Beano Grigio

Beano Grigio was a confidence trickster. He didn’t really know what he was doing here, because Beano Grigio moved on the edges of the underworld.

He knew enough about his host to know that he was one of the good guys. When he had received the invitation to dinner he had thought it was a joke. There wasn’t a great deal known about Lord Stiletto in the general ‘Verse, but there were all kinds of myths and legends about his fabled tech star, Sunshine, on the edge of the Horse Head Nebula, his incredible team of genius scientists and engineers, and of course his dinner parties. In truth there was virtually nothing known about Lord Stiletto, but in the dark fringes of the ‘Verse where Beano comfortably moved, there were plenty of rumours.

Beano was dying to use the bathroom. That was another one of those rumours. It was said that it was never the same one twice. It was said that when one entered, the room was selected from thousands. It could be an exact replica of a Roman bathroom, replete with senators communally sharing the other pots, a spotless iridium creation from some Nebulan designer, or the famous ceramic urinals from the lavatory of a public house in the centre of Liverpool.

Beano Grigio may be an interesting and questionable character, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t cultured. Still he was bursting. The reason for his reticence was that rumour said that the bathrooms weren’t fascimiles, but the real thing, and worse, anyone rude enough to disturb the harmony of Stiletto’s table, or unwise enough to try to turn the occasion to their advantage, would find themselves exiting their bathroom, and discovering they were in a cafe or a diner somewhere in the middle of nowhere, on the farside of some forgotten planetary system.

Lord Stiletto was observing his guest with interest. Beano needn’t have worried. The only guests at his table were very close friends or in Beano’s case those that were going to be. For Lord Stiletto was a Master of the space time continuum, and Beano Grigio had a very interesting future.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2017

To Read Beano Grigio you can buy the eBook from Amazon. For a link to your nearest Amazon go to my book page.

LINK TO BOOK PAGE

Bristol Conversation

Tell you about Gothenburg?
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My friend Faramond Frie and I have been invited by Swedish publisher Andra Varldar to go and sign books at the Gothernburg Book Fair. It’s the largest book fair in Europe apparently.
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Pleased, I should say. Their own authors will be there of course. Andra Varldar will have the books available for sale and I have an hour slot on the Saturday afternoon for signing. It’s all incredibly well organised by Anna Vintersvard from Andra Varldar.
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At the moment I’m finishing off my next book, Beano Grigio. I had hoped it would be ready for Gothenburg but it didn’t work out. I often work well with time pressure. Equations Of Being was very last minute before Swecon 2014 but that was short stories, which I guess are easier to get together. I have a vague notion about Beano Grigio but I have no idea how it’s going to end.
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Well each book is a stand alone novel, but this is the third in a series that started with the Rabbit Chronicles, and then The Adventures Of Miss Ann Thrope.
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Well a few characters are in each book but there are new characters appearing or developing.
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Beano Grigio? Well he’s a confidence trickster who becomes involved with the friends.
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The name? Well it was a joke really. The band I’m in was looking for a name and I came up with Beano Grigio. Nobody else was impressed but I loved it, and decided it was too good to waste, so I based my next book on it.
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Actually my whole writing is done spontaneously. I never know what’s coming until I write it, which is really exciting. With the novels though, I get themes to develop. A friend of mine was sailing across the Atlantic so I have put him in the book.
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Well he becomes a mentor to one of the main characters, a young boy who has trained as a warrior and assassin. That old chestnut.
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What’s next? Well I know where I’m going to go, I’ve even written the first page. Got to finish Beano first. Funnily enough I was thinking yesterday of doing two side by side.

It’s a bit like learning two languages. I found I had to discipline myself. Compartmentalise. However I think one at a time is saner. I imagined getting the stories all mixed up.
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I did have a horror story I was going to write ages ago but got lost on the way. It would be nice to do something different.
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Well thank you. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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The Adventures Of Miss Ann Thrope

