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#SATurday My Weekend Cover Reveal

25 Apr

#SATurday My Weekend Cover Reveal 

This is the first time EVER—I mean it—I’ve revealed my cover elsewhere a full 24-hours before I showed it right here on www.ShannonAThompson.com.

Why?

Well, there really is only one reason. I am listening to your suggestions. Most of you—through comments and likes and messages—have let me know that you want me to create more YouTube videos, and I have. In fact, I even bought a new camera, and I revamped the entire channel. I promise to spend more time on YouTube, and I am continuing to keep that promise by revealing Seconds Before Sunrise in my latest episode:

Also, I wanted all of the Members of the Dark to share it first. I treasure every one of my Dark members, and I plan on adding more and more prizes and opportunities along the way. In fact, I have an announcement about a monthly prize coming out May 1. So, here’s a shout out to every Dark member who helped reveal the cover of Seconds Before Sunrise (Also, this month’s Dark Members of the Week are bolded):

Legends of WindemereAnnette AbernathyJonas LeeA Reader’s ReviewSDAV ReadsChris PavesicLit World InterviewsRonovan WritesThe Modest VergeLive. Laugh. Read.Mel’s ShelvesPau’s CastlesTranquil DreamsEnnlee’s Reading CornerCassandra Lost in BooksRed Sands Reviews and RamblingsawkwardMEOWEndless ReadingBook GannetMaking My Mark, Jera’s Jamboree, Just Another Girl and Her Books, The Book Forums, Macy Avenue, and Dowie’s Place.

SBScoverSeconds Before Sunrise (book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy)

Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.

Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

RUSBSIf you want to be a Member of the Dark (or a #MemberoftheDark), please email me at shannonathompson.com. By helping and sharing and tweeting out The Timely Death Trilogy, you can win prizes—like spotlights and books and more! You also get a fancy little badge – and another fancy little badge if you become Dark Member of the Week. Now in purple and in green! Who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll even be able to fly out and get a coffee with you.

Until then, here’s to more coffee and cats and Dark members,

~SAT

#WW Writer Problems 1–5

22 Apr

#WW Writer Problems 1–5

If you’re on my Facebook, then you will be familiar with today’s content. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing little cards that I make called Writer Problems. I only have a few out, but I decided that I wanted to share them on here too. So today was born, and hopefully, more days like today will follow. Basically, I’ll be sharing 5 cards at a time and explaining where the inspiration came from (because there are too many hilarious stories that go on behind the scenes of these), and I think many writers can probably relate to my writer problems.

Adding this information since I received an email requesting it: I highly encourage you all to share these photos if you want! Never be afraid to take anything from my website. In fact, I love it! But please give credit to one of my websites. If you want to use these photos, for instance, please don’t crop my website name out. Thank you!

Writer Problems #1

No matter how many times I press SAVE, I still think I’ll lose the entire document when I close it (even though I use a flash drive).

1

I’m currently working on…well…so many projects. Like most authors. But I have a problem. I’m a very neurotic person – very superstitious, very particular, and I have my rituals and my fears and they practically control my life. ::takes big breath:: So, one of my OCD issues is closing documents. I can’t. Whenever I am working on something – like a novel – I seriously struggle to close the twenty documents I have up at all. Even though I also save every five minutes, which is a problem in itself, I say a little prayer before I ever close anything. On top of that, I’ve been known to reopen everything after I close it just to check. And then I save it anything. And I might open it again. It’s exhausting.

Writer Problems #2

Eureka! I have a new idea! Now if I could only finish my other ten ideas… 

2

This goes back to my first problem. I never read one book at a time, and I never write one book at a time. I’m constantly working on different projects at the same time, so it isn’t rare for another project to sneak its way into my schedule. I’ve found that it’s both a blessing and a curse. My biggest issue is picking which novel to write next.

Writer Problems #3

Strangers catching you staring at them because they look like your characters.

