Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What Hank's Wroting: Too Manny Typpos

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: So the good news and bad news.


The good news, actually the fantastic wonderful brilliant amazing news, is: look at this! Here are the first pass pages of TRUST ME, my upcoming psychological thriller. Doesn’t this look amazing?

You know the first pass pages, right? They are the first time the word document manuscript turns into a typeset book. It always brings tears to my eyes when they arrive, and I always have it printed out so I can see how it will really look.

But "how it will really look" has a big hulking pitfall. Because somehow, even though I copy edited it, and proofread it, and so did the copy editor, and so did the proofreader, there are so many mistakes in this first pass that it is jaw-dropping.

Every one of these stickies is a typo or change. And I am not finished.


I suppose it makes sense, when you think of how many words, and how many letters, and how many spaces, and how many characters, and how many potential landmines there are throughout. A dropped comma, a quotation mark turned the wrong way, a line left out, a word left out, or a repeated word, or the wrong word, or a word or phrase that you never should've used in the first place and now it is in there three or four times.

In this manuscript, even more landmines. There's actually a place where "find and replace" did not work. It worked every other time for exactly the same change, but on these three pages, it didn't. See?



As a result, someone's name is changed, and what appears to be a new character just pops out of nowhere. For a page or two. All the Berlands got changed to Spofford. All except these.





We are trying to figure out what to do. Since early-early arcs are already being printed.

But onward. I am honestly reading this with a finger pointing to every word as I go by, because--and this may be a good thing--it's so much fun to read the story that it is tempting just to read fast to see what happens. Even though I know what happens. And there are moments, I will admit to you my dear friends, when I think wow, this is pretty darn good :-) and then I find yet another typo, or another place where I use the same word a zillion times or where there's a word that's an artifact, or a punctuation mark out of nowhere.

My dear Dad (a well-published non-fiction writer and career diplomat) used to tell me: “There’s always another typo.” True, Dad. Ture.

TRUST ME—a standalone, love that--comes out next August, so you’ll get to wait a while before I bug you to pre-order. And they are working on the cover now. So excited about that.

The first three chapters of TRUST ME are in the back of the paperback of SAY NO MORE, and that is really amazing to see.

Here's a tiny bit more… just for you.

Tell me if you find any typos.



Reds and readers, do you see many typos in the books you read?


                                                       Chapter 4
It’s not like I can’t leave the house. I do it when I need to. Even drive. But when I do I can’t avoid seeing the driveway, and our street, and that tree.  Four hundred and forty two days ago they took away the crumpled car. Took away my family, too. When I’m out in public, I can’t avoid people asking if I’m okay. I’m not. Of course I’m not.
           But now, alone at my desk and ready to write, I can focus on another little girl. Thanks to the relentless coverage, I’ve compiled a gold mine of material. Interviews. Photographs. Video from local and national news. Katherine had dropped off a stack of  revealing documents, including the Dayton police reports and inside investigative stuff her sources gave her, so now I’ll devour that, too. I’ll double-check the facts when I can. It’ll feel real, all right.
Instead of using today’s opening statements, I’ll open the book with an inside look at Ashlyn Bryant’s parents. A personal take on their then-missing granddaughter. After a chapter or two of build-up, I’ll do Day One of the trial.
It’s tricky.
The order of the book, chronological from beginning to end, won’t follow the actual order of the trial, which will go witness to witness. Two stories underway at once. Mine, and Ashlyn’s.
Two weeks after the verdict, Ashlyn Bryant will be sentenced.  As soon as the judge sends her away for life, the publisher wants my book ready to go. That means the two weeks between verdict and sentencing will be a writing marathon. And of course, I’ll have to add the ending.
            Ending? She killed her own daughter! My brain almost screams at me. While you were burying yours. 
             It had almost confused me, if I could have been any more confused fourteen months ago, when news broke that they’d found the body of a little girl on the beach. June--sunny, and sadistically gorgeous--and I had just managed to walk out of Dex and Sophie’s funeral. With everything else going on, Dex’s mom had tried to keep the story from me, best she could. Someone at the cemetery, I forget who, actually told me about Baby Boston. Of course back then, no one knew who she really was.
          Well, Ashlyn did.
          I look at my almost-blank laptop screen. I delete, letter by letter, “DAY ONE.”. I replace it by typing something else in the manuscript. The title I just thought of.
                                               LITTLE GIRL LOST
Where was their Tasha Nicole?
Sun-battered and dry as only western Ohio can be, Dayton was breathtakingly hot that summer day. Inside their modest Laughtry Drive split-level in a beige and concrete suburb, the little girl’s grandparents, Tom and Georgia Bryant, were telling a story that made no sense. 
Georgia--pale lipstick, a hint of brown eye shadow and wearing a sleeveless top studded with tiny pink pearls--was a devoted homemaker. Solicitous and insistently helpful.  She looked too young to be a grandmother. Tom, a retired insurance adjustor gone gray, sat silently on the gold damask couch, stiff-backed in shorts and a knit polo shirt, a glass of iced tea sweating in his hand. 
Georgia’s words tumbled out, as if she couldn’t reveal the mystifying information about their daughter Ashlyn quickly enough. Ashlyn Louise, their only child.  “I’ll start at the beginning,” she said to a reporter.

