chasingthecrazies

Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

2017 Sun Vs. Snow Agent Round! February 8, 2017

 

 

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Today is the day our 21 amazing agents can begin reading the Team Sun entries and making requests. Not only will they see the amazing entries here, but they can also make requests for Team Snow over at Michelle Hauck’s blog!

 

 

As the agents move through the entries, please remember that contests are subjective. Our agents have a definitive idea of what they would like for their list. If they do not request, it DOES NOT mean the entry was not worthy. No matter what happens, you’ve got to keep querying and NEVER GIVE UP!

 

 

Before Team Sun outshines Team Snow, here are some guidelines to remember:

 

 

There is no commenting in this round except for agents. Sorry, but no cheerleading as this may lead to an unconscious bias.

 

 

We are happy to see and retweet your thoughts and cheers over on Twitter under the #sunvssnow tag! That’s the place to hang out and have fun! I hope to see my Team Sun members present and waving their pom poms! We have some blazing hot entries that are going to completely melt Team Snow!

 

 

Watch both my and Michelle’s Twitter feed as we will be tweeting when an agent makes an appearance!

 

 

Agents will consider entries at both the blogs regardless of whether they are Sun or Snow fans. Michelle and I are hoping the agents go crazy with the requests! There is amazing talent on both our teams!

 

 

Good luck to all! And get out the shades and SPF 50 because the heat is coming for Team Snow!

 

 

Welcome 2017 TEAM SUN writers!! January 31, 2017

 

 

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I’m very excited to share this post today and welcome a fabulous group of writers to TEAM SUN!

 

My choices are listed below by category in no particular order. If your entry was not selected, please remember we only had 32 spots for over 200 entries. This year by far was the most difficult for me. If you weren’t selected, it is NOT a reflection on the quality of your work.  Please go out and query. Many successful authors were plucked from the slush pile!

 

After you check out my picks, hop over to Michelle’s blog to see the list for TEAM SNOW!

 

 

And now what you’ve been waiting for…Team Sun!!

 

 

 

ADULT

 

Broken Promises: The Last Gift – Contemporary Romance

Loving Laney – Contemporary Romance

The Underappreciated Art of Not Dying – Women’s Fiction (Ownvoices)

 

 

 

MIDDLE GRADE

 

Jumping Fences – Contemporary

Your Favorite Mascot – Contemporary (Ownvoices)

The Sound Inside – Magical Realism

 

 

YOUNG ADULT

 

The Blood Blade – Fantasy

Mr. Frank’s Five – Contemporary

The Hollowed Heart – Sci-Fi (Ownvoices)

Salt – Fantasy

The Gemini Curse – Speculative

Ambiance of Lies – Thriller

The Badger Project – Speculative

Refuge – Psych Thriller

Soul Catchers – Paranormal

World I Woke Up To – Apocalyptic Thriller

 

 

 

If you’re part of TEAM SUN, CONGRATS!! Expect an email from your mentor soon. Your mentor will help you fine tune your entry privately all this week. Also, I want to stay in touch with each of my picks, so if we don’t already follow each other on Twitter, let’s fix that. My handle: @atrueblood5

 

Now for the important part:

 

Your final revised entry must be back to me no later than Sunday, February 5 at 3:00 pm EST. That’s so I have time to format the entries and have them ready to post for the agent round on Wednesday, February 8 (please don’t make me hunt you down!) Mail your revised entry to the contest email Sunversussnow (at) yahoo (dot) com. Please use the exact same format.

 

After that, it will be up to the agents to decide! Congrats and good luck to everyone!

 

 

SUN VS. SNOW SUBMISSION DAY!!! January 23, 2017

 

 

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Hooray! Hooray! The submission window for Sun versus Snow opens today at 4:00 pm EST!

 

 

 

Act fast. We will only be taking the first 200 entries. Please do not enter early or your entry will be deleted. You can resend at the proper time if this happens accidentally. Confirmation emails will be sent. If you don’t receive one, don’t resend. We don’t want duplicate entries. Please check with us on Twitter first to confirm your entry did or did not arrive, then you may resend. There is only ONE, yes that’s right, ONE entry per person allowed. Any attempt to cheat will result in entries being thrown out. This contest is only for finished and polished stories.

 

 

Important note: The story can’t have been in the agent round of any other contest in the last three months. This doesn’t mean twitter pitch events with hashtags, but multiple agent blog contests. 

