Tag Archives: new authors

Want an Accountability Partner? Consider This First.

19 Jul

Maybe you’ve heard of accountability partners. Maybe you’ve considered getting one. But what is an accountability partner, really, and how do you get someone to help?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, “accountability partner” is teaming up with someone who will keep you accountable for your writing progress. For example, your friend may check in with you every Tuesday to make sure you’ve written 1,000 words that week, and if not, you may jump on Zoom for a quick write-in.

Accountability partners look different to everyone because every writer has their own unique goals.

It may include critiquing, or it might only be a verbal check-in. The partnership can go both ways or not. Your accountability partner might not even be a fellow writer. Finding what works for you is what’s key.

Here’s how I set up my accountability system without anyone but me knowing.

As of late, I’ve spent most of my writing time revising rather than writing a first draft. That said, I have a hard time concentrating on one novel at a time. On any given day, I tend to have three going: One I am revising, one I am writing, and one I am dreaming about (or outlining). That way, I have different projects for different energies. (If I only revise, I lose my motivation fast.) But working on three separate projects doesn’t come without difficulties.

How do you know you’re writing enough? What time do you dedicate to which project? When will you get it all done?

These were questions I had to ask myself. When it comes to revising, I know that I need to get it done as fast as possible, but I also need it to be quality edits, not just speed. That’s why I put most of my energy into that project. That said, I know I need to honor some creative/writing time for myself. If I don’t, I get burnt out. Nevertheless, it’s easy for me to forget that and fall into a responsibility trap, where I end up drained and frustrated.

This was why I knew I needed to make a specific, time-set goal around creative writing.

That goal? Every month, I will write two new chapters for my monthly critique group.

Sometimes I send more if they have the reading time and I had the writing time. But I tend to only manage two chapters. That’s about 20 pages. It’s very minimal. But guess what? It’s better than nothing. Believe it or not, by the end of the year, I tend to have a full-length novel.

But do my critique partners know about this? No, not really.

Here’s the deal: I don’t have accountability partners in the traditional sense. No one is going to email me and say, “You told me you’d have X done by this date, so where is it?” The way I approach it is a lot more light-hearted.

No one in my group knows that my goal is two chapters every month. No one gives me a hard time if I don’t meet that. But every month, my iCalendar bings the week before our meetup and asks me if my pages are ready. If they aren’t, I focus solely on those pages until they are good to go.

For me, accountability is about giving yourself permission to set everything else aside to focus on that one time-set goal you promised yourself.

It’s investing in your work, your future, and your writing. Finding a pattern that helps you do that is key. Sometimes discovering that requires help from a friend or a family member (or an alert on your calendar). Don’t be afraid to ask those around you if they’d be willing to check in. That said, I’d recommend considering your goals before you talk to others. That way, you can tell them what you need.  

My advice?

Set a small writing goal, but don’t forget to consider your accountability.

I will write (# of words) every (time: month, week, etc.) for (my critique group, my website, myself).

If you’re feeling really brave, add stipulations: As I approach my deadline, I will set aside (TV, other projects, dessert) until I complete it. I will also not hesitate to ask for help on (laundry, dishes, childcare, etc.) if I need extra time.

Lastly—and as always—it’s okay to adjust your goals.

Even your accountability partner will understand if you say you can’t write the same amount of words in the fall as you can in the spring. Life happens. Don’t punish yourself for not hitting your goal. Instead, ask yourself why. Are you being too hard on yourself? Are your expectations too high? Adjust your word count or time, and try again.  

It took me a long time to find my happy place with creative writing vs. revising, but I would never have found it if I hadn’t adjusted along the way.

For instance, I used to write 10,000 words a week. That number makes me gasp now. With a full-time job, a house to take care of, and the understanding that I need more time to be human, I’m nowhere near that output anymore. And that’s okay! I have new goals now. And with those, I am staying accountable.

What about you? Do you have accountability partners?

