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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Linda enjoys playing with quirky fantasy


Hello Linda, and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have to say I still feel like a fraud when I tell people I’m a writer as I’ve only gotten my first contract. One book in print sounds so unexceptional in these days when anybody can slap a cover on a garbled mess of a manuscript and throw it up on Amazon. I tell myself Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, only wrote one book and she called herself a writer. Then the little voice inside my head says, “Honey, you ain’t no Harper Lee.” (Okay, I know, I know.) I’ve decided to feel like a writer when I get four books in prints. It’s a totally arbitrary number, but for some reason four books sounds worthy enough to me.
Author Linda Kelley

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?

Almost all my works contain some element of fantasy. I like playing with the rules of reality and inventing my own.  Fantasy is tricky. You get to stretch boundaries, but at the same time the story must maintain a coherent internal logic or fall apart. I like the challenge. Most of my other works have been urban or paranormal fantasies, but a quirky idea came to me a few weeks ago, so now I’m working on a paranormal western. I’m not even sure that’s a genre. Maybe I invented a new thing.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Writing, or something else?

I’ve always loved writing, but never had the confidence to submit anything to a publisher until recently. I had assumed writers needed a special mythic quality. They walked around bathed in light to their own theme music. I finally got up the nerve to attend a writer’s conference and found out everyone there looked pretty much like me. I was both horribly disappointed and incredibly relieved.  I realized the only thing holding me back was self-doubt. I started submitting my work and never looked back.

If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?

That’s a difficult question. I don’t want to go anywhere without indoor plumbing, antibiotics, chocolate, or with political and social oppression of women. That leaves out almost all recorded human history. On the other hand, the future is a great unknown. What if I picked a hundred years from now and ended up in a giant puddle of melted slag because an asteroid just crashed into the earth? I’ll stay home, thank you.

If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?

I’d like to be able to stop time. I never feel as if I have enough hours in the day to write. Stopping the clocks for a few hours would be great.  Sadly, I would also go to casinos, stop time, and then cheat at poker by looking at the other players’ hands. I know it’s wrong. I don’t even like to play poker, but I’d do it anyway just because I could.  It is best not to give me any superpower because I could easily fall down the slippery slope to super villain. 

Share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.

I know the muffin man.
I know the way to San Jose.
I know whodunit.


BLURB:
Not your mama’s yuletide tale unless she drank too much egg nog or was born with a cheeky sense of humor.

Murder, mystical artifacts, an invisible demon with anger management issues, and an overbearing cupid were not on Rosalie Thatcher’s Christmas list.  The holidays had always been a magical time, but not this year. Stephanie, the new manager at Penrose’s Department Store, is determined to make this season the most profitable in the store’s history, even if it sucks the life out of every employee. Introducing arbitrary rules and stealing the affections of Anthony, the cute temp Santa, were bad enough, but forcing Rosalie into the stupid elf hat was the worst. The worst, that is, until she meets a real E.L.F. (Elemental Life Form) named David and gets lassoed into a desperate hunt for the stolen Naughty and Nice List. Now they must dodge a murderous invisible demon and recover the missing artifact before hellhounds track them down.  The couple race against time for without the magical guidance of the Naughty and Nice List, the world will tumble toward eternal chaos.

