Sunday, November 4, 2012

No, she's not Katniss...

Apparently any girl with a bow is now Katniss. That's what you call success!

But this isn't Katniss... it's Hadde.

Here she is in action.

But that wasn't her costume this year. I just wanted a fun Hadde photo. Here was Amelia's costume this year:

She saw the helmet in the costume store and just had to be a viking. The helmet was a souvenir from Epcot (I was so proud that our daughter's only Disney World memento was a viking shield). The sword was from an old pirate costume of mine.

Speaking of Halloween archers, here's a "Fire Bow" I made for my nephew.

Here are the flames:

It draws 25 pounds at 25 inches. I'll post a few pics of the archer himself as soon as I get them.

I've gotten back to writing. I'll post a progress report soon!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review of Tom Swan

Tom Swan and the Head of St. George

A serialized ebook novel by Christian Cameron

1450s France. A young Englishman, Tom Swan, is kneeling in the dirt, waiting to be killed by the French who've taken him captive.He's not a professional soldier. He's really a merchant and a scholar looking for remnants of Ancient Greece and Rome - temples, graves, pottery, fabulous animals, unicorn horns. But he also has a real talent for ending up in the midst of violence when he didn't mean to. Having used his wits to escape execution, he begins a series of adventures that take him to street duels in Italy, meetings with remarkable men - from Leonardo Da Vinci to Vlad Dracula - and from the intrigues of the War of the Roses to the fall of Constantinople.

-from the “back cover”.

Characters: As with all of Cameron’s novels, we get characters out of history, not modern people in costume thrust into a different age. The characters’ behaviors and actions are true to the time period and this has the effect of making the book seem more real. The book opens with Tom Swan as a helpless captive, and given his desperate situation, he immediately gains the reader’s sympathy. He is a likeable, resourceful protagonist surrounded by an interesting cast of supporting characters.

World building: Cameron is unmatched when it comes to world building. He is both a historian and a reenactor and it comes out beautifully in his novels. Cameron has a wonderful way of adding rich details to his historical fiction, without sounding like a professor giving a college lecture. Tom Swan immerses the character in the world of late medieval France.

Engagement/Willing suspension of disbelief: This is not a fantasy novel, it is historical fiction. Given this, I expect realistic depictions of events while at the same time a story filled with enough action to keep me engaged. Again, Cameron does not fail. The fights are brutal and realistic, with genuine danger for our protagonist. Tom Swan is no Conan, able to charge into a horde of enemies. In fact, he reacts to surviving combat in a very human, realistic manner. At no point did I want to pull back in disbelief. Cameron kept me fully engaged in the story.

Writing/Mechanics: Tom Swan is a professionally written novel. Cameron writes excellent prose, but I’ll warn you that he doesn’t shy from historic terms for clothing and equipment, and you’ll occasionally run into non-English words or phrases. But for me, this just adds to the richness of the experience. The context of the story tells us what the items are and what the words mean.

Impact: I read the novella in one sitting and loved it. Actually, it is not a novella, but one part of a serialized novel. And this is my one disappointment. Now I have to wait a month to be a part of Tom Swan’s next adventure.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bow Number Two

Thought I'd show you my second bow. It is another American longbow/flatbow. Overall length is 6' and the draw weight is 45 pounds at 28 inches.

Once again, I "backed" the bow with brown craft paper soaked with wood glue. I painted the paper black and did another swirling design on it. (I need to work on some new designs.)

Here's the bow at full draw. I enjoy shooting it more than my first bow, although I am far from a good shot. At this point I am willing to admit that I am definitely addicted to making bows (number three is well along).

Now that the school year has started it is time to focus on my real job. And now that I will have a normal (non-summer) schedule there will be more writing going on. I suppose bow making and archery will have to move a couple of steps down the ladder.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finishing my first longbow

Here are some more pics of my first longbow build. In my last post I had roughed out the shape of the bow. Now came the all important tillering process. I started by putting the bow on a tillering "tree" and hanging twenty pounds of weights from it.

This was enough weight to start bending the bow. The goal is to have a very even bend across the length of the bow. You don't want any flat spots or sharp bends. You can see that the left arm was slightly more bent than right.

