CONTEST!

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Would you like to win a signed copy of my new novella, The Healer’s Gift?  

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Then click HERE to enter my Goodreads Giveaway.  

I’ve got four print copies up for grabs (to US and Canada).  

Winners will be notified by Goodreads after the 24 May closing date for the contest. 

Good luck!

Newsletter subscribers, I’ll have another opportunity for you to win my books in my MAY Newsletter. What?  You’re not on my mailing list?  See that nice little newsletter envelope, surrounded by a lovely shade of blue, at the top of the page on the right?  Click there, or HERE, to subscribe. You don’t want to miss out on all the fun, now do you?

J is for Judging

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays. Last year, my theme was Scotland. This year, my theme is The Writing Life. Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year. For instance:

J is for judging.  Whether you participate in a critique partnership or critique group, write reviews, or judge contests, you’re called upon to judge the work of other authors.  Yes, it’s tough enough deciding if your own writing is good, bad or indifferent.  But we writers depend on honest feedback from our peers to help us sort through plot problems, identify word repetition and grammar mistakes, and on the plus side, to gain attention from agents, editors and readers.  

The old adage “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything” doesn’t serve us well when we’re called upon to help another author improve their writing.  Nor is it fair to anyone in a contest to give only positive feedback. Judging implies recognizing both positive and negative aspects of a work. But there’s no need to be mean, either.  Honesty can be couched in kind words, helpful suggestions, and critical feedback that leaves room for the other person to grow as an author while protecting their ego.  images

Judging another’s work is fun when they’ve done a great job, you enjoy their story, and you can easily give them positive reinforcement.  Most of us don’t enjoy the flip side of that coin, when we could not finish the book, when there are so many errors that it looks like we bled all over the page with our red pen, or when we have to score a contest entry so low that we know the entry has no chance of advancing.  But if we’re determined to help our fellow authors ensure that manuscripts are truly ready to be published, then we have no choice.  

 

H is for Hero

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

H is for Hero – Who is the hero of your story?  In Romance, the convention is to have a hero and a heroine (or a hero/hero or heroine/heroine, or hero/hero/heroine … you get the idea), both of whom get relatively equal time in the story.  Romance is written from the hero’s and heroine’s point of view.  The reader sees what they see, hears what they hear, knows what they know.  Often, those are the only two viewpoints in a story, but sometimes the antagonist (the bad guy) or an important secondary character gets a few scenes, too.

securedownloadRomance readers love an alpha hero – large and in charge describes this type of man.  But beta heroes have their followers, too, who prefer the more sensitive, cooperative male.  Heroines, thankfully, have gone from simpering, empty-headed missies the hero must save to kick-ass women who can not only take care of themselves, they often save the hero, or work side-by-side with the hero to resolve the conflicts in the book.  While the definition of hero, especially the alpha variety, hasn’t changed much in Romance novels, the definition of heroine certainly has.

G is for Genre

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

G is for Genre – What is a genre?  The dictionary definition goes something like this: a category of literature or other forms of art or entertainment, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. In other words, it’s the type of book you’re writing, whether it’s a mystery, a western, science fiction, or some sub-genre of romance (e.g., science fiction romance, historical romance, contemporary romance, etc.).

Traditionally, publishers liked nice clean divisions between genres.  Well-defined genres make books easier to shelve and to market.  But there are some authors (me included) whose books cross genres.  Mine are Scottish historical paranormal romance.  Say that six times, fast!

Red BooksCrossing genres makes marketing more of a challenge, though digital booksellers can get around that with well-chosen keywords, but it also provides opportunities to reach more readers.  My readers might like historical romance, or Scottish historical romance, or paranormal romance, psi-focused science fiction or even fantasy, but they find elements of their favorite style in my books.  So my readers come from all of those preference groups, not just one.

The secret is out.  As writers find their readership expanding, crossing genres is becoming more common.

F is for Finish the Damn Book!

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post, on April 1, was A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

F is for  – Finish the Damn Book!  If you’re like the majority of would-be authors, you’ve started and abandoned many manuscripts.  Starting a book is like starting a love affair.  It’s all mystery and excitement at the beginning.  The possibilities seem endless, and at the beginning, they are.  But like any love affair, the fireworks fade.

Therein lies the rub.  You get confused, lose your focus, your characters don’t cooperate and your plot (if you even have one) seems trite, or it’s going nowhere. So what should you do? Get over it.  Break ranks with the wanna-be’s and finish your first draft.

