Guest Ramona DeFelice Long, plus #Giveaway

Edith here, so happy to welcome Ramona DeFelice Long to the blog.

Ramona, a friend of all the Wickeds, released The Murderess of Bayou Rosa, her debut novel, this month, and she’s giving away a copy to one lucky commenter today. She’s a personal friend, with whom I’ve shared several small-group intensive writing retreats in a convent retreat center – and lots of laughs in the evenings. She’s a brilliant lifelong storyteller and a kickass, no-holds-barred commentator on contemporary politics and culture.

Here’s the review I posted:

The storytelling in this debut historical novel is atmospheric, compelling, and delightful. Defelice Long immerses you in 1920 bayou village life, with all its rivalries, prejudices, strengths, and secrets. The characters live with the immediate past effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic and the War to End All Wars, with family loyalties and past conflicts playing an equal part. The unfolding of the story’s layers is skillfully done, and the ending satisfies.

Several characters share the narration, but I most fell in love with Geneva. My reading over two days included tears and laughing and nodding in understanding. I recommend you get this book now and do nothing else until you finish it. 

And here’s the book blurb:

“In the summer of 1920, in the town of Bayou Rosa, Louisiana, a free-spirited woman named Joelle Amais shoots her lover in the back but won’t tell anyone why. Joelle is a woman with a checkered past, and as the weeks stretch between her arrest and a delayed trial, her defiant silence threatens to blow Bayou Rosa apart.

Joelle’s only ally is her daughter Geneva, the town schoolteacher, whose demure demeanor hides the stubbornness she inherited from her mother. Geneva is determined to see her mother get a fair trial, but now the town is faced with a legal and moral dilemma. With rows of new graves in the cemetery from a devastating world war and influenza epidemic, can a jury of twelve men vote to hang a woman they’ve seen grow up since birth?” 

I was thrilled Ramona agreed to an interview on the blog. Being part of her daily seven AM Sprint Club has gotten my work day started in the best of ways for years, and she has edited every book in my own (Agatha-winning) historical series. So let’s get started.

E: The Murderess of Bayou Rosa is set in Louisiana, where you grew up. The atmosphere in this book is so vivid and rich, I felt like I was there – and I have only been to the state once, for a conference in New Orleans a few years ago (I didn’t even leave the city). Can you talk to us about which aspects of the setting came from your own life or that of your older relatives? Which from research?
R: All of it, and none of it. The town of Bayou Rosa, the people who live in it, and the events of the story, are all complete fiction. However, bits and pieces are drawn from real places: the courthouse resembles one in my parish (county) seat; my great-grandfather grew lemons and Satsumas in a small citrus grove; my mother brought me to a traiteure for a tonic because I was skinny; my grandmother shopped in a general store with a gathering of old men (hat tip to Ernest Gaines) in the back; the same grandmother survived the Spanish influenza; in high school, my mother washed dishes in her aunt’s restaurant. All characters come from  my imagination except the horse. Cisco is based on my Uncle Johnny’s horse Frisco, who lived to be 37.

There are hundreds of little towns in south Louisiana that could be Bayou Rosa, but while I have a rather colorful family, none of our true-life antics made it into the novel.
E: I love that the book takes place in 1920, an era I’ve been looking into lately. Why did you set it then, and what were your favorite/most useful research sources and tools?
R: When most people think of the 1920s, they think of Prohibition and the Jazz Age, but the 20s was a time of great social upheaval in the U.S. There were race riots and the Great Migration, post-war advances in medical care, the vote for women, a resurgence of the KKK, and the introduction of electricity, automobiles, and telephones. In isolated places like Bayou Rosa, however, those advances would not happen for a few more years. And there were small towns that suffered the loss of so many taxpayers during the Spanish flu, it took years to recover—and then the Crash of ’29 happened.
I mostly chose the early 1920s because women were finally free of their corsets! It was so difficult to think of meals that could be prepared with all-fresh ingredients, but describing dresses that required a corset was a dealbreaker.
My favorite resource tool is Google. I have also built up a collection of Louisiana books. The most useful of those was the WPA project guide, published in the 1940s. For the scenes in Baton Rouge and Memphis, I used various city guides.     
E: I read your blog post about having written an open-ended short story that readers urged you to finish. Did you envision a full-length novel when you wrote the short story? What convinced you to write the book?
R: I wrote “Light of the Moon,” about a young woman jilted at the altar, for a charity anthology. In my mind, the story was over even though there was not a clear, tied-with-a-ribbon ending. I never considered a sequel until Sister Jean, our convent retreat facilitator, asked if there was one. She wanted to know what happened to the sheriff. I went to Catholic school, so I couldn’t say no to a nun!

