Oct 24

Spotlight on Brantwijn Serrah

Today’s second Breathless Press spotlight is on author Brantwijn Serrah and her new book His Cemetery Doll.

HisCemeteryDoll_200x300

Conall knows the angel standing in his graveyard is only a statue. After all, he carved her with his own two hands. Can she possibly be…alive?

There’s a woman in the graveyard.

Conall Mackay never put stock in ghost stories. Not even after thirteen years serving as the cemetery keeper in the village of Whitetail Knoll. But things change. Now, his daughter is dreaming of a figure among the tombstones. The grounds are overrun by dark thorns almost faster than Con can clear them. White fog and gray ribbons creep up on him in the night, and a voiceless beauty beckons him from the darkest corners of the graves.

When the world he knows starts to unravel, Conall might finally be forced to believe.

EXCERPT:

He hadn’t slept long before he heard sounds from down in the kitchen below.

“Shyla!” he called gruffly. “Weren’t you heading into town?”

No answer came from below, but the sounds of pots clanging told him his daughter toyed about down there. Perhaps she’d decided not to leave him after all and taken it into her head to now re-organize the house, since he’d so clearly wanted her to stay out of the cemetery. With a low groan, Conall rolled out of bed and stepped out into the hall.

“Shyla!” he called again, coming to the head of the stairs. If she had stayed home, she could at least do it without making a lot of noise.

“Shyla, I—”

He staggered then, as the hallway dimmed. Afternoon light flickered strangely, lightning cracking a dismal sky outside, and in the space of time afterward everything else darkened. Conall darted a glance around him as the house fell into shadow.

From the top of the stairwell, he saw the first whispering tendrils of white fog.

The heat of adrenaline shot through his limbs. Conall stumbled back into his bedroom, even as the fog pursued. His gaze shot to the window as the last gray light of day faded away and eerie darkness replaced it, like an eclipse sliding over the sun.

More cold mists veiled the glass, dancing and floating. Trembling overtook him as he spun to find another escape.

He froze, finding himself face-to-face with the broken mask of the cemetery doll.

“You—” he gasped. His breath came out white as the fog enveloped them both, leaving a space of mere inches between them, so he could still see her expressionless face. Gray ribbons wound and curled through the air around him. “Who are you?” he asked.

The doll stared up at him. He sensed her searching, looking into his eyes even though hers remained covered. She held him there with her unseen gaze, until her cool, cold hand came up to touch his bare chest.

Conall let out a low breath. He closed his eyes, and a shudder of strange ease rippled through his body. The cool pads of her fingers ran down his sternum, to his navel. The silky ribbons brushed along his side.

Then he noticed her other hand. She lifted it up, to her own chest, and she held something tightly in her fingers: Shyla’s stuffed dog.

“I made that…for my daughter,” he whispered. The woman with the broken mask tilted her head down toward the small toy, studying it. For a fraction of a second, her fingers appeared to tighten around it. She returned her gaze to him, then, and the toy fell from her grip into the fog, forgotten.

“Wait—” he said, but she brought her other hand up to his chest to join the first, and he recognized eagerness in the way she pressed her icy skin against his. Her face tilted to him, and then came her lips again, ivory and flawless.

“I—” Conall breathed. “I…don’t understand…”

Her fingers slid up, around his neck, but he pulled away.

“No, this…this can’t real. I’m asleep. I must be.”

Gray ribbons danced, pulling him back to her, and she stroked his face. He sucked in a breath at her touch and found his own hand coming up to brush hers.

“You’re so cold,” he said. “Like stone…but…”

Her cool touch thrilled him; it made his skin tingle and the heat of his own body sing. Her perfect flesh did, in fact, prove soft under his hands, as if the contact with his worn calluses infused cold ivory with yearning. She caressed his cheek, and Conall leaned into it. Before he could stop himself, he bowed his head to her and kissed her frozen lips.

