Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A Writer's Work is Never Done


Hi-ya. Welcome to this month's edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting... er, virtual meeting, that is. This, the first Wednesday of the month, is the time when writers all over the world post about the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the ins and outs... of writing. We celebrate... we complain... we commiserate. Whatever we need, this is the place to find it. Humble thanks and a jolly tip of the hat go to Alex Cavanaugh, our fearless ninja leader and the originator of this fine group. If you'd like to join (It's FREE!) or would like to read some of the other posts, please go HERE

If any of you writers are unsure about the value of pre-publication feedback from other writers and readers, let me tell ya right now... beta readers are worth their weight in gold. In chocolate, even! I'm beyond grateful to a fantastic group of ladies, most of whom are IWSG members, who read my manuscript and offered some extremely helpful insights and suggestions. Without a doubt, their ideas and support are making Explosive Beginnings much better than I could have ever managed on my own. So, writers? Sure, you can probably do it on your own... but I guarantee you, you can do it even better with a little help from your IWSG friends.

Okay, before I answer this month's question, I'm gonna share a small portion of an oldie-but-goodie post from August, 2013. Back then, it was quite common for bloggers to bestow various awards and questionnaires on other bloggers, who would then annoy bug the crap out of  pass the meme on to other bloggers and on and on and on. This whole thing has mostly become obsolete, but I thought the questions in the following one were rather appropriate for an IWSG post. Feel free to answer any or all of the questions on your blog or to provide an answer within your comment. If ya wanta. No biggie.

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Thought for the day: The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.  [Mark Twain]

[image courtesy of Wikipedia]
Well, if you want to be technical, nobody actually said I was dead... but the lovely Mary Pax did tag my toe. So to speak. If you don't know Mary, you should. Not only is she a very sweet gal, she's also a very talented writer. Science fiction kinda stuff. Stuff I didn't think I liked... until I read her books. Really. Good stuff. You should check it out.

So anyhow, this meme she tagged me with is fairly simple. She said I didn't have to participate, but then bless her sneaky little heart, she said she hoped I was...  groovy. 

Can you beat that? Me? Groovy? Hell yesThat's me... one of the grooviest little ol' ladies in the whole state of Georgia, so what can I say? I had no choice but to participate, right? I'm no square, dude.

I'd be happy to tell you where this pic came from... if I remembered.

So what's this tag all about, anyway? Well, Mary provided nine questions related to writing, and said I only had to answer four. Actually, that's quite considerate, if you think about it. Less chance that I'll bore you so badly that you need a toe tag.

Anyhow, here's the full gamut of questions:

1. What are you working on right now?
2. How does it differ from other works in its genre? 
3. What experiences have influenced you? 
4. Why do you write what you do?
5. How does your writing process work?
6. What is the hardest part about writing?
7. What would you like to try as a writer that you haven't yet?
8. Who are the authors you most admire?
9. What scares you? 


source

So, ya ready for my groovy answers?

1. What am I working on right now? 

This blogpost. (Sheesh.) Oh, you mean other than blogging, huh? My current WIP, on which I've done very little work and made very little progress, will be more mainstream than my recent release, and will have some delicious twists at the end. The tentative title is Blast Rites. So far, the research process has taught me how to make my own explosives and what it was like to live in a girls' reform school in the early '60s. Fun stuff! [NOTE: That WIP, which was in the thinking-about-it stage when this post was written five years ago, has since morphed into a trilogy, part one of which will be published in the very near future.]

3.  What experiences have influenced me?

All of 'em. Really, I'm not trying to be a smart ass here. (No trying needed... it comes naturally.) I think each of us is the sum product of all our experiences, good, bad, or indifferent. You a one-big-experience kinda person, or would you rather graze leisurely at life's all-you-can-eat buffet? I'm old. I get more bang for my buck at the buffet. Especially if I carry a suitcase-sized purse.

4. Why do I write what I do?

Because I'm the only one who can. Again, not trying to be a smart ass. Each of us is unique, with a unique set of life experiences, and a unique outlook, so that unique voice and outlook is gonna be reflected in our writing. Universal slice-of-life stories about how families and friends interact intrigue me. Quirky characters that can make a reader laugh, cringe, and nod with self-recognition delight me. Unexpected twists make me want to stand up and cheer. In essence, I try to write the kind of story I want to read. I make myself laugh, and make myself cry, and hope readers will have the same reactions when they read it. Heck, who am I kidding? I'm not proud. I hope they read it, period.

7. What would I like to try as a writer that I haven't tried yet?

A Pulitzer would be nice. But I'll settle for overhearing two strangers talking about how much they loved my book.

