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Friday, April 14, 2017

Pre-Publishing Review of The Broken Lance



A Pre-publishing Review for The Broken Lance The Broken Lance 2nd Final Cover


The following is what one reviewer and author has written about my next historical novel, THE BROKEN LANCE:


"I'm nearly done with my review copy and I assure you, if you like historical novels that are actually novels -- with elements of mystery, suspense, drama and romance, this is not only the book, but the series for you. So well written that you can start anywhere, so compelling that you won't stop reading. Grab "The Broken Lance" and its precursors in the Sign of the Eagle series, then turn off the news, let in the cat and lock the door, because you're in for one terrific ride." -- Janet Morris, Author, I, THE SUN and THE SACRED BAND


Update on The Broken Lance  


I finished reviewing and making all the necessary changes to the galleys of my historical, THE BROKEN LANCE, I had received from editor at Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com). This included adding three new chapters and splitting in half another one (chapter 31). Fortunately, these were three chapters I had originally cut from the story during the first draft sometime back, I had deleted the electronic copies but kept hard copies, a good thing. When I am writing, I don't throw anything away. Although I had to manually add them back to the story with some changes, at least I didn't have to start from scratch. After I had emailed the galleys to the editor, my mind felt like jelly, and I took the rest of the day off. I will be finished with editing this novel until I receive another revised copy from her, hopefully, the last one. Sunbury Press want to get my manuscript out to book reviewers by May.


Book Signing Update - The Successes Continues   B&N Spokane Valley,WA New Reader Christine

                                                                          New Reader Christine at B&N Spokane Valley


I conducted a total of six book signings between March 5th and April 9th at Barnes & Noble, Spokane Valley, Washington, Barnes and Noble, Blossom Hill, San Jose, California, and Yoke's Fresh Market, Liberty Lake, Washington. I am now in the habit of conducting Saturday and Sunday events when I sign books at Barnes and Noble stores, e.g. March 18th and 19th at the Blossom Hill store. Management loves it, and that way I sell more books. All these events were a success. Not only was Ally, the weekend manager at the Blossom Hill store pleased, but she also invited me to conduct a signing in the future at the B & N store in Gilroy, California, which is south of San Jose. She worked there for several years before coming to Blossom Hill. She said if she recommended me to the store for an event, which she will, then I will sign at that store. I will have to consider that, but my time is limited in San Jose as I always fly down there to visit my son, Chris, and his family which takes priority over any signings. However, I am flattered that Ally things that highly of me.



The Sign of the Eagle - Update  Book Cover The Sign of the Eagle


Once again, The Sign of the Eagle, is a best-seller for Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com) for March, 2017. This time it came in at number nine out of their top fifty. After nearly four years the novel is still one of the publisher's top selling historical novels.



Update - Writing Latest Novel, Return to Britannia (working title) Roman Britain Romanisation


Now that I have made the latest changes in The Broken Lance for my editor and sent them back, I can get back to writing my next novel. Although I completed chapter one, I am still debating in which direction I will take the novel, still figuring out what the theme will be. Regardless, Macha, from The Sign of the Eagle, will remain my main protagonist. Her husband, Titus, will be the secondary one. He will play a greater role in this story than he did in the first.






The Pompeii Exhibition in Seattle Re-visited  Pregnant Woman Cast Pompeii Exp, Seattle, WA


Tuesday, May 12th, 2015, I had the pleasure of visiting the Pompeii Exhibit, inside the Pacific Science Center, Seattle, Washington. Despite having to deal with bumper to bumper traffic, detours, etc., I made to the center and the visit was worth the wait. It seems as if all the pictures I ever saw of Pompeii (besides my visit there over 30 years ago) came to life. Nearly two years ago when I first wrote about the exhibit, I promised to show more pictures from that site. Finally, below are three more examples of what I saw at this impressive display. L to R: the cast of a pregnant woman found in the ashes; kitchen utensils; and gladiator equipment. I promise to display more pictures in a future blog much sooner than the last.