You’ll have accomplished what 90 percent of writers fail to do.  And if you succeed in editing, polishing, submitting and getting published, you’ll join the elite ten percent of the ten percent who finished their draft. Congratulations!

Easy-reading-is-damn-hardA quote attributed to Nathaniel Hawthorne says “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”  It’s true.  You can’t escape doing the work.  But type “the end” on the last page of that finished first draft, second draft, or polished manuscript and you’ll find out that it’s also amazingly rewarding.  Go ahead.  Do it.  I dare you!

E is for Ergonomics

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

478px-Alphanumeric_keyboardE is for Ergonomics – Face it.  We spend hours in the same chair, staring at the same screen, typing on the same keyboard.  Sitting in the same position.

Can you spell repetitive stress injury?

Unfortunately, I can.  I’m battling carpal tunnel syndrome and ulnar (elbow – funnybone) nerve damage from my dedication to BICHOK (Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard) and a tendency to lean on my left elbow.

Do yourself a favor and get away from the desk every once in a while.  Stand up.  Move around.  Forget the big, wooden executive desk and get one that you can adjust up and down.  Ditto for the chair.  You’re an author.  These are your tools, just the same as pen and paper.  You’re going to spend hours a day for (probably) the rest of your life with them, so get the best you can afford and remember to take a break — often.

D is for Draft

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

9678365189_6288a55d46_mD is for Draft, First Draft  – What takes a lot of time and effort, and possibly blood, sweat and tears, not to mention a martini or six? Not Bond, James Bond.  It’s draft, first draft.

Trust me, it’s going to hurt.

In fact, there’s an excellent chance your first draft is going to suck.  You won’t want anyone else to see it.  You’ll wonder what you were thinking, calling yourself a writer.  That’s okay.  Once the first draft is done, you’ll have a better handle on the size and scope of your story, the personalities of your characters, and what you need to add and delete and change.  Then, you can transform that hot mess into a fabulous book.

It’s all in that much-maligned first draft.  Write on!

Image courtesy of Shawn Budemer/Flickr

C is for Collaborate

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

C is for Collaborate – You know the old saying: A rising tide lifts all boats.  It’s true for authors, too.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe more we collaborate and cross-promote by tweeting, re-tweeting, joining book release parties on Facebook, and so forth, the more our reach grows.  I’ve gained new readers that way, and I’m sure my readers have found some new authors, too.

If you wonder why you would want to help your “competition,” think again.  Readers love similar books.  Mysteries, contemporary romance, historical fiction, even Scottish historical romance.  Once they’ve read everything by their favorite author, they go looking for similar books.

Don’t pass up an opportunity to cross-promote.  Retweet other authors.  Participate in online book release parties. Create opportunities for other authors by hosting your own online party and inviting them to “appear” to talk about their new book, run a contest and give away a prize.  If you’re not sure who else your readers would enjoy, ask them.  Or explore bookstores to see whose books are similar to yours.  You never know how many great authors, great stories, and new readers you’ll find!

B is for Burr

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first is A, the second is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

B is for Burr, or Brogue.  That lovely Scottish accent that sends chills from our fingertips to our toes.  What is it about rolling Rs vibrating from deep in the chest of a male speaker?  Whatever it is, we can’t get enough.

B1895_HighlandHealer_DAudiobooks to the rescue!  Highland Healer came out in audiobook format just last month.  When I listened, I was amazed at what a different experience hearing the story gave me, instead of reading it.  You can find out for yourself at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Tantor, and Audible.

A is for Advertise

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  Today’s post is A, tomorrow’s will be B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

A is for Advertising – you can’t be successful as an author these days without tooting your own horn.  It’s tough, and it’s especially tough for those of us who were taught to do our best and count on someone else to notice. 

Very few authors can just put books out there and make it in today’s market.  So we advertise.  

imageFor example?  Today, I have a Special Sneak Peek up on RomCon for your reading pleasure – including an excerpt.  If you haven’t read The Healer’s Gift (A Highland Talents Novella) yet, take a look.  You might win a copyIf you’re intrigued and can’t wait to see if you won, you can get it from Amazon.

Love That Scottish Burr? You’re In Luck!