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What's that? You're not a writer? Okay, then, here's a question for you non-writer types to consider: Are you turned off by repetitive posts on blog after blog after blog regarding cover reveals, book launches, and the like? Or are you a book slut like me, who's forever being persuaded by those posts to buy yet another book...?



[image courtesy of Morguefile]

 So now on to this month's question: How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story? 

When I finished writing the first draft of Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade, I had a glass of bubbly with my hubby to celebrate. Man, talk about jumping the gun! There was still a LOT more work to do before I was actually finished with that book

When I received my first big check in the mail for a published short story, I celebrated by blowing it on a new laptop.

With Explosive Beginnings, even though it's getting verrrrrrry close to publication, I haven't done any celebrating and I probably won't after it's published, either, because NOW I know how much more work lies ahead... especially seeing's as how this is only the first book of a trilogy. Oooh, and maybe a prequel after that? Then a Vietnam-era romance? And I still kinda like the idea of writing a sex & marriage kinda advice book... (under a fake name, of course...) So keep that damned toe tag away from me... I've still got a lot of work to do.

Bottom line? For me, the very best way to celebrate reaching a writing goal is to start reaching for a new one. Because when it comes to writing, we are NEVER truly done.  (But one little glass of bubbly never hurts...)

                         Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. 



76 comments:

  1. I admire each and every person who sets out to write a book and then manages to get it finished and made into something that fascinates other people from start to finish. That's awesome. Hats off to all of you who write! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. Those who write are no more awesome than those who create amazing pieces of art... like you.

      Hugs right back atcha.

      Delete
  2. A woman's work is never done. A writer's work is never done. Which makes for a double whammy for so many. And probably deserves TWO glasses of bubbly.

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    1. Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful blog break. :)

      Hmmm, TWO glasses, huh? I could give that a try... :)

      Delete
  3. What she ^ said.
    You're working on a trilogy and I can barely finish a chapter. Maybe I should spend less time reading blogs and books (*~*)

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    1. HA! It's a juggling act. I still spend an inordinate amount of time reading, but the only deadline I have to meet is my own. (i.e. Try to get 'er done before I'm dead!)

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  4. Reaching anew sure works for our zoo. Yeah, we are a sum of all our experiences indeed. Bah, who needs the pen name, let it flow under your own haha We will hopefully avoid the toe tag too, as way too many ideas to do.

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    1. HA! Yeah, no kidding. You've got a verrrry impressive reach. Always writing something new...

      Um, if I do write that particular book, a pen name will have to be involved. Otherwise, my kids and grandkids would be absolutely mortified.

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    2. lmao could say it is payback for all the times they left you mortified.

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. I'm here under false pretences as I am much more of a reader than a writer. However, I will tell you what I am working on: four or five future Blog posts. Here some titles, Painting of the Month:W.Heath Robinson, A Basket of Quotations, All About Graphene and Great Popular Songs (7) Like a Rolling Stone.
    PS: I've got five books in a pile which I read as the fancy takes me. They are Sapiens (Yuval Noah Harari), What the Dog Saw (Malcolm Gladwell), How Not to be Wrong (Jordan Ellenberg) and London Fields (Martin Amis).
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s unkempt Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. No, sir! No false pretenses! I'm much more of a reader than a writer, too, and I think most people who call themselves writers would say the same thing. You can't be a decent writer if you aren't well-read!

      Besides, blogging IS writing, silly.

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  7. Love the last paragraph of your post! I'm more of the reach for the next goal kind of person rather than one who celebrates, but I might try to even that up a bit, especially if chocolate is involved. :)

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    1. Yes, a little bit of chocolate never hurts. (Oh, who am I kidding? Neither did a LOT of chocolate!)

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  8. your post covers it all. Cheers

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    1. Me and the "New York Times," eh?

      Cheers back atcha.

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  9. You don't set a new goal then you'll slip into slugdom.
    I have beta readers and critique partners and they all rock.

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    1. We must avoid slugdom at all costs! Mental image? Jabba the Hutt. (Shudder.)

      They sure do. Most writing is done in solitary, but a team comes together to make that writing shine.

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  10. I did a few of those tag/questionnaires and they were exhausting. And then you had to track down other bloggers to tag! I'm kind of glad they've died down, but it was nice to be tagged.

    Beta readers are the best. I'm going to have to find a new batch for my next novel. At least I have a good resource with the IWSG to start looking.

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    1. I didn't mind being tagged, especially when I wrote multiple posts a week. Then I had a ready-made post topic, but fewer and fewer people wanted to accept the tags, so I'd just throw it open to whoever wanted to grab it. Few did, and I think that's why the fad went belly up.

      Absolutely! The IWSG is full of awesome beta readers.

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  11. I do remember being tagged and receiving awards too. Blogging is the extent of my writing and it's true writers work is never done and I'm always on the lookout for something good to post for the next day!

