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Ask A Question Thursday

February 7, 2019
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Today’s question is:

When your narrative is set in a real location do you research it or do you visit it?

What are the pros & cons of utilizing the internet to find out about a location versus actually staying there?

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Feel free to answer the question in the comments.

Last week’s responses to the question:

Have you been asked to ‘explain’ a character trait?

Were you happy to explain it or do/did you feel it took something away from the narrative?

Interesting question. When readers take the time to express loathing for your antagonist, you know that you’ve done your job.

I have an adult thriller/suspense I wrote that focuses on a forensic team trying to bring down a sociopath serial killer. He showed absolutely no remorse for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. When he was sentenced, he vowed revenge on the entire forensic team. He is a drug abuser and blames everyone from his past, and those currently who are his targets, for the path that he’s on. I wrote this novel from the POV of the Forensic Psychologist then added a short chapter here and there to see the killer from his own view. Although I’ve never been asked to give an empathetic view of this character, my sharing his POV sort of gives a bit of background to answer the ‘why’s’ of his state of mind and his anger. I’m not sure he deserves empathy, but at the very least he shows his own logic for his actions. 😉

If you would like to contribute to last week’s question please reply to that post’s comments. Thank you

Author Interview – Yvonne Rediger

January 22, 2019
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Yvonne Rediger

What inspired your latest novel?

Death and Cupcakes is a combination of cozy mystery, with a touch of romance, humour and yep, baking.                                        

How did you come up with the title?

Death and Cupcakes just came to me when I was writing Jane Westcott’s background.

Death and Cupcakes

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, don’t wait for happiness to come to you. No one is going to give it to you, so take charge of your life, and find it. And, don’t let your past haunt you.

How much of the book is realistic?

There really is a Musgrave Landing on Salt Spring Island. However, the place only has a handful of homes and a boat dock, but no ferry. The geography is correct, and we do have many small towns and villages serviced by ferries which also have a cafe located close to the wharf.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, my characters are made up, although I will use a name from a friend or family member. In this novel, the female RCMP officer in Death and Cupcakes is a composite of several officers I’ve met in Duncan, at Coffee with a Cop and my great aunt, who passed away a short while ago. Auntie Lea rode a Honda Gold Wing, could handle a snow machine. She ran the farm, raised a family, and had a big heart. I always told her I wanted to grow up to be just like her.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

I have a Facebook Author and website, and am active on social media.

Website: http:/www.yvonnerediger.com

Facebook Page: Yvonne Rediger – Author

Twitter: @blackyvy, Instagram: @blackyvy50

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

Certainly, Death and Cupcakes is book one of the Musgrave Landing Mysteries. Book two is my work in progress, Fun with Funerals.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Arlie Birch is my favorite character in this novel. He is over sixty-five and says and does exactly as he pleases, so he adds humor to the book. He also has a heart of gold.

hell cat
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I write another series, VIC Shapeshifters, Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance set on Vancouver Island. These books also have a mystery element as well as magic and romance. Hell Cat is book two of this series and was just released in December too, just after Death and Cupcakes. It starts out in Edmonton and ends up on Vancouver Island.

Trusting the Wolf, book three is set to release in summer of 2019.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I am a planner/pantser. Once I have the outline completed and broken down into the chapters, I am off and running. Sometimes a better idea will come along and I will go back to the beginning of the novel to incorporate it.

What is your best marketing tip?

Youtube book trailers. I made one for each new book which was released in December.

Hell Cat – https://youtu.be/EDjWI5i-UTw

Death and Cupcakes – https://youtu.be/CRPWtaso8ac

Not only were these fun to create, but now I have a succinct method of sharing the gist of the stories on different platforms.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

Social media can be both. I don’t blog more than once or twice a month. I don’t seem to find the time. Snippets from the books, release dates, and fun stuff are found mostly on my Facebook Author page.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

The puzzle solving. Characters and plot, making all the pieces fit together.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I wrote my first fan fiction short stories when I was eleven. Star Trek was a favourite.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

I keep adding new ones. I started writing romance, then paranormal and urban fantasy. Later, romantic suspense and now cozy mysteries.

What genre are you currently reading?