The bell at the convent retreat house that Sister Jean manages.

I didn’t have any idea what happened after the short story ended, but I had a pretty good idea of the crime that put Mama/Joelle in jail, so I decided to write a prequel, hoping the prequel would held me find the sequel. (It did not.) I could not figure out how Geneva could tell the whole story, so I used multiple narrators. That ended up being lots of fun. I never made the decision that “I will write a novel now,” but my prequel got longer and longer, and I had not even touched the sequel part. The story decided for me that it had to be a novel.

Edith’s kitten Ganesh, getting possessive about Ramona’s book.

E: I have read many of your wonderful essays and short stories. Because of their length, my own short pieces normally don’t require as much time to produce as a novel. How long have you been working on this book?
R:  It took me about six months to write the events that happened in the short story (2/3 of the manuscript). The ending? I wrote at least ten endings. It took me a year and a half to write the sequel part. I only persevered because Catholic, nun, etc.  I started in June of 2018, so a tad over two years.
E: It was time well spent! The way the story unfolds is layered in so many brilliant ways (starting with the surprising end to the first scene). Did it unfold easily to you, or did you spend a lot of time going back and layering in nuances?
R: Expanding a short story to a novel is a strange experience. On the one hand, I knew the characters from the short story, but since a novel requires a larger and deeper  narrative landscape, I got to discover each character all over again. In terms of plot, the short story provided the inciting incident and the climax. I just had to provide the landfill in-between and the ending.

I am a pantser, so while I knew where the story was headed, I did a lot of meandering to get there. My writing habit is to write, write, write, and then cut cut cut. The first draft was 104,000 words. I cut back to 94k. Even with the meandering and the cutting, the first three parts did come easily. The final part was like pulling teeth from an angry rhinoceros.

 E: Is this your first completed novel, or do you have other books in the proverbial drawer (and if so, when do we get to read them, she asks selfishly)?
R: I have one practice novel in a drawer. I may take a look at it again to see if it should stay there.  I have short works out on submission. (Note to self, check Submittable.)
E: You have spent years improving other authors’ books as an independent editor, including all my Quaker Midwife Mysteries. Did a developmental editor look at this manuscript? If so, how was that experience for you? (I know for me, I always do a big head slap when you point out something in my story that I might have critiqued in someone else’s.)
R: I did have both a developmental editor and a proofreader review the manuscript. I have been in multiple critique groups, so weighing criticism and advice was not new to me. Sadly, my Trusted Reader and longtime critiquer, Russell Reece, was not able to review it for me. Most of my work goes through Russ. Every writer should have a Russ.
E: I loved the dedication to the women who helped shape you, and I’m pretty sure you listed your grandmother, your mother, your sister, and your granddaughter, which touched my heart. Will you share a bit more about these women?

 R: We lived with my grandmother until I was seven, and I was very close to her. I used to sneak into bed with her at night. She wore a soft white nightdress, and her chenille bedspread and long curtains were white, so in the dark, her bedroom seemed to glow. My first memory is of snuggling against her, watching the curtains blow around from a thunderstorm. They looked like ghostly arms, but I felt safe with her. (See what I mean about meandering?) I have written a lot about my mother, who was the baby of her family and lost her father when she was 9 months old. In first grade, she decided she would be a nurse, and she made it happen despite a whole lot of obstacles. My sister Annette is the most generous person I know. She’s also a huge cozy mystery fan. Sydney? She’s proven that old saying to be true about not really knowing love until you have a grandchild (or a dog).
E: What’s your next publication – of any kind – coming up?

