Eli Easton

Author of m/m romance books and stories

Welcome to Eli Easton!

Desktop: “The Black Dog” (in claw anthology)

April 18

It’s my tradition to do a desktop post when I have a new story release, showing images that inspired my story.

“The Black Dog” is in “claw”, the 3rd gothika. It’s a gothic m/m anthology with three novellas by myself, Jamie Fessenden, and Kim Fielding. The theme of the claw anthology is beast shifters. Jamie and Kim’s stories feature werewolf shifters and mine, a massive black hound.

INSPIRATION:

I love gothic stories and horror movies. Both of my previous gothika stories were influenced by some of my favorite books or movies. (“Wuthering Heights” and “Frankenstein” for stitch’s “Reparation” and “I Walked with a Zombie” and “Wide Sargasso Sea” for bone’s “The Bird”).

The inspiration for “The Black Dog” comes from “Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Conan Doyle.

the-20hound-20of-20the-20baskervilles

 

I love this Sherlock Holmes story, the mood and atmosphere of it. Though I have to admit always been a little disappointed that the ‘solution’ to the mystery ends up not being paranormal at all.  In “The Black Dog”, that’s not the case. SAY NO MORE.

Initially, I was going to do a modern take on “Hound of the Baskervilles”, sticking true to the original plotline. But as I began working on it, I wasn’t satisfied with that and I decided I needed to pull in some other influences and go my own way.

LOCH NESS MONSTER

nessie

I liked the idea of having a legendary creature in my story, and a small town where monster-hunters might go to try to track down this legend. I’m a fan of TV shows where people are trying to track down Big Foot and other fabled beasts.  “The Black Dog” is set in Scotland and the legend of the Black Dog (which is fictional) is the only thing bringing in dribs and drabs of tourists to the tiny Northern Scotland hamlet where my story is set. The Black Dog is like a poor cousin to the Loch Ness Monster.

SCOTLAND AND HAMISH MACBETH

Hamish2

 

Gothic stories are defined by their setting. It’s critical to have someplace that feels mysterious, spooky, and isolated, where the normal safeguards and rules don’t apply.

I decided to set “The Black Dog” in an isolated region on the northern coast of Scotland. Why? Well, first I felt the story had to be on the British Isles because the original inspiration, “Hound of the Baskervilles” is a very British story. But I wanted someplace that would still be very remote in the current day.

I decided on Scotland, primarily due to my love of the TV series “Hamish MacBeth”. Hamish is a constable in a small town in Scotland and I loved the rural, isolated feeling of the show. What a great place for a spooky tale! The show was also the inspiration for my main character, Hayden, who is a constable in the small Scottish town of Laide.

More pics of my setting:

castle_lg plockton-main-street Mountain-Road-Through-Applecross-Peninsula1

HAYDEN MacLAIRTY

Hayden, my main MC, is a huge “almost ginger” Scotsman, a police constable, patient and steady. Simon calls him “Mount MacLairty”. Yes, he’s big. He’s the seventh son of a seventh son, and he loves living in the tiny hamlet of Laide and wouldn’t have it any other way, despite the fact that all his older siblings have moved to big cities and the modern world.

I don’t really have a picture that does Hayden justice, but not to leave you hanging, here’s a lovely Scotsman for you…

Hayden

SIMON CORTO

My other MC is a writer from New York. Simon is intelligent, sophisticated, he loves to travel, doesn’t mind roughing it, and has made a career writing fictional stories around real monster legends. I picture him looking like a younger Neil Gaiman.

neil-gaiman

And last, but not least, some inspirational beast pics I grabbed off the web while writing:

621-00739395 scary_werewolf_head_grinning http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-snarl-wolf-image20312816

That’s it for this desktop. I hope you will give “The Black Dog” a read!

You can read an except and find ORDER LINKS here.

Eli

First excerpt from “The Black Dog”!

April 12

Claw Cover

“Claw”, the third volume of the gothika anthology, is coming out Apr 13th!  I’ll have a blog post running on the DSP blog tomorrow, and in celebration I’m posting the first excerpt from my novella-length story, “The Black Dog”.  Here’s the blurb.

