My first experience with piracy, thus far.

I’m trying to process my feelings right now, and I’ll admit . . . I’m struggling with it. I’m also trying to figure out whether it’s ironic that only yesterday I read an article about someone’s opinions on the piracy of books and thought, ‘Hey, chick. I’m totally in agreement with you on this.’ Then I disregarded it (mentally) and moved on. (I’d link to the post if I still had it up or remembered whose site I read it on.)

So yeah, if you haven’t guessed by the title of this post, Reave is being pirated. Every so often I do searches for it and I’ve never found anything like this. I altered the search slightly today and that popped right up.

I’m . . . upset. I try to keep my opinions to myself, especially with issues that are bound to get someone all riled up about something or other (which is pretty much anything), but yeah, I’m not going to do that right now. I am genuinely upset, and I’m going to explain why. When I explain why, it’s going to sound rather similar to what I read yesterday. It probably won’t sound as great because I’ll admit that my hands are shaking and being as upset as I am right now is like sticking a screwdriver in the cogs of my brain.

I could get into a massive spiel about how I have not yet made back the money I spent to release one book, let alone both of them. I could get into that. I could get into how unbelievably difficult it is to do this financially, and do it in the way that I feel is right (which is by not putting out crap, which takes a significant amount of money that is not easy to come by). Believe you me, I could get into that thoroughly. I could get into how unbelievably frustrating it is to have all these books essentially waiting to be released, and to be unable to do so DUE TO FINANCES. Let me tell you that one of the most amazing feelings in the world is when someone enjoyed one of your books and wants to read the next one badly enough that they ask you about it. What’s NOT so great is having to say, “I’m sorry. I don’t know when I can get that next one out. I’m trying as hard as I can.”

Yeah. I could get into that. Past what I’ve said just now? I’m not going to.

What I AM going to get into is this:

Did you know I’ll give out free e-books of Reave? Yeah, I’ll do that. I’ll give out free e-books in exchange for a review. Send me a message on GoodReads. Send me a message on Facebook. Send me an email. Comment on my blog. Believe me, I’d be more than happy for you to contact me directly and express genuine interest in my book, then I’ll send it to you so you can read it. You get a free e-book. I potentially get more exposure (which IS most important to me). You leave a review, and other people who might’ve been on the fence about my book(s) might be able to decide one way or another. You might love my book and tell all your friends and family about it. You might love my book and tell me, which is seriously one of the most fantastic things ever. When you’re struggling to follow your dreams and start your career? Yeah, hearing that helps. It keeps you fighting through all the struggles. It gives you validation for what you’re doing, and when you’re constantly struggling to feel like you’re good enough to do what you’re doing? You have no idea how much the one sentence of ‘I loved your book’ can do.

It can do a lot.

I actually wrote up a post about two weeks ago to tell everyone that I had every intention of taking Reave off Smashwords in order to enroll it in Select (on Amazon) SO THAT I COULD DO THE PROMOS TO MAKE IT FREE FOR CERTAIN DAYS. I didn’t end up posting it due to that adjustment I wrote about last week. I was thinking I’d wait a little while. I just got the first book in the trilogy back from the first beta-reader and I needed to get that ready to send off to the next. So I just needed a bit of time to fit it in.

Let me assure you that exposure has been my biggest goal from the get-go with this. I get it, people. I’m a new author. If you haven’t read my books, you might be hesitant to spend the money and take a chance on me. There’s a stigma with self-publishing and you know what? That stigma with self-publishing is often justified. How do you know if I had a professional editor? How do you know whether my book is going to be riddled with errors? YOU DON’T, AND I GET IT. Let me just add here that I did not self-publish due to an inability to land an agentI self-published so that I could keep all rights to my work, and to ensure that what was put out was what I wanted put out. Full stop.

But I’ve seen some self-published books that make me want to pull my hair out. I have. So please believe me when I say that I get it.

My willingness to give away free copies of my book is not because I think it isn’t worth being paid for. It’s because I understand. It’s also because I have the faith that my work can stand on its own feet. Given that I have QUITE A FEW BOOKS to release, I’m more than happy to throw one of them out there. Sure, some people will hate it. That’s inevitable because not everyone likes the same stuff. That’s just preference. But the thing is? If I give out a free copy of Reave, someone might love it. Someone might love it enough that they’ll want to read every book I put out. It’s insane to me, but it’s happened so I know it can happen. Am I losing there by giving out a free book? No, I don’t believe so.