R: Eek, nothing! I have some pieces out on submission. Right now, I’m promoting and trying to enjoy the rush.
E: You gather writers in many genres on Facebook every morning at seven for the Sprint Club, an hour of uninterrupted writing work. For me, it’s a perfect start to my work day, and it’s so heartening to know others in many locations are joining in at their own desks. When did you first start urging others to join you, virtually, for this devoted hour? 
R: I think I began sprinting on Twitter in 2011. In 2012, I wrote my first blog post about it. That’s about the time I transferred to posting on Facebook instead of participating on Twitter, so the quick answer is 2012. I really wish I’d made note of the first sprint thread I posted, but alas, I did not realize at the time what a phenomenon (smile) it would become.

E: It’s definitely a phenomenon. Thank you for joining us!

Readers: Do you have a favorite grandma memory? Or an influential nun in your life? And for Sprint Cub regulars, please identify yourselves! Ramona will give away a signed copy of the book, and if the winner wants a copy of the anthology from whence the novel arose, please say so.

Ramona DeFelice Long writes short fiction, essays, memoir and one novel about family, women, and quirky things that come her way. Her work has appeared in numerous literary and regional magazines. She is a Louisiana native now living in Delaware.

Ramona’s Sprint Club:

81 Thoughts

  1. What a great premise for a book. Would love to read it.

    I only remember one grandmother and she was a cold, hard woman. But I did have a favorite nun named Sister Charmaine, and she was, indeed, charming.

  2. Your debut sounds fabulous, Ramona! I used to think I wouldn’t like historical novels, but then I took a chance and read one. So glad I did! Now I don’t know why I resisted so long. And I agree that the 1920s were a fascinating time in history.

    1. Marla, there was so much more to the 1920s than flappers, jazz, and Prohibition, So much social change and conflict. I wanted to include some of what was happening in the big world and chose suffrage to represent the many big changes happening. Thank you for your comment!

    2. Marla, there was so much more to the 1920s than flappers, jazz, and Prohibition, So much social change and conflict. I wanted to include some of what was happening in the big world and chose suffrage to represent the many big changes happening. Thank you for your comment!

  3. Sprinter in the house, right here! In fact, I’m heading over to sign in as soon as I finish this comment.

    Sadly, my paternal grandmother died a few months before I was born, and my maternal grandma was deep in the clutches of dementia by the time I have any real memories of her. However, I was blessed with several wonderful great-aunts who provided role models and wisdom. One it particular, my Aunt Annie (my maternal grandfather’s sister) who rebelliously married an older man (MUCH older) and moved away from the farm to live in the city. As a kid, going to visit her was always a wonderful adventure and was really the only exposure I had to city life until I was an adult.

    And of course, Ramona, YOU have been a great influence in my life. Thank you for cracking the whip on us each morning!

      1. I loved the characters in The Murderess of Bayou Rosa so much I can’t pick a favorite. I also wondered why I was Always so hungry as I read it and realized it was because of those amazing home cooked meals.

    1. Thank you, Annette, for making sprint work.. It’s not a thing if I’m doing it alone!

      I had relatives in the city–New Orleans–so I understand the thrill of visiting a different kind of place. I think I am a country girl at heart, too.

    2. Martha, food was such a challenge. A town like Bayou Rouge would not have had electricity so no refrigerators, and even ice boxes would be difficult to use in an August drought. Every meal had to be made fresh and from scratch. I both admire and feel intimidated by a world with no leftovers!

  4. First off, congratulations of the release of “The Murderess of Bayou Rosa”. It sounds like a fabulous book and one that I would love the opportunity to read. It now has a place on my TBR list.

    Personally, I love the era this book is written in. I’m old enough that this time frame would be consistent with both my parents and grandparents time. Love reading a good book that gives me a glimpse of how things were during their time bot in ways of life and the way of society then. It all is part of who we are and how we got to where we are now.

    My Dad was an Army career man meaning that my time with my grandmother was very limited – about a week out of every year when we went on vacation. However, Dad retired when I was going into high school and re moved by the my mother’s parent’s town in Arkansas. It was then that I got to know my Granny. My Dad’s mother died when I was a wee child and I have no memory of her at all which made Granny even more special to me.

    My fondest memory of my Granny is her homemade gingerbread cake. Nothing beats it hot out of the oven slathered with butter. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. After they sold the farm and moved to town due to health, I mowed and took care of their yard for them. My payment was always hot gingerbread coming out of the oven just as I had cooled off from working out in the hot sun. I can still smell and taste it when the memories come back to way back when. I make it on occasion using my Granny’s recipe. It’s delicious but some how it just doesn’t compare to what my Granny made with her special ingredient of a dash of love.