Brantwijn Serrah Author Pic

 

The story of His Cemetery Doll has been waiting to be told since Brantwijn Serrah first began jotting things down in her school notebooks instead of doing her homework. Conall Mackay and his lady ghost have existed for Brantwijn, in some form or another, longer than almost any other characters she’s collected. This tale of a haunted graveyard and imprisoned beauty is, in Brantwijn’s opinion, a wonderful way to finally bring them to life.

When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She’s also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on.  She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.

Oct 24

Spotlight on Torie James

Welcome to another Breathless Press day! Today’s first spotlight is Torie James with her new book Point of No Return.

Point of no Return 200x300

Blurb

Full of seething, sensual shadows and hidden faces, the annual Masquerade Ball at Lymbo Resort is one event anyone would sell their soul for.

One night a year, impiety and temptation take center court at the invitation only event hosted by the mysterious Avan Noxturna. Decadent darkness, burning lust, and wicked intentions hide behind innocent masks in the most innocuous places.

The fires of hell may blaze hot, but the flames of passion consume common sense when obsessive memories escape to ignite an inferno of intimate bliss that will sear both saint and sinner.

***

Excerpt

She enjoyed being a highly sexual female who felt no shame in shagging a man for recreational purposes. Guys did it all the time and they were called studs. A woman with the same goal? Slut. Luckily, she didn’t much care what anyone thought. She had no desire to settle into a bullshit relationship where she lost her identity. Her mother had schooled her. She was an island and it suited her fine when the occasional ship came into port, docking on a temporary pass. A lustful interlude with a masked stranger on Halloween? Cliché. And tempting. She did have a few extra minutes.

Then he filled her vision and she grew damp under the heated gaze.

One. Quick. Fuck.

Medicinal purposes only.

He opened his mouth to speak and she shook her head. “Shh. Don’t talk. You’ll ruin it.”

Torie James author pic

Author Bio

“If you really want to read a book that hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it” ~Toni Morrison~

Torie James has loved reading since she was old enough to hold a book in her lap. While her friends were out playing, she was generally curled up nearby falling down rabbit holes, catching second stars to the right, and stepping through wardrobes into mysterious lands and countless adventures. When those stories ended, she made up her own and kept going. This later on translated into a strong passion for writing that has helped her keep her feet on the ground while her head stayed firmly in the clouds. Lover of Dr. Pepper, all things chocolate, and Duran Duran, her dreams finally became a reality with the publication of Timeless Night and Timeless Desire, Books One and Two of the award winning New Camelot Series. Slated for 3 more books in that series, she’s also currently working on The Cloie Chronicles, The Tudor Files, Avan Noxturna: Soul Broker and the Fables of Blood and Stone. Two short stories, No Change Policy in Room 8 and Reclaiming the Rabbit Hole can be found in My Bloody Valentine and Wonderland Tales, respectively, through her publisher, Breathless Press.

Torie lives in Southern California with her family and a houseful of pets who rule the roost.

***

 

Oct 23

Teaser Thursday- Stepping Stone Not Doormat

This is an unedited snippet of a male/male contemporary romance that’s currently under consideration. Note that Solara is a drag queen who uses her stage name and female pronouns in daily life, but is male.

“Did I say something wrong?” Navon rested his hand on her leg.

The heat was too much. Solara opened her eyes and tried to glare at him, but knew she wasn’t even close to successful. “You didn’t say anything wrong, but hell. How the fuck long has it been, and you just walk in here like we were together yesterday? You came to drop off something of mine that Mason kept so he could remember beating the shit out of me. At least that’s what you said.”

“I wanted to give you what Mason had, but also, I wanted to see you.” Navon took his hand away. “You disappeared. No word. No trace. Last I knew, you were in the hospital. Stable condition, they said, but none of us could get any real information. And then when we tried again for an update, we were told you’d been released. We didn’t know where you’d gone.”

“Who’s ‘we’?” Solara’s mind reeled. No one had made any effort to see her in the hospital as far as she knew, just like no one had bothered visiting or even contacting her six years earlier during her jail and rehab stints. Even after she’d left rehab clean and sober, the people she’d once been close to had kept their distance. From her perspective, her so-called friends had completely abandoned her.

