Book Chosen, Thinking About Next Year

Thank you everyone for voting on the novel poll! The winner for 2015 is:

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I’ve done a daily excerpt in the past, though I don’t know if I’ll continue that tradition this year. Let me know if you want it, though I’ll probably post a couple during the month regardless. There’s usually some ridiculousness during the month that will end up cut which I like to share before it’s gone forever.

In the mean time, I’m starting to think about what I’m going to do for next year before the madness of the month settles in. I know a few things that I’ll be doing next year, including finishing off the Tales from the Twisted Eden series, another book for the Looking Glass Saga, and probably rewriting a previous novel and getting that one out. Other than that, though, I’m not sure.

So I’ll turn that over to you. You can decide what’s important from my list while I work on plotting for November. What books and projects would you like me to do next year?

What stories do you want from 2016?

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Dammit, Supernatural Romance

To be clear: I am not a fan of the romance genre in general. It’s a genre that’s been targeted at me my whole life that I have never liked. I don’t mind it as part of the narrative where it isn’t the most important thing, but on its own, I find it irritating and predictable, often playing mostly on gender tropes that I’d rather would just die.

But I have a lot of supernatural romance on my Kobo. I downloaded a lot of free books once upon a time and they looked like they would have more supernatural than romance in it. Plus, I know romance is a bit of a weak point for me, so I wanted to see how other authors with more experience handled it. I figured reading them would be an educational experience and I would get something useful out of the experience, even if I knew it would end predictably.

I’ll give them this. I didn’t see any of these endings coming. Mostly because most of them made no goddamn sense.

So let’s go through what appears to be the rules of the genre, near as I can tell. I read three of these books so far all the way through1 and I’ve noticed a few trends that they all share. Please note, I didn’t read anything with a love triangle.

  1. Straight female protagonist, probably in her 30s. Most have some sort of job that allows them to be independent.
  2. She’s gotta be hot, but she probably doesn’t know it.
  3. She also has no parents. She can have grandparents or parental figures, but her direct parents are dead.2
  4. She’s married at the start3 to a guy who is an alcoholic. He’s probably also cheating on her. If he is, he’s gotten the other woman pregnant.
  5. It is definitely his fault the relationship is failing/has failed. The main lady is absolutely,100% not at fault for the failed relationship.
  6. The woman has no friends who could be potentially romantically threatening. All potential male friends are either gay or in relationships.
  7. The love interest has some sort of female fetish type job, or at least one with a super sexy uniform.4
  8. It’s set in a small town, or it feels like it must be a small town.
  9. The love interest is completely perfect. At least, the book will really try to sell this guy as a completely perfect man, no matter his actions.5
  10. When she hooks up with the love interest, she is still somehow married to the unrepentant douchebag she was with before.
  11. Children are always important to the main lady in some way.
  12. At about the 2/3 – 3/4 mark, she will have a heart to heart with the unrepentant douchebag ex and they will come to an agreement of some sort. And then he will die soon after. They will still be married.6
  13. Even if the main lady ends up killing someone, it will absolutely not be her fault that it happened. It was probably even something out of her control.7
  14. There should be minimal if any scenes in a hospital. If the main lady is hospitalized, she can definitely just walk out of there.
  15. The reveal that leads into the climax will make me want to throw my book out a window.8

While I think I could definitely write one of these books at this point, I am not going to. This is not my genre. I’ve seen positive and glowing reviews for all of these books and I just can’t with this type of escapist fantasy. I understand why, but it’s just not my thing.

On the other hand, I still have more on my Kobo. And I have no plans to delete them.

  1. And gave up on others []
  2. I think this is supposed to be the grown up Disney princess genre []
  3. Even if you don’t know it right away! []
  4. I got a doctor, a fireman, and a sheriff []
  5. Letting the protagonist off of crimes that she’s definitely guilty of, taking her to a romantic cabin in the woods instead of a hospital []
  6. This still technically happened in the one potential exception. []
  7. The sea murdered people for her! []

The Lyle Experience

So as I mentioned before, I was writing under the pseudonym Lyle S Tanner for a good few years. It was an interesting and very enlightening experience, there’s no doubt about that, and it allowed me to make a lot of mistakes as I started to try and navigate how all of this writing stuff was eventually going to work for myself.

