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GUEST: Miss Mae

Miss Mae and the Victorian Story

I readily admit that I’m drawn to stories set during Victorian times. There are a couple of reasons for this, I think.

While in junior high, our English literature class was required to read Dickens’ “Great Expectations”. This was nowhere as romantic as my young mind wished it to be, but Dickens’ writing was so vivid that he was able to whisk me into a different world.

So, already intrigued, I decided to read a copy of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Lover of mysteries by nature, I fell totally under the spell of Doyle. I thought Holmes a fascinating character, and my imagination went right along with him and Dr. Watson as they traveled the dark, shadowy, and foggy streets of London in search of hidden clues.

My first book, “See No Evil, My Pretty Lady” takes place during the height of Jack the Ripper’s reign. Though the madman left no witnesses, I wondered, ‘What if he had?’ I found the idea tantalizing, and thus, created the tale of Dorcy Edwards escaping from his clutches. The subsequent terror that enshrouds Dorcy, as the Ripper mercilessly hunts her down, leads her on a dangerous nightmarish journey.

And, still entranced with the concept of Holmes, I wrote my own take about the brilliant detective. “It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred” is a light-hearted who-dun-it, but don’t let those words fool you. There’s mischief underfoot as my heroine, Winifred Merryweather, is kidnapped and plopped into a bizarre and spooky castle in Wales. Can she survive the perils of trapdoors, sliding panels, and vicious hounds? (Not to mention the maddeningly flirtatious charms of newspaper reporter, Remington Hawthorne.) 

Below is an excerpt from “It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred”:

   “He’s a reporter.” Not entirely understanding her reason of why she should, Winifred came to his defense. “He’s trained to look at both sides of an issue without being biased. If he hadn’t been here to discuss this situation rationally, would any of us have considered the possibility of Xavier?”

“We don’t know that Xavier is responsible for any of this.” The countess waved the newspaper page that contained Remington’s article. “But we know Mr. Hawthorne’s contempt for one of the greatest minds in London, if not the world.”

“That is giving Mr. Holmes too much credit, ma’am.” Winifred spoke the words rashly, regretting them as soon as they’d left her mouth.

“Ah. Yes. How could I have forgotten?” Like a cat readied to pounce, the countess switched her attack off Remington and onto Winifred. A chill ran down Winifred’s spine as she imagined the older woman flexing her claws. “You’re not an admirer of Holmes either. You prefer the talents of his arch-enemy, Professor Moriarty.”

“What!” Remington spun on his heel, staring at Winifred with stunned eyes. “Moriarty?”

“This is neither the time nor the place to debate the matter.” Winifred rose to her feet, hoping the stony look she gave the countess might quell her acid tongue. “There are far more important issues at the moment.”

She turned her back and walked to the spot beneath the wall clock. From behind her came Lord Chatham’s gruff rebuke. “Edwina, I thought a heart used to beat inside your chest. Did it disappear when you received that dratted title?”

Winifred tuned out the sound of the countess’s angry gasp, for Remington appeared beside her. His mouth twisted in a lopsided smile.

“I believe this situation is affecting all our nerves. But I’d like to thank you for not taking the countess’s position against me.”

“No need to thank me, sir.” She grasped her hands together so tightly she flinched from the pain. “I believe in fairness, and the countess seems determined to condemn you unjustly.”

“My dear Miss Merryweather.” Remington leaned an arm against the wall, his elbow grazing the bottom of the clock and nudging it aside. “If there’s one thing I’m learning about you…” His words shut off as the wall moved from under him. Knocked off balance, he stumbled back. Like a pendulum, the wall swung around, striking Winifred and crashing her body against his. Together, they dropped through an opening that yawned beneath them.   


This will be available for sale at Whimsical Publications late summer 2010. To view the book reel, please see this link at You Tube


Guest: Diane Wylie

I have to admit it. I went to Wikipedia to look up the “Victorian era” when I was invited by fellow author, Isabel Roman, to contribute to the “Slip Into Something Victorian” blog. I hope I am not alone in saying I had a vague idea of when the Victorian period took place. I knew it encompassed my particular time period of interest, the U.S. Civil War, but beyond that I wasn’t sure.

So, my quick little bit of research told me that the Victorian period lasted from 1837 to 1901 during, of course, the reign of England’s Queen Victorian.

