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Sunday, June 5, 2011

BHSV – Laura Bickle Guest Blogs + International Giveaway!

70 Lovely Comments!

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The Alchemy of Summer
By Laura Bickle
Summer is some weird alchemy.
The sun shines fully upon where I stand in North America, chasing away the short, grey days of winter. I can expect a full twelve hours of glorious sunshine. I’m awoken by birds and go to sleep when the frogs and cicadas do. It’s buzzing and teeming with life, light, and sultry green plants.
The seasons have their own alchemy and magical associations that mimic the ebb and flow of life. I use the Tarot a good deal in my work, and those correspondences are present every time I shuffle the deck.
Take fall. Fall is tied to cups, water, blue skies and oceans that mirror that blue. Fall is associated with water, with tides of emotions. I tend to fall in love in autumn, more than any other season. I also associate writing with school (which always began in fall), and try to participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. It helps keep my mind
off of shortening days and draining daylight. But the daylight eventually wanes, and I find that my work creeps along. It changes, even as the fields go fallow.
Winter is often associated with swords, with grey days and ice queens, with the element of air. Air traditionally corresponds with winter, with movement of the mind and intellect. I can incubate some pretty good writing ideas in winter, when the snow’s on the ground and night falls fast…well, when I’m not tempted to go to bed early and hibernate.
Spring belongs to pentacles, to earth and things that flower. It’s the smell of freshly-upturned earth in a garden, the smell of cherry blossoms, the shaking off of snow. It’s about planting and cultivating new possibilities, prosperity. I’m an optimist in spring.
After the sluggishness of winter, I’m ready to implement the new ideas I dreamed about while I was hibernating in winter.
Summer is the season of wands. Wands are associated with the power of creation, with fire. The sun blazes down on a green and verdant earth at the peak of its power. The grass is warm under my bare feet, and I luxuriate in being able to hang laundry outside.
I write a lot about fire, and I was born in summer, so it’s not surprising that it’s my favorite. I love the light, the shimmer of heat on pavement, everything about it. I look forward to driving with my windows down, letting the wind scrape through my hair. I
love wearing sandals and painting my toes.
Most of all, I enjoy writing during summer. It feels like it did when I was back in school, scribbling on summer vacation. This time of year, I’m usually juggling more than one project in summer, watching drafts ripen along with the tomatoes in the backyard.
Everything is lush, bursting with sweetness. And I find that it’s the best time for me to create.
How does summer affect of your creative projects?
Do you read more in summer?
Read different things?
Or is another season your favorite?
Laura Bickle has worked in libraries, criminology, and technology for several years. She lives in the Midwestern U.S. with her chief muse, owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats. Writing as Laura Bickle, she's the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket - Juno Books. Writing as Alayna Williams, she's the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE. More info on her urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here:


By Laura Bickle
Anya Kalinczyk #1
Pocket Juno Books
Mass Market Paperback, $7.99
ISBN: 978-1439167656
April 2010
“One of the most promising debut novels I’ve read in a great while… I’d highly recommend this book to anybody who reads fantasy. It reminds me in many regards…of another exceptional first novel…Emma Bull’s seminal War for the Oaks, and there’s not much higher praise that I can give.” —Elizabeth Bear on Tor.com
Unemployment, despair, anger--visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit's unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.
Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya--who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern--suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil's Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya--with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team --can stop it.
Anya's accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she's risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she's ever faced.
A free excerpt is available here.
EMBERS is available now from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Delphic Oracle #1
Pocket Juno Books
Mass Market Paperback, $7.99
ISBN 978-1439182796
June 2010
DARK ORACLE is a scientific, paranormal read that takes readers on a wild chase. A subtle romance lends to the entertainment this read offers. Tara is a strong female who has many stories till waiting to be told. An interesting new series that is not quite like anything else! (4 stars) -RT Book Reviews
Can an oracle change the future she sees?
Tara Sheridan swore off criminal profiling years ago. By combining Tarot card divination with her own intuition, she narrowly escaped the grasp of a serial killer who left her scarred for life. She put down her cards and withdrew from work and society. Now, Sophia, a member of an ancient secret society connected to the mythic Delphic Oracle, asks Tara to find a missing scientist who has unlocked the destructive secrets of dark energy. Tara resists— she fears reawakening her long-buried talents and blames Sophia’s Daughters of Delphi for the death of her mother. But, grudgingly, she agrees to search for the missing scientist, Lowell Magnusson.
Tara travels to Las Alamos National Laboratory, the location of Magnusson’s disappearance. She meets the serious, impatient, and highly attractive Agent Harry Li— and re-encounters her old partner, Richard Corvus. Corvus is now chief of the Special Projects Division, a position Tera might have held, had she not dropped out of investigative work. Corvus considers Tara mentally imbalanced and not to be trusted—but it may be Corvus who is untrustworthy.
Tara’s investigation and Tarot cards tell her Magnusson’s daughter, Cassie, may hold the key to her father’s plans, and that they both are in grave danger. Meanwhile, Corvus and the Daughters of Delphi have their own plans...and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Read a free excerpt here.
Available now from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
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A SIGNED Copy of “Dark Oracle”

