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I Belong


Guest Author: Joan Frances Turner (Guest Post & Giveaway)

My guest today is author Joan Frances Turner whose debut urban fantasy novel, Dust, was just released on September 7, 2010.  Dust is also part of my Debut Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge.  You can read an excerpt here.

One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Dust.  As always, details are listed at the end of the post.

Memento Mori

by Joan Frances Turner

Zombies are a joke, and everyone knows it.  They walk funny.  They can’t think straight, or at all.  They stink.  They’re ugly as sin and getting uglier by the hour.  They eat revolting food, and they’ve got a vocabulary of precisely one word:  “Braaaaaaaaaains.”  They’re contagious, deadly in fact, but as long as you’ve got a gun, a cricket bat and/or a good pair of tennis shoes you’ll be just fine.  I mean, never mind that 28 Days Later nonsense, it’s not like they can outrun you, right?

Zombies are a joke–except that the joke’s all on us, the humans, the living.  Because zombies are actual physical death reanimated, the inevitable endpoint of every human life; we might outrun them now, but they’re waiting right there at the finish line.   We laugh because we’re afraid, and by “we” I mean me.  Death doesn’t fascinate me, it just scares me silly.  It always has. The whole idea of not existing, of being elsewhere–if there really is an elsewhere–of departing from loved ones’ lives, of everything that was me being forgotten by the world and washed away like a random sand grain on the beach, it’s frightening.  The physical reality of what happens to dead bodies (including, as I found out researching this book, the embalmed ones) happening to my body, that part’s simply unimaginable.  And yet, in the end, there’s no escape.

There’s only three choices, when facing a great and powerful fear:  You can simply refuse to think about it at all, and our society still routinely treats death as an uncouth taboo.  You can laugh at it, treat it as something camp, the way people do with zombies.  (Right before they put every last once of energy into bludgeoning, shooting and burning them, because as it turns out laughing’s never sufficient ammunition.)  Or, third choice, you can engage with it directly, try and get under its skin, treat it as a companion instead of an enemy and learn what it can teach you.  Jessie, the heroine of Dust, is a zombie.  She’s a monster.  She’s a killer.  She’s rotting flesh that one day–for zombies, as it happens, have an aging process and “life span” of their own–will turn skeletal and then crumble into, well, dust.  She’s a young woman who died, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, the person she was before a drunk driver stole her life away, even though to any onlooker she’s not a person at all.

Zombies, the resurrected dead, are nothing like us and yet, they are us.  Why does zombie lore not speak of the undead, first and foremost, as simply humans who died?  Because that would involve acknowledging the monsters are our kin, our close relations.  When death became personified, and when that person became a lonely, angry, aggressive, quick-thinking, confused, loving girl who walked into my head and started telling her unvarnished story, suddenly I wasn’t afraid anymore.  Rot, decay, the ceaseless hunger for living flesh, it was all just part of what she was, the same way a more conventional hunger and thirst and aging are part of any human life.  She was an interesting (un)person, this Jessie:  She had friends, loved ones, mortal enemies, a whole surrogate family and complex society out in the woods where–in her world–no sane human ever dares to tread.

And then, her former family, the living human family she left behind, they found her again.  And then came the epidemic, a strange plague seemingly from nowhere striking down the living and undead alike.  And then everything really started getting complicated.

To face down a fear, learn what it can teach you.  What did I learn, spending hours at a time walking “with” Jessie around the sprawling county park that became her fictional home?  I learned you can lose everything you once had–your life, your bodily integrity, your loved ones–and still start anew, forge new bonds, learn new ways of surviving and loving and being.  I learned that even vicious, lethal, stinking things we dismiss as monsters have minds of their own, and memories, and lingering ties to those who scream and run away when they hold out a hand and ask, don’t you know me?  Can’t you see it’s still me underneath?   I learned that deeper mysteries than anyone imagines lurk in seemingly innocent places, the woods, the beaches, the most rundown parts of half-abandoned towns–the very origins, in fact, of life and death as we know them, and as we never imagined them.

Most of all, I learned that the people who laugh are right.  Death might be scary and disgusting, but there’s sides to the “afterlife” that are also absurd and damned funny:  A little whistling in the graveyard, as it turns out, is a downright sensible response.  Just don’t whistle too loudly, though.  The undead, as it turns out, have far better hearing than you think.


