Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Start Prepping! NaNoWriMo is coming!

 It's October, and what does that mean? 

Well, yes, ghosts, pumpkins, and other spooky things, but for writers it also means November is coming, which means, NaNoWriMo! I'm going to be making my own attempt at it this year to try and get my creative juices flowing. I haven't been idle this year, but I haven't gotten anywhere near as much done as I want. 

The Class 5 audiobook is out now

Hannah and Paths: Three Short Horror Stories are now available on Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo ebook platforms. 

But in the grand scheme of things, that's not much. I haven't released a new work since Hannah in 2016. Now, for success in writing, a good backlog of works is one key, but somewhat regular releases is also another major aspect. I've posted short stories here and there on this blog, but that's not a new release. Also I don't make money from these posts. There are ways to monetize a blog, but I'd rather not clutter up your screen with ads. 

I do have several pieces I've started, the novelette Burrows, as I've mentioned before. I've also started on a new novel tentatively titled "Suckers" about a swarm of Chupacabra's in a casino. I'm aiming for more of a horror-comedy vibe with that one, but we'll have to see how it turns out. I also have dozens of other ideas and starts saved on my computer. 

So. NaNoWriMo is coming up, I have a plethora of ideas and starts to work with. What's the plan? 

Well, the plan is to write. To get up every morning before I go to the day job, and write. It doesn't have to have a specific word count. It doesn't even have to be on the same work as the day before. The point is to get up, and get to work. 

Mood doesn't matter. Tired doesn't matter. This is about writing. Words on a page. Editing and deciding if those words are any good comes later. 

That being said. I do have some goals I want to reach. 

1. 50,000 words down by the end of November. Whether I get any one work done or not, that's the goal. I'm hoping if I can get this down, getting up and getting some writing done will become a habit and something that continues well after the month and the challenge is over. 

2. Finish the first draft of Burrows. Honestly, I'm about 2/3rds of the way through Burrows. You'd think the finale would be pretty easy at this point. Characters are established, along with the setting and the monsters, and now it's just time to throw them all into the blender and see what comes out. Honestly I've been having a hard time with it though. Here's hoping just forcing it out will give me something to work with in the editing process. 

3. Get a solid start on a new novel. I have several ideas and starts already, but I'm talking about getting something like 10,000 - 20,000 words down. Something I can look at and know this will be my next major work to get released. As it's been said, the hardest part of writing is the beginning. The blank page where you don't have anything set. No characters, no setting, no plot. If I can get a good jump on that, maybe I'll be able to make 2021 my year with multiple new releases to pass on. 

That's it for now though. I'll be setting up more, prepping, trying to decide on which pieces to work on and so on and so forth. As long as the world doesn't explode anyway. 

Get started, and good luck! 

~ Shaun

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Video Game Review: The Last of Us 2

This game has been a long time coming. Check out my review of the first game to get a good feel for the world this series takes place in. Check it out, then come back. It'll be worth it, and I'll wait. 

Okay, welcome back, but before I get into the review proper, I have to give this warning. 


Now, you've been warned. 

The Last of Us 2 starts almost exactly where the first game ends. Ellie and Joel are living with Joel's brother Tommy, growing up, doing their part in the little community. We meet more people, offering us glimpses into the love life of Ellie and the friends she's made since they returned. 

Of course though, the repercussions of their previous encounters comes back to haunt them. It's really rather typical gang-warfare types of stuff. "They killed our guy, we have to kill their guy in return, then they have to kill our guy in return.." and round and round we go. Not much of a surprise. There are a few plot twists, and point-of-view changes, to enhance the idea that there isn't really a right and a wrong side. I feel like that takes away some of the emotional and mental impact of some scenes though. 

Also, an expertly placed arrow-snipe on an unsuspecting enemy feels a lot worse when you're not sure your current character is a hero or not. And let's not get started on the dogs in the game.

Clickers and infected are back, giving you some enemies that are always fun to dodge and kill, but they seem to be relegated to the background and plot points more than anything. The main thing here is the story though, which doesn't revolve around the plague which has engulfed the entire world. 

For a game that has been so long in the making, almost everything is as good as you would expect. Controls are tight and accurate. Music and sound queues are beautiful and perfectly fit their scenes. Visuals are intense and beautiful as the need arises. 

