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Tag: Inspirational Romance

Interview with DiAnn Mills and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am thrilled to have my friend, DiAnn Mills, as my guest. DiAnn and I met years ago as we served together on the Faith-Hope-Love chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and I completely fell in love with her passion for writing stories that take her readers on an adventure! Our paths have crossed many times, and we always make sure to take time for a coffee or a meal, so that we can fellowship together and support each other. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did — and read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her book Where Tomorrow Leads!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. First of all, I believe my readers should Expect an Adventure. If I fail to send them on an unpredictable journey with twists and turns, then I haven’t done my job. I live in Houston, Texas, and I love heat and humidity. My writing began in 1996 when my husband challenged me to stop talking about writing a book and just do it. He encouraged me to quit my job and give myself a year to get anything published. And if it did, succeed, I wouldn’t need to return to my day job. I took him up on that challenge. My first book released in 1998, and I’ve been writing since then. But a huge changed happened in 2017 … now, my husband works for me. Originally, I wrote historical and contemporary romance. My reading habits were romantic suspense, and that became my writing genre. I believe in giving back to the writing community in the way of encouragement, prayer, teaching, mentoring, and editing. I also direct the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference with Edie Melson. We also are the directors for the Mountainside retreats.

Tell us about your current release. Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.

While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field . . . and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out.

As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.

I had this idea 3 years before the coronavirus attacked our world. But it required so much research until facts and the right people entered my path.
My mission then and now is to show a story that weaves hope, reality, and the sacrificial work of first responders when a deadly virus spreads through innocent people.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes! I never know who or how many people will read my story. I believe God gives me the idea, so the reader may only be me.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Not at all. I’m a storyteller, and my faith is shown in how a Christian character reacts and responds to the world. I don’t write sex, cursing, or violence for violence sake, because I write what I read: strong stories that are unpredictable and show character growth and change while reaching for a goal.

Fiction is not a platform to evangelize those who aren’t followers of Jesus. The faith aspect is not an engine additive. Unrealistic and predictable characters, preachy content, and verbiage only a Christian understands can be condescending to any reader. The practice lowers the importance of a writer’s first priority: entertaining the reader. The Christian novel is different because of the writer’s belief system. Good overcomes evil. Writers can give examples without trampling on the feet of unbelievers.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)? Lots and lots of prayer! But I believe the fear is healthy. It keeps me relying on God instead of myself. The same fear that existed during writing book one stills stalks me.

What is your inspiration for writing? First: to entertain readers. Second: to inspire readers to be better people. Third: to encourage readers wherever they are in life. We live in a dangerous and unpredictable world. I want to show how God works through a character or characters to overcome evil for good.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? I go back to the beginning of the book and start reading. I also review my characterization sketch, research, and notes. At times, I consult a trusted writer friend. By the time I get to my troubled spot, I’m ready to write again.

I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction? No! I don’t have the plot laid out. I’m an organic writer, which means everything rises from character. I will have an idea of what will happen, but it’s all discovery from what works best with the character(s).

Here is where you can find DiAnn online:











DiAnn is giving away a copy of her book Where Tomorrow Leads to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway



Interview with Terri Wangard and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so happy to have award-winning historical romance author Terri Wangard as my guest! Terri’s new release sounds SO GOOD! I am also fascinated by the story of Lusitania — and to have a history major with a master’s in library science write a book about it makes me think that it will reveal so much information I didn’t know before! Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. My first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days I write mostly historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. I have a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, is my day job.

Tell us about your current release. The Lusitania has always fascinated me, more so than the Titanic. Since I started writing, I’ve wanted to write a Lusitania story. Here is the blurb for Roll Back the Clouds:

A dream come true becomes a nightmare. Geoff and Rosaleen Bonnard embark on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage to England aboard the fabled Lusitania in 1915. Europe is embroiled in war, but the authorities insist the conflict shouldn’t affect a passenger liner.

Then, a German submarine hurtles a torpedo into the grand ship. Rosaleen makes it into a lifeboat, but Geoff is missing. She searches the morgues in Queenstown, heartsick at recognizing so many of her fellow travelers. Alive, but suffering a devastating back injury, Geoff is found in a Cork hospital.

