The Darker Side of Blogging: A Spooky Roundup, Part One

Walk on the dark side…Wordpress in all the shades of strange and horrific…Part 1

The WordPress.com Blog

All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, Samhain, and the Day of the Dead are nearly upon us. What better time to take a look at the darker side of WordPress.com?

Our bloggers cover the spooky spectrum, from horror film reviewers to Wiccans to Halloween crafters to bioarchaeologists (they study bones!). This weekend we’re bringing you a double dose of the heebie-jeebies, with Halloween and witchcraft bloggers today, and other offbeat spooky topics tomorrow.

If you’re a fan of fright or just want to explore something new, get ready for the creepiest holiday season with these eerie entries:

Halloween Howlers

Are costumes and crafts more your speed than monsters and mayhem? There’s no shortage of inspiration on WordPress.com, with tons of bloggers dedicated to getting you and your little ones ready for an epic night of trick or treating.

DIY Halloween

The bloggers behind D.I.Y. Halloween take October 31st very seriously:

Every year…

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The Darker Side of Blogging: A Spooky Roundup, Part Two

Walk on the Dark Side this October…a spooktacular offering of dark blogging…Part 2

The WordPress.com Blog

We started getting into the Halloween spirit yesterday, with Halloween craft and costume blogs and a look at some of the real-life witches on WordPress.com.

Today we continue the Halloween Spooktacular with some less Halloween-y but no less creepy content: horror film buffs, zombie aficionados, and cemetery guides, oh my!

Frightening film and fiction

If you prefer that ghouls stay safely in movies and books, there are plenty of WordPress.com authors ready to guide you to the scariest of scary movies, like the team of eleven bloggers behind Mutant Reviewers.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 4.49.10 PM

Led by Head Mutant Justin, the Mutant Reviewers team is dedicated to cult classics, watching the worst so you don’t have to. Visitors looking for recommendations can check out their movie of the week, helpfully highlighted with an image widget in the left sidebar. This week’s offering is 1979’s The Prophecy.  (Conclusion: “Simply, if you are looking…

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#CoffinHop…a coffin full of Haunted Hot Spots

Click on the “EYE” to take you to my COFFIN HOP TRICK for a TREAT Prize Page…Enter if you dare…Enter or be scared….Contest ends at the Witching Hour (3am) 31st October 2012…(contest closed)

kim-coffin12

The Haunted & the Hauntings are the things that truly send chills up and down my spine. Perhaps you would wonder why someone able to see ghosts and been in my share of haunted places is chilled to the bone. But this is just the reason why The Haunted & The Hauntings do chill me…because I know they are real. It is those nightmares that walk and connect with us that truly petrify us. Not the bogeyman but the shadowed spirit at my door…this is what I know to be all too true.

But just like there are people who are able to see these veiled creatures of the between world, there are places on this earth that seem to be filled with the walking dead, the seeking spirits, the hungry haunts. So today I thought I would welcome you to Day Two of the COFFIN HOP by sharing a short haunted travel guide of two of this world’s most Haunted places…

  • Paris, France
Original uploader was Vlastula at en.wikipedia
>Bones from the former Magdeleine cemetery (La Ville Leveque Street numbers 1 and 2). Deposited in 1844 in the western ossuary (bone repository) and transferred to the catacombs in September 1859.

The Parisians have an interesting history with the dead and departed. It started in the Roman times when Parisians buried their dead on the outskirts of the city but with the rise of Christianity they soon took to burying their dead in consecrated ground which meant under and around their churches. By the 12th century however these consecrated burial grounds became overcrowded and the only way around this was to have mass burial sites for those who were short on cash. By the 17th century these mass inhumations though caused the sanitary conditions of Paris to become unbearable though as Paris depended on their waters from their many underground wells which was now being contaminated by these mass inhumations. It was then that, with the government looking for a way to clean up the city, they decided to use long abandoned stone quarries under the mines as new burial grounds for the dead of Paris. It took two years from 1786 to 1788 to exhume all the mass buried bodies and transfer them to the underground sepulchre which soon became known as the Catacombs of Paris. Soon the very tunnels that led to these stone quarries were walled in a macabre “brick work” of bones and skulls. It brought a new meaning to “walking with the dead”. So although the government of the day managed to clean up the city’s water supply they also turned the city into a city that walks on the bones of its dead. These catacombs are now listed as one of the most haunted places in the world with guided tours there. Visitors here claim to have been touched by unseen hands, have the sensation of being watched or followed, experienced temperature changes, hysterical breakdowns, and the feeling of being strangled.

