Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

July 31, 2013
Hey Everyone! It is Wednesday and we're back! It's been a crazy and hectic week for your hosts, but we are so glad that it's Wednesday (that much closer to Friday).

Here's the awesome stories for last week to check out -

Damn the Dorsal by Christopher Shawbell.

School Holidays by Sally Stackhouse

At The Corner Of Sycamore & Main, by Scott Taylor.

Goal by Leanne Sype.

Children of the Dust by Heather Musk.

Aren't they awesome!!

Now, just remember, here are the rules:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.

2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.

3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.

4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when youre done via the inLinkz linkybelow.

5) Have fun, dont stress, let those creative juices flow.

Here's the photo:


And here are the words:






Post your link below when you're ready! Ask your writing prompt host to answer any questions you may have, especially if you're joining us for the first time!

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The Importance of Dreams - A Guest Post by Destiny Allison

July 30, 2013
A special thank you to author Destiny Allison for writing a post on my blog today! Make sure you check out her website to get more info on her book Pipe Dreams.

Sometimes it's a tickle, sometimes a raging burn. Occasionally, it's the thing that makes you hate your reflection in the mirror. Large, small, realistic or impossible, dreams are intrinsic to being human. We can't help it. We're wired to want more.
Dreams are how we got from the caves to the skyscrapers, the canoes to the ocean liners. They are also the cause of misery for many because they seem so far fetched or because no one supports them and we lose faith in ourselves.
The truth? Not everyone attains their dreams. Sometimes, one can spend an entire life pursuing one in vain. The Don Quixotes of the world are people to whom I'm grateful. If they weren't out chasing windmills, I'd have a hard time chasing mine. Nobody wants to look the  fool, fail where we can be seen, or face a hard reality. Sometimes we have to, but that's also is a good thing.
The thing I love about people unafraid to pursue their passion is that they move the world forward an inch at a time. It's not the achievement of dreams that's always important; it's the pursuit of them that enlightens mankind. Dreams illuminate the possible. Maybe one person fails, but their effort triggered a spark in someone else, someone who'll pick the torch and carry the dream over the finish line.
In my novel, Pipe Dreams, all of my characters have disparate dreams, each of them nearly impossible to achieve. Nobody gets what they want in they way they wanted it, but because each was unwilling to let go they collectively force a societal change.
That's what we do every day. Whether you want to be a writer, a basketball player, or make the world's biggest pumpkin pie, your efforts teach you about yourself and inspire others in the process.
A dream, a passion, a whispered prayer are the fires that keeps us alive. Without them, we're zombies and the apocalypse is now.
But I'll tell you a secret. Most dreams are attainable if you're willing to do the work. Success is about moving forward inch by inch. It's about showing up every day, reaching out to others, and practicing your craft. Nobody gets there alone or because they want it. They get there because they make a commitment and don't let anything interfere with it.
Pursuing a dream is like a marriage. Most of the time it's joyous. Other times it's hard, boring, or downright discouraging. Those moments, the ones that make you want to scream, are where you get down and dirty with your dreams. You negotiate, you plead. Then, when you're about ready to give up, you listen and learn a few things. 

Destiny Allison is an award-winnning metal sculptor and writer based in Santa Fe, NM. Last year, she published Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life and it recently took first place honors in the non-fiction/memoir category in the 2013 LuckyCinda Publishing Global Book Contest. Pipe Dreams is the first of what she hopes to be many published works of fiction.
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Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Get Inspired!

July 24, 2013
*ding ding*

It's time for another round of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop! Let's hop" right to it (sorry, I couldn't resist)!

Before I reveal your photo for this week, take a read-through of the stories from last week. We have a great collection of completely different takes on last week's prompt. They're pretty fantastic!

Riders on the Storm by JP

A Decade of Lies by Scott Taylor

Rhymes with You Decide by Christopher Shawbell

Woman in the Window by Leanne Sype

The Dilemma by Sally Stackhouse

Possibilities by Heather Musk

Here is a quick rundown on how the blog hop works:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linkybelow.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

Here's your inspirational photo!


Your (randomly generated) mandatory words:






Have a blast with this, my friends!

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Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Back Again

July 17, 2013
Writing prompt is here! I don't have one this week, because I got inspired to write a short story! Anyways, Leanne has the reigns this week! Write on!

How is it Wednesday already?? Time to hit the pause button for a moment and indulge in some inspiration!

By the way: Everyone is invited to participate in the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, so if you've been watching from afar, we encourage you to jump in! We'd love to have your talent and imagination join in the fun. Invite a friend if you want. :)

Let's take a look at the collection of stories created from last week's photograph. Be sure to show some comment love to the authors!!

