#Excerpt “Power of One” by Devpal Gupta

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Motivation Book/Self Help

Date Published: July 1st 2020

 

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 Author Devpal Gupta believes in living life according to those core values to which we we all have access: respect, positivity, and passion. In his debut inspirational book, Power of One, Devpal extracts lessons from his life’s journey which began in Tanzania and London and transplanted him to a successful life as an Arizona-based commercial real estate executive and applies them to real-life principles. With no holds barred, Devpal tells it like it is — he offers no excuse and takes no excuses when it comes to living a purposeful life. With eight hard-hitting, short-and-sweet chapters like “Get Over It” and “Why is the Brown Guy Better Than Us”, Devpal straight shoots advice on how to remain genuine, honest and real.

Devpal also introduces his own theory, the Power of One. He imparts upon readers that in order to be truly prosperous, the only one you can rely on, is yourself.

The Power of One is a fantastically quick read and a dynamic demonstration of what it takes to be resourceful and resilient in a world that rewards people for gratuitous likes rather than the efforts and principles behind hard work.

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EXCERPT

Chapter 5:

  • When 9/11 happened, Sikhs were one of the most targeted communities because we wear turbans and we don’t shave our beards. People thought we were responsible for the terrorist attacks. Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh and a local gas station owner in Phoenix, was shot and killed on September 15, 2001, because someone believed he was Muslim due to his turban and beard. No one should be killed for how they worship or don’t. Balbir’s gas station is fifteen minutes from where I live now with my family. Numerous incidents such as these happened to Sikhs across the United States because people could not differentiate between turbans.
  • When I went on interviews after graduating from Arizona State University in 2005, there were companies who loved my personality and my resume but couldn’t accept the turban. I’d walk into an interview and I’d see smiles disappear as they stared at what represented my faith, my culture and me. I have since cut my hair and stopped wearing the dastār. I often regret doing so.  That was my identity; it fit me perfectly. It was a part of me, just like a leg or hand, but I let others tell me it didn’t fit in their world. I allowed strangers to dictate how I should appear in their life. I let their relevancy make mine irrelevant.
  • Why do we let others tell us what’s right or wrong? We’re already questioning ourselves; we don’t need their help to do it. We let irrelevant people into our lives to preach and tell us what makes us relevant, and yet these people hold zero significance to our personal wellbeing and growth. Shockingly, we let them tell us what makes us relevant in this world. We need to protect that right and use it for ourselves.
  • Until you respect yourself, until you place a value on yourself that is intrinsically high because it’s what you believe in, no one else is going to place the same value on you. If you think you are only worth ten dollars an hour, how and why would you expect anyone to pay you twenty? How can you expect people to think you are relevant if you are content with being normal? How can you remain authentic to yourself if you don’t respect yourself?

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 About the Author

Devpal Gupta is an Executive Director at one of the top commercial real estate firms in the greater Phoenix area. Specializing exclusively in Tenant Representation, he is responsible for servicing local clients and national
accounts. Dev started in the industry in 1997 and has always worked exclusively as a Tenant advocate. Since that time, he has completed over 200 transactions ranging in size and scope from 5,000 square feet to 500,000
square feet and involving services from conventional lease analysis, strategic planning, unique build-to-suit projects, building acquisitions and dispositions. Dev’s specialties include office and industrial leasing, relocations, renewals and acquisitions.

Dev possesses extensive experience with managing and implementing
transactions for diverse national portfolios, or large one-off deals.
In addition he has numerous companies with large sale-leaseback
transactions. His particular knowledge of real estate financial issues
enables him to proactively manage all types of transactions, minimizing
risk, increasing flexibility, and reducing overall occupancy costs. Dev won
Costar’s Power Broker of the year award in 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

His dedication to his career and his craft carries over into how he lives
his life: with passion, honesty and attention to detail. Dev works hard,
plays hard and finds time to motivate people to living a meaningful life by
reminding them to return to their core values. The Power of One is his first
book.

Dev lives in Arizona with his wife and life partner, Suprit and their two
lovely children. He has recently persuaded his parents to move from Tanzania
and into his home; Dev considers this some of his best work yet.

 

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#ReleaseBlitz “First Second Coming” by Jeff Pollak

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Book One In The New God Series
Supernatural Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 1
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
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In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.

Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God’s interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. All mankind must do to earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help. Failure means extinction.

God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.

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Excerpt

Thirteen hours late, my cross-galaxy voyage to the All-Souls Transit Center ends in a puff of soft lunar dirt on Mare Tranquillitatis. I expect to meet the legendary God of planet Earth in his office but as I deplane he’s shuffling down the concourse toward his departure gate. He’s easy to spot – inside this small, sparse four gate terminal we are the only life forms in sight.

With his stooped posture and unkempt shoulder length gray hair, God reminds me of the mythical Atlas. His tremors underscore the physical and emotional toll he has had to bear. Did his mental state also degrade? He spent two millennia managing a planet populated by quarrelsome headstrong terrestrials. Over that much time any deity posted to such a world would succumb to the effects of prolonged stress.

I quicken my pace, catch up to him and extend a hand. “Good day, Lord.”

“This is how you address your superiors?” The decibel level of his gruff voice implies impaired hearing. “Where are your manners? A bow is in order.”

Though I have not yet fully adapted to the musculature of this adult male body I inhabit, my flawless execution of a deep obeisance brings a quick smile to my face.

God gives me a brusque signal to rise. “You’re my replacement, are you?”

“Correct, Lord. I am humbled and honored to take your place.” I bow again, less fully.

“Call me NTG if you wish. I prefer answering to that nickname.”

