Monday musings: Observations at book signings

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By Scott Bury

Scott Bury showing off his display at his latest book signing event.

Last Friday, I did a “meet the author,” book-signing event at Coles Carlingwood bookstore in a mall in western Ottawa. That was the fifth such event I have done in 2018. Most of them were outdoors, but now that snow remains on the ground, I won’t be doing outdoor signings until spring, at least. I probably won’t be doing any more in a store, either before the end of the year. Bookstores in these parts doesn’t do in-store events because they’re just too crowded with shoppers and all the non-book stuff they promote during this season. An author at a table stacked with just their books would be more of an obstacle than an attraction.

After five book signing events, there are some patterns I have observed.

I have to admit that I always feel a little trepidation as the date for a book signing gets closer. What if no one comes? What if no one buys a book? I’ve ordered a quantity—will that expenditure be in vain?

But over the year, I count nearly all the events as successes. I don’t always sell a huge number of books, but with one exception, more than I feared would be the worst-case scenario.

I learned a lot through this. I saw how some other authors, experienced in these things, who brought big fabric banners on collapsible frames. Some rented or bought big tents for protection from the elements. One, a horror writer also from Ottawa, has a little Cthulhu figurine that sparks conversation.

It’s astounding how many independent writers there are. Some come to events like the Authors’ Market at the ByWard Market with embarrassing self-printed little books, but most have learned the importance of investing in their own work with professional editing, design and production.

I have also learned that it’s nearly impossible for independent authors to get the attention of major media. Thank goodness for community and independent newspapers.

Another thing I learned after five book signings in eight months is that people like to talk to writers! Many are delighted to meet the person whose name is on the cover of a book. They are almost always amazed that someone actually wrote a whole book—never mind seven.

Another thing I have learned is that people have very different reasons for buying a book. One lady bought four different books as Christmas presents for her sons. She wanted me to sign them with not only my name, but also that of one of the characters within.

Another reader wanted an inspirational message with the signature. Still another wanted the date and place of the signature.

They asked the usual questions: what inspired the story, how long it took to write, why I wanted to be a writer.
It’s rewarding. I learn more about readers and why they choose to read the books they do.

Often, a personal connection is what it takes to get someone to buy a book. Over the summer, a number of current and former military people bought the Eastern Front trilogy. I also remember a lady with a British accent who told me about hiding in bomb shelters during the London Blitz.

At Arts in the Park in June, a man who had bought a book the previous year came back and bought a copy of Wildfire.
Everyone seems to have their own reason to read books, and to choose which to buy.

Thankfully, sometimes the chance to meet the writer is enough.

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Thursday teaser: Here the Truth Lies

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Read on to see how you could WIN an autographed copy of the bestselling Here the Truth Lies, the subject of this week’s psychological thriller teaser

Here the Truth Lies: psychological thriller by Seb KirbyBy Seb Kirby

At home that night, I look long and hard at the bottle of scotch. I shouldn’t be drinking. Too much is happening. I need to keep a clear head to see my way through it.

I took care to change my pattern on the journey back from Bankside, taking a later train. There was no sign of the man in the black coat.

The golden glow of the liquid in the bottle is so appealing. I pour myself a small one, add water and take a first sip. Warmth and composure run through me. As if I need any reminder that whisky is so irresistible.

The events of the day come closer into focus.

Bill McLeish and his continuing demands.

Margaret Hyslop’s arrogance.

Alec Waring with his self-loathing.

But emerging now are the thoughts I’ve struggled to hide all that time.

Jenny’s words burn in my mind.

I know who you are.

You’re not Emma.

I’m still shocked at how much this poses a threat to whatever sense of well-being I’ve managed to manufacture around myself. A shiver of guilt runs down my spine. When I look down at my hands, they’re trembling. What makes me feel this way?

I try to recall my parents, John and Mary Chamberlain. Nothing comes. Just distant, ill-formed memories of people I should know intimately but who are like strangers.

