Archive | December, 2013

Writing Tip Number Four: Query Writing

11 Dec

Happy hump day bloggers!

I think I may have missed a few steps in the process but this is something I have been working on at the moment and though I would share what I have learnt.

First thing I learnt is that writing a query is hard! I mean really hard. I don’t know if everyone finds it this hard but it is killing me. I have written four or five different ones only to love then originally, then hate them when I re read it.  I saw this quote that says that if you can easily sum up your novel in a few sentences you are either a literary genius or you are not trying hard enough. Second thing I learnt is that you only get an average of few second to impress the agent before you novel get put on the rejection pile. A few seconds, that means that first line of the query has to be amazing! It has to be one of the best things you have ever written and it has to state the main point to your manuscript! That a big ask, but it’s not impossible. Third thing I learnt is that it must be kept short. Like I said you only get a few second, so make them count.  It’d best to try and keep you query to 250 words. Yep that’s right, you are a writer you are expected to sum up your entire manuscript into 250 words!  Again it sounds scary but it’s not impossible.  Though I have yet to have much luck in doing this I have read enough, wrote enough and seen enough to know how to do them.

I found this template on an advice site. I must say the person that posted this is a freaking genius and should be proud because they have done what many other have failed to do. Summed up a query simply.

Dear Agent’s Name:

I saw a recent interview in which you said you were looking for historical mysteries, so I hope you would consider representing my 85,000-word medieval mystery, The Awesomest Mystery Novel Ever. Bob the Protagonist is a guy with something really interesting about him. He thinks his life is one way, but SURPRISE HOOK! Suddenly he has to do Plot in order to achieve Goal, all without Conflict getting in the way. He traipses around Setting doing Plot, but doesn’t count on Complications. Ultimately he has to decide: give up Goal#1 or Goal#2?

I’m a member of some writing organization, won some contests, or neither of the above. If I have some relevant background which makes me good for writing this book (such as a doctorate in medieval studies for my medieval mystery), I’ll list it here. You can reach me at MyPhone#. I’ve included exactly the elements you’ve asked for (first X pages, synopsis, both, or neither) below. Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

You     

though this was was for a mystery novel I think it could act as a good starting point for just about anything.

one last thing you need is an amazing hook, your query needs to be attention catching, short and free of errors.  I also come across this amazing website. It’s like an online writers community. You can go there to get critique partners, ask advice, give advice, chat with fellow writers and a whole lot more it is totally a must see site for anyone serious about the love of writing..

http://agentqueryconnect.com/

here are some pages I found helpful many with examples of query’s that got their authors agented.

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/23-literary-agent-query-letters-that-worked_b76306

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-write-the-perfect-query-letter

http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx

http://knightagency.net/manuscript_submissions/writing-a-solid-query-letter/

Happy writing!

shan

Ryder’s Story: Chapter Twenty Seven

9 Dec

Chapter Twenty Seven

 

I pulled on a pair of slacks and slipped a shirt over my shoulders on the way out the door. As per Jerry’s request I had not woken Christine, nor did I have a chance to grab any weapons. I tussled my too long hair and tucked what I could out of the way. I wished I had thought to grab my hat, which was foolish considering Jerry’s over all attitude, I was sure there were bigger things to worry about at present. All the lights throughout the ranch were off, except for a single light in the living room of the main house, which was strange in itself. The throes of morning were yet to take hold of the sky, making that one light seem almost blinding in the darkness all around us.  There was a strange white glow to it, nothing like the light of the gas lamps that I was used to.  Jeremiah kept quiet, refusing to talk or tell me more about what we were walking into.  Only saying that I should not worry, which was unhelpful as far as advice went. When one gets dragged from ones bed at all hours of the night, to meet with a stranger that has shown up unexpectedly at your home, it is a little difficult not to harbour a little concern regarding what is to come.  Jeremiah pushed open the door to let me in. I could hear no others in the house which was typical for the hunters but not for a stranger. I walked into the living room and was temporally blinded by the light. It dimmed and as my vision retuned I was surprised to see only a young boy. He stood, alone in the centre of the room and there was something very odd about him. At a glance he looked like any other boy. Ten maybe eleven but when you looked closer it become apparent that he most certainly was not a normal young man. Though his eyes were clearly a hazel green, the glare of the light that I now realised was coming from within the boy made his eyes look blue. Longish dark hair flashed blonde with the flickering of the burning light. It was almost as though I was seeing two distinct individuals in the one boy.  My eyes burnt just from looking at him and I stood as far away as the room would allow.  I was wary of getting to close to the circle of light surrounding the boy, I had a sense that it was far more dangerous than it seemed, almost like it would turn me to ash if I got too close. Unease settled over me as a sudden pressure erupted in my head. It was as though hundreds of voices were screaming at me to leave, yelling that I was an abomination to HIS name. I had only ever experienced such a feeling when I had stumbled onto hallowed ground.  Just as quickly the light went out completely, plunging the three of us into darkness. My eyes adjusted immediately, only to see the boy walking toward us. That unease I felt grew stronger and every cell in my body urged me to run. Being a predator by nature it was not something I experienced often but as I glanced at Jeremiah and saw the look of complete reverence on his face I knew I was the only one feeling uneasy. When I finally pulled myself together enough to speak, my voice came out much weaker than I wished it had. I tried, in vain, to exude a confidence I was not feeling but I knew my primal fear of this being was all too clear.

