Paranormal Ponderings


Paranormal Ponderings

World Building

I’ve been asked so many times how I’m able to create intricate imaginary worlds. Every time I try to answer, I’m stumped. I don’t know how I do it; I just write what I see in my head. Once a world is complete, the steps I took to create it are lost to me. As I was starting my next series, which takes place in a fantasy world, it occurred to me that this was a great opportunity to chronicle my process and see if I can break it down into steps.
So, where to begin?

World Building Step One - Mood

I always start with a feeling. Every world will have a multitude of environments to offer and all of them will undoubtedly present a different ambiance. But a world begins with one location. One mood. Is it dark and creepy or light and uplifting? Heavy with tension or ridiculously cheerful? For my new series, The Dragons of Serai, I wanted something gritty. My MC is an assassin so my first view of this world will be through the eyes of a hired killer. Someone who lives in the midst of a bustling city but most hold pieces of himself apart from others.

I think it’s important to remember that when you write in first person as I do. Yes, you are describing something from your mind, but you are also filtering that description through another person. You must see their world as they do in order to present their experience accurately to the reader.

So that’s where I’ve begin. The crowded city of Mhavenna on the planet of Racul, full of unusual races of immortals and mortals. A world ruled by Dragons where humans are the lowest rung on the social ladder and sometimes the only work to be had is bloody.
I can’t wait to explore!

World Building Step Two - The Natives

Okay, so you’ve got the mood you want and the scene is starting to unfold. You might start constructing that scene with architecture. That’s a fair path to take. I, however, think it’s better to start with the people of the world. Especially if you’re writing fantasy, the various races of your world will influence the environment. Besides, it’s the people that are going to feature predominantly in your story. And if we’re developing people, it’s best to start at the top. Who is your main character? What is their race? Are they a forest dweller or do they prefer a city? In The Dragon King’s Assassin, I began with my MC who is human and then decided who I wanted him to interact with. At first, I was went with the usual suspects of fantasy characters—Ogres, Werewolves, Fairies, Mermaids etc. The world I’m building revolves around Dragons after all; it seemed appropriate to add all these other well-known races. But once I started writing, they fell short for me. I was bored. I knew these people already and that meant I slipped into standard characters that I’d written before. I didn’t want that.

So I thought about it. I wanted one recognizable race that readers could immediately get a concept of what they were dealing with simply by the label. And I had that with the Dragons. No need to go further. Why couldn’t I have one identifiable race and then the rest be purely from my imagination? Even the Dragons would be my version of them. So I started coming up with new races and the attributes of those races helped me flesh out the rest of my world. I had begun with a crown city full of most of the world’s races and in developing those races, I learned not only that there were forests on the planet, but what type of forests. That yes, there were mountains, but these mountains were predominantly rocky peaks and that rock was gray. These are just minor examples, I don’t want to bore you with all the intricate details of my characters. The point is that with every feature you add to the people of your world, you also change your world. To make a very simple example; if you decided to have Mermaids, your world would need some type of water. So, the next step in building your world is creating its natives.

World Building Step Three - Technology (or the lack of it)

Now that you’ve got the atmosphere of your world and created people to inhabit it, you need to decide how advanced the civilizations on your world will be. Are they primitive? Somewhere around the middle ages? Equivalent to our modern capabilities? Beyond them? Or is this a world that doesn’t have a comparable time period on Earth? Perhaps you’re going steampunk. Or maybe there are several levels of advancement, depending on the race. If you go that route, you’ll need to give some thought as to why each race has different technologies. This could be a great jumping off point for stories. Maybe the races don’t mingle or are at war. Maybe they’re at war because of this difference in technology, as I did with the Demon race on the planet of Hell in my Spectra Series. My advice would be to really delve deep into the knowledge your world has as a whole and for each race that inhabits it.

Knowledge, intelligence, and technological advancement plays a huge role in what a world looks, feels, and even smells like. Will the world be full of skyscrapers and flying cars or castles and carriages? Will the weather be warm from chemical pollution or scented with exhaust? Or is the air cool and humid from the many aqueducts in use and the predominant scent that of salty sea breezes? So much information can be found in the technology you develop for your world.

World Building Step Four - Architecture

Once you’ve established how technologically advanced your world is, it becomes easier to decide on what types of buildings your world’s inhabitants will make. Advanced races will probably live in something more sci-fi, but this is your world, so maybe your advanced race has learned to live in harmony with nature. Everything you’ve decided upon previously comes into play here. If the mood of your world is dark, you’ll want architecture that feels heavy or even creepy. If you have a more lighthearted mood, cottages with thatched roofs might be a better choice. Then there are your natives. Do they have special needs? For instance, a winged race might prefer to live on higher ground or maybe even a home that hovers. They’ll need wider hallways and taller ceilings. While a race with hooves might need floors with a bit of traction so they don’t go sliding about.

Region is also important when deciding on architecture. If the area is arid and hot, you might want structures to combat that. Again, high ceilings would do well. But if the region is cold, lower ceilings would condense the heat. My advice is to find a region of Earth similar to the one you’re creating architecture for and see what humans built and why. You can still make up your own style of buildings while keeping aspects that make sense.

Lastly is aesthetic. The culture of your world’s inhabitants will influence the artistic additions to your architecture. Are your people inclined to making everything beautiful? Then even the outside of their homes would reflect that. A quick scan of architectural embellishments online should give you ideas on jazzing up the buildings on your world. Or maybe you want to go the opposite route for a more Spartan type of feel. You might want to go with clean lines and very little decoration. You don’t have to describe every detail of every building in your book but I like to pick a few key things that give an overall feeling to a place. For instance, domed roofs combined with a desert region can give an Arabic atmosphere while a colonnade can make people think of Greek temples. Pick the details that really speak to you and use them wisely.

World Building Step Five - Currency

We’ve come to the final step of world building (for me). Money. Currency is important to any civilization but what you use for currency is very important. If you’re going for a fantasy feel, you might want to go with the standard coins made with different types of precious metals. This is what I did with the Dragons of Serai, and that might seem like a cop out to many people. By all means, get as creative as you want to be, so long as it fits your story. If you’re writing humorous fantasy, you could make the currency something really outrageous and it would only add to your story. The important thing here is that it make sense and not detract from your world. Coins are a common choice for a good reason—they make sense and they’re easy for most of us to relate to. If you’ve been creative with your natives, technology, and architecture, I feel as if you shouldn’t have to strain yourself about the money. As a reader, it doesn’t really matter to me. What do I care about the type of currency the characters are exchanging? Not much unless that currency really add something to the story. Perhaps the coins are minted by the Empire that runs your world and they all bear the image of the Emperor. That might be something worth mentioning. But, on the whole, I’d say to go with something easy that makes sense and be done with it. It’s my last step for a reason; it should just fall into place after you’ve created the rest of the world.

