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Website Wonders (And Announcement)

25 Jul

Before I begin our monthly Website Wonders post, I have to clarify a few changes that are coming to www.ShannonAThompson.com. As many of you know, my trilogy is releasing back-to-back during this month, August, and September. This is going to shift some of my regular posts around. That being said, you can expect my next blog post to be on the release day of Minutes Before Sunset—Tuesday, July 28—and after that, July’s Ketchup will be posted on Friday, July 31. The regular Monday, Wednesday, Saturday schedule will resume on Monday, August 3.

Thank you for understanding!

Website Wonders:

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of July’s Website Wonders categorized into Reading, Audio Books, Writing, Travel, and Coffee.

If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Enjoy!

Reading:

From the IRS to the Bestsellers List: Rick Yancey’s Journey: It’s always refreshing to read how an author “makes” it. I especially enjoyed this article because I love Rick Yancey and The 5th Wave.

This Librarian’s “All About Them Books” Parody is the Coolest Way to Get Back Overdue books: Seriously creative. And hilarious.

53 Of The Most Heartbreaking Sentences in Fantasy Books: Get the tissues ready.

31 of the Most Beautiful and Profound Passages in Literature: Read them over and over again.

148738_861779983890823_6405843304342802266_nAudio Books:

The 14 Most Addictive Storytelling Podcasts of 2015: Because…podcasts.

Writing:

Secrets of Great Characters, According to 6 Science Fiction Authors: I so do love secrets.

Travel:

26 Literary Landmarks in America to Visit Before You Die: I’ve been to the Kansas City Public Library.

15 Awesome Photographs of Interesting International Borders: These are amazing.

Coffee:

Coffee stain monsters by Stefan Kuhnigk: I want to try this…but I know I’d fail.

See you on release day!

~SAT

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

I’m at Penned Con in St. Louis, Missouri TODAY! If you can’t meet me, don’t worry. More events are coming soon.

Minutes Before Sunset releases in 3 DAYS! (And, of course, it’s available for pre-order.) Also available for pre-order: Seconds Before Sunrise and Death Before Daylight.

If you wish to help me out, please share the teaser below along with this link:

http://tinyurl.com/MBSTTDT

Oh, and make sure to come to CTP’S Midsummer Magic Party via Facebook on July 30 from 7-9 p.m. to play games and win prizes!

Thank you!

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#WW The Difference of Pronunciation and Writing

22 Jul

#WW Pronunciation and Writing

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris demanded my attention simply from the title. Despite working with the English language every day—both as a writer and as an editor—I have difficulty speaking. I stumble and stutter a lot. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I worked so hard to master the written language. I was making up for another aspect of the language I didn’t excel in.

Looking back on it, I blamed moving around a lot as a kid—mixing up accents and phrases and idioms—but I don’t have much blame anymore. In fact, I’ve rather embraced this awkward part of myself, and it no longer bothers me like it used to. While most people around me avoided bringing it up a few years ago, it’s now a common joke. “Okay. English major.” “Aren’t you the writer here?” Both phrases I now hear on a regular basis, paired with laughter and a “Yeah. yeah. I get it.” It’s an accepted part of my life now, something I don’t fight, something I realized most people look past anyway. I was the one judging myself.

Take the other day for example…

On a drive back from the grocery store, I saw Venus and Jupiter in the sky. I am a HUGE space nerd—probably due to Sailor Moon—so I started rambling about how new information on Pluto released, discussing spots on the surface, and NASA was speculating what could’ve caused it. That’s when I came across the word “meteors.” The problem was simple. I had just finished talking about how Meg Cabot’s final book in the Mediator series was coming out and now I had to say meteor? It wasn’t happening. I stumbled for three minutes. Eventually, it turned into a giggle fit.

