Monday, 31 January 2011

200 Followers Q and A Competition

In celebration of reaching 200 followers, and in thanks for all their wonderful comments and support, I've decided to hold a competition. There are four prizes of $15 (£10) Amazon vouchers. As well as having the chance to win a voucher, you'll also, I hope, get to know me a little better, because you get to ask me a question - any question you like.

The rules are simple - you must be a follower of my blog and have asked me a question in the comment box for this post. You can ask any question but please keep it to one question per follower.

You have until midnight Sunday 6th February (GMT) to ask your question and shortly after that I'll start answering them. All participants will be entered into to choose the four winners. Please feel free to tweet, blog and Facebook about this competition or use the image above to make a link to this post.

So, ask away. But in case you're wondering, I don't have a picture of William Shatner that I kiss every night before bed. Honest.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Friday (a day of emotional extremes) & W1S1

Last Friday was a day of highs and lows. I reached 200 followers and received awesome news - I've won a full manuscript critique (up to 90,000 words) by Maria Zannini. If you haven't heard of Maria, or read any of her books, she writes spicy science fiction, which, as she puts it, titillates some and torment others. I recently read True Believers and would highly recommend it. As you can imagine, I'm still in shock about winning a full manuscript critique.

But I had another shock of a more unpleasant nature on Friday. In the early hours, my best friend's husband (and my work colleague) and their dogs were involved in a car accident. He and the dogs are okay - bruised and shaken, but alive.

It was the kind of accident you read about all the time. The car that caused the accident was stolen, had no insurance, and both the driver and passenger were drunk; s0 drunk the paramedics refused to treat them at the scene. It was only my friend's husband's split-second decision to drive his car into the side of the road that saved his life, as the other car was air-born and would have hit him head on. I think the words 'lucky' and 'alive' are what need to be said here.

My friend Rachel has just revamped her blog and I would love it if you could pop over and say something to cheer them both up.

Now to January Juggernauts and Write 1 Sub 1:

The first four weeks of the W1S1 challenge are already over and all those who completed the challenge, including myself, received the January Juggernaut Award. Congratulations to all those who succeeded and to those who just missed out, don't give yourself a hard time; there is always next month.

If you don't know anything about this challenge visit the official website here.

That is it for today, but don't forget to check tomorrow's post, where I'll be launching my 200 followers competition.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Meeting Luna Black - Melissa Shows No Fear

Today is a special day because I've reached 200 followers. Thank you and congratulations to my 200th follower Lisa Potts - you've won a $15 Amazon voucher just for helping me reach that magic number. To all my followers, visit my blog on Monday to read about an exciting competition I'll be running in celebration of all my fabulous followers.

Today is also my fourth blogfest in a row and the eighth this month! The No Fear Blogfest is hosted by the wonderful Dominic de Mattos at Writes of Passage and to take part you need to 'Post a passage in which your MC (or your favourite fictional character) shows their bravery. It might be in the face of physical danger, or peer pressure or personal sacrifice. It might be epic bravery or bravery that goes unnoticed by anyone but us, your devoted readers.' To read other entries, full details, and how to sign up, click here.

The extract Ive chosen is from my short story Luna Black, which appears in Pill Hill Press's Fem-Fangs anthology.

The MC Tessa Darksky (Melissa) has asked a close friend, Victory Dead, to arrange a meeting with a vampire. She's hoping to persuade the vampire to bite her boyfriend, so that she can claim an £1 million pound vampire insurance policy. They've met in the local museum and have gone to Luna Black's private office. Tessa must tell Luna what it is she wants but can she trust her?

“What are you scared of Melissa?” Luna asked, as if reading my thoughts. Her smile was unnerving.

“That you’ll drink my blood and leave me for dead.”

She laughed. Not the hard laugh of someone mocking another, but sweet and soft, like my mothers.

“And what is it you want from a vampire?”

So I told her my plan, and how I had asked for Victory Dead’s help, minus the details of the insurance policy payout. I doubted vampires had any real need for money, but the office did not look a cheap rental.

She stood a few feet away from me, watching. She listened to every word and didn’t deviate her stare for a second. When I finished she walked a little closer, and took one of my hands and placed it in hers. The coolness of her touch was soothing, and I could feel my heartbeat begin to relax. I was right - vampires were hypnotic.

