General Waffle

The Quiet Life

Good afternoon all!

So, it’s Wednesday, and for the first time in longer than I can remember.. I haven’t worked on any comics in the past week! Yikes!

I love creating work, and I love working on multiple projects at once, but after three years of constantly making new work at university – even over the summer break with things like Sneaky Business vol. 1, the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016 and submissions to anthologies including Dirty Rotten Comics – it’s been pretty non-stop. After finishing my degree last summer I’ve carried on working on a variety of things – Sneaky Business vol. 2 and Ø took me up to Thought Bubble 2016, and Cosmos & Other Stories came directly after. Now with the contributions to the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017 and Dirty Rotten Comics Issue 10 complete, for the first time in my near history I have no comic projects on and it’s giving me a chance to debrief and rest.

Ahh… Free time.

But, don’t despair. I have plenty of illustration-led projects in the pipeline and I’m gently nurturing the beginnings of some ideas for future comic projects, so me and my ramblings aren’t going anywhere!

In comics-related news, Dirty Rotten Comics issue 10 is now available for pre-order from Amazon! And even more exciting, it’s on sale in both paperback and in Kindle format.

The cover art pictured above is by Lucie Ebrey – revealed as the book was formally announced on Broken Frontier last week. DRC 10 will be out on Friday 19th May, so pre-order your copy now or pick it up at one of their stockists after the launch. As I mentioned last month, my piece for the book is a two-pager and I’m really excited to see what you all think. It’s a pretty monumental moment for DRC to be releasing a full colour book, and I for one can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Postcard Par-tay

In other exciting news, I’ve stocked up on some more postcards for selling at events and online! A little while ago I sold some postcard packs on my Etsy store and they sold straight away, so in the coming week or so I’ll have a fresh pack going up including these five designs! So keep an eye out…

Also, those cape-clad gents at A Place to Hang Your Cape have reviewed Cosmos & Other Stories!

Indie creator Rozi Hathaway is back for more on AP2HYC with her latest offering Cosmos & Other Stories. Those of us fortunate enough to have read her previous entry here, Ø, will know that Hathaway is more than capable of bringing out the lonely 11-year old inside all of us, and her newest book is no exception. The story is a collection of comic vignettes that run the gambit of human loss and anxiety before leaving the reader on an uplifting note about seeking the wonderful things that exist in the world.

– Bard Brehon, “Cosmos & Other Stories is a Heartbreaking and Uplifting Journey” on AP2HYP

This review sits nicely next to AP2HYP’s coverage of Ø, which went up on the site last month. Thanks guys! Don’t forget, you can still pick up all my titles over on the ol’ Etsy store, and at selected small-press friendly stores around the UK.

Cosmos and Njálla available at Travelling Man Manchester!

And that rounds it up for now! Keep an eye out next week for the release of the new Dirty Rotten Comics… I might even show you some pictures of my comic in it’s colourful glory.

 

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May It Be

Good afternoon folks.

So, what a week! It was just as exhausting as I envisioned it being.. but somehow that prior wisdom somehow didn’t help me to cope any better as I grouchily collapsed down into bed at 9pm on Saturday evening. I know, what a party animal. That said, my grouchiness came from a place of happiness from having an excellent time at the two big comic events of the week. And, after a day of doing almost nothing on Sunday I feel relatively back to normal. Hurrah!

First up: Inking Women! Last week on Wednesday evening I trudged down from Manchester to London for the opening of The Cartoon Museum’s newest exhibition, The Inking Woman. I had the pleasure of spending time with new friends and old, and I got to see my work from the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016 framed, proudly hanging on the wall next to a fine selection of other women cartoonists and comics creators.

The atmosphere was electric as we all gathered with pride to see the exhibition in it’s full glory. Opened officially by Sandi Toksvig, there was a feeling of humour and pride in the air as the Inking Women gathered into the centre of the ground floor for a photo opportunity, before carrying on with celebrating the night. I even got a chance to sign some new copies of Hoax: Psychosis Blues whilst I was there in the museum gift shop, and dropped some more copies of Njálla and Ø at Gosh! Comics whilst I was in the capital – two birds one stone! Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has written a lovely page about the event which you can check out here.

