Paul DeBlassie III’s The Making of a Horror Writer

The unholy features dark fantasy.I have to state something that I hope is not a cliché. But, I really believe writers are indeed born and not made. Of course, it takes years and years of work, reading, writing, and editing and editing and editing before things come together. This is definitely the making of a writer, but the initial stuff needs to be there. I couldn’t be a computer programmer or software engineer for all the oolong tea in China. It’s just not in me. However, I do have it in me and have had it in me to write and write till I get it right. If we’re born with the inspiration, if we want to write, then something is there. In The Unholy I had to keep going, the inspiration and compulsion were so strong that the energy literally felt as if it was electric and going to shoot out my fingertips and the top of my head if I didn’t write it out. The making of a horror writer, one who wants to write about the dark side and thrills of the psyche, is about doing what you feel when it comes to putting words on the page and letting no one dissuade you. There is discouragement, but that only comes when we need to step back a bit and rest. If we are patient and don’t enter into the Hades Hall of Abandoned Hope then we’ll find that energy returns. The making of a writer is about writing and never stopping the writing, letting it come together as it does in its own way and in its own time.

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Paul DeBlassie III is the author of dark fantasy the unholyAuthor Biography:

Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and writer living in Albuquerque who has treated survivors of the dark side of religion for more than 30 years. His professional consultation practice — SoulCare — is devoted to the tending of the soul. Dr. DeBlassie writes fiction with a healing emphasis. He has been deeply influenced by the mestizo myth of Aztlan, its surreal beauty and natural magic.  He is a member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Paul-DeBlassie-III/e/B00E5TBJXY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Website: http://www.pauldeblassieiii.com/

Blog: http://pauldeblassieiii.blogspot.com/

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Unholy-Novel-Paul-DeBlassie/dp/0865349592/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379592287&sr=8-1&keywords=the+unholy+paul+deblassie

BN.com: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-unholy-paul-deblassie/1116061527?ean=9780865349599

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Paul DeBlassie's Dark fantasy features The UnholyBLURB:

A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mysticlandofAztlan, The Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.

Excerpt:

“Help me? Help yourself! Face what is yours to face,” Elizabeth hissed. She yanked the door open then forced it to slam behind her.

Claire stood still for a moment, feeling as if a tornado had swept through the room. Elizabeth’s demand had left her shaken. She drew a deep breath, then went to her desk and picked up her tea, noticing her trembling hands.

Turning toward the window, Claire saw a muscular orderly accompanying Elizabeth to the locked ward at the far end of the hospital compound. A flock of crows circled high overhead, seeming to follow the two receding figures. As they arrived at the outer doors of the locked unit, the orderly reached for his keys. The crows circled while the two crossed the threshold of the unit, Elizabeth suddenly pausing, turning, and looking outside, her gaze riveted on the flock of birds.

All but two flew off, disappearing into the piñon-covered hills. The two that remained came to rest on the red brick wall adjacent to the locked unit, their black eyes boring into Elizabeth. She looked panicked then enraged and, shaking a finger at the creatures, yelled something. Her frantic gestures told Claire that she was screeching curses to ward off evil.

Claire took a step back from the window, from the impact of Elizabeth’s rage.

The orderly grabbed Elizabeth roughly by the arm and pulled her inside.

The crows waited, watched, then flew away.

 

