Author Salon Reviews, New York Pitch, Algonkian Writer Conferences, Poetry

Poets, Writers, Author Salon Reviews, New York Pitch Conference, Algonkian Writer Conferences
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PostPosted: 30 Apr 2013, 02:35 
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A Sample of Reviews for Algonkian Writer Conferences and Events

More reviews at: http://www.algonkianconferences.com/commentary.htm and more reviews below by authors and Algonkian alums.
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I just wanted to let you know that the conference did me a world of good. I had not spent time with literary people in 12 years, since I left the world of journalism. I had never before been to a writer's conference of any kind ... I believe that once I make the recommended changes to these projects I'll be onto something. I always thought I could write well, but the peripherals of the publishing business were daunting to me and I had lost contact with them. Thanks for helping to bring me back in touch.

James Crawford

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I was beginning to get discouraged in the "find an agent game." I'd managed to wrack up a more than a few rejections on the queries I'd sent out. Then at the conference, with the help of an amazing workshop leader, I was able to improve my pitch. Three out of four editors at the conference requested my manuscript! That and the enthusiasm of my fellow attendees gave me heart. With an improved pitch and the editor interest to back me, I jumped back into the fray, Now, a few months later, I've signed with Emily Sylvan Kim of the Prospect Agency.

Amy Ester Fischer

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From John Ford (five figures for young adult fiction -THE MORGUE AND ME - Viking)

The New York Pitch and Shop Conference offered direct access to major publishing houses, great mentors, and a community of supportive writers. The editors drew me to the conference, but the bigger benefit for me was the invaluable instruction in honing my pitch. The intensive workshops force you to crystalize the appeal of your manuscript. That helps greatly in the pitch sessions, but also -- maybe more importantly -- in drafting query letters and in editing the novel itself. It's no coincidence that such a large proportion of our small group found publishing success ...

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Despite my many years as a journalist and non-fiction author, the transition into writing good fiction was difficult for me. Upon taking the Algonkian workshop, it all came into focus. For the first time, I am aware of the techniques and craft it takes to write a competitive manuscript.

Dusko Doder, Author and Former Moscow Bureau Chief
for the Washington Post

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Dear Michael and Charles,

Some encouraging news since my return from our workshop, I've managed to garner a blast of new agent interest in reading my manuscript, a development I attribute to having fine-tuned my pitch there with you. The following agencies received my new pitch via email queries and are now reading the entire MS:

Levine Greenberg
The Rights Factory (Toronto)
Trident Media
Imprint Agency
Folio Literary

As to the chat forum, I did take some advice about smoothing out the first few pages, it can only help...but left my opening essentially as it was. I can see the value of mass response but a few of us are emailing each other with larger chunks of ms which answers my needs better right now.

Finally, the workshop was a good experience for me. I benefitted from hearing the refining process go on for others' work as well as my own. It was overall a great group of people and your own leadership was terrific.

Thanks again.

Victoria Costello

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Algonkian helped me develop a discipline around the creative process, enabling me to write with a clear intention to publish. It has been a year since the program and I continue to refer to the workshop material. From the story analyses I learned to examine my own work with rigor.

Sheela Sukumaran, PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow

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From Susan Breen (five figures for women's fiction -THE FICTION CLASS - Plume)

I am the person who sold my novel at the NYC Pitch and Shop conference. I met with an editor from Plume, pitched the idea and she liked it and after several weeks, and rounds of discussion and so forth, she made an offer. Meantime, Michael Neff helped to set me up with my agent, who is a lovely person at Trident Media. So I can honestly say that going to that conference changed my life.