“My sweet, Melissa. I cannot do it.”

“Oh . . .” was my pathetic reply.

“I cannot sire men. But I can help you.”


“Have you not thought yourself of crossing over?”

Her other hand reached up and skimmed my cheek again, before gliding down the side of my neck. I wanted to scream. And run. But I was mesmerized. Our eyes were locked together in an eternal stare.

“No . . .I mean I’ve heard it’s painful. And I don’t like blood. Faint and all that. God. I suppose its poor taste to talk about blood in front of a vampire?”

Taste? Could I have said anything worse?

“Look. I’m really sorry to have wasted your time, Luna. But . . .”

The fingers of her hand pushed against my lips to silence me and then ran back the collar of my jacket. As she reached forward and her teeth met the side of my neck, my senses heightened and terror was replaced with a feeling of pleasure so overwhelming I could barely stand. Just before she bit into my neck, she uttered these words . . . “I’ll take forty per cent of the insurance payout as my fee.”


So what did you think? Would you have met with a vampire this way? Was Tessa brave, naïve or just plain greedy?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Simply Hot Blogfest

I'm taking part in another hot blogfest, hosted by Erica and Christy. All that is required for the Simply Hot Blogfest is to post a picture of your favourite mug and, if you want to, share with everyone the story behind it.

I had quite a few mugs to choose from (I think that must be the case with all writers) - Star Trek (x2), NaNoWriMo, Kath Kidston Cowboys and a retro mug bought from a charity shop a few years back - but my number one choice was easy. Here it is:

My personalised Emma Bridgewater mug was a gift from a close friend the Christmas before last. She has always encouraged me to keep writing and not to give up my dreams, and whenever I drink from it I'm reminded of how supportive she is. Thank you, Rachel!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Top Ten Countdown Music Blogfest

Today Mr. Cool himself, author Alex J. Cavanaugh, is hosting the Top Ten Countdown Music Blogfest, where we get to choose our favourite top ten songs. Visit his blog for full details and to sign up.

Before I begin my countdown I'd like to say how difficult it was choosing just ten songs out of the thousands I must have listened to over the years. How was I to base my choices? Melody, lyrics, artist or because the song held a particular significance at some point in my life? In the end I opted for a little of each.

But it was also fun; listening to old records and CDs that had not been out of their sleeves or cases in a few years. Thank you, Alex! Here is my list:

10. One - Johnny Cash (words and music by U2). There was something about the pairing of this song with Cash's aging voice that worked for me and though I've never really been a fan of U2's later songs, the lyrics are inspirational.

9. Electricity - OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark). I've been to many concerts over the years but nothing will compare to the OMD concert I attended in the early 1990s. They are incredible live and if you ever get the chance to see them, go.

8. Could it be Magic - Take That (words and music by Barry Manilow). Even though I don't do boy bands, I'm a huge Manilow fan and this song, covered by Take That in the early 1990s, is my favourite.

7. Smile - Robert Downey Jr. (words by John Turner/Geoffrey Parsons and music by Charlie Chaplin). This is going to sound morbid but I'd like this song to be played at my funeral, because smile is what we should do at times of adversity. If we can't smile or laugh, what is the point of living?

6. Purple Rain - Prince. I just love this song.

5. Solitary Man - Neil Diamond. In truth I could have chosen a dozen Diamond songs, but I loved his earlier songs and this one tops the list.

4. Love is a Battlefield - Pat Benitar (words and music by Holly Knight and Mike Chapman). This choice isn't really about the song itself, it's more the memories it invokes of my sister and I dancing around the bedroom with our hairbrushes and singing the lyrics. Haven't we all done that?

3. Speechless - Lady GaGa. Every time I hear this song I'm inspired to to write. An awe-inspiring song.

2. Sweet Child o' Mine - Guns N Roses. Apart from sheer quality of music and lyrics, this song invokes strong memories of my late teens - friendship, college, young love, and discovering music I'd never even heard of before. I could go on.

