“These Are a Few of my Favorite Things: 5 of my favorite novels I’d recommend in a heartbeat. 

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Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue.

This novel is my all time favorite for many reasons. It’s got everything I look for in a novel! Sex, murder, intrigue… it’s not a happy story,  then again I love to read and write unhappy things.

Our main character, Mary is not likable and that’s what I love about her. She’s constantly messing up even when she has a light at the end of the tunnel and a chance to redeem herself. Mary is so young when the events of the novel take place and one could attribute her troubles to her age but in truth, she is an arrogant, greedy girl.

The novel is set in London and on the outskirts of the city. It discusses prostitution and the struggles of the lower class.

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The Wideacre Trilogy by Philippa Gregory.

Move over The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory’s debut novel is one to pick up and not miss!

As with Slammerkin, the wiseacre trilogy discusses sensitive subjects such as incest, murder, and the occult. It’s a fabulously told tale which keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is Beatrice Lacey and once again we have an unlovable protagonist. She’s greedy and vain yet you can’t stop reading. Beatrice, like Mary from slammerkin, had a chance to redeem herself but she does not and only continues her behavior.

This leads to a series of events crashing down around herself and others. It’s a great read and if you can stomach raunchy incest sex scenes then it’s definitely worth your time.

 

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Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex

This novel was one I picked up on a whim and ended up loving. The two women featured, Isabella and Beatrice are as different as two sisters can be. Their rivalry is marked by marriage and although the sisters both make great marriages there is more to be had. Jealousy, adultery, love and more fill the pages of this historical fiction novel.

 

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Cleopatra’s Daughter Series by  Stephanie Dray

This series surprised me a lot. At first, I thought it a young adult book but by the time I got to the third novel I was definitely convinced it was not.

Octavian’s obsession with Selene is the center I would say of the novel. There is so much sexual tension between them and to some, this could be a trigger as she is so young.

I believe it is a great series and for those who love Cleopatra, this insight into her daughter is worth the read!

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The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis

If you know anything about the Borgias you know that a novel about them will be raunchy as hell and fun to read. In this novel, our main character is Sancha of Aragon. Most books I have read are from Lucrezia’s perspective so this was a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed her loveless marriage to Joffre and affair with Cesare. Sancha has relations with all three brothers. In real life, this was said to be true.

This novel has a lot of sex. Rape and underage included. It contains boatloads of adultery and murder so definitely not for the faint of heart. I think I finished it in a day. It’s a pretty quick read which keeps you interested the whole time cause you feel like you need to continue to the end of this fascinating woman’s life.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

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The Wise Woman By Philippa Gregory

A riveting tale of witchcraft and lust…

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Duchess of Milan By Michael Ennis

Cousin rivalry, sexual intrigue and more…

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Empress of Rome Series By Kate Quinn

Ancient Rome at its finest with corrupt Emperors…

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Diaries of the Family Dracula By Jeanne Kalogridis

The story behind the Dracula family descendants.

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The Lost Queen By Norah Lofts

George III’s sister Caroline and her disastrous marriage to Christain of Denmark.

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The Prince and the Quakeress By Jean Plaidy

George III and Hannah Lightfoot. A person favorite and basis for what I wrote my novel on.

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The Russian Concubine series By Kate Furnivall

A Russian woman and Chinese man fall hopelessly in love despite the events going on around them.

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Empress Orchid and The Last Empress by Anchee Min

Cixi from minor concubine to Empress…

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Four Sisters All Queens by Sherry Jones

The four sisters of Provance have their voices heard in this gripping novel…

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The Dark Queen Series by Susan Carroll

Catherine de Medici and her flying squad of witchcraft and poison center around this long series of sisters.

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Roma by Steven Saylor

Short story collection of Roman families from the start to the fall…

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Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

The beautiful Egyptian queen comes to life…

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Katherine by Anya Seton

Mistress and wife?

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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

An exciting biblical refering novel about Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah.

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“The Deep and Timeless Sea” A lifelong obsession with the ocean and all things to do with it. 

