Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Win a beautiful moonstone necklace in Kathryne Kennedy's new release contest!

I have recently posted a new contest to my website. I am also holding a private contest alongside this one for my newsletter subscribers...so if you haven't signed up yet, now is the time! Good luck!

The brand-new fourth book in the Relics of Merlin series is coming to
bookstores in December, and I'm having several contests until then to
celebrate! The relic in Everlasting Enchantment is a moonstone, and I found
some lovely pieces shipped directly from exotic locations, the jewelry
constructed by local artisans through a program run by National Geographic.
For this contest, we have a glowing moonstone
hand-crafted necklace! See
below for a photo and description of this magical prize.

This contest is all about spreading the word of the brand-new book in the
series. Just post the
BLURB (or photo of cover) shown below, on any and
all of your social websites. Facebook, Twitter (Yes, you may tweet about it
more than once to enter several times), Myspace, Your own blog, etc. Then
just send an email with EE CONTEST in the subject line, along with the link
to your post in the body of your email to: Kathryne@KathryneKennedy.com.
For those who don't have social
media, just mention the book to a friend, and send me an email about it!

in bookstores December 2013!

 Are you one of my newsletter subscribers? Please check your in-box for
November's newsletter for details on my private contest for subscribers,
where you can win one of six autographed ARC's of Everlasting

A winner will be randomly chosen using RANDOM.ORG. Your information will be kept
confidential. Contest ends
January 31, 2013. Winner will be notified via email provided. If
winner does not respond within seven business days, a new winner will be chosen. We are
not responsible for any misdirection of email. Rules are subject to change for any reason
without prior notification. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years or older to
enter.  No prize substitution permitted. Odds of winning are determined by number of
entrants. This contest is subject to all country, federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
You accept all terms and conditions by entering into the contest.


Sunday, November 24, 2013


On my way to the theater, I felt confident that when I watched Delivery Man it would be a fun comedy with a main character who grows as a person. Leaving the theater, I was glad I hadn't been disappointed. After watching several Vince Vaughn comedies, I feel I know his brand. I find comfort in knowing I won't be wasting my hard-earned money choosing one of his films.

Authors often complain about publishers wanting to brand their books. They feel their creative energy is stifled when they are placed into a mold. I understand that feeling. I published a short story, a fractured fairy-tale, that is far different than my usual mysteries; but I understand how consumers feel too. When they purchase an author's book, they want to know they won't be disappointed. Fans return to Nora Roberts time and time again because they know they are buying a well-written romance with a happy ending earned through trial and tribulation. The settings and characters may change, but the major elements of a romance are still there.

Authors need to decide for themselves if they want to brand their work. If not, how will they handle writing various types of books? Some authors use different pseudonyms for each genre they write and some place various tabs on their websites categorizing their work. Will book blurbs be enough to inform the consumer of what they are purchasing?

It's something to think about.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, November 22, 2013

Author Spotlight on Lois Winston

Decoupage Can Be Deadly
ISBN: 9781940795003


Anastasia and her fellow American Woman editors are steaming mad when minutes before the opening of a consumer show, they discover half their booth usurped by Bling!, their publisher’s newest magazine. CEO Alfred Gruenwald is sporting new arm candy—rapper-turned-entrepreneur and Bling! executive editor, the first-name-only Philomena. During the consumer show, Gruenwald’s wife serves Philomena with an alienation of affection lawsuit, but Philomena doesn’t live long enough to make an appearance in court. She’s found dead days later, stuffed in the shipping case that held Anastasia’s decoupage crafts. When Gruenwald makes cash-strapped Anastasia an offer she can’t refuse, she wonders, does he really want to find Philomena’s killer or is he harboring a hidden agenda?

Lois Winston straddles two worlds. She's an award-winning author of romance, romantic suspense, humorous women's 
fiction, and mystery under her own name and as Emma Carlyle. She's also an award-winning designer of needlework and crafts projects for magazines, craft book publishers, and craft kit manufacturers. Like Anastasia, the protagonist in her ANASTASIA POLLACK CRAFTING MYSTERIES series, Lois worked for several years as a crafts editor. A graduate of the prestigious Tyler School of Art, she often draws on her art and design background for much of the source material in her fiction. She lives with her husband a stone's throw from Manhattan (assuming you can throw a stone across the Hudson River.)


