27 Revelations

E-Book Cover Final copy

Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Date Published: 04.11.2017

 

Mara Goodwin is a professional keeper of secrets, or that is what she intends to be. As a counseling psychology student at Northwestern, Mara’s ambition is unrivaled. She has the grades, the compassion, and the dedication, everything she needs to gain entry into the clinical psychology program.

However, after a traumatic experience leaves Mara in a state of mental distress, she finds herself keeping more secrets than she intended, most of them her own. Finding herself in trouble with the law, her dreams of being a therapist are jeopardized and as a consequence, Mara is ultimately forced into group therapy. While in therapy, Mara holds on to her secrets with a death grip, but when life comes full circle, her past is revealed and with it the potential to destroy her future career, her friendships, and ultimately herself.

Mara is a fighter, even if she doesn’t know it yet, but with each attempt to salvage what she can of her broken life, she is met with a consistent punch to the gut. After being pushed to the edge by meddling roommates, a persistent ex-boyfriend, and a potential new boyfriend, Mara comes to the precipice of her destruction. Yet with her destruction also comes her rebirth, and revelations of love, pain, and growth.

 

Review

Mara as a character is so easy to love. She has her issues and has dealt with quite a bit, but she has overcome and is strong despite that. Now she is having to deal with even more coming up from her past. She is genuine and the things she has been through really make her relatable to a reader.

My favorite thing about this book is that it was dramatic and emotional, yet uplifting and one surprise after another ultimately. It really kept me on my toes and captivated by the story.

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Harlow Hayes was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has always had a passion for writing and storytelling in its many forms, and when she’s not immersed in her writing, she enjoys reading both fiction and non-fiction, watching movies, and listening to music. She currently lives in Chattanooga, TN. 27 Revelations is her first novel.

 

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The Orphan of Mecca

 

Literary Fiction
Date Published: 9/17/2014
Publisher: America Star Books
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America Star Books Presents The Orphan of Mecca, Book One by Harvey Havel
Frederick, MD October 16, 2014 – America Star Books is proud to present The Orphan of Mecca, Book One by Harvey Havel from Albany, NY.
A brief synopsis of the book: “Amina prepares for college on what is expected to be an exciting first day of higher learning. When she steps onto the university campus for the first time, however, she bumps into Raja Gupta, a young, persuasive, and hot-headed university intellectual who lures her into joining a student group whose cause is the liberation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan. What follows is a stormy and passionate romance detailing the lives of both Raja Gupta and Amina Mitra as they both attempt to survive from one of the worst genocides of historical record—a genocide that ultimately leads to the birth of the poor and crippled nation known today as Bangladesh. This novel is written with historical accuracy and is Book One of a trilogy that charts the rise and fall of these two characters, as well as the son that is orphaned after Amina Mitra is forced to abandon him in the Great Mosque of Mecca.”
Visit us online at http://www.americastarbooks.com, Facebook and Twitter.
About the Author

Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist. His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000.

In 2006, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association.  He has published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of Mecca, Book One, which was released last year.  His new novel, The Thruway Killers is his latest work.  The Orphan of Mecca, Books Two and Three, will be released next year as well as a book, An Adjunct Down, which he just completed.  His work in progress is called In the Trenches, about a Black American football player.
He is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey.  He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany.
Copies of his books and short stories, both new and used, may be purchased at http://www.barnesandnoble.com, http://www.amazon.com, and by special order at other fine bookstores.
 
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Worthy of This Great City

COVER
 
 

 Literary / Satire

Date Published: October 2016

 Publisher: JAM Publishing

Ruth Askew, a minor celebrity, is spouting some highly incompetent philosophy about the end of virtue. Con Manos, a journalist, is attempting to uncover a political scandal or two. Add some undistinguished members of City Council, an easy listening radio station, a disorganized charity, a prestigious Philadelphia newspaper, and any number of lawyers and other professional criminals. In Worthy Of This Great City the compelling stories of two stubborn individualists intertwine in a brisk, scathing satire that invites you to question everything you think you think about today’s most discussed issues: populism and elitism, the possibility of truth, the reach of profound stupidity, and the limits of personal responsibility in these post-truth, morally uncertain times.

 

Review

 

I think that this novel would benefit greatly from a new cover.

This novel will stick with you long after you are done reading. I was blown away by Mike Miller’s way of bringing these characters and their life and views to life.
This was one of those reads that led to a deeper plot than I was expecting. It has both important and thought-provoking topics, with humor. I enjoyed the balance between those.

Author Bio

If you know my website and Twitter addresses (asmikemiller.com and asmikemiller, respectively), you must realize Mike Miller is only an author name. It’s not a matter of privacy
or secrecy; anybody can find me with minimal effort. It’s about keeping things separate. My writing is about what appears on the page. It’s not about my personal politics or religion or history.
Worthy Of This Great City is a B-game book. I’m ambiguous about this, being interested in money like most people, but I don’t want to compete with a slick professional cover or smooth editing so I’ve stuck to a sort of reasonable, human middle ground. I value those things for what they are, of course, but I see them as artifacts, part of a system of publishing that fought like hell for a week’s worth of shelf space, that fought to catch the eye, not the mind or heart.
As my character Con Manos says: “It’s a revolution, isn’t it?” I say: Why fight on the side of the enemy? Why imitate and thus perpetuate a business model that stifles originality? Just to show you can? Unless, of course, you’re fighting to attract the eye, not the mind or heart.
I’ve played a joke with this novel – my first, incidentally. Played with the idea of narration and who can be speaking after all. It’s all very literary.

