Bookin' It

So Many Books. So Little Time. Let's Review!

Archive for the category “Miscellaneous”

A Question and a Request

 

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Agatha Christie

The Question: Agatha and I have been wondering…where does the time go? No, I mean, really. Where does it go, once we’ve squeezed every bit of the life from a moment, and cast it aside, moving on to the next? Is there some graveyard for used hours somewhere? Or is it really relegated to crumbling photo albums and lines in a diary?

Just curious, here, on account of I seem to have lost a LOT of it lately. But I suppose that’s the nature of things–both losing time, and wasting more, wondering where it went. By my age, there are veritable slag heaps of lost time piled up behind me, but I’m finally learning that it doesn’t pay to worry about it. What does pay, sort of, is writing. So that’s where I’ve been in recent weeks. Writing my fingers down to bloody bones! Makes for a messy keyboard, but it does get me closer to the final line of Novel #4, anyway. And that brings me to the next part of this post.

The Request: I’ve said this before, and I’ll no doubt say it again. Most readers have no concept of just how important good reviews are to writers, most especially in this day of eBooks. If you’ve read a book you enjoyed, please, please consider posting a review on Amazon. Yes, even if the book is by a famous author who has sold millions of copies. Every single review has an impact on where they rank on Amazon, which, in turn, impacts how many new readers come across their book. Unless they are in the #1 spot, across all boards, they have room to move up, and increase their sales. And if you enjoyed their book, they’ve earned it.

Reviews are even more important for new writers, such as myself. When I balance the number of reviews Swamp Ghosts has gotten, for instance, against the number of emails and other comments I’ve received from folks who say they enjoyed the book, I know that a lot of them–most of them–aren’t leaving reviews. I think some don’t know how critical they are, and others actually mean to do it, but forget. Either way, it would sure be nice if everyone who enjoyed reading a book, mine included, would take five minutes to let the world know. It will increase sales dramatically, and for some authors, that can mean the difference in being able to continue writing versus having to get a second job, just to put food on the table. You can leave reviews on your blog or Goodreads, too, but the one that will make the biggest difference is the one you leave on Amazon.

Help your favorite writers succeed. Read and review. Rinse. Repeat. Rainbows will follow you everywhere you go, and sweet dreams will visit you every night. Okay, not really, but you WILL be doing a good thing. 🙂 Thanks!

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I’m Still Standin’!!

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(Just Because This Picture Makes Me Smile)

Okay, some of the time, I’m not quite vertical, but by golly, I have survived this latest mutant spawn of the Swine Flu, and I’m here to tell the tale. My first advice…DON’T GET IT!! This is wicked, wicked stuff, and can be fatal for the very young, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. So, avoiding is a good thing! And if you DO get it, for the love of everyone you know, stay home. HOME! Sleeping alone. Washing your hands about a million times a day, and trying not to cough on anyone. AND…if you go from well to sick in about sixty seconds, head straight to your doctor for Tamiflu to try to knock this stuff out. (It only works within the first 48 hours or so). Then pray.

Today is the first day in well over two weeks that I am actually thinking I might be recovering. And I’m SO happy to see that light at the end of the tunnel. I have things to do, stuff to say, and most of all, a brand new book to get published! Yes, A Boy Named Rabbit is now ready to be formatted and sent out into the world, hopefully to reach lots of people and make them smile…or cry. I’m pretty excited about this third novel. It’s a sequel to Wake-Robin Ridge, and I hope readers who enjoyed that one will find a place in their hearts for a little ten-year-old boy, unlike anyone else you’ve ever met. I know he shakes up Sarah and Mac’s life pretty thoroughly, and I hope he’ll have an impact on yours.

Also, I’ve been reading whenever I can, so I have lots of reviews I need to get posted for you. Just finished Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher story, Personal, and have a few things to say about my beloved Reacher, and about Lee Child’s way with words. I finished what should have been a light fantasy series by Lindsay Buroker, The Emperor’s Edge, but which turned out to pull me in and make me crazy for each succeeding book in series. Also, a review of The Thorn Prince by Mark Lawrence is coming up…truly one of the darkest and most disturbing books I’ve ever read, for so many reasons.

Currently, I’m reading Jennifer Melzer’s latest, Siren, and so far, it’s proving to be very intriguing. That will be on my agenda, too. And I don’t want to forget Karen Yankosky’s wonderfully funny Good Luck With That Thing You’re Doing, a book sure to brighten your spirits and make you laugh out loud.