So the rumor is true. That he calls himself the New Testament God instead of his given name means he has indeed gone native. This explains a lot.

We sink into a ‘maximum comfort’ couch – or so the attached tag boasts – stuffed full of condensed nimbostratus cloud threads imported from Earth. An ugly green tarp spread over the cushions prevents our clothes from getting soaked by residual moisture.

God adjusts his overcoat and leans toward me. “I trust you had an enjoyable flight?”

“I would like to say yes, but what a hellacious trip.” That’s an understatement. “We flew through several cosmic storms, circumvented an unmapped black hole and limped here on back-up power after the anti-matter fuel engine failed. I will never fly by chartered spaceship again.”

“Now that you’ve arrived, what makes you think you can take on a tough job like this?”

“This is my fourth assignment, though the first for Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.” I place my carry-on bag on the tan moonrock table and open a side pocket. “I have a résumé, if you want to peruse it. In each previous posting, the planets I shepherded returned to optimal status. Whilst this assignment is more complex, I assure you my record shall remain unsullied.”

“Humph.” He spits into the thin puddle created by the leaky couch and waves off my résumé. “I thought those spineless MWGI decision-makers would send a rank amateur. After only three postings, you expect to fix this mess? You’re still wet around the ears, sonny. Have you even hung your precious university degrees on a wall yet?” He points at the nearby picture window. “On Earth they say you learn more through failure than success.”

“Elder, I did not travel here to fail. MWGI reached out because of my extensive training as a planetary turnaround specialist. They are confident I am the best available deity for this job.”

“And you agree with that assessment, do you?” He fidgets, as though trying to stand and walk away, but can’t get off the couch. 

“I would not otherwise have taken the job, Lord. Once I did, I undertook considerable research. The travel delays afforded me extra preparation time. I have learned everything a new deity should know about Earth and its inhabitants. I am ready to take the reins.”

“Your extensive reading helped you form opinions regarding the humans, did it?”

I disregard the sarcasm implicit in the question. If I ever reach his wizened old age, young deities will receive better treatment from me than this. His attitude is understandable, though. Forced retirement is a difficult pill for anyone to swallow, supreme beings included.

“Lord, these sentient beings do have many laudable qualities. However, whilst I prefer not to focus on the negative, on the whole humans strike me as a rather unpredictable species.”

NTG spits again and rummages through the pockets of his black overcoat, pants and vest. “Where’s the damn thing? Did I forget it? Ah, here. Since you’re not dead, you’ll need this to get into heaven.”

He hands me a Holyday Inn card key with “NTG” stenciled on the back side. I stare at the card whilst mulling over my research, which characterized heaven as an imaginary afterlife sanctuary. With a shrug, I deposit the card in the pocket of my blue denim shirt.

“Many humans call it heaven, but I consider it home.” God’s melancholic smile comes and goes in seconds. “Souls get over the false advertising once they adjust to their newly deceased status. Follow the overhead signs to the tram that’ll take you to the complex. My office is by the main gate so I can greet arrivals on St. Peter’s days off. Ask for Angie, my chief of staff. She’s a real angel in every sense of the word.”

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About the Author

Jeff Pollak grew up in Riverdale – not the one in the Archie comics and movies, the one in the Bronx. After graduating college in Buffalo’s often frozen tundra, he moved to Los Angeles to thaw out and learn to play golf without losing the ball in snow drifts. While there, a law school accepted him into their night program. Now retired from life as a civil trial litigator, Jeff lives in the Crescenta Valley where the closest Jeff comes to winter is his sporadic attendance at hockey games.
FIRST SECOND COMING, Jeff’s debut novel, was inspired by 9/11. Like everyone else, Jeff was transfixed by the unfolding tragedy. Unlike everyone else, Jeff had clients in the World Trade Center, his law firm had given annual seminars at Windows of the World, at the top of the building, and he’d become familiar with some of the staff. While watching the WTC collapse, the thought “earth needs a new God who’s a planetary turnaround specialist,” came to mind. Over the ensuing decade, this odd idea germinated in the deeper recessions of Jeff’s overactive brain until this story hatched in 2015. Jeff’s been writing it ever since.
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#Excerpt “Undying Witch” by B. Austin

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(A Dysfunctional Family of Witches Prequel)

 Dark Fantasy

 Date Published: October 1, 2019

Publisher: Spellbound Books

 

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The illegitimate granddaughter of Catherine the Great finds a shapeshifting stone and discovers the magic to be young and live forever. Years later, Dima’s teenage daughter resents a mother who is 112 years old but shifts into a woman young enough to be her sister.  Medea loathes a mother who loves her 17 cats more than she does her daughter. Medea despises a mother who claims all witchcraft as her magic and treats her daughter like a slave. In secret, Medea develops her own sorcery.

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UNDYING WITCH

A Dysfunctional Family of Witches

Prequel

By B. Austin

Excerpt

Magical powers sometimes came during times of panic to those who have always had the magic in their physical chemistry.

With the power of her mind, Medea slammed the back-kitchen door in Nick-Nick’s face.

Her mother’s lover spun to the other exit.

She slammed the door leading from the kitchen to the living room.

With one nod of her head, she sealed the kitchen windows.

She locked Nick-Nick into the kitchen with magic. He could not even break a window with a hammer.

It was dark by now and Nick-Nick had no neighbors behind him, just some scary-looking woods.

With one piercing look, Medea lit up all four burners of the stove.

She shook her head and the flames roared from the stove to the ceiling.

Nick-Nick pounded on a kitchen window, screaming at Medea, “Witch, let me out!”

He would have murdered me, Medea thought as she watched the kitchen burn.

