Monday, May 21, 2018

Book Feature: The Kingdom Queen by J.T. Page Jr.







Title: The Kingdom Queen
Author: J.T. Page
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Format: Ebook

Two young American tourists, Carmen and Cubby, arrive at a mysterious church in present-day Austria. They meet Otto, their tour guide, who leads them to the Silver Chapel. There he weaves an enchanting story involving knights, intrigue, and true love. Otto takes their imaginations on a journey to twelfth-century Europe during the High Middle Ages, a decade after the end of the First Crusade. Princess Margarethe and Theo first meet as children when her father, King Johann, grants knighthood to Sir Josef, Theo’s father. The children are immediately drawn to each other despite the difference in social class. When Theo’s parents are tragically killed, Margarethe swears to love him forever—but is that true? Can their love survive even though they are destined to never marry? Carmen and Cubby have countless questions as the story unfolds, but Otto is always happy to explain and instruct. He tells tales of war, marriage, birth, death, and chivalry as Margarethe and Theo are constantly kept apart. Assassins abound, cultures collide, and the Knights Templar make their presence felt in sometimes surprising ways. Margarethe and Theo vow eternal loyalty, no matter the sacrifice. But will they get their happy ending or remain resigned to the duties of differing stations? Welcome to the new and timeless story of The Kingdom Queen.








Joseph T. Page Jr. has a doctoral degree in business management from Nova Southeastern University. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army for over twenty years, commanded military units on three continents, and is a combat veteran. He also worked as a Department of Defense contractor in Europe. He and his wife live in Hawaii.

GIVEAWAY

J.T. IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins May 14 and ends on May 26.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 27.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!

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Book Feature: Probable Cause: Rethinking the JFK Plot by Robin Haines


PROBABLE CAUSE: RETHINKING THE JFK PLOT by Robin Haines, Politics, 71 pp., $6.99 (Paperback) $2.99 (Kindle edition)


Title: PROBABLE CAUSE: RETHINKING THE JFK PLOT
Author: Robin Haines
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 71
Genre: Politics


This book is a refreshing new look at the JFK Conspiracy theories. After years of meticulous research the author has compiled new evidence to suggest a different theory on this important moment in our nation’s history.

It is a must read for anyone interested in a different view of the JFK assassination.

Order Your Copy!

https://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Suffragette-Diana-Forbes-ebook/dp/B06XG3G2TF

Was the JFK assassination the result of the random crime or a politically motivated
conspiracy?

Perhaps it was a legitimate covert intelligence operation of the US Government. Could it be that JFK wasn’t murdered and his death was staged to appear to be a homicide?

The author outlines a moral motive for the assassination, and an explanation in the way the assassination was staged. The focus of this alternative theory revolves primarily around three men, who she claims are the most important figures involved in planning and executing the death of JFK. There apparently were many other people linked to this, but she discusses these three people; the main man who ran the operation and the other two who basically planned it. Before their deaths they both confessed to their involvement and that they planned the assassination. At the time when this theory was first written during the early 1980’s, most of these people were still living, however, by now they are deceased.

The author claims the president voluntarily co-operated with his senior Intelligence Officers in a massive deception which was carried out as a means of Civil Defense.

The possibility does exist that JFK had to die in order to save America. The Deception In Dallas may have been the only alternative to nuclear war.

In this book the author challenges both the Warren Commission findings as well as some ideas which have been presented by the criminal conspiracy theorists.


Robin Haines was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on March 20th 1953. Her mother was a journalist for a newspaper called the Hudson Dispatch which later became the Jersey Journal Dispatch. She was a Religion Editor who also covered theater, and entertainment and occasionally, covered stories about politics. Her father was a wine salesman who eventually became a cab driver. Both of her parents are now deceased.

She graduated from Weehawken High School in June of 1972. She attended Manhattan School of Music and took some extension courses at Julliard in Theory and Composition but did not obtain a degree.

She resided in Weehawken, New Jersey, until she was 29. Then she relocated to Winchester, Virginia, where she still lives today. She has never been married.

