Tag Archive for: Stiletto Gang

Fire pit

Book People

by Sparkle Abbey

Only Books in the Building Graphic

We spent the weekend at a wonderful writers’ retreat aptly named “Only Books in the Building.” It was located at Honey Creek, a lovely southern Iowa resort. and though this was the first year for it, based on our experience, we know that it will continue to grow.

There’s just nothing better than spending time with other writers and with readers who love books.

There were panels of authors “Romancing the Book,” “Murder They Wrote,” and “Paths to Publishing” as well as breakout sessions to discuss craft and publishing. There were sessions on “Characters Who Keep Secrets,” “Storytelling in Non-Fiction” as well as on plot, revision, and finding your theme.

Authors on writing mystery

           Murder They Wrote Panel

The sessions were fabulous and there was a wide range of genres represented but overall the theme was all about story and how that applies to romance, mystery, memoir, and more.  But best of all there were tons of opportunities to talk books!

Fire pitThe location was wonderful and we lucked out in terms of weather. So we were also able to enjoy the lake, the trails, and ultimately a bonfire.

It was truly everything we hoped for in terms of getting away, hanging out with other writers, and recharging our creative batteries. We’ve attended conferences, book festivals, writing retreats, and other book events but this one really fit the bill for an informative yet relaxing weekend of talking books!

Do you have a favorite book event that you attend? Please share and tell us what you love about it!


Sparkle Abbey is actually two people, Mary Lee Ashford and Anita Carter, who write the national best-selling Pampered Pets cozy mystery series. They are friends as well as neighbors so they often get together and plot ways to commit murder. (But don’t tell the other neighbors.)

They love to hear from readers and can be found on Facebook and Pinterest, their favorite social media sites. Also, if you want to make sure you get updates, sign up for their newsletter via the SparkleAbbey.com website

Clicking Our Heels – Favorite Form of Exercise

Clicking Our Heels – Favorite
Form of Exercise

In the past, we’ve discussed what the Stiletto Gang
members would be doing if we weren’t reading or writing, but the question came
up as to what our favorite form of exercise is.


Debra H. Goldstein: 
I’m a couch potato. During the pandemic, I thought I should do something
so I ordered a Cubii exerciser. After a week, I shrouded it. Periodically, I
look at it from the couch.


Lynn C. Willis: Hiking with Finn.


Barbara J. Eikmeier: Favorite doesn’t necessarily imply I
do it with any regularity, right. I love swimming laps, but mostly I ride my
stationary bike.


Donnell Bell: 


Gay Yellen: Dancing with my husband. He took me dancing on
our first (blind) date, and that almost sealed the deal right there!


Lynn McPherson: I love walking.


Bethany Maines: Karate! I’ve been taking and teaching
karate for over a decade. It’s a great place to keep fit and connect with my


Mary Lee Ashford: My favorite exercise is walking, outside
if the weather permits. I also enjoy yoga though my knees are not enjoying it
lately, and I love dance though I don’t often get the opportunity except around
the house. In which case, I hope no one is watching!


Shari Randall: I love Zumba and country line dancing.
They’re so much fun they don’t feel like exercise to me at all.


Linda Rodriguez: Dance (or gardening) used to be mine. But
lately, it’s physical therapy.


Anita Carter: I love kickboxing!


T.K. Thorne: Before Covid, I did Akayama Ryu martial arts
twice a week. This year I learned a Tai Chi series and that has really kept me
sane. I like to walk outside where there are trees and space to breathe.


Debra Sennefelder: I love exercise. It keeps me in shape
and it keeps me sane. I love weight workouts, walking/treadmill workouts,
Pilates and Yoga. I aim for five to six workouts a week, so I like a lot of


Kathryn Lane: Walking in a beautiful setting, especially in
the mountains, brings me great joy and peace of mind.


Dru Ann Love: Definitely a couch potato. Give me a sci-fi
movie and I’m in heaven.


Kathleen Kaska: I love running. I just completed my
twenty-fourth marathon.


Saralyn Richard: Long walks (working out plot points while


Robin Hillyer-Miles: Yoga.


Lois Winston: Walking.

