My 2018 Writing Plans

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This will be an incredibly short post. Why? Because the only solid writing plans I have for 2018 is to publish EVO Ghost. I have a release date… 01/03/18!!

After the release, I will probably work on The Red Archer, Indigo Flame #2, but I won’t make any commitments to it for 2018. Whatever happens happens. I might use April’s CampNaNo to finish my new novella, but again, no commitments in regards to a 2018 release. I will not be participating in July’s CampNaNo or November’s NaNoWriMo this year.

Keep your eyes peeled for ARC reviewer call outs for EVO Ghost in the very near future. I can’t believe this trilogy is drawing to a close. It has been quite the journey. I started writing pieces of EVO Nation way back in 2011, really set my mind to it in 2013/14, and published in 2015. Now, in 2018, Teddie’s conclusion is here.

 

 

Thank you for your continued support.


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

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Guest Post: Kayla Krantz on Overcoming Self Doubt.

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I hope everyone who celebrates has had a fantastic Christmas and not worked too hard over the festive period. Writerly Bookish Stuff has been quiet for a few days, but is now back with a bang. I have the pleasure of hosting author, Kayla Krantz, and she is here to discuss that dreaded self doubt and how to overcome it.

Over to you, Kayla…


Overcoming Self-Doubt

Doubt—a writer’s greatest enemy. At one time, every writer (even the greats), have doubted their ability to wield a pen and create something worth reading.

Don’t believe me? Check this quote from Stephen King:

“I’m afraid of failing at whatever story I’m writing—that it won’t come up for me, or that I won’t be able to finish it.” ~Stephen King, Rolling Stone Interview (2014)

So, what can you do?

First and foremost, accept that you’re going to have those doubts and acknowledge the fact that you ARE a writer. Even if you haven’t been published. From the moment you pick up a pen, you’re a writer…even if you just write for yourself! If it makes you happy, then it’s worth the wiggle of discomfort that it may give you.

For all the books that I’ve written, I still feel self-doubt almost every time I launch a new book. When I’m waiting to hear back from my betas, I literally hold my breath when a new email comes in with feedback. The very first book I launched back in 2016, Dead by Morning, was my pride and joy. I had a lot of fun writing it and didn’t really begin to worry about it until editing came. Re-reading the content, I began to wonder how people would perceive it and if I should release it out into the world. Even to this day I still have doubts about the story and whether someone else could’ve written it better. It’s a thought I wrestle with every time the book receives a review of less than three stars but I keep it out in the world because I poured my heart into it.

Self-doubt is a sign of a good writer! When people have just a hint of doubt, they’re more likely to reach out and get advice and support. This leads to stronger and better stories in the end and possibly more networking opportunities for the writer. Writers who are over-confident have a tendency to believe their story is perfect from the first draft and that they won’t have to work on revisions—these are often the stories that need the most work.

When you pick up a pen and feel that self-doubt creep in, push it to the back of your mind and write! Every writer will have their lows where they wonder if their story is good enough to go out into the world and it is! Will it be perfect at first? Of course not, but that’s what revision and supportive friends are for! There are a number of fantastic writing sources online geared to help you perfect your manuscript.

And guess what?

All the people in these groups have struggled with self-doubt of their own so they understand exactly where you’re coming from. Sometimes, connecting with people who understand your feelings on that deep of a level can be the perfect way to help you overcome it as well.

You might think that meeting certain goals such as getting a number of reviews, being traditionally published, or winning an award may give you more confidence. And it might. For a while at least. But that self-doubt will begin to creep back in and you’ll go through the same cycle all over again. For a writer, it’s just the nature of the beast.

The number one cure to self-doubt is to write and keep writing! Write your heart out and use that self-doubt to pour all your emotions and vulnerable pieces of yourself into your characters, your world. The more of yourself you put into your work, the more realistic it will be after all.

Never let your self-doubt bring you away from writing. If you have an idea, put it down on paper no matter what the little voice in the back of your head says.

In the end, it will be worth it. I promise!


14006736Proud author of Dead by Morning, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.

Where to find Kayla and her books:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon

Blog

NaNoWriMo 2017

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Welcome to December, folks. I’m so ready for the Christmas season. I just love it!!!!

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Anyway, back to the post. This past month has been NaNoWriMo crazy. I bet those who haven’t participated are sick of it by now. Those of you who did have a bash at it, I hope you’re happy with the results.

I made it to 11k words. Not great, but I’m okay with that. NaNo was always going to take second place to my EVO Ghost edits. I managed to finish the edit, and now, I’m prepping to send copies to my betas. Whoop!

