Tag Archives: Teen & Young Adult

Learning to Stutter by Sherm Davis

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Welcome to my tour stop of “Learning to Stutter” by Sherm Davis, presented by Elite Book Tours.  To follow the full tour, please visit here.

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Stuttering Awareness

Kenneth Kocher seems to have it all – a good heart, a sense of humor, decent looks, and lots of money. What he doesn’t have is something most of us take for granted – freedom of speech. Kenneth lives with a severe stutter which has wreaked havoc with his life since childhood.

After much embarrassment, pain and soul-searching, Kenneth realizes that to free his inner self he must accept the fact that he cannot be cured, and that he must learn to stutter with grace. Along the way he meets another stutterer and a young widow who are both dealing with the stumbling blocks in their own lives.

Using an experimental syntax to portray the neurological component of the syndrome, the novel gives the reader a unique view of stuttering from the inside out.

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PRAISES FOR “LEARNING TO STUTTER”

This is an extraordinary book. It’s the inside dope on stuttering. And if one person was born to tell the story, it’s David Sherman. And does he have a story to tell. The plot is consummate, the writing proficient, the pacing skillful, with a clarity of detail that renders it very realistic.

After awhile, I found myself caring about all the characters, even (or particularly) the minor ones, oftentimes because they reminded me of myself, and were therefore incredible familiar.

It is a reflection of the author’s versatility –as educator, in math and Language Arts, as musician and writer –and diversity –Jewish, New York born and bred, having resided all over the world –that some parts of the writing even speak to the Oriental in me.

As each of the characters, stuttering and non-, go about their lives, problem-solving, adapting, you cannot help but see the parables at a universal level.

Resonant, poignant, and ultimately elucidatory, this book get an A+ from me.

—- Ling T., Guatemala

In addition to those who struggle with dysfluency and their friends and family, I highly recommend this novel to educators and speech pathologists to ensure their understanding of the multi-faceted impact that this neurological syndrome can have on one’s identity.

—- Shari Mayerson, MS, CCC-SLP

EXCERPT FROM “LEARNING TO STUTTER”

Why is the name so difficult? Perhaps because there is no way to reach into the verbal bag of tricks which every person who stutters carries with him in a desperate attempt to seem normal.

Word substitution (the favorite of all stutterers who block more on certain sounds than others) is impossible when the name is fixed and finite.

Linking the end of one sound to the start of another to increase fluidity is impossible also, because the name begins with a specific sound, and most stuttering occurs on the initial syllable of a word.

But the great author, unaware of Kenneth Kocher’s internal trauma, was in a hurry, and only scribbled his name and gave a cursory nod before moving on to the next person in line. It was only as he was walking away that KK realized that he was fixating on his own name, and hadn’t said a single word to one of his personal heroes.

On the heels of this humiliation, he still had one more errand to run, and it was better to get it over with early in the day. When he entered the toy and game store, he really didn’t know what he was looking for.

He walked up and down the aisles of the small shop, but couldn’t find anything that struck his fancy. Finally the shopkeeper, a jovial man in his fifties, horseshoe bald with a red pate and dramatic waxed moustache like the character from Monopoly, came over and played the part.

“What are you looking for, son?”

“A gift for my six-year-old nephew,” was the sentence that formed itself with perfect clarity, sonority and resonance in his brain. But just after the sentence was formed, he scanned ahead and found a stutter reflex embedded in the /g/ in gift.

Automatically, he sought to substitute a synonym, but in this case he couldn’t even substitute the word present, because the /p/ was his nemesis, the hardest sound in the lexicon and one to be avoided at almost any cost.

So he got past the opening vowel and then hit the hard /g/ like an electric fence.

His larynx locked and he started pushing against it with brute force, but it wouldn’t budge.

His face and neck started twitching, and his left eye was blinking out of control. The harder he pushed, the harder he jerked and twitched.[1]

Finally he caught hold of himself and let go of his breath. Inhaling anew, he substituted one sound for another. “^Ssssssomething fffffor mmmmy nephew.”

