Friday, April 11, 2014

Mermaid tears

News and a Pet Peeve about Christian Book Reviewers! 

I've finally started writing again!  It's been about three months since I actually wrote anything new. That is the longest I have gone since I first got published. I'm not sure what happened except, after 15 books and 2 novellas in 10 years, I was completely burned out. Getting The Ransom out was a huge feat, and it wiped me out.  Plus my daughter had my first granddaughter and things got crazy! (In a good way!).

I started a book entitled Tears of the Sea. It's a mermaid story that will be (hopefully) an allegory of the Salvation story. At least that is my prayer. Now, for those of you who aren't into fantasy, no worries. The story takes place mostly on land and on a ship when the heroine is in human form. In addition, the only things that aren't real in the book (besides the mermaid. And who says they aren't real anyway?)  are the names of places.  Though I really want to write another pirate tale, after much prayer, this seemed to be the direction God led me in. I'm hoping to market it to non-believers as well as believers and help some people who wouldn't pick up a Bible if you paid them to receive the truth of God's unconditional love.  So, your prayers are appreciated as I embark on this endeavor.



Here are some interesting facts I discovered while researching mermaids



  • Mermaid tears turn into pearls upon contact with air. Not just any pearl, but precious priceless pearls.
  • Eating the flesh of a mermaid grants immortality
  • Mermaids knit a very valuable material that is translucent and expensive (Like the silk of the worm)
  • Mermaid singing drugs men into a coma so they can drag him down to their underwater lairs
  • Mermaids can cause storms, sink ships and drown the crews, cure illness, foretell the future and, of course, bewitch men.
  • Mermaids are known to possess secrets of healing

Cool, huh?

Okay now my Peeve about Christian Book Reviewers

Let's face it, not every book will be liked by every reader. Enjoying a book is as subjective as enjoying a movie, TV show, or work of art. Some people will love it. Others will hate it. I understand that. Yet, I believe every book (okay most) has something to offer someone. Christian books have even more because most of them contain a spiritual truth or message that can really help someone reading it. No matter how poorly written the story is or how bad the plot, there is still that inherent good message. God has a reason for every book put out by a Christian author, and that reason may be just to reach one person.

Yet so often I see Christian reviewers totally trash Christian novels in reviews (I've had a few myself). When I say trash I don't mean they just rate it low and say the story wasn't their cup of tea, I mean they slander both the book and the author. They take their opinions and make them sound like facts in such a way that many people reading the review will NOT give the book a try.  My problem with this is that reviewer may very well scare away the single person God wanted to read that book. How is that helpful?  Isn't that the same as leading someone astray? 

Whenever I read a Christian book that I didn't particularly like, I do one of two things. I don't even write a review or if I write a review I list the positive things and then say something like it really wasn't for me but others may find it interesting.  I don't lie and I'm not asking anyone else too.  I'm asking for people to be polite and realize two important things:


  1. There's a human being with feelings (called an author) on the other side of your snarky review.
  2. Your cruel comments could potentially thwart God's plans for certain people to pick up that book and learn an important spiritual truth or find comfort in time of need. In other words the enemy is using you quite effectively.Way to go!


Aren't we as Christians supposed to encourage one another to good works? Aren't we supposed to help each other serve God and do His will?  It just baffles me continually when I see "Christians" slamming Christian novels all over the internet. There's a nice way to speak your opinion and there's a mean way. Yet I often find Christians are the worst offenders.



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45 comments:

  1. Fri Apr 11th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    First off -- SO glad to hear of your newest endeavour - a mermaid story, "Tears of the Sea" ! I think changing topics up once in a while is a good thing. Keeps us all on our toes. Looking forward to reading this one ! I know it will be a huge success, MaryLu !
    And, P.S. -- it's totally fine that you've taken three months (or however long you need), before starting up with writing again. 2014 has been a crazy, busy time for you thus far ... you've had so much on the go. NO ONE is judging or faulting you for that ... no way. You take whatever time you need.
    Secondly -- to your comments re 'Christian book reviewers' ... I say 'Amen, and, Amen' to all that you shared. It is more than sad that a Christian would be so -- heartless, thoughtless, and negative re a book, and, its Author. No one deserves that.
    There have been Christian novels I didn't care for much, I didn't bad-mouth it ... but simply put it aside for a yard sale, or whatever. And you are absolutely right .... maybe it was a book that did not speak directly to me, but to someone else ... it may speak the world.
    This just makes me think of the words: "Speak the truth, in love" .... and yes, there is definitely a way to speak your opinion carefully, respectfully, and truthfully. We never know how our words will affect someone else.
    Hopefully, we "all" will tread carefully with our wagging tongues .... because they can do so much damage.
    Thanks for sharing this with us. And keep that "writer's chin up" .... you have many excellent, powerful, and positive reviews posted out there for your novels.
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

