Category Archives: The Grey House Trilogy

Chapter One, Again. The Grey House

“Hey, what’s your name?”

Natalia looked up to see three young boys checking her out. They were prepubescent, probably no older than ten. This neighborhood was supposed to be a rough one, but the boys looked nicely dressed. It wasn’t Sunday, therefore they weren’t headed to church, just looked nice. She nodded to the one who spoke to her.

“Hello. My name’s Natalie.” Close enough to it, anyway. “What’s yours?”

“Uh…” He seemed surprised that she answered. “Um… it’s Letto.”

“Short for stiletto?”

He nodded once. “Yeah.”

“Cool. How can I help you?”

“What are you doing here? People don’t usually stop here and draw.”

She had a sketch pad in front of her, and some drawing pencils, but only as a ruse. She was trying to draw, but art was not her strong suit. She was sitting in a neighborhood park, but Letto was right, no one came here to just sit. So far though, the only people who had bothered her were these boys, and the park offered her a rather good view of Lucas Stevenson’s home. It’s why she chose to sit here.

Natalia looked to the three boys and all three met her eyes. There was no hostility, just a bit of curiosity. She felt that was a good sign, but still didn’t want to give too much away.

“I’m trying to draw a house. I’m not very good at it, but a friend of mine really likes the house and I wanted to try it out.”

Letto looked at her oddly. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I like him.”

He frowned a bit. “That’s weird.”

“OK. Still going to do it.”

“What house you drawing anyway?”

“The one with the really nice lawn, and all the trees.”

He gave her an odd look. “Oh, no! You don’t want to do that! That’s bad voodoo. Lucas is crazy. You don’t want his bad voodoo infecting you too!”

She looked at the boys in surprise as they all three chipped in to the description of Lucas Stevenson.

“He never comes out. When he does, the air doesn’t smell right for a week!”

“Man never eats!”

“Man never sleeps!”

“He locks his trash cans.”

“I’ve heard, if you visit him, no one ever sees you again!”

“That man is whacked and anyone who knows him is also whack!”

This went on for a few minutes. Natalia listened, nodding the entire time. Slowly, she reached up to her necklace and started twirling the silver beads. One by one, the boys were caught in the sparkling beads. She started to speak.

“Thank you for that information boys. I have to be on my way, and so do you. You’re going to leave first, and you’re going to forget all about this conversation. If anyone asks what we talked about, you’ll say I seemed like a fool. Now go.”

The boys scattered. Natalia stood as she stopped twirling her necklace. She picked up the sketch pad and pencils and walked toward Lucas Stevenson’s house. Enough was enough, she needed to know who this man was.

A few months ago, she found her mother in bad shape. Marnia was dating a man named Donald who might or might not be a vampire. Natalia was trying to find out more information on whether or not vampires existed, and how to kill them if necessary. She felt Donald might be using her mother for blood, but wasn’t sure how to tell and how to help her

Lucas Stevenson had taken some books from a private church library that might have some information she needed. The librarian seemed to think he would return the books eventually, but Natalia didn’t want to wait. She was here to confront him, and maybe find an ally, or at least someone she might talk to. It was rare to find someone willing to talk about the odd things that occurred in the world, the things the news failed to mention, or always seemed to report incorrectly.

Putting on a brave face, Natalia walked to his house and knocked on his door. Then knocked again. She was about to knock a third time when the door finally cracked open. An eye peered out at her. Even through the small crack of the opened door, she encountered the stench. It smelled a little like rotting meat and incense. The eye narrowed.

“What do you want?” The voice was not pleasant.

“I’m looking for Lucas Stevenson. He took some books from the St. Benedict’s.” She tried to sound pleasant, but the stench was too much.

“What are you? Apprentice nun?” The door opened a little more and she saw part of a clean-shaven face.

“No, I just wanted-”

The door opened fully. “I recognize you. You’ve been reading my books.”

The man standing before her was impeccably dressed. He sported a clean white shirt, a black tie, black dress pants and black shoes. He was the same height as her but thinner. Natalia reached for her necklace. Nicely dressed or not, he made her uncomfortable.

“Well, that’s the point. They’re not your books. They belong to St. Benedicts.”

