A Highland Ruby by Brenda B. Taylor

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Blurb:

She must choose between a life of adventure with the man she loves or a settled, secure life with her betrothed. Flora Vass forced Gavin Munro out of her heart and mind until he returned to Scotland after an adventurous five years in the New World. Gavin leaves no doubt he returned to make the bonnie Flora his own and intends to fight for her. Flora’s betrothed, Iain MacKay, and Gavin’s brother, Chief Andrew Munro, have other plans. Andrew needs her to marry the MacKay and bring peace between the two clans. Iain MacKay desires an heir. War with England looms on the horizon, forcing Flora to make crucial decisions.

Excerpt:

Scottish Highlands, 1513

Ferindonald, Easter Ross

Late July

He watched her through the grey mist, walking along the shore of Cromarty Firth. The hood of her arisaid covered her bonnie russet locks, but he imagined them bouncing with each step she took. She came every morn, sometimes with the wee curly-headed laddie in tow, but now, she walked alone. His heart beat a fast rhythm like a lad watching his first love. How foolish to be hiding behind a rock when he could speak to her, hold her hand, and look into her dark eyes.

Gavin gathered courage and stood to his full height when Flora walked past the rock where he hid. “Flora,” he said in a quiet voice. She continued to walk, not hearing him above the moaning wind.

Quickly, he took a place beside her, then grabbed her arm. She screamed as she turned to face him. Her eyes widened with fear, she tried to jerk her arm free, then beat his chest with the fist of the other hand, and kicked his shin with the toe of a pointed boot.

Gavin jumped from the boot’s path, but kept her arm secure. “Stop. ‘Tis I, Gavin.” She stopped kicking and the free hand went to her mouth while she studied his face. A small squeak emerged from between full red lips. He watched her lips for a moment, then bent to place a kiss on the inviting mouth. She became rigid with no response.

He released her arm then backed away. She continued to stare as though he were a stranger, and he very well may be to her now. After all, five years in the wilderness of the New World can change a man beyond recognition.

Flora’s hand raised for an instant then came across his face with a stinging blow. He rubbed at the burning cheek. “How dare you,” she screamed above the wind. “You left me. You left me.” She hit his chest with both fists now.

Gavin grabbed her wrists, bringing her close. “Stop. I only want to see you, be near you once more. May I walk with you? Just a short distance?”

Flora stared. Her brown eyes larger now with surprise or mayhap shock. She stopped struggling and rested her head on his chest. A seagull called overhead and waves lapped against the shore of the firth. Gavin pushed the hood of her arisaid back, stroking her hair while wrapping an arm around her slender waist. The russet locks felt soft to his fingers. They smelled with the sweet fragrance of heather and salt air, just as he remembered and dreamed. The mist had damped one small curl so that it clung to her neck. He touched the softness of her skin where the curl lay. They stood for a long time. Flora now seemed reluctant to move and Gavin did not wish to spoil the moment.

Finally, she stepped back and looked into his eyes. A line creased her fair brow. “Why did you come back? I made a life without you.”

“I wanted to see you and the lad. Andrew sent a message while I was still in Barcelona waiting for a ship to the New World.”

Flora searched Gavin’s face. “You look older, tanned, hardened.”

“Aye. I’ve been living in a wilderness, defending myself from the wild natives and animals. Searching for gold while starving for food. Takes a lot out of a mon.”

“I am betrothed to a fine mon. One who loves and wants me and my bairns. I wanna have you back, Gavin. You left me carrying your bairn. I wanna have you back.” She beat his chest once more. Tears spilled over to her cheeks.

He grabbed her wrist. “I understand, Flora. I understand. I’ll leave you alone, I will. But I do want to see my son.” He kissed each tear-filled eyelid, then her cheeks, and not being able to resist the temptation, her tempting lips.

Flora didn’t resist and, when the kiss grew more passionate, responded. Her arms went around his neck, her body melted into his so her warmth reached his very soul.

She pushed away. “Why did you go without a word?”

“I dinna ken. I canna explain why.” He lied, not exactly an untruth, but an exaggerated one.

“Well, I ken. You fancied yourself to be in love with your brother’s wife. Now what are you gonna do about that? They’re happily married with a bairn of their own and another on the way.” Flora’s eyes flashed then she turned away, watching a crab crawl away on the sand.

Gavin grabbed her hand so she faced him. “I was wrong. I dinna love Maidie, ‘twas you I carried in my heart. I ken that now.”

