(Guilty) Garden Pleasures…

My highlight over the holiday weekend away wasn’t the gorgeous beaches and perfect weather… it was tending to our family garden. Having the luxury of picking your own organic produce footsteps away instead of buying them at the store is rare convenience (let alone having all your kale, celery, strawberry, apples, mint, etc. smoothie ingredients). I’m so proud of Dad and his natural horticultural skill!



Zucchini flowers (delicious!)

Zucchini flowers (delicious!)





Gardenia flower tree

Gardenia flower tree

Italian staple... Fig tree

Italian staple… Fig tree

Pear tree

Pear tree



Happy Friday!
xo Little Mountain

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Posted by on May 29, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills


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Author Interview With Charlotte Hoaks

1. When did you start putting pen to paper?
I’ve read voraciously since my early teens and from then on loved the idea of writing. High school journalism class and creative writing classes in college stimulated that desire to write. In the early 80’s I joined a fiction writer’s group. I met writers and a whole new world opened up for me. I was no longer a closet writer because I met others with the same desire that faced identical struggles developing their talent. Just wanting to write is not enough to be a writer, nor is just having a decent grasp of language. You have to have a passion for writing. Creative writing is a ménage à trois of desire, grasp of language, and lastly, a story to tell. Of course, without a willingness to invest the time all bets are off. All those years ago, I had the desire, the writer’s groups and working as a technical writer gave me a chance to hone my language skills and the story…well, I’ve always been creative. That came naturally.

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?
I’ve always envied those able to create poetic or rhythmic phasing when writing. As a non-poetic writer, I shy away from poetry in all forms. I get hung up on the words and rhythm and the concept whatever it is, gets lost and the phrasing fails cohesiveness.

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Lisbeth Salander in “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. I love the idea of an eccentric, rough around the edges-female, more than a little damaged, but still having a strong sense of right and wrong.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?
Stephen King. My all-time favorite book of his is “The Stand”, a huge book with over 800 pages. In it, Stephen King creates characters that are alive and breathe in his world. He doesn’t rush the story and creates solid relationships between characters. I think this was my first brush with apocalyptic fiction and it really spurred my interest in cataclysmic “what-ifs”.

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
Currently, I am working on a “Zombie” novel. It is my forth attempt at novel writing. Over the years, I have written two westerns, a crime novel and now this apocalyptic novel. The current novel, Torn Apart –Book 1, Terror in Texas, follows several people attempting to escape San Antonio after a biological attack.
The book begins with an attack on a military base parade ground during formation. A soldier warns his wife, Liz, but her escape is short lived and she is separated from her two children. Another group trying to escape the city includes a soldier, Steve, with prosthetic limbs and the technician, Della, who was fitting him with fiberglass running blades. Matt Monroe, another soldier, had spent multiple tours in the middle-east and since home he’s been drinking to forget the dead and dying children. The day of the attack was no different. He was drunk in a seedy bar. The final character is Tate Hamilton, a tattooed, woman truck driver with spiked orange hair and an attitude. Right now, Tate is one of my favorite characters. The Torn Apart Series – Book 1 “Terror in Texas” is being edited and presented as an on-line novel in progress. (Terror in Texas):

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?
No. I think my current project is the best writing I’ve done thus far…after years of technical writing, I am able to be creative and this book is the result of that effort. Without the constraints of technical writing I can create a world vivid with color, smell and texture.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Join a writer’s group. Visit with writers. Get support from and give support to other writers. Writing is not a competition; it’s a cultivated craft. You cultivate your skill and only you are responsible for your success as a writer.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful ;)
I did really well in Journalism and English classes. Math… not so much. I loved reading so much I was part of the library staff for three out of four years in high school. I was also editor for the high school newsletter.

9. How much research do you do for your writing?
I research quite a bit, actually. Since I’m working on an apocalyptic novel, I use the Internet to research survival skills, firearms and a variety of other related aspects of my character’s lives in this new dangerous world.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I use a computer. I don’t think I could do it any other way. I have worked with computers since the late 70’s when PCs came out…yes, I really have. I was working as a drafter on main-frame systems when I bought a PC with a DOS operating system. I have a disabled son who liked arcade games and had a memory problem. A doctor suggested repetitive activities would improve his memory so I bought a NEC with a 40 MEG hard drive and loaded games and a word processor. I put away my electric typewriter and used the computer to write when my son wasn’t playing games. The typewriter is still in the closet…

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Read what interests you. If you want to write romance, read romance. If you want to write horror, read horror. Then write. Write short stories…articles about writing…anything that gives you the experience of putting words on paper.