Next up, on Saturday I headed up to Liverpool for the Craft Comics Festival as a part of the Smithdown Road Festival, held at Chris Welsh and Tom Ward‘s Craft Taproom. It had a different vibe from the usual comic festival type event, with tables dotted around the bar rather than gathered in rows which gave it a more relaxed atmosphere. The guys were excellent hosts (you know it’s good when you get given a gourmet brownie from a local store..) and it was a nice friendly event. Here’s what I had for sale:

Now that busy week is out the way I’m in full-steam-ahead mode to finish up my piece for the upcoming Broken Frontier Yearbook 2017. I’m pretty sure I’ve overrun the deadline by some horrendous amount of time due to having far too many commitments and other life issues getting in the way. But, thankfully Andy Oliver is a good pal and has been incredibly patient with me. The Yearbook isn’t launching for a couple of months yet, so I’m getting this done and over to him before the week it out.

And now I’ve said it publicly, that means I have to get it done before end of day Sunday.

Right.. best get to work.

And that’s where I’m leaving you all! Keep an eye out next week for a far more understandable and non-tired blog with a finished comic, and some other good stuff.. And until then, have a good week/weekend – and don’t forget that this Saturday is the annual Free Comic Book Day! Go ahead and support your local comics store by checking out what they have to offer and picking some other cool stuff up whilst you’re there. You never know what you might discover!

 

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On the Road

Good afternoon, all!

So, this is the week of running all over the place. Up here, down there, over that way and back again; I’m glad it’s a bank holiday weekend as it’ll give me a chance to quietly recover in a corner, leftover Easter egg clutched in my weak grasp..

Later on today I’m off to London for the opening of The Cartoon Museum’s The Inking Woman exhibition, featuring the work of female comic and cartoon creators, historic to present day. It’s guaranteed to be an excellent exhibition, running from tonight until 23rd July. You can find out all about the exhibition from The Cartoon Museum website, and there’s also a list of all the creators featured in John Freeman’s article for Down the Tubes. If you’re in or around London before the exhibition closes in July, you should definitely check it out!

Image credit: The Cartoon Museum

Then, after dashing back up to Manchester tomorrow morning for work, I’ll be off on my travels again on Saturday – this time to Liverpool for the Craft Comics Festival.

The Craft Comics Festival is a free comics event as a part of the Smithdown Festival, held in the Craft Taproom – run by comic creators Chris Welsh and Tom Ward.

Photo credit: Craft Taproom

Craft Taproom have said about the festival..

Come and meet, chat with and support local writers and artists. Enjoy some nice coffee, cakes, craft beers and peruse some classic back issues!

Guests include Leah Moore and John Reppion, Madius Comics, Joe Glass, Jimmy Furlong, Dave McCluskey, Frisson Comics, Ste Matthews, Comics Youth and more to be announced.. and me! So if you’re in or around Liverpool on Saturday come and check it out from 11am-4pm. Craft beer and comics.. what could be better on a Saturday afternoon? And entry is FREE!

In other news, this last weekend I set up and new photography den for taking stock photos! Last summer I managed to get some really professional photos by using my parents’ set-up, but it’s not wholly convenient for me to travel that far now I’m in Manchester, and definitely not cost effective. So, although I don’t have a quality camera just yet, I managed to get by with my phone and a new lighting set up to get some photos of Sneaky Business,  Ø and Cosmos for my Etsy store. Check it out!

You can check out my freshly updated Etsy store here, and Cosmos & Other Stories is now available to buy on there as well as from the Good Comics store and selected UK small-press friendly shops.

Finally, I recently had an illustration commission pass through HQ in the form of a Save the Date invitation. It made a nice change from storytelling and comics, and also helped me flex my flower and leaf drawing skills. Have a look below:

It was a really nice project to work on, and definitely something I’d like to expand on going forward. Watch this space!

