October 2016 – Page 2 – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Month: October 2016 (Page 2 of 2)


Finding Our Humanity in Little Things

It’s amazing how easy it is to become detached from the world around us, and desensitized to all the suffering in the world: terrorist attacks, murders, mistreatment of children, natural disasters, and the list goes on. The worst part is that the worse the situation gets, often the less we care.

Joseph Stalin’s chilling words come to mind: “One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.” Bloody hell, that’s cold! Sadly, it’s also true.

We feel more deeply over the loss of one life (look at the #BlackLivesMatter movement) than we do over thousands or hundreds of thousands of deaths (how long did people care about Haiti, New Orleans, or any other disaster-struck place?). But even then, we’re finding it harder and harder to bring ourselves to care about those “one life’s”. The fact that we see news stories, articles, and blog posts about death every day is making it difficult to find the emotional currency to spend on these random strangers.


I was reading an article on Psychology Today that talked about this desensitization and losing our sense of humanity. I loved the way they summed up the ways we can cling to our humanity no matter how bad things get:

“The first step is to recognize that we like ourselves better when in touch with our more humane emotions.”

We feel good about ourselves when we do good things, but we feel terrible when we do bad things. That’s a VERY clear indication of which we should be doing!

“Have self-compassion. Self-compassion is sympathy for one’s hardship or suffering, with a motivation to heal, improve, and repair.”

That’s not compassion for YOUR hardship or suffering, but it means having a motivation to help others in order to enhance our sense of self. By helping others, we increase our respect for their dignity, which in turn is self-empowering.

Simple, succinct, and something to think about next time you’re faced with the chance to show compassion. You may not be able to summon up the emotion to care about the story you see on TV, but you definitely can do something next time you come across someone asking for help. Give a few dollars to that disabled vet, buy the homeless man a lunch, offer to carry someone’s groceries, or just lend a listening ear. It makes the world a better place, and it makes YOU a better person!


Book Review: Life Expressed in 25 Words or Less: Distilled Wisdom for Life

Today’s Book Review is going to be one of a very unusual nature. It’s not fantasy or sci-fi—heck, it’s not even fiction. Instead, it’s a collection of haikus (Japanese poems) and short stories that I found intriguing. The book can be found on Online Book Club, and it’s one I would say is definitely worth reading.

Life Expressed in 25 Words or Less: Distilled Wisdom for Life

From the Author:

Hi. Welcome to my world of word pictures. They represent selected random thoughts that span a period of almost twenty-five years, from my time in Japan to present day. The next version will include moments from before that time as well. Here’s a reading tip for maximum enjoyment: 1. Read the prologue for background. 2. Read the first aha moment. 3. Pause. 4. Read the next one. 5. Pause. 6. Keep repeating the process.


This book has been published in a limited printing run for sharing with friends, family, and business colleagues. I hope you get the picture as you read. Some are written for humor. Some are simple observations of life. Others are either events that triggered expressions of faith or simply thoughts that popped up in my head. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read. I would appreciate feedback too.

My Review: 5 Stars

I’m not a poetry reader, but I found these haikus to be surreal and breathtaking. They reminded me of growing up in Japan, and all the hours I spent laboring over the perfect haiku. I was transported to the realm of the author’s mind and memories. I feel somehow lighter, happier after reading them. An amazing work of poetry, even for a non-poetry reader like myself.

About the Author:

Jack Cantwell is the owner of SkyLimit Marketing in Lebanon, VA. When Cantwell lived in Japan in the late 1980s, he became interested in the concept of haiku, which is creating word efficient word pictures, according to a news release. He started observing life and created his own rule that is to express himself in 25 words or less. It prompted him in writing “Life Expressed in 25 Words or Less: Distilled Wisdom for Life.”

Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FULED9M/

Find it on Online Book Club: http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelves/book.php?id=88810


Memories of the InD’Scribe Convention 2016


First off, a massive thank you to the two people who made this conference happen:


TJ McKay: How can you not love that smile?



The amazing Tonya Smalley!