So you might be wondering why this upsets me at all, right? If exposure is most important, if the readers are what matter, why would this upset me?

I’ve put literal blood (cut my hand open on a binder while editing), literal sweat (I write in a shed and an AC in the summer out here doesn’t work as well as one would hope, and that’s not even getting into what it’s like in the winter), and literal tears (I cry while writing/editing quite often) into my work. Just like so many other authors out there. I’ve worked my ass off for years now trying to fortify the foundation of something before starting to build it. My workaholic tendencies (if it/they could be called ‘tendencies’) have damaged more than one relationship in my life. What I’m saying is: The work is most important to me. I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile here, and the goal is to potentially make some sort of difference. I can’t accomplish that if I’m not focused on the work.

So seeing my work on some seedy, backwoods channel that set off the antivirus on my computer? Equate that to seeing your daughter standing on street corner doing I’m sure you can guess what. My books are like children to me. They are, and the street corner thing is how I’m feeling right now. (Along with feeling like there’s a line of people with their middle finger up in the air in my direction sounding off a chorus of, “F*** you, C.”)

Disregarding the ratio of pirated copies to legitimately bought copies . . . All you people who downloaded it?

Yeah, you could’ve just asked me for a copy. Just saying.

And so there’s no confusion?

Here is my Facebook account: C. Miller on Facebook

Here is my GoodReads account: C. Miller on GoodReads

Here is my email address: Email Address (Yes, that is a photo of my email address. Clicking on it will not send me an email. Call me crazy, but I’m just really not feeling like dealing with spam today.)

 

Here’s to hoping I can get this taken down swiftly and that any free copies of my work given out will be my choice, as it should be.

(Yes, I know this sort of thing happens. Knowing it happens does not make my feelings on it happening to me irrational or invalid in any way.)

** I’m coming back to this a bit after the fact to add a few things. (Along with taking out one somewhat passive-aggressive remark.) Some of the anger (and similar emotions) . . . it’s worn off a little. Now I’m mostly upset, like legitimately sad/down-upset. Here are the things I want to add:

  • Please, people, respect the hard work of authors and other artists. Some people put their work up for free on sites, or do free promos, or give out free copies. Some people don’t ever do any of that. Please respect their wishes for their work, whatever those wishes may be. I like to think that most people wouldn’t walk into a store and take something simply because they want it. This is the exact same thing. If someone doesn’t want to give out a free product, that is their decision.
  • This is a smidgen bigger than I initially thought. I’m still trying to figure it all out. Doesn’t help that my antivirus keeps getting set off. But I don’t have a clue what any of this stuff is or anything about any of the sites. Working on it.
  • I’m kind of internally warring with myself on this. (Though don’t get me wrong, that sucker is coming down off the sites if it’s the last thing I do. Because I did not put it there.) I guess some people wanted to read my book, right? And that’s good. It really is good, yeah. And you know what? If this was actually impacting anything in a positive way? I just might have left it where it was despite how gross I feel about it. (Not saying I would, only that I would’ve thought about it.) But the truth is that it isn’t. There hasn’t been an influx of reviews or ratings anywhere. There hasn’t been an influx of sales. I’d be totally happy with ratings/reviews (even a sentence, if that’s all someone had to say) and a bit of word of mouth. So if anyone who downloaded a copy of my book off some random site I didn’t put it on is actually reading this? I genuinely hope you enjoyed it. I do. If you did? Tell your friends/family. When/if you do so, it would be super great if you could direct them to one of the legal avenues of obtaining my book. If you seriously cannot afford to spend the $2.99 (less than an order at Starbucks, just saying) to obtain my book legally? LET ME KNOW.
  • I feel like I have a lot more I could say, but I’m seriously just upset and can’t decide if I want to go inside and get away from all this or bury myself in writing and get away from all this.

(Coming back WELL after the fact to clear one thing up. Looking back at this post now and seeing the bit where I give out my email, I’m realizing that could potentially be taken the wrong way. I wasn’t saying that I don’t want to get emails from actual PEOPLE. I was talking about ACTUAL spam, which is much more likely to happen by just typing my email address out. Just wanted to be clear.)

