on m/m romance, baking, knitting, and occasional smut

Category Archives: Giveaways


Thanks to The Armchair Reader for hosting me today as I finish up my first official Riptide Books tour for Catch A Ghost, which is book 1 in the Hell or High Water series. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about music and how it affects my writing process, so I answered some questions below.

1. How do you come up with your book titles? A lot of my book titles for my Riptide series come from song titles. The lyrics play a big part in my choice—it’s typically a song I’m using to write to as I write the book. Music’s always ben a huge part of my process. Sometimes, an entire book can be inspired by a single line of lyric. To me, music is like poetry, and it sets a mood that you can’t really explain. If you play me a song I used to listen to in college, I’ll still get that same feeling I had when I was first listening to it—and I can picture where I was when I first heard it. I’ve had that relationship with music forever. I can still remember the first songs I asked my parents to get me—I used to make them play them loud on the radio. Loud.

2. What music do you write best to? It depends on the book, but it’s never classical music. Usually, it’s a mix of some classic rock with rap, disco and those embarrassing songs you refuse to admit you own thrown in. I try to set the playlist so that it will immediately drag me right back into that book and characters, so I don’t waste a moment of precious writing time. Music is so amazingly visceral that way.

3. Doesn’t music distract you?
I’ve heard that some authors can’t listen to music at all, or can’t listen to music with words because it yanks them out of their story. For me, that doesn’t happen. The entire thing—the song, the words and my thoughts kind of blend together. And I get to lose myself. And that’s the key to good writing, letting yourself get lost in that fictional world. If you’re not exhausted at the end of your writing session (albeit, it can be a good tired) somethings’s wrong. You didn’t dig deep enough.

4. Can we see the songs you write to? Sure! If you look at my website, I’ve got a list of songs I wrote Catch A Ghost to (and trust me, it’s a partial list) but I included some of the lyrics that are most important. I think, once you read the book, you can go back to the lyrics and see why I chose that particular song. And sometimes, I’ll play a song over and over during certain key scenes, so much so that I’ll forever associate that song with that moment. Not a bad thing.

I’m having a contest that will run through the end of this blog tour on my website. In order to be eligible, you just need to leave a comment here! Actually, you can comment on my blog and any other blogs along this tour and you’ll be entered separately for a chance to win with each comment.

So just tell me in the comments—what’s your favorite kind of music to listen to. Or your all-time favorite song—or favorite song of the moment. Please share, because I love discovering new music!

About SE Jakes:

SE Jakes writes m/m romance. She believes in happy endings and fighting for what you want in both fiction and real life. She lives in New York with her family and most days, she can be found happily writing (in bed). No really…

You can contact her the following ways:

You can email her at authorsejakes@gmail.com

You can post to her Facebook page: Facebook.com/SEJakes

You can Tweet her: Twitter.com/authorsejakes

You can post on her Goodreads Group: Ask SE Jakes

You can follow her Tumblr page: sejakes.tumblr.com

Truth be told, the best way to contact her is by email or in blog comments. She spends most of her time writing but she loves to hear from readers!

About Catch A Ghost:

20130913-070757.jpgThe past can only hold you hostage if you let it…

Everyone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone and thinks only about the trouble he can cause. But his boss, Phil Butler of Extreme Escapes, LTD., has just assigned Proph not only a new partner but also a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he’s got to confront them both head on.

Tom Boudreaux—failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full time believer in bad luck—is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still he’s determined to succeed this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE, LTD’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, and even though the case is also resurrecting his own painful past.

Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in the dangerous world of underground cage matches, while fighting their own dangerous attraction. And when they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners are forced to trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts . . . or pay the price.

You can read and excerpt and purchase at Riptide books! Book 2 in the series, Long Time Gone, is also up for preorder from Riptide here.

