Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Hillary Fazzari Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/22/2024
  • Miriam Cortinovis Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/6/2024
  • Jenniea Carter Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/8/2024
  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/24/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Debut Author Interview: Vanessa Montalban and A Tall Dark Trouble Giveaway and IWSG Post

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Vanessa Montalban here to share about her YA contemporary fantasy A Tall Dark Trouble. I’m a huge fan of contemporary fantasy, and this one also has a murder mystery to solve. So, I’m super excited to read it.

 Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:


Practical Magic meets Erika L. Sanchez in this propulsive YA fantasy about a Cuban American family of brujas who get entangled in love, magic, and murder, alternating between 1980s Cuba and present-day Miami.

Twin sisters Ofelia and Delfi know better than to get involved with magic. Their mom has seen to that. After all, it was magic that cursed their family, turning love into a poison. Romance is off the table for the Sanchez women. They’ve seen the curse take hold enough times to know how that road ends. And yet. Sometimes a girl catches feelings and just can’t help herself.

When Ofelia and Delfi begin having premonitions of a series of murders, the sisters know it is time to embrace their magical inheritance to get to the bottom of the mystery and save innocent lives. Teaming up with their best friend Ethan and with brooding detective-in-training Andres, the sisters set out to learn the truth. They just need to make sure Mami doesn’t find out what they’re up to.

Meanwhile, in 1980 Cuba, Anita struggles with a different magical conflict. Her mother, Mama Orti, is a bruja who belongs to a secret coven of elders and Anita knows she will be forced to join the coven herself one day. She sees no escape, though the thought of staying and letting this future claim her is terrifying. Ofelia, Delfi, and Anita’s stories collide as each woman steps into her power and embraces who she truly is, refusing to be subdued by any person, coven, or curse.

In this stunning YA contemporary fantasy, debut author Vanessa Montalban explores the interlocking struggles of three generations of women in one family. An unputdownable debut for anyone who roots for magic, sisterhood, and love.


Before I get to Vanessa’s interview, I have my IWSG Post.


Posting: The first Wednesday is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts this month are: Kate Larkinsdale, Diane Burton, Janet Alcorn, and Shannon Lawrence!

I’m going to skip the optional question since I never had that situation happen. Instead, I’ll update you on what’s going on with me. My exciting news is that I got invited to do a Michigan SCBWI webinar with the co-regional advisor on how to find a literary agent. I have imposter syndrome because I have published anything or even queried. I had it as an attorney too when I would go to court and see everyone look so adult in their suits. Of course, I wore one too but I felt out of place.

I wrote out the whole presentation and was surprised that I had enough info to talk for an hour. I only have 30 to 40 minutes so I won’t get to it all. But I never thought I had so much to say. Right now I’m creating a Google slide show for the first time and learning to put graphics from Canva in the presentation because it’s on Zoom. It’s a bit challenging, but I can get help if I get stuck.

I’ve been practicing it too so I sound smooth. The presentation is September 6th—the first Wednesday of the month, which is about 10 days after my daughter’s wedding. I’m grateful that it’s also IWSG day. I’m sure I’ll be very insecure that day.

I’ve had to put my writing on hold while I get this presentation ready so that it’s basically done two weeks before the wedding. I’m mostly excited about the opportunity and how it might help me promote Literary Rambles and the new opportunities that might open up for me.

Interview With Vanessa Montalban 

Hi Vanessa! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so glad I can take my time with these answers. Nothing makes me freeze up more than being asked who I am. I forget every single thing in a heartbeat. But to sum me up, I’m a Cancer, Pisces rising, Libra moon bookworm with a penchant for moody poetry. I’m a Miami girl who moved up the Florida peninsula with my family to be closer to Mickey and affordable-ish housing. And I can finally say, I’m an author. How cool is that! I really don’t have a single defining moment of when I knew I wanted to become a writer, but there were early tells. Like my elaborate Barbie montages that would span years of my life. The spooky short stories I’d pen after a good Louis Duncan book. And the infinite bad poetry that usually arose after a bad breakup. However, it wasn’t up until my twenties that I really focused on publishing, and I loathe to admit, but the Twilight franchise had a lot to do with it. Basically, Twilight opened up the world of early young adult novels to me, along with Divergent, The Hunger Games, etc. I fell in love with reading again after my tumultuous teen years, and there was no looking back. Writing young adult became a way for me to reclaim a lot of lost time, and I’m still not willing to let go.

