Monday Motivations; Late But Feeling Great

Hello friends and welcome to another wonderful writing week. I am off to a slow start thanks to a first-thing-in-the-morning dentist appointment for my daughter. But I’m at my desk now and ready to get to it.

Last week, I am pleased to say, I started off pretty strong. Then Thursday hit and along with it a pretty serious anxiety attack that derailed my schedule. I’m not panicking though. I got off to a great start today and I’m looking forward to getting back on schedule.

But while I’m thinking about it, I always seem to start off a new week great and tend to flame out by Thursday, even on days I can’t blame mental health. Which gives me to wonder if I’ve front loaded my writing schedule a bit too much.

To be fair, Mondays are my best writing days because, thanks to the way my kids’ extra curriculars work out, I have a surplus of sitting around without access to all my usual distractions time. I figured out years ago that I can use that time to write, and it’s been a big help now that I’ve got deadlines to adhere to.

Tuesdays I have a little bit this same sort of time, but Wednesday evenings I’m at home and have to keep myself on task. Thursdays are the tough ones because I have on out of the house activity smack in the middle of the evening that I have to stay mentally engaged in. Then I get into the weekends, when I inevitably find myself playing catch up from not writing (enough or at all) on Thursday and Friday.

I’ve been wondering for a while if there is a way to rebalance my workload, to take a little heat off the end of the week. Obviously, in the life of a working mother who also happens to be a writer, all days are not equal, and trying to treat them as if they are is giving me some pretty skewed expectations of myself.

So, that’s my motivation this week. Figure out how to ease some of the pressure on my less productive days by utilizing my time more wisely at the start of the week when I’m feeling fresh and have more time in the first place.

As for last week, while I didn’t make my word goal (working on playing catch up at the moment) I did get my reading done. Working on correcting my thought patterns so that whenever I pick up my phone to check Twitter, I open my kindle app instead. It’s a slow process, of course, but every little bit matters.

Alright I better get back to it. Concrete goals for this week are almost identical as last week:

  • Add 8500 words to my current project, bringing the total to 15000 by Friday
  • Read 5 chapters
  • Blog, darn it, on Thursday and Friday

Crazy to think that in two and a half weeks I will be without a freelance project to work on for the first time since April. What the hell am I going to do with myself?

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; The Laundry At Your Feet

Good morning friends.

Let’s start off with a confession: last week was rough for me. My depression and anxiety were pretty severe which made it hard to do anything writing wise beyond the absolute minimum to get my freelance manuscript turned in. The great news is: it got turned in! Damn straight, I finished the edits, submitted, and sent off the invoice as well. I spent all weekend relaxing, trying to get my groove back, as it were, so I could tackle my next project, plus all the other writing related tasks I have on my docket.

Sadly, I’m not feeling much better today. I want to be able to say that I’m going to write 10,000 words this week, and do my requested edits on my first freelance submission, and start working on my pitches for next quarter. I’d like to say I’m going to read and blog and all that stuff that I really want to do. But I know over promising and ultimately under delivering, even if the only expectant party is myself, will just make me feel worse in the long run. Yet… all this work has to get done somehow.

Fruits Basket is a Japanese manga by author and illustrator Natsuki Takaya, and is one of my favorite stories in the whole world.

So, instead of setting myself up for failure and contributing to an already pretty down mental state, I’m going to try and do the opposite to maybe help lift myself out of it. I’ll do this by setting tiny, realistic and very achievable goals and, hopefully, meeting them. I won’t think about the next task until the first is complete. I won’t stress that I’m not working hard or fast enough.

At least I’ll try, anyway. Isn’t that what matters in the end, that I try?

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Crunch Edition

After a long awaited and much needed staycation, I am back to work and ready to meet those goals.