She never even flinched as the flames spread to Nick-Nick and he seemed to melt like wax. She could smell the stink of burning flesh.

When Nick-Nick crumpled from her view of the window to the kitchen floor, Medea blinked her eyes, putting out the flames.

Medea then dragged out the scorched body. Thank goodness his neighbors really did mind their own business. She planned to bury Nick-Nick but then she heard the fire trucks roaring up the street.

Medea let go of Nick-Nick’s burned hands and ran to the car in the driveway.

Oh Christ! I murdered a capo of the Mafia!

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About the Author

B. Austin grew up in the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico. She was told true tales of witches by her superstitious family. Before writing full time, she toiled in tech as a software engineer. She currently lives in Florida. She, also, writes under the name of Belinda Austin.

 

 

 

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#Excerpt “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” by Robert Archibald

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Mystery/Thriller
Date Published: July 17, 2020
Publisher: Blue Fortune Enterprises LLC, Cactus Mystery Press
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Check your email. Help is out there…
When Sherry and Beth discover what their boyfriends have been up to, they want in on the action. Working as vigilantes and providing justice for wrongs committed is a noble thing to do, but the women decide the stakes need to change.
Once again, the conflict is personal.
This follow-up to Roundabout Revenge follows former Professor Phil Philemon as he and his friends continue to seek elusive justice for victims who may not have been able to speak for themselves. Lurking in chat rooms, the group finds a large number of women who have been sexually harassed on the job. Sexually harassed in horrible ways. Harassed until their jobs, their reputations, and their sanity is on the line. And what they find is that the story of he said-she said is not always one that ends well.
But not everything goes as planned, and soon the four friends need to come to terms with a larger reality, including a crime of arson and an FBI investigation.
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EXCERPT

FROM CHAPTER 6

When Ralph and Beth returned to their apartment after sending the email, Ralph asked, “What you said about your experience? I didn’t know you had trouble with sexual harassment.”

“It’s not the kind of thing you talk to boyfriends about, but I guess I should tell you.”

“The way you talked about it tonight told me it’s still bothering you.”

“I guess it is.”

“When Sherry explained this project to us, she explained her motivation clearly. She’d had a lot of trouble with men in her past, and she hadn’t gotten any satisfaction when she’d lodged sexual harassment complaints. The men denied any wrongdoing. It came down to he-said-she-said, and the men got off. I thought you were joining the team because of me. I had no knowledge about anything you’d gone through. Can you tell me about it?”

“Let’s grab a beer and sit on the couch. It’s a bit of a long story.”

Ralph went to the refrigerator and took out two beers. Beth liked low-calorie beer. He thought it too weak. He opened their beers and headed for the couch.

Beth seemed a little nervous. “I got my first job at a big hospital in Pittsburgh. From the very start one of the doctors, Doctor Burns, took too much interest in me. He kept asking me to go out with him after our shifts. He was married. Heck, I’d even met his wife. I turned him down flat. Actually, he was in his fifties. I found the whole thing creepy. He didn’t get the message. He wouldn’t stop. He continued to pester me for dates. When he started grabbing me inappropriately, I finally lodged a sexual harassment complaint at the hospital. It didn’t work. The hospital personnel people told me they didn’t find any evidence to back my complaint. My experience resembled Sherry’s.”

Ralph put his arm around Beth. “It must have been frustrating. I guess he only made advances when you were alone.”

“Yeah, it was always just the two of us, and as much as I tried, I couldn’t avoid those situations.”

“Sure, nurses and doctors have to work close together at times.”

“Right, but that’s not the worst of it. Things changed after the sexual harassment complaint. People started treating me differently. Doctor Burns had lots of friends on the staff, and they all turned against me. It depressed me. I found it completely unfair, yet I couldn’t do anything about it. It was so wrong. Burns had misbehaved, yet I got punished.”

Ralph hugged Beth, whose eyes were tearing. “It’s all right. It’s in the past.”

“Even now when I think about it, it still bothers me. And I guess I didn’t handle it well. I started eating too much. Food provided comfort. I broke up with my boyfriend, Billy. He didn’t show any sympathy at all. Finally, after I put on close to thirty pounds, I decided I had to make a complete life change.”

“So, you moved to Lackey?”

“I wanted to get out of the city. I applied to a bunch of small-town hospitals, and Lackey responded first. Nursing jobs are fairly easy to get. And the hospital here is a good one. After I moved, I put myself on a diet, but I had trouble sticking to it. I guess I’d still been upset about what had happened. Luckily, my work went well. The people in Lackey are nice. As I told you before, I got along with Phil’s wife Mary Jane right away. I even told her about why I left the hospital in Pittsburg, but I didn’t tell anyone else.

“Finally, I started to come out of my shell and got more serious about my diet. Meeting you gave me an impetus to change. I really liked our exercise group. Dieting together really helps.”

“I always wondered why you wound up here. I never really thought about it too hard. I figured I had good luck. Now I’m torn. Part of me is glad you had trouble at the Pittsburg hospital, but that’s not right. I shouldn’t think that way.”

Beth responded. “I never thought about it like that. So, you’re saying we’d have never met if I hadn’t had my problems?”

“Yeah.”

“I understand. Nevertheless, I’d have been happier if we’d have met some other way.”

Ralph gave Beth a kiss. “Whatever, now we have each other.”

“And it’s great,” Beth said. “Now you’ve got the full story, I guess you can understand why I’m so eager to be part of the project along with you and Phil and Sherry.”

“You bet. It makes a lot of sense.”

Beth glanced at her phone. “Look at what time it is. We’d better get to bed,” she said as she pulled Ralph off the couch.

“You don’t have to ask twice.”

