Tag Archive | Guest post

Remnants by Carolyn Arnold

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Title: Remnants
Series: Brandon Fisher FBI Series, Book 6
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Genre: Crime Mystery, Thriller

All that remains are whispers of the past…

Remnants-Paperback-with-Back-2-stacked-350When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the victims, building a profile of this serial killer is proving more challenging than usual. How is the killer picking these victims? Why are their limbs being severed and bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this killer to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: the killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

**Can easily be read as a standalone!!**

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Excerpt from Chapter 18 of Remnants (Brandon Fisher FBI series):


TELEVISION WAS FOR THE WEAK-MINDED, and he found the futility of sitcoms to be tedious and mind-numbing. His thoughts would always drift—as they often did anyway—to the freedom of the spirit, to being rid of the flesh that bound him to Earth. There was one program that held his attention, though, when he decided he felt like watching something, and that was the news. Events most people considered to be tragic, to be evidence of a world full of chaos, he rather enjoyed hearing about. The car bombs, the terrorist attacks, the murders—these things only proved how fleeting an earthly existence was and how the way one spent one’s time mattered.


When he wasn’t making sacrifices, he was usually thinking about them—either past offerings or those yet to come. There was a hunger that raged through him that made such sacrifices necessary, and the constant natter in his brain told him he was living his life with purpose and according to divine plan.


He went to the fridge, took out a bunch of grapes, and broke off a cluster. He put them into a bowl and then filled a glass with cold, filtered water. Sitting down in front of the television with the bowl of grapes on his lap and the glass of water on the side table, he was ready for the eleven o’clock news.


“Hey, honey.” His mother padded toward the sofa, wearing a robe over her pajamas and slippers on her feet.


He smiled at her, yet felt nothing for the woman who had given birth to him. And she knew how he viewed her, how he didn’t have the same feelings other sons had for their mothers, but she accepted him for who he was. She didn’t try to fix him when the rest of the world saw him as a freak.


He’d had no friends in school and was teased excessively for being different, but that was a small price to pay for being chosen. It had taken him awhile to fully realize his purpose, but once he had, there was no stopping him. He lived on a higher plane of existence than his human peers, one they couldn’t comprehend. He saw the entire spectrum from life to death and beyond.

 

 Series Information:

What to expect from the Brandon Fisher FBI series:

Profilers. Serial killers. The hunt is on. Do serial killers and the FBI fascinate you? Do you like getting inside the minds of killers, love being creeped out, sleeping with your eyes open, and feeling like you’re involved in murder investigations? Then join FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit in their hunt for serial killers.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Criminal Minds, NCIS, Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Dexter, Luther, and True Crime.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.

Find the series on Amazon!

 
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About the Author:

Carolyn-Arnold-Author-Photo-Hi-ResCAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.


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GuestPost by  CAROLYN ARNOLD:

 

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Five Steps to Profiling a Serial Killer

 
He’s five seven, in his thirties, walks with a limp, works in temporary placements, and is single. He targets women because he was abused by his single mother, who slept around with men while he was growing up.

If you’re a fan of serial-killer fiction, whether it be on TV or in books, you are probably left shaking your head sometimes when the FBI sees some crime scene photos and immediately has a profile of the killer. What are they, psychic?

As it turns out, profiling is actually a science, though not an exact one. In fact, many profiles prove to have been wrong once the unsub is caught. So why bother profiling at all? Well, even if some facts are off, profiling establishes a foundation from which investigators can begin their search for—and hopefully catch!—the killer.

So what do investigators consider when building a profile?

1. Investigators focus on the crime itself. What do the crime scene photos show? What are the autopsy findings? Are there any witnesses, and if so, what are they saying? What have police officers noted in their reports?

2. Investigators visit the crime scene. They use their six senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and intuition—and make a record of their reactions. They analyze where the body was found, whether the murder was committed in the same location that the body was found or the body was dumped. They question any and all aspects of the location and what it might tell them about the killer and/or the killer’s victim selection, aka victimology.

3. Investigators look for a signature or method of operation (MO). Don’t confuse these two terms, though, as they are not the same thing. Every crime has a MO, which is how the murder was carried out, but a signature is not present in all cases. A signature only exists when a killer chooses to leave behind a personal mark.

4. Investigators consider what kind of unsub might commit the crime at hand. For example, are they organized or disorganized? Are they a hunter or a sexual sadist? Is gender, age, or religion relevant? Is there is a geographical element to the crimes?

5. Investigators take a closer look at the victims. They factor in similarities and determine whether the victims are low-, medium-, or high-risk people. Can any of the victims be connected to one or more person or place? How were the victims approached? Is there evidence of resistance, or is it possible the victims knew their killer?

Sometimes the answers to all these questions can be harder to piece together than others. In my most recent novel, Remnants, Brandon Fisher and his FBI team struggle to build a profile on the killer they’re hunting, as the identities of the victims are unknown and aspects of the MO vary among the murders. But when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found—something they haven’t seen in any of the previous deaths—the case takes a dark turn that begins to provide them with some new leads. As the story unfolds, the FBI is drawn deeper and deeper into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though, even if they don’t have all the facts yet: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

 

 

 

Finding Marcus Anderson by C.L. McGrath

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Title: Finding Marcus Anderson
Author: C.L. McGrath
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Editor: Jean Hall
Cover Designer: KA Ware at Bite Me Graphic Design

 

“Your past will always catch up with you…it’s just a matter of when.”

marcus ebook coverJust when Marcus thinks things are finally falling into place, having found his beautiful Sarah, he is finally going to get his happy ever after. Until a vision from his past jeopardises everything.

