WIP Progress Meter

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Harry Dresden Turns Two!



I can't believe it, but today Harry Dresden turns two! (He is the only one of the new "kittens" I have the actual birth date for.) He is by far the quietest of the three young ones, but he is also the one who comes and snuggles with me in bed at night--not during nap time, though, when he sleeps at the bottom of the bed and the other two snuggle.

He was a rescue being fostered by someone for the Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans organization, the one I'm fostering kittens for right now. I went to visit him when I knew Magic and Mystic were close to the end, and I was looking for new cats to bring in after that happened. (I realize that some people need to wait longer, and I get that. In this case, I was going to be down to just Angus, who had never been an only cat, and my heart was so broken I knew I'd need new kitties right away.)


 The first thing he did was crawl into my coat. Then he hung around for a while as I chatted to his foster mom. There were a couple of other cats in the room, but they didn't pay any attention to me. As I was explaining to his foster, Kristin, that I had a couple of other kittens to look at the next day and while I was leaning toward taking him I couldn't be sure until then, he came over and fell asleep on  my lap.

Kristin looked at me and laughed. I laughed too, since I know that cats choose you. (And the next day, Koshka and Ember did just that.) I told her I couldn't pick him up until Magic and Mystic were gone, since they deserved all my attention right then, and she understood.


Not many days later, I went and picked him up. You can probably tell I'd been crying look like crap, but Harry Dresden saved me from being even more miserable. (I had to wait about 3 weeks to get the other two, because Ember hadn't been fixed yet.)

He's a damned good cat.

About 4 months old
So I thought I'd do a birthday celebration giveaway in his honor, for all the cat lovers among my readers and friends.

Check it out. A signed copy of The Little Book of Cat Magic, a cat candle holder (with candle, because that's the way I roll), a cute stuffed black cat, and a black cat bookmark.


As usual, no purchase is necessary, it is open internationally, and all you have to do to enter is use the Rafflecopter form below.

Happy birthday, Harry Dresden!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Everyday Witch Oracle Giveaway


So, a funny thing...

The Everyday Witch Oracle Deck (which I worked on with Elisabeth Alba, who did the tarot deck with me) was supposed to come out on September 8th. But it came into the Llewellyn warehouses unexpectedly early...so now it is coming out on AUGUST 12th! That's next MONDAY! Can I get a woot?

But of course, that completely throws off my promotional plans, since I now have less than five days to do what I would have done in a month. On the bright side, if you've been eagerly awaiting this deck, you're going to get it a lot earlier!

I got my author copies right before I left for a long weekend vacation with friends (pictures of that coming soon, probably), and finally had a chance to open one up today. They're soooo pretty! Llewellyn did a great job as always, and Elisabeth's artwork takes my breath away.

The book, the cards, and the cover of the box.
 Naturally, this means I'll be doing a giveaway! I've got one shiny new copy of the deck, plus a fun kitty bookmark (since there are a bunch of cats in the deck), and a broom pen.

To enter, just use the Rafflecopter form below. As always, no purchase is necessary, although if you run out and preorder the book today, it should ship out to you on the 12th!

The giveaway
Here's a link to get the deck directly from Llewellyn: Llewellyn
And here's Barnes and Noble
And Amazon
You can also ask your local Indie bookstore to order it for you.

I hope you love it as much as I do! In the meanwhile, here's the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Kittens!

So if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you probably already know that I did A Thing. If not, guess what? I did A Thing!

This is the thing...

Four kittens!

Kittens!

Before you get all excited, no, I didn't adopt more cats. I have been doing a little bit of volunteer work for the rescue organization I got Harry Dresden from, the fabulous Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans. They're a small local shelter that was literally started by one woman working out of her apartment, and they are doing amazing work. But they're seriously overloaded, and it is kitten season. So when a good Samaritan found a stray cat and her newborn kittens (and couldn't keep them himself), the shelter was already more than full and all their regular foster homes were also more than full.

