A Dark and Rainy Day

Summer keeps promising to shine through, but it seems the clouds have a personal agenda against the sun this year. As if their memory of winter is a yearning, they’ve refused to relinquish their hold. As if cold has decided to take ownership of the land.

The wintry chores of baking bread and stirring a pot of soup have once again found my kitchen. The summer clothes drawer is sealed shut and coats and woolen socks adorn my shivering body. I hear the wind outside and see the shadows dance across my windows like a ghost trying to slip inside my house.

Petals from flowers that had once hoped for sun fall to the ground and float across the puddles wet and worn. If I had plans to work in the garden today, there would be little I could do, for even the weeds recoil in disgust.

My only consolation is in writing, for with my keyboard and my imagination I can go somewhere warm.

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Editorial Revew for Fall of the Kings.

“Book Review: Fall of the Kings” 

Reviewed by Alexandria Ducksworth 

Kings, warriors, and faraway kingdoms. DL Gardner is back again with  another captivating high-fantasy 

Previously in The Sword of Cho Nisi series, Princess Erika of the Tobian kingdom accidentally kills the Cho Nisi king. To make matters even more complicated, the king’s  son, Prince Arell, falls in love with her. 

When Prince Barin finally returns to the Tobian kingdom after being kept by the dark  wizard Skotaldi, he hasn’t returned mentally in one piece. He would be unfit to be the  next in line as king after King Tobias dies.  

Things take a turn for the worse in Fall of the Kings.  

A new kingdom threatens both the Tobian and Cho Nisi kingdoms: The Casdamian  Empire. Skotaldi has turned his attention to Emperor Barte, using him to gather armies to  venture into Mount Ream. Barte initially refuses Skotaldi’s request until the wizard  reminds him of his family curse and threatens to kill his beloved falcon. With his parents  dead, Barte’s feathered friend is his only family.  

Meanwhile, Erika worries about her father and brother Barin. Barin shows little signs of  recovery from Skotaldi’s mind-warping spells. And King Tobias’s life is slowly slipping  away from old age. Despite King Tobias’ council’s constant reminders, Erika still has no  intentions to marry. But when Arell visits Erika’s kingdom for diplomatic purposes, she  might have to change her mind. With Barte and his army on the Tobian gates, Erika must  do something to save her family, friends, and her precious land.  

Sequels are always either hits or misses.  

Fortunately, Fall of the Kings is a hit. Where book one was an invitation to Gardner’s  world, the sequel reveals how the characters endure more challenging situations and the  great unknown.  

Every vital character in this book adapts to their new situation. Erika has to accept a new  life as the royalty seats of the Tobian kingdom transitions. Arell may have to take a new  position he’s not fully prepared for, including dealing with a rising war. Even Tobias’s wizard Kairos faces his fears to become a courageous, powerful magician. These character transformations go a long way in making this book even richer and more  exciting than the first.  

It’s even got the Game of Thrones angle of constant conflict between the powerful kingdoms. We need to know who will be on top at the end. Like George RR Martin places the Starks and Lannisters on the chessboard, Gardner has the Tobians, Cho Nisi,  and now the Casdamians.  

The Sword of Cho Nisi: Fall of the Kings is the sequel we deserve after the stellar first  book. If you’ve been following the series since the beginning, you won’t be disappointed,  especially with an alluring dark element absent from book one. The series continues to  rise; it’s time you rise with it. 

Fall of the Kings is available for pre order!

And don’t miss book 1 Rise of the Tobian Princess.

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Life’s beauty

Beautiful misty spray outside this morning. I just love this gentle weather. Soft clouds kissing the earth, sheltering it from intensity, calming, lovely, nurturing like a mother hen’s downy breast feathers.

Dewy rain on lilac leaves

My mom used to say “use it or lose it.” I think that’s true about loving the little things in life. If you don’t appreciate it, it will be gone for you. If you don’t look outside and breathe in the fragrances of nature’s world, if you don’t let your eyes see the glassy shimmer in the leaves in the late afternoon, or the blueish mist that covers the riverbeds at dawn, or the glimmer of the starry sky at night, you are losing much of what nourishes your soul.