Paris may be the City of Light but perhaps it is only called that because it lies on the City of Death…

  • London, England
Sheri from Ft. Myers, FL, USA
> The cobblestone courtyard recently built over Tower Hill, where many notables of British history (such as Sir Thomas More) lost their heads. This is where many public executions were held for hundreds of years.

Although London is often seen as the epitome of modern day civility, its history is quite the polar opposite. This city has one of the most violent and savage pasts in the world. It is a city that Kings and Queens have fought viciously over and fought passionately and horrifically for the rights to rule. From the horrific tales of imprisoned nobles in The Tower of London to Jack the Ripper, this city has more than its fair share of horror and dead crying out for justice. This city alone has spanned the popular gothic genres with its historic architecture and less than polite past. There are numerous ghost walks and haunted tours that can be found at the tips of your fingers if you google “Haunted London” – 79, 600, 000 results to be exact. One that stood out to me though was: The London Ghost Walk

These great London Ghost Walks are led by ghost book author and paranormal television presenter Richard Jones. The walk lasts approximately 2 hours and takes place regardless of weather conditions.

Twilight creeps through the narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards. It’s gnarled fingers unlock ancient secrets of dark deeds that lie entombed behind crumbling walls. It whispers into the shadowy recesses of a forgotten part of London, disturbing the sleep of the long departed, and the city of the dead stirs once more into ghostly life.

Thus London’s spookiest tour begins, and a spine-chilling night awaits you in the company of masterful story teller Richard Jones, author of the definitive book on the capital’s sinister history Walking Haunted London. For this is the only ghost walk to feature startling recreation of psychic phenomenon and you will witness much that is mysterious and inexplicable.

With its unique combination of expert guidance, dramatic storytelling and strange occurrences, this is THE London ghost walk. Often copied but never equalled, it unfolds against the backdrop of London’s oldest, eeriest and most haunted quarter. Untold horrors skulk in the silent shadows, and spectral voices echo across ancient plague pits. Mists and Miasma’s swirl through abandoned graveyards, as a lone monks keeps his weary vigil amidst crumbling, weatherworn tombstones and the devils breath is felt on a wind swept corner.

So come along, as the darkness falls, and enjoy an entertaining journey through a part of London you would never dream still existed. Encounter streets so sinister, that you will never be sure who, or what, might be waiting around the next corner, or lurking just a few graves along. (taken from the site)

Now I don’t know about you but this is one Haunted tour I would love to take…

Have you visited these haunted cities so praised as architects of civility and style in the modern age but so filled with macabre and bizarre pasts? Which haunted city is on your bucket list to visit?
Join me here tomorrow for the next X spots that mark the places where the spirits watch you from veiled shadows…

Remember to visit all the other coffin hopping macabre and haunted places buried in the                                     

COFFIN HOP BONEYARD

for frightful contests, spookilicious giveaways and horrific halloween inspired swag.

You can also click through to the linky list included on this blog here or click on the creeptastic skull beneath…

Tell me do You CoffinHop?
x marks the spot where the spirits watch you from veiled shadows…
Don’t forget to enter my TRICK Haunted Flash Fiction for TREATS
Enter if you dare…Enter or be scared…

Lucky 7 Meme & Kreativ Blogger Award

Today is catch-up day or catch a ride on a dog day ala` Garfield! 🙂

I have been tagged 5 times in the last few months in a blog meme. My latest nomination was from my good friend, Patti Larsen. The other people who nominated me are: Melissa Pearl, Jonathan D. Allen, K.S.Bowers and Velvet Skies. Check out all their excerpts. (I may have been tagged by a couple of other bloggers but cannot find the links 😦 So apologies if you tagged me in The Lucky 7 Meme and I have not responded.)

The rules are that you must post an excerpt from one of your books and this excerpt has to be seven sentences, lines or paragraphs from page 7 or page 77, seven lines down.

