Iceland - great place for writers.

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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 19 Dec 2013, 14:12

Good evening Gary.

I agree with a lot of your comments there, and yes, the odd few people hit the big time, but most don't. That still doesn't mean that they can't sell their books, but they just haven't got that "something", which to borrow your expression, captivates a wider audience.

I have faith in mine being what I call "acceptable". I'm good (if that doesn't sound too big-headed) at finishing stories on a "wow". I've watched children's reactions, and seen their eyes widen and their moths drop open. That's exactly the type of response I was aiming for, because they want to read the story again, and tell it to their friends. All the stories I'm keeping, have a surprise at the end, and the story doesn't give anything away until (very often) the last line!

I also tend to write horror stories, or at least eerie ones, but they're gentle enough not to scare kids, whilst being fascinating (in my humble opinion), and everything turns out alright in the end, so no one'd be left with nightmares, and yet I use plenty of descriptive paragraphs in the lead up to the end. I can't say as they're brilliant, but children who've read them think so, so that does it for me. This is the whole point of wanting to write for youngsters, and to get them engrossed in reading.

I think the lady who gives her books away as prizes has a very good idea there. It's similar to the UK author who gave his first books away free for a month. Word soon spread. People talked about his books, and then when his name was spotted on subsequent work, folk wanted them.

Each person goes about things in the way which they think'll do best. Many fail, but a few lucky ones get there.

There's an enormous amount of rubbish put out as e-Books, but despite what you said in your last line, I think that quality DOES count if you intend "making it". These're the books that make an impact, and won't be forgotten.

As everyone knows, I'm a fan of Dan Brown. His books follow a pattern, although each story's different, but he's found something that works, so sensibly sticks with it. Not every book's as fascinating as the rest, and parts of them bore the pants off the reader, but the main content's very well written and researched. The stories quicken in pace. I couldn't put The Lost Symbol down, and neither could friends who read it! Wanting to go on and read more, shows how good the writing is, and although common sense tells you it's fiction, there's always a question mark over things. Brilliant.
Last edited by Ice.Maiden on 20 Dec 2013, 13:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Kellemora » 20 Dec 2013, 12:42

Hi Icey
I'm sure you are an excellent writer. That gives you plenty of bragging rights.
I had an aunt who loved to write poetry, the kind that rhymes and has meter.
She would spend many months working on a single poem to present to the person she wrote it for.
A friend of hers, after reading one she spent over five months creating one for them. Asked if he could send it to a magazine publisher they were acquainted with. She was most reluctant at first, because she wrote her poems to specific individuals for those individuals. She finally gave in and let that one poem be published.
Readers of that magazine requested more poems from her.
They paid her well for the first one, and with her health problems, and the expenses associated with them. She allowed three others to be published over the next year.
I don't know exactly how it came about, but as her health grew worse, all of her poems were published in soft-back large size books. But she did not allow them to be sold in bookstores. She only allowed certain charity groups to offer them, either as gifts for donations or for sale with something else, like in a gift basket.
I only learned why she did this a few years ago when my mother passed away.
Simply put, her medical bills wiped her out and she was supported by charity.
If she earned any money, she would lose her assistance, namely her medical assistance.
The charities she chose to sell her books, were those who supported her.
They made more money selling or receiving donations for her poetry, that by the time of her death, they had recovered more than they spent on her. And without her losing her assistance. By the same token, they provided her with more help during the time it was most needed. It also explained all those extra well dressed people, who no one there knew, that showed up at her funeral.

I've read many books, and loved most of them. And although I should remember their names, I can't, even if popular.
At the time I'm reading, I remember to look for their name on the bookshelves. to see what else they have.
But I don't see a benefit to remembering them after I've finished all they ever wrote. I remember the stories, but not necessarily the title of the book or the authors name after a few years.

Same way with almost anything else I've ever done. Although I was raised in the greenhouse industry, and knew the names of every single plant, and often the genera and Latin names too, care, etc. I had to relearn most of it about a decade ago, when I was raising plants again as a hobby. As that hobby fell to the wayside, so did the information in my head about plants. I still remember a few common ones of course, but as far as all the hybrids, forget it.

One of the phrases I use on Twitter, "Who knows if it really is Fiction?"

Using giveaway books as a promotion, when you have other books for sale, is a valid method of building readership for an unknown author. It works quite well too! IF the book is worth reading.

