is going to be like when we are old. But mostly, I miss not seeing that we didn’t really start becoming friends until we knew we were over and that we’d left so many scars on each other, the wounds would never heal together.

Every single day you spend with someone is a brick in your foundation. Friendship is the mortar. If you build a foundation with ideals of not being alone, materialism, other people’s opinions in charge of your choices, and talking without communication, you will fall apart. If you slow down and make friendship the mortar, I’d say you have a 50/50 shot of making it. If you don’t take that time, every year brings another shot at a good Valentine’s Day. You’ll always have that.

Lit Genius Extraordinaire! — With The Lovely Ms. P.

A very sincere thanks to the lovely & talented Valarie Savage Kinney for allowing me on her blog to post the A-Z basics of Livian!

What Dreams May Come


I imagine some piece of every human heart broke with the tragic news of Robin Williams passing away. I have to admit, I’d hoped it was one of those cases where twitter trends “kill” someone that is still very much alive. But it wasn’t. I was visiting with my mother when the news broke, and you would have thought we lost a close family member with the way it stunned us into a silence, followed by tears. Here in the south, I think our first instinct to cope with deal is to cook and/or eat. Something about frying chicken, making a cake, or some other southern dish and taking it to the home of mourning takes the sting away, at least a little bit. On the other side, something about caring people showing up with fried chicken or a cake when your home is the home of mourning makes the moments feel less like shattered glass beneath bare feet.


But in this case, I think the house of mourning was every home in America, if not the world. It is easy to say that this brilliant man was in some way, a part of most of our youth. He was why we all tried to sit on our heads. He was a rapping bat. He was a genie. This man was Peter Pan. He was so many things, and he gave us the freedom to imagine, pretend, act, and for some of us, we wrote words and prayed someday, he, or someone like him, could make our words come alive for the rest of the world.


But the fact of it is, Robin Williams was not just the vision of our youth, but the understanding of our adult realities. Some of these need no explaining, just titles. Dead Poets Society. Good Will Hunting. Jack. Patch Adams. A million times during stressful kid moments, I’ve turned to my kids and said, “POOF! Whaddaya need? POOF! Whaddaya need?”


Jack made me appreciate life. I remember the local casting calls for this movie called Patch Adams, set in the 1970s. My (then) boyfriend at the time and I sent in our photos for a shot at being in a Robin Williams flick. We weren’t 70s enough, though with both of us having hair past our bottoms, I never understood. I recall us being upset, but quickly stating, “Well, I guess Robin Williams had nothing to do with extra casting, or we’d be in!” Because, come on, we all felt like he was our buddy, our pal, one cool fella.


Our kids are raised with Williams. Maybe a board game gotten out of hand, or some happy feet, or why we leave RV vacations to Papa.


Most recently, very recently, I saw Robin Williams in a role again for the first time. Let me explain. I was still pretty young when Mrs. Doubtfire came out, and being a child with parents that just did not work out as a couple, I loved this movie. I could see so much of my dad in the character of Daniel. I wanted to smoosh Robin Williams and Sally Field together at the end in one of those, “Now kiss.” moments but I understood when it didn’t end that way.


Remember the boyfriend that wasn’t Patch Adams 70s enough with me? Well, he became my husband, Daniel. Seriously, his name is Daniel just like Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire. We married young and we made it though years and years and then we became one of those couples that just didn’t work. Not from lack of love or trying. It just didn’t work. We firmly agreed to remain friends, which as anyone can imagine, is work as well and some moments would be fit for reality television. Le sigh. Through all the tense moments and not seeing eye to eye and sometimes, not even feeling like we lived in the same world, we work on friendship.



Not long ago, likely not even a month ago, he came over and we were in one of those tense, working really hard to get along moments and when he showed up, Mrs. Doubtfire was on. We didn’t speak, but he ended up caught up in the movie and we sat in silence. Come on, you know it is easy to get caught up watching Robin Williams, even at your ex wife’s house But, as I said, I saw him again for the first time. Robin Williams wasn’t playing the role that reminded me of my father. He was playing the role of my ex husband. My mom wasn’t the Sally Field. I was. It hurt in a way I cannot put into words, and words are my life. And not just because Peirce Bronson is not my rebound, but because I could feel the side of the movie as I did as a child. And now, I could feel the role of Sally Field, and there is no “now kiss and make up” moment there.


I don’t talk about my personal life too often, not in detail. But I’ve been sick since before the end of my marriage with an undiagnosed illness. I’ve been blessed with a fantastic group of specialists that work with me constantly and try to figure out this grand mystery that has transformed my entire way of life. I’ve struggled with the single mom thing with a lack of mobility and days of constant pain. Little things have become big things. Field trips, awards, talent shows, trips to the park- all these things have become major events with the mystery illness. Sickness also brings about the truth most of us would be better off not knowing. The truth of the people in our life and what happens through thick and thin. Promises are broken. Wonderful people fall from the highest of pedestals, but then other people surprise you. Some people flake out when being in your life or loving you isn’t easy and some people you never expected to surprise you, do and they come with support and love and just knowing you are not alone.