So here is my excerpt…

“Eliza. Listen to me. It is imperative you heed Jal’s warnings. It is as I feared. I have prayed and pleaded and begged your escape. I have pleaded to take your place instead. This is not your curse. I have brought this upon your head. I am sick with fever from guilt and from fear. I fear for you Eliza. With everything that is within me, I fear for you.”

Mama’s words and her strong grasp scare me. My eyes widen at her fear, naked in her burning eyes. It is fear not strength that lights her beautiful eyes. My heart is all at once stuck in my throat. My hopes that Mama could help me are being scattered in a hurricane fueled by fear.

Curse? She brought a curse upon my head? Oh Charles, where are you? Take me away. Take me away.

My hands are trapped butterflies in hers. They feel cold and numb. I pull them back from her’s.

I lean back from her. I cannot look at her. But I have to know what curse she had brought? What did Jal mean? What did Mama know?

“Eliza, darling child. Gifted daughter of my love. Please look at me. Do not look away. I cannot bear your disdain. He was the same with me. Please, it will break me apart if you turn me aside. Let me explain. There is so much I have to tell you. I have kept this secret too long. I did not want to burden you with my secret. But now I see it was never my secret, it was always our secret. Jal’s and mine. Eliza, look at me. I beseech you as your mother. Eliza.”

Her voice is tinged purple with desperation. At the second mention of Jal in as many moments, I turn to her. I truly look at her. I look at her as a woman, a soul, with my second sight. I can see the purple air of desperation colouring her shadow. Her eyes are wide and bright with fear. Her brow is knotted with effort. She is my mama. She must protect me. I pull myself together with effort trying to ignore the childish hum in the background.

“Mama. You must tell me. What secret that belongs to you and Jal? What curse? Is it the girl? Is it the placings that Jal keeps on talking about? Mama, what have you done?”

My mother looks at me then. She looks at me not as her daughter, she sees me for the woman I am. I recognise my image reflected in her eyes. A strong woman caught in a secret not hers. I see a deep indigo bleed into the purple air surrounding her. It is the indigo of guilt. I know where I have seen that indigo before. It is often around Father. What had she done? What had they done? All I want at that moment is release. I want to run from that room and never return. But a force stronger than my fear holds me there. My anger holds me locked in place. I fear this new dangerous emotion more than any other. I have run too long from this emotion. I have run too long from myself. My anger holds me gripped in its black grasp. I am its prisoner as much as its gaoler. I wait for Mama to speak her piece. My thoughts have finally pulled together in one single heavy black strand.

Mama takes a deep breath and starts talking.

– Excerpt from Ring a Ring o’ Roses

– Book 1 of The Curse`d Trilogy © All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

My last task in this is to tag seven other people to participate. I have tried to tag people who have not already been tagged in the Lucky 7 Meme. So here I’ve chosen:

Rebecca Berto blogs @ Novel Girl

Rachna Chhabria blogs @ Rachna’s Scriptorium

Simon C. Larter @ Write Drunk, Edit Sober

Nina D’Arcangela blogs @ Sotet Angyal

Trish Loye Elliot blogs @ Word Bitches and Trish Loye Flagging Down the Mother Ship

Leanne Shirtliffe blogs @ Word Bitches and Ironic Mom

Elene Aitken blogs @ Word Bitches and Don’t Forget to Breathe

I also received a Blogger Award this week: The Kreativ Blogger Award

The Rules

A: Thank my nominator and provide a link to their blog.

B: List seven things that readers might find interesting about me.

C: Nominate seven other bloggers.

