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Welcome to my blog!

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This blog was my online wordsmith workshop, where you'll find notes on my writing experiences, excerpts from my fantasy and science fiction novels, and essays of a more homeworld flavor.  Some of the advice therein may still be of interest to new writers so I have left it here but due to technical difficulties, I no longer post here regularly.  You can look me up on Dreamwidth, although I do not post frequently. 

Feel free to share a link to this site. If you opt to download it or share content, please give due credit to this website and the author: Emmalyn N. Edwards. Thank you--Emmalyn

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Friday, August 31, 2012

No wonder they sit here
You never know what oddity will be explained by trying it. I always wondered why people crowded into this corner of the station even though they don't have trains at the near gate, but today this is my gate, and suddenly my wifi is working so much better AND the AC is working better. Nice combo!

Anyway, so here I am on the rail again and day dreaming and writing, mostly battle scenes this week. Verbal battles and social struggles provide good fuel for developing battle scenes and deciding on tone and mood, which ultimately means more than the battle itself. I had three battles in my sequence and was struggling with how they fit in the story until I realized that the different points in the story each have a different mood that the battles need to support, not contradict. I had too much "fun and excitement" where the story was all anger, frustration, and distress, sorrow where the story was mostly going well... In some cases, it just changes how I describe the battle, but part of it was specific events in the battle that were integral to the mood - the loss of a squadron mate, an attack on a defenseless target, a game to annoy bosses and "enemy" together. (This is my not-quite surreal, so the apparent and designated "enemy" isn't the story antagonist).

So I've been re-sequencing, again, piecemeal and whole scene sections to develop the right moods in the right part of the story arc, but at least this time I know where the battles should be and it's mostly a straight swap for sequencing, then revise each battle so that it doesn't come off choppy or discontinuous (the tower down should follow, not precede the tower still standing, even if it's more of a cartoon than realistic). the remerging requires some other adjustments to the battle scenes but each change has forced a new look and that's all to the good, so that the battle scenes are gradually becoming more substantive and less repetitive (which I didn't realize they were until I started swapping).

Writer's challenge: Go somewhere you haven't before, sit there for an hour, and write about every aspect of the experience, preferably while you are still there.

Writer's prompt: "Could you watch this for me?"
31 aug 12 @ 2:59 pm

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

small press list continued
The second half of the old list of small press publishers I found is going about like the first half, but one or two with potential for those who write particular subgenres:


Fairwood Press - Not open to submissions

Gryphonwood Press - Magical as well as urban fantasy, SF seems to be more limited to dark fantasy-ish/paranormal in futuristic settings. Mixed YA. About-Submissions-Contact gets you to an e-mail form but no submission guidance.

Freya Publishing - just a sale site for a single book, no publisher stuff

Changeling Press - Fantasy and SF macho/western-style romances and erotica,

aiopublishing - web page “parked” - no content except adds on a publishing theme.

Diesel eBooks seems to sell eBooks, nothing about submissions or publishing new books

Scrybepress - big blank page

Mundania press - actively looking for unpublished manuscripts in the genres of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, horror, science fiction and fantasy. Not looking for unsolicited YA at this time. They seem to like fairly hard core technical science fiction.

MillerWrite.com has one book for sale and is not currently accepting submissions. Seems to have been intended to make a one-time self publishing endeavor look like a more formal publishing company.

Old Earth Books - alernative histories, collections, no submission info.

Headpress Online - more on the unusual nonfiction than fiction, no submission information

Flying Dolphin Press redirects to Knopf Doubleday publishing, an imprint of Random House that includes publishing support to smaller publishing companies. Randomhouse does not accept unsolicited queries or submissions.

Writers of the Future - the quarterly and annual competition for short stories and novelettes that I’ve mentioned in the past.

Riptide Press - empty site

Gauntlet (and EDGE) - no submissions at this time, no first time authors ever.