There you have it, my five steps to making a new world. I’m sure there are many things you could add to these steps, but these are the five that I feel make a complete atmosphere. Once you’ve got these five down, adding to them becomes instinctive. I hope this helps you with your world building or at least gives you some insight into my creative process. Happy writing, everyone.

Snake-Shifters and Double Dicks

A snake shifter with two penises

Recently, I was made aware of the fact that snakes have two penises. Referred to as a hemipenis singularly or hemipenes plural, no one knows for sure why snakes need double the amount of trouble every other male is given. The female snake has a double clitoris so at least things are fair among the snake sexes. Female snakes can mate with several males and store all of their semen for months, then choose which semen to use to fertilize her eggs. Perhaps this is why male snakes are given a backup penis—to give it another go if they fail to impress the first time.

It sounded magical to me, all this extra genitalia and choosing of sperm. And since I had some snake-shifters handy in a couple of my series, I thought I’d give it a go. But taking snake penises and making them sexy posed a problem… especially after I’d taken a good look at one of those hemipenes. Whoa. Now, there’s an image that will take an application of alcohol to erase.

To deal with the gross factor, I decided to introduce this dual dick situation gradually. So far, the double dick has yet to make an appearance in my books. Instead, I broached the subject with as much humor as I could. I wanted to prepare everyone before I tossed them in the snake-dick pit. But, in case anyone was wondering, I wanted to lay it all out here, as it were.

I won’t mention the character in case you haven’t read that series yet, but his hemipenes will be hidden until called forth. To give you the dirty details, he will have an inverted member that, when summoned, will fill and harden like any other penis. This second penis is situated just beneath the first, with an inch of space separating them. This will allow for some interesting encounters. At least, that’s the plan. Who knows where the voices in my head will take me. But, for now, rest assured that this man does not look like a mutant when naked. He is as any other man—any other extremely hot man—and can function normally. He just happens to have backup for those moments when his prime penis is plain tuckered out. I think this manages to keep true to the natural snake hemipenes while making it both believable and practical for a man.

I hope that clears things up for you and, as always, thank you for pondering the paranormal with me.

The Naga

Female Naga - reptilian shapeshifter half cobra and half human

I’d first like to say that I’m in no way an expert on the Hindu Religion or myths. I have done a lot of research but it’s a complicated and vast religion with numerous stories. Which is part of what makes it so fascinating. The myths are magical tales of beings with supernatural powers and often strange appearances. The Naga are one of those wondrous races. I’ve researched them in the past but did a little refresher recently for my latest Spellsinger book, Out of Tune. I never adhere strictly to the myths, preferring to create my own version branching from them, but I do like to base my versions in the original stories. So, just to differentiate between the source and my imagination, I thought I’d share a brief summary of my research.

The word “naga” is taken from the Sanskrit word for cobra and they are referred to in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Naga are a semi-divine—I assume that means they’re demigods—race of reptilian shapeshifter who are half cobra and half human. That’s all pretty straightforward but things get a little murky where their shapeshifting is concerned. Most of what I read said that Nagas can take either a human or a snake form. To me, that says they can be either completely human in appearance or completely cobra. However, they have been depicted in three other ways. The first is a divided form that’s half of each; usually the top half is human and the bottom is snake. The second is a human body with several snake hoods—called a canopy—above its head. I’m uncertain whether the canopy is attached or just symbolic since sometimes (in Buddhism) a dragon head is shown instead of the hoods. The third form is of a hooded cobra with multiple heads. I took the shapeshifting even further and created my own version of them—this goes back to early Godhunter books—where I gave them a werecobra form in which they have a cobra hood laid over their human head like, well, a hoodie and sometimes snake eyes, but I want to make clear that I’ve found no reference to that in the myths and I’m not claiming this shape is true to those stories. There may be such a reference—I haven’t scoured every myth and I don’t put anything past them—but I have yet to come across it.

On to their powers. Beyond the shapeshifting, Naga are known to be stronger than humans (but of course), very attractive, and have a control over water that extends to rain. I haven’t found mention of Nagas controlling or creating storms, but I believe I’m going to explore that possibility when I—spoiler alert—bring them into my Spectra Series. Likely due to their magic, they’re associated with rivers, lakes, seas, and wells. They’re also said to be the guardians of treasure. I’m not sure if there’s a dragon connection to the treasure thing but it seems plausible to me (I refer you back to the Buddhist representation of a Naga with a dragon head above it). They live in an underground city called Pata-loka or Naga-loka full of beautiful palaces adorned with jewels (probably the treasure they’re guarding). There are many supposed entrances to this city and they’re all through some form of water; either a river, lake, or well. The God Brahma sent the Naga to live underground because their race was growing too large. He also told them they could only bite evil people or those soon to die. I guess asking them not to bite people at all was too much to expect. Which brings us to their next talent.

Naga are poisonous just like cobras. Their bite can kill. It’s probably why they made such good guardians and protectors. A Naga was said to have protected the Buddha. Female Nagas are called Nagini, Nagi, or Nagin. I went with Nagini in my books just because it sounds prettiest to me. The Nagini were said to be strikingly beautiful women who sometimes mated with human men. Dynasties in India and Indochina have claimed to have a nagini at their origin.

I could go on, but I think that sums up Nagas nicely and paints a clearer picture of what I kept true to and what I embellished for the books. Once again, thank you for pondering the paranormal with me.

Shapeshifters and Clothing

When I first started to write paranormal novels, I came across the issue of clothing and shapeshifters. Mainly; what happens to it when they shift. A few authors have gone the easy route and have the clothes “magically” disappear and reappear during shifts. I’ve never been comfortable with that. In my opinion, magic can be used to explain away a lot of things in a paranormal story but it should always make sense; at least a little. So, I thought about it sensibly and this is what I came up with:

First, I considered shapeshifting itself. That alone is highly magical but there is a piece of realism to it. Shapeshifting does occur in Nature. Exhibit A; the butterfly. Butterflies are the most well known shapeshifter that we all take for granted. We admit there is something marvelous about it changing from a crawling caterpillar into a flying butterfly but we don’t think much about the change. I won’t go into all the science of it. Instead, let’s make it simple. The caterpillar makes a containment unit for itself then turns into soup. It completely destroys its body and rebuilds into something new.

