Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Never put all of your eggs into one basket.

We’ve all heard this at least a million times, right? Diversify your interests. Always give yourself options. Variety is the spice of life.

My issue? Too many freaking baskets.

I always bite off more than I can chew – figuratively and literally, like the shrimp taco I had to stuff into my mouth last night before the fillings busted out and ruined my new shirt. I never want to miss an opportunity, so I sacrifice time spent on other endeavors. For example, I’d probably be able to finish a book much faster if I wasn’t writing three others at the same time.

In a nutshell? I lack focus, which in turn, gives me stress. And there is no shortage of stress in my life, so I decided it was time for me to calm the hell down. Easier said than done.

I tried meditation. I’d just heard on the radio how Hugh Jackman and his wife attributed their successful marriage to meditation, so I figured it was worth a try. Except I got too stressed out trying to block out all of my thoughts. I didn’t want to focus on my breathing. I had a book to finish, and a cover to design, and a website to design, and a blog post to write, and…well, you get the idea. No bueno.

Even my daily workouts were stressing me out. I don’t leave the house, everything gets done right here at home. But sometimes, it’s hard for me to close my laptop and start lifting, especially if I’m in the middle of a scene or designing a user interface for a new app. And that happens quite often. So much for the elusive endorphins.

Until a week ago, I thought I was doomed. But then I made a choice that has finally given me some peace. Kickboxing. I know, I know. How can beating the ever-living crap out of a heavy bag bring you peace? Simply because you are so spent at the end of an hour-long class, you can’t possibly have the energy to be stressed. You unleash everything on the bag – stress, angst, anger, frustration – you use it all against your inanimate opponent and once you are finished. you walk out of the building lighter, happier, looser and – wait for it – FOCUSED.

Healthy body, healthy and CLEAR mind.

Novel FINISHED. =)

Small Wins, Books, and Booze

Some days, it’s all about the small wins. By themselves, they don’t seem like much. But when you get a bunch of them done within the few hours you have allotted to work before the afternoon crazy train barrels through the house, you feel like you’ve reached the pinnacle of productivity.

I had that feeling today. It was good.

That’s why I’m drinking wine right now.

What did I do that was so worthy of midweek alcohol?

Well, first (literally, it happened at 6:15 AM), I finished another scene for a Hanukkah romance I’m writing for the holidays. It’s  a rom com, and I’m loving it so far! I also love that I’m over 2K words in, and it’s only June.

Then, I decided to finally try the new formatting software Terry bought me…four months ago. I have a book to format, so I figured now was as good a time as any to give it a shot. Of course, I needed to call on a friend to help me figure out a few things, but guess what? The book is FORMATTED and ready to publish!

Score!

I also figured out a pretty critical scene in the book I’m working on right now, a romantic suspense called Hard Time. SWOONY!!! Wait until you see the cover! I’m actually pretty anxious to see it myself, but I digress… This is the story of Jeff and Ariana, who first made a sweltering appearance in Drunk In Love, the St. Jude’s anthology that I coordinated with Jesey Newman of Schmexy Girl Book Blog. And their book is so fantastic. I know it’s probably bad form to admit that, but I don’t care. It rocks!

All in all? Today was success with a capital S. Laundry? Done! Housecleaning? Done! Researching Instagram analytics? Done!

Okay, time to get back to studying for finals, the other big reason for midweek wine. =)

It’s Cover Reveal Day…Giveaway Time!!!

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Cover Design: Jena Brignola
Release Date: March 13th

Synopsis

A glittering diamond, the promise of forever, and the hope that your future in-laws will move to a galaxy far, far away…sounds like a decadent recipe for eternal happiness, doesn’t it? All girls dream about their wedding day, fantasize about each and every gooey-delicious detail. It’s so easy to get scooped by the champagne bubbles and swallowed by our dreams.

But we all know the magical path toward happily ever after is not always sprinkled with pixie dust. Sometimes, we stumble over our plans for a perfect future and choke on the words promising forever. We watch the path take a defiant turn away from our blissful paradise because everybody has secrets, and skeletons, and fears.

