Monthly Archives: December 2014

Goodbye 2014: My year in writing.

2014. What a year.

This is the year I stopped talking about getting published, and actually published TWO novels and TWO novellas.

The year started off shaky. Back in January I was signed with Entranced Publishing. I had just handed Killing Darkness over to my new editor. I assumed the position –my head between my knees– as I hyperventilated. February was a sea of anxiety as I prepared myself for the release of my first novel while I anxiously awaited the fate of my second. My first book, Taming Darkness released on March 3, 2014. The excitement didn’t last very long. On March 25th Entranced Publishing closed it’s doors. I was numb. But, with my rights back, I was free. By April 16th, with the help of S.P. McConnell who designed a gorgeous new look for the series, Taming Darkness was back on the shelves… literally! It made it into my local Barnes and Noble.

BNTaming

Not gonna lie, losing my publishing house/ my three book deal.. it sucked. It was a horrible time. My dreams were crushed, but I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, so I persevered. Boy am I glad that I did. In May, I boarded a plane by myself and headed from NYC to NOLA for the RT14 Convention. I had the most amazing six days of my life. I met incredible women who hold such a special place in my heart. Kara Leigh Miller, Georgeann Swiger, Barbara Garren, Ana Blaze and Rachell Nicole. I love you gals so much! If Entranced did anything good, it brought us together and our friendship is priceless! ❤

In New Orleans I realized something, I wanted nothing more than to be a writer. Yes, I was a writer, but I wanted it 24/7. I wanted to eat, breathe and sleep words. I wanted to create whole worlds and surround myself in the ups and downs of this profession.

And so I did.

After 12 years, I left teaching, and spent June sending out my manuscript to those editors and agents who had requested it at the RT14 Convention in NOLA. By July I was ready to face the Darkness again, and dusted off my old manuscript that I was planning to self publish. In August, a year after I had received my contract from Entranced, I sent Kara my amazing editor Killing Darkness, the sequel to Taming. While she worked on that, I kept myself busy. I wrote a full length New Adult Contemporary Romance in September that I hope to release in February. Then something really amazing happened, I embraced being indie.

Once I realized that being an indie author was actually the proper path for me, the words flowed and stories began to develop faster than I could type. I released a novella in October, another one in November and by the time December rolled through it was time to release Killing Darkness.

I have to thank T.A. Brock, Tammy Farrell and Kristen Strassel who have really helped me this past fall. What amazing women. They have pushed me to be the best writer I can be. If I have learned anything this year it’s to surround yourself with people who have similar goals. The “write” people can really make you soar.

You gals inspire me EVERY DAY! Seriously, one day we’re all gonna meet and it’ll be like this:

So as I close the door on the literary roller coaster that was 2014, I’m ready to embrace 2015. I have the final installation of The Blood Clan Chronicles coming in January and my New Adult novel in February. There are a ton of different routes I can take after that, I really need to look at what projects I want to work on. It is an amazing feeling to have options! I’ve learned so much in 2014, and I’m super excited about the possibilities that 2015 can hold.

What about you? What do you hope for in 2015?

Happy New Year! 🙂

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Sex, Blood and Rock n’ Roll: The Night Songs Collection by Kristen Strassel

We’d love for you to join us in celebrating the release of the box set for THE NIGHT SONGS COLLECTION by Kristen Strassel!

Title: The Night Songs Collection Box Set

TNSC Box set

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Date: December 17, 2014

Cover designer: Designs by Hang Le

Goodreads Page

Amazon

Sex, Blood, and Rock n Roll Books 1-3 of The Night Songs Collection.

Because the Night

Sex, Blood and Rock n’ Roll

Immortal Dilemma is the hottest band in the Las Vegas vampire rock scene. They draw insatiable fans from around the globe, thanks to a supernatural attraction called Bloodlust. Tristan craved such an opportunity to fill his empty mortal life, and now he has eternity to earn his place along the legends of rock n roll debauchery.