Last, now that I’ve gotten Rabbit’s story told and into publication mode, I can get back to writing the sequel to Swamp Ghosts. I’m pretty excited about this story, too. The book tells the story of Maggie and Gunn’s best friends, Hunter and Willow, who live in the same little Florida town of Riverbend, but it’s a very different kind of tale than Swamp Ghosts was. Fewer reptiles, for one thing. 🙂 And more romance, with a pretty large helping of human tragedy to complicate things. And of course, humor, because Hunter Painter is nothing if not a weirdy-weird guy, with a very quirky way of looking at things. Hopefully, Hunter will be out this fall.

So that’s all the news from me–the good, the bad, and the unwritten. What’s yours? Anything new in your lives that I need to know about? Let me hear from you. I’ve missed you ALL, and I’m so glad to be back!

Clarification

Hi, everyone. Sorry if I was unclear yesterday. My problem was not whether my followers are being alerted when I post something new. It’s that *I* wasn’t being alerted when you respond to my posts. I’m supposed to get an email saying “Betty Jo just commented on your post.” (Although I really haven’t heard from anyone named Betty Jo that I’m aware of. 🙂 )

At any rate, I did get alerts yesterday for every response to my post, so I guess my tweaks have finally started to work. Thank you to all who took the time to comment and help me test things out. I appreciate it!

As you were, folks. Enjoy your day!

New Blog News

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After struggling for some time to get the Menu above organized and several new links working properly, I had to admit defeat. So, I decided to create a new Author’s Blog where I could focus on my own books, news, excerpts, promos, etc, and forget about trying to make it all fit here. Oh, I’ll still keep this blog updated about new promos, etc, but this will let me use Bookin’ It the way I originally intended, namely for book reviews and posts on other people’s writings. It was just getting too cluttered up with my stuff all over the place, too, especially when the links either didn’t show up at all, or didn’t work properly.  

Of course, I spent a whole day trying to remember how to set up a new blog, and get the theme I wanted operating properly. It’s still a work in progress. But once it’s done, I’ll be posting the link here, so that any of you who want to follow my books a bit more closely can do so. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy both blogs enough to follow each. I’ll do my best to make them both worthwhile, and I’ll keep you posted!

Off For A Chickie Day!

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Hold down the fort, guys! I’m off to spend a wild and crazy day with my favorite Chickie, my wonderful cover designer and very good friend, Nicki Forde. Nicki is an amazingly talented graphic designer who always “gets” my vision, and then improves on it. She’s also the best friend anyone could ask for. See ya tonight!

Paranormal vs Supernatural

 

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Ever wonder what the difference is? I did some research, and quickly discovered there were lots of opinions out there, most dancing around the same basic distinctions (though some were quite different). I found the one that made the most sense to me, and suspect that’s what I’ll be using as my guidelines when I’m reviewing books in the future. The entire article at Knowledge Nuts can be found here. For purposes of this post, I’m going with their opening lines. Works for me.

“The terms “paranormal” and “supernatural” are often tossed around to mean the same thing—something we don’t understand. They’re actually two separate terms, though. “Paranormal” refers to something that’s not understood by current scientific knowledge; there’s the potential that something paranormal will someday be explained scientifically, and there’s a likelihood there’s a good, natural explanation for it. “Supernatural” refers to a phenomenon that is beyond our capability to understand, now and simply forever, because it just doesn’t operate under our rules.”

Update on Release of The Collector’s Treasure

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Just wanted to let you guys know that shortly after Nick Taylor and Alisha Payne’s book, The Collector’s Treasure, went live on amazon, some sort of technical glitch popped up making it impossible to download the ebook or order the paperback. They are in contact with amazon and the paperback is now available again, but the eBook download is still not working. If you were hoping to read this (like me!), hang in there. Surely amazon will sort it out soon, and all will be well. (Good luck, Nick & Alisha!)

A Word About Negative Reviews

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Sometime back, before I tried my hand at writing myself, actually, I decided I was done writing negative reviews. I’d only written a few of them, because frankly, they aren’t fun to write, and I realized, I was only writing them when I was angry about something in the book I was reviewing. Don’t know about YOU, but I think writing (or doing anything else) when you are angry, is usually a bad idea. Since I’m not going to lie about a book I didn’t enjoy, I made up my mind only to review books that I would rate at 3 stars or higher. And after I started writing books myself, I knew I absolutely couldn’t tear down anyone else’s work again. So, I don’t.

I’m not saying this is what everyone should do. It’s just my personal choice to review books I enjoy, and share them with others. And, quite honestly, there are many, many people out there willing to jump all over someone’s work and call it garbage, so my voice won’t be missed in that area. But I still have opinions about negative reviews. I think they should help a writer understand where he or she has gone astray, and be filled with constructive criticism, rather than insults thrown out there by a reviewer having fun ruining someone else’s day. One approach  fosters learning and growth, and the other is…in a word…mean-spirited. (Okay, so it’s a hyphenated word. You get the idea.)

