Squirrel Brain (Big Dreams Blog Update #52)

It’s Update Day!

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Every last Friday of the month, several of us bloggers at the Got Goals? Blog Hop gather to share our updates on our big (sometimes whacky) goals! My goal is to write 1 million words by August 2018–that’ll be the five-year mark since I set this goal. I’m nowhere near this goal at 25%, but I’d actually completed my first novel shortly after signing up to this blog hop. It works, fellow bloggers!

If you’re interested, sign up HERE. Make sure to drop in on the hosts of the Got Goals? Blog Hop, authors Misha Gericke and Jen Garrett.

Aside from my writing goals, I’m also trying to read regularly. To remind everyone (and myself), my January goals are down below, then I’ll share how I did.

January 2018 goals:

☀complete two romance novellas and send them out by the end of the first quarter

☀read at least 4 books from TBR pile

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As far as reading goes, I was able to read 3 books so far as of this last Friday of January.

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The Breeder by Lynne Silver is the latest from digital publisher Carina Press’s erotic new novella line, The Dirty Bits. This one is their first futuristic (dystopian) for the line. It’s short and super sexy. Pick it up if that’s your thing! 🙂

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Pierced Ink by Dani René is the first of two books…maybe more? The 2nd title is hitting virtual shelves February, so I was all over this! It’s just as sexy as the other novella. Written in first-person, it gives you an up-close and very personal taste of two beautifully torn souls that find their happy ever after together. *swoon*

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A Baby to Bind His Bride is the latest from Harlequin Presents powerhouse author, Caitlin Crews. It’s actually my first read of hers. Really, I’ve been missing out. Ms. Crews as SUCH a way with words. She clearly chooses them carefully to put together such an emotionally satisfying love story. SPOILER: they get a HEA, readers!

I also plan to read:

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Caraval is the first in the eponymous fantasy duology from YA debut author Stephanie Garber. It came out last year at the end of January, and I’ve been meaning to read it since–my TBR pile is deep. With Book 2, Legendary slated for end of May, I’m on track to have this read in time to start and finish this series this year.

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Sharing His Bride by Faye Avalon is the first ménage (M/F/M) from Carina Press’s The Dirty Bits. I haven’t read it yet, but I suspect the sex is threesome fun, and the romantic arc follows the hero and heroine. More on this later!

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So, the reading is out of the way. Let’s talk my writing.

I wasn’t able to complete my two romance novellas, because my plans have changed. Right after I set that goal, I discovered this little wonder of an opportunity in {FORESHADOW}, the YA online serial anthology venture from authors Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma. These two amazing souls have put together this chance for new, unpublished/pre-published YA authors to get their voices out there. I had to submit a YA short story. I’ve always wanted to delve into teen fiction, but adult romance got in the way. Not that I’m complaining…

I knew I’d be writing a teen love story, so I got to work. Now I’m putting the finishing touches on it and will be hitting SEND very soon! *squeeee*

Speaking of adult romance, I’ve started to write a first chapter for THIS other publishing opportunity that sprung up at the start of this week.

Which brings me to my…

February 2018 goals:

☀complete first chapter + synopsis package for SYTYCW’s Harlequin Romance Blitz

☀read at least 4 books from TBR pile

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Keeping it short and sweet again. It works for my squirrel brain. Oooh, shiny new idea!!

What are your goals for February? Let me know in the comments so I can cheer you on! Rah-rah!

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Making this our year! (Big Dreams Blog Update #51)

UPDATE DAY!

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This is belated for me. I’m usually on the ball by the end of the year, but we’re a few days into 2018 and I’m a little more sure of what I’d like… at least for maybe the first quarter of the year.

So here goes! But first…

GOOD NEWS: the Got Goals? blog hop is still live!!! So sign up here for you’d like to get that much closer to one of your big (possibly crazy) goals. While you’re at it, say “hello” to blog hosts and authors Misha Gericke and Jen Garrett!