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Authors Sign Up Ends Next Week for Hot Autumn Nights Blog Hop

Sexy athletic body
I am happy to announce I am co-hosting a blog hop with Caris Roane and Bella Media Management. It's a great way to get noticed on the Internet and also discover new authors you've never heard of.

The Grand Prize so far is for a $70 Barnes & Noble or Amazon Gift Card, (winners choice).

The hop is from November 29th to December 2nd but sign up ends 5 days from today.

If you are unfamiliar with what a blog hop is, it is a linky list that is shared on multiple blogs. When several blogs put the same linky list code on their blog, the exact same list appears on each blog.

Blog visitors can submit their entries on any blog that contains the list. The entries will appear on each blog where the list resides. Blog readers see the same list on each blog, and can "HOP" from blog to blog seeing the same list of links to follow.

Blog hops are a great way to find new readers and other authors with the same interests as you.

This hop is geared toward the romance genre.

This hop is limited to the first 100 entrants.

For more information you can visit HD Thomson's blog hop page.

Hope to see you on the hop!! :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On the Line – say Whaaa?
Mary Tate Engels, Boomer on the line

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
** Gandhi

If you, or your kids, have seen the movie The Interns, you know that these two Loveable Losers (really cute guys) try to get a job at a monumental company in the Web World. From the visuals, this is the greatest, most creative company in the world and our Lovable Losers really, really want to work there. This becomes their goal - the Dream Job.

The other interns are brilliant but flawed nerds who know the Internet language and everything about computers, but lack self-confidence. Our overly-confident heroes are not of the Web World and one of them continues to utter the infamous, inane statement, "... On the line... "

Everybody scoffs and says, "It's online stupid!"

Of course, he repeats "On the line…" numerous times and that becomes the movie's humorous catch phrase.

Now, that's about when I started watching because the story isn't about getting a job or fixing our hunky heroes' lives or even the magnificent and best company in the world to work for. It's about… DREAMS!

Find your dreams. Follow your dreams. Don't lose sight of your dreams!

Disclaimer: this isn't my kind of movie, but I was trapped inside a plane for hours on my return from France and this was a time-filler. However, I found a silver lining in it. Writers are weird like that – we see the world as it relates to our writing or how we can use it.

The Lovable Losers even quote from one of my favorite movies, Flashdance, where the heroine clings to a nearly impossible dream, but doesn't give up. In The Interns, our heroes encourage their colleagues to make it happen through teamwork, positive attitudes and high expectations. Yay – my kind of language.

My favorite quote from Flashdance: "If you lose your dream, you die."

I think dreams are so important in our lives that most of my books are about following dreams, losing dreams, finding new dreams, and pursuing dreams of happiness and love.

In Embraceable You, not only has the heroine lost her dreams and her love, but most of the townsfolk have lost their hopes and dreams, too. However, connections to the Internet, teamwork, positive attitudes and high expectations enable them to become winners with hopes for the future. Embraceable You is online at Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Embraceable-Irish-Hearts-Series-ebook/dp/B00CCH4ORO/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1371570406&sr=1-2&keywords=Embraceable+You;
See how my characters work together to achieve success on the line.

And most importantly, follow your own dreams, wherever they may lead.

Happy Holidays,
   Mary Tate

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fun on Facebook

Coming up with a post every week is not always easy. When pondering what I should write this week, I remembered my sister-in-law "tagged" me on Facebook. She wrote 11 facts about herself and I was assigned 12. I decided I might as well kill two birds with one stone. (Who came up with that horrible saying?)

The key here is to come up with 12 facts everyone doesn't already know about me. Here we go....

