Alycia Christine

Vivid Fiction, Epic Photography

Category: Musings Anthology (Page 1 of 3)

What Do You Do When The Monster Is Worth Saving?

Of_Kelpie_Lullabies_cover-1600x2400As many people, I am a huge lover of mythical creatures from lore and legend. The reason I love working with these strange and fantastic figures is because of the freedom they give me as an author. Using mythological creatures allows me the ability to explore different cultural archetypes and stereotypes without overtly offending anyone. Of the many stories I have written, “Of Kelpie Lullabies” is a perfect example of this technique. I created a deeply flawed heroine who longs for a normal life, but is cursed by corrupted magic to be a murdering monster. In the end, it is Keiranna’s choice to accept or reject love and forgiveness for her crimes that determines whether or not she can have that normal life that she so desperately craves.

The story itself may deal with sorcerers and magic, but I believe that most people can identify with its themes of grief, love, longing, despair, and forgiveness. How many of you reading this are cursed with the slavery known as drug addiction and alcohol addiction first hand? How many have become so angry that you have harmed someone with words, actions, or with your own fists? Who now hates yourself for the wrongness of you choices or the weakness of your habits?

Welcome to Keiranna’s hellish life.

How many of you know a drug addict or an alcoholic cursed with a need for a substance that is so powerful it controls every decision. Do you weep for them or are you beyond caring? What about those who hurt you? Do you write them off as a monster too loathsome to love or do you cry for them all the harder?

Welcome to Edwin’s predicament.

Edwin could have turned his back on the monster he saw destroying others from a distance, but he did not. He saw her, all of her. He saw Keiranna’s anger and her sadness. He saw her brutality and her fragility. In the end, he reached out to her because he understood that her pain matched his own.

Keiranna does not rely on her own strength to save herself nor does Edwin. Instead they make the choice to help each other and seek aid from a power far stronger than both of them to accomplish that goal.

Are you the monster or do you know the monster?

I ask you today, who is your Edwin and who is your Keiranna? What power do you rely on that is greater than yourself to remake your life and to remake the lives of others? I personally rely on Jesus Christ to help me love myself and love others—even the monsters. I know that many of my friends and acquaintances prefer to pray to other deities such as Allah or Buddha, but I prefer to worship Jesus because he is the only person I have ever known to prove his true love for me by dying in my stead. He took the penalty for my imperfections on himself to show me that, though I often make mistakes and do wrong toward others, I am still worth dying for. It is Jesus’s love, his sacrifice, and his defeat of death that I cling to daily because Jesus is the only person I have ever found whose loving faithfulness never wavers.

If you’re struggling with something that you can’t overcome on your own, I encourage you to ask Jesus for help. You’ll be amazed just how far his love and strength can shine in your darkness and your doubt.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia

P.S.-If you haven’t read the story, you can do so for free. It’s one of the stories in my Musings anthology which is given away on my Welcome Page.

~

The SCRAWLS blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

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AggieCon and The Madness of March

Kiss_of_Red_Frost-4x6ACMarch has been one mad, intense month! Between Granddaddy’s funeral, AggieCon, and various photography shoots, I have driven over 2000 miles across the state of Texas.

Granddaddy’s funeral was sad, but it went well. I was very blessed to see so many members of my extended family throughout the process. I was also fortunate enough to spend time with some of my closest friends during the week following his burial. Because so many of my loved ones are scattered far across the state, it’s difficult for all of us to get together on a regular basis.

Even with the chaos surrounding it, I had a wonderful time at AggieCon. This year marked the first time that I had a booth at the Con to showcase my books and artwork. I met several nice people and held a great giveaway contest for Con goers. Congratulations again to Sarah, the winner of a free copy of Musings and a free art print! Thanks in large part to my Eccentric Authors Guild buddies, I survived Con with minimal complications. My books sparked the interest of not one, but two publishers! I even made up my booth rent costs!

Despite Granddaddy’s death and all of the AggieCon preparation, I managed to turn in the manuscripts for Skinshifter and The Dryad’s Sacrifice to my editor on time. I also began writing Sloop and Sword, which is the sequel to Tempest Maiden series book Thorn and Thistle. I plan to spend all of April writing the rough draft of Sloop and Sword while finishing the rewrites and final formatting of Skinshifter and The Dryad’s Sacrifice. If all goes well, I’ll have both of the Sylvan series books up for pre-order by the beginning of May. Then I can start figuring out how to marketing them.

