So, it’s been awhile…

Things were happening. Like, unable to update here things. Insidious things. But hopefully those things are done with, and we can move on.

In case you weren’t sure, this is a test. This is only a test…

xo…

Edited to add: WOO! It looks like whatever bug prevented me from updating has been vanquished, and updates can be done once again!

Be prepared, my friends, for more wine reviews (under $10) and more book news. And more of me, in general.

Sending much love and hugs…

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Lucky Stars Box Set – Available March 17, 2015

Whoop! I’m in a box set with 6 other FANTASTIC authors, which has been gathered together and will be published by Irksome Rebel Press. I’m so excited to be among them. My thanks to Solera Winters for pushing me to submit; and to Scott Evans and Tamara Eaton for liking the story.  Here’s the “box”…

box set cover

 

And here’s the cover of the anthology…

Lucky Stars Cover

…and finally, the cover my hubby did for Thorne’s Rose, my story in this anthology…

Thorne's Rose Cover

It comes out on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day — so mark your calendar! Seven wonderful stories for only $0.99!

 

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Welcome Back, Emily Mims – Writer Wednesday

Please welcome Emily Mims back to the blog. She’s talking about her latest three releases from Boroughs Publishing Group. Take it away, Emily!

Writing About Wounded Warriors

Veterans in general and wounded warriors in particular have a very warm spot in my heart. I live in San Antonio, home of San Antonio Military Medical Center, site of the Army’s famous burn treatment center and one of the three stateside hospitals where wounded warriors come home to recuperate and rehabilitate from their devastating injuries. Many of the more severely injured young men and women, those whose injuries were such that they can no longer serve in the military, have settled here in San Antonio to continue their medical care, and it is absolutely no big deal these days to see a young father or mother on two prosthetic legs chasing a couple of children across the mall or a man with severe facial scarring paying for his groceries at the store or a young man in a wheelchair holding a baby in his lap. Nor is it unusual to work beside a colleague with a closed head injury that suffers from migraines and struggles to put names with faces. Here in San Antonio the wounded warriors aren’t just a face on a magazine cover or an abstract concept-they are our friends and neighbors and part of our community.

So why are they such compelling heroes and heroines? Why do I like to write about them? Perhaps the answer lies in the bravery I see these men and women exhibit on a routine basis in everyday life. No, we’re not heroes, they will tell you. As far as they are concerned, they are just going about their ordinary everyday lives the same as the rest of us. And that they do. They hold jobs, they go shopping, they go to church. They ride their bikes down the street. Most of them are remarkably unself-conscious about the hardware and the scars. In ‘After the Heartbreak’ I have a child remarking that Cathy and Beto’s prostheses are ‘no big deal’, because here in San Antonio they aren’t. But the fact that they are carrying on ‘business as usual’, even when the circumstances are anything but ‘usual’, is what makes them seem so brave to me.

So what about their private lives? Their love lives? Again, the wounded warriors are just like the rest of us in that respect. They date, they fall in love, they have fights and break up and make up. They get married and raise families. Sometimes they do it with each other. I will never forget the young couple I saw at one of the malls a few years back. He had burn scars from his knees up and she was walking on a prosthesis. They were holding hands and even from across the mall you could see the love in their eyes for one another, and they are not the only couple to meet and fall in love with another wounded warrior. Sometimes wounded warriors fall in love with someone who nursed them back to health-there have been many marriages between wounded warriors and their nurses or other caregivers. And many, many have come home to the husband or wife who loved them already, and it is heartwarming to watch these loving spouses reach out and fashion a new normal for their wounded loved one.

Yet at the same time, the scars remain. PTSD is a common problem and particularly insidious in that it doesn’t show on the outside. After asking a time or two if a wounded warrior would share their experiences with me and seeing the expressions on their faces, I decided to do my research on topics like firefights and prostheses and PTSD and IED’s online rather than ask them to relive the horror. They simply do not want to go back there and I can’t blame them. (If I did have a question, I went to my son, who saw a lot but thankfully came home without a scratch.)   But, outward and inward scars or no, I do see these brave men and women as heroes of the highest order, the kind of heroes and heroines I like to bring to life in my stories.

