Books, Creative Writing?, Giveaways

[BLOG TOUR] Book Excerpts + Short Review: #buqoYA Bundle 2 – Sweet Complications

In continuation of the #buqoYA blog tour organized by Dianne of the Oops! I Read A Book Again book blog (you can find the stories’ synopses on her blog), here are the excerpts from Bundle 2 called Sweet Complications (Note: Sweet Complications is the common theme of the bundle, but not necessarily the title of the stories).

Sweet Complications Banner

D’01
by Sassy Fova

For once, I didn’t hit the snooze button.

At 6 o’clock, I got up as soon as my alarm clock went off. Today is the day that I have to start acting mature: whether they be small matters like the alarm or other things that are more important, I have to be responsible for anything that I set. Because today, I’m officially of legal age.

I’ve made a list of stuff I just HAVE to do when I turn eighteen – get a driver’s license, go to a bar and drink beer, French kiss somebody, lose my virginity (maybe), and so many other things that someone can decide to do without their parents’ consent – but the most important thing on my list is this: I HAVE TO FALL IN LOVE.

I guess I’m what they call NBSB, or No Boyfriend Since Birth. I’ve had crushes before – nothing too serious, and all of it short-lived. I used to not care. But now… I think I’m ready to be in a relationship. So I tried to conjure a mental picture of the boys at school who might be boyfriend-material… but only one comes to mind.

Alech Crisologo.

As soon as is smiling face popped into my head, I shake it off immediately – that will never ever happen, not even in my wildest dreams. Anyone but him. I open my Facebook page and post a status: I’m so ready to fall in love.

I slide my windows open and take in deep breaths of air. Is this how freedom smells like? Like longganisa and fried eggs? Nah, thats just breakfast that our stay-in housemaid, Helen, is cooking. I resist the urge to shout, “Good morning world!” and make a total fool of myself. I sit on the windowsill instead and admire the view.

Plain Vanilla
by Ines Bautista-Yao

“But what about Margarita?”

“She sped off in another direction.” He shrugged, still pulling her along. But this time, he wasn’t holding her arm anymore. His hand found its way into hers. And she told herself she didn’t let go because it was dark and she didn’t want to trip on anything.

When they got to the covered courts, they didn’t bother to find a place to hide. It was so dark, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Paco sat on one of the benches and pulled Tempest down next to him. She was tempted to pull her hand away, but he still hadn’t let go. What was the protocol when it came to something like this? Do you let go when you’re about to do something like look at your watch or scratch an itch? Or do you just keep holding on till both your hands get too sweaty? And why did it have to be so complicated? 

“I think this is awesome, what you’re doing.” He smiled at her. Or at least she assumed he was. It was too dark to tell.

“Sitting in the dark, holding your hand?” Tempest couldn’t pretend it wasn’t happening, so might as well call attention to it.

Paco surprised her by squeezing her hand and still not letting go. “Well, yeah, this too.” He laughed easily. “But I was talking about the dares. I mean, daring other people is something Marga and I do all the time, but daring yourself is cool. Why didn’t you tell me about it last night? I could have helped you do some of them while we were just hanging out. What’s on your list anyway?”

Tempest didn’t tell him that the dares had only materialized today because of him. “Well, nighttime hide and seek, sleeping under the stars, and glow-in-the-dark bowling are part of it. That pathetic excuse for chalk art this afternoon was too.”

“That wasn’t pathetic.”

“Whatever.” Tempest snorted. “There’s also doing a color run which I am seriously thinking of swapping with something else, running through sprinklers, flying a kite, making a slushie—”

“You’ve never made a slushie?” Astonishment.

“I lead a very dull life, okay?”

“Or flown a kite?” More astonishment.

“Fine, Mr. I’ve Done Everything Fun in the World, what haven’t you done? If you were to give yourself a list of dares, what would you put on your list?”

“Well, I wouldn’t mind breaking into an all-girls high school after dark and playing hide and seek.” She could hear the smile in his voice.

“Boring. I’ve done that already.”

Paco burst out laughing. Tempest’s insides began to feel all warm and gooey. It felt good to make him laugh. And to have his complete attention. And to still be holding his hand.

