Road Trip Weekend

My weekend of miniature road trips began last Thursday.  I drove out to Denison (around Lake Texoma) to meet a friend for a celebration of art and wine.  All the stores and art galleries stayed open and had wine and refreshments set out for visitors.  I had no idea what to expect, I just knew there would be art and wine.  That was good enough for me.  

I arrived at Denison’s Main Street about thirty minutes early, so I decided to park my car and walk around a bit.  As I strolled, I remembered that I had been baptized in a church in Denison, so I called my mom to find out which one.  Denison is a pretty small town, after all.  It was probably within driving distance.  She told me I was looking for St. Luke’s Episcopal.  I typed the name into my GPS and lo and behold, the church was exactly one street over from where I stood.  

It wasn’t open, and I’d forgotten my camera battery at home (dumb!), but I did get a few pictures on my iPhone. 

ImageImageImage

I hope to go back sometime to visit when the church is open.  Maybe I can even attend a service there.  It’s such a cool and apparently historic building!  

After my quick trip to the place of my spiritual rebirth, I headed back into town and explored a few of the stores until my friend joined me.  

ImageImage

One of the stores I stopped in was called The Book Rack, a huge independent book store that sells both new and used books.  I got to talking to the two ladies working there, and, long story short, they want Cemetery Tours for their store!  I’m so excited!  They also offered to have me come back sometime in the summer to do a book signing!  I really hope that happens, because that would just be so cool!  

After finally meeting up with my friend, we perused a few more galleries and stores.  I ended up with three new books, one from The Book Rack and two antique books to add to my collection.  I met several artists and witnessed some incredible works.  I didn’t sample any wine, sadly, as I had a long drive home, but that’s alright.  My friend and I also stopped in a huge antique store.  We are both big believers in ghosts, so we had a fun time exploring and searching for spirits amidst the artifacts. 

ImageImageImage

Around that time, we began to hear thunder rumbling in the distance, so I decided to head out before the weather got too hazardous.  I did get some pictures of the small town sunset, though.

ImageImage

Saturday was another busy day.  I was up uncharacteristically early, 7 AM, to help with my friends’ yard sale.  It was fun, but oh my goodness, I am so sunburned.  I didn’t even think to put on sunscreen!  It’s still March and it was so early!  Alas, two days later, my poor skin is still simmering.  Lesson learned. 

I also spent some time planting sunflower seeds.  Unfortunately, the next day, I went out to water them and discovered several little holes where an animal (okay, a SQUIRREL) had dug up the seeds and left behind their empty shells!  How are you supposed to protect your poor baby seeds from squirrels?!  I’m going to have to get clever, I think.  

Later Saturday, however, my best friend texted me and asked, “How do you feel about the lake?” 

There is only one appropriate response when a friend asks you to go to the lake, and that response is “Yes.”  So, we drove out to the lake. 

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

As much fun as I had, however, yesterday, everything caught up with me.  I slept 12 hours straight before finally dragging my achey, sunburned self out of bed.  Then, I really didn’t do anything except watch Catching Fire and color.  It was pretty nice.  

Today, however, I am very ready to hit the ground running.  I’ve received my first copy of my rough draft from one of my beta readers, so I need to go over her notes.  I also need to get back to writing the new manuscript.  Then, of course, there are emails to answer, reviews to post, and goals to set.  I’ll tell you this much, the life of an indie author is NEVER boring!  

I hope you all are having a fantastic Monday and last day of March!  Beware of April Foolers!  

 

 

Advertisements

Refreshed

Hi, everyone.  Well, I am still recovering form the week I just had.  It’s taken a little longer than I thought it would, but the good news is I have been able to stay active and busy.  I’ll tell you all more about it in a later post.

I did finish reading The Calling by Louise G. White.  It was an excellent fantasy, and you can find my reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, and Barnes and Noble.  However, I thought I’d share it here as well.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18985976-the-calling

I love fantasy, so I was quite eager to read Louise G. White’s debut novel, The Calling.

Like several fantasy books, it takes a few chapters to really begin to understand the dynamic and workings of the world, but once you’re in, you’re captivated, and I can guarantee you will not want to leave it behind.

