Tag Archives: fairy tales

Writing Wins and Woes: Recluse series; Cormac McCarthy

I really haven’t decided whether my recluse bloggee of the month is a true recluse. I’d say he’s more of a sometimes recluse, sometimes eccentric person. Yet, he is such an interesting individual, I thought I’d go ahead, add him to the list and talk about him anyway.

Cormac McCarthy was born on July 20, 1933. He is listed as an American novelist, playwright and screenwriter. He wrote ten novels and is currently writing his eleventh, The Passenger, which is about science and madness. He has been writing this novel for quite a while but reportedly it may be forthcoming this year.

Although McCarthy has been writing for about 50 years it wasn’t until his novel, All the Pretty Horses, was published in 1992 that he achieved wide spread fame. Following that he outdid himself, which believe me as a writer is hard to do, by writing a Pulitzer prize winning book, titled The Road.

This is strange because I am writing about him, but I’ve never read a McCarthy book. I have, however, seen the movie, All the Pretty Horses, which turned out to be disappointing. I’m told the movie was cut from a three hour to a two hour. Thus, explaining it’s failure to impress most everybody who has seen it.

He published his first novel in 1965 with Random House, The Orchard Keeper. He says that he sent it to Random House because it was the only publishing house he knew of. I wish I had a story like that to tell as a writer. It always irks me when a writer is so good that he just wings his work to the first publishing house he knows of and is immediately accepted.

Known for his infrequent use of punctuation, whatever that may mean, McCarthy says he never uses semicolons or quotation marks for dialogue. He guards his privacy, although I find it interesting that after 40 years of hardly ever giving an interview, he appeared on Oprah’s show because she picked his book for her book club. He told her he didn’t have any writer friends and he preferred scientists.

For a time, McCarthy lived with his then current wife in a shack with no running water and no heat in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. They had a child together; then she left him because he insisted she get a job so he could write novels. In the 60’s he moved to El Paso, Texas and lived there for 20 years. He now lives in New Mexico. He once said he didn’t believe in being chatty about his books because it got in the way of his writing.

Writer’s Journal: I’m including a new edition to my blog called Writer’s Journal. Each week, I’ll say a paragraph or two about where I am in my writing. I may also chat about a book I’m reading or something I’ve viewed in movies or tv that I especially liked. I wrote a story this week for Timeless Tales. It is for the Psyche and Cupid issue. If you’d like to write a fairy tale, you have until Feb. 25th to submit there. Also, I failed to relate that I wrote an article for Guardian Angel Kids in the February issue about pigs. If you want to discover some things you might never have known about pigs, be sure to read it. I am currently watching a great series on Amazon Prime, if you have that, called Paradise Lost. There are three parts to it. If you liked the NetFlix series  Making a Murderer, as I did, you will love Paradise Lost about the slaying of three second grade boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, and the witch hunt involved in the arrests of the three teenagers originally indicted for their murders. Both series are documentaries.

Well, I’ve blabbed quite enough. This is a long blog for me. Join me next week for another writing recluse. This series will most likely extend into March.1268

 

 

Writing Wins and Woes: Prelude to Winter

1073Let me start this blog out the proper way. I am not a fan of Winter. I am a Spring/Summer kind of person. Fall is beautiful, with the leaves and cool, crisp temperatures but I have fall allergies, so fall is no good either for me. Winter is definitely a kill joy as far as I’m concerned. Sure, I love snow. It’s gorgeous. It makes for great pictures, and it looks nice out the window. As far as going outside, shoveling it and maneuvering through it, it’s the pits.

However, I am here to promote Winter in a way. I’d like to advertise Kate Wolford’s new book, Frozen Fairy Tales found here on Amazon. I recently purchased the book, as I am a big fan of fairy tales, and I am eager to read it, even if it is about Winter. In honor of the book’s release, Kate has a flash fiction contest, with the wintry theme in keeping, surrounding Sleeping Beauty. If you’d like to enter as I did, please read the guidelines and submit in the comments section here. You could win $100. While you are scouting this out, you can read my take on Sleeping Beauty as well on the blog post comments. I am very excited to see who the winner will be.

Winter is actually a very good time for writers. Generally it is so cold outside that there isn’t much to do but sit in the house and read a book or write a story. I’m hoping the return to cold weather will inspire me to finish my novel about eternal winter. I have been rather disenchanted with it lately, since Open Office erased my file and deleted my whole novel. Although I had a Norton Back up program, for some reason it was only backed up to July 30th so several chapters could not be recovered. I have not had the heart at this point to rewrite them, but of course, I will at some point, when I get motivated. Actually, I should have a better attitude about Winter because my very first publication was in Kids Ark magazine. It was a story, called “Snow Treasures.” Whether you’re a winter person or not, hope you can find some time to write.