73 comments:

  1. I’ve often wondered how many people go through a manuscript how many times before a book gets printed and sent to the bookstores . . . I think there will probably always be typos, but it’s nice when the book only has an occasional one or when I’m so drawn into the story being told that I don’t even notice them. Unfortunately, I’ve read a book or two that had so many errors I was tempted to get a red pencil . . . .

    And waiting until next August to find out what happens next in “Trust Me” isn’t going to be easy . . . .

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    1. Yes, isn't that frustrating! Jonathan and I always show them to each other…

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  2. Oh, Hank! Thank you for the wonderful excerpt from Trust Me! I have to laugh, because I was so caught up in the content, I forgot to look for any typos or other mistakes. There must not be anything glaringly off, as I usually notice that. I'm curious, in view of my reading straight through for just content, do you do a first read-through just for story and content, before you search for those typos and other small errors? I would think that, if there's time to do so, a reading through where you don't look for mistakes would be a good thing. I actually enjoy editing, but I never nitpick a book. Now, I have had just a few books I've read where I had to wonder why mistakes weren't given a closer look, but for the most part, the books I read are beautifully edited for such distractions. Of course, so many of the authors and books I read are series that have been around for a bit and are products of a well-oiled editing process.

    Hank, I'm not sure if I understood you about the ARCs or not. If they are already printed with those three pages not corrected, I think it would be easier to print out the corrected three pages and insert them inside the front of the book than to go through the ARCs and correct the three pages one by one. They are by nature copies with mistakes, so couldn't correcting them be on a somewhat casual format? Of course, that would depend on how many ARCs there are, too. I think most of us who read ARCs wouldn't mind a little shuffling when getting to those three pages.

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    1. Thank you! I don't think we could insert pages, but maybe a little errata sheet? What would you think about that? And what would you think if you got a book where a name just showed up? With no explanation?

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    2. I have to admit that a name showing up out of the blue would throw me a bit. However, I've read ARCs where a character's name showed up where another character's name should have been, and I just assumed it would be corrected by publication. So, I'm guessing I would be able to do that even with a name with no connection to the story. And, yes, an errata sheet would be perfect.

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  3. I have shivers reading those excerpts, Hank. And like Kathy, I got so involved I forgot to look for errors. Are pass pages the same as proofs? I found a higher number than usual in the proofs I recently got for book number whatever. Little bits missed by a zillion readings and at least five pairs of eyes! Marked them all and sent them back.

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    1. These pages are after the galleys, they are the first time the book is actually types it as how it will look as above. Isn't it amazing how many typos there can be?

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    2. I just saw a little typo in your sentence above..The first time the book is actually types...Those little word goblins!! Grrr!

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    3. Ha ha that is a dictation error! It was supposed to say type set. Xxx good catch!