Her many interests include politics, religion, military, and American History. She also enjoys horseback riding, theater, and current events.

The author deeply believes that the many controversies, especially the one involving the JFK Assassination which are still hanging over us from the 1960’s and 70’s need to be resolved. Final closure should be brought to these things while there are still some people living who have firsthand knowledge of them.

She hopes that out of all this tragedy, some new laws, and treaties will be passed. One of which will require that all public figures seeking election to the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the U.S. must be subject to a top secret national security background check for the highest level of clearance. This would definitely serve as a deterrent to prevent a situation like this from arising here again.

You can visit her website at https://wolfecarolyn.wixsite.com/mysite-1.

 

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

 


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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Interview: Holocaust Survivor Andreas Algava


Andreas Algava was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1939, the only son of Henri Algava and Allegra Carasso-Algava. When Andreas was 16 months old, Hitler’s forces invaded the country of his birth. Having to decide whether to believe the Nazi propaganda about a safe haven for Jews in Poland or go into hiding and risk execution, Andreas’s parents chose the latter relying on the courage and character of their Christian friends.

After the war, the Algava family moved to New York City and became U.S. citizens. Andreas became known as Andrew who later attended Cornell University where he earned an engineering degree. This was followed by military service in the U. S. Army including a tour of duty in France. After military service, Andrew worked with his father in the family export business in the United States and Argentina.

He joined IBM and worked on assignment in Germany where he lived with his wife, Priscilla and where his two daughters, Alisa and Carin were born. Andreas now lives in Rhode Island to be close to his daughters, son-in-law Michael and grandchildren Drew and Sabria.

Algava wrote 600 Days in Hiding: A Jewish Family in Nazi-Occupied Thessaloniki Greece to tell the story of his family’s survival during the Greek Holocaust. Andreas regards his book as his declaration for people to live in peace and harmony and a warning to not repeat the horrors of the past.

“Writing my Family’s story energizes me; it’s a fulfillment of a dream.” He plans to write a sequel to 600 Days in Hiding to address “How as individuals and society we are making very bad choices and need to take appropriate actions.”

The author is available for media interviews and speaking engagements in hopes of inspiring others to take action to create a more just world.

The author is committed to his personal mission: "To empower myself and others to manifest generosity, kindness, forgiveness and compassion for myself and for others to relieve the suffering in the world."

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:


Thank you so much for this interview, Andreas. During the heart-wrenching years of the Holocaust – a period of history that so many people would like to forget – Jews were being sent to concentration camps and left to starve and eventually killed. It is a period of history that will stay with us forever. There were a few survivors – namely yourself – and I want to get into that aspect of it, but can you tell us why you felt you needed to write your story?

Andreas: I believe it was my commitment to tell my parent’s story, which is also my own story even though I was so young. I grew up with four Holocaust survivors who retold the story of our family’s survival over and over through the years, and this story became embedded, and I took on the responsibility to tell others but not only about our fear, but about the immense courage of our Christian friends who risked their lives and lives of their children to save us. Can you imagine risking your child’s life to save a friend? These heroes did not hesitate. It was part of their character. So for me, committing myself to telling this amazing story was the pivotal point of my becoming a writer.

I needed to write my story because my experience of what happened to us was horrific, it was an energy that I metabolized that create who I came to be. What I thought about, what I worried about, what I was afraid of; especially afraid to make mistakes. I learned to keep a low profile; don't stand out. Don't get caught, etc.

You were three years old at the time the Nazis invaded your country and you and your family were taken in by a Christian family to hide until it was safe to come out again. I know you were young, but do you have any remembrances of that period?

Andreas: Yes, I do recall when we went to the first location in hiding, I had to sleep on two chairs butted together.  I also remember being interrogated by the police: What's your father's name"?  I had to remember at three years of age his alias, Aristides Toufexides. "What is your father's work"? I told the police he was an electrician because his friends vouched for his membership in the electricians union as a cover. 