And such goals they are, the biggest, of course, being the manuscript I have to finish by Friday. I had hoped to be done with it by now and have the chance to spend this week doing some editing, but my mental health did not cooperate at all last week and I’m staring down the barrel of 8000 words or so. It’s a big ask, especially with returning to the day job, but I think I can get there. If only I can get my brain chemistry to play nice for a change.

I also got my first ever edits back for the first manuscript on Thursday and, thankfully, they went easy on me. I’m hoping to tackle them this week, if I can get this manuscript done in time.

But wait, there’s more: the pitch deadline for next quarter is coming up in a couple of weeks which means it’s time for me to really evaluate the time I’ve spent so far doing this freelancing thing. I think I may only submit two pitches this time, to give myself a month to regenerate. But that still means crafting two new ideas, complete with synopses. Thankfully, I have a little bit of time there.

Lastly, I need to get back to my reading schedule. I just haven’t been excited about books the last two or three weeks, no doubt thanks, at least in part, to my mental health struggles, but I’ve also had other hobbies distracting me. So I want to read three chapters this week.

So much to do, so little time, yet I want to take a moment for a mental health aside. The short of it is I am not doing great right now. I’m struggling a lot with the loss of enjoyment of my favorite activities, which I rely upon to relieve every day stress. This isn’t new to me, so I don’t want anyone to worry that I’m suddenly deeply depressed in a dangerous way. I’m not. But I am struggling. The only reason I’m even able to still write, when normally creative pursuits are the first thing my depression disrupts, is because this time it’s literal, actual work. Even still it’s been hard to get words down which has resulted in a bit of a crunch period this week.

Take care of yourselves everyone. As a special favor to me.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Deadline Edition

Good morning and welcome to another fun filled writing week!

Honestly, I had a hard time writing this post, because I am feeling seriously UNmotivated this morning. I think I worked myself into a small burnout this weekend. Which, don’t get me wrong, needed to be done. I needed to push myself over the hump and prove I had the work ethic necessary to do this whole freelancing thing.

But, man, I’m tired.

And I can’t stop now. Deadline is Friday and while I am no longer pulling my hair out worried that I’m going to miss it, I still have some work to do. A chapter and a half to write and about half the manuscript to edit. The editing I’m less stressed over, since I know it’ll get an edit on the other side too. I would just really like to turn in a clean, cohesive draft.

Then, no rest for the wicked, because I immediately start work on the second project. Which means I really need to be working on the outline now. I keep reminding myself that no one forced me to submit three pitches in three months. I’m not sure I’ll be doing that again, but at least I’ll have the measure of my mettle as a writer by the end, right?

I’d also like to finish this damn book. I know I’ve been saying that for two months now, but I’m finally over the midpoint hump and I always tend to binge the climax. If I can carve out time between editing, outlining, drafting, and Mass Effect (sorry, saving the galaxy comes first, I don’t make the rules), then I should be able to finish. But it’s not looking good.

So those are my big goals: edit, finish, format, and submit this first project, and outline the second, maybe even get the first 2k words down toward it. Read if I can, and get a nap. Preferably soon.

Until next time friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Belated Edition

Hello friends! I’m a bit belated this week because I had a scheduled day off yesterday from work and I decided to apply that to all types of obligations on my time.

That being said, the end of my week last week was a bit of a shit show that completely threw off my routine, and I am ready to get back to the familiar, even if that means a Monday Motivations on Tuesday. Let’s get to it, shall we?

I am now officially 10 days out from my first deadline and I’m starting to feel the pressure. I still have about 13,000 words to pound out and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, I still have to edit them as well. I did a shit ton of editing over the weekend, though, and am feeling really good about the state of the manuscript, unfinished ending notwithstanding. I just need to stay focused and keep grinding. I’d like to focus on edits during the day and new words at night, that way I can keep an even balance of forward momentum and necessary revision. I would also like to reserve the final two days before deadline on copy edits and formatting, which gives me just over a week. Gulp. But, this is what I signed up for and now is the time to find out if I am equal to it.

