Sunday, January 31, 2021

Tackling Weeds is Like Editing Novels



For mechanic Billie, repairing cars is easier than perking up her love life, 
until a chance encounter with an old friend races her under-nourished hormones into overdrive.


 I do like the garden to look clean and tidy, but I don't particularly enjoy the processes necessary to achieve that condition. And weeding is perhaps the most disliked garden chore. Where do they all come from, these unloved unwanted plants?

As I grubbed out unidentifiable green shoots from the gravel path, dug out more robust specimens from the rose bed and dumped the detritus into the compost bin, my mind was not on the possible virtues of dandelions or the suspicious appeal of a thistle, but on how much work, 'weeding', I need to do on the draft of my current contemporary romance novel.

Revising, and later editing, fiction writing can be considered similar to weeding the garden, getting rid of those irrelevant words, phrases, sentences, perhaps whole chapters or a character or two. I've found that some 'weeds' belong not in the novel in which I've placed them but elsewhere, in a completely different story where they can be re-categorised as 'wanted'. I transcribe others into my hard cover notebook for possible future use, while scraps are simply junk dealt with  by the delete key.

Weeding, both the garden effort and the written endeavour, is hard work, but what satisfaction when both the vegetation and the creative writing have been successfully tackled! I know which I'd rather do, so while the exterior weed population is probably already re-asserting itself, my story in progress is benefitting from a targeted weed attack. 

If you're a gardener with weeds that bother you, good luck with getting rid of them.

Best wishes and happy reading, Priscilla 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Featured Author - Barbara Baker


Barbara Baker grew up in Banff, Alberta and spends her free time racing up and down the Rockies to keep up with an active family of outdoor enthusiasts. Her passions include writing, photography, exploring landscapes and time with her grandchildren. Many of her short stories are published in magazines and anthologies. Carousel Pictures made a mini film of her essay, Life Support, which played in the Toronto International Film Festival (fall 2019). You can contact her at



Fourteen-year-old Jillian has no idea who her dad is but uses her banishment from summer parties in Toronto to isolation in Banff National Park to track him down. But it’s not easy. A reclusive log cabin, a grumpy aunt, few trips to civilization and seriously—no cell phone reception?

When she’s not searching for her dad, Jillian pursues an elusive girl, Mika, who lives on her own in the wilderness. Together they track down a poacher and Jillian reunites Mika with her family. All should be well - but it isn’t. Big secrets in Jillian’s family surface, Jillian’s boyfriend ditches her, and her dad wants proof he’s her dad. Like she’d make this up?

Jillian swaps her English saddle for a western one as she unravels the truth about who she really is. What she learns changes everything she knows about herself and demands an inner strength she never knew she had.


Friday, January 29, 2021

Mozart's Birthday, 2021

~~Juliet Waldron
See all my historical novels @

When I began Mozart's Wife, I was madly in love with the composer's music--which conflated to being in love with the man himself. His youthful music is so sensual, so bright and shiny, so full of optimism--it probably sounds like what the flowers must sing to lure the bees. it is green leaf and blue sky music--just the kind to accompany springtime and young love.

Mozart's Wife began like that, full of the romance that bloomed between Mozart and his Stanzi Marie. Pop songs from my own teen years filled my head while I wrote--songs which were likewise full of longing and desire, ones like "I think we're alone now" as the lovers seek a hiding place in which to express their body longings.  

"Little sister don't you do what your big sister done" was the song in Mozart's head, I'm sure, for he'd first loved Stanzi Marie's big sister, Aloysia. This pretty, talented young woman instead  had given herself to an aristocrat who obtained for her the prima donna's roles she craved.

Mozart's height of popularity is on the horizon. He and Stanzi marry, overcoming his father's objections. He composes operas for the court theater and is welcome at the soirees of the rich and famous. Stanzi, hitherto her family's Cinderella, shares in this--she has clothes, maids, lovely apartments, parties--all the perks of having a successful husband. 