How did your family fare during that time? Were there any illnesses? How were you able to get food?
 .
Andreas: We were out in the open, unlike Anne Frank. My mother was shopping at an outdoor market, and a former neighbor saw her. The neighbor expressed shock at seeing her alive. My mother put her hand to her mouth to signal the neighbor to not reveal her presence. There were no illnesses, however, I was bitten on the cheek by a dog; we didn't know if the dog had rabies. After the market scare, my parents were afraid of being recognized a second time, so a good neighbor volunteered to take me to the hospital and claim I was her child. We went into hiding with gold coins and jewelry the owner of the house where we were staying would buy our food for us.

What did you and your family do for entertainment?

Andreas:  During this time in hiding, entertainment was nonexistent. 
So I would pretend to be my father's barber and would hold the comb under his nose to make him look like Hitler.

Do you know if you had any close calls and thought it was over for your family?

Andreas: My mother insisted on going to see Baba Yorgo, a fortune teller to ask "if we would ever be free"?  When my parents were leaving the building, they saw a group of Germans checking everyone's identification. At that time, my parents did not have authorized papers and were terrified fearing they would be captured. They hid for hours before the Germans finally left the area. 

Do you have any bad memories of that time? Nightmares, that sort of thing?

Andreas: As a young child living in the United States safe from the evils of the Nazis when my parents would go out for an evening and I was alone with my sister I would wait by the window anxious and afraid they would never return.

Take me back to that period of your life. What would you like to say to the Nazis who did this to your fellow Jews?

Andreas: You have a family at home, you have children at home... How could you do this, you took away my mothers parents and her brothers and sisters.  With the passage of time, I came to realize they were incapable of feeling. They were without control, not unlike a rabid dog.   Over the years, physically and spiritually I learned to forgive.  I realized they were not in control of themselves and in that realization there was no soul to be affected by my anger. And in that, I was able to finally find forgiveness; my angst no longer served me.

I am so excited to read your new book, 600 Days in Hiding. What would you like to tell your readers?

Andreas:  Please do one kind thing for someone today, and do this every day. As the saying goes, everyone is fighting an incredible battle and each of us needs love and support. If all of us did just one kind and compassionate thing for someone every day, imagine what a wonderful world we could all enjoy so much more!



Title: 600 DAYS IN HIDING
Author: Andreas Algava with Daniel Levine
Publisher: For Passion Publishing Company, LLC
Pages: 424
Genre: Memoir

BOOK BLURB:
The Nazis invaded Salonika, Greece in April 1941. Within two years, the city’s Jews were shipped by cattle cars to the Auschwitz death camp. There were just three families who stayed in the city and survived because of the courage and kindness of Greek citizens who risked their lives and hid these Jewish families in their homes. Among the survivors were Andrew “Andreas” Algava, who was three years old at the time, and his family. They were five of 56,000 Jews who had lived in Salonika.

Algava, who moved to the United States at the age of seven, has written a gripping account of his family’s experience of survival titled 600 DAYS IN HIDING (600DaysInHiding.com). His memoir stands beside such classics of Holocaust literature as THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, Elie Wiesel’s NIGHT, Primo Levi’s SURVIVAL IN AUSCHWITZ, and Nechama Tec’s DEFIANCE.

Two excerpts from 600 DAYS IN HIDING dramatically illustrate Algava’s intention to “communicate the humanity or inhumanity of how we choose to respond to each other.” The first scene takes place in a graveyard:

“Henri stood at the edge of the massive Jewish cemetery sprawling before him. The crypts and headstones extended for thousands of meters in all directions, a vast city of gravestones marking the remains of Jewish men, women, and children buried here during the past 450 years. At one end of the enormous cemetery a small army of several hundred Greek workers were busy with shovels and pickaxes, tearing up the gravesites, pillaging for treasure. Henri watched with a mix of astonishment and horror as Thessaloniki’s Jewish history was being destroyed before his eyes, forever.”

