Tag Archives: Camp Nanowrimo

July 27, 2015

Camp-Winner-2015-Web-BannerThis month has been pretty busy, as evidenced by my not being around much online. However, that’s meant a lot of good developments for me in the writing department. I decided to do an overhaul of Paladin Honor thanks to the wonderful feedback last January (how is it already July?) at Darcy Patterson’s retreat. Feedback suggested some reworking of the end mostly and I wanted to pitch the novel at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association conference, which was two weekends ago as well, so it made sense to dive in and give the book a final polish. So, I’m ending the month not only with a freshly polished novel with a stronger ending, but also a couple of requests from pitching it. I just need to revamp the query and summary now before sending it on out. I feel victorious and productive.

captchaAlso, I’m hoping to make some changes to this website in the coming months. I’ve been getting a ton of spam comments, which is why I have the comments go off after two weeks, but I finally took the time to find and research some security things to put on it so I can re-open them again. I’m also doing some larger planning to try to organize my posts better… and eventually will probably bet get a theme that works better on a tablet. Marketing is one of my weaker things and I’d like to improve. Ultimately, I’d like to blog more on focused subjects, probably Anthropology and world-building for fantasy, science fiction, and historical novels, since most of mine fall into those categories.Kathul

Another thing that’s happened these last few months, is that I’ve written a joint novel! This was actually a huge surprise, since neither of intended to write a joint novel. While I’ve fallen into writing a few books when I didn’t mean to, this is the first one I’ve written entirely by accident. It started out as a fluffy crossover project, when during rping with one of my long term writing partners. One of my characters wanted to visit one of hers and help her solve a problem, and since we weren’t doing much at the time, we went ahead and wrote it. The thing ended up about 100k and we had a great time and considered it just fun writing practice.

Fast forward three years, and my friend dug it up at one point while revising another story and re-read it. It was actually a full novel, with proper character arcs, plot, and a great climax. It just needed some things to be filled out in the middle of it and for us to re-frame the book to make it unclear if my troll was a supernatural creature a construct of the MC’s imagination. We both dove into editing it and now we have a new great book!

On the downside, all this productivity somehow obscured me finalizing some art problems with my Calico Avenger book. I promise to get that fixed and out for sale soon! My new deadline is September 1st, and this time I promise it will happen!


Camp Nanowrimo: Into the Woods of Revision

camp 2015

It’s that time of year. April is almost upon us, and for those active in the world of Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) it’s time to consider doing the April camp.  For those of you who don’t know about camp, here’s the basics: it’s a smaller additional twice a year Nanowrimo challenge in which you chose your word count or project. Finishing a started project, short stories, editing, graphic novels or screen writing are no longer rebels but official projects. Often I use the camps to give myself that extra bit of motivation to get whatever project I’m working on finished. Unfortunately I don’t always “win” camp, like I do the official event.work

This happens because when I sign up they have the default 50k goal sitting in the box and when I look at it, ready to change it to my planned goal something in me goes, wait! You can do 50k, really! Why change it? After all, you really want this project done. Only, unlike in November where I’ve set aside other obligations for the last ten years and everyone knows I’m busy, I have other stuff going on during the months of April and July. But since anything I get done is a victory in a larger sense, I find it useful anyway.

Silver creek trailThis year, though, I want to do something dramatic, bold, and brave! So, off I venture into the deep woods of revision! I want to turn a good novel into a brilliant one. The book is one I’ve been working on for several years, has been through several rounds of critiques at Critique Circle, and several full book beta tests from close friends. After doing everything I could, I still didn’t feel confident about it though. Despite knowing the book and the writing were strong and supposedly market-ready, it nagged on me that I was still missing something. That it wasn’t as good a book as some of my others. So I took the book to Darcy Pattison’s novel retreat.

In a group with three other novelists, we worked through the exercises in Novel Metamorphosis interspersed with lectures from Darcy and small group discussions. What came out of that retreat was a focused map for revisions, one I’ve been honing this last week by doing some of the exercises in the book I didn’t have time for the retreat schedule being so focused. Unlike other camps, I’ve got my backpack full of tricks and a detailed map of what I’m adding and subtracting from the novel. And thus I’m going to be big, brave, and bold. The novel is 85,000 words long and I’m going to edit each and every one of them, so I’m upping that number on the nano goal to 85k.