The Calling is beautifully written with strong characters, especially the protagonist, Carolyn. So often, I’ve found female leads irritating, sometimes downright unlikable. But Ms. White has created a powerful heroine in Carolyn, and you can’t help but root for her as she embarks on a journey to save her mother and her brother.

On a personal note, Ms. White and her book came to me at a time I desperately needed a distraction, an escape. The Calling was perfect, truly one of the few bright spots in a week of sadness and loss. I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I was to have this story, this world, waiting for me.

The Calling is a colorful, suspenseful, sensual, magical tale that keeps you wanting more even after you’ve turned the final page. I am very much looking forward to the sequel, Chasing the Demon, which will be released later on this year.

Thank you so much, Ms. White. Your world, your characters, your story, is a joy and a genuine privilege.

I am also thrilled to announce that my blog was nominated for another award!  I’d like to personally thank Lydia and Anastasia at Cupcakes and Popcorn for nominating me!

You can find their blog here:   http://cupcakesandpopcorn.wordpress.com

Image

“The LITWA was invented in 2012 by Barbara Matteo, a fellow blogger who publishes posts about women’s creativity, spirituality and issues affecting the female gender on the blog idealisticrebel. The blog award’s full title is in fact “Being a Light in the World Award.

Barbara created the LITWA to celebrate those wonderful people in our world who spread light, love, hope and peace in the name of humanity. Bloggers receiving this award are encouraged to continue promoting these virtues and work as a force of peace and light in the world, touching their readers’ hearts and making a difference in their lives, no matter how small. The award has as its background a scene of a beach taken at sunset with holidaymakers enjoying themselves. This picture was taken by Barbara herself. Just as the sun in the picture brings light and sustenance to the earth and is the reason why any living thing can exist on our planet in the first place, the LITWA is a gift to those bloggers who help shine the light into other people’s worlds, giving them sustenance, hope and happiness through the venerable dialogue of blogging.

The LITWA has the following rules for nominees to follow:

1. Thank the person who gives you the award;
2. Spread this award around to the people who you know who are doing this work, so that the work continues and the light is spread;
3. Let your nominees know of their nomination;
4. Never give up on your fellow human beings.”

My nominees for the Light in the World Award are…

http://raulconde001.wordpress.com

http://christinecarternovels.wordpress.com

http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com

http://thinaby.com

http://greenembers.wordpress.com

http://theparanormalist.wordpress.com

http://nikbarnabee.weebly.com

Thank you all for your kind words during a particularly painful week.  I’ll never forget them.

 

Interview!

This week, I had the honor of being interviewed by my friend and fellow author, Heather Ellis!  For some reason, WordPress is not letting me reblog the interview, so I thought I’d post it here as well as a link to her blog!  She’s an amazing young lady, a published author at 10, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for her. 

Here is the link to her blog: http://heatherellisbooks.wordpress.com/

Here is the Interview:

A few months ago a very kind lady called Jacqueline Smith from America found me on WordPress. She helped me lots, to review my books and we became friends! She is also an author (but not of the same type of books as me). I was really interested in her books and how she writes and I came up with a list of questions which turned into an interview.

Well, here it is. It’s a very interesting read for everyone. =)

Check out her books and BLOG, the links are below!

Image


First of all I can ask who are your writing inspirations?
One of my earliest writing inspirations was JK Rowling.  Shortly after the fifth Harry Potter book came out, I realized that I needed more Harry in my life, so I started making up my own stories (Yes, I wrote fanfiction…).  Other inspirations include John Green and Meg Cabot. 

At what point did you stop and think about really writing a book?
Spring break of my third year in college.  I had a terrible upper respiratory infection and spent the entire week coughing and reading books on the couch.  I’m not sure if it was the fever or the decongestants, but halfway through True Believer by Nicholas Sparks, I thought to myself, “Hey.  I could do this.”  And from that point on, I decided I was going to write books! 

My books are a bit different to the types of books you do, for younger readers but I have to ask if it is different… I wondered how long does it take for you to write a book? 
It really depends.  Cemetery Tours and its sequel, both around 75,000 words, took about 5 months each to write.  I have another manuscript for a short non-fiction book, however, that I finished in about a week.  Then again, I’m still working on the first manuscript I ever started, back in 2010.  For some reason, I just haven’t found the right formula for that one.  But I think I’m getting closer!    

