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Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly RingMunich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Publisher: Whole Sky Books (November 14, 2015)
Category: Historical Fiction,  WWII, Germany, Family Saga
Tour date: Feb 1-Mar 31, 2017
ISBN: 978-0996546980
Available in Print & ebook, 356 pages

The Munich Girl

Description of Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

The Munich Girl: A novel of the legacies that outlast war.

The past may not be done with us. What secrets is a portrait of Eva Braun hiding?

Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends.

Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart, to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.

Fiction Finalist in 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Awards

Praise for Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

“I was drawn in by Phyllis Ring’s economical and expressive language. Then the story took over! Protagonist Anna Dahlberg must face the emotional fallout from a traumatic plane crash, while simultaneously uncovering the first clues in a shocking generational mystery involving key players in the Third Reich. Everything’s complicated by a new romance that may help her overcome the past and find her true inner strength. But is it real? Love can manifest itself in enigmatic–and unexpected–ways.”- Elizabeth Sims, author and contributing editor at Writer’s Digestmagazine

“… fresh perspective of German women at opposing ends of the warring spectrum … a beautiful story of enduring friendship and the lengths people will go to for love.”- The Stellar Review

“So persuasive is this novel that, before I could believe it was in fact a piece of fiction, I contacted the author and asked where she did her research and where she came up with the idea.”-Leslie Handler, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“This book weaves real life with fiction beautifully and makes you want to know more about the cast of characters. This is a book that you may have a hard time remembering it is fiction as you turn the pages. That’s how well the author brings her characters to life. This book was stunning. I highly recommend it to anyone that loves this time period.”-A Chick Who Reads

“The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring is an elegant historical fiction novel of Eva Braun. Besides being Adolph Hitler’s mistress (and short-lived wife) little is known about this woman in history.  Peggy’s diary entries were applied seamlessly blending past with the present. I yearned to enter the streets of 1940s Germany and discover the meaning behind a simple portrait and view the forging of an unlikely friendship. Phyllis Edgerly Ring has written a superbly researched novel of a historical figure whose’ story is impeccably told.”-Whitney, First Impression Reviews

Interview With Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Thanks so much for this opportunity, Teddy.

Which character do you love to hate?

Hitler’s not actually a character in the novel, though he’s a part of the story, of course, and is the most-likely-to-be-hated. A rather detestable character is the protagonist’s (Anna’s) husband, Lowell. I was told at one point that perhaps I needed to give him more “human” aspects. For me, however, he represents that kind of blindly insistent narcissism that actually is more inclined to reject such redeeming qualities in itself. Yup, Lowell is reprehensible, one reader’s word for his maddening arrogance.

Please tell us something about the book that is not in the summary.

Beyond being a story in which Hitler’s mistress (later wife) is a character, this story revolves around the inner bargains women make with themselves in order to help others achieve happiness or satisfaction — often by denying themselves those very things. Another theme is the secrets we keep, and what we hope to gain by doing so, and the degree of control we believe we have in life, and what sort of price we’re willing to pay for it. A paradox that the story underscores is that often, while others (in this case, men) appear to have overt control, people – the women in this story — often make use of what looks like compliance in order to employ more secretive kinds of control, behind the scenes.

How much time and effort went into your research for the book?

I read more than 100 books about the time period in Germany and about Eva Braun’s life. I watched the films she had made, and spent many hours reviewing hundreds of her photographs. Eventually, I made two trips to the U.S. National Archives to see photo albums of hers that were confiscated by the Allies after the war. I also spent time in various locales in Germany that are a part of the story. In all that time I spent looking at Braun’s photographs and films, I became familiar with the interiors and exteriors of many of the novel’s settings as they would have appeared during the 1930s and ’40s. One fun element of research for me is a growing collection of vintage postcards I’ve found that show such scenes from the story as they appeared during that era.

Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself?

