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Showing posts from October, 2008

Winner!

Sorry folks, I was so busy shoveling candy into my maw that I forgot to post the winner for the Kelly Meding prize. As a refresher the prize is a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card and a copy of DARK DELICACIES.

The winner is:

JSB!!!

Congrats. Email me at jayewells(at)gmail(dot)com with your snail mail address and I'll make sure Kelly gets your info.


Hope everyone's having a spooky Halloween filled with tricks and/or treats!

Geek's Halloween

Would it surprise any of you to learn that some of my fondest memories of Halloween are of hiding behind pillows with my middle-school friends while we watched wildly inappropriate horror films? After trick or treating or G-rated parties, we'd all gather in my bedroom and turn on some gorefest we'd found at the video store. And shriek at the scary bits until my mother came upstairs and told us to shut up and go to sleep.

Ah, memories.

Here are my top scary moments (inspired by Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments). Feel free to jump in via comments!

The Exorcist
Not the vomiting scene or the scene where the priest's mom starts talking through Satan/Linda Blair. No, the thing that got me in Exorcist is when Father Merrin makes a tape (reel-to-reel, baby) of Regan's voice to be analyzed and finds out poor lil Devil Child is speaking English...BACKWARDS!

Poltergeist
Evil clown doll + girl who hates clowns = AIEEEE!

The Watcher in the Woods
As a disclaimer, I was six when …

Miriam Kriss: Vampire

And now, a special guest post from Miriam Kriss, uber-agent from the Irene Goodman Literary Agency:

Halloween in New York City is a big deal, the nearest thing we have to Marti Gras. Everyone, from the free-wheeling and scantily-clad Village Halloween Parade partiers, to the more innocent parade of young princesses, pirates and superheros that clog Brooklyn's Seventh Avenue, to the bag lady who hangs out on my friend's Alphabet City stoop, gets in on the act. So even in my poor college days I felt I had to make an effort for my first NYC Halloween.

There's a great costume shop on Broadway, just down from the Strand Bookshop, that's a block deep and I went in there to find something fun. Most of the costumes were out of my price range and the ones that weren't looked it. Finally I settled on a pair of fangs, really nice ones that had plastic molds you melted then fitted to your eyeteeth, where they sat suspended as though they grew there. At twenty bucks I could swi…

A Treasury of Halloween Smart-asses!

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Halloween wouldn't be complete without a few tricks, so I invited three of my most serious literary author-type friends to share their favorite holiday memories...

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I love Halloween night. Maybe it's the crispness of the winter air, the fantastical costumes, the freaky faces in carved pumpkins, or the joy of whacking zombies with your cricket bat or shotgun. (I always go with the shotgun.)

Okay, okay.

I love Halloween because of the free candy. Well, the chocolate. Honestly I don't understand the point of handing out non-chocolate treats. SweeTarts? Might as well eat a piece of sugarcoated chalk. Candy corn? Blech. Licorice? Are you kidding me? And those pixie sticks are evil incarnate! Satan must sell those at a discount or something.

Let's review. On Halloween, chocolate good. Everything else, bad.

I know, I know. Zombies only rise from their graves once a year, but c'mon, would you rather go to the graveyard and waste your bullets or go t…

Guest Blogger: Jennifer Rardin

Happy Halloween! Today we have Jennifer Rardin in the clubhouse helping us celebrate. Jennifer is the author of the kick-ass Jaz Parks urban fantasy series. I love me some Vayl. For realz. Anyway, Jennifer's given us a treat to nibble on today. Enjoy!

Zombie Jamboree
by Jennifer Rardin

Rindall Hunt leaned against the tallest tombstone in Browen Cemetery. Naturally the name carved across the base of the obelisk spelled BROWEN. Herbert John, born 1825, died 1899, slumbered on the south side of the plot. As far as Rindall knew, he'd never risen on Halloween, called or not. Neither had his second wife, Deborah Jane, R.I.P.ing on the opposite side of the stone. But his first love, Elizabeth Marie, who'd died in childbirth at the age of twenty-four, moved around so often that nothing grew on her grave but weeds.

