Interview: Montiese McKenzie

Today we’re joined by Montiese McKenzie. Montiese is a phenomenal author who recently published her first novel entitled Blood of my Blood (congratulations!). It’s a supernatural thriller with a fascinating plot involving a mysterious disappearance and a hidden world deep in the nation’s capital. Montiese’s 2nd novel will be released in January.  It’s clear she’s an incredibly talented author with a great voice and I can’t wait to read what she has in store next. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

me at comic con

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer. I write fiction and just self-published my first book, Blood of my Blood. I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, spent my teen years writing stories instead of paying attention in school. In 2005, in my late twenties, I discovered fanfiction and began to write for a few different fandoms over the years. I still dabble in fanfic, it’s always been a great way to hone your skills. My goal has always been get your stories out to as many readers as you can, it didn’t matter if it was original stories or fanfiction.

What inspires you?

People. One of my biggest goals in writing is to get to the center of people. Human beings are so complicated, with more dimensions and facets than you can count. My inspiration from them is limitless really. Especially when you add in people interacting with other people, which is what storytelling is all about. Also, I grew up on soap operas so multilayered stories with large ensemble casts are my weakness.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I started writing at 8, which is pretty young. It was an assignment in my 4th grade class to write a story. We actually made our own books, stories, covers, bindings, everything. The only thing I ever truly wanted to be before that was a nature photojournalist for National Geographic, which is a pretty creative job. Both of my parents are artists, my mother wrote stories and my dad is a graphic artist and musician so I guess I came by it honest.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Even though I was born at the end of the 70s, I grew up on things from the 70s and before so there are lots of references to those things in my stories. Television, books, and movies. Most of the characters I write are older than me so it fits in with who they are as people. But there are times when I get emails or messages from younger readers who may not understand a reference. I love teaching people about the stuff I love so it’s cool. Golden age of Hollywood and 70s television pop culture references are really my favorite thing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Hone your skills with lots of practice and school if that’s possible for you. Don’t let the bad voices shout you down, they will always be there, but also get used to constructive criticism early. That took me forever and I still struggle with it because I spent so long not sharing my work, when I finally did some reactions to it were difficult for me. If you’re a writer, read as much as you can. There is no lesson more fulfilling than a good book. Find a creative tribe and help each other grow, learn, and take the knocks life as a creative can dole out. Never, ever give up on your art if you love it.

me blackout 10

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey ace. I’m somewhere in the middle, which is kind of the story of my life. I identify as a biromantic gray asexual. I love and appreciate romance but rarely, if ever, feel sexual attraction. For a long time I didn’t know what that meant, I think sexual attraction is a hard thing to measure when you start talking about romantic attraction, physical attraction, aesthetic attraction; it took me a long time to divide and define those things and I actually still work on it.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Some people have asked me how I can write sex and romance if I’m asexual. I get that more than I ever expected and it boggles my mind. I’m a writer, I just make it up though I do try to keep the core of my characters steeped in the reality of how most humans are. Also being creative allows me to tap into what a fictional person is feeling or experiencing completely separate from myself. I’m not writing my life, I’m writing someone else’s.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That something is wrong with us. For so long we’ve been taught that sexual intercourse is a basic need, like food, water, and sleep. So when people encounter someone who doesn’t feel or experience sexual attraction, they wonder (sometimes aloud) if it is a mental or medical condition. They wonder “who hurt you?” They should be more concerned with why the patriarchy insists sex is a basic need.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Get to know yourself and don’t let anyone label you. I didn’t come out as bisexual until 2009 and asexual in about 2015. It took a long time to put words to what I experienced and felt (or didn’t feel). I would tell them to live, experiment, have many different kinds of friends, and do what makes your body and spirit happy. Don’t be in a rush to declare that you are anything, for so many sexuality is fluid over a lifetime.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have a blog, montiesethewriter.com, which I promise I’ll be doing more blog entries on in 2018. My first novel, Blood of my Blood, was self-published through Amazon in September 2017. It’s currently available in both eBook and paperback. My second novel, The Providence of Human Affairs will be released in January 2018. This is the link to my first book: http://a.co/6uhzMn9.

Thank you, Montiese, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Call for Interviews:

(This is a repost/reminder)

Hello all!

