Friday, July 31, 2009

Wanted: Reader & Writer Input [Plus a Contest Link]

Photo by h.koppdelaney

If you had your very own literary publication or zine and a companion newsletter, what would you fill it with --poetry, prose, author interviews, industry news, art...? To which zines and newsletters do you subscribe? The sky's the limit, so tell me what literary things of beauty would fill YOUR publication.
Gumbo Writer has inside scoopage! The Dream Quest One Poetry and Writing Contest deadline has been extended by a week from today until August 8. If you're looking for a nice weekend creative project, this just might be it. My thought on contests is even if you don't win, place or show, you have a chunk of fresh material to tinker with and find a home for that you didn't have before. That's a win/win in my book.
Friend and fellow writer Janna at Something She Wrote wants to increase her readership. Her posts are always interesting with good info. and perspectives to share. Go see her, become a follower, mention my name and we could both win a cool book!

Now, since it's Friday, I hope your weekend is magnificent. I'll be doing one of my very favorite things tonight -- cooking and serving supper at the men's shelter! I'll share the Italian Buffet menu with you Tuesday on recipe day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How's Your Writing Cred?

Photo by Jeffrey Beall

Check Harvey Stanbrough's blog for the last word on words. It's a great refresher course on maintaining and safeguarding your credibility.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Writerly Ailments and Hazards

Writerly Ailments and Hazards
(c) 2009 Angie Ledbetter

Writing obstructions can be blamed on several sources other than the overused writer’s block. An easy way to recognize these conditions is by checking to see if they fit the acronym WAAH. (Yep, that’s the cry for the waahmbulance). And just so you’ll know, parents who are delusional enough to think they can continue writing for pay, pleasure or as a profession are especially prone to these diseases.

Seasoned writing parents who’ve spent time in the keyboard arena are probably already familiar with the more common illnesses such as cooties, Sick Kidlet Syndrome (SKS) and Work Burnout (WB), but may not know these conditions are aggravated by sleep deprivation. So, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, please check the following list of symptoms and illnesses:

G'out – Although almost as agonizing, this condition is not to be confused with its physical counterpart called gout in which patients suffer painful swelling and inflammation of the joints from overindulgence in organ meats. G’out especially plagues writing parents of young children and those unfortunate enough to have overly dependent spouses. Symptoms include thinking, saying, or screaming phrases like, “G'out my room/office!” “Please just g’out my space for five minutes while I finish this paragraph!” and “Just g'out my face!”

No known cure for g'out currently exists, but researchers continue to work diligently to formulate a remedy. G'out sufferers find hope in outliving their household so they might once again establish a life of their own. Frequent participation in retreats held outside their zip code, short getaways, and weekend hideouts help diminish the debilitating affects of g’out. When that’s not possible, locking themselves in the bathroom often brings temporary relief.

The Terrible Ts (TTT) - This malady invariably afflicts writers with children in toddler to teen stages. Sadly, experts have not totally defined, explained or identified in its entirety this mysterious ailment. Symptoms vary widely among sufferers, and few medications or homeopathic cures exist to counteract this condition. Funding is currently being sought to conduct double blind scientific studies across the country.

Warning signs for the onset of TTT are the uncanny interruptions brought about when the writing parent inadvertently or on purpose touches one of the following items: telephone, table, technology, tub, toilet, or any other T-word that falls under the heading of standard writing tools or necessary equipment. Doing so somehow alerts others in the vicinity that it is time to drop in unannounced, throw a temper tantrum or otherwise cause chaos. TTT is a known killer of writing effort and is to be avoided like the plague. [Side note: Sufferers of Triple T are also apt to use clichés.]

Like g’out, physically removing oneself by a distance of at least 50 miles from those who surround the writer is the only known preventative measure.

Stealth use of T items may decrease the severity of symptoms, i.e. using a nearby gas station restroom; sneakily writing story ideas on toilet paper or recording them on a tiny, hidden voice activated recorder in your vehicle, on scraps of paper instead of your notebook or, heaven forbid, on your computer; and tackling writing projects late at night with a flashlight under bed covers.

Spouse-itis – Although not directly related to child rearing, since most family arrangements include a spouse, the addition of this ailment is germane to the list. Characterized in several ways, this ailment is easier to diagnose than others.

If you can answer yes to the questions in this short quiz, then you too are a Spouse-itis sufferer.

Does your spouse or S.O.:

  1. Prefer you be cooking, mowing the lawn or sitting glued to his/her side watching "Law & Order" reruns instead of hunkered down over your computer writing the next best seller?
  2. Make remarks like, "When you're through doodling on the computer, can you come here for a second?"
  3. Ask, "What is it that you are doing at that desk at 1 AM anyway?"
  4. Refer to your writing as a hobby?

Chronic Over-Activity – According to the CDC, COA can be fatal if not treated quickly. Contraction of this disease occurs when a writer over-schedules family member or self-related activities which stretch the limits of budget, time and temper. Such activities include, but are not necessarily limited to, sports, hobbies, school clubs, social events, community or volunteer work, and/or any kidlet demands requiring a parent taxi.

Setting limits (i.e. two extracurriculars per member per school year) can alleviate some of the stress caused by COA, thus affording more writing time.

If you are spending inordinate amounts of time sitting in bleachers or carpool lines due to the number of offspring in your home, counteract low writing time by having pen, paper, laptop, reading material and other writerly essentials with you at all times. Doctor and dentist office visits also afford opportunities to read and research magazines for ideas, provided that you and your family members can act civilly outside of cages.

The Good News: Older writers have learned to cope with these setbacks and temporary bugs, and are actually better for their survival. They’ve gained powers of concentration, learned how to write quicker in small snatches of time, have become more resilient and resourceful in their word crafting efforts, and have developed more efficient writing immune systems. Some even report that deadline pressure, persnickety editors, and other normal writing negatives don’t bother them at all anymore. Surviving to reach the Empty Nest phase has its rewards.

Remember, there is strength in numbers, hope in ignoring minor symptoms, and inspiration in the knowledge that most of these ailments will eventually leave veterans to seek out fresh blood!