Rindall slammed his hand against the monument, wincing at the clacking sound that reminded him his digits hadn't quite fleshed out yet. He bellowed, "Rise an…

Samhain Fires

Why do we associate Samhain/Halloween with fire? With orange and black?

Our ancestors didn't worship fire, but there's no denying the incredible importance of it. Fire was life; it was heat and light. Without it there was only darkness.

So it makes sense that fire would be a very important part of all celebrations, particularly the two most important one. Beltaine, May 1st, and Samhain, Nov. 1st (note: The feasts were celebrated on the eves of these dates, thus giving us April 30 and October 31).

As I mentioned in my previous post, these dates were considered the points where the wheel of the year turned; from spring to summer, and from fall to winter. On these nights danger lived; when time turns it creates a thinning of the veil (there's a reason why midnight is called "the witching hour"), and through tha veil all sorts of things can slip. Is it possible that the reason those festivals were celebrated with bonfires was in an attempt to use light to drive away the…

Halloween Guest Blog: Molly Harper

My Halloween Guest Blog, or How I Got The Crap Scared Out of Me By An Inkblot

Never ever trust your college friends around Halloween.

Just expect those lovely people you bonded with during freshman orientation screw with you at some point during the last week of October. When asked to guest blog on a scary experience, I immediately thought of the many, many horrible things my college friends and I did to each other in the name of spooky fun. Like my girlfriends taking yours truly, the haunted house weenie, to a "haunted dorm experience" and telling me the actors weren't allowed to touch me. When a zombie reached out from under the bed and grabbed my ankle, I punched some poor guy dressed as Freddy Krueger in the stomach and ran out the emergency exit. Or take my friend, Scott, who went into his sleeping roommate's bedroom after they watched the Blair Witch Project, stood in the corner a la Russell Parr, and whimpered until said roommate woke up screaming in terror. …

from The Flyting of Mongtomerie and Polwart, c. 1580

The following are lines from the poem The Flyting of Mongomerie and Polwart, by Scottish poet Alexander Mongtomerie; written c. 1580, it is an account of Samhain Eve's Wild Hunt (Samhain is one of two nights a year--the other being Beltaine [May 1]--when the veil between the world thins, and the Fae roar through the dark sky looking for trouble.)

I have modernized the language somewhat.



At the hind-end of harvest, on Hallowe'en,
When our "good neighbors" ride if I think right
Some mounted on ragweed and some on a bean,
All tripping in troupes from the twilight;
Some saddles on a she-ape arrayed in green,
Some riding on hempstalks rising on high,
The King of Faerie with his court and the Elf-Queen
With many an eldritch incubus was riding that night.



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Hanging out with Penis Head--YA Zombie Author Stacey Jay

Once upon a time, in junior high, just after I'd finally finished growing out my huge early 90's mall bangs, I watched the movie "Coneheads" for the first time. And OMG, did I love it. I was instantly obsessed, quoting lines from the movie constantly, the whole bit. The only thing cooler to my 14 year old self was "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".

So, when Halloween came around that year, it was a hard choice. Conehead? Or victim of the Rabbit of Caerbannog? I had a friend whose dad used to be a taxidermist and had access to a pretty lifelike looking bunny, but I decided the pink eyes freaked me the hell out and would probably freak the rest of the eighth grade out as well, so I'd better stick with the Conehead if I hoped to preserve my moderately cool status.

And that's how I ended up dressed as a giant penis.

Of course, in my relative innocence, I had no idea I looked like a giant penis until I got to school and the giggles started. No, I proudly w…

Haunted houses

Do you like going to haunted houses? Because I don't!

I'm not talking about a spooky rustic tour to a supposedly haunted locale. I'm talking about the kind of haunted house that you're supposed to go to for the purpose of being scared for Halloween. Usually its in a converted community center or legion hall, some such place. I hate them.

