Dont MIss Out on the Release Blitz for Slashed and Mashed: Seven Gayly Subverted Stories by Andrew J. Peters (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Slashed and Mashed: Seven Gayly Subverted Stories

Author: Andrew J. Peters

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 11, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 96700

Genre: Fantasy Folklore, LGBT, retold lore/folklore, fantasy, mythical creatures, magic, magic beings, magical reality, trickster, action/adventure, established couple, over 40, Greek mythology, Hungarian folklore, Grimm’s fairytales, Momotarō, historical fiction, jaguar folklore, the Arabian Nights, African folklore, Uncle Remus.

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Synopsis

What really happened when Theseus met the Minotaur? How did demon-slaying Momotarō come to be raised by two daddies? Will Scheherazade’s hapless Ma’aruf ever find love and prosperity after his freeloading boyfriend kicks him out on the street? Classic lore gets a bold remodeling with stories from light-hearted and absurd, earnestly romantic, daring and adventurous, to darkly surreal.

The collection includes: Theseus and the Minotaur, Károly, Who Kept a Secret, The Peach Boy, The Vain Prince, The Jaguar of the Backward Glance, Ma’aruf the Street Vendor, and A Rabbit Grows in Brooklyn.

Award-winning fantasy author Andrew J. Peters (The City of Seven Gods) takes on classical mythology, Hungarian folklore, Japanese legend, The Arabian Nights, and more, in a collection of gayly subverted stories from around the world.

Excerpt

Slashed and Mashed
Andrew J. Peters © 2019
All Rights Reserved

THE GREAT HALL of the king’s palace was vast enough to house a fleet of double-sailed galleys, and its gray, fluted columns, as thick as ancient oaks, seemed to tower impossibly beyond a man’s ken. Prince Theseus had been told, he had been warned of the grandeur of the Cretans, how it was said they were so vain they forged houses to rival the palace of Mount Olympus. Yet to see was to believe. For a spell, the sight of the great hall stole the breath from his lungs and slowed his feet to a stagger. Should not he, a mere mortal, prostrate himself on his knees in a place of such divine might, such miraculous invention? It felt as though he had entered the mouth of a giant who could swallow the world.

No, he reminded himself: this was all pretend, a trick to frighten him and his countrymen, though he only half believed that. Silenos, an aged tutor who Theseus’s father had hired to teach him all things befitting a young man of the learned class, had cautioned him not to trust his eyes, that these pirates of Crete used their riches to build a city of illusions so any navy that endeavored to alight at its shores would be hopelessly confounded and turn back to sea in terror.

Theseus forced a swallow down his bone-dry throat and retook his steps to keep pace with the soldiers who escorted his party into the hall. He had brought his father’s highest-ranking admirals to accompany him, Padmos and Oxartes, and the king had sent three men for each one of them to meet them at the beach where they had rowed ashore. From there, they had been conveyed up a steep, zigzagging roadway to the palace. The armored team looked like an executioner’s brigade rather than a diplomatic corps. They were hard-faced warriors clad in bronze-plated aprons and fringed, blood-red kilts, and they carried spears that could harpoon a monster of the ocean.

He tried to look beyond the many wonders and train his gaze on the distant dais where the king and his court awaited him. Yet curiosity bit at Theseus. Oil-burning chandeliers seemed to hover in the air, hung from chains girded to a sightless ceiling. No terraces had been built to bring in daylight, nor doorways to other precincts of the statehouse, unless they were hidden. Theseus would say it smelled of nothing but damp stone and clay, the cool, cloistered air too sacred to be disturbed by perfumes. The walls shimmered with a metallic reflection of the room’s massive columns, affecting the appearance that the hall went on to infinity. The diamond-patterned carpet on which he trod was one continuous design stretching from the vaulted doorway where he had entered all the way to the other end. Such a carpet was surely large enough to cover the floors of every house in Athens!

As he neared the stately dais, he beheld the king’s high-backed throne of ebony and glimpsed the man himself along with the shadowy members of his court. Theseus lowered his gaze to disguise his impressions. He supposed it also counted as a gesture of respect. He followed the soldiers into a lake of light that glowed from thick-trunked braziers on either side of the hall’s carpeted, shallow stage.

