Army of Worn Soles – Excerpt Five

The Army of Worn Soles launch blog tour continues! Read to the end for the clue that will help you win the Grand Prize of a signed paperback copy of Army of Worn Soles plus a $50 Amazon gift card.

For a chance to enter the early-bird draw, enter the clue below in the Comments section.

To see where the blog tour stops next, and to find the next clue, visit the author’s blog, Written Words.

Chapter 2: Gymnasium

Peremyshl, Poland, 1938

Maurice leaned closer until their lips met. Oksana kissed hard, intense and didn’t break away for a long time. “So, student-boy, how late can you stay out tonight before you get into trouble?”

“I’m already way past curfew.” He leaned in for another kiss. He could hear his pulse in his ears.

She pulled away again. “Get me another drink and then we can go,” she said.

Maurice did not ask “where.” He could not bring her to the school dormitory, so he hoped she meant her place. He pushed the door to the dance hall open just in time to see the front door crash inward and six policemen rush in. They carried clubs in their hands, and the leader brandished a pistol.

The band stopped with a scream from an abused violin and every girl screamed.

“Everybody stand still,” the lead policeman hollered in Polish. “Stop where you are this instant. You are all under arrest.”

The barman came around his counter. “No one was making any trouble, sir,” he said in Polish, hands out in supplication. “We’re just having a good time. A little music, a little dancing…”

“What kind of music was the band playing?”

“You know, the hit parade, some traditional…”

“What language? Polish or Ukrainian?” He spat the last word out like it was dirty.

“Look at this, Jerzy,” one of the cops said, pointing to the table where Danylo had spread out his newspapers. Maurice saw a pamphlet beside the broadsheets and groaned when he saw the Cyrillic lettering. It was in Ukrainian.

Jerzy, the lead policeman, swept it up in his hand as if he had scored a point. “Sedition,” he said. “Arrest everyone.”

Roman launched himself at the nearest cop and landed a punch on his nose, which had almost no effect. The cop retaliated by hitting Roman on the head with his club, and Roman fell.

Then every man in the place began throwing punches. Maurice saw the man in the hat pull a club out of a cop’s hands. He hit the officer hard, knocking him down, and turned on a pair who were clubbing the barman.

Maurice could not see Bohdan. Oksana pulled on his arm. “Come on, don’t be stupid. Let’s get out of here.”

“But my friend—”

“You can’t help him. Come on.” Oksana hauled him out the side door, and Maurice had only a second to wonder how the cops could have been so stupid as to raid a dance hall without covering all the exits.

He ran behind Oksana down a dark alley and into another street, across two blocks, then more turns. Within minutes, he had no idea where they were.


About the book: 

1941: Their retreat across Ukraine wore their boots out—and they kept going.

Three months after drafting him, the Soviet Red Army throws Maurice Bury, along with millions of other under-trained men, against the juggernaut of Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, the assault on the USSR.

Army of Worn Soles tells the true story of a Canadian who had to find in himself a way to keep himself alive—and the men who followed him.

About the author:

Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and novelist based in Ottawa, Canada. He has written for magazines in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia.

He is author of The Bones of the Earth, a fantasy set in the real time and place of eastern Europe of the sixth century; One Shade of Red, a humorous erotic romance;

a children’s short story, Sam, the Strawb Part (proceeds of which are donated to an autism charity), and other stories.

Scott Bury lives in Ottawa with his lovely, supportive and long-suffering wife, two mighty sons and two pesky cats.

He can be found online at, on his blog, Written Words, on Amazon, on Twitter @ScottTheWriter, and on Facebook.

Today’s clue: this

Cover Reveal for Army of Worn Soles

1941: Their retreat across Ukraine wore their boots out—and they kept going.

Three months after drafting him, the Soviet Red Army throws Maurice Bury, along with millions of other under-trained men, against the juggernaut of the biggest invasion in the history of warfare: Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, the assault on the USSR.

Maurice sees that his job as Lieutenant is to keep his “boys”—the men of his anti-tank unit—alive as they retreat from the unstoppable Panzers and German infantry. When they’re captured, survival becomes impossible. Their captors starve them.

Then a miracle: Maurice gets a chance to escape. He cannot leave his boys to starve. But how can twelve Red Army soldiers cross German-occupied Ukraine without being shot?

Army of Worn Soles will be available on Amazon and in print on June 22, 2014. 

For more on the book, visit the author’s blog, Written Words.
Continue the cover reveal tour! Visit Dana Griffins’ website on Wednesday, June 11.

Forgive No More – Featuring Author Seb Kirby

Meet iAi author Seb Kirby, author of the bestseller James Blake Thriller series. Today I’m featuring the third book in the series, FORGIVE NO MORE. Warning: once you pick up this book, you can forget about your to-do list. You won’t want to put it down once you’ve started.

