A Mayoral Conversation & Nana D’s Stupendous Banana Flan

Happy Saturday.  Not long ago we had a visit from Wharton County super sleuth Kellan Ayrwick.  As you may recall, he’s also a Braxton professor and single father.  A man of high standards and a staunch law conformist, he believes people should be held accountable for their actions.  That’s quite commendable.

Also commendable is the role Mayor Seraphina Danby—also known as Nana D—plays.  This important elected official wholeheartedly believes in setting a good example and leading Wharton County back to its glory days, but with a modern touch.

Please join us Wednesday, October 23rd when Nana D expounds upon her aims as mayor, notions on family, and perspectives re Kellan and sleuthing. WPkeyingredientDOTcom

Given Kellan’s love of desserts (and mine), on the way to a civic event, that lovely lady decided to drop off one of her favorites: banana flan.  How cool (nummy) is that?

Excuse me while I grab a fork and plate, and dash—hey guys, step aside, that slice is mine!!!

 

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Can You . . .

. . . Hula like Hilo Hattie?  I can!  Hey, it’s Rey.  Yeah, I posted on a couple of FB community pages, but thought I’d help The Boss out and post here, too.

We’re like so thrilled that Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?, the second book in our Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, is now available on Audible.

A quick summary for those not in the know (tsk) . . . we three rookie super sleuths accept our first professional P.I. gig: to uncover the “secret” of this elderly millionaire’s pretty young wife.  The problem?  Wifey’s found murdered on the shores of Oahu. And there’s a secret—one of a few, and our dead gal’s not the only one who’s got one.  As we fit the puzzle pieces together, we find a few more bodies.  Gotta tell ya, it’s a REAL trial finding the REAL killer, but we love every moment of it . . . and hope you do, too!

Below are Audible links to the samples:

US:
https://www.audible.com/pd/B07YY5LK54/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-167584&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_167584_rh_us

UK:
https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/B07YY4S2N4/?source_code=AUKFrDlWS02231890H6-BK-ACX0-167584&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_167584_rh_uk

Please let The Boss know if you’re interested and she’ll happily provide a promo code.

Aloha!

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Review: The Golden Viper by Sean Robins

Your favorite heroes and villains are back!  In The Golden Viper, Sean Robins’ fun sci-fi sequel to The Crimson Deathbringer, the odious Xortaags return—to conquer Earth.  Their ultimate plan, however, is to use advanced technology discovered on Kanoor to rule the universe.  How dastardly can one alien race be!?

Major Jim Harrison (the protagonist), Venom (his alter-ego, in a manner of speaking), and Kurt (Jim’s best friend), likewise return.  If you’ve read Deathbringer, you’ll be happy to hear that four-footed Akakie jokester Tarq—Jim’s “alien brother”—and egocentric General Maada (yes, that win-at-all-odds commander) are also back.  Inserting a few new intriguing characters into the equation equates to an awesome follow-up.

You’ll also find those stories within stories and different POVs that worked so well in Deathbringer.  How will Jim deal with a significant past loss?  Will the Xortaags succeed in their heinous quest(s)?  Does Tarq carry on pulling outlandish pranks?  Who’s more ruthless: Maada or his conniving brothers?  Are new team members to be trusted?  Can Earth be saved?  Will Jim et al cease/continue making eye-rolling film and television references?

When a book begins with, “The deafening Death Siren cried out like the wail of a thousand animals being slaughtered”, you know you’re in for a thrilling storybook ride.  Action and excitement reign—and not just during exhilerating spaceship battles!

Is The Golden Viper as good as The Crimson Deathbringer?  Judge for yourself (I promise, you won’t be disappointed).

And what of the author? In addition to being a huge fan of Marvel, Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Star Trek, Sean Robins is also a university/college level English teacher, who has lived and worked in five different countries( like Canada, eh?).  He’s met people from all around the world, and his parents and wife are from different backgrounds—hence, diversity as a major theme in his novels.

