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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Three Things I Learned About Blog Tours

Please welcome guest blogger Lynn Rush

1. Holy Hades they’re a lot of work:

Yeah, well, anything great is a lot of work. It took quite a while to line up hosts, write up guest posts, and line up everything. But the process turned out to be pretty fun. I got to meet a lot of new bloggers as I scheduled things. And the excitement starting to generate, even before the tour started, was contagious. I’m a debut author, so this whole process was a first for me, and I’m hooked! Good thing I have a few more books contracted, right? That means I’ll get to have a few more tours.

It takes a lot of planning and organizing, but just start way early and you’re golden. In the end… it’s so worth it!

2. Be bold:

Many of my characters are GREAT at being bold (who wouldn’t be with super powers, right?) Me. Not so much. Probably why I write my characters the way I do. The idea of writing guest posts freaked me out. I was like, “What do I write? No one will care what I have to say.”

Yeah, well, I had to get over myself. I can only be me, right? So, go with it and write the posts. I checked out some past posts, asked a couple experienced writers for advice and then just went with it.

Just like some people will love Wasteland and some won’t, I can only write what I write, right?

3. I love giving away things:

I’ve always loved giving away things. When I get to see the smile it brings on people’s faces—it truly warms my heart. Now, since blog tours are done online, I won’t be able to see people when they find out they won a prize, but it didn’t matter. The idea of giving away prizes still warmed my heart because I remember how I felt when I won prizes on blog giveaways.

So…along that line…I want to give someone an e-book today! All you have to do is leave a comment:

Tell me about something that makes you smile.

Yep. That easy.

Now. If you want to earn an extra entry, head over to twitter and tell your friends to come on by…I love visitors. Be sure to put @lynnrush and #Wasteland in the tweet so I can see it. Also, put your email in the comment so I can contact you if your name is drawn.

Lynn Rush began her writing career in 2008. She has both an undergraduate and graduate degree in the mental health field and has enjoyed applying that unique knowledge to developing unique characters.

A former inline speed skater and mountain biker, Lynn has been known to test the limits of her athletic endurance. So, when she's not writing, she spends time enjoying the Arizona sunshine by road biking nearly 100 miles per week with her husband of fifteen years and going on jogs with her loveable Shetland Sheep dogs.

Find Lynn at her blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


Bound by the blood contract his human mother signed four centuries ago, half-demon, David Sadler, must obey his demonic Master’s order to capture fifteen-year-old Jessica Hanks. But as he learns more about her, he realizes she may be the key to freedom from his demonic enslavement.

The only obstacle—Jessica’s distractingly beautiful Guardian, Rebeka Abbott. He must not give in to their steamy chemistry, or he will lose his humanity. But fresh off a quarter millennia of sensory deprivation as punishment for not retrieving his last target, he may not be able to resist temptation long enough to save what’s left of his human soul.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Envelope, Please…

Please welcome guest blogger Amber Scott

More and more, we novelists are competing for our audience. Video games aren’t just for kids anymore and with 3D technology, films promise quite an experience. With no special effects, no stuntmen, how can we get a creative edge? I say we level the playing field by learning from the competition.

While we novelists have a lot in common with the other breed, like in relying on the hero’s journey for pacing, the screenwriting game follows certain rules and techniques that are proven to help a film succeed from the start, no matter what the budget.

What movie is this line from? “Inconceivable!”

A screenwriter has limited present tense action and dialogue to create an entire story. So every spoken word becomes crucial. And, memorable. Dialogue “prods your plot” (Robert W. Walker, Dead On Writing.) How can we make our characters dialogue more memorable? First, read every page and ask, what parts can I turn into dialogue rather than narration, or, if this were a film scene, what would they be saying to show the audience this? Second, read your dialogue out loud, or better yet, have a non-writer read it, and without the character tags of “he said” or “she said”. Do your characters have distinguishable ways of speaking? Third, in Hollywood, it’s best to be “off the nose”. This means say it without saying it directly, or not “on the nose”. Hemingway was brilliant at this. What are your characters telling us by not spelling it out? What can be inferred instead?

Whose signature props are a dusty hat, and a whip?

