Nora Black's Blog

May 8, 2014

Extaordinaryreads Short Story Competition. Win $1000 and $20 per month
Entry Rules


Entries must be written in English.
Entries should be between 500 - 5000 words long.
Entries must be suitable for a family-friendly audience, so, they should not include excessive violence or graphically sexual content. If the piece is only suitable for adult eyes the work must include an over eighteen rating, and as such may be disqualified, based on the level of adult content.
Entries may be of any genre.
Winning entries will be selected by popularity. The story with the highest rating and number of votes, wins. If there is a tie the web mistress, Susan Hern, will choose the winner between the entrants.
All announced results must be considered final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
Entrants must be older than thirteen.
There is no entry fee, but those entries, which include the code published in the website's magazine 'The Fresh Voice', which is on sale at the links below for $0.99, will receive much higher prize payouts.
Prizes are as follows
First place, $800 if the entry is accompanied by the competition code to be found in The Fresh Voice Magazine(amazon or Smashwords $0.99 or get a free copy by signing up for extaordinaryreads' newsletter http://www.extaordinaryreads.com/news... ), $100 if it is not.
Second place $150 if accompanied by magazine code, $10 if it is not.
Third place, $50 if accompanied by magazine code, one years magazine subscription if not
Fourth, fifth and sixth places: entries will be published, along with the other winners, in an anthology. The entrants will receive 80% (after retailer's commission) of all sales from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Goodreads, Scribd, iTunes and various other digital retail book platforms. The book will also be published in paper back, for distribution to the American market, by Create Space. The publishing contract will include, proofreading, editing, book formatting, cover art and advertising and distribution.
All winners receive the publishing package described above.
One winning story will be published in the magazine 'The Fresh Voice', monthly.
The competition is open from the 29th of April 2014, and runs until, 29th of April 2015(or until at least 1000 entries have been received). Monthly, winners will also be selected by the voters, and those winners will receive a $20 Amazon book voucher monthly
A list of winners will be published on Our Newsletter page and in the magazine 'The Fresh Voice', monthly.
Entries must be uploaded on site using the webform provided on the members page. Membership is free and always will be sign up here Register or Login
Entries are available for all to read and vote on, instantly after upload on site.
Entries may be viewed in highest-to-lowest popularity(based on ratings), or newest-to-oldest.
Entries must be accompanied by cover art (black and white is preferable ), the image must be 500 px wide by 700 px long, and will be reduced to this size if larger. Entries will be disqualified if not accompanied by a cover image which must include a pen name.(not the entrants real name)
Winners will be notified by email.
The magazine prize enhancement code may be added to entries at any time during the first month of publication, and does not have to be included on upload
Entries must be the original work of the author, and may not be available elsewhere in digital format, other than the author's blog.
Staff, owners or affiliates of extaordinaryreads may enter the competition as examples of stories required but may not win any prizes despite their voter status (eg:-Nora Black)
Magazine Retail sites from 5th of May

Smashwords
Amazon
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Published on May 08, 2014 23:46 • 24 views • Tags: competition, extaordinaryreads, win, win-1000

March 18, 2014

Book Blog Tour Schedule. Get an eBook Review Wacky What Ever Wordpress
Wacky What Evers Blogspot
Books with bite
Joey2711
Booklikes
Blog Tour Genie
Extaordinaryreads
Dates.
Get an eBook Review 15th March
Wacky What Ever Wordpress 21st March
Wacky What Evers Blogspot 16th March
Books with bite 17th March
Joey 2711 18th March
Booklikes 19th March
Blog Tour Genie 20th March
Wrap Extaordinaryreads 22nd March
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Published on March 18, 2014 00:40 • 20 views • Tags: blog-tour, turning-curse