Their steps ended some ten paces in front of the room’s dignitaries, including, of course, the king himself. The armored men knelt on one knee, drummed down the handles of their spears on the floor, and bowed their helmet-capped heads as one company.

That left Theseus and his consorts standing and wondering what to do with themselves for a worrisome moment. To kneel to the king was to surrender Athens’ sovereignty, and that had not been his father’s bargain. Though his princely leather cuirass and his laurel crown felt peasant-like, almost absurd while he stood before the king, Theseus did not break. He glanced to Padmos and Oxartes so they would know they should neither kneel nor bow.

Righteousness grew inside Theseus, arisen from the unsurpassed conviction of a youth of eighteen years who felt well-acquainted with the indignities of the world, though in truth had rarely been cut down to size. As an infant, he had been sent to live in his mother’s village, which was countries apart from the hubbub and political fray of Athens. This, no excess of fatherly protection, but a testament to his father’s severity. People later spoke of his banishment in the ennobling light of superstition, an augury of the night sky or some such according to his father. In any case, Aegeus had decreed: if his son was worthy to succeed him, he must earn the right on his own terms.

For most of his life, Theseus had not known his father. He had not even known of his paternity, though he had lived quite well as a handsome, rugged lad among countryfolk who required no more than that to smile upon him, fetch him apples, give him a rustle on the head when he passed by, a proud acknowledgment he was one of their own. Then came his mother’s confession, and his storied trek to present himself at his father’s court, which he had made on foot across Arcadia, an ungoverned, forested land that had been said to be rampant with all manner of bandits, ogres, and mythical beasts.

In Athens, he was a newcomer, an adventurer, and a fawn-haired swain, all of which earned him magnanimous gossip. Men made way for him, and women smiled and idled when he passed by.

Naturally, young Theseus was aware of none of this, as a favored flower does not question why it thrives in sunlight and has a gardener always at the ready for its succor, while others of its kind turn spiny and dull from negligence. Or, it should be said, a glimpse of his place in the world, past and present, was only just then taking form while he stood in King Minos’s great hall. He did not like how it made him feel.

He shook off the sinking sensation. He would be bold, for he alone stood for Athens in this house of tyranny. As he had heard, these foreigners had butchered his countrymen, raped their women, taken their daughters and sons as slaves, and burned their fields. He would end the war, and it did not matter if he returned to Athens on a white-sailed galley to herald a hero’s return or if a black-sailed ship should come back to his father, signaling that Crete had been his final resting place. So had he decided. He looked to King Minos to begin.

The Cretan king returned his gaze, appraising, taunting, and then he perched in his seat and craned his neck to see beyond the prince, to turn a querulous eye at the headmen of his squadron.

“Where is Athens’ tribute?” he spoke.

He appeared to be no more advanced in years than the prince’s father, a sturdy, dispassionate age. The similarity wore through at that. The king’s chestnut-brown beards were plaited and shone with oil, and he wore a miter banded with red-gold. He was clad in deep cerulean raiment of the finest dye and a draped, red stole, all adorned with fine embroidery and fringe. Theseus had never seen a man so richly clothed and groomed. His father, the wealthiest man in all of Attica, had only a sheep’s fleece and a laurel crown to say he was king.

“King Aegeus has sent me, his son, Theseus of Attica, to answer your request,” Theseus spoke.

Minos pursed his lips, sucked his teeth. “I asked for children.”

That was the compact signed by Theseus’s father to end the war—seven boys and seven girls surrendered to Minos in return for nine years of peace, during which the Cretan king had pledged he would call back his warships.

It was a war begun while Theseus still lived with his mother in the countryside, years before she had taken him to an unfarmed field outside the village and shown him his father’s buried sword, from which he came to know his origins. Theseus had only arrived in Athens one season past and been apprised of the history. This heartless war borne from a tragic misunderstanding.

