Believing is Seeing

Welcome to the blog home of romantic fiction author Sandra Sookoo, where I write about love, food, Disney and the magical secrets that make the world go 'round!

Front Porch Saturday: Crafting Cookie Cutter Ornaments

I needed to create something physical…something Christmas related…something different, so I searched the house for items to make a craft project. Cookie cutter oranments was the final product. If you’d like to get a jump on the holiday season and create homemade Christmas decorations, here are the directions.
First I dug out some old cookie cutters from the cupboard and painted them.
(You could punch a hole in the top to make it hang, but I had drill issues, so I glued ties onto the top.)
photo 1

I gathered embellishments, buttons, paper-crafting items, gears and keys.
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After inserting sheets of music into the shapes and gluing trinkets here is the finished product.
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Easy enough…paint, cut sheet of music into the cookie cutter shape, glue it and embellishments to the ornament. You can create your own, special, ornaments to make your Christmas homemade.

Ready to hang on the tree. Have fun!

www.jj-keller.com

jj inherited her name and creativity from her grandmother. A love of reading and adventure took her to many wondrous places. Studying literature provided a solid foundation in which to express her ideas and storytelling became a part of her world. She wants to share with you all of the magic, so please enjoy pieces of her life through her tales.

 

Jewel Heist is a suspense story set during the holidays…

Diamonds used to be this girl’s best friend.

Jewelry designer Mary Keefe has been robbed–of a million dollars in diamonds belonging to her grandfather–by her own boyfriend, Conrad. Besides recovering the jewels, she’s got to conceive a baby within 5 days, to save her family’s legacy. Her friends have a plan, a singles cruise so Mary can find a sperm donor with the best qualities. The first mate could be the right choice–he rates a five on the Donor List. Then there’s John Wang, her neighbor in the adjoining room. Attraction sizzles between them and they’ve become friends, but he doesn’t act interested. Could be, she’s not his type.

 

For John Kajiyama, posing as Wang, Mary Keefe is just his type. She’s beautiful, funny and sweet…but is she innocent? Diamonds are missing and he must recover them for the insurance company. How far will he go to maintain his cover in this investigation?

 

Soon to be POD…get a hard copy this fall…. (Jewel Heist)

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 MEMORY OF LOVE 

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Front Porch Saturday: My Village by Jennifer Wilck

This post first appeared on Fried Oreos on Monday, September 29, 2014.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and after this past week, I’d definitely agree.

My village usually consists of my parents, who live nearby and are able to pitch in whenever and wherever I need them. When my kids were little, I had built-in babysitters twelve minutes away. They were available to meet the bus if I was running late, to carpool if I had to be in different places with different kids, and for the occasional date night.

Although my kids are older now, they still can’t drive themselves anywhere and it’s not uncommon for the two girls to need to be in two different places at the same time. For a while, my mom and I had a “Sunday calendar check,” where we coordinated schedules for the week.

But it’s not just my parents who are my village. It’s my friends, too, something I often forget. I was reminded of it, however, this past week.

We had a town tragedy this past week, and as is often the case, everyone pulled together to support each other. It was a lovely burst of light in an otherwise very dark week. What was so nice for me to see was the number of people who called to check on my child, who said they’d look out for my child and provided support for my child. Teachers and guidance counselors and clergy and friends all pulled together to let all of us know that we were not alone.

This weekend, my daughter and I had the chance to help out a friend and her mom with something fairly trivial, but it was nice to be part of someone else’s village for a change. We were able to help turn a chore into an adventure, to provide gentle guidance without forcing ourselves on anyone and to have a bit of fun in the process. It was a spur-of-the-moment opportunity, more like a social activity, but one with a purpose.

This week, my parents are away. There are no daily phone calls, no “Sunday calendar checks” and no one to pitch in spur-of-the-moment when I realize I double booked something (like that dental appointment I had to reschedule because of a physical booked too close together). Except I have my village. I may not call on them for the trivial stuff, but I know that they’re there if I need them.

