Mary and Rick Roberts

Writer’s Wednesday: Award-winning, Best-selling Author Lawrence Block

I’ve been a fan of Lawrence Block’s writing for several years. I first discovered his short stories while I was working for Marty Greenberg. Then, I discovered his novels…and I’ve been hooked ever since! Because he has written such inspirational non-fiction on the craft of writing, we’ve also included an excerpt from his book, Spider, Spin Me a Web that we thought you would you enjoy!  Please welcome Lawrence Block to The Editing Essentials!

Lawrence Block has been writing award-winning mystery and suspense fiction for half a century.  His most recent novels are HIT ME, featuring Keller, and A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF, featuring Matthew Scudder.  Several of his books have been filmed, although not terribly well.  He’s well known for his books for writers, including the classic TELLING LIES FOR FUN & PROFIT, and THE LIAR’S BIBLE.  In addition to prose works, he has written episodic television (TILT!) and the Wong Kar-wai film, MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS.  He is a modest and humble fellow, although you would never guess as much from this biographical note.  www.lawrenceblock.com

WD: How did you discover writing fiction?

LB: When I was around 15, I discovered reading fiction—Steinbeck, Farrell, Wolfe, etc. And I decided this was what I wanted to be when I grew up.
WD: Was there someone in your life that supported or influenced your writing early in your career?
LB: I got some encouragement from a high school teacher.
WD: Has your family always supported your writing?
LB: Yes, always.
WD: You’ve written a lot of award-winning books. Do you have a formula? Or, are you just lucky? 🙂

LB: Just lucky.

WD: What’s one tip you’d give to every new writer out there just starting their career as a writer?

LB: Don’t expect too much. “Each writer has to find his own way to write his own story. Each writer is a stranger in his own strange land; how then can I presume to guide you through a country I myself have not visited?

The writer of fiction is a spider. Drawing upon his inner resources and shaping them with his craft, he spins out his guts to trap his dinner. There are no blueprints for the novel, for the short story. However well the spider may serve as a totem animal for fictioneers, there are fundamental differences between the weaving of webs and the spinning of tales.

…Writers, whatever they write, are apt to find the spider an apt totem. Indeed, I’ve learned that writers of all sorts have far more in common than one might suppose. And, too, the distinction between fiction and nonfiction has never been that clear-cut, and has grown increasingly blurry over the years.

In fiction, traditionally, the writer wants us to believe that he has made the whole thing up. In nonfiction, he wants us to believe that he hasn’t. Both weave much the same sort of web, and out of the same inner stuff.

I think it takes courage for any writer, novice or veteran, to begin a piece of work. Every time I start a book or story, every time I spoil a clean white paper with my own poor words, I am performing an act of faith. I’m hoping and trusting that my ability will be equal to the task at hand, or at least that it will not strand me unpublishably short of my goal.
I’m also hoping and trusting that my inspiration will not fail me. I never have the entire work in mind when I begin writing. Books and stories grown on the page, plots and characters are born in the process of writing. No matter how well I prepare, no matter how detailed an outline I draw up in advance, every book will be a happening, a spontaneous event. And I can’t change this. I can’t open the parachute until I’ve stepped out of the plane, and if it won’t open–well, all I can do is pull the cord and pray.
It takes courage, I believe, to do the very best one can do–at writing or at anything else.”
Excerpt from the Preface and Chapter 29: Take Courage of Spider, Spin Me a Web. Reprinted with permission by the author. Copyright © 1988 by Lawrence Block.

Thank you for being here today, Mr. Block. If you have any questions or comments for him, we’ll be sure to pass them on. Thank you! We hope you enjoyed it. 🙂

Mary and Rick Roberts

Writer’s Wednesday: Award-winning Writer Laura Resnick on Obstacles

Today, we’re excited to have Laura Resnick as our guest! Please welcome her as she shares with us about her writing experiences.

Laura Resnick is the author of the popular Esther Diamond urban fantasy series, whose releases include Disappearing Nightly, Doppelgangster, Unsympathetic Magic, Vamparazzi, Polterheist, and the upcoming The Misfortune Cookie. She has also written traditional fantasy novels such as In Legend Born, The Destroyer Goddess, and The White Dragon, which made multiple “Year’s Best” lists. She began her career as the award-winning author of fourteen romance novels, written under the pseudonym Laura Leone. An opinion columnist, frequent public speaker, and the Campbell Award-winning author of many short stories, she is on the Web at LauraResnick.com.