Now Navon, whose support she might have accepted if he’d bothered to offer it, was telling her he and others had tried. It made no sense. Until the day she’d left Los Angeles, she hadn’t been hard to find. Performing in clubs, even doing TV appearances, she’d had a schedule so tight she’d kept people informed of where she was every second of every day.

Of course, Mason had followed her to most of her jobs and appearances. He hadn’t wanted to take a chance on any other man looking at her.

“Most of our crowd,” Navon said. “Me especially. I tried to go to a couple of your club performances, and Mason told me not to show my face so I wouldn’t distract you. I have to be honest. It creeped me out. But he made it sound like he was only thinking of your career, so I listened. I wish to God I hadn’t.”

“It is what it is.” Solara had repeated that mantra to herself so many times over the years that it barely had any meaning anymore.

“It was bullshit, and you know it.” Navon moved his hand closer to her leg again, but this time didn’t touch her. “Why didn’t you tell anyone what was happening? I would have helped. You didn’t deserve what he did to you.”

Solara clenched her teeth. So many people had asked her the same question. The answer should have been obvious. A gay man being beaten up by another gay man barely registered on anyone’s radar as a problem. Some even said it was deserved for the sole reason of being gay.

Even those who accepted that domestic violence happened in gay couples probably wouldn’t have believed Solara if she’d asked for help. Even at her lowest weight, she’d been considerably heavier and a good five inches taller than Mason. Anyone looking at her would have at the very least wondered why she let Mason pound on her. Most wouldn’t have even believed Mason would be strong enough to inflict damage.

She’d said that to the cops who’d walked into her hotel room the night of the final beating. To the doctors and nurses who had scolded her for letting the abuse go on so long. To her mother, who had flat out agreed with the people who didn’t consider beatings between gay men to be actual abuse.

“The people who should have helped me either called me a liar or asked me why I didn’t just turn around and smash the shit out of Mason.” She spoke slowly, considering each word and her tone. Having the question thrown in her face yet again brought back all the anger and frustration of not being able to give an adequate explanation. “Why would I have gone to you, of all people? I thought you’d given up on me when I was arrested, remember?”

“You got involved with Mason, and at first, you seemed happy.” Navon sighed. “When I realized you weren’t, it was too late for me to step in. Mason wouldn’t let anyone near you. Why didn’t you leave, Charlie? Why didn’t you stop him?”

“Fuck you.” Solara lunged off the couch and strode to her bedroom door without looking back. Navon’s questions made her want to put her fist through the fucking wall, and she had to get away from him before she lashed out so badly she wouldn’t be able to repair it. “Leave. Just fucking drop whatever you have in the damn bag and get out of my apartment.”

Before Navon could answer, Solara slammed the bedroom door behind her and fell forward onto the bed. Whatever else happened that day, she was damned if she would let him see her cry.

Oct 20

Random Contest!

I’ve decided that today, I shall have a contest. Just for fun.

Earlier today, I posted about a communication issue my husband and I had last week. In my opinion, communication is vital for any kind of relationship to work, whether it’s a romantic relationship, a friendship, or a family relationship. This is relevant to the contest…

First, some disclaimer-type stuff:

Contest will run from now until noon on Friday, October 24. One winner will be drawn at random from all comments; winner’s name will be posted in the comments, and I will notify the winner by email. (You don’t need to post your email. It shows up on my dashboard but is not visible to anyone else.)

The prize offered is a PDF copy of any of my in-print backlist books. In other words, any of the books listed on my Bookshelf page. Please be aware that PDF is a digital file format, readable with Adobe Reader or on a Kindle. By entering the contest, you indicate your understanding that you will receive a PDF file, not any other format. There will be no substitution.

And now the actual contest:

Respond to this post telling me whether you’ve had a communication issue with someone in your life and whether you were able to sort it out. You don’t have to give details; “yes” or “no” answers are fine.

Oct 20

Communication Consideration

In my opinion, the key to any relationship is open, honest communication. When you’re in a relationship, you have to be able to sort out problems, make agreements, set boundaries, etc, and the only way to do that is to talk to each other.

