Archive for mythology

YA Carnival Author Questions

Posted in indie, mythology, romance fantasy, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , , on March 18, 2013 by rachelcoles

Hi all,

Now that I’m back in front of a working connection and computer, here is the belated author questionnaire! In addition to the questions, I’ve posted an excerpt from the sequel I’m working on for Pazuzu’s Girl!

1. What is your all-time favorite book, and why?

I’m not sure I could pick a single one. One of my favorite series is Dan Simmons’ Hyperion series: Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, Rise of Endymion. I loved those books because they were complex, and when I put the last one down, it felt like my brain had changed after reading them. Mind-blowing. The series explored human evolution, not just physical, but religious and cultural, in the kind of time-span covered by Dune. It also explored artificial intelligence, in a different way than anything I’d read before. I also loved reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I always enjoy reading that because Discworld really picks you up and carries you away in the story. And that world is hilarious. Terry Pratchett takes typical tropes like vampires, dwarves, werewolves, etc, and turns everything on its head. He’s a really fun read, great for escaping. But I would say that the book whose phrases stayed with me for decades was either Something Wicked This Way Comes, or The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. He was one of the most poetic writers I’d ever seen, and really impressed upon me the power of words.

2. Is there an author you could be compared to or a popular fictional character you could relate to and why?

I have been compared to Neil Gaiman once or twice, because of the mythological content of some of my stories. That absolutely makes me feel honored. He is another one of my favorite authors, and I have to admit that I’ve emulated him in a lot of ways. As for characters I could relate to, I guess I would have to say Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit. I come from a family of Hobbits, pretty much. We’re mostly little people who love to eat and talk, and eat and talk, and eat and talk. I’m mostly not exaggerating. When I went to my aunt’s retirement party, we stopped at a deli and got pounds of meat, knishes, whitefish salad, bagels etc, on the way to her place from the airplane. Two hours later, we went to her party at which we didn’t stop eating, talking, and dancing for five hours. And when we got home, we cracked open the leftovers and ate again, chatting around the kitchen table. And that was just the beginning of the weekend. Elevensies/luncheon/afternoon tea/dinner/supper, they all ran together. Somehow I’m not 800 pounds. That’s why I think we’re secretly Hobbits. I am specifically a bit like Bilbo Baggins because I like telling stories, I am a creature of habit, and don’t normally go for anything unexpected, but every once in a while, I throw my hands up, give in to my wild side, and get into trouble.

3. Can you give us your favorite quote from your book and explain it?

My favorite quote, spoken by Pazuzu, is “I will do whatever I have to do to protect you, even if I do it poorly in your eyes. You are young and angry and nothing is as simple as you imagine.” I like it because Pazuzu’s Girl is partly about what it means to be a parent. Whatever his other flaws are, he loves his daughter, and insists on being a dad, even if it means Morpho is mad at him. It reminds me of what I have heard some parents say, ‘It’s not my job to be your friend, it’s my job to be your mom/dad.’ I’m sure that I will someday have this conversation with my daughter when she is a teenager, because I had it with my parents at some point.

4. What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep on writing?

Everything. I’m a space cadet and cannot stop daydreaming, and every experience I have somehow wends its way into a story. But specifically, I’m a child of the 80’s. I mostly listen to 80’s music because even though it’s corny often, there was an optimism then, and now a nostalgia. It’s energetic, bittersweet, and just kind of grabs my emotions. I write best when I’m caught up in some emotion or other. People who inspire me to keep writing are my family and friends. My daughter was the reason I started writing. She loves to hear bedtime stories, particularly scary stories. And when we had burned through all of the remotely age-appropriate scary stories we could find, we started making them up together. I started writing them down, and kept going. My husband who is my best friend is really supportive and beta-reads my stories. The writing group I’m part of, we critique each others material, and have peer-pressure writing nights and get each other to write (pssst, just a few words, you know you want to, all the cool kids are doing it…)

5. Describe your typical writing day or week.

My writing can be kind of scattershot. I have weeks where I’ll sit up until midnight after my daughter goes to bed, and write every night. Other times, it’ll be only on peer-pressure writing night, when I take my daughter with me to Panera and she plays Minecraft, while we all write, though I often have her write me a story on her iPad too.