The Books…

After the Heartbreak (1)After The Heartbreak

Together Cathy and Beto have faced horror and heartbreak. Will they together find their way back to happiness?

What was to be the first night of the rest of their lives together instead became an evening of heartbreak and horror. Now dealing with the aftermath, Cathy Armbruster and Beto Flores struggle to put their lives and their relationship back together. Was their future destroyed on that fateful night, or will Cathy and Beto find a way to get past the heartbreak and claim the happily ever after with one another that they both want so desperately?

http://www.amazon.com/After-Heartbreak-Emily-Mims-ebook/dp/B00NP7N4SK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1411067740&sr=8-2&keywords=after+the+heartbreak

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/477608

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-aftertheheartbreak-1630094-149.html

Welcome Home

Welcome Home

Tommy Joe is home from war, but he’s now in a wheelchair-and always will be. Can he still be the man a woman like Christi deserves?

Crippled by a sniper’s bullet, paraplegic Tommy Joe Reece doesn’t see how he can run a ranch from a wheelchair-or be a husband to Christi, the girl he’s always loved. Will Tommy and Christi let their doubts and fears about the future destroy their love, or will they have the courage to reach out to one another and find a way to make it all work?

http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-Home-emily-mims-ebook/dp/B00S1AWDPQ

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/509051

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-welcomehome-1720959-149.html

Daughter of Valor

Daughter of Valor

When wounded war hero Holly Riley comes home to the Texas Hill Country to build a new life for herself, she has no idea that life will include sexy Congressional candidate Jimmy Adamcik!

Wounded war hero Holly Riley has come to the lakeshore community of Heaven’s Point to recover from her injuries and build a new life for herself with her band of fellow wounded warriors. Temporarily employed as a nanny for charismatic Congressional candidate and neighbor Jimmy Adamcik, Holly and Jimmy quickly began to care for one another in spite of Holly’s distrust of politics. But Jimmy finds himself sucked deeper and deeper into the seamy side of the political process, and an old enemy from Jimmy’s past targets Holly’s soldiers one by one. Will Jimmy and Holly’s love survive the double onslaught-or will they be the final target of their unknown enemy’s rage?

http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Valor-Emily-Mims-ebooks/dp/B00S0H8LBA

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/508976

http://allromanceebooks.com/product-daughterofvalor-1720943-149.html

 )O(

Thank you, Emily, for sharing your stories!

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Looking Back, Looking Ahead

happy new year

I usually do this post on New Year’s Eve, but life sort of got away from me, as it does now and then. However, here’s a look back at 2014.

Um.

Well, I did finish the Guitar Book, and came up with a series idea based on the talent agency…had a great time pitching that at Desert Dreams, finaled in their contest with that book, and…let’s see…oh YEAH. Boroughs Publishing Group wanted the series, and I signed a contract with them in August for a short story and the three novels. Woo! (StarTide series!) Isn’t the StarTide logo cool???

StarTide card

I pitched the Ballet Book, finally finished it, and sent it off to Lovely Agent who wants to see it after I make some revisions because she really liked it but it didn’t quite have enough oomph in the non-ballet sections. So there’s that.

Went to San Antonio for RWA’s National Conference, where I was a lucky girl and got to spend time with the Boroughs peeps. Went to their open house, and was invited to their author dinner even though I wasn’t technically one of theirs yet. Spent some lovely time talking to Chris Keeslar, which is where I got the idea for the Christmas short story.  I also drunk-pitched said Ballet Book to a Lovely Editor at St. Martin’s, who said she loved the idea and (being friends with Lovely Agent), when the book is complete she’d like to see it.

TheChristmasStar_tempOnce home, I commenced writing like a fiend. Wrote, finished, and turned in the short story.  Christmas Star (only .99!) published in October, 2014! Yay…after almost two years of not publishing, it was nice getting back into the water. In December, I finished book 2 of the StarTide series, and turned that one in. Began Book 3.

Also in December, rewrote another short story I had, after being asked to submit one for a paranormal/sci fi box set for Irksome Rebel Press. As soon as my readers get that back to me, I’ll be turning it in.