It appears that quite a bit happened during those years. As a romance writer, there are two things that drew me to this time period instead of earlier periods. One is the fact that men had stopped powdered wigs–ugh! The other is that men had also stopped wearing knee length britches and leggings and began wearing trousers instead. As I thought of the essential disrobing-to-make-love scenes, I couldn’t find it romantic to take off a white wig and hosiery. My men wear trousers. Take this excerpt from LILA’S VOW, for example. I just can’t see this working if our hero, Jack, needs to put on his hose first (or a wig)!

Hint! Keep reading! There is a contest at the end!

Excerpt from LILA’S VOW by Diane Wylie

Setup:  Gettysburg, PA. Schoolteacher, Lila Sutton, is caring for wounded soldiers in her house. She is going out to get the freshly washed uniform from the clothesline for Captain Montgomery.

Quickly, she pulled jacket and trousers off the line, tossing them over her arm. Then her heart stopped. A rustling noise from behind made her freeze momentarily. Then, before she could move, a grimy hand was clamped over her mouth.

“Don’t scream.” Hot, sour breath hissed into her face, and a thin man’s pinched, bearded face was up to hers. “Give me food and money, if you know what’s good for you. I’ll shoot anyone that tries to stop me from leaving this place!” Terror swept through her in a rush.

“Hey! Let her go!” A man’s voice shouted.

Lila’s teeth came down hard on the dirty hand, driving deep into the webbing of his thumb. With her heart pounding, she turned and brought her knee up into his crotch at the same time. The man stumbled backward, howling. With horror, she saw the glint on the end of the gun barrel pointing in her direction.

Then she saw the flash of a pale figure. There was a loud “thunk,” and the man dropped like a stone just as the moon peeked out from behind the clouds, as if it too wanted to see what was going on.

Standing there, black iron skillet in one hand, dressed in bandages, a sling, and her mother’s best calico apron, was Captain Montgomery.

“Are you all right, Lila?”

She stared at him and nodded. Her heart was still pounding, and her mouth tasted like dirt, but she was fine. He was quite a sight with his muscles illuminated by silvery moonlight, a ruffled loincloth, and bare feet…he resembled a dandified savage with a beard.

A small giggle bubbled up in her throat. Then she saw him wiggle his toes. Lila couldn’t stop it now. Uncontrolled laughter came up from her belly.

“Y-you look r-ridiculous!”

He took a step toward her.

“N-no, no,” she laughed, “d-don’t move. The w-wind is picking up.” She choked and giggled.

A breeze suddenly lifted the bottom of the apron. His grin grew wider, and he chuckled. “Then you come here; you have my clothes, Miss!”

The attacker on the ground at his feet groaned. Leaning over, exposing an expanse of muscular thigh, Jack gave him a gentle tap with the skillet, and the groaning stopped.

“Better hurry up before I damage him for good.”

Lila hurried over to his side.

He handed her the skillet then gently touched her cheek with a simple gesture that immediately dampened her mirth. Replacing it was a feeling that she had never experienced before. She yearned to wrap her arms around this man and pull him close. She wanted to run her hands around his back to feel the texture of those hard muscles. She wanted to do that so badly that tears sprang to her eyes.

“Are you all right?” he whispered.

“Y-yes. No… Oh, I don’t know.”

His warm hand gently cupped her chin, and he leaned forward until his lips touched hers so softly…and only for an instant. It was so quick that she thought she might have imagined it except for the sparkle in his dark eyes.

For a moment neither moved. Then he slowly took his hand away. “I’d best get some proper clothes on now.” His sheepish look apologized for spoiling the moment.

“Oh, yes, of course. Um…”


“Have you any…any…uh…”

He grunted. “Say it, Lila. What is it?”

“I…uh…wanted to know if you had any undergarments?”

“You didn’t take any off me, did you?”

Heat rose up her neck. “N-no.”

“Then I don’t have any. Listen, it’s a long story. Can I tell it to you later?”

Lila decided it was a good thing they were out here in the darkness alone when it became obvious this was not going to be an easy thing.

Putting the uniform jacket down on the grass, Lila took the trousers in both hands and opened the waistband. Jack’s eyes smiled into hers. “I can’t put my foot into them up that high, Lila. Can you hold them lower, please?”

