Sunday 31 July 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - After the Kiss

Sorry I missed last Sunday – I forgot to sign up!

It's Sunday here in the UK so, for Six Sentence Sunday, here is another excerpt from my newly released 'His Leading Lady' which continues the scene of Jess and Kyle's sizzling first kiss (when Jess is pretending to be her twin sister). For anyone new to Six Sunday, please look back to my previous Sunday posts. 

When he released her, her breathing was ragged and she looked up at him, dazed and disorientated.

For a couple of seconds, Kyle’s stunned dark eyes stared down into hers before he took a deep breath and gave her a wry grin.  “You certainly know how to make a man regret his decision.” 

His lips brushed her mouth again in a brief parting kiss and even that burned through her.  Still totally numb, she watched as he went into the lift and pressed the ground floor button She raised her hand slightly and, with a small smile, Kyle tilted his head in farewell.

'His Leading Lady' now available as e-book and paperback from or from Amazon or Fictionwise

Wednesday 27 July 2011

My Favourite Thing

For this week's GBE2 topic:

My favourite thing has to be my computer (and the world-wide web).

It's a love-hate relationship!

I hate it when it won’t do what I want it to do and I have to spend ages working out just HOW to do something.  I hate it when something goes wrong (although I have the most wonderful computer expert who is usually round here within 24 hours of my agonised phone-call), and I hate it when my broadband connection starts playing up or, even worse, goes off altogether.
Oh, and I sometimes hate the way it makes me waste time playing games when I should be writing too!

But my love for it far outweighs the occasional and temporary frustration and hatred.  I only have to think back to when I was writing my novels in the 1960’s and 70’s.  I wrote everything in longhand, with multiple crossing out, asterisks and arrows changing or adding paragraphs, stapled extra pages with longer insertions. 

Then came the length process of typing out the story on an old upright Remington.  If I made a typo which couldn’t be concealed with correction tape, the page was ripped out and I had to start it all over again. And don’t even mention changing the ribbon, when invariably I got it twisted and/or got my hands (and everything else) covered in ink.  How different it is now to write, change, add, delete, count words, find and replace repeat words and phrases, spell-check – need I go on?

Another reason for loving my computer is all the information which is there with a quick search and a mouse-click.  Facts, figures, train times, flight durations, maps and photos.  I’ve used them all for my current WIP, set in Egypt.  The ‘research’ has taken minutes rather than hours in the reference section of the library making copious notes.

Last, but definitely not least, is the opportunity to keep in contact with family and friends.  Before email and Facebook, I was in contact with my American cousins once a year (the annual Christmas letter).  Now we communicate regularly.

And, of course, there’s the opportunity to ‘meet’ and ‘talk’ with new friends.  When I was writing in the 60’s and 70’s, I was isolated.  I didn’t know any other writers and there was no opportunity to meet any.  Now I have dozens of writer friends.  Most of them I’ve never met in ‘real’ life but I know that, if the opportunity came to meet any of them, we would greet each other, not as strangers, but as friends. 

Thank you, all my blogging, facebook and twitter friends!  J   

Sunday 24 July 2011

My First 'Adult' Book

It’s the first Blogfest at “Heroines with Hearts”, the group blog to which I belong with four other writers.  The blogfest is to celebrate getting 100 followers, although we’ve now increased that to 111 – you can follow us at and join in our discussions on a different writing topic each week, usually posted on Mondays.

The ‘rule’ for this blogfest is simple:  “All you have to do for this blogfest is fess up on the first adult book you picked up and read: whether a classic, a racy novel or that of unusual content, then post your entry on own blog July 24th/25th.”  Click here to read what other people have chosen as theit first adult book.

Actually this topic got me thinking.  My teacher in my final year at junior school introduced us to some of the classics, though only in bite-size pieces – selections from Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Kenilworth, Treasure Island.  In high school, I seem to recall David Copperfield being the first set book in our English Literature classes.

But what was the first adult book I actually chose to read?  As I thought more about this, the fog cleared and I remembered.  Well, it might not have been the first, but it was a book which had a profound effect on me – ‘The Daughter of Time’ by Josephine Tey. 