And considering this novel is about the age of Charlemagne, I feel quite justified in using the traditional battle cry as I get myself fired up for April 1st: Monjoy!

Camp is here!

2014-Participant-Vertical-BannerI love to go camping. Something I will have to wait until I get my car back from repairs to do. Siiiigh. But until then, I can go to Camp Nanwrimo! This summer version of Nanowrimo (the main event is in November) is a lot more relaxed. Writers can pick their word count goal, if they’re writing a novel, script, short stories, revising, etc. Any writing project is acceptable. And while I’m super busy with both writing Much Ado About Villains and proofreading Dragon Boy for the Pacific Northwest Writers’s Association conference Sea-tac, I just couldn’t resist getting myself together to make a goal for July’s camp.

Good thing I’m not really going camping until August! I won’t have time.

I debates setting a new goal for Much Ado like I did in April, but I need a break from my intensive schedule and some mental room to work on Dragon Boy and the conference, so I decided I’d finish one of my other novels that was unfinished. I’m attending a workshop next January (no one can complain I don’t plan ahead at this rate) where I’ll be in a small group going over a chosen novel and so I picked one that was unfinished but I really cared about for the workshop called Mortal Friends. I need to send a full draft in to my group partners by the end of November, so now’s the perfect time to squeeze it in. I’m pretty excited to finish this book, as it’s one that’s special to me. Here’s the blurb:

Conrad (Con for short) the goblin is forced to join the Horde to help his impoverished mother keep her house and his sister out of an early and disgusting marriage. Life in the Hoard stinks, he’s bossed around by the other goblins, the food’s no good, and the heroes just cut through them no matter how hard they fight or try and defend themselves.

His brother Swindle watches his back though, and gets Con a nicer position—guarding a captive princess. The Princess Irene is slated to marry the goblin prince in a plan to bring the Golden Lands under the Horde’s control.  Bored with guard duty, Con first reassures her, then teaches her how to sword fight, accidently becoming friends. As the wedding draws near, Con can’t stand the thought of watching it happen, but can he help her escape without being a traitor to his people?

I’ve kept my goal at 50k, the length I hope the book will end up at, because before finishing it I want to go over what I’m keeping and revise it. I’m hoping for a whole draft by the end of the month so I can get back to villains.

Now, to everyone else doing camp this month, let’s get writing!

Losing Camp and Tea experiments


2014-Participant-Vertical-BannerI realize I sort of disappeared for the month of April. Signing up for Camp Nanowrimo was probably not the brightest or most doable ideas—but that’s what happened. This year, I’ve been madly trying to get both “Much Ado About Villains” finished and “Dragon Boy edited in time for the writing conferences I’ve signed up for, and my reasoning when poked by a friend to join her at trying Camp Nano again this April was that I needed to finish my draft anyway. I might as well count the word count, right?

I was going to put a realistic goal for the month, but when filling out the novel information sheet, I did need 50k of all the scenes in order still… even if that would be counting revision material (Camp rules are more flexible than the main Nov event, allowing for personalized word count, revision, editing, or screen plays). I probably should have set the more reasonable 30k goal I was originally planning, rather than leaving it at 50k, because I ended up with 28k or rewritten and revised beginning, although I think it’s coming along quite nicely at least.

Camp ate up a lot of mental energy and time, meaning things like this blog got shelved, but not “winning” wasn’t a big deal to me. What mattered more was that I found the missing plot and tension issues that were slowing up the novel. And at least I had a lot of fun sitting in front of my computer with a lot of hot tea. April is an excellent month for drinking tea in Oregon.teapots

Over the last six months, I’ve actually been drinking a huge amount of tea. It’s soothing, it lets me keep the heat bill down (since it warms me up) and it makes for a pleasant time while writing. My husband has always been fond of tea pots, and so I started collecting nice second hand ones as I came across them, which has lead to my being in the habit of using a small teapot regularly for my tea. Most of the teapots are a Japanese style that strains loose leaf tea, although sometimes I’ll use a bag as well. I just put the bag in the teapot instead of a cup and it stays warmer longer in the pot.

teasUp in Beaverton last weekend, my husband and I got a bit daring with a brief stop to Uwajimaya, the largest Asian store in the Portland area, that I know about anyway. They have a wonderful pottery section we enjoy browsing, but we were strong and did not buy yet more teapots. Instead,  the allure of the tea isle roped us in. So many varieties, so many brands, none of which we could read the packaging, or at least not well, but all of which looked fabulous! We went on a 30 dollars spending spree on random Asian teas: two kinds of gen-mai cha (roasted rice), two different green teas, hoji-cha (roasted tea), and an interesting herbal mix with various roasted grains. Not something we ought to do often, but I’ve been having altogether too much fun sampling it all.

