So you can read my books

Friday, January 31, 2014


        As I sat at my table at Meilori's, I ran my fingers through my hair and stared at the screen of my laptop.

       The ghost of Oscar Wilde sat down beside me. 
"What is wrong, Roland?  Is your apprehension about your upcoming cancer surgery worsening?"

       I shook my head. 
       "Several friends have emailed me asking how I keep on keeping on.  They are fighting inner wars with depression and grief.  They ask me how I ignore it to keep on working."

Wilde seemed to look within himself at a parade of unwanted lessons in memories. 
“When first I was put into prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realizing what I am that I have found comfort of any kind.”

Oscar looked sadly at me.  
“Then I was advised by others to try to forget that I have ever been in a prison at all. I know that would be equally fatal.
 It would mean that I would always be haunted by an intolerable sense of disgrace, and that those things that are meant for me as much as for anybody else –
the beauty of the sun and moon, the pageant of the seasons, the music of daybreak and the silence of great nights, the rain falling through the leaves, or the dew creeping over the grass and making it silver –
would all be tainted for me, and lose their healing power, and their power of communicating joy.”

Oscar toyed with the petals of the sunflower in his lapel.
  “No. To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie onto the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.”
Wilde sighed, "Though, in the eyes of the world, I am ,of course, a disgraced and ruined man, still every day I am filled with wonder at all the beautiful things that are left to me:
loyal and loving friends such as you, Twain, and Captain McCord … good health … books: one of the greatest of the many worlds God has given to each man …
the pageant of the seasons: the loveliness of leaf and flower: the nights hung with silver and the dawns dim with gold. I often find myself strangely happy though the weight of depression deadens the inside of my chest.”
McCord sat on the other side of me. 
"Recovering from depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed is hard.
In fact, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting.
It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery:
The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There’s a difference, however, between something that's difficult and something that's impossible."
He rubbed his face with his gloved hand.  "I'm a Ranger, son. And we break problems down into do-able steps --
The key to depression recovery is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there. Draw upon whatever resources you have.
You may not have much energy, but you probably have enough to take a short walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one.
Take things one day at a time and reward yourself for each accomplishment. The steps may seem small, but they’ll quickly add up.
And for all the energy you put into your depression recovery, you’ll get back much more in return.
The ghost of Alfred Adler sat down opposite me.  He slid a sheet of paper towards me.  "I was listening at the next table, and I jotted down these thoughts:

Depression self-help tip: Challenge negative thinking

Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future.
But you can’t break out of this pessimistic mind frame by “just thinking positive.” Happy thoughts or wishful thinking will only mock your inner grief.

Rather, the trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts.

Ways to challenge negative thinking:

  • Think outside yourself. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else.

  • If not, stop being so hard on yourself. Think about less harsh statements that offer more realistic descriptions.

  • Allow yourself to be less than perfect. Many depressed people are perfectionists, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Battle this source of self-imposed stress by challenging your negative ways of thinking

  • Socialize with positive people. Notice how people who always look on the bright side deal with challenges, even minor ones, like not being able to find a parking space. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Even if you have to pretend, try to adopt their optimism and persistence in the face of difficulty.

  • Keep a “negative thought log." Whenever you experience a negative thought, jot down the thought and what triggered it in a notebook.

  • Review your log when you’re in a good mood. Consider if the negativity was truly warranted. Ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation. For example, let’s say your boyfriend was short with you and you automatically assumed that the relationship was in trouble. It's possible, though, he’s just having a bad day.

Types of negative thinking that add to depression
All-or-nothing thinking –

Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground (“If I fall short of perfection, I’m a total failure.”)

Overgeneralization –

Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever (“I can’t do anything right.”)

The mental filter –

Ignoring positive events and focusing on the negative. Noticing the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.

Diminishing the positive –

Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count (“She said she had a good time on our date, but I think she was just being nice.”)

