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Zombies, Threesomes, and Charlotte Stein’s New Novel, Reawakening

I’m elated to have one of my very favourite erotic novelists as my guest this week. The Mighty Charlotte Stein is here to tell us the story behind the story of her sexy, scary, exciting new novel, Reawakening. Welcome, Charlotte!

 

Reawakening started with 28 Days Later. In fact, every zombie based thing I write, dream or think about started with 28 Days Later.

Yep, I’m that sort of zombie fan. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love the original George Romero movies. I really do. I think there’s room in this world for fast moving zombies and slow moving zombies – though hopefully not literally.

But there’s just something about the speedy, furious, ravenous zombies in 28 Days Later that gets to me. It had a visceral impact on me, that movie, and ever since watching it I’ve spent serious time imagining what the world would be like after a disease of that nature took hold.

Which is how Reawakening came to be.

Of course, there are other contributing factors. Like with most books, I usually start with a scenario and a hero (or heroes), and this book was no exception. At the time of writing I was pretty much obsessed with the new A-Team movie – not because it’s any good, but because Sharlto Copley and Bradley Cooper are so gorgeous and charismatic as Face and Murdock that they kind of warped my brain.

Which is probably a terrible way to describe the writing process, but it’s true. My brain was warped by the A-Team and zombie movies, and then I just had to write Reawakening. Of course, I’m sure there were other contributing factors, here. Important, writerly stuff like:

My muse spoke to me in honeyed tones and I couldn’t not eat nor sleep until I had committed the words to paper.

Or perhaps:

My tortured artist’s soul forced me to eke out each word in a pen filled with my own blood.

But really, if I’m being honest, my urge to write has and always will stem from my love of men, of relationships, of crazy scenarios I can never experience myself. I want to smell and taste and touch the zombie apocalypse. Even though it’s gross and probably flavoured with rotted limb.

And more importantly I want to smell and taste and touch Jamie and Blake, who are not flavoured with rotted limb. They are gorgeous and sexy and they bring my heroine back to life, through the magical wonder of threesomes.

What more could a girl ask, from the men in her life?

Blurb:

June has spent the last two years of her life trying to avoid death at the hands of murderous psychopaths and ravening zombies. So when Jamie turns up on the scene, careless, still whole and promising her safety on a little paradise island, she isn’t quite sure she can trust him. Especially when he tells her that it’s just him, and his equally big, burly, handsome friend Blake.

But Jamie and Blake are even better than her wildest dreams—sweet and funny and charming. And worst of all: sexy as hell. Though they’re trying to be gentlemanly with her, all she can think about is how much she wants to get tangled up in them, and forget the nightmare the world has become. She’s waiting for her reawakening—back to life and happiness and love.

And they seem like just the right sort of men to wake her—body and soul.

Excerpt:

All June could think was—Kelsey is dead, Kelsey is dead, Kelsey is dead—while the image of the ravening hordes feasting on Kelsey’s body played behind her eyes. She tried to shut it off, keep it down, keep running before they got to her, but Kelsey’s blood was still wet and all over her right arm.

And if Jamie hadn’t shot Kelsey—right as she was still screaming, and begging for help—she’d be one of them, now. That’s what happened. Once they bit you or bled on you or hell, spat on you, you had maybe thirty seconds.

Before you turned.

She needed to stop, just stop for a second. Lean against something and catch her breath. But Jamie had somehow led them into this building and he just kept running and running—only up instead of out.

June didn’t even know if Jamie was really his name, or if he was leading them right into a dead end. But he kept going, none-the-less.
She could hear the hordes, busting through the door below. He’d barred it, but they were coming in anyway, to this place that was an almost total deathtrap. The staircase was narrow and blanketed in darkness, one winding section after the next. Even if she dared to pause and look over the railing, she wouldn’t be able to see them until they were almost on her.

“Jamie, wait!” she shouted, but not because things would be easier if he had hold of her hand or was there to comfort her in this dire hour of need. She’d made it this far, on her own.

Or at least, she’d made it this far, with Kelsey.

No, it was just that—if he kept going, eventually they’d be trapped, on the roof. And she couldn’t have that. That was one of her and Kelsey’s rules—don’t run to someplace with only one exit.