Babies come, as they do. A "Blessed event" used to be the euphemism. In the 18th Century, however, childbirth was "travail," a danger through which women passed with trepidation. If she was both lucky and healthy, she might escape unscathed, but death in childbirth was a real hazard. (In my own experience, a gentle, kind family friend disappeared from my childhood when she died in hospital (1953) three days after an apparently uneventful childbirth.) Back in the 18th Century, which had no knowledge of hygiene or germ theory, midwives and doctors alike transmitted puerperal fever and other forms of sepsis from one new mother to another. 

Mozart concealed his acute, feminine sensitivity within his music, only expressing these culturally forbidden aspects of his personality through the female characters in his operas. Although the plots toe the patriarchal line-- i.e., his opera, Cosi fan Tutte--So do they all--these weak women--he certainly endows his female characters with engaging, memorable personalities. There are heroic women, conventional women, mad women, love-sick women, as well as power-hungry, manipulative women, women of wit, of humor and admirable gumption. 

Like his wickedest creation, the rake, Don Giovanni, Mozart knows and loves them all. Once I understood that about him, even the episodes where I conjecture infidelity on his part, have a certain inevitability about them. 

While writing Mozart's Wife, I discovered I did not want to take sides. I understood and loved both my leading characters. 

So Mozart does what men of his century were permitted, stabbing Stanzi to the heart. Being a woman of spirit, and comforted and advised by her cynical sister Aloysia, she hardens her heart and pursues an amour her own.  

In this section of the novel, I moved onto fictional ground, although plenty of rumors from which I drew my inspiration are recorded in letters and diaries of the contemporaries. Meanwhile, there are operas and orchestral pieces being written, some with no buyer in sight, created simply because Mozart's evolving genius compels him. At the same time, there was less recognition and they were falling headlong into debt; there was no stability for the little family. Despair over his faltering fortunes sends Mozart to the bottle.

Babies are born and die, famous and infamous real life characters pass through their lives--Lorenzo DaPonte, the renegade Italian priest and lyricist for Mozart's big three--Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro--as well as the real life Casanova. There is also a large cast of musicians, male and female, who sing or play his music. Some were friends, some were false. Some were lovers--of both his music and of the man. And all through these years immortal music was being written.  

While writing Mozart's Wife, I discovered I could not take sides. I understood and loved both my leading characters, despite their failures and flaws. I hope, if you read Mozart's Wife, you will too.

Here is a group of Mozart fans from twenty years ago, at the yearly birthday party I used to have for my hero. We drank syllabub and champagne and consumed all manner of party goodies. We swapped stories that we'd read about Mozart all while listening to his blissful music. Dear friends!

Happy Birthday, Wolfgang Amadeus!

~~Juliet Waldron

See all my historical novels @

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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Romance in Bloom--The Art of Perfuming by Connie Vines

Fragrance has the ability to transform your entire mood.

And when the one you want to conjure up is romance, a whiff of the right scent will get you there faster than a binge-session of Hallmark movies. From spicy sensual accords to rose-based floral diaries, I've updated a list of 5 of the best fragrances to wear to Announce Spring--or whenever you wish to feel like you're living a fairy-tale!

As many of my readers know, I was a fragrance consultant at a Perfumery for several years. I love to share my acquired 'secrets' in blog posts and novels.  Perfumes, like wines are categorized by 'notes'.

* Remember, perfumes are a personal preference and all fragrance's lingering scent (base note) vary by a person's PH level.

Now, let the fun begin!

1. Ralph Lauren's ROMANCE is designed to hit all the feelings that are associated with falling deep in L-O-V-E, a spritz of this classic and light romantic fragrance treats you to notes like white violet, patchouli, musk, rose, and marigold.

2. Tom Ford's infamous BLACK ORCHID fragrance has become something of a cult icon in the beauty industry.

Not only is it recognizable from just one spritz, but it's also one of the compliment-inducing smells I've ever com across. Smells like: Warm incense spices, creamy vanilla, and heady patchouli.

3.  LancĂŽme's TRESOR. /The diamond-shaped bottle is one of the most popular fragrances out there. The brand evoked the radiance and warmth of love using floral and fruity notes like rose, lilac, peach, and apricot.