I’m forever grateful to designer Marina Kirsch for the cover of The Munich Girl. The image of Eva Braun there echoes that of the portrait of Braun that is a key part of the novel’s story. The image is from the very first photo of herself that Braun gave (at age 17) to her much-older, now-infamous lover. The background behind her on the book’s cover is one of my favourite places in Germany. While it doesn’t happen to be Munich, it evokes the atmosphere of many of the settings in the story.

What are you currently working on?

My current project is a memoir-style reflection about where this novel has led me. Nothing about it is what I would ever have imagined or predicted on my writing path, and there are experiences I’ve had in the course of this book’s coming together that I’m probably never going to be able to understand, let alone explain. One of the most personally stunning was a phone call I received while I was doing research in Germany that neither the person on the other end nor I had initiated – twice in a row! She was someone with whom I was glad to connect in relation to my research, and she had a delightfully philosophical view about “connections” being made in such a way. She told me: “Well, isn’t this interesting? I always pay extra attention when the unexpected like this happens. I think it’s much more than coincidence.” The process of how this novel came together would prove her right over and over again.

I’m also working on historical fiction set in late 19th-century New England.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

I must admit that it’s hard for me to choose one. In this story based on a woman’s secret friendship with Hitler’s mistress, I suppose it’s the scene in which the character, Peggy, finds out that the mystery woman who died alongside Hitler was her friend, Eva Braun. And she never knew that Hitler was the man Eva loved. (In part because Braun had to keep this role in his life an invisible secret.) This scene of Peggy’s discoveries about Eva after her death called for a potent yet unusual mixture of heartbreak and outrage. The scene is set in a church, and I was pulled irresistibly into a big, empty one in Germany the day before I wrote it. I’ve sometimes felt that the scene was sown for me, right there in that cold, echoing space, because it was like a memory as I drafted it down early the next morning.

I always enjoy looking at the names that authors choose to give their characters. How do you create names for your characters?

In a way that’s still hard to explain, characters always assert their own names. It’s as if I’m listening, eavesdropping, and overhear their names

Coincidentally (or not) the three most domineering men in the story turn out to have different names that mean the same thing: “wolf.” Hitler (Adolf), Anna’s husband, Lowell, and her father, Rod. This completely surprised me, as “wolf” was an alter-ego name Hitler often used, with a rather sinister edge. I had no idea until all three of these characters already had these names that this was the case. It was a rather startling discovery. The character of Peggy, who befriends Eva Braun, shares my mother’s name, plus a few elements of my mother’s British wartime experience. And the protagonist Anna, Peggy’s daughter, though she has a simple, common-sounding name, actually has a key to her mother’s relationship with Eva hidden in her name, something that is eventually revealed in the story.

Is there a question that you would have liked me or another blogger to ask but didn’t?

I just want to mention that one of my greatest privileges is hearing from readers with their thoughts and reflections about The Munich Girl. They can contact me at info[at]phyllisring[dot]com. Thanks very much again for this interview, Teddy.

About Phyllis Edgerly RingMunich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Author Phyllis Edgerly Ring lives in New England and returns as often as she can to her childhood home in Germany. Her years there left her with a deep desire to understand the experience of Germans during the Second World War. She has studied plant sciences and ecology, worked as a nurse, been a magazine writer and editor, taught English to kindergartners in China, and served as program director at a Baha’i conference center in Maine.

She is also author of the novel, Snow Fence Road, and the inspirational nonfiction, Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details. Her book for children, Jamila Does Not Want a Bat in Her House, is scheduled for release by Bellwood Press in early 2017.