One Lovely Summer Day
by Amae Dechavez

Habang naglalakad sila ay naalala ni Ethan ang sinabi ng nagtitindang ale kanina. ‘Mabuti at may girlfriend ka na.’ Bakit nga ba hindi ko tanungin si Maylie ngayon kung pwede ko ba siyang maging nobya?

“Silong muna tayo sa may loob ng simbahan, Maylie. Ang init eh,” wika ni Ethan.

Halos walang tao sa loob ng simbahan. Lahat ay nasa labas, nanonood sa mga palabas. Pagka-upo ay agad na nagsalita si Ethan.

“Ahm… Maylie.”

“Ano ‘yon, Ethan?”

“Ahm, naisipan mo na bang sabihin sa mga magulang mo na ayaw mo na ng palipat-lipat ng tirahan?”

“Ah… hindi pa. Kailangan ko bang sabihin sa kanila?”

“Bakit hindi?”

“Umm…”

“Maylie.”

“Ano ‘yon?”

“Gusto ko kasing sabihin na…”

“Na…?”

“Ma…ha… Mahabang usapan pero gusto ko lang sanang magpasalamat.”

“Magpasalamat?”

“Oo, magpapasalamat lang ako. ‘Yon lang ang gusto kong sabihin sa’yo.”

“Salamat saan?”

“Sa mga sinabi mong advice sa akin kahapon.”

“Ah, ‘sus. Wala ‘yon. May sasabihin ka pa?”

“Ahm… wala na. Umuwi na tayo. Gutom na ‘ko, gusto ko nang mananghalian.”

Umuwi na sina Maylie at Ethan at kapagka-pananghalian ay pumasok si Ethan agad sa kuwarto niya.

‘Ang torpe mo, Ethan,’ sambit ni Ethan sa sarili niya.

Kinuha niya sa drawer ang maliit na salamin at tinignan niya ang sarili niya.

“Sabihin mo, MA-HAL. MAAA-HAAAL… Mahal kita!”

[MY SHORT REVIEW]

One Lovely Summer Day by Amae Dechavez is one of the stories I edited for the #buqoYA book bundles! Yes, I’ve put my “editor cap” for this story (and two more in the next bundles!), so you can say that I was lucky enough to be one of the first readers of her story.

Anyway, can I just say that Dechavez‘s story made me want to go to Pila, Laguna? Her writing has made me want to visit the churches and whatnot that her characters Ethan and Maylie have been to. And the ending! I really love the way she wrote the ending — just the right amount of kilig and very YA! I was actually smiling while reading it! 🙂

Props to her for also writing prose in Filipino with ease, which really contributed to the proper flow of the story. Can’t wait to read more of her published works! 🙂

Same
by Charm Lee

I woke up today thinking that everything will be normal. I got out of bed at around 10am, and caught my reflection on my vanity mirror. Ugh, my long hair is all frizzy. I tried to comb my hair through it to kind of manage it but it didn’t work. Oh well.

I’m excited. I can’t wait to watch the new movie that everyone has been talking about. I wonder if it lives up to all the buzz that I have been hearing. I think I still have time after the movie to check out Robert’s. It’s Saturday so there is a new shipment of books that I can check out.

I can hear songs now blasting off from my mom’s room. It’s her favorite band. I ignore it. I’m looking for clothes to wear when my mom enters my room and asks me if I want to go with her and my dad to my aunt’s house. They just need to get something for my grandparents, then we can go to the department store after to buy some stuff that we need since we are renovating.

“Pass. I’m going to Robert’s.” I feel awkward whenever I hang out with my parents. I just feel like we have nothing in common and we won’t have anything to talk about. I hate social situations like that so I avoid it as much as possible.

I see the disappointment in my mom’s face, says okay and left me alone. I feel the guilt creeping in but I shrug it off.

She asked and I chose. She gave me an out so it’s okay.

I proceeded in getting ready for my alone day. After I’m all ready, I went downstairs to check on what I can eat on the go as I don’t really want to sit down and eat breakfast with them. I spy the peanut butter and bread. Perfect.

Travel of Two
by Irish Fleur

Tamang-tama at binaba nga kosa lugar na sinabi ko. Nagpaalam ako kay Arty. Nakatalikod na ako at nakailang hakbang na nang marinig kong ang pangalan ko. Paglingon ko ay nakita ko si Arty patakbo papunta sa akin. Napanganga ako.

