Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Posts tagged “fiction

Penny’s Book Reviews: The Recruit by Addison Albright

Blurb:

Albert Manlii has walked this earth for more than two thousand years, but survival on his own was never easy. Now he leads a faction of highly organized vampires who carefully guard the secret of their existence. Unlike the old days, potential recruits are carefully selected and presented with an offer.

Phillip Brewer has weeks to live — if he lets his disease run its course. He doesn’t want to die, but given a choice, will his desire to live outweigh his concerns about the vampires’ ethics?

When the new recruit’s missteps are cause for concern, can Albert control the fallout, or will Phillip’s life once again be torn apart?

 

I have to confess I actually came to this book having read snippets from the next book in the series via the Rainbow Snippets facebook group and so I had already fallen in love with the character of Albert and seen flashes and hints of how their story plays out in the future.

I’m a sucker for vampire stories but can’t stand the ‘Twilight flavour’ so many now seem to carry, so I delighted in the fresh feel of this series and loved the combination of appealing characters and engaging plot.

I fell more in love with Philip than I thought I would – he is a beautiful character without being at all delicate or whiny or precious which I think is over-done in vampire novels.

Overall, I loved the characters and their world, especially Albert, and I would recommend the series to anyone looking for a modern vampire series with lovable characters and a fresh, unique feel.


Penny’s Book Reviews: Shafter by Margaret McGaffey Fisk

Blurb:

Born in the abandoned subway shafts beneath First City, Trina measures life in the coin she steals from her wealthy father’s people living above. She gives little weight to her dying mother’s fairy tales about how her father will rescue Trina and her twin sister, taking them away from this planet. Yet the stars catch her attention every time she goes to the surface.

Trina is the protector, a role she created more from heroic tales in books her father gave them than anything in a shafter’s life. When she sees drunken aristocrats harassing laborers, she can’t turn away even though attacking them carries a death sentence. Her paternal grandfather discovers Trina before the enforcers can and offers everything she has ever desired—safety for her family and a way off Ceric.

Can she trust their family connection, or will the price of her dreams be more than Trina is willing to pay?

 

I fell in love with Margaret’s wonderful story weaving skills through her Steampunk series The Steamship Chronicles. This was my first encounter with her Sci-fi series and, as someone who tends to steer away from space-based Sci-fi and more towards Fantasy and Steampunk I was taken aback at how instantly I was drawn into this world.

Once I had pulled my head out again at the final page and re-orientated myself to reality, I realised that what had pulled me in and held me there so firmly was the characters – not just the focal two, but even those who only featured in one or two scenes were so intricately and lovingly portrayed I cared deeply about all of them at once.

I won’t mention the plot because it is marvellous and can’t be mentioned without spoiling the marvellousness but there is a lot to chew over in here – darkness and light, love and bitter hatred, intention and risk and an overall sense of ‘the human condition’ as being well intentioned but sadly often painfully fallible.

There is great love here in many forms – some of them dangerous – there is pain, yes, but at the end, thankfully, there is immense hope.


Penny’s Book Reviews: Hangover From Hell by Zakarrie Clarke

Blurb:

A Hangover From Hell is exactly what greets rock star Callum Carter on the final morning of an ‘On the Road’ trip along Route 66, taken with his partner, artist Daniel Flynn. Theirs is a story of fame, lust, laughter and all-consuming love. They met five years ago, when the infamous ‘enfant terrible’ was commissioned to paint Callum’s portrait and have been together ever since. The latter remains a closely kept secret…until the morning they wake up in Las Vegas. Married. Dan has no memory of this miracle taking place, only one thing seems certain; he has somehow managed to pull off his masterpiece of mischief, and inveigled Cal down the aisle.

Zakarrie Clarke has an ineffable knack for infusing her stories with the perfect balance of humour and heart – Even in the first chapter of this book her writing broke my soul with pain and had me almost on the floor with peels of wicked laughter.

That first glimpse at Dan and Cal’s relationship was but a siren’s song that swiftly pulled me so deep into their beautiful / painful / hilarious / fragile / exhilarating but ultimately feel-good world, I never wanted to surface again and so I was over the moon to find there was a sequel to dive into and more of the series planned as well for the future.

This is an utterly entertaining – raw at times – thoroughly heart-warming read, filled with passion and mischief and that kind of Bohemian love that risks all and rises, on broken wings, victorious (and perhaps with a wicked two-fingered salute to those who said it couldn’t survive)


Necromancers interview on K.S.Trenten’s Cauldron keeper!