Alan Grant, a police inspector, is trapped in hospital with a broken leg and is bored out of his mind.  He considers himself an expert on faces so his friend gives him some portraits to study.  He decides one face is that of a man of conscience and integrity who has suffered, and is then shocked to discover that he is looking at a portrait of King Richard III, the ‘monster’ said to have murdered his nephews to gain the crown of England.

The rest of the book is Inspector Grant’s ‘investigation’ of the murder of the ‘Princes in the Tower’, similar to a modern investigation, but using 15th and 16th century ‘witnesses’ in different historical sources.  In the end, he comes to his own conclusions about the unreliability and/or prejudice of many of these witnesses, and forms his own opinion about the real villain.

Josephine Tey brought the controversy surrounding Richard III and the Princes in the Tower to a wide public audience in the 1950’s and is perhaps the most popular defense of Richard ever written.  Forget the fact that it is unbalanced and ignores the evidence against Richard, forget the fact that dozens more books have since been written which have examined all aspects of evidence. 

This book has inspired people all over the world to question the traditional (i.e. Shakespearean) view of Richard III as an evil, crookback murderer.  Ask any ‘supporter’ of Richard III what first got them interested and 9 out of 10 will probably say ‘The Daughter of Time’.

It has had a lasting effect on me, probably more than any other book I’ve ever read.  I won’t say it was this book which inspired me to become an historian, as I was already more interested in history than in any other subject.  But my interest in Richard III still continues, more than 50 years since I first read the book.  I now have a whole shelf of other books written about Richard and the Wars of the Roses, not least Sharon Kay Penman’s wonderful novel ‘The Sunne in Splendor’, and I've visited many places linked to the later 15th century, including Richard's own castle at Middleham in North Yorkshire.     

Thursday 21 July 2011

Coming Home

Another contribution to the "Romantic Friday Writers" Challenge, where participants offer up to 400 words on a specific subject.

This week's theme is 'Coming Home' and my excerpt (393 words) is from 'Fragrance of Violets' which will be released by Whiskey Creek Press in February, 2012. 

Abbey has gone to Paris to meet Jack and to tell him she loves him, even though she knows it may be too late for them ever to get past their previous conflicts:

Jack's eyes met hers “Ask me why I’m here in Paris, Abbey.”

“Okay.  Why are you here in Paris?”

“I was about to sign a contract for a year as a staff writer with the Paris city government.”

Abbey didn’t have to think about her response.  “Then I’m going to stay here in Paris with you. If you still want me.”

He stared at her.  “Here?  For a year?  But what about your career?  What about your filming commitments?”

“If it means giving that up, then I’ll do it.  You’re more important to me than any acting role.  I love you and I want to be with you, more than anything else in the world.”

His hold on her hand tightened so much that it hurt, but she didn’t care. 

“Think again about what I just said, Abbey.  I said I was about to sign a contract.  But I was at the airport when Louise called me.”

“What do you mean?”

“I was going home.  Back to London, back to Rusthwaite, back to wherever you were.  I’ve tried to live without you but last night I realised that I didn’t want to live without you.  So I refused the contract and I was on my way home.  I was going to win your trust, even if it took me the rest of my life.”

She could hardly believe this was really happening.  “So – so what now, Jack?”

“Tomorrow, my love, we’re going home, back to Rusthwaite.  We have the opening ceremony of the newly refurbished Old School later this week, and next week we have a Drama Festival in Kendal, where your drama group are sure to take all the honours.  And next month you start filming The Rycroft Saga.  Meanwhile –”  He kissed her again, then stood up.   “Don’t go away.”

Abbey watched him walk across to the reception desk and talk to the girl there.  Her heart was so full she thought it would burst, and her longing for him raged inside her. 

He smiled as he came back   “Sorry, I couldn’t get the penthouse suite again.  It’s just an ordinary room but it has a balcony and a view of the Eiffel Tower.

Her eyes met his with a seductive gaze.  “As long as it has a bed, who gives a damn about the view?”

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Midnight Writer

'Midnight' is the the GBE 2 topic for this week:

I’ve always been a night owl, never a morning person.  When I was a child, I used to read under the covers with a flashlight long after my parents thought I must be asleep.  Maybe not until midnight but certainly much later than my supposed ‘bed-time’.

