Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Heart Of The Machine Launches November 24th on Kindle

I am pleased to announce my latest book Heart Of The Machine launches the 24th on Kindle!  It is by far my longest book (98,000 words), and took longer than I anticipated to release, but it is now out!  Well, almost out.  If you didn't guess by the subtitle, this is a sequel to my Soulmates book taking place shortly after the first book ends.

A little excerpt:
Deep within the bowels of the earth, a single light flickered.  A few inches away a large monitor glowed to life.  The black screen slowly printed in the bottom left corner, a letter at a time, as if trying hard to remember.  "Catastrophic failure detected.  Initiating emergency core rebuild."  The screen went blank and came back filled with blurred pixels.  Not just a blur but as if someone had run their fingers over them smudging the image beyond recognition.  But as the hours clicked by, a pixel moved from one location to another.  Then another.  Hours turned into days.  Then days into weeks.

After months of computation that pushed the core almost over the edge of its ability, the last pixel clicked into place.  And the face of a blonde woman with slim features breathed.  The Nexus smiled and shouted.  "I LIVE!"  Her eyes narrowed.  "Try to kill me will they!  I shall return and they will regret--"

 

You can pre-order your copy HERE

On another note, I have teamed up with more authors to offer their work for FREE but only until the 19th!  Check them out over at http://sffbookbonanza.com/freebooks/  I grabbed a few I hadn't read before.  It is a great way to find authors you enjoy you might not have otherwise.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Like Free SF Books?

Like free Sci-Fi books? 

Who doesn't?

Well I have a deal for you. A bunch of authors and I have teamed up to offer our books up for FREE. There are a lot of great titles here. Everything from Nefertiti's Heart by AW Exley to The Antiterrorist by Al Macy. I am sure there is something here that will catch your eye. I grabbed several titles myself. Be sure to grab yours before the offer expires on the 15th!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Rest In Peace Jerry Pournelle

Jerry Pournelle passed away on September 8th in his sleep.  He will be missed.  I enjoyed his work, of particular note was his monthly Chaos Manor column in BYTE.  I was first introduced to it long ago and always flipped to his column first when I received a new issue.

He had many firsts, including the first to publish a novel that was written on a word processor.  He also was blogging on computer networks (such as GEnie) long before the term "blog" or the World Wide Web" was in use.  I for one remember some of his work back on GEnie, I was as active as I could be (it was a long distance call and expensive at the time) until GEnie was sold to another company and ruined.  Still, I have pleasant memories of going though the various menus and looking at what he posted.  I never read it when I was online of course, paying by the minute.  I buffered everything and read it offline.  Ah those were the days (horribly expensive days, but liberating nonetheless), and we take so much for granted now.

While looking though his site I came across an article he did in 1996 for BYTE.  I know I must have read it back then, but I forgot about it until now.  It is titled How To Get My Job, or how to be a professional writer.  I love how he talks about the difference between an Author and a Writer.  Being an author is easy.  That is what you do on the podium, or at book signings.  But to be a writer, that is hard work.  And he is right, it is.  Many think it is easy, but it is one of those professions where the talented make it look easy.  But there is a difference between writing a letter to a friend, and writing a novel that has many characters, places, plot and descriptions that don't bore the reader.  Then tie it all together with good grammar that don't make their eyes bleed is difficult to say the least.  His work is extensive in both fiction and non-fiction.  He was a true master of the craft.

Rest in peace Jerry, and we thank you for all you did.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Dark Matter Canceled ... WHY?

A few days ago I was looking though Netflix for something different to watch and I came across Dark Matter. The description said it centered around the crew on a space ship that lost their memories in stasis, awaking to not know who they are or why they are there. Sounded interesting, so I gave it a watch and was hooked from the first episode! Wonderful writing, dialogue, and special effects. Not to mention the acting! It was refreshing as most science fiction shows these days seem to be heavy on the effects leaving the story coming up short. I can't remember when I enjoyed a series so much. The humor is also excellent and given at the right moment without being over done (as is often the case).

