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Fin, Fur and Fatal By Billie A. Williams -- A Review

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Fin, Fur and Fatal was released earlier this year and I decided to focus my review of this book.  Some books tend to get lost when another book is released shortly after and I didn't want that to happen to this one.

February (Ary) England runs a pet shop.  She's a very active animal rescue advocate.  Unfortunately, it is this very thing a psychotic man from her past uses to lure her into his plans.  Rogert has just been released from prisonn, where he spent too short of a sentence for atrocious acts of the past involving not only animals, but Ary's best friend at that time.  It takes every ouce of strength for Ary to survive being kidnapped by .

This book immediately caught my attention because I could identify with February.  It held my attention, however, because the writing flowed so smoothly that time slipped away as I read.  Ms. Williams definitely did her research.  The setting and characters were as real as your next door neighbor.

Billie knows how to weave a mystery.  More than that, she takes a horrific situation and presents it without gory details, giving just enough for the reader to know what the situation is, but not creating such an adverse reaction you can't go on reading.  With a book involving animal abuse, it would have been extremely easy to get me to the point where I couldn't finish.  The way Ms. Williams handles such subjects is definitely classy.

I have read several of Billie William's books, but this one stands out.  Billie writes each of her books in such a way that you believe she's been right there as the events occur.  She engages her reader right from the start and doesn't let go until the last page is turned.  Fin, Fur and Fatal  was no exception.  I am consistently amazed at how Ms. William's mind comes up with things that nobody else can.  The little details of events that set her writing apart from others.  For example, who would have thought a toilet tank cover could be a weapon??

For anyone not familiar with Ms. William's work, I highly recommend this one as a starting place--it won't be the last! 

Fin, Fur and Fatal rates six colors on the Rainbow Scale.

Billie's tour is continuing.  Please vistit her calendar for a list of the blogs she has visited and those still to come.  There are some excellent hosts on this one!  Don't forget to leave a comment to be eligible for the prizes and give me a shout if you want any of the ebooks mentioned in this week's first post

Billie, I want to thank you for joining us this week.  Please come back again; it has been a great week.

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How to Be Marketable --Guest Post by Billie Williams

You guys have been awesome in your support this week!!!  Today, Billie has provided us with a guest post.  Tomorrow, I'll be posting a copy of the other blogs Billie has visited so you can check them out--and I'll be posting a book review.  Enjoy today's post :-)


by Billie A Williams

1. Define the ideal skill sets desired for your industry and then develop them through

education, reading, following a mentor or apprenticeships.

2. Be involved in continuing education –this keeps you competitive, desired. If there

is a skill you have offer to teach it at your company, your place of work, a local

community center or through a continuing education outreach program of a local

university or community college.

3. Be a leader. Take the initiative to act, to be a role model or a mentor for newbie’s.

Offer to take on new responsibilities, stretch yourself.

4. Promote yourself it is okay to show others what you are capable of. A resume lets

an employer see what you are capable of achieving. You are hired as much for his

vision as you are for your current skills. Use your desire to know how to do

something to motivate you to learn, accept challenges, or volunteer.

The formula for success according to Bo Bennett in his book Year to Success is:

Education + Inspiration + Action = Success

How can you better position yourself for success?

What time can you allocate to increasing your skills, testing them, practicing them?

How much money can you direct to furthering your education, skills, or practice of them?

Can you delegate some of your responsibilities to free up more time for you to pursue

your goals?

Can you increase your tolerance for risk?

Do what you can to move toward your goals.

“In whatever position you find yourself determine your first objective.” Marshal

Ferdinand Foch.

Once you have that objective in mind- you have a direction for your action.


Billie A Williams



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A Talk With Billie Williams

Folks, I owe you a huge apology for this being posted late.  This sinus infection (not an excuse, an explanation) has really floored me this year.  To make it up to you guys, I'm going to share a special post from Billie with you tomorrow and save my review for Friday. 

Now, onto the interview (Hint:  Billie doesn't mind answering questions if you'd like to leave one in the comments section!)

Billie, you are such a prolific writer, I'm wondering how many hours a day you spend writing?

