8 Tips for Short and Sweet Descriptions in Fiction #FabulousFridayGuestBlogger

by Kassandra Lamb

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While editing the book I’m releasing tomorrow, and especially while trying to pare down the scenes that beta readers and my editor said were dragging, I truly came to appreciate the importance of a finely honed description.

Descriptions in fiction are needed to ground the reader in the setting and allow him/her to visualize characters. But they can also bog down the pace and bore the reader if they are too long, and they can be jarring if they’re in the wrong spot. Today I’d like to share some thoughts about how to make descriptions concise and effective.

1. Why descriptions are so important. People’s brains tend to show a preference for one sense over the others when processing information, and which sense is in the lead varies from person to person. Some people are primarily auditory (30% of U.S. population); they process words and sounds far easier than what they see or sense in other ways. Others are primarily kinesthetic, i.e., movement and touch-oriented (3%). A rare few are primarily smell and taste-oriented. Continue reading

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger – Sarah Zama @JazzFeathers

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Today’s #FabulousFridayGuestBlogger is Sarah Zama. So nice to have her here, and I know you’ll enjoy her post. Welcome, Sarah!

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THE JAZZ AGE: WHY LIFE SOUNDED LIKE JAZZ IN THE 1920s

Jazz, a vision of the future with roots in the past

Since the very beginning, jazz had a strong borderline nature, one that would bring different elements together while still creating a division.

The very nature of jazz is a mishmash of different experiences. There is no doubt that jazz has strong roots in the African cultures and probably came out of the slave experience in a time when slavery no longer existed but was still very much remembered. In and around New Orleans, where jazz probably originated, fields songs that came from African traditional cultures mixed with a more European conception of music and especially with instruments coming from it. Jazz was in part both of them, while still being a completely new way not only of making music but also of understanding it. Continue reading

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger – @CynthiaSReyes – Cynthia Reyes

 

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Today’s guest blogger is Cynthia Reyes, who has a wonderful story of recovery and hope to share with you. I know you’ll enjoy her inspiring post, and will remember to share far and wide.  Now, here’s Cynthia.

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The other day, I turned to my husband and said:

“I’d like my life back. The lost years … I’d like them back.”

I thought I’d fully accepted the lost years – the decade that followed a car accident. But the words erupted from my chest before I’d had a chance to even think them through.

My husband had helped me stay on the road to acceptance. But this time, his reply surprised me.

“I know what you mean,” he said softly. “Back when you were strong and vigorous and could do almost anything, it seemed. I miss that woman at times too.”

He got it exactly right. It wasn’t the award-winning career I missed, the many trips abroad, the fact that some people saw me as a visionary leader. It was the ability to do simple things, like dig a new garden bed, go for a long walk, or dance with my husband. Mourning those losses had compounded them. Continue reading

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger Janet Gogerty

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Today’s guest blogger is a new follower here at The Write Stuff, and I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.  Hope you are, too. Here’s Janet Gogerty to share a bit ab0ut herself and her writing with you, and I hope you’ll pass it along to your friends and followers. Thanks for joining us here today, Janet.

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A little while ago we were searching in the loft for something completely different and I came across a box of notebooks. My teenage self had read that would be writers should write; anything and everything; diary, poetry, descriptions, feelings….

Each notebook had the first few pages diligently filled, the rest in their virgin state. But one was different; twelve pages of my first novel, neatly written with no crossings out. I recalled my twenty year old self having a vivid dream that inspired me to start writing the very next day….

I never got any further and it was many years before I started writing seriously. When I joined a writing group we had to write and read out a new piece each week; short stories tumbled onto the page, but when our tutor suggested I start a novel, so my characters had a chance to develop, I felt I had no big idea. My husband suggested I write about my family’s experience emigrating to Australia; this idea became ‘Quarter Acre Block’ and if you want a safe gentle read stop here.

If you like reading something meatier and stranger; if you enjoy tackling Life’s big questions, read on.

My daughter wanted to know what happened to Emma, whose fate was literally left in the air, at the end of a short story ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’. And so I started writing my first novel. What happens to ordinary people when the extraordinary happens to them? The first thing that happens, especially if they are English? They don’t tell anyone, they doubt they will be believed and the longer they keep their dreadful secret to themselves, the harder it becomes. Susan Dexter lives in Ashley, a suburb of London where nothing much happens until the day she is hanging out her washing. For thirty years Susan fears her daughter Emma is not human; then new events lead her to meet others seeking the truth.