And that’s awesome.

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Fun Friday: Are Aliens Real? by Karen Michelle Nutt @KMNbooks

aliens are nearAre there Aliens? Through the centuries there have been numerous sightings.

There are Petroglyphs dating back thousands of years ago by ancient American Southwest Indians. According to Indian folklore, two objects collided in the sky and one crash-landed in the region below (Death Valley.) Local Indians stood by as men arrived from another ship to repair the damaged craft.

Colonial Massachusetts Governor Spots an UFO
In 1639, over the Charles River in Boston, John Winthrop made an entry in his journal about a UFO sighting, stating lights sped back and forth across the Charles River from Back Bay Fens to Charlestown.

The first highly publicized UFO sighting occurred on April 17, 1897, in a tiny Texan community called Auroa. This unique sighting occurred before the invention of the first airplane. The story: A slow moving spaceship crashed into a a windmill. When the authorities searched through the debris, they discovered an alien. They dubbed the pilot the “Martian pilot”, and buried the body in the cemetery.

1940s World War II:  Small metallic spheres and colorful balls of light were spotted and photographed by bomber crews. They called these sightings ‘foo fighters’.

One of the most popular sightings recorded was in 1947, about 30 miles north of Roswell, New Mexico. The US Army allegedly captured aliens and a flying saucer.  Later, it was explained away as a weather balloon. In 1978, S.T, Friedman reopened the investigation, making some believe the sighting to be real and the government tried to cover it up. Alien

Dec. 16. 195, Clarence Johnson, who was the designer of the F-104, U-2, and the SR-71, and his wife spotted a large Flying Wing over the Pacific from where they stood in Agoura. Around the same time, the crews aboard the WV-2 spotted the craft from Long Beach, CA USAF. It was later explained away as they saw a lenticular cloud even though Johnson didn’t believe the ruling to be correct.

1966,In Point Pleasant, West Virginia, people reported seeing winged humanoid creatures and other mysterious events that included UFO sighting. This is referred to the Mothman Prophcies.  (Did anyone happen to see Mothman, starring Richard Gere?)

1973 Skylab 3 UFO Encounter. Astronauts, Alan Bean, Owen Garriott and Jack Lousma spotted a UFO. Their evidence was blurry photographs of this said UFO.

1983 Copely Woods Encounter (a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana) Hundreds of Basket-sized balls of light were spotted around a neighborhood. They left obvious marks, proving they were real.

1998 Graaff-Reinet sighting in South Africa: The Laubscher family videotaped a group of triangular craft, passing over Graff-Reinet. The crafts changed colors and circled one another before a larger gold-colored craft overtook the smaller crafts before disappearing into the clouds.

2001 on the New Jersey Turnpike, around 15 people stopped their cars to view light formations in the night sky. Two of the witnesses were police officers.

2014 Houston, Texas, people witnessed seeing a ring of lights during a thunderstorm. The event was captured on video.

So do you believe Aliens have visited our planet?  Have you seen a UFO? Please do share. :)

About the Author:

Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.http://www.kmnbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/shapeimage_6.jpeg

Her new passion is creating book covers for Western Trail Blazers and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing. In her spare time, she reviews books for PNR-Paranormal Romance Reviews.

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

Visit the author at: http://www.kmnbooks.com

Stop by her blog for Monday interviews, chats and contests at:
http://kmnbooks.blogspot.com

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Front Porch Saturday–Cowboy Dreams

I dreamed I was standing at the edge of a cliff with a man. I was confused about which direction to go. The man’s face, turned away, gave me a shadowed glimpse. Only his cowboy boots were clearly visible, but I knew my father stood beside me because of the comfortable silence and the strength, trust we share. A link that has always been present and has never needed vocalization….”it is what it is”.