Writing Wins and Woes: Twice Upon a Time Blog Tour: An interview with Steven Anthony George

This is the third in the mini interview series for the new fairy tale anthology Twice Upon a Time. I know I have a vested interest in this because I have a story in it, but I have read about half of these stories myself and they are top notch. This book has around 40 stories in it. They are all wonderful stories and well worth reading. Enjoy!

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

I wrote stories when I was in elementary school that caught the attention of teachers and as a boy I often improvised bedtime stories for my sister. I did not begin writing fiction seriously, however, until I turned fifty, when I had decided to no longer pursue poetry and playwriting on a full-time basis.

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

I was first introduced to the genre in fifth grade when I read A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle. Much of that book influenced my writing as an adult, particularly in its loose treatment of time and space, and the reflection of universal concepts in very personal ones.

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

My favorite novel has been The Other by Thomas Tryon. I never considered the book a horror story, but instead a morality tale about the consequences of indulgence. It fascinated me that boy’s delusion, which would be harmless in any other context, could destroy a family, almost an entire town. The book gave me my passion for the psychology of characters over their observable actions.

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

It was not in fiction writers, but playwrights that I found inspiration. I found the language of Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams both strange and poetic and I wanted to write in a similar style.

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

Pursue whatever kind of writing that you are the most passionate about. Write the way your heart tells you. Creative writing is an art and there are no rules in art. For every teacher who instructs a writer not to do a certain thing, there is a writer getting published who is doing that very thing.

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

The most difficult process is just getting a first draft finished. It is easy to begin writing and a simple task to revise what is whole, but seeing a story to completion and to my satisfaction is a challenge.

7. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

I can quite honestly say that I have no favorite character among those I have created. The majority are either pathetic, immoral, or merely insane and I don’t like them. There is a character in the yet unpublished “Cannibalism” named Dmitri, however, who I admire because his combination of apparent innocence and clever insight.

8. On what projects are you currently working?

After I decided to change genres from poetry and short plays to short stories, I began adapting my plays and some of my longer poems to short stories in order to complete a collection for publication.

Read Steven’s story, Patient Griselda, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

Choose a format… Amazon|Kindle Amazon|Paperback

..About the Author..

STEVEN ANTHONY GEORGE is a poet and short story writer who finds inspiration largely from historical events, visual art, and film. His work has appeared in Poet’s Haven, Houston & Nomadic Voices, and Cleaver Magazine, among others. In addition to having a story in Twice Upon A Time, his short story “Genevieve from the River” just recently appeared in Diner Stories, an anthology published by Mountain State Press.


Mr. George is active in the autism community and lectures on the topic of autism spectrum disorders. Formerly a resident of Dunkirk, NY and Marathon, FL, he now resides in Fairmont, WV where he works as a case manager for a homeless recovery program.

..Connect with the Author..

Writing Wins and Woes: Twice Upon a Time Blog Tour-An Interview with Court Ellyn

I hope you are enjoying these blog tours for Twice Upon a Time. This one is with Court Ellyn, who wrote The Bone Harp in Twice Upon a Time. Please enjoy learning a little more about her.

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

I think I was fourteen. Pretty sure. It all started with a historical romance, inspired by Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden. The book was too ambitious for my knowledge and skill level. I never did finish it. But long before that, I was plotting out stories and characters with my sister and our three cousins, which we would then enact. So it was a toss-up between writing and acting. Writing won out because there are no spotlights involved. Or almost none.

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

The first fantasy novel I ever purchased was A Breach in the Watershed by Douglas Niles, an okay novel, nothing stellar, but it had a gorgeous dragon on the cover. (I wasn’t supposed to read fantasy, because it led to irresponsible, even dangerous, lifestyles. So I had to buy the book behind my mother’s back. I love you, Mother). But in truth it wasn’t a book that introduced me to the genre. It was Walt Disney and Rankin and Bass, of course. (Watching fantasy was permissible, reading it was not.) One does not escape childhood these days without becoming enthralled with animated Sleeping Beauties, Snow Whites, and King Arthurs, with a Frodo tossed in here and there.

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

I am particularly affectionate toward 19 Varieties of Gazelle by Naomi Shihab Nye. It’s a book of poems, all about relationships and tensions in the Middle East, but its scope is so much deeper than place. It’s about human beings, and Nye’s insights are remarkable, heartbreaking, heartwarming, illuminating. It’s a small book, so I often take it with me when I travel. I think this book more than any other, outside of Holy Scripture, has caused me to be a more compassionate, open-minded person.