While waiting for him to recover, Rosaleen is thrilled to meet her mother’s family, but a dark cloud hovers over her. The battered faces of dead babies haunt her. She sinks into depression, exasperated by Geoff’s new interest in religion. Her once happy life seems out of reach.

Will joy ever be theirs again?

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? I think it was Robert Kennedy’s assassination. We were at a motel, and my parents were talking about it. In my vague memory, I can see them looking at a newspaper.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Donny Osmond

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I wrote stories as a Girl Scout, since I received the Writer badge. I didn’t expect to write books though, until I read some stories that seemed to be written by formula. The names and settings were changed, but otherwise they were all the same. That prompted me to try writing my own book.

What is your preferred method of writing? I write on computer, but if I have an hour in the evening and an idea is percolating, I’ll write in a notebook.

How did you make the initial step into writing your first novel. What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them? I first wrote a book in the early 2000s. I sent it to a publisher. It took them a year to say No Thanks. I set aside my writing for a few years. Then, in 2008, I read Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes, about women fulfilling their wishes. That made me decide to write again. I bought the laptop I still use today and wrote Friend & Enemies, the first of five novels, so far.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? I loved the Flicka, Ricka, Dicka series by Maj Lindman.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I write what I would like to read, and hope others do too.

Here is where you can find Terri online:


Twitter: @terriwangard


Instagram:  @terriwangard



Terri is giving away an ebook copy of Roll Back the Clouds to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Interview with LoRee Peery and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I’m so happy to have LoRee Peery as my guest. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview, her voice as she answered questions, and know that Touches of Time is definitely getting added to my “to read” pile. LoRee is giving away a copy of her current release –read on to see how you can enter to win a copy!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I am a Nebraska country girl, having never lived outside the state. I am who I am by the grace of God: Christian, wife, mother, grandmother and great-, sister, friend, and author. I write fiction that hopefully appeals to adult readers who enjoy stories written from a Christian perspective, focusing on the romance. These include novels and novellas for women and men in the Contemporary, Romance, Historical, Time Travel, and Mystery/Suspense categories. I write of redeeming grace with a sense of place, including the Frivolities Series and the book based on my father’s unsolved homicide, Touches of Time. All are available on Amazon.

Tell us about your current release. Talia Ashby is a perfectionistic data analyst who, on occasion, sees her “fat” self when she looks in the mirror. As a svelte former obese girl, she reunites with her secret teen crush, now a pastor in the church she attends.

Cooper Valiant is dazzled upon meeting a high school friend he doesn’t immediately recognize due to her drastic weight loss. Since his sister had an eating disorder, he’d often felt empathy toward Talia as classmates teased and bullied her. In his pastorate position, he asks her to help girls in the youth group come to grips with body-image.

While working with the girls, Talia’s recollections of youthful hurts stir up past insecurities. She must reassess her spiritual journey, and what bothers her in the present.

Added to the mix are her reawakened emotions toward the man who once came to her rescue. Will their joint journey include a personal relationship?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Without a doubt. I have met very few women who are completely at peace in their skin and with their looks. We can’t argue with the words in Psalm 139:14 where God assures that He made us fearfully and wonderfully. How can we possibly be unsatisfied if God made us? And to think He knows what we’re going to say before we speak boggles my mind.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? The reason I self-pubbed this story is because I contracted two time travels over two years ago and am waiting for their releases in July and August. I have yet to receive notice of a release date on a third. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about my publisher and my affiliation with them. The editors and staff can’t be topped, but I felt led to get this story out once it was ready.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? A few projects back, I established what I call Beginning a New Romance, #1, 2, and 3. The first is a chronological order that begins with a spark, goes to who the characters are, including the wound that injured them at a young age. I go on to the character charts (#2), create a collage, one sheet for the hero and the heroine. Then I proceed to the tagline, what I call my 40 words, a working blurb, and several questions that get me into pre-writing.