Two years ago, Minos sent his son Androgeus to Athens on a friendly embassy, and when Theseus’s father took the youth on a hunt to see something of his country’s pastimes, Androgeus was thrown from his horse and landed headfirst on a rock. No physician nor priest could restore him. His spark of life had been extinguished all at once.

Aegeus returned the prince’s body to Crete with all due sacraments and respects. He had been washed to prepare him for his passage to the afterworld, and the king sent him across the sea on a bier of sacred cypress, ferried on his finest ship, oared by his best sailors, and with a bounty of funereal offerings, gold and silver, many times more than his kingdom could afford. Yet Minos declared treachery and turned fire and fury against Athens.

Three seasons the war had raged, and after a decisive battle on the Saronic Gulf, Minos claimed the vital sea passage and installed a naval blockade, robbing Athens of her trade routes and slowly starving her. Aegeus appealed to the Cretan king for an armistice. An emissary from Crete returned with the tyrant’s reply: fourteen innocent lives for the price of his son. This, after Crete had already extracted the lives of thousands of fighting men in payment for Androgeus, whose death could only be blamed on the mysterious Fates.

Aegeus decided he had no choice but to agree to the king’s terms, and his council supported him. The Athenian navy was no match for the foreigners neither by the numbers nor by the craftsmanship of their vessels. The Cretans flung barrels of fire from catapults. Their triremes were faster and their battering rams were more potent, carving apart a galley on a single run. The Athenian fleet had dwindled to a dozen vessels. Their forests were stripped of lumber, and even if they had the resources, their shipbuilders could not assemble new warships fast enough. Food shortages had depleted their force of able-bodied men to defend the city. Without a reprieve from war, the next attack on Athens would be the last. Who could stop an army empowered by the God of the Sea?

But after the lottery had been held, and weeping fathers from all parts of the country brought their sons and daughters to the naval pier where they would be ferried to Crete, Theseus could not bear it. He looked upon the children, stunned as lambs without their mothers, and wept for them, and wept for his country, and wept for the shame of being part of this abomination.

Then, in a rush of rage, Theseus attacked the sailors who would lead the children to the ship. He had come to know them as friends, yet all he saw were blank-faced monsters. By grace, he had only had his fists, and no man raised a blade to stop him. Theseus shoved, struck, and menaced perhaps a dozen before they overtook him and held him fast by his neck and arms. A terrible blackness ate up his vision, and, inspirited with a daemon’s strength, Theseus threw off his captors. He turned his fury at his father who stood at the landside end of the quay with his councilors.

Theseus shouted at them vicious oaths he had not known were in his vocabulary, and he spat at them. Did they not know what they were doing was an offense to the goddess? It was a betrayal of every free man of Attica. His throat was scorched from shouting, his voice hoarse, and he fell to his knees, dropping his bonnet, weeping and pulling at his thick, curled hair.

He looked up at his father. “Please, send me.”

Now Theseus faced King Minos intrepidly. “I have been chosen to stand for the children. I have only eighteen years, turned just this past season, and I am my father’s only son. I will face your contest.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Andrew J. Peters has been writing fiction since his elementary school principal let him read excerpts from his mystery novel over the PA system during lunch period, an early brush with notoriety, which quite possibly may have been the height of his literary celebrity. Since then, he has studied to be a veterinarian, worked as a social worker for LGBTQ youth, and settled into university administration, while keeping late hours at his home computer writing stories. He is the author of eight books, including the award-winning The City of Seven Gods (2017 Best Horror/Fantasy Novel at the Silver Falchion awards) and the popular Werecat series (2016 Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice awards finalist). Andrew lives in New York City with his husband Genaro and their cat Chloë. When he’s not writing, he enjoys travelling, Broadway shows, movies, and thinking up ways to subvert heteronormative narratives.

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A MelanieM Review: Irresistible by Andrew J Peters

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

 

What if the gods created a man so beautiful, he was irresistible to anyone? 