Lucas regarded her for a moment, frowned, then pulled her inside. He closed and locked the door behind them. The house was as spotless as the man. The stolen books were on a table by the door. She wondered if he had been about to return them. Other than the table, there was a couch and loveseat set, a recliner, and a television set half obscured by books.

“I know you.” His voice changed. Natalia went back to twirling the necklace, trying to control him.

“You said; from the church.” Her voice became melodious as she tried to clear her mind.

He shook his head. “Not just from the libraries. They told me about you. You’re the one walking the edge.”

She stopped twirling the necklace and her mind began to race. “Walking the what?”

“You came to the right place. I can show you what you need to know. Then you’ll make the right decision.” He indicated the couch. “Will you stay and talk?”

He sounded normal again, and the desire to talk to someone about what she suspected was too tempting. Natalia took a seat at the end of the couch closest to the door. Lucas left the room and came back carrying an old book. Its leather binding looked frayed, showing years of use. He sat in the recliner, turned toward her, opened the book and started reading.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Natalia started off sitting on the edge of the couch, waiting expectantly for an answer. As the hour passed, she slowly leaned back further and further, disappointment seeping into her very being. If the answers were in the book, she would have found them the first time she read the Bible.

At the end of an hour, Natalia sat up and cleared her throat loudly. “Look, Lucas. If this is all you want to discuss, I’m going to go. I’ve heard this all before. The answers are not there.”

Lucas looked up from the ancient Bible, anger buzzing in his eyes. “You will sit and listen to the Word. The answers are in here, you just have to listen for them.”

Natalia stood, a little nervous. It was a mistake to seek him out. She needed to leave. “I appreciate your hospitality, but I think I’ll…” she thought quickly, watching as he became angrier, “study the Bible on my own. Much better than someone reading it to you. More time to ponder the words and meaning. Bye.”

They reached the door at the same time. He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “If you will not listen, will you at least look?”

His mood swings were dizzying. “Look at what?”

“What you’ll become if you do not listen to the Word.”

Natalia didn’t answer but let him pull her along. If he had something trapped…. She had read about many different creatures in the past two months, but Donald was the only possible non-human she had ever encountered. She wanted to see something real, something concrete.

Lucas took her to the door at the end of the hall and stopped.

“This is the face of the devil.” He took out a key, unlocked then opened the door.

There was a silver cage in the center of the room. In the cage was a naked man. Lucas became angry again. “Show her your true form BEAST!”

The man simply sat huddled in a corner trying not to move. Lucas grabbed her arm and led her to within inches of the cage. “I know how to make you change.”

Lucas left, closing the door behind him. Natalia ran to the door, tried to open it. It was locked. Fear and uncertainty filled her. She should never have come here. “Fuck.”

“Hey. Name’s Charlie.” Natalia looked to the man in the cage. He still hadn’t moved. “You want to get out of here?”

“Yes.” Her tone of voice mirrored her near panicked state.

“You help me, I help you.”

Natalia took three deep breaths, wondering how much time they had as she fought back tears. “What do I do?”

“Get on top of the cage, grip those bars,” he pointed them out, “and pull real hard.”

Blood dotted his arms. Actually, Natalia realized, there were spots of blood all over him. Nodding she took a good look at the cage. The bars were spiked with little shards of metal, probably silver. Natalia looked at the man in the cage. Did Lucas think Charlie was a werewolf?

A door slammed at the other end of the hall. Natalia looked at Charlie then vaulted onto the cage. Using a gymnastics trick, she lightly touched the bars with her hands, managing to barely scratch her palms. She landed on the top bars in a crouched position, grateful now for the spikes, which gripped her rubber-soled canvas sneakers. She stood, turned around, braced her feet on two bars shoulder width apart, and crouched down. Natalia grabbed the bars Charlie indicated and pulled up. Nothing happened. She could hear Lucas. He was almost to the door. No longer caring about the spikes she repositioned her feet, leaned forward, grabbed the bars and pulled hard.

Lucas opened the room door just as the bars pulled up. Because Natalia’s bloodied hands could no longer grip the bars, she fell back against the top of the cage screaming as the spikes bit into her back, butt and legs. She heard a masculine scream and tried to get up. There were strange growling noises and snarls coming from the door. Natalia wanted to know what was happening, but couldn’t get up without hurting herself more. After hearing more snarling, she finally braced herself, pivoting to sit across the bars rather than straddling them, feeling her jeans and skin rip.