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On releasing a second book . . .

Trying to process how I’m feeling with the release of Elude coming up fast has been a pretty interesting experience. It can be all pure, undiluted excitement for who knows how long, only to be overtaken by stress and the like at a moment’s (unwanted) notice. Me, I’m a stressful being. I’ll be stressed about the sky being too blue if nothing else is going on. (WHERE ARE THE CLOUDS?! THERE SHOULD BE CLOUDS RIGHT NOW!) Clearly that’s an exaggeration (of sorts), but there’s always the ‘expect the worst’ mentality trying to break through any bit of positivity in my head. That’s just me.

I’d been ridiculously stressed trying to get everything done and (as close to) perfect (as I can get) with this. I was still excited despite all that, more of that than anything else. Then, all at once, most of the stress and other negativity was sucked up. I was just excited.

Thus far, preparing to release a second book has been an entirely different ballgame than the first. I know what I’m doing a bit better than I did when it was Reave I was preparing for. (Though, admittedly, I did forget some things this time which was much easier to be remedied than initial learning.) Releasing that first one, I was a giant mass of stress. I’m pretty sure I was putting off so much stress that it could easily be detected by others within a fifty-foot radius of me. (Though it’s rare for people to be in that space.) Obviously there was the pleasantness as well. I was FINALLY going to have a book out there in the world. I was going to push it off the proverbial cliff to see if it could fly. It was terrifying.

It was also exciting.

After several years of writing books and wanting people to enjoy them like I enjoyed them, it was . . . a bit surreal, to be honest. I’d been so over-protective and private with my work until that point, and the thought of any and everyone being capable of reading it just blew my mind. (I’m getting better with the over-protective part, but it’s a process for sure.) It still does blow my mind, when I really think about it in certain ways.

I’ll say my head is much clearer this time around. Rather than, “Is this really happening? Really?” it’s, “This is happening.”

I’m happy. I think a great deal of that is due to just how much I love the rest of this series. If you’ve read Reave, you know it leaves off for things to PICK UP. And pick up they do. I really love this second book. (Though I’ll easily say that the fourth is by far my favorite in the series.)

One of my concerns was that other people wouldn’t agree with me on this, that they wouldn’t enjoy the rest and would be like, “FIRST.” After having several people read Elude and telling me they liked it better, and having the people who have either finished book 3 or are currently reading it saying the same (that they like it even better than the second, which was an even larger concern for me if I’m being honest) . . . I’m feeling good.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, or if it’s only a temporary thing, but I think I’m getting just a smidgen better at putting away the negative thoughts where my work is concerned. They’re still there, of course. But I’m getting a bit better at not letting them dictate so much, or have so much of a say in matters where they don’t actually need to have input at all.

Obviously I’m stressed out, wondering how it will be received, and all that. At the same time, I know it’s better and I can be excited about that.

As of right now, I don’t really know that I’ll be posting another entry on here before the release. Unless I think of something important, this will probably be it. So I have a few things to say to all of you who have actually taken the time to read this and are interested. There will be no mass of stress seeping into the following…

1) I am really looking forward to you reading Elude, if you’re planning on it. I hope you enjoy it. I hope it makes you feel something. I hope you’re satisfied with it.

2) Thank you. I sincerely want to thank any and everyone who has been supportive of my work. These books mean more to me than I can actually get across. (I suppose that’s easy when they pretty much consume your life…) And I’m really not very fantastic at many aspects of this. Getting the word out? Yeah, I’m pretty awful at that. Having confidence in myself? Pretty awful at that as well. So thank you all for either dealing with the latter of those, or helping with the former. More than that, thank you to anyone who has at any point ever thought the characters I write deserve to be not only enjoyed by you, but shown to others. It seriously means more to me than I could ever express.

That’s why I do this.

(Apart from trying to keep my sanity in getting these stories out of my head. 😉 )

– C

Releasing a second book? Yeah, it’s happening.

Be prepared on July 14th. Until then, you can check out Reave, or add Elude on GoodReads. 🙂

Elude is up on GoodReads!

As the subject says, I’ve put Elude on GoodReads! I probably should have done it sooner, but . . . I didn’t. I’ll be totally honest and admit I hadn’t even thought about putting it up early, but was asked when it would be up and I figured, ‘I should probably do that.’

