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Coming of Age (or Internal) Genres

So, before I continue on the path of laying out each individual genre in this continuing series, I think it’s good to take a moment to talk about the category ‘Coming of Age’. This is the Internal Genre, where the story is driven by the hero’s personal struggles, rather than a villain they must defeat.

By ‘Coming of Age’, I do not mean a teen romance. I’m willing to bet that, when you hear that term, you think of a young adult category.

I won’t argue that these types of stories certainly seem to appeal in a deep way to young people who are only just beginning to understand life; however, a ‘coming of age’ can imply far more. Every person is learning and re-learning life all the time, and stages of maturity and realization happen for us sometimes at 12, sometimes at 20, and sometimes at 75, so I think it is fair to say that a ‘Coming of Age’ story can happen for anyone, and appeal to anyone.

There are 4 ‘coming of age’ categories that my brother and I have been able to identify so far. I’m not sure yet if there are more than these, and would love to hear what you think!

They are:

  1. Death
  2. Self-Delusion
  3. Romance
  4. Responsibility

I’ll use death to explain this a bit more. Sometimes there is a story like My Girl, where the main character has to deal with death at a young age, and matures through that process. But there are also stories like A Christmas Carol, in which an old man has to come to scrooge-and-tim.jpgterms with his own mortality, and becomes a more whole person because of it. Both of these, in a sense, are ‘Coming of Age’ stories. They deal with someone who begins the story incomplete, or possibly broken, in some way. And when the story is over, they have grown, learned, and moved on, embracing the reality that they had before ignored or been ignorant of.

So the criteria for a ‘Coming of Age’ story is:

  • There is a reality, or truth, of life – such as death or love.
  • Main character denies or does not know about this reality.
  • The reality confronts the character with unavoidable force.
  • They run from it, rebel against it, do not want to accept it.
  • Finally, they must accept it, although they have to die (in a metaphorical sense) to a part of themselves to do so.
  • They are a more complete person after accepting it.

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So there you have it! I’ll be diving into each section in detail soon, so keep an eye out.

Are there any ‘coming of age’ stories you can think of, or any other genres that fall under this heading? Are there any stories you would like me to explore to see what genre they fall under?

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I Kept Writing, and Got Rid of the Scary Red Text!

Last night, I skimmed through the 500 page word document of my novel manuscript, and stopped every time I encountered a block of red text. Those sections were notes I left myself about missing scenes in the narrative, and with dedication, I knocked each one out of the park! All my missing scenes are now written, and I officially have a finished, readable story from start to finish.

Woo hoo!

Those red sections were like scary warning signs before – telling me my novel isn’t complete, and darkly hinting that it may never get there. But I did it! I got there! I beat that red text.

I feel so much better about it now, too, because it’s turned into a great story! I know that when I enjoy reading my book, I’ve made a good product. It might have a few problems, or not be entirely, one-hundred percent perfect, but then, nothing ever is! It’s a good book, a good story, and I can say that with confidence. And soon, it will be published and able to be enjoyed by others!

I can’t wait!

Have you signed up yet to read it for free? Really, it’s totally free, no strings attached. Well, OK, unless you call giveaways, videos, and author interviews strings. Because that’s what you get if you sign up to read it BEFORE it hits bookstores!

If you’re not sure whether you want to read it, check out the first chapter, and see if you like it!

Also, if you could help me out – what was your favorite author giveaway or promotion you’ve ever been a part of? What did they do? I’m totally open to new ideas!

And… share the link! Got friends who love to read? Send it to them – they get to read for free! Who doesn’t love that? 🙂

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Freaking out about Publishing

I had a total freak out moment yesterday! I all of a sudden got very terrified – not just about publishing my book, which is scary enough on its own – but about being a writer at all. I’ve heard about writers feeling like frauds, and for the first time, I really felt that!

My mom talked me down from the emotional ledge, thankfully. She reminded me of the big picture: of the fact that I am a good writer and am always trying to be better, and that it’s ok to not be an overnight success. “They say it takes three books,” she reminded me, “before you really get noticed.”