    Thank you for the fabulous opportunity to win a copy of your book to read and review. If I were so fortunate to be selected, I most definitely would love a copy of the anthology that set the words in motion for this book. Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Kay, you read my mind. Whoever wins the copy of Murderess will also receive a copy of Into the Woods, with the short story.

      Your Granny’s gingerbread cake sounds divine. I understand being paid in food. I would happily do any chore for some of my grandmother’s tea cakes or pralines.

  5. I so enjoyed reading the “long version” of how the short story turned into a novel and would love to read it and the original short. Writing sometimes takes us on strange journeys.

    My maternal grandmother is the one I remember most, as I spent several summers with her and my grandfather as a child. Oh, could she bake. She was also quite the seamstress, although that wasn’t a paid occupation. She worked in the Lawrence mills, got frostbitten ears from walking over the bridge to the mill on frigid mornings, and was sent home by her supervisor on the day of the Bread ‘n’ Roses strike (yes, those mills).

    I remember when Alzheimer’s began to bedevil her, I found a covered bowl of dry goods on her counter and a bowl of unbeaten eggs in the fridge. She said she’d forgotten what she was doing and was waiting for her memory to return so she could pick up where she left off. That pretty much sums up her life. Pick up where you left off and move on.

    Family secret? She “stole” my grandfather from the seminary. He was her brother’s roommate and when she visited her brother, they met and fell in love.

    I guess that tells you why this time frame (my mother was born in the early 20s) has a special place in my heart.

    1. Claire, I think that romance is one worth writing. Stealing a man from the seminary! I hope they had a good life together.

      My grandmothers are both gone and my mother was born in the 1930s, so I didn’t have my usual living, breathing resources to consult. My mother knew a lot about her home town and, in 1933, her parents finally got electricity in their home. Towns like Bayou Rosa were always behind technical advances.

  6. Sprinter here, though lately not a very focused or dedicated one. 🙁 But I read the book and loved it – Ramona already knows this, I’m saying it here for the Wickeds family. Go read it, y’all! (I couldn’t resist saying that) I enjoyed the interview too, so thanks to Ramona and Edith.

    1. Thank you, Triss! Confession: I had to skip sprint, too, for other reasons. (I think we were having brown outs.) It was a fun interview. Edith asked great questions!

  7. Thank you, Wickeds, for having me as your guest. I’m sorry for the posting issues. We’re having electricity blinks every few minutes, and it’s messed up my log-in.

    1. Ugh on electricity glitches – it’s the only thing making quarantine palatable! We are delighted to have you under any circumstances, Ramona.

      I knew both my grandmothers well. They were as different as could be – one austere, tallish, lean, always did the driving for my grandfather and her, loved her cigarette holder and her cocktail, and was also an excellent cook. The other was short and rounder, could bake and sew anything, never smoked or drank, and snored like a sailor. I also never saw her in pants.

      Not a single experience with a nun in my life until I went to the Pyramid Lake Women’s Writers Retreat and saw nuns in hiking boots and t-shirts! And then met Sister Jean. Wonderful women.

      1. Edith, thank you for the fabulous questions!

        My other grandmother was small and mighty. She did a lot of church and civic work, and I always remember her in dresses and suits. We (my siblings and I) tried once to remember if we ever saw her in pants or shorts. M older sister says our grandmother wore culottes to the beach one Sunday. The thought of that shakes up my world a little!

  8. Definitely high on my TBR list. I’ve been a silent admirer of Ramona and her daily sprints for some time.

  9. All I can say is thank heavens for nuns! I was so thrilled to see The Murderess of Bayou Rosa land in my iPad on your release day. I’m so happy for you and me because I get to read it.

  10. Congratulations on your novel debut, Ramona. I absolutely cannot wait to read it.

    I am a sprint watcher currently and once I finish unpacking (or Thursday, whichever comes first) I will be a regular sprinter as well in the editing phase for a book I started in 2018 – reading the date you began your book was SUCH a comfort.

    I owe my writing to Sr. Marie Therese. She was my sophomore English teacher at Lacordaire Academy. We were assigned to write a short story. She announced to the class that she wanted to read one of the submissions to us. Then she began to pace the aisles (full habits and veils in those days, it was like watching a ship under sail) and read my story.

