It hurts when it seems no one cares for your book, but…

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I thought about writing this post after seeing a video of one of my indie-publisher writer friends saying she would give up publishing due to too few people reading her books. She said she only had around ten people who really cared for her first book and this people shouldn’t be paying to read it.

I understand her point of view and disappointment. The problem is, we are in an extremely saturated market here.

On Goodreads, I have a list only for books from my independent author friends. It contains 76 titles so far. Last year I managed to read 8 books from this list. I wished I had read more and I hope I do manage a higher count this year, but reading time in real life is something very limited and, I must confess, sometimes I want to read books coming from traditional publishing as well, or writing craft books, or classic books. I wouldn’t be able to limit myself only to what has been published the last three years too.

I do hold all my independent author friends to my heart, but I alone can’t fulfill their expectations. All I can say to them is that they must write even if only a handful of people read their books. They should look at their books as their legacy to the creativity and wisdom of mankind. So few humans in this world have written a book and left something so valuable to the rest of us. Worries about how many people read it in the year it was published seems to me not the most important here.

So please take heart, dear indie-pub author. Your book is there, forever. It will be read eventually. It will be loved sometime too, by someone, this year or the next, or the next… You’ll never know the full impact it will have on other people. Don’t despair. Write on and always try to improve what you leave in this world. If it’s this you feel you should be doing, if this is your passion, make it happen. Release your work into the world and don’t worry so much about the immediate answer to it.

Only follow the path of creativity and passion without regrets.

Namaste.

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Author Interview – Mike Wolff

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Hailing from the Great Lakes region of the United States, I started writing to kill the boredom of my daily lunch hour. Fascinated by Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror since an early age, I use early influences such as Zelazny, Feist, Eddings, Goodkind, Star Wars and Star Trek to fashion my stories. I believe in Bigfoot, Space Men and I am a proud Christian, so that should tell you where I’m coming from.
I find humor in many parts of life, both dark and not, and try to sprinkle these elements into my writing. Although I take my writing very serious, I try not to be too serious about what I write. My readers should be engaged, remain interested and have fun all at the same time.  Currently, I live in Indiana with my wife of 21+ years and our 3 children.  I have worked in the exciting world of regulated industry, including pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers for the last 18+ years, and although it can be boring at times, I enjoy what I do.

How would you describe your story in one sentence?

Since I have more than one story, it would be hard to encompass them all in one sentence, but if I were to try it would be something like this… My stories are a collection of twisted tales including science fiction, fantasy and horror, with a splash of terribly punny humor, unless it’s not. And yes, I mean punny, not funny…I love a good or bad pun.

What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?

Most of my stories are based on some sort of dream I’ve had and remembered enough to develop it into a story. In some instances, my stories have started out as a challenge or a suggestion from a friend or family member. My first story The Ancients, started out as a challenge from my sister to write a Haiku about a wombat. A story in my upcoming release, Twisted Tales Volume 2, is about zombie chickens. That idea was suggested by a coworker. When inspiration hits, I chase after it until it’s captured.

Which authors have influenced you?

Influenced is such a strong word…I’d like to say my writing style is my own, so in that instance, I don’t feel like I’ve been influenced by anyone. Having said that, the first book I ‘loved’ was Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny. I read that when I was 13 and have been reading Fantasy and Science Fiction ever since. I don’t read much horror, but I love ‘old school’ horror from the 80s and I’m a big fan of some of the harshest Heavy Metal out there. So that probably influences my horror writing.

Which are your favorite literary genres?

Fantasy is, by far, my favorite genre. I do read Science Fiction and I’ve been reading a lot more Urban Fantasy and some Horror lately, but Fantasy is the best in my opinion.

What makes a book/story special for you?

Characters and plot. I love a character I can relate to in some way. It helps if they are developed just enough for me to become attached. I like a story where I care about the character enough to read more. And plot is a major component for me. Yeah, who wouldn’t want the plot to be good, right? What I’m saying is that I need to actually be interested in the plot. There are a lot of great books out there that I’ve never read because the plot doesn’t draw me in.

Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influence your story?

I spent the first 37 years of my life in Michigan. I’ve spent the last 8 years in Indiana. I miss Michigan daily. For me, Michigan is part of me. If you feel that way about your home state/country, then you know what I mean. And it has influenced my stories greatly. Many of my stories take place in Michigan, or Michigan-like settings.

How long you needed for writing this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?