Red Jack - site slooooowwww to come up - timed out

Phantasia press - Planetary Science institute - no sign that they publish fiction but might have some useful info for space science fiction

Moontress Press - contemporary magic, mysticism, mythology - no submission info

Fedogan and Bremer - book sales only

Unifont Books - site not found

Writer's challenge: read something, anything about the publishing info

Writer's prompt: write a scene or story with frustration, delays, aggravations, none of them intended by anyone (although blame might be part of the issue).
28 aug 12 @ 7:55 pm

Friday, August 24, 2012

Interviews
AS part of the blog tour for Eye of the Sword, Mx Henley volunteered to be inerviewed by the bloggers doing reviews but I never participate. Often I don't even consider it because of time and scheduleing, but I realized its more than that. I've had chances, and time, a coupleo f times, and I realize I have no idea what to ask, that I'm one of those people who just freeze as a fan facing a star, even if only via e-mail or some such. I ask quesions all the time, for work, for socializing, for trying to generate conversation among a bunh of introverts, band I am very comfortable answering questions so assume that any writer wlling to do an interview is, too,but for me to ask them a question... woo.

The best way to get past any troublesome social interaction is to plan for it( for those of you who are extroverts, I recommend it even if you are comfortable speaking to strangers, but it can be a near necessity for us introverts). So, now that I am not faced with asking questions, it's a good time to consider whtt I should-could ask.

What inspired you to write this story?

Do your write from start to finishe or take a more scattered approach?

How long did you work on this story before yostarted looking for a publisher?

Did you use an agent?

Did you have the whole series written before you sold, tried to sell the first book?

What was your favorite scene to write?

Where do you get ideas for your mythical beasts?

Its a great cover--did you have a part in designing it? Selecting it?

Writer's challenge? What would you ask your favorite author? How would you answer if someone asked you the same questions?

Writer's prompt: Write a dialog that conveys the story message/answers only through more questions.
24 aug 12 @ 8:29 pm

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eye of the Sword - book review
I fell like Trevin - every challenge followed by another - though mine is only a challenge of computer and a test of my temper. The links below beat evidence of my failures, but I keep plugging away and I'll try to slip a few links past the stubborn computer along the way. If any of them work, please check out the lists of other participants in the blog tour listed there, or click on the CSFF link near the top of the page, which should help navigate the blog tour.

Official stuff: I got a free copy which might be thought to bias me. Also, it's Book Two of more than that, and readers might be wise to start with Book One.

The Review: That being said, the author of Eye of the Sword, Karyn Henley, kindly starts Book Two with a map, a cast of characters, and a description of the angels.

Yup, angels, but like elves, don't count on these to be what you usually picture. Like elves, these are a fantasy creature of the author's design. Let go of preconceptions and let the author offer you her interpretation. Among the angels are the hero's love interest, a half-angel-human recently discovered to be a princess.

As publishers seem to want these days, this fantasy novel has more new creatures than angels. Being book two, it might be a little harder to visualize and remember them, but this is one where it's just as well to hold on and enjoy the ride rather than worry about those details. The hero, Trevin faces several challenges in his effort to fulfil seemingly impossible tasks set him to make amends for his past and re-win his lady love, and, perhaps more importantly, rediscover himself. Among the seemingly impossible quests is finding two missing haprs (what is a story about angels that doesn't include haprs?): hese will hep restpre the stairway to heaven, destruction of which trapped the angels in the world of humans.

The sword in the title comes in along the way as the Weers Sword, which is aid to reveal the true character of a person, used at Trevin's trial (do you get the idea Trevin is in for a hard ride?) Trevin is very much a real person and will be easy to relate to for anyone who has struggled with self doubts, failings, and a world seemingly set against you, though for most of us.

Note that while this is listed as a "paperback", this is not the classic small format but a full-sized softcover (with, by the way, an absolutely wonderful cover).

Lets see if these work...