I did a lot of reading yesterday during my downtime which I really enjoyed, I just wish I could read faster. I’m starting to feel a bit down on myself for letting my reading schedule get so off track, but I really like this book. I’m not likely to discover new time to read, however, with my next freelance project already lined up after the first wraps up. I just need to keep plugging away and stop feeling guilty. Ha! Easier said than done, right?

So, even though I did workshop a one sentence synopsis for my Snowflake project last week, I wasn’t really satisfied with any of the results. I just found it really hard to to distill the concept down to 10 or 15 words. In a way, it feels like I failed the creative exercise it was meant to be. I would like to keep working at it this week. There isn’t any rush for this, it’s purely a vanity project. I want to make sure I get it right.

Okay, so concrete goals:

  1. Reach 30,000 words by Friday.
  2. Edit 3 chapters
  3. Get to 50% of my current read
  4. Relax with an episode of Bridgerton

Is it a sign that you’re overworked when you have to set a goal to relax? Actually, on second thought, don’t answer that.

I’ll be back on Thursday (hopefully, barring any other day job fires to put out) with your regularly scheduled blog post. Until then my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations, Fresh and Ready For Success Edition

Good morning friends and happy Monday. I hope you all are ready for another fun filled creative roller coaster, because I sure am!

Last week was a learning process. As it was my first official week on the “job” I wasn’t quite sure how much work writing I was going to be able to achieve, nor did I know how much time and energy I would have left after all the work writing was done for the day. That said, even though I got sick Wednesday and tainted the sample, I feel I was able to get at least a workable understanding of my capabilities (and my limits) and I’m ready to set myself some reasonable goals.

Last week I wanted to hit 10,000 words on my first work project, and I did that on Friday. So, this week, I’m going to challenge myself to hit 21,000 by Friday, so an extra 200 words a day. I’m going to accomplish that by getting up a half hour earlier every morning and starting my day off in the creative mindset. The great news is: I’ve already accomplished that for today. In fact, I managed to get 500 words done this morning, leaving me in great shape for the rest of what is looking like a very busy Monday (as always).

My other goals are easy and simple:

  1. Read 3 chapters of my current read, Throne of the Five Winds
  2. Workshop a one sentence synopsis for my Snowflake project
  3. Start mentally prepping my second work project

I’m really feeling the time squeeze today so I better get after it. I’ll be back on Thursday (hopefully). Until then may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Friday Feelings, Sick as a Dog Edition

Man, what a week it has been. My routine has been thrown all out of whack, largely because I woke up on Wednesday with a terrible head cold. It’s been a serious battle to get my words done each day whilst feeling like crap, but yesterday I took a shit ton of meds and pounded out 2500 words to (mostly) get myself back on schedule.

Oh, yeah, I have a schedule now. With the contracts that came in on Friday, I officially have a deadline for my very first freelancing projects. Now, I happen to think that I work really well on an external deadline. My own personal timelines, on the other hand, I tend to pretty much ignore. Holding your(my)self accountable can be tough when you’ve never had to practice it.

But, give me someone who is counting on me to hand in my work on a very specific day? The fear and shame of the mere prospect of letting them down is enough to get me thrashing the keys, random allergy driven sick days be damned.

So, at long last and behind the band wagon as always, I started Bridgerton this week after hearing, and seeing (looking at you Regé-Jean Page, yum), plenty of good things about it. While I’m not tripping over myself to binge it, partially because I’m saving it for when I need inspiration on my historical romance, I did find the first episode enjoyable. And let me just come right out and say it: I am loving the diverse regency setting. Love it. Not sure I would be watching were it any other way, to be frank.

Funny story though, here I was thinking this should would be akin to, for example, the BBC Pride and Prejudice adaptation, and so fired up the first episode while at my desk at work.

Those of you who have seen the show will know why that was not the finest idea I’ve ever had.


On Monday I set a few goals for myself for the week. Let’s see how I did.