This novel evolved into the ‘Brief Encounters Trilogy’. In ‘Three Ages of Man’ a character who walked into the first novel uninvited tells his own very different story. ‘Lives of Anna Alsop’ follows on from the first two novels. Anna was another unexpected character and she narrates the third book.

Meanwhile in real life I’m currently writing a new novel ‘At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream’. I also still enjoy penning short stories; some have been published in anthologies and I have published two collections on Amazon Kindle; ‘Dark and Milk’ and ‘Hallows and Heretics’. My husband provides financial, technical and moral support. When he discovered it cost nothing to publish on Amazon Kindle he was happy to help, expecting we were only going to do one book.

‘Quarter Acre Block’ is not autobiographical, but was inspired by our experiences as ‘Ten Pound Pommies’. I was eleven. At twenty I came back to England on the traditional ‘working holiday’ and I’m still here! So I have lived in some very different places and although I have not yet achieved my ambition to live in a windmill, lighthouse or isolated island, we do now live a short distance from the cliff top with views of the Isle of Wight. To make up for not actually living with a sea view we have a beach hut; only a six foot box, but it has the essentials; a Calor gas stove to make coffee, a changing hut for swimming and stacks of recycled paper for writing.

 With several career disasters and staying home when the children were young, I have notched up a variety of jobs and voluntary work; a wealth of interesting people and places to write about, I shall never run out of ideas.

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Janet Gogerty

I have been writing frantically for nearly nine years and am writing my fifth novel, ‘At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream’. I still love writing short stories and have had them published on paper, in audio and in all corners of the internet. My novel ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ was originally a short story and eventually became a trilogy with ‘Three Ages of Man’ and ‘Lives of Anna Alsop’.

I love paper books and I’m sure they are here to stay, but in an uncertain publishing world, especially for new writers, I love the idea that we can just go ahead and be independent.

I started a clockwork website several years ago and it took on a life of its own. Visit to read about my books, my local area and my travels. There is an illustrated Beachwriter’s Blog, regular new fiction and a picture quiz. http://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk

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https://www.amazon.com/Quarter-Acre-Block-Janet-Gogerty-ebook/dp/B00A6XDUQM

https://www.amazon.com/Brief-Encounters-Third-Janet-Gogerty-ebook/dp/B00AWVNH3E

www.ccsidewriter.co.uk

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7236471.Janet_Gogerty/blog

https://www.facebook.com/Beachwriter/

 

 

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger Allison D. Reid @Allisondreid

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It’s nice to get back to our #FabulousFridayGuestBlogger posts, and I’m happy to introduce today’s guest, Allison  D. Reid. Hope you enjoy this post as much as I did, and please remember to share far and wide! (We’ll do the same for you, when it’s your turn!) Happy reading, and now, here’s Allison.

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Have you ever fallen in love with a book character? Well, not literally, of course (though if you have, I promise not to judge). Sometimes we really connect with book characters, to the point where we wish they were real. We want to keep learning about them and follow their lives even after the story we’re reading has ended. For those of us who are writers, that connection can be pretty strong. Partly because our characters are in some way an outpouring of ourselves, but also because we have to work so hard to get behind their eyes…to feel what they feel, examine their thoughts, dreams, and motivations. We experience both their joy and their suffering, else we could not adequately express it to our readers.

Sometimes our characters surprise us, too. We expect them to go in one direction, yet they go off in another. The harder we try to rein them in to fit our vision, the more they fight us until we must either strip away their newfound will (which typically results in dull, lifeless characters), or give in and let them take the lead. Characters can take their writers on adventures too, and we end up places we never anticipated.

Such is the case with Einar from my book series. He did not exist anywhere in the back stories I had saved from my roleplaying days. He was a brand new character, dreamed up just for Journey to Aviad; written to serve the larger plot, and only intended to play a minor role. He was bitter and disillusioned, yet still retained a broken sense of honor. In my early notes for the book, Einar truly was a renegade, and not an especially predictable or trustworthy one. He would help Elowyn because it suited his purpose, but he would just as easily have sold her out if by doing so he could win his own cause. But that’s not where Einar ended up once the writing began, and I’m glad of it. Moment by moment, Einar showed me who he wanted to be, and who he was destined to become as the story unfolded. He showed me all his past scars, his present pain, and the silent inner hope he still managed to cling to in spite of all that. In the end, Einar became far more than just a cog in the wheel driving my plot forward. He became real.

