J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the month “March, 2017”

A Writer’s Life

Beautiful woman in swimming pool

I wish I could say that writing novels means sitting around the pool all day, sipping margaritas, and writing whenever I feel like it. Maybe that’s true for some writers. I envision Jackie Collins living that way. But for me, it is a never-ending process, and writing is only one part of it.

Since I primarily write historical fiction, I do a lot of research before I ever start writing. On average, I spend about six months researching and six months writing. Once the research has been completed, I begin the writing process. For me, I find it best to work from an outline, so I start by plotting out each book, chapter by chapter. And then I start the book, and try to write one chapter every two days. Once the book is completed, I read through it once or twice, and then set it aside to ripen. After a few months, I read through it again. After that, I have it professionally edited and proofread. And then, I find beta readers to look for flaws. The manuscript is finally completed! But that’s only the first phase.

typewriter copy

The next step is finding an agent or a publisher. This takes a lot of work and can be quite tedious. The hardest part is accepting rejection. I’m very fortunate to have excellent publishers. After sending them the manuscript, the whole process of editing and proofreading starts again. Once the manuscript is completed, it goes to the typesetters. A cover artist comes up with a design for the book, which can sometimes be stressful as well. Next comes a cover reveal and pre-sales. And after that, the book is finally published! Thus ends phase two.

To me, the next step is the most difficult. This is finding reviewers, promoting, marketing, and doing anything and everything possible to get my titles out there. I typically spend two to four hours a day on marketing. This includes sending the book to reviewers, entering contests, participating in blog tours, doing author interviews and book signing events, etc. This process never really ends, but it is especially crucial during the first year in the life of the book. And so ends phase three. And then it’s time to write a new book and start the process all over again. But I love it!


Now you know all the work that’s involved with publishing a book. I wish I could say it’s all pools and parties, but it’s more like fear, frustration, fantasy, and for me, fun!

If you would like to help me with my book writing process, I would be more than grateful. Here is the link to become one of my cavaliers on Patreon. I hope you will consider supporting me!



Lawsuit in the Works


Recently, I reported how the city of Charlottesville plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Lee park. They also want to rename the park. But now, several citizens have filed a lawsuit claiming the city is acting unlawfully.


Dixie Heritage Readers in Virginia are fighting the City of Charlottesville over City Council’s decision to move a monument to Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee.

Councilors voted 3-2 on February 6 to move the statue of Lee out of Lee Park. They also unanimously voted to rename the park.

Descendants of its donor, Paul Goodloe McIntire, and sculptor are a part of this lawsuit against Charlottesville and City Council. Joining them in their lawsuit are The Monument Fund, Inc. and The Virginia Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. and eleven individuals: Frederick W. Payne, John Bosley Yellott Jr., Edward D. Tayloe II, Betty Jane Franklin Phillips, Edward Bergen Fry, Virginia C. Amiss, Stefanie Marshall, Charles L. Weber Jr., Lloyd Thomas Smith Jr., Anthony M. Griffin, and Britton Franklin Earnest Sr. Their attorneys filed their lawsuit in Charlottesville Circuit Court Monday, March 20.

The plaintiffs’ suit alleges Councilors acted beyond their authority and violated a State Law which prohibits removing monuments or memorials to war veterans:

That the Lee statue and the Jackson statue are Confederate monuments and memorials of the War Between the States protected by the provisions of Section 15.2-1812 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended.
The lawsuit also argues Charlottesville is violating terms of McIntire’s gift in 1918 of the land for Lee Park and the statue:

    “Defendants [Charlottesville City Council] are required by law to protect and to preserve the aforesaid historic monuments.”

Weber, one of the plaintiffs and an attorney, says he joined the suit in order to protect history and the law. “I believe that our history is what it is. We don’t change it. We have to deal with it, and we have to come together to deal with it,” he said.

Don Gathers, who chaired the Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Monuments and Public Spaces, said that he expected their decision would face a legal challenge and the City is prepared to fight for the monument’s removal.
(Courtesy Dixie Heritage Newsletter, March 24, 2017 ed.)
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A Way Back Into Love Book Tour


Title: A Way Back into Love

Author: Veronica Thatcher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Notion Press

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Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love…well, that makes everything complicated. And when you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life gets turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home…to the man she left behind?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32998245-a-way-back-into-love

Buy links: Paperback – http://www.amazon.in/Way-Back-Into-Love/dp/1946641170/


                             eBooks – https://www.amazon.in/dp/B06WRR5FN3


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Author Bio:

Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!

Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it. You can reach Veronica through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad and Gmail.

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorthatcher/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/merderlover1

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/merder32

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16087807.Veronica_Thatcher

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Emily stepped back from him and shook her head. “Oh, you know damn well what I mean. You know what, Derek? I’m done having this conversation with you. I’m so done with this conversation and I’m so done with you,” Emily spat out angrily before brushing past him.

“Emily, wait,” Derek said, catching her by her arm. “Where are you going?”

Emily spun around and gave him a bitter look before looking down at his hand gripping her arm. “Leave my arm,” she said in a low yet threatening voice, “And why do you care where I’m going? It’s none of your business.”

Derek didn’t leave her arm in spite of her warning and said, “Em, you’ve had too many drinks. You can’t drive in this condition. I’ll drop you home.”

Emily jerked her arm free from his grasp and replied in a bitter voice, “Thank you, but no. I’m perfectly capable of getting myself home on my own. I don’t need you to drop me home. Do you get it, Derek Thorpe? I DON’T NEED YOU!” Emily yelled the last words, causing a few people to look their way.



The State Fights Back


I have been reporting on the state of things in Mississippi, specifically, state run, higher education institutions that are refusing to fly the state flag. There seems to be a politically correct problem with the flag as of late. Some critics say the flag represents oppression and racism, because a portion of it has the St. Andrews Cross on it. This emblem, otherwise known as the Southern Cross, has been associated with the KKK, when in fact, it was used as a battle flag for the Confederacy during the Civil War. One by one, state colleges and universities found their own authority to take down the flag. This goes against regulations, but regardless of students’ protests against removing the flag, it was furled, anyway. Now, state representatives are facing this PC wave head-on. Here is an article on the subject.



A new Mississippi Senate bill would grant two public colleges a tax exemption if they fly the State Flag, which is now flown by none of the eight public colleges because it features the Confederate battle flag.
Republic Representative William Shirley persuaded the House last week to withhold a tax break from universities that don’t fly the flag. When the bill came up for a reconsideration after amendment it failed to pass by a 58-56 vote. Since then, Shirley has been unsuccessful in his proposed Flag amendments.
Senate Bill 2509 would exempt the “lands and property” of both the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and Mississippi State University (MSU) from state, county and municipal taxes, as well as buildings and improvements that give “affordable board” to students, according to Campus Reform. Still under advisement is another amendment by Shirley to a bond bill that would force state supported colleges to display the banner or face financial penalties.
Without saying a word, Rep. Shirley went to the front of the House Chamber on Wednesday and waved two tiny flags – a Mississippi flag and a plain white flag.
Was it surrender? Shirley would not explain.
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, March 17, 2017 ed.)

Author Interview With The Nova Scotian Ranting Book Reviewer

ARAU Large

I was asked to do an author interview with The Nova Scotian Ranting Book Reviewer last week. Here is the interview:

Thursday, 9 March 2017

My Interview with Author J.D.R. Hawkins

When did you first realize you wanted to become a Writer/author?
 I realized it when my first son was a toddler. I started writing children’s books, and as my kids grew, so did my books. First, I started with children’s picture books and drew the artwork myself. Then I branched out to middle grade and young adult, until I wrote my first novel.
Where do you get your ideas for your book?
 I get ideas from places I’ve been and people I’ve met.
What kind of things do you enjoy when not writing?
 I enjoy doing things outdoors, like hiking and gardening. I’m also a musician, so I try to find time to play and sing.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
 I have written numerous books. I think my favorite so far is A Rebel Among Us. It’s the only book I’ve written that is a romance.
Do you have any suggestions to help others who have a passion for writing?
 Keep pursuing your dreams and perfecting your craft.
What do you think makes a great story?
 I think a great story consists of several elements – a good plot line, suspense to keep the reader invested, realistic characters, and a fast pace. Personally, I like stories with unexpected plot twists.
Which Writer/Authors inspire you?
 I have always been a fan of Margaret Mitchell. I also like Geraldine Brooks, Christina Baker Kline, and J.K. Rowling.
What are you working on at the moment?(optional)
 I’m in the process of re-publishing the first two books in the Renegade Series with my current publisher. I am also having a nonfiction book published this summer about the Civil War. After that, I plan on publishing a young adult novel, as well as the fourth book in the Renegade Series.
What genre are your books?
 Primarily historical fiction
What drew you to the genre you write?
 I have always been fascinated with the Victorian era. After visiting Gettysburg, I was enthralled by the enormity of the battlefield and the stories surrounding the battle. So I decided to write a novel about it. One novel grew into a series.
Which Actor/Actress would you like to see portraying the lead character from your most recent book?(any book you like)
 Actually, I would like to see a new, unknown actor play the part of David Summers.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
 I write part-time and market part-time.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
 To me, it’s the editing. It seems like an endless job. Every time I read through a manuscript, I find something that I think needs to be changed. Writing is the fun part.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded Writer’s block?
 There are a number of word exercises that can help with that. I like referring to the newspaper. People are weird and fascinating. Nothing makes a better story than real life. Like they say, you can’t make this stuff up!
Do you read much, and if so who are your favorite Authors or genres?
 I’m a fan of Katie Bloomstrom and her Samantha Stone series. Those novels are hilarious!
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
 I’d like to tell everyone who is interested in writing to stay true to your heart. I’ve seen writers who go crazy writing the next big thing just to sell books (vampires, zombies, whatever), but I find it much more fulfilling to write about things that are important to me.
How can Readers discovery more about you and your work?(please provide proper links)
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview 😊