After watching a few episodes I went digging to see how I missed such a wonderful show premiering to find it had been canceled last month! I scratched my head as to why and then it all became clear when I found out it was a SyFy channel series. SyFy tends to cancel many good shows, while continuing to produce very questionable ones. Their track record is terrible as of late, in my opinion. Not to mention they often cancel a show in a way that leaves the fans hanging with so many unanswered questions. Even more strange considering since it was one of their most watched shows of 2017.

I started to hope for a movie or perhaps a webisode that could tie up the story arc, but I found out the production company has already closed down everything and is in the process of GIVING away all the sets, costumes, and materials to the fans. While this is wonderful, it also means there is no chance of a tie-up episode or movie. All we can hope for now is the producers will create a novel that finishes what would have been season 4.

I don't blame the producers for leaving the story hanging, rather I lay this mess solely at SyFy's feet. If you know you are going to cancel a show (or it is even possible) give the producers a heads up so they can do a better job of wrapping up the show for the fans. Instead of leaving everything hanging. It is better for the show AND the network! Babylon 5 did this years ago and made a episode that tied up the story arc, just in case they were canceled as it was a possibility. If I remember right, it is in season 4.

One thing I don't understand in the story arc, why kill off ONE? While I haven't seen the episode yet (found out in my series research), it boggles my mind why so many feel that main characters have to die. There are other (and more challenging) ways. Also if you had to kill one off, why ONE and not say THREE? Although I have to admit, after the episode I just saw, he is improving and is no longer 100% jackass.

My favorite moment in Dark Matter so far was in episode seven. They found and activated a entertainment android named Wendy. However, she ends up being a Trojan Horse trying to kill them. While Wendy is kicking THREE's backside he says "Wait! This runs counter to your programming remember? Fun?" She pauses for a second. "Fun? I don't remember fun." THREE cocks his head. "No?" "No! I only remember cooking," she punches him square in the face, "and cleaning," she punches again, "and dunking the cosmic dougnut!" She punches again. THREE blinks a little woozy "Wait! What was the last one?" Wendy gives a look then grabs him below his belt. THREE's eyes go wide. "Doughnut!" he says in a pain laden voice a second before she throws him up against the ceiling with the same hand.

A close second was earlier in the same episode: Two finds One leaving his quarters with Wendy dressing in the background. She gives a look. "Really?" ONE smiled and responds with "She's not complicated." It was a perfect response to their previous conversation.

I could list many more, but I don't think would want to read though pages of my commentary when I am sure you would enjoy watching the actual show more.

Oh and if you wanted to get on acquiring your own piece of Dark Mater, all you need to do is sent a letter (snail mail not e-mail) to the producers telling them why you are a fan. It is random on what you receive, but as long as you send it in by October 31 you should get something for your few minutes of time. The address is:

Prodigy Pictures
124 The East Mall
Toronto, Ontario
M8Z 5V5
Canada

And of course be sure to include your address ON the letter itself.


Don DeBon is the author of Red Warp, Time Rock, Soulmates, and The Husband

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Music To Write By

On helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com  there is a recent post where K.M. Weiland mentions her favorite music to write to.  I don't usually listen to music when I write, but after hearing this album I can see why Weiland would use it, being basically a film score.  It also reminded me of an old album I got years ago called And The Stars Go with You by Jonn Serrie.  The music always gave me the mental image of flying though space, and in much of my work that might be advantageous.  I am going to try them both and see.  Like anything with writing, you never know what helps (or is problematic) until you try.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Soulmates FREE until Friday!

If you haven't picked up your own copy of Soulmates for the Kindle yet, do I have a deal for you!  From now until Friday my science fiction action & adventure novel Soulmates is available for FREE!  Grab it while you can.

On another note, I have set a goal of 25 reviews in the next month.  Can you help me reach it?  A quick one line of what you liked about the book is fine.  Thank You!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Stephen King's IT Returns

Stephen King's IT makes a return tomorrow in its first theatrical release. I haven't seen the film yet (obviously), but I do remember the 1990 miniseries quite well. If you didn't know, IT is about a monster that attacks and feeds on people (usually children) every 27 years before going back into hibernation. The original book was released in 1986 and was King's 18th novel written under his own name.