Hadrian's Wall - The Wall at the End of the Empire  Hadrians Wall Sunset



This is a very interesting article found in Archaeology Magazine:


"When the emperor Hadrian visited the province of Britannia in A.D. 122, he was in full command of the entire Roman Empire, which stretched some 2,500 miles east from northern Great Britain to modern-day Iraq, and 1,500 miles south to the Sahara Desert."  


For further information on to how and why the wall was built, check out the following link: Archaeology Magazine



On a Personal Note  Kit & Annie grazing in center paddock

                                                  Kit & Annie


It has been a long wet, snow-covered winter where we live. Our horses, L to R, Kit and Annie have had to spend most of their time in there stables and adjacent paddock as the pasture and the center paddock, between the house and barn (pictured here) were covered in deep snow. Finally, it has melted and grass is growing again. Now, we are getting a lot of rain, but the horses are now getting out and they particularly like the grass in the center paddock. Eat hardy girls.



That's all for this time around. I would sure appreciate your constructive comments on my blog or anything related to my writing, please don't be bashful. Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!



-Jess Steven Hughes



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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Updates on published novels

The Sign of the Eagle Best Seller! The Sign of the Eagle


After placing number eight on Sunbury Press's best-selling list of fifty, for the month of January, The Sign of the Eagle rose to number one on the publisher's list. This was my first published novel and ever since it was released in 2012 it remains my best-selling novel. Besides that, the novel just received another five-star review from Amazon. See below.



A rollicking first-century detective story..., February 28, 2017


Meghan Holloway


This review is from: The Sign of the Eagle (Paperback)


The Sign of the Eagle by Jess Steven Hughes is a gripping murder mystery set in the Roman Empire. The strong-willed heroine undertakes a quest to save her husband, a Centurion arrested on the charge of plotting against the Emperor. The characters are finely drawn, the era richly detailed, and the plot fast-paced. Hughes’s story is an adventurous read and a rollicking first-century detective story.


The Broken Lance - Update The Broken Lance 2nd Edt. Book Cover


The release for this novel has been re-scheduled for Tuesday, July 11, 2017 (That also coincides with the 36th wedding anniversary for my wife, Liz, and I). I have made arrangement with Barnes & Noble stores in Spokane (Northtown Mall), Spokane Valley and Woodinville, Washington for "book launch" signings during the month of August. Check my website's book signing page for specific dates and times. The Peacekeeper is still scheduled for release in November. 


Although I have written this once, I believe it is worth repeating the story's summary: These stories are seen through the eyes of a Spanish cavalryman who becomes a centurion. He goes to Rome, after campaigning in Britannia, as the retainer for a real historical character, Titus Flavius Sabinus, older brother of future Emperor, Vespasian. The period covered runs from 44 - 69 A.D.


Book Signing Successes Continue New Wolf Part I Reader Jesse Northtown Mall

                                                                              New Reader Jesse, Northtown Mall B&N


Successful book signing weekend at Yoke's Fresh Market, Liberty Lake, Washington, and Barnes and Noble North Town Mall, Spokane, Washington (February 17th, Yoke's; Feb. 18th/19th B&N). Despite rainy weather, both stores were busy, and I met lots of interesting people. B & N was a near sell out. I want to thank Yoke's assistant manager, John-Michael; B&N manager, Kelly, and B&N associate, Danni for their assistance in making these successful events. 



In addition to the above, I have added more book signing dates for The Sign of the Eagle Trilogy. Check my book signing page for the updates.




New Novel in Progress-Return to Britannia (Working title)


Recently, I read chapter one to the Red Ink Fictioneers (formerly The Spokane Novelist Group) writers support group for the first time. Although they liked it very much, I still have work to do. There were several small things which needed change to make this a better first chapter. I have already made most of the changes suggested. On to chapter two.


In this novel, Macha, the main character in The Sign of the Eagle journey's to Britain with her husband, Titus, who has been dispatched by Emperor Vespasian, to investigate the murders of three imperial bureaucrats. Macha, who is originally from Britannia, and daughter of the legendary King, Caratacus, wants to learn if he still alive or dead. He had escaped from Italy at the outset of the Boudiccan revolt and she never from him again. 





