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Bonnie McClune & Why I Write

  Posted by Jemi , 26 March 2018 · 163 views

Please welcome Bonnie McClune to the blog today. Bonnie is one of my crit buddies and she's a terrific author as well!
After decades of scribbling away, first on paper, then on typewriter, finally on keyboard, I began to wonder why I put up with the tedium of writing and rewriting? Riches and fame both elude me, creative expression would be more easily and quickly achieved through community theatre or water colors.

I recently returned to my current manuscript, a novel set in a blizzard and involving illegal energy development, neither of which do I know much about, except as a victim. I hopped on the Internet, entered some terms, and was ushered into a colorful world crammed with words, photos, images, quotes, links to a multitude of additional sites. A tremor of excitement ran up my spine, and I flexed my fingers in anticipation.
Then the truth struck me. I write because I love learning. Writing gives me the excuse to spend hours researching.
Take my newest novel, Never Retreat. The flash flood that threatens the protagonists didn’t materialize from a void. I haunted the records of the Colorado History Center, enthralled by reading transcripts from survivors of the Big Thompson Flood and sobbing at the thought of the victims’ woes. YouTube enabled me to see details of actual floods, the power of waters to eat through banks and crush cars. An amalgam of information somehow organized itself into scenes in my book.

Even apparently unrelated material can become the impetus behind a spurt of research. Childhood memory of playing cowboys appears from a void, and I decide to inject it into the manuscript. This gives me an excuse for several days of exploration into how to create a lariat and rope an animal or, in the case of my book, a fence post. 

Since two of the book’s characters are Latinas, of course I have to include Spanish words and phrases. I learn their use in various geographic locations and among diverse groups of immigrants. I check and double-check spelling and grammar. I practice shouting the words out loud.
Never Retreat presented me with ample opportunities to cram loads of data into my brain:
a recipe for vegetarian burritos, the types of plants found in the Rocky Mountains, crowd-funding, even a nostalgic reminiscence about the one time I tried karaoke. As long as I’m presenting myself as a writer, there’s no limit to the time I can spend reading, talking to people, opening myself to experiences and travel, trying on ideas, debating and questioning others.

If I weren’t a writer, could I get away with the long hours I devote to research? No. I have to have the rationale of my work to justify my obsession. Otherwise my husband might wonder when I’m going to unpack the dozens of kids’ clothes I dragged with us on our last move, which my children outgrew eons ago. My friends could issue invitations to lunch or movies or worthwhile political demonstrations and expect responses. Perhaps I’d exercise more and lose those pesky 15 pounds that have weighed me down for years.

In my case, writing seems to have less to do with skills and creativity than with curiosity and snoopiness. Fine with me. It provides me with a veneer of respectability while enabling me to feed my cravings for miscellaneous knowledge of any and all sorts.


BLURB: A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.
Years ago, Ramona (‘Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up. Now at thirty-something she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for a guy Raye should avoid. Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister.

See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple, Raye and Des, face their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their difference to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.

WRITING: This is the new fiction for you: unafraid to debate contemporary concerns. . . pulls no punches. . .provides a fresh look at age-old issues. This is your kind of writing if you think. . .People are smarter than any phone. . .Feminism is just starting to come alive. . .You’ll always take a human over the most advanced app. . . .You can laugh at yourself. . . Women use four-letter words, including l-o-v-e.

AUTHOR BIO: Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem about rain rushing down the gutter to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver's beautification program. 

Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers' and arts' groups, and children's literacy. For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Bake Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress.

Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world. Visit her at www.BonnieMcCune.com, Bonnie@BonnieMcCune.com, twitter.com/bonniemccune, facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune, www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune.

PUBLICATION INFO: PUBLISHING MARCH 15, 2018, 978-1-77223-350-6 Kindle ebook, 978-1-77223-351-3 Trade paperback, 240 pages. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079SY632Z, http://getBook.at/NeverRetreat or. Imajin Books, www.imajinbooks.com. Ebook and paperback. 

ADVANCE PRAISE: “A breathtaking page-turner that will leave you exhausted but wanting more!” —Corinne Joy Brown, award-winning author of Hidden Star; “Likable, relatable characters…a real treat!” —Cindi Myers, author of The View from Here; “Intriguing…engaging…A great vacation read for sure!” —Meg Benjamin, author of the Brewing Love Trilogy; “A compelling story about a hard-working single mom who faces adversity head-on, learns from her mistakes, and perseveres.” —Kim McMahill, author of Marked in Mexico; “Few novels operate on such different levels, moving their characters to challenge not just each other, but their own not just each other, but their own perceptions. . .McCune provides just the right blend of comic relief, interpersonal encounters, and outside environment changes to make her story a powerful blend.” --Midwest Book Review
Thanks, Bonnie!
I love doing research for my stories as well! I've learned so many fun things - from freeze-branding cattle to how to hide a tracker on a Harley to corporate espionage.