Now her breath was really coming in short gasps. Standing directly in front of him, holding the pants, Lila slowly bent her legs until her face was practically smothered by the calico apron. Oh, yes, she knew what was behind that apron.

Well, I hope you liked this little glimpse into my book. I am offering a free ebook file of the three-time award winning LILA’S VOW, to a winner drawn at random from anyone caring to answer or comment on this challenge:

“Name at least one heroic male, fictional or real, who wore knee-length britches and hose.”

Respond to this challenge by leaving a comment before the cutoff date of Saturday, January 23rd, when I will draw a winner’s name. Please be sure to check back here on that date to see if you won!

My thanks to Isabel, a fellow Civil War romance author, for inviting me to visit her blog. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here.


To buy Lila’s Vow

Bares & Noble

To buy Jenny’s Passion
In a time of war, theirs was a forbidden passion. What price would David and Jenny pay for a love that consumes them both?
Barnes & Noble

To buy Secrets and Sacrifices
Charlotte loses her husband and her identity when she takes on the guise of a Confederate soldier, but the slowly starving South and desperate runaway slaves lead her into big trouble with her wounded heart and with both sides of the American Civil War
Barnes & Noble

Guest: Anthea Lawson

A Posh Trip Around the Mediterranean

We love researching our Victorian-set novels. Both Passionate and All He Desires feature travel around the Mediterranean Sea on the P&O line. In order to get the period details just right, we delved deeply into historical fact—and fiction.

In addition to finding out that sail and steam were in use together on ships, we looked into the origins of the word posh. Still associated with the upper classes, posh is widely used to describe something as fashionable, elegant, or luxurious. It is widely believed that the word came from the acronym Port Out Starboard Home, describing the best cabins given to upper-class passengers traveling with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company from Britain to India and back. These cabins would have been on the north side of the boat, protected from the fierce sun, and thus most desirable.

However, the acronym was never used officially in the P&O offices or printed on tickets, so the story of posh’s origins may be only a legend. The term has also been variously ascribed to P.G. Wodehouse, as a derivative of the Romany word for money, and to the English gentlemen poet Edward Fitzgerald.

Regardless of its true origins, nothing conjures up the image of genteel Victorians trotting about the world better than the word posh. The next time you travel, pack your trunks well, and don’t forget your parasol!

Leave a comment for a chance to win PASSIONATE, our novel featuring a romantic journey from London to Tunisia aboard a P&O sailing steamer~

Anthea Lawson is the pseudonym for a husband-wife team who write spicy Victorian romance. Their debut novel, PASSIONATE, was nominated for a Best First Book RITA in 2009. Their newest book, ALL HE DESIRES, “deftly combines danger, desire, and a deliciously different Victorian setting into a sexy version of Victoria Holt’s classic gothic romances.” –Booklist Reviews. 

Excerpt from All He Desires:

The cart rolled forward over the rough track, and it did not take long for Caroline to fall into a hazy, pain-filled daze. The night sky, the flaring torches, the jolting ride wove together into a disjointed tapestry. She did not realize they had halted in front of a cottage until Maggie coaxed her upright and helped her from the cart.

Monsieur Legault went to the door. He pounded, and pounded again until at last it was opened by a figure who remained in the shadows. Caroline blinked, her vision still blurred. A tall man, she thought.

“What do you want?” His voice was gruff.

“Mr. Trentham, we require your help.” The Frenchman waved to where Caroline stood, supported by Maggie. “The mademoiselle is injured.”

The man shook his head. “I cannot help you.” He began to close the door, but Monsieur Legault set his foot in the jamb.

“I ask you not to be stubborn. She is hurt—she must be seen.”

The shadow moved closer to the light. He was tall, his hair the color of night. The torchlight painted hollows under his cheekbones and cast his uncompromising nose in sharp relief. He did not look like a doctor, not with his creased clothing and untamed hair, a scowl making his face even more forbidding. When his gaze moved to her, Caroline felt it, a nearly physical sensation, like standing under a storm cloud just before the fury of wind and rain lashed down. She shivered.

He regarded her for several moments, measured by the rapid beat of her heart. His eyes seemed black in the flickering light. That intent gaze moved down to her dusty boots, then returned to her face.