On film costume and set props are part of the story more than ever. They tell us who our hero is. They give actors something to do besides speak and help create activity. Things help define character and conflict. Think of the moments Indie is toying with his dusty hat, showing us his nerves aren’t so steely after all. He can’t leave it behind and we learn who he is through his relationship with his hat. In books, we think of these as symbols but doing so might complicate our perception a bit. We humans need things, we cherish our objects. How we dress, what car we drive, represent who we want to be seen as. Do any of your characters have a signature item that can show your reader who they are? What physical things do they value? What would they hate to leave behind?

If I told you aliens landed in the middle of Hogwart’s for a hostile takeover, would you believe it? Why not?

The late Blake Snyder, in his Save The Cat! series, elucidates a few noteworthy screenwriting don’ts we novelists can learn from, too. Here are two:

Double Mumbo Jumbo: Why doesn’t an amnesia stricken time traveler in need of a lone, vampire-hunting werewolf’s help, but who’s forced by her soul guide into it, work? Too many magical elements. Aliens won’t work at Hogwart’s. A psychic medium cannot save Sigourney Weaver from the Alien. The Fifth Element has nothing to do with Druids. Our readers know these limits to magic and don’t like them being bent too far.

Too Much Marzipan: This is code for too many elements, but unlike Double Mumbo Jumbo, it doesn’t have to do with magic. Blake Snyder calls this ‘The Black Vet’ and uses a 70’s Albert Brooks SNL skit as an example. He’s black, he’s a veterinarian and he’s a Vietnam vet. It’s funny when spoofed. Sometimes in our aim to hit high concept, we reach too high. Low concept is just as popular as high concept in Hollywood and in bookstores. Focus on the story, not on a secret never been done before formula sure to sell.

Overall, the biggest screenwriting lesson that consistently improves the pace, conflict and characterization in my manuscripts boils down to this idea: When the writing gods bless me and this book is optioned for the big screen, how will my scenes translate onto film? What will be changed? Cut?

And…why? Why not push that envelope now?

Red Carpet Writing: Screenwriting Steals for Novelists, presented by Amber Scott, runs from October 17, 2011 through October 31, 2011

Amber Scott began writing genre romance and screenplays five years ago, during her infant son’s naptimes. She has a B.A. in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Nevada, Reno. She’s a member of the Desert Rose RWA chapter in Phoenix, AZ and a staff contributor (‘First Mate’) with 1st Turning Point.com. A mother of two little ones now, and far from a domestic goddess, she lives vicariously through her characters’ fates, loves and complications.

Soul Search

Three years ago, one horrific night changed his life forever. And now the wolf soul that was invoked to save him is taking over his body, day by day.

Can he master his animal instincts in time to discover who is stealing children’s souls before the delicate balance we all depend upon is shattered?

Or will he reject the one woman who can help heal his body and his soul?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Curious Case of Crafting my Creatures in Courting Demons

Please welcome guest blogger Kerri Nelson

One of the things I love the most about writing fantasy and paranormal is that you have pretty much free reign over what your characters look like, what powers they possess, and what they can and cannot do in the world you’ve built for them. Your rules are the rules.

Want them to be immortal? No problem.

Defy gravity? Easy peasy.

Live off the sap of trees in the darkest forest? Why, sure they can.

But how does one go about crafting your very own creatures such as these? How do you make sure that your own creations will really stand out in such a competitive genre?

In Courting Demons, there are several baddies that I created who could be both potentially scary and at the same time humorous. My first trick was to make up their names. Here are a few of my creature creations:

Phlebo (the blood draining demon created from the word “phlebotomy” or persons trained to collect or draw blood from humans)

Felinsky (the shapeshifting cat demon created from the word “feline”)

Canibus (the werewolf created from a play on the word “canine” not the other kind of canibus!)

Now, obviously, you can see the humor behind these names but that fits with the world I’ve created for my “Mom’s world of demon mayhem”. So, that’s my first step. Then what?

Now, I try to give them some kind of unique characteristic. For example, one of my demons speaks with a lisp, one looks like a GQ model, and one is even a “little person” (yep, a dwarf and he’s one of my faves). All these characteristics add yet another funny element to my characters’ own internal world.