486078_348901101886782_1994720705_nDo you love the sound of a Scottish accent? Can you feel those r-r-r-r-r’s rolling off the tongue and across your skin? Especially if the speaker is hot, male and wearing a kilt? 
You’re in luck! Highland Healer is now an audiobook! You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Tantor.com and audible.com — today!

The Healer’s Gift Early Release Day!

It’s Early Release Day for The Healer’s Gift (A Highland Talents Novella)!  Coira’s story is available exclusively on Amazon (Kindle) for the next 90 days.  Read an Excerpt from my latest addition to my Highland Talents series!

imageCoira MacDugall paid with her life for her attack on the Highland Healer.  But her victim did more than heal Coira’s fatal wound that awful night.  Now drowning in the unwelcome emotions of others, Coira wonders if her new empathic ability was meant as a gift or a curse.
Logen MacDugall must discover who killed three previous lairds if he hopes to survive for long in the position. He believes Coira’s new sense can help him root out the conspirators, but after her disastrous time in the Highlands, the last thing she wants is to get involved with another laird.
Logen must help Coira gain control of her talent in time to save him and their clan from those intent on destroying MacDugall. Can Coira accept that this laird truly loves her?  Or will her memories lead her to madness again?

 The official worldwide release day will be 2 July, when it will become available in Ebook format to B&N (Nook), Kobo, AllRomanceEBooks, iBooks, and The Wild Rose Press, and In Print from Amazon and The Wild Rose Press. 

CONTEST! Win Highland Healer’s Audiobook CDs

And the Winner is: Melody Gonser!  Congratulations, Melody.  And thanks to everyone who entered!

CONTEST!

B1895_HighlandHealer_DWould you like to win the audiobook CDs of my bestselling Scottish historical romance?  I’d love to give a set away!  The set contains eight CDs and is guaranteed to give you hours of those sexy Scottish accents you love.

What do you need to do to win?   Four things (yes, all four things):

1. Join my mailing list (click on the Newsletter envelope icon on the top right side of this page). Already on my mailing list? That counts!

2. Like my Facebook Author Page and leave “Liked” as a comment.  Already “liked” my author page? That counts!  Not on Facebook?  Like my Goodreads Author Page.  Of course, you’re welcome to do both!

3. Like my Amazon Author Page and share it on Facebook or Twitter (or both).

4. Leave a comment on this page telling me that you’ve done the first three on this list, and where you shared my Amazon author page – Facebook or Twitter?

I’ll pick a winner at random and announce it here in two weeks.  Ready?  Set?  Go!  Good Luck!

Love That Scottish Burr? You’re In Luck!

Do you love the sound of a Scottish accent? Can you feel those r-r-r-r-r’s rolling off the tongue and across your skin? Especially if the speaker is hot, male and wearing a kilt?

486078_348901101886782_1994720705_n

You’re in luck! Highland Healer has been produced as an audiobook and comes out on 3 March. You can preorder it at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble right now.

LAST DAY! Get Your Copies TODAY!

TODAY IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO GET HIGHLAND SEER FOR FREE

AND HIGHLAND HEALER FOR 99 CENTS!

Love Scottish Romance?  

Want to spend a few delicious hours in the Highlands of Scotland?  

Have a thing for Men in Kilts?  

Lucky You!  My publisher has put both HIGHLAND HEALER and HIGHLAND SEER on sale!

Here’s the scoop:  

The sale runs 3-7 September.

HIGHLAND HEALER – 99 cents!

HIGHLAND SEER – even better, FREE!

Click on the book links to get over to Amazon and get your copies today!  My books make great gifts, too! 

PRICE DROP! Get Your Copies This Week!

Love Scottish Romance?  

Want to spend a few delicious hours in the Highlands of Scotland?  

Have a thing for Men in Kilts?  

Lucky You!  My publisher has put both HIGHLAND HEALER and HIGHLAND SEER on sale!

Here’s the scoop:  

The sale runs 3-7 September.

HIGHLAND HEALER – 99 cents!

HIGHLAND SEER – even better, FREE!

Click on the book links to get over to Amazon and get your copies today!

Plotting Princess for a Day!

bloghop

Grand Prize: One lucky person will receive an ebook/print book from all 10 authors. Grand Prize to be announced on Jan. 12th.

I’m thrilled to be a Plotting Princess for a Day and to take part in the Plotting Princesses New Year’s Blog Hop!  Don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom of this post!

My debut book, Highland Healer, is a bestseller on Amazon Kindle and just released on The Wild Rose Press and other retailers!