So the count for 2014: finished 3 novels; wrote 2 short stories; had one short story published, went to two conferences. Oh, and I wrapped up my second year as President of Los Angeles Romance Authors, chapter of RWA. Whew!

2015 is my year

(2015 can be your year, too! There’s room for everyone!)

Here’s what my 2015 is going to look like, that I am aware of currently:

Writing wise: Finish Book 3, Rising Star. Write Caine Brothers Book 3, Demon’s Rage (Justin and Maggie). Rewrite the Ballet Book; send to Lovely Agent (and hopefully Lovely Editor). Brainstorm 2 – 3 novels/novellas for the StarTide series; discuss with Boroughs and write at least the first one.

Guarded Star, to publish in February.  Star-Crossed, to publish in April. And Rising Star, publishing in June.

Hopefully my short story will be accepted, and in the Lucky Stars Box Set that will come out on March 17th.

End of March, I will be speaking at the California Dreamin’ Writer’s Conference, where I’ll get to see lots of old friends and make new ones.

End of May, I’ll be at the Pay It Forward Writer’s Retreat, put on by the incomparable duo of Kendall Grey and Danielle Allen.

End of July, I’ll be in New York City for the RWA National Conference!!!

Demon Soul, Demon Hunt and Demon’s Rage will hopefully all be out in August or maybe September, with nifty new covers and finally an end to the story!

A StarTide holiday novella out in October/November, hopefully.

So, that’s my year.  Of course, life happens and things change. My fondest hope is that whatever changes happen are for the better, and that more gets out than less…

Whatever your dreams are, go for them. Be bold, in whatever manner fits you. And don’t let anyone tell you your dreams are too big. They are YOUR dreams, and so they are the perfect size.

Sending love and hugs out to you, and may 2015 be the continuation of All the Good Things!

All pictures (except Christmas Star) borrowed from Leonie Dawson)
All pictures (except Christmas Star and the StarTide logo) borrowed from Leonie Dawson.

 )O(

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Nutcrackers, Mooses, and Bears Deck the Halls

It’s A Crazy Time…that’s why we have nutcrackers, trees, mooses, and bears in wreaths on our mantel.

the holiday mantel

The holidays are upon us. The year is rushing to an end, and our thoughts are on the right present for the right person, yummy food (overeating at parties), dieting (next year), exercise (please God let there be time AND no injuries), and all those projects we didn’t get to this year, along with the guilt for not getting them done.

And then there’s the writing schedule, as well. I’ve been looking at my year, and trying to plan my writing/publishing schedule. I mean, down to the word count per day. I’m ambitious, I admit it; but for the first time, I’m convinced that I can do this writing gig. I just took a class by Delilah Devlin and Elle James titled Writing 50 Books A Year (yeah, it’s a tongue in cheek title) and they gave me SO MANY DETAILED spreadsheets, I’m in geek heaven.

Those spreadsheets have given me permission to plan. Permission to plunk down big chunks of time (conferences, vacations) and littler chunks of time (see Dad) and all the projects I want to complete next year, and figure out just how I’m going to do it all.

I’ve decided I’m not going to share my desires for next year’s publishing schedule; I know people who publish a heck of a lot more than I do, and some who don’t publish as much as I do, so there’s really no point in sharing those details until next New Year’s Eve Retrospective on the year.

For the first time, I’ll be planning – really planning – my writing year. With months up on the wall, and inputting my daily word count, and everything. Life is exciting, and my dreams are within my grasp. It’s just a matter of pushing aside fear, that little voice that says “you’re going for too much,” and forging on anyway.

In other news, I’m over at Linda Carroll-Bradd’s blog, where she interviewed me. Go on and take a look – I’m still popping in every now and then, though the blog was last week. (My friend Mary Beth Bass wrote the most awesomest comment ever!)

I’ll try to get some wine picks in for you for the holidays, and a garden post. I know I’m behind on those here, but I was on a deadline, you see.  Right now, I’m deadline free (but that doesn’t mean I’m not writing!), and I’ll be back on deadline at the first of the year, so I’ll try to stockpile some blog posts.

