Sunrise Over Texas by M.J. Fredrick Review

Sunrise Over Texas by M.J. Fredrick Review

Nine Naughty Novelists: Guest Blogger MJ Fredrick - My Secret Plotting Weapon

Nine Naughty Novelists: Guest Blogger MJ Fredrick - My Secret Plotting Weapon

Pack Your Bags

We're moving. I'm going to keep this blog for now in case Wordpress makes me mad, but new updates will be at the new site.

Goals for the Week SURFACE RELEASES!!!

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Happy 4th of July, everyone! Celebrate safely!

1) celebrate, and drive to different stores to see if it’s there

2) celebrate 4th of July

3) work on Midnight Sun (7000 words, please)

4) revise short story, write synopsis and query, submit

5) judge last contest entry

6) Get this website thing squared away

7) Write 3 guest blogs

8) paint MIL’s interior

9) get Cindi’s son a bday present

10) get ds’s girlfriend a bday present

11) exercise

12) keep up house


Heroine Types I Don't Like

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Yes, it really is 2:30 AM as I write this. My boy cat was in a fight outside the window and I couldn't go back to sleep, so I decided to get up and write, since the dh took over the computer last night. (Yes, we need a new computer. Haven't exactly decided which option we want to go with, though--netbook, iPad or splurge and get a new Macbook.)

I was reading that book I was telling you about the other day, Suddenly One Summer, and I just don't like the main heroine. It's not her, particularly, but her type. The closed-off type, the one who doesn't let anyone in and wants to do it all herself. This one is particularly serious, as well, which doesn't heighten her appeal. I'm trying to think of other books that I've seen this type of heroine in and I can't.

Another kind I don't like is the too-tough heroine, which probably means urban fantasy isn't for me. Interestingly, these two heroines have something in common, I guess. I wouldn't say Jenna in SOS is too-tough, so they're not the same type, really, just similar.

Busy day ahead--post office, UPS store, Goodwill, library and Walgreens, then my cousin's in town and wants to meet up. Hope I can get back to sleep. Maybe after I write something....


Something to Talk About

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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I was looking for a home for Something to Talk About. After some poking around, I sent it to Lyrical Press, and this week they sent me a contract, saying they loved it. Finally! No idea about release or print or any of that yet, as I've just signed the contract. But STTA has a home.

I'm also trying to move my website and blog to Wordpress. I feel like a bit of a traitor, since I've been on Blogger forever, and I love my new template here, and all the widgets I can use. But I hate updating my website and Wordpress makes it so easy. Also, it's very pretty. I'm trying to figure out how to point it to my, that's the only delay.

I finished revisions on Road Signs LATE last night, and spent most of yesterday morning watching The Tudors and rereading Midnight Sun. I'd planned to insert a storm, but it seems I'd already done that. Blast. Today, I'm going to fix the query and synopsis for Road Signs, then get to work on MS, after a morning of breakfast and shopping with Mom and BB. Hope to get my carry-on luggage for my weekend in MN.


The Ideas...The IDEAS!!!

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Eight years ago, we were driving to the Grand Canyon through New Mexico and the dh said, "I wonder what's down that road." An image came to my head, a rundown house, a corral, a man who worked as a vet and took care of his alcoholic brother and delayed sister. I knew his story was that his father had killed his mother and was coming home from prison.

I just didn't know who the heroine was. I thought maybe she was a lawyer hired when the father was accused of killing again, but I thought a romantic suspense would be too complex.

Last night I think I figured out who she would be, a social worker who threatens the hero's view that he can take care of everything by himself.

Only this story has to wait. I have my cruise ship story to write next, two books I want to rework for HAR, and a post-apocalyptic story. That's not even thinking about the hostage negotiator story or the RS series I want to write or the three historicals I have in mind. And I write every day. I need a clone.


Book Recommendations

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I've read some good books this summer, and I've read a lot more than usual, about 2 books a week.

The one I'm reading right now is called SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER by Barbara Freethy. I think it's the first in a series that takes place on the central coast of CA, in a seaside town. It's a contemporary romance, but has elements of the paranormal--angels are leaving messages carved in the cliff overlooking the sea--and romantic suspense--if I tell you that, it will spoil the surprise. It has wonderful characters, all of whom have their own conflicts and concerns that makes you root for them. I already have the second book on my wish list.

I really enjoyed EXCLUSIVELY YOURS by Shannon Stacey, too, one of Carina's launch books. It's a great reunion romance, focusing on the hero and heroine, but set at a campground, of all places, surrounded by his family. It has a great mix of humor and tenderness, and will be the topic of discussion at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books book club.