Dark secrets revealed in a thrilling climax

James Blake and his family can only be safe if the truth about the conspiracy threatening their lives is brought into the full light of day. Follow James in this intriguing thriller as he returns to London and Italy to confront those seeking to destroy his family. As the mystery comes to a resounding climax, he discovers that dark secrets have survived down the centuries and are in the hands of those who threaten all those dear to him.

An extract from the book:

Madeleine Jamieson, visiting London from Seattle, jumped at the chance to become a mudlarker. She’d always been interested in history and when she heard about the London walk that took in the chance to beach comb on the banks of the Thames it was too good to miss.

At low tide, the Thames retreated along the river bank between Somerset House and St Paul’s to reveal a distinct beach made up of shingle and the detritus of earlier centuries. Back in the 1600s, clay pipes filled with tobacco had been smoked and discarded into the river. These were abundant and formed the main treasure to be found at low tide now, though in the mind’s eye of any self-respecting mudlarker there was always the chance of real treasure in the shape of a Roman coin or something more valuable such as mediaeval jewelry. In Victorian times, to be a mudlarker was a recognized profession, given the wealth discarded into the Thames each day when the Port of London was the gateway to the world. These days, mudlarking was, at best, archaeology for everyman.

When the tour guide in the bright yellow T-shirt finished telling the small group these things she wished them well and sent them out on their search for the remains of London’s past. “Good hunting to you all. Come back with plenty of treasure.”

Madeline Jamieson turned to her husband. “Phil, let’s separate. We’ll have more chance of making good finds.”

Phil Jamieson was less interested in any of this but was keen to please her. “OK, Maddie. See you back here in twenty minutes.”

Madeleine made her way along the shore, searching as she went, and before long she’d found the first of the half dozen clay pipe fragments she was to collect. She couldn’t help thinking. “Now, if only I could find an intact clay pipe, that would be something to show Phil.”

She’d walked further than intended and was by now some distance away from the main group. In fact, she was approaching the buttress supports of Vauxhall Bridge.

When she saw the body she gave out a long and piercing scream heard a quarter of a mile away.

The body was bloated and in the late stages of decomposition. It had been dumped in the Thames some days before and the weights used to keep it beneath the water had now slipped. Brought in on the morning tide it had been washed against the supports of the bridge where it was now lodged.

The tour guide was the first to reach her and tried to calm her. “Just take deep breaths. Did I see you were with your husband? He’ll soon be here.”

When Phil Jamieson arrived, the guide was quick to attempt to reassure him. “It’s one of those unfortunate events we can’t guard against. I’m sure your wife will be able to get over this with your help.”

He wrapped his arms around his wife and walked her away from the scene. He tried to cheer her. “We didn’t expect to find anything as Charles Dickens as that, eh?”

She attempted a smile. “And this town is supposed to be so peaceful.”


Seb Kirby contacts:


Facebook Author Page



Amazon U.S. author page

Amazon US edition

Amazon UK edition



Author bio:

I’m the author of the James Blake Thriller series (TAKE NO MORE, REGRET NO MORE and, now, FORGIVE NO MORE) and the Raymond Bridges sci fi thriller series (DOUBLE BIND). I’ve been an avid reader from an early age – my grandfather ran a mobile lending library in Birmingham and when it closed my parents inherited many of the books. From the first moment I was hooked. Now, as a full-time writer myself, it’s my goal to add to the magic of the wonderful words and stories I discovered back then.’

Doing Max Vinyl Trivia Contest – Winners Announced

The results are in, and $350 in prizes are going to three lucky winners. Trivia questions relating to the serialized sections of Doing Max Vinyl (An Annie Ogden Mystery) on Venture Galleries appeared regularly here over the last 8 months. One correct answer was chosen randomly for each question for a $5 Amazon gift card. Every correct answer was entered in the draw for a chance at the three grand prizes being awarded today.

Congratulations to Teresa H., winner of the $200 grand prize! Your name was chosen first from the hat containing all the right answer slips. You will receive your prize via email. I hope you will enjoy many good books and other goodies from Amazon!

Naznin A. is the lucky recipient of the 2nd prize of a $100 Amazon gift card. Congratulations Naznin! Don’t spend it all in one place :-)

And congratulations also to Marjorie R., who snagged the 3rd prize of a $50 Amazon gift card. Nothing to sneeze at, $50.

My thanks go to all the participants who read all or part of Doing Max Vinyl on Venture Galleries, and I hope you had fun searching for the answers. On Venture Galleries you will find many more books in serialized form, and I encourage you to discover new authors this way.


Gray Justice – Crackling Good Summer Reading


This month I’m featuring Alan McDermott and his book Gray Justice, the debut novel in his four part series. Warning: once you start an Alan McDermott novel, you can forget about today’s to-do list.

