Tag Archives: asif

2010 Snapshot: Matthew Chrulew

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Matthew Chrulew has had stories in Aurealis, ASIM, The Workers’ Paradise, Canterbury 2100, and Midnight Echo, which esteemed quintumvirate would qualify him for the exclusive Australian SF cabal, except he has also had the bad judgement to slum it in Dog vs Sandwich. The first of his Androphagi stories, “Between the Memories” (Aurealis 38/9), was shortlisted for the Australian Shadows award and reprinted in Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror.

 

1. So, what have you been up to lately? And what’s coming up next – what will we see from you in the next year or two?

 

Six months ago (i.e. basically yesterday) we moved to Sydney, so I could take up a postdoc at Macquarie Uni. What with the settling (again), the family, the life-enveloping (dream) job, and the rest, the writing’s been rather slow of late. Last year I really only published “The Beast-Machine Fableaux” in the art journal Antennae, which has also just been podcast at TISF, read by me, disappointingly, as I was hoping to hear how it sounded in a Scottish drawl. (An earlier podcast may or may not have seen me lay down the whitest raps since tramlines made it big among 1990’s most hairstylish.) Appearing soonish are “Head 2” in the recently randomly maligned Ben Payne’s latest potato-themed project (the public, comprising three, if not four fans of “Head”, having begged for more, as I interpret their gestures); “The Nullarbor Wave” in a book you might have heard of called Worlds Next Door; and “Schubert by Candlelight” in Macabre. I do have some other projects nearing completion – a UFO apocalypse novella, a novel about touch – but most of my creative time is likely to be spent on academic work. I’m writing Mammoth for Reaktion Books, a cultural and natural history of, well, the mammoth. (It’s actually quite a small book – you have no idea how frustrating all those Mammoth Book of X volumes are. Why hasn’t somebody invented a search engine capable of factoring out metaphor?) I dream of simultaneously writing a novel, The Lay of Mamont, which expands on my story “The Gnomogist’s Tale” from Dirk Flinthart’s underappreciated Canterbury 2100, although some were of the opinion that story was already 100% (or is that infinity percent?) too long, so perhaps I should rethink that idea.

 

I also note, purely as an interesting fact, that other SF writers to have written a nonfiction book on the mammoth include Robert Silverberg. Just sayin’, as they say.

 

2. Your story in The Workers’ Paradise, “Rapturama,” was co-written with Roland Boer. How did you find that experience? Do you have any further collaborations planned?

 

Roland, apart from being my PhD supervisor, is an annoyingly prolific arsehole who publishes salacious essays of Marxist biblical criticism in reputed academic journals, when not posting rude pictures on his blog. We’re both pretty laid back, so the collaboration process was seamless really, though it probably resulted in a more sprawling piece than might have been the case, where we each thought the other was watching the child. We haven’t discussed anything further – the story was written in response to Russell and Nick’s call, as is often the case. If the right market or idea comes up, over the right beer, I’m sure it will happen again.

 

3. Looking further to the future, what are your long-term writing goals? Where would you like to see your writing in the next five years or so?

 

If you had asked me this question at Clarion in ’04, I’m sure I would have provided a naively ambitious answer. Reality having organised numerous interventions since, I’m happy to just keep my hand in the game for now. I certainly have a heap of long-term projects, but am increasingly unable to think in terms of goals or stages when it comes to fiction. The other stuff I get paid for, in a roundabout way, so it gets done.

 

4. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year?

 

All I can say is, if that overrated hack Paul Haines makes it in, it will be testament only to the bankrupt hive-mind of the local scene. I mean, has anyone actually bothered to read this stuff before squeeing ejaculate all over the internet? Clearly the guy is an unhinged lunatic, a self-obsessed perpetrator of sins and felonies. In the interests of the public good, there ought to be a moral clause that demands such work be removed from consideration. And don’t get me started on that cheap trick of self-tuckerisation, causing uncareful readers to confuse the protagonist with the author. It’s hardly even a trick, really, just the unreflexive expression of a monstrous ego, fictional autofellatio that gives a whole new meaning to the term “self-insertion.” It’s even infected his own life, which he now spends profiteering off illness and the hardship of his family. Talk about bad taste. It makes me sick.