The Black Dog by Eli Easton
Constable Hayden MacLairty is used to life being dull around the tiny hamlet of Laide on the north Scottish coast. They get occasional tourists, “monster hunters” interested in the local legend of the Black Dog, but Hayden thinks that’s only a myth. A rash of sheep killings, a murdered hiker, huge footprints, and sightings of the Black Dog force Hayden to rethink the matter. With the help of Simon Corto, a writer from New York doing research for a book about the Black Dog, Hayden tries to figure out why the enormous hound is reappearing. Hayden finds himself strongly attracted to another person for the first time in his life. But between the danger stalking the hills, Simon’s inevitable return to New York, and Hayden’s mother’s illness, true love may be more of a phantom than the Black Dog.

CHAPTER 1:

“I’m tellin’ ye, it was the Black Dog. Now what the hell are ye gonna do about it, Hayden MacLairty?”

The dead sheep, all four of them, made a grisly spectacle on what remained of the green summer grass. All of them had their throats crushed and bloodied, and two had their stomachs torn open, too, inviting flies to the feast. Hayden couldn’t quite wrap his head around it.

There were no bears or wolves in Scotland. A vicious pet or zoo animal might have gotten loose. Or perhaps it was a pack of stray dogs that had gone rogue. But what would kill four sheep and not feed? The animals were not so much eaten as displayed.

Hayden knelt down by one of the disemboweled sheep, trying to get a closer look at its wound. It looked torn, as from claws or teeth, not cut with a knife.

“I’ll take ’em to the vet in Ullapool. See if he can tell me anythin’ about what done this.”

“I told ye what done this! It was the Black Dog!”

Hayden straightened up to his full height, not averse to using his size to shut up Dylan Mitchell. Dylan was one of many colorful characters in Hayden’s precinct. He drank, and he saw things, and normally Hayden could ignore his wild stories. But not today, not with four dead sheep.

“Now you listen here, Dylan. There ain’t no such thing as the Black Dog.”

“I seen it! Why, just two nights ago—”

“And whatever killed your sheep is real, not some supernatural phantom, and that means I’ve gotta catch it. I’m not likely to catch it if I’m wastin’ my time lookin’ for spooks.”

Dylan’s face clouded with anger. “Ye don’t never listen to me, Hayden. But I know what I saw. Seen that thing five times now, the first time when I was nigh on ten year old, and there weren’t no liquor involved then. And I drink plenty without seein’ the damn thing. When I see it, it’s because it’s there. So what’re ye gonna do about it, hey? I can’t afford to lose four head.”

“I’ll post watch for a couple of nights,” Hayden agreed reluctantly. “I’m not arguin’ with you. We gotta find this thing.” And if you didn’t get drunk as a lord every night, you could watch your land your own damn self.

“’Course we do! My sheep one night, maybe my wife the next…! I wanna know what yer gonna do about that monster.”

“Now, Dyl, it won’ do a lick of good to berate the man.” Laith Mitchell spoke up, thank heaven. She was a good woman with a heck of a lot more sense than her husband.

“How ’bout you?” Hayden asked her. “You seen any animal in these parts that might have done this?”

She shook her head regretfully. “No, Hayden. The O’Ryan’s lab goes wanderin’ from time to time, but he’s gentle as a kitten. Ain’t seen nothin’ else.”

Dylan glowered harder.

“Right, then. I’ll just load ’em up.” Not for the first time, Hayden wished he had a subordinate to give such menial work to. He spread out plastic bags in the back of his Land Rover that was marked with the cheery yellow and blue check of the Scottish police. Then he hauled the heavy, bloody sheep into the boot. He had to drive them over an hour each way to Ullapool. But anything that ever had to be done, Hayden did himself. He was the only constable in the small hamlet of Laide and its surrounds. He covered a territory of nearly a hundred miles square, and he himself was the entire breadth and width of the law here. He might call in help if there was real trouble, but not for sheep. And decidedly not for a phantom black dog.

 

 

It was nearly dark when Hayden got back to Laide. He passed the Black Dog pub. There was a strange car in the lot, a rental, so apparently Angus had tourists in. Hopefully, they were there for the night and not just a meal. It was a good day when Angus could let out one of his upstairs rooms.

