Thursday, March 31, 2011

Burden Kansas Is Available!

After a week of frustration with Amazon, my novella Burden Kansas is available for purchase for $0.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

I know a writer isn't supposed to like his own book, but people: this is the real deal. And I'm going to put my money where my mouth is with a guarantee.

If Burden Kansas isn't the best contemporary vampire western that you've ever read, send me an email at alanjryker at dat der gmail and I'll email you a copy of Pulling Teeth in the format of your choice for free.

Okay, given the specificity, that's not the most daring guarantee in the world.

But if you'd like to help me spread the word, I'd really appreciate it.

Worse Ways to Spend Your 99 Cents

A recent comment got me thinking: in what way could you spend $0.99 that would provide less practical value than purchasing one of my books?

Paying someone a dollar to punch you in the face – This was my first thought. The problem is that a person who's never been punched in the face before would get much more than a dollar's worth of knowledge from this experience. Everyone should get punched in the face at some point in his or her life, to know how good of a chin they've got and to learn how to not freak out in physical confrontations. But if you've been punched a few times, you'd probably get more value from one of my books. So that's a toss-up.

Dropping a dollar on the street – Compared to this, buying a book from me seems like the obvious choice. But being perfectly honest, I'm not that likable. So take all the people you can imagine walking down the street and average them together. If you'd rather that that person have your dollar, then you might be better off dropping your dollar. So this seems like another toss-up, until you realize that I only get 35% on a $0.99 sale (I'd get 70% of 2.99 to 9.99). So you basically have to like me three times as much as this average person you've imagined. Unlikely. So dropping a dollar in the street is almost certainly a better value.

Buying a Brokencyde mp3 – I don't think I win this aesthetic competition, but I'll let you be the judge:

Warning: this video contains disturbing images of tiny men shouting at women. It also might break your brain.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The 3 Best Reasons to Price Your eBook 99 Cents

3. Cents are a more common currency than potatoes in the industrialized world. And they're easier to carry.

2. The 9s look like they're spooning, which is comforting.

1. Remember when you were a kid and being able to count to 100 was very impressive? 99 cents gives you that penultimate moment of glory for all eternity.

If I'm going to waste energy on this argument, I'm going to waste it HARD.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Pulling Teeth is back up at Amazon and B&N with the error corrected.

If you bought it earlier, email me and I'll send you a free one. alanjryker at dat der gmail.

And I've got even bigger news coming tonight or tomorrow!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Don't buy Pulling Teeth yet. There's a big, fat formatting error in it causing a section of several pages in length to repeat. It's going to take a few days for the corrected version to show up.

This is very embarrassing. Especially considering how I harp about formatting. I've learned my lesson and will now fully read the proof, not just scan every page for visible errors.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Dark Side of TGIF

There's something depressing about the phrase TGIF. In one way, it's about being happy that a portion of your life that you will never get back is over. TGIF = I’d gladly receive a shot that removed 5 of every 7 years of age 18-65 or so if only I didn’t have to work anymore.

So let's be honest: TGIOWCTTSEOTG

Thank God I’m one week closer to the sweet embrace of the grave.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My People

Presentation matters. I don't care how this offends you as a writer; it's true. Your cover gets people to click. Your blurb might be gripping, your sample may be brilliant, but if nobody clicks on your cover they'll never find out. And while that might be their loss aesthetically, it's your loss financially.

And don't even get me on typos and grammar mistakes. I doubt there are many perfect works out there, but you have to minimize mistakes. Every mistake breaks the fragile dream of your writing, reminding the reader that they're reading.

So I'm letting you all know who I work with, with a tab up top called My People. Here are the current contents of that page:

Much love to the people who made the publishing of Pulling Teeth possible! With the combination of an intensely disturbing cover and impeccably clean syntax, who cares what I actually wrote? If you're trying to make a book that people will confuse for a publication by the big boys in NYC, contacting any of these people would be a good step. For reals.

Cover art "Pulling Teeth" by Caroline Horst. Contact her at at that thar 

Cover art "Mouth" by Daisuke Kuroneko.