1. I dated my husband in college. We broke up and reunited 30 years later on Facebook.
2. My grandmother's great-grandfather was a Cherokee born on The Trail of Tears.
3. I am a distant cousin to actors Patrick Swayzee, William Holden, and Tom Hulce.
4. After a year of working with Janelle, we discovered we are distant cousins.
5. I sat in the pilot's seat of an F-16 fighter jet when I was 19. I had danced with the pilot the night before,
    who strangely enough turned out to be a friend of my father.
6. When my daughter was four, I finally told her Republican father that I named her after Jacqueline
7. I published a romantic suspense novel and a short fractured fairy tale with a small press. My agent is
    shopping my mystery series.
8. I sat across the table from Debbie Macomber at a small gathering for dinner. Her book was turned into
    the mini-series Cedar Cove.
9. I mingled with Diana Gabledon at a mixer after she returned from her world book tour.
10. I broke a board with my foot in Karate class when I was about 30.
11. I broke my nose kickboxing the same year.
12. I was talked into being the emcee at a professional kickboxing/boxing match. "In the red corner..." I
      broke so many rules I thought they were going to drag me away from the mic.

Your assignment, if you are on Facebook, is to write 13 facts about yourself.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, November 15, 2013

Introducing Morgan Kearns

It is my pleasure to introduce our Friday Spotlight Author, Morgan Kearns. Her book is Out Of Left Field. (Deadlines and Diamonds #3)

Back Cover Text:

Strike One
Xavier is a jerk with a capital A.S.S. and he offers no apologies. If a woman is willing to give, he’ll gladly take, walking away without a backward glance. He’s not looking for commitment and the only diamond he’s interested in has three bases and a home plate.

Strike Two
Dr. Frances Holden knows all about fixing broken bones and taming arrogant athletes. As the Team Doctor for the Las Vegas Rockets she deals with stubborn ballplayers every day. But nobody is more stubborn than Left Fielder Matthias Xavier, III.

Strike Three
When a shoulder injury takes Xavier out of the game, it’s Frankie’s job to get him back on the diamond. His rehab turns out to be more than either of them bargained for, and when she promises to help him face his scarred past, neither of them are prepared for the fireworks that come Out of Left Field and threaten to scorch them both.

You can read more about Morgan and her books on the net.

Twitter: @MorganKearns
Pinterest: @MorganKearnsCom

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Spooky Tale from the Queen Mary

Last month, my husband and I traveled to Long Beach California to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. In one of those bucket list things, we did something we always wanted to do, which was stay on the Queen Mary.

And yes, we wanted ghosts.

Although our flight was delayed out of Sky Harbor, we arrived early for our check-in time. The concierge was very accommodating and because I had spilled the secret when making our reservation that this was to celebrate our anniversary, they wished us well to boot. They gave us the room that was available and we dropped off our luggage in our amazingly beautiful stateroom. We signed up for the Queen Mary package which included a behind the scenes look at the ship, the ghost tour, the WWII days and the self guided tour.

After scheduling everything for that day (as we boarded another ship to sail for Hawaii for 15 days the next day), we went to the tea room for, what else, tea. Heaven, pure tastebud heaven. And African Solistice is my new favorite tea.

We toured the gleaming art deco ship, marveled at the exquisite craftsmanship just about everywhere and learned the very real hazards of renaming a ship. After taking the red shuttle into Long Beach we returned exhausted and decided to go to bed at the very late hour of  8PM.

Hey, it was dark out.

So, in we spooned cradled between snowy white linen under a down comforter.

Just as we were drifting off, there came a tap-tap-tap on the port hole.

Um, did I mention that we were between 6-7 stories up, no balcony, no nothing except 3 more stories up on the sun deck.

My husband and I looked at each other. Probably just a bird, right? Right?



Hubby got up, opened the window. The outside of one was wet. The outside of its twin was bone dry. Hmm. Must be birds. Back in bed, hugging a little tighter.




Right. Birds. I checked. Not a featherhead to be seen. Birds. sneaky buggers. Back in bed. I don't care. I'm going to sleep. silence. Just as I was drifting off, it started again. On the fringes of my mind I wondered if it could have been some kind of morris code. SOS-dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot.

