THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Eden at the Edge of Midnight (The Vara Volumes), John Kerry {$0.99}

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Description of Eden at the Edge of Midnight (The Vara Volumes):

The Vara of Yima, the original Garden of Eden, sealed from the rest of the world and populated with the fittest of men and women. A secret paradise that 150 years ago became ravaged by smog that choked out the skies.

Now the Vara exists in a permanent state of darkness and its people need a champion, a chosen one to save them from the smog that threatens to fill the realm and poison its inhabitants.

That’s what they needed. They got Sammy Ellis instead. She isn’t important enough for her dad to stick around for, never mind saving a realm or junk like that. Her only responsibility was to help the chosen one open the gateway into the Vara, but not only has she entered the realm in their place, she’s also locked them out in the process.

Stuck in a twilight land of giant mushrooms, pursued by dark forces and still in her pyjamas, being unimportant back in the real world is starting to seem way more attractive.



“Eden at the Edge of Midnight is by and large the best book I’ve received from the First Reads Program thus far. It features an incredibly complex and vibrant universe reminiscent of Howls Moving Castle, Game of Thrones, Labyrinth and The Neverending Story, which the blurb on the back doesn’t begin to do justice. The writing is slick and polished, as if this were a bestseller I plucked off the shelf at a major bookstore franchise.” – Janelle –

“Kerry has created a lush, rich and amazing universe that rivals all the likes; Oz, Wonderland, Labyrinth, etc. It was both beautiful and scary and had that touch of humor to the world, that silliness that provides the perfect blend to attract both adults and a younger audience” – Valen –

“OMG I love this book!!! One of the best books I’ve read in a long time…was a long read, but I couldn’t put it down” – k&r.w –


Eden at the Edge of Midnight (The Vara Volumes) currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.4 stars from 18 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from Eden at the Edge of Midnight (The Vara Volumes):

Few sixteen-year-olds could claim to have a stalker. Typically they were reserved for celebrities, rock stars, maybe even reality TV rejects, and conventionally, ‘popularity’ was a prerequisite. A commodity not in abundance in Sammy Ellis’s existence. Not that she really cared. She was cool with it. But if she had to have a stalker, did it really have to be a crusty old woman? As opposed to, say, a buff Sheffield University student?
In the margin of her maths book she absent-mindedly doodled an odd-looking terminator blasting an old woman in the face with a twelve gauge auto-loader. Boom! Headshot!!! she scrawled over the top, underlining it several times.
Rat-a-tat-tat. A fist rapped on the corner of her desk. It was Miss Armatage.
“The square root of X does not equal death by machine gun,” she said with a straight face. It was a bored, depressed face that had seen a thousand students come and go. An assembly line of kids that she regurgitated the same information to before pushing them back out the door. She was a desiccated husk of a woman, probably in her fifties, but she could’ve easily been a few centuries old.
“It’s not a machine gun, Miss. It’s…”
“I don’t care, Miss Ellis. You’re a tick in my register, a GCSE mathematics grade. A grade B is what I expect from you. And I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get it.”
Sammy wondered whether it was possible for Miss Armatage to look more disappointed with life than she already did. A bloodhound that had been neutered on his birthday would look happier.
Miss Armatage drifted out of focus, replaced by the clock above the whiteboard. 3.15pm. Sammy raised her hand.
“I’m right here, Samantha.”
“Right. Can I be excused, Miss?”
“There’s only half an hour before the bell. Can’t you hold on?”
“Not really. I was dehydrated after PE, so I drank loads of water. Maybe I drank too much, but I was so thirsty I kept drinking…”
Miss Armatage held up her hand to stop her. “Look at my face.”
“Do I have to?”
Miss Armatage stared back, devoid of emotion. “Just go.” She turned and walked back towards the whiteboard, then as Sammy reached the door, added, “Hurry back, my little statistic.”
Sammy ran for the gates, zigzagging across the uneven tarmac outside the science block, dodging puddles while clutching her backpack to the top of her head to stop the icy rain stinging her face. She’d gone straight to the staff room after leaving class, as she had done every night so far this week. Thankfully, this time the room had been empty, so she’d phoned the police and sacked off the last fifteen minutes of school. Tonight she wouldn’t be creeping across the football pitch and over the fence.
She slowed as she approached the school gates. A glimpse of powder blue shimmered through the grey sheets of rain. The old woman stood in front of the houses across the street, the same spot she stood every night, wearing the same pale blue headscarf and dressed in bedraggled brown clothes that resembled a heap of threadbare carpets. Her clothes were heavy, waterlogged and probably freezing. But there she waited, soaking up the rainwater. She must have picked Sammy out as a loner because no one ever came to pick her up. So, then, why hadn’t she made her move yet? This had been going on for weeks and the old woman always stood outside, in plain view.
The dark eyes fixed on Sammy’s. The woman smiled. Then her head snapped to the side and she tensed. Sammy smiled this time. She couldn’t see past the school wall, but she knew what was coming.
The old woman raised her palms as two men in black trench coats came into view. The school gates framed a picture-perfect movie scene of two cops picking up a criminal. One carried an umbrella above both their heads, the other held out a badge. End of the line, old bag.
Voices clamoured behind Sammy. The lower school cloakrooms were emptying. A river of slate-grey bodies accented by flapping red ties came sweeping towards her. She sidestepped, but not quickly enough, and an errant satchel caught her in the face, knocking her down. She landed on all fours and pain spiked in her knees. She sucked in air through her teeth and closed her eyes while the other kids trampled past, kicking her satchel as they jostled to get to their parents’ cars.
Sammy remained where she was, facing the floor, the water streaming from her blonde hair. No one stopped to help. Typical. No one had noticed her since she’d started at this new school, and no one noticed her now, even though they had to run round her to get out of the gate. She was invisible. Only the satchel that tugged at her arm as it got booted around served as a reminder that she still existed in their world.
She waited until the traffic became lighter and flicked her sopping hair back from her face. The two policemen and the old woman had gone.
She had sore knees, sleeves saturated with puddle water, and she’d missed the action. That was probably the most – maybe even the only – exciting thing that was going to happen this term, possibly all year. And it was over.
Miss Armatage stood at the corner of the science block monitoring the stragglers. She peered at Sammy with an expression of exaggerated indifference and motioned for her to get up. She should get up. Her tights were soaking up rainwater and the longer she stayed down, the heavier and colder they’d get. But then, if she got up, she’d have to start walking and she’d have damp, heavy fabric chafing back and forth across her skin and sucking in cold air at the edges.
As she considered her options a hand grabbed her under the arm and jerked her to her feet. She came face to face with a boy sporting a black eye and his tie knotted round his forehead like a Rambo headband. Wayne Grubby. They had maths and science together. He was less unpleasant than most of the other boys in her year, but that wasn’t saying much.
“You all right?” he asked.
Sammy stared down at the wet patches around her knees. “Yeah,” she said.
“You should be careful,” he said. “The playground is proper lumpy, you know. You new?”
“I joined at the start of the year. So… no, not really.”
“Yeah. Well, I haven’t seen you before, but whatever. Bye.” And he ran off.
They had maths and science together! She sat between him and the whiteboard. How could he not know her? Maybe he should spend more time paying attention and less time setting his mates’ books on fire with Bunsen burners. She didn’t care anyway. He was a moron.
She watched him go. Cars crawled along the street outside the gates, their windows fogged with warm breath, smiling faces drawn in the condensation. Perhaps she’d stand where she was one more minute. If she kept perfectly still with her legs spread and her arms out then she could minimise the amount of wet cloth in contact with her body. Miss Armatage had gone, so there was no one left to shoo her away, and if she waited long enough the rain would stop and her body temperature would dry her clothes enough to stop them chafing.
On the street the last car pulled away. The rain wasn’t going to let up and her clothes weren’t going to get any drier. She should start on the long walk home. She took a step towards the gates and stopped.
The old woman was there, barring the way.