That’s a hard question to answer. I’ve never really kept track, because I only write over my lunch hour. I rarely touch my computer when I’m at home. I have occasionally written while waiting in airports or in hotel rooms while I’ve been on business trips, but most of my writing is on my lunch hour. That being said, I can create a short story in a single day, or a full-length story in a year or more.

Edits take a bit longer, because that is also done on my lunch hour. Reading and re-reading my own stories takes some time. There are always things I’d like to change, but at some point I need to stop and move on in the process. So editing a story can take a week or a month…maybe two.

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

I’m a one-man operation. Unfortunately, the sales haven’t increased sufficiently to hire a professional, so I do it all myself. I have a friend that is a wizard with graphic design, so he helps me when I get stuck on my covers and I have a few friends that I use as beta-readers, but the rest is me.

What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happen?

What I learned is that while the process can be frustrating at times, I love every minute of it. I’ve also realized that the actual writing is the easy part. Over the last 2 years, I have released 4 books, both in ebook and paperback formats. I have learned ways to make the process smoother and less time consuming, but each book has been a challenge of its own. Getting that cover design to be the exact pixel size was difficult, until I got one done and then just reused it as a template. The same holds for the formatting of the ebook. Once one is done, just cut and paste; much less work that way. What I’m basically saying is enjoy the process, including all aspects of it. You’re writing and publishing a book. That’s awesome in and of itself.

What helps you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?

I read a lot. If I find that I’m stuck on my own projects, I put them aside and I read. Seeing what others have accomplished gets me motivated to do the same.

What would you do differently on a next project?

I would do more editing and involve more beta-readers if possible. Since I do all my own editing, I don’t catch everything. With the assistance of a good group of beta-readers, you can flush out more inconsistencies and grammatical errors.

Best piece (s) of advice for first time writers?

Simply write. Don’t just think about it, do it. First and foremost, write to make yourself happy. Do it if you enjoy it. If you are writing to ‘make money’ you may need to re-think why you are writing. Sure, you can make money at it, but if that is the reason you are going into writing, you may be disappointed. But, if you write to make yourself happy, you will have the satisfaction of that, and you may just find an audience for your stories. But you’ll never find that audience if you don’t write.

Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?

I have a writer’s blog, a Twitter account and an Amazon page. I do my best to keep everyone up to date on what I’m doing in my writings, but I use it mostly as a Reviewers blog…and I do a few interviews too.

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00IEE9TBA

https://metallicwolff.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/metallicwolff

What are you planning to write/publish next?

Currently I am editing Twisted Tales Volume 2. This is my second collection of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror short stories. I really like this collection. There are definitely some stories that are different than anything I’ve written before. I’m looking forward to seeing it published. Additionally, I’ve started writing another fantasy novel. It’s titled Brotherhood of the Locust: Rise to Power. It’s based on a dream I had a few years ago and I’m just now sitting down to develop it. No puns, no mythical creatures or animals as main characters…sort of my first true fantasy novel. It should be fun.

Author Interview – Carol Van Natta

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Carol Van Natta is an independent author of science fiction romance, including Overload Flux, Minder Rising, and Zero Flux, the first in a new series, and Hooray for Holopticon, a retro science fiction comedy. Overload Flux won a 2015 SFR Galaxy Award.  She shares her Fort Collins, Colorado, home with a sometime mad scientist and various cats. Any violations of the laws of physics in her books are the fault of the cats, not the mad scientist.

How would you describe your series in one sentence?

In my science fiction romance Central Galactic Concordance series, peace has reined for 200 years, but an all-powerful government agency, above-the-law corporations, and evolutionary change are about to bring about the old curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Come along for the ride!

What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?

A Big Damn Story Arc took over my brain one summer and wouldn’t let me go. The resident Mad Scientist, my significant other, was convinced my computer had enslaved me, but he was kind enough to feed me regularly anyway. I wrote the story arc and the universe to go with it. If I’m calculating correctly, it’ll need nine(!) books to complete, which should keep me off the streets and out of the karaoke bars for the next few years.

Which authors have influenced you?

I’m undoubtedly the product of a dozen influences, but I’ll name two. Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge fantasy series showed me how to handle a recurring cast of characters and make them fun and interesting, while tracking a bigger plot. Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series showed me the power of romance in giving added emotional weight to an overarching plot. Both series deal with major societal change, which is what my aforementioned Big Damn Story Arc is all about.

Which are your favorite literary genres?

Science fiction is my home base, but I also love fantasy, paranormal, mystery, action-adventure, and suspense. My muse is similarly inclined.

What makes a book/story special for you?

