February newsletter updated with tons of new events!

Yup, it always happens. I click “send” on the newsletter and shortly thereafter find out about a long list of upcoming events. Here’s a quick roundup:

FEBRUARY 2013

NEW-NEW: 2 (Saturday) 5 to 7 pm — Chapel Hill Comics hosts Jared Axelrod, author of the Tor graphic novel The Battle of Blood & Ink: A Fable of the Flying City. More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/418137048267731/

NEW-NEW: 11 (Monday) 5 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts PETER LERANGIS – Children’s Fantasy With The Colossus Rises.

NEW-NEW: 11 (Monday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Breathless Reads YA Tour: Meet Five Up and Coming Young Adult Authors – Fiona Paul (Venom), Beth Revis (Shades of Earth), Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms), Elizabeth Richards (Black City), and Jess Spotswood (Born Wicked).

NEW-NEW: 12 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Peter Lerangis, The Seven Wonders Book One: The Colossus Rises.

NEW-NEW: 16 (Saturday) 9 pm til late — Davenport and Winkleperry hosts The Clockwork Ball: A Steampunk Party. “Attention Pilots of Airships and their Crews, Mad Scientists, Explorers of the Unknown, Admirers of Verbosity, Respecters of the Strange, Those Lost in the Throes of Opium or Absinthe, Teetotalers, Scallywags, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dandies, Fops, and Urchins… Our next event will be on Saturday February 16th, 2013 and… will feature a live performance by the outstanding FABLE CRY.  Hosted by that darling duo, Emmett Davenport & Lady Nikolai Attercop. They will be spinning Jazz, Blues, Swing, Dark Cabaret, Gypsy Punk, & Dance music from times gone by or times that never were. Doors at 8pm; Music begins at 9pm. Admission: 18+, 21+ to Drink; $5. Appropriate Attire is Encouraged, but never required.” More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/434531459951000/

NEW-NEW: 26 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Ariel Djanikian reads from her science fiction novel The Office of Mercy. Author Djanikian now calls Chapel Hill home, so let’s get out to welcome this new local author!

MARCH 2013

NEW-NEW: 2 (Saturday) 2 pm — David Drake will be at Circle City Books in Pittsboro — the bookstore was recently written up in the LA Times for its fantastic mural of a bookshelf (which features one of Drake’ss books, “With the Lightnings”: http://www.latimes.com/features/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-now-thats-a-wall-of-books-20130123,0,3947937.sto

NEW-NEW: 9 (Saturday) 3 to 4 pm — The Regulator Bookshop hosts: “Two NC authors share their visions of the strange with us on Saturday, March 9, at 3 p.m. Nathan Kotecki brings us The Suburban Strange. Celia discovers girls at Suburban High are having near fatal accidents on the eve of their 16th birthdays. Can 15-year-old Celia solve the mystery before her own next birthday? For ages 14+. PT McHugh presents Keeper of the Black Stones: Stone Ends, the first book in a new series. It’s a thrilling combination of fantasy and historical fiction with a likable, funny hero in Jason Evans. For ages 12+.” More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/301390523317829/

NEW-NEW: 19 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts A. J. HARTLEY – With Children’s Fantasy Darwen Arkwright & The Insidious Bleck.

MAY 2013

NEW-NEW: 4 (Saturday) — Free Comic Book Day, including events and of course free comics at all participating shops. Ultimate Comics will be hosting a very large party/gathering/thing in and around their store, including two free Jeremy Whitley comic books, one a split issue featuring Princeless and Jamal Igle’s new title “Molly Danger” and the other an NFL RushZone book. Stay tuned for lineups and plans from other local stores!


February newsletter: James Maxey, Kim Harrison, Cory Doctorow, and Brandon Sanderson! More!

