31 August 2007

We're No. 3!

This is quite exciting - I've never been on a bestseller list before!

IN THE GLOAMING is no. 3 on the pre-order list in Canada. For the moment anyway, but we are up from no. 21 a couple days ago. How cool is that?

Shameless plug: Order now on Amazon.com and get the sale price! :)


30 August 2007

Thirteen Books I've Read (or Re-Read) This Year

A friend pointed me to this interesting article and AP Poll about the "amazing disappearing book" in America.

So what books have YOU read this year? I'm not talking about your TBR pile!

Here are a few of what I've read:

1. Red Haired Girl From The Bog by Patricia Monaghan

2. Crossing to Avalon by Jean Shinoda Bolen

3. Celtic Tree Mysteries by Stephen Blamires

4. Katie by Dominique Adair

5. Prayers to the Goddess by Galen Gillotte

6. Celtic Religions, a Project Gutenberg book

7. With Nine You Get Vanyr by Jean Marie Ward and Terri Smith

8. Scottish Girls About Town anthology

9. eBook novellas by Gia Dawn, Sela Carsen, J.C. Wilder, Isabo Kelly and Bronwyn Green

10. Celtic Inspirations by Lyn Webster Wilde

11. Firelord by Parke Godwin (re-read)

12. Mists of Avalon by M.Z. Bradley (re-read)

13. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein

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27 August 2007

Geeky Monday

Total lunar eclipse tomorrow morning (or depending on where you live, tonight)! Catch the live webcast. :)

25 August 2007

Today's Blog Entry...

Is over here. I'm continuing my series on Celtic Ogham divination. Enjoy!

Oh, and happy birthday to one extraordinary gentleman!

24 August 2007

Dragons and Fairy Quizzes - Oh My!

Both green! What a surprise! ;D

A GREEN Dragon Lies Beneath!

My inner dragon color is GREEN. Click here to try the Quiz!

My inner dragon is the embodiment of Nature and the Earth. I'm also the Earth Elemental dragon; the defender of all living things. You've heard of forest spirits? Well, I'm as big and tough as they get. Click the image to try the Inner Dragon Online Quiz for yourself.

Earth Fairy

23 August 2007

Thirteen Potentially Dangerous Herbs

Herbal remedies are all the rage, judging from the overwhelming number of choices available from even your local Wally World. I'm all for trying alternative remedies, but before you start loading up your shopping cart, take note of the herbs on this list. Just because it's labeled "herbal" doesn't mean it's safe.

1. Black Cohosh – That's right, the one many women use to ease PMS and menopausal symptoms. It's easy to overdose, making you dizzy and nauseous. And if you're pregnant? Stay away from it.

2. Buttercup – This innocent-looking yellow flower should be administered only by a professional. The sap of the fresh plant can cause blisters and sores on bare skin.

3. Foxglove – The medicine made from this plant is used to treat heart attacks. But if a healthy person ingests it, foxglove can cause one.

4. Goat's Rue – Once considered useful for nursing mothers and diabetics, it is now known to cause poisoning and death in farm animals and possibly humans.

5. Hedge Garlic – Most often used to treat rheumatism and asthma, it's not overly poisonous but can cause skin irritation.

6. Hedge Hyssop – Used to help smokers quit, in extremely small doses. It is very easy to overdose and become ill.

7. Holly – The berries of this sacred plant can kill small children. Only a very few varieties are relatively safe to handle, but you need to consult an expert before attempting it.

8. Jimson Weed – This ubiquitous weed has narcotic properties and should only be taken in extremely small doses in a respiratory emergency. Don't try this without the strict guidance of a professional.

9. Lily of the Valley – Like many herbs used to treat heart ailments, what makes this plant useful also makes it very dangerous. As with digitalis, it can harm a healthy heart. Unless you're under strict supervision by a medical professional, leave this herb alone.

10. Mistletoe – Like holly, the berries of this sacred plant can kill small children. It should never be taken internally.

11. Mulberry – The unripe berries are said to cause hallucinations.

12. Ragwort – Considered a protective amulet against spells and charms, it contains alkaloids that can poison livestock.

13. Yew – Yet another sacred plant, all parts are considered poisonous except the fleshy seed covering. But why risk it?

Source: Llewellyn's 2002 Herbal Almanac


21 August 2007

Time Wastin' Tuesday...