Is this what Jenny meant?

Or is this one more sign of pressure?

McLeish’s complaints.

The tall dark man following me.

BACK OFF BEFORE ITS TOO LATE written in child’s crayon.

The fact that, if I’m being honest with myself, I’m drinking too much.

Are these things playing with my mind, making me believe I can’t do something as simple as recalling my own parents?

I rifle through the dressing table drawers in the bedroom. I’m not the type to have any interest in displaying photographs in frames around the house nor on my desk at work. But somewhere here, there’s a small stack of photos in a cellophane packet that I keep but seldom look at. Something to reassure me in this moment of doubt.

As I find them and begin searching through them, my first thoughts are, is this all? How old am I now? Twenty-eight. These ten photographs paint a paltry record of my life. Yet, I tell myself this is how I want it. People with children have every incentive to manufacture the thousands of images of themselves and their kids and offer them as trophies of their success on social media before printing and framing their favorites as more tangible tokens of the permanence of their lives. I’m not in this position, though I would in all certainty behave in much the same way if my life were different.

I pause to take another long sip of the scotch. The warmth in my stomach brings with it more intense perception, I’m sure.

Here is the photo of my parents, John and Mary. The only one.

They look respectable enough. Endearing as they stand together with their winning smiles.

But the longer I look, the more I convince myself I don’t recognize them. Maybe I’ve never known them. They are as much a mystery to me as any photo of any married couple taken years ago that I might have seen on TV or in a magazine.

I leaf through the remaining photographs. None of me as a child. No images of me at play on holiday, no pictures of me as a schoolgirl.

About Here the Truth Lies

Emma Chamberlain has a consuming ambition—to prove the innocence of a convicted murderer sentenced to life. But the more she digs into the evidence, the more she is forced to confront threatening secrets about her own past that lead her to the ultimate question—who is Emma Chamberlain?

To discover the truth, Emma must expose those responsible for a dark conspiracy that has ruined the lives of many and now threatens her own.

Win a signed copy of Here the Truth Lies

Author Seb Kirby will send you an autographed copy of his latest book to one personwho correctly names the city that Here the Truth Lies  is set in. Leave your answer in the Comments below.

Seb Kirby

BestSelling author Seb Kirbywas literally raised with books: his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He’s been an avid reader ever since.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More; the science-fiction thriller, Double BindEach Day I Wake; and Sugar for Sugar. His latest book is another psychological thriller, Here the Truth Lies.

Seb can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page  |   Amazon Author page  |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |    Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   |    Website & blog 

 

 

 

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New bestseller: Seek and Destroy

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The second Eva Driscoll thriller will be available on Amazon on Wednesday, November 14. Get a taste of this new blockbuster

By Alan McDermott

As Gray stepped up to the ATM machine, he looked around out of habit. He’d known a couple of people who had been the victim of distraction thefts, so he always made sure there was no one near him when he used the machines. That was when he saw the Renault pull up on the other side of the street. The buzz cut and leather jacket of the driver grabbed his atten­tion, setting him immediately on edge.

“Daddy! You’re hurting me!”

Gray looked down at Melissa and let go of her hand. He hadn’t realized he’d been squeezing it so hard. He knelt in front of her and kissed her tiny fingers. “I’m so sorry, darling,” he said, with one eye on the Renault.

Two men had climbed out of the back seat, and they were heading his way. He recognized the look they shared and pegged them as mili­tary, either former or current. Whichever it was, they reeked of trouble.

Gray took Melissa by her other hand and led her away from the ATM. He needed to get her somewhere safe, and the only place he could think of was the café. If something bad were about to happen, he didn’t want Melissa witnessing it, and the owner was a friend who could handle himself. Like Gray, Marco had spent time in the armed forces. Unlike Gray, Marco was built like a tank.

Gray led Melissa to Marco’s place, and when he glanced back he could see that the two heavies were still following him and had closed to within twenty yards. He opened the door and saw his friend behind the counter, preparing a sandwich.