Now for my most controversial opinion. 

This is not a fun game. 

This isn't a game you come back to, to replay or to collect stuff. It would be more accurate to say this isn't a game, this is an experience. Now, it is an experience worth having. It has a lot to say about the human condition, dealing with the consequences of your actions, and how life can blind-side you. It makes you do things you don't want to do, like kill your opponent's dogs before they can find and attack you. It makes you question whether the character you're playing is the hero or the villain of the story. 

None of these details are bad things, but they don't make for a fun video game experience. To be fair, the first game did tease some things along these lines, but they weren't front and center and you still always felt that you were doing the right thing, even as you stuck an arrow into another scavenger's throat. Some games encourage you to be the villain, or to just do whatever you want like the Grand Theft Auto series. But they're built around those themes so you expect it and can have fun with it. 

Playing through such a meticulously well-crafted and plotted story-based game though, and then finding out you might be the villain, does not make for a very satisfying gamer experience. 

It's disappointing, honestly. That they spent so long and so much work on the game, just to leave players feeling hollow by the end. There were so many directions they could have gone. 

It is still worth playing, just for the experience, but make sure you're prepared for how dark and grim it's going to get. I suppose that makes it a really good example of the Horror genre though. 

For all that, The Last of Us: Part 2, only gets 3 out of 5 stars. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

How goes 2020?


Describing this year, as most people know, would require a string of expletives longer than blogger would probably allow. If a writer took everything that's happened in the past six months, made it into a book and submitted it to a publisher, they would be blasted for a story that made no sense and was completely unrealistic. 

Pandemics, murder hornets, and the most powerful country on Earth falling from grace. Sheesh. 

Quiet now, but I'm betting they reappear for the climax.

Still, the world hasn't stopped turning (yet), and nothing stops the marching of time. 

At the start of the year, I made a blog post announcing my plans for the year, and while the chaos of the past six months has been an interruption, I'm still trying to carry on along those lines. 

Class 5 is being narrated as I write this, by a great and excited voice actor. The deadline to get the entire book recorded is the end of July, so I'm hoping to have a finished product up and available to listen to by mid-August. 

For other older works, I have made the decision to pull my slower sellers PATHS, and Hannah from Kindle Select and to move them over to Draft2Digital once their current runs expire at the end of July. This will allow me to offer them up on such platforms as Kobo and iTunes. Hopefully this will expand my readership a bit more, as not everyone likes Amazon. We'll see how that goes though and I'll make announcements when they should be up and running on those platforms. 

For new works, I've made a lot of progress on "Burrows", but it's still not to the editing stages yet. You'd think with the quarantine we've been under, I would've had a lot of time to devote to writing new stuff and could pump things out faster, but that's just not how things work. I also haven't made much progress on new shorts to make a good collection with. 

Writing has not slipped from my mind though, and I have had a few pokers in other fires. I signed up for a workshop on how to write role-playing adventures, which should give me another outlet to get my name out there, as well as new information on how to promote and other ways to get and use ideas and approaches. 

Should be interesting the next few months, so make sure you're following me on either Twitter or Facebook to keep up on announcements. 

Stay safe out there in this proto-apocalypse! 

~ Shaun

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Death of the Author

So, a friend showed me a video on Youtube where there's a woman discussing the phrase "Death of the Author". I honestly didn't know what this was referring to, and I wasn't really sure after watching the video either, so I looked it up on wikipedia.

Death of the Author was an essay by a French literary critic, Roland Barthes, in 1967. In it, Roland argues against the idea that to really understand a work, you had to know about the author's personal life, attitude, and society. The simple layman's terms goes something like this.

What the author wrote: "The curtains were blue."

What critics saw in the text: "The curtains being blue is a representation of the author's sadness and depression at his upbringing and his unhappiness at the lack of progress in society. From this we can infer that he was possibly even feeling suicidal while he wrote this scene, as he specifically points out the blue curtains and this was his way of asking for help."

What Roland thinks the author meant: "The curtains were blue."

Now, the video I saw was very convoluted and bounced around, but she was trying to play devil's advocate, using contemporary examples, fan fics, and interviews with an author friend. She also compared the extreme ends of the spectrum.

