Tag Archives: reading

What’s Up… Thursday?: A Day Late And A Dollar Short

What’s up guys? How has your week been? Mine has been absolutely insane.

Last Friday was my mom’s birthday. I won’t tell you which one, because I’d prefer to make it to my next one. On her birthday, we took her out to a nice dinner and gave her our gifts. I got her an action camera like the one I’ve used to record a couple of videos on my YouTube channel. Shannon got her a ticket to go see Home Free this October. If you don’t know, they’re a great country acapella group. I don’t even like much country, but these guys are awesome.

On Saturday, Shannon, my Mom, and I  took a ride on the 1880 Train from Hill City, SD to Keystone, SD and back. It was a lot of fun and something Shannon and I have been wanting to do for years, but never found the time. It was great being to be able to step back in time as we entered vintage rail cars being pulled by an actual steam engine. I took a video and posted it on my YouTube channel here. Warning, it’s close to a two hour video, but I think it’s a reasonably soothing watch. You wouldn’t think riding in a convertible and then a train would wear you out so much, but we were both beat by the time we got home.

Of course, Sunday was back to the grind. What I wasn’t prepared for was the hotel being nearly or completely sold out every night. Some nights, even when we’re sold out, I still have most of the night to myself. Not so this week. It seemed like every five minutes or so, somebody needed something. I was hoping to get some writing done, but to tell the truth, this blog post is all the writing at work I’ve been able to do all week. I would try to get something on the page, but it always seemed that as soon as I would start to type, either the phone would ring, or someone would magically appear at my desk. Finally I gave up and cued up the next episode of Black Sails and dreamed of running away and turning pirate myself.

Of course, one full night was devoted to editing the aforementioned two hour YouTube video. I’m getting better with my editing skills. I’m even considering getting a green screen so I can replace the ugly background when I shoot vlogs at work. Now I just need to work on my on-screen presence.

The good news is that during my time at home I’ve been fairly productive. The bad news is, what I’ve been productive at is procrastination. Yes, my office is spotless so that when I do finally sit down to write, I shouldn’t have any distractions, but I’ve yet to test this theory by actually sitting down to write. Oh well, this weekend is supposed to be ridiculously hot and Shannon has a lot of homework to do for her masters in English, so I plan on giving her space and working on my own homework. I’m hoping to even get some serious reading time in over the weekend as we hide from Mister Heat Miser.

I guess that’s about it. It may not sound like much to some of you who actually work for a living, but it’s really frustrating to not be able to get work done when you actually want to.

I do have a good idea for this week’s Flash Fiction Friday, but I’m a little afraid it’ll end up turning into a full-fledged short story that I’ll want to try to submit somewhere, in which case, I won’t be posting it here. Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t turn out as good as I think it might. 😀

Anyway, I guess that’s about this week. I will post something tomorrow, I promise.

As always, you can find me all these places online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube I finally hit 100 subscribers. Thank you everyone for your help. The new custom URL is https://www.youtube.com/justinmkellywriter

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

I’m even on Pinterest

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Flash Fiction Friday Number 9: The Problem

Okay folks. I’m back with another flash fiction Friday. Today’s story is a little different. It’s not sci-fi, or horror. It’s just two people sitting down for a drink and trying to catch up. Before we start, I would like to say that I wish I had a little more time to work on this one and I will probably refine it, but here it is in all its raw glory. I call it…

7ccb42c82fc0e75901527fa38ae48b54

The Problem

Todd sat across the table from her, unsure of what to say. He never had this kind of trouble talking to women. Not any more at least. Then again, she wasn’t just any woman. This was Sabrina. This was the girl he’d pined for night after night back in high-school. This was the girl who’d never noticed him back then. At least he’d thought she hadn’t noticed him. Which is why it had been so strange when he’d heard her voice calling to him as he’d walked down the street. Even after all this time, he would recognize her voice anywhere.

He raised his glass of scotch to his lips, the ice tinkling against the glass from his shaking hand.

“So how have you been?” She asked.

“Oh, you know. Not bad. My company’s really starting to take off.”

Sabrina laughed loudly and he immediately felt like an idiot. Saying his company was taking off was like saying the bible was a reasonably popular book. In fact, he was seriously considering an offer to sell his company which would make him the world’s youngest billionaire.

“I had the biggest crush on you back in school.” He blurted, regretting it instantly.

“You? Really? I never would have guessed.”

“You knew?” He said, shocked.

“Everybody knew. It’s not like you actually needed my science notes.”

“Why didn’t you ever say anything?”

“Why didn’t you?” She countered.