Okay, we’ve got the concept of shapeshifting now; if you want to become something entirely new, you have to tear apart the old. I hardly wanted my shapeshifters turning to goo and reforming themselves from a puddle; especially not in a romance novel. Goo is not sexy. So, I went with a magical, rapid cellular destruction. The body is broken down and reforms so quickly that the eye can’t follow the process or—most importantly—see the goo. Shapeshifting premise down.

Now, onto the clothing. If we take into consideration the previous conclusion, I believe we can conclude that there is no place for clothing in this process. A caterpillar certainly wouldn’t want a bit of cloth in his soup. That might result in anything from mutation to death. Therefore, the only way I felt that I could reasonably describe a shapeshifter transforming would be to leave the clothing out of it. The next conclusion is that if you leave the clothing out of the transformation, the new shape would then affect it. If that new shape is bigger than the last, you have torn clothing. So, my shifters either disrobe or tear a lot of clothing in my books. Either way, I think it’s sexier and far more believable than clothing that transforms with the shifter.

Thank you for taking the time to read my paranormal pondering.

Wings: You can’t live with them and you can’t cut them off

Female book character with really big wings.

As a paranormal author, I’ve encountered several situations involving wings. I thought I’d share a few of the issues I’ve encountered when writing characters with wings and how I’ve gone about trying to make those unwieldy appendages more comfortable.

First off, the biggest problem, especially when the winged character is a romantic lead: how the hell do you get a shirt on them? I’ve gone with a couple of solutions. One involves a complicated garment that has flaps to wrap around the wings. This works all right and can even add to the sexiness of the man unwrapping himself like a present. But I got tired with having to explain the intricacies of a piece of clothing. Such long descriptions can take away from the story. So, my second solution was the lazy one. Most of the characters I develop with wings have the ability to “magic” those wings away. I hypothesized that if they magic them back in place after pulling on a shirt with strategic wing holes, the juncture of the wings would form within those holes. In reality, though, the holes would have to be held in the precise position for this to work. But hey, it’s fiction, and I’m allowed some leeway.

Second problem with wings: how do you sleep next to a man with wings? I’m assuming that a winged man—like a bird—would have no problem with resting on his wings. They would simply be another set of limbs. With that in mind, he’d likely be okay with another person sleeping on them as well; such as a woman, tucked into his side and laying on a wing. But how truly comfortable would that woman be? A feathered wing is not like a feather pillow. It would be sleek and crinkly and have bones to jab you. If it’s a leathery wing, it would be the same minus the crinkle factor and with less loft. Would she put a pillow over the wing? And what about if one of them tosses and turns in the night? I sleep like that and have often imagined how difficult it would be for both the winged man and myself to get a good night’s rest next to each other. No one wants to wake up with a face full of feathers. To get around wonky sleeping arrangements, I either have the character magic the wings away or just let his partner be uncomfortable and hope the readers don’t think too long on it. But I do… it haunts me.

And that leads me to my third issue: sex. Okay, maybe this isn’t such a big issue. Wings provide for all sorts of unique ways to make love. They can give the Mile High Club a new twist. And, as I mentioned before, the wings should be strong enough to withstand the man lying on them so that shouldn’t limit a couple’s positional options either. But you do have to be careful about bed size and surrounding furniture. One wild sessions could wreak havoc on a girl’s boudoir.

Speaking of surrounding furniture, let’s get to the fourth, and more annoying, issue: how do you maneuver around a living environment with wings? In most cases, my winged characters have specially adapted homes with larger doorways and furniture that will accommodate wings; such as backless chairs. But what about when they visit their girlfriends? I’m limited by where I can place them in a room, or where I can sit them, and always have to mention how they draw in their wings to get through doorways and such. This again is a situation where magically disappearing wings come in handy, but there are times when a character needs to have his or her wings out. That’s when navigating them around a scene can become tricky. “Oops, was that a priceless vase? Sorry ’bout that.”

Those are just a handful of issues that arise involving wings. Every time I write a story with a winged character, I come across new ones. For instance, the character of Malik in the Spectra Series has leathery wings in his alternate form. The wings are a part of that form and cannot be magicked away when he is shifted. On top of that, he’s an alien so he must navigate spaceships. Things can get complicated with Mal but, honestly, all of these issues add to the fun of developing him as a character and inserting his quirks into the story. And that goes for all winged characters; they can be damn fun to play with. But I wanted to share with you some of the thoughts that run through my mind when I work with them and I hope you enjoyed this peek into my creative process.

Check out Mal in the Spectra Series:

The Infamous Kraken

A woman faces a kraken.

While writing Doppelganger Dirge (Book 11 in the Spellsinger Series), I decided to include a slew of sea monsters. These monsters needed to be Greek in origin, which I assumed (dear God, why do I do that) would be laughably easy to find. I’d start with the Kraken, of course, it of Clash of the Titans fame. But as I started to write, I realized that I didn’t actually know what a kraken looked like; not for certain. Did I go with the movie version (either of them)? Or perhaps I could use a liquor bottle as reference. That’s acceptable, isn’t it? I laughed at myself and went hunting some real information.

As it turns out, the bottle of liquor wasn’t such a bad idea; both for its kraken rendition and its medicinal support. I needed the latter after I read that the Kraken is not Greek at all, but Scandinavian.

“It’s a f@ck*ng Viking monster?!” I shouted in amazement. “How did I not know this?” Followed by, “How dare you mislead me, Clashing Titan movies!”

