WHY WRITE BOOKS 2

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*Books are beautiful, in a pile on the floor, shelved or stacked on a table.

*Books are a vote for the future, a future where human beings live and learn, growing ever stronger and wiser and more experienced.

*Books connect the author to a larger community of like-minded souls that include William Shakespeare, Toni Morrison, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with them?

*Books offer lifelong learning, a vast university with no entry rules. You’ll never get bored.

*Books are stories of individuals, real and imagined, who teach, voices that guide the generations who come after. Don’t you want this for yourself and your children?

Write more books. Fill the shelves. Tell the world your story. 

We help with:

  • The language of proposals and publishers: With 45 years of publishing experience between us, we know how to excite an editor. (Hint: It’s in the writing!)
  • Positioning of the content for your audience, cover design (internet-based, ALWAYS!!!) to attract that audience. Your cover is the size of a postage stamp online, so you best have a plan to make it pop.
  • Book structure: there are some good rules in place here, like 3-acts, and we’ll show you how your book works inside that frame.
  • Editing, editing, editing: From over-arching questions about the arc to the nitty-gritty of line editing, we do it all. Believe us, this is important. Just ask Harper Lee of To Kill a Mockingbird (she wrote the wrong book until her editor told her to fix it) or the stories of Raymond Carver, carved out by the poetess Tess Gallagher.  Writing, if it is to become commerce, must become a group activity.

Don’t flail around in the face of 1000 years of commercial publishing (China, 1045, invention of moveable type.)  Focus on your writing; that’s where the learning is, the joy. You don’t need to master printing, just write. We’ll do the rest.

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Beth Wareham at

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Why Write Books?

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People say writing is a dying art; everyone wants video. People say making a book is too difficult. But there is no better vehicle to transmit timeless stories and essential information to the generations behind us.

Books are legacy, passing the story of your life and what you’ve learned down to your descendants. Unlike a video, your great-great-grandchild won’t be aghast if it’s black and white or laugh at your haircut. Books are positioned among the stars, looking down at everything that comes after.

Books require imagination and it’s a muscle to be worked. Let the reader fill in the blanks and apply to their life.

Writing a book is like climbing Everest: You do it because it’s there. You do it because you want to share the top of the mountain. It’s solitary sport with huge social ramifications.

Writing is heroic and hard and beautiful. That’s why people will always do it.

Books are a great way to support business development, an impressive calling card whether you are a massage therapist or a CEO.

When you put “author” on your list of achievements, it signals you can go the distance, you don’t quit. Writing a book is a mind-marathon and only the committed should make the run. When you’re finished, the sense of accomplishment is profound and will last all the days you spend on Earth.

When your book touches one person, you feel a rare connection few get to feel. If that person happens to be a stranger, the feeling intensifies and takes on wonder.  We make books together; stories are invisible glue.

Why you shouldn’t write a book:

Money. There isn’t much unless you caught a pol doing something criminal or disgusting, and we may have jumped the shark on that one.

Fame. Nope. Do a porno or start a unicorn Instagram feed instead. Both are easier and take 1/100th of the time.

If a book is inside you, get it out. If you do, write to us. We’ll help you get wherever you want to go, from editing and covers to publicity and marketing.

Lisa Hagan, Founder and CEO  Lisa@lisahaganbooks.com

Beth Wareham, Founder and Editor-in-Chief  Beth@lisahaganbooks.com

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Divorce Parties Make Marriage Worth It

Ever been to a divorce party? Often times,  they’re much more interesting than the marriage whose ending they mark.

In The Divorce Party: 12 Steps to a Celebrate the New You , filmmakers turned first-time

authors Mark Famiglietti and Lane Garrison give every divorcing person 12 simple steps to creating the most fabulous, funniest party to mark an end and celebrate a beginning.  And why not? Everyone who has made the finish line KNOWS they deserve a party.

Publishing right into the heavy divorce time (it starts up every year the day after Valentine’s Day) and in plenty of time for the companion film’s summer release, The Divorce Party is sheer how-to with a wink and a smile, a reminder to make that lemonade in the face of struggle.

