Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quotes Week, Part Four

For Mike:
  • A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

For Justine:
  • Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness. ~James Thurber

On characters:
  • Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves. ~Carl Jung

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quotes Week, Part Three

To consider when revising:
  • Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. ~Colette, Casual Chance, 1964

On plotting:
  • A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end... but not necessarily in that order. ~Jean Luc Godard

On everything:
  • An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere. ~Gustave Flaubert

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quotes Week, Part Two

For Jessica:
  • Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. ~Leonard Cohen

For Bryan:
  • The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. ~Mark Twain

For Andrew:
  • A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote. ~Mignon McLaughlin

And for all of us:
  • Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn't we? ~Terri Guillemets

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quotes Week, Part One

This week I'm just going to be featuring a bunch of quotes about writing. Because, well, I need to be writing, instead of blogging. So here you go:

For Simon:
  • You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~Ray Bradbury

For me (because I need to remember this while in revision):
  • I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

For Ted:
  • If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

Friday, June 24, 2011


I did something strange this morning. I read several blog post before I wrote my own. I never do that.

I don't know why, but lately I've been feeling very unmotivated about blogging. I know, weird thing for me to say, me, of all people. I went for probably a whole year blogging almost every single weekday. And I do still love it, I love the connections, I love the feedback, I love the human quality to it. But lately ... I don't know. I think it's because I'm so close in my revisions. I really want to finish this re-write, get it to my CPs, fix it again, and get it to betas so that I can try querying this novel this fall.

It's not like blogging really gets in the way of that, logistically, but I think it's a matter of mental focus. I can't focus on my story the way I want and need to if I'm focusing on a blog post. Or maybe I'm just crazy.

Anyway, with that, I leave you with these:

I'm lowering my standards a bit here, I know, but who cares. These things are fun. And it's Friday. Have a great weekend y'all!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Whitey Bulger

I heard on NPR this morning that Whitey Bulger was arrested in San Diego. James Joseph Bulger, Jr. was a South Boston gangster and organized crime boss. Some say Jack Nicholson's character in The Departed was based off of him.

You can find the NPR story here, but the audio won't be available until 9 AM EDT. Here's a picture of Mr. Bulger:

And here's what he looked like when he was young, possibly his first arrest:

I don't know why, but people like this fascinate me. They're evil, sure, and we'd all be better off without them, but they're also great characters, and I wonder what it is that drives them. Whitey Bulger, John Gotti, John Dillinger, Al Capone. America has a great history of mob bosses, and we love to romanticize them in film and fiction.

Don Vito Corleone, Neil McCauley, Keyser Soze, Marsellus Wallace, the list goes on. What is it about these men (and they're always men) that fascinates our collective consciousness so?

I don't know. I'm no psychologist, but I do know that I love the stories. It's not the violence, or the machismo, or the misogyny, I mean I'm a pacifist and a big wuss in real life anyway, but there's something about these stories, something classical, almost chivalrous in a twisted, Americanized way.

If you love books and you're interesting in this kind of novel you should look up Elmore Leonard, Richard Price, Mario Puzo, James Ellroy, Patricia Highsmith, and Steig Larsson.

I don't know. What do you guys think? Do you read crime novels? Do you watch crime films? Did I forget any great crime writers?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yoda Keychain

I wasn't going to post today, because I was just feeling all meh about blogging, but then I realized I had to show you guys this:

Kelly just got back from Minneapolis, well, technically New Brighton. Hannah and Sarah will know what I mean. Anyway, she brought me this (see above). Isn't he cute?

Mall of America has a Legoland. I think that's where she got it. Matches my avatar.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Deathday Letter Afterglow Review

I know I just announced a new group blog, but I can't neglect the one I already belong to either. I'm reviewing The Deathday Letter, by Shaun David Hutchinson, over at Afterglow Reviews today. You can find my post here.

Please stop by and let me know what you think!

Oh, and if you missed Andrew Smith's incredible appearance on Minnesota Public Radio yesterday, you can listen to the archive, here. I highly recommend it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Two Announcements

I've got two announcements for you guys this morning. The first one is probably obvious by now.