The next day the dream nagged me. Since his brain surgery, a result of a head injury from hitting a beam in the barn, his memory had deteriorated. He went from total freedom to being able to drive a mere five miles from home and making notes on a pad of paper. His world has drastically changed. My worry for him is constant.

I called (Facetime), just to check in and relieve the pestering worry from my disturbing dream. I offered my services to help manage, feed the animals or whatever needed to be done. The commute is long, but nothing could keep me away–if my dad needed me.

I asked what he was doing, all the while anticipating the answer.

 

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“Watching a western,” he said.

It has been a year since his surgery and during his down time he watches westerns. My mother complains about the gunplay, the smack, smash, ongoing battle noises. “It’s constant,” she said.

I had to know, to find out why he had a fascination with westerns. As a child/teen/young adult I never once observed him engrossed in a western (cowboy) movie. Was this an aberration of his brain injury?

“Dad, you like westerns don’t you?”

“Yes.” In the background I glimpsed a deep voiced man telling a dirty cowpoke to drop his gun.

“Why do you watch westerns all the time?”

“Because they remind me of the past, my past. They make me happy.”

Tears clogged my throat.

I discovered during his youth he watched the great western movies (sorry I can’t recall the titles). My mom showed me a black and white photo of him as a child dressed in western gear. His white blonde hair stuck out from underneath the hat. A kerchief had been tied around his neck and a tiny pair of cowboy boots completed the outfit.

He sought a happier time, a time when watching westerns was a simple method of being happy, of remembering.

 

 

jj Keller
Fantasies with spice and humor.

http://www.jj-keller.com

The Valkyrie and the Marine, Pippa’s Rescue, Memory of Love
Shadow of the Hawk/Dark Sun. He’s almost an angel and she’s pure temptation.

http://cobblestone-press.com/catalog/author/jjkeller.htm

Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book, Prop in the movie RED. http://www.thewildrosepress.com print and eprint.
All rights reserved.

http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=242_177_139&products_id=5757

Memory of Love

New Release Contest: Like my Facebook fan page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/jj-keller/263353331459?V=wall
And your name will be entered to win the entire Valkyrie series: The Valkyrie and the Marine, Pippa’s Rescue and Memory of Love.

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Museful Monday – Change is in the Wind By Robyn Seitz

It is said change is always in the wind.  I’d call it more of a tornado than a wind.  Change comes quick and furious, takes my breath away and leaves me stunned while I pick up the pieces of what is left.

The kids have gone back to school.  I recall the Staples commercials of last year and a few years before where they played a snippet of the Christmas tune “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.  I thought the commercials were humorous, but I wondered if some parents actually think it’s great when they go back.  I have no doubt for some parents financially it’s a Godsend since it would reduce the cost of childcare.  I don’t like the first day or week of school.  I think I’m more afraid and nervous than the kids are.  Do I know the teacher?  Is he/she going to treat my child fairly this year?  Perhaps those concerns were born of a few bad experiences we had in the school system.  Will they be teased for that outfit?  Did I get everything they need?  The stress around Christmas holidays feels like a walk in the park compared to this.

This year, my oldest went to high school.  She has to walk nearly to the other end of our small town instead of just a few blocks away.  She didn’t want to go.  She came home the first day and declared she wanted to go back to Central.  She hated every minute of the first day and then the 2nd and 3rd.  Sorry, how is this supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year?

That’s just last week.  Since they say change is in the wind, I know more is coming.  Life experience says change is not done ravaging me.  Some people don’t handle significant change well and I have no problem admitting I’m one of them.  I’m disappointed I passed that trait on to my daughter.  I’m sure she’ll adjust, but it’s a killer watching her tormented this way.

We’re back to school, figuring out the new routine and trying to keep up with the normal day to day grind.  Until something else changes and this pattern starts all over again.

To all of you facing change – good or bad – good luck and best wishes.