My day usually starts with my writing – I get up at 5 a.m. I do my reading/journaling and then write. By 9 hubby gets up so I make him breakfast and such. By 10 a.m. I’m at the computer typing in what I’ve written and then browsing, reading emails and etc until noon. So I guess in reality the concentrated writing is about 2 hours a day. If I get time I like to get two chapters a day on whatever current WIP (works in progress)I have . Later if I have a column(Whodunnit) to write for Voices in the Dark, Mystery Fiction.Net I do that. I try to post to at least one of my blogs every other day (that doesn’t always get done) A lot of my day is spent in various writing projects – whether that means social media like Twitter or Facebook, emails, groups or marketing – I love the process so I steal whatever time I can to write somewhere.

Your books fall in many categories, but suspense/thrillers dominate. What in your personality do you think makes this such a natural selection for you?

I’m a perpetual what if person…Since I am shy and I guess mostly an introvert, my adventure and exploration is done by writing. And if a topic makes for suspense/thriller I like to twist and turn and try to figure out what would my characters do it…what would happen if…and then what? I guess what I would never dream of doing in person, like my accidental sleuths do, I do vicariously through their adventures.

You tend to take on subjects many people avoid in fiction (such as dog fighting, adoption...). Have you ever received any flack from doing so? If so, how did you handle it?

Actually, no I haven’t received any flack from people. Its stuff that happens in real life, closing your eyes to it doesn’t make it go away. Reading about it, if it might give you some insight into how someone else handled it, even fictional characters, just might help you deal with it in your life…then I think my books have a purpose and those tough subjects are dealt with appropriately, which is always my goal. And the fact that most of my bad things happen off stage, as it were, I deal with the after affects – and the what to do next part of it. I try not to dwell on the abuse but the solutions.

Each of your books is earmarked to benefit a charity. How do you choose which one will benefit?

It all depends on the story itself. For instance my writing how to books I donate to the local libraries because readers tend to be writers – or want to be. Watch For the Raven is my only young adult book, so naturally I want it to help young adults of both genders the local 4-H club gets those donations. In the Bed and Breakfast series there are many rescue squad aids, so the local rescue squad gets those. It just so happens with Money Isn’t Everything, our local community action committee has a drive going to get Christmas lights for the main streets, and things the town can’t do – so I decided they should get some help and it will prove that money isn’t everything – community/family is most important. Fin, Fur and Fatal helps our local Veterinary Clinic, Ghost Music of Vaudeville – suggests historical preservation so the Historical Museum in town gets those and Ancient Secrets hinges on a South African visit to save the world as we know it—and a new book I have coming out in October (Diamonds, Death, Deceit)will benefit Missionaries of Africa…I have a list and updates for all my books on the donations page of my website if anyone wants to keep up with it. I try to update it as royalties come in and are paid out. It’s the theme of the book that suggests to me where the 25% of royalties should go. Right now I have a poll out for readers because my newest release to date Cauldron suggest several place it could benefit and I’d like some help to decide where to send that money…people can email me with suggestions they might have. I have three ideas so far: 1. Habitat for Humanity, 2. Alzheimer research, 3. Homeless Shelters Other suggestions or votes for these three are welcome.

Related to the above question: Do you feel that, as a writer, you have the ability to bring about change on a large scale? Why or Why not?

Change happens one step, one person, at a time. Everyone has the ability to affect change. I feel that as a writer I have a perfect opportunity to influence, or at least get people to think about what might be a good thing if people would cooperate. Like, can you imagine if everyone gave one dollar to help the homeless what a difference that would make. Or if one person decided to smile and give a warm friendly greeting to everyone they meet – the domino effect that might have? In the end though the only person I can change is myself, so if I be the best example I can be—I may be able to show others a way they hadn’t thought of previously. That’s like my donations in this economy – you can entertain yourself with a good read and donate to a good cause at the same time. I see that as a win, win situation.

I was delighted to find you write like I do--first in longhand and then first edit as you type the material in. Do you do this for a particular reason--convenience, greater inspiration, etc...? Have you always written like this or did you come upon this system after trial and error?