What are your favourite and most difficult parts of writing your own book?
I love character development and I really love dialogue!  I like to think I’m a witty person, so writing smart, snarky characters with attitude is a lot of fun for me.  The most difficult parts are action scenes.  They’re fun, but they are tricky!  I’m also really bad at coming up with good names! 

What was the biggest thing you learned from your experience of writing your own book?
I learned to stop and breathe.  There is a lot to process when writing and publishing a book, and it is a lot of hard work, but in the end, it is worth it.  It’s very scary and can be intimidating, and I really admire everyone who believes in their work and loves it enough to go through this process, because it is a big job. I’ve also learned pretty much everything there is to know about the publishing process, which is really cool!      

I spend quite a lot of time thinking about my characters and their names and personalities. Can you see any of your family and friends in any of your book characters?
Yes, absolutely.  I especially see my mother in Michael’s mom.  She sees the goodness and beauty in everyone and everything, and in turn, everyone knows and loves her.  I think it was one of the rarest and yet most profound and wonderful gifts.   

Who designed your book covers? 
My good friend and professional photographer/graphic designer, Benjamin Durham. 

I’ve seen some of your paintings on your blog, they are pretty awesome – Have you ever thought about designing your own book covers?
Thank you!  As much as I love to paint, I am a terrible graphic artist! I actually tried to design quite a few ideas for the cover, but Ben took one look at them and said, “Why don’t we start from scratch?” 

What advice would you give to authors starting out writing their own books?
Don’t let anyone discourage you.  Believe in yourself and in your ideas, because they are worth the world. Don’t stress over the details, especially in the first draft.  You’ll have plenty of time to rework them during the editing process.  Most importantly, if you get stuck, keep writing! I’ve met so many writers who succumb to writer’s block because they think that because they get it, they’re not meant to write.  NOT TRUE!  All writers hit bumps along the road.  No one can just sit down and write out an entire book in one sitting.  The only way to get through it is to keep writing!  

You mentioned you are working on a new book, how is that going?
Excellent!  This is a whole new book, not related to Cemetery Tours (though I’m sure I will go back to it one day).  I’m really excited to be working on something new.    

When will we be able to buy it?
The sequel to Cemetery Tours will be out sometime this summer!  As for the new one, I’ve only just started, so it will at least be another six to eight months. I’m really excited about the sequel and I can’t wait until I can talk more about it! 

Link to Jacqueline Smith’s book Cemetery Tours: 
http://amzn.to/1guWp6v 

Link to Jacqueline Smith’s BLOG:
http://www.jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/ 

Thank you, Heather!  I can’t wait to read your next book! 

At Peace

My sweet Jazzy is at peace.  She passed last night in her home, surrounded by her family.  For that, I am so thankful.  She was always so scared of the vet, and I did not want her last experience to be fear and a needle.  Although I am relieved that she is no longer in pain, her death has hit me a lot harder than I thought it would.  Although I believe, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there is eternal life for all of God’s creatures, the pain of her loss is still very fresh and I think it will take a few days at least before I’m myself again.

Thankfully, I still have my Midnight with me.  Although I’ve got to say, she’s not been very much help.  You know how pets are supposed to be able to sense when you’re sad and comfort you?  Yeah, Midnight doesn’t do that.  She doesn’t understand why I should ever feel anything other than complete and utter joy for being deemed worthy of her love and presence.  She’s sort of a diva.

On the bright side, I do have a few fun things planned in the next few days, so I’m hoping that will help me to heal.  I know Jazzy is happy and home and that she wouldn’t want me to be sad.  She was always a lot more in tune to emotions than any of my other cats.  She always hated being held, but the day her mommy died, I was sad and she just let me hold her for as long as I needed to.  I’m going to miss her so much.  I already do.

I need to stop writing about it, because if I keep it up, I’m going to start crying again, and I really hate crying.