I have my doubts that Bill Skargard can do better as Pennywise than Tim Curry in the 1990 miniseries. Curry totally nailed it. But I am sure Skarguard does a wonderful job. King himself gives the new film high praise, even going to see it twice.

From all I have read, the new movie is very close to the original book. Well as close as you can get considering the book is over 1,000 pages. You can't fit all of that into a two hour movie. Or even a four hour one. Some aspects I was glad to see removed from the miniseries, others felt like a hole. But as I said, you simply can't fit such a large story in a short medium without making large changes. In general though, I think the 1990 miniseries was well done. I did find the very ending lacking, and apparently Tim Curry thought the same thing.

One thing is certain though, they left a lot out of the 2017 film, especially considering that it is only part one with a sequel now in the planning stages. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth as more and more films these days are going the continued route. But on the other hand, the story is so large in this case, I really can't see one doing it justice without splitting it onto two separate films.

It is interesting the World Clown Association is upset with King because they say he is killing their business with drops in bookings around schools for example. But the thing is, the book was written in 1986. It is not a new release, the movie being released tomorrow might be, but it is not a new idea or concept. If their bookings have been dropping for a while, I don't see how they can blame this story when the movie hasn't even been released yet. But like most issues, people like to point the blame towards anything that can bring them a few minutes of air time.

Whither you are a King fan or not, I am sure most people will get a thrill out this film by all accounts. I know I am looking forward to seeing it. If nothing else than to see what was done different this time around. Which, I suspect, is what the studio is banking on.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Free Sci-Fi and Fantasy books!

Free books!  Who doesn't like free books?  I know I sure do and right now there are several great giveaways going on.

First, Alasdair Shaw has got several authors together resulting in quite the offering.  If you like science fiction and fantasy, then take a look.  I'm sure you can find something you will like.

And secondly there is an even bigger selection selection of free books in the science fiction and fantasy category here.

I know my TBR pile has expanded a bit, but I am looking forward to every one of them.  And I am sure you will too.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Soulmates is now on Kindle Unlimited!

I am pleased to announce that Soulmates is now on Kindle Unlimited.  And of course if you don't have Kindle Unlimited, it is still available for only .99  Or if you prefer paper, it is still out in print editions at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or can be ordered by your local book store.

Mechands . . . everyone has one. The metal race built by man to serve our every need. But Aleshia is about to find out they are not the benevolent protectors that she has always been taught. And who is this strange man in her dreams? A man who actually exists and reveals the whole world is not as she thought.


Excerpt:
The holo projector building shook as raw power flowed into the dish.  Building exponentially until a large beam shot up out of the center and hit the Mechand ship head on, blasting right though the middle section.  Time seemed to stand still as the beam rapidly increased in size until it was the full size of the building.  The ship hovered helplessly as if speared through the heart.  Then the beam grew in size again into a full conical blast that totally engulfed the ship.  Fire buried from the inside out in a ever expanding plume of destruction until it disintegrated as though it never existed.

"Wow."  Aleshia muttered under her breath. 

The building shook again but this time for a different reason.  The automated voice boomed over the speakers.  "Warning this facility will overload in two minutes.  All personnel must evacuate immediately!"

Deven grabbed Aleshia's hand.  "Time to go!" He said pulling her out of the building and towards her car.  The projector dish shook again, which reverberated out to the other buildings.  Signs and porches began to fall off.  Glass windows exploded under the strain. 

Aleshia looked up and saw different cars, large heavy lifting construction vehicles, and cargo haulers ascend into the sky and disappear like fireflies into the night as they engaged their overdrives.  The ground's ever increasing movement made it impossible to run by the time they reached Aleshia's car.

Deven hopped into the drivers seat.  "I am driving."  But the car refused to power on.

Aleshia pulled him out of the seat.  "No I am! The car is keyed to me, get in!"  She shouted pushing a button that popped the passenger door open as a building fell behind them.

"Okay you don't have to tell me twice!"  He said hopping into the passenger side, while she fired up the engine.  A moment later they were hovering up out of the complex.  "Um I don't mean to be pushy, but can this thing go any faster?"

"It is safer if I let the engine warm up a little before I apply full thrust."

"Look in a few seconds, if we are not away from here, we won't have to worry about anything ever again!"