2. I loved Divergent and the Hunger Games too. Where did you get the idea for A Tall Dark Trouble?

There are varying accounts to this, because I grew up surrounded by the magic featured in A Tall Dark Trouble, I knew I’d eventually write something in that realm. The moment when connections were made in my brain, however, that this should be a multi-generational story in both Cuba and Miami surrounding specific historical events, took place in my father’s guest room as I took in the news­—Fidel Castro had just died. There were fireworks outside, people slamming on their horns, banging pots and pans. The streets of Miami became a hub of celebration. All this over one man. I didn’t know how to feel then, and I still don’t. I felt disconnected from the event, but I understood on a fundamental level the relief of my father and all other Cubans who’d fled their home from oppression. I wanted a character to portray the diasporic disconnect I was feeling, but I also wanted to show a character who’d feel the commandant’s death in a way I couldn’t understand in that moment.

About Your Writing Process

3. Share how you plotted your story overall and Ofelia, Delfi, and Anita’s storylines so that they all weaved together in the end.

Weaving the storylines took a lot of trial and error with my Las Musas mentor (a mentorship program for Latinx creators), my agent, and then my editor. Took a village, you could say, to have all three storylines line up in a way that felt organic and coincided with the preceding/following chapters. I knew from the very beginning that I wanted three different main characters. I was fortunate enough with this story that the characters came to me fully formed and it was just a matter of getting down their story right. I knew before I even started drafting that the twin’s chapters would take up more space because theirs is the story I most closely relate to. I would like to say I plotted and outlined heavily before starting, but the truth is I made some notes, some character charts, and wrote a query before I just dove into the drafting process. I didn’t even know who the villain would be until near the end (which is probably why it took me so long to draft). A Tall Dark Trouble really had its chance to shine during revisions. I had the hardest time figuring out how I wanted to end the story, and it took a lot of guidance from my Las Musas mentor, Nina Moreno. Nina really helped me figure out what I wanted readers to come away with when they were finished, and I kept thinking of hope even in the uncertainty of the future.

4.  That must have been hard writing not knowing the ending. What was the world-building process like for creating a modern-day Miami that had magical elements and 1980 Cuba, which also had a magical system and had to be historically correct?

For context, the magic system in A Tall Dark Trouble is heavily influenced by Caribbean Spiritism and Santeria—an Afro-Cuban religion. It’s the magic, powers, and beliefs I grew up with. Creating the Miami world with spirits and psychic powers, didn’t feel so far-fetched. Of course, fantasy gave me the room to embellish and play with some of my favorite witchy tropes and it was really so much fun infusing the Miami I know with the supernaturally-drenched Miami the twins grew up with. For the twins, specifically, I really wanted the magic to feel both comforting and dangerous in a way that says a lot about them as individuals. I was also heavily influenced by my two favorite sisters in Practical Magic.  

However, I did extensive research on Santeria and other Afro-Cuban religions. Since they are heavily syncretized religions, it’s challenging to narrow down one way of practicing, or certain steadfast beliefs. My goal from the beginning was to remain true to my own experiences while respecting different practitioners through thorough study. The same is true for the historical events in ATDT, like the Mariel Cuban boatlift of the 1980s. My father came in the Mariel, and I grew up with his harrowing stories, but I researched different accounts, watched countless documentaries, and dove into the research rabbit hole. Spoiler, I love to research!