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60 hours left

I must sound repetitive but when one is pushing a Kickstarter or any crowdfunding campaign that’s what has to be done. And so here I am. But this is basically the launch not just for this series, but I plan on doing a spin-off series with some of the same characters and the same world…with the same cover artist and of course, the same cartographer.

Which is what I’m posting about today because John Renehan just sent map #3, which by the way was a stretch goal for our campaign so everyone that pledged/pledges $10 or more gets the collection in addition to their chosen tier, as a high res, printable file!

Just wanted to brag on his work. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Check out the gorgeous maps! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chonisi/sword-of-cho-nisi-trilogy

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Forging Ahead!

For those of you interested in how the Sword of Cho Nisi Kickstarter is going, I invite you to come and take a look! We’re 271% funded and have reached 2 stretch goals, which I wanted to tell you about. The stretch goals we’ve reached give all backers at the $5 level and up the collection of five short companion stories to the series, so it’s safe to say if you come in at the $5 level now you’ll not only get book 1 in digital format, but you’ll also get a printable map by cartographer John Renehan, and the stories, cover art by Mario Teodosio.

But why just get the first book? All three are available in digital format for $20, and there are paperbacks to consider too!

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Independent Book Review’s words

There comes a time in every authors career when a word is spoken that makes them feel like they did something right. Like the reader got it. Like a word was not just written, but read with understanding. I think, if you write anything, you know what I’m talking about. Where something just clicks between you and the reader and they end up saying what you thought you were saying, only with different words. Communication I believe is what I’m getting at.

Those are the kind of reviews that give me chills and an inner peace. The kind of review that makes me smile and know this writing thing isn’t a waste of time!

With all that, I’m thrilled to share with you the review from The Independent Book Review.

I’m also excited to announce they’ll be sharing my book on their website in a couple of months. I’ll tell you when!

Armed with wizard-level storytelling, author D.L. Gardner thrives in this action-packed female-led fantasy adventure

There is nothing quite like an unexpected hero.

A great evil is rising steadily toward the magnificent Tellwater Kingdom. King Tobias is sending troops to ward off the dreaded skura who are causing chaos wherever they go. But when Princess Erika follows her brother to battle the skura and defend their home, she ignites the most prominent change of her known world—she kills the Cho Nisi king by accident.

Ridden with guilt, she travels to the Cho Nisi’s kingdom to clear things up. But things are about to get even more complicated—as Arell, the son of the fallen king, falls in love with her. How will he react once he discovers she is his father’s killer?

Meanwhile, the leader of the skura is bringing his army closer to Tellwater and Cho Nisi. It’s only a matter of time before both kingdoms unite to battle this common enemy.
The storytelling in this novel is wonderful. D.L. Gardner brings readers all the familiar fantasy-adventure elements we love—wizards, powerful kingdoms, whispers of legendary dragons—but it also keeps things fresh, particularly in how effective the themes are of powerful women doing powerful things even though they’re not expected to.

Princess Erika is entirely different from her royal sisters. While the pampered sisters prefer the court life, Erika prefers battles and adventures outside of her kingdom. King Tobias and Prince Barin are accepting of this unusual preference up until the moment she kills the Cho Nisi king. They are soon filled with regret and wondering if she was ever really meant to hold a bow and arrow in the first place.

Rise of the Tobian Princess asks the question, “What is a woman’s real place?”
And it answers back: it does not matter.

Gardner’s story reminds me of the great Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure. Like that novel, we have a strong female lead who’s better off as a knight than some of the male knights could ever be. This is particularly true in regards to King Tobias’s dependence on Prince Barin. Without Erika, Tobias’s kingdom (and the Cho Nisi) would have fallen. This story of a strong female warrior is a testament to how women have the strength to hold major positions—and to save us all.

The romance between Arell and Erika is a strong and well-balanced one. It recognizes its role as a secondary storyline, but it still gives us enough narrative moments where it makes itself known, where we know there could be something brewing here. These characters have time to get to know each other and to develop a strong deeper relationship we all hope for in fantasy romances.

Overall, Rise of the Tobian Princess is a nicely packaged fantasy adventure with a good secondary romance. There’s never a dull moment in here; it’s jam-packed with monumental events and action to look forward to. Princess Erika is one hero that readers are going to be thrilled to discover.