Jumping to conclusions

Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a mind reader (“He must think I’m pathetic”) or a fortune teller (“I’ll be stuck in this dead end job forever”)

Emotional reasoning –

Believing that the way you feel reflects reality (“I feel like such a loser. I really am no good!”)

‘Shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’ –

Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldn’t do, and beating yourself up if you don’t live up to your rules.

Labeling –

Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings (“I’m a failure; an idiot; a loser.”)
The ghost of Mark Twain sat beside Adler, shaking his head. 

"The best cure for depression, son, is to be there for others, to find a way to make them laugh, or to feed them in a way they need the most.  But laughter is the best."
Wilde smiled, "I knew there was a reason I kept you as a friend."

For more of Oscar Wilde vs. Mark Twain
check out

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Not anymore.

Things have changed in the publishing world.  Things are STILL changing.
Have you ever sat in a movie theater and been driven to become Hannibal Lector
by some numb-skull louding straw-sipping on a drink that has long since been consumed?
THE CUP IS EMPTY, YOU MORON! is what you want to yell.
The same applies to what used to work in marketing our books.  The usefulness of certain endeavors is long past their expiration dates.

1. “Build a huge list” Won’t Work Anymore -

There was a time where the numbers mattered. Those days are long gone. If you focus on getting anyone and everyone on your email list, you won’t be able to market to them effectively.

Flinging your cyber-net to the whole world fills it with many who want nothing to do with the type of book you have written.

Think of the type of reader who would like to read your book.  Google sites where they might hang out.  Comment on those sites.  Let them become familiar with your name for a few weeks.  Casually mention in a comment that you have written a book on the subject being discussed.

Hard sell days are over.

2. “Get lots of page views” Won’t Work -

Remember what the late Zig Ziglar said, “You can get everything you want if you help enough people get what they want.”

Do NOT write BUY MY BOOK posts.  Write posts that help the kind of audience that you want to buy your book.  They will come, drawn by subjects that interest them and perhaps they will notice your books in your sidebar and gamble on your novel. 

If not, you still have won a friend -- which in today's cold world is a win all in itself.

Also - Do your keyword research, optimize your articles and share them with the world.

3. “Sell, Sell, Sell” Won’t Work -

As I said: BUY MY BOOK only turns off visitors.  You like those tele-soliciters that call you?  Yeah, no one does.

What works today? Build relationships. They’ll buy when they’re ready.  If they never do, you will have at least found a new friend.

4. “Shouting” Won’t Work

Today, Social Media is more crowded and noisy than New Year's Eve at Time's Square. 

Good marketing isn’t intrusive. Good marketing is useful.

Or as Jay Baer says, good marketing provides “Youtility.”

In other words good marketing is a service. 

When your blog figures out a way to be useful, then your novels will be viewed in a welcome light.

Need is the premise. Content is the medium. Consumption is your reward

when your Content answers Need.

Alex Cavanaugh pointed out to me a concrete example of all this
in Elizabeth S. Craig's fine post of today:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


It was a busy night at Meilori's.  Off to my far right, the ghosts of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt were arguing over Obama's State of the Union address.

Off to my far left, the ghost of Al Capone snorted to the ghost of Benedict Arnold,

"That Beiber runt ain't important enough to be deported!  He just needs a spanking!"

My poker table was full.  Mickey Spillaine looked over his cards at me. 

"Kid, the first line of your book gets the readers to buy it.  The last one gets them to buy your next one."

Hemingway scowled at him. 

"As if you would know.  To call you an author is like calling a woodpecker a carpenter."

Mickey snorted,

"I'm not an author, I'm a writer, that's all I am. Authors want their names down in history; I want to keep the smoke coming out of the chimney."

Hemingway glared at him.

"What a horrible commentary on the reading habits of Americans to think that before J K Rowling, you had seven of the top ten bestsellers of all time."

Mickey grinned crooked, "You're lucky that I didn't write three more books."