An editor friend sent me one of his clients manuscripts. He edited the work, as a grammatical editor only.
Sadly, this piece of work really needs a developmental edit, content editing, and a few other things.
It is horrendous. Yet somehow, the author claimed to have sent it to a publisher who added a few editing notes to the first three chapters, then obviously gave up.
Personally, I think the guy told a big fib. And so does my editor friend. Which is why he sent the MS to me to look at the editing marks and changes.
I do not know of a single publishing editor, who would include the changes suggested, nor use the words shown to replace other words used in the MS. Nearly every new word, claimed to be placed by this editor, are Weasel Words and cliche's. And many of the whole sentence changes no longer make a bit of sense.
As I said, it was horrible to start with, and the so called publishing editors changes, only made it worse, much worse.
To me, this MS looks like a first rough draft, which has not been rewritten even once.
I read six chapters before I got the drift of what the story was about. The way it was formatted made that task even harder yet. Quotes without quote marks within narration lines. Ridiculous dialog tags, many out of place. And different plot lines lead nowhere.
I talked with the editor friend for hours on the phone. He is a great grammatical editor, but unfamiliar with the words allowed or not allowed by the publishing industry. He's not an author, which was obvious to me, the first time I had him check my grammar in a few short stories.
I have the bad habit of writing things like 'to never go' that he changes to 'never to go.' But at the same time, in some cases, to get a line to read correctly grammatically, he introduces no-no's to the line. Like an initial ing at the beginning of a sentence, or adds an ly word somewhere, when I'm already at my limit.
Since he does not know about the limitations of words used per chapter, and it varies from publisher to publisher.
I took the time to show him my clean copy, with only a few grammatical errors here and there. Alongside of his edited copy and the number of errors he introduced to each chapter. I did this so he too could learn new things to improve his skills.

I have to laugh. I took a grammatical test last week sometime and scored an 88 on it. It may have been one of your posts here? I bookmarked it. I sent him the link to take the test himself. He majored in English at college. I only have a HS education, with some side non-credit college classes, more like seminars. He scored less than I did! Why I had to laugh was, he bragged about making an 82. I took the test over again myself after he did, to see if it was the same questions. It wasn't, but once again I scored an 88. Which surprised me, because I didn't think I got a single one wrong. It had to do with the words 'it, its and it's.' We all know 'it's' means it is. I don't remember the exact question, but it was something like "Valery thought ___ her turn." I used 'it's' "Valery thought it's her turn." Because it sounds correct to say, "Valery thought is is her turn." Or 'it was' her turn. I thought it could not be just 'it,' So thought since I got it wrong, they obviously want 'its.'
I thought 'its' meant it was non-possessive? Such as, "Every jar has its lid." Because using 'it is' does not read right.
I know the easy memory tool. If its can be replaced with his or her, there is no apostrophe.
Well, you cannot say "Valery thought her her turn." So it cannot be replaced with its, so then it must be 'it's' right? Wrong!
I took the test again, three tries before that question came up again, I used 'its' and got it wrong again.
I finally ran the sentence by my grammar major and he said the proper way is "Valery thought it her turn." NO Ess at all.
Now, if I run all three or four sentences through a grammar checking program.
The only one marked wrong is the one using 'its.'
If I wrote "Valery thought it was her turn." It is not flagged.
If I wrote "Valery thought it is her turn." It is not flagged.
If I wrote "Valery thought it's her turn." It is not flagged but underlined. (Says something like possible verb pronoun disagreement.)
If I wrote "Valery thought its her turn." It DOES get flagged, and shows to use 'it is or it was.'
If I wrote "Valery thought it her turn." It is flagged (Possible word missing).

Oh well, I often wonder about grammar anyhow.
Just think of the hundreds of EXCEPTIONS to "I before e except after c."

TTUL
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 20 Dec 2013, 17:50

Hello Gary. That test was obviously a bit ambiguous, and therefore slightly cheating on their part. I think the reason that: "Valerie thought it's her turn" was unacceptable, is because if it's a thought, there'd be speech marks. "Valerie thought THAT it was her turn'd" be OK., but not using "it's", and "Valerie thought its her turn's" definitely wrong.
"Valerie thought it her turn'd" be alright, but it depends on how it reads. I can write using correct punctuation and grammar without thinking about it much, but when you're being tested, it makes us think that little bit, and in trying to be careful we can make mistakes.

As for the guy who said he'd sent his manuscript for editing, it's possible. There are some poor editors around, just as there are poor writers, but what intrigued me, was where you said that there are some words which aren't acceptable to use. Why's that then Gary, and can you give me any examples?

