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Today is the best of times and the worst of times for writers. Yes, the publishing industry faces intense pressure. Yes, fewer people are buying books. BUT…. people ARE actually reading more than ever, just in different formats. That presents we authors with a whole new array of choices, small press, self-pub, traditional, blogging, hybrid publishing, you name it- new roads to traverse should we choose.

So hats off to the fabulous author, Yvonne Carder! She employed a different strategy by turning to a Kickstarter Campaign, a very successful Kickstarter Campaign, to finance the publication of her first novel, Luminata.

Yvonne is also the author of the short story “Star Flame.” A fantasy writer on the rise!

StarFlame

Thanks so much to the lovely Ms. Carder for stopping by my blog to chat- be sure to check her out. She’s a delight and talented force to be reckoned with. Here’s our interview:

  • Let’s start at the beginning… Are you a hugger? Kiss both cheeks? A hearty handshake or maybe a distant nod across the room?
    1. How do I greet people? It depends on the situation. If it’s social, I usually start with a handshake and sometimes get pulled into the girl hug. If I’m in a more professional setting, I usually start with eye contact, smile, and then the handshake (but I try to not have the handshake be too whimpy). I’m actually an introvert by nature, so I have to push myself out of my comfort zone to make sure I don’t miss out on connections with the cool people I run acrosss.
  • When and how did you know you were a writer? Did any books help you along the way?
    1. I remember my first short story was in elementary school and I won an award for it. I was so proud of those 4 or 5 pages. They were really simple and on those pages with the giant spaces with the dotted lines in the middle, but I wrote a story and shared it with the world.
    2. Then in high school I wrote poetry to get through the entire emotional whirlwind that tries to destroy us. But I was lucky, I let my thoughts flow on the page and I found myself. Of course, the teenage angst poured out onto the page too, and far less damage was inflicted on the world. =)
    3. I found fantasy fiction in high school and that is when my love for creating different views of the world we live in took off. Anne Rice was the first author that I devoured and she remains the matron of my author influences.
    4. I’ve since read books to help with my author journey and the ones that have been the greatest influences are Stephen King’s “On Writing”, Christopher Vogler’s “The Writer’s Journey; Mythic Structure for Writers”, and James V. Smith, Jr’s “You Can Write a Novel”. King’s book is about an authors journey and helped me realize that we are all human and can share our thoughts and dreams with other people. Vogler’s book helped with understanding why some books resonate with me while learning about story arch, and understanding the archetypes for characters. And Smith’s book was the best at breaking down for me how to keep myself organized, how to structure writing and the story. Before I read that book I felt overwhelmed and unsure how to even start, it was the tool I really needed to get started. Apparently I’m a Plotter and not a Pantster.
  • Is there another genre that you enjoy- just as a pure fan? What is it?
    1. My reading guilty pleasure is urban fantasy books, both young adult and adult. I love the idea of magic in the world all around us that not everyone knows about. It gives me hope for the world I live in.
  • Can you share one resource: website, marketing strategy, social media medium that you feel has most helped you and could help other writers on their way?
    1. Hands down the most influential person that I found on this journey is  JoannaPenn, from The Creative Penn. She is a genius and has the most generous spirit. She is an Author Entrepreneur and has been in the Indie Publishing scene since around 2008. She shares everything she learns very openly and wants to empower as many people as she can in the industry. She has a website with amazing resources and has the best podcast out there for authors. Check her out at thecreativepenn.com
  • What do you wish your readers could know about you?
    1. Vacations as a kid included visiting my grandparents in the Eifel in Germany and exploring all around the small town they live in. I fell in love with castles, both the ones meticulously maintained to explore, and the beautiful ruins that echoed those long ago lives lost to time. My spirit would soar in the wild forests where your imagination runs free picturing magical creatures hiding just out of sight. The Eifel is a huge inspiration for my novel Luminata. I can see Jessica in the forests that I’ve walked through and see the beams of filtered light strike her hair and make the forest floor look like autumn colored gemstones were thrown everywhere. Oh, have I mentioned? I definitely have an active imagination.
  • We’re just beginning the summer season- if you could give EVERYONE a gift, vacation, mojito, whatever… and expense or transportation was no object- what would you give them?
    1. I would give everyone a month vacation to explore the Eifel and check out the castles, like my favorite Burg Eltz, the forests where we could go mushroom hunting, and have lunch in an ancient Roman tavern that just so happens to be under a department store!
  • Denim versus leather- compare and contrast. It’s an argument that may never be settled. What’s your preference and why?
    1. Hands down: Leather. It’s way more versatile and feels great when you put it on. The biggest turn off? It’s from animals, so that could sway me to denim, but it doesn’t.
  • If you had to choose… Vegas or New York… where would you go? Why does your choice speak to you?
    1. 100% New York! I would love to see all the architecture and history, but the biggest reason: Broadway! I’m a sucker for Broadway musicals. I have an annual membership to SHN in San Francisco so that I can be dazzled by those fantastical creations. I’m constantly blown away by what artists can create on a small stage. It’s right up there with reading for me.
  • What is your favorite reward after a long day of writing—that little treat you give yourself?
    1. My favorite reward is reading some good book candy. You know: those stories that you don’t have to think too hard about, but you’re immersed in the world and you forget your cares. It lets my brain relax and just let loose.
  • And lastly, how do you say good-bye?
    1. How well do we know each other by now? Cuz if you know this much about me know I’d probably just say: Peace out home skillet!

