Holiday Gift Ideas!

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No matter where you’re from, no matter what holiday you celebrate, December is the time of year to spread some holiday cheer. Now, not everyone can afford to buy presents AND THAT’S OKAY!  Your holiday can still be memorable without making a dent in your checking account.

However, if you DO have some extra cash and are wondering what to get your spouse, lover, co-worker, friend, child, pet and so on, I have a few suggestions that might be of some use. Below, I have a wide range of present ideas which should bring a huge ass smile to the recipient’s face and that’s the point of a gift, right?

Tis the season for BOOYAH’s not BAH HUMBUG’s! 

 

Adults!  

 

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(Pack of 3) Loch Ness Scotland Kitchen Monster Nessie Ladle Cute Creative Cartoon Spoon Tableware for Soup

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  • DRINK-A-PALOOZA Board Game: combines “old-school” + “new-school” drinking games & adult games featuring Beer Pong, Flip Cup, Kings card game & all the best party games for adults

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Box of 4 Candy Cane Edible Shot Glasses Peppermint Flavor (4 Shots in 1 Box)

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Movie Lines Coffee Cup

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Literary Quotes Coffee Cup

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Younger Crowd!

 

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LED Lighting Gloves

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 Beloved Pets! 

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51gzyt3trolZippyPaws Holiday Squeakie Buddies Squeaky No Stuffing Plush Dog Toy, 3-Pack

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Author Showcase / Interview- Daphine Priscilla Brown-Jack (The Other Side of the Story)

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  1. Welcome, Daphine Priscilla Brown-Jack. For those who might not be familiar  with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself?

(Daphine) I have been married for almost 27 years, I have 4 amazing children 2 boys 2 girls. I love life, and love to keep it simple. I don’t stress the negativity in life.

 

(Kameron) How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Daphine) Early years I would write poems without the thought of writing a book. As an adult and my life was changed and I was intrigue to write a book and let the world know that whatever you go through you can out!

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(Daphine) I just stop and reflect take a few days away from my writing and then start back up again.

 

 

  1. Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Daphine) I spend my time with family promoting my daughter’s music as well as my book. I also like to travel, just got back from Los Angeles and had the pleasure of meeting with Stevie Wonder at the bookstore while leaving a copy of my book. My assistance and I had almost an half of hour conversation with him. He is an amazing and extraordinary man from God. Also he invited back to his radio show to talk about my book.

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Daphine) Most close did not know that I write LOL and I didn’t either. But their thoughts are will you write another, or will you start writing as a career!

 

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Daphine) My all time favorite authors are: Joel Osteen, Bryan Stevenson, & John Grisham

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Daphine) I would choose my book to go to the big screen and would love to see casted is Blair Underwood, Michael Ealey, Loretta Devine. 

 

On August 26, 2009, Daphine Priscilla Brown-Jack thought everything was fine. While driving home from work, she began to reflect on her day, grateful for all her blessings. But just as her gut instinct told her something was wrong, her phone rang. As her daughter relayed news of an allegation against her husband–the man who was always serving and loving God and his family–Daphine’s life plunged into turmoil. Suddenly, nothing was fine.

In the coming months as the situation in her home grew unbearable, Daphine knew she could no longer depend on anyone and turned to her only remaining hope and strength: God. As she relives the emotional experience of watching her life fall apart before her eyes, Daphine provides a compelling glimpse inside her personal journey as she separated fact from fiction, navigated through the criminal justice system, and learned to trust in God’s purpose and plan for her life.

The Other Side of the Story is the inspirational true story of one woman’s struggles within herself, her family, her faith, and the justice system after her husband is wrongfully accused of a crime.

 

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Daphine) New book title “Learning How to Keep Life Simple”

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Daphine) Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Daphine) Go to my under construction website www.daphinejack.com  – Twitter Link 

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Daphine) When you read my book look beyond trying to find the detail of the story but learn from the story. Learn how to not give up when going through a struggle. Learn how to be persistence when going through a struggle. Learn that your struggle will end. As one critic say “This was a very thoughtful, compassionate and compelling story of struggle and faith”.  Another reader states: “First and foremost, Daphine’s writing style is incredibly engaging. The Other Side of the Story is a certified page-turner. I just couldn’t put it down! This is made all the more impressive by the fact that the author never reveals what the accusations against her husband are. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if she’d be able to hold my attention as reader, without going into detail on the charges. I’m no author myself, but if I was, I might have taken the easy route and attempted to hook the reader with the “tell-all” strategy. Instead, it was Daphine’s skillful storytelling abilities that kept me riveted to my seat (and gripping the armrest).”

 

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Daphine, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day and sharing a bit of yourself with me and whomever graciously reads this interview. I’m sure when they finish this and The Other Side of the Story, readers will be in awe of your strength and your profound faith. You and your family could’ve stopped fighting but you didn’t. That shows great character and penning down your story also takes courage which I, like many others, applaud you for. I congratulate you and wish you the very best in life.

Kam  

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Review of “Vespers” and “Bonfire” (Hours of the Night Book 1 and 1.5)- Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt

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Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…

The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he’s vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.

Sarasija Mishra’s most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…

The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can’t even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can’t afford to be picky. On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer’s “special diet”. A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont’s mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can’t seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected “Sara” to be a girl.