The sound of the explosion was deafening. Sanguine, Miss Ann Thrope gently squeezed her trigger and another merk evaporated. She never really understood the technical function of the futuristic weaponry her friend provided, just that they worked.
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Whipping around with a lightning speed that belied her appearance, she casually erased three more. That’s how she saw this space pistol, or ray gun as she told it to her grandchildren at their bedtime stories, like an erasure, rubbing out a smudge on her beautiful pencil drawings.
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Racing ahead at breakneck speed she dived low under a hatch to the left, coming out in a roll as her eraser led before her and sent a volley of precision shots into the troops trying to pin her down with their erratic fire.
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Silently Miss Thrope edged her way down the metallic corridor with the low level lighting. In this future age, security was controlled by the Station which was almost sentient. In the age Miss Thrope chose to make her home, they were just coming to terms with intelligent fridges and central heating that linked into the home computer network.
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In the distant future every surface, space, temperature gradient, any physical existence was controlled and monitored by the Station.
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The only way to possibly be covert was with some very special counter technology, like physical hacking. Miss Thrope walked down the corridor with complete confidence of, in essence, being an invisible undetectable physical virus.
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That was her first mistake.
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The creature that sank it’s huge claws into her shoulder pulled her back off balance. Sentient itself, it paused just a little too confidently before sinking it’s scything savage jaws into it’s victim.
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Having dropped her eraser Miss Thrope was surviving purely on instinct. The long bladed stiletto from her wrist sheath appeared in her hand and was thrust through the soft flesh below the lower jaw and hopefully into it’s tongue. With a roar of pain the great leviathan reared back opening up the wound and nearly tearing Miss Thrope’s arm out of it’s socket. Over-riding the terrible pain in both shoulders she took an incendiary grenade from her harness and activating it via her neural net, threw it down the roaring throat of the beast. Her friend’s grenades were very sophisticated. She picked “bang” on a scale from one to ten, of two.
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“Should have picked one,” she thought to herself as she limped down the metal passageway, completely deafened and covered in ribbons of stinking flesh.
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Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2016 2018
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To enjoy THE ADVENTURES OF MISS ANN THROPE you can buy it via my book page
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The Uppsala Contract

It was the most unusual contract she had taken. The girl in Uppsala, obsessed with a serial killer.

Miss Thrope waited in the London fog. The smell was disgusting. Menthol rub inside her nostrils, an old trick, didn’t seem to help at all. She heard the wheels on the cobbles long before the carriage arrived. She held back, in the shadows. Not long ago she had left Uppsala, wearing a beautiful Victorian dress, much admired by her twenty first century friends for its authenticity. She hadn’t admitted she had just bought it a few hours ago in nineteenth century Harvey Nichols & Co.

The gentleman in the top hat watched the carriage leave and turned towards his club, to be confronted by a beautiful lady with sparkling eyes. Usually an admirer of young women, he was taken by her flawless complexion, and yet, dancing lines at the corner of her eyes.

“Enchanting,” he said, as he bowed.

His heart suddenly started hammering. It was so loud, he thought, they’d hear it in the club.

The lady’s delicate manicured hand was holding a scalpel, that reason told him, was in his jacket pocket.

She stepped towards him, as if in embrace, and speaking in a strange accent, English but not of his experience, she murmured, “I hear they call you Jack,” and sighed inwardly as she ruined yet another wonderful dress.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar ©2017 2018

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To enjoy THE ADVENTURES OF MISS ANN THROPE you can buy it via my book page
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Stockholm Conversation

You ask me about the meals in my stories. The friends dine together a lot. In my life I love to eat. Eat out, eat in, good food cooked well. But sharing the experience, that adds quality of life. I love to eat out with friends, or to cook a meal for them, or to be cooked for. Good food, good wine, good friends it’s the stuff of life. Location too is important. Dining, like life is all about ambience, mood. You can find it, you can create it, you can enjoy it. When you get it you have to be a part of it, like being an actor in a play or a film. One of the differences I found going to Steampunk conventions in different countries. In some places the visitors dress up in their bowler hats, goggles, boots, ladies in extravagant dresses. They are into the ideas, the stories of Jules Verne, Phillip Pullman, Cory Doctorow. They assume a character they have created and stay in character all weekend. They create and share in an ambience. In some other places, Steampunk is just a tribe fashion, like mods and rockers.

No, it’s not elitist. Look at Bruce Willis’s character in The Fifth Element. He is a hard nosed character who kicks ass. He still dresses smartly when he goes to the opera.