Vol 3. No 2. January 28, 2013:

Welcome a bit early to the February newsletter! I’m sneaking this one in ahead of the end of the month to make sure everybody gets a chance to hear about the Witchbreaker book launch party tomorrow (Tuesday, January 29!) as Hillsborough’s Purple Crow Books hosts James Maxey for the third book in his Dragon Apocalypse trilogy. More info below in the events, but if you miss it, you’re also missing Cheryl’s dragon cookies! (As well as, hopefully, the chance to hear James reading as a very confused and very male dwarf who thinks he is a princess, increasingly shrill falsetto and all. Well, one can hope…)

I saw many familiar faces at illogiCon, and either met or finally got to have a conversation with a few I’d only barely met before. I thought it was a great second year for the convention, certainly more active and vibrant and I very much enjoyed myself, from the opening ceremonies with author guest of honor Tim Powers and toastmaster Mark Van Name, through panels, readings, and getting to interview Powers, more panels, more readings… Next year’s author guests of honor, Mary Robinette Kowal and Lawrence M. Shoen, were announced, and memberships for 2014 are already available.

In almost random news, I wanted to pass along that “City of Shadow and Glass” by Erin Hoffman, originally published in Bull Spec #4, is the latest episode of Tina Connolly’s Parsec Award-winning Toasted Cake podcast! Also, ConTemporal is seeking volunteers on Saturday March 23rd at 6:15 P.M. for a promotional event with UNC TV’s pledge drive. For more information or to sign up please visit their Volunteer Information and Sign Up Form. Now, to the events, which include Maxey’s book launch, bestselling authors Kim Harrison, Cory Doctorow, Brandon Sanderson, and more — and that’s before we even get out of February. See you out and about,

-Sam

Updates 2013-01-29: As usual a big list of “NEW-NEW” events came in as soon as I clicked “send”. Look again, maybe you missed something of interest!

JANUARY 2013

NEW: 29 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Hillsborough’s Purple Crow Books hosts a book launch party for Witchbreaker by James Maxey, book 3 in his Dragon Apocalypse series after Greatshadow and Hush. Reading and signing and of course Cheryl’s dragon cookies! More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/121899164647826/

FEBRUARY 2013

2 (Saturday) 3 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts NY Times bestselling urban fantasy author and NC native Kim Harrison for Ever After, the latest in her Hollows series.

NEW-NEW: 2 (Saturday) 5 to 7 pm — Chapel Hill Comics hosts Jared Axelrod, author of the Tor graphic novel The Battle of Blood & Ink: A Fable of the Flying City. More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/418137048267731/

NEW-NEW: 11 (Monday) 5 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts PETER LERANGIS – Children’s Fantasy With The Colossus Rises.

NEW-NEW: 11 (Monday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Breathless Reads YA Tour: Meet Five Up and Coming Young Adult Authors – Fiona Paul (Venom), Beth Revis (Shades of Earth), Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms), Elizabeth Richards (Black City), and Jess Spotswood (Born Wicked).

NEW-NEW: 12 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Peter Lerangis, The Seven Wonders Book One: The Colossus Rises.

16 (Saturday) 2 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Cory Doctorow for Homeland, sequel to Little Brother. More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/530598563635194/

NEW-NEW: 16 (Saturday) 9 pm til late — Davenport and Winkleperry hosts The Clockwork Ball: A Steampunk Party. “Attention Pilots of Airships and their Crews, Mad Scientists, Explorers of the Unknown, Admirers of Verbosity, Respecters of the Strange, Those Lost in the Throes of Opium or Absinthe, Teetotalers, Scallywags, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dandies, Fops, and Urchins… Our next event will be on Saturday February 16th, 2013 and… will feature a live performance by the outstanding FABLE CRY.  Hosted by that darling duo, Emmett Davenport & Lady Nikolai Attercop. They will be spinning Jazz, Blues, Swing, Dark Cabaret, Gypsy Punk, & Dance music from times gone by or times that never were. Doors at 8pm; Music begins at 9pm. Admission: 18+, 21+ to Drink; $5. Appropriate Attire is Encouraged, but never required.” More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/434531459951000/