Marcus and Sarah couldn’t be happier. Arriving home from their road trip, Marcus begins having nightmares. With vivid memories from his childhood haunting his thoughts, he turns to his past in search of answers.

Marcus’s search leads him to Madison Jennings, his first love. Their affair was as secret as it was powerful. He filled her loneliness after the death of her husband. She filled his need to be safe and loved.

Sixteen years later they meet again. What effect will this have on the life he has built with Sarah?

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Author Bio:

My name is Christina McGrath. Originally from Sydney Australia, I now live surrounded in lakes and beaches on the beautiful central coast of New south wales with my husband and two young children.

As a girl, I had always dreamed of being a writer, but like most people I pushed my dreams aside for reality.

Turning 40, I guess I just thought if I don’t try, I’ll never know. Here I was telling my kids they could do anything they wanted in life. They just have to try. Time to live by my own words.

So, I sat down and started to write. To my surprise, it came very naturally.

I wanted to write strong, witty, fun…REAL women. I wanted my characters to feel like someone you could easily be friends with.

CL McGrathThe hardest question I get asked is what genre I write. The truth is…to this day, I don’t know. My books thus far are definitely romance, but, they are so much more. They are funny, heart breaking, naughty and emotional. The characters are relatable and real.

All I really know is, now I’ve started to write, like any addiction…I just can’t stop. I truly love it.

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Guest Post:

Writing a new project.

Ok, well for me, it just comes to me. I could be doing anything. Next minute an idea comes in my head. If I’m out and about or busy. I send my best friend a message and say… So, what do you think of this. She will sometimes say great idea other times she will say…get back to me when you have something down. If I’m at home or I have time. I pick up my laptop and start to write. I usually write the first page with no music, then after that. Headphones go on and I just write. I usually give myself a few days. I try to write for a few days and see where that leads me. If after a week I don’t feel it…i file it away for later. Maybe I will at another stage.

If I do feel it… I simply get on the headphones and just write.

I never plan, I never write up plots/structures. For me writing is an instinct. The story plays out in my head like a movie. I see it as I write it. Most of the time I have no idea how its going to turn out…I just write what I feel.

Probably not what they teach at school, but I don’t write for fun, I write because I feel it. I need to. It’s a deep need to get the story out and share it.

What works for me, wont work for everyone. Some people need to put an idea down on paper, they need to plan things. Which is perfect. The last thing you want is for all of your writers to be the same. 

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Finding Sarah Miller
Book One “Finding” Series

 

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Beyond Death by Deb McEwan

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Title: Beyond Death
Author: Deb McEwan
Genre: Supernatural/Suspense

 

Beyond DeathWhat really happens when we die? Twenty-something Claire Sylvester is about to find out.
The morning after the best night of her life she is taken before her time.

Claire is suspended in her mysterious new world. She watches as the secret lives of those she loves unravels, and sadistic villains are punished on the road to their own personal hell.

All the while a higher authority ponders her ultimate fate.

More than Claire knows depends on her actions and those of the unlikely partner who accompanied her on her journey.

What will be her final destination?

Beyond Death – a supernatural thriller of love and loss, deceit and revenge, with a little romance and humour.

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Author Bio:

DebFollowing thirty odd years in the British Army, Deb and her husband Allan decided to become weather refugees and settle in Cyprus.

Throughout her life Deb has dabbled with writing. Her first book was ‘Reindeer Dreams’ – a quirky rhyming Christmas story for children featuring Barry the reindeer and his family. Her first grown-up books about aliens and unearthly spiders could be explained as off the wall. The Afterlife trilogy came next with a few ‘Jason the Penguin’ books in between.
The first book in the current series ‘Unlikely Soldiers’, is set in 1970s Britain, with others to follow through the decades.

Deb now spends her time writing, working part-time, avoiding housework and playing tour guide along with Allan. She tries to keep the pounds off by playing netball and long-distance walking.

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Guest Post:

Inspired by Ants

I was sitting in the garden, chilling after a long walk and wondering what to write next.

Picture3I probably should have started book three in my ‘Aliens’ series. Ideas were swirling round in my head but nothing tangible yet. I saw movement on the ground and looked down. An army of ants were going about their business. Some headed in my direction. As one neared my foot I lifted my thumb to squish it, then hesitated as I had a fleeting thought. Looking up to the sky I wondered if anyone up there was poised to ruin the day or life of an innocent human who had taken a wrong turn, or perhaps found themself caught up in one drama or another.

Picture2This got me thinking about death, religion, the afterlife and the eternal battle of good versus evil. I left the garden and started writing straight away. And the ant? He or she lived to fight another day. Not so the many others who pushed their luck and moved into the house shortly after. No mercy was shown to this lot.

My Afterlife series is about the eternal fight of good against evil. I wanted the good guys to win but it wasn’t always easy and that doesn’t reflect real life, unfortunately. I believe in reincarnation and have always liked the idea of Karma with the hope that we reap what we sow. When some of my baddies got their just desserts it was important that they felt the pain they’d inflicted on their victims. My overactive imagination was a great help in this process. I spent some time wondering what would be really horrible but plausible (to my story) and took it from there.

When you’re dealing with the afterlife, heaven, hell or whatever you like to call it, almost anything is possible.

In this series, when there is absolutely no doubt, the really bad souls are taken to the dark, merciless world of cruelty and demons. They either serve their masters or are subjected to pain for the amusement of the demons – sometimes both. When their masters tire of them, they are returned to earth in various guises to suffer extreme levels of humiliation, pain and degradation. If they’re lucky, those in charge may return these souls to earths as humans, to carry out their evil.