Once again, I’m low on interviewees. Since I don’t have the time to constantly post calls every single time I’m running low, I’m hoping to use this post as a kind of a reminder:

ASEXUAL ARTISTS IS OPEN FOR INTERVIEWS YEAR-ROUND!

I’m always looking for artists who are on the spectrum to interview. Any and all kinds of artists are welcome.

This is including but not limited to:

WRITERS: all genres and forms are welcome (novelists, short stories, poetry, flash fiction, etc). It doesn’t matter if you’re unpublished, just starting out, a student, a hobbyist, or established. Traditionally published, self-published, small press, etc. You’re all welcome and you all have something to offer.

VISUAL ARTISTS: Self explanatory, any kind of visual art you can imagine (photography, painting, sketching, drawing, sculpture, installation, etc.).

FANARTISTS: Another self-explanatory category. Cosplay, visual, fanfiction, etc. Whatever you do in your fandom (any and all fandoms welcome), you’re an artist.

FILMMAKERS: YouTubers, directors, cinematographers, anything that has to do with making films (short, features, documentaries, etc).

PERFORMANCE ARTS: actors, theater arts, singers, mimes, any sort of performers.

DANCERS: Any kind of dance style you can imagine is welcome here (ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, burlesque, belly-dancing, ballroom, etc.)

MUSICIANS: playing instruments, composing, singing, anything involving music

CULINARY: maybe your medium of choice is food. If so, you’re welcome here.

CRAFTS: any sort of craft you can think of (sewing, knitting, crocheting, candle making, jewelry making, etc.)

All levels of artists are welcome: whether you’re a student or a professional, just starting out or already established. If you create, you have something to offer and therefore I want to interview you 🙂

If you’re still unsure whether or not your art qualifies (there’s a 97.9% chance it will), and your question isn’t answered in the F.A.Q., please contact me at laurenjankowski27@gmail.com

If you want to be interviewed, please email me at the same address (laurenjankowski27@gmail.com)

This site continues because I get requests for interviews. If the interviews run out, this site will remain as a resource 🙂 Updates will continue as long as there are aces out there willing to be interviewed.

Thank you, everybody.


I just want all you amazing, talented, wonderful artists who have already been interviewed: you are making such a difference. Giving an interview may seem like a small thing, perhaps even insignificant, but believe me when I say that so many aces have found comfort and inspiration in your words. I have received numerous messages about how much this blog means to people, especially to aces still coming to terms with their identity. That’s a truly wonderful thing 😃 So please, keep those interview requests coming!


Just a reminder: I don’t respond to interview requests via reblogs or comments. If you are interested in being featured on this blog, please email me: laurenjankowski27@gmail.com

All ages, races, religions, genders are welcome. If you’re on the ace spectrum and you create, I would love to interview you for this blog.

ALL aces are welcome on this blog! It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist, a professional, a dabbler, a student, aspiring or experienced. Your art is important. Your voice is important.

So please, keep those interview requests coming 😀 ❤

Interview: Heather Kori

Today we’re joined by Heather Kori. Heather is a phenomenal poet who also occasionally writes short stories. According to the bio on her website, she’s a student at university in Canada and is a fierce intersectional feminist. Heather writes about a variety of things. They’re incredibly passionate and dedicated to writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer, specifically writing poetry and occasionally short story. My poems focus mostly on mental health, asexuality, and other things.

What inspires you?

People, my life, and my experiences. As someone who identifies as mad that greatly influences my writing. Lately I’ve been writing about being happy from a mad experience/perspective

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve been writing poetry since I was young, my parents got me into it because they both wrote as a hobby. I always wanted to be an author but I never thought it would be a possibility though recently I’ve decided to pursue it more intensely.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Honestly, if it’s there I don’t know about it or do it purposefully. I think everyone has something in their work that makes it theirs whether conscious or not.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do it. Do whatever it is that you love doing. Pursue it restlessly and you’ll get something back eventually.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demi-grey-asexual with a preference for women and non-binary folks, as well as demi-greyaromantic. Which is overly complicated so I just use “queer”

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not yet, but I’m not popular outside of queer circles (my friends, mostly).