While this party has many of the aspects of other parties, it is unforgettable in most other ways — invites, dress, decorations, and mood.  The “ex” might be a part of the scene or never mentioned. A Las Vegas party went on for three days and included countless changes of clothes. Another divorce party was on a fishing boat (aluminum fishing boat).

Any spot can be the site of a great divorce party. All it takes is the will and imagination. And, if you can go to all the trouble of getting married, put some effort and get unmarried with style.

Grab a copy of this nifty little book or buy it for a friend and help them start planning. It will take their mind off of who gets the house.

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The Readiness is All: Layoffs

“Be looking for your next opportunity all the time,” says RecruiterGuy Bill Humbert in his new book, Employee 5.0, “because layoffs are the new normal. Employee 5.0 keeps the the job search on a simmer so that you can drive your career through whatever is going on.”

Retailers amazon and  B&N announced layoffs this week, sending hundreds of families into crisis management. But, does it have to be this way? If we know that corporations have adopted layoffs as an annual strategy to their stockholders, why not be ready?

Here are a few tips to keep your job search going even while you’re on the job:

  1. Keep a running list of your “impacts” at your current positition — the strengths you bring to the effort and the results of those strengths — as you do the job.  When you work hard, it’s easy to forget all the things you do that make you valuable to an organization. If the organization didn’t notice, that’s on them.
  2. Take calls from recruiters, hiring managers and job candidates. Offer assistance even if the call doesn’t immediately impact you. If you are helpful to someone, odds are, they’ll help you should you call.
  3. Network. In the new normal, we are all looking for a job all the time. This doesn’t mean you hit the cocktail party circuit, but you should show up every so often at industry events. Stay current and stay in touch with colleagues.

Employee 5.0 offers a new way in the new world, a 12-step program that results in job offers in 90 days, and puts the talent back in the driver’s seat.

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Journalism and the price of progress

This is a guest blog by Judy Wieder, former editor-in-chief of The Advocate, the first woman to hold that position; and author of the memoir Random Events Tend To Cluster, a look at her life in the tumultuous years of fighting for human – and animal – rights. 
Research for Random Events Tend To Cluster

Necessity truly is the mother of invention. This includes the biggest invention of the millennium: the World Wide Web.  Slowly revealing itself as a miracle of communication—though one that’s hell-bent on replacing all other communications—the miraculous WWW has many sides, some bright as the sun, others murky as the night.

Officially established in the late 80s, by the early 2000s, a series of global catastrophes (natural and man-made) thrust the web into our lives like a speeding ambulance. Whether using its communication tools to find people lost amid the rubble of deadly terrorist attacks, or buried under the boulders of sudden earthquakes, or stranded on their rooftops after hurricanes, or swirling in the aftermath of  tsunamis—our need to locate and rescue each other made the Internet an information hub of unsurpassed  proportions.

Then the internet began speeding up the news coverage. The minute something happened anywhere, people knew about it everywhere. But is that always good? Something got lost in the immediacy of absolutely everything. And that something was our understanding.

Excerpt from chapter 10 of Random Events Tend To Cluster:

“Thankfully, amid Hurricane Katrina’s worst screw-ups in the history of emergencies, some agencies and individuals respond heroically. The Coast Guard rescues 34,000 stranded survivors. The Humane Society and other animal groups save more than 15,000 animals left behind by evacuees who thought they’d only be gone for a day.

From the ashes of government failures, new technologies for better crisis response are created. Emergency websites, maps, blogs, chat rooms, and help lines are posted and updated—all creating one online disaster community that will soon facilitate the rescue of so many people buried in 2010’s Haiti and 2015’s Nepal earthquakes; as well as those caught in 2017’s Hurricanes, Harvey and Maria.