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  4. Really looking forward to this book. It has the name Hank Phillippi Ryan on the cover after all. Enough said!

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    1. Thank you! (So eager for you to read it It's very different!) SO what do you --a veteran reviewer--think when you see typos in an arc?Would you be baffled-annoyed by the name? Would you rather see a correction? Or would you say-oh, it's uncorrected.

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    2. Typos don't phase me in the least. I expect them in an arc. In the case of this name change, it might throw me for a loop at first, as I try to figure out who this person is supposed to be. But chances are, I would figure it out and assume what happened. I don't think it's a huge deal for such an early arc.

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    3. Oh my gosh, you are my knight in shining armor. Xxx

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  6. I often find typos and other errors when I read; blame the teacher in me! I really wish it didn't happen because it disrupts the flow to notice such things. Yet I can type out a whole page, see nothing wrong, offer it to someone else to read and the errors just jump out at them! Author blindness?
    Really looking forward to the new book!

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    1. Yes, I think it's because we know what it is supposed to be, right? And our brains just see it that way

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  7. The way to catch typos -- read it backward from the bottom up so that the narrative doesn't overcome your reading. :)

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    1. forty-two should have a hyphen on the second line.
      Dex's and Sophie's funeral -- Dex should be a possessive too.
      Extra period after "Day One.".

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    2. See?? Thank you so much!
      What if I were thinking about it as Dex-and-Sophie's ?

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    3. It still is being written as only belonging to Sophie without the possessive on Dex's name. As it is, it says Sophie's funeral and Dex was there. If that's what you meant that it's good. :) But if it was Sophie's funeral and Dex's funeral, they both need the possessive.

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    4. 8th grade. Miss Price. I'm a card carrying member of the Grammar Police. :) She had us diagramming sentences. This was in the early 80s when they still did that let alone cared about spelling, unlike now, or so I hear.

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    5. I loved diagramming sentences! And bizarrely, I think about it all the time.

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  8. Hank, I love the story! So intriguing! But I had to laugh at the proof typos. Back when typesetting wasn't done on the computer, we used to say the typesetters had too many beers at lunch. Maybe they still do, digital or not!!! You win the prize for yellow flags!

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    1. Crazy! But I am the one who needs the beer…

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  9. Trust Me sound terrific! I sympathize on the typo search. I used to help Warren proofread his pages, and usually fell into the same trap of getting caught up in the narrative rather than catching the problems. Like Bookeemonster, Warren believed in reading back to front and bottom to top. You still get the sense of whether a page is on track, but you're far more likely to catch individual words. He also cut a line-length window in a piece of card stock, so he could look at a single line at a time. Still the typos crept through. Good luck!

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    1. And see? There's a typo in my response.

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    2. Which I did not catch! But I do love that idea…

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  10. One of the great mysteries of life is why "practice makes perfect" does not apply to typing. We type all the time--all day, every day--and still hit the wrong keys. How is that possible?! It makes no sense.

    TRUST ME sounds fab. Looking forward to reading!

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    1. Cannot wait for you to read it, dear Ramona!

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  11. I can't wait to read this one, Hank! It looks amazing!!

    My worst typo experience is when I didn't quite know how to use "find and replace" while changing a character name from Don to Dan. I ended up with a manuscript full of "dan'ts," "danuts" and--my favorite--"Ding Dangs." Dang, indeed!

    Happy editing!

    xo

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    1. Oh, absolutely! It is happened to us all! It was one Author… Anyone remember who? Who had a character named Cisco, and then changed his name to, say, Robert. Then she wound up with San FranRobert.

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  12. Hello, Hank! We met when you came to visit with SinC in Toronto. I've been an editor and proofreader for almost 40 years, and Trust Me (see what I did there?), there will always be typos. Anyone who says they catch every single error is full of hot air. Although the best publishers have several different readers at different stages, always check double-check global search-and-replace changes (I once changed C. to century, with the result that every sentence ending with a word ending with c had century appended -- like "Time to face the musicentury" -- thank goodness we caught that!), and try very hard to limit last-minute changes. I wish you the best of luck in finding them all, but if there are any wee typos slip through, your discerning readers will be so caught up in the story, they will forgive you.

