Abbigayle Grace

January 24th, 2020

I asked Abbigayle where she would like to chat:

So, Laura asked me to pick the place for our interview, and anybody who knows how indecisive I am—not to mention how in the middle of nowhere the town of Orangeboro is—knows I could only pick here: Benny’s Pizza. We’re sitting in the corner booth, right next to an inconspicuous closet door that’s painted the same beige as the walls. The door blends in so well you almost can’t see it. I only know it’s there because I know the owners of the pizza shop, two guys named Bob and Joe, personally. I even know that Joe happens to be an elf, coming from inside that door. No, he doesn’t live in a closet—that’s Harry Potter—no, the closet is actually a portal to a different world. I just call it the elf world, but it might have a different name. For now, let’s focus on the pizza shop. 

It’s a pretty homey sort of place, just what you would expect from this town. The booth is comfortable and the table is clean hardwood. The menus have an elvish word puzzle on the back, but you won’t want to mention that to anybody (It’s a secret). And I don’t recommend ordering anything—not if it has pizza sauce on it, anyway. Bob makes the worst sauce I’ve ever had and he’s the only one doing a lot of cooking since El’s gone and Julie went to college. In fact, we probably won’t want to have anything, unless Laura would like some coffee—that I know is good. I come here way too often for the coffee, and the stories, of course.


Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?

Abbigayle Grace: I pretty much grew up with it. My family has always been very into books, which nurtured my imagination and love for the written word. And when I finally grew “too old” to play games with my siblings and our imaginary friends, I decided to keep it all alive through writing.

L: How long have you been writing for?

A: I started writing very soon after I learned to read, which was when I was four, but it didn’t really take until I was about twelve, when my parents published their first kids’ book. That was when I decided I might actually like to try getting published too. 

L: What are you currently working on?

A: I’m currently working on a number of projects, but chiefly editing my second book, which is Book 2 of The Pizza Shop Chronicles, Goblinprince. If you’ve read Book 1, Elfboy, you’re probably wondering how the series can go on since I killed off one of the chief characters, but it does. There are about four more books left, and they will be worth reading.

L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?

A: I find that almost every book I read inspires me in some way or another, by at least giving me something new to think about.

L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?

A: Writing isn’t that hard, editing isn’t too horrible, the publishing process wasn’t that nerve-racking, but getting used to the fact that I am a published author and people actually like my writing? That is hard. I’m still not fully adjusted to that. 

L: What is your favorite writing trope?

A: Least favorite? I feel like I don’t know enough tropes to answer this question properly, but I’ve never cared much for love triangles (and, yes, I write them), and I do love me a well-written enemies-to-lovers.

L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?

A: I love to be outdoors, especially doing stuff like rock climbing, and I taught myself several varieties of needlework after learning to crochet from my mom’s cousin. I also enjoy doing some art now and again (I did my book cover in colored pencil).

L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?

A: That’s a tough question. I’m going to say The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. It took me over three months to read, but I really loved all the stories and characters. It gives you a new look at Middle Earth.

L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?

A: I think my biggest regret is forgetting to include the one character’s dog, Ollie, in the finished product. I feel like he would’ve given readers a better understanding of the character. But other than that, I try not to have regrets since I’ve found they weigh me down.

L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?

A: I’m self published and it’s been interesting. There was a bit of red tape just to set up my KDP account. Everything after was pretty easy though, and I’ve been doing fairly well sales-wise.

L: What are you currently reading?

A: I’m reading The Magician’s Sin by Alexander Thomas. It’s a fantastic book, and I’m really enjoying. I’m also beta reading for a few of my writer friends.

L: What genre do you read?

A: Even though I write a hundred percent fantasy, I tend to read pretty much anything from encyclopedias to fantasy novels and everything in between.

L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?

A: I’m pretty flexible about this sort of thing. I like to draft in my notebook and edit on the computer. Other than that, I pretty much write anytime, anyplace. 

L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?