Callie always feared that Tristan’s excesses would get him into trouble, but she never thought they’d lead him to immortality. To reconnect with him, she must weave her way through a world not only she had no idea existed, but does not welcome her.

Blade turned down a spot in Immortal Dilemma after learning what he must sacrifice for that lifestyle. He finds Callie a refreshing change from the girls in the vampire rock scene. When Callie drags Blade back into the world of Immortal Dilemma, his resistance drives her into the waiting arms of Tristan, who shows her the true meaning of Bloodlust.

But the very things that Callie fights so hard to save are the very things that fight to destroy her.

Night Moves

We bonded in darkness, over darkness.

Melanie Vaughn’s job ruined everything. Her social life, nonexistent. Her relationship with her boyfriend, a hostile roommate situation. She resolves to fix everything one snowy afternoon, but instead comes home to discover her boyfriend is already exploring other options. Blonder, bustier options. Rage drives Melanie to do the unthinkable.

When Soul Divider was on the top of the world, so was Ryder Maddox. When the band faded into obscurity, Ryder’s luck plummeted with it. In a last ditch effort to rekindle the band’s heyday, Soul Divider teams up with powerful vampire clan leader, Talis de Rancourt. In return for her services, the band pays the ultimate price for never ending fame.

Now on the run, Melanie meets Ryder in a middle of nowhere hotel. She never expected her teenage rock star crush to be as lost and as in need of a companion as she is. Their connection is all consuming, even before they find they share another kinship: murder.

The newly turned vampires in Soul Divider still have a lot to learn. The police and public begin to connect the girls that go missing or die in sync with the band’s tour schedule. Back at home, clues are also adding up against Melanie as well. Between constant media coverage and unrelenting attention from the authorities, Melanie and Ryder find themselves in uncharted territory.

We Own the Night

The Ultimate Manipulation.

Callie Chabot would stop at nothing to save her ex-boyfriend Blade Bennett from the clutches of vampire clan leader Talis de Rancourt, even if means becoming immortal herself. What she doesn’t know is that Blade has already defeated Talis, and he’s waiting for Callie in the afterlife.

Now Callie only has her creator, Tristan Trevosier, to turn to for guidance. But he’s too wrapped up in the debauchery of the Las Vegas rock scene to give a damn about the particulars of being undead. That’s enough to drive Callie crazy on its own, but female vampires are automatic clan leaders.

Not only does Callie have no idea how to wrangle a vampire clan, but her would-be followers have more to gain from her failure. They instead choose to follow Blade–and he’s hell-bent on making Callie pay for her bad decisions. Since he took out the existing clan leader, that automatically puts him at the helm of what should be Callie’s new clan.

A Master of Deception.

That’s when seasoned rogue vampire, Cash Logan, shows up, shrouded in magic and mystery. No one is sure which side Cash is on, but Callie needs to take a chance on the one vampire who is willing to give her the answers she needs, no matter how dark and frightening they may be. Callie must trust her instincts and form alliances that may backfire. Cash shows Callie that playing nice is no longer an option, and that fixing her wrongs won’t always make everything right.

To take control of her clan, Callie must look to her rival to discover exactly what makes her a leader.

About the Author:

Kristen

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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No one will care more about your books than you.

I first began my writing journey back in 2006.

It was a wonderful time, and here’s why. There were zero expectations. I wrote for one person and one person alone: Me. It was a way to release some steam at the end of my work day. It became a sort of therapy for me, a place to escape. The reason I began writing was simple. I couldn’t find the book I was looking for. Sounds arrogant, doesn’t it?

Let me explain. Back when I was thirteen I read Phantom by Susan Kay. It had love, passion, betrayal, murder, culture, history and the words poured off the page. I was hooked. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read that book. I lost count. I own it in paperback, hardcover and digital. It’s the book I always recommend because it has everything for everyone.

That book ruined me for other books.

The closest I came to feeling that type of satisfaction during a read was Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, but even that wasn’t my beloved Phantom.

I became a book junkie. A total addict. My library card was swiped so many times it cracked in half. I took a job at Barnes and Noble just for the discount. And all the time I searched for a book that would give me what Phantom gave me.