Todd found himself at a loss for words. There were dozens of reasons that he couldn’t bring himself to voice. Finally, he picked the truest one.

“Because I never would have stood a chance with you.”

“What makes you think that?”

“I was just a science geek. You were pretty and popular.” He said, realizing how pathetic that made him sound.

“And yet you asked me out today. What’s changed? Am I not pretty any more?” She asked, tossing her long blonde hair teasingly.

“No. I mean you’re gorgeous.”

“So what’s changed?”

“I wasn’t rich back then.”

He’d meant it as a joke, but immediately regretted it, realizing how it sounded. She stared back at him as if he’d slapped her. After a long silence, she stood up from her chair.

“No. Please. Don’t go. I didn’t mean it like that.”

“I’m not some gold digger. As a matter of fact, your money couldn’t interest me less. I liked you because you were a genuinely nice guy. Do you want to know the reason we never went out? Because you never asked.” She said, her voice trembling like she was on the verge of tears.

Her speech finished, she turned and was gone.

Todd sat back still unsure what had just happened. There were so many things to process. Had she really liked him? Or had she just said that to hurt him after he had suggested she was after his money?

Todd felt the strange urge to put the retainer he hadn’t worn in years into his mouth. He was suddenly the lonely nerd he had been back in school.

The waiter appeared at his elbow with a fresh glass of scotch.

“I didn’t order this.” He said, absently.

“No sir. The lady bought it for you before she left. She asked me to serve it on this napkin.” The waiter said, placing the glass of very expensive whiskey in front of him and disappearing.

Todd picked up the glass of liquid amber and downed half of it, enjoying the mellow burn as it made its way down his throat and spread through his chest and stomach out to his limbs, bathing him in a warm glow.

It was then that he realized the waiter had said something odd about the napkin. He grabbed it and stared at it.

Written on the thin paper was a fairly complex looking equation along with the words, “Call me when you figure this out.”

“Smart. I forgot that. She’s smart too.” Todd said, pulling out his expensive fountain pen and getting to work.

 

 

Like I said, it’s still a little rough. I’d like to play a little more with the characters.

I would like to say that some inspiration for this story was taken from my own life. No, I’m not a billionaire. Nor am I a brilliant math geek. I was however, very shy when it came to girls. Since high-school, I have discovered that several girls I thought I didn’t have a shot with would have said yes if I had just mustered up the courage to ask them out.

Of course I didn’t find any of this out until it was way too late. Oh well, good to know for the next life, I suppose.

Anyway, that’s about it for today. I may see you on Monday, but it all depends if I finish the book I’m currently reading by then.

Your questions and comments are always welcome. If there’s a topic you’d like to see me address in my blog or my vlog, send me a message at any of these sites.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

Don’t forget, I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Monday’s are a rundown of what I’m reading. Wednesday’s are my general writing blog, and of course, there’s Flash Fiction Friday.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday.

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What’s Up Wednesday: Boosting Productivity

Hey guys, Happy What’s Up Wednesday. First off, you probably noticed that I didn’t post on Monday. That’s mainly due to the fact that while I made some progress, I’m still working on the same two books. Again, it’s not because I’m not enjoying them, but I’m still trying to get my schedule organized to fit in regular reading time.

As for writing, Daughters of the Flame is coming along, albeit slowly. I’ve really got to learn to outline so I don’t hit a wall on a daily basis so I’m not sure where to go next. I’ve been looking at different outline styles, but have yet to find one that works for me. My biggest problem is, unless I have every single plot detail planned out ahead of time, I’m still going to hit those walls where my character refuses to do what I tell him to do. When this happens, it’s because what I’ve planned is totally out of character and I didn’t even realize it until I got to that point. Okay, I’m rambling. Here’s an example.

Without giving too much detail, in the current book, Reymir and Terek find themselves in an already sketchy situation when they are asked to give up their weapons. For various reasons, Reymir is agreeable. I had planned for Terek to follow suit, but when I got to that point, I realized he would never let himself be disarmed when he’s already suspicious.

Anyway, I’m still trying to boost my productivity by learning to outline, but in the meantime, I have an idea that’s a bit unorthodox. Unorthodox? Me? Never.

I’ve always been one of those strange types who can read multiple books at once. I typically have one in the bathroom, on by the bed, etc. With the advent of e-readers, it’s gotten worse. It’s not uncommon for me to have a book on my phone, one on my tablet, one on my kindle… You get the idea. I don’t have a problem with mixing up the stories. I can go for weeks without reading one and pick up where I left off without a problem.