During a long run of heartbroken and pain-filled nights, I’ve bonded with my oldest daughter. She has helped me so much. She helps make sure the youngest ones don’t see me as anything other than Wonder Woman. A gift I can never repay. She’s gone without a lot during this as well. She has taken on many responsibilities I’d prefer she not have just yet, but life happens. Summer break has given us lots of late nights for her to stay up while I could not sleep and I was proud to share with her something of my own youth. We had our own escape from everything- the stress, doctor visits, busy schedules, pain, etc, etc, etc. We had Mork. Mork and Mindy became a normal relief from our problems. We’ve come close to seeing all the episodes now and we’ve even joked about the perfect men were probably Orkan. Oy. Shazbot!


Throughout my life, Robin Williams has been one with wisdom, comedy, and comfort. How could anyone not feel like they’ve just lost one of the best friends a person could know. Depression. How heartbreaking it is to know that someone dedicated their life to entertaining others, cheering them up, making them laugh at the worst of times, and inspired so many of us not only in the arts, but life in general. If only we’d had the chance to make him laugh, to make the sadness take a step back, if even for a moment as he’d done for us.

Depression is real. It has been passed by for far too long as a mood or a weakness that could be gotten over if the person really wanted to get over it. Depression can strike anyone and until you battle the beast, you have no clue how deep his claws are. It is not something to be ashamed of, nor is it a form of self consumption. Depression can make you wish you were the one person in the world you could forget. Depression comes with emotional weight and physical pain. Depression is a condition. A sickness too often ignored for fear of sharing our emotions, fears, and pain. When someone battling depression thinks of suicide, it is not a quick escape for them, it is this ripping pain in the pit of your soul that makes you feel like not being around would be better for everyone else. It has nothing to do with feeling unloved. It is knowing people love you and feeling like your existence is a weight and burden. It hurts, but just like A Christmas Carol, you zone out and picture what life would be like for each person you love if you take yourself out of the picture.


Of course, depression is cruel enough to let us create our own illusions of what their life would be like. It is a beast, after all And once those thoughts exist, they will always exist. Even during good times when you think depression has been slaughtered from your mind. It creeps. It pops back in when you feel like you could have done more for someone or even a happy moment full of laughter with children opening gifts. You laugh. You smile, but you look right past reality and imagine a better one for those kids. The beast becomes your shadow and mocks every great moment in your life, making you relive it in your mind and showing you where you weren’t good enough; for anyone, anything, at all. You can push it back. You can remind yourself of the beast and know it is just out to get you, but sometimes, the shadow consumes.

I am not saying suicide is a good thing. We feel the loss. I am saying if the world became more open to the reality of depression as a condition, not a mood, maybe we could save more people by simply saying, “It’s okay. I get it. We’ll get through it.” Because it is okay. I do get it… and I bet most anyone reading this gets it, too.

Like my mom said, “If you know someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, why not call and just ask how they are. It never hurts to reach out. Most people struggle with depression without anyone knowing. Reach out. Know.

She’s right. So I am going to wrap this up. I have some calls to make. God bless, everyone. Go hug someone. Hug them tight as all get out. It’s a cold world out there. Spread some smiles and warmth.



Sometimes, we kill them. Author-play.

Authors must be the most boring people in the world. We post books, share author links, retweet auto-correct fails, laugh at memes correcting grammar, and when we reach our maximum level of being sociable, we write.

I would say this is wrong, but it is true, but…. but, there is more. Authors are the most intense, outrageous, twisted little suckers in the world. We create people, give them life. We pick names, and towns or worlds. We give them history and attach you to them. We make you love them. THEN, we break their heart. We burn their houses. We kill their parents or loved ones. Sometimes, we kill them. We create things, torture them, and share with you in hopes that you will enjoy it. We are twisted and so are you or else, there would be no books.. and books exist! Oh Lord Almighty, books exist!

Here is a chance for you to see a bit closer how “interesting” we are. Well, in this case, me. I’m interesting, darn it! Yes. I am. Right? Yes. YES! Yes.

I was tagged in a blog post by a fellow author, Laurie Lyons. (Check out her Amazon page!) 1lyonsThe challenge is to answer the following questions and then tag other authors. Because we can be quite the ornery sort, this is a vehicle to pull authors away from their imaginations and get them to tell the world about what is going on in their heads. Here goes nothing….or something… I hate that phrase.

Shelly, what are you working on right now? The second edition of Livian is nearing publication. In the back of that, you will find the opening of BOOK TWO in the LIVIAN series, Inennious. If you like steampunkery, dragons, fantasy beings, and possessed unicorns, keep up with me. I also have a short story in an upcoming 7DS Books collection based on dragons and multicultural faiths. I write Antonia, the dragon of Satanism. She’s probably not what your first thought suggests. It was an honor to work with these six other authors and I am proud beyond words of what we’ve created.

