The Story behind ‘Whistle Blower and Double Agents’ by Ruth Anderson

The Story Behind the Book

coverMy debut novel, a suspense spy thriller titled Whistle Blower and Double Agents, is inspired by actual incidents around the 200 pounds of uranium missing, or unaccountable, from a US nuclear power plant.  The question of responsibility pointed in many directions–the man who operated the nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, the CIA, and even the President. My employer at the time, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, held hearings where a lot of lying and cover-up ensued—at the expense of the brave and later maligned nuclear scientist who blew the whistle on the case.  I’m often asked why I believe there was a cover-up.  I interviewed the whistleblower at my house and was haunted by the stories for years. You see, the ‘whistleblower’ found out exactly what happened to the uranium, who was involved—and who received the ‘missing’ uranium.  Ultimately, I felt that this was a story that needed to…

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Book Review: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun, by Joan Schweighardt

The Last Wife of Attila the Hun by Joan Schweighardt is an ambitious, superbly researched, excellently written novel based on Germanic legends and the true life of Attila the Hun that will mesmerize fans of historical fiction. There isn’t a lot of fiction based on Attila, so being a lover of history I was instantly intrigued about reading the book.
The novel moves back and forth in time, interweaving two stories. In one, we meet Gudrun, a brave Burgundian noble woman with a lethal mission, destroy the infamous Attila the Hun. In the other, the reader travels to the past to learn the overwhelming events that brought Gudrun to this difficult, suicidal undertaking.
From the beginning, Schweighardt’s imaginative storytelling and attention to detail shine through the pages, bringing Attila’s fifth century landscape to life in all its gritty vividness. Characters are deftly drawn, and I found myself instantly sympathetic to Gudrun’s situation, as well as absorbed by the other characters. This was especially true of Attila’s second in command, with whom Gudrun develops an unusual relationship. Attila himself is portrayed in chilling detail.
Needless to say, I love the fact that the story is seen from a female perspective. At times, her focused obsession for revenge propels the tale at a breathless pace. Juxtaposing with her present life as Attila’s prisoner are her memories of her great yet tragic love with Sigurd.
I’m not surprised the novel has won awards and it’s been translated into other languages. Dark, mysterious, and beautifully layered, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun is filled with lust, revenge and passion, and comes highly recommended by this reviewer. If you’re a historical fiction enthusiast, this is for you.
Find out more about Joan Schweighardt here. Read my interview with her on Blogcritics. Purchase the book on Amazon.

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First Chapter Reveal: Scar Tissue by MC Domovitch

Scar TissueTitle: Scar Tissue
Author: MC Domovitch
Publisher: Lansen Publishing
Pages: 396
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Paranormal

When successful model Ciara Cain wakes up in hospital, remembering nothing of the weeks she has been missing, her only clues are the ugly words carved into her skin. According to the police she was a victim of the Cutter, a serial killer who has already murdered three women. For her protection the police and her doctors give a press conference, announcing that because her amnesia is organically caused, her memory loss is permanent. But, whether her memory returns or not is anybody’s guess.
Overnight, Ciara’s glamorous life is gone. Her scars have killed both her modelling career and her relationship with her rich boyfriend. With nothing to keep her in New York, she returns to her home town of Seattle, moves in with her sister and goes about building a new life. But when her sister lets it slip that Ciara’s memory is returning, the killer comes after her again. If Ciara is to stay alive, she must keep one step ahead of the Cutter.

For More Information

 

Chapter One:

 

I don’t want to die.

That single thought pounded through her mind as she hurtled through the woods. The blackness had dropped all at once, and now the trees were merely darker shadows against a dark night. The rain came down hard. Lightning cracked, sounding so much like a gunshot that she muffled a scream. But she had not been hit. She was still alive. She ran on.

Branches and bushes whipped at her, scratching her arms and legs. She tripped over an exposed root and crashed to the ground, but was back on her feet in an instant.

A brilliant flash of lightening was followed by thunder. Ka-boom. Everything that had been black a moment ago became white. Had she been spotted? No, surely not.