Join live and online writing/critique groups/communities for encouragement in your creative pursuits. The support of other writers such as those wonderful beings called bloggers will force you into productivity. Laughter truly is one of the best medicines, and humor goes a long way in diminishing the crippling symptoms of these writerly illnesses. These experts can’t be lying:

“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they're finished, I climb out.” ~ Erma Bombeck

“Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.” ~ Steve Martin

“If your kids are giving you a headache, follow the directions on the aspirin bottle, especially the part that says ‘keep away from children.’" ~ Susan Savannah

Photo by Diacritical

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Roasted Garlic

I call this Italian Perfume. You know the drill by now -- yeah, I love this recipe because it's what? Easy, quick and cheap.

Another great thing about roasted garlic is its versatility. You simply remove the pods from their sleeves by squeezing at the bottom after they are grilled/roasted/baked. Mash and mix with soft butter and you've got garlic butter for corn on the cob, garlic bread, veggies or whatever. Raosted garlic is divine eaten as is. Do you have other favorite foods that garlic goes well in or with?

Cajun-Italian Factoid ~~ When we get together for a crawfish boil, a good time is guaranteed. Into the pot (aka the boiling rig) go the seafood, plenty spices, lemons, oranges, onions, new potatoes, corn on the cob and lots of whole garlic. The more Cajun among us go for the spicy crawfish first; the Italians fight over the garlic. ;o)

Roasted Garlic

(This is so easy, I'm almost ashamed to call it a recipe.) Slice off the top half inch of the whole garlic pod. Put topless garlic on a square of heavy duty aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil over the garlic and a hefty sprinkling of Tony's. (If you don't have Tony's, use sea salt, black pepper and a bit of cayenne pepper.) Wrap foil tightly around pod and twist at the top, sorta like a big Hershey's Kiss.

Throw that sucker on your BBQ pit for the last 45 minutes or so of cooking time with whatever you're barbecuing, or put the wrapped garlic in the oven on 375 for about 40 minutes or until tender. Mmmm mmmm good, sha!

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Heart Andy Griffith

I glommed on a Mayberry RFD marathon recently, and it reminded me why I have always loved Andy Griffith.
  • He was easy on the eyes.
  • Andy ("Ang" to friend Barney Fife) was a stand up guy. He meant what he said and said what he meant.
  • Totally dependable. And cool-headed.
  • That opening theme song with the whistling!
  • He dearly loved his momma, Aunt Bea.
  • Andy wasn't flashy, but he always looked suave.
  • What's not to like about a man in uniform?
  • His consummate parenting abilities.
  • Andy was kind to everyone -- Otis the town drunk, that annoying Howard Spraig, Floyd the barber, durned ol' Goober, crazy Ernest T. Bass and his tree-dwelling clan, and especially his unlikely sidekick, the bumbling Deputy Barney Fife.
  • Mr. Griffith knew how to treat a lady.
  • He had an unconventional family arrangement and made it work.
  • No matter how trying Barney was, Andy was always patient and a true friend.
  • Andy was humble and selfless.
  • Great gene pool. I mean, look at Opie!

Can ya add to the list? Got an old tv star you admire?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Boudreaux & Thibodaux - Go Forth and Multiply

Today, a short and sweet adventure with our two favorite Cajuns:

Boudreaux' wife Mathilda is about to deliver anudder bebe into da brood, and she start moanin' and carryin' on wit da pain. Den she squeeze Boo's hand hard wit each wave of pain dat passes tru her.

Now, Boo, him got a date wit his bess friend Thib to watch da Saints game on dat big screen tv down at Da Bayou Bar, and him don't wanna be late. Boudreaux calls da doctor down in Pierre Part and shouts, "Hey, doc! Mah wife Mathilda, she been in labor wit dem contraptions. Dem pains is only two minutes apart now, yah!"

The doctor tells Boudreaux to simmer down, den says, “Now, Mr. Boudreaux, is this her first child?”

Boo is beside himself as his wife's screams get louder. He shouts into da phone, “No, you idiot, dis is her husband!”


Check out Suzanne's writing contest (for writers and non-writers) ending tonight!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Elephant in the Room

I need advice. Have you ever been stuck in a situation where there's a huge issue or incident hovering over all parties involved, and everyone pretends it's not there?

If you've shared space with a big issue nobody is willing to discuss, what did you do? How did things turn out? Did your elephant ever leave? Please share your story.

Friday, July 24, 2009

This Made Me Cry

I know you're used to jokes and fun stuff here, but today I want to share a Greek video about two people and a sparrow that should come with a tissue alert. [Thanks to friend Gene for emailing it to me.] I hope you enjoy its beauty and remember its message.

May your weekend be blessed, wonderful and just exactly what you're hoping it will be!

*Image from

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Groundhog Day?

No, you're not stuck in some version of Blogoversal Studio's Groundhog Day; but yesterday's interview with Harvey Stanbrough was just too good to let go of just yet.

Soooooo, if you missed it, please scroll down and read it now. You'll be glad you did.
See ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Interview with Harvey Stanbrough

Gather 'round, ye poets and prose-ers. Enjoy an interview with poet, author, short story crafter, expert editor, speaker and sharer of knowledge...

[*Late breaking news addition~We got a mention in the LA Times blog today! Woohoo. Now on with the interview...]

Harvey Stanbrough -- A Man of Many Hats

Nominated: Pulitzer Prize, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award, Pushcart Prize, Frankfurt eBook Award (IEBAF - International eBook Award Foundation), and National Book Award. [I stole this from Harvey's site because I knew he'd downplay his accomplishments, of which these are only a few.] Read more at his website and check out Harvey's new blog - Writing the World.

On Writing in General:

1.) When, how and why did you start writing?

I'm not sure. When I was about 9 a teacher asked us to write a story we made up. Mine explained why the US Capitol sits on a hill. Had something to do with the dome falling off and pushing up the ground. Around the same time I wrote a short story about atoms. It was prompted by a trip to the principal's office. A test question was "Can mankind exactly measure a mile?" I answered No. When asked to explain, I said since we know atoms exist but nobody had seen one yet, we obviously couldn't measure a mile "exactly," as in "from one atom to another atom a mile away." The principal eventually agreed with me and the teacher was miffed. Anyway, I enjoyed telling a story and have been writing ever since.

