“Some men think there’s a choice between right and wrong. Great men know there is none.”
~ General Steven Randall
With a family history of military service, I’ve learned that believing in something greater, whether it’s the love of God, country, or each other, affects us in powerful ways.
In The Trucker’s Cat, Samantha Randall and Major Logan McCormick have a choice, and they choose not to have one. They will do what’s necessary to prevent the unthinkable—a Presidential assassination. Will their sacrifices be enough to stop the assault?
After a painful divorce, Logan swears off women, but he finds himself drawn to Samantha’s uplifting spirit and genuine smile. As an Army brat, Samantha is naturally attracted to Logan’s bravery and rough exterior.
On their mission, they discover their motives are the same. Will they let their hearts expand from the joy of that connection? Will Logan keep his loneliness a secret and do nothing, or will Sam see through his rigid manner?
Find out in The Trucker’s Cat on Amazon
This romantic adventure with a patriotic theme is on SALE for ONLY $0.99.
Today, I’m featuring a short story written by my brother, James. I’d like to think my passion for writing is rubbing off on him…
The Birds of Winter
By James Bennett
I knew returning to Michigan was going to be hard. Under these circumstances perhaps even harder. It had just started to snow as I arrived at my mother’s house. A gust of cold wind blew across my neck as I made my way to the door. She was ready with a glass of wine and a deck of cards hoping to make up some lost time. It’s been tough for her since her father died two months ago. Especially on Sunday when we used to gather for the traditional family dinner.
We sat down at the kitchen table and had time for a few games before my brother and sisters arrived. “Gin again,” my mother said as she slapped down her cards. I had never quite got the hang of the game she taught us when we were kids. She left me there to shuffle the cards as she journeyed to refill her drink.
Just then a cloud passed overhead and cast a shadow on the room. When I glanced outside I noticed a bright red Cardinal staring at me from the feeder. I was mesmerized by his flickering motion and instantly transported on a memory to my grandfather’s house. I was six years old standing perfectly still in a foot of snow with my arms outstretched. Wrapped in a faded purple snowsuit that was handed down from my sister, I waited patiently.
I remember my grandfather telling me that if I was perfectly still, they would come. And as the minutes passed, standing there trying not to shiver from the cold, they came. I was hypnotized by the movement, watching them dart back and forth. I could see them jump around on the different feeders hanging from the small maple tree. They would jump from a branch to the feeder and back again waiting for their turn. Sometimes they would light in the huge black walnut tree just down the hill and sometimes they would seem to appear out of nowhere. I knew each type of bird. My mother and grandfather both taught me the difference between Sparrows, Wrens, Finches and a dozen others.
Finally, it happened. First a Chickadee, then another, then a Wren and two sparrows. They took turns hopping in and out of my hands taking a bit of seed each time. Their tiny feet felt like snowflakes dancing in my hand. I’ve never felt closer to nature.
“What are you staring at?” my mother said as she returned with her drink.
“I was just remembering when grandpa taught us how the birds could eat out of our hands.”
“I haven’t thought about that for years. What made you think of that?”
“I just noticed the birds outside on your feeder. Do they stick around all winter?”
“Of course,” she said.
“But, don’t most birds migrate for the winter? What makes these stay though the harsh bitter cold months?”
“Well, because, this is their home and this is where their families are.” After a moment, we both smiled at each other.
“Now deal the cards,” she said.
Thanks again for stopping by. Did you enjoy the story?
Let James know in the comments.
Happy 2017—a Year of Kindness & Encouragement!
“Synchronicity happens when you align with the flow of the Universe rather than insisting the Universe flows your way.” – Akemi G
I finally finished Searching for Her, an anthology of short stories about Joe Roberts from The Chemical Attraction Series. Each story shares secrets about Joe’s family, secrets that aren’t revealed anywhere in the novels.
Throughout the seven shorts, Joe gradually loses faith that he’ll find his one. Convinced that Madeline Pierce is his perfect match, Joe’s sisters push for a connection between them. Each time they force a meeting, it backfires in a big way. With synchronicity keeping them apart, Joe and Madeline are unaware God’s Plan for them is grander.