I wasn’t surprised when Journey to Aviad readers kept asking me, “What happened to Einar? Is he coming back?” He made a connection with them too. And though for many reasons he couldn’t have a role in Ancient Voices, I desperately wanted to continue his story, not just for my sake, or to satisfy reader curiosity, but for his sake as well. He deserved more. So when I was asked to write a novella that could be included in a charity book (coming out next year), I saw it as my best opportunity. Into the Shadow Wood is that novella, and I’m incredibly excited that it has finally been released! Once again, Einar took me places through the writing process where I never intended him to go, and yet they suited him perfectly. Readers will be happy to know that Einar’s story has finally been given some closure, but it is far from over. He will be back again, and no doubt his journey will keep surprising me. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

New Release Info and Blurb

Ever wonder what happened to Einar from Journey to Aviad? If so, you’re not alone. Readers asked, and I’ve answered—the wait is over! Plunge with Einar into the dark and twisted Shadow Wood (if you dare) as he fights for his life–and his sanity—in this companion book to the Wind Rider Chronicles. Haven’t read the series yet? That’s okay, because you can pick up the first book in the series, Journey to Aviad, FREE at most ebook retailers.

Into the Shadow Wood

Once a proud member of the Sovereign’s prestigious personal guard, Einar has lost everything: his home, his Sovereign, and his purpose. Most of his closest friends have either been killed in battle or executed. His friend Nevon died trying to fulfill a dangerous oath…one that Einar disagreed with, but now feels honor-bound to take up in his stead. The quest plunges Einar into the depths of the dark and twisted Shadow Wood, testing the limits of his strength, his beliefs, and his sanity. What he finds in the Wood is far more ominous than anything he’d expected. If he’s not careful, Nevon’s fate might end up being his own.

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Allison D. Reid

Allison D. Reid was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her love for medieval fantasy was sparked by the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, which fed both her imagination and her spiritual development. When at the age of thirteen her family moved to Germany, her passion for medieval history and legend only increased, and she found herself captivated by the ancient towns and castles of Europe.

Allison returned to the United States to study art and writing at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. She earned her B.A. under the tutelage of the well-renowned and prolific writer Andrew Salkey, a student of her other great inspiration, and the father of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien. After graduating from Hampshire College, Allison moved to Connecticut. There she got the opportunity to attend seminary and further explore her faith before returning to her home state of Ohio.

Allison now lives in the Miami Valley area with her husband and children. She continues to work on her first published series while taking care of her family, editing for other independent writers, and managing a home business.

Find Allison Here:

Blog
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Website
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Amazon Author Page

Buy Links:

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Smashwords    Kobo     Other

Interview with Kate Huntington: Psychotherapist, Fictional Character and Reluctant Amateur Sleuth #FabulousFridayGuestBlogger

by Kassandra Lamb

Missing on Maui FINAL

I write a series of novellas called the Kate on Vacation cozy mysteries that parallels my main Kate Huntington Mystery series. I recently released the story of yet another of Kate’s vacations that got a bit more exciting than she’d planned.

That started me wondering how Kate feels about all this murder and mayhem in her life, so I sat down to have a chat with her. Here’s what she had to say:

Kassandra Lamb: You have a real propensity for stumbling over dead bodies, Mrs. Huntington. How do you feel about that?

Kate Huntington: Please, call me Kate. And honestly I don’t care for it all that much. I do like solving mysteries, but I wish there weren’t so many corpses involved. It gets kind of stressful after a while.

Kassandra: Have you always liked mysteries?

Kate: Yes, I loved puzzles as a kid, and I guess that’s part of what drew me to psychotherapy as a profession. I like to help people of course, but I’m fascinated by the puzzle that is the human psyche.

Kassandra: So in this latest adventure on Maui, except for the whole people-going-missing thing, how did you like Hawaii?

Kate: I loved it! Hawaii is absolutely gorgeous. And the people are very friendly. And the food! The mahi-mahi and the fresh pineapple… And once Skip was able to shake free from his work and he and the kids got there, we had so much fun.

Kassandra: Speaking of Skip and the kids, what’s the deal with your name? I notice you still use Huntington, which was your late first husband, Ed Huntington’s name, but sometimes you go by Huntington-Canfield, which is quite a mouthful.