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This is it!
Sword of Cho Nisi is now launched on Kickstarter. I encourage authors to follow. After enrolling in Dean Wesley Smith’s Kickstarter course, I have high hopes for this platform to take Indie publishing to new levels. Especially science fiction and fantasy genres. We’ll see what my series does. My #1 goal is for new readers and eyes on my work. There’s got to be a way out there to break through that invisible “we’ll only find you if you pay lots of money to the media” wall.

My first experience with Kickstarter was a totally awesome web series called #JourneyQuest. I love that show. In fact, I was thrilled to know a friend of mine was a casting director and I actually am a zombie in the 3rd season! I need to go back and see how the series is doing!

Crowdfunding isn’t just about people handing out money. There are some wonderful deals being handed out, and I hope you check mine out. The eBooks retail will be $7.99 each. On Kickstarter, you’ll get them for a flat $5 plus you’ll get access to companion short stories I’m in the process of writing, as well as some artwork and maps! So please do take a look, follow, or pledge and if you think to do it, start a campaign on your own! You can’t lose, even if you don’t make your money, you’ll get new eyes on your work! FYI we’ll be seeing the cover for book 3 sometime during the campaign.

Click here to go to the campaign!

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The cover snuck out on its own!

I was going to save the cover reveal for book 2 of Sword of Cho Nisi until the Kickstarter was launched but I’ve been using the graphic with the cover…so there I guess it’s been revealed. But just for the ceremony, here is the cover for Fall of the Kings, featuring King Tobias, Erika’s Father, and Arell, Erika’s love interest. As you can tell Fall of the Kings gets a bit darker than book 1. The blurb is missing on the back. I’m hoping to get an editorial review before I launch the book . Designed by Mario Teodosio.

You’re welcome to follow the series on Kickstarter. It hasn’t launched yet. April 11 is the date but I can use all the followers I can get. There will be some valuable rewards for the pledgers, some that will only be available during the campaign.

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It’s almost here!

I have spent over a year on this series, still working on it too and I’m excited to share it with you all. I’m doing a Kickstarter to raise funds to polish it up and bring it to the world. Launch is April 11 Want to be reminded, please click the button here!


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What’s this? A Break from Books?

Well yes, briefly because I’ve been posting photos of my bread on Facebook, and everyone wants the recipe.

This recipe is comparable to artisan bread but was really simple to make. It has that olive/garlic taste that goes so well as toast with soups, on sandwiches, with eggs at breakfast time, with sprouts, avocado, and whenever you want a flavorful bread that you don’t plan on putting jelly on.

I’m gluten and dairy intolerant, so there’s no milk or eggs in this bread.

I use Red Mill gluten-free baking flour and Red Mill Millet flour. We purchase our flour in bulk and that I have 25 lbs of Millet flour was really an accident. My husband went to the store to buy the flour and came back with Millet flour. He said with wide innocent eyes “But it’s gluten free!” Of course, being in the middle of Covid, there were no returns so he set it outside on a dry shelf in the garage for a few days and I finally told him to bring it in and I’ll try cooking with it. I added it 1 cup to 2 cups of the baking flour and was thrilled with how light and fluffy it made my bread. So now it goes in all my recipes.

This is what I put in my bread maker to make this. It’s a basic yeast bread recipe for a bread-making machine made for lactose and gluten intolerant people.

As with all bread making recipes, put your liquids in first.

I used 3 c warm chicken broth (Swanson’s) 1 t vinegar, 1 t salt, 1/4 C olive oil margarine,

2 T egg replacer 1 T Flax seed (these are mixed with 7 T water and soaked until thick and then added)

Then I add 2 C Red Mill Baking Flour and 1 C Millet Flour, and 1/4 c sugar 1 1/2 t Xanthum Gum. Make a hole in the flour and add 1 3/4 t yeast .

I throw in about 2 T garlic powder, 1/4 onion grated, a handful of black olives chopped, 2 T Italian seasoning. All this to taste. You can add grated cheese, peppers, anything you’d like!

Turn on the bread maker to DOUGH and when it’s done rising once, bake in a loaf pan in a preheated oven at 350 until done, about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.

