Author interview with Draegon Grey

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smoking man

I’ve just completed the first part of an author interview with Draegon Grey.  It surprised me how much fun something like this can be – almost like reliving the whole process of writing the novel over again.  Happy memories, the small problems that seemed so insurmountable at the time and the joy of completing the work…they all came flooding back.

The second part, a character interview with Sara Finn, my protagonist, will follow soon.

In the meantime, you can read the ‘Author Moment’ interview here.

Write on!

A new post about a new post

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workflow

If you are a planner, I imagine that the answer to my next question will be obvious;

What inspires you to write that next post?

If you’re a planner, you’ve probably got a list of ideas to draw from, a sequence of posts that lead from one to the next to the next and so on.  You may have a teaching plan that unfolds week by week to build into an exciting and informative series of articles.

But what if you hail from the Planet Pants?

sachyn planet

What if you happen to be an impetious and spontaneous fly-by-luck scatterbrain like me?

I can often go for weeks without any idea about what I will post next – aside from my regularly irregular and often-late Six Sentence Sundays.

And then, without warning, an idea will strike, coming out of nowhere like a thunderbolt on a clear summer’s day.

Quickly, ere I forget the subject matter, I will fashion a post from old wood and used pieces of string – and as I write, I often realise that I am trying to cover several subjects, several concepts within the same post.  Rather than (as they said in Top Gun) push a bad position, the disparate subjects will split into enough material to suggest several vaguely-related posts;  In other words, the fledgling post will create spin-off ideas; it will have babies.

A half-dozen little pink and hairless posts will suddenly begin to mewl and squeak and demand to be considered as posts in their own right.

rsvstks baby mice

So the fresh flurry of fledgling posts will be nurtured.  They will be a bit like my family – very loosely related and perhaps a little edgy.  There may be very little to connect them to previous or future posts aside from a single word or a faint, shining thread of thought.

That is why, dear reader, you may see groups of related topics appearing from me – sometimes two or three in one week.

Despite my endeavours to hold them back and release them into the wild one at a time, they will often break free.  When that happens, I am forced to watch helplessly as they circle the internet, scaring young women and inspiring modern Hitchcocks into making new movies a la noir.

But I’m interested to know; How does inspiration strike you?  Your system cannot be as haphazard as mine…surely?

Do you have a rolling plan of posts that stretch towards a vanishing point on the distant horizon?  Or is inspiration fired by a song on the radio, a news article or even another blog post?

.

Write on!

Fame…such a fickle [fik-uh l] thing!

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This week, WordPress sent me two notifications and I was thrilled to read them.

Firstly this one;

100 likes

and then, shorty afterwards, this one;

50 followers

I’d just like to throw out a great big

Thank You

to everyone who has elected to follow my relatively random and possibly insane ramblings as I stumble and fumble my way through blogging.

I’m still astounded that I have been blogging for less than six months (I checked today) and people have found me interesting enough to push my following so high, so quickly.  Thank you again for following me whilst I continue to develop my (rather haphazard) style.

FYI…one of my (rather loose) resolutions for 2013 was to achieve fifty, then a hundred followers.  Ambitious, I know, especially when I told myself quite firmly (I can be tough on myself and often fear myself coming in the door) that I would not simply ‘trawl’ for followers, but interact with those bloggers whose content I find to be most fascinating, entertaining and instructional.

So if you’re reading this…it’s because I LOVE YOUR WORK!!

I hope I’m able to provide a little of the same in return.

(Alternatively, if you’ve dropped by on the offchance or because you think I have an odd Gravatar (I AM in there…bottom left)., then WELCOME!  Please join the throng)

My other rezzie in 2013 is to read through everyone’s posts – something that began to slip last year.  But I’ve now rearranged my inbox to collect all posts in one folder so that they won’t slip between the floorboards, as it were.

I look forward to following everyone’s content in 2013 – some of the New Year stories have already been hilarious.

Happy blogging everyone!

Write on in 2013!

It’s been a busy old month!

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Hello Fellow Bloggers!

I haven’t posted anything for nearly five weeks now and I feel terribly guilty.

