Posts Tagged With: children’s books

“I Take Thee …”: Making That Commitment To Your Book

“Congratulations on your book.”

People are impressed with anyone who has completed the task of writing a whole book.  There are thousands, if not millions, of people who have sat down to a keyboard to start writing a book but never finished it.

After all these years of working at it, I have to pinch myself with the fact that my fifteenth mystery, Kill and Run, the first installment of my new series, The Thorny Rose Mysteries, was released on September 4.

Kill and Run

Released Sept 4, Kill and Run, Lauren’s 15th mystery, has been in the top 100 on Amazon in three different mystery categories. Click on Book Cover to view on Amazon.

My goal is to release five books this year. Struggling writers who are unable to complete even one book, often ask, “How is that possible?” As a matter of fact, I was recently asked to conduct a workshop entitled, “Writing that Bucket List Novel” to answer that question. Most writers assume that I am able to do this simply because I do write full time. I treat my writing like a job.

“Me,” they say, “I have a full time job and family to interrupt me. No way can I write a full book in less than a year.”

Believe it or not, I completely understand. I was there. But contrary to the dream of being able to sit at a desk, uninterrupted, left alone to create literary masterpieces at my leisure—this is not—

Hold that thought. My husband just came running into the room because his computer screen looks different and he got scared.

Where was I?

Unless you are totally committed to not just working on—but completing—your book, all the freedom from working for a living, family obligations, finding wallets and remotes, feeding dogs, running sweepers, finding your son’s athletic clothes, cooking dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, flying in to the school because your son forgot his essay which is due today and he’s going to flunk out of calculus and end up living in your attic for the rest of his life if you don’t stop writing the gun fight scene right now to get it there in ten minutes—

In a nutshell—it takes total commitment!

Best-Selling Mystery Author Lauren Carr ... and Gnarly, too.

International best-selling author Lauren Carr invites aspiring writers to join her in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, for a writers retreat in November (during National Novel Writing Month). Click on photo to visit Lauren’s website for more details.

A young writer who attended one of my workshops told me that he had quit his job. He had a full time job with the federal government and was making good money. Young, unmarried, and living at home with his parents, he saved up enough money to support himself for a full year. Then, he quit his job to finish his book.

A year later, he had a half dozen uncompleted manuscripts. He spent much of that time doing favors and running errands for friends and family who said, “Since you’re not doing anything …”

Believe it or not, this is a perception that many people make. Even after all these years, my family assumes since I wear my grungy bathrobe all day and sit around with a laptop in my lap that I’m not doing anything.

Yes, I am doing something!

If you don’t consider your book important, no one else will. When you make a commitment to something, you make it a priority. If you have a full time job and your buddy calls you to help him move a sofa, would you leave your job to go do it? No, because if you leave your job it may not be there when you get back. Same with your book. If you keep leaving it to go do other stuff, then you won’t ever finish it.

This means you have to put your writing ahead of Keeping Up With the Kardashian.

Now, let’s address the half dozen unfinished manuscripts.

This is what I call the Forty-Page Block. It’s not always page forty. Sometimes it’s page twenty-five or page one hundred and twenty-five. Whichever page number it is, at some point there’s a block that separates the authors from the wannabes.

At this hurdle, many writers will simply throw in the towel and walk away without looking back.

Others will try to get around the block in this book by starting a second book. Inspired by ideas from Book One, Book Two may even be a sequel to its unfinished predecessor. Then, the writer will be hit with another inspiration too good to ignore and abandon that project to start another and then another.

The Forty-Page Block stems from loss of interest in the project. Maybe the writer has a short attention span. Maybe the project isn’t worth the paperless word doc it’s written on. Whatever the reason, when the book ceases to be new and fresh, the writer doesn’t want to work on it anymore.

This is the dividing line between those writers who want to be authors and authors who have published books under their belts. Published authors will stick to a book through thick and thin. Even when he’d rather watch the game with the guys, he’ll go to that laptop and churn out five or six pages.