I have an upstairs room that is mainly used for storage, and had already prepped it just in case, and decided I could step up. So I took in mama, who clearly used to belong to someone and is very sweet and affectionate, although way too skinny after months on the street

Mama, who I am calling Freya, because we had to call her something
 Initially I just put her upstairs with her kittens in a large box lined with a towel. That was Sunday night. Monday morning, when I checked on her, she had hidden the kittens under a shelf. So I built her a fort from a card table and a table cloth, and moved them back. She seems to be very happy with the new arrangement, and doesn't mind me moving the box out periodically to check on them.

Kitten fort
 Today they're six days old and seem to be doing quite well.

4 days old
 

6 days old
We'll see how it goes. I'll be putting periodic reports up on Facebook and Twitter, but if you really want to track their progress, I'll probably have the most regular updates on my PATREON.

Tell me, have you ever fostered kittens, or any other animals?

Here's where you can see more info about the Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans website Facebook

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Vacation in Paradise


As most of you know, I primarily travel for author-related things, like conferences, or to see family (usually combined with some kind of work thing). Last week, I took an actual vacation, to visit my friend Terry, who currently lives in Stuart, Florida. Stuart is about 40 minutes north of West Palm Beach, right on the St. Lucie river (an estuary). The ocean is 20 minutes from Terry's house.

I went there last September for the first time and we had an absolutely fabulous time together. This visit didn't go quite as smoothly...I came down with a horrible cold (including a fever, which I rarely run) and the airlines messed up my flight home on Monday, so I didn't make it back until Tuesday.

But Terry and I are troopers, and we have been friends for thirty years (gulp), so we just made the best of it. And while I didn't feel great for most of the trip, we managed to have a good time anyway. Here are a few pictures to give you a glimpse of my sort-of vacation.

One of my favorite places to visit, this beach is nicknamed "Bathtub Beach"
 There was one mom and her small child there when we got there on Saturday morning early. Otherwise we had the place to ourselves, and wandered up and down the shoreline with our feet in the water until the 90 degree heat drove us away around 10:30.

Its real name.
 I took a picture of Terry taking a picture of the cool coral formations. Yes, that's coral.


The two of us. My sunhat got a little crushed in my suitcase, but I was really glad I had it.
 As always, we ate REALLY well.


Pina colada toast
 On Sunday, we went to the Fort Pierce pier, and saw these cool pelicans fishing.

 The sky at the pier is always amazing.


Then went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants right on the St. Lucie River. I got one of my favorites, Oysters Rockefeller, which I can't get at home. Yum.


Even better than the food was the fabulous view.


This is Lily. She and her pal Murphy kept me from missing my own cats quite so much.


That's Murphy, on the couch. She is into everything!
 But probably the most memorable moments of the trip came on our two-hour sunset cruise down the St. Lucie River on Friday night. (The fever hit half an hour in, which wasn't fun, but it was still amazing.) Because it is an estuary, we even caught a brief glimpse of a few dolphins--too quick to get a picture of--which made my night.

Of course, the captain's cute young assistant (Australian accent and all), helped a bit too. I'm pretty sure this picture alone means I can take this trip as a romance book research expense.

 Terry and I were pretty happy to be sharing the adventure together. Old friends are the best.


The ship was a 3-masted sailboat, and the captain shared all sorts of cool facts with us, which made the two information geeks very happy. LOL.

We got a kick out of the fact that the boat was named "The Lily"

On the way back, we saw the sunset. This amazing sky was on the other side of the boat.


And this was the sunset itself.


 Pretty spectacular, isn't it? Out on the water, it was even better.

So even though my vacation shopping mostly looked like this:



I still had a pretty good time. It wasn't the relaxing and rejuvenating vacation I'd hoped for (and I gave poor Terry my cold before I left, which seemed like a poor return for her hospitality), it was still a great break from my regular life. And all that ocean made me very happy.



Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Happy Beltane!

Happy Beltane to those of you who celebrate! (And happy May Day to all). I hope you get to dance and rejoice with the coming of spring.

I'm looking forward to going to a slightly belated celebration this Saturday, given by the Binghamton Pagan community about an hour away. I won't be able to stay for the ritual, which is fairly late at night, but my friend Ellen and I will at least be going for the Women's Mysteries and the Maypole dance. Then we'll head over to our Blue Moon Circle sister Robin's house nearby for dinner with her, her hubby, and my beloved goddesschildren Nate and Sophie.