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So, how did I do for the month of December, that final push of 2017. Let’s remind us first of what my goals were:

December 2017 goals:

☀try to write daily, and complete 2 projects (novel & novella)

☀read at least 4 books from TBR pile

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Writing:

So, I did write. I wrote a lot, actually. The last two weeks of December were a blur because I’d basically holed up and wrote two novels. So… 141K later I’m feeling more like a human, and I’m ready to start plotting for my novella projects. More on that later I hope.

Reading:

As far as reading goes I’ve been pretty good with the one book/per week goal. December was all right too. I got three books read! Those are:

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Harlequin author Sharon Kendrick’s Defiant in the Desert and The Sheikh’s Undoing as a two-for-one. These books are super sexy, but that’s what I expected from Harlequin Presents titles. If you like sexier, shorter romance, pick this on up!

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Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor was one of my few YA reads in 2017. It deals with the heavy, serious topic of depression in youth, and even though I’m going to go ahead and give you a trigger warning for this one if you’re sensitive to depression (who isn’t though?), this is one should be approached lightly. There isn’t talk of suicide though, so yeah. Good book though.

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I want to approach 2018 cautiously because I suck at achieving goals I set for myself. I’m a naturally spontaneous person, so I’m hoping to get myself organized and sharpen my time-management skills.

As far as my writing goes, the main reason I started blogging (infrequently) was to get myself to finish a book, and then polish that book, and that send it out to agents or editors. In short, I wanted to motivate myself to stay focused on my writing career.

That being said, I’d like to renew an old goal I’d had made back in 2014, a few months into my blogging: I want to write daily in 2018. So long as I get a sentence down a day in 2018 towards whatever WIP I’ve got in my hands, then I’m good for that goal.

January 2018 goals:

☀complete two romance novellas and send them out by the end of the first quarter

☀read at least 4 books from TBR pile

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I’m feeling hopeful for 2018. Not just the whole year, but for every day. It’s as much about the steps in the journey as it is accomplishing the goals we’re making for a new year. And it’s never too late to wake up and decide to make this your day.

Let me know what your goal(s) are for 2018.

Happy New Year!

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Maybe hiatus? (Big Dreams Blog Update #50)

It’s Update Day!

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Have no clue what I’m on about? That’s okay!

I’m part of the GOT GOALS? blog hop, hosted by authors Misha Gericke and Jen Garrett, where every last Friday of the month we gather and share our progress on some of our bigger (crazier) goals. My crazy goal is to write 1 million words worth of fiction and because then, maybe *fingers crossed*, I’ll be able to get a great word down. (Totally joking! All words count!)

Give our hosts a “hello”, if you’d like to join, check out details by clicking the banner or checking out the blog hop (and sign-up info) here. IMPORTANT UPDATE: there might be an indefinite hiatus on the blog-hop. Check out more info HERE! 😦

In the meantime, I’ll share my progress for the month of November. To remind you all, these were my monthly goals:

November 2017 goals:

☀try to write daily during November – maybe hit 50K on my first draft

☀read at least 4 books (fiction and/or nonfiction)

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Reading goal:

I managed my four reads for this month (actually read 2 novels, and 3 novellas). I’ll list them below as usual.

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The Tycoon’s Reluctant Cinderella by debut Harlequin Romance author Therese Beharrie is wonderfully sweet! Therese is talented and she has an awesome blog all writers (pre-published and pubbed) should check out, and especially if you’re interested in Harlequin Romance (like me!!!)

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Saints and Mistfits by S.K. Ali is also a debut! A YA contemporary “issues” book. I don’t like the term “issues”. I prefer to think of it as life. It’s a terrific read, and by such a brilliant author. There’s a bibliography at the end of this book leading readers to more brain-food reads. Pick this one if you like your YA with a little bit of everything. You’ll love narrator, Janna.

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The Roswell Affair by Anne Bordeaux is another debut! This first novella of hers (the first of many, I’m sure) is part of Carina Press’s newest, sexiest line, The Dirty Bits. Head over there if your tastes lean toward sexy, short reads. They don’t disappoint!

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Sharing Body Heat by Lexie Davis is another The Dirty Bits read from Carina Press. If you like your romance steamy and short, grab this one!