5. I love the mashing up of the fantasy and murder mystery elements of your story. I’d love to do the same someday but am not sure how to write a compelling mystery. What are your tips on writing one, planting false leads to keep the reader guessing, and having teens realistically solve the murder?

Mystery is so tough to write so I completely get the fear. I was uncovering a lot of the mystery as I drafted. In a way, the twins and I were uncovering the killer together. But my main focus was not on the reveals, but on how the characters processed those reveals. For me, it was about how their internalized fears kept them from unraveling the mystery sooner, and how they processed the fallouts. That’s what I really love about mysteries. I like experiencing the disorientation and anticipation of what awaits alongside the characters. Though I highly suggest mapping out your mystery plot to its completion before drafting. So much had to be reworked during revisions in order to place in red herrings, false leads, and gradual clues in a way that made sense in a mystery. My reverse outline was so helpful for this process. Reverse, in that I outlined after I drafted. I got to know the characters first which was helpful but soon realized some of their motivations and some subplots didn’t push the mystery forward. So I mapped out every subplot: romance, magic, character arcs, and then made sure that each plot point for the mystery was integral to pushing the characters forward. I had to go back and make sure each revealed clue drove the characters toward the next scene, that every false lead had them questioning themselves and their internal lies. I needed the plot twists to the mystery to do more than just reveal something in the mystery itself, but to pull double or triple duty in the other subplots.

As for making the teens be the ones to realistically solve the murder, I had to work in the parameters of their world. Figure out how and when they’d be allowed to leave home to go off galivanting in search of a killer. Every teen is different, but we do tend to be more impulsive when we’re younger, something that leads to rushed decisions into dangerous situations. But in a mystery, that just makes things more interesting!

Your Road to Publication

6. That’s such great advice. Danielle Burby is your agent. Share how she became your agent and what your road to getting a publishing process was like.

I’m sure most writers will tell you that the path to publication was a long, arduous one, unless they had the unicorn of experiences. I started querying my first novel before it was ready. I didn’t know it then, but looking back, I made so many mistakes which I guess is just a rite of passage. Mistakes like querying huge batches of agents without doing the research I should’ve been doing. My first novel actually got picked up by a small publisher but after my editor left, I asked for my rights back. For my second novel, I finally snagged an agent but that also didn’t go any further. It was a lot of false starts and I was feeling very low. But I was always writing the next thing. A Tall Dark Trouble was my comfort story, my third novel. It was the story I wasn’t sure people would want since, at the time, publishing’s diverse list was practically non-existent. But the story made me happy. The Sanchez family reminded me so much of my family. The setting, the characters—it was thoroughly me. I was going into the querying process a lot more cautiously this time around after my not so stellar experiences prior. Twitter pitch contests were still pretty big at the time, and I joined both #DVpit and #Latinxpitch which just so happened to occur back to back in 2020. To my astonishment my pitches did so well! I made them funny and silly, but agents seemed to really like it. I had a huge list to query, but again, I researched this time around until I had a list of agents and agencies I’d love to work with. And Danielle wasn’t even one of the agents that liked my pitch! Another agent in her agency actually sent over my manuscript to her. I’d already gotten some offers from other agents, so Danielle read my manuscript in like a day! As soon as I had the zoom call with her and saw the passion and enthusiasm she had for my story, I knew she was the right fit. And as they say, the rest is history.

7. What was something that surprised you about your path to becoming a published author? Why?

Everything? *crying/laughing* No but seriously, I was surprised the most about how the goal posts just keep creeping forward. How there’s still rejection in every step. This has been one of the best times of my life, I won’t lie. The feeling of accomplishment I got when I held my book for the first time, when I get happy emails from my agent and editor. The feeling of pure joy when I got the first call from my agent with the news we’d sold. I’ve been incandescently happy, and yes, I’ll quote Pride and Prejudice. But I’ve also been anxious and hurt through every step. Because once you reach that goal you’ve dreamed of, you want to know what the next step is almost immediately after. Once your book is out in the world, not every reader is going to love it. Revisions in the publishing world are hard core, and it’ll feel like slicing into your heart with every removed character, scene, or chapter. I’m truly not trying to be pessimistic, but for every writer reaching for that first, second, third goal, know that there will be more hurdles and more triumphs ahead. So enjoy every second. Hold onto the joy of writing, but also find your happiness in anything else you can. 