My mind blown, I continued my research and found a few other tidbits that might interest you as well. Let’s start with its origins. We’ve already established that it hails from Scandinavia. The Kraken was mentioned by a Danish historian, Erik Pontoppidan, as a beast with branches (yes, he meant tentacles) that can be found in the Norwegian Sea, especially in Summer. If you happen to be out fishing in that area and are doing extraordinarily well, he suggests that you start paddling super fast because the bounty you’re receiving is likely being scared to the surface by a kraken. Erik also says the Kraken is enormous, looking like an island chain when it first rises, and if it doesn’t eat you, the whirlpool it creates when it dives back under will drown you. This whirlpool bit is kind of interesting because the Greek sea monsters who I did find are Scylla, a tentacled, female monster who resembles Ursula, and Charybdis, a whirlpool. Don’t ask me how a whirlpool is a monster, I guess it’s an evil whirlpool. My point is, the Kraken sounds like a mix of those two Greek monsters. Does that give the screen-writers the right to call it Greek? Hell, no!

Moving along, the Kraken is also mentioned in the Orvarr-Oddr, an Icelandic saga, but is referred to as the Hafgufa. It was also noted in 1250 in a work called Konungs Skuggsja and in Fauna Suecica of 1746. It’s said to be a giant cephalopod who lures fish to itself by pooping. Yep, you read that right; it poops and the stuff is so smelly that it attracts fish who think its food. The Kraken then grabs up the little fishies, shoves them in its mouth, and proceeds to turn them into more fish bait. A rather efficient process, if you can get past the poop.

I think it’s fair to conclude that stories of the Kraken emerged from sightings of giant squid. They may not be the size of islands—or they might, I don’t know; I’ve never seen one, thank all that’s holy—and they definitely don’t attract food with poo, but they do get impressively large and there is the ink thing. Perhaps, ancient Vikings saw a giant squid, started shouting “Monster,” grabbed their spears, and scared the poor thing so badly that it inked itself. Then they had the nerve to assume the ink was something far more foul. Or perhaps those brilliant storytellers just wove a tall tale and ran with it. Or swam with it, rather. Whatever the case may be, we know one thing for certain; Poseidon has never shouted the words; “Release the Kraken!” The poor guy must have been mortified when he saw how terribly he was misrepresented. Then again, that’s the least he deserves after raping Medusa on the steps of Athena’s temple and letting her take the fall for the blasphemy. But that’s another monster story.

Check out the real Greek sea monsters in Doppelganger Dirge:


The Yakuza and their Gods

Two men holding swords.

I did some research into the Yakuza for one of the books in the Godhunter Series. This is not by any means a complete research paper on the Yakuza, merely a glimpse into what I discovered and what inspired me to write about their Gods.

There are two main branches of the Yakuza:

The Tekiya: itinerant vendors and hawkers originally, like Japanese Gypsies. They do everything from fortune telling to committing crimes. No more than 20% actually engage in peddling anymore. In addition to Amaterasu and the Emperor, they worship the god, Shinnō.

The Bakuto: very simply, they’re gamblers. In addition to Amaterasu and the Emperor, they worship the god, Hachiman.

Both branches worship Amaterasu and the present Emperor of Japan. Honestly, I don’t know what the worship of a living man is all about, perhaps it’s more of a respectful thing than worship like that of a deity.

Classic Yakuza activities include pachinko (a game), prostitution, protection, extortion, illegal gambling, occasionally drugs, real estate, and construction.

Tattoos were once used to brand criminals, but they became the mark of laborers in Japan and then solely Yakuza. Members tattoo themselves to:

  1. Show that they have passed an initiation.
  2. Prove that they have endured pain.
  3. Commit an irreversible act.
  4. Bear a mark of their order with pride.

Yakuza men wear kimono only on special occasions. These days, they prefer flashy suits, bright ties, sunglasses, rings, and close-cropped hair.

Some Yakuza terms:

O-Oyabun: Boss

Kobun: Gang members

Katagi: Straight Society

Sokaiya: Protection racket: they harass stockholder meetings.

Mikajime: Protection fees

Gobu-gobu: Brother; a title given to a man of equal rank. The Yakuza uses familial ranks so the wife of a boss would be called an elder sister and a lower ranking man would be called a younger brother.

Dormanbai: “Muddy Pen” The process of selling bad products.

A Yakuza ritual~

Sakazuki: The Cup Exchange

Sakazuki is the most important Yakuza ritual. It’s conducted in a secret location and time that are only revealed at the last moment. At one end of the hall it’s held in there will be an altar, above which will hang three scrolls representing three gods: Amaterasu on the right, Shinnō in the middle, and the Emperor on the left.

The ritual is conducted to implore purification from the Gods then a visit is paid to a local hot spring, and, finally, a boisterous and licentious feast is held. It was during this ritual that the Yakuza was attacked by werewolves in the Godhunter Series.

The Gods:

Amaterasu is the Goddess of the Sun and is one of the few female sun goddesses there are. Her name means: Shining in Heaven. She is the ruler of the Sun and Heavens along with her brother, Tsukuyomi, the Moon God. She is also the ruler of Takama no Hara, the High Celestial Plain, the domain of Kami (spirits). Amaterasu is the daughter of Izanami and Izanagi, sister of Susanoo (the Storm God), and mother of Ama-no-Oshiho-mimi. She is associated with roosters, the Sun, and ravens (her messengers).

Shinnō was actually a Chinese god-emperor who was credited with discovering medicine. He’s a God of Agriculture, Music, Medicinal Herbs, and the Market. It’s not clear how the Japanese Tekiya Yakuza came to worship him but since they’re traveling merchants, they probably picked him up in China and brought him back to Japan like a divine memento.

Hachiman is the God of Archery and War and is the patron god of warriors. He was worshiped by the Samurai and is considered to be a protector of Japan. Obviously, the Yakuza craved such a strong god for their own, but I find it interesting that a crime syndicate has such an honorable god as their patron.

There you have it, the meager collection of information I have on the Yakuza. Don’t tell them I told you.

The book in which the Yakuza Gods first appear:


The Jinn: a Mystical Race

Ornate Jinn bottle

While researching my latest Godhunter book, I decided to delve into the world of the Jinn (Also spelled as Djinn or Jinni) Who hasn’t been fascinated with the idea that a ghostly being could pop out of a bottle and grant them wishes? I want one! Me, please! But the Jinn aren’t just stories to Muslims; they believe in them as firmly as devout Christians believe in Angels. In fact, they believe that the Jinn were created by God the day after he made the Angels. God formed the Jinn from a “mix of fire” or “smokeless fire.” In my books, I took a bit of artistic liberty and made that smokeless fire into dragon fire. But I digress. There has been all sorts of speculation on what a smokeless fire is—many think it’s actually a type of energy that gives the Jinn their long lifespans—but nothing more about it seems to be mentioned in the Qur’an. Oh, and yes, the Jinn are mentioned numerous times in that holy book. In fact, it’s written that Muhammad (the last prophet of Allah) was sent to the Jinn as well as the humans to preach to them about Allah. Islamic tradition also says that King Solomon, the same one of Bible fame, was given the ability to speak with animals and Jinn.