Finally, in a better position, Natalia sat up, ramming a bloodied hand into her mouth to stop the shriek. A deformed bipedal creature with boils and mangy, ragged fur had its snout buried in Lucas’s torso. Its claws, about the length of her lower arm, were pierced deep into Lucas’ chest and thigh. Natalia’s other hand went to her mouth and she gave a strangled cry. The thing looked up at the noise. It stood up and changed as it approached, its matted hair receding quickly into its skin. It was Charlie by the time it reached her. He reached his hands toward her arms and pulled her hands out of her mouth. He sighed as he spoke.

“Welcome to Hell.”

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The Grey House edits

Ah, the joys of edits and rewrites! Fuck them both. Seriously, editing and rewriting both suck. Sort of. I like rereading things I have written, even enjoy finding mistakes. The problem sometimes comes when a major rewrite is needed and I have no idea where to go.

That’s when I ask friends for advice.

I’ve started rewriting The Grey House, as I have mentioned before. The book originally starts with Natalia’s birth. I have a large number of chapters that are showing not telling that needed to go, according to my faithful frienditors (friend + editors). “Place them in flashbacks” was the advice. Sure! I can try that. And I did try. But then I came across six chapters all in one chunk that I had to flashback to.


Nope. Even I know that is straight up a bad idea. I was at a loss. I asked a friend and fellow writer what I should do. She said the best advice I have gotten, “Start it in action.”

Don’t take out the first 14 chapters like the others suggested. If the six chapters make sense to leave in, leave them in. Because she agreed: a six chapter flashback is BAD idea. But, if it is not something I want to leave out and I can have it start with action, then I should leave it in.

“Start with action” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot as a writer. It means to start with something that draws the reader in. I was able to find that. I was able to find a start point, and keep those six chapters at the beginning of the book, where they belong.

What does this mean? Well, it means I’m getting closer to finishing the rewrite. It also means the first chapter of The Grey House that I shared is no longer the first chapter.

This is what happens sometimes. But don’t worry. I will share the new first chapter with you. No waiting for x amount of people to Like my page. It will be posted here in a few days. I’m on vacation right now and not sure when I’ll have time, but I will do what I can. If you DO like the first chapter, please share with your friends and encourage them to either “Like” my Facebook page, or follow my web site. My goal is to make enough money off my books that I no longer have to have a day job. Need more fans for that to happen.

Thank you for your patience in this trying endeavor and thank you to Kathleen Tresemer, fellow writer and all around good egg, for her advice.

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The Grey House Chapter One

Natalia looked around the bar from her perch on the second floor. The bar, named Lava, wasn’t too large. There was room for about three hundred people in the two-level establishment. There were tables along the walls, but not many. There were more upstairs, along with couches to promote a more relaxed atmosphere.

The size of the place meant it was crowded, but not overly so. She could duck behind people if she needed to, and still keep an eye on her target. She almost laughed at the word. He wasn’t really her target, but she couldn’t think of a better word.

As the DJ switched from one song to the next flawlessly, Natalia took a sip of her soda and looked around again. She sat on a couch on the second level, watching as people walked through the door. From her perch, she could clearly see the front entrance.

“Hey. You don’t look like you’re having fun.”

Natalia placed a smile on her face and tried not to be irritated at her best friend. Bethany didn’t know what Natalia’s true reason for being here tonight, but that was all right. Bethany was oblivious to the world around her, and Natalia planned to keep it that way.

“I’m having fun. I had a rough day. All I want to do is sit and people watch.” She gave Bethany a real smile. “I did warn you I wouldn’t be much fun.”

Bethany leaned back on the couch. “You haven’t even danced. The songs are pretty good and there are a bunch of people dancing. Come on. One dance!”

Natalia laughed as Bethany’s lighthearted attitude washed over her. “All right.”


Natalia left her perch with Bethany and headed downstairs. She wasn’t looking to approach the vampire tonight, therefore it didn’t matter too much if she missed seeing him. She wanted mostly to make sure he was the type of vampire she could approach. His social media pages made him out to be a rather nice person, but that didn’t mean anything. His pages never once mentioned his true age or the fact that he was a vampire. She didn’t think it was smart for a vampire to use social media, but for some reason, he did.

