Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between

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My Balticon 2017 Schedule

Spring has sprung, and Memorial Day is less than a week away. You know what that means: Balticon! This year’s con will again be held at the Marriott Renaissance overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, May 26-29. I’ll be appearing on six program items, including two readings:

Saturday, May 27
Noon, Kent Meeting Room (Sixth Floor)
Writing Interesting and Effective Short Stories
Hildy Silverman (Moderator), Scott Edelman, Malka Older, Jean Marie Ward and Fran Wilde

3 PM, St. George Meeting Room (Sixth Floor)
Author Readings
Bjorn Hasseler, Jean Marie Ward, Ted Weber

6 PM, Kent Meeting Room (Sixth Floor)
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Readings
Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Roxanne Bland, Lauren Harris, A.L. Kaplan, Gail Z. Martin, Cara McKinnon, Christie Meierz, Jennifer R. Povey, Roberta Rogow, D.H. Timpko

7 PM, Pride of Baltimore Meeting Room (Sixth Floor)
Mythology as a Basis for Speculative Fiction
Kim Hargan (Moderator), Tom Doyle, Ada Palmer, David Silverman, Jean Marie Ward

Sunday, May 28
Noon, Pride of Baltimore Meeting Room (Sixth Floor)
Social Media Promotion Without Being Obnoxious
Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Melissa L. Hayden, Nathan Lowell, Hildy Silverman, Michael Ventrella

4 PM, Guilford Meeting Room (Fifth Floor)
Judging an Editor’s Work
Kay Baiman (Moderator), Jamaila Brinkley, Jennifer Levine, Jean Marie Ward, Joy Ward

Hope to see you there!

Posted 5 months, 4 weeks ago at 8:04 pm.

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My Schedule for Balticon 49

Balticon has posted its 2015 program—and not a minute too soon. The con starts in three days! I can’t wait. There will be friends to see, toasts to raise, costumes to praise, and panels to enjoy. This year, I have three formal panels, and three readings, at least one of them involving more than my usual offering of chocolate.
Yes, I share chocolate at all my readings—and bring swag to all my panels. I trust that means I’ll see you there. ;-)

Friday

6 PM, Chesapeake
Readings: Keith R.A. DeCandido, Sunny Morraine and Jean Marie Ward

Saturday

8 PM, Salon B
The Scholar as Author: Not every great author is an academic, or vice versa, but it doesn’t hurt. Our panelists discuss what scholarly experience brings to an author’s tool kit, and what writing techniques can’t be picked up in the academic setting and have to be learned the hard way. Karen Burnham (Moderator), Tom Doyle, Ada Palmer, John Skylar, Jean Marie Ward

9 PM, Frankie & Vinnie’s
Broad Universe Fabulous 15 Birthday Party: The Balticon Broads celebrate 15 years of Broad Universe with readings, goodies, giveaways and food! Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Day Al-Mohammed, Sarah Avery, Roxanne Bland, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Kelly A. Harmon, Gail Z. Martin, Roberta Rogow, D.H. Timko, Jean Marie Ward and T.J. Wooldridge

10 PM, Salon B
Diversity in Popular Culture—Fad or the New Normal: Diversity and representation has been a hot topic
in SF/F literature, gaming, and other parts of fandom and popular culture over the past few years. Is this a phase or a watershed moment in the broader pop culture landscape? What role can individual readers, writers, and fans play in this discussion? Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Day Al‐Mohamed, Stephanie Burke, William Galaini, Sunny Moraine

Sunday

12-2 PM, Concierge Lounge
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading: Bite-sized readings from your favorite Broad Universe authors. Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Day Al-Mohammed, Sarah Avery, Roxanne Bland, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Kelly A. Harmon, Gail Z. Martin, Roberta Rogow, D.H. Timko, Jean Marie Ward and T.J. Wooldridge

Monday

11 AM, Salon B
Ancient Greece in SF and Fantasy: Greek history—rewritten or reimagined—is one of the more common sources for stories and novels in fantasy and science fiction. Our panelists discuss why it works so well and what still remains to be imagined. Tom Doyle (Moderator), Jack Campbell/John Hemry, Jo Walton, Jean Marie Ward

Posted 2 years, 6 months ago at 10:00 am.

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Getting out the Vote–Awards Version

Buzzy Mag

Whatever side you take on the current Hugo Awards kerfuffle, you gotta admit it highlights the importance of voting for what you want. Roughly two thousand ballots were submitted for this year’s Hugos, which sounds like a lot until you realize that the pool of eligible voters encompasses the members of three different Worldcons, and the 2014 Worldcon alone numbered over ten thousand members.