6. Is there a typical food/drink you have to have when you write?

Well, I don’t know if I have a particular food or drink, whatever I’m in the mood for at the time. Usually iced tea of some kind. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating a Panera sandwich and soup, and one of their brownies. I love eating their brownies when I’m writing, and am sad when they’re all out by the time I get there. Their chocolate chip cookies are nice, gooey, and chewy too. But I can’t eat those every time I write, or I’d need a forklift to get me to the restaurant.

7. Can you tell us what you’re working on now, possibly an excerpt?

I’m working on a sequel to Pazuzu’s Girl. For now the working title is Iron Butterfly. But I will probably change it, because there are really four main characters: Morpho– the demon Pazuzu’s daughter who is also part Sidhe, Ereshkigal–ruler of the Underworld, Ninhab Agresti–Morpho and JD’s high school principal and future consort of Ereshkigal, and Marduk–ancient god-king of Babylon now a CEO.

From ‘Iron Butterfly’–

The tunnel went on in darkness for a ways. Morpho couldn’t tell how long. She had the feeling of rough walls on either side and above. The ground felt like loose dirt underneath her sneakers. But light grew ahead, and slowly they emerged out of the tunnel. There was sky overhead, but it wasn’t like any sky she’d ever seen. There was a moon like the moon outside in the regular world, except bigger, and brighter. It was clearer, and looked somehow like a bowl of molten silver dripping little pearls into the rest of the sky. The sky around the moon was deep emerald green shading into black velvet, which was littered with rainbow swaths of stars.

“Whoa.” JD stared around him at the thick bushes and trees. Their leaves were bronze and teardrop-shaped, with an iridescent sheen. Other bushes looked periwinkle blue in the glow from dozens of insectile motes that flitted away through the trees. The forest went dark, and she had somehow gotten the impression that they hadn’t been alone when they had come out. “Okay, then.” JD whispered. He kept going along a faint trail. “That was cool. Like Tinkerbell’s family.”

She looked back at the tunnel, but there was only foliage behind them. “Tunnel’s gone…Of course.” She muttered. “Okay.” She followed him until the trees thinned out to a broad plain of rolling grass-covered hills. The trail widened into a road that threaded through the swells of land. They had been walking for about five minutes, cresting the first hill when the baying started in the distance to the left. It got louder quickly as whatever made that sound came closer, but as she stared out at the hills, she couldn’t see anything, at first. Then a form took shape in the low mist that cloaked the valleys. As it got closer, it looked like a woman riding a chariot, that was drawn by the largest dogs she had ever seen. They were the size of horses, so black the light of the moon just sunk into their fur. Their ringed yellow and red eyes shone from their heads like lamps, and their sharp teeth were as black as obsidian. She didn’t get as far as noticing what the woman looked like.

“Oh hell!” Morpho and JD turned and ran.

“Change, Babe, change!” JD yelled to her. “They won’t be able to chase all of you!” he panted. “Or maybe you could test your Cuisinart wings move!”

She changed into a cloud of butterflies with razor wings and flew up into the sky above the chariot to get a vantage point, but the chariot had gained on JD. Then just when she thought that it couldn’t get worse, the chariot split into three. Three chariots, three sets of hellish dogs, and three women. They circled JD.