#2 Post

Let me just share my experience here. Before I went to the NYC Pitch and Shop conference, I had been to a number of more traditional conferences--Bread Loaf, Antioch, Writers @ Work and so on. When I saw the ad for NYC Pitch and Shop, I had just finished my novel, The Fiction Class, and I was about to embark on a search for an agent (which is a long story in itself) and I was thinking I would apply to a conference. Then I saw the ad and I liked the fact that it was different than anything I had done. Quite honestly, I was at a point in my career where I thought I needed to do something different. I knew it was a long shot, but I was going to spend the money on one conference or another and I figured it was worth giving it a try. I had met agents before at other conferences, but I liked the directness of this one. The whole purpose was to try and sell my novel; there was no pussy footing around. Also, I just liked the idea of meeting an editor face to face. If you are not in publishing, you just do not run into editors and since these people were the decision makers, I wanted to see what they were like.

Everything turned out so much better than I had dreamed. I did sell my novel--not right at that moment, because there is a process. But I did sell it because I went to NYC Pitch and Shop.

____________________________

I'm a children's writer hoping to break into the historical novel market. The Algonkian Workshop surpassed every other conference I've been to. It wasn't "rah-rah" pep talks that do little more than leave an unpublished writer frustrated. It was four days of intensive, down-to-business training and face-to-face contact with agents and authors who told us what we really need to know--and do--to get published. And the agents invited us to send our book proposals to them, first. That's more than worth the price of admission.

Kathryn Dahlstrom, Author of The Good News Club series

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From Will Lavender (six figure deal for his thriller - OBEDIENCE - Shaye Areheart)

This conference helped me TREMENDOUSLY. Tremendously. I did a few things in New York that were of help: I changed the title of my manuscript after it was clear that our group didn't really care for it, and the title change helped me realize some of the book's themes; I was asked to submit my manuscript to an editor at Penguin (something I put on my query letters); and I tightened my query to the point where I was 90% successful in terms of agents asking for partials or fulls. I also met some good people and some good writers there.

According to their website, three of the writers in the group I was in have made deals. I'm with Shaye Areheart; another writer is with Plume; another is with Knopf. There were 16 in the group. That tells you that, while these writers may not have landed deals with editors during this conference (I didn't; the manuscript was eventually rejected by Penguin), there is some legit talent in the groups you pitch with.

I can only speak for myself: it was well worth the money I paid.

____________________________

Algonkian Workshop is an intensive nuts and bolts primer in learning and examining the techniques of storytelling and dialogue. It gets the writer focused on the ingredients that bring a story or a novel to life. Of the six workshops I have done in the past four years, Algonkian is by far the best.

Michael B. Miller, Translator, Virginia

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The motto and approach, 'write from the heart, but smart,' is pure genius. If you're serious about writing and getting published, an Algonkian conference is the way to go.

Peter Eichstaedt, Newspaper Journalist and Author of If You Poison Us

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I went to the Algonkian Novel Workshop with a mostly complete novel. We worked on issues particular to the novel form including drama theory, plotting, structure, and character development. I returned home with many helpful notes, particularly about structural elements. Within six weeks, I had a revised novel, and two weeks later, a literary agent.

Stephanie Anagnoson, California

____________________________

I have returned to writing after a 20 year hiatus. The Algonkian workshop was instrumental in helping me focus and clarify my characters and story. The small size of the workshop encouraged interaction between attendees and with the facilitator. We all got a lot of specific feedback on our work; the feedback was constructive and specific. I highly recommend the Algonkian Novel workshop for anyone looking for new insights on his/her work.

Amy Roeder, California

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From H. Scott Dalton (attendee at NYC Pitch and Shop)

Since the conference, three of our group, including Will, have been offered contracts for the books they pitched (I, unfortunately, have not had an offer yet). All three say the coaching they received at the conference helped them shop their books more effectively by tightening and targeting their queries.

For myself, I decided to attend for a few reasons:

    It gave me a chance to meet other writers, folks serious about this craft, including some from the Big Bad Industry.
    It gave me an opportunity to get a reality check on my writing and my book, and help me figure out how to market it to maximize my chances.
    It might get me struck by lightning, get picked up and avoid the frustrating query-and-rejection cycle I'm in now (please note, though, I did not go thinking I was guaranteed a contract).


Hell, it was a chance to go to New York.