I continued shaving off more wood and adding more weight. Until I got to this point:

Oops! Look how much the left arm is bending. I took off too much wood. And this was with thirty-five pounds instead of the forty I was hoping for. In order to even out the arms I had to take more wood off, resulting in a bow that only drew thirty pounds. 

Here is the bow after tillering and sanding. Now it was ready for the final finishing process. I did take it out for a few shots at this point in time and was very pleased.

And here is the final bow (In the hands of my lovely assistant, Amelia)! It still need a proper string and arrows, but I am very happy with how it came out.

A detail of the handle. I pained the back (the part facing away from the archer) black and then added a swirling yellow design to it. The back was covered in glue-soaked paper to prevent splinters and cracks from developing when the bow was drawn. The paint job was to improve the brown-paper look. The handle is wrapped in glue-soaked hemp twine. You'll see a notch right above the handle. This is called the arrow rest. Not all bows have them, but American longbows usually have them, so I put on on. 

The final product "braced" with some nylon cord. Now to get some arrows and put it into action!

69" (nock to nock) Red Oak "American" longbow backed with paper.
30# draw weight at 28" draw

Making this bow was loads of fun and I will definitely be making another ASAP!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Making a Longbow

I did a lot of research on archery while writing Eternal Knight. Combine this with a life-long interest in military history and my historical wargaming hobby and it was only a matter of time before I set out to make my own bow.

In Eternal Knight, Hadde's bow, Hawkeye, is a composite recurve bow. Composite means that the bow is made of three materials: animal sinew on the back (the part away from the archer), wood as a core material, and horn on the belly (the part closest to the archer). Recurved means that the bow actually bends away from the archer when unstrung. Composite recurve bows can be both very powerful and very difficult to string. They are also short and excellent for horse-archers.

For my first bowmaking experience I chose NOT to make Hadde's bow. Composite recurve bows are not for beginning bowyers. I am going to make a simple longbow out of red oak. The Eastern Landomeri in Eternal Knight use longbows, so that will be my bow's book connection. For my bowmaking guide I am using a variety of sources from the internet, but primarily Poor Folk Bows. I am following his "Red oak board bow build along".

Roughing out:

I have a six foot red oak bowstaff that has been roughed out with a wood rasp. The wood came from Home Depot and started out as a 1 x 2 x 6. It always surprises me how thin the wood on a bow is. I always expect them to be fatter. The protruding part is called the riser. It will become the handle. Why is the bow staff so straight? It won't gain it's bow-like shape until I start the tillering process. All of the work you see above was done in about two hours.

 Backing the bow:

Backing a bow is when you laminate a substance to the back (the part away from the archer) of the bow. Backing can be used to strengthen a bow by adding another layer, especially if that layer is a material that resists stretching. Sinew is an extremely good backing. Bamboo, hickory, ash, and maple make good backings as well. A second purpose in backing the bow is that it prevents splinters from rising as the bow is bent. Splinters lead to fractures, and fractures lead to broken bows. If your goal is preventing splinters you can use a variety of materials including silk, linen, drywall tape, and paper. I selected paper. Why? Because the Whole Foods bag says PLEASE RECYCLE THIS BAG and I always do as I am told. I used three layers of paper and copious amounts of wood glue. I let each layer set up for ten minutes before adding the next layer, making certain that the paper was completely soaked through. After adding the final layer, I coated the entire surface with glue.

Tomorrow (or whenever I get to it) I will use my handy rasp to round off the edges of my bow's back and eliminate the excess paper. After that comes the tillering process. Tillering teaches the bow to bend and adjusts the bow to the proper draw weight. I am aiming for a forty pound draw. Forty pounds is plenty for target shooting and can be drawn by most adults.

So far this has been a lot of fun. I'll be back soon with more.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix

Silver Phoenix is the story of Ai Ling, a strong, independent young woman who leaves her home to both escape an unwanted marriage and to find her missing father. A fantasy in a world based on ancient China, Silver Phoenix is filled with adventure, strange creatures, and great characters. Ai Ling is joined on her adventure by a pair of brothers, the strong, serious Chen Yong and his love-crazed younger brother, Li Rong. I found the three characters to be well-written and distinct individuals.

