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Child of the Flames

Coming August 1st

Coming August 1st

Child of the Flames is coming this Monday, August 1, 2016.

It will be released on Amazon at $0.99.

It’s a story of revenge, of tragedy, of triumph.  And it’s got blood, swords, and magic.  What more do you need for a good story?  It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s finally here.  I know you guys are just as excited about it as I am.

I know a lot of you have already read up to The City Under the Mountain, and may not want to start back at the first book.  However, Child of the Flames is not The Sentient Fire.  It’s a new book through and through.  While many of the same things happen (you can’t revise and not hit the plot points) they happen a bit differently, and to characters who are much more three-dimensional.  In short, The Seven Signs is maturing a bit for it’s relaunch.

You can certainly just pick up at The Oath of the Blade when it comes out if you want, and you won’t miss anything, nor will you be confused.  But, if you’re like me and you re-read the entire Game of Thrones, or Wheel of Time, every time a new book came out because you forgot a lot of the story…

Child of the Flames will be enjoyable for you.  It’s like re-reading, only with new writing 😉

(You guys should know that I love you–that’s the first time I’ve ever used an emoticon, after years and years of refusing to do so.  I broke my prohibition for you, ‘cuz I love ya)

So look for Child of the Flames on Monday.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Child of the Flames

Coming August 1st

Coming August 1st

Child of the Flames is coming this Monday, August 1, 2016.

It will be released on Amazon at $0.99.

It’s a story of revenge, of tragedy, of triumph.  And it’s got blood, swords, and magic.  What more do you need for a good story?  It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s finally here.  I know you guys are just as excited about it as I am.

I know a lot of you have already read up to The City Under the Mountain, and may not want to start back at the first book.  However, Child of the Flames is not The Sentient Fire.  It’s a new book through and through.  While many of the same things happen (you can’t revise and not hit the plot points) they happen a bit differently, and to characters who are much more three-dimensional.  In short, The Seven Signs is maturing a bit for it’s relaunch.

You can certainly just pick up at The Oath of the Blade when it comes out if you want, and you won’t miss anything, nor will you be confused.  But, if you’re like me and you re-read the entire Game of Thrones, or Wheel of Time, every time a new book came out because you forgot a lot of the story…

Child of the Flames will be enjoyable for you.  It’s like re-reading, only with new writing 😉

(You guys should know that I love you–that’s the first time I’ve ever used an emoticon, after years and years of refusing to do so.  I broke my prohibition for you, ‘cuz I love ya)

So look for Child of the Flames on Monday.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Timeline Updates

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Time to send out a quick update to let you guys know what the current timeline looks like for the release of the upcoming books.  As you may have realized, they’re not coming out at the end of this month.  That was a tentative date anyway, but it’s not getting pushed too far to the right.

Tentatively, again, look for the books to drop around the end of June.

Here’s my logic behind setting the date for June.  First of all, it’s obvious that this project was going to take me a little longer than I had anticipated, especially with the portions that required heavy rewriting.  Child of the Flames is now finished, and that means that the lion’s share of the work is done.  I’m currently working on The Knife in the Dark, which won’t require nearly as much rewriting.  Basically, I’m taking the amount of time I think it will take me to finish the next two, and doubling it.

One reason for this is simply to make sure I give myself enough time to do this right.  Another is that my school schedule is ramping up as the middle of the semester rolls through, and I have a full schedule of classes.  Failing them is just something that I won’t do, and that means I’ve got to dedicate a little more time to them when needed.  College is expensive, and my G.I. Bill is fairly limited.  One has to maximize one’s time.

However, if you just don’t want to wait for Child of the FlamesThe Knife in the Dark, and The Old Man of the Temple to publish on their regular date, you can JOIN THE CONCLAVE.  I’ll be leaking advance copies of the first two books to the mailing list as they become ready for market.

The going plan is to have six books out by the end of the year, the audiobooks ready before Christmas, and possibly to make a few changes to the blog.  I plan to start blogging more regularly once The Seven Signs is back on track, mostly about nerdy stuff, but not always.  You all know of my general disdain for social media, but maintaining that in today’s world is virtually impossible.  It might be time to shake hands with the devil.

