A Second Look at the First Chapter

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

One of my fellow bloggers at eternal Domination  gave me this idea for a first “look” at my current work. His post Kool Challenge: Look Back at Look gave credit to the blog Read Tom Lucas for this idea.

I decided to follow and do the same thing, and I hope other writers will accept the challenge as well.

  1. Find the first use of the word “look” in your manuscript and post the surrounding couple of paragraphs as a first “look” into your work. I decided to go to my second chapter since I’d already posted the first “look” in Trails in the Sand when I posted the prologue. This first look is in the first chapter of the book so I’m going to say it qualifies.
  2. Answer the question: What makes you excited for this story?

I’ll start with answering the question first. I love the characters, even the not-so-nice variety because even they have their reasons. I love the theme of redemption and recovery I’ve woven throughout the book. And I love using a “real” event – Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the sea turtle nest relocation project – with fictional characters. I am passionate about saving the wildlife and about saving the family I created within the pages of the book. As I go through yet another round of revision (third), I find myself deepening into the characters even more. That’s a good thing.

So here’s my second “look” in the first chapter of Trails in the Sand.

 Trails in the Sand by P. C. Zick, excerpt

The next morning the whir of the coffee grinder woke me as Simon churned beans into grounds for our daily ritual downstairs in the kitchen. I savored that first sip of coffee every morning. Simon used only the darkest roast with an oily sheen. Every morning he brought me a steaming mug of the brew along with the morning papers. If my eyes weren’t open when he came into the room, he bent down and gently kissed me on the forehead.

“Good morning, baby,” he’d say, and I’d look up into his smiling face, his blue eyes twinkling a greeting. His eyes mirrored my own blue eyes. At one time, we both had blonde hair, but now with age, Simon’s had turned white while mine remained the same color of our youth, thanks to L’Oreal.

As I sipped the aromatic brew, I glanced at the morning’s headlines before the television and George Stephanopoulos diverted my attention.

It was only a blip on the charts of the day’s news stories. I would have missed mention of it if I’d gone to the bathroom when George said an oil rig had caught on fire in the Gulf of Mexico the night before. On the morning of April 21, 2010, other news took precedence over this minor incident occurring miles off the coast of Louisiana.

How about you, fellow authors? What’s your first (or second) “look?”

2,000 Words a Day and Dirty Laundry

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

One of my fellow bloggers, Doug Oldfield posted on his Writing Fiction Blog reminded me that November starts the National Novel Writing Month or as it’s more affectionately known NaNoWriMo. The goal is for authors to write 50,000 words on a novel during the month of November. A novel averages 80,000-100,000 words so in one month quite a bit of progress could be made on a novel. It means 1,667 words per day, according to Doug’s calculations. When I’m in the throes of writing a novel, I consider three double-spaced pages a good amount to throw down in one day – that equals between 900-1,000 words per day.

Doug participates and I’ve known others who do. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.nanowrimo.com to sign up.

I tried it once with one of my writing group buddies who decided to up the ante after reading about NaNoWriMo. He challenged us to write 2,000 per day for six weeks. Here’s my account of attempting to meet that goal.

I needed the challenge; I needed the prod; I needed the support. So I agreed to join five fellow writers in the ultimate writing race.

We would each write a novel in six weeks by writing 2,000 words per day. I listened to the plan concocted by one of my writing friends and vacillated between excitement and terror.

Someone once told me he raised his sons with two adages as the driving force: 1) Don’t sweat the small stuff; and 2) Almost everything is the small stuff. I thought about tattooing the words on my forehead because I tend to forget them so often.

Several years ago, my daughter and I took a trip to Italy. At the Rome airport preparing to end our month-long Italian journey, we discovered we were bumped from the flight. Fear edged itself up my spine, and I imagined us stuck in the airport overnight. My daughter told me to sit down and wait instead of harassing the ticket agent.

As I sat I remembered the dream from the night before where my nieces who had been murdered danced in front of me singing, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Sitting in the airport plastic seats, I smiled. After all, what would be so horrible about having to stay one more night in Rome? I relaxed just as the intercom asked me to come to the counter.