Before I announce my number one, I should say it was only ever going to be a David Bowie song. He has been the most influential artist in my life and certainly shaped my musical taste in my teens and early twenties. With songs such as China Girl, Life on Mars, Rock n Roll Suicide, Space Oddity, Young Americans, The Jean Genie, Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust - to name just a few - I could have made my top ten all Bowie. But here it is, my number one of all time:

1. Starman - David Bowie. As a sci-fi geek from an early age, this really was an easy choice for me. Plus Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars is my favourite album. Click on the link and take a listen.

So there you have it - my top ten list. Did you agree or disagree with any of my choices? Did you put your head in your hands and say, why?
I can't wait to read yours, but as there are over 100 bloggers taking part it will take me a while to get around, so please be patient with me.

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Significant Other Blogfest

There is no Friday Five today, as talented authors DL Hammons and Talli Roland are hosting The Significant Other Blogfest, where your significant other takes over your blog for the day or has been put under the spotlight and asked what it's like supporting The Writer.

My partner was a little reluctant to do a blog post all by himself, so I asked The Muse to interview him. Over to them:

1. What shall I call you?
I’m Stephen R. Grant but you can call me Steve.

2. Hi Steve. How long have you and The Writer been together?
Nearly 17 years. Crikey. Longer than a life sentence.

2. What is it that you do, other than supporting The Writer?
I’m a convenience store manager.

3. Do you write?
No. I don’t even read fiction. Film music and spaghetti westerns are my hobbies.

4. That sounds interesting, where did your hobbies come from?
I worked in several local cinemas in my late teens and early twenties and the spaghetti western films of Sergio Leone fascinated me. I’ve always had a passion for film music. Actually I like most types of music, except opera and jazz. Not to keen on most forms of modern pop, though I do like Lady GaGa. Don’t get me started on the new Take That album. Very disappointed.

5. Would you like to take part in next Monday’s Top Ten Countdown Music Blogfest?
Laughs out loud at this. I think he knows what a hard time The Writer is having choosing her own ten songs.

6. Tell me something random about yourself?
We once convinced The Writer’s family that Richard E. Grant was my cousin. It was quite funny because every time he was on television we’d make some casual remark about cousin Richard being on that night and that he’d phone us the other day. This went on for several years until they finally asked whether it was true.

7. And what was your answer?
That he was my cousin!

8. Would you say you’re quite a mischievous person?
Yes. Well, we both are. Our favourite thing is when people listen in on our conversations in coffee shops. When we’re aware of it we generally start an alarming conversation about one of us having a nasty contagious rash and that we hope the café cleans our cups thoroughly. It normally sends them running. Laughs again.

9. I’m beginning to see where The Writer gets her ideas. Do you read The Writer’s work?
Yes. When she lets me.

10. What do you think of it?
I’ve been telling her for years she is a talented writer and I try to free up as much spare time for her to write. I believe in what she is trying to do and I know she will have a novel published one day. Of course how much I like it depends on the genre; she’s written some quite dark stuff recently.

11. Does that worry you?
No. I think it’s a product of watching too much CSI and reading Stephen King. I don’t think she’s about to turn serial killer on me! He pretends to check the kitchen draws for any sharp knives at this point. Apparently they’ve been banned – The Writer is rather accident-prone.

12. What food or drink is guaranteed to return The Writer to a good mood, even after a bad days writing?
Kentucky Fried Chicken.

13. What one thing would you change about her writing habits?
Nothing. Though sometimes I worry she spends too much time writing and not enough time relaxing. She needs to learn to switch off.

14. Finally, how hard is it to sit by and watch someone you care for struggle to attain a dream...knowing there's very little you can do to help?
I don’t struggle with it because I know for her it is more about the enjoyment of writing than being published. Even if her dream never came true, she would still write.

Well, that's all the questions. Thank you to The Muse and Steve; it was very illuminating.

Don't forget to check out the other blogfest entrants here and if you're looking for another challenge then sign up for the Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction Movie Quotes Blogfest here.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction Movie Quotes Blogfest

In space no one can hear you scream . . .but in blogland they can.

By popular demand Jeremy at iZombielover and I bring you the Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction Movie Quotes Blogfest. On the 6th February count down your top ten most memorable lines from your favourite horror and science fiction movies. Do ten of each or make your top ten a mix of both. It’s up to you.