How about you? Do you like doing research? What's something fun you've learned?



JL Campbell & The Thick of Things

  Posted by Jemi , 21 March 2018 · 183 views

The lovely JL Campbell has a new book coming out!!!


The Thick of Things by JL Campbell

Three reasons readers will love the hero

Douglas Blythe is a confident, mature man who catches Khalila Skyers’s eyes and fires up her imagination. His role in the story is that of a well-adjusted male, who knows what he wants and does what is necessary to acquire it. His personality makes the story an interesting journey. 
Here’s my take on why readers will love Douglas:
  • He treats Khalila like a queen. Douglas is the kind of guy women dream about. He shows Khalila that he wants more than the physical attraction that burns between them, makes her feel cherished, and spends generously when he takes her out and about. 
  • He says exactly what he means. Women appreciate honesty. In his conversations with Khalila, he’s direct and communicates without any frills, even if his words end up shocking her at times.
  • He’s disciplined to a fault. While Khalila craves for another taste of their initial physical encounter, Douglas insists on keeping things chaste between them. His restraint makes their eventual coming together more intense and meaningful.
     Douglas is kind and sensitive and knows how to treat a lady. He impresses on Khalila that he knows who he is and what he wants. What more can a woman ask for?


The Thick of Things
By JL Campbell


GENRE: women's fiction with romantic elements, contemporary romance

BLURB: Life has a way of going awry when you least expect it, and Khalila Skyers learns this lesson the hard way. In one devastating blow after another, she loses her cosy existence. Then Douglas Blythe overtakes her life like a flood, and she’s not equipped to deal with an attraction that seems forbidden and overwhelming. But her body and heart want what they want, and leave her wondering if she ever knew herself at all.  

Douglas is determined to help Khalila move beyond her obsession with the past and reach for love a second time. No matter how long it takes. No matter the distance. He’s going to prove he’s worth the risk. 

Buy Links

Amazon         B & N         iBooks           Kobo
Amazon Canada.         Amazon UK 

Can't wait to read my copy!!!!



Until Release & Tick Tock

  Posted by Jemi , 14 March 2018 · 178 views

Today I'm posting my very first post on the Tick Tock: A Stitch In Crime blog!

I'm thrilled that my story will be included in the Dancing Lemur Press anthology that will be released in May. I hope you'll pop on over to the blog and learn a little bit more about my story and one of the characters!

If you'd like to add the anthology to your To Read or To Buy list, here are the links:

Amazon B&N Kobo ITunes

You'll have to read Until Release to see if the question above gets an answer! See you at Tick Tock!



IWSG & Celebrations

  Posted by Jemi , 07 March 2018 · 146 views

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

March 7 question - How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?

This might be a bit of a weird answer... (I can tell you're not shocked!)

I don't.

Celebrating causes me all kinds of stress. Imposter syndrome hits me HARD when I celebrate - no matter how small the celebration.

I might indulge in an ice cream cone or take an evening off to read a book I've been salivating over. And then, BOOM.

My silly brain seems to snort in disbelief. You think you did good? You think that was worthwhile? You're celebrating that? Are you kidding me?

And then I can't put words to keyboard at all.

I do think these celebrations are important and I'd really like to indulge (especially if it involves some Rolo ice cream!!) but for now, I'm just going to keep those fingers moving and ignore the celebrations.

How about you? Does your brain let you celebrate? Anyone else get overwhelmed with Imposter Syndrome? Anyone now want some ice cream?



We Do The Drills

  Posted by Jemi , 05 March 2018 · 109 views

We do the drills
to keep kids safe
in case the unthinkable

We do the drills
to give them
a tiny sense
of control

We do the drills
to combat
the helplessness

We do the drills
in hopes
the drills will save them

We do the drills
knowing they're
never going to save us all

We do the drills


On a lighter note, I'd love it if you popped on over to C. Lee McKenzie's blog where I'm a featured author today introducing my story Until Release that will be published in the upcoming anthology Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime!