You may (or may not) have noticed.

The lack of posts, that is,not the guilt.

Following the upload of my book to Amazon, I have had my head down and have been peddling (!) furiously in an effort to spread the word about ‘A Construct of Angels’.

Complimentary PDF copies have been sent out to those who assisted me in the research phase back in 2010.

I’ve produced laminated posters and around 300 bookmarks (Excellent idea, thanks Sonya!) which have been passed out to everyone who admitted to being a reader of books.  The bookmarks have also been liberally scattered wherever reading material (magazines and books) were found to be clustered on waiting room tables.

My works vehicle has become an advertising hoarding, plastered with magnetic signs in the hope of generating further interest.

I’ve fluffed up my Facebook account, joined MySpace, KindleBoards, a dozen authors’ forums at LinkedIn, the World Literary Cafe, Goodreads and sent links to half-a-dozen book review sites.

Next up is CreateSpace, Search Inside the Book and Author Central.

I’m even considering contacting regional newspapers as a ‘local author’ to see if they’d be interested.

I have, however, stopped short of Tweeting, although it has now become apparent to me how useful it could be.   Tweeting 140 characters instead of waiting for a spare half-hour (which never seems to arrive) to compose a full post?  That has possibilities.  I may yet find myself becoming a Twitter convert.

Naturally, with all the new traffic, I now find that my Inbox is overwhelmed *sighs* and is now in need of a re-jig, i.e. creating new folders for comments, updates and notifications to flow into.

And on top of all that, I have finally, finally managed to forge ahead with my sequel, ‘A Vengeance of Angels’.

By an odd and completely unplanned coincidence, I began it on the first day of NaNoWriMo.  Not that I could keep up that sort of pace.  1500 words a day?  The first day saw me pen around 1000 words.  The second? About 500.  And so on down a sliding scale until I found myself not writing at all on some days.

But I’m back in the saddle and currently 10,000 words or so into ‘Vengeance’ and re-discovering the joy of ‘pantsing’ – but more on that later.

The project that I’m most excited about is slowly coming together.  Normally, my work bats me around the country like a ping-pong ball, but lately, I’ve been working in one place for the past six weeks and that looks to continue up until Christmas.  So, I’ve contacted a local drama group with a proposition;  Would they like to be actors and extras in a three-minute video that will ultimately serve to promote ‘Construct’?

My question has apparently caused a great deal of excitement amongst the students.  Their Head of Department is currently reading through ‘Construct’ and is very keen to discuss my ideas.

Watch this space…

So, what I now need to ask is; in addition to the endeavours above, has anyone had notable success with any particular method of advertising?

Bearing in mind that ‘Construct’ is an eBook, activities such as book signings and book parties wouldn’t work, unless anyone has a ‘twist’ that could be applied…

As always, all ideas and comments are welcomed. 😀

Write on!

 

Click me if you dare

 

Beautiful Blogger Award.

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This has been a busy couple of months for me.  Ever since I stepped up my blog-followings back in June (on my birthday, as it happens), I have been nominated for no less than 4 awards. 

Thank you, everyone.  I’d just like to *sobs* thank my mother, my neighbours, my cat…

Just kidding.  I’m no Gwyneth Paltrow.  Except maybe at the weekends,but that’s another story.

I was a little surprised by the award.  I mean, I know I keep the blog area tidy.  But for it to be truly beautiful, I’d have to get some flowers around the place, maybe a couple of potted plants. 

Still, the award nominations look nice over the fireplace. 

But I digress.  Thank you, Jon at Jumping from Cliffs, for nominating my blog.  I will try to keep the cobwebs at bay. 

The rules of this nomination stipulate that I am to tell you 5 beautiful/interesting things about myself or my blog and nominate 5 other bloggers for this award to spread the beautiful feeling. 

Also, the award must be handled with humour and humility in equal measure.

Beautiful fact 1;  I only began to blog because it seemed like a modern way to keep a writing journal.  Since then my blog has become as essential to me as my novel.  I enjoy being able to access it from anywhere on the planet (all right, within Europe). 

