Posts Tagged With: book review

Spotlight on H.J. Worthington – Author of “Farewell, Amelia Mary: Long Time Looking”

Farewell, Amelia Mary: Long Time Looking

 

The stories and vignettes in this book represent the experiences and memories from World War II veteran H.J. Worthington. A first-time author at the age of 90, Mr. Worthington offers readers a personal journey through some of America’s most important moments in time.

Excerpt

Special Note

Friday afternoon, November 23, 1963 the nation heard the news: President John F. Kennedy shot and killed in Dallas, Texas.  All that day, Saturday, Sunday, and into the next week the event unfolded right before our eyes on our television screens.

I wrote the Kennedy memorial poem while watching the news coverage each day.  It did not matter what your political connection.  World War II was only 18 years back in the collective memory.  We had lost a kindred spirit – a fellow warrior – in the cause that saved the world from a new Dark Age of barbarism in the 20th Century, and possibly beyond if we had not prevailed.  Who knew? The raw emotional scar had healed over but was still tender to the touch of a lingering remembrance.

Robert Kennedy’s killing, less than 5 years after his brother’s, destroyed the possible promise of a bit more peaceful kingdom.  Dream denied.


In Memoriam – John F. Kennedy

On that morning… an hour before his final ride

He spoke of his brother,

Who had gone before him to the war… and died.

And she…when accepting the roses of red,

Held them and kept them,

Til her husband was dead.

 

There he sat and smiled and waved,

All through the ride;

She at his side … holding the red roses,

When there from out the sunlit sky,

A killer bullet flashed and said:

“You must die”.

 

And so; one week before Thanksgiving,

Under the Texas Sky,

She saw him live and smile … and touch,

Red roses that would die.

 

There beneath that Texas sky,

Where the President is dead,

There cries and anguished people;

And some roses that are red.

 

 

Now the lonely vigil,

Of a nation’s grieving heart,

Returned to waiting Washington,

The requiem to start.

She did not leave his lifeless side,

When the Hand of God said “NOW”,

But pleading she touched God’s Hand,

And asked: “Please … keep him here … somehow”.

 

Through the soul-sick shrouded night,

The line of sorrow filed beneath the great Rotunda dome,

Where lies their young and fallen Chief,

Who now has journeyed home.

 

And on that morning,

When they came to bear him slow,

It was heard by all who watched and harked,

His muted whisper softly said:

“I am ready now … to go.”

 

They bore him from the solemn church,

His requiem was done,

And there his little boy saluted him,

And softly back across the hallowed air he whispered:

“Happy birthday … and farewell my son”.

 

And standing there; just six years old,

Was his little daughter brave,

No longer could she run and hug;

Or for him,

All her kisses save.

 

And there on the side of a hill that day,

She whispered her husband’s name.

She took a ray from the setting sun,

And lit their eternal flame.

 

…So now we truly ask ourselves,

What kind of man was he,

What killed our president of tender years,

Who loved the wind and sea.

 

A very few of you may say:

“The man is dead,”

What more is there to say,

The evil plan is naked here before us,

All the certain consequences light the way.

 

Let us here speak finally …

Let us quit our rhyme,

Let us raise our urgent sight,

Let us press our words to freer verse,

Let us set the record right.

 

Yes… he is dead.

His day is done,

His manuscript is closed.

But there remains the reason WHY,

The tragic, wasteful painful reason WHY?

 

The sure and true malignant residue of hate,

Unleashed like a famished phantom in our midst,

Struck down this man.

For he; like the tall Emancipator before him,

Had thrust upon him,

An overburdened share of relentless condemnation.

 

He was struck down,

Not for the way he prayed to his God;

But for the way he prayed to his fellow man.

His warm prayer;

His clear and poetic words of truth and justice,

Fell upon cold hearts and dead consciences;

And they were stirred to anger and fear and despair.

This was his sin,

And it was a sin against those who hate,

For any reason; and in any measure,

And hate triumphed;

And he was gone.

 

 

And what have we lost?

…We have lost the sight and voice,

Of little children in the marbled halls of state.