As it happens, all but the struck-by-lightning thing worked out. I'm still in contact with several of the folks I met there, one of them Will, and we all continue to learn from each other. Personally, I find it useful to be able to put names and faces to my fellow rookies, and have at least one common experience to look back on. And meeting one-on-one with four real live editors helped me gain a little perspective on this business; the four of them, and all the rest of you, are much more human to me now than before. For me, the conference was worth the price tag.


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PostPosted: 09 May 2013, 00:35 
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A Sample of Reviews for Algonkian Writer Conferences and Events

More reviews at: http://www.algonkianconferences.com/commentary.htm
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Authors talk about their experience at Algonkian's New York Pitch Conference

I have already had a novel published by a major publisher, but getting the second book out there has turned out to be more difficult than I expected. I asked my agent what she thought about taking the new book to the New York Pitch Conference. She thought it was a fine idea, so I went for it. It turned out to be a great experience. I got lots of help refining my pitch and the opportunity to pitch my book to four editors. Where else can you tell your story to four editors who are actively looking for books to buy? I think the answer to that is "Nowhere else." But the icing on the cake, I think, was that the workshops gave me new insight into the very essence of my book. I had lots to think about when I got home, and revised accordingly.

- Author Natasha Bauman

My novel became a higher concept project because of the New York Pitch Conference experience. I was also encouraged to think of it in broader terms and consider developing a series.

- Author Pamela Binder

Algonkian offered me the opportunity to be part of a real writers group where my ideas and evolving characters were first introduced to other writer and potential readers. That critique allowed me to tweak my characters and storyline to perfection. Algonkian's approach in fine tuning my pitch helped me to tighten my manuscript as well. As a result, my manuscript sold to the very first publisher who saw it!

- Author Roberta Gately

The New York Pitch Conference sessions sharpened my focus considerably. They train you to look at your work in a certain way. And of course, exposure to the frank opinions of people in the publishing world is priceless ...

- Author Kate Gallison

First write a good book; if you're not sure about that, attend one of the other Algonkian Workshops. But if you do attend the New York Pitch Conference, be prepared for the fallout. I walked away with such a successful pitch, but realized I had to rewrite my book to make sure I delivered what I sold the editors. With workshop leader Susan Breen's help, I have three publishing house editors who want read my manuscript. Wanna write a successful query to an agent? Put that in your first paragraph. I have over a dozen requests for my manuscript now!

- Author Kim Boykin

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PostPosted: 16 May 2013, 05:34 
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Now a member of Author Salon, I've been attending Algonkian writers conferences off and on for years (through two manuscripts) and I've even posted a review or two for them. I wouldn't even be close to being close to getting published without them since they were the only writers conference that gave it to me straight.

My favorite is the Algonkian novel workshop in Virginia. The agents were extremely helpful and the workshop leader's guidance was superb. Neff is a straight-on guy, and as a strong woman (I think), I like that. I attended that workshop twice. The second time a narcissistic romance writer showed up and bitched and sneered for two days before leaving in a rage. We all know the type, but all in all, the group was fantastic and we still exchange work to this day.

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PostPosted: 16 May 2013, 17:57 
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I've also attended Algonkian events, just like three quarters of the Author Salon membership. The New York pitch saw me walking the halls at Ripley Greer in a daze after the first workshop. I received two requests by the end of the sessions on Sunday because I was able to rethink the plot and premise and effectively pitch the improved story, but I wasn't able to write the darn thing because my writing skills just were not up to the task. I'd been kidding myself for years and my writers group was helping me do that.

I think we've all been in that situation. But like you Liz, I'm thankful to Algonkian for giving it to me straight. My workshop leader was Susan Breen in New York, and at Corte Madera years ago my manuscript reviewer was Ann Garvin. God, I love her! I love them both. Neff was in the distance on both occasions, but he seemed like a congenial sort, and he knew his business. He wrote the Algonkian study guide and that helped me tremendously.