Good morning my lovelies! Things are a little mad this end, the frost fair (thankyou so much to everyone who came and made it such a splendid affair!)  is over and I am now working flat out at clearing my reviews backlog so every Friday for the foreseeable, reviews are what we shall be all about here in Steampunk’d Lancaster! 😀

But amid the madness Kari Trenten was kind enough to have me over for a chat about my naughty Necromancers on her wonderful blog : Cauldron Keeper

Find Kari’s wonderful books here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/K-S-Trenten/e/B01F60SX5C?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_fkmr0_1&qid=1583221854&sr=8-1-fkmr0

And her wordpress blog here: https://inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com/

 

 


#RainbowSnippets: Curious Adventures

Happy Saturday! And Happy Valentines / Galentines weekend! For us here in Steampunk’d Lancaster it is still the annual frost fair, and if you’d like to grab a promo slot there is still time to show of your wares with a guest post, just click the submissions tab above and scroll down for the frost fair template I’ll be squeezing in as many as I can before the end of Feb 🙂 x

Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here.

This week I’m still snipping from the first book in my Ashton’s Kingdom series, The Curious Adventures Of Smith And Skarry. This story includes diverse characters from across the gender spectrum and beneath the humorous veneer it asks big questions about the important issues of power, identity and, most importantly, fine china.

For reference, if you’ve been enjoying the Necromancer snippets, this story takes place 500 years before that. And if you’ve enjoyed the Jack and Marjory snippets, this story happens immediately before those events, so Jack and Marjory are still working down the treacle mine at this point – and the Pirate Captain on the front cover is Jack Diamond who rescues them in book two 🙂
If you’d like some world background to the whole series you can find it here in the INTRODUCTION which is at the start of the book as well.

To recap from where we left off last week, Mercurio Smith and Johnathon Skarry (two undergraduate wizards) are breaking into a baker’s shop in Pendle…

 

They made their way silently through the blue tangle of overgrowth that might once have passed for lawn, the bulging belly of the house looming in front of them – a squatting crone in the darkness. Reaching the, surprisingly stalwart, back door, Skarry turned and raised his eyebrows in silent question. He was rewarded with a petulant pout and was forced to resort to miming his entreaty, through a series of urgent gestures, until, finally, Mercurio seemed to decide he had sweated and suffered enough and, with an absurdly vitriolic air, drew the mechanical cat from his pocket once more and introduced it to the lock.
The cat considered the apparatus critically, before breathing a puff of dusky purple smoke into the keyhole. He placed the cat on the brick doorstep and shot a haughty, expectant look at his accomplice. Skarry sighed inwardly, but shaped his features into an appeasing smile and inclined his head in thanks.

The evil overlord Wiz has seized control of all the tea, cake and magic in the universe. In a world crammed with dubious science and cream-powered technology, crippled by sugar tax and loose leaf ration books, overrun by cake smugglers, tea fiends and lemonade dealers, ruled over by Tea Time Lords and policed by vigilante mechanical angels, only a band of truly extraordinary adventurers can bring down this oppressive empire and save the good people of Ire from this tea time tyranny. Could these two would-be wizards, Messrs Smith and Skarry, and their band of land pirates, skywaymen, witches, orphans and other relentless rogues, be the anti-heroes The New World has been waiting for, or have they simply stirred up an enormous storm in a rather tiny teacup?

 

Wishing you all a most splendiferous week and don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction


Halfway To Someday Blog Tour: Guest Post By Layla Dorine

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Greeting’s, and thank you for having me on your blog today. I’m Layla Dorine, a midwestern author originally from the East Coast. I love traveling and am officially down to one state remaining that I haven’t seen yet, Alaska, after the road trip to GRL this past October. In fact, traveling has been an amazing way to generate ideas, meet new people and just get inspired through new experiences, exploration and simply having fun and relaxing. There are still days when I wake up and look around my office and think to myself, hell yeah, because the only thing I ever wanted to do in life was become a writer.
I’m 43, and my mother still has some of the poetry that I wrote when I was nine, ten, eleven years old. Words were fun, words, not spelling, I never could spell well, thank you dyslexia, but I love to read and I love the way words come together and over the years I have penned everything from song lyrics to one act plays.
My favorite part of the process, though, is the moments of inspiration and pulling the scenes together that will eventually formulate the storyline. Over the years, it’s led me to dirt bike trails, long horseback rides, and romps through the woods that run from sunup to sundown. Of course, being that this is Iowa, we have at least four months out of the year that none of those things are possible, but that just means I retreat to bookstores, coffee shops, libraries and museums, to people watch and think.
Halfway to Someday is my 14th full length novel, and one of the angstiest of them all, which is saying something, considering the tearjerkers Guitars and Cages and Gypsy’s Rogue turned out to be. I hope readers will agree. It was a joy and a pleasure to tell Jesse and Ryker’s story.