A generation has lost a warm and kindred mystic spirit,

Who lived and shared a dear nostalgia,

Of younger urgent times.

Gone is a sweet embrace of memories,

Of not too long ago.

We have lost the simplicity,

Of the natural boyishness,

Of a great man.

Some say that he had no emotion.

He WAS an emotion;

And we have lost him.

We have lost the smile of a truly beautiful woman.

We have lost a President.

We have lost our hearts.

 

And so…

Time will go on,

Memory will fade,

The years will pass,

Men will forget.

And the millions of words of eulogy …will,

After a while;

Languish and fade,

On the yellow pages of dusty volumes.

Those of us who now silently weep;

We, who cannot dispel the ache;

We know, that death is but a changing of life;

And we will find our solace and peace in knowing,

That we will see him and greet him,

One day again,

In the long forever of eternity.

 

In Memoriam – Robert F. Kennedy

 

Four years and seven months

Since sad November,

Now sad June; more heartbreak

To remember,

We have loved and quickly

Lost again,

We have dreamed another dream

In vain.

Bio

 

H.J. Worthington is a WWII veteran, father of six and grandfather of nine. He has no publishing credits and this is his first book. He is not looking for fame or fortune. His next birthday will bring him to his tenth decade.

The stories and other offerings in this book are a selection from the archives in his mind from long ago—up to 2016. He finally realized that if he is ever going to see his work in print, he better take his own advice from one of his many vignettes:

Get going or you’re gone!

 

**********************

Paul De Lancey
www.pauldelancey.com
www.lordsoffun.com

 

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Second Chances and Other Stories by Wayne DePriest

 

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Wayne DePriest’s Second Chances and Other Stories is great. Not only does DePriest write well, but the content of his stories is clever and engaging as well. He does not write mere fluff. We think and rethink his stories long after we finished. The offbeat short story “Janet and George,” my favorite short love story of all time, conveys a subtle, yet masterful poignancy.
This book is one of a select number worthy enough to be read in my bathtub, a place where all that is boring and disappointing must be shut out. DePriest’s worlds are often frightening and unsettling, but when I read his stories, I am in a good place. 

See his book on Amazon.

– Paul R. De Lancey, reviewer

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You’re Grounded For Life by Tim Jones – Book Review

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Finally, a book about raising kids that makes no attempt to help us. The author, Tim Jones, repeatedly tells us he has no answers. I find that enormously reassuring. I’m not the reason my kids turned out the way they did. I feel so grateful to Tim that I feel the need to father another child just to name it after him. Oh wait, the book reminds us there are no truly good parenting strategies. So I won’t have another kid. Thanks, Tim, you saved me again. This book is really, really, really, really, really funny and I’ve never before rated a book with more than three reallys. Now if you’ll excuse me, Tim, has advised me to come up with a million dollars for my kid’s education. Time to look under those sofa cushions for loose change.

See his book on Amazon.

– Paul R. De Lancey, reviewer

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Promise in ‘Plan B’ by Mary L. Farr – Book Review

PlanBCover

Promise in ‘Plan B’ is the first inspirational book that inspired me to finish it. This is because Ms. Farr’s book is more personal than others and not at all pompous; I mean her horse helped write it. She, Mary, not the horse, certainly relates grand success stories, which is good, but Mary Farr truly shines in depicting the mini successes that others have achieved and that we can accomplish as well. This made me feel very good. It is so nice to be told we are not alone and that we don’t have to achieve everything ourselves, there are many avenues to success, and there are many types of fulfillment. And her coauthor, Noah the horse, is funny. Serious talk about overcoming and sidestepping obstacles interspersed with witty, funny writing makes Promise in ‘Plan B’ excellent.

See her book on Amazon.

– Paul R. De Lancey, reviewer

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“Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection of Library Humor” by Roz Warren – Book Review

rozfrontcoverfinal

Roz Warren’s Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection of Literary Humor is really funny. Really, really funny. I got it today as a birthday present and read it in one sitting, laughing out loud the whole time. If I were the type to steal a book from a library, this would be the one. But that would be wrong. Indeed, Ms. Warren may use Paul’s Flying Squirrel Squadron to track down book thieves, page rippers, cell-phone shouters, and fine dodgers anytime she wants.