The second excerpt describes the family’s first perilous night as they go into hiding from the Nazis:

“Marcos looked at Allegra. ‘I think the most danger we will face tonight will be from Andreas.’
 ‘What do you mean?’ Allegra asked, taking a short breath.
‘We agreed he should come with me so if you are caught, he will have his freedom. Is he prepared to play the game we talked about? Being quiet and not paying attention to you?’
‘I think so,’ Allegra replied. ‘He’s old enough.’ Marcos looked at the sleeping child and knew their fate rested with him.
…‘Remember,’ whispered Marcos, as they were about to open the apartment’s door, ‘stay in three separate groups. We’ll gather at the trolley stop on Martiou Street. When you’re out of the ghetto, tear off the stars and put them in your pocket. We’ll get off at Saint Sophie as planned. Whatever happens, just stay calm. We’ll be all right.’ He looked at each of them, and made his face relax with a little smile to reassure them. ‘They look ready,’ he thought.

...A knock on the door and a thin narrow face greeted them quietly. Quickly the six travelers entered. Allegra saw it was a small room in a poor house with a dirt floor. …‘Welcome, welcome,’ said Pachis. ‘It isn’t much, but we can shelter you. Your room is over here,’ and he walked to a room with a curtain as its door. ‘We have some blankets you can use,’ Pachis said, indicating a small pile of old wool blankets.
…‘Good night,’ said Marcos. ‘You’ll be safe here, for a while at least.’
‘Thank you, Marcos,’ Allegra said. ‘We are grateful.’
‘I’m glad to help.’ Turning to go, he said softly, ‘I’ll return tomorrow with a few of the things you said you wanted. It may take a few trips, but I’ll get them here. Get some sleep,’ and he stepped through the open doorway, drawing the drape across the opening.
Quickly setting up a sleeping area, soon everyone had settled down. Henri took his place beside Allegra and his son, and though he was very tired and drained, he stayed awake, still edgy. Eventually the sounds of slumber lulled him to sleep as the night yielded to the dawn of their first day in hiding.”

600 DAYS in HIDING is well-positioned for adaptation as a film. Such a production would provide a powerful thematic counterpoint to news stories about current political upheaval and the drumbeat of dehumanization in the United States and throughout the world.
Algava also notes that he is writing a sequel to 600 DAYS IN HIDING that will address “how as individuals and as society we came to be.” He adds that writing his inspiring story “absolutely energizes me. It’s the fulfillment of a dream.”

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Blog Tour ~ Book Feature: Monsterland Reanimated by Michael Okon @IAmMichaelOkon


MONSTERLAND REANIMATED by Michael Okon, YA/Monsters/Thriller, 250 pp., $14.99 (Paperback) $5.99 (Kindle)


Title: MONSTERLAND REANIMATED
Author: Michael Okon
Publisher: WordFire Press
Pages: 250
Genre: YA Fiction/Monsters/Thriller

After Monsterland has imploded, the entire world is thrown into chaos. World leadership is gone, economies have collapsed, and communications are non-existent.  Wyatt must go beyond the boundaries of his small town to reestablish contact with the outside world, and alert the government about a traitor-in-chief.

During his journey he discovers a new threat released from the bowels of the defunct theme park.
When an army of relentless mummies, a life-sucking ooze called The Glob, and a hybrid reanimated Behemoth rise from the depths of Monsterland, who will survive?