Where were all the other voters? If as one of my old political science professors claimed, people are more likely to vote when they’re unhappy, it seems like most of the voters must have been okay with recent trends, such as increasing diversity among writers and subject matter. It will be interesting to see the numbers next year. To say nothing of the numbers for the other science fiction, fantasy and horror awards, like the 2015 World Fantasy Awards.

Mwahahaha! You knew I was hiding a big sharp, pointy thing in here somewhere.

Seriously, if you’re eligible to vote in this year’s World Fantasy Awards, please, vote. Vote for the works that make your heart sing, even if they aren’t something your high school literature teacher would dismiss as unworthy.

No. Especially if it’s something he or she would dismiss as “unworthy”. Great writing isn’t always about making you feel awful. Death, despair and dystopias are part of the human condition and need to be addressed in ways that make us think. But great writing also about opening yourself to wonder, possibility, hope and joy. Frankly, a lot more people read Agatha Christie and Bram Stoker than will ever read Henry James. And don’t get me started on how many people have dissed Jane Austen through the years, both for her subject matter and for her gender.

In addition, may I suggest looking at candidates other than the usual suspects in all the awards categories. For example, there are a lot of great books published by small presses. Naturally, I plan to nominate all the 2014 anthologies on my home page. It’s a writer’s version of showing the flag. But I’ll also be nominating a middle grade book for Best Novel–and I almost never read middle grade novels, much less recommend them. That book I wanted to live.

Even more important is coloring outside the lines when it comes to the Special Awards, Nonprofessional and Professional. There are lot of folks in fandom who are critical to the tribal gatherings we call cons. But do you ever stop to think about how important the con chair or department chairs are to your experience as an author or a fan?

For example, writers and fans in the DC/Maryland/Virginia metro area are facing a giant hole in the center of our universe due to the passing of Peggy Rae Sapienza, co-chair of World Fantasy Con 2014. Peggy Rae was a major part of every Washington area convention for close to forty years. She had a knack for finding the right people to do the big jobs and persuading them to do them–including me. I spent much of last year working with her, Sam Lubell and Bill Campbell on the World Fantasy Con 40th anniversary anthology, Unconventional Fantasy, at her behest. The finished anthology comprised six volumes (including an exhibit catalog for the con’s Virgil Finlay exhibit), 3200 pages, over three hundred art works and a hundred historic photos. And that was only part of what she did for that one con.

But there are folks like that associated with every convention. I think of the good folks who run the many tracks at the cons I attend. I may be buying World Fantasy Con supporting memberships for years just to nominate all of them.

Then there are the professionals we take for granted. Maybe it’s the reviewer or interviewer for your favorite online magazine. How about the publishers of that same magazine?

I can tell you one vote I’ll be making this year. I’m nominating Joy Poger and June Williams of Buzzy Mag. Buzzy’s parent company started life creating wonderfully snarky t-shirts and audio versions of novels by Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs and more. But that wasn’t enough. About four years ago they decided they wanted to create an online magazine that covered every aspect of science fiction, fantasy and horror. They post interviews of Hollywood types and writers (in the interests of honesty, some of them by me), as well as reviews of anything that takes their fancy in films, TV, gaming and fiction. But best of all, they are a major market for new SF/fantasy/horror fiction. And the stories… Well, you can read them for yourself. Just follow the link.

Vote your joy. I’m voting mine. ;-)

Posted 2 years, 7 months ago at 10:15 am.

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My Capclave Schedule

Capclave starts tomorrow! Where did the year go? It seems to have filled up like…well, like my Capclave schedule, which is nothing if not exciting. That’s okay. I like exciting.
Hope to see you there–there being the Hilton Washington, DC North/Gaithersburg in Gaithersburg, Maryland. And as always, there will be chocolate…

Friday
5 PM, Rockville/Potomac Room
Humorous SF
Panelists: John Ashmead (M), Norm Sherman, Alex Shvartsman, Jean Marie Ward
It’s easy to name the funny fantasy books, but what about the funny SF books and short stories? For instance, Unidentified Funny Objects was an entire anthology of funny SF.

8 PM, Rockville/Potomac
No Means No
Panelists: Inge Heyer, Natalie Luhrs, Emmie Mears, Jon Skovron, Jean Marie Ward (M)
There is a great disturbance in science fiction and fantasy. As fans and writers you have the right to expect respect.