 

5. Will you be at Aussiecon 4 in September?  What are you most looking forward to about it? What do you think Aussiecon might do for the Australian publishing industry as a whole?

 

We’ll be there, sans our children who we love very much, and I don’t think I’ll be condemned to too nasty a level of hell if I quietly say, that answers both the first two questions. As for the last, and this probably reflects on me, but all I can think of is a record mass hangover.


 


This interview was conducted as part of the 2010 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. Interviews were blogged from Monday 15 February to Sunday 22 February and will be archived at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:

http://random-alex.livejournal.com/
http://girliejones.livejournal.com/
http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/
http://www.mechanicalcat.net/rachel
http://tansyrr.com/
http://editormum.livejournal.com/

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2010 Snapshot: Edwina Harvey

Edwina Harvey is an author, editor, ceramic and silk artist. Her short stories and articles have been published in such diverse publications as Aurealis and Grass Roots magazines. Her first YA SF novel, The Whale’s Tale, was published late last year. She regularly edits, sub-edits and reads slush for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and edits the Australian Science Fiction Bullsheet each month. She has the time to do these things because of a chronic allergy to housework. : – )

1.      In 2009 you released your first YA Novel, A Whale’s Tale. Would you tell us about your publishing experience?

 It was great finally getting a novel published, but I never realised the hard work only starts *after* your book comes out!

 

2.      You’ve been publishing the SF Bullsheet for a number of years now. Why do you think fanzines such as the multi-award winning Bullsheet are important, and where do you get the energy to keep doing it?!

I think news zines like the Bullsheet are important because they’re the fannish equivilent of The Bush Telegraph, supporting the greater fannish community.

Producing the newsletter each month is a draining experience. It often interrupts my flow of work.  I feel I only have 3 weeks in every 4 to contribute to my other interests

 

3.      You are one of the founding members of the Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Co-operative, and one of the few remaining founding members of the ongoing publishing group – what can you tell us about your time with ASIM, and why do you think the magazine is important to the Australian and international publishing scene?

ASIM has introduced me to the most amazing group of individuals. No matter who is in the co-op mix, it always seems to work. I think of ASIM  as “The Little Magazine That Could.” The odds have always been against us, but we always just kept our heads down and kept going. We’ve supplied a market for lighter SF and fantasy to many Australian and international authors over the last 8 years of fairly regular magazine production,(with more on the way!) I think we’ve earned  respect from the international SF community

 

4.      Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year?

Sean Williams, Marianne de Pierres, Dave Luckett and Adrian Bedford in the professional writers section. I had a great novella, “Over The Edge” by NZ writer Ripley Patton in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight magazine #42 , and there was a great short story, "Cockroach Love" by Damian Broderick and Paul di Filipo in ASIM 41. In the fanzine section Ted Scribner and I would be delighted if the Bullsheet got a nomination.

 

5. Will you be at Aussiecon 4 in September?  If so, what are you most looking forward to about it? What do you think Aussiecon might do for the Australian publishing industry as a whole?

I’ll be at Aussiecon 4 with bells on! It’ll be my third Aussiecon. I’m looking forward to all of it, but particularly the social aspects, the chance to meet up with friends and acquaintances, and make new friends. I’m also looking forward to the artshow and the dealers’ room; I’ve been saving up for those all year! In the short term.