Aleshia's eyes widened.  "You mean ... wait a sec how big of a blast is that thing going to put out?"

"I don't know, and I don't want to be anywhere around to find out okay?  So PUNCH IT!"

Aleshia nodded and hit overdrive dialing it to maximum.  They were slammed back into their seats with the sudden acceleration.  Just as the center holo projector reached critical mass.  Immediately it exploded in a ever enlarging fireball.  Microseconds later it engulfed the entire complex and continued to expand.  Fire lashed out at them, but they were just beyond range.  Red hot lava broke though the surface incinerating anything not already blasted and burnt beyond recognition.  Several large jets of lava shot up over two thousand feet into the sky with the pressure fully released, then came back to earth as large solidified rock  A new volcano was born.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The 99 cent sale!

It is 4th of July weekend and I have a special deal going on right now. ALL of my books are FREE or .99! If you have been waiting for a good moment to add that missing book to your library, now is the time! Also my next book Heart Of The Machine will be released soon. Watch this space for details!

UPDATE: The sale has been extended until the end of September!










Italian Fever is available at Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords, and Overdrive!
And currently FREE on Nook!

A real vacation. Crystal had looked forward to this for a long time. A little trip to Italy, relaxing on a cruise ship, being catered to and pampered. Something she has always dreamed of. But little did she know that it was going to turn out to be far more of an adventure than she had planned.

And now she is jet-setting all over the world with a man she just met for a technological discovery that could change the world as we know it. With evil hot on their heels, can she trust him? Her head says no but the heart says yes...


Red Warp the second edition is available for FREE at iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble Nook, Scribd, and Smashwords!  Or use the form on the right and I will email you a copy.
-In a race against time the casualty could be your life-
If you could travel through time with just yourself and no machine needed, would you? Meet Red, a woman with a amazing gift, the gift of passing though time and space without the need of any bulky equipment. The places she has seen, the people she has helped will blow your mind.
Now meet James, just your average newly minted FBI agent minding his own business until he is thrust headlong into Red's world. A world he didn't ask for, but one that hit him in the face full force. Can they get along long enough to survive?

Time Rock is  available at Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, iBooks, and Overdrive.

Time Travel. Blessing or curse? One man thinks he has it all figured out but what began as a simple test has turned into a nightmare. With his equipment failing all around him, only Red and James can save him. Can they reach him in time? Get your copy today to find out!


 Soulmates is on SALE for $.99 for Kindle, and is in Kindle Unlimited as well!  It is also available in print at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or can be ordered by your local book store.

Mechands . . . everyone has one. The metal race built by man to serve our every need. But Aleshia is about to find out they are not the benevolent protectors that she has always been taught. And who is this strange man in her dreams? The man who actually exists and reveals the whole world is not as she thought.


The Husband is available in Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Googleplay, and Smashwords editions. The print edition is available at Amazon, B&N, or anywhere books are sold.

Erin's Husband is not himself.

One night he returns from a walk in the woods a changed man.   He walks like him, talks like him, yet is very different. No one believes her, leaving Erin alone to find out the truth. Truth that could have dire consequences for the entire human race. What happened that caused him to change so radically?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Timeless Could Use More Time In The Typewriter

A while ago a friend mentioned a television series that she came across. Being that I like science fiction, I gave Timeless a try. I don't have cable TV, or in range of a over-the-air NBC station, however it is on the Hulu.com streaming service. But what I found was quite surprising for a well seasoned main-stream network. To put simply, it should have spent more time in the typewriter.

For starters, why don't they carry history data with them? With all the technology available these days, you could carry entire libraries inside the 'life boat' with ease. Then compare to see what has changed after each mission. It would also offer proof of what had changed, and make it easy to compare before and after. There could be so many changes that without such a real data comparison you would have NO IDEA what all had changed. To not have such a tool and to rely only on ones memory is absolute foolishness.  I can't imagine anyone making such a mistake. Certainly not after the FIRST trip and they see how things changed (that they knew of) when they failed to stop Flynn.