November 1, 2013

The Yorkshire Terrier
~Author Unknown~

There are many little terrier dogs
Of every size and hue.
But the one I'd like to mention here
Is shaded tan and blue.
He's a cocky little devil
And he isn't any saint,
But a sappy little lap-dog
is the very thing he ain't!
He struts along the garden path
His eyes boot-button bright,
and God help any straying cat
that comes into his sight.
His owners fear no burglars
For every sound he hears,
the softest, quietest footsteps
will not pass his pricked up ears.
And if he is disturbed at night
Or danger is at hand,
he makes more of a racket
Than a fifty piece brass band!
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Published on November 01, 2013 10:24 • 38 views • Tags: dogs, man-s-best-friend, puppies, yorkies, yorkshire-terriers

September 30, 2013

I was having a bit of a chat today with an old friend, she couldn't understand why I was supporting and promoting indie authors:
"Surely, this effort detracts from the time you can spend on your own work?" She asked, rhetorically.
I answered anyway, "No, I believe that any, good, self-published author I promote is a wave in the direction of forwarding all our ambition."
"How then?"
"Confidence, dear .... confidence! It's what makes people buy books" I think I made my point.
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Published on September 30, 2013 12:51 • 93 views • Tags: confidence, indie-authors, sales

September 27, 2013

Bleeding Shame at number one.




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Published on September 27, 2013 09:23 • 66 views • Tags: 1, bleeding-shame

September 22, 2013

Recently, I've become involved in several gallery fiction and advance release programs organized for indie authors. What strikes me most about the books I've received is that they are so very professional. Sometime back a lot of the works I read were unpolished, now it seems the authors have really gone out of their way to offer excellent copy. Books such as Bloom by Martin Kee, Identity X by Michelle Muckley, and Second Honeymoon by Mark Sousa, only prove the point. All are well written, tightly plotted stories that have been carefully produced and well edited.
If the future of Indie fiction has its foundation so firmly planted then I can only predict brilliant things. The Internet has offered many advantages to lots of people, the advantage of self-publishing independent works, it seems, is one of the most advanced.
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Published on September 22, 2013 19:15 • 104 views • Tags: independent-books, indie, indie-publishing

September 14, 2013

Download an Advance Reader Copy from Smashwords.com using the code.KR52W.
I wish to thank you for giving a new writer a chance and I hope you enjoy this book. This copy is offered in exchange for your honest review. If you could take the time to add your thoughts to Goodreads,Librarything, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords; this author would much appreciate it.
Thanks,
Nora Black
Author of Bleeding Shame.

BLEEDING SHAME.
A novel.

Has a world altering invention become temptation for murder?


A vicious killer, an improbable story, and a shattering scientific discovery, mingle to create a cocktail of deceptive intrigue.


A bright young woman's death has been framed to look like an act of rage during a call-girl rendezvous. A tired, disillusioned cop, her only hope of redemption. Layer upon layer unfold to reveal a conniving conspiracy of global proportions; a conjuring of convoluted wicked twists.

Stacey Cornish has been murdered, and her killer has done very little to hide his identity. When his body washes up on the bank of a local river, Detective Frankie Harlow is unconvinced that the man committed suicide. However, when his family come under-fire in a series of vicious attacks aimed at dissuading further interest, Frankie knows that there is more to the murder than first meets the eye. Stacey was a biochemist working on a cure for cancer, perhaps her death had something to do with her research rather than the frame-of-facts posed by the killers.

Bleeding Shame is a compelling story that will grab you at the start, pull you along at a breathtaking pace, and shock you senseless with the questions it poses, and the answers it finds. Heart-wrenching, scary and sometimes humorous, it never fails to impress.
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Published on September 14, 2013 23:15 • 63 views • Tags: bleeding-shame, free-book

August 31, 2013

Recently I saw the word 'til' used in a novel by a famous American author. I was confused since I'd never seen this particular derivative before. To me it's either 'until' or 'till', I thought that perhaps it was simply a typo, but no, the word was used throughout the book. I looked it up online and even among diehard grammarists, confusion reigned. Here, however, is the verdict of my favorite 'grammar girl'.

The verdict.
Till is generally accepted as being more correct than ‘til. According to the Associated Press Stylebook, till is the way to go. And, depending on which dictionary you use, ‘til is either an accepted alternative spelling or a spelling error. Despite some sources considering ‘til not technically wrong, it’s best to use till as all sources consider it correct.