Leave him alone! She thought, as she dived at them. But the woman in the middle raised her hand, and suddenly, Morpho was human again as she slammed down onto the ground in front of the figure, whose hand was still outstretched toward her. Morpho couldn’t move, not even to turn her head, so she had a moment to see the women who had captured them. The tallest one had blazing red hair, not just Irish red, but so red it was almost like flames drifting around her head, barely restrained in long braids that were bound by delicate chains ending in tiny golden balls. She wore a gold circlet with swirls across the band. Her eyes were blood red. The woman to her left had a face very much like the red-haired woman, enough to be sisters. Her hair was as black as the messenger Raven’s wings, almost as black as the hell-hounds’ fur, absorbing light. Her black irises were like two holes in her eyeballs. Her nose was long and slightly curved, and her lips were thinner than her sister’s. The last woman was as pale as her sister was dark, the shortest of the three. She had pure white hair, as long as the other two. Her skin was the color of bone, and the eeriest part was her eyes. They were completely white. There were no pupils or irises, just milky white all the way across. They were terrible to look at, and oddly beautiful.

The red-haired one spoke. “You certainly are curious little creatures, aren’t you? Lugh told us you were coming. I warned your mother that you would be too curious for your own good at some point. I told her you would be your father’s child.”

“Who are you?” Morpho choked and strained against the force that held her head down. It released suddenly, and she sat up, spitting soil.

“I am Nemain. We are the Morrigan. We rule here. You would do well to show us some respect. Especially since you are trespassing.”

“Lugh is here? He told you about…us?” She glanced at JD. The dogs stood in front of him, a low rumbling growl issuing from their throats.

“Yes, though Macha saw that you would come.” She nodded at the white sister.

“Uh, sorry, we didn’t mean to trespass.” JD gulped, looking at the length of the dogs’ teeth.

The black-haired sister turned to her sibling, opened her mouth and a caw bordering on a shriek came out. It wasn’t amiable, like Raven’s caw. It was sharp and dangerous. Her nose seemed longer and her lips and white teeth seemed sharper.

Nemain studied JD. “Badb says you are young and…cute, like a lapdog. She wants to let you live, for now. Very well.” She reached over Morpho, as if her arm simply stretched and grew. Her long-fingered white hand grasped the back of Morpho’s shirt and hauled her up as if she were a kitten, into the chariot and dumped her at her slippered feet. Badb took JD. His face was frozen somewhere between terror and the goofy look he got when he stared at his busty guitar girl posters. If Morpho had been closer to him, she would have smacked him. But then, the chariots took off with a lurch and they were moving so swiftly she didn’t have a chance to do anything but slit her eyes against the wind as they flew. Everything turned grey and when she looked down at her hands, they seemed insubstantial, like mist. The dogs, JD, Badb and Macha, all of them seemed to blend into the grey so their edges blurred. She didn’t want to turn and see the red-haired queen behind her. And then, they slowed to a halt. Now, they were in a circle of grey stones so tall, the shadows they cast from the moon must have spread across the plain they were on for a mile. And across the shadows, filling up the plain behind them were hosts of fairies of all kinds. At least that’s what Morpho thought they were when the chariots pulled around. There were some very powerful looking fairies around a semicircle of thrones in the center of the stone circle. Their thrones were all different too. One of them was made of what looked like carved amber, inlaid with gold in the same swirling designs as the red-haired queen’s circlet. Another was made entirely of silver, another of pure gold, shining in the moonlight. Another appeared to be made of woven branches and soft emerald moss. Lounging in the amber throne, was Lugh, their erstwhile legal guardian. He had a gold circlet around his forehead, the only thing controlling his wild tawny locks. He wore what looked like a fine red linen tunic with gold embroidery and woolen plaid leggings.

“Hi, luv! Took you long enough.”

“You knew we were coming.” Morpho said.

“I’ve been livin’ with you for almost a year. And I know your mama.”

“So…you’re not mad? That we, uh, poked around and, uh, followed you?”

“I didn’t say that.” His pale eyes flickered for a moment with golden light. “But you’re my cousin’s girl. I’m under a geas that I’d look after you if something happened to…the other side o’ yer family.”