I know the words. I know how to say the words. I just can’t explain why it doesn’t come out that way. But I think the saddest part is when people can no longer take you seriously when you stumble over a word or two. In all honesty, I haven’t had that problem much. In fact, I think I simply worried that it would happen, so I stayed silent. My speech class in college got me over that fear. If I can say this without bragging, I got a big ol’ A in that course. (I know. I know. It’s speech class. But it meant the world to me. In fact, it meant Pluto, Jupiter, and Venus to me.) Up until that point, I thought there was no way I could succeed as a writer with a pronunciation issue like mine. What was I supposed to do if I ever booked a signing where I had to read a chapter out loud? The horror! What happens when people think I couldn’t have possibly written the words if I couldn’t speak them? Double horror! How do I explain myself? …I just died from horror.

It was a panic attack waiting to happen…a panic attack I overcame a long time ago but still comes back every now and then when I have to say specific or pacific, shoulder or solider, Neanderthal, and, I suppose, meter or mediator. (Fun fact: I stumbled over mediator in my YouTube video—Book Boyfriends—and said “med-a-tore” instead. I suppose I could’ve deleted it, reshot it, edited it out, but I’ve embraced this part of myself.)

These are all words I avoided saying out loud. All words I’ve used in stories a hundred times. All words that are, no matter what, precious to me.

Two moments, two poetry readings, I overcame my fear.

Two moments, two poetry readings, I overcame my fear.

“Emma Saying” on YouTube and “How To Pronounce” are two websites I use on a regular basis to practice. I don’t avoid words anymore, but I still stumble, and I imagine that’s just a part of me that makes me me—a character in my own right—a writer who stumbled over her love for words.

~SAT

And…announcements…

promoI’ll be at Penned Con in St. Louis, Missouri THIS Saturday. I’m going as a reader, not as an author, so if you want to meet me, simply email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. In other news…

Minutes Before Sunset releases in 6 days. 6 DAYS! We’re less than a week away, and all of your support matters. You make a difference in my life, and for that, I thank you.

All three novels in The Timely Death Trilogy are up for pre-order: Minutes Before Sunset, Seconds Before Sunrise, and Death Before Daylight. Please check them out or share them with the teaser. That would also mean Pluto, Venus, and Jupiter to me. :]

ANDDDD don’t forget. CTP’s Midsummer newsletterMagic Prty is on July 30, from 7-9 p.m. on Facebook. You can win paperbacks, jewelry, and more – all by playing games. You know I’ll be there. :] OH! And I started a newsletter, so feel free to click here to sign up. You’ll get to win more prizes!

Get excited! More information to come.

~SAT

#MondayBlogs: It’s Never Too Late To Start Writing Your Best Seller

20 Jul

Intro:

I love infographics. How many times have I said that on here? They are fantastic. Quick, fun, and reliable, I’ve always had a good time seeing stats unfolded on a beautiful display for all to see, and this one is no exception. As writers, we are often way too hard on ourselves, and I know I worry about how I’m spending my time in regards to my writing career. Heck, even though I started at 16, I’ve been feeling down about turning 24 and waiting for my release dates to get back into the market. This infographic is sure to stop that sort of worry in its tracks. Today, thanks to Essaymama, we get to see where our favorite writers started, some as young as 13, others as late as 65.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them)

It’s Never Too Late To Start Writing Your Best Seller by Essay Mama

Do you think it is too late to leave your mark in the world literature and become an author of a new bestseller? Essaymama writing service doesn’t think so. Do you know that Virginia Woolf started writing at 27 years and become popular at 43 years after publishing “Mrs. Dalloway”? Do you know that Haruki Murakami was a bar manager till 29 years? And Charles Bukovski was a postman till his 40? Find out more from the following infographic and start writing right now, it is never too late.

essay writing never too late to start writingV4

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#WW Staying Focused as a Writer

8 Jul

#WW Staying Focused as a Writer

Staying focused. It sounds simple but is all too complicated for many. It’s different for every writer, but I’ve recognized quite a few common stressors among authors. Some get overwhelmed by finding time to write and manage social media. Others can’t finish a novel without another one sneaking up on them. Some even ditch novels altogether. Like I said, it’s different for everyone, and there are many reasons behind the variety of #writerproblems out there. (Hence why there is an actual hashtag for such things.)

