TWO DAYS

A full forty-five hours left!

Enter the giveaway to win an ebook or paperback copy of A Bottle of Glass Hearts!

 

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Cover Reveal!

I’m currently writing my first real rom-com (romantic comedy), called “My Fault”!

The main character, Cleo Stanton, is on the Asperger scale as well, which has been really fun and special.  This will be another short story, like a lot of what I’ve been putting out lately.  So stay tuned for its completion!  I hope to have it done fairly soon!

But without further ado…

THE COVER!

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Meanwhile, as you wait, be sure to pick up your pre-order of “A Bottle of Glass Hearts,” on sale for $2.99 on Amazon!

 

 

FREE Paperback and Ebook Copy of A Bottle of Glass Hearts!

Want a free paperback or ebook copy of A Bottle of Glass Hearts, releasing February 14, Valentines’ Day?

This giveaway goes until February 21st!  Enter now!

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Click HERE to go to the giveaway!: a Rafflecopter giveaway

From RJ Conte, weaver of deep, emotional fiction, comes a touching collection of short stories about love and unique relationships – including the bestselling Lucent Sylph!

GEM:
When Soleil is hired as caretaker to a young boy born with superhuman powers, it’s up to her hope and optimism to help him survive his dangerous destiny – stopping the core earthquake that will destroy the world.

HIS BOTTLES OF TEARS
Her daughter has left the faith, and her heart is dashed in pieces. Then Jesus shows her a room full of bottles in a dream – vessels filled with tears, carrying stories she will never forget.

And one of them is her own.

CURLS FOR RAE
Rae has the most beautiful hair in the world… and the saddest eyes. Every week she returns to Blaine’s hairdressing shop, saying hardly a word. As he transforms her into the beauty of his dreams, she cries in silence. His heart breaks for her secret sorrow, and he longs to discover the mystery behind her tears.

AINE, STARWARRIOR
For centuries, Aine and her magnificent kindred have protected the skies from vast, galaxy-sized threats. But her fiercest battle yet will determine the fate of thousands on the unsuspecting planets below. Will she have the creativity and fortitude to defeat this newest enemy?

LUCENT SYLPH
Lucas Thissel has something he fears: an alien species of palm-sized glass fairies called Lucent Sylphs. They came through a portal from a metaphysical dimension, and they indenture themselves as slaves to human beings. Too much neglect or unkindness, and they will cloud over and disintegrate. Too much love and their hearts are overcome and burst.

And one has attached herself to him.

Why I Stopped Texting at Red Lights

may1Last year, my state of Washington enacted a new law: you can’t even hold your phone in your hand at red lights any more.  Ever.  You will be ticketed and fined if you are caught even holding your phone at a red light while sitting and waiting.  Yes.  For reals.  The article is here.

I think this law is stupid.

End of blog post.

—–

Okay… just kidding.  There’s more.  *wink*

I could go into all the reasons why I loathe this new law, why I think its stupid, etc. etc.  What is dangerous about sitting completely stopped at a red light? Practically nothing that would involve a phone.  How long are those red lights where you’re just sitting and waiting?  Often super long.  Would I ever practically get caught doing it if I kept my hand down below the window?  Probably not.

Will so many of you comment with why the law isn’t stupid and will I still insist it’s stupid?  Yep.  *wink*

I could also give you all of my excuses: I get lost easily and have to constantly check gps.  True.  I never text or anything while actually moving.  True.  I am an efficient person who likes to use that dead time.  True. The odds are 99.999999999% that nothing will ever ever happen if I hold my phone in my hand while stopped at a red light.  Also true.  The law was probably made because people are too stupid to pay attention to whether their car’s moving or not.  Probably also true.

However, it’s a law.  It can be repealed on the basis of idiocy, but until then, we’re stuck with it.

I keep wondering if my kids are whispering the same things to themselves behind my back.

“This is stupid.”

It probably feels super stupid to them when I tell them to turn the other way and not sneeze all over the food.  I know they’ve got to think it’s stupid, because they continue to sneeze all over the food and look confused when I exclaim over it.

It probably feels stupid when I tell them to get dressed, make their beds, tidy up their rooms, and do their devotions before they go down to breakfast.  Because time and time again, they choose to ignore this one also.

There are lots of things our authorities tell us to do that can seem overbearing, nonsensical, and stupid.  However, we elect those authorities into office, and until laws get changed, the stuff still stands, stupid or not.