Enjoy. Remember you can read a good novel while the bread is rising.

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The Tragedy of Influence

Excerpt from Sword of Cho Nisi book 2

In my novel Sword of Cho Nisi, there’s a supporting character, an incompetent wizard, Kairos, who could very easily be offered the throne, but he refuses despite the fact it would mean marrying the woman he loves so dearly. His incompetence comes from an unfortunate circumstance concerning the death of his father. You see, his father was a wizard (it’s in the genes) and fought many battles with King Tobias. During one of the battles he died. Not by enemy fire, but by generating so much magic that he had a heart attack and it killed him. Kairos was so traumatized by this, that his fear of living up to his full potential prevents him from being the whole person that he is. In this scene with Arell, the possibility of accepting the throne comes to him once again and he responds with this answer to Arell.

“I am not happy about taking King Tobias’ place. I didn’t even want to be king of Cho Nisi, but that was inevitable,” Arell said.

“I understand completely. I’m glad it was you and not me.” Kairos grinned briefly and then shrugged. “I would make a terrible king.”

“I disagree. I think you would be a fair king. And you have influence.”

“And that is the rub. I do not always make moral decisions. I’m a coward, and so my influence would cause tragedy.”

Arell reflected on what the wizard said. “The tragedy of influence,” he repeated. “How much better our world would be if every king understood those words and considered them before he played with people’s lives. Your wisdom alone would put you above others, Kairos. In reality, I’m not so sure I would be a righteous king either.

We live in a world today that is bent on creating influencers. It’s everywhere. Our children are taught in schools to be self-confident, to take the world by the horns, so to speak, to get to the top, to influence people and be leaders. Even in the work place the same teaching thrives. Self-help books pound the message into employers and employees both. The Internet is plagued with influencers in the market place, in politics, even in churches, synagogues and mosques.

The problem is, there are not enough ‘time outs’ to consider the tragedy influencing people down hurtful, wrong, unjust, or immoral paths has upon humanity. It doesn’t take an expert to count the influencers in history who led masses of people to destruction. Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, to name only a few. And there are less notable influencers that have created cults and led unsuspecting believers to destruction.

“To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.” Luke 12:48

Or as Spiderman puts it. “with great power comes great responsibility

If we teach our children to become influencers, let us teach them to consider their followers above all things and to act and influence in love, kindness, and humility.

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I have some author friends who just opened a new business which sparked my interest and thought it might spark yours as well. Ghostwriting. It looks like the offer is for more than just writing your book, so you might want to check them out! I know I will.


Here’s a little excerpt from their website.

How Can A Ghostwriter Help You?  

Gather knowledge from your years of business experience and earned wisdom and fashion them into a book that will grow your business.
Put your life story into words to share with others.
Take that story that’s been rattling around in your head for years and flesh it out into a novel with your name on the cover!
Write informational blog posts for you to draw the interest of potential clients and position you as an expert in your field.
Write articles spotlighting your expertise through sharing useful information which is beneficial for both current and potential clients.
​Rewrite and polish that manuscript that’s been gathering dust on your desk or hasn’t been opened on your computer for way too long. 

It looks like they have a lot to offer and if I find myself using their services I will definitely leave a review! Thanks for looking!

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Sometimes Dragons Win

I don’t know how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but it’s snowing like crazy here in western WA state. Another reason for everyone to be tucked safely inside practicing social distancing. Being retired bus drivers, my husband and I no longer have a need to drive around on icy roads. So here I am editing the second book in the Cho Nisi series and cooking chicken soup!

We don’t have little ones at home anymore, but if you do and you’re in the house by the fireplace, or heater, or where ever you keep warm, I want to give you a free short story to read to them. I was going to send this off to my newsletter subscribers on my website, but since it’s free it doesn’t matter when I send it and a snowy day is a good day to read Sometimes Dragons Win. It’s just a little tongue-in-cheek humorous tale that might give you a smile and a warm heart.

Just follow the link and download for free!

You’ll be hearing from me tomorrow. Hoarfrost to Roses will be launched then and I’ll post the links and maybe even another excerpt. Enjoy the cozy day!

