Tag Archives: Pinterest

The peace found in a Library…

Author Holly Robinson  recently wrote a great blog piece about her love of public libraries. I, too, have had a life -long love affair with those wonderful buildings housing the billions of words and bits of writers’ imaginations and souls within their walls. Here’s why….

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As an only child raised in a family of elderly great aunts and grandmothers, I didn’t have an opportunity to play much with kids my age because, well, there weren’t any! It’s probably why I’m not such a great game player even at this age. While my peers were with one another enjoying a game of Mousetrap or Soul Survivor or any Milton-Bradley or Hasbro game you can remember, I was usually in the company of older people who didn’t want to play a board game, but who preferred to sit and drink and talk and fight with one another.

Yeah, I know: not a great childhood, but it was all I knew.

I was also a latchkey kid — a term I don’t think is used too widely these days. My parents both worked full time and from the age of 8 I no longer had an after school babysitter who’d watch me until my parents came home from work, usually around 7 each night. I was on my own from the time school let out at 3 until the evening, five days a week. Now, I could tell you that the temptations to be naughty and to veer toward the dark side and get into mischief were strong. But I had something that helped me fight those demons calling my name to act up and be bad: my local Library.

I would be dismissed every day from school and then walk the ten city blocks-alone-to the beautiful, brick faced, three story building overlooking New York harbor. First, I’d find  an empty table in the kid’s section and do my homework. That usually took about 10 minutes! Then, I’d explore the book racks. I was an expert at the Dewey decimal system categories by the age of 9 and to this day, still order my own books in my home library using the same clarification system.

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In that first year I read all the books in the kid’s section that were in my age group and most of the teen category as well. Nowadays this is called YA( for young adult), but back then they were all labeled as “Teen” reading. I learned all I needed to know about love, sex, hate, and teenage angst before the age of  1o. I devoured the complete works of Agatha Christie, Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew. I consumed the books in the biography section, learning everything I could about women leaders like Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart and Queen Victoria. Even back then I realized I could be whatever my imagination told me I could, despite being a girl.

You may have read that last sentence and said, WHAT??!! but remember, I was raised in the sixities when girl power was still in its infancy. It would be another 10 years before Gloria Steinem came along and preached female empowerment. And  Title IX hadn’t been established yet.

Anyway…

Since I was most comfortable with older folks and not my peers, I had no trouble connecting with the librarians on a personal level, and I can tell you truthfully and without hubris, they loved me. Knowing how much I adored reading,  and the categories I loved most, the librarians would routinely pull new arrivals for me to check out first. Loved that!  Who else can boast they were spoiled by librarians?

The library became my second home, and in some ways, it was my  refuge, a steady foundation against a home life that wasn’t exactly the American Dream. Within the walls of the library, I could get lost- safely- and go exploring. Again, back before there was Internet and Google, we did research the old-fashioned way: by combing through encyclopedias and trolling through microfiche. I think part of the problem I’m so tech-NO-savvy is because I still long for those little cellophane negative film strips covered with oodles of information that were sosososo much more easy to use than a computer. But that’s just me….

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As I matured, my reading material did as well. By the time I reached my teens, the librarians were helping me find my calling in life. They knew I wanted to be a nurse or a doctor, so they introduced me to medical books and manuals routinely reserved for the medical community. Before I started Nursing school and College I was already proficient in medico-terminology, policies, and procedures. One librarian in particular guessed I like to write – how I will never know – but she would often pull books for me about craft and editing. She was the one who introduced me to the Publisher’s Weekly news magazine ( which I believe is all digital now) and would save them when they arrived each week for me to view.

These lovely, educated, warm and maternal women became my mentors, my friends, my surrogates. Most of them have probably passed on by now, but the wonderful memories I have of how they treated me, how special they made me feel, and how much they taught me, will  be with me for the rest of my life. Maya Angelou said once,

“… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

Can I just get an “AMEN” for that? It’s true.

There are as many pundits these days who state “Print is Dead” as there are those who  espouse that print books will always be popular, especially if we have places to house them-namely, libraries. To this day I support my local library. In fact, tomorrow is the first day of the bi-annual book fundraising sale, of which I attend every session. All the proceeds raised go toward the library’s operating budget, since the city has had to economize and cut funding every place it can.  There will never be a danger of the library closing its doors due to lack of funds while I have breath in my body!! That is fact and I know KNOW I am not alone in my thinking.