Come Read-A-Long with Me

Come Read-A-Long with Me by
Debra H. Goldstein

I’m excited! Five Belles Too Many, which will be
released on June 28, 2022. In anticipation, I’m throwing a multi-month celebration
virtual Read-A-Long to give readers an opportunity to discuss each of the books
in the Sarah Blair series and to ask this author anything you ever wanted to


In March, we discussed One Taste Too Many. The
session was a huge success. Not everyone who was on the Zoom call had read the
book, but it didn’t matter. We talked about concepts, themes, and why I did
certain things without giving away any of the plot spoilers.


The next Read-A-Long, on April 19, features the second book
in the series, Two Bites Too Many. Subsequent months will cover the next
books until we pop the cork and celebrate the birth of Five Belles Too Many in
July 2022. To join in the fun email me at DHG@DebraHGoldstein.com to get the
study guide and the zoom link. Put on your calendar:


When: April 19 – Two
Bites Too Many

May 17 – Three Treats
Too Many

June 21 – Four Cuts
Too Many

July 19 – Five
Belles Too Many

Time: 7 PM CST/ 8 PM
EST (and you can figure out the rest)      


The remainder of the series, Three
Treats Too Many, Four Cuts Too Many,
and of course, Five Belles
Too Many,
will be our topics for the May, June, and July sessions. The
goal is to have fun and gain a better understanding of these books culminating
in the month when Five Belles is published.

I mentioned above that I am celebrating the journey of the
Sarah Blair series, and I am. I have had a blast writing Sarah, the woman who
is more afraid of the kitchen than murder, but more importantly, it has been a
joy getting to know you, the readers.


Want to catch up on Sarah Blair so you’re ready for the big
finish in July? You can pre-order Five Belles. start at the beginning of the
series (Amazon has the e-version of One Taste Too Many on
sale for $1.99) or come in any week you want as the books, while a series, each
standalone. Sarah, RahRah, and Fluffy hope to see you on April 19th to talk about Two Bites Too Many!

Clicking Our Heels – Fill in the Blank

Clicking Our Heels – Fill in
the Blank

People often think authors only spend their lives
writing or reading (and to some extent that is true), so we decided to see what
else the members of the Stiletto Gang do. 




Lois Winston: If
we weren’t in the midst of a pandemic, you’d find me at a Broadway show or
play. Now? I’m binge-watching various TV shows while on my treadmill.


Debra H. Goldstein: Playing grandma, socializing with
friends, or giving my husband a hard time.


Robin Hillyer-Miles: Watching a British mystery with my


Saralyn Richard: Walking my sheepdog.


Dru Ann Love: Creating a quilt.


Kathryn Lane: Cooking. My husband is my sous chef and we
enjoy slipping into the evening hours with a delicious soup, followed by a main
course, and dessert – all organic!


Debra Sennefelder: Baking.


T.K. Thorne: Riding a horse in the woods or thinking about


Anita Carter: Working on my new business. I started a Virtual
Assistant Service last year and I’ve been pretty focused on growing cliental.


Linda Rodriguez: Spinning or knitting or weaving or
teaching or editing.


Shari Randall: By the beach, dancing, or haunting book
stores and antique shops.


Mary Lee Ashford: Asleep. LOL. Seriously, I probably am. I
have no hobbies. Not one. I love to read and if there’s any spare time in the
day, I grab a book. That said, my greatest loves in my life are my
grandchildren and so given the choice I’d be doing something with the grands.
And if we’re reading … even better!


Bethany Maines: Sadly, it’s usually working. As a mom and
co-owner of a graphic design firm, I have a lot of balls in the air. The
stereotype of a writer leisurely staring off into space is definitely not true
over at my house.


Gay Yellen: Eating. The main character in my mystery series
doesn’t cook, but she’s an accomplished eater. She’s living out my fantasy of
eating delicious food and never gaining weight.


Lynn McPherson: Out for a walk or watching a movie.


Donnell Bell: 
Cleaning or walking. Sometimes I read and walk 😊.


Barbara J. Eikmeier: Quilting is my favorite hobby but it’s
also my day job so it comes with its own set of deadlines. I love flower
gardening, bird watching, and sailing with my husband on Perry Lake, KS in our
vintage sailboard.


Lynn C. Willis: Plotting the next adventure with the
grandkids or in the woods with my dog, Finn.