Promoting Your Book

8. I totally get what you’re saying about there being rejections and hard times every step of the way. Your advice is right on. What are your plans to market your book and celebrate its release?

Aside from doing interviews with really cool blogs like this one, and giving myself over to whatever my publishing team has in store, I’ll keep looking for different ways to move the needle. Giveaways, staying active in the reader and writer community, keeping up with social media posts are all ways I can help market, but ultimately, I’m trying to take a deep breath and launch my book child into the world with as little stress as possible. As always, I’ll keep working on the next thing!

I plan on celebrating with desserts. Lots of desserts. And if you’d like to celebrate with me, you can find me here:

August 29th - Coral Gables, FL - Launch event at Books & Books with Alex Flinn

September 1st - Manhattan, NY - Book event at PT Knitwear with Kat Cho

September 9th - Sanford, FL - Book event at Spellbound Books with Nina Moreno

9. I wish I could come but I live in Ann Arbor. What’s your advice to other writers who are preparing to debut about building a social media platform and marketing their book? How soon do you recommend they begin all this?

I would say to start building a social media platform right away but don’t exhaust yourself. Pick a platform or two that you really enjoy. Anything you’re dragging your feet to do will be apparent to your audience so make sure you’re having fun, and you’ll find your people. But building a community with other writers and readers is really necessary, not just as a small business (because that’s what you are when you publish), but as a human who enjoys reading and writing. This can be a lonely journey, and finding others to relate to and build real friendships with is incredibly helpful. That’s the only way I can describe how I’ve approached building a platform. I’m looking for friends not numbers. And as a wise author friend (Isabel Sterling) once told me, a good way to market yourself is to think of it as a service to readers. You’re taking what your book has to offer and helping a new reader find something they can hopefully treasure and relate to. I don’t know, but this shift in thinking really helped me change my perspective on marketing “my brand” or my books to something that felt more like a gift, making it less scary to attempt.

10. What are you working on now?

Many fun things! I was lucky enough to have sold two books with Zando Young Readers so now we’re working on book two which is another standalone, young adult contemporary fantasy. Think small, strange town, a haunted manor, and a vengeful, wish-granting ghost that haunts the woods and lures men to their deaths based on Nicaraguan folklore. Of course there’s also romance, mystery-solving, and mom-issues because apparently that’s my brand. I seriously can’t wait to talk more about it soon!

Ooh, that one sounds really good too. Thanks for sharing all your advice, Vanessa. You can find Vanessa at:




Preorder campaign: https://woobox.com/jr4sv4

Giveaway Details

Vanessa’s publisher is generously offering a hardback of A Tall Dark Trouble for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by August 12th. If your email is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter or Vanessa on her social media sites, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This book giveaway is U.S.

Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

FYI, I do not have as much planned this summer. I’m taking a little break to enjoy my daughter’s wedding celebrations and to help get ready for the wedding.

Monday, August 14 I have an agent spotlight interview with Danielle Hunter and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, August 16 I’m participating in the Old School Giveaway Hop

Tuesday, September 1 I'm participating in the Glam and Glitz Giveaway Hop

Wednesday. September 6 I have a guest post by Victoria Wlosok and a giveaway of her YA mystery How to Find a Missing Girl

Thursday, September 7 I’m participating in the September Holiday Giveaway Hop

Monday, September 11 I have an agent spotlight interview with Heather Cashman and a query critique giveaway

Saturday, September 16 I'm participating in the Falling Leaves Giveaway Hop

Monday, September 18 I have an interview with Emi Pinot and a giveaway of her MG modern fairytale retelling Bee Bakshi and the Gingerbread Sisters

Monday, September 25 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jen Newens and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!