4.  YSL's BLACK OPIUM (one of my personal favorites) smells like: Initially sweet and punchy notes of vanilla and coffee, but dries down to a musky white floral base.

The creamy notes of coffee and vanilla give a non-sticky sweetness that develops into a dry white floral scent, after which you get the base notes of musk and patchouli. It's unique and oh-so moreish, this one will 100% become the most-reached-for in your perfume collection.

5.  Jo Malone London's LIME BASIL & MANDARIN COLOGNE. Smells like: Long Summer Days.

This fresh and zesty scent will have you dreaming of warm summer days with every spritz. Juicy notes of lime and mandarin are balanced with earthy basil and white thyme.

BWL Authors love their gardens, as do many of our readers!

a lovely example of a floral garden

While my garden is no longer produces the lush harvest of fruits and vegetables I planted and harvested during my children's elementary school years, I still maintain a PERFUME GARDEN.

My Perfumed Garden is small because scent can be overwhelming--especially strong scents.

I try to interspace my fragrant garden plants with scentless plants that complement their appearance and by time. Lilacs have a strong scent, but only in late spring. Jasmine is a vine, and therefore, a plant I utilize where ever possible.  And, of course roses and herbs.

The garden brings peace into my life, nourishes my soul, and inspires my creative spirit.

How do I keep Romance in Bloom in my stories?

My upcoming BWL release:

Gumbo Ya Ya--an anthology for woman who like Cajun Romance, Story #2 features Persia, a New Orleans, Louisiana, perfumer and Cooper T. a breeder of Catahoula Leopard Dogs and a Westminster Dog Show favorite handler in "Love Potion No. 9".

You will also discover that the art of perfuming creates complications for this no-longer-together-couple. But love, and, a happily-ever-after is definitely in the air!

Happy Reading and I'll be back here next month!


Teasers, we all love teasers 😄. 

What will you find in my upcoming BWL anthology? 

Five stories in one anthology!  

All set in Cajun Country!

However, until my next release:

My current releases are available via your favorite online book seller:

and more!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

English words you didn’t know were French - by Vijaya Schartz

Visit Vijaya's author page at BWL
According to Merriam Webster, there are over 7,000 French words today in the English language. The pronunciation and spelling might differ slightly, but they are plainly recognizable. 

So many familiar words in the English language are French, like: attache, avant-garde, aviation, bachelor, ballet, bon voyage, brunette, bureau, cabaret, chauffeur, chic, clichĂ©, cul-de-sac, debris, deja-vu, delegate, detour, dossier, elite, expatriate, façade, fiancĂ©, film noir, gallery, gazette, heritage, homage, hotel, identity, illusion, insult, irony, liaison, literature, machine, magnificent, massage, metabolism, neutral, novel, occasion, parasol, recipient, reservoir, ricochet, rich, ridicule, risquĂ©, sabotage, sentiment, silhouette, solicitor, souvenir, technique, uniform, variety, etc. to name a few. 

Since the French and the British were enemies for centuries, why did so many French words make it into English? We all learned in school that the Normans, Vikings who had settled in Normandy, led by William the Conqueror, conquered England in 1066, by winning the battle of Hastings. 

After their victory, these French speaking Normans established a new nobility in England, and used French as the official language of the English court. And for two centuries, all legal and official English court documents were written in French. The Norman nobles took control of the lands by marrying into former English nobility. In time, the two languages and the two cultures melded. 

During the Crusades, Richard Lionheart battled in France, to reclaim French territories previously owned by the Normans. This conflict about territory between the English and the French led to the 100-year war (1337-1453) during which English soldiers lived and battled in France, some of them for most of their lives. 

For these reasons, many medieval English words were derived from the French, and French words and expressions survived a thousand years into the English language. Words like chivalry, majesty, archer, assault, court, dungeon, enemy, felony, honor, injury, judge, justice, liberty, noble, prison, parliament, quarter, royal, robe, sir, survive, tournament, treason, uncle, among many others, are French words brought by the Normans.

