The Magic of “I’m Disappointed”

 My Dad, the Original “I’m Disappointed” Magician

 

I remember how much my father enjoyed going to various high-end West Los Angeles restaurants in the 1970s and 1980s. As a gourmand, he had high standards.

One evening Dad had a bummer of a meal at The Velvet Turtle. (By the way, turtle soup and anything else turtle-related or velvet-related was not served there!)

Dad didn’t go home to face indigestion of body and spirit. He wrote The Velvet Turtle’s manager a letter expressing his profound disappointment with his dining experience. This incident occurred long before the advent of email, so my father handwrote a double-sided letter explaining exactly what fell short at the establishment.

 

Lo and behold, Dad promptly received a profuse apology and a gift certificate for a full-course dinner for four. (I stole took his certificate and brought my then-boyfriend and grandmother out for dinner – the food and service were very good!)

I never forgot my father’s satisfaction with his informing the manager he had a less-than-magical experience, nor did I forget the end result.

 

Whenever I’ve been deeply perturbed by the actions of an individual or group, I get in front of my laptop to write my “I’m Disappointed” email.

My fond wish is that the“I’m Disappointed”email “technique” will work as well for you as it has worked for me. 

Here are two easy steps to take for your happy dance touchdown time.

  • The phrase “I’m disappointed with…blankety blank” always goes in the subject header and also the body of the email.
  • I never use foul language, despite having been very tempted to do so sometimes. I keep it short ‘n sweet and chock full of disappointment.

For you writers out there, here’s an example of an email I sent to BringChange2Mind. I asked for author/mental health advocate Jessie Close’s consideration to endorse my book. 

It’s followed by “I’m Disappointed” missive, & then the prompt, courteous reply I received from BringChange2Mind. 

 

--------------------------- Original Message ----------------------
Subject: Attn: Jessie Close/Book Endorsement Opportunity
From:    "Dyane Leshin-Harwood"
Date:    Tue, 7 March, 2017 2:23 pm
To:      information@bringchange2mind.org
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Jessie,

I hope you're doing well!

Like so many other readers, I bought "Resilience" and was deeply moved by your journey. I especially related to your love for dogs. I enjoyed seeing the photo of you with Redstone Rocket - I have a 
Sheltie/collie mix named Lucy, and her face looks a lot like Redstone Rocket's. I also loved the photos of your adorable Wowie and  
Snitz.

I'm a writer and mental health advocate.My memoir "Birth of a New Brain - Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder" will be publishedthis fall by Post Hill Press.

I'd be honored if you'd consider endorsing it.

You'd join other inspiring movers and shakers including:

--Dr. Verinder Sharma, Perinatal Psychiatrist
--Dr. Nancy Byatt, Psychiatrist/Professor, University of 
Massachusetts Medical School
--Mark Lukach ("My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward")
--Jay Mohr ("Gasping for Airtime," "No Wonder My Parents Drank," Podcast One's MohrStories, "Keep Oregon Well" Spokesman/Mental Health Advocate)

I've attached the front & back cover for your review. The book on Amazon for pre-sales and you can read its brief description here:

https://www.amazon.com/Birth-New-Brain-Postpartum-Disorder/dp/1618688014/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488918029&sr=1-1&keywords=Birth+of+a+New+Brain

I look forward to hearing from you very much!

Warm regards,

Dyane Harwood

 After two weeks with no reply, I sent the “I’m Disappointed” email:

Subject Header: Very Disappointed

“Dear Bring Change 2 Mind Staff,

On March 7th, I left a voicemail message at the website’s contact number
(for Annie) and I emailed that same day, but I never heard back from
anyone.

I realize that working at a nonprofit is demanding (I’ve worked at three
of them here in Santa Cruz!), but I’d really appreciate a confirmation
that you received my email and that my request is being considered.

Thanks so much,

Dyane Harwood”


The next day I received this response from BringChange2Mind’s Staff

Hi Dyane, thank you for your email, and please accept my sincerest apology for not responding sooner. It sounds as though you understand how time manages to slip by too quickly in the non-profit world! And, as a small staff of three, I am afraid that it’s always moving faster in the BC2M office than I would prefer!