Karen Baldwin said...

Great interview!! Good luck with your presentation. You'll be great. And I feel your imposter syndrome angst.
I'll be pitching at the Writer's Digest Conference in NYC mid-August and it's nerve racking. I was practicing "the telling something about me" part and mentioned I have three daughters.....I only have two!! What part of my brain did that?

Jennifer Lane said...

Your presentation sounds so fun! If I wanted a writer to speak about choosing an agent, I would want YOU, because of the great job you do on your blog interviewing writers and agents. And much happiness to your family before, during, and after your daughter's wedding!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's exciting you're doing the presentation. No imposter - you know a lot of agents!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Presentations are unnerving ... until you are doing it. Then, the words flow and you connect with the audience ... as long as you realize they are pulling for you to do well so they can enjoy the talk! :-) Best of luck with it!

Computer Tutor said...

Congratulations on the Michigan SCBWI webinar! If the Sept. 6th event is on Zoom and public, I'd love to attend if I can so post the info.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

That's fantastic about the presentation! You probably already know this, but you can save Canva as a ppt file (PowerPoint). I'm sure that's got to be compatible with Google's Slides. Good luck to you!

Loni Townsend said...

Awesome news on the webinar! That's fantastic! Congrats!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's wonderful about the presentation. So much is going to come from it.

Brenda said...

Congrats on the presentation! I'm sure you'll do awesome, and you sound like you're well prepared.

emaginette said...

Congrats. You'll blow them away. Remember to have fun and smile. hehehe

Anna from elements of emaginette

C.D. Gallant-King said...

Good luck with your presentation! You're going to be awesome!

cleemckenzie said...

Huge congratulations on your SCBWI presentation. That's wonderful.

Another congrats to Vanessa on her first book. There's nothing more exciting!

PJ Colando said...

Best of luck with your presentation! You'll be so fully prepared, you'll be terrific! What an honor to be invited.

Thanks for commenting on my blog.

Donna K. Weaver said...

The books sounds intriguing!

And good luck with your presentation.

Samantha Bryant said...

I enjoyed the interview today, and best of luck with your presentation. I know you'll knock their socks off! @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Bravo, Vanessa Montalban, on your debut release. All the luck with this fantasy. I agree that as writers, we need to live in the teens' world, inhabit their impulsivity and what they are permitted to do to make our stories work. Great interview, Vanessa.

Natalie, you are a formidable woman. You can do this presentation, whether you are wearing a suit or not. Go for it! Bravo, Natalie!

Liz A. said...

Good luck with your presentation. I'm sure it'll go smoothly.

It sounds like an interesting book. Magic is so fascinating, and with a murder mystery. Wow.

Carol Kilgore said...

Congratulations! You'll do great and they will learn a lot from you. Get everything ready early, take a deep breath, and begin.

Jemi Fraser said...

Congrats to Vanessa - the book sounds great!!

Woohoo Natalie! You're going to be amazing! Your knowledge and your generous spirit will help you do an amazing job! Enjoy both it and the wedding!

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

That's great that you've been asked to present--and I feel like what you do with this blog gives you a lot of insight into the process. Congrats on your daughter's wedding, too :)

Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf said...

I hadn't seen A Tall Dark Trouble until now, but it sounds like a fascinating read, and I really enjoyed reading this interview!

And like everyone else, I wanted to congratulate you on the chance to present with SCBWI about finding an agent! Dealing with imposter syndrome is totally fair, and I second everyone else that there are precious few humans on this earth who know as much about finding an agent as you do—even the authors who've queried certainly haven't read up on (much less talked firsthand with) this many agents! You're going to do amazing, and it's so exciting that you've got so much info to share and have been fitting in time for practice. Good luck—you've got this!!

