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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Horror Book to Read: THE DREAD OWBA COO-COO by M.C. Norris

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/the-dread-owba-coo-coo/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 12/8/14 – 1/5/15
Genres: Horror, Historical, African-American Lit
Release Date: 11/15/14
Available Free With Kindle Unlimited!






Blurb:
It’s a snapshot from the darkest chapter in human history. A crippled slave ship, dismasted in the heart of the Middle Passage, comes to resemble a hellish island where there is no escape from the suffocating heat, from the circling sharks, from each other. But there is something else in their midst. Something ancient. Something evil.
Based on real events from the slave trade era, this intelligent approach to the zombie origin pursues a fly-borne plague to its African roots through a series of letters, log entries and balanced narratives from European and African perspectives, to an ancient pact forged between a dying Vodu witch and Sakpata, the god of disease. The product of the dark bargain is a creature both beautiful and terrifying to behold, relying on bloodsucking insects and a booming slave trade to spread its bloodline overseas to the shores of its new homeland, an island known as Hayiti.

Excerpt:
Vincinte Madeira is escorted down to the Main Deck. They’ve moved a furnace down there, where a heifer is being butchered. Kettles of rendered fat boil and froth over their rims. Kneeling tanners rise and fall upon the hides like Mohammedians, scraping their fleshing blades with the regularity of lapping waves. Sailcloth is spread all around them, beneath heaps of boned flesh and innards. It looks as though a cow has exploded.
Vin-cin-tay!”
Madeira’s gaze climbs the walls to the Quarterdeck, where the gray-green corpses of those three unruly Negroes continue to sway from stretched necks, their bellies distended like wormy pups. They turn on their shoulders with the rhythm of the ship’s lilt and pitch, like a troupe of necrotic dancers depicted on some painting from the black plague era. As the Redlowe crests a wave, all three corpses leap from the wall to kick up their feet and clap their putrid hands.
Vin-ciiiin-taaaay!” High above, Joaquim waves from the Quarterdeck.
Guardsmen seize Madeira by his upper arms and drag him on his heels past the furnace of boiling fat. There, they bind his wrists and ankles to the great stump of their fractured masthead. Joaquim disappears from the sky’s edge. Below, an accordion player picks his way through the piles of boned meat, eyes closed, pumping away at his queer instrument as if he were strolling the starlit boardwalks of some Venetian canal.
For Madeira, the odor of rendered fat is richly nostalgic. The brothel where his mother worked served a chowder of shellfish and beef marrow. On the days the marrow was rendered, the brownish bovine essence would permeate every fiber of his clothing. He would smell it for days after the last bowl had been consumed. It was disconcerting to consider that although the last scrap of the bygone beast had been ingested, its spiritual presence lingered still on the longcoat of the son of a whore.
Joaquim appears atop the ladder, following the Slavemaster, Duarte Davila, down to the Main Deck. Madeira closes his eyes and breathes savory steam in and out through his nose. His heart rate quickens. Spanish spurs ring over the braying accordion, and ever more sharply as the Slaver draws near. The bootsteps stop, a short distance away. Madeira opens his eyes.
Smiling, Joaquim slips through the steam behind Davila. He creeps past the row of bobbing tanners toward the pile of boned meat. The Slaver withdraws a cat-o-nine from his sash. He presses the coils of leather to his nose, inhaling with such ecstatic force as to suggest the braids contained the antidote to a malady with which he was afflicted. The whip’s tails, black as the heart of Africa, glisten in his fist like a nest of vipers. No doubt, he tanned this leather from the hide of some unusual beast, for nothing about this scourge of humanity be affected with the ordinary. Unlike the ephemeral odor of a bull rendered to chowder, the spirit of whatever black-skinned creature was immortalized into the coils of the Slaver’s whip should outlast the remains of its screaming victims. Woven into its oily braids are ivory stars of intricate design, likely whittled from the same bone from which the weapon’s handle was fashioned. ‘Tis about the girth of a human femur.
Davila lowers the writhing leather mass into a kettle of boiling lard. Displaced foam spills over the side. Yellowish ropes of fatty froth hiss and spit as they slither down the scalding metal. Before they ever reach the deck, they have evaporated into pearly trails. Davila lifts the flails from the pot and lowers them to a pile of Guinea salt at his feet. He rolls them back and forth until each sting is wholly encrusted. Davila’s spurs sing with every step. His whip drags behind him like a cord of salted slugs. “There was once a guardsman at Axim who allowed himself to be overtaken by the Negroes, moments before the dungeon was locked-down for the night. I found what was left of him the next morning. What remained of that man had to be collected in a scuttle tub. That was fascinating to me, what enraged men are capable of doing to another with their bare hands. I salted and preserved those discorporate parts for the purpose of making a keen point in the training of that gentleman’s replacement. So, tell me your story, Pirate. How did you manage to survive your night below deck with them?”
Panting as though physically exerted, Madeira maps the barber surgeon’s scarred face. One of Davila’s eyes, he just notices, is distinctly hazel, while the other is a murky green. This is no man standing before him. It cannot be. It is a daemon that barely manages to retain its human form. “They presumed me an officer. I was protected by a few who believed that to save my life would assure their freedom.”
And which charter would that be?”
Sir?”
Which Negro race did shelter you from the rest?”
“’Twas a mixed lot, Sir. Not any one Race that I could tell.”
Davila dipped his chin. “And what of the missing pistol?”
A pistol, Sir?”
Aye. You know of it. Copper fluting with a scrimshaw grip. A finer weapon than I ever did own. Where is it?”
We were separated in the skirmish … it was dark, Sir.”
Davila takes three steps back and turns, all too naturally, into a flogging stance. “Negroes are not subtle creatures, pirate. Whoever stole that pistol would’ve trumpeted it all throughout the hold, leaping about and chanting, he’d have been. Aye, if there’s one thing I know well, pirate, it’s Negroes.”
The Slaver intends to whip him to death. Biting down on the insides of his cheeks, Madeira beseeches the Heavens. Stinging droplets roll into his eyes. “If this is about the journal, then dispose of it. Throw it overboard.”
Eh?”
I know you have it, and you’ve every right to be disappointed with the content. Destroy it. Destroy it and let me work for you, earn my keep. You’re desperate for able hands.”
I’ve no airthly idea what you mean, pirate.” The Slaver grins. “I’ve acquired no journal.” With a delicate flip of his wrist, Davila unfurls nine braids across the timbers.
 