In other, happier news, I will be posting a review of The Calling by Louise G. White hopefully within the next couple of days.  All my work has sort of taken a back seat these last few days.  I realized that when I’m grieving, I drop everything and turn to shopping for comfort.  That’s odd, because I am not a huge shopper most of the time.  Occasionally, I’ll treat myself to a new outfit, but I’m usually pretty good about the way I spend and save my money.  When I’m sad though?  Oh man, I don’t even care.  I will buy anything I want if I think it will make me feel better.  Deep down, I know that drowning your sorrows in materialism is not the answer at all, but I’m rarely sad enough to splurge, so I figure what the heck.

I’m really trying to talk myself out of getting a tattoo though.  I kind of want one, but I definitely do NOT have the money for it.  I might just have to settle on a new cardigan to go with a dress I want to wear tomorrow.  And cookies.  Lots of cookies.  And maybe shoes.

Anyway, please say a prayer for me (and for my bank account).  And God bless and keep you and all your animal friends.

Image

Ready For the Weekend

Hi, friends.

Today has been a day of mixed blessings.  I got a great new review and had some new sales also!  Always a reason to celebrate.

Sadly, however, the time has come to say good-bye to my oldest friend, my sweet Jazzy cat.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 9.14.01 PM

I am heartbroken and I am going to miss her like crazy, but I know she’s going to be fine.  I believe in Heaven and eternal life for all of God’s people and creatures.  If you would, please just keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Needless to say, I haven’t gotten a lot done today.  It’s been a long one.  I hate seeing my girl so sick.  But part of loving our pets is knowing that we will probably outlive them.  And we choose to love them anyway.  I don’t think we can really help it.

Anyway, I don’t have much to say tonight.  Thank you all for sticking with me, and I promise, I’ll be happy and upbeat in the next few days.

Love to all.

Hello Friends

I feel like it’s been a while.  Life is busy.  A little stressful.  But good overall.

On Saturday, I fulfilled one of my admittedly odd lifelong ambitions.  I went to the movie theater by myself.  Again, I know it’s weird, but for some reason, I’ve always wanted to experience seeing a movie just with myself.  I decided to go see Divergent.  It was really good.  For the most part, it stayed true to the book, though it was definitely watered down.  For once, I was strangely okay with that.  Maybe because I’ve only read through the series once and I’m not quite as emotionally invested in it as I am in Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.  It could also be because Veronica Roth’s books are long and very intricately detailed.  I’ll probably have to read through the trilogy again before the next movie comes out because I don’t really remember all that happened, especially in the second one.

One recently announced book-to-movie adaptation that I probably will not be seeing, however, is The Giver. I might change my mind as the release date draws nearer, but from what I’ve seen in the trailer… I’m just not interested.  Nothing I saw in that trailer even remotely resembles the utter magic that the book held for me the first time I read it in middle school and every time I reread it after.  That book is a masterpiece and one that really impacted me as a reader and, consequentially, as a writer.  I’ll be curious to find out what other fans of the book think of it.

I also saw the new Hobbit movie again.  I still think there are too many orcs, too may elves, and not enough Bilbo and the Dwarves. But what do I know?

On the book front, I finished reading The Amazing Crystal by Gerald Lizee.

Image

I’m not a sci-fi reader, but I really enjoyed it!  I posted reviews on both Amazon and GoodReads, but I thought I’d share it here too.

Here’s the deal. I do not read a whole lot of science fiction. In fact, I could probably count on one hand the number of Sci-Fi books I’ve actually read and enjoyed. Add The Amazing Crystal by Gerald Lizee to that list.

Set in a futuristic society, protagonist Lydia receives an amulet from her grandfather, who has gone into hiding our of fear that he may be robbed or kidnapped. This amulet, it turns out, possesses the ability to communicate with whom it chooses and influence the world around it.

Something I loved and that makes The Amazing Crystal very unique is that it plays out like an action show, with episodes instead of chapters. This makes for a fun and fast-paced read with no slow spots in the narrative. The descriptions are vivid and yet, Mr. Lizee tells the story in such a way that even those of us who’ve spent more of our time in the worlds of romance and fantasy will understand and enjoy.

Congratulations and 5 stars to Gerald Lizee. I look forward to reading his future works!

The next book that I’m reading and reviewing is The Calling by Louise G. White.  It’s a fantasy and it looks right up my alley!  I’m really looking forward to reading it!