That's what I think it is. A spectrum. No two writers write the same way and bits of ourselves do slip into our writing. A scene may come across as more somber than it should because we just weren't feeling ourselves that day. That's one of the things editing is for though, to address voice and try to make sure it fits the narratives and is fairly uniform throughout the book.

Personally, when I write "The curtains were blue." it means the curtains were blue. I don't write in a way that incorporates my mental state, usually, into my descriptions. There have been times when I've written scenes or characters with a specific place or person in mind and I have been somewhat subjective in my descriptions of them.

Now, I'm not going to say there is or isn't a right way to write, or to read these books. Sometimes there is subtext to a scene or a character that has a personal connection to the author. One of the examples the woman in the video used was J.K. Rowling's pronouncement that Dumbledore was gay, calling it a publicity stunt that Rowling did because sales were slowing down.

Most writers, when they really create a character, they go into way more detail than will ever be revealed in the story. They figure out the character's upbringing, job history, likes and dislikes, past relationships, all that just to make sure the character is real enough to write about.

As far as Dumbledore is concerned, as someone who's read the Harry Potter series multiple times, there is never really a point anywhere that his sexual orientation is needed, or is even convenient, to be explained. It has no relevance to most of the story, which is about Harry, not Dumbledore. That doesn't mean Rowling didn't know that detail the whole time she was writing, and then, when someone asked her about it, she finally had the chance to explain it, so she took it. It certainly didn't come across as a publicity stunt or trying to squeeze more sales out. (For God's sake, the woman's a millionaire now.)

Anyway, the point of "Death of the Author" is that the author is irrelevant to the story and doesn't know any more beyond the end than the reader. When you're reading, the writer may as well be dead or have never existed at all. While that's not true, it's also not true that you have to know the author's life story and read into every little detail to appreciate the writing.

Many writers will be happy to discuss their work after the fact, if you want to know what happens to characters after the book ends, feel free to ask. I'm happy to discuss my works. My attitude after a book ends though, is that if there was really more of interest, it would be part of the book, so for the most part, assume a happy ever after, or at least a normal, boring, average life like all of us real people live.

~ Shaun

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Short Story: Identity

Just a nice little short story today, inspired by one of the classics. Enjoy. 


Julie awoke, and the smell was the first thing she knew. Her nose was assaulted with the scent of blood and decay. Awareness of touch returned next, telling her she was bound to a chair, in a cold room.

She held her eyes shut, hoping as long as she didn’t see it, she could be convinced her other senses were lying. The stench continued to grow, creating a knot in her stomach as she tried not to vomit.
The sound of heavy boots coming down creaking, wooden stairs caught her attention, forcing her to open her eyes. There was no holding back the contents of her stomach after that.

She was in a basement, although it looked like someone had tried to convert it into a half-assed butcher’s shop. The wall to her left was lined with box freezers, and in the center of the room was a large wooden table, made of thick planks. Next to her were more chairs, some with fragments of rope still attached to them. Almost everything, from the freezers, to the table, to the floor; were covered with stains, ranging from a dim red, to black.


The footsteps descended on her right, and the sight of the man that stepped down the stairs made her tremble. He was over six feet tall, and heavily built, that much was obvious even under the raincoat he was wearing.

“Please don’t struggle too much. I don’t want you to get hurt.” The voice was thick and spoke in a slow, methodical manner, as if every word was carefully examined and measured before it was allowed to leave his lips.

Julie started to cry, if this giant of a man didn’t want her injured, it could only mean things even worse than death. Her eyes squinted shut as she sobbed, doing her best to ignore the sounds of his boots on the floor as he approached her.

Something soft brushed her cheek, and her eyes flew open, her body jerking back from the touch. The giant was kneeling in front of her, a handkerchief in one outstretched hand. He’d wiped away some of her tears. This close, she couldn’t avoid seeing his face.

It was covered with scars, and looked mis-matched. Julie wondered if he’d had a stroke, as one side of his face was so out of place next to the other. Even his eyes didn’t belong together, one was deep brown, while the other was blue.

She looked at the handkerchief, he held in his right hand, which had long feminine fingers attached to a thick, swollen palm. Seeing the twisted thing before her was enough to jolt her out of her sobbing.

“There. There we go. No need to cry now.” He stood up, tucked the handkerchief back into his pocket and turned to the table.

“What…what are you going to do with me?”