An Interview with Private David Summers, protagonist of J.D.R. Hawkins’ The Renegade Series

Source: An Interview with Private David Summers, protagonist of J.D.R. Hawkins’ The Renegade Series

An Interview With My Character

I was recently interviewed with The Librarian Talks. This time, I opted to do something I haven’t done before – give an interview as one of my characters. So I chose the main character of the Renegade Series, David Summers. Part of the interview is as follows.


David, tell us about yourself.

Well, I’m from Morgan County, Alabama, which ain’t too far from Huntsville. I grew up on my kinfolk’s farm with my ma, pa, and two younger sisters. My pa died at the Battle of Fredericksburg last December. So I decided to jine up last spring with General J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry. My best friend, Jake, jined up with me, but he got killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville. My regiment was chosen to come up here to Pennsylvania. We fought at Gettysburg, and I lost a few friends. Reckon I’m mighty tired of war now, but I still want to see the South win so’s I can go back home.

How old are you?


What happened after the Battle of Gettysburg?

Somethin’ right strange. I was on picket duty when I came across a Yankee sentry. We shot at each other. I won. But he got a bead on me. My horse, Renegade, bolted and ran for miles. I couldn’t hold him because a rein was severed and I’d lost my footing out of the stirrup. He finally came across a farm and went inside the barn. By then, I was gettin’ dizzy and I fell out of the saddle. It wasn’t long before I heard voices comin’ from the farmhouse.

Then what happened?

I recall some girls comin’ to my aid. They carried me into the house. I’d been shot in the shoulder and stabbed in the leg, so they stitched me up. Before I blacked out, I heard them talkin’ ‘bout whether or not they should turn me in or let me die and feed me to the hogs.

How terrible! I’m glad to see that didn’t happen!

Me, too.

To read the full interview, please go to:


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An Interview with Private David Summers, protagonist of J.D.R. Hawkins’ The Renegade Series

Source: An Interview with Private David Summers, protagonist of J.D.R. Hawkins’ The Renegade Series

Book Tour for “All That Glitters” by Liza Treviño


Book Details:

Title: All That Glitters – A Tale of Sex, Drugs and Hollywood Dreams

Author: Liza Treviño

Genre: Women’s Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Koehler Books 

Published Date: March 1, 2017

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1633933083

ISBN-13: 978-1633933088


Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon


Alexandria Moreno—clever, sexy, ambitious and, at times, self-destructive. She blazes a path from Texas to Los Angeles at the dawn of the 1980s to make her dreams of becoming an A-list Hollywood film director come true. She and her best friend arrive in Los Angeles with little more than hope and the determination to make it big. Alex, a beauty as dark and mysterious as her scarred heart, stands at the bottom of the Hollywood mountain looking up, fighting for her chance to climb to the top. Will her quest to live fast and take no prisoners on her way to success destroy her in the end?

All That Glitters is a women’s fiction Jackie Collins-type saga that introduces a strong, driven Latina heroine at the center of a rags-to-riches story spanning a decade of action. Along the way, Alexandria walks the fine line separating ambition and self-destruction, and discovers that some sacrifices will cost her everything.


Author Bio:


Liza Treviño hails from Texas, spending many of her formative years on the I-35 corridor of San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.  In pursuit of adventure and a Ph.D., Liza moved to Los Angeles where she compiled a collection of short-term, low-level Hollywood jobs like script girl, producer assistant and production assistant.  Her time as a Hollywood Jane-of-all-trades gave her an insider’s view to a world most only see from the outside, providing the inspiration for creating a new breed of Latina heroine.