12. What book do you think everyone should read?
“The Artists Way” and “The Right to Write” both by Julia Cameron. I know that’s two books, but I think creative people tend to be their own worst enemies. “The Artists Way” provides a foundation for the creative spirit to see the value in their creativity. “The Right to Write” is specifically for writers. It helps writers get out of their own way and start creating.

13. Two-part question: Do you play a musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?
I took piano lessons as a teen. After a couple years, I couldn’t read music and when the teacher found out I was playing by ear, she was really mad…well, I wasn’t encouraged to come back. I would love to play the harp…can I? Probably not. I still can’t read music. Lol.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?
I was encouraged by a published author that began publishing his work on-line. A following developed and after several months he turned the site into a subscription site. $2.00 a month….He ended with thousands of people willing to pay to read new episodes of his novel. Eventually the content developed into 8 novels. The novels are available as “Adrian’s Undead Diaries” and the author is Chris Philbrook.

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?
That’s a tough one. But I think I’d like to change places with a cousin’s daughter. She is a single young woman who works for a government agency and travels all around the world. She hikes, hunts, climbs mountains, and chases adventure. She lives life to the fullest.

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?
I would be an artist…I’ve always been creative and even took two years of figure drawing at Glassell Contemporary Art School in Houston, Tx.

17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin?
Bill Murray has an innocence about him that I find endearing. John Cleese is a talented scriptwriter and performer.

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)
I had an editorial published in the Houston Chronicle defending the mentally impaired after a local news station presented an extremely disparaging report, inferring mental impairment residential programs brought rapists, child molesters and violent offenders into neighborhoods.

19. What quote do you live by?
“If life gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pie.” (I know, not quite the way it goes. I think you have to be creative.)

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition? (famous Pulitzer prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)
I’d like to be a successful self-published author. I love the idea of doing it all on my own. Years ago the goal was to get an agent, then have the agent shop your work around for a year or two. If you were lucky, the book was picked up, a few thousand copies printed and you got a very small advance and the agent got a share out of that. Self-publishing bypasses all the waiting and sharing. Even with agents/publishers today, writers are still responsible for advertising and making arrangements for books to sell and book tours.

21. Would you like to ask me a question?
How long did it take you to write your book “Feedback”?
From start to editing finish, five long rewarding years.

Thanks again Charlotte, for interviewing with me! Best of luck to her on publishing her awaited novel – you can do it! Please familiarize yourself with this wonderfully-talented writer here:


Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills


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Happy Red Nose and Memorial Day

red nose dog


I hope you’re having a happy Red Nose Day like me supporting this beneficial cause. If you care to raise awareness and support please click here: and here:

Special remembrance to our fallen heroes on Memorial Day. I’m off to teach kids how to cycle safely :)
P.s. new author interview on Wednesday, have a great holiday weekend!
♥ Lisa


Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills


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Monday Movie Quotes & Tunes…

From the movie, Two Weeks Notice
George Wade: I need your advice on one last thing, then I promise you will never hear from me again. You see, I’ve just delivered the first speech I’ve written entirely by myself since we met, and I think I may have blown it. I want to ask your thoughts. Okay? Then I will read it to you. I’d like to welcome everyone on this special day. Island Towers will bring glamour and prestige to the neighborhood and become part of Brooklyn’s renaissance. And I’m very pleased and proud to be here. Unfortunately, there is one fly in the ointment. You see, I gave my word to someone that we wouldn’t knock down this building behind me. And normally, and those of you who know me or were married to me can attest to this, my word wouldn’t mean very much. So why does it this time? Well, partly because this building is an architectural gem and deserves to be landmarked and partly because people really do need a place to do senior’s water ballet and CPR. Preferably not together. But mainly because this person, despite being unusually stubborn and unwilling to compromise and a very poor dresser, is… she’s rather like the building she loves so much. A little rough around the edges but, when you look closely, absolutely beautiful. And the only one of her kind. And even though I’ve said cruel things and driven her away, she’s become the voice in my head. And I can’t seem to drown her out. And I don’t want to drown her out. So, we are going to keep the community center. Because I gave my word to her and because we gave our word to the community. And I didn’t sleep with June. That’s not in the speech, that’s just me letting you know that important fact. What do you think?