“Under a what?”

He smiled grimly. “Geas. An oath.”

“Oh.” She swallowed, somehow deflated.

“Relax, I like you. I like yer boy too,” he nodded at JD, “or we’d be havin’ a very different conversation right now.”

“Do you vouch for them, Lugh Lamfada?” The man who sat in the golden throne boomed. Though he was seated, he was obviously tall and powerfully built. His hair was silver. He had none of the other marks of advanced age, but Morpho could tell he was old. Really old. Not crusty though. He radiated power. He had the bearing most jocks took steroids to try to look like, with half the brains.

“I do, your Highness.” Lugh inclined his head.

The Morrigan hauled her and JD out of their chariots in front of the King. Then the chariots collapsed into a single throne made of black sharp rock and padded with what Morpho seriously hoped wasn’t human skin. There were six heads tied by the hair onto the sides of the throne. And instead of three women, there was only Nemain now. She stared at Morpho. Her expression was somewhere between contempt and curiosity. Either way, it was unsettling. She said nothing.

End Excerpt


Check out other indie author pages from the YA Indie Carnival!

Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy


And check out What’s New, on the YA Author Club site, new spoilers, new covers, new releases, and recent news!


Ereshkigal and the Persephone Myth

Posted in history, horror, indie, mythology, science fiction, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by rachelcoles

One of the most fascinating characters to me in myth, Sumerian or otherwise, is Ereshkigal. For people who know me, this might seem obvious. Queen of the Underworld, zombies, dead people, ghosts. I have make-believe zombie preparedness posters in my office at work. However, my love of all things morbid and creepy is not the key reason I’m interested in Ereshkigal.

Many people do not see her as a sympathetic character. Like most other gods in mythology everywhere, she is vicious, cunning, vengeful, all of the delightful qualities of ancient gods. But if you know her whole story, suddenly, the reasons for her ruthlessness take on a different tone.

She did not begin as a dark frightening goddess of the dead. By all accounts, her story began very much like Persephone’s. She began as a young beautiful maiden sun goddess. Until she was raped, abducted, and dragged to the Underworld by a dragon named Kur, at least in one version he is a dragon. In others he is a mountain. At one point, the Underworld is referred to as Kur…Until, unlike the demure Persephone, she kicked her rapist’s ass and took over the Underworld. From this point on, the Underworld is referred to by one of her other names, Irkalla. This seemed to mark the shift in dominance. If Persephone had been depicted differently than she was, rather in the same way as Ereshkigal, it would have ended with her kicking Hades’ ass, and renaming the Greek Underworld Persephone. Ereshkigal was not going to be content with becoming the consort of some controlling jerk. She was going to take his stuff and kick him to the curb.

So basically, she starts as a rape victim, and instead of succumbing to the fate someone else was forcing upon her, decides somehow to use her circumstances to her advantage and create her own future. I don’t know about anyone else, but that is much more interesting to me than just her label as the goddess of the Underworld, it was how she got there. Like Thelma and Louise, told the Addams Family way, and with a happy ending.

Though I didn’t go into her backstory in Pazuzu’s Girl, I made a reference to it, when she told JD that she would look after his abused mother when the woman died, because she ‘understood what it was to feel powerless’.

I’m now writing a sequel to Pazuzu’s Girl, in which Ereshkigal’s origin story will be told from her point of view.

I can’t help but wonder if she were a real woman today, she would probably be jailed for doing the things she does, and then there would be protests for her by feminist groups, Facebook campaigns with her face representing women’s rights. Interesting to think of the tropes we see throughout history showing up in different ways, perceived differently in different ages.

Adding Fantasy to Reality

Posted in indie, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , , on August 19, 2012 by rachelcoles

Some would call this schizophrenia or just plain being bonkers. But I think as long as you’re not having full blown conversations with people who aren’t there as you sit in Office Space-worthy bang-your-head-against-the-steering-wheel traffic, that injecting a little fantasy into your reality can be useful sometimes. At least for me.