    After the first paragraph she stopped, folded the paper, and said, “Well, enough of that.”

    My heart plunged to the floor and I broke out in a sweat. I was certain I had committed a crime most foul against the written word. The rest of the class clamored for more of the story. Sr. unfolded the paper and smoothed it out, then announced that I was the author and explained that every story needed to catch the attention of the reader or listener. She was using my story to demonstrate a “hook” and I became hooked on writing.

    1. Wow, Sister Marie Therese was effective, wasn’t she? Excellent story, but it’s a good thing you didn’t have a weak heart!

      Kait, you are welcome to join sprint club at any time. As for the two years it took me to write the book, I am a very slow writer and my first draft was massive. I cut it back to 95,000 words by being brutal with myself. To me, writing all those words in two years is lightning speed.

  11. I was a Sprint Club lurker for years, and since my recent retirement, a participant. I’m halfway through Ramona’s novel, and loving it!

    I remember both of my grandmothers fondly. They both lived to or past age 90. I never lived in the same town, though, so don’t have as many early memories.

  12. Another Sprint Club member here (the dedication of next month’s release is to the Ramona and the Sprint Club). Congrats, Ramona!

    I loved both my grandmothers, but my paternal grandmother will always have a special place in my heart (the woman who always picked us up from school when we were sick, let us eat anything out of her fridge, watch TV, and make homemade play-dough). She was a Rosie the Riveter, worked in a high school cafeteria for 30 years, and was the inspiration for the heroine in my Home Front Mysteries series.

    1. Mary, you’ve been sprinting for a long time. I’m glad it’s helped you with your two series.

      Your Rosie the Riveter grandmother sounds like an excellent inspiration. One of my grandmothers was a cafeteria lady. We could not go anywhere without being stopped by ex-students and parents who told her how wonderful the school food was!

  13. Wonderful to see you here, Ramona. Best of luck with the book. PS Where is the retreat house located? If you said her already I missed it. Gin x

  14. Congratulations on the release of your book. It is an interesting sounding story and I would love to read it. Both of my grandmothers passed away before I was born, so I never got to experience them. But, from the stories I heard, I would have loved them and would have had wonderful memories.

  15. Congratulations on your debut, Ramona. I’m reading The Murderess of Bayou Rosa so don’t include me in the contest. I have less than 100 pages to go and can’t wait to see how it ends. Knowing your editing skills, I knew it would be great. Once when I told you I was having trouble with my manuscript, you pointed out that I was missing the true theme of the book. After that it was clear sailing. Thanks for always being so generous to the writing community.

    1. Ang, thank you for your comment! A lot happens in those final 100 pages.

      Theme is such an important element in keeping a story on track. A lot of writers hear “theme” and groan like they’re back in high school, but for a writer, keeping that as a central element eases a lot of pain.

      Good luck with your next project!

  16. Oh my goodness I could sit with you all day and talk about my grandma. Mine is a holiday she picked me up from my abusive foster home and was going with her for the weekend. I hadn’t seen her in several years and I remember so many times she tried to rescue me from the clutches of my mom. Anyway we were going to her house and it was the holidays which I never had a Christmas. So she opened the door to her house and all I saw was red and white it was like a Hallmark Moment. There were 2 santa faces one on each side of the beautiful couch all the ornaments were a shiny red and her tree was a fake but it was white. she worked so many hrs at the Hyatt Hotel she was the head of housekeeping that was the reason for the fake tree but you would never know it. Under the tree were so many presents all professionally wrapped by Macys. Oh goodness on her table was a beautiful center piece and there in her kitchen was cookies she had made for me. Oh goodness food was a big deal for me as it was not in our foster home for the foster kids I did the cooking starting at 8 and cooked for their family while we delivered papers and hoped that samples were in the mail box so we could eat. Yes my grandma was my love my life and so so in my heart. She passed a few years ago at 101 she was going thru the school to get to McDonalds which they went 2 times a day every day and she tripped and fell her husband wasn’t paying attention and she hit the ground head first then I got the call here in Ia. She lived in Ca and I had only been back here for 9 years at the time and wow after that I so so regret moving here. We should of married and stayed in Ca but my husband had a job here in Iowa and grew up here and so I moved flying out to Ca. every 6 mo to see her unless there was a problem. thank you for asking about my grandma Vera Margaret.