How do your stories differ from others in its genre? I don’t create in depth fantasy languages. There are no love triangles. Happy endings are never certain or promised. My fairies and elves could kick your butt. I add steampunk to dark fantasy with a spine carrying faith, doubt, loneliness, and my words bleed sarcasm.LIVIANTCPEBOOK

Why do you write what you write?  I only write what I wish to read and cannot find. Somewhere in the process of it all, a sort of obligation creates a nagging, dream-seeping tick until I make it a reality in fiction.

How does the writing process work? Before I start a new work, I form it well mentally and spend days, sometimes weeks, acting the character traits physically. Bless my family, friends, and strangers for dealing with my voices, accents, quirks, traits, and flaws for each character. Sometimes, my children are called fictional names of character that may somewhat resemble them. Sometimes, they answer.

I character map. I plot scenes and chapters. I wonder if I would cry if a character dies, and if my eyes get a bit soggy, I begin to plot their death. Sometimes, those fully plotted deaths make it on a page. If so, I drink and mourn and get back to it so my characters can do the same. I write in pajamas with sweaters on top. I forget and twist pens in my hair and fuss at anyone around for stealing my pens. Someone plucks a pen from my head and I usually apologize. I make a youtube soundtrack for the book, and I chair dance when I am proud of a scene…

Finally, after sleepless nights and mid-day naps, I write the final words and I get silly with some wine. The next step is months and months of revising, revisiting, reacting, reaching out to a round of beta readers and repeating revisions. Then, I return to a bit of wine and truly breathe…until edits, at least. LOL! This pretty much sums it up. I am a wreck when I write. I do hope the internet never sees an actual image of my pen-head, jammie-wearing, sweater covered- multiple personality-speaking writerly self. The mental image should be enough to scare you or convince you to buy the crazy chick’s book. You can guess which one I’m rooting for, right?

Now, the fun part. TAG! Here are three authors I think you MUST know and I want to know the behind the scenes of their books. Click, like, follow, and buy books from these authors and soon, I hope to see a similar blog post from each of them.

1SAJSARAH ASHLEY JONES– I was lucky enough to not only meet this lovely lady, but to cover panels with her at Nashville Comic-Con this past year. She is a rainbow firecracker author making one heck of a name for herself. Click here for her Amazon page. 


JENNIFER WELBORN– A fellow, N.C. author, I have had the pleasure of working with Jennifer as an author with 7DS Books and as an editor. She is sharp, snarky, and you never have to wonder what she is thinking. LOL. Click here for her Amazon page. 



KAT DAUGHTRY– The wordsmith of Romance & Revolution, Steam & Steampunk,and so much more. She is a 7DS Books author and her novels are with Twisted Core Press. She even released dual books (Steamfate & Imbroglio) with the same epic plot, but one for Erotica readers and one for New Adult. Lots more coming from her in the future. Click here for her Amazon page. 

Now, check out these authors. Like them. Love them. Buy their books. Leave reviews. And soon, you should see these authors post about their work and tag three more authors each for you to discover!

Home is where your book is.

I think this may be the root of truth for an author. Home is where your book is.

Sure, many authors have more than one publishing home for their works, and I highly encourage using multiple outlets for every author. I want to go in depth on this topic, and I will- in the near future and likely through a vlog. If you know me or my work at all, you know my debut novel was previously published with another publisher and is now in the process of becoming a second edition through Twisted Core Press. Let’s take a moment and celebrate this new cover.

LIVIANTCPEBOOKThat is what home looks like to me. Yes, the previous cover was very nice and the artist was top notch, but authors are these stubborn, obtuse, critical perfectionists. We have things in our mind a certain way and like minds with true communication are the only ways to fully capture the magic.

We hear so much about bad author/publishing deals.. We hear about scams. We hear about diva authors. But sometimes, it isn’t that dramatic. Sometimes, it is like a decent date. You meet someone. You are attracted to them. You checked them out, and they aren’t felons but you don’t realize until you go on a date, that no matter how perfect the match may seem, the spark and the long term goals just do not exist. Publishing is like dating. You have to get that right match and the right match for you, may not be the one you thought it would be. Sometimes, sadly, you do not know, no matter how  good it looks on paper.

As I said, I will go into this much deeper very soon and it will be a conversation you’ll want to check out. The main point of this, is Livian. She is home. If you have never read Livian, I do hope you keep an eye out and grab a copy. If you have read it previously, it will be different. It will be worth reading again. It will be my vision. The ending is darker, twisted, and sends you straight into a part of the world you didn’t see in the first edition.

So here is to the warrior fairies, the tattooed elves, the dwerger beneath the dirt, the hidden dragons, the demonic unicorns, and the dreamers. Livian is home.



Final Wishes. Death & Social Media Etiquette

Times, they are a’changing. 