It was stilted and spasmodic, but got the point across, more or less.
He could see the surprise in the storekeeper’s face, but he was used to seeing this.

All his life, he had been watching people try to figure out how to respond to his twisted speaking voice.

“Well,” the man said, maintaining an amiable front, “what is your nephew like?”

The second interaction of the day, and it wasn’t going well, either. He was floundering in a neurological rut, and he couldn’t make it stop.

His larynx slammed shut on its own accord, his left arm shot into the air like it was connected to an invisible string, and the muscles in his face and neck began quivering under the strain.

He pulled himself together and responded slowly, too slowly, “^~I…. ^d-d-don’t know. I nnnnnever see him.”

“Hmm,” the shopkeeper tugged at his moustache. “That makes it a bit more difficult, but I’m sure we have something.

Are you looking for something educational, mechanical, sports-oriented, or just plain fun?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “Sssomething he ‡can ^g-grow into.”

The paunchy man nodded sagely from behind his suspenders and his bowtie. “I’ve got just the thing,” he said, and went into the back roozm. The shopkeeper returned with a magnetic construction set, simple enough for a young boy but advanced enough for his father to enjoy as well, and handed him the box. “What do you think?”

KK nodded his appreciation and gave a thumbs-up, too taut to say anything. On other days, he might have made the effort to ask the man to gift-wrap the box, but when a day began like this, every word was precious.

“This is a gift for a nephew who lives far away?” the man deduced.

“Would you like me to wrap it for you?”

Exhaling a sigh of relief for the man’s telepathy and compassion, KK nodded his head and handed him a credit card. Walking out of that toy store, he was unable to even thank the man.

Cursing himself and vowing to never shop in a store again for as long as he lived – he’d shop online instead – he stuffed the gift in his backpack and started power walking through the streets.

OTHER BOOKS FROM SHERM DAVIS

This bilingual English/Spanish collection contains pieces ranging from flash fiction to folktale.

Set in New York, New & Old Mexico, Guatemala, Italy, and the future, eight morsels of Zap Fiction lead off the collection, and five longer stories close it out.

The Spanish translations, the product of a team of professionals, are as true to the original English as possible.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Howard Sherman Davis is a writer, musician and international educator who has taught in five countries on four continents. Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised on Long Island, he currently lives by Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. His journalism and fiction have appeared in the United States, Canada, Guatemala, and online.

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Review – Taming of the Tida by Eslynne Smith

TAMING THE TIDA
BY ESLYNNE SMITH

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REVIEW

TAMING THE TIDA

Tired of American politics? Author Eslynn Smith has a remedy in the character of Sharmin Smith, the former first female President of the United States in the book Taming the Tida. The story launches with the strange disappearance of Smith, now in her elder years, when a lightning flash signals the tragic event at the White House and her assumed passing to the other side. The news devastates the country.

Continue reading Review – Taming of the Tida by Eslynne Smith

Review – A Mathematical State of Grace by Cathy McGough

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A Mathematical State of Grace

by Cathy McGough

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Review

What more could an Australian girl want than to be with the love of her life without any interference? This is the world of 16 year-old math whiz Grace Greenway who finds herself in an unexplained dream-like world with the handsome high school athlete, Vincente Marino. However, it is not entirely blissful.

Continue reading Review – A Mathematical State of Grace by Cathy McGough

Review – The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters

Review - The Outlaw River Wilde

Review – The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters

Mitch Wilde was a smart-ass and a jokester, but he knew his eyes weren’t deceiving him when he saw some strange things in Outlaw River, Oregon. And for a while he kept them to himself.