As for the modern French words in the English language, many come from cooking terms. Rather than making up an English word, it’s easier to use the original French word and Anglicize it. So, in a “restaurant” on the “Menu” you can have your potatoes “sauteed,” with a “soup” and a “roux,” eat an “omelet” a “salad” or “escargots” which are the most common variety of snails. But snails sound slimy, while “escargots” sound like a culinary delight. 

A “cuisine,” in French, refers to a kitchen. By extension it also means what you cook in it. “Four,” for a French person has nothing to do with numbers. It’s just a baking oven. 

When I first came to America, my husband asked me if I wanted my pie “a la mode.” When I asked him what it meant, he looked flabbergasted that I didn’t understand his French. You see, “a la mode” only means “in fashion,” which is nonspecific and doesn’t relate to pie, or, as I quickly discovered, vanilla ice cream. See, the French do not mix pie with ice cream and would consider this a “faux pas.” I quickly corrected my preconceptions in the matter. Since then, I always eat my pie “a la mode.” 
I also wasn’t familiar with French fries, as there is nothing French about them. Fries were invented in Belgium, where half of the population also speaks French. Maybe that’s what created the confusion. But the French simply call fries “frites” or “pommes frites” as potatoes are “pommes de terre,” which translates as apples of the earth. 

Somehow, because the medieval English nobles spoke French, the French word tends to sound more luxurious. A “mansion” a “manor” or a “chateau” sound like places where upper nobility “resides.” That’s probably why Cadillac calls some of their models “deluxe.” French makes it sound more expensive. 

Another French import is the modest “beret.” It was a traditional civilian cap for centuries, favored by the Basques, long before it was adopted by French Special forces in the 20th century. Shortly after, many other countries adopted the beret as military attire. 

Cadet” in French means “second son.” In the old days, to avoid dividing the lands, only the oldest son inherited the charge and the fortune of his father. So, the second son had to find a job, and for noble families, short of buying a bishopric, only a military position would do. It’s interesting to note that the American word has evolved to mean a student in a military or law enforcement academy… that they are no longer second sons, and some cadets are now women. Yay! 

Once in a while, the French word has come to mean something else in the English language, just enough to confuse a native French speaker. “Madame,” for example, is a mark of respect in France. But when you speak of a Madame in the US, it’s usually the woman in charge of a house of ill repute. Same word, very different meaning. 

When I first saw a jar of “Marmite” on the shelf at AJ’s I wondered what it could be. Given that a marmite is simply a cooking pot in French. It didn’t tell me what was in it. After tasting it, I could only assume that it was made of the burned residue in old cooking pots, to give some taste to bland English food. In truth, it’s a condiment made from yeast residue in beer vats. 

Coin” in French means corner. In English it’s loose change. This may come from the fact that coins used to be cut into halves and quarters to make change, which created corners. 

Queue” in French is an animal’s tail. Then it also refers to a waiting line (where impatient dogs would wag their tail). 

Library” is also a French word, but it means bookstore. For a French person, the familiar place that collects thousands of books you can borrow is called a bibliotheque. 

Talking about books, you can find mine everywhere online. Here are two 5-star sci-fi fantasy romance.

Arizona Literary Award 2019

Something’s rotten on the angel planet. When Avenging Angels turn up dead, Urielle, their Legion Commander, suspects the handsome intruder brought unspeakable evil to Azura.

Maksou never met a woman he couldn’t seduce. He came to the forbidden planet to rescue his friends and get rich in the process, but the jungle crawls with lethal life forms… including a gorgeous warrior angel, who saves his life but keeps him prisoner and challenges his irresistible charm.

Urielle, sworn to protect Azura at all costs, has no use for a maverick who ignores the rules and endangers the planet… no matter how attractive. Especially when the Galactic Trade Alliance (GTA) wages a secret war to get their greedy hands on the priceless crystal at Azura’s core.

Byantium Space Station novel

Special Agent Tyler Conrad works security undercover on the Byzantium Space Station and adheres to a strict moral code. When strange beings with wings are murdered, and a dangerous lion wanders the station’s indoor streets, Tyler’s investigation leads him to a mysterious woman, who could make him break all his rules and get them both killed.