I learned the technical things like formatting books, but I also learned about marketing. I read all the articles and tried to emulate a lot of the advice that they give in them. I created social media accounts, followed back, tried to keep a blog, kept releasing books, all of it. It was interesting, but ultimately I learned one key things.

None of that advice actually works. Not for me, anyway.

There’s a thing people have been saying for years. “Authors don’t buy books.” Until trying all this advice, I never really understood what it meant. Now I have an understanding of it.

See, the advice tells you to do things like follow back. Send these followers welcome messages. Maybe offer things to your followers. The problem is, once you list yourself as an author on a social media platform, the people who end up following you are other authors trying to push their books. They read the same articles as you did. They are following the same other authors.

In my experience, no one ever really talked either. My preferred platform was Twitter and following back turned my feed completely useless. The articles say 80% other content and 20% book promotion. 20% is too much. The other 80% ends up being sharing other people’s book promotions or articles on promotion or writing. As much as I love a good post on writing, there were so many that I couldn’t keep up.

Adding to the problem, I didn’t read any of these people. They were in genres I really didn’t enjoy1 and by people that were advertising so aggressively that I figured they didn’t need my read. I was an author and I was reading, but I wasn’t buying any of the books that anyone else was selling.

They also tell you about free giveaways. If you give away your book for free, after all, you can get those precious reviews! Here’s a quick warning for those of you who try that. On Goodreads and Library Thing2 I managed to get a total of about four reviews across all platforms after giving away 168 copies of Syndicate.3 Some of those didn’t come until a year or two after I’d given the book away.

I will note that Story Cartel worked for White Noise pretty well.4

Under my own name, I know better than to follow the advice. I’m sure it works wonderfully for some people and to them, good for you. For Lyle and for me, it turned out to be pretty worthless. I’m just going to focus on writing my next books.

  1. Though I’ve tried Supernatural Romance now. I dislike it even more than I thought I would. []
  2. The two platforms I tried this with as Lyle []
  3. I realize it’s an anthology series, structurally really strange and not for everyone. The numbers still stand. []
  4. White Noise is also a much more normal book, but 3 reviews for 29 downloads is a lot better ratio. []

Extending Greywalker

It’s been a while since I did one of these, but I’ve been itching to do one for Greywalker since the end of the series.

For those who haven’t followed my rambling reviews of Greywalker, it’s a series of novels about Harper Blaine, PI who can also see ghosts. While she continues working cases to pay off her bills, she also has to solve the problems of ghosts who she can see and interact with.

I am still salty about the end of the series,1 but let’s try to do something about that.


Really, this would make an interesting series that actually falls into an interesting niche demographic. It’s that paranormal show for the people who are starting to feel a little too old for Teen Wolf or who are disillusioned by Supernatural’s insistence to make everything about implied sexual tension between Dean and Castiel.2 Doing it as a series of hour long episodes, likely for Netflix so it’s a lot easier to have uneven length seasons, could make for a very faithful adaptation.

It could also bring in a much wider audience in television and speed up the pace of some of the investigation. The books don’t really get going until the half way point, but you can do it different for the show. Merge a few elements. make the first five books into one season and the second four into the second one. Two episodes a book. It could be good.


Seriously, someone give Cameron a blog. In the first book, we meet Cameron, who is still trying to learn the ropes of this vampire thing. Because the series is not about him or the vampires, we only get glimpses into vampire society and very little idea of how becoming a vampire actually works. Cam documenting his experiences as he slowly comes to terms with what he’s become could be really interesting. Plus, he’s a college kid. He’s probably going to be on some social platform. A blog makes sense.

There’s also the matter of the second half of the series. After book 5, Cameron takes quite the position of power in the vampire underworld and I have no idea how that went down. We see him briefly once and then he’s gone again, never to be heard from again. I want to know what happened.

In terms of execution, I’m thinking you throw a cipher into each episode somewhere and Cam’s blog link shows up in an episode early on. You go to the site, enter in the initial username and password to get access to Cam’s vampire journey, with blocked content that is only accessible with the solved cipher in the episode.