Any librarian, any son or daughter of a librarian, any one who’s dated a librarian will appreciate the joys and struggles of your library’s workers and heroes. And gosh, who knew they could be so funny? While in high school, St. Mary’s, a school for librarians, sent me a brochure encouraging me to go there. I chose to go to another school and major in economics. After reading the wonderful Our Bodies, Our Shelves, I wonder if I made the right choice.

Well written, Roz.

See her book on Amazon.

– Paul R. De Lancey, reviewer

 

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“A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life” by Donna Cavanagh – Book Review

Canine'sGuide

Dogs steal our hearts. Dogs take control of our lives. In A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life, Donna Cavanagh, The Empress of Comedy, tells us how. Well actually, she got her dogs to relate their plans for world domination to her, but even understanding Dog is an amazing achievement.

And if you’re a dog, Donna and her dogs show you how to get a good owner. (Always let the human think she’s the owner.)

Then learn: how to order at a fast-food drive through, proper etiquette for vomiting, how to wear a seat belt, ways to look cool in a bandana, proper behavior in bed, techniques for spitting on windows, the best ways to greet people, and how to be polite. This useful book even doubles as a primer for raising teenagers.

Donna Cavanagh writes humor with a deft, light touch. I enjoyed A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life very much and recommend it highly.

See her book on Amazon.

– Paul De Lancey, reviewer

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Spotlight on Tameri Etherton, Author of “The Stones of Kaldaar (Song of the Swords Book One)”

 

The Stones of Kaldaar (Song of the Swords Book One)

 

 An excerpt from Chapter 7

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Her backside rebelled when she pulled herself into the saddle. She was fairly certain she had blisters in places that weren’t polite to mention.

“How much longer do you think we’ll be riding?” She adjusted her position, finding little relief.

“At least a sennight.” Rhoane said before clucking his stallion to join the others.

A week. She groaned and kicked her mare forward. With all of its power, she didn’t understand why the people of Aelinae employed primitive resources. The least they could do was invent comfortable saddles.

As they moved through the meadow, her stomach growled, and she put a hand over her abdomen. When Faelara gave her a concerned look, Rhoane held back his stallion to hand her a pouch containing dried bread and cheese, along with meat from their meal the previous night.

Growing discontent settled in Taryn’s thoughts. She didn’t like depending on Rhoane, or anyone, for food, for shelter, for anything. Fields and grasslands sprawled in every direction, an unfamiliar landscape with unknown horrors. Until she knew her way around Aelinae, she would be exactly that—dependent on him or one of the others for her survival. The depressing thought weighed heavily on her.

Faelara moved beside her, saying in her gentle voice, “Do you see those trees over there?” She pointed in the distance. “That’s the southernmost border of the Narthvier. And over there,” she indicated to their left, “is the Spine of Ohlin. Those mountains stretch all the way from the Summer Seas to the Temple of Ardyn in the far north.”

At the sound of the familiar name, Taryn shot Rhoane a glance. “Is that where we’re going, to the temple?”

“No, darling,” Faelara looked away from the mountains toward the north, “we’re headed to Ravenwood, the country home of Duke Anje. He sent an urgent message, so we’re going to offer assistance.”

“Is that what you do? Wander around helping people?”

“It does seem that we travel much more than I’d like. The world is a curious place lately, and we go where we’re needed. Today, that just happens to be a day’s ride north.” Faelara reached over to pat Taryn’s leg. “This will give you a chance to see some of the countryside. When we get to Ravenwood, you’ll meet Hayden, Duke Anje’s son and heir. Very pleasant boy and your age.”

“Which age is that?” Taryn mumbled, distracted by the shadow that had tormented her for most of the previous day. She’d hoped it was a fluke, but its presence once again set her on edge. Each time she tried to look for it, the shadow would dissipate, but if she kept her focus straight ahead, she was able to keep the blot in her peripheral vision. Whoever or whatever it was, it was keeping pace with them but at a discreet distance.

