Spotlight & Excerpt: Folk Songs For Trauma Surgeons + Giveaway

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folksongs for trauma surgeons

FOLK SONGS FOR TRAUMA SURGEONS by Keith Rosson

RELEASE DATE: FEB 23, 2021

GENRE: Collection / Speculative Fiction / Magical Realism / Literary

BOOK PAGE @Meerkat Press

With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson delves into notions of family, grief, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and in “High Tide,” a grieving man ruminates on his brother’s life as a monster terrorizes their coastal town. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes a number of Rosson’s unpublished stories, as well as award-winning favorites.

BUY LINKS: Meerkat Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Excerpt from “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light” by Keith Rosson

Splay-legged in my recliner, I’ve just returned from putting another note under Marcus’s door (In the next life your penis shall be multipronged, insectile, hot and bristling with pustules, gloriously prone to infection) when someone knocks on my door and I choke back a cry, startled. It’s midafternoon and my social life, never strident to begin with, has atrophied in recent months. Who could possibly be knocking? Reluctantly, I rise from my recliner and pull on my robe and, realizing at that moment that it might actually be Marcus, a Marcus angry about the insectile penis-note, and all the other notes, I open the door with a mad flourish, trying to be as intimidating as possible.

The day seems obscenely sunny, garishly so. I wince and blink. The man in the doorway is a stranger, and he takes a step back when he sees me. He’s wearing some kind of uniform—a blue shirt with a nametag and a pair of blue shorts. A little clipboard.

“Brad? Brad Benske?”

“Yes,” I say. It comes out tremulously; for a moment even I feel unsure. Is this who I am? And then, more confidently, “Yes.”

The man marks something off on his clipboard and flicks his thumb against one of his nostrils and says, “Brad, hey, what’s up. I’m with the water bureau.”

“The what?”

He says, “Water bureau. Your water?”

“Oh.”

“You’re late with your payment.”

“Am I?”

“Really late,” he says, and consults his clipboard. “Couple months late. As in, if you can’t pay it by the end of day today, we have to shut it off.”

“The water?”

He seems to see me for the first time then—the robe, the dishevelment, the haphazard leaning mess of the inside of the house that he can spy through the open doorway. I have a zit on my cheek that has over recent days gotten woefully infected and is now nearly the size of a ping-pong ball. Fifty-one years old and getting zits, if you can believe it. I need to drink more water, I think, and then have a moment of shock as I realize the water guy is right here in front of me. It’s like some kind of weak serendipity, some petulant magic.

“Are you okay?”

“Oh, I’m fine,” I say.

The nametag above his pocket says Cameron, and he looks like a Cameron. A beefy young man with big calves and a certain dumb purity, someone who did keg stands in college and can differentiate between different types of vape oil. A man who wears a hemp bracelet and sleeps on a futon, I decide, a man who sniff-tests his socks. Cameron peers into the dank chamber of my little house and his nose wrinkles. I step out onto the porch and shut the door behind me.

“Oh man, my grandma got shingles,” Cameron says, pointing a blunt finger at my face. “She was only sixty-two. It messed her up.”

“This is just a zit.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

The world beyond my yard writhes with life; a little boy wheels by on his bike, leaves on the trees tremble and sway, and I can hear the bass-heavy thump of music strobing through the window of a passing car. The air is rich with the smell of cut grass. And everything trills a memory. Emma has been gone for nine months now. Nine months! I spend a moment hoping Marcus’s penis becomes riddled with pustules in this life, and draft an internal note saying such.

Cameron clears his throat.

“My checkbook’s inside,” I say. “How much is it?”

He gives me a number. It seems a reasonable enough amount if I haven’t paid in months—Emma handled the bills, and it’s yet another instance where I have lagged, where I am lost without her—but he sounds unhappy about it.

“It’s okay,” I say. “You’re just doing your job.”

“I mean, I’m in a band,” Cameron says. “I do community theater. You know? There’s more to me than just this.” He sweeps a hand along his outfit, his clipboard.

“Of course there is,” I say. I walk inside and eventually find my checkbook beside an old sandwich on the floor that’s furred in ants. I write the check and step outside and kind of shake the ants off and hand it to Cameron, and his blue eyes as he watches this are rife with something like pity. “I hope you feel better soon,” he says quietly, and it’s clear he’s not talking about my goiter.

 

  • •  •

 

Melinda says, “So you’re still leaving him notes.” She lights a menthol and blows the smoke up to the ceiling.

“No,” I say.