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    1. It takes a lot of work to post every day, which is why I no longer do it. You must be a great lookout, because you always find something interesting to post. (And uplifting!)

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  12. I think a glass or two of bubbly is definitely deserved. I know how hard you've worked on this project. I can't wait to see the finished book.
    Today I'm counting my blessings, something I need to do more often!

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    1. Thanks. I'll drink to that! I can't wait for you to see it, either. :)

      Sounding good, kiddo. Living that close to the water has gotta be in your top ten...

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  13. Well, congrats! I loved this writing!
    There are many differente answers to these questions, but I think that I agree with you in most of them, especially when you say that we write what we write because no-one could ever do it - but us!

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    1. Thank you, Ana. We're all unique... just like everybody else. :)

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  14. Love the idea of champagne LOL but as you said, finishing the manuscript is just putting your foot and the second rung of the ladder. BTW I've filled out lots of those ;questionnaires over the years.

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    1. For sure. Only the naive think the job is done after the first draft is complete.

      Me, too. It was kinda fun. :)

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  15. What a great post! I'm going to borrow your (friend's) idea for my next blog post. Yeah, I dislike the endless parade of buy-my-book blog & social media postings, unless I already "know" the author and have enjoyed her work. In that case, send 'em!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Help yourself!

      Maybe the reason a continual bombardment about new books annoys me is because I have so little self-control when it comes to buying them... :)

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  16. Beta readers are the best! I can't even begin to thank mine enough for all the help they gave me. I never imagined people would willingly giving up their precious time to read my manuscript and give feedback, but they did and I didn't even have to bribe them :-) Looking forward to the publication of your next book.

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    1. I know! Isn't it amazing how many people are willing to do that for us? It's very humbling.

      Thanks. (Me, too!)

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  17. Hi Susan - yes in my case ... comments are for the best - and reading is such an essential for anyone who wants to write ... I must do more. A writer's work is never done - so true ... but our work is never done - always more to do - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. I think it's good that our work is never done. To get out of bed one day and think, "I have done absolutely everything I have ever wanted or need to do." would be horrible. After that, what's the point? (We'll never know, right? HA!)

      Cheers back atcha.

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  18. I love the Writer's Strike cartoon! Perfect - I have no words. LOL :)

    Right now I'm finishing up the final touches to the second Amazing Gracie book before it gets proofed. How is it different? It's Gracie!

    I'll celebrate anything - even if it's just stopping work early to sit on the patio with my sweetie.

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    1. HA! "No words." Funny.

      Woo HOO! Awesome! Bring 'er on! We're ready for her. :)

      There's something or another to celebrate every day. Any morning my hubby and I both wake up breathing is a GOOD one!

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  19. Oh my gosh, how cool would that be to hear two strangers saying they loved your book?? I never thought about it, but what a thrill that would be. I never thought I liked sci-fi until I read Mary's books either! I've branched out quite a bit since meeting so many great bloggers/writers. :)

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    1. It would be verrrrry cool!

      Me, too. Blogger pal writers have expanded my reading horizons quite a bit. What fun, huh?

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  20. This is such a great post! I admire people who follow through and complete a book.

    www.ficklemillennial.com

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think everyone has a story to tell, but it takes a LOT of determination to write it.

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  21. Yes, critique partners and beta readers are vital! And I reckon on spending twice as much effort after that first draft as I did on the draft itself.

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    1. Absolutely! It takes a lot of effort to get the maximum shine.

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  22. From one book slut to another (*smile*), I never get tired of reading your posts about writing and books. And I thoroughly enjoyed reading your apt and informative answers to the writing questions.

    I certainly remember the bad ol' days of blogging, when we were constantly plagued with those endless awards, questions, and pass-it-ons. Thank gawd those days are over.

    I have mixed feelings about pre-publication feedback. I can fully understand how the suggesions and insight can be benificial - - but I personally don't any outside influence when I'm in the process of writing...or before publication.

    I love the writer's strike cartoon!

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    1. I mean to say "I personally don't WANT any..."
      Sorry for omitting a word.
      Perhaps I needed some pre-publication insight for this comment.....???

      Delete
    2. I'd think you'd kinda miss those questionnaires, because you always do such an over-the-top terrific job of providing answers.

      All I can say about pre-publication feedback is you don't realize its value until you get it. It's like, years ago, I bought Smarticus an antenna SWR (standing wave ratio) analyzer. Before he tested his (amateur radio) antennas, he, as he put it, was "fat, dumb, and happy." Much to his surprise, testing revealed a number of problems... which he was then able to fix. Same thing with writing. Beta readers pick up on things we might miss, simply because we're too close to it.