Vatican library plans to digitize 82,000 of its most valuable manuscripts Vatican picture of Dante Divine



A 1,600-year-old manuscript featuring the poems of Virgil is among the collection being digitized by the Vatican Apostolic Library with the help of a Japanese IT firm

A rare Roman manuscript featuring the poems of Virgil dating back to 400AD is among thousands of historic items the Vatican’s library plans to publish online.


Vatican Apostolic Library, founded in 1451 and considered one of the world’s most important research libraries, is hoping in the next four years to archive its entire collection of 82,000 manuscripts, comprising more than 41 million pages.



The €8 million (£7 million) project will mean that the Roman Catholic Church’s most precious documents will be available to the public for the first time.


For addition information go to:  Vatican Digitizes Holy Writings



This is my Writers Block Lionel the Railroad Cat Writers Block

                                           Lionel the Railroad Cat


In my last entry I showed a picture of a cat with a caption about removing writer's block. Here is a picture of my writer who is sitting on my lap. His name is Lionel, "the railroad cat," who always wants to help with my writing. He is called the railroad cat because he is always hanging around my outdoor model railroad when I am running trains. He weighs nearly fifteen pounds, a big boy.



That's all for now. Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!




Jess Steven Hughes



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Sunday, January 29, 2017


The Broken Lance (Update) Broken Lance Book Cover

                                                     Roman Calvaryman


Just received word from Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com), the tentative release for my historical novel, The Broken Lance, should be the first Tuesday, July, 2017. The Peacekeeper is scheduled for release the first Tuesday, November, 2017. These stories are seen through the eyes of a Spanish cavalryman who becomes a centurion. He goes to Rome, after campaigning in Britannia, as the retainer for a real historical character. The period covered runs from 44 - 69 A.D. Additionally, copies of my novels will be sent to Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly two months before publication for review. This is a major step taken by Sunbury Press to get the word out not only on my novels but other books published by them. I will keep my fingers crossed those dates will hold up, and keep all of you informed as well.


Above is the book cover which that of an auxiliary cavalryman, attached to a Spanish unit, in the Roman army. I have received many compliments, including several from managers and associates at Barnes & Noble Booksellers stores.


Book Signing Schedule  The Sign of the Eagle Trilogy


For those who are interested, my book signing schedule for late winter, spring and summer is now available on my website. The Broken Lance will make its debut for signing at Barnes & Noble, Woodinville, Washington (Seattle/Puget Sound area), Saturday, August 5th. More details available at a later date. I will be adding more dates to the schedule. 


Return to Britannia  (working title) Update   Roman Britain Romanization


This novel is still in the early stages of writing. Much more research needs to be done. In this novel, Macha, the main character in The Sign of the Eagle journey's to Britain with her husband, Titus, who has been dispatched by Emperor Vespasian, to investigate the murders of three imperial bureaucrats. Macha, who is originally from Britannia, and daughter of the legendary King, Caratacus, wants to learn if he still alive or dead. He had escaped from Italy at the outset of the Boudiccan revolt and she never from him again. I have written chapter one and will read have it critiqued by the Red Ink Fictioneers (formerly known as The Spokane Novelist Group). It still needs a lot of work. I am giving myself two years to complete the novel. I am a slow written, but I hope it doesn't take any longer than that to complete.


The Wolf of Britannia, Part II, Receives Another 5 Star Review  The Wolf of Britannia


I expected a great tale! I got it!, January 26, 2017


By Amazon Customer


This review is from: The Wolf of Britannia Part II (Paperback)


Author Jess Steven Hughes is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Having read The Sign of the Eagle and The Wolf of Britannia Part I, I anxiously awaited The Wolf of Britannia Part II. Set in ancient Britain, we find King Caratacus and his Celtic warriors about to wage war with the indomitable Roman army. What transpires is a vivid account of the battle in which the King is trying to maintain the freedom of his people. The author portrays Caratacus in both a fierce and vulnerable way. His wife, Rhian, is also a part of the battle, the leader of her band of women. War is waged and consequences are met. Throughout the story, we are introduced to vibrant characters, both friend and foe. Based on the author's research, we have a glimpse of life as it was when the Romans ruled. A seductive female cousin, Cartimandua, Queen of Brigantes has her own agenda against the king, adding another layer to the story. A fascinating story that uses all the essential elements in its telling.