World building: Unlike most of the fantasy novels I’ve read, Silver Phoenix has an Asian setting. It was a refreshing change from your typical pseudo-European world. It was a great to see characters confronted by new and unique gods, demons, and monsters instead of the standard orcs, elves, and ogres (or variants thereof). I loved the author’s world-building efforts; her descriptions of architecture, food, clothing, and the environment made the world come alive.

Engagement: A very engaging novel, Silver Phoenix definitely keeps the action rolling. It is fast-paced and tightly written. My only serious complaints would be with the rapidity with which Ai Ling’s powers developed and the presence of an overly helpful magic item. Other than that, I found myself engrossed in both the story and the world the author created.

Writing: The author writes very clear, straightforward prose. I enjoyed her style. Silver Phoenix reads like a blend of historical fiction, fairy tale, and fantasy. Having said that, my knowledge of ancient Chinese history is pretty sketchy and the author has clearly stated that Xia is only based on Chinese culture and folklore - it is not supposed to strictly represent China at any particular time period. The novel was, in every way, professionally written.

Impact: Although classified as a young adult novel, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel from an adult perspective. While aimed at a YA audience, some scenes felt very grown up. A few times I felt myself wondering if it was a serious fantasy or a lighter fairy tale. However, these were minor distractions. I loved the characters, there was a lot of action, tension was high throughout, and the world building was outstanding. As soon as I finished Silver Phoenix I immediately downloaded Fury of the Phoenix.

Fury of the Phoenix is the sequel to Silver Phoenix and follows Ai Ling and Chen Yong as they travel to Jiang Dao (Chen Yong’s birth father’s homeland). The novel is split between Ai Ling’s and,unexpectedly, Zong Ye’s perspectives. Zong Ye (the villain of Silver Phoenix) returns in spirit form to haunt Ai Ling. The great thing about the Zong Ye character is that we learn of his origins and he becomes a complete character. In Silver Phoenix he was just “The Bad Guy” and we didn’t know much about him. In Fury of the Phoenix he becomes a real person. Ultimately not a nice one, but a real one. He’s a great character.

Ai Ling spends much of her part of the novel either on board the ship taking her and Chen Yong to Jiang Dao or in in Jiang Dao itself. I have only two minor complaints with the novel and both have to do with setting. The opening scene of the novel has Ai Ling very improbably boarding and stowing away on a sailing vessel (at sea). It is impossible for me to imagine it happening as described and put me off in the first chapter. The second complaint has to do with the country of Jiang Dao. The author states in the afterword that Jiang Dao is not supposed to be Europe. Unfortunately, Xia is so clearly inspired by ancient China that I was constantly attempting to figure out which European country was supposed to be Jiang Dao. Don’t do this. Jiang Dao is a completely fabricated country containing an assortment of elements of European culture.

Here’s the good news: Fury of the Phoenix is excellent! It reads as a straight-up, grown-up fantasy novel and I was completely engaged throughout. The story of Ai Ling and Chen Yong’s journey and relationship was well-written and perfectly paced. Having said that, I was even more engrossed by Zong Ye’s story of his descent into evil. If a major draw of Silver Phoenix was setting and action, the big draw of Fury of the Phoenix is character and discovery (and a great lead-up to a thrilling climax). I highly recommend both books and look forward to the author’s next work.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review: Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

One hundred years into the future nearly all human beings have gained the ability to read minds. Our first-person protagonist, Kira, is a “zero”, one of the few people who never gained this ability. Early on the novel is the story of Kira as a social outcast. As a high school teacher I feel the author did an outstanding job capturing the feel of the high school experience. The novel significantly changes gears once Kira discovers that she is not a zero but a mindjacker. We leave the world of high school relationships and enter an even more sinister world of crime, government conspiracy, and intrigue.

Characters: Kira is the first person POV character. She was well-written, likeable, and believable. It is her concern for others that drives the action of the novel. Simon, a manipulative high school classmate was significantly less likable, but a believable character given his abilities. I’ll admit to being less than wholeheartedly convinced of Kira’s feelings for him. Raf, the good-guy third corner in the love triangle is sympathetic character you can’t help but root for.