I’m mostly likely to cherish and re-read the stories where everything works together — the characters, the plot, the logic, the pacing, and the emotional arc. It’s a simple and as difficult as that. The books I remember are usually later in a series, where long-running story lines pay off, or where justice is finally delivered, or the main characters finally find love and happiness.

Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influenced your story?

I share my Fort Collins, Colorado home with the resident mad scientist and various helpful cats, and have mostly lived in the western half of the U.S. It’s inevitable that my culture has influenced my stories, but half the fun of science fiction is imagining how things will change. In my series, humans haven’t run across any intelligent life, so they’ve been free to expand across the galaxy and terraform any compatible planets they like. Cultures have blended, but my characters speak a multiple languages and have a variety of cultural experiences.

How long you needed for writing this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?

The first novel, Overload Flux, took about 13 mos. from first draft to having a manuscript ready to publish. The second novel, Minder Rising, took about 7 mos., in part because it’s a little shorter, and in part because I learned a lot writing the first book. The novella I published in September,Zero Flux (a sequel to Overload Flux) took about 3 mos., mostly because I had to keep wrestling with it so it would stay short—my muse loves big plots.

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

Yes, I hired both editors and cover artists. I also have a cadre of brave beta readers who find the obvious typos and plot holes, so when I send the manuscript to the editor (the estimable Shelley Holloway), she can work her magic. As to covers, I absolutely love fully illustrated covers (as opposed to photo manipulation), so I hired the very talented Stephen Bryant at SRB Productions. I wanted my covers to communication the genre, and to have flavors of space opera movie posters, and he delivered. Hiring professionals is a good business decision, since I’m competing with other books that have been through the same process, but it’s also a matter of pride—I want my books to look and read their best.

What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happened?

I’ve learned there is no one, right way to do things, and that anyone who tells you they know how the publishing business will change in the next few years is selling something. Traditional publishers aren’t interested in my books, because they don’t think science fiction romance is profitable. If I wrote another, more “marketable” series, I’d listen to a traditional publisher’s offer, but I’d want a very close look at what they’d be doing in exchange for the huge percentage of royalties and tying up the rights for years on end. I like being in charge of my own destiny, wherein I pay for the mistakes but I profit from doing what’s right for my readers.

What helped you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?

The aforementioned Big Damn Story Arc was so wonderful, it made me want to read the books. Since the cats categorically refused to write them, the task fell to me.

What would you do differently on a next project?

With each book I write, I learn new things, from what tools to use or how to motivate myself to write, to release timing, to crafting the best possible blurb. I take those lessons learned an apply them forward, so I get better with each project.

Best piece (s) of advice for first time writers?

Write. You can’t edit what you don’t write, and you can’t sell what you don’t write. It doesn’t have to be good, or  usable , or even saleable, but it all starts with getting it out of your head and into words on the screen or page. Free bonus advice: Treat your writing as a business from day one, not an art or a hobby. It’ll make future decisions more obvious, and make it easier to weather the slings and arrows of snarky reviews.

Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?

Website: http://Author.CarolVanNatta.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolVanNattaAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3980825.Carol_Van_Natta

Blog: http://author.carolvannatta.com/blog/

What are you planning to write/publish next?

My work in progress is Pico’s Crush, book 3 in the CGC series. It closes off a mini-arc of character and plot, and leads to the next book in the series.Pico’s Crush involves combat robots, sabotage, mercenaries and jack crews, and killer academic politics, and should be out in January 2016. After that, I might try a serial format for book 4.

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Author Interview – J. M. Turner

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How would you describe your story in one sentence?

The Seelie Princess is about Clary, who has been brought up as a human child but really comes from a land called Seelie; a fact she discovers when one of Seelie’s arch-enemies finds her on Earth and tries to steal the powers that Clary doesn’t know she has.

What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?

My daughter, who had an unfortunate experience with a teacher when she was at primary school.

Which authors have influenced you?

JK Rowling for the world she created (like many, I suspect!), Terry Pratchett whose Discworld writing was sublime.

Which are your favorite literary genres?

I write for children in the fantasy/fairy tale genre but my own favourite (adult) reads vary enormously.  I love the above-mentioned authors (particularly Sir Terry with his fabulous Discworld), enjoy Charlaine Harris (vampires and shapeshifters – the Living Dead series), Tess Gerritson (crime) and some romance (if I’m in the mood for that!)  There are also some truly amazing Indie authors whose work I love, particularly in the Fantasy arena.

What makes a book/story special for you?

One that draws me in to the story instantly.

Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influenced your story?