Flora snatched her hand away. “I must go. My bairns are waiting. Phillip is readying for work in the fields and Ishbel is attending Gavy. Aye, I named him for his da, but call him Gavy.”

“I’m keen to see him.” Gavin didn’t want to beg, but he would if necessary.

“I live in Leslie Manor no’ far from Fàrdach Castle. Laird Andrew provides well for your son. He pays me a good wage as nanny for his bairns.”

“What of Phillip?”

Flora smiled with the mention of her oldest child. “Phillip is growing like a weed and favors his da so much I hurt to look at him. He helps with the land and sheep on the estate and trains with Laird Andrew’s slaugh.”

“A fine lad, indeed.” Gavin hesitated. “And what of my brother, the Laird of Fàrdach Castle?” An image of his brother popped into mind. Would Andrew welcome him back to Fàrdach Castle after all these years? Gavin doubted he would receive a warm welcome.

“The Laird of Fàrdach Castle grieved for his lost brother and tanist, but he’s happily married and in good health.” Flora gazed into his eyes. “I must go. You’re welcome to visit Gavy, but only visit, naught more.”

Gavin returned her gaze. “Aye, I’ll visit, nae more.”

With a nod of her head, Flora replaced the hood of the arisaid, turned, and walked in the direction of the house, not far from where they stood. Gavin watched until she took a path from the shore to the manor, his heart heavy with rejection. He didn’t expect, but hoped for more. Maybe she would turn back and accept him into her life once again. He watched, but she didn’t look back. Now the task of facing his brother, Sir Andrew Dubh Munro, Laird of Fàrdach Castle.

 

Buy Links:

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Author Brenda B. Taylor

Author Bio:

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

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A Highland Pearl ~ Spotlight

AHighlandPearl200

Blurb:

A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the16th century Highlands of Scotland.

 Excerpt:

The Village of Drumainn, Ross-Shire

Scottish Highlands 1508 A.D.

Maidie rode behind the young warrior on a horse galloping toward the castle. She removed one hand from around his trim waist to pull her wrap closer against the biting wind then secured the kertch trying to fly from her head. The old Cameron scarf was the only one she could find before rushing out of the cottage when Tavish pounded on her door. She replaced her hand, trying not to mind his grimy clothes and gamey smell, and held her bag of precious herbs with the other. Tavish guided the horse between several tenant crofters coming and going from the castle.

The wind whistled through large birch and oak trees lining the road. Leaves of gold, red, yellow, and brown rustled in the wind then floated to the ground. Maidie enjoyed the walk to the castle this time of year, when a lass needed a midwife, but today she could not think about the beauty. She looked back at Sven, who rode behind Maighstir Tam, and held to a small leather bag filled with various implements she used in her work. A chill ran through her, not only from the wind, but also from the dread of seeing the terrible wounds of the injured.

They pulled to one side of a wide wooden bridge leading to the outer bailey of Fàrdach Castle to let a wagon pass. Tavish waved to the guard in the barbican as their party entered through the large, steel-studded oak gates, under the portcullis, and into the outer bailey. The bailey teemed with the life of humans and animals. Their various buildings, dwellings, and shelters lined the curtain wall.

Tavish steered his horse dodging roughly dressed people, went through a second gate in the curtain wall, then across a bridged moat to the quieter inner yard. He waved to a guard on the rampart, and guided his horse to the door of the castle’s keep. Stable boys rushed to take the reins of both horses. Tavish quickly dismounted, then helped Maidie to the ground. She held her bag with a firm grip. He then assisted Sven and Tam from their horse. Large green eyes in the ashen face of her wee son searched hers. She patted his small hand and rubbed his mass of red hair. He tried to smile, giving her a small gift of comfort.

“All will be well, Sven,” she said to reassure him. Not since watching his father die from wounds he received in a battle with Clans MacKenzie and Cameron had she seen such fear in her son’s eyes.

“I dinna wish to go inside, Mam.” The boy drew back from her touch.

“You may stay out here then. Just dinna leave the bailey.” Maidie took Sven’s bag then handed both to Tavish. She cupped the small boy’s chin in her fingers and kissed the lined forehead. “Stay close. Mayhap there are other children close by.”

“Yes, Mam. I will.” His half-smile gave her a sense of relief.

“Just stay close.” Maidie turned and walked toward Tavish who held the heavy wooden door open. Tam followed as they entered the great hall of the keep.