I sighed in relief – this is only my second novel, and already, I know it will do better than my first. This is a process! I’m taking actionable steps, and I know success is down the road – I just need to be patient about getting there.

“Wish I could turn back time

To the good old days

When the mama sang

Us to sleep, but now we’re stressed out!”

Have you been there? How did you get past the overwhelming terror?

If you want to find out what I’m freaking out about, you can read the first chapter of my newest novel, and let me know what you think. If you enjoy it, sign up to receive the whole thing for free! I won’t send you junk mail – only my book and a weekly newsletter.

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First Chapter of Trinian

Hey guys! I figured it was about time you got to read the first chapter of Trinian, An Epic Fantasy!

I’m so excited to share this with you – I’m at a loss for words. This novel has been 12 years in the making, and it blows my mind that it’s so close to it’s release date.

This chapter lays out the god’s plans, and introduces us to the villain. All the fun world-building!

The picture is a rough sketch of Rordan, done by the lovely Sophia Dytewski!

Enjoy, tell your friends, and sign up to receive the entire novel!

Trinian, An Epic Fantasy

Chapter 1

Fate, the master of the heavens, watched his round glass watch as it ticked eleven, and with its final, fateful chime, the last age of the mortal world began. At the start of every century, Fate hosted the centennial convention, the time for the high gods to convene and discuss the mortal land of Minecerva, and now he took his place as mediator upon his mighty throne to host the final meeting.

From the vast corners of Minecerva his brothers and sisters came flying to the heavenly palace. The first to arrive was Terror, on his wings of panic that were spread wide in darkness behind him.

Then sister Resolve, in her straight-laced dress, walked with dignified, regal, controlled steps to her seat in the circle.

Peace erupted into the chamber with a triumph of color, her gown fluttering freely. She was unrestrained, creative, and joyful; and she was wise and calm.

Knowledge sparkled and she was pure beauty. As she entered, she drew the other god’s eyes to her in wonder, fear, and scorn. They all considered her far too pretentious, but they envied her all the same.

Famine tripped in hand-in-hand with Plenty, both carefree and careless.

The three brothers Depression, Destruction, and Death stumbled about, singing a rousing war cry with their arms firmly round each other’s shoulders. The other gods gave them a wide berth, their presence unpleasant, but they three did not care to notice and threw themselves upon a bench, their feet stretched forward, their heads thrown back to drink during the proceedings with disinterest.

No one noticed Solitude, pale and forgettable, creep into her corner.

Charity and Passion carried on an age-old argument as they entered, their different beauties, the first subtle and the second overwhelming, clashing as they passed witty banter between them.

Hope smiled softly as she crept through a side door; she looked over all and shook her head at brother Fate. He smiled back, and made room for his favorite sister on the throne beside him.

Power, last to arrive, dominated with each shaking step, until he sat, not in a chair, but on the ledge above Fate. From here, he could make eye-contact with every god except his oldest brother, and he smiled. Let them notice him, let them roll their eyes at his vain seat of power here. Soon, he would control everything; soon, he would rise above Fate himself.

When Power had taken his seat, Fate lifted his mighty gavel and called the session to order.

“To this day,” he announced gravely, “we have conducted affairs on our own; we have not involved any low gods or mortals in our affairs, nor have any higher interfered with us.” There was a swell of assent that roared through the chamber like a mighty river, deep churning and little trickles drawing together into a mighty roar.

“But we are nearing the end of our reign. The Golden King has at last sent a messenger to me. We must heed what he says, for we know that when the clock has turned to the completion of time, it is His rule we will obey.”

With a rumble of voices that would have opened a chasm in an ocean bed, murmurs and whispers behind cupped hands, boastings and bragging, music and cheering and laughter, filled the hall at the mention of the Golden King. Hope held her hands over her ears and smiled to herself, doing what she did best. Power also made no sound, but settled himself firmer on the ledge, and sneered. He had waited patiently, plotting a long time for this hour.

Fate let them have their varied fun and anger until finally, he pounded his gavel once. “You will each decide how to act when the twelfth hour arrives,” he continued. “Until then, we have a little more time, and those who have not had free reign in the lives of men, will have it now.”