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Author Jackie Ashenden‘s The Big, Bad Billionaire is the fourth (and most recent!) book in the A Billionaire Fairy Tale series. This one follows the most tortured De Santis brother, Rafael/Rafe and his wolfish hunger for his young, ingenue ward, Ella. It’s sexy, friends! Rafe is so…intense, and Ella’s anxiety is something that really hit home with me.

Writing:

So, my plans for this month were to participate in NaNoWriMo and actually try to win this year. I’m writing full-time at the moment (at least hopefully until the end of the year) and I believe it’s doable. It’s November 24th today. There’s a week left of NaNo, and I’m sitting pretty at 42K (also I haven’t written the last few days…getting cocky, lol). Anyways, I should hit my 50K goal by the end of this month. I’ll have a novella and a novel complete and both of them are freelance projects. So sad, I know. Which is why I’m hoping to write my own projects in December.

And that brings me to my goals for December. I can’t believe I just typed ‘December’. Are we really at the end of the year?

December 2017 goals:

☀try to write daily, and complete 2 projects (novel & novella)

☀read at least 4 books from TBR pile

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There you have it! My final goals for 2017. Let’s see if I can do this.

What are your plans for December? Have you finished Christmas shopping? Any vacation plans?

Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

SAD! (Big Dreams Blog Update #49)

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It’s Update Day!

Yaaaay….ehhh.

Lately, as in the past five months, I haven’t been too excited for these updates. I haven’t been reaching my goals and I feel like I’ve always got the same excuse: I’m scared to write, even though I need to write to get better (and because it pleaseth my soul) but I’m scared to write so I don’t write and then I’ll never get better and I’ll never be happy. Can seasonal affective disorder come early?

Much sadness.

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Yeah, I know I need to pick myself up by the bootstraps or whatever, but it’s hard!

I also think I need to calm down about the whole update thing. Stop worrying about not having the greatest news to share *cough,cough*likegettinganagent&signingabookdeal*cough*.

I need to remember that writing was once fun. That it can still be fun! Besides, I completed manuscripts before and the first step IS the first word, not the whole book. I know that; now I have to use it to beat back the Internal Editor. *hissssssss*

I also am easing up on my reading goals. I have no clue how many books I read this year even though I started off with my usual goal of 52-53 books for the year. Again, whatever. I just don’t care. I’ll reboot that goal next year. For now, I’ll read without worrying about keeping score.

Let’s get to the updates then!

For those of you interested in our blog hop, Do You Have Goals? –> sign up HERE or click the blog hop’s banner above! And give a big “HOWDY” to our hosts, authors Misha Gericke and Jen Garrett.

Wondering how I did this month?

Reading:

Reading kinda flopped this month.

I did read, just not as much as I planned to.

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I enjoyed My Lady Jane by authors Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows. If you have the chance, pick this one up. It’s part alternative historical, part humor, part kissy-kissy romance, and part paranormal (ooooh, shifters! I mean eðian). You won’t be disappointed!

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Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier is the first in the popular Lucy Stone Mystery series. If cozies are your thing, then you’ll be delighted by this older title. I got a different vibe from this one, but it didn’t dampen my thirst to solve the mystery.

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Slow Dance with the Best Man is the first book in Sophie Pembroke’s Wedding of the Year mini-series with Harlequin Romance. It’s got a swoony hero, a heroine who doesn’t like the spotlight and sweet, escapist romance. What else do you want in a love story?

Writing:

I’m slowly working through a YA mystery. I want to say it’s also #ownvoices, but I hesitate. I’d rather just say that the MC/heroine shares the same racial and cultural identity as me. And I’d even pause there. :/

Anyways, that’s my goal.

I actually hope to participate in NaNo this year. I’ll be grinding through the first draft of the YA project. *crosses fingers* Not sure how it’ll work out, but I won’t know until I try.

Which brings me to this month’s goals…

November 2017 goals:

☀try to write daily during November – maybe hit 50K on my first draft

☀read at least 4 books (fiction and/or nonfiction)

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What are your goals for November? Are you considering NaNo-ing this year? What’s your plans for All Hallows’ Eve?

🎃

Let me know in the comments; I’d love to hear from you!

 

Falling into reality… (Big Dreams Blog Update #48)

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It’s Update Day.