One last thought to leave you with…even though it’s the holidays, and even though there are a million and one things to do and things that can (and do) go wrong, and even though there’s never enough time or money or energy to go around, do yourself a big, huge favor. Let go of the guilt, whatever kind you’re carrying.  Live in the moment. Grab hold of and hug those you love. Express that love whenever possible, because you never know when it’s all just gonna go wrong.

Sending love and big, tight, shoulder-to-knee, rocking side-to-side hugs. And here’s our tree…

The Tree, 2014
The Tree, 2014 And yes, there’s a bear on that tree. Do you see the snowflake fairy? Tom and I got her in Seattle in 1980…so long ago!

)O(

Have you read Christmas Star yet? If not, grab it…”A modern day, sweet as hot chocolate fairy tale…” And if you have, would you please leave me a review? Thanks! And my thanks to those who already have reviewed…you know who you are! xo

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Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Dad with the plaque, and rocking his beard! June 21, 2014 Photo by Greg Cunningham
Dad at the San Diego Book Awards, June 21, 2014 Photo by Greg Cunningham

Today is an important day. It is my father, Chet Cunningham’s birthday. He’s 86 today.

A couple of weeks ago at Thanksgiving dinner, held at my niece & nephew’s house, his face lit up when he saw me and we hugged. He said he can never get enough hugs, and I believe him. As the kids – well, adults and young adults now – gathered in one room, their elders (oh my goodness, I’m an elder…) gathered in another. Dad and I cozied down on a comfy couch and talked about writing. I was having the devil of a time with the book I was currently writing, and he felt he wasn’t writing enough, either.

I need to get to 347 on the wall, he says. When I give him a confused smile, he nods. I’ve got 346 books published, need to get to number 347. Taking a long time. Glad I’m with Wolfpack Publishing, he says.

He says he only gets maybe an hour in the morning, but after lunch he’ll get in a good three hours of writing. After dinner, he will watch football, then head to his office for another hour before watching the ten o’clock news.

Five hours, he says, shaking his head. Not what I used to be able to do.* But I enjoy my naps.

That’s more than I get done, I tell him. His hands are in mine, and they feel so very

The hands that wrote the books.
The hands that wrote the books. Summer, 2013

precious. The skin is thin, his veins bulge across the back, and his fingers are oddly shaped by arthritis. He catches me looking at them.

This one hurts, he says, rubbing his ring finger on his right hand. These other two, they don’t hurt anymore, but this one does. Except when I’m writing, then I don’t feel them at all. And he shakes his head.

That’s because the story catches you, and you forget about your aches and pains, I say. Me, too, Daddy.

My own fingers have been aching, when I’ve had a long day at work and then go home to write. I kiss his gnarled fingers and wonder if mine will look that way when I’m 85. I can’t even fathom that much time passing from right now.

He puts his forehead against mine. I’m gonna be 86 in a couple of weeks, he says.

I know. I’m so sorry we can’t come down to see you on your birthday, I tell him.

He shakes his head a bit. Both my parents died at 86. Then he gets a twinkle in his eye. I’m gonna beat them, he says.

My heart clutches just a little bit. I know you are, Daddy, I say. You’ve got to make it to at least 350 novels published.

Yeah. That’s the ticket, he says, and we laugh.

Happy birthday, Daddy. Here’s to book number 347, and may they all continue to sell.

May, 2014
A selfie with Dad – May, 2014

)O(

*Chet’s schedule, when I was in school, went something like this: write from 9:30am to noon, have lunch. Write from 1:00pm to 4:30pm, then come out and be with the family until after dinner. Write from 6:30pm to 11:00pm, then watch the news and wrap up with Johnny Carson.

He’s my hero.

Find his books…Pony Soldiers

Other books with Wolfpack Publishing

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Mary Beth Bass – Writer Wednesday

Mary beth bassI love authors who touch my heart and soul, who make me think and grow with their words. One day I was hunting around the Boroughs Publishing Group’s website, checking out their products and looking for something to read, and I stumbled onto in the place where she fell by Mary Beth Bass. It being a Lunchbox® romance, it was bound to be short and at only .99, affordable.