Of course, there were a ton of people who made it happen behind the scenes, but these two were the driving force behind it. Plus, they’re uber awesome people.

I didn’t take many pictures because I was so busy learning, making new friends, and ramping up for the RONE Awards Ceremony, where I was a Finalist for Fantasy/Sci-Fi. Of course, when I didn’t receive the award, I took the news with my usual cool, calm demeanor.
1 2 3

Here are a few of the memories I’ll forever treasure from the time I spent at this conference. I can’t WAIT until the next one!!!


All set up and ready to tell people stories about demons and assassins…


Two of the most wonderful people from the convention!


Talking about my favorite subject: VILLAINS!


First time in a suit in 4 years.


Lovely smile from a lovely person–HER, not me. :D


Mary B. Rose the Fascinating!


Yep, that’s me dancing


Turns out I’ve only one left foot

Who’s that in the mask?




Book Review: The Children of When (Book 2): Valleron by Jennifer Redmile

It’s Bonus Book Review Saturday, and I’ve got something for a slightly younger audience than I’m used to reading. It’s the sequel to Children of When (Book 1): Florissa,  which I reviewed last year. Though it’s much more YA than I’d like, I still found it a great read.

The Children of When (Book 2): Valleron

Now that Leah, Raff, and Belle have reunited the pieces of the amulet, and fulfilled the prophecy for which they were born, peace has returned to Florisia.

Then why is someone still trying to kill them?

When the new Florisian Council asks them to use the amulet to open the veil to the other worlds, they realise freeing Florisia from the tyrannical rule of the evil kitsune, Tyranius was only the beginning of their destiny – saving the children of When.


Armed with only their wits, the legendary amulet, and their Gifts, the teenagers must once again embark on a dangerous adventure into the unknown.

And they thought turning fourteen was hard!

My Review: 4 Stars

I’m not a big YA reader, but I read the first part of this series last year and found it an enjoyable page-turner. By no means the next Maze Runner or Hunger Games, but a bit of light reading for me—probably something my younger teenagers would enjoy.

This Book 2 continued on in that trend. A few of the things I disliked about Book 1 were improved in Book 2, and the story was a lot more complete, well-rounded, and “mature”. There was less “we are good and they are bad”, and it has much more realistic shades of grey.

The characters also had fewer of the typical “flaws” that make many YA books a bit annoying to read. They were still fully human, but less annoyingly “teenager-ish”.

All in all, a fun book to read, and a great improvement over Book 1. Can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

Here’s a Taste:

They had been flying for about an hour when a shudder ran through Midnight’s body. Belle reached out and touched his mind with her own.

Why the shudder? Everything ok?

I feel the presence of evil but am unable to locate its source.

Belle looked around nervously, but the sky was clear of any other presence but theirs and their friends.

I have located the source. Two creatures approach from the east. They appear to be cloaked by a powerful magic, but are of equine origin and thus visible to other equine creatures.

Midnight sent an image of what he was seeing to Belle’s mind. Terror sliced through her at the sight of the horrendous creatures approaching.  A pair of ugly, black, skeletal winged horses, their red eyes glowing like live coals, bore down on them. She looked back at Leah and Raff. She needed to tell them what was happening!

Belle thought back to when they’d merged their minds and their Gifts in order to reunite the pieces of the amulet. They hadn’t tried to communicate that way since, never having the need before today. It was worth a try. She closed her eyes and reached out towards their minds.

Midnight says monsters are approaching! They’re cloaked by magic so we can’t see them!

Wow, I didn’t know we could do this. Did you just say monsters? Relief washed over her as she heard Raff’s response.

What are they? And how are we supposed to know where they are? That was Leah; it had worked!

She sent them the image of the beasts Midnight had showed her and felt both their minds reel with shock.

Belle jumped as Lyricus’ voice entered her mind. Belle, ask Midnight how long we have until they are within striking distance. If we can close ranks, I can erect a protective field around the four of us, and when they hit it, we’ll know where they are.

Belle was floored. Lyricus, how did you hear the message?