Eden at the Edge of Midnight (The Vara Volumes) is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $0.99


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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Disciple, Part II, L. Blankenship {$2.99}

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Description of Disciple, Part II:

The prince first kissed Kate Carpenter for fear of missing the chance if they didn’t survive the journey home through the monster-prowled mountains.

Now that kiss seems like a fever dream. It’s back to work for her, back to the fellow physicians jealous of her talents and the sneers of an infirmary director who wants her shipped off to some tiny village. Kate means to be on the front lines to save lives. She’s worked too hard to overcome her past to let them deny her the chance to serve her homeland when the enemy’s army reaches their kingdom.

The grand jousting tournament is a chance to prove she can manage combat wounded, and at the royal Solstice banquet Kate means to prove she isn’t an ignorant peasant girl anymore.

But the prince’s kiss still haunts her. Their paths keep crossing, and the easy familiarity they earned on the journey home is a welcome escape from their duties. It’s a small slip from chatting to kisses.

This is no time to be distracted by romance — a vast and powerful empire is coming to slaughter anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical fount.

Kate ought to break both their hearts, for duty’s sake.



“I don’t deliberately read any kind of romances, but this fantasy romance is such a logical continuation of the first part of the story that the addition of love to the stew makes the characters all too human in a world where the rules are subtly different… I can’t wait for the next episode.”

- Maridebarr (

“[Kate's] attempts to carve out a career for herself as a healer provides fodder for a good fantasy story — and one I haven’t heard before… I am excited for Part III and I’ll be sure to let you guys know what I think of it after its released. In the mean time, check out Disciple Part I and II for all the jousts, feasts and romance that you can handle.”

- Michael Panush (


Disciple, Part II currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4 stars from 1 review. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from Disciple, Part II:

(After spending the day debriefing the king on the results of their mission, Prince Kiefan leads Kate into a quieter part of the castle…)

He still held my hand. No voices, nobody nearby to see us. I swallowed a nervous lump in my throat, wondering where he meant to take me. And what he meant to do there. Surely I didn’t have to worry whether anyone would hear me scream… was there anything he could do that I’d need to?

My cheeks warmed.

Slim pillars held up a graceful stone arcade. Between them, we walked onto frost-burnt grass. A gnarled apple tree, leaves golden and half fallen to the ground, stood ringed by a waist-high juniper hedge. Beyond, the castle wall rose sheer and seamless. To either side, the watchtowers bulged from its face and spiked up like smooth horns. I had to crane my neck to find the tips, and in doing spotted the catwalks that connected each tower to the roof of Castle Kaltkern. The garden lay below the keep, hemmed in by saint-cut cliffs on both sides.

A crescent garden, I saw now. To either side, more fruit trees dropped their leaves, and the rose bushes had gone bare for the winter, but the juniper hedges held their green. Under the central apple tree waited a broad wooden bench. By my hand, still warm in his grip, Kiefan led me toward it and a tangle of hopes and fears snapped tight around my heart.

He didn’t sit, though. He stood under the tree and looked up. “Sometimes I can get some quiet here,” he said. “When Mother isn’t seeking solitude herself.”

I looked up, too, into golden leaves and dark branches. Blue, beyond. “It must be lovely in the spring.” I could imagine the trees hazed by white blossoms.

“And in the summer, when the roses are out, the scent hangs like a fog between the walls.”

He still held my hand. My nerves eased, I sidled closer to his shoulder. He smelled of sweat, under his layered woolens. “You spent the afternoon at swordplay?”

He nodded, bringing his gaze down to me. “I thought he would send for the captain, but Woden tossed me a sparring sword himself. I nearly dropped it when he chose one and stood at guard.”

“You sparred with a saint?”

Kiefan shook his head, disbelieving it himself. “I saw him spar with Captain Aleks, once. She said it was her most valuable lesson.”

“You lived to tell. You didn’t ask him to give you quarter?” I risked a smile.

A chuckle. “He gave none, that’s true. I won’t know how many bruises I have until morning, I’m sure.” He tugged out the collar of his cote to feign checking inside. “We spoke about the lamia, and he told me I was using my kir to keep their teeth off me despite the close quarters. The beginnings of a kir-shield. With training, I’ll be able to control it more.”

“We all learned something out there.” I looked up as a chilly breeze sent a few more leaves spinning from the branches and caught a wince on Kiefan’s brow. “Are you hurt? A headache?”

“A little.”

I knew what that meant. I put my hand on his fresh-shaven cheek and turned his head toward me to call his kir. It glowed in answer, revealing a few tangles on his meridian, but I got no further in checking him.

Kiefan leaned over and kissed me, wrapping me in both strong arms. Coaxed my mouth open to spar with his tongue. He left me breathing harder with my palm still on his face.

I combed my fingers over the ridges of his Blessing at the back of his neck and pulled him down for another. His arms tightened on me. His lips made their way to my throat and his tongue tracing the hollow there stabbed a shiver into my spine. My pulse surged.

With a hard breath, he buried his face against my neck and squeezed me till I squeaked. I clung to his shoulders, my feet lifted an inch off the ground. He held me warm and safe, despite the cold breeze.

“You must come to Prohzgrad with us,” he said against my neck. “Cure me with a kiss each night.”

I swallowed a sudden lump. “You’re going away?” I managed to ask through his grip.


Disciple, Part II is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Silver Sphere, Michael Dadich {$3.99}

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Description of The Silver Sphere:

Shelby Pardow never imagined killing someone. That’s about to change.

While hiding from her troubled father in the local library, Shelby stares at a flashing instant message on her computer: YOU ARE NEEDED. She discovers a portal that opens and teleports her to the planet Azimuth, where soldiers await. Here, she is not a child but a warrior, Kin to one of the six Aulic Assembly members imprisoned by Malefic Cacoethes, the daunting leader of the Nightlanders.

Malefic, the evil spawn of the demon Biskara, razes towns and cities in his quest to rule Azimuth, and yearns to turn his forces against Earth. Yet every time Biskara gets close to achieving his malevolent goals, the Assembly uses the Silver Sphere, a sophisticated armillary device, to thwart him.

With the Assembly deposed, Biskara directing Malefic’s conquests, and the Silver Sphere out of reach, Shelby is thrust into an unforgettable quest with her fellow Kin. She must learn to kill and lead an army into battle, or Azimuth—and Earth—will fall.

Winner of the prestigious Mom’s Choice Gold Award for Young Adult Fantasy.

Winner of the Wise Bear Books Gold Award including best in category for Young Adult Fantasy-Adventure and Young Adult Fantasy-General.