Author Bio:

Joan Frances Turner was born in Rhode Island and grew up in the Calumet Region of northwest Indiana, where she still lives and practices law under an entirely different name.  Her debut urban fantasy novel, Dust, is an RT Book Reviews “Top Pick” and received a starred review from Booklist, which called it “a massively entertaining and seriously revisionist zombie novel…smart, scary, and viscerally real.”  She is on a first-name basis with the most influential movers and shakers of her thriving local undead population, though she’s not foolhardy enough to go and visit them after dark.

You can visit Joan around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Dust.

To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:

What is your deepest, strongest fear?  And what did you learn about yourself, when you faced it down?

1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).

2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.

3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).

4. Giveaway is open to everyone.

5. Please include your email address in your comment.

6. Giveaway ends Friday, October 1st at 11:59 PM EST.

7. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.


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50 Responses to “Guest Author: Joan Frances Turner (Guest Post & Giveaway)

  1. Mayara ArendNo Gravatar
    1

    I am a follower (and RSS! Love RSS)

    My deepest stronger fear? I’m not sure, I guess I didn’t face it yet or I’d know.. Right?
    Fear of failing, fear of not being good enough, I’m pretty strong on that one, it’s prolly what it is.. So far so good tho :S

    Email: mayarend -at- yahoo.com.br

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  2. Miss BookiverseNo Gravatar
    2

    +1 My biggest fear is probably death and what it will be like to not exist anymore, not being able to think… I haven’t faced that fear yet because it really freaks me out to think about this longer.

    + 1 I’m a blog follower

    bookoholiker(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. MandarinaNo Gravatar
    3

    Hello, thank you for giveaway.Mail: noemisapi(@)gmail(.)com

    + 1 My deepest is a group of people (young) because I have social phopies. I am going to psychiatrist for to faced it down…but is more difficult to me.

    +2 I am follower (both)

    +3 I tweeted: http://twitter.com/librosconalma/status/24103039427

    total: 6 entries

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  4. TracyNo Gravatar
    4

    MY lifelong fear has been snakes and when I had my girls I knew I did not want them to have it as well especially since we lived where there were no poisoness snakes like where I grew up (why my parents scared me with stories ect). I started to look at pics, read books, and then go to a nature house where there were snakes. It took years.I still could not hold one but my oldest at nine LOVES snakes and my youngest has not fear though she also has no love. I have learned that you can over come anything – I could not even look at a picture – or talk about them – I have a true phobia. I have learned how strong I am when I want to do something for my kids (that was the only reason I did it)

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  5. StephanieNo Gravatar
    5

    Hi!

    My deepest fear is to be alone, but in the sense of becoming insignificant not being able to be heard or loved by anyone. In sum my deepest fear is to become nothing, not belonging to anything or anywhere.

    Best wishes!!!

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  6. HannahNo Gravatar
    6

    My deepest, darkest fear is to not be in control and I work on that every-single-day by delegating things to others and letting the chips fall where they may.

    Thanks!

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  7. Steph (Book Junky)No Gravatar
    7

    My deepest fear is Spiders, and no I have never faced them nor will I. I can’t even explain it, its just a bug right… but even writing this post has me all shaken!
    + 3 Tweet- http://twitter.com/stephaniexoxo27/statuses/24118489477
    +2 Following Twitter id: stephaniexoxo27
    +1 answering question
    Total: 6
    moc.oohaynull@72oxox_einahpets

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  8. Mary @ Books SwarmNo Gravatar
    8

    Deepest, darkest fear? It’s a toss-up between going to a party and not knowing anyone except for the person who invited you and being forced to say (can you say introvert?) and snakes.

    I’m a blog follower & I’m following you on Twitter, too.

    Thanks for the contest!

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  9. VilijaNo Gravatar
    9

    What is your deepest, strongest fear? And what did you learn about yourself, when you faced it down? Well, I was always afraid of spiders – big or small, whatever. But I guess I could overcome this fear if I tried very hard. Thing which I fear most is that people still feel everything after they die – physical pain, I mean. xlacrimax at gmail dot com

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  10. MarcoNo Gravatar
    10

    My biggest fear was dogs, and the only way to face it was getting a dog, now I can´t live without that awesome dog that follows every where

    +1 answering the question

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  11. nfmgirlNo Gravatar
    11

    My biggest fear is probably spiders, or creepy insects in general. I haven’t overcome the fear yet, but I continue to improve. I force myself to live around them, so I have to constantly see them and encounter them.