Etiquette has a way of changing with the times, sometimes, for the good- usually, not so much. I still pull off the side of the road when I see a funeral pass, and after I say a prayer for the family, my alter-ego uses my extensive knowledge of four letter words for anyone that doesn’t. I send thank you notes and I mentally note thank you notes I don’t ever see.



On the other end of things, I remember wearing a lovely, slightly low-cut red silk blouse while pregnant and my sweet, lovely, proper grandmother going off on me like I was a pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of a magazine—nude. Sigh.


Obviously, it is a give and take on what morals you want to bend, and which ones you want to lock in your family tree for centuries to come. Of course, like my grandmother and the red maternity shirt I wore, we don’t get to choose what future generations abolish.

Now here is my pondering thought of the day, and I warn you; I am lost on this one. Social media etiquette –  now this is a topic I will touch on a good bit in the future but today, I ask you…

Death and Social Media: 


I never know on funeral sites if lighting a virtual candle is tasteful or helpful in any way. I try to picture life 50 years from now and wonder if anyone will say, “Not many people came to the service, but Grandpa could have set the world on fire with all those virtual candles, eh?”

Is it proper to post a status online for the family, to let them know you care? Or does it look like attention seekers not directly related? Is it just a ploy for some to let the boss see the tragedy, light a virtual candle, and snag a round of golf before returning to work late in the afternoon?

And the BIG question, which as time goes by, is becoming more obvious and kind of an elephant in the room.  What do you do with those on your social media that have passed away? 

I am getting a rather flourishing collection of these lovely people on my social media. People I truly cared about and have fond memories of that I will never forget. At the same time…. There they are. I get leaving the pages up are good for many mourners, but some of us are just lost. Do you wish them a happy birthday and tell them you miss them? Are you a jerk if you do not? Do you like a post someone places on their page about missing them? Or are you saying you are happy they are sad if you like it? Do you untag photos of them? Do you have to leave them up forever if they pass? And how long do you repent if you maybe accidentally beat their score on a level of candy crush and it posts to your profile? (I have not done this, but i have seen it.) 

So yes, I ask you- say it is you that has passed on.. In all seriousness, mostly, at least. I know humor breaks tension on hard topics- but really, you have passed.. Do we delete you? Do we post to you? Do you want a real funeral or a facebook event so more people can “attend” around the world? Do we randomly tag you in old photos? What can we do to keep closure with modern social media venturing into this new territory?

A Comic Con, A Man’s Promise, & General Shenanigans

I’ve said it before, so don’t act shocked. I can be a fairly horrid blogger. I know this. I do. But you have to give it to me, when I do blog, very rarely is the dullness content high enough to register. Right? Right.

Literary-wise- So much has been going on. I highly suggest/push/nudge/urge/nicely demand you check out the blog for Twisted Core Press. If I am shady as me it is usually because I am being somewhat sociable for Twisted Core & 7DS Books. This post is a perfect example.

Wizard World Nashville Comic Con 2013.  STOP! Don’t click it now! We’ve just started. Don’t leave me. I’m just kidding. Go. Read it. Yes, now. I’ll wait…


…………………………………………………..Sings Frasier theme.

……………………………………………………………………….mmmm scrambled eggs would rock right now.

Hi. Welcome back. I know, right? Yeah, it was a blast. Thanks. Yeah. I know. I plan to go back next year. Yes, you can share that blog link. How nice of you!

In other news, as shocking as it seems with all we have accomplished together, Twisted Core Press is almost a year old! What a year! I could go on, but I could also save that for another blog post and look rather blogger-snazzy. Yes. Let’s go with Option B.

Also, along with several new releases lately for our imprints, I have a new short story released in A Man’s Promise. We have some serious talent and a wide range of plots from love, vengeance, parenting, secrecy, and beyond. This is one hell of a collection. Pick it up and give it a read.

Promise BookCover6x9

Yes, read this book. Check out the blogs listed below. I shall return. Be prepared. 🙂

Literary Happenings Spring 2013

Two questions I hear more than somewhat often lately: What have you been doing? Where is book two of LIVIAN?

I will answer these in opposite order. Where IS book two of LIVIAN?

Well, some of it is written. All of it is plotted down to the finest of detail. Things have been so busy, life has been spinning my right round, baby, right round- I have yet to even order my own paperback copies of book one. *Gasp* I know, the shame I feel as an author over this horrible confession. I do get thrilled each time I see a photo of someone with a paperback. I want to slow- motion run across an unpolluted beach and embrace them with this “You love me! You really love me!” sort of hug.

I will say, as in love as I may be with LIVIAN– book two knocks MY socks off and I will have it complete soon. I want the public to have it- to love it- but things need to line up just right for me to do so properly.

I will tell you this much. Livian gets her Loci on. Imagine a tribal warrior wooded land of tattoos, belly dancers, fire breathers and one Inennious- loving young steampunker. Throw in some dragons, dwerger and those blood thirsty unicorns and you have the setting for book two, Inennious. And if you think you love Elsa now- just wait.