Brendan Thackeray-Prentiss is an Ivy League-educated trust-funder who Gotham Magazine named the most eligible gay bachelor in New York City. He lives for finding his soulmate, but after walking in on his boyfriend of three transcendent months soaping up in the shower with an older female publicist, he’s on a steady diet of scotch, benzodiazepines, and compulsive yoga. Men are completely off the menu.

Callisthenes Panagopoulos has a problem most guys dream of. With the body and face of a European soccer heartthrob, the vigorous blond hair of a Mormon missionary, and a smile that makes traffic cops stuff their ticket books back in their utility belts, he’s irresistible to everyone. But being a constant guy-magnet comes with its discontents, like an ex-boyfriend who tried to drive his Smart car through Cal’s front door. It makes him wonder if he’s been cursed when it comes to love.

When Brendan and Cal meet, the attraction is meteoric, and they go from date to mates at the speed of time-lapse photography. But to stay together, they’ll have to overcome Cal’s jealous BFF, Romanian mobsters, hermit widowers, and a dictatorship on the brink of revolution during a dream wedding in the Greek isles that becomes a madcap odyssey.

A gay romantic comedy of errors based on Chariton’s Callirhoe, the world’s oldest extant romance novel.

I cannot begin to tell you how close to a one star rating this book came.  Had I written the review shortly after I finished it, it might have even garnered a zero, that’s how truly awful a mess I feel Irresistible by Andrew J Peters is.  But I  have waited until the light of day and some distance between me and it (and loads of coffee) before sitting down to right this thing.

My how that helps!

Where oh where to begin?  How about the  two main characters (of no depth and weird backgrounds) fall instantly in love and get married by page 35?  Yes indeed.  Even though one has had serious issues with a previous boyfriend with stalker issues (ongoing), an absolute nutjob of a “bestfriend” who is currently with him on vacation who’s every word and action screams sociopath,  now hooking up with a rich someone with the judgement of a kumquat? All within the first 50 pages and boom they are getting married!

If I could have, I would have stopped right there because there was nothing believable about any of them.  But no,  I said  I’d read this book.  Smh.

So prep work is ongoing for the marriage, sociopath bestie is not happy and all of a sudden in Chapter 8?  We get another pov!   Up to three now.  We are flip flopping formats and povs all over the place. Yes, the author brings in another person’s perspective because let’s crowd the field as the plot is about to take flight into whackydom with bombs, explosives, Arabs, mad Greeks, Sheiks, and you name it.  None of which, again really make any sense.

More of a hodgepodge of action elements shuffled together, thrown into a narrative pot and voila! Another chapter is born! And another and another. And so on.

I was never so happy to have made it out of a book alive.

And that ending….shudders.

If you are dying to read a book by Andrew J. Peters, I suggest you look elsewhere.  Truly there is nothing Irresistible about this story in my opinion.

Cover art by Natasha Snow:  Best thing about this novel.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published August 13th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949340402
Edition LanguageEnglish

  • Reviewer’s Note:  I just realized that I’ve read books by this author before, his Werecat Trilogy and loved them.  I clearly didn’t recognize his writing here.  So here is another reason not to base an author on just one story.

A MelanieM Review: Werecat: The Sim Ru Prophecy by Andrew J. Peters

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

The final installment of the Werecat series, a finalist in the 2016 Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Awards.

A fugitive from two murder investigations in New York City and a bizarre, big cat attack at a bank in Barbados, Jacks Dowd flees to South America to find the ringleader of a shifter terrorist organization deep in the Amazon. The world is on the brink of all-out war between shifters and humans, and Jacks needs to somehow broker a deal for peace.

But a special U.S. intelligence agency emerges as a new, possibly even more dangerous enemy. Both the terrorists and the U.S. government will stop at nothing to get an arcane codex that could unleash an unstoppable threat to mankind or exterminate werecats everywhere.

While Jacks dodges danger from both sides and decodes the ancient book, he’s left with the impossible choice of how to use it.

Final installment?  Hmmmm, maybe…..

I say that because when I finished the story, the first thing I did was write the author asking if, surely, there was another story just around the corner because you couldn’t leave Jacks and the Werecat series like this.  No, there wasn’t a cliffhanger. But there was left open the possibility that Jacks still had a huge task to accomplish, one I very much wanted to read about because this is a wonderful series.