Beautiful fact 2;  My blog enables me to chart my journey.  I’m often startled when I read what was troubling me as a writer back in 2010, or how little I had written back then.  It all seems so long ago.  Nostalgia’s not what it used to be, you know.

Beautiful fact 3;  I love the way that my blog has enabled me to ‘reach out and touch’ so many like-minded people, some of whom have become friends.  I’m talking about you – yes, you.  No, not them behind you.  You.

Beautiful fact 4;  Having a circle of friendly bloggers is like having a big, warm, cosy blanket to wrap around me on the ‘down’ days.  ‘Alone’ is not a word that I use much anymore.

Beautiful fact 5;  I once read that the definition of old age is; ‘You have all the answers, but nobody is asking the questions.’  Well, blogging enables me to ask of that which I do not know and pass on that which I do (does that make grammatical sense?).  I don’t have all the answers (who does?), but together we can ensure that fewer of us now tread this uncertain road in lonely ignorance.  Thanks go to everyone who has offered advice and ‘steered me right.’

To vary my previous nominations and to ensure that there is no favouritism, I will nominate five bloggers that I haven’t nominated before.  The alternative is to nominate only five that I follow and exclude many worthy bloggers that I would also wish to nominate.  Guilty feelings for me and perhaps unhappiness from them for being omitted. 

So, five bloggers that I think deserve this award and who haven’t been previously nominated by me;

1) Em Types  – a rivetting read.  I found myself simply unable to stop.

2) Paulina Czarnecki – who lurves Emoticons  😉  so much she blogs about them.

3)  J-Bo  Love the picture, love the chatter.

4)  Jacqui Murray – I always leave here enchanted AND educated.

5) Norfolk Novelist – every glance draws me in to read more…

Enjoy, check out these great blogs – and keep widening the circle of bloggers.  

The main reason I am following so many fascinating blogs is because of this type of awards system. *Cheers!*

Write on!

 

It’s all about the journey

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I’d long been an avid cynic of reality TV shows such as X Factory, Pop Idle, Big Brooder, (disparaging mis-spellings intentional) et al, citing them as simple ratings magnets that were all hype and no substance.

I’d avoid them like the cliche, eschewing Saturday night television altogether, tutting at the oft-hyped results and the acres of tabloid coverage they seemed to generate.

But little by little, weekend visits to a friend’s house resulted in the television (which seemed to have no ‘off ‘ function) drawing my eye and ear towards the (often hapless) auditionees on ‘X Factor’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ every Saturday night. 

I found myself becoming intrigued, for no reason that I could fathom.  I didn’t know these people, these fame-seeking wannabes (only some of whom were quietly talented and later became successful) and yet I found myself increasingly drawn into their stories as they inched their way towards the stars.  I followed them from their earliest beginnings.  I saw their spotlight-dazzled faces as they shuffled reluctantly onto an over-large stage to croak out a few nervous bars of their favourite song.  And then I watched their eyes light up as the crowd called out its approval.

But why was I watching this IQ-sapping drivel; this thinly-disguised attempt to solicit viewers (and before you mentally compose hate-mail, please let me finish), this apparent waste of valuable writing time?

It suddenly became clear to me when I unexpectedly became hooked on yet another reality TV show – Masterchef.  

Hooked? Why?  I know nothing about food.  I can barely make mashed potato or an edible cheese sauce.  To this day I am still able to slide rock-hard frozen food onto a microwave platter with only a basic idea of why it emerges twenty minutes later as a hot, steaming meal.  I have no aspirations to create Langoustine consommé with lemon tuiles and pea puree, or to begin experimenting with molecular gastronomy (although liquid Nitrogen does look like a wonderful toy).

The chemistry of food defies my kind of logic.  It’s a pleasure to eat, true, but the assembly is an alien process to me and most likely will forever remain that way. 

But there I was, week after fascinated week, watching untrained but enthusiastic amateurs, their fumbling fingers creating elegantly-assembled dishes of confit duck on a bed of celeriac mash to Michelin-class standards.   But why?  In the name of the knife, fork and spoon, why??