~SAT

#ReadingChallenge Try a New Section in the Bookstore

25 Jan

Normally I take old posts and rewrite them every Monday, which is technically what I’m still doing, but I say that lightly in this case. Back October 25, 2012, I wrote a book review for a debut author, and I discussed why I think the debut author section is my favorite section in the bookstore. (You can read that post here.) Today, instead of writing a review, I want to discuss my favorite sections in the bookstore and why I love them. But why is this important? For readers and writers alike, it’s important to challenge yourself. Step outside your box, pick up a new author, try a strange genre, flip through a poetry collection. It just might help you with your writing. You might even find your next favorite book.

Here are three sections I tried and learned from!

I’d love to hear about your favorite sections too.

New Author Section:

I particularly love starting my bookstore journey in this section, because it challenges me to read new voices and new types of stories that I may not have found otherwise. Anything and everything gets placed in this section. Drama, literature, poetry, graphic novels, anything. I have seen it all in this section, which is why this section is a go-to area if you’re in the mood for challenging yourself. It’s also EXTRA exciting, because the novels are normally by authors you’ve never heard of before. (There are exceptions, meaning if an author hasn’t been published in ten years, they might still appear here.) But it’s well worth a skim. In fact, I found my favorite graphic novel of 2015 in this section—The Gigantic Beard that was Evil by Stephen Collins.

new

Memoirs and Biographies:

What is a better section for learning about life than reading about people’s literal lives? I love memoirs in particular, so I know I’m biased, but I think memoirs can also force you to step outside your boundaries. (I even love non-memoir memoirs. You know, the ones that claim they are “fiction” but everyone and their mother knows they aren’t…Granted, not found in this section, but that’s another story.) Last year, I found one of my all-time favorite reads in this section. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, which is about a girl deciding to work in a crematory. It’s a fascinating exploration of mortality within different cultures.

What Our Staff Recommends:

I almost ALWAYS go to this section of the bookstore if the store has it. This is one of those delightful sections you can’t find online either (and it’s different in every store you go to). There’s normally a stack of books and one or two lines about why the staff recommends that particular read. Each review is generally done by a different staff member too, so you have a wonderful amount of variety in this section. Last year, I found Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan in this section, and I fell in love.

I normally spend the majority of my time in the young adult section. I have to mention this section, because it’s my obviously my go-to genre. It’s the section I buy most of my books from, and I thought I’d mention that so you could see how it compares to the other section above.

It’s important to challenge yourself, whether you’re a reader or a writer, and challenging yourself can help you. Even if you just want to know more about other topics, you can expand your palate by reading. This is why I love reading so much!

Try to pick two sections you wouldn’t normally visit, and check it out this month.

Trust me, it’s worth it.

~SAT

Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM! I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. CTP author Tamara Granthamwill be there, as well as NY Times Bestselling and USA Today Bestselling author Candice Gilmer. (I’ll know the other three authors soon!) I’d love to see you! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

takefofytseve

You can read The Timely Death Trilogy on your new Kindle Fire! 

Clean Teen Publishing is giving one away. Enter here.

Giveaway-image

What Going To The Bookstore is Like

9 Dec

It’s December…which means cold weather…which means an extra excuse to go into the bookstore when your friends are shopping to…get warm…and get coffee and cookies ::cough cough:: I’ll only be five minutes. I promise.

My piece of heaven

My piece of heaven

I love books, obviously, but I also love going into bookstores just as much. There’s just *something* about the entire experience. Whether it’s the smell (the lovely smell of Starbucks and new books) or being around fellow book lovers, I love it all. I cannot wait until the next time I go on a trip to the store. So much so that I’m slightly weary of ordering online. Even though it’s convenient, I want *that* moment. Hell, I’ll make a whole night out of it. Bookstores bring a lot of peace to my life, so before I share what going into a bookstore is like, I want to share my Barnes & Noble. They bring a lot of love to my little writer’s life…and this is exactly how it plays out.

Oh! Look. A Barnes & Noble. 

I’m just…going to step in for a…minute. Just a minute.

200

It smells like cookies in here.