EXCERPT  THE NAUGHTY LIST
Fingering the garish green material, David didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The oversize ears stuck out like a genetic experiment gone horribly wrong. The lining felt like steel wool. Had the holiday spirit been reduced to this?
A wave of despair enveloped him. “I’m so sorry, Rosalie.” On impulse, David reached into his pocket. He pulled out a gold-wrapped chocolate bar saved for later, swiped from a stash hidden in the store manager’s office. David scribbled on a sticky pad and pressed the note to the wrapper. He slipped the candy under the counter just before a sudden murmur of voices broke the silence. The staff had arrived. He ducked behind a rack of clothing in the back as a girl walked up to the counter, an elf hat tucked under her arm.
“Ears, Rosalie.”
She halted in mid-stride. A sharply dressed twentysomething in a skin tight pencil skirt swooped down on her. To get a better view, David carefully eased back the clothes hanging in front of his face. He saw Rosalie’s fingers clenched around the hat. He chuckled to himself. She’s pissed, but hides her aggravation well. Sadhri would definitely approve of her self-control.
“Stephanie,” Rosalie stated calmly, “the hats are extremely uncomfortable. Everyone hates them.”
“Nonsense, they’re fine.”
“If you simply try one on you’ll see—”
“I don’t have to. I know they’re fine. The hats put people in the holiday spirit and cheerful people spend more money.” Stephanie examined her perfect French manicure. “So close to Christmas is an awful time to be out of work.” Rosalie jammed the hat on her head without another word. “Excellent,” cooed Stephanie. “Keep that attitude up and your name will stop appearing on the Motivation Memo.” Without another word, she flounced off.
David knew he should dash-away. Every moment in the open was risky, but he couldn’t take his eyes off Rosalie in the idiotic hat. What would she do?
The young woman leaned against the counter glaring after Stephanie. She bobbled her head back and forth and spouted in a falsetto sing-song:
“I’m a special elf from Penrose’s
I wear the special hat
You are not a special elf
You’re a dirty rat
You don’t belong at Penrose’s
You don’t know how to play
Wiggle your tight ass out of here
Damn you, go away.”
David snorted. Rosalie stiffened and turned around.
“Who’s there?” she called

BIO:
I’m the palest person living in Florida, and will take air conditioned comfort over heat and humidity any day. Married with three kids, I spent most of my work life in higher education, but now concentrate on writing fiction.  I never clean under my sofa. THE NAUGHTY LIST is my first book. Find me at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com


BUY LINKS:
The Naughty List can be found at:


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Highlanders, faeries and vampires fill Dawn’s stories

Hi  Dawn and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure;
 
Author Dawn Marie Hamilton
Thanks, Jean, for having me as a guest on your blog.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I have two novels published as part of the Highland Gardens series, Just Beyond the Garden Gate and Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon. A third book, Sea Panther, is currently in edits and will be the first novel in the new Crimson Storm series. It is difficult to decide which is the favourite. I’m most in love with whichever story I’m working on at any particular time. J Today, my favourite is JUST ONCE IN A VERRA BLUE MOON. Finn is sexy as all get out and Elspeth is sweet and loving. They are great together.

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?

My books tend to bend romance sub-genres. The Highland Gardens series are Scottish historical time travel romances with fantasy elements—faeries, brownies and other fae creatures. The Crimson Storm series are Scottish inspired paranormal (vampire shifter) romances with an historical time travel twist. I enjoy stretching reality with the stories and making the new world order believable.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?

I’m really excited about the soon to release Sea Panther, coming this spring. The novel was a 2013 Golden Heart® finalist. I would share the cover, but it’s not ready to go public yet. Here’s the blurb:

After evading arrest for Jacobite activities, Scottish nobleman Robert MacLachlan turns privateer. A Caribbean Voodoo priestess curses him to an eternal existence as a vampire shifter torn between the dual natures of a Florida panther and an immortal blood-thirsting man. For centuries, he seeks to reverse the black magic whilst maintaining his honor. Cruising the twenty-first century Atlantic, he becomes shorthanded to sail his 90-foot yacht, Sea Panther. The last thing he wants is a female crewmember and the call of her blood.

Although she swore never to sail again after her father died in a sailing accident, Kimberly Scot answers the captain's crew wanted ad to escape a hit man. She's lost everything, her fiancé, her job, and most of her money, along with money belonging to ex-clients. A taste of Kimberly's blood convinces Robert she is the one woman who can claim the panther's heart. To break the curse, they travel back in time to where it all began—Jamaica 1715.

Work is also in progress on the next two stories in the Highland Gardens series. One or both will release fall 2014.

Do you belong to any non-writing organizations?