Sign up below and please feel free to blog, Twitter, and Facebook about it!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Cancelling Show vs Tell Entry

I hate dropping out of anything I've made a commitment to, but after reading the rules again for the Show vs Tell Blogfest, I've decided not to post my entry. The blogfest host, Misty Waters, wanted all entries posted no later than the 15th, and as all entrants must have read and voted for their favourite piece by the 17th, I don't think it would be fair to put mine up so last minute.

I just want to say a massive thank you for all the comments of support on yesterday's blog post; they meant a lot to me. Hopefully, later today I will have the chance to start catching up with my blog reading.

Have a great day and remember not to take on too many commitments, as I have done in the last couple of weeks.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Friday Five: Horror and Science Fiction Markets

Before I start on this week's Friday Five, I'd like to say a belated thank you to the talented Jeremy at iZombie for the You Make Me Scream Award; it seems rather appropriate for today's topic, horror fiction.

Have you watched Aliens? There are several unforgettable lines of dialogue, but the following is something the LSO and I often say to each other at this time of year when we're returning home in the dark: "They mostly come out at night . . .mostly." So, driving home from our shopping trip on Tuesday, I decided that this week's Friday Five would concentrate on online horror and science fiction markets.

1. Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers is an online site 'for writers of thrillers, crime, horror and mystery stories to share their short story or flash fiction with others of a like mind.' Stories should be no longer than 2500 words and are submitted via email. Visit the website for full details.

2. The New Flesh accepts submissions of odd flash fiction. They want science fiction, horror, fantasy, and bizarro fiction. Stories 1000 words or less and are submitted via email. Visit the website for full details.

3. Flashes In The Dark serves up daily doses of horror flash fiction and is looking for well-written short, horror fiction under 1000 words. Submissions are made via email. Visit the website for full details.

4. Eaten Alive is a new site 'all about zombie fiction, whether it's from the zombie's or zombies' point of view or from those that are doing whatever it takes to survive. Starting in January 2011, a new story will appear every Monday and every Friday.' There haven't been any stories published yet, so I think this will be a wait and see what happens next site.

5. Dark Tales is not an online fiction market but I thought it was worth a mention. They accept horror, speculative fiction and dark fantasy, and anything that falls into the gaps between these genres. Psychological rather than gory horror is preferred. Stories should be no longer than 5000 words and submited as hard copies.

That is it for this week's Friday Five. In the mean time, what is your favourite line from a horror or science fiction movie?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Clothes Shopping Gene

On Tuesday afternoon I went shopping. It was the first time since NaNoWriMo that I'd left Exmouth and gone to another town to do what I call serious clothes shopping. An easy enough task, you might think. On my list of essential purchases were underwear, casual tops, and trainers. What could go wrong?

Well, my friends, this is what I came home with at the end of the afternoon:

You'll notice not an item of clothing to be seen. Instead I bought two zombie and four sci-fi books and a Star Trek mug and coaster. In my defence, I took with me the Waterstones, WHSmiths and HMV vouchers I received for Christmas. I did go into a couple of clothing stores. Honest. But I just wasn't interested in trying on bras, T-shirts, and children's trainers (I've got small feet).

I've decided that I wasn't born with the Clothing Gene; somewhere along the way I was given the Book-Buying Gene instead.

When was the last time you went shopping for a specific item and came back with something completely different? What shopping gene were you born with?

Monday, 10 January 2011

100 Words for $100 Dollars Blogfest

Over at You're Write. Except when you're rong, super-cool Elena Solodow is hosting her first blogfest, in honour of her 100th post.

The 100 Words for $100 Dollars Blogfest runs from the 1st - 31st January and the objective is to 'write one 100-word sentence (with a 5-word leeway, so between 95 words or 105 words). You may use ONE semi-colon, if necessary. There is no genre. The only requirement is that you love it enough to post it on various social networking sites.'

For further details, video, and linky, visit her blog.

Here is my entry:

You probably think this is going to be one of those boring sentences that waffles on and on about nothing in particular and in a way you could be right – a sentence about nothing much at all is rather boring and can be as unappetizing as Belgian waffles without the corn syrup – but you have forgotten one very important thing about writing; what a reader takes from the words, and the order they are laid out in, is subjective, and so what one person thinks is uninspired prose, another may believe to be the greatest prose they have ever read.