Please check out Sean at:

https://seanrobins73.wixsite.com/website

https://mybook.to/goldenviper

https://thecrimsondeathbringer.home.blog

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Rating:  save savesave savesave

 

Goodreads . . . Good Times . . . Good Friends

One of the best ways to get your books noticed is to have them on a Goodreads list (of which there are a few).

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The rules, I understand, are as follows:

♦  You cannot add or vote for your own book (makes sense). Someone else has to add it for you.    ♦  You must list the book you’re voting for on one of your shelves (“Read” or “Want to Read”).    ♦  You can vote for multiple books, as well as prioritize them.

I’ve come across many writers requesting votes for their masterworks so that they may move higher in ranking.  I get that and am more than happy to help by offering a vote or two or twenty.

Confession: me, myself and I have never done that (we’re challenged when it comes to self-promotion, but have always really wanted to give it a go).  WPgoodreads3

A dear blogger-writer friend, Jina S Bazzar added Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie—the 2nd in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series—on the Detective List.  How cool and sweet is that?  Thank you, Jina!

Journeys, a Facebook writing community, has “Shameless Saturday Promotion”  . . . I’m borrowing the idea and shamelessly promoting myself on this fine October Saturday.  Won’t you please vote for Hula by going to Goodreads?  I’m # 493.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/322.Detective_Fiction?page=7

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And please check out what Jina’s doing on her blog:

https://authorsinspirations.wordpress.com/

She’s also the author of Heir of Ashes and Heir of Doom, which feature the feisty Roxanne Fosch, a young fee hybrid who escaped a government research facility after spending nine years as a captive.  I won’t reveal more.  You’ll have to read the exciting books to see what transpires!

An Interview with Braxton’s Brightest Sleuth

Ta-da!  He’s he-ere.  I’m thrilled to have Kellan Ayrwick from Wharton County visit today. In addition to serving as a part-time sleuth and single father, he’s a brilliant Braxton College professor who has also worked in TV.  He’s solved some exciting mysteries in a quaint and quiet part of Pennsylvania, Wharton County, where mob members, mystifying murders, and daunting ghosts are but a few of the challenges he’s encountered.

Without further ado . . . let’s get to know this dynamic sleuth that wee bit better.

Kellan Michael Ayrwick is such a distinguished name.  Would you please share the origins with us?

Absolutely. Thanks for asking. My first name is a bit unusual. I’m the middle child of five siblings. My parents wanted unique, older names for their children. I’ve been told they wanted it to start with that hard “c” or “k” sound, and they like repeated consonants, especially after a trip to Spain; hence, the double l. Just like in most Scottish and Irish families, children’s middle names come from their parents or grandparents. My older brother Hampton got my father’s name as his middle name, so when they chose mine, they went with Grandpa’s. He was Nana D’s husband, Michael Danby.

Ayrwick is a little more of a family story. My relatives originated in the town of Ayr in Scotland. They were candlemakers and, so, when the overseer and tax collector had to enumerate for our town, he’d listed it as Ayr, Wicks. Somehow, it was translated into Ayrwick on the official records when my ancestors immigrated to the United States.

Tell us what it’s like to be a professor, single father, and amateur sleuth.  Which role is the most challenging?  Why?

Being a single father is the most challenging. When I lived in Los Angeles, I relied on my in-laws, who often had their own ways of parenting. Trying to balance their styles with mine, without offending them anytime I’d suggest a different path, was not easy. I thought it’d get better when we moved back to Pennsylvania. Now, I have my parents and Nana D trying to tell me how to raise my daughter. They mean well, and I wouldn’t be able to survive without their help, but poor Emma is already turning into a mini Nana D. The world only needs one of them, right?

I obtained my PhD, but didn’t stay in academia in Los Angeles. I worked in Hollywood and learned all about the film industry. When I moved back to Pennsylvania and took the job as professor to help my dad out, I thought it was temporary. The opportunity to build a new film program at the school was too enticing, so now I’m back in academia full-time. I enjoy being able to work with young adults and new minds who love the entertainment business as much as I do, but I miss the challenge of solving complex puzzles.