Death came forward to complain. “But you know why we’ve never gone down everywhere yet. Free reign – I snap my fingers at it, and you know why. The city of Drian, the very capitol of Minecerva, stands like a silver beacon, untouchable. We don’t want to go down if we can’t go everywhere. It’s a low, dirty trick of favorites, and it’s unfair.” Depression, Destruction, and Famine nodded their heads angrily, for it was they, too, had not yet had their turn.

“I have not forgotten. For the first time, we will convene with a lower power, for he has proven himself a force to be reckoned with. While we left him alone, he was not content to leave us so. Rordan, natural god of the river, I call you to the presence of the high gods!”

A colossal man entered the throne room of the gods and strode forward until he stood before Fate.

He showed no embarrassment in their presence, but merely bowed his head in submission before their might. There was, however, a rippling of his shoulders as if he would lash out any moment, at any threat. There were two remarkable things about the giant; the first was his hair, which flowed down his back almost to his knees, clear and green, blue, and silver, depending on how it caught the light. When he moved, it rippled.

The second was the walking stick he held in his fist which was the width of a fifty-year-old tree, gnarled, knotted, and ringed, and twice as tall as himself. Destruction, who was all too familiar with the weapon’s reach and solidity, backed up and hid behind Charity.

While all eyes were on the river god, Power, angry and stifled, was unable to maintain his temper in the presence of this discussion of the Golden King. Silently, he slipped from the chamber. But he did not leave. He listened still from the shadows of the outer hall.

“You have been called here, Rordan,” continued Fate, “because, as the natural god of Drian, you have set yourself as its protector and defended it from misfortune for over a thousand years. You have done well and the Golden King thanks you.”

The giant bowed, his flowing hair cascading over his shoulders and brushing the floor.

“But the completion of time nears, and even Drian must have its time of trial. You are not allowed to block out Death, Famine, Depression, and Destruction from the mortals forever. Those gods have a right over the mortals as much as any other, and the mortals must learn to deal with them as they will. You are to step aside and give the gods who have not ruled Minecerva free reign. This is the command of the messenger of the Golden King.”

The river god tensed and held his breath a moment, as if attempting to reign in an overflowing temper. But then he nodded curtly. “I will do as the Golden King commands,” he rumbled.

He turned to leave, and Death, who was cavorting gleefully behind his back, stilled in place until the Giant had stooped through the round doorway and his long hair had followed him.

Just before descending to the mortal realm, Rordan stopped still in the outer hall. A thin shadow lurked behind a pillar, watching him. He clenched his fists when he saw the leer of triumph on the shadow’s face.

With a flex of his strong arms, he planted his gnarled staff upon the stones. “You vile beast, you have already ruled Drian!” he told the shadow, which slithered out from its enclosure. It was Power, and he trembled with triumphant rage over Fate’s decree, for he hated the river god from the very depths of his being.

“I will allow the others through,” said Rordan, “but you will never have free reign again. You will rot in your murk and grime until the twelfth hour, when the Golden King casts His light upon your buried crimes.” Power’s face twisted in a grimace as Rordan continued. “Fate may not know or care how you spend your time, but I do. If you attempt to enter Drian, you will know my wrath!” With that, he lifted his staff, and Power growled and clenched his muscles, but then abruptly turned and marched away.

Power descended to his corner of the world, desolate as it was, and plotted evil for Rordan and Drian. Meanwhile, Famine, Death, and Destruction greedily leveled themselves against Drian, spreading their gifts in a massive overdose to make up for lost time. In the process, they forgot all about the Golden King.

Loved the first chapter? Read the rest!

Novel Promo (1)

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The Terror and Thrill of Reviewing My Novel

Now that I have enough of Trinian, An Epic Fantasy put together to send into the world for review, I’m getting germinal feedback. I love it! But it’s also terrifying.

My sisters, who are geniuses with artwork, have already taken a stab at illustrating a couple characters, and my best friend Sophia has started marking up my first chapter. She says she’s being harsh, and I’m so grateful to her for that! I want the feedback as truthful as possible, so I can turn out a final product that will please my readers! And, of course, help me to achieve the highest level of writing ability that I can!