Only it was just her rule, now. This guy, this Jamie…he didn’t seem to have any rules. He’d decided to run to the roof of a twenty story building then potentially wait outside until the hordes pushed through a probably very flimsy fire door.

Kelsey had said to her. She had said—wait. He’s as crazy as they are. A safe island? He’s nuts. We can’t go with him. He’s probably an insane apocalypse rapist.

And she’d been right, God help her. Maybe not about the insane apocalypse rapist part, but even so and besides—there was still time for that. He could be anyone, be into anything. He could have planned this all along…Kelsey’s death, the run to the roof…hell, maybe he had a whole party of insane assholes up there, just waiting to do horrible things to her.

Even if that was as nuts as he now seemed. Why would he trap himself on the roof, just to have a little fun with her? Nothing in her head was functioning in quite the way it should. Connections had been lost. Wiring had come loose.

She still called out to him again, when they got to the level before the last one. Her voice came out hoarse and breathless, burning lungs making everything difficult, Kelsey in her mind making everything worse. But somehow the words emerged.

“Jamie, stop. Take the nineteenth floor exit, okay—we can go back down on the other side of the building—answer me, fuck!”
He did, then. She heard him call out over her own shrieking breaths, the pounding of her sneakers on stone, and the sounds of the once-were-people below, slathering and barking like animals.

There were two cracks, like he’d fired her gun into the stairwell. Though she couldn’t see where he was shooting or at what. Then—
“Just keep following me, June-bug—come on!”

Only it sounded more like come own, because of the Texan twang Kelsey had sworn up and down was fake. And he’d called her June-bug again, because he was crazy, he was crazy, oh dear Lord he was probably leading them to their deaths.

This was all just some final mad hurrah. He was suicidal, and this was how he wanted to go out. Death by stairs or death by zombies—because they were zombies, no matter how much she tried to pretend otherwise—or even worse, death by roof.

Was that what he was going to do? Hurl himself off? Plummet to his untimely end? She didn’t know. All she could really think about was how close the first ravening cannibal was getting, and how unfit she really was. She’d started believing all the cardio was really beginning to pay off, but as it turned out, eighteen flights of stairs and she was out for the count. Her heart clawed at her ribcage. Her thigh muscles screamed and screamed.

While her zombie pals kept coming and coming, as though the stairs were nothing, really. Why, leaping up eighteen flights was like a morning stroll to them! They could have climbed these stairs forever and still had the wherewithal to eat her innards, once they got their claw-like hands on her.

She hit the fire door to the roof just as one of said claw-like hands brushed the back of her shirt.

It made everything inside her leap, including the heart she’d thought had escaped. Whenever they got really close—that was when you realized just how terrible they were. How awful the world had become. How much it wasn’t like a movie at all, but like a constant and unbearable pressure against your sanity, always threatening to make you go over.

She felt like going over, when the door wouldn’t close on them. For a second of pushing and heaving with their hands coming through and all over her, her mind tried to fly away. It told her to start screaming uncontrollably, while clawing at herself—that doing so would really be her best bet. No more running constantly. No more pain over Kelsey—and before Kelsey, Joanne and Pat and the old lady whose name she never learned.

Just peace, finally. One moment of agony, then peace.

Only it wouldn’t be, would it? No, it wouldn’t be. If she stopped pushing at the door and jamming it at them and just God, let the door snap their arms, let it crush them, let it kill them all forever, if she stopped…they’d turn her into one of them. And no matter how much she tried to let it hurt her that Jamie had pointed the gun and shot Kelsey between the eyes, it didn’t. It couldn’t.

Being one of them was worse. After all, it could have been that they’d caught a disease. It might have been that they were infected with something—like in 28 Days Later, rather than Night of the Living Dead. But part of her wondered whenever she stared into their hollow, ink-black eyes, if they’d simply lost their souls.

He looked like it. The one who’d managed to squeeze his mottled face into the crack she was struggling to close in the door. He had no pupils, no irises, no whites to his eyes. It was all just blackness, empty and weirdly unseeing, as though they operated on no more than a bloodlust now. Like upright land sharks roaming the land, blindly searching out prey.