Part of it is necessity – my computer happens to be set up in our bedroom – and hubby sleeps at least four hours longer than I do – so if I write in long hand he gets to do what he likes while I get to do what I like. The other part is I find I am more connected to how I feel, what I want to say if I do it by pen and paper. I still have trouble writing on the computer – the thoughts don’t flow as easily. I’m answering these questions on the computer – non-fiction is easier J to do that.

Who is Billie Williams? I'm not looking for family, description, etc. here but rather the essence of you.

You’ve heard of Pandora’s Box haven’t you? (just kidding, I think) I am just me. I love to learn new things, I love to write, I’m shy—I care about people and animals. It hurts me deeply to see people or animals mistreated. It hurts me deeply to think someone is so depressed that they would consider ending their life. Natural disasters grab me by the insides, I know they can’t be prevented –but I hate to see the suffering it causes—Manmade disasters like the oil spills or arson in our forests – make me angry, but they also tear at the fabric of my life—it hurts. I feel helpless a lot of times. So I guess I am ordinary. I have enough of all that I need (though it’s hard to remember that sometimes) I value friendships, and my family—I want to succeed as an author, as a human, as a friend, wife, mother, grandmother – and whatever other title life gives me. Normal, ordinary, just me.

I know you've been asked numerous times about favorite author/books, so I'll let readers find your answers on some of your other stops. What I'd like to know is what music inspires you? Favorite performer? Favorite song?

I seriously love all types of music. But, it goes with my mood. Sometimes Jazz is just too much for me, but most times Kenny G and his light and beautiful saxophone are exactly the music I prefer. Actually, he’s my writing music. But I like piano music of any kind, and I like Beethoven, Bach, and especially Mozart. I like country western, I like Rock, I like everything….though I can’t listen to a steady diet of anything. Kenny G’s Greatest Hits album with Songbird and Silhouette are favorites for sure – but I like his album Breathless as well.

What does the future hold for you--writing, personally, etc...

Ah the future, I really wish I had a crystal ball. I want to finish my Accidental Zodiac Sleuths Series I have 5 more to go then I do the finally with all the sleuths in the final book solving one final crime. I want to write a good children’s book – I’m studying – but so far nothing has caught publishers attention.

I would like to visit several places: New York City, Oregon, Australia, Ireland, England, perhaps Montana and Wyoming – I’d like to move to Wyoming – a big ranch with hunting and fishing right out my back door, or close.

I would like to be a best-selling, internationally famous author, wouldn’t all writers.

Mostly, I am content with what I have and where I am, but I’d like to travel to visit all my Word Mage friends and other writers that I’ve *met* on line and through reading their books…I guess I’m open to whatever the future has in store for me. J

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers today?

I want to thank you for allowing me to visit your site this week and for your kind efforts on my behalf. I would like to invite your readers to visit my site, send me an email, and ask me questions or just chit chat. I love hearing from people and what they think. If you want to be a writer read, write, read and write some more. Ask questions of the authors you read, most of them are happy to share what they know. If you have an idea for a charity that needs help, I am always open to suggestions as to where one of my books might fit with a cause.

Be sure to leave comments on the blog so that you are in the hat for the drawing for some nice prizes. And Thank You all for allowing me to share me with you.

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Money Isn't Everything -- The Latest Release From Billie Williams

Cool Cover, isn't it??  Today you get to read the first chapter of Money Isn't Everything. Before you do, however, I want to remind everyone to scroll down after today's post and see the prizes and freebies that are up for grabs this week.  When you are done, just leave a comment with your email and  you'll be sent.  When you leave here, jump on over and check out all the other books by Billie Williams,  There is bound to be at least one or two that appeals to each of you!  Finally, don't forget to come back tomorrow when Billie will be sitting down foir an interview--you willlove this one!!  Now, onto Chapter One of Money Isn't Everything.

Money Isn’t Everything,

By Billie A Williams



Mary March pulled into her parking spot at the Idle A While Nursing Home. The slush and ice of March trying to decide whether to be spring or winter created ruts where, depending on the time of day and the amount of sunshine, ice created a walking hazard or rivers of muddy water running in the ruts.

Skirting the puddles and ruts when possible, Mary was loaded down with treats for her favorite residents, her lunch bag, assignment book and her purse. Tanner Irish, that would be Doctor Tanner Irish to the public, whizzed by her in his not-meant-to-be-driven-in-the-winter blazing yellow Fiat Spider 124.