Elizabeth Reid Boyd & Secrets of Mindful Beauty

  Posted by Jemi , 26 February 2018 · 158 views

Please welcome Elizabeth Reid Boyd to the blog today!

How did you come up with the topic?

Mindfulness is a hugely popular concept today. You may know that mindfulness can create improvement in our minds and bodies. What you may not know is that mindfulness can also enhance our appearance as well as bringing us peace of mind. 
Mindful Beauty is an exciting method of applying the practices of mindfulness to our overall health and well-being. The unique mindfulness techniques you’ll discover in The Secrets of Mindful Beauty offer a brand new way to bring the benefits of mindfulness into beauty and self-care. Mindfulness can be used to reduce stress and enhance beauty and in our easy to follow guidebook you can find out how.

What makes you passionate about this topic?

I’m passionate about mindfulness and meditation. I’m also an academic in the field of interpersonal development and gender studies. I often share mindfulness techniques with my university students, and I realised that applying mindfulness to beauty routines was an even better way to share its benefits with women everywhere.

There are eight key benefits of Mindful Beauty. They are drawn from the philosophy and psychology of mindfulness and underpin all the practices you will find in the book:

  • Mindful Beauty is non-judgmental. By approaching our beauty rituals in a new and non-judgmental way we become less critical about ourselves and how we look.
  • Mindful Beauty engages our five senses. By increasing our appreciation of what we see, scent, touch, hear and taste, we begin to enjoy our daily self-care routines more and see the benefits.
  • Mindful Beauty is kind. Its methods are soothing and sensitive, a balm to our souls, minds and bodies. It brings compassion to self-care.
  • Mindful Beauty is simple. It won’t ask you to add more to your schedule, but make the most of routines that are already part of your life. It will give you a sense of everyday pleasure and ease.
  • Mindful Beauty is meditative. Its contemplative approach doesn’t require you to switch off for an hour, but to go deeper into your daily life, with refreshing results. 
  • Mindful Beauty is of the moment. It brings present-moment attention to simple rituals, enhancing our experience of the here and now, and the miracle of mindfulness.
  • Mindful Beauty is healing. It can heal the scars inflicted by a lack of self-care in the past, or stress about the future by bringing peace into the present.
  • Mindful Beauty is a skill. It takes practice to cultivate. Take time to enjoy the process.
Like the best cosmetics, a little mindfulness goes a long way. There are so many opportunities for mindfulness in your daily beauty routine and they’re easy to make part of your life. The more you practice the simple, everyday techniques in The Secrets of Mindful Beauty the better you will look and feel. What’s more, they’re fun!

Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd has degrees in psychology and gender studies. She has taught interpersonal, communication, and personal development skills including meditation, self-awareness, self-care and mindfulness at the university level for almost two decades. She writes fiction as Eliza Redgold.

Connect with Dr. Elizabeth Reid Boyd:

Website           Facebook       Twitter

The Secrets of Mindful Beauty: Revolutionary Techniques in Anti-Aging and Self-Care

If you think the answer to anti-aging and looking good comes from a jar, a salon, or a surgical
procedure: think again. The best beauty treatment is in your own mind.

Did you know

Depression can give you wrinkles
Insomnia can cause sagging skin
Anxiety can increase reddening and skin rashes
Stress can result in acne and hair loss
and much more?

Discover the secrets of mindful beauty. Lose your permanent frown. Smooth your worried brow without Botox. Turn your sag lines into smile lines. These age-defying techniques have been specially created for a happier, more beautiful you.

Mindful beauty is a way of applying the practices of mindfulness to our physical health and well-being. Many of our routines around beauty lend themselves to mindfulness, and this will not only enhance the experience, but also have ongoing positive beautifying effects by reducing the stress and anxiety that can affect how we look and feel.

Buy on:

Amazon Kindle
          Amazon Paperback

Amazon Aus
              Amazon UK

Book Depository

Thanks Elizabeth!
Mindfulness is indeed powerful! We talk about it a lot at our school along with growth mindset. The two compliment each other quite well. Being truly present in the moment isn't something that comes easily to many.

How about you? Are you aware of mindfulness? Do you take care to be mindful in your daily life?



Mollie Blake & Feeling The Love

  Posted by Jemi , 12 February 2018 · 207 views

Please welcome back Mollie Blake to the blog!

Once upon a time I was a finance director. Then I woke up one morning and discovered I was an author of sexy romance filled with danger—“happy ever afters” are never easy to reach for my heroes and heroines.