The same way I heard the call in the Forever Forest. All elves are able to hear the call of the Mother Elf, and it seems you carry her blood. You opened the channel, and I merely responded.

Belle ignored Lyricus’ reference to the Mother Elf, relieved he’d had been able to hear her as well. It would definitely make things a lot simpler with him knowing what was going on.

Belle sent a message to Midnight. How long do we have until they’re within striking distance?

They are approaching fast. Perhaps ten wing beats? She relayed this to Lyricus, who immediately slowed Fleet’s pace.

Belle sent a message to Raff and Leah, explaining Lyricus’ plan and telling them they needed to nudge their horses closer.

Raff replied first. I can have a fireball ready to release as soon as they touch the shield, but I’ll only be able to take them out one at a time.

How quickly can you have the second one ready? I can send out a scream like I did with the spider in the cave, but it will only give you a few seconds.

I don’t know. I’ve never tried sending them back to back. Raff sounded worried, which only made Belle more nervous.

Leah’s voice interrupted them. What if I call on the wind to pin them against the shield? That may give Raff enough time to build the second weapon.

Belle nodded. “Awesome Leah, let’s hope it works!”

The four horses were nose to tail as a shield appeared around them like a shimmering wave.

Another shudder ran through Midnight’s body. They are here!

About the Author:

Jennifer has always been an avid fantasy fiction reader, and always worked with children, so when she decided to write a novel, it was a natural progression to combine the two and make it a children’s fantasy novel. She is also working on two other Young Adult series, Morwitch and What Ghost?

Jennifer lives in a remote Aboriginal community in outback Alice Springs, NT Australia with her husband and two puppy dogs.


Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Children-When-Book-Valleron-ebook/dp/B01I7M0XAY/

Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Redmile-1611814222399756/


Get in on the Ultimate Horror Book & Prize Giveaway!

Do you love a good horror novel? Are you a huge fan of Stephen King (aren’t we all?), H.P. Lovecraft, or Thomas Harris? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

This month (October), I’m participating in a massive book and prize giveaway. The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer is among the 25 ebooks being given away, along with 5 classic horror books with their matching Funko Pop characters. The prize package includes books from Stephen King, William Peter Blatty, H.P. Lovecraft, and Thomas Harris.

Considering that this is Halloween month, it seems only too appropriate, right?


The contest ends October 30th and winners will be announced on Halloween! Enter here for a chance to get your hands on this awesome bundle of book goodies. If you’re a horror/dark fantasy fan (like me), you won’t want to miss this.

Some of the e-books included:

That Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley

Miskatonic University has a long-whispered reputation of being strongly connected to all things occult and supernatural. From the faculty to the students, the fascination with other-worldly legends and objects runs rampant. So, when Carter Weston’s professor Dr. Thayerson asks him to search a nearby village for a book that is believed to control the inhuman forces that rule the Earth, Incendium Maleficarum, The Inferno of the Witch, the student doesn’t hesitate to begin the quest.


Weston’s journey takes an unexpected turn, however, when he ventures into a tavern in the small town of Anchorhead. Rather than passing the evening as a solitary patron, Weston joins four men who regale him with stories of their personal experiences with forces both preternatural and damned. Two stories hit close to home as they tie the tellers directly to Weston’s current mission.

His unanticipated role as passive listener proves fortuitous, and Weston fulfills his goal. Bringing the book back to Miskatonic, though, proves to be a grave mistake. Quickly, Weston realizes he has played a role in potentially opening the gate between the netherworld and the world of Man. Reversing the course of events means forgetting all he thought he knew about Miskatonic and his professor and embracing an unknown beyond his wildest imagination.

See it on Amazon

Gideon: A Novel by Alex Gordon

When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town—Gideon.


But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.

Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present.

See it on Amazon

The Lost Reflection by Bruce T. Jones

Brian Denman is an ex CIA agent and mercenary turned private investigator who arrives in New Orleans to probe a centuries old myth. It illuminates a modern labyrinth of adventure love and vampires, culminating in an epic battle of destiny and revenge.