At last he turned to the Frenchman. “The woman is on her feet. She looks well enough. Take her to Rethymno.” He stepped back and made to close his door again.

“You must help us,” Monsieur Legault said, a pleading note in his voice. “Rethymno is too far, and you know how little talent the doctor there has.”

“Enough to care for an injured arm. Good night.”

“Wait!” Maggie stepped forward, bringing Caroline with her. “You cannot refuse—you are English!”

“Oh?” He paused with one hand on the door frame, his lips twisted as though he had tasted something bitter. “I don’t see that it signifies.”

“Of course it does. This is Miss Caroline Huntington, the niece of the Earl of Twickenham. How can you consider yourself a gentleman if you turn her away?”

“Who says I consider myself a gentleman?”

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Guest: Denysé Bridger

Victorian London – Police and Policing – Perception of policeman’s character According to an article published on SATURDAY, JUNE 17th, 1848…

The MODEL POLICEMAN moves only in the most fashionable areas. He is rather particular in seeing if the coal cellar is fast, about supper-time. He is never inside a kitchen, unless “the street door has been left open.” He is affable to the footman, and smiles to the page, but suspects the butler, and calls the French maid proud. His appearance and spirits are greatly regulated by the neighbourhood. In Belgravia he wears straps, plays with a pink, and buzzes to himself some popular tune. In St. Giles’s his cheeks get hollow, his buttons grow rusty, his belt is put on anyhow, and his highlows are polished only with blacklead!!

The MODEL POLICEMAN arrives at a row before it is quite over, and sometimes gets at a fire a minute or two before the fire-escape. He knows every pickpocket in the world, and has seen everybody who is taken up two or three times before. He has a vivid recollection of what another Policeman remembers, and if the testimony of an Inspector is impugned, he shows a great love for his cloth by swearing (as the saying is) “till all is blue.” He objects to “plain clothes;” he thinks them not uniform and “unperfessional”. He never smiles when inside a theatre, nor sleeps at a sermon, nor takes an opera-glass to look at the ballet when stationed in the gallery of Her Majesty’s. He rarely releases the wrong person he has taken into custody for disturbing the performances. He has a virtuous horror of Punch and Judy, and insists upon the India rubber Brothers “moving on” in the midst even of the Human Pyramid. He never stops at a print-shop, nor loiters before a cook-shop, nor hangs about a pastry cook’s, excepting to drive away the little boys who choke up the door where the stale pastry is exhibited.

He is not proud, but will hold a gentleman’s horse at an emergency, and take sixpence for it. He rings bells the first thing in the morning, runs to fetch the doctor, helps an early coffee-stall to unpack her cups and saucers, pulls down shutters, gives “lights” to young gentlemen staggering home, directs them to the nearest “public,” and does not even mind going in with them, “just to have a little drop of something to keep himself warm.” In fact, the MODEL POLICEMAN does anything for the smallest trifle, to make himself useful as well as ornamental. Above all, he never laughs. He is the terror of publicans on Saturday nights, but is easily melted with “a drop” – on the sly.

He is courageous, also, and will take up an applewoman, or a “lone woman” with babies, without a moment’s hesitation. He is not irritable, but knows his dignity. Do not speak to him much, unless you have a very good coat. Especially do not joke with him when on duty. You are sure to know it by his collar being up. Do not put a finger upon him, for he construes it into an assault. Of the two Forces, he certainly belongs to the Physical, rather than to the Moral Force. He is tremendous in a row, and cares no more for a “brush” than his oilskin hat. He hates the name of Chartist, and cannot “abide” a Frenchman in any shape, any more than a beggar, especially if he has moustaches. He has a secret contempt for the “Specials,” whom he calls “amateurs.” He rarely fraternises with a Beadle, excepting when there is an insurrection of boys, and it comes to open snowballing, or splashing with the fire-plug. He prohibits all sliding, puts down vaulting over posts, leapfrog, grottos, chuck farthing, and is terribly upset with a piece of orange-peel, or the cry of “Peeler.” He avoids a lobster-shop, for fear of vulgar comparisons, and hates the military – “the whole biling of them” – for some raw reason; but he touches his hat to “the DUKE.” He rarely sleeps inside a cab of a cold night. He never lights a cigar till the theatres are over. He is a long time in hearing the cry of “Stop thief!” and is particularly averse to running; his greatest pace is a hackney-coach gallop, even after a Sweep, who is following, too literally, his calling. He is meek to lost children, and takes them to the station-house in the most fatherly manner.