Book link - http://www.amazon.com/Eye-Sword-Novel-Angelaeon-Circle/dp/030773014X/ (or some other link of your choice)
Author’s Web site - http://www.karynhenleyfiction.com/Karyn_Henley_Fiction/welcome.html
Author Blog - http://www.maybeso.wordpress.com/
Author Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karyn-Henley/140411189331787?v=wall.
22 aug 12 @ 8:43 pm

Eye of the Sword blog tour links
<a href=”http://kinynchronicles.blogspot.com/“> Julie Bihn</a>
<a href=”http://tulipdrivenlife.blogspot.com/“> Thomas Fletcher Booher</a>
<a href=”http://www.AdventuresInFiction.blogspot.com/“> Keanan Brand</a>
<a href=”http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/“> Beckie Burnham</a>
<a href=”http://castlereads.blogspot.com/“> Jackie Castle</a>
<a href=”http://kittycrochettwo.blogspot.com“> Brenda Castro</a>
<a href=”http://jeffchapmanwriter.blogspot.com/“> Jeff Chapman</a>
<a href=”http://www.theiemommy.com/“> Christine</a>
<a href=”http://tweezlereads.blogspot.com/“> Theresa Dunlap</a>
<a href=”http://in–and–out.blogspot.com/”> Cynthia Dyer</a>
<a href=”http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/“> Victor Gentile</a>
<a href=”http://realmofhearts.blogspot.com/“> Ryan Heart</a>
<a href=”http://thequietpen.wordpress.com/“> Janeen Ippolito</a>
<a href=”http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/“> Jason Joyner</a>
<a href=”http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/“> Carol Keen</a>
<a href=”http://emileightherebuilder.blogspot.com/“> Emileigh Latham</a>
<a href=”http://blackanddarknight.wordpress.com/“> Rebekah Loper</a>
<a href=”http://www.shannonmcdermott.com/?page_id=189“> Shannon McDermott</a>
<a href=”http://www.domesticdissident.blogspot.com“> Karen McSpadden</a>
<a href=”http://www.bloomingwithbooks.blogspot.com/“> Meagan @ Blooming with Books</a>
<a href=”http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/“> Rebecca LuElla Miller</a>
<a href=”http://annamittower.blogspot.com//“> Anna Mittower</a>
<a href=”http://thebookfae.wordpress.com“> Mirriam Neal</a>
<a href=”http://linalamont.blogspot.com/“> Nissa</a>
<a href=”http://labornotinvain.blogspot.com/“> Faye Oygard</a>
<a href=”http://dadscancooktoo.com/“> Nathan Reimer</a>
<a href=”http://www.chawnaschroeder.blogspot.com/“> Chawna Schroeder</a>
<a href=”http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/“> Kathleen Smith</a>
<a href=”http://www.mindsinger.com/“> Donna Swanson</a>
<a href=”http://jessicathomasink.com/blog/“> Jessica Thomas</a>
<a href=”http://christiansf.blogspot.com/“> Steve Trower</a>
<a href=”http://www.shanewerlinger.com/“> Shane Werlinger</a>
<a href=”http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/blog/“> Phyllis Wheeler</a>
22 aug 12 @ 7:44 pm

Eye of the Sword blog tour links - my fellow review-writers
<a href=”http://kinynchronicles.blogspot.com/“> Julie Bihn</a>
<a href=”http://tulipdrivenlife.blogspot.com/“> Thomas Fletcher Booher</a>
<a href=”http://www.AdventuresInFiction.blogspot.com/“> Keanan Brand</a>
<a href=”http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/“> Beckie Burnham</a>
<a href=”http://castlereads.blogspot.com/“> Jackie Castle</a>
<a href=”http://kittycrochettwo.blogspot.com“> Brenda Castro</a>
<a href=”http://jeffchapmanwriter.blogspot.com/“> Jeff Chapman</a>
<a href=”http://www.theiemommy.com/“> Christine</a>
<a href=”http://tweezlereads.blogspot.com/“> Theresa Dunlap</a>
<a href=”http://in–and–out.blogspot.com/”> Cynthia Dyer</a>
<a href=”http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/“> Victor Gentile</a>
<a href=”http://realmofhearts.blogspot.com/“> Ryan Heart</a>
<a href=”http://thequietpen.wordpress.com/“> Janeen Ippolito</a>
<a href=”http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/“> Jason Joyner</a>
<a href=”http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/“> Carol Keen</a>
<a href=”http://emileightherebuilder.blogspot.com/“> Emileigh Latham</a>
<a href=”http://blackanddarknight.wordpress.com/“> Rebekah Loper</a>
<a href=”http://www.shannonmcdermott.com/?page_id=189“> Shannon McDermott</a>
<a href=”http://www.domesticdissident.blogspot.com“> Karen McSpadden</a>
<a href=”http://www.bloomingwithbooks.blogspot.com/“> Meagan @ Blooming with Books</a>
<a href=”http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/“> Rebecca LuElla Miller</a>
<a href=”http://annamittower.blogspot.com//“> Anna Mittower</a>
<a href=”http://thebookfae.wordpress.com“> Mirriam Neal</a>
<a href=”http://linalamont.blogspot.com/“> Nissa</a>
<a href=”http://labornotinvain.blogspot.com/“> Faye Oygard</a>
<a href=”http://dadscancooktoo.com/“> Nathan Reimer</a>
<a href=”http://www.chawnaschroeder.blogspot.com/“> Chawna Schroeder</a>
<a href=”http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/“> Kathleen Smith</a>
<a href=”http://www.mindsinger.com/“> Donna Swanson</a>
<a href=”http://jessicathomasink.com/blog/“> Jessica Thomas</a>
<a href=”http://christiansf.blogspot.com/“> Steve Trower</a>
<a href=”http://www.shanewerlinger.com/“> Shane Werlinger</a>
<a href=”http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/blog/“> Phyllis Wheeler</a>
22 aug 12 @ 6:34 pm

