Creating the Cover: “At the Heart of the Missing”

by @AnnieDaylon

In the indie world, the creation of striking cover for a novel starts with the vision of the author.

As At the Heart of the Missing moved through stages of growth (which included two title changes) I kept a space, a dark room in my mind if you will, where I allowed visual images to emerge and morph.

With this novel, as with Castles in the Sand  I worked with author/editor/designer Michael Hiebert. I remember that, with Castles in the Sand , I kept him waiting for three days while I located the cover image for that book. (Sorry, Michael.) I searched every site I could find and finally came up with the perfect cover, a picture of English Bay in Vancouver (the actual setting for the novel.) I found that picture on Shutterstock.com  which has been my go-to site ever since.

While I was writing At the Heart of the Missing, I logged in to Shutterstock and scrolled through images, popping those that interested me into a lightbox, a place where images can be saved for later retrieval. When the time came for my designer to create the cover for At the Heart of the Missing, I shared the lightbox images with him and told him what I wanted: cascading rose petals on a black cover with one small marigold and one small violet.

Using the images below, my designer layered the rose petal image fifteen times to get the desired effect. Since I couldn’t find a satisfactory image of a solo marigold, he chose one of the twenty in the third photo.

In the ebook world, one could stop there. But  At the Heart of the Missing will also appear in print– back cover needed! It was my designer’s brilliant idea to wrap the rose petal theme around to the back. I supplied back copy (description of book for reader), blurbs, and imprint with logo (McRAC Books).

How did I choose my business name and logo? Click to see post.

 

The space in the lower right hand corner of the back of the book is reserved for the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) bar code. (A note, dear Canadians, ISBNs are free for you from Library and Archives Canada.) 

The result of all of this? Ta-daaa!

Now available for Pre-Order on Amazon Kindle. Delivery Date: April 8, 2017.


I am thrilled with this cover creation and am fortunate to have worked with a designer I knew and trusted, one who brought my vision to fruition.

 A free short story is yours when you join my email list! My newsletters contain book news, blog posts, sneak previews, and, occasionally, fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To join, place the required information in the space provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

My Write Before Christmas: 2016

by @AnnieDaylon

christmas-wreath-2016 My Write Before Christmas: 2016

It’s my write before Christmas, I’m happy to pen
holiday wishes to all once again.
It’s become a tradition, this greeting in rhyme
To readers and wordsmiths at holiday time.

Authors work solo but none are alone.
It takes a village (an adage well-known)
With this in mind, once again I’m highlighting
Links and events in this world of writing.

A new writer? This world’s a mysterious place.
Catch a conference! It’s there that you’ll come face-to-face
With writers and editors and agents and such.
Volunteering’s an option if the cost is too much.

Love story contests? There’s fun with deadlines!
This>Contest Calendar’s< a favorite of mine.
As is Poets & Writers, a site that makes space
For a Contest and Grants and Awards Database.

Got a post that helps others? Want it retweeted?
@MondayBlogs is a place you’ll be greeted.
Ready to market? Don’t know the score?
Book Marketing Tools has ideas galore.

Having trouble with structure? Can’t seem to outline?
K. M. Weiland has guidelines to help you refine.
Seeking courses or webinars to carry you through?
Writer’s Digest will surely have something for you.

Bestseller Labs has suggestions for selling;
Enovel Authors (Thank you, Jackie) has info compelling
Need free promo, authors? Reader’s Gazette is the one,
Need help with Tweets? Try AskDavid.com

Do you have a routine? Great tales must be spun
And writers toil daily to get the job done.
(On that note, dear writers who are reading this verse,
If today you’ve not written, go away and WRITE FIRST!)

So here’s to my tweeps, and all Facebook friends,
And bloggers and techies on whom I depend.
As for Tea & Critique with friends Fran and Mary,
I always apply their sage commentary.

A toast to all editors (writers, pay heed!)
You need that blue pencil if you want to succeed.
Take it from me, I once published alone,
A difficult lesson but from it I’ve grown.
(Despite years of grammar in English and Latin
I made mistakes and had to go back in
Re-edit the published, suck up the shame,
Suffice to say I won’t do it again.)