At the end of the last book, we have two magical children in Spain by the names of Soraia and Brian.3 They are going to be taught by an Irish witch the ways of magic, or so I assume, and there is another baby that is also possibly gifted with magic as well. This could make for a great series with the pair of them learning about magic and generally getting into trouble with it, while occasionally getting visits from the main characters of the series.

I am leaning for something of a Books of Magic feel from it, where they get in actual trouble and have to deal with the consequences. It would deal with things related to the main series and maybe calling on Auntie Harper or Uncle Jay to find out more, not to mention looking to Brian’s parents, the witch and the paranormal researcher, for a few answers. And, of course, Soraia’s mother, the doctor, has a subplot of coming to accept magic that is much more dangerous than she realized. Ultimately, though, it could stand apart from it and they have to learn a lot of stuff on their own.

  1. Seriously, that is not the ending of a series []
  2. Or maybe it stopped. I haven’t watched since Season 8. []
  3. Well, a potentially magical one and an actually magical one. []

Revenant by Kat Richardson

First and foremost, I refuse to accept that this is the end of the series. As an end to the arc, it’s perfectly servicable and plenty interesting. As the end of the books all together, no.

This time, Harper ends up going to Portugal to deal with Purlis and one of Carlos’ old enemies. The whole story revolved largely around Carlos instead of either Harper or Quinton, getting into how he became a vampire in the first place and taking a look at his sordid past while trying to stop the bone mages from bringing forth a dragon that would destabalize Europe.

I’m against it as an end to the series mostly because it revolves around a secondary character rather than our lead. I still have plenty of questions about Quinton and Harper to be answered,1 and instead the book goes off about the vampire who was the crutch for the first bit of the series. While it was nice to have some more Carlos and get a bit more information on him, as the final book in a series is not where I’d want it.

I could probably also do without any more Carlos/Harper moments ever. The dialogue between the two felt very off somehow and this whole Carlos thinking Harper is the best thing ever that he would also like to have sex with turned out to be really awkward more than anything else. I don’t know what to make of it, but I felt like it probably could have been cut.

Quinton, on the other hand, only brought up friendship once! It was awful and then the issue finally dropped. At last. I hope that when the series continues,2 that never comes up again. Ever. It’s my least liked subplot in anything I’ve read recently and I really didn’t want it handled so directly in a book about adults. None of these sounded like conversations I’ve had with other people. No more of them.

I was actually really surprised that so little of the book ended up being about Quinton or Purlis. It might have been his organization, but for all he was built up, Purlis didn’t actually do much in the book. He delegated the torture to someone else. He might have caught Harper initially, but she kept getting passed off to the bone mages. He kind of reacted to the soul link in that he felt it now and then when Harper got injured, but so little was about Quinton and Purlis that I was kind of disappointed when he was taken care of at the end.

Speaking of, I can’t wait for Quinton and Harper to finally be married because it means that everyone stops saying spouse-in-soul or coming up with other married-not-married terms for them. When they elope3 then we can get back to everything back to being about Harper nearly getting killed and saving her damsel of a husband.4

I think that’s most of why I’m a bit unsatisfied at this point. I thought that this was the end of the series, but there’s so much left unresolved. The epilogue consisted of a lot of telling about what happened to the smattering of characters, left out a bunch of other characters, and we get the answer to a marriage proposal. I don’t even get a dose of ferret in the book when Chaos5 has appeared in literally every other one. I don’t know what happens to her.

Still, there were good parts too. I did like meeting Quinton’s sister and her kids. And it was nice to see the Danzingers again one last time, even if we only get to see them the once. Mara even got to do something and give us a nice reminder of how far Harper has come. The magic, again, was nicely done6 and it didn’t wait until the half way point to pick up the pace. When things were moving, they were fantastic and there were a lot of little subplots and research that were interesting.

It’s just not a final book. Labyrinth was a final book. It was about Harper, about being a Greywalker and about what her role was in the story. This was the end of a story arc where Carlos stepped in and helped save the day again with a “Stay Tuned for More Adventures!” at the end.

I’m going to hold out hope for a new book and a new arc one of these days. I liked the series and I want a proper conclusion to it eventually. I’m just going to have to think of Revenant as a book that ended on a “To be continued…” for now and hope that eventually there is more.