But what about til?
If you feel you must use t-i-l, be sure to use an apostrophe at the beginning. Til with no apostrophe is always incorrect.
For the American author whose popular book is littered with the word 'til', I guess someone should shoot the Ed.
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Published on August 31, 2013 21:02 • 48 views • Tags: grammar, til, till, until

July 7, 2013



BLEEDING SHAME.

A novel.


Has a world altering invention become temptation for murder?


A vicious killer, an improbable story, and a shattering scientific discovery, mingle to create a cocktail of deceptive intrigue.



A bright young woman's death has been framed to look like an act of rage during a call-girl rendezvous. A tired, disillusioned cop, her only hope of redemption. Layer upon layer unfold to reveal a conniving conspiracy of global proportions; a conjuring of convoluted wicked twists.



Stacey Cornish has been murdered, and her killer has done very little to hide his identity. When his body washes up on the bank of a local river, Detective Frankie Harlow is unconvinced that the man committed suicide. However, when his family come under-fire in a series of vicious attacks aimed at dissuading further interest, Frankie knows that there is more to the murder than first meets the eye. Stacey was a biochemist working on a cure for cancer, perhaps her death had something to do with her research rather than the frame-of-facts posed by the killers.



Bleeding Shame is a compelling story that will grab you at the start, pull you along at a breathtaking pace, and shock you senseless with the questions it poses, and the answers it finds. Heart-wrenching, scary and sometimes humorous, it never fails to impress.




Here is an excerpt.



BLEEDING SHAME

A novel.


PART 1.

A TASTE OF BLOOD.


“I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.”


― Woody Allen.


“Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.” .”


― William Shakespeare, Macbeth.


1..”

Stacey..”

*.”


She remembered that it was very cold and very wet on that day; the rain beating a resounding tattoo against the fragile glass windows of her house. She knew that she would have been far more afraid of the downpour than she was if circumstance had been different. The brass knocker on the front door was sturdy and beautifully wrought, it was also substantial enough to drown out the sound of the weather with its ominous clang.



From her corner of the hall, quiet, secret, and still, she saw him. Big and burly he was, clad head to toe in black, with shiny brass buttons singularly out of place along the front of his jacket. His face, although pasty white, was highlighted by two rosy cherub-like globes on his cheeks. He had a booming voice, and of all the unbelievably nasty things that were that week he was the worst.



She watched as he circled Cook Janie, she saw Janie stare transfixed at the toes of her shoes as he questioned her. She knew, by instinct alone that Janie would tell the truth, to the best of her ability anyway...



Questions echoed around the great rooms, and the constable seemed to swell with each new one, as if the facts, as abhorrent as they were, were somehow of his own making, without ever being his fault. His measure took the weight of it, and multiplied it into a case for his own self-importance. It made much of him and little of her. You would think people would be kind when they came to announce a death to a child, he treated her as if she were the culprit.



Thoughts of that dreadful day were a cloud across her mind, a mind that was swiftly drifting away from the world in a rank anonymous motel room splattered, wall-to-wall, in blood.

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Published on July 07, 2013 03:19 • 53 views • Tags: bleeding-shame-oreview

June 15, 2013

BLEEDING SHAME.

A Novel

By

S.A.Hern.



“I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.”
― Woody Allen.

“Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

1.
Frankie.

*




The cliche, ‘hair like spun gold’, was simply the best way to describe the shiny coil of blonde nestled between her shoulder and her neck. Sunlight peeking through the shutters glinted on the strands, reflecting sharp metallic shards back at me.

Perhaps it was the sheer beauty, so unsettling, so out of place. Perhaps the cliche, which had popped into my mind unbidden, so apt in its provocative truth. Whatever it was, the scene stabbed a chill into my veins.

I have dealt with death so very often in my life, most of it violent, most ugly. Familiarity has made me immune. This blood-soaked corpse with its perfectly preserved vibrant young locks, cleaved cleanly through my toughened hide.

The room was expensive, but shamefully dirty. Laminated mahogany surfaces littered with the dregs of last night’s party--empty wine bottles, beer cans and cigarette packs--looked forlorn and sad; many strewn with rumpled cellophane, which sparkled incongruously in the reflected light, like garish tinsel advertising a good time.

