Jennie Conway, Editorial Assistant – St. Martin’s Press

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Jennie Conway began her publishing career at St. Martin’s Press in 2015 after completing the Columbia Publishing Course. She has been lucky enough to work with a diverse group of award-winning and best-selling authors in both adult commercial fiction and young adult novels who make her job more amazing than she could have dreamed. Jennie graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo. When she’s not reading, Jennie enjoys knitting, baking, and catching up on as many TV shows as possible.

Jennie is excited to be acquiring both adult commercial fiction and young adult novels that celebrate fresh voices with gripping plots and characters that stay with you long after the book is closed. She’s looking for romance, women’s fiction, cozy mystery and YA with diverse voices that have a fresh spin on the genres.

In romance, Jennie has a soft spot for contemporary geeky-related plots with meet-cute banter, stories set in Scotland or featuring Scottish men, and a good old fashioned mystery. She is looking for historical romances set in England or Scotland, along with contemporary rom-coms, romantic suspense, and romances with elements of fantasy or science-fiction.

In women’s fiction, she’s looking for both breezy, fun stories with strong female friendships and suspenseful, twisty stories that keep you reading late into the night. She loves everything from Gone Girl and In a Dark, Dark Wood to The Hating Game and The Royal We.

In YA, Jennie grew up on immersive fantasy and science fiction worlds where magic and strong friendships reign. She love stories that transport readers to another world, and she’s a huge fan of imaginative retellings. She is a fan of contemporary YA romance that is fueled by strong narrative voices that celebrate a diverse range of experiences.

Pitch will be read: September 15, 2017

Pitching Guidelines can be found HERE.

Please post your Pitch in the Comments section below in this format:

TITLE:
GENRE:
WORD COUNT:
AUTHOR:

PITCH (under 250 words):

Comments

Comments

  1. Virlana Kardash says:

    TITLE: Susanna Bailey and The Bag of Unknowns
    GENRE: Romantic Suspense
    WORD COUNT: 81,000
    AUTHOR: Virlana Kardash

    Susanna Bailey, a 47-year-young widow, is a fish-out-of-water Washington, D.C. court reporter who finds stolen military information in her bag and the body of her witness on a D.C. park bench. As she tries to disentangle herself from a treacherous web of espionage and wrongdoing, she falls for a sexy, dangerous Naval Intelligence officer, exposing old wounds and dark secrets.

  2. TITLE: Playing with Love
    GENRE: Contemporary Romance
    WORD COUNT: 92,000 words
    Sydney Clark writing as Janet Edmond

    Jordan Taylor, a gifted young Canadian actress, receives a call from her agent to audition for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival but the director is Derek Pullman, the man who broke her heart four years prior. What will she do? To reject the call means certain professional death. If she auditions and is cast it means she will have to work closely with Derek for several months, which could be akin to committing emotional hara-kiri. How will Jordan juggle her feelings and maintain her professionalism in the tightknit Canadian theatre community?

    And what about Derek? Why has he asked to see Jordan? Is it her talent he remembers or does he regret leaving her and hope to rekindle their romance? Driven and intense, Derek’s skill as a director is well known. He’s passionate about his work. Can he also be passionate about Jordan?

    Set in Toronto, Montreal, and Stratford, Playing with Love forces the reader onto the characters’ emotional roller coaster that never lets up until the final page.

  3. Title: Tiger’s Rock
    Book One of India Diaries Series
    Genre: YA Queer Romance
    Word Count: 99,000
    Author: Kelly Watt

    After dropping out of high school and spending a year alone in her room, drinking and reading, Belinda March (17) is shipped off to a strict missionary school in 1970s India to straighten her out and make sure she graduates. All Billie wants is a friend, someone she can talk to about her troubled years at home, but she’s rebuffed by the Bible Club girls. Finally, she’s adopted by bad girl Chandika Jones, the Anglo-Indian leader of a group of troubled hippie kids, and Belinda is forced to choose between her promise to her mother, and her growing love and admiration for her wild new girl friend.