  1. And a desire to have Harper dance as a plot point because for how often I’m told about it, I’m almost never shown []
  2. And for all my complaining, I do hope it does []
  3. You know that’s how it will go down []
  4. Who still needs to get beat up so bad that Harper comes to his rescue. Why has this not happened yet? []
  5. The ferret []
  6. Even if that bone swapping was very convenient []

The Nanowrimo Poll

I have been doing NaNoWriMo1 for years and for years I have also been running a poll to decide which book to write. Up until now, I have done it on my other site, but I’ve decided to bring the poll here this year, particularly since so many of my NaNoWriMo projects are being rewritten and edited for publication.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00032]The Sword Prince
Prince Siegfried, after an unfortunate encounter with a basilisk, was cursed to be a sword at the bottom of a lake. When he is removed from the lake by his descendants, he becomes a boy again just in time for the throne to be attacked. He finds himself caught in the middle and his curse slowly taking hold once more.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00032]Arcleo
Mirabella knows she is a princess. She knows because she doesn’t want to be an innkeeper’s daughter. When a group of people come through the inn looking for the real princess of a conquered kingdom, Mirabella sneaks out to join them on their quest to fulfill the prophesy to retake the kingdom. The journey isn’t quite what she had hoped, full of danger and uncertainty, and she is not the only potential princess they’ve picked up in their travels.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00032]Sky of Butterflies
Deciding to try their luck on their own, Mateo and Serafina venture out of their orphanage and into the wide world outside, only to be swept up in a revolution. The robots have caught their world up in a tyrannical rule while the rich remain safe behind gilded gates. The kids, however, soon learn that the resistance is not all that it seems to be… and neither are they.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00002]Static
Roughly a year after the events of White Noise, Willow suddenly recovers from her vegetative state and takes Max with her, provoking H&R to try and deal with the situation. Harrison is not a fan of what that means and starts to learn just what H&R have been up to, the real reason of their research, and how far they will go to keep their research private. He still doesn’t know what Willow wants and still can’t quite remember what happened the last time he went into H&R.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00032]City Without Heroes

In a world full of supervillains and superheroes, Indira’s parents have decided to take jobs in the crimeless city of Whitten. She couldn’t be happier about it. Super powers run in her family and Indira is psychic, though plays her powers down as much as possible to keep from being roped into becoming a hero herself. Her uncle distrust the place, but Indira quickly settles, not realizing the price that comes with keeping a city like Whitten free of both heroes and villains.

Continue reading

  1. National Novel Writing Month []

Possession by Kat Richardson

In Possession, it is some time later and Harper’s rib is no longer cracked. She is approached by a woman whose sister may or may not be possessed by a ghost, which leads her to several people dealing with the fear of insurance agencies and their own comatose family members who are also exhibiting strange behaviours which turn out to ultimately be the doing of a god that I’ve never heard of1 and Quinton’s dad. Kind of.

This book was odd in that I was expecting something more along book 4. In Vanished, everything drove the story toward the climax of the first arc and this one felt like it was more setup for that inevitable climax-building novel. I think this was mostly due to Quinton being completely removed from most of the narrative because he was off playing spy or having spats with Harper while she was still debating whether or not she was being a good friend/lover/etc.2

I also kind of want to smack Quinton. This friendship thing has gone on long enough. It might be because I’m still remembering the soul link in the back of my head while I’m reading all this and he’s picking up on nothing, or it’s the fact that he seems to be off dealing with the main plot and having adventures I’d like to see while Harper is dealing with what feels like a B plot, but the fact that he has taken himself out of the majority of the novel annoyed the hell out of me.

And let’s talk a little about that main plot. In the main plot that we don’t get to see, Purlis stalks Harper and they have one altercation before we stop seeing him for a while. He has apparently brought a goddess of hunger out of Europe and to Seattle, as well as opened up a facility where he experiments on the paranormal. We are told that these experiments are awful, but see precisely none of them.3 We never see what his ultimate goal is either, but Quinton instead tells us that he’s out to make the US the most powerful country in the world and make the rest of the world bow to it. He’s a super villain.