I just wanted to make my position clear on this, because I have mentioned here and there that I don’t do negative reviews any more, and I wanted to be sure you guys all understand that I do not mean I’m lying when I post a positive one. I’m just choosing to ONLY review books I enjoy. It’s a choice that lets me feel good, and hopefully makes someone else feel good, too.

Thanks for listening. As you were, folks! And happy reading!

Question for You Writers Out There?

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Just started working in Scrivener. Big learning curve, but I love it already. Also taking a course in tips and tricks, etc. Anyone using this program for writing novels? Would love to hear what you think of it. Have you mastered it? Do you love it?

I’m crazy about the concept of keeping all my research, photos, maps, URLs, etc, in the same location as my draft…in one program for easy access. I’m always trying to find the folder where I’ve stored something I need for the next chapter. I also love that you can easily import an entire book into the program, and you can convert your finished manuscript instantly into so many formats for publication.

Am looking forward to the whole program becoming second nature to me. I’m a geek at heart, so I hope to be comfortable with this in a matter of a few days. Fingers crossed. What do you think?

Why Have Free Promos?

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(Nothing to do with this post, but funny, anyway.)

Ever ask yourself why authors are so happy to give away thousands of copies of their books? I mean, if you sold apples for a living, you probably wouldn’t be parked somewhere giving away 5,000 crates of them, would you? Same thing. I know a lot of people don’t realize it, but most writers need to sell books to earn a living, so giving away their product seems, well, counter-productive, doesn’t it? Frankly, there are times when I think that’s the case, myself, and wonder why I’m doing it. Especially when a promo turns out to be as successful as my latest one is shaping up to be. It’s scary seeing that much product go out, with no money coming in for it. So why do it? Read more…

A Request For Your Consideration

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No, the picture of the gorgeous Destin beaches in the Florida panhandle has nothing whatsoever to do with my request. It’s just there “for pretty.” 🙂 But I do have a request. For those of you who enjoy the Wednesday Author Interview feature (and I hope most of you do), would you consider tweeting the posts in order to help me spread the word? Many of my interviews feature new, independent authors who would be very grateful to have the extra publicity, and I would enjoy having more visitors stop by Bookin’ It, too. There is a Twitter button on the bottom of the Comments page. One click, and a window pops up, ready for you to okay the Tweet. It’s quick, and easy, and could really help new writers get discovered.

Thanks so much on their behalf and mine, for considering this. Now, as you were, folks. Enjoy your weekend! (Maybe you’ll be relaxing at a beach like this somewhere?)

Granny Road Trip Coming Up!

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Taking my 9-year-old granddaughter up to the Destin/Santa Rosa Beach area of the panhandle on Thursday, to spend 4 days with my daughter and family. So looking forward to this vacation, especially the time spent with my two beautiful grandchildren. I’ll be posting tomorrow’s Author Interview, with cozy mystery writer Nancy Cohen, but after that, I won’t be around much until Tuesday, August 5. I’ll check in if I can, but probably won’t be able to do much posting. And in fact, isn’t that the whole point of a vacation? To go do things you don’t do during your normal daily routine? I think so!

Even though I avoid the sun like the plague, I still love the beach. I’ll slather on my Industrial Strength Total Eclipse sunblock, wear a big hat, and sit under an umbrella, and life will be good. Could be a pina colada in the mix, somewhere. 🙂

Off to run last minute errands now, so behave yourselves while I’m out. (Okay, disregard that order. Why start behaving now, eh?) Gonna put some Jimmy Buffet on the CD player in my car, and hit the grocery store so hubby will have provisions while I’m away. Later!

Thank You!

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Thanks to everyone who helped make my Swamp Ghosts giveaway such a success yesterday. SO many downloads! I hope each of you will enjoy reading this book, will be able to imagine yourselves canoeing down peaceful Florida rivers, and will be appropriately entertained during the romantic bits, as well as the scary ones! If you enjoy it, please tell your friends and neighbors, and consider leaving a review on amazon. Writers LOVE (and NEED) that kinda stuff! 🙂

Thanks again, and have a wonderful week. Will be announcing the Monday giveaway soon.

One Lovely Blog Award

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I’m very excited to let you guys know that last week, Marjorie of Kyrosmagica nominated Bookin’ It for the One Lovely Blog Award. What a great surprise, Marjorie, and I thank you so much! So pleased you thought of me. Please stop by Kyrosmagica and say hi to Marjorie, a really nice lady with a cool blog. You’ll enjoy looking around there.