Until I eat all of them, that is.

200-1

And coffee! I need both.

Especially after that Barnes & Noble Membership discount.

I’m never going to leave.

200-2

Okay. Books. I want all of them.

Time to get serious. This is what you came here for.

This is where your plan comes into action. You know your plan. It starts at new fiction, wraps around the young adult, circles to the poetry, and ends at memoirs.

200-4Okay. So maybe not that book.

Just not for me. That was…something though.

200-3

There’s seeing a book you’ve been wanting.

Yep. The entire staff just heard you squeal.

They also saw you dance while you waited for someone else to move out of the way.

200-7

And there’s seeing the book you’ve been waiting over a year to release.

Sweet Jesus. Yep. They definitely saw and heard you again.

200-6

You try to apologize, but everyone understands.

We all have an inner Matilda.

200-8

In fact, you might just read it right now

200-9

But bookstores close…so you have to leave…

I’ll just get one. Or two. Or…screw it. I want all of these.

200-10

But when you get home, you have your favorite place to read.

Does anything get any better than this?

200-11~SAT

Also, because we’re sharing gifs and other funny moments, I just did an interview with YouTuber Drew C. Ryan on his channel The awkWORD. (A hilarious channel by the way.) We talked about fandoms, video games, Disney, Sailor Moon, and more! Check it out.

#BookRelease Seconds Before Sunrise Evolution Day!

25 Aug

Holy Dark! We are here! Book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases today. (And the last book releases in two weeks!) Before I tell you to check out the sequel here—Okay. Fine. Here’s Amazon and Barnes & Noble—I wanted to tell you a little about my journey up until this point.

You know. Because Pokemon.

You know. Because Pokemon.

Back in 2007, when I started my publishing journey, I left the market almost as quickly as I got into it. I was 16, off to college within the year, and a little overwhelmed with everything. That being said, I never stopped writing, so the first cover you see above was one I included on PDF files I sent to my readers that stayed with me, even though I told them I wasn’t returning. To me, I very much pursued publishing because of my mother’s death. I knew I wanted to be a writer, and that moment broke me. It made me get serious. But I ultimately left because it was too much, I wasn’t ready, and I didn’t find myself facing publication again until my college roommate’s death in 2012. I was 21—and so was she—and we had taken a poetry course together. Upon her sudden passing, I was featured in a poetry collection, and the day we read it at an event, I opened the print up to see the group had dedicated it to her memory. I still cannot breathe when I think of the moment, and I think of Kristine often. I think of so many people often, and the amount of loved ones in my life who have affected me—as a person and as a writer—is breathtaking. I dedicated the first novel of The Timely Death Trilogy to both my college roommates at the time, Megan and Kristine, and back then, only three years ago, I was simply going to release it by myself to show how much someone can change your life. I never expected to be contacted by a publisher back in 2012, and I never expected that same publisher would close two years later. I thought my journey was over. But then you all came in—my readers—and you all found me my new home, Clean Teen Publishing, and my journey has continued ever since. I am at home, and I am happy, and for once, that happiness is what steals my breath away.

Today, I am reminded of all of the lovely souls that have touched my life, influenced my work, and encouraged me to push forward, and today, I thank you from the bottom of my writer’s heart. (I say that a lot, and that’s because I mean it. Deeply.)

Without you, my journey might have ended. Because of you, it marches on into the Dark. The Dark lives on. I especially want to thank the blogs helping me today (the bold one won a swag pack from me for helping!): Legends of Windemere, Crazy Beautiful, Endless Reading, Just Amy, Chris Pavesic, Macy Loves Stories, Books for Thought, The Book Forums, Gnome on Pig Productions, Mel’s Shelves, and A Reader’s Review.

I hope you’re having as much fun as I’m having. Either way, I’m grateful.

Love to all,

~SAT

Now…for some book nerd information:

Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”
Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.
Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

All three!

All three!