4th Century Roman Cavalry Helmets  Roman Helmets 4th Century A.D. from Serbia


Two gold-plated beautifully decorated Roman helmets, with gems, pearls and glass paste ornaments and Latin and Greek inscriptions on the edges, 4th century AD.


They were discovered in 1955 by a woman in the field in Berkasovo, Srem region, northern Serbia.

One at the right has Greek inscription, and the one at the left Latin inscriptions at the edges saying - "VICIT (LIC)INIANA".


They probably belonged to cavalry officers of emperor Licinius, who was defeated in Battle of Cibalae, against emperor Constantine I in 314 or 316 AD.


These pieces are considered to be amongst the most beautiful Roman helmets ever found.

Collection of Museum of Vojvodina in Novi Sad.




To Remove Writer's Block   How to Remove Writers Block


My wife, Liz, and I love cats. This picture as a write says it all because ours does this all the time.


That's all for now, I wish you all the very best. Salve Atque Vale!  Hail and Farewell!




Jess Steven Hughes 



11:38 am pst          Comments

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Broken Lance Update



The Broken Lance and The Peacekeeper - Latest Developments The Broken Lance


I am pleased to announce that Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com) has accepted my two latest historicals, The Broken Lance and The Peacekeeper for publication. This is a two book series which be released three/six months apart probably starting sometime this Summer.


Below is some brief information on the main character, Marcellus Tiberius Reburrus, and a synopsis of The Broken Lance which will appear on the back cover.


The main character is Marcellus Tiberius Reburrus a Spaniard in the Roman army's auxiliary cavalry. When the story opens he is a junior cavalry officer, Sesquiplicarius. Since I am writing this for a general audience, I don't want to stick them with that mouthful. I use it once and the rest of the way, I use the term, sergeant. This book is not just for Roman re-enactors by a long shot. The picture enclosed is a work in progress of an auxiliary cavalryman. The picture enclosed is a work in progress of an auxiliary cavalryman, The picture was painted by artist, Tal Dibner, who did the covers for The Wolf of Britannia, Part I & Part II.  It still has to be completed and changes made. Again, don't bash it and besides, art is in the eyes of the beholder. This will be the book cover for The Broken Lance. 


The Broken Lance - Jacket - Back Cover


In Rome, when shaking hands with a stranger, you'd best count your fingers to see if they are still attached. 


44 A.D. Ancient Britannia is wild, unpredictable, and merciless. The dusty streets of Rome are chaotic and dangerous, home to incredible opulence, deplorable poverty, and a political web that catches anyone who dares to question the empire. Both places call to young Roman cavalry sergeant Marcellus Reburrus, who must survive a world of political treachery in which one’s life can be taken in an instant—by friend or enemy. 


After enduring a ravaging storm, Marcellus’s boots hit the shore of Britannia under the orders of Roman Emperor Claudius only to face deplorable conditions and a commander who would rather see Marcellus dead than reporting for duty. Despite the circumstances, Marcellus quickly makes a name for himself, earning awards for bravery, promotion to centurion, and further alienating himself from the evil commander. 


Marcellus’s return to Rome brings a whole new set of problems, the least of which is dodging assassination attempts, unraveling conspiracies, and falling in love. From the underground caves of beggars beneath the city to the magnificent homes of the Roman elite, Marcellus uncovers an elaborate plot of betrayal, one that can bring down the entire city. Can he find the conspirators before they find him . . . and destroy everything he holds dear? 


This beautifully descriptive novel brings to life the remarkable worlds of ancient Britannia and Rome—while following the brilliant Marcellus, whose entire life is turned upside down as he must solve a complex mystery . . . and stay alive amongst backstabbing senators, murderous traitors, and an extraordinary city whose legacy is both inspiring and duplicitous.