 

 

Also, Michelle and I have decided not to accept picture books for this contest. Though we love picture books, Michelle holds special contests just for them. We do accept all MG, YA, NA and Adult genres, excluding erotica.

 

 

 

The Format:

 

Send submission to Sunversussnow (at) yahoo (dot) com. Only one submission per person is allowed. It doesn’t matter if you write under different names or are submitting different manuscripts. You are still one person and get one entry.

 

Here’s how it should be formatted (yes, include the bolded!) Please use Times New Roman (or equivalent), 12 pt font, and put spaces between paragraphs. No indents or tabs are needed. No worries if your gmail doesn’t have Times New Roman. No worries if the email messes up your format. Yes, we will still read it! 🙂

 

(Here’s a trick to keep your paragraph spacing: copy and paste your entry into your email and then put in the line spaces. They seem to get lost when you copy and paste. It may look right but sending scrambles the spacing.)

 

Subject Line: SVS: TITLE, Age Category + Genre

(example: SVS: GRUDGING, Adult Epic Fantasy)

 

 

In The Email:

 

Title: MY FANTASTIC BOOK (yes, caps!)

Genre: YA dystopian Ownvoices (Age category and genre. New this year! Add “Ownvoices” here if it applies)

Word Count: XX,XXX (round to the nearest thousand)
Twitter Handle: (Optional so we can contact you. Will not be public.)
Is Your Main Character hot or cold?: 

Describe whether your character is hot or cold. Personalities differ. Is your character a person of volatile emotions or are they calm under pressure?

 

(Can be in your MC’s POV, but doesn’t have to be. 100 words or less.)

 

 

Query:

 

Query goes here! Include greeting and main paragraphs. Please leave out bio, closing, and word count + genre sentence. You may include comps if you’d like. There is no word count limit on the query but please aim for 250 – 300 words.

 

New this year! You may include if your story is OwnVoices up in the genre line. We really want diverse and talented writers and stripping out the bios sometimes leaves us in the dark. Ownvoices means the author is from the same marginalized group as the mc in the story. 

 

Remember a query has several paragraphs. Don’t send us a pitch.

 

 

First 250 words:

 

Here are the first 250 words of my manuscript, and I will not end in the middle of a sentence. But I will not go over 257 words. Be reasonable and don’t make us count. Don’t forget to space between paragraphs! No indents!

 

 

And now that the rules are out of the way, how about the fun stuff?!!

 

 

 

 

 

TWITTER PARTY!!!

 

 

 

Here are the suggested daily topics. But if you want to make up your own fun games on the hashtag #SunvsSnow then go right ahead! Just keep it clean and inclusive for all.

 

  1. Submission day! What genre and age category will you/did you enter? Show us a sun or snow picture from your neighborhood.

 

  1. It’s very important to read new books in your genre to get a sense of pacing and timing as well as style. What book in your genre have you read recently?

 

  1. Do you get more writing done when there’s sun (summer) or snow (winter)? When are you most productive?

 

  1. Do you have a writing goal for each day? How do you carve out time to write?

 

  1. Pantser or plotter or somewhere in between?

 

  1. Shout out a favorite line from the ms you entered.

 

  1. If you had to choose one goal for your writing career this year, what would it be?

 

  1. Beta readers and Critique Partners are important in the writing world. Where did you meet yours so others can check out those places?

 

  1. Final advice as before picks are announced on how you manage nerves during contests/querying?

 

 

Have fun! Mix and mingle! Make friends! Be active! Let’s have fun today!!

 

 

FIRED UP FRIDAY: A Publishing Journey with Joy McCullough January 20, 2017

 

 

In a recent Monday Musings I talked about how too often we see negativity in the writing community. I’m tired of opening social media and seeing authors tear each other down when we should really be building one another up. Supporting each other.

 

With that idea in mind, I reached out to some friends who have had AMAZING publishing journeys and asked that they share (in their own words!) what they went through before they saw their publishing dream realized.

 

My hope is that these posts will light a fire in each and every writer who may be struggling. Encourage those who wonder if they can take another month in the query trenches. Build up those feeling low from being on submission for what feels like forever. Each post will be proof that if you hold onto that dream it CAN and WILL come true.

 

 

 

 

Fired up Friday – A Post by Joy McCullough

 

 

 

 

In the fall of 2016, I sold my debut novel. It was only on submission for a week before the editor wanted a phone call.

 

 

BUT WAIT. Before you rage against another quick-sale-story while you’ve been languishing on sub for months and months and maybe even years, let me back up.