As tech becomes the story of the new millennium, for me it becomes a good door through which I can leave my work of nearly 15 years. An LGBT Internet company buys our parent company. As with most online media, the “editorial wall” standing between content and advertising, blows over completely. Everywhere I look this once paramount wall is replaced by some mercurial gibberish ushered in by computers, the Internet, cellphones, tablets, and social media. The “highway of information,” as the Internet was once called, is now a shifty piece of work snapping up sound bites of things that have already taken place. For a nanosecond, we think we know something; we even pass it along to others who are grateful because now they think they know something. But, really, we’re all just echoes. What does it mean if we don’t understand it? And how can we understand it without context, backstory, investigation, questioning, and real analysis by professionals who know something to begin with and are willing to study to find out more? Without the connections that surround each breaking-news event, awareness goes on a very undernourished saga. Uncontextualized content is a moody, excitable thing that will leave us all anxious and starving.

Privately, I continue wondering how long we journalists are going to be okay with our content fighting for air amid a playground of advertising and product placement. Without authentic anything, who is going to be our Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye) who grabs the media before it plunges way past mediocracy and crashes hard into clear evidence of a society in the toilet.”

Excerpt (c)  Random Events Tend To Cluster

Published by Lisa Hagan Books, 2017 www.lisahaganbooks.com

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#writering: #LGBT icon on Hollywood

Judy Wieder is the author of Random Events Tend to Cluster, Lisa Hagan Books, 2017, her memoir of life at the forefront of the LGBT equal rights movement. This article first appeared on her blog, Intuitionsmedia.com.

Calling them “monsters” is too easy

By Judy Wieder

What’s wrong with making these people monsters?

Harvey Weinstein is the earthquake under the volcano. Bullying women (or anyone) into giving favors—sexual or otherwise—has been going on since the Greeks and Romans—maybe even the cavemen. In this decade alone, alleged sexual predators facing law suits include Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Woody Allen, Bill O’Reilly, Casey Affleck, and the president of the United States.

Though it goes on everywhere, politics and the entertainment business in particular are so jacked-up with this conduct, it’s considered part of the landscape, part of the power, perks and payoffs. What, then, triggered this sudden resistance and potential reset?  If we stay with the metaphor, volcanos erupt when nearby earthquakes destabilize the the area; and earthquakes happen when the pressure building below the earth’s surface can no longer be contained. In other words, the victims said, “Enough!”

Like the proverbial candle in the dark, passed around to light thousands of other candles, when a handful of irate women hit their tipping point and tipped—the spark ignited. I believe at least half the energy blasting up the Weinstein Volcano was amassed over the last 10 months while women waited, stunned and seething, as absolutely nothing happened to Donald Trump after his “Grab them by the pussy/No one respects women more than I do,” psychotic break.

It was time. One thing or another was going to shatter the spell America’s been under since the election, and Harvey pulled the shit card! The mass awakening of the previously silent majority (“me too”), is the long-overdue opening we’ve been hoping for. It’s hard to be an abuser without a victim. And its hard to be a victim when you’re being heard! Speaking out can wipe out both the victim and the abuser in one powerful voice: the abuser loses control, and the victim gains it.

I too have traded my dignity for the wrong perks and carried that regret around for years— just read chapter three of my book (Random Events Tend To Cluster). It took me a very long time to tell myself, let alone others. But, despite the present and heartening roar of the betrayed, I see a very seductive trap we could easily fall into: That ol’ black and white, good and evil, simplification of “the problem.” This month, most of our successful news and entertainment media (you know, the “fake news”), have featured Harvey Weinstein in deliberately distorted photographs. This, of course, is a form of editorializing, clearly executed to make him look like a monster, not a human being. (And believe me, I have no sympathy for this man. That  is not my point. Neither is obstructing Freedom of the Press. Whether subtle or blatant, facts and opinions are all we have to help us navigate our world today. But we, alone, must sort out what is true by dragging it all through our own “shit-detectors.”)

I believe it’s far too easy to take a criminal like Weinstein and portray him as a monster, the “other,” something not human. What do we gain by doing that? Maybe that makes us feel better? Safer? “We could never be him. He’s a monster. Not human like us.”