As Bethany and Natalia found a good spot, Natalia took a deep breath and let her worries go. She would be back in two nights to look for him without Bethany. It would be easier then.


Tony Lam looked like his profile picture. His short, dark hair was tousled, as if the wind had blown it around. He had an easy smile that reached his eyes; a good sign. He was dressed in dark jeans and a plain green t-shirt. He walked around the bar, talking to people and seemed to know one or two. He engaged in conversation with the bartender and ordered a beer in a bottle. From her perch, Natalia watched him carefully and noticed that though he carried the drink around, he never drank from it.

She planned on staying in her perch upstairs for an hour or two, to simply watch him. She had a tablet in hand and occasionally took pictures and typed. She had a fake social media page and blog site up, in case anyone asked what she was doing. She would show curious onlookers her page and let them know she was trying her hand at blogging local events. All the while, she kept Tony Lam in sight, to see what he was up to.

At the end of her two hours, Natalia got up and left the bar. She had watched him enough and he was starting to act as if he could feel her eyes on him. Satisfied, but not yet ready to approach, she knew she would be back. He liked coming to Lava when there was a DJ. The DJ was there Tuesdays and Thursdays. She would be back next week to watch him some more.


Natalia watched Tony Lam for three weeks before she felt ready to approach him. It was late on a Thursday and he was carrying around a second drink. He had stepped into the bathroom a few minutes earlier with a nearly full drink. He came out with no bottle and ordered a second one. She was pretty sure he dumped out his beer in the bathroom sink. He never drank anything.

After he had his second drink in hand, she watched as he stepped outside. It was a warm San Francisco night. There was a patio out back, with tables and chairs. Natalia followed him out, and walked right up to him. She tapped him on the shoulder and smiled.

“Hi. I think I’ve been following you on Instagram. You’re @LonelyTony, right?”

He laughed. “Yeah.” Tony smiled. “And who might you be?”

“Leslie Chander.”

He smiled again. “An actual name. I like that. Most people tell me their Instagram name. My name is Tony Lam.”

“I know. I found you on Facebook, too.”

He smiled. “I hope you’re not stalking me.”

Her eyes grew big in fake surprise. “Oh goodness, no! I saw you here awhile back and then thought I saw you online.”

Tony laughed. “No worries. Buy you a drink or something?”

“Um…” She wanted to turn the talk to something else, and looked around to see if anyone else was close by. A noise in the distance caught her attention, but faded too quickly. “Not really a drinker.” She turned back to him. “You don’t really seem to be either.”

They stared at each other for a moment before he put his drink down. “This doesn’t feel like a social call anymore.”

The noise came again and Natalia’s breath caught. The patio was fenced off, but faced an alley. The fence was shoulder high and was only there to keep people from wandering into the alley with a drink in hand. There were voices coming down the alley and she could now hear them.

“You’re sure he’s here?” The gruff voice chided.

“Yes. Check his Facebook.” This voice was younger.

“I don’t even understand what you said.”

Natalia looked around fast, noticed they were alone on the patio and turned back to Tony. “Are you full?”

He stepped back. “What?”

She glared, but kept her voice down. “Are you at full blood?”

Tony’s eyes went wide.

“There are Slayers coming down that alley. Probably looking for you. Are you at full blood?”

He looked beyond her to the people he could hear but not see, then back to the woman. “Yes.”

She grabbed him around the neck. “Jump!”

It was a command, said softly but firmly into his ear. He did as told, and jumped to the rooftop. Once there, Natalia let him go and peered over the edge. They were only two stories up and she could still see the men coming into the alley. Dean was in front, leading Zechariah. She breathed a sigh of relief and turned to Tony. She moved away from the edge and indicated he should do the same. When they were away from the edge, she realized he was appraising her.

“You know what I am.”

“Yes, and I offer you blood for getting us out of here, after you get us further.”

“And why don’t I just leave you here?”

“My name is actually Natalia. I have some questions I think you can answer. I’ve tracked you for some time, Mr. Lam and I’m willing to pay for the information I need.”

“What are you?”

“Human.” She said it without fear. Telling him what she was would give him nothing but advantages.