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Show the love to your local  libraries. Donate the books you have read and don’t want to keep. Support local authors ( very subtle hint, here!). Encourage your children and the kids you know to read. Reading is the single best gift you can give your child to help her/him explore their imaginations, develop critical thinking skills, and go into the world armed with the knowledge and expertise necessary to improve the world, their lives, and those of future generations.

I love libraries so much, I have a Pinterest board just for great libraries around the world. Check it out, here.

And when I’m not at my local library, you can find me here:

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Friends, Life challenges, Literary characters, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Social Media, Rules….

Magnified illustration with the word Social Media on white background.

 

And I don’t mean it like “rules for behavior.” No, I mean social media RULES the universe these days.

Let me ‘splain it you, Lucy…..

A little over a year ago I was an unknown, about-to-be-first-time-published author who had 15 Twitter followers on a good day. They were all friends and family who knew me and thought it was cute we were Tweeting one another inane things. My publisher recommended I increase my online presence to find more new readers for my books and to help promote those books through the free marketing Twitter encompasses with every tweet you send. I said, “okay” because, really, what was I going to say, NO? They were the experts. I was just a little unknown romance writer looking- hoping-praying- someone ( anyone) would buy a book from me.

I asked my daughter – the techy maven – how to go about finding new followers and she gave me a sage bit of advice. In order to get more followers, you have to…wait for it.…follow more people.

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Really? Could it be that easy?
Well, I’m here to tell you that, yes, it is that easy.

I found people who liked the same things I did: writers, romance readers and writers, and book lovers, and started following them, retweeting posts I liked, and interacting with complete strangers. In one month I increased my followers from 15 to 150.

When my book came out, I started tweeting about it, using those infamous and oh-so-beneficial-hashtags, and my following soared to 300.

With the next book, I did the same thing, finding trending hashtags that compared to what I was sharing and hastag-jumped onto those tweets. This brought me even more followers. At one point I was tweeting all my new followers every time I got one, thanking them for joining and following me. This got old pretty quickly when I spent almost an hour of each day doing it, so I stopped. I thought I might lose some followers by not pointing them out, and I did lose a few. But in the world of twitter math, for every 2-3 followers I lost, 10 more came on board. Today, I woke up to 811 followers.

 

Folks, I don’t even know 811 people!!!

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Now that I’m with a new publisher, I’ll be following more authors, and in turn, will increase my own followers even more. You can take everything I just wrote and apply it to Facebook, Google, and Pinterest as well. The more social media sights you troll on, the more “people” you will “meet.”

So, this is what I mean when I say Social Media rules. Because  it does. Really. Go ahead and Tweet this and you’ll see what  I mean!

And if you want to find me on Social Media, here’s where I am…ALL THE TIME!!! le Sigh!

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

How Pinterest made me a better writer! (or, Into the mind of a Writer, part II)

There’s a running commentary of questions in my brain in any given moment on any given day.

How did we cook on the fly before microwaves? How did we keep in touch with one another before cell-phones ruled the world? How did we communicate before the internet and email and texting? Does anyone know how to parallel park anymore? Do people actually still talk to one another at meal-time?

There’s a lot going on in my head at any one time and I certainly can’t remember a life before we had all these gadgets and  inconvenient conveniences.  But there is one computer application that has made me a much better writer because I can tell you exactly what I used to do before it was invented: waste time looking things up!!!

I’m talking- as if the title of this piece doesn’t give it away – about Pinterest. Before I had my boards all lined up on the Pinterest app, I spent a great deal of time flipping back and forth through files and notes to ensure I didn’t mess things up with my characters and storylines. I had a bad habit of not remembering that the hero had blue eyes on page 5 when I gave him green ones on page 200. I gave the heroine short curly red hair in the first introduction and then straightened it to hip length when she met the hero ten pages later. Dumb mistakes. Dumb.

For a while I tried flipping through fashion magazines so I could find pictures of what I envisioned my characters looked like, but most magazines had the same ads in each one, so nothing new was found, and all the celebrities of the moment were featured in each one, as well, in the same poses, etc, so there went the variety I needed.

When I discovered Pinterest I felt as if a dream I had never thought to ask for had somehow magically come true. I could spend hours – literally! – flipping through all the boards, categories, and other people’s boards to find what I wanted — and I did! Now, if I find a picture of what I want my character or her house, or even her pet to look like, I save that picture to whatever board I’m working on. My current favorite boards are AFTERNOON TEA and GEMMA, two new books I’m writing.

