Archive by Author | Hunter Shea

Ring Around THE DEVIL TREE!

File this one under “How didn’t I think of this first?” Keith Rommel’s latest book. THE DEVIL TREE, is a story so strange and compelling, I can’t believe it flew under my radar! Thankfully, the true story has gotten the full horror treatment by a master at the top of his game.

I mean, Jeez, the name alone is worth the price of admission (or Ebook/print). The fact that the actual tree still stands in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the scars of its sordid history visible on its bark, makes this tale all the more chilling.

Over the past couple of years, Keith Rommel has become a true friend – a friend I’m envious of because he can walk to Mets spring training games. Yes, I can drive 20 minutes to CitiField to see them during the regular season and playoffs (fingers crossed), but spring training is something special. Kinda like Keith, and just like The Devil Tree.

Devil Tree 1So, what is this Devil Tree all about?

Based on the Port St. Lucie Legend …

Back in the 1970s, a series of bizarre incidents occurred at what has since been known as “The Devil Tree.” Beneath this ancient denizen, evil was wrought by a sick serial killer, calling upon forces most evil and dark. People were hung there … and bodies buried there … exhumed by the police. Overcome by superstition, some tried to cut down the tree, to no avail. Since then, it has stood in a remote section of a local park — left to its own devices — quiet in its eerie repose — until now!

Best-selling psychological-thriller author Keith Rommel has imagined the whole tale anew. He’s brought the tree to life and retold the tale with gory detail only possible in a fiction novel. Action-packed, with spine-tingling detail, this thriller is beyond parallel in the ground it uncovers … one author’s explanation of what may have really been said — what may have really happened — under Port St. Lucie’s “Devil Tree.”

Now, I’ve talked to Keith about the writing of this book. Basically, it was like a fever that came over him, and the only prescription was….not more cowbell…but to write until his fingers bled. In just a few weeks, he wove a fictional story around the tapestry of truth, plucking the most sinister aspects of what happened at the Devil Tree and amping up the scares. This is his most visceral book to date, a departure from his previous work, and he nails it.He even includes pictures taken of the tree in its current state. To me, the scariest stories are always the one that contain a kernel of truth. This one has enough kernels to send tiny demons dancing up your spine.

What happens at The Devil Tree is not for the faint of heart. Read the book, then visit the old, twisted tree if you can find it. Just don’t try to bring harm to the tree, and cleanse yourself in holy water when you’re done.

Visit Keith Rommel’s website to learn more and order your copy today!

The Aliens Are Here! Interview with BOOM TOWN Author Glenn Rolfe1

It’s time to put on your tin foil hats and settle down in the bunker. Today, for your listening and viewing pleasure, the Monster Men interview Samhain author Glenn Rolfe to talk about his latest release, Boom Town. Glenn is a horror author in Maine (I think there’s some other guy up there who does stuff like that) and a real up-and-comer. Now first, check out the interview :

Here’s what Boom Town is about :

Terror from below!

In the summer of 1979, Eckert, Wisconsin, was the sight of the most unique UFO encounter in history. A young couple observed a saucer-like aircraft hovering over Hollers Hill. A blue beam blasted down from the center of the craft into the hill and caused the ground to rumble for miles.

Now, thirty years later, Eckert is experiencing nightly rumbles that stir up wild rumors and garner outside attention. The earthly tremors are being blamed on everything from earthquakes to underground earth dwellers. Two pre-teens discover a pipe out behind Packard’s Flea Market uprooted by the “booms” and come into contact with the powerful ooze bubbling from within. What begins as curiosity will end in an afternoon of unbridled terror for the entire town.

Now, this is why I love my job. I got an advanced copy of Boom Town from Glenn. I’m not sure if he was fully aware of my alien invasion obsession. So little did he know, I was already hooked by the premise, big time. Boom Town is set in a small, out of the way town, so you immediately get that sense of isolation, which always amps up the creep factor. Most of the main characters are kids in their teens, so folks who grew up loving It can rejoice.

boom town 1

Glenn wastes no time diving right in. I will say that this isn’t your typical alien invasion tale. There are no grays or reptilians skulking around, probing anuses and trying to gain world domination. Think of this more as The Blob on steroids. Snappy prose and non-stop action make this a real fun read. Take me to your leader, if that leader is Glenn Rolfe!