Catch Up with Liza Treviño on her Website

What early readers are saying:
“Treviño tells her story with wit, intelligence, and an undercurrent of sadness at the plight women face to make a name for themselves as human beings instead of strictly as women. Treviño may have cloaked her ideas in entertaining vignettes and snappy dialogue, but underneath is a bite that stays with you.”

— Jonathan Marcantoni, author and publisher of La Casita Grande Press.

“Liza has a way of taking you with her as she tells this very compelling story. She draws readers in with her as she describes scenes and characters with colorful detail and vivid imagination. This story is a testament to it’s title: it really glitters!”

—Reesha Goral, author, The Servant Boy

“With distant echoes of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls in the background, Alexandria Moreno, the protagonist of All that Glitters, chases after the allure of Hollywood, all the time substituting pills, booze and sex for genuine happiness. It is only after she reaches success that she has an awakening leading her to realize the emptiness of her aspiration, and finally accepting true love. Kudos to Liza Treviño for giving us this unique image of the New Latina! I urge reading All that Glitters. You won’t regret it.”

—Graciela Limón, author
Read an Excerpt:

Los Angeles

Oscar Night, 1990

When did things start going wrong?

Alexandria Moreno gulped another swig of champagne from the bottle. She picked at its broken gold foil. It was the same stuff she used to buy back in the days when spending more than ten dollars on bubbly was an extravagance. Now she sat in the best limo money could buy, inching along the craggy hillside road waiting for her turn to put in an appearance at the first of many scheduled post-Oscar parties. She was obligated to dole out heartfelt hugs and kisses to any of the beautiful people who might want one. Tonight, everyone was going to want a piece of her. She was the girl of the hour.

Until recently, Moreno had been an unknown writer-producer. She rocked Hollywood, winning Academy Awards for Best Director and Original Screenplay for the lushly violent, low-budget film, Win or Lose. Moreno, widely considered a dark horse contestant in the Oscar race, was the first Hispanic woman to be nominated, and win.

Two golden statues for writing and directing lay on the limo’s floor and the vehicle glided to the top of Hollywood’s heights. Beyond the winding canyon road, the Los Angeles electrified grid shimmered like Moreno’s own personal cauldron of gold. She understood that more than just a movie had won tonight.

She had won.

So why doesn’t it feel better?

Why don’t I feel better?

Despite everything she’d done to reach this moment of glory, Alex understood that none of it mattered. Not one bit. No matter what happened to her, she was still alone and drinking the same convenience-store champagne.

“Want some of this blow, babe?” Nick sniffed and dropped his head back with a slight shake, giving the chemicals a little jumpstart in the brain he liked to say.

“No thanks,” she said, “I don’t want to mix tonight.” Alex turned her attention from the scrubby hillside to handsome Nick Sirianni sitting across from her, casually relaxed in his Armani tuxedo. Though he favored stiff Wall Street suits, Nick was always casually relaxed due to the fact that he was worth millions from a Hollywood Midas touch.

Alex heard Leonard Cohen’s gravel-rubbed, breathless voice floating faintly through the air, crooning his patented melancholy love proclamations, and she couldn’t help but let her eyes wander along Nick’s impeccably tailored suit. Her hands absently grazed the familiar bluish-purple marks on her wrists currently hidden under make-up.

Nick’s thin lips curled into a slow, understanding grin. “Fine, but I have some X for later, and I don’t care what you’ve taken already,” he said in a tone Alex had learned not to question. “I’ve got plans for you, babe.”

“I guess it’s gonna be a long night.”

“The longest ever.”

Alex could tell he had taken off. She absently twirled a lock of her black, shoulder-length hair.

“Hey,” Nick nudged her leg with his polished leather dress shoe, “let me see.”

“Not right now.”

“I’m not asking, Alley Cat. Let me see. And do it right.”

Alex locked eyes with him, but she relented.

She found the fold of her straight wraparound skirt of crepe and beading that draped to the floor. She peeled it back and uncrossed her legs beneath the gown, giving Nick a peek-a-boo of her

narrow ankle and high-heeled foot. She loosened her knees, proving to Nick she’d followed his instructions.

Nick looked her over and loosened his collar.

“Good girl,” Nick said and shifted toward her, the leather seat creaking beneath him. He knelt between her legs and softly traced the length of her pale grey stocking from her shoe, along her leg, up to the matching garter, and over her supple brown thigh exposed between the garter and its straps. Nick kissed her just above where the stockings ended. He breathed in deeply and peered up to her.