“Purple Roses” is my favorite of the bunch, which isn’t surprising. I love all the poignant scenes between Joe and Madeline’s Aunt Sylvia. Over coffee, they ponder Tennyson’s quote, ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Joe wants his life to be better, but he’s tired of searching.
I’ll share the anthology for FREE in a few months when The Kindred Code, the next book in the Series, is released. In the meantime, sign up for my NEWSLETTER. Not only will you be the first to read the anthology, you’ll qualify for giveaways and special promotions.
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Thank you for your support and Happy New Year.
Tuesday, December 31st
When the side door to the singlewide trailer slammed shut, Brianna Carlson sighed with relief. In her cramped bedroom, she bounced her eleven-month-old half-sister, Chloe, on her hip to keep her quiet. Her mom and Wayne had argued all afternoon. The fight had escalated, and they blamed her.
While she waited for the door to jar the trailer again, she gazed into the mirror propped on top of her worn dresser. Between caring for Chloe and getting ready, it had taken two hours to style her hair into a loose bun with long brown ringlets. Now, strands of it fell around her heart-shaped face.
She picked up the paper cup next to her brush. She had wanted to put the tiny silk rosebuds throughout. Not now, and it would take forever to comb out the hairspray.
Sidestepping the crib wedged between the wall and her bed, she listened at the door. She slowly cracked it open. The dark wood paneling and water-stained ceiling tiles trapped the tension along with the lingering scent of cigarette smoke. The drawn shades with frayed edges mimicked her hidden life.
Bree didn’t hear her stepfather; she saw her torn pale pink princess dress draped over his greasy plaid recliner. Well, that just confirmed it. She wasn’t leaving tonight. After shifting Chloe to her other hip, she checked the dress. Maybe she could repair it.
When she heard the refrigerator door open and the clink of beer bottles, she winced and hugged her sister closer to her chest. Chloe seemed to sense her anxiety and whimpered as they faced Wayne Miller. His sweat-stained t-shirt uncovered his hairy gut as he chugged his beer from the kitchen doorway.
He rubbed his stubble and belched. “Jesus, Bree. You just couldn’t watch the baby for one night? You pushed her over the edge. She ain’t coming back this time.”
“I watch the baby every night. I wanted to go to the New Year’s Eve Ball with Lucy.”
“Now, nobody’s going,” he said.
“It’s not my fault. I asked months ago.”
His hand clenched into a fist. She braced herself and turned the baby away. The full force of his fist smashed into her cheek. The sharp pain shot through her head and down her neck as he wrenched it to the side. A flash of light behind her eyes blinded her. She would have fallen to the floor, but the back of the shabby sofa kept her upright. Afraid of dropping Chloe, she gripped her tighter. Her sister wailed, and Bree’s eye swelled.
“It is your fault,” he growled, before depositing his empty bottle on the counter with the others.
With blurred vision, she staggered back to her bedroom. When the side door slammed shut, she blew out a breath. That was her fault. She should have waited a while longer. Gently bouncing her sister, Bree hummed to keep herself from sobbing.
With her stepdad gone for the night and her mom gone for good, the thick tension dissipated within their dumpy trailer at Hilton’s Trailer Park in Rushing, Michigan. Chloe immediately stopped crying and wrapped her tiny arms around Bree’s neck.
In the kitchen, Brianna reached for a bag of peas from the freezer. “Don’t worry, my sweet Clover. I’ll never leave you.”
Slightly dizzy, Bree sat at the kitchen table and turned the baby around. Chloe grabbed the spoon from the edge of the round table while Bree held the peas against her cheek. She cringed from the cold pain. The side of her face throbbed. Closing her eyes, she frowned at the disappearing possibilities.
“No use waiting any longer,” she said, taking the end of the spoon out of Chloe’s mouth.
She set the baby in her playpen and handed her the bag of peas. Chloe stuck a corner into her mouth and smiled as it numbed her sore gums. Brianna dialed her best friend, Lucy Donovan, who lived in the big house on the hill next to the golf course.
“Bree, are you ready? How do the roses look in your hair? Robert will pick you up at seven-thirty. He has your ticket.”
“Well, he can let someone else have it. I can’t go,” she replied, forcing herself not to cry.
“No! Bree! You got permission months ago. What happened?”
“Apparently they forgot. You go and have fun. I want to hear all about it tomorrow.”
