Submit Your Stories Sunday: Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re submitting to Beneath Ceaseless Skies and we’re reading The Augur and the Girl Left at His Door by Greta Hayer.

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Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Eligibility: “Literary adventure fantasy” stories that take place on secondary worlds,  historical fantasy, steampunk, or Weird Western up to 15, 000 words

Take Note: editors prefer close POV (as opposed to distant, such as in fairy tales), no .docx submissions

Submit By: ongoing, open call

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A Story to Familiarize Yourself With the Editor’s Tastes

This week we’re reading The Augur and the Girl Left at His Door by Greta Hayer and published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. You can go read it now by clicking here.

The Augur and the Girl Left at His Door is the story of augur who tells the future by reading the marks, wrinkles, and oddities of a person’s body. He can tell how a person might die with a glance at their back, and read their lives in the marks of their scalp. This career has kept him alive but also brought him anguish. When a baby girl is left at his doorstep, he adopts her himself and raises her with much freedom, but he does not teach her his trade. Knowing the future has brought him much pain and he wishes to spare her the same. The girl, of course, fights him on this respect, wanting to know the outcome of her love affairs and her life, each of these mirroring the augur’s private pain, but he holds fast. There is no hope if the future is known, he says again and again.

This story’s strengths lie in its voice and character. Written in close point-of-view, the reader sees the world as a series of interpretations of moles and freckles, painting a vivid picture of the augur’s trade and the repercussions of this kind of knowledge. If Hayer chose to tell this story from the daughter’s perspective instead, it would not be the same story and while we might keep the anguish, the unique world of the augur’s magic would be lost. It takes considerable skill to wield a fictional magic system in this way, and I’ve half a mind to write up some characterization exercises for myself based on what Hayer has done here with my own characters and trades.

Thanks for tuning in this week, writers, and I hope you are well. If you’ve read any wonderful stories lately, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: space & time

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re submitting storing to Space & Time and we’re listening to The Feline, the Witch, and the Universe by yours truly.

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Space & Time

Eligibility: speculative stories, including creative hybrids, up to 10k.

Take Note: Space & Time has recently begun releasing an audio version of their magazine and writers are able to share these audio versions of their stories as they like.

Submit by: July 6th, 2020

Payment Offered: $0.01 per word

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A  Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

Traditionally I spend the week leading up to these posts reading through back issues to find the right story. However, as Space & Time does not publish their stories to read online for free (and there is nothing at all wrong with that – I just don’t want a paywall for struggling writers here) I’m going to flip things around. I am a fan of Space & Time and I think they are a wonderful market to work with so I want to show them off to you. So instead of reading someone else’s story, this week we’re going to listen to the audio version of my story published in Space & Time‘s December 2019 issue, The Feline, the Witch, and the Universe. Click here to go listen to that on my soundcloud.

This is the awkward bit where I dissect my own story, or??? Yeah, I’m not going to pretend I could pull that off. My imposter syndrome is raging hard enough just writing this post, thank you very much.

That said, if you listen to the story, you’ll soon discover that this is the story of a witch biking around outer space in search of her missing cat. Fantasy, in space. Space fantasy! This falls into the category of creative hybrid that Space & Time says they welcome. In their submissions page, on the left, they also write, in bold no less, “we seek the literary outliers.” Send in those weird tales that don’t fit into the neat categories of science fiction or fantasy or horror. Send in those stories that keep getting those “we liked this but it’s not (insert subgenre) enough for us” rejections.  Pull out those gems of weird you still have feelings for, and send them in.

WriteAThon

This post publishes on day 8 of Clarion West’s WriteAThon and I am writing my butt off. I have three new stories and one poem drafted and somewhat polished from the past week alone. The folks at Clarion West are amazing, providing us with writing workouts, sprints, panels with Big Names, and tonnes of advice. I lucked out and got a coveted spot in a Flash Fiction Critique Group, so I am committed to a new flash piece based on a given prompt and seven critiques per week for the six weeks of the WriteAThon. We’re doing all of this to raise funds for Clarion West scholarships to help writers in need attend their workshops. I think I may have stumbled upon the best way to ‘give back’ imaginable, tbh. That said, if this blog has ever benefited you and you have some spare cash, please considering sponsoring myself or one of the other 508 participants in this year’s WriteAThon. Here’s a handy link for that and thank you for reading.