Ciao, Tom. Come va?

“Marco, I need help.”

The big man’s forehead furrowed. “Problem?”

“Maybe. Can you keep an eye on Melissa for a few minutes?” When Gray saw the confusion on Marco’s face, he resorted to what many peo­ple do in foreign countries. “You watch Melissa? Five minutes? I go?”

Si, si, non c’è problema.” Marco smiled.

Gray tried returning the expression but suspected that it came out as a weird grimace. He turned and left the café just as the two strang­ers mounted the curb. There was no emotion on their faces, and Gray wondered if they were simply heading inside for something to eat, but that thought was quickly dispelled.

“Courtesy of the ESO,” the first one said, and launched at Gray, aiming a boot at his chest. Gray easily parried it and countered with a punch to the man’s jaw that connected with a satisfying crunch. He followed up with a left, but it glanced off his opponent’s forehead. The other man joined in, catching Gray on the side of the face with a fist that felt like a hammer, and Gray’s legs barely kept him upright. He’d never been hit so hard in his life, and wasn’t about to let it happen again. He shook his head to clear it, then spun and delivered a roundhouse kick that almost tore the second thug’s head off. The man went down, and Gray turned to face the other just in time to block a fist traveling at speed toward his face. He struck out with his open palm and caught the man in the sternum. The crack of bones echoed the pain on the man’s face.

“Sonofabitch!” he grunted, but kept coming. A vicious uppercut sent Gray staggering backward, and he fell over the café’s wooden adver­tising board and ended up in a heap on the ground. He tried getting to his feet, but kicks started flying in. One caught him in the temple, and he collapsed once more, curling into a ball to prevent damage to his major organs.

The assault stopped abruptly, and Gray heard shouting and the sound of a distant siren. He opened an eye and saw Marco chasing after one of the thugs with what looked like a meat cleaver. The two attack­ers were sprinting to the car they’d arrived in, and they managed to get inside the moving vehicle before Marco could take a swipe at them.

Gray sat up, trying to make sense of it all. A single word jumped into his head.

Melissa!

About Seek and Destroy

She got away once. They can’t let it happen again.

Eva Driscoll is on the run. She has a new identity, and the best part of $20m liberated from the CIA. Henry Langton is dead but his sinister allies are circling, and not even a presidential pardon can help Eva against an organization that operates above the White House.

With agents around the globe and no tactic off limits, Langton’s men are calling the shots. When they track down ex-CIA computer expert Farooq Naser and threaten Andrew Harvey and Tom Gray, Eva knows they will come for her next. She needs to run—and fast—but what chance does one woman have against the most powerful group in the United States, with just a few ex-spooks and a couple of mercenaries on her side?

But her pursuers should know that, even backed into a corner, Eva Driscoll is not the kind of prey to give up without a fight. But will it mean hurting those she cares for the most?

Alan McDermott

is a husband, father to beautiful twin girls, and a full-time author. Alan lives in the south of England, and in 2014 he swapped writing critical application for the NHS to penning thrillers that have gone on to sell close to a million copies.

His debut novel, Gray Justice, was well received and earned him membership of Independent Authors International. That book launched in July 2011, and by the time he’d written the follow-ups, Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption, it had attracted the attention of a major publisher. Alan signed with Thomas & Mercer in 2013 and has now written six novels in the Tom Gray series and a spinoff called Trojan. Alan’s eighth novel, Run and Hide, introduced a new female lead, Eva Driscoll.