“I think it sucks, especially on your birthday.”
“My birthday isn’t until tomorrow so it doesn’t count.” She grimaced as she touched her puffy cheek.
“We were pretending that it was your Sweet Sixteen Coming Out party,” Lucy pouted.
“It’s not a big deal. There’s always next year.”
“All right, well, we’re having a family dinner for Robert tomorrow before he leaves. You can come and bring Chloe, too.”
“Sure, Lucy. Call me tomorrow.”
Bree wouldn’t go. She’d get too many sympathetic looks from Lucy’s family. Paul and Marta Donovan welcomed her into their home, but she caught the glimpses. She was the scruffy kitten they fed on their back doorstep.
Lucy had been her best friend since kindergarten. She didn’t care that Bree wore clothes from Goodwill. They bonded over each other’s hair. Bree was fascinated with Lucy’s short blond curls, and Lucy liked to brush Bree’s thick brown mane like her dolls. Bree didn’t mind. It was soothing and quite funny that someone envied her.
Through the years, Lucy tried every type of expensive shampoo to make her blond hair stronger and longer. She jokingly begged her for the secret. Bree’s secret was a ninety-nine cent bottle of Suave shampoo and her dad’s genetics. He had a thick head of hair. That’s what she was told anyway. He left when she was four. A distant memory now. She wallowed in self-pity for a few more minutes and then saw Chloe covered in mashed peas.
“Oh, Clover. What have you done?” Chloe smiled and held out a pea for her. Bree laughed and lifted her out of the playpen. “You made a mess. I hope they were good.”
Chloe shoved one into Bree’s mouth and giggled. Her mood lightened as her sister fed her the mashed peas off her shirt, her arms, her hair. While she took her time cleaning Chloe and the peas, she thought about the party.
For the last month, she imagined that it was in honor of her sixteenth birthday. She had saved her money from her part-time job at Mason’s Diner and had found the dress at a second-hand store. She loved the frilly pink ruffles. Now, her ripped dress lay across the recliner.
While Chloe played in her clean playpen, Bree hung her pink pretty in the closet. After one last look, she sighed. She had hoped to dance with Lucy’s brother, Robert. Five years younger, she’d had a crush on him since she was in the fifth grade.
Years ago, Robert had picked her and Lucy up after school. He had just gotten his driver’s license and wanted to show off his new car. As she and Lucy walked toward him, one of the boys in her class made fun of her watercolor artwork and tore it in half. After yelling at the boy, Robert said he liked the picture. He had asked for it and had carefully put the ripped pieces next to his seat as if a priceless possession. She had never felt so proud to have someone like her art. She would always remember that feeling and has secretly loved him ever since.
She smiled. Her imagination usually exceeded her reality. She figured it’s supposed to work that way. With her friend’s play by play, she could still enjoy the party. Lucy’s bubbly personality and dramatic views amused her. Lucy lived in a happy mystical world.
With another sigh, she returned to the living room and picked up the baby. “Okay, my sweet Clover, it’s time for bed. Tomorrow is a new year full of hope and adventure.”
As the ache permeated through the rest of her body, she slowly sat in the rocker and hummed to her fussy sister. She loved the quiet trailer. For an hour, she held Chloe while she slept in her arms. Chloe needed her, and Bree promised to be there for her, always. Her little sister would never feel her pain.
Hearing a tap on the side door, she looked up. Robert peeked through the glass. She wiggled her finger for him to come in. He carefully opened the door so as not to wake the baby.
He had just graduated college with degrees in both business and art and would be leaving for Italy tomorrow. He wanted to travel to find authentic art designs for Donovan’s Jewelry, his family’s business.
In a black tuxedo with pale pink shirt and bow tie, he had slicked back his light brown hair into a short ponytail. His green eyes narrowed. His jaw clenched.
She flinched. “Robert, I’m sorry. Lucy was supposed to tell you I couldn’t go,” she quickly whispered.
“What the hell happened to your eye?”
She shushed him as Chloe stirred. She had forgotten about it until now. It ached, but she was used to her stepfather’s fist and her mother’s hand. He folded his arms and waited. She stood stiffly. Not seeing clearly, she banged her shin into the coffee table. Biting her lip to keep from gasping aloud, she put the baby in the crib. She cracked the door and turned to face him.