2.) One of the quotes on your Writers' Quotes page is from Sylvia Plath: "Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing." You've published quite a bit and in different genres, but must have tons of other work sitting in files and old spiral notebooks. Does it taunt you and beg you to submit it?

I do have quite a bit of work sitting "in desk drawers," but no, it doesn't bother me. The gestation period for different pieces of writing varies, and when it's ready, it's ready. Some of it might never be ready, yet it serves a purpose. It might fit in another project or it might take a different direction than I might have forced on it earlier. Besides, it's all writing: some has been seen by others and some has not. Some will never be seen by others, but I still had to write it.

3.) Between writing prose and poetry, editing, doing the conference circuit and everything else you have going on, how do you find time to work on your own stuff? Is there a secret to balance and productivity?

Well, I don't travel the conference circuit anymore. It's become too wearing on me. Now I edit others' works from my home as a day job, and I teach half-day seminars twice each month, one in Huachuca (pronounced wa-CHU-ca) City and one in Tucson. Occasionally I might take the seminars on the road and teach a two-day intensive, but otherwise I just don't have the heart for traveling anymore. As for my own writing, I'm thinking about it most of the time, even when I'm working on something else. When my own work tugs at me, I stop whatever else I'm doing and write for awhile. Once I've drained my pen and left a jagged edge (so it's easier to take up later), I return to whatever other work I have.

4.) What's a typical day in the life of Harvey Stanbrough look like?

Boring. I'm generally up around 5 a.m., dressed and out for a few-mile walk while the coffee's making. When I get back, I usually water the garden (unless the monsoons have brought rain), then drink a cup of coffee, answer emails, shower, dress and head for my laptop. If I'm not writing my own stuff, I open whatever I'm going to edit for the day, glance over the last few paragraphs I've edited, then go outside and take care of whatever chores need doing. There's always brush to clear, rocks to stack, etc. When I come back in, I sit down and get to work, usually around 8 a.m. I usually eat lunch at my desk, work until around six, then fix supper and maybe catch a movie. After the movie I usually find something to write for a couple hours, then zonk off to bed. Oh and somewhere in all that I feed my two cats and my chihuahua dog a couple times. Told you it was boring.

5.) About how many personal writing projects do you juggle at once?

I'm currently working on three novels. I recently wrote a few short stories that were picked up by AmazonShorts. I'm also constantly either developing or revising my Writing the World writing seminars, composing and sending instruction to new writers, etc. I don't really think of it as juggling, though. I just write what's there. I don't really feel a sense of urgency about it.

On Prose:

1.) Do you prefer prose over poetry?

No. Each genre has its uses, and usually the subject matter tells me in which genre it wants to express itself. The main difference, of course, is that the Sentence is the basic unit of fiction, nonfiction, plays, etc. The basic unit of poetry is the Line. As Howard Nemerov once wrote in his essay, On the Measure of Poetry, "Prose is a way of getting on, poetry a way of lingering. ... Poetry shares with prose the phrase, the sentence, and even something which the strophe has to do with the paragraph; only the line, the idea of the line, is distinctive. ...[The poetic line illustrates] that being somewhere matters as much as going somewhere...." That's a much better answer than I could have come up with on my own.

2.) Can you name the most common mistakes writers make, judging from the tons of editing you do?

Taking as gospel what they hear in critique groups. If you're a member of a critique group, you certainly should listen to every criticism, but you should write it down and then consider it later, when the emotion of being critiqued has passed. Then you should apply only those criticisms that You believe improve your work and ignore the rest. You have spent a great deal more time with your work than have members of your critique group or anyone else, so only You know what will really work or not work. I know writers who have rewritten the same novel (we're talking 100,000 words) several times, each time based on a different person's critique. Very sad. The other major problem I see is over narration. Every time the narrator speaks, he's coming between the reader and the story. The narrator's task is to describe the scene, then step out of the way. For example, the narrator should never tell the reader what a character says or thinks. The character's right there, so why not let the character himself speak in dialogue (or express unspoken thought in italics) so the reader can hear it first hand? The more the narrator stays out of the way, the more deeply the reader will become engaged in the story. Imagine going to the theater to watch a stage production of Hamlet. Just as the actor is about to deliver his soliloquy, a little guy in a tuxedo walks on stage and says "Okay, folks, here's what's about to happen." That's the same effect over narration has your reader.

3.) What's more important to a story/novel -- plot, characterization, technical ability or some other aspect?

Characters. You can have the best plot in the world (there are only about 20 or something anyway) but it won't work if your characters aren't interesting or if they don't ring true.

4.) Is an MFA essential to a writer's success, or can one learn enough on one's own?

I don't have an MFA, and I know (or know of) many successful writers who do not have an MFA. A writer certainly can learn on her own, but doing the work to attain an MFA is just another way of learning. Getting into good writing classes or seminars like mine is a good idea too, but no matter the route a writer takes to learn the craft, in her own mind, with her own mind, she should Question Everything the instructor says (yes, even instructors in MFA programs, and yes, even in my own seminars).

5.) What one thing can writers do to spruce up their dialog?

Buy a copy of Writing Realistic Dialogue & Flash Fiction (Central Ave. Press, 2004) of course. :-) The main thing is to let the characters Be who they are and Say what they want to say in the way they want to say it. Sit in the park or the mall or Denny's at two in the morning and eavesdrop. Listen to the inflections people use. Let characters use contractions. Okay, and a thousand other things, but mostly it boils down to letting the characters be who they are and say what they want to say in the way they want to say it.

6.) Is what and how much a writer reads reflected in his/her writing?

I've always heard that writers should read in the genre for which they want to write, and that sounds right to me. How much they read, I think, would only affect their writing if it cut into their writing time. There is one wrong myth I'd like to debunk: Some writers believe reading others' works will harm their ability to develop their own voice or style. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is, reading others' works will certainly Inform your style, but it won't replace it or adversely affect it. The trick is to read authors whose work you admire, and then question it. Would you have written a line or stanza or sentence exactly that way? Why or why not? That's how you learn by studying others' works.

7.) If you could give one piece of advice to those slaving over a manuscript, what would it be?