Posted in authors, bloggers, Book Covers, Book Reviewers, Books, Ebooks, fantasy, folk story, Free, Giveaway, Love, musing, musings, writers, writing | 2 Comments

Sweet for the Sweets

Are you looking for a sweet romance to read this Valentine’s Day? Look no further. I’ve joined a few other Indie Authors to bring to you our sweetest stories for pleasure reading. Included is my novel Cassandra’s Castle, a time-travel story about a teen who lands in the midst of a 1908 revolution and must choose between a cause she believes in or the heir to an assassinated king whom she falls in love with.

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Reflections: Hoarfrost to Roses

The first ARC reviews are filtering in for Hoarfrost to Roses. Launches Feb. 14.

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The Joy of Writing

I must admit, my newest book Hoarfrost to Roses was incredibly enjoyable to write! After penning The Far Side of Heaven, I discovered how much I love a love story. Granted almost all my novels have a romance of some sort in them, but the novella and now Hoarfrost are true genre-valid romances.

Paranormal? How so?
It’s not that there are shape shifters or evil spirits in Hoarfrost. The whole intent, actually is to show the spirit world as a much more loving world than humanity. When our male protagonist Grai Madison is assaulted and nearly slain by a couple of thugs, he’s separated from his spirit in a near death experience. His spirit, however, nurses him back to life and helps him find shelter in what is now the remnants of his grandfather’s estate.

He may be a ghost, but he’s not evil. In fact, Grai’s spirit provides comic relief throughout the story and I truly did enjoy imagining what it might be like to speak to my “better half” when I’m depressed.

Grai is hiding out, afraid he may be assaulted again, day by day mistrusting the world. His spirit…not so much. In fact, it’s his spirit that woos Adele before Grai even sees her.

His spirit trailed him through the tunnel like a badgering old woman. Grai resented being told what he thought, what he felt, or what he should do. The spirit had no mind, no common sense, but prodded him with emotions he didn’t care to have—that he’d be better off not having. 

“What are you going to do, Grai?” his spirit asked.

“I’m going to think. I’m going to make a decision and try to keep your opinion out of it.”

“A decision on what?”

On whether I should drown you in the fountain.”

“You can’t do that.” 

“I can,” Grai argued.

“You’ll die. I’ll live. It will give you no satisfaction.”

“I’ll take my chances.”

Hoarfrost to Roses will be published on Valentine’s Day, but you can pre-order a copy now on Apple or Kobo. Find the links at Books2Read.
If you’re interested in being an ARC reader to review, please contact me.

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Man’s Role in Life – The Garden

My husband and I like to take walks, and our favorite place to go is Banner Forest, very near our home. There are so many lovely wild trails. I go to the woods for inspiration, and this morning, with the cool Pacific Northwest breeze chilling my face, the mist coating the air with a musty scent, and the subtle green of the fir trees, I got to thinking.

There are two kinds of gardens in this world. there is the man-made garden. The one with neatly mowed lawns, rock beds filled with flowers, neatly pruned hedges. Gardens that have been manicured, often poisoned to keep the weeds away, (unfortunately, and hence make them incompatible with bees and butterflies) but to the visitor they are impressive.

Man’s first assignment on this earth was to take care of the garden. I do not know if the Creator understood where that would lead to, if He knew it would lead to environmental concerns or not, but what I do know is that human beings demand control. Granted many contained gardens are lovely and I’m not saying they aren’t I’m just equating this to how people handle their lives.

I was thinking how this relates to other things in life. When humans have the power to tend to something their primary method is control, especially when it concerns governing others. Prune them, contain them, prevent the undesirables from invading them by any means possible.

When God grows a garden, He lets his plants grow free. He does not judge one species above another. His world is open, unprejudiced to all. To me, God’s garden is not only beautiful, but breathes life, and I love to walk in it. My grandson thinks I’m daft because I talk to trees, but they’re alive and have a meaningful presence here in this world.

Maybe I’m too radical, especially in my old age. But I come home from a walk in God’s garden more refreshed than in any park like setting. I love the freedom there, the harmony between one plant and another, the gifting of them all to nourish each other. It seems to me this is how human beings should live.

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Blast through the Portal!