I hate change, at least change that involves risk. I am the stereotypical government worker personality in that way. I planned to go to the same job until I was old, each day every day. Not necessarily do the same thing, but go the same job, the same organization generally. I recently switched jobs. It is a very cool worthwhile job and organization, and I like it a lot. I switched because the stolid part of me warred with the desire to do something different. Kind of like living in the same house for your whole life and suddenly needing every few years to rearrange all the furniture. I once lugged an eight foot tall bookcase up a Victorian staircase. I think my husband’s just happy I didn’t nail any of the furniture upside down on the ceiling just to rearrange.

So, as one might imagine, I’ve been in need of a little meditation. Well, I’m not much good at sitting in a blazing hot room with people in various physiologically impossible yoga poses. So meditation isn’t really my strong point. Instead, since we recently started reading our daughter the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series,  reading this type of thing and writing our own fantasy has made it frighteningly easy to slip into pretty satisfying daydreams about how cool life might be if I could shoot lightening bolts, visit an undersea palace, or, especially in traffic, slip through the Underworld as a shortcut to getting home after work and avoiding I-25.

Recently, I rediscovered how much I loved to swim. It really felt like meditation in motion to move through the water and watch the sparkle of sunlight across my fingers. After reading the Percy Jackson series it was easier to imagine the world of the sea, or the local rec center pool, as being animated with creatures and being one of them. I felt like I could have swum forever. I swam until the tensions of the day just kind of floated away. That’s happened while training for half-marathons before too. I listen on my iPod to the soundtrack for Kung Fu Panda and I run faster and farther chasing that almond cookie.

I think that the daydreams I let into my life really can enrich it in a useful way. Especially if it gets me off the sofa. Since the Avengers was one of the highest grossing movies of the summer, and ComicCon hit one of the largest cons of the summer in Denver, and most people were in costume, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

New Release: Dead Radiance by TG Ayers

Posted in indie, romance fantasy, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , , on February 27, 2012 by rachelcoles

Today, I’d like to introduce a new release called Dead Radiance by author TG Ayers. It will be the first in a series called the Valkyrie Novels, and they promise to be captivating reads. Already I am hooked:


For as long as she can recall Bryn Halbrook has seen a golden aura around certain people, and it is only when her new best friend Joshua dies that she understands the glow means death. Bryn struggles to adapt to a new town and a new foster home while trying to deal with the guilt of being unable to save her friend. Until mysterious biker-boy, Aidan Lee arrives.

When Aidan unexpectedly takes off he leaves behind a shattered heart, a tonne of unanswered questions and a mysterious book that suggests Bryn is a Valkyrie. Bryn is faced with questions about Aidan’s real identity, the real reason he came to Craven, and that Odin, Freya and Valhalla just might be real.


As if accepting her new wings, new life and new home in Asgard isn’t difficult enough, Bryn is forced to find and return the precious necklace of the Goddess Freya. The only problem is – if she fails, Aidan will die.


The mystery of a Mythology is easy to enjoy. The reality is much harder to accept.


Here is an excerpt:  “My fingers uncurled their desperate grip on the rose and it fell, tilting, to drop head first onto the casket, twirling as it descended into the eerie depths. It hit the lid and shattered.. Petals flew in all directions and everywhere yellow scraps of the dismembered flower reflected Joshua’s iridescent light.”


If you want to read more you can go to Amazon. I’d like to briefly introduce TG Ayers:


I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognise that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practise given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes… I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It’s a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each others loves – it works wonderfully…


My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands – I shall forever remain crosseyed.


