Sunday, June 25, 2017

RWA Does Disney: A Look Back...And Ahead



With Susan Elizabeth Phillips at the Dolphin Resort - 2010

As we gear up for next month's RWA national conference at the Swan and Dolphin Resort in Disney World, I thought I'd take a look back at the first Disney conference and ahead to this year's which is only four weeks away. 

The 2010 RWA National Conference was supposed to be held in Nashville, Tennessee. I was excited about exploring a city I'd only driven through before but torrential rains that led to catastrophic flooding had the folks at RWA scrambling to make a last minute change (the conference hotel was under water). They came through like champs and soon readers and authors were heading south to Orlando, Florida and the home of Mickey Mouse and his many friends. 



Tessa Dare: Literacy Autographing 2010

After rapidly selling all copies of her debut book, Goddess of the Hunt at her first Literacy Autographing in 2009, Tessa Dare turned that "sold out" frown upside down with a RITA® nomination in 2010. 










Several RITA nominations, and wins, later, Dare kicks off her fifth series August 22 with the publication of The Duchess Deal and she's once again a RITA finalist, this time for Do You Want to Start a Scandal, one of my favorite books of 2016. (read my Top Dish review)












Eloisa James:Literacy Autographing 2010

Eloisa James sure looks excited and with good reason. Those are two awesome EJ books she's holding! Have you read her newest, Seven Minutes in Heaven? Janga and I chatted about it in our February 2017 Just Between Us feature. Eloisa has a new series beginning this fall with the October 31 release of Wilde in Love, which features one of my all-time favorite covers and step-backs!



Step-back (inside cover) of Wilde in Love





Catching up with the lovely Emily March/Geralyn Dawson at the Harlequin party...which was fabulous! Are you reading Emily's Eternity Springs series? Stop by June 30 when Janga and I chat about the newest Eternity Springs novel, A Stardance Summer in a Just Between Us feature. 












Chatting with one of my favorite authors, Monica McCarty. She's been an autobuy for me since the publication of her debut book. 










I've loved McCarty's highlander heroes but I'm looking forward to meeting her Navy SEALs in her upcoming (present day) Lost Platoon series. It all begins with the September 5 publication of book one: Going Dark













The Avon party was held at the Living Seas Aquarium in Epcot. What a beautiful venue! Enjoying the party are Jeanne Adams, Terri Garey and Sarah MacLean. 









Are you as excited for The Day of the Duchess, the third book in MacLean's Scandal and Scoundrel series as I am? It publishes in two days! 

















Here I am with my favorite Brit, Anna Sugden. 










Have you checked out Anna's hockey hunks yet? A Perfect Strategy was released in February. 















You may think Anna Campbell and I spend a lot of time hugging and laughing at conferences. You'd be right! I'll miss her at next month's conference but she's back in Australia after three months jaunting around England, Scotland, and Belgium. Check out her gorgeous photos at her Facebook page.






Don't forget to also check out Anna's newest Dashing Widows novella, Catching Captain Nash. It releases June 30! 
















Besides being one of my all-time favorite authors, Lisa Kleypas is also one of the sweetest, most genuine people I have ever met. And gorgeous. The woman is gorgeous.  











Are you reading Lisa's new Ravenels historical romance series? The third book, Devil in Spring released in February and the hero is the son of fan-favorite hero, Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Kleypas' Wallflowers series. You can read my review here. 










Debbie Mazzuca captured my attention with her debut book, Lord of the Isles, a paranormal historical romance. After meeting her in person, I was even more captivated by the sweet, genuine person she is. 











Now writing as Debbie Mason, she's become one of my go-to authors for heartwarming contemporary romance featuring humor and emotion. Her next book, Primrose Lane releases June 27 and it's another winner in her Harmony Harbor series. 