  17. This must be the week to be reminded of Grandma. I was just telling my neighbor that the first story I worked on for telling was of my Grandma Frances (my middle name) Fussner coming to our house to make doughnuts — growing from the magic of yeast and disappearing “poof!” because they were so good! The story wouldn’t come together until I held a handkerchief on which she had crocheted the edging. Grandma was determined to teach every granddaughter to crochet, but couldn’t figure out how to teach a lefty. She finally found a book with left-handed directions for me, “Mary’s good with books.” <3

    1. It is true that people learn in different ways, and if you learn from books, how wonderful that she found a book for you. My grandmother also taught me how to crochet, but I never got into it. I’m sorry now that I didn’t keep it up.

  18. I really enjoyed the review and I would love to read the book. I one influential teacher and a couple of influential nuns from my school days. Congratulations on your new release.

  19. Wonderful interview! Your book sounds like a MUST READ for me – thank you!

  20. Hi, Ramona, and Congratulations on your new release! Your book sounds intriguing and like a very good page turner! I love the book cover also, it is Beautiful! Very nice to meet you, you are a new to me author. Have a Great week and stay safe.

  21. Ramona, what a fantastic interview. You’ve so inspired me on my own writing journey and I cannot wait to read your book, getting caught up in the story, and visiting my favorite region of the country. Allons a Cajun Country! xoxo (Don’t enter me in the giveaway. I have the book.)

  22. Oh I’d love the paperback book & the anthology!..It sounds wonderful & I’m checking them out!!! My grandmother was my rock..& though she’s gone, she still is!

  23. Both of you are just wonderful doing this interview 🙂
    I am eager to READ this fascinating book.
    I did grow up with beloved grandparents on both sides.
    All fabulous dear loving folks very different. Farmers on the
    Farm way up North on 1side. Dad’s parents lived next door
    to us in large family property. Family 🌳tree & landscape business on 1side, Apple 🍎 Orchard, lot of every berry growing you can imagine, lot of Evergreen trees, gardens, houses big yards. I would go with grandpa to oversee things then be with grandma. Grandpa passed on too early. So I spent all my time with grandma. Learning cooking. Home made Cream puffs, eclairs, home ravioli. Proper cleaning as you go. So much more
    We stopped had Silver ☕tea. Played cards- cribbage, double solitare. Watch PBS , Mike Douglas, Laurence Welk. Just being herself I learned how to be polite, a lady. Certain things you Just Don’t Do. We went to Church together ❤.
    Later in life, I found out every thing she taught me was Fine French cooking🤔 things she just *wapped* out with no thought
    Choux dough🙄 is a big thing to learn. I did at 7 years.
    Her husband and his family was French.?? I wonder🤔
    Remember she had no internet to look through, no store full of cookbooks. She had 1 green cookbook – not French.
    We would gather the ripe garden things, then open the outside umbrella at her table. Sit on lawn chairs to 🌞Sun our legs and snap green beans while we talked. Everything had a nice flow.
    I think of them every day and *SMILE* 😃.

    1. What lovely memories. You were very fortunate, I think, to have two sets of such wonderful grandparents. I snapped a lot of beans, too. Sitting in a rocker, listening to my grandmother tell stories…ah, memories.

  24. I remember feeling old enough to call my Grandma just Gram and she was delighted.

  25. Excellent interview. Running behind wishing you congratulations on the publication of your novel… may you have much success with it! (don’t put me into the drawing, I’ve already purchased a copy)

  26. My maternal grandparents married in Kansas in 1920 and drove an old jalopy and went camping all over the Southwest for their honeymoon. And later a pilot of a single engine plane developed engine trouble and landed in one of their fields – after he repaired his engine he gave each of them a ride in his plane! (Pretty adventurous for a couple that never rode in a commercial plane until the 1960’s.)

  27. My grandmother was very musical. She played piano & upright bass, among other instruments. I remember standing with my cousins around her piano while she played and sang to us. We’d all join in singing our favorite tunes.
    Grandma is in her mid-90s now and suffering from Alzheimer’s. She no longer plays music and no longer knows who we are. It’s so hard to see her like this. She’s my last living grandparent.
    Looking forward to reading your new book. Would love to read the anthology too!

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