She thanked her lucky stars it was still ice this early in the day and not slush. Jerk, why did he think his money could make every woman fall at his feet? This one wasn’t about to. Money isn’t everything. Arms full, she returned his honk and jaunty salute with a nod. Nothing’s changed.

She went in the employee entrance of Idle A While, the halls were buzzing as day shift prepared to replace night shift. The exchange reminded her of Girl Scout Camp and the competition between the cottages for who was the ‘best’ that day.

The Charge Nurse of the night time CNAs and the Day Charge Nurse would meet with the others in the employee lounge to exchange information on the patients under their care before the day crew began their rounds. Mary wasn‘t looking forward to exchanging anything with Jayde Blarney. In her opinion Jayde was a mistake, but then she wasn‘t on the hiring committee. Jayde‘s credentials must have been good enough, but Mary was uncomfortable with her. She‘d felt bullied by the woman in their few encounters. Maybe she was just testing the water. Everyone deserves a chance.

Mary deposited her stuff in her locker, then she moved toward the employee lounge. Amid “welcome back” and “gee we missed you” from her crew, and glares from Jayde and her chief witch mate Dolly Sweetig and second in command Ebony Jane, Mary felt the stress of the previous weeks return in one fell swoop. The three had their heads together and that unnerved Mary. She felt there was trouble brewing but she wasn‘t sure what.

Edith Erhoes clapped her hands to get everyone‘s attention. “Welcome back, Mary, we‘re relieved to have one more pair of helping hands.”

Edith had been Director of Nurses since Columbus came over, Mary was sure. “Thank you, nice to be back.” Though the statement felt like a lie amidst the glares of Jayde and her team, she really did enjoy her job.

“We have gained residents, five to be exact, and lost three since you went on vacation,” Edith continued in her all business drill sergeant manner.

Mary couldn‘t help but wonder who they lost. Life, especially at the nursing home, was so fragile. It got harder and harder to watch people she had become attached to slip away. One day at a time, she told herself. She gave them all she could while they were at Idle A While. There was nothing else she could do.

The meeting broke up quickly. The night crew was anxious to break free for the day. The smell of breakfast carts arriving drew her attention to the task at hand, making sure those that could were showered and brought to the dining room. Those that needed help eating were assigned CNAs or orderlies to help them.

Mary noticed Audrey wasn‘t eating. She was slumped over on her chair. She laid her hand on Audrey‘s shoulder. Audrey winced and pulled away, pain and fear darkening her faded olive green eyes. “Are you okay, Audrey?”

Tears slid down her furrowed cheeks and her gaze darted around the room like a hunted rabbit. She didn‘t speak. Mary crouched down beside her and wrapped her arm around her shoulders, Audrey pulled away. She put her hands over Audrey‘s. “What happened, Audrey? Did you fall?”

This was so unlike the exuberant and talkative Audrey. Mary became worried. “Here, let me help you with this. Do you want jelly on your toast?” Audrey ate in silence, but at least she ate. She acted like she hadn‘t eaten in days. Mary made a note to have Dr. Irish look at her today. “I‘m going to have Doctor Irish come look in on you today. You be sure to tell him where you hurt, okay?”

Audrey offered a weak smile and patted Mary‘s arm. But, she didn‘t speak.

As Mary made her rounds she noticed more lethargy than normal. Something was definitely wrong here—or was she attaching flawed memories to the usually lively dining room that was only truth in her mind. Memory was such a fragile thing. And it had a tendency to be more about a hoped for truth then reality.

Mary couldn‘t wait to talk to her crew and find out what was going on. One of the CNAs called her to come look at a resident. Raw open sores on the woman‘s buttocks told her hygiene practices had been skipped more than once. She knew Maude was a difficult person. She swung at her caregiver, swore, and threatened all manner of repercussion at whoever was near. She was an angry woman. Part of it Mary knew was because her children forcefully removed her from her home. Now that Idle A While allowed pets, she thought Maude had become more docile. However, the cat that had adopted her was nowhere to be seen.