Clicking Our Heels – Simple Joys


Clicking Our Heels – It’s a New
Year with lots of resolutions, but considering everything going on in the world,
we thought we’d share something simple that makes each of happy or brings us
joy (think an expanded Marie Kondo concept to life).

Barbara Kyle – Singing! I’ve sung all my life, in shows
when my profession was acting, and now, for the last few years, in choirs.
Music is pure joy.

Lois Winston – Spending time with my grandchildren.

Saralyn Richard – Seeing something I’ve planted bloom.

Kathleen Kaska – The biggest joy in my life is seeing my
husband smile at me. Coming in second is spending time with my great-niece and

Dru Ann Love – A quiet day all to myself.

Debra H. Goldstein – When words flow.

Kathryn Lane – I have two simple activities that bring me
great joy – watching elk in the mountains of northern New Mexico and Zen
meditation. My husband participates with me in both pursuits.

Debra Sennefelder – It’s simple and it’s small, but I do
find joy in my first cup of coffee in the morning.

T.K. Thorne – What a great question to ponder! It gives me
joy to discover a new character or aspects of a character that I’m writing that
I didn’t know; to dance to music while cleaning house; to offer support or
connections to a young writer; and to sit outside on my front porch and watch
lizards and hummingbirds while I write.

Anita Carter– Laughter has always, and will continue, to bring me
joy and positivity.

Linda Rodriguez – A pot of nice hot tea, a sock to knit
mindlessly (since I’ve made so many), and good conversation with my husband.

Shari Randall – A message from an old friend, clean
windows, sunlight sparkling on water, when a favorite old song comes on the
radio…simple things, but all make me happy.

Mary Lee Ashford – Family brings me joy. I think I always
knew that but have a new appreciation for not just the family get-togethers and
celebrations but also for those mundane family moments where you touch each
other’s lives in so many ways. This past year has been so difficult being away
from family members and one thing I know for sure is I’ll never take that for
granted again.

Bethany Maines – My dog. Kato is my eleven year old puppy
and he’s as goofy now as the day we brought him home. And even though we’ve
both reached an age where people tell us that we “still look good!” he brings a
joyful bouncy spirit into the house.

Gay Yellen – Watching my husband cook.

Donnell Bell – Looking at pictures of my grandchildren, playing
cards with my very competitive husband, or sitting on our back patio watching
the quail and the New Mexico sunsets.

An Open Letter to Stiletto Gang Readers from Debra H. Goldstein

Dear Stiletto Gang Readers,

I’m one of those people who still writes Holiday Letters
and shoves them into my Seasons Greetings cards that are sent to friends I
haven’t seen in years, but still feel close to. You are a different breed of
folks, but I, as well as the other members of the Stiletto Gang, have a special
affinity with you.


You fulfill our dreams by reading the words we write. At
the very moment we feel down or lost, one of you posts a good review, sends a
postcard or e-mail, or makes a social media comment that lifts our spirits up.
Your support of our work keeps us actively involved in an unpredictable
business world.


It is a world of editor and publisher subjectivity balanced
by dollar signs. Very few of us become New York Times bestselling
authors, but you give us the incentive to continue writing even if our expenses
outweigh our profits. All writers want to make money, but the reality is that they
don’t. In fact, many authors could make far more by ignoring the voices in
their heads that demand to be expressed. Are we insane or, as some think,
simply stupid?


I think the answer boils down to one word: passion. We have
a passion to write that can’t be quelled. Luckily, when it does dim, you
rekindle it. Thank you and happy holidays. Debra  

Grateful for Audiobooks!

By Lynn McPherson

My first audiobook is finally out in the world! I’m so excited to share with readers that they can now listen to the first Izzy Walsh Mystery, The Girls’ Weekend Murder. As an author, it is an absolute delight to hear your words read aloud by a professional narrator–even more exciting than I’d imagined.

The timing couldn’t be better either with Thanksgiving two days away. I have so much to be grateful for, my audiobook is only adding to the lengthy list.

I hope everyone is able to spend time with loved ones, enjoy a wonderful meal, and have a relaxing holiday weekend.