Some came close. I loved The Red Tent and was so happy to see it was made into a Lifetime special last week. Memoirs of a Geisha was another favorite. And we won’t even open up the Pandora’s box that is Harry Potter. All I’m going to say is when the movie props toured in NYC and I got to put that sorting hat on my head, my cries of pure joy echoed throughout Times Square as the hat proclaimed me a true Slytherin.

Back to books…

When Twilight emerged I was equally thrilled and disappointed. It was fantastic to have vampires back in the spotlight, but when you shone that spotlight on them– they sparkled. Enough said. *sigh*

So that’s when I began to realize that maybe it was time I created what I couldn’t find. I looked to these amazing writers who filled my bookshelves as my inspiration and hope. If I could create a tenth of what they have accomplished, I’d consider myself blessed.

When I first began writing, I was under the illusion that you write the book, clean it up, query an agent, get a deal, see your book on the shelf. Sure it will take some time, but I believed that this would happen for me.

Um… no.

Yes, that does happen for some people, and for those brand new authors that land that deal… my hat is off to you.

But it didn’t work that way for me. And there are a few reasons it didn’t. The first being, my book simply wasn’t ready. I’ve learned some valuable lessons on my journey, here let me share a few.

1. Having your friend the high school English teacher check your grammar does not strengthen your writing.

No offense to high school English teachers… I ADORE high school English teachers. But, a book needs to be professionally edited. This not only includes sentence structure, but searching for consistency, plot holes and time lapse. If your character is wearing a red sweater on page 11, why did he take off his blue sweater on page 13? An editor is also valuable to teach you the difference between SHOWING and TELLING. Anyone can give a play by play of the scene, but having the scene unfold without the reader realizing they are absorbing precious information, details, and foreshadowing.. that is an art form.

2. Having friends and family read your work is not going to get you an honest critique. 

Only recently have I discovered the value of an honest critique and a red pen. Your work needs to bleed on the page before it can be classified as ready. I used to hate revisions– because I didn’t understand them. Now when I get honest critiques back and I see the notes and comments, I no longer cringe, I celebrate. Here’s why: My critique partner didn’t sugar coat anything. They poured hours of their personal time into making my book shine. They thought about how it could be better. They told me what works and what doesn’t. Anyone can say “it’s good”. It takes a professional to say, “let’s make this better”.

3. People will say no.

The first rejection I received made me cry. As did many others, but then you get over it. It’s not personal. It’s business. Yes, as a writer I am an artist, but the publishing world isn’t looking at my work as art. They are looking at it as “Can this be sold?” I took on the literary impossible. I queried paranormal books in an oversaturated market. Did I know the market was saturated when I wrote them? Of course not. I wrote what I wanted to read, in the hopes that others would want to read as well. Rejections come in all forms. Some make you feel invisible. Those usually start out with, “Dear Author…” that’s when you feel like a statistic and not a person. Some are to the point. “Sorry, not for me.” Then there are the rare gems that make you smile. The rejections that restore your faith in the publishing world. The rejection that talks about your submission and CLEARLY shows it was read by that agent or press. The rejection that points out your strengths and weaknesses and says although this was not the ideal fit, they still encourage you to submit other works to them in the future. When you get one of those, hold on to it. It means the big guy is rooting for you.

4. People will say yes. 

The first time I got an offer it was an out of body experience. I stared at my email in disbelief of its contents. I printed out my contract and peeked at it often. It was the foreign object in my house. For those of you that follow my blog you know that my experience of publishing with a small press was not all sunshine and rainbows. It resulted in my getting my rights back and pursuing a career in indie publishing. But it wasn’t a total loss. I made strong connections along the way and valuable friendships. Prior to that contract I was very alone in my writing journey, now I’m surrounded by brilliant people who have similar visions.