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70 Responses so far.

  1. Birgit says:

    Interesting question ... hmmm, I honestly can't tell whether I read different kinds of books during summer as compared to the rest of the year. What I do know is that I read a lot throughout the whole year and as summer supplies me with more daylight hours I probably do get more reading done as I'm prone to fall asleep once the sun sets *lol*.

  2. Birgit says:

    Hi again,
    just letting you know that the extra entries won't allow to click more than one option!

  3. Lyddz says:

    I haven't noticed any difference in my writing or reading frequency in any season, I just do it. Summer is my favorite season though! I love being warm and toasty!

    And, I did notice the form wouldn't let me add more than one option, so my tally is somewhat less than normal. Oh well, great giveaway!

  4. I never thought of it like that before but I do know I love Spring and Summer, but my reading habits very I usually read more during the Summer months, I don't have to get up early with my teenager for school so the night owl in me stays up even later.

  5. Well, seasons have a big influence on me. In summer I read more because I have time for it, but also write stories with happy endings, because I'm usually in a good mood :) But in winter my stories are sad and they're full of letargy :)
    Thanks for the chance to win :)

  6. Vivien says:

    I don't really have a season of reading. I read all year round. I think I may read more in the winter time, because of the cold. But other than that, I'm not too specific.

  7. Denise Z says:

    Winter, spring, summer, or fall my face is in a book. Summertime gets hot and I don't like the heat so staying cool and reading can be the most wonderful of events for me in the summer time. These books sound wonderful and I thank you for the opportunity to win the giveaway.

  8. Blodeuedd says:

    I would like to be more creative in the summer..but nope. I think the cold makes me more creative

    Not really. I would if I was on holiday but as it is now I am always on "holiday"

  9. I can read (and do read) in almost any season. I tend to read the most in Winter because Iusually get caught up in watching all my favourite TV shows during the Summer. The winter holiday is a week away for me right now and I've got a really really long reading list to catch up on. I look forward to it! Thanks for the opportunity to win these books.


  10. *waves at Laura & Sparky*
    I love winter! There's snow (hopefully), hot chocolate when you return from a long walk in said snow, Christmas, my birthday and lots more cool things.

    And I always get very slow in summer as I'm not good at fighting the heat, so no creative stuff, but lots of reading for me ;-)

  11. Birgit, daylight is a big influence on me, too. I'd make a terrible vampire!

    Lyddz, yay for summer! :-)

    BLHmistress, good for your inner night owl! ;-)

    Vivien, that's a good point. I think my husband reads more in the winter, too.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, DeniseZ! The library where I work is usually cool and shady in the summer, and we're always packed.

    Blodeuedd, I wish I got more accomplished on holidays, but I think my brain shifts into neutral. :-S

    Hi, IdentitySeeker! I tend to watch more television in the winter. I swear I transform into a slug!

    *waves at Sullivan* Many hugs to you from me and from Sparky!