Since I shouldn’t drink caffeine (a cup of caffeinated coffee seems to not wear off for 24 hours instead of the supposed 6 that caffeine stays in the body), I usually stick to herbal and decaffeinated teas. However, this can get disappointing to miss some of the more interesting flavors. Certainly, imported Asian teas never come in decaf.

However, I’ve read somewhere that most of the caffeine in tea is released in the first 30 seconds of brewing, so to reduce how much caffeine I get, I will decaf regular teas by brewing for 30 seconds, dumping the water out, and re-brewing. It’s not as low in caffeine as a professionally decaffeinated tea, but at least takes the edge off so I don’t get jittery, and yet can enjoy all the new flavors.



Batik, Camp Win, and African Violets

I’ve been so busy moving, I haven’t blogged about much else in a while, so here’s a quick news update on other things happening to me:

Batik and Prayer Flags

I had a great time at the Summer Conference last week.  In between Dr. Fagerberg’s great lecture on the liturgy and Fr. Jeremy’s stories about the 2012 synod (which he pronounces sin-id) I took an art class to give my brain a break–batik fabric dying.

batik 003Batik, for anyone not familiar with it, is a process of dripping wax on cloth, then dying it in different colors.  It’s sort of a cross between Ukrainian Easter Eggs and Tie-dye.   I did it last year at the conference, a Holy Spirit dove that worked out pretty well, and Ina (the teacher of the course) and I talked about how all the designs hanging up looked like prayer flags.  This led to a discussion about actually making prayer flags with batik, something I had planned ahead of time to do this year.

batik prayer flagsTraditional prayer flags feature five animals, the windhorse, the dragon, the snowlion, the tiger, and the garuda (a bird-like creature).  The windhorse is usually put in the center of each flag, a symbol of the wind that blows through the flags and carries the prayers out across the earth. The four other animals (the Four Dignities) each represent a different element and aspect of the earth.  For my Christian prayer flag, I picked the Holy Spirit, and the Four Evangelists, traditionally represented by the four beast from Ezekiel’s apocalyptic vision: the winged man (Matthew), the winged lion (Mark), the winged ox (Luke), and the eagle (John).

To simplify, I made one flag for each animal and went with the colors and dyes available instead of trying the traditional colors.  Someday I may try something that echoes a traditional prayer flag more directly–with prayers and all five animals on each color, perhaps with a wood-block print, but I’m relatively pleased with the batik results anyway.

Camp Nano Success

Camp-NaNoWriMo-2013Just prior to leaving I was writing madly, since my Hood River writing group had talked me into Camp Nanowrimo.  I successfully finished the day before the conference.  I have a working draft of “Home Schooled-Villainy” a short story that takes place between books one and two of “Dark Lord Academy” and went over the first four chapters of book two, restructuring it.  I hope to get a working draft of the novel by the end of this month.  I know people are waiting on me.  I feel pretty positive about the content I got during the month though. It’s a strong start even if I need a lot of revisions.

My New Hobby

full blooming violetWhen I was little my great grandmother had a row of African Violets in several colors on her windowsill.  She was always very particular to put the awning down (I love that word–awning) to protect them from direct sunlight.  Mostly I think about it because A few years ago, I noticed my mother had a fair amount of success getting her one African Violet to bloom.  After teasing her about it being an old person’s pastime, she explained she’d discovered African Violet food and that they were relatively easy to care for.discount violets

After that, I just had to try one on my own.  Not only did the one flower I bought bloom several times, but I successfully grew a new plant from one of the leaves (although it hasn’t flowered yet) and the original one split into three.  So now I have four pink violets, and when they bloom, I might give a couple of them away.  But it started me wanting more colors!