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That is not a real thing or it is related to my mental health.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You are valid in your feelings, you can make it through this, there are other people like you, and you will find them. (If you are in the Toronto area there’s multiple ace groups!)

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Either my WordPress (heatherkori.wordpress.com or my Facebook: heather kori poetry and writing). Any likes or follows are appreciated but not necessary.

Thank you, Heather, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Casey Ashwood

Today we’re joined by Casey Ashwood. Casey is a wonderful author who recently just published his first ace book. While he mostly writes M/M gay romances, Casey is hoping to bring more ace characters into the romance genre. It’s a great and important goal. Casey is an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

chasetheaceebook
“Chase the Ace” book

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an indie gay (M/M) romance author. I focus a lot on the relationship between characters and how they experience intimacy. My stories tend to have contemporary settings and are on more of the light and fluffy side. My work does contain adult content because most romance readers very much expect to see sexy times in their stories.

Although my catalogue currently mostly contains books featuring gay cis men as main characters, I want to branch out and write more genders and sexualities. It’s tricky to market anything that isn’t gay cis men romance, but I’m hoping the audience will one day be more open to other representations of the LGBTQIA+ community.

I recently published my first ace novel, which I’d love to get more attention for! It’s called Chase the Ace and can be found here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078BQ14Y5 I really enjoyed writing it and have gotten positive feedback from it so far. If I can get the novel enough attention, I’d love to turn it into a series. We definitely need more ace representation.

What inspires you?

The main drive behind writing what I do is the hope that I can put out some positive representations of the community, especially as someone that is LGBTQIA+ myself. I also want to challenge how a lot of mainstream LGBT romance stories are written. For example, a lot of books really hone in on homophobic themes. While I also have to include such themes sometimes just to sell my books, I try not to make it my main focus. Many of us face that kind of stuff in real life on a daily basis—the last thing we want is to read it in our books.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and have written stories since I was a very young child. I always have words in my head and stories in my heart, as corny as that sounds. Although I’ve bounced around awhile to make ends meet, I’ve finally been able to focus on being an author as my career. I hope to be able to keep it that way!

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

For my latest story, Chase the Ace, for those of us that are ace, the title is pretty self-explanatory. However, the phrase is also the name of a card game. I have a Newfoundland background, and the game is particularly popular as a lottery of sorts. The jackpots can become very high!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I don’t think I can offer anything that hasn’t already been said before. All I can say is just work at your craft and give it your all. Some days will always be more productive than others, so make sure you take care of yourself (both mentally and physically). On the days that you’re not feeling so productive, try not to beat yourself up over it. There’s always tomorrow.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as ace, and have for a good few years now. I can’t 100% say that I’m not demisexual, but I feel much more contented to simply use asexual as it is.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I haven’t come across any outright ace prejudice or ignorance in my field yet because I tend to just chug along and do my own thing. However, it’s very annoying to feel as though I have to write steamy scenes in my stories just to ensure it sells. I’d love to be able to showcase more that you can have a deeply loving, meaningful, and committed relationship without sex.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The most common misconception I’ve come across is the usual “you just haven’t found the right one” sort of thing. I’m in my thirties now, though, so I don’t hear variations of it quite as often anymore.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You don’t have to choose one label and stick with it your entire lives. Be fluid. Experiment. If something doesn’t sit well with you, try something else. Changing labels doesn’t make you a fraud. You’re just human, and we’re all wondrously intricate.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

People can learn more about my work through:

My Amazon product page: https://www.amazon.com/Casey-Ashwood/e/B01B4V13HW
My email newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bMA8ir
My email address: caseyashwood@gmail.com
My Tumblr: https://caseyashwood.tumblr.com
My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caseyashwood

Thank you very much for your time!

Thank you, Casey, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Call for Interviewees

(This is a repost/reminder)

Hello all!

Once again, I’m low on interviewees. Since I don’t have the time to constantly post calls every single time I’m running low, I’m hoping to use this post as a kind of a reminder:

ASEXUAL ARTISTS IS OPEN FOR INTERVIEWS YEAR-ROUND!

I’m always looking for artists who are on the spectrum to interview. Any and all kinds of artists are welcome.