Halfway to Someday Author Interview #2
What was your favorite childhood book?
Oh man, just one? I can’t even. I’ve got so many from when I was a little kid that I have hung onto and still have in my library to this day. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is timeless in my opinion. It never gets old and I reread it a few times during the holiday season. Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree, which turned out to be my youngest son’s favorite too. I love the disgruntled look on the tree at the end, when it’s branches have been stripped bare and a bloated cookie monster lay sunning himself beneath it. I still love all of the Winnie the Pooh stories too, and read, re-read, and read until it fell apart S.E. Hinton’s the outsides. Those four books sum up the things I loved in my childhood, and I am glad I got to share them with my children when they were little.
Explain the title of your book.
Well, the original title was going to be Rockin’ Ryker’s World, but as Jesse revealed himself to be anything but a fun, flirty, party going rock star, I came to realize that the title simply wouldn’t fit. Still, I had no clue what would, until a conversation between two characters ended with the line: I’m Halfway to Someday. It struck me in that moment that it was the perfect title for the book, and I couldn’t help but play with it a few more times over the course of the story too. I like the rhythm and flow of it when it’s spoken and could just imagine it as a rock ballad. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll pen the lyrics for it.
What was your hardest scene to write? Oh man, ever? Or in this book? If you mean the hardest scene to write over the course of all fourteen books and numerous short stories, then it has to be the moment when Alexia in Guitars and Cages, is banging on her brother’s apartment door after he’d slammed it in her face. I cried right along with Alexia as I was writing it and I still cry whenever I read it. If you mean in Halfway to Someday, well, let’s just say that there is a moment when Jesse is in his truck, reflecting on the past, that was particularly difficult.
Which character was your favorite to write? As much as I hate picking favorites and in no way want to upset Ryker, considering I have plans to have them pop up here and there in other stories, I have to say that Jesse was my favorite character in Halfway to Someday. I think that was because he reminded me of an old friend and the songs we’d write and play together. I could picture several moments in the cabin clearly and vividly, and in my mind’s eye, the visual equivalent of Jesse is my old friend, Tommy.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? Aside from the fact that I still hand write my rough drafts, I prefer to write from places that aren’t my home. The desk is great for typing and editing and working out plans for projects, but for actually writing, I prefer to be in public places, even if it’s just a sidewalk bench that happened to be close by when inspiration hit. I love heading out to the woods to work on a story too. Listening to nature and the bubbling of a creek helps me put aside things that might be stressing me out in order to zone in on my characters and tap into the story they want me to tell.
Which of your books was the most enjoyable to write? So hard to choose just one. Each had some amazing components and experiences associated with them. Working on Burning Luck and Midnight Musicals inspired me to make several trips out to Seattle, some on a bus, others on a plane, which offered plenty of opportunity to observe people and create some interesting characters along the way. I loved writing Tripping Over the Edge of Night. It was how I spent the very frozen winter here in Iowa last year. Simply getting to remain in my easy chair wrapped in blankets was awesome, especially when there were copious amounts of Buttershots and Hot Cocoa involved.


Representing Rromani People in Fiction

Happy Sunday folks! I don’t usually do a Sunday post but I was fortunate enough to be invited to do a guest post on Stephen Palmer’s blog on the subject of Rromani representation in fiction so I thought I’d share it at the weekend so that it doesn’t get trampled by Collin and his Frost Fair shenanigans! XD

Here’s the link to the guest post: http://www.stephenpalmer.co.uk/

Stephen Palmer writes a variety of diverse fiction including Sci fi and Steampunk. You can find his authour page on amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stephen-Palmer/e/B0062Z5R78?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1581086881&sr=8-1

 


Frost Fair: With Characters from ‘Wind Me Up, One More Time’ by K.S. Trenten

 

A golden shimmer hangs in the air over the billowing tent folds of the stall where Theodora Bear sits on display. She cannot move, not with all the crowds of strangers moving around, watching her still, stuffed form. None of these people are her child, after all. She can speak, however, in the silent, non-voice of stuffed animals which other toys and her child can hear. 