20 (Wednesday) 7:30 pm – Quail Ridge Books again hosts best-selling author Brandon Sanderson, this time for the conclusion of The Wheel of Time series, A Memory of Light. In addition, special guest Harriet McDougal will be joining Sanderson for the event. More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/393451974063637/

22-24 (Friday-Sunday) — Durham’s Carolina Theatre hosts the Nevermore Film Festival. More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/440070299375523/

22-24 (Friday-Sunday) — MystiCon in Roanoke, Virginia, with Orson Scott Card, Larry Elmore, Rich Sigfit, and more. More info: http://mysticon-va.com/

NEW: 23 (Saturday) 3 pm and 7 pm — Hillsborouth author John Claude Bemis is a participant on the Murphey School Radio Show at the Shared Visions Retreat Center at the Historic Murphey School in Durham, NC. “Spend a couple of hours laughing and singing along as we raise the roof of the historic Murphey School auditorium, a 1936 WPA project that has been lovingly restored by the Shared Visions Foundation as a nonprofit retreat and community center. This event will be recorded live!  PLEASE ARRIVE 1/2 HOUR BEFORE SHOWTIME!!!   For the 3:00pm show, doors will open at 2:15pm with the pre-show warm-up beginning at 2:30pm. Due to live recording, anyone arriving after 3:00pm will be admitted during intermission. For the 7:00pm show, doors will open at 6:15pm with the pre-show warm-up beginning at 6:30pm. Due to live recording, anyone arriving after 7:00pm will be admitted during intermission.” This is a ticketed event with a sliding for-charity scale: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/302008

NEW-NEW: 26 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Flyleaf Books hosts Ariel Djanikian reads from her science fiction novel The Office of Mercy. Author Djanikian now calls Chapel Hill home, so let’s get out to welcome this new local author!

MARCH 2013

1-3 (Friday to Sunday) — StellarCon37 at the Greensboro – High Point Airport Marriott  with author Eric Flint, artist Richard Case, and game designer Steve Segedy. More info: http://stellarcon.com/

NEW-NEW: 2 (Saturday) 2 pm — David Drake will be at Circle City Books in Pittsboro to sign the new paperback edition of The Road of Danger and read from the forthcoming The Heretic – the bookstore was recently written up in the LA Times for its fantastic mural of a bookshelf (which features one of Drake’s books, “With the Lightnings”: http://www.latimes.com/features/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-now-thats-a-wall-of-books-20130123,0,3947937.sto

NEW-NEW: 9 (Saturday) 3 to 4 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts: “Two NC authors share their visions of the strange with us on Saturday, March 9, at 3 p.m. Nathan Kotecki brings us The Suburban Strange. Celia discovers girls at Suburban High are having near fatal accidents on the eve of their 16th birthdays. Can 15-year-old Celia solve the mystery before her own next birthday? For ages 14+. PT McHugh presents Keeper of the Black Stones: Stone Ends, the first book in a new series. It’s a thrilling combination of fantasy and historical fiction with a likable, funny hero in Jason Evans. For ages 12+.” More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/301390523317829/

NEW-NEW: 19 (Tuesday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts A. J. HARTLEY – With Children’s Fantasy Darwen Arkwright & The Insidious Bleck.

NEW-NEW: 22 (Friday) 7 pm — B&N of Cary hosts Hugo Award winning Pittsboro graphic novelist Ursula Vernon for book #8 in her Danny Dragonbreath series of graphic novels for young readers, “Nightmare of the Iguana”. More info: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/4231658

NEW-NEW: 28 (Thursday) 7 pm — B&N of Cary hosts Jeaniene Frost for Twice Tempted. More info: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/79120

TBD: We’re putting something together for the Bull Spec #8 launch party / slash / NC Speculative Fiction night. Stay tuned!