Why? First, I'm not a pussy. Yes, I like figure skating and Days of our Lives and musicals, but I'm no pussy. I'm not afraid I'm going to wet myself when people jump out at me. But I don't like the type of peeps that tend to work at them. I find peoples day to day activities horrifying enough which is why I have elements of horror in my writing and characters anyway... I don't need to amp that up with the unpredictability of local funsters jumping out at me, fighting to get a scare out of me for my ten minute tour through a spook house. I'm more likely to punch them or knee jerk defend myself than tak…

Trick or Treat, Smell my...Costume

So the cat peed on Tax Deduction the Elder's Halloween costume.

Yeah, that's pretty much the whole story right there.

(Yes, I was supermom and I saved the costume and didn't even kill the cat, although that last was a close one. This is a costume that can't be washed -- in fact, it specifically says on the label in all caps DO NOT WASH, DO NOT DRY CLEAN. So I soaked it in a sinkful of soapy water and I scrubbed it, and then I rinsed it and rinsed it and rinsed it, then wrung it out and draped it out to dry. Today it's dry and it smells fine. Which is good, because we bought the damn thing a month ago, and if we first had to get a new Halloween costume the day before the holiday, no one would have been happy.)

Sigh.

Indulge me, this is actually funny

What Happens on Halloween

as told to me by my almost-four-year-old daughter


Faery (this is her codename): Mommy, Halloween is scary. Because the aliens always come to earth, and they come into my room and go into my closet. And they steal my underpants.

Me: Oh, is that what they do?

Faery: Yes. They go into the closet and they take my underpants to space!

Me: Well, we'll have to keep watch then, won't we?

Faery: Yes. Because I want to keep my underpants.


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A Ghoulish Tale from Phaedra Weldon

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As the Halloween guest madness continues here at the League, we have a cool short story from Phaedra Weldon's Zoe Martinique Investigation series. It's called Ghoul and in it, Phaedra takes a break from the more spectral side of things depicted in Wraith and Spectre to lets us all have a peak at how vampires work in her world.

GHOUL

Phaedra Weldon

Jason heard the soft patter of her bare feet behind him as he stood on the roof's edge, the October wind toying with his dark hair, his long coat billowing out behind him. Below, children moved along the street in the dusky light, dressed in dark costumes--witches, goblins, bats and yes--vampires. They carried treat-filled orange bags, escorted by parents seeking solace in numbers.

"Jason," she said on the wind.

He heard the anger in her voice, felt the hunger echoing in her soul. 'You don't love me,' she'd accused him when he'd denied her his blood, denied her the fulfillment of the fantasy she'd cr…

Movies I Can't Wait For: #5

It warms the cockles of my heart.

Jeanne Stein Makes a Halloween Funny...

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Our next little tidbit comes from recent guest, Jeanne Stein. A Halloween joke if you will...

A man is walking home alone late one foggy night...

When behind him he hears:

Bump...BUMP...BUMP...

Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog he makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him.

BUMP...BUMP...BUMP...

Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him.

FASTER...FASTER...

BUMP...BUMP...BUMP...

He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him.

However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping

clappity-BUMP...clappity-BUMP...clappity-BUMP...

on his heels, the terrified man runs.

Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, the man locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps.

With a loud CRASH the Casket breaks down the door.

Bumping and clapping toward him.

The ma…

Another Halloween, come and gone--with Liz Scheier, Senior Editor, Del Rey

A typical Halloween in the life of a glamorous NY editor:

The rundown:

Excellent costumes worn: 1

Last minute seams stitched: 4

Minutes of frantic stapling employed when ran out of stitching time: 2

Profanities used when accidentally stapled costume to own underwear, while wearing it: 7

Men who made obnoxiously loud comments in favor of quality of legs: 17

Number of them slapped: 0 (although it was tempting)

Number of friends pickpocketed: 1

Zeitgeist costume: bees and ladybugs (???)