So, that rounds it up for now. Keep an eye out next week for the run-down of the Inking Woman exhibition launch and the Craft Comics Festival. It’s going to be a busy one…

 

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Under the Sea

Good afternoon folks.

So, Easter has passed us and I have successfully eaten my body-weight in all the good things; Easter eggs, Easter cake, Easter roast dinners and Easter.. cheese? Regardless, I have now lethargically thrown myself into the new week ready to tackle some more serious and important comic business.

First up, I’ve finished my comic for Dirty Rotten Comics #10! As you may recall from last week’s small preview the comic is themed in an aquarium and underwater. I’ve drawn some fun underwater poses before in scenes from Ø, but never before have I had the fun of drawing up a load of different sea creatures! Here’s a few peek previews..

As you can see I’ve also been playing around a bit with panel borders in this comic, similar to effects I’ve tried in the concluding pages of Njálla and first back when I made Afloat for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016. It’s been a fun one-shot short comic to make, utilising some of the skills I’ve played around with previously. Hopefully it goes down well!

As you can imagine, from sketches to full comic it’s been a busy week finishing off this two-pager for Dirty Rotten Comics! Up next I will be working on my piece for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017, that I mentioned here last week and featured also in coverage on Broken Frontier this week.

Also, next week sees the launch of The Cartoon Museum’s new exhibition The Inking Woman on Wednesday 26th April! I’m heading down especially for the event, so if you’re around central London you should definitely check it out. There will be original artwork on display from myself and many other female British creators. There’s not a huge amount on the website about it, but you can keep up with The Cartoon Museum’s progress in the run up to the exhibition on their Facebook Page and Twitter.

And finally, as I mentioned last week, next weekend sees the Craft Comic Festival as a part of the Smithdown Festival in Liverpool on Saturday 29th. I’ve recently managed to get some stock sent over of Cosmos & Other Stories from those Good Comics gents, so I’ll be selling that alongside the usual suspects of Njálla, Ø and Sneaky Businessand Cosmos will be going up on sale on my Etsy store very soon! Until then you can still pick up your copy from the Good Shop. Until next time..

 

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Leamington & The Launch!

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s done! Cosmos & Other Stories has been released out into the world in spectacular style at Leamington Comic Con this past weekend, in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. And yes, I think I need a long lie-down. Or a holiday. Or both?

Several of the post-con reviews earmarked Leam Comic Con as a friendly event with a great atmosphere, (Broken FrontierPipedream Comics and Awesome Comics Podcast to name a few..) which is a wholly accurate way to describe the day! Located in the Royal Spa Centre adjacent to the town centre, the coffee was strong and the weather was great. I had an excellent time as always tabling next to my Cosmos publishers Samuel C. Williams and Dr Paddy Johnston of Good Comics (yes we had a cheese board for snacking purposes, and yes it was as wonderful as it sounds), and the room was full to the brim of comics fans young and old! Thanks so much to Dan and Lisa for being excellent hosts!

Cosmos & Other Stories had a great reception on the day, and now has collected up a nice little collection of reviews and coverage, from Pipedream Comics’ Indie Comics Round-Up: Leamington Comic Con 2017 Special:

..Cosmos is a wonderful collection of work that we genuinely wish had more in it because what is there is really rather wonderful.

.. and, as mentioned on my blog last week, Tony Esmond’s wonderful review which has since gone up on Down the Tubes:

Good art rents a room in your consciousness. Really good art plants roots in your subconscious. Cosmos & Other Stories is a piece of art does this – and also enables you to step out of your rush, rush, dopamine-fueled day and rest happy in a second of time.

Plus, Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier weighed in with an analytic look at Cosmos – with the added bonus of having insight on my work from the very beginning:

A collection of a handful of comics shorts, it’s Hathaway at her economical but profound best; a book that displays that remarkable ability she has to bring us so fully into the lives of her characters with a recognisable emotional resonance.

I also talked about it a bit at Leamington with Tony, now featured on the Awesome Comics Podcast, Episode 91 – Comics and Convention Talk (around 50 minutes in, just after Sam and Paddy)!

