The Small Prestivus Festival: Readings, Workshops, and More

Hi friends!

Tomorrow I leave for Griffith, Indiana for the first Small Prestivus (Small Presses) Event!

GriffithIN

Here is the tentative schedule for the entire weekend:

Saturday, August 1–Book Fair 12-5; Workshops 1-3 or 3-5 (my workshop, “The Art of Fiction and Witty Dialogue” is 3-5 p.m). Featured Reading & Participant Open Mic 8 PM (my reading slot is 9 PM).

August 2–11:30 a.m. Q & A with Joani Reese on Submissions and Publishing. Readings 12-5 sponsored by Lit Fest Press.

Where: Griffith, Indiana–Broad Street, Franklin Center, and Pokro Brewery (all in the same block)

The festival will include writing workshops; an outdoor book fair with singer/songwriters, open air readings, and visual art demonstrations; a Saturday evening event featuring performances by Bud Smith, Laura Madeline Wiseman, Joani Reese, Michele McDannold, Bill Gainer, Sarah A. Chavez, Rachel Bell, Lois Berg and Robert Vaughan.  Also a one-shot open mic where participants will have a chance to read, and an all day Festival of Language where all participants will again have a chance to read on Sunday sponsored by Lit Fest Press.

Producer Julie says this festival is to showcase writers in the small press. If you would like to reserve a table please message Blotterature Lit Mag or Lit Fest Press. Tables are $10 for individual writers and $20 for presses.

Sounds like a blast! Plus, I get to hang out with some of my favorite writers!

 

A Reading and Other Events

Hi friends,

Tomorrow I am off to Denver, Colorado for the FBomb Flash Fiction Reading Series. Here is a wonderful photo of our host, Nancy Stohlman:

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How fortunate for me that she seems happily engrossed in Addicts & Basements!

The event is Tuesday, July 21st at The Mercury Cafe, 7:30 p.m.

Other featured readers include Paul Beckman, Karen Stefano and Meg Tuite.

Also reading are Kathy Fish, Sally Reno, Kona Morris, Rob Geisen, Jonathan Montgomery, Nick Morris and many more! PLEASE COME and join us!!!

Also, I did a little sleuthing, and you can now get Addicts & Basements in the following countries:

Paperback and Kindle: Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, and United Kingdom

Kindle Only: Australia, Brazil, Spain, Japan and The Netherlands

And, recently I participated in a chat with Karen Stefano, on her new podcast radio talk show, from Rare Bird Lit. Listen here as we discuss her fantastic book, THE SECRET GAMES OF WORDS and Addicts & Basements. Thanks for this opportunity, Karen:

I’m also going to be a reader/ presenter at the Small Press Festivus on August 1 & 2, 2015 in Hammond, Indiana. Save the dates… more information forthcoming!

Happy Trails, everyone! What’s your summer reads so far?

 

 

A review, q & a, and recommendations

Hi friends!

Addicts & Basements had a lovely review from the good folks at Blotterature Review:

http://blotterature.com/2015/05/02/blot-lit-reviews-addicts-basements-by-robert-vaughan/

Also, Julie, added a question and answer, part two of the review:

http://blotterature.com/2015/05/03/an-interview-with-robert-vaughan/

Thanks to Julie Larson, and Michelle Quinn! I’ve also been invited to participate in their Small Press Fest on August 1 & 2 in northwest Indiana. Other readers will be Bill Yarrow, Michele McDannold, and Bud Smith- more information forthcoming.

I’m also scheduled to read in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday, July 21. More information forthcoming about this great event, too!

Recently I’ve had the great fortune to read some incredible new books by friends:

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Loss Angeles by Mathieu Cailler won the Short Story American Prize for Short Fiction. A must read!

Also, this one:

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I remember reading Amelia Gray’s first collection, AM/ PM. I’ve read everything she has written since, and this new collection of stories does not disappoint!

I hope you are enjoying Spring. Any trips on the horizon? What are your summer plans?

Back to Life, Back to Reality

AWP #15 in Minneapolis is over! Five glorious days of crazy, chaotic, anxiety producing, joyful, hysterical fun are behind me, and now it’s back to the grindstone.