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This is why the innocent suffer.

Where there is doubt, the final destination isn’t so simple.
That’s the situation in which Claire finds herself and more about this next time.

 

 

 

The Blood of the Infected Series

by Antony J Stanton

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Series: The Blood of the Infected
Author: Antony J. Stanton
Genre: post-apocalyptic/thriller/horror

Once Bitten, Twice Die

Book One

OBTD High Contrast 2017The end of the world was just the beginning.

A cure for dementia has disastrously failed. Patients are left crazed, infectious and enraged. The ensuing carnage quickly spreads the disease, and civilisation is decimated.

On London’s outskirts a military base shelters some survivors. The soldiers within must battle against the infected who now roam unchallenged. Tensions are high, relationships fraught, death commonplace.

But if they thought the end of the world was bad enough, their troubles have only just begun…

An ancient menace has long existed in secret alongside humanity – a vampire clan, which has recently encountered the soldiers. Now is their time to emerge from the shadows. First though they have to overcome their own problems. They too have to fight for survival against the infected, and they violently disagree on their approach towards the humans.

Hostilities are rising. It’s only a matter of time now…

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Once Bitten, Twice Live

Book Two

9780993428531When death is the best option, survival is no longer enough…

With a growing realization that their continued existence bestows upon them a debt to humanity, the survivors look to create a cure for the insanity that has brought civilization to its knees. But that only encourages disagreement and infighting, and comes at a heavy price, bringing various shocks and surprises.

Tensions amongst the vampires are escalating, jeopardizing the very existence of the clan itself. A battle for supremacy seems inevitable and their future is in the balance. How far will Farzin go to achieve his aims – domination of the vampires and humans alike? And how terrible will his vengeance be against any who stand in his path? Their interaction with the humans threatens to increase and not necessarily for the benefit of either group.

Meanwhile the wrathful infected grow ever hungrier…

When every day is a struggle to stay alive, survival of the fittest is never guaranteed.

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Twice Bitten, Twice Die

Book Three

TBTD front-hiWhen there’s no one left to hear you scream…

Deaths amongst the survivors are occurring at an unsustainable rate. Numbers are rapidly dwindling. Morale is plummeting. Soon they will be beyond salvation, yet their real task has only just begun. But will anyone remain alive to complete it? Nothing could have prepared the soldiers for what lies ahead. If they thought life was brutal already, they had absolutely no idea…

The vampires are in disarray. Their relationships are becoming blurred, confused and violent. A titanic clash between soldiers and vampires seems imminent but no one’s survival is assured.

In a world where life is unpredictable, the threat from the infected suddenly becomes even more unexpected and menacing. Hostilities are inevitable. Only one thing is certain: there will be blood!

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Author Bio:

AntonyStanton was born in London in 1970. Even as a child he always dreamed of becoming a published author, and he started to write a book. But, having watched the film ‘Top Gun,’ he was swayed into a becoming a military pilot. After no more than a glancing blow of a career in the British Royal Air Force he decided that his long term future lay elsewhere and he became a commercial pilot and remains thus to this day. Hence much of this trilogy was written all around the world, generally at unsociable times when jet-lag meant that normal people were asleep.

During a holiday with three friends, a bet was made amongst them. Each had a task to fulfil within the year – Stanton’s was to write a book. A little late, but five years on and his challenge has been completed. Three times.

His period spent in the RAF helped him write the military survival aspects of this book, and a kidnapping incident in Kazakhstan (*see guest post) and shooting in Ghana, amongst other ‘adventures’, provided him with a dark well of experience to draw from. Life is, after all, one big adventure. A combination of the aforementioned, along with his love of the darker sides of literature, and the results are this novel and the next two in the trilogy.

And all it took was the impetus of a friendly challenge to spur him on to his creative dream… He still lives in South London and is very much looking forward to watching his friend fulfilling his part of the challenge: demonstrating his (not-so) newly acquired break-dancing skills, surely a sight to behold

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Guest Post:

There is an incident that happened to me a few years ago, that I thought might be of interest. I love travel and have been fortunate to visit over 100 countries. You get to meet all kinds of fascinating people and as often as not it is the people who either make or break a trip.

I found the people of Kazakhstan to be incredibly warm and friendly on the whole – that is, when they are not trying to kidnap you. They are hospitable and open their arms and their houses readily to foreigners and strangers in a way that puts us in the West to shame. This part of the world really is the kind of place where intrigue and exploits abound. Anyone with the slightest inkling for adventure can find it without searching too hard. However, there is also this darker side that exists in their society; the ever-present undercurrent of corruption and bribery and, in my case, kidnapping.


It wasn’t my writing that took me to Kazakhstan back in 1999. It was my primary job as a commercial airline pilot for British Airways. We had a training contract to teach the Kazakhstanis to fly the Boeing 757, a most interesting experience in itself. When my work finished, I went travelling for a while, and that was when I had my little ‘adventure’. A lot happened. Even before I was abducted I had already had a fascinating time most worthy of narrating. I will write of that in another article as you really should know how all this began. But for now, I must tell you of the kidnapping itself, so I will jump right into the midst of the whirlwind.


I awoke at the border. The vodka was still heavy on my breath but I was sober enough to realise that I was the last person on the bus, and that it was now night-time. Alas, I was not sharp enough to understand the significance of this. I really had drunk a lot. Not my fault. The bus driver was shooing me off his bus, so I collected my day-sack and climbed down.


