Claude Bouchard Books

Crime Thrillers and other Stuff...

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Spell Cheque

Posted by bigceebee on July 26, 2012 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (1)

I had posted this under my "Shorts" tab a while ago but someone mentioned it to me this afternoon and I felt urged to bring it back into the foreground for your reading pleasure. Therefore, without further delay, please enjoy:


Spell Cheque

A short storey about homonyms

Bye Claude Bouchard

Copyright © 2010 by Claude Bouchard


     “Your knot using the write words, Adam,” scolded the teacher. “Ewe wood sea that if ewe paid moor attention when ewe red them.”

     “Eye will right my storey again,” a determined Adam replied. “Jest weight and ewe will sea that I can dew it.”

     Once school was dun four the day, Adam went two the park too play bawl with sum friends butt only fore a short wile since he wonted two re-right his storey two have it ready buy the mourning.

     “Your hear early,” his mother said inn surprise when he arrived. “Eye thought ewe wood bee playing bawl with you’re friends.”

     “Eye was butt eye have two right my storey over,” Adam ex-planed. “My teacher says eye have two many mistakes.”

     “Eye cents that you’re teacher may knot like ewe,” said his mother. “You’re storey seamed fine two me when eye red it. It was a grate little tail.”

     “May bee my teacher is knot seine,” joked Adam, “Butt eye will show her. Eye will even ad sum knew stuff inn my storey.”

     “Good four ewe,” his mother replied, “Butt, weight. Bee for ewe start, can ewe wok over too Jim’s. He has sum would that your father kneads this weak end two re-pare the fence.”

     “Oh quay,” Adam agreed. “Butt eye dew knot have any time two waist. After eye am dun with my storey, eye am going too meat Bobby.”

     “Wear are ewe going with Bobby?” his mother asked with concern. “Eye due knot like the weigh he axe sum times.”

     “Dew knot worry sew much, mother,” Adam said. “Wee will bee at his house. He kneads help to titan the weals on his bike. That’s awl.”

     Adam went two get the would at Jim’s and put it a weigh inn the garage sew it wood knot get whet if it rained bee four the weak end.

     “Thank ewe four getting the would. Your suite,” his mother said when he came back inn.

     “Know problem, mom,” Adam replied. “Now, eye will go re-right my storey.”

     As he headed four the den ware they kept the computer, he herd his mother caul him back.

     “Just a peace of advice,” said his mother with a grin. “When your dun with you’re storey, ewe mite want two ewes the spell cheque on the computer two make sure ewe have know miss steaks.”

     “Mother,” Adam grinned back. “Eye awl weighs due!”

 


Top 10 Things I'd Love to do to the Subway Monkey

Posted by bigceebee on July 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (1)

You may not all be familiar with the Subway Monkey as I believe the restaurant chain only uses the despicable creature in its Canadian television commercials so here is what the ugly primate looks like:

 


Now, I’ve always wondered who the moron was who came up with the brain-fart idea of trying to sell submarine sandwiches via a computerized mechanical chimp version of Chucky. I won’t even get into a discussion about the idiots who then approved the concept.

 

Regardless, the point is, I hate the goddamned ape, I feel it should be destroyed and I would happily do the deed. I therefore present you with the

 

Top 10 Things I’d Love to do to the Subway Monkey

 

10 – Spend 10 minutes of quality time with it and a chainsaw;

9 – Drop a shipping container filled with concrete on the little gibbon;

8 – Strap a leash around its neck attached to the back of the car and drive from Montreal to the Niagara Falls;

7 – Untie the leash from the car, tie it to an anvil and toss it into the Niagara Falls;

6 – Soak the miserable simian in gasoline and fire up the blowtorch;

5 – Cut it up in thin slices using a meat slicer at a Subway restaurant;

4 – Feed submarines made with the slices in #5 to the dimwits who came up with the ape idea;

3 – Without giving away specifics, this one involves vice-grips, a nail-gun and a hammer-drill;

2 – Pop-rivet the monkey to the front grill of a crash test Mack truck and crash-test the hell out of it;


 

And the Number 1 thing I’d love to do to the Subway Monkey…


 

Shove a FOOTLONG of C-4 down its throat and explode the spooky bastard!