A crunching sound came from her right. She whipped her head toward it and picked up her pace. Her breathing was ragged, short puffs of steam in the frigid April air. It couldn’t have been more than fifty degrees. Sweat and rain mixed with the dirt and blood from her countless wounds and ran down her face and neck in rivulets. Thanks to the adrenaline pumping through her veins, she was numb to the cold and the pain, but she would feel it later—if she got out of here alive.

Please God, let me live.

But she’d had no real food for days, no water except the occasional sip. Her body couldn’t keep going much longer. She was close to collapsing.

Must. Keep. Going.

If she wanted to stay alive, she needed to put as much distance as possible between herself and her captor. She had no idea how long she’d been running or in which direction she was going. Had her kidnapper even noticed she’d escaped? Was that monster already on her trail, getting closer with every passing second? A horrendous thought came to her. She could be running in a circle, her every step bringing her closer to her jailer. A sob escaped her throat.

Dear God. Please. Please.

She squinted, trying to see through the inky night. There had to be a road, a house, something, and then she saw them. Some distance away there were lights, and her last vestiges of hope crashed.

Flashlights.

Had a posse been formed? Were they closing in on her? In her panic, she tripped and came down hard, again. This time she thought she might have broken an arm. She was crying now. She’d come so close. But she would be caught. And she would die.

She looked up at the lights moving through the trees, and blinked. Could her imagination be playing tricks on her? She stared, and in moment of clarity she understood. Those weren’t flashlights. They were headlights. Headlights meant cars, and cars meant a road. Just ahead, maybe a few hundred yards farther, lay safety.

She had to keep going. She struggled to her feet, cradling her sore arm. She made her way, pushing through brambles and bushes until she came to a steep embankment. She crawled up and then over the guardrail. A car whizzed by, blaring its horn.

“Wait. Stop!” she yelled at the next one when it was still a distance away, but it drove by too. “Help me!” she shouted after it. She limped into the road, determined to make the next one stop. Tires screeched. There was a thud. And then she went flying through the air, coming to a bone-crushing thump on the hard pavement.

Through the mist in her mind she heard the sound of running footsteps, then a woman’s voice. “Oh, my God. Is she dead?”

A man’s voice, pleading. “I swear. It wasn’t my fault. She ran right in front of me.”

The woman again. “I think she’s still breathing. Call an ambulance. Now!” She leaned into her. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

The words came to her from a great distance, growing further and further away, until they were only a faint echo. She drifted into nothingness.

 

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Book Spotlight: Cocktails and Mock-Tales by Julianne McLean and Mark Lynch

 

We’re happy to be hosting Julianne McLean and Mark Lynch’s new humor book, Cocktails and Mock-Tales!
About the Book:
Title:
Cocktales & Mock-Tales
Authors: Julianne McLean & Mark Lynch
Publisher: ASJ Publishing
Pages: 90
Genre: Humor

 

Cocktails and Mock- Tales is not just about alcoholic beverages. The book is about sensations that tickle your tastebuds and humour that tickles your fancy. It includes non-alcoholic beverages that the whole family can enjoy and even herbal recipes for the adventurous.
Have one extremely tall high ball glass and a giant cocktail shaker at the ready.
Ingredients:
Unlimited centilitres of wit and humour
9 cl or 3oz titillating snippets of history and gossip
Add flavours of exotic destinations
A dusting of spice mixed with satire
Several centilitres of high spirits (optional)
Shake with vigour. Garnish with an open mind and your own sense of humour
Now you are ready to truly laugh and savour Cocktails and Mock Tales!
Amaze your friends and family with your knowledge of the origins of international beverages and excite their tastebuds with these exotic
sensations.

For More Information

  • Cocktails & Mock-Tales is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

Daiquiri
The daiquiri is a family of cocktails of which the primary ingredients are white rum, lime or lemon juice and sugar.
The drink was supposedly invented by American mining engineer Jennings Cox who was in partying and experimenting in Cuba at the time
of the Spanish American War. Daiquiri is also the name of a beach and an iron ore mine near Santiago in Cuba.
Serves 1
6cl white rum
3cl lime juice
2cl sugar syrup
Sugar on the rim of the glass.
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Strawberry Daiquiri Mock-tail
Serves1
2 large strawberries
1⁄4 cup of white sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
¾ cup of chilled lemon lime soda
4 ice cubes
In a blender, mix the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and lime soda. Add the ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled Tom Collins
glass. Garnish with a slice of lime or lemon.