Forbidden to love, the beautiful Malaika, guardian of the glowing crystal in the temple of the Formless One, is an illegal mind-reader who hides perilous secrets. She has seen the great evil coming to Byzantium but must hide her extraordinary abilities or perish with her people.

When Admiral Mort Lowell, a hybrid Tenebran nicknamed the Vampire, makes a surprise visit to Byzantium, Tyler knows something wicked is afoot…

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

How important is the ending? Tricia McGill

Find all my books here

The book is nearing completion and you have tied up all the ends, but that last paragraph is eluding you. It has taken me a long time to reach this last paragraph of my latest book due to the extensive amount of research required. As the end looms I have been pondering on which way to finish the journey. In the past, I have had little trouble finding a way to tie up all the loose ends, but with this time-travel, I am unsure which way to go. Stay in the past? Return to the future and begin the journey all over again?

Writers are advised to start the book with a great paragraph that makes the reader itch to find out just where this story will go. I believe endings are just as important. Pondering on the final scene of some great books of the past the first that sprang to mind was the last words from Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. His, “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn,” will be forever remembered as one of the greatest ending lines after Scarlett asked him, “Where shall I go? Of course, that was only the concocted ending for the movie. The last line as written by the author was from Scarlett, and read, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

One of the books I read as an eight or nine-year-old child was A Christmas Carol. The edition given to me by one of my sisters was illustrated and I can still remember the ghostly face of Marley, his former business partner on Ebenezer Scrooge’s doorknocker as depicted at the beginning. Most people know the last line of this book well, with Tiny Tom observing, “God bless us, everyone.”

Being a writer of romance, of course I mostly look for a happy ever after, not so much of the couple riding off into the sunset, but being a romantic at heart, I do tend to show my protagonists at least ending very happily together. There is nothing more satisfying than reaching the final page of a book with a sigh, along with a feeling that you were enjoying it so much you couldn’t wait to finish yet when you did you were sad to see it end.

Here are a few of my favourite endings, some well-known and loved and some not so:

"I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth." Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

"She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously." The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck 

"God's in his heaven, all’s right with the world,' whispered Anne softly." Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery

 "Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this." Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

"And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea." Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

 "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

"With the Gardiners, they were always on the most intimate terms. Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them."  Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen 

Find some more amazing endings here:

Visit my web page for excerpts of all my books 

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Cariboo Road by A.M.Westerling

One of the things I enjoy the most about writing historical romance – along with writing about love, of course! – is doing the research. Accurate research was especially important when I wrote Barkerville Beginnings, Book 4 of the Canadian Historical Brides Collection issued by BWL Publishing in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. The participating authors were instructed to write a story that combined fact with fiction. The challenge was on! I chose to write about Barkerville as I visited there a couple of times while on vacation.

Barkerville was a gold rush town in the interior of British Columbia that sprang up in the 1850’s. During its heyday. it was thought to be the largest town west of Chicago however, now it’s a ghost town and known as the Historic Townsite of Barkerville. Here I am on main street and below that is the Barkerville church:


During the early days of the Cariboo Gold Rush, getting there presented a serious challenge to the miners as Barkerville was located 400 miles north and east of Yale. Thick underbrush clogged the mountainous route and some of the mountain passes still had five feet of snow in April. Parts of the journey north were extremely dangerous and horses and their owners would often fall to their deaths over the mountains or drown in the swift and deep waters of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers. Below you can see the Fraser River and how high the road was built to traverse the Fraser Canyon:

However, the success of the gold fields and the great influx of people made it necessary to improve access. The governor at that time, Governor James Douglas, determined that a safe road was required and the Royal Engineers were engaged for the task. In October of 1861, Colonel Richard Clement Moody recommended that the Yale to Barkerville route through the Fraser Canyon be built for the benefit of the country. The Royal Engineers assessed the route and suggested it be built in sections: Yale to Spuzzum, Spuzzum to Lytton, Lytton to the Lillooet Junction, Lillooet to Fort Alexandria, and Quesnel to Barkerville. It was a particularly difficult section to construct because of mud, swamp and fallen trees. You can still see a portion of the original road outside of Lytton:

When it was completed, some people called it the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Rose, a young single mother running from her vengeful ex, and Harrison, a young viscount running from scandal, are the two main characters in Barkerville Beginnings. They meet on the final section of the road between Quesnel to Barkerville.