Alan can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page   |   Amazon Author page   |   Website   |   blog   |    Facebook    |   Twitter

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Thursday teaser: Finding You

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Read on to find out how you could win a free e-copy of the new romantic suspense novel

By D.G. Torrens

Eden’s eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness enveloping her. Her heart pounded in her chest when she realised she could hardly move. Her breaths quickened and panic was setting in fast. She could just about move her arms. She extended her arm above her and felt around. She was enclosed… Fear consumed her. Her body trembled. She screamed – but her cries were ignored. She utilised all the force she could muster in the tight space. She tried to push the top of the box, but all that achieved was a rush of loose soil slipping through the cracks covering her face. She shook her head vigorously feeling the impending danger. Her lower lip trembled. Her eyes were gritty and sore. She sobbed. Who would do this? What is happening to me? Where am I?  Her eyes widened, aware that someone was there… She froze. The person is silent – not a sound. Then all she could hear was the sound of footsteps fading into the distance.

About Finding You

Eden Marshall catches the eye of the wealthy and mysterious bachelor, Noah Ainsworth. Noah has been hiding away in his ivory tower for far too long. He decides it’s time to start living again. Eden Marshall is his motivation – captivated by her, he begins to trust in love again. Until a dark secret from his past threatens all that he loves…

Find this romantic suspense on Amazon.

Win a free e-copy

Author D.G. Torrens will randomly choose one person who leaves a comment below to receive a free e-copy of the romantic suspense novel, Finding You.

D.G. Torrens

is a mother/writer/blogger who has a dream to inspire as many people as possible through her story. To show those with little hope that dreams can come true.

Born in England, passionate about writing, D.G. Torrens is married with a daughter. Her first book, Amelia’s Story, has inspired people all over the world. Amelia’s Destiny, book #2 is the sequel and is followed by Amelia The Mother book #3 in this awe-inspiring trilogy. A memoir that remains with D.G.’s readers long after they have put the book down …

D.G is a prolific writer. In 2013, her works were recognized by BBC Radio WM, where she has given several live interviews in the BBC studios in Birmingham, UK. Thereafter, D.G. became a regular Headline Reviewer for the radio show for the next 12 months.

Visit her:

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Thursday teaser: Confessions from the Road

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This week’s travel teaser comes from the collection of stories gathered 

By Caleb Pirtle III

The Hope Prophecy

HE CAME TO the ancient land of his people because of the saucers in the sky. Dan Katchongva had always known this day would come.

He didn’t know where.

He didn’t know when.

Now he knew.

Dan Katchongva was a Hopi chieftain, and he had heard the stories handed down, sometimes in whispers, for centuries, and he had never doubted them.

Home was not the earth.

Life was temporary.

He would someday live among the stars.

He didn’t know where.

He didn’t know when.

Now he knew.

He told the newspaper in Prescott, Arizona: “Our people believe other planets are inhabited and that our prayers are heard there. We, the faithful Hopi, have seen the ships and know they are true.”

The Hopi has long had a connection with sky.

The Hopi has long been touched by the people who live among the stars.

They watch the skies.

And they wait.

“It is coming,” the chief said.

“What is coming?”

“The Day of Purification.”

He is stoic.

His face is solemn.

“The prophecies tell us,” he says, “that nature will speak with a mighty breath of wind. It will be the final decisive battle between good and evil. The oceans will join hands and meet the sky. It is the day when all wicked people and wrong-doers will be punished or destroyed.”

He pauses.

He gazes into a calm blue sky.

The sky is calling him, he says.

It’s been calling for a long time.

“The Hopi believes,” he continued, “that those who survive Purification Day will travel to other planets.”

The saucers will come for them.

He will be ready.

He waits no longer.

The saucers have come again.

The True White Brothers, he said, are coming to take the faithful away.

Have they come for him?

Some listen to Chief Dan Katchongva.

Others scorn him.

Mostly, his words fall on deaf ears.

He walks out of Prescott early one morning.

He heads across sacred lands.

He moves toward sacred mountains.

It is the tall country where the saucers are seen.

His head is held high.

His steps are strong.

The chief does not hesitate.

He walks all day and into the night.

He is one with the darkness.

And Prescott waits for him to return.

Prescott is still waiting.

No one ever saw Dan Katchongva again.

He left no footprints upon the earth.

Confessions from the Road

I grew up in a world occupied by storytellers. Their stories were better than books. Their stories became books. After all, life is just one story piled on top of another with page numbers.