And sometimes, being drunk in love isn’t always enough.

 

This is a collection of twenty romantic short stories that will make you laugh, cry & swoon featuring twenty trendsetting romance authors with 100% of all digital proceeds being donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Authors participating in this worthwhile effort: Amy Daws, AM Johnson, Melissa Collins, Carey Heywood, Elle Brooks, Isabelle Richards, Jeannine Colette, JD Hollyfield, Liv Morris, Meghan Quinn, Kandi Steiner, Mariah Dietz, Tori Madison, AD Justice, Kristen Luciani, MD Saperstein, Ryan Ringbloom, MJ Fields, Kathryn Andrews & Katy Regnery

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33799670-drunk-in-love

Pre-Order Links

Amazon ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ B&N

Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5c281a3d41/ 

Connect with the Authors

Amy Daws: http://www.amydawsauthor.com

AM Johnson: http://amjohnsonauthor.com

Melissa Collins: Melissacollinsauthor.com

Carey Heywood: http://www.careyheywood.com

Elle Brooks: http://www.ellebrooksauthor.com

Isabelle Richards: http://www.isabellerichards.net

Jeannine Colette: http://www.jeanninecolette.com

JD Hollyfield: authorjdhollyfield.com

Liv Morris: http://www.livmorris.com

Meghan Quinn: authormeghanquinn.com

Kandi Steiner: http://www.kandisteiner.com

Mariah Dietz: http://www.mariahdietz.com

Tori Madison: https://www.facebook.com/ToriMadisonAuthor

AD Justice: http://www.authoradjustice.com

Kristen Luciani: kristenluciani.com

MD Saperstein: http://www.AuthorMDS.com

Ryan Ringbloom: http://www.ryanringbloom.com

MJ Fields: http://www.mjfieldsbooks.com

Kathryn Andrews: http://www.kandrewsauthor.com

Katy Regnery: http://www.katyregnery.com

new-dil-teaser

Charity Anthology for St. Jude’s & Special Giveaway!

`*•.¸(`*•.¸(`*•.¸★¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*´

★★ SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT & GIVEAWAY! ★★

¸.•*´(¸.•*´(¸.•*´★`*•.¸)`*•.¸)`*•.¸

Schmexy Girl Book Blog and I are so proud to be working with 20 amazing authors to bring you Drunk In Love, a charity anthology! The idea for this anthology came up over lunch almost a year ago. Since then, Jesey Newman, one of the founders of Schmexy Girl, and I have been working on organizing and planning this grand event! We handpicked our talented authors and invited them to join us on this journey.

100% of the digital proceeds of Drunk In Love will be donated directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This is a charity that is near and dear to all of our hearts and we have been working so hard to bring this to all of you! Without further delay, here are some of the details of this wonderful project!

Cover Reveal – February 13, 2017

Release Day – March 13, 2017

**Bloggers sign up HERE**

Synopsis

A glittering diamond, the promise of forever, and the hope that your future in-laws will move to a galaxy far, far away…sounds like a decadent recipe for eternal happiness, doesn’t it? All girls dream about their wedding day, fantasize about each and every gooey-delicious detail. It’s so easy to get scooped by the champagne bubbles and swallowed by our dreams. But we all know the magical path toward happily ever after is not always sprinkled with pixie dust. Sometimes, we stumble over our plans for a perfect future and choke on the words promising forever. We watch the path take a defiant turn away from our blissful paradise because everybody has secrets, and skeletons, and fears.

And sometimes, being drunk in love isn’t always enough.

What Authors Are Participating?

Amy Daws, AM Johnson, Melissa Collins, Carey Heywood, Elle Brooks, Isabelle Richards, Jeannine Colette, JD Hollyfield, Liv Morris, Meghan Quinn, Kandi Steiner, Mariah Dietz, Tori Madison, AD Justice, Kristen Luciani, MD Saperstein, Ryan Ringbloom, MJ Fields, Kathryn Andrews & Katy Regnery

Where can you get it? Available for pre-order at these retailers…

Add to Goodreads

GIVEAWAY

Please help us spread the word about this fabulous announcement!!! Comment on and then share our Facebook post (click HERE) on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, using #DrunkInLove for your chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!!!