Image

Finally, I’m about two chapters in to my newest manuscript!  While the sequel to Cemetery Tours is in the editors’ hands, I’m enjoying having something new to engage me.  It’s really excited about the story, and even though it hasn’t been in my head very long, just since January, it’s already better developed than ideas that have been brewing for years.  It’s kind of funny how the brain works like that.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for today!  Talk to you all tomorrow!

I

Thank You All!

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you, my friends here on this blog.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have your companionship, your words of wisdom, your support, and your encouragement.  I have met so many kind, wonderful, intelligent, and passionate people here on this blog and I love that so many of us share common dreams and ambitions.  I hope that I’m able to offer such support and encouragement to all of you as well.  

I’ve kind of been slacking on the blog/replies this week.  It’s been super busy!  Most of it is good busy.  Honestly, though, I do not think it is close to slowing down.  And that’s fine with me.  I’m ready for new adventures.  

Have a great Saturday, everyone!  Go read a good book or see a movie or spend the day with someone you love.   

It’s the Weekend!

Three of my favorite words!  Other than “Going to beach” or “Your book’s selling,” I love hearing “It’s the weekend” probably more than anything else in the world!  Better yet, I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING planned this weekend.  It’s such a liberating and wonderful feeling. 

And yet I’ve come to realize that authors, particularly independent authors, never truly have NOTHING to do.  There is always something that we can be working on.  For example…

1) Although my latest manuscript is in the hands of editors and proof-readers, I could still be going back through, re-reading, and making sure I’m happy with everything.  I could also be brushing up on my formatting, coming up with a blurb for the back of the book, investigating the ISBN, etc.

2) Researching my current WIP. I have six books that I need to read, or at least browse, for information on my newest manuscript.  Four of those books are library books, so my time is limited on those.

3) Actually writing my new  manuscript.

4) Finishing up The Amazing Crystal, the latest book that I’m reading and reviewing.  PS – If you’re interested in a book exchange to read and review (I review on Amazon and GoodReads) leave me a note in the comments section! 

5) Reading any of the other books that I have lying around.  Reading is IMPORTANT for authors!  If you don’t enjoy reading, how can you enjoy writing?  Besides, there is always something to be learned! 

6) Working on my new trilogy of paintings.  Okay, that has nothing to do with being an author, but I don’t like leaving projects unfinished.  And these paintings are going to be really cool! 

So if I’m being honest, I’m actually in for a very busy weekend.  In a lot of ways, being an author really reminds me of being in graduate school.  There’s a lot of reading and libraries involved and the writing never seems to end.  The only difference is now I’m reading and researching and writing what I want instead of being assigned something.  I love it so much! 

However, on the downside, there are no professors around to make sure you finish your work, and I’ve met plenty of aspiring writers who love writing but who have difficulties actually finishing a manuscript.  I can’t judge them, because I have plenty of unfinished manuscripts lying around.  It’s easy to think, “Oh, there’s no one holding me to finishing this.  I can just take my time.”  In the world of independent writing, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable.  Set deadlines for yourself, and if you don’t make them, set new deadlines.  That way, you’re always pushing yourself to keep going, to keep writing.  Don’t be intimidated.  Don’t worry about what anyone else will think.  Write first and foremost for yourself and because you love it.  There are so many people out there who will think you’re crazy for spending so much of your time writing, but the truth is, if you love it, you’d do it for free.  For you, writing is fun.  It’s a way of life, a release, a joy.  I hope each and every one of us gets to the point where we can write for a living. 

Life is a gift, meant to be loved and enjoyed.  That’s why I write, because I want to live life the way I was meant to live it; thankful, in awe, and in love. 

Happy Weekend, all!

Kindle eBook Sale!

Hi, all! 

This is going to be short because I’ve got a lot of stuff to do, but I wanted to let you all know that CEMETERY TOURS is on sale on Kindle NOW!  For a limited time, get CEMETERY TOURS for only $2.99 on Kindle! 

http://www.amazon.com/Cemetery-Tours-Jacqueline-Smith-ebook/dp/B00F7CHQ08/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383665766&sr=8-1&keywords=cemetery+tours

Talk to you all soon!  Sorry I’ve been sort of absent this week.  Lots going on! 