Best costumes: Shaun of the Dead, Dumbledore's Facebook page

Past awkward dates seen: 1

Ideas for next year: 0 (thus far)


(Y'all, I also have an incredibly silly picture of Liz--which she claims is her in a Halloween costume, but I'm not so sure--which I am saving for a later date. Or possibly using for blackmail purposes, should such become necessary. Muahahahaha!

~~Stacia)

Costumes?

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My costume this year will be the same one I've worn for the last six years--an old witch's hat. Most of my creative energy on Halloween is focused on Spawn's costume--Darth Vader this year-- and pumpkin carving. I long for the days when I had actual parties to attend on All Hallow's Eve. Like the time I dressed up as a Green M&M and everyone thought I was a scallion, but that's a story for another time.

If you're still trying to figure out your own costume, check out Check out Costume Idea Zone or this site for costumes for your four-legged children.

Inquiring minds want to know, what are you dressing up as for Halloween?

Movies WE Can't Wait For, #s 2 and 3, Supernatural Edition

No one said J-squared had the kind of star power that could carry actual GOOD movies, but still come January Caitlin, Caroline and I will be sitting in some Regal Stadium theater feasting on this cheesefest...



...and figuring we'll need to throw Jared a bone, I guess we're on board for this one, too.



Though--c'mon--does it not look like it's taking itself too seriously?

Smart Bitch Sarah risked her life and virtue for all of us

When I asked the very awesome Sarah from the even more awesome Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website, I imagined she would give me a funny little piece on Halloween, a memory or anecdote, or whatever.

Little did I know that Sarah's connections in the romance world go far deeper than I imagined. How she got this transcript I don't know, and I'm not sure I want to, but suffice to say...we owe her a big thanks for this top-secret information, a League of Reluctant Adults exclusive!


Scene: The Manley Lounge
Headquarters
International Consortium of Heroes
The Organization of Romance Novel Heroes in All Their Various Archetypes
Established 1811

Vampire Support Group Meeting
Attendance: 14,576,934, give or take a few
Time: Twilight. Duh.

Chair: Vladimir Pouftahl
Director, Undead and Bloodsucking Division

The meeting is now called to order. As usual, Halloween is our night off, since all those pesky mortal males can indulge their alpha fantasies and dress up as one of us. I'd like to th…

Secret...

Is there a secret contest in the works for Halloween week? Many League readers are speculating that something is up. Are shenanigans planned? Are ALL comments being gathered for some larger as of yet unspecified prize?

I can neither deny nor verify the presence of such tomfoolery, but just in case...

Grim Grinning Ghosts by Kelly Meding

Hello, Leaguers! Kelly Meding's debut urban fantasy, THREE DAYS TO DEAD, will be released in Fall 2009, from Bantam Spectra. Today at the League, she's exploring the question on everyone's mind: Where do ghosts go to party?

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I'm very excited to do my first guest blog here at the League. They're a great bunch of peeps, and Halloween is the perfect time of year for those of us who write in the paranormal genre.

My day job is in a corporate retail store, and every two months or so they send us a new music compilation to play. This month's had five Halloween-themed songs mixed in with standard "popular" music, and one of the songs is "Grim Grinning Ghosts" by Barenaked Ladies.



Barenaked Ladies Lyrics
Grim Grinning Ghosts Lyrics

The theme behind it always sounded familiar (and frankly, it took me until Googling for this post to realize it was from a Disney theme park ride), but the basic chorus ("Grim grinning ghosts com…

Candy Corn Floats

**Adapted from Pillsbury's "Halloween recipes"**

1 gallon softened vanilla ice cream
1 can frozen concentrated orange juice, thawed
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
red and yellow food coloring--to make orange, y'see (optional)
2-liter bottle ginger ale
whipped cream
lemon zest, cocoa powder, or candy corn


In a large bowl mix the softened ice cream, OJ concentrate, water, vanilla, and food coloring (if using).

For each serving, scoop heaping 1/2 cup or so of ice cream mixture into a glass. Pour about 1 cup ginger ale over each.