The third is a formatted doc that includes goals and plot points at the top of each chapter so I have something to reach for as I create the scenes, which except for the opening, I rarely depict ahead of time.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? A pig’s squeal came through from a nearby television I wasn’t watching in a hospital waiting room while my husband was in surgery. I knew my next story would have a pot belly pig as a character. Meet in the Middle was born. Queenie is one of my favorite characters.

I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper? This question is fun to answer. It’s all my hubby’s fault.  A lifetime ago in the mid-eighties, we were traveling back from vacation on I-80 in western Nebraska. I slapped a magazine on my lap and spouted, “I could write better than this.” He challenged, “Why don’t you?”

What a journey it has been. I tried greeting cards for Hallmark but that wasn’t meant to be my calling. My first submissions were unedited romances for magazines. I wrote editorials about my father’s unsolved homicide, which led to longer pieces. And then I tried a novel about a woman who went back to her small town to prove her father’s accident was murder. That novel took ten years, good practice, but will never be printed. I learned everything I could and have garnered so many wonderful friendships with other writers.

My first contract came after several rejections with encouragement to resubmit, and I celebrated that release ten years ago this July.

Which of your characters most reflects your personality? Since I used my own journal entries and was pregnant when my father was murdered, both Sarah and her grandmother Lena in Touches of Time reflect who I am.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? It’s happened, believe me. I once had a file drawer filled with newspaper and magazine clippings that had grabbed my attention. I’ve since culled those and have a writing ideas file on my computer. I’ll have a setting, a mind picture of an opening scene, a premise, or part of backstory when I begin.

A lot of the story forms as I get to know the characters, especially the heart scar that hinders growth. Where they are spiritually carries weight.

I love how the Lord works during this pre-writing/brainstorming period. Each story is different and can take between five days and two weeks to stew. My mind is on the look-out during this time for lines of dialogue, what jumps out during devotion or Bible reading, talking to friends, or even a sermon.

The creative process is unique for each writer. Breaking for tactile things like walking outside touching flowers or pulling weeds, paying attention to the birds and animals that cross my path, working a puzzle, coloring, or sewing (which doesn’t happen much right now). I can’t help but be thankful for the desire to write stories.

And thank you, for allowing me to be a guest today, Hallee.

Here is where you can find LoRee online:

Loree is giving a copy of Repurposed to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Interview with Tanya Eavenson and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I’m so pleased to bring you Tanya Eavenson — who shares my first onscreen crush with me! Yay! (“I need a coool, rider…”) Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of Tanya’s latest release!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. My husband and I have been involved in youth and adult ministry for over twenty years. I’m an international bestselling and award-winning inspirational romance author. I’ve written several Bible studies that have been translated and published in different languages by Christ to the World Ministries, and I’ve recently joined the Wholly Loved Ministries team. But most of all, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our three children, as well as grabbing a cup of coffee and reading a good book. I’ve lived in Texas for several years, which inspired my interest in small-town life, ranching, cowboys, and how our great nation expanded west.

Tell us about your current release. I’d be happy to! The Rescue takes place in 1889 and is set in Graham, Texas. Here’s the blurb. 

Upon the death of her mother, Rosalind Standford’s life shatters, the pieces scattering to the wind when she is forced into a betrothal to a cunning banker. But when a telegram arrives announcing the man who captured her heart is on a train to Boston, Rosalind must hide her true feelings before the thin cord of her existence unravels the deadly secrets she keeps.

Cowboy Trent Easton returns to his roots in Boston society to find his childhood friend, the love of his heart. Instead he finds a broken woman engaged to a man close to her father’s age. Though she once rejected him, when Trent learns she’s in danger, he determines to do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even taking her to the altar in the black of night. But will his name and the remote wilds of his Texas ranch be enough to protect her? Or will freedom cost them their lives?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Absolutely! There are many times in a person’s life when he or she may reach an obstacle like my character, Rosalind. It may be an illness, an accident, or a difficult decision that must be made. I personally reached that point in my life while writing The Rescue. It was a defining moment.

Through the fears of dealing with my cancer prognosis and searching for God’s direction, I learned that He did indeed place this desire to write on my heart and that no matter what I was facing in my life, it didn’t diminish His call.

I’m inspired by the Lord to write inspirational Christian fiction so people may know the love of Christ—to know the depth He will go to have a relationship with us.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? LOL! I wish I could write fast enough! Instead, I carry around a notebook and my phone. I’m constantly writing my thoughts down and taking pictures of things that give me inspiration. Recently I was praying and asking the Lord for a story idea while waiting for my daughter’s cross county practice to finish. After I finished praying, I looked up and noticed a dog park across the way. An idea for a book popped in my head. Twenty minutes later, I had photos and two sheets of notes ready for me to begin a new story set to release this upcoming Mother’s Day.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher (or agent or audience if you self publish)? The Lord really has been working on me in this area of my life. He’s put things into perspective for me and has helped me to understand that His plans aren’t necessarily my plans. All He asks me to do is keep my focus on Him and write the words He’s placed on my heart to write. He is the author. I’m His instrument.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Goodness! That was such a long time ago, but I haven’t forgotten! 😊 It was Michael (Maxwell Caulfield) from Grease 2.

What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? I never saw myself being a writer! I remember saying with ready fingers pressed on the keyboard, “Are you sure, God? I never wanted to write. Never cared to write.” But there I was, typing away at the keys with a burden to share a story when I had no idea where it would be heading. Even though that story never saw publication, it was the beginning of something exciting!

Here is where you can find Tanya online:

Tanya is giving away an ebook copy of The Rescue when it releases on Sept 2 to a reader! See below how you can enter to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway




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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 4/8/19 – Intimacy and Passion in Writing


Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

Today I’m answering the question, “You include a lot of passion in your books, how do you find the balance between passion, intimacy, and crossing the line in your writing?”

I love questions like this! I hope you learn more about me through my response:


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Interview with FarmLit Author Valerie Comer and Giveaway!!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. For those of you who know me as Hallee the Homemaker, you KNOW how excited I am to introduce you to Valerie Comer. Valerie has a passion for whole food, real food – much like me – and makes it a focus of her family life. I LOVE meeting other real food foodies. And, I absolutely adore the fact that Valerie incorporates this into her writing.  She also is a contributor, along with me, at Inspy Romance blog. Please welcome her to my blog, and enjoy her interview as much as I did.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters. Valerie writes farm lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her Farm Fresh Romance stories.

Wild Mint Tea 200x300Tell us about your current release.

Wild Mint Tea is the second book in the Farm Fresh Romance series, which follows the lives, romantic and otherwise, of three young women who buy a farm together to show the world they can grow their own food and live sustainably.

Wild Mint Tea finds chef Claire Halford hosting weddings at Green Acres Farm, but the first bride comes with a globe-trotting brother. Noel Kenzie’s reforestation company provides him the means to enjoy life. This is no time for him to settle down…or Claire to spread her wings.

How did you make the initial step into writing your first novel? What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them?

I toyed around with writing for many years with vague dreams of becoming a published novelist. I’d go into my local library and take out all the books on writing. We moved a lot so the selection varied, but was rarely more than five books. I’d read them and take them back to the library, unsure of how to apply the advice.

In 2002 I landed a job in a small-town flooring shop and soon realized I had many empty hours a day. I loved the clients and my bosses, who thankfully realized there was only so much dusting a gal could do. They were happy I could entertain myself between bursts of activity! So I did what I’d always done: went to the library.

This time was different. Not the how-to-write selection so much, but the Internet had been invented and I had a stronger drive than before. I settled in to study what I could and wrote my first (very bad) novel that year, took what I’d learned, and applied it to the next one. My fifth novel finaled in ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Genesis contest for unpublished writers. I kept learning but turned my focus toward publication.

My first big roadblock turned out to be an inability to learn how to plot.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?

This was the problem. Early writing advice indicated that one was either a plotter or a pantser (a seat-of-the-pants writer). My first novel was mostly pantsed. I had a few vague ideas of the story, but I mostly jumped in and started writing. Every time I got stuck (often) I’d think a bit and then find some direction to go. I learned two very important things from that story: that I could, indeed, get to 100,000 words, and that I wasn’t a pantser. I’ve never even read that first story again. It’s a disaster.

I wasn’t a pantser, so I must be a plotter. I set out to learn how to do this, but I felt like I was staring at a black wall at night. I’d have some vague ideas but just couldn’t see past them. I beat my head against that black wall for several more books. It was very frustrating.

Eventually I realized something I should have figured out much earlier. Plotting and pantsing aren’t the only games in town. There’s an entire spectrum between them, and most writers fall closer to one end than the other. It turns out my “best practices” are very close to the center.

I’ve finally learned how to do the right amount of pre-planning for me and then jump in, trusting God and my imagination to keep the story afloat. Here’s an article I wrote on my method: Plotting with GMC.

Valerie-Comer-300x300What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write?

Because I’ve now written 11 complete novels and a novella, I’ve begun to trust that something will come to mind. Sometimes I sit with my fingers poised on the keyboard, knowing where (in general) the story needs to go but bored at the moment. If I’m bored, my reader will likely be bored, too, and decide now is a good time to polish the silver—does anyone do that anymore?

At any rate, bored is a bad thing for all concerned. So I search for something unexpected, toss it in, and run with it. I love it when readers tell me they “totally didn’t see that coming.” Especially when I can reply, “neither did I!”

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read?

Traditional publishers believe readers want “the same, but different.” They want familiar with a slight twist. I think indie publishing has proven that isn’t always the case, but I can see why big houses have trouble embracing something truly different from what they’ve released before. It’s a big risk for the whole business with many people’s paychecks on the line.

However, I don’t fit really well into the mold. Not in real life, and not in my stories. So my answer to the question is that I write the stories I would like to find on the shelves. I’d like to think there are more readers who are willing to stretch a little way out of the box!

Who do you envision your typical reader to be?

My typical reader is a believing woman between the ages of 25 and 40 who cares about the food she eats and serves her family, focusing on real ingredients—possibly organic, local, and seasonal food. She has begun to realize there is a point where food meets faith and is willing to go exploring in that neighborhood.

What is your inspiration for writing?

My kids and my grandkids. I’m very passionate about food and distraught about the prevalence of junk food, GM (genetically modified) food, and obesity. My kids are equally passionate and determined to raise their little ones on the healthiest possible fare.

To that end we live on a 40-acre farm, where our son’s family has recently joined us. Our daughter’s family lives about 85 miles away, but also partially depends on produce from our farm. We grow and preserve a large garden, raise animals for eggs and meat, keep bees for honey, and grow a variety of nuts and fruit.

RV-200x300They say to write what you know. I know farming and food. I know there are many young people concerned about the environment and food, and I have a deep conviction to write stories exploring these topics from a Christian point of view.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write. Explore. Try different methods and genres. When you find what works for you, run with it. Don’t expect your first story to be great, or even your second. Learn from others: from critique partners, contests, courses, and books on craft.

Even having a book (or ten) published doesn’t mean you’ve arrived. There’s always more to learn. There’s no excuse for stagnation, which delights and challenges me.

If you’re a beginning writer or even a more experienced one looking to explore other methods, I invite you to sign up for my free course on fiction writing at To Write a Story. You’ll get a lesson a week via email for 41 weeks. It’s an overview of the various steps involved in planning, plotting, writing, editing, publishing, and marketing fiction—while acknowledging that everyone’s path is different.

To find out more about me, visit my website and blog. I’d love it if you’d connect via social media (the links are in my site header) and sign up for my monthly newsletter.

Thanks so much for inviting me here today, Hallee! Readers, what are you passionate about? How do you share that fervor with others?

I’d love to give one of you a digital copy (Kindle or ePub) of either Farm Fresh Romance novel: Raspberries and Vinegar or Wild Mint Tea. Let’s talk!

Find Valerie online:

Where Food & Faith Meet Farm Lit:  and

What is Farm Lit?

Win an ebook copy of Wild Mint Tea or Raspberries and Vinegar!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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