Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm Honored x 3

I received  the first wonderful award from my author friend, Marva Dasef...and before I could react and put it on my blog, I received it again from Margaret West.  Following on the heels of being a Stylish Blogger, Heather Haven believes I'm worthy of the Versatile blogger.

There are rules attached to each award, and I'm awed, and also overwhelmed at the thought of picking thirty people if I do this separately.  For that reason I'm going to combine the group effort.  Thank you, Ladies, for mentioning my blog on yours.


There are rules attached to this award.You have to thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.

Thank you Marva,
Thank you Margaret, and
Thank you Heather.


First I need to share seven things about myself.  This is going to be tricky because I think my life has been an open book over the past several years of blogging, and I haven't done or gone anywhere exciting.  This will probably be redundant and bland, but here I go:

So here are seven things about me.

1. In 2003, I retired from UC Davis after 23 years in Graduate Studies and The College of Letters and Science where I was an academic counselor for undergrads.
2. I hear voices in my head, but thankfully they are always the characters I write about.
3. I suffer from a disorder call Objective Tinnitus and other people can hear the noise in my head simply by putting their ear next to mine.
4. I once had my stomach stapled to lose weight for health reasons.  Turned out the lost over one hundred pounds...three if you count my ex-husband.
5. I'm addicted to Wavy Lays, and it's true, you can't eat just one.
6. I exercise (or try to) on my Wii board three times a week with my neighbor, Debbie.
7. I find it fascinating that the characters who show up with a story in mind always allow me to draw from my own experiences.

Now I have to find ten people who haven't already been given one of these awards.  I'm not sure I can do that, so I'm going to send them out one at a time as people email me and jog my memory. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

World Cancer Day

A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting Another Candle..
Today is world cancer day.   Keep the candle burning by sharing the link to this blog.  

I invite everyone to list their  loved ones lost to Cancer in the comment section as we take a moment to utter one simple line:




Dear God, I pray for a cure for cancer.  Amen


In memory of my best friend and confidante, Patricia Suwyn who died far too soon.  I miss her every day.


 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Got Burning Questions...I have scalding answers...

If it's Thursday, then it's time for Ask MizGing.  Spread the word...send your friends, let's solve the problems of the world together.  Okay...maybe not the world, but perhaps something that's been gnawing at you or a family member. If "Ask Laska" can survive in Reader's Digest all these months, certainly I can make a difference on the Internet.  Besides, sometimes her advice stinks.  :)  I won't recommend you do anything I wouldn't do, and don't 
be frightened by the disclaimer below my picture.




By posting questions on this site, you agree to solicit answers from MizGing.  You cannot hold her liable should you follow the lame advice she provides.  :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weird Wednesday

For some reason, I believed it didn't snow much in Tennessee, but seems I was wrong.  We've gotten much more snow this winter than we have in the years since we moved here.  Just one more reason to stay inside and write.  Because I'm working on edits, I'm going to share a little from my upcoming release, The Locket.  This book was probably the hardest of all I've written simply because the main character is an object and not a person.  Talk about head-hopping...new characters every chapter made this even more challenging.  Plus, this is the only story that I originated without voices in my head contributing.

On a side note, I've learned from editing that when my characters aren't chewing their bottom lip, they are heaving sighs.  *lol*  I'm going to try and correct those bad habits.

Back to The Locket, I wrote this specifically for my sister, Gwenn, who hates romance and loves crime novels.  Of course, her son, Adam, thought it should be a watch and still pesters me about my decision to make the story about a necklace.  Sorry Ad!  Oh and the story starts in 1940 and spans several years.

Blurb:  
A simple, yet beautiful heart-shaped locket becomes the focus of appreciative and unsuspecting women.  Someone should warn them of the danger of owning the cursed piece.  But who?  Sadly, the previous owners are no longer around…nor are the loved ones they killed in a fit of unexplained rage.

Excerpt: (Not the final edited version)
Sheila Townsend
Boston – October, 1940

Sheila Townsend hauled open the heavy cathedral door and slipped inside. She scurried up the long aisle into the safety of the confessional and collapsed. Panting, she creaked open the little sliding door. The priest’s outline loomed on the other side.  
"Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.” She swiped at her bangs, wet from the fog outside.
“How long has it been since your last confession?” The priest’s voice filtered through the mesh between them.
“Six months, Father.”
 “Tell me of your sins, my child.” 
“I-I’ve had evil thoughts and fear I’ve done something horrid.”
“What have you done?”
“I might have killed someone because of the curse.”
“Curse?”  The deep voice rose an octave.
“The one that plagues this locket.”  She dangled a necklace close to the screen. “I must leave it here with you and stop this madness.” 
Sheila rose, dropped the pendant onto the shelf separating parishioner from priest, and fled without another word. She paused at the door long enough to secure her scarf over her head and pull her coat collar higher. The stained-glass window, an image of the Holy Mother, looked far less impressive at night than when the sun shone through the tinted panes.
 Sheila pressed her weight against the door, allowing the breeze to flicker the candles at the altar. The gripping hatred that had consumed her for the last month melted away like snow in springtime. Her need to hurt someone had only intensified when she put a picture in the locket.  But now she was free—free from everything but the guilt and memories of plunging the knife into her boyfriend’s back. 
Stepping back into the misty night, she headed toward the river.  She hadn’t actually been honest with the priest.  The police were sure to soon find the body in her living room, and she no longer had a will to live. She’d made peace with the Lord; now she needed to find peace with herself and what she’d done.
****
Father Finnegan’s brow furrowed at the woman’s sudden departure.  “A curse?”
He stood and pushed through the curtain at the rear of the confessional, walked around and opened the door to the parishioner’s side.  There on the shelf lay the necklace the woman had left.  A heart-shaped gold locket hung from a long chain, and when opened, displayed a picture of a mustached gentleman wearing a black fedora.  Father Finnegan pinched the locket closed.  The pendant looked entirely harmless—nothing more than a delicate piece of jewelry.
“What have you got there, Father?”
He turned to find Sister Mary Catherine.  “A locket…supposedly cursed.”  He laughed. “Methinks tis the soul of the person who left it who needs the blessing.”
“The jewelry looks to be a fine piece for the fund-raising bazaar, if you’ve no other plans for it.”  The nun smiled and opened her hand.
“You’re welcome to it.”  He dropped the necklace into her waiting palm.  “Although the strange behavior of my last visitor surely makes me wonder what it is about this lovely piece she found so frightening.  Certainly not the picture of the handsome fellow inside.”
            Father Curtis arrived for his time in the confessional and Father Finnegan retired to his room via the kitchen, carrying a pot of hot tea.  He sat at a small round table in his sparsely decorated chamber and poured himself a cup of orange pekoe. With a glance at the golden crucifix above his bed, he crossed himself.
         The morning newspaper lay unread next to the ceramic teapot.  Prepared to unwind from the multitude of confessions heard earlier, he flicked open the publication and gasped at the picture adorning the front page beneath the words, “Found Murdered.”
            “Mary, Mother of God!”  He stared at the face from the locket.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two Paragraph Tuesday

Taking two paragraphs today from my upcoming February 7th release, Odessa.