Okay, we’ve established that there is serious belief in these beings. I read that “One can’t be a Muslim without faith in the Jinn’s existence.” So, please, do not make light of them to any Muslim friends you may have. These are not blue spirits with mustaches and the voice of Robin Williams.

The Jinn are reputedly fearsome beings who were on Earth long before humans. Evidently, they pissed off Allah by growing arrogant and corrupt so he sent a bunch of angels down to teach them a lesson. Jinn-butts smacked and lessons learned, Allah felt satisfied that justice had been dealt but decided he could do better as far as races were concerned. Boom! Humans were made.

Allah liked his new creation and demanded that the Angels and Jinn all bow down to us little humans. Most did, except for this guy called Iblis (I’ve also seen him referred to as Shaytan… hmmm, what does that name remind you of?) who said “Hell no, I’m made of smokeless fire and these things are made of clay. Obviously, I’m superior” (not a direct quote). Allah told him “Hell, yes, and that just happens to be where you’re going, buddy” (again, not a direct quote) and sent Iblis to Hell. That’s right; he’s the Muslim Devil. There’s a bit of contention over whether Iblis was a jinn or an angel, but I agree with one writer who said that since Angels could not disobey Allah, it makes sense that the one who did disobey would have to be a jinn.

Back to who they are. The Jinn are believed to live on another plane of existence (that worked really well into my story as I already had the perfect plane of existence to put them in) but enjoy interacting with humans in our realm. They are neutral entities, just like humans, and are neither good nor bad but able to be either. There are stories of Jinn helping humans and being a muse to poets and then other tales of them being nasty buttheads.

Jinn are said to be spirits who can take the shape of animals or people, some are even said to be able to take any form. They like human crafts and several became masters in human arts, and they also have power over the elements. Before Islam was established, the Jinn were supposedly worshiped by humans because of all of their mystical powers. Jinn can also possess people. The Arabic word majnun, used as a word for insanity, actually means “to be possessed by a jinni.” Because of this possession possibility, the Arabs have numerous ways to protect themselves from Jinn. Also of note is that when in their physical forms, the Jinn can be hurt. That’s the only time they can be hurt, actually. Despite this, they often take physical shape. One reason is to have sex, which Jinn engage in not only with each other, but also with humans. And yes, there can be offspring from such pairings.

Now, here’s the part that really surprised me; there are subclasses of Jinn. Lots of them. I won’t go too crazy with the descriptions, but I do want to give you a brief overview of each type.

The Jinn Tribes


Ifrits are Jinn who can be found in ancient ruins. They are thought to be the protectors of the Pyramids of Egypt. They have societies like humans with social ranks within their tribes or clans. They have been known to marry humans and have children with them and have the power to grant wishes. Despite that, they’re also known to be mean motherpluckers and it’s probably best if you stay away from them.


The Marid are the most powerful Jinn and are the basis for modern genie stories. The word marid means “giants.” I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that. They can grant wishes but those wishes come at a high cost. Thy’re likely the origin of that whole “3 wishes” thing since they can also be forced to grant those wishes if you trap them with magic or perform a ritual in their honor.


This one lifted my brows. I had no idea that Ghouls were Jinn. These Ghouls are shapeshifters with a craving for human flesh. They feed on corpses usually but wouldn’t turn down a fresh meal. Their women are especially scary because they can appear normal and even beautiful. They’ll trick men into marrying them and then eat their husbands. That seems like a lot of effort just for dinner, but I’m sure they have their reasons.


These are Jinn who appear as dogs or other animals. They’re found mostly in Arabia, Persia, and India. Evidently there were soldiers who disappeared during World War II who were led off into the desert by dogs. Those dogs are thought to be Hinn.


These are shapeshifting Jinn who live in the desert. They’re more open-minded than other Jinn and are friendly toward humans. They like to appear as whirlwinds or white camels (interesting choices). They are particularly useful since they are the enemy of the Ghouls, but they are also mischievous so I wouldn’t count on their help even in the midst of a ghoul attack. They have been know to take sides in human wars and either help or hurt soldiers depending on their opinion of them.


The Sila are shapeshifters who like to meddle in the affairs of humans, usually in a helpful way. They’re rarely seen.


These Jinn are similar to vampires. They live in the desert and drink blood from humans via foot licking. That’s right; they lick people’s feet until they bleed then drink the blood. Evidently, this is done while the person sleeps and doesn’t wake them. (This must be why I can’t sleep with my feet exposed; I must have sensed that there were foot-licking monsters out there. I just thought they lived under my bed, not in the desert.) I also read that the Palis aren’t too bright, and I instantly thought to myself; well, that’s obvious. Anyone with intelligence would find a better way to drink blood. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a human foot?


Supposedly, we’re all born with one of these as a companion. They are the little devils on our shoulders telling us to do bad things. With a lot of work, you can train them. Muhammad trained his so that he was never tempted by evil again. Training your qareen has other benefits as well. You can learn anything about anyone since everyone has a qareen and they can talk to each other. You will know how to cure illness, be able to find lost things, and make others obey you—again through their qareen. Oh, and you’ll know before visitors arrive; that’s obviously the most awesome benefit. Maybe Muhammad wrote a book on how to train your jinn. That would be helpful and it would also be a great name for a movie.


Okay, these are basically Muslim Demons. They are the followers of Iblis and love to do naughty things to humans. They can make you sick, destroy your life, and even kill you. They, like other Jinn, can possess humans, but they’re always mean about it. They’re malevolent asshats.


This is another type of vampire jinn. The Vetala are said to be the original vampires and are highly intelligent, as opposed to the foot-lickers. They can possess corpses and keep them from rotting. What purpose could they possibly have for that? Well, they use these fresh corpses as suits that they possess to walk among humans undetected. They’re also psychics who read thoughts and can tell the future.

Phew. When I first started researching, I honestly didn’t think there would be this much information on Jinn but in addition to the above, I found numerous stories, some sweet and horrifying, about Jinn interacting with humans. I hope this has opened your eyes about these fascinating beings—who may or may not be myths—and maybe even entertained you a bit. Now, stop reading this and go rub a lamp.