When he finds himself staring at the same Word doc that he’s been looking at for the last seven weeks and sees that it’s not looking very pretty, the author doesn’t walk away. He’ll work even harder to rekindle that flame of passion. He’ll stick with it, no matter what it takes – even if it means a complete rewrite.

Walking away or running off with another book is no option for the true author. Yes, new book ideas may be more fun, and easier to work on, but those flings will only be distractions in reaching the goal of seeing this relationship to the end — that being publication.

So, if you’re a writer seeking to become the author of that one finished manuscript, I call on you now to take the plunge and make that commitment by putting your right hand on your keyboard and repeating after me:

I, state your name or pen name , take thee  book title  to be my published book. To compose and obsess, for rewrite and edit, in polishing and proofreading, from this day forward, until publication do we part.

You two make a beautiful couple.

Lauren Carr's Advance toward Authorship Writers Retreat will take place at Lakewood Resort on Deep Creek Lake, the setting for her hit Mac Faraday Mysteries.

Lauren Carr’s Advance toward Authorship Writers Retreat will take place at Lakewood Resort on Deep Creek Lake, the setting for her hit Mac Faraday Mysteries.


Press Release: International Best Selling Author Hosts Writers Retreat in Deep Creek Lake

Advance Toward Authorship Writers Programs

Are you a writer struggling to complete your masterpiece? Or have you completed a draft but need some quiet time away from the rest of the world to concentrate on getting it ready for publication.

International Best Selling Mystery Writer Lauren Carr has been there and done that.

“It took me six months to write the first draft for A Small Case of Murder,” she recalls. It took more than that for her second mystery. “Then, one weekend,” she says, “a friend dragged me to a writers’ conference that ended up being a total bust. After the first day of not getting anything out of it, I locked myself in the hotel room and wrote for the rest of the weekend. By the time I left three days later, I had written one third of the first draft of It’s Murder, My Son.” This book went on to being her first best-selling mystery novel.

Regularly listed among Amazon’s top-100 authors in mysteries, Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries and the Lovers in Crime Mysteries. This month, the debut novel for her new mystery series, the Thorny Rose Mysteries, was released to top sales and rave reviews. Since its release on September 4, Kill and Run has been listed in the top-ten of three categories on Amazon both domestically and in the international markets.

The author of fifteen books, Lauren Carr is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

It takes more than simply getting away for it all to write books, Lauren warns. “Spending time with other writers, bouncing ideas off each other, having someone to ask advice when you’re stuck—when you have all that—then you have the total package that can inspire and motivate you to complete your book.”

Such is the package that Lauren Carr, in conjunction with Lakewood Resorts on the shores of Deep Creek Lake, is assembling for the Lauren Carr’s Advance toward Authorship Writers’ Retreat! “Not only will writers who attend this writers’ retreat have quiet and beautiful scenery in which to write,” Lauren explains, “but they will be surrounded by other writers in order to share ideas and have someone who has been there available to encourage them and lead the way.”

A variety of packages are available. Writers can sign up for a single unit to write in complete solitude or share a unit with their spouse or writing buddies. Each lakeshore unit at the luxurious Lakewood Resorts can accommodate four or more writers—making this an ideal retreat for writers groups.

Offerings include choice of a variety packages. Many offer focused writing time, weekend workshops, private consultations with Lauren Carr, writers’ gatherings, and meal options.  Retreat prices vary with level of participation.  Lodging costs are per unit, and units can be shared with family or other writers.  In addition to lodging, all participants pay the per person rate for the chosen retreat package.

The dates for the Lauren Carr’s Advanced toward Authorship Writer’s Retreat will be Friday, November 13-20, 2015. Weekend packages (Friday through Sunday) will be available. It will be held at Lakewood Resort, McHenry, Maryland—Deep Creek Lake, the setting for Lauren Carr’s Mac Faraday Mysteries! Visit Lakewood Resort’s website at for more information.