 

*It’s a good thing Iama put a spell on this tent. I think we’re warmer here than a lot of the vendors are in their booths.*

 

A little girl wearing a red hood pulled over her head nods.

 

*It’s also a good thing we came and not the other Grace and Theodora. They have Maia, who’s a good seamstress, but we have Iama, who’s an actual enchantress. We’re more prepared for the cold than any of the characters in Verity, for all the perpetual fog in that town.*

 

*You think this is cold?* The scornful not-voice of a little man with a long, gray beard, a cap pulled down over his eyes, and dangling legs covered with red and white striped stockings was inaudible to Grace, but not to Theodora. *It’s far colder in the land my brother nisse and I come from.*

 

*Where are your brothers?* Theodora let her furry head list a little to the side in a movement too small to be noticed. *I’d think they’d love this frost fair.*

 

*They don’t want to go out until their new caps are ready.* Leif tugs his own cap in a self-conscious fashion, or tries to, but his own child isn’t even present. He can do a lot less than Theodora. *Can’t say I blame them.*

 

*Well, look sharp, Grace, it appears we have visitors.* Theodora regards the approaching readers with shiny button eyes. 

 

“Hello!” Grace smiles, speaking out loud for the first time. “Welcome to the Wind Me Up, One More Time booth! We’re all characters from that story, or from Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps, the story within that story. It’s all fairy tales, toys, girls falling in love, learning to grow up without growing away, not allowing ourselves to be turned into gold by misguided enchantresses, or ground up by the gears of industry.” She stops a moment, looking unsure of herself, only to turn the crank in the back of the stuffed bear. 

 

“Growwr,” Theodora says, opening the seams in her chest to reveal what should be stuffing within. 

 

Grace lets out a frightened gasp, but there’s something glowing with Theodora’s chest. A golden apple, with the following information inscribed upon it…

 

Good Morning! Welcome to the Annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen River Lune!

 My name is K.S. Trenten and I write ambient fantasy. The characters you are meeting are from Wind Me Up, One More Time, my first published novel. Here are some links to that particular holiday fairy tale…

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-one-more-time.html#/

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081LPX2WH

 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wind-me-up-one-more-time

 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-me-up-one-more-time-ks-trenten/1134959345

 

https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1488235515?fbclid=IwAR1_ox2T5jIHibPFBHUqTck0SNaP3pcZIgNM4DS3VAjU47mn3o5iu260bMA

 

If you’d like to discover more about me, you can find at…

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhodrymavelyne/?ref=bookmarks#

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rhodrymavelyne

 

tumblr: https://rhodrymavelyne.tumblr.com/

 

Archive of Our Own: http://archiveofourown.org/users/rhodrymavelyne

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14876500.K_S_Trenten?from_search=true

 

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten

 

Nine Star Press Author Page: https://ninestarpress.com/authors/k-s-trenten/

 

I’ve got other published stories available; such as Seven Tricks, A Symposium in Space, Fairest (Once Upon a Rainbow), At Her Service (Once Upon a Rainbow 2), and The Closet (Impact). I write a monthly column, Sources of Inspiration for Queer Sci Fi and also update monthly at cauldronkeeper.livejournal.com and rhodrymavelyne.dreamwidth.org

Free samples of my work are available weekly at the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration (inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com) and the Formerly Forbidden Cauldron (inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com), so feel free to stop by! I hope you enjoy your time on the ice today, thank you for stopping by!


#RainbowSnippets: Curious Adventures

Happy Saturday!  And happy Candlemas / Imbolc / St Bridget’s day or whatever wonderful things you celebrate at this time of year! For us here in Steampunk’d Lancaster it is of course the annual frost fair, and if you’d like to grab a promo slot there is still time to show of your wares with a guest post, just click the submissions tab above and scroll down for the frost fair template I’ll be squeezing in as many as I can before the end of Feb 🙂 x

Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here.

This week I’m still snipping from the first book in my Ashton’s Kingdom series, The Curious Adventures Of Smith And Skarry. This story includes diverse characters from across the gender spectrum and beneath the humorous veneer it asks big questions about the important issues of power, identity and, most importantly,  fine china.

For reference, if you’ve been enjoying the Necromancer snippets, this story takes place 500 years before that. And if you’ve enjoyed the Jack and Marjory snippets, this story happens immediately before those events, so Jack and Marjory are still working down the treacle mine at this point – and the Pirate Captain on the front cover is Jack Diamond who rescues them in book two 🙂
If you’d like some world background to the whole series you can find it here in the INTRODUCTION which is at the start of the book as well.