Doll Confines by Cindy Cagle

Careless Whispers by JP

Ghosts in the Garage by Heather Musk

The Collected by Scott Taylor

The Doll by Sally Stackhouse

Baby Doll by Christopher Shawbell

You Did All You Could by Tena Carr

Here's how the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop works:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linkybelow.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

Aaaannnnd, now for this week's prompt:


Your words:






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Self-publishing vs Publishing with an Indie Press A Guest Post by Donald Dempsey

July 15, 2013
Books to be returned...
When I decided to write my book the thought of publishing it wasn't even a consideration. I thought it would wind up like most of my other projects, either a pile of notes or a few chapters sitting in a folder gathering dust. Unlike previous attempts to put my thoughts or ideas into words, my memoir poured out of me. I've often said this story virtually wrote itself. Many was the time I reread something I’d written and found myself surprised by the content. After I finished Betty’s Child, I had no idea what to do with it. My wife and some close friends urged me to try and get it published, so I researched how to go about doing so. I put together query letters and submitted them to agents and publishers, rarely hearing back from them. The closest I came to success was garnering some interest from an agent who was about to retire, but she couldn't get anyone else to take on the book due to a downsizing of publishers and agents. Eventually, I gave up. I don’t remember who first suggested it or how self-publishing became an option, but somehow I became involved with a company called IUniverse. From the very beginning, it was a very unpleasant experience. I never dealt with the same person, and it was always another fee to take the next unexpected step. Undisclosed charges were frequent. If I paid for this service it would increase my chances of attracting a publisher. If I agreed to pay more money for certain packages or services my book would be available to a wider market. There was always one reason or another to pay more money. My frustration mounted. It wasn’t very long before I wished I had just left my book in the drawer where I’d tossed it. Nothing they promised me was ever delivered. Betty’s Child sold a few copies now and then, but not much else happened. Even though I felt the book was meaningful and had a message worth putting out, I soon gave up again. I stopped answering calls from IUniverse. Months passed. I threw all the extra copies in a box in my office and forgot about the book altogether. And then, out of the blue, Mike O’Mary from Dream of Things called me and asked to take a look at my book. He liked what some of the reviewers said. I sent him a copy and everything moved pretty quickly after that. Mike has been a publisher, editor, marketer, valuable source of information, and a friend. His belief in Betty’s Child rekindled my own. Mike’s knowledge of the ebook market opened up windows of opportunity I didn’t know existed. Without him, there wouldn’t be a Betty’s Child, so I find myself often saying the book is just as much his as mine. Of course, the irony here is that Dream of Things never would have noticed Betty’s Child if I hadn’t put myself through the torture of self-publishing. And I’ve heard of some very successful authors getting their start after first working with companies like IUniverse. For me, self-publishing was a very stressful experience. I tend to like things straightforward and forthright. So I’d hate to dissuade someone from chasing their dream of publication. My personal experiences may not reflect the norm.     

About the Author:
Don Dempsey experienced childhood abuse and neglect first hand, but went on to have a fulfilling family life as an adult and to own his own business. "If you're lucky, you make it to adulthood in one piece," says Don. "But there's no guarantee the rest of your life is going to be any better. Abused kids are often plagued by fear and insecurity. They battle depression and have trouble with relationships. In the worst cases, abused children perpetuate the cycle." But Don is living proof that you can overcome a childhood of abuse and neglect. "You start by letting go of as much of the guilt (yes, abused kids feel guilty) and as many of the bad memories as possible. At the same time, you hold on to the things that helped you survive. For me, it was the belief that you can make life better by working at it and earning it. It helps to have a sense of humor, too."
Find out more about the author by visiting him online:
Betty’s Child website:
Donald Dempsey Facebook: 

Enter to win a copy of Donald Dempsey's book, "Betty's Child'! Just leave a comment talking about your experiences or opinions with self-publishing (or indie-publishing) to enter. Contest ends July 26th.
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The Book to Read Before You Start Marketing Your Novel

July 13, 2013
I've been a little hesitant venturing into understanding the marketing angle of publishing, simply because I'm just not there yet with my own book. But when I had the opportunity to read and review a book about the subject, I had to take the opportunity.

The Plan that Launched  a Thousands Books by Tara Alemany details exactly what you need to market your book.

While reading this book, one question I kept in mind was this, "How does this book stand out from all the other blogs and articles I read on a regular basis on this same subject?"