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    1. Thanks so much Brenda! You're such an encourager. :-) Hugs!

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  2. I love your reasoning for the mermaid tale! I can't wait to read it. :)
    I totally agree with you on the pet peeves of reviews. (and Brenda worded it wonderfully too) If you really don't like it - don't leave a review. Everyone has different tastes. I also don't let one or two star reviews influence my decision on books. I try to decide myself by the blurb, etc.

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    1. Susan, I wish more people were like you and didn't judge a book by reviews.. but I find that's how many people decide on a book. Weird but true. Thing is.. I'm one of those strange people who usually love what other people hate! :-)

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  3. Lisa EichelbergerApril 11, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Hello Marylu! I miss seeing you on Facebook, but I'm so glad we're able to connect with you on this blog. You're posts are always insightful! How exciting that you're writing your mermaid story, I've been looking forward to reading it since you mentioned your idea. I think it will be amazing! You're stories always communicate spiritual truths, while at the same time making me feel like I've been transported to another place and time. And I agree with you so much about Christian readers bashing Christian authors in their reviews. It's so strange and sad, and it hurts my heart for the author when I see those kinds of reviews. I wonder how many talented Christian writers will avoid seeking publication because they don't want to be attacked for their work?

    Oh, and I've got The Ransom downloaded on my Kindle and ready to read. I'm thrilled that you're still writing about pirates!

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    1. Hi Lisa! So sorry about FB. I just couldn't keep up. Thanks for your kind words. I know many many authors and believe me those bad reviews sting. We tend to be very creative emotional people, which makes it hurt even more. I've even known some authors who can't write for days after a bad review.. and you're right some don't want to even put their work out there for fear of the attacks. It's really sad. Hope you enjoy The Ransom!

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  4. You preach it girl! I so agree with you on this. There have been few books on my list that weren't for me, but I still posted a review pointing out what I did like about it. Because, like you said, even if it is not for me, there may be others out there that will truly enjoy the book and get a valuable lesson out of it.
    As for "Tears of the Sea', it sounds quite interesting indeed.....trying to grab a hold of non-believers is a great idea...sneak attack, says I. ;-)

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    1. Sneak attack! I love that, Chappy! The Redemption goes stealth. :-)

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  5. MaryLu, so good hear your writing again. I haven't had much time to read in the part few months but recently got my hands on The Ransom. Couldn't put it down. Loved the twists in the story, the way everything didn't turn out perfect always but perfect revelation in the end of God's perfect timing and plan. Loved, loved, loved it!!!
    Look forward to Seeing more of "Tears of the Sea!" God bless.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Ransom, Kristie!!! That meas a lot. :-)

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  6. I am intrigued and look forward to reading your mermaid tales! :)
    As far as the reviewers go, I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said. There is such a vast range of readers and their tastes for stories. You made some great points.
    I tend not to read reviews for books that I'm thinking of reading. The cover and the back cover copy sell the book for me a lot of the time. Reviews are someone's opinion which can vary greatly from my own anyway, and I don't put much stock in them.
    :)

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    1. I wish more people realized what you have, Caroline, that reviews on Amazon, etc.. are not by professionals (who are often kinder, by the way) but just ordinary people with all sorts of tastes. We are all so different.. that's how God made us! It's a good thing and the reason we have such diversity in food and art and entertainment.

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  7. I am looking forward to your new book, it sounds very interesting. I totally agree with you on the subject of reviews. I have had a couple of books that I did not care for but I would in no way bad mouth anyone. Just because I did not like it does not mean the next person won't and I don't want to steer them away from something they may enjoy.