If you haven’t checked out the first novel, Minutes Before Sunset, don’t worry! I have you covered: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads. And, remember, you don’t have to wait a year for the last book! It releases in TWO weeks. Two weeks. (Double Holy Dark!) I cannot fathom it.

Happy reading!

Stay Dark,

~SAT

Author Announcements

12 Jun

Today is a busy day for me! I normally only blog every other day, but I had to share a few fantastic announcements with everyone. If only I had an awesome podium to stand behind and a little microphone attached to my head. (Sorry – I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks recently…Wait. I’m not sorry. No one should ever be sorry for watching TED talks.)

Moving right along…

First, Tony Jaa – martial artist and actor – deemed me quote worthy. VERY quote worthy. Me. Little ol’ silly me. The amount of blushing my pale face fell victim to was rather embarrassing, but all that blushing is my way of saying thank you soooo much.

tony

and it continued into this morning:

mymorning

If that isn’t enough, Seconds Before Sunrise is officially available on Amazon and Smashwords (and everywhere else.) But you can buy it for only $0.99 by using this code –> BW58C <–  on Smashwords. If you prefer Amazon, don’t worry! It’s only $3.89 there.

nominee-award-february14_(3)I also received an award from Noveltunity – a worldwide eBook club that exclusively features new or undiscovered writers. Every month, they hold a contest for “Book of the Month” and Minutes Before Sunset was in the top 10, so I was awarded nominee status! How neat is that? I definitely recommend this website. In fact, I have a code for you to join. Normally, you have to pay, but with this code –> AESNOV30 <– you get %40 off. Oh, how I love the sweet combinations of letters and numbers that make up lovely codes.  

This is also my 300th blog post: (because this blog is my life.)

300

As a special thank you, I am also sharing something deeply personal about The Timely Death Trilogy, but I will be using an excerpt to explain it:

Below this explanation is an early excerpt from Seconds Before Sunrise. This is from chapter two. It’s told by Jessica, and it is the first dream sequence we see in Seconds Before Sunrise. But the reader knows something Jessica doesn’t because of Minutes Before Sunset – this “dream sequence” isn’t a dream at all. It’s a memory. We see different flashes of separate scenes from book 1, but what you don’t know is that this dream is entirely based off of one of the real dreams I had that inspired The Timely Death Trilogy. In fact, the first dream I ever had was of me running through the forest behind my house. During the dream, I scratched my arm on a thorn bush (which existed in real life) and I woke up with a massive scratch on my arm. Looking back on it, I probably did it to myself. This is one of the reasons I say I “suffer” from nightmares and night terrors in my interviews. I often hurt myself in my sleep. But I’m sharing it to explain why I had moments where I truly contemplated my sanity, moments where I lost myself to the thoughts and questions of “is this really happening?” And now those moment are books, and one of those moments is right here for you to read:

 …

            “Run.”

The sudden voice was barely audible. My heart was racing as fast as my legs were. I leapt over torn up brush and twisted past trees at speeds I couldn’t comprehend. The darkness blended together.

The ground was rigid beneath my feet, and I stumbled as I looked over my shoulder. They were after us. I could feel them, their heat and their strength. The suffocating air was filled with electricity, and it burned against my exposed flesh. As suddenly as it had touched me, it was around my neck.

Her black eyes were boundless, and I lost myself in them before she tossed my body. I flew over her shoulder, easily and helplessly, and collided with wet leaves. My limbs flayed, and I clawed at the ground, attempting to stop my momentum − but it was too late.

My head cracked against a rock, and the sound shuddered through my body. Light consumed my vision before it was replaced with blackness, and then I was awake again.

I saw his eyes first, crystal-blue but clouded with concern. When he met my gaze, he dropped the cold rag he had brushed across my face. The condensation awoke my consciousness.

I gasped, trying to sit up, but his hand pressed my shoulders down. My body reacted to his touch, and his fingers lingered as if he couldn’t let go.

He spoke, but I didn’t hear him, and time blurred like the night had moments before. He moved too quickly, and I couldn’t follow him. He was by the window, and my legs burned as if I’d stood moments before. But I was still in bed, and he spoke by the window.