 

 

First of all, I wrote five middle grade novels before I signed with my first agent. I detail that in this blog post (http://joymcculloughcarranza.blogspot.com/2014/02/how-i-got-my-super-amazing-agent.html), but here’s the short version: 290 queries, 47 full requests, one offer from a really well-respected agent.

 

 

I was with that agent for two years. I kept writing. She put three different manuscripts on sub. (New ones, not the trunked ones from before I signed with her.)

 

 

Eventually, I went through the really agonizing decision to part ways with that agent. I blog about that in this post http://project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogspot.com/2016/01/on-parting-ways-with-literary-agents-by.html but here’s the short version: leaving an agent is scary, but worth it if they weren’t the right match, and it’s really very common. You’re not alone, if that’s your situation.)

 

 

Since it had taken me so long to sign with my first agent, I was pretty convinced it might take me another five novels to do it again. Or maybe I’d never have another agent. But as it turned out, I signed with the amazing Jim McCarthy quickly, did some revisions, and got out on sub, sure that this time would be different!

 

And you know what? That book didn’t sell either.

 

 

But! Jim was supportive and lovely (and still hasn’t given up on that book). Once that book had gone on sub, I had sent him a list of pitches for what I should work on next. There were five or six things on the list. At the very end of the list, I tacked on an idea that seemed so wildly unmarketable that I was almost embarrassed to include it.

 

 

But I did. (Because I’m a glutton for rejection? I don’t know.)

 

 

And Jim wrote back (within five minutes, probably, because that’s how he is) and said, WRITE THAT LAST ONE. (And then he hedged to say how several of the other ideas were good too and I should do what I wanted to do, because he’s always trying to let me be me. But it was clear how he really felt. And I really trust him.)

 

 

That last pitch? Was for BLOOD WATER PAINT.

 

 

It’s a historical verse novel set in the 17th century. Also partially set in Biblical times. Super feminist. I didn’t know what Jim was thinking. But it’s a story I’ve loved for a long time—an adaptation of one of my own plays. And I was excited about the possibilities of making it a YA novel. So I wrote it. And revised it. And it went on sub. And guys, this was my fifth book to go on sub. The tenth I’d written. My hopes? They were LOW.

 

 

Low really doesn’t begin to describe it.
And THEN. A week after it went on sub, my phone rang. I was at my sewing table. It was Jim. Jim hadn’t called me at all during the submission period of the first book we tried to sell. A phone call seemed like it might mean something.

 

 

He was calling to tell me an editor wanted to have a phone call with me. (And not just an editor. THE editor that I had freaked out to see on my submission list.)

 

 

“WHAT DOES THIS MEEEEAAAAAAN???” was my immediate response.

 

 

Jim didn’t know for sure, but it definitely wasn’t bad news. So we set up the call (blessedly for just a couple days later).

 

 

I have phone anxiety. And this felt like maybe the most important phone call ever. But the editor was incredibly lovely, and mainly wanted to talk about how I’d come to write this story and what my hopes were for it. And at the end of the call, he said he “hoped to offer” and would know in about a week if he could.

 

 

Of course, publishing is publishing, so it was more like three weeks before my phone rang again. With Jim’s number. I was at my sewing table again. (I really don’t sew that much! Next time I’m on submission, though, I’ll probably sew non-stop.)

 

 

And he told me Andrew Karre at Dutton Young Readers had made an offer on BLOOD WATER PAINT to be published in 2018.

 

 

More things had to happen before all was final, including another phone call with Andrew, throughout which he was standing in an NYC Whole Foods. Also several phone calls with Jim, during which I was so grateful he already knew I could form actual sentences, because I was probably less coherent than I’ve ever been in my entire life.

 

 

And then, finally, it was real. It was happening. I didn’t believe it, of course. Not when I signed the contract. Not when I finally got to announce it. Not even now that I’ve been working with Andrew (who is straight up brilliant) for a couple months. It probably won’t feel real until I’m holding the book in my hands.

 

 

But it IS happening. There’s even a Goodreads page! (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33301702-blood-water-paint?ac=1&from_search=true) My book is going to have a cover and ARCs and even be on bookstore shelves one day!

 

 

And yours will too, eventually. It might even happen on your very first book. If so, that’s AMAZING! But if your journey is on the longer side, just know you’re on a well-trodden path.

 

 

These are my trail essentials for the long route to a book deal:

 

 

  • The AMAZING kidlit community—find your people and surround yourself with them.