 

“Who are you?” I am loathe to admit that my voice held the slightest tremor. The boy smirked, his smile showed the confidence of a man much older than his appearance suggested.  With a straight back and the glint of blue eyes he answered.

 

“My name is Michael and I come bearing a warning,” his stopped and lifted his hands to grasp the bare skin on both mine and Jeremiah’s arms. Power coursed through me, forcing my head back, as the world around me fell away.

 

I was standing in a valley of fire. Screams sounded, like the calls of birds over the crackling of flames. Shots rang out and men dressed in armour the likes of which I had never seen grappled with black eyed beasts. Beings like the boy fired orbs of burning light from their hands, killing not only the beasts but also men who got caught in the crossfire during their own battles. The earth cracked and shook, as fire rained down from the heavens. Screams of terror, cries of sorrow and the booming report of guns unlike any I had yet to see. A man dressed in the type of clothes I would not see for many years to come, surged forward. At first glance I thought it was Jeremiah I was seeing, but this man bore scars and a weariness that not even Jeremiah carried. Standing behind him, was me, a blade that appeared to be made of glass, in each hand.  The group I was amongst charged, joining what looked certain to be a losing battle. The sensation of watching another version of myself fight was disconcerting to say the least.

 

“What is this?” I asked, my voice seeming to come from nowhere in particular. The ‘voice’ that responded was not truly a voice at all, it was more like a thought insinuating its way into of my mind but none the less I understood it as easily as if it were spoken aloud. There was an unearthly quality to it and I got the feeling that every living being on this planet would be able to understand it.

 

“This is the future Anthony. Your future,”

 

“How… what causes this?”

 

“It is the end of times, child. The holy war between angel and demon,”

 

“The Apocalypse?”

 

“Yes, Anthony this is hell on earth, this is what you will face one day. This is your future.”

 

“How do I stop it?” the image fell away and I was standing at hells gate, the one the Petersons and I had tried to keep protected. A man and a woman stood by it. Both were tall and brunette, though their appearance was not clear. I could feel the cold tendrils of evil escaping from them, filling the air inside the small space. These were not people, they were demons and I knew that what I was seeing was happening, now.

 

“There is no stopping it. It will happen. The day will come when the world will end, Anthony and you will be there to see it, but all is not lost, for it can be prevented, at least for now,”

 

“Then how do I do it. Tell me!” I sounded beyond desperate but I didn’t care.

 

“You do not, Anthony, though you will try and try you must,” frustration built up in me as I watched the demons summon forth what looked like smoke from the gate. They were freeing more demons.

 

“I do not understand; if I’m not meant to stop it, then why tell me? Why show me what is to come if I can do nothing to prevent it?”

 

“You will understand your role in time Anthony, you just needed to know,” the power that held me fell away and it felt as if I was dropped back into my own body. I recognised the muffled voices that broke through the blackness I had been left in.