He’s also constantly referred to as “Papa Purlis” which would have annoyed me if Harper didn’t also call him “Daddy Purlis” at some point. Harper, you are in your thirties. You don’t like the guy, just call him by his last name. It’s really just that easy. Just because you’re kind of magically married to Quinton doesn’t mean you have to refer to him as your father in law every time you mention him.

I did enjoy the Harper plot line, though, once it picked up at the 50% mark of the book. The pieces fell into place and, if I didn’t know this was the second to last book in the series, it would have been a lot of fun seeing her dealing with the ghosts who haunted her personally.4 The mechanics of the hauntings and going through old Seattle and Pike Market’s history were great elements and I liked the idea of the big bad of Harper’s plot being Lizzy Hazzard riding the tail of a famine god.

Really, most of my issues with the book stem directly from the fact that I know it’s the second to last book and it’s not directly building up to that climax. I realize this time, the central point of the conflict is probably going to be Quinton rather than Harper so it makes sense that he’s the one having plot-related adventures, but that just made his absence in the book that much more evident.

I think I might need a Quinton side story of just this book. He did end up strapped to a chair by his father and he was about to be fed to a god before his girlfriend showed up. We never really did find out what any of that was about, only that it ended with Purlis getting shot in the leg and Quinton being very nice to him in getting him to a hospital for the not at all life threatening injury. I don’t really get what happened there, because the dialogue all felt forced and the scene felt like things needed to happen so they happened as opposed to the characters acting of their own accord.

I also need a Cam book. Now that I have solid confirmation that Edward is dead and Cam is now the reigning king of the vampires in Seattle, I want to know how that happened and how he came to own this strange house by the sea that he’s living in. Really, I just want to know a lot about what happens with the vampires at this point because I feel like a lot of stuff was skipped.

There was also the weird religious bit at the end. Apparently there was an angel that healed them all at the end of the story. Or maybe it was a ghost, except that ghosts don’t do that as near as I can tell. It was such a strange moment of needing everything to end happily that I’m not really sure what the point of it was. Harper isn’t carrying injuries into the next books anymore, so that wasn’t why it happened. The other characters effected were side characters. Is it to bring a religious aspect into the book near the end? Will it somehow be plot relevant? Will it be thematically relevant?

I’m thinking it was probably for the happy ending and a clean wrap up before the end of book hook into the final installment. Here’s hoping it all wraps up nicely at the end of Revenant!

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  1. And therefore Harper could not Google []
  2. The subplot just won’t die. []
  3. Even when they go into the facility. ow hard would it have been to just have them walk past a window and see a screaming vampire with a sun spot pointed somewhere on him and his intestines on the table next to him? The room could be sound proof. It would have added some nice atmosphere. []
  4. Although still no idea what was with the black ghosts vs any of the other ones. []

An Introduction to the Twisted Eden Sector

With Tales from the Twisted Eden Sector now under my name, and Evidence, the fifth book of the series1 coming out on September first, I figured I should at least talk a little about the series. Since I’ve been writing a lot of young adult urban fantasy, the more mature supernatural horror might require an introduction.

Tales from the Twisted Eden Sector

The magic of the world never really went away. It’s just been hidden, forced into back alleys and out of the public eye for so long that some don’t believe that it ever existed at all. Scattered across the world and hidden away into the back streets, there are many who know otherwise and make it their lives to hide it.

They have more than enough work on their hands as they seem to be at the center of something big. The fabric of the universe seems thinner here than anywhere else. Their sector sees more enchanted items, dangerous people and strange creatures than any other. The appearance in recent years of children born with an innate ability to perform a single spell with no training in their sector and theirs alone has baffled them and flooded their files. Something is coming, but without knowing what it might be, they are forced to deal with it one case at a time.

Every book in the series contains 11 short stories, mostly in chronological order within the book, and all of which are linked thematically. There are several characters that appear in several stories throughout the books at different points in their lives.2

It is a largely nonlinear project, though. The books are told one on top of one another. For those who want to check it out, but can’t handle not knowing when one story happens in relation to another, I have a timeline you can check out here.3

If any of this interests you, do check it out. If not, don’t forget to vote in the book poll!