Here is a little about my first audiobook, described as a mixture of  Murder, She Wrote and I Love Lucy…

An oceanfront estate in the beautiful New England town of Twin Oaks is the ideal setting for Isabelle Walsh and her close-knit group of friends to celebrate their annual girls’ weekend in 1953.

While off to a promising start, the weekend quickly goes awry as murder interrupts the fun and the hostess is accused of the shocking crime. Izzy quickly realizes it is up to her to save her innocent friend and bring the murderer to light.

Keen intuition and quick wit are Izzy’s only tools. She must use them to find the dark truth before the killer brings her investigation to a dead stop…

Happy Thanksgiving Readers!!!

Lynn McPherson has worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ran a small business, and taught English across the globe. She has travelled the world solo where her daring spirit has led her to jump out of airplanes, dive with sharks, and learn she would never master a surfboard. She now channels her lifelong love of adventure and history into her writing, where she is free to go anywhere, anytime. Her cozy series has three books out: The Girls’ Weekend Murder and The Girls Whispered Murder, and The Girls Dressed For Murder.  

Interview with Kathryn Lane

 by Bethany Maines

Today I’m interviewing fellow Stiletto Gang member Kathryn Lane. Kathryn enjoyed a two-decade career in international finance with Johnson & Johnson before taking an early retirement from corporate life to follow her passion to write fiction. So today we’re finding out more about her writing and what inspires her.  From growing up in Mexico to traveling the globe, and splitting time between Texas and New Mexico Kathryn’s journey into writing has been unique.  

Q: What do you write?

I’m enamored with the mystery genre.
During my corporate career, I traveled all over the world. Before a long flight
to Japan, I purchased a Harlan Coben paperback at the JFK airport in New York. The
twists and turns in the story slapped me around like a go-kart on uneven
terrain. I was instantly smitten. Now that I’m a novelist, I write mystery and suspense.

Q: What got you excited and started
you on your writing journey?

During my two decades in the corporate world, I always
thought someday I’d return to painting, the object of my natural abilities. Growing
up in Mexico, a country with an abundance of talented singers, I always felt left
out since I could not even carry a tune.

Yet I could draw. And I could paint. By age ten, I sketched
portraits and painted landscapes. Naturally, I thought I’d grow up to be an
artist. Life, or perhaps destiny, had other plans. I had to earn a living, so I
became a CPA and specialized in international finance. Hence my corporate

Before leaving the corporate world,
I analyzed what I really wanted to do. After all the countries I’d visited, it
quickly became obvious I should write rather than paint. It’s exciting to pen
stories set in other lands.

Q: Are you a Plotter or Pantser?

Since I’d written strategic plans, I
thought I’d complete an outline for each story my brain conjured up. After all,
wasn’t it like analyzing the steps in a product launch?

It didn’t work that way – my right
brain took over. As much as I’ve tried to plot, my stories grow organically
every day while I pound away at the keyboard. Even after deliberate attempts to
speed up my writing, I struggle to plot anything. It’s normal for me not to
know from one paragraph to the next what I’ll compose. Stories unfold magically
in my mind like a movie reel.

Q: Who encouraged you to write?

I’m so fortunate, friends, family, and
my husband are all incredibly supportive. I could not do it without the help of
my husband who manages the back office details and takes on household tasks, except
for cooking, to give me time to write.

Q: What secret skill do you have
that our readers might not know about?

I can kill snakes. I’ve lived in
places with deadly snakes, like the Inland Taipan of the Northern Territory of
Australia, considered the most dangerous in the world. (
One 100mg dose of Inland Taipan venom is enough to kill 100 adult humans). I’ve encountered corals and rattlesnakes of the Chihuahua
desert and mountainous terrain, and now the copperheads and cottonmouths of Texas.
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t like killing snakes, but when it comes to
either them or me, it’s an easy choice.

At our summer cabin in northern New
Mexico, we don’t have snakes. Only bear and mountain lions and I leave them

Q: And of course, I would be remiss
if I didn’t ask… what are your favorite shoes?

Knee-high leather boots with
stiletto heels!

Connect with Kathryn!


Snatch up one of the globe-trotting Nikki Garcia Mysteries:



Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae MysteriesSan Juan Islands MysteriesShark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Clicking Our Heels: What We Read

Clicking Our Heels: Writers
are often asked if they write in a particular genre, if that is the one they
read. Here are some of what the Stiletto Gang members read and some of their
favorite authors.