Is there Power in Numbers?

Posted by bigceebee on June 14, 2012 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (2)

I wrote this post as the start of a little, informal experiment to determine if there truly is power in numbers in social media. For those of you who aren’t aware, I currently have 268K+ followers on Twitter, hence the numbers reference. Another bit of information I share is that I’m a writer. I write crime thrillers and, as part of this experiment, I need your help today.

 

Until midnight tonight, Pacific time, DISCREET ACTIVITIES, the sixth novel in my series is free on Kindle. Yesterday, it made it to #99 in overall ranking in the U.S. but since has slid to (currently) #169. I’d love to get it back into the top 100, the lower, the better.

 

Here’s what I’m requesting of you.

 

Download DISCREET ACTIVITIES here in the U.S. http://amzn.to/HFA69r or here in the U.K. http://amzn.to/JhYAsh

 

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a free app for your platform here:

U.S. http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=dig_arl_box?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

 

U.K. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/feature.html/ref=dig_arl_box?ie=UTF8&docId=1000425503

 

It’s just a click or two and you get a free book out of the deal which you CAN read first even though it's the most recent in the series..

 

Next, if you have an extra minute to spare, share this post wherever you like, Twitter, Facebook, G+, wherever…

 

If you like, you can track the ranking at the Amazon U.S. link above.

 

Help me find out if there is power in numbers…

RIP Ed Zachary

Posted by bigceebee on June 10, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Ed Zachary today. Ironically, it would appear Mr. Zachary succumbed to the disease which bore his name, Ed Zachary Disease.

 

Little is known of Mr. Zachary’s past, even following exhaustive investigative research by a consortium composed of several prominent anthropological think tanks. It is believed Zachary may have been an orphan though this has never been ascertained. Birth records have never been unearthed and Mr. Zachary, somewhat of a hermit and vagabond, never obtained any formal identification, not even an SSN. His year of birth has been estimated as 1975 which put him at the yet young age of 38 at the time of death.

 

His claim to fame arose when world renowned Chinese sex therapist, Dr. Chang coined the name Ed Zachary Disease as described in his famous quote. “…when your face rook ED-ZACHARY rike your ass."



Rest in Peace, Ed Zachary

circa 1975 - June 10, 2012


Photo credit and further information available from: http://profileengine.com/groups/profile/423702610/ed-zachary-disease-support-group

Big Words

Posted by bigceebee on June 6, 2012 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (1)

The writing of this post all started when I was challenged by someone yesterday to include the words floccinaucinihilipilification and discombobulation in their proper sense on my blog. Though I confess to having used the verb-form floccinaucinihilipilificate rather than the noun, I believe I’ve made up for it by throwing in some other big words.


 

Consider the following text:


 

I’ve never been an aficionado of sesquipedalianism, not because I have anything against interminable linguistic components but rather because I want individuals to comprehend my verbalizations and compositions.

 

Yes, I’m acknowledging that I floccinaucinihilipilificate sesquipedalianism as it unambiguously results in discombobulation which I delimitate as aberrational. It renders communicational absorbability labyrinthine for the recipient and its utilization is customarily a modus operandi endeavouring to manifest an individual’s knowledgeableness. Compendious and comprehensible is unsurpassed.


 

 

For those of you who have no dictionary, don’t wish to consult a dictionary or don’t know what a dictionary is, here’s the translation:


 

I’ve never been a fan of using long words, not because I have anything against long words but rather because I want people to understand what I say and write.

 

Yes, I’m admitting I consider long word use to have little value as it simply results in confusion which I define as wrong. It makes getting messages complex for the receiver and its use is often a means of trying to show one is smart. Short and simple is best.


 

 

My crime thrillers contain very few, if any, big words: U.S. http://amzn.to/z72IeA U.K. http://amzn.to/Id3mDm

 

 

 

Sharing our European Vacation

Posted by bigceebee on May 20, 2012 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (2)

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words so what follows is the 32,000 word story of our trip to London and Paris.