Heap whipped cream on top, if using, and sprinkle with cocoa powder, lemon zest, or candy corn to decorate. Serve with black straws (available at most party supply stores).


If you like, you can add one or two shots' worth of ice-cold mandarin, vanilla, or plain vodka. Or you can turn them into frozen fuzzy navel floats by adding peach schnapps.

Movies I Can't Wait For, #1...

Halloween guest story...in amongst the tombs with Seressia Glass

One of my personally spooky experiences happened on a trip to--where else?--New Orleans. It was May, and we'd just come back from a cruise and decided to spend the weekend in the Crescent City before heading back home. One of our must-see sights was St. Louis Cemetery #1. (You can see a map of the tombs here.) It was a beautiful day, robin's egg blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds. We went by the official resting place of Marie Laveau (tomb #347), saw all the coins and other gifts left for her, and the triple X's decorating the tomb. Then we went into the rest of the cemetery, following the guides' advice to follow the arrows on the ground.

Somehow I got separated from my friend and pretty much everyone else and ended up in a back patch. I tried to retrace my steps and that's when the hair started standing up on my arms and the temperature seemed to drop and my stomach got all twisted. Obviously I was not supposed to go against the direction of the wh…

Ch-Ch-Ch-China Doll

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What's more fun than traumatic childhood experiences? Nothing, that's what.

Here's Michelle Rowen's entry into our Halloween of Horrors and therapy bills...


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When I was a kid I went with my friend to visit her relatives for a weekend in Quebec. They were very nice but they had a whole roomful of creepy-looking china dolls. One of them had a very pale white face, black hair and a black dress on and while it was a beautiful doll, it looked very sad. I was looking at it when the husband of the collector decided to tell me that it was because the doll had lost her husband in the Second World War, she was in mourning, and she'd slit her wrists because she was so distraught over her loss. Now her spirit haunts the doll and the room I stood in. Then he turned around and shut the door behind him leaving me in the dark holding the scariest f*cking doll in the history of the universe. I freaked out, started bawling my eyes out and ran about three bl…

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

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HALLOWEEN WEEK AT THE LEAGUE!!!

Oh yeah. It's gonna get crazy up in this bitch. Tons of people are dropping by the League Lounge starting today and stretching through the big event on Friday, maybe longer. There'll be cocktails and scares from some of the biggest names we could dredge up, contests and giveaways and...well...just all kinds of Halloween whoring. So come often and leave a comment, you never know what you might go home with. I'm not saying it could be V.D., but you never know.

Let's get the ball rolling with Uncle Tim...

Save This Show!!!

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Okay people. Serious business here.

It's come to my attention that Pushing Daisies, the most consistently entertaining, visually stunning and wholly magical show on television, in my not-so-humble opinion, has taken a tragic dip in the ratings. I'm mortified.

You should be, too.

Please be mortified. Enough to tune in. I'm begging here.

How can I be expected to go on without a weekly fix of Olive Snook? Kristen Chenowith injects some serious haha into the lovelorn and snoopy Olive. Not since Gladys Cravitz has a busybody been so fun to watch.

Plus...you'll be supporting urban fantasy and paranormal romance on TV. You want that, don't you? Sure True Blood got bought up for another year, but according to insiders, that's only because HBO didn't have anything better coming down the pipe. I'm not kidding, I've heard that the higher-ups are not impressed with the show or its ratings, so that's another show that may not be long for this world, if we…

Hmmm...

So, last week, in addition to posting my very great sadness about the divorce of Madonna and Guy Ritchie*, I posted some reviews. One of those reviews was for Personal Demons, and I noticed, when reading it, that it sounded rather familiar.

So I saw the name of the reviewer was Lisa, and remembered that the League's good buddy Lisa, who also posts and reviews at Urban Fantasy Land, did some work for Bitten by Books, the site I quoted last week on my blog. It was the same review she posted there. (And by the way, I see UFL is looking for some new team members as well; I'm sure we have some readers at the League who would be of great value to the site. We love UFL here [AND Bitten by Books, and all the sites in our sidebar], and think it's awesome, and you should visit it several times a day and help it grow! Sorry, just my little plug there.)

