Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Death in the Family by Lanny Larcinese

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Death in the Family by Lanny Larcinese. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt for you as well as a guest post. There's also a tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Be sure to check out the rest of the stops for more excerpts, guest posts, interviews, reviews, and more. Enjoy!
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Title: Death in the Family
Author: Lanny Larcinese
Publisher: Intrigue Publishing LLC
Publication Date: January 1st 2020
Print Length: 269 pages
Genre: Crime Thriller
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Donny Lentini is a talented young man hungry for his mother's love. To please her, he becomes guardian angel to his mob-wannabe father. When the father is murdered and found with his hands hacked off, Donny is dealt a set of cards in a game called vengeance. The pot is stacked high with chips; the ante, his soul and the lives of loved-ones. With the help of friends—ex-con, defrocked Jesuit Bill Conlon along with former high-school nemesis, Antwyne Claxton—he digs for whether the murder had anything to do with the mob's lust for a real estate parcel owned by the family of Donny's lover. He's new at this game. He doesn't cheat, but plays his cards well. And he gets what he wants.

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EXCERPT:
I slid my foot over to touch Dad’s. I had promised Mother I’d look after him.

“Is this about the money you lost at the table?” I said. “Should we play a few more hands?”

German pounded his fist on the desk. “Don’t try to second-guess me, you punk! You’ll talk when I say, got it?”

I kept my eyes fixed on German’s. Six…seven…eight…

Dad reached over and put his hand on mine. “I didn’t lose the cleaners,” he said. A bead of sweat meandered toward his jaw. “The union was working on ’em going back three years now. It was already a done deal by the time I got there.”

“Whatever,” German said. “Just don’t let it happen anymore. And tell Donny here to mind his manners or you’ll be back driving a truck.”

The baseball bat leaning in a corner near German’s desk was an exclamation point that punctuated his directives. If it ever came down to that, I’d slash his throat with a rusty knife. Yet I still had to walk a tightrope. Dad would have preferred the bat to the demotion. Dad was a climber and German his future.

German picked up a couple of coded folders and put them into a filing cabinet, slamming the drawer down its rails like a runaway train.

“Oh, and Joojy wants to see you. I don’t know about what.”

“What about?” Dad said.

“You don’t hear? I said I don’t know! Maybe that thing. Now get outta here, both yiz. I got to take my daughter to ballet.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lanny Larcinese ‘s short work has appeared in magazines and has won a handful of local prizes. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s a native mid-westerner transplanted to the City of Brotherly Love where he has been writing fiction for seven years. When not writing, he lets his daughter, Amanda, charm him out of his socks, and works at impressing Jackie, his long-time companion who keeps him honest and laughing—in addition to being his first-line writing critic. He also spends more time than he should on Facebook but feels suitably guilty for it.

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GUEST POST:
Writing Characters
by Lanny Larcinese
All writers have their own process. Mine begins with character(s). They present early on. I pay no mind to back-story, physical characteristics, or even their role at this initial stage; rather, I contemplate how their emotional construct impels their actions. Writers recognize this as: What does the character need? What motivates him?

Where I part company with some is to require a refined sense of what that need is. It can be simple: Saving the world, getting vengeance, finding love, etc., which may arise from a constellation of experiences and mental, emotional, and often cultural circumstances prior to emerging. For example, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” There is a lot of back-story packed into that Big Bang of an opening line from “Pride and Prejudice,” such that it led to a novel’s worth of attitudes, feelings, assessments, strategies and inter-character dynamics unfolding throughout the entire, fascinating book.

I am not referring to the best way to reveal or mete out characters’ motivations; I am saying I need to comprehend the underlying geology before I can explain a volcano’s eruption.

When I created Eddie Matthews, the despicable bad guy in “I Detest All My Sins,” I wanted to humanize him, so gave him a violent childhood. But it wasn’t enough to confer complex emotional depth beyond expected anger and violence. He wants his captive, Louise, to want him emotionally and sexually. He’s more than willing to handcuff her in a closet and abuse her in the meantime, yet he still longs for her. He’s by no means sympathetic; he’s otherwise self-serving, evil as hell, and a little ego parading as a big ego. But who can’t identify with feelings of longing? It contributed to the favorable Kirkus review of the book, including the remark, “…there’s an appealing neatness to the author’s careful psychological studies.”