So, today, I wanted to discuss one I deal with as well as the ways I’ve kept myself in check over the years, but I would love to hear about how you manage your writing!

My issue is completing a novel when a new one suddenly demands my attention.

How are we supposed to concentrate on such a beautiful day?

How are we supposed to concentrate on such a beautiful day?

While I have no problem finishing a novel or coming up with an ending, I used to have a hard time keeping focused on the one I need to complete next. Any time I got a new idea or a new character, all I wanted to do was obsess over the new, potential story in front of me. I realized it was a problem when I spent more of my time planning novels than actually writing them, and while this happened to me a few years ago, I learned a lot of little tricks to keep me focused. In fact, this exact issue happened to me recently. While I’m mainly working on the rewrite of November Snow, I have another completed novel—one that’s never been released before that I refer to as “D”—and while it is complete, there is something wrong with it in my gut. And I realized what it was just the other day. Now, all I want to do is go fix everything in that manuscript. But I have to control myself. This is how.

1. Give Yourself a Time Limit

Whether it’s writing in a new novel or posting on your social media, tell yourself you only have an hour or two to do what you want before you continue to do what you need to do. Maybe you give yourself a few days. (I did.) However much time you need, give it to yourself, but try to set a time limit so you can get back to your original task. For instance, I gave myself a few days to jot everything down for “D”, but eventually, I know I have a bigger goal that needed attention, and now, I’m back to focusing on November Snow. “D” will gets its day soon. This isn’t to say I don’t want to work on November Snow. I do. I want to work on both, but I had to pick one because of other goals I’ve set (publishing dates, for instance).

2. Be Aware of Triggers

Another aspect of this I have to control has to do with triggers. I will use music as an example. I’ve only recently started writing with music on, but now I have associated playlists, and they help me focus almost immediately. If I hear “Murakami” by Made in Heights, November Snow is the only thing I can concentrate on. But “Dreamland” by Fan Shiqi triggers “D” so fast that I’ve learned to avoid that song when I’m trying to focus on November Snow. Keeping the right triggers around me, while avoiding the wrong ones, not only energizes what I want and need to focus on, but also prevents distractions.

3. And finally—Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

This is going to contradict my first tip, but if you go over your time limit or you simply change goals altogether, that’s fine. You know in your gut what you need and want to do. It’s a matter of being honest with yourself, understanding yourself, and accepting yourself and your artistic process. I could beat myself up all day that I lost time on the November Snow rewrite for “D”, but that would be counterproductive. I got something done, after all. Now, I just need to get more done. Just keep moving.

This is how I’ve stayed focused through my #writerproblems. How about you? What are your tricks and tips?

~SAT

Announcements:

We’re 20 days away from Minutes Before Sunset!

Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2, is also up for pre-order.

And? Clean Teen Publishing listed another Goodreads Giveaway!

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Also, I’ll be at Penned Con in St. Louis Missouri on July 25. If you want to meet me, send me an email! I’m just going as a reader, but I do have my first author event booked for October 17-18 at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX. Other events will appear on my Events page in the near future.

In other news, I’m also accepting guest bloggers again. My earliest available date is in October, so be sure to email me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested. I accept any posts about writing and reading, and I encourage bios, photos, and links. I look forward to hearing from you!

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#MondayBlogs How Television Encouraged Me To Read

6 Jul

Intro:

You all might be familiar with today’s guest blogger—Crazy Beautiful. She has been a HUGE part of www.ShannonAThompson.com, both in the comments section here and all around the web. I highly recommend her book reviews (and overall friendship), and I am very excited to have her on today! In the bookish world, books and TV have always had a debatable relationship. Adaptations are either loved or hated, and it often saddens me to see fans arguing about who is a “bigger” fan because they read the book before the TV show/movie or (insert millions of other debates here). Crazy Beautiful tackled this discussion from another viewpoint I couldn’t ignore: Being inspired to read because of TV. How about you? Have you ever read a novel because you saw the show or movie?