“O bakit? Nagulat ka, ‘no? ‘Lika na sa inyo, nauuhaw na ako,” hinihingal niyang sabi sabay akbay sa akin.

“Baliw ka ano?!” at inialis ko ang akbay niya sa akin.

“Huwag kang mag-alala, alam ko kung paano pumunta ng Tibiao galing dito sa inyo. I just want to spend more time with you,” sabi niya. Nanlaki ang mga mata ko sa sinabi nya, siya naman ngingiti-ngiti lang. Pero infairness ha, kinilig ako sa sinabi niya.

“Ang drama mo din eh. Bakit, type mo ba ako?”

Tinignan niya ako mula ulo hanggang paa at nilagay pa ang kanyang kamay sa ilalim ng baba na tila nag-iisip.

“Well… Aaminin ko na: maganda ka. I mean, maganda ka in a simple way.”

“Binigay ko na sayo yung number ko, pwede mo naman ako kontakin anytime. Tsaka may mga plano ka rin, right?”

“Ayaw mo bang ma-extend ang pagsasama natin? Pwede kitang ipasyal sa Tibiao para sulit naman ang bakasyon mo.”

Napabuntong-hininga na lang ako at hinayaan kong sumabay sa akin si Arty. Afterall, wala naman sigurong mangyayaring masama; gusto lang naman ni Arty makipagkaibigan.

Once Upon A Sticky Note
by Kristel Ann Cruz

Of course it also doesn’t hurt that he is nice to look at. I have always pegged Nate as a pretty boy, but his unassuming ways make him look more attractive. I like his thick eyebrows, his smiling eyes, and the dimple on his left cheek that mirrors mine. I can’t even tell you how many jealous stares I have fielded when we walk through the school together, or how my heart secretly swells seeing these.

It’s quite melodramatic to say that our lives have never been the same since we became closer because we are still very young, but that fact doesn’t make it any less true. I will feel so lost when the time comes he or I would have to go our separate ways. Graduation is coming soon and to be honest, I’m dreading college. I wonder if we will be as close as we are now or whether I will be left behind, a mere footnote to carefree high school days.

It was almost morning when I realized I am in love with my best friend.

Read the complete stories by getting your own copy of Bundle 2 from Buqo! 🙂

You can buy this book bundle from Buqo :)

You can buy this book bundle from Buqo 🙂

GIVEAWAY

Buqo is giving away a powerbank to a lucky Philippine reader!

To join the raffle, just click HERE!!!

Good luck!

♥♥♥

Read about Bundle 1, too! 🙂

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Books, Creative Writing?, Giveaways

[BLOG TOUR] Book Excerpts: #buqoYA Bundle 1 – Taking Chances

If you’ve read my previous blog entry, I’ve already mentioned that my #buqoYA classmates’ stories will be published in April — and they already are! In fact, they’re now available on Buqo for $0.99 (iOS) or Php45 (Android) per book bundle for a limited time only! There are five bundles available, and each bundle has a particular theme with six stories. Yes, SIX STORIES!!! So make sure to take advantage of this promo because after a few months, the price may increase. But either way, you’re guaranteed to have your local young adult (YA) reading fix! 😀

And to show support (aside from already purchasing the book bundles), I decided to participate in this #buqoYA blog tour organized by Dianne of the Oops! I Read A Book Again book blog (you can find the stories’ synopses on her blog).

Taking Chances Banner

I decided to post excerpts for Bundles 1-4, and some reviews for Bundle 5 (since I need enough time to read! Haha!). I’ll be posting about one bundle at a time for each Friday in May, starting today! 😉

Anyway, here are the excerpts from Bundle 1 called Taking Chances (Note: Taking Chances is the common theme of the bundle, but not necessarily the title of the stories).

A Portrait of Jade
by Justine Camacho-Tajonera

“I’m the semiprecious stone in the family,” Jade thought as he climbed up into the bus. She was still affected by the car ride conversation she’d had with her dad, who had interrogated her on the courses she planned to take when she went to college.

“Dad, I don’t know, okay?” She looked straight ahead.

“Jade, why didn’t you start thinking about this earlier? Ruby was gunning for business management as early as her junior year of high school.”

“I’m not Ruby.”

“I know. We’ve been over that. But it wouldn’t hurt you to prepare for college early, right?”