I have more work to do on Thorn and Thistle before my editor sees it. At this point though, I’m just happy that the book cover art for Skinshifter, The Dryad’s Sacrifice, and Thorn and Thistle are all finished. I can’t wait to reveal them to my newsletter subscribers in April! For now though I must continue building the basic foundation on which all of these grand plans and designs are laid: quality writing.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Author Reading of “Raven’s Fall”

Ravens_Fall_Cover-1600x2400Hi, everyone! Since today marks the fifth Tuesday of the month, I decided to do something special for my blog post today. Since I don’t have the financial ability to travel across the country on book tour, I decided to record my first author reading of “Raven’s Fall” and share it with you all via the internet. I hope you enjoy it!

The video blog link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j18LUimPmS0

My new YouTube Channel link is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClkVGjAqCRQLfHhWJ9JP3nw

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Head’s Up: MUSINGS Book Giveaway at Goodreads!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Musings by Alycia Christine

Musings

by Alycia Christine

Giveaway ends August 31, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

I’m running a contest for Goodreads members to win one of 10 autographed copies of my new book Musings! If you haven’t entered the contest, please do so before August 31st!

In other news, here is another sneak peek at one of the book’s short stories. I hope you enjoy this “Winter’s Charge” excerpt!

If every story must have a beginning, then mine should start on the ice. I was born on the ice. I was raised on it. I learned to hunt while running over the crisp, clear crunch of it. I am constantly captivated by the purity of its whites and the bejeweled depth of its blue hues. As a boy, I once even lost myself on it.

Losing my way on the ice happened as one of my people might expect, in a blizzard. My clan had trekked west from our summer village nestled amid fields of the tundra’s fading fireweed toward the rocky hunting grounds on the coast. I was 12 years old, and this winter would be my first chance to hunt with the men of our village. I was so excited as I mushed my small dogsled alongside those of the adults. What kills would I make this year to help feed the Alawaeun Clan? Would I catch a seal or a beluga or maybe even a walrus? Surely I was brave enough and strong enough now to hunt all three.

Our hunting party left the wooden shelters of our winter village once the ice fields proved safe enough to sled across. We traveled along the snowy ground with the light of the midnight sun to guide our sleds and the waves of the Aurora to wash our dreams clean. I dreamt of many things during our journey, but the dream I remember most was the vision of Nanuq. I saw Nanuq robed in her magnificent white fur with four great stars of heaven encircling her brow like a crown. With one mighty paw, she held back the frothy waves of the green sea. The outstretched claws of her other paw kept the tremulous mountains from tumbling on top of her. And in Nanuq’s lap an Alawaeun child slept the deep sleep of one at peace with the world.
I am not sure why I dreamed about the great white spirit bear. Perhaps it was a type of premonition given to me by the Father Spirit. The clan elders all say that the dreams dreamt under the Aurora are some of the holiest and most important of our lives. I am not sure if I believe that to be true, but I do know that my dreams under the multihued waves of sky lights are always highly symbolic.

The blizzard that changed my life came soon after the third recurrence of my dream about Nanuq. Our hunting party had just entered the less-sheltered part of Mukluk Pass when the winter storm unleashed its full fury. A blur of white obscured the sun, and then darkness overtook the world. We fought against the swirling cold, our quivering lips as blue as the ice deep beneath our fur-lined boots. My father yelled for the rest of the party members to huddle ourselves and the dogs together, using the sleds as windbreaks.

As the storm worsened, my father and I dug trenches in the mounting snow to further protect ourselves from the biting wind. I heard nothing but the storm’s fierce roar until a sound far louder and far worse shook the frozen ground around us.

“Avalanche!” my father yelled. I saw the word form in his mouth, but never heard it resonate from his lips over the awesome shake of the earth. Even so, he shoved me out of our crude igloo toward safety. Fear fueled my legs and I ran with abandon away from the colossal sound of shifting snow. I ran blind into the swirling darkness, using my ears to guide me away from the deadly waves of white. When a wall of rock appeared out of the blinding blizzard, I tightened the leather gloves around my fingers and began to climb. I scrambled up the craggy mountain while waves upon waves of snow crashed into the pass below me. The avalanche tumbled through the pass, burying anything in its way. I kept climbing, unsure of how high I should go to be safe. I climbed up and up and only stopped when my hands began to blister from the near-constant friction of gripping stone with leather-clad skin. I was high on the mountain now and, although I finally felt safe from the avalanche, the blizzard’s bite was far worse since I was so exposed to the winds. Our clan elders speak of the wind as the touch of the ancestors’ spirits. If that was true, then clearly these gusts were the slaps of ancestors from a rival clan who wished me dead! I had to find shelter soon or I would indeed meet death on this slope.