Cover design by Wendy McBride. Contact her at mcbride.wendy at that thar

Copy edit by Rebecca Stigge. Contact her at rhstigge at that thar

Pulling Teeth Live at B&N

Well that was fast.  If you've got a nook or the nook app, you can now get yourself a copy of Pulling Teeth.

Being a Good Friend to Yourself

I just added a "Friend me on Facebook" button over there on the sidebar. Clicking it takes you right to a friend request sent to me.

I clicked it myself to be sure of the functionality, since it's a bit more complicated than an html button with a link to my profile would be.  It gave me this message:

You cannot be friends with yourself.

And a lot of emotions washed over me. First, embarrassment, like facebook was looking down on me. Why is it in all caps?  Why is it bold? Why isn't it phrased neutrally? I watched that movie. I know that guy is kind of a jerk.

Then I felt sorrow. I don't know what kind of world this is where I can't be my own friend. I think that you have to be friends with yourself before anyone else can truly be your friend. So that landed me at anger.

This world is hard enough. And writers face so much rejection every day. We have to believe in ourselves. We have to love ourselves.

I don't care what you say Facebook.  I don't care what your little system recognizes. I'm friends with myself, and I'm proud of it. 

And to my readers, don't let Zuckerberg shame you. He might have trouble looking himself in the face in the mirror in the morning, but you all deserve to be your own friend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pulling Teeth Out!

Haha, I didn't even realize the title is kind of punny until I typed it.

My $0.99 short story collection Pulling Teeth is out on AmazonBarnes & Noble and on Smashwords.

I'm planning to upload a specially formatted epub to B&N today or tomorrow. I was going to wait until I had my epub ISBN from Smashwords, but I'm thinking that's going to take a long time since I have to wait until I'm in the premium catalogue to be able to buy it.

In case I haven't mentioned, the plan is thusly thus: I have enough solid short stories for 3 minicollections of about 100 pages each. I'm going to release them as Pulling Teeth 1-3, then release an omnibus with a few extra stories for 2.99. This should happen over the course of the next few months.

I'm not sure why, but this has got my adrenaline and anxiety all up.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Movie Reviews!

I watch most movies. I usually forget them several minutes afterwards, so it's nice to review them just as a memento of time spent.

The Mechanic
If you extracted any five minutes from this movie and blanked out the co-stars faces, you wouldn't be able to tell it from any other non-Ritchie Jason Statham movie. I honestly have no idea what he's doing with his career.

In a world where a major star doesn't give a shit about his career, at least Ben Foster was pretty badass.

I Am Number Four
This is one of those movies where an extremely powerful and good-looking person wishes he could just be normal. All he wants to do is– like the rest of us– suffer the tedium and torture of high school, work his way through college, then suffer the 8 to 6 grind until sweet death finally takes mercy and grudgingly accepts his proffered soul like a brochure from a campus ministry.  If I ever encounter a person who was involved in the creation of this film, I would hang them by the wrists from a heavy-bag mount and work their body until their internal organs leaked out their b-hole*.

The Switch
In a world with no tension, 2 adults create it by not just saying what they keep intending to say for scene after scene after scene after scene.  And Jennifer Aniston has either had plastic surgery or is being impersonated badly by someone wearing a Jigsaw mask painted flesh-tone.


Santa Sangre
A boy's youth in a circus comes to a sudden end when he gets sent to the psych ward after witnessing his father chop his mother's arms off. He escapes and makes a living standing behind his mother and being her arms during elaborate hand-dance performances (think an upscale Napoleon Dynamite), and in this role is forced to murder male bodybuilders with giant fake breasts.

People who know my movie reviews know that I often make them up. People who know my writing know that I couldn't have made this up.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How to Make Files for Amazon and B&N

I'm not really adding anything new. Today I formatted my manuscript for Pulling Teeth and I found different info and tools at different places. I felt it might help some people to compile it all here.  Honestly, Guido Henkel and Helen Hanson did all the work.

This is the shorthand version. You'll need:
notepad++ or something like it
kindlegen from amazon
kindle previewer from amazon
kindle for PC from amazon
Nook for PC from B&N

1. Take your manuscript and manually search out all the italics and surround the words with <em> tags. I don't think there's an automated way to do this. I don't use many italics anyway.