As the bus pulled away I realised that the border, which was rather inconveniently situated in the middle of nowhere, was well and truly closed. However, there was a car waiting. In Kazakhstan there were not many proper, bonafide taxis. If one wanted to go somewhere one hailed private cars as they went by. Someone would swerve to a halt with the screech of dodgy brakes and one could barter with the man. Well, here was a car that was ready and waiting for me. Perfect. And this one had, not one man, but two.


Soon I found myself on my way. I had told the driver and his friend that I wanted to cross the border from Kazakhstan, and go to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. ‘Dah, dah,’ they had assured me. I settled back into the seat but immediately something seemed wrong. Nothing definite, just an uneasy feeling. After a short while I leaned forwards.


“Tashkent?” I asked, making sure they knew where I wanted to go.


“Dah, dah,” they again said.


I left it for a minute or so, but it was clear that Tashkent was across the border and we were heading away from the border. Away from Tashkent. Away from any signs of other people and into the bleak and barren countryside.


It is amazing how sobering fear can be. Instantly I was alert. The lurch in my stomach was not due to the alcohol but to the sudden realisation of how my stupidity had actually put me in a VERY dangerous position. I repeated my request to be taken to Tashkent. Again, they tried to convince me that all was okay. But all was most definitely not okay. And if I did not do something soon, then quite possibly all would not ever be okay for me again. I leaned forward and demanded that they stop. They did not speak English but they understood well enough. And they ignored me. I was shocked at how fast the day had gone from one amazing and joyous experience to a complete nightmare.


“Tashkent, Tashkent, okay,” they said, but this was not okay and I was not okay. They were driving me further from the border, further from any semblance of civilisation and further from safety. I looked all around, and realised that I had only one option…


On these unkempt, remote gravel roads the car had slowed to take a bend. Now was my chance. Now was my only chance. Without considering the danger, I opened the door and dived out. I do not remember how quickly we were travelling, but it can’t have been very fast as I did not seem to injure myself – or maybe that was the vodka’s protective embrace. The car screeched and complained to a halt some twenty yards away. Still close, but far enough for me to be able to affect my escape. The men were shouting at me, ‘Tashkent, Tashkent, no problem.’ Only I knew that there most definitely was a problem. And now here I was, in the middle of no-man’s land, nobody else in sight in the enfolding darkness, and my options very limited.


They were clearly as surprised by my actions as I was. I guess nobody had escaped from them in such a drastic manner before. I now had to decide. I could run back to the border, and by the time they turned the car I could probably be long gone and it would be easy to hide. If they chased me on foot I was confident I could outpace them. But either way I would be without my rucksack that I had foolishly put in the car boot. Not ideal.


Alternatively, I could dash back to the car and try to open the boot and grab my rucksack before they grabbed hold of me, but that would almost certainly end in a fight. Not good.


Or I could get back in and, fingers crossed, all would be ok. I tend to have a very positive attitude to life in general. Things just seem to work out, at least that’s how it seems in my naivety. So, I dusted myself off and chose option three.


‘Tashkent? Well why didn’t you say my good man?’ Having just dived out of a moving car I have no idea what they must have been thinking as I climbed back in. Lunatic!


For the rest of the journey I was completely awake and aware of my surroundings, keenly watching where we were going, looking out for signs of civilisation or habitation (none), noting the route, and mentally preparing myself for action. They no longer tried to convince me we were heading for Tashkent. The charade was over. Finally, we arrived at a lone farmhouse where there were two more kind-hearted men, ready to assist me with my luggage, just like a first rate, international hotel. ‘Why thank you sir, so kind. Please take my bag. Oh, and my wallet too? Be my guest…’


They escorted me into the abandoned building. I noted there were no other houses around. Inside there was no furniture or decoration to speak of. Clearly it was long-since abandoned. Just a table in a rear room, a bare light-bulb swinging, and a single chair into which I was ‘ushered’. Images of the film ‘Midnight Express’ flooded my mind. I realised if I lived to see sunrise I would be extremely lucky. They took my rucksack and ripped it open it, tipping its contents onto the cold floor like spilled intestines. I started to complain but the largest of them raised a threatening fist. I saw no weapons but who’s to know whether they had knives or not. And besides, there were four of them, after all.


They spoke no English, but I understood there was some kind of hierarchy, as though they were in the military or the police. I also understood that the best thing was to comply. Comply with their every request. Comply, right up until that moment when I thought I was about to die. And then I would fight for my life. When it was clear that I was in mortal danger then I would have nothing more to lose.


They all stood over me as I sat. I reasoned, if I acted suddenly I could probably strike one or two before they would have a chance to react. I started to plan what I would do, who I would attack first, where I would hit them as I sprang into action. If I was lucky and decisive, maybe that would swing things in my favour. Maybe I would avoid death. Maybe I could facilitate an escape. But this really was a very, VERY last resort. Until then, comply.


They went through my rucksack fairly thoroughly and found my money, which they took. Obviously. They ignored my camera, passport and sunglasses which surprised me. It was only money they wanted. However, they did not search me, so they did not find the money belt I wore. I started to think they were nervous and unprofessional. I was not sure if that made them less dangerous or more.


Time passed, and they started to argue amongst themselves. I will never know what they were discussing, but the scowls, gesticulations and glances in my direction made me think they were arguing about me. And specifically, what to do with me. Do they kill me and dump my body? Or do they let me go and risk being identified? I knew that the border here was real bandit country. I knew that my chances were not exactly great. I was preparing myself for action. If it was going to happen, then surely it would be soon. I had to be ready. Complete surprise, just like my exiting their car like James Bond (or perhaps more Jonny English), was my only chance, and a slight one at that.