As a teenager, I’d turn off my light, wait until my parents went to bed (probably about 10.30 or 11pm) then switch on my light again and either read or continue writing the next chapter of my current story, for my friends to read avidly the next day.  Okay, those early romances of mine were very corny but my friends enjoyed them!

For a lot of my adult life, I had to cease burning the midnight oil.  Baby era - 10pm feed, get some sleep before she wakes again;  25 year teaching era – gotta get up at 6.30am, need to get to bed early.    
Not all the time though.  When I worked backstage in amateur musical theatre, rehearsals were held at a local sports club which, being a private club, could stay open long after the statutory closing time for licensed premises. We stayed too, often until midnight, although that made it doubly hard to get up the next morning. 

Show week itself was even worse.  Adrenalin-fuelled, we needed time to unwind after the show, so it was often well after midnight before we left the theatre bar. 

I never had any problem staying up late, the problem came the next morning when I had to get up early to go to school.  To my credit, I have to say, I was never late for school, although not necessarily alert and raring to go!

My colleagues got wise to me.  It was summed up by one of them:  “Never ask Paula a question before 10.30am if you want a sensible answer from her.”

Then came retirement.  Oh wow, freedom.  To do what I want, when I want!  And that included staying up as late as I wanted, because I didn’t have to get up at (to me) some silly o’clock time in the morning.  I usually get up about 8am (which I claim is my 'natural waking-up time) but most of my friends still know not to call me until after 10am. 

I discovered long ago that I do my best writing at night.  I may have a whole day free (sometimes!) but day-time writing doesn’t work for me.  My mind works so much better from about 10pm onwards.  My muse is obviously a night-owl too.  

I’m full of admiration for people who can get up at 6am and start writing.  But me?  No way!  I’m a midnight writer. 

Tuesday 19 July 2011

My Latest Reviews for 'His Leading Lady'

I was thrilled to receive two reviews (yesterday and today) from readers who downloaded my book on to their new Kindles and then took the time to write about it.  So I thought I'd share these with you. 

The first was from Michelle, a reader in the UK:
I started reading His Leading Lady yesterday and couldn't put it down until I'd finished it today. What a cleverly written story with many twists and turns. It's my first venture into the world of theatre and I thoroughly enjoyed the unfolding drama of actresses, directors, opening night nerves and the importance of financial sponsors. Oh, and if you happen to be a twin this might be of particular interest. This is a great read and I would thoroughly recommend it.

The second was from Jenn, in the USA:
Paula Martin shared with us snippets of her published book, His Leading Lady, on her blog. I have to say I was intrigued, because I do like to read romance novels. Paula’s snippets peaked my interest and she had me wanting to read the book before I bought my Kindle, so the anticipation built as each small snippet was put out on her posts.  Finally, I bought the Kindle and I purchased His Leading Lady. 
I will be quite honest and say that I was taken in by the first chapter and it was hard to put my Kindle down until I’d finished reading the entire novel!! Paula has brilliantly written a page turner that dives the reader head first into romance, intrigue and mystery, set in England’s Theatrical West End.

Jess Harper meets Kyle Drummond, a big time producer and director in theatre, for the first time in her shop. He delivers the news that her twin sister Lora, an actress in his next upcoming production, is missing. Kyle, somewhat arrogant, threatens to end Lora’s career in the West End, if she doesn’t return soon to fulfill her theatrical contract. Jess, unable to track down her twin’s whereabouts, realizes that she must make a decision to step up to the plate and try to save her sister’s career that she worked so hard to achieve. Jess doesn’t quite believe in her own abilities to fill these shoes, yet takes on the challenge until she can unravel the mystery behind her twin’s disappearance. In the process, she falls for Kyle, who has figured her out, only to later doubt the relationship was premised on the truth. Feelings of anger and mistrust between Kyle and Jess flare and yet the show must go on.

The musical theatre scene provides a perfect backdrop for this thrilling page turner. Paula does a wonderful job of introducing the reader to the ins and outs of the theatre business while keeping the story moving along at a quick pace and keeping the reader satisfied with a great romance story. This novel pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until you’ve read it through to the end—leaving the reader to want more at each page turn. If you are looking for a thrilling romance, look no further than His Leading Lady, I highly recommend it.

Thank you so much, Michelle and Jenn.  It's so gratifying to know that you've enjoyed my story, and I really appreciate your very kind words. 