Buy Link:
Amazon



About the Author:
M.C. Norris is an Active HWA member, whose first four novels, all published by Severed Press, are slated for release in fall of 2014: Deep Devotion (09/01/14), Krengel & the Krampusz (11/01/14), The Dread Owba Coo-Coo (11/15/14), and Nod (TBA).  His nineteen short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines and e-zines, including: Withersin, Wrong World DVD, Brainharvest Magazine, Pseudopod, Malicious Deviance, and Dead Bait.  M.C. Norris also won 5th in Chizine/Leisure Books 13th Annual Short Story Contest.

Connect With The Author:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Amazon Author Page

Giveaway:
Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Open WW, 12/8/14 – 1/5/15. Enter through Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Updates

Due to work and a killer schedule, I've had to neglect the pleasures in life, including ghost hunting and reading. The end is not in sight yet but hopefully someday soon I can get back to my paranormal trips and blogging.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dragons In Pieces Blog Tour: Giveaway, Excerpt


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 1/27/14 - 2/24/14

Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure







Blurb:


All Bobby wanted was a girl to come home to after a hard day of work. Like the last one said before she left, he was going exactly two places - no and where – and he was happy with that. But somebody had other plans for him. A murder. The Terrorist Watch List. For what? Underage drinking? Things couldn't possibly get worse. Right?

Oh yes, they could.

A lot.

He wouldn't believe superheroes were real if he wasn't one himself.

Tiny robot dragons send him chasing his humanity and his future, on the trail to discovering his past and a place to call 'home'. If he's lucky, maybe he can get a beer there.