By that point, Jade had already zoned out. Any mention of Ruby tended to make her hear white noise.

She adjusted her black-rimmed glasses as she looked for a good seat. It looked like she was the first one on the bus. That was because her dad liked to over prepare. It was a good thing, really. She decided to move to the back of the bus. That way, she could observe everyone coming in without being conspicuous. Or she could just ignore them. She was good at that. She chose a spot by the window. She was looking forward to enjoying the view. She settled into her seat and took out her headphones and portable neck pillow. She had a whole playlist picked out. She was ready to chill out and get some snooze time, especially because she’d woken up so early.

Second Sight to Forever
by Racquel Sarah A. Castro

At the first week of January, the Salazar family went back from Hong Kong. While unpacking, Daniel took a deep breath before uttering a word to Martha. He admitted who the spy was.
“What?” Martha displayed dismay on her husband. “What are you thinking? Is that why you are so generous to Sasha? You have done something so bad, honey. She will feel betrayed.”
“I know, I know…” Daniel sighed while Martha walked out on him.
***
RTM – First Day of School after the Christmas vacation
“I heard that mom already know who Dad’s spy is.” Sasha talked to Joshua.
“I have something to tell you…” Joshua got so neurotic that she assumed he was the spy.
“You are the spy!” She slapped him and walked away.
Joshua whispered, “I just want to say I love you.” He wept and thought he wouldn’t have a chance to say what he felt for her.
From that day, he spent RTM alone. Being without the other half of the SJ Duo was the hardest thing for him. He tried to focus on his studies so that he could have a chance to be the class valedictorian.
Joshua tried to reach out to Sasha but she ignored his text messages. Week 2, Ryan invited Joshua to join them for the quarterly study group session but he refused.
Sasha talked to him to return the toy ring and the bracelet. She focused her time studying at the rooftop away from Joshua. Joshua was on the other side and just loved in a distance.

After the Moment
by Six de los Reyes

This just in: the world is about to end, and aliens have colonized human hosts.

Or maybe not, but it seems like a plausible explanation for the recent turn of events. Otherwise, how else am I supposed to justify kissing Kristoffer Li under the moonlight?

To fully appreciate the insanity of this, you must first understand that Kris Li is miles and miles totally out of my league. He’s the school’s basketball star and I’m the local class freak. Everyone knows his name from fame, and my name is thrown around in infamy. He’s shiny white jerseys and I’m black hoodies. You get the picture. For three years we’ve peacefully coexisted without ever once having to interact, and yet, here we are.

Maybe there are some moments in life that simply defy logic and explanation, and no matter how you try to put things into perspective, they refuse to fit like the way pieces of a jigsaw puzzle should. That moment, that entire day, is one of them. A moment that simply does not exist unless in some alternate universe beyond our realm of logic and understanding. A moment that could only ever exist in books, and in songs, something very nearly alive and with a sentience of its own.

I still can’t believe it now, hence the matter of the world falling apart and aliens invading the Earth. But it happened anyway, despite my attempts to rationalize the situation and find something to blame for it. Everything happened the way it shouldn’t, and no, I’m not okay thank you very much.

Sometimes, I just really don’t understand the way the universe works.

When A KISS Falls
by Kaye Dee

I looked at myself in front of the mirror, trying to fix my plaid skirt that sat just below my knees. My white blouse was neatly ironed. I had my long unruly hair pulled up in a ponytail like I always do every morning. After I double checked if I have everything I needed in my backpack, I went on my way to kick off my last year in high school.

I almost hopped my way, looking a little too ecstatic. Maybe it was the amount of caffeine I had this morning or it could be the eternal vibe of today.

The Athenaeum Integrated School, known as AIS to many, had to be the best school in our small town of Cordova. Maybe even one of the most prestigious schools in the island province of Mactan. There was no denying that for suburban teenagers like me, AIS is more than what we can possibly hope for in an educational institution.

AIS had always been a pride of Cordova because of its top notched facilities and faculties. We always rank high on both regional and national achievement tests. Not only does our school cater to producing intelligent students, we also have a great curriculum that brings into being talented artists and athletes.

Though my years in AIS have been nothing short of amazing, God knows how much I wanted to leave its four walls; wear a toga, march up to the stage, get that diploma, and begin my college journey. I even started to do a countdown for our high school graduation, and would eagerly cross out every passing day off my calendar.