 

“Jerry’s the same, what happened to them and what the hell caused these burns?” Edward asked.  “I don’t know” when Ryan spoke his voice sounded close by. My eyes fluttered open. Sunlight streamed bright through the window, everyone stood around looking toward where Jeremiah and I were crumpled. At least Jerry was in a chair. I sat up quickly, I felt Ryan’s steadying hands on my shoulder, but I paid him no mind. Where had that boy gone? Had I dreamed that?  The longer I sat there the hazier my memories became; it was like awakening from a dream. The more I thought about it, the more I was sure it had been just that, a dream. I did not remember much from last night, it was possible I had simply drunk too much and passed out. I tried desperately to recall the boy, the vision, anything after leaving the saloon last night but it was all a blur.  Confusion and a god awful headache set upon me in a vicious wave followed by a fierce bout of nausea. I shrugged off Ryan’s hold and laid back down. This was most certainly a hangover and since I had not had one in well over three hundred years, I knew I must have had quite the bender.  I did not recall drinking after I returned; nor did I know where I had gotten the alcohol from. One thing was clear. I needed to stop drinking. Hallucinations and black outs were something I had experienced whist drinking as a human but never as a vampire and the fact I could not recall a single thing worried me immensely. Perhaps I had a problem. That thought made my head hurt worse and I craved a little hair of the dog.  Everyone in the room was yelling, all at once or so it seemed. I squeezed my eyes shut against the too bright light and shushed them, loudly.

 

The room quieted and then someone laughed very loudly, close to my ear. There was a slight chance that the hunters were not in fact being overly loud, that it was simply my headache making it seem that way. I refused to believe that, they were torturing me on purpose. I needed more booze and my bed. Not necessarily in that order; I would happily take whatever I could get.

 

“Whiskey?” my voice was little more than a rasp in my throat. I barely recognised my own voice; if I wasn’t positive that I had just spoken, I would have sworn it was someone else.

 

“Yes, my friend that is what seems to have gotten you into this mess,” Ryan all but screamed at me. I groaned and covered my eyes with my forearm. A small part of me wanted to explain that he had misunderstood my meaning; mostly I was just content to lie there for the rest of eternity. Frankly, it sounded like a marvellous idea. I was dragged, rather unceremoniously to my feet with a series of grunts and groans. My head spinning so wildly that I was unable to help the two men lifting me all that much. I just needed a minute for it to pass, that was all. Edward and Ryan practically carried me to my bed, where I all but passed out again.

 

 

I would like to say that things got better in the days that followed, but it was not to be. It was as though with each passing hour my comrades found more and more reasons to find fault with me. At first I passed it off as paranoia on my part but I soon learned that it was very real. The more they judged me the more out of control I felt. The less control I had the harder I had to work to fake being normal. That on top of demon’s terrorising nearby towns and the very real knowledge that we were in way over our heads, was very stressful.  I was acutely aware that I was cracking. In the past when work would put a strain on my home life I would frequent a house of ill repute and get lost to oblivion. It seemed that lately the only time I was truly able to rest was when something, usually an evil magical being, rendered me unconscious. Though try as I might I could not achieve the same results I had following our wolf hunt.  The effect had been peaceful, besides a slight lingering sense of unease, I had felt perfectly normal within a few hours.

 

”Damn it Ryder! What is wrong with you?” Christine stalked into our room, clearly irritated. Despite the fact that I had not been able to get obliterated, I did have a healthy buzz going so at first her irritation barely bothered me. I lazily picked up my almost empty bottle, toasting her and then downing the remaining whiskey.

 

“I’m quite sure I do not know what you mean” I replied with a smirk. I knew that antagonising her was a bad idea but my impulse control had never been particularly good and of late it had become all but non-existent.

 

“You know damn well what I am talking about. Ryan and Jeremiah were relying on you to go with them today! Hell, I assumed that you would at least show your face sometime this morning. Considering you didn’t come home last night! I’m not even going to ask where you were; clearly you didn’t think I was important enough to know. I told you, you could trust me with anything and I believed you when you said you would. So, imagine my surprise when Kelly told me what you’ve been up to lately!” she spat the words, heat rising in her cheeks. I should have walked away. I should have let it go, but I could not.  Suddenly my mind was awash with all the painful memories I tried so hard to ignore, no matter how hard I tried to push down the waves of pain they caused, I just could not do it. Not anymore. My temper flared and I did my best to keep calm but my best was not good enough not anymore. It seemed I could no longer even fake control.