 

 I think having a Worldcon in Australia allows a lot of Australian publishers exposure to a much wider audience. From what I’ve seen there’s also a “creative aftershock” that stimulates the local community in the years after a local Worldcon. I think ASIM emerged during one such aftershock, and I’m looking forward to seeing what will emerge from Aussiecon 4  

 


 

 


This interview was conducted as part of the 2010 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. Interviews were blogged from Monday 15 February to Sunday 22 February and will be archived at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:

http://random-alex.livejournal.com/
http://girliejones.livejournal.com/
http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/
http://www.mechanicalcat.net/rachel
http://tansyrr.com/
http://editormum.livejournal.com/

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2010 Snapshot: Martin Livings

Since his first publication in Aurealis back in 1992, Perth-based writer Martin Livings has had over fifty short stories published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. His short works have been listed in the Recommended Reading list in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and he has had stories in The Year’s Best Australian SF & Fantasy, Volume Two and the 2006 and 2008 editions of Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror.  His first novel, the horror thriller Carnies, was published by Hachette Livre in 2006, and was nominated for both the Aurealis and Ditmar awards.  It’s still available for purchase at a bargain-bin price, signed and posted anywhere in the world, through his website, http://www.martinlivings.com.  Sorry, disengaging shameless-plug-mode now…

1. Last year you had a story in the Twelfth Planet Press anthology New Ceres Nights ("Blessed are the dead that the rain falls upon"). How did you find the experience of working on a shared world? Is it easier or harder than working on a stand alone stories or within lessconstrained anthology themes?

 

My story for New Ceres Nights had a very strange genesis.  I was asked if I’d like to contribute a story for it, and, of course, I immediately said yes.  I quickly read all of the existing New Ceres stories, but as the deadline grew closer, I still had no ideas.  So in the end, about a week away from the final deadline, I emailed and admitted that I had nothing for them.  Of course, almost the moment I sent the email, the idea for "Blessed are the Dead" came to me, pretty much fully formed.  I wrote a first draft in a single sitting, and absolutely loved doing it.

I actually found writing in the New Ceres universe strangely liberating, as I didn’t have to do much worldbuilding, leaving me free to focus on the story I wanted to tell.  To be frank, I don’t think I’m actually terribly imaginative, and I’m definitely not naturally prolific, so I find having something like this to spark ideas really helpful to get me moving.  I’ve probably been mainly writing for themed anthologies lately for that exact reason, to keep myself inspired.  I guess it’s also the genesis of Tuesday’s Ten Minute Tales, my on-again-off-again weekly speed-written story inspired by suggestions from readers (plug plug, see http://martinlivings.livejournal.com/tag/tuesday%27s%20ten%20minute%20tale, plug plug!).

2. What else would we have seen from Martin Livings since the last Snapshot? What are you most proud of?

 

When was the last Snapshot again?  2007?  Well, I’ve been quite a busy bee with short stories since then, though until this moment I didn’t realise quite /how/ busy, looking at the list.  I’ve been trying to push the boundaries of what I do, write in different ways and styles a little.  "I’m Dreaming…", published late last year in Festive Fear from Tasmaniac Publications, is one of my favourites, a nasty little horror story where everything is either implied or disguised as something else entirely.  It’s not often that I lose sleep over one of my own stories, but that one really got under my skin.  My partner actually point-blank refuses to read it, so that’s got to be a win!

I’ve also had a couple of stories that were received really well, like "Skinsongs", in Twelfth Planet’s 2012 anthology, and "Piggies" in Midnight Echo Issue 1, and a few that I was really proud of but that largely came and went without a ripple, like "Blessed are the Dead" in New Ceres Nights, "Smiley" in In Bad Dreams 2 from Eneit Press, and "Bedbugs" in Morrigan Books’ Voices.  That’s always a bit disappointing, but it doesn’t dent my pride in those stories, and all the others I’ve had out as well of course.  They’re my kids, out in the big bad world, and I wish the best for them all… though would it kill them to pick up a phone every once in a while???