For those looking for some exciting reads during lock down, I’ve teamed up with a few authors who all write portal fantasy and science fiction.

What is portal fantasy you ask? Well…it’s like stepping into another world, with the ability to return to this one if perchance you want to. Frankly I have my doubts anymore as to whether I want to.

I love C.S. Lewis’ quote I use for my blog. You can make anything by writing.

There are other worlds out there that are good worlds, filled with heroes and honor and courage and all those things we see missing in this one sometimes.

Pick up a book and lose yourself in the story for awhile. If enough people do so, maybe it will rub off on us!

Take a look at all the wonderful worlds to explore right here at your fingertips. Enjoy!

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New Year Blog Tour and Giveaway

I’ve had much success with my series the Ian’s Realm Saga. It was first published in 2013 by Hydra Publications and has had quite the publication history after that.

I believe that my writing has developed over the years and so this new year of 2021 is a new starting point for me with a new adult fantasy series coming out, and another stand alone novel.

I’m kicking off the new year by discounting all the books of Ian’s Realm and to add to that there’s a blog tour with a Rafflecopter going on this month. I’m giving away a

Illustration from the first edition

$25 Amazon gift certificate

and a pair of handmade earrings.

I’m probably not going to be promoting this series again even though it’s proven to be a favorite among teenagers and parents. The paperbacks are much more popular than the eBooks, but perhaps because I can reach the target audience better at cons and fairs.

As an Indie-published author with thirteen books out and four more coming, I need to focus and my focus this year is going to be the Sword of Cho Nisi series and Hoarfrost to Roses. Two adult novels that I think are better works with a target readership who is online more than the YA audience.

So if you haven’t read Ian’s Realm yet, do grab it while you can at these prices. The trilogy (over 500 pages) is half price at $5.99 and all the sequels are 99 cents each, and that includes my favorite novel Cassandra’s Castle.

Visit Silver Dagger. All the videos to the books are on that site as well as an excerpt from every sequel, and an interview!

And good luck in the Rafflecopter! Come back soon to learn about my new series!

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New Fantasy Series for 2021

I am thrilled to announce that my new series Sword of Cho Nisi is complete. I’ll be publishing book 1 sometime in the new year and invite you to come and watch its progress here, on Facebook, and on my website.

Timing has much to do with when I publish. I am intent on reaching my goal of 1,000 followers on BookBub. I currently have 847. If you want to help me, please follow and share my link.


This is fresh waters for me,

Sword of Cho Nisi is an adult high fantasy romance, between a young princess who thinks she’s a warrior until she makes a fatal mistake, costing her everything she’s ever hoped to have…

…and a young man who’s thrust upon a throne he never wanted, is pitted against an enemy he never asked for, and falls in love with a woman he is forced to exile.

But there’s a lot more than a love story to Sword of Cho Nisi in this trilogy.

There are kings, and emperors, castles and river towns, skrua, falcons, a dragon and a wizard who has gained enough power to rule the world but seeks one more treasure…

…to gain immortality at the expense of mankind.

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Cyber Monday BEGINS

Ian’s Realm Saga’s sale begins today but the boxed set will be on sale at 1/2 price for the eBook until December 30. I don’t believe in impulse buying. Give it time, make up your mind. If you want to gift the series in eBook format, sent me a note with your email and I’ll make up a little PDF gift card you can download and put in a stocking for Christmas or for Hanukkah or whatever else you celebrate in the winter.

When Ian and his dad step through a portal, they’re separated and overcome with calamity ending up in a battle between good and evil. The Trilogy includes edited versions of the original three books. Deception Peak, Dragon Shield, and Rubies and Robbers.

Included in this boxed set are

Layla: Born at Night and Fallen Morning…the COMPLETE adventure of Ian and Abbi in the Realm. Watch the videos on the website and pick up the bargain collection before December 30, 2020.

Amazon Barnes and Noble Apple Kobo

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Herizen Guardiola: It’s Not About the Destination, It’s About the Journey | Casting Frontier

Meet musician and actress Herizen Guardiola, who shares her story and widsom that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

Source: Herizen Guardiola: It’s Not About the Destination, It’s About the Journey | Casting Frontier

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