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    1. Hi Angela.. so true. Thank you for being one of those nice reviewers. :-)

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  8. MaryLu - I'm SOOOO excited to read your mermaid book!!! I have loved ALL of your books, and I know this one will be as wonderful & riveting & unforgettable as the rest...with a new twist! ;-)

    I totally agree with everything you say about reviewers. Yes, there are a zillion books out there that are not "my taste," so I just leave them alone--they are for someone else. If I happened to buy one, I either don't finish it & give it away, or I do finish it but don't write a review. In my opinion, books are just like food: not everyone loves the same thing, so I'm not going to bash someone for raving about something I don't like. That's just dumb.

    By the way, I commented on the reviewer who gave you 2 stars--I was ticked! You should read the comments made to her (there are 2 others that are really supportive of you--mine's a bit blunt). I've noticed she blasts other authors, too, and tells everyone what SHE thinks they should read (!)...so you're not alone. BUT--you still have a 5-star rating on The Ransom!! And a 5-star book it is!! :-)

    You have such insight that I love your books, blogs, and whatever you write. I'm praying that your new book will truly reach those who desperately need to know they are loved by the Lord & are closed off to all other avenues. You do a beautiful job of writing riveting books & weaving God's love and touch through the pages. I know He is so pleased with your ministry.

    Love & blessings to you!!

    Lora D.

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    1. Lora, you are always so kind. Thank you so much! I don't expect anyone to engage with bad reviewers.. just please pray for them. They must be unhappy people to be so cruel to others.
      Love and blessings to you too!

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  9. Tears of the Sea sounds like it is going to be a great story!! (I love mermaids!!) And I wholeheartedly agree with your reviewer pet peeve. It is one of my pet peeves as well. Whenever I see a review completely trashing an author and the Book it truly breaks my heart. It not only may turn away someone from trying the Book, but people tend to forget that creative people are more emotional/sensitive. And this is one of my fears as an aspiring author, that someone won't get what I'm trying to say, and therefore leave a hurtful review and that review then turns away someone who may need to read what I have to say. This is something that has been my prayer lately. That people think before they speak or write.

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    1. Yay, Alyssa! Another mermaid lover. :-) I'm sorry to say that getting bad reviews and some times cruel ones comes with the territory of being an author. It's a cruel world and many people are just plain miserable. I've learned over the years to NOT read my reviews.. but every once and awhile one will get through and upset me. Sigh. It truly would be a better world if people treated each other like they wanted to be treated. Hey, isn't that in the Bible? LOL

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  10. Looking forward to a mermaid story. This story would probably not interest me, but I will read it because you are writing it and I love your books. I certainly would agree with the common thread here - if you don't have anything good to say....say nothing at all! I do look at the reviews, but unless there are a number of less than complementary reviews, I ignore them. If there are a number of them, then I will read some, to see if I would give credence to what has been written, and then leave the book behind. Usually, I find I would not likely agree with the reviewer, and get the book anyway and form my own opinion.

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    1. Thanks Betti! My mother used to say that exact thing to me: If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all! It's a wise saying we all should heed. Thanks for coming by!

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  11. I feel ya, Marylu, my one 1- star was given because the heroine gets raped. Not only did the reviewer give away a major plot element,he or she said the scene wasn't appropriate for a young christian girl. Sigh.

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    1. I'm so sorry, Josie. I know how those 1-stars hurt. I just don't get why some people expect our characters to live happy lives where nothing goes wrong. That is not reality. Sigh

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  12. I didn't write reviews for years because I've never bought one based on them. However, when my favorite authors requested them and said they helped, I began trying to review every book I read that I enjoy. My reviews promote books that I think others might enjoy. Many times, the lessons in the book are it's best redeeming value. I'm not interested in mermaids, but I might be if you wrote the book. We shall see! :) I'm very glad that not all authors write the same knd of books! :)

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    1. I'm glad too that not all authors write the same kind of books. Think of how boring that would be! Yes, reviews .. lots of good ones.. do help an author out alot. Apparently many people decide to buy a book based on reviews. Doesn't make sense to me but that's how it works. That's so kind of you to help out the authors you love. I'm sure they appreciate it. :-)

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  13. MaryLu,

    Two summers ago, I just needed a break from all the heavy reading I was doing. I was heading to the shore and I thought a fictional book on ships might be good. I came across "The Redemption." Pirates, ships and water sounded like just the thing for me. Oh, my, when I was finished the book, I knew that I had to read more of your work. You are gifted. Don't let the naysayers take your joy. I will be praying for you during this time of writing.