I found my temporary salvation in the form of a shallow cave on the leeward side of the mountain. It was little more than a hole in the rock. It was too small for a full-grown man to use, but just large enough for me. I shoved myself into the stony darkness and used the remnant twigs of an abandoned eagle’s nest to keep the howling spirits at bay. The last of my strength ebbed and I curled up inside my fur parka to sleep a dreamless sleep…

Want to know how the story ends? Find out more information about Musings HERE.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

MUSINGS Book Available Now!

Musings_Proof_2-4x6

It’s finally here!

MUSINGS Releases Today!

I am so excited to announce that the book Musings hits major online retail stores today!

The short story collection is available as:

  • An eBook for $3.99
  • A print book for $13.99

Click a link to order eBooks through:

Or order the Print Book HERE

Want to read a few excerpts from the book before purchasing? Go to the MUSINGS page and click on the EXCERPT links under the short story descriptions.

Finally, I was honored to be invited over at Total Nerd Takeover to talk about my writing, photography, and more during their latest TNerdT podcast today. If you want to listen to the show, go HERE.

Thanks so much for your support and encouragement! I hope you enjoy the read!

Alycia Christine

The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

MUSINGS Book Cover Finally Revealed!

MasterpieceLoading4x5ACThe wait is finally over…for the cover at least. We have a mere 17 days before MUSINGS is released out into the wild world at large. The short story collection is already available for pre-order in select stores and Advanced Reader Copies are being shipped to contest winners as we speak. Consequently I think it’s definitely time to reveal this beautiful book’s cover. Before I do so though, I want to tell all of you a little about the cover’s genesis. Last week I mentioned that the MUSINGS cover has something to do with a poem included in the book. I have included that special poem below. I encourage you to read the poem before clicking on the MUSINGS book cover link at the end so that you have a full appreciation for the words that inspired the book’s name and its compelling cover art.

Musings

Butterflies float over cracked earth
Along a creek that is no more.
Their wings wink into twilight
Beyond the fractured far shore.

A dragon soars above me,
Its scarlet wings burning bright
As the last gold rays of sunlight
Guide it on into the night.

The fireflies greet me then
In the cool of autumn’s day.
They add a touch of fairy light
To the streaming Milky Way.

I sit beneath the thorn tree
And gaze at the purple sky.
There between sand and starlight
All my musings finally fly.

Click HERE to see the MUSINGS book cover.

Want to pre-order the book? Use the links below:
Pre-order through Barnes and Noble
Pre-order through Smashwords

Unfortunately, print and Amazon Kindle editions of MUSINGS cannot be pre-ordered due to some weird distribution rules, but they will be available on the official release date of June 20. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

ARC Giveaway Contest for MUSINGS!

Twig_Sunset-4x6ACToday I am proud to announce two very important events. The first is that I am giving away 10 free Advanced Reader Copies of MUSINGS today! The second is that next Tuesday’s blog will finally reveal the book’s cover for all of you who have been dying to see it!

I will give away a free ARC of MUSINGS to each of the first 10 interested people who contact me today. To win a book, just fill out the contact form and send me the address where you want the book sent. I can send either a print copy or an eBook copy (Kindle .mobi or .epub file) to you, so be sure to mention which version works best for you. All I ask of the winners is that each of you read the book and post an honest review on Amazon.com, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, or another such site. That way other readers know what to expect from the book. Thank you all so much!

Now, I’m off to prepare for the upcoming MUSINGS cover unveiling next week. The cover is so beautiful that I can barely stand to keep it secret another minute, but I’m being good so that you can have the best surprise possible! Before I go, though, I will give you one hint: the MUSINGS cover has something to do with a poem included in the book.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Announcement: Author Name Change!

Fallen_Angel-4x6ACI have decided to do something drastic. I know it is a change that should have been many months long ago, but I suppose doing something late is better than not doing it at all. I am changing author names from Alycia C. Cooke to Alycia Christine.