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Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Fireside (updated)

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re submitting stories to Fireside Quarterly and we’re reading Akhulume by Larissa Irankunda from Fireside‘s April 2020 issue.

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Fireside

Eligibility: original speculative works up to 3,000 words

Take Note: Fireside requests the submissions have a font size 14 (rather than 12). UPDATE: Fireside’s website has been updated to reflect the guest editor’s personal preferences, including: bodily transformation, repurposed tech, effects on trauma on relationships, and cyberpunk. Check it out here.

Submit by: this opening begins tomorrow, June 15th, and closes June 19th, with special guest editor Ryan Boyd.

Payment offered: 12.5 cents per word

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo

This week we’re reading Akhulume by Larissa Irankunda from the April 2020 issue of Fireside. While Fireside has no specific themes, reading what the magazine publishes can still give writers an excellent idea of the type of story they prefer. Akhulume is available to read, or listen to, by clicking here.

Akhulume tells the story of being trapped inside an alien ship, somewhere in the stars. The protagonist holds tight to their sense of self and their family, but gradually their grip loosens, the worlds entangling, reality muddling. We can feel them losing that sense of themself as they lose their voice, moments bewildering and uncomfortable for the protagonist and the reader.

In a craft sense, I’m drawn to how Irankunda moves the story from beginning to end. Google tells me (keeping in mind that Google is rarely perfect) that “akhulume” means “speak,” setting the theme for the story. Irankunda breaks the story into eight sections, each beginning with “the nth time they asked you your name…” to usher the reader through each shift. With each consecutive question, we are reminded again of the power of speech and voice, the personal history, and what language means to the protagonist. As time moves on, the reader can be confident of the time structure, while the speech aspect becomes less reliable, evolving and changing. It’s an excellent technique.

All right, now it’s your turn, writers, time to get to work and send out the best you’ve got. I hope you are safe, well, and your loved ones near. Until next week,

happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: through other eyes

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re subbing to All Worlds Wayfarer‘s  Through Other Eyes anthology and we’re reading John Wiswell’s Tank at Diabolical Plots.

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All Worlds Wayfarer: Through Other Eyes

Eligibility: 1500 to 5K word speculative stories that show the reader the world through non-human eyes “to discover new ways of looking at our own {lives}”

Take Note: All Worlds Wayfarer states that they love stories that explore identity, so be sure to emphasize this as you explore your non-human POV

Submit by: tentative deadline of June 15th, 2020, “but may run longer”

Payment Offered: $20 honorarium

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo

This week we’re reading a story by an author who has a serious knack for writing non-human voices: John Wiswell. Specifically, we’re reading his story Tank as it was published by Diabolical Plots. You can click here to go read that now. It’s worth noting Wiswell has another story that would fit this anthology call coming out any minute now with Diabolical Plots called Open House on Haunted Hill, a beautiful story that I also recommend you watch for and study as an example of making a non-human voice work (it was sent in DP’s last newsletter but hasn’t been published to the website at time of writ).

Tank is the story of a socially awkward tank trying to navigate a Con. They struggle with revolving doors, forms, invasive questions, crowds, and the dreaded small talk. Here’s where Wiswell works his magic: he makes the reader empathize with Tank, a hunk of metal and tracks, by putting tank in human situations and humiliations that all of us been through in one form or another. Their actions are the actions of a tank, but the emotions are our own. Wiswell got me when Tank saw someone they immediately wanted to befriend based on first impression, only to fail to think of something to say and lose the chance. And then there’s the clumsiness… sigh.

Martha Wells employs the same tool in her Murderbot series; while readers may struggle to empathize with a cyborg killing machine, we can certainly understand Murderbot’s yearning to sink into their media files and make the world go away.