Space at Lauren Carr’s Advance toward Authorship Writers Retreat is limited. Writers are encouraged to visit Lauren Carr’s website at or email her at for further details.



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“It’s Not a Baby, It’s a Book”

If you are a new author working on your first book, then you need to read this blog post by Mercy Pilkington. It gives an excellent perspective on the business end of being an author!

“It’s Not a Baby, It’s a Book”.

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Guest Post: Evil Little Ponies

Guest Post by C.S. McDonald

It was a lovely spring day. I was minding my own business. I wasn’t bothering anyone. My husband, Bill, had left earlier in the morning with the horse trailer to haul a cow for his father that he’d purchased. I busied myself in one of my many flower gardens, planting lemon drops around the fountain while my Cocker Spaniel, Harvey, chased after butterflies. All was right with the world.

And then…

I heard the familiar sound of my husband’s truck bumping along the road and up our very long driveway. The horse trailer clanged and the tires ground against the gravel. I waved at him and returned to my work. I heard the ramp of the horse trailer squeal as Bill lowered it, and the trailer doors creak open. The Thoroughbreds in the paddock galloped toward the gate, whinnying.

Hmmm…What did Bill drag home this time?

I peeled my garden gloves from my hands and then Harvey and I made our way toward the barn just in time to witness Bill lead a cruddy pot-bellied little pony off the trailer. His mane was long and shaggy. His tail was bushy and his lower lip hung down away from his upper. He was scowling. But worse—he was a pony.

True confession: I don’t like ponies. They tend to be stubborn ornery conniving little beings that take great pleasure in running off or bucking off children on a whim. C’mon, everyone has a story of how they were taken for a wild ride and then brutally deposited in a mud puddle by a pony.

Evil..they are just plain evil. And yet here one stood in my driveway—scowling at me.

I narrowed my eyes, cocked my head, and asked my husband, “What’s he doing here?”

Bill smiled. “This is George. Kiersten needs a pony for horse camp, so I picked him up.”


There are a billion ponies on this earth and he “picks up” this little troll?

Bill could see that I was not impressed. The right side of his mouth kicked up. “I’m gonna put him in the paddock with the horses. He’ll be fine. You’ll see, Kiersten will love him.”

I had no doubts that Kiersten, our granddaughter, wouldn’t instantly take to him. I was worried what George would do to Kiersten.

Evil—ponies are just plain evil.

Bill proceeded to lead George through the gate into the paddock with three very anxious Thoroughbreds.

George went right to work—bullying the horses who were much bigger that he was. He chased them, nipped at them, kicked at them, and let them know that he was king of not only the paddock but the shade of the apple tree that was located dead center of the area. He had immediately claimed his domain.

George was the boss.

Well, Bill was right. Kiersten loved George. We bathed him, and bathed him, and bathed him. He never came clean—he looked just as cruddy after his bathes as he did when we began.

This is temporary, I told myself. After horse camp, George can go back to where he came from. I found solace in these thoughts.

George was at our farm for two weeks before horse camp. Kiersten rode him in the indoor arena and the outdoor arena—he would plant his feet and refuse to budge, but I was quicker than he was—I gave her a crop.

Yes, the little guy was stubborn, but he wasn’t stupid—as most ponies aren’t—they are shrewd—evil.

Kiersten and George, the grungy pony who inspired GEORGE THE BOSS. Click on picture to purchase C.S. McDonald's book on Amazon.

Kiersten and the real George, the grungy pony who inspired GEORGE THE BOSS. Click on picture to purchase C.S. McDonald’s book on Amazon.

Finally after much anticipation and preparation, the week of horse camp came. Kiersten couldn’t wait. George had no idea what he was in for, and I was filled with apprehension. Would Kiersten get dumped off George’s back at horse camp? Would I be making a trip to the emergency room? I dreaded the week that lay before me.

But, you know what? I was wrong. Dead wrong.