Accolades to my editors, Michael and Ken,
At the Heart of the Missing‘s being scoured by them
For content and structure and copy and line
My new novel! Pretty soon you’ll see it online.

Here’s to writers who’ve found success on the road,
Who’ve looked back to aid others to lighten the load,
You help bridge the gap from the dream to real ground,
Your help is essential for success to be found.

Some bloggers review without compensation ,
They truly deserve a standing ovation!
Fictionophile is a gem I discovered this year
(Stop by. Check her posts. You’ll find great reads there.)

Most of all, here’s to you, readers, on you we rely,
The work’s not complete until you stop by.
Samuel Johnson once said (and I paraphrase herein)
“A reader finishes what a writer begins.” 

That’s it for this year. Best wishes to you
As 2017 comes into view.
And now, ere December rolls out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all! Have great reads and great writes!

 

Coming in 2017! Images: Shutterstock.com Design: michaelhiebert.com

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

How I Got My Indie Novel into the Library System

by @Annie Daylon

 

shutterstock_240133276

I had no idea that indie authors could apply to have books purchased by libraries. When the illustrator of my picture book mentioned it, I delved into research. When Stephanie Hopkins of IndieBRAG asked me to share my journey on their blog, I jumped at the chance.

Here’s a snippet:

At my local library, I spoke with the community librarian who gave me the contact information for the acquisitions librarian.
In my application email to acquisitions, I included:

  • a brief bio;

  •  cover images of available titles (linked to Amazon);

  •  mini-synopses;

  •  website link; and

  •  contact info.

When a couple of weeks passed with no response, I emailed again.
Still no reply.

SEE MORE HERE

ATT: Canadian Authors>>> Did you know that you can be compensated for having your books in (purchased by) Canadian Libraries? Check my next blog post (July 11, 2016) for details!


Free Short StoryA free short story is yours when you join my email list! My newsletters contain book news, blog posts, sneak previews, and, occasionally, fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To join, place the required information in the space provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason.

 

Many thanks to Stephanie Hopkins, BRAG Medallion, and the Fraser Valley Regional Library System!

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue


 

On Self-Editing: A Cautionary Tale

by Annie Daylon

SElf-Editing
Mistakes, I’ve made a few… Are the few worth mentioning? Yes, if mentioning reinforces the lesson and helps other writers. 

Recently, one of my novels was launched into the world with editing errors. The reason for this? My contract with an editor fell through (these things happen). In an attempt to meet my self-imposed deadline and in the absence of a ready-made alternative, I decided to save money by self-editing.  Warning: Don’t do that!

Please note that I am not speaking of content editing here; my content editor was fantastic. I’m talking about proof-reading. I am an avid reader. I am schooled in grammar. Still I messed up. Why?  Perhaps because, knowing the intent of my own words, I just I slid right over the typos toward the expected outcome. 

When, in an aftermarket read, I noted a couple of errors, I sat with them for a while. Do I edit or not? Self-publishing is expensive; authors don’t make a lot of money per book. It was not until the book was purchased by the library that I jumped in to edit mode.

I edited once. Cost $79 (that’s $100 Canadian.) When I read the revised proof, I noticed that I had omitted a word.  

I edited the whole thing again. Another $100. When the proof came back this time, I found one sentence in which I had inadvertently added a word, a tiny, three-letter word.

I asked the lady at Create Space if it would cost me another $100 to remove that word.

“Yes, Ma’am,” she replied.

I said “Stet,” writer speak for let it stand.

When I am about to release Book II of this series, I will go back and give Book I another sweep or, better yet, hire someone to do it for me.

Work In Progress Badge

I have ( and am) a Work in Progress. Sigh.

As for my work-in-progress thriller, I’m NOT editing it myself.

Dear Readers, my apologies. 

Dear Writers, hire proof-readers.

Dear Everyone, If you notice any mistakes herein, drop a line in the comments. I’ll edit. Guaranteed!