I don’t know who thought up Pinterest, but if I ever find out, I’ll be sure to write them and give them a big thank you from me. It is so much easier now to visually keep track of what my peeps, their clothes, what they eat, etc, look like. I usually print out the salient, important, pictures for my story/vision boards, so I can have an even quicker reference when I’m writing. You can see my current one for the GEMMA book ( not the real title, yet) on  a previous post.  All the factors of the book I need to know at a simple glance are on that board, the rest on the board on the actual Pinterest site.

If you are a visual person like I am, Pinterest is a great way for a writer to see their book come to life. And it’s not only a great application/site for writers. I know a few brides-to-be, and moms-to-be who also take advantage of the boards. But it doesn’t stop there. There are travel boards, architecture boards, pictures for refurbishing and rehabbing your house.  There are boards for people who are cat obsessed ( I know a few!), book cover obsessed ( me too!), hot guys obsessed ( duh! of course!)Whatever your imagination or needs dictate, you will find pictures and boards for it on Pinterest.

Using Pinterest as a writing tool has truly made me a better writer because I am more consistent, much more descriptive in my writing, and I have more time to actually write now that I don’t need to stop and look things up!

So… do you use Pinterest? let’s discuss…..

This board has all my book covers

Here’s where you can find me, other than Pinterest!:

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Life challenges, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Lessons I’ve learned about being a published author.

I found out my first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, had been contracted for publication while I was attending the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio, TX. Shocked, thrilled, and terrified, I thought the hard part – finding someone willing to publish my novel – was over.

Yeah, not so much.

Lesson one: it’s not over when you type THE END. It’s just the beginning…

the end

After I signed on the dotted line, the real work began. I’d been published for years in literary fiction anthologies and in non-fiction magazines and periodicals. The literary magazines accepted the work as is, the non-fiction articles were sometimes reworked and refined by editors to allow for spacing considerations. My point is that it was someone else’s job to get the piece publishing presentable.

Not anymore. Welcome to the world of book fiction.

Lesson two : the hard work starts after you contract for publication…

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My first book went through 3 rounds of edits between my editor and myself before it was sent to galleys for actual publication. And even after it went out to the copy editor, there were still some changes that needed to be made. I was ready to rip my hair out at one point. All I kept thinking as more and more edit suggestions came my way was, “Why the heck did they want this if it needs so much work??”

Lesson three: Editors are the most underrated and undervalued people on the publishing food chain…

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All editors are good at their job – they have to be. But the ones who are truly great make a good book even better. They find the little twists and turns of a phrase, or a word change, or a sentence deletion that is key to making the reader want to read more.

My editor is one of the great ones.

Lesson four: you should have taken marketing classes in college…

I will admit this freely – I was unbelievably naïve when I signed that first contract. I thought the publisher was going to do all the marketing necessary to promote my book, get it on a best-seller list, and generally skyrocket me to fame.

Yeah, AGAIN, not so much!

The minute your book is contracted and the editing begins, you need to start promoting it. Often and everywhere. FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, your website, blog tours, newspaper press releases, your Aunt Maimie’s bridge club. Anywhere, everywhere, and as often as you can, so that when you finally have a release date, the buzz about the book will have started, grown to fever pitch and resulted in so many pre-orders your head spins.

Lesson five: before the first book hits the shelves you’d better be working on, or done with, book #2…the end5

As a writer you can never – NEVER – rest on your laurels. It is a true axiom of publishing: you are only as good as your next book. So while you are doing all that dreaded marketing, take time each day and write…write…write. I had book two on my editor’s desk before book one was released. Same for book 3. Keep ‘em coming.

Lesson six: you need to take time to breathe and enjoy…

 Yes, I was overwhelmed, naïve, frustrated and generally anxious with the release of my first book. But I was also thrilled at having my dream – finally – come true. It was a long road for me to book publication. I was 54 years old when the first one came out, a time when most people are starting to look toward the end of their working life. Not me. Mine was just beginning and I wanted to savor every moment of how it felt to hold my first book in my hands; see my name in print on the cover of a book I’d penned; sign my first autograph on a copy someone had actually paid cash-money for! Don’t let anything ever take away or overwhelm you from that sense of wonderful, soul-soaring achievement you’ve accomplished.