And if these reviews have made you want to know more, check out the left side panel for more information about 'His Leading Lady' :-)  Or take a look at my website

Sunday 17 July 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Jess and Kyle's first kiss

It's Sunday here in the UK so, for Six Sentence Sunday, here is another excerpt from my newly released 'His Leading Lady' which continues the scene of Jess and Kyle's first kiss (when Jess is pretending to be her twin sister).  For anyone new to Six Sunday, look back to my previous Sunday posts!

His mouth was soft at first but the feel of it, so warm and tantalising, sent her head into a spin.  Kyle’s arms went round her, and he pulled her firmly against him. 

She’d been kissed passionately before but nothing had prepared her for Kyle’s kiss as his mouth took possession of her in a seductive demand for surrender.  His tongue gently fondled hers, and sensations she'd never known before scorched through her, ignited every nerve and melted every bone. 

She gripped his shoulders, her head went back and involuntarily she arched towards him, thrilling exquisitely to the feel of his hard body against hers.  The surrender he demanded was complete as she responded with the same fervour, wanting more, still more.

'His Leading Lady' now available as e-book and paperback from or from the Kindle store at Amazon

Friday 15 July 2011


Another contribution to the "Romantic Friday Writers" Challenge, where participants offer up to 400 words on a specific subject.

This week's theme is 'Surrender' and my excerpt (374 words!) is from my recently released contemporary romance 'His Leading Lady', available from Whiskey Creek Press and Amazon (see left side panel for links).

Kyle has taken Jess to his home in Scotland, a beautiful tower house near the shores of Loch Awe. 

“I’ve talked far too much tonight.  Maybe that’s because I’m nervous.”

Jess raised her eyebrows.  “Nervous?  You?”                        

“In case I’ve read the signals wrongly.  In case you don’t want me as much as I want you.  Do you?”

Her heart contracted.  “Yes,” she whispered.  “Yes, I do.”

Kyle gave her a lazy smile that stirred everything inside her.  “Good.  Because I’ve been fantasising about tonight all the way across the Atlantic.”

He bent his head forward until his mouth met hers.  Their long kiss started very softly and gently, and Jess felt as if all her limbs were melting.  She wound her arms around him and parted her lips for him. His tongue found and played with hers in a tender but increasingly erotic dance

When his hand moved to her breast, cupped it and stroked the already erect nipple through the thin fabric of her shirt, an involuntary moan of pleasure escaped from her throat.  Then she relaxed against him and surrendered to the warmth that flooded her.   Her hands gripped his strong arms as he trailed kisses across her cheek and then down to nuzzle her neck with his mouth and tongue.   Slowly she moved her hands down to his chest, then past his waist and finally, tentatively, to the hard bulge in his trousers.

She was startled when he suddenly sat upright.  “Wh -what’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”  He grinned at her.  “Except that if we carry on like this, I think we’re going to leave a trail of clothes all the way up the stairs.  So –? “  His eyes met hers with an unspoken question. 

For a brief unexpected moment, Jess thought about Lora.  About everything she had wondered about the relationship between her sister and Kyle.  But it was only a fleeting thought.  The reality was that she was here in Scotland, in a beautiful old Scottish house, with the man she loved.  And she wanted him as much as he wanted her. 

She nodded.  “So I think we should go up those stairs right now, don’t you?”

She hadn’t realised how tense Kyle was until his face relaxed into a smile which was tender and sensual at the same time.  He stood and held out his hand.  “Come on then.” 

Wednesday 13 July 2011

The Bakery

This is my contribution to the GBE 2 weekly topic. 

Almost everyone who knows me knows that Martin Sheen has been my favourite actor for more than 30 years.  What many people probably don't know is that his ancestry is half-Spanish, half-Irish.  Martin is very proud of his Irish ancestry and has visited Ireland many times.  His mother was born in there and emigrated to America in 1923 during the 'troubles' - the Civil War in 1922-23 which followed the war of independence against the British. 

My first 'real' visit to Ireland was about 4 years ago. Prior to that, I'd only been on a day visit to Dublin.  Since 2007, I've been back there about nine times.  Like Martin, I have fallen in love with this beautiful and fascinating island with its wealth of history, culture, music and stunning scenery.

So where does a 'bakery' come into this?