  1. 10,000 words by Friday – Well, not quite but pretty damn close. I clocked out last night at 9400 and am looking forward to hitting 5 digits this evening.
  2. Complete Step 1 of the Snowflake Method for my new personal project – Sadly, no. Staying on track with the above goal took most of my bed-ridden spoons. But, the week isn’t over until Sunday night at 11:59, right?
  3. Transcribing written words for The Nexus – again no.

  1. Read 1 chapter from my current read – Yes! I got done writing early last night and managed to squeeze in not one, but three whole chapters. A whopping 5%. Did I mention this book is dense as hell? Can’t wait to review it, honestly.

Okay, so a 25% success rate isn’t great but, hear me out… Hey look, is that Regé-Jean Page right over there?! *poof*


Until next time, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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Testing: Monday Motivations

Well, friends, I had so much fun with my Friday Feelings post that I thought I would try another kind of weekly update. If Fridays are for reflecting on my weeks, then Mondays will be when I speak my goals into existence. Ready? I am.

As I mentioned on Friday, my very first freelancing contracts came in and I woke up Saturday eager to get started. I knocked my first daily word count goal out easy peasy, but Sunday was another story. My two elder children were having a difficult sibling day, which meant I spent most of my time playing mediator and generally trying not to have a melt down myself. I’m not sure I succeeded. Suffice it to say, it was after bedtime before I got a moment to myself to write, but by that time I was fried. I’m proud of the work I got done, but it wasn’t even half of my daily goal.

But that just means I need to work a little harder today. My goal is to have 10,000 words toward this first work project by Friday, which means a NaNo-esque pace of 1600. That said, between my son’s allergy shot and daughter’s gymnastics practice, Monday is my best writing day (a lot of sitting around time without the usual distractions). So today I’m hoping for 2000.

But my work project isn’t the only thing I’m hoping to make progress on. As I mentioned Friday, I’m exploring the Snowflake Method as a way to plan a new personal project. The Snowflake Method suggests starting with a one sentence pitch for your novel. Which… is harder than it sounds. This week, I’d like to work one up.

I also have a little bit of transcribing for The Nexus to catch up on, as well as a ton of reading. I’m nearly a month behind in my reading schedule but I am stubbornly refusing to DNF my current read. If I can just get one chapter done this week, I’ll call it a win

Alright, so those are goals and I’ve spent enough time here yakking about them rather than getting after them. I’ll be back on Thursday for your regularly scheduled blog post. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Dream a Little Dream

Hello and welcome to another whimsical edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well friends, after last week’s profundity I thought it might be fun to go with some lighter fare today. But before we get started, a quick update: I am officially back in my home and sleeping in my own bed! I’m out two grand and still don’t have access to my washing machine yet, but who’s counting? Point is, I’m finally back in a place where I can actually relax and refocus on my writing and future prospects.

To that end, I want to talk about my dreams.

So, I was being chased…

Just kidding. I mean my dreams for my career as a writer.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. I can’t precisely pin down the exact age or year, but the first bit of “original” fiction I remember writing was when I was 11. And though I’ve flirted with other career paths since then, writing has been my through line from childhood to where I stand today. From that standpoint, I guess you could say I have achieved that dream. I mean, I am technically writing. Even if I’ve never been published or even taken a finished manuscript out to query. So, 11 year old me can rest easy.

But 32 year old me can’t just yet. For 32 year old me, the dream isn’t just writing, it’s making a living writing. It’s not just calling myself a professional writer, or a working writer, it’s actually being successful enough to be able to quit my day job to do the writing thing full time.

I’m not naïve. I know that it’s actually kind of a lofty goal. I’m perfectly aware that most writers maintain a day job because the sad truth of the matter is writing doesn’t tend to pay very well. Without a big name or a breakout hit, chances are you’re in the midlist and writing is a passion rather than a profession. I know all that. But that’s why we call them dreams, right?

daydreaming

It may not seem like it at times, but I’m actually a pretty private person. I’m shy and I’m anxious and I have a hard time meeting people. I don’t like talking about my day job and I’m reticent to share personal photos online outside of my approved social sphere.