Maybe Dylan would show up at the pub tonight and spout off about the Black Dog. Nothing like a little local color to give the monster-hunters that chill up the spine. The wild northern end of Scotland was popular with long-distance cyclists and the occasional hardy hiker. But the few who stopped in the tiny hamlet of Laide had the legend in mind.

Hayden sighed. How he’d love to put up his tired feet at the pub and have a pint. But he had other obligations.

 

 

At home, Hayden let himself in quietly. As always the house smelled sourly of camphor and rose water and cabbage.

“Hullo,” he said to Ruth as he entered the kitchen. “And hullo, Mom.” He kissed his mother on the top of her head, assessing her condition automatically. Her crazy thick black hair, shot through with gray, was freshly washed, a task Ruth only managed a few times a week. She was wearing a thick purple cardigan. It was a bit too small on her large frame, but it was clean. And she had on real trousers today—some old khakis—not PJ bottoms.

His mother looked up at him and smiled. “Hayden! Ruth made us supper. Isn’t that nice?”

It was a good day then. Deep inside, where fear gripped his stomach in greedy handfuls, the tension eased.

“That’s lovely, Mom. What’re we havin’, then?”

“Pot roast! Can’t you smell it? I’m surprised the whole town isn’t outside the door wantin’ to be let in. Smells delicious!”

Hayden swallowed and looked at Ruth. She shook her head a little. “I’ve got some baked chicken in the oven,” she said quietly.

His mom ignored Ruth, going on and on about the pot roast. He sighed. A year ago he would have chased that phantom. But he’d learned better. Even if he went out and got a pot roast now, and they cooked it right away, by the time it was done, his mother would have forgotten all about it. She’d pick at her food like she always did, taking a few bites, and then claiming she was stuffed and couldn’t manage another morsel. He had no idea why she wasn’t a skeleton by now.

“I’m sure it’ll be wonderful,” he said. “I’m starving. I’ll just go wash my hands, shall I?”

 

 

After dinner, his mother settled in to watch her programs on TV while Hayden helped Ruth with the dishes.

“What is it, Hayden?” Ruth asked, giving him a leery expression. “I know that face.”

He sighed. “Ah, Christ. I hate this.”

“Go on. Hemming and hawing won’ make it any easier.”

He bit his lip. “Dylan Mitchell lost four sheep last night. I’m thinking it’s a pack of dogs. Told him I’d watch out tonight. Our farmers can’t afford to be losin’ livestock.”

Ruth rinsed the dish soap from her hands and turned to face him. “Hayden, of course I’ll stay, but this is what I’ve been tellin’ ye. You can’t manage. You can be called out any time day or night with that job o’ yours. And she shouldna be left alone.”

The anxiety in Hayden’s stomach returned with a vengeance. Dear God, he’d be growing a family of ulcers in there. “I can’t afford to hire a nurse, even if she’d take to one. What am I supposed to do?”

“Well, you know what I think! One of those fancy brothers o’ yours should be helping out.”

He didn’t disagree with the general concept. It was the particulars that were the problem. Jamie and Loren were both taking graduate courses in London. Jackson, Levi, and Moby had jobs and families of their own to care for hundreds of miles from here. And Sam was on a ship somewhere with Her Majesty’s Navy.

They’d all gotten away from Laide. And Hayden, the youngest, was left the loser in the MacLairty game of musical chairs. Last one standing. Then he felt guilty. He wasn’t the one with dementia. He shouldn’t be whinging about his own troubles. Besides, he honestly had no desire to leave Laide.

“You know that’s not gonna happen,” Hayden said tightly. “And you know how she is. Last time that social welfare lady stopped by, Mom screamed bloody murder, and she didn’t calm down for days. She won’t abide a stranger.”

“I know,” Ruth said quietly. “Which is why I told my niece and her husband they could have my cottage for the summer. And why I’m gonna be bossy and tell you I’m movin’ into the spare room.”

It was so welcome and yet too much at the same time. Hayden leaned against the counter, light-headed with relief. “I canna ask you to do that. I can’t pay you for more hours, and it’s not fair to you. You have a life.”