He is polite to elderly ladies who have lost a cat or a parrot, and gives directions to a porter in search of a particular street, without losing his temper. He is fond of a silver watch, and he reaches the summit of a policeman’s pride and happiness if he gets a silver chain with it. Next to himself, however, there is nothing he loves half so closely as his whiskers. He would sooner throw up staff, station, and be numbered amongst the dead letters of the Post Office, or the rural police, than part with a single hair of them; for the MODEL POLICEMAN feels that without his whiskers he should cut but a contemptible figure in the eyes of those he loves, even though he exhibited on his collar the proud label of A1! Beyond his whiskers, his enjoyments are but few. He watches the beer as it is delivered at each door, he follows the silvery sound of “muffins!” through streets and squares, he loves to speculate upon the destination of the fleeting butcher’s tray, and on Saturday night he threads the mazy stalls of the nearest market, his love growing at the sight of the savoury things it is wont to feed upon.

Thanks to the fabulous site VICTORIAN LONDON, owned by author and archivist Lee Jackson.

The police force of London was never in the public eye quite so glaringly as it was during the investigation of the notorious Jack The Ripper reign of terror. From that first accepted series of killings – serial murders – has emerged a timeless fascination with the people who investigated and failed to bring to justice the bloody killer.

In the two books of my Devane Mysteries, I have once again used these gruesome killings as a kind of eternal haunting of my hero, Police Inspector Michael Devane. Devane is haunted, clairvoyant and an opium addict in a time when such things were common but rarely talked about openly. If you would like to read the books, please visit Liquid Silver Books for excerpts and purchase links: Book One: OUT OF HELL  Book Two: AN UNSPOKEN BETRAYAL

To learn more about Denysé you can visit her website and blog, or  Sensual Treats Magazine. For free reads try Romantic Moments :

Guest: Phyllis Campbell

Ahhhh…Victorians!  I absolutely love this era.  I once had a Regency author ask me why I love the Victorian era, especially when those times (in England) were so strict and gloomy compared to Regency times.  My answer… (you’re going to laugh) was this – I ADORE their clothes!   heehee. 

Yep, you heard me correctly.  I love fashion.  I love the big puffy sleeves on the gowns.  People back then who designed clothes certainly knew what they were doing.  Regency’s clothes were so…boring.  I love that men wore trousers instead of breeches. (yeah, kind of girlish if you ask me) So what if those times were gloomy and strict.  Guess what? 

I don’t care, because I will always write about those people who broke the rules.  Come on…we all know there were people who didn’t follow societies rules, right?   We know men were rogues…and women loved them. We also know that not all women were proper, especially if given the chance to show their passion.  This is what I love to write about.

What about you?  Do you like to read about proper ladies and true gentlemen – or those rogues who can make our hearts hammer and knees weak?

One particular story of mine that fits with this is Her Knight Of Seduction.  I received many 5-star reviews and a Recommended Read for this story! 

Lady Megan Saxton will do anything—naughty if necessary—not to marry the drunken lord her grandmother selected.  But when she thinks she’s trapped herself a duke, will a mistake in identity have her falling in love with the man who put her family in financial ruins? 

Clever Scoundrel, Edmund Knight will stop at nothing to take back the deed to his goldmine that has been stolen.  When his enemy’s daughter mistakes him for someone else, his plans change.  Now he’s after her virginity. 

Check out the awesome Book Trailer  

My hero, Edmund Knight, is the perfect rogue!  So many of my readers have told me they couldn’t stop thinking about him even after the story ended.  Gads, I love to hear that.  Here is a sexy excerpt from the story…  Don’t we all love strip poker? heehee   In this scene, heroine thinks hero is the duke her parents want her to trap, not knowing that he’s really the enemy of her father. 

 Every card Megan picked was a high card, and it surprised her to see four Aces in her hand.  If what the duke told her about the game was correct, she had won.  Lifting her chin in triumph, she smiled.