  1. Simya Academy is more of a spin-off []
  2. In theory, you could follow just one character in the books, or even assemble the shorts on your own to follow the characters you’re interested in. []
  3. A little out of date now, but I’ll be updating it soon! []

Seawitch by Kat Richardson

So Seawitch is both about a boat named Seawitch and about an actual sea witch. Harper has to find out what happened to an old boat that washes up on shore because apparently the Guardian Beast has taken on the role of paranormal boss man now, and teams up with Solis to do it.

This series is a very different one from the first five books. I’m really noticing that the mysteries are easier to figure out, even if they are a bit more twisted in family politics than before. Perhaps this is how it always was but now I’m reading those explanatory sections that I dislike more1 but I feel like all the portions about the mystery are being handed to me.2

On the other hand, Solis gets a whole family and backstory. I love Solis now. He is my favourite.

I don’t get the soul bond thing. Is it just emotions? It manifested as being able to feel Quinton’s physical pain initially, but now it seems to only reflect his emotions when they are in a mid-range and she’s not looking directly at him. And he’s not feeling any effects as near as I can tell. I’ve taken to assuming he’s hiding it to keep Harper from worrying, but I’m still hoping for a little more on it than being used as a plot device in the last book.3

We have to talk about this friendship thing that keeps coming up. Yes, Harper does tend to use her friends as resources and probably should have lost a lot of them after putting them in that much danger in the first five books, but maybe stop harping on the “How do I be a good friend? I don’t know how to friend!” subplot? Quinton keeps bringing it up and Harper keeps talking about it in ways that are a little too on the nose to sound real. It sounds like an after school special and I’m really hoping it’s not an important plot point.

And now, Tanya complaining about the technology in the Greywalker series:

Also, can we cut Harper some slack on going to her friends, who are a legitimate witch4 and a paranormal researcher, for help on dobar-chu,5 which is a term I have never even heard of before and have no idea if I’m spelling right? She found minimal information from looking them up online and they are resources that probably know more about it than the online databases that she can access with her probably incorrect spelling.

I am super happy that Harper is trying to do some Google. I like that she’d trying to look things up on her own. It’s just also fine if she also gets some more information from her friends who probably know more than she does and know more about what’s accurate.

Back to our regularly scheduled book talk.

The series is definitely progressing toward some big confrontation with Quinton’s father, but the book is feeling a lot like the mysteries are getting easier. Everything just wraps up so neatly at the end and I`m left wondering if this could be better if it were written without the case and just the main arc happening. I mean, it would be shorter, but it might make it feel more like the previous iterations.

Also, I still don’t know if Edward’s alive. I know next to nothing about what happened at the end of the fifth book still. I also don’t know how much time has passed anymore. Before, she busted her knee one book and that injury carried over into the next, but I’m wondering if this cracked rib is going to stick around. These books feel like they won’t have that anymore.

I mean, they’re still fun. I think I got spoiled by the fourth and fifth ones in how quick they all happened and how much they focused on Harper and the plot that a return to the old formula feels like a bit of a step backwards.

Two more left. Here’s hoping everything rapidly picks up!

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  1. Or that they’re being better integrated into the text so it’s not all in one massive dump []
  2. Oh, he saw the girl? Well, she’s probably still alive and a sea witch. Gary is some mythical creature that is super rare and looks like that thing the other character saw? Guess who’s not dying right now! []
  3. And it better damn well be used a plot device for all the emphasis that’s being put on it. []
  4. An Irish one at that []
  5. Big Irish otters that can talk? []

Print Book Poll

Last year, I managed to get White Noise out in print. I learned InDesign to lay it out and I keep thinking about doing it again. I am going to make it a goal to start making one of my books into print a year.1 I can only really afford to do one a year at this point, both in terms of financially2 and time-wise, so now I have a decision to make.

I’m looking at the ones I have currently that could be next on the list. The way I see it, it will be one of three:3

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I don’t really want to be solely responsible for choosing, though, so I’m going to let you pick. Which one would you like to see in print next?4

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  1. Because I definitely have enough that I can []
  2. Ordering all of the proof copies []
  3. With updated covers []
  4. I won’t be making them until December, so probably not in time for Christmas []