    +2 I follow

    +3 Tweet:
    http://twitter.com/nfmgirl/status/24128810123

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

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  12. LesleyNo Gravatar
    12

    What is your deepest, strongest fear? And what did you learn about yourself, when you faced it down?
    Actually my biggest fear is not living life to the fullest. I had cancer (5 years cancer free!) and I realized I was doing nothing that made me happy. So now, I try to live life happier and doing things I truly want to do.

    I am a follower here and on twitter.
    I look forward to reading your blog in the future, I love the idea and it’s refreshing to find a new take on a book blog.

    moc.liamtohnull@senojkyelsel

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  13. J L JacksonNo Gravatar
    13

    new follower +2
    My deepest fear: worms, which is why I will not be buried
    +1

    Looks like a great book!

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  14. MoridinNo Gravatar
    14

    My strongest fear is fear itself. When I faced it, I learned that I really have no reason to be afraid, so I’m able to keep control of myself instead of panicking.

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  15. CourtneyNo Gravatar
    15

    My biggest fear is something happening to someone in my family. When my grandmother died, it was hard but I still speak with her everyday and keep her with me.

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Courtney
    stilettostorytime at gmail dot com

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  16. debpNo Gravatar
    16

    My deepist fear is water. I had 4 drowning experiences before I was 12. My son, when he was a toddler, walked into the deep end of the pool, and I just froze. Luckily, my neighbor was there to get him.I don’t think I will ever overcome it.
    moc.oohaynull@21dnikafoowt

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  17. Michelle @ The True Book AddictNo Gravatar
    17

    Actually, my deepest fear is the same as Joan’s. I have always been petrified of death. Like she said, “The whole idea of not existing anymore,etc…” I used to start thinking about it when I was a kid in bed at night and would get so upset, my mom would have to come and calm me down. There was a brief period in which it receded as a major fear in my life, but then I had kids in my early thirties and it came crashing back again. I cannot even watch life insurance commercials because it gets me thinking and dwelling about it. So I have not conquered this fear. I just manage it by trying not to think about it. Maybe it would be cathartic for me to write a book about the dead as well?

    +2 I’m a follower here and on Twitter: @truebookaddict

    +3 tweeted: http://twitter.com/truebookaddict/status/24133495820

    Thanks for the giveaway and this awesome guest post. I will be reading this book regardless of if I win or not!

    truebookaddict(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. Izzy G.No Gravatar
    18

    Great giveaway.

    +1 my answer: This is going to sound a little cheesy but I’m scared of spiders. I’m honestly more afraid of spiders than death; nothing would terrify me more than a spider crawling on me. If I was near a spider and the only way to get away from it would be to jump off a ten story building, I would jump. And that scares me sometimes.

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  19. Robin KNo Gravatar
    19

    Dentists – I survive my appointments, but I swear a bit of my dies each time.

    +1 entry for answering the question
    +2 follower of this blog and on Twitter
    +3 http://twitter.com/IntenseWhisper/statuses/24145413850

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

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  20. KulsumaNo Gravatar
    20

    My deepest fear is death. I have a sense of what’s going to happen after, but i’m still scared. I don’t believe people who say they’re not scared+1

    k_anon[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

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  21. Ria (Tea and Tomes)No Gravatar
    21

    My biggest fear? Zombies. No, seriously. I can’t watch movies or show or read books with zombies in them, because I get too scared. I often have nightmares about zombie attacks that actually cause my roommate to come wake my up because I’m crying or shouting in my sleep.

    Facing it? The closest thing to facing it is that in more recent dreams, I’ve started to get so tired of being scared of all the zombies that instead of running and hiding, I start to fight back. I never actually get to fight, but I plan to, and that’s improvement over the dreams I used to have.

    I know that zombie nightmares stem from some deep-rooted fear of a lack of control and reason around me or within myself, and that’s something I suspect I’ll have to explore with the aid of a psychiatrist some day!

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  22. kisah j.No Gravatar
    22

    my deepest, strongest fear is a fear of dead things….not death itself, just dead things…and i still pass out at funerals, so i guess i haven’t faced it down yet. but i still love a good zombie book or movie – go figure!

    +1 for answering the question
    +2 i am a follower of this blog

    =3 entries

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

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  23. Ashley H.No Gravatar
    23

    My biggest fears are spiders and heights. I haven’t really faced them yet.