“We‘re going to have to get you into a bath tub to sit awhile, Maude,” Mary advised ready to be hit verbally and physically with all this used-to-be sheriff wanted to throw at her. Instead Maude merely blinked her eyes, and turned her head away.

The CNA shrugged. “This is the first I was assigned to her.”

“It‘s not your fault. I‘ll have a couple of the orderlies get her into the bath. You can comb her hair and do her nails whiles she sits. Make her feel pampered.” Mary felt her stomach churn. Maude might be a handful, even malicious, but her fighting spirit kept her going. This made Mary‘s heart ache. Clearly, she‘d been neglected.

“When she comes back use some A & D ointment on those sores. Be sure you wear gloves. Then don‘t diaper her. Let her be exposed to the air with just a puddle pad and sheet.” The CNA nodded. Mary made notes on her chart and went to the desk to page the orderlies. Anger was building up inside her. There were cases that flared every day. A fall, a misstep, resulting in a bruise, a patient would be bedridden and prone to bed sores, no matter how careful and well-cared for, but what Mary was seeing was not ordinary. She needed to talk to Edith Erhoes. As Director of Nurses she should be made aware, if she wasn‘t already. How could she not be, Mary thought as she slipped down the hall between housekeeping carts, wheel chairs with residents and CNAs going to and from rooms, appointments or lounges.

She knocked on Edith‘s office door. Edith motioned her to come in as she finished up a phone call. She jotted a name on a piece of paper and handed it to Mary.

“Her family…nothing but trouble. Always complaining. Wish they‘d just take her out of here. I may request they do just that if this keeps up.”

Mary glanced down at the name. The woman hadn‘t been there very long. Mary liked her. She always seemed congenial. She participated in all scheduled activities. “I‘ll check on her right away. What‘s the complaint?”

“Oh, some gibberish about rough treatment again. Same as last week.”

“There is something going on.” Mary cautiously approached the subject. Why should she be worried about reporting suspected abuse, those were state rules, the state demanded suspected abuse be reported immediately to a supervisor.

Edith‘s eyes flashed open wide and then narrowed into angry slits. “What do you mean?” It came across as more an accusation then a question in Mary‘s mind.

Mary listed the problems she had seen already that morning.

Edith fluttered her fingers as if Mary were a bothersome gnat she was trying to dispose of. “You‘ve been on vacation. After a while away from here you forget how most of these people deteriorate by the day. They go from ambulatory and lucid to bed ridden and dementia faster than you realize.”

“I really don‘t believe it‘s that.” Mary pressed on. “When a resident exhibits fear when you place a hand on their shoulder that signals a different kind of—“

Edith cut her off. “I haven‘t got time to deal with your fantasies. After you are back for a few days we‘ll speak again. Don‘t be stirring up trouble where there is none. Now, I have real work to do.”

Mary was angry. A scuffle down the corridor drew her attention and she hurried to intercede. Billy James‘ arms flailed the air. He was refusing to be taken anywhere. He demanded to be returned to his room. “Good morning, Billy. What seems to be the problem?”

“Ain‘t goin‘ nowhere. I‘m stayin‘ in my room where it‘s safe,” he said. His warm cocoa eyes wide with excitement.

It was then Mary noticed his bruised eye. “Who you been fighting with?” She bent to examine the eye.

Billy jerked back. “Ain‘t fightin‘ nobody.” He clutched his lap robe up to his chin and turned away.

“When did this happen, how?” She stood up straight directing her questions to the CNA, a new girl since Mary had worked last. The girl looked frightened, she let her shoulders rise to her ears and then dropped them, her eyes not meeting Mary‘s as she did so.

“I—I really don‘t know. I was assigned to take him to physical therapy.”

“If you don‘t do your physical therapy, you‘ll turn into a vegetable and have to spend all your time in bed.” Mary motioned to the girl to move on to Pearl‘s room and help her. “I‘ll take care of him,” she said softly.

The girl nearly ran down the hall away from her.

“I‘ll take you down today just to prove you are perfectly safe, okay?”

“If that‘s the case, I don‘t want no more shiners from the likes of her.”

“Who do you mean, Billy?”

“That other woman.” anger edged his raised voice.

“You mean the little gal who was just helping you?” Mary thought the tiny young woman who she had relieved of the burden of Billy couldn‘t give a mosquito a black eye, or shiner as Billy‘s colorful language explained it.