“I am sorry for taking you so forcefully last night. You looked like one that could help me.”

“H-help you? With what? Why do you have me tied up like this to help you?”

“You would run away if I didn’t. I just want someone to help me find out who I am.”

He pulled a chair over in front of her, then dragged around an extension cord. The long fingers pulled an electrical plug out from under his raincoat and connected it to the extension. Then he sat down in the chair and looked at her. He pulled the handkerchief out again and gently dabbed at her lips and chin, wiping away the last vestiges of her vomit.

“I would tell you my name, but I honestly don’t have one. Why don’t you tell me yours?”


“That’s a nice name. I bet it suits you very well. Can you tell me about yourself?” What makes you a Julie?”

She started trembling again. If she stayed silent would he hit her? Beat her? If she told him, would he sell her off? Carted out of the country in a box to be some random man’s sex toy?

“I…I’m twenty-six, engaged. My fiancé and I…were trying to get…pregnant.” Julie lied, trying to come up with some kind of story, something that he might take pity on and let her go.

The man just nodded. “I see. You must love your fiancé very much to say yes to marriage and to have a baby with him. So, you’re straight, then? Or maybe bi?”

“I…I’m…bi. I like women, but I love my fiancé too.” Maybe she could get sold to a woman, she couldn’t imagine that wouldn’t be preferable to being owned by some strange, rich, man.

“I see. What about your hobbies? Your job? Do you like animals?”

The questions were starting to throw her off now. Being sold into the sex trade didn’t seem like the kind of people who cared about the things you enjoyed.

“I like animals. I used to volunteer at an animal rescue group. We took in stray dogs and cats, cleaned them up and then found them good homes.”

He smiled a little bit, his face twisting unnaturally around the scars. “I like that. I don’t know much about myself, but I know I like animals. At least, most of me likes animals.”

“Are you…looking for people who share your interests? There’s websites to meet and talk to people and groups at the library, or you could take classes at college or…”

He held up his other hand, a gesture that was obviously meant to stop her rambling. Like the rest of him, this hand didn’t match either. Instead of long, slender fingers, this hand, his left, had fingers that were short and pudgy. The two middle fingers and thumb were shades of purple, like they were heavily bruised, or even broken. He suddenly seemed to notice that she was staring at his fingers and quickly withdrew his hand back under the raincoat.

“Sorry about that. My left hand is unpleasant to look at right now.”

“I’ve told you about me, like you asked. Tell me something about you now. It’s only fair.”

Julie still had no idea what he wanted her for. This wasn’t adding up to a kidnapping, and he certainly wasn’t acting like he planned to kill her. There was no way she could ignore all the dried blood around the room though…

“Well, I suppose. I like you enough now. I think you’ll fit in. I don’t know who I am. I’m trying to find myself. It’s hard when everyone is so different though. I see little pieces of myself in other people, but then in other ways we couldn’t be more different. I don’t understand how that works.”

He slowly stood up and walked over to the table, the extension cord following him. The giant stood there a moment, then grabbed the raincoat and pulled it over his head and off. His back was a mass of scars, along with a rainbow of different skin tones and bruises. There was a fresh incision around his right side that still had sutures holding it closed, even as a thin line of pus flowed down his back from it. The plug that he had stuck into the extension cord was clearly visible now, the wires running up his back and disappearing under his skin.

The slender fingers of his right hand reached back and pointed to a patch of skin that seemed to stretch from just under his shoulder to down below the waistband of his sweatpants.

“This was John Harmon. He liked animals too. He was forty-two and worked as a bartender. He also had a daughter, and two grandsons.”

Julie’s eyes widened as she noticed the scars on his back made a circle around the skin the giant was pointing at. He turned, and she saw his entire body was a patchwork of different skins. The left side of his chest was muscular and covered with dark hair, while the right had a breast that sagged heavily. The swollen left hand pointed at the breast next.

“This was Sarena. She wouldn’t tell me her last name, but she did like animals. She was lazy though. No schooling, no work, she only wanted to marry a rich man.”

He walked over to the freezers now as he talked, the extension cord following him, staying plugged into the cord coming out of his back. He dug through the freezer on the end, eventually holding up a bag of blood.

“Do you happen to know your blood type, Julie? It’s okay if you don’t. Seems like most people don’t.”