9 PM, Bethesda
Don’t Go There. Unless You Really Want To.
Panelists: Brenda W. Clough, David G. Hartwell, Shahid Mahmud, Jean Marie Ward (M)
Taboo subjects in fantasy and science fiction. Are there any? What lines won’t you cross? What lines should you cross?

11 PM, Salon A
The Appeal of King Arthur
Panelists: Tom Doyle, Max Gladstone, Robert Greenberger, David G. Hartwell, Darrell Schweitzer, Jean Marie Ward (M)
What makes so many writers from Twain to Mary Stewart to Lerner and Lowe produce their own takes on ‘the matter of Britain’? Why do King Arthur books thrive while other legends like Robin Hood get far less attention? What are the best takes on the Arthurian legend?

Saturday
2 PM, Bethesda
Smart Women Foolish Television
Panelists: Barbara Krasnoff, Sherin Nicole (M), Janine Spendlove, Genevieve Valentine, Jean Marie Ward, Fran Wilde
We all have those shows we watch and love and maybe love to pick on because they are our guilty pleasures. We revel in their cliches and inconsistent writing and leaps of logic. Or in their bizarre yet internally consistent alternate realities (even if they’re supposed to be based in the real world). Ahistorical historical shows and why we love their anachronisms.

7:30 PM, Salon A
Mass Signing
Participants: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Sarah Avery, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Marilyn “Mattie” Brahen, Neil Clarke, Tom Doyle, Andy Duncan, Scott Edelman, Jim Freund, Charles E. Gannon, Max Gladstone, David G. Hartwell, Alma Katsu, Pamela K. Kinney, Barbara Krasnoff, Dina Leacock, James Maxey, Will McIntosh, Mike McPhail, Sunny Moraine, James Morrow, Sarah Pinsker, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Lawrence M. Schoen, Darrell Schweitzer, Alex Shvartsman, Jon Skovron, Alan Smale, Bud Sparhawk, Janine Spendlove, Genevieve Valentine, Michael A. Ventrella, Jean Marie Ward, Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Saturday evening mass autographing session.

11 PM, Bethesda
Eye of Argon
Panelists: Walter H. Hunt, Sarah Pinsker, Ian Randal Strock, Michael A. Ventrella (M), Jean Marie Ward
Our panelists read the worst fantasy story ever written, mistakes and all, and if they laugh or read it incorrectly, they are forced to act out the story. Just try not to fall over laughing! At some point, volunteers from the audience can participate and discover firsthand the author’s contentious relationship with spelling, capitalization and punctuation.

Sunday
12 PM, Rockville/Potomac
Can A Small Town Elf Make it in the Big City?
Panelists: Holly Black (M), Jim Freund, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Emmie Mears, Jean Marie Ward
It’s an Urban Fantasy panel. Favorite authors, current trends, what’s the next supernatural creature to hit it big now that vampires, zombies and angels have all had a turn in the spotlight?

4 PM, Bethesda
The Darker Side of Fae
Panelists: Holly Black, Pamela K. Kinney, Janine Spendlove, Jean Marie Ward (M)
Not everyone can be Tinkerbell (who wasn’t all sweetness and light), sometimes the world is a little less clean and pure. Both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts are best avoided if at all possible.

Posted 3 years, 1 month ago at 10:01 am.

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My 2014 Dragon Con Schedule

Yeah, I’ve been a Bad Blogger. In my defense, I’ve been hard at work on Unconventional Fantasy, a huge anthology celebrating the fortieth anniversary of World Fantasy Con, coming up in Crystal City, Virginia, this November. About the only thing I’ve had time for is convention appearances, and one of the biggest is coming up fast.

I’m about to leave for the World’s Biggest Summer Camp for Wayward Adults: Dragon Con. We’ll be taking over downtown Atlanta, August 29 to September 1. There will be parades! Music! Gaming! Films! Puppetry (no foolin’)! And of course, panels like the these:

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Title: Just the Facts, Ma’am…
Description: Writers of non-fiction looking for a career boost? This panel is geared toward perfecting your craft–and discovering new outlets for your work.
Time: Fri 02:30 pm Location: Embassy D-F – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Panelists: Jean Marie Ward (moderator), John L. Flynn, M. B. Weston, Stuart Jaffe, Anya Martin, Teresa Patterson)