Keep slaving. Don't make excuses. Most would-be writers experience an "application error," meaning they have a problem applying the seat of their pants to the chair in front of their writing.

8.) What's the biggest writing mistake you ever made?

I don't recall one. The biggest problem I have with my own writing is the inability to "just write" and save editing for later. I tend to edit as I go, and sometimes I forget part of the story.

9.) Tell us a funny or strange story about writing.

As I lay soundly sleeping several years ago, my muse visited. I was teased awake at 3 a.m. by a beautiful line and I knew I had to write it down. I groped in the darkness for my journal and my pen, but unfortunately, my Early Morning Pen and Journal Indicator shorted out and sent a warped message to my Right Hand Guidance System, causing it to veer slightly to the right. My little finger brushed the volume control on my radio, turning the alarm to its loudest setting an instant before the heel of my hand depressed the Wake Up Now! button.

As you may well imagine, things got hectic for the next ten seconds or so. The alarm went off, my wife at the time screamed and fell out of her side of the bed, and I sat bolt upright, straining to turn off the noise. My wayward hand accidentally hit the Touch Me/Light Me Lamp, which immediately sent it to Ten Million Watts.

Then, with amazing agility for a man my age, I leapt from the bed and cracked both my shins on the bedside table while deftly avoiding my wife's bedside lamp. With a sinking feeling (and once my eyes focused), I realized my pen and journal weren't on the bedside table at all. I hobbled around the corner into my study, again groping in the dark, and finally found them lying on my Official Writer's Desk in front of my Official Writer's Computer.

The whole time, of course, I was trying desperately to retain the beautiful, iambic line that had awakened me in the first place. Frantically I reached for my journal. My pen fell to the floor and rolled under my desk. By the time I retrieved the pen and began to write feverishly—you guessed it—the line was gone.

10.) How many cups of coffee do you drink per day?

I'm a caffeine-based life form, but I drink only about three cups of coffee on a typical morning. The rest of the day I maintain my levels with iced tea and/or Coke.

11.) Is there some easy way to understand POV?

If, like most modern novelists, the writer uses a limited-omniscient narrator, the narrator can describe only what the POV character can see, hear, smell, taste, touch, feel or think in that character's chapter(s). You can have different POV characters for different chapters, or one POV character for the whole book. You can even switch POV from one character to another within a chapter if there's a chapter break (e.g., the story changes in mid-chapter from one scene to another).

12.) Why do you offer writers a free edit/critique sample?

I feel it's best to let my work sell itself. Providing a free sample edit enables the writer to see what I can or can't do for her, and it also enables me to see a bit of the story line, the writer's style, etc. I only agree to edit a story if the writer's style and/or the story line interests me, but that way I get to read what I want to read so I'm able to charge much less than the industry standard.

On Poetry:

1.) Rhymed or not? Why?

Depends on the poem. When I wrote poetry, I wrote mostly unrhymed iambic pentameter (blank verse). That gave me the freedom of unrhymed lines and the underlying structure of the iambic rhythm.

2.) What did you do when you heard you'd been nominated for a Pulitzer?

I didn't do anything that I can recall, other than smiling quite a bit. That was in the late 90s. My most recent poetry collection, Beyond the Masks, was nominated for the National Book Award in 2006 or 2007. That was a really good feeling.

3.) Would you share your thoughts on the importance of strong end words in a poem?

As I mentioned above, the poetic line is the basic unit of the poem. Because it occurs just before a brief pause, the end of the poetic line is the strongest position in the line. If you read down the right side of a poem, reading only the last word or two in each line, you should get a sense of the strength of the poem. The end of the poetic line should never be populated with prepositions, conjunctions, state-of-being verbs (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been), or other weak words.

4.) What are the Stanbrough top three poetry pointers?

I have only one: send me an email at and request a copy of The Craft of Poetry: Structure and Sound. Those (structure and sound) are the two most important aspects of poetry, and all my tips are in there. *It's a PDF file, and it's free.* style="color:#000000;">
5.) What's your favorite poem you've written so far?

"A Prayer." Although, like Howard Nemerov, I'd have to say "I love all my children, even the squat, ugly ones." Your readers can see a sampling of my poetry here. "A Prayer" and several others are displayed there.

6.) Do you believe in the muse/inspiration, or is poetry written through plain old hard work?

Yes, of course I believe in the muse and inspiration, but mostly because we have to believe in something. And yes, it's written through plain old hard work. As Yeat's wrote in "Adam's Curse" about writing poetry "a line will take us hours maybe / but if it does not seem a moment's thought / our stitching and unstitching has been naught." And Wordsworth defined poetry this way: Poetry is the result of a spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility." The "spontaneous overflow of emotion" has to do with the muse, inspiration, and the first draft. But "recollected in tranquility" has to do with revision, polishing, the hard work you talk about.

7.) Why do you write poetry?

Actually, I haven't written a new poem to speak of for the past few years. When I wrote poetry, I wrote it because I couldn't not write it.

Harvey, thanks so much for your time.

Thanks for allowing me this opportunity to share my thoughts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Meatloaf: It's What's for Supper

Yep, it's Tasty Tuesday, so time for some down home comfort food like Momma used to serve up. When you think of those sorts of dishes, doesn't meatloaf and mashed potatoes come to mind? I thought so.

Hope you enjoy my version, which is really a combination of my recipe, my Mom's and my grandmother's. Three generations of meatloaf mixin' means something good from the oven! And as always, it's cheap, quick and easy. Yay!

Tune in tomorrow for a great interview with Harvey Stanbrough. No matter what you write, you'll find a nifty nugget or two, I promise.

Down Home Meatloaf
3 lbs. lean ground round or beef
2 eggs
1 small can tomato paste
1 white onion, chopped fine
3 pods garlic, smashed or chopped fine
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
Seasoning (I use sea salt, Tony's Cajun seasoning and garlic powder.)

Chop and saute onion and garlic in a small amount of olive oil until veggies are clear and beginning to brown. Stir often.

While that's working, add all other ingredients to a large bowl. When onion and garlic are cooked, add to them to bowl and mix everything with your hands until meatloaf ingredients are well distributed.