I’m thrilled and nervous all at once, and the emotions flow together inside me to create general excitement! Whether the manuscript is terrible or wonderful, it’s going out into the world, and that something!

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See More Fairy Tale Art!

I’m going to put in a shameless plug for my pinterest board, because if you like what I put here on the blog, you’ll love what I post! So much beautiful artwork!

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Trinian for Free!

Come January, I will be providing my novel Trinian|An Epic Fantasy for free! Click here to sign up to receive it!

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Thoughts on Endings and Trinian, 2nd Draft

Sorry for my weekend extended absence. I spent all weekend, and some bleed through into Monday, finishing Trinian, An Epic Fantasy’s second draft. I just sent it out for review, and I can’t believe my project is actually out there, being read by other eyes! I’m all tingly.

I still have a few middle scenes to compose, and a bit more of the ending.

I intend to avoid the common writing choice of writers who write an entire book, with lots of detail and description, and then end the book immediately, as soon as the climax has passed. Maybe they have a brief wrap up, bringing the characters together who’ve been estranged, etc. But I have always felt far more satisfied by endings like Jane Austen or Tolkien, or even Dean Koontz, who really take the time to explain not just what the characters did immediately after the action, but how the action affected the rest of their lives.

So I’m making sure that I’m putting time into my ending, and not just wrapping up the major loose ends. But don’t worry – it won’t be a drag, making you wish that it would end already. — At least I hope not!

Author Feature – Luster Lexicon

I’m so excited!!! I’m being featured in an Author Spectacle!

The Luster Lexicon is a new platform that interviews authors of all different backgrounds, offering them a chance to talk about their work.

I’m so grateful to them for choosing me this month! You can find me half-way down the page, #5.

Check it out HERE

The Dove Princess

Princess - The Dove PrincessOnce upon a time, a king’s daughter loved dogs as her dearest friends. She had all manner of species about her all the time, and whenever she went for a walk, she always brought at least two with her. She trained the dogs herself along with her brother, who loved them almost as much as she did, and they spent all their free-time with them.

One afternoon, the princess decided to train one of the newest puppies, so she set off on a walk with Klitus and Grimus, two old, wise dogs, and OrangeYellowBlack, OYB for short, the frisky puppy.

“Shall I come with you?” asked her brother eagerly. He wanted to get out of a long meeting with his tutor. “OYB might be troublesome.”

She laughed at him. “I’m sure I can handle him,” she said, and made the prince watch her run away with the dogs while he had to go to his lesson.

The woods beside the palace were a golden green, full of playful shadows, butterflies, and trilling birds. She knew to stay only in this wood, since further on, against the very edge of her father’s kingdom, there was a deep, dark forest, ruled by a sorcerer.

 

OYB - The Dove Princess
OrangeYellowBlack, the frisky puppy

Klitus and OYB ran ahead, and then back again, and then on ahead. The princess practiced calling OYB’s name and making him learn to obey. Grimus plodded on patiently beside her – her loyal, faithful watchdog.

Out of the trees beside the path hobbled an old, ugly, hunchbacked man. He was pulling himself along with a gnarled staff, and grunting as he came. He did not seem to see the princess until he nearly ran into her, and she had to hop out of his way.

“Watch it! Ah, princess, I didn’t see you. Have a few coins for a poor old traveler?”

The Encounter in the Forest
The Encounter in the Forest

The princess was frightened by his awful appearance and brisk manner, but she was too polite to show it, and fumbled in her purse for some coins.

He stomped over to receive them and, as if by accident, hammered his staff into Grimus’s paw. With a squeal, Grimus jumped back and growled lightly in his throat. He did not like or trust this old man, and his paw pounded so painfully he could not walk on it, and had to limp on three legs.IMG-5755

“Oh, Grimus, my darling, are you alright?” The princess bent over her friend and the two other dogs danced excitedly nearby, unnerved by the event.