Zach’s boots thudded on the walkway as he made his way back to the boarding house. His visit to the sheriff’s office had gone smoothly enough, so why wouldn’t his stomach stop churning? Now he could tell Odessa he’d done the proper thing by reporting the killings to the local law official. At least he hoped he’d done the
right thing. He glanced over his shoulder, searching for the structure the sheriff had mentioned, and his breath seized.

Moonlight highlighted the gallows’ wooden framework at street’s end. A knotted noose quivered in a light breeze. Frozen in place, he grasped his throat and swallowed hard. Had the man about to be hanged robbed a stage? Zach turned away and hastened his stride. A hot bath at the boarding house sounded like just what he needed to relax and ponder his next move.

***********************************************************************

Odessa is joining my other historical western romances offered at Eternal Press.  Launch day is February 7th and I'll be in the chat room at 1:00 CST if anyone would like to drop by and keep me company.  You can check out the chat features now and see how easy it is.  http://www.eternalpress.biz/chat.php 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

I'm joining in with several friends who participate in Six Sentence Sunday, and I thank whoever created the concept.  It gives me an opportunity to share some interesting parts of my books.  Today I'm featuring sentences from The Locket, coming soon from Eternal Press. This is my first attempt at a true mystery.  Can't wait to see the reviews once I get the final PDF.  Comments welcome:


He plopped a folder atop the table, then folded his arms and rested on them while making an assessment of her that added to her discomfort. 
Straightening in her chair, Crystal smoothed her linen skirt and returned his gaze. She crossed her ankles and folded her hands in her lap. The air inside the small room suffocated her, and she wanted to be anywhere but here. She fought the urge to jump across the table and claw out his eyes. “Can we please move this along?” 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Respect Your Flight Attendant

Are you aware of the vast amount of training that flight attendants go through in order to qualify for their jobs?  While you may consider they are only there to take your drink order, fetch you a blanket or pass out peanuts, the men and women who serve in this capacity play a vital role in the safety of those on board.

While you might consider they only stroll the aisles to pick up trash, assure seat backs are in their upright position and trays stowed and locked, actually they are required to conduct a cabin check every twenty-thirty minutes.  They’re looking for anything out of the norm that might put you in jeopardy.  Besides, babysitting passengers, they also do regular checks of the cockpit to assure that the pilot is alive and well. Think they are taking bathroom breaks too often?  Not so, they’re checking to make sure the smoke detectors haven’t been tampered with.

Attendants are trained for all sorts of emergencies, from small injuries, anxiety attacks, and even on-board births.  They are well instructed on how to prepare passengers in the case of water landings and how to utilize the emergency slides.  Since 9/11, most have also received basic instructions on defense in the case of terrorist attacks or high-jacking.  Next time you fly, you might want to consider that Allstate isn’t the only place where you’re in good hands.

The idea of A Wing and a Prayer stirred my heroine Callie Corwin to join the other voices in my head clamoring for attention.  Sometimes, which WIP I devote time to is determined by how loud the character yells, and she won out over a few other pushy people.  :)  I have to credit my friends with discussions of a news article about flight attendants that brought Callie to life.

Here's a short excerpt because A Wing and a Prayer is a short story.  Like I've said elsewhere, where else can you be entertained for less than a dollar and not worry about the calorie content?  On sale at Coffee Time Romance for seventy-nine cents.

Callie Corwin passed down the aisle of the 757 one more time before takeoff. Her heart thudded in her chest like the jet engines. Hopefully, she’d done everything by the book. This was her first flight as an attendant, and everything she’d learned during training seemed to have gotten lost in her muddled thoughts of the training manual and its long checklist of things to do.

Making her way back to her own seat in the front of the plane, she halted at a huge pair of cowboy boots blocking the aisle. “Excuse me, sir.” She jostled the muscular shoulder of a person in repose, most of his face hidden by a black Stetson. 

He lifted the hat higher on his head and pulled his long, lanky legs back into place. “Yes?”

She swallowed hard, seeing eyes bluer than a Montana sky staring back at her. “Y-you’ll have to buckle your seatbelt for takeoff.” Her gaze drifted down the length of him and rested on his bag. “And you’ll have to stow your carry-on under the seat in front of you.” 

“Yes, ma’am.” He doffed the brim of his hat and nudged the black case forward with his foot.

She tried to be professional and not chuckle at his adorable accent. With a smile and a fluttery stomach, she turned and continued to her jump seat in the galley. That cowboy certainly was a piece of eye candy. Too bad there wasn’t time to get better acquainted. Still, the eleven hour flight from California to England would certainly offer another chance.

She harnessed herself in and smoothed her hands across her skirt. So far, so good. No one had gotten angry, everyone found their allotted seat, and the safety instructions had gone off without a hitch. Of course, no one really followed along with the pamphlet in the seat backs, but at least she managed her safety belt demonstration without dropping her prop. She never expected to be so nervous. Her palms dampened even now as her fellow flight attendant announced they’d been cleared for takeoff.



Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's Ask Miz Ging Day Again...

Yep...it's Thursday and I've dedicated one day each week to host your questions.  Nothing is sacred, except my weight.  So...c'mon, ask those burning questions and let's see if we can find some answers.
I hate playing to an empty room, so who's first?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Genre Hopping? Good? Bad?