She wrenched the door from him for just an instant then smashed it back into his face. It was a risky move, but oh so worth it. Worth it for the satisfaction, worth it for Kelsey, worth it for everything these things had taken from everyone. People’s souls hadn’t left. These things had stolen them.

And when it slithered away and the door quite abruptly shut, the idea didn’t go with it. It stayed, and festered—so much so that she wanted to open the door for one mad moment, just to smash it back in their faces again, and again, and again.

She wanted to, but Jamie was calling to her. And other sounds were starting to flood through her now, too, other big, big sounds that she should have noticed ages ago.

At first she thought it was some kind of weapon. That he’d found a chainsaw or a pneumatic drill or a wood chipper. Something he’d known was up here all along for them to use against the enemy.

But then the wind whipped up and she turned to see something far more incredible than a zombie eating wood chipper. It was so incredible that she forgot the zombies battering on the fire door, for a second. They’d bust through it soon enough because although they couldn’t figure out handles, the sheer pressure of them would figure out the release bar.

Though it didn’t seem to matter. For the first time in these two years of hell, it didn’t matter. She found herself laughing out loud, high and probably hysterical.

Jamie had only gone and gotten himself a helicopter. And not only that, but he apparently knew how to fly a helicopter. The rotors were going. They were kicking up the fine gravel that lined the roof of whatever building this was, and he was yelling to her—
“Come on, June-bug, get your ass in here!”

She thought of him talking about the island. About his buddy who was waiting for them. How they’d just wanted to find survivors, and populate their safe haven, and how crazy that had sounded when he first started yakking about it.

Then she ran to him.

Links:

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-reawakening-550153-140.html

http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8/318-201-107-490-1–reawakening-forever-dead-series-book-one-by-charlotte-stein.html

My Blog:

http://www.themightycharlottestein.blogspot.com/

 

Thanks so much for stopping by, and sharing some of the good stuff, Charlotte! Zombies and threesomes really rock!

 

Hot Under the Collar: Reading at Sh! Raises Temperature in Hoxton Area

I’ve been looking forward to last night’s reading at Sh! Hoxton from the moment I was asked. A reading at Sh! never fails to be fun and hot. And it was especially fun for me this time because it was the debut reading from my new novel, The Pet Shop. I hadn’t expected for my Pets to make their debut on eBook and Kindle quite so quickly, but they definitely got a warm welcome in the packed-out Sh! basement. And if you’re a person who loves the feel of real paper and a real book, The Pet Shop will be out in paperback in October, and there will be more celebrating. I love celebrating, don’t you?

 I shared the coveted pink setae with the luscious Queen of BDSM, and my dear friend, Kay Jaybee, who read temperature-rising excerpts from her hot novel, The Perfect Submissive, and her scorching new collection, Yes Ma’am.

 With Pets and submissives and discipline being the order of the night, Mistress Kay, always prepared for any occasion, lent me a lovely black leather collar to wear to help me get into the spirit of Pets. The woman always knows just how to set the mood.

 The Sh! Shop was all decked out for the occasion in the steamy erotic art of the lovely and very talented Dutch artist, Mayo. If you’re in the Hoxton area and haven’t yet seen Mayo’s lovely art, do stop in and check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

 I love reading, and I love to listen while others read. Last night I had the best of both worlds. And I have to admit, I was very proud to be able to do the first two readings ever from The Pet Shop. Though Tino was as rude as I expected him to be, even with me wearing Mistress Kay’s collar. I also had the opportunity to read one of my favourite scenes from The Initiation of Ms Holly as well. I was definitely in smut heaven.

 As always, a literotic reading at Sh! brings out the stars in the firmament of erotica and sexy stuff. The fabulous Rebecca Bond was there, snapping pics and tweeting blow-by-blow action to one of my favourite erotica writers, Charlotte Stein, who couldn’t be there. The amazing mag editor, sex writer, and founder of the women’s group, Fannying Around, Sarah Berry was there. It was also a treat for me to meet Kojo Black, author of the outrageously nasty anthology, The Candy Box. The totally fabulous author, journalist and broadcaster, Tania Glyde was there, along with poetess extraordinaire, Mel Jones. Sigh! And lots of other cool folks. The place was chock-a-block with people laughing and talking, fondling sex toys, listening to smut and sipping pink bubbly.

