Category Archives: Author Interviews

Author Interview: Bryan O’Raighne

Bryan O’Raighne is an author of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal, but believes that elements of romance and mystery enhances his stories. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Brien O'RaighneMy name is Brien O’Raighne. I am a divorcee and have a son. I, also, have a daily job I go to until my books can make enough to supplement everything I need. I love to write and have been doing so for some time.

When and why did you begin writing?

I think that it is something that I have always been doing. I have always been writing and making up stories, which started with superhero stories. But I really got hot and heavy with it in my sophomore year of High School.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve considered myself that for a long time. Like I said before, I really got hot and heavy with it in my sophomore year of high school

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My current book, Royal Pains, is really being relaunched since I was released by the publisher who originally published it. Anyways, it is about Douglas Harley and his adventures to rescue Querilla Opaaca and return her home. However, that is not easy. He learns more about his family and ties to her overall. Also, on the planet of Varia there is a resistance movement trying to break the occupation of the Coalition.

What inspired you to write this book?

How long of a list would you like…Well, it is inspired by many, many things. Hmm. Here goes: Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, X-Men, Superheroes in general, Dungeons & Dragons, Babylon 5, Firefly, etc. Heavily inspired by Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Superhero mash-up

Do you have a specific writing style?

My writing style specifically is what I call free flowing. When I write, I see the scenes flowing before me as I lay them down first onto the pad of paper or spiral notebook before going back to type them into the computer.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Wow. Never really thought about this. Most of my titles just come into my head. Not really any spectacular way that I came up with the book title. It’s a fairly common title too. Found out much later about that.

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

Message in my books? Not really. My characters tend to be rather complicated. I show both sides of the characters. I do not tend to lump them into strictly evil, strictly good categories. I try to show the grayness that they lie in.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not by a long shot. I try to let my characters tell me who they are and what’s going on. I do go back sometimes to look over the book and my characters sometimes will hand me information they left out in the beginning.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Timothy Zahn, Roald Dahl, and JK Rowling. I find that they are able to tell great stories with concise details, including dialects and imagery.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Mark Twain is who I would consider a mentor. Not because he is a distant cousin, but because he could help in the mastery of the written word. I don’t pride myself on being an expert. I know I am not. But I expect myself to get better each and every day. They day my work is perfect is the day I stop writing.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I designed the book cover. I had no other choice on selecting myself as illustrator. This cover was initially started with my previous publisher, but the cover artist left before it could be completed. Thus, I took over and added the rest of the other elements to it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice to other writers. The obvious is to write. But what are you going to write. You need inspiration. So, take in everything that you can through books, movies, TV, life itself. You never know what you will use to be the writer you will be. Also, remember this simple fact, your first work WILL NEVER be your best it will be your worst, but that’s okay because it sets your bar for you to climb above and continually raise to beat.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope you enjoy this book. It is relaunched since being dropped by Ravenswood Publishing. It will arrive through Rising Dragons Publishing. There are new material and edits that were not there before.

Book Cover Royal PainsBrien O’Raighne
Houston, TX

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Royal Pains (Starshot Chronicles: Bloodlines #1)

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Author Interview: Wendy Rathbone

I’ve known author Wendy Rathbone for many years. We are both artisans at several events on the California fair circuit. Wendy has had over 500 poems and 40 stories published in magazines and anthologies. She is the author of the science fiction novel Pale Zenith. Her other novels span the genres from science fiction to vampire to romance or short story and poetry collections. I am pleased to be able to introduce you to this prolific and interesting author here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Wendy RathboneHi, I’m Wendy Rathbone. I love to write poetry, stories, and novels. I have a degree in writing from UCSD but really cut my writing teeth on millions of words of fanfic. I have always been a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I am inspired by autumn, starships, and desolate spaces.

When and why did you begin writing?

At age 12 I started writing poetry and little stories. I loved how it made me feel to paint images and thoughts with words.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I was first published in school magazines and one city-wide magazine for students. That felt good. I also won 1st place in a city-wide essay contest with a long poem in 7th grade. The prize even came with money. It was then I decided I was a writer. It is my natural way of expressing myself.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My most current science fiction book is “Letters to an Android.” It is about a young man, Cobalt, who is a created human and indentured for life, unable to travel the stars as he dreams. He meets a young man, Liyan, headed off to work on far-traveling star*liners. The two strike up a friendship and the star-traveler promises to write the land-locked “android” of his adventures. The book takes the reader on a travelogue of various planets as well as diving into the minds of the two men as both deal with the hardships of their lives. The story is told both through narrative and letters.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was greatly inspired by the two characters who suddenly popped into my brain one day with complete back stories. I also took inspiration from looking at pages and pages of alien landscape art on GoogleImages.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Over the years, I’ve developed my poetic mind so much that I would call my writing poetic. Maybe even florid. Texture, scent, and color all command the thoughts of my characters.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

When I decided to write a series of letters from the point of view of these two characters, the title just appeared. Not all my titles are that easy to come up with.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?