I will tell you this; IF you have not read Seven Deadly Sins II, SLOTH- Claim Your Fate is a connecting tale of the Dwerger- the clan of “soil sifters” that live just blow the ground of Loci. The series shows them as the bad guys- but everyone is the bad guy in someone’s eyes.

NOW- What have I been doing?

We all know my passion, above my own novel writing, is 7DS BOOKS. I love the art of the short story. I was raised on those twisted tales of fables, foes, rhymes and Poe. Wrapping an entire plot and character building within a limited word count is nothing less than an art.

I love working with other authors. Networking and helping build platforms is a good portion of my everyday. I do not think passion pumps through the veins in other professions as hot as it does in the creation of an artist. Wordsmiths have something about them. To say that they are mere dreamers is an insult. Everyone is a dreamer. An artist creates a world and, in most cases, they strive to create that world- be it on canvas, in words, in mechanics- but so many artists embrace the fact that with enough love and hard work, those dreams can be reality. This makes me feel alive.

Sure, we all say, “I want to be able to quit my day job and do (insert art) for a living. I want to be comfortable. I want to afford the time to do this.”

BUT, that is not the truest of the dream chasers. I get tickled at some people that say this as if they are maybe 10% of the population that strive for this. No. We all want that. The ones that pump me up are the ones that want to change not their world, but the world of other people through their art. Oh, those people make me feel as energized about the literary world as Richard Simmons is about sweatin’.

Thanks to 7DS, I get to work with these people every single day. THAT is my dream come true. Authors and illustrators amaze me. The imaginations and visions they carry every moment of the day; the thriving confidence outweighing the fears to share their heart with the world; The plans they toss and turn all night thinking of to make their dreams flourish- I love them.

And these authors, when I become inspired by them, fall in love with their work as well as their passion, and they accept an invitation to write on a 7DS Book– I know something magnificent is in the works.

We have re-released Seven Deadly Sins as Seven Deadly Sins II featuring new stories by Wolf Scott & Michelle Horst (Wrath & Gluttony). Both have received such wonderful feedback and the collection has a fresh appeal with the addition of sci-fi and angels/demons. I cannot express my gratitude for both of them joining the re-release of this book.

We have also recently released Seven Deathly Soles– seven short stories with the only common connection of death & shoes. Each story is as unique as the author, yet they come together so well in a collection. Beyond running 7DS & working with these grand authors, I also have a story included in this one. The Boot is a southern comedic who-done-it based on a local southern festival.

Coming next, we have Seven Dwarf Stories– These are not your typical kid-friendly dwarf stories. Before living together and before Snow White, these seven small people had their own lives- and guess what? They were dark, morbid and highly entertaining. You will never look at a storybook dwarf the same way again.

We have several more coming, but before I get into too much detail, I want to save those for another blog debut.

Also, a huge chunk of my time is dedicated to Twisted Core Press, L.L.C. I have been blessed with amazing partners and together we have locked in our notch in the ever-changing industry and we are providing something top-notch and brand new. So many houses open up over night and are gone before you can say the name, we have taken our time to secure the proper methods of author publication. We will be continuing the release must-read titles throughout the year from some of the best new and previously published authors around. I will have more on Twisted Core Press in future blogs as well- much more. I love writing. It is in my blood, but publishing is my calling. This is what makes me feel alive in the literary world. If you don’t love what you do, you aren’t living right. Thanks to my partners and these masterful authors, my career path feels like a thousand dreams coming true, every single day.

I do appreciate the pondering emails and chats of what I have been doing and why book two of LIVIAN is not out yet. I hope this answers those questions in a most satisfying manner. I do promise this much: I will show you some of the best authors your will ever discover through 7DS and Twisted Core Press & Inennious will come. Soon. Thank you for your support and interest.



A chance to WIN a Kobo Mini from Elizabeth Lang’s The Empire Series(Free Chapter HERE) & Page Turner Book Tours!

The Empire Banner

Thank you for stopping by and joining us for our stop on the Read-A-Long portion of The Empire by Elizabeth Lang virtual tour. We are excited to post this segment of the story and we hope you enjoy it too!

The Empire – Chapter 10

    Somewhere inside Adrian’s barely functioning brain, he identified the source of his problems was his head. He banged it against the floor, each collision with the cold, unyielding surface, easing the relentless agony in his head for a second. The First Officer quickly lifted him up. Like a wild animal caught, Adrian struggled to free himself, but Chell held him fast.

Adrian continued to battle. He was no longer a man; he was a wounded animal, crying out in agony until he had no more energy and his chest heaved in sobbing gasps.

Hold on, Lieutenant.” Chell hated having to do this, but the Admiral said it was necessary. Fleet Command had deemed it crucial to bring this man under control. Sometimes, he wondered if there weren’t better ways of motivating people, but who was he to decide?