The more clarity we possess regarding our own inner landscape, the easier to project it onto our fictional characters; yet not simple. We have defenses, ways of rationalizing unpleasant events and feelings about ourselves that may arise from them. I’m no shrink, but I frequently pause at the keyboard, lean back, and conjure my own history before I can imbue it into a fictional character. Perhaps this is why writing is often cathartic.

I am fascinated by training in method acting, i.e., techniques to access long-ago emotions locked in a closet out of self-protectiveness for use on the stage—crying real tears when the scene calls for it—then putting the grief back into the closet when the klieg lights go off. There, the actor isn’t “acting” per se, but in that and other moments “becomes” the character.

Finally, not everybody needs to plumb depths of their own psyches to create fascinating, complex characters. Some have great radar or are blessed with intuitive understandings of psychodynamics. Me? I need to dig within myself. I need to access feelings of fear, longing, love, hate, frustration—the panoply of emotions attendant to being human—and bring them to the surface, examine them from all angles, recall what they meant to my life and how I reacted for better or for worse, and what the consequences were.

Once I do that in me, I can put it in a book.
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GIVEAWAY:
Lanny Larcinese will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter after the tour. To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment at a different stop each day. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

127 comments:

  1. Your book sounds like a great read and thank you for sharing it with us.

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    1. Thank you, James. Writing a character-driven novel combined with action necessary to keep it moving and interesting is a rewarding experience, although also like wringing a wet rag dry. I hope you enjoy Death in the Family and/or I Detest All My Sins as much as I did writing them. Best for the new year, too! Lanny

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  2. I love the card of the front of the cover!

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    1. Thank you, Tracie, the book began as a pure vengeance story, but as it developed (it's like growing a baby), both a diner and casino went from "stage design" to important elements of the plot. Book cover design is intended to spark interest enough to pick up the book, crack it open, read a paragraph or two, and decide if it's the kind of story and writing that suits you. Best to you and yours for the new year! Lanny

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  3. How did you come up with the title of the book?

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    1. Oy, Bernie, funny you should ask. Its working title as I was writing it was Dear Dad, They're Dead. That's because it began as a pure vengeance story but then evolved, as many do, to include a plot and elements that took it beyond mere vengeance. Vengeance remains a critical element, but "family" took on a double meaning. Best for the new year! Lanny

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  4. Oh, and thanks to alltheupsanddowns for giving me the opportunity to talk about my book and writing in general. Without you guys, writers would be writing into the wind!

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    1. Thank you, Rita. I hope you read it and find a lot that you like. It's a complex story -- not hard to follow, but layered with not only plot events, but the inner landscape of the characters.

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  6. This sounds like a great book Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Well, latishahjean, I hope you read it and find much to like. Also, you just got my new year off to a nice start! Best to you for the new year!

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  7. Sounds an interesting book, I'm looking forward to checking it out!

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    1. Thank you Victoria, it's a complex story, not hard to follow, but while the plot is more or less linear, the inner landscape of the characters evolves.

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  8. This book sounds very interesting. I live near Philly. Does this book take place in Philly?
    Flyergal82 (at /yahoo !dot ?com

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    1. Dear Flyergal82, indeed it is... South Philadelphia, Center City, North Philly, Bensalem, Newark (not Philly, but you know...) & Jenkintown. All places a Flyers person would be familiar with!

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  9. I loved the excerpt and the blurb and can't wait to find out what happens in the book.

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    1. Hi Sherry, there are a number of mysteries: whodunnit? whydunnit?
      wholoveswhom? what'llhappen? I hope you enjoy the story, it's layered.

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    1. Thank you Gwendolyn (love that name, by the way: If I knew you personally, you would always be Gwendolyn and not Gwen).

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    1. Thank you, Edgar, I hope you read and enjoy it. Best to you for the new year!

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  12. Do you have a favorite research find that you came across for this book?

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    1. Interesting question, Caryl. Novelists typically call on life experience to give our stories "verisimilitude." But inevitably, research is necessary. I didn't have a favorite, but here's a few of the bits of research for Death in the Family: 1) How many acres of property does a typical casino need; 2) will a stab wound injuring the spine at L4-5 cause paraplegia; 3) can a person take an ice pick to the trachea & recover without residuals; 4) various visits to google-earth to fix certain locales; 5) what was the airport protocol in 1991 to allow non-passengers to the gate; 6) untold numbers of visits to a thesaurus and spell-check; etc. But if I told you more, you'd have the whole book figured out!

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  13. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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    1. Hope you read it and enjoy it; meanwhile, thanks for checking in and best for the new year!