This is including but not limited to:

WRITERS: all genres and forms are welcome (novelists, short stories, poetry, flash fiction, etc). It doesn’t matter if you’re unpublished, just starting out, a student, a hobbyist, or established. Traditionally published, self-published, small press, etc. You’re all welcome and you all have something to offer.

VISUAL ARTISTS: Self explanatory, any kind of visual art you can imagine (photography, painting, sketching, drawing, sculpture, installation, etc.).

FANARTISTS: Another self-explanatory category. Cosplay, visual, fanfiction, etc. Whatever you do in your fandom (any and all fandoms welcome), you’re an artist.

FILMMAKERS: YouTubers, directors, cinematographers, anything that has to do with making films (short, features, documentaries, etc).

PERFORMANCE ARTS: actors, theater arts, singers, mimes, any sort of performers.

DANCERS: Any kind of dance style you can imagine is welcome here (ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, burlesque, belly-dancing, ballroom, etc.)

MUSICIANS: playing instruments, composing, singing, anything involving music

CULINARY: maybe your medium of choice is food. If so, you’re welcome here.

CRAFTS: any sort of craft you can think of (sewing, knitting, crocheting, candle making, jewelry making, etc.)

All levels of artists are welcome: whether you’re a student or a professional, just starting out or already established. If you create, you have something to offer and therefore I want to interview you 🙂

If you’re still unsure whether or not your art qualifies (there’s a 97.9% chance it will), and your question isn’t answered in the F.A.Q., please contact me at laurenjankowski27@gmail.com

If you want to be interviewed, please email me at the same address (laurenjankowski27@gmail.com)

This site continues because I get requests for interviews. If the interviews run out, this site will remain as a resource 🙂 Updates will continue as long as there are aces out there willing to be interviewed.

Thank you, everybody.


I just want all you amazing, talented, wonderful artists who have already been interviewed: you are making such a difference. Giving an interview may seem like a small thing, perhaps even insignificant, but believe me when I say that so many aces have found comfort and inspiration in your words. I have received numerous messages about how much this blog means to people, especially to aces still coming to terms with their identity. That’s a truly wonderful thing 😃 So please, keep those interview requests coming!


Just a reminder: I don’t respond to interview requests via reblogs or comments. If you are interested in being featured on this blog, please email me: laurenjankowski27@gmail.com

All ages, races, religions, genders are welcome. If you’re on the ace spectrum and you create, I would love to interview you for this blog.

ALL aces are welcome on this blog! It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist, a professional, a dabbler, a student, aspiring or experienced. Your art is important. Your voice is important.

So please, keep those interview requests coming 😀 ❤

Interview: Grace Schodel

Today we’re joined by Grace Schodel. Grace is a phenomenal visual artist who is currently studying in uni. She does both traditional and digital art, drawing a variety of subjects. Her art is remarkably beautiful, showing an incredible attention to detail and a masterful use of color, which draws the viewer in. She’s an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. 19 copy

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My name’s Grace Schodel but I go by knittinganarchist online, I use the pronouns she/her, and I’m studying a bachelor in animation. My art is pretty all or nothing honestly! I use both traditional and digital mediums to either spend 3 months working on a series of conceptually similar drawings, or spend 3 minutes smashing out cute and stupid cartoony comics.

What inspires you?

Probably a mixture of a good colour palette, my drawings are all pretty heavily inspired by colour palettes that caught my imagination, and romanticizing everyday life. A lot of my drawings are about making mundane everyday things fun; my uni induced breakdowns are overdramatic and honest, forgotten gift cards are a cause for celebration, and messy hair can be a Look. I love positivity; at the moment I’m working on a series for an art show in February that focuses on the spacy disassociation I felt for most of my first year of uni, but instead of going over old wounds is supposed to represent me working through that feeling.

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What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always loved art, but was never really allowed to think it was a viable option for my future. I did design after graduating school because I thought it was a good balance between creativity and responsibility. But I was miserable, and decided to just follow my heart instead and study animation.