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  24. Jennelle SNo Gravatar
    24

    My deepest fear is being alone in the dark, because bad things both real and imaginary can hide there. As you may have guessed, I have not yet faced this down.

    +1 for answering the question
    +2 for following the blog and twitter

    = 3 enteries

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  25. Jennelle SNo Gravatar
    25

    My deepest fear is being alone in the dark, because bad things both real and imaginary can hide there. As you may have guessed, I have not yet faced this down.

    +1 for answering the question
    +2 for following the blog and twitter

    = 3 enteries

    (2nd time cause I forgot my email)
    jlynettes at hotmail dot com

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  26. Heather HendersonNo Gravatar
    26

    What a great question. One of my biggest fears is roller coasters. I’ve ridden on 2 roller coasters, one when I was younger at which time I realized I was deathly afraid of them and a second time as a teenager which I rode more than once but the theme park got rid of it two years later because it wasn’t daring enough. I’m afraid just watching the one I love ride them, especially during the drops.

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  27. Heather HendersonNo Gravatar
    27

    Sorry I forgot to include my email address on my last post.
    moc.oohaynull@nosrednehmh

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  28. Heather HendersonNo Gravatar
    28

    +1 I’m a new follower through GFC! Thanks again.
    moc.oohaynull@nosrednehmh

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  29. LlehnNo Gravatar
    29

    I’m afraid of ghosts. When I stare it down I learnt that my imagination is too wild for me!

    I follow the blog and twitter (@Brittleblue)

    lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  30. Misha MathewNo Gravatar
    30

    My biggest fear is that of losing people I love. Being a worrier, I nearly have a panic attack everytime any of my family member has not reached home.
    1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).

    2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.(Misha_1989)

    +3 http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=630067989&v=wall&story_fbid=146291468742371&ref=mf

    +3 http://twitter.com/Misha_1989/status/24177486058

    Total 9

    Misha
    moc.liamgnull@yramahsim

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  31. CharlotteNo Gravatar
    31

    I guess my deepest fear would have to be something horrible happening to my kids….

    I’ve added your blog to my google reader (not sure if that counts as following or not)

    charlotteslibrary at gmail dot com

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  32. MissieNo Gravatar
    32

    I have a fear of heights. Once my little sister convinced me to bungee jump, and I agreed if she would go first. Well she did, and when I got up there, I was so terrified that I wanted to turn back. But then I thought, if my little sister can do this, so can I.

    Turned out, it was fun. Afterward, I felt like a badass! Still I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy. LOL

    I’m a follower on twitter and via e-mail subscription.

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  33. NickNo Gravatar
    33

    My Fear is losing someone I care about. I have confronted earlier this year, and I learned that I’m not the strongest person in the world. I Mortal, need to take more care of myself and the people I care about.
    moc.oohaynull@21oiculkcin

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  34. NickNo Gravatar
    34

    Oh and I’m a follower

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  35. Shantal MohammedNo Gravatar
    35

    What is your deepest, strongest fear? And what did you learn about yourself, when you faced it down?

    My deepest, strongest fear… Is being alone. I haven’t faced it down yet. I’m avoiding that.

    I’m a follower :)

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  36. lulilutNo Gravatar
    36

    +1 My biggest fear was losing a parent and I lost both within a few months of each other. I learn to cope slowly and that each day was a gift.
    +2 Blog & Twitter Follower
    +3 http://twitter.com/lulilut/status/24228595702
    (I love the cover of Dust)
    d.septer(at)insightbb.com

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  37. ClauNo Gravatar
    37

    What is your deepest, strongest fear? And what did you learn about yourself, when you faced it down?
    My biggest fear is my parents’s dead. I learned not to think about it, just live my present next to them. Since then I been more calm, but the fear is still there, I think is one of those fears that are not easy to avoid.

    I’m a follower here and on twitter (@DreamClau)

    I tweeted here: http://twitter.com/DreamClau/status/24229762144

    claudiap-123(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

    thanks for the contest! and great post!