Where Paul DeBlassie III, Author of The Unholy, Gets his Ideas

UnholyThe_Unholy_Banner_copyIdeas come from the deep repository of the collective unconscious mind that inspires images and symbols during the fantasies of waking life and during dreams and nightmares. Mainly, it’s the nightmare stuff that bodes best for writing psychological thrillers and dark fantasy such as is in The Unholy. When I wake up in a cold sweat with the characters of the novels threatening me (I remember when Archbishop William Anarch, sinister prelate in The Unholy tormented me for nights on end, demanding that I not write the story) that’s when I know that real inspiration is flowing and that to listen to it and follow the images and symbols that emerge from my deep, unconscious mind during sleep and during the reverie of writing the story will end up in the development of spine tingling realities that jettison both me as the writer and the reader into phantasmagoric realms that have a way of shaking up conscious mindsets and get our heads blown out in a very, very unsettling but ultimately useful way. My writing, in other words, comes from an inner place of torment that needs to be let out so it can be set right. When mind stuff is set right inside me I can feel it by sensing a quality of being at peace, that I’ve written to the best of my ability and been true to the deep, archetypal energies swirling through my mind during the narrative. It really is a trip to listen to ideas, let them become images, and suddenly have them take over a page. It’s like the pages catch fire and everyone has come to life and things become disorderly, fraught with conflict, and danger looms.

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The Unholy contains psychological suspense.

BLURB: 

A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, The Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.

Excerpt:

Lightning streaked across a midnight dark sky, making the neck hairs of a five-year-old girl crouched beneath a cluster of twenty-foot pines in the Turquoise Mountains of Aztlan stand on end. The long wavy strands of her auburn mane floated outward with the static charge. It felt as though the world was about to end.

Seconds later, lightning struck a lone tree nearby and a crash of thunder shook the ground. Her body rocked back and forth, trembling with terror. She lost her footing, sandstone crumbling beneath her feet, and then regained it; still, she did not feel safe. There appeared to be reddish eyes watching from behind scrub oaks and mountain pines, scanning her every movement and watching her quick breaths. Then everything became silent.

The girl leaned against the trunk of the nearest tree. The night air wrapped its frigid arms tightly around her, and she wondered if she would freeze to death or, even worse, stay there through the night and by morning be nothing but the blood and bones left by hungry animals. Her breaths became quicker and were so shallow that no air seemed to reach her lungs. The dusty earth gave up quick bursts of sand from gusts of northerly winds that blew so fiercely into her nostrils that she coughed but tried to stifle the sounds because she didn’t want to be noticed.

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Paul De Blassie is the author of The Unholy

Author Information:

Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and writer living in Albuquerque who has treated survivors of the dark side of religion for more than 30 years. His professional consultation practice — SoulCare — is devoted to the tending of the soul. Dr. DeBlassie writes fiction with a healing emphasis. He has been deeply influenced by the mestizo myth of Aztlan, its surreal beauty and natural magic.  He is a member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.

One randomly drawn commenter will receive the choice of a $50 Amazon/BN gift card.

Buy Links:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Unholy-Novel-Paul-DeBlassie/dp/0865349592

The Unholy contains psychological suspense by Paul De Blassie

 

The Genesis of Tom Johnson’s Three Go Back

Most of my life I’ve had a deep interest in paleontology and entomology. In school, while we were reading Shakespeare, I was thinking about bugs. During History class, I wondered what new discovery was being uncovered in fossil beds around the world. The only reason I passed History in the ninth grade was due to my artistic talent at the time. The teacher asked me to draw Hannibal crossing the Alps with his elephants.

I wanted to write as far back as age ten, when I wrote a comic book story. Of course, it was terrible, but the fire was there. Then about age 25 I started creating plots and characters, and putting them on paper. The stories involved animals. One plot eventually became the Jur series several years later. I was living my dream and creating stories to be read.

One of my favorite comic strips is Luann. While reading the strip one day, I began wondering why that evil little Elvis guy doesn’t hire a scientist to build a time machine, and accidentally send Luann and her girlfriends, Delta and Bernice, back in time. Then someone could go after them. Well, I figured that would never happen, but I liked the idea. I started thinking about writing it myself, only not with Luann and her friends, but with girls in their mold.

Thus, Three Go Back was conceived. I set my tale in the future, where teleport machines became the common transportation system. My problem was coming up with the time machine angle for the story. Okay, so what if my characters were teleporting at the same time a magnetic solar flare struck the planet, burning out the teleport circuits, and turning it into a time machine? Bang. That became my gimmick.