May 7, 2012


Our chariot awaits at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport



Just around midnight, Montreal time, 5am, London time


May 8, 2012


U.K. sunrise at 35,000 feet



The Tower of London and I



And, of course, the Tower Bridge


May 9, 2012


Kensington Palace... Nice restrooms in there, I must say



St-Paul's Catherdral



Funky Soho where we had amazing fish'n'chips at a pub called The Green something...


May 10, 2012


St-Pancras International Train Station, London... Destination, Paris...



Rue de Pastourelle, 3e Arrondissement, our neighbourhood for a week



A view from our fourth floor apartment


May 11, 2012

  First time one sees the Eiffel Tower is impressive.


Here's how close one gets to the top.



Me... In Paris... On a boat... On the Seine... Priceless... :)



Our first Parisian sunset...


May 12, 2012


The gardens at Musée Carnavalet



The famous Café de Flore in the St-Germain des Près district


Canal St-Martin


May 13, 2012


L'hôtel des Invalides built in 1670-1679


  

The Sennelier art supply store founded in 1887 which counted among its customers the likes of Picasso and Cezanne. The bottom photo was taken in the early 1900s... Little has changed.



The Palais Garnier, Paris' premier ballet venue.


May 14, 2012


Pei's Pyramid entrance at the Louvre



Napoleon's throne. They wouldn't let me sit on it.



And, of course, the Mona Lisa


May 15, 2012


Le château de Versailles. Bad home design... The garages aren't even attached... :)



Musée d'Orsay, where we saw countless works by Degas, Cezanne, Monet and others



Inside view of one of Orsay's massive clocks


May 16, 2012


Notre-Dame Cathedral. Beautiful view from atop but the 400 step spiral staircase is a bitch. :)



Champs-Elysées from the top of Arc de Triomphes. The climb here was only 286 steps.


Le Penseur (The Thinker) in the gardens of Musée Rodin


May 17, 2012

Home, Sweet, Home...

The Spoiler

Posted by bigceebee on March 31, 2012 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (5)

A writer friend's recent experience spurred me to write this short story... ;)



The Spoiler

 

Done with his research, Shawn downloaded the GPS data to his smart-phone then closed the map page, PeopleFind and a handful of other sites he had consulted. He glanced at the time before shutting down the computer and nodded as he calculated his ETA. According to Google, getting to the small town of Landsview would take a little over two hours, which would put him there around eleven. He just had to get some things together and he’d be on his way.


He headed to his workshop off the garage to select tools he might need for the job, not knowing precisely what would be required until he got there and assessed the situation. One couldn’t always rely on appropriate tools being available at any given location. The hammer-drill was a must as was the nail-gun. He checked his tool case, just to make sure, but there were already a couple of rolls of duct tape in there along with the usual variety of hand tools. The small crowbar was often handy and joined the other equipment, followed by the propane torch, once he’d ensured the canister was full.


Satisfied he had everything he might need, he closed the case and lugged it into the garage, storing it in the trunk of his car before donning his overalls and work-boots. Ready to go, he slid into the driver’s seat, buckling up and starting the engine while the garage door rumbled open. Backing out onto the quiet street, he hit the remote again and, as the door started rolling down, he headed off towards the highway, as directed by the GPS app on his phone.


The drive was quiet and uneventful as he cruised along the almost deserted highway towards Landsview, allowing him some musing time. He chuckled as he considered how stupid some people could be, publicly insulting and bashing others on countless websites, too naïve to realize how they could easily be tracked and located via the same medium they used to cause pain, the Internet.


An established author of horror novels, Shawn had received his fair share of bad reviews over the years and taken them in stride as they had never impeded his journey on the road to success. He could handle the fact that some people didn’t enjoy his novels or like his writing style. He would even laugh when reading some of these dreadful critiques, often written by people who clearly had missed the plot completely. However, some people pushed things too far, taking it upon themselves to be spiteful to authors and other readers by giving away the story on public book sites, doing their damnedest to cause ruin and harm to people they didn’t even know. This was something Shawn could not accept, something he considered the ultimate crime in the literary world… The spoiler… Those guilty of such an offence had to be punished, had to suffer for the malicious damage they had willingly caused…


Like this Al Coughlin, a fifty-seven year old idiot residing at 395 Mill Road in Landsview, Shawn’s destination. That very day, he had posted a spoiler about Shawn’s latest novel on a highly popular book site… And soon he would have to endure the consequences…