But having bought it, I forgot about it until a few weeks later when I was perusing my Kindle, and the cover caught at me. And so I read this story on my lunch hour, and found myself so moved, so changed, that I had to write a review of it. And then I had to talk about it on my blog.

That’s when Mary Beth and I got to talking and becoming friends through Facebook, and through both of us being published by Boroughs. So I want to share my beautiful, talented, soulful friend and the magical world she inhabits.

CA: On your website, you talk about walking through the woods and memorizing poetry on an almost daily basis. How does poetry influence your writing?

MBB: When I first started hiking I used to think, this is great, but wouldn’t it be awesome if some beautiful-voiced, English-accented man was following me and reciting poetry. Kind of like a lyric lady’s maid with a voice like Benedict Cumberbatch. Needless to say I couldn’t quite make that happen. So I became my own Benedict Cumberbatch (without the butter-and-whisky voice). The cool thing about hiking and reciting is that concentrating on steep terrain and not tripping over rocks means I don’t worry that I’m doing the poem wrong. I found that I understood the poems much better than I would have from a place of stillness on the couch. Hmm, I didn’t really answer your question. Probably because I’m not sure how to answer it. I think poetry influences my writing the way everything influences writing. Something grabs a corner of your brain and makes a home there until it pops up in a book. Maude, the sister of the heroine in my young adult fantasy, everything you know, loves poetry. She was born in part from one of my favorite Keats’ poems The Eve of St. Agnes. Maude’s story doesn’t exactly follow the story of that poem but it echoes elements of it. The Eve of St. Agnes is gorgeous and sexy and deceptively dark. You should go read it right now, and imagine your voice-of-choice is reciting it. Over red wine in an old inn. In a snowstorm.

CA: I love Keats, but haven’t read him in a long time. I’ll get right on The Eve of St. Agnes, though… So, I’ve noticed on Facebook that you’re often championing local theater productions. I used to be an actress/dancer/director, and my husband is still vital in the business. How did you become so involved?

MBB: I wanted to be an actress and studied in some fancy-pants theatre schools but I realized soon after I graduated that I didn’t want that life. I love theatre. And I really love supporting other artists. Theatre is my favorite art form. It still feels like actual magic to me. I started occasionally acting again a few years ago. Last summer I was in an amazing production of The Tempest in the woods in a huge nature preserve. The show ended as night fell. Almost every actor I went to school with is a writer now. Or a lawyer.

in the place where she fell_coverCA: Oh, don’t I know it – acting, show biz, is a tough business and crumbles a lot of young people’s dreams, especially if they come out to Hollywood. Very few of the people I acted with 30 years ago are still doing it…okay, moving on or we’ll be here all night talking about theater! Tell me how being a parent has influenced your writing.

MBB: When I first started writing my kids were very young. On the way to the bus stop one morning my youngest son told me he couldn’t wait to see my name on a book someday. I decided then to write under my own name. People still assume if you’re writing romance you must be writing under a different name. My first book came out when my youngest was in kindergarten. He gave the book to all his teachers and his bus driver!

My daughter edited my first book when she was still in high school. (Don’t judge. If you’d seen her insightful peer-editing of her classmates’ work, you probably would have made her stay home from the Halloween party until she finished editing the manuscript you were submitting.) She interned at Soft Skull Press in college and is a freelance editor now. She also manages a restaurant in New York City and is awesome.

CA: Wow, how wonderful to get such support from your kids! Now, tell me. You call yourself a writer of “dreamy, lyrical, science fiction and fantasy romance novels for adults and teens.” The words dreamy, lyrical, and science fiction don’t usually go together. How did you come to realize that was a strength of yours?

MBB: Well, I’m pretty dreamy and lyrical by nature. I didn’t realize I was writing science fiction-ish stories until readers started pointing that out. That being said, I have a huge crush on science. My fantasy jobs are hacker or virus hunter. The hero of my work in progress, The Language of the Thread, is an eighteenth century astronomer who is working towards the discovery of Neptune, using mathematics. (Neptune was the first planet to be discovered that way.) The heroine of my first book, Follow Me, is a medical researcher and works covertly as a doctor in the early nineteenth century. I read medical journals from that time period and made up a disease. It was kind of awesome.