Then it finally clicked.  The title of this post says it all.  It was about the journey.

We aspiring writers have very similar goals to those clumsy cooks, those shaking singers, those jittering jugglers.  We are all on the same journey of self-discovery – with the hope of our own selves being discovered.  Or our work, at least.

I realised that by watching these rising stars gain new skills and achieve undreamed-of heights, my thoughts were paralleling their journey with my own aspirations, because I hoped that I would also (one day) experience a similar journey. 

My mind had latched onto these stories in an unconscious act of self-preparation.

It may be that every individual who achieved the final three of Masterchef, X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent has already inspired me; proved to me that it IS possible to lift our (literary) voices from behind the background noise of society enough to be heard. 

Ordinary mortals like us can achieve great things.  But it takes time.  It takes a measure of confidence.  But it can require a good measure of encouragement from our peers too. 

It is perhaps because of all of this that I am mentally prepared for the next step of ePublishing, the quiet, stealthy equivalent of seeing my work in Bookers or Waterstones.  I dare to touch my toe to the chill waters of public consumption and say to them ‘nibble on that,’ whilst thinking ‘pleasedon’tbite, pleasedon’tbite!’

The journey from ‘I could write a book’ through ‘could I write a book?’ to ‘I have written a book’ is moving forward.  Who was it that said; ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’?

But where is your journey taking you? How far have you already come?

Have you been inspired by stories of success or sheer determination? 

Have you watched others climbing the ladder towards success, feeling that your journey was headed the same way?

Do you feel (particularly with ePublishing opening up new possibilities) that the impossible is now possible?

Share your story with us.  Tell us where your journey is taking you.

Write on – and encourage others to do the same in every way that you can.

  

Reader Appreciation Award

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This post has been a long time due and so, for that, I apologise.

The whirl of completing my Twelfth Draft, the decision to ePublish and the creating of my book cover scoured my brain of much of my daily to-do list.

Anyway, last month I was fortunate enough to receive a nomination for the Reader Appreciation Award, not once but twice!

Thank you Mymagical escape (I tried to find your name on your blog, but couldn’t) for this award.   I love the image – it just so happens that big, bright sunflowers are a favourite of mine.

Also, Sonya Loveday nominated me the following day, a lovely thought.

The conditions of this award seem to be similar to those of the Liebster and Lovely Blog awards.

I tried to back-track through Mymagicalescape’s nominator, Pat Wood or as I like to think of her, Caress Arborea *winks*, but I couldn’t find any specific conditions listed on her blog.

Sonya mentions that the Reader Appreciation Award Foundation stipulate six nominations, so I will do that, but add in Mymagicalescape’s format and write seven things about myself first – stuff that I haven’t already said after receiving previous nominations.

.

1. I believe in Angels – just not necessarily the kind that appear in popular literature.

2. I live in the same town as Jenna Burtenshaw and have received a great deal of encouragement from her.

3.  It was my wife’s tottering stack of vampire novels that compelled me to write ‘A Construct of Angels’.

4.  Movie soundtracks inspire my writing.

5.  My ‘day job’ takes me all over the UK.  75% of the time it gifts me writing opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise enjoy.

6. Currently, my favourite writing tool is my Acer Netbook.

7. I am the closest I have ever been to publishing a book and cannot quite believe it.

.

Now, the nominations;

I’m supposed to nominate six bloggers for this Reader Appreciation award, so here are my choices;

1. Candace Knoebel

2. Ryan Casey

3. M D Kenning

4. Sonya Loveday

5. Carly Sarah

6. Michelle Proulx

7. Abusively Baboozan

8. Pat Wood blogging

Oops – I can’t count.  I know Candace, Sonya and Carlyysarah had already been nominated by Mymagicalescape and Pat Wood nominated her in the first place, but I love them so much, I felt compelled to repeat the nomination.

Who’s to say that I can’t?  :p

Oh, oh.  Yellow card approaching from the Reader Appreciation Award Foundation.

Enjoy, bask if you like, but don’t forget to spread the love!

 

Write on!