 

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Kane Moss

Western
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Kane Moss, a rather large, easygoing cowboy who would prefer to be left alone, finds himself leading a small posse on a bloody trail of reckoning.
Their remote Wyoming mountain village burned and pillaged by a murderous gang they are charged by their elders to find the gang and take their retribution. Little did they know that their pursuit would take them from their small mountain village to Ojinaga, Mexico. Kane Moss is no stranger to trouble. He has travelled a considerable part of the West riding shotgun on stages and participating in posses hunting for stage robbers. He has a strong code of honor learned from his upbringing and tries to do right. Sometimes naïve in trusting others he makes blunders, but always manages to come out on top. His determination is one to be reckoned with. Klatchard Bordiaz, leader of the murderous gang is a man full of hatred and contempt for anyone who has earned a decent life. He is intemperate and unrestrained having viciously killed his first man at the age of fourteen. He commands a large gang of murderers and thieves known as the Klatch Gang. On their way back to Ojinaga from a cattle drive to Montana they attack a small mountain village in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming Territory. Burning, raping and plundering the residents of this unsuspecting mountain village they stir up a hornet’s nest of angry mountain folks who are unforgiving when done wrong.
Among Kane’s posse is a young woman, Sarah Jane, who lost a brother and sister in the raid on their village. She is a determined woman and will be put down by no man. Nothing will stand in the way of her seeking revenge on the Klatch gang.
Sometimes humorous and rollicking, at other times deadly serious, their determination never fades. Through false leads, blunders and marauding Indians they manage to catch up to the raiders in the lawless village of Ojinaga. Here they find they are also up against the Mexican Rurales. The odds of success are overwhelmingly against them as Kane Moss and his small posse faces the intemperate and cold-blooded Klatchard Bordiaz, a much-feared vicious killer and gang leader.



About the Author

C. D. Tuttle was born and raised in Central Oklahoma. Through learning from his great grandmother, who was in the Oklahoma land rush of 1891, and the experiences of his father, he developed a passionate interest in the old West. He spent his formative years on a farm in Lincoln County, Oklahoma. Well educated in the sciences, he spent his professional life as a geologist, zoologist and naturalist. Throughout his travels to wild places around the world, he never lost touch with his Western upbringing. He has resided on the western slope of Colorado for the past 20 years.
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Butterfly Serenade

 

New Adult Romance, Contemporary Romance
Date Published:  1/15/2017
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 Rose
Whore. Slut. Tramp.
I don’t want to believe the words, but they’re true. Having sex with strangers temporarily affords me the necessary control to quiet the demons from my nightmares. But each unfulfilling encounter leaves me more emotionally empty than before. I’m trapped in a dead, brown shell, unable to break free.
Until the day he walks into my life.
Colin is everything that’s good and pure–a beacon of light to my dark, lost soul. His music is a soothing balm, warming long-frozen places inside me. His kindness disarms me, making me long for more. But to have more, I’d need to reveal the horrors of my past.
And I can’t tell anyone. It’ll tear me apart.
Colin
 
I’ve been waiting for her all my life.
From the moment I laid eyes her, I knew Rose was my soul mate. I’m drawn to her inner beauty and yearn to show her the love she’s never known. The pain reflected in her lovely amber eyes rouses emotions deep within me, stirring the music in my soul and making my fingers take flight over the keyboard.
But Rose is a woman holding closely guarded secrets.
More than my next breath, I want to quell the haunted look in her eyes … heal her broken spirit and make her whole again. She doesn’t believe that’s possible. But I won’t give up.
Not until she lets me love her–all of her.
Warning: Contains graphic descriptions of abuse that may distress some readers.
Excerpt

 

Chapter 1
Rose
I slide the last box of my belongings out of the back seat of Olivia’s car and close the door with my hip. For a moment, I stand there breathing deeply of the fresh pine-scented mountain air. In the distance, beyond the brick building that houses our dorm, the majestic San Francisco peaks rise up in their cloak of foggy clouds to meet a clear blue sky. It’s good to be back at Northern Arizona University. The city of Flagstaff and this school have been my haven since I left my old life behind two years ago. I don’t miss it. No one in their right mind would. It was nothing short of hell. In a way, my life didn’t really start until I moved here. It’s still far from perfect, but whose life is? At least it’s mine to live now, and no one can make me do anything I don’t want to.
Funny that I lived that old life just two short hours away from here, yet no one I used to know has ever tried to find me–or if they tried, they haven’t been successful. I’m glad. I don’t want to see anyone from that time. No, that isn’t entirely true. The only person I’d like to see again is my old friend, Emily. Other than her, I couldn’t care less. The people to whom I’m related by blood aren’t my family anymore. The only real family I have now are Olivia, her mom, Abigail, and her younger sister, Jennifer. They took me in when I had no place else to go and helped me carve out this new life for myself.
The ache in my arms reminds me that I need to relieve them of their burden. I head for the main door of the dorm. One of the girls who lives down the hall from me and Olivia sees me coming and holds it open for me. I nod my thanks, then head up the stairs for the third floor where our room is located. I’ve made this trip up and down about ten times today, unloading all our stuff. By the time I reach the second floor, the strength in my arms is flagging and my legs are screaming to end this torturous exercise. After taking a short breather at the landing, I continue plodding up the next flight of stairs.
At the sound of heavy, rapid footfalls behind me, I move to one side to allow the person who is quickly gaining ground on me to pass by. My cumbersome load bumps into the railing, causing my foot to catch on the next step. As I’m about to pitch down the stairs, a pair of strong hands catch me at the waist.
“Whoa, there! Easy,” a sexy, masculine voice rumbles in my ear.
I automatically stiffen. I don’t like being touched–especially by strange men–without my permission. Knowing he’s only trying to help, I take a deep breath and will my body to relax.
He leans to one side, and out of the corner of my eye, I can see he’s smiling.
“Are you OK?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” You can let go of me now, I resist the urge to say out loud.
“Here, why don’t you let me help you with that?” Before I can protest, he moves around in front of me and lifts the heavy box out of my hands. “So where are we headed?”
“Ah … next floor.” I point upward. “Room 329.”
He continues up the stairs with me trailing behind. The door to mine and Olivia’s dorm room is open, but before entering he calls out, “Knock, knock.”
“Hi! Did you need something?” I hear Olivia’s friendly voice coming from inside the room, but his tall, muscular frame blocks her from my view.
“Just helping your roommate with her stuff.” He lifts his arms, indicating the box.
“Oh! Well, bring it on in.”
He enters the room, and I follow.
Olivia finally sees me. “I was wondering what happened to you. You were gone for a while.”
Having placed the box on one of the beds, my helper turns around. “I’m afraid that’s partly my fault. I nearly knocked her over in the stairwell. I figured the least I could do is carry her things.”
“Thank you,” I say to one of the buttons on the front of his shirt. I can’t bring myself to make eye contact. It’s something I tend to avoid with men, unless I’m on the prowl. I’m afraid it might encourage him to do something I don’t want. Like ask me out.
“I guess I should introduce myself. I’m Colin … Colin O’Malley.” He offers his hand, first to Olivia–who introduces herself, too–and then to me.
It would be rude not to accept, so I place my hand in his. It almost completely envelopes mine, and at once, I notice his long fingers. Even though his hands are on the large side, there’s a gentleness in them I don’t expect. Now that I think about it, once I got over the initial shock of his touch, I’d noticed it in the stairwell, too. It also didn’t escape me that he’d behaved like a gentleman and hadn’t tried to “accidentally” cop a feel. He’d only held me until he was sure I’d regained my footing.
“So …” He leans down a little. “Do you have a name?”
Realizing I’ve been daydreaming, and still staring at his chest to boot, my face starts to heat. “Yeah, i-it’s Rose … Rose Harmon.”
I finally lift my gaze to find him smiling at me. He has a gorgeous, model-perfect smile with straight white teeth. And wonder of wonders, it actually shows in his sparkling eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen eyes quite so blue. They’re the color of the sky I just saw outside. He has dark hair, almost jet black, with an unruly lock that falls down over his forehead, giving him a rakish look. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man this handsome in all my life, except maybe a few times in the movie magazines Emily and I used to look at in the library as teenagers.
Still smiling and holding my hand, he says, “Rose” as though he’s trying out my name to see if it fits.
The sound of it coming from his lips makes my stomach do an uncharacteristic flip-flop, and for a moment I forget to breathe.
About the Author
Julianna is a hopeless romantic and believer in fairy tales. Even as a little girl, her fondest dream was to find a Prince Charming who would sweep her off her feet. She’s happy to report she’s been married to him for twenty-two years. Although she’s been an avid reader since she was two years old, she never envisioned herself as a writer until six years ago. Now she feels like she’s finally found her life’s passion. The muses keep the ideas flowing faster than she can put them on the page. She hopes that her readers will love her characters and stories every bit as much as she’s loved creating them.
Julianna currently lives in hot, sunny Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, an adult son, a teenage daughter, a Husky/Great Pyrenees mix dog, and two cats. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, hanging out on GoodReads, surfing the web, watching TV or movies, book shopping, and feeding her insatiable thirst for knowledge.
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Risky Business