“A vivid mind has most definitely brought back the Technicolor that’s been missing since Potter made his last stand.” ~ Feathered Quill Book Reviews

“This is definitely a book to watch as it has all the right elements to be the next Hunger Games-type phenomenon.” ~ Wise Bear Book Reviews

“This fresh twist on the quest fantasy novel is done with charm and humor.” ~ Foreword-Clarion Reviews

“As a warrior, Shelby must learn how to kill, and how to lead an army to preserve the light of hope, in this captivating and highly recommended saga of life and death on the battlefield.” ~ Midwest Book Review


The Silver Sphere currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.7 stars from 91 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from The Silver Sphere:

“Your world will be over soon, won’t it, dear Bianca?”
The cloaked creature rasped out the syllables one at a time, and each sound pushed Bianca closer toward the cold stone floor. Moonlight splashed across the room from a wall of windows. Even if she could have yelled, no one would have heard her. Pain made her dizzy.
As the assault on her consciousness raged, she struggled to her feet against the heavy stupor overtaking her body. Her limbs shook. The long table in front of her provided only a moment of support before she collapsed upon the solid oak board.
Her vision blurred from the pressure, and a murmur gurgled from her throat as she tried to call out to the Assembly members hunched in their chairs. The maroon wine spilled across the table told of their downfall. Were they unconscious or dead? She couldn’t begin to guess. Her goblet remained almost untouched.
“How easy this was….”
The din of his words made her gaze upward, where a hood surrounded his darkened features. Screams echoed in her head, though no sound broke from her lips.
He knelt beside her and whispered, “Dear Bianca.” His hands caressed full chunks of her raven hair, and he started pulling the strands through his fingers.
Horror traveled down her spine and numbed her. She felt the escape of fainting descend upon her, fogging her mind; how she wanted to drift off and shun the maddening fear. Yet he would not let her. She tried in vain to pull away, but his power over her was too great.
“Don’t.” She must have said it aloud because his grip tightened and he jerked her head back, forcing her to look at him. She gasped as he pulled the cowl away.
Her tormentor had a pallid complexion and a high forehead. Long, wiry auburn hair framed his narrow face, at the center of which sat a nose snubbed like a snout. It was the piercing glare of his eyes that caught her, though. Their intensity made her skin crawl.
“Malefic,” she mouthed, her breath releasing in a terrified wheeze.
He loosened his grasp and eased her to the floor. Then he stepped over her body and slithered to the head of the table, admiring his handiwork.
Bianca’s legs and arms stiffened. Malefic oozed power, and as she watched him, her mind reeled. What had led to such laxness in their security? Where had he come from?
We were betrayed, of course, she thought, as unconsciousness bid her closer to blackness.
Malefic turned and glared into her eyes, a sneer twisting his expression into a grotesque mask. “The Aulic Assembly is mine.” His harsh voice pulled her to the brink. “Father will be pleased.”


The Silver Sphere is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $3.99


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Next History: The Girl Who Hacked Tomorrow, Lee Baldwin {FREE!}

An Epic Contemporary Fantasy Adventure

Wounded… by an absent mother, adrift in her maturing sexuality, a young woman conjures a supernatural being into the heart of the U.S. Pentagon and humanity is about to be reprogrammed.

When she finds in her deepest being a secret twin, the future is due for an attitude adjustment. Will there be a collective, agonizing dive into chaos and depravity? Will it reveal humanity’s true purpose? Or, will nothing change at all, except for the dark fate of one luckless girl?

Whatever comes, reality will be rebooted!

Next History weaves big-iron predictive knowledge, a plugged-in world population, Sumerian creation myth, and a demonic presence with a hip sensibility to launch us beyond the hyperdata age toward a shifting and dangerous event horizon.

The story is a head-changing whirl toward a future world so outrageous, the survivors will be forced to adapt, or die.

What readers are saying:

A unique voice in story telling. “Next History” is humorous, a cliff hanger, a marvelous love story, and perfectly executed. ~ Ernie Smitty on Amazon

What a great novel. Picked this up because I had enjoyed Baldwin’s prior book, “Angle of Attack: An Adventure in Aviation, Love, and Crime.” I enjoyed this much more and think it compares to “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” by Tom Robbins. Pick this up and enjoy the read. ~ Jed M. Wells on Amazon

Hope… The reading of this book reinforced beliefs I have held for some time. Thank you for hope. I loved the book… I recommend it. ~ Dragonviolet on Amazon

What a Find! Absolutely AWESOME book! I was looking for escape fiction, and while the book provided that, it is so much more. It made me think, and it is changing my life. If you want to know the deepest secrets of the universe, this book won’t spoon feed you, but will give you lots of terrific hints. Look over there! Consider this! What would you choose? And last, best, what will I choose? Now I need to find another book by LeeBaldwin! ~ Maggie Uh-O on Amazon

The average Amazon Reader Review Rating is currently 4.8 stars {12 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase Next History: The Girl Who Hacked Tomorrow for FREE!

The King of the Winter (In The Absence of Light), Andy Monk {$0.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

The road has brought him home.

Running from a broken heart and the hangman’s noose he followed the road across Europe; searching for happiness in a pretty girl’s smile, the turn of a card and the depths of a brandy glass. Instead he became a womaniser, and then a thief living behind a charmer’s mask until, finally, the road ensnared him in insanity and murder.

It is 1708, the Age of The Enlightenment, and, in the shadow of the nearly completed St Paul’s Cathedral, Caleb Cade has returned to London a broken man; incapable of love and terrified of the grave, his only friend the half imagined ghost of his dead brother.

The road has now brought him home for there is nowhere left to run, and his only hope of redemption is to find the man he might have been.

Haunted by his own ghosts and demons, he relives the events of his childhood that led to the death of the only friend he had ever known, and the fear that The King of the Winter is forever peering through the window, all cold of heart and sly of eye, waiting to take him down to damnation.

But whist one journey ends and another begins. He is befriended by a fellow libertine, Louis Defane, a strange man around which strange things seem to happen. A man with an insatiable appetite for all the pleasures of life, a man who can seemingly bend people’s will to his own, a man with sparkling blue January eyes and snow white hair.

A man who might not be a man at all…

Book One of the dark romance series In the Absence of Light; a story of love, loss, vampires and the black hearts of men.

Book Two (A Bad Man’s Song) and Book Three (Ghosts in the Blood) and Book Four (The Love of Monsters) are all now available.

What readers are saying:

It is so well done that you can’t help but read on to get all the pieces of the puzzle to try to figure Caleb out. There are some excellent twists that I didn’t see coming.

What a great story this was. A must read if you like dark stories that are definitely well thought and intricately built.

Loving this series! Many twists and turns, hard to put down. Can’t wait for the next book to come out.

The average Amazon Reader Review Rating is currently 4.5 stars {6 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase The King of the Winter (In The Absence of Light) for $0.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Wakefield (The Mad World Saga Series), Troy H. Gardner & Erin Callahan {$5.95}

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Troy H. Gardner & Erin Callahan’s Frugal Find Under Nine:


Orphans Astrid Chalke and Max Fisher meet when they’re sent to live at Wakefield, a residential and educational facility for teens with psychiatric and behavioral problems. Astrid’s roommate cuts herself with anything sharp she can get her hands on and Max’s roommate threatens him upon introduction.