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Notes to go with the List
The list of small presses that i had found was on my previous post. These are the primary notes I took working through the first half of the list, which might save other press-seekers some time:

Telos - mostly zombies, ghost, night creatures etc besides Dr Who.

ChiZine - weird, dark fantasy

Golden Quill Press - assists in self-publishing,

Antellus - not accepting

Eldersigns press - submissions closed

Sofawolf - anthropomorphic animals only

Illinois Science Fiction in Chicago Press - Submissions closed

Killernovels - surprise endings, romantic, e-books

Malinche Entertainment- interactive fiction books

Bohemian Ink - page link broken

Barrenfells publishing - page link broken

Bison Frontiers - U. Nebraska - page link broken

Dark Regions - page wouldn't come up

Immanion Press - page link broken

Spellbound - a children's bookstore, not a publisher

Seascape Press - no submissions (single author page)

Cherry Hill - Delphinuschronicles - “forbidden” site

Night Shade books - page wouldn't come up

Futures Past Classics - page not available

Publish America - print-on-demand service

Sidecar - page wouldn't come up

Tyranusauraus - not taking submissions

Hippocampus Press - not accepting submissions

Pentagram Komix - site not found

TriQuest - site not found

Babbage Press - no contact info except for ordering books,

razorbladepress - redirects to Healthy Lifestyle health supplements...

Ash-Tree Press - ghosts, supernatural, switched to e-books; not updating site

LegionPress - no contact info except for book sales

ttapress - Interzone SF magazine - focus on short storiee

BlackDragon Press - page not found

Meisha-Merlin Publishing - chinese translation site?

Boneyard press required a login

Wyrm Publishing/Ministry of Whimsy - weird stuff, surreal, chapbooks, limited edition fancy reprints, and dark fantasy

Charnel House - limited editions

Edgewood Press - pge not found

Edge/Tesseract - page wouldn't come up,

Necronomicon - Lovecraft, Cthulu, wierd, horror as fantasy.

Grantbooks - limited editions/art editions

NESFA Press - only historic reprints and honoring worldcon and Boskone convention guests of honor.

Stone Dragon Press - on demand printing service

bereshith.com - defunct site

Sense of Wonder press - site not updated

Branches - include Seaboard, Castle Keep and other imprints, none with contact info, site not updated

Anarchy Books- UK, slow site, multi-media

Hasslein - genre-based reference books, not novwla

MPress books - UK, local printing, no submission info


I haven't worked through the other half of the list - I don't suppose someone else did? Meanwhile, I've been working on one of my problem books, finished the top of a crazy space quilt (a spacy crazy quilt?), and made some travel plans.