Anyways, back to The Knife in the Dark.  I’ll be posting here to talk a little more about Child of the Flames next week, and how the story is changing, and how it isn’t.  Stay frosty.  Remember to bring disgrace upon your enemies.

~D.W.

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World of Eldath: Magic, the Blessed, and the Learned

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Many scholars throughout the years have attempted to discern exactly what magic is and where it came from.  Its effects have been studied by the School of Magical Arts, the Conclave in the Sevenlands, and even the Minsdurim Academy, upon occasion.  There are multiple books on the subject, the foremost among them being Garland’s Song of the Fabric of Creation.  Still, at the time that this report is being written, this scholar has found no invention, scientific method, or even a magical device that can test the essence of magic and tell us what it really is and where it came from.

The accepted view by most laymen is that magic is the “fabric of creation” or the “material of creation” left over from when the Gods forged the world.  Such a simplistic explanation can be credited to the Epics of the Gods and the mythology that most religious texts perpetuate.  The general idea, explained by a Devlan Devotee, is that Evmir shaped the world and everything we see from a magical base material.  The phrase so often repeated is that he  “commanded the world come forth from the ether”.  When asked exactly what magic is, or what the “ether” is, most religious explanations fail to satisfy, as they so often do.  If one wants to learn of magic, one must go to a wizard.

According to representatives of the Conclave of Wizards, children who are born with an inherent connection to magic, referred to as “Blessed”, begin to show signs of the power between the ages of seven and fourteen years.  This range is not as accurate as it could be; the Conclave admits that some children may go for years using magic undiscovered by their scouts or their parents.  The manifestation seems to correlate directly with the children aging into sexual maturity, though there have been cases which seem to show no correlation.  Sometimes trauma has been shown to be a direct factor as well, though those cases are rare.  Findings from the School of Magical Arts directly support the information from the Conclave.

Magic is described by wizards as having an empathetic nature.  It apparently responds to emotions felt by magic users, and those emotions can either intensify, confuse, or entirely null the effects of their intended spells and evocative castings.  By their own admission, the use of magic can be a very dangerous undertaking.  Wizards have been known to lose control of their powers and kill themselves–or others–because of the emotional factors at play, though the Conclave assures me that such things are rare and easily controlled and prevented through proper training.  Strenuous mental discipline is the best deterrent, according to those who traffic in the use of magic.

Magic apparently responds to outside stimuli as well.  It has been shown to resonate differently with different materials, such as brass, stone, various gems, and even water.  Mathematical and geometrical formulas seem to evoke a response from magic, as do certain shapes in nature, the most common of which is the circle.  This scholar had heard rumors of a great circle constructed in the bowels of the Conclave called the Crux, but any reference to it, or request to see it, was met with denial.

The most interesting magical reaction seems to be with music.  Apparently musical tones have an intense effect on magic, and the Conclave has studied the phenomenon for a long period of time.  They have found that the most interesting reactions seem to come from entire compositions of music rather than individual tones, as if the music produces an emotional response from magic, as ridiculous as that sounds.  The theory seems to hold water when compared with the earlier knowledge that magic responds to emotions from those who use it.  The two phenomenon seem to be intertwined somehow, though sufficient time and effort would be needed to study it further.

Magic seems to be able to perform almost any action the wizard can imagine, though the boundaries of such power are blurry and undefined at best.  Most wizards seem to operate on their own preconceived notions about nature, and such a thing can be a serious deterrent to studying magic’s full potential.  Some of the more mundane uses for magic, such as moving large objects or producing a small light from nothing, can be as simple or as complicated as the mind of the wizard wielding the power.

This scholar personally listened to two different explanations on how one would move a rock with magic.  One wizard preferred to simply seize the rock with his “Kai”, as he put it, and move the thing a small distance.  He explained that in his mind, he pictured carrying the stone in a large, invisible hand.  The second spoke of an invisible force holding the rock to the ground already, and he simply pictured himself coaxing the force to let go for a small amount of time while he moved the rock.  The results were the same, though the methods were clearly different.

