Not fair

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I return to the rallying cry of my son, from several years ago. Because guess what: shit is not going my way right now.

The continuing heat wave we’ve been suffering has been triggering my allergies. I take my anti-histamines, but I still itch down my back and along my arms.

Yeah, I know that our temps aren’t nearly as high as the temps in other parts of the country (low 90’s), but other parts of the country have air conditioning, or at least buildings that are meant to pass a breeze through them. Seattle, not so much. Bad enough that we have to run baseboard electric heat in the winter (with no insulation in the walls at all, and no storm door) but in the summer there’s nothing but to set a fan beside me and keep still.

On top of that, last weekend I had a sudden recurrence of my back spasms. It’s been years since my back gave me any trouble, but I confess that I’ve let my stretching and exercises lapse over the last few months while I wrap up the Kickstarter, and now I’m paying the price. Exercise is slowly making things better, but the sudden jab of pain when I turn my body the wrong way is not conducive to careful thought.

And I just burned my hand on the oven door.

Which is pretty fucking annoying, because I’ve finally begun work on the first book of a new series, but almost everything about my life is conspiring against me actually getting anything done. I have to work out details of the plot and the world-building, but between itchy hives and sudden jabs of/lingering pain, I can’t fucking concentrate.

Still I have an interesting book to read, and homeschooling to manage. Something will get done, if not as much as I’d hoped. I just wish I could finish the prep for this book so I could start it.

Progress is being made: Fate Core style

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Happy news to be shared: I finished the (very) rough draft of the Fate Core rpg supplement for The Great Way. First of all, yay. Fucking yay. Second of all, writing game supplements is really hard. I have never written anything this dense before.

Anyway, I need to finish the supplement for Key/Egg, too, then do another pass through before I pass the pages off to a GM friend of mine for inspection. Then there will be yet another pass, and it’ll be done.

And when it’s done, I can FINALLY move on to my new novel.

New Kickstarter update

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Is here.

The manuscript for The Great Way (the entire trilogy) has been turned over to the copy editor, which is good news for me. I’m pleased to be working on something else for a while.

The update also includes a (very) rough schedule for Kickstarter rewards.

Anyway, I’ve been superbusy–so busy, in fact, that I can’t even keep up with my Twitter timeline when I open it during “down” moments.

Back to it.

Yesterday was a day off writing.

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Usually, Saturdays are the biggest writing day of the week for me, but yesterday I had the day off. We celebrated my wife’s birthday, and I put aside all the usual stuff I’m supposed to be getting done so she does not have to cook, clean, or loiter around waiting for me or the boy to start doing what she wanted to do.

So I made her favorite breakfast, took a quick library run to pick up the books she had on hold, then went to Lincoln Park for a picnic, a game of Qwirkle, and some general hanging out.

After we returned home, we have Asian take-out, she blew out the candles (on her crustless sweet potato pie) and we played a game of Bohnanza.

She won Qwirkle by a wide margin, but I kick butt in Bohnanza. I keep telling my family that they should always trade if they can. Never try to hurt another player by denying yourself a trade, but they keep playing defensively.

Then, best of all, she went to bed super-early and slept hard for 10 hours.

It wasn’t exactly a tennis bracelet/fancy restaurant birthday, but she had greenery, sunshine, and family time, which are her very favorite things, so we’re calling it a win.

Oh, yeah: I got her a nice, wide-brimmed straw hat for summer sunshines and being a little dressy. She was pleased.

But that was yesterday. Today I’m struggling with Scrivener once again. In a few minutes, I’m going to say fuck it and watch some Person of Interest.

Cutting back on internet

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I have a whole bunch of work ahead of me and last night my roommate got mad at me when I referred to her as “my roommate” instead of “my wife.” Anyway, it seems that this would be a good time to cut back on my internetting. It’s not going to be a full fast, as I sometimes do, but I will be cutting way back. As usual, I’ll be checking my email at least once a day.

Wish my luck for my book productivity, and if anyone remembers my roommate’s name, please drop me a line.

How self-indulgent is it to link to my own updates?

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Kickstarter update for April.

For the click-phobic, a brief summary. I received story edit notes on the trilogy and have some revisions to do. They will be extensive but not as terrible as I’d originally feared. First up, I’ll be writing a chapter that I skipped in the first draft. Fantasy novels are somewhat digressive, yes? Well, that’s what you’re getting. Plus, the new ending needs the setup.