The weather even looks like it might cooperate!

This is from one of the first Beltane celebrations we went to there way back in 2007. I can't believe that was 12 years ago! Or that, as of spring equinox this year Blue Moon Circle has been in existence--in one form or another--since 2004. How time flies when you are having magical fun...

I hope you have magical fun today and all days.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Wickedly Unraveled Book Release Day


If you’ve been waiting for the next book in the Baba Yaga series, the wait is over! Yes, today is release day for WICKEDLY UNRAVELED. I hope you’re as excited as I am.


 This book is based on an idea I submitted a couple of years ago, when the Baba Yaga series was still being published by Berkley. But when they decided not to continue with the series, I figured it would never get written. Then I self-published the final Broken Riders book, DANGEROUSLY FIERCE, followed by a novella (Dangerously Driven) and it turned out that my readers wanted more. Yay for my readers! My readers rock.

I loved writing this book because I got to return not just to the world of the Baba Yagas, but specifically to Barbara Yager, who I confess was my favorite of them all (shhhh, don’t tell the others). When I told my agent that I wanted to write about Barbara again, she said, “You can’t do another book about a character who has already gotten her happily ever after…a married one to boot. That just won’t work in romance.” Then she saw what I had figured out, and basically called me an evil genius. Snicker.

Here’s the back cover copy:

The Baba Yagas have incredible power, but even that may not be enough to save their world when magic goes horribly wrong and all their happily ever afters are gone in an instant.
Barbara Yager is used to traveling alone as she tends to her duties as a Baba Yaga. She sometimes brings Babs, the adopted daughter she is training, but her sheriff husband stays behind. This trip, though, she has made an exception. After all, the task seems so simple, and shouldn’t take long to accomplish. When it is done, the three of them can indulge in a long-overdue family vacation. What could it hurt?
Quite a lot, as it turns out. What Barbara thought was a minor problem ends in a violent magical confrontation she never expected. The resulting backlash sends them all into a warped timeline where Barbara and Liam never got together, and only Barbara and nine-year-old Babs remember the truth. Liam is still trapped in his grief and all the good they’ve done together in the past few years has come undone.
Even worse, her Baba Yaga sisters, Beka and Bella, don’t believe her, and the wicked Brenna is still out there, planning who knows what kind of mischief. The children stolen by the rusalka Maya are trapped in the Otherworld and she is loose in this one and up to no good. It is up to Barbara, Babs, and their faithful dragon-dog companion Chudo-Yudo to knit together the unraveled timeline and make things right again, before it is too late and Barbara loses her one true love forever.

Will Barbara get her happily ever after back again? You’ll have to read the book to find out! It’s available in both print (Amazon only) and eBook from all the usual online retailers, and you can also request that your library or local Indy bookstore get a copy.


BUY LINKS:

Of course, because I’m me, I’m doing a huge giveaway to celebrate!


There are THREE prizes: a cool notebook with the cover from the last Broken Rider's novella plus an adorable dragon, a pen, magnets, and bookmarks OR a $10 Amazon gift card OR the grand prize, a Fire 7 tablet! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form to be entered. Open internationally, no purchase necessary to win. (Although of course, I'd love it if you'd buy the book.)

As always, if you buy the book and love it, I’d really appreciate it if you could take a minute to put up a quick review on Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N. Not to mention spreading the word to all your friends. If this book does well enough, I have an idea for the next one…

Welcome back to the world of the Baba Yagas—I hope you have as much fun reading WICKEDLY UNRAVELED as I had writing it.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, April 8, 2019

Little Book of Cat Magic Review and Giveaway



As most of you know, THE LITTLE BOOK OF CAT MAGIC came out from Llewellyn (and me!) last October. Because there were some issues with the way the cover came back from the printer, there were problems with people getting the copies they'd preordered or getting the book when it first came out, and because of that, the book--which has a special place in my heart for obvious reasons (it was the last book that featured Magic the Cat)--hasn't gotten either the sales or the reviews or the recognition we would normally have expected.

This makes me kinda sad.