Women’s Fiction
$.99 Until March 30th
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Doggedly determined, Risky Williston strives to rescue every homeless dog in Simi Valley and beyond. Her small house and yard bursts at the seams with dogs of all breeds, some her personal pets and some waiting for her to find homes for them.
Disciplined, neat and orderly, Chet Jensen desires Risky, but can he cope with her bizarre and disorganized lifestyle?
Chet stirs old fears Risky has spent a lifetime repressing. She doesn’t want to confront them, to face them again.
Is it possible for two people with such diverse values to have a lasting relationship?
About the Author

 

Patricia Campbell turned life altering events into an opportunity to change direction, and reinvented herself as an author of women’s fiction and romance novels.
It’s never too late to realize your dreams.
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 $0.99 Til End of March 

 

Mineran Influence

New Version of Book Cover 2016
 

Sci-Fi

Date Published: Jan 2016 (paperback Dec 2016)

Sam, an ex-soldier who is trying to rediscover himself after twenty years of service, unwittingly stumbles upon a mysterious alien presence in rural Wales. He is drawn into a tangled web of intrigue, pitting him against forces bent on destruction and putting his life in peril. Feeling mentally eroded by his time in the army and having worked hard to overcome this, he is thrust upon an alien journey that will change his life and beliefs in a profound way.

Claims of benevolence are only the beginning of the mysteries he’ll have to unravel as doubt and mistrust haunt him. He will have to form unlikely alliances in order to fathom the mysteries at the secret Mineran enclave, where intrigue, deception and imminent danger reside.

His journey for answers will introduce him to pernicious enemies with hidden agendas, as a heinous plot to kill him unravels. Can he defeat his personal demons to secure justice and discover the truth of who or what is behind the nefarious machinations and why?

 

Review

This novel has a very mysterious element to it. Even from the synopsis you are not sure what you are going to get. I would like to say that P N Burrows does a great job of bringing to life characters and a plot that are fresh and captivating to read about. It is really worth investing the time to delve in and get to the bottom of it. A very well written Sci Fi Novel
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Born in England and raised in Wales, I started my working life on a farm in the glorious rural Welsh countryside.  I retrained to become an IT Consultant and having spent thousands on Microsoft, CompTIA and Cisco qualifications; I also obtained a contract to run and teach at a Cisco Academy in England.  After this, I became a small business IT Advisor for WCBC and the Welsh Government.  As this funding dried up, I retrained as a Business Advisor and have since helped thousands of people start up their own businesses.

In my leisure time, I work my way through a comprehensive bucket list with my Fiancée, Cath. This has caused us great delight as we have attended various courses and fun days out, such as beekeeping, pottery making, stained glass making, painting course, cooking courses, hawk walks, animal experiences, quad biking, gorge walking and much more. Our favourite one is learning to dance. This activity has remained with us and will hopefully do so for the rest of our lives. We can do a reasonable Waltz, collapse in laughter trying the Viennese Waltz, but it is the 1920’s Lindy Hop that we have fallen in love with. After three years of dancing, we still attend regular dance classes and events.

Strangely, for an ex-geek, my favourite gadget is my Italian Marcato pasta machine. I love real, unprocessed food and my freshly made pasta with a home cooked sauce is amazing.

I have always enjoyed reading, and in my early teenage years, I read authors ranging from Harry Harrison to HG Wells. Later in life, I turned to thriller writers such as the 3 C’s; Clancy, Cussler and Child. Also, I will always have a Pratchett book on my phone for light reading. His imagination was and always will be, inspiring. I have wanted to write the Mineran Series for several years prior to actually starting and with the encouragement from Cath, who has suffered my many varied, imaginative pranks over the years, I have begun.