The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters is a suspenseful excursion through an X-files and Ancient Aliens genre with a few surprises thrown in. His retinue of characters are familiar, comfortable, and engaging beginning with the protagonist, Mitch Wilde, an active and young at heart middle-ager, and his wife, Mabey, who is his attractive, well-liked, common sense counterpart. Jack (Mitch’s close friend since high school) has a near death experience at a neighborhood barbecue and begins behaving oddly in the aftermath. In the backdrop is an eccentric and sage-like neighbor, Jasper, who keeps to himself, but has connected with Mitch and eventually confides some enlightening details of his own.

After a bike-ride spill in the woods, Mitch believes the cause to be an errant arrow nicking his shoulder which sets him off balance both literally and figuratively. The arrow mishap is not so unusual except for the Native American Indian on a white horse he observes across the river who seems to be watching him, and then disappears. When the strange arrow seems to dissolve, later the dots are connected when local Native Americans seem, too, to dissolve into thin air without explanation.

As Mitch and his partner in crime, Jasper, attempt to sort out all of the peculiar events that unfold, other members of the community become more fearful. Walters finally poises the reader on the brink of answers when the two men investigate in stealthy fashion the government-restricted Crater Lake where earlier Mitch recorded alien beings on his camera. A harrowing rescue and an urgency to return to Outlaw River drive the final thrilling scene toward a much anticipated sequel!

 

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Book Description

Who of us, at one time or another, hasn’t wondered if we’re alone in the universe? Mitch Wilde never had until a failed attempt at pulling an arrow out of his best friend Jack’s shoulder began a string of strange and unexpected events in the small Pacific Northwest Town of Outlaw River.

When Native Americans start vanishing throughout the country and re-appearing in strange places on horseback, Mitch is challenged in ways he never dreamed. In addition, who are the uninvited strangers ransacking some of their homes? Added to this, Jack has taken to odd nocturnal treks. The local sheriff releases hostility he has held against Mitch since high school and something—nobody wants to call them UFOs—has just crashed into several surrounding lakes.

Can Mitch keep himself out of jail? Can Mitch figure out what the strange entities emerging from the lake are and why? Can Mitch protect the beautiful life he and his wife Mabey worked so hard to create? Finally, can Mitch help his eccentric neighbor save the residents of Outlaw River before it’s too late?

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Author Mike Walters

AboutTheAuthor

 

Mike Walters and his debut novel, The Outlaw River Wilde, sprung from an idea while watching Ancient Aliens on the History channel. He intertwines his love of Native American culture and a passion for the Pacific Northwest, primarily his birth state of Oregon. Mike sat down one day and started writing. The characters and story were revealed each and every day he wrote.

“Every session was as if I were reading something new myself for the first time. It was a blast seeing what would happen next. This is why I enjoyed writing this novel so much. ”

Mike is a Director of Marketing & Product at Auto-Graphics, Inc. based in Ontario, CA. That’s California, not Canada. A-G makes software for Libraries, primarily public. So on your visit to the library, when you sit down to search for a book this is the software that A-G makes.

“I am very fortunate to work in an industry that has a meaningful impact on society. It makes going to work each and every day enjoyable. I mean who doesn’t think we need, and who doesn’t love, libraries?”

Mike learned photography as a freshman in high school and later took the passion and used it as a photographer in the United States Air Force. He loves to ride bicycles in SoCal year around, volunteers in Los Angeles at the Westside German Shepherd Rescue taking photos of the beautiful dogs, and has a passion for Micro-brews, particularly Porters and Stouts. You will frequently find him sampling, with his son Alexander, at Claremont Craft Ales, a personal favorite — or one of the many fine breweries in and around Claremont, CA. Mike is currently at work on the follow up to The Outlaw River Wilde, which will be titled – Still Wilde in the Outlaw River. The book should be out later this year or early 2016.