To break it down: Wiswell and Wells make their non-human POVs come alive by focusing on what they have in common with humans, rather than what makes them different.

That’s it for this week, writers, happy writing and I wish you good health. If you live in the U.S. and you’re protesting, please be safe, and remember the rest of the world is watching and we think you’re brave AF.

I know there are difficult financial burdens in the world right now, but if you can, here is a link to a gofundme for the medical bills of a friend of my good friend who was hurt in the protests. Feel free to add more related fundraisers in the comments and I will share them on my social media.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Podcastle

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re submitting to Podcastle‘s open call and we’re reading Gem Isherwood’s Salt and Iron.

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Podcastle

Eligibility: fantasy stories up to 6 000 words

Take Note: the editors request writers remove their legal name and address from standard manuscript format before submitting

Submit by: submissions open tomorrow, June 1st, and run through to the June 30th, 2020

Payment offered: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to original call for full details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo

This week we’re dipping into Podcastle‘s recent archives to read (or listen to) Gem Isherwood’s story Salt and Iron. You can click here to go read or listen to that story now.

There are several elements to this story that read like a fairy tale, in keeping with itself as a retelling of the Girl Without Hands, collected by the brothers Grimm. To escape being sold to the fairy king, the protagonist Dagna chops off her hands and a local midwife bewitches her a pair of iron hands to replace them. Dagna struggles with her new freedom and her new identity, but after killing a would-be lover with her uncontrolled strength, she banishes herself to the outskirts of society. It’s hard not to think of Frankenstein’s monster in this scene, following that first murder of his own, and I think Isherwood did that intentionally to illustrate Dagna’s shift from innocent to clever to monster in society’s, and her own, eyes.

Here Isherwood leaves those traditional narratives behind, pulling Dagna from the presumed monstrosity of her disability and putting her on the path of redemption. I like the course of this redemption especially because Isherwood upends many of the harmful disability tropes rampant in fairy tales. Neither is the happy ending guaranteed or even inferred, instead Isherwood gives Dagna the agency of her own future.

This kind of fresh take on an old story is key to a successful retelling, and the trope-busting elements are among those I’ve learned to associate with Podcastle over the years.

Now, it’s your turn writers! Give them the best you got. In the meantime, stay healthy and happy writing.

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one of our first spring flowers, a violet from my ‘lawn’

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: climate fiction

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re submitting to And Lately, the Sun and reading Priya Sarukkai Chabria’s Mid-term Ecolit Examination.

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And Lately, the Sun

Eligibility: speculative stories from 2K to 8K words that re-imagine the future under climate change.

Take Note: the editors want stories that engage possible solutions, rather than point out concerns

Submit by:  June 30th, 2020 – please note this publisher is in Australia, which has a significant time change from say, Canada (where I am), and submit accordingly

Payment Offered: $80 AUD per story, with one chosen as the ‘editor’s pic’ which will receive $500.

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A Story to Ignite your Writing Mojo

I am bending the rules on the usual story-that-meets-a-theme on this episode of Sunday. I’ve been hunting up cli-fi stories over the past few days and I keep coming back to this one: Mid-Term Ecolit Examination Paper by Priya Sarukkai Chabria. You can read this story by clicking here now. Now, with this story, the reader has to put in an effort to piece together the world, but it also gives you, as a writer, a lot of options to play with. And although I’m not sure Chabria’s story engages solutions enough for the editors of And Lately, the Sun I do think it can be an excellent catalyst for your story.

In much of our apocalyptic/climate change literature, we often engage the natural world as the antagonist, while Chabria turns that on it’s proverbial head, painting a softscape of nature and it’s beauties. We see the destruction, but the edges are softened by reveries of green. This softening is the same effect that nature has on human stress levels, so using this element to counter nature-as-antagonist is elegant and moving to me as a reader. This is an astounding story when you begin to dig into the meat of it and let go of a search for typical narrative structure.