2010

Anytime I get to see Julie Anne Long in person is a cause for celebration. I adored Long's historical Pennyroyal Green series and am head over heels for her new Hellcat Canyon contemporary romances. She won the RITA last year for the tenth book in her Pennyroyal Green series,
It Started with a Scandal. (Top Dish review) She's a RITA finalist again this year for her first Hellcat Canyon book, Hot in Hellcat Canyon. (Top Dish review)  









Book three in Long's Hellcat Canyon series, Dirty Dancing at Devil's Leap, will be out August 29. I've had it on pre-order since January 11. Yes, I love her writing that much. :) 











Roxanne St. Claire 2010


I'm a long-time fan of Roxanne St. Claire's books. I discovered her during her romantic suspense, Bullet Catchers years then followed her into her Barefoot Bay contemporaries, including her Timeless (Barefoot Bay) spinoff trilogy featuring sexy silver fox heroes, and her romantic suspense Barefoot Bay Undercover quartet where we finally got the long-anticipated story of fan favorite, Gabriel Rossi. One of St. Claire's sexy silver foxes brought her a RITA nomination this year for Barefoot at Midnight. We'll have to wait until Thursday, July 27 to see if she brings home another pretty gold statue. 









While I've loved all of her books, for me, it's St. Claire's current Dogfather series, centered around a large, boisterous, loving, Irish-American family in North Carolina and the dogs they rescue and train, that has wrapped up my reader's heart with a great big bow. And, for St. Claire, a dog lover and animal rescue proponent herself, these stories and the fact that she's donating a portion of book sales to a no-kill rescue organization in her home state show what a warm, loving, and huge heart this woman has. Start with Sit...Stay...Beg, then move on to New Leash on Life and the soon to be released, Bad to the Bone








Kristan Higgins 2010

Kristan Higgins was a recent discovery for me when I first met her in 2010. I adored her book, Too Good to Be True which was a RITA finalist that year. Kristan won the RITA and kept her promise to celebrate (fully clothed) in the center lobby pool at the Dolphin (see photo of fountain at top of this post), much to the delight of all who witnessed the event. Except, perhaps, the hotel staff? (grin) 








In the years since, I've come to know Kristan better and am happy to report that in addition to being an incredibly talented author, she's also one of the kindest, strongest, funniest, and most genuine women I've had the honor of meeting. Her next book, Now That You Mention It, will be out in December of this year.  








If you're in the Orlando area, you too can meet some of your favorite authors this summer. RWA will sponsor the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing on Saturday, July 29 from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. ET.  Admission is free and all proceeds of book sales will benefit literacy organizations. As recently reported, in 2016, RWA reached $1 Million dollars in donations to benefit literacy organizations. For a complete list of the authors who will be signing, click here







Have you ever visited Disney World? What was your favorite attraction?

Are you a hugger? You've probably guessed from the photos that I am so be prepared if we ever meet in person. ;-)

Will you be attending next month's RWA conference or the Literacy Autographing? If so, I'd love the opportunity to meet you! 

What author(s) would you most like to meet and what would you ask them?  

I have a package of books and swag looking for a home. One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment before 11:00 p.m. ET, June 26 will win! (U.S. only)

56 comments:

  1. I love DW! I can't narrow it down to one attraction, but I can say Epcot is my fave park.

    I'm a total hugger as you know.

    I'm so jealous of all of you going to RWA, I'm sure it will be a fabulous time for all.

    I would most like to meet Judith McNaught and ask her where the heck she's been and what is taking so long to write again. After I thanked her profusely and confessed my love, of course.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures and memories with us, PJ!

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    1. I'll take plenty of photos to share, Frances!

      I like your question. I'm sure there are many McNaught readers who would like to ask the same!

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  2. I have visited Disney World several times. By park, my favorites are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom,) Soarin' (Epcot,) Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom,) and Star Tours (Disney's Hollywood Studios.)

    I am from south Louisiana, so it goes without saying that I am a hugger!

    I won't be attending RWA, but if I had a chance to meet authors there, my list would include Loretta Chase, Tessa Dare, Laura Griffin, Eloisa James, Kristan Higgins, Lisa Kleypas, Julie Anne Long and Julia Quinn. What a fun post. Thanks so much.

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    1. I also love Soarin'. It's one of my all-time favorite Disney rides.

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  3. Love DW I moved here to work and never left! 10 years later, this was only supposed to be a summer job, and here we are!

    I can't wait to meet Tawna Fenske, Kristan Higgins, Julie James, Jill shalvis, oh so many more!