Scares That Care Weekend – My One Con Appearance For 2015

I know it’s still months away, but I wanted to let you all know that I’ll be at the SCARES THAT CARE WEEKEND  in Williamsburg, VA July 24-26th. This is the second annual con and if it’s anything like the first, it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

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Those who attend get first crack at my summer release, TORTURES OF THE DAMNED, a few days before it hits stores nationwide. Of course, I’ll have all my books on hand. There will be author readings (and the high strangeness that I do for mine), panel discussions and more. I’ll also be joined by fellow Samhainers Jonathan Janz and I hear Kristopher Rufty and Ron Malfi. Oh, and there’s also this little known writer called Brian Keene that will be there as well. I hear he’s written some cool zombie books.

Check out this pic of me on the website that makes me look like one tired, long-faced bastard.

Hunter-SheaI promise, I’m waaaay more alive than that in person. Get your tickets and make your reservations and head on down. I had an amazing time last year. Odds are, if you stop by my table, we’ll be sharing some brews.

It Follows – In The Footsteps Of Horror Greatness

It seems like it’s been decades since I was this thrilled by a horror movie. And when I sit back and think about it, 30 years is about how long I’ve been waiting for a movie like It Follows. Maybe it’s because the movie has a whole late 70s, early 80s vibe, taking me back to the time when I was young and enthralled by the movies of John Carpenter and George Romero. In fact, there are so many elements of It Follows that remind me of Halloween, yet with an entirely unique story and feel, that I felt like a teen again, experiencing a whole new world of horror at its best.

It-Follows-posterHere’s the story – Jay (played by Maika Monroe, who was just in the horror/thriller The Guest) is a kind of directionless girl living in the suburbs of Detroit. She has a tight group of friends (her sister, Paul who was her first kiss and also kissed her sister when they were younger, and Yara, a girl who spends all her time reading ebooks on a pink clam shell) who just hang out with no real aspirations or parental supervision. We only see Jay’s mother from side angles, and when we do, there’s always booze nearby, so we get the feeling that this generation has been left to themselves.

Jay is dating a guy she met outside the neighborhood. He takes her out one night and they make good use of the back seat of his car.As she’s basking in the afterglow, he chloroforms her, straps her to a wheelchair and has her sit in an abandoned building, waiting for a spirit to begin stalking them. He explains that by having sex, he’s transferred a curse to her. She will be followed by a spirit that can look like anyone until she passes it to someone else. If she gets caught before she does, the spirit will kill her and in turn, kill him.

The rest of the movie is spent with Jay running from the shape shifting spirits. They walk slow, but they also never, ever stop following you. She can drive far to buy some time, but the spirits will always catch up with her. There’s never really a moment of full rest, and you can feel the desperation with each frame. Her friends stick by her, but even they can’t help much because they can’t see what Jay can and no one knows how to stop it.

Now for the look of the movie. All of the cars in It Follows are hulking behemoth’s from the 70’s/80’s. From the decor of the houses, to landline phones and even the way people dress, you’d swear the movie was set in 1979. The only connection to modern times is Yara’s e-reader. Viewers are shown the absolute depression of Detroit, with rows of abandoned, crumbling homes. I feel the director chose to stop technology and fashion right when Detroit was beginning to falter, capturing the final heyday of a city in amber.

The opening sequence of It Follows is the best I’ve seen since Halloween. The score is absolutely chilling. I went out and bought it an hour after I saw the movie. It’s part of a new wave of horror movies using synth soundtracks, just like they did back in the day, to set your nerves on edge.

We all know that horror movies have long conveyed that premarital sex leads to very bad things. I can think of no worse consequence than the curse bestowed on Jay in It Follows.

And yes, I’m going to come right out and say this is an instant classic. For my money, it’s the best horror movie I’ve seen since Carpenter’s The Thing. I get the sneaking suspicion that writer/director David Robert Mitchell is as much a Carpenter fan as I am, because he’s created something that can proudly sit alongside the master’s best works.