  12. Summer makes me want to be a bit more creative, I think it's all that sunlight. I don't really read more in the summer, I read as much as I can all the time. I usually switch it up between genres as I go, I'll read a historical or two, then some urban fantasy, etc. My favorite season to read is the winter, when it starts being cooler (of course being in Florida it isn't all that cold). It makes me want to curl up with a good book instead of going outside.

  13. Julie S says:

    Since I'm not in school and I work full time, my schedule does not change in the summer. So I do not find that I read more during that time.

  14. Meredith says:

    I'm taking fewer classes during the summer, so I can read more, and will hopefully find a job to help us along. I don't think I read anything different during the summer. I like Spring and Fall better when the temperatures are more moderate (I'm in Florida) because Summer is sometimes unbearably hot here.

  15. Anna says:

    I read the same year round the seasons do not affect me at all I love to read I always have. I even take books to the store with me. Awesome giveaway. THX so much.

  16. Joni S. says:

    My reading tastes are eclectic year round. Right now, I'm reading Odd hours by Dean Koontz and When you are engulfed in flames by Dave Sedaris.

    The majority of my reading is either horror or urban fantasy. I was such a happy camper the day I discovered urban fantasy. That's regardless of the season, and I think I read roughly the same amount.

    The summer heat does have a negative impact on projects I have in motion because I'm usually fairly miserable in the daily heat of Texas.

    Fall is my favorite season, by far, because it's the season with Halloween. I wish there was a Halloween every month.

  17. Hi Laura! *waves*
    I don't think I read differently depending on the season. I always have a big splurge in Dec due to my birthday and Xmas and all the new books I get as gifts, but that's not seasonal - when I lived in UK it was Winter, now I live in Australia it's Summer.

  18. Hi Laura!

    How does summer affect of your creative projects?
    --> I'm a bit more active, working or brainstorming on my many projects that I have around. In the winter my brain turns glum and dark because I absolutely hate the cold, and the frozen land outside makes me simply shut down. I also suffer from that seasonal depression too.

    Do you read more in the summer?
    Ehh, maybe. I love going outside to sit and read.

    Read different things?
    Nope, though I try to mix things up so I don't burn out.

  19. Rachel says:

    These books sound pretty good. I'll have to add them to my TBR list!

  20. Rachel says:

    Winter is actually my fave season. There's something I love so much about it despite the cold. I love rugging up and wearing warm clothes. I find I tend to read more too. There's nothing better than snuggling in a blanket with the heater on and a good book.

  21. I wish I was more creative in the Summer, but I don't have the energy. I find myself doing more in the Winter and Fall, which are my favorite seasons. However, I do read an awful lot in the Summer while hiding from the heat. :)

    These books sound great! Thank you for sharing. :)

  22. I don't read differently season to season. I prefer to have a wide variety in the books I read all the time so I never have set specific books mapped out as "summer" reads or the like.

    I don't read more or less than either I just tend to go with my mood in the moment and I'm probably the least creative person on the planet.

  23. I actually think I read less in the summer because there is so much other stuff going on. I wish I had time to lay out with a book in the sun but I seem so busy with other stuff!

  24. Dovile says:

    I love summer, although I'd say my favorite season is late spring/early summer. I don't read any more different books than all the year round, although probably due to the heat, I like to read something less complicated, and I read a little more as I have more spare time during the summer holidays. I think due to this I'm less busy with other projects, especially knitting, as it's very uncomfortable in the heat.

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  25. How does summer affect of your creative projects?

    I think I get lazier, as I go out a lot more ad do things. But on the other hand summer allows me to pursue different projects from the winter ones.

    Do you read more in summer?

    It doesn't change through the seasons :)

    Read different things?

    I'm conservative in my reading. I know what genres I like and have no desire to read anything else.

    Or is another season your favorite?

    I think spring is my fave. That's when you bubble with new ideas and have drive for new projects. It's time for new beginnings for me.

  26. The summer doesn't really affect me since I still have to work all summer long. I don't read any differently in the summer than I do any other time of the year. I wish I could take off and read more!