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    1. Do you still work there, Kayla? My sister-in-law's brother has worked for Disney for his entire career. He loves it there.

      I'll be wandering around the signing. Please say hello if you see me!

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  4. Never been to Disney World. I know, I am missing a really big deal. I wish I were blessed enough to be attending RWA. But alas, will not be there. So, please tell everyone "Hey" from me, and soak up all the wonderfulness you possibly can. I love nearly every author you have mentioned. and the other ones are simply people who have written books that I have never read. Thanks for all the pictures and the terrific descriptions.

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    1. I turn into a ten year old each time I walk through the gates. ;-)

      I'll be taking lots of photos. Watch for them on my Facebook page and then here at the blog after I get home.

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  5. Yes, I am a hugger and yes I have been to Disney several times. Would love to meet Bella Andre, Susan Mallery, Deb Macomber, Sherryl Woods to name a few.

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    1. I'd like to meet Sherryl Woods too. I've been reading her books for years. I've had the pleasure of meeting the others you listed.

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  6. Aloha, PJ! This was my first conference to attend after moving to Hawaii. I had a ticket to Nashville and scrambled to change to Orlando. I grew up in Miami, so I am intimately familiar with Disney. I was disappointed to miss Nashville (RWA will return in the future). For your questions,

    Have you ever visited Disney World? What was your favorite attraction? It's A Small World because it brings back many childhood memories. Plus it is AC on a sit down ride. I also like Buzz Lightyear'Space Ranger Spin (replaced Pan Am's If You Had Wings - yeah, I am that old). When I get really tired of lines, I hop on Transit Authority People Mover - a mini monorail above the rides in Tomorrowland for a sneak peak.

    Are you a hugger? Yes, I like to hug and look forward to receiving one from you!

    Will you be attending next month's RWA conference or the Literacy Autographing? Yes! I am moderating the panel, Rev It Up - Creating an Authentic Motorcycle World. I am also volunteering at the Literacy Signing.

    What author(s) would you most like to meet and what would you ask them? I am rooming with Avon Author Cathy Maxwell - I just like to hear her laugh.

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    1. Excited to see you again, Kim!

      Like you, I lived in Florida for many years and have visited DW numerous times - enough to know that wandering the Parks is the last thing I want to do in July. I'll save my Parks visits until I visit family there next winter.

      You know how much I adore Cathy and, having shared a hotel room with her, I know well how much joyous laughter will be occurring in your RWA hotel room!

      My first visit to DW was December 1971, three months after it opened. I remember all those old rides! :)

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  7. Soarin' is my favorite - don't know if it is still there.

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    1. Soarin' is alive and well and still one of the most popular Disney attractions!

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  8. I have never been to Disney World. To many health issues. I am a hugger. I will not be attending as our oldest daughter is getting married. I love so many of the ones you listed and never met. Debbie Mason and I would ask her if she plans to go back to Christmas?

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    1. I'll ask Debbie that question for you, Pamela!

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    2. Hi Pamela! PJ was kind enough to let me know you had a question for me--thanks, PJ! And while I'd love to revisit my friends in Christmas, I don't have time to take on another project. At least not right now. That's probably not the answer you were hoping for, but if it helps, Nell has taken over my newsletter and includes updates from Christmas. Thanks so much for your interest in the series, Pamela! I hope you have a fabulous time at your daughter's wedding!

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  9. Hi PJ! I would hug you back! I probably won't make it to RWA until they are back in NYC, and I will definitely look you up! In the past, I met Erin Knightley, Carolyn Brown, Laura Florand, Shana Galen, Samantha Grace, Terri Osburn, Sandra Owens, and lots more! Everyone is so nice! I love Disney - The fireworks are my favorite.

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    1. I probably won't make it to RWA until they are back in NYC

      Then we definitely need to make plans to exchange that hug in 2019!

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  10. I've been to Disney World four times, but not in 25 years - it's time for another visit - I wonder what has changed in that time?
    I'd love to meet Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Jill Shalvis or Robynn Carr (or many other favorite authors).

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    1. Oh, so many changes since you last visited! Hope you get another opportunity to go.