I think that’s why I find being an amateur sleuth the most fun. Except for those few times where the killer almost succeeded in knocking me off too. I have high standards. Being able to hold people accountable for their actions is important to me. I obey the laws and dislike when others treat them carelessly.

If you could have pursued any profession, which would it have been?

I think I might have chosen the right one. Research is my expertise. I read people easily, and I know what questions to ask to find the right answers. Sometimes it takes a little longer than I’d like, and at others I am blindsided. But, ultimately, my instincts have been spot-on. If I went with a profession purely for fun and pleasure, I think I should’ve been a baker. I’d weigh three times as much and probably die sooner because I couldn’t stop eating all the time. But there’s a downside to every job, I suppose.

Did you do well in school?  What did you excel at?  What did you like most?

Do I really need to admit the truth here? I was a good student. I did well, but I was also the president of my fraternity and often got into a bit of trouble. I am great at anything that involves thinking and analyzing. I’m unusually smart when it comes to mechanical things, too. I can take almost anything apart and put it back together again. On the flip side, I wasn’t very strong in business classes and foreign languages. I don’t like to travel by plane, so it’s limited the places I can go. I never did have the ability to grasp grammar in other countries.

Who do you look up to?  Why?

Grandpop Michael, my mother’s father. He’s my idol. I love my father, but he focused more on my older brother. Grandpop Michael took me under his wing when I was a teenager, teaching me everything I know today. He was an honest man who understood people. He didn’t believe in acting tough, lying, or being ornery. There wasn’t a soul who disliked my grandpop, and that’s what I aim for every day of my life.

Which has proven your trickiest, most perplexing mystery (thus far)?

This ghost who’s been haunting my house. I can’t tell if (s)he’s real or fake. I never believed in that paranormal side of life, but after my experience in the spooky corn maze, my entire mindset has changed. I can solve a problem when I can talk to a person, ask questions, and get at the core of the situation. When I can’t actually connect with something tangible, I’m at a loss. Hopefully, I’ll solve it soon, as I really want to move into the new house without worrying about a ghost trying to kill me. Did you see the message (s)he left on the basement door?  WPghostgreenspace1DOTme

I did indeed—spoo-ookingly scary!   … Tell us, please, what do you like most about Wharton County?

It’s got the best of everything. Four seasons, even if I dislike the cold. Mountains, valleys, farms, rivers, lakes, forests, and an urban center. It’s only a few hundred square miles, and it’s relatively close to bigger cities like Philadelphia and Buffalo. Then again, you can hide out and never be found for years too. It’s the type of place to raise your children among family and friends who support one another. Up until recently, they had relatively few murders. I’m not sure what happened in the last six months since I returned. Maybe the ghost has been more active than we knew about.

There was quite a bit of hoopla surrounding Francesca’s death—including mobster ties.  Would you share a little about that?

It’s barely been three months. I think we’re all still recovering from that explosive reveal. I’m grateful that Emma has taken the news so well. It’s not every day that your mother comes back from the dead. If I had known my wife was part of a mob family, I might have thought twice before asking her to marry me. I always knew those Castiglianos were trouble, but I couldn’t have predicted this outcome. We lost a family member in that mob war last summer. It doesn’t matter who did what, death is never easy. After it happened, I spent days with my daughter, ensuring she recovered from being kidnapped by that crazed villain. It’s only now that I see shades of my daughter returning back to her innocent youth.

What has been the most precious or special moment in your life?

Definitely the day Emma was born. After her, I think reconnecting with my family after a decade’s absence. We kept in touch and visited once a year, but it never felt the same. It’s taken a few months, but I now feel like we’re ready to trust one another again. It’s not like anything major happened to separate us … just that family is incredibly important. Sometimes you don’t realize something until you almost lose it.

What’s your greatest achievement?

If we’re speaking outside of family events, I think accomplishing so much in such a short-time period. I’ve worked in Hollywood, become a professor who specializes in film studies, joined the team to convert Braxton from a college to a university, and solved seven murders. I couldn’t choose between any of those, but being able to balance all of it together and raise my daughter, now that’s something to be proud of. I never put that all together until just now. Thank you for making me see it was such an achievement.