Yes. I’m a member of Clan Hamilton society and love to attend Highland games and Celtic gatherings.

When you are not writing, what are your hobbies, passions, etc?

More than there is time for. I’m an avid gardener. Cooking is a passion. And many a weekend is spent camping with my husband, where we spend the days hiking, bicycling, or canoeing.

Do you hear from readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I love hearing from readers. The big questions are when will the next book be out and whose story will it be? Several fans have requested Stephen’s story. We’ll just have to wait and see which of the two stories I’m working on comes out first.

What place inspires you the most?

The Blue Ridge Mountains. I first visited the North Carolina mountains to attend the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering of the Scottish Clans while doing research for the Highland Gardens series. I would rather be in the mountains than anywhere else. We often camp in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and spend the days hiking to waterfalls. A great way to refresh the muse.

If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?

The Highlands of Scotland, of course. I want to see what a real 16th century Highlander looks like. Are they as sexy-hot as we imagine?

If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?

Hard to choose between invisibility and the ability to fly. But I guess I’ll go with invisibility. Then I could watch people without them knowing. I’m sure that would produce fodder for some great stories.

JUST ONCE IN A VERRA BLUE MOON, A Highland Gardens Novel

Blurb:

What happens when a twenty-first century business executive is expected to fulfill a prophecy given at the birth of a sixteenth-century seer? Of course, he must raise his sword in her defense.

Believing women only want him for his wealth, Finn MacIntyre doesn't trust any woman to love him. When, during Scottish Highland games, faerie magic sends him back in time to avenge the brutal abduction of his time-traveling cousin, he learns he's the subject of a fae prophecy.

Elspeth MacLachlan, the beloved clan seer, is betrothed to a man she dislikes and dreams of the man prophesized at her birth, only to find him in the most unexpected place—face down in the mud.

With the help of fae allies, they must overcome the treachery set to destroy them to claim a love that transcends time.

Journey from the lush gardens of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to the Scottish Highlands of 1511 with JUST ONCE IN A VERRA BLUE MOON.

Excerpt:

Finn gripped the rowan staff in one hand and leaned against the castle’s outer wall, trying to catch his breath. The short trip from the garden left him weak. If his stamina didn’t return soon, he’d go crazy. He needed to be healthy and strong so he could go after Maclay. Then he must travel home before he did something rash concerning Elspeth.

He stopped again at the castle gate and gulped air to remain standing.

Motion on the bay caught his attention. Men rowed toward the castle in several small boats of the type made from skins and wicker, the kind Highlanders called currachs. When the crafts beached, he recognized Donald MacLachlan as the man jumped from one, strode across the pebbly beach and headed toward him.

Suddenly a weight slammed against Finn, knocking the hard-won air from his lungs. His walking stick flew from his hand as he fell to the ground. Pain shot from his thigh, to his groin, to his chest. Gasping for breath, he found Elspeth’s soft body entangled with his.

Her lush curves wrapped around him, filling his senses with all that was missing from his dreams. The scents of sunshine and roses intoxicated him. His hard-on was instantaneous.

Shit! He attempted to detangle their limbs and set her away from his ill-timed erection, but her body melded with his. She felt so right in his arms. He was tempted to hold onto her and never let her go.

Elspeth caught her breath. Everywhere Finn touched her as they tried to break apart, her skin tingled. When their gazes met, everything else faded away. The world reduced to only the two of them, and his mouth dipped toward hers.

His lips grazed hers and fire blazed through Elspeth to her toes, the moment lasting an eternity. Finn’s tongue pushed between her lips, seeking entrance. Her mind reeled. With little thought, she wrapped her arms around his waist and twirled her tongue around his. Passion. Unlike the minimal pecks she’d received from Alexander, Finn’s fierce kiss conquered, possessed.

She wanted more.

The sound of a throat clearing broke the spell, and Finn’s sinful mouth pulled away, leaving behind a fracture in the foundation of Elspeth’s expectations for the future.

How could she go on as before?

“Let me help you.”

