Ultimate YA features ‘Blood Family’!

Blood Family – Quest for the Vampire Key is on Ultimate YA!

The feature starts tomorrow and will continue throughout the month with 1-2 posts each week. Learn all about the story of half-vampire Daniel Dark and his perilous quest  to confront his malevolent vampire father.

Ultimate YA

Ultimate YA

From the site:

Ultimate YA is an organization that promotes young adult literature (YA lit) and reading. We feature one YA lit author per month. Each feature includes a short bio of the author, as well as fun facts and an interview.  If you would like to be featured, please send an email inquiry to ultimateyareadinggroup@gmail.com.

In addition to our features, we post quotes and memes of the week that relate to books, writing, and/or reading on Tuesdays and Thursdays, respectively. We also post anything else that we find interesting regarding reading and writing.

Blood Family - a vampire novel by Mark Knight

See Ultimate YA’s BLOOD FAMILY Feature here

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‘Blood Family’ is now available!

I am thrilled to announce that my Young Adult urban fantasy novel, Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key is now available on Amazon US and Amazon UK! Thank you to all the fantastic people who have supported me and this work, and those who helped give this book a professional shine – Ali Cross of Novel Ninjutsu, Anne Victory of Victory Editing, David Rabbitte for his amazing cover art, and Tatania Vila for her superb cover fonts.

Look out for Blood Family on Ultimate YA – where it will be featuring on April 1st (no fooling’!).

The book will also be the ‘featured read’ on I Love Vampire Novels great site.

And that’s not all, I will be appearing on many sites and blogs over the coming weeks. Find out about more about Daniel Dark’s perilous journey, and what inspired my take on vampire lore.

I will be giving everyone heads-up when each and every one of these features has gone live.

A vampire father, an imprisoned mother, and one perilous journey…

Lazy, goalless New England teenager Daniel Dark never intended his life to change so dramatically. It starts with the arrival of a mysterious package, and the revelation that his true father was a master vampire named Dominus. As his own fearsome powers begin to emerge, he sets out to rescue his birth mother, still imprisoned in Dominus’ stronghold. Strange clues take Daniel to the deep forests of southern Mexico and then to the mist-shrouded moors of England. Hot on his heels is his adoptive father – Pastor Nathan Dark, determined to find and kill he boy he had once called his son.

Urban fantasy for Young Adult readers and beyond.

Life as part of a debt-free, middle-class family in the New England suburbs should have been heaven. But when your father is a Man of God and you’re a vampire, it sure can be hell.

Life as part of a debt-free, middle-class family in the New England suburbs should have been heaven.
But when your father is a Man of God and you’re a vampire, it sure can be hell.

‘Blood Family’ Preview ~ Chapter Four

The countdown to all-hell-breaks-loose has begun. Daniel is still an average teen; indolent, rebellious, taking a back seat from life. He has friends, like Pearce, who know him only as the lax-limbed son of the local pastor. Daniel knows something is going on with his father. He will soon find out what is brewing within himself.

CHAPTER 4

“I’m telling you, Pearce. It was weird.”

Daniel lay on his bed with his dented-but-functioning cellular phone sandwiched between his ear and a propped pillow. The TV on the dresser opposite was flickering out a rerun of The Munsters with the sound turned down.

“God,” Pearce reacted, mouth stuffed full of takeaway hamburger. “Walking in on a bunch of priests. I’d freak. But I guess you’re used to that.”

“I’m not. Dad’s never had a preacher party like that before, not in this house. And get this: they’ll be having it here every month from now on.”

“With the creepy old guy?”

“I dunno,” Dan said after a shudder, hand recalling the elder pastor’s grip. “Probably. Shit, I hope not.”

“So what do they talk about?”

“Sermons and shit.”

“Yeah, God stuff…”

“Not just that. I overheard my Dad a few weeks back. He wants to open a new church or something. Or a new branch of the church. I think that’s what they’re organizing. As if I don’t have enough grief. So, Pearcey, you going out later?”

“What—tonight?”

“No, not tonight. It’s too late now. Dad would have my nuts for fuzzy dice. Tomorrow night. You know, just to hang out somewhere. A few cans, a few joints.”

“Cool. You bringing Daelin?”