As for my own writing, I don't know whether I'm excellent or not. I doubt it, because I would've had more stuff published if I was that good - although to be fair, I've not submitted any novels, and only had things published in magazines. This was a while ago now, so maybe I've lost my touch, but I'm very happy with the kids' stories I've written, and as I say, they produced the desired results, so I'm not really bothered whether an editor'd find fault with them. I think you have to believe in yourself, and I don't see that as bragging. You've worked in the industry, and you know far more than me about what publishers and editors want, so you have an advantage really, in that you're halfway there when writing your own material, and I'm sure that you'll be successful.

Keep at it Gary. I'm sure that you're going to do well.
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Kellemora » 21 Dec 2013, 10:44

Hi Icey

What makes writing hard to get past a publishing editor, often happens in the dialog.
Especially if you have a character who uses the phases 'I know' or 'You know.'
We are very limited to the amount of times we can use certain words in a Chapter.
Speaking of which, that word 'very' I used above. Well, it is a no-no, as are words like 'great' 'began' 'now' etc.

We are supposed to use transitional words or phrases, like However, Therefore, etc. But if we use more than ONE in an entire Chapter, all the rest are flagged as using too many and must be removed.

Besides all the Weasel Words I've mentioned in the past. We also have limits on most other words.
The should/would/could, feel/feeling/felt, has/have/had, hear/heard, just/then, see/saw and watch/notice/observe are linked to total count. It/there, was/were, look, smell/taste, knew/know, etc.

As far as cliches one would not think are cliches. I can make sure my document has zero cliches, using my program or on-line programs, but as soon as I run my work work through the work computer, it pops up with several, which you would never think were cliches.
When asking how a patient in a hospital is. A normal person may say. "Oh, she is much better today." But it won't fly past the Editor. Must remove the word 'much' because it is redundant. Which means the dialogue no longer reads the way a normal person would talk. Aarrgh...

I actually had my editor in stitches last week. I was raised, referring to a refrigerator as an ice-box. I've never called it anything but an ice-box. In one of the stories I was working on. I selected ONE character to sound like me. Another character would use the word 'fridge.' Hey Joe, stick these beers in the 'fridge' for me. The editor didn't have a problem with that. But later on, when my character was speaking. Glad you could come, plenty of beer in the ice-box.
Actually, the original line read. Glad you could make it, plenty of beer in the ice-box. 'make it' is a phrase we try to avoid, and 'it' is highly limited, so we try to avoid it.
After a final editor or rewriter got hold of that sentence, it changed drastically.
Yo my man, so glad you came, we got a shit load of beer in the fridge, chips are on the table.
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 21 Dec 2013, 13:59

Wow - thank you. It's odd though, isn't it, because people DO speak as you've exampled above. The: "Oh, she is much better today" surprised me, because that's what a person WOULD say. If you left it at "better", it implies that the person's now well again, but "much better" suggests there's an improvement in the person's condition. Really strange they wouldn't accept that.

I agree with you to an extent about repeating words throughout the script. We were taught that you don't use a word twice in one sentence - e.g. "He was very impressed with the findings. He was very happy to find that he was right."

The word "very's" used too soon after the first one, so doesn't read well. It'd be more acceptable to put: "He was very impressed and happy with the findings, which proved him right." Well - something on those lines, anyway.

I would've thought that "You know" could've been used within speech - providing it's not repeated. Some folk really speak like that, and add "you know" to the end of almost every sentence. It doesn't sound good at all, so neither would it read well, but if a character was inept at expressing himself verbally, he MIGHT speak like that, in which case it might be classed as passable? I think it depends on where and how something comes out, but you amazed me when you said that you can't use more than one of a particular word in an entire chapter! It'd be difficult NOT to, if something was being described in detail, although I agree that other words can be substituted as far as possible.

Oh dear. What's wrong with ice box??? I mean, OK., so it doesn't refer to a whole fridge, but fridges on their own DO have ice boxes .. or compartments, whatever you wish to call them. So if I was talking about my wine chiller, wouldn't I be allowed to call it a "cooler"? I think that's being picky, and people DO have their own words for various objects. It's like when I play pool or snooker. I don't refer to the cue, but call it a "stick", which amuses people no end - but to me, that's what it is - a stick which pushes the balls! Ha ha ha. The American editors'd have a field day with some of the words us Brits use, especially a Cockney one! : )
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Kellemora » 22 Dec 2013, 13:19

Almost every time I have used "you know" in dialog, the editor has removed it, scratched it out, or told me to reword the sentence.
How many times we can use a word, depends on the length of the chapter, or how often used in X number of paragraphs.