That contract was not the only contract I was offered. I had other offers as well, from agents and small presses. I thought long and hard about what I wanted and I decided, that independent publishing was the best fit for me. This was MY choice. I had to come to it on my own terms. The purpose of me mentioning it here is to show you that sometimes even when people say yes, you need to look at the offer from all angles and ask yourself, “Is this the offer I wanted?” If it’s not, take a step back. The last time I jumped on an offer it resulted in the press taking my money– the money I had earned from book sales. They stole from me and they stole from the readers that supported me. So now I proceed with caution.

Does that make the agents or presses that I rejected bad? NO. It makes them not a good fit for me. We always hear the people on the other side of publishing telling us that we are not a good fit for them. It’s okay to say the same thing to them. I’ve learned that forcing a square peg into a round hole will only result in aggravation and resentment.

4. Self publishing is an option– and it’s a good option– for ME.

Going indie was something I struggled with. After the fall out with my press, I self published Taming Darkness to ensure that it wouldn’t die. I took that book to New Orleans, had my first signing and handed out business cards to strangers on Bourbon street. (Just to clarify, when you’re in NOLA, shame goes out the window, so it was relatively easy to hand someone my paperback and ask, “Do you like sexy shifters and a villain with no moral compass who seduces a nun?”) As much fun as I had, there was a dark side to my trip. I was surrounded by “successful” authors. It was a reminder of how everything had fallen apart so quickly. My contract no longer existed. My book hadn’t even sold 100 copies. I had self published. To me it meant, I gave up.

So I pitched my other book. And I waited. (I’m STILL waiting on someone who has had my full MS for seven months.) Although I had miraculously broken even with Taming Darkness, it was dying. I had given up my full time job of being a teacher to make my dreams come true, and I felt like a failure.

It took the realization that I wanted the career more than I wanted the dream to get things going for me. I know it’s taboo to talk numbers, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. During August and September, I sold 3 copies of Taming Darkness. I had to really pimp that book to get those sales, and hence my depression. But then things changed. During the last seven weeks, I sold 300 copies of my books. How did I go from 3 to 300? Simple. I wrote more books. That’s all. I released two novellas and a novel between October 22 and December 5. I took my career into my own hands. I invested in editors, formatters and cover art. I rounded up beta readers and critique partners. I stopped waiting for someone to say yes to me. I said yes to myself.

Now some people might see that number and think it’s pathetic. Everyone has a different yard stick to measure their own success. To be honest, I see this as the foundation that I am laying the bricks of my career on. I have another novella being released in January that will complete my vampire series and a New Adult Contemporary Romance that will release in February. My only problem is, what do I write next? I have so many plot bunnies multiplying in my brain, how do I choose? See with indie publishing you don’t have to worry about what will agents want. You only worry, what will readers want?

Thank the gods for George R.R. Martin. It makes me sad that I discovered Game of Thrones only after it was televised. Not only is he a brilliant writer, but he inspired me to write what I was always drawn to– a world where happily ever after doesn’t necessarily happen. Back when I was querying, I was limited to who I could sub to, because most places required HEA, especially if you are a romance writer. Yes, HEA is a lovely escape, but I can’t relate to it.

One of the conditions when I signed with my press was that I change the ending of Taming Darkness. They wanted HEA. The thought made me sick. We negotiated and compromised, I gave them HFN. When it came to Killing Darkness I had to write the story I wanted to tell. I took a HUGE risk. Based on my readers response, and the questions of… when will we have book 3? I’d say that risk paid off.

5. No two writing paths are ever alike.

I wish there was a magic formula that I could give you. A way to say, if you do this you will be successful as an author. But I can’t. Everyone has to find their own path. As you can see, I’m still learning. This was my journey. What’s yours?

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A tour of my book universe.

So as many of you know, I’m a city girl. I grew up in Queens, New York and was just a fifteen minute train ride from Manhattan. This means that NYC is my stomping grounds so it seems only natural that all my books would be set there.

Yes, I do make up places… what author doesn’t? Our job is to tell fantastic tales. Basically, I get paid to be a professional liar. BUT, some of the places in my story are real concrete places that you can go to. So let’s take a tour and see where my angels and demons like to hang out.

Inside the devil’s playground. St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The last place Adam ever expected Brielle to take him to was church.