I had heard of the Stockholm Syndrome – where feelings of trust or affection develop in a victim towards their captor. I wondered if I could use this to my advantage, by developing some sort of positive relationship with them. To make them see me as a person, and ultimately to set me free. I hung my head and tried to look downcast, to prompt feelings of sympathy. I sighed deeply and wrung my hands in despair, and it seemed to work, with one or two of them at least. They were all smoking, so I asked for a cigarette. One of the more apparently empathic men gave me one. It felt like a condemned man’s last cigarette in a black and white film. I looked around my grim surroundings taking it all in. The bare floorboards, the peeling wallpaper, the damp stains on the ceiling, all the while drawing on my last cigarette. This shared cigarette gave us all something in common, some form of bond; I hoped. It was the oddest experience for me. I felt detached from myself, as though I was watching a movie from above. I was curious to see how it would end. Would the luckless traveller escape? Would he be set free? Or would this be his gruesome end?


The arguing amongst them continued, for a while. Fists were shaken and voices raised. The one who seemed to be in charge was still angry, but the two empathic ones definitely seemed to be fighting my corner. Or so I hoped. Finally, they handed me my rucksack, and $20, (which they then changed to $10). To me this meant life. They were not going to kill me. I felt indescribably elated. I had a rush of warmth – maybe some of that Stockholm Syndrome flooding in. I figured the money must be to pay a taxi to take me away from them. At this, the feeling of the night changed for me. If I was not going to die then this had gone from being the worst (and last) night of my life, to possibly the most fascinating adventure. I had $10 and a pack of cards in my backpack. Suddenly there were possibilities.


What if I could entice them to play poker and I was able to gamble all of my money back…? How cool would that be! What an ending to my initially unfortunate incident. I had visions of myself and my captors-turned poker friends, sitting in the smoke filled room, perhaps sharing a tot of whiskey while I hustled them and shared jokes through the international language of alcohol. But they weren’t for playing, alas. Undeterred, I thought that I really should have a photo of the event. Nobody’s gonna believe this has happened otherwise, I thought. They said no. Unsurprisingly. But wait – I wasn’t deterred. Like those books one sees written by ex-SAS soldiers with photos of troops with blacked out eyes to preserve their identities, I tried to mime to them that they could cover their eyes. Imagine, a photo of me posing with my captors, beaming at the camera with pockets stuffed full of my poker earnings, arms on their shoulders as they cover their faces. This time the leader thumped his fist on the table when he almost shouted at me. Ok, time to stop treating it like a game. Time to get away. And live.


A car finally arrived. I was ushered outside, and my captors bade me an ‘emotional’ farewell. This car had only one driver – I checked carefully this time. He whisked me away from the house, into the night. I looked back but they were quickly lost in the darkness. After all, there aren’t exactly any streetlights in that part of the world. He drove me back to the border, to the Uzbekistani side. I was alive. I was free. I was euphoric.


The driver, a grizzled and rough man who stank of cigarettes, probably in his fifties, then turned around to face me. He held out his hand, demanding money. Adrenaline had been coursing through my body for several hours now and I was still fairly pumped for action. This was just too much for me. It really was taking the mickey. They had had quite enough from me, thanks. Now I was sober and it was one against one, mano a mano. I swore at him in no uncertain terms. Despite our lack of a common tongue, he most definitely got my meaning. It would have been hard to misinterpret me. I got out and think I may even have slammed the door. This time however, I remembered my rucksack. I had been kidnapped for a few hours. It was now early morning. I was tired, cold and thirsty, and stuck at the border. What now? I may have been free, but unbeknownst to me my ordeal was far from over…


For some reason there were three other cars at the border. They seemed to have nothing to do with the kidnappers although I still have no clue what they were doing there at that time. I approached them and asked for a cigarette (they were smoking – obviously). One spoke a little English so I explained my situation to him and asked for help. Kindly he agreed to take me to Tashkent. When they’re not abducting you and threatening your life, they really are very decent people. I checked into the Sheraton, absolutely amazed that I was not dead and feeling extremely happy with life. I went straight to the bar – still open – and had the best beer of my life, whilst telling the barmaid, ‘I’ve just been kidnapped, don’t you know!’


The fact that I was now in Uzbekistan without actually crossing the border and without having my passport checked, did not register as important. Not yet, anyway!

 

 

Beneath the Night by Jen Colly

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Title: Beneath the Night
Author: Jen Colly
Pub date: 4/25/2017
Genre: Paranormal Romance

 

Beneath the Night - HighRes_512x768Sometimes survival means surrendering everything . . .

Lord Navarre Casteel wakes from a long sleep to find the vampire city he rules forever changed and his future in the hands of a mysterious beauty who offers her life for his. Fiery-haired Cat survives his feeding, fueling Navarre’s body and mind—as well as his suspicion that she is one of the Forbidden—a lethal mix of vampire and human blood. Yet that doesn’t stop the throb of Navarre’s desire, the feeling that she is destined to be his mate, to hell with consequences. . . .

A solitary fighter sworn to protect the children in her charge, Cat never expects to feel so much for Navarre in the face of his savage feeding. Which is why his offer of protection is nearly her undoing. For how can she let down her guard when she has always walked alone? But Cat has never faced an enemy like the one she faces now, never felt such a powerful need to surrender to the force of love . . .