Freedom should not be taken for granted. And real love is unconditional and transformative.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Every character in this book is completely fictional. A lot of the characters I write are aspects of myself or people I create to entertain myself. I learn about them as they learn about themselves. Even though Cobalt and Liyan came into my mind with back stories, I still had to explore that. I rarely know in advance what my characters are going to discover and do until they do it. They talk to me as I write. It’s amazing.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Alice Hoffman. Anne Rice. Stephen King. Anais Nin. Greer Gilman. Poppy Z. Brite. Just to name a few. They inspire me because all of them have listened to their own hearts and written what they love despite some of the themes being dark in nature, forbidden, violent and erotic. They are fearless and they make me brave in my own writing.

If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?

Anne Rice. I have not read every book of hers, but the ones I love make me feel anything is possible. I love that she writes in a fever. That is how I write, in the zone of heat and inspiration, completely outline-free. It sounds scary and is at first, but after awhile it’s like breathing. I also consider the author Della Van Hise a mentor. She’s my significant other. She has inspired me more with her writing and her philosophy than any other human on Earth.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Della Van Hise and I design all our covers and we have learned so much by doing this. We buy licensed images on Shutterstock.com. I found the image of the man in the glass dome on that site and realized it was just right for this book about an indentured being.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never forget the five senses when writing. Do not allow a critical voice to put you down or tell you that you aren’t good enough or the story sucks. Just keep practicing, keep writing the next sentence. That’s the key. Just write one more sentence. If you tell yourself that every day, you will never be blocked. Never look back. Don’t rewrite old stuff. Don’t hang on the past. Keep moving forward. The book you are currently writing should always be your favorite, the one you are loving the best and giving your best. And always do your best. Never set out to write a “bad first draft.” That will definitely hold you back.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Thank you to all readers for taking the time to read any book anywhere. All readers of my work are gifts to me. I have no other expectations from them.

Book Cover Letters to an AndroidWendy Rathbone
Yucca Valley, CA

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Letters to an Android

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Author Interview: Nicholas C. Rossis

It is my pleasure to introduce up and coming author Nicholas Rossis, an avid reader and author of fantasy, science fiction and children’s books here on No Wasted Ink. I hope you enjoy his interview as much as I did.

Author Nicholas C RossisHi Wendy, many thanks for having me here. My name is Nicholas Rossis, but I write under the pen name of Nicholas C. Rossis. As a friend said, it’s like Clark Kent’s glasses. No one can identify me when I use that middle C! I write fantasy, science fiction and children’s books, while I also have a special, ongoing love affair with short stories.

When and why did you begin writing?

Ever since I remember myself, I have enjoyed writing. At school, many of my classmates dreaded essay-writing, whereas I could count on my essays to be read in class. In 2009, I felt ready for a career change and decided to try again my hand at writing. A Greek newspaper had a segment called 9, that included a short science fiction story each week. I submitted my story, not expecting much. They published it, and sent me a cheque for 150 euros. I was ecstatic. Sadly, by the time I had written and submitted another couple of stories, the newspaper had ran into financial trouble and discontinued that segment. So, I sent one of the stories to a short-story competition, and, to my great surprise, won. The story was published in an anthology called Invasion.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Right after receiving that first cheque! :D

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Sure! I am currently working on three projects, actually. One is my second children’s book, called Musiville (you can actually read my first one, Runaway Smile, for free on my blog.

My second project is my second collection of short stories, to be called Infinite Waters. I love short stories, and they are one of my favorite genres. This collection includes many of the shorts I have written in the year since publication of my first collection, The Power of Six.

My third project is Pearseus: Endgame, the fourth book of my epic fantasy series, Pearseus (fifth if you count Schism; the prequel to the series). It continues the story from where Vigil left. Although the main threat has been dealt with, the two main factions on the planet are preparing for all-out war. The characters are forced to fight for what they believe in or lose it all. The remaining story lines will be wrapped up in this last volume.