They talk about never being able to trod on their own time-line, yet Flynn seems to not have much trouble with it. He changes his history at will, while everyone else is left scratching their head. And being that one of the main characters is supposed to be some sort of history master, why can't she figure this out? She also vehemently refuses to change the time-line, until she doesn't and is willing to throw everything to the wind. Then she is back to not changing the time-line again.

Another thing, when you travel though time, it is instantaneous for those outside of the ship. Yet in the show they have several times where those outside of the ship are able to 'see' the time ship moving though time. That is a plot hole the size of a planet. You simply could not be watching the ship move though time and able to guide it home. That would work in ANYTHING other than time travel. Being able to send a message to your people in the future? Sure that is possible, but to have them guide you home while you are en route? Nope. Now if you could find a way to send them a beacon they can home in on, or find a way to transmit data to them. Sure that could work. But live, on-the-fly-guidance? Nope, not possible. What they should have done was have the note give something they can track, but didn't think of before. They figure it out in the future and activate the beacon signal. A micro second later POOF the time ship arrives. That is the only way it could work.

Also the people in the 'current' time period always seem to be aware of the passage of time during a mission. In reality, the 'life boat' would be POOF gone and POOF back a second later every time except the one episode where they got stranded due to sabotage. Sure they could set their destination to return a little later, but why would you? Even if they were doing it to match the 'mothership', why would Flynn not come back a few seconds from when he left rather than hours or days difference? There isn't any reason to, unless the machine is not that accurate, and we see time and time again they are very accurate in landing where and when they want. Not to mention even if they could see Flynn go back in time, wouldn't the mission be irrelevant at that moment? If he does go back and change history, those changes should be instant. No one in the current time period should even be able to tell what he did, it should all now true history as far as they know. Yet they get hours to prepare before going back to try to stop him? But when the 'life boat' does come back to the future, then the changes are instant? Talk about a huge plot hole.

Here's another problem: why don't they make another ship? Let's face it, at first the operation was a secret project owned by a business man with limited (although still very large) resources. But once the government is involved (and we assume that not all of said government is dirty as implied in the show) wouldn't they be building a new ship really really fast if the whole world is at stake? If nothing else, the 'life boat' fails then their team is stranded. Not to mention the 'life boat' wasn't built for continuous use, just to prove a theory, then later for rescue. The whole ship like it is about to fly apart every time they fire it up. Also you would want to send more people back to stop this mad man, a trained military team or such. Sure they can get clothes of every time and location, yet they won't build a new 'mothership' time machine and train a crew to assist them when they run into problems? Yeah, right.

Not to mention if they can track the time machines, why in the world can't they communicate with their team? If you know when they traveled back in time (and know roughly where the 'mothership' is), it stands to reason you are getting telemetry from the ships. And if you are getting that, why can't you also communicate though it? Granted it could be that they only know the most basic of information and nothing else. But still if something is being transmitted, then more should be able to as well. Or tell why it can't.

Another problem: the characters are not endearing. Forgive me, but I don't like any of them (well except for Anthony, but he isn't on very much). They all seem like a crazy batch of misfits that you don't care if they ever make it back. They also seem stiff to the point that you don't believe them at all. They are also constantly at odds with each other (lying again and again for example). Perhaps that changed later on in the series (I only watched about 7 episodes), but as a writer I know that you have to hook your reader/watcher from the start or they will go somewhere else. In my case, I only watched past the first episode because I have a great love of science fiction, and as a writer I wondered if they were going to make the mess any better. I'm sure that most people wouldn't have Well, unless you don't have Netflix or something similar that caries decent science fiction to watch.

One final odd aspect: the good guys are doing almost as much damage as the bad guys. Maybe it is me, but I think there should be able to do a better job. Especially for someone that is supposedly a history expert. Granted not everything is going to go according to plan (humans are often unpredictable), but still they should be able to do a better job than they are. And with the kind of changes that are being made, I tend to think the ripples would be far larger than what they are leading one to believe. For example, one person can make a huge difference, yes I agree. But sometimes that all has to do with the circumstances around that person at the time. Have them miss that one appointment, and they end up in a car wreck instead, which makes their son refrain from going into the space program causing the program to never occur. And if that never happens, guess what, no time machine. Events are so interwoven throughout our lives, you can't drive a huge truck though the time line and think that it won't all unravel.