I’m from the U.K. so my stories are inevitably set here because it’s familiar.  Some parts of this country are truly beautiful.  I’d love to be able to write something set in a different country/culture but would never do it because I’d be bound to get something terribly wrong and inadvertently cause horrendous offence!

How long you needed for writing this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?

I wrote the first book in just over three months; revision and editing took a further two.  I sent it out to be proof-read and edited and revised accordingly in the areas that I agreed needed to be revised.  The second book was written in two months – it pretty much wrote itself, which sounds daft, but I started and the words just appeared on the page.  It’s been out for editing/proofreading and I’m now finalising it for publication at the end of this month.

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

I am lucky enough to know a proofreader and editor who helped me with this.  My first book cover was created on KDP as I was totally broke and couldn’t afford to do it any other way.  It will probably change once the series is complete!  The second book cover was created with the tremendous help of Roy Mauritsen who read that I was having problems with creating one and kindly stepped in to help.  We ‘met’ through a fabulous group on Facebook and he is a brilliant author in his own right, as well as an artwork master.  Check his Shards of the Glass Slipper site – you’ll swoon!

What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happened?

Writing is the fairly easy part – editing is not.  Revisions and re-writing are hard work, but doing it helped my work tremendously.  Publishing via KDP was unexpectedly easy – in fact, too easy as the first issue of The Seelie Princess went live with a couple of awful bloopers that weren’t caught (I am so sorry, to those of you that bought/downloaded this original version – let me know via jillturner1960@outlook.com and I’ll send you over a PDF of the proper version!)  What struck me as unusual was that nobody, and I mean nobody, told me that these bloopers existed!  They were just kind of… accepted and ignored.  It’s much better now (not perfect – no book is ever going to be perfect to the person that wrote it – but the bloopers are gone!)

What helped you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?

My daughter.  As I mentioned, she had a problem at school which was the main inspiration for the first book in the series, as it had a huge effect on her at the time.  I wanted to put my main character in a similar(ish) position and then let her gain the upper hand.  The main hurdle was finding the time to put it down.  I wrote at all hours of the day and night – whenever I had a spare hour or so.  I was as sleep deprived as a new mother!  (Still am as the new release beckons!)

What would you do differently on a next project?

I’m tentatively branching out into writing books for younger children at the moment.  I used to work in early years and know how important it is to spark an interest in reading with children from 4 to 7 years.  It’s the most important life skill they can learn.  A child with an imagination will go far in life!

Best piece (s) of advice for first time writers?

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of writing a book – just tell your story! Get it down, then put it away for a couple of weeks or so before you re-read it.  You can pick up a lot of errors that way and can also see where it needs to be expanded or revised.  Also, do a spell and grammar check – nothing loses readers quicker than a poorly spelled, book!  Get the ‘their, there, they’re’ kind of thing nailed.  Use a thesaurus.  Do a search to see how many times you have used the word ‘very’, then change it – for example: change ‘she was very hungry’ to ‘she was ravenous’ – it makes for more interesting reading.  Get it edited.  Join writers groups on social media – the advice and confidence boosts these places give out is an amazing help for a new writer.

Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?

authorjmturner.wordpress.com/  this is my blog – you’ll find I write about things that interest me, whinge about the world (occasionally!), give out info about my books and any offers/competitions that I have running in relation to new releases.   I have also recently added a section which offers reviews of books I have read and liked that I think you might enjoy.

www.facebook.com/authorjillturner I post on here quite frequently with updates of what’s happening with me, artwork I like, other author offers, my own offers (and occasional freebies) and things that make me smile!

twitter.com/JillMTurner

jillturner.net my original website which has been somewhat superseded by my blog!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jill-Turner/e/B0142S490M/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 this is my author page on Amazon where you can buy my books –

What are you planning to write/publish next?

Book two of The Seelie Princess Trilogy Rise of the Dragons is due for publication on October 31st 2015 and can be pre-ordered from 21st October on Amazon.  Check my author page for details.

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My Reading Challenges – 2015 and 2016:

I plan to read 50 books in 2016, that’s 5 more than last year. I hope I manage to keep the ball bouncing.