A: I enjoy upbeat music that I can sing along to, but tend to tune out background noise of any kind while working. An especially handy talent when trying to read or write among younger siblings.

L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?

A: “Suddenly”. It’s the one adverb that I will try to avoid using at any costs because it often comes across as a lazy way to start a sentence. Suddenly, I ran out of coffee. “I ran out of coffee” just sounds better (except when it actually happens).

L: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

A: I really have more of a favorite “type” of character. And they’re generally the ones that die. Examples are King Finrod Felagund from The Silmarillion, Prince/King Ninus from The Crown of Three by J.D. Rhineheart, and Dustfinger from Inkeart by Cornelia Funke.

L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?

A: I get a lot of my inspiration from dreams and random thoughts that occur throughout the day. Other times, it comes from challenges I set for myself, like “create a really awesome character in five minutes”.

L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?

A: A lot of times, I think new writers don’t really need advice. It’s definitely a good idea to learn as much as you can about the trade, but most of that learning comes from hands-on experience. The only way to get that is to write, and write a lot. 


Abbigayle Grace is an avid writer from Pennsylvania and currently lives in Kentucky where her writing is inspired by her beautiful surroundings. She has always been obsessed with books – both reading and writing, as well as actively spending time outdoors. Her magical love of nature is vividly captured within her stories. Her stories are adventurous, mysterious, magical and humorous, while her Christian faith is apparent in her characters as they face tragedy and turmoil.

You can find Abbigayle on Twitter, Goodreads and her website.

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Elfboy – After both his parents die, Chris is thrust into a new life with his widowed aunt and 14-year-old cousin, who live in a rural Kentucky town, where Chris has to start high school after being homeschooled his whole life. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a fellow student who everyone warns him to stay away from because of some terrible secret where eight people went missing.

But, no matter how Chris tries to avoid him, he ends up bumping into him and finds himself caught up in a murderous plot where he barely escapes being one of the next victims. He becomes swooped up in a mysterious adventure where the local pizza shop, and even the school’s weird principal, are all involved. Is anyone who they seem to be? What is going on in this little town, and, wait, where did you say we’re going next?

Buy it here!


Wanda Fischer

January 17th, 2020

I asked Wanda where she would like to interview:

Fenway Park, September, 1965. I know I have school tomorrow morning, but the Red Sox season is almost over, and my mother said I could go to this game. i love this team, even though they’re terrible. Loyal to the end. Red Sox forever! I’m alone in the bleachers, in the front row, with very few other spectators on this cool evening as the sun sets around this tired old ballpark with the manual scoreboard in left field. None of my friends could come tonight, but I don’t care. It’s the last gasp for this season. After buying my traditional Fenway Frank, I only have enough money left to buy tokens for train fare home. They’re my team, no matter how bad they are. They’re playing the Kansas City Athletics, whose crazy neon green-and-yellow uniforms, accented by shoes made from kangaroo leather, stand out like road signs in a construction zone. 
With my score card in one hand and stub of a pencil in the other, I’m keeping track of the game, as usual. It’s the sixth inning. The Red Sox are losing, and the bleacher bums around me are getting vocal about it, screaming things to baseball players who are so far away, they can’t hear a word of it. I look down into the visitors’ bullpen and see an old black man get up and begin to soft-toss a ball. Easy and slow. As he begins warming up, I notice his front leg kick gets higher and higher, his kangaroo-leather shoes glistening in the glow of powerful ballpark lights. I look up his number on my program. “It’s Satchel Paige!” I look at the security guard, who normally wouldn’t allow anyone to get close to the chicken-wire screen separating the bullpens from spectators. He looks as if he’s falling asleep. I get up from my seat and press my face against the barrier. “Mr. Paige?” “Yes, ma’am,” he replies. “Do you mind if I watch you?” “No, ma’am, be my guest.” My heart beats what seems like a million miles a minute. I am watching a legend. I stop keeping score. He lifts his leg high and throws, harder and harder, looking up at me, grinning, between every pitch. At age 15, my baseball life is complete. Or so I believe tonight.


Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?

Wanda Fischer: I have been a writer for as long as I can remember, going all the way back to elementary school. I’ve been inspired to write since I wrote my first “real” book (beyond the Dick and Jane books). I can remember writing short stories and poetry as far back as the second grade.

L: How long have you been writing for?

W: For more than 60 years.

L: What are you currently working on?

W: I wrote my first novel, “Empty Seats,” about three minor league baseball players. I received several requests from readers to write a sequel, because they wanted to know what happens to the three characters. I am working on that sequel. Originally, I began writing a sequel about the three characters when they were in their sixties, but I decided that I needed to write about them in their twenties. I don’t have a title for that yet. I’m also writing a memoir about my experiences in baseball, which will be called “Satch in the Bullpen and Other Baseball Memories,” which is an allusion to the fact that I had the chance to watch the legendary Satchel Paige pitch in the bullpen in Fenway Park in 1965.

L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?

W: I participated in a summer reading program when I was in the tenth grade (so long ago!). Our teachers had selected writers whose works focused on the immigrant experience, such as Sinclair Lewis, Willa Cather and others. Those books left a major imprint on my life. I also enjoy Edwin O’Connor’s “The Edge of Sadness” and a number of Irish writers, including those who write short stories and plays.

L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?

W: Trying to find a publisher and/or agent. I have written many query letters and approached countless publishers. I must be doing something wrong, because, despite the fact that I did public relations and marketing for 40 years, I can’t get a rise out of anyone.

L: What is your favorite writing trope? Least favorite?

W: Foreshadowing, and then making sure the hints I give in my story somehow come true. Least favorite? Trying to be too literal instead of using a solid metaphor.

L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?

W: I play competitive tennis. I’m also a singer/songwriter and have recorded one CD. I’ve done a folk music show on public radio for more than 40 years (37 on my current station, four at my previous station), and the Folk Alliance International inducted me into their Folk DJ Hall of Fame last February. I also love to read to inner-city first-grade students.

L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?

W: Right now, I’d have to say “The Given Day,” by Dennis LeHane. It contains so many intriguing elements. First, it talks about Babe Ruth and baseball, then it explores racism, immigration, Irish immigrants in Boston in the early 1900s (that’s when my ancestors came to Boston and essentially took over the police and fire departments), social justice issues, the founding of the NAACP, and historical facts.

L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?

W: I wish I’d known about beta readers. I wish I had given a draft of my novel to a few of my friends prior to using the “publish” button. I am normally a stickler for proofreading, and I hired a couple of people to proof my novel, and they still missed several misspellings. It was embarrassing.

L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?

W: I wish I had traditionally published, but I ended up self-publishing. I think I may have spent too much on an editor (she was a great editor), and on some other things associated with the publishing process. I think if I were to self-publish another book, I have learned a great deal and could save some money. However, I don’t really know how I would be able to finance another book, even though I have two others in the pipeline.

L: What are you currently reading?

W: “Walking Across Egypt,” by Clyde Edgerton. I have a record album that goes along with the book, and my husband picked this up at a used book sale. I’ve wanted to read this for a while.

L: What genre do you read?

W: I read baseball books and sports fiction, but I read general fiction as well. I do not read erotica and am not generally attracted to futuristic or fantasy novels. Every now and then, however, I will pick up a book in a genre I don’t normally read, and I’m pleasantly surprised at what I find.

L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?

W: I try to write a couple of hours every day except for Saturday, which is the day when I do my radio show. If it gets too crazy at my house, I pack up my laptop and go to the library. I would estimate that I wrote about about 75 percent of my first novel at my local library (can I tell you how much I love my local library while I’m at it?).

L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write? 

W: I don’t need to listen to any particular music when I write. However, sometimes I have a baseball game on in the background.

L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you? 