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    1. Oh, that is so reassuring! I know that the real book book will be perfect, as perfect as it can be, but I am worried about what early readers of the early arc will think!

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  13. Thank you, Hank. It is SO comforting to know you struggle with this too. :-)
    I am a terrible typist so I must spell check and proofread as I go. Then my husband kindly proofreads when I am done. And it is read by editors. Some typos creep through no matter what- it is so embarrassing. But like everyone else, I didn't see any in your gripping excerpt.

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    1. Oh, thank you, Triss! Yes, my husband is an expert proofreaer too! but it is a never ending battle, you are so right

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  14. Unusually hammered by work/home, I've barely had time to sleep, let alone read. But last night, I pulled out an old favorite for a few minutes. I've read this book many many times over the years. And this typo jumped off the page that I'd never noticed before. On the other hand, I've read books where too many typos jump off the page and what really irks me is when the 'typo' is a homonym: 'here' for 'hear,' for example. That's when you realize someone depended on spell-check instead of taking the time to have a human do the job. Or a human whose first language is actually English.

    Even for the best of authors, a typo or two will slip through--those I can live with because I know the effort the author and their editorial staff put into writing/editing/publishing the book--and for those authors (including our JRWs, naturally), I know the story will be engrossing and I tend not to see the typos. As for the name change--that might throw me--I'd have to work back and look at context to see if it's the same or a new character. I think the errata sheet would be appropriate and helpful--just give your arc readers a heads'-up.

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    1. Great! That is exactly what I'm pushing for. We shall see! And then maybe these early arcs will become very valuable, right? Might as will make lemonade, right?

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  15. Oooooh great excerpt! Love the structure. CanNOT wait to read more.

    And so jealous - I'd so much rather be proofreading than writing first draft.

    A week ago a woman came up to me after a library talk to share TWO places in YOU'LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR where there's a wrong name. Aaaaagh. The book came you three months ago, already in second edition. At least I could I submit the changes for the paperback edition.

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    1. Oh, well, that is incredible. And you know, I have course read that book, and didn't see any mistakes at all! That is interesting…

      And I cannot wait for you to read it! Crossing fingers. You will get one of those early early arts with the mistakes, but at least now you know. And as I said, save it. It could be so valuable… :-)

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  16. So Ashlyn Bryant is on trial for killing... herself? Her daughter Ashlyn Bryant?

    Remember Rod Pennington, who used to comment on TLC? I edited several of his men's adventure novels for him, well over thirty years ago, when we were neighbors. He's an, well, let's say inventive speller, and this was before spellcheck. He once wrote about a basketball game where one of his characters passed the ball to himself.

    I can edit others' work, but have to admit it's really difficult to edit my own. What is it about the brain that causes it to fill in what we think should be there, whether it is or not? Things just don't jump out in one's own writing the way they do in someone else's.

    By the way, I think "adjustor" is less common today than "adjuster".

    Great teaser! Now I have to know what this is about!

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    1. Thank you! Very exciting. Why do you think she is on trial for killing herself? She is on trial for killing her daughter… What did I do that confused you?

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    2. Adjuster? OK, thank you, let me look that up!… Hmmmm. Good grief. Xxxxxxx

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    3. Yup. Do you know how many people have seen that? Craziness!

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    4. Clearly, I did not have enough coffee in my system! Rereading clarified it, Hank.

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  17. This is a wonderful excerpt - can't wait for the book!

    Your dad is right - there's always another typo.

    Speaking of, I found all the one's PK mentions above.

    In the book I'm reading - which is a biography of the Duke of Marlborough writting by Winston Churchill and published in 1933, I have encountered several instances of whole lines that have been transposed, which makes reading the paragraph incredibly challenging. Guess they didn't have ARCs or proofs in 1933. =)

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Well, that is a pretty good excuse!
      Xxxx

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    2. And the first three chapters are in the paperback of Say No More of course… :/)

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  18. Hank, this is really intriguing. On an early ARC I definitely expect tupos, and I'm rarely disappointed. The one thing that confused me here was June, sunny and sadistically gorgeous; I assume this is a person whom we've already met, and not a beautiful summer day.