The officers filed out with a friendly nod in Kali’s direction. The meeti ng was over in almost half the time.

You did well,” said Fleet Admiral Verel. The monitor blacked out as he folded the keyboard back into the desk. “They were impressed with your suggestions and grasp of the essentials regarding the Verindi.”

The briefing material was very thorough, sir.”

He smiled, a relaxed curling of the lips that wasn’t enough to show his teeth. “But those are just facts. It takes intelligence to understand what it means and talent to find the right solutions.”

I tried my best.” She was still the proper Ensign, standing ramrod straight, as if she was on parade.

You can relax, Mirren. You’re making my back stiff just looking at you and its stiff enough already.”

It’s sore, sir?”

Nothing to concern yourself about.” He placed both hands on the table and stood up slowly, an old warrior who felt out of place when not in the heat of battle. “Do well with the Verindi and I may promote you to a negotiator role.”

But that’s—”

Yes, it means a promotion.”

Despite his easy manner, she sensed his acute attention as they talked. “I don’t know what to say, sir.”

Isn’t there something you want to bring up?”

Her words were careful, her manner respectful. “Not unless you want to, sir.”

His head nodded, as if he had confirmed something. “Wait in your cabin.”


The First Officer continued holding Adrian to stopping him from hittin g his head on the floor. He rocked him, giving him encouragement.

Adrian cried out in agony again, his body twisted and his face contorted in an inhuman expression. The pain came in waves. Chell knew it was to make it more effective. People built up a limited tolerance if it stayed at one level too long.

Chell’s arms were wet from the sweat-soaked tunic, making his hold slippery, but it didn’t matter. He was not going to let him go until it was over.

Adrian stopped in mid-scream, a choking, startled sound that became a soft moan. His body went limp and his breathing came in staggered gasps.This was odd. Chell quickly laid Adrian back on the ground just as Admiral Verel swept back into the room.

You were right, sir. He tried to hurt himself,” he reported.

That was to be expected.” He knelt down on one knee and lifted Adrian’s eyelids. The eyes were unfocused. “It’ll take him a few minutes to come back.” He winced as he stood up, and cursed his aging knees.

His First Officer watched this with concern. The Old Man rarely showed weakness and he knew how stubborn he was about certain things, just as stubborn as Stannis was. “You’re still avoiding the replacement, sir?”

Don’t you start.” Verel flexed his knees tentatively, wary of the tinge of pain in his uncooperative joints. “I like all my original parts.”

Adrian moaned and his eyelids fluttered.

Lieutenant,” said Verel. “Look at me.”

Adrian gazed up at the ceiling, as if he didn’t know what to look at. Slowly the eyes focused on the Admiral. Verel pulled back a little, troubled by what he saw in those dark eyes.

Stannis. Name, rank and Empire id,” he commanded.

For a few seconds, the lips moved but there was no sound, then he said in a raspy, whispered voice, “Stannis, Adrian. Lieutenant. Id Triple A. 362 549 318 002.”

Chell was surprised. “He’s a triple A?”

Yes.” Verel nodded. “He rates even higher than I do.”

No wonder they want him this badly.”

Even genetically, he’s worth a great deal.”

Don’t forget to obtain a good price.” Adrian’s tone was dead but it was soaked in hoarse cynicism.

Chell and the Admiral looked down in astonishment.

Welcome back, Lieutenant,” said Verel.

Are you done, sir?” He sounded bored and irritated at having been forced to waste his time.

For now.”

Then I have work to do.” He raised his head and fell back, as exhaustion robbed him of energy.

Not today,” said Verel.

Is that an order?”

I don’t think it needs to be one, do you?”

His jaw tensed and he looked away. “No.”

Are you going to be more cooperative?”

Adrian’s dead eyes still did not meet his. “I will finish the project.”

The Admiral bent towards him. “That was not the question.”

Define ‘cooperative.’”

I am never in a mood for word games.”

Adrian finally turned his head to look at him. Their eyes fixed on each other in challenge. “I…” The words of appeasement, the ones that would deliver him from pain, warred with Adrian’s rebellious soul. Anger gave life to his eyes. “…will not…”

Be careful, Lieutenant.” The edge in the Admiral’s voice was sharp.


The First Officer bent down and placed a firm hand on Adrian’s shou lder, feeling an involuntary shudder passed through his body. “Lieutenant, don’t do this. Don’t force the Admiral’s hand.”

What are you doing, Chell?” demanded Verel.

The First Officer’s eyes displayed no apology, only concern. The last few hours had been an agony for him as well, making him ask some fundamental questions. He had not liked the answers. His words came out like a flood. “I’m trying to help, sir. We’re both soldiers. Trained for killing the enemy, not hurting our own people.”

Verel raised his hands to stop him but Chell forged ahead like a storm that needed to run its course. “I don’t care what those bastards in Security Section say. In all the years we’ve served together, you’ve never liked using this kind of discipline.” His eyes never left the Admiral’s face.