Character Interview – Best Friends, Business Partners & Cyber Lords

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Character Interview: Chris Camden and James Callahan, Best Friends, Business Partners and Cyber Lords

I recently caught up with Chris Camden and James Callahan, co-founders of LazerShark, the hottest gaming website in cyberspace. Their pictures have been plastered across the covers of every industry periodical in the country as two of the thirty biggest names in technology under thirty… and it doesn’t hurt that their smiles can melt the panties off any woman in their line of sight. I don’t know any female in her right mind that wouldn’t want to be sandwiched between these heartthrobs. But I digress…

Okay, back to business. I’m focused now.

Me: Guys, thanks so much for taking the time out of your crazy schedules to chat with me. Our readers are extremely anxious to find out more about the dream team that just scored one of the largest buyouts in Silicon Valley history. How does it feel?

James: Incredible, so rewarding. We’ve been working toward this goal for the past three years with the help and guidance of a great team of investors. But we still have a long way to go, and a lot more work to do.

Chris: Yeah, it feels great, kind of like driving my brand-new Bentley. <snickers> Seriously, though, this was a real partnership effort. You can only achieve this kind of success when you set common goals and work together to achieve them. Jay is the geek in this relationship and I’m the salesman. It’s a great mix of skills.

James: That’s right. We work our strengths to the fullest and compensate where each of us may be lacking.

Chris: Dude, speak for yourself. I’m not lacking in any area.

James: My bad. You’re the most modest, humble person I know.

Me: Inquiring minds want to know… now that you’ve taken over as the virtual gaming lords of the universe, what’s next on your agenda?

James: We’re starting a new project. It’s kind of early to discuss details but it’s going to be a winner.

Chris: Think revolution… light sabers, battletoads… and minions.

James: Dude, you’re giving everything away. You’re about as subtle as a hand grenade.

Chris: Oh come on, those hints were brilliant! You’ve got to give the people a little taste, Jay. Don’t be so neurotic.

James: Have we gotten to the question about how I’ve been able to avoid strangling my business partner yet?

Me: <laughs out loud> You guys are too adorable… er, um, I mean, entertaining. And you’ve also been best friends since kindergarten. How do you manage the friendship versus the business partnership?

James: It actually works well for us. We’re pretty much no holds barred. If there’s an issue, we put it out there and talk it out.

Chris: You can’t take things personally. We made a deal when we first started on this path that we’d always separate our work lives from our personal lives.

James: Yeah, I remember that deal. It was nice in theory. Too bad you couldn’t keep your—

Chris: Whoa! I’m talking about us here. Don’t go off-track.

Me: No, please go off-track…this sounds juicy.

James: Let’s just say my business partner made a pretty large error in judgment that could have cost us our future.

Chris: You’re being really dramatic, Jay. It’s all good. LazerShark was never at risk.

James: Your life sure was. Talk about wanting to strangle someone…

Me: How would you each describe one another?

James: Chris is the most loyal guy I know. He’d do anything for the people he cares about… I mean anything. I’ve never met another person so willing to put his own comfort and happiness aside for others.

Chris: I’d go to war for you, man.

James: I know you would. And I love you for it. <playfully punches Chris in the shoulder> He’s also impulsive, outspoken, cocky and can charm the skirt off any girl he meets… admittedly, a pretty impressive skill.

Chris: Aw, I’m blushing. Thanks for stroking my ego.

James: As if you needed it…

Chris: It’s only one of the things that can never be stroked too often…

Me: <fanning myself> Ahem, so Chris, any thoughts on James?

Chris: Smart. Sexy as hell. Socially inept but we’re working on that.

James: I like to think I’m making progress.

Chris: Always striving to improve. Kudos, man.

Me: Ever had your sights set on the same girl?