CoverHE NEEDS HER FOR HIS CLAN.
HE WANTS HER FOR HIMSELF.
CAN HE HAVE BOTH?

Toran Lathan never expected to become Laird, and never expected to meet a woman like Aileana Shaw. Her healing ability is just what his people need, but Toran cannot resist her beauty. Yet will loving him destroy her ability to heal?

Aileana Shaw has a healing touch – and a special talent she must keep secret. Stolen from her home by a marauding army, she’s kidnapped again by the Highland Laird she heals. Is she a prize of war, or the prize of his heart?

While Toran battles the invading lowland army, he also battles his desire for Aileana. And Aileana must decide if she can trust her secrets to this fierce warrior who needs her talent, but wants her love.

A special part of this blog hop is that each author is sharing a favorite recipe with our readers.  Here’s one of mine that’s just perfect for long cold nights, sitting in front of a fire, reading Highland Healer!

I included it in the gluten-free section of the 2012 A Healthy Garden Gourmet cookbook that’s FREE from The Wild Rose Press.   You can download the entire book to enjoy my recipe and others.

Highland Heat Spiced Cider

1 gallon apple cider

1 cup orange juice

1 orange, with peel, sliced into rings, not wedges

3 sticks of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

3 pieces of whole clove

6 whole allspice berries

honey to taste

 Pour apple cider and orange juice into a large pot (a crock pot works well for a party).  Add the orange slices and the spices.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then turn the heat down to keep it at your desired temperature.  Add a little honey if the cider is not sweet enough.

For mulled wine: fill a mug halfway with hot cider, top with a hearty red wine of your choice and stir.

Note: Spices can be adjusted to your taste – add more or less of each as you prefer.

Now for my giveaway:  an ebook copy of Highland Healer will go to one person, chosen at random, who comments on this page.  Don’t own it yet?  Now’s your chance.  Already have it?  It makes a great gift, too!

You can get my autograph for your ebook copy of Highland Healer on Authorgraph.com!  Just click on the greenish widget on the right side of this page!

And now, last but certainly not least,  Lynn Rush is the last stop on the Plotting Princess Blog Hop.  Hop on over to her blog tomorrow.  

My next appearance will be here for the next Six Sentence Sunday.  Then on January 14 (Monday), I’ll be splashing around in the Waterworld Mermaids lagoon, where I’ll be dishing on what’s really under those kilts.  Don’t miss it!  You can see the rest of my blog hop schedule on yesterday’s post.

Ready or Not! 2013, Here We Go!

IMG_0794The old year is on the way out and the new year is approaching at light speed.  Where has the time gone?  I don’t know about you, but this is one holiday that always gets me thinking. As the old year fades, what do we take away from 2012?

2012 has been a year of amazing firsts for me.
  • I signed my first book contract (Highland Healer) in March.
  • My first book cover arrived in April.  Isn’t it great?!?!?HighlandHealer_7077_750
  • I spent the summer working through revisions and galleys with my fabulous first editor.
  • Highland Healer went live first on Amazon in October.
  • It hit it’s first Amazon’s bestseller list within 2 weeks.
  • It hit #1 in several categories during its November free days, number #11 overall.
  • And it rebounded onto the paid Kindle bestseller lists within a day of coming off the free lists and into the top 500 paid Kindle books.

It’s hard to say goodbye to any of those firsts, but they’re part of my professional history now, along with the past year.  Thanks to my readers, my debut book is off to a great start!

IMG_0651And then there are those new beginnings.  We love our clean slates, don’t we?  Fresh starts.  The chance to embark, unencumbered by last year’s thinking, on new adventures.  Branching paths that lead – where?  We can’t wait to find out.

At least that’s how it always seems to me.
Like a fireworks burst frozen in glass - Dale Chihuly exhibit, Seattle

Like a fireworks burst frozen in glass – Dale Chihuly exhibit, Seattle

In 2013, I’ll be here, giving my keyboard a workout, letting my thoughts wander and my imagination run free – within the constraints of whatever outline I’ve devised for my current work-in-progress.

I’ll also be attending several conferences which always provide inspiration.  There have been unanticipated benefits to every conference I’ve attended, so I’m looking forward to the ones coming up in 2013.

And of course, I’m hoping to see another book in print, and another finished and ready to go.  Time will tell!

As you contemplate the coming year, what are you hoping for?  Anticipating?  Expecting?  What path will you tread on your way to your goals, your dreams?