Anyway. I forgot to mention in my lj post that it was the same review, and it gave Lisa quite a start. Oops.

But it reminded me of somet…

It's Almost Halloween...

And you know what that means. Horror movies.



Hmm?

Weirdness

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Here at the League, we all write about some weird stuff. Some of us weirder than other--you know who you are.

But the truth is weirdness surrounds us. The old saw says truth is stranger than fiction. I think that's true. For example, this weekend, I was at the state fair and ran across a breed of sheep with four horns.


It's a bad picture, but trust me, those sheep were horny. I'd never heard of such a thing, but apparently Jacobs sheep have anywhere from two to six horns. Whodathunkit?

Sheep aside, writers are constantly taking real life influences and twisting them for our nefarious means. Some of it we just make up. But usually, we're the ones who notice oddities when our companions would walk right by.

An example, I was in Charleston on a girls' weekend once. We were sitting in a restaurant called Poogan's Porch. I'd just taken my first sip of iced tea when I looked out the window and spit it out. A seven-foot tall fallen angel was standing in front of th…

So...just out of curiosity...

How would a person kill themselves by swallowing, like, a big piece of fabric? Is it possible to do that?

I'm not having a lot of luck with Google...


(This is purely for research purposes, guys. I'm not planning my own untimely demise or anything of that nature, I promise.)

400 League Posts and No One Said Nothin'!

I'm back from the 3rd world, sunburnt (let's just call it a base), dehydrated (um...it should be a rule that alcohol can't turn your skin to dust, let's vote) and still sloshy from the cruise (I could fall over at any second, where's my Dramamine?). And what do I come back to?

A new League.

We hit 400 posts yesterday with Jackie's superhero saga (check it out). We're changing things up, if you haven't guessed and things are going to be pretty crazy all fall long. Some new members will be joining us (NEW LEAGUERS! That's plural bitches!), as well as some special guest stars--think Charo and George Hamilton, if they wrote paranormals and didn't have skin cancer. Clearly we've done away with the scheduled day thing, so stop by frequently and oftener. You never know what's going on around here.

Make sure to mark your calendars 'cuz next week is our Halloween Spectacular! Lots of guest blogs, scary stories, and all-around weirdness.

Wha…

Women In A Super-Powered World

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So I've been thinking about superheroines.

Sure, a good part of this is because Caitlin and I wrote Black and White, and we've begun work on the next in the series, Shades of Gray, and when you're writing about superheroes in a dystopian world, it's a bit difficult not to think about superheroines.

But part of it also is because I have two Precious Little Tax Deductions who are very into superheroes. I've been sitting through episodes of Super Friends and Justice League Unlimited and Ben 10 and Batman and The Batman (really--two completely different shows) and Superman and Voltron ("...and I'll form the head!"). And seeing all this spantastic action has made me think about the role of women in a super-powered world.

[Note: This is specifically about television versions of superheroines; comic books and novels are another topic. I believe that the medium in which a story is presented makes a difference in terms of impact--reading a book or a comic book ab…

The Green Pencil of Salvation

There you are, working on the new WIP. You've just gotten the check for your manuscript's acceptance. The world seems like a brighter place. Birds are singing in the trees and the tune they're singing is you favorite song. Desserts have less calories just because the weight of the world is no longer on your shoulders...

And then you get the package. Maybe it's a yellow-orange DHL package. Maybe it's FedEx or UPS, but you know that contained within is a force that will execute those singing avians (or at least alter their tune to something horrid and off-key). It will dim the light of the universe by no less than twenty percent and almost certainly cause you to lose sleep (possibly hair) and it will absolutely cause those vanished calories to return... with reinforcements.

It's your manuscript. Your darling little perfect manuscript. Only now it has been exposed to the light of truth. Now, it has been copyedited and this, my friend, this is the last chance you'…