    Mary

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary! I appreciate your kind words. The Lord has been dealing with me to keep my eyes on Him.. and on no one else. I'm a work in progress. :-) Thanks for your prayers...

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  14. MaryLu, I'm so excited to read Tears of the Sea. I've never read a mermaid story, but I'm eager to see what you will do with the storyline. Will be interesting, for sure. :) I'm with ya on the negative reviews. If I don't care for a book, I just don't write a review. I can't bring myself to say anything against something an author has worked so hard on, because it might be the very thing that someone else needs to read. And God can use a book to speak to an individual. And I want to be an encourager, not someone who tears another down. Thanks again, MaryLu, for all your hard work! Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Angi! I couldn't have said it better!! Hugs back at ya!

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  15. Hi Mary Lu, firstly let me say that you are one of my favourite authors and I have spent many hours escaping into your stories, so thank you. Secondly, know that whatever happens, the Bible says in proverbs 19:21 that many are the plans in a mans heart but it is the Lords purpose that stands. No man can stop what He wants to do. So as much as man or women in this case, try to stop something due to their high opinions....if God purposes it, it shall be done. I would like to write another proverb under each negative slaying that pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
    I would be just as devastated to be on the receiving end of a mouth that spews negativity without thought.

    You're doing an amazing job....keep them coming and PLEASE write lots more high sea adventures...Celeste

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    1. May I say what a beautiful name you have, Celeste? Wow, I may use that for one of my heroines. :-) Thank you for your kind words! I couldn't be happier to hear that the stories God has given me have brought you enjoyment.
      Thank you also for those proverbs. Particularly the first one which made me realize that no matter how many people attack my books, God will have His will and get them into the hands He wants. That is so true!
      And for the record, I do plan on writing many more high seas adventures.. as long as God allows! Hugs...

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  16. Excited about the new novel - mermaids! Hooray! OK, I'm a little prejudiced but it will be so nice to get a book about us. I totally loved the way the Ransom evolved and twisted and came out at the end. We often grumble about things that God redeems for us later. Maybe someday we will learn to withhold our grumbles and wait patiently to see what He is doing! Ran across this excellent quote: waiting is not about what you get at the end of that wait; it's about what you become as you wait! (Paul David Tripp) Eagerly awaiting the new book. Hope you got a little rest between them!

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    1. Hi mermaid Molly!! Thanks for slipping out of the sea to say hi! Also great quote!! God's desire is for us to become like Him and to know Him... whatever it takes. So why do we complain? :-)

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  17. Hi Mary,

    I am a book reviewer so I have read MANY books and I don't love them all. I can find some positives and always point them out, this is a piece of art which is subjective to the one taking it in. And just because it didn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for someone else. I am honest when I review saying I didn't really connect with the book but I always encourage others to form their own opinion if the books sounds interesting to them.

    If we say we love Jesus shouldn't even our reviews reflect that? So sad that some of us think giving a review is an open invitation to be negative. That doesn't come from Christ. He loves the author and He would never speak to him/her that way, why do we think we can?

    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to your new book :)

    Melissa

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    1. Hi Melissa, thanks for dropping by.! Your attitude is what I normally find among professional reviewers and is the right one... find the positives, be honest and kind. That's why you're good at what you do. :-)
      It would seem some Christians don't bring their faith into every area of their lives. What a shame. I'm always open to constructive criticism because I know I'm human and flawed and I have much to learn. But you're right Jesus would never speak to anyone that way. Have a great weekend!

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  18. Amen!! I agree with you completely on negative reviews. You should always leave reviews in such a way that a person will want to try it themselves. Reviews are, after all, a personal opinion. I rarely review any book that I can't give 4 stars or better for this reason.
    I'm excited to read your mermaid story!! :) Not usually my cup of tea, but with your books, I'm willing to try anything! Woohoo! Go for it. And don't let the negative comments or reviews keep you from following your calling.
    If God is for us, who can stand against us?