World building: The world building in Open Minds is terrific. I love the premise of the novel and felt the author did a great job thinking though the implications of a society in which people can read minds. The near-future technology was plausible and I loved the future slang used by the characters. I wasn’t crazy about the explanation for the global origins of  mind-reading, but it certainly wasn’t a novel-breaker.

Engagement/Willing suspension of disbelief: As an adult male reader, I am the target audience for this novel. Kira’s high school challenges were well-written, but were not exactly my normal read. It was the very enjoyable process of discovery that kept me engaged for the first half of the novel. The second half of the novel was an entirely different matter. Fast-paced action and ever increasing stakes had me reading as fast as I could.

Writing/Mechanics: Open Minds is a professionally written novel. I have no criticism whatsoever with the author’s writing, style, or mechanics. I would have enjoyed seeing a longer process of discovery while Kira learned about her abilities. I also thought some of the relationship changes were a tad abrupt. Other than these two small complaints I give the author highest marks for writing.

Impact: I read the novel in two days and hated when I had to put it down. I’m still thinking about the implications of living in a society of mind readers and jackers. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. As an adult reader of sci-fi I give Open Minds four stars. As a YA novel I give Open Minds five stars. Highly recommended.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

TV I've been watching

I never watch TV programs (or movies) during their regular broadcast time. I'm always catching up on Netflix, DVD, or DVR. Most of the shows I want to watch are on during my writing time, so I catch up on them later. HBO To Go and Netflix have made it really easy to watch programs wherever I happen to be.

So here's what I've been watching (in no particular order):


A friend put me up to this one. Really, a protagonist serial killer who kills killers? It took me a while but I finally started streaming it on Netflix. How do I feel about it? Well, two of the things I most look for in fiction (movies, tv, books) are tension and the ability to sustain the willing suspension of disbelief. Dexter does a phenominal job at creating tension. However, I admit to feeling a little off about rooting for a serial killer. Sure, he's killing bad guys, but it's how he does it. Grisly business. Will he get caught? There's the tension generator for you. The willing suspension of disbelief gets stretched a bit, but doesn't break.

Speaking of breaking... Breaking Bad

A cancer stricken high school teacher turns to cooking meth to make certain his family is taken care of after he dies. Dark, dark, dark. Which is why I like it. I'm not a fan of horror, but I do like dark fiction where the protagonist gets beaten up. Again, I find myself wondering who I am rooting for. Instead of a "good guy" serial killer I have a morally questionable meth cooker.  No, I don't like the protagonist, but I am very curious about what will happen to him.

Let's lighten things up with Avatar, the Last Airbender

Re-re-re-re watching the entire series with my daughter. This is the best animated program I have ever seen. What I most love about this show was that it was written with a definite beginning and end. The show was planned and written for three seasons, and that was it. Why am I applauding the fact that they only gave me three seasons of a wonderful show? Unlike most animated shows that are meant to run for indeterminate (interminable) amount of time, Avatar had a true story arc. There was genuine character development and growth over the three seasons. Action, humor, romance, drama, Avatar has it all. I cannot praise this show enough and will watch it over and over again.

The Big Bang Theory

I am a geek. It is possible to be a geek and not love The Big Bang Theory? It has to rank as one of the funniest programs that I have ever watched.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I didn't watch Buffy when it originally aired, but I caught a few episodes on rerun shortly after it ended. As a big Joss Whedon fan I thought I'd take a look at the series that made him famous. Buffy is very well written, including a lot of humor and drama. It certainly passes the tension test, as Whedon was certainly willing to hurt his protagonists. Willing suspension of disbelief is a little bit tougher to take. In the case of Buffy I've given the suspension of disbelief a bit of a pass because of the good writing.

Keeping on an undead thread... The Walking Dead

I love this show! Talk about tension! You can't crank it up any higher. Yes, it is a bit on the gory side, but that comes with the zombie genre. Great characters, great story, great writing. Willing suspension of disbelief? Not bad. Sometimes the characters are a little too relaxed about their situation (mostly in season two) and I would certainly arm myself with some better melee weapons (a spear or pollaxe would certainly be better than a knife or machete), but nothing I can't get over. I have some questions about how the disease spread so quickly. I also want to know why the military wasn't capable of taking down the zombie hordes. But I am willing to let the show develop and hopefully answer those questions in time.