 As always, the Sh! Ladiez were the best hostesses in the world, opening their doors to smut, fun and fizz and making us all feel welcome.

 The evening ended with those of us who just couldn’t get enough of a good thing shambling off to Pizza Express to continue discussions of book covers and hooking readers on the first page while sharing the photos taken of the evening on iPhones and BlackBerries.

 I’d probably still be there if Raymond and I hadn’t had to catch the last train back to home, but we get to experience the fun all over again with photos shared over Facebook and email

 Back home again I’m making plans for more research in the Lake District for my next novel, Lakeland Heatwave. We’re off on holiday there on Monday. And I’m already looking forward to reading at the Portobello Sh! on July second when the goddess of erotica herself, Rachel Kramer Bussel, will be there promoting several of the anthologies she has edited. I can’t wait to meet her in person and I feel very honoured to be included among a list of writers so hot that if you wrote their names on the same sheet of paper, the paper would undoubtedly burst into flames. Oh yes, it’s gonna be a hot summer.

 

‘The Pet Shop’ Hot and Steamy Early Debut!

One thing you have to learn about Pets is that they are unpredictable and sometimes in the very nicest ways. If you leave them alone too long, they might get into trouble. In this case, I sent them off to Xcite, and before I know it, they show up on Amazon Kindle!

There’s a lot of excitement at Pet Shop HQ today because my fabulously unpredictable Pets got launched early! The Pet Shop is now available on eBook, pdf and Kindle! The link is great, and the excerpt on Xcite is scorching hot!

Unpredictability aside, the timing couldn’t be more perfect, since I’ll be giving the first ever readings from The Pet Shop tomorrow evening at the Hoxton Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium.  A bit nervous, actually, as Pets can be so unpredictable in public. You never really know what they might do, and Tino is especially mischievous when he thinks he can get away with it. Fortunately there are plenty of spankers and riding crops available at Sh! if discipline is needed. And I’ll be there with the BDSM Queen Extraordinaire, Kay Jaybee, who definitely knows a bit about discipline.

The fun is just beginning, actually. There’ll be more celebrating when The Pet Shop comes out in paperback in October. I’ll keep you posted.

To help celebrate, here’s just a little teaser from The Pet Shop.

‘You are Tino, aren’t you?’

He picked up the pace. ‘Tino’s not here.’ With his arm around her waist, he guided her away from her car to a waiting limo.’

She didn’t protest as he opened the door and helped her inside, sliding in next to her. Then he knocked on the privacy window and the driver took off.

‘Seems a strange vehicle to bring to a nature reserve,’ she said.

‘You really think so? My dad made the big bucks in shipping, you know, and the Port of Portland has a reputation for murder and all kinds of intrigue so rich men can have what they want. So of course I have a limo.’ He leaned close and nipped her ear. ‘And you just hopped right in with me, didn’t you? You know what they say about accepting rides from strangers. Are you scared?’

She held his gaze. ‘You’re not a stranger.’

He chuckled softly and returned her gaze as though he were the king of stare-downs, then he released his breath slowly. ‘Anyway, I didn’t bring the limo, but you can’t go back in what I came in dressed like that.’

‘Then you have to be Tino, or you wouldn’t have –’

He covered her mouth in an insistent kiss. ‘What?’ He spoke against her lips ‘You think I wouldn’t notice the sexy English bird distracting me from the all the other birds.’ He teased her lips apart, sparring with her tongue, making her insides feel like warm toffee. She was relieved to hear no anger in his voice.

She came up for breath. ‘But how else would you — ’

He nipped and tugged on her lip. ‘Tino’s not here,’ he whispered against her mouth, slurring his words with the flick of his tongue. ‘There’s just Vincent.’

‘What are you, schizo then?’ she let out a little gasp as he nibbled her earlobe then the hollow of her throat.

‘Didn’t you take psychology 101? We all have more than one person living inside us, Stella.’

‘Where are we going?’ She asked, feeling suddenly disoriented as the driver turned onto the main road and picked up speed.

‘Portland.’

‘But my car. It’s a hire, and my bags –’

He kissed her again, and his hand moved up the inside of her thigh. ‘Don’t worry. My people will take care of everything.’