Spray two large bread pans with non-stick spray. [The ones pictured are some passed down to my Dad, and have been well used.] Divide meatloaf and put half in each pan. Tamp down a bit to make tops even. Squeeze on ketchup. Cover tightly with foil.

Cook in 350 degree oven for an hour, or until meatloaf begins to turn brown. Remove and drain. Turn temperature up to 475 and return meatloaf to oven uncovered for 10-15 minutes, or until top is really brown. Slice, serve, enjoy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

"Table for one, monsieur?"

That's my bad bad Boston Terrier asleep on the patio table. He's 7 1/2 months old and in need of obedience school, but he's beaucoup fun to have around. Let's just say he fits into the family well. 'Nuff said.

Seeing him sprawled on the tabletop asleep like this yesterday brought to mind a question for Monday's useless trivia/brain food/brain teaser topic:

If you could dine with anyone (dead, alive or even a fictional character), who would you choose? And, hey, dinner's on me, so knock yourself out. *grin*

Hope your week is productive and without an ounce of stress!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blog Bling from Cajun Delights

Thanks to my Cajun friend Marguerite just about an hour west of me, my blog sports a new block of blingage! (Say dat three times real quick.) If you haven't visited her yet, you need to. She puts up some A#1 Cajun/Creole recipes that are the real deal. You'll also enjoy the photos and posts about Marguerite's fun life of festival hopping. The lady knows how to live it up!

Here be the award rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award. check
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog. check
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award. check
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting. check (see below)
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers. check
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate. check
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated. check

Seven marginally interesting things about moi:
  1. I have an identical twin sister. We had a double wedding. My middle son and her only son were born two weeks apart.
  2. Creating poetry, especially Vispo, is one of my therapies...along with blogging and chopping veggies.
  3. My beloved mom has brain cancer. It is an honor to be one of her care givers.
  4. I had my three kidlets in a 36-month time span.
  5. My completed women's fiction manuscript often calls to me when I'm otherwise occupied.
  6. The Big Five-Oh approacheth.
  7. I am a coffeeholic.

Now, wasn't that interesting? LOL

Now to nominate seven others. hmmmmm, the hard part. Since every blogger I know deserves this reward (otherwise, I wouldn't be reading them and they wouldn't be listed in my Rockin' Blogs list, right?), I'm going to randomly scroll through that list with my eyes closed and see who comes up:

  • K - wife, mom, doctor, budding writer. I love her interesting topics of discussion; especially Fine Arts Friday. As she says of her blog name, "'K' is the New 'O'! If Oprah can have an 'O' Magazine, Why Can't I Have a 'K' Blog?" Why not indeed!

  • Lori Tiron-Pandit - crafter of dolls, translator of poetry, all around creative soul.

  • To the inventor of Unplug Week - B.J. Anderson, who is hopefully unplugged and writing "as we speak."

  • Donna K who works through the pain every day to achieve the Florida Writer's Life...and because her husband makes my Bigmama's biscuits the right way! :)

  • To Melissa Marsh, a dame who writes with style, and who has one of the coolest ID graphics I've seen.

  • T I M, the Raconteur. His posts are totally unique and interesting - sorta like a sardine and chocolate sandwich. He proves his blog heading: "perception is not always reality."

  • And finally, with great pleasure, I nominate Benjamin James Watson, because he has killed his muse, and because he IS Tom Thumb!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Today in History...

1743: First half-page ad is published (New York Weekly Journal)

1768: Boston Gazette publishes "Liberty Song," America's 1st patriotic song

1925: Hitler publishes Mein Kampf

1968: Intel incorporates

1980: Billy Joel's Glass Houses album tops charts

1987: NY Yankee Don Mattingly ties home run record

1994: Crayola introduces scented crayons

*Image from

Friday, July 17, 2009

Just Curious...

What's the best thing about blogging to you? Now, get out there and have a great weekend!

[Stay tuned for a really great interview with Harvey Stanbrough next week!]

*Image from

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How Twins are Made

And here's the "old school" version of me (left) and my twin sister:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Writings - Who Dat?

Ladies and germs, have I got a good interview in the works for you! "Who dat?" you might ask...if you lived here and you were a Cajun and a New Orleans Saints fan. Anywho, here's a sneak preview~~

Harvey Stanbrough has the most versatile of writing credits of just about everyone I know. He does it all -- poetry, editing, conference speaking, writing, book name it. He's also a nice person and "regular folk." I know, right? It's hard to find all that in one person. I've heard him speak, read his poetry and dialog books, and been honored to host him in a poetry discussion for my writing group. He's the real deal.

Here's a very brief bio from his website:

Harvey Stanbrough is a poet, essayist, and fictionist. Collections of his poetry have been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, a Frankfurt Award, and an Inscriptions Magazine Engraver's Award. He works as a full-time freelance editor from his home near Pittsboro, Indiana and offers intensives and workshops on Observation, Poetry, and Fiction.

As my daddy is fond of saying, how ya like them apples? Go cruise around Harvey's site here, and sign up for his newsletter if interested.

***Especially check out this phenomenal editing offer!***

And if that's not enough, you can get a free excerpt download from his PUNCTUATION FOR WRITERS book. His books are some of the best and most comprehensive writing tools you'll find. And near and dear to my Italian heart, they are reader friendly and very affordable. After you've familiarized yourself with the man and his work, feel free to leave a question for Harvey in comments so I can incorporate it into the interview.

One last thing (I promise); Harvey's got a brand spankin' new blog, so go visit!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Please Help My Husband!

King Rufus may shortly be residing in the doghouse. Why? Because today is the 25th anniversary of our wedding day...and he has suggested several possible gifts for me to celebrate the big Silver Anniversary.

So far, so good, right? Yeah...but here are the ideas he's run past me so far and in his own words:

A.) "Hon, how's about a new rod & reel, or I can paint your old one silver?"

B.) "What about one of them 'Dykeson' vacuum cleaners with them roller balls? I think they're silver colored."

C.) "Wow...ya wanna new bass boat? I saw a fine sparkly silver one at Bass Pro."

D.) "How's about a new mixer?"

