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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

Month

September 2019

Alex Orlov (of Twin Time, by Olga Werby)

Dear readers, tonight we print a police interview, together with the detective’s notes and observations about the interviewee — a young woman, who claims the disappearance of her autistic sister is due to magic and time-travel.


From the closed files relating to the Ms. Orlova’s house fire and the disappearance of Sasha Orlov: Transcript of Alex Orlov interview with Hillsborough police department’s Detective Hendle. (Additional observations were added after the interview by Officer Tony Davids.)

Notes & Observations: Ms. Orlov appears young for her age. She is very thin, but it is hard to tell just how thin—she is hiding underneath a gray sweatshirt with a UC Berkeley logo that is several sizes too big on her. She has shoulder-length dirty blond hair, which looks unwashed and unbrushed. The girl’s overall appearance is a bit bedraggled. Given what her family is going through, I suppose it’s understandable.

Detective: Tell us, Alex, a little about your sister. How you grew up? What was it like?

Alex: As you know, this is a very difficult question to answer.

Notes & Observations: As she talks, Ms. Orlov continuously fidgets with the extra-long sleeves of her sweatshirt, picking at the unraveling fabric at the hem. She is obviously very upset. She avoids meeting the eyes of the detective and other officers in the room.

Detective: You mean so soon after your twin’s…we know it must be very difficult—

Alex: No, it’s not what I mean. And it’s not even like Sasha died recently. It’s been almost three decades now.

Detective: But you are only nineteen…

Alex: Right.

Detective: Can you explain what you mean, please?

Alex: I guess I should start at the beginning…or as much of the beginning as it’s really possible given…well, given that time is not really linear for my sister and me. We were born at the turn of the century.

Detective: 2000?

Alex: Does it really matter?

Notes & Observations: I’m noting this as a classic avoidance behavior. I assume Ms. Orlov is lying to us. She is not a very practiced liar.

Alex: Sasha, as I’m sure you know, was…is…was severely autistic. Of course when we were babies, I didn’t know that. So we played together like other sisters, I guess. Only it was different. I usually ran around and got into all sorts of mischief, but Sasha toyed with things that were right next to her—a rocks, a pinch of sand, a flower petal, a spoon, her toes. Basically, whatever was within her reach. She wasn’t really into baby toys. She didn’t like clothes much either.

Detective: You were just babies.

Alex: Exactly.

Detective: Please go on.

Alex: We were born in Brooklyn, New York. But when Sasha was formally diagnosed, we moved out to California. There are more resources for kids like Sasha out here. And Aunt Nana was out here and she helped the family a lot in the beginning. Nana helped us buy a home and helped with finding Dad a job out here… Nana babysat us. But she was…

Notes & Observations: Ms. Orlov’s face flashes every time she mentions her great aunt—Ms. Nadezhda Orlova. “Aunt Nana” or “Nana,” as the girl refers to her. Note the variation of the family name spelling—something to do with Russian language.

Continue reading “Alex Orlov (of Twin Time, by Olga Werby)”
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Kyris of Yond (of Gloomwalker, by Alex Lang)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a young man on a quest to kill holy man with the blessing of a sun god. He is here to tell us about his enemy, about the struggles of slaves and masters, of light and dark. And of his own dark abilities.


Tell me a little about where you grew up.

What? Where am I? How did I get here?

You have been here, Kyris, with me. It’s safe, and we are just having a friendly chat. You were telling me about your childhood, where you grew up. What was it like there?

Yond? I thought it a grand city until I laid eyes upon Vigil. I see now it barely qualifies as a city in comparison. Life was hard when we first arrived. I had to beg and steal on the streets in order to feed myself and my sister, Jahna. But through shrewd scheming and an orchestrated robbery attempt, I was able to engender myself with Tasi and her grandfather, Baaz, an old pit fighter turned instructor. He took us in. I… I’m not sure why I’m telling you this. No one other than Jahna knows I did this. I haven’t even told Tasi after all these years.

It is fine, Kyris. You can trust me. You were not born in Yond?

No. I was born in Gailen. It’s a small village far to the east, past Yond, near the outskirts of the Imperium.

What was life like in Gailen?

It was… pleasant there, until it wasn’t.