Although Keeping You was the third of my books to be published by my American publisher, Black Opal Books, it was the first book I ever wrote. And probably the one I had the most fun writing.

Having been an avid reader in my youth, then struggling to find time to read anything other than accountancy journals or board reports, I was finally able to return to my love of fiction when I became a “nearly full-time” mum. Books like Fifty Shades of Grey and Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series left me wanting to write a sexy love story with a good plot.

It was the latter point that I was determined to focus on, and still am. I want to leave the reader desperate to know what happens next, whilst at the same time feeling the love.

With the basic story line in my head and an outline impression of the characters involved, I set about bringing them to life. Remember, Keeping You was my first effort at writing a story and I had no idea how it would progress. What pleased me the most was the way the protagonists came to life in my head and on the screen of my Mac. The more I wrote the more I got to know them, even the minor characters. And the more I loved them.

But my greatest pleasure came from writing the scenes filled with romance and sex. I love that tingling feeling from reading a well-written sex scene and I hope to share that with readers. My storylines are filled with suspense, danger and even abuse, but they are peppered with erotic scenes of exciting sex and passionate romance. This is how I try to keep the reader hooked.

For me there are three variances on a sex scene. One is tender, and a second is exciting. Love can be present, develop, or sometimes not quite there. The third is brutal. Of course the lines between them are not always definitive. For example sex can be both exciting and romantic. In certain cases, where there is total consent, it can be exciting and brutal.

In Keeping You there are elements of BDSM. It is the hero who likes to be hurt. So I get to write sex scenes filled with erotic pleasure. For the innocent heroine, part of her journey in their relationship is the discovery that she can give her man what he needs. It lends itself to a great angle to show her development into womanhood. Then there are a couple of scenes when things go too far for the hero. The plot requires submission and masochism that turns very brutal. I make every effort to ensure the reader feels the difference between what Lawrence likes and what he doesn’t. And I feel this makes him a more credible figure.

Depending on the nature of the sex scene, I will use a different writing style. For example, in a sex scene where there is no passion, I will use coarse nouns, even vulgar ones if I feel necessary, and distinguish with different adjectives and the occasional adverb. Often I will change the pace with shorter sentences. My aim is to convey the emotion experienced by the players in the scene, depending on whose head I’m in. This is most prevalent in the second half of Keeping You when Lawrence is dragged back to London and must confront his demons.

However my romantic sex scenes may not always be very long, but the pace will be slow, and the language seductive and sensual. I take loving care over my choice of words to describe the setting, emotions, pleasures.  Hopefully the reader is left feeling the love.

Thanks for reading and I want to end with many thanks to Jemi for inviting me to post here. In the 
interests of propriety, and not wanting to shock anyone, I won’t quote any of my sex scenes—if this has peaked any interest, you’ll have to read my book. Or contact me directly with a comment and request, and I’ll send you an extract. Let me know if and how you write your scenes of sex and/or passion. 

Mollie x
Editorial Review of Keeping You.
“Blake’s character development is superb, and she handles a difficult subject with both sensitivity and compassion. While Keeping You is not for the faint of heart, if you want an erotic romance with a little meat in it, you really can’t go wrong with this one.”
Regan Murphy
Mollie Blake is a published author of contemporary romance. A lover of reading sexy stories, Mollie decided to go one step further and write her own. Her romances are filled with danger and peppered with hot sexy scenes. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and UK Romantic Novelists Association.
Connect with her on the web:
Website     Facebook      Twitter       Author Page

Keeping You: A Cheshire Love Story (Cheshire Love Stories Book 3)
His past haunts him. Revenge drives him. Can her love save him?

After a chance meeting in a bookshop, young Suzy Harper is engaged by multi-multimillionaire, Lawrence Bane, to work on translating a French document. They embark on an intense relationship, but he is surrounded by mystery and shame as demons from his past threaten to destroy everything he has worked for, including her love for him.

This exciting erotic romantic thriller traces the increasingly intense and tender relationship between the inexperienced Suzy and her wealthy, troubled lover, Lawrence. There are two obsessions in Lawrence’s life—his passion for Suzy and his drive for revenge against the gangland boss who murdered his best friend.

Will Suzy be strong enough to accept Lawrence for the man he is? Will Lawrence trust the woman he loves enough to reveal his darkest secrets to her? Will their love survive the challenges that lie ahead?

