Archive for December, 2011

This weekend begins a brand new year. It’s hard to believe that 2011 has come to an end. It seems to have gone by so fast! Now is the perfect time to look back at the year and see everything that you’ve accomplished. Are you happy with what you’ve achieved this year? Is there more you wish you could have done?

As you reflect back on the year, think of all of the new memories you made that you can take with you as you continue your journey through life. You’ve probably learned some valuable lessons that you can use, and perhaps even pass on to others. You’ll remember both the good and the bad moments that have come to pass this year, and perhaps start to be able to deal with some of those moments.

While reflecting on the moments of 2011, keep in mind that just because the year is coming to an end doesn’t mean you can’t still make changes to your life that you wish to. A brand new year is upon us, and that means we have another whole year to begin new adventures, set new goals, accomplish old goals, and make new memories. Happy New Year!

Andrea Buginsky is the author of “The Chosen,” a Young Adult fantasy about a young dwarf who learns her true calling in life and sets off on a quest with a group of warriors to save their home world, Phantasma.

Halli is a shy, young dwarf who has no idea of her true calling. When the evil Prince Gastle sets out to detroy the world of Phantasma, Queen Laurali of the Elves comes to tell Halli she’s a Holy Paladin with the power to heal, and will join The Chosen, a group of brave warriors being sent to defeat the evil beast and save Phantasma. Will Halli be accepted by her group, and be able to keep them alive through their adventures? Will the evil Prince Gastle be defeated, freeing Phantasma from his destruction? Only time will tell.

Available from Solstice Publishing and for the Amazon Kindle

You can find Andrea:

On her website, Andi’s Realm

At Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Andrea.Buginsky.Author

On Twitter: @andreabuginsky

On Google+

On Goodreads

Happy holidays!





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Today, James Wilcox, author of Sex, Lies, and the Classroom, The M-16 Agenda, and Musings of a Particular Bear, shares his very personal story on why self-publishing was the right route for him.


I knew something was wrong the minutes I saw my mother walking up to the front door of my house. Although my mom only lives about ten minutes away, she rarely, if ever, stops by my house unannounced. It isn’t that she isn’t welcome, anytime, it’s just that she always calls before she comes over, mostly because she knows how busy my wife and family are. This August afternoon though, I happened to glance out the front window (the school year hadn’t started yet, so I was still home with the kids for summer break) and saw her walking up the steps and I just knew something wasn’t right.

I opened the door and invited my mom inside. We sat down on the couch and started the small talk as my three children ran into the room to see their grandma. After a few minutes, my mom asked the kids to go play in the back room for a little bit because she needed to talk to me about something important. My stomach dropped at her words. Once the kids disappeared into the back of the house, she broke the news: she had cancer.

Needless to say, my mom’s announcement had a profound effect on me. Surprise, shock, anger, frustration and fear all flooded into my heart and mind. I tried to be strong for her. I tried to offer words of encouragement. I tried not to show her how worried I was, but I am pretty sure I failed miserably. I also started thinking about a promise I had made to her years before. I promised I had failed to keep.

Although I love my mother and have a close relationship with her, I think that our relationship is rather unique. There are two things that make this relationship unique: our love of books and our love of politics. My mother shaped my political ideas and beliefs in ways she probably doesn’t even realize and she instilled in me a love of reading that nearly borders on obsession. I am just like my mother in this respect. My mother is an avid reader. She always has a book she is working on. I learned to appreciate books and reading because of my mother’s example. In fact, this is one of the reasons I always dreamed of being a writer. I wanted to write a book that my mother would be proud to read, which brings me back to the promise I had made to my mother several years before.

I promised my mother that she would see me in print before she died, which is one of the reasons that I was so shocked when she told me that she had cancer. I hadn’t been published yet and right then, I didn’t know how much time I had left to make good on my promise. I had already finished writing my first novel Sex, Lies, and the Classroom and almost finished with my second The M-16 Agenda when she broke the news. Unfortunately, I simply had not had any luck getting them published. I had been trying for over a year to find an agent or a publisher who was willing to take a chance on me, but to no avail. Although I had looked into self-publishing, I just wasn’t sure if it was the way to go because I still dreamed of landing the traditional book deal with a major publisher.

Now, I was scrambling. I desperately needed to find a way to get published, but I didn’t know how much time my mother had. I hit the internet, did research, contacted another round of agents, submitted to some small presses, all in an effort to fulfill my promise to my mother.

It happened a couple of days after the Thanksgiving break. A student of mine can to show me the book she had just published through a company named Createspace. I hadn’t heard of Createspace, but I proceeded to pick her brain to learn as much as I could. When I got home from school that night, I pulled out the computer and got to work. I re-edited Sex, Lies, and the Classroom, sent it off to my editor for another look and signed up for Createspace. In the days that followed, I frantically tried to put my book together. I polished the manuscript, took photos for the cover, designed a cover, and did everything I could to have the book ready by Christmas.

When I finally had everything ready, I submitted my work to Createspace and waited for it to be approved. Those were some of the longest 48 hours of my life. Then, I ordered proof copies of the book, paid the extra postage to have them delivered on time, and then desperately waited for them to show up in the mail. They arrived on Christmas Eve. I had ordered two proof copies as Christmas gifts for two special people: my wife and my mother.

One of the Christmas traditions my wife and I have developed over the course of our 17 years of marriage is that we each get a book in our Christmas stocking. Unfortunately, it is also tradition that we look in our stocking after the kids have opened all their presents. It was hard to wait for my wife to get into her stocking and at first she didn’t realize that she was looking at my book, the book that I had written. When she finally realized what she was looking at, she let out a shout and threw her arms around me in a huge hug. I then had to explain everything to her about Createspace and getting my book self-published (I obviously hadn’t told her about it yet).

When it was time to head over to my parent’s house for Christmas dinner, I was bouncing in anticipation. I could barely wait to give my mom her present. Although it was obvious that she wasn’t feeling very well that Christmas day (the chemo treatments were taking their toll), the look of pure joy that broke across her face when she torn the wrapping paper off her present and saw my name on the book in her hand is one that I will member and cherish for the rest of my life.

Although the struggle has been hard, I am happy to say that my mother is still with us today and although I won’t be presenting her with another one of my books this Christmas, she has witnessed the publication of my second novel The M-16 Agenda and my newest release Musings of a Particular Bear: A Poetry Collection.

This is why when friends and fellow readers ask me why I decided to self-publish, I usually smile, and say, “My mom made me do it.”



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Be sure to check out yesterday’s interview with Crime Fictionista, Nike Chillemi!

Chapter One

Long Island, NY

Late December, 1946

Katrina Lenart nodded toward a break in the leafless maples and snow-covered pines lining Hill Street then pointed with her black cable knit glove. A fat blue jay sat on the tip of a pine branch and quirked his head at her, almost mocking. The sun, more the color of wheat than yellow, floated in the pale, cloudless, winter sky, surrendering little heat.

“It might seem like we’re almost there to you, but we still have to climb that hill.” It wasn’t high, but steep, as if a pitiless hand had gouged earth from its side. She turned her head back and squinted against the glare off the snow, adjusting her black velvet earmuffs, stitched into a floret on one side, all the rage since the war.

“Said just like a female.” Willie Brogna grinned, pulling the toboggan behind him, his rubber boots stomping deep impressions in the fresh fallen snow. Pivoting, he gave her a wide smile. “I know you’re just being nice, helping me try out my favorite Christmas present. With my sister on her honeymoon and all, I don’t have anyone to be my guinea pig.” He resumed his climb, out-pacing her, and chuckled under his breath.

Determined to put her best friend’s teenage brother in his place, Katrina lengthened her strides and arrived at the top of the incline breathing hard. “People often comment on how nice I am… and courteous. Willing to help those in need.” She tossed off a teasing smile.

The tall, lanky teen snorted then tugged on his hand-knit gloves, securing them, and flexed his fingers.

Shading her eyes with a glove, she gazed south, unable to see the village of Sanctuary Point or the Great South Bay through the trees. Though she knew icy wind whipped them both. The weather forecast said a storm was headed their way. Directly below, the ground dropped away into an empty lot. Beyond that, Hill Street and the tiny Bauer cottage.

“Are you ready? I’ll steer and you take the rumble seat.” Willie knelt and positioned the toboggan for the first run down the steep hill. “Don’t forget to hang on tight, I’m gonna let ‘er rip, if that won’t bruise the dignity of Memorial’s most promising nurse.”

Katrina gave him a playful smack on the arm. “How you do go on. Just watch out for that huge bump down there.”

“Aw, that’s not even a blip on the radar.”

She hunkered down behind him and clasped her arms around his waist. The toboggan sped down the hill, her hair airborne behind her. Icy snow crystals flew into her face. They hit the bump and went aloft. “Willieee,” she shrieked.

They landed so hard her teeth clattered.

When they came to a stop, Willie jumped off. “While we were in the air, I saw something near Mrs. Bauer’s cottage. Does she have a pet? A cat, maybe? It looked like a hurt animal… something bloody.”

He trotted across the street. “It’s not in the yard. It’s away from the house. Closer and to the side of the road.” He hastened down Hill Street, slipping and sliding, to the edge of the Bauer property.

Katrina hurried down the sloping street after him, her arms stretched out for balance. If this were his idea of a practical joke, she’d let him have it.

Willie bent over the object. Rising, he twisted toward her. “Well, it’s not an animal. It’s a piece of soiled cloth.”

Rushing to his side, she tried to catch her breath. “That’s blood on a kitchen towel. Not a lot, but sufficient to warrant concern.” Please, Lord, let everything be all right in the Bauer house.

“Do you suppose Mrs. Bauer cut herself out here? But why would she come all the way out here with a kitchen towel?”

“We’d better check on her.” Katrina raced back up the hill after Willie along the length of the lot, as fast as she could. She slipped but regained her footing on the Bauer’s icy walk. When she reached the stoop, she panted in short painful gasps.

Willie hurdled the two steps and came to a stop on the miniscule porch. The front door stood ajar.

Uneasiness halted her winded, ungraceful gait. She forced herself to follow until she stood before the door and called out, “Mrs. Bauer, hello.”

Willie nudged the door and shouted. “Mrs. Bauer, are you in there?”

She peered between the door and its frame into dimness. “Mrs. Bauer… Noel, it’s Katrina, your neighbor.”

“This is getting us nowhere.” Willie gave the door a shove.

The living room was chilly and silent — something definitely not right. Mrs. Bauer wouldn’t leave the door open on such a cold day, not even a crack. Katrina eased in. “Hello, anyone home?” She stepped around the couch and froze.

Noel Bauer lay on her living room floor, in front of a decorated Christmas tree. Blood pooled beneath her head.

“Oh, my Lord.” Katrina rushed to the woman and knelt, applying two fingers to her neck. “Willie, she has no pulse.”

“I mean, I know you’re a nurse, but are you sure?”

“She’s dead.” Katrina’s voice shook in her throat. “She’s not breathing and her body temperature isn’t warm.”

“The telephone lines come up here, so I’ll bet she has a phone. We’d better call the police. This is awful.” His eyes darted around the room. “There… in the kitchen.”

Katrina took a deep breath and calmed herself. How strange and brutal life could be. Yesterday, gay and carefree, she stood as maid-of-honor in Willie’s sister’s wedding. Today she’d found Noel Bauer’s corpse.

She hurried to the phone, dialed the village operator, and asked to be connected to the police station. After relaying the information to young Officer Classen, whose mother worked with her at the hospital, she sank onto a chair at the table and held her head in her hands. There was something peculiar about the position of Noel Bauer’s body Katrina couldn’t put her finger on, as if she were reaching for something.

Cries of an infant came from the bedroom down the hallway.


Standing by the Christmas tree, Katrina rocked the baby wrapped in a pink blanket. She took a small green and white glass ornament from the top of the tree and dangled it before the tiny face. “Look how pretty. Your mommy made such a lovely tree for you.” Her eyes misted, and her gaze slid to the lifeless form on the floor. The house reflected the woman’s efforts to turn a meager cottage into a comfortable home with touches of handcrafted style and elegance. On the wall above an aging sofa, a needlepoint wall hanging in a simple frame depicted two swans floating on a lily pond that could well have hung in a fine gallery.

“Detective Daltry’s here.” Willie turned from the window and hurried to open the door.

Ian Daltry entered with rookie-officer Robert Classen at his heels. The detective removed his brown fedora freeing a riot of salt and pepper hair. He nodded toward Katrina. “Miss Lenart, you phoned the station?”

“Yes, Willie and I found Mrs. Bauer.” She glanced at the teen, who stood by the front window, a stricken look on his face, and her heart went out to the boy. Her gaze shifted to the detective and then down to the body. “She’s gone.”

Detective Daltry placed his hat on the coffee table and bent over the still form. The blood on the floor, dark and thick, gave off a metallic smell. Straightening, he looked at Katrina, his lips in a tight line. “You’re right. She’s dead. I’d guess a couple of hours.”

Katrina took a halting step toward the body, but the detective put up a staying hand to stop her. She cleared her throat. “Severe trauma to the head. She couldn’t survive a wound like that.”

He nodded. “That’s my take on it. I’ll phone the medical examiner.”

Willie pointed. “Phone’s in the kitchen.”

Katrina took a quick step forward. “Is it murder?”

The detective pivoted, and the intensity of his eyes pierced her soul. “I really can’t say, Miss. It’s very early in the investigation.” He turned on his heel, crossed the living room, and disappeared.

Katrina followed stiff legged part way across the room. She felt cold, and it wasn’t just because the door had been open. She wanted to do something, but didn’t know what. It wasn’t illness that had killed Noel Bauer, and it wasn’t accidental death. What else could it be but murder? She shuddered. How awful for Mrs. Bauer and this poor dear baby.

Officer Classen stepped forward and blocked her path. “You can’t go into the kitchen.”

She stopped in her tracks, stroked the infant’s soft hair, and held her closer. “I had no idea Mrs. Bauer had a new baby. She closed the house in early spring last year and was gone over six months. She’s been back only about three.” Since then, she’d been reclusive, but why?

The baby grabbed for the ornament and cooed.

Katrina lifted the glass bulb away from the tiny hand and returned it to the tree. “Oh no, you don’t. You’re a quick little lady, aren’t you? Yes you are.” She made an exaggerated smiling face and shook her head. “Such an energetic little thing, you are.”

The baby started fussing.

“And now your mood has changed. Are you cold, sweetheart?” Katrina pulled the blanket tight around the infant, rubbed her tiny hands, and blew warm breath on them.

“I’d like to throw a log on the fire for the baby, but can’t touch anything until we complete our investigation.” The young officer shifted from foot to foot.

“I understand. Still, can’t you make an exception for the baby?”

“No, if we disturb things we might be destroying the fingerprints of the killer.”

“I see. I think she’s cranky more than cold, though it is chilly in here.”

Detective Daltry emerged from the kitchen and advanced toward her. He touched the pink blanket. “A girl.” A tremor ran through his fingers, and he dropped his hand to his side.

“Isn’t she pretty?” Katrina stroked the infant’s face. When she glanced up, she thought she saw pain flicker in the detective’s eyes, and then it was gone.

“Her mother was lovely. By all accounts a cultured lady. Such a shame.” Officer Classen stood over the body with a camera. “Detective, do you want me to start taking photographs?”

He cleared his throat. “Yes, begin with the body and work out to the periphery of the room. Don’t spare the film.”

The child gurgled, squirmed, and kicked her legs against the coverlet wrapped tight around her.” Aren’t you a feisty one?” Katrina kissed the baby’s little fist. “You’re going to be fine. Somehow, I’ll make sure. I promise.”

The detective rocked back on his heels and raked his hand through his hair, mangling it. He cast a quick glance at the hearth. “With the fire nearly out and the door opening and closing, perhaps the child shouldn’t be here. I can phone my neighbor. She watches my daughter when I’m working. I’m sure she’d look after the little one until we figure out what to do with her.”

The baby made a face and fidgeted, her knees pumping.

“No. That’s not necessary.” Katrina held the baby tighter, her need to protect this infant growing by the second. “I live down the street, and I’m a maternity nurse. If you consent, I’ll take her home. I’m sure my mother will agree to mind her while I’m working at the hospital.”

A huge wail came from the tiny mouth.

“Maybe she’s hungry.” Willie took two quick steps. “Let me see if there’s milk in the kitchen.”

The detective shook his head. “Sorry, off limits. You can’t touch or remove anything. We haven’t done a walk-through yet, and they’ll want to brush for fingerprints.”

Katrina placed the baby on her shoulder and rubbed her back in a circular motion. “This child can’t drink bottled milk. I’m sure her mother nursed her, most do. We’ll have to make formula from evaporated milk.” What did men know about babies?

“Won’t you need a baby bottle?” Willie plunked both hands on his hips.

“Yes, or fashion something similar. I need to get this baby home where Momma can help me.” Katrina bounced the fussing infant in her arms and checked the seat of the diaper. “She’s dry and didn’t leave us a present in her pants.”

Detective Daltry moved to Katrina’s side and stroked the baby’s back. “Officer Classen can drive you home.” He turned toward the rookie cop. “Wait up on the photos and take this young woman and the child down the hill. On your way back, stop on the wrong side of the street by the Bower property. Get that cone out of the trunk and mark the spot. I’m calling the troopers station to see if they can get any tire impressions near where we picked up the bloody towel.”

“If Lorne Kincade was finished with trooper training, we’d get that done right quick.” The young officer opened the door and held it for Katrina.

“You bet you would.” Willie tried for a grin, but only one side of his lips lifted. “Thing is, he won’t even start the training until he and my sister get back from their honeymoon.”

Katrina rocked the baby whose face had turned bright pink. “Heavens to Betsy, let’s not rush the newlyweds home in our talk.” She tried for a smile and managed a small one.

The detective pivoted toward the window. “Mr. Brogna… Willie, I’d like you to stay. I have questions for you. Miss Lenart, I’ll question you later.”

The infant emitted a piercing cry.

Katrina hurried toward the door. “Our house is the first one on the right side.”

Chapter 5

Scene 1

 Katrina wanted to throw Detective Daltry into a snow bank. The nerve of him, barging into their house twice in two days, demanding she bundle the baby up and take him into the cold. How could that man not recall their harrowing, nighttime drive through the storm of the decade? She tossed her hair back over her shoulder, and with great difficulty held her tongue.

Momma apparently had no such reservations. “Detective, what you are doing is very wrong.”

Katrina came up beside her mother, to show a united front. “This is outrageous.” Her eyes narrowed and she crossed her arms over her chest. She hated the tone of her voice, but this baby wasn’t a ping-pong ball to be batted back and forth as the detective moved forward with his murder case.

He ignored her and continued addressing her mother.

“I’m sorry, ma’am.” He removed his fedora. “Chief Ferguson has already made the necessary phone calls and arrangements have been made. I must take Leslie Janos Bauer with me to the home of his aunt in Bay Shore. The chief would prefer your daughter come along in an official capacity as a nurse. It’s up to her, but I have to take the baby.”

Momma’s face flushed beet-red, a sure sign she’d become enraged. “This is not good for him… this hustle from place to place.”

“With all due respect, ma’am, a child belongs with his family, if at all possible.” The detective took a step toward Katrina. “Now, will you please fetch the baby.” It wasn’t a request.

Katrina made sure she stood tall. “Yes, I’ll get Leslie.” She clenched her fists at her side and jutted her chin. “This is disgraceful. You are using this infant to solve your murder case. Perhaps your own tragic life experience clouds your judgment?”

His mouth fell open and he took a step back.

“If you have it within your heart, give me one minute. I’ll get him ready and get my coat and boots on.” Without giving him a chance to reply, Katrina turned and stormed up the stairs.

Leslie lay sleeping in the baby-doll cradle Poppa had made for her when she was a little girl. Poppa had that kind of talent. He could make anything. In her heart she knew, he’d figured it would be her baby’s bassinet. At least now, it had a real purpose. She ran a finger over the hand carved leaves in the headboard.

“Milachku, time to wake up.” She took the infant into her arms inhaling the smell of baby, sweeter than the most expensive imported perfume.

Leslie yawned and she snuggled her nose in the soft folds of skin between his head and shoulder, kissing his neck. He cooed, so safe in her arms.

She brought him to her heart, holding him, rocking him and spoke softly to her reflection in the mirror above her bureau. “Fat chance I’ll ever walk down the aisle or have a family of my own with the man shortage since the war.” Something deep in the core of her female-self rebelled, a throbbing turbulence, from which deep hunger erupted.

She stroked Leslie’s cheek and made a funny face. The softness of his skin melted her heart.

He smiled at her and kicked.

“I’m so sorry. I promised I’d protect you and I can’t.” She forced a smile and made clucking noises.

He grabbed her hair and yanked.

“Ouch.” She laughed, removing strands of her hair from his little fist.

A tear escaped and ran down the side of her cheek. “I can do this.” She lifted her chin, sucked in a long breath, wrapped Leslie in a heavy quilt, and picked up his tote bag.

GOODBYE NOEL was released December 15th and will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Sony Reader Store, and Christianbooks soon!

Grab now at:

Desert Breeze Publishing

Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/

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Today I welcome Nike Chillemi, Crime Fictionista and author of Burning Hearts and Goodbye Noel, books 1 and 2 in her Sanctuary Point series.

Explain your “Crime Fictionista” philosophy. Sounds fabulous!

Something many in Christian publishing might not realize is that I was once part of the fashion industry. I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in the garment district in NYC and worked in the bridal industry. I’ve attended bridal fairs in Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Las Vegas, and of course in my hometown NYC. When I was working in fashion, I’d always here bandied about, “Oh, she’s such a fashionista.” So, it occurred to me, what about crime fictionista? I googled and found nobody was using the term, so natch, I grabbed it. It’s been a fun moniker to have.

What can readers expect from your books?

My readers have come to expect a good story. There’s suspense, action, a love story all in equal measure. Each of these elements is intrinsic to the plot. And there will also be some humor thrown in. Readers have commented that I also write about food. I always have characters who are cooking and baking and those aromas seem to be wafting off the page. In GOODBYE NOEL heroine Katrina Lenart isn’t very good in the kitchen, so sometimes the smells are more like a fireplace that needs cleaning. Those scenes would fall into the humor category.

How does your Christian faith show in your work?

Katrina and Det. Ian Daltry, who is a widower with some pain in his life, are both committed Christians and sharing the intimacies of their souls is part of their love story. They communicate deep, deep feelings to each other and even a few things that are quite difficult to talk about. And they share their faith with each other and help each other to a stronger faith.

Some crime/mystery novels nearly ignore characterization in favor of plot – where do you draw the line between action and the individual?

I’m heavily into characterization. In fact, my stories are character driven. The next step in the plot has to occur because it’s natural for it to happen to the characters. I like characters who are fairly intense. They don’t always have to be likeable, though I want the reader to be rooting for them. I try to depict ordinary people who rise to great heights in standing for what is right and against evil. I hope my readers can see the “natural nobility” unpretentious people can display when against all odds they do the right thing. I hope my main characters Katrina Lenart and Detective Ian Daltry come off in this way. I want to show that LOVE is the greatest power on the earth, that the depth of human love is something that will always persevere. Of course, Christians understand this powerful love is God’s love in us.

What connects GOODBYE NOEL with BURNING HEARTS? Do any of the same character’s appear?

In book one, BURNING HEARTS, main characters Eric Brogna and Lorne Kincade were innocents when it came to the opposite sex. They were very inexperienced and taking baby steps in their romance. Katrina, my heroine in GOODBYE NOEL, was Erica’s best friend in the first story who pushed Erica into Lorne’s space every chance she got. Ian Daltry, the Sanctuary Point detective, considered Lorne to be a suspect at the outset in the first novel. In GOODBYE NOEL, of course Katrina and Ian develop as characters. They both have very strong convictions about finding justice for the murder victims as the bodies pile up. They’re also committed Christians who act accordingly, yet are very aware of their feelings toward each other. I’d call this story a warm love story.

What are your favorite scenes to write? The romance? The crime? The suspense?

I hope you don’t find this a cop-out, but I enjoy writing them all. That’s why my novels are known for having an equal portion of suspense, romance, action, and pretty vivid crime scenes. I like the page turning aspects of suspense coupled with action. Then, for me there has to be accurate police procedure to the time-period. And finally, I want a deeply moving love story.

Who’s been your favorite character to write? Has there been one you’ve particularly connected with as you brought him/her to life?

I think Katrina has been the one I’ve enjoyed writing the most. She’s got a snarky side to her that was a hoot to write. She’s no perfect Christian, though she’s a rock solid believer. I’ve also enjoyed writing about her fashion flair, and also her mother’s. Katrina got her sense of style from her mom. I try to make that evident in the story. It’s a wonderful sense of femininity the females in her family pass down generation to generation and they bring Ian’s motherless four year old daughter into their feminine fold and begin helping her to feel like a princess.

What’s next for Sanctuary Point?

Well, of course, the crime wave continues to sweep the tiny village of Sanctuary Point. The next novel in the series is PERILOUS SHADOWS. Radio news broadcaster Argus Nye, who was a character in the first two novels, is the hero. Kiera Devane is a young woman who abandons her family’s high society lifestyle to become a newspaper reporter. Together she and Argus hunt the killer in Perilous Shadows.

GOODBYE NOEL was released December 15th and will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Sony Reader Store, and Christianbooks soon!

Grab now at:

Desert Breeze Publishing

Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/

Stay tuned tomorrow for an excerpt from Nike’s new novel, Goodbye Noel!


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Today we welcome author Tracy Sumner who is releasing her backlist on Kindle now!

What are some of the advantages to re-releasing titles from your backlist?

Easy one! Imagine, in the previous world of publishing, these books we loved (and you love them like children when you create them, at least I do), well, these books were sent out in print form…and had about a two-month shelf life, then they died. There were some bookstores that, if you had a good relationship with them, would stock the books longer, etc. However, they just entered this nether region. And only the A-list authors really got a lot of run from their backlist. Think Nora Roberts! 🙂 Now, with the e-publishing revolution – whether an author is with a publisher or not – these books have a chance to gain new readership! I don’t really care about anything but these guys (my books :)) having the chance to be read by someone who will care about the characters for even an hour or two. Preferably on the beach!

What do you legally need to do to ensure you can re-release backlist titles?

Well, I covered my bases very well. I closely reviewed the contracts – and I used an intellectual property lawyer in NYC so that all was laid out appropriately. I have a good relationship with my former publisher – and this is business only.

Do you see this as a trend among authors and, if so, of all or for certain genres?

YES. Perhaps in romance especially, because we are a very loyal genre and devoted to our authors, but why not? It’s a win-win for authors and readers.

Do re-release backlist books usually come out as eBooks?

Mine are. In fact, I have not, as yet, decided on even going the print route. You see, I had a very personal revelation when I received my first Kindle (I killed it and am on the second!) in Sept 2010. I was so into actual books in my hand. I am not an early adopter. And guess what? My first Kindle died in the middle of Julie Anne Long book at the beach this summer. And I finished the entire book on my phone!!!! If this is happening to me – it’s coming. No joke.

What else does it take to successfully re-release a backlist book?

I think you must keep writing. That is the most important element for any writer. I also think social media is crucial (in some manner, we could debate the details for months). So, promotion – which authors were consumed with before ebooks anyway.

How might sales figures differ from an original vs. a re-released book?

Well, I’ve just released my first backlist title about three weeks ago, so I’m really new to this process! But I’ve seen sales figures already (which would be laughable in the old system) and the income is coming directly to me. I have CONTROL. Which we never had before.

In addition to re-releasing backlist titles, do you plan to continue to grow your name by writing new books?

Yes! I’m working on a Victorian paranormal (light paranormal, I call it: psychic) and an anthology that is set to release in April. I also have another anthology with a couple of other authors in 2012, too. No release date yet. Also, working on getting the rest of the backlist out.

What are some tips for increasing backlist sales?

Connect with readers: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook. The norm. I also am blogging and trying to connect. I love the genre. I’m a HUGE reader, too, so this isn’t terribly difficult.





Tides of Passion: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WVPFH0

Tides of Love: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0066B1XTY

To Desire a Scoundrel: A Holiday Seduction – hitting Amazon this week!

Tracy’s story telling career began when she picked up a copy of LaVyrle Spencer’s Vows on a college beach trip. A journalism degree and a thousand romance novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a southern version of the perfect love story. With a great deal of luck and more than a bit of perseverance, she sold her first novel to Kensington Publishing.

When not writing sensual stories featuring complex characters and lush settings, Tracy can be found reading romance, snowboarding, watching college football and figuring out how she can get to 100 countries before she kicks (which is a more difficult endeavor than it used to be with her four-year-old son in tow). She lives in Charlotte, NC, but after spending a few years in “the city”, considers herself a New Yorker at heart.

Tracy has been awarded the National Reader’s Choice, the Write Touch and the Beacon – with finalist nominations in the HOLT Medallion, Heart of Romance, Rising Stars and Reader’s Choice. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish. She loves hearing from readers about why she tends to pit her hero and heroine against each other and that great novel she simply must order in five seconds on her Kindle.

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Please tell us a bit about your Support the Troops initiative.

My son is in the military and I am very supportive of the troops. It’s particularly difficult for the troops during the holidays, so I wanted to ensure that they knew there were authors out here ready to support them. Offering a free e-book is the least I can do. It’s a great feeling to know that even for the brief time it takes to read a book, I will have added something to someone’s day, while they’re over there.

What we could really use help on right now, is to just spread the word to the troops and military members. Everyone knows someone who knows someone. We want to make sure the word gets to the troops. We have over a thousand e-books to give out for the holidays.

I would ask every person reading this to send out at least a few emails and to post it on their facebook page, blog, twitter, or whatever other social network they use; so these guys and girls over there will be able to find out how that they can get a little unexpected gift from us this year.

What drives you to give back to the troops like this?

I think most people have been through hard times, or some sort of struggle during their lives. Once you’ve been there, you can easily empathize with others who need support. You remember the people who’ve been there when you needed them and it makes you want to be one of those people. You find yourself wanting to go that extra mile when you feel led to. I feel led to.

Tell us about your debut novel, Blind Veil.

Blind Veil is a psychological thriller. It’s about a New York City Cop who finds himself in a sticky situation and has absurd conversations with a certain ‘Doctor’. The whole incident is very much unexpected, and unplanned, and he is at a loss as to how to handle it.

Afterwards, and because of it, he finds that his life at work will never be the same. To make matters worse, he begins to fear he is losing his grip on reality. It becomes his ‘forced circumstance’ to get to the bottom of his troubles. In order to do that, he must look to an unreported crime that occurred decades earlier and on the other side of the country.

It’s a pretty harrowing story and there are enough twists and turns that there’s no telling what will happen next. Part of the ride for the reader, is to take the strange trip along with him…to delve into his mind to try to figure out what’s real and what’s not.

Blind Veil was released as an e-book. It is a pre-release to the soft cover. The soft cover version will be available in January 2012.

Is there a real-life inspiration to the story?

No, it’s completely fiction, though there are some who would disagree. That’s something that I find fascinating. Anyone who’s read the book will understand that answer completely.

This isn’t your first career. Has writing always been a passion? How does it fit into your life now?

I used to be in law enforcement and I’ve also worked in business. Writing has always been a passion, but I didn’t pursue getting my work published until now. Now this is what I do, and I love it. I should have pursued it years ago.

Do you have a set routine when you write? What gets you in the groove?

I feel really fortunate in that the words pour out as soon as I sit down to write. One thing I do need though is silence. Being a single parent with two dogs, that’s the tricky part. Still, there is always time to write and I do most of my work either late at night, or during school hours.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on the second Blind Veil book and the edits for a fantasy novel. Both are series. I also have a children’s book which will be out within the next two months. Yes, it’s quite different than Blind Veil. There’s nothing scary or strange in it at all.

Where can people find out more about your books and the Support the Troops drive?

Author Site ~ Blog ~ Book Site

Youtube: Trailer 1 (story trailer) ~ Trailer 2 (five star reviews) ~ Trailer 3 (99¢ special holidays sale)

You can purchase Blind Veil for only 99 cents right now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Support the Troops Authors: Blog ~ (we will have interviews with the authors involved between now and Christmas. Please check us out daily.)

Youtube Video 1 ~ Youtube Video 2

Main site: www.ebooksforsoldiers.com

Please spread the word to the troops!

Thank you so much!

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Be sure to check out the SuperSonic TeaserTrain here!

Introducing Sheila R. Lamb, author of Once a Goddess.

Two tribes battle for control of ancient Ireland, and Brigid must find her place among them, trapped between the will of her people and the desires of her heart. Set in a time when myths were reality, Once A Goddess brings the legend of Ireland’s magical Túatha dé Danann to life.


I stood with my people, trembling. I was terrified. In less than a day’s time, I would live with the enemy, go into their homes, eat their food. I would be the wife of their next chieftain.

I snatched glimpses of Bres, and of the Fomorians. A dark and robust stock, they stood in regiment rows on the other side of the albino hide. Bres was no exception. They returned my open stare. Some faces seemed kind, some curious, with half-hearted smiles, others hard and angry. A flicker of blue in the tapestry of brown…one of the men, in the back of the rows, had blue eyes. I glanced again and he was gone.

My people, the Túatha dé Danann, were gathered behind me. We were the embodiment of airiness, a small, pale race, eyes of blue or green. My chameleon hair could be golden or red, depending on the light. My gown shimmered with Danann magic as it soaked up the colors reflected from the sky.

I caught Bres’s gaze and drew back, intimidated by the sharpness that pierced the air around him. His fitted tunic and knee-length boots of coarse leather and wool defined every lithe muscle he possessed.

Nuada and Elatha left the white deer hide as the divider between the tribes. Bres and I would stand on the sacred deer hide when we vowed our lives together. The Danann ritual was the only farewell my people could give. My father preformed the marriage ceremony.

Bres took my hand in his and I flinched at his grip. He steered my steps to the albino hide, where we would end the bloodshed between our tribes. His hands were solid and brown as stout tree limbs, whereas my hands mirrored the pearls found within the sea. It seemed as though I clasped a young oak.

“Danu, we thank you for your presence. As your children, we stand before you. We ask for peace.” Father diverged from the traditional mating words of magic that called upon the earth and the sky to bind us as one.

“Danann and Fomorian ask for your blessings as we share the earth.” Power should have surrounded me. It should have surrounded Bres. Instead, in the face of blank, empty words and talks of peace between tribes, I felt nothing.

My father’s incantation had ended and it was our turn to speak quietly to each other.

Danann couples spoke sacred words of magic at this point in the ceremony, words to bind them for a lifetime. Of course, I had been warned not to use those words, our secret. My promise was simple: to uphold the treaty.

Bres spoke first. “Brigid, our joining will be new to both our people and to this island. If you can’t bear the pressures that will be put on us, then you may walk away now.”

He knew I couldn’t walk away. He knew we were trapped together.

“There will be pressures,” I said. “However, the purpose of our union is peace. Not for my personal gain.” I paused. “Nor yours.”

Bres smirked at my implications and our eyes met, each daring the other to turn away first.

So, this was how it would be. I knew in that instant that I couldn’t let him catch me off guard; I would have to think carefully before I spoke and always remember that cunning motivation hid behind his words. I would protect our gifts, our knowledge of the elements that surrounded us, with my life. The Fomorians would use that information to take the earth, the source of our strength, from us. And as mine was to protect, I believed that Bres’s mission was to discover.

With sickening clarity, I understood why Father and Mother had chosen me. I, Brigid, was quiet and reserved, able to turn to stone. Stone is what they wanted to give to Bres and the Fomorians.

Bres studied my face as though looking for fractures in my expression. I would not give in to him. Instead of showing my trepidation, I smiled and touched a forelock of his black hair that escaped the tight leather band that kept its length pulled back. He grinned and brought my hand to his lips, biting lightly. His gesture sent a chill down my spine.

Visit Sheila R. Lamb on her on her blog / Twitter, and snag the eBook or Paperback of Once a Goddess today!

Check out all the TeaserTrain participant books at the WLC TeaserTrain Page!

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Today I welcome Gary C. King, author of numerous true crime books and articles. He is participating in a December event – Holiday Sirens – and is here to discuss his writing and his book Blood Lust.

How did you get started writing True Crime books?

Having read all the James Bond novels, much Agatha Christie, and other mystery/suspense/spy novels by the age of 15, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. But I really wouldn’t begin until 10 years later when a friend, knowing that I aspired to be a writer, gave me a sample issue of True Detective magazine, along with their writers guidelines. Himself wanting to be a writer, my friend had ordered these for himself but gave up after barely even trying. I decided, “What the hell,” and picked out a case that was going on at the time in Oregon, where I then resided, researched it, wrote it up, and sent it in. Took me about 6 to 8 weeks from start to finish. The story was about two little Ashland, Oregon girls who went missing but were later found murdered in a stadium press box. Manuel Cortez was apprehended and convicted of the crimes. I think this was in 1978. Anyway, I sent the story in and two weeks later I received a check in the mail for $300 along with a letter from the editor telling me how much they liked the story and how they wanted more from me. They sent along a batch of their standard query forms—I did not even know that a query was required before writing a story. They called the story, “Tortured by the Sadist in the Press Box!” The rest is history. I became hooked on true crime, and 300 stories later I decided to take a stab (pun intended) at writing true crime books. As with the stories, my first book, BLOOD LUST: Portrait of a Serial Sex Killer, was picked up and published by NAL/Onyx, and went through 14 printings before going out of print. I recently revived it as an eBook.

How does your work with Investigation Discovery, TLC, Crime Library, etc figure into your own non-fiction work. Are they extensions of the same love of true crime?

In many ways, yes. ID needed a blogger for their Bizarre Crimes of the Week feature on their website, and hired me to write the blog after hearing of my books. I obtained other work with Discovery’s TLC and How Stuff Works, but I’m not doing much of that anymore. They cancelled Bizarre Crimes of the Week after about two and a half years. As for Crime Library, I was looking for an article-type venue for which I could write stories in between books after True Detective and its sister publications folded in 1995. I still write for Crime Library, and I love it. It’s one of the best, if not the best, true crime story venues on the Internet, and is owned by Turner Broadcasting. So yes, those could be described as an extension of my love of true crime.

How do you research your books?

Research almost always begins with a phone call from a cop or a newspaper article about a crime that has grabbed my interest, often serving as the spark that ignites the flame. Once I have decided on a case, I typically will interview several of the principals who will talk to me, i.e., detectives, prosecutors, witnesses, victims’ families, sometimes even the perpetrator. I’ll also typically read through the cops’ case files when they are willing to make them available to me, as well as study court records and/or attend trials. I go wherever my research takes me, and research is not necessarily limited to the above.

Tell us a little bit about Blood Lust: Portrait of a Serial Sex Killer. How did you pick this case to feature?

At the time Dayton Leroy Rogers was grabbing prostitutes off of Portland’s streets and torturing and murdering them in the Molalla Forest, I was still writing for True Detective. I had interviewed the lead detective on that case, John Turner, about another case he had worked for a TD story. While sitting in his office, he brought up the Rogers case, who he had recently arrested for the murders, and he asked me if I had ever thought about doing a book. Having an excellent rapport with Turner and his department, he told me the case was fascinating and would make an excellent book. After conferring with his boss, Sheriff Bill Brooks, he loaned me a copy of his case files, which consisted of four or five storage boxes, and over the next couple of months I wrote up a lengthy book proposal which I sent off to my agent. He sent it out to a dozen publishers, and the seventh one, NAL (now Penguin USA) grabbed it and I wrote the book over the following six months. It was released in December 1992, with December being one of the worst months in which to publish a book. Nonetheless, it became an immediate bestseller, and is now a bestseller as an eBook twenty years later. BLOOD LUST became the first of many books. I believe I am currently writing my 17th book, about the Brianna Denison case in Reno, Nevada, which will be called DEAD OF NIGHT.

What do you think people can learn from reading about true crimes vs. fictional ones?

I believe that people can get a good feel from reading my true crime books about what makes a killer tick, so-to-speak, and having learned about how such anomalies of nature work people can take better precautions on how to protect themselves and their loved ones. A number of popular true crime writers today (and yesterday) like to fluff up their narratives with figments from their imaginations, and often sugarcoat the details about a crime for what they think will bring them a wider reading audience. But I don’t do that. It’s not fair to the memories of the victims, their families, or the cops who worked the cases and brought the killers to justice. I tell it like it is, and I’ve been told time and time again by victims’ families that this is the way they want their loved ones’ stories to be told—truthfully, even though it is painful. Seeing things made up, they tell me, is more painful to them because often times the criminals become glamorized in a sense. You won’t find glamorized killers in my books.

Gary C. King is a freelance author and lecturer who has published more than 500 articles in crime magazines internationally. He is also the author of several true crime books including: Blood Lust, Driven to Kill, Web of Deceit, Blind Rage, Savage Vengeance (with Don Lasseter), An Early Grave, The Texas 7, Murder in Hollywood, Angels of Death, Stolen in the Night, Love, Lies, and Murder, An Almost Perfect Murder , Butcher, Rage, The Murder of Meredith Kercher, and Dead of Night. He also writes online content for Crime Library and for Investigation Discovery, The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel, and How Stuff Works web sites, among others.

King’s television appearances include Entertainment Tonight, Larry King Live, Inside Edition, Court TV, MSNBC’s Headliners and Legends, E!, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Extra TV, Biography, Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege,and Justice, among others, including an upcoming interview on Investigation Discovery’s Deadly Sins crime series. He also frequently provides radio interviews.

King is an active member of the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, The Crime Writers’ Association, American Crime Writers League, National Press Club, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Society of Professional Journalists, and the International Association of Crime Writers.

 Gary C. King is represented by agent Peter Miller, President, PMA Literary and Film Management, 45 West 21st Street, Suite 4SW, New York, NY 10010. Phone: 212-929-1222; Fax: 212-206-0238.

Connect with Gary online at his website or on Twitter @Gary_C_King.

Load up on great Cops and Crime books
with the Holiday Sirens special!

 Additional images from the case featured in Blood Lust:

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Precarious Yates is one of 10 authors celebrating the upcoming release of Karen Baney’s new contemporary inspirational romance, Nickels, Dec 13-15.


Thankfulness and the Writing Process

by Precarious Yates

Thankfulness is the currency of eternity. We see this in Revelation in the songs to the Lamb. In 5:12, worshipers give wealth to the Lamb, yet two chapters later, in 7:12, wealth is changed to thanksgiving. A currency exchange happens along the way. I’m trying to do that currency exchange while here on earth.

One thing I’m very grateful for? Writing. Whether people enjoy my books or not, I have such joy in the process of writing that I’m not concerned (as much) with people’s assessment. I love when the ideas begin to flow for the first time, and I love the editing process when I see the novel coming together.

I liked waitressing well enough, but I didn’t have the contentment as a waitress the way that I do as a writer. So I’m also grateful for the time to be a writer.

At the end of the day, I’m thankful that I chose to self publish, even though this wasn’t my first choice. I’ve made some wonderful friends throughout the process of self publishing that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. They inspire me, challenge me, help me to make my work the best it can be. Thank you, Wendy, for being one of those friends!

Remaining thankful through the writing process has helped me keep perspective. The Lord needs to be first and foremost, and I need to put my family before any job or ministry. Some days I focus on numbers and the ins and outs of marketing a book, then someone nudges me back to the real priorities. I can be thankful instead of resentful, since I’d been practicing thankfulness through the joyful moments.

These principles can be expressed through every area of life. I just find it helpful to practice thankfulness in the individual areas instead of as a blanket gratitude: I think it speeds up the currency exchange.

Precarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their mastiff. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

You can learn more about Ms. Yates and about the issues discussed in this novel by visiting www.precariousyates.com

Book 2 of Revelation Special Ops, Pharmacia: Those Magic Arts, is due out in 2012. Book 1 is available now.

Join Precarious and 9 other Christian authors as they celebrate the release of her Karen Baney’s new novel with this great 99 cent eBook event.

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Today we welcome S.L. Pierce, author of The Devil’s Game. She is participating in a Women’s Literary Cafe launch for Andy Hollowman’s debut novel: Shades of Gray.

Your website says “Mystery/Thrillers without all the Prose.” Can you explain a bit about the philosophy behind that?

The main character of The Devil’s Game is Rachel Pendleton.  She is young, about to finish graduate school, and really looking forward to starting her ‘real’ life.  But just when everything is about to be perfect in her eyes, someone starts stalking her and she doesn’t know who to trust.  But before you think ‘another stalker book’ the difference here is this question; what if a stalker had a stalker?  My favorite part of writing her was trying to keep her strong but mixing in the right amount of fear.  It was really challenging.

Tell us about your main character The Devil’s Game. What’s your favorite part about writing her?

The main character of The Devil’s Game is Rachel Pendleton. She is young, about to finish graduate school, and really looking forward to starting her ‘real’ life. But just when everything is about to be perfect in her eyes, someone starts stalking her and she doesn’t know who to trust. But before you think ‘another stalker book’ the difference here is this question; what if a stalker had a stalker? My favorite part of writing her was trying to keep her strong but mixing in the right amount of fear. It was really challenging.

Is she reflection of you in all or part?

Rachel is not a reflection of me at all but I know my co-writer drew on her experience with her two grown daughters to help shape Rachel.

Did you pull in any real-life events?

Oh no, thank goodness. Everything in this story is complete fiction.

I have to ask one of the most popular (and to me, intriguing) questions – are you a panster or a plotter when you write?

Definitely a plotter. I wrote Secrets (my first book) as a panster and had to do so much rewriting to make all the plot points fit together. The problem with pansting, for me, is if you think of something halfway through, you have to go back and make it work throughout the book. So much more work. So now I plot, plot, plot before ever writing a word.

Do you stick to your plot or do you still find yourself changing things once you begin to write the story?

I plot the big picture so there is plenty of room for small things to change. It would be crazy NOT to listen to the voices in my head, right 🙂

You’ve been publishing for almost a year now, both by yourself and with a writing partner – do you still find new things to learn about the process of writing and publishing your work?

Absolutely. I feel like such a beginner when it comes to the writing. The good thing is, everything I write gets easier and easier. Less revisions, less rewriting and I’m figuring out the method of writing that works best for me (set a timer and turn off my internal critic). But there is so much to learn and I hope to always be getting better. As far as the publishing, I feel I have the publishing/advertising stuff down now. Which doesn’t mean I am always following through. But I know what I should be doing.

Did you ever consider pursuing the traditional publishing route?

Not really. When I started writing self publishing was turning the corner of acceptance and a lot of things made sense to me – things like keeping the rights, keeping control, and keeping most of the royalties instead of just a small percentage. I still feel self publishing is the right path for me.

What do you feel are the greatest strengths and challenges of being an indie writer?

The strengths are the things I listed above, keeping rights, keeping control. You can write the story YOU want. But with that comes the challenge of having no one guiding you if you get off track. And editing, cover art, and promoting are all up to you and they take a lot of time away from writing. But if you can find a balance, it is really worth it.

What would you say to someone who is considering purchasing an indie book?

I would say forget about all the reviewers and detractors. If a book looks interesting download a sample or read the ‘look inside’ section. It’s free, it’s easy, and you’ll know right away if the book is something you want to read. I’d say give them a chance.wearing. So when I write, I leave most of that out, and just focus on the mystery and the action. It does make the stories shorter, but they end up with a really fast pace.

 S.L. Pierce spent ten years getting a PhD in engineering before deciding engineering wasn’t for her. She now lives in Colorado with her husband and four children.

The short stories “The Hate” and “Manhunt” are her first published works. Her mystery/thriller Secrets came out in March 2011. The Devil’s Game, a psychological thriller co-written with Maren Kaye, was released in June 2011.

You can find her on facebook and twitter @piercebooks or contact her at slpierce2011@hotmail.com

Load Your Kindle @ the Women’s Literary Cafe!

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