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    1. OH! Whoa. I just read it through your eyes, and now I see what you mean. THANK YOU!

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  19. I, too, got involved in the narrative and forgot to proofread. Little typos don't bother me at all. It is when the author misspells the same word over and over again that I get peeved. Another irritation is when I have to read and reread a sentence, trying to get the meaning. My irritation is with the editor who didn't catch that.

    When I read "a retired insurance adjustor gone gray," I read "gay" for gray. I sort of like that! But then I should write my own book if I want to change the orientation of this fellow, right?

    I look forward to reading this book, trust me (grin), and I hope I'm on the ARC list although that is a lot to hope for.

    Only a month until Toronto! Yay!

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    1. SO funny, Ann! The pre-arc list (it's not even the real arc, it's an advance arc) is for only the publishers to send, so I am typing this with crossed fingers.

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    2. Maybe if you uncrossed your fingers, you'd have fewer typos? Just a thought

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  20. oooooh, Hank - I'm hooked! Typos be damned!

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  21. We all have our ways of proofreading, Hank. My final step is to read the story sentence by sentence, backwards. I read the very last sentence, then the one before that, then the one before that, etc., all the way back to the beginning. It's tedious, laborious, time-consuming, and boring, but it's the best way I know to catch those stupid spelling, punctuation, and other errors. I read what I wrote, not what I thought I wrote, and I don't get caught up in the story flow and skim over stuff I've already read a jillion times.

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    1. I did this and it was a great way to see mistakes. After three weeks of resting, I picked my manuscript up and read forwards and still discovered mistakes, but fewer than I discovered reading backwards.

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    2. Exactly, Earl! But wow,that is difficult! xoxo

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    3. Pam, yes, the time off is majorly beneficial. SO many things appear. Out of, um, nowhere.

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  22. I am usually fairly forgiving of a typo or two in books since I know the amount of work that goes into it, and my fingers create so many typos in what I type it's embarassing. However, if there are too many of them, it really does detract and distract.

    Hope you catch them all so readers won't be distracted from the wonderful book you've written.

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  23. This is so exciting, Hank! What a treat to get a sneak peek of "Trust Me!" Yay!

    Before I was a published author, I couldn't imagine how books got to market with typos in them. Now, I totally get it. No matter how many eyes are on a manuscript, some typo or error seems to sneak in, perhaps as a reminder that striving for perfection is futile!

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  24. I got sucked in so fast I forgot to look for typos! Generally typos don't bother me, but every once in a while, there will be one humongous goof that will destroy my reading rhythm. I will wonder how in the heck did anyone miss that? But I understand that looking for typos will induce a form of highway hypnosis after a while.

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    1. Especially since,as the writer, you know what it is supposed to be-even subconsciously--so your brain ignores it. I even set a timer for doing it, so I know I won't get HH of the book!

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  25. I wish I could comment with some great words of what would pass for wisdom from me, but as I'm trying to avoid reading anything from the story until I actually have the book in my hand, I've got nothing.

    I've found I even skip the preview chapters in paperback books these days.

    Hank, I thought I'd let you know that barring some catastrophe (whether unforseen or of my own making), I'll be at the Craig Johnson event on Thursday. I hope that I get to see you as well after the interview.

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    1. Hurray! See you there.
      And yes,I do wonder about previews in paperbacks. Anyone else have a thought about that?

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  26. I am so excited for TRUST ME, Hank!!! As for typos, if somoene tells me "There was a mistake on page 34!" I always think - Really? Just one? And then I apologize and move on.

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  27. I think a few slip by even the most careful writers and editors, so I give a pass as long as it's just a few. Thanks for all the hard work.
    I don't read previews because the suspense is already intense and I don't want to add to it. Can hardly wait! <3

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