Chabria has also juxtaposed what is clearly a world emerging from chaos with typical education structures. Someone is taking an exam in middle school, which suggests that ultimately, something of who we are now has survived, somewhere past the passion of political poems, burning tires, flooded cities, and volcanic eruptions.

Now it’s up to you to engage some solutions and frame up your story submission. I hope you are well, washing your hands, wearing your masks, and I wish you good writing.

and in my personal writing news…

I have a space mythology story coming out in the June issue of Metaphorosis magazine, entitled Zsezzyn, Who is Not a God. It’s the story of a girl who is poised to inherit the universe only to discover it has been destroyed in a bid to maintain her family’s control over it. To save the stars she loves, Zsezzyn must reach deep into the wells of her own creativity. Here’s the cover, giving me big grins to see my name on it:

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This issue won’t be out until June, but pre-orders just opened for the e-book.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Andromeda Spaceways

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week I’m bursting with excitement to bring a call from Andromeda Spaceways, mostly because they’re the place where I got my second acceptance, AKA the one that means it’s not a fluke. However, it’s also because I’ve always wanted to showcase them  here but, as many of you know, I don’t want struggling writers to face a paywall in the stories we use to showcase the magazine. So when I noticed that Andromeda Spaceways released a free Apocalypse Edition of stories written by Sean Williams, I had to take my chance. However, this is bit trickier than the usual click of a website, because you’ll have to follow the link and then download the story as a .pdf file. Ugh, Jennifer, don’t make us read an entire magazine of awesome science fiction. Right? Get reading, writers, its good for your stories.

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Andromeda Spaceways

Eligibility: speculative stories of up to 10K words, although subscribers and authors living in New Zealand or Australia may submit stories of up to 20k words.

Take Note: all submissions must be anonymous

Submission deadline: the current opening is scheduled for May 1st until June 30th but at time of writ their website is still reading closed (checks date). I’m sure this will be rectified soon. time has been tricky to keep track of since lockdown began.

Payment offered: $0.01 (AUD), with a minimum of $20 and a maximum of $100

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

As previously mentioned, you’ll have to click here and download the Apocalypse Edition. Once you’ve got that handled, you should read this entire issue to get a strong sense of the editor’s taste, but for our purposes I’m going to focus on a flash piece that stood out to me: Tales About Today My  Great-Great-Granddaughter Will Tell Me, written by Sean Williams.

This has lot to say for a flash, Williams deftly shining a mirror that will make you cringe on modern society. We see our everyday from four generations ahead, and (spoilers) they don’t hold up. We are almost inexplicable in our foolishness, and that’s hard to see, but… this is also a good time to see it? Our species, huddled into our Great Pause, is facing a major shift. We will grow beyond this – though in what direction we do not know – and the growing pains have already begun. Stories like this help us think about who we want to be on the far side of that growth, and spur us on to keeping the power of those choices instead of grinding forward to maintain our place in a machine that is falling apart.

That’s all for this week, folks, I wish you all good health, strong submissions, and a wealth of story ideas.

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: cossmass infinities

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re submitting to Cossmass Infinities and we are reading Frances Rowat’s stunning story  Mechanical Connection from their first issue.

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Cossmass Infinities

Eligibility: original science fiction and fiction from 2K -10K words

Take Note: after receiving a rejection, writers may submit another, different story for the duration of the magazine’s opening

Submit by: this opening closes May 14th, 2020 (open calls happen 3x per year)

Payment offered: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to the original call for more details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo

This week we’re diving into Cossmass Infinities‘ fiction section and reading Mechanical Connection by Frances Rowat. Click here to go read that now.I like this story because of the trope subversion, what we can learn from it as writers, and because I’ve always had an affection for a superhero story.

In Mechanical Connection, Jennifer Jackson, AKA Phosphorus Jack, is a mechanic with a side of vigilante. There’s a sequence in the story wherein Rowat describes how Jennifer fixes the mechanical devices she works on, by feel and instinct and seeing what comes after this next thing, and it grabbed me because it felt like story construction. Maybe you’ll have a similar reaction, but I bring it up because, like the way this story subverts a ton of female superhero tropes, it also upends ‘the write what you know’ and shows us how to actually do that. Mechanics for Jennifer are an act of creation, and perhaps mechanics aren’t our specific passion, but creativity is (I assume, since you’re reading this) and there are certain universals in human nature we can build on – things we ‘know.’ Rowat has taken a chance and written the mechanics from the perspective of creativity rather than methodical attention to order and three-dimensional place.