Excerpt:



It was Matthew, they recognized him from the photos. He wore jeans and nothing else. Every part of him left bare was smeared with blood and his eyes were panicked, terrified. It took him a moment to register both that the kitchen light was on and two strange men sat at his table, then he freaked out. In the space of perhaps two seconds, the jeans disappeared, his body grew muscles and fur and claws, his head reshaped with a fanged snout. He was easily nine feet tall and the scariest damn werewolf Bobby ever saw, probably because he was in the room with it, and it wasn’t just a costume.



The swarm was a much better place to be, and Bobby went there. Stephen, though, seemed calm, saying, “How apropos that a vampire and a werewolf should fight this close to Hollywood. With dragons, to boot. I wonder if we’ll attract any orcs or fairies.”



Matthew let out a loud roar and jumped at Stephen, the two of them started fighting. Bobby, unable to get into it much without causing a problem for Stephen, got the dragons to open the door a crack so ten could slip out and keep watch. If someone was coming, he wanted to know about it before they arrived and got involved. It seemed clear that Stephen could hold his own against this thing, but who knew how much they’d beat each other up before one of them lost. To try to help the odds, the dragons went in for the werewolf’s legs.



The little critters couldn’t really do much more than annoy Matthew, they found his skin to be much too tough for their little teeth. He’d be scratched up later, but not really injured from this assault. They had to be careful, too, to avoid getting hurt themselves. Stephen threw the werewolf into the fridge, Matthew returned the favor by tossing the vampire through an inner wall, putting Stephen in the bedroom unexpectedly. They did what Bobby thought of as wrasslin’, except for the fangs and claws and superhuman strength they both apparently had. It carried them back through the apartment, wrecking it as they went, until Stephen was thrown through a window and Matthew chased after, like a dog going after a stick.



Now it was public. There was a very real chance that one or more of Matthew’s neighbors noticed the initial noises and already called someone about it, but Bobby was willing to bet this spectacle would get some attention. He could almost imagine the call to the police. ‘Officer, there’s two costumed freaks wrasslin’ around outside, making a heckuva ruckus!’ Or however the locals would say that. The swarm followed them out, keeping a watch all around. There just wasn’t anything he could think of to do that would actually help Stephen directly. Aside from how much nothing he could do to harm or even distract Matthew, he was terrified of what would happen if a dragon got crushed.



They were horribly loud. Matthew sounded like a giant angry dog, Stephen sounded somewhat like a person making large cat noises. Stephen made an effort at keeping them close to the apartment, but Matthew really enjoyed tossing the vampire for distance and chasing after him. Bobby suspected that Stephen would just have flown out of reach, but the goal was actually to subdue the werewolf, not just get away from him. As a result, Bobby discovered that Stephen could heal himself, but every time he did, he looked a little more haggard.



Things, of course, got worse. A police car screamed onto the scene, brakes screeching as it halted sideways to block their passage farther down the street. Bobby saw it coming, but couldn’t think of anything to do about it. Really, he was just as helpless as any other bystander here. When he had some time to breathe, he’d try things and see what he could do with his dragons in this sort of situation, but for now, he had nothing to contribute. It was an unpleasant feeling, one that reminded him a lot of how he felt when that needle went into his leg at Jasmine’s apartment, except that this just kept going on and he didn’t get the luxury of blacking out for any part of it.



Out of the car with his gun drawn, the cop shouted for the two men to freeze and get on the ground. Matthew had his attention drawn by the command, and Bobby reacted as he saw the werewolf bolting for the car. This was stupid, but he couldn’t let the cop get hurt just for being the one to show up. Faster than a speeding werewolf, Bobby re-formed right in front of the cop so Matthew could hit him instead. When the claws swiped through the space, Bobby exploded into dragons again, causing the sharp claws to pass right through empty air.



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About the Author:


Lee French lives in Worcester, MA with two kids, two mice, two bicycles, and too much stuff. She is an avid gamer and active member of the Myth-Weavers online RPG community, where she is known for her fondness for Angry Ninja Squirrels of Doom. In addition to spending much time there, she also trains year-round for the one-week of glorious madness that is RAGBRAI, has a nice flower garden with absolutely no lawn gnomes, and tries in vain every year to grow vegetables that don't get devoured by neighborhood wildlife.