Anyway, you can find it here: Elude on GoodReads

I’m a bit behind where responding to things is concerned, as per usual. I’d planned on getting caught up tonight, but it is now the morning and . . . I’m not caught up. Please be patient with me where that’s concerned. I will definitely get to all that tonight (after I wake up), but it’s pretty close to bedtime for me now.

I’ll have a more substantial blog entry coming soon, within a day or so. I suppose that would depend on how you defined ‘substantial,’ but totally not the point. I’m not entirely sure what the point is, apart from that I’ll be on here a bit more often. And Twitter.

I just wanted to make sure I let everyone know that Elude is up there now, in case anyone wanted to add it. 🙂

Reviews (Thank You)

This is an extra post onto my weekly schedule, which I’m proud to say I’ve both accomplished and done completely on time for an entire week. I thought about waiting until Monday to write this up, but I already have a subject to discuss on Monday (shocking, I know), and this is fresh now. Extra is good, right? So is writing about something you feel the need to write about, when you feel the need to write about it. And I need to write about this now. Forgive the length in advance. It’s important.

I woke up this evening (yesterday, technically) to find another review for Reave up on Amazon. I was half-asleep and looking at it on my phone, so I had a moment of, “Does that say eleven now?”

It said eleven.

I read the newest one and did something similar to what I always do, which is shake my head a bit and sit (or lay) there in this state of disbelief.

I should say here that I have faith in my work. Not so much in myself. I’m self-deprecating by nature, and compliments pretty much roll right off my back if they’re related to me. That’s a subject for another post, but I feel it’s important for me to clarify the difference between anything negative I say having to do with me as a person, opposed to my work. It’s difficult to get the difference across when you’re saying the sort of stuff I do. So when I say, “My writing is crap,” (usually another word), I don’t mean that I feel my work is crap. I mean that I wish I could do better. It keeps me striving to do better. I always want to feel that.

Even though I have the utmost faith in my work (but I will add here that this series was difficult to set up with that first book, opposed to others I’ve written, due to circumstances in it and a limit of . . . well, everything), the positive feedback . . . it’s baffling.

I nitpick, and stuff still slips through. I nitpick and overlook things because I’m looking too closely at something else. There are some things technically wrong with that book that make me want to punch myself in the face. But . . . people are enjoying it anyway. And that is the point.

The mindset I have when writing stories has always and WILL always be characters first. I focus on characters first, story second (because they put in place themselves), writing third. So I’ll be totally honest and admit that I expected to get my first one-star review right off the bat. I expected some person to do what I do and tear that thing apart. It’ll happen one day, but today is apparently not that day. (If you’re hearing Aragorn shouting, “BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!” in your head right now, we have something in common.)

That first bad review is going to sting. I’m sure it will. I’ve heard that my self-deprecation can be very off-putting, so unless we’re talking in person (where I have essentially zero control over what comes out), you won’t know what my response will be when my writing gets torn apart. I’m not going to write it down on here. If you know me at all, I’m sure you could take a guess at it.

But bad reviews will never take away the feeling of a good one, not for me. It could be the worst review in the entire world, and it wouldn’t take the others away.

My biggest fear with it (it being Reave here) was that people wouldn’t get it. I worried people wouldn’t (or COULDN’T) relate to Aster. I worried some of the subjects would put people off. I worried things would be misinterpreted. I worried people would think it was too slow, or that it lacked ‘explosions’ (everybody loves explosions). I worried people wouldn’t be able to stand the writing style. I worried nobody would be able to make it past the first page. I worried and worried and worried about so many things (it’s what I do).

PEOPLE ARE ENJOYING IT.

So . . . this entry right here is for me to thank any and everyone who has spoken to me about my book, or left me a review. Waking up and finding a new one where someone says they couldn’t put my book down, or that Aster is an achievement as a heroine, that the characters were well-developed, that they were attached to it in some way, or rooting for Aster, or saying the only bad thing is that it ended and they can’t wait for the next.

Can’t wait for the next . . .

I’m shaking my head again.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately, not knowing how to ‘get it out there’ with this freaking debilitating anxiety I have. I’ve done a lot of struggling with a lot of things that run along those lines lately, and different ones that all lead back to the same issues: My ability or lack thereof. My faith in myself.