Do you have any cherished memories from your time in Gailen?

Certainly. I remember my mother baking sweet spiced flatbread, and the divine smell of it. I remember my father hammering away in his work shed, and little Emin with his wooden blocks. But what I remember most was spending endless hours exploring the forest with Jahna. 

What do you do now?

Do? What I must. What needs to be done.

And this includes stealing and killing?

Stealing, yes. But… Is this is about the job I did for Marlek? That was a fluke. Ask him about the jobs prior to Curunir. All performed flawlessly.

Continue reading “Kyris of Yond (of Gloomwalker, by Alex Lang)”

Jade (of the Veritas Series, by MJ Vieira)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a woman with no memories, left in a coma to drift between two distinctly different realities.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

~Tilts head to the side and narrows eyes~ Where I grew up? Well, in Veritas or Malum’s horrible world, I awake in a new world. I don’t have a childhood. Later in the book, I find out that there are past lives I have lived and I supposed the most recent childhood I had would belong to Addy. She had a good one; grew up in Ohio, I think? ~shrugging, I smirk a bit~ But, if I look to my true self, as a Fallen Angel, my ‘childhood’ was strict. The Creator isn’t one to allow too much fun in games from someone destined to bear the souls of the newly conceived to their Earthly bodies. I spent much of my time learning to control my powers, travelling with Onyx, the original angel of Death, I encountered many of man’s triumphs and downfalls. I particularly enjoyed watching the Egyptians build their monuments and the burning of the Tower of Alexandria.

What objects or memories from your past lives, or current ones, bring you peace/happiness?

These are odd questions…~snorts and shrugs lean shoulders~ For a long time, weapons were my only solace. A knife I took from one of the pharos’s tombs in the Delta Nile began my collection. I wasn’t supposed to have a weapon. The Creator saw me as a bearer of good tidings, why would I need a weapon? That was Onyx’s department, not mine. But, being curious, I took one. I began to find more and begged Onyx to train me. He gave in. We were lovers, he wanted me happy so…~raises hands in a ‘voila’ gesture~ So, over time, these knives became a sort of stress ball for me.

Now? Well, outside of Malum’s apocalyptic world, I love music. I have a collection of iPods and phones from those I feed from. The music I find there brings me some peace.

As for memories? ~tugs bottom lip in between my teeth~ I have a lot to go through. But off the top of my head? When Onyx was trying to teach me to fly after my awakening in Veritas, he took me to a cliff over looking a river, demanded I release my wings and then pushed me over the side. Onyx is a firm believer in tough love and learning from experience. So, I figure out how to ride the air drafts, land and take my boots off because they were cramping my style. Onyx decides to give me crap and in return, I throw a boot at him. He ducks and there goes my shoe ~whistles to simulate a falling object~ He thought that was hilarious… ~rolls eyes~ but, now? Yeah, it’s funny.

What do you do now?

Hmm well, now? I am trying to help the Rebels and the free people left on the Earth rise above the threat of Aton and Malum’s evil residue he’s left across the planet.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, in the last installment, I wake up mentally and find myself helping the Onyx and Andor to fix the crap Malum pulled. Only now we’ve found out there is a bigger picture, one we didn’t see coming. A bigger baddie, Aton, is about to be released by a siren named Loreley. Guess who gets to fight him? ~smirks~ Yep, me. Well, Onyx and Andor are supposed to help, but I wouldn’t count on it. At least I found out what his deal is. As the keeper of hell, well, the realm of the Dead, he tended to keep his soul detached. Well, silly Nik, another God, it gets confusing ~waves hand dismissively~ stole it and now Aton is angry, seeking revenge. This is one scary mother fucker, let me tell you. He looks like a skeleton and his sense of humor makes Onyx’s dry ass comments seem like slap stick comedy. His anger is worse. Former lover to the Creator, he’s one bitter ex and the only thing that will make it better is burning Eden and heaven.  No pressure.

What did you first think when you realized Malum wasn’t what he pretended to be?

It was a shock. Jager and Nik laid it all out for me but believing the one person who seemed to have my best interests was a hard pill to swallow. Still, once the shock wore off, I couldn’t ignore the signs any longer: Malum was evil and I was helping him hurt innocent people. I’d become a weapon. I had to find a way to get out and fix the mess I’d help to create.