Intrigued? You can find Barkerville Beginnings HERE.

Or better yet, check out all the great titles in the collection! HERE

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Featured Author Jay Lang

Jay Lang is the author of four Lesbian thrillers published with BWL Publishing Inc., including the February 1, 2021 new release Storm - now available in pre-release at all the primary retailers and in print from Amazon.

Jay Lang grew up on the ocean, splitting her time between Read Island and Vancouver Island before moving to Vancouver to work as a TV, film and commercial actress. Eventually she left the industry for a quieter life on a live-a-board boat, where she worked as a clothing designer for rock bands. Five years later she moved to Abbotsford to attend university. There, she fell in love with creative writing. Hush is her first published novel. She spends her days hiking and drawing inspiration for her writing from nature.

In Hush, Jade Banks thinks she has finally found happiness. A home on a beautiful little island, and a good woman, Annie, by her side. But that all changes when her father dies and leaves her brother, Denny, in charge of the family fortune—a brother Jade knows is seeking to destroy her. After a night away, Jade returns home to find Annie hurt. A short time later, a body is found in the bay. Over a hellish few weeks, Jade is caught up in a police investigation while her insecurities and paranoia push Annie away. With the intention of restoring peace to their lives, Jade gathers clues that point to the murderer. However, she is not prepared for the shocking truth revealed by a shotgun blast that echoes over the bay.

In Shatter Jules Gordon has spent the past fourteen years as a recluse after her mother was brutally murdered and her father framed for the crime. Things seem to improve after she accepts a job as a private investigator for a local firm where she meets the enigmatic Katie, and a passionate romance develops. However, just as Jules’ life starts to show promise, she receives a call from a parole officer who tells her that her father is being released from prison. Apprehensive, Jules lets her father move in. Her father, now terminally ill, divulges the name of the man who framed him. In a twist of fate, while investigating her first case, Jules believes that she’s stumbled on the trail of her mother’s murderer. As Jules slowly unravels the truth, her pursuit for retribution turns deadly. A game of cat and mouse leads her deep into the underworld, and she realizes that she has been played for a fool as she stares into the eyes of the true killer 

In Shiver, Freedom Jones is a day away from being evicted from her Calgary apartment. So, when her criminal foster brother Johnny calls in a panic, she is not keen on adding more drama to her problems. Nevertheless, she goes to see him, and Johnny presents Freedom with a strange wooden box. Before Johnny can explain further, there’s a pounding on the door, and Freedom watches from under a bed as her brother is murdered. Freedom escapes and seeks refuge in Vancouver with Lola, a friend of Johnny’s, only to find that the woman only wants what’s in the wooden box: nine flawless diamonds. Freedom runs, leaving the box behind and the nine diamonds hidden in her pocket. From there, Freedom travels to the Sunshine Coast where she meets Skye. The women fall in love, and Freedom discovers how true happiness feels. 

In Storm, After taking the fall for her former lover, Paisley Stewart comes out of a stint in prison only to stay in another: her childhood home on Vancouver Island, where memories of her homophobic childhood linger. To her relief, her parents plan to vacation in Florida for part of the summer, leaving her to take care of the rental cabins. However, the relief is short-lived. She has a co-landlord: the know-it-all Ivy Logan, a family friend and childhood enemy. Little do they realize that their friction is setting off sparks, and a summer romance blooms. However, their happiness doesn’t last. Ghosts from Paisley’s past emerge, and what was once an idyllic dream becomes a living nightmare. The girls find themselves in a desperate fight for their lives, and Paisley must decide—how far will she go to save the woman she loves?

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