When I wrote the Rabbit Chronicles, a lot of events and characters were based on real people, real events. I still do that a little. A trip to London or Stockholm will inspire elements of stories. A few characters are based on people I know, friends. Mostly now it’s imaginary characters and events.

When I was writing the Rabbit Chronicles, which I started at a Swedish Sci Fi / Steampunk convention, the story started at that convention, with people I met there. If anyone gave me their email address I used to send out a weekly chapter from the new book. The main villain in the book is based on a guy who emailed me back a few times because he liked the stories. I asked him if he wanted to be in the book, and did he want to be a hero or a villain. So the Hrym was born.

I had about twelve characters and because the friends dining together was so important, and as I was returning to Swecon the following year, I invited all the real people out to dinner at Linkoping at my expense. Three from England and eight from Sweden. We had a great dinner and it became part of the book. The ones who turned up in real life are the ones in the story who survived. I finished writing the book the next day.

Yes, my own character died quite early on. I wasn’t comfortable writing about myself, even if it is imaginary. The surviving characters have reappeared in what is now a trilogy. The Adventures of Miss Ann Thrope is my second book in the trilogy and I hope to have the third book ready for July, six weeks from now.


Yes, I do write quite fast. Short, sharp chapters, and hopefully plenty of them.

Even during the last few days, in Stockholm, I have written every day. I’m off to Uppsala tomorrow for the convention. Looking forward to meeting old friends.

My next project. Well, as I said, the third book is going well. My friend Faramond Frie will be at Swecon signing books. He arrives tomorrow. We are working on a graphic project together which we hope has potential for the future. As well as a writer he is a great artist and has done the covers for my last two books. We were at a Sci Fi convention in Ghent, Belgium, a few years back where we were just across the aisle from his childhood inspiration, Ian Gibson, who worked on the Judge Dredd comics.  He got to spend half an hour talking to him. Whether it’s in the pages of a book, or your life, it’s an amazing adventure. You get to choose.

Thank you very much.

Chapter Three by Herbert

In the dabbled shade cast by the deep purple foliage of a Crimson King Maple sat a pale old lady. A quilted rug covered her aged knees as she sat staring into the distance. On her lap was a well thumbed copy of H. G. Wells’ war of the worlds.
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“They’re coming you know,” mumbled the old lady, “They are coming. My dear husband Robert always said that one day they would.” She picked up the book and closed it, then tapped it with a thin finger. “But not the way Wells said. He was a clever man my Robert, knew his stuff. Knew the tall from the short just by their smell.”
The old lady gently placed the book on a small table next to her and continued. “Do you know what he said to me the morning of July 2nd, 1997. The day Robert and I were, erm… the day we were… visited…” she paused, hushed her voice, leaned forward a little, pushed her teeth back into position, and then quietly continued, “…by the men… in the hats.”
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“Edith dear,” interrupted a woman, in a pale blue well pressed cotton dress, who had been standing impatiently next to the old lady for a good 20 seconds, “You’ve told me this a hundred times. It’s a good story but, well… you know. It’s a bit mind-numbing. Here’s your soup.”
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The woman in a pale blue, well pressed cotton dress carefully placed the bowl of thick yellow soup and a spoon onto the quilted rug that warmed the old woman’s knees. The pale blue well pressed cotton dress was sporting a badge, pinned proudly to its lapel, and on the badge printed in a bold arrogant font was ‘Sunset Village Retirement Center’ and underneath that was a name, printed in a slender modest font  – Kimberly Miller (that’s the name of the lady, not the dress), and printed in brackets next to Kimberly Miller, in a thin obliging font, was ‘Personal Care Assistant’.
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“Mind-numbing is it,” squeaked the old lady through pursed lips, “well that’s exactly what happened to my Robert. Do you know that he…”
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“Edith, your soup… it’s getting cold.” Once again interrupted the increasingly uninterested Kimberly Miller as she turned on her polished heels and walked off. Her shoulders shrugged and her bored face wobbled as she continued. “Oh and another parcel has arrived for you. I managed to squeeze it into the cupboard with all the others.”
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“Presents dear… more presents.” Edith explained, her voice trailing off into the distance as it tried very hard to catch up with Kimberly Miller before she went back inside to tick her soup delivery checklist.
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“Edith,” said Edith to herself, “why don’t you just keep your wrinkled old mouth shut? Robert would be turning in his grave to hear you telling all these secrets.”
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Just then as Edith carefully scooped up a spoonful of thick yellow soup a small and very strange looking creature came spiralling down through the sky. It looked like a cross between a slug and very, very, very small dog. It’s angle of descent heading it straight for the Maple tree. It entered the top of the tree and ricochet through the branches like a pinball, right above the head of a sweet old lady who was just about to have her first slurp of soup. As she lifted the spoon to her wrinkled old mouth the creature slipped through the bottom layer of foliage and plopped elegantly onto her spoon, splashing soup thickly and yellowy down the front of Edith’s floral knitted jumper.
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The surprise encounter shocking her motionless.
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Edith stared unblinking at… it.
It stared unblinkingly back. A bead of soup slowly slipping down its dog like face.
Edith stared more unblinking at… it (that’s the slug-dog not the soup).
It stared unblinkingly back even, even more.
The drop of soup thickly ignored them both and continued to dribble slowly down between the dog like eyes of it.
Edith stared even, even, even, extra more unblinking at… it (again that’s the slug-dog not the soup).
It tried to stare even, even, extra, extra unblinkingly hard back, but the soup however, had other ideas – seeping into it’s eye sockets – causing it to blink.
The moment it’s eyes shut, like a highly trained Ninja, Edith snatched it from the spoon “Got ya,” she smirked and stuffed it into her pocket.
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“I told you they were coming Kimberly Miller, but you wouldn’t listen.”
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The Student