Of all the fairy tales available, few are as unromantic as The Pied Piper of Hamelin, with its plague of rats, avaricious mayor, and the death or disappearance of the town’s children by a potentially paedophilic piper dressed in an outlandish costume and out for revenge. But wait! It’s do-able … so long as we toss in space travel, mutant space rats, and a shadowy League with the power to save or destroy the pearls of humanity strung about the galaxy.

That is the backdrop for Piper, a space age version of the Pied Piper with the added bonus of a May/September MM romance. My name is Leona, this is the first stop on Piper’s blog tour, and I am trembling in my armchair just to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

Piper’s plot and many of the details are based on the versions of the fairy tale by the Brother’s Grimm and Robert Browning, wherein a struggling community hires a piper to rescue them from a rat blight and then sends him away without paying him. The piper then teaches them an important lesson about commerce: If they do not want to pay him, he will extract his due another way.


There are a few minor differences. Instead of a town, Piper has a space station. Instead of a mayor, a Station Commander. The piper, Atmosphere, is not a lone traveller, but part of a League. This League is responsible for protecting humankind from the ever-present threat of rats that have adapted to thrive in the hostile environments of space ships and stations. On the side, the pipers put on glam rock concerts and support a thriving community of fan clubs. Where the fairy tale does not even attempt to explain how music entrances the rats and children, Piper explains the method at great length, delving into the ramifications of a technology that can control minds.

Most importantly, where the Pied Piper of Hamelin mentions nothing of love, Piper revolves around the relationship between Atmosphere and Jacob Tucker, son of the Commander and a rewritten version of the “one little lame boy” who survives the wrath of the piper for no other reason than that he cannot dance to the tune.

So, why write a fairy tale romance? I adore fairy tales. The grimmer, the better. There’s always someone dying or meeting a terrible fate because they did something stupid. It’s delicious and so very different from modern fantasy.

I chose the Pied Piper first and foremost because it seemed like a terrible idea for a romance. Where would you even put it in? Of all the tales out there, I think it’s the most gruesome based on body count alone. Terry Pratchett does a fantastic job in The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, with a cute relationship between a boy piper and a town girl. I wanted something directly related to the tale, though, with a character who is specifically mentioned in the original. That left me with the mayor, his advisors, or a young person with a mobility disability. Enter the May/September and a whole slough of other issues that could be addressed within the narrative.


Too soon, Atmosphere finished one tale and didn’t immediately launch into another. He performed his usual check on Starlight, who had turned onto her other side and curled into a tight ball, then said, “I’m getting carried away. My apologies, Jacob.”

“It’s all right.” Jake slouched, anticipating his impending dismissal. “I enjoy listening to you.”

“And I enjoy talking, but I’m sure you came up here to do more than listen.”

“I …” Jake’s initial purpose seemed so far away, but, as Atmosphere brought the interview back on course, he realized it might have been his only chance to ask. He rummaged in the chaos that Atmosphere had made of his mind for the exact wording he had settled on earlier: an innocuous start that would hopefully lead to a well-balanced and convincing argument. “I’m doing some research and I need your help.”

“Let me guess. Research on pipers? No. Research on me. And you want to experiment.” Atmosphere’s perfect white teeth flashed. In a smooth movement, he closed the space between them. “I’ve never been happier to partake of science.”

Another reason for the choice was the challenge of making the piper a sympathetic character. Granted, he was taken advantage of in the tale, but who murders children just because people don’t make their payments? Crazy people, that’s who. Well then, Atmosphere would need to be a little bit unstable, too, which would be accompanied by another bushel of issues.

After some thought and extrapolation, Piper almost wrote itself while I tried to fill in the gaps to explain what happened and why, and put it into the framework of a romantic narrative. I tried to stay true to the details in the original tale, with some exceptions here and there, and I am excited to know how I did. I’ll be giving away a copy of Piper, either electronic or print format, at the end of this blog tour. Every comment on this and the other four posts will be another entry into the draw. I will write them onto little pieces of paper and put them into a legitimate top hat, pull one out on September 15, and email the winner.