“I’d sure like to,” Daniel said, and he meant it. He nostrilled out a long sigh. “But…Daelin’s been acting kind of weird lately. I don’t know where I stand with her at the moment.”

“Women. I can’t make sense of them, either, man. But hey, Danno, at least you’ve got one.” Daniel could hear his friend choke down another chunk of hamburger. The burgermeister is what they called him, and not because of his Germanic ancestry. Daniel had always said that Pearce would K.O. his heart before he was twenty-one if didn’t reign in his appetite for greasy foods.  “So, what you doing now?”

“Kicking back, watching Munsters.”

“Shit, dude, Munsters again? You live for that old stuff. Even when we were kids you used to think you were that fanged little brat, Eddie.”

“No way.”

“Ya huh! Every Halloween you were Eddie Munster. He was your idol. It’s like you identified with him or something.”

“Whatever. Okay—my battery’s gonna kick. Catch you tomorrow?”

“Yeah, catch you then.”

                                        

‘Blood Family’ Preview ~ Chapter Three

Continuing the preview, we meet Daniel’s father, Pastor Nathan Dark. Relationship between father and son is strained to say the least. But Daniel has no idea just how intense this conflict will go…

                                                CHAPTER 3

The living room was full of priests.

Okay, ministers, really, pastors – of the Baptist variety like his father. They didn’t wear white collars like their Catholic counterparts, though Daniel knew they were pastors all the same. The conservative dress sense and lame haircuts were dead giveaways.

His father, the only one who wore glasses, threw his son a fake smile.

“Ah! Daniel!”

Yeah, right. That was sincere. He might as well have said ‘there he is – the son who’s a constant embarrassment to me!’

“Hey, Dad.”

Pastor Nathan Dark stood and began his introductions. “I’m sure some of you know my son. I think you were the last to see him, weren’t you, Bill?”

Pastor ‘Bill’ set down his coffee mug and stood, shaking Daniel’s hand as though cracking a whip. “Of course! He was only about fifteen then. Changed a bit, haven’t you, Danny?”

Daniel forced a weak smile. In other words, I should clean up my act and dress like a minister’s son, right? Jesus Christ.

“We’ll be having our monthly meeting here from now on,” Dad informed him. “So…”

“Yeah, I got it.”

Nathan was never a lover of his son’s dress sense, unruly hair, slouch, or general attitude. Whenever he saw his son coming through the door he was tempted to say ‘you look like something the cat dragged in’, had it not been such a cliché.  The boy’s shirts were oversized, dark, and moody. And as for his hair – the chestnut-brown tresses that seemed to form a permanent curtain over his nose had caused Nathan to forget the color of his son’s eyes.

Nathan had to admit to himself that most of the pastors he knew had rebellious sons – and daughters – who tried to be everything their parent wasn’t.  Perhaps it was just a natural part of growing up in a clerical family, he mused. Don’t deceive yourself, Nathan, the pastor thought. It’s worse than that. Much worse.

The eldest of the reverends had to be at least seventy. He’d waited until the other men had stood and shaken the boy’s hand before finally doing likewise. Unlike them, he didn’t smile. Instead, he wore a knowing gaze that unnerved Daniel. The snowy-haired pastor looked directly into the teenager’s eyes, unblinking.

“I’ve been a pastor for a lot longer than the rest of these men,” he began. “And I know what’s what…and who’s who.”

Daniel didn’t know what to say. He didn’t like this. His palm was sweating, and not just because the elderly pastor was squeezing it.

Finally the old man released his grip and sat back down, picking up his tablet of lined yellow paper and looking over his meeting notes as though he hadn’t seen Daniel at all.

Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key

Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key

‘Blood Family’ Preview – Chapter Two

We now hit Chapter 2, and meet Daniel’s girlfriend, Daelin. She knows something strange is going on, that something is about to change. And things certainly will – the moment Daniel returns home.

                                                       CHAPTER 2

“Daniel!”  Daelin protested. “Are you kissing my neck or trying to suck it dry?”

“Jeez, sorry. I thought you liked it.”