I've been invited to join the group blog, Project Middle Grade Mayhem. Some of my favorite authors are members there, like Hilary Wagner, Jen Blom, and Rose Cooper, and the other members all seem awesome, I just have to get to know them now.

In the meantime, it would be great if all of you would head over there, follow the blog, and say hello on my behalf. I haven't done a single post yet, but I'm looking forward to playing my part.

The other announcement is equally important. I'm sure you all remember the ridiculous article in the Wall Street Journal. The one that called Young Adult Literature too dark (and depraved) and specifically called out my friend, Andrew Smith, for writing a sick novel, with no happy ending. Well, Andrew is going to be interviewed this morning (10 AM CDT) on Minnesota Public Radio, on Midmorning with Kerri Miller.

I grew up in Minnesota, and I love Andrew's writing, so this is going to be interesting for me. Make sure you give it a listen if you like that kind of thing.

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Philoshophy: Part Three

Love doesn't weigh a thing, but hate is so heavy it can crush you; don't carry it around.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bloom's Day

I have to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to make an announcement. Did anyone know today is Bloom's Day? Bloom's Day is named for Leopold Bloom, the protagonist in James Joyce's classic Ulysses. The entire novel takes place on June the 16th, in 1903, I think, if I remember correctly.

I've read the book, twice, and while there is some incredible writing in it, I have to say the story isn't necessarily one of my favorites. The whole Stream of Consciousness concept is not one I'm very into, and Ulysses is even harder for me to follow than The Sound and the Fury, which I do love, even though I'm still not sure I know what actually happens in the book.

Anyway, I do think James Joyce was a great writer, and Ulysses is worth celebrating, even if I don't get it.

Some fans of Joyce have put together an interesting celebration for the whole thing this year, and are condensing the novel into a 24 hour series of tweets. There is no hashtag (that I know of), but you can find the tweets on @11ysses's feed.

There is also a fun NPR story on the whole thing: Tweeting 'Ulysses': Fans Put A Twist On Bloomsday.

I'll be back tomorrow with more philosophy micro, so for now, have a great Bloom's Day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Philosophy: Part Two

Treat everyone with respect, even if you have no respect for them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Philosophy: Part One

I'm too busy this week to blog for real, so the rest of the days I'm just going to put up one sentence posts that define my philosophies about life, writing, relationships, and silly things like that. Like this one:

Praise should be shouted from the mountaintops; scorn should be whispered, privately.

Monday, June 13, 2011

World Champs

I just want to say congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks. They won the first title in the history of the franchise last night. They've been close before, but this is the first time. It's also the first ring for several veteran players who may have otherwise retired without a championship. Players like Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, and Jason Terry.

That's like a writer who has been after her dreams for decades finally achieving publication.

Now I've got to go write.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Interviewed by Heather Kelly

Today I'm being interview by Heather Kelly on her blog, Edited to Within an Inch of my Life. Well, actually, technically, she interviewed me several days ago, but the post was put up this morning, so please go read it, here.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Things That Make me Say Hellz Yeah: Part Something

I'm going to be critiquing a friend's novel today. Well, okay, continuing to critique, since obviously I can't do the whole thing in a day. I'll also be writing, so I'm just going to leave you with this video.

I love this song. I don't quite know why. Yes, I discovered it through a beer commercial. No, I don't care.

It's pop, I know, but it's Scandinavian pop, which makes it a lot more fun. And weird. Mette Lindberg and Lars Iversen are Danes. Which means they're not quite as cool as Dutch or Swedes, but still much cooler than Americans.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kindle versus Nook

So my family went shopping yesterday, and picked me up an early father's day present. They bought me a Nook Color, Wi-Fi, 8GB. It's quite a gift. We don't usually do big ticket items like this in our family, especially not for something as minor as father's day, but both Kelly and Madison will be out of town on the actual day, so there may be some guilt involved.