Tavish closed the door with a thud. Maidie stood for a moment so her eyes could adjust to the dimness. Light rays from the small upper windows glinted off the weapons, armor, and heraldry displayed on the stone walls. Lifeless eyes in the heads of boar with long tusks and red stags with huge racks of antlers stared at her from above the weapons.

Although a large fireplace with a glowing fire stood on each of the four walls, the air felt cold and damp. The smell of dirt, blood, human waste, and unwashed bodies blended together into a noxious odor causing a revolt in her stomach. She swallowed a rush of nausea with a gulp. Wounded warriors lying atop rush pallets lined the floor. A servant rushed to the maighstir, pulling him toward a blood-soaked pallet where an unconscious man lay.

Tam began administering last rites to the warrior. Loud groans and cries came from the wounded. One pallet lay apart from the others. Angus MacKay, the castle physician, hovered over it. The laird must be lying there. He made no sound.

Tavish pushed her toward the pallet. “The laird needs your help, Madam.”

She hesitated. “Angus is there with him.”

“His brother asked for you. You must help now.” Tavish grabbed her arm with his free hand and pulled her toward the stricken laird.

She resisted. “So many others need my help.” She counted only three other servants and the laird’s sister, Davina, caring for the wounded.

“Angus can help them.” Tavish tugged on her arm once more. She reluctantly followed. “The tanist said Laird Andrew asked specifically for you to come to his aid.”

“He asked for me?” Maidie pulled against the arm holding her. “He looks unconscious.”

“He’s only resting now. Angus gave him a potion to ease his pain.” Tavish jerked once more.

Maidie reluctantly let him pull her to the pallet that held Andrew Munro. Angus turned to her when they approached, his face covered with a scowl. The castle physician left quickly, making his way to another of the wounded men.

A voice came from the darkness on the far side of the bed. “Thank you for coming Maidie Cameron Munro. As you can see for yourself, my brother needs your attention.”

Maidie’s hand went to the very first thing a Munro noticed— her kertch of Cameron colors. The large form of Gavin, tanist of the clan, rose from the shadows. Filth caked the russet hair tied away from his grimy face with a leather thong. A dirty linen léine hung in shreds from his shoulders and arms. The upper end of his great plaide, now stained with gore, wrapped around broad shoulders with a long dagger sheathed on a wide leather belt at his waist.

“I fought many wearing those same colors this verra day,” he said with heavy brows knit together in a dark, frightening scowl.

Maidie could only shake her head in response. Her stomach churned at the sight and sound of him. Then she looked down at the man lying on the pallet. His face held the green pallor of death she had seen before on the dying. His body, covered with a filthy plaide, trembled. Long black hair, fanned about powerful shoulders. She knelt beside the trembling form, and lifted the plaide. A hand went to her mouth when she uncovered the gaping wound across his abdomen.

A loud gasp escaped between Maidie’s fingers. “Ach! Saints in Heaven! Why didn’t Angus stitch this wound?” She pushed the plaide away from the open wound, leaving it to cover only the lower part of the chief’s torso.

AHighlandPearl200

Buy Links:

Historical Heartbeats

Amazon

Apple iTunes

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

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avatarbrenda_2

Author Brenda B. Taylor

Author Bio:

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

Author Contact Information:

Historical Heartbeats

Book Bub Author Page

Amazon Author’s Page

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

Tumblr

Google +

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Heaven Must Wait, Part II ~ Spotlight

Heaven Must Wait, Part II, a new novella by Brenda B. Taylor, is the fourth book in the Wades of Crawford County series, and is the sequel to Heaven Must Wait. The story continues the courtship of Ralph Wade and Leann Clark. The novella is available on most ebook vendors. Grab your copy for $0.99.

 

Heaven Must Wait, Part II

Heaven Must Wait, Part II

 

Blurb:

Times are difficult in Missouri after the Civil War. Families struggle to keep their property from creditors and outlaws. The desire of Ralph Wade’s heart is to marry the girl of his dreams, beautiful Leann Clark, but many obstacles stand in their way. Ralph finds love is not enough to persuade Leann’s father to give his permission for their marriage. John Clark wishes more than love for his daughter. He wants her husband to provided a good living with a secure future. Ralph is much too hot-tempered and unreliable in John’s eyes. Leann desires the dashing Ralph and defies her father to be with him. She believes her love is strong enough to see them through the hard times. Through adverse circumstances, the young couple struggle to keep the fires of their love and faith burning.