We were booked into an earlier flight and for our inconvenience, both my daughter and I were given $500 vouchers toward our next flight. So that’s what happens when I let go and forget about the small stuff? Not bad.

When we landed in Atlanta, we waited for our luggage to come out on the carousel so we could pass through customs. That morning in room, my daughter sat on my suitcase while I zipped – I was extremely overloaded. I felt relief to see the suitcase appear on the carousel in one piece. Before it got to me, I noticed a pair of pink underpants, suspiciously similar to the ones I’d packed in the top of the suitcase, coming toward me on the belt. Then another pair and another floated by me, followed by my large suitcase erupting underwear out of the broken zipper.

A roll of yellow tape later, provided by yet another airport agent, my daughter and I sat waiting for our plane to Jacksonville laughing about my dirty underwear’s Atlanta debut.

“My camera!” I said. “I packed my camera last on top, and I don’t remember seeing it.”

“Can’t do anything about it now,” my daughter said.

“Small stuff,” I replied. “It’s all small stuff.”

So 2,000 words a day? Small stuff compared to the bigger baggage of life. Even then, with a roll of tape and some kindness from strangers and friends, even airing dirty laundry in public is small stuff, too.

NOTE: I didn’t quite make the goal. The novel is still unfinished, but I’ve written two since then. Although after remembering those efforts a few years back, just maybe it’s time to pull it out and start again. Small stuff indeed.


Week 18: The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I’m participating in my first blog hop, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey as we blog hop our way through some new reads. A blog hop gives readers an opportunity to find some wonderful authors you might have missed. Be sure to follow our blog hop and be introduced to some exciting reads as well as works in progress. Below you will be able to learn a little about me. You’ll also find links to Kathleen Heady’s, Phanessia Harrell’s, and Daniel Alexander’s blogs. They follow me on the blog hop in Week 19. Be sure to check out both Kathleen and Phanessia. You’ll be impressed.

Special thanks to S.I. Hayes for asking me to participate. Check her out at

Twitter:  @shannonihayes

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/S.I.Hayes.Author

Blog:  A Writer’s Mind, More or Less

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/s.i.hayes

P. C. Zick’s Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop:

 Q: What is the working title of your book?

Trails in the Sand

 Q:Where did the idea come from for the book?

During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, I worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Agency as a public relations director. I was very much involved in the wildlife response efforts during the crisis. I handled all the media relations for a project involving the relocation of hundreds of sea turtle nests from the Panhandle beaches of Florida to the Atlantic coast. Nothing of this magnitude had ever been attempted before, but the sea turtle experts were very concerned the hatchlings wouldn’t survive in oil-infested waters. I wanted to write a story that involved the horror of the event and the efforts to restore. The oil spill plays a background role in one family whose lives have been impacted by many “trails in the sand.”

 Q:What genre does your book fall under?

I refer to it as an environmental love story, but no one’s come up with that category of writing yet. It’s contemporary fiction and could be considered women’s literature.

Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Susan Sarandon as the matriarch, Gladdy; Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson as the main love characters (if they can go from age 18 to 50); Lindsay Lohan as the troubled young woman trying to figure it all out.

 Q:What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

As the oil spill threatens the coast of Florida, one family’s past secrets threaten their future, but the road to healing for both paves the way to recovering what was lost.

 Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will self-publish this book, just as I did Live from the Road. The experience has been satisfying as it gives me more control over my work.

Q:How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took me a year to complete the first draft. I began it sometime in 2011, although I was exploring the topic in late 2010. I finished the first draft in February 2012 and sent it out to two beta readers. During this past summer, I wrote the second draft based on their comments. I made quite a few changes the second time around. After another round of comments, I’m revising the second draft and hope to have it to my editor before Thanksgiving.

Q: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m not sure I’ve read anything like this. Karen White wrote about the Gulf coast after Katrina, but she didn’t really delve into environmental issues. Pat Conroy has written about sea turtles, using them as a way to bring a family together (Beach Music), and there are many novels depicting southern families and their dysfunction. Trails in the Sand is unique and should be taken as such with each reader.

Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As I was dealing in real life with the oil spill, I was also embarking on a new relationship. However, that “relationship” actually began forty years ago in Michigan when my husband and I were teenagers. We lost contact with each other for more than three decades. I wanted to write a story about the environment and about how love can survive even through separation.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The Stokley clan is an interesting conglomeration of folks from the sisters named Candy, Cookie, Sugar, Apple, and then finally the tortured Gladys, to their father, who went from coal miner to doctor. His past overshadows the present as his granddaughter and Gladdy’s daughter, Caroline, seeks the answers to the past to heal the present.

Next Wednesday, October 31, Kathleen Heady, Phanessia Harrell, and Daniel Alexander will join The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Please visit their sites and join them on the blog hop as they answer questions about their work and introduce even more authors for you to discover.

Kathleen Heady:

Website: http://www.kathleenheady.com

Blog: http://headywriting.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/headynovels

Phanessia Harrell:

Blog: WhileWaitingOnMyWings  http://wp.me/28t72

Blog: Expressions Of Me http://wp.me/2Cbac

Facebook: https://t.co/aUEZ4UI

Daniel Alexander

Blog: http://daniel-alexander-book.blogspot.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/daniel.alexander.book

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/danielalex_book


Remembering the Moment


following the writing dream

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I watched a documentary recently about pursuing a dream. The Back Nine revealed much more than the story of one man going for the impossible. The piece chronicles the life of Jon Fitzgerald, who at the age of forty decides to pursue his dream of playing professional golf.

Almost everyone, except his wife and daughter, discourages his dream. He continues on his quest. It’s the story of discovering what’s most important in life. It’s the story of fathers and sons. It’s the story of journey trumping destination.

On his journey, Jon must train and practice. One of his coaches – a yoga teacher – asks him to remember the moment he felt the highest joy when playing golf. Once he remembered the moment from childhood, she told him to reconnect to that feeling every time he played.

I knew what she meant because I remember the moment it occurred for me in my writing.

As I wrote my second novel, A Lethal Legacy, I came to difficult scene. A character in the story dies with the protagonist at his side.

I sat in an antique rocking chair with the keyboard in my lap as I envisioned the scene. I rocked back and forth and closed my eyes, remembering. I began typing as the scene in my mind moved to my fingers on the keyboard. I was transported back to my memory to when I sat at my mother’s bedside as she lay dying. The words flowed as freely as the tears running down my cheeks. My fingers flew across the keyboard. It was a moment of pure commitment to my craft. It was blissful and joyful, despite the painful memory I evoked. I’ve heard other writers refer to it as “the flow.” I was definitely in it, and like a drug addict seeking the next high, each time I write, I seek that moment once again. It’s never been as good as it was that first time, but I’ve come close. More than a decade later, I still remember what it felt like.

That moment is the very reason I continue on my journey as a writer despite the pitfalls. Jon has yet to realize his dream but what he gained from the pursuit gave him much more. I have yet to realize my full-blown dreams as a writer, but what a ride I’ve experienced so far.

a moment of writing joy

Excerpt from A Lethal Legacy

By P. C. Zick (formerly Patricia C. Behnke)

“I slowly rose from my bed to get dressed. I would not let Gary die alone as my father had. He would have those who loved him near him as we tried to make his passage from this world a safe one. After a lifetime of suffering, it was the least he deserved.

We remained with Gary for the rest of the night. It was excruciating to sit in that room. We waited after each loud breath for the next one, dreading it, yet hoping it would come. As the night wore on, the breathing became more irregular.

Finally, around dawn with the new day emerging outside the shaded window of the bedroom, Gary took one last gasp of air, but he never let it out. He had gone from us, just as the night had slipped away, with little fanfare.

The first cry came from Rick, who began rocking back and forth in his chair next to the bed. Claire had positioned herself on the other side, standing near the head of the bed resting her cheek on Gary’s forehead as he breathed for the last time. The tears slid down her face as I went to stand next to her, trying not to let the sob escape from my throat. We stood motionless for an eternity each thinking our private thoughts of this man who could finally rest in peace in a place where demons no longer tortured young men, where fathers cared, and where acceptance came as naturally as living on this earth.”