I would certainly appreciate your ideas on an appropriate gift for the mother of King Rufus' 17-, 18- and 19-year-olds...not to mention the twenty-five years of wedded bliss. And most assuredly he will appreciate your help so that he will not be banished to his new abode in the backyard.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Brain Food

Hidy. If you're feeling sluggish from a long weekend, here's a little food for your noggin in the form of a short quiz that's all about intuition. Ever wonder if you follow your "gut" or your "head?" Now you can find out. The quiz was created by psychologist and author of The Intuitive Edge, Dr. Philip Goldberg.

The quiz is supposed to test your style of decision making and problem solving through the results of 32 questions with only A or B answers. You'll need pen and paper to tabulate your score.

Lemme know how ya scored! (I got 27.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boudreaux, Thibodaux & T-Joe

Boudreaux and his good friend T-Joe are walking through dem woods one day when Boo jerks T-Joe's arm back and says, "Ooooweee, T, look at dat big hole in da groun you almost fell in, yeah!"

T-Joe says, "Mais oui, mon ami! Dat's some big hole. How deep you tink dat hole is?"

The two friends decide to throw a rock in the hole and see how long it takes to hit bottom. They wait and wait, but don't hear it hit, so dey find anudder bigger rock and chunk it in. Like da smaller rock, dey don't hear it hit neither.

Looking around for sumptin bigger, T-Joe spies a railroad tie under a tree. He picks it up and trows it into dat hole. While dey're waitin' for dat tie to hit da bottom of da hole, a little billy goat comes runnin' fast fast from behind da same tree and jumps down in dat deep hole.

In just a little bit, Boudreaux' best friend Thibodaux comes walking out of the woods. "Hey, Thib, what in da world you doin' out here in da middle of da woods?"

"Aw, Boo, mais, I'm way out here lookin' for my little billy goat!"

Boudreaux says, "You just not gonna believe dis, Thib. A little billy goat just ran out from behind dat tree and jumped straight down in dat big hole dere!"

"Well, dat can't be my billy goat, Boo, 'cause mine was tied to a railroad tie back behind dat tree. Dass some good luck, huh?"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Break Out the Champaign!!!!

We're having a major celebration at Chez Gumbo Writer this fine Saturday morning to note a moment of supreme success. Well, actually, it's just me celebrating...but nevertheless, I'm stoked.

I've waited a really long time to be able to share this news with the whole of Blogland, and most especially my bloggy friends!


Are ya sittin' down?

Okay, here it is...

I WON~~~~

*[Now, don't act like you don't recognize or play Spider Solitaire.] :)

*Images from

Friday, July 10, 2009

How to Make a Twit of Yourself in One Cool Move

I knew there was a good reason my gut was screaming for me to run far far away from the Twitter revolution. At first I just assumed it was my resistance to trying something new + an addictive personality = even less time spent writing...but no, it was my interior alert system trying desperately to warn me that disaster awaited on the tweeting front.

Like an idiot, I put my fears and reservations on hold after a really long time of stubborn refusal to entertain ideas concerning that little blue bird (NOT the one symbolizing happiness) of the social networking scene. Then last week I said to myself, "Self, what ya got to lose? Just give it a try!"

Oh woe to idiots who do not listen to their own advice and intuitions. Here, I'll show you rather than tell you about my premier Twitter experience:

[Friend Kimmi Richardson, author of The Unbreakable Child somehow got a tweet through to me, and I decided to follow her. Being totally unfamiliar with the Twitter set-up, I went into my profile or whatever and took a deep breath before sending her a message...]

"Am I actually tweeting, or do I just have gas?"

I quickly reverted to email and my comfort zone to continue the conversation with Kim.

"Angie you are finally tweeting. LOL! When you put the @ at the beginning of the sentence you respond to that person. Example, if you want to respond to me you do this: @writernwaiting Am I tweeting or do I just have gas?" Kimmi patiently explained.

"OMG," I wrote, "Do you mean I told everybody about my gas and not just you? Just one more reason I don't need to be on Twitter! (Not that I actually know who saw it -- your followers, mine, the people I'm somehow following, everybody on the planet?) Sooo confusing."

Then I got an email from Kat of Tender Graces fame that said, "I can't find you on twitter. Where are you?"

"Heck if I know," I wrote back. "And I thought I was talking to Kimmi but Tooted on everyone instead of Tweeting!"

And there were many emails after that punctuated with LOL's and LMAO's.

Okay, this would only happen to me...but I guess it coulda been worse. Who knows, maybe Tooting will surpass Tweeting in popularity one day. :)
*Image from

Thursday, July 9, 2009

If You Could Have One Wish...

...what would it be?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Writings - An Ocean Poem

I got my contributor copies of Volume 6, Issue 23 of OCEAN Magazine in the mail yesterday. It is a beautiful publication produced by Diane Buccheri. The magazine's mission is "to celebrate and protect" ocean creatures and environs, and all prose, poetry and photography reflect this purpose.
Check out OCEANS when you get a chance and/or consider a subscription. You'll be transported.

I rarely post my own work here, but thought I'd share this poem with you. As always, commentary and opinions are welcome. And I'd love to hear if you're working on poetry, WIPs or other writing projects this summer.

Beach Glass and Other Things

"...maybe life washes itself here, cools off." ~ Thorpe Moecke


Sea hands wash gently
then roughly, turning trash
to treasures of sea glass
water and sand swish,
smooth castaway containers
into vintage mermaid tears
spilt for beachcombers' baskets,
perigean spring tide prizes
preserved on wooden mantles


A sign says do not pick
the sea oats, resist the urge
to pluck nature's gifts
holding back time's tidal surge;
these pristine beachscapes
need preserving to persevere
against coastal encroachment


Whitewashed sand dollar, virgin
bride with bright desires, untouched
yet by man's hand, waiting
there on sun-warmed vistas, thin
bloodless communion wafers
to be taken, broken, consumed
the husks cast back to sea
bleaching out completely
leached of life, but for a few
fragile ghost doves { space } witnesses

(c) 2009 Angie Ledbetter

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cajun Recipe for a Happy Life and Seven Happiness Soup

Two recipes you might enjoy -- one you can eat, the other, only serve. *smile*

Cajun Recipe for a Happy Life

*You'll need a huge pot for this. If you have a crawfish boiling rig, that's even better! Into your pot, add the following in no particular order:

5 heaping cups of gratitude and joy (the more you use, the more they multiply)
3 hearty pinches patience
1 gallon forgiveness
10 cups love for family & neighbor (*they'll add to your pot in return!)
2 gallons fun and joie de vivre
A dash of selflessness
8 cups of living simply
Season to taste with good music and dancing. Do not scrimp on hot sauce, garlic & onions!