I'll pass on the giveaway, but thanks so much for the wonderful post, Natalie!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Good luck on your presentation!! You have interviewed almost every agent ever...that's makes you a legit resource in the query quest!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Congrats on the presentation. Wishing you luck and success!

Maryanne said...

I really liked reading this interview about the road to publication!

Olga Godim said...

An impostor syndrome - sounds horribly familiar. Good luck with your upcoming presentation. And with the wedding.

Sonia Dogra said...

I love that cover! Beautiful colours. Enjoyed the interview. Congrats on the SCBWI webinar invite. Wish you all the best!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Oh congrats and good luck for the presentation!! Very exciting.

A Tall Dark Trouble sounds great. Love that title.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Natalie. I'll jump straight to the IWSG as your author post needs a proper reading which I can't do while travelling north. I'm on the road as you saw in my post. Congratulations on being invited to present at the Michigan SCBWI webinar. With all your prep you should go great! I love Canva!!

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Such an exciting opportunity! Good luck with the presentation :-)

Danielle H. said...

I enjoyed this author interview and getting to know how she drafted her book, then went back to outline so she could add important mystery details. I know this book is going to be fantastic and fun to read after reading how she made sure every event moved the plot forward and carried multiple tasks. I shared on tumblr and follow the author on Twitter and Instagram. I also follow Natalie on Twitter. I can't wait to read this and am making sure it's on my Goodreads TBR.

Kate Larkindale said...

Best of luck with your presentation! I'm sure you'll rock it!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That is so exciting. I'm sure you'll do great on your presentation.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

And I hope the wedding goes smoothly!

Valinora Troy said...

Great interview, I really enjoyed reading it, and the book sounds great.
Congratulations on on being asked to present at SCBWI webinar! How exciting! I'm sure you will be fantastic! Totally understand imposter syndrome - we all experience it (most people anyway!). Best of luck, I'm sure you'll ace it!!

Megan said...

This book looks awesome :)

Sherry Ellis said...

Good luck with your webinar! So awesome that you have the opportunity to do it! Hope it goes well!

Carol Baldwin said...

This sounds like a difficult book to plot and a riveting read. Thanks for the review.

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Fundy Blue said...

Another great interview, Natalie! Thanks for your responses about your book, Vanesa. It sounds like a fun and informative read. Good luck with it. And congratulations for being invited to the Michigan SCBWI, Natalie. You'll be an awesome presenter. Your daughter's wedding is coming up fast ~ Enjoy every moment!

Rosi said...

Congratulations on your upcoming presentation. I'll bet you'll be great! I am sure you have a lot of good information to share. Another wonderful interview. Thanks for that. I'll pass on the giveaway. I am buried in books. Thanks for the post.

tetewa said...

Good luck to you, I'm always looking for new authors to read!

Nancy P said...

Sounds great. Follow in every way possible. Positive.ideas.4youATgmail.com

Michael Di Gesu said...

Natalie, how WONDERFUL! How exciting to be a guest speaker at the SCBWI! I miss going to events. I haven't been to one since 2015. Also, Congrats on your daughter's wedding. I wish her all the best in her new journey with her husband! You certainly have a lot of exciting things going on...

Congrats to Venessa! Wishing her all the best with her new book~

Aziza Evans said...

would love to read this book my email is azizaevans@ymail.com

Sandra Cox said...

Yikes, I thought I'd left a comment before. Probably had someone else's window up and left it there. Sigh.
Lots of wonders going on in this post: new release, a wedding, and a webinar!!! Woot. Woot. Congrats to you both.

Nancy P said...

Sounds amazing! Positive.ideas.4youATgmail.com Follow everywhere

Elizabeth Varadan said...

Congratulations on being invited to do a SCBWI webinar on finding an agent. That's definitely your area of expertise, interviewing debut authors and agents. I'm so glad for you. Have a wonderful presentation.

Vanessa's book sounds amazing! So original, and such an interesting mix of conflicts.