It turned out that George was the one who needed taking care of. It was a hot week and Kiersten decided that she was going to participate in every activity they offered. Walk/trot, egg and spoon, poles, down and back races, and even barrel racing. George simply couldn’t keep up. I found myself sitting in the stall with an over-heated pony, caring for him, nursing him, and genuinely feeling sorry for him. I scolded Kiersten for over-working him and he was not to be taken out of the stall the next day other than to clean his stall and for short walks. I was worried.

During the first few days of the camp something had happened. Could it be that this cruddy scowling stubborn evil pony had grown on me?

The week went by quickly. George won quite a few awards! I know, right? We loaded him in the trailer and took him back to our farm. Bill opened the gate, and George stormed into the paddock, nipping, bucking, scowling, and reclaiming his place at the boss.
I shook my head. To think I was worr—

Wait a minute…

I want straight to my office. I turned on my computer. I typed…GEORGE THE BOSS.

I usually write novels—murder suspense and romantic suspense novels, but I was inspired by a cruddy scowling little pony named George, and now he’s got his first book:

GEORGE THE BOSS is the first in a series of children's books by C.S. McDonald. Click on Book Cover to visit George the Pony's website, where you can download pages for your children to color!

GEORGE THE BOSS is the first in a series of children’s books by C.S. McDonald. Click on Book Cover to visit George the Pony’s website, where you can download activity pages for your children.

Do I still think that ponies are evil? Yep. But George is a special little…evil pony.

Author CS and granddaughter Kiersten. Click on picture to visit CS's website to view her romantic-suspense titles.

Author CS and granddaughter Kiersten.
Click on picture to visit CS’s website to view her romantic-suspense titles.

About the Author

C.S. McDonald

C.S. McDonald was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pa area. For 26 years she was a professional choreographer; she taught ballet, jazz and tap.  Most recently she has retired to write murder-suspense novels  (which can be found here). Now she has added Children’s books to entertain her four grandchildren.

 She resides with her husband and Cocker Spaniel, Allister on there Thoroughbred farm. George the Pony is based on real pony named George, who lives among the Thoroughbreds.



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Guest Post: Cindy McDonald: Censored Books–You Betcha!

I am glad to welcome back author Cindy McDonald for another guest post to follow up her previous post a few weeks ago: Crossing the Line. In today’s post, Cindy recounts the evening her husband got to say, “I told you so.”

Take it away, Cindy!

Censored Books–You Betcha!

Cindy McDonaldRomantic Suspense Author

Cindy McDonald
Romantic Suspense Author

Ahhh, the infamous “I told you so!” How we spouses love to hear those words spew from our better half’s mouth. Most recently I was on the receiving end of such a scolding when my husband and I attended a Christmas luncheon at the nursing home where my mother resides. Let me back-up…

A short time ago I wrote a blog entitled, Crossing the Line. The blog discussed how much sexual content should we authors place in our books. Essentially, how much is too much? I also mentioned in the blog that I am a former dance teacher who now writes books with quite a bit of suggestive material. My very conservative husband is uncomfortable with said content because he feels that my previous position in the community holds me to certain standards that I should be very conscious of.

So, there we were at the Christmas luncheon taking our seats along with the other families, when I spotted two of my former students and their parents seated at a table nearby. The two girls were thrilled to see their former dance teacher, and with ear-to-ear smiles, they waved. For the sake of this blog we’ll call the older girl, Susan, who is twelve. The younger sister is ten. Anyway, the luncheon was lovely and when we decided to leave I made my way to their table to wish them a Merry Christmas. And that’s when it happened. While giving me a hug Susan (12) said to me, “Oh Miss Cindy, I miss you so much. I want you to know that I’ve read all of your books.”

Dangerous Deception

Click on Book Cover to view on Amazon!


I was very taken aback. I turned to her mother with wide eyes and if I hadn’t quickly slammed it shut, I swear my jaw would’ve bounced off the floor. I said, “You let her read my books?”  Smiling, the woman waved a carefree hand at me and replied, “Oh, don’t worry, she’s an advanced reader.”