Just as Astrid and Max develop a strong bond and begin to adjust to the constant chaos surrounding them, a charming and mysterious resident of Wakefield named Teddy claims he has unexplainable abilities. Sometimes he can move things without touching them. Sometimes he can see people’s voices flowing out of their mouths. Teddy also thinks that some of the Wakefield staff are on to him.

At first, Astrid and Max think Teddy is paranoid, but Max’s strange recurring dreams and a series of unsettling events force them to reconsider Teddy’s claims. Are they a product of his supposedly disturbed mind or is the truth stranger than insanity?



“The ending of this book blew me away and I’d definitely be interested in reading the next book. It was a pleasantly surprising read with plenty of action and suspense! And a book I would definitely recommend.” – TotalTeenFiction

“Great story, anxious to read the next chapter. Encouraging all to buy and enjoy! Great setting, authentic, well written. Could be read by teens and adults.” – Amazon customer

“outstanding writing, strong characters and interesting plot make this book hard to put down. i look forward to the next book!” – Amazon customer

“Very fun story. The dual narration allowed for multiple perspectives on the storyline as well as great character development. It was fun getting to know the characters through different sets of eyes, including their own. Can’t wait for the second book to be released.” – Amazon customer

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Wakefield (The Mad World Saga Series) currently has an Amazon Reader Review rating of 3.9 stars, with 14 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from Wakefield (The Mad World Saga Series):

I ran a hand lightly against the cold wall, imagining the force it would take to smash through it. The yellow lights above shone with a dull intensity that turned my stomach. The doors all matched, and I felt claustrophobic. The only thing that broke up the monotony was the random graffiti scribbled on the walls. Most of it had been scrubbed off, but I could make out faint lines here and there. They were like ghosts, just out of reach. Realizing I wouldn’t be able to leave these walls, I slunk down to the shiny, white floor and nearly cried.
“Hey,” a timid voice called out. It was the goth kid I’d noticed earlier. He was bone thin and had a long mop of straight hair that matched his black shirt and pants. He pushed the hair out of his face; the movement showed off his seven or eight bracelets.
I ignored him completely, so he approached very slowly and said, “You’ll get your regular clothes back tomorrow.”
“They give them back the next day.” He bobbed his head. He was younger than I was, but I couldn’t tell by how much. Dark hair covered half his face, which made him look younger, or he might have been little for his age.
“I look stupid,” I confided.
“Yeah, those suck,” he went on. “They made me feel like a tool when I got here. But you won’t have to wear them again. I haven’t.”
“That’s cool.”
“So, welcome to Newton,” he said with a half grin.
“Yeah, this part of the building. We have to pretty much stay in our own area. There are three other units—Whitehall, Lancre, and McCarthy. We’re the best.”
“Clearly. I’m Max,” I introduced myself as he sat down against the opposite wall. He acted like I was a dangerous animal, moving slowly, like I might pounce at any minute. The woman at the staff desk looked up over her laptop for about twenty seconds before going back to whatever she was doing. I wondered if he thought he was fast enough to outrun me. I doubted he was. “So what do I call you?”
“Uh, I’m Azrael,” he told me shyly. He looked away, down the hall, in case I’d laugh at him.
“Your name is Azrael?” I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to scare him off, but it was a weird name.
“No,” he admitted and looked up at the ceiling. “It’s really Jon Applegarth, but I like Azrael better. It’s stupid, I guess.” He shrugged and let out a deep breath. I could tell he was not a fan of Wakefield.
“Did you get your name from the cat in The Smurfs?” I asked.
“No, I just like it. It sounds vampiric,” he said, brown eyes glistening with excitement.
“All right. Azrael it is then,” I reassured this kid.
He turned his face back to me and grinned. He had a tiny row of neat, little teeth.
“So, Simon’s your roommate, huh?” he asked, though he was fully aware of the answer.
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“I’m sorry,” he squinted at me, lowering his voice.
“He’s that bad?”
“Some guys like him. Couple of the girls do, too,” Azrael told me. “I stay away if I can.”
“Maybe he’ll be cool to me.” I shrugged.
“Yeah, maybe,” Azrael lied. “I gotta go.”
I doubted Azrael had any pressing business to take care of, but I didn’t say anything as he stood up and skittered away. This wasn’t the sort of place you tell people how you really feel. I’d have to start practicing biting my tongue and letting people do what they want. At least it was nice of Azrael to sit with me for a few minutes, even though he only worried me about Simon. If people liked me before I came here, then why wouldn’t they like me here at Wakefield?
A fat guy, older than me, left a room up ahead. He looked at me for a few seconds and then continued on to the bathroom. I hung my head low as I stood and walked down the hall to stare at my darkened reflection in the small window. It was gray outside, and I couldn’t see much, but I would have given anything to be on the other side of that glass. It showed me a face that looked at least two years older than the last time I’d seen myself. Maybe I could get into R rated movies now. If only they’d let me out to see movies. I went back to my room, where Simon sat at his desk.
“Hey, do they ever let us out to the movies?” I asked Simon.
He grunted, so I sat on the empty bed to wait for my stuff to come. I didn’t know how long it would take the state social worker to bring my things to Wakefield or the staff to pour through all my belongings. I’d later hear how they’d go through all the pockets and seams for anything cutters use. They’d also check my music and movies to make sure none of it was inappropriate.
My “new” dresser was a simple, beat up, wooden monstrosity shoved against the wall. At least it looked more inviting than the bed I sat on. It was a wooden box with eight holes on the sides for straps to pass through in case the staff needed to restrain anyone in their rooms. Small rails cradled the thin, uncomfortable mattress.
Then I noticed a small rectangular camera hanging from the ceiling.
“Um, do all the rooms have cameras? Is that thing on?” I asked Simon.
“Yeah, dumbass, it’s on. And no, not every room has one. But because of your newbie ass, I have to live with a camera until they decide to trust you. Thanks a lot.”
At least I knew why Simon was angry with me.


Wakefield (The Mad World Saga Series) is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Call of the Herald (Godsland Series: Book One), Brian Rathbone {FREE!}

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Description of Call of the Herald:

Echoes of the ancients’ power are distant memories, tattered and faded by the passage of eons, but that is about to change. A new dawn has arrived. Latent abilities, harbored in mankind’s deepest fibers, wait to be unleashed. Ancient evils awaken, and old fears ignite the fires of war. When a Catrin Volker, a teenage horse trainer, inadvertently fulfills the prophecy of the destroyer, she becomes the most feared and hunted person on all of Godsland. With the help of her friends, she must convince the world that she wants only peace.

The World of Godsland fantasy series includes:

The Dawning of Power trilogy (Omnibus Edition available)
Call of the Herald
Inherited Danger
Dragon Ore

The Balance of Power trilogy (Omnibus Edition available)



“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would recommend this book for all ages.” Linda Weaver Clarke, author of the new mystery series The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.

“…kind of like a cross between The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter…I honestly could not stop reading this book. I completed it in two days, it was that good.” Cheryl’s Book Nook

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Call of the Herald currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.1 stars, with 290 reviews! Read the reviews here!


Call of the Herald is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for FREE!