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    1. Thanks so much, First Mate, Sheri!! :-)

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  19. I have to agree with you MaryLu. There really is a way to give your opinion without being mean. I know some people won't try a book if the reviewer they love doesn't like the book, so they really do influence others. And, I'm not totally blaming that reviewer for that part, but It does bother me when they won't even try a book for that reason. For, a book one doesn't find to their liking, another might like. I have seen this happen. This is even if the reviewer says, but you might like it. I wish you the best on your new journey and I feel sure GOD won't lead you astray. GOD bless, Maxie Anderson

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    1. It truly is amazing how many people let reviews persuade them but I know it's true. Makes it so difficult for an author. Anyway, I know God is bigger than any bad reviews! God Bless you too, Maxie!

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  20. Aw, a mermaid story!? I'm already a fan. ;)

    Thanks for your comments on reviews, MaryLu! It was an interesting read. For me personally, I'm learning what I like and what I don't as well, and while it's fun to try a new author or unusual genre, I also don't like to "force" myself to read through a book. You know, I find it really hard to write a review of a book I didn't care for because it can be difficult to kindly articulate your thoughts - and I never want to come across as "mean." But at the same time if I've committed to review a book from a publisher, I *have* to review it so I try and write about what I did like and most of the time, fellow bloggers reviews are glowing so I put my dislike off on me, as a reader as opposed to being down on the author - I can appreciate a well-written novel, I just don't always care for the story, time setting or characters.

    - Rissi
    Dreaming Under the Same Moon

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    1. Hi Rissi! I've had to "endorse" a few books that I didn't care for.. as well as write reviews. I know how hard it is. I appreciate your position and the fact that you try to not offend the author and do the book justice. I find most professional reviewers are the same.. which is really nice. :-) Thanks for coming by!

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  21. I totally agree with everything said about bad reviews, MaryLu!! I'm a relatively new reader of Christian fiction, having read primarily bios, auto-bios, and other non-fiction for many years. I like to read books that are referred to me by other author's whose books I have enjoyed (if he/she enjoys them, I probably will also) - Julie Lessman led me to your books and those of Laura Frantz. However, if I do start a book I don't enjoy - I usually don't finish it, or write a review. I feel that authors ARE their books and I could never write a condemning review on a book an author has poured his heart and soul into, my dislike of the book is no assurance that others will dislike it.

    I'm looking forward to reading "Tears of the Sea" and praying for all those non-believers I know are going to learn of God's love for them through the gifted writing He has/will bestow on your writing of "Tears of the Sea"!! THANK YOU for using the gift He has given to you to reach others for Him - I KNOW He is/will bless you for doing so!!

    Love and hugs to you, MaryLu!!

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts. I appreciate that you understand how much of ourselves we authors have invested in our books. Not many people get that. :-) Love and hugs back at you!

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  22. Ahoy! I can't tell you how excited I am for this new story! I had a recent thought, and I don't know if you thought of this or not, but in Hans Christian Anderson's original Little Mermaid part of why she wanted to become human was to gain an immortal soul to be able to have salvation. I've always liked that about his original story.

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  23. Bravo! And well said, MaryLu! It's bad enough that Christian authors have such a small audience of the readership pie to begin with, but to have other Christians cruelly bash us and our books rather than supporting and uplifting us is beyond comprehensible. Where is the spirit of Christ in their cruelty? A reviewer can get their point across without being snarky and rude, but I have seen some Christian reviewers really bashing others (and me) and it bothers me. I had no control over which reviewers my publisher sent my books to, but I created a Bad Reviewer List and a Good Reviewer List, and now that I'm self-publishing--no reviewer will be getting a FREE copy of my book if I see them being cruel and heartless to other authors and/or myself. Why should we continue to give them FREE books for such treatment? They don't have to like my book to be on the Good Reviewer List, they just have to be courteous and polite in the way they write their reviews.

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  24. MaryLu, please let me know when this book is available. My 17 year old daughter loves mermaids and I'd love to let her know about it. She mostly reads ebooks on her phone. I'll be happy to promote it as well.

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