“Naw, not her—that Amazon woman.”

Mary searched her mind for a CNA whose stature would qualify her as Billy‘s Amazon woman. Most of the CNA‘s were her size, medium height and build. None of them were very imposing figures.

Dropping Billy off at physical therapy and asking them to treat him with kid gloves today, Mary made her way back up to the main floor nurse‘s station.

Idle A While seemed to have taken on a hostile and disjointed persona, if a place can have a personality. The warm friendly family atmosphere had evaporated in the three weeks she was gone on vacation. Janet had assumed her duties as her second in command. Very competent and motivated. She had been given three days off as compensation for the extra duty. Mary wouldn‘t see her until Wednesday. Already, Mary sensed an urgent need to get Janet‘s take on what she sensed in the atmosphere at Idle A While.

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Meeting Billie Williams

This week's guest is someone I have admired for many years now, Billie Williams.  This week, we will be talking with Billie and sharing her writing.  You'll get to peek at several of her books and get some free gifts AND get a chance to win some neat prizes!  You need to know from the start that you have to leave a comment and a way to contact you in order to win and get your free gifts--otherwise, we don't know where to send them :-)

Best Selling and Award winning Mystery/Suspense author Billie A Williams is a fiction, non-fiction and poetry author and has won numerous contests for her short/flash fiction stories, essays, and poetry with over two dozen works published. She is published in various magazines such as the literary magazine Thema; Guide, a Magazine for Children, Novel Advice.com, Writing Etc. WritingNow.com, and Women In The Arts newsletter as well as Sister’s in Crime, to list but a few.

Her articles, columns and features have appeared regularly in newspapers. Short stories, Flash fiction, poetry and book reviews have appeared in Mystery Time, True Love Magazine and various anthologies and on line e-zines and web sites. She writes a bi-monthly column titled “Whodunit?” for Mystery Fiction’s Voices in the Dark and is a contributing editor for Writingnow.com a Blueberry Press Newsletter. She also hosts her own writer’s group, Word Mage Writers and Readers as well as The Amberg Writers Group that meets at her home monthly. She is an active blogger; http://printedwords.blogspot.com and http://onewomansgarden.blogspot.com A website for writers is at http://writingwide.com where you can find plenty of tips, tricks and good reads, as well as a current novel in progress serialized in her newsletter, “Printed Words.”

Williams is currently a member of The Wisconsin Regional Writers Association (WRWA) Upper Peninsula Writers Association (UPWA)National Association of Women Writers (NAWW) Sister’s in Crime, Women in the Arts Program, Electronically Published Internet Connection (EPIC), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. (SCBWI) and Children’s Book Insider, and the Children Writers Coaching Club. Her website http://www.billiewilliams.com/

She lives with her husband and Lady Slipper the Maine Coon Cat she received the day she got her contract for The Pink Lady Slipper bed and breakfast murder mystery from Wings ePress so of course the kitten got the name. Amberg, is home, a small Northern Wisconsin community where the winters are cold and long, but the people are warm and friendly.

*There are three booklets available for the asking!  They include several authors answering--Where I Got My Idea, Why I Write and What's My Chosen Genre.  Just give me a shout and I'll send them your way. 

*Each person who comments will have a chance to win either a $100 note pad, a $100 pen, or a $100 bookmark magnet. (They all incorporate the hundred dollar bills into their design)

*Everyone that comments and includes an email address will get a bookmark with the cover of Money Isn’t Everything and one lucky winner will get an autographed poster of the cover of Money Isn’t Everything.

*Billie will draw one name from all the blog sites to get an autographed copy of the print version of Fin, Fur and Fatal another Mystery in the Zodiac Sleuths Series. (That is stateside– if the name drawn is overseas or Canada-- it will be a download version.)

Wow, all that, some excellent reading and a wonderful interview (Oh, and a book review from me!).  Stop by each day between now and Thursday--and don't forget to leave your comments!

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Re-gifting Can Be Good

JURGEN WOLFF posted a little gift over at his blog, Time to Write  (excellent blog btw--check it out!) and I just had to pass it on to all of you to say Thanks!!

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