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains book news, blog posts, sneak previews, and, occasionally, fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason.

My best to  you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Vancouver Visit: Things Are Not Always What They Seem

by @AnnieDaylon

Phone April 277

Things are not always what they seem…

 

Are you writing present-day fiction in a real setting? Are you wondering if you should visit that setting? 

In my last post, My Novels. My Research., I wrote of plans to visit the setting of my work-in-progress…

My Work-in-Progress is a crime thriller set in present day Vancouver… I have the characters and the details down, most of them anyway. But I want, once again, to walk in the shoes of my characters. This time I will take the Aquabus to Granville Island, visit a café on the beach, shop at Pacific Centre,  detail heritage buildings in the area, and, most importantly, do some people watching.”

Here are a few things I discovered…

  1. First of all, since my story takes place in May, I wanted to visit in May. But, when I learned that hotel rates would skyrocket on May first (the onset of the tourist season), I booked my trip for the last week in April. Had I waited the extra week, my hotel cost would have doubled. Ouch!

  2. I didn’t ride the Aquabus mentioned in my last post. The character in my novel who went to the Farmers Market on Granville Island would have taken the False Creek Ferry because it was closer to her home and therefore much convenient for her. (Good to know!) I followed suit. 

  3. Before my trip to Vancouver, I watched a TV news report from the shores of English Bay. Certain that shutterstock_212016496the flowers dotting the background field were clover, I wrote about the scent of clover combined with the scent of sea, a combination I remember well from my days in Newfoundland. However, when I strolled through the grass near English Bay , I discovered that there was no clover. The tiny white flowers I saw were daisies. (Things are not always what they seem.) I edited my manuscript.

  4. In my novel, a main character visits police headquarters. When I wrote the scene (prior to my visit to VPD headquarters), I based the setting on a TV show, one in which the front doors of the police station open to a narrow reception area with a long, open counter manned by a prominent and dominant female officer. On that show, everything on and behind that counter is clearly visible (possibly to make it easier to film).
    Reality is different. At the VPD Headquarters, there is a long reception counter, yes, but it is separated from the public by (what I assume is) bulletproof glass. As is required of all visitors, I reported in; that meant talking through parallel slats in an intercom to a woman whose voice was distorted by static. I couldn’t describe this person because, due to translucent glass (and my lack of stature), I couldn’t see much other than dark hair and glasses.
    Another surprise regarding the VPD came in the form of its accessibility. Despite the uniformed attention to detail and the church-like echo of voices in the lobby, there was no sense of keep-away here. I contacted the department ahead of time; I left a message which was responded to in short order. And I was welcomed (with a police escort) into the inner sanctum. (Thank you, VPD!)

As for the other places mentioned above: I took detailed notes on the architecture and layout of the shopping center wherein I have planted a fictional boutique. I ate a delicious salad at the cafe on which I’m basing the restaurant in my story. And I discovered a heritage building whose ivy-covered exterior and dark-paneled interior suit my needs precisely. 

Back to my opening questions…. Are you writing present-day fiction in a real setting? Are you wondering if you should visit that setting?

My answer… yes! Plan the trip. Immerse yourself in details. Then weave them into your plot.

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

My Novels. My Research. (Vancouver Bound: Boots on the Ground)

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_212016496I am a multigenre author, born in Newfoundland, living in British Columbia. My novels are reflective of my bi-coastal experience in that they are set on the opposite ends of Canada: Newfoundland or Vancouver. The time element is also extreme: I plunk my work anywhere from the 1920’s to the now. The research methods vary, dictated by setting. The Newfoundland novels catapult me into the past: I read and view everything I can find on the historical events and settings. Here, I am focusing on the Vancouver novels (yes, plural because I’m nearing the end of the second) which are set in present-day and require boots-on-the ground research.

My first Vancouver novel, CASTLES IN THE SAND, is set in 2010 in the west end and, in addition to online research regarding the city and the plight of its homeless, I made two specific trips to the city.