Your knees hurt. They haven’t bothered you in a long time, not until after you received the orders about Stannis.”

As if on cue, a stab of pain punctuated the Admiral’s left knee. He exhaled tiredly, feeling every one of his many years. “It doesn’t make any difference, Chell. You know that. We must do our duty.” He knew it was a weak excuse the moment it left his lips.

Adrian had been listening and weighing the words. “What charade is this?”

And you!” said the First Officer, shaking his finger at him. “You’re too stubborn to even pretend to cooperate in order to save your own life.”

Adrian stayed silent, staring up at him. “Are you presuming to tell me what to do, Chell?” asked the Admiral. The words hung in the air like an explosive.


The First Officer stared back at his Admiral without batting an eye. “I will accept the consequences for my words, sir.”

Verel stared at him a moment longer. They faced death together, saved each other’s lives countless times, and stood side-by-side against insurmountable odds. At times Chell served as his conscience when the violence became too much, but his First Officer had never been this passionate about anything before. “We’ve known each other a long time.”

Yes, sir.”

Do you really want to end it like this?”

The First Officer was still on his knees beside Adrian. His eyes lowered and his head bowed, accepting the authority of the man over him. “If that is your wish, sir.”

You think what I’m doing is wrong?”

I think…” Chell hesitated, the torrent of words and feelings had passed, leaving him to try to understand what had prompted it and why. “There are better ways than trying to hurt people. You said it earlier, sir. You understood why the Lieutenant would hate people. It’s because of what they’ve done to him. But he’s strong too. Like you. He refuses to give up who he is just because people find it inconvenient that he has a will of his own.”

In a hoarse voice, Adrian said, “Do you think I will do what you want without being forced?”

Chell looked down at him. “I think you’re smart enough to find a way. You’re both Firsters after all.”

If I didn’t know any better, Chell,” said the Admiral. “I’d think you were trying to manipulate us.”

I wouldn’t dare, sir.”

Adrian said dryly, “He would.”

I think the Lieutenant’s right.”

Sir.” Chell’s eyes were dismayed. “I never intended—”

Relax, First Officer.” Verel exhaled and paced slowly. “What you’re asking isn’t that simple. Even if I don’t break Stannis, someone else will.”

Adrian’s eyes narrowed, like a man certain that there was subtext he was not seeing.

Getting up from the hard floor, Chell said, “Then we must keep him on the ship. Don’t give Fleet Com—”

Verel’s hand went up immediately to stop him from mentioning the name. “The only way we can do that is if Stannis cooperates.”

A mocking laugh from Adrian greeted this statement. “So this pathetic charade has finally reached its conclusion. If you couldn’t force me into cooperating, you will trick me into it.”

The Admiral and Chell exchanged astonished looks. After the significance of what had been said, this cynicism was a cold avalanche. Verel said, “I know what it must look like to you.”

Do you really?” His eyes were uncut diamonds, hard and rough with sarcasm and mistrust.

I haven’t given you many reasons to trust me.”

Try none.”

The Admiral sighed tiredly, anticipating many long, frustrating ‘discussions’ ahead with this obstinate man. Facing a squadron of heavily armed Andromedans ships would be much simpler. “You’re not going to make this easy, are you?”

I have no interest in advancing your career.”

Chell snapped, “That’s out of line, Lieutenant. The Admiral is not that kind of man.”

Don’t tell me he won’t get a commendation if this Project succeeds. Then he’ll pass me onto the next person who needs my services.”

You’re not a slave, Lieutenant.”

There was a dry laugh. “I’m sure your definition of a free man is different from mine, Admiral. Mine doesn’t include having a device in my head that can be used to control my actions.”

The Admiral grimaced at the damning words.

And spare me any false platitudes,” said Adrian.

The rampant mistrust and cynicism was wearing on the Admiral. He blew out a breath of frustration. “Let go of your cynicism for just a minute and work with me.”

I see no reason to.”

You’re making this much harder.”

You were under the impression I was trying to make it easier?”

You’re a stubborn bastard, Stannis.” Trying to help this man was proving harder than torturing him. “I know you’re tired.”

Having my brain shredded from the inside for an hour can do that.”

The Admiral winced.

I highly recommend it,” said Adrian.

How could a voice be so flat but contain such sarcasm? “I’m not the one who ordered the implant.” This man was making Verel feel defensive, something he hadn’t experienced in a long time.

You’re the one who uses it.”

What if I promise never to use it again on you? I will stop the constant ‘reminders’. Would you trust me then?”

More tricks?”

I don’t play games.”


The First Officer had been observing, waiting for the two men to find their own understanding, but it was proving to be almost impossible. As long as the device was in his head, Stannis was right, he was little more than a slave. Whatever High Admiral Tennyson wanted of him, it wasn’t as a human being. He said, “I know it’s hard for you to trust anyone. Least of all us.”