But before the experience slips by, here are some of my best memories, in words and pictures.

On Wednesday night, the Festival of Language reading was hosted by Jane L. Carmen, who also premiered her new press, Lit Fest Press, which includes books by some great authors such as Bill Yarrow and Joani Reese. I read three new short pieces: “What Lies Ahead,” “No Face World Champ,” and “Keep It, Curt.”

Karen Stefano read from her new thrilling book, The Secret Games of Words. (middle photo)

And, Meg Tuite read her astonishing work, introduced the moment she walked into Brit’s Pub from her flight!

FOL meKaren with bookMeg at FOL

That evening, we ate at The Hyatt, in the Washburn room. A lovely game ensued in which we all chose one short story from another writer, and read them aloud. Here is Bill Yarrow taping Len Kuntz reading a Meg Tuite story:

Bill Y and Len

Thursday morning we had a meeting with the Literary Orphans staff at Muffin Top Cafe. Mike Joyce and Scott Waldyn, the current editors were on task and organized. There were twelve of us present. I currently serve as member of the Advisory Board.

After lunch at Pinq’s, Len and I took in about half of the Book Fair. It’s vast, overwhelming and can make one wonder what am I doing in this sea of talented writers! And I met/saw these illuminati:  Jim Ruland (Forest of Fortune), Wendy Ortiz (Excavation), Sean H. Doyle (This Must Be the Place), Antonia Crane (Spent), Brandi Wells (This Boring Apocalypse), Marie Howe (What The Living Do) and so on, and so on…

Friday was the HEAT reading, proceeds donated to VIDA: Women In Literary Arts. Championed by Anna March and Anna Short, and emceed by Antonia Crane. The room was lowly lit, jazz music played between sets of readers, a full bar in the corner. Was quite the speakeasy ambiance! In the first set, Extie Ecks,  and Wendy Ortiz slayed it; and in our set, Richard Peabody, Matt Bell, Meg Tuite, Len Kuntz and Bill Yarrow all dazzled.

I read two short pieces: “No Face World Champ” and “Keep it Curt.”

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That evening, we took in the stellar Sara Lippmann, reading from her amazing short story collection, Doll Palace, with other Dock Street Press readers, including host Dane Bahr who is editor-in-chief (right), and Robert James Russell (bottom):

Sara DSPDaneRobert

Saturday I was on my first AWP panel: Literary Orphans Presents: Desire, Grief, Joy, Shame, and Fear. An Intimate Exploration of Identity. I was graciously asked to replace another writer who had taken ill, and was unable to make it to AWP. Our host, Mike Joyce, introduced us. And moderator, Anna March was superb. The other panelists included Zoe Zolbrod, Antonia Crane, Marie Lee and Brian Spears- they were all terrific, insightful, brave and inspiring. We had a packed audience, and the entire experience was transformative:

panel RVunnamed-2PanelLO

After we wrapped up our q & a, I blasted over to hear Meg Tuite on her Flash Fiction panel (The Flash Fiction Marketplace: What Editors are Looking For) with Tom Hazuka, Kim Chinquee and Lex Williford). Meg was fantastic, had so many insightful points about craft and read a story by Sara Henning called “My Grandfather’s Photographs” which is terrific. Originally published by Connotation Press (where Meg was former Fiction editor): http://www.connotationpress.com/fiction/2423-sara-henning-fiction

Meg and Sarah

Overall, the entire AWP #15 was outstanding. Saturday, I finally had a chance to see my publisher, Michael Seidlinger at the Civil Coping Mechanisms booth. He told me that Addicts & Basements sold out, as well as most of the other CCM titles. Fantastic news! Can’t ask for more than that.

And AWP is also about friendships, and writing community comrades:

Antonia LenHomiesBill and MegSara LenRobert and LenKS me

Unforgettable memories, great moments. Thanks everyone for another truly remarkable experience. Los Angeles- here we come!!!

 

 

 

 

Gearing up: AWP Minneapolis 2015

Prior to any large conference, it’s best to create a checklist. I like lists, and the sense of accomplishment that can come when crossing off the items. And that’s the trick- don’t include things that you’ve already done. Ha! Here are ten of mine:

1) Consider the days you will be gone, the tasks that are normally yours. How will they get handled? Who is responsible for keeping status quo at home? Pets? Family? Missing anyone’s birthday, nomination, divorce?

2) Confirm your reservations for flights, cars, transportation, hotel, etc. Nothing worse than arriving to find you were never booked at The Hyatt after all, or the only cars they have available at Hertz are minivans.

3) Create a daily flow chart- possible panels, events, speakers, readers. What days are best for you to hit the selling floor- it’s noisy, chaotic, and can be draining. But those bargains, and running into Roxane Gay or Extie Ex- incomparable!

4) Save time for registration morning; bring your registration code to make it go quicker. Consider doing some of your at home regimen- workouts? I remember running into Christopher Allen at some ungodly hour (like 5:30 am)- he got up every day to wander around Seattle (AWP 2014) just to take in the city. It’s what writers do best, experience a city in all of its sensory luxury.

5) Might want to make plans for that hug, or drink, or meeting prior to arriving in Minneapolis. Kathy Fish? Matt Nelson? Once there, you’ll most likely settle into what’s known as the AWP TIME WARP: Where am I? What city are we in? “Help, Meg- how did we get here?!!!”

6) Remember a sheet with all of your passwords on it- emails, blogs, PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Fictionaut, Square, iTunes, Submittable, LinkedIn… (you get the picture). Also remember to pack clothes that “peel off.” A coat, gloves and one scarf don’t hurt. Sunglasses. An umbrella (although most hotels lend them). Comfortable shoes- you’ll be standing way more than sitting.

7) Pick a time to write- I have coffee with Len K, my conference bro, but prior to meeting him, because I am always up at the crack of dawn, I’ll do some stream-of-consciousness notes, or journaling, or just jot down some desires, wants, lists, or other. If it’s just not coming, then I’ll make something happen later that morning. And one thing my dear pal Karen S is great at is selecting one day, and getting to see some of the host city- a museum or a neighborhood, or just a fantastic meal at the highly recommended Italian restaurant can be a terrific memory.

8) Bring books, business cards, flyers, pens, t-shirts, booze (MJS, Bud Smith) and every other thing that will help to get the word out about your latest book, project, website, etc. You’ll be amazed by all of the creative projects around the selling floor. Bring extra money too- books, books, books. And if it’s your first AWP, buy another bag in Minneapolis for all of your purchases.

9) The off-site events are the rage- so knowing this, go to the AWP website, or when you arrive look through the immense catalogue. See where you might hear Lidia Yuknavitch or Lydia Davis read? Also pre-select a few panels, and get to them EARLY. These can be completely full, and don’t be turned away. Typically we just send our buddy MGM to attend these for us, but he is unable to come to AWP this year, so I have to change strategies.

10) Plan to be overwhelmed, anxious, hurt, sorry, sad, befuddled, wondering: WHY AM I A WRITER? Everyone and their mother/father/niece/godson is. And that’s true. But also plan on having a blast, laughing your butt off, feeling exhilarated, exhausted, and returning home planning on how you will attend Los Angeles in 2016. How do I know? This is my 5th in a row. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Readings, Raffles and more

Hi friends!

A quick recap of my recent trip to Santa Fe: WHAT A BLAST!!! The view from our room 630 at La Fonda, and my pal, Len whom I shared the glory with:

10426125_10205375485565130_1045649562077628047_nLen Kuntz Sa Fe 2015

We went to Santa Fe for the TWISTED Reading Series, hosted by our pal, Meg Tuite:

El Flacco and Meg Santa Fe

Our featured reader was the exceptional Kate Braverman, and once Karen Stefano and James Claffey arrived, everything was A-OK! Meg’s Santa Fe reading circle rounded out the twelve readers. Also the Denver writers, with Sally Reno, Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman (at a Karaoke Lounge after the reading) :

Kate Braverman and meReading in Santa FeThe gang Santa Fe 2015Len and me Santa Fe

Last photo of me actually reading a new piece, “Keep it, Curt”:

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Overall, it  was a festive event and a great extended weekend!

RAFFLES:

The winner of the January Raffle is…Julia Fiero!!! There were seventy-four entries and I asked a non-writer to select a name out of a hat (blind). Congratulations, Julia- I hope you enjoy Luke Goebel’s Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours as much as I did!

February Raffle is Together We Can Bury It by Kathy Fish! To enter, simply comment here or on my Facebook Post, Twitter or Tumblr. This is another book you simply must have!

And, my piece called The Fallow Heart, which is in my Addicts & Basements book, you can read at Fictionaut: “The Fallow Heart” by Robert Vaughan — Fictionaut

And that, sugar plums, is a wrap…stay warm and informed.

 

January 2015 Book Raffle

Hi friends! Are you ready for the fun to begin? It’s January, and our book raffle will be Luke B. Goebel’s Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours. This linked collection of short stories is stellar, and one lucky individual will get this book for FREE!

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And here’s Luke with his other half, Jewely:

Portland-writer-Luke-B.-Goebel-e1419287286691

If you are curious, and want to know more about this talented writer, GOOGLE HIM! Or click this link for an article about Luke B. Goebel’s Chaos Theories – Page – Interview Magazine.

There is also Brad Listi’s December Other People podcast with Luke Gobel here: Episode 338 — Luke B. Goebel | OTHERPPL WITH BRAD LISTI.

Long story short, this guy is one to watch. All you have to do to enter the drawing is to like this post (on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr). Or re-post, or comment. Share the word. Free book? AND A DAMN GREAT ONE.

Happy New Year, everyone! Play safe, love one another, revere yourself.

 

2014 Reading list (and more)

2014 sets sail, and a New Year fast approaches, it’s always fun to do a book recap. But before I get into that…here are ten other outstanding things about 2014:

* CCM published Addicts & Basements, my first full length collection, and my third book.

* I received my first Kirkus Review, among many fine, insightful, and supportive reviews.

* I’m a Gertrude Stein Award finalist (second year in a row!!!)

* There were over 20 different events in which I read, cities like Seattle, New York (twice), Madison, and Milwaukee. (The list continues with bookings in Santa Fe, Denver, and New York for 2015!)

* I attended a weekend poetry workshop at Omega Institute with Richard Blanco (and my good friends Michael Gillan Maxwell and David Carter!)

* I edited Bud Smith’s Everything Neon, his first stellar full-length poetry collection, from Marginalia Press.

* Grateful for several journals, new to me, that published my work: Everyday Genius, theNewer York, and The Miscreant, among others.

* Two nominations for the Pushcart Prize (added to two former): “Ten Notes to the Guy Studying Jujitsu” (Deadly Press): and “What He Left to Me” (The Miscreant). Thanks editors, Joseph Quintela, and Amanda Harris.

* I’ve started new columns on my writer’s blog to add to HUMP DAY: “Two for Tuesday” and the new monthly book give-away! Both will continue in 2015.

* Recently it was announced that I am one of four new deputy editors for Civil Coping Mechanisms: About CCM-Entropy | ENTROPY. I am truly excited about this opportunity, and look forward to working with new authors. Thanks, CCM Editor-in-chief, Michael Seidlinger.

My Reading List from 2014– (starred books I recommend (*)

You Sang it Back to Me– Amanda Deo (poetry)

Calendar of Regrets– Lance Olsen *

My Ghost in the Bush of Lies- Paul Wessels

Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles– Kate Braverman (memoir) *

White Girls– Hilton Als *

Cunt Norton– Dodie Bellamy

Dreaming My Animal Selves– Helene Cardona (poetry)

The Physics of Imaginary Objects– Tina May Hall (flash fiction)

Watering Heaven by Peter Tieryas- Liu (short stories)

Beautiful Ruins– Jess Walter

Murmuration– Ryan Warner (chapbook)

I Am Not a Pioneer– Adam Fell (poetry)