Tanya Huff, A Peace Divided

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Both, I love learning new things, especially history or the origin of a subject. If it’s wrapped in a good story, all the better.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My biggest supporters are my husband and children and their spouses. My daughter, her husband, and my son have provided background detail in a number of books with regard to their expertise. My daughter-in-law actually painted the cover for Hell Cat. My sister is the creator of the cozy art in the book trailers. The rest of my family is always supportive too.

As for mentors, I have many wonderful people in my writing and author groups who are generous with their time and advice. I’ve also learned a lot from some great editors.

Where is your favorite writing space?

In winter, I have a wicker rocking chair and ottoman in the dining room facing a big window which overlooks the mountains. In summer, my backyard patio is my favourite.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

Yes, VIRA on Vancouver Island, we have over sixty members and meet monthly. Each September we put on a full day workshop with an invited facilitator. We’ve had Shannon Mayer, Susan Wiggs, this year, Eileen Cook. I am also a member of several groups on Facebook. I also help out at the Cowichan Valley Writers, for new writers, by sharing my experience and teach a workshop or two.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Linwood Barclay, I love his sense of humor. I’ve used GoodReads Ask the Author, to ask him questions and permission to use his name in Death and Cupcakes. He agreed and was very supportive.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Right where I am.

Do you see writing as a career?

I’ve been full time at it since 2015, written six books in that time. Four are published, two more coming this year.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Nope, even my coffee gets cold when I’m writing. Now when I’m editing, that is a whole other thing. Cookies, I am a sucker for homemade cookies.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

Dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants, like The Shipyard, Friday night, because there is live music and dancing after dinner.

Thank you for having guest on your blog Mandy!

More books from Yvonne.

 

Author Interview – Kelsey Barthel

December 21, 2018
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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you? Depends on more easy the ideas and writing is flowing. If everything is flowing nicely and i’m forming an idea that makes me proud, writing gives me a powerful high that makes me super bubbly. If I’m having a hard time, like when you’re trying so hard just to write ANYTHING because you’re trying to power through a block. That digs at my soul.
  2. What is your writing Kryptonite? Getting distracted by TV or movies.
  3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Not at the moment.
  4. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’ve connected with a lot of authors online but I haven’t connected to any of them outside of that. The ones I’ve met online have helped in so many ways. They have given me a like-minded community to bounce ideas off of and give feedback. Some of them were my beta readers for Beyond the Code.
  5. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I have some book ideas that are going to develop into expansive series but for the most part they stand on their own.
  6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? I am still very new on the writer scene so I haven’t made much of any money yet. Fingers crossed.
  7. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? From an early age, language and writing always gave me an outlet for my crazy imagination. It was a great way to bring my thoughts into the world and helped me sort out a lot of my feelings.
  8. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? To Kill a Mockingbird. A lot of people I talk to don’t like it but I thought it was a very thought provoking read.
  9. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A fox. I love foxes

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10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I have a bunch of story ideas and a couple of them I have started writing but Beyond the Code was actually the first book I wrote fully.

11. What does literary success look like to you? Seeing my book on the shelf at a bookstore.

12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I am a thorough planner when it comes to my books. I plan out all the events in order for the book, do all the research necessary, and start writing. I try my best to make it as authentic as possible.

13. How many hours a day/week do you write? As much as I can but life gets in the way a bit more than I would prefer.

14. How do you select the names of your characters? Sometimes the name just comes to me when I’m making the character but most of the time I use a baby naming book.

15. What was your hardest scene to write? Emotionally, there’s a scene in the book I’m writing now that deals with a character letting go of a future that she can’t have. But there was another scene in Beyond the Code where there was a lot of characters involved in a fight scene and keeping track of all of them was pretty difficult.

16. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them? So far, I’ve just been writing urban fantasy. I chose it because I love the idea of putting extraordinary things in the mundane world.

17. How long have you been writing? I started writing short stories when I was around 10 and have been doing that off and on throughout my teen years and started seriously putting myself into it when I move out.

18. What inspires you? Anime, comic books, and movies.

19. How do you find or make time to write? Sometimes you just have to put aside things you enjoy to get the words out. It can be hard but sometimes I have to be my own hard ass boss.