She gazed up through the haze of awakened sensation. Uncle Donald stared at her, a sly gleam in his eyes. He reached a hand down and helped her rise before assisting Finn. Unstable on his feet, Finn leaned on her while her uncle retrieved the walking stick.

She swayed—not from the burden of Finn’s weight, but the desire awakened by their kiss.

Available for Kindle: http://bit.ly/K-BlueMoon and Nook: http://bit.ly/BN-BlueMoon and at other e-retailers.

AUTHOR BIO

Dawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of The Golden Network, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart chapters of RWA. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks with her husband.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tudor and Roman history inspire powerful novels


Hello Christine, welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

What book are you reading now?
I’ve recently finished two books. The Winter King by Thomas Penn. It delves into the latter reign of Henry VII. Also, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, a look into the life of Oliver Cromwell and his rise to power in the court of Henry VIII.
I’m planning to write another in my Tudor series shortly and Henry will make an appearance as Prince Harry.

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
I write romance and within the romance genre I most often write ancient historical romance. But I’ve written a few contemporary stories, a Regency, and a teen romantic adventure but I’ve yet to publish those. My ancient Roman romances have managed to capture my time along with a Tudor romance.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?
I just released part one of THE ONLY GOOD ROMAN. The story began to take on a life of its own and turned into an epic saga of a young woman who meets a charming Roman soldier and his egotistical commander. She becomes entangled in their search for a missing treasure when they realize she has a gift for languages.
The feedback on part one has been encouraging as Lia is a clever heroine who tries to stay one step ahead of the devious Roman commander.

Who are some of your favourite authors?
My favourite authors (to name a few) are:
Pauline Gedge who writes ancient Egyptian historical fiction.
Colleen McCullough who wrote the fantastic Rome series.
Jack Whyte, author of a Camelot series.
Bernard Cornwell’s Viking series.

What historical person would you want to meet and why?
That’s a difficult question and may change depending on the story I’m writing or the book I’m reading. I’d like to meet someone from medieval times or ancient times to see for myself how they lived day to day – either Julius Caesar, Cleopatra or Henry VIII would likely be my choice.

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?
The best advice I can give is to network with fellow writers and accept feedback from trusted and well-meaning friends (including virtual friends). I’ve posted work on writer sites before publishing and it helped to chat with writers going through the same growing pains and exchange views on each other’s work. Ultimately, though it’s a growth process and some find it easier than others.

Marketing Kit – Thank you for hosting.

 
BLURB: THE ONLY GOOD ROMAN

Lia has an excellent education but will it be her downfall or her salvation?

When the Roman army comes crashing into the mansion where she tutors the Governor's children her world changes from secure and predictable to dangerous and uncertain.

Can the powerful, smooth-talking Commander convince her to risk her fate with a handsome soldier who walks an unsteady line between his superior's demands and his heart's desire?

Rich with characters, a story of love, greed, betrayal, stolen treasure, murder, and a timeless love that cannot be denied, the saga comes alive in this delightful page-turner to satisfy the need for a great tale mixed with great love. Tender and romantic, occasionally harsh and selfish, The Only Good Roman has a mix of characters and emotions to fulfill every expectation.

This is Book 1 in the story of Lia and Darius.
Be ready to fall in love!

EXCERPT:

     Darius questioned Lia about life at the mansion and she kept up the pretense of kinship with Anya, avoiding the subject of her youth in Thalassio and her family. During a lull in the conversation, Lia remembered his request to change her gown.
“What did you mean the commander would drop the Lady Anya quicker than a lightning flash?”
     The captain leaned forward, closing the short distance between them.
     “He rules soldiers and slaves alike. His word is law. If he chooses to spend time with Lady Anya she has no choice but to oblige. While under his protection she is subject to his every whim and desire.”
     “And what exactly is his whim this evening?”
     He shrugged wryly. “To determine if she makes a suitable companion while here at the mansion.”
     Heat rushed to Lia’s cheeks.
     “And so too, the rest of the household is under the commander’s whims and desires. Is that why you asked me to change gowns tonight?”
     He lowered his voice though they were alone, his eyes shone in contemplation. “Anya is the governor’s wife, and he will conquer her first.”
     For a second time Lia blushed as the captain scrutinized her. “Who will he conquer next?” Shaken by his honesty, perhaps she didn’t want an answer. Romans were indeed polite but barbaric men.
     Darius took her hand and thumbed the ring. “I pray not you, while you wear my ring.”
     Lia’s brow rose in confusion. “But you said he will do as he wishes.”
     “I have claimed you, but he may deny me your company if he chooses.”
     Lia shivered. “Is that likely to happen?”
     “I intend to see it does not. He is delighted with Lady Anya and scarcely looked our way all evening. It’s for the best if he remains interested by Basheria’s wife.”
     Lia stared sternly at the handsome, dark haired, blue-eyed captain, admiring his gleaming white teeth and deeply tanned skin. “Either way I belong to you or him, but not to myself. What difference is there, Captain?”
     “The difference is that I intend to help you, not hurt you. Keep my ring on your finger and you are safe. Don’t ask too many questions and keep Lady Basheria focused on pleasing him.”
     “Why do you do this? Why help me?”
     He paused for a moment, choosing his words. “You remind me of someone. I couldn’t help them when they needed me, but I can help you.”
     A sentry’s voice rang out in the hallway.
     “Come, it is time you returned to your room. I must check on the night guard.”
     He curled his fingers around her upper arm causing a thrill to run the length of her spine.


AUTHOR BIO & LINKS

Christine, born in Scotland, currently resides in Ontario, Canada.

Her favourite stories to write are romantic fiction, especially with an ancient Roman or Tudor theme, filled with heart-stopping heroes and page-turning situations.



The Only Good Roman on Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00H2KKO2A





Saturday, January 4, 2014

Secrets from the past re-unite family


Hi, Joan, and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

Hi, Jean. Thank you for inviting me to your blog home. As I write this, your forecast is 18ºC—lovely and warm. My home in Toronto has a forecast of -11ºC with a wind chill factor of -18ºC. Brrr! Maybe I’ll come visit you.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Joan Leacott

I completed my first novel in the summer of 2004—smoking through 80,000 words in five weeks. I revised that manuscript heavily three times, writing a total of a 150,000 words to end up with the final version at 83,000 words. I shopped that manuscript around and was rejected everywhere. It ended up under my bed and I started my second novel. That’s when I consider that I became a writer because I didn’t quit.

What book are you reading now?

The Serenity House series by Kathryn Shay. Serenity House is a home for troubled girls. The series is about how three of the girls, now grown, struggle with their backgrounds and find true love. Ms Shay always writes about real people in real situations; my favourite kind of novel.

 In which genre do you prefer to write and why?

I write contemporary small-town romance with interesting twists and turns in the plot before the HEA because that’s what I love to read.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release?

Releasing on February 10th, just in time for Valentine’s Day, is SIGHT FOR SORE EYES, the second book in the Clarence Bay Chronicles. Emma Finn has inherited her grandmother’s china shop. She’s looking forward to a peaceful life with family and friends. Asher Stockdale, the new doctor in town, has a different vision for Emma, a vision of romance. But Emma’s resistant to change—she’s had quite enough of it, thank you very much. So a pair of scheming seniors decide to nudge Emma and Asher towards their happily-ever-after.

Who are some of your favourite authors?

Robyn Carr, Susan Mallery, Susan Anderson, Molly O’Keefe, Julia Quinn, Mary Balogh, Eloisa James. I’ll stop now before I fill up the post. J

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?