With the use of those concepts, my story almost wrote itself. My big problem was finding a publisher. You see, I used scientific names for the animals they encounter in their journey back through time. Publishers told me they would never find an editor who knew if the names were real, misspelled, or in the correct time period. They kindly but firmly rejected the story. I sent a proposal to Barbara Custer at Night to Dawn, who knew my background in prehistoric animal life and my extensive study on the subject. She took a chance. Actually, anyone with a computer can type the names I use and do a Google search, and it will show the data on any creature. But I understood the publishers’ decision to reject the book because of the editing difficulties. It can add a lot of work to an editor’s already hectic job. You do come upon variation of names, which can confuse you.

I live in the Permian Basin of Texas, which is an area rich in Permian fossils. The Permian Period in our prehistory was over 250 million years ago, or roughly 60 million years before the dinosaurs, so this area is famous for reptiles and amphibians. The Craddock Redbeds is an important dig in our area, and Dr. Bakkar, a famous paleontologist, brings a team up from the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences every year. Our town Seymour has a reptile/amphibian named after it – the Seymouria. So my childhood was drawn towards the study, and that’s why I write so much about prehistoric life. They do say to write what you know and love.

Besides Three Go Back and other novels set in prehistoric times, I write action and adventure novels in the tradition of the pulp magazines of the 1930s and ‘40s, a period I also love. My interest varies from western to detective and spaceships. Whether in the far-flung galactic worlds of the future or the eons in our past, to the modern-day mystery, I love the written word and enjoy telling a story. I hope you will read my stories and I’m sure you will see that love I project into my characters.

Blurb:

When their teleport vehicle malfunctions, becoming a time machine, it sends three young girls back in time on a journey of discovery they never expected. From the Ice Age through the Cretaceous, Permian, Carboniferous, and finally to the beginning of the Earth’s evolution of life, they experience their world’s prehistoric past in all its splendor and terror, coming away with the joy of knowledge and adventure!

Biography and Links:

I was born in 1940, going through elementary schools in Seymour and Wichita Falls, Texas. My dad was a cowboy and cook, and often worked at each profession, which required a lot of moves. He wanted me to follow in his footsteps, but I had more of a studious nature and didn’t want to spend my life on farms and ranches. I was different from most kids my age; I didn’t want to be a cowboy and never liked riding horses. My family lived something of an itinerant’s lifestyle, and we never stayed in one place long enough for me to develop friendships. In high school I worked on the ranch my dad was foreman of while other students my age were dating.

When I turned 18, I joined the Army as an MP and was off to see the world, never regretting my decision to leave the life my family had. I had some pretty good assignments, such as a three-year tour in France. Then I spent one year patrolling the DMZ between North and South Korea under fire and 13 months in Vietnam. But I did enjoy my twenty years as a military cop and took some college courses in the process.

After retirement, my wife, Ginger and I started Fading Shadows, a small press imprint. We published a hobby magazine, Echoes, for the next twenty years, as well as half a dozen genre fiction titles, which refired my interest in writing.

Today I leave the publishing for others and continue my love of writing. It has been a good life, and I in no way degrade those men and women on ranches and farms. It just wasn’t a life for me.

Blog http://jurnovels.blogspot.com

Blog http://pulplair.blogspot.com

Tom’s Amazon Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008MM81CM

 

Interview with Balloon Artist Turned Author Ralph E. Horner

TandemTrystSome time ago Night to Dawn Books published Heroes of Ancient Greece, an anthology featuring Ralph E. Horner’s tale, “Atalanta.” I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to learn about his brainchild Tandem Tryst and forthcoming sequel. Also fascinating is his background in magic and balloon art. He has crafted every balloon animal you can imagine and now, he has brought his experiences with him into publishing and marketing. So let’s hear what Ralph has to say about Tandem Tryst and his upcoming sequel.

BARBARA: I’ve known that you’ve written short stories for some time, having published one in Heroes of Ancient Greece. What motivated your transition to novels?