Every last Friday of a month the Got Goals Blog Hop’s members share the updates on their big (sometimes crazy) goals. My goal is to write one million words worth of fiction projects. But I also like to share my reading goals. 🙂

If you’re interested in joining, sign up HERE or click one of the two banners (above and below). The more, the merrier. And give a “HELLO” to our blog hop’s hosts, authors Misha Gericke and Jen Garrett.

So I’m back from vacay, and I suffered through some serious jet lag.

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Now that I’ve recovered from the nausea and headache inducing fatigue, I need to get out of vacay mode back to a more productive schedule. Hello, reality. (I didn’t miss you.)

Let’s re-cap my goals for this month then.

Here are my September 2017 goals:

☀have the first (third?) draft of Ghoul & Alien completed for CPs

☀read another 4 books

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Writing:

The writing didn’t happen this month (and really last month too). I did clean out the documents of “ideas” I had stored away. A lot of them weren’t going to see the light of day because I had no interest in pursuing them, and I needed to de-clutter physically and emotionally.

I did post some completed novellas I had lying around on Wattpad. You might remember Home Sweet Cocoa. It was a novella I’d published with a small publisher, but what I don’t think I shared was that the publisher closed last October (a couple months after the book had released) and I’d been given the option to have my rights reverted to me. And the second novella was a story I’d had contracted with that publisher, but by then they’d closed their doors.

So, yeah, back to ground zero with a new project. I’m not going to go into the details of it (in case I end up abandoning it). I get distracted too easily. *sigh*

Reading:

Reading went well.

I couldn’t leave home for my trip without some books. 4 weeks is too long to go without reading. I decided to take both my Kindle app on my tablet and these titles with me:

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I re-read The Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass because the books are good fun and sappy romance. Just what I needed. If you haven’t read them, and YA romance with a dash of dystopian is your thing, pick this series up. You might like it.

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What do I have planned for October then?

October 2017 goals:

☀write something. just write. just. do it. (channeling Shia LaBeouf here.)

☀read at least 4 books (fiction and/or nonfiction)

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What are your writing or non-writing plans for October?

It’s already getting chilly here. Seasonal drinks are sprouting up and the first leaves are changing colors. Ahh… autumn is the last hurrah before winter kills sleeps everything. Let’s hurrah together by letting me know what you’re up to this season with a comment.

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Ned Stark gets me.

 

Hello, the last third of 2017. You look good. (Big Dreams Blog Update #47)

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It’s Update Day!

Every last Friday of the month, 14 of us at the Do You Have Goals? blog hop update on our big (maybe crazy) goals. My goal is to write one million words worth of completed fiction projects. I’ve reset that goal earlier this year (or maybe it was at the end of 2016), and I still haven’t tallied where I’m at, but I imagine it’s at least 25% of my goal.

If you want to join us, click the banner above or sign up here. And give a warm “HELLO” to our blog hop’s hosts, authors Misha Gericke, Jen Garrett, and Brittney Woodson.

Since I can’t just fly to that one million word goal, I’ve been setting smaller goals every month. I’m going to be honest: I haven’t written much this month either. At least I haven’t written anything as I’m writing this on August 14th. When this goes live, I’ll be vacationing some place with spotty Wi-Fi, so I’m writing this post in advance. Better safe than sorry (I don’t want to miss updating you or me after all).

So, let’s do this. My August 2017 goals were:

write 500/day towards whatever project I end up sticking to

☀read through my library TBR pile (at least 4 titles)

These goals were pretty straight-forward.

Reading:

As usual, the TBR pile from my library was gobbled up. This month (half month?) I read:

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Five Days of Famous by Alyson Noel. This was my first MG this year. I haven’t been reading MG and YA as much. Glad I picked this one up though. It was super cute, and I’m always up to read a Christmas-themed novel.

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The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davies. Another chapter book; this is the first book in a four-book series of themed animal mysteries staring nine-year-old detective Anna and her inquisitive little brother, five-year-old Tom.

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The Wrong Billionaire’s Bed by Jessica Clare is the 3rd book in her Billionaire Boys Club series of six steamy books. It’s a sexy read, so be ready! I loved this opposites attract tale. It’s certainly my favorite (I read Book 2 as well).