Seriously? Has the woman not reviewed my books before her twelve year old daughter reads them? I couldn’t believe it! Susan then added, “Oh yes, and I understand everything in them, Miss Cindy.”


At this point I simply gave the girl another hug, wished them happy holidays, and caught up with my family. That’s when my husband said, “See I told you! I told you that those young girls from your dance school would be reading your books. That’s why you should keep those suggestive scenes in check!”


I don’t think so. I truly feel it is their parent’s responsibility to read the book first before passing it on to their pre-teen daughters. My sister-in-law read Deadly.Com before forbidding her twenty year old daughter to read it. *big eye roll* PLEASE! As ridiculous as I felt that was, I do indeed believe that parents need to censor what their young children reads just as much as they need to pay attention to what they are looking at on the internet. Having a school district pronounce your child as an “advanced reader” simply means they can read “big words”—big deal! That does not necessarily mean they are mature enough for certain content. Call me old fashioned. Call me naïve. Call me an idiot, if you like, but young people need guidance and mature reading material simply is not appropriate for a twelve year old girl. For that matter my daughter does not permit my grandson (13) to read my books, and the last one, Dangerous Deception, was dedicated to him! I’m not upset—I totally agree with my daughter, and I wish all parents would exercise a little more common sense when it comes to mature reads and the internet, and cell phones for that matter.

Hey, I don’t feel responsible at all for what happened. Yes, I write suggestive scenes. I like writing suggestive scenes, and am considering going a bit farther in my new series that I will be starting in 2013. It is up to Susan’s mother and parents just like her to censor their children’s reading material. I’m no longer “Miss Cindy” the small town dance teacher. I am now Cindy McDonald, an author—reader beware.

About the Author:

For twenty-six years, Cindy McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Inexplicitly, she felt drawn to my computer to write about things she had experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and the happenings at the racetrack.

One may ask why she didn’t choose to write about her experiences with dance. When asked, cindy offers a sly smile and explains that life at the racetrack was more…racy. “The drama is outrageous—not that dancers don’t know how to create drama,” Cindy says, “believe me, they do but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.”

In May of 2011, Cindy took the big leap and exchanged her dancin’ shoes for a lap top. She retired from dance. “It was a scary proposition,” she confesses. “I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. It has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer.” Does she miss her dance? “Sometimes I do,” Cindy admits, “I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books and I love sharing them with my readers.”

To read excerpts from future books, view book trailers, and keep up with everything that is Unbridled, please visit Cindy’s website at:

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Author Spotlight: Award-Winning Author Malcolm Ater

We’ve got yet another treat for you today here at Literary Wealth. Our spotlight today is on a true jewel of an author. Malcolm Ater is a winner in every sense of the word. His YA and MS books keep hitting them out of the ball park with both reviewers and readers, not to mention book award panels.

Malcolm Ater
Award Winning Author

Malcolm Ater is the Award-Winning Author of Tyler’s Mountain Magic, based on the true story of Tyler Moore, a teenage boy with cystic fibrosis who leads his team from Harpers Ferry on the most magical sports ride in West Virginia public school history. It was selected as the Best Book Length Story of 2011 by the West Virginia Writers, Inc. and was winner of the 2012 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in Sports. He has been a special education junior high/middle school reading teacher for 24 years.

Tyler’s Mountain Magic
Winner of the 2012 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in Sports.
Best Book Length Story of 2011 by the West Virginia Writers, Inc.

Award-winning author Malcolm Ater’s latest novel, The Hermitage House Miracle is a mystery for middle school children and above that is sure to keep kids turning the pages.  This intriguing mystery is strongly recommended to school librarians to review for their listings.  “The Hermitage House Miracle will appeal equally to both boys and girls,” Ater says, “but especially to boys who may be reluctant readers.” Children will identify with the suspense-filled storyline, which addresses such issues as bullying, tobacco use, and the effects of alcohol, but without preaching.