A bright moon painted the desert’s surface pewter. Here and there, dark spots soiled the landscape like oil spills. Most of the bodies had been taken before the troops were ordered to leave. They carted away the corpses, bulldozing the zombies into mass graves, until radios chirped with urgent orders deploying the soldiers to the bigger threats that erupted in the main cities like a chain of angry volcanos.
Monsterland was extinguished, its carcass left for the vultures to pick, the exhibits silent as a tomb.
The dead president and his equally dead entourage were whisked away on Air Force One, along with the dark-clad special operatives that came and left like the brisk desert wind that now howled through the empty streets.
A gate screamed in the silence, slamming with a reverberating smash. The uneven gait of someone with a physical challenge filled the void. The scrape and plod of his limp echoed against the wall of mountains framing the theme park. His labored breathing huffed as he made his way down the streets.
A door creaked loudly as it was blown by the wind. He stopped, his distorted figure silhouetted in the pale moonlight, his body turning silver. He looked at the broken glass littering the pavement like diamonds, then up to the still, pre-dawn sky. He considered the sun peeking over the jagged horizon in the east, its golden light painting the dips and hollows of the hills. Soon the coming day would chase the darkness away.
Time was the enemy now. He had to move faster, or it would be too late. He picked up his pace, lurching along the winding road. A keening howl ricocheted through the streets, bouncing off the walls. It sounded like a ... no, he thought, it couldn’t be. The werewolves were all dead. Destroyed by Vincent Konrad when he made their heads explode.
The old man paused, listening for it again, and was not disappointed when the animal whimpered. He gauged it to be inside the defunct vampire exhibit. He moved toward the entrance. The storefronts had been destroyed. A few body parts lay on the pavement, as if people had discarded them in a rush. He heard the scraping of paws on the street and a shiver went down his crooked spine.
He knew the werewolves were dead; he had seen it with his own eyes. A figure detached from the shadows. Igor flattened himself against the wall. He watched it move stealthily down the street, stopping when it scavenged a morsel of rotting flesh. It looked up to stare at Igor, its eyes glowing in the darkness.
A coyote? He waved a hand, dismissing it. It had to be a coyote; it was too small to be a wolf, too big to be a dog. The beast twitched its ears, then resumed its meal.
Igor knew the coyote was not a threat, and he continued his mission. His lame foot hit a can, sending a cacophony of sound like an explosion in the deserted park. The beast dropped the bone it was gnawing on, sniffing the area. Its iridescent eyes searched the streets.
It could be a baby wolf, Igor thought, keeping himself as still as possible. He felt it watching him, even from this distance. It was not a threat, yet.
Igor skittered away, hugging the walls of Monsterland, putting as much distance as he could between them. Not an easy feat, considering his distorted hips. He muttered to himself about carrion and the wind. His eyes darted nervously, scouring the hills, not exactly sure what he was looking for. Adrenaline coursed through his veins. His heart pounded so loudly he was certain that the creature watching him could hear it too.
His feet stumbling to a halt, he bent over, gasping for air, cursing Vincent and those meddlesome teenagers, as well as the rest of the world.
The beast gave another mournful howl that went right through him. Igor glanced at his empty hands, berating himself for not bringing a weapon. He searched his surroundings for anything to protect himself.
Then he saw it, one of the axes they had on almost every corner. All of them had been pulled from their protective cases. One was lying in a pool of coagulating blood, the blade long gone. He picked up the broken axe handle, turning in a semicircle. He was ready for an attacker.
A new, larger outline made his heart quiver with fear. It crouched in a corner, its snout covered with blood. This one was bigger, not a coyote, a wild wolf. Wait, he thought. Weren’t the gray wolves of California all but extinct?
Igor narrowed his eyes. The beast was a light reddish brown and not the silver gray of a wolf’s pelt. A chain hung from its neck, the pendant of a werewolf’s head dangling, emerald eyes flashing. What was it? Was it a mutant coyote? A wolf? Some weird hybrid, he wondered for a minute, his breath harsh in his ears. They watched each other soundlessly.
A hybrid then. He’d heard about them, a rare mixture of wolf and coyote. What did they call them? Coywolves ...? or was it Woyotes? He shrugged indifferently. Perhaps someone’s pet, he decided. Igor’s mirthless laugh came out like a snort.
The coywolf stood still, its ears alert, its head cocked as if it was observing him.
Igor dropped the makeshift weapon, calling out, “Eat the rest of your meal, you dumb beast.”
The animal continued to watch him, its two front paws on the remains of a zombie’s chest.
Igor wiped his forehead, waiting, his eyes coming back to search the village, confirming it was empty, except for the carrion eaters like the coyotes and vultures. He looked up, noting the circling predators waiting for him to move on.
“Interrupted your meal,” he chuckled. Just the local scavengers looking for food. That was all; the shadows revealed nothing else. Satisfied he was alone, he moved on. He had work to do.