Game of Thrones

Excellent! HBO has done a great job with the novels, in fact I think it is one of the best novel to screen adaptations I have ever seen. HBO has masterfully captured the feel of the novels. When I watch (the wonderful) Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies there are a few parts where my vision of Tolkien's world is different than Jacksons. Not bad, just different. This is not the case with Game of Thrones. What I see on the screen is exactly what I envisioned when I read the novels. Tension and willing suspension of disbelief? Aces on both! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


A month ago I posted my Put Up or Shut Up blog entry. In it I basically said that I need to get writing, or shut up about being a writer.

Good news: I'm writing. Not only that, but I'm blowing away my minimum daily word count.

Here's something I'm using to keep myself motivated...

My trusty spreadsheet:

Every night I start writing between 8:30  and 9 PM. It is the one part of my day when I have no distractions. For the next two hours I write as much as I can. Child of the Knight is thoroughly outlined and I spend at least some time during the day mentally preparing myself for the scenes I want to write.

I write between 500 and 1,000 words per hour. It really depends on how thoroughly I have imagined the scenes ahead of time. 500 words per hour means that I am spending a lot of time working through a scene as I am writing it. It could also mean that I am tired. Around 10:15 to 10:30 productivity really slows down. On several occasions I have nodded off while writing a scene. And, no, it's not because it was a slow scene! It could happen with an arrow mid-flight.

I love the times when I hit 1000 words an hour. The thoughts fly right through my fingers and onto the screen. This most often happens during dramatic scenes (action or other). Tonight the words are going to fly. I am about to write a scene I've been anticipating for a long time. I can't wait!

The spreadsheet does some pretty easy calculations and wasn't hard to set up. All I have to do is enter my starting and ending word counts and it does the rest. Average is the average number of words I write a day, whether I write or not. You can see what a day of not writing does to my average. I hate zeros! Days until finished takes the total predicted length of the novel (100,000 words), subtracts the amount already written, and divides by my average words per day. The completion date simply adds the "days until finished" to today's date. I'd love to get it down to June 15th, but that's going to take some big writing days.

The big "guess" in the whole chart is that the book will come out to 100,000 words. Eternal Knight was 115,000 but I am predicting this one will be shorter. My one concern is that my story won't support a 100,000 word length. I am really hoping not to find myself short and digging to find more length. Too early to tell (but not to early to worry about).

And just because spreadsheets aren't fun enough... I turned the data into a graph!

And because someone asked, I'll mention the two August days. They were simply an abortive attempt to get myself going. My daughter and I were at the shore, and with her asleep and no distractions (tv or internet), I made a go at starting Child of the Knight. It didn't "stick". It doesn't mean I've done nothing since then. There's been a lot of outlining and plotting, but no writing.

Things are different now. I'm ON A ROLL!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Future Haters

Someday I hope Eternal Knight is famous enough to garner its own haters.

You know, the crazy people who just love to rant. I think you have to be pretty successful to reach enough idiots to have an appreciable band of haters.

What made me think of this? A great blog post by my blog-friend Adam Heine. In it he talks about the racists who are freaking out about the fact that Rue is depicted as black in The Hunger Games movie. The haters went nuts! It ruined the movie for some of them.

One problem. Rue is black. It says so right in the novel.

Read Adam's post, and then read the article on Jezebel he linked to.

I know one rant I'll get (in my imaginary world where Eternal Knight is big enough to be noticed):

Matt Heppe copied Katniss when he created Hadde.

How close are they? Petite, black hair in a long braid, gray eyes, archer/hunter in a dying (Eternal Knight) / dystopian future (The Hunger Games) world.

Wow! What a ripoff! That Heppe is a @#$%^&* copycat.

Differences? Katniss has olive skin. Hadde's race isn't explicitly described, I attempted to hint at mixed white/Asian appearance. (I may have failed as one reader told me she thought Hadde was blonde.) And Hadde has tattoos on her cheeks.

Guilty? Nope. I wrote Eternal Knight long before I'd ever heard of The Hunger Games. I came up with Hadde more than ten years ago.

What I am more interested in is what led Suzanne Collins and I to create female heroines who could be twin sisters.