He pulled out a different bag and set it on the table, before going over to a cabinet in the corner and rummaging through it.

“But yes, most of me likes animals a lot, so I think you’ll fit in pretty well. That really seems to be the thing that brings most of me together.”

“What the fuck are you?” Julie’s voice trembled as she watched him walk around the room, collecting various tools and setting them on the table.

“What am I? That I can answer. I am a product of the people around me. When I was first born, I was only made up of 4 men. But some parts didn’t fit, or didn’t feel right, so I’ve been trying to find the right mix of people to create the real ‘me’. Since I was born, I’ve tried adding in parts from a hundred-seventy-three people. Men. Women. The oldest was sixty-four. The youngest was sixteen. Straight, bi, gay. If I’m going to be honest, that’s probably the easiest part of me to describe. I’m probably bi, because why limit yourself to one side or the other?”

He laid out the tools on the table.

“Unfortunately, most of the parts don’t last. You saw my left hand. That was Samuel Carter. He was twenty-eight, gay, liked dogs, but not cats, overweight. He was a hematologist, but had been out of work for the last three years.”

The giant stood at the table again, his back to Julie. He lifted a large cleaver, and slammed it onto the table. When he turned around again, the part of his left hand which had been Samuel Carter was gone, cut clean off. A mix of blood, pus, and thick, brown sludge oozed from the wound. Then he was approaching her with the cleaver and a rubber strap. The slender fingers of his right hand grabbed her arm, and Julie felt how cold his touch was, like he wasn’t a living thing.

He pulled out her left arm, tying the rubber strap tightly around the bicep. Then he grabbed her hand, spreading the fingers in the middle. In a move that was as smooth as could be, he lifted the cleaver and brought it down on her hand, severing the top half with her thumb and first two fingers.

Julie screamed as the pain flooded through her body, the strap slowing the bleeding, but still letting enough through to spurt in time with her heartbeat. He grabbed the strap and tightened it down even more before taking the severed hand and returning to the table.

Julie bit down on her lip, trying to do everything she could to not go into shock. Already she was getting light-headed, and the room was starting to spin. Then searing pain shot up her left arm again and she went limp.

The first thing she noticed when she woke up was the throbbing headache she had. Slowly, Julie opened her eyes, praying the last time she opened them had just been a doozy of a nightmare after a long, rough night of drinking. The throbbing in her left hand told her otherwise. Something was also poking into her right arm. She turned to look and saw a catheter had been inserted, and was attached to a bag of blood that hung from the wall. Reluctantly, she turned to look at her left hand. All that was left was the pinky and ring finger, the rest was gone, and the huge wound it had left behind was charred and burned like someone had tried to cauterize it.

She screamed.

The giant came down the stairs.

“You’re awake. That’s good. I was hoping I got the blood stopped soon enough.” He smiled, and held up his left hand. The swollen, purple fingers of Samuel Carter were gone, in their place were tan, slender, familiar fingers, held in place with a mixture of staples and sutures. Blood and pus oozed out along the seam, but somehow the fingers and thumb flexed and moved. “Looks like we get along well, after all.”

Julie wanted to scream; but a knot had formed in her throat, making her gag. Her body convulsed, twisting in the chair. The giant came over, looking concerned. He reached out for her, and Julie tried to twist away from his disgusting, jigsaw-puzzle hand even as a new wave of convulsions started in her guts. The combination sent the chair over to one side with a crunch, the extra distance ripping the catheter out of her arm and adding a new spray of blood to the floor.

Then the giant’s hands were on her, strong but gentle and firm; and cold as ice. He righted the chair, and set about stopping the blood that was oozing from her arm. She just sat there, gasping for breath.
“Please don’t panic, I need your help. I need you to tell me who I am. Who we are.”

Julie couldn’t answer if she wanted to, she just sat there and let the giant move her arm, wrapping it up in gauze.

“Just rest for now. I want to talk to you more, and I’ll bring down some food later if you think you can handle it.”

Her head hung limp as she sat there, and with what little breath she had recovered, she sobbed. The giant stood there a minute, then slowly went back upstairs, leaving Julie alone.