In those days, storytellers did not know they were telling stories. They were simply carrying on a conversation. I never outgrew their stories. Nor did I ever stop listening to conversations that hopscotched their way along the side of a wayward road.

The voices stay with me. So do the stories they told me.

The voices may come from down the road apiece, at the counter of a diner, on the bar stool in a beer joint, sitting in the front yard of a mountain cabin, along a stretch of spun-sugar sand, back in the darkness of a pine thicket, amidst the downtown traffic jam of a city at sundown, or from the faint memories of a distant past.

Everyone who crosses my path has a story to tell. It may be personal. It may be something that happened last week or the year before. It may have been handed down for more than a single generation. It may even be true, but who knows anymore?

For decades I’ve collected the stories I hear and can’t forget those whose names are often long forgotten. But at one time in my life, they came my way, and I wrote down their confessions from the road.

Did you like this travel teaser? Find the book on 

Caleb Pirtle IIIBestselling author Caleb Pirtle III

is the author of more than seventy books, including the Ambrose Lincoln series.

Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Pirtle has written three teleplays, and wrote two novels for Berkeley based on the Gambler series: Dead Man’s Hand and Jokers Are Wild.

Pirtle’s narrative nonfiction, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk is a true-life book about the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. His coffee-table quality book, XIT: The American Cowboy, became the publishing industry’s third best selling art book of all time.

Learn more about Caleb on his:

And follow him on Twitter @CalebPirtle.

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Thursday teaser: The Dark

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To get readers ready for Hallowe’en, BestSelling Reads presents a Hallowe’en teaser from the bestselling novel, The Dark

By David C. Cassidy

3 ~ December 25

Kelan woke with a start. His heart raced as quickly as his mind. A part of him was still dreaming. Still soaring. The rush of the water, the beckoning moon . . . it was all so real.

And in his next breath: gone. All of it, gone.

His dreams . . . stolen by the dawn.

He curled up, tugged and torn of worlds fancy and fact. Things were not as they should be, and he reached for Bear with an uncertain hand.

Bear. When the spiders clicked and the demons snickered, when the mind turned shadows into ghosts, there was Bear. Hugging Bear was the best, promoting him to Brave Soldier with but a squeeze. When things troubled him—like now—he would hold Bear close, kneading his well‑worn ears in a slow, deliberate rhythm.

He could still sense that horrible mask in the moon. Perhaps it hunkered behind his toy box, or played its waiting game under the bed.

He closed his eyes. Wished it gone.

Were it always that easy. The thing fled, for now at least, and he opened his eyes, one first then the other, freeing himself to ponder more pressing concerns. It was Christmas morning, presents calling, but they would have to wait.

What happened last night?

A dream . . . so many dreams.

He sighed. Convincing a single soul—Kelan Lisk included—that he had jumped Potter’s Creek would be impossible. Even if his tracks remained in the snow, what proof were they his? Still, what of the thrill he had had, soaring above the creek? Wasn’t that real? Why couldn’t he believe in something he so badly wanted to?

Because he didn’t really remember, did he? Most of the night was spent reliving the events in his mind, but it had all been so dreamlike, so incredibly fantastic. And when he got down to it, the experience had seemed more like a sweet feeling than a wonderful memory.

And yet, he had a nagging sense he was missing a piece of the puzzle. Something he could touch. Something he could believe in.

He bolted upright. There was something.

His hand. The small wound there.

But wait. There was more.

He took his glasses from the bookshelf at the head of his bunk and slipped them on. His brother stirred, and he slid quietly out of bed and tip-toed from the room. Mom’s bedroom door was still closed. He made his way downstairs and stopped at the closet in the foyer.

The proof was in there. He couldn’t explain it, but somehow, he knew that it was.

He opened the door and checked the left pocket of his snowsuit. Checked the right. There it was, barely poking out.