3. And what have you been working on lately? What’s forthcoming in the next year or two?

 

I already have a bunch of stories coming up, which offers a nice bit of breathing space!  I’ve got a story in the lovely Jennifer Brozek’s collection coming out this year from Apex, Close Encounters of the Urban Kind, called "Lollo".  This is technically my first overseas-only publication, which is fantastic, though it’s only taken me twenty years to manage!  But I’m really hoping this one gets some attention, as I love the story to bits. And it creeped me out, which I figure is a pretty good litmus test for a scary story!  Then, just to stretch my range a tad, I have stories coming up in Ticonderoga Publications’ paranormal romance anthology Scary Kisses and your speculative fiction for younger readers book Worlds Next Door, and what is possibly an entirely non-genre piece for Morrigan Books’ Scenes from the Second Storey.  And I’m keeping the horror alive, of course, with a story in the inaugural Blade Red Dark Pages and, hopefully sometime, another in the long-gestating Macabre project from Brimstone Press.

Apart from that, and a couple more short story projects I’m playing around with… well, I suppose I really should get around to dusting off the novel drafts in various stages of completion that I have languishing in my bottom drawer, perhaps try to get another book out where I don’t have to share the contents pages with all these (very fine) young whippersnappers!

4. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year?

 

I know we’re all sounding like broken records at the moment, but I think the planets are definitely aligning for Paul Haines, having his superlative Slice of Life collection out, plus his brillantly bleak (or bleakly brilliant, I’m not sure which) novella "Wives" in coeur de lion’s X6 innovative ‘novellanthology’.  It’s almost the perfect storm of top-quality work, lots of positive buzz and the opportunity of a local Worldcon.

And if Jonathan Strahan doesn’t pick up a shortlisting for one or more of the, what, four hundred or so anthologies he edited last year, I’ll go and write a story involving fairies and cats.  Oh, hang on, I’m working on one of them right now…

5. Will you be at Aussiecon 4 in September?  If so, what are you most looking forward to about it? What do you think Aussiecon might do for the Australian publishing industry as a whole?

 

I’m definitely going to Aussiecon in September, I have my hotel room, my flights, my membership, everything.  This will be my first Australian convention outside of WA (ironically, I have been to one convention in Glasgow in 2006, but never an Aussie one except in Perth), so I have absolutely no idea what to expect.  There are a lot of people in my various social networking lists that I’m hoping to meet for the first time, though.  And I’ll have a suitcase full of copies of Carnies, so hopefully I’ll be able to press them into the hands of some poor unsuspecting souls who haven’t seen it yet!

As for the Australian publishing industry as a whole… frankly, I have no idea whatsoever.  I guess it could inspire another local SF boom, but then again, looking around, I think we’re in the middle of one of those as we speak anyway.  My main hope is that it might bring some great Aussie writers, editors and publishers to the attention of the wider world of speculative fiction, get the rest of fandom as excited about them as we are already.  That would be the perfect outcome, in my books.

 


This interview was conducted as part of the 2010 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from Monday 15 February to Sunday 22 February and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:

http://random-alex.livejournal.com/
http://girliejones.livejournal.com/
http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/
http://www.mechanicalcat.net/rachel
http://tansyrr.com/
http://editormum.livejournal.com/

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2010 Snapshot: Jenny Blackford

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Jenny Blackford’s science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories for children, YAs and adults have appeared in places including Jack Dann’s Dreaming Again, Random House’s 30 Australian Ghost Stories for Children, the NSW School Magazine, and Paul Collins’ Trust Me!. Jenny has reviewed for The Age, Cosmos and G magazines, and New York Review of Science Fiction, and (with Russell Blackford) she ran the academic tracks of Aussiecon 2 and 3.

 

1. You were a World Fantasy Award judge in 2009 – please tell us a little about that experience and what you learned from the role.

Being a World Fantasy judge was an amazing experience, as well as an honour. My fellow judges were the wonderful Delia Sherman, Ellen Klages, Chris Roberson and Peter Heck. Just getting to know them (by email), and finally meeting up with them at the Montreal Worldcon and the San Jose World Fantasy was great. We were told that we were the most amicable group in many years, which was lovely. We didn’t agree about everything, but we negotiated well together, with never a cross word.