Daniel Dark had been enjoying the time-honored tradition of ‘parking’ with his girlfriend, Daelin. He had taken her out for an evening drive in his beloved 1969 Ford Mustang fastback – gun-metal gray, fitted with Cooper Cobra G/Ts and, as Daelin had so often pointed out, a contender for pole position as the true love of his life – and had found an out-of-the-way clearing by the local reddening woodlands. This was one of the most stunning of the year’s autumnal forests in this part of New England. There, away from the eyes of parents (or anyone else) they began their teenage rituals. Daniel, like the time before, found that licking and sucking at the skin of her neck proved to be of so much enjoyment to him that he almost forgot that his girlfriend had a face.

“God, Daniel,” she rebuffed, not enjoying herself as much as she’d been anticipating. “What’s with you lately? I mean, this month.” They had been going out for nearly two years. It was only recently that she had noted a change in her boyfriend’s behavior.

“This month?”

“Yeah. You’re just so…ravenous.”

He laughed. “And that’s a bad thing?”

“What happened to kissing, huh? We used to kiss. Now it’s all this lips-all-over-my-neck stuff.” Extracting her mobile phone from her jeans pocket, she checked for messages, a clear sign to Daniel that she wanted him to take her home. “I guess it’s just one of those weird boy things.  You obviously enjoy it.”

Shoving his fingers back through his mass of dark brown hair, Daniel slumped in his bucket seat and folded his arms. “Yeah, and you didn’t.”

She sighed, trying to find the right words. “It’s like…you don’t see me anymore.”

He took a joint that he then remembered having put behind his ear and stuck it in the corner of his mouth. “Hey, I see you. I love seeing you.” Was this the right thing to say? What the hell is she expecting me to say?  Whatever I say, it’ll be wrong.

As always, Daniel said the first thing that came in to his head.

“Want some ace?”

She slapped the proffered joint from his hand. “You know I don’t like that stuff, Daniel. And I don’t think you really like it, either.”

True enough. As usual she was able to read him like a book. He sucked on the occasional joint because it made him look cool, especially when he was in his Mustang. He also did it to piss off his father, Pastor Nathan Dark, who had never actually caught him, though had often smelt the lingering pot odors coming from his son’s room. The stuff made him lethargic and indifferent to just about everything.  From the ages of thirteen to seventeen he had been generally so anyway, even without the substance usage. Nothing in his life excited or challenged him. When school had ended the previous year, both parents bombarded him with prospectuses for all the best State colleges. Emerson College, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, and –  just kill me  – Boston Baptist College. Daniel wasn’t interested. He wanted to take cars apart and get paid for it. Getting a minimum-waged job at a local garage, he became the first grease monkey in the Dark family, much to the mortification of his father. The immaculate Baptist minister and his oil-slick of a son. At least, he consoled himself, Mom seemed to be on his side. She was pleased that he’d found a job he enjoyed. Thank fuck for small mercies.

And then there was Daelin. He’d known her all his life. The one-time tomboy in braids had blossomed. Now, at seventeen, she was slim and ever so slightly taller than Daniel, with shoulder-length honey-blonde hair that shone like silk in the sun. Up until the age of fifteen, a platoon’s worth of teenage boys would ask her out each month. But it was Daniel she had chosen. He couldn’t even remember their first date. They just sort of fell into a relationship, as though it was meant to be. The bank she worked in was right down the street from the garage, and so every day they had lunch together. Often she would bring sandwiches or baguettes she’d made herself. On sunny days they sat on the grass in the town’s small central park. It didn’t matter one bit that this immaculately dressed career girl was shoulder-to-shoulder on a picnic blanket with a boy whose face, hands, and coveralls were smeared with car oil. She accepted him for who he was, and this was who he was. She liked to dampen a napkin with her tongue and dab at the black smudges of grease on Daniel’s forehead and chin. And he liked the little smile on her face as she did it.

Yes, he had Daelin. He had a job that paid an okay wage. He had a secure if often frustrating home life. But something was missing. He just didn’t know what.

One thing he knew was that he loved and cared for Daelin, even if she sometimes didn’t see it.

He drove her home as dusk began to fall over the quiet little suburb. Shifting light patterns from living room windows told the world that TVs were on and couches were full.  Cats hurried across the streets in pursuit of their own nocturnal activities. His own house – a modest ranch-style house built in the 1970s – was not all that different from the other houses on Chacato Street, except for the front yard collection of six tiny garden gnome statues so beloved by his mother, and so utterly despised by his father.