The ghost of Mark Twain snorted and asked Mickey, "What's this I hear about your picture and Hemingway's having a duel at a restaurant."

Mickey shook his head. 

"Every summer I went down to Florida on treasure hunts, and there's this great restaurant called the Chesapeake and they had a picture of Hemingway behind the bar.

So one day the owner asks if she could have a picture of me to put up there, and she puts one there.

 One day Hemingway comes in and sees my picture and says 'what's he doing next to me? Either take his down or take mine down', so they took his down and he never came back to that restaurant."

Hemingway laid his cards down, "We could settle this like men."

The ghost of John Steinbeck sighed and said, "You can never tell about people, even their ghosts, Hemingway."

He rubbed his chin.  "You remember Audie Murphy, the most decorated American solider, became an actor in Westerns?

A patrolman once told me, he stopped a car on 101 in California, and Audie comes out of his car, dark, middle of the night, with a rifle.

 The patrolman said,

"I saw his eyes, he looked nuts, and before he could do anything I say, 'Audie, how're you doing' and stuck out my hand, and he stopped, and then stuck out his hand."

Steinbeck went on,  "He said it was like looking at death's eyes, and he was a sweet looking guy, like a little kid, but Audie'd been shot too many times."

Hemingway said low, "You disparaged my fondness for bullfighting in print, didn't you?"

Mark Twain chuckled, "Hemingway, you were a great reporter, but you just flat got carried away with all the other stuff, like this bullfighting."

Mark puffed on his cigar. 

"Myself, I'm always on the side of the bull.  In fact, I always hope the bull plows the stuffing out of that crazy guy in the clown suit down there.

I don't like to see animals hurt, not deliberately. If they're putting the bull out there, don't stick those daggers in him first."

Steinbeck rumbled,

"I know about bullfighting, Hemingway.  I know about the underweight bulls, the sandbags on the kidneys, the shaved horns and sometimes the needle of barbiturate in the shoulder as the gate swings open."

He sighed,  "There was also that moment of what they call truth, a sublimity, a halo of the invincible human spirit and unspeakable, beautiful courage."

His lips curled, 
"And then doubt began to creep in. The matadors I knew had souls of Toledo steel for the bull, but they were terrified of their impresarios, pulp in the hands of their critics, and avaricious beyond belief."

He shook his head, 

"Perhaps they gave the audience a little courage of a certain kind, but not the kind the audience and the world needed and needs. I have yet to hear of a bull-fighter who has taken a dangerous political stand, who has fought a moral battle unless its horns were shaved."

Hemingway looked close to exploding, and I hastily said, "Mr.Steinbeck, do you have a word of advice for my writing friends?"

Steinbeck smiled wryly as if knewing what I was doing, but only said, "I have written a great many stories, and I still don't know how to go about it except to write it and take my chances."

He laughed softly and said,

"It is not so very hard to judge a novel after it is written, but, after many years, to start a novel still scares me to death. I will go so far as to say that the writer who is not scared is happily unaware of the remote and tantalizing majesty of the medium."

"Bah!" snapped Hemingway.  "That is no help.  Roland's friends want concrete steps.  Here are three:

1: Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.

There is a difference between stopping and foundering.  If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell your friends so try to remember it.

2: Never think about the story when you’re not working.

That way your subconscious will work on it all the time.  But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.”

3: Be Brief.
I am contemptuous of writers who never learned how to say no to a typewriter.

It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics."

I looked to Mark Twain, "And you, sir?'

He beamed and laid his cards face up, "Twenty-one!"

Mickey groaned, "We're playing poker, Clemens."

He pouted, "You mean I've been dealing off the bottom for nothing?"
Don't miss Mark Twain's adventures in Dreamtime and in 1895 Egypt:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Robyn Alana Engel

has written a post on my challenge with cancer.  It is fine, compassionate, and ends with a lovely poem.

The essence of the poem is that "love is worth the sad." 