See it on Amazon


And a whole lot more! You know you want in…

Click here to join the fun


Book Review: Beating Heart Cadavers by Laura Giebfried

On today’s episode of Book Review Wednesday, I have something a bit unusual. Or dare I say WAY OUT IN LEFT FIELD! It starts off like any other dystopian/fantasy/sci-fi novel, but it quickly makes itself stand out from any other story I’ve read. An interesting one, to say the least…

Beating Heart Cadavers

The Onerian government is in a race to find a solution for the Mare-folk, metal-hearted people who have been threatening their country for decades. To do so, they’ve created an agency known only as the Spӧken, whose members hunt down the Mare-folk to the best of their ability. But the Mare-folk look and act like everyone else, and distinguishing them from ordinary people proves harder than anyone could have imagined.


When the Spӧken task their new ambassador, Matthew Caine, with getting rid of the Mare-folk using any means necessary, he agrees to do so in exchange for his young son’s freedom, whom the government has taken from him for reasons that remain undisclosed. But the further that Caine goes to aid the Spӧken and destroy the Mare-folk, the more he begins to wonder: how can he eradicate a group of people who are outwardly no different than anyone else? And more importantly: are we all different, or are we all the same?

My Review: 4 Stars

This is, as the blurb says, “a twisting, suspenseful story inundated with dark humor and depth”. It takes a pretty unique look at prejudice and how it can cloud our perceptions and judgment. A deep story hidden beneath an interesting tale.

I have to note a few weaknesses in the story, though:

– The intro didn’t have any hook. Heck, nothing really serious happened in the first ¼ of the book. It’s only at the 50% mark that it starts to get interesting.

– There’s no real sense of place. You focus a lot on the characters, but there’s minimal background details. In my mind, I saw the characters clearly, but they moved through mostly formless, featureless landscapes.

– Everyone is searching for “IT” for the first 150 pages, but we don’t find out what “IT” is until 1/3 of the way into the book. It’s a good way to drive up mystique and interest in the beginning, but it annoyed me that it took so long to find out what was so important.

– All the characters have the EXACT same habit: they all run their tongue across their teeth. Not sure how many people do that in real life, but I know not EVERYONE in this society does.

The story was interesting, the concept absolutely unique, and overall (aside from these foibles), it was a book worth reading!

Here’s a Taste:

“Have you ever drowned a cat, Jasper?”

“What? No.”

“It’s not easy – not like with squirrels or rabbits or dogs. They sense something in the water, like it’s a fire burning too close to their flesh, and they resist with every fiber of their being – flattening out entirely, limbs stretching and claws digging into whatever surface’s around, and they won’t let up for anything.”

“I’ll … remember that.”

“They’ll attack you if you’re the one doing it,” Merdow continued, carrying on as though Jasper hadn’t spoken, “so you have to take extra care, mind you – but it can still be done. They’re not immune to drowning, you know, despite how they resist it.”

The doll-like man paused, letting Jasper fret for a moment before he went on.

“Ladeline’s a bit like a cat, I’m afraid. And she’s going to cause trouble for you.”

“Then you should have buried her in the yard with all your other pets,” he snapped.

“Don’t get all upset, Jasper. I’m just trying to help you,” Merdow said. “You see, the problem is thinking that you can do it in a bathtub.”


“The cat, the water …? When you do it in a bathtub, they claw up the sides and climb back up. If you want to do it properly, you’ve got to drop them into a pool with a dead weight.”

“Right. I get it. I’ll tell her off.”

“You can’t tell a cat off, Jasper. They’re too independent – too set in their ways. You can tell them not to catch mice and go toying with them until the poor things are tender enough to eat, but they will. And when they spit them back up onto your living room floor, it’s just a mess to deal with.”

He lowered his eyes on the albino, his expression digging into the paler man’s face.

“Don’t be the mouse, Jasper. I don’t want to clean up after you.”

“Right, well, I won’t. I just …”

“And don’t hesitate, either. You’re becoming more palatable – and I don’t even eat meat.”