“If you wanted a lion, all you had to do was ask me for one.”~Lucas 

Brielle finds comfort in the stone lions outside the NYC Public Library. She loves to read, so the library is an obvious choice. But the lions are a symbol of Christ. Unknowingly, what comforts her is the enemy her father refuses to speak of.

“I can’t let you pay. If you pay for dinner, then it’s a date.”~Brielle

Dinner at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in Greenwich Village called Burrito Loco and drinks at The Slaughtered Lamb. Yup, you can go there, too.

“I didn’t bring my swimsuit.”~Adam 

This rooftop bar is one of my favorite places to go in the city. It’s a great place for a “girls night”.

“They got the sword all wrong.”~Michael

While at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brielle has a discussion about this painting in particular with two archangels.

Bethesda Fountain. When Brielle goes looking for Michael, she knows just where to find him. This is my favorite spot in Central park. It holds many wonderful memories for me, so it seemed fitting that Brielle and Michael would have an important scene take place here.

“Adam told me to meet him at the fountain.”~Brielle

The Metropolitan Opera House. One of my absolute favorite scenes to write. I hope you enjoyed it too!

Lucifer’s Lair.

Now, I need to be vague with this one. His address may be the upper East Side, but taking creative liberties, this building is located on the West.  If his lair was easy to find, everyone would be ringing his doorbell. But you have to admit… he’s got a great view 😉

These are just some of the places that my characters hang out around in Killing Darkness. To find out where else they go… well, you’ll have to read the book.

Killing Darkness is available NOW in digital and print.

http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Darkness-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00Q3EWCRQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1418655516&sr=8-2&keywords=kat+daemon

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Book Birthday: Killing Darkness!

So… I sort of am having a HUGE day today… Trying to take it all in.

Let’s rewind a bit…

If you were given the choice between Heaven or Hell, it would be an easy decision correct?

What if choosing Heaven made you selfish, but choosing Hell meant you were living up to your destiny and staying loyal and true to your family? Suddenly the choice isn’t so easy now is it?

That’s the decision my main character must make in my novel, Killing Darkness. And guess what?

After two years of conception and six more years of drafting, writing, revising and editing…

It released… TODAY!

So… after years and years of work… how do I feel?

Relieved. Excited. Shocked. Terrified.

You know… the usual.

This is the fourth work that I’ve hit the publish button on, but my first “epic” novel. Killing is 424 pages and over 50 chapters long. It truly was a journey to write, and I’m hoping it will be an enjoyable read.

A book this intricate and lengthy requires a team of amazing people, and I had them. My editor Kara Leigh Miller is fantastic! She points out how to make my books stronger, how to make my characters shine and how to really pull on the heartstrings of readers. We’ve laughed over this book, and even had some teary moments over certain scenes. She is an AMAZING editor and I am so lucky to have her in my corner, as not only a fellow writer but a great friend. She has shown me how to add dimension to my characters, and knows my work so well she’s the first to call me out when a character is acting… well… out of character!  I know I’m a better writer because of her guidance. Not to mention she’s read this huge book many, many times by now, and hasn’t run away screaming. Kara, you are the best. Love you girl! ❤

One thing a writer always dreams about is their cover. We don’t just dream– we agonize over it. Will it be pretty and make you want to pick it up? Will readers fall in love with the imagery and think…I must have it? Killing Darkness weaves mythology, and morals in a modern setting. It has supernatural creatures socializing with mortals and deals with love, death, and choices. How could one cover express all that? It wouldn’t be found in stock photos. It needed someone special who would understand. When I contacted S.P. McConnell last February to talk about the Taming Darkness cover, my hope was that he would do the entire trilogy. I loved the first cover. It had innocence, and seduction all in one image. I could feel the movement of her hair and it felt like I was there– watching. I knew Sean would create a great cover for Killing Darkness. But he didn’t create a great cover. He gave me a MASTERPIECE. Have you seen it? Look! Look! ( I suggest clicking on the image to see all the amazing details!)