20. What projects are you working on at the present? Right now, I am working on a sequel to Beyond the Code.

21. What do your plans for future projects include? Trying to make Beyond the Code successful and get the sequel published.

22. Share a link to your author website.

www.beyondthecode.ca

Bio

Kelsey Rae Barthel grew up in the quiet town of Hay Lakes in Alberta, a sleepy place of only 500 people. Living in such a calm setting gave her a lot of spare time to imagine grand adventures of magic and danger, inspired by the comic books and anime she enjoyed. Upon graduating high school, Kelsey moved to Edmonton and eventually began working in the business of airline cargo, but she never stopped imagining those adventures. Beyond the Code is her first novel.

 

 

 

 

Author Interview – Mandy Eve-Barnett

December 14, 2018
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Yep it’s me today due to an author having to postpone her interview. I thought I should try my own interview to see how it felt!

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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It certainly energizes me, once I am into a story it embraces me in such a way I forget the world around me. My characters carry me along showing me what comes next.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Knowing which story to write…with so many ideas bouncing around my head it is difficult to pick one and stick to it. If an idea comes to me during another project I have to jot down notes, a paragraph or two to enable me to go back to the current WIP.

Rumble

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

To date I have not felt the need to be anonymous. I love to share my stories regardless of which genre I am writing.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I count myself lucky to have many author friends, whether virtual or local. My writing mentor is Linda Pedley, without her encouragement and support I would not be writing or indeed published. My writing group friends are very important to me as their feedback and fellowship are worth its weight in gold.

Rython Amazon

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I write in multiple genres and go where the story takes me so mainly each book is a stand alone, however I was asked by readers of my fantasy novella, The Rython Kingdom to write a sequel and have written the first draft as part of NaNoWriMo this year.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Most certainly getting my books published with Dream Write Publishing. I was an integral part of the process and my vision for each book has been created.

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  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I was lucky to have parents who encouraged reading from a young age and allowed my imagination to flourish through the portals of magic – books.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I may sound like an old record with this one – Ferney by James Long – is the ultimate reincarnation novel for me. I re-read it on a regular basis.

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  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I have an affinity with tigers – solitary when they want but will protect their young with their life.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Goodness, let’s see a novella sequel, a steampunk novel, a western romance, a suspense/thriller and a possible short story collection.

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  1. What does literary success look like to you?

To have readers respond to me after reading one of my novels to say they enjoyed the story. Of course I would like one made into a movie but knowing my words are out in the world forever gives me a kick.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It depends on the genre, for example for my thriller I had to research how a body could dry up. While for my western romance I had to delve into barrel racing. Both of these took some time during the writing of each book.

Clickety Click

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

This depends on how many events, writers and board meetings I have as well as if there is a deadline but I try to write for several hours each week. My constant writing is creating three blog posts per week.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

I look at the genre, geographical location and era of the narrative and the characteristics of the particular personality.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

The stories pick the genre, I follow the narrative and the genre becomes clear the deeper we go into the characters personalities.

Creature Hunt

  1. How long have you been writing?

I began writing later in life so only around eight years. I have been making up for lost time ever since!

  1. What inspires you?  

A sentence heard or read, a picture, a writing prompt, a vista or an article on a fascinating subject. Inspiration comes from many avenues and I grasp them with both hands.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I am quite structured in regard to my writing blog as I need to post three times a week so will write all three most commonly on Sundays. When it comes to fiction I tend to go in bursts so will hide myself away at my writing desk and let the words flow. If an idea hits me I will write until I feel I have the narrative captured.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I participated in NaNoWriMo this year and my plan was to write two novellas, however although one concluded nicely the other has grown beyond novella length already so will be a novel. Both of these will require editing and revision during 2019, which means my other two novels will get pushed back.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

As above I have two NaNoWriMo projects to conclude but also have two other novels on the backburner. I am also considering a short story collection at come point.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

www.mandyevebarnett.com

Collaborations:

 

Author Interview Jim Jackson

December 7, 2018
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Jim Jackson

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Yes. Both. It exhausts me in the short term – I can’t really hammer out more than 2,500 words in a day, even if I have the time.