It's truly a kingly gift. It's a pretty neat device.

But, that being said, I've got to spark a debate here on the old blog. I had actually been thinking of buying myself a Kindle recently. I want the el-cheapo, B&W, Wi-Fi only version. It's very reasonably priced now.

There are arguments for and against each device, and advantages to both, but let me tell you why I was leaning toward the Kindle before the Nook showed up in my house yesterday.

First things first, Amazon is a Seattle company (I'm from Seattle). I've had friends work there, and they all say it's a good company. I'm not necessarily for some of the very near monopolies they've developed lately, but it's still a company I do business with all the time, and I've never been unhappy with a transaction. But loyalty really isn't the issue here. Barnes and Noble is a decent company too, as far as I know. I don't know anyone who's worked there, but the employees seem happy enough for retail workers.

None of that really matters because it's all about the device. The Kindle is basically designed just for e-books. Even the high end worldwide 3G edition still just has the black and white e-ink technology for it's screen. That might sound like a drawback, but I would actually prefer reading an e-ink version of a book to reading on a back-lit LCD screen. I work in tech support and I stare at a back-lit LCD PC monitor ALL DAY LONG. I don't want to read books in a way that strains my eyes.

Another advantage that the Kindle seems to have is free e-book editions of books that are in the public domain. I like to try to read a classic or two each year. I have not fully researched this yet, but so far I have checked on A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, and Moby Dick, or the whale, by Herman Melville. Both books are available as free Kindle editions, but the Nook Books cost $0.99. That seems a little disingenuous to me. Who exactly is profiting off of these publicly owned works? There may be some kind of third party service that will convert free e-books into Nook Books, but why should I have to go through the extra effort when the Kindle editions are free and easy?

Yet another problem seems to be the availability of certain books. Just checking briefly last night I found several books that I am interested in that are available as Kindle editions, but so far are not available at all in the Nook Book store. Cassastar, by Alex J. Cavanaugh, is not available as a Nook Book. Twisted Velvet Chains, by Jessica Bell, is not available as a Nook Book. Ghost Medicine, by Andrew Smith ... actually that one is available, but for some reason you have to go onto the internet to find it, because it does not show up on the Nook when you shop directly from the device. In the Path of Falling Objects is available directly on the device. I imagine this has a lot to do with self-publishing, and the way that Amazon's system supports independent authors, but I would rather have the device that has the most access to the most books.

So, at this point you're probably thinking I hate the Nook my family bought me. I don't. It's actually pretty cool. The one nice thing that the Nook has that the Kindle doesn't is the internet, apps, and extras like the music player, and the ability to store any kind of file. Actually, I'll have to research that, I think the Kindle can store some documents. But the internet on the Nook is pretty nice. The screen is large enough that if you turn the device sideways you can use almost any website with relative ease. I tested Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, and Le Blog. Updating anything that requires entering text is a little clunky, because often the fields show up very small, and the websites are not displaying in a special mobile format like they do on most smart phones.

All in all the extras of the Nook make it pretty attractive for the price, but there's one drawback. At the price point the Nook Color is selling at right now, it is basically trying to market itself into a position between the Kindle and the Apple iPad. The problem is that the Nook doesn't do everything the Kindle does, and the things it does do that Kindle can't, are things that are clearly outperformed by the iPad. Obviously you can't compare them directly, because of the difference in price, but my personal opinion is that if I want a full color device that reads e-books and does internet, I would prefer the larger screen, smoother interface, and reliability track record of Apple. Besides, you can get a used iPad original edition for about the same price as a Nook Color.

What do you guys think? Do you own a Nook? Do you own a Kindle? Do you own an iPad? Anyone ever switched from one to the other, or owned more than one of these devices?

I need to make a decision about whether I am going to return the Nook in favor of a Kindle, but I want to make sure I get all the information, and advice from friends, that I can, first. As I said, I haven't researched it all fully, and I was curious what all of you thought too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's All Fun and Games!