 

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Rolling Thunder

 

Historical Fiction/Military Fiction
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Rolling Thunder is an historical novel about the decisive role politics played during the Vietnam War. Its characters range from men in the field to the Pentagon and the White House. Fighter pilots and Special Forces warriors try to do their best but are hampered by President Johnson, Secretary of Defense McNamara, and their staff members who despise the military. Only one aging USAF general, who fought in Korea and WWII, is on their side. His clashes with his Commander in Chief, Lyndon Johnson, are epic in proportion and startling in content.
In Rolling Thunder, the time is late 1965 and 1966 in war zone places such as Saigon, Hanoi, Bien Hoa, Da Nang, and Tahkli. While back in Washington, LBJ sits over lunch and personally picks bombing targets in an attempt to fight a limited war. In Vietnam the war knows no limits.
There, as the hostilities escalate, the fates of three men intertwine: USAF Captain Court Bannister, overshadowed by a famous movie star father who fought in WWII as a B-17 gunner, driven to confront missiles, MiGs, and nerve-grinding bombing raids in order to prove his worth to his comrades — and to himself…Air Force First Lieutenant Toby Parker, fresh from the States, who hooks up with an intelligence unit for a lark, and quickly finds his innocence buried away by the lessons of war…and Special Forces Colonel Wolf Lochert, who ventures deep into the jungle to rescue a downed pilot — only to discover a face of the enemy for which he is unprepared.
Four airline stewardesses, who fly the civilian MAC contract flights that bring American soldiers to and from the war zone in Vietnam, have difficult love affairs with G.I.s and fighter pilots. After one flight they come under attack while on an airbase.
Young American G.I.s are cursed and taunted as they return to the United States.
Through their eyes, and those of many others — pilots, soldiers, lovers, enemy agents, commanders, politicians, profiteers — Rolling Thunder shows us Vietnam as few other books have, or can. Berent captures all the intensity and drama of that searing war, and more, penetrates to the heart and soul of those who fought it. Rolling Thunder rings with authenticity.
 