What was the scariest thing in your adventures?

My fear isn’t from the monsters I face but the idea of failing. If I don’t succeed, the world ends…What is scarier than that?

What is the worst thing about your powers?

Well, feeding I suppose. I either have to drink blood, feed from lust or take a soul in order to keep going. Don’t get me wrong, in the right context it’s amazing but when I hurt an innocent? I hate that.

What is the best thing about it?

The feeling of power that comes from it. When I feed from Onyx especially, take his blood, feed from his lust, not only is there pleasure involved but I can feel my powers growing. It’s like electricity running along my skin. It’s better than any drug you can find and knowing I can take on anyone? That’s a rush on its own.

Tell us a little about your friends.

Friends? ~tilts head to the side~ I don’t have many. Onyx now, but he’s fickle as a woman. One moment he’s on my side, the next he’s pushing my buttons. I guess being the original Reaper makes you a bit of a crank ass. Let’s see…then there is Andor, the liaison between the Rebels and myself. He’s a hoot…~snorts and shakes head~ Well, he thinks he is anyways. I’m not sure I’d consider Nikolai a friend…more of an ally Gods tend to keep their loyalties under wraps. Then there is Jager, ~heavy sigh~, he was my last life, Addy’s, former husband. But he became the Rebel’s leader and warned me, well her…Addy, about Malum. I miss him. He died you see, after we fought Malum and overthrew him. So see? Not many friends…

Any romantic involvement?

HA! Yes, Onyx. But it isn’t the type of romance poets write about or songs are made from. At least not in the traditional sense. He has my back, I have his. But things like that don’t last and sadly, neither will this.

Whom (or what) do you really hate?

Oi…in case you missed it earlier…Malum is right up there. Fucking demon brings about the end of the world by infiltrating Addy’s dreams, killing her unborn baby, and then turning her/me into a weapon of mass destruction. Along the way he nearly kills me when I failed to kill Jager and he killed a lover I’d had in a fit of jealous rage. So, safe to say I really hate him.

But you know what else I hate? Socks. Irritating fuckers.

What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?

Saying blood would be too cliché, yeah? ~smirks~ No, my favorite drink is ice coffee. I love the color a shade of blue you only find in ice and as far as relaxing pastimes go, I enjoy shooting on a range or playing laser tag.

What does the future hold for you?

The future isn’t a happy time for me. At least, not in the beginning. I have to save Eden from being burned, give Aton his soul back, and make a deal with the devil. It’ll cost me a friend and reset things. Life as I know it will shift to the point of no return and in order to save the one I love, I will have to accept he will never remember our time in Veritas.

Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?

Well, the truth is, I killed Mufasa….ha! Just kidding. My real secret is while I may not remember it initially, I know and love Aton.


MJ Vieira is originally from Southern Maine. She recently moved to Southwestern Missouri with her husband, Alan, son, AJ, and their fur babies Poopah (Pitbull mix) and Fluffa (Himalayan cat). As a child, she traveled around the state with her parents, seeing the vast history the New England state had to offer as well as touring the nation while showing her American Quarter Horse. While traveling, she read many of the great authors of the time including JRR Tolkien, Stephen King, CS Lewis and Ann Rice. It is these writers combined with power of music, mainly hard rock and folk, MJ draws her inspiration. In between writing, MJ enjoys reading, collecting music and attending concerts.

You can find Jade on the pages of Lux.

Keep an eye out for our mid-week SPFBO5 special fantasy interviews! Join us next week to meet a young woman destined to become a dark monster. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.

The Directors of the Honourable Company of Cunning (of The Censor’s Hand, by A.M. Steiner)

Dear readers, tonight a step back in time, as we reprint an excerpt from Lundenwic’s earliest newspaper: The Exchange Gazette. The publication was widely read before the Great Terror and (unbeknownst to its hapless journalist) this interview contains one of the few surviving examples of words directly spoken by those most responsible for that great suffering: The directors of that infamous company which sought to turn magic into an industry.