RALPH: Actually I started writing novels first. I wrote three rather short novels between 1985 and 1995. They were about fifty-five to sixty-five thousands words, and during that time I did write one short Christmas story. Even though I was a bit discouraged after none of these novels got published, the concept of Tandem Tryst seemed better than the other stories I had written. That alone motivated me to continue writing it. I also decided that extending the story to eighty thousand words would make it easier to sell.

BARBARA: Could you tell me about balloon animals and magic? How do you garner publicity for your business?

RALPH: Every year I try to make four or five new balloon creations. I’m up to around one hundred now. I used the term make new balloons rather than learn because once you’re up to making twenty-five or thirty you start creating things that aren’t in balloon books. Figures like Angels, Frankenstein, the wolfman, fairies, etc. Also with magic, I learn a new trick or two a year and try to implement comedy into most of them. If you can get the kids laughing that really helps a magic show. I now teach balloon art and magic for children and adults at a local junior college. For advertising my business I use the area phone book which also gives you an on-line listing.

BARBARA: Do you find yourself bringing your experiences as a clown to the printed page? If yes, can you give an example?

RALPH: Outside of the fact that clowning and creative writing are both considered entertainment, they are very different. With my stories usually being series in nature, I don’t often use humor, but there are exceptions. In “Pandora Spoxx” from the Startling Stories Anthology, I used humor to color my Captain Danger and the Space Rangers story. I used a lot of puns and satire in that one. Even in my novel Tandem Tryst I occasionally wrote in a humorous situation and a little joke here and there, and when the two main characters are watching a vaudeville show, I wrote an entire comedy routine that could have taken place at that time.

The sequel Midnight Mist, which I’m working on now, has the most humor of any novel I’ve done. For the first time I’ve even written in a character who is a birthday party clown.

BARBARA: Where did you get your ideas for your characters and theme for Tandem Tryst?

RALPH: I was mowing the grass one day and the concept of the story came to me. What if my wife passed away suddenly and then years later I was somehow able to travel back in time and meet her soul in a previous life. And what if she looked, sounded, and acted as my wife did? This would be the ultimate blessing for someone who lost their soul-mate.

Tandem Tryst was originally going to be a third story in my Witch’s Moon trilogy I was writing. Since the first two novels took place in MA this one would too, and the time was to be 1893. When I told my mother about this new novel she mentioned that the time was the same as the World’s Columbian Exposition here in Chicago. I’d heard of that fair, but knew very little about it. Since I live in the Chicago area I changed the story to that location. I spent more time researching the history of the fair than I did writing the story. I was only in the third chapter when I saw the book The Devil in the White City being advertised in the Chicago Tribune. I knew I’d done the right thing by putting the story at the fair. Instead of having this novel as a third story of an unpublished trilogy I decided to make this a separate story. As far as the characters, they evolved as I wrote the novel.

BARBARA: I hear you’re working on a sequel, Midnight Mist. Could you give a preview of this tale?

RALPH: While my lead characters, Jeff and Melody, in Tandem Tryst solve the problems, like revealing the stalker, another dilemma opens up as Tandem Tryst comes to a close. I don’t want to say too much about Midnight Mist that might spoil Tandem Tryst for people who haven’t read it, but the sequel gives the first story closure for the two lovers. In the first story Jeff, who is from 1993, goes back in time to Melody’s time 1893 and in Midnight Mist, Melody comes to Jeff’s time with some new and existing problems.

BARBARA: Most writers find moving from short stories to novels a great leap. What do you find the most challenging about novel writing?

RALPH: Well, since I started with short novels, and novellas, I would say the hardest part about writing a full length novel is trying to incorporate side plots and keeping the word count up, if you’re not use to writing that long of a story. The thinking process is different for a novel.

BARBARA: What advice would you give an aspiring author trying to hone his or her technique?

RALPH: Join a writers’ support group. You have to have other writers evaluate your work. Writing has so many facets involved; plot, dialogue, narrative, good descriptions, a good writing style or voice, punctuation and the list goes on. Just when you think you have these attributes down your writers group will find another flaw for you to consider. Your writing can always improve. Sometimes the criticism of the group is painful, but it’s worth it if you want to improve and get published. If the people in your group don’t find your problems, the editors at the publishing houses will.