She laughs outright and flips me off. “Oh my God, you’re such a liar. Such a bad liar, too.”

“I left one today,” I confess. May maggots tumble from thy dong, it read, and then it had a little doodle of that, a little picture.

Melinda winces. “Honey, why his penis, though? Why talk about his penis?” She adjusts her headband.

“I don’t always.”

“Well, when you tell me about it, the notes are always penis-related.”

“I’m trying to keep it funny. Light. Less worrisome than actual threats.”

“Maggots from his dong, though? That sounds like an actual threat to me.”

“It’s medical,” I say.

It had seemed a simple message, one suffused with appropriate dread and then buoyed a little by the silly drawing. I wonder for a moment if I have in fact turned some corner, gone some further distance than I intended. One I won’t be able to come back from. Maybe I have crossed some line.

“You know it’s illegal, right?” says Melinda. “It’s gotta be harassment or something. Menacing. You better hope you don’t get caught.”

“I won’t get caught. Marcus is too enmeshed in his bullshit.”

“If he installs one of those cameras above his door. You’re done.”

“Look,” I say, “can you just give me a reading? Please?”

Melinda, when she’s working, goes by Madame Ouellette. She has a palm reading and tarot practice out on the jagged stretch of 82nd Avenue, in a weird mobile home kind of thing that rests in an otherwise empty parking lot. She’s decked the place out in tapestries and unicorn sculptures and salt candles and incense; the atmosphere goes a fair way toward canceling out the brazen drug deals out front, the endless traffic, the shirtless guy screaming about aliens in his teeth at the Wendy’s across the street. Melinda and I slept together once in college, badly, and have ever since been continually thankful of the friendship that has sprung from it. Our shared history buoys us. Emma, at best, had tolerated Melinda during our marriage. Felt threatened by her. Which always surprised me, as she seemed otherwise so sure of everything. “Why can’t you just scratch your balls and yell about football with some guy from work? Drink beer and talk about cars?” she’d say, a rare instance where I saw the underpinnings of her insecurity. Melinda gives me readings for free now, and I ask her where Emma is, where they’ve sent her. If she’s happy, if she’s safe where she is. This, and bothering Marcus are as close to penance and relief as I get. Madam Ouellette offers me her visions and I imagine that they’re true. Half the time it seems like Melinda’s just trying to come up with the most outlandish shit she can, and I’m grateful for it. It almost assuredly beats the true narrative.

She makes me a cup of tea as we chat some more. I drink the tea and tell Melinda the story about our wedding day and how Emma had spilled a cup of coffee down the front of her dress, the same dress her mother had worn to her wedding, and had had to wear a last minute back-up dress that showed way more cleavage then she intended. It is a well-worn story; Melinda has heard it a million times. Hell, she was at our wedding, watched the entire event take place. But it’s part of the process of the reading, Melinda says. And when I’m done with the tea, she has me upend the cup on a plastic slip mat and we talk for a moment about my hopes with this, what it is I want to get from this. I say something, some bland proclamation. I want to feel close to her, I think. I want to believe that what you’re saying is really her life. We’ve done this perhaps a dozen times since Emma left me to join the Hand of Light. This is one of the only things I do anymore.

Melinda really gets into character, adjusting her jeweled headband, her hands taking on these exaggerated movements as she tries to withdraw the “intentionality” from the leaves. Tea has started to bead out from beneath the rim of the cup. Eventually she lifts it and frowns at the chiaroscuro of dark leaves on the plastic mat.

She talks, fully Madam Ouellette now. Her voice is clipped, more precise, colder.

She tells me that Emma is in a carwash in Biloxi, Mississippi.

“She’s working in a carwash? In Mississippi?”

“No, no. She’s in a carwash. In a car. Someone’s yelling about atonement. Maybe it’s the radio. There’s a baby in the backseat, but it’s not hers. The sudsy cleaning things slap against the window. It’s a kind of transformation for her.”

“You’re so full of shit,” I say, grinning. I can’t help myself. I’m almost happy.

“She got a haircut. She’s wearing sunglasses in the carwash. It’s dark.”

“Oh, yeah? Did they shave her head? Is she wearing a potato sack, Melinda? Are there snacks?” Part of me relishes these fantasies she makes up. I simultaneously wish they were true and only feel safe when I’m mocking them. I’ve had a private investigator on the payroll since she’s been gone, but he’s come up with nothing. He talks to me like I’m an aggrieved husband, speaks respectfully, and part of me hates the guy for it.