Yet there are just things that are tempting to ignore because they seem stupid.  Using your phone at a red light isn’t in the Bible.  It’s not even considered common sense nationwide.  If I were to move back to Texas tomorrow, I could still hold my phone in my hand and make calls while I drive!

After the umpteenth time of trying to reiterate why we have a certain rule in our house, and having my kids give me that blank look that shows stuff isn’t computing, in a fit of frustration, I vowed never to use my phone at a red light again.

That wasn’t where you thought I was going with this, was it?  *wink*

But really.  I just realized that there are areas – giant areas – and sometimes teeny tiny areas – of unsubmission in my own heart.  Things I want to do anyway because I truly think I know better – and because I’ve decided they’re stupid.

And because I was trying my very best to get through to my kids – “Whether you like it or not or care about it or not, God says to obey your mother, and so you should want to do it because you LOVE HIM, and obeying me shows love to Him.  So because you love Him, just do your homework assignment the way I told you to.  Okay?”

I realized that often times I show hypocrisy.

Now there are gigantic ways I do this, of course, and you might be saying, “Come now, RJ!  What’s this about phones at red lights?  Next you’re probably going to talk to us about watching illegally ripped movies on Youtube or fibbing that your vacuum cleaner stopped working and that’s why your carpet wasn’t clean!  No one cares about this little stuff.  We all do it.  Talk to us about your big, deep sins.  Let’s gawk at that.”

Oh, my friend, I usually do.  I usually talk about the giant stuff on this blog.  But not today.  Today I want to talk to you about a stupid new little law on cell phones at red lights.

Because I think that the same heart attitude of, “I don’t care.  Stupid people made this stupid law and I’m going to do what I want anyway” is the same attitude that my kids have towards completing their chores, and the same attitude I have towards all my biggest sins of pride, ungodly speech, impatience, selfishness, and fear.

“I know what I want, and so I’m going to do it anyway.”

When did Christians become people who tried to get away with as much as possible, instead of people striving for holiness?

And no, I’m not saying we do even the smallest and stupidest of laws so we can be “perfect” and harshly, fearfully lash out at those around us (or maybe even internally judge) like, “How DARE you commit the red-light-law?!  God have MERCY on YOUR SOUL.”

Also, don’t do it because of those watching.  “Kids, let me read you this blog article I just wrote.” *sniffs and straightens lapels* “You can get a good look at how righteous Mama is!  Feel like wanting to be me?”

No, I’m saying, strive for holiness in all those little unsubmissive ways that are pricking your conscience right now – for no one other than the Lord Himself.  Because you love Him.

You’re so in love with Him, that you’d lay down every pleasure, everything that you’re lazy about, everything that you just can’t do without, and everything asked of you just because He defines your happiness and reality. Because you want the cleanest conscience and the holiest living because you’re just in love with who He is – and simply because He says so. ❤

 

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 RJ Conte is a wife and homeschool mother of three little girls (aged 7 and under) by day, and an author by night.  She has written a devotional for toddlers and preschool kids that is meatier than the typical fare they hear in Sunday school.  ASTOUND delivers doctrine and big concepts for the very small, and teaches them to love God, in language they can understand!

 

A Memory About Family

But he could read minds. He had to have known about his destiny all along. No one could keep a secret from him. Why didn’t he turn himself in?

“Because I was protecting my parents.”

I spun around. Gem stood at my open door. His gaze pinned me.
“What do you mean?” I asked. So much for get-to-know-you chitchat!
“No need for chitchat, Miss Punicello. I know you already.” His voice was flat and matter-of-fact, as if patiently explaining a complicated concept to a child.
I said nothing.
“From almost birth, I had an understanding of what I was meant to do for the world. My parents were afraid because I was gifted, and they worried about whether or not I was the next Omnicron. They were really scared at the thought of giving me up, and my mom panicked inside every time she wondered about it. So I hid my magical gifts from the moment I was old enough to understand them. They didn’t know. They weren’t at fault.”
“But… they were imprisoned –”
“They weren’t. Instead of making The Savior Omnicron look selfish and deceitful, Tuson worked with the national justice system to pretend to ‘do away with them,’ but instead they helped my parents go into hiding. The world needed to make an example of them for show.”
I sputtered. “What? Your poor parents! That’s terrible! People are judging them falsely!”
– Gem
On Amazon HERE
(and out in A Bottle of Glass Hearts, releasing on February 14, 2018!)
 