DISASTER STATUS by Candace Calvert was another book that I was thinking about after it was over. I absolutely loved charge nurse Erin and her grandmother, and thought she was just what firefighter Scott needed to snap him out of his shell. It's inspirational but not preachy. Can't wait until book 3 comes out!

What have you read lately?


Guilty Pleasure Movies

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I was bummed to read in Entertainment Weekly that Sunday was a Jaws marathon on Encore. I LOVE Jaws. I enjoyed Jaws 2. But my guilty pleasure is Jaws 3. I love that ridiculous ridiculous 3D movie. I love that it's set at a Sea World. I love that they have an underwater part at the Sea World. I love the cheese.

I also love Christmas Vacation. I think I watched it a dozen times last December. I always think I'm going to watch whichever part is coming up next, but then I get sucked in. I crack up at the lights, the houseguests, the squirrel.

And the movie Soapdish--have you seen it? Robert Downey Jr, Kevin Kline, Whoopi Goldberg, Sally Field, set in the backstage world of a soap opera. It's a reunion romance (hey, I forgot this one!) and a secret baby, and RDJ is delicious. Also Kevin Kline.

What are your guilty pleasure movies?


Wish Lists

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I'm still thinking hard about getting the Nook, but have about 40 books I'm not sure I can transfer. I'm going to tweet someone today who I know went from an iPod Touch to a Nook and ask her.

In anticipation of that, I downloaded all my books from Fictionwise and put them on Calibre. I have no idea what I was doing, so that may or may not work.

I didn't see where one could make a wish list on when it came to ebooks, so I poked around and found one, then moved items from my Amazon wish list to Overall, it seems the books are more expensive, though I did get CHILL by Stephanie Rowe for $3. But I like how the wishlist shows the prices, so I can see at a glance if anything changes. Right now they have the new Robyn Carr for a good price, but I'm 4 books behind in the Virgin River series...

Does anyone here use Calibre? Can someone explain it to me?


Goals for the last week of June

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Goals for the Last Week of June

1) Barbecue with my cp and her daughter, who I haven’t seen in 7 years

2) Catch up with Cindi, whose oldest son’s birthday is today

3) Grocery store

4) Library

5) Finish revisions on short story and submit (Halfway through the 65 pages already)

6) Finish revisions to Road Signs and submit (I’m up to p. 100 already)

7) Work on new short story

8) Newsletter (MUST) and website—hope I get the final copy of my Sunrise cover soon!

9) Read Coven for Trish

10) Contest entry

11) Go to 1 more bookstore to see if they’ll order Surface

12) A day with Mom and BB

13) Continue exercising

14) Clean house and yard—brush pick-up is this week


Works in Progress

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Yesterday I blogged at Leah Braemel's blog and Toni Anderson commented that she'd heard so much about my book. I'm thinking, yes, she has heard a lot. We used to be on Sub Care on eHarlequin together, and then we started following each other's blogs, and y'all know, I write a LOT about my works in progress.

Last night I started Anna Louise Lucia's DANGEROUS LIES. I remember when she was aiming it for Silhouette Intimate Moments and called it "Danglies." Funny to be reading the novel now.

I have Toni's SEA OF SUSPICION, which I remember her writing mostly because of the Sean Bean pictures.

I have Kelly Parra's CRIMINAL INSTINCTS, which I remember from her selling to Bombshell just before the line closed.

I have Stephanie Feagan's Pink books, which I remember her writing from our GH email loop. (Can't wait to read Mephisto!)

Colleen Gleason's Gardella series came from a comment on our GH loop about how Anne Mallory's first cover looked like an old fashioned Buffy.

EDITED TO ADD: I can't believe I forgot Marianne's ONE LOVE FOR LIV, back when it was called ISN'T SHE LIV LEIGH! My excuse is that the book is on my keeper shelf, not my TBR :)

I feel connections to these books because I saw the process, the behind-the-scenes looks. Do you ever buy books for that reason?


Guest Blogging and Temptation

I'm guest blogging today at Leah Braemel's blog about writing the reunion romance.

I've been tempted all week to get the Nook. It's $149 right now and I know Marianne loves hers and Shannon Stacey said you can get the Adobe epub books from the library on it. Last night my finger hovered above the buy button.

But I resisted. Why? I finished reading the excellent Disaster Status by Candace Calvert and scrolled through my other books to see what to read next.

And scrolled.

And scrolled.

LOTS of books on the eReader, which has the books I got from Fictionwise, which can't be read on the Nook, at least, the ones from the big publishers.