Now hear me out because while this scene is a wonderful lesson for writers, this scene also works as some damn positive feminist fiction.  Rowat has taken a superhero, eliminated any need for hyper-sexiness, gave her the quintessential man’s job, AND made our perception of that job shift into something more feminine so as not to strip Jennifer of her womanhood. Moreover, Rowat then has Jennifer (SPOILER AHEAD) take a woman out of an actual fridge to save her. This dynamic writer/character duo has just subverted the fridging trope. I am so impressed and delighted to read this.

::Standing ovation::

Stay safe everybody, and happy submitting this week. If you need a pick-me-up, be sure to check out #BookCoverChallenge on twitter and enjoy people recreating book covers with random objects lying about their homes during lockdown. It’s a good time.

 

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Cast of Wonders banned books week UPDATED

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re getting ready to Cast of Wonder‘s upcoming Banned Books Week and we’re reading This is Not a Ghost Story by V. Medina.

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Cast of Wonders: Banned Books Week

Eligibility:  speculative YA stories up to 6K words along the theme banned books. Updated June 1st: this year’s theme is Lifelines: books that get us through isolation (click here to see further details on their moksha)

Take Note: all submissions must be anonymous

Submit by: this opens June 15th and closes June 30th, 2020  **please note these dates have changed since original posting**

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word for original fiction

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A Story to ignite your writing mojo

This is Not a Ghost Story by V. Medina was published by Cast of Wonders in their 2019 Banned Books Week. What I like about for today’s story is the way it shifts our imaginations away from the usual ideas of what a banned book is and consider what stories may be suppressed without our awareness, maybe by our own selves. Click here to go read or listen to that story now.

This is Not a Ghost Story introduces us to a protagonist struggling through adolescence with a disability. They are frustrated that their presumed story is not their own, nor one they’d choose, and find solace telling stories to the ghosts in their room at night. As they grow, so their stories grow too, into an important and liberating part of their adult self.

Not all books are publicly banned, sometimes they are banned by presumption, prejudice, or our own lack of confidence. Our job now is dig them up, brush them off, and make them bold. Good luck with this one, writers. Stay safe.

 

 

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Arsenika

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to inspire your submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re subbing to Arsenika and reading J. M. Melican’s The Story of Your Name from their archives.

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Arsenika

Eligibility: unpublished, original speculative fiction only. Writers may submit two flash stories (up to 1 000 words each) AND five poems (line count limit not given)

Take Note: writers of fiction may send up to two pieces for this call

Submit by: this market is already open and closes April 30th, 2020

Payment offered: flat rate of $60 USD for fiction

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

This is the kind of story that truly thrills me, the kind that quickens my pulse, that makes my heart give a little gasp of delight, and my eyes never dare to leave the page/screen for fear of breaking the magic. This is The Stories of Your Name by J. M. Melican – click here and have a read, you won’t regret it.

The Stories of Your Name begins with the romantic imaginings of a lover that travel beyond the expected, wooing and seducing as much as the imagined lover. Or perhaps it is the soft possibility that we are eavesdropping, or playing the lover ourselves. This lover takes us to distant worlds and unknown cultures, spinning tales of the elusive name, and all the while drawing us again. It’s a haunting, wonderful little piece.

This is the kind of story Arsenika seeks to publish; stirring, original, untamed, and written with an elegant prose. This might be a trifle intimidating to new writers, but you’ll never know if you don’t try and trying is how you get good at it.

(editorial note – I have reviewed this story, so if it feels a bit familiar, it’s not just you, but this story still takes my breath away and I want to share it with as many people as I can.)

Stay well writers, wash your hands, stay home, be safe, I love you.