But, despite all that, I long for a… I don’t know what the right word is. ‘Community’ seems too broad’ and I’ve never been a fan of the way ‘tribe’ has been used. But a close-knit group of people around me with similar interests and a common purpose. I had that once, back when I was really into fandom over on a popular blogging site that I won’t name. I had friends then, all over the world really. And, more than that, I was part of something that I contributed to, and people cared about those contributions. I’ll never forget the day I was on Twitter, years after I left fandom, and saw a gif I had made for a particular fandom used on a post for something completely unrelated. It was like… I had made a mark on the internet. It was a little weird… but also kind of cool.

I guess you could say I long for that sense of belonging again, except with writing as a focal point, instead of fandom. And if that writing happened to be my writing… well, I think that would be a little weird. But also kind of cool.

weird is cool

Now, lets get into the really off the wall stuff.

Last week there was a Twitter thread going around, asking people what they would name their indie bookstore. It was a cute little thread that low-key made me feel really dull because I couldn’t come up with a clever book store name.

Then I drove by a little strip mall that went up around the corner of my house right before the pandemic, and as such, hasn’t been able to rent out the storefronts – since opening a new business in 2020 was, well, not recommended and all. And then book store idea came around again.

A bookstore I owned and operated would be fantasy focused. Largely because it’s my favorite genre and there’s precious few (read: none that I’ve found in a reasonable distance) speculative themed indie bookstores in my metro area. I envision a section for YA, for sci-fi/fantasy blends, for paranormal romance. For sword and board, and for #ownvoices. For epic fantasy and political fantasies, and everything in between.

I’d host write ins, costume contests, dramatic readings of old classics. I’d write my own novel at the counter, and I’d partner up with my Friendly Local Game Store that happens to be right down the street for crossover events.

I’d call it Phoenix Feather Books and it would probably close within 6 months because I know jack all about being a book seller or running a business (how would I even get inventory???).

But it’s a dream, perhaps silly and not very well thought out or practical, and it’s mine.


I have other dreams too. People asking me in earnest about x, y, or z thing about my book, or telling me their favorite ships. Being on panels at conferences, or giving a workshop even. Seeing the cover of my very first published novel. Landing my ideal agent. Knowing enough about agents to have an ideal agent.

What are some of your dreams?


That’s all from me this week, now that my head is all light and airy and I can’t think of anything else. I hope to be back on Tuesday with a book review, but I’ve been slacking in my reading, so it may have to wait another week. Either way I’ll see you on Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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New Year’s Resolutions: 2020 Edition

Hello friends, and welcome to a special New Year’s Eve edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well. 2020, huh?

I’m not gonna harp too long on it. Suffice it to say: I did not meet a single one of my writing goals this year. Not one.

Some of that can be blamed on the pandemic (failing to attend critique group, for example), but most of them were just me giving up. It’d be easy to say “Well, 2020, give yourself a break,” and I am in some ways. But I want to be a professional writer, and that means holding myself to account when I let that goal drink itself stupid and pass out in the back seat of my car.

One thing I did start this year that I’m really proud to have kept up is journaling. It’s been a major boon to my mental health and it has really helped me kind of examine in a semi-external way the particular turns of my mind that leads me down certain paths. Which is an overly verbose way of saying, I think I know why I fail at so many resolutions, year after year.

First, and it so ding dang obvious now that I’ve thought about it, is that I get so amped up for the potential new lifestyle I’m about to embark on that I just get too ambitious. Like last year, I said I wanted to dabble in podcasting. I mean… even just dabbling in something like podcasting means a monumental amount of effort, that even if 2020 hadn’t been a complete trashcan would have totally eaten up spoons I frankly just don’t have. Or even something simple like starting an Instagram account. If I’d given it more than a moment’s consideration I would have realized that I have no use for an Instagram account. The idea of having pictures out there in the ether of my personal space pings my anxiety like nobody’s business.