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  11. I've never been to Disney and will not be attending RWA this year.

    I am a hugger

    denise

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  12. Love Disney World, have been three times (first time on honeymoon, other two with our two kids). Favorite place there? Cinderella's Castle!
    Unfortunately not attending RWA conference. 😔 My two must-see authors would be Julie Anne Long and Lisa Kleypas. No particular questions, just would love to hear them speak. 😄
    And, yes, no shame...I am a hugger! 😊

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    1. Julie Anne Long and Lisa Kleypas are both as lovely as you would expect them to be from reading their books. Two of my favorites!

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  13. I was supposed to attend the RWA in Nashville in 2010 as a librarian. It was a 5 hour drive and would have been most convenient. When the flooding happened and it got changed I was most disappointed. Worse yet, we had just gotten home from Orlando the week prior so I could attend RWA. I am no longer a librarian, but would still like to attend. Unfortunately, we already made our trip to Florida to visit the Orlando contingent of the family this year, so there will be no RWA Saturday event this year. I have attended RT and thoroughly enjoy it.

    Am I a hugger? Sometimes. It often depends on my mood.

    I was so lucky to meet and visit with several authors at RomCon in Colorado Springs and met a few to visit with at RT. I met authors I wasn't familiar with and learned some interesting things about them and their writing. I think going to an event just looking forward to meeting who you can and enjoying it is the best way to look at it. Authors, especially well known authors, get swarmed and asked the same questions over and over. Most do a wonderful job of being pleasant and personable in spite of the constant crush at these events. I can certainly admire that. I have only met one author, well known, who was a guest speaker at a college here. I bought her new book she was promoting and went to have it signed. She was rude and seemed put out by the whole thing.

    I hope you have a great time at RWA in Orlando and get to visit with all your author friends.

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    1. I was really looking forward to Nashville too, librarypat and felt so awful for the city when it was flooded. Can you hang on for four more years? RWA is scheduled to hold their national conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in 2021!

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    2. I might just be able to go. I would like to go to RT again. Dallas was so much fun. Atlanta wasn't that far this year, but things didn't work out. Maybe I could become a blogger or go back to work as a librarian to justify the expense : )

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  14. Been to Disney World too many times to count, every year for over 30 years. Favorite ride Big Thunder Mt. Railroad
    Hugger: Yes RWA2017: Yes
    Looking forward to seeing several authors I work with but have not met in person.
    I will pass my chance to win the books to someone else.

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    1. Looking forward to exchanging that hug next month, Sharlene!

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  15. I've only spent a few days in Disney World and just loved the entire experience. I don't usually initiate hugs (my family wasn't a hugging family) but I try to do it more, it's a nice gesture! No, I won't be able to attend, sadly. There are many authors I'd love to meet - mostly historical authors but other genres too. Grace Burrowes, Karen Ranney, Jill Shalvis, Sue-Ellen Welfonder, Anna Campbell and so many more. I would probably be totally tongue-tied lol.

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    1. A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Jude Deveraux, one of the legends of romance and one of my favorite authors from years back. I don't remember a single thing I said to her. I'm not sure it even made sense but she continued to smile and hold my hand and didn't scream for security so I call that a win. *grin*

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    2. Same trip, I think!! New York? I went to Jude Deveraux's class and loved it. I have a picture of her and me framed--just for inspiration. I thought she was fabulous. :)

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  16. I love DW and have been there many times. I would enjoy meeting so many of these delightful authors. What an experience. I do hug when it is reciprocated and enjoyed.

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  17. I have been to Disney World years ago and enjoyed it immensely. The rides, the enter area is so special. I hug when others are warm. I cannot attend due to health issues. I would enjoy meeting Sarah Maclean, lisa Kleypas and Eloisa James.

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    1. Three rock stars of romance yet all very gracious, friendly, and kind. Maybe one day they'll come to your corner of the world.

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  18. Have been to Disney in Fla a few times. Last year with our daughter and our parents. Favorite was dinner with the princesses and the prince. My daughter was so thrilled to meet them.
    Natty's Mama

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    1. I love to see the stars shining in little girls' eyes when they meet those princesses. Such a precious experience.