 

“So you take Kelly’s word over mine now! You really believe that I am cheating on you? That I would do that to you” I didn’t even try to hide the slightly manic edge my words had taken.

 

“Ryder….” I could not have stopped the snarl that left my lips, even if I had wanted to.

 

“You know very well why I go to those girls! You have known all along and yet now you throw it back in my face? Am I not enough for you? Is that what this is about is there someone els…”

 

“Don’t you dare question my loyalty to you! I have given you everything and yet you still choose to spend your time in those places. Last time I checked you didn’t need to feed daily and I’m pretty sure that you don’t need to drink a barrel of whiskey every damn night either! So answer me this. Why should I sit here and wait for you, huh? Wait while you’re out sucking on some working girl’s thigh!”

 

“Everything…huh. You have given me everything? Funny it must cost you so much to love me. You have to keep one little thing quiet and that is all. Do you forget what it costs me? Every day I struggle to maintain my control, control that I have less and less of each passing day! You think it is easy but you have no idea the sacrifices I have made. Just by being here I risk my life every day, to be with you. I am living amongst an army who have trained to kill things like me, damn it! Any one of the people that live here could easily kill me; you want to know how I know that? I know, because I trained them! I trained them to kill me and others like me, all because YOU asked me to! “I paused in my tirade. Christine was staring at me her expression defiant.

 

“That’s not true; I have made sacrifices for you. I gave up everything!  Even my brother has his own family now; I gave up that opportunity, for you. I gave you years of my life, years I cannot get back Ryder. Even you had what I never will, so don’t you dare say I never sacrificed anything for you!”  Her voice broke on the revelation and I just stared at her. I had offered her those years back. I could give her time, I could give her eternal youth and love, but I could not give her the one thing I had never known she wanted. It was clear to me in that moment that by staying I was ruining both of our lives. I was the only one that could fix this. My pain melted into rage and back again. The mix was too potent and far too real for me to form a response.  It was more than I could take. I marched to the door, pulling the damned thing open like I was ripping into an enemy.  I slammed it behind me; with so much force that the walls shook, giving me momentary satisfaction.

 

I headed toward the stables at a brisk, but human pace. Honestly it was much faster than I would have thought I’d be capable of but it seemed the fight had sobered me up more than a little. If Christine had let me be for a while, what happened next may never have occurred, but it was in her nature to fight for what she believed in. The saddest thing was I knew without a shadow of doubt that she believed in us, even after everything I put her through.

 

 

“Ryder. Ryder! Don’t you dare walk away from me” she screamed, her voice carried throughout the entire stable, spooking a number of the horses. They bucked and neighed wildly, their restlessness doing nothing to temper my anger. I had Charlie bridled by the time she reached me and I could no longer hold my tongue.

 

“But that is exactly what I should do! I love you. That is exactly why I have to do this!” I yelled, my voice caused chaos to erupt among the horses. Charlie pulled back against the reins, clearly startled but I paid him no mind.

 

“How will this help, huh? How will hurting me help me, Ryder?” I pulled on Charlie’s reins trying to get him to move from the stall but he resisted.

 

“Because maybe I have come to my senses, maybe I have realised it is a dangerous road we are on,”

 

“You’re an arse! When things get hard you run. You ran from the covenant as a boy. You ran from your duties as a knight, you told me that yourself! Now you’re running from me. It’s the same old pattern with you. You will have to stop running one day Ryder.” I did my best not to snap again; through I was very much on edge. I could not have this conversation while I was this mad. It would not end well. I snatched sharply on the reins, but this time I must have pulled too hard. In my irritation I had not though to temper my strength and the horse’s hooves slipped on the cobblestone beneath our feet.  Charlie crumbled to the ground at an odd angle, a sharp crack sounding just before he whinnied out in pain. I jumped back from my horse and stared at him as he lay on the ground, breathing hard and fast, his eyes rolling wildly. One front leg was twisted awkwardly and blood was flowing freely from a wound just below his knee. I knew without a doubt it was broken, it was not his only problem as I suspected he had also most likely injured his back in the fall. I knew enough about horses those types of injuries were serious. Without meaning to I had essentially killed my most faithful companion.  Christine gasped but my heart was still too full of rage to be shocked.  With a lump in my throat, I drew my gun and fired. The sound was deafening and all the horses cried out as if it had been them I had shot.  The gun shook in my hand, as I stared at the growing pool of blood around Charlie’s head.  My vision hazed with red. My jaw ached as my fangs elongated into position. I looked back to Christine; she gasped again and backed up a few steps. She had never truly seen my vampire side unless it was because of a magical influence. I knew I was scaring her but I did not have the control to spare her now.  I could almost feel the blue of my eyes was slowly darkening to an inky black, as the red haze filled more and more of my vision.