Lessons in advertising my eBook (what worked, what didn’t)

Hunter Shea:

A huge thanks to author Matt Manochio who boldly explored the world of marketing and selling his book and lived to tell the tale…and provide invaluable information!

Originally posted on Scary Funny:

How many books do I need to sell to make a bestsellers list?

Every author at some point has Googled a variation of that question. Because let’s face it: most of us want to see our name on The New York Times bestsellers list right above or below whichever 50 Shades book is befouling that list, and there’s no shame in admitting that. (Yes, technically it would be nice to be #1, but you’ve got to start somewhere.)

So how do I get on the bestsellers list without cashing out my 401k and buying 9,000 copies of my book? (I read somewhere that 9,000 is the number of books you’d need to sell in a week to get on the NYT list. Whether that’s true, I have no idea. God bless what you read on the Internet.)

My point is you need people to buy your book. And for a…

View original 2,738 more words

30% Off All Samhain Books This Weekend

That’s right, you can save 30% on any of my books this weekend. All you have to do is hop on over to the Samhain website and enter the promo code SpringBreak2015 when you’re checking out. Now I know all you spring breakers want to just settle in with a good book and watch the clouds go by. ;)

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The End Is Nearer Than You Think!

Realistically, the end of me, you, or the entire world is always potentially the blink of an eye away. You just never know what the fates have in store. Isn’t that a pleasant way to start your day? I once studied with a Buddhist monk who taught me the most powerful meditation. In meditation, you can fixate on a breath or a singular thought – kind of like a mantra, something to center your mind.

The one he taught me was this – “I could die today.” We’d start by saying it out loud, getting quieter until it was an internal thought. The purpose was to realize how precious life was, and to savor each moment, not wasting it on endeavors and thoughts that would hinder our progress as human beings.

What if today is the day that turns your world upside down? What if everyone around you perishes, and you’re left alive, wondering what happened, why, and what the future holds? That’s the premise that started my summer release, TORTURES OF THE DAMNED. The release date is just 4 quick months away. With the world being what it is, the entire time I wrote it, I kept hoping it wasn’t a predictive tale.

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To prepare you for Armageddon…I mean the book…I’ve posted an excerpt from the opening chapter. The events in the opening actually happened in my neck of the woods during the Christmas holiday in 2013. It scared the crap out of us, and no one buys the story the authorities gave us. You can click hear to read the ‘official’ story. Read on and prepare your survival kits…


boom. Boom! BOOM!

The trio of explosions ripped the biting, January night air in two. Daniel Padilla was dozing between commercials when the sky exploded. He bolted from his recliner, as did his wife, meeting in the middle of the living room.

“I think the furnace exploded,” Elizabeth shouted, balling her fists tight at her sides.

“We wouldn’t be standing here if it did,” Daniel shot back. A framed picture of the family at last summer’s picnic at Orchard Beach crashed to the floor, making them jump. That last explosion shook everything in the house.

Footsteps thumped above them. The kids ran down the stairs.

“Mom, Dad, did something just blow up?” Rey asked. His youngest brother, Miguel, clung to his leg.

Daniel motioned with his hands for them all to calm down. “I’m going to check outside. It sounded like a plane. Everyone just sit tight.”

Max, Gabriela and Miguel crowded around Elizabeth on the couch. Gabby’s cheeks were smeared with tears, her stuffed koala Cody tucked under her arm.

He ran to the closet and threw on the first coat he found. It was a track jacket that belonged to his middle son, Max. It was a size too big for Daniel but it would do.

“I’m coming with you,” Rey said, slipping into his sneakers that he kept by the front door. He must have been lying in bed listening to his iPod because his short, jet black hair was flattened on one side. His ear buds dangled around his neck.

There was no sense arguing. Rey was a senior in high school now. Some days he was more man than boy. “Okay,” Daniel said.

The frigid air stung his face and shocked his lungs when he opened the door. Lights were on in every house in the neighborhood. A good number of porches were filled with people searching the sky.

No one spoke.

There wasn’t a sound to be heard. Even the wind had stopped. Daniel didn’t feel the powdery snow around his bare feet.

He looked up and down the street and over the houses opposite them. With his high front porch, he had a clear sight line to the Bronx border. All he saw were stars blinking in a clear, black sky.