Blog: http://phyllisedgerlyring.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PhyllisEdgerlyRing?ref=hl
Twitter: http:// www.twitter.com/phyllisring

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Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring Giveaway

This giveaway is for the choice of one Print or ebook.  Print is open to Canada & the U.S. only however, ebook is open worldwide.  This giveaway ends on March 31, 2017 at midnight pacific. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.
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Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Recovered (Shapeshifters' Library #3) by Amber PoloRecovered (Shapeshifters’ Library #3) by Amber Polo

Publisher: Wordshaping Press (November, 2016)
Category: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Shapeshifters, Dogs, Werewolves,  Humor, Pet Rescue
Tour date: Feb 1-Mar 31, 2017
ISBN: 978-1539059813
Available in Print & ebook, 224 pages

 Recovered (The Shapeshifters' Library #3)

From the Award Winning Author:

Bliss D. Light believes she’s an ordinary children’s librarian…until she grows a tail.

Now her life is filled with more magic than any fairy tale she reads the children at the Shipsfeather Library. Bliss’s newly discovered dog-shifting ability allows her to change into a sleek white Greyhound but leaves her yearning to dig up her heritage and track down the dog-shifters’ lost library. Her best friend Harry, disgraced werewolf/dog-shifter mix, smitten with Bliss and eager to redeem himself, insists he accompany her.

Tailed by the devilish werewolf duo of Harry’s supercilious ex-wife Sybilla and bad boy Blaze, their cross-country quest takes them up ancient mounds and into extreme danger.

Chased by federally-funded dogcatchers, sold to a racetrack, and forced to fight wolf-dogs is no walk in the park. Aided by dog rescue advocates and a bookstore cat, Bliss and Harry never lose sight of their goal—or each other.

Series Description Shapeshifters’ Library by Amber Polo

Dog-shifting librarians nose to nose with book-burning werewolves!

Light fantasy series for the dog lover who lusts for books and adores libraries. Comic villains, smart sweet heroines, and brave intelligent heroes share a world where dogs talk and librarians battle werewolves to protect knowledge.

Praise for Shapeshifters’ Library Series

“Author Polo does an excellent job organizing the details of her inviting series for new and returning readers… At its core, the narrative illustrates how… kindness can heal humans and dogs—and maybe even cats… A fanciful read that remains loyal to its noble principles.”- Kirkus Reviews

“…let the author’s imagination take you into her world of shapeshifting dogs who have taken on the responsibility of preserving books for mankind. Change into your dog form, go to Starbarks (sic), order a chai latte, and read Recovered.”- Mike Bove, author of the Bruce DelReno Mysteries

“Take a perfect hero and heroine, a mystery, secrets, evil book-burning werewolves, noble dog shifters, non-stop adventure, and the race against time and you have a fantastic book. Highly recommended for readers who love unique fantasy!”- Kari Thomas, author of Under a Shifter’s Moon

“A novel like RECOVERED elicits a happy sigh from me. This is the type of book you want to curl up to read by the fire with a cup of hot tea on a rainy day. It’s exciting, engrossing and has the sweetest of romances. I’ve really enjoyed all of the Shapeshiters’ Library books, but RECOVERED is my favorite!
RECOVERED has a National Treasure (love that movie!) vibe with mystery and adventure at its core.”- Danielle Smiley, Known To Read

Interview with Amber Polo

Which character do you love to hate and enjoy writing?

When I first started writing fiction, every story started out great. And then things just got better. Boring? Yes!

Slowly I began to enjoy writing conflict. And by the time I began The Shapeshifters’ Library series, I acknowledged I needed great fantasy villains. And might even have to make bad things happen to them. But it turned out that my bad guys also provided comic relief.

In Book 1 Sybilla Denzilbacher made the appearance as the wife of the Library Board Chairman. Self-centered (werewolf) restaurateur, Sybilla debuted as a bitch. By Retrieved (Book 2) she takes over the pack, divorces her husband, opens a law practice, and finds a young wolf to do her bidding. She glories in power and battles for territory. In Recovered (Book 3) disgraced, Sybilla plots a comeback to win her Senator father’s favor by chasing her ex and Bliss, his librarian girl friend, across the country. (No spoilers for Reprinted   Book 4, but I loved writing her second try at a comeback in the Caribbean.)