Robin Hillyer-Miles – I read many different genres.
My favorite authors currently are Jess Loury, Susan Addison Allen, Susan Boyer,
and Karen White.

Saralyn Richard – I read everything – mysteries,
historical fiction, women’s fiction, biography, blended genres, literary fiction.

Kathleen Kaska – I read mysteries, but I also read
anything that catches my eye, especially inspirational nonfiction. When I find
an author I really like, I read every book they’ve written.

Dru Ann Love – I prefer reading cozy mysteries. I
will read other genres, but cozies are my go-to-read.

Kathryn Lane
I write mystery thrillers, so I tend to read quite a few
throughout the year from a whole variety of novelists, such as Harlan Coben,
Alice Feeney, Jeffery Deaver, but I also like the books of Donna Tartt,
Frederick Forsyth, and Megan Abbott. I read books written by fellow writers
who, like me, are not New York Times bestsellers (yet!), whose novels are often
as good as or even better than anything else on the market. And Sofía Segovia’s
The Murmur of Bees in Magical Realism is a book I love.

Debra SennefelderI have a long list of favorite authors that I read in my
genre of cozy mysteries. Some of them are a part of The Stiletto Gang. Others
include Jenny Kales, VM Burns, Jenn McKinlay, Katherine Hall Page.

I read
anything that is well written. Crime fiction is new for me because as a former
police officer, it feels more like work than escape.  My favorite author is Sue Monk Kidd. Her
writing is beautiful and so powerful. 
But I don’t consciously try to mimic it. 
It’s important to find your own voice.

Anita CarterI read mostly mysteries, suspense, and some women’s
fiction. I enjoy Lisa Gardner (just bought her latest release!), Laura Levine,
Karen White, and Susan Boyer, to name a few.

Barbara KyleI write fiction but many of my favorite
reads are narrative non-fiction. Anything by Simon Winchester or Erik Larson.
Both are incapable of writing a dull book.

Linda RodriguezI read everything. I have
long lists of authors I recommend on my website.

Meri Allen/Shari Randall – I write and read mysteries,
and I love to go back to the Golden Age authors like Agatha Christie and Ngaio
Marsh when I have some reading time.

Mary Lee AshfordI write cozy mysteries and also read cozy mysteries but I’m
not sure we have space here for all of the favorites. There are currently so
many wonderful cozy authors! Instead, I’ll share a few of the ones I started
reading and that got me interested in the sub-genre of cozies. I avidly read –
M.C Beaton, Jill Churchill, Sharon Kahn, and Anne George and once I’d
started down that cozy path, thanks to them I was hooked. 

Bethany MainesI have been reading a fair
bit of romance lately, but I’ve read across several genres.  My favorite
recent author is Bethany Bennett (because Bethany’s are awesome) who is
working on a fun romp of Regency Romance trilogy.

Gay YellenI’m omnivorous when it comes
to reading. If I weren’t writing mysteries, I’d probably tend toward literary
fiction. But I love good writing in any genre, including non-fiction.

Lynn McPhersonI read and write cozy
mysteries. They are still my favorite. A few of my favorite authors are Vicki
Delany and Jenn McKinlay. I’ve also read some delicious domestic suspense
novels lately by Hannah Mary McKinnon and J.T. Ellison.

Donnell BellIn the fiction realm, I read across the board. From Sci-fi
to historical fiction. Right now, I’m reading a western by D.V. Berkom.  I enjoy cozies, but prefer a substantive
plot, such as Cathy Perkins’s Body in the Beaver Pond and Lois Winston’s
Anastasia Pollack series. For romantic suspense, there are too many authors to
count. My favorite thriller writer is Tess Gerritsen—she’s an autobuy for
me.  Mystery writers, again, too many to
count. If I want to read mystery and learn something about art forgery, I read
Donald Beckwith. I ADORE discovering new authors.

Lois WinstonI write humorous mysteries,
but I’m an extremely eclectic reader. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of
historical mysteries and women’s fiction.