On the other hand, my Llewellyn publicist just forwarded me this fabulous review, by Anna Jedrziewski, which is going to be in the May/June issue of Retailing Insights.

The Little Book of Cat Magic: Spells, Charms & Tales
Deborah Blake
$15.99  P, 978-0-7387-5323-2
Llewellyn Publications, llewellyn.com
Many people interested in the occult sciences have cats. (Blake points out that no one ever really owns a cat.) Those who prefer dogs might not get this book. Those who already have an established admiration for felines should be bowled over by Blake’s humor and knowledge of cat history and trivia. (Evidence of cats living among people dates back 100,000 years. Egypt is where cats “first rose to power in their attempt to take over the world”. The prophet Muhammed loved cats. In early Japan, only the nobility could afford cats. The first association between cats and witches comes from Greek mythology. In the 1200’s, the Catholic Church officially declared cats evil and in league with the devil, resulting in a global massacre. It was Queen Victoria who rose in their defense, restoring them to their former glory.) Moving on to more serious considerations, this book records cat myths, folklore and tales, and cat deities. It includes volumes of serious information about connecting with and caring for felines. Of course, Blake delivers on the magic component with an indepth chapter on cats as familiars and another chapter on cat divination. There are even cat crafts and recipes. The book contains lots of quotes about cats. I’ll leave you with this one:
Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods.
Cats have never forgotten this. —Terry Pratchett

Isn't that great?! Of course, a professional review is a wonderful thing, but folks who go to places like Amazon and Goodreads like to read reviews by fellow readers like you. So I'd really love it if you read the book (and liked it), if you could take a minute to leave a review saying so. You have no idea  how much this helps. And there are only 13 reviews on Amazon. Sniffle.
You can leave a review using these links for Amazon or Goodreads or B & N (It doesn't have to be long or complicated.)

Of course, if you haven't read the book yet, you can't write a review. So you could go out and buy a copy (you know I'd love that) or you could, I don't know, enter this contest to win a signed copy, along with a cute stuffed black cat and a black cat bookmark.


Either way, I appreciate you giving this book some love. I'm sure that wherever she is, Magic the Cat does too.

All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Yes, you can take credit for things you've already done, like following me on Twitter or signing up for my newsletter. No, there is no purchase necessary, and you don't have to review the book to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

COVER REVEAL

Ta da! I have a cover reveal for the next Baba Yaga book, Wickedly Unraveled.

This book features Barbara Yager, the Baba Yaga from the first book in the series, Wickedly Dangerous (she was always my favorite...don't tell the others). It was tricky to do the cover, since the first one came out from Berkley and this one is being self-published--which meant I had to use a different cover model. Luckily, I was able to find one who looked pretty close. Believe it or not, it was harder to match the dog!
 
Thankfully, I was able to work with the same cover artist who did Dangerously Fierce and Dangerously Driven (the Rider book and novella), so she already had a sense of how the covers for the series were supposed to look, and I knew we worked well together. (Su, from Earthly Charms, in case you were wondering.) It took us a few tries, but this is what we finally came up with. I hope you like it as much as I do!
 
Note: I'm not sure exactly when the book will be out. Revisions are finished and it is off to my copy editor. Once I've made any needed changes, the book will have to be formatted and uploaded. But hopefully less than a month!
 
 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Oracle Deck Coupon Code and Book Signing Event

Hi All and HAPPY SPRING!!!!

Or as we refer to it here in upstate NY, happy "theoretical calendar spring," although today at least the sun is out and the spring birds are singing, even if it is still only in the 20's. Today is not only the Spring Equinox (Ostara, for those who observe the Pagan holidays), it is also the night of the full moon. So it's a great time to do magical work for your goals in the coming months, or for balance in your life, since the equinox is the only time that day and night are in perfect balance.

I meant to do a nice detailed post about my trip to California and PantheaCon, but I came down with the plane plague a couple of days after I got back, and I'm only just starting to catch up with things. Hopefully I'll manage a belated post soon, if people are still interested in hearing about it.