Last Thursday, I actually sent a nasty note to one of the editors. He kept flagging the response to a question with a "pacing" problem. After the fourth or fifth time of changing it, I finally sent it back and said, I need an EXAMPLE of a response to the question that will not ruin the pacing.
I had to laugh. He tried over 20 different ways of wording the response and could not come up with a single one that did not generate a pacing error. He asked me which of my responses I like best. I said the FIRST ONE, before any changes were made. Got a quick memo back. OK, I will let it ride. THIS TIME. But watch out for more problems in the future.

Another thing was flagged. Said I used words that have the same meaning, three times within two sentences.
Even so, he liked the way the sentence flowed, and could not come up with a better way of stating the paragraph. He let that one go too.
The sentences had to do with a salesman schmoozing up to a client to make a sale.

We are all going to be a little perturbed after January 1. They are adding something like 160 more words to the list of words or phrases now considered a cliche. We are allowed ZERO cliches in our work. And of course, any word on their STILTED list WILL get dumbed down to a lower grade level word. Then they will complain about our vocabulary scores, hi hi...

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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 22 Dec 2013, 15:12

Oh blimey. Well I'm still a bit vague about all this. Can you give me an example of what they consider to be a cliche, and what do you mean by "pacing problems"? I know that grammatically, a cliche's a word or expression which becomes over-used, and fair enough, repeats don't sound too good, but if you were writing a good few paragraphs about an antique chair, for instance, there are only so many substitute words which you can use, so what do you do then?
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Kellemora » 23 Dec 2013, 11:55

Cliches that irk me the most right now are: at home, on the street, on the shelf, at the door, over the hill, etc.
I'll be glad to save several when I run my next chapter through the cliche checking program.

Hard to explain a pacing problem. Mainly because it reads perfectly fine to me.
Now if the text was choppy or something along those lines, the things they flag would make more sense.
I may study a whole paragraph and try it different ways so it does not cause the pacing flag to come up.
But then it may go several response lines without a problem, then hit one of the most logical lines and flag it.
So who knows?

Besides pacing problems, we also have another flag that is very similar. I forget what they call it right off, and will check again the next time I use their programs. The type work they have had me doing lately, I've not had a call to use most of the other programs a submission must clear before we can turn it in.

On the antique chair, we would have to find other words to use.
There is a difference between overused words in a chapter (using the same words too many times), and words that are overused in general (used so often they either become a cliche OR a Weasel Word.

I will try to get examples for you as soon as I encounter them.

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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 24 Dec 2013, 08:02

Thanks Gary - and I see I made a faux pas in my last post, by putting "good" down in quick succession.

Anyway, here's wishing you and yours a lovely Christmas, and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Bring it on!
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Kellemora » 24 Dec 2013, 12:34

Merry Christmas to you and yours Icey.

I jotted down three cliches from yesterday that do not appear in the public lists.
"'on the edge,' 'at stake,' and 'talk in private.'"

I also picked up a link to one of the public listings of cliches for you.

http://www.be-a-better-writer.com/cliches.html

They list 681 cliches to avoid in writing.

On the other topic where I mentioned "Pacing." That other list generated from our text is "Difficult Sentences."

I have no idea of a definition for either, or how they determine what is a 'pacing' problem or considered a 'difficult sentence.'

I did learn that not all problems are actually problems at all. Just how the algorithm sees it. Although the program is a thousand times better than something like Grammarly, which is forever coming up with suggestions contrary to what is right. It is not perfect either. Although in most cases, if you reword a sentence it may clear the pacing problem. Those marked 'difficult sentence' usually do have some grammatical problem, or words used together that make the sentence hard to read.

I just wish I could access this system for my own WIPs. It is strictly for company use, and heavily monitored.

In our koffee klatch room at work, we had a good laugh over some away-from-work programs we use for ourselves.
One of these checks as part of its system, our vocabulary words. At the very end you get a grade rating.
Turns out, you do not want to get an "A" when writing short stories or novels. If the reason is due to a high vocabulary score. There is no way to skip the vocabulary section, so a "B" grade is considered the same as an "A."
We use many programs to check our work, both at work and on our own. Some of these do nothing more than check for diacritical marks over certain words. Although in English, the use of these words without the marks is acceptable. If you want to be proper cliche should be cliché, cafe should be café, etc. Even though the spellcheckers mark it wrong, hi hi...
Then it is up to the publishing company and their strict guidelines whether they remove them or not.

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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 24 Dec 2013, 22:04

Good early morning Gary, and thanks. I'll check out the link when I have some time to myself. Yes, I know about the accent marks over cafe, cliche, etc., but've forgotten the keypad sequence for them.