Somewhere along the way I realized I looked forward to writing Sybilla’s scenes. Smart, beautiful, and talented she surprised me with her clever plans but her huge ego led her into trouble every time. As much as I disapproved of her evil ways and wiles, writing as her became a guilty pleasure. Plus she made me work harder to help my hero and heroine thwart her.

 Tell us about your cover.

In the original edition of https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N47SEW5/, Recovered‘s cover was the first with a gorgeous dog. My cover designer (a cat devotee!) suggested I select the dog image, because I’d never like one she picked.

The perfect dog was in my head and on my pages. A pure white greyhound, both delicate and strong to portray the canine side of my heroine Bliss Light. I looked at a lot of images  -a lot of images – until I found a studio photo done to help a retired racer find her forever home. She was a Louisiana girl showing just the right mix of elegance and pluck. I wrote to the photographer and waited. Due to flooding, she’d evacuated with her photo disks and for I while I thought I’d never get permission. At last we negotiated and my designer Photoshoped away the dog’s collar and some tan spots (only greyhounds in fantasy novels are pure white) and placed her in the ancient ruins of New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon.

I loved that cover and now that I have republished the series, all four covers have dogs that reflect the shifters in the stories. For Retrieved (Book 2), I found the perfect Mastiff hero image, a black and tan hunk. In the book I’d described Cynerik as brindle. So with a little editing the book matched the new cover.

Released (Book 1) was hardest to redo, for the story’s Old English Sheepdog was modeled after Jonathan, my forever dog, who often convinced me he was a man in a dog-suit.

Reprinted (Book 4) has a Chihuahua hero. Finding a small model to portray a giant computer genius was difficult, but Pacifico Lopez now sits on the cover’s ebook pirate ship.

I love all four covers and can’t imagine my shifters any other way.

 What are you currently working on?

While writing The Shapeshifters’ Library series, I did a great amount of research. I’m a librarian, so I’m hard-wired for research. I also spend much too much time thinking about what is unknown in history. All that grew into a story that I call alternative history with touches of fantasy, romance, humor, travel, and adventure. Please tell me that is a genre?

It’s just a story of two Egyptian girls who trek to the deserts of 1st century New Mexico – one from the Yucatan and and the other from Nova Scotia.

My working title is Pharaohs in the New World. What if Cleopatra faked her death and escaped on a pirate ship? While her sister, the Librarian of the Library of Alexandria, sailed to Wales with her library’s most valuable books? And they both landed in an imagined New World filled with crypto-creatures and mythical and imagined humans? All to save the knowledge of the ancient world.

Wouldn’t we all want to read those lost books? Would it change the world we now live in? But maybe that’s a sequel. First we have to find the books.

If this sounds like fun, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.

How do you name your characters

I love finding the right name for each of my characters. In fantasy you can let your imagination go pretty wild. Then rein it in when you get too silly.

For The Shapeshifters’ Library I used many names of historic librarians and werewolves (Wikipedia is great for lists). In addition to a baby names book, one reference fun to browse is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Character Naming Sourcebook, 2nd edition (Writer’s Digest). It’s filled with suggestions on creating names and wonderful names arranged in lists by ethnic group.

In The Shapeshifters’ Library (Book 1) Released my first villain was named Elsie Dustbunnie, a retired librarian-werewolf who loved to burn books. And the heroine Liberty Cutter carried an honorable library name. When the children’s librarian, later Recovered ‘s heroine, first appeared with her sweet New Age ways, would a name other than Bliss D. Light been possible?

Harold Dinzelbacher was the bad guy banker and Library Board Chair. His no-nonsense name had roots in werewolf history. In later books, as he changes his ways, he becomes Harry, for this werewolf half-breed is quite a hairy guy.

Retrieved (Book 3) let me play with a family of chocolate Labrador Retrievers all named after candy. My heroine Godiva had siblings named Cadbury, Caramel, Joy, Tootsie, Dove, and of course Ruth, the baby. And her hero, the hunky Brit, a Mastiff, had to be named Cynerik, for he was handsome as sin.