“And the people down below?”


He cringed. “You know them?”

“I work with them on occasion, but I don’t believe like they do.”

“How do I know I can trust you?”

“You don’t, but I did warn you about the Slayers. I’m not trying to get you killed. I’m trying to get some information and I can help you get out of the city.” Her hand strayed to her small silver beaded necklace, as she wondered if she would have to hypnotize him into helping her. She hoped she wouldn’t. She preferred allies.

“Why out of the city?” He crossed his arms.

“They’re hunting you and other old vampires. Not sure why, but I know they know who you are.”

He sighed. “Let’s go someplace safer. Looks like they’re going around to the front. They might be able to sense me.”

Her hand dropped from her necklace. “Where to?”

Tony picked Natalia up in his arms without a word and ran. After a few minutes of running and jumping, he stopped. When they stopped, he let her go and Natalia saw they were not in the same area, but still on a roof.


“Thank you.”

She leaned against the low wall around the edge of the roof. “You’ll want blood.”

He took a good look at the human. She was tense and her arms were crossed. Tony guessed she didn’t want to give him blood, but would. “Let’s take care of that after we understand what we both want.”

“That sounds fair.”

Tony leaned against the wall close to her. “How long have you been following me, really?”

“The Slayers have been looking for older vampires for a while. I think they’ve known about you for a year or more. I tracked you down quicker.”

“Why me?”

“Well, Mr. Huang Lam, you’ve been in San Francisco a very long time. Like I said, I think you can help me with information. I tracked you here about three weeks ago.”

“I haven’t heard my first name in a very long time.” He shook his head. It was obvious she had done her homework. “I thought someone was watching me. I thought it might be Slayers.”

“They may have been. They don’t always tell me who they’re watching.”

“Don’t trust you?”

“Not entirely.”

“Do they know you work with both Slayers and vampires?”

“No, and I’d like to keep it that way.”

“Ok.” He gave her a skeptical look. “What are you looking to find out?”

“I’m trying to find the vampires that are running this city. I heard there were a few vampires in this area that have been here since the city was founded. I wanted to talk to one who might be able to give me information on the newest problem. Do you happen to know who is trying to be in charge?”

Tony thought about it for a moment. “I don’t have his last name, but there’s a vampire named Christopher who seems to have taken control. He’s been sending people out to try and get others to join him.”

“Why won’t you join him?”

“I don’t like groups. Most vampires don’t like being controlled by other vampires. I don’t know how he’s doing it. I have a feeling he’s killing the older ones off and changing new ones, forcing them to live how he wants.” He shook his head. “The thing is, Christopher seems to have left the area. Edwin is in control now.”

“Is Edwin older?”

“No. Fairly young.”

“I’ve heard rumors of another vampire in the area. An older one. A lot of Slayers think he’s the one who’s really in charge.”

Tony frowned at her. “Who?”

“Vincent Grey.”

Tony laughed. “Vincent isn’t with them. He reached out to me; offered me safety and money if I joined his team.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“Told you: don’t like other vampires.”

“What do you know about Vincent?”

“I don’t have too much information. I know he owns a couple places in the area. I can tell you the names of his businesses, and you can find out more on your own.”

“Ok, what are the names?”

“No, this is where we negotiate. What can you do for me?”

“Blood or money.”

He frowned at her. “Don’t play stupid. You’ve already proven you’re not.”

Natalia nodded her agreement. “Human has to try.”

He laughed. “All right. Of course, I want your blood. Especially since you’ve already offered. As for money, I was changed when I was a railroad worker in the late 1800s. I learned to save. I need a place to go. If you want the information, you’ll get me contacts out of the city, away from here.”

She didn’t even pause. “Where?”

“How far East can you get me?”

“I know a couple people in New York, one in Boston.”

“Friendly to my kind?”

“I wouldn’t have listed them if they weren’t.”

“How soon can I leave?”

“You tell me the information I want, I’ll send you a private message on Facebook, under the Leslie Chander profile.”

Tony thought about it for a moment, then nodded. “Blood first.”