Excerpt from Call of the Herald:

Outside the lesson hall, Chase ducked into a darkened recess and waited for Osbourne. Roset came first, and she cast him a haughty glance, but he was grateful that she said nothing. Using the darkness for cover, he held his breath as Peten stormed by, followed by a mob of agitated townies. Minda and Celise walked by, and Osbourne seemed to be trying to hide behind them. Hoping no one noticed, Chase grabbed Osbourne by the shirt and dragged him into the alcove. Osbourne let out a small yelp before he realized it was Chase who had grabbed him, and he looked over his shoulder more than once.

“Looks like Edling held Catrin after class,” Chase said.

“I told you he looked boiled,” Osbourne said, but there was a tremble in his voice, and he looked nervously over his shoulder. “Are you going to wait around for Cat?”

“I can’t. I promised my dad I’d help with the afternoon deliveries.”

“I can’t either,” Osbourne said. “I’ve chores to do, and I should probably study for the test we have coming up.”

“Bah, who needs to study?” Chase asked with a grin. “Just remember everything Edling says; that’s all.”

Osbourne shook his head. “That may work for you, but my father’ll tan my hide if I bring home bad marks. I’d better get Patches saddled and get going, or I’m going to run out of light.”

Chase peeked around the corner before walking back into the light, half expecting to find Peten and the rest of the townies waiting for him, but the stables were eerily quiet. Only Patches remained in her stall, and Chase stayed with Osbourne while he got her saddled.

“Never seen everyone clear out so quickly,” Chase said.

“I’m starting to think the snake was a bad idea,” Osbourne said as he tightened the girth. “Feels like I’ve got squirrels in my guts. You don’t think they’ll do anything to Cat, do you?”

“You worry too much,” Chase said, but he secretly wondered if Osbourne was right. It seemed strange that Peten and the others had left so quickly, and letting Osbourne and Catrin travel home alone suddenly seemed like a very bad idea. There was nothing he could do about it, though, no way to take back what was already done, and he tried to drive the worry from his mind. “I’m sure everything will be fine.”

“I hope you’re right,” Osbourne said as he mounted. Patches, who was a well-mannered mare, must have sensed Osbourne’s nervousness, for she danced around the stable, her ears twitching as she spun. Osbourne soothed her with a hand on her neck, and she trotted away with her tail tucked. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” Osbourne said with a wave.

“Be careful,” Chase said, betraying his own fears, and Osbourne rode away looking more nervous than ever.

Checking around every corner as he went, Chase made his way to the mill. At each turn he expected to find the townies waiting, and their absence only increased his anxiety. “I wish they would just get on with it,” he mumbled to himself as he passed the market.

When he saw his father waiting with the wagon already loaded, though, he forgot his fears. They had enough work to keep them until nightfall, and he would have time to think of little else.


Call of the Herald is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Helga: Out of Hedgelands (Wood Cow Chronicles), Rick Johnson

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Description of Helga: Out of Hedgelands (Wood Cow Chronicles):

Twelve-year-old Helga has more danger in her life than most beasts her age—Wrackshee slavers after her, a vicious attack by bandits that nearly kills her, a race against dragons pursuing her, and leading a daring rebellion to save her life and rescue friends and family from the insidious WooZan. And that is just the beginning. But what do you expect when you are a young beast who just can’t see the stupid rules of the world making any sense? Helga can’t accept things as they are and ends up taking on not just one, but two all-powerful, supreme tyrants in two different realms.

Helga never intended to lead a revolution. It just sort of happened because she wouldn’t go along with the “rules of normal” that keep tyrants in power and entire societies enslaved. Beginning on a dangerous quest to solve some mysteries in her own past, Helga leads her quirky comrades on a journey that will not only forever change them, but upset ancient civilizations.

As an author, I’m drawn to eccentric, unexpected characters: those who surprise because they hear a distant galaxy, see a different music, create their own fragrance rather than get hooked on a soundtrack; the child who has her own ideas about how the emperor is dressed; the lunatics and rebels who tell stories on the boundaries. Helga’s unusual story will take readers to worlds they never imagined—definitely a whole new ride.

Time and again, the unconventional heroine and her eccentric comrades overcome ominous tyrants and black-hearted slavers, not by battling to the last beast standing, but by being the first beast to think differently.

Helga: Out of Hedgelands is divided into three books which introduce the epic saga of the Wood Cow clan and their role in overturning centuries of slavery and tyranny. This story will continue in additional volumes of the Wood Cow Chronicles now in development. Over the series of current and future volumes, the entire history of the Wood Cow clan, the fall of Maev Astuté, and the coming of Lord Farseeker to the Outer Rings, will be told.



Amazon 5-Star Reviews:

STEP ASIDE FRODO Since completing the Lord of the Rings trilogy in college, I’ve looked forward to a fantasy series that exhibited the potential to keep me up reading well past my bed time. Helga, Out of Hedgelands, did just that. Mr Johnson has created a fascinating world full of vivid landscapes and characters wise and courageous enough to inhabit them. Helga is a tale for young and old alike. Pour yourself a hot cup of Peskee tea and gather round your children or grandchildren. You’re in for a treat. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

HELGA IS A NEW CLASSIC! Absolutely phenomenal book . . . J K Rowling step aside!! I can’t wait to read Book Two!! Creativity abounds, excitement rips through each page. It doesn’t get better than this! Helga needs to become a classic!

Helga, the wood cow, is the essence of a courageous woman, a true role model for any young person. She solves difficult situations in her life through steadfast belief that she will be assisted and she can do it, no matter what it is. This book has the most creative characters, environments, even food descriptions, of any story for children that I have read. It meets the standard set by the classics, and it is even about cows, lizards, otters, and every animal imaginable. Don’t miss this great book.

WONDERFUL FAMILY READ Helga: Out of Hedgelands is a perfect family book for evening read aloud — or individual reading for ages 10 to 100.
It is an amazing story. Not only does it provide adventure, mystery, charming – and not so charming – characters, delightful descriptions and a truly warm story – but it also provides the reader with many areas that are perfect for discussions about discrimination, class systems, peer pressure, and other life issues using the animals as examples. The author has provided a master piece with his story telling and has also given the readers many things to think about on topics that can be easily understood and discussed by all ages. I highly recommend reading Helga: Out of the Hedgelands and hope the author soon comes out with his next book.


Amazon Reader Reviews:

Helga: Out of Hedgelands (Wood Cow Chronicles) currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.3 stars, with 10 reviews! Read the reviews here!

Helga: Out of Hedgelands (Wood Cow Chronicles) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!


Excerpt from Helga: Out of Hedgelands (Wood Cow Chronicles):

Tangled snags of fallen trees and piles of debris littered the riverbank. Floating along, exhausted, half-submerged, Helbara grabbed a protruding branch to rest a moment. Remaining low in the water with her small daughter, Helga, clinging to her back, she pulled herself in among the dense reeds and willows surrounding the fallen tree. Except for the soft gurgling of the Deep Springs River—its water colored bronze in the light of the orange moon overhead—the warm night was ominously quiet. Struggling to control the harsh rasping of her ragged breathing, Helbara knew she could not rest long. “Help us, Ancient Ones,” she breathed, as the glint of moonlight caught on more and more points of polished metal rounding the riverbend not more than a hundred yards away. Her mind worked in frantic desperation as she watched what almost seemed to be clouds of ghostly fireflies approaching from up the river.