2. Copy and paste your file into Notepad++

3. Perform the replacements on the special characters as Guido Henkel instructs here:
He lists the html code for em dashes, ellipses and curly quotes. I'd already changed my curly quotes to straight quotes and don't care about them that much anyway.

4. Add the <p> tags automatically as Guido instructs on that same page. This will prevent insanity.

5. Do everything else the way Helen Hanson instructs here:
She provides step-by-step instructions that are very easy to understand.

6. Add a couple of things she doesn't mention
  1. a copyright page right after the title page. The verbiage here will get you started:
  2. an About the Author page at the end with your email, your twitter, and links to your website and your facebook page and whatever the hell else they come up with. I also asked the reader to consider reviewing my book and listed a few places they could.

7. Load the file into your Kindle if you have one. Load it into the Kindle previewer which emulates different hardware and check formatting across the board. Be sure to check your Table of Content links.

8. Load the file into Calibre and convert it to epub. Because the HTML that went into the mobi file was pristine, you should get a clean epub, too. I guess. I don't really know what I'm talking about.

9. Test the epub on Nook and Nook for PC. My cover image was squashed vertically on Nook for PC, but my sister reported that it looked good on her e-ink Nook.

If anyone has a totally reliable way to convert mobi to epub that isn't a pain in the ass, let me know.

I was surprised by how easy this process was. If only Smashwords would accept a mobi or epub upload, my life would be easy. I'm dreading trying to prevent Word from adding a bunch of weird formatting artifacts, but I want into the Apple and Sony bookstores.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Tale of Two Twists

There are two twists which should never be twists in your horror fiction. NEVER. I don't like the twist in short stories anyway, because there's not enough room to both develop characters AND set up a twist, but these twists should never occur in your fiction, because these are movie twists and fiction isn't film, and because they suck.

Since Sixth Sense there have been 4 types of American horror movies: the slasher movie, the monster movie, the dead-but-don't-know-it movie, and the split-personality movie. This is hyperbole, but almost not.

I'm going to spoil as few movies as possible, don't worry. I do feel bad for the kids who haven't watched Sixth Sense yet. The beauty of that reveal was an incredibly rare experience. If I had one of those Men in Black mind-wipers, I'd just sit at home and watch Sixth Sense over and over. To head off argument, I'm gonna say that I loved Jacob's Ladder. The trend just seemed to start after Sixth Sense.

It's gotten to the point where, when watching a horror movie, I can see the dead-but-don't-know-it twist as it occurs. I can call with 99% accuracy the moment where the main characters die, and I mean as it happens, not in retrospect. I keep watching because usually the movie has something else to offer, but it's still disappointing to know I'll have to sit through so much that the creators assume will be confusing and freaky when I know exactly what's going on. I can also spot it in fiction. So can everyone else. Don't use it, or at least don't expect the impact of your story to come from it.

The split personality twist is harder to spot. It's usually a variation on slasher. There's the killer, the hunter, and the victim, and the killer can also be one of the other 2 or all 3 of them. It's very reductive of the actual mental disorder, so while it seems to explain all sorts of freaky stuff realistically, it doesn't because it's based on a fiction of a real disorder, meaning it's still explaining freaky stuff with unrealistic fiction. It's a harder twist to spot, but it's unsatisfying because it's stupid.

I have many leather-bound books and a pipe and a deep voice and opinions and I'll tell them to you as fact blah blah blah.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Poem: His Name Is Chewie

I really love my dog. His name is Chewie.
Here's a picture of the two of us:

Chewie standing in the car:

Chewie standing in the car with his summer cut:

Chunkier than you thought, huh? He's part pug, so it's all rock-solid muscle under that long hair and loose skin.

I love my dog Chewie so much that I wrote this poem about him.

His Name Is Chewie

If you don't like my dog,
then I don't like you.
That's not a joke,
not hyperbole,
not the speaker speaking.
That is me, poet,
telling you, reader,
If you don't like my dog,
then I don't like you.
If you aren't a dog person:
make an exception.
If you don't think
I will bring this to you:
it's been broughten.
This could be a serious problem.

His head is huge,
you wonder how he walks,
until he gets wet,
and his head is tiny,
like a chicken nugget.
His body is fluffy,
you think he's a cotton ball,
until he gets wet,
and he's a meat barrel.
This pughuameranian is amazing.