About 130 AM I woke to the hum and vibration of engines. Every engine has a different feel to it and this was a deep, growly feel coming from below decks. I didn't think much of it until I realized the ship technically doesn't have any engines.

So what was humming and thrumming?

Um, okay. After hubby confirmed he didn't hear anything, I snuggled a little closer and decided to ignore it.

The next afternoon while waiting to board our ship to Hawaii, I met a woman who stayed on the Queen Mary over night in the Queen Mary suite. She reported her findings to the front desk and added her experience to the log.

They have a log?

She then asked our room number. When I told her, she said "Oh, yeah, that was in there. A lot."

O-kay then. Having time to kill, I then had a lightbulb moment and hubby and I reviewed photos of our room.

I'm taking that green orb for dust. You can take it for what you want.

If you are ever in Long Beach and have a few hundred dollars to spare, spend the night on the ship. She has class, grace and beauty beyond description. And while a tour is nice, staying on her is not just a trip back in time but a window to luxury, art and a connection to history.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Creating the Fictitious Town

Kim Watters here. I love Dynamite Creek, Arizona. Too bad it doesn’t really exist outside of my books. But if it did exist, it would be a really cool town. Why? Because Dynamite Creek springs from that creative space in my brain and anything I want to happen there—well just happens. While Dynamite Creek is based on the city of Prescott, Arizona and located close to Flagstaff, some of the buildings, shops, events, and people don’t exist. That’s the beauty of making up your own town. Need a candle shop on the square like in my book Home Sweet Home? Then plop one smack dab in the center of one of your blocks. Need a hobby shop like in my latest release A Season of Love? Put one in there, too. Need various festivals at certain times of the year for a fun thing for your hero and heroine to do? Go ahead and have as many as you want. Opportunities are endless and I love the freedom of all the choices I can make without the constraints of using a real town. 

So, how do you create a fictitious town? 

First identify what type of town you want. Big? Medium? Small? Keep in mind that your town is going to be another character in your book, so choose wisely. This is especially important if you write more than one book in this town. 

Then choose your name. Make sure your name matches the mood of your book. Since I write contemporary Christian fiction, I would not want to choose a name that could convey a mystery, suspense or horror. I chose Dynamite Creek for a few reasons. One Arizona has a lot of mines and I wanted to capture that feel. I also live relatively close to Dynamite Road in Phoenix, which I think is an interesting choice for a name. And lastly, my general practitioner’s office is called Dynamite Creek Medical Center. I always thought would be a cool name for a small town, so when I was trying to decide on a new book for Love Inspired, I actually built the story around the name. 

Next create a history for your town. Go crazy. Be creative. Every town has a history but think about how much fun it is to create your own. Who founded it? Why was it founded? What are some of the local characters that made the town what it is today? Even if these things don’t come out in your finished novel, it’s always good to have them in the back of your mind while you’re writing. Plus you never know when you might need that information. 

Add details. What type of buildings are there? Businesses? People? Schools? Streets? Plants and trees? Weather? The list could go on and on. It’s your town add or subtract things as needed. If something’s not working, take it out. If you need a certain business, add it in. For A Season of Love, I needed a Christmas Shop on one of the main streets in town. Viola. I plopped it down across from the Courthouse in the square. 

And lastly, add flavor. What’s unique or different about this town? Is there something the town is known for? Did something happen that makes it notable? 

As for the process, think layering. You don’t have to have everything all at once. Start with the basis and then layer more information on to flesh it out. Real towns weren’t built in a day so don’t expect your fictitious one to be either. I’m currently working on my third book based in Dynamite Creek, and I continue to discover new and unique things to add to my town on an almost daily basis.
Another important thing is to be organized, especially if you are going to keep writing stories in this town. Draw maps. Create charts of businesses, characters, festivals and etc. I use excel spreadsheets to keep everything straight. I use reoccurring characters and businesses from one book to another, so keeping them straight is a must, plus, it creates less of a brain drain when I want to add another character into my current work in process. Why not add someone I’ve used before? I already know a little bit about them. 