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About the Authors

 

Julianne has created & organized targeted national launches, press coverage, television appearances, publicity events and community service affiliations for a varied range of entities including: “Masai Barefoot Technology” – therapeutic footwear company; award-winning cartoonist Mark Lynch’s book – “How Green is MyPlanet” with forewords from Spike Milligan and David Suzuki; best-selling recipe book, “Barbies for Blokes” with recipes from celebrities such as Peter Brock, Jeff Fenech and Guy Leech and the sequel “More Barbies for Blokes” (These later
publications were co-authored by Julianne); John Gill, eight times World Martial Arts Champion and Hornsby Council’s sports complexes that won the national award for “Best Swim School Promotion”. Julianne has just produced directed and written a DVD for Holland America Cruise lines based on their exercise programs and is publishing her new book “Cocktails and Mock Tales”.
Visit Julianne McLean on Facebook!

Mark Lynch our Australian cartoonist, describes himself as being born “sometime in the middle of the last century.”

After doing a variety of Jobs, Mark became a QANTAS Flight attendant and he quips that “the next nineteen years of his life resembled an exotic beer commercial set in a variety of world- wide locations”.
Mark was editorial cartoonist for the leading publication, “The Australian” newspaper. His work has been enjoyed in more publications than you could count, ranging from Australian dailies, even ‘Le News Switzerland”. Mark’s cartoons appear in a variety of forms and diversity
world-wide including video screens in the Berlin and Munich subway system where they are seen by 1.5 million people a day.
Mark is the recipient of 48 international and Australian cartoon awards!
Mark lives in Sydney with his lovely wife, Jenny, and two sons and to learn more about Mark and see further cartoons, visit www.cartoons-a-plenty.com
http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

 

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On the Spotlight: WRITE TO DIE, a legal thriller by Charles Rosenberg

Cover (2)

WRITE TO DIE, Charles Rosenberg’s blockbuster legal thriller is set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s entertainment industry, and marks the debut of a new series. Write to Die introduces protagonist Rory Calburton, a former Deputy DA turned entertainment lawyer who is swept up in the trial of a lifetime when murder hits the heart of the movie business.

A sensational tale informed by Charles Rosenberg’s decades-long legal career, Write to Die sizzles. With its seemingly ripped-from-the-headlines storyline, exhilarating plot, and pulse-pounding action, Write to Die heralds the advent of an outstanding new mystery series. Resplendent with realistic courtroom drama, richly drawn characters that spring to life within the novel’s pages, and an insider’s view of the inner workings of Hollywood, Write to Die is to die for.

About Write to Die

Hollywood’s latest blockbuster is all set to premiere—until a faded superstar claims the script was stolen from her. To defend the studio, in steps the Harold Firm, one of Los Angeles’s top entertainment litigation firms and as much a part of the glamorous scene as the studios themselves. As a newly minted partner, it’s Rory Calburton’s case, and his career, to win or lose. But the seemingly tame civil trial turns lethal when Rory stumbles upon the strangled body of his client’s general counsel. And the ties that bind in Hollywood constrict even tighter when the founder of the Harold Firm is implicated in the murder. Rory is certain the plagiarism and murder cases are somehow connected, and with the help of new associate Sarah Gold—who’s just finished clerking for the chief justice—he’s determined to get answers. Will finding out who really wrote the script lead them to the mastermind of the real-life murder?

DG0893V2FINAL300dpi.jpg

About Charles Rosenberg

Charles (“Chuck”) Rosenberg is a Harvard Law School-trained lawyer who has been a partner in a large, international law firm and, simultaneously, an adjunct law professor who has taught numerous law school courses, from copyright to criminal procedure. He received his undergraduate degree from Antioch College and has served as the credited legal script consultant to TV’s The Paper Chase,L.A Law, The Practice and Boston Legal, a full-time on-air legal analyst for E! Television’s O. J. Simpson criminal and civil trial coverage, and a former board member of the Taos Film Festival. He is author of the bestselling Robert Tarza legal-thriller trilogy: Death on a High Floor, Long Knives and Paris Ransom, andThe Trial of O.J.: How to Watch the Trial and Understand What’s Really Going On,a trial watcher’s guide to the O.J. Simpson trial. Chuck practices law in the Los Angeles area, where he lives with his wife. He is currently at work on the second book in the To Die series. Visit www.charlesrosenbergauthor.com for more information.