Congratulations on your book! If you could send us a copy here at the office, I could put it in the mail to Jessie with the hope that she would be able to read it. She has been extremely busy lately so I can’t make any promises, but it’s always worth a try!

Thank you again for reaching out to us!

 ———–

I’m astounded at how quickly I usually receive a courteous response after I fire off the I’m Disappointed email. Oftentimes I’ve heard back from someone within 24 hours of sending it. Of course, I don’t always receive a reply or get what I want – although once in a while I do – but it feels good to get such a quick turnaround.

Try it the next time someone lets you down, and let me know if the magic happens for you!

Love,

Dyane

 

p.s. I’m writing this post at the Cliff Cafe which is down the street from the Munchkin Cabin in beautiful Alpine Meadows. My view of the Truckee River:

 

We’ve been coming up here for almost a decade. The cabin owner has become a friend and she gives us the “friend’s rate” that makes this trip possible.

Next Friday I’ll let you know about my latest adventures in this magnificent wilderness – hopefully I won’t have a bear come inside the cabin while I’m there (been there, done that!) or get lost in the Sierras (ditto!), or have Craig break his foot while walking down the stairs again, or ride Squaw Valley gondola when the staff fires off an avalanche-prevention explosive almost directly beneath the tram (yep!) – and hopefully I won’t need to write an “I’m Disappointed” email while we’re up here!

 

In this short video, I’m watching Lucy swim for the first time. She’s braving a pond that’s fed by snowmelt from the top of Alpine Meadows. I was so verklempt over my furry girl’s swimming prowess & her concern for Rilla! (Apologies for the loud “Oh my Gods” in the background!)

If you want another brief dose of Lucy’s cuteness, check this out! 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw, will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. Birth of a New Brain is now available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales. Kindle pre-sales will be available in August.

My Little Surprise & Humiliation at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk!


Dear Friends,

Prepare yourself for a post filled with thrills

of the amusement park ride persuasion….

and chills I’m getting from the thought of proofing my book yet again!

Yesterday I received a PDF file from my managing editor at Post Hill Press. It was the paginated interior of my book!

It was a surreal experience scrolling through the file. Birth of a New Brain now looks like a bona fide book complete with photos and professional formatting, unlike the ARC (advanced review copy) which is a simple Word document devoid of photos or any stylistic touches. 

 

The ARC of Birth of a New Brain didn’t look like a “booky wook.” 

 

I didn’t know I’d have the opportunity to proof my book again, which was my little surprise. However, I knew the ARC had typos and other problems – errors that I wanted to fix, so now I can give it another shot.

While examining 250+ pages will be tedious, I’m thankful I get the chance to do it. I have eighteen days – gulp. Eighteen days sounds like a decent amount of time, but it’ll go by in a heartbeat.  I might need to eat a piece of humble pie and beg for a few more days.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Lost Boys was filmed at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk thirty years ago, the year before I moved here!

I took the girls to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Monday. Whenever I take them there, which is rare because it’s costly even with season passes, I consider the trip to be a profound event. (I wrote about why that’s the case in my post The Found Girl.)

I managed to have a panic attack on the Freefall ride in the children’s zone! I had never been on that ride before, but Avonlea had. She told me I’d be fine, and while I had an inkling I wasn’t going to like the ride, I was clueless I’d react the way I did.

The Boardwalk’s website blatantly lies – it describes Freefall as “Great training for bigger thrills! Freefall springs riders up and drops them down for a giggly good time.”

My Nemesis: Freefall

 When you watch this video, the ride doesn’t look scary, but the woman’s incessant laugh is frightening!!!

 

Our observant teen ride operator took pity on me when he heard my agonized screams and saw my terrified face. He stopped the ride and asked me if I wanted to exit.

Of course I did!

A little girl no older than four seated next to me laughed at my pain! My girls were fine. Avonlea is a daredevil and has been on Double Shot, the big, freaky-to-the-100,000,000th degree version of Freefall!

Marilla was a little scared at first, but her fear quickly went away. They didn’t mind getting off the ride so they could support their freaked-out, humiliated mom.

The Double Shot a.k.a. the 10th Circle of Dante’s Hell

 

Years ago I survived the Tower of Terror at Disneyland. The ride does the same type of up-down-up-down moves as Freefall, but it’s far scarier. My Tower of Terror ride took place years before I was diagnosed with the ultimate Terror: bipolar disorder.