In the meanwhile, I have two quick announcements:

For those of you who are eagerly awaiting the release of the Everyday Witch Oracle Deck in September, the lovely folks at Llewellyn gave me a coupon code to take to PantheaCon, and they are allowing me to share it with you! If you go to their site and pre-order the deck before March 31st using the coupon code WITCHYORACLE19 you can get 20% off! (See how much I love you?)

You can preorder here. Everyday Witch Oracle Deck (Remember that this coupon only works at Llewellyn's website, and only until the end of the month.)

I can't wait!
If you happen to live near the Albany, NY area, I will be taking part in a multi-author book signing event at FLIGHTS OF FANTASY BOOKSTORE on Saturday the 23rd from 6-8 PM. I will be in great company, with Anne Bishop, Julie Czernada, and Kristen Britain. I hope you can join us!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Cover Reveal! Everyday Witch Oracle Deck


As many of you know, illustrator Elisabeth Alba and I have been working on The Everyday Witch Oracle Deck, which will be out on September 8th from Llewellyn. We had such a blast working on the Everyday Witch Tarot (which, incidentally, I just saw was on sale on Amazon for only $19.82 instead of its usual list price of $29.99) that we just had to find another project to work on together. If anything, this one was even more fun!

One of the best parts is being able to do the cover reveal. Llewellyn picked two cards that were both of our favorites, so we're especially excited. So with no further ado...

The kit cover:


The book cover:


And here is a picture of the back of the cards. Four cats, each representing one of the four elements. Which one is your favorite?


 And as a bonus, a picture of Elisabeth with all forty finished original paintings!
(If you look closely at her, you will see that she is busy creating something else...a little human being. Whoo hoo!)


We are both so proud of this deck, and we can't wait for it to come out. We hope you'll all love it too. What do you think of the covers?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Bittersweet Anniversaries

Today is a strange kind of day. (Okay, around my house most days are strange, but you know what I mean.)

It is the one year anniversary of losing my beloved Mystic, only eight days after losing his sister. He was a gentle giant, my big Pooh Bear, and I still miss his weight at the end of the bed.


But it is also the anniversary of the day I brought home Harry Dresden (the cat, not the wizard...we're not going to talk about THAT day). I had already found Harry--then named Ocean, which I thought was a sign, since I love the ocean--and was just waiting to bring him home until Magic and Mystic were gone. They needed and deserved all my attention there at the end.

After I got home from the vet, it was just brutal walking into a house with only one cat in it, after having had five for so long. So I called up Harry's foster and said, "PLEASE can I come get him this afternoon?" and she was happy to let me do so. Blessings on all those who foster animals. Having him there (the other two weren't going to be able to join us for three weeks, while we were waiting for Ember to be spayed by the rescue I was getting them from) was all that got me through that first couple of really tough weeks, since Angus isn't much of a snuggler.

So thanks for coming to live with me, Harry Dresden. I'm awfully happy you did.

I looked terrible, because I'd been crying for days, but look how cute he was.

The first time I went to see him, he crawled into my coat. I guess he wanted to go home with me!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Starting the New Year Off Right (Calendar Giveaway)


I don't know about you, but I'm already behind on 2019...

Which is why this calendar giveaway is going up today, instead of on the 1st of the month. Snort.

One of the things I like about starting a new year is picking out new calendars. I usually get some kind of cat calendars for my main one (all the birthdays, important appointments and convention dates, etc.) and for the small calendar that goes on the wall by my desk. This year it was a black cat calendar, just because, and cute kittens for the small one. I also get the Llewellyn Witches Calendar every year, to keep track of magical things, and whichever almanacs I happen to have articles in, because they send each contributor two free copies. (The spare copy of each one is usually given to a friend as a Yule gift.)

This year I spotted something fun on one of my friend's pages on Facebook and couldn't resist ordering myself one. It is a calendar with hunky Australian firefighters with cute animals. Hey, it's for charity! (Don't judge me.) In fact, it was so cool, I got an extra one, figuring I could give it away. I also have one copy of the 2019 Llewellyn Magical Almanac (with my article on Magic and Cats). So, ta da, GIVEAWAY TIME!