Unfortunately he is human. Just like the Nazis were/are human beings. Trying to put them in a subhuman category will never allow us to understand them or their actions; thus guaranteeing a rerun. If we never know what drove an entire nation—in the middle of the “sophisticated” 20th century—to try to solve their economic problems by destroying millions of their fellow Europeans, especially the ones they saw as different from themselves—what’s to stop a sequel? Certainly not the terrified deniers. All those “good Germans” who stood around and said nothing were as bad as the Nazis; the entire holocaust could not have happened without them. And yet, they too were just other people. Not treacherous creatures we’ll never meet again. Without enlightenment about the past and present, these easily repeatable catastrophes await us tomorrow. The signs are everywhere.

When we hide any tragedy (sexual harassment, genocide, hate crimes, mass shootings) behind “they were monsters, villains, crazy terrorists, the axis of evil”—then they’ll be back. They’ll be back because we don’t know what happened in the first place. If we label a powerful mogul a “Monster,”  that person can hurt us. But if we let ourselves see someone—anyone—as human, everything changes. Information is available. Education is possible—not just for criminals, but for victims. And knowledge is power.  All the “monster” power we assign these people, can dissolve. Without fear, there is clarity: “Ohh, he’s just a jerk?? I thought he had something I needed, so I gave up my control; I handed him my power.”

Monsters are for Halloween. Damaged people are year round. I’ve always heard the first step to solving a problem is correctly identifying it. Deep breaths.

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#writering: shattered ceilings

Above: Judy Wieder, author of Random Events Tend to Cluster, and 5-year-old Janet Jackson.

What a life. Judy Wieder is the unicorn; a smasher of ceilings every which way. She was the first female editor of The Advocate, the oldest LGBT publication in America, where she published talent such as Ellen Degeneres and Melissa Ethridge.

In a world of no women, she wrote pop songs and hit number one. She was so talented, she was soon working for Motown. Can you imagine, female AND white at the hit factory in Detroit? Did she and her colleagues understand they worked in a place that – like Sun and Abbey Road studios – would become a monument to music? Something big was happening there and the air had to be charged with rock and roll energy. Let’s do an interview with Judy and see what it was like…….

The title – Random Events Tend to Cluster – is the perfect way to sum up a life. In Judy’s case, her life does not seem so random. Far from it. Each step has been towards the right to be an individual, to be equal, respected and free. She marched through one of the wildest times in 20th century America – the 60s, 70s and 80s – and came out the other side. She helped shape the world of women’s rights and the LGBTQ community in more ways than we can ever know.

Thank you, Judy. We owe you a lot.

Beth Wareham is the editor-in-chief of Lisa Hagan Books, a writer and editor based in New York City.

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Fear and Camping

SUMMER READING:

GET YOUR FLASHLIGHT AND HIT THE WOODS

th.jpegLisa Hagan Books

/bethwareham

What is it about a flashlight and a book? Sure, there is an element – no matter what your age – that your mom is going to bust in and tell you to go to sleep. But something runs deeper with a tiny pool of light and the endless black woods. Talk about existential threat. Your lizard brain is jumping and when you read a scary book out there in the void, each word is scarier than the last.

If you’ve spent time in Maine, you understand how Stephen King got his scary. Those woods are dark. Just walking from car to house must be navigated by starlight. It’s that black. I was an impressionable age when I read Salem’s Lot, 17, and in the wilds of Mexico. In the book (as well as in the primary work), vampires knock on a window in the dark night to gain entrance and suck necks. A Mexican waiter rapped on mine and I became so frightened, I cried.

In the werewolf corner, I am haunted by Sharp Teeth. I read it in manuscript and loved it. My opinion hasn’t changed. Werewolves run wild in Los Angeles, ensnaring a dogcatcher who falls for an outlier werewolf-ess. And did I tell you it’s written in blank verse?  If you’re rolling your eyes, it’s not for you. But if you like unusual, jump!  Harper Collins ended up publishing the book, for which I am grateful.