Creatures are typically crafted to be either scary, sexy or both but in this book you can’t help but smile at them.

And while ultimately the may not be the stuff legends are made of—I can be sure that they are all mine. I built each one from the ground up (or the underworld up) and by putting a nifty name and a unique spin on each one, I hope they’ll be remembered by readers.

Who knows maybe my demon dwarf will get his own story in the future. Just wait ‘til you meet his wife.

What are your fave type of paranormal creatures and which ones are you most tired of seeing in books?

Thanks for hosting me here at FF&P and I hope you’ll continue to follow along on the blog tour through the end of October for a chance to win an Amazon Kindle!

© Kerri Nelson 2011

Giveaway for the day:

Leave a question or comment to be entered to win a signed, print copy of Courting Demons.

Then, enter to win my book tour Grand Prize Kindle by following me on tour and e-mailing me the answers to each question of the day at the end of tour. The more questions you answer, the more entries you gain.

Question of the Day:

What is the name of the hot Detective on the case of Paisley’s “missing” hubby?

Details on how to enter to win the GRAND PRIZE Kindle at the end of my “Dark Days of Demons Tour” located here:

Kerri Nelson discovered her love of writing at an early age and soon became a columnist for her local newspaper winning the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.

After a fifteen year career in the legal field, Kerri fulfilled her lifelong dream of publication and is now an award winning multi-published author of nearly every genre under the sun (and moon) and also writes young adult fiction under the penname K.G. Summers.

A true southern belle, she comes complete with a dashing southern gentleman and three adorable children for whom she often bakes many homemade treats.

Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America as well as numerous chapters including Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal Writers and her Presidency of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Read more about Kerri’s books at her website: www.kerrinelson.com
Follow her on Twitter here: www.twitter.com/kerribookwriter
Visit her industry blog here: www.thebookboost.blogspot.com

Courting Demons

Paisley Barton was already having a bad day before she turned her husband into a rat.

First, she was fired by her boss and then came home to find hubby in the shower with a naked blonde chick. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but this break-up may just unleash hell on Earth when Paisley casts a spell of vengeance against her philandering husband.

After her spell casting inadvertently opens a portal between dimensions, Paisley finds her family home transformed into a nightly courtroom for settling disputes between demons of the underworld and she’s the judge! If that’s not enough, she’s got to deal with a charming, ancient demon named Camden who wants to be her personal bodyguard while trying to explain her husband’s sudden, mysterious disappearance to sexy police Detective Dalton Briggs.

But Paisley will show them all that an everyday working mom is better equipped than most to deal with the mystical mayhem…and with a tempting demon hottie and a flirtatious young detective vying for her affection, she soon learns that being single again isn’t so bad after all.

“When a wronged wife turns her cheating husband into a rat, you know you have to keep reading! Kerri Nelson offers up a lot of fun and wild magic in Courting Demons!” --Bestselling author Linda Wisdom, Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Revisions: Not Just Plug and Play

Please welcome guest blogger Cathy Pegau

Last year, I received my very first revise and resubmit letter. The editor made it clear that it was not a guarantee of an offer. They would look at my manuscript again should I decide to address the items listed. She saw potential in my story, but it needed cleaning up. Clarifying characters and their motivations, plot points and world building were at the heart of the R&R. Tighten these chapters here, explain this bit there.

So how to go about revisions without merely marking off each point like a checklist, adding a sentence here, cutting a scene (or chapter!) there that didn’t come up to snuff?

The technique that worked for me involved a couple of steps. First, I read through the letter and made sure I understood exactly what was cause for concern by the editor. If I wasn’t sure, I asked. An editor would rather explain what they mean than have you miss the point. Really. I wanted to make the story stronger, but I also wanted to make sure it was my story, so I didn’t just follow the list of revisions. I considered which ones worked “as is” and which ones could be modified. Not ignored, because if the editor noticed something enough to remark on it, I’d better find some way to explain myself if I didn’t address her comment directly.

Next, I re-read the entire manuscript and highlighted anything specifically mentioned. (Yes, that included an entire chapter!) Then I color-coded areas of general concern: world-building blue, relationship pink, plot green. That helped give a visual idea of balance as well as a quick reference when I changed something in one part of the manuscript; I knew I would need to find that same thread later and follow through.