Lucy Kelson: I have to get back to work.
George Wade: Right. Right, yes. Sorry to disturb you. Congratulations, again, Polly. [leaves]
Lucy Kelson: Aside from the split infinitive that was somewhere in the middle, that speech was actually quite perfect, wasn’t it?
Polly St. Clair: Yeah. I don’t know what the hell you’re still doing sitting here. And I don’t even like him.
Lucy Kelson: [runs after George]

From the movie, Sex And The City
[last lines]
Carrie Bradshaw: And there, in the same city where they met as girls, four New York women entered the next phase of their lives dressed head to toe in love. And that’s the one label that never goes out of style.

Currently playing on Little Mountain FM
“Santa Monica” – Everclear
“Can’t Hardly Wait” – The Replacements
“The Fire” – The Roots
“Just Another Day” – Oingo Boingo
“Mercy” – Duffy
“Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – Lorde (cover)
“Come A Little Closure” – Cage The Elephant
“Always On The Run” – Lenny Kravitz
“Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya Man” – Public Enemy
“Possum Kingdom” – The Toadies

~Happy Monday~

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Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills


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Author Interview With David Carter

david carter
1. When did you start putting pen to paper?
When I was ten I used to design and write a “newspaper” just for the family – I’d spend hours designing the complicated masthead and would then “write” the lead story (full of family gossip and scandal) with suitably graphic large headlines, and to my amazement the family would seize it as soon as it was finished, and would demand to know when “the next issue was coming out” so I guess that instinct to write (and probably show off!) was always there in me somewhere.

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?
Definitely prose, I appreciate good poetry, but that’s as far as it goes, though I did write some poetry to a young woman on one occasion, and it seemed to do the trick – so maybe I should have concentrated on that a little more!

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Good question. There are so many, but I guess George Smiley, John Le Carré’s brilliant character – I wish I had created him, and maybe Jack Reacher too, in the books, not the film, for he is such a strong modern day Robin Hood type character, the Knight Errant as Lee Child refers to him, that I guess we all wish we could meet when we’re in trouble. They’re the two that spring to mind.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?
Not sure that I identify with any writer particularly, but I admire John Grisham enormously. We are around the same age and that always helps, we’ve travelled the same road, vaguely speaking, and he just keeps churning out good books that people want to read, and I guess that is what all writers really want, even if they deny it. And he started out by self-publishing his first book too, so that’s a great incentive to all self-publishers everywhere. It really can happen. You can achieve success that way.

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
I have just finished and put out a novella this month called “Down into the Darkness” about a loner of a guy who leads a happy, if pretty dull life, when everything changes for him when he hears unexplained noises in his flat late at night, and Tony Jenks, that’s his name, begins his journey down into oblivion. There’s a book trailer up on youtube if you’re interested. It has been described as “intelligent horror” by one reviewer – I’m not sure about that, I certainly didn’t set out to write a horror story, but as Graham Greene used to say, “I have to read the critics’ reviews before I ever really know what my books are all about” – or words to that effect. I have also another book ready and completed that I hope to have out in a month or so called “Grist Vergette’s Curious Clock” – this is a YA kind of thing, and that’s all done and dusted, and after that I have two new chunky Inspector Walter Darriteau murder mysteries finished and done, and I am hoping that they will also be out this year, so 2015 is an important year for me with hopefully four new titles all out there.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?
I am tempted to say to cut out the last spelling mistake or typo, or two, that always seem to slip through, no matter how many times it is proofread and edited, but that’s part of the game – I see so many spelling mistakes in top publishers’ books all the time, so I have learned not to beat myself up over it. It’s still annoying though when some cocky reviewer comments: “needs more proofreading” or similar, when they have found one error in a 150,000 word book. They would never dream of saying that about anything published by a traditional publishing house, even though those same errors are there if you care to look for them. Rant over, I thank you. But no, I wouldn’t change anything of the main gist of the story.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
I am not sure I am qualified to give advice to anyone, but if I had to I will go along with Stephen King who says in his excellent book “On Writing” to read more – and that is such good advice because our writing will always improve afterwards. I can’t believe the number of “writers” who say: they never read anything because they simply don’t have the time. Poppycock! As Mister King says, if you don’t have the time to read, then you don’t have the time to write. Period. So watch less TV and read more, and your writing will definitely improve.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful ;)
When I was 11, 12, 13, my grades were brilliant and I was at, or near, the top of the class, English being one of my favourite subjects, don’t laugh! But after that I became so obsessed with what was going on on the sports field that I neglected my studies, played football and cricket at every single opportunity, got into big trouble with the teachers, and yes, regularly had my backside heartily warmed by the swinging bamboo cane – sounds Dickensian, but that’s how it was, and there were certain teachers who took great pleasure in swinging that cane hard and high, that’s for damn sure – I could tell you some stories about that!!!
Afterwards, the kids used to show off their bruised and cut backsides to each other as if they were some kind of war medals. Geez!! And my grades went to pot, (so yes, shameful later, for sure.) and I left school at fifteen, and of course I regret neglecting my schoolwork now, but that’s how it went. None of us can change the past.