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t have hidden codes in my drawings, but now I kind of wish I did because that would be rad. The closest I have is that for a while now all my lineart is in two layers, one red one black and the black one is set to a lower opacity. I think it just makes the picture a little softer and adds something cool to the overall look.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to use references. I spent so long feeling guilty for using reference photos or other artworks, that I tried to do everything from my head. In my opinion even tracing something is okay (as long as you don’t try to pass it off as your own original without giving credit) it helps immensely with anatomy, perspective, and developing your own “style”.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a sex-neutral asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

In my field? No not really, everyone at my uni so far seems to be fairly open minded and accepting of everyone. But in my personal life I’ve been mostly met with confusion and disbelief, the classic “What happened to you?” and “But you wear short skirts and have dated before” get thrown around a bit. A few deeply uncomfortable conversations about sexual scenarios have happened where someone has said “Well, what if …. happened, would that make you normal?”, but I mostly just avoid that by only telling people who need to know, such as my boyfriend, and the close friends I trust.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Of course I can’t speak for everyone here, but personally its either been that I can’t be ace because I like dressing up nicely, and apparently people only do that to seem attractive so they can hook up? Or that aces are afraid of sex? Some aces may be, and that’s their choice to identify as ace, but its endlessly annoying so have to explain no I’m not afraid I’m just not interested.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

It’s perfectly fine to have no interest in sex. It can seem the be all and end all of relationships and growing up, but honestly if it’s not for you, it’s not for you.

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Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Either on my Facebook page where I offer commissions:
(https://www.facebook.com/knittinganarchist/)

Or my Instagram where I post a lot of my personal and uni work!
(https://www.instagram.com/knittinganarchist/)

8. interior copy

Thank you, Grace, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Katherine

Today we’re joined by Katherine. Katherine is a phenomenal visual artist who demonstrates an incredible amount of versatility in her subject matter. Her pictures range from extremely detailed to abstract. Basically, she loves to draw and draws whatever strikes her fancy. She’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

image1 (3)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I draw things based off my experiences I’ve had or how I’m feeling in that current moment. It has a weird range of being super complex and detailed, or super simple and abstract. Loads of my work deals with mainly words but I of course love the drawing more.

What inspires you?

Anything and everything really. News stories, current events, other artists, movies, plants – essentially anything!

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Actually no! I hated drawing at one point because I had a set idea of what drawing was. I always thought ‘if it isn’t realism, it’s not art’ and as I grew up I began to realise that that’s really not true! Art is whatever you’d like it to be! My best friend, he is an amazing artist and asked me one day to just draw. He told me to just grab some paper and scribble or draw an eye – something simple. Ever since then I started building my style and what things I draw.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

In loads of my work that has backgrounds that are one solid colour – for instance an ink painting where certain areas are totally black, I like to write positive words there. Little things like ‘I hope to be happy’ ‘My life will get better’ because I feel like when I do that  I’m releasing all that good energy into the universe for it to come back to me. I do it sometimes with certain watercolour paintings too – but those are quite easy to see so I mainly prefer doing it with my solid ink paintings.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever compare yourself to anyone. That was my first biggest mistake when it came to my art. I started comparing and getting discouraged and it made me really not want to create anymore. Once I stopped doing that, the confidence in my art skyrocketed. Loads of young artists are into I guess we could call it ‘taboo’ art that’s not traditional at all and to me, that’s so amazing! We need more unique artists like that! Do what makes your heart happy.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual definitely. I can’t feel a sexual attraction towards someone just randomly or because they are very good looking – I have to truly feel something with that person for me to have any sexual attraction even if it’s a small thought.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

The most common one I get is ‘that’s normal though, don’t need a fancy label’ and that has just been so annoying lately. I wouldn’t say it’s prejudice but mainly ignorance of what it is. I usually tell them ‘thank you for your opinion!’ then it’s over and done with. I tend to just ignore as well as it kind of annoys me and can get me down sometimes.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The most common one – I swear I get told this daily from the followers that know, ‘So one day you want to have sex with someone but the next no’ which is so annoying how that was even a question but I understand where they are coming from considering when I didn’t know what this truly meant – I thought similar things. I’m not as open with it anymore because of the constant questions so this was my way of talking about it again.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You’ll figure it out! Give yourself some time. You can’t just figure it out instantly sometimes and that’s okay. Always remember your feelings are 100% valid and you deserve love and happiness.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My website is here. All my social medias are: Keepitgrape (Twitter, Instagram). My store to buy my artwork is here.

spacecave
Space Cave

Thank you, Katherine, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.