On one of my visits, we stopped at a small town in Tipperary which I knew had links with Martin's mother.  She had been born there and I knew Martin had visited in 2003 when a memorial service was held at a church in a small village nearby to honor the 100th anniversary of her birth.

In the town's main street, we saw a bakery-cum-cafe (yes, we're finally getting to the bakery!).  In the window there was a photo of Martin with his brothers and son Emilio.  Intrigued by this, I went into the bakery.  Lots of delicious cakes were on display - mouth-watering, home-baked cakes of every description.  Fruit cakes, sponge cakes, lemon and cherry, coffee, ginger and chocolate, and gateaux.  Mmm - which to choose?

However, more interesting, to me anyway, was the conversation with the lady who owned the shop,  We bought coffee and cake (think I had some lemon cake), and sat down at one of the small tables, and I asked her about the photos in the window. 

"Oh yes," she said, "he's my second cousin." 

Oh wow, a personal link with Martin Sheen!  She then proceeded to tell me all about his visits to the town and to her shop.

It was the best visit to a bakery I've ever had!

Sunday 10 July 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

For Six Sentence Sunday here's another excerpt from my newly released 'His Leading Lady'.

To save her twin sister's career, Jess is pretending to be Lora who's gone missing. She's spent the evening with Kyle Drummond, the director of Lora's new show in the West End.  Although she’s worried about how the evening will end, she invites him into Lora’s apartment, then feels like kicking herself.  Now read on!

An amused look flashed across Kyle’s face.  “What man could resist such an invitation?  But no, tonight I really must resist, so I’ll see you at nine thirty tomorrow.”
Jess knew the feeling sweeping through her should be one of relief, and that she should say a casual goodnight to him and open the apartment door. 

The look in his dark eyes sent waves of heat rising inside her and she couldn’t move, not even when he put his hands on her arms and started to lower his head.  A warning bell shrilled in her mind but by then Kyle’s mouth was against hers and it was too late.

'His Leading Lady' now available as e-book and paperback from or from the Kindle store at Amazon - two 5* reviews after just one day at Amazon!

Friday 8 July 2011


Another contribution to the "Romantic Friday Writers" Challenge, where participants offer up to 400 words on a specific subject.

This week's theme is 'Forgiven' and my excerpt (397 words!) is from 'Fragrance of Violets' which is scheduled for release by Whiskey Creek Press in February 2012. 

Abbey has never been able to forgive her father after he deserted his family when she was nine years ago.  She has had no contact with him for years, but then she discovers he is dying.  To begin with, she refuses to see him again but, after a lot of soul--searching, she finally decides to visit him in the hospice.  He’s sleeping as she talks quietly to him.

“You know what the worst thing has been? I lost my trust in men because of you.  I’m waiting for them to hurt me, expecting them to abandon me or lie to me just as you did.”  Her voice choked as she thought about Jack.  “But they’re not all like you, are they?”  A tear slid down her cheek and she wiped it away.  “I once asked Louise if she’d forgiven you.  She said she didn’t know but she’d decided she wasn’t going to let what you did affect the rest of her life.  She’s managed it, so I’m damn well going to do the same.”

She looked again at the sleeping figure.  “Maybe I do have to forgive you, but for what?  For not being there for us?  For all the hurt, and anger?  Or maybe I simply have to accept that it’s all in the past and not let it affect my life in the future.  Your life’s coming to an end now, and I’m sorry because you’re only fifty-three.  But I have to let what you did die with you.  I’ve spent nearly twenty years letting it affect my life and I can’t let it affect the next twenty years.  I need to move on.  I have to move on, Dad.”

The tears slid down her face and she put both hands to her cheeks to wipe them away.  “Okay.”  The word came out as a gulp and she swallowed.  “Okay, I’m still not sure how I actually move on, but saying all this to you has helped.  I haven’t said I hate you or despise you, because I don’t.  Not any more.  I think I just feel sorry for you because you went on a search for happiness that probably didn’t make you happy at all.  And now, Dad, who are the people around you?  Not any of your girlfriends.  Just the three daughters you abandoned.  Because somehow we all have to find our own peace.”

She swallowed hard again. “I’ve said the things I’ve wanted to say to you for years.  Maybe it doesn’t matter that you haven’t heard them, maybe it just matters that I’ve said them.  Finally said them to you.  And now I need to go.”