9. How much research do you do for your writing?
Quite a bit – but the internet is so brilliant for that, ask it a question and back come a thousand answers in a millisecond – imagine having to trek to the library and find the right book and find the right info in that book, and copy it all down, every time you wanted to research anything, which of course was how it was all done 25 years ago – and don’t start me off on the policy of closing public libraries as economy measures, left right and centre. If ever there was a short-sighted policy that must be the one.
I saw a library closure the other day in Southampton and there were dozens of young kids outside on a Saturday morning, standing in the drizzle, toddlers some of them, in tears, because their beloved library was shutting down for good that day, and that was in a big city too. Ludicrous!

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I love writing in longhand, always have, believe it or not we did “Penmanship” in school as a separate subject, and I do still write letters sometimes using a fountain pen – yes, with real ink! And do you know something else? People love to receive such old fashioned things, especially love letters – give it a try!!! You might be surprised.
But for writing a book or anything long then it has to be by computer, but beware of automatic spellcheckers, though I have yet again worn off most of the letters on the keys, and that’s because I used to use a mammoth old typewriter that you had to strike the keys really hard to get the desired result, and I still do, bang the keys with gusto. Old habits die hard!! Now where is that damned B key again?

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Same as I said earlier by Mister King, read more, oh, and don’t give up, and don’t let bad reviews upset you. I wrote an outright business textbook once and someone posted a review that said: This book is downright dangerous!
I am still not sure whether that was good or bad.

12. What book do you think everyone should read?
Gosh! I am not sure that any book ever written would be suitable for everyone to read, but how about Watership Down which is kind of an adult’s fairy tale that most people like, even if it does make you cry.

13. Two-part question: Do you play a musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?
Not really, is the quick answer to that, though we did have a piano in the house that my mother used to play, and she taught me to play one tune – “Abide with Me” which for those that don’t know is always sung before the football cup final, – there’s that sporty thing again – I guess that’s why I bothered to learn that.
My brother’s the musical one in our family – be plays the saxophone, used to play in the school band, and also plays guitar, in fact he can play almost anything, and we sit and watch and listen with great envy, and when he bought a new guitar he gave me his old one, and I learned to play and sing – (if that’s the right word – caterwaul some say!) one song: Home Home on the Range, which I sang and played very badly to distraction – must have driven them all mad. Stick to the writing, Dave, they said, so I did, and I do.
But all my musical heroes have been guitar people from Dylan, Lennon, Hendrix, Neil Young, through Joy Division, right up to Interpol and Jake Bugg, so it would have to be a guitar for me – and the ability to play it, really well.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?
Self publishing for me – and yes, like thousands of others I spent years, literally, sending my stuff out to publishers and sometimes hearing back and sometimes not, and some of those “books” literally sat under my bed for ten years or more, and I showed them to a few people and they said nice things about them, as friends do, so I thought, to hell with it, I’ll put them out and if people like them that’s great, and if they don’t, then I’ll keep writing a better book until they do. That’s the theory, anyway. I’ll tell you in a year or two if it’s working.

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?
How about that lunatic in North Korea, and in that week I’d open the borders, abolish censorship, and drag the whole country into the 21st century. That would be an achievement worth doing. Not sure about the haircut, though.

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?
When I was at school I wanted to be a teacher, but I’m glad I didn’t have the stickability to follow through on that – the idea of standing in front of thirty streetwise kids today would drive me to drink. A sports journalist would have been nice, travelling to World Cups and Olympic Games, that would have been something.

17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin?
Bill Murray and John Cleese please. I still like Mister Palin too.

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)
I used to write a weekly column in a business magazine, and got paid for it too, and the very first time I saw my words and name in print, that was really something, and I was bitten by the bug, and I still get a real thrill whenever anything that I have banged out, so to speak, appears anywhere.

19. What quote do you live by?
Not sure as I am big on quotes and slogans, but: Do As You Would Be Done By seems to fit the bill.
Oh, and one other very important one: Have fun!