  • A: My nominator is the lovely Kellie Larsen Murphy who blogs @ The Dog Ate My Novel – She nominates me here. Thank you Kellie! Check out her blog…she has some excellent posts and I absolutely love the title of her blog.
  • B: 7 Things that are interesting about me
  1. In High School I wanted to become a Pathologist.
  2. I am terrified of bats – I cannot even look at a picture of them.
  3. When I was a baby, I suffered from febrile seizures and medically “died” from my heart stopping.
  4. I hate swimming in a swimming pool by myself as I have a phobia of drowning in a swimming pool.
  5. My strangest and shortest day job was 4 hours in the butchery department of a grocery store – this put me off eating meat for about 6 weeks. 
  6. I have been trained to take down armed hijackers – from my days as an international flight attendant.
  7. I have the gift of being a horse-whisperer – an ability I inherited from my great-grandfather.
  • C: It was really difficult to pick bloggers to nominate here because every blogger I follow and all my blogging friends have awesome blogs all worthy of being awarded but I decided to nominate the following 7 Bloggers who I have not yet had a chance to nominate for any awards…So here my 7 nominations are:
  1. Mary Beth Coudal blogs @ My Rules
  2. Jaye Manus blogs @ J W Manus
  3. Aniko Carmean blogs @ The Happy Horror Writer
  4. Penelope Crowe blogs @ As The Crowe Flies
  5. Marie Loughin blogs @ Marie Loughin’s I WANNA BE…
  6. Paul D. Dail blogs @ A Horror Writer’s Not Necessarily Horrific Blog
  7. Jonathan D. Allen blogs @ Shaggin The Muse

I have been Wrestling the Muse for 1 year…It’s my Blogoversary!

It’s my first Blogoversary on Wrestling the Muse!

It’s also my Anniversary on quitting the day job and going full time writing!

It is a double anniversary for this writer!!

So how would I sum up this first year of full time writing…

  • A journey…this first year is only the first step on the ladder to success.
  • I held my first published fiction under my own name in my hands – my first short story.
  • I finished the full first draft of my manuscript and I am submitting my novel this month.
  • I took the bull by the horns, gathered my nerves and pitched my novel in a face-to-face session with a top agent. (Though nerve-wracking I realised that agents are just people like you and I and this particular agent was lovely and very encouraging as well as giving me some great advice.)
  • I plotted out Book 2 and Book 3 in The Cursed trilogy.
  • I plotted out the second trilogy and am busy working on the first draft.
  • I strengthened many friendships with other writers and started new friendships…too numerous to mention everyone by name but you all know who you are.
  • I have learnt a lot about the publishing process, and the options we writers have available to us.
  • I found and commissioned a brilliant cover artist.
  • I was asked to host a weekly writing chat on twitter – #storycraft

What have I learnt or found challenging this year?

  • I have learnt that writing is a marathon not a race and we set our own pace.
  • I have learnt that although I thought I would be able to write a full 8 hours a day, it is more like 4-5 hours a day in practice.
  • I have learnt that there is no absolute right choice when looking at publishing options, there is only the right choice for me.
  • I miss a steady paycheque but am also happier than ever.
  • I work 7 days a week every week and there are no weekends for me but because this is the path I CHOOSE, it enriches me and fulfills me.
  • I feel constantly challenged and never bored.

All in all this first year has been a huge learning curve as I found my feet in the world of full-time writing. I realised that I am hardest on myself. This is something that has always been an issue in my day job but in writing it has become a monster that I am slowly learning to cage. I have found support and encouragement in people who believe in me. I have also come across the naysayers and the scoffers who wonder when I will get a whack from the reality stick and stop this “hobby” of writing.

Well in response to my friends, supporters and encouragers: Thank you and please continue in your encouraging because this is one year and counting. I will still need your support and your encouragement. You don’t know how much it has meant to me and how much it has bolstered me on those days or weeks when my writing was fighting me.

In response to the naysayers and the scoffers: This is not a hobby, this is my career. I don’t need a whack from the reality stick because for the first time I am being ME by following and committing to my goals and dreams. I don’t plan on stopping because this is the path that feels most right to me. I don’t need your permission to do what I need and what I want to do with my life. I am happy and I am in control of my own future, how many people can say that. I am my own boss and I work harder at this role of full time writer than I have ever done in any day job. 

I cannot wait for Year 2 of this adventure I am on. I know I am on the right track and I am ready to take the next rungs on the ladder to my success. This first year I took a slower beat because I believe I needed to know more about the publishing industry and also more about where I wanted to truly go in my writing. I also took this first year to learn about author branding and online presence. I don’t regret anything from this first year and feel that my life is the richer for taking the plunge into the adventure of full-time writing. 

So thank you to my 170 blog followers, my 1155 twitter followers and my 669 facebook friends. Each one of you has been there through this first year and have cheered and supported me. You all ROCK!

Now Raise your glass with me and let’s drink to fighting for your dreams and living life with no regrets because at the end of the day we have one life to lead – I am not wasting mine.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat…Part 1

There is only the “right for this story”, “right for now” and “right for me” way. I am talking about the how/when/what/who that comes into each writer’s decision when they decide to push their story out from the nest into the big, bad world.

I think the important thing with writing is that there is no one way to write any story, and nowadays thankfully there is not just one way to get published…Nobody can tell you that traditional publishing sux or self-publishing sux… I get really annoyed with some writers who believe they should tell others how and when and why to publish their books. This is our own journey and only we can decide what is right for us.

Personal Experience

For instance I pitched my novel (the ghost story) to a big NY agent at a con last year August. She loved the pitch and requested a full. She was interested from the pitch point but also wanted me to change my story to something more fitting the market at the time even though she admitted that what had got her hooked was that the story was very original, very different and had  3 hot elements that a lot of  publishers she is dealing with have been asking for. I thought it over long and hard. I decided to give her suggestions the benefit of the doubt even though they went against my instincts. I did change the story around and according to her suggestions but ended up hating the new story. I had lost the magic. This almost led me to delete the whole ms and just get onto the next one. But then I said no. This is my story and I know it is a good story with the premise as is. It is not meant to fit the market. I don’t want to be a copycat of someone else. I want to be Kim Koning and write an original Kim Koning story. So I opted to not go that route even if it meant losing interest from that agent. And you know, I don’t regret it.

As much as I would love to hire an editor and go the self-publishing route, I also want to give myself a chance to build a name in publishing and to learn more about the publishing game before I dip/if I dip my toes into the world of self-publishing. I know so many amazing authors who have gone the self-publishing route, many of them friends of mine, and I applaud their success. However, I feel like a guppie in a shark aquarium with the little I know about the publishing industry. So for now, I am thinking of  going more the way of the mid list publishers at least for this WIP… Because that is right for me and right for this story right now. Nobody says it has to be right all the time… I can change my mind. I’m in this for the long-haul. It is a marathon not a race.

Publishing Options

Nowadays, thankfully we have many options to get our work out there and published. It is a new world in the publishing industry. It is an exciting time to be an author. But on the flip side, although choice can be a great thing too many choices can be daunting and leave us scratching our heads in confusion. There are so many options facing authors today. There is the Big 6 route with agents, there is the mid-list traditional route with agents, there is the mid-list traditional route without agents, there is the small press route, there is the co-operative route, there  is the hybrid route (think Amazon’s imprints) and there is self-publishing not to mention the dreaded (read unrecommended) vanity publishing route.

I am in that spot of decision-making right now and something tells me with the rapidly changing publishing industry that it won’t be the only time I have to make this decision. I have a book, busy in the final drafting stage and it is almost time for it to be put out there. So which route do I take? How do I know which is best for me, for the story, for right now? The truth is I can’t know which is risk-free and which is fail-proof. I have to take my chances, no matter what route I choose. If it doesn’t work, I can backtrack and change my mind. The only thing I do know is that I don’t want to be told I am making the wrong decision when I do make the decision whether it is from other writers, publishers, editors or agents. That will get my hackles up.

Do you feel, like me, that you wonder which route is the absolute-best route to get that book out there?

Have you second-guessed and third-guessed yourself with which option you have chosen?

Have you changed options from indie to traditional (vice-versa) or agent to no agent (vice-versa)?

Upcoming Blog Series: Researching the many ways “to skin a cat” in publishing

Over the next few weeks I am going to be looking at all the ways “to skin a cat” in publishing. I am going to interview and feature guest posts with different authors from different publishing options. So if, like me, you are at that painful and exciting point of trying to make the most informed choice…stick around and watch this space. Perhaps one of the options will stand out for you and perhaps one of these authors that I interview or who guest-post will inspire you down the same path.

I am coming at this with a completely open mind and non-judgmental attitude. I am doing this series as much to get more information for myself and educate myself as I am any reader whom finds this interesting or useful.

Open Call

Also if you want to be one of the authors to be interviewed or guest post on this topic in this series, please shout out.