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About the Author
Robert Archibald was born in New Jersey and grew up in Oklahoma and Arizona. After receiving a BA from the University of Arizona, he was drafted and served in Viet Nam. He then earned a M.S. and Ph.D in economics from Purdue University. Bob had a 41-year career at the College of William & Mary. While he had several stints as an administrator, department chair, director of the public policy program, and interim dean of the faculty, Bob was always proud to be promoted back to the faculty. He lives with his wife of 47 years, Nancy, in Williamsburg, Virginia.
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#Excerpt “The Christian Christmas Condition” by Scott Rankin

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Christian – Holiday – self spirit improvement
Date Published: December 2019
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What do you want for Christmas? We all hear this question everywhere, but author Scott Rankin invites us all to slow down for a moment and ask a different question… What does God want for Christmas? Our Lord desires that we become more Christ-like every day (1 Corinthians 11:1). To accomplish this goal, He tells us to renew our minds (Romans 12:2). But how do the Christmas holidays help accomplish this goal if so much busyness and stress make it hard to focus all our attention on Christ and completely rest in His peace? In an easy-to-read format, “The Christian Christmas Condition” takes a new and refreshing look by asking the question, “How does our Lord feel about Christmas today?” encouraging Christians of all ages to examine Christmas-time traditions from God’s perspective. Filled with Bible references, this study will boost your faith, increase your knowledge, and strengthen you to fully honor Jesus in the midst of Christmas, traditions, and busy holiday activities, and reveal the secret of what God says in the Bible about Christmas today! Whether your family participates in Advent, Hanukkah, midnight mass, uses a Christmas tree, or watches for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, this powerful book encourages all Christians to become more Christ-like in our thinking and our actions each, and every day of the year… not just in the winter holidays!

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EXCERPT

– CHAPTER 1 –

 “TOP 10” LIST

Merry Christmas! Put your holiday thinking caps on, because we’re warming up with two fun challenges. First, I’m going to give you three sets of lyrics. Your job is to see how much of each song you can remember. If you feel like singing out loud, be my guest. Ready?

  1. Oh, you better watch out, you better not…
  2. Rudolph the…
  3. I’m dreaming of a…

Now, let’s get into the Christmas spirit with our final exercise: when I say “go,” quickly list the top ten things you associate with the Christmas season. You may include past memories or present-day traditions; anything related to Christmas, and there are no wrong answers. This exercise is about the first things that pop into your mind, so complete your list as quickly as you can. You can use the space provided below or get your own sheet of paper, but please don’t skip this brief exercise, as you’ll want to reference your list later!

When you’re done, we’ll continue on the next page. Ready… Set… Go!

Here are a few popular answers: Jingle Bells, cutting out paper snowflakes, snowball fights, writing letters to Santa Claus, vacation from school, mistletoe, sitting by a warm fireplace on a cold night, trimming the Christmas tree, hanging stockings, setting out cookies and milk for Santa Claus, candlelight mass, Christmas lights on houses, and family reunions… Some of our fondest memories circulate around this time of year!

I once asked a woman named Lisa to do this exercise out loud, and she did an amazing job of listing a large number of family-related activities. However, not one thing she listed had any correlation with Jesus, His birth, worship, angels announcing Jesus’ birth, or a manger scene. Now, Lisa loves the Lord, but I asked her why she had so many other thoughts come to mind before Jesus—and her answer unveiled the perfect premise for this book (thank you, Lisa). She said, “I guess we’re all just conditioned to think that way.” So now I ask, if we’ve really been conditioned… what condition are Christians in during Christmas?

What did your top ten list look like? Did Jesus make the cut? Now, let’s add another layer to this “top 10” list exercise. When you see your kids or any immediate family member today, ask them to take the same challenge. Their answers may astonish you (partly because they do not have the chance to read the introduction of this book beforehand). Their responses should be wonderfully raw.

As you compare other people’s responses, where did Jesus get put in the order? Was He first? Was He in the middle? Was He in the back? Or was He left out altogether? If you found anywhere through the results of your own experiment that Jesus did not dominate or top your list, or those of your friends and family members, then let’s examine why together.

You will find that there are a variety of different views among people about Christmas and its traditions. We’ve all heard phrases like:

  • “Jesus… the reason for the season”
  • “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas”
  • “We need to save Christmas”
  • “Happy Holidays” (instead of “Merry Christmas”)

Some in the body of Christ regard Christmas as a pagan holiday, believing we should not observe it at all. Many contend that Christmas was created to honor baby Jesus and it’s very important to keep this tradition so we can worship Him. Others still will point out that Christmas has now become so commercialized that we just need to get back to what is really important.

So, what is the real reason for the Christmas season? How did Christmas celebrations begin? How does God want us to use Christmas to worship and honor His Son? These are some great questions, and that is what we are going to cover in this book.

When Lisa suggested so appropriately that we have been “conditioned,” it simply implies that your surroundings, history, and family traditions have trained you to think a certain way. Truth be told, you were probably born into family traditions and influenced greatly as a child by your surroundings to put presents, the Christmas tree, or Santa first, all the while letting God and Jesus share the spotlight every now and then. In doing so, you may find that Jesus, over time, inadvertently moved out of the first priority position because of conditioned habits during this season.

But don’t lose heart—conditioned does not mean permanent. God tells us that through Him, we can renew our minds! And with a renewed mind comes an overflow of blessings.

So, sit back and enjoy while we study “The Christian Christmas Condition.”

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About the Author

Scott Rankin graduated with a degree in music education and spent his 20’s and 30’s as a successful music director, visual designer for marching groups, and a professional clinician for high school and college music programs.