She hardly had time to think, however, before Helga’s grip on her neck tightened. Their pursuers were drawing near. “Snake-bloods, Mama! Now what?” her five-year-old daughter whispered urgently.

“Shee’wheet, Helga, Shee’wheet,” Helbara whispered. “Yes, I see them. The Wrackshees will soon be here. Be still. Ever so quiet.”

Six heavily-armed Wrackshees, kneeling in individual kayaks made of tightly-woven reeds, paddled silently toward them. The once-faint outlines of the Wrackshee slave hunters steadily grew more distinct as they approached. Their beeline course on the wide river seemed to be zeroing in on Helbara’s hiding place. She realized she could not risk further movement above water—the Wrackshees were now too close.

Shaking the reeds as little as possible, she pulled herself and Helga further back among the reeds until only small cracks were left to peer through. Sensing Helga’s rising terror, Helbara softly whispered an old lullaby to her daughter, trying to calm her: “Shee’wheet, Sweet-Leaf, Shee’wheet…Shee’wheet, Sweet-Leaf, Shee’wheet…”

Her own heart banging in her chest, Helbara watched the Wrackshee kayaks approaching relentlessly. Moonlight clearly revealed the albino Wolf in the lead kayak—small in stature, abnormally flattened face, thick-necked, with a large moustache. She shuddered. Six kayaks. One Wolf and five Weasels. Somewhere behind them, many more. If she and Helga were discovered, what resistance could they offer?

Suddenly the kayaks slowed, pausing about twenty yards away—close enough that the Wrackshees’ awful stench covered the area with a suffocating blanket. Using only hand signals to communicate, the slavers silently peered here and there for any sign of their prey. The razor-sharp tips of dozens of small throwing lances, carried on bandoliers slung over the Wrackshees’ shoulders, shone red in the moonlight. Helbara knew that terrible things happened to beasts hit by those poisoned tips—going mad with thirst, eyes bugging, bleeding the color of grass. Each time the gaze of a Wrackshee seemed to fix on the spot where they were concealed, Helbara trembled on the edge of panicked flight. To do so, however, would mean certain capture or death. They were trapped. With every ounce of inner strength, Helbara held her panic in check.

“Shee’wheet, Helga, Shee’wheet…We must be very still. Do not say anything unless I ask you to.” As she uttered these words, she attempted to shift Helga’s weight on her back and slipped on the loose sand. Her boot seemed to suddenly drop into a hole. Catching herself before she made a complete fall, she feared the Weasels might have observed her misstep. For the moment, however, their pursuers seemed to be absorbed in their sign language consultation.

Moving her boot gently, Helbara explored the apparent hole where she had stumbled. The opening was large—the submerged end of a long-decaying fallen tree. In the moonlight, Helbara’s eyes struggled to see evidence of the rest of the tree. The dense reeds and willows made it difficult to be certain, but the position of the hollow end she had discovered seemed connected to a massive upended root clump visible further down the bank. How much of the tree was hollow?

“Sweet-Leaf,” Helbara whispered very softly, “I need you to explore something for me. Slide quietly off my back, take a deep breath, and duck underwater—see if you can tell if this tree beside us is hollow.” The request immediately dampened Helga’s fear. Action was an antidote to terror. As quietly as the reeds waved in the soft evening breeze, she disappeared below the surface.

In a few moments she was back. “Not hollow very far,” she whispered, “but there’s a big opening at first. Then the hollow part ends, but there’s a hole in the bark at the end that’s above water. It’s small but a beast could breathe there.” Pausing and looking deeply into her mother’s eyes, she concluded with a tone of sorrow, “But only room for a small beast.”

As she listened to her daughter’s report, a plan rapidly formed in Helbara’s mind. It was none too soon. The albino Wrackshee made a quick sign with his paw. The gesture was at the same time purposeful and sinister. The Weasels were no longer waiting. Two of the kayaks turned and glided directly toward the Wood Cows’ hiding place. Pressing her daughter close to her chest in a comforting embrace, Helbara calmly gave Helga instructions.

“The hollow space in the tree is large enough,” she said, “to conceal you well for some time. The Wrackshees will not likely think to look there for you. They may not even know you escaped with me. I want you to quietly—just as quietly as you did before—duck under again and hide in the hollow space in the tree. Be absolutely quiet no matter what happens.”

Helga immediately understood she was being asked to play a serious game of Hide-n-Seek with their pursuers. Long moments seemed to drag by. Helga knew there had been no mention of what her mother planned to do.

Then Helbara urged Helga underwater and whispered, “Sweet-Leaf, Mamma’s going to talk to those Snake-bloods to make certain they don’t harm you. I won’t be long. You wait in that hollow place and stay as quiet as you can.” She gave Helga a squeeze and handed her a pronghorn flute she had always played for her back in their home. “Take this, Sweet-Leaf, it is my promise that I will be back soon.”

Helga’s eyes met her mother’s in a deeply moving, but silent, farewell as she slipped the flute in her pocket. “Don’t worry, Mama. I will do as you say,” the look said to her mother as surely as if it were spoken.

Then Helbara stood up. “Sweet-Leaf,” she whispered after Helga silently ducked under the surface, “no matter what, wait in that hollow place. I will be back to you soon.” Whether Helbara actually believed this or not—six heavily-armed Weasels awaited her—whatever “talk” Helga’s Mamma had in mind would not be pleasant conversation…

Suddenly, the replay of her experiences from ten years earlier shifted. The silhouette of a large canoe now filled her misted vision, looming before the same young Helga, who was now sloshing miserably through the river shallows during the deepest dark of the night.

A beast crouched low in the canoe grabbed her with long, brawny arms. Captured in the strong grasp of this unknown powerful stranger, Helga’s sense of panic surged. In a desperate effort to escape, she was almost ready to bite the beast that held her, when the whisper of a gruff voice stopped her struggles.

“Hey-hey, ya lee’tle Bungeet! Stop da chop sputter, or those Wracker’mugs will b’a back at ya ’gin frighter t’en ever. Shee’wheet…Shee’wheet…Shee’wheet…”

The softly whispered “Shee’wheet” calmed Helga. The gentle, soothing tones, so reminiscent of her mother, marked this rough stranger with a kindly manner that made her feel safe. Settling the small Wood Cow in the bottom of the canoe, her rescuer—Pickles DiArdo as she later learned—continued his soft soothing lullaby and patted her gently on the back in assurance of safety, as his partner began paddling again.

“This’n Bungeet has had some stinkin’ Wracker’mugs b’itin at her,” Pickles said to the other Trapper Dog paddling in the prow. “Go for Mianney’s, Lupes—the Healer will s’nd her pain t’way.”

The canoe traveled about another two hundred yards and turned into a small, nearly invisible side channel flowing into the main river course from among the willows. Paddling with gentle determination against the current, the canoe glided toward a rough shack perched high above the water on stout poles. Giving one final hard push with their paddles, the Trapper Dogs bent low as the canoe glided under a dense thicket of wild thorn trees growing around the shack. The thorns, tough as steel and with points so sharp and fine they made marvelous sewing needles, ringed the cabin like sentries. No one would attempt to approach the shack through such ferocious thorns except those invited to come and shown the way to pass.