 

  • Your next story: As soon as you begin querying or subbing one manuscript, start the next thing. Getting invested in a new project has always been key for me.

 

  • Be kind to yourself. It’s okay to step away for a bit when rejections get to be too much and/or it’s not fun any more.

 

 

You’ll be back. Because you have stories to tell—and I can’t wait to read them.

 

 

 

 

headshot1Joy McCullough’s debut YA novel BLOOD WATER PAINT is coming from Dutton in 2018. She’s a freelance editor, ghostwriter, and Pitchwars mentor. You can find her on Twitter at @JMCwrites and on her website at www.joymcculloughcarranza.com

 

FREE PASS DETAILS FOR TEAM SUN! January 9, 2017

 

SUBMISSION WINDOW NOW CLOSED FOR TEAM SUN FREE PASS

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Before I provide details on the Free Pass, I thought I’d share a quick, fun story.

 

One of the first writing conferences I ever attended was in San Francisco. The experience was both informative and a little bit intimidating. The conference took place in a beautiful hotel, and the craft sessions were held in small conference rooms that looked like they had not been renovated since the turn of the twentieth century.

 

One of the best sessions I attended was on crafting an elevator pitch. For those who do not know, an elevator pitch is a one to two sentence pitch describing your story. It should be no more than 30-60 seconds and entice the agent to request more.

 

For example: Bitten by a radioactive spider, a young man learns how to manage his new extraordinary powers in order to save a city under attack by a brutal villain. 

 

LOL! Not the best example, but you get where I’m going.

 

Even with clear direction, it was hard to figure out how to take a sixty thousand word story and boil it down to one sentence, but after forty-five minutes, I had something I was proud of.

 

After the session was over, we were reminded to practice the pitch until we felt comfortable with it.  I imagined if I ever got that opportunity to actually use the pitch it wouldn’t be until later in the conference. If you guessed it, I was wrong. Not ten minutes later I was introduced to an agent who asked to hear my pitch. Needless to say, I flubbed it, but the agent was a good sport and went on to ask me several more questions about my manuscript.

 

The point I learned from that experience is that you can never know your story too well. The elevator pitch forces you to glean down your story to its core element. Root out what makes it unique, something an agent would be eager to request.

 

So after that long-winded story, I bet you can guess what you’ll have to do to qualify to enter for my FREE PASS…Yes, provide an elevator pitch for the story you will be subbing for Sun vs. Snow in the comments section below.

 

The Free Pass window will be open now until January 19. I will announce the winner here on the blog (at the bottom of this post) on January 21. The winner will get automatic entry into the contest and will work directly with one of the TEAM SUN mentors to polish up their entry before it goes live during our agent round.

 

Good luck and I look forward to reading your pitches!

 

 

Congrats Paul Sylvia (@rykter07)! You are the winner of the TEAM SUN FREE PASS!

 

 

Introducing the 2017 TEAM SUN Mentors!!! January 6, 2017

Filed under: Blog,contest,Publishing,Query,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 7:07 am
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This is one of my most favorite times of the year! Sun vs Snow is really a labor of love and Michelle and I could NOT pull it off without the help of our incredible mentors.

 

This year we have some familiar faces returning as well as new writers jumping in to help the selected entries. Please give them a warm welcome in the comments and let them know how happy you are to have them participating this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brooks Benjamin lives in Tennessee with his wife and their incredibly spoiled dog. MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS (Delacorte/Random House) is his first novel.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brooksbenjamin

Website: http://www.brooksbenjamin.com/

 

 

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Dance studios are for sell-outs. Or at least that’s what Dillon’s dance crew keeps saying. But when a chance to compete at the biggest dance academy in the state falls in his lap, he has to decide what’s more important: sticking to his crew’s rules or freestyling his way into solo greatness.

 

Buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Seventh-Grade-Life-Tights-Brooks-Benjamin/dp/0553512501

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-seventh-grade-life-in-tights-brooks-benjamin/1122342052

Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780553512502

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A third generation native Arizonan, Kelly deVos can tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cactus, cattle and climate. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Her debut novel, FAT GIRL ON A PLANE, will be published in August 2017 by Harlequin Teen and her work has been featured in Normal Noise and 202 Magazine.