On the first trip, I left the comfort of my west-end hotel at the cusp of dawn on a relatively-warm winter day and hiked the full length of Robson Street. Why? To see, hear, and smell the world as my main character, a homeless man, does. When he observes the pigeons strutting the sidewalk, he notices (because I notice for the first time) that the

  • “little bastards have red feet.”

The predominant aroma for him is the smell of coffee (not the smell of ocean air as I had expected.)

  • “I take a deep breath so I can suck in the Starbucks. All the beautiful people carry Starbucks.”

He hears the day beginning, not just generically in the roar of traffic but specifically:

  • “The bus engine grumbles…Whooossssh. Air brakes.”

  • “Won’t be long before the bolts on the door of the shoe boutique behind me twist open. Three bolts. Every morning. Like clockwork. Click. Click. Click.”

 That day, I also walked the Vancouver Seawall, toured Gastown, and ate at the Spaghetti Factory, all the while taking notes. My best discovery? At the end of a long day, while walking back to my hotel on Robson Street , I saw a young man in a white, puffy jacket. He was talking to a homeless man. I didn’t want to interfere but I wanted to eavesdrop, so I strolled past. The young man was saying “Let me help you to a shelter.” I pinged on that. For my novel, I created a new character, a Good Samaritan, who was dubbed “Marshmallow Man” by my main character.

  • “Some guy in a puffy, white jacket hovers over me. A marshmallow. A goddam talking marshmallow.”

My second trip to Vancouver was to finalize details. The backstory of my homeless character was that he had lost his home during the real estate crash. I had a specific residence in mind for him, one that I had found in the MLS listings, and walked the area surrounding that very house. I went to the nearby park where my fictional family played. There, I sat on a bench and penned a description of both house and park. I walked the tunnel under the Granville Bridge. And I sat in the foyer of the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library where I noticed a pigeon strutting the floor, a pigeon that inspired a caring moment for my homeless character. It was in the library that it occurred to me that all the chattering voices around me melded in to a ghost-like drone, into

  • “whirling ghosts of indiscernible chatter.”

The effect of all that research was not only that I was better-able to detail the journey of my character but also that I am now better-equipped to notice detail daily. (A bonus for a writer.) 

As for current research… My Work-in-Progress is a crime thriller set in present day Vancouver, again in the west end. I have the characters and the details down, most of them anyway. But I want, once again, to walk in the shoes of my characters. This time I will take the Aquabus to Granville Island, visit a café on the beach, shop at Pacific Centre,  detail heritage buildings in the area, and, most importantly, do some people watching.

In short, in a couple of weeks, I’m Vancouver bound. Boots on the ground. Can’t wait!  🙂 

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains news about books, links to some blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. eNovel-Round-Logo

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue 

Storyboarding with the W Method

by @AnnieDaylon

sTORYBOARDING

Curious about how authors create their novels?

Some write freely, discovering the story as they go along. I do that, to a point. Then, with basic plot, key characters, and some scenes in mind, I create an outline.

I have experimented with different ways of outlining, including the use of note cards, step sheets, the Snowflake Method, and software, all of which are detailed by Robbie Blair in Eight Ways to Outline a Novel.  

The method that works best for me is the Storyboard. It is the most tangible, visual, and accessible way of plotting a story. Sometimes I have used a linear model, simply placing chronological plot points on a straight line.

In my Work-In-Progress, a three-act thriller set in Vancouver, BC, the story takes place over ten days. The details are tight. I want certain characters in a certain place at a certain time and I have to keep track of their every move. Enter: the W Storyboard.

Storyboarding by Mary Carroll Moore

Storyboarding by Mary Carroll Moore

My W Storyboard is based on Mary Carroll Moore’s model which lends itself well to the three-act structure common in the thriller.

The first line of the W—top to bottom—gives the story setup.

The first low mark represents the first portal or turning point. Once a character crosses that threshold, she must continue the journey. There’s no turning back. Either she can’t get back or there is nothing to go back to. (To quote fellow writer Brian Rodda, “The village is burned, the villagers are dead.”) 