The thorns did not deter Pickles and Lupes, who often visited Mianney Mayoyo. Tying their canoe to one of the thorn trees, Lupes unrolled a bark mat and threw it up over the lowest branch of the tree. Using the mat for safe passage over the outermost thorns, the three travelers reached the interior of the tree where they were able to drop to the ground. Branches on the rear of this particular tree had been trimmed away to allow exit to the shack.

They had hardly reached Mianney’s shack and called out to her when she was instantly with them. The old River Cat, who was rumored to be ancient—some said she had always lived—had long, jet black hair that was smooth and shining from the walnut oil she rubbed into it each day. Dangling far down in front of her was an ornate necklace of beads, and on each wrist she had broad woven bracelets, decorated with copper sunbursts.

Mianney carried a small basket. Without any word of greeting to her visitors, she pulled a bundle of dried herbs and two green-colored balls of thorn tree pitch from the basket. Arranging the herbs and pitch balls in a ceremonious pile before them, with seeming magic she produced a glowing coal from her jacket pocket and lit the pile. A sudden burst of flame, and the herbs and pitch balls sent up a sharp pillar of fire.

As the small fire flamed, Mianney’s deep brown eyes darted here and there gleefully. Her bubbling wild intensity frightened some superstitious people, who said she was a demon in disguise. Mianney did seem to do things that were supernatural. The flames that burned so furiously for a few moments, suddenly died down, leaving a dense pungent cloud of smoke. Still without speaking, with lightning quickness Mianney lifted Helga to her arms and ascended the ladder to her shack. In the blink of an eye she and Helga were gone. A whisp of pungent smoke, swirling where Mianney had stood, was all that assured Pickles and Lupes that she had actually been with them a moment before…

As Mianney held Helga close through that long-ago night, flute music, rising and falling from a more distant cabin, was a safe and soothing sound in the dark.

That flute music—so comforting, such a balm on her terror—was, for Helga, a symbol of her deliverance. The peaceful imprint of the flute melody wafting to her during the darkest part of the night struck Helga in the heart as powerfully as the shafts of yellow sunlight that illumined Mianney Mayoyo’s shack the next morning. It was as if her mother’s promise to return soon had been fulfilled.

Helga: Out of Hedgelands (Wood Cow Chronicles) is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love, Sebastian Cole {$0.99}

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Description of Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love:

What if you lost your true soul mate, the one person in life you were meant to be with? Would your love ever truly die? Not if you’re Noah Hartman, who refuses to let go of Robin after she inexplicably abandons their love and disappears from his life seemingly forever, her hidden secret yet to be discovered.

And when you finally accept your fate and do your best to move on with your life, what do you say when the unthinkable happens: your true love Robin reappears as your wedding ceremony to another woman is about to commence, looks deep into your soul with her loving, tear-filled eyes, and tells you the one thing you’ve desperately longed to hear for all of these years?

But the ending to this heart-wrenching love story has yet to be written, as Noah, old and sick in a hospital bed, tells his story of love and loss to Josh, a wise orderly at Mount Sinai Hospital. As his family members arrive to bid him goodbye, Noah discovers a far greater truth about his past, present, and future. Things are definitely not as they appear as the pieces of a shattered love are put back together in the remarkable final chapter of Noah’s life.


“This smashing debut by Sebastian Cole reads like the best of Nicholas Sparks with just enough schmaltz.” — Jon Land, bestselling author

“SAND DOLLAR is a strong pick for general fiction and romance collections, highly recommended.” — Midwest Book Review

“So to the hopeless romantics out there I say, Highly Recommended – have at it, this is a must-read. To the snarling cynics like me who mentally have their arms akimbo and their eyebrow raised, I say pick up Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love and surprise yourself by discovering the romantic in you.” —

“When I was told that this was the next great love story I was cynical, but it is totally true. Noah and Robin’s story is the greatest love story I have ever read.” — A Novel Review

“There are very few books which will touch the very depths of your soul. This is truly one of those books.” — Read Your Writes



Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars from 81 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love is available for purchase at:

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An excerpt from Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love:

Of all the guests congregated inside Touro Synagogue, no one was more delighted than Miriam Hartman, mother of the groom. She was sitting in the front row with tissues in hand, her husband to her right, the bride’s mother — a close friend — to her left. If only Noah had married a nice Jewish girl like Sarah all those years ago, Miriam thought, his life would have turned out perfect, just the way she had planned. Instead, his life was ruined by that shicksa Robin he had insisted on marrying against her wishes. She and Jerry tried to nip it in the bud before it was too late, but Noah was stubborn, some nonsense about butterflies and the way she looked at him. For the life of her, Miriam could not understand why Noah never listened to his mother, because after all, she only wanted what was best for him. And at this point in Noah’s middle-aged life, Miriam concluded, Sarah was best for him. With all the bad decisions he had made throughout his life, proposing to Sarah appeared to be the only redeeming one.

Relishing in subdued victory, there was no need for Miriam to ever take credit for the role she had played in getting the two of them together. For all Noah knew, running into Sarah at the premiere of Sand Dollar happened by chance, or perhaps even divine intervention — if you believe in that sort of thing. However, there was nothing divine about it — not that time anyway — because Miriam had secretly planted her there.

Miriam was wearing a wide-brim chapeau with beige satin sash, tulle, and rose clusters. She had on a brown silk Carolina Herrera gown with sparkling gold beads and lace trim, an exquisite emerald butterfly-shaped broach pinned on the shoulder. A spectacular 22-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring eclipsed her finger, and long crystal-shaped emerald earrings dangled beside her slim neck. Sitting beside her, her husband Jerry resembled an eighty-year-old James Brolin, tall and thin, with manicured white hair and a commanding presence. He was wearing a black Brioni tuxedo accessorized by the black cane resting against the side of the pew.

The synagogue was filled to capacity by half the membership of Spring Valley Country Club, all wearing tuxedos and gowns for this black tie affair. It was a who’s who of Rhode Island’s most prominent Jewish community. Up on the bema, two thousand large white rose-heads adorned the white chupah. Standing underneath it, the rabbi gave Jerry a friendly nod, acknowledging the temple’s most generous benefactor. Just to the right, Noah was standing beside his best man, his brother Scott. They were wearing white formal tuxedos with tails on their jackets, white bowties, and white yarmulkes on their heads.

The conductor raised his baton, and the ten-piece orchestra started playing Canon In D. Heads turned as all eyes focused on the first bridesmaid walking slowly up the red-carpeted aisle in a wine-colored gown. After all six bridesmaids took their place on the bema to the left of the chupah, the superlative performance of Pachelbel’s masterpiece was concluded, and there was silence.

As the orchestra began playing Here Comes The Bride, all heads turned back down the aisle toward the entrance with anxious anticipation. Sarah was a beautiful, young woman, no doubt the most beautiful bride this congregation would ever see.

Fifty pounds overweight with a silver cross bouncing around her neck, Robin rushed through the front door into the synagogue in ripped jeans and a Block Island T-shirt. Stopping dead in her tracks, her eyes scanned the room. All five hundred congregants sitting in the pews were staring directly at her. Turning her head slowly to the right, she suddenly was aware of Sarah standing just a few feet away in a long, white wedding gown, a mortified look on her face behind her sheer, white veil. The orchestra’s music came to a grinding halt.