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My fourth book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS was released on March 11. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed this time because I knew the basics. Promotion and marketing were all lined up and ready to go, I pre-ordered by print copies so I had them ready, and a book signing was waiting for me.

But the anticipation, the soul-empowering elation of having a book actually published was as spine tingling and heart-stopping as with that first one. And I think it will continue to be that way each and every time.

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

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Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Family Saga, First Impressions, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

What writers do when they should be writing…..

larua ashlye

 

I am going to admit something that just may lose me the respect I’ve tried so valiantly to garnish from others, lo these many years. Ready?

I just spent an hour cruising through Google, looking for a tea cozy to match my Laura Ashley tea set.

An hour.

A whole hour!!

Why, you ask? Well, since I’ve been home all day again, you see, I’ve taken to drinking afternoon tea ( so civilized, don’t you now!) Now, I write in the attic loft in my house – three stories above the kitchen. So, like a Downton Abbey chicita, I’ve started using my vintage Laura Ashley tea service  – the one my father gave my for my 25th birthday – again. Instead of having to run downstairs a couple of times per afternoon, I fill my teapot and lug everything up to the attic so I can write and sip without having to leave to refill my cup. Now the reason I was searching for a tea cozy is because I’m sick and tired of wrapping the teapot in a dishtowel to ensure it stays warm for an hour or two. The tea set is gorgeous and looks ….. not gorgeous….with a simple dishrag thrown over it, so I was attempting to find one online I could buy.

For an entire hour when I should have been writing.

I have deadlines, people. I need to get some stuff written, not be trolling through the Internet searching for something that doesn’t seem to exist on this planet any longer. Don’t people buy tea cozys anymore??? Don’t they use them? What do the English use nowadays to keep their teapots warm??  Doesn’t the Queen use a cozy?? Where does she get hers? Or does she just holler for a footman to go out and get her one from Harrods?

My life used to be simple, used to be predictable and sane.

It’s come to this writing fans:  I am now questioning how the Queen of England keeps her tea warm.

I think I need a vacation….or an institution.

No. All I really need is a f*******g tea cozy!!!!

And now, I just spent another hour on Pinterest looking at pictures of tea services. I even started a new board: Afternoon Tea.

That’s it. I’m done for. Think I’ll go bake some scones for, you know… tomorrow’s afternoon tea.

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me //Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Uncategorized

Power = Social Media

I freely admit to all who ask that I am no  techie-savant. I don’t have the gene instilled in my DNA like the kids these days do; I find most factors related to computer knowledge NOT to be intuitive to me; and the term “User Friendly” has no baring on my capabilities. So when I entered this wonderful world of  published author-dom I had to learn how to be effective on social media in order to self-promote myself and my book.

It has been a loooooooooooog journey.

Initially when my website went live I – in my naivete –  thought, “If you build it, they will come.” Yeah, no. You not only have to possess the site, you must introduce it to the masses and keep doing so in order for your site to have traffic and stay relevant. This is the cyber sphere’s version of Word of Mouth.  Who knew? Not me, that’s for sure. So, to do this I started listing my recent blog entries on facebook .This helped…some. It was my daughter who suggested I start using Twitter, google+ and Pinterest to broaden my approach. This is one of the reasons I keep her around: her marketing brilliance.

Again, this only went so far because you can’t tweet/face/post/pin/google just ONCE during the day. You have to do so repeatedly to compete with the nine gazilliongillion other posting/tweets/etc uploading every millisecond. One of my New Hampshire RWA sistahs likens Twitter to a  “drive by shooting.” Kids, I just don’t have time to stop what I’m doing every hour and post something new. Not only is it time sucking to do this, my memory isn’t what it used to be ( frickin’ menopause!)  and I forgot more times than I remembered to post.

Again, brilliant baby told me about a program that could help called HootSuite which allows you to schedule all your postings on social media sights so you can basically click it and forget it. ( Ron Popeil reference, anyone?)

Again, who knew??

I use Hootsuite everyday. It’s one of the first things I do when my insomnia drags me from bed. I set up Twitter, Facebook author page, Instagram and Pinterest post/alerts for alternating hours of the day. I spend from 15-20 minutes doing this in the morning and then basically forget about it the rest of the day, enabling me to devote my time to what I want to do, namely, writing.