Writer's challenge: Identify your best, most ready story, and find one agent or small press to send it to.
14 aug 12 @ 7:13 pm

Friday, August 10, 2012

Theout-of-date list of small presses
http://www.sfsite.com/depts/small01.htm
10 aug 12 @ 9:16 pm

Apple Dumplings and Fine Weather
Bless the Lord, finally a weekend with fine weather so I journaled outside with breakfast, then haven't written again until now. I shopped, gardened, quilted (layed out and pieced most of the top of my space crazy quilt), and baked. I have lots to do online including the other half of the small press list (see the end of this post for the link, which I forgot to post last time), but I didn't do that either. Maybe after this.

One of the things I baked was an unexpectedly successful apple dumpling made with sourdough bread. You might call it an apple pasty, except that I made the bread thinner than that. The sourdough is still pretty young and more fluffy than sour, so I expect any decent white bread recipi will work.

Apple Pasties:

Bread dough - rise once if the recipe calls for two risings, twice if it calls for three risings

1 1/2 - 2 cups quartered and sliced apples (I used the sweet mini yellow-with-a-touch-of-pink apples from our "flowering crabapple") in a litle lemon or lime juice to keep it from browning

1/2 c packed brown sugar

1/4 c. cinaamon (less if you have a really good cinnamon; our cheap stuff is fairly weak)

2 T butter

Mix apples, sugar, cinnamon, butter

one egg, well beaten

Punch, lightly kneed with floured hands, and spread out chunks of dough onto a floured board with floured hands. Spread very thinly with hands but not so much that it pulls apart. Slice into squares or rectangles (squares go into vaguely triangular dumplings, rectangles go into square/ovalish dumlings; precision won't matter unless you have a stiffer dough than I had today).

Spoon apple mixture onto dough. IF you have a stiffer dough, fold over and pinch around the edges. With my soft, fluffy dough, very different than my last sour dough, I more molded the dough around the clump of apples and tucked the seam area underneath. Place dumplings onto greased cookie sheet (I sprayed a nonstick jelly roll pan with olive oil spray). Brush tops well with beaten egg.

Allow to rise. It won't double, so a good half hour, plus I put them in the oven before I turned it on to heat up, which encouraged a little more rising. Bake 20-25 minutes at 375.

For the health conscious, this isn't exactly a diet recipi, but it is lower fat than the usual pie-crust type dough which is 1/4 to 1/3 shortening.

Writer's challenge: Take a day off now and again.

In case this isn't a day off, Writer's Prompt: Write a scene with cooking or a meal as the setting. (For future SF writers, what will a future kitchen be like?)
10 aug 12 @ 8:59 pm

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hunting the Small Press
I wasn't at all sure it was going to be worth trying even to find likely candidate small presses for my science fiction and fantasy, but I did a few querries and found a list of science fiction and fantasy small presses, wonder of wonders! It does turn out to be an out of data list, but that was interested (and somewhat discouraging) in and of itself. I've gtten through half the list so far and found not one to send any of my stuff to.

I found

Lots of dead/defunct/not-found web sites (only a few of them with web addresses odd enough to be the wrong address)

A few so overloaded with submissions that they weren't taking any more for awhile (not surprising given the dirth of fairly open genre small pressesI

A few that listed science fiction and/or fantasy but specified horror, horror fantasy, ghosts, surreal/weird I have one that at times is so stubbornly not fitting into my usual structural preferences that it might be a bad surreal, but certainly not a good one) or other things that i don't write. (And not all of those were taking submissions).

A couple with no submission guidance or contact information except how to buy their books.

A couple pages that worked but weren't small presses (An herbal stuff store, a children's book store, an unknown password protected site, an author's page (maybe self-publishing rather than small press for other authors).

A couple of print-on-demand publishers that promised not to charge the author a fee for publishing, but didn't promise that other services, like editing, were free. Not quite vanity press, maybe close to self-publishing, but with less money coming to the author... They both carried many books, some reprints of out-of-print books, some new, but no on-site advertising of new releases or the like, just a query engine for shoppers who know what they are looking for.

More limited edition/art publishers. They didn't say so, but I suspect for already published works: special signed editions, with leather bindings gold trimmed paper, illustrations for a book that might not otherwise have any, etc. They didn't list prices that i saw, but one said that they had a MAXIMUM run of 125 copies!