A Revolution for Flowers

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

My ability to use and understand language only applies to English. I’m not one of those with an aptitude for languages. Yet I’ve traveled to different countries without much difficulty. I find it refreshing and rejuvenating to observe and use other sense for a change. I quiet myself. Later, I record my impressions in a journal.

I always carry a small book of translations, and I learn the basic and essential words for “thank you,” “please,” “hello,” “excuse me,” “I’m sorry,” “where is the bathroom?,” and “red wine.”

In Paris, I needed to add the word for cheese (fromage). It might have prevented me from buying a pound of butter instead of cheese from a street vendor. I felt the large squares wrapped in white paper for firmness, not name. In Marrakesh, I might never have ridden a camel if I’d understood I needed to hand over $60 for a 10-minute ride around a desert park in the middle of the city. The camel tenders refused to help me off until I paid.

In Santiago, Chile, I wandered the streets and read the history of the country. During the 1973 revolution, I read about the suicide of Chile’s socialist president Dr. Salvador Allende, the uncle of one of my favorite authors, Isabelle Allende. Rather than be taken by General Augusto Pinochet’s armies, Allende killed himself in the presidential palace.

Statute of Dr. Salvador Allende only steps away from the presidential palace where he committed suicide in 1973.

I immersed myself in the poetry of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. I visited his secret home, La Chascona, in the Bellavista neighborhood of Santiago. Pinochet’s men overtook this house during the revolution. Today it is a well-preserved museum.

With my head filled with revolution, I headed the Plaza Italia. A rather dull and plain building sits on one end of the plaza.

Defense Ministry built in 1973 to house Pinochet’s new government

I read that citizens come to the building, now the Defense Ministry, and hold demonstrations outside in the shadow of the large statute of General Manuel Baquedano and his horse. No wonder when I heard the drums beating and people shouting as I sat on a park bench writing, I thought a revolution was in the making once again.

I saw at least one hundred people marching toward the Defense Ministry. They carried banners and pounded drums. My heart beat faster as I grabbed my camera and began shooting photos as fast as I could. People started climbing the statute. I strode in front of the banner bearers at the front of the line and continued to take pictures. I was shooting so fast, I didn’t read the sign. The noise became cacophonous.

I pulled the camera from my face and read “La Florida” on a banner. I thought my home state must have done another outrageous act, this time in the world of international politics.

A young man, holding one end of the banner, smiled at me. I approached him, hoping he might understand my English combined with horrible Spanish. He spoke English.

My translator – the smiling young man in center

“What are you protesting?” I asked.

He smiled broader. “No protest. We celebrate today.”

“Celebrate what?”

“We love flowers,” he said. “We celebrate flowers.”

I didn’t need a translator to understand that. Revolution indeed.

the revolutionary flowers of Santiago, Chile

The Wise Writer Does Not Make the Oprah Angry

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

When I began my writing career, somewhere in the back on my mind I still held the romantic vision of myself typing on a manual typewriter lost all day in the world I would create on the page.

If only.

When my first novel came out in 2000, my publisher wrote in an email, “Now what are you going to do to sell this book?”

Sell this book? I wrote it. Did I have to sell it, too?

After puzzling over his words for a few weeks, I realized that people were not lined up outside my door waiting to purchase this little piece of myself — all 192 pages. I organized a book tour and mailed away dozens of books to potential reviewers, promoters, and buyers. I even sent five to Oprah — one for her and four for her assistants. I sold 500 copies of that first book, mostly one at a time, one book signing a day, one book talk a month.

I am reminded of the story of two men several years ago who took nontraditional ways to promote their books. The first one occurred in St. Augustine, Florida. Dusty L. Cage wanted to promote his book against child pornography, so he climbed to the top of the St. Augustine lighthouse dressed in a tiger suit.

St. Augustine lighthouse – a writer’s dream?

After his arrest for burglary, many exclaimed about his antics, but almost everyone said they would have to buy his book. At the time, his website said he committed these outrageous antics to get himself noticed because the publishing world was not going to promote him.