The discussion on a yahoo loop I follow deals with this very topic and prompted me to blog about it.  There is so much marketing hoopla these days to create a "brand" for yourself and stick with it, but...what about those of us who don't plot our stories or determine the genre?  I write what my characters dictate, and that has taken me in all different directions.

There's no doubt that I'd like be known as a famous western historical author, but when Cindy Johnson limped into my head and insisted I write Shortcomings for a YA audience, I couldn't refuse. Her message about bullying and how high school students mistreat those "different" than themselves packed quite a wallop.  When Hope Hastings, from Hope Springs Eternal, showed up, crying and distraught over the decisions she had to make as a middle aged woman, how could I deny her?  She was going through much of the angst I went through as a divorced woman.  Sarah had a journey to take and invited me along, and when Mariah commanded my attention, I couldn't stop laughing at the thought of two characters traveling through time and ending up with one another's husband.  I had to take that trip to see where it led.

To me, genre hopping is no big deal as long as you write each story to the best of your ability.  Chastity, Faith Ellie, Taylor and all the rest of my heroines shared stories with me that I couldn't deny writing.  I have no limitations thus I have a waiting room filled with heroines and heroes who will take me and my readers wherever their stories lead.

I think people might be surprised at how many authors do genre hop.  They just do it under different pen names.  One of the most prolific authors I respect, Madeline Baker, has written tons of western historical novels, but she also writes as Amanda Ashley and has penned a string of vampire hits.  Check out her website.
She doesn't need the promo from me, but I used her as an example because she was a role model for me when I first started writing.  Over the years, I've read the majority of her western historical novels and loved everyone of them.  I wish I had the nerve to approach her about reading one of mine and commenting to see if I did her proud.  *lol*

Since I do well to remember my own name, I'm steering clear of pen names.  I guess the point of this blog was to point out that I do genre hop, but I do it for very good reasons.  Maybe we should make this a dance.  We already have the "Bunny Hop." Let's do the "Genre Hop."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome Krista D. Ball

The Top Ten Ways I Know I'm a No Name Author

Every wonder what it's like, being a published author? I know I used to. At sixteen, I was convinced that I would be published at 28 (just in time for my high school reunion...which I never went to), thin, wearing fur (eww), and wearing Prada sunglasses looking all that.

Oh, and I'd be making enough money for all that. Did I mention the limo?

I have only been writing seriously for the last 4 years, the last two being very dedicated to publication. 2010 saw me with about twenty non-fiction articles, one novella fiction release, a couple of short story sales, two completed novels, and some other started projects. That sounds pretty damn good, right? It is and I'm very proud of it. But as people decide to pirate from no name authors and think that watching Teen Mom begets critical thinking, I'd like to take a moment to reflect upon what being me actually looks like.

1. My family doesn't ask me for money.
2. The graph on my royalty statement requires a magnifying glass to see the current sales.
3. I can afford afford to shop at Nine West. But only for sandals. And only on season clearance.
4. My kids are embarrassed to tell their teachers what I do for a living.
5. I'm not cool enough to have my own panel discussions at SF conventions.
6. I have to bribe SF convention committee members with cookies and Star Trek figurines to get on group panels.
7. When I have convention tables, I'm asked what author I'm selling for.
8. My publisher forgets my name.
9. I still drink $15 wine and freeze the leftovers for spaghetti sauce.
10. I still have to eat spaghetti sauce.

Ok, so being a (no name) author didn't turn out exactly the way my sixteen old year self wanted. However, I must admit, I  kinda like this life. Doing what I want, doing what I love, and feeding the dogs my leftover spaghetti sauce.



Krista D. Ball is a Canadian SF author who spends way too much time on Twitter.
Check Krista's website to find out about her newest release.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Life is a Bowl of Toilets and I Clean Them...

I'm on a roll with humor this weekend, so I thought I'd share a chapter from my first "toilet book."  Hope you enjoy it.


Life Is a Test
Life is a Bowl of Toilets and I Clean ThemLife is a test for most of us. I can remember when my test started. I
was a “fat” child—even before the days of fast food and hormone-injected
burgers. If you could survive all the fat jokes and unkind
remarks, then you passed the test. Oh, you don’t know you’re being
tested until you become an adult and wonder how you made it through
those times. At least today, kids can blame their weight on their eating
habits and the fact that both parents are forced to work and don’t have
time to cook nutritious meals…in my time, my mother stayed home
with us and cooked all our meals.

My dad worked in a raft shop for ninety-nine cents an hour. With
four kids to feed, he used to “appropriate” things…like that word?
That’s a new word my husband taught me that he uses when he brings
things home from work that he didn’t buy. Anyhow, my dad
“appropriated” the canned rations that were used in packing life rafts.
It was like Christmas when he brought them home—those cute little
tins with food inside. How fair is it that you can you get fat on rations
that starving people, adrift in a life raft, eat to survive?

My mom had a strange habit of cooking one extra piece of meat. My
dad was a meat, potatoes and salad kinda guy, so that was our menu
most of the time. Can you say “cholesterol”? There were four kids and
two adults in our family, and no matter how big the pieces were, she
always cooked seven of them. I don’t think anyone wanted a second
piece, but there it was, lurking for whoever could eat the fastest. It was
like a contest you really didn’t want to enter, and you didn’t really want
the prize, but you were compelled to perform. It wasn’t until I had
stomach surgery and had to learn to chew my food that I actually
realized food has a taste.

Being fat as a child is exceptionally hard on your ego. I was always
the last picked in any recess games. That’s how you really learn to
manage stress. You are forced to line up while two team captains,
usually the slimmest and richest kids in class, single you out…one at a
time. The line gets shorter and shorter until you are the only one left.
That in itself does some severe damage to your self-esteem, but when
they start offering you to each other’s team as a nicety…that’s the
worst. “Okay, we have enough, you can have her for your team. No,
that’s all right, you take her…it’s only fair.” Fair, schmaire! What
would be fair is if you didn’t have to play those stupid games of dodge
ball. What fat kid wants to run around trying to dodge something that’s
as round as they are?