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2015 Reading Challenge:

Last year I managed to complete the following categories, not all books I read were in a challenge category, but that’s how I roll 😉

1- A classic romance: Lady Susan by Jane Austen

2- A book with a number in the title: 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts by Ryan Andrew Kinder

3- A book written by someone under 30: Hypnagogic Shifters: Superposition by Penelope M. Fernandez

4- A book with nonhuman characters: The Circle of the Thirteenth Cat by Bryan Fields

5- A book with a one-word title: Fledglings by K.M.Herkes

6- A book of short stories: The Whisperer in the Darkness by H.P.Lovecraft

7- A book set in a different country: Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel García Márquez

8- A nonfiction book: Self-Publishing the Hard Way by Brian Parker

9- A popular author’s first book: Pebble in the sky by Isaac Asimov

10- A book at the bottom of your to-read list: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and David King

11- A book your mom loves: Death comes to Pemberley by P.D.James

12 – A book more than 100 years old: Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott

13- A book based entirely on its cover: The Spirit of a Witch by Sarah Jane Avory

14- A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

15- A book you can finish in a day: Inklings: 300 Starts, Plots, and Challenges to Inspire your Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Stories by Leslie J. Anderson, Jarod K. Anderson.

16-A book with antonyms in the title: Mastering showing and telling in your fiction by Marcy Kennedy.

17- A book that came out the year you were born: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C.Clarke.

18- A trilogy: Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

19- A book set in the future: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

20- A book with magic: Magic Rises: A Kate Daniels Novel by Ilona Andrews.

21- A book by an author you’ve never read before: The Martian by Andy Weir.

22- A book you own but have never read: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress.

23- A book written by an author with your same initials: He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by by Greg Behrendt (Goodreads Author), Liz Tuccillo.

24- A funny book: Mecha-Tale by Sarah Jane Avory

25- A book by a female author: Mirrored Worlds by Shauna Scheets

26- A book from an author you love (that you haven’t yet read): This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5) by Jeaniene Frost

Author Interview – S. J. Delos

S.J. Delos

S.J Delos was born in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina and raised on a steady supply of books and comics. At the age of 14, he decided that telling stories was as enjoyable as reading them and set about weaving his own fantastical worlds.

In his non-writing life, he has been a banquet planner, a country club manager, a car salesman, and an accountant.

He currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with his extremely patient wife, two rambunctious children, and an enormous collection of comic books.

So Not a Hero is his debut novel.

How would you describe your story in one sentence?

An action-packed tale of a super-villain attempting to become a hero.

What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?

I have been into comics and superheroes my entire life. I thought it might be fun to write a story that shows some of the darker sides of that world and points out the tropes prevalent in the genre.

Which authors have influenced you?

Stephen King, Jim Butcher, Charlene Harris, Kim Harrison, Simon R. Green

Which are your favorite literary genres?

I’ve been a horror and mystery fan pretty much since I learned to read. It’s only been in the last ten years or so that I’ve become immersed in urban fantasy and science-fiction.

What makes a book/story special for you?

When the author knows how to talk to their audience. When I can pick up a book and immediately identify with the protagonist (and sometimes the antagonist) without much effort, then I know the author wrote from their heart.

Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influenced your story?

Greensboro, North Carolina. My debut novel is set in the nearby city of Charlotte, NC and nearly all of my short stories not set in other time periods or other planets have a North Carolina setting.

How long you needed for writing this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?

I began So Not a Hero on November 1, 2014 as my National Novel Writing Month project. It was published on Amazon on May 19, 2015.

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

I hired a friend to do my cover art and relied on fellow writers as my proofreaders and editors. Looking back, I wish I’d have sent it off to a professional editor before publication for that last little bit of polish.

What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happened?

I learned writing the book is actually easier than marketing and promoting it. I’ve been fortunate to have friends who enjoyed my story and have pushed it on their social media. Next time around, I plan on getting the marketing groundwork in place before actually publishing.

What helped you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?

Whenever I found myself getting stuck or unsure as to what to do next, I would read some comic books. Just relaxing in a world of superheroes and villains provided me with the push to continue working on my own little world.

What would you do differently on a next project?

Plan a little better. I have a tendency to write my chapters and scenes out of order, based on what new idea or sequence has come to me. Then I have to try to bridge all the various parts to make the plot flow smoothly. Next time, I’m going to map out the main points and try to stick to writing chronologically.

Best piece (s) of advice for first time writers?

Just write. Don’t worry about making the perfect story in the first draft. That’s what revisions are for. If you’ve got a story you desire to share, make it. Don’t worry if it’s going to be good or original. Write from your soul and there’ll be people wanting to read it.

Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?

I don’t have a website at the moment. The best place to reach me is on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/sjdelos

What are you planning to write/publish next?

I am currently working on two projects simultaneously. One is Some Kind of Hero, a sequel to my first novel. The other is the first book in an urban fantasy series entitled Darkening of the Light.

SNaH Cover