‘But I thought –’ With a sharp little gasp, she suddenly forgot how to speak, as his fingers slid aside her thong.

‘Did you wear these for Tino, hoping he’d take them off with his teeth? … Because I won’t bother. I’m not here for your entertainment.’

‘I never thought that you were,’ she said, giving him an ineffective shove with the flat of her hand. But he took her mouth again, and the way his tongue invaded and withdrew and invaded again, the way his fingers teased and retreated and teased again made her stop thinking about… well everything, really.

He pulled away at last and held her gaze. ‘We have until we get to Portland, Stella. You can waste time trying to find out about Tino or you can spend that time with Vincent. It can be such a pleasant drive to Portland.’

 

Masturbation and Creativity

May is National Masturbation Month, and as one who is proud to be a frequent masturbator, I wanted to honour the occasion on my site. At first, I was just going to put together a list of fun facts and interesting ideas, of which there are many where masturbation is concerned, but then I came across a fabulous article by Eric Francis over on Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross’s Sex Information Online site. And it got me thinking.

 In his post, ‘What Exactly is Masturbation Month,’ Eric Francis wonders why most sites by and for singles, to promote and validate the single lifestyle don’t discuss masturbation. The surprising answer seems to be that masturbation is a subject even happily single people just aren’t comfortable discussing. But what intrigued me most was Eric’s speculation as to why that might be:

 ‘I would propose that masturbation is about a lot more than masturbation — and that’s the reason it’s still considered so taboo by many people, and in many places. First, I would say that masturbation holds the key to all sexuality. It’s a kind of proto-sexuality, the core of the matter of what it means to be sexual. I mean this in an existential sense. Masturbation is the most elemental form of sexuality, requiring only awareness and a body. Whatever we experience when we go there is what we bring into our sexual encounters with others — whether we recognize it or not. Many factors contribute to obscuring this simple fact.’

I read this through several times, savored it, and read it again. The ancient Egyptians believed masturbation was a creative act in its own right. In the Heliopolis creation myth, the god Amen rises from the primeval ocean, Nun, and masturbates the divine son and daughter into existence, and they populate the world. Even if I look at the Judeo/Christian myth in the first two chapters of Genesis, where God speaks the world into existence, I am still looking at a solo act.

I love Eric’s line, ‘Masturbation is the most elemental form of sexuality, requiring only awareness and a body.

Awareness and Body. What a fabulous combination! Eric even goes on to say that whatever we bring from that proto experience of masturbation, we bring into our other relationships as well. In other words, it’s formative, that solo act, that original creative force. It brings awareness and body together. Isn’t that what it’s all about? The discovery of who we are in relation to ourselves is key if we are to be able to properly enter into discovery of ‘The Other.’ Doesn’t the act of creation, metaphorical or otherwise, begin with taking an inventory of what we’ve got to work with and learning how best to work with what we have to bring forth what we hope to create?

Every February, my husband and I get out the vegetable seed we’ve stored over the winter to see what we need for the veg patch in the spring. We spread everything out on the floor in front of us, and I get out my cunning plan, the mock-up drawing of what I want in our beds and where I want it. Then, we take inventory. It’s not just that we have three packets of peas and a packet of beefsteak tomatoes, but it’s reminiscing about how yummy those tomatoes were last year and how we didn’t have nearly as many peas as we’d have liked. It’s planning and scheming how we can have more, and discussing which is the best kind of sweet corn to plant, and making sure we have enough yellow courgette seed. Though it’s usually done with lots of wine or coffee for refreshment, depending on the time of day, the whole exercise is really all about how we’ll create this lovely veg garden we see in our minds’ eye now that we’ve inventoried what we have to work with.

Awareness and a body. Masturbating the world into existence. It happens all the time. At the risk of offering too much information, my understanding of sex, my deepest understanding of my own sexuality, comes from awareness and my own body. That’s what I have to work with. My understanding of writing, my deepest understanding of the creative forces in me also comes from awareness and my own self.

I’m astounded that in a world where solitude and the meditative tradition is a part of almost every religious discipline, we shy away from the very concept that could have well given birth to it, awareness and Body. Can there really even BE awareness without a body? And how can we possibly understand the boundaries and the limits of either without the two rubbing up against each other. Our act of one-ness, our proto-sexuality, as Eric Francis calls to it, I suggest is by its boundary-exploring nature, also our proto-creativity.