“I’m sorry you made the trip here for nothing,” she whispered.
“Did Wayne do that?”
She nodded. He lightly lifted her chin for a better look at her eye. Her pain lessened. His concern touched her. She didn’t dare say anything for fear of crying. He growled and tugged her hand toward the kitchen. After sitting her in the chair, he retrieved the half bag of mashed peas that had refrozen into a hard block.
“What happened?” he asked in a slightly calmer tone.
She pressed the bag against her cheek and shook her head.
“I’m going to give him his own black eye,” he said.
“Please, don’t. It’ll only make things worse,” she replied.
“I’ll call Chief Mason,” he said, pulling his cell from his pocket. “Wayne can rot in jail.”
She sighed. “For a couple of days? Then what? I’ll be fine.”
She hoped she’d be fine. She wasn’t sure what would happen now with her mom gone. She’d have to rely on Wayne until she graduated high school. Maybe she could pick up more hours at the diner. And what about Chloe? Who would watch her while she went to school and work?
Sitting across from her, he stared. She broke the long silence. “You’re going to miss the party,” she said.
“You think I care about the damn party now? Can you even see out of your eye?”
“I have the other one.” She smiled. The fact that he was mad made her feel better.
“It’s not funny, Anna.”
“Don’t call me that.” She tossed the clump of re-thawed peas in the trash. After pushing the empty bottles and a full ashtray back from the edge of the countertop, she leaned against it.
“Why? It’s your name. Bree is too flaky and whimsical. Anna is grown up and fits your personality better.”
“Like an elderly aunt?”
He laughed. “Like a sixteen year old who’s taking good care of her sister.”
She wanted to tell him about her situation but held back. Why bring him down? What good would it do? He was leaving for an adventure tomorrow. Hiding her frown, she retrieved a small tatty ring box from her purse. She handed it to him.
He grinned. “Are you proposing?”
“Certainly not, I’m a mess. It’s a going-away present. Just promise to save it for the plane.”
“You’re not coming to dinner tomorrow?” he asked as he slipped it into his tuxedo pocket. When she shook her head, he held out a slightly larger sparkling red box. “Then Happy Birthday.”
She gaped as he set it in her cupped hands. The lovely box had a bright white bow on the top. The tag read To Anna from Robert.
He laughed. “Anna, it’s not a snake. It won’t bite.”
“Thank you,” she whispered as she carefully lifted the top. She caught her breath. “Oh my, it’s stunning but way too expensive. I can’t accept this.” She held out the box for him.
“Of course, you can,” he replied, taking the gold heart locket out of the box. Swirls of etched ivy covered the front and back. A heart-shaped emerald gleamed in the center. He placed the chain over her head and stood back to admire it. “It’ll match your one green eye,” he said with a grin.
Her hand trembled as she touched it. “It’s the nicest gift I’ve ever gotten.” It was actually the only gift. Born to alcoholic parents on January first had its drawbacks. They slept off the hangovers for the full day. “But it’s too much, Robert.”
“If you want to make it even, you can write to me at the villa.”
“I can do that.”
“I’ll expect a letter every few weeks that’s at least two pages long. You can fill me in on Lucy’s antics,” he said, reaching for her hand. “This is my big chance to prove myself. You understand, right?”
She nodded and held her other hand over her locket. “Thank you,” she whispered again.
Taking a step closer, he leaned down and kissed her. Her mind went numb, but her toes tingled. She didn’t want him to stop. He gently pulled her against him. She parted her lips letting him taste her. His tongue sent a wave of warmth throughout her body. She didn’t realize kissing was a pain reliever. Her cold body wanted to hide in the safety of his embrace.
“Robert. Please. Don’t leave me, too,” she silently begged.
He let her go and played with a long ringlet by her ear. “Oh, Anna, even with one eye, you’re still the prettiest girl I know. I’ll miss you,” he said, before leaving.
Standing alone in the middle of the room, she closed her eyes. A profound sadness settled over her heart. She wept.
Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Samantha Randall from The Trucker’s Cat. With an emerald green eye and a cobalt blue one, this vibrant young woman has the agility of a cat. Today, she gives us a bit of her background.
CHRISTINA: Thanks for joining me, Samantha. Let’s start with your family. Tell us about them.