Garaging his Mustang, Daniel made his way to the front door.

He wasn’t prepared for what he walked in on.

‘Blood Family’ Preview – Chapter One

Yesterday I presented for you the Prelude (or ‘Chapter 0’) to Blood Family. Today, Chapter 1. This is a short chapter, but introduces you to our teenage protagonist, Daniel – in those lazy, indulgence-filled days before his life changes forever…

CHAPTER 1

The clock next to the bed glowed 4:12 a.m. All was silent, save for the crickets outside that rasped at the night. Swinging his legs out, Daniel Dark noticed his sheet screwed up on the floor like a piece of unwanted writing paper.

His hair and body were hot and slicked with sweat. Heart was pounding. There was a residual feeling of exhilaration. It was like that after-sex feeling, though without the inner glow of satisfaction.

Reaching through the window, he grabbed the beer can he’d secreted out on the ledge and took a gulp. Daniel had been chugging beer since he was fifteen, unbeknownst to his parents. What they don’t know won’t hurt me, as he so often told himself. Sitting on the pile of car mechanic books he liked to have at his bedside, Daniel looked out in to the streetlight-frosted hedge that separated his house from the McGuigan’s next door. The cool air felt good on his face.

Rolling the night-chilled beer can across his forehead, he thought about the dream. Part of it– the terrifying rituals that his father had made him endure every six months for the first nine years of his life – had been true. But the rest…

Crazy dream shit. No point thinking about it. It was the middle of the night. His head hurt. All he wanted now was to get back to sleep. Later on in the day, he was going to have a rendezvous of the sexual kind and wanted to have as much energy as possible.

Look out for Chapter 2 – posted tomorrow!

Life as part of a debt-free, middle-class family in the New England suburbs should have been heaven. But when your father is a Man of God and you’re a vampire, it sure can be hell.

Life as part of a debt-free, middle-class family in the New England suburbs should have been heaven.
But when your father is a Man of God and you’re a vampire, it sure can be hell.

‘Blood Family’ Preview!

My Young Adult urban fantasy, Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key, has been gestating in the coffin for quite a while now. Many of you know about its inception, its close call with a big publisher, and how I came to decide to bring this story of one teenage boy’s quest for his supernatural heritage to your e-reading device.

By the end of March, 2013, Blood Family will be well-and-truly ‘out there’. Look for it on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and (later on) other good book outlets.

First, an overview.

A vampire father, an imprisoned mother, and one perilous journey…

Urban fantasy for Young Adult readers and beyond.

Lazy, goalless New England teenager Daniel Dark never intended his life to change so dramatically. It starts with the arrival of a mysterious package, and the revelation that his true father was a master vampire named Dominus. As his own fearsome powers begin to emerge, he sets out to rescue his birth mother, still imprisoned in Dominus’ stronghold. Strange clues take Daniel to the deep forests of southern Mexico and then to the mist-shrouded moors of England. Hot on his heels is his adoptive father – Pastor Nathan Dark, determined to find and kill he boy he had once called his son.

Read on and discover the world of Daniel Dark.

PRELUDE

Strapped down, like a lamb for the slaughter.

The boy didn’t know what he hated more, the coldness of the slab he lay upon or the tightness of the leather straps that bound his four-year-old arms and legs.

On this occasion, Dad was accompanied by an older man – an elderly priest with a seriousness that made the lines in his face taut and frightening.  His hands held an open book, The Rituale Romanum.

Both men began intoning strings of words that the boy did not understand, words that scared him. They reverberated off the walls of the empty church, the same church that his mother took him to every Sunday to watch his father talk to the people and say prayers. He liked the church during those times. The singing soothed him. When his Dad preached, he would quietly listen and try to understand. It was, after all, his father up there. At the end of the service, the congregation would file past Dad, who stood at the door, and say nice things to him, sometimes shaking his hand. Old women liked him a lot. Children smiled at him, showing him their colored pictures that they had done in Sunday school or during the sermon.

Then the old priest opened a black valise and took out some containers. From one he scooped out a small amount of ointment with his fingertips and drew cross shapes on the boy’s forehead. Repeatedly he made them, shouting his strange words. Dad just looked on, tight-lipped and grim. The boy struggled mightily, yelling and crying. The two ministers looked at each other as though satisfied that something they were doing was working.