Meet the Jinn in this book:



Dvārakā: Krishna’s magical city on Earth

The mythical city of Dvārakā

For my Godhunter Series I conducted research into the myth of Dvārakā, the mythical city that was home to the Hindu God, Krishna and referred to in Hindu scripture. It was said to be a place of wonder and technology that was eventually destroyed and submerged into the sea. I discovered some interesting things about this mythical (or perhaps real) city that I’d like to share with you.

Dvārakā—meaning “Gated City” or “City of Many Gates”—is said to have been on an enormous island, twice the size of Manhattan, just off the coast of modern day Dwarka, around 30,000 BC. Some credit Krishna with building the city but I’ve also seen references to Vishvakarman building it with his mind. What isn’t in dispute is that Krishna loved the city and called it his home. He even defended it from the evil King Salva. Dvārakā was connected to the mainland via a bridge and also had docks for ships. Nine hundred thousand royal palaces stood on the island; palaces made of crystal and silver, adorned with huge emeralds. There were golden skyscrapers with floating tops so high that they could be seen from everywhere. The furnishings and walls inside were constructed with gold, precious jewels, coral, and ivory. Banners of silk hung with strands of pearls from the ceilings. In addition to these amazing homes there were also several parks and gardens full of birds, bees, and plant life. The city was very advanced and had boulevards, streets, plazas, and marketplaces as well as public assembly houses called sudharma sabha and temples for demigods. Water was misted over the city and banners protected it from the sun’s heat.

Some of the god technology said to be on this island were vimana; flying machines that looked like circular carriages and could fire projectiles. The city itself had its own defenses; Krishna defended the city with weapons that had the power of the Sun, shooting down vimana with a vortex and rockets. Krishna’s personal vimana also had the ability to appear in multiple places at once; can you say holograms?

What’s incredibly fascinating about Dvārakā is that it could be more than myth. Ancient ruins have been found off the coast of modern Dwarka, right where the ancient city was supposed to have been. The ruins include several structures including sandstone walls, a grid of streets, and the remains of a sea port. On Bet Dwarka, an island off Dwarka, near the underwater ruins, artifacts dating back to 1,500 BC have been found washed up on the beach. Whether or not these are the ruins of the real life Dvārakā—the city that at the very least inspired the myth—is yet to be proven but the evidence is compelling and piling up. Could the ancient city have really existed? Possibly. Was it full of flying machines, golden palaces, and vortex-wielding gods? I’d really like to think so. Either way, it inspired me to bring a version of it to life in my books, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the product of my inspiration as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The book in which Dvarka comes to life:



Ragnarok: The Twilight of the Gods

Four Viking warriors and a Viking ship.

The Old Norse religion is a fascinating one full of strong, beautiful, and mischievous gods who love to come down to Earth and hang with the humans. Most people associate Valhalla with the religion, but there are so many other interesting Norse myths about the afterlife, the Gods, and the end of the world. Today, I’d like to ponder the Norse version of the Apocalypse, although I’m not sure “Apocalypse” is the best comparison. Where the Apocalypse is God ending the world, Ragnarok is the end of everything, including the Gods. In fact, the Gods pretty much destroy each other and take us down with them. The word Ragnarok means “Fate of the Gods” but has also been referred to as the Twilight of the Gods; a term I prefer simply for its poetic flow.

The Viking myth about the end of the world has many steps, clues to let the Norse people know what was coming (not that they could do anything about it). I took some liberties with these steps in my Godhunter Series but this is the correct order of the events of Ragnarok; the complete destruction of the entire cosmos, including the Gods.

  1. Fimbulvetr arrives; the great Winter that will last as long as three normal winters. Humans will become desperate to survive and basically turn into a bunch of savages who would slaughter each other over a stale saltine cracker.
  2. The Roosters Crow: there are three roosters whose crowing foretells the coming of Ragnarok but none of them are on Earth. Evidently, the horrible winter is enough to warn humans and they don’t need to hear a stupid rooster crow to know the god crap has just hit the fan. The three Roosters are: Fjalar—who crows in Jotunheim (land of the Giants), Gullinkambi—who crows in Asgard (home of the Aesir Gods), and the third rooster doesn’t have a name, he’s only known as a soot-red rooster who crows in Hel (that’s one L, not two; a land for the dead that’s cold instead of hot). At the same time, Garmr, the Hound of Hel, howls and breaks free.
  3. The wolves, named Skoll and Hati, who have hunted the Sun and the Moon across the sky since there was a Sun and a Moon, will finally catch them and eat ’em up. Much to the surprise of all of us who called them silly puppies for chasing things you obviously can’t catch. Will they, get the last laugh. Nom, nom, nom. They eat the stars too until there’s nothing left but black night.
  4. The world tree, Yggdrasil, with all of the Nine Worlds held within it, will quake and every tree in every world will fall and the mountains will crumble to the ground. Basically, it’ll make a big mess that no one can clean up.
  5. Fenrir, the Great Wolf, shall be set loose and run amok, amok, amok! He’s probably pissed off that he missed the chance to catch the Sun and Moon so he’s gotta find something else to eat.
  6. Jormungand, the enormous world serpent, will rise from the depths, causing tidal waves as he slip-slides onto land.
  7. The snake’s arrival will loose the ship Naglfar—that disgusting ship made of the fingernails and toe nails of dead people (not kidding)—from its moorings to sail over the flooded earth, manned by Giants (the Jotnar led by Sutr) and captained by Loki (who broke free of his own chains to be there). They are headed to a field called Vigridr to do battle. As a side note here; Snorri Sturluson, who wrote the prose Edda, mentions how fingernails and toenails were cut from the dead as part of funeral rites so they couldn’t be used in building the Naglfar. No nails, no ship.
  8. Fenrir will run across the Earth, fire shooting from his eyes and nose, with his jaw open wide to devour everything in his path. Think of a demonic bulldozer the size of the Titanic.
  9. Jormungand will spit venom all over the place like a drooling pit bull and poison the worlds; land, water, and sky. He’s a grumpy gus when he first wakes up and hasn’t had his coffee.
  10. The sky splits apart and out of the crack comes a bunch of Fire-Giants from Muspelheim. Surt, their King who has a fiery sword, leads them. They march across the Bifrost bridge—the rainbow bridge you see in movies—to Asgard, home of the Gods, and as they march, the bridge breaks behind them. No more rainbow connection.
  11. Heimdall blows his horn, Gjallarhorn, to announce the arrival of Ragnarok.
  12. Odin consults the head of Mimir, because the dead, giant head is supposedly even smarter than the Allfather. Odin did give his eye to Mimir for wisdom so I suppose this makes sense.
  13. The Gods convene and decide to go to battle, even though that’s dumb considering that they know what’s coming. I guess going to war is better than doing nothing, especially when you love fighting as much as they do. The Gods meet the Giants (all sorts of Jotun) on a battlefield called Vigrid—it creatively means “Plain where battle surges.”
  14. Odin fights Fenrir with his Einherjar—his chosen human warriors who have been training at Valhalla for this precise battle. Despite their training, Fenrir gobbles them all up, just like the Wolf with Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma. Even Odin gets swallowed. So much for the smart head.
  15. Odin’s son, Vidar, attacks Fenrir to avenge his father. He’s wearing a shoe crafted from the scraps of leather that all human shoemakers have ever discarded. So, basically, a really big shoe. The shoe was made specifically to battle Fenrir, and Vidar uses it to hold open Fenrir’s mouth so he can stab Fenrir through the throat and kill him.
  16. Another big bad wolf named Garm—you may remember him from his howling in Hel—fights the god, Tyr, and they kill each other. So do Heimdall and Loki, Freyr and Surt, and Thor and Jormungand. The most epic of those single-combats with dual deaths is the one between Thor and Jormungand. Thor manages to hammer the big snake to death, but he’s covered in so much snake venom that he only makes it nine steps before he falls dead too.
  17. The remnants of the world—whatever Fenrir didn’t gobble up—sinks into the sea and nothing is left but the void. Creation is undone; the end.