In our tech-heavy society, it’s easy to communicate with other people. We can text, email, instant message, place a good old-fashioned phone call, etc.

But some things just should be said in person. It’s a matter of respect and consideration.

Last week, my husband and I had an issue because he told me something important, that impacted us as a couple, via text message. And it wasn’t a text along the lines of “I need to tell you something…”; it was casually thrown into the middle of a conversation about him needing to use my car.

I didn’t have an issue with *what* he told me. I had an issue with *how*. I felt disrespected because he didn’t seem to think I deserved to have him come to me and talk face to face about the situation, and I was hurt and angry because of how he went about it.

He did apologize and admitted he’d been inconsiderate–and he did that face to face.

 

Oct 16

Teaser Thursday- Last Chance Tattoo (again)

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The shop door opened, and to Dorsey’s surprise, Rad walked in. Dorsey hadn’t been sure whether he would see the guy again after the way Rad had taken off the day before.

He waved, but Rad was looking at the counter. He walked over to Kelly, who motioned for Rad to sit at one of the nearer tables. Rad sat with his back to Dorsey, and after a moment, Kelly joined him.

Hopefully that meant Kelly had decided to give Rad a job. From listening to Rad talk about working at the shop, Dorsey had recognized how important it was to the guy. He had to wonder what Rad’s family would think of one of their own working at such a grunt job, but Dorsey definitely understood the need.

He finished his coffee while trying not to stare at Rad’s back.

Going back to his apartment with someone wouldn’t be so bad. He couldn’t sit at the coffee shop for the next five hours, after all. Even Kelly would lose her patience with that. But if he invited Rad to come over and watch a movie or something…

Who the hell am I kidding? Companionship would be okay, but it wasn’t the only reason he wanted to be alone with Rad. Before the nightmares had hit, Dorsey had indulged in more fantasizing about the guy. For the first time in three years, Dorsey’s libido was wide-awake, and Rad was the one he was interested in.

Not that he had many other options. Rad was the only other openly gay guy Dorsey knew in Ludington. But he suspected even if there had been a whole herd of gay men, he would have chosen Rad.

And sex was a better way than alcohol, or even caffeine, to get the crap out of his head.

First, though, he had to get Rad’s attention. Preferably without seeming creepy about it.

Oct 13

Love Strikes

I’ve heard plenty of people say that you never know what you’ll find when you stop looking. From my perspective, that’s definitely true.

Lightning 1

In 2008, I’d been divorced for nearly a year and a half, and I’d been dating for most of that time. I wasn’t finding what I was looking for, mainly because I didn’t *know* what I was looking for. So I chose to stop dating, and sat down to define exactly what I sought in a relationship and in a partner.

A few days later, I met the man I refer to as my “real-life romance hero husband.” I wasn’t looking for someone to date. Neither was he. But when we met, it was obvious that we couldn’t just walk away from each other. We have been together literally since the moment we met; it’s now been nearly six and a half years.

Sometimes we try too hard to find what we think we want, and we end up closing ourselves to possibilities. Or we push to make someone the person we’re looking for when they really aren’t.

When you’re looking for someone to love, sometimes the best thing to do is be open and just trust that love will strike when it–and you–are ready.

Oct 10

Spotlight on Dana Wright

Here’s today’s second spotlight author, Dana Wright, whose book Asylum is now available.

Asylum Media Kit:

ISBN: 978-1-77101-393-2

By Dana Wright

Heat Rating: 1

Word Count: 16435

Release Date: October 10, 2014

 Asylum_200x300

Blurb:

The voices of the past are alive behind the iron gates of Bremore Asylum. Can Rachel and Matt deduce its secrets before it’s too late?

When Rachel agrees to take the job investigating the disappearance of a fellow ghost hunter at Bremore Asylum, she is totally unprepared for the sexy and stubborn psychic debunker Matt Rutledge to be a part of the package. Can these two opposing forces find the answers behind the asylum’s crumbling walls before they become the newest victims to the asylum’s grim history?