About Gray Justice

When ex-soldier Tom Gray loses his wife and child to a career criminal, it seems life can’t get much worse. But when the killer is let off with time served on remand, Gray knows there is something fundamentally wrong with the justice system. Engaging the help of his ex-SAS buddies, he kidnaps five repeat offenders and asks the public to vote on their fate: Should they be allowed to continue their criminal ways with inadequate punishment, or has Britain had enough?

His website attracts a worldwide audience and, although the authorities know where he is, they are powerless to stop him.

Can Gray carry out his audacious plan? Will Andrew Harvey and his fellow MI5 operatives find a way to stop him?

Gray Justice, the first book in the Tom Gray series, is more than a simple tale of revenge: it’s a rollercoaster ride with an ending you’ll never forget.


About Alan McDermott

Alan McDermott is a software developer from the south of England, married with beautiful twin daughters. When he isn’t creating critical applications for the NHS, he is writing action thrillers.

His debut novel, Gray Justice, has been very well received and earned him membership of The next two books in the series – Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption – were released in 2012, and book 4 will hit the shelves in July 2014 

Alan is currently working on his fifth title.

You can follow Alan on Twitter through his @Jambalian account.


More info on Gray Justice

UK readers please click here.

USA readers please go here.


Big Prizes Soon – Doing Max Vinyl Trivia Contest

You’ve been waiting patiently, and only a few more weeks till the contest ends with a bang — $200 in Amazon cash to the grand prize winner, $100 in Amazon cash to the 2nd prize winner, and $50 to the third place winner. Every correct entry over the life of the contest increases your chances at one of the grand prizes. And you get to see pictures like this showing my cat in her favorite resting place.

Our winner for last week’s question was Teresa H., who answered the question correctly, which town in Northern Illinois is Bob Olson from? — the answer being Sycamore.

Usually we get several people sending in the right answer, so congrats Teresa! You win a $5 Amazon gift card. And the new question is: What is the name of Max Vinyl’s attorney? You will find the correct answer in part 104, 105 or 106 right here on Venture Galleries, which the Doing Max Vinyl serial is hosted, along with many other fine books. Please send your answer by midnight PST on Sunday, April 20 to to be eligible for the weekly prize and the big prizes at the end.

Cassidy Jones – for Cool Kids

My iAi feature this month is Elise Stokes and her book:

Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula (Cassidy Jones Adventures, Book One)

One Girl. One Accident. One Incredible Superhero.  
Cassidy Jones is your typical fourteen-year-old– that is, until a seemingly harmless accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist turns her world upside down.
Discovering incredible strength, speed, and enhanced physical senses that defy logic, Cassidy embarks on an action-packed adventure that has her fighting for answers…and for her very life.

About Elise Stokes

Elise Stokes lives with her husband and four children. She was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mom. With a daughter in middle school and two in high school, Elise’s understanding of the challenges facing girls in that age range inspired her to create a series that will motivate girls to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence. The stories in Cassidy Jones Adventures are fun and relatable, and a bit edgy without taking the reader uncomfortably out of bounds. Cassidy Jones and the Secret FormulaCassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, and Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant are the first three books in the series. Book Four, Cassidy Jones and the Luminous, will be released in 2014.

Barnes & Noble:

We’ve Got a Winner

Every time I read your answers to trivia questions I get goosebumps. Congratulations to Marsha B! She answered the latest Doing Max Vinyl Trivia question correctly. Annie Ogden said RATS definitely do not conduct electricity …

Those who submitted a right answer are automatically entered in the grand prize drawing, which is right around the corner, folks. Marsha B. wins a $5 Amazon gift card for having her entry picked from among all the right answers this time.

The new question … drumroll please: In which beautiful old town in Illinois does Bob Olson live? You will find the answer in part 93, 94 or 95 right here on Venture Galleries. Send your answer by Sunday, March 23 at 12 midnight PST to

A reminder of what’s at stake. All the correct entries received during the life of the contest are entered in a drawing. We’ll have a Grand Prize winner ($200 Amazon gift card), a 2nd prize winner ($100 Amazon gift card) and a third prize winner ($50 Amazon gift card). Nothing fancy – just a pile of cash money …

Just do it – read the serials, answer the question, and send me your answer to have a chance at those prizes.


What Makes the River so Dangerous?

Matt and Benjy have to cross the Mississippi River, but how, with security checkpoints on all the bridges still standing? It’s the year 2021, and things we used to take for granted have become deadly. 

Join us on the blog tour and enter to win prizes including a Kindle Fire 7″ HD or PaperWhite, winner’s choice!

Excerpt, videos and contest 


Have You Entered the Goodreads Giveaway?

On Goodreads? 5 signed paperbacks will be given away on April 15. Just click on the image to go to the giveaway …

Click cover to read sample

Doing Max Vinyl by Frederick Lee Brooke

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Annie Ogden is Back!

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