 

Excerpt:

They reached the copse of willow, oak, and hickory trees beside the creek. Limbs of the willow hung low over the water, sporting light green and yellow leaves. The majestic oaks stood tall with the hickory nested close by. Brown hickory nuts in their hard shells covered the ground underneath. Leann had a favorite spot in a clearing that gently slopped to the water. The boys and Pa had worn the grass down from their fishing excursions. Sometimes the family brought a picnic lunch and spent the day. During the summer months they waded and swam in the water. Pa let the girls go without petticoats and swim in a blouse and light skirt. The boys swam in short cutoff pants without shirts. Leann thought this arrangement was unfair. She had seen swimsuits for women in Godey’s Lady’s Book, but Pa would not let them have one. He said they were immodest.

The creek water looked cool and inviting after the swift walk, so Leann sat down on a log and began removing her shoes. Ralph did the same, rolling up his pants legs. They waded the cold, shallow waters and listened to a robin sing in a willow. Leann held Ralph’s hand with one of hers and pulled up the bottom of her dress with the other. She bent to watch the minnows nibble at her toes. A fish splashed in the deeper middle pool.

“I need my fishing pole,” Ralph said when the fish splashed the second time.

“Pa and the boys caught four big bass and several small perch the other day. They seem to be biting now. We had a great fish fry.” Leann’s mouth watered just thinking about the good fried fish and potatoes.

“You’re making me hungry.”

“Did you eat supper before you came?” She stopped and turned to look up at Ralph.

His eyes met hers, lingering for a while, then he looked around. “I wonder if John followed us? Because I’m about to kiss you right now.”

Ralph bent his head over hers and found her lips with his. He released her hand, pulling her close. She closed her eyes, letting her skirt fall to the water, then put her arms around his neck and returned his ardent kiss, matching the fervor. They lingered in the kiss and embrace for longer than usual, until the sound of a throat clearing broke the silence. Both dropped their arms and turned toward the sound. Tom, her oldest brother, stood on the bank with a fishing pole in his hand.

 

Heaven Must Wait, Part II

Heaven Must Wait, Part II

 

Buy Links:

Historical Heartbeats

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A Highland Ruby Blog Tour

 

We invite you to Brenda B. Taylor’s A HIGHLAND RUBY Virtual Book Tour February 6 – 28

Inside the Book:

Title: A HIGHLAND RUBY

Author: Brenda B. Taylor

Publisher: Bethabara Press

Pages: 207

Genre: Historical Romance

 

A Highland Ruby

 

She must choose between a life of adventure with the man she loves or a settled, secure life with her betrothed. Flora Vass forced Gavin Munro out of her heart and mind until he returned to Scotland after an adventurous five years in the New World. Gavin leaves no doubt he returned to make the bonnie Flora his own and intends to fight for her. Flora’s betrothed, Iain MacKay, and Gavin’s brother, Chief Andrew Munro, have other plans. Andrew needs her to marry the MacKay and bring peace between the two clans. Iain MacKay desires an heir. War with England looms on the horizon, forcing Flora to make crucial decisions.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

 

 

PARTICIPATING BLOGS:

Monday, February 6

Book Featured at The Huffington Post

Tuesday, February 7

Book Review at Chill and Read

Book Review at Books for Books

Book Review at Books, Reviews, ETC.

Wednesday, February 8

Book Featured at Sour Puss Reviews

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Monday, February 13

Book Featured at Books Dreams Life

Tuesday, February 14

Book Featured at The Bookworm Lodge

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Monday, February 20

Book Featured at Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!

Book Featured at What Is That Book About

Thursday, February 23

Book Featured at Book Reviews and More by Kathy

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Monday, February 27

Book Featured at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Tuesday, February 28

Book Featured at Reviews by Crystal

Book Featured at Infinite House of Books

 

 

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“A Highland Ruby” by Brenda B. Taylor – A Review!

Flora Vass has lost her love to the New World. He preferred fighting savages than having a life back in Scotland with her. She has lost one man before on the fight, another one now to adventurous l…

Source: “A Highland Ruby” by Brenda B. Taylor – A Review!