To recap from where we left off last week, Mercurio Smith and Johnathon Skarry (two undergraduate wizards) are about to break in to a baker’s shop in Pendle, and Skarry is appalled to find his new friend is about to use an illegal technomantic contraption; a Cat Of Nine Lives…

Mercurio continued his attentions toward the inanimate object until, to Skarry’s surprise, the thing made a very soft purring noise, brazenly stretched itself on the wizard’s palm and then leaned forwards, curiously, to inspect the lock on the high wooden gate which led, Skarry assumed, into the baker’s back garden. The purring heightened slightly in pitch (no louder than gnat’s drone) and the cat opened its mechanical mouth and breathed a puff of steamy green smoke into the keyhole.

The door swung open, without a sound, and Mercurio grinned smugly and stopped it with his foot, gesturing, with a nod, for Skarry to enter first. He did so, offering a smile which expressed the full extent of his gratitude for the gesture. It was a foolish mistake. He would pay for it for hours, but right now he didn’t much care: Smith’s ego had taken a break-neck skid down the oily pole of Skarry’s preservation priority list.

 

The evil overlord Wiz has seized control of all the tea, cake and magic in the universe. In a world crammed with dubious science and cream-powered technology, crippled by sugar tax and loose leaf ration books, overrun by cake smugglers, tea fiends and lemonade dealers, ruled over by Tea Time Lords and policed by vigilante mechanical angels, only a band of truly extraordinary adventurers can bring down this oppressive empire and save the good people of Ire from this tea time tyranny. Could these two would-be wizards, Messrs Smith and Skarry, and their band of land pirates, skywaymen, witches, orphans and other relentless rogues, be the anti-heroes The New World has been waiting for, or have they simply stirred up an enormous storm in a rather tiny teacup?

 

Wishing you all a most splendiferous week and don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction

 


Halfway To Someday by Layla Dorine: Release Day!

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Warnings: Flashbacks of domestic abuse, and combat situations, suicide ideations
Heat level: Nonexplicit (though there is frottage at the end)

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Rocker Jesse Winters just wants to be left alone. If he could melt into oblivion he would and bid farewell to the wild child of rock n’ roll so many have dubbed him in recent months. Truth is, there was never anything reckless, wild or even deliberate about most of the things that had happened on Wild Child’s last tour, but had anyone cared to listen? No! Which was precisely why he was sitting in a cabin high up in the Colorado mountains, hoping the incoming blizzard would bury him forever.
Ryker Jorgensen left the VA hospital with a bunch of prescriptions and pamphlets on how to deal with reentering the civilian world, not that he’s in any hurry to do so. His nightmares still keep him up at night, and every new limitation he discovers gives him more reason to believe that he’s hopelessly useless now. Better to drive up to his cousin’s cabin and lick his wounds. Come spring, maybe, he’d look into being around people, if only for long enough to make the kind of money he’d need to buy his own secluded place.
The last thing he ever expected to see was the man whose face had been plastered in his footlocker and his dreams for the better part of the past six years, but Jesse Winters is nothing like he imagined. When trying to leave Ryker out in the storm doesn’t work, Jesse resorts to ignoring him. But two wounded souls trapped in a snowed in cabin have little choice but to reach out for one another when emotions get frayed. His only hope is that Jesse will trust him enough to let him drag him back from the edge before he’s just another burned out star in the legacy that is rock n’ roll.

Buy Links:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083YW8DLW
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Halfway-Someday-Wild-Child-Book-ebook/dp/B083YW8DLW
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Halfway-Someday-Wild-Child-Book-ebook/dp/B083YW8DLW
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Halfway-Someday-Wild-Child-Book-ebook/dp/B083YW8DLW

Author Bio:
LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places. Currently she has seen forty-nine of the fifty states, with plans to visit her final one, Alaska, in the upcoming year. Every journey is an inspiration and every shred of inspiration gets sprinkled into her tales.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes it’s aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book, a kitty on her lap, and her dog, Jinxx, by her side.

Email (public address): layladorine13@outlook.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005197938547
Twitter: https://twitter.com/layladorine
Website: http://layladorine13.wixsite.com/layladorineauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9814124.Layla_Dorine

Other novels by author:
Guitars and Cages
Guitars and Choices
Roadhouse Reds
Gypsy’s Rogue
Desolation Angel
…And All Shall Fade to Black
Serpent’s Kiss
Broken Prince, Mismatched Eyes
Midnight Musicals and Coffee Ice Cream