Check out what I've been putting together over on Wordpress...


20 August 2007

Scotophile Monday

Welcome back to Scotophile Monday!

A Sheep Called Skye
The National Theatre of Scotland has created a wide range of theatrical productions, many of them very much for adult audiences. But the highly acclaimed arts organisation also puts on performances for children - and "A Sheep Called Skye" is one of them. Skye may be a sheep, but she was brought up in a Bed and Breakfast rather than a farm. So she longs to find a place where a sheep belongs, rather than feeling, well, sheepish. Read more

Dundee Dolphins
The City of Discovery has a new claim to fame - dolphins swimming in the Tay estuary. More often associated with the Moray Firth, further north, dolphins were spotted in the mouth of the Tay a few years ago. Now there are so many to be seen that Dundee City Council's countryside ranger service, in conjunction with the Marine Volunteer Service, is offering early-morning boat trips for those keen to spot the creatures. Read more

Another Neolithic Settlement Discovered
The 5,000-year-old neolithic settlement at Skara Brae (see graphic) in Orkney is already a World Heritage site. But archaeologists have been working on another site on Orkney for the last three years, which they say could be equally important, now that they have been able to unearth more of the site. The dig at Ness of Brodgar has provided evidence of domestic structures and also those used for ritual and ceremonial purposes. Read more

The Real MacBeth
In recent years there have been a number of efforts to counter the portrayal of the Scottish King Macbeth as an evil murderer. It was Englishman William Shakespeare who wrote the play about Macbeth that did all the damage - and Shakespeare was trying to curry favour with King James VI of Scotland, who in 1603 had inherited the throne of England as well. This week, BBC Radio 4 explored the myths surrounding the 11th century Gaelic-speaking king. Read more

Scottish Castle of the Week
Mains Castle, Dundee

The "Lonely Hearts" column in the Edinburgh Evening News recently carried an advert which read: "Princess, having had sufficient experience with men who think they should be treated as Princes, seeks frog."

This Week in Scottish History
August 19 1561 - Mary Queen of Scots lands at Leith on her return from France, after the death of her husband, King Francis II
August 19 1745 - Charles Edward Stuart, raises his standard at Glenfinnan, at the start of the '45 uprising.
August 19 1932 - Scottish aviator Jim Mollinson landed after the first East/West solo flight of the Atlantic from Portmarnock, Ireland to Pennfield, New Brunswick.
August 20 1897 - Ronald Ross, the first Scot to win a Nobel prize (in 1902) dissected a mosquito and established the link with malaria.
August 21 1689 - Battle of Dunkeld when the newly formed Cameronians defended the town against 3,000 Highlanders.
August 21 1754 - Birth of William Murdoch who pioneered the use of coal-gas lighting in 1792 in partnership with James Watt and Mathew Boulton.
August 21 1937 - Birth of Donald Dewar, former Secretary of State for Scotland and First Minister in the new Scottish Parliament.
August 22 1138 - Battle of the Standard at Northallerton in which King David I was defeated by the English.
August 22 1282 - Devorgilla, Countess of Galloway founded Balliol College, Oxford. She was mother of John Balliol (who acceded to the Scottish throne in 1292).
August 22 1642 - King Charles I raised his standard at Nottingham, initiating a Civil War in England between the Royalists (also known as Cavaliers) and Parliament (Roundheads).
August 22 1960 - "Beyond the Fringe", an influential satirical revue, opened in Edinburgh.
August 23 1305 - William Wallace executed.
August 24 1482 - Berwick on Tweed finally ceded to England (Edward IV) after changing hands 12 times.
August 25 1819 - James Watt, developer of steam power, died.
August 25 1930 - Actor Sean Connery born.

Celtic Band of the Week
The Bards, coming to DragonCon this year.

Scottish Photos
12 Magnificent Views of Beautiful Scotland
Your Pictures of Scotland from BBC News Online

Scottish Blog of the Week
A directory, actually - a list of blogs created by residents of Scotland. Scottish Blogs

18 August 2007

I've been D.A.'d!

Jayne at DearAuthor.com read one of my books and liked it! Yay! Check it out...