What inspired you to write your books?

My first inspiration is, surprisingly enough, sleep. More precisely, my dreams, which often morph into stories during that special time of the day when you lie in bed half-asleep. My second inspiration is, of course, reading. There are so many wonderful ideas out there, and they act like seeds in my head, to bloom at night and transform into new stories that just have to be written.

Do you have a specific writing style?

As you can probably tell from my cross-genre writing, I prefer the stories to tell me the genre they’d like to be written in. However, yes, I have gradually developed my own style – or, as I like to think of it, found my own voice. This is an ongoing process, of course, so it’s constantly evolving.

There are many stylistic similarities in my work, although there are obviously genre-specific differences as well. Still, I’d like to think that a discerning reader will have little trouble identifying my work from someone else’s.

How did you come up with the title of your book?

I’ll focus on Musiville here. My illustrator and friend Dimitris Fousekis is currently illustrating it. The idea is that animals-musical instruments share a picturesque village. When they all start carrying their own tune, an unexpected invader wreaks havoc. The title, Musiville, seemed very appropriate for a village full of musical instrument-shaped animals!

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

There are many messages, but, in my experience, everyone reads books differently. You sit down and write, then analyze what you have written. I can tell you what my personal take is on each story, but that assumes you and I got the same thing out of it.

For example, I got a strange call from a psychologist family friend the other day. She said she loved Runaway Smile, my first children’s book, because it said exactly what she had been struggling to convey through her own unfinished book: that all men would turn into criminals if not for the mother’s love.

When I indicated that this was not my personal understanding of the story, she refuted me, explaining that I obviously did not understand what I had written.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I have this theory of creativity, that builds on Jung’s archetypes. These are unconscious structures that live in our soul and help us organize our lives and make sense of things.

According to my theory, everyday experience filters down to the soul, where it is shaped by the archetypes into novel forms. Artists of any kind are able to regurgitate the new creations back into their consciousness, in order to share them with the world.

This is a long-winded way of saying that yes, I think that all experiences in my books are based on everyday experience. However, it would be hard in most cases to pinpoint which experience gave birth to which passage, as they get all mangled up on their way into my unconscious and back.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I love Philip K. Dick’s works, and find him tremendously inspiring. Indeed, I consider him a modern-day prophet. His short stories taught me everything I needed to know about that genre, while his many ideas have repeatedly found their way into my work. Then, there are Tolkien and Martin, two of the main influences in fantasy: Tolkien practically invented the genre; Martin redefined it. Also, Clark and Asimov, who showed us how science fiction needs to be rooted into hard fact, to be believable. Their work, and especially Asimov’s Foundation series, have heavily influenced Pearseus. Finally, there’s Herbert, whose Dune series has also been a main influence. In fact, I couldn’t be happier when a reader described Pearseus as “a cross between Dune and Game of Thrones”!

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

That would have to be Dick. I’m currently reading his Exegesis, which is in effect his personal correspondence, and am fascinated by it. Indeed, Exegesis is the best trove of wonderful ideas, as far as I’m concerned.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I design the covers of my books, with the help of my childhood friend and illustrator, Dimitris Fousekis. He’s the one who has illustrated the Pearseus logo and the scales, and done all the illustrations for my children’s books.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t bother with writing, unless you’re passionate about it! It’s not an easy profession, in the sense that it can take years to build your audience and make a name for yourself. So, for a long time, you may have to work late nights, write whenever you have time and spend a lot of time “normal” people spend socializing, working on manuscripts that no one might even see.

If, however, this is fun to you – as it is to me – then, by all means go for it. Never before has publishing been so easy, with the advent of self-publishing. Just make absolutely certain that your manuscript has been professionally edited and proofread before submitting to Amazon, Smashwords etc!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

As I often joke, the only thing that grows faster than my waistline is my list of books to be read! So, I really appreciate it when people take time off their busy lives to read my work. So, the one thing I wish I could tell them is that I love each and every one of them! I wish I could give everyone who has read my books a cookie. Heck, a whole basket for those who have reviewed them!

Book Cover The Power of SixNicholas C. Rossis
Athens, Greece

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Cover Artist: Dimitris Foussekis
Publisher: Delta Ekdotiki.