é - Oh! Got one. : )
Don't ask me to display an umlaut though!

Thank you for your good wishes. Have a great holiday.
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Kellemora » 25 Dec 2013, 13:03

You are probably on a Windows computer, which uses ALT-codes.
Linux uses Hexadecimal codes to get the various characters available on the map.
I use U+00E9 to get the é.
Or actually, I cheat a lot. I have a page with all the common letters I use and just cut n paste, rather than looking them up in the character table. I also have most of them in my spellchecker, and even though it does not flag cliche as wrong, I can hit a key and it will bring up an option spelling list, based on my user entered lists if I have it set that way.
When I had Grammarly Lite running, it messed up a lot of features we have normally in Linux, so I removed it.

Have a very Merry Christmas, company is pulling in, so I must go make my appearance now.

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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 27 Dec 2013, 09:28

I used Alt + 130 to get the accented "e" ... I think! I have a list of what to plonk in somewhere, but can't find it! Typical.

Our Christmas's still going strong. We have a party tonight for 2 guests who share today as their birthday, and we're having a monster one tomorrow for my birthday which falls on Sunday. Then there'll be New Year's Eve coming up, and everyone might go home by next weekend! : )

If I don't speak to you before, a happy New Year to you.
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Kellemora » 27 Dec 2013, 11:35

The only drawback to using special characters, if they are outside of the standard set of codes, most people will only see a box or diamond with a question mark inside.
I see this on Twitter and Farcebook a lot. Folks find a cute font with characters outside the standard set, and try to use them. I guess they don't realize that the only folks who can see their cutsies are those who have the identical font installed.

And then there is Mickey$oft with their FAKE XML tables, messing up forums everywhere.
In their trumped up docx format, Mickey$oft has replaced the standard keyboard ' with a new proprietary code known only to them. So when someone cuts n pastes from a docx formatted document, everyone on twitter sees a black diamond with a question mark in the middle, in place of an apostrophe.

I just skip over such Posts or Tweets, because they are probably auto-generated from a file they made using that stupid docx non-compliant Mickey$oft exclusive butchered XML format. What were they thinking?

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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 27 Dec 2013, 13:02

*Mickey$oft - ha ha ha!!! Well it's no problem for me, as I don't use Twitter : )
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Kellemora » 28 Dec 2013, 10:39

I don't use Twitter for myself. But my persona must use it, as one of the primary platforms.
Since my persona does not use Farcebook, I am thinking of making account on G+ next year, maybe.
All of these social networks, just eat up time, which I can't spare any more of.
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 30 Dec 2013, 14:22

What's G+ Gary? Is it a google thing? Vacant stare.
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Kellemora » 31 Dec 2013, 10:32

I imagine it is similar to Farcebook.
I've never used it, or checked into it, so truly have no idea.

I just know that many author friends have accounts there.
And KLOUT monitors users of that website.

Websites I am on for personal reasons, under my name.
I do not join under my pen name, for platform building.
I keep both persona's totally separate.

Since my pen name is not on Farcebook, and KLOUT monitors G+, I have reserved it for only my pen name usage. IF I ever use it that is. I spend enough time on-line as it is. Which takes away from my own working and writing time.
My pen name dropped off Linked-In, I kept the account, but quit visiting, because of their lousy programming which looses way to many posts. So, my KLOUT score is based only on Twitter now, and it dropped a couple of points when I quit using Linked-In. To get it back up again, I may have to use G+. KLOUT does not monitor other websites where I am active.

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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Ice.Maiden » 31 Dec 2013, 15:34

Thanks anyway. I've never heard of a KLOUT score either, or Linked-In, come to that.

Anyway, happy New Year to you. I'm off to start our party now.
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Re: Iceland - great place for writers.

Postby Kellemora » 01 Jan 2014, 13:47

I would never have paid attention to any social media rating groups, if I did not know some publishers check them.
Trouble is, I spent time building up a couple of social media rating, based on what I learned about only a couple of publishers and who they watch. Turned out, most publishers don't bother with the ones I used, and neither does Klout.
So holding above 90% on them was basically a waste of time.
After I introduce my stand-alone novel, I will focus more on websites readers prefer, and to heck with those Klout don't monitor.
Checking my pen name in almost any search engine, I cover at least the first two pages of hits, sometimes more.
For a while, before new algorithms were put in place, I covered as many as three or four pages of hits.
All of these hits are the efforts I put forth in building my platform. So when my books do release, folks can find me easily.
I need to work on getting my landing page back to the top of the list again.

Happy New Year
TTUL
Gary
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Kellemora
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