*Spoilers*

Obviously 

Read here —–> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XYVL6T5

 

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While writing The King’s Secret Daughter I debated heavily on the role of the ocean and Jack Smith. At first, I thought to do the two as two separate stories but then Part Two was born. I wanted my readers to understand that the American Revolution was fought on both land and sea and that the battles on the water were just as important and strategically rough as those on land. The role that Jack Smith and the Century plays is one similar to John Paul Jones. A famous revolutionary war captain.

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To understand why I chose the sea as part two I suppose we have to go back to the beginning and where my obsession for the ocean first stemmed from: I was raised the daughter of a man who was in the Navy and so the sea was already within my blood. All my life I was positioned close to the water and within proximity of nautical history. Both the Navy base and the mystic seaport provided me with valuable information which would stick with me for a lifetime. My young brain absorbed the information about vessels in and on the ocean, eventually graduating to an obsession with sharks and other creatures of the deep.

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My shark obsession was short but sweet. I got made fun of a lot as I poured over books of different type of sharks. My favorite was learning about shark attacks and then finding sharks in sunken ships. It was at this point my interest took a turn elsewhere…

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When Titanic came out I wanted to see it badly. When I did, my obsession for ocean liners grew to an all-time high. I became obsessed with the study of these magnificent floating palaces, devoting every Robert Ballard book in my school’s library. I was fascinated by how they were made down to many of their intimate endings on the ocean floor and how their mass capacity caused great loss of life.

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From ocean liners came the world of tall ships. Around this time I recall the local seaport doing a special on the Amistad. While visiting, I re-entered the world of whaling upon the Charles W Morgan and from there came curiosity on tall ships. I began to dig into whaling ships to war ships and finally… pirate ships.

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I cannot give all credit to Pirates of the Caribbean but my mind  waundered to new and mysterious ways while watching and researching the film. I fell in love with life at sea and, possibly Jack Sparrow, but that the girl in me always loving those bad boys. This led right into my adult career when I began working for Real Pirates.

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I suppose my enthusiasm and love for the subject is that got me the manager position, but this job was honestly my favorite and it brought me from Connecticut to Texas. I so loved being around the cannons and artifacts. It was a dream come true and to this day I wished it had been permanent.

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After the pirate exhibition ended I did a number of other jobs including the librarian. It was then that the idea for The King’s Secret Daughter came to light. I began the novel back in 2008 but dropped it entirely, leaving notes and scrambled papers. I began some more notes in 2014 but dropped the project again when my daughter was born. She’s Only Seventeen took the main road and was published in 2016.

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In January of 2017, I sat down and reviewed the notes to The King’s Secret Daughter. It was then a lightbulb went off in my head and I began writing only to stop six weeks later after 340 pages and 70,000 words were born. A cover was created and my novel was finished.

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The characters on board The Century are based on a number of historical and fictional sea characters. I studied relentlessly the parts of a war ship from the 1780s down to names and features. I researched roles and finally found my footing on who and what part two would consist of. The contrast which part two brings to the novel is striking. We have land and sea.  Anna comments on the beauty of the sea but misses land. Jack lives and breathes the sea which is strongly evident in his excitement during battle and needs to get off the island as soon as possible.

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Anna’s life upon the ship is marked by tragedy. The loss of life within battles and storms was common. The scene where Jack does a burial service for the fallen is taken straight from real life. The prayer he serves was a common one. I changed a few words to make it more understandable for readers. The way the dead were buried is taken straight from an eye wilt was account. The last stitch through the nose was actually a common procedure and can be found in both our history books and movies.

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I’ve begun a sequel to this novel but sadly no more sea scenes. That’s not to say we won’t see anyone from the Century again but that’s for me to know only. When I am done with this, the prequel to she’s only seventeen will be released and then possibly I will work on my time travel romance.

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I have debated a pirate story since my love of the ocean has reached their but so much has been done on the subject already. I have ways of placing my own marking and twists in the story but it’s so overdone.

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If anyone of my readers actually read this I’d love some input. A pirate story, yea or nay? Would y’all like more ocean themed books?