3

Oh, goodness. On top of being neurotic, I’m always rather awkward, and one of those things that I tend to do (which often gets me in trouble) is staring at people. A lot. Even if people don’t look like my characters, I’ve found myself staring at someone that I WISH was one of my characters. You would think that I would get better at hiding my stalking eyes, but…I haven’t. I just stare. Creepily from my corner. Taking notes.

Writer Problems #4

Having nightmares about your novel during writing, editing, publishing, and after publication.

#4

It’s sort of like having the classic dream of showing up at school in your underwear. It happens – even though you’re no longer in school – and I find it’s even more frustrating when you’re out of school and have dreams like that. I have dreams of never finishing novels that are already finished. I have dreams of being called the shittiest author of all time. (But I think Honest Trailers already gave that to someone…) I have dreams of characters never coming out and talking to me again. Ah! I could go on and on about all the dreams I have revolving around books, but my heartbeat is racing.

Writer Problems #5

Hearing a song that inspired a novel…and now all you want to do it WRITE.

5

This particular card had a funny backstory to it, but I first have to explain how I make these. Basically, I pay attention to my everyday life, and when something reminds me of a writer problem I have, I create these. So, I might not even be going through what is on the card, but I will be going through something similar. For instance, in this case, I was doing the dishes, accompanied by my handy iPod mini – it’s green – and I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li came on. For those of you who listened to the 8tracks soundtrack for Take Me Tomorrow, you will know that this song heavily influenced my writing time, so just hearing it, made me want to go work on that trilogy. I struggled to continue washing the dishes, and it reminded me of times I’ve been out in public at an event and heard a song like this, which made it difficult to even concentrate at all. Writing consumes you.

Have any of these writer problems affected you? Have any funny stories to accompany them? Share below! And let me know if you want me to continue these cards and stories in the future. If you like them, be sure to follow me on Facebook because that is where I share them first.

~SAT

#Monday Blogs: Traditional vs. Self vs. Indie: What is the best way to get published?

20 Apr

Intro:

I have had the great honor of getting to know Kasi Blake through Clean Teen Publishing, and let me tell you guys, she is someone to watch. Her imagination began writing stories at a young – including one that was inspired by Star Wars – and she wrote across many genres. Now, she writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy…and of course, this lovely blog post about a constantly debated topic in the publishing world: which route do I take?

Traditional vs. Self vs. Indie: What is the best way to get published?

This question has been up for debate for some time, and that is why I am doing a post on it. However, I will not be telling you what you should do. Writing is a business with more than one way to do things. With that in mind, I will tell you about my experiences as I published all three ways, and you can decide for yourself which way you want to go. Each publishing arena has its pros and cons.

1. Traditional: There are still many people in the business who believe this is the only way to go and don’t consider you a real writer unless you published with one of the major publishing houses. You also need an agent in most cases. No one wants to wind up in the slush pile, wondering if their manuscript is even being read. I published two Romantic Suspense novels this way.

Advantages: Being able to say you are published with a major house gives you     credibility, and people don’t stare at you with glazed eyes when you talk about your book. Traditional publishers usually have a team of editors, graphic artists, and other awesome people to help your book along. The best thing about them in   my opinion is they can get you into stores. Seeing your book on the shelves is something you don’t forget.

Disadvantages: You have little to no control over your book. Once you sign the     contract, it is their book. They will choose the cover, change the content, and    usually they come up with their own title even if you slaved over it for months. If you think it will all be worth it to have help marketing, think again. Unless you     are a big name writer, there isn’t anything in the budget for you. Most first books lose money, and that’s why new authors have such a hard time getting signed.

2. Self-published: After getting a sparse two books published with a traditional house, I turned to the diy way. At first I was against it. I didn’t want people thinking I couldn’t get published and had to do it this way. Now, I am happy I took this journey myself, and I intend to do it again. I’ve published two series this way, the Rule Series starting with Vampires Rule (Free at the moment) and the Order of the Spirit Realm Series, starting with Bait.

Advantages: Total control. You are in charge of your book, and it is your baby       from conception to the finished product. Although you should find betas to read the manuscript before you publish, everything is up to you. Not everyone likes     this concept, but I enjoyed it. You can find out how to format and how to do your own cover on the Internet, or you can find skillful people to do those things for you. Many have taken the plunge before you, so take advantage of their      knowledge, and learn from their mistakes. You keep most of the money. I loved doing my own covers!

Disadvantages: There is still a stigma attached, and some people hate your books without giving them a chance. Marketing is difficult to do totally on your own. If the book has a problem and doesn’t sell, it is on you. There’s no one else to blame.

kasiblake

3. Indie: Although I am a control freak and enjoyed doing my own thing, it became tedious, so I found a small Indie Publisher for my Witch Game Novels. Crushed will be published August 4th with Witch Hunt following a few months later.

Advantages: I can’t tell you how great it feels to have someone else in this with     me now. While I concentrate on writing, they are editing the books, doing the    covers, etc. I can breathe. Unlike the traditional publishers, they offered me more control over my covers, content, and so on. It’s been great working with them. They also do some of the marketing.

Disadvantages: You are giving up part of your royalties and some control. Once you sign that contract, the book isn’t a hundred percent yours anymore, so make sure you can trust the people you are working with. Get recommendations.

There you have it, the top advantages and disadvantages of each publishing route. You have to decide which is best for you. Not everyone will do well with a traditional publisher, just like not everyone will succeed as a self-published author. It depends on what’s most important to you. Are you dying to see your books on the shelf in your local store even if they never sell? Do you have to have control over your own covers? Does it drive you crazy and give you an ulcer when you are in charge of everything?

Bio:

kasi-2Hi, my name is Kasi Blake, and I write Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy for the young and the young at heart. I love animals, wild and tamed, and years ago a blind date made my dream come true by introducing me to his cougar, Samantha. She was beautiful, and I was too stupid to be scared. In retrospect, my lack of fear probably saved me. He let me go into her pen so I could pet her. She walked up to me and fixed her open mouth on my upper thigh. I just stroked her head and told her how beautiful I thought she was. She was looking up at me sideways while gently biting down on my leg. He pulled her back, told her not to get me dirty, and I walked out of the pen. I think she was just testing me. Glad I passed.

I was born in sunny California, but I now live on a farm in the Midwest with a dog, two cats, ducks, chickens and cows. Hearing from readers is on my list of favorite things. You can find me at www.kasiblake.com

Please check out my books on Amazon. Vampires Rule is free at this time, and Bait is an awesome read about hunters-in-training. Think Supernatural, the TV show, but with a slightly younger cast. You can also find out more about me and my books at http://www.kasiblake.com

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

#WW Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

15 Apr

Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

Lately, I’ve been trying to help a lot of fellow writers find publishers, literary journals, and websites where they can share their work. The market is HUGE (hence the giant, capital letters), but for many, this is both a positive and a negative description of the industry. With so many options, how does someone know where to submit? And with so many opportunities, why do I keep getting rejected?

rejectThere are so many answers for this, and none of them are accurate. It’s all guesswork. I can’t tell someone why their manuscript was denied by so-and-so, and I can’t explain why someone else’s poetry made it into The Gettysburg Review over someone else. Only the judgers could, for certain, say why, but even then, it often comes down to their mood that day or their theme that month or how well it would fit in with the other work they already accepted. Again, guesswork.

That being said, this is when I see too many writers give up hope. They’ve submitted to 20 or so places and either received rejections or nothing at all, so they stop. Now, I want to take this moment to clarify that I’m talking about submitting to places today. I’m not discussing self-publishing. While I completely support (and often suggest) self-publishing, it isn’t for everyone, and many people do give up when submitting starts to overwhelm them, so this post is more for them – this post is for those writers who have specific journals they want to see their name in, to see a certain label on their work, to be among the voices of their favorite journal. That’s their goal and their decision, and I see nothing wrong with it. So, again, while I support self-publishing, this post is directed at writers who are submitting to places who might feel discouraged by the process. Below, I’m outlining a few steps to keep your pen up and your ink flowing while also submitting and submitting and submitting until that rejection pile becomes an acceptance pile.

Here are ways to keep submitting: (I’m going to use poems for the example)

Keep a Submission Journal

Set a goal for submitting a certain number of times during a specific timeframe. Ex. I will submit three poems to three journals every month. Now, here’s the tricky part – keep track of that goal. Write down what poems, what journals, and what dates you submitted. This will help remind you that you are currently submitting, and even if you get rejected, I guarantee you’ll already feel better because – chances are – you’ll already have other poems circulating for submission. Many journals, for instance, take months to get back to someone, so submitting different poems in different places will prevent you from getting that “I’m never submitting again” feeling because you’ll already have other submissions pending.

Keep Writing

While I believe it’s okay to have a specific poem you definitely want to get published, try submitting other ones too, and definitely keep writing new ones. A story I like to tell everyone involves my poetry publications. When I started submitting them, it was almost always the poems I NEVER thought they’d pick that were chosen in the end. My “best” poems in my mind are not my “best” poems in someone else’s mind. Remember that one reader won’t like everything, so send out more than just one piece of work. Send out a variety. And then write some more. And keep writing.

Keep Reading

One mistake I see many writers make is the lack of reading, especially of the journals and/or publishers they’re submitting to. I, myself, have made that mistake by accidentally submitting a controversial piece to a journal that no longer accepted controversy. Despite the fact that I kept reading the journal, I never noticed the theme change – so it’s important to read the journal and also take notes on the journal’s overall voice and goals. Sometimes writers think they can go around this by just reading the submission guidelines, but it isn’t rare to see “to get a feel for what we accept, read our latest edition….” at the top of submission pages. Even better, many literary journals offer a free copy for you to review, so read, and read a lot. You might even find a new writer you love.

Make a Mentor List

You know you have them. Your favorite novelist. Your favorite poet. A TED speaker. We all look up to someone, and it’s great to figure out where that someone came from. Even better, find someone with similar topics and/or voice, and check out where they came from and how they got their start. That famous writer wasn’t born a famous writer. They had to submit too. And you know what? I bet they even received rejections. But they never gave up, and you shouldn’t either.

Keep on submitting!

~SAT

#WW: Debating Giveaways and Donations

8 Apr

#WW: Debating Giveaways and Donations.

By now, you probably know that Clean Teen Publishing is running a Goodreads Giveaway for 3 ARCs of Minutes Before Sunset. And if you’re involved in the publishing industry at all – and I’m assuming you are if you’re reading this – then you already know how widely debated giveaways are. It doesn’t matter if you’re an author, a reader, or a publisher. I’m sure you’ve seen the debates about giveaways. I’m sure you’ve also seen a few debates about donations as well. We all have our opinions, and both topics are deeply complex – probably too complex to completely cover in this article below – but I did want to try to explain why I choose to participate in giveaways and donations.

I’ve considered both deeply, so much so that I’ve spent hours researching all the pros and cons. I’m sure you can already tell from my website that I am all for giveaways and donations. That being said, I want to start with donations.

Let's start off with this bookstore I found recently - almost all books were donations.

Let’s start off with this bookstore I found recently – almost all books were donations.

Donations:

Some like to call it panhandling. Others – like me – like to call it support. I never consciously started my website with the idea of donations in mind. In fact, two years of blogging passed before I ever added a page. The first time I considered it was when a blogger – who I had gifted one of my novels to – asked if I had a donate page because she wanted to support my writing. She informed me that she had already bought my books and shared them with friends, but she wanted to do more.

I was touched – and a little bit insecure. I didn’t feel like I was worth any extra help. I didn’t feel like it was “right”, and we spoke about it for a while. She explained that she does this for a lot of her favorite authors, and I remembered something. I donate to my favorite authors and musicians. I have, and I still do when I can. But I was always the donator – not the receiver – and the flip of the relationship felt odd and surreal.

That’s when I started researching.

While I can’t share every article I ever found on the topic, I will share THE ONE – the one that ultimately changed my mind. It was a TED talk: Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking: and I suggest watching it whenever you have the time.

She is absolutely right. The donations become an exchange – a loving exchange. It’s not forced or expected or lazy. I donate to show my appreciation, and when I receive donations, I like to give unique photos of Bogart to supporters to show how much I appreciate them. (Since I’m not a statue actress with flowers like Amanda Palmer).

Now – my addition to this topic is something I’ll never forget. Last year, when I lost my old publisher, my job, and my car at the same time, I was walking around in the rain with holes in my boots just to try to find new work – and you all saved me. Quite frankly, you all kept me on my feet. And you kept my feet dry. Without you, I’m not sure where I would’ve been. But with you, I was safe, and for that, I am forever thankful, and I hope I can continue to move forward and helps others in the way you all helped me. Helping and being helped out of the goodness of your heart – finding ways to support one another when we can – cheering everyone on – and working together for a better future, that is love.

Now, for giveaways: (whew)

The main judgment I see in giveaways is generally worded like this: “Giving away your work for free devalues your work.”

This saddens me. As an author, I trust my readers to bring joy to giveaways, to be positive and uplifting, and to enjoy the event. I do not feel like it devalues my work. To me, that is like saying all presents aren’t valuable because they were given to you for free. Some of the closest trinkets I own are presents. They are immensely valuable to me. If someone handed me a free book – a free trinket or free cake or free notebook – I would never think, “This isn’t valuable.” Instead, when I received a notebook from a reader, my day was filled with warmth, and I have been filling up the notebook with poems ever since – poems I send to that reader, poems we discuss, poems we talk about, poems we build friendship on. That isn’t just valuable. It’s invaluable. Giveaways are gift-gifting opportunities, but they are more than that: they are friendship opportunities.

Now, this is where another concern slides in. Some people sign up who just want to resell your work: no reviews, no reader connections, just people “stealing.”

We choose to give it away. It is a gift. We cannot have expectations for what people do with the gift. That’s just not how gifting works. Granted, I do hope that people stop entering giveaways just to sell work – because yes, that’s unfair to the readers who actually wanted it to read it – but we must trust the readers to come through for authors, and I trust that we can work together to make it a better gift-giving system.

On a side note, I mentioned TED talks earlier, and now I will mention them again. I’m a TED talk junky. I have spent many nights – probably too many nights – watching TED talks. I have learned from TED talks and grown from them and shared them, and guess what? They are all free.

I recently watched a collection of six on forgiveness, and another one about poetry in prison, and the danger of the single story. Arguably, the last one – by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – is my ultimate favorite. The single story is damaging, and I think the “single story” theory goes beyond just hearing a single story. It stretches to any type of judgment, and that brings me back to Amanda Palmer’s speech, The Art of Asking.

We are quick to judge things like giveaways or donations and we are quick to praise them as well, but there are always two sides to the story, two sides to the pros and cons of an act, and two sides to debate.

I choose to stay on this side – as a reader and as an author – and I hope to stay on this side, even when things get tough.

~SAT

And in case you haven’t entered the giveaway (and you want to), click this link to the photo below for your chance to win 1 of 3 ARCS of the new edition of Minutes Before Sunset. Clean Teen Publishing will be picking winners on my birthday! (Because what better way to celebrate?)  bel234

#MondayBlogs: Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers

6 Apr

Intro:

I love info graphics. In fact, I’m a little obsessed with them. So, when Cindy Bates – a freelance editor and writer for Best Essay Tips – contacted me with her very own info graphic to share, I just knew I had to share it. Below, you’ll find a photo that outlines the Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers.

Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers 

Being a prolific and excellent writer is never easy. It took years to the world’s most famous and topnotch writers to be able to publish their work. For those who are aspiring to become one, possessing this skill does not happen overnight but you can definitely learn many things from famous writers. To improve your writing skills, constant practice is important. The best way to do this is to have your own journal. When you have your personal journal, you can freely write down your thoughts. You get to have your own space where you can express yourself without restraints and inhibitions. Apart from owning a journal, it is also known among famous writers that in order for you to be skilled in writing you also have to be a wide reader. By forming these habits, you can start having your own personal time for writing and to practice not just writing as a skill but as well as an art.

Writing techniques

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

#WW The Doubtful Writer – Who Says I Can Do This?

1 Apr

SURPRISE – This is not an April Fool’s joke

Clean Teen Publishing is hosting a Goodreads Giveaway April 1 – June 23. On June 23 – coincidentally on my birthday – three ARCs of Minutes Before Sunset will be given away to lucky and awesome readers (such as yourself). Enter here or below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson

Minutes Before Sunset

by Shannon A. Thompson

Giveaway ends June 23, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

#WW The Doubtful Writer – Who Says I Can Do This?

This first paragraph is more or less an intro, but I feel like it was important to add it. I don’t normally have an intro for my posts, but this one wasn’t written in my usual, positive self. I wrote it about two weeks ago, which – coincidentally – was also the same day of the anniversary of my mother’s death. It has been 12 years since she passed, but the day still affects me in many ways, and I had a day full of doubt. I wrote down how I felt about it, and since I know many writers have many days full of doubts, I decided I wanted to share it on here. Hopefully, it allows fellow writers to feel less alone, more normal, and accepting toward an array of other emotions I think we’ve all had at one point. The photo you see below is of my father and my mother. It’s one of my favorite photos of them, and if you follow me on Facebook, then you already know how much these two people have influenced me by encouraging me to follow my dreams. Encouragement is a never-ending type of love.

parents

I’m having one of those days – you know them, I’m sure. The days where we doubt ourselves can seem like the longest, most dreadful days. I am already counting the seconds between now and tomorrow, knowing that I will, most likely, feel better tomorrow, but for this singular moment in time, I am writing out how I feel because writing has always helped me slow down those overwhelming emotions that drown you with fear and frustration and frivolous ideas like, “why did I ever think I could do this anyway?”

I don’t think I’ve ever believed I could do this – this writing thing – but then again, I’m not sure it’s about thinking you can do something but rather doing it anyway and trying to do your best every day, even during the days where you question it. I love writing. I love sharing my writing with readers. I love connecting with fellow writers and readers. I love everything that revolves around words and sharing them. That’s what matters. And most days, that’s enough to push me forward, but hard days still happened.

I can’t remember the last time I felt this unsure, but I’m sure I had another day just like this not too long ago. I’m only 23 years old, after all. Any life experience in writing I can think of is probably (at most) a little over a decade away. I, hopefully, have many more decades to go, but I know I’ve always believed I don’t have many decades in front of me at all. Perhaps it stems from watching three of my grandparents, three dogs, and my mother die before I was a teenager. I just can’t bring myself to believe in a long and prosperous life, so I’ve focused all of my attention on a meaningful one, no matter how long or prosperous it could be.

I’m uncharacteristically sad today, but that knowledge doesn’t lessen the depression much more. I normally write about continuing forward and confidence and love and a peaceful state of mind. I want this website to be a cheerful place, an encouraging place, and I promise I’m still trying to bring out the inspiration for the day.

There will be days that doubt takes over. There might even be weeks or seasons or years. But there will be another good day if you let it come, and there will always be more to say, to think about, to write about. It’s a matter of picking up that pen, accepting the doubt, and writing down your words anyway. It’s a matter of doing exactly this – expressing it, even if you don’t know if you should – and moving forward into the future, knowing you’re one word closer to meeting a new goal.

My goal today was to continue forward, no matter how much doubt suddenly rushed into me, and I did, and I will, and I do so by reminding myself of the love and passion that goes into my writing career as well as all of my readers who’ve shown support and care to me.

We stick together, and we keep our pens up until we run out of ink.

(And when we run out of ink, we walk to the nearest CVS and pick up more pens.)

Thank you for loving me – I love you in the same way I love this peace that has come by sharing it.

~SAT

servicesAlso, who else is looking forward to writing during the rainy month of April? 

Personally, I write at night, but during the day, I help authors find readers and interviewers. I also edit manuscripts and manage social media accounts. I can even create promo photos for you.

Feel free to check out my services as well as some reviews.

Message me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you have any questions – or even just to say hi!

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