National Masturbation Month honours awareness and body and the discovering of our own boundaries, that which separates us from everything else. And beautifully, amazingly, astoundingly, it is discovery and exploration of our own boundaries that eases and enhances our journey into connectedness.

NEWS UPDATES

I just found out today that The Pet Shop will be released on May 12 on PDF and eBook through Xcite Books! Excited, who? Moi? I’ve just been over to the Xcite cite to check it out, and there it is complete with a really steamy excerpt. Go on, tak a peek… As soon as I know more I’ll be crowing all over the place about it, so stay tuned. The release date for the paperback and the launch party at Sh!, which may very well spill out into the streets in a froth of happy pink fizz bubbles will be in October.  Oh yes! The fun is just beginning!

Coffee Time Romance started out the month of May with a Book Brew With Coffee Crew event entitled ‘love conquers all.’ Along with a group of other romance writers, I was interviewed by the fabulous crew and given the chance to talk about The Initiation of Ms Holly and what obstacles my characters had to overcome in order for love to conquer all. It was a fabulous start to the month, and I’d like to thank everyone at CTR who made it such a fun event.

Friday night, all the fun will be at Sh! Hoxton while I get to read just a few of the juicy bits of The Pet Shop as a sneak-view, and the totally yummy Kay Jaybee wil be reading from her hard-hitting, temperatur raising novel, The Perfect Submissive, as well as her new story collection, Yes Ma’am. We’ll be joined by the very talented Mayo, who will be exhibiting her gorgeous erotic art. Pink fizz, cupcakes and fun all around.

Then it’s home for two days and off, once again, for some fun, fell walking, and more research for Lakeland Heatwave in the gorgeous Lake District. Sigh. How I suffer for my art.

Still to come… poetry, music, more on the proper care and keeping of Pets, fabulous guests and lots more.  Here’s wishing you a fabulous May!

 

Lakeland Heatwave Coming February 2012

Yup! You read it right. Lakeland Heatwave is coming in February 2012! If you live in the Lake District, that doesn’t mean you’ll need your swimwear next Valentine’s Day.  What it does mean is that you’ll be able to buy my new — and my first – erotic paranormal romance, Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising. Even if you don’t live in the Lake District, you’ll be able to buy this sizzling novel, published by Xcite Books next February.  And you guessed it — all the super-heated action takes place in the Lake District. 

A walk on the fells turns into a voyeuristic wank session when American transplant to the Lake District, Marie Warren, stumbles onto a couple having loud, raunchy sex. As body heat rises and the mist descends, she doesn’t realize her insatiable lust is exactly what they’d hoped for. Tara Stone and the 150-year-old ruggedly charming ghost, Anderson, are a part of The Elementals, a coven of witches who practice rare sex magic that temporarily allows needy ghosts much-coveted access to the pleasures of the flesh. Marie doesn’t know it, but she is the long awaited fulfillment of a prophecy steeped in lust and fear. And murder.

Just a Little Taste of Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising

Marie woke to the awareness of a man sitting on the bed next to her, a man who, from the looks of his clothing, must have been at the same costume party as Anderson. His fly was open and he was stroking a substantial hard-on. Instead of being frightened, as would have been the normal response to a stranger rubbing one off on her bed, she simply admired his pale hair and the way his large hand moved over heavy equipment. She liked it when she conjured sexy men to visit her in her dream world. Better yet she had conjured one obviously ready to play.       

 It was back, that strange thrumming warmth between her hips, almost painful but not quite. Had it been there when she fell asleep? She couldn’t remember.

 ‘They told me about you. They told me you had come.’ The man said. ‘They didn’t tell me how strong you are. Even if they had, I would not have believed them.’ His voice was a harsh whisper. ‘I long to know what you look like beneath the duvet, beneath the nightdress. Please let me look at you.           

So far this dream was shaping up well. She was happy to play I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours. Strangely Dream Guy sounded like he’d studied the same romantics Anderson had. Who’d have thought antiquated poet-speak could be so damned hot? She eased herself into a sitting position against the head board and pushed back the bedding.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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