APRIL 2013

5-21 — NC Science Festival with events statewide. More info: http://www.ncsciencefestival.org/

NEW-NEW: 9 (Tuesday) 7 pm — B&N of Cary hosts Tony Daniel and David Drake for The Heretic. More info: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/78969

NEW: 13-14 (Saturday-Sunday) — Durham Arts Council’s Spring Art Walk. More info: http://durhamartwalk.com/

19-21 (Fri-Sun) — DeepSouthCon at JordanCon in Roswell, Georgia with guests Seanan McGuire, Eugie Foster, and Michael Whelan, along with the Phoenix and Rebel Awards.

23 (Tuesday) — World Book Night worldwide. For more info on how to get involved as a book-giver: http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/how-do-i-get-involved/apply-giver-us

24-25 (Wed-Thu) — East Coast Game Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center. More info: http://www.ecgconf.com/

MAY 2013

NEW-NEW: 4 (Saturday) — Free Comic Book Day, including events and of course free comics at all participating shops. Ultimate Comics will be hosting a very large party/gathering/thing in and around their store, including two free Jeremy Whitley comic books, one a split issue featuring Princeless and Jamal Igle’s new title “Molly Danger” and the other an NFL RushZone book. Stay tuned for lineups and plans from other local stores!

JUNE 2013

May 31 – June 2 (Friday to Sunday) — ConCarolinas in Charlotte, with writer guest of honor Timothy Zahn. More info: http://www.concarolinas.org/

27-30 (Thursday to Sunday) — ConTemporal 2013 at the North Raleigh Hilton, beginning with the Thursday evening guest of honor dinner and continuing all weekend, as this Steampunk-themed convention is back for a second year. Guest of honor Ursula Vernon, along with Lee Martindale, Tom Smith, toastmaster Sal Sanfratello, and more. More info: http://contemporal.org/

AUGUST 2013

NEW: 3 (Saturday) 7 to 9 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts the annual Bull Spec summer speculative fiction event. This year it is an absolutely fantastic lineup with Karen Lord, Nathan Ballingrud, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, and Will Hindmarch!

OCTOBER 2013

NEW: 4-6 (Friday to Sunday) — Second Escapist Expo. More info: http://www.escapistexpo.com/

NOVEMBER 2013

9-10 (Saturday and Sunday) — NC Comicon will be returning to the Durham Convention Center. “Twice the space, four times the fun. It’s exponential.”

JANUARY 2014

NEW: 10-12 (Friday to Sunday) — illogiCon iii: The Search for Schrödington’s Gold at the Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle, with author guests of honor Mary Robinette Kowal and Lawrence M. Shoen. More info: http://www.illogicon.com/


WUNC’s The State of Things to air interview with Samuel R. Delany

Today (Thursday Jan 24) in the noon hour Eastern Time, WUNC’s The State of Things will have author Samuel R. Delany on in a taped phone interview segment. It will broadcast over the airwaves state-wide at noon, with a re-broadcast at 9 pm. Additionally, at both broadcast times, Internet listening is available through both MP3 streaming and Windows Media streaming, and later today the segment should be available on the show’s podcast, to which you can subscribe or check for episode listings both for iTunes and an RSS feed. The overall show topic is “white life” novels by African American Authors, and among other things, host Frank Stasio talks with Delany about his latest novel, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders.

Samuel R. Delany in Kyle Cassidy’s “Where I Write” project.

Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders


The Hardest Part: Gail Z. Martin on Ice Forged

After six books across two publishers in the world of her Chronicles of the Necromancer series, Charlotte author Gail Z. Martin‘s new book, Ice Forged (Orbit, January 2013) remains firmly in epic fantasy territory but otherwise starts an entirely new world. While earlier this week The Exploding Spaceship reviewed the book, here Martin writes that yes, indeed, while starting from scratch can be a refreshing change of pace, it was also the hardest part of creating her newest book.

Ice Forged

By Gail Z. Martin:

For me, the hardest part of writing Ice Forged was getting the world clear in my own mind after spending so long in my Chronicles of the Necromancer/Fallen Kingdoms universe.  Ice Forged is a completely different series with all-new characters and an all-new world.  I had to step out of my comfort zone, built over several years, and re-imagine how magic works in this new place, what the political issues are, and how the characters fit into all this.