  27. Avery says:

    Last summer I read a 709385609286983 books, this summer? Not so much (darn video cameras being installed at work so that I can no longer hide behind the counter and read!). ;)

  28. Julie says:

    I never really noticed it before but I definitely read more in the summer. Going outside to sit in the sun, away from my computer and housework, gives me the excuse to take a book out and just read for as long as I can. I can't just ignore work if I am sitting right beside it, so in the winter I tend to concentrate on what needs to be done instead of taking some time out to enjoy a book :)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  29. Barbara E., there's a lot to be said for curling up with a good book! Especially if there are cats and blankets involved.

    Julie S, I think I still revert back to the habits of being in school. It's odd. Haven't been in school for YEARS.

    Meredith, good luck on the job hunt and your classes!

    Thanks for stopping in, Anna! Always good to hear from a fellow book lover.

    Joni S., I love Halloween, too. It's the only holiday I can get motivated to decorate for!

    Nicki! *waves* Good to see you! Good point about the holiday gifts. There's nothing I like to see in my stocking more that a gift certificate to a book store! ;-)

    Raonaid! *waves* How are you, hon? I'm with you on loving to read outside.

    Thanks, Rachel! There is one good thing about winter, from my perspective...warm clothes hide my pasty bird legs. :-S

    Lieder, another vote for winter and fall. I suspect that I might be an outlier in loving summer, LOL. :-)

    Jessica, I doubt you're the least creative person on the planet. Some of the most creative people I know insist that they are the least creative. ;-)

    TheGirlOnFire, there is a lot of fun stuff in summer. We went rafting a couple of weeks ago...didn't get much reading (or writing) done on that trip!

    Dovile, oooh...you're a knitter! I wish I had the coordination for that. I tried once. The results were very lumpy. :-(

    Kara-karina, I'm with you on spring being the time for new projects. I love that time when the snow has melted and the birds are just beginning to come back.

    Maria, I totally understand - I work summers, too. But there's just something about summer that makes me twelve again. I feel like I should get a bike or something. It's weird.

    Julie - exactly. I have a hard time ignoring work if it's right beside me. Summer makes it easier for me to escape to the yard and pretend that it doesn't exist!

  30. Ash says:

    I read a lot more in the summer since I have no school, and as of yet no job. Because of the lack of restrictions I also find myself test-driving a lot of new genres and authors because I feel as though I have all the time in the world.

  31. Tore says:

    How does summer affect of your creative projects? It doesn't really affect it at all. I think sometimes it makes it better.

    Do you read more in summer? I love reading all year round. Doesn't matter what season it is.

    Read different things? I read different books through out the year.

    Or is another season your favorite? I like Spring and Summer. It is so beautiful during those times. Tore923@aol.com


  32. Ren says:

    Hi Laura! :)

    I live at tropical country, so we just have 2 seasons here, dry and rainy, and the weather is hot all year (with exception, it's a little bit cold at dry season and warm at rainy season). So answer your question above :

    How does summer affect of your creative projects?
    It never affect my creative project, lol. I know summer identical with vacation, but can I say everyday is holiday for me? So I must creative all day :D

    Do you read more in summer?
    I read one book a day, due I'm not too busy, because I work freelance

    Read different things?
    I welcome All genre, and I always try to read different genre a months

    Or is another season your favorite?
    Because just 2 season in my country, I will choose dry season. Yeah it cold, I'm not use to hot weather, lol! But if there are a chance, I would love to experience summer :)

  33. Oh I need to read Embers so badly!! I also read the second book in the Oracle series first so I need the first book now (yes, I read out of order, I'm strange like that!) What a great giveaway!!

  34. Ash, good luck with the job search! And I think I tend to get more experimental in summer, too! ;-)

    Tore, I'm with you on loving the warmer weather!

    Ren, it must be very interesting to have two seasons. Sounds lovely!

    Melissa, I read out of order all the time. ;-) And I try to keep the books I write as stand-alones, so my fellow renegades don't get lost!

  35. Summer doesn't affect my writing much, mostly beacuse I tend to work during the summer, and so I write just as much as any other time of the year. And as such, I don't manage to read more either. It's boring ... I know ...