His paws are like stilettos.
His legs are like toothpicks
stuck in a furry potato.
He'll prance across your tender spots
with little regard for your tender spots.
Be prepared,
because he jumps in laps,
and if you push him down,
I'll kick your fucking teeth in.
It makes me nauseous to think
what I would do to you,
your face blown out like a cherry
bomb went off in your mouth.
He grunts all the time.
He talks in sweet grunts.

He's fierce like a wolf
but everyone loves him
because he's so sweet.
His eye boogers are syrup and honey.
He runs at least
five miles per hour.
We bought stairs for our couch,
but sometimes he jumps anyway.
No one has ever said
he isn't the best dog.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Acceptance: Tercie's Final Waltz

My 700 word flash story "Tercie's Final Waltz" has been accepted for the July issue of Golden Visions Magazine. Submitted and accepted within one hour.

The funny thing is, I was planning a blog post in my head about how sick I am of waiting. There's so much waiting in the publishing industry. I look at my submissions on Duotrope, and I'm not even upset until I've had a story sitting at a journal for a year. In fact, I have a story at a market that doesn’t allow simultaneous submissions (meaning they want to be the only market looking at it until they reply). About a month ago, they contacted me after having had the story for a year to tell me that it's in the maybe pile. I didn't think I'd hear from them. I'm waiting on it now only because it's a really good horror journal.

And there's no reason for it. I read slush for a national lit journal. The submissions don't stop. So get caught up and then stay caught up. If 10 subs come in a day, and you read 10, but you have a backlog of 1000, get caught up and you can make same-day responses. It's still 10 a day, regardless! Unless a journal's reply date is constantly backsliding, they're reading at a rate of what's coming in, they're just keeping a buffer of however-many months.


Because writers allow it. Because until recently, we had no choice.

Previously-published stories certainly give a collection street cred. I hope to include a good number in each of the three mini-collections I release within the next half year or so. But if publishers aren't going to catch up with us, they're going to be left behind.

So a big thanks to Golden Visions Magazine for being so on top of their game. They do it right.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I've been expressing a lot of opinions recently. Apparently I'm very opinionated. Ugh.

Opinions are like assholes: only jerks have them.*

Think about where you find opinions.
1. Gas station bumper stickers
2. Walmart t-shirts with sassy sayings in funny fonts
3. The brains of social rejects

So that's my opinion of opinions.

* footnote: asterisks look like b-holes

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This Blog Is About...

The world doesn't need another blog about self-publishing.

Okay, fine, the world doesn't need another blog at all. I need a blog,  the world? Meh.

But the world REALLY doesn't need another blog about self-publishing.

Because I don't have a book out yet (three on the way with another half-written), I'm currently networking with writers. I'm learning a ton from the writers on Kindle Boards and those who write self-publishing blogs. And I can thank JA Konrath for informing me of the entire self-publishing situation. Thank you JA Konrath.

But I'm hopefully going to have some readers soon. Readers are interested in their favorite authors' opinions on fiction, aesthetics, the subjects the author writes about, some things that happen in the author's life, and even that particular writer's writing process.

But advice on the nitty-gritty of self-publishing is only interesting to writers. And the topic is pretty well covered.

I want writers here, but I don't just want a circle jerk. I want to jerk everyone else, too.

P.S. In case you're wondering, that last line came out EXACTLY how I wanted it to.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Read It or Don't Write It - Short Fiction

I LOVE short fiction. I love that I can buy collections cheaply on the Kindle, which has re-ignited interest in the short form in the general public. But I can instantly tell when I'm reading the short fiction of a writer who doesn't read it.

If you don't read current short fiction, you don't write good short fiction. I guaran-fucking-tee it. So don't write short fiction if you don't read it. You'll either write a mini-novel, which will be unsatisfying as every aspect will be truncated, or you will write for a BIGREVEALOMGOMG. The entire purpose of the big reveal story is the final paragraph. So if I guess the big reveal beforehand, and I will, there's no point in reading the story. And even if I don't guess it, why shouldn't I just read the final paragraph? I'm not saying I never write one, but I shouldn't, and I don't do it much anymore. Getting the context out of the way, letting the reader accept it, and then telling the real story that that crazy context sets up is one of the correct ways to write a concept story. In the amazing "The Hortlak," Kelly Link lays out the zombie sitch in the first page. In the equally amazing "The Cavemen in the Hedges," Stacey Richter's first line is "There are cavemen in the hedges again." She doesn't spend the story giving us increasing hints about what might be in the hedges. First line. Cavemen. Now she can get on with the story. I don't mind a mid-story reveal, either.