Full sized plants in bloom range about $4-6 locally, with Fred Myers plants being the healthiest and largest at the cheapest price.  However, some stores discount plants when they finish blooming to 50% off, so now I’ve acquired some discounts, with Lowe’s being the best deal, followed by Wal-mart.  I’m not sure what colors some of them will be, but I’m looking forward finding out.

Don’t worry though. I haven’t forgotten Sylvania.  The move has just postponed getting any of it out again.  I will manage an update hopefully by the fall on them.mystery violets

Nanowrimo fireworks and Sylvanian Elephants

Well, despite the chaos, I hit my 50K goal for “A Recipe for Disaster” making it an official Camp Nanowrimo winner.  What does this mean for a novella whose target word count was 25-30K?  Frankly, that I have another actual novel on my hands.  Sigh.  This unexpected novel is also by far the most bizarre one I’ve written, but I’ve decided to just wait and see how revisions go and let it be however long or short it insists on.  Granted, I’m hoping to lose at least 10K cutting out the stream of consciousness notes and there’s a random scene from “The Claypit Banti” at the end of it to fill it out (hold out hope for a new chapters soon my Holy Worlds readers) but I still think this will end up pretty much a chapter book/middle grade novel.  I’m still hoping to release it this fall.

I’ve really enjoyed drafting again and this has been a positive experience, so I’m planning to do this all over again in August.  At the beginning of the year, I took part in the Taleist Self-publishing survey and have been enjoying reading the results.  One of the things I learned was statistically how much better Romance does selling on kindle than Fantasy as a genre.  Basically, on average Romance writers made well above average, while Fantasy writers well below.

Like every author, I have a variety of brand new story ideas of many different sorts, but this got me thinking.  I’m not the sort of person to pick a genre purely for the sake of sales, but picking which ideas to draft or edit first has always been a challenge for me.  If indie publishing and kindle books are favoring Romance stories, did I have any ideas that featured a romance sitting around?  Could I use this statistical information to inspire myself to finish sooner in hopes the book would sell particularly well?  Looking through my lists of previous ideas, I found four that I could categorize as YA Romance, and after rereading those and glancing over the notes and scenes I had for each, I picked one to draft for August Camp Nanowrimo and possibly future indie publication.

I’m hoping to report in next years survey all my success.

But until the month of August, I hope to manage to get some other stuff done first.  Like working on Sylvania.  The Sylvanian housing crisis is still a hard reality of life and all this summer Nanowrimo chaos hasn’t been good for the Sylvania.  All I’ve had time to do is stack cardboard boxes up on each other for temporary housing for a little over half the animals.  I did get a small green shelf second hand to make into a couple homes as well.

The trouble is the upstairs is short on shelving in general.  I have books stacked on the floor and stacks of boxes.  Fortunately, I got a couple of old bedrails to turn into shelves from my parents, but I need to buy cinder blocks to set them up before I can finally get the books off the floor.  I’m hoping after that I can perhaps manage something similar for the rest of Sylvania.

However, despite all logic to the contrary, I just couldn’t resist using my birthday money for this exceedingly cute elephant family.  As a child, my brother and had two elephant children we’d often pretend to be, Timbo and Blotto.  I think we might have gotten the idea of being elephant children from the Babar books.  So, letting other residents wait, I have excited settled the Elephant family into their new quarters.

The boy and girl are of course Timbo and Blotto, and the father’s green jacket makes him a perfect Babar, the mother Celeste (I think that’s the right name).  I haven’t named the three babies yet.  The youngest is just a flocked animal that isn’t a Sylvanian, but fits too nicely for me not to include him.

Also, because cats are awesome, here is Caramel who thinks she lives here.  She’s the landlord’s cat next door (no idea what they call her, but I name all cats I see regularly), but since their relatives used to live here, I think she used to be allowed indoors.  Every time I go out to work on the yard she thinks I’ve arrived to pet her.

Character Motivations, Rats, and Alien Invader Lilies

The Dark Chariot makes a return in "A Recipe for Disaster."

Doing an Nanowrimo in the summer has sort of stolen my brain this month as far as blogging goes. It seems these ideas come from the same place, no matter what I’m writing. So, I’ve decided to compromise and blog about the novel, despite most advice I’ve read suggesting that you don’t discuss your works in progress—apparently you’re less likely to finish things if you spend time talking about them to others (no wonder I never get anything done). But considering Nano is going surprisingly well, I’m going to risk it.