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PostPosted: 17 May 2013, 07:06 
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Gee Liz, you're always dodging the narcissists. How do they find you?

You and I met at an Algonkian event originally, before joining Author Salon. I still remember that side of New York quite well. We stood in the hallway outside the Algonkian pitch studios surrounded by theater actors trying out for a musical.


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PostPosted: 17 May 2013, 07:38 
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Liz, I agree, Neff is straight with you, but so are all the Algonkian workshop leaders, editors and agents at all events--and that pisses a few writers off, and they're always the worst in the bunch, the narcissists. You see it coming. I was at a New York Pitch with Caitlin Alexander, a brilliant editor from Random House, and this guy looked like he was going to explode in the hallway after Caitlin told him his plot needed work. He left after that and we never saw him again, but the group was glad to see him go.

I was in an MFA program at Iowa and we wasted so much time getting useless opinions from other writers in the program, and now I'm in a writer's group in LA and they waste time being too laudatory with each other. I sympathize with Somber Woman's comment.

btw, Liz, the writer you refer to as leaving after two days, was that Marie Romas, the one that started the fracas on another board?


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PostPosted: 17 May 2013, 21:24 
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I was there too, Robert!

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PostPosted: 17 May 2013, 21:27 
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Elizabeth wrote:
I wouldn't even be close to being close to getting published without them since they were the only writers conference that gave it to me straight.

Just wanted to affirm this also. Not even close.

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PostPosted: 17 May 2013, 22:45 
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Normanewguy wrote:
btw, Liz, the writer you refer to as leaving after two days, was that Marie Romas, the one that started the fracas on another board?

Norm, yes, it was her, but she used a pseudo. It was so odd that she stormed out right before the agents showed up. Storming out and lashing out, a pattern with the narcissists, even online as I noted in another thread here. But even for a narcissist she was foolish. She went right to Internet and spewed her bitterness. This engaged the various cretins on the board who emerged like weevils from the wood to pitch their own workshops while sleazily suggesting the workshop faculty were unqualified to judge the novel in the first place. LOL! It was funny and disgusting at the same time. None of them had ever witnessed or attended an Algonkian event, and this made them experts.

Let's forget it though. I'd rather talk about something productive, like the potential of us banding together to get a group discount on the Author Salon's novel writing program.

Any takers?

And I do remember that time, Robert. It was wonderful, one of the highlights of my life.

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PostPosted: 18 May 2013, 20:02 
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We already get a discount if we're Algonkian alums, which we are.


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PostPosted: 19 May 2013, 17:52 
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I am not an Algonkian alum, but I noticed they posted a new and more comprehensive events comparison page. Some bullets as follows regarding the Write to Market conference and Niagara:

- A set of novel-prep assignments and readings completed in the Algonkian online forum.
- Separate pre-event assignments emailed to participants which include hook and marketing analysis.
- Conference "pitch panels" wherein writers role play as agents and editors.
- Feedback on novel structure, premise, and narrative from professionals, not attendees.
- Pitch training in conjunction with novel workshopping.
- The 86-page Algonkian Study Guide and workshop syllabus.
- Creation of an individual publication plan with workshop leaders.
- Interactions and one-on-one sessions with literary agents.
- Competitive registration fees of $395 to $495 per event.

Just a couple of questions. What do they mean by "individual publication plan"? And conference pitch panels?

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PostPosted: 20 May 2013, 20:56 
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RLmacallister wrote:
Just a couple of questions. What do they mean by "individual publication plan"? And conference pitch panels?

The publication plan derives from one-on-one meetings that take place with faculty before conclusion of the event. The goal is to recap with the writer what has taken place in the workshop, or at the conference, and discuss as necessary meaningful edits and restructure of the novel going forward, as well as address any additional issues involving platform, fiction credentials, market issues, etc. The point is to put together a package of items the writer must focus on once they leave the workshop environment.

As far as the pitch panels go, I have not participated in the Write to Market event. I'll let someone else address that one.

btw, congrats on all your novels. I look forward to representing one!