 

Have you read Vigilante, the first thriller in my crime series? U.S. http://amzn.to/pyMBQj ; U.K. http://amzn.to/H5jgBd

My KDP Promo Experience

Posted by bigceebee on March 28, 2012 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (4)

Since the arrival of Amazon’s KDP Select program last December, I’ve read and heard of both successes and failures though, in this case, failure really means not any worse off than prior to a promotion. One might argue that giving away a number of books with little or no additional sales in the aftermath results in a loss. My view is that:

 

  1. The giveaways represent zero cost to the author, therefore should not be considered as a cost or loss.
  2. Nobody can state with certainty that people would have paid for those books if they couldn’t get them for free. If that was the case, why would anyone give away any books in the first place?
  3. Even if a promotion results in little or no increase in paid sales after the fact, the giveaways are free additional exposure and there’s nothing wrong with zero cost advertising.

 

Moving on… From March 20th to March 22nd, Vigilante, the first of six novels in my crime series was free via a KDP Select promotion, during which time I gave away 25,626 copies. As a result, the book resided on the Top 20 free page from midday on the 20th right to the end, attaining #9 in the U.S. and #11 in the U.K.

 

What’s happened since? I’ve never gone public with my sales figures and that isn’t going to change, at least for now. However, I can share some information to show why I consider this venture with the program a success.

 

  • I’ve sold almost 1.5 times as many Kindle copies of Vigilante post-promotion than I had since the book became available on Kindle in January 2011. In fact, my post promo Kindle sales represent more than half of all my Vigilante sales via all retailers (ebook and print) since I published it in April 2009.
  • Vigilante Kindle sales are currently 964% versus February. Of the other five novels in my crime series, two have more than doubled in sales this month and two others have more than tripled. Sales of The Consultant, the second of the series, have more than quadrupled.
  • Vigilante was ranking at #29,708 (U.S.) and #80,696 (U.K.) just prior to my promotion. Paid sales ranking went as low as #211 (U.S) and #187 (U.K.) post promotion. At the time of posting this, the sixth day following the end of the promotion, overall rankings are #875 (U.S.) and #487 (U.K.).
  • My overall March sales to date are 353% those of February and represent 46% of my total cumulative sales with all retailers (ebook and print).
  • The Kindle royalties for my March sales will more than cover the total cost of a ten day European vacation my wife and I are taking next May. We’re also enjoying our new iPads.

 

So, though it may not be the case with all who have or will try the KDP Select promotion, in my case, I found it rather successful.

 

 You can give Vigilante a go right here: U.S. http://amzn.to/x3ndMq and U.K. http://amzn.to/HkZ78Z

How I Really Got a 1/4 Million Followers

Posted by bigceebee on March 26, 2012 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (25)

I wasn’t planning on writing this post. It more came to be as a matter of chance. It all started a few days ago when author, editor and blogger, C.S. Lakin (@cslakin and @livewritethrive on Twitter), contacted me via my website to ask, “How did you get so many followers?” As I’d done in the past with a few others who asked, I emailed C.S. and explained my process. She replied back, suggesting this should be a blog post and even offered to put my email into blog format, leaving me with only whatever fine tuning I desired. I said, “Cool,” she said, “Here you go,” and voilà, here it is, I’m laying out how I really got a quarter million followers on Twitter.


When I joined Twitter in August 2009, I went with the simple logic that the more followers I had, the more people would learn about the thrillers I wrote. With that in mind, I got busy with an easy process requiring little account management time which I’ll now share with you. The basic plan was to follow people, some of whom would follow back. Those who didn’t, I would unfollow. All I did was repeat this process over and over again. It obviously works because I now have almost 250,000 followers.


So What?


Why would anyone want so many unknown followers? Does it make a difference? I’ve found that it does. Sure, I don’t know most of them, and they don’t know me. But many of them are readers, and with having that many followers, odds are some of them like to read thrillers. Numbers play a big part in exposure on Twitter. If 1% of my followers actually read thrillers and like to hear about new books in that genre, I then have a potential 2,500 new fans that I wouldn’t have reached had they not been following me.