Before I published, I was constantly asking myself why I ever thought I could do this. After I published, it was more, ‘Can I do this well enough?’

So thank you, from the absolute bottom of my heart, to anyone who has taken some of their time to say one good word about my book, either to me or anyone you think might enjoy it, or in a review. Reviews (along with word of mouth) are the lifeblood of an author. They’re what point out to potential readers the good and bad things about whatever book they’re contemplating picking up. They can make all the difference in the world in that regard. But what you reviewers might not realize you’re doing in writing just a couple sentences is giving an author a little bit of faith in themselves, and a lot of validation in what they’re doing.

I don’t know most of you to thank you in person, and trust me when I say it wouldn’t come out right if I could (along with the fact that I might possibly be tearing up a bit as I write this).

I’ve spent the last several years of my life holed away, writing, and hoping that I would finally get to the point where I thought I was good enough for this. 99 people out of 100 could hate my work, but if that one person loved it? I would keep releasing books, just for the one.

I really can’t thank any of you enough for making me feel like I might be good enough to do what I love. You’ll never hear me say my writing is good. I’ve said many times that I’ll claim passable on a good day. But it’s good enough for somebody out there, and that’s more than enough for me.

I just have to make the connection that it equates to me being good enough, and I’m getting there, thanks to you.

(And for all of you who are looking forward to the second, I promise I’ll have it out as soon as I have the funds to cover it. It’ll be a bit, which is good because it’s currently in the hands of one of my best friends [who is pretty much the most spectacular beta-reader in the world, along with being one of the most spectacular people in the world]. But I’m hoping to get it out for you all soon.)

I’m doing it again…

Blog-neglecting, or neglecting all social media(ish) things. Come on, give me a little credit. This isn’t like the last time I got sucked into writing (please excuse me while I go cry about how long it’s been since I’ve written), where I would disappear for three weeks at a time and pop in every so often for nothing more than the following: “Oh, hey there. I know it seems like it, but I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve just been trying to keep you out of my head while I did other things.” (‘You’ isn’t any person. It’s the blog in general, just to clarify.)

It’s not THAT bad…

The cause for this short (in comparison) hiatus was due to printing out the fourth book in the Reave series for editing. As soon as I saw some of the words, I worried I would disappear for a bit. Still, I was determined not to because I was just getting the hang of this time-splitting thing.

Needless to say, the instant I sat down and opened it for editing………….Well…here I am with a few little blog entries between then and now. I think. I lose track of the days and I honestly can’t remember when I actually started working on that one…

(Give me some credit AND a break. I hadn’t read 2, 3, and 4 in about a year and I WAS SO HAPPY.)

Anyway, once I finished up with that, I started inputting the changes from Book 2. I needed to get done with that because I have to hurry up and get the newest copy to my friend for revisions. And I can’t do THAT until I go through it…again. (I have problems!) If you’re wondering, I’m running out of space from all these books printed out for editing, that’s one problem. (Sorry, trees (*sadface*).) I was also running out of space on my work table with all the empty pens from editing, but that’s cleaned up now…

I’m telling myself that things will calm back down whenever I have Book 2 out of my hands and don’t feel the need to rushrushrush. Honestly, I don’t even know WHY I’m rushing. Yes, several people have said they can’t wait for the next one, but I’m not anywhere near able to release it as of yet. I really am hoping for a decent time frame on it though…

I don’t really know if I’m rushing because I’ve been stressing out so much about all the interacting. Maybe that’s part of it. I actually think I’ve gotten a bit better at it, but I still feel like a moron every time I tweet anything and I still feel like a moron when I comment anywhere on WP. I’ll say my brain is only at half functionality whenever I do. Also, I type faster than I think sometimes (pretty much all the time), which makes me worry about some of the things I say to people. I’m rambling right now. Do you see what I mean about the typing?!

Someone please tell me why interrobangs aren’t okay to use. I think they should be.

(Hey, C. This is the point where you remind yourself that you self-publish to do whatever the hell you want.)

(Oh yeah…)

*cough*

Anyway!(??) I’m just gonna……go……

Yeah.