SAMANTHA: Well, my mother divorced my dad when I was ten and then married Russian Ambassador Dmitri Demas. For now, I live with them at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. My father was a U.S. Army General, who advised the President. He passed away two years ago. I miss him, but I’d like to think he’s watching over me. His best friend, Bear, is like my uncle. He’s big and burly. Over the years, I’ve picked up many of his bad habits and mannerisms. He tells it like it is, and I try to emulate that.
CHRISTINA: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Have you achieved the goal?
SAMANTHA: I wanted to be a ballerina. I had an opportunity to audition for Julliard once, but a broken leg at my father’s funeral prevented it. Right now, I teach dance to grade schoolers at the local elementary. Someday, I’d like to own a dance studio.
CHRISTINA: It’s a silly question, but what would we find under your bed?
SAMANTHA: Nothing, not even dust bunnies. My mother’s a stickler for cleanliness. To avoid her wrath, I keep my room tidy. I don’t spend much time there though. I’m usually dancing in the embassy’s ballroom.
CHRISTINA: Do you have any pet peeves?
SAMANTHA: Oh yes, and it’s a doozy. I’m disgusted when people display torn and ratty American flags. I confront those culprits every chance I get. It’s a disgrace, and I think it disrespects all the men and women, who serve under it. My Uncle Bear would say, “That burns my butt.” I agree wholeheartedly.
CHRISTINA: Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying
SAMANTHA: Some men think there’s a choice between right and wrong. Great men know there is none. My father gave a famous speech at a military function and that quote was part of it. I’ve taken those simple words to heart. It’s pushing me to make some difficult decisions.
CHRISTINA: Like what?
SAMANTHA: Well, I uncovered vital information that affects our national security and I need to get trek cross-country to give it to the right person although I’m not sure who he is yet, but I’ll find him no matter the cost to me.
CHRISTINA: Be careful and good luck.
Don’t miss out on this patriotic adventure.
The Trucker’s Cat Blurb
“Some men think there’s a choice between right and wrong. Great men know there is none.”
~General Steven Randall
In The Trucker’s Cat, Samantha Randall and Major Logan McCormick believe in a common value that takes on extraordinary meaning.
At the Russian Embassy where she lives with her mother and stepfather, Samantha uncovers a plot to assassinate the President. Her father’s famous speech urges her to act. She treks cross-country to warn the driver that his cargo has the proof, but she finds herself stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Driving a truck on a special military assignment, Logan sees no choice and rescues Sam from a bloated lecher. Against protocol, he gives the wildcat a ride. With Russian soldiers searching for Logan’s cargo and another team chasing Samantha, they quickly realize they must work together. Making sacrifices for the greater good, they will do what’s necessary to prevent the unthinkable.
With a family history of military service, I wrote The Trucker’s Cat, a fast-paced romantic adventure with a patriotic theme.
After hearing the brave stories about my father and grandfather, I learned that believing in something greater, whether it’s the love of God, country, or each other, affects us in powerful ways. I enjoyed writing about the emotional workings of our mind and heart and the spiritual energy that taps into our passions.
In The Trucker’s Cat, Samantha Randall and Major Logan McCormick, inspired by General Randall’s patriotic speech, do what’s necessary to prevent the unthinkable—a Presidential assassination.
Leaving the Russian Embassy where she lives with her mother and stepfather, Samantha treks cross-country to warn the driver that his cargo has the proof, but she finds herself stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Driving a truck on a special military assignment, Logan sees no choice and rescues Sam from a bloated lecher. Against protocol, he gives the wildcat a ride. With Russian soldiers searching for Logan’s cargo and another team chasing Samantha, they quickly realize they must work together. Their belief in a common value takes on extraordinary meaning.
Although I’ve created these characters, I’m also inspired by them. That’s why I dedicated The Trucker’s Cat to the servicemen in my family:
Lieutenant Colonel John Bunyan Bennett, M.D., United States Army (WWI, WWII)
Parachute Rigger 1st Class LeRoy Stewart Thompson, United States Navy (WWII)
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Hershall Floyd Bennett, United States Marines (Korean War)
Senior Airman James Hershall Bennett, United States Air Force
Corporal Caleb Weyrick-Greene, United States Marines (Afghanistan)
Senior Airman David Stuart Thompson, United States Air Force
Do you know a military serviceman or woman who inspires you? Please share their name and rank. I would love to acknowledge them and their service. Thanks for stopping by today.