Ruth gripped his hand. She had a lot of strength for an old lass. And the light in her fierce eyes made it clear there was no faltering in her faculties either. “I’ve had a life, and, God willing, I will have one again. But right now Becca needs me. And you need me. And she’s been my best friend since we were six year old, and that doesn’t stop because she can’t remember what year it is. Of course, I don’t want any more of your money, Hayden MacLairty.”

Hayden swallowed. “That’s… I don’t know how to thank you.”

Ruth smiled, but she still looked worried. “It’ll be a relief to be able to keep me eye on her, to tell you the truth. You’re a right bonny son, and no mother could ask more. But if you ain’t workin’ nights, you sleep like the dead, and don’t think I don’t know it.”

“Hayden!” His mom called from the other room.

“Thank you, Ruth. Really.” His throat felt thick with gratitude.

Ruth snorted. “Yes. I’m sure any healthy young man would be itchin’ to live with two old crones. Go on, then. See what she wants.”

Hayden went into the living room. His mother waved frantically at the TV screen.

“Hayden, look at that dog! Isn’t he the cutest thing!”

Hayden sat on the arm of his mother’s recliner and took her hand. “He’s sweet, isn’t he?”

“You’ve asked and asked for a dog, but you know how your father feels about it. Maybe this Christmas, if you get that A in Maths. Do you think you could do that, lad?”

“Sure, Ma. I can do that.” His father had been gone for ten years, and Hayden had been out of school far longer. He often wondered how his mother could look at him and see a teenager instead of a man just turned thirty-two. But her misfiring brain had its own rhyme and reason.

Becca frowned. “I had a dog once. His name was Bandi. Did I ever tell you?”

Hayden rubbed her cold hands. “No, Ma. Tell me about Bandi.”

“He was a German shepherd. Used to sleep right by my bed. And he’d follow me to school. And I’d say ‘Thank you, Bandi! Now go on home!’ when we got there.”

“Uh-huh.”

“And do you know what happened to that dog? He got into the neighbor’s chicken coop and ate a chicken. Oh, did Pa gave him what for! Lord, Hayden. But Bandi, he’d got a taste for it, ye ken. And he wouldn’t stop. So Pa took a rifle and put him down.” There were no tears in her eyes, but her voice got soft. “Ma said Bandi ran away, but the neighbor’s son told me the truth. Pa shot him.”

“I’m sorry, Mom,” Hayden said, like he always did.

“Oh, look! It’s Bette Davis. Isn’t she lovely!”

Here’s the link to “Claw” on dreamspinner’s site.

And the Goodreads link.

Dream Vacation: Walking the UK

March 12

Dreamspinner’s blog theme this month is ‘dream vacation’, so I thought I’d blog about the best trip I ever took.

Two things you may not know about me: 1) I’m an Anglophile and 2) For many years I was into long distance walking. I was president of a volkswalking club in Seattle for a few years, and I’ve done a 10K in all 50 US states (except Alaska, which I haven’t gotten to yet).

In 2009, I did a walking trip in England with a friend of mine. We did about a hundred and twenty miles on the Southwest Coast Path and half the Coast to Coast trail. We booked our trip with a company called contours. They reserve all your B&Bs and also pick up your luggage in the morning and drop it off at your next destination. So all you need to carry is a day pack and you walk from B&B to B&B. It’s perfect.

I adore the long distance walking trails in the UK. The Southwest Coast Trail, as the name implies, hugs the southern coastline of England. The Coast to Coast trail cuts straight across England close to its narrowest point. Both are spectacular trails.

Here’re some pics!

Southwest Coast Path — St. Ives to Pendeen

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My friend Marcia and I ready to head out from St. Ives. Click on any of these pics for a close-up.

08-05-25_StIves_Pendeen-040 08-05-25_StIves_Pendeen-320

Southwest Coast Path — Pendeen to Porthcurno

08-05-27_Porthcurno-126

Getting absolutely drenched at Land’s End, the furthest SW point in the UK.