Faelara gave her a strange look. “The only one you are.”

“Which is thirty-five in a few weeks?”

“Yes, that’s right. You and Hayden were born two days apart.”

Taryn studied her riding companion. Faelara wore a deep-green riding jacket with matching hat and split skirt that allowed her to sit astride her horse. Taryn admired how graceful she looked upon her mare and shuddered at how she must appear to the regal woman. Dirt smeared, disheveled, disoriented. Never before had she given a thought to how she looked to others, but being near the elegant woman made her self-conscious. Grimacing at the state of her hands, she picked at a cuticle, tearing the skin.

Faelara took her hand in her own. “Let’s see if we can’t get you more familiar with your surroundings. Make you feel more at home.”

The tone of her voice, and slight upturn to her lips, suggested she knew where Taryn had been all those years, but she dared not confirm her suspicions. Rhoane had warned her to keep her past hidden and that’s what she would do.

She listened with quiet intensity as Faelara explained the topography of the land they traveled. They rode through meadows of thick grasses and past fields gone fallow, the pace faster than the day before as Rhoane had promised. Every so often Rhoane would range ahead to scan the area or Baehlon would hang back to ride behind them, but neither seemed to see the shadow. After a while, she stopped looking for the flicker at the edge of her vision.

With every rut or mud-filled road they crossed, more knots formed in her shoulders and backside. Her knees were numb from gripping Cynda, and she was certain she’d forever lost all feeling in her hands from clutching the reins too tightly. They stopped briefly for a midday meal and to rest the horses but were back in the saddle much too soon. Myrddin pushed them faster as the afternoon wore on. When dark tendrils stretched across the road and the sun’s rays slanted beyond the trees through dusk, Baehlon turned them down a tree lined drive. Too weary to see straight, Taryn barely registered their location until Faelara touched her shoulder.

“Ravenwood,” she whispered.

Taryn jerked in her saddle and straightened her posture, her exhaustion a nagging memory. Ravenwood meant a bed. Possibly a shower. Definitely a break from the pounding of riding.

She followed Fae’s outstretched hand and whistled low in her throat. “That’s a bloody castle.”

“Manor house.”

“Whatever.” Taryn took in the turreted corners and delicate battlements. Though built for show, it still managed to appear imposing perched upon a hill. The group made their way up the gravel road, past landscaped borders and decorative hedges.

Too busy admiring the scenery, Taryn didn’t notice Myrddin had slowed, his hand outstretched in a silent signal to the others, until she was even with his horse. He placed a finger to his lips, his glare boring into her.

Rhoane and Baehlon drew their swords.

Nervous energy rippled over her in waves, making her palms moist, her throat dry.

Instinctively, Taryn moved closer to Faelara. Gravel crunched with each hoof their horses placed on the ground. Myrddin reined in his gelding, and the others followed, quietly dismounting. Within several yards of the manor, Taryn paused in her step.

The front door stood wide-open, without a soul in sight.

Taryn tapped Faelara’s arm, but the woman shook her head and motioned to the manor. Streaks of ShantiMari circled everyone except Baehlon and Taryn, which did not instill her with confidence.

Myrddin felt around the doorway and then stepped into the house. The men moved from room to room looking for signs of life or a struggle, finding neither. With each new room, Taryn’s heart thumped harder, threatening to burst from her chest.

They moved up the stairs to the first landing, and Myrddin motioned for her to stay with Faelara while the men crept up and down the hallways, checking each room. Halfway up the next flight of stairs, Taryn’s pendant burned against her skin. She stifled a gasp, causing Rhoane to look back. When she pointed to her cynfar, his eyes narrowed for a moment, and then he continued up the stairs, saying nothing. They stopped on the upper landing, where, again, the men crept down the hall.

Taryn moved away from Faelara to follow Rhoane. When he stepped from an empty room and nearly collided with her, he frowned, but she put a finger to her lips, motioning for him to follow.

At the last door, Taryn stopped. “In here.”