It was part of her therapy.

Aiasdotter had suffered both psychological and physical torture at the hands of The Hyrm, and although she had been “healed” by Stiletto’s medical technicians there was still the “pain.”

Aiasdotter had been given to “Schripp, and his first act had been both training aid, and bonding technique. He had taken away her vision.

It was only temporary, a blockage of the functioning of the occipital cortex, and she knew that when she earned it, she would get her sight back.

The crack of the shinai against the men grill of the Kendo armour made her head rattle, although in truth it was only a light tap.

“Feel,” ‘Schripp encouraged for the hundredth time. Again, she waited. It wasn’t like being in the dark, there was no light, no vision. All her other senses had become incredibly acute. She could smell ‘Schripp’s sweat in the confines of the room and hear the slow beating of his heart, but the physical senses were not fast enough for what she was trying to do. She had to feel the attack.

Time and again ‘Schripp had told her, “you must feel the intent. Do not think.”

Months had been spent disciplining her mind, that she might learn to lose her thoughts.

There was no noise, no movement, just her own action. The shinai in her hands moved with lightning speed, to be held vertical by her left ear and the crack of the bamboo was deafening.

Her feeling of triumph was short lived as a fraction of a second later the right side of her men was lightly struck, and that patient voice spoke right beside her.

“And again.”

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2014 2018
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For a FREE eBook of Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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Burns Night

I want to raise a toast, get whisky in your hand

For tonight we celebrate Burns, and drink throughout the land

For Robbie Burns’ a poet, and fires ya Scottish blood

And if it’s weak, don’t worry, eat haggis, ’cause it’s good

 

It’s made from moulding stomach, ripped whole, from bleating sheep

And it’s only bleeding tourists, who tremble and then weep

For the haggis making process is not fit for sassenachs

Who haven’t got the stomach to hold their puddings back

 

And yet they’ve got to eat it, for they can’t offend yon Scots

Who love to live in old crofts, keep sheep, and shag a lot

It is said in Scottish legend that the women are rampant flirts

Which is why, to save on time, the men also wear skirts

 

So get ye to the bottle, your groaning trencher there ye fill

And down some more good whisky, ’cause you’re surely feeling ill

From stuffing all that haggis whilst feasting with your friends

And remember that you’re Scottish, God’s chosen, and love Burns

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Jhedron Luckspar

 

 

The Assassination

Lady Bane shed a silent tear as she threw the blue rose into Stiletto’s gaping grave.

The unseasonal mist sent cold fingers around the gravestones in the Oxford cemetery, and glancing over at his companions ringing the graveside, Gregory pulled his overcoat collar up against the drizzling rain and walked away to the waiting cars.

Henrik, a nice young man at heart, had been told to up the ante. The order to assassinate Lord Stiletto had come directly from The Rabbit and Henrik was under a great deal of stress and confusion.