I was an Aurealis Fantasy judge (for both short stories and novels) back in the late 90s, which seemed like a lot of work, but judging WFAs is far more intense. Anything published in English, anywhere in the world, during the judging year, is eligible. The five judges are responsible for all these categories: short story, novella, novel, collection (original or reprint), anthology (original or reprint), artist, special award: professional, special award: non-professional, and two lifetime achievement awards. So as well as reading at least a sample of the enormous number of magazines, novels, collections and anthologies that turned up on the doorstep, plus stories on the net, we had to think about artists, editors, and other people worthy of an award.

I love fantasy, and I enjoyed the reading far too much; I got very little of my own writing done during the year. However, it has given me an excellent overview of the state of the market: the tastes of various magazine editors, the sort of novel that different publishing houses prefer, and so on.

2. While you’re known for your short stories in the speculative fiction genre, your first novel is a historical one (The Priestess and the Slave, Hadley Rille Books, 2009). How did that come about, and what are the different challenges in writing the different genres?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved the ancient world – from Palaeolithic through to Classical. My degree was in Classics, back when that meant four years of intensive Greek and Latin, as well as history and literature. (My honours subjects included Greek and Latin Epigraphy, Palaeography and Comparative Religion, and my unfinished PhD was titled "The Tripartite Godhead in Indo-European Religion".)

So – when Eric Reynolds, of Hadley Rille Books, put out a call for submissions for an anthology about ruins, the obvious topic for me was the ruins of Delphi as described by 2nd century AD writer Pausanias (who wrote the ancient equivalent of the Lonely Planet Guide to Greece). Eric was impressed, and I was thrilled that the story (my first adult one) got an Honourable Mention from Gardner Dozois. Then, when Eric decided to publish a set of seriously archaeologically-based short historical novels, he asked me to do the Greek one.

The real difference between historical and speculative fiction, at least for me, is the research. I spent months immersing myself in the original sources about 5th century BC Greece, plus a huge range of arcane academic books (including, for example, The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks and Diseases in the Ancient Greek World.) Luckily, I love that stuff. There’s nothing in The Priestess and the Slave that’s not well-attested in the historical and archaeological sources.

3. What’s next for Jenny Blackford? What can we expect to see in the next year or two?

I’ve got quite a few short stories forthcoming, in The School Magazine, Kaleidotrope, Three Crow Press and Aurealis, as well as your own Worlds Next Door kids’ anthology and Mark Deniz’s anthology based on Assyrian mythology, In the Footsteps of Gilgamesh. There’s also a poem in the next issue of Midnight Echo.

My current big project is a novel about Medea, Bronze Age princess, sorceress, and grand-daughter of the Sun. It’s going to be a bit racier than The Priestess and the Slave, which is YA-friendly – lots of sex and violence, not just death.

4. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year?

I haven’t read anything like enough Australian work from 2009. The WFA reading was for the 2008 year, and since that finished we’ve travelled far too much and moved house, so I haven’t had time to read much, apart from the books we brought back from WFC and review books. However, in my WFA reading, I confirmed my feeling that the standard of Australian work is very competitive by world standards. I was particularly impressed by work from Margo Lanagan, Scott Westerfeld and Alison Goodman.

One of the few Australian 2009-published books I’ve read since the judging wrapped up was Paul Haines’ Slice of Life, which was great, nasty fun; and I enjoyed the stories I read from Jonathan Strahan’s anthology Eclipse Three at Ellen Klages’ house. Damien Broderick has had an impressive bunch of publications lately in excellent markets, with several stories selected for international Best-of anthologies.


5. I believe you will be at Aussiecon 4 in September.  What are you most looking forward to about it? What do you think Aussiecon might do for the Australian publishing industry as a whole?

It will be lovely to go to a Worldcon in the city where we lived for 30 years. We can catch up with old friends from Melbourne and the rest of Australia, as well as around the world. And, this time, we might even get to go to a few panels we’re not moderating: last time, we were frantic the whole time with the Academic Track.