Rhoane flinched when he touched the wood. He waited until the others joined them before slowly opening the door. Taryn was last to enter the dimly lit bedchamber. Furniture crowded the large room, and in the center rested a huge four-poster bed with heavy curtains tied to the posts. Beside the bed, a man sat hunched, the sound of his soft cries filling the space. Faelara and Myrddin went to him while Baehlon and Rhoane continued to check the perimeter. A fetid odor like the scent of pork left out overlong assaulted her senses.

Help me, a voice whispered.

Taryn spun around to see who had spoken, but no one was near. She stepped around a chair and covered her mouth to keep from crying out at the ghastly sight before her. Atop the bed, uncovered but clothed, lay a young man. A glowing sword hung suspended above his heart.

The stench increased the closer she moved to the bed. It infiltrated her nostrils, her throat, her mind until she felt as if maggots crawled through her thoughts. Bile burned from her belly to her tongue. She gagged, dizzy all of a sudden.

No time. Please, the voice begged.

“Who are you?” she whispered aloud to the empty air.

Bed. Help. Now. Desperation choked the voice.

Lavender strands of ShantiMari enclosed the man’s body, with the thinnest of threads holding the sword aloft. Even as she watched, the sword moved a fraction closer to piercing his shirt. “Oh my God.”

Hurry.

His anguish permeated her mind to her very core. She swallowed down the bile and took a deep, calming breath. “What do you want from me?”

Sword, the voice rasped. There was no pain in his tone, just a sense of panic and fear.

She had to do something before the sword broke free. Rhoane prowled the opposite side of the room, his focus away from her.

“Hang on.” Before she could change her mind, she sprinted toward the bed. When she’d nearly reached it, she jumped as high as she could, kicking out. A cacophony roared through her mind when her foot connected with the metal. Shards of ShantiMari tangled around her leg, and a burning sensation shot up from her heel. Rhoane stepped out of the way a split second before she crashed to the floor, the sword landing with a heavy clang beside her.

Time slowed as the ringing continued. Vomit roiled in her gut. Images, flashes of light and dark, tore at her thoughts. Shouts and cries echoed in her mind. Julieta’s screams. Kaldaar’s banishment. Rykoto’s laughter as he raped Julieta.

Rhoane was speaking to her, helping her up. She stared at his face, focused on that one reality. A gasp from the bed pulled her attention back to the young man and the threads of ShantiMari tightening around him. He couldn’t breathe. She moved without thought and grabbed the sword that lay at her feet.

When she touched the handle, a shock ran up her arm. Not like the one in her leg, which felt as though it were on fire, but a soothing feeling, as if the handle welcomed her touch. The voices stopped. Her mind cleared. Her stomach calmed. Gripping the hilt with both hands, she raised the sword and brought it down over the man, slicing the lavender cords.

“Taryn, no!” Faelara cried out. Amber streaks of Mari shot toward her, but they were blocked by Rhoane’s Shanti.

“Hold, Faelara.” Rhoane’s voice was like iron. “She will not harm him.”

Taryn ignored the strange tingling of her skin as she cut the threads. When they were too small for the sword, she tossed it aside and broke apart the remaining bits with her fingers, digging through them until the man inhaled and his chest heaved with the rush of air.

The stink of death lingered. “Open the windows,” Taryn commanded. Baehlon moved with silent swiftness, opening first one and then all of the windows, letting in the last of the sun’s rays and fresh, pure air.

After a few minutes of coughing and sputtering, the man took several deep breaths. Taryn stepped back, allowing Faelara to fuss over him. Myrddin’s scowl was her last sight before everything went black.

 

Author’s BioTameriPic

 

Rocker of sparkly tiaras, friend of dragons, and lover of all things sexy, Tameri Etherton leaves a trail of glitter in her wake as she creates and conquers new worlds and the villains who inhabit them. When not masquerading as a mom and writer, rumor has it she travels to far off places, drinking tea and finding inspiration for her kickass heroines—and the rogues who steal their hearts—with her own Prince Charming by her side.