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  38. KarenNo Gravatar
    38

    My biggest fear is that I can’t measure up to my own and other’s expectations. I have always been raised as the smart, academiclly gifted, perfect child. And as I grow older and older, all I can see are the people that surpass me – that are charging forward. I don’t think I’ve faced my fear and I don’t think I will for a while. But I want to try and actually live my life the way I want. I’ve learned that life can be truly lonely, depressive and cruel but it’s always me, myself and I that can triumph to tomorrow.

    moc.oohaynull@sniarlufssilb

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  39. KellyNo Gravatar
    39

    What is your deepest, strongest fear? And what did you learn about yourself, when you faced it down?

    I have always been afraid of falling. I don’t know why but I have had recurring dreams of falling and falling and I always woke up with this nauseous feeling…
    Well it all became better when I bungee-jumped. I was terrified but it was worth it…It felt exhilarating.. But yeah.. it’s not something I would do again… It just helped me not be insanely afraid! :P

    +1
    +2
    +3 http://twitter.com/yllektra/status/24269191812

    Total: 6

    moc.liamtohnull@sitnavy

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  40. Jules@OneBookShyNo Gravatar
    40

    Thank you for the giveaway.

    My deepest fear has always been losing my loved ones, especially my parents. I’m dealing with my mom dying right now and have found that I will somehow get through this, even though it’s shredding me.

    I’m a GFC follower (Jules@OneBookShy)
    I’m a Twitterer @mooncatfarms

    Thank you,
    Jules
    onebookshy at yahoo dot com

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  41. JocelynNo Gravatar
    41

    My deepeest fear? Needles. And I’ve never faced it down without valium, soooo…..

    +1 for following on GFC as jocelyn!

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  42. A'linaNo Gravatar
    42

    +1 I don’t know what my deepest fear is. I probably won’t know till it suddenly scars the shit out of me. ;) Thanks for the giveaway!

    +2 follower

    linaramz at yahoo dot com

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  43. Shannon NaugleNo Gravatar
    43

    My deepest darkest fear is someone torturing me or haunting me…I think I watched too many horror movies as a child. My coping mechanism is to not let myself think about it. And that is about the only thing I can do!

    moc.liamgnull@18elguans

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  44. Shannon NaugleNo Gravatar
    44

    Oh and I am a follower!

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  45. KasumiNo Gravatar
    45

    +1 My worst fear is terror films. It’s true! I know is fantasy and no real, but I can’t stand them. I tried many times and learned that I’m happier watching other kind of films :roll:

    +2 I’m a follower of this blog but don’t use Twitter, does it count?

    +3 I blogged about it: http://resumiendotodo.blogspot.com/2010/09/ronda-de-concursos-septiembre-de-2010.html
    And put a link in my sidebar: http://resumiendotodo.blogspot.com

    Thanks for the chance!

    martasder[at]gmail[dot]com

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  46. ShaihaNo Gravatar
    46

    My biggest fear that I can think of is my fear of earwigs. For years they would cause me to run screaming away or jump out of a moving car (Yeah I did that). Once I finally figured out where the fear came from, I don’t freak out as much but I still hate the things.

    +2 I follow your blog and twitter

    +3 http://twitter.com/Shaiha_/status/24527857245

    6 entries

    blogbaby(at)comcast(dot)net

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  47. WandaNo Gravatar
    47

    +1 – My deepest, strongest fear is seeing a spider in the house. To be quite honest, I still haven’t faced it down. Ugh!
    wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com
    +2 – I follow you through Google Friend Connect
    +3 – Tweeted! http://twitter.com/lemonslippers/status/24728177872
    wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  48. Eva SBNo Gravatar
    48

    +1 My biggest fear is of snakes. When one got into our house this woman, renowned for being calm and collected in a crisis, turned into a tearful, screaming ball of hysteria. However, my mind didn’t go totally to mush and I was able to make a plan for keeping me and the children safe while my husband met with the snake catcher.

    +2 I’m a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter. @eva_n_essence

    +3 I tweeted
    http://twitter.com/EVA_n_essence/status/24734385305

    +3 I posted to my sidebar
    http://evasblackspot.blogspot.com/

    eva.s.black[@]gmail[.]com

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  49. Jeannine mNo Gravatar
    49

    MY biggest fear is heights. I have tried to defeat it but it wins everytime.

    +1 for answering
    +2 for follow blog(mellanhead74) and twitter (@mellanhead)

    mellanhead74 at hotmail.com

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  50. Noah MabeyNo Gravatar
    50

    my deepeset fear is being left behind when someone i love goes away . i have yet to stop this feaar ill let you know when i do

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