This is another brainchild of the blogfest behemoth: Alex J. Cavanaugh! I don't always have time to take part in Alex's incredible ideas, but this one sounded easy, and I couldn't resist talking about games.

Okay, admittedly, I did it to Alex, again, missing the actual festival by a day, but he's used to it by now, and Alex is very understanding, as well as being the nicest guy you could ever meet.

Let me get to my three favorite games:

There is no game in my entire life that has influenced me more than dear old D&D. I first started playing in like 2nd grade, with my best friend Bill, and his 7 older brothers. Okay, not all of them played at once, but it did make for some big parties.

D&D did more to expand my vocabulary than any other game, teaching me words like contingency, illusionist, paladin, cleric, claymore, flail, morning-star ... I could go on. D&D also taught me to love language. Some of the original modules written by Gary Gygax were full of purple prose, but he also had a flair for description and for clever naming conventions.

And, of course, finally, it was D&D that led me to my love of all things Fantasy. Well, technically my dad read LOTR to us kids at night sometimes before I started playing, but it was D&D that led me to Anne McCafferty, Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, The Forgotten Realms, The Call of Cthulu (which used be a horror RPG, in addition to the incredibly creepy short story by H.P. Lovecraft).
My family's favorite "board or card game," or basically the only game we really play together on a regular basis is Apples to Apples. This is a simple, but hilarious, word association game with several variations the never cease to fill the room with fun, language, and psychological hijinks. If you aren't familiar with this game, please run out and get it.

You won't be disappointed.

But the game I've been having the most fun with lately, whenever I'm drunk and bored, or just have some free time, is playing around with hashtags on Twitter. If you don't know what a hashtag is, I'm probably not the one to school you, but if you do know, then by all means, read on.

One of my favorites lately was #LovecraftPictureBooks. My best tweet during that round of hashtag madness was probably "At the Mountains of Madlibs." Get it? Do you see how this works? Credit for this hashtag goes to @ShaunieDarko.

Another favorite of mine was a few months ago, #BetterFirstLines. That search is apparently too old to yield any results, but my favorite (of mine) from that round of hilarity was "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to the Bravo channel." Okay, technically that's not a better first line than the awesome opening line of William Gibson's Neuromancer, but it is funnier. Sometimes that's the point. Credit for this hashtag goes to @SimonCLarter, at least as far as I know.

Then there is always the venerable #ZombieProverbs, like my best "A brain in the hand is worth two in the bush ... nom, nom, nom." See? Such fun!

I could give you more examples, but I imagine you get it by now. If you'd ever like to play hashtag madness with me and my wild friends, you know where to find us (on Twitter, wink, wink).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Darkness Too Real

Before I get started I have to apologize to Alex Cavanaugh. I owe him a post for his Fun & Games blogfest, and I promise I will put it up tomorrow, but something happened over the weekend that pissed me off. I have to write about it, because that's what I do.

If you're here for the blogfest, please come back tomorrow!

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the highly opinionated, poorly informed WSJ article about YA books that came out on Friday, but if you aren't please read Darkness Too Visible, by Meghan Cox Gurdon. I'll wait.

Now, I would like to react to this article in three parts. The first one might piss some of my friends off, but even though I hope it doesn't, I'm okay with it if it does. I can only be myself, and I don't know how to do anything but tell the truth.

My first point is that in my reading of this article, the main point the author tries to convey is that it's up to parents to determine what they're children read. I'm not going to say the logic she uses to make this argument is sound, because it isn't, but as a father I have to agree that parents ought to have the right to decide what they're children are exposed to, whether it be TV, Video Games, Books, or even Ads.

It's the law. It's not always the best thing for the child, because parents can just as morally corrupt as anyone, but in most cases parents do know what is best, and even if they don't, they have the right to decide, when it comes to their own children.

You have to keep an open mind as you read the article to realize that's the authors real point, because she tosses out a lot of hyperbole and ignorance that unfortunately (for her) really deflates any valid argument she might have had.