When Rey spoke, Daniel’s heart did a triple beat. “How come there aren’t any sirens?”

He was right. Whatever had happened sounded as if something massive had been blow to bits. The screech of police, fire engine and ambulance sirens should be echoing around them.

“I don’t know. Go inside and see if there’s anything on the news.”

It was still a half hour until the eleven o’clock news, but Daniel was sure this would be breaking news on the local channels.

Buck, his next door neighbor, was on his tiny porch dressed in full winter gear and wearing his cowboy hat. He was a solid guy in his early sixties with, as he himself claimed, a body made by good beer and medium rare steaks. “Holy shit, Dan. What the hell do you think that was?”

The silence was becoming more disturbing than the initial blasts. Daniel wiped a sweaty palm over his face. “I have no clue, Buck. I thought for sure it was another plane going down.”

They’d both worked in lower Manhattan on 9-11. Neither would ever forget the sounds those planes made when they hit the towers.

“I’m gonna call a friend of mine on the force,” Buck said. “I’ll come over and let you know what he says. In the meantime, you might want to put something on your feet.”

Daniel looked down at his snow-covered feet. The sight of lurking frostbite finally made him feel the cold. He shook each foot, flicking snowflakes, and went back into the house.

 


You can pre-order TORTURES OF THE DAMNED on Amazon today.

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Writing Your Book – The Thousand Word March

I’m about to let you in on a secret that will help you write that book that’s been dying to get out. The best part is, you can do it without having an existential crisis.

It’s been too long since I’ve posted anything about writing in the trenches in this genre I love so much. Back when I was locking myself away in my room, tapping out words and getting nothing but rejection or worse, silence, I never dreamed I’d be in the position I’m in today. Sure, I did it with the goal of legitimate publication (whatever your own definition of that may be), but I just never thought I’d have a year like this one with three books coming out and writing four more for three different publishers for next year.

I’m not a full time writer. Writing doesn’t have health benefits, and if you’ve stopped by the blog and chain, you know I need them for my wife, who is the queen of auto-immune diseases. So I have a full time job that is more than that – it’s a solid career that can’t be ignored or pushed to the side. I have two amazing kids – teens now –the same number of cats, old friends, new friends, things to do and places to see every day.

The question everyone asks me is, ‘How in the world can you manage to write several books a year? Do you sleep? When’s the last time your family saw you? Or you saw the sun?’

My answer is usually that I just sit down and write because I truly enjoy the process. And yes, that is part of it. But what is the process?

Hunter writes

Basically, what works for me is something I’ve called The Thousand Word March – or TTWM if I’m too lazy to say or spell it out. When I started working with editors, I quickly found out that they think and talk in terms of thousands. Discussing the length of your work in progress, whether it’s a story, novella or novel, it’s all about word count, not the number of pages or file size of your Word document.

They’ll say, “I’d love it if you could get me that novel under 95,000 words, but no less than 90,000.” Or if you’re pitching a novella, they might say, “Anything between 28,000 and 50,000 words will do it.”

So, if they’re thinking in thousands, I had to rethink the way I worked and made my own projections. My first horror novel, Forest of Shadows, was a true labor of love. I worked on it for almost five years. When people asked about my progress, I’d tell them I was 185 pages in and so on. Come time to pitch it to the sole publisher I sent it to (fodder for a later post), I proudly stated it was 550 pages.

But to an editor, 550 pages does not translate. The number of pages I write will never equal the print pages in a book because of font and paper size, spacing, etc. It turned out my 550 pages equaled over 100,000 words, which was a little more than Samhain wanted at the time. So, I had to do some editing to get it under 95,000.

When it came time to write my next book, I came up with The Thousand Word March to wrap my head around the best way to proceed. Knowing that my editor would like something between 85,000 and 90,000, I looked at the calendar to see how long it would take me to get the first draft done. Since my editor also hinted that he’d like me to write two books a year for him, I knew I couldn’t just cruise along at my own speed. That’s a good thing. It prevents procrastination from rearing its ugly head. Nothing works better than a fire under one’s posterior.