Come and join me for stop number two at It’s Raining Men [link: http://rainingmenamen.blogspot.ca%5D, where I will regale you with my thoughts on writing a character with a mobility disability opposite a character with inhuman power and very human frailties.

Junk Blog Tour Banner

When the idea first struck me to write a romance with a hoarder as the central character, I almost sent it packing. It sounded like a unique hook as I’d never heard of another romance featuring a hoarder as a love interest, but then again, there was probably a good reason for that. After all, isn’t hoarding disgusting? Who would want to read about someone who’d filled their house with random stuff to the point where it had become a health and safety hazard? It ain’t romantic or sexy, that’s for sure.

However, as I have a terminally rebellious urge it was this inadvisability that really attracted me. I’d managed to write a successful erotic romance with a hero who was on dialysis (Ben in Handle with Care), and another with a dole scrounger (Cosmo in Screwing the System). For some reason I’m pulled towards unconventional but ordinary folk, complete with all their myriad physical and mental health issues, along with some juicy character flaws. Perhaps this is because these are the people I know in real life, and I’m resistant to the idea that only dedicated cops, billionaires and ripped firefighters deserve a happy ending 😉

garden junkOnce I’d decided I was going to welcome the hoarder plot bunny with open arms, I had more difficult decisions to make. What could my hero hoard that wouldn’t revolt readers? I’m utterly fascinated by hoarding television shows where they investigate people’s homes–particularly when there’s a proper therapist working with the hoarders to effect a transformation. That said, it’s one thing to watch it on television where only the visual element is involved, but to write it I’d have to call on all the senses. I decided I needed to investigate further, and delved into a wonderful book called “Stuff, Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things” to find out more about the different types of things people collect, and why.

Antisocial hoards:

Animals – Just when does a mad cat lady turn into an animal hoarder? The answer seems to be when the number of animals exceeds the owner’s ability to care for them, resulting in ill health and a house full of excrement. Animal hoarders are a distinct group of hoarders and according to the authors of Stuff (two experts in hoarding disorder), they are the most problematic to work with. While it’s obvious to outsiders that conditions are utterly insanitary and the animals need rescuing, their owners often believe that they are the ones saving the animals from a life on the streets or being put down.

rotten bananasFood – People who hoard perishable food are perhaps the next most antisocial group. They are usually located by their neighbours reporting roaches and rats, and this type of hoarding is likely to result in forced clear-outs by an environmental health team–something the hoarders find extremely traumatic.

Bodily waste – this is a really unusual one and definitely a sign of a severe mental health problem. There are people out there who consider everything that was once a part of them–toenail clippings, hair, feces, etc–to be in some way imbued with a magical property, and they cannot bear to let it go for fear that harm will befall them.

I knew Jasper, my hoarder hero, couldn’t collect anything too revolting or have mental health problems that were too severe, so fortunately all of these were out of the question.

Less antisocial hoarding:

pile of bikesWhen the objects hoarded are things like clothes, toys, furniture and books a hoard is far less antisocial. Yes, it can still be a health hazard for the person who lives in the house–at risk of having their possessions bury them alive–but it’s unlikely to annoy the neighbours unless it spills out into the garden, or the exterior state of the house lowers the value of their own.

I knew Jasper would have to collect something, but I liked the idea of it being a themed collection more than a random mix of objects–which becomes the stuff of nightmares when it’s piled up everywhere. At first Jasper was going to collect old electronics, but then I took a look at my dad and realised what it had to be: books. It was the perfect hoard for readers to be able to relate to. After all, aren’t most of us bookworms just a step or two away from becoming book hoarders ourselves?

That’s why I wrote the dedication for all of you:

For everybody who’s ever bought a book they know they’ll probably never get around to reading

I just hope Junk isn’t one of the ones you buy and don’t read!

Readers, have you ever bought a book you know you’ll never read, and why?