Which oddly enough is the theme of my latest novel (which I will not hawk and cheapen Robyn's gracious post.)

This ice storm may sever my connection with the internet with falling power lines --

which is no matter since I probably will be slipping and sliding along rural roads delievering rare blood to rural hospitals.

Say a prayer for me -- driving in this kind of weather is more than a little frightening.  As Neil Gaiman says:

“I don't really like driving in the snow.

There's something about the motion of the falling snowflakes that hurts my eyes, throws my sense of balance all to hell.

It's like tumbling into a field of stars.”

This ice storm reminds me of the last in 1997. 

My mother had just died.  The owner of the Mall where I had my store would not let me close.  He told me it would be a fine of $500 an hour should I defy him.

Then, the ice storm hit.  The power went out.  Roads were closed. 

And I had my day of mourning in the cold and the dark -- which was appropriate to my mood.

Then, as now, friends rallied to my aid, helping in ways that humbled me as the Father showed me loving souls were His Hands here on Earth.

I have tried to re-pay those acts by being there for others -- which sometimes chaffs Sandra, my best friend (also fighting cancer), for she says continually emptying my bank account for others leaves me vulnerable.

But aren't we all vulnerable?  Sometimes in ways of which we are blind.

Again, Neil Gaiman has a fitting quote:

“There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.” 

But he also wrote:

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” 

Which is why I fling my stories into the cold void of cyber-space.  Few read them. 

But it is my hope that my tales of Hibbs, the bear with two shadows,

and Samuel McCord who refuses to give up his love for She Who Devours --

may touch a hurting heart and spark an ember of hope to give a bruised soul light and strength enough for the next step into the darkness.

Thank you, my friends.

Monday, January 27, 2014


I felt a presence.

My heavy eyes pried themselves open. I heard a deep rumbling voice.

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are stronger at the broken places."

I looked to the ghost table and chair beside my bed. I sighed.

Gypsy, my ghost cat, was having another midnight visitor over.

Ernest Hemingway.

He was chuckling as he held one end of a corn cob so Gypsy could nibble the other end. He looked over to me. He shook his head.

"I've seen rocks that were lighter sleepers than you, kid."

He tapped my open laptop on his ghost table. "I've been reading your DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE.

It's good. What to know how I know it is?"

"Of course, sir."

"All good books have one thing in common -

they are truer than if they had really happened. I believe your McCord.

 In fact, I plan to go to New Orleans after this visit and see if I can't find Meilori's."

"Tell Sam I sent you."

"You're a hoot, kid."

"I'm definitely something," I half-yawned and winced at the pain of the deep biopsy at the end of my nose.

"Forget your personal pain, kid. No visitor to your electronic journal wants to read your whining.  They all have fears and pains of their own.

We are all damned from the start, and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get damned hurt, use it --
don't cheat with it."

"I try my best, sir."

"It shows in your writing, kid."

His eyes seemed to sink deep into his face, and he laid the corn cob down.

 "Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another."

Gypsy cocked her head, then rubbed it against the big chest in front of her. Hemingway absently stroked behind her ears. His face became lost amidst inner shadows.

"I didn't come here for Gypsy ... for you ... not even for me."

He paused for me to ask, "Who did you come for, sir?"

"I came for her."


"Marlene," he said, whispering the name as if it were a benediction.

"I met her while sailing across the Atlantic on the Ile de France in 1934."

He smiled as if his lips were an open wound. "I called her 'Kraut,' and she called me ... what else? Papa."

The smile died an ugly death. "For a dime movie admission, she could break any man's heart. She could have broken mine for a nickel ... and I would have brought the nickel."

His smile became real as he looked at me. "She's been feeling forgotten, Roland. But you changed all that with your posts and with your GHOST OF A CHANCE." {only 99 cents}

He looked off into the dark of distant days. "Marlene should know better. Even should the day come when her films are forgotten, she herself will not be."

His eyes gleamed with pride and love.