I'm getting off track.

Like poetry, short fiction is a conversation with other artists. You need to read good short fiction to be able to write passable short fiction. So yeah, read the classics, read Joyce and Carver and O'Connor and Chekov. Duh. But read contemporary stuff. Or just write novels. You read novels and understand how they work.

So here are my favorite contemporary short fiction writers. The first two are tops, the rest in no particular order.

Dan Chaon - Among the Missing will make you question yourself as a writer. It's that good. Dan Chaon's words weave a dream-like magic that distracts you as he rips your heart out of your chest. And he's a crazy cool guy. His latest novel, which I haven't gotten to yet, is a thriller called Await Your Reply.

Thomas Ligotti - The most important short horror writer alive. Probably the best short horror writer ever. Yes, Poe and Lovecraft are both more important. But Ligotti is better, though he might not be blazing the trails they did. And he's still alive. I don't ever feel that I can predict who history will remember, but it should remember Ligotti.

Stacey Richter - Twin Studies is so good it hurts.

Lorrie Moore - Okay, everyone likes her, and they should. Yes, she unleashed the second-person imperative story on us in the 80s, but she did it first and did it right. And she gets you laughing as she breaks your heart.

Alicia Erian - The Brutal Language of Love is aptly titled. She straddles the same line Chuck Palahniuk does between shock and story, and I think she does so brilliantly, bringing more of the real world into it.

Chris Offutt - Okay, again, everyone likes him. I'm giving you some writers who are a bit unknown and some who are well-known. If you're interested in writing fiction that's authentic in its regional flavor, you need to read him.

Jim Shephard - Check out Love and Hydrogen for a bunch of his best work. Great speculative and realistic stuff. He writes literary stories, but isn't afraid to have things happen (Goddamn do I hate New Yorker realism).

Donald Pollock - Another great regional guy and an up-and-comer for sure. Check out his book Knockemstiff set in Knockemstiff, OH (Yes, that was a real town where he was raised that has recently been ghosted). Smart stories in which crazy shit happens. Did I mention how much I hate New Yorker realism?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hardcore Gangster Rap

A lot of writers say they've been compelled to write since the first time they picked up a pen. Not me. I started writing fiction after taking a class in my third year of college. I've always had a creative, outlet, though. First art, then music, then writing.

For a time I threw myself into hardcore gangster rap. Here's the lyrics from one of my favorite songs from that phase. It's about the n-gage, a phone that played videogames, and you talked into the top side instead of into the front.

pic from song title is a link. you should know this old meme.


I wanna give a shout out to my boys at Nokia,
The biggest phone pimps this side of south korea.
coming up with all the illest phone ideas,
With its mad taco shape, like a corn tortilla.
And you don’t wanna fuck with those Finnish thugs.
Cause you don’t wanna catch any Finnish slugs.
Cause they know about the Gages and they’re packin 12.
So go ahead and put those PSPs back on the shelves.
I don’t wanna hear a thing about the QD.
cause if you aint down with side-talkin,
Then fool, you aint down with me.
cause this a phone for an OG.
Original gamer, son,
You know that that’s what I be.
So you still talkin in the front of your phone?
Son you can’t handle the Gage,
You need to leave it alone.

Cause I’ma,
Side-talkin’ up and down the block.
And I’ma talkin in my taco
While I’m poppin’ my glock.
And I’ma
cuttin’ deals on my n-gage.
Best believe that I’m for real
About my n-gage.