Connect with Lee French:




Giveaway:

Author Lee French is giving away a print copy of Dragons in Pieces. Enter at Goodreads!






   

    Goodreads Book Giveaway  

   
        Dragons in Pieces by Lee French    
   
     

          Dragons in Pieces      

     

          by Lee French      

     
         
            Giveaway ends February 24, 2014.          
         
            See the giveaway details             at Goodreads.          
     
   
   
      Enter to win

Haunted Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana

Haunted Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana

I recently had the pleasure of actually sitting down and speaking with someone that had stayed at Myrtles Plantation. It was quite an accidental meeting, but during the course of our conversation, she spoke of this place.

She is an elderly woman, but she said one time her and a girlfriend spent the night. She went on to say that she wasn't into all the ghost stuff, but she could definitely say this plantation was haunted. I didn't have the opportunity to question her about what she experienced... But I definitely believe what she said.

If you watch any paranormal/ghost hunting shows, you know that Myrtles Plantation is considered to be one of the most haunted spots, ever.

Built in 1796, it's located in St. Francisville, Louisiana, a state that has more than it's own fair share of paranormal activity. They are a full service bed and breakfast, and you can stay there yourself.... But it's not cheap! Looking at their website, the rooms start out at $175 per night... And some rooms are more expensive than that.

I'd love to hear from other who have actually spent the night at this plantation. What were your experiences?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

God On Trial: A Short Fiction By Sabri Bebawi Blog Tour

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/suspense-book-tour-god-on-trial-by-sabri-bebawi-book-tour-dates-2414-3414/


Virtual Book Tour Dates:2/4/14 - 3/4/14
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Fiction, Philosophy




Blurb:



Convinced that God is a negative force, tormenting the helpless human race, an ailing English professor becomes determined to put the deity on trial. But when he’s diagnosed with schizophrenia, he soon succumbs to the damning madness and brutally stabs and kills his wife. And in the deadly manhunt that ensues, he is ultimately shot dead by the police. This prompts his grieving sister to follow through his life’s mission to bring God to justice.

Excerpt:

He’s now back home in California. It is another night. That tantalizing sensation overtakes his natural senses again. Growing up, he always felt a sense of discomfort that was unrelated to his illnesses, and he still feels it now. He never has been able to identify the source of his severe and unusual discomfort. He wonders whether it was his family, religion in general, or society, with its unscrupulous culture.
He thinks of his parents. “Sadly, They were at odds,” he hears himself utter. “And rightfully so.”
His mother was at home, taking care of five kids, and his father was either working or endlessly playing. His mother had a tender soul. She was simple, affectionate, and caring, and loved her children dearly. The child in him sees her before him as a pretty young woman with fair skin, brown hair, and large brown eyes. She stands by his bed; she is neither too tall nor too short and neither too slim nor too heavy, but she is mysterious. Though his mother probably never knew it, she has had an immense impact on his life that continues with him until this moment of certain hallucination.
He becomes fully awake. It is 2:25 a.m. He gets up and decides to make a cup of espresso forte. After breaking a couple of coffee cups, spilling coffee all over his kitchen counter and floor, and mumbling a few expletives, he cleans up. Now he is calm; now he will taste the fruit of his coffee-making adventure; he places the cup on his desk and starts to write.

I’m not sure my parents’ odd relationship had any effect on me. I was a happy child tormented by religion and religious people’s hallucinations. I was tormented by Egyptian hypocrisy. I’ve seen a great deal of hypocrisy, child abuse, infidelity, abuse of women, and abuse by the government, churches, and mosques.