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Title: Athena’s Daughters Signing
Description: Meet the writers of Athena’s Daughters at the Artists Alley table of cover artist Autumn Frederickson.
Time: Fri 04:30 pm Location: Grand Hall West – Hyatt (Length: 1.5 Hours)
(Panelists: Autumn Frederickson, Jean Marie Ward)

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Title: Athena’s Daughters Authors Meet & Greet
Description: Meet the talented ladies behind the popular Athena’s Daughters anthology, featuring heroines of all ages & stories for the entire family
Time: Sat 10:00 am Location: A708 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Panelists: Janine K. Spendlove, Gail Z. Martin, Jean Marie Ward, Diana Peterfreund)

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Title: SciFi Spies
Description: Secret agent/spy fiction has always overlapped with SF in a big way, from futuristic gadgets to flying cars to laser cannons in space.
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Embassy A-B – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Panelists: Van Allen Plexico, Jean Marie Ward)

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Title: Their World Forever Changed: Chaos and Heartbreak on Lost Girl
Description: A moderated fan-panel discussion of the hit show. (Note: this is a fan panel. No cast members will be appearing on this panel.)
Time: Sat 08:30 pm Location: Chastain ED – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Panelists: Jean Marie Ward)

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Title: Who Needs Dystopias When You Have History
Description: From infant sacrifice in Carthage to the Inquisition, history offers some of the darkest times and places you NEVER want to visit in a time machine.
Time: Sat 10:00 pm Location: Augusta 3 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Panelists: Jean Marie Ward (moderator), A. J. Hartley, D.B. Jackson, Katherine Kurtz, Gail Z. Martin, Kathryn Hinds)

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Title: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
Description: A program of bite-sized readings from some of your favorite Broad Universe authors.
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Vinings – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Panelists: Gail Z. Martin, Janine Spendlove, Jean Marie Ward, Trisha Wooldridge)

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Title: Lifestyles of Science Fiction
Description: Science fiction doesn’t only explore scientific possibilities but also social ones.
Time: Sun 10:00 pm Location: Embassy A-B – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Panelists: Diane Hughes, Jean Marie Ward)

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Title: Victorian Technology
Description: A panel discussion of the technology of the Victorian era and how to exploit it in your stories or imagination!
Time: Mon 11:30 am Location: Augusta 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Panelists: Jean Marie Ward, Stephanie Osborn)

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Title: Win, Lose or Draw
Description: SF style. The traditional convention-closer for the SF Literature Track. Once again, I’ll be hosting a competition based on contestants ability to get others to decipher their artwork. There will be prizes, too.
Time: Mon 01:00 pm Location: Embassy A-B – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Panelists: Jean Marie Ward)

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Posted 3 years, 2 months ago at 10:00 am.

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Awesome Con Schedule Is Awesome

Friday, Saturday and Sunday will find me at the DC Convention Center, indulging in the delights of Awesome Con. Since this will be my first Awesome Con, my schedule is unusually light:

5:15-6:15 p.m., Friday, April 18
Part Time Writer, Full Time World

11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., Saturday, April 19
Writing Fantasy

This means I’ll get to hang with buds like Gail Z. Martin and Silence in the Library Publishers Janine Spendlove and Ron Garner. Yay! Even more remarkable, after more than a decade as a con guest, I might actually get to see some panels other than my own. I can’t wait!

Hope to see you there.

Posted 3 years, 7 months ago at 9:30 am.

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Picturespicturespictures!

I’m back, with a first look at Ben Fogletto’s amazing cover art for Hellfire Lounge 4: Reflections of Evil, coming in August to a bricks-and-mortar and online bookseller near you.

Hellfire Lounge 4 Painting

And if that weren’t enough, Edd Coutts has done a stunning job of capturing the moment when Eddie Woodhouse meets the Luftwaffe on the Hindenburg. Yep, “Glass Transit”, my contribution to the anthology, features Eddie and Ducky “Duke D’Or” Orr, everybody’s favorite hard luck sorcerers, on Nazi Germany’s biggest flying bomb. Don’t say you weren’t warned. ;-)

The scene on the bridge

And I’ve posted pictures of RavenCon! The short version can be found in my Thursday Thirteen for Beyond the Veil. But there’s more, lots more, on my Flickr page. Enjoy!

Posted 4 years, 6 months ago at 12:59 pm.

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Hellebore & Rue is back in pixels

Thanks to Steve Berman and the other great folks at Lethe Press, Hellebore & Rue has been reissued electronically. You can now download the multiple award-winning anthology to your reader for the bargain price of $6.99. What are you waiting for? All it takes is a single click.