17 August 2007

Happy Friday!

Because we're moving my daughter out into her own place today, I won't be online until tonight. So I leave you with... the fam!

The Boy

The Girl

My Man


16 August 2007

Thirteen Lines from Wildish Things

13 random lines from my upcoming novella, Wildish Things:

1. Satisfied that events would now unfold as they should, the Hag spread her bare arms and legs wide to the sun. And awaited her pleasure.

2. “Indeed. Kellan O’Neill at your service for the next t’ree weeks, miss. You can be callin' me Kel, if you like.”

3. Grow some balls, woman.

4. Patrick: “Which brother, Declan? Tell me it wasn’t Kel.”

5. Declan: “Okay, I’ll tell you it wasn’t Kel, if that’s what you want to hear.”

6. Patrick: "Shit."

7. Where had she been living that she’d willingly walk off with a stranger without demanding so much as an ID card? In a cave?

8. “She has no clothes,” murmured Fionna.

9. "If the only reason you’re carrying on with this is to pull something over on Declan, back out now."

10. She wondered if she might be able to quietly enjoy an orgasm without him noticing.

11. “Take a breath.”

12. “You feckin’ owe me for this one.”

13. "And that makes her a little wild. Unpredictable, because no one knows what will displease her."

14. Long have I waited for such a man to lie on my belly.

Wildish Things, Nov. 1 (eBook and the trade paperback anthology Love & Lore) from Samhain Publishing Ltd.

See more Thursday Thirteens!

14 August 2007

13 August 2007

Scotophile Monday

Snippets of Scottish news, oddities, history, and nonsense from 'round the Web. Enjoy! (Please ignore the Read More link at the very bottom - it doesn't work and I don't know how to fix it.) :/

Health Benefits of Porridge
Our ancestors ate porridge because oats grew well in the land and climate we have in Scotland - and there wasn't much else around. These days, more and more people are eating porridge, believing that it has nutritional and health-giving properties. Now the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has endorsed that humble bowl of porridge. Read More

Monarch of the Glen
With some plots available for as little as £30, thousands of people are going online for the chance to snap up their own little pieces of Scotland - and with it the right to call themselves lords, lairds and ladies. Read more

400-Year-Old Scots Ready to Reveal Their Battle Secrets
A MASS grave of soldiers, including Scots, slaughtered during Europe's bloody Thirty Years War is yielding up valuable information on how they had lived. Read more

Gretna Retains "Wedding Capital" Title

Figures published by the Registrar General show that 15% of all weddings in Scotland last year were performed in the village of Gretna, just inside Scotland and a few miles from the English border. A total of 4,434 weddings were registered in the Dumfries and Galloway town over the 12-month period. Of all the ceremonies performed there, 86% did not involve a resident of Scotland - it's the romantic couples from around the world (and from England) who still flock to Gretna. Read More

36th World Flounder Tramping Competition
The small fishing village of Palnackie (in what was once Kirkcudbrightshire, but is now part of Dumfries and Galloway) is hosting one of the lesser known "world championships" this Saturday, as hundreds of competitors roll up their trousers and paddle through the mud of Urr Water estuary in an effort to catch a slippery flat flounder by standing on it. Read More

Rabbie's Hip Flask Auction
An 18th century hip flask, which once belonged to poet Robert Burns, is to be auctioned in Edinburgh later this month. No doubt it was well used when it was owned by Scotland's hard drinking national poet. Read More

2008 World Highland Games to be held in West Virginia
Bridgeport, West Virginia will be the site of the 2008 Scottish Heavy Athletics World Highland Games Championship. Read More