Excerpt:

Rachel narrowed her eyes. What little hold she held on her frayed temper snapped. Self-doubt flared, but she stamped it out as quickly as it came.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” She stepped forward, hands clenched into fists, her foot brushing against the luggage. Her hoodie slid off the suitcase and flopped unceremoniously into the dirt.

“We haven’t even started on the project and you’re trying to displace me already?”

Rutledge stepped back, surprise clear on his lightly parted lips. Lips she apparently still wanted to kiss, damn his eyes. God, what was wrong with her?

“My friend almost died because of a mistake I made. But you’re already aware of that, aren’t you, Mr. High and Mighty? Listen to me and listen good. I’m here because my grandmother needs me. I’m a damn fine ghost hunter, which you would already know if you bothered to see beyond what happened to Jeannie.” She poked her finger into his chest and had the satisfaction of seeing him wince.

Matt stepped back and held up his hands, a ruddy flush creeping up his cheeks. “Okay. I was out of line. Truce?” He bent down and carefully picked up her hoodie, handing it to her gingerly.

“Thank you, Mr. Rutledge.” Rachel snatched the hoodie from his hands and tied it around her waist with a firm yank. She didn’t want to chance it falling in the dirt again and it was going to be a long weekend. At the rate they were going, it was going to be a full-on ice storm between them.

A flash of humor crossed his face. “Do you think maybe you could call me Matt?”

“That depends.”

“On what?” Matt cocked his eyebrow with surprise.

“On whether you can stop dissecting me like one of your frauds.”

Buy Link:

http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&products_id=681

Dana Wright Author Pic

About the author:

Dana Wright has always had a fascination with things that go bump in the night. She is often found playing at local bookstores, trying not to maim herself with crochet hooks or knitting needles, watching monster movies with her husband and furry kids or blogging about books. More commonly, she is chained to her computers, writing like a woman possessed. She is currently working on several children’s stories, young adult fiction, romantic suspense, short stories and is trying her hand at poetry. She is a contributing author to Ghost Sniffer’s CYOA, Siren’s Call E-zine in their “Women in Horror” issue in February 2013 and “Revenge” in October 2013, a contributing author to Potatoes!, Fossil Lake, Of Dragons and Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds, Undead in Pictures, Potnia, Shadows and Light, Dark Corners, Wonderstruck, Shifters: A Charity Anthology, Dead Harvest, Monster Diaries (upcoming), Holiday Horrors and the Roms, Bombs and Zoms Anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media. She is the author of Asylum due out in October 2014.   Dana has also reviewed music for Muzikreviews.com specializing in New Age and alternative music and has been a contributing writer to Eternal Haunted Summer, Nightmare Illustrated, Massacre Magazine, Metaphor Magazine, The Were Traveler October 2013 edition: The Little Magazine of Magnificent Monsters, the December 2013 issue The Day the Zombies Ruled the Earth. She currently reviews music at New Age Music Reviews and Write a Music Review.

 

Follow Dana’s reviews:

Twitter: @danawrite

Author site: http://danawrightauthor.wix.com/danawright

Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/danawrightauthor

Oct 10

Spotlight on LM Brown

Welcome to another Breathless Press Day! Today’s first spotlight author is LM Brown, with her new release Touch of a Ghost.

TouchOfAGhost_200x300

What if you could only touch your lover one night of the year? Halloween night is all you have when in a relationship with a ghost.

Drew Jessop wants a life without ghosts. He doesn’t want to see, hear, or talk to them. Ignoring them should be relatively simple. But Drew soon finds that Benji Richards, an eternally gorgeous ghost from the fifties, is not so easy to ignore.

Halloween night is approaching and both Drew and Benji know what it could mean for them. From sunset to sunrise, it is the one night of the year when a mortal can feel the touch of a ghost.

EXCERPT:

Drew leaned forward and put his empty bottle on the table. The match had finished and the commentators were recapping the highlights, so Drew reached for the remote control.

“Well, thank you for having us.” Flora stood up and stretched, as though her joints were still giving her grief as they had apparently done in life.