From the Exchange Gazette – Maatday 98th, Malchus III

THE FIRST INTERVIEW RECORDED BY HEKAMAPHONE

A TALK INTO THE INSTRUMENT WITH MASTERS OF THE HONOURABLE COMPANY OF CUNNING

The interview below is the first of its kind ever published; one in which the interviewer had no work to do beyond the propounding of the questions. The apparatus through which it was conducted, demonstrated to me at the Hon. Co.’s Lundenwic office, appeared little more than a modest construction of brass and oak, newly manufactured, yet powered by only drops of my own blood it astounded my ears, relaying distant voices with effortless ease. For a few precious minutes I conversed like a god, unhindered by distance or time. The words I shared are here reproduced in my faithful report.

Hello. Can you hear me?

Very clearly.

With whom am I speaking?

Gustav Gleame, chairman of the Honourable Company of Cunning, and his two most recently appointed colleagues: Masters Maximillian and Miranda Solitaire.

And where are you situated?

(M. Maxim-) At the Convergence, in Seascale Bay, centre of all magical industry in our fair isles, no less than three hundred miles north of your present location.

Extraordinary. Could you explain to our readers how a hekamaphone works?

(Ch. Gleame) I’m afraid it is quite impossible for a layman to comprehend the mysteries of the cunning arts, and the Honourable Company must be jealous of its secrets, for reasons which I hope are obvious. But let me offer this: the hekamaphone operates upon the principle of a sympathetic connection between the bloods of the communicants, and is powered by a modest construct invested here at the Convergence.

That does sound complicated. When will these wonderful machines be made available to the public?

(M. Maxim-) I’m afraid that for now the Hekamaphone is an invention for a privileged few. But I foresee a day when every armiger’s house will contain one. The progress of the Honourable Company in rationalising the production of magic is unending. Every day we consider new ways to make the process safer and more efficient. Our ultimate ambition is to have a magical device in every nobleman’s home.

Continue reading “The Directors of the Honourable Company of Cunning (of The Censor’s Hand, by A.M. Steiner)”

Gaiso the Stag (of Journey To Osm – The Blue Unicorn’s Tale, by Sybrina Durant)

Dear readers, tonight with me a non-human guest. In fact a non-biped, which is why we forgo the usual couch.

Meet the stag who mentored and traveled with the young unicorn foal, destined to save his tribe.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

First of all, I want to say that I am honored to be chosen for this interview.  I would have never imagined to be doing this since I’m not even a unicorn but you can’t always niggle out the why of some things. I am Gaiso, a stag who lived out most of my life on MarBryn in the Guarded Forest. Back in my younger days, with the rise of that despicable sorcerer, Magh, it was really the only safe place left in the land. But I left the safety of my home to guard and protect a little blue unicorn. My friends thought I was crazy but for me, it was an easy choice to make. I just had this feeling that his quest was of great importance.

Any cherished memories of your first introduction to that little blue unicorn?

It was a fateful day when I first met the little one.  A brutish manticore; thinking to make me his dinner had crept up on me unawares.  We clashed and slashed – him with his claws and me with my antlers. I had just about routed him when he stomped a massive paw down on one tine, pinning me to the ground.  I thought my time was up – when out of nowhere, a little blue creature darted towards us. I thought he might be a unicorn but I wasn’t sure because every unicorn I had ever known had a metal horn and hooves.  This one did not.  He just had some kind of stub sprouting up from the top of his head that seemed to be covered in blue leather.  As I said, he ran towards us, yelling at the top of his lungs. That action so intrigued the manticore (because as everyone knows, unicorn meat is a manticore’s favorite treat), that the hungry fellow stepped away from my antler and I was able to swiftly gouge him in the spleen. He went to his maker, still smiling at the thought of a sweet unicorn meal. If it hadn’t been for Blue’s action that day, I would not be here telling this tale. 

What do you do now?

Now, that Blue’s quest is over I am back home, in the Guarded Forest living a much calmer life. I’m still nursing a few war wounds but I tend to forget all about them when friends and family come by wanting a recounting of the grand adventure that Blue and I shared with our friend Girasol.  She’s a firebird, you know. . .very handy to have around at times.

What can you tell us about that adventure?