Anyway, I’ve tried to write this story as a short story, then as a novella several times, but always got stuck after just a few paragraphs. It had a great set-up, but I wasn’t sure where it went. Generally when I get ideas I consider them complete and ready to start poking when I have a beginning, end, main character, and a sense of the main character’s arc. The trouble was, with “A Recipe for Disaster” the plot wasn’t about the main character, really, or not the set-up I had started with. I knew where the young villain Cal started, finished, and what his character arc was, but what about the title disaster? It happened to other people, people I didn’t know… nor was I sure what happened to them.

So, the months kept passing with it not getting written and I realized I was going to have to do something about it, or it wasn’t going to happen. I figured if what I wanted was a 25,000 word novella, surely writing 50,000 words of mess, plotting, planning, and different possibilities of what the story might be would be more than enough words to get it done, right? And I could always stop early if I actually, but some miracle got the story done before the end of the month. Despite all this logic, I wasn’t sure this would work. Yet, under pressure, I was determined to find a way to plan and write the story.

On my walks I’ve been taking in the morning, I’ve discovered it’s the perfect time to plot a bit, ruminate on random possibilities for the story. I used to walk in the afternoon, but it’s hotter and I’m a good deal more tired, and so I wouldn’t get any ideas. Switching to first thing in the morning made a huge difference. I imagining different possibilities about who Bueford and the unnamed princess of Seaward might be. I had a lot of false starts, and originally called the princess Mistella, but switched it after a bit of rearranging to Jinella. Bueford went from crafty to rather pathetic, and an actual villain (although he thinks of himself as a hero) showed up: Mullog (the reasons the princess got a different letter at the beginning of her name).

Still, I needed something extra to boost thing, create some excitement. Now my good friend Jeff used to keep a rat when I was in college. Her name was Agnes and I discovered from visiting him every week to practice for our church music group, that rats make rather delightful pets. They have an unfortunate reputation and are always the villains in Brian Jacques’s well-know Redwall series, so it seemed natural and fun to give my young villain a pet rat.

Then, my sister Juliana was in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” recently and I had enjoyed the play. I found that instead of my novel going through my head while walking (the kids did a terrific job of the play), and suddenly, the full disastrous nature of the disaster hit me: Prince Bueford was going to end up with a rat head. From there it was an easy jump to think that perhaps Cal’s pet rat would switch forms with the prince and look like a human, and add some needed tension into Cal’s disastrous date with a love triangle… and to my surprise, my plot was working itself out.

Shakespeare is always awesome.

Its calm exterior is deceiving.

Of course I can’t always be writing, I’m supposed to keep up the yard of our rental. Well, this morning I found something rather disturbing. They just might be in the lily family, but they also might be alien invaders from a strange planet. I’m not sure exactly what these things are, but boy are they creepy. And someone thought they’d look good and actually planted them? My mind is a bit boggled.

Hopefully they will not transform into deadly pods and kill me in my sleep.

My Sort of Camp

The trouble with being a writer, is that I end up wanting to constantly be on my computer… something that doesn’t mix very well with the great outdoors.  While I love camping, I also end up deeply computer (and internet) deprived by the end of it… wanting my novels, my characters, and my roll-playing back.

So, I decided to go to virtual camp: Camp Nanowrimo.  Where most of the time what you do is write, set things on fire in the forums, and trade stories on who’s characters are the worst.  This is Camp Nanowrimo’s second year of existence and it’s still relatively small as a group.  You get placed in a cabin of six members, four of which never showed up, so Lyn and I live a rather quiet existence in our adjoining bunk beds, writing away.  At least I’m note entirely alone.

It’s felt good to be writing again.  I’ve picked a pesky novella, on the theory that 50,000 words is far too long so I’m bound to at least finish it before the month if I keep up to word count.  Over 18,000 words in however, the end is still not in sight.  Good thing this one is intended for an indie publication as a humorous 0.99 novella set in the same world as the Dark Lord Academy series, so I don’t have to explain to anyone else why its so long winded.  It’s called ” A Recipe for Disaster” and as a story, it’s certainly living up to its title.  None of the characters will behave, the plot won’t get its act together, and Kink, the MC’s pet rat insists on trying to steal the story.  In hopes more characters might ease the problem I’ve ended up with villain who wants to be a hero, a hero who wants to be a villain, and a princess who keeps changing her name.  Sigh.  It’s life as usual, as far as being a novelist goes.