Cook over a low fire, stirring occasionally. Humming or adding prayer while you simmer will add that special something to your recipe.

Taste often to check for proper seasoning. Share the dish with everyone you meet. Your table will never be empty.

(c) 2009 Angie Ledbetter


Seven Happinesses Soup

4 Cups chicken stock
1 Slice of ginger, smallish
1 Garlic pod, cut in half
1/2 Cup shredded Chinese cabbage
1/3 Cup Tofu, chopped in hunks
1/3 Cup thinly sliced Baby Bella or regular mushrooms
1/3 Cup Snow peas
1 Small can Bamboo Shoots or Water chestnuts, sliced thin
1/3 Cup cut carrots
Season with spices to taste

Mix together stock, ginger and garlic. Simmer for 20 minutes, then scoop out garlic and ginger. Add all other ingredients to the pot and simmer for another 20 minutes. Serves four.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blog Addiction Quiz...Rut Roh

Today's quiz, boys and girls, shows just how addicted you are to the blogging game in a series of 10 multiple choice questions. Find out how far gone you are by taking the How Addicted to Blogging am I? quiz. It only took a few minutes.

I can't wait to find out your degree of dependence!

My test results said:

You are 84% addicted to blogging. You will soon be a famous blogger!!!

Have fun, and I hope your week is a wonderful one!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Boudreaux Does Bank Bidness

Boudreaux walks into a big fancy bank in New York City and asks to see a loan officer. He tells him, "Mais, it time for me to get back home to da Louisiana swamps for some bidness. I'll be gone two weeks, yeah. Now, to do dat, I need you to borrow me $5,000 dollars."

The bank employee is surprised when he finds out Boudreaux doesn't have an account at his bank. Not wanting to appear rude, he tells him, "Mr. Boudreaux, I'll be glad to help you, but I'll need something as security for the loan."

"Mais, Mr. Banker Man, dat's no problem, no. Here's da keys to my new Ferrari!" Boo points to the shiny red car sitting at the curb in front of the bank.

The loan officer agrees to hold the car for collateral. He says, "I'm just sorry to have to charge you 12% interest."

"Oh, dat's no problem. I understand bidness is bidness."

After Boudreaux leaves, the bank employers laugh and laugh at the stupid Cajun for using a $250,000 car as collateral for a $5,000 loan. One of the underlings moves the car to safety in the bank's underground garage.

As good as his word, in two weeks Bourdreaux returns to the bank and repays the $5,000 plus the $23.07 in interest. The loan officer says, "Sir, we're so happy to have done business with you and hope we have the opportunity again. We just have one question. While you were away, we did some checking and found out you're a multimillionaire in the seafood industry. Why would you bother borrowing $5,000?"

Boudreaux grins and says, "Mais, where else in New York City could I park my new Ferrari for two weeks for under $25.00 and know it'd be there when I came back?"

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Press Release for AuthorScoop

From my email inbox to you~~

For Immediate Release:

AuthorScoop Celebrates First Anniversary

Literary News Site Positions Itself as Premier Web Portal for Writers and Readers

Austin, Texas April 13, 2009 – Literary news site marks its first anniversary on the Web this week after a debut year that saw consistent growth in both traffic and national media attention.

The site’s daily departments—Morning LitLinks, Afternoon Viewing and Evening Reviews—deliver the latest publishing news and reviews with links and embedded video from all corners of the Web. AuthorScoop also delivers exclusive content, including essays on the craft of writing and interviews with both established and up-and-coming authors.

“AuthorScoop began as a labor of love,” says Editor-in-Chief William Haskins, a digital media writer/producer and poet. “Our initial mission was to compile links and items of interest for a small community of writers and readers. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how that community has expanded over the past year, and we’ve endeavored to expand our content to fit our growing readership.”

Managing Editor and novelist Jamie Mason adds: “It started off simply enough, poke around every day to find bits of literary and publishing interest and herd them into one place. But what’s evolved is a nifty chronicling of the springy nature of the printed word. Literary content and access is expanding and contracting in ways that warrant watching. We come across both the brilliant and the dismal on a daily basis; it reminds me of – life. Overall, that feels like good news to me.”

AuthorScoop continues to forge relationships with both writers and publishers that will enable it to bring its readers the latest literary news and views for years to come.

About AuthorScoop:

With exclusive columns and author interviews—along with constantly updated links to the latest literary news and reviews, videos related to the craft and business of writing, author quotes and poetry—AuthorScoop is a one-stop shop for information and inspiration for both writer and readers.

On the Web:

###-- William Haskins

Friday, July 3, 2009

On this Fourth...

have a wonderful Independence Day celebration!

Let freedom ring.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Have you seen the new TV commercials? They are fresh and funny, and I laugh every time I see one telling me how information overload is making me crazy. Bing is a "decision" engine, Microsoft says; not a search engine.

If you research online as often as I do [almost daily], then you might wanna give Bing a try. Now, Mr. Google is my loyal boyfriend, so I'm gonna be hard to win over, but like they say about married folks ogling others, "It doesn't hurt to look." :) Bing has a nice uncluttered format and a gorgeous new photograph featured daily. I enjoyed my quick tour and liked the way the link sketches would open up to view without having to actually go to the URLs listed.

Like I said, I'm a one man (or search engine) woman. USA Today has an interesting article on the merits of Google vs. Bing if you want to read more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday Writings - Janeology Author Interview, Haiku Winner & Book Giveaways

Before we get into the fantastic interview with Karen Harrington (known to many as the Scobberlotcher) about her book JANEOLOGY, I'll announce the Haiku Hoopla winners. Yep, it was too hard to pick just one again. Everybody who entered, pat yourself on the back for a fine job!