Each successive point on the W, as shown in Mary Carroll Moore’s Youtube video, is another portal, another change in direction.

Because I usually know the turning points when I start my storyboard, it’s easy to fill in the portals on the W. After that, I have to get the characters to those portals and that means creating step-by-step details.

Using colorful sticky notes, I write plot points and place them along the lines of the W.  Wonderful things, those sticky notes: I frequently make changes and the notes can be pulled off and popped on easily. (Word of warning: if you plan to use sticky notes, buy the good ones; the cheaper versions tend to lose their stickiness and flit around like butterflies.)

My current storyboard has more than just plot. It includes:

  • Dates of Events, displayed on contrasting  sticky notes;

  • Images of actors who represent the visual type I’m trying to portray;

  • Character descriptions, detailing height, weight, hair, skin tone, eye color. (These are mere reference points which help avoid simple mistakes, such as a page 27 green-eyed character becoming brown-eyed on page 215.) 

  • Settings, sometimes written, sometimes images. (One setting in my thriller is a city loft, so I printed out a floor plan that suits my needs and pasted it on the board.)

Mary Carroll Moore states that her W formula is based on a book The Writer’s Time by Kenneth Atchity. The revised version, one which I am about to download, is on Kindle. The new title? Write Time: Guide to the Creative Process, from Vision through Revision-and Beyond

If you are an outliner, do you have any outlining tips? 

If you are a pantser, what are your thoughts about outlining?eNovel-Round-Logo

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains news about books, links to some blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

 

 

Goodreads Giveaways: Anticipation and Information

by @AnnieDaylon

First and foremost, many thanks to readers and writers whose support and encouragement made it possible for me to release both a novel and a picture book this year.
As I write this, I am in the middle of Goodreads Giveaway events for both books!
Entry numbers are climbing as is my anticipation of the email announcing the winners. (Dec. 5th entry deadline.)

The Goodreads Giveaway procedure is pretty simple:

First, read:

Your Guide to Giveaways on Goodreads

Then:

  • contact Goodreads if you have any questions (all mine were answered courteously and promptly);

  • select the dates for the Giveaway;

  • fill in the form;

  • await approval from Goodreads (mine came swiftly); 

  • begin promo on FB, Twitter, Linked In, … whatever your social media outlet;

  • either prepare a box labeled Goodreads Giveaway into which you put  books, mailing envelopes, and anything else you wish to send (bookmarks, personal notes,etc.) or await the winner list and send books directly from the printer.  

Something to Consider:
Due to mailing costs, I offered my novel– OF SEA AND SEED— only in Canada, and my picture book– THE MANY-COLORED INVISIBLE HATS OF BRENDA-LOUISE— in both Canada and the United States. But…
After my giveaway was underway, I came across a bit of wisdom from Catherine Ryan Howard who stated that the purpose of giveaways is to increase awareness, and writers should make giveaway prizes available internationally. Mailing costs can be offset by offering fewer copies. (Brilliant, that! Too late for my current giveaway, but perhaps not too late for you!)

So:
After you’ve read the Goodreads Giveaway How-To-Do-It instructions, you might want to jump to the following post in which Catherine Ryan Howard offers, in addition to the above mailing advice, other giveaway  tips that may be of help to you.
Goodreads Giveaways: Don’t Do What You’re Told 🙂

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

Free Short StoryI invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to my newsletter which contains news about books, links to blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. Place your first name and email address in the space provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

Adding a Map to a Novel? Here’s an Idea…

by @AnnieDaylon

If you are considering adding a map to the front or back matter of a novel, consider this idea …

My upcoming novel, OF SEA AND SEED, is set on the island of Newfoundland, located on the east coast of Canada.

Canada Map

Newfoundland and Labrador shutterstock.com

Newfoundland and Labrador  shutterstock.com

As an avid reader of books with varied geographic settings, I appreciate authors/publishers who include some kind of map to help anchor the story. In order to provide that visual for my readers, I hunted for the perfect image. None available.