Staring at the calendar, I thought, if I just did 1,000 words a day, I’d have a 90,000 word book completed in three months. Hmmm. A thousand words a day. I could do that. I don’t have tons of free time, but I almost always have time to write 1,000 words. In fact, as I started working on that book, I realized that even on a day when the words were hard to find, I could accomplish my mission within an hour. So, if I set aside an hour and a half each weeknight, I could hit my writing goal, that extra half hour spent doing all the other things a working writer has to do, like marketing, responding to emails and maybe tooling around with a short story.

On weekends, I shoot for 2,000 – 3,000 words a day. This way, I can finish ahead of schedule, giving me more time for editing later on. I know it sounds like a lot, but when you work at it all the time and get into a rhythm, it’s really not so bad. In fact, I’ve found that by writing on Saturday and Sunday mornings, before the day drains my brain, I can write far more in less time. The key is to get at least 7,000 words in a week so I can meet my goal of a full novel in three months.

Weekends are also a good time to catch up on days you might have missed during the week. Look, we all have lives to live and you can’t always find the time to write. Here’s what my past week looked like :

Monday – 1,900 words (I doubled up knowing that Tuesday was my day off, so to speak.)

Tuesday – nothing (It was St. Patrick’s Day and I’m Irish. ‘Nuff said.)

Wednesday – 1,100 words

Thursday – 1,000 words

Friday – 1,000 words

Saturday – 2,300 words

Sunday – 2,500 words

So, if my goal is 7,000 words a week, even taking a day off, I was able to write 9,800 words, putting me ahead of the game. Total time spent writing, marketing and other stuff – 10 hours. When you think of it, that’s not bad at all. I still had time to work, cook meals, watch movies, spend time with my family and friends and read. I read at least two books a week. I can’t function without my books.

Where do you find 10 hours? Look no further than your TV or YouTube or any other time suck. Turn ‘em off for a while. I promise, they’ll be there when you’re finished. Think of it as a reward for a job well done. What’s more important, watching housewife cat fights or creating your own work of art?

Some weeks are going to be far more productive than others. If you lock your mind on The Thousand Word March, you’ll always know exactly where you stand and what you need to do to accomplish your goals – all without having to become a crazed recluse.

Look, I know there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to writing. Everyone has to find their own way, just as they find their own voice. This is what works for me. If you’re struggling or feel intimidated by the blank page, give it a shot. The Thousand Word March can take you to some pretty amazing places.


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Sign Up For The DARK HUNTER NEWSLETTER

I know, even I can’t believe it’s taken me 4 years to finally get off my keister and start a newsletter. Well, better late than never, unless you’re talking about squaring off with a demon, in which case never is preferred.

Sign up for the DARK HUNTER NEWSLETTER today (all we need is your name and email address) and you will be showered with prizes!

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Alien Abduction Ain’t For The Weak

Why do I love alien stories so much? I swear I was abducted years ago. I do have a missing time moment from the late 80s. Can’t remember if I’d had too much to drink at the time.

Anyway, I recently came across Robert Dunn’s alien abduction novel, Behind the Darkness, and wanted to jump up and cheer. Finally, an alien novel that gave me the action and chills I’ve always wanted. Robert was kind enough to answer my fan boy questions. If aliens are your thing, buy this book now!

Everyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for all things alien. Your book, Behind the Darkness, is an alien abduction thriller that literally creeped me out. Please tell everyone a little about the book.

Behind The Darkness was imagined as Night of the Living dead with aliens rather than zombies. It grew quite a bit beyond that but I think that core, survivors trapped in a house by something unknowable but relentless and dangerous, is still there. Beyond that there was a love of the possibilities of alien abduction stories but a dissatisfaction with the ones I read. I didn’t want psychology, I wanted action. I hope I struck a balance between the alien terrors of the unknown controlling a life
and the survivor story of resistance against impossible odds. By the way, I am so proud that you said it creeped you out. That was exactly the kind of vibe I wanted to give and I always appreciate hearing that it works for someone.

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The ending leaves things open for a sequel. Is there one in the works?