    Belinda struggles to express herself, rarely says what she means and instead air types her real thoughts. Whereas Chandika is rebellious and fearless and tells it like it is. Through their friendship, Belinda blossoms into Billie. She learns Hindi, takes sitar lessons with the mysterious Sri Mukkherji, experiments with drugs and eastern spirituality and develops a girl crush on her new friend. But freedom proves illusive under Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule. While Billie’s having the time of her life and finding the courage to speak her truth —Indira Gandhi is silencing the opposition, and the Christian principal of Company School starts cracking down too.

    This multi-cultural YA novel echoes themes from A Passage to India and Speak. Tiger’s Rock is Book One in Watt’s India Diaries Series. Watt’s short fiction has won awards and been published internationally. She is the author of two books Mad Dog (Doubleday 2001) and Camino Meditations (Hamilton Stone, 2014.) She barely graduated from a high school in India.

  4. TITLE: UNPLUGGED
    GENRE: YA Contemporary
    LENGTH: 95,000 words (complete)
    AUTHOR: Gina Grant (w/a Jazz Donovan)

    Who’d ever think winning a rock ‘n’ roll contest would ruin everything?

    Some days, 14-year-old gifted guitarist JIMI HOBSON is expected to be the adult because his mom suffers from paranoia and agoraphobia. Others, she treats him like a little kid.

    It’s so unfair that she insists he finish high school before starting his rock and roll career. His idol, SENECA SKYE, had been a music sensation at 16. Sadly, she’d gone missing, presumed dead, just before he was born.

    Knowing his mom, LAYLA HOBSON, would never approve, Jimi lies about having parental permission, enters and wins the local Seneca Skye sound-alike contest. His triumph is shattered when he learns Layla had attended, forcing herself to leave their apartment for the first time in years, only to be run down by a delivery van on her way home.

    With Layla in a coma and not expected to wake up, Jimi’s caught in legal limbo. How can he stop the scheming hospital administrator —whose dying wife needs a heart transplant— from unplugging his mom? Especially when it turns out Layla’s ID is fake and Jimi might not even be her son.

    All Jimi wanted was to make his own decisions, but now that he’s solo, he’d trade his independence for one more verse with his mom.

  5. Sara Johnstone says:

    TITLE: Defending Rook
    GENRE: Historical Romance
    WORD COUNT: 95,000
    AUTHOR: Sara Johnstone

    Sir Colin “Rook” Halford has built is his life on three undeniable truths. One. He’d do anything to defend the four men with whom he formed the Chess Club twenty years earlier. Two. As the bastard son of a dead duke, he’d always be a little less than acceptable. And three. The woman he’s loved for a more than decade would always be beyond his reach.

    Daphne, the Countess of Tynesdale’s husband is dead. With her mourning period behind her, she’s determined to find the passion she was denied trapped in unfulfilling marriage. But her decision to seek a lover is complicated by the discovery of treasonous documents, threats against her children and overprotective brothers.

    Rook’s truths are toppled when his duke half-brother requests he have an affair with Daphne to retrieve highly sensitive documents for the Crown. Caught up a passionate affair and threatened by those who won’t hesitate to kill to get the documents, Daphne and Rook are forced into a dangerous game where no one is playing by the rules.

    DEFENDING ROOK is the first in a planned series about five friends and the women who teach them checkmate is not always the winning move.

    Thank you for your consideration.

  6. Title: Mortal Enemies

    Genre: YA Paranormal

    Length: 67,000 words

    Author: Roberta Lynn

    A Faerie and a Djin. Mortal Enemies. But when they’re forced to work together to thwart an ancient curse that could spark an apocalyptic war among supernatural forces, the quest that sweeps them half-way around the world draws them closer and closer, fueling a mutinous passion, and blurring the line between love and hate…

    SHAYLEE McCAFFERY is supposed to be in Paris, having the time of her life with the crème de la crème of Rosedale High. Instead, she’s running for her life in the swarming, sweltering streets of New Delhi, India, with AMAR KHAN—a brooding, confirmed loser she wouldn’t be caught dead associating with under normal circumstances.