Not four books, but still enjoyable reads (and there’s still another two weeks of August – I’m writing this post early, remember?). 🙂

Writing:

Like I said, writing hasn’t been happening for me. But I am plotting that paranormal chapter book, Ghoul & Alien that I completed two drafts of back in March-April. It’s the only story that’s calling to me right now, so I believe that’s where my head should be at (cuz my heart’s already there).

Which brings me to my September 2017 goals:

☀have the first (third?) draft of Ghoul & Alien completed for CPs

☀read another 4 books

Ah, autumn’s almost here but the heat has been hitting us hard. I’m looking forward to what the season of colorful foliage will bring us.

What do you have planned for the last third of 2017? Have you started on your early Hallowe’en shopping?

Let me know in the comments, so I can cheer you on!

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I’m not burned out; I’m scared. (Big Dreams Blog Update #46)

It’s Update Day!

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I’m a day late, but here I am.

Yup. That time of the month again for the crew of the Do You Have Goals?/Got Goals? blog hop. On the last Friday of every month the 15 of us on the bloggity hop gather to update on our (crazy) big goals! Hosted by authors Misha Gericke, Brittney Woodson, and Jen Garrett, the Got Goals? blog hop is always looking for more company. If you’d like to join, click the banner above to be redirected to the sign-up page, or click HERE. You won’t regret it. 🙂

My crazy big goal is to hit 1 million words of completed fictional projects (i.e. short stories, novellas, novels). I’m likely not to hit this goal, but at this point, I’m hoping I can even hit the halfway mark of that goal at this point.

But you want to know what I had planned for July, and if I reached any of my goals.

How did my July fly? Well, for starters, my plans looked like this:

July 2017 goals:

write first 35K of Play By Ear, a category romance

☀read through my library TBR pile

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Writing:

Let’s start with writing. Honestly, I’ve been bouncing back and forth from children’s fiction to romance, and now after two months I can honestly say I have a few WIPs laying around and nothing accomplished.

I’m not even burned out. It’s more like I’ve been freezing myself out of writing. The problem is I’m scared. I’m putting a lot of pressure on the first draft when I know that, in the great words of Ernest Hemingway, all first drafts are shit. And I can’t edit a blank page anyways, so I’ll have to get something down before I can pick it apart. Problem is that the Evil Internal Editor has been winning lately. She’s on fire, and I’m not sure if I can extinguish her flames of doubting.

I’ll figure it out though. I usually get myself out of these funks eventually.

Reading:

If my writing has been nonexistent, my reading has been going really swell. I started back on YA again (finally!). I read:

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Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson. It’s the first in her new YA fantasy duology. She’s known for the Defy series (which I haven’t read yet). I really enjoyed Dark Breaks the Dawn. If you enjoyed any version of the Swan Lake (like maybe The Swan Princess film), then pick up this one. It’s got kissy romance, action and adventure and a sprinkling of political intrigue.

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The Black Witch by Laurie Forest is a long read at 601 pages, and it’s the first in a planned four book series. It’s also YA fantasy. You got dragons, wyvern shifters (so cool!), elves, Fae, and wand magic. Oh, and 2/3rds of the book follow the protagonist as she journeys through her magical university. Do I have you hooked yet?

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier was my first graphic novel for 2017 (and actually since probably 2012), but it was the PERFECT book to end a long dry spell. This book is a keeper. I borrowed it from the library, but as soon as I can I’m buying this one. It’s a book for all ages. If you have young children, pick this one up. It can go a long way in teaching understanding and compassion.

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I also read a bunch of chapter books, and I’m in the middle of A Wrinkle in Time (it’s my first time reading it!).

Now my plans for August are going to take into consideration my raising fear of facing the blank page. I’m going to take baby steps. My word count will be smaller; my expectations a little lower. It always works. Here we go then:

August 2017 goals:

write 500/day towards whatever project I end up sticking to

☀read through my library TBR pile (at least 4 titles)

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How are your goals coming along? What do you have planned for August (what I like to think of as the last hurrah for summer)? Let me know in the comments.

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