I had a weird month in regards to my NaNo writing. I started off writing a science fiction novel, and finished writing a zombie comedy. I can safely say that I’m happy with the concepts for both, but it just wasn’t the right time for writing my science fiction story. The narrative was too serious and dark to be writing alongside the EVO Ghost edit. I needed something a little more light hearted to balance it out.

If you like Zombie Playlist, I reckon you’ll like this new one. I’ve already got a title that has well and truly stuck, but more on that in the future.

Here’s an excerpt of my Zombie novella:

“What brings you all the way to Hero Fest?” I ask.

“I used to do L.A.R.P. You know, live action role play,” she replies.

All three of us scoff.

“Of course, we know what L.A.R.P is,” Milton replies.

“Well, there was a terrible accident, and the organisers couldn’t continue. Health and safety reasons, they said.”

“What happened?”

“We used to use farmland offered by a local farmer whose son was a Warlock. The land bordered an estate house, but that was strictly out of bounds. One guy tried to scale the fencing into the estate, and well, there’s no nice way to say this… He got impaled.”

Milton, Hugh, and I gasp.

“…Up the asshole.”

“Holy Yoda.” My own clenches in sympathy.

She sighs. “You just can’t continue with an event once someone gets impaled up the asshole, can you?”


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Guest Post: Rebecca Howie on Overcoming Writer’s Block

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Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming the author of The Game Begins, Rebecca Howie, to Writerly Bookish Stuff.  Rebecca is here to talk about the dreaded writer’s block and how to overcome it.

Over to you, Rebecca…


Overcoming Writer’s Block

Let’s be honest: being a writer isn’t easy. From bad reviews, nit-picking beta readers who make you feel like a wanna-be sham, and spending hours formatting your shiny new novel for Createspace only to have it rejected because of the margin sizes, it’s easy to see why some people decide to pack it up and keep on at their day job.

But before you reach the final stage, before you hit PUBLISH and send your book baby out into the world to fend for itself, you’ve got to write that first draft. And while you’re at it, you’re probably going to come across writer’s block.

I was lucky enough when writing my first novel to avoid it, but that was only because I didn’t actually know I was writing a novel until I was halfway through and thought ‘Screw it, I’m going to publish it’. But on my second visit into Sam’s world, it hit me, and for almost half a year, I couldn’t get anything written.

I knew I wanted to write a second book; I knew I wanted it to be a sequel to The Game Begins. And I knew that I wanted it to touch on the previous book’s events instead of pretending like nothing bad had happened. But could I write it?

(That answer is obvious if you make a visit to my blog and see my lack of writing updates, and that up until October, had the release date for my second book as ‘Coming Soon’.)

So, how do you overcome writer’s block? What possible solution can there be when you haven’t written a single word in almost a year?

Here are some of the things I try, and sometimes find helpful.

Take a Break

Accepting that you’re stuck isn’t actually the be-all and end-all of your WIP. Taking a break, even for just a few hours, might be all you need to get focussed on your story and the scene that’s trying to derail you.

Consult Your Notes

Keeping a note of the ideas that come to you at three in the morning is a great idea for finding inspiration, and if you already have a few notebooks filled with your sleep-deprived ramblings, now might be a good time to take a look.

Who knows? Maybe the next NYT bestseller is in there somewhere.

Read/ Watch TV

This might be the only time procrastinating isn’t a bad idea, but reading someone else’s book is a great way of getting your creative juices flowing. It can help you with pacing your novel, character development, and even when to end a chapter (which I struggled with a bit at the start of this new book).

Watching TV, on the other hand, is another great way to get ideas for your story. And when I was writing a particularly tricky scene in A Woman Scorned, I turned to ABC’s Castle for help with portraying the symptoms of PTSD, because I knew that one of its characters had gone through something similar to my own.

Rewrite

I know the last thing you want to hear is ‘rewrite’, but taking a second run at the WIP that’s trying to psyche you out might just be the thing you need to work out the plot hole that’s been bugging you, or changing the tone or pace or point-of-view to turn the story into the one you’ve actually been wanting to write from the beginning.

Stop

If all else fails, stop. Don’t justify forcing yourself to write, or making yourself sick with the stress of it. I lost count of how many false starts I made while trying to write AWS, and although I have a folder filled with character notes and defunct plot points, I’m happier with the characters now than I was when I started all those earlier attempts, so moving on to a different plot or story might just be the thing which gets you back on track.


Rebecca Howie is a procrastinating writer from Scotland, who prefers spending her time in fictional worlds rather than the real one.

She self-published her first novel, The Game Begins, at 18, and it reached 2nd in the Teen and Young Adult Detective category on Amazon after its release in February 2016.