 

Links:

‘Star Flame: A Story from the Meclauks Kingdom’: FREE copy through BookFunnel https://dl.bookfunnel.com/c8qg8ajc2o
 
Where to find Yvonne:

Facebook: YvonneCarder

Twitter:  YvonneCarder

Patreon: YvonneCarder

Blog:  www.YvonneCarder.com/blog

Instagram: YvonneCarderAuthor
Pinterest: YvonneCarder

LinkedIn: YvonneCarderAuthor

 

Yvonne Carder Author

Author Bio:

Yvonne Carder is a Young Adult Fantasy Author that has written a short story called ‘Star Flame: A Story from the Meclauks Kingdom’, and she is currently editing her first in a series novel ‘Luminata: A Meclauks Kingdom Novel’. With the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Luminata is planned for release in August of 2017.Yvonne Carder lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Kevin, and her three cats, Princess Pumpkin Doodle, Nichademus, and Barracuda Bob. Yvonne has a love for animals that she strives to show in her work. 
She has lived in California since 1982 when she and her parents emigrated from Germany. Most of her family is still in Germany with the exception of some of her Dad’s family in the Midwest. Her roots in Germany are something that she is very proud of and it influences her writing. Yvonne has been involved in the arts since a young child when she joined the school bands, choir, poetry club, and the art club at her high school. She has had poems published including ‘tHE wORLD uP-sIDE dOWN’ in Behind the Eye Las Positas College Anthology Number 16, ‘The Black Trail’ in Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans 1995 edition, and ‘Wilderness Pond’ in The Garden of Life by the National Library of Poetry. Yvonne also won a scholarship for her fine art paintings. When she’s not creating visual arts you can find her singing loudly in her car, or with a local choir and performing at their concerts.

Yvonne is a proud member of the California Writer’s Club: Tri-Valley Branch, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

 

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. Erika’s debut novel, The Dragon in The Garden can be found at Tirgearr Publishing.

 

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Okay, Fantasy fans- buckle up!!! I’ve got a fun new series for you and you are going to LOVE it! Yep, you’re welcome…

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Lizard Queen Volume 1

300 years ago, in a nameless world, a prophecy passed unfulfilled. A secret society that formed to prevent its occurrence believed it was their doing, while the secret society created to ensure that the prophecy came to pass wasn’t certain it had been stopped at all. Eventually, the prophecy of Lacáruna, a female from another realm and the only being who can read the Lizard Queen’s language, fell into legend.  What no one realizes, however, is that Amy Darlidale is just a tad late.

 

THIS SHRINKING WORLD

Taking a break from a stressful workweek, Amy, a recently divorced CEO, goes out for a morning jog and crosses paths with an orange lizard. Suddenly, she finds herself under a starless sky confronted by oddly marked and strangely colored people who claim she’s there to rescue the world from evil’s grasp and expand it once again. But not everyone wants that to happen so there’s a price on her head. This is far from the relaxing weekend Amy had intended.