The rules for this award are:

1. Thank the person nominating you and link back to them in your post (See above! 🙂 )

2. Share seven things about yourself

3. Nominate fifteen or so bloggers you admire

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know

~~~

Here are Seven Things About Me which you probably never knew. I’m sure you could get along fine without knowing them now, but I thought it would be fun to share them with you, anyway. 🙂

1. I’m tall. Nearly 5’11”. That’s close enough to six feet to look most men directly in the eyes, and to look down on a few of them, too. (Not that I’d ever REALLY look down on them, of course. At least not most of them.) But being that tall back in the day was an interesting way to grow up. I was in high school before I had to relinquish my status as the tallest person in the class…including the teacher. (I mean I was 5’5″ in 3rd grade!) Read more…

Feel Like Helping Out?

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My friends Nick Taylor and Alisha Payne are running a Kickstarter campaign to help get their third novel, The Collector’s Treasure, off the ground. They are hoping to earn enough money to cover editing expenses to make this book the best one, yet. Pledges start as low as $1.00, and each level entitles you to goodies when the book comes out. If you’d like to help, go here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spellbound/the-collectors-treasure-urban-fantasy-novel-book-2

 

 

Great Photo! (Indulge Me)

Every now and then, my daughter sends me a photo of my grandson, Kaelen, and I’m reminded what a good photographer she is. I just had to share this one, and it was not even taken with her “good” camera, but with her smartphone. It’s nice that it features my little grandbaby, but the fun part of this pic is in the details…particularly the ones seen in the lens of his borrowed-from-mommy sunglasses. Whaddya think? Cool, eh?

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A Good Idea

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So, So Important!

Saw this on Twitter yesterday with a request to share, so…I’m sharin’! Lots of people honestly don’t know how important some of these things can be to an author, especially an independent one, who depends on word of mouth so completely. Hope you’ll pass it along, too. Let’s get the word out (in the nicest way possible, of course.) Folks…if you read it, and you love it, please let the world know. Thanks!

Who Is This?

In creating my Inspiration Boards for Hunter, the sequel to Swamp Ghosts, I have been looking high and low for a someone who looks the way I picture Hunter Painter looking. After a time-consuming and exhausting search through THOUSANDS of pictures of good looking men…oh, the things we suffer for our art!…I found ONE photo that looks like Hunter would have looked in his earlier years. (He’s 34 at the start of this book, so would have a tiny bit more wear and tear on his face…maybe). There was no identification on this image at all, and I’m afraid I don’t recognize this man. If he’s an actor or model, someone must surely know his name, right? And I’d like to find a few more photos of him, so I’m putting it to you guys. Can you help? Who is this?

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Need an Editor?

For those who don’t know, I’ve been buried in the final chapters of my draft for my upcoming novel, Swamp Ghosts. I’m happy to say that I’m close enough to the end to start the editing process on the beginning. Yay! I’m hoping to have this book published by the first of May, if all goes well.

In the meantime, I’m also happy to say my editor for Wake-Robin Ridge, Caitlin Stern, is once again going to be working with me. I can’t say enough good things about working with Caitlin. She was very accommodating and we were able to come up with an arrangement that was perfect for both of us. Her flexibility was wonderful, and she has mad skills, too.

In my case, I asked her to edit for typos, grammar, and general errors of the mechanical sort. Plus, she read the book as a reader would, and kept me honest when she felt my characters weren’t acting true to how I had described them. She never lopped out anything or replaced anything with her own words, which I would have hated. Instead, she circled and underlined and made suggestions in the margin, and let me make all the changes myself. If I was being repetitive, for instance, she would point out that something should probably be cut, and give me her thoughts on which sentence could be removed without changing my meaning. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I agreed with her and made the suggested changes. In the rare instance when I really preferred my way, and stood firm, she was good with that.

In short, she made me a better writer, but didn’t do it for me. I re-learned a lot of half-forgotten grammar rules that had long disappeared into the dark corners of my mind, and she gave me easy ways to remember them in the future, too. Hyphens are still my enemy, but I know Caitlin will be on the job and catch my mistakes.

If you are looking for a reasonably priced but very good editor, I hope you’ll think about contacting Caitlin. I’m sure you would enjoy working with her. You can reach her at Caitlin Stern Writes for more specific info

Sunday Update!

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SO sorry to have been absent so much recently. My life has spiraled out of control, it seems. Outside issues, animal issues, book writing issues, self-marketing issues–all of them have conspired to fill up my every waking minute. I’ve even been relegated to catching up 0n my reading at midnight, lately, which leads to nodding off after a few pages. Things should be easing up a bit soon, says she, with fingers crossed.