Do you have any regrets—about anything?

Grandpop Michael always told me not to regret the things I’ve done. Every action has consequences, and if you change even the slightest, the ripple effect is beyond anyone’s understanding. That said, if I could change a few things about the past, I’d probably try to stop Gabriel from leaving Braxton years ago. Too much happened to our family that changed the landscape of our future. I’m glad to have him back, but we lost more than five years of being brothers. That’s a lot of time, especially when we were once so close.

What floats your boat?

Are we talking literally or figuratively? I don’t own a boat, so I’m assuming you mean figuratively. That’s easy. Desserts. I will do anything for dessert. I can’t help it. I have uncontrollable cravings, and since it’s not caused any problems with my health, I will continue to devour any and all desserts. I have noticed my workouts need to happen more frequently, and I am occasionally defying the limits of gravity with my clothing. If for any reason my health or the size of my pants were to change, I’d cut back. I love having a racing horse for a metabolism. Until that time things change, my boat floats to desserts. Got anything new for me to try?

<LOL>  I’ll let you know later.  Last question, Kellan: who is your favorite detective?  Why?

If I don’t say April or Connor, am I in trouble? Please let the record show, they are my favorites. If you torture me to say another name, I’d admit to loving Sherlock Holmes. He’s arrogant but clever. People sometimes think I’m a little too sarcastic, but it’s different when you hear me speak. I’m witty and funny and light about it … I’m never mean-spirited, and I often laugh at myself. A few people have written opinions about me (I won’t name names) that I seem banal or pretentious. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just tend to be a little humorous rather than so serious all the time.

Awesome.  Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and share. 

For those of you not familiar with Kellan’s sleuthing, I highly recommend you check out:

♦  Academic Curveball  ♦  Broken Heart Attack  ♦  Flower Power Trip  ♦  Mistaken Identity Crisis  ♦  Haunted House Ghost

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Curious to learn more?  Please visit these two awesome sites: https://jamesjcudney.com and https://thisismytruthnow.com.

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By the by, Kellan’s charming grandmother and go-getting mayor, Nana D, will be here on the 23rd of this month! 

Head’s Up

October 9th is riding in like a frenetic witch on a motorized broom—and it’s proving to be positively spoo-ooky in Wharton County, Pennsylvania.

That day, I’m quite pleased, if not tickled pink, to feature one of my favorite amateur sleuths: Kellan Michael Ayrwick.  In addition to detecting part-time, he’s an accomplished Braxton College professor who has worked extensively in TV—surely you’ve seen the popular show Dark Reality?  Most importantly perhaps, Kellan is the loving single father of Emma, a clever and most charming girl of six going on sixteen, as he likes to teasingly state.

Please drop by for an enlightening and entertaining interview … discover fascinating family facts and learn which “case”, to date, has proven the most challenging for our budding sleuth.

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Revile or Revere?

Hi, Linda here.  It’s my turn to take over for the Boss, who’s still on stress-rest (poor thing).  Given my colleagues’ recent topics—Rey’s favorite films and JJ’s personal peeves and pleasures—I opted to go with favored perp, villain or suspect, someone met during our four major cases that we hold/held a certain fondness or admiration for.  (The Boss liked the idea and thought she would feature “fav” fiction/film baddies later.)

JJ

I rather liked Buddy Feuer (Coco’s Nuts).  Vassar-educated Buddy had beauty, brains, and boldness (and was cooler than an English cuke). She was so easy to like and admire.  And what you see/saw, wasn’t necessarily what you get/got, either.  <nudge, nudge, wink, wink>

She came from money, but due to circumstances beyond her control, like her father shooting a metal projectile into his thieving accountant’s fleshy forehead, there was no inheritance to be had.  Did that depress her?  No.  She learned how to drive a truck and worked for one of the biggest firms on the Islands. 

She’s still making a good living at it and I have no doubt that she’ll go places—and not just on eighteen wheels. 

Rey

I have to go with WP Howell, a wealthy gent who hired us for the Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? case, our first professional one.  The guy wanted us to find dirt on his young pretty wife, Carmie.