Loving You All My Life
by Rafael P. Pascual

DANA’S POV

Philippine Institute of the Arts, Entertainment & Culture
February 16, 2000

Hay, salamat! Natapos din ang isang linggon pagsusunog ng kilay. Kakatapos lang ng examination week at kaming lahat ay nabunutan ng tinik sa dibdib.

Pa’no ba naman: ang hirap na nga ng pagre-review, masyado pang mahigpit ang mga propesor – na pati ang pakikinig ng radio sa cellphone ay ipinagbawal din nila! Para naming walang tiwala ang mga propesor sa aming mga estudyante sa PHINAREC. Sabagay, prestihiyosong paaralan iyan para sa mga nagnanais pumasok sa media at showbiz, kaya gayan sila kahigpit.

Anyway, my name is Dana – Danielle Natasha Lastimosa. Anak ako ng isang retiradong inhinyero at ng isang dating government employee na napunta sa pagtitinda ng sigarilyo at kendi sa NAIA. At kung ang iniisip n’yo ay mahirap ang pamilya naming, tama po kayo.

Mahirap ang pamilya naming, kaya dumating ang panahong kailangan ko nang magtrabaho para matulungan ang aking mga magulang.

Kaya lang naman ako nakapag-aral sa PHINAREC ay dahil may nakapansin sa talent ko. Siya lang naman si Mr. Art Paglinawan, ang pinakasikat na newscaster sa kasalukuyang panahon. Simula kasi nang Manalo ako sa News Reading Competition ng FBN, at nang Makita niya ang sitwasyon ng pamilya naming, tinulungan niya ako sa pag-aaral ko dito – sponsored niya ang mass communication scholarship program ng PHINAREC.

Never Too Late
by Jen C. Suguitan

Chapter 1: 8:03 AM, Manila to Corregidor

[4:30 AM:] Wake up!!! 7am sharp @Soleil Tours terminal! DON’T BE LATE THIS TIME!!!
[6:45 AM:] I am almost there. Where are you? Why aren’t you answering my calls?!?!
[7:01 AM:] YOU ARE LATE!! Where are you, Cass?
[7:15 AM:] Called Daisy, she isn’t picking up. Where are you, Cass?!
[7:16 AM:] I’m calling mom. You are soooo screwed.
[7:18 AM:] Ferry’s leaving at 8. Where the hell ARE YOUUUU?!
[7:21 AM:] This isn’t funny. You can’t make the ferry WAIT for YOU.
[7:36 AM:] Okay, talked to the tour staff, we’re leaving EXACTLY at 8. Where are you?
[7:48 AM:] Acknowledging that you got my messages would be NICE, Cass.
[7:53 AM:] This is why mom and dad never should’ve trusted you.
[7:57 AM:] Three minutes. Corregidor will still be fun without you. #sorrynotsorry

I scrolled past my sister’s other pesky messages as I handed my ticket stub to the woman behind the check-in counter. I only replied to Anj, my sister, once and that was to tell her that I was five minutes away from the terminal. Knowing Anj, I’d probably get a lecture for not checking my phone’s battery level before leaving. But it was Anj’s constant nagging that distracted me before from my preparations for the trip. Besides, my phone wouldn’t die on me if she hadn’t called me twelve times in a span of twenty minutes.

Read the complete stories by getting your own copy of Bundle 1 from Buqo! 🙂

You can buy this book bundle from Buqo :)

You can buy this book bundle from Buqo 🙂

GIVEAWAY

AAANND…

Buqo is giving away a powerbank to a lucky Philippine reader!

To join the raffle, just click HERE!!!

Thanks and good luck 😛

(Congrats again to my classmates — who are now authors — for their published works!!!
Susunod ako! Char! =)) –Mika)

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Books, Creative Writing?, Down Memory Lane, Marked on the Calendar

Writing My Way to Success: #buqoYA x Mina V. Esguerra

Let me start by telling you that I’ve always dreamed of writing my own book. #Hihihi

Sure, WRITING will always be my passion, which is why I never stop honing it. From magazine writing (print and online) to blog writing, even technical writing, I’ve tried ’em all. Now, it’s about time to venture into another form of my chosen craft: story writing. See first sentence. 😛

Since I consider myself as someone who “has experience but not enough theory” when it comes to my passion (my course is not related to writing, but that’s another story for me to tell! *wink* *wink*),  I make sure that I attend writing classes/workshops whenever my budget and schedule permit. To cut the long story short, during one of my writing class/workshop hunting sessions, I stumbled upon local author Mina V. Esguerra‘s blog post about her online creative writing class called #buqoYA, which was hosted by Buqo — the Philippines’ #1 digital bookstore.