James: No, I prefer girls that can use more than one-syllable words in conversation. Actually, let me rephrase… I prefer girls that can actually engage in conversation. <snickers>

Chris: <rolls eyes> What can I say, Jay? Sometimes it’s better to have actions drown out the words. Talking’s overrated.

Me: Okay, so speaking of the ladies… here’s the question all the fangirls have been aching to ask two of the most eligible bachelors in the Bay area… what are your relationship statuses?

James: Um yeah, not so eligible anymore.

Chris: Reformed.

James: More like whipped.

Chris: Really? You sure you’re pointing that finger in the right direction? The first gift you ever gave Jess was the family jewels. And it’s been downhill from there. Yes Jess, anything you want Jess, sure I’ll bend over now Jess. <smirks>

James: I’ve always been a fan of monogamy, unlike this guy. His motto has always been ‘the more, the merrier’ at any one time.

Chris: Life is like tearing through a bag of Lays…can never eat just one.

James: A point you’ve proven again and again and again.

Me: But rumor has it you’re off the market…scooped up by none other than your former investment manager, Mia Bradshaw. So monogamy…?

Chris: It’s a new look for me. I’m digging it.

James: So is your fiancé.

Me: She’s a lucky lady. That news is going to be very disappointing to all your fangirls. Okay, last question. Silk or satin?

James: Either.

Chris: Neither. <smirks>

***

Why Authors Should Adopt The Mindset of An Entrepreneur

I’d recently guest posted on The Authorteers and wanted to share with you all here as well. =)

I don’t accept criticism well. Oh sure, I say I can handle less-than-stellar feedback. But then when it comes, I sit with my eyes open wide, nodding my head as the critiques pelt me like icy cold drops during a monsoon-like rainstorm, a tight smile stretching my lips so they won’t quiver… yep, I crumble like a house of sand. Worst poker player ever. You always know what I’m thinking… always.

I think this is attributable to a few different factors. First and foremost, I’m an approval seeker. I crave accolades, and positive reinforcement totally charges me. Second, I have an insane amount of passion for my endeavors, whether it be handbag design, writing, blogging, or my career in general. I work hard and when I really believe wholeheartedly in the quality of my efforts, I want them to be recognized. It’s not enough for me to be satisfied with the end result. And when people I care about are less than starry-eyed over something I’ve done, well, it’s a tough pill for me to swallow.

Such was the case this weekend. My husband and greatest supporter, read a book I’d recently finished. He is not a romance reader, but he loved my other books to the extent he could, as someone who much prefers reading Michael Creighton. I felt certain he’d love this one too and truth be told, I was excited for him to read it because I think it’s my best one yet.

But there were no kudos for this story. Instead, I got a boatload of Post-Its and an overall assessment of “it’s… okay.”

Young crying woman in depression drink drinking alcohol

Heartbreaking is the only word I can use.

So by now you’re probably wondering – why is she telling me all this?

Trust me, there is a point.

I took a chance with my manuscript. Publishing a story with a predictable plot isn’t going to send people flying to Amazon and elicit gasps as the scenes unfold on their e-readers. I chose to push the envelope and navigate outside the norm. Maybe it will be to my detriment but I wanted to give my readers something a little different. I took a risk that may turn people off or make them die-hard fans because I believe in myself and my work.

Criticism is tough to swallow but it’s not always a bad thing if it drives you harder and helps you perfect your end product. Don’t give in to self-doubt. Stay true to yourself. Embrace any feedback that will help you achieve your goals.

My advice? Think like an entrepreneur! Establishing an author platform is similar to launching a new business, so why not adopt the mentality that will help you sharpen your focus and build your brand?

Start Up Business Launch Success Office Desk Concept

Passion Is A MUST! – Trying to gain traction with any new endeavor can be extremely disheartening at times so the more you believe in your offering and your ability to sell it to the masses, the more effective your end product (and outlook) will become.

Listen To The Naysayers! – Don’t delude yourself into thinking your offering is the end-all, be-all.  You need a thick skin if you’re going to succeed as an entrepreneur. People will slam your ideas. Get used to it. Graciously accept criticism and feedback then figure out how to respond to objections. Figure out what your key differentiating points are and highlight those to everyone and anyone.