Howell was a multi-millionaire and philanderer, among other things, and was distinguished on so many levels.  He had this welcoming smile and was in great shape for someone in his 70s.  He had this amazing head of white bushy hair (kind of like the Man from Glad back when) and these sand-brown, dime-round eyes that were really intense.  His smile and laugh were pretty powerful, too. 

Howell had strength and doggedness that came from having and making money in droves.  You couldn’t help but be in awe of someone like that.

Linda

I’m partial to Coco “Mr. Lookeeng Goo-ood” Peterson from Coco’s Nuts, a fellow trucker associate of Buddy’s.  This guy seemed to have chance/luck perpetually on his side, maybe because he was best friends with a mobster’s son.  According to Buddy, he had a gap the width of the Suez Canal between his two huge front teeth, bile-green eyes, and so loved flicking his tongue like a gecko on amphetamines.  Apparently, Coco believed he was super cute and sexy when he did that. 

Odd looks and mannerisms aside, motor-mouthed Coco sounded like he could be a committed chum or a piercing thorn in your side, depending on whether he liked you.  He came across as so intriguingly weird, the three of us wished we could have met him; the I’m-so-hot-I-sizzle personality would have made for a very entertaining get-together. 

What about you?  Who’s your favorite villain (or near-villain)?

Oh, as an FYI, I think Rey meant philanthropist and not philanderer (Howell did like women, but he wasn’t a womanizer).  <LOL>

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Peeves & Pleasures

You’ve got JJ posting today.  As you know, The Boss is on stress-rest (she’s not looking too good, poor thing).

Yes, I confess, Rey’s post re “favs” got me thinking . . . why not share things we dislike and like, our current pet peeves and pleasures?  It was a great exercise; it had us thinking (focusing) really hard.

Here you have them, my friends, the Triple Threat Investigation Agency trio’s bugbears and blisses . . .

Peeves

JJ:

♦  bombastic, verbose persons who love the sound of their own voices . . . blab a lot, but say little     ♦  people (businesses) so desirous of profit and power that critical concerns—like climate change—are scoffed at and shelved    ♦  abusers of all kinds

Rey:

♦  whiners and wieners . . . folks who fret and complain, but won’t do anything to change their circumstances    ♦  people who don’t/won’t listen, be it friends or family, politicians or superstars    ♦  creamed corn—someone served it the other day and, gawd, I nearly gagged (my mom and aunts had a thing for it, so it was always at family dinners)

Linda:

♦  fakers and liars—I’ve no patience for phony people in any shape, size, or form    ♦  fake news when it truly is fake news, as propagated by those who like to spin real news for their own benefit  <LOL>   ♦  garbage here, there and everywhere; is it really that difficult to place it in a bin?

Pleasures

JJ:

♦  volunteering time and/or money—what a truly gratifying pleasure    ♦  Hawaii . . . it’s in my heart and soul    ♦  animals/pets . . . and their wonderful (!) unconditional love

Rey:

♦  acting . . . still keen on it (but being a private eye is better)    ♦  catching the bad guy, speaking of being a P.I.—there’s nothing like helping put a criminal behind bars    ♦  pizza . . . still love it and there’s no better way to end a trying day than with a [huge] slice of heaven

Linda:

♦  relaxing and spa retreats are definite [hedonistic] pleasures    ♦  hiking and walking, and being active (fitness and health are everything)    ♦  reading, writing, and blogging

What about yours?  Ever give thought to what floats your boat . . . and sinks it?

From the gals at the TTIA, have an amazing weekend!

Aloha! WPpp4

Hear, Hear . . . X2

It’s Rey, hey.  How goes?  The Boss is still on stress-rest (can you spell w-u-s-s?).

JJ and Linda will be posting Saturday and Wednesday.  They’ve got good ones, inspired by mine on “favs” (when ya got it, ya got it).  But, for today, you’ve got a quick one from moi.  Consider it a reminder . . . a must do . . . ’cause you know me—Reynalda Fonne-Werde doesn’t give up easily.