Last year I listed eight (8) resolutions and failed every single one of them. This year, I’m scaling down. I only have three. They are ambitious in their own ways, but very achievable and much more in my time and mental energy budget. They are:

  1. Finish the first draft of The Nexus by July 31st
  2. Review the 22 books currently in my TBR list
  3. Resume the blogging schedule I outlined in August (with minor alterations)

Simple, really, and yet things I have struggled with in the past: reading and writing on a consistent basis when I don’t have the deadline of NaNo whipping me along. These things are habits that I need to form, not just goals I would like to achieve. So, the real question is: how do I, someone notoriously resistant to change, go about altering my everyday behavior? Because, honestly, simply wanting to hasn’t been enough.

The answer I keep coming back to is accountability. I need the spectre of embarrassment from failing to spur me on. I need a structure to work within and deadlines to meet. And while I can’t ask someone to care about my writing as much as me enough to push me when I won’t push myself,  I can publically announce my intentions and imagine for myself a crowd of people who would be let down if I don’t follow through. So here we go. I’m not just going to vaguely say I’m going to meet these goals. I’m going to detail how and when I’m going to do that.

As for drafting the Nexus. I have a total of 6 story paths, one already drafted during November and three more outlined. So I’m giving myself seven months to plot, outline, and write the remaining paths. The path I drafted for NaNo was ostensibly the longest, so it’s not outside the realm of plausibility that I can draft one path a month. Having the first draft completely done will give me time to think through the revisions and outline draft 2 so I can start drafting that in November. Easy peasy.

Note that my second goal for 2021 was to review the 22 books in my TBR. Not necessarily finish. I’m actually giving myself the mental space to DNF some of them. Fortunately, I have a blog series specifically for these kinds of books, so even if I don’t read as much as I’d like… I can still get some content out of it. Further, after giving it some thought, I realized it would really help me stay on target if I actually named the books I plan to read (and review) and in what order. That way, if inspiration fails me or if the depression monster diverts me off track, I have a roadmap to find my way back. So without further ado: Just Another Struggling Writer’s book review schedule!

January
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

February
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

March
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
The Throne of the Five Winds by S.C. Emmett

April
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

May
The Bone Ships by RJ Barker
Radiance by Grace Draven

June
We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

July
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

August
Jade City by Fonda Lee
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

September
Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward

October
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock
The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso

(Break for NaNoWriMo)

December
Nocturne by Kat Ross
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Yes, before you ask, I’ve never read any of these, despite their fame and popularity, particularly within the genre. I’m also a little bit ahead of the game and pleased to say that I’ll most likely have the first review done as soon as Tuesday as I’m more than halfway through The Obelisk Gate and plan to spend my holiday weekend finishing it up. As I’ve mentioned before, my book reviews tend to get a surprising amount of traffic and I’m looking forward to bringing you all more of them in the coming year.

And speaking of the blog schedule… Look, 52 solid weeks of blogging is a lot. I very much doubt that I’m going to be able to keep up with that kind of production consistently. That said, I’m gonna do my best, but I’m also not gonna beat myself up about it if I don’t manage it. I also am planning to have Short But Sweet Sundays make a comeback. I’m still really enamored with that story and that setting, and it’ll be nice to have a break from the Nexus every once and a while. It won’t be weekly, but the last Sunday of the month please look forward to a little vignette in the Pillar-verse. 

See? Simple! She said sarcastically.

In all seriousness, after the trainwreck of 2020 I’m not sweating even these modest goals. Really, on a micro level, if I’m reading and writing every day then it’s a win and that’s all I have to say about that. 


So, that’s it from me for this week. I’ll be back on Tuesday for a YMMV review of The Obelisk Gate and then on Thursday to check in and see how that whole writing-every-day thing is going. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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