    My favourite season is Fall, beacause of the beautiful colours that paint the earth at that time of the year. It's a spectacale of colours. For me, it's even more beautiful than the Spring (which is my second favourite season).

  36. well, my country is only have two season.. I really love rainy because I can stayed at my room and reading a book with different genre... hmm lovely!!
    season is never affect my creative project because I must do and think something for my work (everytime.. Gezz!!)
    so, if I must to choose what season I prefer, I would choose rainy season.. I really HATE HOT

  37. -petit says:

    I can't like summer! I CAN'T! I've to stay 14 hours a day in a white coat with long sleeves, jeans, close shoes and socks. EVERYDAY! IN SUMMER x_x' At the least, in winter I get warm with more clothes... XD But I do love heroes born in the summer through. I believe that they're more... strong. In my opinion XD Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  38. Beverly says:

    Summer is great because it gives me the opportunity to read what I want when I want. I work in a 6-12 media center and I read a lot of YA all school year. This year will see me reading more review requests than ever before, but I am still hoping to get a bunch of books off my TBR mountain. Thanks for hosting.

  39. Jenn says:

    How does summer affect of your creative projects? The house is empty and quiet most of the time so I often venture into attempting to write and almost always lose my focus when everyone returns at the end of summer and by Christmas it's another project completely forgotten about.

    Do you read more in summer? Definitely, there's no one here interrupting me because they're being looked at funny or someone broke a rule and they absolutely feel they need to tattle even though no tattling is a rule.

    Read different things?
    Sometimes, it depends on whats in my TBR pile.

    Or is another season your favorite? Other seasons have their perks but summer is the greatest. The only bad thing about summer is for some reason my fiancée feels I have to get older. I try to convince him that he's imagining that I have a birthday in the summer and really I have no birthday at all and do not age, for some reason, he doesn't believe me.

  40. donnas says:

    My reading tastes dont really change in Summer. I tend to read more because I am not as tired though.

  41. Linda says:

    I live in the tropics so don't get to experience the 4 seasons. My reading pattern stays pretty much the same throughout the year.

  42. Aik says:

    Do you read more in summer? Yes. of course! I have more time reading in the holidays.

  43. I would have to say that I definitely read more in the summer. I love to sit outside and enjoy the sun while i read!

  44. Ana, fall is gorgeous. I always feel a bit sad in fall, as the days get shorter.

    florentine, I've never experienced a rainy season...it sounds like a really lovely experience.

    -petit, I'm sorry that we can't break you out of your long sleeves! Maybe you can break out on weekends?

    Beverly, I envy you your chances to read YA and catch up ont he TBR mountain!

    Jenn, I love solitude, too...it seems to feed my creativity more than anything else.

    donnas, I think I have more energy in summer, too.

    Linda, I envy your life in the tropics! I hate ice and snow. :-(

    Aik, holidays are the best!

    Rachel, I go outside to read, too, in the summer. We have some robins that have made a nest near our back patio, so I have company when I read outside!

  45. Cherry says:

    I love spring best of all the seasons. I think it more of the anticipation that summer is coming that I liked most of all about it! :)

    Cherry Mischievous

  46. Good point, Cherry! Spring definitely is the season of hope. :-)

  47. janhvi says:

    thanks for this awesome giveaway and for making it international!

    my summer reading is usually something light and enjoyable and actually my choice of book depends more on my mood rather than the weather:)

    GFC-Janhvi Jagtap
    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  48. Misha says:

    My favourite season is Autumn. I love colorfull trees:D

    And I dont read as much in summer 'cause I don't have much time for it.


  49. JenM says:

    Northern CA can be wet and gray in the winter and foggy and gray in the summer, so there isn't really that much to distinguish the seasons here and they don't really affect me that much. Spring is my favorite though because all the new grass and flowers are sprouting and the hills are beautiful and green.