Dean Koontz, H.P. Lovecraft, and this gentleman will put all sorts of frightening ideas in your head with just a few suggestive words.  Invest in an anthology of the last two and pack it with your sleeping bag each summer. There is that much scary material to make the investment worth it.  Throw in The Turn of the Screw, Henry James’ big attempt at creepy and he succeeded. A novella – thank goodness because that Henry do go on! – this can be read in an hour.

Last, but not least, have you ever noticed that UFOs usually land in fields, woods or desert? Disc-shaped craft never come down on the Met Life building or the 101.  It’s because aliens know it’s even scarier when they land in unpopulated unlit places and frighten campers. The scariest UFO books I’ve read? 365 Days of UFOs is an historical accounting of landings, sightings, controversies, experiments, monster tracking, and coverups – one for each day of the year. Many happen in the fields and forests of Europe and middle America or the grit of the Southwest.  Roswell, a book by Nick Redfern, author of the 365 book above, is scary in a different way. It lays out a damning case against a government conspiracy that promoted little green men in a  misdirection campaign away from secret experiments at the end of WWII.  Roswell may be the scariest when you contemplate what other programs our government has hidden.

Being scared is fun and a big black wall of woods pierced by flashlight sets a fine mood. Here are more lists of favorite scary book from Men’s Journal , Flavorwire and Paste.

Enjoy the summer, share your scary book #recs with us, and don’t forget your mosquito spray.

Great camping gear: REI  amazon.com L.L. Bean

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Q&A With UFO Researcher Nick Redfern

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or Nick Redfern’s World of Whatever 

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(Look carefully at the photo above. Can you spot our visitors from another world?)

 

Q) Do you have favorite “days” in the 365 Days UFO book?

A)  On the night of October 25, 1973, there was a very weird Bigfoot-UFO encounter in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The weirder side of the Bigfoot phenomenon interests me a lot. Also, the crop circle phenomenon is one that interests me a great deal, too. There are 4 or 5 such cases in the book of crop circles.

Q) Are there stories and reports that just keep drawing you back in?

A) Yeah, I would say the Men in Black-type cases. That whole phenomenon (MIB, Women in Black, Shadow People, etc) is my favorite to investigate and write about. I keep coming back to it and probably always will! It’s very different to the MIB of the movies – much creepier and weirder.

Q) Have you always “believed” or has there been an episode in your life you couldn’t explain?

A) Well, I try not to get caught up in belief systems too much. I try and work on facts and evidence. But, yes I have had some weird experiences over the years. I have had a lot of very strange synchronicities. I also had a very strange experiences with a ghostly pet back in 2003, Charity the Sharpei, who was a great friend and still missed.

Q) What is the most disturbing aspect of UFO phenomenon? The most hilarious?

A) The most sinister aspect, as I see it, is when people get manipulated by the phenomenon and it can have a big, adverse effect on them. I think there is a dark side to the phenomenon that manipulates people deliberately and it can cause a lot of havoc. Some of the most hilarious stories are those from the 1950s, the era of the Contactees. One of them, Truman Bethurum, told of meeting an alien woman named Aura Rhanes. He described her as being “tops in shapeliness and beauty!” There are lots of wacky stories like that!

Q) Do you think we’ll ever find out what happened at the most famous of sites/crashes?

A) It’s hard to say. Roswell is the most famous crash case and, even with the 70th anniversary now looming on the horizon, we still don’t really know what happened. And no files have ever surfaced. So, it’s very difficult to know for sure what happened. I’m not sure with Roswell if we will ever get the proof of what happened. It may be in lock-down mode forever.

Q) If you could stand at any moment during all we know of the history of ufo sightings, what moment would you want to see?

A) I would go back to the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico in early July 1947. That was when and where the Roswell craft came down. Ideally, I would be right there as it slammed into the ground and I would know what really took place.

Q) If I saw a UFO, I’d run. Is that the correct response? (I’m thinking, “never run from a lion, they’ll think you’re prey” here…)

A)I think the ideal thing to do is stay there and take it all in. But, some people are definitely traumatized by UFO encounters, and it’s hard to predict how people might respond when faced with a UFO.

