Facebook Launch Party

Attention, Poseidon’s Scribe fans, and Steampunk party hounds: there will be a Facebook launch party for the anthology AvastYeAirshipsAvast, Ye Airships! It will happen Saturday, February 28th, from 7:00 to 11:00 PM EST. That’s 6 PM to 10 PM CST, 5 PM to 9 PM MST, and 4 PM to 8 PM PST. You’ll have to calculate it yourself for all other time zones.

My tentative timeslot for this party is 8:30 to 8:45 EST, and I’ll put out a new post or update this one if that changes or is confirmed.

I’ve never participated in a Facebook party before, but my understanding is that it’s like a chat, where you can ask me questions. As a service to my fans, I thought I’d give you some tidbits about the story I wrote for the anthology. These may prompt some questions you can ask:

  • Story title: “A Clouded Affair”
  • Backstory and Setting: It’s an alternate 1920, where large, dirigible airships in Europe have been preyed upon by sky pirates for decades. They’ve developed strong defenses, which forced the pirates to become crafty, hiding in the clouds as a tactic. In the New World, air piracy is a more recent thing, so the big cargo airships fly without escorts, nets, or defensive weapons.
  • Main Characters: William Starling leads an aging gang of English pirates flying a steam ornithopter. They’ve abandoned Europe for the greater promise of American aerial loot. Last to join his gang was young Nell Remige, a female adventure-seeker who worked hard to become William’s first mate. If William isn’t careful, he’ll encounter Crank Deco and his Chicago-based gang who fly a modern, diesel-engine biplane. That could bring on a steampunk vs. dieselpunk contest in the air, the last thing William needs. As for Nell, if she and William somehow make it out of this alive, what does she really want?

Remember, this Saturday night is your big chance, if you’ve ever wanted to party with—

Poseidon’s Scribe

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February 22, 2015Permalink

Author Interview — Amy Braun

North to Canada we go today for the next interview in this series. I’m on a quest to interview as many contributing authors to the anthology Avast, Ye Airships! as I can, and this time, it’s Amy Braun.

Amy BraunAmy Braun is an aspiring urban fantasy and horror author addicted to monsters and mythology. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, or gaming. She’s a recipient, in 2014, of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery.”

On a side note (or two), that may be the world’s only award that contains “bad-assery” in its title, and I think General Bad-Assery would be a great name for both a rock band and a senior Army officer.

After that irrelevant tangent, here’s the interview:

Poseidon’s Scribe: When and why did you begin writing fiction?

Amy Braun: One of my friends once told me I had an overactive imagination. He was more right than he knew. I’m constantly daydreaming, thinking of crazy worlds, What-If scenarios, wicked action scenes with wickeder monsters. I’ve been that way since my pre-teens, when writing was just a hobby for me. I can’t picture myself writing anything but fiction. I love letting my imagination run wild, and just seeing what it can do makes it worth the effort. I once read a quote saying that “creating something that didn’t exist before is as close to magic as I’ll ever get.” That couldn’t be more true for me.

P.S.: What are the easiest, and the most difficult, aspects of writing for you?

A.B.: Most days, writing the words is easy. If I have an ironclad view on how I want a scene to be, the words just flow. The same can be said for action scenes. If I have the right music going, I can dive into the fight scene and make it absolutely insane. The faster paced or more dramatic the story, the better I do. In contrast, I have some difficulty when it comes to research. The Internet is great, but it can be a hindrance when certain “experts” disagree on certain things. For some stories I cheat and use magic, but that doesn’t always work. For example, in Crimson Sky, the novel inspired by “Lost Sky,” my main character Claire is an engineer. Since I know as much about engineering as I do about brain surgery, I had to do some research and find out her limits. Not an easy, or thrilling thing to do. The same can be said with some of the devices Claire uses. You can’t always skim over the truth, and even though this is a fantasy series, I had to at least give some kind of explanation to how her tools worked.

P.S.: What other authors influenced your writing?

A.B.: More than I can name, and each for their own reasons. The biggest influences are Rob Thurman for her sharp dialogue and in depth characters. Jennifer Estep for her amazing action scenes, easy flow, and ability to keep ever her longest running series fresh and exciting. Kevin Hearne for the detail he puts into his mythology and lore. Alexander Gordon Smith and Scott Sigler for their skills at writing fast-paced, truly engaging horror. And most recently, Michael J. Sullivan for his ability to show rather than tell, and involve the reader so deeply that they can bring you to tears without trying. Not that that’s happened to me. Ahem.

P.S.: I see you have been participating in the Weekend Writing Warriors‘ 8Sunday promotions, and that they are some of your most popular blog posts. How do you choose the 8 sentences to share?

A.B.: Usually I go with the novel or shot story I’m currently working on. A lot of the authors I read from WeWriWa tend to choose a chapter and have consistency for their posts. That’s a great idea for obvious reasons, but I’m the kind of writer who works too fast to want to do that. I like choosing snippets that I think are engaging and fun, something to draw the reader in without giving too much away. I also like sharing various work to tease at future projects and hopefully draw a more interested audience. 8Sunday has been a huge help for me, and I hope to build a larger following through it.

P.S.: You mentioned in one post that you’re a fast writer and cranked out 78,000 words in one month, even though you have what you call a Real Job. That output is very impressive. How do you manage to write so fast?

A.B.: Honestly, I do nothing else with my free time. My days off are Mondays and Tuesdays, and I take full advantage of the time that I have to accomplish as much as I can. If I’m having a good day, I can write over 10,000 words. Even on a bad day where my focus isn’t 100% there, I can still get out at least 6,000. Literally, all I do is sit at my computer, listen to music and write. If I think of wanting to do something else, that thought strain usually goes, “Well I could be catching up on The Walking Dead… or I could be writing.” It’s become an addiction I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. Even when I’m at work, I’m thinking about a story and what to do next in a scene. On my breaks or when I’m caught up on my projects, I use my phone to write. Not as effective as a laptop, but I’ll use what I have available. I love and need writing like a flower loves and needs the sun.

P.S.: Your short story, “Lost Sky” will appear in the AvastYeAirshipsAvast, Ye Airships! anthology. Please tell us a little about the story.

A.B.: “Lost Sky” is sort of a guinea pig. It was a crazy idea I wanted to try since I was in my pre-teens, that I finally took a chance with. The story is about a young engineer named Claire living in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world that has been overrun with bloodthirsty vampire like creatures called Hellions. Claire’s younger sister Abby is kidnapped and taken to the Behemoth, the large Hellion ship that oversees the entire city. To rescue her, Claire is forced to join sides with three Marauders, roguish pirates who are looking for their own revenge against the Hellions. It’s a fun story and I have a lot of pride for it. Hopefully other readers will enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

P.S.: Is it true that “Lost Sky” inspired a trilogy of novels, called the Dark Sky collection? When will those novels be available? What ties them together?

A.B.: Yes, it’s definitely true. Dark Sky dives into the world created in “Lost Sky,” and follows Claire and the Marauders as they search for a machine her parents made that is supposed to close the Breach, the tear in the sky that allowed the Hellions to invade. The novels follow Claire’s adventures as she learns her family’s secrets, begins to take up the work they left behind, and tests it against the horrible might of the Hellions. The first novel, Crimson Sky, is completed its rough draft, though I’m looking at several different publishing options at the moment. I could have a couple publishers lined up should they take to the idea and be willing to publish a full-length novel, though if that fails I will likely self-publish. I know what a long and strenuous process it is to submit to companies and hope they say yes. So right now, the release date is up in the air, though I think I’ll be shooting for late summer/early fall.

P.S.: Recently your short story, “DeathCafe_Hotel_HellDeath’s Cafe: Hotel Hell,” was published. Sounds creepy… What is it about?

A.B.: “Hotel Hell” is one of my favorite short stories ever written. It’s about a man named Milo whose fiancée went missing. Unable to wait any longer, he sets out to find her and encounters a mysterious hotel. As he asks the staff about her disappearance, he begins to feel unnerved by them. He senses something strange about the hotel, and its secrets could cost him dearly. It’s a subtle, more environmental horror story in contrast to my last Mocha Memoirs horror short, “Call from the GCall From The Grave cover 8.27.47 AMrave.” But I loved writing it. Creating atmospheric horror is just as fun as writing splatterfest gore, and I had a great time coming up with the visuals for it.

P.S.: What is your current work in progress? Would you mind telling us a little about it?

A.B.: Currently, I’m working on the second book in the Dark Sky trilogy, Midnight Sky. I’m about halfway through it now, and hope to have it done soon. Once it’s finished, I’ll be looking into a few open submission calls that have caught my eye, and beginning a project called Bond Unknown, a series of novellas being put together by Canadian publisher April Moon Books, now that the rights regarding Ian Fleming’s famous super spy have been released to Canada.

Poseidon’s Scribe: What advice can you offer aspiring writers?

Amy Braun: The same advice that’s been given to me countless times, the same advice hundreds of famous authors give whenever someone asks. Write. Simply write. The more you write, the better you will do. That isn’t to say that your bestseller will be the first book you create. In all likelihood, it won’t be. Every author I’ve ever respected and read has been rejected by everyone in the universe. Despite my successes last year, I know that it’s a long road ahead and I’ll get a million more doors slammed in my face. But I write every day for as long as I can. I get the words out, and don’t think about editing until I’m done. I make little notes, but I don’t edit halfway through. And never be afraid to take chances. If you have a crazy idea you want to write, then write it. Publishers and editors are always looking for something new, something exciting and engaging. Even if the idea you adore with every ounce of your soul has been rejected (and mine have been), don’t give up. This is not an easy a career, and even though I work by the “if you write it, they will come” theory, that doesn’t mean I’ll be signed by a professional, major label. And honestly, I’m okay with that. If you truly, deeply, love writing with the very core of your soul, if you live and breathe it, find peace in it, you will find a way to get your story out there. If I have to self-publish for the rest of my career, I will. I have too much creativity to be restrained by a label’s nitpickiness. Continue to learn, take critiques as advice, and again, never stop writing.

 

Thanks, Amy! After that interview, my readers will want to know more, and they can visit Amy’s author page on Amazon, on Goodreads, on Twitter, and at her website.

Poseidon’s Scribe

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February 16, 2015Permalink

Author Interview — Diana Parparita

Poseidon’s Scribe has done it again and now presents another interview with a captivating author whose story appears in the anthology Avast, Ye Airships! Today I welcome Diana ParparitaDiana Parparita, a Romanian author living in Bucharest who writes fantasy and steampunk.

Read on for the interview:

Poseidon’s Scribe: When and why did you begin writing fiction?

Diana Parparita: I started writing fiction when I was four or five years old. I hadn’t learned to write yet, back then, so I dictated my stories to my grandmother, but the intent to write speculative fiction was there, even at that age. The reason why I began writing, or, rather, dictating, was that I kept making stories in my head to entertain myself, and I liked them enough that I wanted to share them with others. And I kept forgetting them, so a big incentive for writing was to have a way to remember the best stories that I’d come up with.

P.S.: What are the easiest, and the most difficult, aspects of writing for you?

D.P.: The easiest part of writing for me is writing dialogues. My characters feel very much alive to me, and tend to act as if they had a mind of their own, so they talk naturally and I can always picture what they’d say and how they’d say it. The most difficult part for me is writing action scenes. I still haven’t been able to figure out a good pacing for writing action. When I read, I tend to skip through most of the fight scenes because I just want to know how it ends, and I haven’t been able to find a way to keep the reader’s attention on the action itself, at least not my attention.

P.S.: What is your favorite genre to write in?

D.P.: My favorite genre is fantasy, because it offers me complete freedom to create any type of world and society I choose. But I’m also fond of sci-fi, for the same reason, although I find it colder than fantasy.

P.S.: You live in Romania, right? Have you used Romania as a setting in any of your stories? If not, are there other ways that living in that country has influenced your fiction?

D.P.: Yes, I live in Romania. I haven’t used Romania per se as a setting, but the setting for the stories in my Huntsfee series is loosely based on Romania. There are, however, other ways I which living in Romania and being Romanian has influenced my writing. Romania is at the border between several cultures, and has seen a good number of invaders over the centuries, and as a result, Romanian writers tend to incorporate elements from different cultures into their writing. In that respect, my writing stories set in a fictional version of the Victorian age, as well as mixing that with elements from other cultures, is in perfect agreement with my Romanian heritage. To give an example, the story I wrote for Avast, Ye Airships! is influenced by the steampunk stories I’ve read and by Victorian England, but also by Jules Verne and an Italian 19th century writer of adventure novels, whose pirates have played an important part in my adolescence. This mixture of elements from three different cultures is all very natural to a Romanian writer and to Romanian culture.

P.S.: Your story “Miss Warlyss Meets the Black Buzzard” will appear in the anthology Avast, AvastYeAirshipsYe Airships! Please tell us a little about Miss Warlyss.

D.P.: Miss Warlyss is the daughter of a governor, who grew up in a pensionnat, and she’s now being sent home to become the bride of one of her father’s political allies. Which, of course, is something she doesn’t quite fancy doing in the near future. But you’ll have to read the story to see just how she manages to avoid getting married.

P.S.: In your website and in social media, your sense of humor is evident. Do you include humor in all your stories, or are there some purely serious ones?

D.P.: I’ve written some stories that are meant to be purely serious, but I’m afraid my sense of humor does show even in those, though to a lesser degree. I tend to make fun of the worst parts of life, as a form of self-preservation, so the darker the story, the harder it is not to add a touch of humor to it.

P.S.: From your Facebook page, I gather that a cat figures prominently in your home life. Does the cat inspire any characteristics or features of any of the animals in your stories?

D.P.: Actually, the cat in question is a rather new addition to the household. We’ve only had her for a few months. I used to have a cat before her, but she never inspired any characters either. But whenever I write animals, they are indeed based on nature. I always pay close attention to animals when I have a chance, and I try to study them before I use any animals as characters. Except for the horse in the first story I’ve ever published, “Sir Joseph’s Choice,” which was heavily anthropomorphized from a psychological point of view.

P.S.: One of your published books is Doctor Edmund HuntseeHuntsfee’s Perilous Expedition into the Heart of the Flood Plains. It appears this has inspired a series, with a second story published and a third being written. What do you find fascinating about the world or characters in this series?

D.P.: What I find most fascinating about the series is the continuous study of new and original species. Dr. Huntsfee is a sort of natural historian who specializes in the study of fantasy creatures, so each story enables me to create and present in detail a new personal species. But there’s one more thing that fascinates me about this series, and that’s the relationship between two of the characters in it, Miss Ophelia Dalton and Captain Joseph Marlin. They were both created to serve very specific roles within the story: Miss Ophelia is the chaperon of Dr. Huntsfee’s friend and love interest, while the captain was meant to be in charge of the boat the expedition is sailing on. They were never meant to be a couple, and that shows even in the age difference between them, with him being about ten years younger than her, but from their first scene together, they’ve developed a special chemistry that I hadn’t planned for them to have. So now I’m very curious to see where that’s going and I want to explore that budding relationship through many other stories.

P.S.: What is your current work in progress? Would you mind telling us a little about it?

D.P.: I’m always working on several things at the same time, so right now I’m working on the third installment in the Huntsfee series, a steampunk retelling of The Little Mermaid, and a young adult novel about a girl who finds out she’s part dryad and gathers an army to free her country of an evil dictator and the dragons under his command.

Poseidon’s Scribe: What advice can you offer aspiring writers?

Diana Parparita: I think the best advice I can offer is to read the best stories and novels in the genre they want to specialize in, as well as the very best that other genres have to offer. I’ve noticed that quality is something that tends to rub off, so the more good books you read the better. Also, there’s one piece of advice that I haven’t heard enough: live! Get as much life experience as you possibly can. I have a bad record of never staying in a job for longer than a year and a half, but, apart from it looking dreadful on my résumé, this has helped me meet all sorts of people and has placed me in all sorts of environments. The pirates in “Miss Warlyss Meets the Black Buzzard,” for instance, are based on some of my co-workers from a male-dominated workplace I landed in a couple of years ago. Having lived my entire life in a female-dominated environment, it was just as much of a shock to me as it was to Miss Warlyss, and that provided me both with an understanding of her experience and with a good reference for my pirates and for male-dominated environments in general. My pirates would have never seemed authentic if I’d found a comfortable job and stayed in it all my life. So I definitely advise experiencing things outside of your comfort zone.

 

Thank you, Diana! My many readers are urged to learn more about Diana Parparita on Facebook, on DeviantArt, and at her website.

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February 12, 2015Permalink

Author Interview — Lauren Marrero

We’ve been meeting fascinating authors recently through my interviews, and that streak continues today with my interview of Lauren Marrero.

Lauren-Marrero1On her website, Lauren describes herself as a sapiosexual romance novelist, cat lady, and adventuress. She’s the author of the novel Seducing the Laird.

Here’s the interview:

Poseidon’s Scribe: When and why did you begin writing fiction?

Lauren Marrero: I was a writer long before I was consciously aware of it. Back in school, I became so excited about writing essays—my friends definitely thought I was weird. It wasn’t until college, while choosing a major, that I realized writing was my passion.

P.S.: You have a short story, “Her Majesty’s Service,” appearing in the anthology AvastYeAirshipsAvast, Ye Airships! What is your story about?

L.M.: After a passionate one night stand, a young woman discovers the man she slept with is caught up in a dangerous world of intrigue.

P.S.: You’ve written a historical novel, Seducing-the-Laird-CoverSeducing the Laird. Please introduce us to the main character, Verena.

L.M.: Set during the late middle ages, Verena is the perfect spy, working for the ruthlessly-ambitious Lord Gundy. Her mission is to recover a fabled cache of Roman silver, lost for hundreds of years beneath the stronghold of the Scottish laird Cairn McPherson. She must use all of her powers of seduction and intelligence to infiltrate Cairn’s household, but this mission may be her undoing.

Verena is an anti-hero, a woman forced to do whatever she must to survive. She is deeply disturbed by her assignment, knowing that her actions may cause the destruction of a clan she has grown to love. This is a story about redemption and realizing that it is never too late to be a better person.

P.S.: Reviewers keep saying they couldn’t put your novel down, that you had them from page one. Would you care to share your secret for how you achieve that?

L.M.: Honestly, I was a little surprised to see such positive reviews for a first novel. Sure, I loved it, but I wasn’t sure my audience would love the same characters and laugh at the same jokes.

I tried to bring my enthusiasm for the characters onto each page. I constantly asked the opinions of my friends and family while writing. Did they think a scene was realistic? How would they feel if a character behaved a certain way? That feedback helped to make the story much better.

P.S.: I see you enjoy traveling. Are all your stories set in places you’ve been?

L.M.: Unfortunately, no. Unlike Nandi from “Her Majesty’s Service,” I have never been to Cairo, but that is definitely on my list!

P.S.: The topic of food keeps coming up on your website. How do you use food in your fiction writing–just to show the characters being real, or to give credibility to the historical time and place setting, or to advance the plot?

L.M.: People say to write what you love. I am a foodie. I believe knowing people’s tastes gives insight into their character. Laird Cairn McPherson is a tough and capable leader, but has an incurable sweet tooth. Verena cleverly uses that knowledge during her seduction. When he is at his lowest moment, not knowing if he will live or die, Verena appears before him like an angel of mercy, offering all the comforts of home. It is no wonder he falls for her!

P.S.: If you could bring back a dead author to talk to over dinner, whom would it be, and what would you be anxious to ask?

L.M.: I consider Oscar Wilde to be one of the greatest writers. Few authors are so skillful at combining emotions. While reading his work, I want to laugh, cry, beat up some characters, and hug others. I wouldn’t presume to ask Oscar Wilde anything. I would just let him talk.

P.S.: In what way is your fiction different from that of other authors of historical romance?

L.M.: I wanted my novel to be a more evolved story. There is intrigue, espionage, ghosts, malicious fairies, and the threat of war. Yes, the characters fall in love, but there is much more to the book.

P.S.: What is your current work in progress? Would you mind telling us a little about it?

L.M.: I am currently working on the sequel to Seducing the Laird. In the first book, I introduced an entire family of spies, each with complex stories and diverse backgrounds. I believe each of them deserve to fall in love.

The next novel takes place in France during the Italian Wars. Italy, France, and Spain are pitted against each other. It is up to the spies to resolve it –and break a few hearts in the process.