You’ll be glad to know that Cosmos & Other Stories is available to purchase from the Good Comics online store, and also from Gosh! Comics and Orbital Comics in London. It’ll also be available from my Etsy store in the next month, so keep an eye out for that! In their attempts of slowly taking over the world, Good Comics announced it’s next 2017 launch yesterday with Josh Hicks‘ new collection of short stories, Human Garbage, released on 17th June at ELCAF. Between this and their soon-to-be-confirmed publishing ventures of the year it’s looking to be an excellent 2017 for the guys, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.

What’s next? Well.. My blog will be on another short break for two weeks now as I move house and finish up a few submissions, for starters. I’ve been working on comics/illustrations for three different anthologies, developing on-and-off whilst I was completing Cosmos – so those are a priority to get finished up and send off in the next few weeks. Aside from that, my general answer for has been to start developing a longer-form story. But, as ever, there are a whole bundle of smaller projects I have on the back-burner and would love to get stuck into.. And of course, I plan on helping Good Comics take over the world. On that note, I’ll see you all in a fortnight! Until next time..

 

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First of the Season

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, it’s almost February! Which means that even though there’s some sort of ominous freezing fog loitering around parts of England at the moment, and many of us get to partake in the good ol’ icy pavement dance in the mornings, the days ARE getting longer and the very beginning signs of comics festivals is on the horizon..

First festival of the year is going to Cheltenham’s True Believers Comic Festival next weekend, on Saturday 4th February! I’ll be there on a table with two of the micro-publishing mega-team Good Comics, Dr Paddy Johnston and Samuel C. Williams. Propped up on caffeine behind table #L4, Good Comics will be selling an array of their recent publications including Robin William Scott’s beautifully engaging autobiographical Every Life I Ever Lived, and the delicate yet entertaining Tales From the Nonniverse #1 by Faye Spencer. Both of these I picked up shortly after Thought Bubble, and both of these you should get your hands on if you can. I’ll also be there with a my usual suspects  Njálla and Ø, and talking to anyone who’ll listen about the work I’ve been doing for the new comic collection Good Comics are releasing in Spring.

If you’re in or around that area of the world you should definitely pop along and say hello! Adult advance tickets are £10, with child tickets being £5, and you can pick these up from the website here. In case you missed it before, you can find 5 questions with Good Comics from the True Believers team on the website here. Good Comics are also releasing the third volume of their anthology zine Dead Singers Society at True Believers (which I have a one-page comic in, as I mentioned last week), and if you can’t get there to check it out the pre-orders are available on their website here.

I’m really exited to be behind a table again, with the last tabling adventures of Thought Bubble in November feeling like a very long time ago. Equally exciting is a small side project in the form of playing around with a risograph printer (thanks to Hato Press for the handy guide!) for the first time next weekend, so I’ve been able to take a break from some serious writing to draw up a short wordless comic to play about with in this totally new (to me, at least) way of printing. But more on that as it happens.. Here’s a peek of the inks I’ve been working on, for said short wordless comic:

In other news, the night before True Believers is my good friend Naomi has her first private view and exhibition at the Stantonbury Gallery in Milton Keynes! I’ll be going along on Friday night for an exclusive view of her incredibly life-like artwork on show. I’m always blown away at the detail she manages to get into her illustration work, and if you’re a fan of beautiful artwork you should get yourself there whilst her exhibition is on.

The exhibition itself will be open from Monday the 30th January till Sunday the 19th February 2017 (Monday-Friday from 10am – 10pm, Saturday-Sunday from 10am – 6pm) and you can find full details of the private launch on Friday 3rd February on the Facebook event page here.

NRJ Art Solo Exhibition at the Stantonbury Gallery

And that’s about it for now! I’m still writing and drawing away for the next of my short stories along with writing for a top secret project that will be revealed in the coming weeks. It’s all go here at HQ, so I’m looking forward to a break next weekend! Until then, think of me banging my head against a desk whilst I try to get these damn stories finished off.. See you next week!