The warmth and sincerity in his tone that made Adrian wary. “Trust is earned.”

You’re right,” said the Admiral. “I can’t do anything about removing the device in your head or releasing you from this Project, that isn’t in my control, but I will try my best to make it easier for you. No more physical discipline.”

If I cooperate?”

The Admiral shook his head. “It is my promise to you, regardless of whether you cooperate or not.”

You expect me to believe that?”

I expect you to test me on it. I will not use force on you. Or Ensign Mirren.”

Adrian’s eyes widened slightly in surprise at the inclusion of Kali.

The Admiral continued, “But I won’t lie to you. I cannot control if someone else orders it, then I would have no choice. The only way to keep you safe is if you stay here, but if I don’t satisfy my superiors, you will pass out of my hands.”

Is that a threat?”

It’s a reality I cannot control. I can’t stop you from being a fool if you insist on testing the consequences,” said the Admiral. “Once you pass out of my hands, I can no longer help you. I can only protect you and the Ensign if you stay here.”

Who is giving you your orders concerning me.”

It was an unexpected question. Verel stared at him. He had been ordered to keep this information confidential. “High Admiral Tennyson.”

I see.” Adrian looked up at the ceiling, his eyes deep with thought. “It would not be in your best interests to help me then.”

Do you want to tell me why?” The idea Adrian might have a conflict with the High Admiral was worrying. It made what he was doing even more dangerous.


So I answer your question but you will not answer mine?” The Admiral wondered if he could he afford to do this for a man he barely knew?

You asked me a question before.”

Yes. Why did you sabotage the Neutron Wave Project?”

It was not for the reasons you stated.”

Verel’s brow arched. “It wasn’t political or for money?”


It was a concession, not much of one, but it was a start. “You have powerful enemies.”

I have many enemies, most in high places. You would be a fool to help me.”

Let me worry about that.”

Adrian studied the Admiral’s face and his eyes, scouring them for a clue. He dipped his head in acknowledgement. “Then I promise to be less difficult.”

That’s not much of a return for risking my life and my career.”

That is all I can give you.”

Adrian still lay on the ground and the Admiral stood above him, but he was no longer a towering, oppressive presence.

You don’t give me much of a choice,” said Verel.

You’re the one with the choices, Admiral. I’m merely trying to survive them.”

The steps were small, some might call them miniscule. They were two people stepping over a dark chasm of uncertainty, their hands still gripping firmly onto the edges.

You’ll always be difficult and cynical, won’t you?”

It’s kept me alive.”

Alright. Chell will help you back to your quarters. Have the day to rest. I will take care of Kegan.”

Also Elizabeth Lang has shared with us an exclusive picture from The Empire Series

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To read more of the Read-A-Long please follow the tour schedule…

03/03/2013 – Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways – – Chapter 1

04/03/2013 – Vixie’s Stories – – Chapter 2

05/03/2013 – Decadent Decisions – – Chapter 3

06/03/2013 – Reviews From Beyond the Book – – Chapter 4

07/03/2013 – Great Alpha Speaks – – Excerpt – Chapter 5

09/03/2013 – The Edible Bookshelf – – Chapter 6

10/03/2013 – Independent Writers Association – – Chapter 7

11/03/2013 – Self Publish or Die – Excerpt – Chapter 8

12/03/2013 – Natasha Larry Books – – Chapter 9

13/03/2013 – Michelle Anderson-Picarella – – Chapter 10

17/03/2013 – Sheenah Freitas – – Chapter 11

18/03/2013 – Castle Macabre – – Chapter 12

19/03/2013 – My World – – Chapter 13

20/03/2013 – Reading, Writing And More – – Chapter 14

21/03/2013 – Ami R Blackwelder – – Chapter 15

Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang have teamed together to set up an amazing contest, be sure to enter today for your chance to win a KOBO MINI!!

Thank you for joining us and Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang today on our stop.

About Elizabeth Lang:

I’m a science fiction writer who started off life as a computer programmer with a love for reading, especially science fiction, fantasy and mystery.

Being in computers, I found my writing skills deteriorating so I decided to take up writing. It became a joy to create characters, stories and worlds and writing soon became a passion I couldn’t put down. As a writer, I like to explore, not only the complexity of characters but the human condition from differing points of view. That is at the heart of the Empire series, of which ‘The Empire’ and ‘The Rebels’ are the first two of a four books series.

You can connect with Elizabeth Lang at the following places:

Author Page on FaceBook | Blog | Twitter | Website

About Page Turner Book Tours:

Page Turner Book Tours is fronted by the face behind Read2Review Kate. Page Turner Book Tours has been put together to help promote authors and give something back to the writing world. Kate has put together a team of incredibly talented people to help with the project by incorporating their individual skills into making new, fresh and exciting promotional plans that we hope you agree are amazing. If you would like to book a tour with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their tour packages. If you would like to become a tour host with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their Tour Host page. You wont be disappointed!

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