Quite a few books on the Kindle for the iPhone.

Yeah, I can't justify the expense until I read a bunch of those. Maybe for Christmas....

I may finish my short story for TWRP's reunion series today. Only 2 more big scenes to go.


Goals for the Week of Father's Day

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This week I should only be working on 2 books at a time instead of 3 :)

1) celebrate Father’s Day and the dh’s birthday

2) visit with my oldest writing friend, who’ll be in town this week. We haven’t seen each other in 6 years.

3) Finish Sunrise edits

4) Write query and synopsis for Queen

5) Finish short story for TWRP and write query and synopsis

6) Promotion (blog at Leah Braemel’s, email loops and setting up blog visits, newsletter, update website as soon as I get the final copy of the Texas cover)

7) Day with Mom and BB, to their place in the country this time

8) Exercise

9) Keep up house



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Last night I was hot. I mean, hot. I couldn't cool off, I was sweating, I told the dh. He blew me off. I checked the thermostat on the way to bed. At midnight, it was 84 in the house, and the AC had been running constantly. The dh was snoring on the couch (which is probably good because otherwise I would have kicked him). Finally at 2 AM when HE was hot, he checked the thermostat, figured the compressor had iced up AGAIN, and shut it off. Miraculously, it was cool in here when I woke up this morning. But what's with the not believing me? That's what I want to know.

I finished the revisions on Queen on Thursday but need to write the synopsis and query (which I thought I had done, since I'm pretty sure I submitted it before, but, oh, well. Can't find it.) The thing is, I'm not in love with this book. I think it's good and unique enough, but I never had the connection to it that I have with my other books. Not sure if it's because it was plotted ahead of time (which should make that synopsis easier) or if there's something wrong with the characters' connection--I just don't love it. Have you ever experienced that?

Going to take my walk now while it's relatively cool.


Writer Brain

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I have serious writer brain. You know, where you can't be trusted to go out of the house because your head's so deep in the story you might not find your way home. Or you might do something stupid, like not set your parking brake (not terrible unless you drive a standard. Ahem.) But I pried myself away from the computer for 45 minutes, and went about a mile down the road, to Walgreens and Lowe's because I can't trust myself to go into the grocery store alone.

What dumb things have you done when you have writer's brain?


Roller Coaster Day

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I knew when I put the blog up yesterday that the universe would hear and respond. Yesterday we went to Fredericksburg for a day trip. When I checked my email, I had my line edits for Sunrise, due NEXT Wednesday. Gulp! When I got home, my author copies of Surface were here! Then when I sat down to take a look at the edits, I got a rejection for Something to Talk About. Of course, that's what's taking over my thoughts. I love that book and I have no idea what to do with it. Apparently the conflict of falling in love with your dead best friend's husband isn't big enough.

Any thoughts about where I could take it next?



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Yesterday an author who has her print book out the same day as Surface tweeted that she got her author copies. Immediately, I started checking the street for the UPS guy. No dice, but maybe today. Can't WAIT.

Season 3 of the Tudors is due to arrive from Netflix.

I'm obsessively checking my email these days. First of all, I'm anxious to see my Carina Press cover, which should be coming ANY day now. Also, I should be getting the art fact sheet for the short story I contracted with Samhain, and edits for both the Carina and the Samhain book. (Okay, I'm less eager about getting the edits, but I need to know when I can get going on the Road Signs revisions. Almost done with Queen revisions.)

There are other things I'm waiting for that I can't mention here because when I do, it doesn't end well.

What are you looking forward to?


Getting Glee, and The Tudors

I am obsessed with these two shows lately, and could they be more different?

I think I finally get what it is about Glee that draws people. Not only does it show the talent of the outcast kids, but it shows that the cool kids have trouble too—Quinn with her parents and Finn not having a father figure. I do hope next year we see more of the secondary cast perform. I love to see Mike dance and hear Kurt sing.

It took me a few episodes to get into The Tudors, unlike Supernatural and Glee, which sucked me straight in. And to be honest, Charles Brandon, as portrayed by Henry Cavill (guh!) is a big part of the draw. But I’m also watching and anticipating the downfall of these selfish people. I can’t say I really root for them, because, well, they just aren’t very nice. I’m intrigued with the church history angle, as a Catholic, and I’m wondering why we were taught that Anne Boleyn was a person to be pitied when she was a conniving little so-and-so. Still, I cried when she died, the scene was so well done.

Also, I think the actress looks a lot like Penny from The Big Bang Theory. Seriously. Same shape face, same eyebrows, she does the same thing with her mouth….

I finished watching the streaming shows over the weekend and now am looking forward to getting the discs of season 3.


Goals for the Second Week of Summer

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1) get Father’s Day presents/dh’s birthday present

2) Finish BD galleys

3) Finish Queen revisions

4) Start Sunrise revisions

5) Work on short story for TWRP

6) Day with Mom and BB in Fredricksburg!

7) Call a friend to make a lunch date

8) Promo on email loops

9) House cleaning

10) Exercise

I’ve also been cooking every night, except for the nights the dh cooks. Definitely saves money there. Also, my dad wants me to come visit him in MN. The dh can’t get off, and we’re already kinda tapped with our planned trip to CA later this summer. Dad said he’d buy my ticket with frequent flyer miles. They have a lakehouse, and that would be a lovely place to visit, don’t you think? But I don’t go without the dh often—in our 21 year marriage, we’ve been apart less than 10 nights. Still, might be fun. I’m thinking about it.


The Benefits of Walking

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Okay, I didn’t know about Schrodinger’s cat until I watched Big Bang Theory. Sad, huh?

I’ve been doing good with my walking except for Tuesday when I turned back because of rain and Wednesday when it rained more. I SO didn’t want to go yesterday, but made myself, and thought I’d share what I like about it.

1) Listening to the Glee station on Pandora

a. I didn’t know you could do this, but you can make stations on the Pandora app based on artists you like. So I have one for GLEE. There are Glee songs mixed in with the original songs, and some other harmonizing kinds of songs, like “Little Bitty Pretty One.” “Don’t Stop Believing is the perfect pace for when I get started, but by the end of the walk, the beat of “Color My World” is more apt.

b. The downside here is that some of the songs are pretty peppy. And sing-along friendly. There are a lot of people out in my neighborhood in the mornings. This could get embarrassing. Also, you might end on a less-than-desirable song and end up singing it all day. Like, say, “Little Bitty Pretty One.”

2) Inspiration

a. I like looking at people’s houses, the way they decorate, landscape and the colors they choose. One house down the street has the most gorgeous RED crape myrtle. You just don’t see those a lot.

b. I like seeing the 50-something lady who rides her bike every day, helmet, fanny pack and all.

3) Knowing what day it is

a. If the blue cans are out, it’s Recycle Monday

b. If the empty blue cans are out, it’s Tuesday and people forgot to put up their cans.

c. No cans—Wednesday

d. Brown cans—trash Friday

I do hate trying to avoid the garbage truck, though. Ugh.

4) Interesting sights

a. Like the very tall man with the very big dog

b. Or the daddy showing his little boy how to jump start a car

c. Damage from the storms we’ve had two weeks in a row that leave trees branchless

5) A 30 minute walk is exactly the length of time for a load of wash, or a load of dishes.

6) Coming home and scarfing a big bowl of granola and fruit. Mmm.

7) Working out plot/story problems, since I’m listening to music and not a book, which was my original plan.

What do you like about exercising?

You can see in this picture why he was Stephanie Meyers’s first choice to play Edward, can’t you?


Lost Time

One theme I can't bear in stories and movies is the theme of lost time. The other night the dh showed me the video below and I just burst into tears thinking of the lost 15 years. When I read Dragonfly in Amber, the Diana Gabaldon book that had Jamie and Claire reuniting after their daughter was grown up--SOB!

All I can think of in these stories is lost opportunities, experiences missed, never to be regained. I like reunion romances, because the characters have to grow and change to come at the relationship again in a stronger way, but by the same token, I don't think I could ever write a secret baby story because of what the father would have missed in his child's life--pictures and videos don't make up for not being there.

This video's about 7 minutes. Let me know what you think.


My Summer So Far

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Monday was VERY productive. I met all my daily goals early and finished reading 4 books I'd started the past few months.

Yesterday, I picked up the boy from the airport. He wanted to go to Taco Garage for lunch, and while we were there, Jackie Earle Haley walked in! Now, you may remember the boy LOVES Watchmen. He leaned over and said, "Rorschach just walked in." He started to go over, then decided not to bother him, but as we walked out, we walked past his table and he couldn't help himself. JEH was SO nice, and the two geeked out over Watchmen for a few minutes. Was cool.

A big storm rolled in again last night, and the skylight in the living room started leaking. This is new. Also annoying. Then I heard a loud crash and went looking. A big branch fell from the tree on the patio onto the patio, across the electric lines that lead from the pole to the house. So I didn't sleep well, worrying about that. I called City Public Service first thing this AM and the man came out to look at it just now, and will send a crew in an hour. So, annoying.

I have managed to meet my goals AND watch the first season plus a few episodes of The Tudors. Tonight I hope to watch Shutter Island.

Then there was GLEE. Did you see it? I LOVED it, but I wish there'd been more Will and Emma, more of Rachel's reaction to Finn's declaration and more Quinn.

I started a short story for TWRP. I'm using Henry Cavill as the hero.


Goals for the FIRST WEEK of Summer Vacation

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We had a lovely luncheon yesterday to end the school year, and I was home ten minutes later. Today we have a graduation party, and tomorrow, my summer starts! The funny about the luncheon—the computer lab teacher made the slide show, and when she set up the computer, she had a screensaver of Jensen Ackles. LOL! I got her hooked on Supernatural.

Okay, breaking down that big ol’ list from last week.

1) 125 pages of galleys on BD (half)

2) STTA revisions

3) Queen revisions

4) Newsletter

5) Blog for Leah

6) Library

7) Grocery store

8) Day with Mom and BB

9) Promo on email loops

10) Book store visits

11) House cleaning, a room a day, an hour a day

12) Exercise

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My Favorite Day

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Not only is it the last day of a VERY difficult school year, but my whole summer lays in front of me, not one moment wasted yet. Great possibilities ahead.

Problem Child has been very good in class because he wanted a recommendation to be a patrol. I actually think he'll be good at it. Today he said he wanted us all to meet at the park on Saturday, one last day of being together as a class. Kinda sweet, huh?

But then when I was driving home, I saw him and one of his minions running along the main street in front of school (BUSY street) near the highway (running across the access road) so I called their parents. (Yes, I have their numbers programmed in my phone.) Wonder what happened.

Wednesday night a big storm blew through, and I mean BLEW. I'm so glad we had those trees taken down or it would have been bad. BAD. We lost a mountain laurel and other people have split trees and downed branches all around us. Apparently 1/3 of the city, but different parts of the city, lost power. 60 mph winds! Hurricane force! Trippy. But Thursday temperatures didn't break 80, so good payoff.

ANYWAY, I have a busy summer ahead:

1) Galleys on Breaking Daylight, print version
2) revisions on Sunrise (expected next week)
3) revise STTA
4) revise Queen and submit
5) revise Road Trip and submit
6) write a short story for TWRP's new series
7) write a short story for promo for Sunrise
8) get a good chunk of Midnight Sun done

9) work on promo for Surface and my September releases (newsletters, guest blogs, bookstore visits, get back into eHarlequin, etc.)

10) hang out with Mom and BB once a week
11) lunches with Stacy, JoAnn and Linda
12) class reunion the last weekend of July
13) hook up with teacher friends

14) exercise daily
15) read at least an hour a day

I really wish there were less revisions, gotta do what you gotta do.



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The boy left for NYC yesterday morning, but I stayed up late Monday to tell him goodbye. Last night he called at 10 (WAYYY past my bedtime) and we talked for half an hour. Now, I am tired. Very tired. Today, I'm trying to keep the schedule normal, but also I want to clean my room. I've packed my library and today we'll clean out our desks. Problem Child loves to organize, so I have him cleaning out one cabinet. If nothing else, I'll have an organized room at the beginning of the year.

This morning I have my last traffic duty. I don't mind morning duty, even though it means I have to be there ten minutes earlier (I'm usually there, anyway). It's cooler and the traffic isn't as bad.

Today we also have a meeting with our test scores (not sure why). Tonight the dh's artist friend is having a showing or something at a local restaurant. Not sure if we're going, but we should.

I finished watching True Blood Season 2 over the weekend. I like Sookie in the books so much better. She's not so dumb. I like Bill in the show better, though. Since I finished that, I started watching The Tudors, but don't really have it in me to pay that much attention. I didn't care for last night's GLEE episode. No one was acting heroically. (That looks like it's spelled wrong.) Also, I didn't like the songs. Seriously, the first part of the season was amazing, but this part seems just to be filler. Still one of my favorite shows.

Burn Notice is back on tomorrow, too.

I'm only working on revisions on Queen right now. Feels weird to just be working on one thing. I should be getting my edits on Sunrise soon, though.


If I Won the Lottery

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This is just a bad month, expense-wise, which of course means I start thinking about what it would be like to have expendable income.

I would build a pool in the backyard.


I would have an outdoor kitchen.


I would have a Nook, and NO books on my wishlist, because they'd be on my Nook.


New laptops for everyone in the family.


A cruise to Alaska.


A big screen TV.


Front loading washer and dryer.


What would you get?



M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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