He chuckled, shaking his head.  “You, my dear, don’t have a face made for this sort of game.” 

  “Whatever do you mean?” 

 “By the wide smile stretched across your tempting mouth, I assume you have an exemplary hand?”

 She shrugged one shoulder.  “How do you know this is not a deliberate attempt to mislead you?”

 “No, I’m certain it isn’t.”

 “Then do you call?” 

 He laid down five cards, all the same suit, numbered in order.  “If you can beat a small straight, then you have me licked.”  He laughed.  “And the prospect of being licked sounds rather enjoyable at this moment.”   

Megan’s heart thundered in her ears.  He shouldn’t have suggested something so shocking.  Now she imagined it, too, and it sounded very pleasing. 

 With shaky hands, she laid her cards on the table.

 “I have four Aces and a five of clubs.  I suppose that means I win.”   

 “Yes, you do.”  He shrugged, the corner of his lips lifted in a cocky grin.  “I’ll now have to forfeit something.” 

 By his creased forehead and shadowed gaze, he appeared deep in thought.  She observed his meditations in keen interest, but his eyes revealed none of his innermost thoughts.  Finally, he smiled, reached up and loosened his cravat.  “It’s up to you.   My cravat or a kiss.” 

A cravat?  What would she do with his cravat?  Yet she knew what she would do with a kiss.  She swallowed hard, deciding to let the teasing game play on. 

“I will take your cravat.”  She grinned and took the article of clothing handed to her, its silky smoothness still warm from his throat.  She placed it on her lap, and his musky scent engulfed her, heating her that much more.  He gathered the cards and shuffled again.

 The next game went as before, and she held four Kings.  Amazing.  She was better at this game than she thought.  It was time for him to forfeit, and he once again pondered on this, biting his bottom lip during the silence.

A grin tugged on his lips.  “My waist-coat or a kiss?” 

 “Your waist-coat.” 

 With a nod, he smiled and shrugged out of the garment.  She knew his game.  He was purposely losing.

 “Why are you forfeiting your clothing?” she asked in a mocking tone. 

 “As I see it, you have more need for it than I.  Doubtful your riding habit is dry as of yet.”

 Megan nodded.

 Once the third hand was dealt, she held a royal flush.  He’d tricked her!  What other excuse could there be?  She decided not to say anything, just to see where this led.  As he unbuttoned his shirt, she caught a breath in her throat.   This wasn’t good; or was it?  She had vowed to seduce him, but now faced with disrobing a man in person, the thought made her feel a bit green—yet excitement bubbled inside her chest. “Your Grace.”  She lowered her eyes as her cheeks burned.  “I’d rather you leave your shirt on.”

 “But my lady, what would you have me forfeit?  Are you ready for a kiss?”

 “I…I don’t know, but—”

 “Have you never seen a man without a shirt?” 

 Her face scorched with heat.  “Once, I accidentally caught my father without a shirt.”

 “I assure you, I’m built no differently.”

 She dared to look up, and at that moment his shirt came off.  Her mouth turned dry.  He lied.  He wasn’t a thing like her father.  Her father would consider himself privileged to have even half the definition the Duke had sculpting his wide chest. 

 A maelstrom of sensations flooded her mind, and she found she couldn’t remove her gaze from his masculine body.  His bronzed body glistened with hardened muscles sprinkled with a few soft hairs around his dark, tight nipples.

 Inwardly, she moaned.  She swept her tongue across her parched lips to moisten them before swallowing.  It didn’t register in her mind that he held out the shirt for her to take until he stood and walked to her.  She should have paid better attention.

 The shirt dropped in her lap and his masculine scent of spice and leather surrounded her.  Bending over, he placed his face very close to hers.  Hesitantly, she met his heated stare.

 “You know, my sweet lady, you shouldn’t look at a man with wide, curious eyes, and a gaze that devours his body.  It might give him improper thoughts.”

 Megan swallowed again, this time seeming harder than the last.  “Please forgive me, but…you look nothing like…my father.”

 He chuckled, tracing his finger along side her jaw before moving back to his chair.  She breathed a little easier, but not much.   

 To purchase at Amazon   

 To purchase at The Wild Rose Press  

 To purchase at Fictionwise

 Leave a comment, and I’ll enter you into a drawing to win this ebook!!  


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