Publication Date:  July 26, 2016

Category:   Mystery/Thriller

Formats:  Trade Paper, ISBN:  978- 1503937611, $15.95,  Kindle, $3.99

Page Count:   498 (approximately)

Publisher:   Thomas & Mercer

Publicity Contact:  Maryglenn McCombs  (615) 297-9875 maryglenn@maryglenn.com

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First Chapter Reveal: Floor 21 by Jason Luthor

Floor 21

Title: Floor 21
Author: Jason Luthor
Publisher: Scout Press
Pages: 355
Genre: Sci-fi/Dystopian

The last of humanity is trapped at the top of an isolated apartment tower with no memory of how they got there or why. All travel beneath Floor 21 is forbidden, and nobody can ever recall seeing the ground floor. Beneath Floor 21, a sickness known as the Creep infests that halls of the Tower. A biological mass that grows stronger in reaction to people’s fear and anger, the Creep prey’s on people by causing them to hallucinate until they’re in a state of panicking, before finally growing strong enough to lash out and consume them. Only a small team known as Scavengers are allowed to go beneath Floor 21 to pillage the lower levels in search of food and supplies.

Jackie is a brilliant young girl that lives far above the infection and who rarely has to worry about facing any harm. However, her intense curiosity drives her to investigate the bottom floors and the Creep. To deal with her own anxiety and insecurities, she documents her experiences on a personal recorder as she explores the secrets of the Tower. During the course of her investigation, Jackie will find herself at odds with Tower Authority, which safeguards what remains of humanity, as she attempts to determine what created the Creep, how humanity became trapped at the top of the Tower, and whether anyone knows if escape is even possible.

For More Information

  • Floor 21 is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

First Chapter:

THE GIRL’S STORY

Recording One

My name is Jackie, and it’s not so bad living here. Seriously. At least, I don’t think so anyway, but I guess it’s hard to say. Then again, I’ve never really been anywhere else. I’ve rarely even been below Floor 12. My parents won’t let me. They say things get bad down there, so I have to stay up here, on the higher levels.

Don’t get me wrong; I mean, I wish I didn’t have to. Things get kind of boring, walking the same halls every day. I’m always trying to find something new to do, but it’s kinda hard when you’ve lived your whole life in the same tower. Sometimes I’ll wander up to the rooftop, where we have the gardens. That’s where all of our food comes from, so we all take turns planting and harvesting. I don’t mind the work, actually, unless it means pulling carrots. Those suckers are really hard to yank out of the dirt.

When I think of it, it’s actually kind of annoying having to go to the rooftop, and not just because of the work. It’s really more about what we have to pass by as we head up there. So, the top level of the Tower is Floor 1. None of us are allowed inside, so every time we go up the stairs, we’re forced to stare at that big, golden number—the number “1” that sits on the locked entry door. I really wish I knew what was inside, but you know, nobody’s allowed in. Instead, we just have to pass by every few days when it’s our turn to work the gardens. You might as well string some candy in front of my face and tell me I’m not allowed to eat it.

Of course, you can’t just pick vegetables all day. That gets boring quick. Besides, most of the time I’m in school. Well, school’s probably too strong a word for it. We meet most days of the week in the library on Floor 6. Our teacher, Mrs. Bloom, tries to lead class the best she can. It’s just too bad our books aren’t great. A lot of them are about to fall apart, and most of them were scavenged from the lower floors. I’m not talking about something like Floors 13 or 14. I’m not even talking about Floor 21. I mean the books were taken from way down below . . . like, as far down as Floor 30.

I know, right? I can’t believe it myself. That’s what we have the Scavengers for, though. Without them we’d never get new books or supplies. They’re pretty much the bravest people in the Tower. They say that anyone who makes it onto a scavenging team is the type that could have been a police officer or even a soldier before all this happened. I mean, that makes sense. They wear all that riot gear, and it looks like they know how to fight. Sucks, though, since as tough as they are, every once in a while we lose one of them. That just goes with the territory of being a Scavenger.