Thoughts of Blaine’s mother always came with thoughts of his stiff, traditional father, his serious lips a constant thin line. It was as if James T. York always feared originality and spontaneity would burst out and humiliate him one day, so he kept his thoughts firmly tied in the back of his throat. Growing up, it was hard to get the man to say more than three sentences a day, and they tended to be always the same like a stuck old-fashioned record: “Thank you for the coffee” (always black), “Supper was delicious, my dear,” (always after having finished his entire plate), and “How was school, Blaine?” (to which “Okay, Dad” was always the answer).
Blaine’s mother had named him – the woman was bursting with creativity that was slowly and lovingly stifled under her husband’s stick-in-the-mud heavy monotony. So she cooked. Baked. Broiled. And sautéed. And she was pretty darn good at it too. Her confections could have won her a spot in a top bakery. But those masterpieces were created for the York family mouths only, to Blaine’s dismay.
The day he had announced he wanted to be a hairdresser, his mother’s eyes had sparkled without surprise. He had been playing with her graying wiry strands since they were blond and springy. He had kept her looking glamorous for years.
But his father’s eyes had blinked in horror. “Isn’t that a job for women?” had been the expected dark-ages reply from James T. York, banker and owner of three navy blue suits and two gray ties.
“I’m an artist, dad. It’s an art. And I really love people.” Blaine threw out a chuckle as if he didn’t care. But he did. Confrontation wasn’t his strong suit, and he wanted the fight to be over before it began. “I already have enough for school and you don’t have to spend a cent.”
Blaine had kissed his mother’s wet cheeks, moved out, and, a thousand practice hours and a license later, teamed up with Marguerite, a schoolmate. She had a steady military boyfriend and an inheritance from a beloved grandmother, and so she offered him a partnership strings-free. At that point, even James T. York saw Blaine was committed. The day his father came in to Upper Cuts for his standard Ivy League cut was the day Blaine felt he had arrived.
– Curls for Rae
(in A Bottle of Glass Hearts, releasing February 14, 2018!)
 
“Please! Don’t hang up on me! I want you to come home!”
My cry echoed hollowly as the dial tone stung my ear. Dropping the receiver, the burning hit my eyes with a hellish fervor. They stung until the saltwater tears poured out to douse the fire behind my vision.
She wasn’t coming home. My beautiful, lovely, one and only teenage daughter. Lost to me, she refused to leave the sin and return. Repenting and begging for forgiveness wasn’t on her rebellious bucket list.
Was this the fifth time I wept today? The constant falling of life-water onto my face did nothing to assuage my heart. Like a bandage that would not stick, the tears failed me, but still, they would not cease.
Drained with grief, I stumbled back into the room where my husband lay sleeping, and crawled under the heavy quilt. Wrapping myself securely, I crouched near his warm body, trembling with the shivering sobs. Chill seeped in through the sheets. Would I ever be able to set a firm chin of resignation to this issue of my precious baby daughter?
– His Bottles of Tears
(in A Bottle of Glass Hearts, releasing February 14, 2018!)
 
“When we are first born out of a moment of deep adoration, our mother sends us away in our infant state, choosing, at birth, that we will be the saviors of our families. We chrysalize like your butterflies, and, in just over a year, we mature into the adults you see now. Your atmosphere hits our full-grown hearts, and we feel that we are starving. This sent us to find you human to keep us alive. Those that are not sold quickly despair and die.
– Lucent Sylph
On Amazon HERE
(and in A Bottle of Glass Hearts, releasing February 14, 2018!)
 
She flung it. Threw it from her with the might of a thousand starwarriors before her. The hot ball of gas spun and sputtered, flying end over end. It whirled toward the densely ebony being only a few light years from her, its ugly hide filling the entire span of a galaxy.
– Aine, Starwarrior
(in A Bottle of Glass Hearts, releasing February 14, 2018!)
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A Bottle of Glass Hearts!

Introducing you to my FIVE short stories compilation!!

My little burning glass hearts include:

Gem
His Bottles of Tears
Curls for Rae
Aine, Starwarrior
and Lucent Sylph!

This compilation will be published, for $2.99, on Valentines’ Day!  February 14, 2018!

I had original art – concocted up in my head, and made a reality by the lovely, amazing, talented Julia Mae Busko.