    But, these are far from normal circumstances…

    Since stumbling across an old trunk in her attic, not only has Shaylee unearthed a shocking secret about her family heritage, she’s awoken an ancient curse that’s been dormant for over a century and a half. Now, it’s up to her to stop it, and save the world from the wrath of the Elementals—opposing spiritual entities representing the four existential elements: earth, air, wind, and fire. The trouble is, she doesn’t have a clue how…

    Amar seems to be the only one who can help, but, despite Shaylee’s totally infuriating and ever intensifying attraction to him, deep down, she’s not quite sure she can trust him. Then again, does she really have a choice?

  7. Title: Chance

    Genre: YA Contemporary

    Length: 45,000 words

    Author: Roberta Lynn

    When the privileged, white daughter of the Chief of Police is paired up on a crucial school project with a cynical black youth trying to escape a criminal past, sparks fly—in more ways than one…

    Ashleigh is an upper-middle class, 17-year-old high school student, whose father is the city’s Chief of Police. She dreams of becoming a lawyer, but will need to maintain straight ‘A’ status throughout her final year in order to be accepted to law school.

    By chance, and to her utter despair, Ashleigh is partnered on a major research assignment with Chance Kenny, a hunky, ‘bad-boy’ student on probation, with an arrogant streak she finds infuriating, a reputation she finds disturbing, and eyes she finds irresistible.

    For Chance, being paired up with Ashleigh is a cruel twist of fate, as she represents the epitome of the social structure he despises and blames for his struggles and lack of opportunities. Though he tries his best to hate her, he’s thwarted by his traitorous attraction and growing affection for her.

    With the odds already heavily stacked against them, things get exponentially worse: Ashleigh’s father forbids her from associating with Chance, and Chance’s younger brother instigates violent protests against the police.

    Can the inexorable force that draws Ashleigh and Chance together together overcome the opposing pressures that threaten to tear them apart?

    • There’s a lot out there in the YA contemporary market and to me, while the story has a classic forbidden romance that readers really enjoy, I was waiting for the element that made this stand out for me. I would suggest working on adding in a plot element to make the story unique and give it that extra punch to really stand out. Unfortunately this isn’t quite what I’m looking for, I wish you the best of luck!

      Best,
      Jennie

      Jennie Conway
      Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press
      jennie.conway@stmartins.com

  8. Title: STAGE FRIGHT

    Genre: Romantic Thriller

    Word Count: 80,000-words

    Author: Diane L. Kowalyshyn

    Unrequited love catapults gifted actress, Skye Andrews off the stage and into the real world—a world filled with more drama than her Broadway performances. Her pragmatic nature made her question the eccentric ramblings of Bessie, a dear aunt and soothsaying Sibyl who said their lives were entwined. Once Bessie passes, Skye travels to the UK to fulfill her executor’s duties carting her aunt’s ashes and journal written in an undecipherable archaic script. Skye soon believes those wild claims when Bessie’s arcane brooch unlocks the journal and acts like a looking glass drawing parallels between their lives. And then there’s a bunch of unexplained accidents throughout Skye’s career the journal brings into clearer focus—under its microscope it’s obvious they aren’t random.

    She runs into a snag trying to inter Bessie’s ashes. Skye requires official approval to open the lair and add another inscription to the family headstone that already has two—a decision must be made by Captain Jet Dalry, a wounded soldier recuperating from an accident that’s left him in a quandary—a man who despite their mutual attraction, doesn’t want to be loved, a man who is haunted by what might have been—a man who can’t let the past go.

    With the brooches powers running out, every glimpse into the journal affords more information about Skye’s past and soon she uses her wiles to manipulate fate to save the enigmatic Jet from martyrdom and a gun-toting obsessed fan.

    • Based on the pitch, I’m getting more of a paranormal vibe to this story than Romantic thriller. And the hero is so briefly mentioned I would love to know more about Skye and Jet 🙂 I love Skye inheriting the journal from Bessie and her brooch unlocking the journal, the story elements here sound cool and intriguing. There’s a lot going on in terms of the story in the pitch, and I think this could be paired down to focus the story and strengthen the flow. That said, I am intrigued by the elements so I would definitely be interested in taking a look. Please send the first three chapters as an email attachment.