Wizards do seem to have a limited amount of endurance for using magic.  Each person would appear to have a different threshold for holding a certain amount of power, and it has been determined by the Conclave that every wizard grows slowly stronger over time.  Exposure to the power also seems to lengthen the lifespans of all wizards, though it is said that most older magic users retreat from society in order to better commune with the strange energy.  It is also said that wizards heal faster than normal people, and are more resistant to disease, though the factor by which this happens is minimal.  It has been demonstrated to this scholar that magic also cannot heal any ailment with reliable results.  The two things may be connected, and that subject may warrant further study in the future.

It is possible for those born without the ability to touch magic to gain it through careful study and training.  In the Sevenlands they call those wizards the “Learned”.  The differences between Learned and Blessed magic users stop at the method by which they gained use of the power.  There appears to be no correlation between the method of training and the final ability and strength of any wizard in question.  This would suggest that physical properties and breeding do have some effect on these phenomenon, though those effects have yet to be studied.

From A Treatise on Magic and its Effects, by the Magister Sir Umril Genhardt, of the Tauravon Archive.  Written in the year 1066, archived in 1067.

Hope you guys enjoyed that little tidbit about the setting.  I’ll be uploading little blogs like this to help flesh out the story for you guys, as the World of Eldath will be an ongoing setting for stories long after the Seven Signs is finished.  More news on this to follow, and I’ll talk to you guys soon.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Kylo Renn

I find it a little ridiculous that I’m even writing this blog post.  However, not to do so would be to ignore something that absolutely needs to be said.  Here we go…

Dear Idiots, kindly keep your politics out of my Star Wars.

We sat a few nights ago and watched a parade of craziness come across Twitter and other places on the net.  I saw everything from general complaints about the races of the actors involved in the upcoming film to outrageous claims that Star Wars actually promotes “white genocide”.  White.  Genocide.

Seriously?  Is this where we’ve gone?  Is this the kind of outrage that everyone is keen to drum up these days?  Things with no clear basis in reality, statements utterly devoid of rational thought?  Was this a 4chan prank?  Please tell me it was a 4chan prank.

Ahem…on the off chance that this was a 4chan prank–well done, nameless ones.

However, to those out there who take this ridiculous claim seriously I would say this:  Just stop.  Stop looking for things to be mad about.  You’ve got your sleeves rolled up, you’re digging in the mud and pulling out lumps of coal and proudly proclaiming them diamonds.  You don’t look very sensible with all that froth coming out of your mouth and those crazy words spewing from your gullet.  You can’t seriously believe that Star Wars or J.J. Abrams is pushing some agenda of white genocide by choosing a black actor to play the hero in the new movie.  If you seriously do, then you’re in dire need of a reality check.

We’re talking about a story that has the Force, aliens all over the place, sentient droids, evil empires, laser guns and giant wookies.  With all of that, you’re seriously worried about a black guy?!  Get over it.  Please, just get over it so the rest of us can stop talking about these so-called “issues” and just get back to the excitement.

On that note, what is wrong with a black hero?  Who cares about the color of his skin?  IT MEANS NOTHING!  This modern idea that skin color is of the utmost importance goes completely against the painstaking work that civil rights leaders throughout our history have been doing.  Do you think that what MLK would have wanted was people concentrating so hard on skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or creed?  No!  What they wanted was for society to move past these arbitrary things and see only the things about people that matter–who they are and what they accomplish.  They envisioned a rising tide lifting everyone to the same level, not a giant sword chopping anything offensive from our society.

Here’s a thought.  According to modern genetics, we are 99.98% genetically identical to chimpanzees.  How close do you think that makes you to every human being on the planet?  You may as well be worried about the color of someone’s leg hair if you’re going to worry about skin color.  It’s just arbitrary genetic packaging for what really makes us who we are.

This is simply another outgrowth of the P.C. outrage culture from the other side.  On the left you have the Progressive nannies that want to police everyone’s speech, thoughts, feelings, and workplaces for offensive material, and now the other side has figured out how to mine popular culture for things that piss them off.  Congratulations, you’ve discovered how to toss more mud on the pile.  Welcome to being part of the problem.

They tried to take our Heavy Metal.  They tried to water down our comic books.  They have been trying very hard to ruin video games for everyone, and now they come after my Star Wars.