Point is, life is only livable because of them since it’s not like we’re rolling in things to do. Sometimes I’ll sit around in the lobby with the other kids and watch movies on the Blu-Ray player, but that doesn’t always work. For instance, if it’s a really cloudy day, then the solar panels on the roof will die out, which always sucks for everyone. If we want light then, we have to burn candles, and we don’t have many of those. Then again, we don’t really have lightbulbs, either. Well, we have a few. Want to take a guess where we get those from? Yeah. Scavengers. We get everything from them.

I kinda always wanted to be one. Who wouldn’t want to be? They get to see stuff from a long time ago, before we had to live on the top of the Tower. Speaking of that, nobody really talks about the Before, and I’m not even sure how much anyone knows about it. I guess it makes sense to think that once upon a time we lived on the lower floors. Maybe even the ground . . . if there is a ground. I’ve never met anyone that’s seen it, not even the Scavengers, and they’ve been farther down the Tower than anyone.

When you stop and think about it, I mean, our lives don’t make sense. We couldn’t have always lived up here, right? It gets me pretty antsy thinking about it because, I mean, this is a tower, so we had to have come up the stairs at some point. Didn’t we?

I don’t know, and thinking about it gets me frustrated. When I’m in this kind of mood, I go to the rooftop and look out. You can actually see other towers rising up in the distance. Some aren’t even that far from ours. I stare at them, and I’m just like . . . is anybody over there? Is anybody looking back at me? Does anybody know or remember we’re trapped in this place?

Or are we all that’s left?

After I’ve gotten myself sufficiently depressed, I’ll stare over the edge of the roof, trying to see how far below I can look. Thing is, it’s impossible to see much. This tower just vanishes into the Darkness. Nobody, and I mean nobody, even knows why. It’s just blackness down there.

Oh, about Floor 12. Yeah, that’s where the Creep really starts. The Creep? It’s this . . . gunk. Super-disgusting stuff that you shouldn’t touch because it makes you feel weird, and the lower down the Tower you go, the more you see it. It starts to cover the walls, and it’s kinda gross. It’s really slick, like saliva, and it looks all muscle-y. Almost alive. Good thing you don’t have to worry about it when you’re higher than Floor 11. Still, I wonder what it is. We all do. I know that when you touch it, you can start hallucinating. I did once. Well, okay, I’m lying. I’ve touched it a few times when I’ve been on the lower levels, which is why my parents made the rule that I couldn’t head down there in the first place. I mean, I don’t pay attention to them, but I get why they don’t want me going that far below into the Tower. The Creep makes you see . . . things. Shadowy things. Sometimes they’re right in front of you, but most of the time, they’re in the corner of your eye. They say that by Floor 21, you don’t even have to touch the Creep to hallucinate, which is a total trip. Must suck to live down there.

Still, I wonder. I wonder about this all the time, actually. I wonder about what’s below Floor 21.

Um, Mom told me I should start recording my thoughts when I’m in these kind of moods, so this one might be short. I mean duh, it’s my first one. At first when she said I should record myself, I was like, okay, no. Because she’s crazy, and I don’t want to seem crazy, too. That’s no exaggeration by the way. I mean, she’s been a total whacko ever since I turned thirteen. Also, I mean, who cares about what I have to say? It’s not like I’m ever going to listen to this.

But . . . here I am. Probably because I really am going as crazy as her, but also because I go nuts thinking about how nobody else cares that we’re trapped here. I get it, we’re alive, so we should be grateful. But do you know how insane it makes me being the one person asking “why” when everyone else is acting like this is just the way things are? God.

Anyway, guess I’ll try to keep this up. I’m supposed to meet with Allison tonight. Don’t know what we’ll do. Try to find a new movie in the Blu-Ray collection, I guess. I think one of the boys said the Scavengers hauled up a game system from the Deep Creep. I haven’t seen one since I was a kid. The last one we had broke when I was, like, ten. That’s what? Seven years. Dang. I’d really like to play a video game again.