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  19. This sounds like so much fun, I love Disney! Have a great time, wish I could be there :-)

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  20. I'm skipping this year in lieu of a family heritage trip to Washington. :) However, I love RWA and the people I've met there. When you find you tribe, it really is a blessed thing. Also getting to meet your favorite author celebrities is the bomb--and if they remember you from either you gushing on their blogs or reviewing one of their books--I get all swoony. VERY VERY SWOONY.

    I've had JAL's book pre-ordered the day it came up to pre-order. *LOL* CANNOT WAIT. Keep looking at the release date and thinking it's too long.

    I've loved-loved meeting Eloisa multiple times. She's always so gracious, witty, and so complimentary to me and my Dorian Gray looks. (Ha!) But best of all, while I was talking to her, I saw Teresa Medeiros come up behind her and I got such a look on me that she turned and graciously introduced me to my book equivalent of Queen Elizabeth, as if she and I would become the best of friends. It. Was. Amazing. Romance authors really are the most generous, amazing, loveliest of people. As are their reviewers (aka stalkers). :)

    I haven't been to Disneyworld, but I have been to Orlando and went to Harry Potter at Universal. OMG, so awesome. So I'm sorry to be missing out on that this year as well. But all in all, I'm happy with my vacation choice this year too.

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    1. I'll miss seeing you in Orlando, Hellie, but your Washington trip sound interesting. What, exactly, is a family heritage trip?

      I can picture your Eloisa/Teresa moment perfectly. And I agree, romance authors and readers really are the loveliest of people.

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    2. Well, I'm terming it a family heritage trip because last living aunt lives in Washington state. She yearns, I believe, for stories about my mom that she missed out on being the baby and rather young when mom married and moved away; and I yearn to bond with a relative who votes democratic. And will maybe have stories about mama's side of the family, which I never got as a kid. I have dad stories and that side stories (not as many as I probably should and I really should have written stuff down!) but much more so than mom's side. I'd like to have some stories from both sides.

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    3. I do want to do another family heritage trip where I tramp around Virginia and Wales and Kentucky where my ancestors came from, came through....but that's later.

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  21. I've been to Disney World twice, but never for RWA. What a great place for a convention.

    I'd like to meet Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa Kleypas, Sherry Thomas, Julie James . . . I could name several others.

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  22. This event sounds like so much fun. I hope you share lots of pictures. For me, the best part would be meeting favorite authors. This fall I am spending a few days at Nora Roberts' B&B in Maryland. Dare I hope to get a Nora-sighting???

    DW is fun, but exhausting. There's no place quite like it. An old favorite ride of mine is Pirates of the Caribbean.

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  23. Diane K PetersonJune 26, 2017 at 1:56 PM

    When my husband and I retired 13 years ago our first trip was to DW. We loved it! I really liked the Soarin' attraction -- after I realized it wasn't going to make me sick. Can't wait to see you (and hug you) at RWA2017! I am so hoping to meet Joanna Bourne. She's going to be there!

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  24. I have never visited Disney World, I am a hugger, I have never been to RWA or the signing but wish to someday. Would love to meet several of the authors you mention, as well as, Lorraine Heath, Joanna Bourne, RaeAnne Thayne and would likely be tongue-tied. My most likely question would be, "Could I get your autograph?"
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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  25. I've been to Disney World several times and loved it. Yes, I'm a hugger, and I like to be hugged back. I would love to meet so many of the wonderful Authors attending RWA, but spent way too much money on my recent trip to England. I will look forward to seeing all the pics that get posted afterwards.

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    1. I don't know why I came up as "Anonymous". It's me, Diane from Florida.

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  26. Would love to meet Janet Evanovich as I have enjoyed her Stephanie Plum books. Would ask her how she came up with the idea for this series. And I have been to Disney with my grandchildren - Magic Kingdom, loved watching them enjoy it.
    Patty B43

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  27. I would love to meet my favorite authors from Jayne Ann Krentz, Linda Howard, Nora Roberts and so many more. I don't think I would ask them anything, just tell them how comforting their stories were during some difficult times.

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