If you are well versed on the blog world, you may find a lot of information you've seen before on this book. I found myself nodding along with some of the points made here, as they were very familiar to me. However, Tara Alemany explains a lot of points that I had not thought of before, such as knowing how to personalize your published e-book, where and how to send out a press release, and various programs and campaigns you should try.

There is a ton of information in this book and what makes this different than a lot of books and blog posts that I've read before are a few points -

  • It's all in one book. This matters a lot to me because I can Google information until the day is over on the correct marketing for my book and run across thousands of posts that don't exactly nail it like this book does.
  • It has real things you can do for your book. Another thing that tends to intimidate me on articles on marketing is that they are never specific enough for me. Marketing your book is a long process and it's easy to get lost in vague explanations on what to do. This book is specific and gives links you can go to in order to get started.
  • It isn't too long. This book won't take you days or weeks to read and this is why I enjoyed it. This gives a manageable approach to marketing in its brevity and it doesn't feel as overwhelming.
Like I said, if you are well versed in researching marketing, this book may not teach you anything new. But if you are in the baby steps stages, and you are just getting your feat wet, you will want to purchase this book. This is fantastic for those writers out there who don't want to get too overwhelmed, but at the same time want information.

I am also proud to announce that I will be giving away three copies of this book!

How to enter -

+1 Entry: Tell me in the comments section what is the greatest challenge for you in terms of marketing your book.

+1 Entry: Follow Tara R. Alemany on Twitter @EAndTSMom

+1 Entry: Follow me on Twitter @BeingTheWriter

Contest ends on 7/22.

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Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Get Inspired!

July 10, 2013
We're back again this week and everyone did awesome last week! 9 submissions to the blog hop!! I think it might be a record!!

Make sure you read all the amazing stories from last week before you check out the prompt -

Gilligan’s Birthday; Mrs. Howell’s Angst (a blog hop story) by Tony Roberts

Fourth of July, No Celebration - by Tena Carr

Elaina's Choice by Leanne Sype

Something Strange About the Boy by JP

Cap't Monkey and Tooele Boy and the Mystery of the Garnled Stump by Scott Taylor

Birthday Retreat by H J Musk

Mary Jane by Sally

Man of Wood, Man of Myth by ElaineLK

I've Been here the Whole Time by Nicole Pyles

And here are the rules!

The rules:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

And here is the photo:
Scary doll

And here are the words -






Link up when you are ready!

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Emotional Eating and Creativity as a Cure - Guest Post by Trisha Slay

July 8, 2013
I'm so happy to have Trisha Slay guest blogging! Not only can I relate to this article you are about to read, but I love the book she has coming out! Everyone who comments on this article has a chance to win!

Have you ever been eating, your arm feeding bite after bite into your mouth, when a sudden realization pops into your brain? The realization, when it hits, goes something like this....

Why am I still eating? I'm not the least bit hungry. I'm not even sure I can actually taste the food I'm shoveling into my face. Why can't I just stop?

It happens to me more often than I care to admit. I'm an emotional eater. Despite the knowledge that thousands, possibly millions of Americans suffer from the same unhealthy behavior, I still feel shame every time I type those two words. Emotional eater. Ugh. It's just so humiliating!

Part of the reason I'm so ashamed of this particular weakness is that I've been the inspirational weight loss success story. I lost 40 pounds with Weight Watchers in 2006 and stayed within my healthy weight range for four years. For part of that time I was even a Weight Watchers Leader. So, you see, I have no excuse. I know just about every tip and trick to live a healthy lifestyle.

I also love healthy foods and exercise. I really do. I would prefer a ripe, juicy, colorful fruit salad over a doughnut any day. Going a whole day without a good walk or a long hike in the woods or even a refreshing session on the elliptical machine feels like misery to me. And yet, emotional eating continues to be the curse that spoils my best intentions.

Part of the problem is that I have trouble dealing with empty spaces. I need to fill them with...something. This tendency takes a variety of forms. I live in a cluttered house, work at a cluttered desk and drive a cluttered car. When there’s a lull in the conversation, I’m too quick to fill the silence with babble. And, even though I know better, I consume way too many calories when I’m bored (or lonely, or anxious, or stressed or…you get the idea).