Where to find Rebecca Howie and her book:

Amazon

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads


For use of the content in this post, permission must be sought from the author, Rebecca Howie.

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Update 06/11/17

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I’ve had a much more productive month than the last two. Not everything I missed last month got finished this month, but I’m happy with where I am at.

EVO Ghost

I finished what turned out to be a MAMMOTH, structural edit. Wow, that really was one of the hardest edits I’ve ever done. I’m blaming it on Ghost being the third in the trilogy. Everything has to play out, tie up, and have a grand finale feel about it. I put the pressure on myself big style.

I still have pages of notes to implement from the read through of books one and two, and notes I jotted down during the first edit, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Guest Posts

Another two fabulous authors guest posted on Writerly Bookish Stuff this month. Don’t worry if you missed them, here are the links:

Katie Masters: Creating Well Rounded Antagonists.

Sarina Langer: Bullet Journals.

NaNoWriMo

I was adamant that I wasn’t going to participate in NaNo, but I was struck by sudden inspiration and characters who kept pestering me. I told myself that even if I don’t get to 50k words in a month, I will be further than I would have been if I left the story unwritten. I’m trying to hit my daily targets in the mornings, so I’m free to get back to the EVO Ghost edits in the evenings.

What’s Next?

First and foremost, the EVO Ghost edits will continue. I would like to have sent the manuscript to my proofreader by the end of the year. NaNoWriMo has to come second to this, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try my hardest to hit that 50k.

Guest posts

November brings with it another two fabulous authors to Writerly Bookish Stuff:

Nov 10th: Brianna West on The Importance of a Book Cover.

Nov 24th: Rebecca Howie on Overcoming Writer’s Block.

Zombie Playlist Paperback

I’ve swiped all previous goals for the completion of the paperback. It’s almost ready, but if you haven’t realised it yet, I do everything arse about face. It’ll get done… eventually.


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Picture Prompt 27/09/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

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“What is the meaning of this, Argento? Why are you shirtless?” grumbles Elder Wendall. He steps up to me, chewing his lips. “And who is this?”

Argento bows to the Wergal. “I apologise for my state of undress. I was sunbathing on the boat before the storm hit. This is Lorelei. I found her in the lake.” The crowd murmurs to each other. “She has a Sacred Sphere. It saved our lives.”

Elder Wendall steps away in surprise. “Impossible.”

I hold open my palm, showing him the orb of swirling colour. “Can you help me get home?” I ask. A loud gasp resounds throughout the hall at the sight of the sphere.

Elder Wendall snatches the sphere from my palm and eyes it eagerly. The colour fades, and the orb in his hand resembles nothing but a smooth, glass ball. “How curious. It reacts only to her touch,” he says, scratching at his wrinkly head.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Update 09/09/17

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New Release

A lot has happened in the month since I last posted an update. Zombie Playlist was released into the wild, and ARC reviews received. It was a successful release day, and I want to thank everyone who downloaded a copy, joined my ARC squad, and posted links via social media. You all helped make Dagger’s first day a special one.

Back to School

I have had a lovely summer spending time with the family. It’s not a good summer if I don’t feel exhausted at the end of it and have an uneven tan, so this year must have been brilliant. The one downside to the school holidays is my lack of writing/ editing time. I had planned to start my edit of EVO Ghost in August, but soon realised that it needed my full attention, and my full attention was elsewhere. I let the manuscript rest for another month. You know what? I didn’t mind it too much. However, by September, I was ready to get back to it.

EVO Ghost

Editing is back in full swing. This first edit is a read through and plot checker. I am only focussing on the plot and character development in this one, ensuring everything progresses how it should, makes sense, and has a solid timeline. I reckon this one may take a little longer yet. My editing notes from when I was writing the first draft are extensive. That’s the pantser life for you. Oh, and I’ve discovered about two (possibly three) unwritten chapters. I’ve left myself a handy note that says ‘something is missing here’. I’ll let you know when I figure out what that something actually is.

Zombie Playlist Paperback

I sorted most of the formatting in August by doing small sections when I had a spare thirty minutes. It wasn’t too painful seeing as the word count is only 25k. The next big step is a full cover. It is in pieces at the moment, but once it has been given the photoshop magic, it shall be raring to go to review. There isn’t a deadline for this project, but the end of September seems realistic.