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I guess we will see what the future holds but one matter will forever remain unchanging. My love for the sea and all things to do with it.

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Thomas V.S. Shane  (From “She’s Only Seventeen”

Spoilers

….

Obviously

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Read here —–> https://www.amazon.com/Shes-Only-Seventeen-Novel-Drugs-ebook/dp/B01LXTMF8S/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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In my novel She’s Only Seventeen, Kat Crowne is loved by two very different men. Who rule her choices throughout the novel. Although she dates others and cares for them, only Shane and Thomas are the ones who make the largest mark. In this segment, we will discuss and analyze the differences and similarities between the two men and why each was right for Kat.

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Thomas is introduced first so let’s start with him. He is described as a rebel when Kat first meets him and she instantly finds him attractive with his piercing blue eyes and ebony hair. Thomas plays guitar and it is his only comfort at the boarding school till he meets Kat. He is an orphan but was left with money from his late parents which he uses to begin Neptune. Thomas convinces Kat to join the band and she does. It is then that he begins to fall in love with her.

Soon the band grows and Neptune is invited to tour with Arctic Circle. Before they go on tour, Thomas and Kat sleep together for the first time because they are embarrassed they are both virgins heading on tour. This marks the beginning of their lifelong struggle of passion for one another. Kat begins to date Drew,  but she soon finds herself without him after the tour. She moves onto Gary and then James as a jealous Thomas observes her. When they go back on tour with Arctic Circle, Kat gets back together with Drew. It is then that she sleeps with Thomas again.

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Kat and Drew break up and she is with Shane. During this time she realizes she loves Thomas but is pregnant by Shane. She married him, ending her relations with Thomas. As Kat and Shane’s relationship falls apart, Thomas and Kat grow closer. Shane and Kat divorce as Thomas and Kat begin an affair with her new boyfriend Brian’s back. Soon it comes to a climax and Kat agrees finally to be with only Thomas.

 This is all well and good until Kat sleeps with Shane. Thomas forgives her but grows increasingly frustrated with her and jealous of Shane. Thomas wants to marry Kat but she refuses. On the night of his death, he plans to ask her one more time but doesn’t get the chance. He does, however, marry her in the hospital. Thomas dies that night leaving Kat a widow. She is upset beyond repair and starves herself. Her love for Thomas is stronger than anyone else in the book and she is never the same afterward.

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Thomas is Kats opposite in many ways yet they are so very much alike. He serves as her soulmate and although she doesn’t realize it till it is too late, she never forgets him. Thomas proves to be almost obsessive towards her at times while at others he can drop her like a fly and not speak with her for months at a time. He stands a firm ground against her and challenges her in ways she hates. The pair compliment each other well as they both have a high sex drive. Thomas can control Kats drug and alcohol use but also will play along with her when she feels frisky and adventurous.

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Shane’s character differs very much from Thomas. Shane is part of Arctic Circle and close to ten years older than Kat. He falls hopelessly in love with her on their second tour together and married her. He knows about her and Thomas and tries to end things but decided against it when he finds Kat is pregnant. Their relationship never recovers after Kat cheats on him with Drew and becomes pregnant. They are all unsure if she is pregnant by Drew or Shane. Shane accused Kat of cheating on him with Brian and they divorce. It is then he finds out that the baby was his causing him to reconnect with her briefly after the divorce but then Kat dates Thomas.

Shane grows increasingly angry with Kat as he sees her with Thomas. He is forced to spend time with her when his father dies and wishes to see Kat. Upset, Kat and Shane find comfort with each other. After this, Shane finds himself hopelessly in love with her once more. He sees Kat in passing but it isn’t till she and Thomas party with him does he rekindle any sexual relationship.

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When Thomas dies, Shane blames himself partly for his role on angering Thomas. He is afraid to approach Kat that eventually does when their daughter Darla urges him to. They reconnect eventually and marry once more. Kats death effects Shane but it is needed as Kat needs to be with her soulmate.
Thomas and Shane both embody different characteristics. At one point they are great friends but this friendship is interrupted by their feelings. When Thomas dies, he tells Kat to be with Shane. This marks his respect for Shane and his knowledge that Shane is right for Kat in many ways. She abides by this wish.