 

FROM THE ASHES

Along with the young companions who found her, Licha and Jandro, Amy has accompanied the swaggering Colonel Dack Sangcertigre—a member of the Trotéjo, the secret society sworn to protect her—to his home nation in search of a plan to fulfill the Promise of a New Morphósis. As the body count rises and she is confronted with raving rulers, military machinations, and crafty clergy, she quickly realizes there must be much more at stake than merely finding the prophecy.

 

A SPECTACULAR LIE

The sense of order in this mysterious world continues to collapse. Fires rage, clans are being slaughtered and townsfolk massacred, and leaders have proclaimed a great evil has returned. As Amy searches for clues within the first mythic journals of this world’s origins, she’s begun seeing visions and receiving messages from forces unknown. While she’s trying to understand the extent of her power others have become aware of it as well. Soon a new group with its own mysterious agenda believes Amy may have another fated purpose and only she can save herself from their terrifying trap.

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A huge thank you to H.L. Cherryholmes for appearing on this blog- I am super excited to have such an innovative and fresh author to showcase. Hope my readers enjoy this interview just as much as I did…

 

Easy stuff first- tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you begin writing? What fills your life and lights up your days?

 

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but I’ve lived in Southern California most of my adult life. I started writing when I was very young, mostly to entertain family and neighbors. About that time I also learned to change the names to protect the innocent. Storytelling has always been important to me and I’m never as happy as I am when I’m in the thick of writing a story. Even editing makes me happy.

Your books begin in our ordinary world and take us to new world “under a starless sky.” How does each world color and shape your protagonist, Amy Darlidale?

 

In our world, Amy is a CEO of a non-profit company. She’s recently divorced and just celebrated her fortieth birthday. She is fairly content and, most importantly, feels entirely in control of her life. When she finds herself under the starless sky she’s completely out of her element and feeling at a loss. Nevertheless, she’s still the same strong woman and works hard to take charge of her new predicament.

 

 

How has each world, real and imaginary shaped you as a storyteller?

 

The imaginary world is very much shaped by my real world experiences, particularly my travels. Amy keeps discovering places and things that are very familiar to her, albeit not exactly the same. It’s been so much fun to incorporate places I’ve visited into my writing. I think it’s made me a better storyteller because it’s taken me out of my comfort zone, which pretty much is my apartment.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your publishing process? Are you agented? Self-published? How did your book come into being?

 

I’m an indie-writer. I spent many frustrating years trying to go the traditional route by getting an agent and one day I decided that what was most important to me was having my stories read. Self-publishing a book is so incredibly easy these days, which is why more and more authors are going that route. My series came into being when I decided that’s what I was going to do. I chose to wait until the entire series was done, however, before releasing the first two books.

 

 

What were the benefits and challenges that you found along your journey? And do you have any words of advice for your fellow writers- things to do? Pitfalls to avoid?

 

The benefit for me was being able to work the entire story out before anyone read it. That was also the biggest challenge. As I’m sure any author will tell you, it’s a lonely vocation often and the only validation you get is what you chose to give yourself. One word of advice—the most important, in my opinion—is you must have a professional editor. Thinking you can shape everything on your own is the biggest pitfall to avoid.

 

 

Where do you find your sources of inspiration? Does your muse vary from project to project or do you find the well-spring is fairly consistent?

 

Inspiration most often comes from something I’ve read or watched, or even overheard. Usually it’s just a spark of an idea that pops up and either I’ll pursue it or tell myself I should write it down to look at later but then decide I’ll surely remember it. That’s when the muse snatches it away. You’d think I’d learn, but no.

 

 

Have you learned anything from your readers? Or had a response that especially touched you?

 

What has touched me and meant the most to me are any of the readers who have gone along (or are going along) Amy’s journey. Reading a series is a serious (see what I did there?) commitment so I greatly appreciate anyone who is willing to take it on. Hearing that they’ve loved how the story ends has been especially satisfying.

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We all have our fan boy (or in my case, fan girl) moments. If you could get your books of anyone, celebrity, historical figure, etc. who would you choose to have read them? Please share one man and one woman and why.

 

Anne Rice and Stephen King and both for the same reason: They are master world-builders and both appreciate a strong female protagonist.

 

 

Do you have a favorite book that you wish you had written? What is it and why do you wish you had created it?

 

I can’t say that I do. I love stories and I’m the type of person that goes into any story, be it on the page or on the screen, with an open mind and heart, ready to follow what tale I’ve been offered. I do my best to keep myself out of it and just let it be what it is.

 

 

We all reward ourselves with little treats- after a particularly productive day- what is your favorite indulgence? I’m always looking for a new treat!

 

When I finish a draft of a book my favorite indulgence is a cupcake with buttercream frosting from Magnolia Bakery. And a vodka martini. Not necessarily in that order and never together.

 

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Author Bio

H.L. Cherryholmes, author of The Lizard Queen Series, Come Back for Me, and A Slight Touch was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but has spent most of his adult life in Southern California. He has a BFA from University of New Mexico and a Master’s degree in Playwriting from the University of California, Los Angeles. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with his husband, Ron Cogan.

Links

Website: http://www.thelizardqueen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HLCherryholmesBooks

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLNA80

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

 

Someone asked me a very on point question the other day. We always hear of writing in first person point of view ie Once upon a time I took the subway to Olympus and the third person point of view Once upon a time Suzie took an Uzi and shot all the zombies to bits. See the difference? So the question was, if we know first person and we know third person point of view… What is second person point of view.

Well, it’s tricky. As anyone who has studied a foreign language can tell you upon reflection, the second person point of view is the “You” point of view. Once upon a time you sailed a ship to the edge of the world. See?

It’s not used often. It’s not often used well. It lends itself to present tense more so than past tense, which is the reverse of the other story telling veins. However, when it is done well it can be a powerful voice, the kind of story telling vehicle that haunts the reader and is difficult to shake off the next day. No matter how you try.

Leo Tolstoy used it, Margaret Atwood, Jay McInerney, and Nathaniel Haythorn. Sometimes they used it in combination with the first person POV. That works well. As it does in this week’s song. I love Bob Seger’s Turn The Page. I loved Metallica’s cover of it, too, but there is something so effortlessly poignant in the saxophone of Seger’s version- plays at the heart strings and lets loose the emotions. Forget alcohol to loosen the inhibitions, Seger does it in three minutes.

So, check out how he uses second person to set the stage, build the world, introduce you to the main character (himself) but from a distance, through the lens of the second person POV. Then when he hits you with the first person chorus, the emotional punch is all the greater.

And see, you’ve learned something and have a great seventies classic to go download- c’mon, you know you want to.

Enjoy 🙂 Make it a great week, my friends.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3khH9ih2XJg

 

“Turn The Page”

On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha
You can listen to the engine moanin’ out its one note song
You can think about the woman, or the girl you knew the night before
But your thoughts will soon be wandering, the way they always do
When you’re riding sixteen hours and there’s nothing there to do
And you don’t feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through
Here I am, on a road again
There I am, on the stage
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, turn the page
Well, you walk into a restaurant all strung out from the road
And you feel the eyes upon you as you’re shaking off the cold
You pretend it doesn’t bother you, but you just want to explode
Most times you can’t hear ’em talk, other times you can
All the same old clichés, is it woman, is it man?
And you always seem outnumbered, so you don’t dare make a standHere I am, on a road again
There I am, on the stage
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, turn the page

Out there in the spotlight you’re a million miles away
Every ounce of energy, you try to give away
As the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play

Later in the evening as you lie awake in bed
With the echoes from the amplifiers ringin’ in your head
You smoke the day’s last cigarette, remembering what she said

Here I am, on a road again
There I am, up on the stage
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, turn the page

Here I am, on a road again
There I am, on the stage, yeah
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, there I go

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

Erika Gardner

Erika Gardner

Hi, Cyber Peeps!  This Monday finds me continuing to traverse the agent querying gauntlet.  That’s the lovely no-man’s land between completing a novel and retaining the representation of a reputable agent.  Now, when I use the term “lovely,” one needs to understand that this is the height of tongue firmly inserted in cheek.  While beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, this is lovely the same way that an IRS audit, shingles, and a colonoscopy are also lovely.

Unless you are into that sort of thing.

My fellow writers and I have noticed that we, said writers, greatly resemble puppy dogs throughout this process.  When we receive a rejection we hang our heads, tails between the legs and whimper.  Our person is not happy with us.  Doom, gloom, and there is no spark of joy left in our world.  Conversely, when we receive a request for pages, invitation to revise and submit, or other good news/feedback, we are bounding with delight.  Tails wagging, eyes alight, we are impossible to contain- such is our joy.  “Who’s a good writer? You’re a good writer, yes you are!”