As mentioned recently, The Connecticut Corpse Caper (the first in our Triple Threat Investigation Agency adventures) is available in an audiobook format through Audible … on Amazon and iTunes.  It’s narrated by Cindy Piller, who does an awesome job.

There are still some coupon codes to those who might be interested in downloading Caper (the code can only be used once via the acx-promo link).

Please message us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/OahuPIs/) or comment by way of this blog (and please specify US or UK).

US:
https://www.audible.com/pd/B07XQ3TTFV/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-163671&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_163671_rh_us

UK:
https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/B07XKZKP77/?source_code=AUKFrDlWS02231890H6-BK-ACX0-163671&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_163671_rh_uk

We hope you’ll enjoy listening to what crazy—murderous—events at our aunt’s haunted Connecticut mansion encouraged us to become P.I.s.

Cheers!

Thank You to Jay

I want to extend my most appreciative thanks to Jay (James J. Cudney IV) for the wonderful review of Forever Poi.

https://thisismytruthnow.com/2019/09/21/book-review-forever-poi-by-tyler-colins/

Fellow blogger and writer Jay is a force to be reckoned with.  He’s everything I’d like to be as a blogger and writer: proficient, focused, supportive … a consummate professional.  If you’ve not yet checked out his fantastic blog (as I continually say, I’m totally envious) and fabulous books, like the Braxton Campus mystery series, please do!

https://jamesjcudney.com/

Jay2A

♦ ♦ ♦

Book Review: Forever Poi by Tyler Colins

by James J. Cudney IV

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Forever Poi by Tyler Colins
Forever Poi, the 4th book in the Triple Threat Mysteries series by Tyler Colins, was published in July 2019. I’ve previously read the first three and was psyched to devour the latest one this month. Three smart and sassy female detectives run the Triple Threat Investigations agency in Hawaii, but the series started out in Connecticut and moved its way westward. What an exotic and thrilling location to set a murder mystery series… Ms. Colins has imbued the characters and setting with something exciting, vibrant, and unique. I’ve seen tremendous growth over the course of the four books, and the private detectives are learning on the job as quickly as they possibly can.

Today, I’m focusing on Forever Poi, where the ladies discover two bodies who’d been killed in an art gallery fire. The police bring Triple Threat in for assistance, quickly determining the inferno was intentionally set and the victims were definitely murdered. Unfortunately, JJ and her cousins had recently met at least one of the two lost souls, which makes the investigation all that much more difficult. The hunt for the killer or killers has the ladies traipsing all over the continental US, with a particularly memorable stop in Chicago.

Ms. Colins’ story contains a large number of complex characters, all with hilarious and interesting names. One if even called Crispy, and yes, that’s a connection with the fire. The three detectives are methodical in the search for all the clues and hidden secrets about the two men who owned the gallery and the seemingly disconnected woman Lolita who died in the blaze. We also learn about a death that occurred before the book started, but it might not be connected. Kudos to the author for layering in the details for readers to try to solve the crime themselves.

A few fun things to note, as these are the points that always make Ms. Colins’ books stand out: (a) the catch phrase ‘Hey-ho,’ (b) finding out the true meaning of ‘Forever Poi,’ which isn’t what you think, (c) someone else besides me says ‘Toodles,’ and (d) that totally unexpected scene when Cash (Richie J) returns to visit JJ. At first, I was freaked out, then I realized what was going on, but afterward, it started heating up again. I won’t spoil the surprise for those who’ve read previous books, but it’s an amusing one. The series is edgy but not over-the-top. Appropriate uses of ‘F Off’ and references to ‘Nudie Art’ make the characters and plot seem quite real.

When the key suspect in the crimes is presumed dead midway into the story, you’re left with a ‘now what’ll happen?’ moment. Then, the ladies find themselves trapped with the potential for a bomb to explode. It got pretty close in the end… but they always get their killer, don’t they? This was a great entry in the series, and I’m excited by the news at the end about the next book in 2020. It’ll be on my reading list. I hope it’s on yours too.