One of the drawbacks to creating your own town is you can’t visit it or google it to see what it’s like. So I found it is easier to have a real town in mind to base it on, but then let my creativity take over. Since Dynamite Creek is based on Prescott, I usually make an annual trip up north to get the flavor of the town again and also check for any changes that might have happened. Plus I really like Prescott, so doing that type of research isn’t really a chore but a fun weekend away from the heat of the Valley in the summertime.

So for you writers out there, do you prefer using real towns or making them up? 

For you readers out there, what is your preference? 
Until next time,

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Digital Writing Competition

Looking for a writing contest? The Arizona State Library is accepting applications and their ONE BOOK AZ contest has gone digital. For more information go to


Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, November 8, 2013

Spotlighting: Author Cathy McDavid, Expert on Cowboys

by Connie Flynn          
It's my pleasure to introduce my good friend and superb author,  Cathy McDavid. This is a big year for her, with a 4-book series and continuity contribution for Harlequin American books. What's more, she became a NY Times and a USA Today bestseller.Two of her books are spotlighted here so be sure to scroll down. They truly are don't-miss reads.

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author Cathy McDavid gets to live her dream everyday --- losing herself in the pages of a good book. Lover of all things western, she writes contemporary ranch stories with hunky cowboy heroes for Harlequin American. Really, what could be better?  

Nine years ago, Annie and Sam were deeply in love. When he abandoned her to seek his fortune, Annie couldn't forgive him. Now Sam, widowed with a young daughter, is back and eager to help the town of Sweetheart recover from a devastating forest fire. But Annie needs more than bricks and lumber to heal her wounded heart. Could the love they once shared hold the key?

Click Here to Buy
On the day of the forest fire, Will Desarro helped save the residents of Miranda' Staley's elder care home. The handsome ranch hand is a man of few words, but Miranda soon discovers that beneath that quiet exterior beats a heart of gold. Will can help save Miranda's home and her business—but only if their love is strong enough to conquer his painful past.


Cathy welcomes comments and I urge you to drop in and say hello. As I said, this is an exciting year for her. Her books are wonderful. I know. I've read them.

Until later,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Writing for the Money and Loving It

Click Here to Buy
Kelly Clarkson, the first American Idol winner, did an interview where she was quoted (paraphrased) as saying, "When my agent asked what I wanted, I replied I want to become so well off I never have to make a career decision because I need the money." And she got her wish.

So sad, few professional authors ever reach that level and I certainly hadn't gone beyond needing the money when my agent told me my editor suggested I set my next paranormal in Scotland. I'm not too crazy about using settings or plot devices that are currently hot. There are a number of reasons why that I'm not going to talk of in this blog because, more troubling, the suggestion contained a hint that perhaps the story could be straight romance, no paranormal at all.

Well . . . readers either praise me for it or complain, but they all seem to know I'm not real great at writing straight, tender romance. I adore a good love story quite as much as anyone else, but I not quite as good at writing them. What I think I am good at is crafting stories where the love is so pressured, the characters so endangered, that emotions rise to unbearable heights, forcing the attraction to go beyond everyday conversations and conventions.
My biggest fear as a writer is that I'll create a boring book, which is a true risk if I'm pushed to write a story that I consider boring. Which is why I couldn't help myself, I just had to throw in a paranormal element.

A time bubble, which sent me out to research Einstein in the children's books section I always visit first when I'm researching something I'm a dummy in. The great man's take on time truly is radical – he calls it the fabric of time – and numbers of readers didn't understand my best stab at explaining it. But you don't need to understand the mechanics of time to understand the disturbance that this handful of thugs brought to the Scottish paradise when they crossed through the fragile gate. Not that these hardy people weren't up to the battle. Let's face it they could squash these twenty-first century fops like bugs. But the ruler of the paradise had said no fair killing outsiders, meaning I had to create a bigger conflict

Just Love Those Dragons
Which brought me to dragons, and Ormeskirk, the scourge that was destroying the peaceful life in this floating kingdom. But was that truly what he was?

This book turned out to be so much fun to write, proving that "needing the money" maybe isn't such a bad thing after all. THE DRAGON HOUR not only had me researching stuff I'd always been interested in, it stayed on the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders Books bestseller lists for nearly two years, plus going out to win me the PRISM award from the FF&P chapter of Romance Writers of America.