Falling in love is hard at any age…

The vampire can’t fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara’s brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice. Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)  

When an author sets out to write any story, no matter the genre, he or she ponders how they can make their story different, stand out among the crowd. For stories centering around vampires, it’s hard to come up with a unique twist that’ll keep you firmly planted in a reader’s mind. Marvel comics brought us Blade, the day-walking vamp. Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt delivered us Thaddeus Dupont, a vampire who is unique in his own right.

Thaddeus had heighten senses, mind control, slept like the dead, and had superior speed and strength compared to normal men. However, he had a few slight differences that’s usually not synonymous with the bloodsuckers. Most authors don’t mention a vampire having a heartbeat. However, Thaddeus had a faint one. Holy water and crosses have been known to be a vampire’s kryptonite. Him, no effect. Also, how many vampires in the books/movies/shows you’ve entertained yourself with had a vampire working with the church? How many vampires do you recall pray, quote scriptures?

Thaddeus worked with the church in hopes of earning his soul back. He reminded me of Angel (tv show and character). Another vampire who battled evil, day in and day out. Like Angel, Thaddeus battled his dark urges and, despite all odds, found love.  

With all the positives regarding “Vespers”, one area didn’t ring true to me. I get Sara’s desperation to help out HIS family, including accepting a job 3000 miles away without actually meeting the bossman. Desperate times call for desperate measures and all that. However if my boss turned out to be a bloodsucker and I just watched him DINE AND DASH, I think I would’ve reacted a bit differently than Sara. He just found out fiction became fact in a bloody way. Maybe it’s the girl in me, but I might’ve screamed a whole lot of obscenities such as: “What the f*ck!?” “Holy f*ck!” Or, “*!*@&#^$%*!*@&#^$%$%%*!*@&$%*!**@&” <—–> One gigantic combination of curse words in a long freak-out.

Seriously, Sara (mortal man) handled everything with a calmer head than me. Heck, he fought multiples demons. That takes big cajones!! HUGE!!

Speaking of huge, yup there was some man on man action. Quite intense but you’d expect a high level of intensity when a vampire is aroused. 

(Vespers is a complete novel with no cliffhanger. It can be enjoyed as a standalone or read as the first book in the Hours of the Night series.)

 

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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****** OUT NOW ******

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Silent night, holy hell.

Thaddeus and Sarasija are spending the holidays on the bayou, and while the vampire’s idea of Christmas cheer doesn’t quite match his assistant’s, they’re working on a compromise. Before they can get the tree trimmed, they’re interrupted by the appearance of the feu follet. The ghostly lights appear in the swamp at random and lead even the locals astray.

When the townsfolk link the phenomenon to the return of their most reclusive neighbor, suspicion falls on Thaddeus. These lights aren’t bringing glad tidings, and if Thad and Sara can’t find their source, the feu follet might herald a holiday tragedy for the whole town.

This holiday novella can be enjoyed alone or as book 1.5 of the Hours of the Night Series. Bonfire takes place the December after the events in Vespers. 

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Thaddeus Dupont isn’t your ordinary vampire. He’s a hitman for the Catholic church, eliminating the world of the demons he’s assigned. He’s also a vamp in love with a man, donates money to a women’s shelter, and celebrates Christmas.

Yeah, Christmas and vampires shouldn’t go together. Picking out a tree, decorating it, and gift exchanging isn’t common practice for blood suckers. Stepping out of the norm is was separates Liv and Irene from the other vampire/supernatural writers. For me, I never know what new human quality they’ll have Thaddeus possess. It’s the tiny things that turn an ordinary book to extraordinary.

Now despite the praise I showed for them, I had to knock off some points for a couple reasons. 

1.) Thaddeus is several decades old but he wasn’t familiar with the term commando. Seemed quite unlikely.

2.) When Sara went missing in the swamp, Dupont couldn’t locate him. He was on the lookout for his light. I thought due to him consuming  Sara’s blood (quite regularly, too) he would be able to find him anywhere, anytime. Yet, Thaddeus only located him when he heard Sara singing Christmas carols. That section went completely against everything I have learned. 

Other than those two things, I rather enjoyed the unorthodox Christmas tale and I think so shall you. 

 

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Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

 

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About Irene Preston

Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

 IrenePreston.com | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Mailing List | Goodreads

  

About Liv Rancourt

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

LivRancourt.com | Facebook | Twitter | Mailing List | Goodreads

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Happy Gobble Gobble Day!

I don’t particularly like the food which centers around this day. My family considers me an odd duck because I don’t care for the smell or taste of turkey, ham, stuffing or pumpkin pie.

My ideal Thanksgiving feast consists of taco pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and cheesecake — which I will be serving at my Thanksgiving gathering later this week.

To appease the turkey lovers though, I will venture over to my sister’s house and fill up on her lumpy mashed potatoes and buttered rolls. Surprisingly, her potatoes have grown on me.. unlike the ham and bird.

In all seriousness, this holiday really is about family and friends. So I say unto you, enjoy the food but be thankful for the meal, say thank you to your cook/kitchen helpers, and make the most out of the time you spend with your loved ones. 

For those who can and do volunteer this holiday season, I want to thank you for making someone’s Thanksgiving day a little brighter and their stomach a little fuller. 