Debra H. Goldstein – Although I most enjoy cozy mysteries
and biographies, I read everything in the crime genre as well as literary

Cathy PerkinsI read a lot of mysteries, from thriller to cozy, but I
also read extensively outside my writing genre. 
From a craft perspective, it helps to see, for example, the creative
world building of fantasy or the deep character focus of women’s fiction. I
also think reading books other than mysteries gives me a much needed break,
reminding me readers read for story, for escape, for enjoyment – elements
authors always keep in the back of their minds as they write.























Clicking Our Heels – Where Do Our Ideas Come From?

Clicking Our Heels – Where Do Our
Ideas Come From?

Readers often ask where the ideas for our books and
stories come from. Today, the members of the Stiletto Gang are letting you in
on their secrets.


Donnell Bell – My books originate from events that have
happened and affect me in life. The first book that compelled me to write
(which I never tried to publish) came after listening to a breaking news story
about a man gunned down on the New Mexico capital steps. I was on my lunch hour
and had to get back to work. Later, when I tried to find what happened, I
couldn’t find any details. Frustrated, I made up in my mind what must have
happened and that was the start of my fiction career.

Lynn McPherson My ideas usually come from my day-to-day
life–while I’m walking the dog or watching TV. Something will strike me as a
good fit for a mystery and I go from there. It could be something as small as
tracks in the snow or a disagreement I read about on social media. My
imagination takes it from there and runs.

Saralyn Richard – Almost always my ideas come from the question,
“What if?”

Robin Hillyer-Miles – I dream of my storylines.

Lois Winston – I’m a news junkie. Most of my ideas are inspired by actual
events I read about or see in the news.

Debra Sennefelder – Everywhere! My second Food Blogger book, The Hidden
Corpse, was inspired by a neighbor’s knock on our door when she needed help
shutting off her smoke alarm. My fourth Resale Boutique book, How to Frame a Fashionista,
was partly inspired by a YouTube fitness guru who was reportedly involved in a
scandal. Ideas are everywhere.

Kathryn Lane – Plot, characters, and settings often come from simple ideas
I experienced during my corporate career when I traveled the world, or an
article I read in a newspaper, a conversation I may overhear, or even a detail
from a dream. A combination of all of these usually appear in each novel.

T.K. Thorne – I was asked to write the two nonfiction books and got
intrigued about the story. One idea for a novel hit me while I was listening to
a poem, another from a snarky remark of a coworker, one started with an image
of a dancer, and one of a young girl hiding, and one arrived as three words
while I was brushing my teeth.

Debra H. Goldstein – Although I steal from my life experiences and
observations, most come out of my subconscious as I write. The characters speak
to me, and their words pull the ideas out of me.

Anita Carter – Ideas are everywhere. TV, news stories, a snippet of a
conversation I’ve overheard. Everything is free game when you’re a writer!

Linda Rodriguez – All over the place. I may read or hear or see something
that makes me wonder what-if? And then that combines with something else I’ve
read or heard or seen-or even dreamed. Like the sand in the oyster, these
gritty little ideas roll around accreting even more ideas until I have a pearl
to begin a book with.

Meri Allen/Shari Randall – I wish I knew!

Mary Lee Ashford – Everywhere. A snippet of conversation, a song, a real-life
story.  Often, it’s a story that I’ve
heard or read. Recently I read an article about a man who made himself
disappear. That’s disappear not in the physical sense but as in he got rid of
every trace of himself in all the ways we normally find people. Fascinating. I
don’t have a story for that tidbit right now, but I’m still thinking about it.

Bethany Maines – I feel like I’m sort of a mash-up artist. I get these
little bits of things sort of noodling around I my head and then sooner or
later they smash into another noodle and then I’ve got spaghetti. Or half of a
novel. Depends on how hungry I am.

Gay Yellen – My biggest problem is having too many ideas to fit in one
book. They can come from almost anywhere: the news, a lost object on the
street, something I got in the mail. In other words, real life.

Cathy Perkins – As others said, ideas are everywhere! For example, my husband and I were hiking along the Snake River in a game management area called Big Flats
(which happens to feature in So About the Money) and had to push through tangled foliage at the shoreline. Being a mystery writer whose mind can go all kinds of strange places, I glanced over my shoulder and said, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to find a body?”

That germ of an idea kept growing. Why would the heroine be out at Big Flats to stumble over the body?
How did the body end up beside the river in the first place?