Do you empathise with your characters?

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Do you?

I mean really get down into the mud with them and feel their pain as if it was your own?

In this age of guts, gore and death on both the big and the small screen, it’s all too easy to sit back and munch popcorn as a larger-than-life action figure takes a bullet, then fights on to the expected victory.  The heroine, meanwhile, hangs by a single finger over a fatal drop before she is rescued in the very last instant by a strong grip around her slender wrist.

Yeah, sure he groans as the bullet buries itself in his flesh.  She shrieks as her finger slips. 

But what do they really feel?  Can you, as a writer, firstly imagine the pain, the sheer terror that these characters ought to be feeling?  And can you, secondly, convince the reader that these unfortunate, suffering characters know that a life-stopping moment is but a heartbeat away?   We are all buzzing bags of emotion, not unfeeling machines.  Readers know this – and we must deliver. 

I’ve dreamed of plunging to my death in a car, then woken in a cold, shaking sweat, hardly able to convince myself that I’d survived.  In one brief moment, I’d mentally wrapped up my life, regretted things unfinished, and wondered if non-corporeal existence or oblivion awaited me.  Then; bang;  I was a crumpled statistic – but one with an answer.  One with an edge to create better death scenes; and to recognise shallow ones.  And although it was a dream, I’d been there.  I’d actually felt it.

If you’re in any doubt that you are tuned into your characters, retire to a quiet place after you’ve written your action sequence.   Become one with your character of choice.  Climb into their skin, then re-run the action.  Hang from a stone gargoyle one hundred storeys above the city.  Plunge over a waterfall, not knowing if you’re going to see the next minute.  Switch off all the lights and spin around three times to experience some of the disorientation of being inside a darkened warehouse (but please don’t injure yourself – even if you are researching pain!).

Better still, if the geography or architecture allows, visit the closest possible parallels to your scene and lean over that edge; feel the power of the wind and water.  Picture the last seconds of your life as gravity claims its prize. 

Your character would.

Imagine how you’d feel if someone close to you went over the edge instead; feel that anger, that helplessness, that utter and permanent loss.

And relax…breathe.  Then get it down on paper / screen.

I’ve dealt largely with falls so far.  Other fates are available, naturally. 

And of course, this technique doesn’t just apply to action scenes. 

Pain is not the only emotion;

Betrayal?  Your best friend has just eloped with your significant other / taken your expensive car / smuggled out your priceless show cat.  Get angry; feel betrayed.  Just don’t call that friend until you’ve simmered down and put your hurt and anger into black-and-white.

Love?  A trickier one this, one that relies on previous experience.   Think of it as the ultimate head-and-heart battle.  Except that the head belongs to an adult, and the heart is a wanton, wailing, selfish four-year-old that (almost) always gets their way.  How wrenching would that be as an internal monologue?

Fear?  There are many shades of fear, too many to list here.  Briefly, though; Fear of death (brief pain and it’s all over – but you might leave everything unfinished); Fear of loss – what is it that you could not stand to exist without?  Fear of change; your comfort zone – obliterated.

Feel them all – no, really.  Feel them all.  And then create characters that we can really relate to – and emotions that stir our own. 

What better than a novel that takes us upon a roller-coaster ride that leaves us emotionally wrought, but thoroughly satisfied?

For further reading I’d recommend Rivet your readers with Deep POV.  Please note that I am in no way affiliated with this work  – I just found it to be instructive.

So, over to you;

What techniques do you use to get beneath your character’s skin?  

Do you perform mental walk-throughs? 

Do you research on-line for the experiences of others, or even query them face-to-face?

I’ve been judged – and I’m worth $195!

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I was just taking my usual route to my blog via Google (I can’t have a shortcut or bookmark at work – long story!) when I noticed that I got a match at webstatsdomain.

Feeling slightly apprehensive, I clicked on the link – and found that my blog is safe for kids – and it’s worth $195!

Cash or cheque / check?

Who knew that random journaling and general babbling could be so lucrative?

🙂

Liebster Award – times three!