There will be a flurry of Australian books published in time for the convention, including Worlds Next Door. This should certainly bring our excellent Aussie spec fic to the attention of the world audience, as well as, hopefully, expanding the readership for homegrown spec fic within Australia.


 


This interview was conducted as part of the 2010 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from Monday 15 February to Sunday 22 February and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:

http://random-alex.livejournal.com/
http://girliejones.livejournal.com/
http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/
http://www.mechanicalcat.net/rachel
http://tansyrr.com/
http://editormum.livejournal.com/

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2010 Snapshot: Robbie Matthews

Robbie Matthews started writing seriously after Aussiecon III in 1999. He made his first paying sale early in 2000, and since then has been heavily involved in the  Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG).  He has had stories the CSFG anthologies  Nor of Human… and Machinations, and was a founding member of the Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Co-operative Ltd, becoming involved in editing and publishing Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. In March 2003, Robbie won the Peter McNamara Convenors Award (part of the Aurealis Awards). He also won the Best New Designer Award for my Role Playing module "And Now Presenting: Murder!!!" at the Phenomenon 2003  roleplaying convention. Most recently, Robbie had his collection, Johnny Phillips, Werewolf Detective: the Collected Case Files, published with ASF – the collection was shortlisted for the 2009 Aurealis Awards for Best Collection.

1. You must have been delighted to see the /Collected Werewolf/ on the Aurealis Awards shortlist – how much did it mean to you to have it recognised like that?

I was extremely chuffed … although there was it also felt a bit unreal, because most of the actual work of writing was done years previously. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback, too, which is nice. The shortlisting for the Aurealis was unexpected but welcome. (Winning would have been even more welcome, given the competition, but I can’t complain :P)

2. You’ve been involved in Australian small press for a number of years, most notably with Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine – what have you learned about the Australian publishing community through this experience, and has it supported your career in any way? If you could tell us a little about your experience as GoH in New Zealand last year as well, that would be great!

That’s three questions in one, you cunning interviewer.  I’m not entirely sure how my involvement with the Aussie publishing community came about … it all just happened, although it all kind of made sense at the time. I learned there are many talented and enthusiastic people in the local scene. I feel I was instrumental in getting ASIM off the ground (and we’re up to issue #42, which I feel is pretty damn impressive!) but I’ve now cunningly organized it so that most of the actual work is being done by other people and I’m just a lazy figurehead. New Zealand was fun. We got a chance to do a driving tour of the North and South Island before the convention itself, and that was a lot of fun. NZ fans turn out to be laid back and fun… ASIM also turns out to be quite influential over there, too: ASIM short stories have dominated their "Sir Julius Vogel Awards" for several years (their equivalent of the Ditmars). I got to meet such people as Julie Czerneda and Nahlini Singh, and caught up with Russel Kirkpatrick again. I also got to meet Norman Cates of Weta Workshop (who was there as a fan).

3. So what’s next for Robbie Matthews? Is publishing still high on your priority list?

I’m … toying with the notion of a Johnny Werewolf novel, later this year. It hasn’t got beyond the rough notes stage, though, so only time will tell. As to publishing, I’m editing issue #47 of ASIM. I do find that Small Press publishing takes it out of you, so that would be the limit for this year. You know, until the movie deals roll in, of course… ;-)

4. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year?

I’m going to wimp out on this one. There are so many to choose from…

5. Will you be at Aussiecon 4 in September?  If so, what are you most looking forward to about it? If not, what do you think Aussiecon might do for the Australian publishing industry as a whole?

Still umming and ahing at this point. I’d like to, but have budget constraints to consider. I guess I’ll make my final decision a bit closer to the date. I had a ball at the last one, though…

 


This interview was conducted as part of the 2010 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from Monday 15 February to Sunday 22 February and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:

http://random-alex.livejournal.com/
http://girliejones.livejournal.com/
http://kathrynlinge.livejournal.com/
http://www.mechanicalcat.net/rachel
http://tansyrr.com/
http://editormum.livejournal.com/

Leave a comment

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