Buy links:

Thanks Mollie!
My romance stories aren't as erotic as this, I definitely write on the tamer side of things :)
It's interesting to see how you put it all together - I love finding out about the processes of other authors!

How about you - is your first novel worth putting out in the world? 
Mine most definitely is NOT!!



IWSG & Favourite Genres

  Posted by Jemi , 07 February 2018 · 110 views

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

February 7 question - What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

Great question!

I mostly write contemporary romance (although I think I'll always dabble in quite a few genres & categories!).

Some people have a tendency to look down upon the romance genre, but I'd guess many of those people haven't read many current romances!

For me, romance tends to be about hope.

The characters need to overcome an internal obstacle along with an external obstacle as they figure out how to trust both themselves and someone else. The story lines are complex and I enjoy building in suspense and humour. I also love knowing that there will be a happy ending with my story. The world has enough sad, I need my fiction to be about the happy!

How about you? What's your favourite genre to write in? What's the best part of that genre for you?

(As some of you might know, my MacBook appears to have died, my phone refuses to reply to emails, and basically technology hates me. While I am in technological limbo it may take me a while to return your comments. I will do my best to get back to you soon!  In the meantime, I hope your technology is good to you!)



Don't Listen

  Posted by Jemi , 29 January 2018 · 169 views

Don't listen with your ears
     for your ears
          will only hear the words

Don't listen with your ears
     those words
          could be filled with lies

     with hurt
          with anger
               with pain

Don't listen with your ears
     those words alone
          cannot convey the truth

Listen with your heart

Listen to the heartache
     the regrets
          the hopes

Listen to the cries
     for help
          and understanding

Listen to the scared
     the lonely
          and the lost

Don't listen with your ears
They'll only tell you words



The Fire that Inspired Flaming Crimes by Chrys Fey (Part 7)

  Posted by Jemi , 16 January 2018 · 219 views

Please welcome the lovely Chrys Fey to the blog today!!!

AUTHOR NOTE: Many scenes in Flaming Crimes (Disaster Crimes #4) came from real life. For this short blog tour, I am sharing my memories as a ten-part continuous story, so hop along for the entire experience.

Series: Disaster Crimes #4
Page Count: 304
Digital Price: 4.99
Print Price: 16.99
Rating: Spicy (PG13) 


I returned home at dusk. When I walked in the house with my family, the first thing we saw was one of our cats lying right there in the walkway, as if nothing had happened. I remember thinking that if the house would have burned down, this cat would’ve died.

Before we went to bed, Monkey, the pregnant cat who had run out of my sister’s arms came back home. She was okay. But…another one of our cats had run out the door in the chaos and was still out there, somewhere.

When I went to bed, I had been afraid. The house stank like burned wood. A brush truck purred loudly in the woods next to my bedroom, making sure the fire was out and no hotspots would flare up. I woke up several times in the middle of the night, thinking the house was on fire, because smoke was imprinted on my sight. I could see it in the darkness, filling my bedroom. It wasn’t real, but it was to me. 


Trying to walk quickly, but not too fast to frighten the cat, was tricky. Beth made shooshing noises, as if she were comforting a baby, and fluffed the fur on Misty’s chest with her fingers, hoping the contact would soothe her. At Mrs. Caraway’s car, she slowly lowered her right hand to open the back door. Her plan was to gently toss the cat inside and shut the door before she could escape. She pulled on the door handle and had the door cracked open when Misty panicked. The cat fought her. Claws pierced through her T-shirt and sliced the skin on her stomach. Beth attempted to keep her hold on the lashing cat, but Misty let out a yowl and ran her nails up Beth’s arm. She let out a startled cry and instinctively released Misty, who darted across the lawn and into the woods. In her fear, Misty ran right to the thing she should’ve been running from—the fire.

The story will continue on these blogs:

1/8Circle of Friends Books - Part 1
1/9Sandra CoxPart 2
1/10Elements of EmaginettePart 3
1/11Julie FlandersPart 4
1/12I Think; Therefore, I YamPart 5
1/15Alex J. CavanaughPart 6
1/16Just JemiPart 7
1/17Sandra DaileyPart 8
1/18FundinmentalPart 9
1/19Elizabeth SeckmanPart 10

About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links:

Thank you for reading this post! Don’t forget to hop along to the other posts on their designated days for the full fiery story.

SHARE: Your fire story with me.

Thanks Chrys! What a fascinating story. Looking forward to the next few posts to see the whole story!

We've luckily been untouched by fire (with one close call). How about you? Any fire stories to share?


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