:)

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PostPosted: 20 May 2013, 23:29 
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I can help with the pitch panel mystery. I was one of many who volunteered to pitch their novel to a room full of writers. It was a role-playing exercise. Ann and Michael told the audience to assume the role of an editor or agent in the publishing business and to judge our work from that viewpoint. Once the pitching was done and opinions heard, Ann and Michael added their professional viewpoints to the critique. The whole process was extremely instructive, and it revealed gaping holes in my story.

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PostPosted: 21 May 2013, 18:02 
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LOL! I'm on my third novel and still falling into gaping holes.

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PostPosted: 22 May 2013, 05:22 
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Thank you, golden lads and lasses.

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PostPosted: 23 May 2013, 18:06 
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Hi, I've been "lurking" on the Block for some time but just now decided to post. I'm looking for some advice. I was thinking of taking the Berkeley online extension course in developing the novel, or a similar online course. In the reviews section at Author Salon http://www.authorsalon.com/reviews/view/94/ they say, "And this is just the first class from UC Berkeley Extension. Class after class will extend to the horizon as your wallet drains to zip. Will you have a novel ready to publish at the conclusion of this money pit. No."

I guess I am in that old mode of seeing the academic name and believing their coursework must be the best, but I can't see evidence of it in their promotional material. I suppose you are expected to accept it's a better deal for $550.00 with their instructor.

Looking for opinions. Thank you.


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PostPosted: 24 May 2013, 03:51 
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Never taken a college writing course online. I would like to tell you Author Salon's program is better for the money, but I have yet to enroll so I can't say for certain. Colleges do taffy-pull the material as much as possible to create a series of courses because that is more profitable, and I know plenty of MFA grads who are in the dark about how to really approach the writing of a novel.

My advice is to do more more reviews. Good luck with it, Alicia.

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PostPosted: 24 May 2013, 21:53 
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Alicia9kitty wrote:
I guess I am in that old mode of seeing the academic name and believing their coursework must be the best, but I can't see evidence of it in their promotional material. I suppose you are expected to accept it's a better deal for $550.00 with their instructor.

I get where you're coming from with this mindset. I've taken a couple of decent classes at Gotham. It really depends on the instructor.


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PostPosted: 24 May 2013, 22:03 
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RLmacallister wrote:
Thank you, golden lads and lasses.

Algonkian is not Squaw Valley. Algonkian is not like a Writer's Digest conference, or like any other big conference event. Algonkian is also not like Tin House or Bread Loaf or any of the feel good writer retreats. Just so you know.

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PostPosted: 24 May 2013, 23:22 
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Susan Breen teaches online classes for Gotham. I can't speak highly enough of her.

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PostPosted: 25 May 2013, 01:16 
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Didn't mean to leave you out, Lee. I'm just being fuddy duddy. Is that how you spell it?


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PostPosted: 25 May 2013, 19:21 
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New to the Block, but had to also chime in about the Algonkian Conference giving it to you straight. If I wanted a "this is wonderful" critique of my novel, I would have given it to my Aunt Selma. I wanted the truth, what worked, and what didn't and the Conference helped make it that much stronger.


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PostPosted: 25 May 2013, 23:21 
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I will look over the Author Salon course, and thank you.


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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2013, 18:39 
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Just had to stop by and post this. A woman scorned went into ballistic overdrive on Algonkian and Michael. Apparently, she was rejected from the pitch conference. Laurence O'Bryan noticed it and was shocked. He made a post in support. Michael followed, then me. I've never read a bigger load of raving bilge in all my life. It's the kind of thing you can't believe until you see it.

Algonkian Writers Conference post on the MWF forum.

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PostPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 10:56 
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Oh, forget it Lee. We see at least two of these types every year. Out of hundreds, they alone release the hounds. It's inevitable. You simply cannot deal honestly with titanic bimbo egos and not see a few eruptions like we've been talking about in this thread.

Seriously, ho hum X 10.


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