Perhaps being a author of time travel stories makes me a harsher critic, but it would seem to me all of the points I have mentioned are 101's of writing time travel. Or at least logical conclusions. Most people can forgive small plot holes, but ones that resemble Swiss cheese and are large enough to drive a truck though is another matter.

Don DeBon is the author of Red Warp, Time Rock, Soulmates, and The Husband. Currently available on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and other retailers. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Last Man On The Moon

Gene Cernan, the last man that landed on the moon has passed at the age of 82.  This is sad in several ways.  First off, the obvious, he was well liked and my condolences go to his family.  But on another aspect, it shows that no one has been on back to the moon for over 40 years.  I had hoped we would go back again, but after the Space Shuttle program was canceled without a replacement, I don't think we ever will if things continue on their current path.  And that is a shame.

It is a shame because we learned a lot during the Apollo missions, and the missions before it.  About our planet, about the moon, and much of the everyday technology we now enjoy came out of those programs.  Our computers would never have advanced to the level that we have now, freeze dried foods wouldn't have been developed, and even scratch resistant lenses came out of the Space Race.  But there is so much more.

I realize manned space exploration is dangerous and extremely expensive.  However, we also get a lot out of it.  Some may say that there are more important issues here on Earth.  While I agree, you need look at all the benefits we use each and every day that came out of our conquest of space.  In the end, it all comes back and we are better for it.

As a science fiction author that dreams about the future, Cernan's passing feels like we ran into a large sign saying DEAD END.  While our stories will never stop, I think we as a race need to take up the gauntlet once again and do the impossible.  Go back to the moon, then after we get that down pat, expand from there.  To simply put, nothing worthwhile happens unless you try.  The choice is ours, and I hope we chose wisely.


Don DeBon is the author of Red Warp, Time Rock, Soulmates, and The Husband. Currently available on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and other retailers.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ringling Brothers To Close After 146 Years

I recently came across that Ringling Brothers circus is to close down this May.  At the moment I am left dumbfounded.  I never thought there would be a day where the circus was extinct.  Heck, how many science fiction stories used it to tell of a time in the far future where people still enjoyed a traveling circus?  Many I know.  Even quite a few television series have used the theme.

Ringling Brothers cite several reasons for the closing (high cost, traveling issues, animal rights groups, change in public interests), and while I understand them it still a shock.  I am sure the largest issue is the change in the latest generation of children.  The circus used to be a wonderment to be hold for a child, where the seeming impossible happened.  Now it is "ho-hum" pushed to the side by intensive games and movies that are available on their tablets with the tap of a finger.

I have seen children with tablets as young as three.  While in some respects it is giving them a head start on technology, it is also contributing to the problem of diminishing attention span.  Kenneth Feld, the CEO mentioned how the whole show is 2 hours 7 minutes with the longest segment being a 12 minute tiger act.

"Try getting a 3- or 4-year-old today to sit for 12 minutes," he said.

I knew there was a problem with attention span in today's children was bad, but not to this extreme.  To me, 12 minutes happens in a eye blink.  The average animated (cartoon) show is 20 minutes long (without commercials) and they can sit though that without issues.  Well at least most will.  Some kids won't sit still no matter what, and this was occurring long before tablets and video games.  But then again, if they are addicted to tablets or other screens, that is a different situation.

Personally though, I would much rather see the show in person than on a screen.  Although I have to admit, if you don't bring binoculars, the views from a video with a strong focal magnification is going to seem better in some respects than a live show.  But you can't turn your head and see other aspects.  The movement of the other performers as the hurry to get into place, or prepare for the next segment.  It is such a different feel that I still have difficulty seeing a child not enjoying the show, if they would actually go.  No animal on a screen can replace one lumbering up in front of you.  But as Feld mentioned, the challenge to maintain an affordable ticket price had become increasingly difficult.  I am sure this is the largest factor in the decision.  In the end, it all comes down to no longer being a viable business.

The closure of The Greatest Show On earth enters in another era, and I can't say it is an improvement.

Don DeBon is the author of Red Warp, Time Rock, Soulmates, and The Husband. Currently available on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and other retailers.