I couldn’t hear him, but I knew what was happening. He was leaving, and he wouldn’t be back. He disappeared in a cloud of smoke, and I screamed.

I hope you will take a moment to check out Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise today. I won’t ask you to buy it or review it or spread the word about it. I just want to share my words with you – I am unbelievably grateful to be living my dream every day because you – my dear reader – are the reason I can even write on this blog at (currently) 1:17 a.m. on a Thursday since I’m too excited about the eBook release to sleep. Feel free to send me an email to say “hi” or stop by the eBook extravaganza party tonight to interview me live. I will be there. And I will be smiling. (Not in that creepy, Cheshire cat sort of a way, but in that … wait, no. I like the creepy smile. I’ll be smiling like that.)

Bogart and I send our love,

~SAT

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Why Are Authors “Hating” On One Another?

21 Sep

Website Update: We hit 9,000 followers on the 19th! That means a HUGE giveaway is coming soon. If you’d like your book to be a part of it, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. Other than that, THANK YOU for all of your dedicated support and heartfelt encouragement. 

There are many authors and writers out there, sharing their works with the world, whether it be through books, blogging, or another form of communication. But I’ve come across many who astound me—and these people are preaching hate at one another. This post is my attempt to bring light to why this needs to stop.

Although there are many kinds of publishing, I’m focusing on the three main ones I often see verbally assaulted. 

  1. Traditional
  2. Small Press
  3. Self-Publishing

Unfortunately, I’ve seen hate from all sides, and I’m sure most authors have. 

I’ve seen hate from traditionally published authors, generally saying anyone else is not “good enough” for bigger publishers. Ironically, a lot of these authors have admitted to previously knowing someone in the industry. Even worse, they don’t seem to consider many authors aren’t comfortable with traditional publishing houses monopolizing the market. I’ve seen hate from small press published authors, saying almost the exact same thing about self-published authors. But I also see hate from self-published authors, saying they don’t like traditional publishing houses for the reasons above but also hating on small-press published authors, because they aren’t “capable” at marketing themselves and, therefore, have to rely on someone else by means of payment.

This is ridiculous, and it needs to stop now.

It seems to me that many of these authors have forgotten why we’re all authors in the first place (and, YES, we are ALL authors.) We share the same love of expressing ourselves through words. We love writing, whether it stems from fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or something else entirely. We love words. So why do some use their words to preach words of hate about others who love the same thing?

The most honest explanation I can come up with is insecurity (although I want to clarify that this isn’t the only reason I’ve seen.) Either way, who cares how another author is sharing and publishing their works? Just be happy that they are living their dream and/or chasing after it. Support their decision to bravely share their works of art with the world. It is not your responsibility to decide who is “ready” or “good enough.” Let the reader decide, because, after all, they are the people who are reading our works. You don’t have to support every author out there, but you shouldn’t put down every author out there that isn’t like you. It’s the basic rule to respecting others. You may not respect their work, but you should respect the fact that they are a human being, working hard to follow their dreams—just as you are, no matter what kind of publishing you are in.

 … 

Some comments from my Author Facebook page about this topic:

Scott Collins: Anyone willing to spend that much time and energy to put their book to paper deserves support and encouragement.

Nicole Castro: This is why I use the #writingfamily hashtag on Twitter.

Quinten Rhea: Part of our job is to encourage, support, and help promote each other.

Kyle Garret:  I think the book market is perceived as so crowded, especially these days with ebook “shelves” constantly getting more full and fewer lucrative traditional deals going out, that it naturally conditions authors to turn on each other because there’s this perceived idea that only one can “make it”. I don’t agree with it – and think it’s downright odd given how people in similar markets like music, gaming or film treat each other – but it’s my take.

Feel free to discuss your opinion and/or your experiences below, especially if it includes ways we, as a writing community, can prevent this “hate” from continuing any further.

~SAT

New Edition Release

11 Aug

That’s right! Minutes Before Sunset has been updated–cover and all! 