      Best,
      Jennie

      Jennie Conway
      Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press
      jennie.conway@stmartins.com

  9. Title: FLASH DRIVE

    Genre: Romantic Thriller

    Word Count: 80,000-words

    Author: Diane L. Kowalyshyn

    When Julia Connelly arrives in Boothbay Harbour, she is appointed the new office manager of New England Air in charge of reorganizing her father’s flailing air transport business. Her father is recuperating from surgery and the still–lingering effects a broken heart because his girlfriend and secretary left months ago, in the middle of the night, without so much as a good-bye.

    Sloan Picard, Special Forces sniper on medical leave, procures a job as a NEA pilot to protect his sister (Julia’s father’s disappearing secretary) from harm. In no time, he determines the small air carrier has more than a DC3 full of financial trouble and suspects they’re unknowingly flying illegal contraband into the States from South America.

    Sloan and Julia’s mutual attraction proves too strong to resist and after an emergency landing in the Cessna, he enlists her help. They fly the DC3 from Maine’s rugged coast to the jungles of Peru where they discover they’re not being used to smuggle anything. Their client provides a safe and secluded environment to satisfy his customer’s unusual sexual proclivities and, now and then, when certain fantasies go awry, he conceals their deadly mistakes—for a price.

    Sloan and Julia turn the tables to no avail; these savvy investigator’s efforts have all been in vain…until Sloan redefines justice.

    • Military heroes are a popular trend, and I definitely feel the tension and suspense from the pitch. What would make this feeling even stronger is a punchier line either at the beginning or end of the pitch that hooks readers into the romance and suspense and hints at the danger to come. To also strengthen the suspense element, I would suggest hinting in the first paragraph that Julia’s father’s girlfriend and secretary disappeared because of foul play, since right now the tone implies they left on their own (until we get to the next paragraph). This isn’t quite what I’m looking for at the moment, but I wish you the best of luck!

      Best,
      Jennie

      Jennie Conway
      Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press
      jennie.conway@stmartins.com

  10. Title: TOUCHED BY FIRE
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 106k
    Author: Fallon DeMornay

    Flaming red hair marks seventeen year old Schen Vale as a Saa Zitah—touched by fire—people demonized out of fear and superstition. Any found are offered in ritual sacrifice, or their organs and limbs sold to the highest bidder.

    Schen already lost her leg, and doesn’t intend to lose any other body parts—or her life. But when a temple heist leads to her exposure, she falls into the hands of a merchant captain out for revenge and redemption.

    Women have held absolute power on the continent of Eroshai for three hundred years, but the thronelands are broken, corrupted by a blood-soaked history of pain and misery. And though magic, the weapon of men, is gone—fear and superstition remain.

    But when Schen discovers a chance to restore magic and stop the killings for good—she will risk everything. Even if it means facing her greatest fears by becoming a weapon, forged from fire, to kill a tyrant queen who thirsts for power and blood.

    TOUCHED BY FIRE is a YA Fantasy complete as a standalone with series potential at 106,000 words with a non-western setting, an #ownvoices biracial, bisexual heroine, and will appeal to readers who enjoy multiple POV narratives like Six of Crows or Throne of Glass.

    • The world here is incredibly fascinating and I’m drawn in by Schen and her journey. I would suggest restructuring the pitch though, since we aren’t introduced to the name of the world and the type of society Schen lives in until the third paragraph, and moving that to the beginning would set everything up even stronger. There are a lot of elements here that are working in the YA market currently, so I would be interested in taking a look. Please send over the first three chapters in an email attachment.

      Best,
      Jennie

      Jennie Conway
      Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press
      jennie.conway@stmartins.com

  11. Title: Moses & Mac
    Genre: Commercial Fiction/Action/Adventure
    Word Count: 87,000 words
    Author: Franca Pelaccia

    On her dismal 30th birthday, unassuming Victorian scholar Mackenzie Braden receives a mysterious letter and package from her Aunt Sara to locate the most powerful weapon in history, Moses’ rod before it starts global chaos. Sara was an agent for VAS, the top secret Vatican Archaeological Service. She has also been dead for 30 years and the agency dormant for just as long. Mackenzie’s only clue is a souvenir figurine of Moses, and except for hunky ex-military pilot Eoin Reilly, her allies Sophie and Adiva are wannabe agents who are as inept as she is.