 “Crap”

by Laura Resnick

Like many writers, there are days when I have trouble concentrating on my work because of crap. And overcoming this problem is crucial for maintaining a writing career—which is about writing story after story after story, after all.

“Crap” is the word I use for an obstacle placed in your creative path by outside forces. And it’s a bitch.

Crap is when water starts pouring through the electrical fixtures on your bathroom ceiling from the apartment overhead, for example, and you can’t get a maintenance guy on the phone for two hours. Crap is when most of your time and energy are consumed by trying to straighten out the chaos caused by identity theft. When the 2-week renovation job on your kitchen turns into a 6-month long nightmare followed by a lawsuit, that’s crap.

Which is not to say that crap is always petty, bureaucratic, or even deliberate. It can be a very serious, painful matter. It’s not uncommon for people to have trouble writing when they’re getting divorced, when caring for a sick or injured loved one, or after a bereavement. I think most editors respond with human decency when a writer is struggling to deliver a book or short story in such circumstances; but if an editor or agent responds like an insensitive jerk to such news, that would be an example of more crap.

A friend of mine who’s a writer and a psychologist says that sometimes you just need to give yourself permission not to write for a while. That doesn’t always go well with our release schedules, our financial needs, and our work ethic; but there’s no productive point in beating yourself up if some crap is just so overwhelming that, for a while, all of your creative energy is sucked up by dealing with it.

Crap is egalitarian, of course: it screws with people in every line of work. And every line of work has its own kind of crap. As writers, we deal with our vocation’s uniquely aromatic crap.

Rejection is perhaps the single most common form of crap in this profession. It doesn’t seem to get any easier to shovel, no matter how many books we sell along the way. Additionally, getting dumped by a publisher or an agent; seeing your book eviscerated by reviewers; discovering that due to publisher screw-ups your novel was released with 10,000 words missing; going a year, two years, seven years without a publishing contract; discovering that you’ve been plagiarized…

These are all typical examples of writer crap.

Unfortunately, crap is like death and taxes; it’ll always be around, there’s no escaping it. No writing career is ever free of crap. The key for the writer is to develop habits and strategies to keep working despite crap, rather than crawling into a deep hole and staying there because of it.

One technique that I’ve practiced (with varying degrees of success) in order to protect my creativity from crap is compartmentalization. There’s book time, and there’s real time. In book time, I try to shut out the world, to leave it outside the door while I work. It’ll be there when I stop working, eager to resume its noise; but if I can define this space as a place where it’s not allowed to intrude, then I can keep writing.

My friend the psychologist says another useful strategy, particularly in the face of rejection, is to remember not to buy into someone else’s perceptions of you or your work.

A great example of this: I know a writer who once delivered a novel that an editor declared unacceptable, unpublishable, and “unsalvageable.” The author believed in the book and wanted to see it published, so she spent a year doing multiple revisions rather than give up on it, while the editor kept making emphatically negative comments about the results. After encountering a final, no-further-discussion refusal to accept or publish the novel, rather than sink into a black hole of tail-chasing despair, the author wrote a replacement novel. Thus she maintained her profitable association with that publisher. (Luckily, though, the difficult editor resigned around the time the author delivered the replacement book).

I asked this author how she had managed not only to keep steadily revising the “unsalvageable” novel (which sold the following year to another house in a very good deal), but also to face the daunting task of immediately writing a replacement novel right after this confidence-draining experience.

She admitted to the moments of doubt and anxiety that we all have, but said, “But at heart, I knew I was a competent writer no matter what a volatile editor told me.”

In other words, she didn’t let that editor’s perceptions screw with her belief in her work. Thus she maintained enough confidence to protect her creative flow and keep writing despite the demoralizing, year-long experience described above.

I learned the hard way that another key strategy for protecting creative health is to eliminate destructive influences from your professional life. I dealt for several years with an editor whose unprofessional behavior I found so stressful and damaging that, by the time I finally put my foot down and flatly refused to keep working with that individual, I was suffering, for the first time in my life, from multiple stress illnesses: insomnia, indigestion, heartburn, intestinal trouble, chronic migraines, facial ticks, muscle twitches, and a weird psychosomatic pain on my left side that made typing almost impossible. And within 48 hours of my getting the news that I had been reassigned to another editor…all these symptoms miraculously disappeared, as if they had never existed. And they have never returned.