In 2009 he was injured in a bicycle accident where he was instantly paralyzed. Today as a healing quadriplegic, Scott’s passion for teaching has been re-focused from music to writing Christian books and public speaking.
Scott Rankin is a gifted educator and effective public speaker. His ability to take complex subject matter, break it into bite-size pieces, and re-assemble those through simple, logical, and enjoyable teaching techniques makes his material easy to understand and hard to forget!
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#Excerpt “Perception vs Truth” by Eyal Cohen

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Self-help, Spiritually, Non-fiction
Date Published: April 7, 2020
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Do you want your life to change?
The good news is that it all begins right in your mind.
By opening your mind, you can change your life in 180 degrees, making the phrase “Everything is in your head” more important than ever before.
The perception of reality steers our thoughts, feelings, the choices we make and the way we live our life.
It is the underlying reason why our lives are the way they are.
People who never examine their point of view of the world miss the chance to significantly change their lives.
What shapes our perception is the country we live in, society, culture, religion, parents, teachers, and publications like the internet, television, movies, radio, newspapers, and literature.
Many people are misguided by their perceptions, which constantly get them into problems.
This book, Perception vs. Truth, was born as a result of that insight. As the name suggests, much of the reality we take for granted in our lives simply isn’t true. Perception vs. Truth is a wake-up call for all of us. It is a fascinating read, full of interesting insights. It is a spring to quench one’s thirst for knowledge and understanding. It can open your mind to different ways of thinking, new feelings, and novel behavior.
Perception vs. Truth is a reminder that our lives can change just by changing the way we’re perceiving it.

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EXCERPT

Perception vs. Truth

Spirituality in simple words

Eyal Cohen

Preface

My Story

For as long as I can remember, I have had an indescribable desire to understand life. Throughout my life, I always felt that something was missing, but I didn’t know what it was.

In simple words, I kept asking myself, “What the hell is this life all about? What is going on? And why?”

Okay, we go through kindergarten, school, high school, and then college; some get married, have children, find a career, buy a house… But the inevitability of death was like a black cloud that forced me to wonder, “What is it all about?”

As I grew up, this desire became a sense of unease at the back of my mind, which made me feel incomplete and restless.

No one, myself included, could stop me from pondering life. I was desperately searching for the meaning of it all. Of course, at the time, I could not tell where such a search would take me or what innumerable hardships I would have to endure. Later, I learned that if I could work out what was going on with me or what was happening to me, things would be much easier. But there was no one available to help me with this, or at least I didn’t think there was.

In retrospect, this longing brought me into “spectator mode”­—observation of the theater of life—a situation in which I was looking at life as a though it was a play, but one in which I was participating, meaning that I identified with the characters on stage.

At around the age of thirty, I experienced a critical and overpowering turning point. After going through a confusing period, I woke up one morning with a dreadful emptiness. It felt like a big black gaping hole had opened in my chest. The words that jump to mind when I remember this feeling are, “all dead!” I had a very acute sense of loss, as though everything I had been until that moment was now gone. All I knew and thought and felt about myself and life in general, had died that morning and I found myself living in a bubble.

There was no connection between me, and reality and life as I knew them.

The feeling could be compared to eating food without the senses of taste and smell; without these basic senses, you lose the desire to eat. And in the same way, I lost the desire to live. What followed was a total collapse of mind and body. I experienced panic attacks, and simply standing up was a struggle. What I remember most is that I knew I had to hold on despite the strong desire to completely collapse, let go, and never get up again, because I did not want to worry my family.

Not able to understand what was happening to me, I did not want to get into a situation where I had to explain myself. Deep down, I felt insulated and lonely, and all I wanted was to be left alone.

Exact words failed me, and all I could describe was a state of tremendous fear, loss of control, and restless hell, and an inability to understand any of it. And so, I lived trapped in a kind of furnace that burned me alive. I was completely detached from reality, and my sense of identity was utterly gone as though it had never even existed.

After a few months, I began to see the simple beauty in my surroundings: a blooming flower, the shining sun, or a simple good morning. I welcomed every one of those little gifts that came my way, and I began to see the simple yet wondrous beauty in everything. And so, I learned to enjoy every little thing in all its greatness.

Despite those newly found comforts, I was still troubled because my fundamental questions about the meaning of life remained unanswered; my inability to find the answers meant that true peace still eluded me.

Over the course of a period that was relatively calm, words started to visit me just as I was on the verge of sleep. I felt a compelling need to write them down, and so I did. At first, words would come only at night, but soon, they began to surprise me at any hour. I would hear a word from someone and all of a sudden, an entire scenario would unfold before me, and I would have to write it down. At that time, I went everywhere with a small notebook, ready to write whatever came to me whenever it came. The material was absorbed into me like into a dry sponge, and I finally realized the answers to my deepest questions.

I realized that the missing part I was looking for in my life was myself.

In this manner, short and concise chapters took shape. After a few months, I had enough written words that the idea of a book came to life. Some of the things that I had written took me a while to understand. It took a while for them to crystallize into a book.

The book, Perception vs. Truth, is designed to introduce you to yourself. It is designed to introduce you to a different perspective of you and the world, one that you may not be accustomed to. Furthermore, it is designed to enable you to see how you are influenced and how you can influence yourself and your surroundings.

Perception vs. Truth holds the answers to all the questions that took me on a life-changing journey. I hope that reading it will inspire you to find your own answers to life.

Eyal.

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Wisdom of Water

Wisdom of Water means that whatever I write, I’m not necessarily trying to say something concrete. You may say that I am painting with words. My writing is a set of different perspectives on each situation. I am not trying to make a specific point; I just wish to maintain awareness of many different and diverse points of view. Everything is valid; everything is circumstantial according to one’s own point of view.