So, go ahead.  Boycott Star Wars, and good luck making any dent in a franchise that crashed ticket servers in the U.K. the same day they went on sale.  Good luck destroying a story that grew from a cult film to infect the very speech that we use every day–or have you never told someone to “use the Force”?  Do you think you can stop something that inspired a march on the Great Wall of China?  Go ahead.  Stay home.

There will be more seats for nerds like me if you do.

Sorry to get political with you guys, but I feel these things need to be said.  I grew up with Star Wars, and as odd as it sounds, it means a lot to me.  To have the things I love–metal, comics, video games, comedy, and now Star Wars–attacked and defamed on such a basis of stupidity really makes me angry.

Work continues on Child of the Flames, and I’m pretty sure you guys are going to love the reboot in general.  I’m probably going to let a sneak peek go to my mailing list next month, so don’t forget to JOIN THE CONCLAVE and tap into all that’s going on in my world.  Like/Share/Subscribe and all of that happy stuff.

Let’s Move Again…Again

Hello all, it’s been awhile, yet again.  You all know I’m a sporadic blogger at best, but I’m trying to get better at that.  We’ll see how this all pans out.

It’s been crazy on my end.  Some of you know that I’ve moved around like a vagabond the past few years.  From Georgia to Virginia, then back to Georgia.  After that we moved to southern Arizona, and now…Tucson.  That’s right, yours truly just moved one more time to a new place.

Tucson has really impressed me so far.  I’ve been coming here to attend school, but living here is different.  Tucson is an odd sort of place.  It’s got a strange brew of cultures and people that I’m not sure you’d find anywhere else.  Hispanic culture inundates everything here, and if the food wasn’t good enough, then the architecture will surprise you if you’re not ready for it.  My apartment building is made to look like stucco, and is painted in hues of red, yellow, and tan.  Everywhere I go there are these little villa-type houses with enclosed courtyards, and cool little tile arrangements.

Mixed in with the Mexican folks, you’ve got the hippies.  I was surprised at the community of artsy types here in Tucson.  There are artists of all sorts here, whether you’re into folky country art, or the finer stuff down the street at the University’s Fine Arts Center.  Everywhere I look there’s another girl with purple hair and tattoos inviting me to this art show or that music festival.

Now that the pot is seasoned, you toss in the Old White Folks of Arizona–OWFAs.  The OWFAs are a myriad conglomeration of people who all seem to have one defining quality:  they don’t need nothing from nobody, and they don’t need you to tell ’em jackshit, either.  It’s not uncommon to see guns on hips here in Tucson, but nobody bats an eyelash.  The OWFAs value their freedom and independence–after all, that’s probably how they found themselves here in the first place.  OWFAs come in all shapes and flavors–from hiking enthusiasts to crusty bikers and cowboys.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed about Tucson, though, is how friendly everyone is.  People talk to you here, and I don’t mean in the empty way you’d see on the east coast.  If you ask a Tucsonan how their day is going, they’ll tell you.  Don’t expect a “fine” and a walk-away-quickly-without-making-eye-contact.  People from Tucson will immediately jump into conversation with you.  Every time I go out to buy something here, I find myself hanging around with my bags in hand, chatting it up with some friendly stranger.  Yesterday I went to Home Goods to buy a tray, of all things, and ended up talking about Star Wars with the girl at the cash register for a few minutes.  Today it was a guitar stand, and a conversation about how the blues scene here in town is starting to get really good.

It took me about two weeks to get everything done–or done enough to calm the madness, anyway.  Yes, that means I lost about two weeks of good writing time, but don’t fret.  Child of the Flames is still coming along, and now that this move is out of the way, things can finally settle into some semblance of normalcy.  No major timeline changes for the upcoming releases just yet, and I’ll let you guys know.

Just a quick update to say “hi” and let all you wonderful guys and gals (and anyone else on the spectrum) know what’s going on.  If any of you guys are in or near Tucson, then shoot me an email.  I’m still exploring, and having a local guide is always great for any adventure story.  Stay frosty.

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Child of the Flames

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The Seven Signs, book one. Coming in 2016

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog.  I recently started school again, and my life has been pretty hectic since.  If I’m not working on overhauling The Seven Signs, I’m writing something in APA format.  The neat little schedule I worked out for myself while finishing The City Under the Mountain was pretty much thrown out the window.