Other Books in the Wings of War Series
Five months after we left them in Rolling Thunder, Steel Tiger brings back USAF Major Court Bannister, Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Wolf Lochert, and USAF First Lieutenant Toby Parker, now scattered to their new posts: Bannister in Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California, Wolf Lochert at Lang Tri, Republic of Vietnam, carrying out covert operations in Laos, and Toby Parker, in the pilot training program at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. Soon their diverse paths will lead all three men back to Vietnam for a second tour of duty — in the very heart of the conflict.
In Phantom Leader (May 9, 1991) Berent, himself a highly decorated Air Force Pilot, once again captures the intensity of the most controversial war in modern history. Phantom Leader shows readers exactly what it was like to be a pilot caught between the immediate reality of death and the distant decisions of Washington.
In Eagle Station (June 8, 1992) the newest installment in his Vietnam War series, Berent puts on the heat and raises the stakes, creating his most electrifying tale of war to date. Beginning with a hair-raising cliff side helicopter rescue under heavy fire, and racing toward a climactic ground battle played out in the dark of night, engaging top secret USAF first special operations gun ships, Eagle Station is filled with adventure and acts of daring, woven into a compelling and powerful plot.
Storm Flight, (Book Five of Five) the intense conclusion to his saga, the action is touched off by a daring raid on the Son Tay prisoner-of-war camp that reveals some startling information. With American prisoners in terrible jeopardy and crucial national secrets in danger of being discovered, the characters we have met in Berent’s earlier books are put to the ultimate test. They must call upon all their skill, leadership, guts, and strength to complete their missions.
As always, Berent highlights his knowledge of little known facts about the war, and his keen insight into the minds of members of the fighting forces. In one exhilarating sequence, Parker and his instructor pilot Ken Tanaka each shoot down two MiGs in the course of one fight, involving four MiGs and an unarmed transport. Despite the chewing out that they receive later from their superior officer, the two fighter pilots refuse to shoot down the transport. Ironically, that decision was the one that saved the life of one of their strongest critics, Jane Fonda, who had once called fighter pilots “professional killers.” (This incident is based on a true story.) Parker later makes “ace,” a title given to the rare fighter pilot who shoots down five MiGs.
Excerpt
CHAPTER ONE
1320 Hours Local, 17 December 1965
Airborne in an F-100D near
Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
Precisely how a crashing jet fighter breaks up is a function of its speed, of its angle of impact, and of the topography of the ground it strikes. A high speed impact at a ninety degree angle ensures small pieces mashed into a neat circular hole with narrow wing trenches extending from each side. Depending on soil consistency, the engine can burrow down 30 feet and be compressed from twelve feet in length to three. Lesser angles of impact splash the wreckage in the direction of flight. A near-zero glide angle on smooth terrain is another matter entirely. Unless the air­craft cartwheels, which it often does if one of the landing gear collapses, the wings will usually remain intact al­though probably separate from the aircraft. Large sections of the tail assembly and fuselage usually remain. If the pilot is not killed upon impact, he may survive if the wreck doesn’t burn. Usually they burn.
USAF Captain Courtland EdM. Bannister knew all this as he delicately babied his shotup F-100D Super Sabre jet fighter toward his home base of Bien Hoa located 15 miles northeast of Saigon in III Corps, South Vietnam. There were six half-inch holes in his airplane, two nearly lethal.
Less than an hour earlier, Bannister and his flight leader, Paul Austin, had been scrambled from runway Alert to aid an American Special Forces unit in trouble up near Loc Ninh in War Zone C. In pairs, Bien Hoa F-100 pilots pulled three types of Alert: runway, cockpit, and standby. Each flight of two could be airborne streaking toward a target in one minute, five minutes, or 20 minutes.
Almost all Bien Hoa missions, whether scrambled from or scheduled the night before on the Frag Order, were air-to-ground doing what the USAF had been sent to Vietnam to do; support U.S. or Vietnamese troops in battle. The weapons hung under their wings were a mixture of bombs, rockets, napalm, and cluster bomb units known as CBU. Each carried 800 rounds of ammo for the four 20mm cannons mounted internally under the scoop nose of the fighter.
A radar controller in a small dark room had Bannister on his scope.
“Ramrod Four One, I have you twelve miles out on the 275 radial of Tacan Channel 73. Squawk Three Four, acknowledge, Bien Hoa.” To ‘squawk,’ a pilot toggled a switch to send a burst of energy to the radar scope.
“Bien Hoa, Four One, squawking Three Four. I have a situation here. I need a straight-in. I’m leaking bad; gas and, ah, hydraulic fluid. Get me down quick, you copy Four One?”
“Roger, Four One, GCA copies.”
The Ground Control Approach controller had picked up Ramrod Four One from Bien Hoa Approach Control who advised him the pilot had declared an emergency due to battle damage and low fuel. Bannister had not mentioned he was bleeding. Approach Control also said they had no contact with Ramrod Four Zero, Bannister’s flight leader.
As the controller prepared to transmit, another voice broke in. It was neither as low pitched as that of the GCA controller nor as calm.
“Four One, this is Ramrod Two speaking, Ramrod Two. You got gear? You got three good ones down? How about flaps? You got flaps? Where’s your flight leader?” Ramrod Two, Bannister’s operations officer and immediate commander, had channeled into the conversation using the squadron radio.
Bannister didn’t have time to answer his nearly hysterical operations officer. He was busy keeping his crippled airplane aloft. Suddenly, a red warning signal lit up drawing his attention to a small hydraulic gauge on a lower panel in his cockpit. The needle of the gauge bobbled twice, then yielded up the few remaining pounds of utility hydraulic pressure as the main pump ground to a halt, then violently broke up deep inside the big fighter. Bannister thought he could feel the grinding. He quickly raised his eyes out of the cockpit to see if he could spot the runway. He had to squint and to blink away blood. All he could see was the jungle canopy a thousand feet below stretching out for miles into a reddish haze.
Several slugs from a big quad-barrel Russian ZSU-4 12.7mm antiaircraft gun had stitched his Super Sabre from scoop shovel nose to just short of the tail section. They had punctured and ripped tubing and control lines causing a loss of hydraulic fluid which required Bannister to engage his emergency flight control system. That system was powered by a Ram Air Turbine called RAT by its acronym. The engine itself was untouched. One slug, however, had ripped a small hole in the belly fuel cell allowing fuel to stream out behind the F-100 like a smoke trail.
Another slug had crashed through the starboard quarter panel glass of the windscreen, smashing the gunsight, zinging fragments of metal and glass into Bannister’s face. His helmet and oxygen mask protected all but the area around his eyes and forehead. He wore no sunglasses and had not lowered either the sun visor or the clear plastic visor mounted on his helmet. The fragments had etched a few minor lacerations above Bannister’s right eye. While neither particularly painful nor disabling, the wounds produced prodigious capillary bleeding effectively causing Bannister to lose the sight of his right eye. Wiping with his gloved hand smeared it worse. Bannister unhooked his blood-filled oxygen mask and let it dangle. Pooled blood splashed down the front of his parachute harness and survival vest and mingled with his sweat. He heard the measured cadence of the controller through the headset in his helmet.
“Ramrod Four One, check gear down. Prepare for descent in one mile.”
Bannister cupped the mask to his face with his right hand, bracketed the control stick with his knees, and pushed the trans­mit button on the throttle with his left hand. He countered a right wing drop with a leftward motion of his knees pressing on the stick.
“Bien Hoa, my situation is a bit worse. No Utility pressure, Flight One is out, Flight Two is going, and I’m not getting much RAT pressure, flight controls stiffening. Yeah, and I only got about 100 pounds of fuel.” Bannister still didn’t mention the blood. He did not consider himself wounded, merely inconvenienced at a rather harrowing time.
“Where’s your leader, where’s Four Zero? Ramrod Four One answer me.”
“Get off the air, Ramrod Two,” the GCA controller broke in, “there’s an emergency in progress and I’ve got it.” His voice was brittle, not the calming one he used with Ramrod Four One.
Bannister shoved down a lever with a replica of a wheel on it. The lever released the lock pins allowing the gear doors to open and the heavy wheels and struts to fall free. Then he pulled the lanyard that shunted emergency hydraulic fluid into the last two feet of hydraulic lines locking the nose and left main gear into place. The right main didn’t lock causing its cockpit indicator light to remain red. Bannister pushed to test the green indicator bulb. It worked. He already knew his flaps wouldn’t go down; he had tried them at a higher altitude doing a damage check. His flight leader was not there to assist him and report whatever damage Bannister could not see.
“Ah, Bien Hoa, the right main is still red. I don’t think it’s locked in place. And this will be a no-flap landing. Put the barrier up, I’ve got to make an approach-end engagement.” Without flaps he had to bring his plane in fifteen knots faster. Bannister didn’t intend to eject unless the engine quit.
He punched a button activating a solenoid that released a heavy steel bar with a hook on the end which extended under the aft section of his plane. If he touched down in the right place, the hook would snatch the cable stretched across the approach end of the runway and yank him to a stop in a few hundred feet, exactly the way a Navy fighter engages a cable during an aircraft carrier landing.
“Roger, Ramrod Four One, Bien Hoa copies. Barrier crew noti­fied. This is your final controller, how do you read?”
“Loud and clear,” Bannister yelled into his dangling mask. From here on he needed his right hand on the control stick, his left on the throttle.
“Ramrod Four One, you need not acknowledge further trans­missions. Steer right Two Six Five degrees and start your descent…now.”
The controller frequently released his mike button for an instant in case Ramrod Four One had to make a transmission that his emergency was worsening.
Bannister concentrated on his heading, but did not start the standard 600 feet per minute rate of descent that would give him a smooth 3 degree descent angle to the runway. He needed to hold his altitude until the last minute in case his engine quit from fuel starvation. Then he would decide if he was close enough to glide in or if he would be forced to eject. He rapidly blinked his eyes as he scanned his instruments every few seconds while simultaneously searching forward for the runway. His right eye cleared. When he finally spotted the white concrete landing strip he started to breathe more rapidly as he estimated altitude and distance to the point of touchdown. His airspeed gauge indicated two hundred knots. He was flying into a five knot headwind giving him a speed over the ground of 230 miles per hour or 338 feet per second. In 23 seconds he would be on the ground, one way or another.