 

And to everyone, I wish you all a very 

happy-thanksgiving

 

Kam

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Author Showcase – Carol Rose (Swaggered)

Before you get a peak at Swaggered (Blue Collar Boys, Book 3), please read the special note from Carol Rose to all of you. 

 

An Audacious Romance Hero

 

I know this isn’t true for everyone, but I find audacious, teasing, funny heroes sexy. I like men who make me laugh. My beloved (of too many years to mention) has this ability and he has said that he thinks this is why I’m with him. He’s not totally wrong. The man is hot, but so engaging and playful that I’ve always had a thing for him.

            My hero in Swaggered(Blue Collar Boys, Book 3) has this ability and when he initially came to me he was as charming as George Clooney, only a tad younger. Of all the three brothers who do architectural salvage together, Tyler Thompson has the murkiest background and some of the darkest fears. He was abandoned by his biological father and drug-using mother and lovingly adopted into the Thompson clan as a teenager.

            His is perhaps the strangest path to happiness in that he’s drawn into a sudden marriage by a woman he’s long had a yen for. Amanda Sinclair has directed the office at his family’s Scruffy Boys Architectural Salvage yard for several years, but she’s always been cautious of flashy, outgoing womanizer Tyler. When she marries him in a weakened, unbeknownst-to-him-drunken state, they end up having to deal with each other in ways she’d never have expected.

            I loved writing the Blue Collar Boys heroes because I’ve always had a thing for men who work with their hands, as well as, their heads. This may appear strange because both my beloved and I are therapists who have advanced degrees. Seems like we’d just be good with working with our heads, but I fell for him when we worked side-by-side on physical projects as teens.

            He’s really good with his hands…if you know what I mean.

            Check out Swaggered(Blue Collar Boys, Bk 3). I hope you love it as much as I do.

 
 
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER ONE
 

Tyler woke slowly, swimming up from unconsciousness, aware of sunlight from somewhere, playing against his closed eyelids. He never woke up well and he’d learned to let it happen in increments. As he surfaced against the heaviness pulling him back to sleep, he became conscious of a comfortable bed under him and the warm pressure of—

A soft shriek close to his left ear, swiftly followed by a gasp, snapped his eyes open. He was always blurry at this point, but he immediately recognized a few things. He was in a barely-familiar hotel room…in Las Vegas, he thought, for his brother Noah’s wedding to Natalie…and a very warm and sexy Amanda was in bed with him.

A very naked, sexy and agitated Amanda was in bed beside him, now holding a sheet clutched to her beautiful chest like a shield.

“Oh. My. God! Tyler, wake up!” Her brown eyes squinted against the light.

“I’m awake. I’m awake.” He struggled to pull himself upright against the pillow, blinking as his brain waves shifted.

“Tyler!” Amanda moved on the bed next to him, bouncing the mattress.

He stuck out a hand. “Can you just sit still for a moment and stop yelling, so I can wake up?”

“No!” She did say this in a more moderate tone, however, bending to cradle her tousled head in her hands, her shoulder-length brown hair sticking out in odd directions. “What are we doing here? Oh-my-god, oh-my-god. My head is killing me and I think I’m going to be sick.”

Looking around his side of the bed, Tyler found a waste basket. “Here. Use this.”

“Are you crazy?” she moaned, throwing her legs off the bed, the sheet still clutched to her chest. “I’m not throwing up right here in front of you. I need the bathroom.”

Coming more fully awake, Tyler couldn’t help grinning. “If you’re planning on taking that sheet with you, you should be aware that I think I’m naked under here. You might get to see my morning glory, if you get what I mean.”

Amanda shrieked again softly, throwing her hand up to blinker one side of her vision as she continued climbing out of the king-sized bed. “Don’t come over here!”

“I’m not going anywhere.” He tucked his hands behind his head. “Take the sheet if you want it.”

Suddenly, she stopped tugging at the sheet and stood next to the bed with her right hand shielding her eyes from seeing him and her left hand lifted in front of her. She seemed frozen.

In a jerky movement, she stuck her left hand out in front of him, turning to glare at Tyler. “Tell me what’s on this hand. There is—there is a ring on my finger! Look at this!”

“Yes.” He blinked, still trying to clear the sleep fog from his brain. “Yes, there is.”

Tyler couldn’t help grinning.

“Looks like a wedding ring to me, Honey.” Reaching out, he rolled forward on the bed to take her outstretched hand in his as much for the contact as anything else, he studied the rock on her third finger. “Nice one, too.”

“A ring with a huge rock!”

He looked down at the ring. “I don’t know. I don’t think it looks over-sized. It’s what? About two carats?”

“What!” She looked at him in shock, snatching back her left hand.  

“Tyler! I. Am. Not. Married!” she shrieked and then cringed, holding her head, saying in a whisper, “At least I wasn’t yesterday.”

He shoved his hand behind the wrinkled sheets. If she’d noticed, he wore a matching band on his finger. “Looks like you are now.”

Tyler met her stricken gaze, his stomach plummeting at the look in her fine brown eyes as apparently the reality of their actions sunk in. In that moment, he knew Amanda didn’t feel as excited as he did about their marriage. Even the $15,000 ring didn’t brighten her eyes.