Around the same time, the bigger media hog was James Frey and his nonfiction fictionalized account of his drug-crazed days in A Million Little Pieces.

Frey did what no self-respecting author ever wants to do: he made Oprah mad. She brought him on his show and praised his honesty and bravery in writing his memoirs. Then months later, Frey was exposed for having greatly exaggerated his nonfictional account of his drug abuse. Oprah was furious, but Frey probably raced to the bank to cash the royalty checks for the millions of books he sold before and after the unveiling of his duplicity.

Some argued that Frey was a victim of the publishing machine wanting to sensationalize his life. A memoir is a true account. If names are changed or characters combined in a real story, the ethical author acknowledges it in the introduction. Frey took no such opportunity to enlighten his readers that he added entire incidents and scenes and conversations. If he admitted it, the book would have been classified as a novel, not a memoir.

To market myself as a writer, I do many different things, such as write this blog. I take comfort that I do it without climbing to the top of a lighthouse and without lying.

And Oprah could still be my friend.



Riding the Roller Coaster

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

Seven months ago, I began a perilous journey when I decided to enter the revolution.

I’ve earned my living as a writer for more than a decade. Now I’m working longer hours, opening myself to the whole world, and earning just enough to pay my overhead.

In these seven months, I’ve started two blogs (Living Lightly Upon this Earth and Writing Tips, Thoughts, and Whims), which are steadily growing followers. I follow dozens of blogs, too. I start each day with my coffee and my blogger friends. I love leaving comments and receiving them in turn.

I’ve gone from twenty twitter followers to almost 1,600 and enjoy tweeting and retweeting my fellow tweeters. I’ve also learned a new language. I’ve grown my Facebook fan page and enjoy all the supportive writer groups.

I published my first ebook on amazon.com in May, and then the roller coaster really took off. I’m learning everyday about promotion and marketing. I learned this week that no one knows what really sells these books. That actually made me feel slightly better – I thought I was just a slow learner.

Between actual sales and promotional days on Amazon, more than 25,000 folks have downloaded Live from the Road. It stands to reason not everyone will be a fan, but I wasn’t really prepared for my first bad review. I reeled for a few days but managed to put it in perspective. Then a discussion ensued on the review when several folks came to the book’s defense. That brought others in and the discussion became less about my book and more an indictment of self-published authors.

None of the critics have read Live from the Road. The reviewer admitted she’d only read a portion (approximately 20 percent based on her comments). While I’m not crazy about the comments being on my Amazon page, I do offer a prayer of gratitude to them.

After hanging my head for a few days, I addressed the criticisms. They said my previous reviews were meaningless because many of them were written by “shills” or “sock puppets.” I said I was learning a new language, remember? There are some 5-star reviews written by folks who know me and have never written any other reviews. When they finished the book and contacted me to tell me they liked it, I said “If you feel like it, leave a review on amazon.” Now I understand that this is a bit like asking your mother to give you a job recommendation. However, even the majority of these were done without my asking so I don’t know how to stop that.

A couple of the reviews come from reviewers who give only 4- or 5-star reviews. Before they read the book, all of them told me the book had to meet their criteria for at least a 4-star review, or they wouldn’t give a review. At the time, I considered it fair and was pleased my book qualified under their criteria. Now I’ve discovered these are meaningless too. The rest of the reviews are from folks I’ve never had any contact with except when the review appeared on my page.

So I’m attempting to educate myself on the review process. I’m researching how to find “legitimate” reviewers who will give an unbiased view of the book and my future books. I’m prepared that not all these reviewers will like the book, but I hope they will at least give constructive criticism that will help me become a better writer. Giving the book a 1-star review without finishing the book doesn’t do much to help me although I appreciate the reviewers attempt to give her honest opinion.

Jade Kerrion, one of my fellow bloggers, wrote an excellent post on “Post-publication Reviews.” Her insight and detailed account of her ebook journey is superb. Another valuable site is Amazon’s top customer reviewers. Then I downloaded The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages ($3.99) on my Kindle. I’m slowly going through all the listings and finding those reviewers who enjoy reading my genre.