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  14. thanks this sounds like a wonderful book

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    1. I hope you read and enjoy it. Creating story-art is a wonderful experience, but best when enjoyed by a reader! Thanks for checking in!

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    2. Happy Wednesday!

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  15. A question for the author: As a child and adolescent, what authors and/or book series did you enjoy reading?

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Nancy, as a child, my brother taught me to read on comic books; we had a HUGE collection of them. In later boyhood, like many boys, I enjoyed adventure and nature stories:books about King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table;The Old Man & the Sea; The Red Badge of Courage (for its war stuff!); Moby Dick (albeit some of it laborious); Kon-Tiki; et al. As I entered adolescence and into it, I was drawn more to popular fiction of the day (late 50s, early 60s): Lord of the Flies; Catch 22; Something of Value; Catcher in the Rye; etc. I also read "adventure" magazines --- pulp about big game hunting (which today appalls me), military stories & such. Somewhere in this time, I also read a ton of the Russians: Dostoyevsky; Tostoy; Pushkin, Chekov. (Some were slog for me, but I was compelled.) When I re-read them in college I was more prepared to appreciate their complexity, its legacy informing my fiction in terms of "layered" stories.

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  16. Sounds like a great read. I love reading thrillers.

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    1. Thank you Susan. And best to you for the new year!

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    1. Thank you Dale. I try to mix genres (a lot of which are "marketing" characterizations to begin with) to make for a story with sufficient layers that responds to a mix of preferences. I don't do that to sell books; I do it because it's how I see the world.

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  18. I liked the excerpt, and I added this book to my book wishlist.

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    1. Thank you, Juana, I hope you enjoy the story, and best for the new year.

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  19. Sounds like one heck fo a read, nice tour! Happy new year.

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    1. Thank you, Calvin, and right back atcha for the new year. I love the tour, for the simple reason that I love talking about the writing process and connecting with readers.

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    1. Thank you, Deb. My stories are layered and complex -- not in the sense of difficult to follow -- but there is always "something going on," be it plot events, internal conflict, dilemmas, emotional responses, etc. My hope is that any one layer will be appealing to a reader, but enjoyed more by the reader who picks up on the additional stuff.

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  21. He's dealing a cold deck of vengeance but someone wants to make sure he's dead money.

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    1. Richard, I should have consulted with you for a blurb!

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    1. Yeah, covers have to accomplish a few things: suggest the story that's inside; be attractive artwork; tempt the reader to crack the book & read a page or two to see if it suits him or her. In Death in the Family, both a diner and a casino play major roles in the plot. (If I say more, I'll have to, you know, shoot ya.)

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  23. Interesting cover! The splash of color is really eye catching.

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    1. Wish I could say I designed it; some writers do, but I'm a words guy, not a visual guy. Cover designers get a sense of what the book is about & suggest options to the publisher who asks the writer for thoughts. Me? Hell, it tells my story!

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  24. I love a good crime thriller. One of my favorite genres. From the excerpt sounds really good.

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    1. Yeah, Katie. It's the only kind of fiction I write. We crime-types have a particular view of the world, wouldn't you say? (BTW, Kate was the name of my dear, departed collie. She lived every minute of her little life to make me happy. The name always brings back pleasant memories.)

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  25. How many books do you plan on writing in 2020?

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    1. Thank you for asking, Bernie. I have one work in progress called "Fire in the Belly," a fictional account of the 1985 event in Philadelphia in which the police dropped a satchel charge on a row-house fortress of the militant and strange cult called MOVE. Fire ensued, was allowed to burn, and eleven died including six children while 62 row houses burned to the ground. It will take at least a year to finish, edit, etc. Meanwhile, I am developing a speakers bureau called Crime Writers Caravan, connecting crime writers to libraries and other venues. I am also asked to write non-fiction and do readings throughout the year.

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  26. The book sounds interesting.

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    1. Thank you, Kim. Some say "writing is easy, all you have to do is go to your keyboard and slice a vein." But what they don't tell you is how rewarding and fulfilling it is to create a work that people enjoy, expands their experience, maybe learn something new. I think of that as I'm writing. Sometimes you hit a wall and it takes deep thought to figure how to proceed; other times you can't wait to get to the keyboard; still other times you'll jump out of bed at 1:00 a.m. because just the right adjective, or scene, or solution to a plot problem pops into your head.