    But nothing is going to stop Mackenzie from recharging her lacklustre life, fulfilling her mission, finding answers about her aunt, and making Eoin her birthday present. Armed with the figurine and lots of deduction, Mackenzie sets off from Toronto with Eoin for the Middle East. There she has to fend off a manic former VAS agent, a dysfunctional family of treasure hunters, a fake Mossad agent, the underground tunnels of the Gaza Strip, and a host of terrorists before she squares off with her aunt’s and now her greatest foe, a charming deposed Saudi prince with vindication and domination on his mind.

    • There are a lot of elements going on here that are exciting and make me think of a modern day, female Indiana Jones (and I love genderbent stories). However your title could have more elements of action/adventure to hint at the tone of the story, because I’m not getting globetrotting historical adventure from it currently. I think the pitch could use stronger language to really get across the thrilling nature of the story and hook readers sooner into the plot. This unfortunately isn’t quite what I’m looking for at the moment, but I wish you the best of luck!

      Best,
      Jennie

      Jennie Conway
      Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press
      jennie.conway@stmartins.com

  12. Title: STILETTO SISTERHOOD
    Genre: Commercial Women’s Fic w/ Crossover potential
    Word Count: 98,000
    Author: Fallon DeMornay

    23 year-old Priyanka Seth and her girlfriends swore a vow of Sisterhood eight years ago on a pair of stilettos. Their motto? Chase dreams, not boys (or girls). Together they brave misogyny, homophobia, and broken hearts, in the pursuit of their goals.

    Priya’s always been a girl with a plan. Arriving hungover and pantyless to a life changing interview, was definitely not part of it. As one of Harvard law’s youngest magna cum laudes, she’s determined to snatch up a coveted one-year mentor-ship with a named partner at NYC’s premier litigation law firm. The catch? She’ll have to beat out twenty other candidates like some warped episode of Suits meets Survivor.

    There’s only one who poses a true threat—and he might’ve seen her naked. Possibly. Too much tequila was involved to her to know for sure. Worst part? He’s the son of the firms founding partner—out to prove he can step into his father’s shoes, and earn his place from the ground up.

    Priya isn’t afraid of hard work, or getting her hands dirty. But when sparks fly between them, competitive and sexual, she will have to decide how far she’s willing to go for her dreams.

    STILETTO SISTERHOOD is a feminist THE BOLD TYPE meets THE HATING GAME women’s fiction with crossover potential, complete at 98,000 words featuring a diverse/LGBT cast (#ownvoices). Told in multiple POV of Priya and her four ‘Sisters’ as they find their voices, explore their sexuality, identity, love and career aspirations, and will appeal to fans of Sally Thorne, Gemma Burgess, Candice Bushnell and Georgia Clark.

    I am an RWA member. In 2016 I was twice reviewed by RT Book Reviews, featured in Cosmopolitan online magazine and a Top 3 Catherines finalist. I’ve also done commissioned work with Wattpad for H&M, PANDORA and Warner Bros. I recently parted ways with my agent and am seeking representation.

    • Fantastic pitch, I immediately have an incredibly clear picture of the book, where this fits in the marketplace, and you as a writer. Would love to read, please send the first three chapters as an email attachment.

      Best,
      Jennie

      Jennie Conway
      Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press
      jennie.conway@stmartins.com

  13. Denise Lafferty says:

    TITLE: Petra and the Wolf (book 1 of a proposed trilogy)
    GENRE: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
    WORD COUNT: approx. 90,000
    AUTHOR: Denise Lafferty

    A man with a secret. A woman with one of her own.

    Petra Morris chooses Carrville, a small town in northern Illinois, in which to recuperate from gunfire injuries she sustained on the job as a police detective in Chicago. Not long after her arrival, she rescues a pregnant woman and her dog being held prisoner. Except, the dog isn’t a dog. He’s a shifter.

    Jack Kincaid has come home after a decade as a Navy SEAL. The man Petra rescued is his cousin Colin. Jack feels gratitude and a strong attraction to Petra, but he also has an obligation to his people so he tells her to walk away and forget she ever met him and his family.

    Of course, she can’t walk away and not just because she feels drawn to Jack. A man has been murdered in the house where the prisoners were kept and she feels compelled to investigate. Was Jack involved, or perhaps one of his people, seeking revenge? If not, who in Carrville is a murderer? And why?