W: “Hopefully,” as in “hopefully, we’ll get this finished by the end of the day.” The other one that drives me crazy is when people use the word “criteria” when they mean “criterion” (plural vs. singular).

L: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

W: Can’t answer this one. Too many.

L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?

W: I get most of my inspiration from life lessons–things I’ve done and/or experienced in life. I remember people I’ve met and conversations I’ve had over the seven decades of my life, and the conglomerations of those encounters, along with news stories and current events (I’m a news junkie), give me all the inspiration I need.

L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?

W: My ninth-grade English teacher, Edward White, who encouraged me to write, told me once, when I tried to do something crazy, “You have to learn to walk before you can run.” I’ve remembered that after all these years. I find myself repeating this to myself frequently, whether it’s vis-a-vis writing or other endeavors. I would advise writers to stick to the basics when they’re starting out. The other important thing for aspiring writers is to READ, READ, READ. You can pick up so much by reading the work of others. You won’t learn to write by reading tweets; you must read BOOKS, SHORT STORIES, even NEWSPAPERS.


When a young high schooler during the 1960s in Weymouth, Massachusetts, Wanda Fischer aspired to be a sportswriter; however, that career option was difficult at best for women at the time. After having to drop out of college for financial reasons, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Northeastern University while working full-time as a secretary at MIT. 

She broke into radio broadcasting as both a news journalist and a folk music DJ. She has continued as a folk DJ for more than 40 years; the Folk Alliance International inducted her into their Folk DJ Hall of Fame in February 2019, recognizing her dedication and contributions to folk radio. She’s been on WAMC-FM, the Albany National Public Radio affiliate, since 1982.

She retired in 2014 from a 40-year career in news, as well as public relations/marketing/media relations in government and not-for-profit organizations. After retirement, she parlayed her love for baseball into her debut novel, Empty Seats, which is not necessarily about her favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. Using baseball as a backdrop, the book explores coming-of-age issues and has received accolades from the Independent Press Association and New Apple Literary. 

You can find Wanda on Instagram, Twitter and her website.

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Empty Seats – What Little Leaguer doesn’t dream of taking to the mound and striking out one of his heroes? This novel follows three such dreamers who were were drafted to play minor league ball, thinking it would be an easy ride to playing in the big time. Little did they know that they’d be vying for a spot with every other talented kid who aspired to play professional baseball. Young, inexperienced, immature, and without the support of their families and friends, they’re often faced with split-second decisions. Not always on the baseball diamond.

Buy it here!

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Jonathan Lazar

January 10th, 2020

I asked Jonathan where he would like to chat:

We sit as the rain gently falls like mist on some quiet intersection on Washington Ave in downtown Saint Louis, at a café that no longer exists. People run past on the damp streets, and a single brave soul sits outside on the black iron table, he enjoys the crisp fall air as he smokes a cigarette. Inside where I sit, the smell of espresso and fresh baked pastries is intoxicating. It fills the lungs and brings a sense of calm to all who enter. The wooden table I sit at is caramel colored and cracked with age. Any large holes that formed, were filled in with Scrabble Tiles. A random assortment, unable to spell any real words had been meticulously added to be level with the surface, though the Q tile is slightly off kilter.
I run my hand along the red brick that makes up many of the older buildings in the city as I sip my caramel latte. There is something hauntingly beautiful about a city that protects its buildings as such,
for even the wood floor is near original, and you can see every scrape and nick. If you listen as the rain falls, you can almost make out the whispers of generations passed. A jingle of entry bells takes my
attention away as a waterlogged patron enters to warm up. I go back to sipping my latte.


Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?

Jonathan Lazar: Writing is one of those things that people know they want to do. Sort of like musicians, we hear the call of characters sing to us, we hear the individual peoples of the world tell us the plights that unfold into the plots. It is something we are born into. People say, anyone can write a book, and unfortunately it’s not true, just as not everyone can play a musical instrument or read music for that matter (I am one of those, that can’t read music to save my life!). I honestly can’t imagine myself not writing, its been something I have done for the longest time.