This Week in Scottish History
August 12 1922 - Popular character actor Fulton McKay was born in Paisley.
August 13 1826 - Explorer Alexander Gordon Laing became the first Christian to reach Timbuctu, Africa.
August 13 1888 - Birth of John Logie Baird, developer of television.
August 13 1957 - Scotland's first nuclear power station at Dounreay went "critical" ushering in the generation of power from atomic reactions.
August 14 1040 - King Duncan I killed in battle at Pitgavney by Macbeth.
August 14 1337 - King Robert III born at Scone.
August 14 1390 - King Robert III crowned at the Augustinian abbey of Scone.
August 14 1964 - University of Strathclyde was constituted in Glasgow, based on the Royal College of Science and Technology.
August 15 1057 - Macbeth killed in battle by Malcolm at Lumphanan.
August 15 1771 - Novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott born.
August 15 1840 - Foundation stone for the Monument to Sir Walter Scott laid in Princes Street Gardens.
August 16 1766 - Birth of Carolina Oliphant (Lady Nairne), poet and author of many Jacobite songs, including "Charlie is my Darling". Her songs are second only in popularity to Burns.
August 17 1472 - The see of St Andrews became an archbishopric by a bull of Pope Sixtius IV.
August 17 1822 - Visit of George IV to Edinburgh began, orchestrated by Sir Walter Scott.
August 17 1947 - First Edinburgh International Festival opened.
August 18 1966 - Tay Road Bridge opened.

Castle of the Week
Castle Stalker. Monty Python, anyone??

Scottish Blog of the Week
Flickr-Scotland. A photo blog of the best photos of Scotland gleaned from Flickr.com. There are a ton of a-mazing photos here!!

12 August 2007

Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseid meteor shower is tonight! Check to see if there's a local astronomy club that's "setting up shop" (i.e., their ultra cool telescopes) somewhere in your area. Most of the time they're more than happy to let you take a look up into the heavens.

With no moon, this year's shower promises to be a spectacular one. There could be as many as 60 meteor streaks in the sky per hour. Plus, Mars will be visible as a red dot in the northeastern sky.

So get out away from the city lights, spread out a blanket under the stars, and enjoy the show!

Viewers Guide

Please ignore the Read More link - it's broke and I don't know how to fix it.

11 August 2007

Excerpt on the BTV blog today!

Please join me over on the Beyond The Veil blog today for an excerpt from ABHAINN'S KISS, which is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. Enjoy!

10 August 2007

Pre-Order IN THE GLOAMING on Amazon!

My trade paperback anthology, IN THE GLOAMING, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com!

Order now and get the sale price!


07 August 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Related article.

"Beaudry's Ghost" - The book that refuses to die!

I'm pleased to announce that SamhainPublishing.com has contracted for my paranormal romance novel, BEAUDRY'S GHOST. Release date is Jan. 28, 2008, the day before my husband's birthday! EDIT: Just got word that the release date will change - either Jan. 4 or Feb. 1.

This award-winning book of my heart has been through two previous publishers that went belly-up before it got any kind of momentum going. In Samhain, though, I think this time we've found a winner!

Thanks a million to Samhain for giving Beaudry one more chance. :')

06 August 2007

Scotophile Monday

Whisky-Heated Hospital
Whisky distilleries use a lot of heat in their processes and normally that heat just gets lost in the atmosphere. But Pulteney Distillery in Wick in the far north of Scotland is already piping its waste heat to local homes and from October, Caithness General Hospital will be connected to the system - making it the first in the UK to become heated by a whisky distillery.The plant is already using an environmentally friendly biomass, wood-burning power source to provide the heat used in the distilling processes.

Campaign to Honor the "World's Worst Poet and Tragedian"
Scotland may have produced Robert Burns to delight the world with his poems and songs in his short but boisterous life, but we also managed to spawn a rhymester who vies for the dubious title of "World's Worst Poet". During his lifetime, William McGonagall (1830-1902) used to carry an umbrella to ward off the rotten tomatoes hurled at him. He was certain of his own genius, however, believing that he was second only to William Shakespeare. In recent years, however, he has attracted a growing band of admirers (who relish the sheer awfulness of his excruciating rhymes, metre and word choice). He often wrote about events of his day - and had to do a hasty rewrite of his eulogy on the railway bridge over the river Tay when it collapsed: Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay! Alas! I am very sorry to say That ninety lives have been taken away On the last Sabbath day of 1879 Which will be remember'd for a very long time. Despite a growing fan base for McGonagall, the literary establishment turns up their snobbish noses at him - and refuse to agree to a proposal to erect a memorial to him at Edinburgh's Writer's Museum alongside the recognised greats such as Burns, Stevenson and Scott. His supporters are undaunted and hold an annual "McGonagall night" when the courses are served back to front, starting with dessert and ending with the starter.