Michael Okon is giving away 10 Prize Packs which includes Monsterland t-shirt, ice pack, emory board and signed poster!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Ten winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight July 27.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on July 28.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

His latest book is the YA Fiction/Monsters/Thriller Monsterland Reanimated.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 


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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Book review: Ordainment Betrayal by Dennis Quiles






Title: Ordainment Betrayal
Author: Dennis Quiles
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Ebook


Jack Steele is an ex–naval intelligence officer turned private investigator who has just proposed to his girlfriend, Martha, over dinner when he sees a bloodied and frightened boy running toward him outside the restaurant. After Martha steps in to protect the boy from the two men in hot pursuit, a gun battle ensues, leaving Jack’s beloved fiancĂ©e dead on the sidewalk. While Jack grapples with the ramifications of her tragic death, he is unwittingly pulled into the dark world of human trafficking at the hands of an Albanian mob doing business near Lake Michigan. Desperate for answers, Jack partners with a Chicago police detective to learn about the organized crime culture and develop a plan to stop the trafficking operation and free their victims before they are sold on the black market. As Jack puts his own life on the line, he must battle the powerful Catholic Church and stop the cunning exploits of a deranged pedophile priest who believes he is doing God’s work by turning children into little angels. But will Jack manage to accomplish his heroic mission before it is too late for more innocent victims? Ordainment Betrayal shares the thrilling tale of a former intelligence agent’s dangerous quest to stop an Albanian human trafficking operation in collusion with the Roman Catholic Church..


PURCHASE HERE

BOOK REVIEW

The author obviously has done some plotting work before writing this engaging suspense novel. Jack has a rough time and battling organized crime along with the Catholic church lends itself to a gripping tale with fabulous characters. Recommended for anyone that likes suspense or intrigue. Very well written. 




Dennis Quiles earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in business administration. A US military veteran and an accomplished professional of the protection business, he is the director of global security for one of the world’s largest multinational corporations. Quiles and his wife have three children and currently live in Illinois. This is his third book.


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Friday, May 4, 2018

Announcing KristaLyn A. Vetovich's Strayed Pre-Publication Blitz - Win $25 Amazon Gift Card @authorkristalyn



STRAYED by KristaLyn A. Vetovich,YA/NA Fantasy


Title: STRAYED
Author: KristaLyn Vetovich
Publisher: Glass House Press
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

In the struggle between good and evil, humans don’t stand a chance—not on their own.
Which is why, for every living soul, there is a Firn: a spirit assigned to guide and defend humans from demonic spirits like the Aropfain. But earning a place in the fight is a process that requires several lifetimes—of service, experience, and sacrifice.

Having just returned from her most recent life as an Ancient Roman martyr, Anaya is only one step away from achieving that goal. And if she succeeds, she might become the Firn with the most important mission: guiding the human that will either save—or end—the world.

But when she’s paired with the notoriously difficult Jordin, her chances of success suddenly start to slip. Because Jordin isn’t like other souls. He’s strong, volatile—and a prime target for the Aropfain. And he almost immediately falls for an Aropfain ploy that could not only jeopardize his chances of becoming a Firn, but also endanger the entire world.

As his partner, Anaya is the only one who can save him. But will she succeed? Or will she fail—and take the world down with her?