It’s a lot like moving into a new city—you’ve got to get the lay of the land straight in your head, figure out the best grocery stores, find the gas station, etc. Once you’ve lived there awhile, you navigate by landmarks and you know the regulars.  You create a “history” with people and places that make you feel at home.  Before a reader can move into a fictional “neighborhood”  and make it home, the author has to create that neighborhood—or world—and it has to become real to the author.  In my experience, it takes a bit of knocking around in that world to feel like a native, but once you’ve reached that point, you want to show visitors all around this great new place and convince them to vacation there.

—-

Gail Z. Martin’s newest book, Ice Forged: Book One in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), launched in January 2013.  Gail is also the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series (Solaris Books) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (Orbit Books).  For more about Gail’s books and short stories, visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com. Be sure to “like” Gail’s Winter Kingdoms Facebook page, follow her on Twitter @GailZMartin, and join her for frequent discussions on Goodreads.

Read an excerpt from Ice Forged here: http://a.pgtb.me/JvGzTt


The Exploding Spaceship Reviews Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin

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Ice Forged By Gail Z. Martin out January 8, 2013 from Orbit

                Ice Forged is the story of what one man from Donderath, Blaine McFadden, will do to save his little sister Mari from harm. He gets sentenced to the penal colony of Velant for his trouble. Years pass and Blaine, now known as Mick has earned his ticket out of the labor camp and has set up homesteading with some friends, one of whom becomes his wife, who shortly passes away from illness. Mick and his friends are doing all right for themselves farming, with a side job fishing in order to have enough food for the long winters.

Six years after being sent to Velant and just as things are starting to look somewhat comfortable (if cold) on their homestead, Mick’s world is turned upside down when the magic of the world suddenly disappears. A refugee ship from Mick’s homeland comes bringing the news that war and the disappearance of magic from the world have destroyed Donderath. Mick and his friends travel back there to try and see if they can get the magic to return, but this is an epic task, and so won’t be completed for several books. In this book, they do reach Donderath and Mick learns some things to help him in his task.

Ice-Forged-cover-21-140x227Blaine/Mick is an interesting and well-developed main character. His housemates are interesting as well. Their relationships at the homestead and then they reach Donderath are quite different because Velant does not have the class distinctions which are present in Donderath. These differences are quite well done and it is interesting to see what the commoners thought about those who were noble, but had not identified as such or those who said they trafficked with nobles.

This first volume has more of man-fighting-for survival-in-a-very-cold-place than it does battle scenes, but the few it has are done well with the ex-soldier characters being much more familiar with weapons than those with no experience except in practice. Vampires are introduced in this volume but their origins are not discussed, so we look forward to seeing more about their history in future volumes.

As in her previous works, the author focuses on gray characters, neither good nor bad; how they are perceived depends on the viewers’ perspective. Blaine/Mick is a recovering damaged hero whom you want to succeed and maybe find some happiness along the way.  He has some happy moments in this volume, so there is hope that the balance of hardship and happiness which made this volume so enjoyable will continue in future volumes. This book is a good beginning to a new epic fantasy series.

The author can be found on the web at http://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/ , on Facebook under Winter Kingdoms and on Twitter (@GailZMartin).

See Gail Z. Martin in the next few weeks at Chattacon Jan 25-27, Shevacon Feb 8-10 and Mysticon Feb 22-24.


The Exploding Spaceship Reviews Sunset of the Gods by Steve White

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Sunset of the Gods Out January 1, 2013 in trade paperback from Baen

2nd Volume in the Jason Thanou Series

(1st volume was Blood of the Heroes and 3rd Volume will be Pirates of the Timestream)

Jason and his three person team are sent back to 490 B.C. to investigate the appearance of the Greek god Pan, who is associated with the battle of Marathon.