Then the fun began. I worked on the manuscript for four weeks, sent it to my critique partners, and let it sit for another four. Let me repeat that: I let it sit for four weeks. Now, I will admit my ability to resist going back in to tweak the tweaks did not stem from iron will power. Not at all. I was out of the country for that time without my computer. Did that mean I never thought about what I’d done, or that I didn’t come up with ideas about how I might re-re-address the items of concern? Oh, heck no! I thought about it all the time. I jotted notes while on trains or during rare lulls in activity. But it was important that I not look at it. I also started writing the next story (spiral-bound notebooks and pens fit nicely in carry-on luggage and don’t need charging). That helped tremendously in keeping my writerly brain engaged but not dwelling on the one manuscript.

As soon as I could, however, I opened the file and re-read what I’d done before my trip. I gathered my crit partners’ notes. I sat at my computer, cracked my knuckles and began the next three weeks of revisions. That was more of a careful reading for consistency, ensuring the changes I’d made earlier made sense, that the plot was logical and the dialogue still flowed and reflected the action. I incorporated the little (and one or two not so little) ideas that came to me while I was supposedly not working on the manuscript, as well as those of my critique partners.

All in all, I took nearly three months to get the revised manuscript back to the editor. The hardest part was waiting for the response. Had I addressed everything properly? Had I clearly explained why I did some things and not others in my cover letter? Would any of that be a deal breaker? Apparently not. After two months of nervous hand wringing, an offer was made for what would become Rulebreaker.

A revision request is not just a matter of plugging in bits and pieces here and there and sending it right back out again. It requires reviewing the entire manuscript, noting how threads might be drawn tighter or, if necessary, snipped altogether. It might mean tearing out and re-weaving elements and details without puking up an info dump that will make a reader’s eyes glaze. It is not a fast fix. It takes time, and it can be frustrating, but well worth the effort.

And remember to let the manuscript sit untouched for a while, even if that means leaving the country. Hey, after the hard work you’ve done, and in preparation for more to come (because even if your story is accepted, there will be more edits) you probably deserve a vacation!

Happy revising!

Cathy has been a school bus driver, an office assistant for an assisted living facility, and a wildlife biology researcher. These endeavors have allowed her to parallel park large vehicles, gain insight and wisdom from her elders, and hoot for spotted owls (and get lost in the woods overnight, but that’s another story). She has lived in New York and Oregon, and now resides in Alaska with her husband, kids, pets, and the occasional black bear roaming the yard. Everything Cathy writes tends toward speculative fiction because she likes to make things up as she goes along. Her debut novel Rulebreaker, a F/F science fiction romance, is out now. Track her down on her blog, website, Facebook page, or on Twitter.


Liv Braxton's Felon Rule #1: Don't get emotionally involved.

Smash-and-grab thieving doesn't lend itself to getting chummy with the victims, and Liv hasn't met anyone on the mining colony of Nevarro worth knowing, anyway. So it's easy to follow her Rules.

Until her ex, Tonio, shows up with an invitation to join him on the job of a lifetime.

Until Zia Talbot, the woman she's supposed to deceive, turns Liv's expectations upside down in a way no woman ever has.

Until corporate secrets turn deadly.

But to make things work with Zia, Liv has to do more than break her Rules, and the stakes are higher than just a broken heart…

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Grounding Fantasy with a Side of Humanity

Please welcome guest blogger Kinley Baker

There are a lot of people in the world who don’t consider themselves fantasy fans, but a lot of fantasy television shows, books and movies have had success. I think there’s a reason why these franchises have had success. The creators managed to ground their envisioned fantasy worlds with elements of humanity that the reader or viewer could relate to.


Examples of how this was done well:


Avatar is a fantasy world of spiritually connected beings who worship their mother earth. The reason why the movie is so popular, other than it’s awesome, is because the director made a fantasy with elements of humanity. The people worshipped their goddess, but they feared. They got scared. They loved. They had mothers and fathers and relationships. I still cry when I watch this movie because I cared about the characters and the director did an amazing job of connecting the two differing types of people.