ADD TO YOUR GOODREADS SHELF




CHAPTER ONE

Well, it happened again. I died.
The bloodied sand of the colosseum shivers out of focus as my soul shakes off its physical limitations in favor of a higher vibration. Instead of centurions and weeping family, I’m now surrounded by snowy white noise and quiet.
They came for me at dawn. I can still hear my mother’s sobs. I was only twelve.
I blink the memories away just as a man bends and pulls into view before me, then straightens with a blithe sort of smile. “Welcome back,” he says in an excessively soothing tone. He wears glasses I know he doesn’t need, and behind them, his unearthly blue eyes trace my face, looking for signs of stress.
And it comes back to me like the snap of fingers. An Advokat. Here to help me adjust to the trauma of crossing over from life to death.
Suddenly I wonder how he sees me. Do I have blue eyes now? In life, they were brown, but here in death I’ve always imagined others see me with crystal blue. I guess it would depend on how much they like me. Appearance is entirely based on impression here. We see what we feel. Feelings are real, vision an illusion.
And this Advokat must be new, I realize a moment later. If he’d been here for any length of time, he wouldn’t be using the sappy voice they put on for the newer souls. The ones who don’t understand how it works. He’d know that I’m something of a regular in the transition between life and death—that I’ve lost count of how many of these interviews I’ve had to sit through. I’m sure I know the process better than he does.
Because I’ve had his job before, mastered it long ago.
I skim him, searching the endless trove of memories trying to break through the fog of earthly business still clouding my mind. I don’t remember him. And I can see that he doesn’t know me.
Definitely new. Which means he’ll play the interview by the book. I groan.
The Advokat reaches out as if to comfort me, like my groan was one of anxiety and not disdain. “Try not to panic.”
I resist the urge to roll my eyes and flatten my gaze at him instead. I understand it’s his job to help me recover from the shock of death, but honestly, I’m fine. So I died—so what? There are many things worse than death, and one of them, if anyone ever bothered to ask me, is living. I’m actually thrilled to be back here—and I don’t need an Advokat to counsel me through the transition.
Also, I’m in a bit of a hurry. I have important business to attend to, even higher vibrations to achieve. I’m so close now, and he’s the only thing standing in my way.
I tap my foot and glance around for someone—anyone who might recognize me and give me an opportunity to walk away from this unnecessary formality.
“Everything will make sense soon.” The Advokat’s voice echoes through the white expanse around us. Clearly, all other souls are keeping their distance to allow me to transition without any added shock. Or—I narrow my eyes at the Advokat—he’s followed protocol by requesting they give us space.
And do we ever have it. As far as the eye can see, there’s nothing but static white. But I smile, and my shoulders relax—because this is my true home.
Just the way I remember it.
The Advokat leans into my line of sight. “Do you know your name?”
My smile drops.
In life, my name was Agnes. In this life, anyway.
There have been so many lives, so many names, but between them all, just one feels like home.
When it comes, my voice sounds like a lost, cherished memory. “Anaya.” My first word after death. The truest word I know.
The Advokat smiles and nods. He doesn’t take any notes or write anything down, and I know about that, too. The answers are in his mind, ready when he needs them, downloaded into his head from the source of all truth on the highest plane of vibration there is: El Olam, our master and creator. He sits so high none of us can reach him, above laws and structure. The world is as he makes it, and we are simply stewards of his creation, here to serve.
And today I’ll go one step further in the process of becoming a defender of creation. I’ll become a Firn.
The Advocat, who is becoming more annoying by the moment, interrupts my thoughts with yet another question. “Good. And do you know where you are?”
Where I am? Well it’s a much better place than where I was…
I was in Rome, in the fourth century. I rejected a boy, and he sold me out as a Christian. It took them forever to kill me—first with shame, then with flames. But all I gave them was a blank stare through the numbness. They couldn’t shame me. I wouldn’t burn when they strung me to the stake and lit the fire—even the flames knew not to touch me. But the Roman officer’s sword through my throat did the trick in the end. I was gone before I felt anything. So I guess the joke’s on them. There was darkness, then a burst of light—
And now I’m home, where none of that matters anymore. I’m free here. Because no one can shame or kill the dead. I’ll be safe as long as I stay.
“This is Lemayle,” I say quietly. “The afterlife. The real world.” And I have no intention of ever living again.
He rocks back and grins. “Wonderful!” Then his face stiffens. He swallows and his eyes shake as he looks me over for a second time, now scanning for any truths beneath the surface, anything I’m hiding from him. If souls could sweat, he’d be a mess as he prepares for the most important question of the interview.