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

Probably Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince. The complex interplay between dozens of characters made the novels become so real in my head. I had to try writing something just as epic. “I can do this,” I remember thinking. Whether or not I have succeeded, I haven’t stopped trying.

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

How to network. Writing can be a lonely business. Find a critique group to learn from, a support group outside of friends and family to give you an objective eye, but also who will encourage you when the rejections start rolling in and nudge you to keep submitting.

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

It’s a toss-up between marketing and submitting. Finding potential venues for my stories is an intimidating and exhausting process. Visiting several websites, crossing out magazines that clearly won’t work, weighing the others, hoping they’ll be a fit, choosing one, waiting weeks, if not months, receiving the rejection and starting all over again. All kinds of doubts set in during this part of the process. It’s the most necessary of the necessary evils, however.

The second is the self-promotion. *shudder* It’s a mystery to me. It means that I must actually stop writing for a few hours, surface from my story worlds, and talk about my story worlds … outside my office, to strangers who may or may not care. It means getting creative in advertising and being pushy while smiling and trying not to sound pushy and scared to death. It’s an art all in itself. Luckily I have several writers to learn from, but I still have a long way to go, and I fear I’ll never be comfortable with it. How’s that for transparency?

7. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

The Bone Harp centers on Angharad, the jealous older sister who murders one of her younger sisters. I loved diving into Angharad’s inner torment, her attempts at hiding her dark secret, her helplessness when it all comes spilling out. She may be the most tortured soul I’ve written to date.

8. On what projects are you currently working?

The Falcons Saga. The first three volumes are currently available on Amazon. The series just keeps growing. At the moment, I’m somewhere near the middle of Book 4: Cry of the Falcon. The series contains all the classic elements of epic high fantasy: elves, ogres, mages summoning lightning, battles that shake the earth, forbidden love. I’ve even got pirates and sea monsters tucked away in there somewhere. The one thing it doesn’t have is a Dark Lord Somebody, thank goodness. But, other than this, name it and it’s probably included. When I say “epic” I do mean Epic.

But the series is certainly not all about adventure and saving the world from evil forces. Not at all. One of the themes is accepting one’s destiny and walking that path well—or poorly. It’s about rising above one’s own desires for the greater good. My characters succeed at this better than I do.

Read Court’s story, The Bone Harp, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

Choose a format… Amazon|Kindle Amazon|Paperback

..About the Author..

Court Ellyn defines herself as a dreamer, a cynic, a klutz who loves cats, a homebody who roams. She started writing historical fiction when she was fourteen but slowly gravitated toward the fantastical. Now, somewhere between dragon dens, haunted bogs and battlefields strewn with otherworldly foes, she moderates the LegendFire Critique Community.

Her fiction has appeared in Kaleidotrope, Silver Blade, A Fly In Amber, Explorers: Beyond the Horizon, an anthology by Dead Robots’ Society, and a number of other publications. Her novels, The Falcons Saga, are available at Amazon. You can also learn more at her website.


..Connect with the Author..

Writing Wins and Woes: Twice Upon a Time Revisited

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Blurb:

Fairytales don’t always happen once upon a time. Fables don’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes the stories we love are too dark for nightmares. What if waking Sleeping Beauty was the worse thing the Prince could have done? What if Rapunzel wasn’t in that tower for her own protection—but for everyone else’s?

Assembled by The Bearded Scribe Press, Twice Upon A Time combines classics and modern lore in peculiar and spectacular ways. From Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin, this unique collection showcases childhood favorites unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Both traditionally-published and independent authors will take you on a whirlwind ride through fairytale and folklore, myth and majick. Cherished stories are revisited and remastered into newly-treasured tales of hope and heartache, of adversity and adventure.

This collection features 43 short stories ranging in length from 2K-12K words from the following cast of talented writers:

Bo Balder, AJ Bauers, Carina Bissett, Rose Blackthorn, S.M. Blooding, Rick Chiantaretto, Richard Chizmar, Liz DeJesus, Court Ellyn, S.Q. Eries, Steven Anthony George, Dale W. Glaser, Jax Goss, K.R. Green, Kelly Hale, Tonia Marie Harris, Brian T. Hodges, Tarran Jones, Jason Kimble, Shari L. Klase, Alethea Kontis, Hannah Lesniak, Wayne Ligon, RS McCoy, Joshua Allen Mercier, Robert D. Moores, Diana Murdock, Nick Nafpliotis, Elizabeth J. Norton, Bobbie Palmer, William Petersen, Rebekah Phillips, Asa Powers, Joe Powers, Brian Rathbone, Julianne Snow, Tracy Arthur Soldan, C.L. Stegall, Brian W. Taylor, Kenechi Udogu, Onser von Fullon, Deborah Walker, Angela Wallace, and Cynthia Ward.