Robyn

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Front Porch Saturday: I Have A New Book! by Jennifer Wilck

I’ve been a busy bee lately, working on many family activities, getting ready for the start of school and planning a HUGE fundraiser. And in the midst of all of this, I’m excited to announce that my next book is coming out! I hope Sandra won’t mind if I tell you about it here. ☺

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Miriam’s Surrender is releasing September 10. It’s the second book in my Women of Valor series (now that there’s more than one, the series has an official name—yay!). The first one was The Seduction of Esther. Both books can be read as standalone contemporary romances, although my publisher is running a temporary sale on The Seduction of Esther ($.99).

SeductionofEsther_Cover

Here’s some information about Miriam’s Surrender: Josh Lowenstein is a successful architect, hired to redesign the alumni club of a posh, private school in New York. He is strong, capable and knows the best way to do everything. Except let another woman in.

Miriam Goldberg is the Assistant Director of Outreach, and is Josh’s day-to-day contact for the redesign. She’s taken care of everyone around her, and forgotten how to let someone else take care of her.

With a tumultuous history, neither one is prepared to work together. As they get to know each other, the animosity disappears, but Josh is hiding something from Miriam and its discovery has the possibility of destroying their relationship. Only when they are both able to let the other in, and release some of the control they exert over everything, will they be able to see if their love can survive.

I’d love for you to check out The Seduction of Esther while it’s on sale, and Miriam’s Surrender when it’s available on September 10.

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The Bridal Contract up for pre-order #Regency #family #seriesromance

I’m excited to announce that the third book in my Darrington family series is now up for pre-order at Amazon and Smashwords. If you want to go ahead and order it now ahead of its September 16th release day, you can.

Here’s the blurb: When a bridal contract is struck, either parental outrage will void the arrangement or the love of a child will sweeten the deal.

Oliver Darrington—Viscount Tralsburg—wants nothing more than to hide out at the family property in Brighton until he can secure a sea-worthy ship and return to adventuring the world. However, being handed his former mistress’ child isn’t part of that plan. Neither is the sudden longing for his pretty Italian neighbor.

Eloisa Hawthorne is in dire straits. Her older brother has gambled away her sister’s hand to a horrible man. In order to save her sister’s virtue and her future, Eloisa needs a fast fortune—or someone who can immediately cover the debt. When her handsome neighbor offers a temporary engagement contract, she accepts with alacrity. Too bad she fell in love with his dark-haired offspring. How scandalous!

When the two attend his mother’s London dinner party, Oliver wishes the union wasn’t merely a lark. Eloisa fears for the adorable child’s upbringing in heathen locales, but what can she do? The contract is only for a month, and love was never an option. Something must be done to throw over convention before the moment is lost and matters of the heart are sacrificed.

TheBridalContract_FinalV1_300pxAnd a small excerpt: “No. I did meet with Lord Everly this morning, but beyond Charles suddenly procuring an indecent amount of funds within a few weeks, he’s unwilling to release Helen from my brother’s promise.” Saying it out loud made the predicament all too real. Her stomach churned. She blinked away the tears stinging her eyes. “I can’t help but think I’ve failed her.”

“Then what I have to say will put you to rights again.” Oliver’s grin widened. “I’m aware this will come as a shock, but as we’re both in mutual need and time is of the essence, this is the best solution.”

“Yes, and?” Why wouldn’t he just get to it? Awareness raced over her skin. The heat of his body seeped into hers. It would have been pleasant had she not been in such a brown study.

“Miss Hawthorne, will you marry me?” Amusement danced in his blue eyes.

“I… I beg your pardon?” Flutters filled her belly and her pulse grew erratic. She stared at him, feeling very much the simpleton. “Did I hear you correctly?” He must be mad to propose. She forced down a swallow. “Are you quite well?” She’d had only one other proposal, and that had come from Peter on the night she’d given herself to him before he left to fight for England. His proposal hadn’t made her head swim or made tingles to play her spine. His proposal had been nice, and gentle and comfortable, almost expected since they’d courted for years before that.