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition? (famous Pulitzer prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)
Like all writers I would like to see one of my books in the top twenty sales charts one day, and anyone who says different is telling porky pies. A couple of years ago I saw John Grisham in London and he was receiving an award for outstanding achievements in literature, and he said that this was the first award he had ever received anywhere, from anyone, and he was really humble about it, and was obviously very grateful too, and I thought for this guy who had sold gazillions of books around the world, and had kept at it over many years, and yet even he had never really received the recognition he thoroughly deserved, that just didn’t seem right.
It just goes to show that unlike our movie stars and musical geniuses, who we adore and applaud, we simply do not value our top writers anywhere near enough. As someone recently said, a singer can write a song in twenty minutes that can keep them in clover forever, yet a writer can spend ten years writing a great book, that is all too often ignored. Support the writers more, I say.

21. Would you like to ask me a question?
Yes. How are you getting on with a follow up to “Feedback”? And a big thank you to Lisa for giving me this opportunity to talk about my writing and stuff, and I hope I haven’t taken up too much of your time and bored the pants off you with my rambling thoughts. Have fun, for the clock is ticking. David.

You are very welcome, it’s my pleasure to interview with you. As for the sequel to Feedback I am progressing a bit slower than I’d prefer since other fun projects and travel are in the mix… so no complaints. I’m hoping for an early 2016 release date. Thanks for asking.

Thanks again to David for sharing his thoughts with us. David is one of the many UK writers I’ve grown to admire in the last year. Once you read his books (and links below), you’ll see why!

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Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills


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Happy Friday… want to join a worthy cause?

stained glass house
brooklyn bridge
ferris wheel

I took these pics yesterday while at lunch, strolling around Brooklyn Bridge Park & almost hopping onto Jane’s Carousel (2 blocks from my office). Aside from walking along the Thames, this is just as lovely. While I’m on the subject of happy things, have you heard of Red Nose Day charity? Please check out the link below and join me in making a positive difference in helping underprivileged lives. Red Nose Day is May 21st.

Applausi per un fine settimana felice!

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Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills


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Wednesday’s Tunes & Movie Dialogues…

Currently playing on Little Mountain FM
“Hello It’s Me” – Todd Rundgren
“Flood” – Jars Of Clay
“Control” – Puddle Of Mudd
“Paradise Circle” – Massive Attack
“You Better You Bet” – The Who
“The Best Was Yet To Come” – Bryan Adams
“Lust For Life” – Iggy Pop
“Seasons” – Chris Cornell
“Hanging On The Telephone” – Cat Power
“Lovely Day” – Bill Withers

From the movie, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Joel: [in the house on the beach] I have to go. I have to catch my ride.
Clementine: So go!
Joel: I did. I thought maybe you were a nut… but you were exciting.
Clementine: I wish you had stayed.
Joel: I wish I had stayed too. NOW I wish I had stayed. I wish I had done a lot of things. I wish I had… I wish I had stayed. I do.
Clementine: Well I came back downstairs and you were gone!
Joel: I walked out, I walked out the door!
Clementine: Why?
Joel: I don’t know. I felt like a scared little kid, I was like… it was above my head, I don’t know.
Clementine: You were scared?
Joel: Yeah. I thought you knew that about me. I ran back to the bonfire, trying to outrun my humiliation, I think.
Clementine: Was it something I said?
Joel: Yeah… you said “so go.” With such disdain, you know?
Clementine: Oh, I’m sorry.
Joel: It’s okay.
[Walking Out]
Clementine: Joely? What if you stayed this time?
Joel: I walked out the door. There’s no memory left.
Clementine: Come back and make up a good-bye at least. Let’s pretend we had one.
[Joel comes back. Clementine walks down the stairs towards him]
Clementine: Bye Joel.
Joel: I love you.
Clementine: Meet me… in Montauk…

From the Movie, Stripes
Sergeant Hulka: Okay, Mr. Push-ups, let’s hear your story.
John Winger: Chicks dig me, because I rarely wear underwear and when I do it’s usually something unusual. But now I know why I have always lost women to guys like you. I mean, it’s not just the uniform. It’s the stories that you tell. So much fun and imagination.
[points to the soldier next to him]
John Winger: Lee Harvey, you are a madman. When you stole that cow, and your friend tried to make it with the cow. I want to party with you, cowboy. If the two of us together, forget it. I’m gonna go out on a limb here. I’m gonna volunteer my leadership to this platoon. An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sergeant Hulka isn’t always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe… Sergeant Hulka.
[the soldiers start clapping]
Sergeant Hulka: Well, okay, hotshot. We’re gonna see what kind of soldier you are.

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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills


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