      But I've seen your writing, too. If you're happy with what you're writing, I'm sure it's superb. Me? I'm not that secure. I like the reassurance of knowing I haven't left any plot holes big enough to fit a Mack truck. :)

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    3. I think I'm more stubborn and selfish than secure. I was like that as a kid, too.
      You're right - sometimes we're too close to our projects to see the flaws.

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    4. Stubborn, maybe, but I don't buy selfish.

      Bottom line, if you ever want a second pair of eyes on your work, I'd be happy to oblige.

      Delete
  23. You have a lot going on, in this post, and in writing. Congratulations on all the success! I think champagne toasts on completion of the work is appropriate. Most people never get there. I remember the awards and memes. They were fun for a while, but too much. To answer one question: My life experiences inspire my writing. I'm working on a play right now that is greatly influenced by riding motorcycles, as a passenger.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. A play inspired by riding on the back of a motorcycle sounds intriguing. The first time I ever got on a bike with my husband (back in the Dark Ages before we were married) he ran out of gas... and then it started raining. No kidding! it was hilarious. Good luck with your play.

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  24. I agree with your answers to #3 and #4. You stated it quite well. It's true too that no matter how much writing you do, there is always more to be written!

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    1. Yep, there's always more, and I think that's a GOOD thing. It keeps our minds churning.

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  25. Your last line is the reason I didn't answer the optional question this month. We are never done! Hope you are well, Susan!

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    1. Never ever ever done... unless we want to be.

      All's well here, Liza. I hope you're doing well, too.

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  26. I can not get past the toes with faces. So very funny.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I'm glad they tickled your funny bone. Some people think they're creepy, but I think they're hilarious. :)

      Cheers back atcha.

      Delete
  27. That's the thing about goals...you complete one and the next one is lurking around the corner, waiting to be set.

    I don't write, but I walk and as soon as I reached my goal of virtually "walking to Nashville" last year I started thinking about a new goal. Sometimes that's a pesky thing, but like one of your commenters mentioned - it keeps us from turning into slugs.

    And how do I celebrate reaching a goal? Well, with chocolate, of course.

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    1. Your walking goals put the rest of us to shame. I'm reeeeally impressed with what you've achieved. (So when are ya hiking to Atlanta?)

      Chocolate and wine... most enjoyable celebration necessities!

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  28. So true about writing never truly being done. I feel the same about my own projects--there never seems to be any kind of break between 'em!

    And love how you celebrated at one point by buying a laptop. Wish I had a reason (or the means) to celebrate like that, LOL.

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    1. Maybe whatever a person most loves doing is never done... and I think that's a good thing. It means we keep on doing what we love to do.

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    1. HA! You silver-tongued devil, you. It's good to hear from you again.

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  30. I've always wanted a Pulitzer. I loved that word - Pulitzer - even before I looked up what the prize was actually for.
    I celebrate everything, in spite of knowing that finished is a lie.
    Looking forward to the new book :-)

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    1. Celebrating everything is a good way to live. I try to appreciate and find joy in everything I can, but maybe I don't do enough actual celebrating. (I believe I'll have a piece of candy...!)

      Thanks. Me, too. :)

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  31. Yes, you deserve a Pulitzer! Loved your answers!

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    1. HA! I don't expect to win any awards, but thanks for the vote of confidence. :)

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  32. I remember those 'awards' and the endless questions. I even invented one of my own, the 'catasstrophy' for humour.

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    1. HA! Yes, you sure did, and I still have that cat's butt at the bottom of my blog. :) (It's adorable!)

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  33. Susan. our family cat when we first moved to Australia was a russian Blue. A stray emaciated creature About ten years old with missing teeth, Sooty lived on for another eight years. There have been a succession of moggies most Misc breeds , our current pair are ex strays ten year olds. Minnie the Fem cat is in love with me sits in my lap voluntarily looks into my eyes and soaks up the affection.

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    1. All the dogs and cats we've had over the years were either strays or adopted from the animal shelter. The two cats we have now are the first we adopted as little bitty kittens. A spoiled calico and a spoiled tabby, they're ten years old now and I hope they live at least another ten. :)

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  34. Yes, I remember the days of the "awards" well. They took so much time to do, but a lot of them were interesting, and a good way to learn about the blogger. A Pulitzer prize would be nice. Good luck getting one of those!

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    1. You're right. A lot of those award posts were a lot of fun.

      Ya know, I think I'll forget about the Pulitzer for now. Yeah... I think I'll aim for a Peace Prize instead. I'd have a better chance... :)

      Delete
  35. I always look forward to your Insecure Writers' Support Group posts. :-) Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  36. HOT FLASHES AND COLD LEMONADE. Um, I seriously love that title.

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