I have reviews to write, and all I need is a few minutes in which to do so. On my list are Janet Evanovich’s Takedown Twenty, Gail Carriger’s Timeless from the Parasol Protectorate series, and Ned Hickson’s hilarious Humor at the Speed of Life. A couple other things are waiting, too, but those three will probably be coming up in the next day or so. This is assuming I can finish mastering the proper use of Hootsuite, and get out from under the extra work involved in promoting my books via Twitter. I’d like to get the basic promo type tweets automated, so I can concentrate on meeting and enjoying fellow Tweeters for the more social aspect of Social Media. If you’ve never been on Twitter before, trust me, it can overwhelm a newbie in no time.

On the book front, Wake-Robin Ridge is still selling well, which pleases me no end. I won’t be retiring to a South Pacific island any time soon, but I’m optimistic about my late-life career as a Romantic Suspense novelist, at least.  And that’s good, because my second novel, Swamp Ghosts, is almost finished. At least the rough draft, anyway. I expect to get it through the editing process in a few weeks, and then on to publishing. (I hope I can remember how I did it the last time. Now where are those Kindle notes?) So, I expect to be announcing publication at least by late spring, if not sooner. I’m really excited about this one. Alligators, and snakes, and psychopaths, Oh, MY! *grin* It was fun to write.

And that’s about it for me. What have YOU guys been up to? Any news you want to share? I’m listening……………

Follow me on Twitter: @marciameara

And Like Me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcia.meara

I’ll follow you back, I promise!

File This Under “What Was I Thinking?”

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Okay. I admit it. I’m addicted to books. I’m addicted to reading books. I’m addicted to piling them all over my shelves, and stopping by them now and then just to pet the covers. But mostly, I am addicted to downloading Kindle books. Constantly. Especially FREE Kindle books. I have lots and lots of them waiting to be read. And by lots, I mean well over 350 of them. GAH. If I live to be 125, which is what I’m aiming for, I’ll never finish reading them all!

Add to that, the fact that I’ve got at least five books I’ve promised to read and review waiting for me, and oh, yeah…I’m writing a second novel, myself, which is a Time Suck of astronomical proportions. Where, oh where, in all of this, have I left myself time to LIVE MY LIFE?? I really don’t know. But I can’t think about it right now…the latest BookGorilla email just arrived. Free books are calling me! Later, boys and girls!

😀

Freezin’ in Florida!

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Look What You’re Missing!

Went down in the mid-30’s last night, and was still only 37 out when I woke up, but no ice in the birdbaths, anyway. This doesn’t sound like much to you folks in the Frozen North, I know, but when you consider it was over 80 degrees here less than a week ago, well…it is a bit of a shock to the system. And it will be back up in the 80’s again in a couple of days, I’m sure. Not as bad as last month, when the temps dropped 50 degrees in one night, and then soared again in 24 hours. But still. It’s a good day to stay home by the fire, and I think that’s just what I’ll do. Throw in a few hours on the computer, working on my next book, Swamp Ghosts, and it will be okay with me to postpone my winter gardening for another day.

How is it where YOU are? Cold? Freezing cold? Or my tongue’s stuck to a lamppost, someone just shoot me now, cold? 🙂  Hope you are all snug in your toasty homes until this lets up.

 

A Day Late, But Just As Sincere!

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Best Wishes for the Entire Holiday Season,
From Our House to Yours!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

A Word On Free Books

kindlevsbooksEver wonder why an author would willingly give away hundreds of copies of his or her hard work for free? (And trust me on this…writing IS hard work.) The answer is simple: word of mouth. The more people that have read a book, the more it gets talked about. And the more it gets talked about, the more it gets sold,  and then the author can afford to stay at home and write another book. This is why you see Read more…

Book Gorilla

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Whaddya Mean That Book Is FREE This Week?

It’s a little known fact that gorillas really hate to pay full price for anything, especially books. No, really. This is true. I swear. Honest. Okay, doubtful, at best. But if YOU hate to pay full price for books, and love finding FREE ones even more, why aren’t you subscribing to BookGorilla? There are several email services out there that will alert you to the best book bargains of the day, but BookGorilla is by far, my favorite. Takes me 5 minutes or less to scan through the day’s offerings and see if there is anything I’m interested in. Then I click on it, check the reviews on Amazon, and grab the ones I want. I have found tons of good stuff that way.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, just go to BookGorilla.com and sign up. You can select the genres that you enjoy, and then just sit back and watch the daily bargains roll in. And don’t worry. You can unsub at any time, so give it a go. Bet you’ll find some great deals. Have fun!

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