Elena also hosts a weekly Video Log (Vlog) on Fridays, where she reads a 250 - 500 word excerpt from a writer's WIP. To see an example, listen and watch her reading the inspiring Jan 3rd 2000 by Summer Ross.

I'm thrilled to announce that she will be reading a first-draft excerpt from my horror novel in writing, The Devil's Song, in early February. I will let you know the date nearer the time.

Why not submit an excerpt from your WIP?

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Now Showing Blogfest

My friend and fellow writer Madeleine is hosting the Now Showing Blogfest, where your challenge is to convert one or more telling phrases into a SHOWING passage with more detail and impact.

I really enjoyed this challenge, though I do feel like I've just completed a piece of homework and I'm now awaiting my grade! Here are the four I chose:

1. S/he cried.

Her knees gave way and she crumpled to the floor, gasping for breath. A single word escaped between each sob. "Why?"

2. S/he felt sick.

He stared at the scene before him - a scattering of blood-red theatre paint covering the bodies of his wife and daughter - and a surge of bile forced itself towards his throat.

3. S/he was cold.

Nothing could penetrate his frozen skin, not even the foil blanket the paramedics placed around him, and he shuddered in the early morning air.

4. S/he was angry.

She looked into the eyes of her one-time husband and father of her three children and began beating her fists against his lifeless body. "How could you?" she screamed.

So how did I do? Visit Madeleine's blog to view other entrants and to sign up.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Friday Five: Random Bits and Write 1 Sub 1 Update

There is no particular theme to today's Friday Five; instead I'm listing some exciting discoveries to get you writing, reading and listening to music.

1. Magemanda at Floor to Ceiling Books is hosting the Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge 2011. The first part of the challenge is to read a minimum of 12 speculative books between 1st January - 31st December. The second part is to post a review of each book. All participants who post a monthly book review will be entered into a monthly prize draw. Click here for full details.

2. Awesome author, Alex J. Cavanaugh, is hosting another of his infamous blogfests. Previously he has covered The Movie Dirty Dozen and Top Ten TV Shows. This time it is all about music; the Top Ten Countdown Music Blogfest. There is lots of fun to be had with this one, as you dust off those records sleeves or search your iPods. Click here for further details and linky.

3. Janel at Janel's Jumble recently posted some motivational writing improvement tools for 2011. Click here to learn more about an idea a day, prompt bowls and reading in unfamiliar genres.

4. Sticking with Janel, she has kindly emailed me two new flash fiction markets. Dark Moon Books has put out a submission call Frightmares: A Flash Fiction Anthology (Volume One) and Eaten Alive is an online zombie fiction site that will feature a new story every Monday and Friday. Both of these look ideal for keeping up with the Write 1 Sub 1 challenge, which I am completing alongside my novel.

5. Finally, another home for your flash Fiction. Postcard Shorts welcome stories around 250 words that could fit on a postcard. Stories are submitted and published online. Click here for full details.

Write 1 Sub 1 Update:

When I signed up for the Write 1 Sub 1 challenge, I was conscious that my main writing aim for 2011 - to finish writing my science fiction novel - would take a considerable amount of my writing time. But I love writing short stories and don't want to stop. So, for reasons of time, a large percentage of my Write 1 Sub 1 entries will be flash fiction. Although this is going to be a difficult challenge to complete, I am grateful that it will keep motivating me to write and submit.

For week one (1st - 7th January) I submitted Seaward Sign, a 250 flash fiction piece, to Postcard Shorts and received my first acceptance for 2011. Seaward Sign was in part based on a piece I wrote for the Six Sentences website. You can read it here.

Do you know of any other flash fiction markets?

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New Creation Blogfest and Happy Birthday Summer

Today is the New Creation Blogfest, which is hosted by Summer at My Inner Fairy. It is also Summer's birthday.

Here are the blogfest rules:
1. Pick one ending sentence from last years stories, your favorite one that you wrote. (Only one, and yes it has to be an ending sentence)
2. Write one brand new starting sentence for a story you have been thinking about, or something off the top of your head. But it must be your first sentence. (Yes only one, and yes it must be new.)