I downloaded a map (right) of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. From there, I considered drawing, labeling, scanning, uploading… a lot of work.

A simpler solution came when I consulted a friend (author/graphic designer Brian Rodda ) who suggested doing it the way that National Geographic does. He did a pencil demo; I loved it.

The dedication for my novel reads simply: for love of Newfoundland. I decided the map could be placed below it.  The map is not greatly detailed; that is not required. The main areas in the story are shown: the community of Argentia and the city of St. John’s on the Avalon Peninsula, the Burin Peninsula (community not specified in novel,) and the tiny French island of St. Pierre

Print

Having just seen the interior proof of my novel, I can report that Brian successfully mapped out a solution to what was for me a dilemma. Maybe it is one that will work for you too.

Or maybe you have other ideas to share???

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

21 Reading References for Newfoundland Novel Series

by @AnnieDaylon

Newfoundland 001 (640x637)


OF SEA AND SEED, The Kerrigan Chronicles #1 (in progress), is a work of passion, one which I chose because of my deep connection to my native island of Newfoundland. 

What follows is a list of some of my reading for this series, a list which may be of interest to those who are writing about, or have ties to, Newfoundland. Please note: the “Come Home Year” books on the list were printed for specific events and I purchased them in Newfoundland. The red asterisk beside their titles indicates that I could not find a link to them. (If you find one, let me know. Happy to update!)

 

  1. An Armful of Memories* – Bond’s Path-Southeast Come Home Year 2006. Newfoundland: Transcontinental, 2006

  2. Andrieux, J. P. RumRunners. St. John’s, NL: Flanker Press Ltd., 2009.

  3. Cashin, Peter My Fight for Newfoundland. St. John’s, NL: Flanker Press Ltd., 2012.

  4. Collins, Gary. The Gale of 1929. St. John’s, NL: Flanker Press Ltd., 2013.

  5. Collins, Gerard. Finton Moon. St. John’s NL: Killick Press, 2011

  6. Decks Awash, The Placentia Area. Volume 17, No. 3, May-June, 1988.

  7. Duke, Darrell.  Thursday’s Storm: The August Gale. St. John’s, NL: Flanker Press Ltd., 2013.

  8. Fitzgerald, Jack. Newfoundland Disasters. St. John’s, NL: Creative Publishers, 2005.

  9. Fitzgerald, Jack. Strange but True Newfoundland Stories: St. John’s, NL: Creative Publishers, 1989.

  10. Freshwater Come Home Year Book Committee: Freshwater*. Robinson-Blackmore, 2002

  11. Hanrahan, Maura. Tsunami The Newfoundland Tidal Wave Disaster. St. John’s, NL: Flanker Press Ltd., 2006.

  12. Houlihan, Eileen. UPROOTED! The Argentia Story. St, John’s, NL: Creative Publishers, 1992.

  13. Johnston, Wayne. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 1999.

  14. Lannon, Alice and McCarthy, Mike. Fables, Fairies & Folklore of  Newfoundland. St. John’s, NL: Jesperson Press Ltd., 1991.

  15. Neary, Peter.  Newfoundland in the North Atlantic World 1929-1949 Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988.

  16. Neary, Peter, Ed. WHITE TIE AND DECORATIONS Sir John and Lady Hope Simpson in Newfoundland, 1934-1936.Toronto: University of Toronto Press,1996.

  17. Olive Power, Ed. Bridging Places & People from Big Barasway to Ship Harbour*. Placentia: Placentia Intertown Come Home Year, 2012. shutterstock_118816366

  18. Rompkey, Bill Ed. St. John’s and the Battle of the Atlantic. St. John’s, NL: Flanker Press, 2009.

  19. Strowbridge, Nellie P. The Newfoundland Tongue. St. John’s, NL: Flanker Press Ltd., 2008.

  20. Young, Ron. Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador. St. John’s, NL: Downhome Publishing Inc., 2006.

  21. Young, Ron, Ed. Downhome Memories. St. John’s, NL: Downhome Publishing Inc., 2005.

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