Noah’s smile, which had been filled with anticipation, turned to curiosity as he raised his hand above his eyes to see who had just entered, his jaw dropping at the sight of her. He looked at his brother standing beside him, speechless.

While talking into his palm with a finger to an earpiece, a man in a navy blazer emerged from the shadows to grab the intruder, pulling her away.

“STOP ! Let her go,” Noah demanded from across the synagogue.

While Miriam coldly waved them off, the security guard, with a strong hand on her, eyeballed Jerry. Robin shook off the guard and bolted through the large wooden front door. The guests started buzzing and heads turned as they tried to make sense of it all. Glancing around nervously, the maestro looked at Miriam for guidance, who motioned with her hands for him to continue. He raised his baton, and, to the tune of Here Comes The Bride, Noah ran down the aisle toward the door.

“Don’t worry,” he blurted out to Sarah as he ran past her. “I’ll be right back !”

With a bewildered look on her face, Sarah pulled off her veil and looked across the synagogue at her bridesmaids. The chatter from the surprised guests grew steadily as everybody stood up and headed for the exit. With a rustle of expensive silk, Miriam fainted to the floor.

Noah ran down the flight of red-carpeted granite steps, past the line of white stretch limousines waiting out front. He caught up to Robin walking quickly down the sidewalk.

“Hey… what the hell are you doing here?” he exclaimed, grabbing her arm.

“I’m sorry, Noah,” she said, wiping a tear from her eye, turning to look at him as the guard approached in the background. “I never should have come here. I’m such a fool.” Shaking her head, she glanced at the white stagecoach with two white horses. “Go back to your fairy tale wedding,” she sobbed, running across the street.

Noah continued his pursuit, dodging traffic and catching up with her on the other side. “HEY !” he yelled, walking briskly behind her, grabbing hold of her again. “You still haven’t answered my question. Why are you here?”

She looked at him lovingly. “It’s not your fault… There’s no reason why we couldn’t have stayed married. The medication… the psychiatrist… God, I don’t even know where to start,” she said, covering her mouth and looking off.

“I don’t believe this,” Noah said, shaking his head. “Don’t tell me you’re the one who needs closure, because if you do — ”

“No… no, that’s not it. I made a big mistake… I never should have left you.”

“Let me get this straight. You came all the way down here just to tell me you made some kind of big mistake?” She nodded. “A mistake,” he repeated, throwing his hands up in the air, looking away. “A mistake?” he questioned, looking back at her, seeking confirmation. “Don’t you think I know that already? Huh? I wanted to hate you so bad, but I couldn’t stop loving you long enough to hate you. If there were any way I could have erased your memory from my brain, I would have done it in a heartbeat. But not a chance of that… not with my heart refusing to let go. I would have given my left lung just to hold you in my arms for one more day, just one day. Thirteen years… and not a day gone by that I didn’t pray you’d come back, look into my eyes, and say the words that you just said to me,” he said, turning his head away, looking across the street at Sarah and the rest of the wedding party filterin g out of the building. “NO… No, I can’t do it. Sarah’s a good woman and a good friend. She’d never leave me; she loves me. I’m sorry, Robin,” he said, looking back at her. “You’re too late. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m getting married today,” he said, turning and walking away, forcing himself not to look back.

Anxious to rejoin his bride waiting for him on the other side of the street, he stopped at the corner and waited for a few cars to pass. Stepping from the curb, he heard Robin shout.

“What did you just say?” he asked, his foot landing back on the sidewalk as she ran toward him.

“I remember,” Robin said, catching her breath as she reached him.

“You remember?” he asked incredulously. “What could you possibly remember?” he demanded, staring at her, waiting for the answer.

The beauty from within her soul shined brightly through her loving eyes as she looked deep into Noah’s now melting eyes.

“I remember — I love you,” she said in a soft voice, nervously biting her lip.

There it was… she actually looked him in the eyes and said it. As Noah heard these words coming out of her mouth, tears formed in his eyes. After all these years, Noah finally got the closure he so desperately needed.

Letting out a scream of anger, he turned and walked straight out into the street in front of a taxicab coming to a screeching halt, almost hitting him.

“GODDAMN YOU !” Noah screamed at her, slamming the hood of the taxi with his fist.

“HEY !” yelled the taxi driver out the window.

“How do you do that?” Noah asked her. “How do you just stand there and tell me you love me? Like… like the last thirteen years never existed. Like you somehow traveled back in time to when I last held you in my arms, and… and everything’s still the same, just the way you left it. What do you expect me to do, Robin? What do you — ” The lump in his throat prevented him from saying anything further. He shook his head and looked away, a tear rolling down his cheek as Robin opened the taxi door and jumped in.

Cars were beeping their horns, blocked by Noah standing in front of the taxi in the middle of the road. He looked over at his bride on the other side of the street, and then looked back at the woman he truly loved, crying inside the taxi.


Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


Connect with Sebastian Cole:




THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Exemeus, Folami Morris & Abeni Morris {$0.99}

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Folami Morris & Abeni Morris’ Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of The Exemeus:

Hyalee Smith is dead. She just doesn’t know it yet.

Her short life was devoted to love and to hate. Love of the man who stole her heart, hate for the man who stole the world. Murdered by the government she swore to destroy, she’s been given another chance to make it right. But to save the planet, she needs the help of the most powerful mystic the world has ever seen—unfortunately he hasn’t been born yet.

In a world where fear is the only currency, Dephon has committed the ultimate crime: inspiring hope.

His only goal is to make it safely through ninth grade, but on a post-apocalyptic Earth run by the Treptonian government, it isn’t that simple. Heir to a legendary power, Dephon Johnson is the only threat to the government’s rule. And on Trepton, all threats must be eliminated. When hundreds of assassins are dispatched to neutralize him, Dephon is forced to fight back. His only chance of survival is to enlist the aid of the greatest warrior the world has ever known. The only problem is, she’s been dead for 13 years.



“The relationships in this book were done well and I had a lot of fun reading about Hyalee and Singleton.” -Myra

“If you choose one YA novel to read in January and you like fantasy, choose this one.”- the eclectic reader

“This is a great read. A dip into a dystopian world with a fantasy twist”- Dustykatt


Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Exemeus currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.2 stars, with 32 reviews! Read the reviews here!

The Exemeus is available for purchase at:

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Excerpt from The Exemeus:

A scream rippled through the emerald-green sea. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Singleton groaned. I sighed deeply, trying to remain composed. Another scream pierced our ears, this one coming from a different direction. Within seconds the horizon was filled with no less than twenty of the slug-like creatures traveling with chilling military-style precision towards us. They were all swimming from different directions, their eyes flickering in the distance.
“Hyles, leave.”
“No,” I said firmly.
“I’m losing too much blood as it is. I’ll never make it back and who’ll avenge my mother? Get out of here. I will not watch you die too! Do it now, Hyles!”
“Would you leave me?” I challenged him, racking my mind for a course of attack.
I gripped my sword awkwardly in my hand as I tried to keep Singleton afloat with the other one. “Hyles, just go or we’ll both die.” The creatures were close enough for us to see their rattling teeth. The combined effect of their screams was enough to shatter our eardrums. “Hyles, go!” he said again. The creatures were no more than eight feet away, and it was clear that neither of us was getting out of here alive.


The Exemeus is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

Connect with Folami Morris & Abeni Morris:




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