Wisdom of Water means not getting stuck on words, definitions, etc. Like water, life seeks balance. And so do we. When we understand that there are endless ways to view each situation, and we use our ability to learn from any outcome, we become like water—we maintain our balance, and gradually, over time, we become wiser than before.

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Spiritual Search

If you have an unexplainable yearning to know the nature of the world in which you live, then Perception vs. Truth is the book for you. To know the world is to know the “I” that you are. It is called self-knowledge, and it can only be known by one’s own wisdom.

Never be satisfied with the answers that come from others. Somehow, we learn to place more faith in the wisdom of others than we do our own. Listen to people, but use their answers as a guideline only.

Perception vs. Truth is about being aware and acknowledging yourself, and by doing so, life will become simple. Enjoy the adventure of your own self and discover the depths within, which can give you the answers you seek. Each of us is the expert of his or her life. Remember, whatever comes from deep within comes in the form of intuition, and you have to become more aware of that intuition, and learn to trust it.

Finally, Perception vs. Truth talks about the Promised Land, which we all reside in.

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Introduction

Illusion

Some say that the vast majority of humans are sleepwalkers—people who live while sleeping. It would be truer to say that they live within an illusion—an illusion of their own individual creation.

Illusion, as one does not know what reality is facing him.

What is the source of it? And how is it created?

If we presume that life is like a dream, we could say that in order to dream, there is a need for a dreamer. There is a correlation between what one thinks and believes, and what one is actually experiencing. The term “illusion” is used because one does not fully comprehend the nature of his/her reality; therefore, we may refer to him/her as being “asleep.” One needs to be “awake” in order to understand. One has to realize that the common denominator in everything that is happening to him/her is simply oneself.

Once you are awakened to the fact that the cause of everything is within you, all your decisions you will make will be directly related to your perspective. Your own perceptions will be determined by this viewpoint. One who succeeds in having no viewpoint at all ought to have a very broad and profound perception. “Ought to” because it is impossible to adopt “no viewpoint” without actually having one. Any effort on someone’s part will constitute adopting a viewpoint; therefore, one is always condemned to remain as he/she is.

Although this paradox seems like a maze with no way out, this is where true liberation resides. True understanding leads to surrender, which in turn leads to freedom. However, when a person wears a mask (a personality, ego), that person cannot be free. Unknowingly, this person values their mask more than their freedom.

The difficulty is how to be free from the mask; free of conditioning.

When someone surrenders to the truth, they stop being dominated by their persona and their viewpoint. A person can give many reasons for liking something but the truth is, we discover what we like; we don’t choose what we like.

Who you truly are and what you love in life is not a matter of choice.

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About the Author

Eyal Cohen was born in 1968. At the age of thirty, after a powerful and life-changing experience, his perception of reality was transformed completely, and over the next twelve years, he immersed himself in study as he sought to understand what had happened to him. He delved into the philosophies and wisdom behind the teachings of Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, Sufism, Mystic Judaism, Mystic Christianity, and more; and he tried to understand the state of the world by researching numerous leading thinkers of past and present times, such as Noam Chomsky, Friedrich Nietzsche, Socrates, Confucius, to name but a few.
His years of research, combined with his own experiences and knowledge, gave him a unique way of looking at life and the world that we live in. It was this unique perspective that gave birth to the book Perception vs. Truth.
In his first book, Eyal talks about how transformation can be achieved by working on the mind, our thoughts, and beliefs.
Among his associates who are living a “normal life,” Eyal is considered as a “strange, calm character.” He evades frameworks, commitments, and circles of society where there is no room for the free or the different. He surrounded with friends and people who wish to know, taste, and understand the secret of his relaxed charm.
Eyal is like a haven of rest to come to talk, and spend time with. He carries within him intriguing knowledge, which he knows very well to explain. He communicate the truth that he has come to know and understand.
It takes great courage and perseverance to free ourselves from the illusory reality—this confusing world that causes so many problems and so much suffering. We need to open our minds and examine our perceptions and beliefs in depth. The feelings of peace, joy, and freedom are indicators that we on the right track. The book Perception vs. Truth is a means to examine our beliefs about reality and the stories that we tell ourselves, which create our perception of reality and hence create our experiences in life.
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#Excerpt “The Voice of Reason” by Kat Clark

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Women’s Lit
Date Published: June 1
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
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There’s nothing like young love. But from the beginning, Amy’s wealthy, opinionated parents disapprove of Josh Everett. Josh is a high school drop-out working for his father’s modest construction company, when Amy becomes pregnant during her senior year of high school.
Her parents begrudgingly throw a lavish wedding for her and Josh to avoid the scandal of an unwed and pregnant teenage daughter. Freed from her parents’ expectations, Amy begins to thrive as a wife and mother. But Josh and Amy’s simple love story endures an unwanted plot twist when Josh is struck by mental illness and begins suffering from auditory and visual hallucinations.
Confused and scared, Amy does her best to hold her little family together. When his symptoms escalate and Josh lands in a locked hospital ward, Amy’s parents see an opportunity to sabotage the relationship. Unless Amy divorces Josh and returns home to them, they will move to take custody of the couple’s young son.
An embittered legal battle ensues, and Josh and Amy are thrown from hospital to court room. Time is running out as Josh grapples with what’s real and the couple searches for an accurate diagnosis. In order to save their family, they must face the biggest obstacle in their relationship and fight together against everything – and everyone – determined to tear them apart.