My life is so much better now since I don’t have to worry about getting on my social media sites every 30 minutes. Don’t get me wrong – I still check stuff during the day. I love to retweet posts from authors I know, and God help me, I need to see what’s going on on facebook, but as far as my marketing promos go, Hootsuite has been such a blessing.

Check it out and see if it’s for you. It’s free, easy ( must be if I can do it!), convenient and non-time sucking.

 

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NHRWA, Romance, RWA, Strong Women

Branding and Marketing for Authors

At RWA 2014, one of the signature breakfast speakers this year was the marvelous Cindy Ratzlaff of Brand New, Brand You. She discussed – in vivid detail – her Social Book Marketing Strategy. Of course, I’m not going to go into extensive detail and list everything she said – you should click on the above link to get her full strategy – but I will hit the high points that resonated with me.

The most important aspect of this strategy is recognizing that you, the author, are the BRAND. You want to promote YOU. You are the creator of your books, but by promoting yourself as a brand, you capture reader and follower loyalty and get recognized by your name. Name recognition, like word of mouth, is a powerful product motivator for people to purchase what you are selling – namely, your books.

By utilizing FACEBOOK as a marketing tool you can develop what Cindy calls  “your ideal Tribe,” or the people who want to follow you.  Right now I have a regular Facebook page. I have “friends,” personal photos, etc, all the things you are supposed to have on the site to be socially connected with your friends and family. But, if you are a professional author and your name is your brand, you should have a professional Facebook page, devoted to you, the brand. Using myself, I would have a secondary page titled Peggy Jaeger, Author. On this page I would have all the information regarding my books – the ones that are currently out and in print and the ones that are coming up for publication ( Dearest God, are you listening to this?) Links to my blog, and my other sites would also be on this page so that anyone can find me and find out about me, the brand of Peggy Jaeger, Author. Apparently, Facebook is the number 1 social networking site, still. But your branding advertising isn’t isolated to just this site. Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ even using You Tube, are all ways you can promote your brand.

Cindy’s lecture was fascinating. She described the scope and power the internet has in promoting yourself in ways that I don’t think I ever even considered, much less knew I could do.

Like everything else that I attended  at RWA 2014, Cindy Ratzlaff’s session will stick in my mind for years to come.

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Effective Habit IV: Marketing wisely

If you listen to anyone under the age of say, 25, they will tell you Social Media rules the world. People meet, date one another, share info – personal and not – buy things, and generally live by their media outlets. Most of these outlets are as easy to get to as typing in a few keystrokes into a cell phone, which is, literally, at the ready and with you all the time now. Words like Retweet, Like, PinIt, Hash-tag, are all now vital parts of our vocabulary. Using social media is also a way writers can get the word out about their most recent creations.

In multi-published author Barbara Wallace‘s article Seven Habits of Effective Writers in the June 2014 RWA magazine Romance Writers Report, habit no. 4 makes the case that writers who write effectively – meaning they get a lot of writing work done – use social media tools and marketing judiciously. They don’t jump on every band wagon out there and send off daily updates on blogs, websites, Pinterest, Twitter and GoodReads, to name a few. They aren’t trolling  review sites, writer blogs or shopping on Ebay.

No. Effective writers WRITE. They use their time to put words on the page. Yes, they market what they’ve written. When the bottom line for publishing houses and even self publishers is sales, you have to get the word out about your new opus. But the point is, you don’t need to be doing this as a full time job. Your job is to write.

Some mega-published authors are lucky enough to have people who work for them who will do all this marketing/media for them. From my mouth to God’s ears this happens to me someday. Establishing some sort of presence on social media appears to be a very effective way to drive buzz about your work. Even if two or three friends “share” your news with their other hundreds of “friends” – friends you don’t necessary have – that’s a few hundred more people who know about your book then did this morning. If you send out twitter alerts on a regular basis and ask followers  to retweet to their followers, well, there’s that domino effect again.

Before cell phones ruled the world, marketing consisted of advertising in magazines, on tv, on the radio. Authors were sent on multi-city book tours to promote, talk about and sell their books. Now, you can do several web interviews in a day from the privacy of your living room, or even guest host on a blog site, which I did just last weekend. The opportunities to get the word out about your writing is so much easier than it ever was due to the advent of Social Media.

Using it in a wise and shrewd manner is another effective habit that I am going to adopt, because really, my job is to write! An I would rather be doing that.

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