 

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2016 Reflections

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

So, that festive time of year involving copious amounts of food is over and done, and 2016 is slowly ebbing away too.. Which means it’s time for the yearly round-up! 2016 has been an incredible year for me work-wise, and although 2015 made me pretty dizzy to look back over I think this year has been busier than ever.

From CD artwork to competitions, the Small Press Yearbook to Sneaky Business, and all the way from graduating from University in the East Midlands to ending up in the North West. It’s been a busy one. The highlights of this year definitely include being so involved with Broken Frontier as one of the Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015. From creating my short story last year, the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016 was announced right at the beginning of the year at the Laydeez do Comics event at Gosh! Comics, where I sweated my way through talking in front of an audience about my work, with Danny Noble and Andy Oliver doing a far better job. The launch in April was an incredible experience, with Gosh! Comics being filled to the brim with people here to look at Andy Oliver’s pride and joy, and the buzz remained well into helping out at Comiket and being asked to join in the Drawing Parade. Gosh! Comics has also been a stable feature of 2016 with the June Drink & Draw, and it’s neighbour Orbital Comics having some of us Six to Watch folks behind the table on Small Press Day, where Warren Ellis picked up a copy of Njálla and wrote about it in his newsletter.

Speaking of which, Njálla was pretty much the focal point of my year. From the ideas conception in August/September 2015, I worked on the comic up until May 2016 including the terrifyingly successful Kickstarter campaign which led me to be able to fund the whole print run without any worry about the financial side of things. With Njálla completed and the rest of my work pinned up to boards, I finished my final year of University and graduated with First Class Honours in Illustration – so I guess all the hard work paid off!

Another big highlight of this year has been the festivals; Comika and Small Press Day starting off the year, with Bristol Comic & Zine Fair and Thought Bubble finishing it up in spectacular fashion. Since spending more time behind a table and meeting more comics people I have the best time, and I can’t wait for what 2017 brings.

Waffling aside, here’s a nice bunch of pictures from my 2016, which say it far better than I can.

And that’s where we’re up to now! With my new release with Good Comics scheduled for Spring 2017 and a couple of other smaller projects in the pipeline there’s not much time to relax in the next few months.. But here’s to another excellent year, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed my ramblings. See you on the other side!

 

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Festivities

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s almost Christmas! With being ill on and off for what feels like weeks, it’s been a little longer between updates than I’d have liked! But with this lingering lurgy and working my new job, this extra week has given me some time to catch up before delighting you all with what I’ve been working on. So, low and behold, I’m back for my yearly pre-Christmas update! Last year I was in the depths of third year university stresses, so I’m definitely feeling more zen this year.. Still, as always I’m longing for my mum’s Christmas dinner skills and eating my body-weight in meat and potato which will be greatly appreciated in three days time.

Still, although my day-job Christmas holiday has started I’m still working away on my comics for the upcoming 2017 collection of short stories I’m releasing with British micro-publisher Good Comics! It’s been challenging to juggle a new full-time work schedule and commute with working on comics, but it’s all an adjustment period that I’m slowly refining. Hopefully, with another week and a half of time off I’ll make a nice dent in the rest of my writing and plotting for my remaining stories so that I have a couple of months to get everything drawn ready for it’s plotted release of mid-late March. The comic I’ve been hinting at for the past few updates has been painted up and is very, very near completion! Have a gander at some snippets:

 

I may or may not have said this before in the last few updates, but I’ve spent a lot, lot longer refining this 4-pager than any comic I’ve worked on before, hopefully making it the best thing I’ve done yet. Now just to keep up the pace with the rest of the short stories!

Speaking of Good Comics, did you know I’m tabling with those charming gents at Cheltenham’s True Believer’s Festival on Saturday 4th February? It’s sometimes hard to forget that the beginning of February is not that long away when it’s not yet Christmas.. But don’t forget that long, dark and cold January does eventually pass and True Believer’s will be here before we know it! You can find out all about the event from the website , or from the Facebook event page and tickets are on sale now! Good Comics did a short interview with True Believers too, and you can read that here.