08-05-27_Porthcurno-210

Southwest Coast Path — Porthcurno to Penzance

08-05-27_Porthcurno-234 08-05-27_Porthcurno-258

Southwest Coast Path — Penzance to Porthleven

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Southwest Coast Path — Porthleven to The Lizard

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Southwest Coast Path — The Lizard to Coverack

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Southwest Coast Path — Coverack to Falmouth

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Coast to Coast Path

08-06-06_C2C_D2_ED-(26-of-36) 08-06-10_Orton_KS-098 08-06_04_StBees_EnnerdaleBr-160 08-06_04_StBees_EnnerdaleBr-229

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Marcia took the photo above of me in rain gear with my camera. I was really into photography at the time! And yes, I lugged that beast every step. And it was worth it.

So that’s my dream vacation. I hope to go again to the UK to walk the Cotswolds Way with my husband.

What’s your idea of the best trip on earth?

Eli

 

 

 

Guest Post: “My Favorite Shifters” on The Novel Approach

March 1

Today I’m a guest on The Novel Approach blog and I’m writing about a few of my favorite shifter romances.  This is part of the blog tour for “How to Howl at the Moon”! (P.S. there’s also a giveaway).

Check it out here!

audiobookcover_HowlattheMoon2

 

Blog Tour: “The Dog Shifters of Mad Creek” on Sinfully Sexy

February 28

Read about the inspiration behind the dog shifters of Mad Creek (in the new release “How to Howl at the Moon“). You can enter to win a free copy of the audiobook version of this novel, which is coming out as soon as Audible approves the uploaded audio file (1-2 weeks).

http://sinfullysexybooks.blogspot.nl/2015/02/how-to-howl-at-moon-by-eli-easton.html#more

audiobookcover_HowlattheMoon2

Desktop: How to Howl at the Moon

February 28

It’s release day for “How to Howl at the Moon”, the first book in a new m/m romantic comedy series about dog shifters.  I had a blast writing this book, and I’m so excited that it’s now out there available to the public.  Fly little bird, fly!  Or maybe, run, little dog, run!

It’s my tradition to share some of my photo inspiration on release day. So without further ado, here are some images that I found to use as mind candy while working on this story.

NOTE: These are all images I googled. I don’t own the rights to them and they are not used in the actual book.

TIM WESTON

Tim is our shy gardener, a full-blooded human who moves to Mad Creek by chance and has no idea that dog shifters exist (or any other shifters for that matter).  Tim is tall, lanky, and a bit gawky. I looked for a long time to find the right ‘mind model’ for Tim physically, and I fell in love with the photo below. Love those bangs!  (so does Lance)

Hairstyles-for-teen-boys_13

SHERIFF LANCE BEAUFORT

The other MC is Lance, a border collie shifter who is the sheriff of Mad Creek, and a determined protector of the town. I didn’t find the perfect photo of Lance. He had black hair and brilliant blue eyes, he’s compact and muscular, and intense with a capital I! But here are some images that come close….

110596 (THE HAIR!)

lanceglasses (THE TUDE!)

CHANCE (aka Lance in dog form)

Lance is a shifter descended from border collies. In dog form, he’s all black with just a touch of white on his chest and a dot on one ear, and he has brilliant blue eyes. He’s very intelligent looking. This is the dog photo I used for Lance. He actually looks quite a lot like the dog that ended up on the cover, no?

belgian-sheepdog

 

MAD CREEK

For my setting, I wanted a small town, someplace remote and someplace that felt a bit interesting or exotic. My husband suggested the California mountains.  We lived in Oakhurst, California for about five years, a small town in the mountains up the hill from Fresno but before you get to Yosemite.  Mad Creek is technically further up into the mountains than that, but I based Mad Creek on Oakhurst. Here are some photos.

oakhurst oakhurst2 oakhurst-california

RENFIELD (aka “Renny”)

Renfield is a puppy that Lance gives to Tim. He’s a 100% dog (not a shifter) and he’s mostly Bernese Mountain Dog.

e22754d768 ontario-bernese-mountain-dog-breeders-112

LILY (Lance’s mother)

Lance’s mother is also a border collie shifter with black hair and blue eyes. She’s wiry, energetic, and basically a whirlwind of manipulation and buttinski-ness.  Julie Louis-Dreyfus is a great comic model for her.