 

“This is why I must leave!  Everything thing I love dies Christine! I am a walking death sentence. It is my punishment for being the monster I am! I am a killer; I have taken people away from their loved ones. Now I am doomed to have anyone I care for taken from me, for the rest of eternity. I will not live to see your name added to that list!”  Christine said nothing but she had tears streaming down her cheeks. The doors to the stable burst open and Jeremiah came skidding to a halt in the doorway.

 

“What… the…” he trailed off as his trained eyes assessed the situation. His hand moved and I knew he had come to the correct assumption. Suddenly my vision was nothing but a wash of red. I acted without thinking, moving faster than I ever had and pinning Jeremiah to the cobblestone floor before he could reach whatever weapon he had being going for.  I met his gaze and the numbness I felt told me that what I saw in his eyes would have hurt me at another time. That it still might when this was over.  Hate. Cold, unrestrained hate.  The expression on his face, told me I was nothing more than a monster to him.  The man had been my best friend for years and in a single moment all of that was gone, wiped, as though it never existed in the first place.

 

“I should have known,” he growled, not an ounce of fear in his voice. I snarled. I felt nothing. No anger, no pain, no hurt, absolutely nothing. Never before had I experienced such a profound numbness. It was like instinct was all I had left. “Beast, you best kill me, because if you don’t I will not rest until I have head your severed head in my hands and watch it fall away to dust.  I will get revenge for my fallen brother, monster, you will not get away with taking him,” I laughed, the sound was strange even to my own ears. It was a cold laugh, dead, monstrous.

 

“There is nothing for you to avenge Jerry. I am just as I have always been.  The day we met, I had been planning to drain your beautiful Kelly dry. She would have let me, you know and I would have enjoyed it.” I felt a smile pull at the edges of my lips.

 

“No, you saved me, you… you bastard! All this time and… and you!” his eyes flicked toward Christine.  “You knew that this…this thing, was among us and you let it live. Ryan knows as well, doesn’t he? You were letting that little freak experiment on you.”  I grabbed his face and turned it back to me.

 

“You do not address her and do not call Ryan a freak.  Yes they both knew, but I compelled them to forget it unless I brought it up.  Ryan was trying to find a cure, but he failed.  You were my friend Jerry; for some unknown reason I liked you and it is for this reason and this reason only that I do not kill you now. Know this, if you hurt either of the Peterson’s,  I will kill you, it will be quick and you will never see it coming. This is your one and only warning.”

 

“I will come for you monster! I will find you and I will kill you, mark my words,” I bared my fangs, bringing my face closer to his.

 

“Then I will be waiting. Catch me if you can,” with that I took off. Leaving all that I owned behind and not saying goodbye. I never planned to return, of that much I was sure and at the time I felt nothing, no regret. It was better for them all this way.

 

 

Texas, 1886

 

Ryder,

 

I never blamed you for leaving, though as you can tell I knew one day you would come back. If you’re reading this it means that I left before you decided to return. My family and I have decided it is time to return to England. I was never one for the West and I’ll be glad to get home. Jeremiah went off the deep end when you left. He decided it was his divine duty to stop the demons we were hunting from opening the gates of hell. It wasn’t pretty, the fool went alone and well I guess you heard what happened. The demons almost won Ryder, the gate was almost open. Christine cast a binding spell using Jeremiah’s blood. We never actually thought it would work but it did, though not as we planned. The spell was given to us by one of my father’s contacts, it was much stronger than any of us expected and I suspect I met my first Nephilim, without even realising. Who knew Christine and I had more of our father in us than we had expected. The spell bound the gate to Jeremiah’s blood. It’s not permanent and that’s why I’m telling you. One day, two children will be born. They will be sibling and they will be direct descendants of Jeremiah. One girl and one boy. The boy will be a shadow of Jerry, it’s how you will know it’s starting. His blood will be the key that breaks the spell. The girl will have a hybrid child, hybrid what we don’t know, but it’s blood  will swing that gate wide open. We didn’t know what we were messing with Ryder, and we paid the price. The gate will open again my friend and I hope you see fit to stop it.