Of the two people in the world who know what an utter fuckup I am, one has absconded with the Hand of Light, and the other one’s looking at me right now, waving her palm over a bunch of wet tea leaves, offering at least some minute solace.

AUTHOR_BIO-GRAPHIC-Keith_Rosson

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Book Blitz: The Scent of a Man + Giveaway

the scent of a man

 

The Scent of a Man
Romantic Comedy Anthology

Date Published: February 5, 2021

Publisher: DCL Publications

 

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Warm your heart, put a smile on your face, and get ready for a bellyful of laughs with this collection of four original romantic comedies. Featuring laugh-out-loud tales by some of today’s most talented authors, ‘The Scent of a Man’ will pull you into the world of true love and the antics and misadventures that it takes to find it. Your cure for the doldrums and tribulations of the real world awaits in this shining collection of PG-13 short stories of lively, eclectic and humorous proportions. Remember, there is no greater scent than the scent of a man, so settle back, get comfortable, and take a nice, deep whiff of hilarity.

The Scent of a Man Blitz

Love Cabin‘ by Miriam Newman

He thinks she’s a snob. She thinks he hates women. It’s going to take a lot to work this out.

 

Exiled to Love‘ by Jae El Foster

An exiled witch must learn to live without her powers, but will she risk losing everything to save a mortal’s life?

 

The Scent of a Man‘ by Jennifer Patricia O’Keeffe

An injured woman must endure homecare with the aid of a handsome man that threatens to win her heart.

 

The Scent of You‘ by Kristi Ahlers

A woman, terrified of flying, boards a plane at her brother’s beckoning. Can a first class surprise shake her from her nervous angst?

 

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About the Authors

Miriam Newman

Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. I bring that background to my writing along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services and many trips to Ireland, where I nurture my muse. My published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. Currently I live in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals. You can see my books at www.miriamnewman.com.

 

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Jae El Foster

When the muses speak, Jae El Foster writes, and he has been doing so for nearly twenty years, tackling some of the most intriguing genres out there. Delivering fresh, incomparable tales of horror, science fiction, and romance – sweet or spicy – he pens with seasoned skill the tales that his muses deliver to him. His bestselling works include such titles as ‘Restless,’ ‘Beauty Within,’ ‘Where the Demon Is,’ and ‘Only at Christmas.’

Social Links:

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Instagram: @JaeElBooks

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Jennifer Patricia O’Keeffe 

Jennifer Patricia O’Keeffe is an author of romantic comedy and anything quirky. She resides in Tennessee, just outside of Nashville where she shares a home with her cats. Ms. O’Keeffe loves to make the world laugh and to find humor and love in the least likely of places. Readers may keep up with her and her writings by following @authorjpokeeffe on Twitter.

Contact:

Twitter: @authorjpokeeffe

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Kristi Ahlers

Kristi Ahlers is a California girl! She grew up in Northern California in a small city called Yuba City. Since then she’s lived in Brussels, Belgium, and England along with a myriad of other locations. A former flight attendant, she was able to continue to feed her love of travel. This has greatly influenced her writing, allowing her to pen stories about places she’s managed to visit and things she’s experienced.

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RABT Book Tours & PR

Book Blitz: A More Perfect Union + Giveaway

A more perfect union

A More Perfect Union Anthology
There’s a new voting-themed charity anthology out (four queer stories): “A More Perfect Union.” And there’s a giveaway! Includes stories from Adrienne Bell, Kilby Blades, Aliza Mann, Claire Marti, R.L. Merrill, M.D. Neu, Dawn Montgomery, Sera Taino and Kearney Wentworth.

Love wins in this collection of nine all new, voting-themed romances.

A set of bite-sized romance short stories with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Fair Fight, an organization dedicated to combatting voter suppression.

From the campaign headquarters to the polls, A More Perfect Union features brand new stories from:

  • Adrienne Bell
  • Kilby Blades
  • Aliza Mann
  • Claire Marti
  • R.L. Merrill
  • M.D. Neu
  • Dawn Montgomery
  • Sera Taino
  • Kearney Wentworth

**This anthology will only be available for a limited time, so be sure to grab your copy today**

We hope you’ll join us as love wins and democracy receives an HEA. The collection also includes stories from Adrienne Bell, Aliza Man, Claire Marti, Dawn Montgomery, and Kearney Wentworth. A diverse bunch of folks sharing their passion for social justice and fighting against voter suppression. All proceeds from the collection will go to support Fair Fight, and you can find more information at https://fairfight.com. The anthology will be available for a limited time on Amazon and Apple Books.