Julia-Louis-Dreyfus-julia-louis-dreyfus-32347420-2000-3008

 

MISC STORY STUFF

Some reference images for rose hips, a Sheiff’s badge and the DEA uniform.

rosehip-seed 5944141

ex-dea-agent-moves-to-marijuana-company.si

That’s it for this release! I hope you enjoy the book.

P.S. The audiobook is done and is ‘in processing’ at Amazon. It should be live in the next week or two!

Eli

“How to Howl At the Moon” — cover & excerpt!

February 1

HowToHowlAtTheMoonFINALLRG

 Release date: Feb 28, 2015

I’m super, super excited about this book!  “How to Howl at the Moon” is the first book of a new m/m romantic comedy series featuring dog shifters and a little town in the California mountains called Mad Creek.

I wrote the first draft of this novel during NaNoWriMo in 2014, and I had so much fun writing it. I fell in love with Molly Harper’s “Naked Werewolf” series and it inspired me to want to write a humorous shifter series of my own, only in m/m.  My husband likes to say he gives me all my best ideas, and I’m afraid there’s some truth in that. When I said “romantic comedy with shifters?” He said “dogs!”. He was right.

We have three bulldogs of our own and it was a blast to write dog shifter characters and give them dog mannerisms and personality traits. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about Lance, his mother Lily (as Lance says, Jewish mothers have nothing on the relentless herding instinct of a mother descended from border collies on both sides), Gus, Roman, and the other residents of Mad Creek. And of course, Tim, our  clueless hero.

You can read an excerpt here. And the book is available on Amazon right now for pre-order.

The cover is awesome, no?  Cover by AngstyG. (Click for close-up)

Also, I am working on an audio book version of this right now!  I hope to have it out around the same time as the ebook.

Eli

“The Trouble with Tony” now out on audio!

January 29

TTWTAudio

Like audiobooks?  “The Trouble with Tony” is newly released on audio. You can find it here!

Eli

 

M/M Romance Group 2014 Book Awards

January 11

The M/M Romance group on Goodreads is a fun and large group (the 3rd largest group on goodreads I think), and if you like m/m romance, you should definitely check it out.

They just had their annual awards to determine the group’s reader’s favorites for 2014.  Two of my books won in several categories.  Given all the books that I personally read and loved that were nominated this year, and all the very talented authors, I feel super honored.

YOU CAN SEE ALL THE WINNERS HERE.

TheMatingOfMichael_EliEaston

The Mating of Michael

Best Sex Industry — #1

Best Medical/Rescue Works Prof — #2  (#1 – The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes, #3 – Collide by Riley Hart)

Best Hurt/Comfort — #1 (#2 – Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane, #3 – While All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry)

 

mistletoe_br

Blame it on the Mistletoe

Best Gay/Out for You — #3  (#1 – Try by Ella James, #2 – The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes)

Best Coming of Age — #3  (#1 – The Art of Breathing by TJ Klune, #2 – The Family We Make by Kaje Harper)

Best Friends to Lovers — #3   (#1 – All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes, #2 – Collide by Riley Hart)

Best Humorous — #2   (#1 – #3 – Loving Jay by Renae Kaye, #1 The Art of Breathing by TJ Klune)

 

Thank you so much to those who voted!

Eli

New Edition of “Before I Wake”!

January 10

beforeIwake

My very first m/m story published was “Before I Wake”, which came out from Torquere Press in April 2013. They only had a year contract, so the story has been out of print since Apr 2014. I finally got my ass in gear and have self-published a new edition.

The original story was written for a fairy tale anthology with a strict 8000 word count. Of course, self-pubbing I was able to expand it a bit, adding a new 3K epilogue.

You can find it here:

AMAZON — http://www.amazon.com/Before-I-Wake-Eli-Easton-ebook/dp/B00S35AHDE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420930684&sr=8-1&keywords=before+I+wake+eli+easton

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-beforeiwake-1721954-145.html

BARNES & NOBLE –  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/before-i-wake-eli-easton/1121024294?ean=2940150207943&itm=1&usri=2940150207943

Hope you like the new version,

Eli

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