On Freefall, I felt completely out of control since I wasn’t in charge of the stomach-twisting ups and downs. That helpless feeling triggered bad feelings. (You’ll never find me pretending to be an eloquent writer!)

Now I know I must stick to my favorite rides: the bumper cars, the flume log ride, and the wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster, which was built in 1924 and survived the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake!

 

1911 Looff Carousel with my girls

“The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s 1911 Looff Carousel is a National Historic Landmark and local treasure. The hand-carved merry-go-round has been turning children’s seaside dreams into golden memories since 1911.”

This ride is featured in the tense opening scene of The Lost Boys at the one-minute markI love this film! Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, the Two Coreys, Dianne Wiest, Edward Hermann (the gentleman who narrated all those History Channel shows), and 80’s music!!!

What’s not to love? If you haven’t seen it yet, promise me you’ll put it at the top of your bucket list. 

As you can tell, I get carried away when I reminisce about The Lost Boys. Please forgive me – I can’t help it. I’m such a sucker for it. Ha ha ha ha! If you’ve seen this movie, do you get it? 😉

Thanks for reading, and have a great Friday & weekend.

Sending you my love,

Dyane

 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder,  foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw, will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. Birth of a New Brain is now available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales. Kindle pre-sales will be available later this summer.

 

The Evolution of a Book Cover/Update

 

Welcome and Happy Freaky Friday, my friends!

I’m writing this post in a zombie-like state.

(Now, before some of you comment, “That’s nothing new,” please hear me out.)

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I met my editing deadline on Wednesday night, and I swear I felt like I had a baby. I’ve never worked that hard on something before, with the exception of labor. I was so exhausted that I actually slept well. (
My fellow insomniacs will get the significance of such an event!) I’m slowly coming back to life…

I look forward to reading your blogs again and replying to your wonderful comments.

Some of you have seen the current cover on the Facebook page (please “like” & share the love!) and Twitter. It’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon  (woo hoo!), and the Kindle pre-sales option will come this summer. It’ll be out October 10th.

A week ago my book got posted on Amazon, and it was SUPER-exciting! It went to #20 on Bipolar Book bestsellers for an hour! 😉 It was the #1 Hot New Release in Amazon’s “Pregnancy & Childbirth” category for an afternoon or so! 
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But yesterday I had a little surprise!

My publisher asked me to consider changing the front cover title font from cursive to regular. (Regular…schmegular…whatever that word is! I told you I’m a zombie!)

Although I’ve disagreed with them before on other points, I was okay with this suggestion. More than okay. But I don’t like the all caps element. (You’ll see what I mean when you look at the 2/16 image.)

Some backstory you should know is that I negotiated with my publisher to handle the cover design, but they would get final approval, of course. And they did approve what I submitted. (Hope that makes sense.)

Moving on…

Here’s how the cover came to be:

My daughters and I thought of an idea. We created this mock-up. (Sorry for the terrible picture, but you get the idea…) The title, subheader, bylines were black on the mock-up, but we wanted our designer to use a sparkling white color instead of black.

Avonlea wanted the title font to consist of stars (and those fonts exist), but that didn’t quite work out.

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We gave that mock-up to our remarkable graphic designer Vanessa No Heart to play with. Vanessa sent us a bunch of ideas that boiled down to this image with three different color palettes:

coverone

 

birth-of-a-new-brain2

 

covertwo

 

I liked this one the best:

9781618688019

 

My publisher prefers this font. They have a very good rationale which I’ll paraphrase below.

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2/16 Image

I’m down with the publisher’s font, BUT I’d like “Birth,” “New,” and”Brain” to have the first letter capitalized.  I’m really hoping they’re going to be honky dory with that feedback!

Here’s the loosely paraphrased rationale:

“Dear Dyane,

We think the design you submitted will hurt sales. 

Readers use visual elements to identify the book’s topic, and this process happens super-fast

Usually, script fonts signify humorous topics, light topics

Your memoir covers a serious, important topic. Our font makes it look more serious, not like a Harlequin romance novel

When you look at books online or in a store, you spend a fraction of a minute looking at a cover. Cursive is harder to read. Many readers pass on the book ONLY because they don’t want to take a closer look at the font!”