I used to have his job, so I know what comes next. My answers from here on out will decide my final destination.
“All right.” He clears his throat. He doesn’t have to. It’s the nerves. I will be his enemy if I answer poorly, but he has to remain objective. He’s a professional, after all, and he doesn’t know whose side I’m on yet—what changes this most recent lifetime might have made in me.
I was martyred, and not all martyrs come back home the way they should. Martyrs go into life as warriors for El Olam’s cause … but don’t always return feeling their suffering was justified. Some turn against him and defect to the one who seeks to depose him.
And me? How do I feel about the suffering I was put through? Have I changed my mind about who to serve? And how dangerous does that make me to the fragile balance of the world? That’s what the Advokat needs to find out.
“Do the names El Olam and Narn mean anything to you?”
Good and evil. That’s what they mean. Free will and slavery. But which is which? Is El Olam good … or is he evil? Are Narn’s plans for less service to living souls and more dominion over them more appealing? Are they justified? No soul chooses evil.
They simply choose what they believe is right.
I hide my laugh with a cough at the tension in the Advokat’s hunched shoulders. If he’s new—and he wants to stay—he’ll need a stiffer a spine than he’s got now. I might as well be the one to give it to him.
I level my gaze at him, eyes wide open to appear just a little less threatening. “Yes. I know them.”
He nods, more rigidly this time, and rubs the back of his neck as he braces for my response to his final question.
“And … your allegiance?”
I stare at him for a long moment, watching the anxiety build behind his bright blue eyes. He doesn’t want any trouble, but his other hand twitches at his side, ready to summon the support of a slightly higher power—just in case I came back tainted.
Just in case I’ve decided I hate the way the world works … and want to serve the one trying to turn it upside down.
“Oh calm down,” I finally chide him. This has gone on long enough to bore me. I have business to attend to, and honestly, after fifty lifetimes, a soul should be able to just skip this process. “I chose El Olam lifetimes ago. I’m bound to be a Firn. This was my last run.”
His whole body wilts as the tension releases. Had I said Narn, the Advokat and I would have had a few issues. Because it would have meant I was a soul with eyes toward flipping the script, turning the world upside down—force living souls to do as we say, and ruling over them as gods.
He’d have had to immediately summon one of Lemayle’s second-highest authorities—a Malekh, El Olam’s archangels—to deal with me. And it wouldn’t have been pleasant. The Malekh don’t like jokes. Most of them, anyway.
“Well that is a relief.” The Advokat’s hand slides from the back of his neck to clutch his chest, steadying the phantom sensation of a palpitating heart.
And I grin, even though I shouldn’t. But what’s the fun in seniority if you can’t mess with the rookies?
“We need as many Firns as we can get,” he admits, “events accelerating as they are.” I perk up at that. Accelerating events is much more my speed—though it gives me less time to meet the final criteria for joining the Firns’ ranks. “The living souls need all the protection we can give them,” he finishes.
I couldn’t agree more. And that’s where I come in—where all the Firns stand and serve El Olam. Without Firns to guide living souls and protect them from temptation and harm, Narn would flip the script. And humans would walk right into their own slavery.
But El Olam won’t allow it.
So neither will I. I’m so close now. Just one step left, and if I impress the Malekh and El Olam enough in my next job as a soul collector, then I’ll become a Firn, and one day I’ll be even more than that. If I perform well enough, I’ll be chosen as the Firn who oversees El Olam’s plan to defeat Narn once and for all. It has to be one of us, so it might as well be me. And I won’t stop until I see it happen.
Meanwhile, the Advokat extends his hand to me. “Best of luck to you. I hope you make the cut.”
I glance at his hand and back up to him. So he really hasn’t heard of me, then. I may not be a Firn yet, but I have made a name for myself as the one to watch for earning the coveted position in El Olam’s plan.
Well, if he hasn’t heard of me yet, he will soon enough.
“Thanks.” With a smirk, I grip his hand and shake it firmly enough to knock him off balance. “But I really don’t need luck.”






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KristaLyn is the internationally published author of seven books and one short story, including the upcoming Prelude of the Reyn Gayst series releasing in 2018 from Glass House Press. She graduated in 2011 from Susquehanna University with a degree in English Literature and began traditionally publishing her novels the next year. KristaLyn is also a certified health and life coach and enjoys infusing her stories with motivational themes and characters from all walks of life.
KristaLyn lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their corgi, Jack.

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