In retrospect, I only wonder why I let things get that bad before drawing the line. Who needs that crap?

Thank you, Laura, for being with us today! Please feel free to post a question or comment for Laura. She’ll be with us all day. Thank you!

Mary and Rick Roberts

Writer’s Wednesday: New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak on Branding Yourself As a Writer

Today I’d like to welcome New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak to The Editing Essentials! Because marketing is one of those “Must-Do” items on every author’s list, I asked Brenda, who does marketing so well, to give some tips on it. Please welcome her!

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is in the middle of writing a brand new small-town contemporary series. Come meet the long-time friends who have made Whiskey Creek the “Heart of Gold Country,” with WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES, WHEN SNOW FALLS and WHEN SUMMER COMES. Brenda also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised over $1.6 million. 

Branding

There’s a buzzword in the industry that makes almost any author sit up and take notice: branding. Everyone’s talking about it; everyone wants to be effective at it. But…what is it, exactly? And how important is it that we learn to market in this way?

An author brand is like any other kind of brand—Coke, Pepsi, Kellogg’s, Andersen Doors. The most familiar brands evoke immediate recognition and association with particular products or even a level of quality in a certain product. Basically, branding translates into a sort of shorthand. I see a Nora book, I automatically know what kind of experience I can expect by reading it, so I pick it up without having to think twice or do any research. Having a reputation and a loyal following helps with all those impulse buys that are so critical in the book business.

Branding is also important because it enables the author’s name in and of itself to become a marketable commodity. James Patterson is now using his brand to sell stories co-authored by other people. He’s even expanding his brand to include many different types of stories. Now that he’s so strongly associated with a good story, he can do that.

How did he build such a strong brand? By writing consistently great stories. That always has to be first. But there’s more to it than that. Branding is an on-going process and doesn’t generally happen overnight. It’s most difficult in the start-up phase. As well known as they are, Coke and Pepsi are still out there, advertising and building name recognition. It’s like pushing a ball uphill. If you stop pushing, it rolls right back to the bottom—something else encroaches and takes the attention of those you’re hoping to reach.

Specifically, an author brands herself by developing something that is consistent and unique in her writing. I do that by making sure every book I create delivers a deeply emotional, evocative story. How is my brand different from other authors who write in the same genre? My books are known for their deep characterization in a genre that is often more plot-driven (as you drift toward the suspense side). Once you know what you want your brand to be, you establish it through your writing style and “voice,” as well as your promotional efforts, until it becomes recognizable to others.

Some tools an author can use to build her brand are:

 

  1. Paid Advertising
  2. An interesting and constantly updated Web site
  3. Strategic Contests
  4. Blogs and chats (See? I’m building my brand right here <G>)
  5. Newsletters
  6. Charity/Volunteer work
  7. Networking
  8. Joint-promotion with other authors and businesses
  9. Speaking
  10. Writing articles
  11. Press releases/media attention
  12. Author response to fan letters/e-mails
  13. Mailers to booksellers/fans
  14. Samplers

Your brand is your promise to your readers. When my readers buy my books they want to be able to count on a certain type of read. Therefore, I make sure I deliver that kind of read. Everything I do professionally is geared around building my brand and my career, so my website reflects that brand, my promotional materials reflect it, my charity auction reflects it, and my workshops/blogs reflect it.

Think about how solicitors make you feel. Because we are approached by so many who are trying to sell us something, the melee is deafening. We learn to filter and filter quickly, which means, in order to be effective in today’s marketplace, we have to be creative marketers. So my question to you is: How can you reach people who are already tired of the signals that are constantly bombarding them via the telephone, TV, computer, etc? How can you set yourself apart?

Throw out some ideas, and I’ll be happy to contribute. 🙂

Thank you so much for being here today, Brenda! Feel free to post questions or comments for Brenda, she’ll be with us all day. Thank you!