Hope everyone is doing well! And be sure to enter the GoodReads giveaway for Reave if you haven’t done so (and want to)! 🙂

And if you don’t want to wait, you can go over to Amazon and find it there. People seem to be liking it, for some reason…

(Also, I’m hoping to get back to my normal blogging schedule, which includes my ‘Friday Music’ posts and absolutely nothing else apart from whatever I can come up with between Fridays. Also, it was VERY COLD yesterday and I couldn’t stay out in my shed to do anything. Another sadface moment there, but I DID get a bit of gaming in…)

Random holidayness and stuff. (*ding*)

After a few hectic days, things are trying to get settled back into normalcy. Husband and I went to visit his family Christmas Eve/early Christmas. It was really enjoyable (as always, because his family is awesome). Got to talk about Reave with some of his family, which (of course)…mind blown. I wonder if I’ll ever stop being surprised by people liking it, but…I don’t want to stop being surprised by it because I feel that would essentially make me an arrogant A-hole. Still, it would be nice if the level of surprise could go down just a smidgen or two. (Can there be two smidgens? I say there can be multiple smidgens regardless of knowing it would just be smaller or larger singular smidgens.)

It would be REALLY nice if my anxiety level could go down about…ten million smidgens (or one extremely large smidgen, which would not actually be a smidgen). It’s been pretty bad lately, even around my family (who I see all the time). I noticed a week or two ago that I’ve started having issues even with speaking to them (stammering badly). And I think my hands have been shaking for the past four or five days straight. I don’t even want to mention the amount of sweating that happened with the in-laws (AND IT WAS SO COLD UP THERE!). All of it’s just ridiculous, especially so with the people I see/interact with all the time. It might be general stress setting it off and making it worse, but I can’t be sure. Either way, all of you out there in BlogLand should be glad you don’t have to interact with me in person.

Speaking of interacting in person. I’m still not used to talking to people who have read my books (minus a very small handful of people), so that’s been really strange. Just talking to people (when I can manage to get a few sentences out without sounding like a complete moron) and them actually knowing what I’m talking about with it. Or more so them talking to me about something I wrote, which is just…insane.

(Or hearing, “So and so read your book and they loved it.” Crazy.)

In other news, I’m slowly conquering my fear of Twitter. I’ve even made a new best friend on there, so that’s cool. (You can find his website here, and it tells all about his books and whatnot. He’s super awesome, so you should definitely check that out, especially if you’re into Fantasy and YA genre(s).) Apparently I can make friends even with my general awkwardness and declarations of a person being moved to BFF status after a few interactions. Twitter can definitely be an interesting place. (Is it a place? >.>)

So yeah, the holiday was good, apart from being stuck in a car for hours upon hours, then having The Migraine From Hell for several days in a row. It hit me the worst Christmas day, which I’ll say was likely due to a lack of coffee, sleeping awkwardly on an air mattress, my neck being garbage, and my hair being ridiculously long again. I AM glad to be rid of the blond though…not that there’s anything wrong with blond hair, but I had for enough time to suit me. Wow, digress much?

As much as I enjoyed the past few days, I’m looking forward to getting back to work. I feel lost when I’m not doing it.

Also, I need to apologize to all my in-laws for having to deal with me. I’m still hoping I don’t come across like as big of a mess as I actually am…

Actually…I need to apologize to anyone who ever speaks to me in person about my book (or sometimes just speaks to me in general, but especially about the book). My mouth-filter doesn’t work very well when my brain is malfunctioning due to anxiety. So when you say, “I love your book!” and I say, “That’s surprising. I thought everyone would think it’s garbage,” what I REALLY mean is… “I’m so glad. You have no idea what that means to me.” Sometimes that filter malfunctioning even extends to my fingers, so yeah, I’ll occasionally type things of that nature too. Occasionally might be a bit of a slight under-exaggeration. I have problems. One of those is a rather large lack of faith in myself. Another of those is not taking compliments well. When you add those up…well, you usually get the word ‘garbage’ in some way or another. It’s been one of my favorites lately.

Also…When most of your Christmas presents include pajamas, fuzzy socks, Starbucks gift cards, and candy? Well…it makes you realize that some people know you pretty dag on well. 🙂

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas (or whatever holiday(s) potentially celebrated recently), full of wonderful experiences that don’t involve you being unable to speak in a satisfactory way to your family, sweating, migraines, etc. 🙂