Kate: Well, I’d already established my reputation as a therapist as Kate Huntington, so I use that name professionally. My daughter is my first husband’s biological child, so her name is officially Huntington-Canfield. At her school and in some other settings, I use the hyphenated name. And sometimes I just go by Kate Canfield.

By the way, why are you asking me this? You’re the one who saddled me with these cumbersome names. Why couldn’t you have made Eddie’s name Smith? Then I’d be Smith-Canfield. That rolls off the tongue so much easier. Continue reading

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger – Carmen Stefanescu – Till Life Do Us Part

Since we haven’t had many #FabulousFridayGuestBloggers in the past few weeks, I was delighted to hear from Carmen, who has an interesting post to share with you today. Carmen, I welcome you to The  Write Stuff. It’s always good to hear from you.


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Thank you, Marcia, for inviting me to celebrate my latest release on your blog, too!

As a part of Till Life do Us Part deals with past life regression, I want to share with your followers several interesting things I found while doing a thorough research for my story on this topic.

Past Life Regression Therapy is considered one of the fastest and most effective ways to help you transform your life experience. It is a pretty simple process : you are suggested to travel back through the years to recall specific memories. Conflicts from the past and the patterns resulting from traumatic experiences can distort our physical, emotional and mental well being. Some indications of unresolved past experiences: Irrational fears, unexplained and recurring physical pains or sensations, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, persistent feelings of panic, anger, guilt, depression, disturbing thoughts, feeling blocked, emotional outbursts, blocked feelings, low self-esteem, self-harm, numbness, repeating relationship problems with family, work or social contacts, repeating patterns of self sabotage, limiting habits. Continue reading

#MidWeekPOV #ThorsDaySmile #FabulousFridayGuestBlogger

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The whole kit and caboodle at one time! That’s what happens when I’m under the weather for a few days, barely getting the necessities taken care of. Poor neglected blog! But I’m making up for it, all in one post, to wit:

#MidWeekPov

When you are sick, dishes pile up, laundry is ignored, and meals are whatever can be found in the pantry or fridge that isn’t covered in mold, like week-old bread. Tuna- Peanut Butter Surprise is the dish du jour. But the worst thing of all is having to accept that any brain activity more advanced than breathing or blinking becomes nearly impossible. That includes creativity. Enough congestion, and one simply does not have room inside one’s skull for a single, creative thought. Raise your hands if you have found this to be the case, yourself.

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#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger

Sadly, we don’t have an actual guest blogger today. Just me. So I’m sharing a scene from my upcoming book, Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3. In this scene, Rabbit is letting his best friend, Finn, know how he feels about Finn’s new nickname for him. As usual, he does so in his own, irrepressible manner, outmaneuvering Finn completely. Enjoy! (But do be prepared for Rabbit’s “raised in the wilderness,” mountain dialect.  He’s being home-schooled, but has a long way to go. Those aren’t spelling errors, I promise.)

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Rabbit grinned. “You always know the right words, Daddy. That there’s just what I was tryin’ to say.”

“You said it good, Rab,” Finn chimed in. “I understood just what you meant.”

Studying his friend through narrowed eyes, Rabbit finally asked, “So is ‘Rab’ what you’re gonna be callin’ me from now on?”

Finn gave him a devilish grin, all dimples and straight, white teeth. “It’s my new nickname for you. What do you think?”

Rabbit pondered his answer, then he shook his head. “It don’t seem fair, you get a nickname to call me, and I don’t got one for you. Reckon with a name as short as Finn, onliest thing I can call you is Ffff.”

Finn’s mouth dropped open. “Ffff? What kind of nickname is that?”

“That’s the kind you get when your name don’t have but one of them ol’ syllables,” Rabbit announced, and changed the subject. “So, are you gonna eat that there sandwich, Ffff, or just keep starin’, like I grew me another head?”

“You can’t call me Ffff! It doesn’t make any kind of sense.” Finn sputtered with indignation. “It’s just dumb.”

“I reckon it ain’t no dumber than makin’ up a nickname for a nickname. Rabbit ain’t my for-real name, you know.”

Mac could almost see the wheels turning in Finn’s head. He wondered if the boys might be getting ready to have their first real disagreement, but he should have known better.