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EXCERPT

Gunther exited the Shack and slid into the city’s white Crown Vic cruiser. He pounded the dashboard with his right hand and cursed. He looked into the rearview mirror and was ashamed at what he saw. Gunther hated Wilde. He allowed the anger to flow. It kept potential tears at bay. He steadied his shaking hand putting the key in the ignition. The sheriff pounded the dashboard one more time for a final release.
He started the engine and backed the cruiser out. There was a screech as a car came to a skidding stop inches from his rear bumper. He shot a hateful stare at the driver in his rearview even though he was at fault. Gunther peeled his teary eyes from the mirror, placed the car in Drive, and pressed the accelerator with his highly polished police-issued black loafers.
He rubbed his forehead with the back of a still-shaking hand while looking up and down the street. He didn’t see Wilde’s Jeep so he flipped on the car’s blue and red emergency lights and aimed toward the mayor’s office.
Gunther plowed the police car into his private parking spot in front of City Hall. Outlaw River’s sheriff was immediately cleared through the security scanners and made a beeline for Mayor Jenkins’ office on the second floor.
When he surged through the outer office door he was greeted by Jenkins’s secretary, Trudy, greeted him. “Good morning, Sheriff. Mayor Jenkins is on the phone. Please wait a moment. I’ll let him know you’re here.”
Gunther grunted some utterance of disrespect and disdain, brushed past the elderly woman, barking, “He’s expecting me, Trudy, and won’t mind.”
The secretary jumped up from her seat and got close on the sheriff’s heels. She normally just rolled her eyes when he passed, but this time she was letting Gunther know this was her domain.
He didn’t slow or pause. Gunther pushed his way into the mayor’s office. He felt the damn secretary’s breath on the back of his neck, where the hair still stood in shame and anger over Mitch Wilde.
Jenkins was, indeed, on the phone. He was hanging up as Gunther entered. “Mayor Jenkins, I am so sorry, I tried to tell the sheriff that you were on the phone, but he barged right in.”
“It’s okay, Trudy, I’m done. Put my calls on hold for the next few minutes and please close the door behind you.”
“Yes, Mayor.” Trudy gave the door a satisfactory slam behind her.
“Jesus, Bob, you can’t barge in here like that. The sky better be falling. What the hell is going on?”
Gunther paced back and forth in front of Jenkins’s desk. Jenkins walked around the desk and sat on the edge. “Sit down, Gunther, and tell me what the hell is going on.”
Gunther swigged his foamy latte and sat in one of the chairs facing Jenkins. “That goddamn Wilde is pissing me off again. I want to make the asshole pay.”
“For high school still? I told you, it’s time to get over whatever happened. It was what, twenty-five years ago? Move on already, Bob. Jesus!”
“Yeah, whatever. He is just so damn arrogant. He threatened me at the Coffee Shack a few minutes ago.”
“Threatened you?”
“Got up in my face and told me he was going to kick my ass if I didn’t back off.”
“Back off. Why would he say that?”
“He accused me of busting the taillight on his Jeep. Said he would gladly spend some time in jail for kicking my ass. Something along those lines.” Gunther took another drink of his latte with a steadier hand. He was finally calming down a bit. Just being in Jenkins’ presence had a soothing effect on him. He seemed to be the only one who understood him and cared about him.
Truth of the matter, Gunther knew deep down the mayor didn’t really care that much about him. He knew the relationship was more convenience for the mayor and staying on the sheriff’s good side made sense. One time the mayor had admitted the uniformed turned him on. Gunther set those thoughts aside hoping someday the mayor would genuinely care for him. He didn’t have many other options in this damn straight-laced little town.
“Well, if he really threatened you, go arrest him. You can’t let people get away with that.”
“Oh, he’d be out in less than an hour. There weren’t any witnesses.”
“If it’s that bad, make it inconvenient for him for a couple of hours, perhaps he’ll get the picture and ‘back-off’ as you want. First, tell me something before you go down this road. Did you break his light? Does this have anything to do with you shouting at him at the Shack the other day?”
Gunther stared out the window and didn’t respond.

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Review – The Lives We Fear by Dan Otsuki

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Review – The Lives We Fear by Dan Otsuki – 4 Stars

“The Lives We Fear” by Dan Otsuki is an engaging collection of horror short stories that will leave you wanting even more. Each story could easily be adapted into a script for episodic television. The dialog-rich tales lend themselves to other media for sure.