So today I’m introducing you to this cover (and the main characters of each below)!!!

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This is going to be a collection of the most heart-warming, tear-inducing, emotion-ridden, lovely little jewels I can think up. CanNOT wait to share with you!


Now about the main characters for each story!  

In “Gem,” the main character is SOLEIL PUNICELLO:Soleil Punicello
She is ESFJ, motherly, sweet, innocent, and optimistic. The story starts out with her receiving a prestigious high-clearance job being a caregiver for her planet’s Omnicron – the telepathic, telekinetic genius child who is going to save the planet with the power of his mind.

 

prayIn “His Bottles of Tears,” the main character is an unnamed fifty-something MOM who is struggling, devastated, and wavering in her understanding of God’s sovereignty and goodness. The story starts out with her pleading with her prodigal young adult daughter to come home.

 

In “Curls for Rae,” the protagonist is BLAINE YORK:3d4b761149fb19f50eaeb12ddd2d83e5
He is ISFP, sensitive, artistic, romantic, and empathetic. The story starts out with him, a New York city hairdresser, being intrigued by a mystery woman who comes in for a styling each week, and sits in his chair and cries.

 

Milky Way. Night Sky With Stars And Silhouette Of A ManIn “Aine, Starwarrior,” the protagonist is AINE:
She is competent, determined, and self-sacrificing, a galaxy-sized starwarrior who fights intergalactic monsters to protect planets around her.

 

In “Lucent Sylph,” the protagonist is LUCAS THISSEL: He is ISFJ, introverted, sensitive,Lucas quiet, and studious.  He is trying to find his purpose in life, motherless, and with a cold, angry father. He wants to avoid the alien pets people are collecting at all costs. These “pets” thrive on the perfect balance of love from their owners, and Lucas is scared about his own hidden emotions.

 

Stay tuned for this short story compilation, arriving on Amazon on February 14th!!

Books of 2017

Last year, I read 52 books – so many good ones – and so many written by author friends and acquaintances. Yay, guys! Good work, faithful servants of God! This year, with a newborn in the house at the very beginning, I thought maybe I’d read less… but no! I hit exactly 51 books this year! Hooray! And I had SO FEW duds. Seriously. 48 of them were very good. It was a great year of reading! I leave a star rating to show how much I liked a book so you’ll know if I recommend it or not. Still – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. I take no responsibility for you picking up any of these books and being horrified. 😛 One of the 2-star books that I really disliked I left off the list this year so as not to hurt any feelings. For all of the books that I rated 4-5 stars, I went and left a review on Amazon. LEAVE REVIEWS! It helps an author immensely! 🙂

Nonfiction

Stress: Peace Amid Pressure by David Powlison – 5 stars
A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent – 5 stars
Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick – 5 stars
God’s Love: Better than Unconditional by David Powlison – 5 stars
Motives by Edward T. Welch – 5 stars
Managing Your Emotions by Amy Baker – 4 stars
How to Survive Your Pastor’s Sermons – 5 stars (Totally picked this one up and read it to the kids. I don’t need any help because Daniel is amazing! 😀 )
Awe by Paul Tripp – 5 stars
What is the Meaning of Baptism? by Robert G. Spinney – 5 stars

The RJ Award for Favorite Nonfiction Book of the Year…

When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch
EXCELLENT. Every single person needs to read this book probably every year. I know I will! All of us, deep down, are people-pleasers who fear man. Maybe some of us discuss it as “fitting into the social norms” or “fear of rejection” or “perfectionists” etc. But every Christian needs to have this idolatry/fear/wrong thinking cleansed from their minds. In gentle tones with so much depth, Ed Welch does just that!

Fiction – Middle Grade (chapter books read aloud to kiddos)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis – 5 stars
The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis – 5 stars
The Traveler’s Tricks: A Caroline Mystery by Laurie Calkhoven – 3 stars
Benny Uncovers a Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner – 5 stars
The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis – 5 stars
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis – 5 stars
The Secret of the Attic by Sheri Cooper Sinykin – 4 stars
Heather Goes to Hollywood by Sheri Cooper Sinykin – 3 stars
Keisha Leads the Way by Teresa Reed – 2.5 stars
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – 4 stars

RJ Award for Best Middle Grade Fiction of the Year…

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
I laughed aloud reading this book. It was as good as I remember from my own childhood. I loved it so much, and the kids had so much fun listening to it as well. Peter is precocious, imaginative, and the writing style is comedic and artistic.