Mary and Rick Roberts

Writer’s Wednesday: An Interview with NYT Best-selling Author, Julie Hyzy

We’re excited to have Julie Hyzy as our guest today! I’ve watched Julie grow as an author over the years, and it has been one of the neatest journeys to see. We are so happy for her success! Please help us welcome Julie to The Editing Essentials!

A relentless snoop since childhood, Julie Hyzy gets to play detective these days by writing amateur sleuth adventures. An Anthony, Barry, Lovey, and Derringer Award winning author, Julie is thrilled to be able to call herself a New York Times Bestseller as well. She writes two series for Berkley Prime Crime: the White House Chef Mysteries and the Manor House Mysteries. She also has several backlist and original titles available as e-books. http://www.juliehyzy.com/

WD: How old were you when you began writing?

JH: I wrote my first book at about age six or seven. Right about the time I realized I had the capability of recording the stories I made up in my head. Back then I even drew pictures, too.

WD: Did your family support your writing habit when you started?

JH: My parents were supportive of everything I did. They read (and gently critiqued) all my early novels (Mary King Mysteries) and when I hand printed my weekly eight page neighborhood newspaper, my dad would take it to work to make copies for me to distribute (sell) to indulgent neighbors.

WD: How many rejection letters did you receive before selling your first novel?

JH: Wow. I have no idea. A lot. I queried agents for the most part, and those rejections came in quickly and in bulk. Rejections became the norm, which in a way was good. After a while you get used to them. In fact, I trained myself to embrace rejection. Why? Because getting those “No thank you” notes in the mail (and yeah, this was via snail mail) was proof that I was following my dream. If I wasn’t submitting I couldn’t be amassing all these rejections, right? So they became a good thing.

WD: What was your reaction when you sold your first novel?

JH: Amazement. Disbelief. Joy.

WD: What person in your life–family, mentor, friend–pushed you to continue writing on days when you really didn’t want to?

JH: To be perfectly honest, I’ve never had that day. Even on my worst writing days when the words don’t come, I’ve known that this is what I’ve always wanted to do. I may slow down. I may not get any good words done for a couple of days, but I never stop wanting to do it.

WD: Your relationship with Michael A. Black has led to a collaboration of characters. Could you share how you two decided to put your characters together in Dead Ringer?

JH: Mike and I were critique partners for a very long time. We got to know one another’s styles so well that when we decided to write a short story together, it was easy. After that, just for fun, we decided to end our next respective books (my Deadly Interest, his A Final Judgment) with last chapters that dovetailed. My Alex St. James met up with his Ron Shade at a gas station. That was fun, too. Then we wondered, could we write an entire novel together? It became a challenge. And so we decided to try.

WD: Are there more collaborations planned for Ron and Alex, or for Michael Black and Julie Hyzy?

JH: At this point, Mike and I are super busy with other projects. But I’ve learned to never say never.

WD: What are your current writing habits? (How often do you write? What’s your schedule?)

JH: I try to write every day, Monday through Friday. Things don’t always work out as planned, but that’s my goal. I like to get at least 1,000 words in a day, but this year has been busy and that’s been tough. Right now I’m facing a deadline and if I don’t hit at least 2,000 words a day for the next three weeks, I’ll be sunk. I like to do my email and a little bit of promotional work in the morning and get started on whatever project I’m working on by 11:00. If I can write solidly until 3:00, that’s a fabulous day. Doesn’t always work out that way.

WD: What made you want to write the Manor House mysteries?

JH: I love mansions—the kind you tour on vacation—with rooms that number in the hundreds. Like Downton Abbey … The stories those rooms could tell! Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to live in such a house. I used to dream up floor plans and design rooms. Now that I’m all grown up I’m doing that for real—but now I also get to invite readers to join in the fun.

WD: Now that you’re a NYT Best-selling author, something many authors can only dream of becoming, what is your next challenge?

JH: My next challenge, honestly, is to always write a better book than the one before. That’s what I always hope to do.

WD: Which of your stories was the most difficult to research?

JH: I’d have to say that the White House Chef Mysteries are pretty difficult to research. Although there’s a lot of information available on the White House, there are details that are nearly impossible to find. While there have been some wonderful White House staffers, and former staffers who have answered my questions, it would really be best if they’d just let me in for a couple of days to wander at will. I promise not to make a mess. You think I have a chance?