Irish Gumbo's haiku stuck to the true form with its seasonal element, and created a nice crisp picture:

Falling rain, breeze blows,
her soft breathing on my cheek,
heart swelling, love blooms

Stacy Post's uses the theme of summer heat. It made me smile since we're all by necessity "air-conditioned" here in the Gulf area:

Lilies in sunshine
barely sway in the hot wind,
I'm air-conditioned.

Congrats, you two. Please send me your address so I can get your fantabulous prizes in the mail. :)

Interview with author Karen Harrington:

According to publisher Kunati, JANEOLOGY is "a legal thriller ripped from the headlines." You can read more about this fascinating book and watch the trailer at Kunati's site.

Karen Harrington is a Texas native whose writing has received honors from the Hemingway Short Story Festival, the Texas Film Institute Screenplay Contest and the Writers’ Digest National Script Contest. She authored and published There’s a Dog in the Doorway, a children’s book created expressly for the Dr. Laura Schlessinger Foundation’s “My Stuff Bags.” My Stuff bags go to children in need who must leave their home due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. She lives in Plano, Texas, with her husband and two children.

GW: I was hooked in the prologue, and that's rare.

KH: Thank you! I love hearing that.

GW: Loved the opening MC male voice and it was totally convincing. There were no feminine word choices or traces to be found. I thought, now this is a woman who has spent a great deal of time in the company of strong men.

KH: Thanks for saying that! For some reason unknown to me, most of my protagonists are male and I’m most comfortable writing in that voice. I did, however, have a terrific editor at Kunati who did work with me on polishing the estrogen out of certain sentences.

GW: I thought JANEOLOGY gave a fascinating mix of belief systems for readers to ponder -- paranormal to faith-based. You pulled it off and created a happy marriage of two seemingly opposite ideologies. This made me wonder, like physical strands of DNA, can two belief systems reside happily in a person. And if so, are those elements subject to the same nurture/nature forces within a person?

KH: I do think the mind can hold two seemingly opposite beliefs at once. Though I have not personally had an experience with a clairvoyant, nor do I believe there are true psychics behind every sign that advertises one, I do believe that the Bible is/was filled with prophecy. So it wasn’t a stretch for me to conceive that there might still be people in modern times who are still possessed with those same gifts. As a Christian, I felt the need to be careful about how I drew the character of Mariah, the clairvoyant in Janeology, which is why she is so entrenched in knowing the passages in Exodus about the sins of the fathers visiting future generations.

All that said, the character and talents of Mariah was really a literary device to allow the reader to travel into the past.

GW: Why do you write?

KH: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing or drawing. Now that I’ve been doing it so long, I get in a funk if days go by and I haven’t written something so I suppose that is one reason I write. But like most creative people, I most enjoy creating a new story, seeing where it will go and what will happen.

GW: How did your plot and characters develop? (Organically, or did you do an outline first?)

KH: The process for JANEOLOGY was unlike any other piece I’ve worked on because it was two separate story ideas that just decided overnight (without consulting me) to get together and become one. I was writing one story about a man who is afraid of his wife after she has a mental breakdown, comes home and finds a cryptic scary message written out with Scrabble letters and knows she’s been in the house. This story was the result of a Stephen King website prompt that suggested thinking up a common conflict and then flip-flopping the genders or races. I thought about a man stalking his ex, then I switched sexes. At the same time, I had another idea brewing about writing about a character from the perspective of her genealogy. I had loosely plotted out both story ideas. The genealogy story plan was easy because I used the pedigree chart for my own family to sketch out dates, times and locations for fictional characters.

GW: What's your writing routine like?

KH: My routine is only a routine in that it’s dictated by when my girls are at home. If they are out of school, I write at night. But when they are in school, I write from about ten in the morning until two.

GW: Have you sought agent representation?

KH: Yes, but I don’t yet have an agent and would really love to gain representation soon. (If you are an agent reading this, well, my you are very good-looking!) We’ll see if that helps. Seriously, my goal is to get an agent and I’m working hard right now to do research, query and contact agents. I once worked as an intern for a Dallas literary agent and I know how hard they work and how dedicated they are to helping get good books out there. I have a lot of respect for them and realize that getting one is a bit like conception – everything has to line up just right and it won’t work if one or both parties just aren’t in the mood.

GW: What's next for you in the writing arena?

KH: I’m in that writer’s vortex where I’m still promoting JANEOLOGY, trying to sell the next book, PRODIGAL SON, and writing a new book that features Jane’s daughter, Sarah, as she comes of age one summer. It’s a weird place to be in because your creative energies are so divided between being in that pitching/marketing mode and the storytelling mode. Sometimes I forget which story I’m supposed to be talking about. That’s a good problem though!

Since I always like to participate in National Novel Writing Month each November (which I highly recommend to all writers) I hope to sketch out an outline for a new novel that I can work on. I have an idea about writing how an adulterous affair impacts a marriage and alternate the chapters between the entire love triangle.

GW: Any regrets with JANEOLOGY?

KH: No way! I’m still thrilled to have an ISBN. Of course, there are flaws in the book that I will probably continue to edit in my head for the rest of my life, but I am still so excited that I even have a book.

GW: Tell us something juicy or strange I didn't ask about in connection with being an author, the book, your publisher or whatever.

KH: One of the more interesting things that has happened since the book came out is that I receive emails from strangers who demand to know the full resolution of the book. And I mean DEMAND! It’s funny because this is something I would never have expected, but I completely understand. After all, I’m a reader, too, and I often have questions about what I read. But I’ve always subscribed to the belief that the writer does half the job of storytelling and the reader does the other half so I like the effect an ambiguous conclusion can have on the reader. Life is untidy and I like fiction that doesn’t wrap everything up in a neat box.

**Thanks, Karen! Readers, if you're looking for a different and fascinating summer book, check out JANEOLOGY. You won't regret it.
I stumbled into a real interesting blog the other night by a writer lady named K. If you wanna take a chance on winning another interesting sounding book, hop on over and leave her a comment here.

Patricia Neely-Dorsey has asked me to announce her book of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia -- A Life in Poems. You can learn more about Patricia and her work at her website.

Last, but certainly anything but least, Amy Sue Nathan is also hosting a book giveaway at her new blog Suburban Kvetch. Go say hey and register to win!

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