BARBARA: “Atalanta” enjoyed a favorable review. What motivated that tales, and how did the collaborating with Tom and the other contributors come about?

RALPH: I had two stories published through Tom’s magazine Classic Pulp Fiction Stories and we had done another anthology together. One day he emailed me asking if I could write a story about Atalanta the woman warrior from Greek Mythology. I had never heard of her, but told him I’d do some research and write one. Tom was planning an anthology of Ancient Greek Heroes and also contacted a mutual friend, Mike Black to help him with the writing. Tom wrote two stories; one with Hercules and one about Atalanta. Mike wrote a Hercules story and I did a second one with the Atalanta theme. It was a lot of fun writing in a new genre.

BARBARA: Where may people get copies of Tandem Tryst and Greek Heroes?

RALPH: Amazon.com has both of them. You can also buy Tandem Tryst from my publisher, Wings-press.com, or my website www.ralphehorner.weebly.com, and the book store at the Chicago Architecture Foundation where they conduct the White City bus tours, and at their on-line store www.architecture.org. I believe now you can also order it at Barnes and Nobel.

BARBARA: If you could give one piece of advice to an author trying to promote their books, what would it be?

RALPH: I’m still learning myself, but I’d say get a website, try to get on-line reviews and schedule book signings and readings to get your name out there.

RalphTT

 

Interview with Prolific Author Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has published over thirty books with publishers like Filament Books, Altus Press, and now Night to Dawn Books. Characters like the Black Ghost and Masked Avenger has provided grist for his pulp fiction, and Tom has drawn on his experiences in the Army as well. Tom and his wife Ginger helped edit the Fading Shadows magazines and Tales of Mask & Mayhem. Their efforts on keeping pulp alive earned them the Lamont award in 1991, and in 2005, Johnson became among Preditors & Editors’ top ten finalists for Jur: a Story of Pre-Dawn Earth. During the past year, he has created a new science fiction series with Pangaea: Eden’s Planet, and now his sequel, Pangaea: Eden’s Children. His upcoming SF novel, Tunnel through Space, will come out later this summer.

BARBARA CUSTER: When did you first begin writing?

TOM JOHNSON: I was a Desk Sergeant for the Army MPs in France when I first started writing fiction, sometime around 1964 or ’65. On slow nights, when there wasn’t much activity going on, I got awfully bored while my units were out on patrol, and I enjoyed working out plots and creating characters, then coming up with situations to move the stories along. Unfortunately, I never pursued my interest in writing until after Vietnam. In 1970, I wrote the first two novels in the Jur series in long hand, and hired a professional typist to put the first one into manuscript form. But when the first novel didn’t sell right away, I left the second one in long hand and that’s where they stayed for thirty years.

BARBARA CUSTER: How did your experiences in Vietnam affect your writing process?

TOM JOHNSON: I think the jungles of Vietnam inspired me more than anything. The setting was perfect for an action adventure novel; and we had a few real adventures ourselves over there! Every day was a story, and for anyone as impressionable as me, I could see dinosaurs or ancient civilizations everywhere I looked. When I returned to the States, I had to put my stories on paper. Those lonely nights back in France resurfaced, and I remembered some of those plots and characters I had created, and before I knew it, the stories began unraveling as fast as my pen could move across the page.

BARBARA CUSTER: You enjoyed a great run on Echoes, Detective Mystery Stories, and your other magazines. Do you have any back copies available?

TOM JOHNSON: Yes, Echoes ran from 1982 until we retired in 2004; 100 issues in magazine form, then another 57 issues as a newsletter. In 1995, we started a string of fiction magazines, which included Detective Mystery Stories and others. I think we published over 300 issues of the fiction magazines, and probably had a hundred writers and a dozen artists contributing to the titles. We started a trend that is still going today, although the quality of the publications has improved greatly since the advent of POD (publish on demand) technology. When we retired, we stored a lot of back issues, and occasionally still sell copies.

BARBARA CUSTER: How did you come up with the idea for your Pangaea tales?

TOM JOHNSON: In the Jur novels, there is an ancient civilization called the Gen-sis, or First Ones, that existed with the dinosaurs. However, with Jur, the stories centered around people from the twenty-first century accidentally falling through time portals and finding themselves in the Jurassic Period. But I never really explained who this ancient civilization was, or where they come from. Pangaea begins sixty million years before the Jurassic Period, and tells the story of the First Ones. So, though Pangaea and Jur are connected in that respect, they are two different series; one following the First Ones, the other following people from our own time who encounter the Gen-sis.

BARBARA CUSTER: What do you find most difficult about your work-in-progress?

TOM JOHNSON: That’s easy. Wordage. When I studied in school, we were taught to use all the little helpers available to a writer: adverbs, adjectives, and a lot of passive voice. Today, publishers and editors want shorter sentences, tighter, and less little helpers. Absolutely no passive voice. So, for someone coming from a period when it was all right to use them, to a period in which they are avoided like the plague, I’ve got to add more story in shorter sentences. Sometimes, it is completely alien to me.

BARBARA CUSTER: What do you enjoy most about the creative process?

TOM JOHNSON: Creating characters and plots. I won’t start a story until I have the plot, and I must be happy with my characters in order for the story to work. I want them to be real, not just names on paper. They become someone I know, someone I can connect to. Basically, they are my friends. No matter how flowery the language of the story, if your characters don’t feel real, you won’t pull the reader into the adventure.

BARBARA CUSTER: Your “soul stealer” short stories have gone well for NTD and now for your anthology Blood Moons and Nightscapes. Where did you get your idea for these tales?

TOM JOHNSON: As an accident investigator in law enforcement, as well as a soldier in Vietnam, I saw violent death. A car slams head on into a tree, and what’s left of the driver and passengers can be scrapped off the windshield. Maybe there was a baby, or young child in the front seat. Or a bullet bows a soldier’s face half off or worse. Death can come when we don’t expect it, and it may be very violent. I would like to think that there are angels or soul stealers out there, who could help those victims meet that sudden, violent death and cross over. That’s why I created the soul stealer stories, I think.

BARBARA CUSTER: Tell the readers about your latest release.

TOM JOHNSON: Pangaea: Eden’s Children is the sequel to last year’s Pangaea: Eden’s Planet. In Eden’s Planet, a rocket ship from 2023 crashes back to Earth after going through a time warp in space. But the planet they land on is Earth 250 million years in the past, known as the Permian Period, sixty million years before the dinosaurs. However, there are terrible reptiles and other denizens in this period just as awesome as T-Rex. Plus, the crew is aware of a coming catastrophe that will wipe out all living creatures in this period. The story is about their survival. Then, in Eden’s Children, I had to fast forward the scene sixty million years, when the descendants of that rocket ship have resettled the Earth, and the problems they are facing. Pangaea, by the way, refers to the super continent, before it broke apart to form the continents that we are familiar with today. Imagine a world with one continent and one ocean. That was Pangaea, the world as it was then.

BARBARA CUSTER: What advice would you give to a person trying to get their short story / novel published?

TOM JOHNSON: Never give up. It was 32 years from the time I wrote my first novel in 1970 to when it was finally published in 2002. Since then, I’ve written seven fiction novels and numerous anthologies of short stories, as well as nonfiction books. All published. So if your heart is really into writing, then stick with it. The greatest reward is not in the money you make, but the pleasure of creating something others will enjoy. Write every day, as the experience will improve your abilities. And read the current genre of books you prefer, so you will know what the publishers are looking for. But above all, unless your aim is that of becoming a writer-for-hire, don’t compromise your goals just for the sake of being published. Write what YOU are interested in, not what someone else wants you to write.

 

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