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Author Interview: C. S. Marks

C.S. Marks prefers the classic epic tale, told in a slightly more contemporary voice. Her work may be read and enjoyed by all ages and on many levels of complexity, from the superficial action/adventure to the deep, thought-provoking level appreciated by the more serious and introspective reader. I’m honored to feature her on No Wasted Ink.

Author CS MarksI’m C.S. Marks, best known in the writing world for the Elfhunter trilogy. I hold a Ph.D. in Life Sciences, I am a life-long horsewoman and competitive long-distance rider, and I have spent the past 23 years as a Professor of Equine Science. My other interests include art, archery and bow-making, songwriting, and filk-singing. (I also have thirteen dogs on the farm. Ye gods.)

When and why did you begin writing?

I don’t remember when I first began writing; my dad was a Professor of Literature, and he instilled a love of words, reading, and writing at a very early age. Serious writing began the year he died suddenly…to fill a hole, I expect.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I’ve just released Outcaste, which is the first in a new Alterran series. I’m currently working on the second in that series, entitled Anastasi. Also starting work on an unrelated novel.

What inspired you to write this book?

Let’s go back to the beginning, to Elfhunter.
Actually, it was the villain, Gorgon Elfhunter, who inspired me. His is a story that just needed to be told.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I probably do, but not sure how to describe it. As with any writer, it has evolved over the years. I like well-written narrative, I hate infodumps, I try to include enough description to fire the readers’ imaginations without overdoing it, and I love dialogue. Others have described my stuff as “Martin-esque with a bit of Stephen King influence.” I find that interesting, as I didn’t read anything of Mr. Martin’s until after the trilogy was long finished. My love for Tolkien is obvious, but my style is quite different.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

It is the story of Gorgon Elfhunter. There could be no other title. Sometimes the title of a book won’t reveal itself to me until the book is nearly finished, as was the case with Ravenshade.

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

That is a vast question, and there are many ways to answer it, depending on the reader. Over the course of five novels, the “message” has developed with the story. If I had to condense it, it would concern themes of good and evil, love and hate—and what happens in between when the lines are blurred and the path is no longer clear. It would focus on the choices we make, which define our character, and that we are not at the mercy of circumstance if we choose to defy it and remain true to who we are. The newer series really focuses on the nature of prejudice, and how it may (or may not) be overcome.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Yes, some are. The horses, for example, are all based on horses I either have owned or currently own. I have been told that I write some of the best horse characters in fantasy, which is not surprising considering my life-long obsession. There are countless other examples of events and characters based on experience…I’ll keep them to myself for now.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I adore James Herriot. From him I learned to write what I know and tell my story from the heart. I admire Stephen King, who taught me the rules of writing and how to break them. I will always love Tolkien…the man who defines what epic fantasy is, and should be, at least to me.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

My dad would have been a great one. It is one of my greatest regrets that he did not live to see my work in print. He was editing my stuff since I was about eight years old; from him I learned to loathe exclamation points and not fear the occasional adverb.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Concept by me, artwork by Hope Hoover (Elfhunter) or John Connell (Fire-heart, Ravenshade, Outcaste). Hope and John were chosen for the quality of their work, and because they are willing to work in close cooperation with the author.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Of course—don’t we all? In a few words, “Try to be realistic in your expectations, hire the best editor you can afford, and realize that not everyone will love your work…and that’s ok!”

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

You guys know how much I appreciate you. If you loved the Elfhunter trilogy, wait til you read Outcaste. And if you loved Outcaste, wait til Anastasi comes out. (You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.)

Book Cover ElfhunterC.S. Marks

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Publisher: Parthian Press

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Author Interview: Robert Mullin

Robert Mullin is a cryptozoologist who has traveled to Africa three times in search of a living dinosaur. He was featured on an episode of the History Channel’s television show, Monster Quest. I am pleased to welcome him here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Robert MullinMy name is Robert Mullin, and I am a couch potato who has traveled to Africa three times in search of an animal whose physical description matches that of a living dinosaur. I am interested in a number of eclectic subjects, most of which reside just off the borders of the known realm.

When and why did you begin writing?

Though I had done a number of smaller projects in my early years, I didn’t begin writing in earnest until I was in college, when an English teacher told me, upon reading one of my papers, that I was going to be a writer. Coincidentally, my cousin and I were playing with the beginnings of a story at the time, and I decided to see if my instructor’s words were prophetic.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably not until I finished my first “real” novel in 1998 and realized that, clunky as it was, it was a complete, coherent story with the potential for broader audience appeal.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Bid the Gods Arise tells the story of two cousins sold into slavery on another world and getting caught up in the machinations of an ancient evil that hunts their souls. The series is a mythic hybrid drawing from a number of genres, from epic fantasy to supernatural to science fiction. These are not set at odds with each other, but part of the whole cloth of the narrative.