General Fiction

World War Take 2 by John Thomas – 4 stars
The One by Kiera Cass – 3.5 stars
Threadbare by Bethany Jennings – 5 stars
Shattered by Kimberly Rae – 5 stars
Good Spell Gone Bug by Laura VanArendonk Baugh – 4 stars
Spellsmith and Carver by H. L. Burke – 4 stars
The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson – 4 stars
Dragon Lyric by Bethany Jennings – 4.5 stars
Alan and Naomi by Myron Levoy – 5 stars
The Fisherman’s Lady by George MacDonald – 5 stars
The Dragon Lady by Angelique Anderson – 3.5 stars
Broken Like Glass by EJ McCay – 5 stars
The Marquis’ Secret by George MacDonald – 3.5 stars
My Friend Louie by J.J. Johnson – 5 stars
Seaglass by Kara Swanson – 5 stars
Coiled by H. L. Burke – 5 stars
Abiding Hope by Jennifer Hays Westall – 4.5 stars
Who Needs Reality? by Lia London – 3 stars
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige – 2.5 stars
Gated by Amy Christine Parker – 4 stars
Lawless by Janeen Ippolito – 5 stars
The Shadow: Someone is Watching by Kimberly Rae – 4.5 stars
Restored: Never Give Up Hope by Kimberly Rae – 5 stars
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green – 4.5 stars
The Silver Bowl by Diane Stanley – 4 stars
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron – 5 stars

The RJ Award for Best Fiction of the Year is a Tie Between…

The Luck Child by Rebekah Shafer
This book isn’t even out yet! (sticking out tongue) but it’s GORGEOUS. I’m not a high fantasy lover at all – I’ve never even been able to finish one in the past because it’s so not my cup of tea. But I adored beta reading this manuscript so much that it was my favorite of the year. Rebekah is an artist, and her work is all so different that they could win the heart of any reader. She can write so many different styles, you might not even know it was the same author. The Luck Child was like reading a painting. In some of the most beautiful language I’ve come across since reading Inkheart, Rebekah takes us on the adventures of a daring young orphan who has a strange problem: When he leaves someone’s presence, they forget about him. It’s a fascinating premise, and he meets a variety of magical creatures. I adored this book so much and hope Rebekah puts it out soon so all of you can enjoy it.
and
Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
The best allegory – bar none – in the history of allegories. I cried, bought souvenirs, painted a watercolor, made bookmarks for friends, and pretty much fangirled this story hard all year. My mom read it to me when I was a kid, but it really came alive for me this year re-reading it out loud to my girls. It was just what I needed this year as a new mom of three, and I drew closer to the Lord because of it. I highly, highly recommend this very accessible allegory. You will see yourself in it, for sure!

The Student and the Slave!

Annie Douglass Lima is back on my blog with book 3 of her fun series on an alternative earth with slaves and martial arts!
Take a look at this exciting new young adult action and adventure novel, The Student and the Slave, now available for purchase! This is the third book in the Krillonian Chronicles, after The Collar and the Cavvarach and The Gladiator and the Guard

The series is set in an alternate world that is very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

The Collar and the Cavvarach by Annie Douglass Lima
First, a Little Information about Books 1 and 2: 
Book 1: The Collar and the Cavvarach

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?


Click here to read chapter 1 of The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Click here to read about life in the Krillonian Empire, where the series is set.

The Gladiator and the Guard by Annie Douglass LimaBook 2: The Gladiator and the Guard

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?


Click here to read about life in the arena where Bensin and other gladiators are forced to live and train.



And now, The Student and the Slave, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

Book 3: The Student and the Slave



Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.

Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?


Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through November 31st!


About the Author:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and
later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her
husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at
Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since
her childhood, and to date has published fifteen books (three YA action and
adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her
students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides
writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction),
scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with the Author Online:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Google+: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus


Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of the first two books in the series!



 

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Amazon Bestseller!

Gem is selling SO well that, even though it’s still a pre-order, it’s up at #7 on the Amazon bestseller list for all short sci-fi/fantasy!!  :-O  I’ve never gotten that high for a paid book!

Maybe a few more sales will tide it over into the #1 position!  So if you were planning on reading it, could you order it today?  Thank you, everyone!