How Television Encouraged Me To Read by Crazy Beautiful

Books to movies often get a lot of slack, but there is also another side that many people don’t discuss—the side where those exact movies encourage those viewers to become new readers. I’ve been in this situation . . . in a different way, of course, but I thought I’d share my story to show how TV and movies can encourage readership. This is how I fell in love with Richelle Mead.

As much as I’d like to say that I’ve come across her books while I was wandering the aisles of a bookstore, this isn’t how it actually happened.

It all had started with this Canadian TV show called Lost Girl. I’m a big fan of the show to be honest. Though the post isn’t about the Lost Girl TV show, I’ll talk a little about it, too – just in case.

Lost Girl is a supernatural drama television series that premiered on September 12, 2010 on Showcase. The show focuses on this really gorgeous and charismatic succubus named Bo (played by the also gorgeous, Anna Silk). It also follows up her life as she learns to control her supernatural abilities, help those in need, and discover the truth about her origins. As it is, the show’s at its 5th and, sadly, its final season.

While the show was on its break for the next season, I’ve started to look for some books that treat the same subject as the show I’ve so come to love. That was the moment that brought Richelle Mead up to my attention. I know that most of her fans have started to love her after the worldwide known Vampire Academy book series and spinoffs, but for me, it was another series that made me love her so much.

Photo provided by Crazy Beautiful

Photo provided by Crazy Beautiful

The series in question is Georgina Kincaid, and yes, that was my very first encounter with Richelle’s work. I couldn’t put those books down, not even for a second. I’d even fallen asleep while reading Georgina Kincaid and I don’t regret it at all.

After that series, I knew that I had to read everything that stirs me inside and that’s written by her. She’s clearly gifted, and she really has it going on when it comes to writing books from YA to adult ones.

I can’t really put down in words the way she writes; you have to read her books to find out. I guess I’m a sucker for fantasy and mythology since I can’t possibly get away from this genre.

After finishing the Georgina Kincaid series, I’ve looked up for more of her books and found some that really make their way to my heart and keep me alert. And so, I’ve continued my Richelle Mead book marathon with the next two series that really hooked me up. One of them is Age Of X (yes, I own both of them and I’m dying for the next one) and Dark Swan series. Age Of X series are both done reading, and while waiting on the 3rd book in the series, I began reading Dark Swan and really love this one as much as the others.

Everyone is sad (including me) that Richelle had postponed the writing on the 3rd Age Of X book, which at least has a pretty title for now The Eye Of Andromeda but still no release date – so far. In the meantime, we can enjoy ourselves with her first standalone book called Soundless, which comes out on November 10, 2015.

But…because there always has to be a but. I’ve read on Nicole Hewitt’s blog Feed Your Fiction Addiction a few weeks ago that…Drum roll

  1. The next Gameboard of the Gods book will be coming – probably at the end of this year
  2. She’s still thinking of possibly writing another Dark Swan book eventually. She left the series open-ended, and while she says that she almost never writes anything based on fan feedback, she does think that her fans have a point about this one. She can see that there’s more of the story to tell and might come back to it someday. BUT, for now, the YA stuff is taking precedence and she just can’t write as much now, with two kids, as she did before.
  3. She does have another project coming next year that she wasn’t even supposed to mention existed – but she did, so I will too. It will be a new series!

Bio:

I read and write because it offers me an escape door from the world we live in. A door which allows me to be whomever I want to be, live wherever in this big world, set off on adventures and it brings my imagination back to life from its very, very long sleep. And of course…Because I love to!!

Connect with me at Crazy Beautiful

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#SATurday: How I Feel About Releasing My Novel

4 Jul

How I Feel About Releasing My NovelScreenshot_2015-06-08-08-30-15

Happy 4th to all you Americans out there! Before you start shooting off fireworks, I thought I’d share a funny little article. As many of you know, my novel—Minutes Before Sunset—releases this month. EEK! And Minutes Before Sunset begins on Independence Day. In fact, Independence Day plays a HUGE role in The Timely Death Trilogy. You know, light vs. dark and all that firework jazz. (Not to mention a certain death…but moving on.)