So my harebrained idea is this. If I can read multiple books without a problem, why not try writing multiple books at the same time? That way, when I hit that inevitable wall with one, I can start working on the next one, and then the next one, etc… I’ll probably write in different genres just to make sure I don’t have an issue with mixing them up. Although, it might be interesting to do a crossover book at some point.

So have any of my fellow writers out there tried this approach? How did it go? I’d really like to know.

The other thing I wanted to mention really quick is, I’ve been doing the math, and if you average my monthly paycheck over thirty days, is ridiculous how little I make a day. I’m not going to talk actual numbers, but by my figuring, it can’t be hard to squeeze that much out of the internet. So I’m going to really start pursuing online entrepreneurship. I know it won’t be easy, but I’ve got to do something to get out of this soul-sucking job I’m stuck with right now.

Anyway, sorry for the short post this week, I’m about to get off and I don’t want to stay here one moment more than I have to.

I would love to answer any questions you might have for me about writing. Hit me up either here or on my socials.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube I still need two more subscribers. I’m almost there. Please help.

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What’s Up Wednesday:

I don’t normally put a lot of stock in astrology, but this month has been enough to make a believer out of me. Apparently, since April 7th, Mercury has been in retrograde. Supposedly, this means bad juju. I don’t know about everyone else, but this past month has been extremely hectic. For most of the month, I’ve just felt off my game. I just haven’t felt well in general, but I couldn’t actually tell you how or why. I could never pin it down to one specific thing, I’ve just felt off.

I know part of it is that I’ve been trying to get used to regular blogging and vlogging in addition to getting my regular writing done. Flash Fiction Friday is particularly hard because I have to come up with an original story idea every week. (Don’t worry, that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.) Even though I’ve missed a post here and there, I’ve still done better than I imagined I would. Unfortunately, I’ve been so focused on those things, I’m afraid writing every day has fallen to the wayside, which is silly since that’s the point of doing everything else.

What my real problem boils down to is this, time management. I have plenty of time to do everything I need to be doing. Hell, I could do it all during my normal working hours if I weren’t just being lazy. The problem is, I’ve been lazy most of my life. Breaking that habit is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do. Well, except maybe giving up sugar, but that’s a failure for another day.

That being said, I’m working on a couple of strategies to help me not be so lazy and to keep me from feeling so overwhelmed.

First, I’m trying to get used to a regular writing schedule. This is not only for my fiction writing, but for my blogs and vlogs as well. I have an alarm set for three P.M. (Remember, I work nights.) When it goes off, I have exactly an hour to wake up and get ready to write. If there’s something I need to do, it has to wait until my writing time is over. The hour between getting up and getting to work is for having a bit to eat, taking a shower, and drinking my morning coffee. This brings me to my second strategy…

COFFEE!!! Don’t get me wrong, I already drink my fair share of the stuff, but it’s not on a regular basis. I reserve it for when I really need it. Truth be told, I never wanted to be one of those grownups who has to have their coffee to function, but it’s time to face facts. I need it in the morning. The days I have it, I’m infinitely more productive than I am on days when I don’t. If I don’t have my coffee, I tend to sit around the house like a zombie, unless I decide to go back to bed entirely.

Now that the scheduling thing is handled, it’s time for the third and hardest strategy for being more productive. I’ve got to learn to outline. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m what’s known in the trade as a pantser. This means I just sit down and start writing without knowing exactly what I’m writing. Flying by the seat of my pants as it were. I don’t even separate my stories into chapters until it’s all said and done. Pantsing is like getting in your car and just going, throwing the map out the window, whereas plotting is like having a strict route to follow with all the bathroom and gas stops figured out. Pantsing, like getting in the car and just going, can be really fun and exciting; until you get lost or end up somewhere you really don’t want to be. Plotting can be almost as fun, (he said, trying to convince himself). I’ve recently come to realize that if I want writing to be a career instead of just a hobby, I’ve got to treat it like a job. Sure, it’s a job I enjoy immensely, but if you’re going to go to work, you’re probably going to want to know how to get there. And this is where I’ll stop as the metaphor is on the verge of falling apart.

Next is one that’s going to be almost as hard as learning how to outline. I love my phone. I would have killed to have had a device like it when I was a kid growing up. I would have never been bored. Which is exactly why I’m glad I didn’t. Aside from the fact that all the stupid things I did in my youth would have been documented, I would have missed out on being bored. I spent a lot of my time as a kid being bored. I had to find ways to entertain myself. Guess how I did it. That’s right, I made up stories. Now it’s not that I don’t have the occasional great story idea these days, but they don’t come nearly as often as they used to. Why? Because every time I feel myself getting bored, I reach for my phone and either play a game, watch a movie or YouTube video, or just surf the internet. I’ve got to learn to be bored again.