In Weight Watchers, we addressed the issue of emotional eating with a three-step approach:
  1. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry or are you trying to soothe an emotional need with food?
  2. If you are trying to soothe an uncomfortable emotion, put a name on that emotion
  3. Find something that will better address the emotion in a healthy way.
Yeah...it’s just that simple. It really is. But simple does NOT = easy.
I consider myself a creative person. If you're reading this, chances are you consider yourself to be creative too. Well, I have a few deeply rooted beliefs about creativity:
  • Creativity = Problem Solving
  • Creativity feeds the soul
  • Creativity is KEY to finding and maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Everybody, everybody, everybody is capable of being creative
  • When you nurture your body, creativity blossoms
  • As creativity flows, it becomes easier to nurture your body
If you are interested in trying the creativity cure, start by asking this question - When the urge to overeat hits, what creative projects could break the cycle and feed your soul?
Every person has to answer this question for themselves. No one can eat a bag of Doritos while knitting, but you may not like to knit. On the other hand, you may love to paint, but are understandably hesitant to drag out an easel and paint palette at ten o'clock at night. Keep in mind that there's no need to limit creative projects to arts and crafts. Puzzles, games, music and dancing can all feed the creative spirit and soothe the urge to eat. Some people swear by the power of writing in a journal.
The secret is to come up with multiple creative activities that are: (1) Enjoyable for you, (2) Easy to start/do at a moment's notice without any assistance, (3) Not prohibitively messy or expensive, and (4) Able to occupy both your hands and your thoughts for at least 20 minutes.
That time period is key. When the urge to dive headfirst into a bucket of ice cream hits, give yourself 20 minutes to try do something creative. You can still have that dish of butter pecan after 20 minutes...IF you still want to eat. But, chances are that 20 minutes of creative activity will get you out of the danger zone.
And that's it. That's the creativity cure for emotional eating. What do you think? What could be the harm in giving it a try? It may not work every time, but a little more creativity in your life certainly can't hurt. Wouldn't you agree?

Trisha Slay is a writer with a passion for storytelling. She has studied at the Institute of Children's Literature as well as furthering her skills through online workshops. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and the Atlanta Writer's Club. She enjoys participating in writing groups and spends a great deal of time improving her craft. Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away is her first novel.

Tricia hopes Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away would be compared to Looking for Alaska by John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. She has said that "If those two books had a Star Wars-obsessed little sister, I'd like to think she would be my novel."

Tricia lives between the Atlanta metro area and the North Georgia Mountains, but hails originally from Ohio...by the way of the San Francisco Bay area. When she is not working on her next book (tentatively titled Sometimes We Strike Back), her interests include: 70s pop culture; unsolved mysteries; Star Wars (original trilogy); historic movie theaters; haunted history; reading (especially YA novels); nutrition/weight watchers/healthy vegetarian cuisine; hiking (exploring the National Forest trails with her guy); yoga/meditation; miscellaneous crafting projects (that rarely turn out as envisioned); and writing letters she never intends to mail.

Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
Trisha’s website:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrishaSlayAuthor
Twitter: @SlaytheWriter
Thank you again Trisha! And don't forget, by commenting you have a chance to win a copy of her book! Contest ends 7/19/2013.
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I've Been Here the Whole Time - A Bit of Short Fiction

July 7, 2013
Something about the hot weather and this photograph mixed together nicely for me. For the first time in ages, I'm actually early for our writing prompt this week! Make sure to check it out and see if you get inspired.

I had been walking for hours. No water. No food. The desert sun beating down upon my back. I had agreed to walk to the nearest gas station. Somewhere, miles and miles back was my family, sitting in the stalled SUV, waiting for me to return. I wonder if I would ever...

A bird called out in the distance. The first sign of life I had seen or heard in a long time. Was he lost too? Separated from his own family? Uncertain of their safety and whether they were okay? He called out again.

The flat landscape ahead of me blurred. I shut my eyes and willed the sensation of a slight breeze. It was either reality or in my head, but a small gust of wind blew my hair back. It smelled of flowers and those funny recipes my neighbor loved making. Custard pie. She loved making custard pie. I could smell it in the wind.

I opened my eyes and the wind disappeared. The gravel under my feet crunched. God, would I ever get out of this place? Endless, stretches of empty horizon. There was nothing ahead of me. How could I have gone on so long? I hung my head down and listened to the bird in the distance call out after me.

I shut my eyes again and the gravel became sand. Like on a beach. Where was I? No, I wasn't lost in the desert. I was on the beach, near the ocean. Going to meet my family under the umbrella near the water. It was someone's birthday. We were there to celebrate. I kept my eyes shut and imagined the cool salty air. The sound of laughter in the distance. Cords from kites stretching into the sky dancing with the birds.

The birds. I opened my eyes again and heard that bird calling in the distance. I didn't see an endless horizon this time. Was it yet another myth created by my mind? More trickery? Or did I really see the ocean stretching out before me? An endless, endless ocean.