And here I must digress. There was one specific piece of this article that really pissed me off.  I'll quote it for you:
Grim though these novels are, they seem positively tame in comparison with what’s on shelves now. In Andrew Smith’s 2010 novel, “The Marbury Lens,” for example, young Jack is drugged, abducted and nearly raped by a male captor. After escaping, he encounters a curious pair of glasses that transport him into an alternate world of almost unimaginable gore and cruelty. Moments after arriving he finds himself facing a wall of horrors, “covered with impaled heads and other dripping, black-rot body parts: hands, hearts, feet, ears, penises. Where the f— was this?” No happy ending to this one, either.
Andrew Smith is a good friend of mine, and I consider his writing some of the most powerful art I've come across in my life. The above paragraph that describes Andrew's novel, The Marbury Lens, takes an admittedly harsh passage out of context, and then makes a weak attempt at using that passage to claim that his book is depraved. Yep, depraved is the word she used. Not dark, not brutal, not violent, not terrifying, not visceral, not disturbing, not too honest to handle ... no, none of those things. If she had said any of those things I would have been okay with it, because it would have been true. Andrew doesn't write easy books. He takes a hard look at things that are ... damn hard to look at, for lack of a better term. But it's important work, and it touches people (at least it does me) on a level that is exactly what makes art great. It should also be pointed out that in the end Jack's story is a happy one. He survives, and the love that he and his best friend have for each other is one of the main reasons he is able to. There's your happy ending. What's so wicked about that?

Now it's time for another interjection. I made a point before about parents not always knowing what is best. And there's been an awesome hashtag #YAsaves trending on Twitter lately, so I'm going to jump in and do something that I don't often do right now.

My mom died when I was 11 years old. My dad was out of the picture. I went to live with an aunt and uncle when she died, and they started shipping me off to boarding schools pretty much right away. I got into a lot of trouble, ending up getting kicked out, and had been a runaway, as in a serious, halfway across the country runaway, three times before I turned 16. Now there are a lot more details to this story, and I may share them someday, but for now I just want to give my own #YAsaves to you readers.

I wasn't reading much at the time. Life, anger, and my own short-sightedness getting in the way as it will do, but if I'd had the opportunity to read Andrew Smith's STICK when I was at that age, it would have given me more hope that any piece of useless adult advice did. What Ms. Gurdon doesn't realize, I think, is that most kids in trouble don't have a nuclear, all American family to tell them what's right and wrong, and if they do, chances are pretty good that one of the parents is a piece of shit who abuses the kid or kids on a regular basis.

Another point I would like to make is that this article used some strange novels to recommend as comparisons to the dark YA they were complaining about. One that I loved when I read it was Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi. I even emailed Andrew the other day and expressed my love for that book. The thing is though, Ship Breaker touches on some very harsh and scary topics itself: substance abuse by a parent, physical abuse by a parent, dead parents, disparity among different levels of socio-economic status, genetic engineering, slavery, oppression of child members of the working and poverty class by the rich and powerful bourgeoisie. Admittedly, Ship Breaker is not quite as brutal, raw or honest as The Marbury Lens, but it's not a book that shies away from telling the truth through fiction, either.

I'm not even going to get into how ironic it is to recommend Ray Bradbury's classic Fahrenheit 451, a book about burning banned books, in an article that is essentially against honesty and reality in fiction. Hypocrisy much?

Okay, so admittedly I sort of lost track of my three parts idea, but I'm a little passionate about all this, so please forgive me.

I guess the last point that I will make is this: even if every kid out there had a loving family to take care of them, and decide what they ought to be reading, I still think books that reflect the reality of the darker side of life would be important. I mean we can send our teenagers off to war on foreign soil, in the name of ending terror, but we can't let them read about drug abuse, sexual abuse, depression, suicide, or self mutilation?

Ms. Gurdon tries to argue at one point in her article that a young woman who is already depressed might theoretically pick up a book about self mutilation, and then start cutting on herself. I'm no phsycologist, like my friend Sarah Fine, who's post this morning should be very interesting, but I find that scenario highly unlikely. You know what I think is much more likely to happen?