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EXCERPT

Amy stared at him. Everything froze. The air evaporated. “Are you honestly telling me to have your brother locked up in a mental ward?” She shivered.

“No.” Jason took her small hands in his large, calloused ones and squeezed gently. “I’m asking you, begging you as his brother to have him locked up. Right now, it’s the only way to save him.” He dragged a sleeve across his eyes.

Amy turned away from him and cracked Josh’s door open. He remained at the window muttering to himself, or to someone created by his mind.

There in the cold hospital hallway Amy Everett knew a heart could literally shatter, because hers did. “I swear to you,” she whispered, “I’ll find a way to bring you back to me.”

Straightening her spine, she eased the door shut and turned back to Jason. She nodded, not trusting her voice. Somehow, she had to wait to break down. She’d need her strength when she told Caleb Daddy couldn’t come home after all. It was her turn to be the strong one, no matter how impossible.

Jason took her hand and led her back to Dr Jefferson’s office. They didn’t speak. There was nothing more to say. Amy raised her hand to knock but it was shaking too badly. Jason rapped on the door with his free hand.

“Enter.” Dr Jefferson looked up from whatever he was writing, an unmistakable shadow passing over his face.

“Okay,” Amy said. “I’ll do it. I’ll sign Josh into the . . . into the mental ward. Please help him.”

She sank into the chair facing the desk before her legs gave out. Jason sat next to her. His hand made circles on her back. She wished he’d stop. It was taking everything she had not to dissolve into a heaping pile of sobs.

Dr Jefferson’s face softened. “You’re doing the right thing. We’ll take good care of him.” He pushed his chair back to a beige filing cabinet against the back wall and fumbled with his key ring. Everything was locked up. They might as well lock her up too. She didn’t want to go back out into the world without Josh.

But she had to think of Caleb. How would she stay together for him? How could they survive without their family’s foundation? Josh was the one who made her world make sense. If his world didn’t make sense, hers didn’t either.

“Can I still come and see him?”

Dr Jefferson pulled out a thick file folder. “Yes, of course. This isn’t a prison, Amy.”

Prison.

The doctor slid a pen and paper across the desk to her.

The words “involuntary commitment” blurred as tears, just as involuntary, filled her eyes and dripped onto the paper. Amy picked up the pen and scrawled her signature.

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About the Author

Kat Clark is an award-winning writer with a degree in psychology and a passion for storytelling. She found writing on a frigid winter night while holed up with a crying baby, a travelling husband, and a precocious three-year old.

Kat has been a stay-at-home mom to her two sons for eleven years. She also homeschools and advocates tirelessly for awareness of and accommodations for special needs. Her free time is spent volunteering with various church ministries including working with children with a variety of needs. Her personal experience with mental illness and her previous work with the chronically mentally ill population sparked her determination to remove the stigma from mental illness.
Kat is a contributing author for The Mighty website. She also shares a You Tube channel (Sonny Mom INC.) with her son and a blog with her sister-in-law at http://www.killingjunecleaver.blogspot.com. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, two children, two large, obnoxious dogs, and two cats who hate each other.
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#BookTour “ONE” by Mirav Tarkka

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Non-Fiction / Wellness Guide
Date Published: March 3, 2020
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We are all looking for balance and happiness in life. Today’s society certainly isn’t making it any easier to achieve that elusive blend of health, success and well-being.
ONE is the ultimate wellness guide on balance between Body and Mind, a winning combo of 22 therapists, handpicked by Mirav Tarkka, on the subject of improving your well-being. Accessible, easy to read and full of practical tips this is book is a must have, a perfect mix of storytelling and hands-on advice on getting to live the life you deserve.
The book talks about different areas of life; nutrition, creativity, sexuality, stress, communication, power finding and creating and lots more are covered to give you a comprehensive insight on the connection between body and mind.

Purchase Link

Amazon

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EXCERPT

Confession from the Publisher

ONE was born in my head just like my younger daughter’s name came to me; a gentle, yet certain whisper in my head, telling me to listen to it. I must do it.

That gentle voice arrived while I was showering, and I remember literally jumping out of the shower, rushing over to my computer and starting the process of creating something which simply had to be created.

As I am writing this, I have goose bumps all over my body. I still don’t fully grasp what has happened; I was led to this journey; I was an instrument in the hands of the universe. And, as always, I obeyed.

“You must do it now” the voice repeated. And so, I rearranged my priorities and my schedule, and let ONE lead the way. As the days passed, ONE was created, marvelous people came into my life, people I know will stay in my life forever, as our souls are united with the mission ONE has created.

We worked hard. Stealing time from our loved ones, sacrificing our sleep and ourselves. We created ONE, just as life is created; with unconditional love, with patience, with dedication.

It is hard to describe the feeling, the euphoria of bringing ONE to the world. It was something I couldn’t wait to do; I don’t really want it to end.

You will feel the love in the lines of this book. You will embrace the energy and accept it as yours, it is inevitable. That is, on top of the transformation this book will bring to your life and the lives of your loved ones.

To me, ONE represents a new family, a global family, people uniting together, as ONE.

Thank you  for  choosing me,  as  your  author, your  publisher, your “pachamamma”.

I am truly honoured.