Shane is the only man who Thomas is ever jealous of near Kat. He grows furious as the two try to co-parent Darla through late night phone calls.  During a drug-induced encounter, Shane, Thomas, and Kat all become intimate. This is the last time all three are together at peace.

 

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Shane serves as a marker for Kat. He is solid for her and he is her safe spot. He is willing to do anything for her and protects her the best he can. He tries to satisfy her desire but cannot at times. He loves her beyond reason and although many of his friends tell him to stay away from Kat he finds he cannot. Kat has had a long time crush on Shane which we find out about in Spolier*Just a Small Town Girl, the prequel about Kats mother. As a child, Kat enjoyed Arctic Circle and fell for Shane before Thomas. Thinking this childish she dismissed the idea until she met him in person.

Kat also only tells Thomas about her life with her mother and father. A fact which she never confines within Shane. She trusts Thomas with her secrets as well as her hopes and dreams. While Thomas is more dreamy life herself, Shane is more realistic and this marks a crucial difference in the men. To thrive, Kat needs to dream big but she also needs to be brought back to reality.

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Many have suggested that the novel would have worked best had the three had a ménage relationship but then it would have lost its touch I feel. Kat needed Thomas to grow. She needed Shane to mature. Thomas helped her learn to love and Shane helped her learn to forgive and move on.

Both men had their impact on Kat positively and negativity. I have stated my opinion but what do you think? Thomas or Shane?

Sex Through The Centuries. 

Sex.

Teens giggle while children look around in confusion as adults blush. How did such a natural act become so taboo? As a child, everything I learned about sex was from the school bus, my friends, or experimentation. My family never spoke of it. This proves true for many people, but why have we become so conservative towards the act of reproduction?

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To investigate this, we must go back to the beginning. Starting with the earliest humans, sex was purely animalistic. Our instincts simply kicked in and we mated. Simply. No shame.

As we came into the time of Egypt and Rome we still see sex as something which fills everyday life without shame. Pompeii was full of it. Murals and other scenes of pornography filled the city. In Egypt equally, scenes filled tombs and temples alike. The Egyptians were certainly not shy about sex and in fact, pharohs kept harems of women,  including their mothers, sisters, and daughters within them. (Disclaimer, totally not supporting incest, just using as an example ) Cleopatra was notoriously open with her sexuality first with Caesar then Antony. She married two of her brothers but it is unknown whether she had relations with them. Back to Rome… the emperors were notorious for their sexual escapades. They were open with them and men and women alike held lovers of all stations.

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This also brings me to the subject of homosexuality and how it is also considered taboo in today’s society. We have lightened up a bit on it but it is not fully accepted as it was during the days of the Romans or Egyptians. Personally, I think it should be!

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Moving forward, we get to England and it’s reign as master of the world. England shunned sex and kept it hush hush. Although it was common for men to have mistresses, women lost their power and if accused of adultery could be out to death. We see Henry VIII who put Anne Boleyn to death for rumors and Catherine Howard for the same crime with solid evidence.

Long before Henry, came Edward II who had big shoes to fill. He stands between his father and son, two great king’s of England, yet Edward was a weakling. He was easily overpowered by his scorned queen, Isabella. Edward was a homosexual and although fathered four children with his wife, eventually took another male lover, causing her to begin an affair with Roger Mortimer and cause and uprising. Eventually, Edward was killed and Mortimer was defeated and killed. Isabella was imprisoned by her son, Edward III for the remainder of her life.

Onto Mughal India where sex was… complicated….