So, what have I been doing, you might ask?

I’ve been working on what will be the new Big, Bad Book One:  Child of the Flames.

What’s changing?  Well, let me try and explain.  During The Sentient Fire, I really felt like I could have dived into the story a little more than I did.  There were a lot of things happening behind the scenes during the first book that I never illuminated, so I’m illuminating some of them.

Also, Shawna’s part in the story is getting more of an overhaul.  Earlier today I finished writing the opening scene to the book, and it’s about ten times more exciting than before.  A large part of the first book was her flight from the Red Swords, yet she got little “airplay” in the original book.  She’ll get more this time around, and you know it’s going to be bloody.

I may have mentioned my original intention to give the book a stylistic polish, and that will be happening as I go, as well.  It’s weird returning to this story so many years later.  Sometimes I read parts of it and cringe at the writing, but I guess that’s the way it goes with art.  You’re never really happy with it, but it is kind of fun to go back and rewrite some of the parts to give them a little more punch.

So far, January is still a good date for the release of the overhauled series.  As the date gets closer I’ll keep you guys updated, but as of right now I’m sticking with that.  Don’t forget to like, subscribe, follow, and all of that.  Check me out on Facebook if you’re so inclined, or follow me on Twitter.  To get the updates as they come straight from the source, join my mailing list, the Conclave.

Talk to you guys soon.

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The Future of The Seven Signs

Planned for January 2016

Planned for January 2016

In the wake of releasing The City Under the Mountain, I wanted to take a moment and talk with you guys about the future of the series.  I’ve blogged about this before, but I wanted to reiterate, and share the updates with you guys.  This is what The Seven Signs will look like.

I’m planning for a release date of January 15, 2016 for the entire overhaul of the series.  I’m not setting that in stone just yet, but that is what I’m working for.  Keep in mind, these five books are 90% done already.  The biggest rewrites will be done to the earlier books in the series, with the heaviest work in book one and decreasing from there.  Mainly that’s because new prologues/epilogues have to be crafted, and there’s a few parts that need to be fleshed out.  I was going to revise it anyway, so I’m going to start where anyone should–at the beginning.

Yes, The Oath of the Blade is done–it’s already in the editing phase.  I thought long and hard about letting it go regardless of the state of the earlier books, but in the end I decided that the best thing to do would be to get everything done at once and have it over with.  The most important thing is the quality of the books, as I’m sure you’d all agree.  For that matter, Book Six–as yet untitled–is 75% done, too.

The Seven Signs will start with Child of the Flames which will be FREE everyday, all the time.

The Knife in the Dark, Book Two, will be $2.99.  Unless you’re a Conclave member, then it’s FREE for signing up.

All other books in the series will be $2.99, and there are nine books planned at the moment.

On another note, yours truly starts school on Monday.  I’m pretty stoked about it, and the Creative Writing department at this school is supposedly one of the top ten in the country.  Over the next few years, my writing is going to get tempered into something better than before, and I’m really looking forward to learning at such an auspicious institution.

Auspicious, heh…that’s right.  I used “auspicious”.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and to sign up for The Conclave.

~D.W.

The City Under the Mountain is Here

The City Under the Mountain | The Seven Signs II--coming August 15th

The City Under the Mountain | The Seven Signs II–Available now!

That’s right–The City Under the Mountain is here, and it’s available for purchase right now.

I was going to wait until the 15th, but why wait?  I uploaded everything at about 3am this morning, after having stayed up all night getting everything ready.  I was going to hold back the announcement, but I’ve been getting emails from readers asking about where to get it.  Also, I got the notification that it was accepted into the Premium Catalog, so it will most likely be available on all major retailers by the end of the day.  In short, I can’t hide it any longer.

Right now you can get it HERE for Smashwords, and HERE for Amazon.

I would really appreciate honest reviews, as nothing else helps a book gain traction more than an honest review.  Stay tuned for all the D.W. Hawkins news you can stand, and don’t forget to join the Conclave, my mailing list.  It’s a great way to stay informed about all upcoming releases and get free stuff.