Call Me Burroughs, A Life– Barry Miles (biography)

Antidotes for an Alibi– Amy King (poetry)

A Life in Men– Gina Frangello

Vow– Kristina Marie Darling (kindle- poetry)

Masters of Sex– Thomas Maier (biography)

Twilight of the Superheroes– Deborah Eisenberg (kindle- poetry)

Zoom- Zoom Room– Penny Goring (poetry)

The Isle of Youth– Laura Vandenberg (stories) *

The Dark Sunshine– Len Kuntz (stories) *

Tollbooth– Bud Smith *

The Motion of Light in Water– Samuel R. Delany (memoir) *

Girls Standing on Lawns– Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman

Misadventure– Nicholas Grider (short stories)

Family Trouble– Joy Castro (memoir anthology) *

Everything Neon– Bud Smith (poetry) *

I Want to Make You Safe– Amy King (poetry)

Kill Marguerite.- Megan Milks (short stories) *

Stories I Only Tell My Friends– Rob Lowe (auto-biography)

Holding on Upside Down: Marianne Moore– Linda Leavell (biography)

Shotgun Lovesongs– Nicholas Butler (fiction)

e.e.cummings: a life– Susan Cheever (biography)

Stone Bride Madrigals– Nicolette Wong (poetry chap)

Hello, The Roses– Mei- mei Berssenbruegger (poetry)

The Poetics of Space– Gaston Bachelard *

The Mourning Diary– Roland Barthes

Blood a Cold Blue– James Claffey (short stories) *

Balefire– Shann Ray (poetry)

Black Cloud– Juliet Escoria *

Steal Me For Your Stories– Robb Todd (flash/ short stories) *

I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying– Matthew Salesses (flash novel) *

The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld– Justin Hocking (memoir) *

The Mere Weight of Words– Carissa Halston (novella)

flatscreen– Adam Wilson

Tap- Root– Indigo Moor (poetry)

Babel– Patti Smith (poetry) *

Looking For the Gulf Motel– Richard Blanco (poetry)

Deep Ellum- Brandon Hobson *

Spent– Antonia Crane (memoir)

Let Me See It– James Magruder

Burnings– Ocean Vuong (poetry) *

Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (re-read)

Letters To A Young Poet– Rainer Maria Rilke (re-read)

A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat– Arthur Rimaud (poetry)

An Untamed State- Roxane Gay

flatscreen– Adam Wilson

F- 250– Bud Smith

David and Goliath– Malcolm Gladwell (essays)

The Sky Conducting– Michael Seidlinger (kindle) *

ghostbread– Sonja Livingston (memoir) *

The Mustache He’s Always Wanted But Could Never Grow– Brian Alan Ellis (stories) *

Bad Feminist– Roxane Gay (essays) *

Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (essay/ poetry)

Ariel: The Restored Edition- Sylvia Plath (poetry) *

Excavation– Wendy C. Ortiz (memoir) *

The Fun We’ve Had– Michael Seidlinger *

Lost in Space– Ben Tanzer (essay) *

Forest of Fortune– Jim Ruland *

What the Light Reveals– Rachel Heimowitz (poetry) *

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know– John Bradley (poetry)

American Prometheus– Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin (biography)

Sentence #10– ed. by Brian Clements (prose poetry anthology)

Like a Beggar– Ellen Bass (poetry) *

Tender Buttons– Gertrude Stein

Preparation for the Next Life– Atticus Lish *

The Doll Palace– Sara Lippmann (stories) *

BOMB: The Interviews– ed. Betsy Sussler *

nagging wives, foolish husbands– Nate Tower (short stories) *

Calenday– Lauren Haldeman (poetry) *

Our Secret Life in the Movies– Michael McGriff and J.M. Tyree

Clotheslines– Mathieu Cailler (poetry chapbook) *

The Inevitable June– Bob Schofield *

Paul Chan Selected Writings 2000- 2014, ed. by George Baker and Eric Banks

UnAmerica- Momus (a/k/a Nick Currie)