A Whiff of Change
The women's British Open golf championship was being played at the Old Course at St Andrews this week - the first time that the ladies have been allowed to compete on the hallowed ground and use the previously "men only" club house facilities. There were no doubt some old colonels who disapproved of the development - and they perhaps felt vindicated when it emerged that one of the lady players had changed her child's nappy (diaper) in the changing room. Janice Moodie, a Scot married to an American and based in Florida, admitted afterwards that it "was a particularly stinky one" but it was a choice between the club house and the car.... Although no record books were consulted, it is confidently being said that it is the first time such a task has been performed there in the 253-year history of the St Andrews club, which governs golf outside of the US and Mexico.

This Week in Scottish History
August 5 1388 - James, Earl Douglas, died out of sight of his army, in a bush, at Battle of Otterburn in which Scots defeat Henry Percy, (Hotspur) but with the loss of the Earl of Douglas.
August 5 1695 - The Scottish Parliament established a General Post Office.
August 6 1678 - First Glasgow/Edinburgh coach service began from White Horse Inn, Edinburgh.
August 6 1820 - Donald Alexander Smith - later Lord Strathcona - born in Forres. A pioneer of the Hudson Bay Company in the North-West, he later championed the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada and drove the last spike at Craigellachie, British Columbia.
August 6 1881 - Birth of Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin.
August 8 1946 - Former World flyweight boxing champion Benny Lynch died.
August 8 1296 - King Edward I removed to England the Stone of Destiny on which generations of Scottish kings had been crowned.
August 8 1503 - King James IV married Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England. The marriage was known as the Union of the Thistle and the Rose.
August 9 1757 - Civil engineer Thomas Telford born in Dumfries.
August 9 1935 - Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire opened after David McIntyre set up Scottish Aviation Ltd. Aircraft had been flying from the area since 1913.
August 10 1460 - King James III crowned at Kelso Abbey.
August 10 1872 - Education (Scotland) Act passed, providing elementary education for all children.
August 10 1935 - Perth Museum and Art Gallery opened by the Duke and Duchess of York.

Source for all of the above: Rampant Scotland.com

Rare Bird Victim Of Night Attacks
Experts studying the decline of a seabird have observed it being hunted at night by another rare bird. The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has been recording "alarming" falls in Leach's storm petrels on St Kilda. Researchers from Glasgow University have now calculated great skua, or bonxie, may be eating up to 14,000 of the smaller bird every year. The hunting has been witnessed with the use of night vision equipment. The research will run until 2009. NTS said the Leach's storm petrel colony on St Kilda, which it owns, is the largest in Europe and numbers about 40,000 pairs. Bonxie are regarded as the chief suspect in its decline. BBC-Scotland

Wet Weather = Slow Beer Sales
Scottish & Newcastle will reveal the "good, the bad and ugly" in its half-year figures this week which are likely to show that the wet British summer has led to a 5% fall in beer sales. Scotsman Online

Scottish Blog of the Week
Gaelic Blog

Videos of the Week
Edinburgh Military Tattoo Opening Night
Whale Trapped in Harbor

04 August 2007

Poesy Sunday

As a descendant of Clan MacPherson, I was pleased to run across this poem by Lachlan Macvurich which chronicles the fate of Ewan of Cluny, chief of the MacPhersons of Cluny after the Battle of Culloden. "The Macphersons played an active role at the beginning of the rebellion. They were engaged in operation in Atholl, before the Battle of Culloden and Charles was urged to wait for Cluny before engaging the enemy. He did not, so the men of Macpherson took no part in the famous defeat at Culloden. Ewan went into hiding but he was never captured in the nine years he spent in hiding. In 1755 he fled to France, amidst the tears and regrets of a clan that loved him with the fondest devotion." (Rampant Scotland.com)

The Exile of Cluny

Oh, many a true Highlander, many a liegeman,
Is blank on the roll of the brave in our land;
And bare as its heath is the dark mountain region,
Of its own and its prince's defenders unmann'd.
The hound's death abhorr'd, some have died by the cord,
And the axe with the best of our blood is defiled,
And e'en to the visions of hope unrestored,
Some have gone from among us, for ever exiled.