Drew turned off the television and picked up the crisp packet together with the nearly empty bowl. He tossed the last few crisps into his mouth as he stood up and walked into the kitchen. He left the beer bottles on the table as he contemplated whether to have another. Remembering he had an early start in the morning, he decided against drinking too much. He had a feeling Flora might have an opinion on alcohol intake too. However, when he turned back toward the living area, Flora had vanished.

Benji, on the other hand, still lingered. He remained on the sofa, his arm stretched along the back and his chin resting on it as he stared at Drew directly.

“You’re very rude, you know?” Benji commented idly. “Not saying a single word to us all evening like that. You could at least have said hello.”

Drew ignored him as he turned off the lights.

“I know you can see us. Your eyes give you away.”

Drew suspected Benji might be guessing, but if he said a single word in response that guess would be confirmed. He had to keep quiet. That way he could still maintain a normal life.

“Not going to admit it, huh?” Benji said. “Well, I’ll stop by again tomorrow. Maybe you’ll be more talkative then. If you are, I might just tell you how I know you’re gay, if you ask nicely.” With that comment, Benji flashed Drew one final killer smile and vanished from the room.

Drew reacted to Benji the same way he would any other handsome man. His mind may tell him Benji was off limits, but his body thought otherwise. Drew wondered whether he could keep up the pretense of not seeing and hearing the ghosts who were as real to him as the rest of the human race. If this evening was anything to go by, it might not be as easy as he thought.

 

Oct 02

Teaser Thursday- The Pink, It Burns

The_Pink_It_Burns_200

 

The second Dyer walked into the coffee shop, a balloon smacked him in the face.

He swatted the bobbing pink thing away from him and glared, trying to pinpoint where it had come from. Balloons didn’t attack on their own. Someone had to have propelled it.

Plenty of people were in the shop. Eight a.m., rush hour, everyone trying to get their caffeine on before they hit their cubicles for an exciting day of playing Solitaire and surfing social media on company time. Dyer’s favorite barista, Myles, stood at the counter with his usual smile, efficiently filling every order.

Even though Myles didn’t glance his way, seeing him improved Dyer’s morning. In spite of the pink balloon.

Some of the folks had kids with them, probably on the way to drop them off at school or daycare. Judging from the way one little girl giggled at him, Dyer guessed she was the balloon culprit. She wore a faded pink coat with a rip in one sleeve, and her thin blonde hair was trying to escape two messy braids. A little pink backpack sprinkled with images of the head of a popular cartoon kitty was strapped on her shoulders.

Even though she was smiling, her eyes were sad.

She was too cute for Dyer to be annoyed, even if he did hate pink balloons. He grabbed the balloon and held it out to her. “I think this is yours.”

“Sorry.” Her tiny voice barely made it through all the noise in the shop. Her smile faded as she took the balloon from him and hugged it.

“It’s okay.” Dyer’s heart ached. He wanted to say more to the child, but he was a stranger to her. If he kept talking, he would probably freak out some overprotective parent. But those little blue eyes held him.

Something was wrong. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but his instincts screamed at him not to walk away from the child.

“Ella, what are you doing?” A tall man in a long tan coat turned to glare down at the child. “I told you to behave. Can’t you listen to me for one single second?”

The little girl shrank behind the guy’s legs and stared at the floor. “Sorry, Daddy” she said even more softly.

“You should be. You’re too old to act that way.” The guy turned his glare to Dyer. “Excuse her. She’s still learning how to behave in public.”

“She’s fine,” Dyer said. With his narrowed eyes and messy hair, the man looked way too frazzled to deal with a preschooler that early in the morning, and the way he’d spoken to Ella pinged some little worry radar in Dyer’s brain. “It was only a balloon.”

“I told you to stop playing with that thing.” The man snatched the balloon out of Ella’s hands and tossed it toward the trash cans at the counter. Of course the balloon didn’t go where he wanted it. It simply bobbed in the general direction.

Ella whimpered and stuck her thumb in her mouth. She leaned against her dad, and he pushed her away and muttered something under his breath.

Dyer forced himself to stop staring at the two, but his stomach tightened. Something wasn’t right there. Not at all. The kid didn’t appear upset about losing her balloon. She was afraid of her father.

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