Okay, that all makes 100% sense! Like I mentioned, I just don’t like the all-caps version. It’s too stark and I don’t feel the magic! 😉 

The publisher also wrote they wanted my approval on the suggested font, which was very cool of them to do. Technically, I think they could have insisted that I had to accept the new font. At least they are being respectful.

In the big picture of worldly events, this is a very, very, VERRRRRRY minor situation, and I’m not going to freak out. But I do love nice book covers, and I’d like to be proud of mine, you know what I’m sayin’? 

Stay tuned…..let me know your deep or shallow thoughts on the matter, and if you don’t like the cover, I understand – it’s not for everyone…& most importantly, have a GREAT weekend!!!!!

XOXO

Dyane

Dyane Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October.

It’s now available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link!

 

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Cover Reveal Coming….I Miss You All!

1st-prototype-cover

Dear blogging friends, hello there!

I know, I know….I promised I’d do the exciting cover reveal yesterday, but I lied. Just kidding. The truth is that I’ve been TOTALLY flipping out about meeting my Feb. 15th deadline. (It’s nothing major…it’s just the deadline to submit my revised manuscript to The Great and Powerful Oz.)

 So please, I beg of you, give me an extension! The truth shall be revealed!

Speaking of book covers, some of you have seen the following image, but for those who haven’t had the, um, experience yet, I’ll reveal what the cover is NOT going to be.

The cartoonist Chato Stewart generously submitted this artwork pro bono for my consideration. I was grateful, but after careful consideration, I decided to take a pass.

Mental Health Humor and psychological disorder humor and cartoons by Chato Stewart
Mental Health Humor and psychological disorder humor and cartoons by Chato Stewart

The cover won’t be this:

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This is picture of a bona fide mountain lion who lives near me! Photo courtesy of the Santa Cruz Puma Project

The cover won’t be this either, primarily because it’s my husband’s book’s cover:


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It won’t be this:

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(courtesy of Bookshop Santa Cruz)

On the other hand, THIS could work!

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Have a great Valentine’s Day! I send you each a virtual tray of calorie-free pastries from the glorious heaven known as the Ben Lomond Baking Company.

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Sending you lots and lots of love,

Dyane

Dyane Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October.

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Two Editing Gems & Cover/Pre-Sale Update!!!

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Hello, my lovelies!

This will be the shortest post I’ve written in a long time. I read somewhere that an ideal blog post length is around 500 words. Since I usually publish 2000+ words, I’m happy I won’t bog you down this week!

In next week’s post, there’s a chance I’ll be revealing the cover of my memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder and I’ll provide an Amazon link where it’ll be available for groovy pre-sales!!!!

I’ve scanned books on Amazon for years. (Don’t ask me how many books I’ve bought for my Kindle because it’s downright freakish.) It will be incredible and surreal to see my book on my Kindle Fire’s fingerprint-covered screen.

Aside from avoiding being a tasty nibble for our neighborhood mountain lion

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I’ve continued editing every day.

I’ve killed more darlings! (I must admit every “murder” has felt good!)

I invested in two awesome, relatively inexpensive editing tools: Grammarly Premium, and  ProWriting Aid, which is relatively new and remarkable to boot.

I learned about ProWriting Aid at the awesome * Beyond Your Blog by Susan Maccarelli. I encourage you to read Susan’s review “How A Non-Human Leveled Up My Writing.” ProWriting Aid has been the most helpful to me, and has more features than Grammarly. You can try ProWriting Aid for free, and if you want to purchase it, you can do that too! With Susan’s discount code provided on her blog post, I received 20% off the cost. I paid less than $40 for a year’s subscription, which is the same amount of money I’ve been known to blow at the Italian-owned, dreamy Ben Lomond Baking Company down the road; they made me gain ten pounds – it’s all their fault.

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Damn you, Ben Lomond Baking Company! I can’t quit you!

ProWriting Aid has been worth its weight in chocolate ganache cupcakes and gold.

That’s all the news that’s fit to blog. Phew!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for putting up with my being incommunicado during the home stretch to publication! And thanks, as always, for reading!

Love,

Dyane

p.s. I can’t take all the credit for editing. My ghost writer Lucy has been working very hard too.