  50. I read less in the summer. With kids out of school and trying to keep them busy and off eachother's throats takes up a lot of my time. They go to bed later and I like to read when they are sleeping, so my book time is cut down. I love winter when it get's darker early and the kids are in school and it's cold out. Makes me want to snuggle on the couch with a blanket and a book

  51. i dont really have a season. i read the same. i love books, so im constantly reading all the books that i can. thanks for the giveaway!

  52. Midnite says:

    I find that I read more during the summer, but most of that reading is research for whatever project I'm working on.
    It's easier to read in the summer because books/e-readers are much easier to use while laying in a hammock than the laptop.


  53. Heather says:

    The best part of reading in the summer is being able to read outside. I have my favorite lounge chair, and after the sun shifts, so I'm in the shade...its just perfect. :)


  54. Melliane says:

    Summer is the holiday period, so it's a very good time to do what we want. And of course firstly reading !
    I read a lot during summer as i can read outside with the sun or to the beach.

  55. Jeanne says:

    My favorite season is summer♥ I´m always trying to read new books and something different... But I don´t read so often because I really love enjoying summer :)
    Thanks for this giveaway!

  56. Kulsuma says:

    I like spring and winter!

  57. How does summer affect of your creative projects?

    Answer: Summer makes me lazy to do much activity, it's scorching where I live. But that makes my mind efervecent with ideas and inspiration, so it's a good time to write and draft projects.

    Do you read more in summer?
    Read different things?
    Or is another season your favorite?

    Answer: I think I read the same amount year round, but summer does call for a few more relaxed reads to match the season's mood.

    To be honest, though, I love spring more. Brasil is too hot in summer.

    Thanks for making the giveaway international!

  58. anap25 says:

    what is u r next book?what will be story,caracters..etc
    thanks for making the giveaway international
    my id anapintea25@yahoo.com

  59. JessS says:

    I think I probably read less in summer, like I intend to read heaps but end up only reading a little. Personally, I don't like the heat that much, and I guess it's harder to read when it's so hot. I don't really have a favourite season but I guess I like it when it's colder better.


  60. sk_86 says:

    I read a lot in general. Last year I didn't read as much as I wanted to because I had a lot to do for uni. This year I'll definitely read more. In summer I mostly read fluffy contemporary or YA. In winter I'm usually on a thriller bender.


  61. Robin says:

    I read the same kinds of books throughout the year. Summer makes me want to get out and read in the sun by a lake.

  62. Ina says:

    Actually I read more books during winter, when it's cold and dark outside ;)

  63. Gisselle says:

    Thank you so much for the giveaway! YAY!!
    Do you read more in summer? I think I do! lol! I have more timee!
    Read different things? Yes! I love reading about everything that falls in front of me, news papers, magazine, books, but books are my drug! lol!
    Or is another season your favorite? Winter!! Jeez I know a can freeze my but if I spend to much time out, but I cant help it! I like it!
    Thank you for the international giveaway!!


  64. Carmen R says:

    I read the same amount year around and always stick to the same kind of books

  65. Kanya says:

    I'm pregnant right now, so all I want to do is lay in my bed, with air conditioning and a lot of books! Mostly, I read historical or paranormal romance. Love them!
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  66. I love summer mainly because of all the free time I get to READ! but also because it's my birthday season!
    YA books are always my favorite

  67. Pam S says:

    In the summer I like to make lots of salads and cooler treats (ice cream, pops, pudding).

    I do like reading "beach/summer" theme books a bit more in the summer... but my reading is all over the place lol.

    pams00 @ aol.com

  68. My favorite season is fall. I enjoy summer, but it's lost some of its wonder now that I'm not a child and don't get summers off. I don't think my reading is really affected - I probably read about the same.

  69. I find that I read more in the summer because I take a book with me while relaxing on the beach

  70. Spav says:

    I love summer but the constant heat doesn't let me do much during the day. I do have more time to read than in other seasons.

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**As of Today, Feb 24th, This Blog is an Award Free Zone!**

I am sorry! I LOVE the awards you give me and I wish I didn't have to do this, but my blogging schedule in general has not made possible for me to follow the requirements for the awards I receive.

Because of that, I feel that this is for the best.


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