Blog Guest Posts

Lately, I have only been posting reviews, picture prompts, and monthly updates to my blog. Yes, I have taken a step away to focus on my novel writing and editing, but I felt the blog was getting stale. Adding regular guest posts is the way forward. I have been organising a plethora of talented authors who are ready and willing to offer advice and tips on various writing topics. These posts will be bi-monthly. The first was only yesterday: Dana Fraedrich on World Building. The next is on Sept 22nd with the lovely Faith Rivens who shall be discussing beating procrastination.

Here’s the line up for the next few months:

  • 22nd Sept: Faith Rivens on Beating Procrastination
  • 6th Oct: Katie Masters on Writing Well Rounded Antagonists
  • 20th Oct: Sarina Langer on Bullet Journals
  • 10th Nov: Brianna West on The Importance of a Book Cover

There are plenty more planned into 2018, so watch this space. If you would like to be considered for a guest post in the future, please give me a shout.

Book Award

Thrown to The Blue has been nominated for best fantasy book in Metamorph Publishing’s Summer Indie Book Awards. It is an honour to be nominated, and there is still a short amount of time to vote. If you enjoyed Thrown to The Blue, a vote is much appreciated: Vote Here!


Content Belongs to K.J. Chapman

Guest Post: Dana Fraedrich on World Building

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I am thrilled to welcome author Dana Fraedrich to Writerly Bookish Stuff to discuss a topic that is a crucial part of any writing process: world building. Grab yourself a coffee or tea and stick around for some handy advice and tips on creating an imaginative and believable world. Over to you, Dana.


Five Rules of World Building

World building, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating things about fiction writing, but it’s also one of the trickiest.  Coming up with a basic concept is easy—a world where cybernetic enhancements are the newest fashion trend…until a major fashion designer ends up dead by her own creations.  Boom!  Done.  When you get into the nitty-gritty details, however, things can get…squiffy.

In my experience, a lot of world building falls down because the authors haven’t worked through some of the foundational details.  “But, Dana, I’m not trying to write a Tolkien-level world history here!  I just want to write a story!”  Yeah, I know, and that’s fine.  You don’t have to get that deep, but you do need a few basic elements hammered out before you introduce your world to ours.

Nail Down the Fundamentals

Whether it takes place in a fictional universe or an alternate version of ours, to create a convincing world, you have to understand the basic functions of your characters’ society:

  • How do people get food? Do they work their farms with basic tools, in cooperation with machines, or do mechanical drones do all the work?
  • What’s the currency like and how is it exchanged? Do people need to carry physical funds on them?  Or maybe there’s some kind of credit system, either electronic or paper.  Maybe money doesn’t exist and the characters barter instead.
  • How do people communicate over long distances? Wireless communication, whether via magic stones or smart phones, completely changes the game.  If your characters rely on a postal or courier system, you’ll need to take that extra delivery time into account.

Why do we care about this?  Two reasons.  First, every decision you make as god of this realm influences the possibilities within it.  Secondly, if you don’t know these things, it’ll show.  At best, the reader will feel a little lost.  At worst, you’ll write a huge inconsistency into your story.  Now, in most cases you won’t have to do more than mention these things in passing, if that.  However, if you do end up having to explain why a character refuses scan the barcode on her wrist whilst on the run from baddies, you’ll be prepared.

Crime and Punishment

What do readers want?  Stakes.  The higher the better.  And conflict comes from characters breaking the rules.  So what will happen if your main character gets caught during the big heist or meeting with that shady so-and-so?  That’s what you need to make crystal clear to your readers.  Otherwise, they won’t fret over the fate of your characters.  Maybe a school headmaster with a grudge has the power to expel students.  Maybe it’s a good high court with bad evidence before a public execution.  No matter the situation, you need to know who’s in power, how they wield it, and what your character stands to lose.

Use the Land

You can’t paint a picture without envisioning the world first.  However, some authors bog down their readers with florid depictions of rolling hills and planetary panoramas.  Descriptions of setting should create atmosphere and further the plot.  Grand vistas and poetic descriptions create calm.  Getting over a literal mountain creates a big challenge for your traveling band of actors.  Does your severely agoraphobic character have to navigate ten NYC blocks?  Okay, use pieces of that environment to show how it affects him.  The towering buildings on either side loom, the people waiting to cross the street press, the reek of garbage bags in the summer heat suffocates.  If the setting doesn’t serve one of these purposes, you can go pretty light with the details.  Do keep your readers informed, though.  At the very least, they need to know where the action is taking place.

Magic Requires Rules

Magic is like physics.  You can’t see it, but the world operates within its laws.  If you create a world with magic in it, you must know magic’s limits, its rules, and its impact on casters.  And you must be consistent!  I cannot stress this enough: magic is not a deus ex machina that comes in and fixes everything…magically.  This steals your hero’s accomplishment.  If you want to break an established rule, write in a precedent for it.