Fourteen Stories: None of Them Are Yours by Luke Goebel *

As you can see, indicated by how many stars, this was an incredible year for books. Here are my favorites by category:

Fiction: three way tie-

Forest of Fortune– Jim Ruland; Preparation for the Next Life– Attticus Lish; Fourteen Stories, None of Them are Yours– Luke B. Goebel

Short Story: two way tie-

Doll Palace Stories– Sara Lippmann; Dark Sunshine– Len Kuntz

Poetry: Like a Beggar– Ellen Bass

Memoir: two-way tie-

ghostbread– Sonja Livingston; Excavation– Wendy C. Ortiz

Essay: Bad Feminist– Roxane Gay

Hybrid: two way tie-

I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying– Matthew Salesses; Black Cloud– Juliet Escoria

And that’s it! Not sure I can choose a best book, but so many great reads. How about you? Did you read any amazing books this year? Please do share them in comments! I’m always looking to buy. Thanks for another amazing year.

 

 

 

Reviews and Year End List Mentions

There are so few rare gems that I’ve had the treat to meet during week long workshops. Among them is Michael Gillan Maxwell. We met in 2011, at Omega Institute in upstate New York, during a week long poetry retreat. (I blogged about it here: Oh Omega, What a Week.)

Many events transpired that week, among them, as Michael recently reminded me, my apparent declaration in the Omega cafe during a rare moment of self- assuredness, that I was on the verge of publishing a first collection, with many more to follow. In retrospect, Michael called those observations “prescient” (believe me, they weren’t!) Still, in the years since, I’ve had three books published, all by different independent publishers. And my very kind, astute, multi-talented and dear associate, Michael, wrote a wonderful review, which published here: MadHat Drive-By Book Reviews | Three Works by Robert Vaughan. Also, thanks for friends like Meg Tuite, Bill Yarrow, Joani Reese, and Bud Smith for helping spread the word about MGM’s review.

Then, today, the uber-talented Kathy Fish (read her!) published her “My Favorite Reads of 2014″ and both Diptychs + Triptychs (which Kathy blurbed) and Addicts & Basements are mentioned: My Favorite Reads of 2014 | Kathy Fish. Thanks, Kathy! I am thrilled to read with you in the Santa Fe TWISTED READING on January 24th. More information forthcoming on that!

I’m finally reading Luke B. Goebel’s Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours. LOVE THIS! What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man!

Tomorrow, the last day of 2014, I’ll publish my entire 2014 reading list. It’s staggering how many great books I read this year. Very few snoozers!

What are your favorite reads? Least favorite reads?

 

Holiday Book- Giveaway and Salutations

Recently I won a book through the website Goodreads.com (here is my author page: Goodreads | Robert Vaughan (Author of Addicts & Basements)

Often when a new book comes out, Goodreads offers a remarkable plan to host a “raffle” that is free for anyone as a Goodreads user to enter. I’ve entered over three or even four dozen contests since I became a Goodreads member in 2009. This was the first time I ever won! Well, as luck turns out, the book, Doll Palace Stories, written by the uber-talented Sara Lippmann, is one I’d purchased directly through her publisher Dock Street Press (www.dockstreetpress.com) the day it became available! I loved it beyond measure.

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And so, I decided to host my own book give-away, announced on December 21st through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr and more sites. All anyone had to do is either “like,” or share, or leave a comment in any spot. I collected the names, threw all eighty-eight of them into a hat, and a friend pulled the winner’s name out:

ANDREW STANCEK of Ontario, Canada!!! Congratulations, Andrew! As it turns out, this is actually an INTERNATIONAL contest winner!

And this was so much fun, I’ve decided to launch a 2015 monthly BOOK RAFFLE, sponsored by me! Easy to enter, fun to win!

This of course in addition to the current fun we’re having with Two for Tuesdays and HUMP Day literary websites that I like to re-blog on occasion.

I’m working on the last stretch of my new book, forthcoming in 2015, and will be turning it over to the publisher very soon. Wish me luck!

What are you up to? Any plans for 2015? Travel? Marriage? New career? Please do tell us all.