She knew her life was over. The giant was going to take her apart, piece by piece, and replace his own slowly rotting parts. The best she could hope for was that she could die with the next piece he took. Maybe an arm, or a leg, something where she could quickly bleed out before he could stop it.
Her weight shifted to the right, settling into the chair. It creaked. She glanced over, not willing to believe the sound was anything but an old piece of furniture groaning at even her meager weight.
The chair’s arm was split and cracked. It wasn’t broken, but the fall had definitely damaged it. Julie wiggled, her arm throbbing where the catheter had torn out. The chair’s arm wiggled with her. She stared at it, trying to figure out what she could do to break the arm enough to get free. Another hard fall might do it, but it would bring the giant back, and if it cracked further but didn’t break, he might notice it. Even if it broke, she would need time to get free from the rest of the ropes.

Part of her wanted to just give in to despair, settle into the chair and accept her fate; but there was a small ball of heat in her chest, a smoldering rage at the indignity of having her hand stolen, that wouldn’t let her.

Before she even realized it, Julie shifted her weight to the left, then threw herself back to the right as hard as she could, pulling the chair over and smashing onto the floor. The chair hit with a crunch.
Julie wiggled her arm, testing the chair. The arm had broken off and was in her hand. She could already hear steps on the floor above her, but excitement flooded through her now. One hand being free gave her enough space to wiggle around the rope which tied her to the back of the chair. She could easily get free if she just had enough time.

The heavy steps were coming down the stairs.

She let herself go limp, hoping he wouldn’t notice the broken arm right away or how loose the rope around her chest was. She heard him sigh as he saw her.

She felt him lift her up and set the chair back on its feet. “Oh, look what you did…” He was leaning down and inspecting the broken arm of the chair. Julie was almost too scared to move, but as he leaned in, she took the broken arm in her hand and jammed it into his face.

The giant fell back, clutching at his face, and Julie was suddenly in a frenzy, worming her way out of the rope which held her to the chair and clawing at the large knots that held her other hand and feet. Free, she moved towards the stairs, but felt the giant grab one of her ankles.

“I wish you hadn’t done that, now I have to replace that eye.”

The grip on her ankle was the slender feminine fingers of his right hand, but the grip was impossibly strong. She looked down and the piece of the chair was jutting out of his face, pus and blood leaking out around it and running down the twisted flesh. She spun around and stomped on his forearm, over and over trying to get him to release his hold.

“Let. Me. GO!”

She kicked out at his face next. He was a mountain of a man, but he was on the ground while she was on her feet; she connected with the piece of wood sticking out of his right eye, jarring it and pushing it deeper, finally getting a grunt out of him.

“I can’t let you go, Julie. You are a part of me now, I need you to stay.”

He looked up at her with his one eye, his face expressionless under the scars and the fluids that covered half of it. Julie was a mix of disgust, rage, and fear at the complete lack of anger and the matter-of-factness in his voice, even with the piece of wood still sticking out of his face.

Julie grabbed the cleaver off the table, swinging it as hard as she could in one hand, hacking at the hand that still clutched her ankle. Nothing spurted, he didn’t howl in pain, just more of the disgusting mixture flowing from the wounds, pooling on the floor as Julie swung over and over. She started screaming as all her emotions broke free. Then she could finally pull her leg away, the severed hand still clutching her.

“Julie, please, you are a part of me. Help me understand us…”

“Understand this, you Frankenstein freak!” Julie continued screaming as she stepped back in reach of the giant as he reached for her with his other hand, swinging the cleaver and hacking at his face. He just looked up at her with his one eye, expressionless as she sliced up his face and head. He was pushing himself up with the oozing stump of his right hand as he reached for her with his left, almost unfazed by her hacking at him. Julie grabbed his left hand by the wrist and slammed it against the top of the table.

“And give me back my fucking hand!”

The cleaver plowed through the giant’s wrist, separating his left hand cleanly. She grabbed the hand and ran back and up the stairs, leaving him on the floor.

Upstairs was an old house, badly neglected and empty, but she quickly found the front door and dashed outside, the sun blinding her.

For the first time, she noticed how clear and clean the air smelled, and when she could see, she recognized where she was. It was an old housing project which the development had fallen through. A few other houses stood around in partial states of completion, but the road led out to a main street.
Julie paused to pry off the hand which still hung onto her ankle, and hobbled down the road, clutching the hand that had her own fingers and thumb stapled to it. She wondered if they could still be reattached.