Meanwhile, I’ve been adding a number of new items to the web site–mostly links to new Buzzy Magazine video interviews on the And Stuff page. As you can see from the sidebar, my 2013 calendar is filling up, too. I could’ve even included an event in 2014, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. And nothing beats adding a link to a new review, this time for The Modern Fae’s Guide for Surviving Humanity. You can find it on the Books page.

Now back to work…

Posted 4 years, 11 months ago at 10:00 am.

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My Capclave Schedule

This weekend—the real Columbus Day weekend—you can find me at Capclave, my hometown con. The guests of honor will be John Scalzi and Nick Mamatas. But they’ve given me some really nice panels, too. Come join us in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and see for yourself.

Friday

4 p.m., Frederick Meeting Room
Required reading
Students are required to read many novels. Is this a good thing? Can High School students truly relate to the Joads? Does being forced to read hold back students?
Panelists: Roger MacBride Allen, James Morrow, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator)

Saturday

Noon, Bethesda Meeting Room
Reviews, what are they good for?
They said what!?! What is the value of book blogs and review sites? Should you engage?
Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Brenda Clough, Gayle Surrette (Moderator), Jean Marie Ward

3 p.m., Salons A & B
Romancing the Paranormal
Witches and werewolves and vampires in love. Why has paranormal romance become so popular? Is this a fad or a lasting subgenre? Have publishers started cutting back? How much romance needs to be in the book for it to be paranormal as opposed to urban/modern fantasy?
Panelists: Victoria Janssen (Moderator), Sherin Nicole, Jean Marie Ward

4 p.m., Bethesda Meeting Room
Has Steampunk gone mainstream?
New York editors are acting like gears and coal-fired engines are the new vampires. Has the genre become too popular–and is that a bad thing? And what exactly is steampunk and is it fantasy or science fiction?
Panelists: John Ashmead, Jonah Knight (Moderator), Alan Smale, Elaine Stiles, Jean Marie Ward

7:30 p.m., Salons A & B
Capclave Signing
All Guests

10:30 p.m., Salons A & B
I Swear It’s All True
Panelists regal fans with their best “true” stories about things that happened to them. The moderator will give prompts, “Things that happened when I was supposed to be writing,” “Craziest thing that happened at a convention,” “Weirdest interaction with an editor or agent,” and “How I learned a lesson I’ll never forget.”
Panelists: Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Lawrence Watt-Evans

Sunday

11 a.m., Bethesda Meeting Room
WWI Comeback
It has been nearly a hundred years since the War to end all wars, is this a setting that still has potential? Will the movie War Horse and the TV show Downton Abbey spark a new interest in fiction set during World War One?
Panelists: Tad Daley, JD, PhD, Andrew Fox, John G. Hemry, Victoria Janssen (Moderator), Jean Marie Ward

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Posted 5 years, 1 month ago at 9:34 am.

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Dragon*Con, here I come!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
No, silly, not the winter holiday season.  I’m talking about Dragon*Con, where you too can be surrounded by forty thousand of the closest friends and acquaintances you never met before–like these charmers.

I’ll be doing my thing on five panels this year:

Friday, August 31, 1 p.m. (Hyatt, Fairlie Meeting Room)
Talking Cats and Clever Rats–Animals as symbols and characters in SF and fantasy.
Panelists: Lynn Abbey, Diane Hughes, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator)

Saturday, September 1, 2:30 p.m. (Hyatt, Greenbriar Meeting Room)
Good War/Bad War–How have recent conflicts shaped or influenced today’s SF?
T.C. McCarthy, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Michael Z. Williamson

Sunday, September 2, 5:30 p.m. (Hyatt, Greenbriar Meeting Room)
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading–Well-known and up-and-coming women writers read from their works.
Too many writers to count.  ;-)

Monday, September 3, 1 p.m. (Hyatt, Fairlie Meeting Room)
SF Win, Lose or Draw–The third annual Win, Lose or Draw competition comes to Dragon*Con.  Put together a team or join one when you arrive.

Monday, September 2, 2:30 p.m. (Hyatt, Embassy D-F)
Writer’s Wonder Panel–Writers discuss the wonders–good and bad–of being a writer.
Lynn Abbey, Carole Nelson Douglas, Nancy Knight, Jennifer St. Giles, Jean Marie Ward, Janny Wurts

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Posted 5 years, 2 months ago at 9:27 pm.

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