WD: If there was any part of your career you’d like a re-do on, which would it be?

JH: I think I should have started submitting work sooner. I didn’t submit in earnest until 1999. I’d been writing on and off for all my life but had never made writing a priority. Maybe that’s fine. Maybe I wasn’t ready. But I think I could have been. I wouldn’t change any bit of the journey I’ve been on, but it would have been nice if I’d started sooner.

WD: You edited for a while before writing full-time. What did you learn about your own writing by editing someone else’s work?

JH: Actually, I edited while writing full time. Editing another person’s work is always an eye-opening experience. As an editor, I become an objective reader. In that role I believe I’m better able to catch problems, whether they’re word choices, consistency issues, plot holes, or character considerations. When we’re too close to our own work, it’s hard to see these things, but when I stepped back and caught them in others’ works, I was able to bring fresh eyes to my stuff. What a wonderful experience. Truly valuable.

WD: What is the best thing about being a writer, in your opinion?

JH: I have the best job in the world. I spend the day making up stories and bringing characters to life. I can’t imagine anything I’d rather be doing.

WD: What does your family think of your success?

JH: So far, they seem pretty pleased. My husband and kids were even more excited than I was when Fonduing Fathers hit the New York Times Bestseller list. They are incredibly supportive and always helping me, whether it’s setting up a launch party or passing out bookmarks.

WD: What do you have lined up for 2013? Goals? Books? Vacations?

JH: I’m currently working on WHChef #7 and as soon as that’s finished, I’ll start on Grace (Manor House Mysteries) #5. Both of these manuscripts are due this year, with WHChef #7 due in just about six weeks (insert panicked shriek). I’d like to add to my Alex St. James series by releasing a new Indie title for her, and I’d like to continue Riley Drake’s adventures with a sequel to Playing With Matches.

WD: You inspire writers and readers everywhere. What was the most important lesson you’ve learned as an author? What advice would you give to struggling/beginning authors?

JH: Me? Inspire writers and readers? Not sure about that. But I do have advice. First of all, don’t give up. There is so much rejection out there, whether it be from agents, editors, reviewers on Amazon and BN.com, or even friends and family. They say that writers need a thick skin. I don’t have that, and rejection always hurts, but I know that if I wasn’t putting my work out there—exposing it, making it vulnerable to others’ opinions—then I would be writing only for myself. That’s not my dream. My dream is to reach people with my words, whether I’m simply entertaining or – even better – making them think. If to be able to do that I have to risk myself, then so be it. Rarely does success come without rejection. Part of the deal.

The other advice I’d give is to read. Read in your genre. Read outside your genre. Read fiction and non-fiction. Read books by successful writers about how they’ve done it. Read books and blogs by experts in the business. There is so much knowledge out there at our fingertips. Learn, be hungry, be thirsty. Be a sponge.

Oh, and most importantly: Write every day.

Thank you, Julie, for being our guest today! If you have questions or comments for Julie, please feel free to post a comment to the blog. Thank you!

Mary and Rick Roberts

Writer’s Wednesday: Best-selling Author Russell Davis on the Writerly Math

I’m excited to have Russell Davis as our guest today. I first met Russ through a mutual friend, and got to know him outside of the publishing world. Since then, we’ve worked together on different projects throughout our careers. I’m always amazed at his eloquence with words. If you’re struggling with word count, this is the perfect article for you. I hope you enjoy!

Best-selling author Russell Davis has written and sold numerous novels and short stories in virtually every genre of fiction, under at least a half-dozen pseudonyms. His writing has encompassed media tie-in work in the Transformers universe to action adventure in The Executioner series to original novels and short fiction in anthology titles like Under Cover of Darkness, Law of the Gun, and In the Shadow of Evil. In addition to his work as a writer, he has worked as an editor and book packager, and created original anthology titles ranging from westerns like Lost Trails to fantasy like Courts of the Fey. He is a regular speaker at conferences and schools, where he teaches on writing, editing and the fundamentals of the publishing industry. A past president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Russell now writes full time, and teaches for Western State Colorado University’s MFA in Creative Writing. His next short fiction collection, The End of All Seasons, is due out soon. He maintains an irregular presence on his website http://morningstormbooks.com. Or you can reach him at: http://www.western.edu/academics/creativewriting.