My poor husband has been living with this emotional roller coaster for some time.  Perhaps it’s just as well that he travels so much.  Dealing with me close up every day might be more than our marriage can handle.  Then again, he is an amazing man.

We’re in a good stretch right now.  I recently attended the San Francisco Writers’ Conference and had a grand ol’ happy puppy time: attending amazing classes, meeting wonderful people, and pitching my new book to fabulous agents.  Between the conference and my previous queries I now have four full copies of Sea Strand with agents, plus a few partials.  Today, I am on cloud nine.  Tomorrow?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

The thing is, I don’t see this process ending.  Once one has an agent, the nail-biting continues until the book is sold to a publisher, next the stomach wrenching progress of book sales and reader reactions.

And then, there’s the next book.

Still, I wouldn’t change a thing. (Well, I’d have an agent, a book deal, and be out promoting Sea Strand, but besides that, I wouldn’t change a thing.)  I’ve been writing stories since I was six. (I found my first one the other day.  It was a story about a lady bug.  I served as writer and illustrator, thank you very much.)  I’ll always be writing.  It will always be what makes me happy.  There will forever be voices in my head, characters wanting out, and stories spilling forth.  I’m very lucky that I have this certainty.

Or, I need professional help, but let’s just go with lucky, shall we?

In honor of those discerning, intelligent, and fabulous agents who have shown such impeccable taste and requested my work to review I give you this week’s Musical Monday song, Happy by Pharrell Williams.

And when/if the rejections come again?  We’ll just fall off that bridge when we get there.

In the meantime, enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM

Musical Monday- "Happy" Minions

Musical Monday- “Happy” Minions

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

And I emerge from the Silly Season at last…

Welcome back to the cornucopia of emotion, goofiness, and occasional pathos that is my Musical Monday Blog!  This week’s song is Pompeii by Bastille.  This post is dedicated to one of my life long best buds, Kimberly (you can check out her blog at http://www.kimberlyemerson.com/).

Kim and I met in the fifth grade when my parents moved and I started school with her.  In sixth grade we were in the same class, largely because there only was ONE sixth grade class, and we really hit it off.  In a foretelling of who we would some day become we wrote stories and read them to one another.  We would even write a chapter, pass it off to the other to write the next chapter, and so on and so forth.  She moved away after ninth grade and I lost a wonderful light out of my life.

Cue the twenty-first century and Facebook.  BAM!  There’s Kim!  And we’re back, people.  After corresponding via funny posts (you know cute cats, political cartoons, and the things that George Takei puts up) I flew down to SoCal to see my old friend in person.  And in the words of this week’s song, “Does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?” We’re getting the band back together! Er, so to speak.

When I listen to Pompeii I hear a miracle of friendship, that after so many years and so many miles, different life choices, it almost feels like nothing’s changed at all.  Growing up, Kim and I weathered the slings and arrows of the resident elementary school and, later, middle school, Mean Girls.  Nowadays as we both slog our way through this inscrutable thing called the publishing industry, we frequently have to give one another a lift emotionally.  The rejections and the sheer contrariness of a path to hoped-for success that literally has no sign posts is wearing on the psyche, to say the least. (Yes, there are how-to books, but if I have learned anything in recent years, it’s that everyone’s story is quintessentially unique.)  On the days when I am finding it simply impossible to be my usual optimistic self, Kim is there to lift me up and I hope I do the same for her.

I know I am painting my own personal picture from the song, yet this is what the line, “How am I gonna be an optimist about this?” means to me.  That’s the great thing about music, art or poetry, you are the master of your domain.  It is up to you to say what that media means to you, how it moves your spirit.  Pompeii may mean something very different to other people, but for me it’s an ode to friendship and not giving up on my dream– or Kim’s.

After all, we haven’t failed until we stop trying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F90Cw4l-8NY

Pompeii”

Eh-eh-o eh-o [8x] I was left to my own devices
Many days fell away with nothing to show And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Grey clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this? We were caught up and lost in all of our vices
In your pose as the dust settled around us And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Grey clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
If you close your eyes

Eh-eh-o eh-o [8x]

Oh where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?
Oh oh where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Grey clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

If you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?

Eh-eh-o eh-o [8x]

Friends and writers- finding our way.

Friends and writers- finding our way.

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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