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Author Bio:

Jen CollyJen Colly is the rare case of an author who rebelled against reading assignments throughout her school years. Now she prefers reading books in a series, which has led her to writing her first paranormal romance series: The Cities Below. She will write about anything that catches her fancy, though truth be told, her weaknesses are pirates and vampires. She lives in Ohio with her supportive husband, two kids, one big fluffy dog, and four rescued cats.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Amazon

Guest Post:

The Cities Below

Which cities? Below what? I see I’ve got some explaining to do. When I began writing about vampires I had one question that badly needed answered: What if vampires are real? Not were real in the past, but are real today. I certainly haven’t seen any, so where are they? Simple. They live out of sight. It’s hard enough to get on in this world without having an aversion to sunlight, the abnormal ability to process blood internally and heal most anything that ails you, not to mention fangs and an excessively long lifespan. I can hear the town folk with their pitchforks coming as we speak, and in all likelihood, that would be exactly what they’d faced centuries ago. Who wouldn’t want to protect their families from that kind of persecution? With sunlight being a death-inducing weakness, it only made sense for my vampires to live underground.

Several underground vampire cities are scattered throughout Europe, but France holds the largest population. The Cities Below series centers around the four major cities in France. Two cities, Balinese and Valenna, are in norther half of France. Talvane is within Paris (I can’t tell you where yet. It’s a surprise!), and Galbraith is farther south. A city full of vampires seems like it should be easy to find, right? Three of these cities are beneath structures, and though while one building is abandoned, and another visited infrequently, the third building is incredibly active. The fourth city is marked by a shed built into a hillside. Should you manage to discover which building, or which shed on a hillside marks the entrance to a city, you’ll never make it inside. Vampires guard their city’s gate, their people, and the knowledge of their existence viciously.


Do vampires live outside these cities and above ground? Of course. As with any society, this is bound to happen. But because of the creatures they are, even those living on the fringe have a rigid set of rules to follow. Exposing the existence of vampires could mean their extinction.

 

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The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past

by Andy Peloquin

Publication1

A faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past. The Hunter of Voramis–a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether?

(The Last Bucelarii–dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature)

Title: The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past
Author: Andy Peloquin
Publication Date: March 31st, 2017
Paperback Price: 15.99
Digital Price: 3.99
Pages: 400

Bucelarii 3 SmallThe Hunter, legendary assassin of Voramis, has a purpose: protect Hailen, the boy he rescued from a demon in Malandria.

He joins a caravan in the hope of safe passage across the Advanat Desert. Yet he cannot outrun his enemies: the Illusionist Cleric on a holy mission to capture him, the bloodthirsty raiders out for blood and gold, and the Abiarazi, demons who masquerade as humans.

Every step north reveals who he was before becoming the Hunter, unlocking the truth about the woman who haunts his memories.

Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…

Amazon

 

Join Andy and Guests at the Book Launch Event:

Gateway to the Past Launch Party

 

Guest Post:

The Art of (Hopefully) Writing a Book Blurb

Want to make a writer cringe? Speak the two words that they hate most of all: book blurb.

Book blurbs are THE WORST! They’re bloody hard to write, and the fact that they’re so important—after all, they’re what sell the book on first glance—makes them even more dreaded. Most writers (myself included) would rather lose our favorite typing finger than have to write another book blurb.

Why is a book blurb so hard?

Basically, you have to write 100-150 words about a 60,000 to 130,000-word novel that summarizes the main theme and plot points of the book WITHOUT spoiling anything. You have to make it interesting enough that people will want to read it, yet concise enough that it’s a quick read. It’s probably the single most challenging part of the book-writing process.

I have written precisely five book blurbs to date, and I’m happy with all of them. However, it took A LOT of work to refine them from my original creation. By no means have I mastered the art—I know I’m going to struggle with every book blurb I write from here on. However, here are the things that help me to write a good book blurb:

Start off with the character – The first sentence of the book should always introduce the character by name, as well as who/what they are. For example, a line from the blurb for the third book in my The Last Bucelarii series:

“The Hunter, legendary assassin of Voramis, has a purpose”

I assume that everyone who’s read Books 1 and 2 will know who/what the Hunter is. But I have to also write the blurb for new readers. By using that qualifier “legendary assassin”, I pique new readers’ interest and make them more likely to take a second look.

Introduce the problem as early as possible – The sooner you can tell the reader of the danger/s your character/s face, the better. From the book blurb for Blade of the Destroyer:

“Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.”

That showcases the Hunter’s primary problems: the voices in his head and his need to kill. Those are the PERSONAL problems that make for the true journey—the journey of your character. Story is secondary to character. Use the character’s problem to help the reader connect with your character before they ever open the book.

Give them action – People want to know at least some of the thrilling highs and chilling lows of your book. Give it to them in a few short, snappy sentences. From the book blurb for Gateway to the Past:

“Yet he cannot outrun his enemies: the Illusionist Cleric on a holy mission to capture him, the bloodthirsty raiders out for blood and gold, and the Abiarazi, demons who masquerade as humans.”

This single sentence introduces the three main obstacles he’ll face in the book. Notice the dramatic words used: outrun, enemies, holy mission, bloodthirsty, gold, demons. These are all bold words that will arrest the attention of those reading.

End with the real hook – The ending of the blurb is the hardest part. Some people like to ask a question:

(From Blade of the Destroyer:

“The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?”

Some people like to use it to connect the book to the overarching theme of the series:

(From Lament of the Fallen):

“His discoveries will shed light on who he really is…what he really is.”

Either way, that last sentence has to get the reader thinking about what the book could offer them. If they’re thinking, they’re more likely to turn the first few pages and give the book a chance. With a killer blurb, a great cover, and an addicting opening scene, you have everything you need to get people to buy/read your book!

 

The Author:

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious

Picture1I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!

Website | Twitter | Facebook

A Few of My Favorite Things:

Favorite Books:

      The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle, Warlord of Mars by E.R. Burroughs

Favorite Songs:

      Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch, Prayer by Disturbed, I’m an Albatraoz by AronChupa, Look Down from Les Miserables, Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling and Lizzi Hale

Favorite Movies:

      300, Red Cliff, Shoot Em Up, Love Actually, Princess Bride

Favorite Comics:

      Anything with Deadpool, Wolverine or Doop in it

Favorite Foods:

      Hot Wings, Meat-Lover’s Salad, A good sandwich (made by me), Yaki Soba, Sushi

Favorite TV Shows:

      The Flash, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-0, Brooklyn 99, Firefly (too soon!), The Last Ship, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones

 

Other Books in the Series:

The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.
When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

Amazon

 

The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen

The Hunter of Voramis is no more.
Alone with the bloodthirsty voices in his head, fleeing the pain of loss, he has one objective: travel north to find Her, the mystery woman who plagues his dreams and haunts his memories.
When he stumbles upon a bandit attack, something within urges him to help. His actions set him at odds with the warrior priests commanded to hunt down the Bucelarii.
Left for dead, the Hunter must travel to Malandria to recover his stolen birthright. There, he is inexorably drawn into direct conflict with the Order of Midas, the faceless, nameless group of magicians that holds the city in a grip of terror. All while struggling to silence the ever-louder voice in his mind that drives him to kill.
From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter’s journey leads him to truths about his forgotten past and the Abiarazi he has pledged to hunt. His discoveries will shed light on who he really is…what he really is.

Amazon

 

An Excerpt from The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past:

The Hunter peered out from behind the silent wagon. Good. No sign of Kellen or Graden. He’d have to keep an ear out for the caravan guards, but he should have plenty of time. The patrol had a lot of ground to cover.

Grunting, he shifted the heavy load on his shoulder and darted out from the row of shelters, hurrying toward the outcropping of boulders he’d chosen specifically for his task. He ducked behind the boulders and hurled his burden to the ground. A grunt and muffled cry came from the bundle, and something squirmed within.
He’s coming to. Good timing.

The Hunter pulled back the canvas, and moonlight shone on Rill’s pale, sweat-soaked face and wide eyes. Blood oozed from a wound on the bald man’s temple. The Hunter hadn’t bothered to be gentle.

“W-What?” Rill’s eyes darted around, and his gaze fell on the Hunter. “What is this?”

The Hunter struck the man hard. “Justice.”

Rill made to cry out, but the Hunter stuffed canvas into his mouth. “Ironic, isn’t it?” His fingers twitched a corner of the thick cloth. “You spend every waking hour stitching up canvas. Fitting that it will serve as your funeral shroud. There was more than enough of it around your area to wrap you up.”

The bald man’s eyes widened, and he mumbled something through the mouthful of fabric.

The Hunter shook his head. “Better you don’t speak. Nothing you say can change what’s coming. Best you die with a bit of dignity. Watcher knows you had little enough while you lived.”

Soulhunger, sensing blood, pounded louder in his mind, and the demon added its eager demands.

“I never understood men like you, knocking around your women.” He squatted on his haunches. “Just doesn’t make sense.”

Rill tried in vain to shout through his gag.

The Hunter narrowed his eyes. “Did you know there is a special hell reserved for your kind? Those who take advantage of the helpless.”

He slipped Soulhunger from its sheath, and held the glinting blade before Rill’s eyes. “You may tell yourself she belongs to you, you can do whatever you want.” He leaned forward, and his voice dropped to a low growl. “Just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should.”

Rill’s eyebrows shot up, and his expression turned pleading.

The Hunter shook his head. “Save your excuses for the Long Keeper. You’ll be with him soon enough.”

With a vicious smile, he drove Soulhunger through the canvas and into the man’s chest. The gag muffled Rill’s scream, but the dagger’s shriek echoed in his head with mind-numbing force. Soulhunger’s gem flared, red light bright in the darkness. The Hunter grunted as a finger of fire etched a line in his chest. Power coursed through him, setting his muscles twitching, flooding him with life, and pushing back the voices in his mind.

Slowly, the brilliance leaking from the gemstone faded to nothing, and Rill’s screams of agony and terror fell silent. The Hunter basked in the stillness of the night. A soothing breeze washed over him, the chill soothing the burning of his new scar. Glorious silence echoed in his head. The voices had been sated. He had peace, for a time.

He straightened and stared down at the bundled corpse. Perhaps the Long Keeper will have mercy on you.

An image flashed through his mind: a pitiful figure huddled at the entrance to Rill’s tent, covered in filthy rags and reeking of blood and coitus. Rill’s desire to punish Gwen had made it easier for the Hunter to slip in, knock the fat bastard out, wrap him in his own canvas, and slip out unnoticed. The man’s absence wouldn’t be discovered until morning. Few would care.

He took a deep breath, relishing the cool scents of the desert at night. He would wait a few minutes until he was certain Graden and Kellen had passed, then he would dispose of the body, bury the canvas, and slip back into camp. Without the voices shrieking and pleading in his mind, he might even be able to catch a few hours of undisturbed sleep before the morning breakfast bell.

Tonight would be a good night.

 

Unsevered by Traci Sanders

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A gripping story of love found, lost, and rediscovered in a magical way.

 
unseveredJewel has met the man of her dreams … the one person with whom she’s meant to spend eternity. Harley is charming, charismatic, and although he can’t carry a tune in a bucket, he’s the most gorgeous man she has ever laid eyes upon—especially in his U.S. Air Force uniform.

Just days after the couple returns from their honeymoon, Harley is called to active duty in the Middle East. Jewel is heartbroken but determined to adapt to her new life as a military spouse and support her husband. Her plan is short-lived when Harley is killed in action just days after his deployment.
Unable to cope, Jewel withdraws from her family, friends, and the world around her, until Harley visits her with a message from the beyond.

Will Jewel surrender to the dark side to be with her true love, or will she discover that sometimes people are put in our paths for reasons beyond our understanding?

Genre: Romance, Supernatural

Amazon | Goodreads

“Five stars have never made me feel like this. Where are my Kleenex?” Allaina Daniels

 

 

Excerpt:
My mind returns to the moment and I scold Harley’s apparitional presence for lying to me. “You told me we’d be together forever. You told me that’s what the sign meant.”
“I did say that. But it didn’t mean we’d be together forever in the physical sense; just that we’d always be in each other’s hearts.” His voice lowers and adopts a serious tone. “But there is one problem.”
“What problem?”
“I am kind of stuck right now.”
“What do you mean stuck?”
“Well, I was supposed to move on to my afterlife, but I can’t do that until you let me go.”
“But how do I do that?”
“I can’t answer that for you. It’s something you have to discover for yourself for me to be able to complete my journey. I’m sorry you feel like I let you down, but I did what I had to do.”
A long pause cuts through the air for a moment. “I don’t blame you, Harley. I know you didn’t choose to leave me. I just miss you. Why can’t I see you?” My voice keeps cracking as I wipe my tears for the umpteenth time.
“You’ll see me when the time is right; when you are ready. And you won’t be able to see the gift I left you until the time is right either.” He was still surprising me, even in death.
“I’m ready! What is it? Please, I need something to hold on to.”
“When you are ready to see it—and me—you will.” He was beginning to sound like a broken record. “I have to go now, but I will be watching over you always. Please be kind to yourself and don’t do anything else to endanger your life. Live. Be happy. Fulfill your destiny. And remember, I love you.”
“I love you too, baby. Don’t go.” My voice is brittle, fading.
He doesn’t respond.
“Harley?” I call out his name until my throat becomes scratchy and my voice is almost absent.

“Harley? Harley? Come back. Please don’t leave me again.”
There’s no reply.
He’s gone.unsvrd teaser 2

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Author:

traci headshotTraci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of nine published titles, with contributions to three anthologies.

An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.

traci sHer ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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p1Guest Post:

Hey, guys!

This is my final post to share with you all.

It’s been a blast! Thank you so much to those who followed this tour, commented and shared my posts, and read/purchased my book. I truly appreciate you taking a chance on my writing, and I hope it lives up to your standards.

Just a little recap, in case you missed my bio and intro in previous posts. If you’ve already read this part, feel free to scroll down the page to the good stuff. 🙂

In case you missed the first stop on my tour, here’s a small recap. If you’ve already read this, feel free to scroll down this page to the good stuff. 🙂

I’m an author of romance, children’s, and nonfiction titles. I’m also an avid reader and huge supporter of other authors through a site I founded called Readers Review Room. Be sure to check it out whether you’re an author looking for promotion, or a reader looking for a great book.

p2I’d like to leave you all with a final thought today. Are you with someone who lights up your life? Someone who makes your toes curl at a single touch?

Even after twenty-something years together, and three kids, my husband still has this effect on me. Thank God for that! I see my friends and family living their lives with people they simply tolerate, or have become complacent with, and it truly breaks my heart.

What’s the point of sharing your time and your life with someone who doesn’t “get” you, who doesn’t set your soul on fire? Someone you think about first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. Someone you miss when he or she is not around. Someone you can’t wait to hold the next time your eyes meet.

If you do have this person in your life, be sure to cherish him or her, because we never know when our last kiss will truly be our last to share.

This is a story of love found, lost, and rediscovered in a magical way. Sometimes people are put into our lives … to teach us how to let go. Make sure you’re giving your time and love to someone who’s worth holding on to.

May you find the kind of true love that everyone deserves … the kind that’s forever Unsevered.

Thanks to Maia for setting up this blog tour, and to Rainne for hosting me here today. I truly appreciate the chance to share my work.

You can find any of my books on Amazon at this link: 
https://www.amazon.com/Traci-M.-Sanders/e/B00BA9VUUY

Traci M Sanders

 

Previous Guest Post Tour Stops:

Romance Novel Giveaways | Anna Del C Dye’s Blog

 
Also by Traci Sanders:

When Darkness Breaks

when darkness breaksLocal news anchor, Amber Woods, seemed to have it all – a thriving career, two beautiful children, and a doting husband named Drake. Life was perfect…until her world was turned upside down in one fateful night. While the incident caused Amber to renew her priorities; Drake was unable to deal with what happened, and sank into a deep depression laced with infidelity and alcohol. Hoping a change of scenery would salvage her quickly deteriorating marriage, Amber agreed to move to New York; but it didn’t take long for her to discover that the past is not always left in the past. Can Amber save her marriage without losing herself along the way? What will she do when darkness breaks her will to keep trying?

Perma-Free On Amazon!!

“A real and authentic romance” M. Abbott (UK)
“Heavy Subject Matter, Hope Filled Message” T. Dearen
“A short and engaging read” H. Kent

 

 

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