                                Doing the Writerly Math

Writing is a hard job. Oh, it’s not digging ditches in the winter or paving highways with hot tar in the desert sun, but my guess is that there are a lot more people who do those jobs every day (or something like them) who wouldn’t sit in front of a computer trying to make up readable prose for hours on end. It can be just as taxing – mentally, if not physically – and there are certainly times when it’s pure drudgery. When I’m talking to my students at Western State Colorado University, I often find that they’re intimidated by word count. Not early on, when the word count requirements are lower, but when the challenge ratchets up in the second semester and they’re required to write a minimum of 25,000 words for their end of semester project. Many of them have never written even close to that number of words in a single piece of fiction and it can seem like a huge number of words.

Then I tell them that it’s a practice work, and that they should write something brand new for their thesis, which must be at least 55,000 words. Sometimes, the mental grinding of gears, gnashing of teeth, and rending of cloth is so loud in their minds, that even I can hear it. Here’s the funny part, at least to me. 55,000 words is a short book. It’s about the length of most adult series titles like The Trailsman or Don Pendelton’s Executioner series. Also about the length of a category romance. Most genre fiction titles published today run 80,000 to 90,000 words, and in epic fantasy, it’s not uncommon for a book to be several times that length.

For a newer writer, that can seem not just like a big number, but an insurmountable one. A Mount Everest of pages in a single story. They are certain that while others have done it, they themselves will succumb to the lack of oxygen at such heights (choked to death by an errant plot line) or die in the freezing cold (axed by a villainous, yet unexpected, character). This is why doing the writerly math is important, and something I teach to every incoming group (and repeat regularly, since writerly panic is pretty common, too).

Let’s do the math, shall we? If you can force yourself to write one page a day – that’s typed, double-spaced, in proper format – you’ve got an average of about 250 words. One page isn’t much. This blog post is longer than that, right? So, subtracting one day off for life happens, let us suppose you write your page a day six days a week. 250 words x 6 days = 1500 words. Let’s make another supposition for our writerly math. Let us assume that you do this 50 weeks a year, because you take two weeks per year off to dig ditches or pave highways or something more fun than writing. 50 weeks x 1500 words = 75,000 words. That, my friends, is longer than an adult series book or category romance, and nearly the 80,000 words of a typical genre title. Not too bad, and a page a day is hardly even exercising your muse.

Maybe your muse is in better shape than the above example. Maybe you can do two pages or 500 words in a day. Suddenly, you’re writing 150,000 words per year (that’s almost three of those series books). Maybe your muse is a real badass – you know, Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was Conan or Stallone as early Rambo – and you can come up with three pages a day or 750 words. Now, you’ve gotten to 225,000 words per year.

And maybe a part of you is saying, “Three pages?! I can do three pages in my sleep! My muse is a GOD!” And you can do five pages a day, 1000 words, and with nothing more than the will to put the words down day in and day out, you’re delivering 300,000 words per year.

Here’s the thing: you probably won’t do one or two or even five pages necessarily every day, six days a week. Life happens and it gets in the way sometimes. But what does happen, if you can think of writing this way, is that the novel you want to write is possible. It can be done, by you, and here’s something even better: the more you write, the more you practice your craft, the faster you’ll be able to put words on the page. Writing is a lot like exercise, and the more you work your writing muscles, the stronger you’ll become. (Even better, most writers find that the words get better, too, and they don’t have to revise quite as much!)

So, know your pace – what you can reasonably do in a given day, allowing for life happens at least somewhat – then do the writerly math. Suddenly, your novel isn’t Mount Everest, but a gentle hill in the park. Novels are written one word at a time. Think about that for a moment. One word at a time. Not a sentence, a paragraph, a scene, or a chapter. Novels are built of individual words, and your novel – whether it’s 55,000 words or a 300,000 word epic fantasy is no different in that regard. You’ll write it one word at a time, and you should do the math so that you can see the summit before you set out on the journey.

Even the most hesitant of aspiring writers can manage one word at a time, I imagine. After all, that’s how this blog post was written, and it’s just shy of a thousand words. I didn’t even do the math.

Thank you, Russell, for sharing your experiences, and being our guest today. If you have questions, or comments for him, he’ll be with us all day. Thank you!