She nodded, took a deep breath and held out her arm, hoping he wouldn’t demand blood from her neck. It was more dangerous if he took from her neck. Tony came closer, took her arm in his hands and bent to bite into her tender flesh. He bit her inner arm, near her elbow. She winced at the pain, but didn’t pull away as he drank a few swallows of her blood. When he pulled away, she covered her arm with a cloth handkerchief she pulled from her back pocket.

Tony licked his lips and smiled. “Vincent owns a restaurant called The Ocean’s Edge and a nightclub called The Red Thread. Other business too, but I don’t know them all.”

She nodded and pulled her phone out of her front pocket. She entered the information into her phone then went to Facebook and sent him the information. Natalia looked to Tony.


He grabbed his own phone out of his pocket and checked his messages. There were two names and their contact information. He nodded. “Thanks.”

“You sure you don’t need anything else?”

“I want to know more about you, but I don’t think there’s time for that.”

“Even if there was, I wouldn’t tell you much.”

“Fair.” He looked around. “You know where you are?”



With that, he was gone. It surprised Natalia how fast he could disappear. She shook her head then looked around and found the entrance to the stairway. The door was locked, but that didn’t stop her for very long. She was on the street and on her way home shortly after Tony Lam left. By the time she arrived home, she already had a message from one of the contacts she gave Tony. She told her contact Tony needed a safe place to go and the contact thanked her. After that, the message ended. If she had been in distress, the message would have been far different. Knowing Natalia had given the name freely, the contact was no longer worried and would invite Tony Lam into their home and help him get settled.

That taken care of, Natalia searched for Vincent’s businesses online and found a lot more information than she thought possible. When she searched his name before, without the business names, she came up with too many results. The business names narrowed the results to one person. She found public records on his businesses in the area. She also found his current birth certificate and a photo ID. Vincent Grey’s information stated he was in his 30s, but the photo was terrible. Still satisfied with the night’s work, Natalia readied for bed. She had a meeting with Zechariah and the other Slayers early the next day.

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Rewriting Chapters

When I first wrote The Grey House trilogy in 2005-2006, I included the main character’s life starting at birth. Now, I am taking that information and placing it as flashbacks through the rest of the book. Much harder than you would imagine.

Why am I doing this? Well, I’ve had six or more people read the trilogy as ‘readers’ and ‘editors’. All of them let me know the story would be better if the story started at chapter fourteen.

When I hand over something for people to read, if 3 or more people tell me something needs to be changed, I know I need to listen. Therefore, I am attempting to move things around and re-write the beginning.

Incidentally, if I do get 200 people to like my writer page on Facebook, the first chapter I’ll release is the new chapter, not the old one.

Well, enough procrastinating. Back to attempting to rewrite chapters. Grrrr.

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tl;dr 200 Facebook likes on my writer page = release of the first chapter of my upcoming vampire trilogy

Facebook has been notifying me of views on my writer page. I’m not sure if that is reflecting new people who have not “Liked” my page yet, or if it is people that have already “Liked” my page and are just there to see if anything new is going on.

Either way, I wanted to write something to say “Hello” and let people know that though I am inconsistent on when I post something new, I am still in fact using this page, my site and still working on the release of my new trilogy, “The Grey House”.

About the trilogy: Though it is done, the beginning needed some rework. That is what I’m working on.

Finished you ask? So, we won’t have to wait for you to finish writing the second and third one after you publish the first one? Well, not as much as you’ve had to wait for “The Elven Prince Part 2”. (No, “The Elven Prince Part 2” is not done. No, no idea when it will be done. Sorry. But thank you for wanting to know what happens.)

For “The Grey House”, yes, it is complete. I will publish the first book, six months after that I will publish the second one, six months after that, I will publish the third one. They will be published on DriveThruRPG. Why there and not Amazon with this one and this one? The trilogy is connected to a gaming book someone I know put together, which is published on that site. You can check out his stuff here. Since it is based on his world, I thought if fitting to place the trilogy on DriveThruRPG.

As a way of saying “Hello” to the new people out there viewing my page, and a “thank you” to those who continue to follow me, I would like to share some of the trilogy with you, but I would also like to see if I can bring more fans to my page.

Here we go: Once my Facebook page hits 200 “Likes” I will post the first chapter of the trilogy here on

I’m currently at 174. So, get your friends and family to “Like” my Facebook page, and do it yourself if you haven’t already. The first chapter awaits.

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