A young woman who has never heard of self mutilation, happens across a book that covers the topic, and then is actually prepared to be supportive when she discovers a friend of hers is so depressed that she is cutting herself.

I think I've probably said enough.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lenny Lee Fest: This One's Just for Lenny

This is for the coolest kid I know. It's not my place to throw Lenny's business up on the internet, but suffice to say that the bravest young man I know is struggling right now. He could use some love.

The best way to reach out to him is to just visit his blog, become a follower, and begin to interact with him. Lenny is a writer, and he wants to grow up to be an author, so he loves to learn from, and get to know, each and every one of us.

Here is something just for him, for the aptly titled Lenny Lee Fest:

The young man left his father's home at an early age. His father was a Brahmin, a religious leader in their village. But the young man wanted more, he had to seek truth, find another Way.

He left bearing only the robe on his back, and a satchel full of dates. He walked long. He ranged over hills of grey and brown and through valleys far and green.

The rains came. The rains went.

Still he strode across the lands of his country.

One day he came to a forest. It was deep and dark, but filled with strong trees and fragrant wild flowers. In the middle of the forest, their bodies ravaged by starvation, he met a sect of ascetics. They did not eat, they did not sleep, they did not speak.

They barely breathed.

These men sought truth through denial of the body, the senses, the physical realm of the world as perceived by others realities.

The young man joined them.

He sat, meditating, at the root of a fig tree, his mind wandering the astral planes, for so long his beard grew down onto his lap. His stomach shrank, receded back against his spine. His flesh devoured itself, leaving only bony knees, knobby elbows, and sharp blades of shoulder bones showing prominently through his waxy skin.

And yet he discovered nothing.

That life of denial steeled his consciousness toward truth seeking, but it revealed nothing of the Way.

The young man bowed goodbye to the ascetics, left the forest, and traveled to a city. There he gorged himself on wine, and food, and excess in the pleasure houses. He fell in love with a woman, and they met in orange grove each night. Her hair was oiled, and smelled of marigolds.

He found no answers in her arms.

He bought a bushel of rice, an ox, and a cart. He began to make his way home.

Halfway to his father's house he met a river. It was was not deep or wide, but it was too large to cross, so he sat down, and ate some rice. He sat and gazed at the river, watching as the water followed its current effortlessly.

He sat pondering the river until the ox wandered off with the cart. He did not notice. He watched the river, and considered its flow as he meditated.

Then a leaf came floating down. It balanced and spun lightly on top of the water. Its stem twirled happily as the river bore it down toward him, it passed his position, and then floated on into infinity.

It was in that moment that the young man discovered the Way. He knew he could not escape the suffering of the flesh in his lifetime, but he stood up, and carried his discoveries to the world anyway.

His name was Siddhārtha Gautama, and he was young no more.

NOTE: Please forgive the raw nature of this piece, as it is written off the top of my head, and has not been given the care of a keen editorial eye. Besides, it's not for you, it's for Lenny.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Something Special

I told you I would have something special for you this morning. But it's not here. I've written another piece of short fiction for my friend Bryan. It's up on his blog this morning. Please do be so kind to visit, here, and comment, letting us know what you think!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Update for Wednesday

Okay. So several things have happened while I've been on Hiatus.

I've lost 4 followers. I don't suppose I can really blame them, I mean why follow when there's nothing new to read.

I've added about 15,000 words to the re-write of Warrior-Monks. I'm basically proud of that, but I still need to get a lot more done, and still won't have much time to read as many blogs as I would like this short week.

My kids are now officially both out of school. Madison will be in 5th grade this fall, and Kylie is technically now a sophomore. We've been spending lots of time at the pool.

We joined a Gym. Yep. It's time for this writer to get in shape before my heart implodes from being pickled in too much alcohol. This place has TVs built into the treadmills, so hopefully NFL Live will make 30 minutes of cardio feel like 10. Hopefully.

Anyway, I've got something special for you guys tomorrow, so stay tuned. And followers? Please stop leaving. I promise to write more if you stay.