Getting Past the Twitter Barricade


If you’re like many, you're currently stuck at that pesky 2,001 spot. Twitter lets a tweeter follow up to 2,001 accounts without any problems. Past that, the 10% rule applies, which means the number of accounts you follow can't exceed your follower total by more than 10%. This leaves you faced with two choices—wait until enough people follow you (don't hold your breath unless you suddenly become a superstar) or unfollow those who weren't smart enough to follow back, thus making room to follow others who might.

The easiest way to do this is with http://www.justunfollow.com and I suggest you splurge the $4.99/year (price may have changed) for the premium service. This site will find all tweeters you follow who aren't following you back and will list them with the oldest non-follower first.

Once you've cleaned out non-followers, you'll have room to follow other prospects, which you can do from the same site with the “Copy Followers” function. There, you enter the Twitter name (without the @) of an account you’d like to follow off of and, bingo, the system generates a list of that account’s more active followers.

 

Who to Choose?

 

I follow off of a variety of active accounts, some writing related, others not, just to get a mix of followers. Not everyone writes but many do read and my goal is to reach them. Whether you are a writer, artist, dancer, etc, a lot people out there are going to be interested in what you tweet about. You probably know some more active accounts already, but if you want to find more such accounts, go to http://tweet.grader.com ; and check out “Twitter Elite—Top Users,” which will give you the current top accounts on Twitter.


A Simple Ten-Minute-a-Day Plan


To illustrate, this is what I do:

  • Daily, I follow 500 accounts from various other accounts. Twitter allows 1,000 follows a day (though their counters are not always accurate), so I leave room to follow back people who follow me first.
  • Once that's done, I check my non-followers and unfollow enough to bring my total non-followers down to around 1,000 (i.e. the 500 I just followed plus the 500 I followed the previous day).
  • I repeat this process every day, which takes me roughly 10-15 minutes, max.

I've never fully trusted auto-tweeter apps and would hate to have one go nuts on me, suddenly sending out hundreds of tweets and turn me into a suspended account spammer, so I don't use them. However, I do use the free version of Social-Oomph, strictly for welcome DMs to new followers (which generally works fine) and to auto-follow those who follow me (which seems to work sporadically). Note added April 17, 2012: It has been brought to my attention that the Social-Ooomph functions previously mentioned are no longer free for new subscribers. I also have all seven of my novels up on Freado, which sends one auto-scheduled BookBuzzr tweet per book daily.


Daily Dealings on Twitter


Over time, many have commented in wonder about my ability to keep up with a following of such a size. With this many followers, I rarely, if ever, look at the general timeline. My Twitter home is my Mentions page, so anything with @ceebee308 in it, I generally see (though even just my Mentions page CAN get busy at times).

One thing I’ve given up on is looking at received DMs because of the volume of hacker-spawned crap which fills the page. Anyone who wishes to contact me via DM about something important had best send me a timely tweet to let me know about it. Otherwise, rest assured that I’ll never see it.


Does This Really Help?


Has all this helped? I'd say yes, as Twitter is definitely my main promotion platform. Through Twitter, I've sold books, but more importantly, I’ve developed relationships with others, which has resulted in various cross-promo activities. But here’s the big one—with over 245,000 followers, my reach is nothing to sneer at, and when I did my recent Vigilante giveaway promotion, it allowed me to give out 25,623 copies. As a result, Vigilante spent most of the three days on the Top 20 Free Kindle page, reaching a high of #9 in the U.S. and #11 in the U.K. Post promotion, Vigilante is ranking in the 200s (U.S.) and 100s, (U.K.) on the Amazon paid Kindle sales at the time of posting this. I’ll be writing about my KDP promotion results in the next day or two.


A Final Word of Advice


One last point I can make about Twitter is the importance of not just promoting your books, music, website, blog or whatever you’re trying to pimp but also promoting others AND actually chatting with people. Many are amazed when they send me a tweet and I reply but why shouldn’t I? I like it when folks respond to my tweets and my followers deserve nothing less. Chatting with people, making jokes, helping others is all part of Twitter success and I can confirm it's a definite rep-builder.