So what does this mean? If you’ve seen the paperback physically, the cover may have looked a little washed out. (Less contrast in color) And now it’s been changed due to a number of requests. The cover is as bright as ever, and two more editors have also gone over the novel with my publisher and I. As you all know, I take the opinions of my fans very seriously, and I worked with my publisher to decide it wouldn’t hurt to run it through a touch up process one last time. The new version is a crisp, delicately rewritten product with 2,000 added words, and it’s available as ebook and print now! (This also means those who have already received a copy have a first edition!)  I’m also giving away free ebooks in exchange for review 😀 Email me at ShannonAThompson@aol.com.

Available now on AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboDieselSony, and Apple.

I’m very excited about this, and I am continuing with Seconds Before Sunrise with great hopes! 

I also wanted to share AEC Stellar Publishing’s August newsletter:

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 6.35.19 PM

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 6.35.25 PMMany of you might recognize both Raymond Vogel and Sorin Sucui from guest blogging while I was in Pennsylvania! They are deeply talented, and their books are sure to be a great success. So check these two out.

Sorry to keep it short today! Believe it or not, I have even more exciting news coming, and I cannot wait to share as the news releases one event after the other. Here’s to the future for every writer!

~SAT

Paperback Published & Spotlight Interview

14 Jun

WEBSITE UPDATE: If you all recall, Minutes Before Sunset needed nominations for “Book of the Month” on Goodreads, and you all succeeded! But I need votes. PLEASE VOTE BY CLICKING THE LINK. I need all of the support I can get 😀

Thank you for voting: Gregory S. Lamb, Christina Channelle, Amber ForbesBob Williams, Marie Bailey, Laura B., Raymond, Silver Wolf, Christie, and Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie.  (I’ll add your site here when you vote too!)

Minutes Before Sunset is officially available as a paperback through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s been available as a pre-order, but now it will ship to your house when you order it! I’m really excited, because this is a day I’ve been waiting on for a long time! If you click on the picture below, you’ll be taken directly to Amazon, which has the cheapest prices and the most reviews. I’m always excited to share my stories, but I’m even more excited to share your thoughts. If you do a review, let me know, and I will link your websites on this very page! Thank you for all of your support.

Click the pic and go to Amazon!

Click the pic and go to Amazon!

I wanted to share one of my most supportive followers, Ky Grabowski. A fellow writer and reader, you all may recognize Ky Grabowski. She hosts The Inner Workings Of My Mind, and she’s reviewed Minutes Before Sunset already. She also won a signed paperback. It’s a treat to connect with my readers like this. But she made my day when she sent me a tweet including a picture of her with Minutes Before Sunset

Ky Grabowski with "Minutes Before Sunset."

Ky Grabowski with “Minutes Before Sunset.”

I also mention Ky Grabowski for another reason.  Ky Grabowski is also doing a “Spotlight” feature on her blog, and I’m excited to announce I was featured on this yesterday. She interviews authors and other artists, and her questions include focus on Minutes Before Sunset, inspiration, advice for new writers, and fun questions. Here’s a preview

“What would you like readers to get from your book (s) ?

My ultimate goal when writing a novel is to help young adults understand decision-making and moral values. I also encourage teens to think outside the stereotype box. For instance, “Minutes Before Sunset” includes a character named Crystal Hutchins. She may dress like a “punk,” but she’s an aspiring journalist, and she loves events, so she’s very excited about prom. This character was created carefully, because I wanted to show there is more to a person than just their dress or their actions. She may contradict herself, but that’s simply an action created by her trying to figure out who she wants to be.”

Read the rest of this interview by clicking this link

Ky has graciously given me three spots for the Spotlight Feature to fill, so you can be showcased on her website! Comment below, and let me know if you’re interested.

And help me celebrate today’s release by checking out Minutes Before Sunset! Available as paperback and ebook on AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboDieselSony, and Apple.

~SAT

June 16, 2013: Why I Won’t Give Up

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