 

Links:

Blog: http://insanity.today

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KdeVosAuthor

Tumblr: http://kellydevosauthor.tumblr.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellydevos/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31123268-fat-girl-on-a-plane

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jody Holford lives in British Columbia with her family. She’s unintentionally funny and rarely on time for anything. She writes multiple genres but her favorite is romance. Her most recent release, More than Friends from Entangled Publishing, is the first in a three book series. To read the first chapter you can check out http://entangledpublishing.com/more-than-friends/ Book 2 will be out in March 2017.

 

 

 

 

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Website: www.jodyholford.weebly.com

https://www.facebook.com/Authorjodyholford/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7370077.Jody_Holford

https://www.pinterest.com/jholford/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jody-holford

https://twitter.com/1prncs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kip Wilson is a YA writer represented by Roseanne Wells of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. Her work has been published in the TIMELESS and SPAIN FROM A BACKPACK anthologies as well as several magazines for children. She is the Poetry Editor and acting Editor in Chief at YARN: The YA Review Network, publishing new teen writers alongside superstars like Jacqueline Woodson.

 

 

 

Website: http://www.kipwilsonwrites.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kiperoo

YARN: http://yareview.net/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Spence is a YA author represented by Heather Flaherty at The Bent Agency. She lives in Utah with her husband and four kids, but still calls California home and wears flip flops year-round, no matter the weather. A classically trained actress with degrees in English Literature and Theatre, she fell in love with storytelling on stage, but discovered that the costumes for writers were much more comfortable, and happily tells stories in her pajamas now. While she uses the perspective of a dramatic performer to create her imagined characters and worlds, she’s not dramatic at all in real life. You can find her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/summywins or on her website at www.summerspence.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. KISSING MAX HOLDEN is her debut novel.

 

 

 

SOCIAL – Website  ::  Facebook  ::  Twitter  ::  Instagram  ::  Goodreads  ::  Tumblr

 

 

 

 

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After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea. With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

 

BOOK LINKS – Mark Kissing Max Holden T0-Read on Goodreads

Preorder Kissing Max Holden from Amazon

Preorder Kissing Max Holden from Indie Bound

Preorder Kissing Max Holden from Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

Want to check out who TEAM SNOW has recruited to mentor this year? Stop by Michelle’s blog to see her list of amazing writers!

 

Again, many thanks to all these writers for agreeing to mentor this year. Want to ask them questions or have a general contest or writing question? Drop into our annual Sun vs. Snow Twitter chat on Thursday, January 19. We will have two sessions. The first will begin at 4pm EST and the second will start at 8pm EST. We hope you’ll stop by and chat with us using the #SvSChat hashtag.

 

Keep a lookout next week for details about the TEAM SUN FREE PASS as well as our agent reveal. You won’t believe the list of agents participating this year!!

 

 

MONDAY MUSINGS: Daring to Dream BIG!! December 5, 2016

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 9:50 am
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It’s funny how people in our lives teach us big and small lessons every single day. I’ve been doing this writing thing seriously for five years now and I’ve never really allowed myself to think beyond getting the next book finished.

 

 

When it’s come to querying, or even being on submission, I’ve never thought about what would really happen if my big dream came true. Maybe it was to keep my sanity, never allowing myself to believe that something I’d been hoping for since I was a child would actually become a reality.

 

 

Even though I’ve had some ups and downs this year, I’ve never thought beyond the next step. My focus has always been on the next word, sentence, chapter. And perhaps because of this, it’s put a damper on allowing myself to contemplate that really BIG success.

 

 

It wasn’t until recently that I came to this epiphany, and the lesson I learned came from someone in my own family. For years, this person has focused on a single dream. They’ve been knocked down more times than I can count, but somehow they’ve found the resolve to get back into the fray and keep fighting. Their singular wish has never changed, and they’ve kept their head down and focused on that dream. A little over a month ago, this person finally achieved that reality. Now at the end of this week, this cherished love in my life will step into a national arena and finally realize that goal.  You think being a writer I could put into words how proud I am, but at this moment words truly fail me.

 

 

For everyone in my family this moment seems surreal. The family member has talked about this dream since they were very small, and to know their wish will come true is almost incomprehensible.

 

 

I’m in awe over what this person has taught me at such a young age, but I’m also very inspired. Inspired to keep working. Keep writing. Where once I felt very defeated by the process, I’m now encouraged to find a new path. To take control of my own writing future, and to finally allow myself to DREAM BIG!

 

 

So today, I’d ask you to think about all the people in your life who inspire you. Who have set a goal and then worked to achieve it. I encourage you to let their success motivate you. To think about new paths to reach your own dreams. Hopefully, this will make 2017 an incredible year for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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