She clutched her midsection then and started dragging again at the sheet. With awkward moments that were hampered by her trying to pull the tucked-in sheet from under the cover on the bed, she lurched backwards. Finally, she wheeled around awkwardly, the sheet winding around her delicious body.

“Girl—“ He cleared his throat. “Girl, just go to the bathroom. You don’t have anything that I haven’t seen.” That one stricken look on her face told him the road was rocky ahead and he knew better than to say how recently he’d seen the gorgeous curves under her sheet.

Just then, Amanda moaned again, stumbling back a few steps as the sheet came free. Turning she ran to the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind her.

Trying to ignore her retching sounds like a gentleman, Tyler got off the bed and started searching for his clothes. He didn’t think she wanted to come out to find him sprawled naked on the bed. Despite her clear distress at the wedding ring on her finger, he grinned at the thought of it. Set up identical to the one he’d checked into two days ago, this was Amanda’s room. He hadn’t been wasted when they headed back here for fun time and her stuff was scattered around the room.

In a far corner, he found his boxers, while his jeans had ended up straddling a chair by the table.

After pulling on his jeans, he went over to the closed bathroom door. Leaning in, he thought he heard her sniffling. “Amanda, honey. Are you okay?”

The bathroom door opened rapidly and he straightened, unable to stop the smile that spread across his face. Even like this, hungover with her hair messy, he loved waking up to Amanda.

“No,” she snapped, her brown eyes bloodshot and damp. “I feel like hell. Is there some water out there? My mouth is dry and my head is pounding.”

“Sure. Let me get you some.” He went over to the mini-fridge, pulling out a bottle of water.

Having staggered out of the bathroom with the sheet still wrapped around her like a toga, Amanda sank down on the foot of the bed. She took the bottle he handed her, cracking it open and taking a swallow.

Tyler stood watching her, not sure what came next.

Heaving a shuddering breath, she met his gaze like a woman facing up to her mistakes. “Did we, uh, spend the night together? I remember–”

Knowing the road ahead would probably be rocky, he squatted down next to her. “Yes. Yes, we did.”

Amanda closed her eyes as if to gather herself. “I don’t remember…everything, but…this wasn’t a platonic sleepover, was it?”

“No. It wasn’t.” It didn’t do much for a man’s ego that she seemed so shattered by the fact.

Opening her eyes, she started slowly shaking her head. “I wasted my college years. I spent all my time studying and working.”

He couldn’t help smiling at this. “What? Why?”

“If I’d partied more, I would have built up more of a tolerance to handle alcohol.” Amanda stared ahead of her, her face locked in self-recrimination.

He lifted his head to her accusing glare, volunteering, “There’s a marriage license over on the table.”

Her head snapped in the direction of the table and she gulped in air. “No. Oh, no.”

Leaning forward, Tyler looked at her in concern. “Amanda?”

“Who’s…? Who does it say I married?”

Standing up, he went over to the table, lifting the stiff legal document decorated with elaborate printed flowers. Tyler turned back to her, knowing his disappointment and hurt probably showed on his face. “You really don’t remember?”

“Just tell me!” She wailed softly, her hand bracing her head as if she thought it might fall off.

“You know who. Me, Amanda. You married me. We are…married.” It had been pretty much one of the best nights of his life, but he clearly couldn’t say that to her at this moment.

Jumping up, she clutched at her stomach again, wailing, “This can’t be happening! I can’t—we can’t— I need to—“

Watching in concern, he saw her lunge again toward the rest room in her makeshift toga, pausing only to snag her purse from the low chest that held a television.

Tyler watched her. “Honey, are you hyper-ventilating? Do you need a paper bag to breathe into?”

Slamming the bathroom door behind her, Amanda reached over to turn on the sink faucet, letting the water rush out to cover any noise before she knelt on the cold tile floor in front of the toilet and retched into the ceramic bowl, fumbling in a frenzy to raise the seat. In a few moments, she lay back on the hard floor, promising heaven she’d never over-drink again. When she could think again—her stomach no longer wrenching inside her for the moment—she groped for her abandoned purse and gingerly fished out her phone.

She’d never done such a stupid, insane thing in her life. Married! And to a sexy, hot, man-whore like Tyler?! What was wrong with her? Why did she keep getting with men who couldn’t be faithful to one woman? After the last debacle, she’d promised herself she’d pick a better man next time. A man who knew not to drop his pants for every woman he met. Not a guy like Tyler.

Fumbling to find the phone icon, she scrolled past her brother’s number and those of her parents, shuddering at the thought of confessing this to her family—God, she’d not only gotten blind drunk, but when in that condition, she’d apparently married a sexed up, hotter-than-a-man-should-be, outright dog.

Tyler. Random snatches of memory floated into her brain then—the two of them lost in panting, straining…terrific sex. Amanda closed her eyes in shame, the memories spilling through her head. She’d ridden him like the stallion he resembled. And she’d really, really…really enjoyed doing it.

After years of giving him hell for sleeping with everyone from a college professor to a woman he’d met at a convenience store, she’d let herself get into the condition where she’d actually married him. Not just had sex with him, which would have been more acceptable considering the sex dreams she’d had about him before.

And he’d certainly lived up to those…

 
 
 

 

**Reposting feature per the author’s request. Click HERE to be redirected to the original posting **

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Review of “Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones” – Sorchia DuBois

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Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland—in a haunted castle—guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.

Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Before she can snatch the stone, Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches.

Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything.
Not by a long shot.

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images-7(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

When Sorchia DuBois contacted me and asked me to review her story, I was more than willing to offer up my services. I love books about witches, old castles, and Scotland so all three rolled up into one…. It was a no-brainer. I just had to read “Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones” and you should too.

There wasn’t a chapter, a solitary page, where Zoraida didn’t encounter or reflect upon something magical. As we learn through flashbacks, there’s magic in all things and there’s those who weld the power of black magic. As in life, there’s always those who’ll do anything to quench their thirst for power and Michael Logan proved he was such person.

From the get go that man rubbed me the wrong way, Zoraida, too. He used his magic to tap into people’s thoughts and used seduction spells against them. That’s so very wrong. He’s so despicable. Sorchia, marvelous job on developing a character the readers will surely loathe and look forward to his ultimate downfall. Unfortunately, besides a busted nose, he’s walked away to fight another day.

As for the reason Zoraida came to Scotland — the Healing Stone. It wasn’t as simple as walking into the castle and walking back out with in her suitcase. Luckily for her, she made a sort of alliance with a mysterious and alluring sorcerer, Shea. Everything about him drew me in. His tales of the past, his broodiness, and his powerful aura. I can’t wait to see what Sorchia has planned for him in book 2.

For the ending, well, imagine the end of first Lord of the Rings movie. You know, the scene  with Frodo and Sam were looking out over the land that lain between them and Mount Doom. Well, “Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones” ending gave me the same impression the LOTR ending did. The scene just stopped and you just know when part 2 picks up, something major is on the horizon, and you can’t wait to see it unfold.

 

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

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Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with eight cats. She edits technical writing and fiction part time, but she spends at least five hours per day tapping out paranormal romance, Gothic murder, and Scottish thrillers.

Her books delve into the riddles of life—Karma, reincarnation, psychic powers, mysticism, ancient cultures, and good old fashioned “ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night.”

A proud member of the Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found swilling Scotch at Scottish festivals. Online, you can find her blog, Sorchia’s Universe, at www.sorchiadubois.com

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Review of “Nathaniel Keene (The Lovelace Chronicles) (Volume 1)” – Aditi Ramaswamy

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Three months after his eighteenth birthday, Nathaniel Keene died… And that was only the beginning of his troubles. In this debut novel by Aditi Ramaswamy, the titular character – a soft-spoken honor roll student and budding entomologist – thought he’d spend his senior year studying Kafka and integrals. Well… turns out Fate has other plans for him. Within a month of moving to Lovelace, California, he joins the ranks of the undead, befriends a rather talkative beetle, and becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Can Nat’s un-life get any weirder? Yes. Yes, it can.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

If you love vampires, or like them even a wee bit, then there’s a high probability you’ve watched one tv show, one movie featuring the creatures of the night. More than likely, you have books featuring them on your shelf or nestled on your e-reader. You know vamps. You know how they become what they are and how to kill one. Nothing Aditi wrote about could possibly surprise you about them, right? If you’re quick to answer yes, then you’d be wrong.

Sure Aditi stayed true to the myths regarding garlic, mirrors, heighten senses, and increase in strength. However, her tale embellished in one particular area to add a bit of humor to the storyline. We know you have to invite a vampire in before he/she/it can cross over the threshold into your humble abode. This is where Aditi took things one step farther. When Nat came home, his mom had to invite him inside every room of their home. It took about twenty minutes but once the deed was done, it was done period. Thankfully, she didn’t have to repeat the process. At school, the teachers had to invite him into their classrooms — new room, again new invite.

Speaking of teachers, one did have the unfortunate chance of dying and becoming a cockroach. I KID YOU NOT… it happened. Surprisingly, Ms, Flowers (cockroach) was more pleasant, more humorous, more of a joy to be around in her creepy crawling bug form than in a human bod.

Other notes of humor: (Charlotte to Nat)  “More blood, sweetheart?” I’ve had some weird conversation with my teenager son but this one beats all of ours — combined. Ranger’s name: Paul McCartney. Yes, Aditi made plays on his name a time or two. I could go on and on about what I loved about “Nathaniel Keene” but I won’t. I will say this young author, Aditi Ramaswamy, has a very bright future ahead of her.

Oh, and after reading this review, I’d love to know if anyone else got the impression Aditi has created an updated version of the Scooby Doo gang  featuring the Quiz Bowl team + Ms. Flowers (cockroach). I mean, they are teenagers with a “talking pet” who like solving mysteries and they have a new mystery on their hands (cue part 2).

I can’t wait for the sequel! I’m sure it’ll be another entertaining read. 

 

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤❤

 

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Aditi is a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Michigan; she’s majoring in Computer Science and History, and minoring in German and Caffeine Addiction. She has always loved vampire fiction, mostly because she herself is a soulless, undead creature of the night (also known as a “college student”). It is only natural, then, that her first book series is about a dorky vampire.

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Review of “Moon, Mist, & Magic: A Paranormal Romance Anthology”

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  • Five fantastic tales of paranormal romance woven with moon, mist, and magic…
  • Get ready to be enchanted by mythical beasts, magical creatures, and moonlit nights.

COPYRIGHT © 2016 by Maureen L. Bonatch, L.A. Kelley, J. C. McKenzie, Abigail Owen, Sharon Saracino

Cover Artist: Abigail Owen

 

Anthology Blurb:

Get ready to be enchanted by mythical beasts, magical creatures, and moonlit nights. Enjoy your favorite author, and perhaps discover someone new, in these five fantastic tales of paranormal romance woven with moon, mist, and magic…   

 


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A Ghost of a Chance by Abigail Owen

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What’s a girl to do when her brother’s ghost appears asking for help? If that wasn’t bad enough, finding her not-dead-yet brother’s body before he becomes permanently spectral isn’t her only problem. Josie can’t save him on her own. The only person who can help is the last person who would want to. Bryce Evans, a man she once wrapped hopes of her future around, can’t stand to be near her. How can she convince him when her evidence is a ghost he can’t see?

 

View More: http://photos.pass.us/headshot2Dangerous Dreams, by J.C. McKenzie

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As a dragon shifter in hiding, Lara Stone wants nothing to do with others of her kind or finding a mate. No way, no how. She’s perfectly content to work for a security company, masquerading as a simple mage. When the leader of all the dragon clans personally requests her as a bodyguard, Lara fears her secret is blown, or worse. What danger could possibly make Rafael Dragoi, the powerful Astarot, seek protection?

 

zMlNHt4W_400x400Myths and Legends 101, by L.A. Kelley

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Flickering lights. Strange drifting shadows. Unnatural cold. Anthropology professor Jim Calloway is convinced the recent eerie phenomena at Octavian College are due to his overactive imagination until he meets Keilana Yamada and her eccentric grandfather, Toshi. Dazzled by the beautiful Keilani, Jim volunteers to help hunt for an ancient evil roaming the ivied halls. Can a mild-mannered academic find his inner demon hunter and a way into Keilani’s heart? Or will a supernatural predator with an insatiable hunger destroy them first?

 

3ee70839fa03cbe60796a049d9c9d0db_400x400The Keeper, by Sharon Saracino

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When a stranger lands on her slab, poisoned with silver and reeking of vampire, Medical Examiner Olivia Duncan fears someone’s discovered her dangerous secret. Enter Nick Alexios, a mysterious man with a hidden agenda of his own. Olivia ignites his passion and challenges his loyalties, making him question his duty. Nick might be Olivia’s salvation…or her downfall. Will honor-bound promises drive them apart or unite them against threats from both near and far?

 

IYj220Rm_400x400Witch You Were Here, by Maureen L. Bonatch

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Lucy is a witch with a successful business righting magical mischief. A call for help from her high-school heartache, Shane, prompts Lucy to manage his magical mayhem herself. No longer a nervous, hormonal, teenager, Lucy takes the case to force an apology and bury her past humiliation. To her surprise, Shane insists he couldn’t forget Lucy—because she hexed him ten years ago. Will Shane and Lucy put their past behind them, or will the spell prove permanent?

 

 

review(review request submitted by the authors for an honest critique) 

If you enjoy stories of the paranormal persuasion, then you’ll be pleased with your purchase of  “Moon, Mist, & Magic”. First of all, you get five (5) short stories by five (5) talented writers for about a dollar (kindle price). That’s truly a bargain! Second, you will be treated to a variety of supernatural beings including ghosts, witches, shifters, demons, vampire so you’ll definitely find something or someone you like. Probably more than one. 🙂 Really, I can’t imagine anyone not finding at least one short story they didn’t enjoy. For me, I found some stories sticking out in my mind more than others.

Let me break each down for you.

1) A Ghost of a Chance by Abigail Owen: Ok, I will admit on several occasions I found myself whispering, “I see dead people.” You all know the popular phrase and if you don’t you MUST WATCH The Sixth Sense (1999). It’s an amazing, spooky movie and one worth watching at least twice. Like the movie, I found myself wondering what would I do if I could see “dead people” and how life would be for myself and for my love ones. Josie became closed off to the world. Not an uncommon or unfathomed reason to her gift. But, I like how Abigail demonstrated the usefulness of the gift and set us up for more ghostly adventures.

2.) Dangerous Dreams by J.C. McKenzie: I love dragon shifters and wish I read more tales involving them. They are magical, majestic creatures who possess great power and command respect. And in this tale, we find out they are very horny too. There wasn’t any explicit sex scenes but you could feel their sexual nature through heated words and body language. In most cases, the promise of what to come is HOTTER than reading the actual “deed”. (There love story concludes with “to be continued”)  

3.) Myths and Legends 101, by L.A. Kelley: Out of the five paranormal tales, I found this story the least memorable. Yes, it had a nice twist when they finally met and battled the obake (succubus). I did cackle at Dickenson’s reaction to “it” because he was a d!ck and d!cks need to be taken down a notch or two. However, everything leading up to the explosive ending was just blah. It didn’t wow me, Jim and Keilana didn’t impress me, and whom the obake targeted/possessed didn’t surprise me at all.

4.) The Keeper, by Sharon Saracino: Leopard shifters, a gryphon who resembles a Greek god, werewolf, a vamp, and a couple other surprise shifters. My, oh my, how I loved this story. Why? Because I didn’t expect Olivia to be a ………… Oh, I am not going to tell you. I will say she’s something very special and not “something” I’ve read about in a long while. Bravo Sharon!! 

5.) Witch You Were Here, by Maureen L. Bonatch: Crossing a witch is never a wise choice. Teasing a witch in high school is doubly stupid because they can’t control their emotions, say things they might regret and YOU might get a magical tattoo right on your tight little tushy. Oh yeah, that’s what happened to Shane. Hilarious idea and a great ending tale to a wonderful collection of stories.

 

Congrats all around!! 

 

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤


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Author Showcase – Jenna Whittaker (Dance of Desolation)

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Shren has been locked in his own mansion’s cellar for seven years before one day, he finds the door unlocked, and his house—once filled with parties that his captors, his traitorous servants, threw—silent and empty.

Upon closer inspection, Shren finds that his home has only one difference from the days before his imprisonment—a painting gracing one of the walls, a painting of a man with eyes bleeding pitch black. A magicworker has been in his home.

Shren leaves, seeking to escape the wrath of the magicworker, should they return. It is then that he discovers their origin, that they are far more insidious and dangerous than he’d ever imagined, and he is inexorably drawn into a journey to stop the magicworkers from taking and corrupting his people as they did in the land they were created.

 

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The walls showed a thousand writings and pictures as they slithered across the dark wood, telling the same story–a tale of darkness in a world long passed, wars and battles, everything Shren had ever read about in the history books. He watched with fascination, as he did every day; watching the stories be told in the silence of ink upon a wall.

Then the picture changed. It came to life. Black wings unfurled, arching feathers brushing the roof above, throwing shadows across the small square room as the lantern in the centre of the roof rocked and swayed in the breeze. The wings thrust out from the walls, grey and black etchings now hovering in mid-air. The wings beat slowly.

Shren covered his nose as the damp air stirred, chill gusts flinging fragments of mould into his face. He shivered and groaned; the musty scent of rotting wood and aged wine was irritating.

The wings slowly curled in on themselves, folding, before fading completely. A golden-cream furred shape crouched upright where they had been in the dark corner of the cellar.

“We need to leave.” The cat-like creature fell onto four legs and padded over to where Shren crouched, leaning against a barrel. It nosed the man’s huddled figure, keen eyes flickering as it waited for a response.

Shren unwrapped his arms from his legs and heaved himself upright, staring down at the linsang. He did not deign to respond, simply turning his back to it, staring at the dank walls of his prison. Every day the linsang spoke to him and every day it said the same thing. He did not want to leave.

Water dripped from the ceiling. Icy droplets slid down his neck and Shren lifted the hood of his cloak with a sigh.

Still the linsang stood, tail twitching as it watched its master.

“How am I to leave?” He demanded as he finally whirled round to face his familiar, “When I’m in a locked prison?”

“You know as well as I do,” the linsang arched its back in a stretch as it spoke, words seeming to materialise as sounds in the air though its mouth never opened. “You can leave whenever you wish.”

“Why now?” Shren leant his head back against the cold bricks and stared up at the ceiling.

“Time for reality, my friend,” the linsang said simply.

Shren growled and slid back into a crouch on the floor. His mouth twisted bitterly. “Reality,” he hissed, “Can go to hell.”

In answer, the linsang turned to the walls surrounding them, and Shren wearily followed the familiar’s gaze. The once white stone, now moulded green and grey, still held strong, held back the onslaught of the elements far above. And as had ever been for seven years, still the stories scrolled, black etchings of ink fluidly shifting over the walls day and night. Shren had tried to scrub them off, make them stop as the stories they told he did not wish to hear. Did not wish to believe, he admitted silently.

The place had driven him mad. Perhaps it was indeed time to leave.

A flicker at the edge of his vision made Shren to pause. He glanced over at the wall beside him, and the pictures it told caused him to sink to the floor once more.

No. Shren tried to look away but every wall was covered in the lies. Men laughing and drinking, showing his fine arts; the paintings of colour he had collected himself. Telling stories they had overheard him say, as if they were their own.

“Stop it.”

The words were whispered, but Shren clenched his fists, nails digging into palms crusted with the dried mud of years. Fear shone from his eyes as he sought to not watch the visions. Truth, the linsang had told him. The walls always showed truth.

But it was lies. “Stop it!” Shren shrieked, eyes wide. Perhaps indeed he had gone mad.

With those words the walls stopped. “I am sorry,” the linsang rubbed against his legs, “But you know as well as I do…Now is the time.”

He looked once more at the scrawling, the pictures that had been there his every waking moment. They had changed once more; this time it showed the guards of his prison, his own servants, their faces warped. Eyes scratched out, bleeding blackness. Skin grey; dead.

Shren recognised this picture. Never had he seen it before on these walls, but a time many years ago. An ancient painting he had seen once and sought for many years after; different subjects, yet the eyes were the same. Staring black holes. He’d never been able to see the strange mural again, yet here it was, on the very walls of his cellar, and that was truth.

His heart pounded in his ears; he knew what this meant. The linsang was right. He needed to get out now. Without any further argument, Shren drew himself up and laid his hand on the door latch.

He was sure it was locked. It had been locked for years, was that not why he was imprisoned here, why he had never left? Yet when Shren pushed down on the door handle, it swung open, moisture-swollen wood scraping against the stone doorway was the only resistance he met.

Had it ever been this way? Shren shook himself; of course not. The servants had to open and close this door to deliver the food that appeared every morning before he awoke. Perhaps one time they had forgotten to lock it. This one time.

He peered nervously out the door. Nothing happened. No traps sprung, no servants leaping from darkened alcoves.

No alarms.

So Shren ventured out into his mansion once more, a place he had not seen for close to seven years. He ignored his surroundings until he had exited the stairwell from the basement and was at ground level, concentrating only on one step at time.

Then he was inside the house. Here the plain stone walls, moulded and damp below, changed to plastered and painted surfaces, smoothed and clean beneath his fingertips.

So little had changed. His servants, traitors one and all, and yet they had still faithfully taken care of his home in his absence. They had spent his hoarded riches on the baser things, enjoying life as one big party, only to fall prey to one man–a magicworker of kroma iridis. That was the tale the inked walls had told him. Never had the pictures changed from days of banquets and debauchery until that moment, when he had seen the man with the bloodstained, black eyes.

 

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My name is Jenna Whittaker and I am an Australian author who has been writing fantasy, science fiction, and horror novels for as long as I can remember! I love writing, my artwork, and caring for animals.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jen_W_95

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennawhittaker

Deviantart: http://ky306.deviantart.com/

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Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/jennawhittaker

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Review of “CTRL Illusion” – Sid Visaed

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In the not so distant future the world has free energy, poverty is eliminated with health and education for all. Every fantasy can be indulged by simply slipping on a VR headset allowing individuals to live through their favourite stars eyes. Equality has been achieved and the rich manipulators exposed and stripped of their control. All accomplished by the first sentient benevolent artificial intelligence secretly manipulating events for the betterment of mankind. It was created as the perfect system to help shepherd us through the singularity. It has no greed, no bias or hidden agendas driven only to ensure the continuation of humanity in the best world possible. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out quite a lot as things start unravelling for Detective Rowan Cinn as he gets caught in a botched VR stars kidnapping days before his retirement. Soon he finds himself in a world of humanity manipulating AIs, secret islands, genetic engineered hunters and sentient stars. It’s a lot to take in while trying to deal with the small matter of why his family is vital to the future of humanity.

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images-15(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

With VR (virtual reality) becoming more and more popular, I was highly intrigued with the premise of this story. The book summary caught my interest and, for the most part, CTRL Illusion lived up to my expectations in regards to what I expected to see in a science fiction / fantasy story.

There were hover bikes, enhanced people, animated tattoos (Kutoo), DNA trackers for prior offenders, optical browsers, and the ability to access a victims’s memories through advanced technology.

Side note: The ability to access a victim’s final moments came with one humungous drawback — the detective experienced all the pain and suffering but couldn’t react. With the level of violence in the world, I’m not sure if mankind is ready for that bit of tech yet. I can see it being developed in the future, like with the story’s 3D imaging of rap sheets and crime scenes.

Now with all the techie aspects of the story, there was also a HIGH LEVEL of gore, revolting scenes that had me gagging at times. There were incidences of cannibalism, bloody orgy scene, and just more…… weirdness. Let me just say, don’t read the Interlude chapters while eating because, if you do, you’ll be feeling the need to upchuck. Actually, I’m feeling the bile rising up simply by thinking about the eating scenes….. Just *shuddering*

If you can stomach the gore and continue reading it, you’ll discover quite an interesting plot. There’s a few surprises —- the end of Chapter 12 ended with quite the showstopper.  Plus, the last chapter, Death.

Before I end this review, I want to make note of one thing. A editing point I made to Sid and one I told him I would address in this review. As you read the story, you’ll discover that Sid writes some rather long paragraphs. Paragraphs that I believe would’ve be better suited broken up into small ones. I pointed this out to him and told him the length of each paragraph came across as more textbook like reading material than a novel.

After I read CTRL Illusion, I asked the opinion of four people. I didn’t allow them to read the page, I simply showed them my kindle. They all posed a similar question, “What are you studying?” In my opinion, you don’t want a story to read or LOOK like a textbook. That’ll cause readers to push it aside for another and no author wants their story pushed aside and forgotten. Right? I hope Sid takes my advice when he writes the sequel. 

 

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Sid Visaed is a science fiction writer taking influences from Cyberpunk, Biopunk, Genetic Engineering, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence genres adding dashes of Horror and Thriller. He describes himself as an Immortal Transhumanist just waiting for science to catch him up.

Born and raised in the less than sunny region of the England known as Torbay: The English Riviera, Sid had a love of science fiction from a young age. Falling into a career in quality management he devoted his spare time to imagining stories to illustrate due to his love of the comic and graphic art form.

His debut novel CTRL Illusion set in the near future asks questions about the agency of sentient AI and the implications of creating life in our image. The novel reflects his naked fears and desires mixing them with the intense pace of a thriller dashed with elements of horror.

 

Contact via email: CTRL_Illusion@outlook.com

Or on Twitter: @BatFonz

Or visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CTRLillusion/

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