Let’s make 2013 the best year yet!

The Next Big Thing: Willa Blair’s Blog Stop

Welcome to my “stop” on The Next Big Thing blog hop. And thanks to Linda Carroll-Bradd for tagging me to participate.  In turn, I’ve asked Kathryn Knight, Chris Redding, Mageela Troche and Bess McBride to participate, and they’ll be posting next week, beginning Dec 10.

“The Next Big Thing” is a question and answer discussion blog in which we discuss…yes! the next big thing we’re working on, or a recent release.  In my case, Highland Healer.

My Debut Book is a Bestseller!

  • Where did the idea come from for the book?  I saw the first scene like a movie clip – a big man being brought into a tent on a rough stretcher, a woman watching and waiting to assess his condition.  The rest of the book followed from that.  Initially, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be – historical, fantasy, science fiction or something else.  But as I wrote that first scene, it quickly became clear to me that the story took place in the highlands of Scotland in the past.  Then it was a matter of finding the perfect time in Scottish history, which took a lot of research.
  • What genre does your book fall under? Highland Healer is a Scottish Historical Romance with a Paranormal twist.  It won the 2011 Washington Romance Writers’ Marlene contest in the Paranormal category.
  • Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  Honestly, I have no idea.  In my imagination, the characters have their own faces and personalities, and I’ve never tried to find a “real world” analog for them.   I’d love for you to suggest some!  It would be fun to find out how my readers see them.
  • What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?   After Toran Lathan escapes with healer Aileana Shaw from the army where she was a captive and the invader lays siege to the Lathan keep to get her back, Aileana uses all her abilities to protect herself and those she loves while Toran fights to keep her.
  • Where can we get your book? Click on the cover above to link to Amazon Kindle. Highland Healer is  on sale there until its official release date on Jan 4.  After that, it will be available at full price from The Wild Rose Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, other e-formats and in print.
  • How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? My first draft took a decade. I was a pantzer at the time, and still working my day job, so the energy to be creative and write was in short supply.  When I started the second book of this series, I first outlined each chapter and its scenes.  That book took less than a year to write – a huge improvement for me.
  • Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I’ve always written – stories, articles for the school newspaper, something for the school literary journal.  A few novels that I started as a child are tucked away in a drawer – they’re written in pencil!  This book grew over a long period of time out of that initial scene, and like most debut books, a lot of twists and turns in story structure, plot, characters and setting happened before it all come together.
  • What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Highland Healer is not your usual historical romance.  I always loved reading science fiction and fantasy, especially if the stories included psi talents.  So now, traces of psi talents have a way of  showing up in most of the stories I write, whether the story setting is past, present or future.  Add to that my fascination with how relationships develop, and I think you’ll find my books are captivating, sexy and satisfying to read.

EXCERPT:

Despite his threats a few moments before, she had sensed no real animosity in him. She’d been treated well since arriving at the Aerie. Her dream of a home, with people who cared about her, perhaps a family of her own, rose unbidden to her mind, and with it came a familiar lump in her throat. She was tired, she thought, to let that longing overwhelm her now. She folded her arms under her breasts and kept her eyes on the flames. She heard Toran move from the door to stand behind her. She tensed as his hands came to rest on her shoulders. He turned her gently, but irresistibly, to face him.

“What should I do with so beautiful, so valuable, a prize?” he murmured, almost to himself.

His deep blue gaze ensnared Aileana as completely as his hands. She knew she should be outraged at being called a prize. He’d done it before, on the way here. Did he truly see her that way? She refused to be chattel any longer, she told herself, and would not allow him to treat her so. But she found she could not summon her ire. One of his hands left her shoulder and he lightly touched her cheek, then slowly slid his fingers down her throat to her collarbone. There, he hesitated, and Aileana held her breath until he moved the hand back to her shoulder.

His simple touch sent shivers dancing and nearly undid her.

Thank you all so much for visiting with me today. Don’t forget to check in with Kathryn KnightChris ReddingMageela Troche and Bess McBride next week on December 10th for their “Next Big Thing.”

Welcome to My New Website!

As you can see, I’ve rehosted my website. I hope you’ll find this more dynamic, more current, and more fun to visit!

HIGHLAND HEALER is now available on Amazon for your Kindle!

On its official release date, 4 January 2013, HIGHLAND HEALER will be available in other e-formats (Nook, etc.) and print.