For further details and to sign up, click here.

I found it quite difficult choosing a last sentence from my 2010 projects. I managed to narrow the list down to ten, and then three. But choosing between the final three was agonizing - I loved them all for different reasons. In the end I settled for the last sentence of my short story Hometown:

Make the right choice; become part of the 2013 programme to repopulate your species.

I chose this sentence because Hometown is unlike anything I have written before - it does not follow the traditional short story format. I was also thrilled that Hometown was chosen as the first piece in the 2013: The Aftermath anthology. If you have a copy of the anthology, I think you will understand why.

My new first sentence for 2011 was easier to choose. It is from the first draft of a short story that I am writing using only dialogue and no speech tags:

"I put it to you, Miss Moon, that you did not believe your husband was a zombie, but in fact set out with the express intention of murdering him in a cold-hearted and premeditated fashion."

To see the other blogfest participants, click here.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Show Me Yours Blogfest

Thank you to Sarah, Hannah and Summer for hosting the Show Me Yours Blogfest, where 'the point of this blogfest is to share an excerpt of your NaNoWriMo novel. It can be any scene but try to keep it at 500 words so we can all get around to as many blogs as possible.'

In Dreaming of Sleep, Myron has travelled 2000 years into the future and there is no way back. His life has changed beyond recognition, as he is forced to spend almost every minute of his day interfacing with any number of the 91 billion souls that call Earth home. All Myron wants to do is to sleep, because then he can dream of home; a place where people live as individuals and the choices they make are simple. But sleep is illegal and the punishment for breaking the law severe. He must take his daily tablet and conform. When Myron stops taking his tablets and finally succumbs to the elixir of sleep, the beautiful and mysterious Enforcement Officer Talia enters his life.

Talia stared at Myron, assessing his rigid demeanour. Other than his voice, he was giving little away in terms of body language and facial expressions.

There was no doubting the man was handsome, with his short dark hair and moon-shaded eyes, but she had not seen many men to judge him by. Whilst others in her government assigned accommodation enjoyed the rigours of pod dating and the chance to physically interact with other humans, she found it an unwanted distraction. The Professor was the only man she had been intimate with but it was nothing more than a natural progression from the amount of time they had been spending together, and as long as it remained agreeable, she saw no harm in laying with just one man.

Myron smiled at her and Talia realised that she had been caught off-guard whilst considering his potential as a mate. It was a foolish mistake, which she would correct quickly.

“Why did you stop taking the sleep depravation medication?”

He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms; a classic defensive action.

“Do you require me to repeat the question?”

“I wanted to sleep.”

“Sleep is illegal.”

“I’m aware of that fact.”

“It is also the law.”

“It’s not my law, at least not where . . .when I came from.”

“I agree the records show a sleep cycle was part of the normal daily function of humans in the 21st Century, but this is not the 21st Century. So, I’ll repeat the question – why did you stop taking the sleep depravation medication?”

Myron looked at Talia and then turned away. It was obvious that he was not going to tell Talia what she wanted to hear; at least not today. He had no reason to trust her. She would need to give him a reason for that.

“Having reviewed the circumstances of your arrival, and how that impacts on your decision-making process and the ability to resist the temptations of sleep, I have decided to let you go with a caution. However, I am going to recommend you for further evaluation and more extensive monitoring, and any further infractions would not be seen favourably with Province One Controllers. Is that understood?”

Myron looked up at her again and his face portrayed an expression she could not read, and she cursed herself for not spending more time studying the body language database before their meeting.

“No,” he finally uttered.


“I can’t go back to that life. If you send me I’ll stop taking the medication. You’ll have no choice but to dispose of me.”

Talia did not know how to interpret his actions. She had met people that had sought out death as a form of escape but they constituted only a tiny fraction of the population, and it was always because they were not allowed to spend every minute of their day networked. Despite Province Controllers actively seeking to keep people locked into a productive and monitored framework, living lives that conformed and contributed to the planet’s well being, even they knew a small amount of downtime was necessary for good mental health. She was going to have to be direct with this man if she had any hope of reaching him.

“What if I told you I had a way to send you back home?”