Edited by Joshua Allen Mercier. Cover art by Luke Spooner.


 

Excerpt from Fire & Ash by Joshua Allen Mercier, a dark fantasy retelling of Little Red Riding Hood:

THE cold, autumn gusts ripped across Salem’s port, stirring the angry waters, stirring the angry spectators gathered before the gallows—gallows which had not, until this day, been used since the Trials several years back. Men, women, children—all bore hateful eyes and twisted faces. All bore a deep-seeded fear of the woman before them; they watched and seethed, anger building like fire fed by the winds, waiting for answers, for closure, for justice—for the devil’s death.

Constance Archer stared at the sea of faces; she despised all of them, save two—two faces that weren’t supposed to be there. Her daughters, Rhiannon and Rowan, hid in the small grove of trees, but she could still see their watery, green eyes piercing through the shadows, their stares stabbing their fear and pain and confusion into her. They weren’t supposed to see her like this. With the gag still tightly secured about her mouth, however, her muffled pleas for them to leave went unheard.

Where was their grandmother?

Constance’s fiery locks were drenched with tears. Her heart ached. For them, for herself, for her husband, Jacob. She shouldn’t have let the rage overtake her; she knew that now, now that it was too late.

“For the crimes of witchcraft, how do you plea?”

Even though the thick rope around her neck made it difficult to escape it—to forget—the reverend’s voice jolted her back to reality.

“Not guilty,” Constance replied through the gag, unsure if her plea was understood.

“Executioner, please remove the gag from the accused.”

The reverend’s statement was cold. They had known each other since they were children, but he was but a stranger now as he stood before her. He was once so compassionate, so caring—what had changed?

The executioner approached Constance with apprehension; she soon understood why. Despite the black hood covering his face, his scent—sweet, woody, musky, like freshly-sawn wood mixed with perfume and sweat—immediately revealed his identity: William Black. He removed the gag with haste and stepped across the gallows with a speed she hadn’t witnessed him have in years.

How fitting that the town adulterer would be the one to hang her. She wondered who the woman had been, the one whose scent lingered on his clothing and skin. Surely it wasn’t his wife, Catherine.

It couldn’t be.

She had killed her, in a way, the memory of the act flooding back to her nearly causing her to faint. Seems Catherine and her husband didn’t understand the meaning of marriage; then again, neither did Jacob (apparently). Catching him with Catherine was the most heart-breaking of all.

Wyatt Thatcher cleared his throat. “Mrs. Archer—your plea, now that we can hear you.”

Constance stared at her old friend, pain and tears welling in her eyes. “Not guilty.”

“If not for witchcraft, how do account for the brutal way you murdered Catherine Black? Surely, you were possessed,” countered Reverend Thatcher.

“I didn’t murder Catherine Black. As I told you all before, she was attacked by a beast.” She wasn’t lying, but she wasn’t telling the whole truth. The truth wouldn’t save her, and she couldn’t have her daughters hearing it. They weren’t supposed to be here, but calling attention to them now would only make matters worse.

“You’re the beast!” a woman’s voice sounded from the throng.

“Witch!” said another, followed by her husband’s jibe, “You’re Satan’s whore!”

Reverend Thatcher held his hand to the crowd; without a word, they fell silent. It wasn’t their first execution; it probably wouldn’t be their last. His attention turned to the defendant, but his eyes remained downcast, staring at the rough wood of the gallows as if it were the most interesting sight he had ever beheld.

Constance knew why Wyatt Thatcher wouldn’t look at her, knew he couldn’t show a hint of weakness or compassion for her lest he be hanged, too, for sympathizing with the Devil. Satan was in Salem Village that day—no doubt about that. But it wasn’t Constance or Reverend Thatcher. The Devil stood in the crowd, reflected in the eyes of every spectator. His hunger bellowed in their calls, their taunts, their glares, and it wouldn’t be satisfied until her limp, lifeless body waved in the autumn winds like a banner for their tainted justice, a flag of their blood-stained victory over evil.

Wyatt’s hardness broke, even if for just a second, Constance the only witness to the silent tear soaking its fleshy path across his regretful face. “And please explain to us why you were covered in her blood.”

“I’ve told you all this before, Wyatt…” Using the reverend’s first name stirred a wave of gasps from the crowd, forcing her to pause. “I carried Catherine into my house to try to stop her bleeding, to prevent her death.”