We were three amigos – all for one and one for all. . .well, that’s what the Pendragon said about us, anyway. Oh, the things I could tell you about that big waddling bird, but that’s for another story.  Girasol…the Firebird joined up with me and Blue just as soon as we broke through the eastern line of the Guarded Forest, headed in the direction of Smaul Mountain. Now, that’s an amazing place.  They say it’s the highest and coldest place in the world.  But I digress. . .I had yet to make the Firebird’s acquaintance and I’m not ashamed to say that she scared the living daylights out of me when she came hurtling down from the sky at us like a flaming comet.  I do feel a little silly, admitting that I hid behind a bush for protection and that that gave Blue a good laugh at my expense.  Once I got to know Girasol, I was glad for her company.  She saved our hides a few times and when things were at their worst, she was the one to pull us through.

Continue reading “Gaiso the Stag (of Journey To Osm – The Blue Unicorn’s Tale, by Sybrina Durant)”

Latona and Aula (of From Unseen Fire, by Cass Morris)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two women from a world reminiscent of our Ancient Rome, but with one distinct difference: she is a sorceress, a mage of Spirit and Fire.


Tell us a little about growing up in the Temple of Juno. What was it like there?

Latona: Blissful. Not all the priestesses and acolytes live in the house behind the Temple, of course, but my family thought it best, since my magic was so strong, that I stay with Gaia Claudia so that she could guide me. I missed my mother and my sister Aula, but Claudia was everything I could’ve hoped for in a mentor — and it was exciting, to be so small and yet feel a part of something so big. The most important people in Aven would come to consult the High Priestess of Juno, and Claudia let me observe at her side, even before I was really old enough to understand the politics of it all.

Any cherished memories from that time?

Latona: The first time I served as Claudia’s acolyte during the Cantrinalia. It was held at the House of the Vestals that year, and everything was so graceful and immaculate. I was only seven, the youngest girl there, and I’d never been around so many mages working in concert before. I only saw glimpses of the colors of the elements in action — I’m still a bit shaky with that particular talent, I’m afraid — but I could feel all of it, everyone’s hopes blending together. It was… euphoric.

You left the Temple after Gaia Claudia’s death a few years later. How have you been using your magic since then?

Latona: Oh, the… the usual ways. For a patrician wife, I mean. Just… just little things. I use Fire magic to keep the house’s hypocaust running properly in the winter, and little Spirit charms at parties and such, to liven up the mood. But that’s really — (A deep, long breath)  It was made quite clear to me that, outside the purview of the Temple, I needed to take care and remain within… appropriate boundaries.  (A thin smile)  It wouldn’t do to appear ostentatious, after all.

Because we heard that Dictator Ocella had asked for you to use your Spirit magic at his behest.

Latona: No. No, absolutely not. I– I am not capable of the sort of manipulative magic that Ocella requested of me. And even if I had been, I would not have sullied the gods’ gifts in such a way, whatever rumor may fabricate to the contrary.

Continue reading “Latona and Aula (of From Unseen Fire, by Cass Morris)”

Marissa LaRoche (of A Sea of Broken Glass, by Sonya M Black)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a woman who endured weeks of torture after being convicted of witchery. She is her to tell us about her escape, and about being hunted by the Darkness and the Lady for the magic that sings within her.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in Greendale which is a lovely little town surrounded by flax fields. My father had a lot of trouble keeping me in line. I was a bit of handful. It’s a good thing Bran and Aeron were around. My Shield and Cloak kept me out of the worst trouble even if it was Aeron who taught me to pick locks and pockets. Bran didn’t like it, but he agreed it was a necessary skill to learn considering what I am. It was Aeron who taught me how to fight hand to hand and Bran who taught me how to shoot a pistol.

Did you have any favourite hiding spots as a child? Any cherished memories?

I loved to climb the clock tower in the church and hide up there. I could watch the whole valley and pretend I was going on an adventure to the Western Wilds or navigating the Warring Sea. When I was thirteen, I waited up in the tower until after nightfall and snuck down into the church. I stole the money from the offering box as prank since Father Delaney was a bit of crab. Bran and my father were furious, but Aeron slipped me a berry tart for a job well done.

What do you do now?