In the meantime, I work, read Twitter, and watch the final episodes of Veronica Mars with the family. I also strenuously avoid Doge2048. Let us not think about it.

I am writing rpg gaming stuff now and it is hard

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I’m supposed to be working right now but I’m not, and the reason is simple. Work is hard.

While The Great Way is getting an editorial working over, I’m putting together the game supplement for it. (For those who don’t know, I promised Kickstarter backers a Fate game supplement for the setting of those books.) Currently, it’s almost 10,000 words long, and not even half way done. Turns out that explaining your world-building takes time.

What’s more, writing game stuff is giving me major decision fatigue. With fiction, putting the sentences together is comparatively easy: There are characters who want things, places for them to pursue their desires, obstacles to overcome. That talk. They look at stuff. Maybe there’s a smell. It’s pretty straightforward.

In contrast, game material is all summarizing and making careful decisions on how stuff should work. What invokable aspects suit the capital city of this empire? How best to describe this sort of magic? What’s the best way to portray non-human intelligences without doing the xenophobe thing of giving them all a single personality? What if a player wants to play one of those non-humans?

Everything is as spare as possible, while trying to be as interesting as possible, while being as balanced as possible, while not contradicting anything I put in the trilogy, much of which I made up on the fly because shit sounded cool.

What the hell was I thinking?

You know what feels good? Selling fiction.

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In Spring 2013, I was invited to take part in the Walk The Fire 2 shared-world anthology and I thought writers write and they sell stuff i should say yes and make money. After confirming that this anthology would have more gender parity in the table of contents, I accepted. The Kickstarter made goal, I wrote the story, boom.

Except there was a problem. The editor explained that the story broke the guidelines. It took me a while to figure out why, but the speculative element in the setting was that people would step into a special sort of fire here and emerge from another fire elsewhere. Essentially, teleportation.

However, somehow I got it into my head that this was like a wormhole through spacetime, and that not only could they travel through space, they could travel through time, too.

Oops. I apologized, obviously, and offered to write a new story. The editor thought it might be best for me to hold off for the third antho, but I’d helped pitch the Kickstarter and I didn’t want readers to back a book I wouldn’t be in.

So I sat down and wrote an honest-to-god science fiction story (if you don’t count the teleporting fire thing) set in the far future. Last night I got a note from the editor saying they wanted to accept it without asking for changes.

That feels good. After spending two years on this stinking trilogy–not to mention KEY/EGG, which has languished on my hard drive since the dawn of time–it’s nice to have a short-term goal and payoff.

Stepping back from the internet for a day

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As I mentioned on Twitter, last night my Kickstarter passed 200% of goal. This morning it’s at 213%.

I’m waiting to hear back on some emails I sent, but in the mean time I’m going to take a day away from the internet to work on the actual book. I know, right? Crazy! A writer who’s writing.

Enjoy your Saturday.

Progress report

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Let’s see if I can briefly cover everything that’s been going on.

First, I’m revamping the Kickstarter page pretty thoroughly. As I mentioned before, I asked some folks with KS experience to check it over and I made a bunch of changes. Then my agent had a look and she told me that I was underselling everything. Like a lot of writers, I’m not the best advocate for my own work. She encouraged me to explain why the books are actually fun instead of, you know, doing the whole “Here’s a thing I wrote you might like it maybe” bit that writers do.

So, revisions. I have new text for the main page ready to go and I’ll be shooting a new video this week. As some of you folks know, I get ugly red blotches on my face when I eat certain foods, so I’m trying to be super careful about every meal until then. I don’t think it would help me make my goal to have leprosy face.

By the way, if you want to know when the Kickstarter launches before anyone else, you should sign up for my newsletter in the form on this page.

The print edition of TWENTY PALACES is still a few weeks off. Everything takes longer than you think it should. That’s the law.

Finally, while the Kindle version of TWENTY PALACES is still only $2.99, there’s a sale price of $5.99 for CHILD OF FIRE, GAME OF CAGES, and CIRCLE OF ENEMIES. If you read from the Kindle and have been meaning to pick up some or all of my books, you’re not going to get a better price.

I recommend starting with the prequel, although I wrote each book to stand alone.

There are shiny new ideas for me to work on, but I have so much revision and other work ahead of me that I don’t expect to get to any of it before the end of the year. Yeah, that sucks; we only get so many productive years in this life, but it needs doing.

More later.