Book Signing Successes Abigail B&N Isaac B&N Spokane Valley  Michelle B&N Northtown  Sarah B&BN Northtown Spokane

                                           Abigail B&N Spokane Valley                                    Isaac B&N Spokane Valley                               Michelle B&N Northtown Spokane                              Sarah B&N Northtown


With the exception of one date between September 17th and December 18th, my book signing events were a success. Barnes and Noble, Spokane Valley, Washington store manager, Leslie, said that I have "Cart Blanche" privileges to sign at her store anytime I want. I am already the unofficial resident writer at their Starbuck's cafe, inside the store. Barnes & Noble Northtown Mall, Spokane, Washington store manager, Kelly, said that I could sign at their store every month if I so desired. Yoke's Fresh Market, Liberty Lake, Washington store manager, Dan Dicicco, said I could sign at his store as often as I wanted. It is flattering that these good people feel so strong about my successes at their stores. I will definitely be returning. However, I will be returning to B&N stores in Woodinville, Washington and two stores in San Jose, California, this Spring, too. I will looking to add other stores this Spring as well.


Publisher Update NetGalleySunbury Press


On Wednesday, December 28th, I spoke to the publisher of Sunbury Press, Lawrence Knorr, about what we can do to promote my future novels, The Broken Lance and The Peacekeeper. I explained that with the current three novels of The Sign of the Eagle Trilogy, book signings have been the most successful way for me to sell books. I am very outgoing at my events and that works for me. I will continue to do that with my next two novels. However, we are going to add another approach called, Net Galley. "This is the top online service for getting upcoming releases in front of reviewers all over the world. Publishers post ARC's (Advance Reader Copies) to be reviewed. Note, that an ARC is not completely edited, but good enough for the reviewer to render an opinion. Net Galley subscribers are some the key book reviewers in the industry. They will now be able to discover and access our galleys via their account and read (securely) a PDF, ePub, or Mobi version of the file." This will mean longer lead times before publication so reviewers will have a chance to read the advance copies. In my case, Lawrence and I decided to have a three - six gap between publishing The Broken Lance and The Peacekeeper. The wonderful thing about this that the publisher is paying for this subscription process. Authors don't pay anything.


Saturnalia Saturnalia Festival


December 17th - The "Saturnalia"


This day is for special religious observance, being the first day of the Saturnalia, the Roman festival that honors Saturn (Cronus), and which is one of the most festive and uninhibited that the ancient Romans celebrated.

The holiday began celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: The poet Catullus called it "the best of days." For further reading go to the Ancient World Notes page for the complete article.


Personal Note


During the month of November, we had two pet tragedies within a period of twelve days. We lost our beloved Border Collie, Joe, who was fifteen years old from basically old age and our beloved horse, Mo. He was only  21 years old but suffered badly from arthritis. Despite all the veterinarian's effort, he could not control the horse's pain. We could not let him suffer an longer and had him put down. It was a tough time for both my wife, Liz, and I. But we have many pictures of both of them and so they will always be in our loving memories. 


That's all for now. Until next time Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!



Jess Steven Hughes




3:54 pm pst          Comments

Monday, November 14, 2016

Publication Update



The Broken Lance The Broken Lance Accepted for Publication 


Wonderful news! I am pleased to announce that Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com) has accepted my latest novel, The Broken Lance, for publication (No, the picture will not be the book cover, it is only a symbolic representation). I am doing my best to have the rewrite of the second part of this saga, The Peacekeeper ready for submission, January, 2017.




The Sign of the Eagle  Book Sales Success


Good news! Because of sales (book signings) I made at my recent author's events here in the Pacific Northwest, my historical novel, The Sign of the Eagle, was listed number 4 out of the top 50 best-selling books for Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com) during the month of October.




 New Reader Lisa    Yokes.jpg   Northtown New Reader Joyce      Book Signing Successes - Update

 Woodinville B&N New Reader Lisa             Yokes Booksigning                 Northtown B&N New Reader Joyce


As I explained in my July blog, multi-entertainment store Hastings Books, Music and Videos was going out of business as of October 31, 2016, the result of filing for bankruptcy. I had explained that nearly one-half of my book signings were conducted at their stores, most were successful. Because Hasting was very supportive of local authors, they gave me the chance to sell my novels on a multi-store basis. Their demise meant I had to look elsewhere to sell books. Yes, my books are available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and my publisher Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com). However, I seem to be more successful selling at book signing events than online. Besides, I enjoy getting out and meeting the public. I have met with partial success in replacing Hastings. One local grocery chain, Yoke's Fresh Grocery, which has seventeen stores in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, appears to be a good prospect. So far I have conducted two successful signings at their store in Liberty Lake, Washington, and I will return for two more stores in December (see my book signing schedule for dates for all my signings past and present). I will contacting more of their stores after the first of the year for possible events.