The Hermitage House Miracle starts with a deep hook.  “I’ve given you the last six years of my life, and for what? To always be running from one town to another? Never having a life of my own just so you could live?”

As Jamie lay alone in bed, not knowing his mother had just been killed while driving drunk, he was filled with disturbing thoughts. His mother’s last words to him before going out did not make sense. He was even more confused when she had added, in a drunken slur, “If I had a lick of sense I’d have let old Ernie do what he wanted!”

Why had his mother said she had given him the last six years of her life when he was twelve years old? Why did she always seem to resent him? Who was Ernie? And why couldn’t he remember anything about his life before his first day of school in the first grade?

The only thought that comforted him was the newspaper story dated only a few days earlier on May 24, 1992. The article reported that a new wave of computer games would soon replace the old pinball machines and “boggle the mind” with realistic video techniques that could only be dreamed about a few years earlier. The article had aroused a curious excitement in him, and he didn’t know why.

The Hermitage House Miracle
Selected as a 2012 finalist for Best Children’s Book by West Virginia Writers, Inc.

After being sent to live at the Hermitage House for Children, Jamie begins to have a series of strange and troubling dreams. Each dream is about a little blond-haired boy who has a little sister and a mother and a father. But the mother is not his mother who was killed in the car accident and he had never known his father. Yet his dreams are always about the same family, especially the little boy and his dog. And the father programs computers and makes games, even promising to build the boy a video game so lifelike the boy will think he’s actually inside it…

Both The Hermitage House Miracle and Tyler’s Mountain Magic are available on sales now at, Barnes and Noble, and directly from Malcolm Ater’s website.

Click on the book covers to purchase them from Malcolm’s website or to learn more!

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Author Spotlight: Robert W Sweeting

Look out, C.S. Lewis! We have a new author of children’s mysteries in town: Robert W. Sweeting!

Robert W. Sweeting was born and raised in Florida. He lived in New Orleans, Louisiana for several years. It is here that he fell in love with the mysteries of the swampland. He now resides on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where he writes and works.

Robert W. Sweeting
author of Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp

Welcome to Literary Wealth, Robert. Please tell us a little about yourself?

I am the author of Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp, which is book one in a series of four.  I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. I spent most of my young adult life in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is there that I fell in love with the mysteries that the swamp holds. I now reside on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where I work and write.

 A lot of people are on Twitter these days, so can you describe Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp for us in 140 characters or less?

Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp is a fantastic tale for middle school children/young teens!

When did you begin writing Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp? What inspired it and how much research was involved in writing it?

It was well over 10 years ago when I was laid off at work. I was turning 40 and did not know what I was going to do next. I always had stories in my head, but never put them on paper. I literally woke in the middle of a thunderstorm and Kekaju entered my life. As far as research, I majored in biology and I always frequented the zoo, swamps and plantations in Louisiana. I guess you can call that research. The truth is, when I start to write, I let my characters lead me. Sometimes, I don’t know where the story will end up.

What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?

I would have to say my grandmother. She always told me wonderful tales and would encourage me to make up my own tales. Late at night before bed we would sit and play cards. During the game, she would start a story then I would add to it and so on until a story was born.

What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published?

Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp is the first book I ever wrote. I published it independently.

Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp
Click on book cover to purchase on Amazon

Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?

I talk out loud to my characters as I write. I guess that’s a bit out there.

Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart?

Cronie the white Alligator and Balstrop the Pelican.

What is your all-time favorite book?

Gone with the Wind

Other than yourself, who is your favorite author?

Anne Rice

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Writing and Gardening

Where can our readers connect with you, robert?

My blog is:The Kekaju Project

They can also find me on facebook at:

And we can’t forget to tell them where they can buy Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp:

Links to buy book:
Ebook: Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp Ebook
Paperback: Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp Paperback

Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway!

Leave a comment below and enter the giveaway a free eBook version of Robert W. Sweeting’s  fantastic mystery Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp! (Don’t forget to leave your e-mail so that we may contact you if you win!) Giveaway ends: Thursday, June 21!

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