*Super advanced technology falls under this category too because, at a certain point, technology begins to resemble magic.

Don’t Take It Too Far

Like anything in life, moderation is key.  There’s a fine line between immersion and tedium.  As a busy author, you can’t spend all your time figuring out your world’s every minute detail.  If a process or element in your fictional universe matches reality, you probably don’t need to explain it (save for the really esoteric stuff).  For anything that doesn’t match, you’ll need to make a judgment call.  Your editor and beta readers can tell you what needs more or less explanation, but the choice is yours in the end.  Too many details can catch you out in an inconsistency later, so I tend to err on the side of fewer details.  After all, your audience has imaginations of their own.  And remember, seeing something work is always more interesting than being told.

A final note: don’t sweat the small stuff.  Every great story has holes in it.  Take the Harry Potter series.  It’s one of the most beloved universes of all time, but where were cell phones, guns, and the Internet?  Muggleborns must have known about those things.  Granted, magical elements were part of what made those books so enchanting, but it’s true.  And those issues didn’t stop J.K. Rowling from selling a bazillion copies.  Happy writing!


dana auhtor pic for blogAuthor Bio: Dana Fraedrich is an independent author, dog lover, and self-professed geek. Even from a young age, she enjoyed writing down the stories that she imagined in her mind. Born and raised in Virginia, she earned her BFA from Roanoke College and is now carving out her own happily ever after in Nashville, TN with her husband and two dogs. Dana is always writing; more books are on the way!

Find Dana on:

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Twitter

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Amazon


Permission for use of the content featured in this post must be sought from the author, Dana Fraedrich.

Picture Prompt 01/09/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(8)

I wasn’t foolish enough to expect Titan Mount to be deserted. The Hivers are scared of water. Something in their web of minds registers fear of the wet stuff. If the survivors were to stand any chance, it was to hole up on islands. That’s exactly why the mount was heavily populated by the time I arrived.

The problem I didn’t foresee was low tide. The sea recedes, leaving the mount exposed for hours a day. The security procedures are long and extensive. For six hours, twice a day, we have to defend and protect our little, safe slice of the world from the creatures hellbent on eating us. The bodies litter the wet sand, and then the sea returns and washes them away. We sleep, eat, and repeat.

Twelve hours a day – every day – for the rest of my life. No thanks. I’ve been gathering a group of us to head further out to sea. There is an island – Seafarer’s Bay –  about one hundred miles southwest of here. The last anyone heard, they were over-run when the last aid plane landed. If we can keep hundreds of the creatures at bay day in, day out, we can exterminate an island of seven hundred people… Hivers.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Update 29/06/17

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A lot has happened since my last update. I finished Zombie Playlist in the first week of June. Something came over me and I wrote nearly 10k in two days. As soon as the playlist was finalised, everything fell into the place. Zombie Playlist has been put away until July to give it some time to rest. I swore that I wouldn’t touch it again until the first draft of EVO Ghost was finished. I had been toying with the last 10-15k words on EVO Ghost, and it has been hard to sit down and finish. Self-doubt and worry about not doing my characters justice was to blame. I wrote through it and finished that draft at 6am this morning. That’s two finished drafts. Woohoo.

What’s Next?

EVO Ghost needs to rest, so I will start the editing of Zombie Playlist for CampNaNoWrimo in July. I have my betas waiting patiently, and will be doing an ARC reviewer request in the foreseeable future. Don’t ask me dates because I have no idea. It’s a novella, so I’m hoping for a quicker editing process. When I say things like this, my words usually come back to bite my in the butt.

I’m not going to lie, I am going to play around with book two of The Indigo Flame Series, The Red Archer. Playing around will be the extent of it for a while. It’s strange to think that once EVO Ghost and Zombie Playlist are done, The Indigo Flame series is my only series on the table. I don’t roll like that, and I have had an idea bouncing around in my brain for some months now. I can’t think of a better time to crack open a new notebook.

What Have I Been Listening to?

As I have been concentrating on the conclusion of EVO Ghost, I have been listening to a lot of empowering music. The new Little Mix song has that female strength and kickass-ness to it. It’s perfect for my MC, Teddie.

Excerpts:

Sorry, these are getting shorter and shorter. I don’t want to give anything away. Obviously, there will be no more excerpts after today’s post.

Zombie Playlist:

Once I have my old trusty in my hands, I’m back in business. “Not today, Mother Fuckers!”

EVO Ghost:

“Do you see?” I scream through tears. “Do you see me? Do you see who I have to be?”


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman