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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
31st-Dec-2013 02:46 pm - [sticky post] Projects
Writing - photo
Hi! I'm Shira. I write and edit stuff. If you'd like, you can sponsor my writing and activism via a PayPal subscription or Patreon.

* "Wool and Silk and Wood" in Electric Velocipede #15/16, November 2008
* "Unruly Harvest" in Polu Texni, December 2008
* "About a Girl" is a poem and a perfume; check it out at Violette Market!
* "When Her Eyes Open" in Lone Star Stories, February 2009; it was reprinted in the 2009 Eaton Science Fiction Conference's speculative poetry sampler, and was nominated for the Rhysling Award.
* "Twelve" in Cabinet des Fees, March 2009
* "Nine Things About Oracles" in Electric Velocipede #20 (2010)
* "The Library, After" in Mythic Delirium #24; it won the Rhysling Award! Reprinted in Mythic Delirium #30 and The Nebula Awards Showcase 2014.
* "The Changeling's Lament" in Stone Telling #5; nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Tiptree Award, and the Rhysling Award.
* "Mushroom Barley Soup: An Invocation", in Stone Telling #8; nominated for the Rhysling Award.
* "nameless", in Through the Gate #1
* "The Oracle Never Dances", in Mythic Delirium #27
* "Ereshkigal's Proposal to Hades", in Mythic Delirium #27
* "The Busker, Broke and Busted", Apex Magazine #48, May 2013
* "And the War is Never Over", Strange Horizons, May 2013
* "Where We Died", Niteblade #24, June 2013
* "Limbo" in Flying Higher: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry.
* "Not Too Bold", Niteblade #25, September 2013
* "The Binding", Lakeside Circus, April 2015.
* "Four Chambers", Mythic Delirium, September 2015 (nominated for the Rhysling Award).
* "The Word for Loss is Missing", Zetetic Record, November 2016

Short Fiction
* "The Angel of Fremont Street" in ChiZine, January 2009. It was shortlisted for the Million Writers Award.
* "Fortune" in Ravens in the Library: Magic in the Bard's Name, the s00j benefit anthology. Reprinted in ChiZine, May 2011.
* "Valentines" in Interfictions 2, November 2009. Reprinted in Apex Magazine, June 2011 and The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women in December 2014.
* "And to My Wife" in Electric Velocipede #20 (2010)
* "Salt Brides" in Abyss & Apex, October 2010; it has been nominated for the Micro Award.
* "Between Truth and Life" in Steam Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, January 2011; podcast at Toasted Cake in February 2013.
* "The Portal to Heaven" in Electric Velocipede #21
* "I Am Thinking of You in the Spaces Between" in Apex Magazine, October 2011; it's on Tangent Online's recommended reading list and is a Million Writers Award Notable Story.
* "Splinter", Apex Magazine, November 2012
* "Happy Hour at the Tooth and Claw", in Clockwork Phoenix 4. It's on Tangent Online's Recommended Reading List.
* "Becca at the End of the World", in Apex Magazine, October 2013. You can listen to it at The Drabblecast. Reprinted in Zombies: More Recent Dead, edited by Paula Guran, September 2014. Received an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Horror.
* "The Final Girl" in Strange Horizons, April 2014. It's on Tangent Online's 2014 Recommended Reading List.
* "The Selves We Leave Behind" ("The Angel of Fremont Street"/"Fortune") by Upper Rubber Boot Press, June 2014.
* "The Cartographer's Requiem" in The Journal of Unlikely Cartography, June 2014.
* "Never Chose This Way", Apex Magazine, July 2015
* "In Our Rags of Light", Strange Horizons, August 2016; it's on the 2016 Tangent Online recommended reading list.

* "Israel is Not My Birthright" on Salon.com, July 2014

Flying Higher: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry, with Michael Damian Thomas.
Liminality, a Magazine of Speculative Poetry, with Mat Joiner (ashlyme)

In process: Cicatrix is the seriously bent portal fantasy, Places You Haunt is the Vegas mythpunk, and Shayara is the political thriller urban fantasy.

Conventions 2017
Undecided! I will not be at Arisia, and others will depend...

Where Else am I?
You can find me at Facebook. You can be my fan there, too. I'm also on Tumblr, Twitter and Ravelry. Not on MySpace. :)
20th-Mar-2017 08:43 am - Liminality #11!

Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Issue 11
Spring 2017

“The Well” – Alex Harper
“Wild Cartography” – Alexandra Seidel
“October Wildflower” – Bethany Powell
“The Witch’s House” – Chloe N. Clark
“Woodwork” – Lynette Mejía
“House of two trees” – Robert Ford
“Pine Song, Robin Song, Star Song” – Holly Lyn Walrath
“Nautilus Cup” – Amelia Gorman
“A Lover, Asleep” – Ada Hoffmann
“Birch Bark Quilt” – Jennifer Crow
10th-Jan-2017 10:15 am - Last night's Facebook post
Because this is where he's sending people...

If you are involved in a local consent discussion and are up on my page looking for a response to Judah Sher's bullshit...

* this is what abusers do - they refuse to let their victims live their lives and constantly throw bullshit into their lives. I'm fucking sick of it, and it is retraumatizing, and knowing that gets him off.

* lawyers don't advise you to say nothing until the statute of limitations is up if you're innocent. Nothing wrong with saying "I didn't do it" if you didn't do it. If he were to tell you what actually happened, he would be charged with a felony. That's why he's not telling you.

* yes he was brought in for questioning, and if you wonder why he wasn't charged, google the statistics on how many rapes actually go to trial. Ever. Now narrow that down to non-stranger rapes. Now narrow it down to intimate partner violence. Can you find any?

* yes I did sue him in civil court. This is a thing many people do in order to "be made whole", as lawyers put it, after rape. Things that one can get out of it include Your Day In Court if that's your goal, recovery of monies owed to you, and outcomes like batterer's intervention programs. And I can't tell you the terms, but you can guess by the fact that a settlement exists that My Day in Court was not my #1 priority.

* he is obsessed with forcing himself on me. See the initial rape, see this bullshit, see him coming into court and laughing at my distress before the judge came in. He will not stop. Want to know the kind of person he is? Examine that. Also, keep in mind that any discussion of whether or not consent is a thing probably involves shitheads who, now that they have my contact info, will hurl rape threats at me for the next howeverlong, so there's that too.

He's claiming that he was blackmailed into posting links to my posts. I don't believe him, because all that shit is googleable; it makes no sense to say "post this or I will". If you're wondering if it was me? It hella wasn't. All I want is to not have to talk about this shit. All I wanted tonight was to go out and see a show and have fun goofing off with friends, and once again, Judah has decided that I'm not allowed to do that. So instead I've been having full-body tremors for half an hour.

But he doesn't get to keep taking shit away from me.

If you see me tonight, buy me a damn drink.

(I did indeed have a few damn drinks, and my friends were awesome to me. But this is here for the record. Comments closed because the whole point is that I don't want to keep rehashing.)
26th-Dec-2016 09:24 am - Liminality #10!

(“a well-beaten path does not always make the right road”, by Jenny Downing)

Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Issue 10
Winter 2016/2017
Edited by Shira Lipkin and Mattie Joiner

Editorial – Shira Lipkin & Mattie Joiner
“the mountain, in g major” – Margarita Tenser
“Skin” – Alice Fanchiang
“The Were” – Lyrik Courtney
“Leda Feels Empathy for Her Swan” – Alison Rumfitt
“Donkeyskin” – Alix Bosley
“Wanted:” – Daniel Tobin
“Waking” – Sara Cleto & Brittany Warman
“The Widow and the Wave” – M.J. Cunniff
“Behold and Beholden” – Neile Graham
“In Quietude” – Steve Rasnic Tem
“Thanatopoesis” – P. Edda
“Seer” – Lynette Mejía
“The Star-Drinkers” – Rohinton Daruwala
“Last Call at the Hypothetical Tavern” – Jennifer Crow
26th-Sep-2016 08:32 am(no subject)

(“Sonata”, by Caitlyn Kurilich (now available as a print!))

Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Issue 9
Autumn 2016

Edited by Shira Lipkin and Mattie Joiner

“The Ritual” – Alex Harper
“An Angel Considers His Fallen Brother” – Lyrik Courtney
“Conditional Statements” – Margaret Wack
“Exvocation” – Elliott Freeman
“For Lonnie” – Holly Walrath
“The Pacific is Wine Pink” – Gillian Daniels
“The Wait” – Emma Crockford
“How I Lost the Sky” – Toby MacNutt
“To the Waters” – Megan Arkenberg
“Giant-Killer, 1915” – Ross Holmes
“Fusion Dream” – Laurinda Lind
“After the Forest Fire” – Evelyn Deshane
“Mother Tornado” – Melissa Frederick
Dear teenage me: when you grow up, you will wear glitter and feathers and sequins anywhere you damn well choose. You will dye your hair partly pink and paint your nails to look like the shells of beetles. Will people look at you funny? A few, but you will be secure in the knowledge that you are having more fun than they are. And every so often you'll be spotted dressed thusly by a small child and you will make their entire day.

Hi. We're the cool kids now. Yes, you can sit with us.
23rd-Aug-2016 02:09 pm(no subject)
I have fallen but I will get up
Hey y'all - long time no talk, but beloved enderfem needs our help urgently! Details here - please help if you can, and boost the signal!
15th-Aug-2016 11:43 am(no subject)
I have a new story out! So read "In Our Rags of Light" if you wanna. *nods*

Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Issue #8
Summer 2016

Editorial – Shira Lipkin

“Translations of a Runestone Found in Minnesota” – Amelia Gorman

“A priest, church windows, & divination” – Evelyn Deshane

“Saint of the Gracious Smile, your lips are cruel” – Kathrin Köhler

“Exposing Tricks” – Chloe N. Clark

“8 Ways Any Girl Can Become More Attractive, According to Science” – Margaret Wack

“Flesh” – Subashini Navanatram

“Jellyfish/Out of Water” – A.J. Odasso

“Wattle Skinned” – Hester J. Rook

“Yoga Chip” – Rohinton Daruwala

“WERE-” – Naru Dames Sundar

“Million-Year Elegies – Hallucigenia” – Ada Hoffmann

“Just So Story (The Four Faces of Luck)” – E.P. Beaumont

“Hexagram 64: Taste the Salt” – M.C. Childs
10th-Jun-2016 09:22 am(no subject)
Because it's been a while: Ask me anything!

(What have I been up to? Elayna's home from her junior year, having made the Dean's List. I have a lot of medical appointments this month. Also a lot of shows. Working on the nonfiction project, hoping to get time to work on fiction. Still have the best husband and other partners evar. Nicky is doing super great - he's actually kept more sight in that eye than the vet thought he would.)
9th-Jun-2016 10:28 pm - So hey.
I Hate It Here - Transmet
I'm not thrilled that this is my first post here in a while.

But in response to a Facebook post of mine going viral, one of my most unhinged and virulent stalkers from the Atlanta days has come out of the woodwork and is spewing her usual crap about me. And she's linking my legal name and Facebook ID to my LJ. So if people come looking, here it is.

I lived in Atlanta from 2001-2006. Around 2003, I was targeted by some deeply disturbed individuals. They harassed me online and in person. They doxxed me and Adam. Several of them sexually harassed me. One of them attempted to physically assault me.

They all lied about me.

Those who've been reading me long-term will remember. Those who are newer here, you may see some shit.

It's been over ten years. I'd hoped that it was over, that they were living their own lives, that maybe they'd gotten help or grown out of this.

Nope. At least one of them is definitely back and spewing the same lies with a new variation - now I'm allegedly trying to ride the coattails of the Stanford rape victim, which... yeah. Repulsive.

Let's unpack that further, actually: In order for that to be true, I would have to a) have *arranged to be raped* b) three years before a case that caught the public eye. This blames me for my rape.

I will not be bullied.

I will also not be baited. I will not engage with these creatures again. This is an advisory: that person is a stalker and a harasser. She and her buddies spent years torturing me. They don't get to do that anymore. And they should be ashamed.
(“Ivy and Door”, by Denis McLaughlin)

Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Issue #7
Spring 2016

Editorial – Shira Lipkin and Mattie Joiner

“The Lies You Learned” – S. Qiouyi Lu

“Elegy for the Hulk” – Gabby Reed

“For ours is the glory” – Julia Kingston

“Ecdysis” – Margarita Tenser

“bedtime story, age 96” – Nolan Liebert

“Rat-Infested Ship Off the Coast of Britain” – Chloe N. Clark

“The Art of the Blood Sacrifice” – Margaret Wack

“Sketches” – Tiffany Grayson

“Faith” – Alex Harper

“(House)” – Aaron Boothby

“The Wheredrobe” – John W. Sexton

“inventory: the ghosts in the bedroom” – Joyce Chong

“Lepidopteramancer” – Joshua Gage
2nd-Mar-2016 08:18 pm(no subject)
It is my birthday! I am 42, which is, of course, The Answer, so I did an AMA on my Facebook. contradictacat asked "If you could go back to visit you when you were 21, what would you tell her?", and I felt the answer was worth saving here...

Oh, man, that's actually a super emotional one. Because when I was 21, I was 9 months pregnant, detoxing, running from Las Vegas, unbearably alone and afraid.

I'd tell little proto-Shira that, first of all, the kid is going to be fine; the kid is going to be pretty freaking great, actually, and she's going to be a good mom. I would tell her that yeah, a lot of scary stuff just happened, and that's not the last time scary and awful stuff will happen, but she's way stronger than she thinks already, and every year she'll get stronger, and she'll meet every challenge. I'd tell her that in a couple of months on this thing called the internet she's going to meet her best friend, the love of her life, and they'll eventually figure out they're in love and they'll be together forever.

I'll tell her to take all the leaps of faith. That, every time, she'll grow her wings on the way down. That everything is worth it. That she is worth it, and soon she'll be with people who know that, and she'll be among people who know that for the rest of her life.

I'll tell her that her 42nd birthday party will be her biggest ever. That she'll be surrounded by love and affection from wonderful people and spend the whole night laughing and being snuggled and being handed perfect gifts, and she'll look around the room at her partners and beloved friends and feel her heart skip beats in non-scary ways because this is so much love. This is so much love we get to live within. These are the people in our world. This is the life we have built. We are safe, we are loved, we are understood. We write, we edit, we work to change the world, we connect people, and we love so hard all the time.

And it's worth it. Everything before 21 and everything after. It's all worth it.


Saturday's party was epic. I saw Jeffrey yesterday and Matthew today, and we had Sioban, Emily, and Dani over for dinner last night as well as burlesque friend Lucky, who is crashing with us for the week, and Adam and I went to Alden & Harlow for dinner tonight. It's a good week. It's a good life.
21st-Jan-2016 10:37 am - RIP Murder Cat
In early 2013, we had no intention of getting another cat. We'd lost Jack the previous August; then we lost Victoria in February.

And then newly-solo Max started caterwauling all night, every night, out of sheer loneliness. He needed a buddy. We weren't ready, but we saddled up and went out, on my birthday, to acquire a cat from the MSPCA.

His original name was Bunz. Yes. Ridiculous. We first called him Ampersand, then Sebastian, which went straight to Bash. And, later, Murder Cat. And Jerkface. Because omg was he a trick cat. Kitten-playful and sweet in the shelter, but, well, a Murder Cat at home.

He was 12 when we adopted him. Everyone was like "Are you sure?" Yes, we were; at the time, we were thinking of him as a companion for then-17-year-old Max, and this was before Max's kidney disease diagnosis, so we thought a few years together as buddies would be good. Average Maine Coon life expectancy is 12-15, and he was going to be an indoor cat; Siamese can live to 20. It was a good bet. But Max took ill that summer, and died right after Thanksgiving.

And Bash? Oh, Bash. Bash was a revenge shitter, a nervous traveller, a biter of hair and arms, trouble all the way down. Bash had a bump on his chin - $600 of tests later we found out it was acne. Bash got eye herpes. EYE HERPES. We shuttled him back and forth to the veterinary opthalmologist for months. We medicated him multiple times a day. He fuckin' hated that. We all have scars. He started shit with the other animals we eventually acquired. He swatted at Nicky and chased Whisper. He pissed on my bed. He ate every piece of plastic that entered the house. He was a giant furry asshole.