The third volume of Good Comics Dead Singer’s Society will also be released at True Believers, and there’s still time to submit! What better things could there be to do than to draw your favourite singer of the past over Christmas whilst the family are in a food induced coma on the sofa in front of Shrek? I’ll be mulling over who my next piece will be about after my successful entries of Muddy Waters and Nina Simone in the previous anthologies.

CHECK OUT THE VOL. 3 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS HERE!

In other news, in case you missed it, a piece of mine has been published on the back of the latest Barnstromer Comics Star Jaws Issue #12! Robin kindly asked me if I’d like to get involved earlier this year, to which I jumped at the chance and my Boba Fett piece sits firmly on the back of the newest issue. Star Jaws Issue #12 is available to read for free online. Star Jaws, as you may guess from the title, is based loosely around the Star Wars universe but with some new faces and different stories. It’s an entertaining read, and you can read all of them for free from the very beginning here. A Christmas Carol on again? There you go – new reading material.

Finally, voting has now ended for the Broken Frontier Awards 2016. Thank you to everyone who voted for me for the Breakout Talent Award, and thank you to those who had every intention to but accidentally forgot, because lets face it – it’s a busy time of the year.. Results are announced on 5th January so I will be nervously awaiting to see what happens..

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful festive time whatever you’re celebrating, eat large quantities and be merry! I shall be back next week with the yearly round-up of what I’ve accomplished, and look back at the highs and lows of the year. It won’t be quite as moving as Google’s effort, but hey.. I’ll do my best. Until then, season’s greetings to you all!

 

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Juggling Act

Good afternoon festive followers.

So, it’s now December. It’s also now only two-and-a-half weeks until Christmas Day, and I have also still not bought any presents. This is all very much unlike me, as I’m usually on a mission from mid-October and by now I would be calmly relaxed and have everything ready to go. Apparently, however organised you think you are, things like uprooting and moving to a new place and finding work completely scuppers that up. But regardless, the festive season is a time of laughter, love and lots of food.. And to kick of the season of giving, I give you.. inks!

Despite the adjustment period of sliding back into the 9-5 (or in my case, 8:30-5:30) I have managed to squeeze in some comics work. Hurrah! This third short story I’ve been working on for my Spring 2017 release with Good Comics is around 75% done now, with some final last-minute working out to do on the final page, and then some serious painting to do. It’s been a pretty deep, emotional story to work on, but very much grounded in the everyday rather than my usual backdrop of myth and fantasy. Hopefully it’s a relateable story to many, and I’m really excited for people to read it.. Mainly as I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on this 4-pager and I’m pretty dang proud of it thus far!

With 10 almost-complete comic pages for this collection of short stories so far, there’s a long way to go and a lot more to do before the pencilled in launch date of Spring. And, I still have to figure out and write the rest of the stories! But it’s all great fun, and what would be a better use of my time in the break over Christmas than eating large amounts of food whilst writing and drawing stories.

In other Christmas related news, last posting dates are ebbing closer! My last posting dates to arrive in time for Christmas for all UK comic and card orders is Tuesday 20th December, with last orders for hand-painted made-to-order Njálla t-shirts being Monday 12th December. For international orders I’m going to play it safe and say the last order date for posting is 10th December (as the Royal Mail dates vary per country). I will still continue to post orders out after these dates, but your orders may not arrive in time. Don’t forget I have some excellent stocking filler items for sale on my Etsy store, with Sneaky Business vol. 2 and my latest release Ø for just £3 each, and the Njálla Colouring Book for £2!

Finally, this past weekend saw the Best of the Year on Forbidden Planet with guest writer Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier! A guaranteed passionate read about the best bits of 2016’s comic talents, Andy even has some nice things to say at the end of the article about my work. Check it out via the link here and get some more excellent Christmas shopping ideas..

And that’s it for now! Keen-eyed people will note that I missed my first #colour_collective this past Friday, sadly due to being massively overwhelmed with my new schedule and opting to curl up in a ball rocking back and forth instead of working on drawing things… Or something like that. I shall endeavour to be back with that this coming Friday once I have my routine down, and I will be back with hopefully lots more to show you next Wednesday! Until then, have a good week one and all!

 

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