L: How long have you been writing for?

J: I started writing in the third grade. I had to do a short story using the weekly spelling words. I was the only student to use ALL ten or so spelling words, and I did it with a (looking back) terrible Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (that’s right, I’m a geek), fan fiction. See, everyone starts somewhere. I made this terrible fan fiction, and my teacher swore I would one day get an Oscar… yeah… I’m still waiting too. I have been creating in some capacity ever since them. Whether it is my books, or my comics I want to make. My brother played hockey for the longest time, so I was always in rinks as a kid, and I always had my notebook in my bag ready for when
inspiration struck.

L: What are you currently working on?

J: Mainly I am currently working with my publisher, Kyanite Publishing, on my urban fantasy series, The Case Files of Zachariah Lars, the first of which is actually available now (Zachariah Lars & the High Elf Mystery). The forthcoming book (date TBD) is tentatively called, Zachariah Lars & the Time Traveler Conundrum! I am also independently publishing my fairy tale fantasy series, The Bound by Tales series, and my epic fantasy, The Gehenna Cycle. I am hoping to have books 1 & 2 of both these series out by March, in time for Tucson Festival of Books, where I will be attending. This is of course not including all the other random works I have plotted and planned, such as my sword & planet series, The Ranul Saga, among others.

L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?

J: For much of my fantasy, Roger Zelazny has inspired the way in which I build worlds and characters. But L. Frank Baum also inspired me, due to his ideas that fantasy is fantasy and you can have whatever you want happen.

L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?

J: Holy crap, definitely building an email list!! By far the most challenging thing for me as an author. I know I need to do it, and I have it, just keeping up with it, and advertising that I have it. If anyone would like to sign up here is the link: https://mailchi.mp/deef1dd9af52/jonathanwritesbooks I don’t spam in case you are wondering!

L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?

J: I am an avid tea drinker. I actually worked for Teavana for just over six years, so I have a vast knowledge about tea. As well, I am a huge video game junkie. Love playing classic RPGs or Nintendo Games, and when I need to take a break from writing, the husband and I actually play Diablo 3 together. Nothing better than crushing demon hordes with your husband to recharge the batteries!

L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?

J: Favorite book series is the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. Its ten books in length, divided into two arcs. Books 1-5 deal with Corwin, Prince of Amber, and the second five deal with his son, Merlin. The series while fantasy in nature, also has elements of science-fiction, dealing with the Multiverse, as the royal family hails from Amber, which is the true world and all other worlds, including our own, are copies. It is also fascinating about series, is the first five are much more fantasy based in its writing, and the last five move towards a more cyber-punk, which shows when they were written and how Roger Zelazny himself was influenced by the growing trends in writing. Overall, everyone needs to read at least the first five books.

L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?

J: Knowing that it’s okay to not know everything! I have kicked myself over and over for things I have done, or stupid mistakes I have made, such as sign with a particular publisher, who was not the best. As long as you learn from your mistakes and use the experiences to grow, that is all you can hope for!

L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?

J: I have done both self-published and traditionally and both have its pros and cons. Self-publishing gives the freedom to publish what you want, on a schedule that best fits your needs, and of course you get the majority of the profits, you just have to be ready to put in the work (marketing, promotion, editing, covers, etc.). However the same can be said for traditionally publishing, yes you lose a little control, but depending on the company, they have the tools you need. Best advice I can give is, do your due diligence. What would work best for you? Maybe it’s both, or one or the other. Everyone is different and unique. But always ask questions regarding marketing, royalties, time frames, and any other questions that you find pertinent and remember if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

L: What element of writing do you enjoy the most? (characters, descriptions, ect.)

J: I love world building, hands down! For many of my larger works, I have whole series bibles that contain all my world building notes, my secrets, my characters. Every minor character gets a sub-tab in the respected area. For instance, in my Gehenna Cycle series, there is the Order of the Unnamed Goddess, which is littered with dozens of Priestesses of different levels… so every time introduce one, I make a note… or even if they are never introduced, I know who is in what Temple! I am also a sucker for a good description. I love to let people know when a character is uncomfortable, or hungry, or what food they are eating. Makes the world more alive when you know what is going on around them.