Each story explores a particular fear, both real and imagined. Whether it be monsters or loss or real-life people that we are afraid of.

The common and recurring theme throughout this book challenges the characters to show us what they would really do in a fearful situation. The depth and realism will keep readers hooked through to the end.

The well-developed characters could easily be in a modern-day “Twilight Zone”-like series on AMC or HBO. In particular “Mister Jackson Monroe” and “Keepers” lend themselves to a small screen treatment. The use of profanity would be not only allowed but also welcomed on these cable networks.

Any of these tales could be lengthened with additional scenes and rewritten as a full-length novel. We can only hope that this is to come from this promising new author.

The fears suggested in the book’s title range from fear of fatherhood to fear of the apocalypse. A creepy bed and breakfast and fear of being alone are also topics covered here.

One story doesn’t deal with fear as much as it presents a scenario of how children could come to beat a man, to death,  for seemingly no reason. In this case fear is transferred from the characters to the reader. It raises the stakes from playing with imaginary monsters to going after an innocent, but real, live human. It presents a commentary on how conditioned we are from being bombarded with a lifetime of violent games and stories. Some of us erroneously believe that there are no real consequences to our actions. A thrill killing becomes just something to do for fun or to see what would happen.

In all, this collection will please fans of the genre. The way that each tale is set in modern times with realistic and believable characters makes it a good read.

This collection of eight short stories evokes shades of both Stephen King and “The Twilight Zone” as well. No doubt these are some of the young author’s influences. Still an undergraduate studying in Washington State, we hope to see much more from him.

 

 

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Fear. From childhood it is instilled in all to fear monsters, ghosts, and other terrors within the realm of the unknown. As adults, we easily forget about the boogeyman who lurked under our bed or in the shadows of a dark corner. Our grown-up fears take on an even more disturbing twist that frequently mingles with reality.

What happens when the things we really fear—the things we can’t bare to lose—invade our lives? The truest form of the human condition is exposed. Whether rational, or irrational, survival—at any cost—becomes paramount, morals be damned. The Lives We Fear is a compilation of short stories that examines these chilling and very plausible scenarios: what does one do when the people one loves are endangered? When life spirals from beyond one’s control? Or, even when one’s humanity is in jeopardy?

From lost loves, to lost friends, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and even getting caught amidst seemingly innocent mistakes, these stories examine just what keeps us up at night and what preoccupies our nightmares when we finally sleep, because it’s not always our own demise that forces us to shiver.

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AboutTheAuthor

Born on October 14, 1993, Dan Otsuki grew up an only child. As his early life found him a good thirty minutes or more away from kindergarten and preschool friends, Dan found solace in action figures and Legos, making up his own narrative of their lives and adventures. Starting in high school, and inspired by authors like Stephen King and media like The Twilight Zone, the Mass Effect video game series, and a plethora of horror films, Dan began to pursue his passion for writing. Since attending the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington—where Dan currently lives as he works on his undergraduate degree—Dan has found a passion for religious studies in addition to English and creative writing. He currently works at Diversions Cafe on the Puget Sound campus, and spends much of his free time engrossed with all kinds of movies with his close friends.