"Her courageous defiance of the Nazi leadership of her own homeland, her beloved 'heimat,' and her calm dismissal of the death sentence on her head while she performed for the U.S. troops on the front lines ...

it all set a standard for principle and patriotism that still inspires today."

"It inspires me, sir."

He nodded that great head of his. "And that means more than even I can say."

Hemingway slowly stoked Gypsy's purring head.

"The most important work she ever did in her eyes was what she did for the G.I.'s those three years."

His glittering eyes held mine.

"Those years were her passion. She did it for herself. It was personal, not the celebrated Hollywood passion created to sell tickets and to bolster the Dietrich image."

He smiled a sad, wistful smile. "She was a proud German, and she fought for her homeland the only way she knew how."

His smile twisted into something painful to see. "And now, she feels as if her finest hour has been forgotten, lost in the dying of decades."

He tapped my laptop.

"Until you. You put spring back into her step. And for that, Roland, I'm going to teach you how to write."

"What? Now?"

He waved a lazy hand.

"Don't worry, Roland. This is me. I won't steal much of your precious sleep time. It's a short lesson. One sentence actually."

"One sentence?"

"Yes, as a writer ... to win you have to lose."


He nodded, extending his forefinger.

"One: lose long sentences. The reader gets lost in the tangle of adverbs. Say more by writing less."

Hemingway put out a second finger.

"Two: lose long first paragraphs. A block of prose dulls the eyes of the reader. I was challenged once by a critic too dumb to know better to tell a good story in one paragraph. I did it in one sentence."

He drummed his fingers on the desk.

"For sale : baby shoes, never used."

"Wow. That really says it all."

"Shut him up fast enough. Not that I know everything about writing.

Writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done.”

Hemingway thoughtfully stroked his moustache.

“You see I’m trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across, not just to depict life, or criticize it, but to actually make it alive.”

He shook his head angrily.

“Charlie’s (Scribner’s) ridiculing of my daily word count was because he did not understand me or writing well nor

could know how happy one felt to have put down properly 422 words as you wanted them to be."

Hemingway's lined face beamed.

"And days of 1200 or 2700 were something that made you happier than you could believe.

Since I found that 400 to 600 well done was a pace I could hold much better was always happy with that number. But if I only had 320 I felt good.”

He blinked for a moment. "Where was I anyway, Roland? Oh, I remember."

He put out three fingers.

"Three: lose the stale prose and insert the fresh. Motion doesn't mean action. Be vigorous in your life, in your prose."

I said, "Like instead of 'he pushed the boulder up the hill' use 'he sweated the boulder to the top.'"

He grunted. "Good but no cigar."

"I couldn't smoke ghost cigars anyway."

"You have spirit, kid. Show any more like that, and you may just end up one."

I have never gotten into trouble by something I didn't say ... so I said nothing.

Hemingway snapped out a fourth finger.

"Four: Lose the negative. Write what something is ... not what something isn't. Keep in mind, Roland, the reader will mentally hold onto the first image you give him."

He straightened in his chair. "Using 'painless' still inserts the thought of pain into your reader's mind. 'Inexpensive' is out. 'Economical' is in. 'Error-free' is in leper robes. 'Perfect' is wearing a tux."

He held out an open palm. "Five: Lose the shit."

Hemingway laughed in a deep rumble that merged with the thunder overhead. "I told Fitz ...."


"F. Scott Fitzgerald, kid. And yes, Zelda was just as beautiful and loony as you think.

But I told Fitz that for every page of masterpiece I wrote, I wrote 99 of pure shit."

He pounded his open palm on the ghost desk. "So, Roland, try to put the shit in the wastebasket."

Hemingway hooked a thumb with his other forefinger.

"And lastly, lose the copy. Keep the original."

"Ah, meaning?"

"Meaning, Roland, do what you've already been doing. Sure you're impressed with Zelazny, Chandler, Simak, and me.

But you write in your own style ... influenced by us, sure, but not mirror-images of us."