That was quite a surprise. I'd been up for the PRISM before, but lost out to my good friend, Christina Skye. I was so sure I wouldn't win I didn't even write an acceptance speech, something my friends really balled me out about. But that didn't mean winning wasn't just thrilling, it was astounding. How, I wondered, could a book that threatened to be so flat end up as an award winner? And I know I'm not the only author that has happened to.
Which puts me in mind of Christina Dodd, whose book cover for CASTLES IN THE AIR came complete with a three-armed woman. That's not a typo, this historical heroine did indeed have three arms. Fortunately, none in naughty places, but very visibly present. So what did Christina do? She kept her wits about her. Rather than complaining and crying "Why me?" Christina went to her email loops and sent readers straight out to see this unusual and startling mistake. The book became a bestseller.

How about you? Have you had a surprising success? Or maybe it didn't happen to you directly, but you know someone else who had that experience.  If so, let me know by dropping a line in the comments section or sending me an email. If I get enough of them, I'll do a dedicated blog about these unique situations and surprisingly delightful outcomes.

In the meantime, I retain my fondness for Ormeskirk. Without him, there would have been no story at all except for a micro-war between a handful of thugs and a village full of Scots. Ho-hum.

Until later,

Website: http://connieflynn.com 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConnieFlynn
Email: connieflynn@yahoo.com
Subscribe to Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/qOHbT

Friday, November 1, 2013

Author Spotlight: Bonnie Vanak, by Caris Roane

Hi, Everyone!  Today, I'm introducing Bonnie Vanak who is a wonderful writer and an inspiring woman!

In Bonnie's words:

After graduating from the University of Florida with a journalism degree, I worked as a newspaper reporter. After, tired of simply reporting the news, I became a
writer for a large international charity. My work for 18 years took me to countries like Haiti and Honduras to write about famine, disease and other issues affecting the poor. Humanitarian jobs are fulfilling, but emotionally draining. The work is for a good cause, but the pressure can be enormous.

So to counter the suffering I encountered in my travels, I began writing romance novels. My first romance novel, The Falcon & the Dove, was about a handsome Egyptian sheikh protecting a treasure hidden in the sands for centuries. He meets his match in the lovely American who comes to Egypt to unearth the treasure. The Falcon & the Dove won the historical category of the 2001 RWA Melody of Love contest. A year later, it was published by Dorchester Publishing.

Today I write paranormal romances for Harlequin. It gives me great joy to write romance novels and create characters who struggle to learn who they are, and how to connect with one another. My books usually contain adventure and action as well, and I insist on one thing.

There's always a happy ending. No matter what hardships the hero and heroine face, the conflict will be resolved in the end and their love will overcome the odds. Because in the end, I believe that love is the most powerful force in the universe. It can make magic happen, renew faith, and give hope for a better tomorrow. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~
Bonnie is a USA Today Bestselling Author and a contributor to the boxed set, DARK AND DANGEROUS: Six-in-One Hot Paranormal Romances!!!  You'll find her story,
THE MATING HUNT in this collection which is Book #2 in The Werewolves of Montana series

After a childhood trauma left Arianna Sanders terrified of sex, the only man the pretty Lupine werewolf desires is her fiercely protective guardian. But the sexy, mysterious shifter harbors a dark secret, one he's determined to hide from Arianna.

Kyle Morgan hungers for the voluptuous Arianna and dreams of consummating the passion smoldering between them. When he's forced into mating with her to save her life, he must tame the savage, sexual beast inside him before taking the virgin he's vowed to protect from those hungering to claim her, including himself…

To learn more about Bonnie Vanak:  CLICK HERE!!!


Amazon // Barnes & Noble  //  KOBO

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Isn't Bonnie awesome!  I hope you enjoyed this look at a fellow PNR author!

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EMBRACE THE MAGIC, 203 pp, $3.99 
He desperately needs his blood rose, but how can she give up the life she had planned…


Barnes & Noble  //  Kobo

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