I stopped and leaned on a large piece of driftwood formed in the shape of an alter. I said a prayer. I've been here the whole time. The beach, the ocean, my neighbor's custard pie. I continued on to find my family under the umbrella while waves of madness tickled my feet.
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Best "On the Rocks" Margarita Recipe

July 6, 2013
Anyone else battling the heat these days?

Well, my favorite way to battle the heat, especially on a Friday night is to make a margarita. This 4th of July weekend is the best time to do it too! While I usually have blended margaritas, I recently discovered a brand of tequila that makes for a fantastic "on the rocks" margarita recipe.

Ladies and gentleman, I bring you - Camarena Tequila!

The reason I like this tequila is that it doesn't slap you in the face like the regular brand (I usually buy Jose Cuervo Tequila Gold). It's lighter and a sweeter than what I usually drink. It made for a fantastic "on the rocks" recipe as you could really enjoy your drink without being whopped on the head. jI don't recommend making blended margaritas with this brand, because it may get lost in flavor. But over ice it's just divine!  

I got the chance to try out this tequila because of the Camarena Tipple Tool Box, which features a custom shaker, 1 oz X 2 oz jigger, a citrus squeezer, a muddler, a bottle of camerena tequila, and cocktail booklet.

This is actually a fantastic gift to give to someone (or one for yourself), especially if it's a housewarming party, a summer party, or a birthday. I loved the lemon/citrus squeezer (my first!!), by the way.

Now, for my recipe!

Camarena "On the Rocks" Margarita

1 1/2 oz of Camarena Tequila
3/4 oz of lime juice
3/4 oz of Triple Sec

If you use salt, rim the edges of the glass with lemon and dip into the container of margarita salt. 

Put all ingredients into the shaker. Put ice in shaker. Shake it.

Put ice in glass. Drain shaker into glass.

Voila! You have yourself a Camarena Margarita on the rocks!

And now for the best part! I get to giveaway this tequila toolkit to one of my readers! Contest ends July 15th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary box of the Camarena  Tequila toolkit in exchange for my honest review.
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Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Get Inspired!

July 3, 2013
We're back and Carrie has the ad winner announced! I can't wait!

A winner, a winner! Who is our next winner??

JP Rambling

That's who! Congratulations! I would love to put together a blog button for you. If you have a particular photo you would like me to use, or if you already have a button, please pass it on and we'll get all the blog hostesses up and running with it. :)

Thanks to an extra week for the prompt, we ended up with more fabulous stories for it. And here the are, compiled from the last two weeks' submissions.

Late for the Train by HJ Musk

Stella at the Coffee Shop by Scott Taylor

The Cafe by Sally Stackhouse

Sleepytime Elixr by Leanne Sype

A Father's Duty by JP Rambling

Like the prompt stories? We've collected our favorites into a free ebook. Download Flash 500 over on BookRix!

On to this week's prompt.

The rules:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess (NicoleCarrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

The Photo by Kristoffer Sorensen:

The Five Words:






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Apology to Email Subscribers (And is Feedburner Going Bye-Bye?)

July 1, 2013
If you have subscribed to receive my blog via email - just a warning - you may get this post twice.

Read on to find out why (and don't hit unsubscribe yet!)

Well, I'm writing this post a little last minute as rumors have been flying around the blogger world about Feedburner going bye-bye.

Feedburner has been a stable force for in sending out my blog's newest post to my email subscribers. I don't have many but I appreciate every single one I do have (that haven't unsubscribed yet, of course).

I'm not sure what this means for Google Friend Connect and more and more often I'm seeing bloggers promote Blog Lovin' and other alternatives. I don't know about you but the last thing I need is another platform to sign into to read a blog. I did import my favorite blogs feeds into Feedly and that took less than a few seconds.

I'm imagining the reason for this is that Google will plan on integrating Google Plus into Blogger a little bit at a time. It's happened with comments and I'm wondering when it will get to the point where it isn't an option anymore.

Oh well! To be honest, I don't have much time or energy these days to bother too much with this, but to be on the safe side I did integrate my email subscribers into Mailchimp. So, this is the reason for my apology to my email subscribers, because you may get my blog post twice in your email. It's really just a test to find out if Feedburner will continue to send out posts or not. Please don't unsubscribe - it's really just a test and if it continues to send out posts, I will turn off Mailchimp.

As for everyone else, I don't think much else will change, but as things evolve, I guess we'll all have to learn to keep up.

I hope your week goes well everybody!
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