Killing Darkness Cover Digital 4

S.P. didn’t just give me the cover and walk away. When it had “technical difficulty” he worked into the wee hours of the night making sure it was exactly what I had envisioned. I’m so lucky not only to have him as my cover artist, but also to call him a friend. Cheers!!

So are you ready for the blurb?

Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Brielle, born of a mortal-immortal union between a human mother and the devil Himself, is prophesied to be the one capable of turning the tide in the brewing apocalypse.

As Brielle’s thirtieth birthday draws near, she strikes a deal with the devil and sets out on a journey of self discovery. In an attempt to comprehend what it means to be fully human, Brielle finds herself at the door of her therapist, Adam. Blurring relationship lines and questioning everything, she quickly learns that humanity, vulnerability, and love are things she isn’t prepared to handle. Distancing herself, she finds shelter in her father’s arms once more.

Two worlds are about to collide…

When the archangel Michael suddenly takes a deep interest in Brielle, Lucifer begins to understand that his greatest opponent is curious about more than just her choice. Michael’s fall will be Lucifer’s rise and only Brielle holds the key to making it happen.

With a human, an angel, and a demon all tearing at her heart, Brielle realizes it’s time to decide if her loyalties lie with Michael in Heaven or her father in Hell.

What do you think? Ready to head to Amazon?

Here’s the link!

http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Darkness-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00Q3EWCRQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1417791832&sr=8-3&keywords=kat+daemon

And just a note about the book. Although it is called Book 2 of The Darkness saga, Killing Darkness CAN be read as a stand alone book. But, I suggest grabbing a copy of Taming Darkness to better understand Lucifer’s choices in book 2. Taming is on sale for a limited time for only 99cents!

The eBook for Killing went live today. The print will be available VERY, VERY SOON!

xoxo ❤

Thanks for all your support. Readers are the reason I write!

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Kat Daemon’s KILLING DARKNESS IS HERE!

It’s my Book’s Birthday!!!

Tammy Farrell

Killing Darkness, the long awaited sequel to Kat Daemon’s Taming Darkness is finally here and I can’t wait to read it! *THROWS ALL THE CONFETTI!*

KillingDarknessCoverReveal

Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Brielle, born of a mortal-immortal union between a human mother and the devil Himself, is prophesied to be the one capable of turning the tide in the brewing apocalypse.

As Brielle’s thirtieth birthday draws near, she strikes a deal with the devil and sets out on a journey of self discovery. In an attempt to comprehend what it means to be fully human, Brielle finds herself at the door of her therapist, Adam. Blurring relationship lines and questioning everything, she quickly learns that humanity, vulnerability, and love are things she isn’t prepared to handle. Distancing herself, she finds shelter in her father’s arms once more.

Two worlds are about to collide…

When…

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Tantalizing Tuesdays: More Men in Kilts

I was looking for inspiration to help with book 3 of The Blood Clan Chronicles… I found it! What a delicious blog post!

In Stefter's Humble Opinion

It’s time for another Tantalizing Tuesday!

If you’re over 18 and want to see the pics for this week’s Tantalizing Tuesday, then click the link below to continue. Consider yourself warned!

Few of my Tantalizing Tuesday posts have been as popular as my Men In Kilts post.  That said, I think it’s time to look at some more men in kilts.  I’m not gonna lie, Outlander, Jamie Fraser and Sam Heughan may have influenced my decision to revisit this topic.

mmk1 I wonder what he’s got in his sporran.

Ewan McGregor Ewan McGregor all decked out.

Jason Momoa 2 Jason Momoa – I’m thinking words are not required.

Kit-Harington Kit Harrington. WET!!!!

mmk2 It’s a lovely day for some archery.

mmk3 Nice thigh!!!

Stuart Reardon Stuart Reardon – Yummilicious!!!!

Sam Heughan Sam Heughan – Leather and a kilt. SO VERY HOT!!!

Outlander 2014 Jamie Fraser – Wedding portrait. I DO!!!!!

mmk5 I know I’ve posted this one before but I just had to again. It’s definitely…

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