This concept is really genius in the way it relates fantasy elements with the everyday. What girl in High School wouldn’t want a guy to show up and be only interested in her? Do you remember how difficult it was to understand boys in High School? Not only did they not really pay attention to you, but if they did pay attention to you, they were pressuring you into intimacies you probably weren’t ready for. And then, Hello Edward! He’s a serious-minded, vampire, who focuses all his attention on Bella and actually fears said intimacies. Talk about combining concept and target audience. Pure gold.

Harry Potter

The world of Harry Potter lives and breathes on its own accord. Does anyone even bat an eye anymore at the fact that this world is composed of wizards who carry around wands on a daily basis? Do we even process the fact that this isn’t normal? Harry is so real, and his challenges are so on par with tugging our heart strings, that the elements of humanity in this book make it so almost anyone can connect.

Lord of the Rings

Frodo is a hobbit. Does anyone think of that by the end of the books/movies? Or are we just in awe that this man from a small village managed to have a pure enough heart to survive the pull of the ring’s evil?


There are a lot of fantasy fans, but there are also a lot of disbelievers. If you can write a story that’s driven by elements of humanity that draws readers in, I truly think you can have success with fantasy or sci-fi. Television and movies are proving this today. As this trend continues, I think you’ll see more readers hop onboard.

I think it’s important to create relatable characters. Fantasy concepts that include things we understand, like love, hatred, kindness and conflict, are the things that will draw readers or viewers into a world that might be other from their own.

There’s a lot of appeal in escaping the monotony of the everyday. I didn’t see them worrying about insurance premiums on Pandora. That’s my kind of fantasy. As long as we relate our fantasy realms to our own personal experiences, I think we can make a few more people believers. After all, Harry Potter proved that maybe everyone does want a little magic.

Kinley Baker is the author of the fantasy romance, Ruined. She read her first romance novel at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com.


Jessa is one healing away from death. Under the thrall of her gift, the Court's Senior Healer risks giving her life in exchange for her patient's.

Vale is a rebel ruler. When his brother is killed, he's given the throne and the decree from the Court to produce an heir or lose his family's hold on the land--and his deceiving advisors aren't afraid to use murder as a weapon if their directive to stay away from the Senior Healer goes unheeded.

But Vale burns to possess Jessa. The heat between them leaves a wake of smoke, and even the powerful forces above want to bind them in a union that lasts forever. Vale taking another would be a betrayal neither could survive.

Their enemies fear a child born of such a powerful Healer and Warrior, but the true threat lies in the bond forged in shadows and fused in fire.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to Determine Your Writing Style: Analyzing commercial fiction and your writing

Please welcome guest blogger KH LeMoyne

Consider this a mini-workshop to fulfill the following objectives:

  1. assess the writing style of bestselling authors

  2. assess your favorite authors (this may not be the same as #1)

  3. provide a framework to objectively analyze your own writing

There are two ways to do this. The manual way and the automated way. Both are fine, neither is free. You will need copies of three books that you can electronically markup or physically write in. Use second hand copies or choose the automated option and download Kindle for PC (it’s free and you don’t need to own a Kindle to download it).

Select three books to analyze.

Book 1(your style or what you like to read) – Do people who read your work tell you that “your stories are just like …” or “your writing is very similar to…?” Pick that book. If you don’t get this kind of feedback, that’s fine. Pick a book by your favorite author.

Book 2 (well sold in your genre) – select a book in your genre by an author with high sales. Avoid mini genres for this exercise – i.e. choose romance suspense or paranormal romance instead of romantic paranormal/ time travel/ with magical elements, suspense, and vampires. This is an exercise to assess wide-selling commercial fiction, not niche genres (though you can use this approach for that later).

Book 3 (well-sold in associated genre) – select a bestselling book not necessarily in your genre but related. For example, if you write paranormal romance or romantic suspense, pick a mainstream suspense book, a straight urban fantasy or fantasy book, etc. This is to give you an idea of the writing style that appeals to a broader spectrum of readers.

Now, books in hand or Kindle for PC (K4PC) downloaded on your computer, you are ready.