He wasn’t a killer, he knew that in his heart, and basically, he quite liked Gregory and Stiletto when he had met them in the now destroyed Sweden, and that vanished reality of his planet Earth. He realised that he now owed his life to The Rabbit, but deep inside he knew he wasn’t a murderer.

Lord Stiletto was out driving in the Oxfordshire countryside in his favourite Bugatti. It was an original car from 1939, one he had picked up from the Milan home of Ettore Bugatti himself, just as the second world war was kicking off. He had driven it down to Sicily where he had shipped it over to Malta using his contacts, and there stored it in a cave on the small adjacent island of Gozo.

Now he was racing along the road to Lechlade, wind buffeting his bowler, goggles firmly in place.

Henrik had gone for an indirect method of murder. His choice, spiked metal sheets, nailed into the tarmac surface of the Lechlade road. Almost immediately behind the caltrops he had parked a traction engine, recently stolen from the neighbouring village’s steam fair. He felt a nascent thrill knowing Stiletto’s love of the arcane and ancient.

Stiletto came around the corner in third, at eightyfive miles per hour, and saw the traction engine stationary in his path. Slamming his right foot on the brakes and taking his foot off the gas, powering fuel in to the super turbo charged engine, he skidded sideways down the narrow Cotswold roadway. When he hit the caltrops, the tyres exploded on the sharp metal spikes, and the beautiful old car began to roll, as it left the ground, and accelerated towards the waiting engine.

Henrik had been having second thoughts about his murderous course, several days before the date with Stiletto, and had taken the opportunity to send a message to Gregory. Stiletto took some persuading to sacrifice his beautiful sports car, but with Haydrift Eaglebeard as a passenger, and some nifty hand jive, the two friends were travelling through an alternate dimension as the classic sports car, almost a national treasure, exploded in a ball of fire as it slammed into the huge steel roller that fronted the traction engine, artfully placed in the Bugatti’s path.

 

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2015 2018

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For a FREE eBook of Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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The Tram

Eight Earth weeks earlier….

The image was burnt onto the surface of Gregory’s retinas. The pink manic eyes of The Rabbit in the window of the Belgian tram.

Stiletto had taken a wrong turn, in more than one sense of the word. Now his car was screaming in reverse between medieval buildings as the looming city tram gained on the startled friends.

The day had begun much better. Here in Ghent, to attend the Science Fiction Convention, Gregory, Stiletto and Lady Bane had arrived in good time and made their presence in the great hall. Comic artist legend, Ian Gibson, a well-respected Master of the genre, and well represented in Lord Stiletto’s fabled library, was unexpectedly at the adjacent table. Stiletto was delighted to meet this unsuspecting mentor, and was fortunate to spend quite a lot of time learning from the old Master. Was this why he miscalculated the shenanigans of The Rabbit? Like an avalanche that starts with a single pebble, the origin of Karma is often lost in the mists of events.

Rubber tyres burnt and howled as Stiletto accelerated the reversing car, horn blaring to clear the Saturday evening crowds. Once over the small bridge he applied his handbrake as the car squealed in a tight arc almost about its front axis and shot backwards in a straight line down the narrow side street.

The tram hammered past, stuck on its tracks. It was the Girl with the red hair, commented Lady Bane. A part of Gregory’s mind had noticed her, driving the tram at the retreating car, but most of his horizon had been filled with the piercing pink eyes of The Rabbit.

Gregory was reasonably sure that vampires didn’t exist, at least in the daytime, so he was quite surprised to meet a Steampunk one. He and Sarah were manning the table whilst Stiletto was off wandering the halls. It was the teeth that were so fascinating. Apparently, she paid thousands for the dental work.

Lady Bane had seen some sights in her life. Stiletto coming through the door in his shirt sleeves and waistcoat, but still wearing his bowler hat and goggles, threw the broken and bloody chair leg into the waste paper basket.

“Goddamn vampires,” he spoke calmly as he took his empty pipe from his pocket and nonchalantly put it between his teeth.

“What, not the one talking to Gregory,” she asked in amusement.

“The very same,” he chuckled, taking the pipe out to speak,

“quite besotted!”

 

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2015 2018

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For a FREE eBook of Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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