 

 

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Chapter Reveal: ‘Curse of the Blue Vagina’ by Jonisha Rios

blue vagina cover (jpeg) (1).jpgTitle: CURSE OF THE BLUE VAGINA
Genre: WOMEN’S FICTION/ HUMOR 
Author: JONISHA RIOS
Website: CURSE OF THE BLUE VAGINA.COM
Publisher:  Leticia Gomez Publisher/Cafe con Leche Books
I bet you’re wondering why I’m sitting in a cramped
jail cell wearing my wedding dress the morning
of my Big Day. Well, I sorta lost it at breakfast.
Only I would never actually hurt anyone. Besides I’m
Latina. I’m a good person by nature. Contrary to what
most people think, we aren’t all hot-tempered, that is,
unless you did something to seriously piss us off. What
were they thinking locking me up like this? I mean if the
people at the IHOP thought I could kill anyone with a
spork, then they’re crazier than I am. A spork wouldn’t
even pierce the skin. Trust me I know. My sister tried
stabbing me with one after I ate the last chocolate Jell-
O-pudding pop when we were kids.
 
In exactly two hours and forty-five minutes, I’m
scheduled to become Mrs. Ray Lopez. The title of Mrs.
is a big deal in my Nuyorican family because it means
that not only would I escape life as an old maid, but also
that the rumors of me being gay would finally be laid to
rest. I’m set to get married at a low-key chapel called
Saint Luke’s. It’s the only church in town that typically
takes in more funeral services than weddings. Sure,
Uncle Paco and a string of other dead relatives had been
carried down that aisle before me. Who cares? I’m determined
to make my “Special Day” happen come hell
or come high water. Besides, the church was in need of
some money so I booked it for a steal of a deal.
 
I’m running out of time and the officer out there refused
to let me make my one phone call, until I “calm
down,” so everyone at the church will probably think I
went AWOL. Oh well, fuck it, at least now I get to have
some time to be by myself and get to the bottom of my
meltdown.
 
 
 
My relationship with Ray has never been smooth or
easy. In fact, lately it seems like we’ve been apart longer
than we’ve been together. Thing is, despite that, I thought
we had our shit together and were moving ahead. Now I
may never get married, and it’s all because of the Curse
of the Blue Vagina!
 
“What is that?” you ask. To put it simply the Curse
of the Blue Vagina is to women what Blue Balls are to
men. Problem is when men get “Blue Balls”, they are
left physically unsatisfied, which is temporary, and
when women get the “Blue Vagina”, they are left
emotionally unsatisfied, which lasts forever.
 
You may think that this Curse is total nonsense,
but it’s not, it’s very real it causes your vag to turn a bluish-tinted
color that creates a recurring painful sensation that
ultimately leads to heartbreak. And it is not to be
confused with Bacterial Vaginosis or the Blue Waffle
Disease that creates a similar blue discoloration.
No! This kind of BV comes with its own different
set of symptoms along with a plethora of blue shades
to match that ultimately take an emotional toll
on you. To make matters worse, it only seems to
affect a certain portion of the Latina population.
(Mostly those of us who were raised in
conservative Catholic families, where guilt is part of
our natural upbringing.)
It is said when you have BV, not even El Cuco
himself will come and haunt you. You become like a
walking stick of dynamite. Don’t even think about
making yourself all cozy on Abuelitas plastic covered
couch because you’re likely to burn a hole right
through it.
This is not some old wives’ tale either. There’s
a documented history of women out there who have
devastating stories to tell. If you don’t believe me, just
go to your local Santera, and she’ll pull out a dusty old
book, something as fearsome and heavy as the Bible.
In there is where all our sisters have gone astray. If you
don’t pay attention to how you’re living your life, it will
strike you down like the plague.
It’s horrible. Your mind gets all fuzzy and your heart
starts palpitating. Your stomach feels like you have but-
terflies fluttering then dive-bombing to their death.
This ain’t nerves. Your body gets rocked by convulsions
like it’s expelling the very devil himself.
And here is the kicker—apparently I’m stuck
with this unless I find out what caused it, and break the
spell once and for all. The Curse came back to haunt
me last night at my bachelorette party.

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