It’s officially FALL!!!
Pumpkin everything, hot chocolate, colorful leaves, and holiday season! The icing on the cake? BOOKS!
For the first time ever, ALL 48fourteen eBooks are on sale for $0.99. There’s something for everyone!
Our books on Amazon-> http://amzn.to/2dkJbio
Share with all of your book-loving friends!
(Sale is exclusive to Amazon, and will end on September 29, 2016. Due to file size, there are two eBooks we could not price lower than $1.99.)
I still tap into my holistic training with my writing. It’s a theme throughout my novels because the healing power of Love is incredibly profound. I’m constantly in awe of the mind, body, and spirit connection especially when our environment is involved. I’m talking about Feng Shui, one of the eight modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Feng Shui is the enhancement of the energy (Qi) in your surroundings to attract prosperity. Flowing through all living things, Qi is the spirit or vital force that carries your body—the way you appear, act, move, talk. When you’re healthy, your Qi flows gently within your body. Problems occur when the Qi is blocked or moves too swiftly along its pathways.
Your environment affects your Personal Qi. Has someone’s mean comment ever soured your mood? Qi becomes blocked. How did you feel after receiving praise from your boss? Your positive energy increases. Your Home Qi also affects you. When stressed do you ever reach for your favorite warm blanket, put on your favorite sweatshirt, or fix a cup of tea using your favorite mug? The things that surround you can either comfort you or stress you.
Are you skeptical? Is it too New Agey for you? Let me put it in another context. Professional sports teams rely on Feng Shui, paying millions of dollars to make improvements. What? I’m talking about Home Field Advantage. “The energy of the crowd …” “The cheers energizing the players …” If you’ve ever been to a home game for any sport, you know what I’m talking about. How do you explain it?
Well, with Feng Shui, you surround yourself with the things that make you feel good. Your favorite chair overlooking the backyard full of trees is calming and relaxing. Your child’s artwork on the refrigerator puts a smile on your face. On the other hand, do you still have a piece of furniture you bought with your ex? How do you feel when you see it? If you remember the good times, keep it. If it brings up feelings of bitterness and resentment, get rid of it, and then see how you feel. There’s an intangible reason we shove all our ex’s things into a box to give back. Negativity does not attract abundance.
You don’t have to rearrange your whole house or dangle chimes at an angle from your southeast corner. Surrounding yourself with those favorite things creates positive energy.
Look around. What do you see? How does it make you feel?
My empathetic husband, Kraig, is one of the few people in my world that sees daily the joys and struggles I have as a writer. To support me and all the other writers out there, he wrote the following blog post:
When I talk to friends, relatives, and co-workers, quite often the discussion turns to my wife and her novels. Many say, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” I reply, “It’s a lot of work and takes up a lot of your time.” However, I’m not sure it completely describes what I see every day.
Creating stories and characters is an amazing process. In 2005, I suffered a job loss with a company I was with for 22 years. I was depressed. Christina encouraged me to look for new opportunities, one of which was writing. I, too, thought I could do it. Cheering me on, she wrote down her ideas, while I jotted down mine. She embraced the challenge. I, on the other hand, wasn’t as into it as much as she was. With desire and determination, she continued writing. I realized how passionate she was when I suggested killing off one of her characters as a story twist. Dumb idea … I made her cry.
After making improvements with her story line and her writing skills, she finally sent queries to agents and publishers. Then, one night she woke me from a deep sleep. She received an offer from Juanita Samborski, the publisher at 48fourteen. What an exciting time! Her hard work was paying off. Her next step was learning about book promotion. Putting herself out there by writing, tweeting, facebooking, blogging, and book signing takes a courage I don’t possess. She pushes herself every day, so she can be the best she can be while I prefer my safe, quiet, and comfortable haven.
I, now, have a new reply for all those who want to write a novel. “Passion and courage are the #1 and #2 Must-Haves when writing.”
I’ve also learned that sometimes you don’t realize how hard conveying a sentiment is until you try to write it …
Written by Kraig Thompson, husband of an author, which makes me Awesome by Association
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