What inspired you to write this book?

My late cousin and I used to take walks and talk about movies and novels we enjoyed. One of our laments was that there were a great number of stories whose premises were sabotaged by poor execution. While we’ve all seen a number of well done but unoriginal films, we felt that most of the really interesting stories that could have been truly great were lackluster because the treatment did not meet the high bar set by the concept. Perhaps somewhat arrogantly (or at least naïvely), we set out to rectify that with our own story, borrowing liberally from various things we found interesting, but in a setting entirely our own. All good authors steal, but the smart ones file off the serial numbers, so I don’t tend to reveal most of my inspirational sources.

I can say that my Star Wars fandom has probably played the most significant role in terms of how I approach the fiction itself. While that series, like most masterpieces, is inherently flawed, I very much identified with the notion of trying to make the unfamiliar familiar, and utilizing grand mythic themes to tell otherwise simple human tales. I tend to prefer mystical/spiritual fantasy to magical fantasy, so in that respect as well the story borrows heavily from the Star Wars model. I deliberately tried to stay away from the fantasy/sci-fi clichés of unpronounceable names and implausible magic systems, and instead focused on real, memorable people who are the true heart of this cosmic drama.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think so. I grew up reading the classics, so I had to unlearn what are now considered bad habits for writers. I have not read the works of most of the authors I have been compared to, so I can’t really say how accurate those comparisons are.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The title literally woke me up one night as I was still working on one of the early drafts. It seemed to sum up the primary theme of the novel and have a unique cadence. It might be a bit like catching lightning in a bottle; the tentative titles for the subsequent novels in the series don’t have that structure though they will feel consistent.

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

I prefer readers to draw their own conclusions. Like Tolkien, I “cordially dislike allegory,” and “prefer history—true or feigned—with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers.” I don’t think it’s possible to read Bid the Gods Arise without knowing where I stand on certain things, but I would hope that I do not bludgeon readers with my worldview, but rather allow it to shape the tale just as most authors do, consciously or unconsciously. I suppose that if there were one thing I would hope people take away, it would be the notion of hope and choice in the face of what appears to be fate.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The relationship between the two primary characters is an oblique homage to the relationship I enjoyed with my own cousin, and one of the recurring dreams the visionary character has is a dream that used to wake me up at night when I was a boy. The other characters and events generally draw more from history, the classics, or people I know secondhand. My travels to Africa did help shape a few elements, but they came after the first drafts of the novel were done, so they aren’t overt.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, Herman Melville, Timothy Zahn, to name just a few. Each one of them has taken me to other worlds (or at least far away and exotic places), and the latter, more contemporary, has the gift of getting me to turn the pages without being aware of the fact that I am reading. The authors I most admire have created worlds to which I long to return, either because of the magic of their storytelling or the power of their convictions.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

C. S. Lewis, because of the approach he took with his novels. He and Tolkien decided that when no one was writing the books they wanted to write, they would just have to write them themselves. That’s something I can definitely identify with. But I also very much admire the way he integrated his personal apologetics, philosophy, and worldview into his novels. Lewis was a brilliant man, and I would have loved to sit at the feet of the master and learn all I could from him.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

James Cline of Kanion Rhodes Studio. He had done the covers for a series done by a friend of mine (K.G. Powderly’s Windows of Heaven series), and I actually suggested him as a possibility for my fellow Crimson Moon Press author, J.C. Lamont. After he proved that he was able to visualize some of the unique concepts for her books, I talked with him about my own.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t fall into the trap of wanting to publish the first book before the second is complete. Get off Facebook. Don’t let life stress you out to the point that you forget to write.

Oh, wait, this is supposed to be advice for other people.

Read everything you can, and learn as much as possible about the craft. Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist. If you think you’re ready to publish, sit on it, finish the second book, and then go back and revisit the first.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thanks for taking the time to let me talk to you, and I look forward to feedback from new readers! For the longsuffering fans waiting patiently for the sequel, please do not give up on me.

Bid the Gods AriseRobert Mullin

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Cover artist: James Cline
Crimson Moon Press

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