About the Author::
Laura Giebfried was born in Bangor, Maine in June of 1992. She is the youngest child of Joseph and Rosemary Giebfried, a surgeon and a nurse, who moved to Maine from New York to raise their family.
Giebfried earned her degree in Psychology and Technical Writing from the University of Maine in 2015.

Links to book:
Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Beating-Heart-Cadavers-Laura-Giebfried-ebook/dp/B01DW247WE



Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: YouTube

When it comes time for some creative writing, the FIRST page I’ll open is YouTube. Why is that? The music, of course!

Music plays a very important role in my (and most authors’) writing process. The music I listen to often sets the tone for the scenes I’m writing, but it also helps me to get into the emotional headspace of my characters to make sure those scenes are just right.

No other site can offer the broad spectrum of music that YouTube has. Spotify, Pandora, and all of the other internet radio/music sites have a lot of quality tunes, but none of them can compete with the second largest search engine in the world. Whether you listen to classical music, death metal, Indie rock, K-pop, or Indian sitar music, you’ll find that YouTube has it all.

I’ve been using YouTube for music for years, and I’ve created playlists for every activity.

For example, when I write fiction, I’ve got my “Comic Book Songs” playlist:

Or, when I need to chill, I’ve got the tunes on my “Relax” playlist:

On those days when I need a pick-me-up, I’ll turn on “Happy Work Songs”:

With YouTube, there’s none of those ads you often get from internet radio stations, and it’s all for free. It may take a while for songs to be uploaded to YouTube, so it’s not always possible to find the latest releases. However, you’ll find a lot of music there that isn’t available anywhere else. YouTube is a tool I use DAILY in my writing.


Book Review: Aurelious Forty by Dianna Ber

It’s Bonus Book Review Saturday! Today, I’m heading into the realm of YA urban fantasy—not my usual fare, but in this case, I’m glad I ventured outside my comfort zone.

Aurelious Forty

Aurelious Forty has led a lonely, troubled life.  He stays disconnected from the world around him with no family and no friends. He lives merely to exist…to survive.

Aurelious’ life changes in an instant when an impulsive decision forces him to abandon everything he has ever known.  Choosing to follow strangers into a new world, he discovers he was born with a gift so strong, so unique; it could give him the power to change humanity.


But the shadows of his childhood are long and dark and run through every fiber of his soul.  Can Aurelious break the chains of his past and use his gift for good? Or will the nightmare of his tormentors set him on a path of revenge so fierce it could destroy us all?

My Review: 4 Stars

YA Urban Fantasy is NOT my genre, but I found myself drawn into this book—and couldn’t put it down until I finished it. The writing was solid, the story line had me intrigued, and I found myself wanting to know more about not just the main character, but the others around him.

Without spoiling anything, I will say I found the explanation of the characters’ powers and abilities fascinating.

Now, I gave it a four star review for three reasons:

  1. Slow pace. The story moved very slowly, and lacked very noticeable highs and lows.
  2. Grammar issues. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to grammar, so I tend to notice these things.
  3. Romance. The story leaned all its weight on the “soul mates” thing, so it made the characters fall in love without actually developing any sort of legitimate connection. In my opinion, that’s cheating on the characters and a bit of a lazy trope.

However, despite that, it was a great book, one I would recommend to anyone who enjoys YA Urban fantasy.

Here’s a Taste:

They gave me time to myself like I asked. I don’t know how much time since I forgot to take the watch when I staggered away from the table and ran away like a baby. I was embarrassed by my behavior. I should’ve just told them what happened although, let’s be real, they probably already knew. But I didn’t know what happened, nothing like that ever happened to me before. It felt weird. It felt bad. And all I know is that I saw her cut her hand, I saw it bleeding but then a minute later when all of those images of the rest of the world came flooding back in, her hand was fine. But I saw it bleed I know I saw it.

I was sitting on the ground with my head in my hands grasping for any reasonable explanation, desperate to come up with something when I felt her touch the top of my head. I knew it was her because her touch made my head tingle. Which only added to my distress, why did her touch make me tingle?