That was a lie; it was what she wanted everyone to believe, but it had been all for naught. It had only sealed her fate.

“And what of your husband’s disappearance?” An icy gust of wind blew through Constance’s locks of red hair; with it, Thatcher’s own coldness returned. “Did you use witchcraft to dispose of his body?”

“My husband was attacked, too, his body dragged into the orchard by the beast.”

That was a lie, too. She couldn’t tell them the truth—that she had, in a fit of rage after seeing Jacob and Catherine naked in the orchard, cursed her husband’s appetite for flesh. The curse had gone horribly wrong…

 

 

Praise:

“Brilliant change-up on the new flood of “Fairy Tale Twists”. If you’re looking for something that can suck you in right away, this book is definitely it. The collection of short stories makes sure you never get bored with the story or writing style.” ~Jett Murdock / Amazon review

 

About the Publisher:

The Bearded Scribe Press, LLC is an independent publisher of quality Speculative Fiction. They aim to become a platform for emerging writers to get discovered by the mainstream and inversely, through becoming a staple in the literary community, becoming the source for readers to discover emerging talent in the Speculative Fiction realm.

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Watch the [Extended] Book Trailer:

Writing Wins and Woes: Fairy Tales and the Wild West

Rapunzel
Wild West GAK

What do Rapunzel and the Wild West have in common? Well, this post, of course. Bet you didn’t see that coming.
Guardian Angel Kids has a new wild west issue and my article on buffaloes is in it. Here is the link:
http://www.guardian-angel-kids.com/02-015-3Dflip/index.html Check it out if you want to learn more about the wild, wild West that wasn’t in the terrible Will Smith movie.

I just read Rapunzel: Stay at Home Mom by my good writing friend, Melinda Moore. For the low, low price of 99 cents, you can too. This story is a romp beyond your ordinary fairy tale. We pick up after the marriage and a couple of kids. Rapunzel has to juggle an evil mother, a not so perfect Prince and a nanny who doesn’t come up to her expectations. Will time at the spa rejuvenate our Princess? Read and see. You can catch this book on Amazon.

Link: http://www.amazon.com/Rapunzel-Stay-at-Home-Mom-ebook/dp/B00SY3D5O8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423246738&sr=1-1&keywords=rapunzel+stay+at+home+mom

I know many of you are waiting with bated breath (Is that correct?) to hear about my beginning throes of agenting. Well, I did begin, thank you very much. I went to agentquery.com and began the investigation. I’d like to see it was quick and easy, but it wasn’t. Just locating agents interested in children’s books was difficult and then realizing that many if not most don’t want you to illustrate your own picture book. Seems like a no-brainer that some authors would want to do this. Sigh! Well, I found three agents I might be interested in contacting. I also found another publishing company I might run the book by agent-less. No great hopes for that as I’ve tried this before with four other smaller publishing companies.

I’ll let you know what happens next week in my process to become a genuine published book author (not short story which I have done some 58 times now, and not anthology which I have done 4 times now) It’s time to move on. Keep the prayers and the good thoughts coming. Thanks.

Writing Wins and Woes: Twice Upon a Time

twice upon a time

I’m very excited to announce That Twice Upon a Time a new book of fairy tale re-tellings is now available on Amazon. Yay! This was to be the week I talked about New Year’s resolutions, but I am postponing that blog to next week so I can gush on Twice Upon a Time. It’s what you expect from someone who has a story in the book, right?

But Twice Upon a Time is more than fairy tale re-tellings, it’s fairy tales with a twist. Many of the stories don’t end happily ever after, which makes this book unique. Not all the fairy tales are from stories you’ve heard about. Some of them are little known tales, like my story taken from The Enchanted Canary. This was a story I hadn’t heard about until I researched it for Twice Upon a Time. So, if you’re in the mood for a fairy tale gone wrong, a new take on an old classic, or a brand-new spin on a little known tale, read Twice Upon a Time.

And I want to help you do that. I am giving away one kindle edition of Twice Upon a Time to a lucky blog reader. I’m going to pick a random fairy tale. In the comments of this blog, I want you to pick your favorite fairy tale. If it matches my pick, you win a free kindle copy of the book. No repeats. I am only giving away one book. If the story is listed twice, the first one posted gets the book. I’ll announce the winner next week. When the winner is announced, you’ll need to email me at my paintsplashes email, paintsplashes@comcast.net with your desired email where you want your kindle edition to be sent. That’s it. I’ll have it sent as soon as I get your email.

So, comment away, everybody. Also, if you like the book, let me know. Better yet, write a review in the Amazon listing of the book. Thanks, and happy reading. That’s a real happy ever after.