After an hour the ministers sighed, mopped their brows, and brought the torment to an end. His father kissed the boy tenderly on the cheek as he unbound him – saying how sorry he was that he had to do this to him. Saying that it was necessary. Saying that he loved him.

The boy stood upon the altar to which he had been strapped and looked across the chancel to the church of empty pews. The old priest was walking away down the aisle, his work done. This wasn’t his church, or even his denomination. Dad had called the man in from some other place. There was no doubt that he would return when needed.

“Daniel,” said Dad. “Come on, jump down from there. We’ll do something fun. We can go for some ice cream. Or McDonald’s, how about that?”

But the boy remained, concentrating on the receding back of the old priest. After a moment, the priest stopped. Turned.

The old man sensed the boy’s red-hot stare.  Reaching into his vestments, he clutched the secreted wooden cross …

The boy flung himself through the air, eyes blazing, an unearthly roar gushing from his mouth. In a blur he was upon his target. Newly formed fangs clamped on to the priest’s neck, puncturing his carotid artery. The boy’s small nails grew into claws, tearing at the vestments, shredding them from the man’s body and covering his victim in glistening red gashes.

A strong pair of hands wrenched the boy away. His father was distraught beyond consolation, using every ounce of strength to haul his son back to the chancel. He dragged the child to the small, sunken pool, square and shallow, situated behind the altar.

“I was afraid to put you in here before, Daniel,” Dad said, “but now I have no choice. May the Lord decide if you live or die!”

The child continued to roar and thrash. Then…he was abruptly calmed. A voice sounded within his head. Deep…reverberating…familiar…

“Kill him before he kills you…my son.”

The rage built again. The face of the man he had called father for all of his life now seemed to be nothing more than a mask. The voice in his mind was one with which he felt strangely comfortable. It was within that voice that he put his trust.

In five seconds, it was over. Teeth and claws – as well as strength far in excess of a normal four-year-old – tore the life from his father, all before he could wet the boy with even the slightest drop of blessed water from the pool.

The boy stood up, shaken and … exhilarated.  He looked down at the slain body of the one he’d known as Dad and felt no remorse. Quietly, he watched the blood that slicked the pastor’s hand seep into the pool, a silent ribbon of red. Then, something caught his attention. He looked up.

An odd thing was happening to the large portrait of the Savior that hung at the back of the chancel between two stained glass windows. The painted figure seemed to be moving. No, not moving – a dark and misty shape had superimposed itself over it. Wraithlike arms stretched outward in the same way as the Lord’s. The black ghost-figure broke softly away from the canvas and floated down towards him.  The boy felt no fear.

The tall, infinitely black figure hovered before the child and put forth huge, semi-transparent dragon wings, practically dwarfing the figure from which they sprang. An angel?

It was then that he saw its fangs.

The entity flew around him faster and faster. It was exciting as well as confusing for the boy. He didn’t know where he was, what end was up,  anything  at  all,  until  finally –

The set of super-sharp teeth snapped down hard on to his neck. The boy screamed with pain, with ecstasy, with sheer childish delight. Screamed until –

 

CHAPTER ONE WILL BE POSTED TOMORROW!

Life as part of a debt-free, middle-class family in the New England suburbs should have been heaven. But when your father is a Man of God and you’re a vampire, it sure can be hell.

Life as part of a debt-free, middle-class family in the New England suburbs should have been heaven.
But when your father is a Man of God and you’re a vampire, it sure can be hell.

Alien Abduction – A Fairy Story?

My short story collection, From Elsewhere, contains six tales of unearthly vistiors. ‘Them‘ is a story about alien abduction. Everyone has heard of this phenomenon. Is it real, or does it have a secret origin?

alien1_jpg

Alien beings have been with us in folklore for a very long time.

Before accounts of abductions by alien beings entered into the public domain, another kind of abduction scenario was known throughout various cultures – especially England and Ireland. These tales of interactions with fairies (or faeries as was the ancient spelling) are remarkably similar to modern accounts of interactions with those other ‘diminutive folk’, the Greys from – allegedly – the Zeta Reticuli star system. Could these tales be based upon knowledge of early interaction between humans and aliens?