But it energizes me in the long term. Without writing, the world becomes kind of grey and flavorless. I guess writing is like sex that way – exhausting while you’re doing it, but not something you’d want to give up.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Oh, wow. Interior monologue. And lots of it. In my first novel, I had a full chapter of a character walking and doing an interior – and somewhat whiny – monologue about how put-on he was. Until my beloved beta readers berated me harshly. I rewrote that fully, and I can still hear them in the back of my brain when I slip into interior monologue again.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I have. I wanted to reinvent myself and renaming is a great way to do that. When I started writing again after too long a break, I wanted to separate myself from who I’d become without writing.

I was talked out of it. And good thing. With my name, I bring a much bigger platform than with a new one.

(Though, really, everything I do is under a pseudonym anyway! Sh!)

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

From my close group of writer friends? Rob Bose – he’s a pulp, crime and fantasy writer (check out Fishing with the Devil) – he keeps me honest. Often, I can get a little tongue in cheek. Rob’s writing keeps me connected to that honesty that’s easy to lose touch with, especially when writing genre.

From Laurie Zottmann (and her imaginary raccoon friend – check out her blog, Dark Little Critter) I stay in touch with my first love – making people laugh. I truly believe the best way to effect real change is to wrap it in laughs and good feelings. I’ve learned more about who I am from dumb comedies than from however many dark, brooding indie flicks. Laurie keeps me remembering funny first.

And from Sarah L Johnson (a truly fine writer – check out the short story collection Suicide Stitch and the novel Infractus) – where do I start? There are so many ways Sarah makes me into a better writer. And into the writer I am now. First, she challenges just about every single instance of me being complacent. She recently read my manuscript for Kiss of the Cockroach Queen, and said something like, “Yeah, it’s good enough. I’d read it and probably get the next one. But you can make it great. You’ve got the chops.”

So now I guess I have to make it great.

When I’ve had the privilege of introducing Sarah at events, I like to misquote my favorite poet, Kenneth Koch, and say that, as a writer, you need to have someone around who’s better than you’ll ever be at some aspect of writing. That keeps you striving up an impossible hill. For me, that person is Sarah L. Johnson.

There are others – so many others! – that I can’t list here, but, if they’re reading this, I appreciate all of them, too. I’m very lucky to have found a strong, talented community of writers. And not even across town!

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Well, there are definitely connections, but not necessarily physical or world or character connections.

No matter what fictional world I’m writing in, or no matter what how-to thing I’m discussing, all my work tends to deal with the stories that we tell ourselves. The stories that define us as humans. That’s the connection between each book.

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  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Engaging a publicist. Hands down. I love working with Creative Edge, my publicist agency. Wish I would have started earlier. If you’re serious about being a writer – if you’re ready to turn pro – I’d really recommend a publicist.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

A few weeks before I turned 15, I found a brand-new, 3-cassette boxed set of Bob Dylan. I’d been listening to his greatest hits record from my father’s collection, and something compelled me to lay out the $50 or whatever – pretty much the only money I had – for this thing. I took it home and listened to every side that day, and something old and good at the center of who I was responded to the ability to use words in that way. Not for conscious thought, not for getting a point across or explain something, but to slip around the brain into the amygdala or whatever and change the way I looked at myself.

I started writing songs that year. I’ve been writing in some way or other since, though only really turned pro a little while ago.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I don’t know about under-appreciated – Harold Bloom puts it on his Western canon list – but no other writer I’ve talked to has read it. John Crowley’s Little, Big. The idea of it is that it gets bigger the farther in you go. If I were a better writer, I’d be able to explain exactly how Crowley does this. But, no.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Ha! I’ve never thought about that. I want to say something cool like a dragon. But probably not. I should be so lucky. Maybe a lemur? Yeah, my spirit animal when it comes to writing is a lemur. Me and my writing style tend to leap around, be playful. It’s a good thing I have a keen-eyed, Taurus editor (who’s also my wife – sorry, ladies).

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Right now? I’ve got a couple scheduled to come out in the next year. I’ve also got the novel that brought me back into writing – but I’m waiting until I’m a better writer to finish that.

I also have a little piece of fluff about a World War II superhero that no will ever see. Ever.

And then I have a drawerful of ideas. The best books are always the one I haven’t written yet.