Did you see Christopher Maloney on The X Factor talent show? Here’s a link. Christopher Maloney on The X Factor. Watch how this guy overcomes his fears during the audition. Watch all the videos if you can. Listen to what the judges have to say about his choice of songs. Throughout it all, Christopher remains steadfast to his vision. Not stubborn, steadfast. He listens, learns, and carries on. In the end, he wins through. New writers could do no better than to follow his example. J

[Joan, I just watched that clip. Wow! is all I can say. What courage. Just goes to show you should NEVER listen to naysayers. Jean]

BLURB

Three generations of Rossetti women are hoarding secrets.

Cathy Rossetti’s secret is Hayley, her outspoken ten-year-old daughter, who’s about to meet her family for the first time. Sadly, it’s taken a terminal illness to bring Cathy back to her hometown.

The elder generation of Rossetti women guards a thirty-year old secret with the power to rock Cathy’s world. Will her mother take their secret to her grave, or will her aunt break her punishing vow of silence?

Hayley hates secrets, so she’s sleuthing around Clarence Bay looking for her daddy. Is it her new BFF’s father, or mayoral candidate Ryan Chisholm, or Ryan’s handsome campaign manager?

Ryan has a secret, too. He’s still in love with Cathy, his high-school sweetheart. For a man running his election campaign on a platform of honesty, this could cause problems. Will dumping his popular fiancée cost him the election? And if Cathy still loves him after eleven years’ absence, she’s not telling.

BUY LINKS


EXCERPT

Home. Memories of screaming matches, slamming doors, and bitter tears rose on a sour wave of bile.

Stopped in the driveway of the big red brick house, Cathy unglued her fingers one at a time from the steering wheel and put the idling Lexus in reverse.

“Mom, is this Nonna’s house?” ten-year old Hayley asked.

Cathy nodded.

“Mo-om, are you okay?”

Maybe. If they let us in.

“Just nervous, Hayley sweetie. It’s been a while.” Eleven years since life had driven Cathy away. Now death drew her back.

Through the rear-view mirror, she glimpsed Ryan’s house across the street. Did he still live there?

Low pewter clouds bustled overhead. If only her memory could be cleansed as easily as the rain washed the dusty roads and sidewalks of Clarence Bay.

Sighing hard and deep, Cathy put her car in park and turned off the engine. She climbed out, smoothed her sleeveless pink blouse over her black jeans, and pushed her eyeglasses up her nose. A chilly raindrop splat on her shoulder and ran down her pristine front. She shivered and groaned at the mess.

Hayley giggled. “Better’n bird poop.”

Cathy’s tension eased just enough to permit a wry huff before snapping back like a hard rubber band. Holding hands, they walked up the front path to the deep porch.

“Well, here goes nothing.” Cathy pressed the doorbell with a trembling finger.

“Don’t worry, Mom. It’ll work itself out.”

Cathy’s jumpy gaze skittered over the old house and its property—the neatly mown lawn, the freshly dug garden without a weed in sight, the sparkling windows. Somebody had a great way with tools.

The screen door rattled as the inside door opened. Zia Yola, grown softer and rounder in Cathy’s absence, stood gaping at them.

Ciao, Zia Yola,” Cathy said in Italian and held her breath for her aunt’s reaction.
Zia Yola’s hands fluttered to her pale cheeks, her dark eyes huge above her stubby nails. Her gaze bounced between Cathy and Hayley as if she didn’t quite believe her own sight.

“Are you my grandmother?” Hayley asked.

Zia Yola’s fingers slid to cover her mouth and fisted there. She blinked rapidly and a few tears trickled down her cheeks. After several minutes of struggle, she released a shuddering breath. “No, I am nobody’s nonna. I am your prozia, your great-aunt Yolanda. , Caterina?”

Cathy nodded, distracted by the current of sadness running under Zia Yola’s words. Nobody’s grandmother. How much had her tender-hearted aunt sacrificed to help raise her?

Zia Yola shook herself. “Santo cielo, what am I doing keeping you on the doorstep?
Come in, come in.” She stepped back and opened the door wide.

BIO

Joan Leacott lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and son. She attends piano classes, melts in the hot yoga studio, and loves to cook for family and friends. She spends her summers on the shores of Georgian Bay.

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