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Wow!  What is it that they say?  You wait for a bus and then three come along at once…

In the last week I have been nominated for the Liebster Award no less than three times!

Thank you Carlyyysarah.

Thank you James M Davis.

Thank you Candace Knoebel.

Now, I have read comments from ‘distant’ bloggers who claim that these awards achieve nothing except increased traffic.

Rubbish!

These awards not only offer a sense of achievement to the newbie blogger, but they reveal to us those fellow bloggers who may have remained undiscovered if they hadn’t been nominated.  I am now folowing more blogs that ever and am thoroughly enjoying the daily content that arrives at my blog and in my Inbox.

What is the Liebster Award?

“The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The Meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

The rules that come with the Award:

1.      If you are tagged/nominated, you have to post 11 facts about yourself.

2.      Then you should answer the 11 questions the tagger has set for you & generate 11 new questions for the people you subsequently tag.

3.      Tag 11 more Bloggers.

4.      Tell the people you tagged that you did.

5.      No tagging back.

6.      The person you tag must have less than 200 followers.

Firstly, 11 facts about myself:

1. I have been writing since I was ten years old – perhaps longer.

2. I have appeared on BBC TV (twice).

3. Last year, I finally set foot outside Europe (Tangiers) at the age of 47.

4. My niece Heather, whom doctors advised would not survive past the age of four, is now 21 and is thinking of entering politics.

5. I was invalided out of the Royal Air Force in 1994.

6. I haven’t run for over eighteen years (see above).

7.  I do not fear death, but the idea of mental oblivion terrifies me.

8. I have 28 videos on YouTube and have been making (or trying to make) videos since 1979.

9. I love to read and usually have a minimum of three books on the go at any one time.

10. I adore time travel movies because (the well-thought out ones) can really stretch the mind like no other genre.

11. (Everyone I have told about this thinks I am crazy) I would love the challenge of winning a million pounds being able to keep that same million for life, just living off the interest (and always being able to claim that I’m a millionaire).

 

My 11 questions to Andrew Toynbee:

  1. What is your favorite book? I would say my own, because I have spent more time with it than any other and I have grown to love it, but the book that has stayed with me through all others is ‘The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant’ by Stephen Donaldson.
  2. Winter or Summer?  Summer – I am solar powered without a doubt.
  3. Who is the most inspirational person in your life? Stephen Hawking, who has achieved so much in the face of unparalleled adversity.
  4. What is one of your best memories? Appearing on BBC TV in ‘Robot Wars.’
  5. What is your favorite color and why?  Green, because it is the colour of life.
  6. If you could live anywhere, where would you live? Australia.
  7. If you could have one super power, what would it be? The power of flight, because it would make the world so much more accessible (not to mention that it would bring my carbon footprint right down).
  8. American football or European football?  European football – American football is a rarely-seen sport in Britain.
  9. Who are your top 3 favorite authors? Robin Hobb, Stephen Donaldson, E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith.
  10. Are you a night or day person?  Day (see 2.)
  11. Werewolf, Zombie, or Vampire? Vampire.  And if you’re not convinced, see the compelling argument by Raymond at Nightmirrors.

11 questions from Andrew Toynbee and his very own blog…

1. Has any book made you go ‘wow’ as you’ve completed it?
2. From where do you draw inspiration for your stories?

3. Do you listen to music when you write, or do you prefer silence?

4. How has blogging changed your writing or your outlook towards it?

5. What is your favorite food?
6. What finally prompted you to attempt your first novel?

7. Dogs or cats – and why?
8. Naughty books – all the details or leave the story at the bedroom door?
9. What is your current WIP about?
10. Has a movie brought you to tears for any reason?
11. Do you prefer to write at home or elsewhere?

My nominees;

As best I can tell these bloggers have fewer than 200 followers, but being a newbie, I’m not entirely certain… :/

Michelle Oeltjen

Rachelle Gardner

The Last Krystallos

NazilliVille

Title by Jaq

Carlie M A Cullen

Crisply Spoken

A Jar of Fireflies

My Magical Escape

Norfolk Novelist

Emilia Jordan

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