Never Be Complacent! – You’ll have to work harder than you’ve ever worked before to create momentum and then work even harder to KEEP it. I heard a really cool quote this weekend that totally applies. I was at a writing conference and a number of bestselling authors were presenting on sales strategies. They all said market yourself like you’re nobody EVEN IF you’re somebody. This applies to ALL business endeavors.

Be Restless! – Let your creativity flow! Don’t be complacent and accept the status-quo. Dig deep and figure out to disrupt. Take risks! It’s okay to incorporate new ideas into your offering. Make it as compelling as possible and if at first you don’t succeed…. well, you know the rest.

Happy Release Day, Trudy Stiles! Epic Love Is LIVE!

Title: Epic Love
Series: Epic Fail #3
Author: Trudy Stiles
Release Date: Sept 19, 2016

HEATH STRICKLAND, the son of a prominent district attorney, lived his life surrounded by violence and crime. He was an unwilling witness to the corrupt lives his father swore to prosecute and keep behind bars. His escape was his music, which eventually led him to replace the iconic singer of the world famous band, Epic Fail.

NOELLE DURAND lived in luxury, growing up on a sprawling estate, with everything she could ever want or need. Her life, to everyone else, seemed perfect. Perfect house. Perfect things. Perfect family. But nothing at all was perfect. She lived in hell. A hell that nobody on the outside could see.

As a neighbor and childhood friend, Heath would have done anything for Noelle. He would have given up the world to protect her and keep her safe. Their friendship grew into something that neither of them expected. But then she suddenly disappeared, vanishing from his life as if she never existed. He never stopped hoping that one day she would resurface, alive and well. But as time went by, and her family gave up hope, he surrendered his heart to his lost love.

Twelve years later, one phone call changes everything.

EPIC LOVE is the third book in the EPIC FAIL series and can be read as a STANDALONE novel.

This series is a spinoff from the FOREVER FAMILY series.

  
“I’m sorry, Noelle. I’m really sorry.” I don’t know what I’m apologizing for. The fact that I don’t believe her weak lie or because I kissed her. No. I’m not sorry for either.
“It’s okay. Really. Thanks for caring. And thank you for my birthday gift.” She pauses and brushes her pinkie finger against mine. “You made my birthday really special, and I’ll never forget it.”
Without thinking, I loop my pinkie finger around hers, linking them together. Linking us together. We walk to her window like this and I break our connection reluctantly, bringing my hand up to her bruised cheek. “Please be careful,” I beg, and I’m not sure what I’m even begging her to be careful of. I’m just so worried about her.
“I will,” she whispers. “Catch a couple fireflies on the way home.”
“I’d catch a million for you.” Her eyes light up, a smile on her lips. I want to kiss her again. So bad. But all I do is stare into her eyes and back away. I push the window open as quietly as I can and slide out onto the grass.
“Happy Birthday, Noelle.”
She smiles as we both slide the window gently along the track, closing it.
She leaves her hand pressed against the window and I immediately do the same, covering hers, only the glass pane separating us.
Her smile is weak and full of pain.
A pain that I would take away from her in an instant if I could.
Trudy Stiles is a New Adult Romance author, mom to two beautiful children, and married to the love of her life. She’s the author of the bestselling Forever Family series including “Dear Emily,” “Dear Tabitha,” and “Dear Juliet.” “Epic Sins” is the first book in the Epic Fail series and will continue with at least three more standalone novels. “Epic Lies” is scheduled to release in the Spring of 2016 with “Epic Love” and “Epic Holiday” to follow in the Fall and Winter of 2016. She plans to write many more stories about some of the characters you’ve already met, and maybe a few new ones.
Trudy is a music junkie and you’ll know that she’s writing when you see her plugged into her laptop with her earbuds in. Her playlist is unique and is a must for her writing sprints.
When she’s not writing, she’s carting her children to their various activities while avoiding any kind of laundry or housework. She also loves to run along the boardwalk of the beautiful New Jersey shore.
She celebrates Wine Wednesday almost every day.
   