In the same vein, I really need to replace T.V. time with reading. I read as much as possible, but I’d get through a lot more books and stimulate my mind more, if instead of picking up the remote, I would pick up a book.

I guess that’s it. Sorry for the rambling nature of my post today. I was really just making it up as I go. This post was more for me. Call it thinking on the page. That’s how I do some of my best thinking.

Anyway, I’ll see you on Friday, providing I can come up with a good idea. It’s time to start staring off into space again. At least Mercury goes back to normal today.

Don’t be afraid to stalk me online

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube I still need just a few more subscribers. Please don’t make me beg.

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

 

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It’s Monday! Enders, The Man In The High Castle, Eve: The Awakening, You Are A Writer

Enders, by Lissa Price

51J+favcB4L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_I loved both of the books in this series. They were very creative and entertaining. I must admit, through both of them I had a fear that the masked villain would turn out to be a certain character. It would have not only ruined the entire series, but it would have been incredibly cliche. Thankfully, the author chose not to go that direction. I really liked the way she wrapped up everything neatly by the end of the book but still left it open for a sequel. When I met her, she hinted that there might be at least one more on the way and I’m really hoping it’s true.

 

 

The Man In The High Castle, by Philip K. Dick2016-12-19-1482180717-9274817-themaninthehighcastlepaperback

I know I said I wouldn’t talk about this one until I’d finished it. Well, I finally forced myself to sit down and do just that and I have to say, the ending was just as underwhelming as the rest of the book.

Spoilers Below.

If you don’t already know, The Man in the High Castle takes place in a world where the axis powers won world war two. It basically chronicles the lives of several people living in this world. It deals with a lot of the politics of a German/Japanese occupied America. In this world, there is a book written by a reclusive author that describes a world in which America had won the war (How meta). One of the characters is on a quest to find this author so she can ask him questions about it. When she finally reaches him, he reveals that GASP America actually did win the war, Unfortunately, it’s just left at that. No explanation of how Germany convinced everyone that they had actually won or whether it’s actually a parallel dimension or what.

End of spoilers.

Again, I hate to disparage such a legendary sci-fi writer, but this one just didn’t do it for me. At least I can say I’ve read it.

Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci

415Vh64vDoL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while. I follow Jenna on YouTube. She’s full of great advice on the writing craft and just living life as a writer. She’s one of the people who inspired me to start my own channel.

I’ve just started reading this one so I wish I could tell you more about it, bu I know this much. Eve lives in a futuristic California and is what’s known as a Chimera. Not like the greek myth, but a new stage in human evolution. From what I can see so far, she has the power of telekinesis. I can’t wait to get further into it. So far, it’s as amazing as its author,

 

 

 

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins41Qa4s+C1LL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

What can I say? The title of this book speaks for itself. Full disclosure, I’ve read this one before, but I had to re-read it after a brief bout of self-doubt. Jeff’s book always makes me feel more confident in myself as a writer. I highly recommend it. Especially if you find yourself getting sidetracked with all the other little things that come with being a writer.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll see you all again on Wednesday.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

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It’s Monday: Starters, The Man In The High Castle, part 2

Okay. I’ve been slacking on my reading. The truth is, between regular blogging, relaunching my vlog, and all the other social media duties involved with getting my name out there, not to mention finding time to actually get words on the page, I have been really neglecting my reading. Funny how I’ve had time to watch several movies and binge-watch Hawaii Five o. I really need to get my priorities straight.

Anyway.

Starters, By Lissa Price

13512021 So far, I’m loving this book Every time I pick it up, I don’t want to put it down. Unfortunately, it seems something always forces me to. Without giving too much away, I just got to a pivotal scene and things are about to get real. I almost can’t wait to finish this one so I can devour the next one. Also, a little birdie hinted to me that there might be a third on the way.

The Man In The High Castle, by Philip K. Dick

2016-12-19-1482180717-9274817-themaninthehighcastlepaperback I have to admit, I’m still struggling with this one. As much as I want to like it because it was written by one of the masters of sci-fi, I’m just not getting into it. To its credit, it does seem that something is finally going to happen. Unfortunately, I’m over 80% through the book, so it had better happen fast. At this point, I refuse to give up, but I almost feel like I’m back in high-school and being forced to read a fairly dry textbook.