    In the end, purpose and passion collide and Petra and Jack join forces to find out the truth. Are all the shifters in Carrville at risk? Is Petra’s uncle part of the conspiracy? What about her cousin Leah? And how exactly does Jack’s grandmother fit into everything including Petra’s own secret, the one she hasn’t yet shared with Jack.

    • I love the Navy SEAL shifter, both elements are really strong trends and readers are devouring those books. I’m interested in more about Jack though: what do you mean by his “people?” Did he come home for a reason? Is he part of a pack? Is he an Alpha? I guess I’m also not clear on how Jack and Petra meet, it seemed initially that he was also at the house, but I’m not sure. In your last paragraph, I’m very intrigued by the secrets that everyone seems to have, but there are a lot of characters mentioned and I became distracted by all the names. I suggest streamlining the pitch and keeping the focus on building Petra and Jack to make it even stronger. You’ve got a marketable story here, but unfortunately this isn’t exactly what I’m looking for at the moment. I wish you the best of luck!

      Best,
      Jennie

      Jennie Conway
      Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press
      jennie.conway@stmartins.com

  14. Anonymous says:

    Title: FINDING HAVEN
    Genre: Contemporary Romance with suspense elements
    Word Count: 95,000
    Author: Fallon DeMornay

    EVA TURNER’s a single-mom in witness protection hoping to start over and establish lifelong roots on Haven Island. But things get complicated when her small-scale photography business goes viral on social media (a la Humans of New York). Putting her artwork–and her–into the spot light where she can’t afford to be.

    MARSHALL DAVIES is a world-weary investigative journalist suffering PTSD, with his eye on a coveted promotion that will get him out of the field (and line of fire). But the producers want to see if he can deliver more than blood and bullets and bombs. Thanks to a tip from his younger sister, Marshall thinks he’s found his angle in the reluctant overnight sensation located on the island where he grew up. He’s exposed terrorists and slippery politicians; a single-mother should be child’s play.

    While passion sparks between them—the kind that sizzles and burns and shows her the last five years haven’t been about living, but existing—Eva has to somehow elude the spotlight, and the ghosts of her past, or risk losing not only her new life/identity, but custody of her girls.

    FINDING HAVEN (previously titled OUT OF FOCUS) was a Top 10 finalist in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Contest (2015) and a Top 3 finalist in The Catherines for 2016. I was also featured in Cosmopolitan and twice reviewed by RT BOOK REVIEWS. I’ve recently separated with my agent and am seeking new representation.

    As someone who lost her twin sister to the witness protection program five years ago, I wrote this story as my hope that she’s out there finding her HEA.

    • The story sounds really gripping, and the trend of the female character with a mysterious past is popular and popping up often, so this feels market ready. Also, nice job mentioning your career, and adding in some information behind the story, it brings a nice personal touch. Would love to take a look, please send the first three chapters as an email attachment.

      Best,
      Jennie

      Jennie Conway
      Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press
      jennie.conway@stmartins.com

  15. TITLE: Steal My Heart
    GENRE: Contemporary Romance
    WORD COUNT: 52,000 words
    Patricia Dake writing as Aimee O’Brian

    Sex with a cat burglar is the #1 fantasy of LA’s top female detective. When Lexanne house-sits a mansion she plans to act out that fantasy with her new co-worker boyfriend, but a case of mistaken identity lands her a rollicking orgasm and imminent career disaster. Now all she has to do is get assigned to the case, recover the jewels and catch the culprit. The question is: What will she do with her sexy cat burglar once she catches him? Steal My Heart, a naughty contemporary romance complete at 50,000 words, takes a stiff look on how to find justice for the heart.

    • This story sounds really sexy, with lots of fun potential in terms of the mistaken identity and romancing the thief. However I’m a little confused by the plot of the story, and I’m not quite sure I’m clear on if her coworker boyfriend is the thief or someone else entirely. I would suggest straightening out the pitch to clear up the confusion. This sounds really charming, but unfortunately not for me at the moment. I wish you the best of luck!

      Best,
      Jennie

      Jennie Conway
      Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press
      jennie.conway@stmartins.com

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