“Hear me out.” Oliver turned to her and his knee crashed into hers. A jolt of sensation sprang up her leg and embedded itself between her thighs. “It’s maddening when you look at it on the surface. However, I can secure the coin you’ll need to free your sister.”

Her jaw hung open. She closed it with a snap as her eyebrows rose. “What…?” She trailed off, scarcely knowing what question to ask from the many clouding her brain. “What do you gain from the bargain?” It was a good inquiry as any.

“Honestly?”

She nodded. “If this will be a strictly business arrangement, for I think that would be the best policy.” Though how crass it was to throw an engagement into a business proposition.

“My mother is good at one thing: bedeviling her children into marriage. She’ll stop at nothing until we’re all wed and have begun propagating the species. Probably won’t quit nagging even then until we’ve produced a handful of brats. One or two won’t be enough for her.” A trace of bitterness infused the words. “So, what I gain is the temporary reprieve from my mother’s machinations. For all intents and purposes, you and I will enter into an engagement.”

“I see. Will we need to do the pretty and act as a happy couple?” Could one pretend well enough to fool someone as intelligent as Mrs. Darrington? Eloisa had heard the woman was as determined as anyone in setting up her legacy.

“If the occasion calls for it.” Oliver shook his head at Daniela when she would have pulled her skirt up. “A handhold here, a stately peck on the cheek there. Making use of an endearment or two around various family members or anyone else.”

Eloisa chewed her bottom lip. “When will you present the funds to Lord Everly?”

“At the end of the contracted period.” Despite the humor in his eyes, his expression drifted into hard lines. “After all, we don’t know each other well, and how do I know you won’t leave Brighton after the money changes hands, leaving me without your end of the bargain fulfilled?

You can pre-order the book at AMAZON and SMASHWORDS.

Enjoy!

Sandra

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Museful Monday~Learn From The Best~ by Stephanie Haefner

In my opinion, one can never ever know all there is to know about any topic. But there will always be someone who knows more, or knows something different. There is always learning to be done. Things constantly change and evolve and no one can ever be all-knowing about anything.

And this is a great thing :)

When I started writing, just like starting anything else, I knew very little. I did what I could on my own, what my instincts told me, and then went to my number one resource for learning anything and everything these days: the internet! I learned a lot and soaked it up. But there was a lot of conflicting info out there. And that’s bound to happen with anything. But then I started meeting people….other writers in the same boat as I was. We learned together, shared information, figured some things out together. We took the resources available to us from reliable sources who’d been where we were and were nice enough to share what they’d learned.

And then I came to a point where I could start helping others who were not as far along in the journey as I was. And that felt great! I knew I was no where near a point of knowing everything, but I could help. I could share what I had learned along the way. Point someone else in the direction they needed to go.

I’m in a great place these days, but I still need to learn more. I still turn to those farther along than me. I turn to the best! There are so many wonderful authors out there who seem to have it all going on. I read their books, study their methods, learn what I need to do next. Keep moving forward.

I know I’ll never know everything and that’s okay. But there will always be people ahead of me to learn from. I only hope they know how thankful I am they are there to guide me. And I hope to be a good role model for those not yet in the place I am :)

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New release: Captured by the Dragon by Sandra Sookoo

This week I had a book release, and since it’s been so stinking busy in real life, I haven’t had much time to announce it anywhere, really.

So, here’s the official announcement for the blog! If you’re a fan of dragons, paranormal romance, adventures and grouchy anti-heroes then this book is for you. It’s the sequel to Charmed by the Werewolf and the last book in the Eight Realms series.

Blurb: Extinction, fear and prejudice? Bring it on. Fighting for what’s right is always the answer.

Mona Moussai is on the run—from her family, from a dragon and from herself. She wants nothing more than to stay in the Mortal Realm and live a normal life, yet when she tangles with a shape-shifting attorney bent on her capture, instinct demands she hide. However, the secrets buried deep inside could have deadly consequences.