He hears the voice of his mother; during his childhood she always read to him in bed before he went to sleep. Now she reads from the Bible. In both her wisdom and lack of awareness, she reads from the Book of Genesis and the Book of Revelations. This exposure to apocalyptic writing at a very young age has had a profound effect on him.
Being imaginative, and in this phantasmagoric state, he now experiences the same fright he experienced as a child. He returns to bed and suddenly falls asleep but is soon awoken by one of his many epileptic seizures. His body shakes uncontrollably, and his tremors seem to have a mind of their own.
As his attack gradually dissipates, he thinks of the savagery of God and questions why a peaceful God would be so cruel and nasty. These thoughts make him feel even more terrified. Since childhood he has been petrified of that entity referred to as “God.”
At age seven or eight, he developed an obsessive-compulsive disorder. He’d repeat the phrase “God forgive me” to himself all day until he went to bed. He kept this a secret because he had no idea how his mother, siblings, or Zakia would react. He remembers that he often went to Zakia, who was a Muslim, and asked her to hold him. She would oblige, and he would feel protected, even from that savage God.
He gets out of bed. It is 3:42 a.m. He makes another cup of espresso forte and sits at his desk, thinking. Again he writes.

This phase simply shaped my feelings about whether God does indeed exist. I often thought I’d be better than him or her or it, for I would not be as cruel, brutal, or malicious. Today I am an agnostic, and I can’t get myself to understand why anyone would believe in such a God as depicted in the holy books, including the Bible.
In addition to the Bible, there were other sources of great damage. Egypt is an Islamic country. I was exposed to and forced to learn about Islam and its holy book, the Quran, which is like the Bible in its catastrophic content. I was forced to learn about the Islamic laws, Sharia, even though I was a Coptic. I did so in schools, and I did so in everyday affairs. I was even forced to memorize and recite verses from the Quran, which also had a negative impact on me.
The daily prayers announced over loudspeakers, and coming from all directions, were a frightening experience for me. Everywhere in Egypt, between each mosque there is a mosque, and even that wasn’t enough. The radio broadcasted Quran readings repeatedly. Even today the memory of these sounds brings a deep downheartedness to my soul.
I remember Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind cleric who’s in a North Carolina prison now for conspiring to commit terrorism. His mosque was right behind our house. I remember Abdel-Rahman’s Friday sermons. He’d curse the Christians, Jews, and Americans (I don’t know why he cursed Americans) publically over a loudspeaker that echoed miles away. The sheikh would scream in a screeching, deafening voice, “May God burn them and displace their children, and may God burn their houses.” The congregation would repeat, “Amen.” And the pattern would continue.
This persisted for a long time. We were so used to it, however, that it didn’t bother us much. The amazing thing is that Sheikh Abdel-Rahman was a friend of my father’s. He often visited my father at his law firm and spent hours talking with him. My father considered him a harmless, kind man.
Well, for once my father was wrong. The sheikh always has been a terrorist, and he put his evil spirit into action. Fortunately he’s in prison now. I hope he never gets out.
He stops writing for a minute and wonders how the United States allowed that savage man to enter this country. Where was American intelligence? Didn’t they know how radical Abdel-Rahman was? This was simply bizarre. But the United States government overlooks such things so often that he wonders whether the word intelligence is fitting at all.
His mind is racing, and he grows exhausted with the burden of thoughts. Hoping for a few minutes of sleep, he goes back to bed. His hope materializes, or perhaps he thinks so; at the very least, he is semi-asleep.

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About Dr. Sabri Bebawi


The middle of five children, Sabri Bebawi was born in 1956 in the town of Fayoum, Egypt, where he attended law school at Cairo University. He then left Egypt for the United Kingdom. He was invited by Oxford University, where he spent some time, and never returned to Egypt. A few years later, after living and working in England, Italy, France, and Cyprus, he took refuge in the country he loved most, the United States.
In California he studied communications at California State University, Fullerton, then obtained a master’s degree there in English education. Later he worked at many colleges and universities teaching English as a second language, freshman English, journalism, and educational technology. He did further graduate work at UCLA and obtained a PhD in education and distance learning from Capella University.
Although English is his third language, he has published many works in English on eclectic topics. It has always been his ambition to write novels, and this is his first attempt. As English is a foreign language to him, the task of writing a novel has been challenging.
As a child, Bebawi struggled to make sense of religions and their contradictions; in fact he grew up terrified of the word God. As he grew older and studied law, as well as all the holy books, he developed a more pragmatic and sensible stance; the word became just that—a word.


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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Futuristic Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Leviticus by Daniel Seltzer


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 1/29/14 – 2/26/14
Genres: Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Futuristic, Nanotechnology



Blurb:





Science has created a world where anything is possible and everything is affordable.