 

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Giveaway

The authors are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Four of the nine stories in A More Perfect Union feature queer pairings. Here are quick bites from two of those stories:

From Sera Taíno: Oil and Vinegar

Yara wheeled the cart with soiled laundry onto the van, taking care to bend at the kneesto get the wheels over the gap between the ramp and the bumper. It was one of those infernally humid August days in Orlando that made you want to tear your clothes off right where you stood and dive into the first bucket of water you found. Yara had been doing housekeeping in this swamp ever since she got out of prison five years ago and there were a couple of rules she learned to follow the hard way. First, she never left the house without a water bottle. Florida humidity would suck all the water out of a person’s body in no time if they didn’t hydrate. And second, as a cleaner, she had to take care of her back if she wanted to make it to early retirement without injury.

Okay, the second one wasn’t an actual rule. That was all Paulina. She made shit up all the time to get Yara to take care of herself. Like “Quieres ir diving in Tucacas? Pues, don’t herniate your back.” Or “Want to do dance cumbia in Caracas with me? Don’t put so much salt in your sancocho.”

“Ay, por favor,” Yara would retort, all snotty and stank face, “We’re not going to live that long.”

“Oh, yes we are,” Paulina always snapped back, joking but not really. “We sacrificed too much not to enjoy this life a little.”

That was Paulina. While Yara was always looking back, Paulina faced the future. They were like that one Roman god, Janus. Two sides of the same dream.

Yara’s phone vibrated. She pulled off her cloth mask with the company name – Y&Ps Cleaning Service – stitched into the fabric. Wiping the sweat from her brow with one of the fresh towels, she tossed it in with the rest of the laundry before slamming the doors of the cleaning van shut, pausing to admire the lettering that matched her mask. She wanted to run her hands over the newly minted shapes, but her phone vibrated again. Paulina’s name flashed on the screen and she knew if she didn’t hurry up and answer it, Paulina would worry.

“Don’t forget what today is,” Paulina said without preamble. They’d been together for four years but Yara never got tired of her raspy voice, especially when she was ordering her around. She really liked it when Paulina ordered her around.

Yara blinked, stepped out of the blinding sun and into the meager shade cast by the van. “How can I forget, Lina? You’ve been reminding me since last week. I’m going to do a laundry run and then meet Josie at the House when she drops off the van.”

“Ok, ok. Just going down my to-do list and most of the stuff on here has to do with you.”

“Good to know I’m at the top of that list,” Yara teased.

“Always on top, bebe,” she whispered, sending an arrow of pure, unadulterated lust barreling through Yara’s body. She shifted on her feet, physically uncomfortable and unable to find any relief in the middle of this hellscape.

“Sigue con esa jodienda, and you’ll have to explain to everyone why they have to walk to the voting station when their van doesn’t show up.” Paulina was wrong to get her going while she was standing on the side of US192, sweating her ass off and dragging a half-ton of dirty towels around in the van.

“No-no-no,” Paulina responded, all the velvet and sex gone from her voice. Yara imagined Paulina waving one long, dark-brown finger in her face. “We’re not making anybody walk. These women are waiting for us. For you. And we’re going to show up for them.”


From M.D. Neu: Election Night

Sammy turned the corner and rushed down the hall. She hated being late, but here she was, yet again. The elevator at the end of the corridor mocked her as the doors began to close. This week had been hell. Well, the whole election year had been hell. People fighting, families being pulled apart. Even her own family had battled it out. And now she wasn’t talking to her brother, Tom. “Such an ass.” She frowned. How could he support that idiot? How could anyone, especially when there was a better option. A saner option.

What the hell was wrong with people?

After the fallout between Sammy and Tom, she realized she needed to get involved. She understood if there were more people out there like her brother, then there were a lot of minds that needed changing.

Will it even make a difference? No, we have to get out the vote. People need to have their voices heard.

The elevator doors continued to close the nearer she got.

“Fuck,” she muttered under her breath. “Hold the elevator! Please!” she called out hoping someone heard her. She hadn’t noticed, in her haste, if someone occupied the elevator, but she remained hopeful, much like her thoughts on the election. Hopeful. Always, hopeful.

As the metal door shut right when Sammy reached out, she stopped and frowned, shaking her head.

Dammit!

Instead of the door sealing the last inch cutting off her chance of showing up for her shift upstairs somewhere in the neighborhood of being on time, there was a ding and the doors blessedly opened.