The motel known to cater to the call-girl industry, was located in the upmarket Johannesburg suburb of Fourways, but with no view to speak of; it overlooked a car showroom. Not the type of scenery needed to make the hiring of rooms desirable. Each tier of the building's ugly facade blinked gloss, from the dark glass windows, onto the windscreens of the luxury cars down below. Despite their price tag, the rooms were dark, cramped and unimaginatively decorated. Not a space anyone would willingly choose to spend their last moments in.

The girl was probably in her late twenties, but the vulnerable angle of her neck above her naked form made her seem younger. She had been securely fastened using, of all things, white cable-ties. A dark red gash at the base of her throat, partly hidden by the fall of her hair, looked to be the cause of death, but then again--although in the face of murder it is impossible not to speculate--I have learned never to judge the ingenuity of killers, nor the workings of their twisted minds. On my mental checklist, I added a tick next to getting someone to interview the service staff. Experience had taught me that hospitality employees were usually reticent to a fault, but one simply never knew, persistence might have a payoff.

"Try not to contaminate this set-up, guys, I would hate the perp to walk on a technicality." I was talking to the room in general, nevertheless, I knew I had been heard.

A tap on my shoulder gave me an excuse to tear my eyes away from the girl and give my attention to Andy, one of my ‘fiber and spec’ guys.

“Weird one Frank, guy’s all but given us his address. This place is like a forensic gold mine;” he held out a woman’s handbag for me to get a look at what he meant, “see... girl's ID, driver's license everything... Hanging outta here. Why would he leave this behind, do you think?” I nodded my head at him, then gave the place a more studied look. Andy was right there were even clear footprints outlined on the blood-streaked carpet.

“Fingerprints too Frank. He made no attempt to clean up really sloppy, or just plain crazy.” Andy was muttering more to himself now than to me, shrugging his shoulders, after dropping the bag into an evidence pouch. The oddness of the scene should have piqued my sense of judgment immediately, but I didn’t have my customary distance to use as a mood detector that day, the room was way too structured.... Even calculated, but I didn't visualize purpose in it.

Andy and his team quickly dispensed with final mop-up. Remarkable, I thought, how they always managed to wipe out every trace of most crimes in a few hours. They had scrubbed and scraped. The room looked spotless, but try as I might I was unable to eliminate the broken image of the girl, or the thickness of the congealing blood that had filled the space only a heart-beat ago.

"We're off to Nick's after," Andy threw a friendly arm over my shoulder, "why don't you tag along?" I could no longer disengage myself from the scene unnoticed.

"Thanks, sounds good." Rather than going home to my empty apartment I had been lassoed into a boys’ after party, never the right gift for any participant’s liver.

Out on the highway I rolled down my Jetta's window to get a current of fresh air into my nostrils. Death has a stink to it. A stink that tends to cling to anyone who has been close. It mingles into your hair, puts an invisible stain on your clothes. Clean air helps, it's not capable of dispensing with the reek entirely, but at least it makes you feel better.

I checked my rear-view mirror before switching lanes. A heaviness behind my gray-blue eyes - already sweeping into dark circles of fatigue under them - alerted me to the fact that this girl, so defenseless in her nudity, her senseless vicious death, had already begun to reel me in. The answer was always amongst the labyrinth of objects at the scene, it's a truth, a fact of crime. A killer never leaves the root of the deed without polluting it with something personal. The frustrating thing is that it's almost impossible, without hindsight, to identify that something. When the body had been finally removed, a scrap of note paper, with what looked like scientific jargon had been fished out from under it. The script was barely distinguishable, having been in a position of much friction with the writhing skin above it, but I had my hopes.

Nick's establishment was located across the road from our offices; a drinking hole, would probably suit as a description to anyone coming across it without having experience of Nick's special brand of personal attention, and great food (a surprise in any bar). The brick entranceway, next to its grassy parkade, smelt like home.