What inspired Hadde's appearance?

I imagined an older version of my daughter. 

Simple as that.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Put Up or Shut Up

Bah, I've been fibbing lately.

When people ask me how book two is coming along I've been telling them that I'm hard at work on it.

Not exactly true.

More like I've been hard at thinking about it. Thinking about it while playing computer games. Thinking about it while reading other books. Not actually writing. Eternally optimistic, I've been hoping for Eternal Knight to have a big breakthough. Something that would fire me up to work on book two.

But the big breakthrough hasn't occurred (yet). Good reviews, good feedback, 500+ sales, but not the BIG EVENT. Got bounced from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Bah. I would have won if only blah, blah, blah....

I need to make my own breakthrough.

So time to stop fibbing. I'm either writing, or I'm not.

Here's the deal:

500 words per day, five days per week (Mon-Fri). If I miss a day I have to make it up on Saturday.

If I hit my daily goal I get to read for pleasure or play a computer game.

If I fall off the wagon I stop telling people that I'm writing. I tell them the truth.

What would that truth be?

I'm taking a break.

How long?

I don't know.

I'm not a writer if I'm not writing.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Good News

I just found out that Eternal Knight made it to round two of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards! There were 5,000 books entered in the contest. 1,000 made it to round two. Round one judging was based on a 300 word "pitch" letter.

Round two results will be posted on March 20th. 250 authors will make it to round three. Judging for round two is based on the first 5,000 words of your novel (the first two chapters of EK).

The full manuscripts aren't evaluated until they get to the third and fourth rounds. This is also when you start to get some public attention. In the final round the last three contestants are flown out to Seattle for the presentation of the grand prize winner. The prize? A publishing contract with Penguin and a $15,000 advance on your first novel.

Very exciting! Not that I'm counting chickens or anything...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and the Exciting

The Good:

One of the best things about being a writer is hearing positive feedback from readers. A couple of readers have gone above and beyond and have really worked to promote Eternal Knight. One of these readers is Jahin Ahmed. He recently contacted me to let me know that he wrote a blog review of Eternal Knight. He's a young book reviewer and I think he deserves a lot of credit it for his efforts. And I appreciate the great review!

The Bad:

I've received my first bad (two star) review on Amazon. It had to happen at some point in time. The urge, of course, is to defend your work. You want to point out how wrong the reviewer was and to explain to readers of the review just how good your work is. This, of course, is the last thing in the world you should do. It does not end well for the author. What do you do? You just have to accept it. It is part of writing. No book survives unscathed. Take pleasure in the good reviews and drive on.

The Exciting:

I have entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Five thousand writers entered the contest. The first round consists of a 300 word pitch. This is actually the round I most dread. Taking a 115,000 word novel and turning it into a 300 word pitch is a brutal task. The one thousand survivors of round one will then be judged on the first 5,000 words of their novels. After that, the following two rounds are judged on the complete manuscript. Odds of winning are long, but even surviving a few round and bring your novel a lot of attention. And if you win, first prize is a publishing contract with Penguin.

Winners of the first round are announced on February 24th. I'll give you a shout if I made it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Eternal Knight hit the big 5-0-0!

My last sales update (October) had EK at 415 books sold. I knew 500 was in striking distance. November saw 41 more sales, pushing the total up to 456. December added 43, bringing EK to 499.

Happy New Year! Number 500 sold just a couple of days after the hangovers wore off.

No, I'm not quitting my job to write full time. 500 (mostly $.99) books won't take me that far. What does it mean? In practical terms, not much. However, it is a really cool milestone. Sure, I'm thousands of sales away from publishers or agents taking any notice of me. But each sale brings me closer to those readers who are the super-promoters. The readers, who when they like something, really go out of their way to tell EVERYONE they know about it. I've had a few of them so far and they are wonderful. Maybe I'll hit that critical mass of super-promoters and Eternal Knight will take off. Fingers crossed. 

Reviews are still strong, ratings are still good, and everyone I know (and some who I don't) keep offering encouragement. A thank you to everyone who has supported my efforts so far. I haven't made much money so far, but all of the positive feedback has made the entire effort more than worth it.

Thank you !