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With her hedgehog baby

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Stretching before returning to take over the laptop

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After an intense editing session, Lucy took a dognap on Craig’s pillow – please don’t let him know, although in truth she’s the cleanest member of our family!

* Beyond Your Blog is “a site helping bloggers successfully submit their writing for publishing opportunities beyond their personal blogs. Susan also offers online training and consulting to new bloggers looking for direction on submitting their writing for publication. Susan has interviewed dozens of editors from publications like The New York Times, Huffington Post, Brain, Child, Chicken Soup For The Soul, The Washington Post, and speaks at many respected writing and blogging conferences.” 

 

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

A Noise I’ll Never Forget…

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Photos courtesy of the Santa Cruz Puma Project

Today at 3:00 a.m., I woke up and realized I left something important in my car. I needed to get it, so I walked up the hill to our driveway. It was pitch black outside and brrrrrrrrrr…cold!!!!

On my way to my car, I heard the chickens rustling loudly, and I thought maybe a few raccoons had been around. As I began opening our wooden gate, I heard a very low, rumbling, resonant growl the likes of which I’ve never heard before. It sounded like a mountain lion’s growl.

My gut told me whatever made that noise was NO dog! I can’t prove it, but I swear it was a mountain lion. 

I fled back to the house. Running away from a mountain lion is exactly what you aren’t supposed to do – it can provoke a mountain lion to attack you! You’re supposed to make yourself look big, i.e. raise your arms up high and yell.  

After I heard that unforgettable sound, I stood still inside our house for a good 20 minutes, trembling from fear, thinking about what took place.

We live in mountain lion country. Recently, mountain lions have been spotted a few minutes up our street, so it’s entirely plausible that my gut was right. 

It’s their home as well as ours, but that growl was one of the most frightening sounds I’ve ever heard. (It sounded a lot like the growl at this link.)

And I’m grateful to that mountain lion because it didn’t attack me. That’s not the way this gal wants to go – oh, my dear mountain lion/neighbor, if you’re going to come after me, please wait until my book Birth of a New Brain is published in October! 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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On the Homestretch of Editing “Birth of a New Brain”

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I look a lot like her, complete with frizzy hair and her expression! (But she’s dressed way better than I am.)

Hello, hello!

You might have noticed I’ve been taking a hiatus from reading your blogs. Believe me, I miss them! Hopefully you haven’t been making voodoo dolls in my image for neglecting your posts.

I swear on a tower of glorious Halo Top Ice Cream pints I shall return to your blogs come February!

To add insult to injury, I still owe replies to comments some of you made on my last post – that one about the awful email I wanted to send my writing teacher. While I plan on responding, I must say that each of you who gave me advice was 100% right!;)

De to my Jan. 31 deadline, every spare moment I have is allocated to editing 300 pages of….well, now I can state for the record that my manuscript (ms) no longer resembles Bandini Mountain.

However, sh*t describes exactly how I’ve felt about my ms ever since I got it back from my editor last month, and heck, long before that.

After making the editor’s suggested changes, I realized that my book was NOT ready to be perused by anyone, especially a famous author who agreed to consider contributing a cover blurb. 

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Even after following my editor’s suggestions, the ms still needed a TON of work, and I made up my mind that I was going to give it one last shot before turning it in. I’ve been “killing my darlings” and last night I deleted an entire chapter that didn’t further the story. Sorry to sound like a drama queen, but deleting those pages almost killed me.

With the exception of giving birth, I’ve never worked so hard in my life. I’ve been sleeping, but I’ve had vivid nightmares such as the one where alien-human hybrids were eating people around me, and it was clear I was next in line. I woke up just in time.

There was another nightmare that was even worse: I was editing my ms and found an error, and I fixed it, only to discover it had reappeared. That happened with the same error over and over again, a la maddening Groundhog Day fashion. 

Yuck!

At least Lucy has been by my side; her loving energy has been an enormous boost. (That’s her hedgehog “baby” next to her paw.)

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So that’s what has been going on in my life, and things will continue to be that way until January 31st. Every second I’m not taking care of the girls or doing the neverending chores, I’m in my office (i.e. on my bed) editing until I can’t take it anymore, and I guiltily close the ms Word file to play hooky on the wicked internet.

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How are you?

Sending you my love, as always,

Dyane

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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