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N6I4YZ0

 

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“eDating the Old School Way” by Maura Stone – Book Review

eDating the Old School Waymauracover

Maura Stone, the Bubbameistah, gives hilarious advice to those looking to the internet for matchmaking. Beware! Okay, okay, that’s a bit too succinct. But you will laugh out loud. You will find out that you are a catch, people out there are crazed murderers who want to see naked pictures of yourself and even worse than will want to meet you at a Dunkin Doughnuts. How do you avoid this fate? By listening to the Bubbameistah. She’ll tell you such secrets as how people make themselves sound better online than in real life and that if it’s meant to be, your e-dating sweetheart will call you back within three days. It’s twue!

Written in such a way that even a economics nerd can relate, eDating the Old School Way is sprinkled with such sage topics as “E-Women are Lunatics.” And on the other hand, what woman would not want the know the following motherly advice, “Would your interest be piqued when he markets himself with “I put the toilet seat down”? If that’s the best he can say for himself, then you know his bar is set way too low.”

eDating the Old School Way is the only self-help book I’ve read all the way through and the world is a better place for it. And the world will still be a better place after the Zombie Apocalypse, for Ms. Stone navigates us through the treacherous waters of eDating for zombie men and Dunkin Doughnut dating.

eDating the Old School Way is available on amazon.com

Check out her  author page on HOPress-Shorehousebooks.com

– Paul R. De Lancey, author of Beneficial Murders and Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World

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Book Review of Reina Menasche’s Silent Bird

Wonderful Novel

Pillar Russell leaves New York to flee disturbing childhood memories and relationships. Afraid of commitments, she settles in southern France to start over in a place where no one SilentBird-knows her, where she doesn’t even know the language.

Pillar’s plan for anonymity gets tested when she takes to her beguiling Gallic village and most importantly when she meets the earnest and sensitive Jeannot. These two friends and lovers are good for each other, so good marriage seems inevitable. But, the memories in Pillar’s life and disturbing xenophobia of the town and Jeannot’s family threaten their relationship.

The author’s style is sensitive and compelling. She skillfully balances disturbing thoughts with uplifting enthusiasm and heart-wrenching sadness with deft touches of humor. Reina Lisa Menasche is a darn good writer. I heartily recommend Silent Bird to everyone.

– Paul R De Lancey
www.lordsoffun.com

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Book Review of Mary Farr’s “Never Say Neigh”

Saint Paul, Minn.  Author Mary I. Farr has devoted the past 30 years to exploring the worlds of hope, healing and humor. Today she has noahhorsemerged these life essentials into a wildly funny and gently inspirational book, Never Say Neigh. The book recently won honors in The Paris Book Festival, The Great Midwest Book Festival and the Animals, Animals, Animals Book Festival.

A retired hospital chaplain with plenty of wisdom under her belt and a lifelong passion for horses, Farr chose an unusual writing partner for her award-winning book—her American quarter horse, Noah Vail. Even his name says he has a funny bone of his own.

“This is a comical horse,” Farr says. “He’s just the kind of character I imagined could ‘talk’ to people about life and its many lessons, but in a welcoming way. I figured why not use him as a humorous spiritual corrective in an often noisy world of gridlock.”

Never Say Neigh encompasses a year on the road with Noah and his partner Madam, sometimes referred to as The Management. Compassion is the order of the day for Noah. He eschews violence, prejudice and polarized politics – all with a generous dose of levity and fun.

“It’s hard to argue with a horse,” Farr says. “Noah, as the book’s narrator, makes the most difficult topics approachable for readers. He also opines on a good deal of human behavior.”

Even Noah’s blogs have won him acclaim as an Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop Humor Writer of the Month. And he’s nothing if not a well-rounded author. He keeps an active Twitter account, a Facebook page with more than 101,000 fans, and a blog. Fans can also find him on YouTube.

Never Say Neigh is available at Amazon in paperback and in Kindle.

– Donna Cavanagh

I am pleased to have the witty and brilliant Donna Cavanaugh do a guest blog today. I shall return shortly.
– Chef Paul

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World, is available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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