Face it…growing up fat is tough, no matter what age you are. Once
I actually survived grammar school and moved into junior high, it
didn’t get any easier. Now, in addition to being fat, you have to deal
with puberty on top of it. Girls today don’t have any idea how easy it is
for them in comparison. Today, the sanitary pads have “wings.”
They’re light as a feather, and all you have to do is stick them to the
crotch of your underpants. In my day, once “your monthly visitor”
started coming around, you had to have a “sanitary belt” to hold your
pad in place. Did I say pad? It was more like a chaise lounge mattress,
but I digress. The sanitary belt was specifically created for girls who
had flat stomachs and no layers of fat around their abdomen. If you
were heavy, the belt rolled up into a thin, razor-sharp strap and rubbed
your skin until it bled. That’s where the phrase, “rubbed you raw” came
from.

Then there’s your hair. You’ve reached an age where you want to
look good but your mother keeps experimenting with home perms. I
actually believe I was the inspiration behind the “Chia Pet.” Women
today have no idea what frizzy ends really look like. It wasn’t only my
ends that were frizzy, my mother twirled those rods so tight, even the
new growth came out curly. It wasn’t until the “teasing” or “ratting” era
came around that my mom quit torturing me and let me torture myself.

Ah, I remember those days well…see how high you can get your hair
to stand up and just how stiff you can spray it. Of course, my spiffy hairdos only lasted till my first period class in chool. I had the good fortune to have swimming as first class of the day. God, I hated it. I tried everything to keep my hair dry. First I put a  plastic bag on my head, then I put one of those magic turbans around it,
then I put on two bathing caps. As soon as the teacher made me dive in,
the magic turban sucked up 1/4 of the pool water which in turn filled the
plastic bag, which in turn soaked my hair. It’s a wonder I didn’t sink to
the bottom of the pool and drown, but I guess my fat kept me buoyant.
Thank God gym didn’t last all that long—I’m certain the pressure from
two bathing caps and a magic turban could be detrimental to your
health. Then you have fifteen whole minutes to dry off, dress and get to
your next class, which, of course, is always on the other side of campus.
Ever try combining wet hair saturated with hair spray…I don’t
recommend it. It’s true a tornado couldn’t move a hair on your head, but
the “after swim” style isn’t all that flattering.

I can see that things were much easier on mothers back then. They
weren’t bombarded with designer names everywhere they looked. You
didn’t have to wear just Nike, Guess or Vanderbilt. Oh I’m sure rich
people knew about designer clothing, but we sure didn’t. People didn’t
kill each other over tennis shoes like they do now. We wore what we
could afford, and the only so-called designer name I can recall was a
tennis shoe called KEDS, and that’s because I got a new pair every
September for school. If people were going to kill over tennis shoes,
those ugly KEDS would have never been the cause of anyone’s death.

Yep, every September, my mom used her cherished Sear’s charge
card, and we went on a school shopping spree. The girls (3 of us) got
five dresses, new underpants, socks, and shoes. My brother got the
same amount of clothing, only suited for the male gender. He wore
those Sear’s tough skin jeans, the ones guaranteed not to wear out. It
was true, no matter what he did, the knees of those jeans were
indestructible. If they could build cars out of that stuff, we wouldn’t
need body repair shops. On the flip side, some talented person said, “If
they can make a space ship to withstand the heat of re-entry, why in the
heck can’t they make pantyhose to withstand a single hangnail?”
My mother had another weird ritual—waxing the floors. Back in the
50s and 60s everyone had those wonderful dark tiles that showed
everyone’s foot prints no matter how many times they wiped their feet.
My mother used to wax her floors until you could see the reflection of
your underpants when you walked on them. I always thought it was
because she was unusually clean, but later I learned it was her way of
keeping tabs on what happened at home when she was gone.

I didn’t get to stay home alone until I was in high school. My parents
actually trusted me enough to leave me at home while they spent the
night at my grandparents’ in a neighboring community. I didn’t have
any intention of having a party—it just happened. You know, you’re
talking on the phone, you happen to brag to a friend that you’re home
alone and the next thing you know you are so far from being alone it’s
not funny. Nobody wants to be considered uncool, so how do you
handle turning people away? I didn’t have a clue. Luckily, I lived in a
small town…I only had so many friends.

I was having a great time until it dawned on me…the floor! My mom
will know people walked on her floor. I started counting the scuff
marks—my heart pounding like a drum. Around mid-night I told
everyone they had to leave. I had to have time to repair the damage. I
made up an excuse that the neighbors called the police. I never saw
people exit so fast. I spent the next three hours on my hands and knees
waxing that stupid floor. I kept adding coat after coat until I could see
my reflection! I thought I was safe. I’d pulled it off.

I was beat. All I had to do was finish straightening up the living room
and I was home free. At least, so I thought. Removing the beer cans and
papers from the coffee table, I happened to glance into my mother’s
fish bowl. Her gold fish were her babies and, although I will never
understand that mentality, she loved them. I figured I should feed them,
so I added a little food to the water and waited for them to stick their
little heads up top and start munching. I kept watching…watching…watching. I put my finger in the water and moved the mock sea weed around. They were all floating right beneath it—belly up! The water smelled of wine. Oh my God, I’m dead. I got the tea strainer and pulled them out of the bowl. I threw them over the back fence, changed the water, put the sea weed back in place and hoped she
wouldn’t notice for a day or two, or at least until I could come up with
an explanation.

Okay, so I had a party, someone gave my mom’s fish an overdose of
Sangria, and scuffed up the floor. What could happen? My mother
happened. The minute she walked in, she knew. Despite my attempt to
hide the evidence, evidently my buffing skills were not as good as hers
and she could tell exactly how many people had walked on her floor. I
got put on restriction, which wasn’t all that bad since there wasn’t any
place to go where I lived anyhow. The good news was it took her the
better part of a week to notice her fish were gone. I still feel guilty for
fingering the cat. Poor Tiger got beaten with the broom and had no idea
what for.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Life is a Bowl of Toilets...

Two of the first books I published started with these words, but like all poor suckers who didn't do their homework, I signed with Publish America and probably haven't made enough money to cover the nail polish I wore off while typing the manuscripts.  Both are short reads...perfect for one sitting in the john.  :)

While trying to think of something humorous to share, I thought, why not an excerpt from Life is a Bowl of Toilets and I Feel Flush.  I did get some pretty great reviews on my efforts, but this particular book is fraught with errors, yet PA didn't think they were important enough to fix.  Hope you find something to chuckle about in this offering:


Strangers in the Night

Did I say memory? I wish I still had one. That’s one of the first things to leave. One day you are heading down the hallway and you suddenly realize you have no idea why…or even of your destination. The first time it happens is a terrible feeling, but then it becomes commonplace
and you just have to rearrange your life to accommodate it. I now use a checklist before leaving home to make sure I do not burn the house down by forgetting to turn off appliances. I have lots of time to create the list because I usually am searching for the car keys that are in a spot
that I can’t recall.

And…there is nothing more annoying than running into people you don’t remember, especially when they know your name. It’s embarrassing to say the least. If they are my age, I want to ask for tips on how they recall who I am, but then I probably wouldn’t remember what they said anyhow. I think everyone over fifty should have their names embroidered on their clothing in a highly visible area…and in large letters for those of us who put our glasses somewhere and can’t
remember where.

Here’s a prime example of what may be looming on my horizon:

Two elderly women were out driving in a large car—both could barely see over the dashboard. As they were cruising along, they came to an intersection where the traffic light was red. Instead of stopping, they went right on through.

The woman in the passenger seat thought to herself, “I must be losing it. I could swear that light was red.” 


After a few more minutes they came to another intersection and red light. Again they went right through. A little further down the street, it happens again.

Now the woman in the passenger seat is beginning to panic, but before she can say anything, they’ve run through another red light.


Fearing for her life, the passenger turns to her friend and says, “Mildred, do you realize that you have been running every red light? You could have killed us both!”


Mildred turned to her and responded, “Oh crap, am I driving?”


Along with the memory goes your eyesight. God was kind here because most people over fifty have lost some degree of their vision. I figure he planned it to balance the shock of the body changes we experience. Luckily we don’t wear our corrective lenses to bed or senior sex would come to an immediate halt. If we could see each other with 20/20 accuracy, we’d probably consider celibacy a serious cure.

Senior sex you say? Studies show that most adults stay sexually active well into their golden years and actually are enjoying it more than when they were young. I have to admit that I am trying it only because I hear it can prolong ones’ life. I view intercourse as my monthly dose of exercise. Why jog everyday when I can make my heart race three times faster by just trying to assume some of the positions I liked in my younger years? I have decided the “missionary” is my  favorite at this stage since I spend most of time praying for the torture to end…and I have finally come to the conclusion that the enjoyment study might have been based on bedroom noises. It is hard to decipher between someone lost in the throes of ecstasy and someone with the sudden onset of leg cramps. Face it, at fifty and over most of us just aren’t as agile as we used to be.


I just don’t want to be like the women in these joke I recently received in my email:

An elderly woman was ambling down the nursing home hallway. In front of each old man, she would stop, rest on her walker, and flip up the bottom of her gown and say, “Supersex.”
 After stopping in front of four or five gentlemen, and without having received a response of any
kind, she paused before a newcomer sitting in his wheelchair and again flipped up the hem of her nightgown and said, “Supersex.”

The elderly gent gave her a quick once-over, and without hesitation responded, “I’ll take the soup.”

OR

Eighty-year-old Bessie bursts into the rec room at the retirement home. She holds her clenched fist in the air and announces, “Anyone who can guess what’s in my hand can have sex with me tonight.” An elderly gentleman in the rear shouts out, “An elephant?” Bessie thinks for a moment and says, “Close enough!”


My gradual loss of my vision coincided with the sprouting of long hairs on my neck and a few on my upper lip. What’s this all about? I had a hysterectomy, take hormone replacement pills daily, and now I am growing whiskers? I don’t know about you but I think my husband  should be the only one in the house with a beard or moustache. It is yet another humiliating experience of aging to have to ask my husband to “pluck” my neck since I can’t see well enough to do it myself…and it’s amazing how quickly they grow back. I had noticed that the hair growth on my legs and under my arms had minimized so I guess this is the repercussion from that. On a good note, having my moustache waxed on a monthly basis at my local salon has taken a few of the pleats out of my lips.

I remember when I first heard the term “bikini wax.” I might have considered one if I had a bathing suit body, but a few stray pubic hairs were the least of my concerns. In my younger years I did do a little time trimming of that area on occasion just so all those little curly hairs did not peek out of my undies, but I sure as heck was not about to go have a stranger take care of the problem for me. Isn’t life humiliating enough without letting other people know how hairy you are? I realize this is a sensitive topic, but I do want to warn those of you who find this a common complaint; be thankful you have what you have while you have it. One of life’s best kept secrets is that the hairs on your head aren’t the only locks that turn gray, and worse than that, not only men develop male-pattern baldness. Let me just say that baby girls may look cute out of their diapers, but there is nothing attractive about a graying, balding who-who. But, the way my body is aging, my boobs will hide the problem before long…as long as I don’t lay down.
 
  Are you kidding me?  $24.75 for a 50 page book?  If anyone wants a copy, I have several I'll be willing to see for less than half the price.  Gees, it's not like I'm Nora Roberts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Welcome, Lila Munro

Lila Munro is a writer of contemporary romance currently residing on the coast of North Carolina. She is a military wife and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fourteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her previous works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, and Destiny’s Fire. Anthology work includes a piece in All I Want for Christmas is Redemption. She loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted via her website http://lilamunro.weebly.com , her joint effort website http://www.wickedmuses.webs.com or through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Lila_Munro .

Said Wendy from Happily Ever After Reviews about Bound By Trust:

Let me say, I loved the book and I fell in love with the characters. Their story is so realistic I felt as if they were my friends. Through all the hardships, Rafe is a man who Madi learned to depend on and love again. He made her feel like a woman cherished while teaching her what she craves is right in his arms. Theirs is a true love story with their share of disagreements and trials. The story had me from the first paragraph and is a must read if you want a real man falling in love with a real woman. 5 Teacups.


All I Wanted for Christmas

With the holiday season just having passed, my memory was jarred a bit about how I began this journey long, long ago to become a writer. I think most writers can remember having the desire to put words to paper as a child, some even before they knew how to write the words. As for me, my love of words started with love of books and began to grow exponentially when I memorized The Little Red Hen at age three. I positively loved that book. My Mom actually used me as a bit of a showpiece that way, as we tricked another gloating relative into believing I was indeed reading it. Well, in my mind I was. However, that has nothing to do with my topic now does it? The thing I wanted for Christmas that set me on the journey to writing rather than memorizing and magic.

I believe I was about eight years old when I discovered I had a passion for writing and as a result I wanted a typewriter for Christmas. Yes, a typewriter. What kid wants something that equates to work for a gift? Crazy right? But, nothing doing, I held out hope for that thing with a vengeance, and my wish was granted. Under the tree that year was a pale blue, toy typewriter, complete with a ream of paper. Oh, how I loved that thing. In fact, I think I ignored my dolly until she wanted to be adopted by another little girl. It was on that tiny toy that I pecked out the stories of a small girls mind. Too bad I didn’t save any of them. I wonder what I would have thought of them now. They’d have probably made for great kids books. I could be rich off that now instead of struggling in the romance e-world like so many others, getting more enjoyment out of sharing the stories than actual profits.

As the years went by the little typewriter got lost in the closet and eventually thrown out as it was worn and broken. But that spark of story telling magic never left. In the sixth grade, I had to take creative writing as an elective class and my teacher really set a fire in me. He told me I had a knack for carrying a story line. That did it. I was bound and determined someday I’d be the next Agatha or Stephen. Well, I’m neither, but I am Lila. Creator of realimantica. And that happened after many years of that young story teller bouncing between bouts of silence and shouting.

Throughout high school I wrote sporadically. I would jot down a few hundred pages of something, then look at it think it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever read and toss it in the trash can. In college my first major was journalism. I guess I thought the way of real life research was the way to go, but that soon waned as I was forced into a public relations class that I hated. I then changed my major a few more times before leaving the halls of greater learning with the BS in hand. In psychology and sociology no less. Wonder if that has anything to do with my ability to crawl around in my characters heads and fill them with problems? Interesting thought.

After marrying and starting a family, the muse went mute. For several years in fact. I tried writing while I lived in Okinawa, Japan, only to read the almost completed manuscript think it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever read and toss it in the trash before packing out and moving back stateside. What a waste. Then, several duty stations later, I found myself with an empty nest, no job, and nothing to do all day but read and read and read. Oh the sheer joy of it! Then a funny thing happened. My mute muse began to chatter. And she chattered and chattered and chattered and she would not be quiet until I sat down at this old keyboard and I told her story. That was my first published work, The Executive Officer’s Wife. Now here it is a year later and I have my third full length novel coming out through Rebel Ink Press next week, A Slower Lower Love.

And to think—it all started with what I wanted for Christmas some thirty-five years ago. Know what I wanted for Christmas this year? An hour or two of uninterrupted sleep.

Now I’d like to introduce you to my new novel that will be hitting e-shelves January 18 at ARe through Rebel Ink Press for $5.99. It is a 58,000 word contemporary romance with erotic overtones and is entitled A Slower Lower Love.

Here’s a bit about the story:

When running isn’t the answer,

Cait O’Kelley loved Bryce Delaney with all her heart. But loving him scared the hell out of her. She didn’t want to settle for being married to a cop and having his children. She wanted more. Unfortunately, more came with a price. After leaving her small home town for more glamorous life and working her way up the corporate ladder, a whirlwind affair with the boss’s son tears her world apart. On the brink of losing everything she’s worked for, she had to make a decision.

and going back seems impossible,

After eight years of living without her, Bryce finds himself tasked with the job of watching over Cait during her week long stay at her parent’s beach house in Bethany. She’s come there to sort her life out and while she’s contemplating her future, they discover the fireworks are still there. But can they ever go back to where they once were? As his secrets begin to surface, he sees only one way to save her. He disappears without a trace leaving Cait behind to pick up the pieces and deal with a whole host of new problems. One of which she can’t explain away or hide.

can you find middle ground?

With Bryce out of the picture, his brother, Kurt, finds what he’s wanted a lifetime handed to him on a silver platter. After watching Cait and Bryce toy with each other for fifteen years, he steps up to the plate. He’s always wanted her and now is his chance. But is he strong enough to ground Cait and keep her from making yet another mistake? Which brother will win her heart and show her that a slower lower love is enough?

I’d like to share a short excerpt with your readers, Joanne. I hope they enjoy it.


The sound of seagulls screeching like nails on a chalkboard pulled Cait out of the
peaceful place somewhere between sleep and wake she’d been dozing in and out of most of the morning.  The raucous cacophony was far too close for comfort.  Pushing up on her forearms in the warm soft sand, she peeled her eyes open.  A summer browned boy that looked to be around ten or eleven stood a few yards away with a clear plastic bag full of bread crusts.  The band of ivory and gray birds dipping and swooping behind him cast shadows over her and her fluffy yellow beach towel.  Did the boy have no sense at all?  Probably the offspring of interlopers, he obviously didn’t realize the scavenging birds would never leave if you fed them just once.
       “Hey, kid,” she shouted. “Go somewhere else with your bag of bread.”
She didn’t want to share her space with a child and his flock of motley birds. Why wasn’t he back in school anyway?  It was well past Labor Day.
            He glanced over at her, pulled a piece of crust from the bag, and waved it in the air blatantly ignoring her wishes to be left alone. 
Hating to be taunted, she started to get up. “I said get down the beach you scrawny urchin, this isn’t public access, so go.”
            After watching him dart away with the gulls not far behind, she lowered herself back on her towel and closed her eyes again.  She’d come here to rest and try to piece her life back together, not deal with truants. 
It was her mother’s suggestion that she take a week at the beach house after the last holiday weekend of summer.  She’d finally agreed after giving the idea some serious pause.  There were too many memories here she didn’t particularly care to rehash.  It had seemed at the time, however, a better alternative than being secluded in her town home for one more day alone. But if her first morning was any indication as to what her stay was going to be like, she might well change her mind and go back to Baltimore before sundown.
            For now, at least, here she was.  The very place that eight years ago she’d absconded like it was infested with the plague.  Fled for a life outside the confines of small town life to anywhere bigger USA
It just happened that anywhere bigger at the time was Pittsburg.  She’d found a job and earned a degree at the university.  Then she’d gone on to land a gig at one of the nation’s biggest marketing firms in Baltimore.  After working her way up from the mail room, she’d been in charge of some very affluent client accounts.  Always looking for more though, that hadn’t been enough fast enough.  No.  She wanted everything, and everything came with a price. 
After practically throwing herself on him, she’d landed the bosses son.  As far as Jamison Curtis and all their friends were concerned, they were a match made in heaven.  They both had good heads for business and eyes on the brass ring attitudes, and after a brief courtship they had been engaged to be married.  
They weren’t a match made in heaven in her book though.  He wasn’t much for wild abandon in the sack. In fact, he was more the missionary type, though she could concede it was usually satisfying enough.  He liked the opera, while she preferred alternative rock. He wanted steak every night and she would have chosen boiled crabs anytime.  On top of all that, she’d known she didn’t love him.  What did she expect hooking up with someone that wasn’t raised on the eastern shore, south of the Mason Dixon, where life was simpler?  But wasn’t that what she had run from all that time ago? 
For her he was just a mere rung on the ladder of success, the toll to a better life.  At least that was what she believed until three months ago when it all came crashing down around her like a skyscraper after an earthquake.    
            Feelings complicated things, and she didn’t want complicated.  He, however, had apparently let himself fall hopelessly in love with her and it wasn’t until their engagement party at a five star hotel on the inner harbor that she fully realized that. She overheard him talking to his brother and inadvertently discovered how he couldn’t wait until they honeymooned in Paris, and actually hoped they came home expecting their first born.  That she hadn’t counted on.  After Jamison left Haden standing on the balcony overlooking the harbor, she had confronted him. They had already had the children or no children discussion and she had made it perfectly clear that they weren’t in the equation for her right now, and maybe indefinitely.
That led to an argument right there in the ballroom that escalated until all she heard was the sound of their two voices reaching a piercing pitch.  The band had stopped playing and all their friends ceased what they were doing to stare at them there in the middle of the floor spearing each other through with glaring eyes.  The silence had been even more clamorous than the sound of their arguing.  That was the point at which the relationship had snapped in two like a dry twig.  Pop!  It was over.
She’d composed herself and tried to salvage some of her dignity.  After apologizing to their guests, she made a hasty exit to take a cab home. Like a coward, she left Jamison there to put out the blaze she knew would consume Curtis Industries by Monday morning.
After ignoring his calls all day Sunday, the phone finally quit ringing.  He hadn’t bothered leaving any messages.  Nothing he could say, and nothing she could do, would make things right anyway.  She’d torn another man down and crushed him.  Only this time she was a grown woman and it was no longer a game of hurt feelings.  Her livelihood would be affected by her stupid selfish actions.
Monday morning she’d slipped into the Curtis building downtown under the cover of pre-dawn.  It only took minutes to clear her desk and type out her resignation.  She knew she could never set foot in the office again, and even if she could face the humiliation of it, chances were she’d be fired and asked to leave.  After depositing the letter on Jamison’s desk, and laying the two carat Marquis cut engagement ring on top of it, she left like the coward she was and went home to try to figure out what to do next.
Three months later, she still hadn’t figured it out.  She had no job, no Christmas wedding to plan, and, if the tides of fate didn’t turn in her favor soon and leave some source of income at her doorstep, she would soon have no gorgeous town home.  Her emergency funds were vaporizing and she had received so many rejection notices from prospective employers that she now suspected the elder Curtis of blackballing her all over Baltimore and a few other choice cities. 
She squirmed around on her towel trying to root out a lump under her right shoulder and let out a loud sigh when she felt another shadow fall across her.  That damn kid!  She shot up fully ready to march him off and leave him with his absent parents, wherever that was.  But when she looked up, instead of a four foot tall tow headed boy, a six foot tall dark haired man stood over her in blue board shorts with a matching towel slung over a very muscular shoulder.  The sun wasn’t at its midday point yet and fell behind him shadowing his features, but she could plainly see that he was stacked to the nines.  He sported chiseled biceps, his abs looked like a washboard, and every visible inch of his smooth skin was bronzed.
“Is this seat taken?” That voice.  She couldn’t see him, but she would recognize that voice anywhere even though the years had deepened it to a low sexy pitch.
“What are you doing here?” she snapped.
“The same thing you are, Cait.  Trying to relax.  So do you mind if I join you?”  He started to spread his towel.
“Yes, I mind.  No, you may not.  Possession is ninth tenths of the law.  I’ve been on this piece of sand since dawn. Therefore, in this case, the law is on my side.” She plopped back down and crossed her arms over her ample breasts. “Now, go away, Bryce, my life is complicated enough as it is.”
“The law, huh?  In case your mother hasn’t informed you, I’m a cop now. Your whole law thing doesn’t hold water with me.  Have you forgotten our house sits just a few yards from yours?  We co-own this stretch.” He continued to spread his towel and sink into the sand next to her.
“Fine, suit yourself.  I’m sure it’s no coincidence that we’re here at the same time.  Our mothers made sure of that didn’t they?  I’ll try not to bother you.”  She turned on her stomach and pointed her head in the opposite direction so she wouldn’t have to look at the fine example of a man Bryce Delaney had become.  Her heart had done a familiar flip-flop at hearing him say her name and that really made her mad.  That was the problem with Bryce. He made her feel things she had no business feeling.


Thanks for hosting me today, Ginger. It’s always a pleasure being here. Your readers may purchase A Slower Lower Love next week at www.allromanceebooks.com

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ask Miz Ging...anything except how much she weighs.

A new feature to my blog.  Thursdays will be devoted to all those burning questions you may have.  You know what "they" say...opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one, but we just might stimulate some great advice here.  Pass the word...first thing Thursday mornings, I'll put on my thinking cap and strive to solve the problems of the world. If nothing else, we may share a laugh or two.

Ask Miz Ging...what have you got to lose except your sanity?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Welcome, Rob and Sloane...

 Heat Warning.  The following is intended for adult audiences only.

Today, I have the pleasure of hosting two of my favorite authors.  How fortunate that they've teamed up and combined their talents to create what must be a spectacular read.  I definitely have to get my hands on a copy as soon as I weed through the piles still waiting for review.  Without further ado...I present:

CLAIRE DE LUNE
Robert Appleton & Sloane Taylor
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-011-5 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-995-8 (Paperback)
Amber Quill Press – Amber Heat

Genres: Science Fiction / Futuristic / Action / Adventure / Mystery / Detective / Voyeurism
Heat Level: HOT
Length: Novel (70k words)


EXCERPT:
Evelyn’s self-esteem soared like a rocket as she gazed into Gerry’s eyes. All the need and desire that filled him shone through. She liked him, maybe more if she were honest, and had wanted him from the moment his pompous ass walked into her hotel room. Being with him and initiating sex tonight was the right thing for her to do.

Gerry wrapped an arm around her waist, tugging her closer. Damn, his hard chest felt good against her achy boobs, but not as good as his rigid cock nestling into her belly.

“Evie—"

“Don’t talk.”


He nodded and traced his index finger along her bottom lip. She nipped the tip, then sucked it in, tonguing the pad until he groaned.

“Ah, Ev—” He caught her face in his hands and kissed her with a passion that ignited her.

His tongue toyed against the seam of her mouth, then delved in, a beautiful taste of wine and herbs, lapping and swirling until her knees trembled. With a regretful sigh, she pulled away.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“No talking. It’s my little quirk.” She tapped his mouth, then took his hand and led him to the sand. After she stooped, she patted the ground, inviting him to join her.
Evelyn rose up on her knees and combed her hands down his chest, flicking his nipples until they sprang to life. Intrigued, she swiped her tongue over her dry lips and leaned into him, licking and sucking the copper-colored discs.

She continued lower to the blond tuft cradling his cock. Gently, she glided her thumb over his swollen head, teasing the drops of pre-cum from the slit to the sensitive underside. Her other hand cupped his balls, rolling the tight sacs with her fingers, taking pleasure in her teasing.

His hips jerked with each touch. Through hooded eyes, he watched, but did as she had requested and maintained silence.

On a rush of air, she gave his lips a quick peck and eased over him, holding her thighs tight against his frame. Heat emanated from his body, soothing and stimulating, a new awareness she longed to experience more than once.

Her breasts swayed close to his mouth. He stretched up and tweaked her pebbled nipples with his thumbs and index fingers. Cuddling them together, he licked and suckled the sensitive tips, first one, then the other. A deep shiver rocketed through her, increasing the ache low in her belly.

She teased his cock along her nether lips, loving the feel of his hot flesh grazing against her clit. In slow motion, she edged onto his shaft, savoring the inches that penetrated her wet vagina.

He rocked into her, clutching her hips, holding her in place. She locked her hands around his wrists and pulled them away, the need to set the pace paramount.
“This is so sexy I don’t want to come,” he bit out through clenched teeth.

“I do.” She slapped his hip. “Again and again.”

LINKS:
Robert Appleton www.robertappleton.co.uk

Sloane Taylor www.sloanetaylor.com 





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Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm an addict...

I confess, I watch soap operas. I got hooked on All My Children when it first began, and I watch it every day. Actually, I record it and watch it when I take a break from the computer. Until they develop a twelve-step program for withdrawal, I'll watch it until Erika has slept with every man possible or they've run out of storylines.  I'm amazed how someone can die one season and come back the next without a scar.  *lol*

Liza Colby
Readers live vicariously through the books we read, but there’s something blocking my ability to do that while watching characters play out their roles on TV. Take today for example. While being consoled by his girlfriend's mother...after finding his gal locking lips and sucking tongue with another guy, Damon suddenly, overcome by his young hormones, kissed Liza. Of course, one kiss and they immediately start ripping off one another's clothes. That's where reality ended with me. If I had a body and all those beautiful red hair extensions like Liza, I could have considered being a Cougar, but the thought of exposing my old, wrinkled birthday suit to a young man left me cold.



Being an author, I find myself exasperated. Even watching serials has been affected by my editorial experiences. I find myself talking to the TV…things like “Yeah, I believe that,” and “oh, how predictable.”  Why don't script writers have to follow our guidelines?  I know I've already mentioned how a character couple rolls over in bed, awake from a night's sleep and nose-to-nose, engage in kissing. Of course, their makeup is never even smudged, but who wants to swap spit when I'm pretty sure morning breath should be an issue.  If I go to sleep with makeup on I wake-up looking like a racoon.  C'mon, producers and directors...show real live people...people we can identify with.  Put a little weight on those stick women, and keep Erika out of the plastic surgeon's office.  Amazing...the lower my boobs get, the higher hers climb, and if I'm not mistaken, they've gotten a tad larger.

Kendall
"They" say (WHO are they?) TV puts ten pounds on you.  I think Erika, Kendall and Liza must weigh 98 pounds then.  I have noticed one thing though.  No matter how much surgery you have on your face and body, the crepy neck always gives away a woman's age.  Erika doesn't have a crease in face, and I think she had a little lip surgery done, but her neck looks horrible.  I'm guessing that's why she had a boob job...to draw people's eyes away from what looks like an exposed esophogas.  When she's performing, I can't draw my eyes away from her throat area.  I'd really like to see her in person, although I'm sure that would be even more depressing if I discovered she really doesn't have thinning skin, and age spots.  And then there's her "daughter" Kendall.  The woman has had heart transplant surgery, suffered while her husband and best friend were stranded together in an abandoned mine, and recently lost the love of her life in a plane crash.  I'm waiting to see where her dearly departed Zach crops up.


Erika
Eika and I pretty close in age, and while she's still putting notches on her bedpost, my interest in sex has waned...much to my husband's chagrin.  I mentioned it to the doctor during my last visit and he offered testerone shots.  I paused for a moment and raised a brow. This is how the conversation went:

  "Aren't those MALE hormones," I asked.

"Yes."

"Well aren't they're side affects?"

"Some."

Okay, I'm getting the feeling he's avoiding the facts here.  I can only ask the burning question in my mind.

"What would I probably experience if I took the shots besides an increased libido?"

"Oh, probably deepening  of your voice and some abnormal hair growth,."

I'm already plucking chin hairs, so I'm really not eager to make it a fulltime job.

"You mean, I might get a moustache as thick as my husband's?"

"Possibily."

I didn't have to think a minute longer.  "No thanks...I'd like people to be able to tell which one of us is the gal."

I wonder if Erika has to shave????

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