Braeden Hollister has long ago made peace with his dragon heritage, but he refuses to live it. He’s a man with many vices, always putting himself first—the ultimate anti-hero—and when the opportunity to drag Mona to the Moussai Realm for a bounty presents itself, he can’t resist the glitter of gold.

What happens next is a foray into a backward realm ala the Regency-era where dragons not only exist, but they’re intent on ruling the realm and restoring power. Personal agendas are forgotten, battle lines are drawn in a world where familial ties strangle and old foes resurface. Political angst explodes all around them. In the end, only the strong will survive to live, and love, another day.

Note: this title was previously published in 2011 as Dragons at Dawn but has since been re-edited.

CPTD_Digital_300dpiAnd a small excerpt: Mona came to consciousness the next day to the warm sensation of someone nuzzling the skin between her neck and shoulder. So out of place from her usual life, she relaxed into the bliss, feeling the tingles course through her body all the way down to her toes. She kept her eyes closed and lifted her neck to allow her amorous dream lover better access, then released a breathy sigh when he nibbled a spot beneath her ear.

A large hand slipped around her waist and drifted upwards to cup her right breast, fingers strumming over her nipple until it hardened into a tight bud. Heat seeped through the thin fabric of her shift, searing her skin. Rushes of liquid need shot through her body to lodge between her thighs.

Whoever the man was, she liked his way of saying hello.

Wait. Her eyes flew open. Afternoon sunlight filtered through the canvas sides of the tent where they’d collapsed, exhausted, the night before. The flap remained closed. She slid her gaze to the floor where
Braeden’s boots and coat lay where he’d dropped them. The length of his cravat coiled about a square of carpeting like a snake. Her boots rested on top of her folded dress on a low stool. Her stays hung drunkenly down the side, laces trailing on the ground.

It wasn’t a dream and the man in the pallet next to her was definitely no imagined lover. As the splash of cold reality sank in to cool her earlier reaction, Mona slipped from beneath his arm to crawl away.

When she’d put enough distance between them that he couldn’t haul her back into the jumble of blankets, she glanced at his face.

Figured. The wretched man was still asleep. Even dead to the world, the one thing his mind fixated on was sex. Mona lifted a hand to her cheeks as they heated. But his touch had made her feel happy and wanted, if only for a moment. Bastard.

You can purchase this book in both digital and paperback form. Here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Captured-Dragon-Eight-Realms-Book-ebook/dp/B00MR27XE0/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1408623691&sr=8-6&keywords=sandra+sookoo

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Front Porch Saturday, New release: Memory of Love

Memory of Love

MemoryofLove_w8758_750

Power, Family, and Loyalty: The coveted three can join a shifter and Valkyrie in love or tear them apart forever.

Tied to a tree in the midst of thieves, the Valkyrie Skogul wakes without memory of who she is or of the man she once loved. Using curiously deadly skills, she escapes. Injured and exhausted, a wolf befriends her and leads her to a house where the hunky owner’s eyes look strangely familiar.

Aidan Hall, former guardian of Hell’s Gate, doesn’t trust anyone. So when a beautiful amnesia victim he’s never met appears at his door, why does he feel a connection? Who and what he is will keep them apart. But when dark magik shows up in his woods, his guard intensifies. Is it Skogul or someone else?

When Demons flood through Hell’s Gate, can he stop them, or will the memory of love be the death of him?

http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=5757

jj Keller
Fantasies with spice and humor.
http://www.jj-keller.com
The Valkyrie and the Marine, Pippa’s Rescue, March 2014, Memory of Love
Shadow of the Hawk/Dark Sun. He’s almost an angel and she’s pure temptation.
Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book, Prop in the movie RED. http://www.thewildrosepress.com print
All rights reserved.
Visit me: Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Amazon

Four Star Review from Long and Short Reviews:

http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-valkyrie-and-marine-by-jj-keller.html

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