CAA: Okay, now I just want to sit you down with a margarita in your hand and talk science, lol! With all that going on, what is your next book about, and when will it be out?

MBB: My next book is All That We See. It’s the sequel to everything you know and picks EverythingYouKnow_Cover_wquote (1) (1)up right where that story ends. Emma and Joe’s story continues in this book but the heroine of All That We See is Thalia Salic. I’m super excited about this book. It comes out this December.

CAA: Very cool! I have everything you know but, in my typical fashion, haven’t read it yet. I’ll be looking for All That We See. Thank you, so very much, for letting me pry into your life.

MBB: It was my pleasure. Thanks for the great questions!

Okay folks, so here’s where you can find Mary Beth Bass around the Internet. And do yourself a favor – do pick up in the place where she fell. You won’t regret it!

Links:

Website: www.marybethbass.com

Newsletter: http://marybethbass.com/subscribe/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marybethbass

tumblr: http://marybethbass.tumblr.com/

pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marybethbooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/845083.Mary_Beth_Bass

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FB Party and Interview…

book elves on shelves

 

Hey there! So, yeah, I’m participating in a Facebook party – massive FB party – called Book Elves on the Shelves, and it goes from Nov. 29th through Dec. 23rd.  My dates/times are today at 5pm PST (I know, cutting it late, aren’t I?) and December 6th at 10am PST.

Here’s the link to an interview I did with ropin romance

And here’s the link to the PARTY!

There are prizes and giveaways, so come on down and find new authors. Drop by to see me, if you can!

)O(

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Black Friday to New Year’s Eve .99 Kindle Sale!

My first publisher, Crescent Moon Press, is having a Huge Black Friday .99 Kindle SALE! Check out some of these great authors below and don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win lots of fun stuff!

The sale runs from Black Friday to New Years, so there’s lots of time to buy LOTS AND LOTS OF FABULOUS BOOKS published by Crescent Moon Press!

Collage

 

Caden’s Fate, by Kate McKeever

Fairyproof, by Constance Phillips

Resurrecting Harry, by Constance Phillips

Speak of the Devil, by Shawna Romkey

The Devil Made Me Do It, by Shawna Romkey

What Gifts She Carried, by Lindsey Loucks

The Grave Winner, by Lindsey Loucks

Violet Midnight, by Lynn Rush

Violet Dawn, by Lynn Rush

Violet Storm, by Lynn Rush

Wasteland, by Lynn Rush

Awaited, by Lynn Rush

Tainted, by Lynn Rush

Prelude to Darkness, by Lynn Rush

Son of a Mermaid, by Katie O’Sullivan

Blood of a Mermaid, by Katie O’Sullivan

Wanted: One Ghost, by Loni Lynne

Ruined, by Kinley Baker

Denied, by Kinley Baker

Endured, by Kinley Baker

Gemini Rising, by Louann Carroll

A Shadow of Time, by Louann Carroll

Dakota Capitve, by Alythia Brown

Sorrow’s Point, by Danielle DeVor

Sorrow’s Edge, by Danielle DeVor

Red, by Reese Reed

The Memory Witch, by Heather Topham Wood

Not Your Average Fairy Tale, by Chantele Sedgwick

Not Your Average Happy Ending, Chantele Sedgwick

A Stiff Kiss, by Avery Olive

Won’t Let Go, by Avery Olive

Idyllic Avenue, by Chad Ganske

Rift Healer, by Diane M Haynes

Still Hunt, by Diane M Haynes

First Contact, by Kat Green

Citizens of Logan Pond: Life, by Rebecca Belliston

Irons in the Fire, by Penelope Marzec

The Company You Keep, by Penelope Marzec

Kiss of Blarney, by Penelope Marzec
a Rafflecopter giveaway  <– Seriously, check this out!

Happy Black Friday, a day late!

)O(

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