Mom hadn’t seen it. If she had, she would have tossed it out with the trash or burned it in the fireplace, telling him all the while how he’d put out his eye with it.

Had he put it there?

He could recall nearly everything. The kid. The Run. The moon. But after that, everything went gray.

He drew the branch from the pocket. Dried blood—his blood—stained the tip.

Proof?

Maybe. All he really knew was that he would keep it. That he should.

He returned to his room. He knelt at his dresser and drew the bottom drawer as quietly as he could. As he cleared a place for the branch, he almost cried out. It took a cupping of hand over mouth to silence his disbelief.

I can give you what you want.

The thing spoke. Inside his head, unmistakably Bobby.

Eric snorted and he held his breath. It would be just like his brother to wake up now and take it away. Or worse, tell Mom.

He could not let that happen. He wouldn’t.

Hurriedly, he buried it behind an old sweater and slid the drawer shut. He climbed into bed, and as he did, Eric snorted again, reassuring him his secret lay safely tucked away.

He opened his hand. Gently, he rubbed the wound in his palm. It tingled.

He listened for the branch . . . it spoke.

I can give you what you need.

This was crazy, a cool kind of crazy, but it wasn’t a dream. The kid was inside the branch and inside his head.

He had done the Run. He had.

And the best part?

Bobby was real.

Did you like this Hallowe’en teaser? Get The Dark from

About The Dark

  • 2015 National IPBA Award Winner in Horror Fiction
  • 2015 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner in Horror Fiction
  • 4-time Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Selection

“Move over Stephen King and Dean Koontz … The Dark is everything that horror fiction fans want—scary, unsettling, relentless and so creepy that you will not want to read it at night.” — Charity Tober for Readers’ Favorite

“You can’t read this in the dark because the author has made it too real … this is horror at some of its finest.” — Samantha Colville for Readers’ Favorite

“The Dark compares with works of King and Koontz and is tremendously difficult to put down.” — Melinda Hills for Readers’ Favorite

“I haven’t enjoyed a horror novel this much since the early days of Stephen King’s work.” — Miss Lyn, Amazon Reviewer

Pure Heart meets Pure Evil.

Award-winning author David C. Cassidy draws you into a realm of terror, a world unlike any other. With the inspired flair of Clive Barker and the pulse-pounding beat of Stephen King, The Dark will leave you breathless, reminding us all that for all we desire there is always a price, the currency in suffering and sacrifice. Brimming with insidious evil and a nerve-wracking pace that never lets up, this story will grab hold of your most primitive fears and crank them up to Warp 10—and won’t let go.

IT KNOWS WHAT YOU WANT.

IT KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED.

In denial over his father’s death in a horrific accident, Kelan Lisk has grown fearful and withdrawn. For this meek and bullied child, a burning desire to tame a deadly sledding hill consumes him, drawing him inside a wondrous place where anything is possible … including his father. But as this strange new realm spills into this one, twisting an innocent little boy into an agent of evil, the world is forever changed, devoured by an even greater evil—the Dark.

David C. Cassidy

Award-winning author David C. Cassidy is the twisted mind behind several chilling books of horror and suspense. An author, photographer, and graphic designer—and a half-decent juggler—he spends his writing life creating tales of terror where Bad Things Happen To Good People. Raised by wolves, he grew up with a love of nature, music, science, and history, with thrillers and horror novels feeding the dark side of his seriously disturbed imagination. He talks to his characters, talks often, and most times they listen. But the real fun starts when they tell him to take a hike, and they Open That Door anyway. Idiots.

David lives and plays in Ontario, Canada. From Mozart to Vivaldi, classic jazz to classic rock, he feels naked without his iPod. Suffering from MAD—Multiple Activity Disorder—he divides his time between writing and workouts, photography and Photoshop, reading and rollerblading. An avid amateur astronomer, he loves the night sky, chasing the stars with his telescope. Sometimes he eats.

Website   |     Facebook     |     Google+     |     LinkedIn     |     Twitter     |     Instagram

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