Prize giveaway: In addition to the grand prize of a sexy book tote (entry details on Jo’s website) there will be a $5 ebook gift voucher awarded to one commenter from every post during the tour, up to Monday 9th September, 9am GMT (full details also on Jo’s website, including the blog tour itinerary)

Junk coverJunk

Letting go is the first step to healing…or bringing it all crashing down.

When an avalanche of books cuts off access to his living room, university librarian Jasper Richardson can no longer ignore the truth. His ever-growing piles of books, magazines and newspapers can no longer be classified as a “collection”. It’s a hoard, and he needs professional help.

Professional clutter clearer and counselor Lewis Miller thinks he’s seen it all, but even he has to admit he’s shocked. Not so much by the state of Jasper’s house, but by the level of attraction he still feels for the sexy bookworm he remembers from school.

What a shame that Lewis’s ethical code forbids relationships with clients. As Jasper makes slow but steady progress, though, the magnetic pull between them is so strong even Lewis is having trouble convincing himself it’s a temporary emotional attachment arising from the therapeutic process.

Jasper longs to prove to Lewis that this is the real deal. But first he’ll have to lay bare the root of his hoarding problem…and reveal the dark secret hidden behind his walls of books.

Warning: Contains a level-headed counselor with a secret addiction, a bespectacled geek with a sweet tooth, a killer “to-be-read” pile, embarrassing parents, a van called Alice, and deliciously British slang.

Junk is out now, available from the following retailers:

Kindle US | Kindle UK | Nook | Samhain

About the author:

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

For more information about Jo’s published stories, regular blog posts and saucy free reads, visit JosephineMyles.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/josephine.myles.authorpage
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JosephineMyles
Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/hrQ4s

Photo credits: Garden junk by msmediadesign, bananas by dhester, bikes by xpistwv, all from morguefile.com

Whiskey & Wry (Sinners #2) - Rhys FordThe lovely and talented Rhys Ford is offering up a ebook copy of Whiskey and Wry, the second book in the Sinners series and sequel to Sinner’s Gin!

The giveaway starts now and will last until Midnight CDT on Sunday, August 18th. I will choose the winner using Random.org and email the winner who will then have 48 hours from the time of the drawing to reply to my email. I will then forward the winner’s information to Rhys so the winner can receive their book.

Please enter the email you’d wish me to contact you at in the comment form, or if you prefer, leave it in the message.

Whiskey and Wry releases on Monday, August 19th, so if you win and reply early you can get a copy on release day 🙂 Or, if you just can’t wait and don’t want to take your chances, you can always preorder at DSP here.

Also, be sure to stay tuned for my review of Whiskey and Wry on Monday!

Thanks and good luck.



Hello and welcome to everyone who’s reading this, the second stop on the blog tour for The Crimson Outlaw, my historical m/m novella set in Transylvania. If you’re still reading from this point on, thank you for that! And thank you to Cole, my host here on The Armchair Reader. If you’re following the whole tour, quintuple thanks, and you may find it easiest to do so by keeping up with the schedule on this page.

I am on a roll with the interview questions since yesterday, so I thought I’d do a few more today. Here we go:

How long does it take you to write a book?

Well, it very much depends on how long the book is. I write between 2,000 and 3,000 words a day every week day. So I write approximately 10 – 15,000 words a week, with the weekends off. That means that in theory I could write the first draft of a thirty thousand word novella in two weeks, or a sixty thousand word novel in a month. In practice, other things tend to come up. I’ll have to write blog posts, for example 😉 Or I’ll get the edits in for a previous book and have to stop writing my first draft in order to turn those around. Or I’ll have finished the first draft and need to do a couple of my own editing passes to polish it up to a state where it’s good enough to send out to publishers. Or I’ll need to read up intensively on the research. Or someone in the family will be ill, or I’ll be ill, or someone will need to be taken somewhere, or one of my retired family members will want to meet up with me, because working at home = not doing anything they can’t interrupt.

With interruptions, it takes me approximately a month to write a novella from first draft to sending it out, and four to six months for a novel. Part of the reason the novels take so long is that I tend to write very long novels, in the 100 – 150,000 word range. Don’t ask me why! I’m just unable to be succinct.