Image

Tragic Flaws

Last night, I finished reading the Percy Jackson series.  All in all, I loved them and I’m really looking forward to reading the Heroes of Olympus series.  They’ve also really inspired me to get back into drawing.  I used to draw all the time.  When I was younger, I really thought I was going to grow up to be an artist.

Image

This is one of my favorite paintings I’ve done. The light beams below the whale look kind of stupid, but I loved the whale and the stars.

Image

Turtle sketch.

Image

Now, for the record, I am nowhere near talented enough to actually become an artist.  A photographer?  I’d like to think maybe.  But as much as I love to draw and paint, I’m not stellar.  That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it, however.  Thanks to Percy Jackson, I really want to paint some Greek Mythology.

The books also got me thinking about the ideas of Tragic Flaws, the characteristic that could potentially be a hero’s downfall.  In Percy Jackson, Annabeth’s tragic flaw is pride.  Percy’s is his willingness to sacrifice the entire world in order to save one of his friends.  The concept of tragic flaws does not strictly apply to the Percy Jackson.  In Shakespeare’s tragedies, you find Othello’s jealousy, Hamlet’s unwillingness to act, and MacBeth’s ambition.  This afternoon at work, I started thinking about what my tragic flaw might be.  I came up with several possibilities, which, now that I think about it, might not be something to brag about, but I thought I’d share anyway.

1) Stubbornness

I am stubborn.  Like, to a pigheaded degree.  If I think I need to do something, I’m going to do it no matter what anyone else tells me.  I very rarely change my opinions on anything and I am very loathe to admit I was wrong.  I will admit it, but it’s VERY difficult.  Still, I almost always think that I’m right and I’m very opinionated.

2) Defensiveness

Along those same lines, I am also very defensive.  I hate being wrong or mistaken and I take criticism very personally (which is a TERRIBLE trait for an author).  I blame this compulsive need to be correct on my time spent in a private elementary school where even the slightest lapse in perfection would result in a yellow card, three of which added up to a detention.

3) Overanalysis

I, like several girls, overanalyze EVERYTHING.  A person could send me a simple text message like, “Okay,” and I’d immediately think, “Okay?!  What does that mean?  Are they mad at me?  Are they happy?  Are they simply settling to appease me?  Do they think I’m a huge loser?  Oh gosh, they must think I’m the most annoying person in the world!”  It’s awful.

4) I Never Give Anyone the Benefit of the Doubt

This is one that I’m trying to work on, but I have a bad habit of assuming the worst.  I think I can read people, so I am likely to believe that I know their thoughts, their motivations, and every bad intention that they have.

5) Impatience

I have no patience for anything.  I hate waiting.  It drives me crazy.  I barely have the patience to write out this paragraph right now.

6) Self Pity

I’m not sure why, but there are times when my self esteem just plummets.  It happened a lot more when I was in graduate school, but I still have my off days every now and then.  Publishing my book helped a lot, but every now and then, I’ll be struck by that little voice in the back of my head screaming, “You’re so weird, you’re so useless, no one is going to like you the way that you are, you better get cool NOW.”  Again, that has been happening less and less, but my self-esteem could still use a bit of improvement.

7) Laziness

I’m lazy.

8) Compulsive Need to Make Lists of 10, or at Least Even Numbers

I think this one kind of speaks for itself.

I know everyone has flaws and I know that this list doesn’t even come close to describing all of mine.  However, I don’t think that focusing on the negative is a good idea (add Hypocrisy to the list).  I’d much rather look for the good and the beauty in people, places, and things, than for the things that might not be so perfect.  I say I’d rather do this because it’s very difficult for me.  That another thing I’d like to start working on.  My mom has the remarkable gift to see goodness in everybody.  It’s something I really envy about her, because I’m simply not like that.  I’m more like my dad, personality wise.  The only personality traits I share with my mom are that I love cats and will tell anyone who will listen pretty much anything.

I hope spelling out all of my tragic flaws has not made you like me any less.  I value honesty above pretty much any other virtue (If we lived in the world of Divergent, I’d be a Candor for sure).  I guess sometimes, it’s easier for me to understand life when I think of it like one big storybook.  Characters are easy to understand, but real people?  I think to even begin to understand ourselves would take a lifetime.