We’re getting so close to the release date of Minutes Before Sunset, and my silly feelings are all over the place. I’m nervous. Actually out-of-my-mind nervous.

But, Shannon, haven’t you released books before? In fact, haven’t you released these exact books before?

Yes. I have. And that doesn’t change a single little thing. My nerves are still on fire, and even though that sounds like another fireworks metaphor, I mean it more like my heart has been beating so fast that I’m hot. And in the sweaty way. Not in the wet T-shirt sort of way. (…Can I even say that? I don’t even know.)

As an author, I think many expect us to get used to these nervous feelings. In fact, I think I always thought authors probably adjusted too. But now that I am an author, I’ve realized the nerves just change from instance to instance. For example, when my first novel—November Snow—released in 2007, I was nervous, but I believe I was also in shock and a little embarrassed to even tell anyone. I was still in high school, after all, and my experiences in high school weren’t exactly popularity and parties. I basically kept my novel to myself, aside from a few students and a couple teachers supporting me here and there (and one teacher even blatantly telling me they didn’t support me). So, my first novel’s nerves were raw nerves, nerves I didn’t even know how to feel since I didn’t know what to expect. Fast-forward six years to the original release of Minutes Before Sunset and those feelings were quite similar. I had been out of the game long enough that the industry had flipped completely. We’re talking the Kindle released and self-publishing boomed. I was starting over all over again. Now that two years have passed since then, and I’m on this release, I’m nervous about many different things. So I thought it’d be fun to try to show a somewhat accurate version of how nervous feelings takeover my thought process. This is probably an average day for me.

Okay. July 28. It’s (insert number) of days away. Right? ::checks calendar for the umpteenth time like I could possibly forget the release day:: Right. You remembered. It’s (insert same number) of days away. And on that day, the new version will release. Oh, god. It’s releasing.

Will original readers like this new version? I love the new cover. It even has new editing and typography inside. The format for thoughts and telepathic communication are even different, something original readers suggested. Maybe they’ll notice? Maybe no one will notice. I hope they notice. Wait. How will I even know if they notice?

Will new readers try the trilogy? Am I doing the right thing by re-releasing the trilogy again or am I losing readers who wanted something new? What should I give readers next and when would they want it? Wait. Concentrate on what you’re doing now. Sales? Should I worry about sales? Reviews? Will reviews be different this time around?

How will readers like the last book? I’m so glad Death Before Daylight is finally getting its chance to release. Wait. What if the world ends before September 15 and no one gets to read Death Before Daylight? Well…then, I guess you have bigger problems. And that’s probably not going to happen. But you might get a cool story idea out of this scenario if you keep thinking about it…wait. Concentrate. How can you make this better for readers? What giveaways can you do? When can you write in the prequel? When could you post the prequel? Should you tweet and ask? Is that what you should tweet next? Is there anything you can tweet next? Just be yourself. Have fun. This is fun. Why am I sweating? I need more coffee. Maybe I’ve had too much coffee. What day is it again? Oh, we’re (insert same number) of days away from the release of Minutes Before Sunset.

I’m not even kidding. This is my brain.

Welcome to authordom.

~SAT

24

#WW: Can We Stop Hating on E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer?

1 Jul

Can We Stop Hating on E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer?

Seriously. Are we over it yet? Surely, we can find something better to do by now—like talking about authors you love instead of the ones you hate.

I get it. I do. A lot of people had issues with the content of these stories, and they feel that they must express what was wrong with it and why. Don’t get me wrong. I deeply support you stating your opinion. What I don’t support is things like this:

The Twitter Live Chat with ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ author E.L. James Did Not Go Well. But since this article shows the “nicer” tweets, try going to Twitter and typing in #AskELJames. It’s horrendous.

There is a time and a place and a way to talk about what you disagree with and what you dislike. Take this article, for instance. Instead of bombarding a fan Q&A, these tweeters could’ve emailed her, written a review, posted on a blog, or a million other things, but instead, they took time away from her fans just because they don’t like/agree with her work. I don’t care if you agree with her work or not. This is the author equivalent of being a heckler at a comedic show. You showed up just to ruin it for everyone else just because you don’t like it. It’s like showing up at a movie theater and playing loud music so no one can enjoy the movie just because you find it offensive. It’s just noise. Again, I have nothing wrong with someone stating they do not like someone/something, but there is a time and place. At a fan Q&A is neither the time nor the place.

It’s moments like this that are causing a dramatic change in the publishing industry, and it terrifies me. More and more authors are retreating from social media completely (and, in turn, their fans), including people like John Green, who was recently accused of being a child molester just because he writes for teens.

Didn’t see that?

Well, here’s an article for you: ‘Fault in Our Stars’ author John Green launches furious attack on Tumblr users for accusing him of sexual abuse and being a pedophile. Keep in mind this is the man who wrote about cancer in The Fault in Our Stars, life and death in Looking For Alaska, and friendship in the novel and the upcoming movie, Paper Towns.

While we’re at it, here’s an article from the infamous Cassandra Clare about why she left social media for a while. ‘Mortal Instruments’ Creator Reveals How Female Authors Can be ‘Dehumanized’ by their own Fandom. Spoiler Alert: People were harassing her.

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By now, I hope my article’s title has gone beyond Stephenie Meyer and EL James, but I had to use their names because it seems—to me—that everyone loves to hate them, and no one sees that there are hundreds of other authors going through the same thing, because—unfortunately—it has become a trend. This sort of behavior does nothing but damage writers and readers alike. Again, I understand wanting to educate readers—but write an article. Write a review. Email the author directly. (Most have an email, and by the sounds of 50 Shades, EL James is probably a fan of email.) Talk to your friends, even. You know what? Go ahead and tweet your disagreements too, but try not to during a time set aside for fans. Put yourself in their shoes. What if you were at a book signing for your favorite author and it got canceled because someone showed up with a microphone shouting obscenities just because they didn’t like your favorite author? What if you FINALLY got to meet J.K. Rowling and someone was there, screaming about witchcraft and the devil the whole time? It just isn’t cool or fair or getting anyone anywhere.

On top of that, it should not be acceptable for people to tweet, “Has your husband killed himself yet?” for ANY reason. (This was a real tweet sent to EL James.) We should not support tweeters who make fun of disorders, like mental health issues, just because they want to make fun of an author (or anyone for that matter). I wish I could quote who said this (so please comment if you know because I cannot find it), butthere is a difference between criticism of a work and abuse of a human being.” And we should not just brush this off as “That’s the Internet nowadays.”

It doesn’t have to be.

The Internet can be as positive as we make it.

It starts with us.

Tweet about who you love. Go to their Q&As. Represent yourself well. And if you dislike something, email them, tell your friends, write an informative article. Hell, tweet to them during another time that isn’t meant for fans, and definitely don’t dehumanize an author (or anyone).

But for freakin sake,

Stop being a troll

~SAT

P.S. Just to reiterate an important part: It’s okay to dislike something and to express that dislike. I just feel like there is a time and place to state such things, like tweeting during a time that isn’t meant for fans. I also believe there is a way to express yourself. Ex. “I dislike this because a, b, and c.” rather than “You’re a pedophile for writing for teens, John Green.”

I’m afraid more and more authors are going to leave the social realm completely if things do not change. That is why I wrote this article—to encourage a more positive social environment on the Internet before everyone gives up and leaves. I truly believe it begins with us. It begins with expressing your dislikes in a meaningful way, but it grows when you share the authors you love more than talking about the ones you hate. Everything begins with love, and I love this industry more than anything.

P.S. OMG. (Can I say OMG? Can I? Just this one, little time? Please?)

We’re officially in July! 

Minutes Before Sunset releases in 27 days on July 28, 2015! 

Today is also the LAST day to enter the Goodreads Giveaway, but you can also pre-order Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, and Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2, by clicking the links.

Stay tuned. Stay Dark. ~SAT

Pre-order today!

Pre-order today!

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