She stood up, looked down at the sleeping man, then bent forward to put a light kiss on his forehead.  “Goodbye, Dad,” she whispered.

Remember to sign up for the Heroines with Hearts blogfest on July 24th - click on the banner at the top of the right side panel to find out more!

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Dear Jane

This is my 100 word (exactly!) contribution to the GBE 2 weekly topic.  It's a parody, using some of the phrases I got in one rejection, and applying them to a rather famous writer!

Dear Jane
Thank you for submitting your novel. I enjoyed your depiction of manners, morality and marriage among the landed gentry. Your writing is assured and capable, and your character development is strong. However the romance between the hero and heroine was slow to develop. Other issues, subplots and secondary characters received more attention than the romance, and this is not what we are looking for right now.
If you submit this elsewhere, may I suggest that ‘First Impressions’ is not the best title, and that you might consider the hero’s pride and the heroine’s prejudice instead?
Yours faithfully (etc)

Sunday 3 July 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

For Six Sentence Sunday here's another excerpt from my newly released 'His Leading Lady'.
To save her twin sister's career, Jess is pretending to be Lora who's gone missing. She's just been out for the evening with Kyle Drummond, the director of Lora's new show in the West End and is worried about how the evening will end (a follow-on from last Sunday's post):

As Kyle followed her across the landing to the apartment door, her nerves fluttered like a bird caught in a net and her fingers trembled as she started to put the key in the lock.

His hand on her arm stopped her.  “I’ll pick you up at nine thirty tomorrow,” he said.

She looked at him, genuinely taken aback.  “But – but aren’t you coming in?”

The instant she said it, she could have kicked herself.

'His Leading Lady' available from

Also, please sign up for our HWH Blogfest on July 24th - simple but fun, the first 'adult' (as opposed to children's) book you read - see banner top right.

Friday 1 July 2011

Lies, Lies, Lies!

Another contribution to the "Romantic Friday Writers" Challenge, where contributors offer 400 words on a specific subject.

This week my excerpt (392 words!) is from 'Fragrance of Violets'.  I've just heard from Whiskey Creek Press that it's scheduled for release in February 2012. 

Abbey is furious when she discovers something Jack hasn't told her, and calls him.

“When were you going to tell me, Jack?  Or maybe I should call you John.   The famous, best-selling John Tyson.”

There was silence.

“Who told you?” he said eventually. 

“That doesn’t matter.  What matters is that it wasn’t you.”

“Abbey, I can explain –”

“Oh, I’m sure you can.”  The anger flared inside her.  “I’m sure there were very good reasons why you turned me down.  You obviously think Marsha Hewitt is a better actress than me.  So good luck with her.”

“Actually I don’t but –”

“But what?”  Her eyes widened.  “Oh, right, I get it.  So it was your way of getting your own back, was it?  I rejected you ten years ago, so now it was your turn to reject me.”

“You know I’m not like that, but there were various reasons –”

“Oh yes, of course.  Just as there were probably various reasons why you didn’t tell me you were the author.  You built our whole relationship on a lie.”

“I’ve never lied, Abbey.”

“You didn’t tell me the truth.  It’s the same thing,” she snapped.  “Did you think I’d never find out?”

“No, I was going to tell you –”

“I’d really started to think you were different”

There was a moment’s silence. 

“Different from your father, you mean.”

“This has nothing to do with him.”  Abbey clenched her hand tightly round her phone.  “This is you.  You’re no different than every other lying, deceitful bastard.”        

“I understand that you feel let down, betrayed, whatever, but if you’d just listen to my reasons –”

“Reasons?”  She spat the word out.  “Reasons are excuses and excuses are usually lies.  Reasons don’t matter.”

“Yes, they do, that’s what I’m trying to tell you.  I know your father’s reasons turned out to be lies, but it doesn’t mean every man is going to lie to you or let you down.”

“No?  How can I believe that when I find out about all this?  Not just that it was you who turned me down for the Maggie Rycroft part – but all the time while we were sorting out what happened ten years ago, you were hiding this from me.  I thought I could trust you –”

“And now you’re damning me out of hand without giving me a chance to explain anything.”

“There’s nothing to explain.  The facts speak for themselves.”