Hemingway blew out his cheeks.

"You'll always be just a second-class 'them.' But you have the makings to be a first-class you."

He rubbed his bearded chin meditatively.

"And there's your lesson, Roland."

"Thanks, Mr. Hemingway."

"Didn't do it for you, kid. I did it for Marlene."

Once again the name was spoken softly like a sad blessing. Hemingway disappeared into the darkness before the sound of it was gone.


Saturday, January 25, 2014


With the diagnosis of the two cancerous spots on my face and the upcoming cancer surgeries, I have come to "face" fear more intimately than I wanted.

All of us will have to deal with fears. 

Much of the rise in anxiety is related to people feeling their connections with others are less stable–

there’s been an increase in divorce, fewer people are getting married and they’re less engaged in their churches, synagogues and local institutions.

While many Americans’ lives are improving in every material way, their expectations for happiness are also rising and they feel less satisfied. 

Fears come, sometimes out of the blue, and many people have no support structure with which to buttress their bruised emotional selves.

So what do you do when Fear seems to be about to swallow you whole?

1. Take time out

It feels impossible to think clearly when you’re flooded with fear or anxiety.  Distract yourself from the worry for 15 minutes by walking around the block, making a cup of tea or having a bath.

When you’ve physically calmed down, you’ll feel better able to decide on the best way to cope.

2. What’s the worst that can happen?

When you're anxious about something, be it work, a relationship or an exam, it can help to think through what the worst end result could be.

For me, I thought it was dying sooner than I expected.  What did Woody Allen say: "I'm not afraid of dying.  I just don't want to be there when it happens."

Then, a co-worker told me her uncle had the same surgery on the same spot as I was going to have it, and he looked like the Elephant Man afterwards.  So disfigurement joined hands with dying. 

Then, the thought of the ordeal of chemotherapy or radiation therapy rose up to show me another face of fear.

I thought of something I have learned: most of the things I was afraid would happen never did.  Not that dreadful things didn't happen.  They did:

My fiancee died, my childhood friend, my mother, my home burned to the ground, and I was forcibly evacuated from my city, not once but twice.

And you know what?  The Father saw me through each one of those experiences.  He promised to be with us as we walked THROUGH the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

If facing the WORST of your particular fear starts to get to you:

If you start to get a faster heartbeat or sweating palms, the best thing is not to fight it. Stay where you are and simply feel the panic without trying to distract yourself.

Placing the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathing slowly and deeply (no more than 12 breaths a minute) helps soothe the body.

It may take up to an hour, but eventually the panic will go away on its own. The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away.

3. Don’t expect perfection

Black-and-white perfectionist thinking trips many of us up.  Life is full of stresses, yet many of us feel that our lives must be perfect.

Bad days and setbacks will always happen, and it’s essential to remember that life is messy. 

4. Visualise

Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm:

it could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach, or snuggled up in bed with the cat next to you or a happy memory from childhood.

Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed.

5. Talk about it

Sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness. If you can’t talk to a partner, friend or family member, call your local helpline. 

There are books on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Rational Emotive Therapy.

Dr. David Burns has a grand book: FEELING GOOD: THE NEW MOOD THERAPY -

Only $4.74 for the Kindle edition.  What a bargain!  It will revolutionize your outlook.  Trust me.

6. Go back to basics

A good sleep, a wholesome meal and a walk are often the best cures for anxiety.

The easiest way to fall asleep when worries are spiralling through the mind can be to stop trying to nod off. Instead, try to stay awake.

I find that thanking the Father for the things that went right or the things that made me laugh or smile that day will relax me, and I will drift off to sleep.

7. Reward yourself

Finally, give yourself a treat. When you’ve picked up that spider or made that call you’ve been dreading,

reinforce your success by treating yourself to a candlelit bath, a massage, a country walk, a concert, a meal out, a book, a DVD or whatever little gift makes you happy.

I hope this has helped some of you in some small way.  :-)