 

After that mess we disbanded. As you can see the ranch was abandoned and the community we built, crumbled. We looked for you, but we both knew that there was no finding you when you didn’t want to be found. I wrote down addresses on a piece of paper with this letter. The first is when you will find your belongings, assuming no one has found them first they will be in the wagon and the second is where you can find Christine. I don’t blame you, I never could and I hope we meet again.

 

 I will always think of you as a brother, forever.

 

Ryan

 

 

I folded the note and put it back in my pocket. The setting sun cast and orange glow over everything it touched. I sighed, trying my best to ignore the burning in my throat. I took the bunch of wild flowers I had picked and tied then together with a piece I had pipped of one of my shirts. My voice broke as I spoke.

 

“I told you something like this would happen. It always does. I guess there is nothing I can say now that would make you forgive me. I wish things could be different and I wish that I had been there the night you faced those demons. Maybe… huh wow,” my voice broke as tears stung my eyes. It was the first thing I had felt in months and I wished it wasn’t.  “I never stopped loving you, and I never will,” I laid the flowers under the headstone that read Christine Peterson 1845 – 1872.   I wished more than anything things could have been different.  I stood, fixing my hat and headed in the direction of the sunset.

 

   

Lions, tigers and bears, Oh my!

6 Dec

Recently i visited the Melbourne  Zoo and the Melbourne aquarium for the first time. I was pretty excited seeing i have never seen most of the animals in real life before. In Tasmania, the closet think we have to a Zoo id a place called ZooDoo. while ZooDoo has a lot of animals it is nothing compared to a real zoo.  I loved both the aquarium and the zoo. we spent almost a day at each and i had a ball, it was so good.

 

The funnest thing happened while there. I got proposed to by a penguin. i’m not sure how much you know about penguins but penguins choose a mate my presenting them with a pebble.  So my cousin and i were standing my the glass, cooing over the cute little guys, when this one little guy that we were waving at, walked over to the rock beds that they had scattered around the enclosure and took a pebble. He come back over and placed the rock against the glass, right in front of us! it was so adorable. sadly seeing that we couldn’t accept his offering he grew rejected and walked off.

here he is, awaiting his response

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The penguins were by far my favorite part.

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but some of the reefs and environments in the place were just amazing. Here are some pictures, not sure if i can recall that the names of the creatures in the pics so i’m not going to try: )

 

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The day after we went to the Zoo, it was such a hot day, something like 30 degrees Celsius and that’s really hot to a gal from Tassie. i think i just about nearly died but it was so worth it. i loved every second of it. i think i was worse than a little kid. To me it was all child like wonder.

 

my favorite part was probably the butterfly room.  it’s this huge garden filled with butterfly’s, hundreds of them, an you walk in and they fly around you. if you are really lucky and very still they will land on you. Apparently i was really really lucky and  i had lots  land on me. it was amazing. i had four at one time at one point and i was moving around, it was truly awesome! i could have stayed in the room all day, it was like something from a fairy tale. sadly i never got any pictures of them on me, though i did try but the tended to like my phone and hand so it didn’t happen. I did get some awesome shots of them just chilling around though.

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the first one is of one that decided to chill on my aunt’s hat lol

 

Besides that i loved the monkey and the elephants.  some of the pictures were taken though cages which makes them look rather sad, but besides being a little hot all the animals look very happy.  sadly my phone decided to die, and while there are come amazing photos of otters, baboons, zebras and tigers on there i haven’t had the time since i returned home to upload them to my computer 😦

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all in all it was one of the best little getaways i have ever had, even if i am very glad to be home now!