Altogether it was in its own way enlightening and, I fear, representative of the current market trends. Not many publishing fewer books at a time when the number of writers grows with the population, but the number of Top Hits that sell movies and toys, etc., stays the same or shrinks. Readers may get a wide selection from print-on-demand and e-books, but readers and authors will be increasingly on their own to find each other until new marketing methods develop to catch up to the technology.

Well, half the list to go. And then more search queries to see if more small presses didn't get on the list. Agent hunting also continues.

Writer's challenge: Write a sentence that makes as little sense as possible, such as associating things that normally have nothing to do with each other, or have the opposite implication. Write a story that makes it make sense.
7 aug 12 @ 6:17 pm

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Complexity has its place
While the short story stews, I turned my attention back to one of my troublesome novels or series. It's rather cartoonish in my vision of it, and I wrote myself into something of a box with a scenario that doesn't allow for the variety of side characters than I'm accustomed to dealing with, and the settings are rather constrained, being much in a prison of sorts. Still, I'm not sure that's entirely unworkable and I think of pieces like Jonathon Livingston Seagull that didn't have to be full of complex characters to be a fascinating story.

And I also considered whether, like the short story I was working on, the complexity and all wasn't as much of a problem as a desirable thing in my novels. Taking a different tone and approach might result in something that sells better than the others have thus far, so instead of resisting the nature of the story, I've decided to go with it for now, to let the sections stand as novelettes. I started them as chapters, but every scene is chapter length really, five or six scenes per chapter... they might make good plays if I knew anything about screen-play writing and if telepathy worked well on the screen or stage.

Still much work to be done, but it focuses my efforts and keeps me from building up a lot of side characters that might give the story a richer texture but aren't really the point of the story, after all.

Writer's challenge: Write a story that is 500 words or less.

5 aug 12 @ 11:53 am

Thursday, August 2, 2012

its not the writing but the brilliant idea
If I feel I should be writing, I generally can (though getting online is a different step that seems harder, somehow...), but sometimes the brilliant idea, the answer to my quest, the thing that makes a story work (especially a short story, which is not really my forte) aludes me. I had a short story I thought I would polish up for the monthly completion I mentioned a while back, if only for the practice of just getting it done: polishing, finishing, submitting as a habit in need of better development. I sort of know what needs fixing, but how to do it, the plot shift and scene adjustment isn't there yet.

What I have is two characters visiting a place. I know they will observe some things that the locals haven't quite sorted out and have an opportunity to provide a solution (despite trying to stay out of local affairs and avoid attention). I know there will be an exciting bit of rescue and flight (misguided: the locals appreciate them, the solution, and the rescue, but they don't quite get that until the end). I have a fairly specific ending in mind that won't need much adjustment if I can get that middle bit right. But that middle bit has to involve a personal realization that leads to the understanding at the end, and it needs an incident to show it, better yet to really cause it and show it (the rescue and the local problem being contributors and opportunities to realize, like missed clues in a mystery.

I suspect if I could really just say the nature of the realization, I'd have the solution in the question, as it were, but like many stories, you wouldn't need the story if it was an easy answer. Maybe if I break it down a bit...
She isn't in as big of trouble as she thinks she is for "stepping out"
Stepping out didn't get her where she thought it would for good or bad: it wasn't a way to escape herself or what she feared about her destiny (a fear that she didn't realize was why she stepped out and got herself into trouble)
It's okay to step out, so long as she isn't just running away from what she fears onto an uncontrolled path that will get her into unsolvable problems, but rather is using it as a learning opportunity, just as everyone else with her destiny probably has done.

Hmmm. You can probably see why I write novels, and I can see that I was again expecting one scene to do a lot more than any one scene or three can or should... The first thing I have to do is narrow down the issue a tad, to short story scope! Gives me some ideas for a new novel, though...

Writer's challenge: Take a scene or story you've been having trouble with and break it down: what were you trying to achieve, where were you trying to go with it? Does it have all the pieces it should have (protagonist, antagonist, a change, an emotion, a setting, etc.?)
2 aug 12 @ 6:10 pm

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Be sure to get in touch so I know you're out there! See contacts page or e-mail wyverns(at)earthlink(dot)net.

Every word should be an experience