Yeah, rather depressing but that’s about par for the course with end of the world scenarios, and the Vikings had to have one badass enough to match their badassness.

Experience Ragnarok in:


Can Centaurs Masturbate?

In one of the books in my Twilight Court Series, there’s a scene in a fairy strip club in which a centaur is on stage stroking himself. One of my readers wrote to me to point out that this would be impossible. It got me thinking. My first thought was that this woman has never seen a horse’s erect penis. Well, that’s not something everyone has seen so that wouldn’t surprise me. I mean, unless you live on a farm or watch the Discovery Channel, when would you see an erect horse penis. My second thought was that I wanted to prove whether or not it could be done. Here are my findings:

First, let’s consider the average length of a man’s arms. Wait, no, let’s first consider that an average horse can be from 4.6-6 feet tall. Very well, let’s go with an even height ratio and assume that a 6 foot tall horse body would have the torso of a 6 foot tall man on it. That seems accurate to me. And yes, people, we are getting scientific with this possible centaur masturbation scenario. Next, we have to determine the arm length for a 6 foot tall man. That’s more difficult. It can vary so I went with the average sleeve length for a 6 foot man and that is 34-36 inches. That sounds a bit long to me, but we’ll go with it for a mythical creature.

All right, now let’s envision a centaur. His body would merge into the front of a horse’s body, with his waist ending into the horse chest. That rounded bit at the base of a horse’s neck is actually called his breast but that sounds very feminine to me so I went with the term “chest.” Okay, now for more horse measurements. The average horse is 62.5 inches long; that’s length from head to tail, not height. One fourth of this is the head which means that the average length of a horse head is 15.62 inches. That leaves us with roughly 46.9 inches for the rest of the body. Divide that into three and we get 15.62 inches. If you look at a picture of the anatomy of a horse, you’ll see that the penis base is just in front of the hind legs, which looks to be about a third of the body of the horse to me. Therefore, I divided the horse body into thirds. Phew. Okay, so now we’ve got penis placement (where it begins) at 15.62 inches. Add to that the average length of a horses penis which can be up to 18 inches (we’ll give our centaur the benefit of the doubt; he’s obviously virile if he’s a mythical creature, right?) and you have a total of 33.62 inches. That gives us the location of the tip of the penis. Subtract that from the body total of 46.9 inches and you’re left with a distance of 13.28 inches for the centaur to cover. But wait, that’s not taking into consideration the angle. The penis would be extending in a straight line while the man’s arms would have the advantage of pivoting back at his shoulder joint AND he’d also be able to bend his torso at his belly. So, what we really need to consider is the distance between his shoulder and the penis when he’s bent double.

Well, that’s daunting. Okay now we need the average length of a man’s torso. That would be 17-19 inches. He wouldn’t get that entire length added to his reach even if he bends completely so lets take that down to an even 10 inches. So, we’ve given our centaur a reach of 34 inches with his arm and then an additional 10 inches that he can extend via bending. To judge if this length of 44 inches would be long enough to reach his manhood—horsehood, whatever—I consulted images of a horse that was measured. From his withers (top of his back) to the ground he was 62 inches. From the ground to his belly, he was 33 inches. That leaves a belly of 29 inches to cross at an angle. I’d say 44 inches would do it, especially if you take into account the penis placement which gave our centaur a mere 13.28 distance to conquer. AND, we didn’t even consider any growth that an erection would give him. Whoa, I think I need to lie down.

In conclusion, it would take some maneuvering and possibly involve propping of his forelegs on a table (exactly how I had my centaur stripper positioned, I might add) but centaur masturbation is doable. How much of his penis he’d be able to stroke is debatable, but I simply don’t have the will to go through more math to give us an exact number. Math has never been my strong suit. You’ll just have to be satisfied with what I’ve given you. Who knows if the centaur will be.

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How Mermaids Make Love

A mermaid and merman embracing underwater

When I write about mermaids and mermen, I occasionally put in a sex scene. The first scene I wrote was done with careful consideration and a bit of research. I based my theory of mermaid sex on Nature. First let’s imagine there are mermaids. If there were real mermaids, they would have evolved from the same source as modern humans. That means, at some point, they went into the water and didn’t come out. This would make them mammals similar to dolphins except with the upper body of a human. So, I researched dolphin mating.

And I was a little blown away by what I found.