Werecat: The Sim Ru Prophecy takes up right after the last story, The Fugitive ends, with the threat of interspecies warfare, Jacks trying to track down the head of the murderous werecat splinter group called The Glaring and the world on the edge of exploding.  Peters continues to build his intriguing mythology here, bringing in more ancient history and god elements.  As Jacks investigates how the werecats came into being in his search for the werecat leader Tepe in the jungles of South America, the reader gets pulled deeply into the mysteries the author is constructing.  There are more murders, increasing mystical elements and of course a government/military conspiracy worthy of any major action/adventure movie.

Throw in Jacks and his human lover, Farzan, still trying to steady their relationship, and Jacks realizing the reality of the human/werecat age span, and still have a romance /love affair and this story has oodles to offer.  That is if any of them get out of this alive.  The odds are definitely not in their favor!

I gobbled up this book in one quick read, I couldn’t get to the next scene fast enough.  So much action, so much  suspense and yes, a ton of surprises here.  And I can’t talk about any of them because everything is folded in together, melded like one great riveting mythological tapestry, that to give out one fact, just points to another spoiler and that’s just not going to happen.  Wonderful writing and great storying telling here.  It made me want to smack all four books together for one continuous read.  I just may do that.

The characters are real and believable, the settings vivid and authentic and the situations tense and suspenseful.  Trust me it’s a white-knuckle ride most of the time.

Why not five stars?  Because of that little nudge towards another story.  Peters would only say it’s not in the works yet.  Argh!!!!  We need to know what Jacks is going to do next…the future awaits him and us.  Andrew J. Peters, are you listening?

Until he does, grab up all the Werecat stories and read all the way through to this one.  What an amazing saga!  It’s a series I highly recommend.

Cover art works, especially with that wall in the backdrop.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 287 pages
Published June 27th 2017 by Vagabondage Romance
ASINB072WT8PPN

A MelanieM Review: The Werecat Trilogy by Andrew J. Peters

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The first three installments of the Werecat series: The Rearing, The Glaring, and The Fugitive, in one eBook or paperback.

Twenty-two-year-old Jacks is on a mission to drown his past in alcohol when he meets the handsome drifter Benoit on a lost weekend in Montréal. It’s lust and possibly something more. Jacks never suspects that a drunken hook-up will plunge him into the hidden, violent world of feline shifters.

Benoit traps him in an arcane ritual to be joined as mates, from which Jacks emerges with fantastical abilities and a connection to Native traditions that were buried by his family. But his new existence pits his human instincts against his wild animal nature. When Jacks meets the young medical student Farzan, who wants to be with Jacks no matter what or who he is, Benoit’s feline jealousy rages like an inferno.

Jacks must figure out how to survive with his dual nature and a boyfriend who will kill any threat to their relationship. When a secret society called The Glaring shows up with a plan to exterminate humankind, Jacks will have to work quickly to gain command of Benoit’s magic before the world shatters into a war of man against beast.

WereCat: The Trilogy is the first collection of stories I’ve read by Andrew J. Peters and I’m impressed by his writing.  Peters did a splendid job of building a mythology for his werecats, creating a universe complete with a division within the werecat community that’s building towards all out war, and yet he doesn’t miss out on the smaller details needed to pull you back down into the immediate lives of his main characters and the drama/mating that is derailing all of their lives.

Peters has also departed from most of the other shifter stories here in that this is not one of those meet/mate/instant love stories.  In fact, it’s as far from one of those as you can get.  Without giving too much away, the romance here is not where you will be expecting it.  What Peters does deliver is concise and realistic portraits of werecats/beings acting exactly how you would expect them to act under varying circumstances.  As individuals with their own powerful emotions,  with the bodies of huge cats to use as weapons or assert control if they want to or need to.  As you watch the dynamics shift between Benoit and Jacks, the stress and tension Peters creates becomes so huge that the reader is almost afraid to turn the page.