The controller’s voice faded for Bannister as he concentrated on aligning his craft and deciding when to start his last minute descent. If he was too late, his steep descent angle would cause him to overshoot the runway which would force him to bailout or crash, since he did not have enough fuel to go-around and try again. If he started too soon and the engine quit, he would also have to bail out or crash short of the runway.
One mile from the runway Bannister decided it looked right and started an abnormally high rate of descent. He could see the crash crew lined up along the side of the runway; red foam trucks, a yellow wrecker, and a blue ambulance. At 800 feet above the ground and 4000 feet from the end of the runway his engine sucked up the last drops of JP-4 jet fuel and quickly unwound.
“Flameout,” Bannister yelled into his mask.
The big plane wanted to quit flying but Bannister held his speed by shoving the control stick forward which forced the nose down more. His rate of descent increased to 1000 feet per minute. Airspeed had to be high to spin the RAT and give him hydraulic pressure to work the flight controls. He would need a lot of control response to break the glide and flare for touchdown. Though Bannister’s heart rate went up another notch, he felt confident he could make it. All the numbers were right. He calculated he had enough altitude to trade for airspeed to make the touchdown point where his hook would grab the cable. The camouflaged airplane plunged closer to the jungle, barely topped the palm trees, streaked across the half-mile clearing before the concrete, then flared smoothly as Bannister applied enough back pressure on the control stick to break the rapid descent but still make a firm touchdown so the hook wouldn’t bounce over the barrier.
It all worked. The hook snatched the cable with the immense force generated by 17 tons of mass in motion at 300 feet per second. The four-foot brake drums on each side of the runway feeding out cable screamed and smoked, absorbing kinetic energy as they decelerated the big fighter. The jet slewed sharply left, then, at 100 knots, the right main gear collapsed, slamming the right wing to the ground and starting a cartwheel.
Bannister’s head banged against the canopy as the wing hit the ground. He grunted as he pushed without results on the now frozen control stick and rudder pedal to counter the violent movement that would end in a fireball. Of the three remaining forces acting on the plane, forward momentum, right roll, and hook deceleration, the hold-back by the hook was the most powerful and won out. The left wing rose ten feet off the ground, the plane pivoted thirty degrees on the crushed right wing tip, the hook held and slammed the flat-bottomed airplane back onto the concrete runway. Bannister’s seat survival pack absorbed most of the impact for him but his head, weighted by the three-pound helmet, thudded down on his chest harness so hard the metal snap gashed his chin. The violent impact dazed him. For an instant he was on the edge of consciousness.
The fire trucks and crash crew surrounded the wreck almost before it settled. They shot great streams of sticky white foam over and under the plane, around the hot engine and aft section. Without fuel there was little chance of a fire. Four firemen in aluminum suits, looking like bulky astronauts, ran to the airplane, two to each side. One jerked the external lanyard blowing the canopy off while the others positioned a ladder and ran up to get Bannister, who was rapidly coming around and able to undo his own helmet, harness, G-suit, and oxygen connections. The years of programming himself to instinctively perform all the ground emergency egress actions were paying off.
 The fireman at the top of the ladder on the right side thought so much blood in the cockpit was unusual. Usually a guy hit this bad wouldn’t make it back. He passed Bannister’s helmet to another fireman, who, facing aft toward the open cockpit, was straddling the nose of the aircraft like a horseback rider. “Are you okay, Sir?” the closest fireman asked through his helmet faceplate.
 “Yeah, Chief, fine, thanks. How about fire? We got any fire?” Bannister, thinking the plane would blow up, was struggling to get out.
“No, no fire. No sweat, Sir, just hang on a minute.” The firemen gently placed his gloved hand on Bannister’s shoulder. He held the groggy pilot down until the Flight Surgeon from the ambulance could climb up the ladder and check his condition.
“Hey Court, how ya doing? Where ya hit?” Major Conrad Russell, MD, asked as he leaned over Bannister to wipe away blood and assess damage. He saw the facial rips and tears where the blood had already clotted. He thumbed up Bannister’s right eyelid and noted that the eyeball looked intact and functional. The nick in the chin was barely oozing.
“No place. I’m not hit. Just some junk in my face. Is my right eye okay?” Bannister asked. He looked up at Russell, squinting his gray-blue eyes as much from the residual blood as from the sun behind Russell’s back. Bannister’s brown hair, released from the confines of his helmet, soaked with sweat and plastered against his head, was trimmed almost to crew-cut length. His close-shaved sideburns ended at mid-ear. His face was square, his jaw line strong. Bannister was six foot two and normally trimmed out at 190. Vietnam heat and O’ Club food had dropped him to a dehydrated 170. He was 30 and had been a USAF fighter pilot for ten years. This was his first crash.
Major Russell, his preliminary check complete, said, “Come on, let’s get out of here. We gotta clear the runway. Other guys want to land too, you know. Your eye will be fine.” He tugged at Bannister to get up and climb down the ladder.
The Flight Surgeon started to smile and hum as he moved his bulky figure down the ladder, accepting the helping hand of a nearby fireman. Doc Russell was doing what he loved best. He wore standard Shade 45 USAF blue two-piece fatigues which were now smelly and stained badly by the foam. His name, rank, and Flight Surgeon wings were embossed on a piece of leather stitched to his left breast. Russell was overweight, rotund in fact. His round, young-looking face vaguely resembled that of Baby Huey, the cartoon character. The fighter pilots at Bien Hoa, particularly those of the 531st, the squadron he was responsible for, quickly gave him that nickname. Russell, a 34 year old major, would have been a pilot were it not for optic problems so bad that his eyes tended to cross whenever he was tired.
He walked Bannister to the ambulance. The letters and devices on the leather nametag on the pilot’s left breast stated he was Courtland EdM. Bannister, Capt., USAF. A star above his pilot’s wings indicated he had flown at least seven years and had amassed 2000 flying hours and was rated a senior pilot. Below his pilot’s wings were the parachutist’s wings he had been awarded after training with the Special Forces in Germany. Bannister still wore his G-suit and survival vest, and carried an olive-green bag stuffed with his helmet, kneeboard, and maps. On his feet he wore Army issue jungle boots which were perfectly suited for tropical wear but would provide no ankle support in a parachute landing.
Standing next to the squadron jeep edged up to the blue USAF ambulance, watching them approach, was Ramrod Two, Major Harold Rawson, five-ten, black hair combed straight back, a pencil-thin mustache over his thin upper lip. He looked the type who missed the days of puttees and riding britches. He wore, instead, the standard K-2B cotton one-piece green flight suit with the standard thirteen zippers. On his head was a regulation USAF blue flight cap with silver officer piping on the rim and the gold oak leaves of a major pinned front right. Rawson was the operations officer of the 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron, second in command to the squadron commander and responsible for day-to-day fighter operation. The commander, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Warton, was back in the States on emergency furlough leaving Rawson in charge. He felt burdened with the unexpected responsibility.
Rawson watched Bannister and Russell approach, barely resisting the temptation to run up to Bannister crying “What in hell did you do?” Instead he waited until the two men drew closer.
“Where’s Four Zero?” he asked. Then, unable to contain himself, “How could you lose your leader?”
Before Bannister could answer, Russell shoved him toward the ambulance and said to Rawson, “Look, Harry, I’ve got to check this guy out before you or anybody from Intel gets to talk to him. Now back off.”
Bannister’s face colored. He seriously considered slamming his fist into Rawson’s small, turned down mouth which seemed to perpetually sneer whenever its owner spoke.
“I didn’t lose anybody, Goddammit. Austin got hit and went straight in,” Bannister said in a tight voice over his shoulder as he climbed into the back of the ambulance. As the double doors swung shut he turned to see Rawson struggling with only limited success to control himself.
In the coolness of one of the nested trailers that served as a hospital on the Bien Hoa Air Base, Russell remained silent until he had finished swabbing the cuts on Bannister’s face. They would not require stitching and would heal quickly if kept clean.
“Well,” he said straightening up, “all that blood and these cuts are worth a Purple Heart.”
Bannister stood up and walked to one of the small sliding windows that looked out. He had taken off his G-suit and dark green net survival vest. The sweat beneath was crusted white with salt and starting to dry on his flight suit. He dug a crushed pack of Luckies from his zippered left sleeve pocket and lit one before he answered. The Zippo he used had a thick rubber band around it. He had learned that trick from his Special Forces buddies at Bien Hoa to both keep the lighter from slipping out of a pocket as well as prevent it from clicking on another metal object.
“Forget it.” He inhaled deeply, held it, and blew the smoke out in a long sigh. He could still see the fireball that Major Paul Austin’s plane made after it hit the ground.
 “Why?” Russell asked after a minute.
“Too piddly.”
“Well,” Doc Russell said, “I guess I understand that.” He stood up. “At any rate, Paul Austin will get one.” He was silent for a moment. “Hell of a way to earn it, though.”
After another pause he added, “Isn’t his dad a general in the Pentagon?” He nodded to himself. “Sure he is, a three-star. So that’s why Harry Rawson is so distraught.” He looked to Bannister for corroboration.
“That’s the one,” Bannister said. He hoisted his gear and started for the door. “I’ve got to go debrief. There’s big stuff going on up there near Loc Ninh. We stumbled into something hot and I don’t mean just gun barrels.”
“Okay,” Russell said, nodding. “Keep your dirty mitts off those cuts. Maybe I’ll see you tonight at the club.”
Bannister walked out the door thinking about the intelligence debriefing session he was about to face in the wing headquarters building. He knew he could convince the lower ranking Intel people that something was up at Loc Ninh, but he wasn’t at all sure whether the high level ones at Saigon would agree. They had their own concepts and didn’t like input that upset them. That was one problem he could probably deal with. He wasn’t so sure about the other.
What weighed on Bannister’s mind far more than the Loc Ninh buildup was the lie he planned to tell the Flying Safety Officer about why Paul Austin crashed.
About the Author