Poseidon’s Scribe: What advice can you offer aspiring writers? In particular, what do you wish someone had told you about writing or getting published that you had to learn the hard way?

Lauren Marrero: Make friends. I found that the best way to stay motivated is to be around like-minded people. Join writing groups and attend readings by local authors. It may take years before you see your work on a bookshelf, but if you can keep your attention on writing, it will keep you focused on your goal.

 

Thanks, Lauren! Luckily for readers of my blog, I know where you can find out more about Lauren Marrero.  She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon. Her website is here.

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February 9, 2015Permalink

Author Interview — K.C. Shaw

The piratical fun continues! Today I’m interviewing Kate Shaw, who writes as K.C. Shaw, another fascinating author with a story in the anthology Avast, Ye Airships!

Kate writes fantasy and likes to swashbuckle occasionally. I love this quote from her website: “Weredeer, liches, and fairies vs. unicorns. All in a day’s work.”

Here’s the interview:

Poseidon’s Scribe: When and why did you begin writing fiction?
K.C. Shaw: I’ve been writing fiction as long as I can remember, but I didn’t get serious about it until 2007. I was working in a sales office at the time and was impressed at how persistent the salespeople were. I started treating my writing the same way: writing almost every day, submitting stories to magazines until they sold, striving hard to improve my writing.

P.S.: What are the easiest, and the most difficult, aspects of writing for you?

K.C.S.: The hardest part for me is getting pacing correct. It’s difficult to see a novel as a whole and know where tension needs to be increased, where the main character needs to stop for a moment of reflection, where plot points need to be worked in earlier. The easiest part is writing dialogue!

P.S.: How did you become interested in writing fantasy?

K.C.S.: Most of my favorite books were fantasy and SF when I was a kid, and that’s still the case. I loved Diane Wynne Jones, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Joan Aiken, Jane Louise Curry, and a thousand other writers. It was natural that I wrote what I loved to read.

P.S.: You write both novels and short stories. How do you decide whether an idea is big enough for a novel?

K.C.S.: A lot of times I think I’ve got a short story idea, and it turns into a novel! I actually prefer writing novels so I often find it difficult to write short.

AvastYeAirshipsP.S.: In Avast, Ye Airships! your story is “And a Bottle of Rum…” Please tell us a little about it.

K.C.S.: In the story, main character Jo has just acquired a new airship and wants to see what it can do. She and her friend and colleague Lizzy move in to take what they think is a helpless blimp only to discover it’s got a heavily armed escort.

P.S.: You’ve written several short stories about your steampunk air pirates, Lizzy and Jo, and they even have their own website. Any plans for a novel with those two?

K.C.S.: Yes! In fact, “And a Bottle of Rum…” is an excerpt from a Lizzy and Jo book. It’s not under contract yet so the title, Skytown, is only tentative, but I hope it will be released some time next year.

WharfRat_ByKateShaw_200x300__18221.1420220732.1280.1280P.S.: Your latest novel is Wharf Rat. Please introduce us to Rone, the protagonist.

K.C.S.: Rone is an elf, but not the kind Peter Jackson would want to film. He’s a dock whore, a small-time thief, and he can’t even read. I had fun writing about someone so different from the usual elf, while still making him sympathetic.

P.S.: What is your current work in progress? Would you mind telling us a little about it?

K.C.S.: I’ve got two projects going right now. The first I can’t really talk about yet except to say it’s the text of a game that’s going to be fantastic! The latest release date I’ve heard is early 2016. I’ve just started world-building for my other project, a novel where all the characters are dragons and humans don’t even exist. It should be a lot of fun.

Poseidon’s Scribe: What advice can you offer aspiring writers?

K.C. Shaw: When you finish a project, especially a longer one like a novel or series of short stories, don’t be afraid to give yourself some time off. Writing every day is important, but your brain needs downtime to recharge too. Schedule a few weeks to read other people’s books instead of writing. Before you know it you’ll be getting new ideas and will want to start a new project

Thank you, Kate! Readers of my blog can find out more about Kate on her websites here and here, and on Twitter and Goodreads.

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February 3, 2015Permalink