The two friends simply stared at each other in silence, and then Finn started to giggle. “Ffff,” he said, with a shake of his head, and another giggle.

The corner of Rabbit’s mouth twitched. “Yep. I reckon that’s what it’ll have to be. Just Ffff. Easy to spell, though, ain’t it?”

The dam broke, and the boys flopped on their backs on the dusty road, hysterical with laughter. Rolling from side to side, they clutched their stomachs, barely able to breathe. Raleigh and Mac grinned at the sight, and then the sheriff burst into full on laughter, as well.

“Mac, that boy of yours is just too much.”

“He is that, all right,” Mac agreed, and joined in with the rest of them.

When everyone had calmed down enough to catch his breath, Finn wiped his eyes, and gave Rabbit an arm poke. “Tell you what. If you promise never to call me Ffff in front of anyone else, I promise I won’t call you Rab in front of anyone, either.”

Rabbit pursed his lips, pretending to think it over. “Hmm. I got me a better idea. Let’s don’t call each other neither of those things ever, no matter whether anyone else can hear us or not. Deal?”

“Deal.” Finn held out his hand, and the boys shook on it, faces completely solemn. Then they both erupted in giggles, and the whole thing started up again.

Mac and Raleigh let them enjoy the moment. It was a release they all needed after their earlier fright, and they’d have to get serious again soon enough.

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Freshly Tweaked Cover for Harbinger
(I made Ol’ Shuck’s eyes creepier.)

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#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger #Carmen Stefanescu Cover Reveal: Till Life Do Us Part

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In lieu of our normal guest blogger style post, Carmen Stefanescu would like to share the cover reveal for her newest book: Till Life Do Us Part. Let’s all support her by sharing as far and wide as we can, and please remember, you are invited to do the same with your new books, as well. Sharing is what we do!

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Marcia, thank you so much for having me as your guest today. You know my interest in anything odd –  paranormal, myths,  legends  – all that is out of the normal boundaries.  Reincarnation and chat with ghosts can be included, too.

I’m thrilled to be here, and excited to share the cover for my upcoming release.                          

Till Life Do Us Part

Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Magic, Reincarnation, Mystery, Suspense
Release date: 9th June 2016

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Barbara Heyer can hear voices of dead people. They whisper of their deaths, seek comfort for those left behind, and occasionally even warn her about future events. But when Barbara’s brother, Colin, is accused of murder, it will take more than her gift to prove his innocence.

Becoming smitten with the handsome investigator, Detective Patrick Fischer, is a serious complication given his assignment to her brother’s case. Barbara senses there is something far deeper—and perhaps much older—than the surface attraction between them. Could that be why she’s visited by a mysterious woman named Emma in her dreams? Could past life regression tie all the seemingly unconnected events together?

Barbara and Patrick must overcome heartache to find the truth to save Colin, and perhaps themselves.

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Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world that of the books.

She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Several of her poems were successfully published in a collection of Contemporary English Poems, Muse Whispers vol.1 and Muse Whispers vol.2 by Midnight Edition Publication, in 2001 and 2002.

 Her first novel, Shadows of the Past, was released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA.

                   Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.

You can stalk the author here:

http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/

https://twitter.com/Carmen_Books

http://www.pinterest.com/carmens007/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carmen-Stefanescu-Books/499245716760283

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624397.Carmen_Stefanescu

https://plus.google.com/117216040843648957646/posts

http://www.amazon.com/Carmen-Stefanescu/e/B00APVDGAA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Calling All Bloggers & Writers: #FabulousFridayGuestBlogger Feature is Looking Pretty Boring!

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If you happened to visit The Write Stuff Friday, you might have noticed there was NO guest blogger on the  premises. 😦 Normally, I fill in with something if no one is scheduled to visit with us, but I was utterly swamped with editing and other deadlines, and let it slip by. Sorry! However, I’m hoping that situation is about to change.

If you are a writer or blogger who would like to be featured as a Friday guest, please contact me. We’ll choose a date, and if you haven’t done this before, I’ll tell you how to go about it. If you HAVE done this before, and would like to do it again, we’ll welcome you with open arms. In addition to letting people learn more about you, it’s a great opportunity to direct traffic to your blog, or to the Buy Links for your books. And if you have a new book coming out (and some of you DO), or are having a special promo, you can mention that at the bottom of your post, too.

So, how about it? I’m waiting . . . . . . . . . . .