So tell me what the n-gage ever do to you?
Cause when you front on the n-gage, son,
you front on my whole damn crew.
cause we all rollin’ with the gage.
Like when we bustin’ our shotties
When the shit hits the fan backstage.
Or when we smokin on that prairie sage.
So you been talkin that smack, man?
I don’t wanna end up in the cage,
But I can’t take that kind of disrespect.
So we’ll settle this virtually,
Go head and pull out yo deck.
A little player versus played.
I’ll make you remember
Why you stayed the hell out the arcade.
And you should definitely be afraid.
You’re gettin flayed, and frayed,
And portrayed in an unsavory way.
You’re gonna eat some of this handgrenade.
Receive no medical aide,
And you’ll be very dismayed.
At the way you’re made to pay for your gall.
Don’t go for the n-gage, cause
you just aint a balla.


Now all you know I love to side-talk.
So you fuck with my n-gage,
And you gonna hear pop pop pop.
Nah, you don’t wanna feel
This hammer drop.
You wanna stay way back,
When I’m wailin’ on Tony Hawk.
And I just pulled off a dope trick.
You wanna battle, punk,
And look the fool in front of your whole clique?
Nah you don’t want even a little bit.
But I’m sick of your mouth, so come on
and let’s do this shit!
What’s that, your piece can’t handle bluetooth?
When you call your mama cryin,
Gonna need to find a phonebooth?
So what exactly can your gear do?
It can play games? That’s it?
Well isn’t that way too cute.
Don’t even try to be a hater.
You know the n-gage launched
with a sweet port of Tomb Raider.
The game that everybody wants to play.
Pop off the back, pull out the battery
Put in the game and you’re on your way.

More incredible hardcore gangster rap

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Novel as Puzzle

I like a lot of things about short stories, as a reader and a writer. One thing I like about writing a short story is that I can write the first draft in one sitting, as long as it's less than 5000 words long. Because a short story is ideally always read in one sitting, it's a nice symmetry, and it helps produce the unified effect.

Novels, though, are written in chunks. Every time I finish or just step away from a long work, it feels in my head like a hodge-podge mess.  This is how I felt about a novel I've been working on for a few months.  26,000 words (about 100 page) in, I felt that I was forcing things. So I stepped away and started working on two other projects, a novella and a novel. I came back to it yesterday.

I was scared. I always am. But I actually ended up liking it, as I almost always do. Yeah, it's rough for sure, but the main thing I feared– that the seams would be visible– isn't the case. It was written in pieces, but they fit together like a puzzle.  Seen from a readers distance, the pieces are almost invisible, and the picture created by the pieces is clear.

I wonder when I'll learn to trust that. Probably never.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Google Followers Gadget

You think I don't know how sad a Google Followers gadget with zero followers is? You think I haven't thought, "Maybe I should leave the gadget off until I get a decent number of followers"?


My tears are delicious to  me.

Edit: Thank you SJ Hanson for invalidating this post.

More or Less

The other day my brilliant wife and I were discussing sitcoms. We were discussing how sad we were that there were only two seasons of Flight of the Conchords, and how that seemed to happen with a lot of good sitcoms, which seems to be the most difficult type of show to do intelligently.

She said, "If they don't leave you wanting more, they leave you wanting less."

I was blown away. It's so true regarding television shows. You lament that Seinfeld ended because (despite the finale) the eight and ninth seasons were the best. But you wish The Simpsons would end, even though it was the best sitcom on television for a long time.

Once a show jumps the shark (a phrase taken from a Happy Days episode where the Fonz does just that, on skis, marking the decline of the show), it rarely turns back. A show like Saturday Night Live is an obvious exception. It goes through many ups and downs due to its changing writers and cast.

But what about fiction writers? Writers seem to be able to defy my wife's law. A writer can put out a bad book, or several bad books, and as long as they are willing to take criticism and experiment, the downhill path can begin to regain elevation. There are definitely writers whose careers follow almost a straight line down, like Chuck Palahniuk. But JG Ballard broke his slump of the disaster novels following Drowned World by reinventing his writing. A writer's next work can always be his or her best.

"If they don't leave you wanting more, they leave you wanting less." Still something to think about.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pulling Teeth Cover

Wendy McBride designed this cover, using "Pulling Teeth" by Caroline Horst and "Mouth" by Daisuke Kuroneko . I think it looks great as a thumbnail and at full size, and I couldn't be more happy with it. Much thanks to the three artists who have made my writing visually appealing!