I’m going to digress for a second about the Kindle for PC. This software package allows for easy reading and not only provides a search function, but also supports notes in your eBook copy. A tab allows movement from the beginning of the book to the end, if you want to jog back and forth. It’s easy, convenient and, personally, I appreciate both. The choice is yours. Okay, lecture finished.

You are going to assess the following areas for each of the three books:

  • The first five paragraphs

  • A main action scene (I’m lumping physical action, major dialog, and multi person scenes here)

  • A main transition segment (can be a whole scene or a few paragraphs where the tension is eased by internal introspection or some other technique that provides the reader interim relief)

  • Two places where you just open the book and punk down your finger, or scene of your choosing.

For each segment consider the following (and make notes):

  • Sentence length (long sentences, short sentences, or mixed – when and where does the author use them?)

  • How do the sentences begin? (Nouns, verbs, etc – you are looking for sentence structure and how interest/tension is built and released)

  • Do the sentences contain description, emotion, narrative, or all of the above?

  • How is progression handled from one paragraph to the next within major scenes? In the relief scenes? (look for specific word choices, what verbs are used, use of clauses, fragments, adverbs, conjunctions, etc.)

  • How do sentences within paragraphs segue to form the paragraphs objective? How does the author achieve flow from one sentence to the next?

  • What defines the overall flow of the writing? For example, some authors have very clipped fast-paced stories with shallow detail but great action. Others have a lyrical style with more description. Some integrate both at key points in the story. Again, no judgment, this is about style. Different readers like different styles and there is no ‘right way.’

  • What is most notable in the story? Cool plot, new types of characters, the way phrases are spun, dialogue, etc? (nobody does it all so you are looking for the strengths that define the book or author)

  • How does the author begin and end major scenes and chapters?

And finally, search for the following words (you’ll see why the K4PC makes this easier because of its search function):

  • that, wasn’t, just, but, and, had

  • and manually review for: was, as, ‘ly’ adjectives, ‘ing’ phrases and words

(As a side note: K4PC won’t pull up searches for ‘was’ but it will search on ‘wasn’t. Go figure?)

So what did you find? Do the results correlate across all three books?

Now that you’ve gone through the books, implement the same review of one of your stories. DO NOT EDIT AT THIS POINT. This is an exercise to assess only.

How do the results of you own work compare? The key here is to get a better understanding of how bestsellers construct their stories, what you have in common with them, and what makes you unique. Yes, this parallels to defining your voice for a reason!

The assessment will show elements contributing to style for the specific authors and genres. Also what readers have selected as enjoyable by voting with their wallets and, equally important, what major publishing houses and their editors find acceptable as a saleable product.

A good thing to note from the search exercise is that if you can’t pinpoint your style, a writing pattern similar to your own, then your style may have disappeared in your editing process. The search part of the exercise proves that commercial fiction uses all the words—yep even those on many writer’s ‘do not use’ lists and sometimes breaks rules.

I understand the need to edit for weak words and structure and I’m not advocating poor writing styles. Trust me, I have my own lists for edits. But the result of vigorous word cleansing can sometimes be the loss of a writer’s voice and sterile, uninteresting stories. So read, take note, and analyze.

This process of review provides an objective starting point for determining the similarities in your own writing, your strengths, weak areas, and potential adjustments for improving story flow. Hopefully, you’ll find something of value in the process.

I wish all of you the greatest success in your writing.

KH LeMoyne writes romantic fantasy. You can contact her at http://www.khlemoyne.com/, http://khlemoyne.wordpress.com/, and on twitter: @khlemoyne


2180 A.D. –

One hundred and fifty years after genetically enhanced crops and livestock decimate the Earth with a lethal bacterial strain of Salmonella only twenty percent of the world’s population remains. Small pockets of civilization flourish, supported by computerized technologies and vaccinations against the bacteria, the new cities built over the ruins of the previous age. Regents, the owners of the technology, govern the interests of their individual cities—shining examples of progress and advancement.

In a race against time, the Down Below underground network plans for the rescue of one of their own from the Regent death squads. The success or failure of their plan hinges on the loyalty of a deadly former Regent guard and one of the most brilliant and dangerous weapon’s designers in New Delphi’s history.