How do you get past writer’s block?

On the one hand, I’m not sure I believe in writer’s block. At least not now that I outline my stories before I start writing them. Now that I start out with a plot plan, I never have a day where I sit there in front of the computer simply not knowing what to write. I have plenty of days when I sit there thinking ‘I don’t want to write this! I want to clean the toilet instead. Surely there’s some washing up that needs to be done?’ which may be one element of writer’s block, but because I know what I’m supposed to be writing I can always sit down and do it, even if I don’t enjoy it.

On the other hand, I do have periods between stories, when I’ve finished one book and really can’t think of anything to write next. For those periods I recommend watching lots of TV and movies. For my part, at least, I never get inspired by the written word but I often get inspired by visual things. So for me, if I can’t think of anything to write, it’s time for a blitz of watching the media and looking at cool pictures.

What is your favorite book from childhood?

It’s hard to choose, but I think it must be The Lord of the Rings. Though A Wizard of Earthsea comes close. With A Wizard of Earthsea, I loved the magical school on Roke, the clarity and beauty of her language, and the amazing perceptual shift when the Master Patterner turns up as a savage in feathers and paint and you remember that everyone in the civilized world is black or brown – for once the white guy is the outsider and you didn’t even notice it happening. But there’s something about the Taoism of it, in its underlying assumptions that didn’t really appeal to me.

The Lord of the Rings, on the other hand shaped the way that I thought and wrote in a way that’s still directly connected to my life now. I wanted to be an elf, but since that wasn’t possible I settled for wanting to know all about the Anglo-Saxons who were the real-life models for the Rohirrim. It’s probably down to Tolkien’s influence that I am a Christian, that my books are full of scenery, that my latest novel (The Reluctant Berserker – look for that in 2014) is about a Saxon bard, and that I recently took up folk dancing. Books are dangerous things, they may end up shaping your entire life!

Which of your books was the hardest or easiest to write?

The hardest were probably the contemporaries. Shining in the Sun and the novella I’m working on at the moment, Blue Eyed Stranger. There’s just something about contemporaries that inhibits my imagination. I think I need to be writing what I don’t know, because if I write what I know I get bogged down in the minutiae.

The Crimson Outlaw was the easiest thing to write since The Wages of Sin. They were both wonderful to write – I was simply carried away by them. They were nice places to be, exciting and exotic, and every paragraph was a new discovery. I wish all my writing came so easily!

Which one of your characters would you date?

Well, I wouldn’t. I mean, all my lead guys are gay, so that would be a disaster. Peter Kenyon from Captain’s Surrender is bisexual, but he’s also frankly a bit self-obsessed for my tastes, and he’s better off with Josh who’s willing to agree with him about how wonderful he is. Besides, I’m a happily married woman. I don’t create them for me, I create them for each other 🙂


I ran something very complicated with my last tour. This time I think I’ll keep it simple. If you would like to win your choice out of my backlist titles (any one novel, or two novellas) comment to be put into the hat. At the end of the tour I’ll draw a name from all those who have commented during the week and post an announcement of the winner on my blog, Facebook and twitter so that you can contact me with your choice and your email address, and I can get your prize to you.


Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.

Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.

Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.

Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.

She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.

Connect with Alex:

Website: alexbeecroft.com
Blog: alexbeecroft.com/blog
Facebook: facebook.com/AlexBeecroftAuthor
Twitter: @Alex_Beecroft
Goodreads: goodreads.com/Alex_Beecroft

The Crimson Outlaw - Alex BeecroftLove is the greatest outlaw of all.

Vali Florescu, heir to a powerful local boyar, flees his father’s cruelty to seek his fortune in the untamed Carpathian forests. There he expects to fight ferocious bandits and woo fair maidens to prove himself worthy of returning to depose his tyrannical father. But when he is ambushed by Mihai Roscat, the fearsome Crimson Outlaw, he discovers that he’s surprisingly happy to be captured and debauched instead.