Q) What’s the scariest place you’ve ever been? I was afraid of the monster on the Mekong in your book. Whoa that thing scared me.

A) I don’t really get frightened on expeditions, etc. For me, it’s more of an Adrenalin rush. I have had a lot of good times on Puerto Rico searching for the Chupacabra. The island’s El Yunque rain-forest is a mysterious and cool place!

We have a special promotion to celebration Nick’s work, the perfect “big picture” UFO, monster-hunting, crop circle whirling tour-de-force through every day of the year through history:  365 Days of UFOs by Nick Redfern.

If you haven’t read Nick Redfern, it’s time. Try 365 Days of UFOs as a perfect introduction and, once you are hooked (and you will be), journey into Men in Black: Personal Stories and Eerie Adventures and move on to the even more evil Women in Black: Creepy Companions of the M.I.B.

All from Lisa Hagan Books.

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#Cliches are not good, but… #writing

 

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from Keep It Short by Charles Euchner

#CLICHES

To give clichés life—to make them fresh and original again— find something surprising to add to them.

Too often, we use familiar ideas without really under- standing their meaning. We repeat phrases and ideas carelessly.

When we overuse expressions, we live in a fool’s paradise. We cannot hold a candle to the halcyon days, our salad days, when we suited the action to the word and revealed the naked truth. But we give short shrift to language, writing with neither rhyme nor reason. And we lose such stuff as dreams were made of, at’s neither here nor there, since these expressions are dead as a doornail. Coming full circle, we realize, more in sorrow than anger, and it’s a foregone conclusion that overuse of such terms is a fatal vision. So, in one fell swoop, we throw cold water on it.

All of those expressions come from Shakespeare. ese expressions once expressed ideas with freshness and originality. But used over and over, they have lost their vitality. Too o en, we use these clichés not because they express ideas well, but because they o er a simple way to say something. ey let us say something without thinking.

Remember you want to make the reader see, feel, helpless, harmless. Milo’s dead.” By using the slack, disinterested tone of a gumshoe, Lynch moves us away from sickly sentimentality.

 

Samuel Beckett uses clichés in playful ways to make them fresh. He writes: “Personally I have no bone to pick with graveyards.” And then, describing the odor of graveyards, he added that he will breathe in the smell of corpses “when take the air I must.” In her memoir of family suicide, Joan Wickersham freshens a stale image: “Cal may have had pots of family money, but my husband didn’t even have a small saucepan.”

Whenever possible, though, avoid clichés. Lush detail—observation of sights, sounds, smells—helps to create original expressions.

Nack could just say, “I thought about that horse day and night. I couldn’t get Secretariat out of my mind. It popped up no matter where I was or what I was doing” Zzzzzz. Instead, Nack uses compelling images to show how Secretariat shaped every minute of his life.

Write like Bill Nack. Always look for the fresh images—ideas that are familiar, but which other writers have not used before—to help the reader experience the scene –

smell, taste, touch, imagine—and think of more familiar the images, the less you will engage your reader.

“Cliches,” Geoffrey Hill notes, “invite you not to think.” Cliches give use easy, lazy was of expressing our- selves. As Hill notes, “you may always decline the invitation.” When you feel tempted to use a cliché, stop. Get in the habit of considering how to state a point simply—or think of a fresh, original way of making a point.

To avoid the dreariness of clichés, play with them. Start by looking at its literal meaning. Porter Abbott explains:

When the orator urges his or her auditors “to strike while the iron is hot,” how many of them see the sweating blacksmith at his forge and feel his magical transmutation into new meaning? The answer is none. But when one tramp suggests to another that “it might be better to strike the iron before it freezes” the original vehicle is revived in its literal state.

Taking words literally reveals the cliché’s original insight. When you do a genealogy of clichés, you discover vibrant images that can be revived.

When you change the context of cliché, you can give it new life. In a memoir of his life as an undertaker, Tomas Lynch writes about the death of a neighbor: “Milo is dead. X’s on his eyes, lights out, curtains.”

 

For more details on Keep It Short, click on the title.

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