A world where illness and disease have been eradicated.

What if you could be young forever?

What if you didn't want to?

Levi Clayton Furstman's decision not to be inoculated with technology designed to bestow youth and immortality leads him on a journey that forces him to reexamine his relationships, his purpose in life, and, ultimately, what it means to be human.

Excerpt:
The technology for TIN has been around for decades actually,” said the young man assisting Clay. The lanyard hanging around the youth’s neck displayed the words Rudy and Genius.
It had been almost eight months since his family had purchased him an iMeme as a birthday gift and they had finally worn him down and elicited a promise to have the TIN nanochip fitted today. Rudy was explaining how the process worked and it seemed to Clay the young man knew what he was talking about. Most of the Genius Bar staff did.
It uses the same technology the physically impaired use to transmit brain signals to a computer to perform specific functions. Your iMeme sits here on your Spot, or wherever you choose to keep it, and as long as it’s within a three-foot radius, it can transmit information to, or receive information from, the TIN, which is really just a cochlear nanochip placed in your inner ear. With two-way communication and the iMeme’s built-in nanocamera, the iMeme can perform any number of important functions.”
Clay was still nervous. “So you’re going to stick something in my inner ear? Right here?” he asked, looking around. “No doctor? No specialist?”
Trust me sir, I’m an Apple trained audiologist. I’ve done thousands of these. I simply place this device in your ear and the TIN nanochip will be inserted into your cochlea. Takes just a few moments.” Rudy put a smile on his face to try to reassure Clay.
That’s the problem, Rudy. I’m not too hip on you puncturing my eardrum with that thing. I mean, don’t doctors say that only thing you should put in your ear is your elbow?”
Sir,” Rudy responded. “The PSD will barely enter your outer ear.”
PSD? What’s a PSD?” Clay asked.
Rudy was clearly working to retain his patience. “Sir, the PSD is the Placement and Syncing Device,” he said, showing Clay the object in his hand. It looked to Clay like an ear thermometer with a small cable hanging off its lower end. Rudy pointed to the small tip protruding from the top of the PSD and continued. “A nano-needle extends from here into your inner ear and to the cochlea. The needle itself is thinner than the proboscis of a mosquito. Not only will you feel absolutely nothing, the procedure is so safe that even if the TIN were misplaced, there would be no harm done to you.” He saw the look of doubt on Clay’s face and added, “The TIN won’t be misplaced. I promise.”
Rudy put the PSD to Clay’s ear, pressed a button. Clay closed his eyes, expecting the worst. He felt absolutely nothing. A hopeful thought that the PSD was broken crossed his mind. He opened his eyes and turned to Rudy.
Listen, if there’s a problem, I can always come back.”
I’m sorry Sir. What was that you said?” Rudy asked, involved in hooking up Clay’s tiny iMeme to the cable dangling off the lower end of the PSD.
I said,” Clay started and then jumped slightly when he heard a gentle whisper in his ear.
iMeme now activated: November 13, 2021. 5:43 p.m.
Clay spun around to see who had spoken to him, but quickly realized it was no one, simply his iMeme communicating to him. Clay flushed slightly with embarrassment as he noticed Rudy grinning. Clay wondered whether everyone reacted as surprised or whether Clay was the random oddball. The idea of being looked upon as some sort of fool annoyed him. “What if I want to take the chip out?” Clay asked.
A puzzled look crossed Rudy’s face. “Take it out?”

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About Daniel Seltzer:

Daniel Seltzer holds a J.D. degree and a BA in English. He also holds an MA in Bioethics and previously worked at a major university researching the ethical, legal and social implications (“ELSI”) of nanotechnology. It was while working there that the idea for this story first took shape.

Connect With The Author:


Giveaway:

Author Daniel Seltzer is giving away 20 print copies of Leviticus and a $50 Amazon gift card! Enter through Goodreads and Rafflecopter! USA residents only, please.

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          Leviticus      

     

          by Daniel Seltzer      

     
         
            Giveaway ends February 26, 2014.          
         
            See the giveaway details             at Goodreads.          
     
   
   
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