I stood up and took a step away from them, she looked distressed at the sight of me, he looked concerned. “Why do you all always feel the need to touch me?”

“What’s wrong with touching?” she asked, she really didn’t know.

“I don’t like it,” I said emphatically, “I don’t like all of the damn touching.” I rolled my shoulders and shook my head like I was trying to shake off the feeling of the contact.

“Who doesn’t like to be touched?” She was perplexed.

“I don’t!”

“But why not?”

I ran my hands through my hair and then crossed my arms, protectively over my chest and took another step back, “Because I don’t!”

Anira looked at Brekwyn as if she wanted him to explain this weird thing, not everyone likes to be touched, it isn’t that weird is it? “He has had bad experiences with touch in his childhood. His experience with touch is violent, not affectionate.”

Immediately her expression went from confused to sad and she came toward me with her arms outstretched as if it was her own reflex to my pain. I backed up again. She stopped, “Aurelious, please,” she begged, “I won’t hurt you. I touch you because I care about you, touch is not harmful here.”

“But I don’t like it, Anira!” I yelled at her, I shouldn’t have, but I didn’t know how to communicate this. “It confuses me, I don’t know how I am supposed to feel about it. Am I supposed to like it or not, am I supposed to run from it or not, am I supposed to fear it or not? I can’t figure it out.”

“Does it feel bad when I touch you?” She asked with a tear in her eye.

“I can’t explain how it feels,” I was still yelling. “People hit me or pinched me or poked at me or pushed me, that’s what I know about touching. So it has always bothered me because it has always been a source of pain or humiliation,” Where was all this coming from? “But then I’m here and people are like patting me on the back and shaking my hand and putting their arm around me and it doesn’t feel bad. But I don’t know how to not feel bad about it! Can you understand that? It’s always been bad and now it isn’t, how am I supposed to make sense of that?”

“Don’t try to rationalize it!” she yelled back in response to me, and I suspect she didn’t really want to be yelling either.

Brekwyn put his hand up, “Aurelious, you are confused because your issue is not really with the physical pain, that’s only what’s on the surface. The tragedy of your childhood is that you were where you didn’t belong. You never formed relationships with the people you met because you shouldn’t have been with them. It isn’t a natural habitat for people like us. So you thought all along that you were burdened by the physical or emotional abuse that you suffered at that hands of those Gadje but in reality your greater burden was not being with us, where you belong, not being able to form your human connections. You are confused because you assume that you shouldn’t like to be touched or cared for based on how you grew up, but here you do like it. And you wonder why you can so easily move on from what you’ve always known. You are not betraying your past or the person that you have always been by accepting your new feelings, you are becoming the person you were always meant to be.”

About the Author:

Dianna Beirne lives in a fantasy world. Okay not really, but part of her wishes she did and, since that’s technically impossible, she writes about fantasy worlds instead. Her first Young Adult novel entitled Aurelious Forty; Volume One quickly turned into her first Young Adult series with the addition of Aurelious Forty; Volume Two and, Aurelious Forty; Volume Three.

When not writing, she’s generally daydreaming which morphs into wondering if that last daydream could turn into a book. She has also recently discovered podcasts, something the rest of the world discovered many years ago, but doesn’t exactly understand what they are or why they’re different from regular radio shows. So it’s safe to assume that her next book won’t be about a podcast. Instead she’ll just keep listening to the ones that she finds that hilarious because laughing is one of her favorite pastimes and she finds way too many things funny!

Prior to dedicating her time to writing, Dianna taught undergraduate and graduate courses about using literacy in the elementary, middle, and high school classroom.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education but decided to keep pursuing her education when she probably should’ve been writing something creative and continued on for a Master’s degree in Literacy and a Doctorate in Education specializing in Curriculum and Teaching.

Dianna lives in New York and is the grateful mother of a son whom she misses terribly when he is away at college.

Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Aurelious-Forty-Vol-Dianna-Beirne/dp/0986327107/

Read her thoughts on her website: http://www.aureliousforty.com

Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aurelious-Forty-710063509085753/

Follow her on Twitter: @diannabeirne


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