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  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Oh, you know, much like anybody – yachts, bathing beauties, bottles of Cristal in the VIP room. What? No? Not everyone became a writer for the fabulous wealth?

Seriously, though. Literary success? I’d like to supplement my income, and, through the non-fiction writing I do, spin that into a day job with talks, special projects and consulting. That’s success to me.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Oh, wow. The stuff I could tell you. Wikipedia and I are living in sin. I tend to need facts as I’m feverishly typing out an idea, so I research on the fly. I’ve learned more things about cockroaches than I care to know. That’s for the next novel. I also know what the three different types of erections are (yep, 3). That’s for the novel after that. I’ve had really odd looks from my wife in conversation. I have to explain I know these things from book research. Not from my checkered past.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day writing, first thing in the morning, before I get muddled with the day-to-day. That often spins into an hour if things are going well.

Of course, I write a lot more come deadline times, and there always seem to be deadline times!

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

I’m not sure I’ve thought about it much. I usually start off with a pun, then realize I don’t even find it that clever, so just go with what sounds right. It’s all about the overtones and connotations. Naming Wood Sweeney, the protagonist in Stones in My Passway, took on the natural sense of wood, and the demon barber or T.S. Eliot flavor of Sweeney.

And with King Wong, the world’s only exoterric consultant who deals with Otherkind case in Hong Kong in Kiss of the Cockroach Queen, “Wong” is a Chinese surname that means “king,” so it’s a play on that.

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  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

Sex that isn’t funny I find it hard to write. I find sex essentially comical (except when I’m doing it … well, most of the time, at least.)

The vast majority of sex scenes in Dispatches from an Accidental Sex Tourist are funny. But there was a point in the story where I needed to write a sex scene that was tender, unfunny and at least a bit erotic. I’ll let you know how well that worked when I get the manuscript back from beta readers.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

It’s probably just impatience that makes me write in different genres. I want to do it all, man! Limiting myself feels, well … limiting. I should probably stick to one thing and do it really well, but I’m not one to listen to should. I once met a dragon that had the words you should etched onto every scale. I didn’t care for him.

Balancing is hard. I try to be writing in two different genres at the same time, but that isn’t always an option with the schedule I’ve put on myself. I guess I compartmentalize. And maybe have multiple personalities – that helps!

Coackroach

  1. What inspires you?  

Oh, I really wish I could say something like walking in nature or meditating at dawn on the deck, but the honest answer is I don’t know. The ideas come. Sometimes. When they do, I write them down. When they don’t, I write something down. Then the ideas usually come after that, and I write those ones down.

Not very helpful, I know. But that’s how it is. I don’t want to crack open the process too much for fear of breaking of it!

18. What projects are you working on at the present?

Right now, I’m working on co-writing the soulful sex comedy Dispatches from an Accidental Sex Tourist. Also, come next fall, there will be the sequel to Stones in My Passway – called Devil Got My Woman. That’s a multi-perspective look at the fallout of a devil’s deal – with some laughs and even scarier hellhounds. And more to come!

19. What  do your plans for future projects include?

There’s an idea that I’ve … what? Struggled with? Flirted with? Anyway, this idea had been haunting me for years. A couple years ago while traveling, I was having a glass of wine in the Library Room bar (fitting!) of the Royal York hotel in Toronto, and the idea showed itself to me in all its glory. I started writing that, but I want to wait until I’m a better writer until I finish. The idea deserves that. (I still go back to that bar every time I’m in Toronto as a kind of pilgrimage to thank the idea for being there).

20. Share a link to your author website.

www.reallygoodstory.com

twitter: @jacksontron

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jim.jackson.author/

Bio

Jim Jackson is a Calgary Herald bestselling author and vintage leather jacket enthusiast whose books look at blues-steeped devil-deals, old-time pulp mixed with Chinese mythology and the art of storytelling. Jim’s mission is to show how the stories we all grew up with – the heroes, the monsters, the adventures – are still solid, muscular realities that shape our lives.
He’s the author of How to Tell a Really Good Story about Absolutely Anything in 4 Easy Steps, Stones in My Passway: A Novel in Blues, and Kiss of the Cockroach Queen. Find out more at www.reallygoodstory.com.

 

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