First off, dolphin sex lasts a mere ten seconds. It can happen several times a day and at any time of the year since they don’t have a mating season. Dolphins are intelligent mammals and enjoy mating just like humans; for the pure pleasure of it; thus the lack of a mating season. The sexual act itself is performed belly-to-belly. Both the male and female dolphins have slits on their lower bellies that give access to their sexual organs. Males have something that looks like an exclamation point with the anus being the dot and the genitals within the long slit. Females have a slit for both genitals and anus and then several slits for mammary glands.

Dolphin males perform courtship to win females, often singing, posturing, and bringing the females gifts. How sweet, I thought. Proof that these are incredible, intelligent creatures who have loving relationships. But wait, it gets even more interesting. Young males often form groups that swim around the ocean looking for unsuspecting females to woo together. This caught my attention. Are we talking about reverse harems here? Have dolphins been doing it all of this time? Yes, they have, and the female dolphins seem to like it. Male dolphin groups tend to have more success with the ladies.

Now, here’s where things get nefarious, and where I was seriously and deeply horrified. Sometimes, these male groups will abduct females from their pods, take that female away, and then all the males will try to mate with her. Yes, I’m talking about a dolphin gang bang. And if that female is unresponsive or unwilling, the males will sometimes attack her. Now, I don’t know about you, but that sounds like dolphin rape to me. If that’s not bad enough, no male—whether they’re sweet or not—stick around after the mating is done. They get their aquatic rocks off then take off, the wish-washy bastards, and leave the female to raise the young on her own. Females will often form pods of several females to protect themselves from males! Can you believe that? Frankly, it has put a damper on my affection for dolphins. At least the males. I feel rather sorry for the females.

But back to the mermaids. With the information of slit-access genitalia in hand (oh, that was awful phrasing), I wrote my first mermaid sex scene. Going by what Nature herself has provided ocean mammals with, I envisioned merfolk with front-slits in their beautiful tails. That would mean a belly-to-belly experience similar to dolphin mating, however, with human torsos involved, merfolk have a bit more leeway. A few positions can be imagined as long as the slits aligned with the proper places; 69 shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve and oral sex is, of course, easy enough. If you wanted to be a naughty mermaid and try anal, the experience probably wouldn’t be all that different, at least for the man, so I’d like to take some artistic leeway here and suggest that the anal slit be found on the back of a mermaid’s tail (and merman’s). Plus, who wants to think of that stuff coming out the front? Not I. When I wrote my Little Mermaid remake, Sea Legs, I went as far as to talk about mermaid bathroom facilities, but I won’t get into that now. Let’s just say it involves underground rivers.

With water to support sexual acrobatics and the usual human sex organs to provide pleasure, I’m sure that mermaids have a very healthy sex life that can be summed up in one word; slits. I hope that clears things up for you and maybe entertained you a bit. If you’re looking for a thorough example of mermaid sex, you can find one in my erotic novel, An Unseelie Understanding or my short story, Sea Legs (found in the Falling For Them anthology Vol. 5 and soon to be in my next installment of Happily Harem After Vol. 3) both are available on Amazon and are part of Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you for taking the time to indulge my pondering.


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The Psychology and Physical Effects of Colors

The Psychology and Physical Effects of Colors

When I researched my Spectra Series, I discovered all sorts of interesting tidbits about colors. First, lets get into what colors are. What we think of as colors are wavelengths of light that bounce off things. Colors are determined first by frequency and then how those frequencies combine inside the eye. So, spectral power distributions exist in the physical world, but color exists only in the mind of the beholder. Now, let’s dive into the visible spectrum: ROYGBIV, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. At either end of this is spectrum are infrared (invisible long wavelengths) and ultraviolet (invisible short wavelengths). There you go; the basics of colors.

Humans have cones inside their eyes which are used to perceive colors. 64% of those cones respond strongly to red, 34% to green, and 2% to blue. Some birds and fish have four types of cones, enabling them to see ultraviolet light, and some insects also see ultraviolet light, which helps them see the patterns in flowers. The perception of these wavelengths has an effect on us mentally and physically. It seems as if colors, something we just view, shouldn’t affect us in any way, but when you think about them as wavelengths of light and then consider all the ways light can affect us, it begins to make more sense.

I’ve condensed my research for you below. In my books, I assign specific results (stopping breath, putting people to sleep, etc.) to individual shades but that’s artistic license. Here, I’ll give you the psychology of colors and the ways or parts of the body they can affect.


Interestingly enough, only 2% of the cones in our eyes respond to the color blue. Despite that, it’s most people’s favorite color. Perhaps that’s because blue is the peace bringer, it lowers blood pressure, and treats migraines. It can affect the throat, ears, and mouth. It prompts our bodies to produce calming chemicals and it also focuses the mind. Weight lifters can lift more weight in a blue room.


Black is the color of authority, stability, power and strength. It’s associated with intelligence but it’s also a somber color, a color of grieving. Finally, it is associated with evil. All in all, a serious color.


When yellow is intense, it can cause tempers to flare and babies to cry. Conversely, when it’s soft, it causes the brain to release serotonin, making people happy. Depending on the shade, it can speed the metabolism, destroy depression, and treat difficult digestion. It can affect the stomach, liver, and intestines.


Orange is a color of creativity. It stimulates creative thought and helps people come up with new ideas. It’s also linked to breathing and, oddly enough, stimulates breast milk production.


Red boosts sexual desire; just seeing the color makes the heart beat faster. It also gives energy, combats muscle and joint stiffness, and can affect the kidneys, backbone, and sense of smell. It’s associated with attraction, energy, movement (red cars appear to go faster), and life.


Pink is another calming color but to the point of making people submissive. A lot of psych wards used to have pink walls for this very purpose. It’s associated with love and is thought of as a gentle color.


Green boosts the immune system. It’s the strength provider, empowering muscles, bones, and tissues. It also stimulates the creation of growth hormones. It’s associated with fertility, money, nature, generosity, good luck, and envy.


Purple is the color of royalty. It’s reduces emotional and mental stress and helps promote sleep. It can affect the nervous system and eyes. It decreases sexual desire and stimulates brain activity used in problem solving. Young girls are most likely to choose purple as their favorite color.


In India, brown is a color of mourning, but most associate it with reliability, stability, and determination.


White is not a lack of color but the compression of all colors. It’s associated with purity, safety, and neutrality.

I hope this has given you a little insight into the very real affect that colors have on our life and perhaps inspire you to use them more effectively. At the very least, it may help you pick your next wall paint.

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