There isn’t yet one in the works but I wanted the possibility there. There is a lot more that could happen with this story. That being said Behind The Darkness is a connected story. It takes place in the same world as my novel, The Dead Ground. Like a certain star writer sets horror stories in Maine and several mystery writers stake out locals like the desert southwest or Louisiana, I wanted to use my roots and develop a world in which the Missouri, Ozarks are the home of dark mysteries and terrors. I’m a redneck Lovecraft at heart, I guess. In The Dead Ground the characters are aware of strange events that had taken place a few miles away on the Duncan Ranch and dismissive of the idea of aliens even as they fight the undead and interdimensional tentacle monsters from caves filled with stars. Writing is fun isn’t it?

How did your fascination with aliens and the abduction phenomena start?

The stories really started becoming mainstream and coalescing around certain tropes in the early ’70’s when I was a kid reading everything weird and wonderful I could get my hands on. I had read about Barney and Betty Hill then saw the movie, The UFO Incident, based on their story. In 1985 I was approached by another writer who had a friend with a development deal for a movie but no idea beyond wanting to do something scary. That was when I started on this story in earnest but the flow for the film deal was going in the direction of undersea monsters. It had been ten years but people still wanted to do the next Jaws. I packed my ideas away and along came Whitley Strieber’s books about visitors. He never said alien but he added a layer to the idea of aliens and the mental terrors of abduction. I stewed some more.

You’re also a film producer. Which is harder, working in film or the lonely business of writing?

Writing definitely. There is no one to delegate to or lean on. When you are creating a filmed program any number of people can save you and probably will from the lighting guy that sets the kind of mood you didn’t know you needed with one well placed instrument to the editor or sound person that puts their stamp down and makes everything more. When I write novels or stories it is all on me. A good editor will improve things but it won’t even get that far if you haven’t done the heavy lifting already.

OK, I know I’m a freak who has watched just about every alien abduction movie ever made. Have you watched any yourself and which is your favorite?

I have probably seen them all too. It’s great living in the age of accessible media. I don’t have a favorite exactly because I always wanted more than any of them give. Details. Violence. Action. The movies are actually why I felt I had stewed enough and wrote my story. I wanted to take all those great elements, abduction, the aliens that had become an established even traditional monster, mutilations, hybridization, disbelieving, even hostile authorities, and make the best, scariest story I could.

Whitley Strieber’s book, Communion, seemed to start an industry. What are your thoughts on his work in the abduction vein? Is he in touch with ET, a higher plane, or delusional?

I’ve read that Strieber intentionally referred to Visitors to avoid defining them as aliens. He wanted to leave their origins open. Unfortunately, once an idea is out there we lose control of it and he ended up creating an entire alien mythos. As to the reality, I have issues. I am a narcoleptic. An aspect of that is vivid dreaming and a breakdown between the waking/dreaming state. It has happened many times that I have become aware but still under sleep paralysis. Both dreams and imaginings can become very real in those times and if you can’t move or speak the imaginings that come are rarely pleasant. So in my personal experience there are explanations for being under paralysis and feeling threatened by an evil presence. I tend to think that other people have reasonable explanations as well. That being said, I think Mr. Strieber has made our culture a little richer and provided a good living for himself.

Please let everyone know where to find you and your work and what’s coming up next.

Well of course you can find Behind The Darkness and The Dead Ground on Amazon and feel free to go in through my author’s page. http://www.amazon.com/Robert-E.-Dunn/…

By the way, Behind The Darkness just got it’s first review on Amazon, five stars from a top 500 reviewer. I’m happy about that.

Both of those books are published by the good folks at Severed Press. Everyone should check them out for great reads. http://www.severedpress.com/

I’ll let you in on a secret but just a hint- I have another book out and doing well under a pen name. The surprise, it’s a spicy romance. I challenge everyone to track me down. Coming up, there are two new horror novels. The Red Highway is an alternate history urban fantasy about an ancient god provoking the LA riots to cause the sacrifice of a child. The Harrowing is about a mercenary sent to hell to rescue an innocent. No one is innocent and the one lesson he learns is, never trust an angel. Red Highway is currently under requested publisher submission and Harrowing is making the rounds of some great agents.

Beyond that, I blog erratically at http://robertdunnauthor.blogspot.com/ You’ll find a fun story and the first chapter of The Dead Ground there. I tweet more regularly. Feel free to come say hi there, @WritingDead. Thanks again for the chance to share and connect with your readers.

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