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    1. Jamie, hard question for a man who has had decades of mentors, leaders known personally & publicly, influences real and fictional and myriad others who have inspired me. No one person, but I'll tell you WHAT inspires me: men & women young and old, not celebrities, known perhaps by only a few, whose heroism is acted out every day, surviving, doing the best they can for themselves and others to survive and thrive every single day--- the shlubs, the pot-bellied men and sweat-pantsed women who drag themselves out of bed to work, study, raise children, fight traffic, put up with boring teachers, nasty neighbors and onerous bosses yet try to do the right thing in everything they do. Those people, those stories, inspire me.

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  28. This sounds like an intriguing book! Thanks for the chance :)

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    1. Thank you, Julie. When I wrote it, as Stallone said in one of his movies, "I brought everything I had."

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    1. Thank you, Victoria. I write crime since it's a fulcrum on which to observe the struggle of individuals and societies of right vs. wrong. It's always an underlying theme in my stories. But hopefully, the characters and their lives are interesting too.

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  30. Happy New Year! Do you make resolutions?

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    1. Only the most basic: to do better and be better than last year, and at all times be grateful for many blessings over a long life ----even when I didn't deserve it! Then again, isn't that what grace is?

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  31. What are your goals for 2020?

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  32. You are a new author to me. What can I say? It's a crime I can't find all the crime writers? Bad pun, sorry! Seriously, the blurb, and all sound great. Although I can be initally drawn to book by its cover, I don't stop there. I look through pages, start the book, and go from there. What seems remarkable to me is that you have the character and ability to respond to each of these comments. In the next 22 days, you may find yourself stretched thin between writing books, editing, and responding to these comments. I just want to say that,as a lifetime reader, your ability interact with your readers is greatly appreciated. Especially if you also,devote time to family. I like the fact that you state your stories and characters are multi layered. Most of us are...from rich to poor. With that sId, I'm looking forward to,reading your books. Is there any special order I should read in or is each a stand alone? Again, thanks for writing as well as maintaining the ability to take time to reaching out to readers.

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  33. What's your favourite Christmas carol?

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    1. Silent Night. It's in my key and I love to sing it.

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  34. Replies
    1. Well, have always loved to write, but needed to leave my business-self before taking on fiction writing. It began about 8 years ago. Good thing, since I don't golf, don't deal well with leisure time, and am passionate about writing. Some would say I was graced with a gift -- not so much talent, that's for readers to judge -- but doing something so fulfilling.

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  35. I enjoyed your guest post. You sound like you really enjoy writing. That's a very good thing!

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  36. You bet, Kim. See my post immediately above. It's a wonderful, fulfilling thing to do, i.e., using language in the reach for art that when done right, others will enjoy.

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  37. Here's to wonderful weekend!

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  38. Who do you think will win the Superbowl?

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  39. What author do you most like to read?

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  40. Imagine you just started a rock band; what would you call it?

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  41. How many books do you read in a year?

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  42. Enjoy your Sunday Funday!

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  43. Here's to an amazing week!

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  44. What author do you most admire?

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  45. Hope everyone is having a terrific Tuesday!

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  46. Do you like the weather where you live?

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  47. Do you listen to music when you write?

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  48. What do you do first thing in the morning?

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  49. Here's to a wonderful Thursday!

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  50. What was the longest time you ever waited on hold?

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  51. Every time I think of guardian angels, I think of the movie, A Wonderful Life.

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  52. Here's to an amazing week!

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  53. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

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  54. How many books do you read in a week?

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  55. What is your plan for the new year?

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  56. Here's to a wonderful day!

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  57. What was your favourite class in school?

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  58. What season do you like best?

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  59. Do you write more in bad weather or sunshine?

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  60. Let's go and have an awesome weekend!

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  61. Super Saturday-Enjoy!

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  62. What was something which surprised you about your book?

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  63. What's the longest you've ever stayed up?

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  64. Do you relax on the weekends?

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  65. Happy Sunday Funday!

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  66. How have you given to charity in the last year?

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  67. The storyline sounds very suspenseful and I would love to read it. Best wishes to the author on the book release.

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  68. Here's to a great week!

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  69. Who is your favorite author?

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  70. Do you follow a regular schedule?

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  71. Tuesday I am here for you!

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  72. Happy, happy Terrific Thursday~

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  73. sounds like a fun one

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  74. LAST DAY
    Thanks for the contest.

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  75. I read I Detest All My Sins and I loved it.

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  76. Can't wait to read this!

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  77. What was your favourite day of school?

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