L: What are you currently reading?

J: I am currently reading Frank Herbert’s masterpiece, Dune. I have had it for years, but never had the chance to enjoy it. I have been doing a lot of traveling recently, so I figured now was a good as any time to read it. Though of course, my TBR pile’s around the house are at least three books deep.

L: What genre do you typically read?

J: I am fairly predictable, reading mostly fantasy and science fiction. However I have been dabbled into literary fiction when the mood calls for it, though this is few and far between when I do this.

L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?

J: I am a morning person, so my writing day HAS to start with some black tea, with a splash of almond milk. Hands down, even the mornings I am off to work, I am making black tea. I typically go into my office in my house, put on some music and get to writing, unless it’s the weekend, then I am typically catching up on Game Grumps on Youtube.

L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?

J: 95% of the time, I have on Video Game Soundtracks while I write. This is the best, as the music is designed to stimulate and engage you, but not distract you. It is the absolute best for writing. My go-tos are usually Final Fantasy or similar games soundtracks, or Kingdom Hearts.

L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?

J: I would have to say that 95% of my inspiration comes from must everyday things, and places. I can see a random license plate or street name, and instantly have a place or character. I have a note folder on my phone for random names. Once there, I can then pull from it later, or depending on the character, they will instantly tell me all about themselves and I know which story to put them.

L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?

J: Never give up, never surrender. I know, I know, cliché right? But it’s true. There will be those that support you, and those that don’t, but you have to keep doing what you do. If the characters won’t shut up, tell their stories. There will always be those that read your works, and just wait, you could be their favorite author!


Born to the greatest Generation, the Nintendo Generation, Jonathan grew up in the South suburbs of Chicago for numerous years before going away to the boring planes of Illinois to get a B.A. in English (cue Avenue Q song) from Illinois State University. There he would unknowingly have his life
changed, when he met his future husband. From there, his life would be a whirlwind of adventure as he lived in Michigan, and Saint Louis, which would influence him to create “The Case Files of Zachariah Lars” Urban Fantasy series, before landing (for the time being) in Tucson, Arizona.
Writing since he was in the third grade, he really knew this was his passion, when in sixth grade he wrote a 6-part short story for extra credit. He doesn’t think he got the extra credit, but he does know he never did get the story back. This notion of being a writer really solidified throughout high school when he started the first draft of what would eventually become his “Gehenna Cycle” series.

You can find Jonathan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and his website!

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Something of Him – How do you navigate adulthood? That is the question 30-something year old Jeffrey must learn in order to not get lost in the complications caused by the love he has for two men. Meanwhile an old flame shows that love is more complicated than what is seen in the movies. Will Jeffrey manage? Or will he be forever dreaming of the perfect lover?

Buy it here!

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Zachariah Lars and the High Elf Mystery – 150 Years Ago: The Veil, which kept the mystical and magical hidden, broke. Humans were forced to integrate with those that they deemed mythological and the world got more complicated.

Present Day: Saint Louis, Missouri, New World. Zachariah Lars, former Magi Police Officer turned Private Investigator takes the cases that the Magi won’t touch. When the mysterious line of African High Elves make their presence known in the New World, in time for the High Elves Annual Remembrance Ball, Zachariah is visited by their emissary, High Princess Mahtab. She believes someone is looking to assassinate her, and will pay handsomely for Prince Juraxxus of the Saint Louis High Elves to be brought to Justice.

Zachariah must piece together the mystery of not only this stunningly beautiful African High Elf, but also, if Juraxxus is behind the assassination attempts on the High Princess’s life. And he only has three days to accomplish the task. Mystery, intrigue, humor, magic and foul language abound in this series by Jonathan M. Lazar.

Buy it here!