When I published my first fiction short story over six years ago, I originally wrote under the pseudonym of Alycia C. Cooke. I did this for two reasons. The first was the fact that I had already published several journalism stories under my more complicated maiden name and I didn’t want to confuse early fiction fans with a bunch of news articles popping up in their internet search results. Hardly anyone could spell my maiden name anyway, so I wanted to use a simpler surname for fiction. The second reason that I wanted to write as Alycia C. Cooke was because my Granny had died two years earlier and I wanted to do something to honor her memory.

However, after many months of contemplation and several talks with my awesome beta readers, I have decided to publish Musings and all new fiction under Alycia Christine. After nine years, I think it is finally time let my grandmother go and completely be my own person just as she would want me to be. One way to do that is to publish all of my creative work under a name all my own. Since most people already know me from my Alycia Christine art photographs, it feels right to publish my fiction under Alycia Christine as well.

So this is my official announcement: I am changing all social media profiles to Alycia Christine. Hopefully this will make it much easier for fans to connect with me using any social media they wish whether they want to talk about my writing or my photography. My main website and my Facebook are under Alycia Christine already so I might as well make sure that Twitter, Goodreads, WattPad, etc. match as well.

This of course means that I will be rereleasing the short stories “Chosen Sacrifice” and “Raven’s Fall” under Alycia Christine in the next few weeks and that “Of Kelpie Lullabies”, “A Song for Naia”, and MUSINGS will all be published under Alycia Christine as well. As annoying as all this will be in the short run, I think the across-the-board name change will help add far more transparency and clarity to my web presence in the long run. I’m so sorry for the confusion, everyone! If you have any questions, let me know! Thank you so much!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of (now) Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Why Critique Groups are so Important

WeatheredHyperbolasACS4x6NEWS FLASH! My short story “Chosen Sacrifice” is available as an eBook for $0.99 at Amazon, the Apple iBook store, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
Buy and read it now or wait until MUSINGS is available on June 20 and read the whole short story collection then!

Now on to our regularly scheduled blog…

This week on SCRAWLS, I wanted to address why writers should get involved with other writers. I talked last month about the fact that writer’s should never live in a bubble (even if they do often work in one) and I wanted to continue that train of thought today with a couple of very useful practices.

The writing community is called that for a reason. After all, the publishing industry is filled with far more people than just writers. There are agents, editors, story cover artists, marketing consultants, public relations workers, and most importantly, readers. All writers are readers. We read our own work and we read others’ work. This fact means that we naturally want to talk about our work and the work of others with other writers. One of the healthiest ways to accomplish this is to get involved in a writing critique group. If you can do nothing else in the writing community, please join a good writing group!

An honest critique of your work is sometimes painful, but it is worth ten insincere pats on the back. Your ultimate goal for your work needs to be to make as good and memorable of a piece of entertainment for your readers as possible. The work should please you and please your readers. If it does not do both of these things, it has failed as a piece of writing. Often it is hard for a writer to see the flaws in his or her own work and that is why a writing critique group is so wonderful. The whole purpose of your writing critique group should be to show you your strengths, but also to graciously indicate where your words are weak. Part of the fun of being a writer is the fact that the more I learn about this business, the more I appreciate reading the written word itself. I get excited about my writing sessions and cannot wait to give my critiques on my friends’ stories and receive their critiques on mine in turn. This group give and take is not only healthy, it is also far more efficient of a learning environment than a lone writer trying to work out all of the “kinks” by himself.

My suggestion is to find a local group or start your own group with writers that share your genre interests. One of the easiest ways to do this is to check if any colleges or universities in your area offer creative writing classes. Talk to the teachers of those classes to find out about either taking the course or joining any known private critique groups. You can also find numerous online writing courses and join cyber critique groups.

The advice of genre-specific critique groups will help you far more in the long run than that of generalized groups. I have enjoyed going through a couple of paid courses over the years, but I will caution you to always choose a course or critique group that deals specifically with the genre of writing that you want to publish. I have been involved in a generalized literary course where I was forced to write mainstream fiction instead of fantasy or science fiction. I will never make that mistake again because my caliber of writing suffers when I cannot write what I love.