(I love that the colors on the covers just happen to match. It's like I was MEANT to give them both away.)
I'm trying to build my newsletter list, in part because my new publisher, St. Martin's Press, asked me how many people were signed up for it, and I'd kind of like to impress them. It only goes out about four or five times a year, usually with important announcements, and I would never sell or give away anyone's information. So please sign up, okay? Pretty please? You can either use this LINK 
or you can fill in the form at the top left of this blog. Then use the Rafflecopter form to say you did it. Ta da! (Note: If you already get my newsletter, that counts too.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Besides getting new calendars, I'm also trying another cool thing I found on Facebook (YES, I spend too much time on Facebook). This is a simple way to focus on the positive in your life, which after last year I really needed. Plus simple, which is about all I can handle. Just take a jar and a bunch of pieces of paper, as colorful as you want to make them. Then every week, write down something good that happened, or something that made you happy, and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, pull out all the slips and read them, to remind yourself of how much good there is in your life.


Pal Ellen and I started our jars on New Year's Day (the slip of paper already in there says, "Spent New Year's Day with Ellen--Chinese food, Doctor Who, and Scrabble") but everyone in Blue Moon Circle is going to do one. We're hoping to get together for a girl's night in sometime in January to decorate the jars. If not, we'll probably do it as part of our Imbolc ritual.

One last things I'm doing to get the new year started off right is to do something a little different over at my Patreon. The folks who follow me there at the $25 level have as one of their rewards the chance to attend my monthly live online classes, or watch a recording of them later if they can't make it to the live one. I usually do a witchcraft class and/or ritual, but sometimes I talk about writing, or just do an open chat. They're a lot of fun. So this month I'm going to throw it open to everyone, even if they aren't one of my patrons. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to do it on Monday the 21st for the full moon and lunar eclipse, or on Tuesday the 22nd for just a general chat. If you have a preference, say so in the comments! And be sure to check out my PATREON PAGE to find out when the open class is going to take place. I'd love to have you join me!

Tell me, what are you doing to start your 2019 off right?


Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Year Without Magic


No, the title of the post doesn't mean I didn't practice magic at all this year, although I did a lot less than usual, to be honest. Today marks the one year anniversary of the day I lost my beloved Magic the Cat, Queen of the Universe. (And then her brother, the gentle giant Mystic, eight days later on the day after their 16th birthdays.) It has been a tough year in many ways, but probably the toughest was that she wasn't here to comfort me when things were bad.

Mystic and Magic as kittens, soon after they came home with me
 I have been fortunate to have many wonderful cats in my life, but the relationship I had with Magic was unlike any I've ever had before. I doubt I'll find it again, although one can always hope.

They got bigger. Especially Mystic.

She was my nearly constant companion--sleeping by my head at night (and nap time),  and was the only true familiar I have ever had. She came to every ritual we did inside.

She looked like a completely black cat, but in the sun you could see she had darker stripes and a gray undercoat. She was so beautiful.

She also supervised my writing, sitting next to me at the computer with her head on the edge of the keyboard (or right in front of the screen, as you can see here), and sitting either next to me or behind my head on the couch when I used the laptop. I haven't written as much or as well since I lost her.


I got the kittens along with their mother Minerva, who I lost the year before, from a local shelter. I went in for one gray kitten, but Magic insisted on coming home with me (and the shelter folks begged me to take Minerva, who was terrified and sickly and completely unadoptable, but loved her kittens more than any mother cat I've ever known). She bossed me around then, and for almost another sixteen years.

The whole family
 As a kitten, she used to leap from the floor to my shoulders (especially so she could supervise me in the kitchen) and continued to do so as an adult until the last few years of her life when arthritis made it impossible.


She was as magical as her name, and I have missed her every day of the past year. The new cats, and 13 year old Angus, are great. But she left a void no other cat can fill. I expect to continue missing her (and her brother) in every day of the year to come, another year without Magic.

Miss you, baby.
 (I should add, lest this seem too sad, that I am beyond grateful that I had them at all, and that I got almost 16 years with them. It was one of the greatest gifts of my life. I can still feel her presence very strongly, mostly in bed at night, which is the only place I also sense Mystic, and sitting behind me on the couch. No doubt she is still supervising me. I'm grateful for that too.)


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