Remember, it’s not just about numbers and lots of them. This is a social media tool, and if you are an artist striving to build true fans, you want to be present and interact with them. Show them the appreciation they deserve for retweeting your posts or sending you a message. You’ll find a universe of new fans and friends out there if you do.


You can learn more about C.S. Lakin, the catalyst to this blog post, by visiting her website at http://www.cslakin.com and her blog at http://www.livewritethrive.com I also invite you to follow her Twitter accounts, @cslakin and @livewritethrive as something tells me she’ll figure out a way to follow you back. :)


Haven’t read Vigilante yet? It’s right here: U.S. http://amzn.to/H5i7cR ; U.K. http://amzn.to/H5jgBd

 

 

Held Hostage by Smashwords

Posted by bigceebee on March 13, 2012 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (5)

Though I originally posted this on March 13th, I've now updated it as the saga continues.


A few months ago, I posted a blog about my unhappiness with Lightning Source and their new payment policy which discriminated against content providers residing outside certain select geographical areas. More recently. it was Amazon's turn when I criticized their practice of drastically discounting the print version of a book and then applying their price-matching policy to discount the Kindle version in comparison to the print price they had set.


Well, it seems that Smashwords is of the jealous type and also wanted its turn in the spotlight and since I'm all for equity and fairness, I figured, why not. Here's the deal.


Since some of you may not be familiar with Smashwords, I'll start by giving you a brief intro and some pertinent information about what they do and how it works. Smashwords is an ebook distribution firm where one can upload one's work and make it available for sale to the public. In addition to selling said ebooks directly, Smashwords also distributes them to other retailers like Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Apple. As per the information found on Smashword's website, books or subsequent modifications made are transmitted to other retailers weekly on Thursdays or Fridays. Their site also indicates that support requests will be responded to within 72 hours. However, as they say, don't believe everything you read on the Internet...


On February 18, 2012, precisely 29 days ago, I unpublished Vigilante and ASYLUM at Smashwords as I wished to enroll them in Amazon's KDP Select which requires exclusivity. At the same time, I modified the pricing of my other books. As these changes would have an impact on a planned promotion, I sent a message to Support on February 21th indicating my appreciation for anything which could be done to accelerate the process. Sure enough, during that week, the modifications were sent to retailers across the board... Except Apple...


By February 29th, 11 days after having made my modifications, nothing was reflected at Apple so I sent another support request to Smashwords. The end of the week came and went and though there was a data transmission sent to Apple on March 2nd, my modifications were not included. On March 5th, I received a response to my February 29th request telling me there had been a shipment on March 2nd and that my modifications would be included in the next Apple shipment. Shortly after, I received a response to my February 21st request informing me that my modifications had been expedited to Apple. GREAT!


Not quite... While I understood this to mean my changes had been transmitted to Apple, what it apparently meant was they would be sent the next time data was transmitted... On the coming Thursday or Friday... So I thought... Wrong... Nothing was sent...


A support request sent on March 9th and a follow-up sent March 12th remain unanswered to date... So much for their 72 hour maximum response time. An email sent to Mark Coker, head of Smashwords, on March 10th also went unanswered but when I followed up on March 14th, he replied, apologizing for the delays, informing me he'd asked their tech team to investigate and, I quote, "We'll get to the bottom of it."


Thursday and Friday have since come and gone... Nothing has been sent to Apple. As a result, Vigilante and ASYLUM remain available at Apple. In the meantime, I've now received a first notice from Amazon, informing me that I am not respecting the KDP Select exclusivity clause. The price changes for my other books at Apple have not been made either, resulting in lost revenues for any sales made there. In addition, it's useless for me to adjust my pricing for Kindle (93% of my sales) as Amazon's price-matching machine will kick in as soon as I do so. Yep, more lost revenues...


Oh, I should mention that I contacted Apple about this issue but was informed I should contact Smashwords, their content supplier...


So, in summary, after 29 days, I remain unable to proceed with my promotion plan and powerless to do anything about it as I'm held hostage by Smashwords...


The novels I refer to in this post can all be found at Amazon for your Kindle at currently reduced prices so you might want to take advantage of it while you can. :) http://amzn.to/z72IeA


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