If you want interaction beyond the critique group, there are myriads of writers on social networks and forums such as Twitter, Facebook, Kboards.com, etc. that can help involve you in their respective communities and update you about events affecting the writing community in general. You can also follow other writers’ blogs and comment on them.

Certain etiquette is required for blog and social media sites like these: you are welcome to comment, but not to harass. Do not try to hard sell yourself or your work, just be yourself and participate in the community. You will learn great information and make excellent contacts this way. These contacts will come in handy later when you do need to market your stories, but just enjoy the new friendships for now. Case in point, posting the occasional update on a specific story’s progress is fine, but if all people hear is “Please buy my story!”, they will usually start ignoring you because you have no “useful” information to share. You need to engage others about many different common interests. Tell others what excites you: a new book, a new movie, a new game. Then discuss it with other people. Write a blog on your own website about different aspects of writing or other related hobbies that fascinate you and add the links to your posts to your social media pages. Post links to interesting YouTube videos. Have fun with your participation in the community. The more people get to know you as a person, the more likely they will support you in your artistic endeavors if you are tactful in mentioning your work.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia C. Cooke and/or Alycia Christine Sears at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Werewolves in Central Park?

Treasure_Chest-AC_4x6It’s only Tuesday and already this week is busy. I’m hard at work finishing the last preparations for the publication of “Raven’s Fall” this Friday and before the entire short story collection of Musings becomes available for preorder in a couple of weeks. I cannot wait for the Musings book cover unveiling! The cover art is so beautiful! For now though, I hope you’ll be content with a short story excerpt from the book. The short story “City of Twilight” is about a pack of werewolves living in Central Park. It is also the first fiction short story I ever wrote. Enjoy!

The setting sun peeked through the gray clouds, illuminating the cracked concrete with its wan light. Darkness would soon overtake the city and once again release the Nightmares, but for now the sunlit ruins were relatively safe.

“I hope so anyway,” Carn murmured.

The shaggy black werewolf sat quietly at his post on the grassy hill and surveyed the shattered buildings closest to his forest home. His hazel eyes constantly darted from shadow to lengthening shadow as he searched for movement among the ruined streets while his nose continually sampled the damp air for unnatural odors.

He could still make out the architectural details of the crumbling building nearest to his section of forest—a stone virgin stared at him with blackened eyes as she knelt beneath the remnants of a cracked cross. There was little left of the structure’s steep roof and even less of its flower-shaped, stained-glass windows. What had the church looked like when it was whole? How manicured had Carn’s forest been when it still acted as the central park to this enormous American metropolis? The Human Plague had reduced the city surrounding Carn’s home to a necropolis. Then the subsequent 40 years of Nightmare Wars had twisted it further into a ruin. It was a pity that so much beauty had come to such spoil.

“A pity, but not unexpected. As my father always said, ‘Pride goes before destruction.’ And the human scientists had more pride than even the worst angels,” Carn said and shook his head. “If the fools hadn’t tried to kill us off with the Henbane Virus, most of them would still be alive to threaten us today. How ironic.”

Carn’s tongue lolled out, but his silent laugh quickly faded as a cold tingle suddenly crawled the length of his spine. Frowning, he checked the nearby underground cache of Henbane Catalyst that he and his packmates used to bolster their shape-shifting abilities. Carefully he pulled out the black rubber stopper of one of the glass vials with his fangs and took a small sip before resealing the container. His laugh returned as the warmth of the formula spread out from his stomach to his extremities. He flexed the muscles in his limbs appreciatively as the serum took full effect. He would be ready to shift from a wolf into a human and back again in a few moments’ time if the need came.

He took a quick inventory of the full vials as he stashed his brew once again. More than enough to last the month. Good, he thought. We’ll not have to run to the Sinai Ruins for more until the next full moon, then.

And speaking of running…

Carn’s ears perked at the sound of fast footfalls. His eyes followed his ears to the corner of a half-shattered apartment complex and spied a frantic human female sprinting across the broken pavement toward the safety of the trees.

Her eyes and voice were filled with terror. “Help me, someone, please!”

The werewolf growled in surprise. He knew of only two human families still living on the outskirts of his forest territory. His pack held protection pacts with both of them, which allowed their members to come to the forest on hunting and bartering trips. This female belonged to neither of those clans. Carn howled a warning to his scattered pack as he ran to intercept the stranger…

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia C. Cooke and/or Alycia Christine Sears at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

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