 

A Musical.ly Featuring Peanut Butter & Jelly???

My lovely daughter Lulu has been hounding me DAILY to record a musical.ly and today, I caved. Only problem is, I haven’t worked out yet and I now have a full face of makeup. #problems

“But Mom, you hate working out anyway.”

Sigh. This is true.

Check out this musical.ly made by @ kristen_luciani with musical.ly app: https://www.musical.ly/v/MzA3NDExMzA0NzYxMTI0MjEyNzc2OTY.html. Get the app and follow me: http://musical.ly/download

Here’s what I used to create this delicious look:

Lipstick – MAC Cremesheen Lipstick – Creme Cup

Lipliner – Jordana Cosmetics Easyliner for Eyes 15 Eggplant (The one I used is Palladio, but it is no longer available for sale. The Jordana liner is a great substitute!

Blush – MAC Blush Powder – Mocha

Mascara – L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara, Carbon Black

Eyeliner – Christian Dior Diorshow Art Pen Eyeliner for Women, No. 095 Noir Podium

Eye Shadow – Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly Eye Shadow Collection Palette

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Happy Cover Reveal To Me, Plus A GIVEAWAY!!!

JointVent_ebook_Hires

Cover Design: Jena Brignola
Models: Sam Anderton & Savannah Kaitlyn Jefferson
Release Date: August 29, 2016

Synopsis

Notorious celebrity playboy A.J. Morgan has more emotional baggage than notches on his well-used bedpost, but bleached blonde three-ways and excess of whiskey are all the therapy he needs.

Live to indulge, indulge to fill the voids.

Those are his rules…. until he meets cunning financial analyst-slash-sexy club singer Lisa Embry, a woman whose heart is surrounded by more barbed wire than a high-security prison.

Rules? What rules?

One lust-filled romp with his female alter-ego turns A.J. into an addict in need of his next fix and he’ll pay any price for another hit.

But Lisa has her own rules… ones that can never be broken.

 

Goodreads

Pre-Order Link

iBooks Exclusive: http://apple.co/2aMOHuK

 

JointVenture_Teaser7_PB

 

Giveaway

One of Five ARC’s for Joint Venture

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cba4250293/?

 

JointVenture_Teaser6_PB

 

Also Available

Unlikely Venture (Book 1) Purchase Links – FREE
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2aNlysY
Nothing Ventured (Book 2) Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2bbva6x
Venture Forward (Book 3) Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2blfbmM

 

JointVent_Print_Web

 

 

Connect with Me!

Newsletter Link: http://bit.ly/1C27Kbh

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2b0vIHB

Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2aPbs0N

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2b9EztR

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2b2dqbg

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2b2dmIq

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2blb620

 

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5 Stars For MJ Fields!!!!

So, I was on the treadmill this morning reading 27 Truths by the fabulous MJ Fields and I’m FLOVING IT. Then, I get to about 85%, and it rips me apart. I really didn’t see it coming. I was literally a hot steamy mess…sobbing, sweating, panting…thankfully I was alone in the gym. Girlfriend, you really hit it out of the park. Ava’s story was so poignant, so beautiful, so heart wrenching. It touched me on so many levels and I think you are one hell of a talent.
 
Thanks for the catharsis. I needed a good cry. ❤
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Synopsis:
Once upon a time, Luke Lane loved a little, stubborn, delusional girl, and that little girl was me. My fairytale happy ever after always included my black-haired, blue-eyed, knight in shining armor, and that knight was Luke Lane. Then I grew up and convinced myself that it wasn’t a fairytale after all. It was Fate.

I twisted Fate to make her story come to life, but Fate fought back, and now I am looking at a man I still love, but he doesn’t feel the same. I have to walk away. Not just for me, but for him. And not for the version of him who broke my heart, but for the version who was truly a knight in shining armor to the little girl I was, so many fairy tales ago.

❤ ❤ ❤
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