“Oh, terrible accident that,” mumbled the beggar. “Whoops. Didn’t see him!” He whirled about as if to help, sending his stick going in every direction and nearly whacking the princess’s head off. Though it missed her, it hit OYB in the rear, and with a cry of panic, the puppy took off running into the forest.

“Ho, there! All this fuss is putting me out!” cried the old man, but the princess ignored him and called and called for OYB to come back.

“Oh, where is he? OYB!” She was so upset that she ran after her lost puppy without a second thought, closely followed by Klitus. Grimus whined on the path, torn because he wanted to go too, but knowing he would be no help hobbling on three paws. So finally, he turned back toward home, leaving the beggar grumbling to himself on the path.

When he reached the palace, he barked like a mad pigeon, and everyone yelled and told him to be quiet, but he only got louder and louder, until the prince, who was studying geography and finding it exceedingly dull, heard the noise and ran downstairs.

“What is it boy?” he asked, and Grimus started limping back toward the forest. “Something’s wrong,” said the prince to himself, and followed after.

Grimus led the prince to the place where they had met the beggar, but there was no sign of him. So he began to sniff the ground, and then took off after his beloved princess’s scent.

To both their horror, the scent led them right up to the dark forest, and there, against the outermost tree, lay Klitus, dead.

Grimus whined and wept over his fallen companion, and the prince knelt beside him. “You must go home,” he whispered. “This is no place for an injured creature.” Grimus looked at him with large, worried eyes. “I’ll be alright, you know,” the prince assured him. “The sorcerer never harms young men.”

Dark ForestSo with his tail between his legs and his ears hanging past his mouth, Grimus trudged back to the palace, and the prince disappeared into the black shadows of the dark forest.

Immediately beneath those trees, day turned to night, and he could see no further than the stretch of his arm. As he searched for his sister, he began to despair. There was no sign of her. Instead, there was a big black toad the size of his fist sitting on a mushroom.

“Have you seen my sister?” he asked the toad.

“No,” he croaked. “All I see all day are the black flies that fly around my head.”

A little further into the forest, he found a lion. “Have you seen my sister?”

“No,” he growled. “All I see all day are the scuffling hogs I eat.”

Even further, a snake was coiled around a tree limb. “Have you seen my sister?”

“I have sssseen only the miccce that I sswallow whole.”

The prince searched for two more days until his strength relinquished itself to the weight of his desperation, and he fell to the ground and slept.

In his sleep, a dream came to him. He saw OYB run into the forest in fright, and his sister chase after him. He saw a mighty black crow fly across the gray sky and land in a tall, dark tower in the very middle of the forest. The crow changed into the evil sorcerer, the dark master of the land, and with a wave of his staff, he transformed the princess into a beautiful dove.

When the prince awoke, he no longer searched for a princess, but called out in a loud coo for a dove. Finally, a coo came back to him.

From the very tops of the trees flew down a bird on a single beam of light and alighted on his shoulder. He kissed its beak, and the dove nuzzled its head into his cheek.

“Oh, my dearest sister, how shall I save you from this fate?” he asked her. She cooed softly in response and a tear fell from her eye.

“I will save you!” he declared, and headed off for the black tower with his sister still on his shoulder. When they reached the mighty fortress, the prince banged on the door.

The Sorcerer's Dark Tower
The Sorcerer’s Dark Tower

“Sorcerer!” he yelled. “How can I save my sister?”

The sorcerer stuck his head out of the tower. “Go away!” he shouted, and disappeared back inside.

He pounded even harder. “Sorcerer, how can I save my sister?”

This time, there was no response. For ten minutes, the prince yelled and pounded. Finally, the sorcerer returned to the window.

“I said, go away! Or I’ll turn you into a dove!”

The prince pounded so hard on the door that the wood splintered in two, and then he ran up the spiral staircase.

When he arrived, the Sorcerer was very angry. “Go away, I tell you! Why do you test my patience? I’ll enchant you!”

The Dark Sorcerer
The Dark Sorcerer

“Everyone knows you do not enchant men. I’m not leaving here until you tell me how to lift her curse.”