I’m still on the roller coaster, but most of the time, I’m managing to enjoy it.

What about you? Any advice or comments on your experience?


Tenacity = Writer


By Patricia Zick @PCZick

We found this tree while driving through the Rocky Mountains. Its tap roots must be very long in order to find water through the rocks. This aspen tree demonstrates the qualities of tenacity. The word tenacious comes from the Latin tenac, which means “tending to hold fast.” Synonyms for tenacity include stubbornness, obstinacy, resolve, drive, determination, and courage.

We writers show the same qualities; we must. How else to explain why we continue to write when books don’t sell well, when negative reviews are received, and when it seems no one in the forest is listening. It’s also an isolated occupation, just as this lone aspen in the rock demonstrates.

Yet when we tap into those reserves deep within us, pure magic occurs. This happened to me this past week when I completed the final draft of my new novel. For the first time, I felt a deep satisfaction in what I had accomplished for no other reason than I finished the book, and I like the result. I’ve probably thought too much about what others might think of my books in the past, but this one – the first I’ve been able to write full time – gave me an inner satisfaction. It would be nice if others like it, too, but it doesn’t really matter. I showed to myself what I could do. I stuck with it despite any monetary gain or pats of the back from an adoring public. I let my tap roots go deep, and the pay off came when I finished reading the last line and discovered tears on my face – tears of joy. The story moved me, even though I created it. The discovery of finding that source within me will keep me going until I meet the next challenge. Right now I’m glowing as much as this little aspen tree in Colorado.

On the wall behind me, I have two plaques describing my astrological sign of  Capricorn. One lists these attributes of the goat: stubborn, never satisfied, insatiable, unmovable. The other one lists these: determined, hard-working, resourceful, thoughtful, organized, patient.

I chose the right/write career, but there are days when I suspect this career chose me. Thank goodness for my tenacious nature.

How about you? Do you feel this career is well suited for your personality?


Versatile Blogger Award

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

This week my blog Writing Tips, Thoughts, and Whims was nominated twice for the Versatile Blogger award by two bloggers I greatly admire. Thank you, So Much To Write, So Little Time and 365 Things to Wrote About. If you don’t follow them already, visit their site. I think you’ll be as impressed as I am with their informative and inspiring blogs.

My other blog, Living Lightly Upon this Earth, has received several awards since I started it in March. However, this is the first award for my writing blog, and I’m delighted.

As a requirement for accepting this award, I’m supposed to provide seven random things about myself and tag 15 other blogs I admire. I hope you’ll visit the other sites. While I follow quite a few blogs, I’m going to stick to ones strictly about writing. We writers must stick together. I truly believe when one of us succeeds, we only move a step forward.

Random things about me:

  1. I begin most of my drafts on a legal pad with a very sharp pencil. I might only write a paragraph this way, but it’s the way I start all major works.
  2. I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a wedge of sharp cheddar cheese and a cold glass of milk for lunch.
  3. I suffer from directional dyslexia (my term). I have a tough time distinguishing left from right, front from back, etc. I have a letter I wrote to Santa when I was eight asking for my “two back teeth.”
  4. Numbers and I do not get along. We’ve been at war since junior high school.
  5. Words are my friends.
  6. I believe algebra should be outlawed because it just isn’t right to create formulas using letters, numbers, and punctuation as if it was a real sentence!
  7. I have a weird sense of humor. My best friends are the ones who laugh at anything I say even if they don’t understand what I mean.

Tagging those favorite blogs now. Stop by and leave them a comment – we all need comments!

  1. The Neophyte Writer
  2. Kana’s Chronicles
  3. Hazy Shades of Me
  4. Kate Brauning
  5. Katie Jennings
  6. Jodi Ambrose’s blog
  7. Novel Girl
  8. The Stobe
  9. headywriting
  10. Staci Troilo
  11. Kristen Lamb’s Blog
  12. lifeintheblueridges
  13. Rosalie Squires
  14. Charrion’s Chatter
  15. 3rd Rock in the Sun

There are so many other inspiring blogs out there; I know I’ve left some of my favorites out. Congratulations to you all for doing what you can to expand and explore our craft.