And from the moment I signed up, I knew it’d be perfect for me!

Why? Everything just fell into place. 🙂

First, I’ve been a reader of Mina‘s books even before I found out about her class, so I was thrilled to be learning from one of the country’s finest authors (aside from being published the traditional way, she’s also a self-publisher!). And yes, I’ve had the privilege of having my copies of her books signed! Thanks, Mina!!! 😀

Second, I love reading Young Adult (YA) stories — especially if there’s a love story involved! And guess what? The #buqoYA class required us to produce a story that is under YA (the category) and romance (the genre). I even got assigned to the trope I wanted: #FTMTF. Woohoo! (But that’s for you to find out once you read my story! Hehehe!)

Next, I, myself, am a Buqo user! I first discovered it during last year’s Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) and since then, I’ve been a convert — of e-book/digital reading that is! Haha! But seriously, what I love about Buqo is that it’s “a digital bookstore, newsstand, and reader” all rolled into one! It mostly offers local publications (so many great local book and magazine titles to choose from!), so think of it as the local version of Amazon‘s Kindle app. I’m actually currently subscribed to the digital version of Cosmopolitan Philippines, and I also get to buy other local books and magazines without the hassle of leaving my house and looking for a place to store them — all thanks to Buqo! 😉 So to start your Buqo reading adventure, download the app on your Android or iOS device, or simply visit their site HERE. (If you want to read my story, Buqo is where you’ll first find it… SOON!)

Last but definitely not the least, the #buqoYA writing class by the Mina V. Esguerra was perfect for me because of the most obvious reason: I finally got the chance of being closer to my dream of writing a book and actually publishing it! To give you an idea, I’m writing a novella. 🙂

Trivia: A story is considered a novel if it has at least 40,000 words (at least!). A novella if it has around 15,000 to 39,999 words. A short story if it has 14,999 words or less. Or something like that.

Also, I’m going the indie route since I’m the publisher of my book (not to be confused with my would-be first e-book distributor, Buqo). But hey, of course I’m not closing doors to the traditional way (hello, publishing companies!) but for now, I’d like to have overall control of it.

So much control that I’m not even done with the story yet! Toink! =))

Kidding aside, yes, I’m still in the process of finishing my story, but I promise that it’ll see the light of day THIS YEAR! It’ll be available in e-book format first, then in paperback… Yeah! THIS. IS. REALLY. IT!

But since mine is still in the works, I’d like to ask you to please also support my classmates who are already done with their stories. Theirs will be available by April (I think), but I’ll be sure to spread the word here or through my other social media accounts. I’m counting on yah, guys!!! 🙂

#buqoYA class of 2015 :)) (photo courtesy of Buqo's Facebook page)

#buqoYA class of 2015 :)) (photo courtesy of Buqo’s Facebook page)

All in all, I can say that my #buqoYA writing experience is a success! 🙂 Sure, I may not be done with the actual novella yet (for personal reasons I’m not comfortable disclosing to the public for now), but it definitely has taught me A LOT OF THINGS! From learning the different romance tropes to self-publishing, meeting people who have the same passion, to brushing elbows with those who already have success stories to tell when it comes to creative entrepreneurship, I owe all those to this class!

But most of all, this experience taught me this: that I. CAN. DO. IT! And you know, just having the guts to finally start one of my lifelong dreams is already success for me! Besides, I believe for a fact that for wordsmiths like me who live, breathe, and bleed THE WRITTEN WORD, there’s nothing more affirming than knowing that we’re all writing our way to our own success stories!

Oh yeah!!! ❤


If you’re one of my #buqoYA classmates,
what’s your takeaway from this entire experience?

And if you’re one of my blog readers,
I want to ask you now how many copies of my future novella will you order?
Hahaha! Kidding… not. =))

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