5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox

51gqAWVUU4L After reading the first book in the series in the course of a night at work, I quickly moved on to this one. I’ve only begun reading it, but so far it’s filled with valuable information. For me personally, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to 5,000 words per hour because his method is rooted in diligent plotting and I get bored if I know too much about my story. Even if I can reach one or two thousand words an hour, I’d be a happy man. If you like to plot, I highly recommend this series. He also has a ton of informational videos on YouTube.

That’s it for today. Sorry for the short post, but with the exception of the nonfiction title, I said pretty much all I had to say last week. Hopefully next week I’ll be back on track and I’ll have new books to tell you about.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

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It’s Monday! The Man In The High Castle, Starters

Hey guys.

This is the first post of this type for me. On Mondays, I’ll fill you in on what I’ve been reading. My girlfriend turned me on to this and I’m hoping it’ll help keep my reading on track.

I’ll start with, The Man In The High Castle, by Philip K. Dick2016-12-19-1482180717-9274817-themaninthehighcastlepaperback

I know it’s blasphemy, but I’m having a really hard time getting through this one. I started reading it after watching the Amazon series of the same name. (I highly recommend watching it if you have an Amazon Prime account.) Unfortunately, the book isn’t nearly as exciting as the show that was adapted from it.

Like the show, the book is about what the world would have been like had the Nazi’s and Japan won the war. Unfortunately, save for a few characters, that’s about where the similarities end.  I’m over two thirds through it and to be perfectly honest, with the exception of one brief scene, I’m still waiting for something to happen. Maybe I got my hopes up too high after watching the show, but the book so far is just what it appears to be on the face. An alternate history of the United States. Other than that, there’s no real sci-fi element so far. I’m afraid if something big doesn’t happen soon, it’s not going to.

I’m also reading Starters, By Lissa Price.

13512021

I’m not very far into this one yet, but so far it’s fascinating. A year after the war wiped out all adults, all that are left ate the young (starters) and the elderly (enders). The enders have taken all the wealth and left the starters with nothing. Callie is a starter looking out for her little brother. Since the laws don’t allow anyone under eighteen to take a job, she resorts to the only way people her age are able to make money. She rents out her body to enders looking to relive their youth. Now, I’m not talking about prostitution. She signs with a company that’s developed a way to let enders take control of her body and live as a young girl for a time. I don’t want to give too much away, but an elderly person borrowing her body is just the beginning of her problems.

As a side note, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Price in person at Pitchfest where she coached me before I pitched to actual agents and she was incredibly sweet and helpful. I ended up buying two copies of both Starters and Enders, the sequel for her to sign. One set for Shannon and I, and another for a friend of ours who had loved Starters.

Finally, for my nonfiction selection, I read Lifelong Writing Habit: The Secret To Writing Every Day by Chris Fox

51c7IluauNL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

It’s been an invaluable resource for helping me get organized and write every day (okay, okay, not every day, but I’m getting there). I’m slowly becoming more productive too, although I don’t think I’ll ever get to the five thousand words a day he says I can. I have a feeling those kinds of numbers only come with meticulous outlining and I’m a dyed in the wool pantser. To be honest, the main reason I write is for my own entertainment and I lose that if I have more than a basic idea of what might happen in the story.

Still, a lot of his advice still has value for a stubborn old pantser like me. Thanks to Mr. Fox, hopefully you’ll soon start seeing lots of new work from me. I’m reading his 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter, next. Hopefully he can get me to at least three thousand words a day.

Well, that’s about it for today. Come back on Wednesday for the rest of my adventures at Thrillerfest and, if there’s time, loose in the city.

As always, check me out at…

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

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I Have Returned

Okay, okay. Let’s not bicker and argue about who hasn’t been updating their blog.

Seriously though,  sorry.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, just a quick update. While I haven’t been blogging, I  have been writing. A lot. I  finally got around to turning my second bedroom into a home office and my productivity has gone through the roof.

image

I am currently about 15,000 words into my epic fantasy novel. I’ve also begun a dystopian YA thriller which was originally intended as a short story, but seems to be rapidly turning into a novel length piece. The plot is just too complex for a short.

Best of all, thanks to the support of my girlfriend, Shannon, I have finally started submitting my work. While I haven’t sold anything just yet, just getting my work out there is a major step.

This weekend I am attending the South Dakota Festival of Books in historic Deadwood. It takes place here every two years and I  always look forward to it. Next time, I  fully intend to have my own table where I will be signing and selling my own book.

Sorry for the short post today, but I’m typing this as I wait for the first program to begin. Never fear, I  fully intend to put up a longer post soon and get on a regular schedule. I’m not going to bother promising when though, because we all know how that goes.

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