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A TIME FOR LOVE ~ Blog Hop

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A Time For Love Blog Hop

February is the month most thoughts turn to LOVE. We celebrate love in many ways—candy, cards, notes, letters, and words of endearment. The books I write are historical romance, so they include many expressions of love. Sometimes these expressions take several forms. In the Wades of Crawford County series, Leann and Ralph Wade are a young couple who must wait for marriage. They love each other passionately, but Leann’s father, John Clark, believes his daughter is too young to marry. Leann is seventeen when Ralph proposes and John will not consent for them to wed until she is eighteen. Ralph decides Leann is worth the wait, and gives her a beautiful engagement ring that belonged to his grandmother.

Giveaway:  I will give away a four volume set of the Wades of Crawford County series to a commenter on this page.

Click on the book covers to be redirected to the book’s page and buy links.

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Ralph expresses his love for Leann in several ways, but the most endearing is his decision to wait until they are married to make her completely his. He tells her they will find a way to wait, and faith sustains the couple through the next year. The romance of Leann and Ralph Wade is told in Heaven Must Wait and Heaven Must Wait, Part II.

 

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The sequel, Follow Your Heart, tells of Leann and Ralph’s wedding and first year of marriage. The young couple finds the road to happiness is not always easy and sometimes filled with pot holes, but their love and faith are strong enough to see them through the adverse circumstances of life. Leann and Ralph never stop believing in each other.

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The third book in the Wades of Crawford County series is, Through the Storm. The story is another tale of the endearing strength of Leann and Ralph’s LOVE while raising three children, making a living on their farm, near-death experiences of a child and Leann,  their oldest daughter taken by her biological father, and other circumstances of life. The novel has a happy ending, however, and is a testiment of endearing love, sustaining faith, and overcoming devotion.

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Click on the photo above to be redirected to the links for A Time For Love Blog Hop participants.

Participants:

To WIN prizes, collect freebies, and meet awesome authors simply visit each page below
1. The Perfect Time For Love ~ Casi McLean 2. Spunk & Hunks ~ Anna Durand
3. Love in the Month of February ~ Mary Morgan 4. Love Potions and Charms ~ Sorchia Dubois
5. He said he wasn’t the romantic kind of guy, but… ~ Peggy Jaeger 6. Love and War ~ Gini Rifkin
7. Sexy Chocolate Cakes ~ Kayden Claremont 8. 50 Great Date Ideas ~ Devon Mckay
9. Hearts Abound ~ Tena Stetler 10. Love Every Day ~ Darlene Fredette
11. Importance of Valentines Day ~ Maureen Bonatch 12. Souls Forever Bound ~ Judith Sterling
13. Mysterious Origins of Valentine’s Day ~ Barbara Bettis 14. A Romantic Valentine Dinner ~ Jana Richards
15. Steamy Romance Meets Spooky Suspense ~ Kathryn Knight 16. Book Bling ~ Elizabeth Alsobrooks
17. Sweet Romances ~ Katherine McDermott 18. Historical Heartbeats ~ Brenda B. Taylor
19. An Awesome Bewitching Author Valentines Day ~ Lisa Voisin 20. Idea City ~ Kitsy Clare/Catherine Stine
21. Welcome to the ABA Valentine Hop ~ Linda Nightingale 22. Bridie Hall YA Author ~ Bridie Hall
23. A Time For Love Valentine Blog Hop ~ Amber Daulton 24. ‘Out Of This World’ Romance ~ Hywela Lyn
25. Time Travel For Love ~ Karen Michelle Nutt 26. Valentine’s Day – A Family Tradition ~ Holland Rae
27. Historical Heartbeats

 

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Did You Know…? Five Things Every #Author Should Know. #RRBC Book & Blog #BlockParty

Great giveaways and five interesting facts authors should know. from 4WillsPublishing.

4WillsPublishing Author Services

Blog Party 1

Location:  WORLDWIDE

#of Giveaways:  3

(1) 3-Day Weekend Blog Tour

(1) 24-Hr Twitter Support for winner’s book or blog

(1) $5 Amazon Gift Card

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Hi, and welcome to 4WillsPublishing Author Services where our strong wills keep you moving forward!  We offer top-notch service with our book trailers, blog tours, book covers and more!  So, do take a look around and if you want the best, then you want to become a 4WillsPub client!

I know that you have been visiting some really awesome blogs along this block party tour, with really interesting blog posts.  Some were short and sweet, others were lengthy and filled with details.  Mine, well, it will fall somewhere in the middle.

I thought I’d feed you a little Author Stew…a little of this, and a little of that, but all in the helpful tips department.  So, here goes…I’m going to ask you 5…

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