Oh, and then there’s Taxi, Griswald Grunewold, Doris Eukanuba — too many to list. I love them all.

Perhaps I named a few characters after people I’ve known, but mostly deleted those in the final drafts.

 What draws you to fantasy?

Fantasy is the easiest and hardest genre to write. It offers unlimited freedom but also takes the most work to balance between fascinating believability and complete stupidity. Urban fantasy usually takes place in our world with just a few tweaks. Add too many and the reader goes off to find a new book and a new world.

If you create your own original world all details must support your strange land. A writer can’t suddenly introduce magic to “magically” make the ending work. Readers hate that! On page 300 of a nice tale of demons and angels, fairies can not appear with no reason or warning. No matter how much we love fairies, they have to fit the world.

In The Shapeshifters’ Library I added only a touch of magic. Shifters have a tough time in urban fantasy. Our world creates a lot of practical problems for humans who change into animals. Secrecy, for one. And what about clothes? Changing from werewolf or (mostly in my books) dogs into humans creates the need for shifters to not show up naked in embarrassing places. A little magic is needed. I also added a time distortion by adding the “fact” that dog-shifter years are the opposite from dog years, causing shifters to age more slowly.

 Have You Ever Read a Series Backwards?

I will never be able to read my own books for the first time. Can’t happen.

But, if I could, I’d love to read The Shapeshifters’ Library backwards. I’d start with my personal favorite Reprinted (Book 4). FIRST!

I feel a lot of readers would have fun doing just that. If that idea makes you cringe and whimper, it’s not for you. Stop reading.

But, if you’re intrigued – Here’s the challenge!

I’m looking for a fantasy reader who has not read any of the four books in my series.

  • Must love dogs
  • Adore libraries
  • Possess a quirky imagination
  • Have an open mind about werewolves

If that’s a fit, send me an email and I’ll give you Reprinted (Book 4 in my series) in the ebook format of your choice. Read it. Tell me what you think. Next, I’ll send you Book 3. Same deal. Next Book 2. And finally after you’ve read the FINAL three books, you get BOOK 1 – Released. Let me blog about your experience and together we might start a new trend.

About Amber PoloRecovered (Shapeshifters' Library #3) by Amber Polo

Amber Polo’s lifelong love of libraries and dogs led to a fascination with lost ancient libraries and curiosity about why werewolves outnumbered dog-shifters in literature and inspired her urban fantasy series The Shapeshifters Library.

The mystical side of Sedona became the comic paranormal setting for Hearts in the Vortex. One day a plane flew past her office window and she turned her pen to her own airpark backyard and Heads in the Clouds was the result.

Author of award-winning fantasies and Arizona romances, Amber relaxes stressed writers and readers. Relaxing the Writer offers a catalog of suggestions and simple exercises while her calming CDs help (almost) anyone relax and find restful sleep.

After living in seven states, she’s settled in a small Arizona town.

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Recovered (Shapeshifters’ Library #3) by Amber PoloRecovered by Amber Polo Grand Prize Giveaway

This grand prize includes the following:

    • Canvas bag for books or whatever you carry
    • A collectible Taco Bell Chihuahua
    • Relaxing the Writer book & the CD containing the track that put 7,500 people to sleep on Insight Timer app)
    • More Books – Released (the original edition), Hearts in the Vortex (paranormal romance), and Christmas on Wherever Island (to put you in the Christmas spirit anytime)

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This giveaway is for the choice of one print or ebook of ‘Recovered’ by Amber Polo.  Print is open to the U.S. only, ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on March 31, 2016 at midnight, pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.
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Healing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart HarrisonHealing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison

Publisher:  Create Space (August 16, 2016)
Category: Literary Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; Family Saga
Tour Date: January & February, 2017
ISBN: 978-1530900282
Available in: Print & ebook,  336 Pages

“This is your last chance to do something right, son. Don’t screw it up.”