The pseudoscience explaining how time travel works is well done with the author accounting for all of the obvious problems. Reality protects itself so if you change something, it will modify something else to compensate, but you might not like what it modifies, so be careful about changes.

After the discovery of the Teloi aliens on Earth in the distant past acting as gods in the last book, their influence on past events closer in time to the present was a major concern. No trace of them had been found in interstellar explorations so at some point they must have died out, but when and how was unknown.

sunset of the gods coverThe Teloi are still something of a villainous presence in this volume, but evil humans have come onto the scene as well, and in some ways have taken advantage of the Teloi, who are all quite old at this point. Pan’s identity is discovered, but he is really not an enemy; both Jason and the reader feel sorry for him and this has a decided impact on the situation with the aliens and the humans taking advantage of them.

Fixing everything requires two expeditions into the past and also the use of future technology while there, which is potentially quite dangerous to temporal stability, but Jason is discreet and uses stealth and tech to hide it. Jason is a military character, who is sort of on detached duty, but he tends to be an officer who uses his brain as much or more than his martial prowess.  This is not really a surprise, given the background of the author, but it is still a pleasant change from common warrior depictions.  Even during the fight scenes, you see what Jason is thinking, not just him hacking at the opponent.  The fight scenes are realistically short, so it is interesting to see the character come out of the fight and realize the situation around him has not changed much.

The views of the battle of Marathon are interesting with enough info to give a sense of being there without it feeling like a data dump.  Overall it is a good time travel adventure story with characters using period accurate weapons (some of which were quite interesting) as well as some future tech.  Jason is a well-developed main character who has some interesting sidekicks, who hopefully will reappear in future volumes. The chemistry between the characters is well done with it not the same between everyone and Jason. So he is a realistic team leader who relates to everyone in the best way for them.

We look forward to a much quicker return to this universe for Jason to battle the real pirates of the Caribbean in volume 3, Pirates of the Timestream, due out this coming August.

Readers can meet Steve White at Shevacon, February 8-10, 2013.


Friday quick updates: Jan 18-19 readings from Hal Johnson, and The Screwtape Letters

Whew! Last weekend’s illogiCon was really fantastic; I’ve leave the con reports to others for now (Natania Barron rounds up a couple, including JL Hilton’s, here) but I do have some photos, and I’m working on transcribing the Tim Powers interview as well. It was absolutely fantastic to meet Mr. Powers, whose books really are wonderful reads. I’d been reading (and in some cases re-reading) some of his books ahead of the convention, and even though the convention’s past I’ve kept going on that front because, man, how can you stop in the middle of Declare? Anyway, there are some events this weekend to tell you guys about, including three stops by author Hal Johnson, whose book Immortal Lycanthropes Cory Doctorow calls a “YA novel unlike any other. … Required reading for budding happy mutants and their grownups.” More info below:

18 (Friday) 7 pm — The Regulator Bookshop hosts Hal Johnson: “Immortal Lycanthropes tells the incredible story of Myron Horowitz, a disfigured thirteen-year-old just trying to fit in at his Pennsylvania school. When a fight with a bully leaves him unconscious and naked in the wreckage of the cafeteria, Myron discovers that he is an immortal lycanthrope—a were-mammal who can transform from human to animal. He also discovers that there are others like him, and many of them want Myron dead.  Hal Johnson will be in the store to read and sign books.”

19 (Saturday) 1 pm — Atomic Empire hosts Hal Johnson (see above for book info) for a signing. Another reminder that Atomic Empire is the relocated and renamed “Sci Fi Genre”, now at 3400 Westgate Dr Suite 14B in Durham.

19 (Saturday) 7 pm — Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books hosts Hal Johnson (see above for book info) for a reading and signing. More info: http://www.flyleafbooks.com/event/hal-johnson-reads-his-new-young-adult-novel-immortal-lycanthropes

Immortal Lycanthropes

19 (Saturday) 4 pm and 8 pm — The Durham Performing Arts Center hosts a staging of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, presented by Fellowship for the Performing Arts.

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See you out and about, -Sam.


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