“I gotta have a taste, baby,” he said and dipped his handsome face between her thighs.

Alex sighed and sank back into her seat.

How did things get so out of control? Isn’t tonight supposed to be everything I’ve worked for? Everything I’ve sacrificed for? Or, what I’ve sacrificed everyone for?

Alex knew she had purposely cut off anyone who had the misfortune of ever giving a damn about her. And there were such people.

It certainly wasn’t Nick. She’d made her deal with this particular devil nearly a year ago. Things between them were comfortably tawdry. Nick owned her. She knew it. He knew it. They had an understanding.

A flicker nudged her: so many things that could have been. She took another swig of champagne, letting the alcohol’s fizz and burn push everything back into the darkness.

Alex registered Nick’s velvet tongue expertly stroking her crevices, and she couldn’t help but give him all the access he wanted. She felt him smile when she dropped her head back and settled deeper into the limo’s bench. The car halted forward and the lazy, swaying sax turned up the tension in Cohen’s sonic plea for love.

Alex peered beyond the cracked sunroof, searching the starless LA sky for some answers. A corner of the tinted sunroof caught her faint reflection and she saw a vacant-eyed, thirty two-year-old wasted stranger. She’d never known herself less than at this moment. Her passion for work was burned out and, even tonight, she couldn’t muster excitement. Now, everything was just a game requiring too much effort.

She shut her eyes tight and sucked in air sharply, breathing in the car’s mixture of broken-in leather and artificial lemon scents. She clasped at Nick’s broad shoulder, wringing the expensive jacket sleeve as if it were nothing more than a cheap cocktail napkin. After a moment, she relaxed.

Nick brushed a sweet kiss on her inner thigh before he returned the thin black crepe material of her skirt to its full length. He slid back to his seat across from her and smoothed his hair back.

“Damn, you taste good, honey.” He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“We’re next in line, ma’am,” the chauffeur’s voice crackled through the intercom. The limo moved into place with a definite stop.

Nick grinned. “It’s show time, Alley Cat.”

The cool night air took Alex by surprise as she waded into the sea of people and flashing cameras. She staggered, unsure she could move.

“One foot in front of the other,” Nick said in his soft voice through her hair. “I’ll get you a drink once we get inside.”

Alex smiled serenely and nodded. She focused on the live band somewhere in the distance belting out a Sinatra standard. Her eyes found the majestic Griffith Observatory looming in the distance, hovering above the white party tents.

Inside, the camera flashes kept coming.

“And here we are,” Nick offered as he swiped a couple of champagne flutes from a roving waiter’s tray. “This should get ya right, babe.”

Alex took the glass automatically. Another bulb flashed near her and she saw blue sprinkles. She regained focus quickly, but then her stomach dropped. Across the room was the last person she wanted to see.


Jamie Douglas stood out in any crowd. Angular looks punctuated by oceanic blue eyes, a naturally lean athleticism, and down-to-earth boyishness had made him a reigning movie star around the world for almost twenty years. And right now, Alex saw Jamie’s eyes find hers through the crowd. When they caught each other, a flash sparked between them like one of those popping camera bulbs. Jamie’s surprised look gave way to a lopsided grin; it was a look so familiar to her.

Alex registered Nick snake his arm around her thin waist and she broke her gaze from Jamie.

“Okay, Alley Cat, time for our victory lap.”

“Perfect timing,” she said.

Timing—everything always came down to timing. It seemed to her that her timing had always been off. Not crazy off, just that extra millisecond that pushed everything either too early or too late. And now, she understood that it was too late.

Suddenly, she couldn’t bear to go through with the whole charade of tonight. Maybe, she couldn’t even bear to go through with the whole charade of her life any longer. Just leave, a soft voice whispered inside her head. There’s nothing written you have to stick around. It’s practically programmed into your DNA that you’ll be checking out of this world early.

All at once, Alex understood that simple fact. She, Alex Moreno, would leave Los Angeles tonight as anonymously as she had arrived nearly a decade earlier. She knew that wasn’t an entirely accurate account of how she’d started.

Now I’m alone, and that’s just how I knew things would always turn out.


I Have New Patrons!


I’m so excited to announce the launch of my brand new Patreon page. And I already have some new patrons! Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far. Here’s a video that explains more about what Patreon does.

I really hope you’ll find it in your heart to support me. It takes a lot to get published, let alone market, sell and promote books, so I hope you will check out my Patreon page. Any little bit helps. Thanks so much!


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