Mark Berent is admirably suited to have written his historical fiction five-book Vietnam Wings of War series for he lived each story. He served four years and one day in the Vietnam War during the period from November 1965 until August 1973.
When asked why he kept going back, he replied: “A lot of reasons; because it was there, because I wanted a MiG, because when the threat goes up the paperwork goes down and the weinies run for cover, but mostly because the guys were still fighting. Everyday I’d pick up a paper and find another buddy KIA, MIA, or POW. I just couldn’t stay on the beach.”
Now he writes about these men. He has five books in print and Ebooks; Rolling Thunder, Steel Tiger, Phantom Leader, Eagle Station, and Storm Flight. Although historical fiction, the books are about the men and women who gave everything they had in a war they weren’t allowed to win. FAC pilots, Phantom crews, Thud, Hun, and Buff crews, gunship pilots and gunners, green berets, grunts, carrier jocks, MAC contract stews, boomers and tankers, from corporals to colonels; the whole nine yards about the day-to-day heroism and heroes we all know and loved . . . and some we hated. By way of contrast, LBJ in the Oval Office and McNamara in the Pentagon E Ring are included and the words they spoke as they picked strike targets over lunch are included in great detail, yes indeed. As are those of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden.
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The Color of Pain

 

Contemporary Fiction
Date Published:  March 2016
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As a small boy, Alex becomes ensnared in the schemes of his mother, Cathlean, as she seeks to entrap a white British soldier, John, and “marry up” to improve her status in life. Her plan comes to fruition when John becomes obsessed with his black wife, marries her, then takes her and her son away from her native country of Belize to live in England. Cathlean becomes the society woman in England but begs her husband to return to Belize so she can show off her new status to her friends and fellow “good-time” girls. They return ten years later, but an unhappy Alex seeks solace in the arms of Sherrette. They fall head over heels but soon find their own problems as fast-paced revelations affect their fragile relationship. Told in a first-person view of life in Dangriga, Belize, young Alex’s story reflects on the color of his pain as he seems to bear the brunt of Cathlean’s selfish brand of pain that she calls love.
Excerpt

 

Prologue
Present-Day Dangríga
Stann Creek District

Belize, Central America

Friday night, and the plain pine coffin stood on three unpainted sawhorses in the middle of the floor. Mourners murmured among themselves as they gathered under the white tent and stood directly in front of the coffin looking down at the almost angelic face of the deceased. A copper penny had been placed on top of each of the deceased’s eyelids in true Garífuna fashion. The toes of the new white socks had been attached together with a shiny safety pin; that too was a Garífuna tradition, origin unknown. The copper pennies were vaguely representative of the “toll” that the dead would have to pay to get a pass from Saint Peter into heaven. Yes, you couldn’t always tell, but Garífunas, one of which the deceased was, believed in heaven, hell, and an afterlife.