On to book three…

Something Serious

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Tonight I’m going to get a little serious with you guys.  I’ve recently received an email from a reader who expressed an opinion to me that I took issue with.  It wasn’t really a negative book review–I’ve gotten a few of those, and they’ve always been constructive and helpful, overall–it was an email personally written to me.  The sentiments expressed in the correspondence echoed a lot of opinions I’ve seen floating around social media and YouTube lately, and in light of a few articles I’ve read on Reddit about this sort of thing, I wanted to say a few things about it.

First of all, I replied to the email sent to me–this is not addressed to anyone in particular.  Now, on to the meat and taters…

There seems to be a culture of what I can only describe as “cultivated offense” in today’s society.  There are so many blogs/videos/books/articles written about how (x) person finds (y) offensive, which makes the purveyor of (y) a racist/sexist/whatever.  Sometimes this sort of thing is warranted, as in official policies, etc.  What is confusing me lately is that this attitude seems to be infecting artistic expression.

Whether you’re speaking of video games, books, movies, or music, there seems to be a veritable army of people ready to take up pitchforks and loudly proclaim artists to be the worst kind of hateful people in our society.  “Where’s all the black people in the new Star Wars trailer?” or “Video games are oppressive to women and GTA promotes misogyny!”.  So many people have problems with so many things these days that it’s hard to keep track.

“Your writing promotes traditional gender roles and sets women back decades.”

Ouch…and d’huh?

I wanted to try and set the record straight about this, because I see a rising tide of angry people wishing to purge anything genuine from the arts.  First of all, I certainly have never–not once–thought of myself as a misogynist, or a racist.  My writing is not intended to promote any sociopolitical ideals related to race or gender, gay or straight, or any other label people want to place on themselves.  I write Epic Fantasy.  It’s about as non-inflammatory as one can get, or I thought it would be.  These days…maybe not.

Yes, there is rape in my books.  Yes, there is murder in my books.  Hell, people eat dead bodies in my books.  Doesn’t mean I want to promote the idea of eating dead people, and the same goes for rape, murder, or anything else that turns up in the pages of The Seven Signs or anything else I write.

When I write something like a murder, or imply that someone is in danger of being raped (I’ve never actually written a rape scene…I mean, gross) it’s because I want to demonstrate something.  I want to put my characters in danger, I want to give them some adversity to deal with, some hard choices to make, some pain to ingest.  I mean, without the adversity, the story would just go like “Shawna smiled at her father and lived happily ever after.”

Nope.  Not in my world.

For me, the whole point of Shawna’s storyline is her overcoming the pain at the death of her family, giving the proverbial finger to the powers that want to take what she has, and kicking the asses of the people who have done this to her.  Her storyline is exactly about a woman in a male-dominated society who nonetheless manages to be kick-ass anyway.  Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and if you just want to read Shawna as a classic trope against women…well, that’s your prerogative.  But it certainly wasn’t about that for me.

As you guys will find out soon, there are a few more female characters that are going to enter the story.  ‘Cuz I like writing them, and I’m going to keep doing it.

Authors need the freedom to put things on display.  Art imitates life, as the saying goes, and all of these things–rape, murder, child molestation, etc–exist in our society today.  I didn’t invent them, and I’m certainly not going to stop writing bad things into my stories.  I won’t apologize for offending anyone with my writing, because my writing is not intentionally offensive.

I also will not water down the bad things that happen to the characters in my stories, because that would make it suck, plain and simple.  I know the majority of you guys don’t feel that my writing is offensive–otherwise you wouldn’t be here–but I wanted to clarify this just in case this issue comes up again.  It is not incumbent upon me to advance anyone’s political cause in this world by changing the stuff I write about my fictional world.

And for the record, I’m actually a Humanist.  The only “anti-” anything you can describe me as would be “anti-ignorance”.  Shawna, Nalia, Bethany, and Allisondra aren’t meant to advance anything.  In the story, they’re just people dealing with adversity.  Just people, not statements.

You guys will find out about Nalia and Allisondra on August 15th.

I hope I didn’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, but I had to get that out.  Don’t forget to like, subscribe, share, etc, and I will talk to you guys soon.

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