But he made this sweet "murr" sound whenever you touched him. And he had the world's floofiest belly and gigantic paws and that stunning ruff. And he would let me - for brief amounts of time - pick him up and snuggle him in my arms like a baby, tummy exposed. And he had a mighty purr, and loved it when we had company - he would walk right up to any guest and regally demand to be worshiped. Which the guest always did, because he was a beauty, and he *would* be sweet before he bit you. He's the first cat my toddler niece ever met, and she fell in love with him.

And she won't remember him.

Bash seemed fine last week. He acted totally normal when Sioban and Emily came over for dinner on Wednesday, I remember that. Emily took selfies with him. He demanded petting from Sioban.

During Arisia this weekend, Elayna noticed that he wasn't eating.

We made an appointment for Wednesday late afternoon, because it's the first time we could - we can't leave Nicky unattended in the cone (which comes off tomorrow), and Wednesday's the vet's only open-late day. We thought maybe arthritis had dimmed his appetite. Maybe cancer. Oh, Bash, getting expensive again.

He stayed under the dining room table all day yesterday. I kept checking on him. At 1:00, I saw he was having difficulty breathing; I texted Adam "Can you get home earlier today? I'm really worried about him." I hit send.

And Bash cried out, and I ran to him and scooped him up in that baby-snuggle position, and he left. Instantly.

We were bracing ourselves for Nicky, with that risky surgery. We've been joking that Bash is too mean to die. At the very least, we figured he'd put us through a protracted illness.

No one expected this. We're still in shock. The girl-cats knew; Nicky is just distressed because he can tell everyone else is.

Bash was an asshole cat. I used to look at him, shake my head, and say "I don't love you."

And then I would lean in and whisper "actually i do love you, don't tell anyone, it's a secret."
14th-Jan-2016 08:59 pm(no subject)
Oh hey I have a couple minutes let's talk about the dog's eye exploding.

Yes. Really.

*rubs temples*

Nicky had a sudden total loss of vision. We took him to the doctor who sent us to the emergency vet, who said "yeah, he has a corneal ulcer, give him these antibiotics and follow up with the opthalmologist in three days."

The morning of his appointment, his tear production was *way* up, which I dutifully reported to the doctor. Who said "...yeah, those aren't tears." And handed me the magnifying glasses so I could see the hole in my dog's eye.

I very kindly did not pass the glasses to Adam.

So Nicky had surgery that very day, which was... the most stress I've suffered in a while. Sedating chihuahuas is risky. Sedating dogs with heart conditions is risky. Sedating my chihuahua-with-heart-disease meant a lot of tension in my house. (And some A+ boyfriending as my guys were there for me on Gchat and text; thanks, guys!)

He made it through. <3 In fact, the surgery was a big success. (It was a conjunctival pedicle graft, for those of you who know vet stuff.) The graft is integrating very well with his cornea; he started off on three oral medications (antibiotic twice a day, painkiller three times a day, NSAID once a day) and one eyedrop (three times a day), and now he's just on the eyedrops for three more days and the cone for one more week.

Me? I'm exhausted. Because he cannot be allowed to disturb that eye, he's needed an extra-big Cone of Shame, which he hates and regularly attempts to remove. He's been sleeping with me at night, because he can't be left unattended for even a minute; I am frequently awakened by him shoving the cone into my face. At least he's not panicking about it anymore. The first few days, I got maybe two hours of sleep per night. He's on an exercise restriction so severe that he hasn't been allowed to climb stairs or jump off the couch - which wasn't an issue the first few days, but now he absolutely feels 100% better and wants to jump around and play, so we are hypervigilant when he's on the couch! And I have had to learn to do everything with one hand, because I'm carrying him with the other. Because Adam and Aimee have day jobs and Elayna was visiting my parents. So yeah, pup care has been 90% me.

I'm really very tired.

This is why, when people ask me how I am, I say "My dog's eye exploded." People say "But other than that...?" and I say "There is no 'other than that'." This has been my entire 2016 so far. Everything else is good? All the humans in my world are excellent. My full manuscript is with an agent who I think would be a great fit, so cross your fingers that she agrees. Um. I might get to have a full night's sleep at Arisia, because Elayna's staying home with Nicky.


How are you?