I have also picked up signings at Barnes & Noble, Northtown Mall, Spokane, Washington. The signing of November 5th, was very successful, and I will return December 17th. Another B&N store, this one in San Jose, California, their Eastridge store has been added to the mix as well. I will be signing there March 18, 2017, in addition to the Blossom Hill B&N at which I have previously signed and will again in conjunction to Eastridge, March 19, 2017. 


After the first of January, 2017, I will be contacting several stores for additional book signings, including independent stores in the Seattle and Puget Sound. I conducted a successful signing at B&N Woodinville, Washington, in October, and the manager asked me call back in January to arrange for another signing in the Spring.


The only less than stellar signing was at Aunties Book Store, Spokane, Washington. When started signings in 2012, Aunties gave me the chance to sign there. I did fairly well. However, they have changed ownership. I did a signing for them September 24th. Management allowed me only two hours, which is completely inadequate time for me to succeed, I usually need a four hour block. As a result I sold very few books. As authors, we are urged to support independent book stores. Unfortunately, I don't feel that was the case with Aunties. I have no plans to return there in the future. Ironically, I have done far better at Hastings, when they were in business, and now Barns and Noble and Yoke's Fresh Market.



  Rome Myth & Mythmaking Exhibition - Roman Myth and Myth Making


October 15th, 2016, I visited the Jundt Art Museum on the campus of Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington. They are holding an exhibition from September 17 - December 17, 2016, titled, Roman Myth and Mythmaking. The purpose of the exhibition is: "...examines how the ancient Romans constructed and spread their religious and cultural beliefs as seen through mostly small-scale objects, such as coins (a lot of those), gems, lamps, and statues, they created and used on a daily basis. The historical figures, divinities, personifications, and heroes chosen by them to decorate these objects informs us about Romans' history, their beliefs, and their myths."


This is a very interesting exhibition of many artifacts. It is followed up with weekly lectures, given every Thursday night by noted professors on various aspects of Roman life, until the end of the exhibition. Unfortunately, the public is not allowed to take photos and so I am using a souvenir card. From left to right: (1) coin - reverse of Cistophorus with statue of Diana of Perge, A.D. 98 - 117; (2) Marble statue Aphrodite 1st centuries B.C. - A.D; (3) Statuette of a Herm, 

Ist Century A.D.



 Myth of Disapearing Book Myth of the Disappearing Book


After years of sales growth, major publishers reported a fall in their e-book sales for the first time this year, introducing new doubts about the potential of e-books in the publishing industry. A Penguin executive even admitted recently that the e-books hype may have driven unwise investment, with the company losing too much confidence in “the power of the word on the page.”


Yet despite the increasing realization that digital and print can easily coexist in the market, the question of whether the e-book will “kill” the print book continues to surface. It doesn’t matter if the intention is to predict or dismiss this possibility; the potential disappearance of the book does not cease to stimulate our imagination.


Why is this idea so powerful? Why do we continue to question the encounter between e-books and print books in terms of a struggle, even if all evidence points to their peaceful coexistence? 


For more information go to the below link. http://theconversation.com/the-myth-of-the-disappearing-book-66717



Eva.jpg  Uvi.jpg   Food and Feast   Patty Wiseman    Thank You to Four Gracious Ladies 

          Eva Blaskovic                           Uvi  Poznansky                         Laura Vosika              Patty Wiseman



Lastly, I want to thank Authors Eva Blaskovic, Uvi Poznansky, Laura Vosika and Patty Wiseman for taking time out of their busy schedules to be interviewed by me for this blog. These are a group of most talented, fascinating ladies, and I highly recommend the reading their books. Thank so much!



That is all until next time. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Salve atque Vale!



Jess Steven Hughes




12:54 pm pst          Comments

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