“Oh, thank Christ.” A smile pulled at Sammy’s lips. She was still going to be late, but at least this hurdle didn’t hold her up.

“I don’t know about that, but you’re welcome,” a soft voice said as the doors opened fully revealing a woman in her mid-thirties, with blondish brown hair falling gently over her shoulders. The black A-line skirt and blue blouse showed her curves and soft form. Her blouse opened enough to show off her perfect neck and alabaster skin. The skirt provided an amazing view of this woman’s legs. Sammy loved long legs, especially when they ended in a stylish pair of heels. The warm scent of lilac and jasmine tickled Sammy’s nose as she focused in on the woman’s deep green eyes.

Not fully Sammy’s type, but the pretty stranger wasn’t far off either. There was something about a professionally dressed woman that made Sammy’s heart quicken. She frowned at herself. If she didn’t have a long night of phone calls, she might have felt self-conscious of her well-worn jeans and sweatshirt. When Sammy wanted to impress someone, she could, but right now she was there to support her candidate and make damn sure that they won this election. She wasn’t here to find a date. Even though there were quite a few smart and passionate women who caught her eye.


Author Bio

Adrienne Bell

Adrienne Bell is the author of over a dozen action-packed romances including the bestselling contemporary Second Service series. Her love of story structure led her to create Plot MD, a system for crafting compelling stories. She also is the co-host of the weekly podcast The Misfit’s Guide to Writing Indie Romance. Adrienne lives with her husband and sons on the far edge of the San Francisco Bay Area where she spends her downtime reading, binge watching nerdy television, and scrolling through Disneyland fan sites.

Kilby Blades

Kilby Blades is a USA Today Bestselling author of Romance and Women’s Fiction. Her debut novel, Snapdragon, was a HOLT Medallion finalist, a Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize Semi-Finalist, and an IPPY Award medalist. Kilby was honored with an RSJ Emma Award for Best Debut Author in 2018, and has been lauded by critics for “easing feminism and equality into her novels” (IndieReader) and “writing characters who complement each other like a fine wine does a good meal” (Publisher’s Weekly).

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Aliza Mann

Aliza Mann is a paranormal and contemporary romance author who resides in Michigan. The goal of this anthology spoke to her desire to create a world where all people can enjoy the right and privilege of voting. She is a champion of equal rights and believes in democracy. The legacy of her grandfather, the basis for this story, lives on within her, and she could not be more thrilled to share this story with the world.

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Claire Marti

Claire Marti is an award winning and USA Today Bestselling author ​of swoonworthy Contemporary Romance novels set in Southern California. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress. Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. She’s thrilled to share her commitment to equality and justice for all in the A More Perfect Union Anthology.

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R.L. Merrill

R.L. Merrill brings you stories of Hope, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll featuring quirky and relatable characters. Whether she’s writing contemporary, paranormal, or supernatural, she loves to give readers a shiver with compelling stories that will stay with you long after. You can find her connecting with readers on social media, educating America’s youth, raising two brilliant teenagers, writing horror-infused music reviews for HorrorAddicts.net, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area! Stay Tuned for more Rock ‘n’ Romance.

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M.D. Neu

M.D. Neu is an award winning gay author who writes epic Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Paranormal stories that reflect our diverse community. When not writing M.D. Neu works for a non-profit and travels with his husband of twenty years.

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Dawn Montgomery

USA Today bestselling author Dawn Montgomery loves to write almost as much as she loves to read. She has traveled the world twice over. While her days were filled with long hours and hard work, her nights were left for dark, lustful fantasies in and out of strange hotels and cities. Alaska and Texas are the places she calls home. She recently moved from the frigid North to Texas with her family and neurotic dog. It was tragic to leave behind the moose and bear for wide open plains and sexy cowboys.

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Sera Taíno

Sera Taíno writes Latinx romances exploring the joy of love in the context of community and family in all its rich diversity. She was selected for the Harlequin Romance Includes You Mentorship, an initiative launched in 2019 to reach out to diverse communities of writers and bring more own voices stories to romance readers. Her debut novel is slated to be published with Harlequin’s Special Edition Line in Fall, 2021. When she is not writing, she can usually be found teaching, traveling, or wrangling her family.

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Kearney Wentworth

Kearney Wentworth writes about her passions: music, romance, travel, sports, libraries, hotties and Blerds. The first book in her “Highland Havoc Rugby Club” series is out on submission and more short stories are in the queue.

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