The sorcerer groaned with annoyance, but he saw he could not get rid of this boy. “Very well,” he snarled. “You must leave her in this forest for three years. You cannot return home – instead, you will wander the world as a nameless beggar collecting one whole seashell from each ocean and stringing them into a necklace. After three years, if you put that necklace around her neck, she will turn back into a girl. Now go away and leave me in peace!”

The brother and sister said a tearful goodbye at the edge of the forest. Just as the prince turned to leave, however, he heard a tiny bark and from out of the foliage leapt OYB. With a coo of joy, the dove lighted on the animal’s head, and the prince left them together, relieved that his sister would have a friend in her exile.

At the first cottage he came across, the prince traded his rich royal clothes for the costume of the resident peasant, and then departed into the world to find the shells.

At the first ocean, he encountered a polar bear and wrestled with him on an iceberg until, finally, he overcame the beast and collected the shell. Just before reaching the second ocean, he faced a giant, evil koala bear who tried to kill him with a rifle. But the IMG-5756prince defeated the evil Koala, took the rifle for himself, and found his shell. At the third ocean, he strangled a sea serpent. At the fourth, he slew a gigantic spider. And finally, in the final year, when he had traveled, and suffered, and grown into a man, he came to the fifth ocean.

Evil Shark
Evil Shark

There, he picked up the final shell and threaded it onto the string he had worn around his neck for three years, then he sold the shark to local fisherman who could make use of its parts, and with the money from the sale, headed back to his own country.re, just as he bent to pick up the final shell, a giant shark flew out of the water and came right for his throat. He leapt back, pulled out the rifle, and with one single shot, killed it in the head.

He went straight to the forest, and there, right where he had departed from her all those years ago, he saw his sister waiting. He ran up, placed the necklace over her head, and she transformed instantly back into a princess. The sorcerer knew when his magic had ceased, and he flew instantly to where the prince and princess were embracing.

“I have completed your tasks!” proclaimed the prince.

The sorcerer had never expected to see the prince again, and he was very angry. But a promise was a promise, so he had to let them go. But before they did, he said to them, “You have escaped my power for now, but someday beware…I will come after your descendants.”

The brother and sister headed back to the kingdom with their now grown dog OYB, and their father the King, who thought both his children had perished years ago, received them with tears of joy.

The End

 

Keep a look out for future stories about the Sorcerer! Why doesn’t he enchant men? What will happen when he goes after the prince and princess’s descendants? Why is he always so cranky?

Images were made by myself and my four-year-old brother

Why I like that The Little Mermaid DIES

Check out my very first video essay! Wherein I compare the fairy tale to the Disney version, and talk about why I LOVE the ending of the original.

Halfbreeds Artwork

See the world of Halfbreeds through the author’s eyes.

I’ve created a couple of the iconic images from my novel that stick in my mind.

  1. First, here are some I did months ago.

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Above: Bobakin, in soft chalk pastel

Below: Dalimi, in soft chalk pastel

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I’m very happy with the way these turned out! I feel they get across the essence of their characters. It’s rare that I’m able to do just what I want with art, so I’m proud of this.

2. I keep going back to the barn for some reason – every image looks similar to how I picture it, and eventually, I’ll get one that looks exactly right.

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Above is a closeup of my first one that I did in colored pencils awhile back.

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Here is an oil pastel I did just the other day. The terrible forest is in the upper right corner. It’s rougher, but has more of the appropriate feel.

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I thought I was going to put the barn in this one, but turned into a stretch of the Terrible Forest. The hard copy is very heavy and shiny since it is done in thick oil paint.  I was out of blue paint, so I had to be creative with the sky, but I think I like this better. It brings across the true feel of the forest.

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3. I wanted to work the title into the wheat field, so here’s the logo in colored pen! I used up an entire blue pen on this one. 🙂

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4. Finally, here is a sketch I did of Cornanam a long time ago. I waited to post because I kept thinking I would finish it, but I just never got around to it. I like that he looks more savage than Bobakin – and yet, like he feels deeply.

 

Purchase the novel here.

Read an excerpt of the novel here.

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