If you want to contact TG Ayers to discuss the book, she is at

Pazuzu’s Girl Giveaway and Blog Tour

Posted in book reviews, indie, publishing, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by rachelcoles

Pazuzu’s Girl went to print last night! It will be released February 10! There’s a giveaway for it on Goodreads that will close on February 2,so join and be one of the first to read it! I’m doing an official blog tour from February 13-March 15, courtesy of my very cool fellow authors and reviewers in the YA Indie Carnival. It’s been a long haul and I’ve learned a lot about being published, thanks to the awesome folks at Journalstone. Their sites, all worth visiting on a regular basis to see what they’re doing are listed in this blog, and at our Members site. More news as we get closer to February 10!

YA Indie Carnival: Favorite Character to Write

Posted in indie, Middle East, publishing, urban fantasy, writing, young adult fiction with tags , , , , , on October 7, 2011 by rachelcoles

Today’s post discusses what our favorite character was to write, and why?

I’ll discuss a favorite character for a novel I’ve written that hasn’t come out yet, because his story in mythology had the potential for a lot of humanity and depth, and was ambiguous enough that it could apply to issues in current world events, and every day struggles.

I am working on a novel called Pazuzu’s Girl. One of the main characters is the Mesopotamian demon Pazuzu, lord of plagues and the southwest wind. I think he was one of my favorite characters ever.

There are tenuous links in a couple of myth sources between Pazuzu and a passing character in Sumerian epics called the Anzu Bird. If we assumed that this link was valid, which I did assume for the sake of storytelling, what had to happen between Anzu Bird’s divinity, and his reappearance as a demon of plague, centuries later?

In some ways, the novel is about ‘the fall’, but not really. It’s really about the process and motivation behind why people make the decisions that they make. So Anzu stands up for something he believes in, and then pays a world-shattering price for it. In the centuries that follow he becomes, unwittingly, more human, with all of humanities’ woes and fears, such as those associated with having a frustrating teenage daughter with whom he can’t communicate. So I get to put this terrifying demon into very human and aggravating situations to see how he reacts. In the end, he has to decide, once again, if the divinity he’s lusted after for so many millenia is worth to him what he thought in the beginning, or if his connections to Earth matter more. He becomes something of a dark tragic hero.

This week’s promotions:

Darby Karchut’s novel Griffin Rising is a nominee for the 2011 Sybil’s Awards. Good luck Darby!

Author Kimberly Kinrade will be doing an interview on the Dani Snell’s blog with a giveaway of her new novel: the first book in the Forbidden series, Forbidden Mind, at

And my new anthology Beyond The Veil: A Ghost Story Anthology will be available on Kindle.

Visit some other writer’s sites today, and get to know them through their favorite characters! Danny Snell’s Refracted Light Reviews Patti Larsen, Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, the Hunted series, and the Hayle Coven novels. Courtney Cole, Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles. Wren Emerson, Author of I Wish and a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles. Laura Elliott, Author of Winnemucca. Nichole A. Williams, Author of Eternal Eden, and the upcoming Fallen Eden. She is also participating in the Glassheart Chronicles. Fisher Amelie, Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles. Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles. T. R. Graves, Author of Warriors of the Cross. Cyndi Tefft, Author of Between P.J. Hoover, Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis. Alicia McCalla, Author of the upcoming science-fiction novel Breaking Free. Heather Cashman, Author of Perception. Abbi Glines, Author of Breathe, and the upcoming Existence and Vincent Boys. Cidney Swanson, Author of Rippler., Cheri Schmidt, Author of Fateful, Fractured, and Fair Maiden, Fire Dancer, Lexus Luke, Author of Manitou, The Sky People Saga, Fire Breather, Suzy Turner, Author of December Moon and Raven, Dragonslayer, K. C. Blake, Author of Vampire Rules, Elephant Trainer, Gwenn Wright, Author of Filter, Ring-Leader, Kimberly Kinrade, Author of Bits of You, Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind, Prestidigitator, J.L. Bryan, Author of Paranormals series- Jenny Pox. Tommy Nightmare & Alexander Death Darby Karchut, Author of Griffin Rising, and soon Griffin Fire

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