"How's the wife and 'wickeds'?" Nick, the bartender, asked once I was seated in front of him. He prided himself on knowing tidbits about all of his regulars, and since our department tended to spend more time in his establishment than in our own offices, it wasn't surprising that he knew a little about most of us, as well as any interesting gossip attached.

"All good." I loved my kids, or 'wickeds' as Nick liked to call them. I had been separated from my wife, Marissa, for a few years, but we hadn't actually managed to get divorced yet. My life, or rather the department's demands, interfered with normal existence. Marissa hated living under siege, as she called it, during my investigations. I also suspected that she couldn't take the fear anymore--never knowing if I would come home at all, let alone in one piece. She had known I was committed to being a cop when she married me, and in the early years she hadn't minded it much, but after the girls were born, Shiloh first, then Natasha, everything changed.

I was constantly on call - she called that 'detachment from family'.

I drank tequila to relax - she called that 'alcoholism'.

The list of my offenses was indeed long, and she had that list pinned to her heart.

I'd moved into my own apartment four years ago. It was meant to be a temporary arrangement until I could find something better. Time had simply washed over my intentions, caving into procrastination, and carrying my plans away on its relentless tide. Psychologically, I knew, I would never be able to truly make a space of my own seem comfortable without my family, but that's simply the way it crumbles.

Andy slipped into the chair next to me,

"So, what are your thoughts Frank?"

"We'll have to wait and see. I hate the cable-ties, the cigarette ends, pity she had to have those as her last memory." I meant it to be non-committal, but Andy's shock would have been comic, if his features hadn't worn such a tragic look.

"What, am I not allowed to view the victim in a personal way?" I snarled, the day’s stress cutting into my voice. I felt lousy,

"Sorry Andy, that wasn't ....."

"Forget it Frank, I know, believe me, I know..." He stemmed the flow of my sentiment with a weary sigh.

After that, except for the background music, and the sounds of people jostling for liquor, we simply drank.... a lot, in silence. Eventually the sky through the bar's windows turned from royal to pitch, the day's melancholy; a weighty thing, grim with the swirl of fate it wanted to cloak us in, while sending us into the mist of its confusion.

2.

Stacey.

*


She remembered that it was very cold and very wet on that day; the rain beating a resounding tattoo against the fragile glass windows of her house. She knew that she would have been far more afraid of the downpour than she was, if circumstance had been different. The brass knocker on the front door was sturdy and beautifully wrought, it was also substantial enough to drown out the sound of the weather with its ominous clang.


From her corner of the hall, quiet, secreted, and still, she saw him. Big and burly he was, clad head to toe in black, with shiny brass buttons singularly out of place along the front of his jacket. His face, although pasty white, was highlighted by two rosy cherub-like globes on his cheeks. He had a booming voice, and of all the unbelievably nasty things that were, that week, he was the worst.


She watched as he circled Cook Janie, she saw Janie stare transfixed at the toes of her shoes as he questioned her. She knew, by instinct alone, that Janie would tell the truth, to the best of her ability anyway...


Questions echoed around the great rooms, and the constable seemed to swell with each new one, as if the facts, as abhorrent as they were, were somehow of his own making, without ever being his fault. His measure took the weight of it, and multiplied it into a case for his own self-importance. It made much of him, and little of her. You would think people would be kind when they came to announce a death to a child, he treated her as if she were the culprit.

Thoughts of that dreadful day were a cloud across her mind, a mind that was swiftly drifting away from the world in a rank anonymous motel room splattered, wall-to-wall, in blood.

3.

Seth.

*



Our offices were in the upper section above the Rosebank Police Station. Homicide Special Operations--emblazoned in gold lettering on our door--was the only nod the department offered by way of status. The room was functional, and held a few more techie gadgets than others in the building. The layout was open plan; each cubicle joined to its neighbor by a low padded, fabric covered screen. The interior designer could not possibly have been a cheerful personality, since the coloring was a mismatch of clashing dingy greens and grays. However, huge windows drew in the sunlight and the sounds of the sidewalks below, real old-fashioned 'vensters' as they would be called in the local dialect. It was refreshing to work under the glare of natural, rather than neon, light.