He is gone from among us, our chieftain of Cluny;
At the back of the steel, a more valiant ne'er stood;
Our father, our champion, bemoan we, bemoan we!
In battle, the brilliant; in friendship, the good.
When the sea shut him from us, then the cross of our trial
Was hung on the mast and was swung in the wind:
"Woe the worth we have sepulchred!" now is the cry all;
"Save the shade of a memory, is nothing behind."

What symbols may match our brave chief's animation?
When his wrath was awake, 'twas a furnace in glow;
As a surge on the rock struck his bold indignation,
As the breach to the wall was his arm to the foe.
So the tempest comes down, when it lends in its fury
To the frown of its darkness the rattling of hail;
So rushes the land-flood in turmoil and hurry,
So bickers the hill-flame when fed by the gale.

Yet gentle as Peace was the flower of his race,
Rare was shade on his face, as dismay in his heart;
The brawl and the scuffle he deem'd a disgrace,
But the hand to the brand was as ready to start.
Who could grapple with him in firmness of limb
And sureness of sinew? and — for the stout blow —
'Twas the scythe to the swathe in the meadows of death,
Where numbers were levell'd as fast and as low.

Ever loyal to reason, we've seen him appeasing
With a wave of one hand the confusion of strife;
With the other unsheathing his sword, and, unbreathing,
Following on for the right in the havoc of life.
To the wants of the helpless, the wail of the weak,
His hand aye was open, his arm was aye strong;
And under yon sun, not a tongue can bespeak
His word or his deed that was blemish'd with wrong.

Meaning of unusual words:
swathe = wreath of mist
aye = always

Today's Blog Entry...

Is over here. It's a Creature Feature about the Glaistig, a creature from Scottish folklore. Enjoy!

02 August 2007

Thirteen Reasons My Parents Are Cool

Sorry I'm late with this! My parents and sister were visiting this week. They like to hit as many cool restaurants as they can for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so who am I to refuse a chance NOT to have to cook? [grin]

They say that when you're little, you think your parents are cool and they know everything. Then by the time you reach age 21 or so, you parents are dorks and haven't got a clue. But when you hit your 40s? Gosh, Mom and Dad weren't so dumb after all - in fact they're darn near geniuses.

So, since I've just waved goodbye to them this morning as they head back to God's Country (aka North Carolina), I present to you 13 reasons why my parents rock.

1. They got married young (17 for my Mom, 22 for my Dad), never got a formal college degree, but somehow managed to raise and college-educate two daughters.

2. Both are avid learners and natural teachers. Mom can teach a tree stump how to sew (okay, so that means I must be dumber than a stump, right Mom?) and Dad taught himself enough about computers so that when NCR made the switch from mechanical to electronic machines, he was ready.

3. When I developed rheumatoid arthritis at age 5, they broke their necks seeking out the best possible medical care for me, even if that meant driving hours one way to get to a specialist.

4. Despite my illness, they never told me I couldn't achieve anything I set my mind to. (It must have been tough on them to see me suffer through marching band, but they let me do it because it meant so much to me.)

5. When I've had major surgeries, Mom left her beloved, sunny home in NC to spend 2 months at a time in cloudy, gloomy Cleveland to take care of me and my family.

6. If you show anything made of fabric to my Mom, she can or will learn how to sew it. Beautifully.

7. Like me, Dad is one of those people who sometimes hopscotch from one hobby to another, leaving a trail of unfinished projects in his wake. But the wall clock that was one of the projects he finished during his "clock era" is one of my most precious treasures. Though half the time I forget to wind it. (Sorry, Dad!)

8. Mom, I finally understand the value of keeping a (relatively) clean home, extra sets of clean sheets and pillows in the closets, and a fresh pitcher of sweet tea in the icebox. It keeps you ready to welcome visitors at all times.

9. They taught me the value of treating anyone and everyone I meet with respect - you never know how even a chance, one-time encounter might affect someone's life.

10. Now that I'm a Mom, I understand where those worry lines and grey hairs come from. And why each one is beautiful.

11. Watching my Dad now, I understand where my will to keep chugging along comes from, even when our health isn't all that good.

12. Watching my Mom care for Dad now, I understand what true love is.

13. I hope I become half the human beings they are.


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