Sure, they dabbled in Obeah, the Belizean-African system of spells, hexes curses, and magic, and they regularly participated in Dugú, a voodoo-like healing ritual, in the Dabúyabah (Temple) to appease the spirits, but they wanted to make absolutely sure the deceased paid their way into heaven. They, functioning in the shadowy, dual world of Christianity and spiritualism, wanted to make sure that all bases were covered, just in case the deceased needed help to get to meet their maker.

Directly to the right of the coffin sat a woman in a wheelchair, a tragic figure, her head bent and sobbing or at times wailing and cursing at God, blaming him for the loss of the deceased. An average, nondescript gentleman stood awkwardly behind her, talking soothingly to her, rubbing her shoulders and back, trying in vain to comfort her.
Another male, this one a stranger, stood near the inside entrance of the tent, shuffling from one foot to the other, twisting a beat-up brown fedora between gnarled hands. He seemed ill at ease, reeking of marijuana and rum; he too was sobbing pitifully. Some people whispered to each other, wondering who he was, what his connection to the deceased was, and why he was there, but nobody was brave enough to ask him. The few who knew who he was would not satisfy the curiosity of those clueless to his identity.
To complete the tableau of mourners, near the front, just to the left of the coffin, was a young girl of about fifteen or sixteen years of age, beautiful but clearly wracked with sorrow, with head bowed as she shrieked in agony. You could tell from looking at her that she was hugely pregnant, like she was about eight and a half months along. Many of those present wondered whether she would last through the funeral or if she would have to be rushed to the hospital even before the night was over. She was quite literally “ready to pop” and deliver her baby, but some were reassured because they saw that Mamma Graciela, the local midwife known for her magic fingers and calm demeanor, even in breech-birth situations, was in the crowd. They were confident that she would be able to handle things or whatever complications would arise.
A local band kept a lively flow of Punta music and other favorites going; people were nodding their heads and shaking their bodies to the sounds, even the non-Garífunas: Kriols, Indians, Spanish, or gi-yows as they were called. Papa Deuce had his card table set up in a corner and was doing a brisk business at four different tables at a dollar buy-in; one table was dedicated to the dice game “under or over,” the second to five-card Pitty Pat, the third to checkers, and the fourth to a cutthroat game of dominoes, or “bones.” The domino table drew the largest crowd as gleeful players loudly yelled “Domino!” as they slapped winning tiles to the appropriate end of the domino board.The louder the slap at the placing of that final tile, the more in-your face the win and temporary bragging rights until that winner was taken down by the next challenger, and so on. Marty, the most recent winner, taunted Louis as he slammed the winning domino tile down.
About the Author
MELISA E. ARNOLD was born in Dangriga, Belize, Central America, and has been writing stories since she was a young girl. Her family says she always created stories and always won essay-writing competitions in school. She is a thrice-published poet but has always felt that she had at least “one great novel” in her that needed to be written. This book is the result of her collaboration with fellow Belizean expatriate Alexander Cassanova, with whom she discovered she had much in common as they make their way in their new country of residence, the United States of America. Ms. Arnold resides in Los Angeles, California.
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The Supernatural Pet Sitter

The Supernatural Pet Sitter
Diane Moat
(The Magic Thief, #1)
Publication date: March 5th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Middle-Grade

Every animal can talk to you. You just have to know how to listen.

Pepper Neely is better at this than most, especially because she is in charge of pet sitting all the familiars in her neighborhood. A familiar is a pet magically linked to a witch or warlock. As a gnome, Pepper is no stranger to spells and sorcery. She also knows that, despite their special name, familiars aren’t all that different from regular animals. They get anxious when separated from their people, so Pepper uses her special gnome powers to calm them down. She watches Cranky the high-strung ferret, Frank the laid-back parrot, King Arthur the elderly tortoise, and many others.

Then, something terrible begins happening to the familiars. Someone is stealing their magic! It not only prevents Pepper from communicating with them but breaks their magical connection with their people. When King Arthur’s magic is stolen, his owner’s powers stop working too. Pepper can sense that the tortoise is very scared.

In order to protect the animal’s magic, Pepper decides to track down the culprit. With the help of her best friend, Luna, and her brother, Jax, Pepper fights to protect all of the special pets.

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EXCERPT:

Familiars don’t do well when they are separated from their witches. That was how Pepper got into the business of pet sitting. Gnomes have a low-level connection with all supernatural animals. Gnomes are kind of like the Dog Whisperer, except that they communicate well with Familiars, basilisks (a magical lizard), unicorns and so on, rather than the more usual “pets”.

Pepper’s business of helping witches by taking care of their Familiars had boomed over the past year. Thank goodness she wasn’t sitting for the McCrorys last month when “it” happened.

Mr. McCrory was an accountant and Mrs. McCrory worked part-time at the downtown Dewitt Mall. Their two kids lived away at college. Mrs. M’s Familiar was a huge, bright-green-and-blue parrot named Frank. Pepper had only checked on the parrot once when the McCrorys drove their kids to their out-of-state campus several months earlier. Frank didn’t cause any trouble, so the job was easy money.

Supposedly, Mrs. M was at work one day last month when she had a “bad feeling” that prompted her to go home to check on Frank. The house seemed undisturbed, and everything looked fine at first. But when Mrs. M went to Frank’s cage, she found him looking away from her. He wouldn’t even turn around when she called his name. When she walked around the cage to greet Frank face-to-face, he had only ducked and bobbed his head the way a normal parrot would. But Frank wasn’t normal.

Next, Mrs. M had reached out to the Familiar with her magic, but got no response from him. Not only that, but she said she had trouble focusing, and even her own magic had felt weak. With hands trembling, she had picked up Frank to try again. Nothing. Since that day, Frank’s magic was gone, and Mrs. M’s magic was broken.


Author Bio:

Diane is a Tennessee transplant, animal rescuer, and nurse. Dog Gone is her debut novel, born from years of hearing animal rescuers say about animal abusers, “If only I could get my hands on that person…” Diane is assisted by her many rescue dogs.

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