My desk, with its paraphernalia of loose-leaf files, and various linked and unlinked laptops was the tidiest thing about me. Generally, despite my job, and the fact that I think I have a logical mind, I'm not a very orderly guy. Clean, yes, neat, not at all. I pulled over one of my favorite computers, and was about to begin my report when Seth, my partner, jutted his blade of a nose over my screen,

"Hey, Frank... fuck, you look somewhat bedraggled. Any party I should have known about?" I grinned, despite myself.

"Not unless you can call a visit to Nick's a party, no."

"Ahh, so you have been gallivanting without me. I'm crushed, how will I ever be able to trust you again?" I laughed at that, and when I looked up he was making his way around the divider into my section. He was always full of rancor and spunk. Our relationship had grown from being thrown together in a way only cops could ever understand. The proximity created by crime on its minions invents a unique type of peer identity, as close as a sibling, with the type of heightened trust only necessity brings to the party.

"Been looking into your latest, Frankie," he added without ceremony.

"You're fast, you are," I countered, my mood swinging back into sobriety,

"Fingerprints on a glass, and on the handbag from the motel room," Seth informed, setting himself at a jaunty angle on my desktop,

"This guy, Frank, obviously doesn't watch TV, or read many novels. Her name was Stacey Cornish, seems like she worked for an escort agency based in Sandton, classy joint. Apparently the John left proof of payment in the bedside drawer; he paid by credit card. Case is weird, you know, Frank.... nasty weird." He nodded his heavy jaw in the direction of the central computer terminal, then added, "I'm going to run his prints through, Pixie. See what it throws out." (He used the nickname the office staff had christened me with--my daughters had modernized my hairdo with gel and highlights, I'd quite liked the effect, but my staff had never forgiven me).

I knew, instantly, that we were going to find our man, but there was something off about it, and the oddness was beginning to nag at the corners of my better judgment. However, when the prints matched a guy who had been nicked for possession and dealing, my fears disappeared, druggies often got lazy, or stupid (or both). Damon Harris, now aged thirty-four, had been hauled in on three occasions between the ages of nineteen and twenty-one.

Vices:

On the first count, possession of cocaine.

On the second, possession.

On the third, possession and dealing.

He had done a stint of a year, and been released on good behavior. I shook my head in amazement, once again, at how our system insisted on putting criminals back on the street, who would be re-arrested, time and again, for similar, or worse crimes.

"Seth, check the domicile on Harris. Take a few boys and go and see what our deviant is up to these days." Seth looked enthusiastic about that.

"Sure thing, this boy looks like he hasn't seen cuffs in a while, maybe we can remind him what they look like."

Seth was, what you would call a 'Ham'. He was a big redhead, with the proverbial temper that went with the hair. Although he was no Einstein, he could be relied upon to get the job done thoroughly, and usually with 'that' smidgen of insight that made a cop a detective, rather than merely a police officer. He was hard not to like (as long as you weren't a on the other side of his temper, that is). I would have liked to meet Mr. Harris, but both sides of the crime had to be tackled. So rather than tag along I found the correct number on my terminal, and phoned to make an appointment to interview Stacey's boss.

A tinny sing-song voice answered, instructing me that I had been allocated to slot twenty-three in the throng of waiting callers. Business must, indeed, have been brisk at the agency, because I was kept on the line for at least fifteen minutes before the click of connection echoed.

"Satin and Lace, how may we be of service?" God, unbelievable. Sweet candied voice; dripping with sexual promise.

"Hi, my name is Detective Frank Harlow, I'm looking into the Stacey Cornish affair. I need to speak to the manager or owner of your agency."

"Oh, police..." Silence.

"Yes, can you arrange an interview, or must I arrive unannounced?" Subtle pressure.

"No, sir, I mean detective, I'll speak to Miss Foresster right away. If you'll hold on, I'll confirm, then be with you again in a bit."

True to her word, it didn't take long, I had an interview arranged for the next morning. I wanted to cover all the angles, get a feel for the environment the victim had inhabited.
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Published on June 15, 2013 00:53 • 67 views • Tags: bleeding-shame, new-book, revised, three-chapters, thriller