Farzan, the human medical student is another wonderful character.  Fragile according to werecat standards, Farzan has strengths that allow the reader to connect with him ways that maybe aren’t there with the other characters.  He is surrounded by family that loves him and has a further connection to the human race that’s missing from the werecats, an important element in the larger picture.

Each story moves the reader through an  ever increasing major storyline of global warfare against humanity by a splinter werecat group called The Glaring and Jacks attempts to stop it.  The Fugitive, the last story in the trio, sees Jacks on the run and ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. Although it brings some of the storylines to a completion, the main one is still ongoing, waiting to be fulfilled in Werecat: The Sim Ru Prophecy  which is coming up next.  That’s where I’m headed.  I can’t wait to see what I find.

Until then, if you love shifters, want a bit of a different take on the usual mating ritual, and don’t mind a departure from the romance path  (although there is one),  pick up Werecat: The Trilogy.  I highly recommend them all.  Great stories!

Cover is a dramatic and,imo, beautiful representation of Benoit in both his human and panther forms.  I love it.  The only thing is Benoit’s eyes never changed in both forms.

Purchase at:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 250 pages
Published November 1st 2015 by Vagabondage Romance (first published November 15th 2014)
ASINB017HTCRPM
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWerecat #1-3

A finalist in The Romance Reviews’ 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards, Action-Adventure category

A Paul B Review: Werecat: The Rearing by Andrew J. Peters

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Werecat the Rearing coverWhen Jacks goes to Montreal for Spring Break, he meets the mysterious Benoit. The encounter will change his life forever. But will he lose himself as a result of it?

Jackson “Jacks” Dowd is a college student in upstate New York. For spring break, Jacks and his friends decide to go to Montreal instead of the usual trip south due to lack of money. Seven weeks from graduation, he wants to let loose and have some fun. Having started partying on the bus to Montreal, Jacks becomes inebriated as he and his friends go from club to club. He sets off wandering the streets of the city by himself. He loses his balance and falls into a ditch and passes out. He is found by Benoit, a mysterious man who insists that they are meant to be together and takes steps to ensure that this is the case. Knowing that his friends and family will be looking for him, Jacks convinces Benoit that they should go to New York City.

While in New York, Jacks meets a Persian medical student named Farzan Mohammed who works in his family bodega at night. While he finds the man sexy, his loyalties are to Benoit. When Benoit does something that horrifies Jacks, Jacks decides he can no longer stay with Benoit and goes to Farzan for help. When Benoit tracks down the pair, Jacks must protect one of the men he cares about from the other. Jacks must then live with the consequences of his decision while trying to move on with his life.

I really enjoyed this story. The storytelling jumps from present day New York to Montreal three months previously, filling in the back story of Jacks and Benoit. This is not your typical shifter story. The author gives his explanation of how shifters came about though Benoit’s history. While the idea of a fated mate is somewhat explored, Benoit uses it more of a controlling aspect in his relationship with Jacks. The other part of the story that intrigued me was the idea of losing one’s humanity to your animal nature that is not usually explored in shifter stories. This may come about as the shifters in this story are created and not born as is the case in most stories in this genre.

Jacks is the driving character of the story. While he cares for Benoit, he begins to see the cruelty of the man as he loses more of his humanity. Jacks also sees the potential with Farzan, who despite being in medical school, is looked down upon by his Persian family because of his homosexuality. His choice between the two men, while difficult, becomes obvious. The hope for Jacks is both with the choice he has to make and the care of the stray cat that has become one of Jacks’ primary concerns. I will be looking forward to seeing where this author takes this series in the future.

The cover art by Andres Rodriguez & Freder depicts a scruffy, dark haired man in the foreground with a panther looking on in the background. This gorgeous cover reflects how I think Benoit and his cat might appear.

Sales Links:     All Romance (ARe)      Amazon         Buy It Here
Book details
Ebook, 69 pages
Edition: English
Published: May 2013 by Vagabondage Press

Series: Werecat
Werecat: The Rearing (Werecat #1)
Werecat: The Glaring (Werecat #2)
Werecat: The Fugitive (Werecat #3)