(Monetary concerns: The surgery was $3,500. We applied for and got CareCredit, which is interest-free for six months, but then it shoots up to 27% interest. If you are so moved, my PayPal is shadesong@gmail.com. I don't have the spoons to set up a fundraiser right now. Did I mention I have a four-day con starting tomorrow? I am very tired.)
2nd-Jan-2016 11:03 am - Arisia Schedule!
Arisia is in two weeks! Oy. My deliberately-light (EDIT: HAHA that changed) schedule:

7pm: How Lord of the Rings Stunted Fantasy's Growth
LotR's shadow looms huge over fantasy. From the moment it achieved its massive popularity, it's had a stranglehold on the genre. The diverse and weird pre-LotR fantasy landscape was obliterated in favor of decades of Tolkien clones, and we're only barely beginning to see the genre recover now. Why did something so stilted, mediocre, sexist, and racist capture the public's imagination in such a fevered and intense way? What would fantasy look like today in a world where LotR never happened?
Kate Nepveu (mod), Mark Oshiro, Shira Lipkin, Erik Amundsen

9:30pm: Reading/presenting at Ig Nobel event!

10:00am: Fantasy Reading
Come listen to our panelists read a selection from their original fantasy works.
Matthew Kressel, Shira Lipkin, Lauren M. Roy, Julia Rios
(Note: I'm not reading fantasy? But no one asked, and no, I don't know why this year there are only ~6 reading slots altogether and they're jamming four of us into each.)

1:00pm: Arisia Curmudgeon Panel 2: Curmudgeon Harder!
Last year, we told you why things that "everyone" loves, from Middle Earth to Star Wars, from Gaiman to Whedon, suck. But one panel wasn't enough time for all the loathing we feel. This year, expect more vitriol, snark, and actual media criticism at this wide-ranging panel.
Mark Oshiro, Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez, Shira Lipkin, Adam Lipkin

2:30pm: In Which the Author Has Run Out of F!?ks to Give
Often, over the course of a long series, it becomes clear that the author has run completely out of f!?ks and is spinning their wheels. You can almost see the departure of the last f!?k the author had to give. Let's discuss series that continue way past the exhaustion of inspiration.
Shira Lipkin, Meredith Schwartz, Victoria Janssen, Eric Zuckerman, Daniel Miller

8:30pm: The Future of Disability in Literature
ST:TNG was famously critiqued for having a bald captain. "Won't the cure for baldness be discovered by then?" Roddenberry replied, "By the 24th century, no one will care." Most SF novels, if they include disabled characters at all, focus on a cure narrative. For the most part, the disabled seem not to exist. Let's talk about SF with universal access, visible disabled characters, and societies that don't force a cure and choose instead to accommodate everyone, regardless of disability.
Tegan Mannino, Tanya Washburn, JoSelle Vanderhooft, Shira Lipkin

11:30am: Speculative Poetry is Awesome
Over the past decade, speculative poetry has increasingly turned toward the mythic, personal, and powerful in subject matter, with venues such as Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Stone Telling, and Liminality showcasing a new generation of poets who’ve redefined what this type of writing can do. Come discuss what's new and wonderful in the world of speculative poetry!
Julia Rios, Shira Lipkin, A.J. Odasso, MJ Cunniff, Gillian Daniels

Please do let me know if you want to make lunch/dinner plans!
21st-Dec-2015 10:08 am - Liminality #6 is up!

Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Issue #6 - Winter 2015/2016

Editorial - Mattie Joiner and Shira Lipkin
“Dionysus of the Downtown” - Lev Mirov
“White: Outside of Color” - Nikk Wasserman
“How to be something not real” - Lore Graham
“Changeling Manifesto” - Kayla Bashe
“Angiogenesis” - Margarita Tenser
“My Own Lightning” - Mary Alexandra Agner
“swan” - Nolan Liebert
“What to Do With a Photosynthetic Lover” - Rohinton Daruwala
“Desert Mermaid” - Sandi Leibowitz
“Changeling” - Lynette Mejía
“The Selkie Before Summer” - Penny Stirling
“If You Find Me Out” - Toby MacNutt

(Cover art - “Not a Second Time”, by Jessica “Sieskja” Albert)
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