Mirav

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About the Author
Mirav Tarkka is the bestselling author of Undefeatable, founder of Pepper Coaching and host of ONE – the online wellness tv show. She is the brainchild behind ONE the ultimate wellness book written by 20 different experts. A book on the balance between Body and Mind explained from different angles. From how to live life orgamiscally, to releasing your chakras, Chinese medicine, nutrition and the power of words are just some of the subjects covered in the book.
Through her life, Mirav has had her fair share of breakdown moments. She had to rebuild her life from scratch many times while dealing with a roller coaster of emotions, wars, challenges and pain, but she kept going – no matter what.
Through her own profound personal journey, she discovered the power of the mind to be not less important than that of the body. Mirav then created a method which combines strengthening the body while sharpening the mind, in order to help people around the world use their true, raw, authentic power, unleash their inner strength while working on their mind muscles so that they can enjoy every aspect of life to their fullest potential.
Contact Links
email mirav@peppercoaching.online

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#Excerpt “The Black Cup” by Alec Lavictoire

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Middle-Grade Fantasy
Published Date: May 29, 2020
Publisher: INtense Publications LLC
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Twelve-year-old Max knows the King wants him dead. Born with his heart outside of his rib cage, Max is abandoned at birth by his father and raised by a kind witch who sacrifices all to keep him safe from the outside world. In time, Max’s father ruthlessly ascends to the throne and becomes the most feared king in history thanks to The Black Cup’s evil powers. When he learns that the baby he abandoned years ago still lives, and is now nearly a man, the King orders his troops to find and kill Max so that his rule will go unchallenged by his own blood. Rather than run away from the danger, Max embarks on a journey toward the city to seek his father and prevent further destruction of the kingdom and its people. That’s where the witch, the King, and Max are set on a collision course. The world they have known, and the lives they have lived, will be changed forever.

Purchase Link

Intense Publications

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EXCERPT

He took the cup in his large hand and brought it to his lips. He examined the coarse black mineral the cup was made of. It appeared to be so dark as to absorb light. He felt the liquid travel down his throat and his thirst was quenched as it had never been before.

“Your son still lives at this hour. He is with a witch. She is cunning. I would suggest you take care of the matter as soon as possible.”

The effects of the drink were beginning to take hold. His mind filled with euphoric visions of bloody triumph. He could feel the sheer power coursing in his veins.

“You mean for me to return in that maze to slay a mutant baby?”

“If he is your only blood as you say, then he is the only one who can ever stop you.”

“If he lives to see the sun rise, I would be stunned. He will not grow to be a warrior with the strength to slay me.”

“Very well. However, the possibility is there. Know that once you leave this forest you may never return. It is forbidden.”

“That is of little concern.”

William filled the cup from the bottle again and downed its contents. His grey eyes grew darker. He could see clearly in the darkness now.        The old man’s eyes before him were a milky opalescent. A blind man in an abandoned tavern in the middle of nowhere. This was either an old fool or a specter handing him a power from across the divide. He examined the cup again before tucking it securely beneath his breastplate.

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About the Author
Alec Lavictoire was born and raised in Northern Ontario and now resides in Orangeville, Canada with his wife and two sons who served as the inspiration for the hero of this tale. Alec’s love of adventure has taken him all over the world on extended backpack treks where he thrives on coming up against the unknowns hidden around every corner. Some of Alec’s short stories have appeared in Fiction on the Web, 50 Word Stories, and Commuter Lit. This is his first novel.
Contact Links
Twitter: @LavictoireAlec
Instagram: @lavictoirealec

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#Excerpt “A Boy Called Preacher” by Cheryl Schuermann

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EXCERPT

“You’re the Wilcox boy, ain’t ya’?” He spit right past me. “So, where’s your old man?”

“Gone, sir.” I shrugged. “Since February.”

“Figures.” He stared at me. “What’s your name?”

“Preacher…uh…Johnny,” I stammered.

The thick glasses above Eldon Dunn’s scraggly beard were so smeary I wondered how he could even see me. His glasses slid down his nose. He worked them to his eyes by tilting his head back, scrunching his face, flaring his nostrils, and moving his lips back and forth. His cheek bulged with a wad of tobacco. Brown juice oozed out of the corner of his mouth and dribbled down his chin. He spit on the porch, splattering my boots.

I lifted the magneto a bit higher. “Can you fix it?”

He wiped his mouth with his hairy arm, never taking his eyes off me. Jagged scars marked his arms from his wrists to his elbows like he’d been wrestling bears or mountain lions.

“Can’t do it,” he said, folding his arms across his belly.

“You can’t?”

Too busy.” He spit again, this time missing my boots by a hair. “Them boys who helped me joined up after Pearl Harbor.”

“Can you fix it another time…sir?”

“Maybe.” He grinned. Or did he snarl? I couldn’t tell.

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Middle-Grade Historical Fiction

Release Day: May 16, 2020
Publisher: INtense Publications LLC
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Johnny “Preacher” Wilcox never expected to be “man of the farm” at the age of twelve. Faced with a broken tractor, wheat land to plow, and the mysterious disappearance of the farm’s water supply, he must solve a truckload of problems. To top it off, he may lose his best friend, Earl Floyd. 

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About the Author

Cheryl Schuermann loved her many years in the classroom as a Special Educator and Reading Specialist. Always a literacy advocate, she spent many more years consulting with teachers across the United States. Whether working with students or teachers, her desire is for students everywhere to be proficient readers who can hardly wait to open a new book.

Cheryl lives in Oklahoma with her illustrator husband, Stan. They raised four sons and have thirteen grandchildren. Recently, they built a 1920s style farmhouse in the country and can be found fishing, playing, and nature hiking with their family. The farmhouse is Cheryl’s favorite place to write and where she wishes she had a dog just like Deke.
Other published works: When the Water Runs: Growing Up With Alaska (2019), Jordan Tang: Think…Create…Discover (2015).
Contact Links
Facebook: @cherylschuermannauthor
Twitter: @cherylschuerma2
Instagram: cheryl_schuermann
LinkedIn: Cheryl Schuermann.
Goodreads: Cheryl Schuermann

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