On the bright side, if someone burns the cabin down (as happened last time I was at a real camp), at least my novel will be safely backed up on google docs.

Here’s the current blurb, and a very rough excerpt, the ones I have on the Camp Nano website:

Dark Lord apprentice Cal needs some quick cash, Prince Bueford needs out of an arranged marriage–it’s an alliance built on mutual self-serving motives. Maybe Cal hasn’t completed much of his training yet, and sure his reading skills are a little rusty, but how hard can cooking up a little disaster be?


Chapter 1
Cal Experiments in Cooking

Cal peered out the tower window, scanning the narrow streets below. Cartwheels clacked against the cobblestones, and people pushed and shoved their way through while the drivers shouted, but Master Xorgos was nowhere in sight. Dark Lord and Dread Wizard of Renown Evil, he wouldn’t take kindly to his apprentice trying to make some extra cash on the side using his evil spells.

Cal wiped his sweaty palms down his black robe and swallowed hard. He needed some money if he was going to take Loestra to the Dreaded Ball this weekend like he’d promised. She’d dump him for sure if he didn’t.

Pushing the window shut to keep out the flies, Cal turned back to the workroom before him. Master Xorgos had impressed upon him the task of scrubbing the floor while he was gone, in preparation for new evil experiments. He would be gone for the weekend, collecting esoteric new ingredients. Ingredients, Cal was sure, that would require cataloging, pouring carefully into glass jars, and organizing meticulously onto the shelves of the workroom closet. All dull tasks left to him as a dark apprentice.

Cal had plans of his own however. He’d made a deal with Prince Bueford of Buckland to brew him up some sort of disaster he could unleash at the courtly presentation of the Princess of Seaward. Apparently Bueford didn’t want to marry her, and considering the princess’s temper tantrums when she didn’t get her way were legendary, Cal didn’t blame him. But not only did Bueford not have the money to pay for a little disaster formally from Master Xorgos, it was hardly evil enough that the Dark Lord would bother. Wiping out innocent villages with an army of instant minions, setting monsters on capital cities, and instituting periods of Global Darkness was more his style.

“Cal, Cal, you need to think bigger, eviller,” Master Xorgos always told him. “A Dark Lord and Dread Wizard of Renown Evil doesn’t deal in petty pranks. Only potions of mass destruction.”

“Which is why we live in a backwater little port like this, right?” Cal muttered to himself. He scooped up his pet rat, Kink, from the windowsill and set him on his shoulder to keep him out of trouble. “Well, I don’t care about what’s eviller, I care about making al ittle money.”

Kink twitched his bent tail, for which he was named and tried checking Cal’s front pocket for treats.

Ignoring the rat, Cal searched the old, musty books lining the shelves of Master Xorgos’ workroom.  Surely one of them had a decent enough recipe for disaster.  Heck, now that he’d been an apprentice for nearly two years, Master Xorgos had him restock all the ingredients into their carefully arranged glass vials; he knew where everything was.  He eased out a likely looking book and set it gently on the worktable.  How hard could this be?

It wasn’t as if it mattered to Cal if he became a Dark Lord himself; he was only here because Ma and Pa had too many mouths to feed and wanted the apprentice money Master Xorgos sent them. Cal never saw a penny of it. If that wasn’t evil, he didn’t know what was! But Loestra went to Dark Lord Academy and had filthy rich parents in an alternate dimension that had year round tropical weather. If he married her, his fortune was made.

“Death. Defeat. Des—truc—tion.” Cal sounded out the recipes one by one looking for the right one. He’d only learned to read after he’d been apprenticed. The fifth son of a tanner didn’t get much education. “Disaster.” He squinted at the ingredient list. The book read:

The amount of disaster created is directly proportional to the amount of mischief and stupidity. And is inversely proportional to the amount of common sense added. For large disasters, also add copious amounts of instability, while for smaller ones use half a measure of miscommunication mixed with half a measure of greed. Procrastination and a dash of irony may sweeten the disaster, but be careful. Too much and your disaster might be postponed indefinitely. Malicious intent can also be used to great effect, but overdone tends to result in too purposeful of carnage for a true disaster.