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Book Excerpt

It felt like a movie: the extras standing in the background, overacting their sense of excitement, or sorrow, or terror; the sound seeming to distort, as though the editors wanted the shot to drown out the world, make the audience focus on what just happened, to give them the sense of how important and terrible what they just saw was. There was blood, too, and not the cheap stuff they get for bad indie films, but the kind that looks real as it spreads through the victim’s clothing like a cancer, then falls with the body. The victim, bless his role, should get an award for his performance—bags dropped to the ground, chest and shoulders shuddering from the impact as he fell with a gasp and nothing more. The shooter should at least be nominated for something, his face cold enough to cut himself from the scene, as though he could see it all unfold as a bystander. Maybe he’s the director. If so, he knows exactly what he’s doing—no ad-libbing. The victim falls, and the boys in the editing room know exactly how to work slow-motion, milk it. They really want the audience to see him fall, his head smacking the pavement, and the red wine in one of his bags falling out and cracking open and mixing with the blood around his head and that spilling from his chest (they’ll call it a symbol for a halo). The audience will cringe, maybe shriek, but after the climax, the falling resolution will leave them feeling satisfied, like that was bound to happen. Peaceful. Because a movie isn’t real. Even those “based on real events” aren’t really real. It’s just a bunch of actors, sets, props, directions—but none of it’s real.
Daniel swayed back and forth, gun trembling in his hands. He wished it was a movie. In the movies, it always works out for the good guy. Right? Wasn’t he the good guy? Wasn’t he? It sure wasn’t Jackson. Jackson’s dead.
Dead.
Really dead. Not like the movies.

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Review – Across the Pond by Michael McCormick

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Across The Pond by Michael McCormick is the story of a young American who fights for his country during the war in Vietnam, only to be rejected when he returns home. The author, based the book on his personal experience as an infantry squad leader who served in combat. In the foreword for the book, author Ron Kovic wrote, “This little book grips the reader from the very beginning and does not let go.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Michael McCormick is the author of Across The Pond. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps just out of high school at the age of 17. Soon after, he found himself in battle in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam. He was nearly killed on several occasions, but managed to survive and return home at age 19. After the war, Michael earned his B.A. in psychology and his M.A. in clinical psychology. He lives in Oakland, California with his wife Gina. You can contact him at: mikemccormick49@ymail.com.

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REVIEW

Across the Pond: An emotional story of a young soldier in the Vietnam War

“Across the Pond” by Michael McCormick is not just another book about the Vietnam War. The author puts us in the shoes of Shawn McBride, known as Mac, an enlisted man in the U.S. Marine Corps. We get a first-hand account of what it was like to actually be there.

Not enough has been written in book form about this particular war, as very few, if any, veterans are willing to tell their tale. Students of all ages could benefit greatly from this short readable story.

Heart-wrenching moments when a soldier cannot tell if a boy is just a child or Vietcong, are almost unbearable. And some of the violence and inhumanity are hard to take. But, this is a story that needs to be told and is well worth the read.

The book begins in the heat of war in Vietnam and takes us through the first chapters detailing what happens to Mac. A quick flashback to the family farm reminds the reader of how simple life can be. As dangerous as farm work is, it is a world away from the jungles and rice paddies of the front.

Mac was a driven young man and yearned to get out into the world. So much so that he signed up with the Marines just for a chance to “cross the pond,” known as the Pacific Ocean and do his part in Vietnam.

Anyone with a father, grandfather, brother, or other loved one who served in Vietnam would enjoy this book.

The background of the author adds much weight to this tale. Like the protagonist, he also served in Vietnam and hailed from rural Ohio. Michael McCormick also earned a Purple Heart and a Silver Star Medal at the ripe old age of nineteen upon returning home.

All this is packed into an easily readable 54 pages. The tale will make the reader experience a range of emotions, but likely reduce any feeling person to tears by the end.

McCormick literally takes us to hell and back in this book. Readers will live and breathe this war as a shared nightmare. The detailed storytelling puts a genuine human touch on the events that occurred, making this a very important read.

QUOTES

“I think war is a crime, if you don’t believe me, ask the infantry, ask the dead.”

“With this work, McCormick takes his place among the other important chroniclers of this period.”

“Sean McBride had survived his war in Vietnam. At the age of nineteen, he was about to be decorated with the Silver Star Medal, the third highest military award for gallantry in action.”

“His experience in war had shaped his thinking in unique ways. He knew he was different from other men.”

 

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The author is giving away a paperback copy of ACROSS THE POND to one winner of the Rafflecopter.
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