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Kama Sutra… the book of love. A common book for those who studied the art or even married couples. Much was expected from a woman in the royal bedchamber and if you could catch the emperor then you would rise. Emperor Jahangir fell in love with Nur Jahan and made her the most powerful woman in India. Jahangir’s son would have to deal with her well into his reign but like his father also fell deeply for a woman. Shan Jahan fell in love with Mumtaz Mahal who was of relation to Nur Jahan. He was unable to marry her at first and took another wife but soon had his way. He quickly shunned his other wives after giving them a child each and focused all his attention on Mumtaz. Detailed court documents of their sexual passion are available and well exposed. It resulted in her giving birth to 14 children and unfortunately for Mumtaz, she died birthing their fourteenth. The Taj Mahal symbolizes their love where they have both been interred for eternity.

Don’t even get me started on China…

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As one of the largest empires, Chinese rulers would have concubines… a ton of them. Girls were selected from noble families because hey, only the best for the Emporer. These girls would sit in the halls of women and wait to be chosen. many would grow old and never get a night with their king. Once the emperor died, the women would have their heads shaved and be set to a nunnery equivalent. Some concubines like Ci-Xi and Wu Zhao rose up to become empress because they birthed the next emperor.

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England after the restoration exploded with sex. Charles II had many acknowledged mistresses and bastards. Although he had no legitimate children, he did not shun his wife Catherine. The king was described as lusty and highly sexual. Also during this time, many views of the woman changed. Women took lovers and were allowed on the stage, baring their legs as actresses. Nell Gwynn never married, yet she had lovers including Charles. Many families threw their daughters to the king with hopes of advancement and many would be educated on just how to please the king within the bedchamber.

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Moving forward to George III. It was said he had a mistress, Hannah Lightfoot and then fell in love with Sarah Lennox but once George Married Charlotte, we see a more conservative king. After his marriage, he proves to be a very devoted husband and father. His son, on the other hand, George IV disposed his wife and took many mistresses, even dubbing one his true wife. During this period, women were expected to be virgins and not take lovers.

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Victorian England explored the reign of courtesans and free love such as in France. Victoria’s son Edward was a great lover of women and did not shy around it.

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After Edward, we get more into the 20th century where marriage stayed between a man and woman and sex began to be hushed.

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When the 60s and 70s came the idea of free love came back and for a brief period, some people brought sex back into the spotlight. In the 80s we get pornography wisely distributed. Music videos with scantly clothed women. As we approach our century we see porn taking over everywhere. It’s highly distributed and has taken the place of many stable relationships. I was in a relationship with a porn addict once and trust me when I say this is one thing where it can ruin relationships.

Continuing on. Sex will probably never be as open and free as it was once yet we continue to live on. Babies are being constructed within Petrie dishes while parents pick out eye color rather than just do the act itself and get what you’re given. Society and technology have definitely changed the way we view sex and our sexuality.

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I have gotten mixed reviews about the sex within The King’s Secret Daughter. Anna sleeps with a man before marriage and develops a relationship. This could be normal for the time period but to know the whole story you’d have to read the book. She is at one point shunned by her second husband and finds comfort with another man and the man is punished.

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Within She’s Only Seventeen, we explore human sexuality at its finest. Kat loses her virginity at the tender age of fifteen and after that, she uses sex as a way to express herself and on some occasions, show or mask deep emotions. Kat commits adultery on more than one occasion but since the story takes places from 1980-2001, it is fealty with differently.

In conclusion, sexuality is suppressed in many ways in this society. I have vowed that my daughter will not be uneducated and I trust myself to remain calm when she comes to me with questions. I do not want her to see it as something to be ashamed of. I most certainly am not and I suppose my openness is one of the reasons for my happy marriage.

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This is definitely one of those subjects I could go on forever about so I will stop here. As always, I am welcome to discussions.

Blonde Moment for a Brunette

Made a whoopsie!

So I accidentally uploaded the wrong version of my book to Amazon and before I could change it, someone bought it!

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UGH!

Well, of course, that person left a review stating that there were errors.

Everything has since been fixed and the correct, edited, file has been uploaded. I’ve offered to give the customer the corrected copy for free but no response. I very much hope this mistake and review do not cost others to read the book because I have luckily gotten overwhelming praise for the novel from others and am glad that they think the book is good and worth reading.

I do hope others give it a chance also despite the review.

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Link to purchase below: