Tag Archives: podcasts for writers

2017 Favorite Writing Tools

2 Dec

Toward the end of every year, I like to talk about my favorite books, but I thought I’d share my favorite new writing experiences, too. This list is based on tools I tried in 2017, not necessarily tools that released in 2017, but I hope you find it helpful anyway.

Website: MSWL

For those of you querying, MSWL (or Manuscript Wishlist) organizes agents, editors, and publishers by showing what they wish they’d receive in their inbox. Read profiles on the website or do a quick search on Twitter’s #MSWL. Sometimes wishes can get oddly specific, but don’t be discouraged. Specifics are not usually meant to be read as “this is the ONLY thing I want,” but rather a fun way to reach out to those perfect matches. Generalized wishlist items are mainly on the website profiles (and, of course, you should always visit the person’s main website). MSWL is a fun way to see what people are asking for. On top of that, they now have a fantastic newsletter, podcast, and classes. Even online pitch sessions! It’s a tool worth checking out, whether or not you’re querying. Any cons? Sometimes sketchy people show up. Always do further research on the agent, editor, or publisher.

Technology: Alphasmart Neo

After seeing the YA Gal post her Alphasmart Neo on Facebook, I had a flashback to middle school when these wireless keyboards were used in the classroom. I immediately wanted one for myself. Why? Because I spend all day on the computer at my job. My computer screen KILLS my eyes, and sometimes the Internet is too big of a distraction. I bought myself an Alphasmart Neo because I wanted to be able to write away from my technology…and I’ve used it so much it’s stupid. I absolutely love it, and wish I would’ve bought one earlier. Cons? I have major ADD. My mind skips all over the place when I’m writing, and scrolling/organizing can be a little difficult on a screen that only shows four lines at a time, so I’m mainly using it for first drafts/ideas. I also make a lot more spelling mistakes, but that could be because the keyboard is different than the one I’m used to, and, hey, I have to edit everything I write anyway, so no big deal. What’s an additional read-through?

App: SimpleNote

Last year, I downloaded Scrivener for the first time. Well, this year, I wanted to sync my Scrivener to my phone, but, as far as I know, Scrivener doesn’t have a phone app for Andriod yet. I did some research and landed on SimpleNote, which allows me to sync directly with my Scrivener. That way, I always have my books with me. Cons? You have to have some foresight as to what you want to take with you. It doesn’t automatically sync everything. You pick which file you want. But you can always create a new document and upload it later if you forgot to sync the file you want to edit.

Podcast: 88 Cups of Tea

Somehow I just discovered 88 Cups of Tea. How? No idea. Because I love it. If you want to listen to exclusive interviews with some of your favorite, big-name authors, this podcast is for you. It’s both casual and enlightening. Con? Sometimes I find interview titles misleading. Ex. An episode that says it will talk about X but they only discuss X for 10 minutes in a 50-minute episode. But if I could learn how to relax in my workaholic life, I don’t think this is an issue. In fact, being reminded that writers are people is incredibly important, and I appreciate how candid many guests get during discussions. So, if you love personal stories, this podcast is for you.

FB Group: AAYAA

I joined AAYAA this year at the suggestion of a friend, and I LOVE it. If you’re a young adult author, AAYAA is great. There’s a website, Twitter, and Facebook group, but I’ve found the FB to be my favorite place to go. It connects young adult authors together for insight, opportunities, and more. I’ve already made a couple friends, gained some new followers, and learned information that I didn’t know before. Con? Every once in a while, a troll might appear, but hey, that’s the Internet for you.

New Writing Tip?

Just last month, I attended the SCBWI conference. During the breakout session Revision—Preparing Your MG & YA Novel for Submission, Jennifer Soloway discussed so many amazing writing tips, but one in particular really stood out to me: They say to “Show, Don’t Tell”, but sometimes you have to do both. The example she used was a gasping girl with a pounding heart. Even in the context of the scene, a reader could interpret her emotions for fear, excitement, or a health condition. Sometimes it’s okay to say fear paralyzed a person or “I am terrified.” It’s about balance. I’ve been struggling with this a little bit in my writing lately. I have let traditional rules get in the way a little too much. This was a nice reminder. Con? Swinging too much the other way.

So these were my top new writing tools I used this year. Did you try anything out for the first time? Have any tips? Share away!

~SAT

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#SATurdate: Lady Midnight, House of Cards, & Coffee Grinds

12 Mar

I somehow just realized it was March. Listen, I know we’re 12 days in, but I’ve been living in LA via Lady Midnight and I’m pretty sure it’s winter in the current book I’m writing. This confuses me.

What I’m Writing:

As many of you know, I’m writing book two of The Tomo Trilogy, even though the first one isn’t on the road to publication yet. I won’t lie. Writing book two has been difficult, but not any more difficult than other books I’ve written. That being said, it did get me thinking about how book two gets such a bad rep. I get it. Book two needs to be better than book one, but it can’t be better than book three. That’s a lot of pressure. Especially since the characters and the setting and the storyline are familiar now that book one is complete. But I LOVE writing book two. I feel like there is more pressure in book one to be fascinating and understandable, while in book two you can just focus on the story rather than the world-building, and book three…Well, letting characters go is never easy. Letting the entire story go? Beyond shattering. I’ll probably write an article about this in April.

What I’m Publishing:

I saw the interior mock up for Bad Bloods yesterday, and let me tell you, it is beautiful! I am thrilled by the design, and I cannot wait to see the final result. This week’s #1lineWed theme was “smile.” So here is your weekly preview of a line from Bad Bloods. Robert, if you’re curious, is the leader of the Southern Flock, which is the flock Serena—the protagonist—belongs to. Flocks are groups of bad bloods who unite in order to survive. When Bad Bloods starts, there are only two flocks left.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading:

12841393_997246166989231_2090412302441378137_oIt is here! FINALLY. The glory that is Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. I bought mine the second it released, and I’m not going to lie, I considered reading in the store or in the parking lot instead of driving home. Putting it down to do reasonable things—like drive—was difficult. I’m about 350 pages in, and so far, my favorite quote is this one: “Every story is a love story.”

What I’m Listening To:

The Guilty Feminist: A podcast about feminism, which means equality for all, including men. Just throwing that out there. This podcast is honest, hilarious, and entertaining. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. They talk about nudity, apologizing, sex, food, and basically, everything. I’m telling you, it’s both fascinating and refreshing, because the speakers very much make fun of themselves, the world, and analyze topics from both sides of the coin.

height_250_width_250_guilty_feminist_bobThe Narrative Breakdown is a podcast for writers, agents, publishers, readers, etc. It covers all types of topics—from screenwriting to query letters to reading outside your favorite genres. Every episode features a new guest speaker, too, so you can learn about the industry from various voices and perspectives.

Serial Killer by Lana Del Ray

This is the song I tweeted about this week. If you missed it, my roommate walked into my office while I was writing…and singing this song. “I’m a sociopath” are difficult lyrics to explain. REALLY difficult lyrics to explain. Especially when blissing out to them.

What I’m Watching:

I started and finished the current season of House of Cards, and holy alkhd oasidhl ainceilna livenli. That season was perfection (although I must admit I thought the second half was much better than the first half). I’m all for relationship drama, but I definitely prefer the twisted politics and the unstoppable (and ruthless) Underwoods. Plus, Kevin Spacey is my hero.

netflix-house-of-cards

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

12801189_997773623603152_4936648959475274214_nA very lovely lady gifted me with a much-needed coffee grinder, so I was experimenting all week with coffee grinds. My kitchen smells like heaven, so I’ve basically been writing in there so I can enjoy it.

What I’m Wearing:

Bags under my eyes. I’m exhausted.

What I’m Wanting:

CdEIXNBUEAAymQi.jpg-largeRoseBlood – A.G. Howard’s latest novel, a retelling of the Phantom Opera. I loved her Splintered trilogy, and I cannot wait for what she has in store for everyone next. On a side note, I love how this cover is similar to her last trilogy’s covers, even though it’s a completely different series. It keeps her style, makes her easy to recognize, and still stands on its own. (Not to mention that it is freakin’ gorgeous.) Congrats, Anita!

What I’m Dreaming Of:

My father and I were driving down a highway bridge when he stopped paying attention and the truck went off the highway. We plummeted into some trees, but somehow (and this made no sense), we ended up a mile away from the wreck, unscathed. I told my dad I was going to run to the wreck, because Bogart (my cat) was in the truck, and I wanted to make sure he was okay. My father called the cops, while I ran to the car wreck. The truck was stuck in the trees outside this mini-mall (and no one seemed to care that there was a truck up in the trees). In fact, my money was all over the ground, and a man started to pick it all up after leaving a Chinese restaurant. I tackled him, and then demanded he return all of my money…and give me all of his egg rolls. (I really love egg rolls…In fact, after this dream I went out and bought egg rolls.) He did both, and I started eating the egg rolls only to remember…Oh, yeah. My cat and the car wreck. So, I ran over to the tree line where a little girl was standing. She told me she found a boulder in the woods. (That’s it. No idea why.) I brushed her off, ran into the woods, and found Bogart lying down. I thought he was dead, so I was super upset, but then he looked up and meowed at me, and all was well. I woke up in real-life, where Bogart was laying next to me, and I started smuggling him with hugs and kisses. He tried to get away because he thought it was breakfast time. Safe to say he got a giant bowl that morning and had no idea why.

What Else Is Going On:

I’m trying to be healthier. This means taking an aerobic kickboxing class online. This means hurting a lot. This means realizing that I am not the same girl I was when I took aerobic kickboxing in college. Yes. That is a real class that I ended up taking, because—fun fact—once you fulfill your English requirements, you cannot take any more English classes and have them count toward your English degree…so they put me in kickboxing. (That still makes my blood boil to this day, even though I quite enjoy kickboxing.)

~SAT

releasethree

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

 

January Ketchup

30 Jan

To be completely honest, I wrote the entire Saturdate post before I realized today was supposed to be a Ketchup post, and then I freaked out and barely finished running all the stats I needed to make this. WHEW. Geez. I need a break. My brain is broken. Since this took place on a Saturday, you can expect the next Saturdate post to take place next Saturday. 🙂

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this January.

Big Moments:

We held the cover reveal for Bad Bloods this month, and that was a wonderful way to begin 2016! So many of you enjoyed the covers, and I’m eternally grateful for your kind messages. I know it’s a long wait until the books release, but I hope you’re looking forward to July as much as I am!

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#1 Clicked Item

In the meantime, I was featured on Buzzfeed Book’s 31 Funny Tweets That Are Way, Way Too Real For Writers, which was super cool…especially since I read them religiously. In fact, I was actually reading it when I saw myself. Pretty surreal!

Since I’m spending more time on Twitter, I started my new Twitter series called Author in a Coffee Shop. What is #AuthorinaCoffeeShop? It’s just how it sounds. I sit in a coffee shop and I tweet out my writer thoughts. It takes place every Friday at 7 p.m. (CDT) via @AuthorSAT, so I hope to see you there for episode 5!

On a side note, The Timely Death Trilogy hit 500 ratings, and Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, was the number 1 clicked item on this website during January, so thank you for reading and taking the time to review my novels! You are priceless.

 

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Bad Bloods Cover Reveal: The covers were FINALLY released, and I’m SO exciting so many of you loved the covers. I know it’s a wait for the books, but I hope you stick it out with me and enjoy the books this July.

#1 SEO Term

#1 SEO Term

2. What I Learned Rewriting a Seven-Year-Old Novel: I’m so glad you all are enjoying the rewrites of older posts. This one was centered on Bad Bloods, too! It was really neat to see my old post, when I had no idea if it would work out, and this new post, after I’ve signed it for publication. I’ve learned a lot over the past decade, and it’s fun to be able to share those lessons with everyone.

3. Feminism in YA: Knives and Candy: I discuss how heroines can be both badass and traditionally feminine and still be respected and believable. I shared numerous aspects of my life from both sides and call for an understanding that female characters need to be 3D.

3. Writing the Back Blurb: This one actually tied for third place, so I put both up here. I recovered various tips on how to tackle back blurb writing. Stakes! Remember your stakes.

These were the books I read this month!

These were the books I read this month!

Other Blog Posts:

Various Stages of Writer’s Block: We all get it. But for those of you who don’t, this is what it’s like

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

Saturdate Fortitude, Splintered, The Beat Generation, & Broken Elbows: A weekly update of a psychological thriller, a fairy tale retelling, a poet, and an injury.

Saturdate: Shadowhunters, Bad Bloods Shorts, BuzzFeed Books, and Zombie Clowns: A weekly update about an awesome feature and a terrible dream.

Try a New Section in the Bookstore: I talk about what I’ve learned by broadening my reading horizons.

How Podcasts Can Help Your Writing: There are SO many ways to tackle your writing, and this is a great route to try.

Saturdate Danish Girl, An Outline, Cat Socks, and Raven Boys: A weekly update about one of the best movies of the year and books and cats and stuff.

Saturdate Book Covers, Amy Schumer, Assassins, Joy, and homemade fudge: A weekly update about how I failed at baking.

Website Wonders: A monthly classic

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers: The Messy Owl

Features: Buzzfeed Book’s 31 Funny Tweets That Are Way, Way Too Real For Writers

jan2016

Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM! I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. CTP author Tamara Granthamwill be there, as well as NY Times Bestselling and USA Today Bestselling author Candice Gilmer. (I’ll know the other three authors soon!) I’d love to see you! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Barnes & NobleValentine's Day Romance Author Event

#WW How Podcasts Can Help Your Writing

13 Jan

Audio books are getting more and more popular every year. Why? Well, it’s nice to be able to listen to a book while driving to work instead of the latest (and probably repetitive) pop song. On top of that, many people have less free time than ever before, so audio books help add to the variety of ways readers can still read. (Now if they could only get that price down…)

Personally, I’m not an audio book person. Not yet. But I have found another stream of entertainment through audio programs, and they help with my writing.

I love podcasts. I think they are brilliant, and they definitely help keep me updated when I FINALLY give myself a break from staring at my computer screen. I generally listen to a podcast while doing the dishes or putting away the laundry or chasing my crazy cats away from scratching up the latest UPS delivery. (True story.)

Basically, they help me continue to research the publishing industry or for my writings when I’m not on my computer. Since I work on the computer all day (and spend most of my free time on the computer as an author), it’s nice to have the option of simply listening to additional information and not have to go searching for it. I highly recommend giving them a try. Even if you already know the information given, it’s nice to have your feelings confirmed. (It’s also nice for a hermit like me, who practically never hears a human voice all week long.)

So, how do I recommend getting involved?

Well, think about what you want more information on and why. Personally, I wanted to follow at least two good writing podcasts, but I also wanted something that could help with my writing, especially in areas where I lack. To expand on that, I wanted something that would challenge my inspiration or force me to go outside my comfort zone. Seriously, there are podcasts on everything, but here is my example:

1. Writing Podcasts

There are dozens of podcasts dedicated to writing, publishing, and everything in between. Personally, my favorite has been Writing Excuses. The recordings are clear, the hosts are fun, and the topics are relatable but also challenging. I often find myself nodding along to everything they say, but then, they say ONE little thing in a way I’ve never thought about it before, and my entire afternoon is fueled with excitement. This is my favorite podcast of all-time. Highly recommended for every writer out there, no matter where you are in your writing career.

WritingExcuses

2. Help with my Research

As every writer, I research. A lot. But I don’t always have hours and hours of time to research. So, I searched for a podcast with mythology and classical stories to listen to. This is more for inspiration than anything else, but it helps me take a break, have fun, and educate myself (or even refresh myself) on the mythology out there literature uses to create. It also feels like a reprieve from work, even though it isn’t.

3. Challenge My Inspiration

This is an expansion on #2, but basically, I didn’t just want to be inspired; I also wanted to be challenged. So, in this example, I challenged myself to listen to a podcast on Japanese mythology. Granted, I’ve already had some interest in this field, but it’s more difficult for me to get involved since I don’t have a huge background in it. By listening to it more, especially while contrasting it against western mythology, I can challenge myself to find inspiration in topics I wouldn’t normally find outside of that podcast.

These are three simple ways you can use podcasts to help with your writing.

I hope you have just as much fun as I have!

~SAT

I’m starting a new series called “Author in a Coffee Shop.” If you’re wondering what Author in the Coffee Shop is, it’s just how it sounds. I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while…you know…I people watch…for inspiration.
Follow me on Twitter via @AuthorSAT next Friday at 7 p.m. CDT for episode 2.

Here’s a sample if you missed out:

In other news…you can now add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November SnowI’m also considering leading up to the July releases with short stories of each character joining the “flocks.” A flock is a group of 12 bad bloods that have come together to survive on the streets. In Bad Bloods, there are four flocks, one for each cardinal direction of the city, but only two flocks are left: The Southern and the Northern Flock. Some stories would purposely be left out, but I have six written. If this is something you’d think you’d be interested in reading, let me know! I would start sharing them at the end of February.

Speaking of February, on February 13, I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas. (More info to come.) I’d love to see you at Bradley Fair!

Also, my awesome publisher is giving away a Kindle Fire right here.

Giveaway-image

Starting your 2016 Reading Challenge? Minutes Before Sunset, book 1  in The Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE: (You could read it on your brand-new Kindle Fire.)

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#SATurdate: Cover Reveal, The Dark Artifices, Podcasts, and a Burglar.

19 Dec

I know so many of you saw Star Wars already, but I haven’t, so please don’t be disappointed that I’m not talking about it yet. I will see it soon, I promise!

What I’m Writing:

I’m working on the revisions of Take Me Tomorrow. I finished the initial run-through, so now, I’m basically sitting on it and letting it be for a little while I decide what I want to keep and what I don’t want to keep. This upcoming week, I might work on a secret project while I let Take Me Tomorrow stew.

What I’m Publishing: 

The cover designer finished the covers for Bad Bloods! Eeeeee. So, you can expect a cover reveal soon-ish, which means there will probably be an opportunity to win some prizes. (I’m thinking an exclusive sneak peek, like the first chapter of November Rain.) Keep your eyes locked on your emails. I’ll be sending out a call for help via my newsletter. If you’re not subscribed, you can subscribe to my newsletter here. Your information will never be given away, no purchase is necessary, and you can unsubscribe at any time. (It only goes out once a month, if that.)

And, of course, the #1lineWed preview. This week’s theme was memory.

I recalled how he walked in the rain. With that memory, others crept in. His half-laugh. His honesty. The dimple on his right cheek.

Visit the PinterestFacebook, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading: 

cassieI started and finished Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. (She loves Boo Boo.) And, as many of you already know, it absolutely wrecked me. I wish I could explain how much I ugly cried, but my roommate had the unfortunate timing of walking in on me while reading the ending. He thought my cats died. But you can read my five-star review here. Clockwork Princess is a heartbreaking, courageous adventure, a tale of flawed heroes and bright heroines, a death-defying journey of ill-fated lovers. It will surely stay with you forever.

I finished Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Volume 9 by Naoko Takeuchi. I definitely gave this particular volume five stars, but I’m a bit biased. The Dead Moon Circus is probably my favorite character arc. I love it. I feel like we see more of all the characters in this arc, and everyone has matured greatly from how they started out. This is the one that brings everyone together and at their best. Here is my full review.

What I’m Listening To:

WX-10-Logo3Mainly podcasts. Without getting into too much detail, I listened to Japanese Fairy Tales by Theodora Ozaki, Myths and Legends by Jason Weiser, The Publishing Profits Podcast Show by Tom Corson-Knowles, and Writing Excuses by Brandon Sanderson. I LOVE Writing Excuses. might do a blog post about these, which is why I’m not going to get into detail here, but they are great!

What I’m Watching:

Interstellar: Yes. I finally saw it. I know. I know. I’m super late on that, but…I kind of already knew what was going to happen based on things I saw and read after it released, which is probably why I didn’t go out of my way to see it earlier.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I baked tomato mac n’ cheese and made beef tongue stew. (That’s a thing.) I have a weird love for organ meat.

What I’m Wearing:

Pajamas and my hair in an ever-sliding bun.

What I’m Wanting:

20443235Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare: This is the first book in The Dark Artifices, the next Shadowhunters series she’s starting. After wrecking me with The Infernal Devices, I’m dying for another series. I love Cassandra Clare so much.

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski – YES, even though the cover of the third book has changed and won’t match the rest of the series, I WANT this book more than ever.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Well, the best one I had this week involved my truck a lot. At first I was driving it from the backseat at night. (There’s no backseat in my truck.) Then, a cop was trying to pull me over, so I was attempting to get back into the front seat, and because of the sudden movement, the cop started shooting me. Flash-forward. Like a blink. I was in my driveway with my best friend. I’ve recruited her for a rather…interesting job. I’m storing bones beneath my truck’s driver’s seat. Human bones. An old man and a teenage girl. Why? I have no clue. But my neighbor sees us outside and comes riding over on his lawnmower (which is funny, because I had a neighbor that actually used to do this). And we know we’re going to get caught, but my friend thinks she can just sit in front of you know…the corpses…and he won’t see them. OF course that doesn’t work. He’s just sitting on his lawn mower, in shock, unable to run or anything. And I’m just staring at him, trying to decide what to do…when I wake up. Shake my head. And go back to sleep.

What Else Is Going On:

So…Shannon has a delightful story for everyone.

Setting the scene: I’m home. Late at night. By myself. When I hear a strange noise I’ve never heard before. Right. Outside. My. Window.

The cats react.

They jump under the nearest piece of furniture they can find.

Okay.

Strange.

But I can’t see outside into the dark because I have all the lights on…so I go upstairs to look out a dark window. And I’m searching. And I’m searching. And I’m…

The back door is getting beat in, and the entire house is shaking, and you better believe I am dialing 911 faster than I can type. (Which is pretty fast by the way.)

The cops also show up very fast. (Way to go, Gladstone PD.)

And suddenly there are five cops running around my house in the dark with their flashlights, shouting and such, when an equivalent amount of deer come out of the backyard and try to attack them.

Apparently, one of these guys was literally trying to beat in my back door.

Stupid rut season.

(Shannon and the cats are safe…although her ego is hurt.)

~SAT

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