With these words ringing in his 60-year old ears, Howard Brown, Jr., sets out from Kentfield, California to find his wayward and possibly psychotic sister and return her to their dying father’s bedside. The search leads him to the Brown family’s ancestral home near St. Francisville, Louisiana, where his Southern cousins have apparently conspired with his sister to bilk him out his inherited, potentially oil-rich property. At the same time, he discovers that a long dormant birthmark in his sternum is a portal to the land of the dead. His consciousness is suddenly inundated with terrifying visitations from a rogue’s gallery of twisted ancestors, until he fears that he is just as crazy as his sister and everybody else in their labyrinthine family. Wounded to his core, doped up and strung out, Howard discovers that his salvation is beating loud and clear, within his own weary heart, and that all he has to do is listen.

The Healing of Howard Brown is a capacious and energetic narrative of self-discovery, delivered with an authentic voice that is supple, smart, somber, witty, ironic, self-revealing, self-doubting, and wonderfully lyrical. Themes of family, trust and responsibility to others, the national as well as personal past, and the life of the spirit resound throughout, with a cultural resonance involving class and race, the North and the South, the definition of masculine identity, and, centrally, the nature of mature love in a multitude of relationships-husband-wife, brother-sister, father-son- in the face of a debilitating mental illness that runs like a poison vein through the family tree.

Praise for Healing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison

“If you enjoy beautiful prose, complex themes of family and race, and a refreshingly original narrator, this book is for you. Harrison is among the select few contemporary fiction writers who still write for serious readers.” – Jim Heynen, author, best known for The One Room Schoolhouse , The Boys’ House, You Know What is Right , The Man Who Kept Cigars in His Cap and many more.

“This book starts off with a bang and keeps on going. Howard is a character with a specific voice and story. I’m sure you’ll be provoked and entertained.”- Jessica Barksdale Inclan, author of The Believe Trilogy, The Being Trilogy, and many more.

“Jeb Stewart Harrison is an original writer and a multitalented creative person. I enjoy his unique and often innovative narrative structure. His books are thoughtfully written and a pleasure to read and savor. While you turn future pages in your life reread this inspiring story. As time goes by—(when you’re older and hopefully ‘wiser’) you’ll feel new motivation with each visit into Howard’s inimitable life.”- Paul C. Steffy, author, The Good Soldier—based on his Infantry year in Vietnam.

“An ambitious story that navigates themes of family, redemption and even metaphysics, in a thought-provoking, humorous way. Harrison clearly has a deep affection for Howard and the myriad of colorful folk who make up his complex, often crazy life. A book any reader will continue thinking about long after putting it down.”- NW Bookman, Amazon Reviewer

About Jeb Stewart HarrisonHealing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison

Jeb Stewart Harrison is a freelance writer, songwriter, musician and painter in Stinson Beach, California. After many years as an ad agency copywriter, writer/producer, creative director, and director of marketing communications, Jeb now writes fiction and creative non-fiction, along with commercial works for hire.

Jeb’s debut novel, Hack, was published by Harper Davis Publishers in August 2012. In 2015 he received his MFA from Pacific Lutheran University at the tender age of 60, and followed up with the publication of “The Healing of Howard Brown” in August, 2016. He also records and plays electric bass guitar with the popular instrumental combo The Treble Makers, as well as Bay Area favorites Call Me Bwana.

Jeb was born and raised in Kentfield, California, and has lived in Boulder, CO; Missoula, MT; Hollywood, CA; Scottsdale, AZ; Indianapolis, IN and Ridgefield, CT.

Website: http://www.jebsharrison.com/
Blog: http://adventuresinlimboland.blogspot.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/babybingusbooks/
Twitter: @JebdeLimboman
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JebHarrisonVI
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jebhop/

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Giveaway of Healing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison

This giveaway is for the choice of one print or ebook copy.  Sorry, print is open to the U.S. only however, ebook is open worldwide.  This giveaway ends on February 28. 2017 at midnight, Pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Healing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison