Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sample Saturday - Dec 13, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. This week's sample is from Trail of Storms, where Jessie Bingham accepts Ned's previously unwelcome proposal. (The print edition of this novel is on sale here for $10, personalized and autographed. Hurry. The offer is only good while supplies last!)
~~~


Jessie wiped her mouth on her apron. Getting rid of her supper had relieved the pain in her stomach, but the hurt in her heart remained. She was sobbing. Even though the news of James’s betrothal to Ellen Bates had cut into her soul like a hot knife, knowing that he was free and somewhere in this country had given her hope. Jessie shuddered. She couldn’t think of James anymore.

She wiped her eyes and looked around. She’d been lucky when she left the kitchen. No one had been around. Just then, two men came out of the stable, laughing and talking. George and . . . Ned.

Ned! Ned wants me. James doesn’t. Ned does. He’ll take care of me, and I’ll never have to think about James Owen again.

She ran toward Ned, forcing a smile. He’ll be happy. I’ve got to be happy. “Ned,” she called.

“Jessie?” He smiled at her, and left George, taking long strides to meet her. “What is it?”

Jessie halted and let Ned approach. He says he loves me. He’ll never leave me. She grabbed her upper arm with the other hand and waited. He’ll make me happy.

Ned smiled down at her, and she lifted her head. “I’ll marry you,” she said.

Ned’s smile widened to a grin. “You mean it?”

“Yes.” She waited, her fingers gripping her arm. She’d be safe with Ned.

Ned picked her up by the waist and swung her around. She clutched his shoulders to keep her balance.

“Jessie, I’m the happiest man in the world. We can get married at the next town.” He put her on her feet.

Married? So soon? She hadn’t thought beyond her acceptance of Ned’s offer. What if I get pregnant? She thought of Hannah, and the physical discomfort she was going through in carrying her child. “I think we should wait until we get to Albuquerque to wed. We have so far to go. I don’t want to be . . . like Hannah is.” She watched disappointment mask Ned’s eyes. Then he accepted her condition, though his shoulders sank a bit.

“I reckon you’re right, honeybunch. I wouldn’t want you to be burdened by—” He pressed his lips together, sighed, and nodded. “We’ll wait.”
~~~


Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the sample. I appreciate your support of my work.

Author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foreman, in the best-selling Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Book 4, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Sample Saturday - Dec 6, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. This week's sample is from Trail of Storms, where Jessie Bingham gets an unwelcome proposal. (The print edition of this novel is on sale here for $10, personalized and autographed. Hurry. The offer is only good while supplies last!)
~~~


After a matter of weeks, the Bingham party made camp near a spot where the westward trails divided. The northern branch led to Utah and California and Oregon. The southern track was still renowned as the Santa Fe Trail, which connected to old Spanish trails that continued through New Mexico Territory all the way to California, following a wagon road pioneered by a party of Mormon volunteers during the War with Mexico in the ‘40s.

Jessie stood over an iron skillet, frying bacon. She looked up from her task when Ned stepped into the firelight.

“Good evening, Jessie,” he began.

“Hello, Ned.” She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “Ma’s not nearby, so I can call you that.”

Ned smiled and nodded. “You look very nice tonight,” he said. “Do you mind if I sit a spell?”

Jessie rolled her eyes in mild annoyance and said, “Suit yourself.” She turned the bacon with a fork.

“Thanks.” He found a box and lowered himself onto it. “Lovely night. Stars out and a full moon.”

“Uh-huh,” she said, laying down the fork and lifting the lid on a pot of beans. It needed stirring, so she picked up a wooden spoon and thrust it into the savory mixture.

Ned shuffled his feet

At the sound, Jessie looked up to see him gazing at George and Heppie, who were teasing each other near their wagon.

Ned cleared his throat, then spoke. “Married life seems to suit my brother and your sister.”

“They do seem over the moon.”

“Have you thought about getting married?”

Jessie cast her eyes down to her work. She hadn’t given the topic much thought since … since she’d been left behind when James went west. She bit her lip. It didn’t help. Her heart still hurt more. Slowly she looked up. Ned was sitting there, waiting for her to answer. She shrugged her shoulders. “Not for a long time.”

Ned bent over and fiddled with the top of his boot. “Do you know what double cousins are?”

Jessie frowned. What a strange question! “No.”

“That’s when two brothers marry two sisters, or a brother and sister marry a sister and brother. Their youngsters are double cousins.”

Jessie stirred the beans so vigorously that they sloshed over the rim of the pot.

“Jessie.” Ned paused, fiddling with the lacing on his boot. “I, that is, you, I mean …” His voice trailed off. “Oh, confound it,” he said, rising to his feet. “Will you marry me? We’ll run into a town sooner or later, and we can scare up a preacher or a mayor or a judge to say the words over us—”

“Mr. Heizer,” Jessie interrupted.

“Please, Jessie, hear me out. We’re good friends, that’s a fact, but I’ve got strong feelings for you. I thought of you a good deal during the months that I was lyin’ there in the hospital up north. When I got back to Mount Jackson and found out you were gone, it tore me up inside. I want to be with you now.”

Jessie turned and faced him. “Mr. Heizer, Ned, I—”

“If you don’t want to answer yet, I’ll understand.” He got to his feet, stepped forward, and took her hand. “Take all the time you need.”

Jessie looked at Ned’s hand holding hers. She looked into his eyes. She looked away. “Ned, we’re only friends. I’ve never thought of marrying you.”

Ned dropped her hand and shuffled his feet. “I think friendship is a good start for marriage.”

Jessie stared at him. “But what about love?”

“I’ve never loved anyone but you, Jessie.”

Jessie smiled wryly. “That’s on your side of the matter, Ned. Don’t I need to love you too?” Her smile slipped away as Ned jerked upright, his throat working as he swallowed several times. “Being in love matters to a girl.”

She turned to the bacon and poured the grease into the bean pot. She whacked at the crisp bacon. It shattered into pieces that she scooped into the pot. She looked up. Ned was staring at her, his face somber.

After a moment, he spoke. “Don’t misunderstand me, Jessie. Naturally I want you to love me, but I’m sure that will come in time. For now, consider takin’ a good, hard look at your feelings for me. See if they ain’t sufficient for marriage.”

Jessie laid down her spoon and moved to face Ned. She put her hand on his arm. “I been in love before,” she whispered. “I don’t feel the same about you.”

Ned looked down at the ground, then up again. Finally he spoke, his voice dark. “James Owen?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“Is he anywhere around?”

“No.”

“Then marry me.”

“I don't love you like that. You’re my friend.”

“It doesn’t matter to me what kind of love you bear me now.” Ned took her hand from his arm and brought it to his chest. His heart beat strong, hard. “I hope that will change in time. I care for you enough for both of us.” He nodded sharply, only once, then added, “You think about what I’ve said.”

Jessie lowered her eyes. Her heart thumped in her throat, matching the rhythm of Ned’s. Maybe I do love him, she thought. Maybe I should think about marrying him. Slowly she nodded. “I’ll give thought to your suggestion.” She looked up. Ned was watching her face. “It may take me some time to …” She swallowed, took her hand from Ned’s chest, then said in a gush of air, “To think it through.”

Ned’s eyes looked like the depths of a deep pool. He gazed at her for a long time, not moving, frozen in place. Then he nodded, again only one time. “I’ll wait.”

He strode off, his long legs barely limping, and Jessie wondered how hard it was for him to damp down his pride and give her the time she needed.
~~~


Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the sample. I appreciate your support of my work.

You may have noticed the new icon up at the left that I've added to this site. I'm now a member of the "Tip My Author" network. You can find out more information in the FAQs for Readers, or visit my profile here. I'm excited about the concept, which is designed to let you thank your favorite authors and show them your support. Learn more here.
~~~


Author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foreman, in the best-selling Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Book 4, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Madcap Monday - New Box Set available now

A new Triple Treat Historical Romance box set containing my previously-published novel, The Man from Shenandoah, and two others by amazing authors Kristin Holt and Kelli Ann Morgan, is now available!


Whispered Promise: A Triple Treat Romance Box Set (Triple Treat Romances Book 11)  is just $2.99, available as an eBook at many booksellers online. Here is what you get:

Three Bestselling Authors, Three Historical Romances, One Great Price

The Bride Lottery by Amazon bestselling author Kristin Holt
Colorado, 1881—It’s too bad the mail order bride agency failed to round up even half their order, ‘cause every man on the mountain wants a bride—except Sam Kochler. When Evelyn Brandt steps off the train, a last-minute addition to the brides, he can’t help but wonder why a pretty, well-to-do pregnant lady would take her chances with a bunch of unruly miners. Forty Bachelors. Fifteen Brides. What could go wrong?

The Rancher by Amazon bestselling author Kelli Ann Morgan
The deal was to share the ranch, not her heart... Abby McCallister can ride and shoot better than any man she’s ever met, but when the threat of losing her ranch forces her to find a husband, she is unprepared for the mysterious stranger who takes her hand and evokes in her a sudden desire to be a lady fit for his arm. He'd sworn to protect her. He couldn't do that if she married someone else... Cole Redbourne, immersed in guilt over the accident that claimed his best friend, discovers there was nothing accidental about it. When he sets out for Silver Falls, Colorado, to fulfill his friend’s dying wish and to flush out his killer, the last thing he expected was to find hope again disguised as his impromptu bride.

The Man from Shenandoah by Amazon bestselling author Marsha Ward
Returning from the Civil War, Carl Owen finds the family farm ruined and his father set to leave Virginia. Then Carl falls in love, and he battles a band of outlaws, a prairie fire, blizzards, a trackless waterless desert, and his own brother—all for the hand of feisty Ellen Bates.


Whispered Promise: A Triple Treat Romance Box Set (Triple Treat Romances Book 11)
eBooks: Amazon | Amazon UK | BN | iTunes | Kobo

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sample Saturday - Nov 29, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. This week's sample is from Trail of Storms, a novel in which I'm sometimes accused of preaching. That wouldn't be so bad, except I'm vilified for preaching about Mormon teachings! I prefer to think I'm sharing a bit of light about a religion of which many people have little knowledge. Whichever way you lean, this scene contains good old Christian teachings of being grateful for blessings, no matter the circumstances. (Being Christians, Mormons believe the same teachings of Christ.)
~~~



A week later the Bingham party camped below the Wet Mountains. Crickets chirped in the distance. A soft breeze blew down the side of the hills, bringing with it a chilly touch of autumn.

Mrs. Bingham sat in the flickering light of the waning fire, forking up a last bite of beans. When she’d swallowed it, she put down her fork and looked to Hannah, who sat nearby. Her daughter played with her half-eaten food as though her thoughts were a million miles away.

Mrs. Bingham cleared her throat and asked, “Dearie, did you take enough to feed yourself right? That little babe needs good nourishment.”

Hannah stirred in her seat. “Ma, I don’t want to talk about this …” She paused. “This mound of flesh. I can’t stop it from supping at my vitals, but I don’t have to talk about it.”

“Daughter,” Mrs. Bingham remonstrated, getting to her feet and collecting plates and forks. “Don’t be unnatural. You must count your blessings.”

As others drifted off to do their chores, she carried the dinnerware to a dishpan near her wagon. She got boiling water from the fire, poured it over the dishes, and called out to Heppie, “It’s your turn to wash.”

“Yes, Ma.” Heppie came up and dipped her hand into the water, pulled it out, and shook it. She blew on her fingers. “This water is still too hot, Ma.”

Mrs. Bingham rounded the fire and sat beside Hannah. “It’ll cool down soon enough,” she called.

Hannah clutched her hands together, her head bent over the abandoned plate. Her body seemed to vibrate with tension.

Mrs. Bingham straightened her shoulders. “You have many blessings, Hannah. Chief among them, you didn’t die at that wicked man’s hand. Mr. Fletcher says you punished him gravely.”

Hannah interrupted. “I scratched his face and pulled his hair. That’s not so much.”

“Your husband told me a tale of great bravery on your part, dear. I got him to talk about it one night, and he wept as he told how you struggled.”

“Robert doesn’t weep.”

“Mr. Fletcher has very deep emotions about that day, Hannah. He grieves that you were hurt. He grieves that your heart is so hard toward your babe. He loves you. He swears he will love your child, no matter what.”

“How good he is,” Hannah said, scorn tingeing her words. “How noble. How fine.”

“Hannah! You must not talk that way about your husband. He deserves your respect.”

“He is not the one carrying this bastard child!” Hannah blurted out. “No one blames him. Everyone will praise him to the heavens for his forbearance toward me.”

“Hannah.” Mrs. Bingham’s voice rose firmly. “Robert Fletcher is one of the greatest blessings in your life. Once upon a time you knew that, and cherished his love. You returned it. It grew into a fine, shining thing. Don’t debase it because you had a misfortunate experience with a vile man.”

Hannah’s face went white. “I can’t forget that day.”

“You must try. You must turn your thoughts to your babe, to being a good mother and a good wife. Give thanks each day for your blessings and for your family.”

The anger in Hannah’s face crumbled away, and her hands flew up to hide her face. “Mama,” she said in a little-girl voice. “Don’t scold me so. I can’t bear for you to hate me. I hate myself enough for all the world.”

Mrs. Bingham got up and gathered her daughter into her arms. “There now, dearie,” she crooned, as Hannah cried deep gulping sobs. “Leave go of hate. Where there is life, there is hope. Your dear Robert knows that. He has been strong enough to carry you through this terrible time. Bear him a grateful heart for his fortitude. Don’t turn your back on that gift.”

Hannah turned her stricken face to look up at Mrs. Bingham. “Oh, Mama, I’ve been a dreadful wife.”

“Yes, you have.” Mrs. Bingham stroked Hannah’s back.

“How can I cure that?”

“If you open your heart, you will know what to do, and when the time is right, you will be knit together as one soul again.”

Hannah sniffled. “Can that happen, Mama?”

Mrs. Bingham stood still for a moment, looking at the moon as it rose over the meadow. She turned back to Hannah and hugged her tight. “Your Robert is fixing a snug bed under yonder stand of trees. I am confident he will receive you with all his heart.” She looked again at the moon. “There’s good luck in that light, daughter. Don’t let it go to waste.”

Hannah sat up and got free of her mother’s encircling arms. She took a deep breath and stood up. She seemed to stand taller. “Thank you, Mama. I won’t.”

Mrs. Bingham stepped back and made a shooing motion. “Go on with you,” she said. As Hannah walked away, she whispered, “Good night. May God be with you.”
~~~


Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the sample.

WestWard Books is having a Year-End Sale on print copies of Trail of Storms, the third book in the Owen Family Saga. They are on sale for $10.00 per copy, with optional personalization and/or signature from me author. This sale is good as long as supplies last, or until December 31, 2014. All sales final. Click here to purchase. Thank you for your support of my books today, which is, of course, Small Business Saturday.
~~~


Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foreman, in the best-selling Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Book 4, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

Monday, November 24, 2014

YEAR-END SALE - Trail of Storms print edition

I'm passing along news from WestWard Books: 


YEAR-END SALE: print copies of Trail of Storms, the third book in the Owen Family Saga, are on sale for $10.00 per copy, with optional personalization and/or signature from the author, Marsha Ward. This sale is good as long as supplies last, or until December 31, 2014. All sales final. Click here to purchase.

And here's the book description and a couple of reviews:

Jessie Bingham put heartbreak away to tend to her sister's needs, but when she settled for second best in love, she didn't foresee that James Owen would come back into her life.

The aftermath of the Civil War creates cruel circumstances for the Bingham family. A brutal attack on Jessie's sister, Hannah Fletcher, drives the extended family to flee to the West. They are soon joined by Heppie Bingham's beau George and his brother, Ned, who bring news that the Binghams are being pursued by cronies of Hannah's attacker. Even after they fight off that onslaught, poverty, bad weather, and Hannah's frightful secret plague their journey. Nursing her battered heart when she hears James Owen took a wife, Jessie accepts Ned's offer of marriage. But a stop on the trail holds surprises that launch Jessie into a bewildering tangle of values, emotions, and high adventure.

Shirley Bahlmann, author of the "Odds" pioneer series, says: Marsha Ward has the uncanny ability to transport readers back in time. You feel the characters' sorrows, hate the villains, cheer the heroes, and sit on the edge of your seat as one adventure after another unfolds. What a satisfying story this is, with real, believable trials and heart-warming conclusions. I recommend it to everyone, from history buffs to adventure lovers to romance readers.

Review from Meridian Magazine: Trail of Storms is not a romance, but a nitty gritty Western. It is the historical details of Colorado and New Mexico and the writer's understanding of both the American and Hispanic cultures of this place and time period that are superbly done. The author portrays vividly the lingering hatred that existed between Confederates and Yankees for years following the war, the bigotry between races, and the minimal rights of women. Historical and Western fans of either gender will enjoy this series, from the compelling covers to the last word of this third volume. - Jennie Hansen

Click here to purchase Trail of Storms in print.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sample Saturday - Nov 22, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. This week's sample is from a published short story called War Party. Nearly twelve-year-old Rolla Wood is bent on revenge and has set out to get it.
~~~


It was past noon when Rolla checked his back trail and discovered a man riding a quarter mile behind him. The boy leaned forward and urged the dun into a lope. Later, when he pulled up to give the horse a breather, the man still followed, and Rolla edged off the trail and circled behind an outcropping of sandstone.

He shucked the Winchester from the boot, dismounted, and tied the horse. Then he crawled to the top of the low butte and waited, shivering as the cold clamped down on his motionless form.

The man was big, not too old, rode a gray gelding, and wore a gray hat with a black band. A red scarf decorated his neck. His topcoat flapped open as the gelding moved, and once, Rolla caught sight of a gun belt crossed at an angle to his waist.

An outlaw! he thought, and shivered again. Then Rolla remembered his mission, and anger shook him. "I got a job to do," he whispered. "No grown-up's gonna stop me." He squeezed off a shot in front of the gray horse. "Get them hands in the air!" he shouted.

First the man quieted the plunging gray, then he slowly raised his hands and peered toward the sandstone mass. "Who's that up there? You sound like a kid."

Rolla levered the rifle. "Old enough to shoot. Why are you following me?"

The man started to lower his arms, and Rolla yelled again. "Keep 'em up! Answer me. Why are you on my trail?"

"Your trail? This is a public road, kid. What do you think you're doing?"

Rolla stood, and waved the rifle barrel at the man. "You answer the questions."

"I don't know who you are, kid, but your daddy ought to lay a hand good and hard on your butt. You're keeping me from my business. Them cussed Indians will be to hell and gone before I can catch them."

Rolla shifted his feet on the sandstone. "What Indians?"

"Them raiding Apaches who killed my partner, that's what Indians. I'm getting riled, kid. You best put that pop stick down so I can be on my way."

"What you gonna do to those Indians?"

The man spit on the ground. "I'm gonna give them a hundred dollars and pat them on the head."

"I'm coming with you."

"No chance, kid. Put down that rifle and I'll get along." The man glared at the lanky youth, and lowered his arms. "You're just a dumb kid."

"I ain't no dumb kid! I got a job to do, same as you."

"Well, I'm on my way. Shoot me in the back, if you've a mind to."

"You need me, mister," Rolla shouted, then gritted his teeth against the disappointment.
~~~


Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the sample. War Party (Short Story) is available as an electronic book at these online outlets: Smashwords all formats | Kindle | nook | Kobo | iTunes Bookstore

Click the "My Books" tab at the top of the page for more information about my books and short stories. Purchase links are included. The "Special Collections" tab includes information and links to my novella, Faith and the Foreman, and a short story in the Owenverse, Bloodied Leather, which gives a glimpse into the future of the Owen Family. Don't forget to come back next Saturday for another sample of my writing.


Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foreman, in the best-selling Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Book 4, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Fresh Book Friday - The Line That Divides

Title: The Line That Divides
Author: Melanie Mason
Genre: Historical Romance (World War II)
Publisher: Walnut Springs Press
Date of Publication: November 2014


Synopsis:
With boundaries clearly drawn by the horror of World War II, Austrian teenager Marianne Leichtner doesn't think about love. Returning from Germany, where she was forced to attend school as a linguist, she settles back into life in the countryside.

The crash of an American B-17 bomber in the hills behind her family's home changes everything. Shortly following the accident, Marianne discovers Charlie and Sam, the only surviving crewmen from the plane, hiding in the barn. She decides to help them and is thrust into a world of danger and secrets. An unlikely friendship forms, and then the Nazis arrive. After a week of hiding the young men, Marianne is attacked by Lieutenant Herske, a Nazi officer, and is rescued by Charlie. She helps the Americans escape, but assumed the worst when she learns two Americans were killed trying to cross the border.

As she pieces together her broken heart, Marianne decides the only way she can defy the Nazis is to join the Austrian resistance. To cross that line means discovering who she really is and what she is willing to do. Because of Charlie, she is willing to take the chance.

When the war ends it seems impossible to return to normal life. But a miracle occurs, saving Marianne one more time.

Excerpt:
Marianne made her way over to the chicken coop and gathered the eggs. She set aside a dozen in a smaller basket for Frau Schmidt and put the remainder in the large basket to deliver later that day. The hens clucked uneasily in the pen, and collecting the eggs took longer than normal. Marianne quietly closed the coop and made her way back toward the door.

She stopped when she realized she had left the smaller basket in with the chickens. After carefully setting the large basket on the ground, she turned back to the coop but stopped when she heard a soft moan from behind her. She whirled around to face the pile of straw in the corner. Another low moan came from the pile, which seemed almost to shudder. Marianne’s mind shouted for her to run and tell her mother, but curiosity got the better of her.

She stepped toward the moving straw, hesitated, and then reached out to brush aside the loose covering of stalks. Suddenly a hand clamped over her mouth, and another one pinned her arms to her side and pulled her back. Her nostrils were assailed by the smell of sweat and pine trees.

In a panic she struggled against the tight, muscled arms, her cries muffled by the hand covering her mouth. She tried in vain to pull the arms away and escape.


My Review:
Melanie Mason's debut novel, The Line That Divides, is a fast-paced story of young love, dangerous choices, and inevitable consequences amidst the turmoil of World War II. Mason's writing shivers with intriguing twists and turns.


Purchase Links:
Available in print at Deseret Book Stores

Author Bio:
Melanie Mason has told stories all her life and finds her passion in writing. She graduated from Utah State University with a degree in communications. She won first place in the Beginning of Book Contest for Young Adult Fiction at the American Night Writers Association 2014 conference, and she is the editor of ANWA’s monthly newsletter. Melanie has published several articles and stories that are featured on HubPages.com. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where the beauty of the Pacific Northwest feeds her imagination.

Find Melanie:
Website | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | Pinterest
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