*My Guarantee: No Cats will be harmed or skinned in the writing of this series!*

GoodBye February…Hello March-ing to the beat of a new drummer

Image courtesy of: http://ilikemysugarwithcoffee-n-cream.tumblr.com/post/18513054847/hellowww

march 1 |märCH|verb [ no obj. ]walk in a military manner with a regular measured tread: three companies of soldiers marched around the field.• walk or proceed quickly and with determination: without a word she marched from the room.• [ with obj. ] force (someone) to walk somewhere quickly: she gripped Rachel’s arm and marched her out through the doors.• walk along public roads in an organized procession to protest about something: antigovernment protesters marched today through major cities | they planned to march on Baton Rouge.• (of something abstract) proceed or advance inexorably: time marches on.

I love new beginnings. I love fresh starts. I have always loved the month of March. For me March has always been a month of beginnings and changes. March also happens to be my birthday month. March is also very aptly named. It is the only month of the year with a name that is also a strong active verb. (See meaning above.) How can you not be excited that March has arrived? Bad start to the year? Make March 2012 your month to “March” to the beat of a new drummer.

I am excited about this month. January and February were rough months for me. So March’s arrival is as much a celebration as a timely farewell to February. I also missed the fact at the beginning of the year that 2012 is a leap year. So for those many days when we wish we had an extra few hours or an extra day…this is the year. So my question to you is what are you going to do with the extra day up your sleeve this year? What leaps and bounds are you going to take?

I received something in my inbox yesterday (the last day of February) that really boosted me and inspired me. It was the latest post by Word Bitches. If you have not found and followed this site yet, I urge you to jump in. Anyway here is the post I received yesterday. The blogger at Word Bitches shared and posted the below manifesto courtesy of KM Weiland. She shared a couple of other links from other writers on there as well but it was the below manifesto that really hit ZING on the home zone for me. So I had to re-share it. I have also printed it and hung it. This is just the ZING I needed for this month.

Image courtesy of KM Weiland

So with the above manifesto shining a broad swathe of light in my pathway, I am ready for March. I am ready to jump right in. The beginning of the year has been all about life-interruptus and health-interruptus. Stress has been thy middle name February/January and unfortunately the novel became a dirty word. From a dead macbook battery to family emergencies as well as flu and endless migraines thrown in for good measure, I was not in the right head space to tackle the novel.

Image courtesy of: http://www.strangecosmos.com/content/item/148757.html
If in February you were a mouse running helter-skelter to escape the fall-out of LIFE…then be a LION/Ness in March and let Life do the running from you.

But the one thing we are given freely every day as long as we have breath in our bodies is a fresh sunrise, a new dawn, a new day and the chance at a fresh new start. Yesterday and all its wearisome cares is burnt away by the moon and stars and when that sun whispers hello over the horizon, we can start all again. So with that in mind I have re-shared another image that landed on my computer screen this morning. Just looking at this image fills me with an inner calm and serenity. So if you have had a not so stellar start to 2012, take a look at the image below and remember today is a new day, today is also a new month. Don’t let the failures or stresses of yesterday be an energy vampire on your today. Let the sun burn out those energy vampires. When your sunrise arrives, don’t waste it. Grab the chance. This sunrise is a gift not a guarantee. Fulfill the promise that today is your new beginning and your fresh start. Make sure your boat is pointing in the right direction and your twin oars of persistence and perseverance are at the ready.

Image courtesy of Waves of Gratitude (Facebook)

‘Fiction, imaginative work that is, is not dropped like a pebble upon the ground, as science may be; fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.’ – Virginia Woolf

‘The Iliad is only great because all life is a battle, the Odyssey because all life is a journey, the Book of Job because all life is a riddle.’ – GK Chesterton

‘If life got in your way yesterday, don’t despair; today’s dawn is a new start for you lit with the fire of a new sun. Get in the way of life instead by grabbing today with both hands and not letting it go until you have wrung out all the possibilities and fulfilled all the promises.’ – KM Koning

Image courtesy of pagecovers.com
The quickest way to turn a blue day around is…wear something red…

…if you’ve been having one of those days or one of those months, play this song and remind yourself that you are just F***ing Perfect today just as you are…don’t be your own worst critic…strap on your boots or stilettos and take on the world because there is nobody like you in this world and you were put here for a reason…find the reason…make your mark…be YOU…and pick up that pen and start a fresh new page…You are the only one who can write your story…Get started…