Mihai, once an honoured knight, has long sought revenge against Vali’s father, Wadim, who killed his lord and forced him into a life of banditry. Expecting his hostage to be a resentful, spoiled brat, Mihai is unprepared for the boy to switch loyalties, saving the lives of villagers and of Mihai himself during one of Wadim’s raids. Mihai is equally unprepared for the attraction between them to deepen into love.

Vali soon learns that life outside the castle is not the fairy tale he thought, and happy endings must be earned. To free themselves and their people from Wadim’s oppression, Vali and Mihai must forge their love into the spear-point of a revolution and fight for a better world for all.

You can read an excerpt and purchase The Crimson Outlaw here.

Hello everyone! I just want to take a minute to introduce Harper Kingsley’s first post in her Heroes & Villains Blog Tour today and also to apologize for the post going up late today. That’s what happens when you oversleep! Anyway, on to the post. I’m really looking forward to reading this one!

As this is the first stop on the Heroes & Villains blog tour, I thought I would talk a bit about how the book came about.

I’ve always been a giant comic book fan (read: nerd) and one day it clicked in my brain that I could create my own superheroes and supervillains. The rules were mine to make, and the world was free for me to explore.

Though Vereint Georges starts out as the superhero Starburst, it was the supervillain Darkstar that I created first. A guy wrapped up in purple and black, his body overflowing with more power–metability–than he knows what to do with.

Darkstar is immoral and frightening, acting on his impulses more than he ever pauses to think things through. He has everything he could want, and he doesn’t hesitate to take the rest. He is charming, cruel, and at the end of the day, he’s almost painfully human.

As Starburst, Vereint was desperate to have his role as a superhero validated by praise and accolades. As Darkstar, he effortlessly brings the world to its knees and is left wondering: Is this all there is?

Enter Blue Ice, the superhero Vereint spent his teen years admiring and wishing to emulate. More than anything, Vereint wants Blue Ice to look at him and welcome him as a fellow hero. Instead their first meetings are marked by disappointment on both of their parts as Blue Ice takes an instant dislike to Starburst. Refusing to help the young superhero find his way, Blue Ice takes every opportunity for childish taunts and public derision.

Vereint’s hero name is mocked by the media as he becomes known far and wide as the “candy ass.” Nothing he does as a hero works out for him and things come to a head when he decides that enough is enough. Darkstar is born.

It’s when Vereint embraces the role of the bad boy that he catches Blue Ice’s interest as more than a joke. Things begin to shift and change between them and Vereint meets the man behind the mask, Warrick Reidenger Tobias.

Against a backdrop of heroics, villainy, interpersonal relationships, and the rising threat of a terrorist group willing to set the world ablaze in the name of Darkstar, Vereint and Warrick come to know each other as more than the costumes they wear.

Really, this is the story of two men on different sides making a romantic connection that society wouldn’t approve of. They have to find a middle ground where they can exist together.

At its heart, Heroes & Villains is about the relationship between Warrick and Vereint. A hero and a villain, though sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

I’m giving out an ebook copy of Heroes & Villains at the end of this blog tour. You can earn five entries by following the tour and answering the question after each post.

I’ll be using Random.org to pick a winner the morning of August 19th.

Answer the question in the comments: What superpower do you wish you had and why?


Heroes & Villains at Less Than Three Press.

All Vereint ever wanted was to be a superhero, fight alongside the other great heroes of the city and beat down the villains that plague them. There’s just one problem: he sucks at it, at least according to the other heroes and the majority of the city. Instead of the greatness and glory of which he dreamed, Vereint spends his days alone, exhausted, and depressed. When the mockery and derision finally go too far, Vereint decides he’s reached his limit. If he’s never going to be good enough to succeed as the hero Starburst, maybe it’s time to try the role of villain instead …

You can find Harper Kingsley at her blog, on Twitter, and at Goodreads.