I’m a Healer, but beyond that I’m the last Vessel. Very few people know about me being the Vessel. If they knew, life would get … complicated.  I don’t really want to be the Vessel. No one knows what will happen if the Lady or the Darkness fill me with their power. So the fewer people who know what I am, the better. I love being a Healer. Love helping people. It feels like forever since I’ve been able to be just a Healer.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

We’re on the run from demons, the Bastion, the Darkness, and pretty much anyone and everyone who wants to use me as the Vessel. But, the Lady tasked me with finding the Heart of Creation before the Darkness gets it. Michel thinks I’m nuts and Aeron is only going along with it because he feels responsible for me. Bran would freak if he knew I was headed into the Bonelands. But I don’t know where he’s at. Aeron mentioned that Bran intends to meet up with us. Not that Bran would get a say in what I’m doing. It has to be done. I won’t let the world be consumed by Darkness.

Continue reading “Marissa LaRoche (of A Sea of Broken Glass, by Sonya M Black)”

Paul Moore (of Hell Of A Deal, by Mark Huntley-James)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a Master of the Dark Arts, a demonic broker who runs a shop supplying witches. He’s here to tell us about fighting through life, death, demons and trying to survive a first date.


Tell us a little about growing up in Barrowhurst. What was it like there?

Sorry? An interview? Right now? Are you insane?  Haven’t you noticed those damned demons have dragged Barrowhurst into hell and Mickey-F****ing-Twitch is about to kill me. And this bloke here needs a doctor and you’re trapped in hell as well, so there’s no point in an interview.

Bugger off. Come back if I survive this. Then you can interview me all you like.

Several books later…

Tell us a little about growing up in Barrowhurst. What was it like there? And why are you waist-deep in that hole? And what is that awful smell?

You again… Whatever. Just give me a hand out of here when I get to the edge. Sorry about the smell. It’s what happens when a demon goes bathing in pig slurry.

What was the question again?

Barrowhurst…

Barrowhurst was kind of quiet when I was a kid, no bloody demons. Really, nothing much ever happened here. I’d have probably just taken over the family hardware business when I grew up, but Mickey, my best friend at school showed me magic. Yeah, the same Mickey-F****ing-Twitch who put people in the arena to fight to the death so the winner got to kill me. That Mickey. He was alright when we were kids. He showed me cool things.

So, yeah. I learned about magic. I used to go out to Abbey Wood when I was a bit older, and turn trees into stone. Or rabbits into stone. I got really good at turning things into stone and Mickey showed me other magic, and I got really  interested.

My parents never knew. I mean, even when you’re nine or ten, it’s not something you necessarily mention to your parents. I might have told them about it when I was older but they died in a freakish accident when I was eighteen.

What sort of freakish accident?

It was an early deal I cut with a demon. I got a few things wrong, and well, Mum and Dad were out and…

Can we talk about something else?

Did you have any favorite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

All my best toys were stuff left over in the shop. I built robots and spaceships and just anything, really. Dad would keep bits of scrap, or stuff that was broken, and I could play with anything in that pile. When I was about six I tried to make a car. I mean, it was really simple, just a box with wheels, but I couldn’t make the wheels turn right. Dad went all through the scrap boxes with me to find something to make it right. Looking back, I think he might have cheated and got something out of the shop to make it work, but that didn’t matter.

I think my best pal Mickey was a bit jealous of that car, but he did show me a neat bit of magic to make it go on its own. Pity I couldn’t show that to Dad.

What do you do now?

I’m standing in a pit of demonically contaminated pig poop. What does it look like I do? I clean up other people’s mess. Come on. Just give me a bloody hand.

Thanks.

Don’t worry. It washes off eventually. Or after eternity.

Anyway, I used to run a magic shop as a front for brokering demonic deals – like getting you the girl of your dreams, or the perfect face lift, but at a sensible price that doesn’t include your soul. I dealt with the demons so you didn’t have to. Since the demons dragged Barrowhurst into their realm, and then I mostly got it back out, and I have one trapped inside me, I’m out of business. Being the dungeon to the demon Nyka doesn’t pay well. Doesn’t pay at all, as it happens.

I should have stayed with selling screws and silicone sealant after all.

Continue reading “Paul Moore (of Hell Of A Deal, by Mark Huntley-James)”

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