From very early times there have been traditions of mortals carried away into faerieland. Often this mortal was a human baby, taken from its mother’s side – shades of the implantation/hybridisation programme carried out by the Greys. The hybrid parallel comes into this comparison in more ways than one.

Faeries were believed, almost more than anything else, to be obsessive about the possession of human children. Infants would be stolen, and duplicate ‘changelings’ put in their place, though the trick was often found out. Mentions of thefts of babies are to be found in the medieval chronicles of Ralph of Coggeshall.

Fly-boy

From early classical times there have been numerous legends of the visits of goddesses and nymphs to human mortals, and their loving intercourse with them, though always ending tragically for the human – the mother usually dying or seeing the infant spirited away to the faeries’ world. So what were these beings actually believe to be?

In England, Scotland, and Ireland, the small ‘people’ were believe to be the spirits of the dead, though in Wales they are simply described as being half way between something material and spiritual. The spiritual nature of aliens is often referred to in modern-day as abduction accounts, many abductees have recalled that, on some occasions, they are taken spiritually rather than physically. An Isle of Man resident wrote in The Nature of Fairies that ‘Fairies are spirits. A man below here forgot his cow, and at a late hour went to look for her, and saw that crowds of fairies like children were with him. It is interesting to note here that in modern abduction accounts our Zeta Reticulan friends are often likened to ‘children’.

When does alien abduction occur? The research shows that it is during the hypnogogic state – the state between being awake and asleep – that the tagged person is taken. In this state, the brain is in ‘alpha wave’, referring to the type of brain activity we lapse into during the hypnogogic state. This seems to attract/suit the aliens. When in this state, it seems, abductees can be transported, mollified, and eventually made to forget the entire occurrence.

Curiously, in Amelia and the Dwarfs (1870), author Juliana Horatia Ewing says in order to see one of the little folk, ‘you must be a little sleepy – but not too sleepy to keep your eyes open, mind. Well, and you ought to feel a little – what one may call ‘fairyish’. The Scots call it ‘eerie’.’

There was no technology during the times of these stories, so an explanation of this phenomenon would have to have manifest itself in a way digestible to the people of the time. Obviously, elaboration and corruption will occur in the telling of any tale, but the basic similarities are intriguing.

Captured. Studied. Humiliated. A tale of an alien abduction from the victim's point of view. What exactly do these creatures want?

Captured. Studied. Humiliated. A tale of an alien abduction from the victim’s point of view. What exactly do these creatures want?

‘From Elsewhere’ – Paranormal short story collection – available now!

From Elsewhere_Collection

Ghosts? Angels? Aliens? This collection of short tales concerns entities which could be any of these. Unearthly visitors have always fascinated me. Could they really exist? Or are they only part of our imagination?

Last month, I introduced my short story collection – ‘From Elsewhere’. This is a collection of six paranormal-themed short stories about unearthly visitors. Many of these stories were accepted and published in anthologies and magazines over the past few years. Gathering them together into one volume seemed the right thing to do.

In December, I released one of these tales, ‘Forbidden’ – about the illicit love affair between an angel and a demon – as a freebie. It has done very well on Smashwords.com, having 160 downloads since its publication on December 23rd. I then released two other stories (also as freebies), ‘Them’, and ‘Grey Eyes In Silver’. Both are accumulating downloads just as fast as ‘Forbidden’ did!

‘From Elsewhere – Six Tales of Unearthly Visitors’ (ISBN: 9781301729739) has been published on Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, and soon will be available on Barnes & Noble, and other book outlets.

I enjoyed putting this collection together, and loved writing these stories. Huge, heartfelt thank you to those people who have read the free stories and gave them the thumbs up!

Strange visitors is a subject that has always fascinated me. Do we have unearthly entities interacting with us and our planet?

The Road to BLOOD FAMILY

REBLOG!
Now that Blood Family ~ Quest for the Vampire Key is ‘live’ (no insult intended to the undead), I thought it prudent to ressurrect my article about how the book came to be. Enjoy!
April 2, 2004 was the earliest date I have recorded for the inception of Blood Family. Also known as Blood Family – Quest for the Vampire Key, the novel was going to be a Young Adult horror adventure which would by my take on vampires and what vampires might be. And when I’d decided that, I knew I was in for an interesting journey, but had no idea where it would take me…

Continue reading