I’m taking a short internet fast, sort of.

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Posting this today, on 3/31, because if it goes up tomorrow people might think it’s a dumb prank: I’m going to get offline as much as possible for the remainder of the week.

This has always been a tough time of year for me. Spring in Seattle is the winding down of impossibly long nights and dim, gray days, and it’s always made me feel out of sorts and unhappy. Combine that with traditional post-book blues (x4), burnout from writing 30K words of blog posts, and general life/health stress, I find I’m not engaging very much online.

And what’s the point of spending that time on Twitter (or whatever) if I’m not going to respond to people?

Is it wise to be offline so soon after releasing a bunch of books? Maybe not. Maybe I should still be out in the mix, trying to soft shoe on my blog about… something I care about, I guess. Trouble is, at the moment I don’t have the energy to care, not about Clean Reader, not about Hugo Puppies, not about tv shows or their hosts.

Probably, I will check my emails and social media notifications once a day and otherwise avoid the web until Sunday. That will give me more time for writing (still working on that Great Way supplement for Fate Core), reading, walking, and generally interacting in the real world[1]. By Sunday, I should feel better. Besides, that’s when my next G+ hangout rpg session will be.

Wish me… Huh. I don’t know. Wish me productivity.

[1]Interacting with the real world not guaranteed.

In which I am interviewed in Publishers Weekly

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Right here.

If you ever thought “What does Harry Connolly think about the future of self-publishing?” well, there’s your chance. Space was limited so I didn’t have the chance to gas on the way I usually would, but it was nice to have one small opinion and express it in a small way. And, obviously, I talk about crowdfunding, too.

Also, I’m about to drop a note to the interviewer about the term “grimdark.”

Check it out!

The Blog Tour Continues, Part Nexter

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Continuing from the previous blog tour link farm

1. Like every writer, I sometimes I have to write a synopsis. It will surprise no one to learn that I have a system.

2. Here’s a post about genres, protagonists and exposition at SFF World.

3. Advice you won’t hear from sensible authors: Always Blame Yourself.

4. The way that studying screenwriting helped me as a novelist, and the way it didn’t.

5. Self-publishing vs traditional publishing, with an agenda to push one over the other.

6. He Always Runs While Others Walk: Pacing in Fiction. My ideas about pacing aren’t what I hear from so many other writers.

7. God is All Loving (Some Exemptions Apply) Religious Magic in Horror and Fantasy. I talk about vampires, crosses, and dehumanized enemies.

8. King Queen and this Three Seasons: ARROW and the Challenges of Long Term Narrative.

9. SF Signal Mind Meld: which series got better after the first book?

10. I Search the Body: What Role-Playing Games Taught Me About Writing Fiction.

11. Helpless in the Face of Your Enemy: Writers and Attack Novels.

— 11a. That Black Gate post was linked at io9. Comments are interesting.

12. The Loneliest Student: Writing as a Subject of Study. Applying education research to the process of learning to write.

And that’s it for my blog tour. It’s Dee Oh En Ee, done. I hope you find these interesting; please share if you do.

Sometimes it helps to clarify your goals

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When I’m writing, sometimes my goal is as simple as “Finish this day’s work so I can have finished this day’s work.” Sometimes it’s as complex as “I don’t know how to solve this problem.”

Then there are times like right now, when I have a list of odd tasks that accumulate around a writing career, and I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do, except cross off everything on this list. And then I have to wonder why I’m doing any of this.

It’s not money, despite what some “fans” might say. If I wanted money I wouldn’t have become a writer. It’s certainly not awards; that’s someone else’s concern. And if I wanted writing-style fame, I’d probably do readings or conventions or whatever. So, what do I want, then?

It was this article that reminded me: How Terry Brooks Saved Epic Fantasy.

Regarding the article itself, I don’t think Brooks gets a bad rap. He wrote accessible, commercial fantasy fiction, and was lucky enough to hit the NYTimes bestseller list when other fantasy writers couldn’t. Even now, 35+ years later, his books are gateway fantasy to bring middle-graders into the genre, and as comfort reads for older fans. And if you think I have something against comfort, you haven’t seen my Goodreads page or my waist line.

However, the article itself reminded me of What I Want: I want people to be still talking about my work, decades after it was published.

That’s not to say I want people to think I “saved [genre]”. I don’t really think about genre as a unified thing that could be/needs to be saved. Fantasy is certainly doing better now than it has in a long while.

But I want to have an impact. I want people to look back at my work and believe that it mattered in some way. I want to be remembered.

Which is not nearly the same as winning awards or hitting bestseller lists. There are plenty of award-winning novels that nobody reads, and the thrift store shelves are packed with forgotten bestsellers from “#1 New York Times” authors that few remember.

I mean, awards would be nice, and money would make things easier for my wife and kid. I’m not saying those things don’t matter at all. But the number one thing is to be remembered because things are different because of what I’ve done. I’m not even sure it’s possible, but it’s what I want.

The Blog Tour Continues, Part Next

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Continuing from the first post.

Over at the Skiffy and Fanty blog, I wrote an entry for their “My Superpower” series. My superpower is an unusual kind of invulnerability.

“It’s Dangerous to Go Alone” is a post about figuring out why most people didn’t like my old series, and what if anything I should change for The Great Way, hosted by David B Coe.

“Let’s Fail On Our Own Terms” is about making ridiculous creative choices and standing by them, no matter what.

On Nick Kaufmann’s blog, I wrote about The Scariest Part of the trilogy, which is also the longest chapter in the trilogy.

Also, author Joshua Palmatier interviewed me about the series. I talk here about the hardest part of the trilogy to write, among other things.

An amusing review posted over at reddit.

And not to bury the lede, but once again here’s that starred review in Publishers Weekly.

More links in part nexter.

If you found any of that interesting, please share.

Let me tell you about something cool

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Back in 2012, Fred Hicks, the big wig over at Evil Hat game company (and I can’t type “Evil Hat” without adding an “e” to the end), and Chuck Wendig, author and editor, invited me to write for an anthology based on one of EH’s games. The game was called Don’t Rest Your Head, and it was an rpg about insomniacs who suddenly find themselves trapped in Mad City, a nightmarish dreamscape full of evil shit that wants to eat you. Plus side: the characters also get lucid-dreaming-like powers, and the whole thing is very weird and cool.

The story I wrote, called “Don’t Chew Your Food” was reprinted in my short fiction collection, but there are a whole bunch of terrific writers in the table of contents: Mur Lafferty, CE Murphy, Laura Anne Gilman, Stephen Blackmoore, and more. Check it out, seriously.

Which brings us to today. Evil Hat is putting out a “Don’t Rest Your Head” card-building game, and a creature that I invented, the Shameful, is on one of the cards. (!!!)

Image behind the cut.

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Exeunt Omnibus

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As of this morning, the last of the omnibus editions have gone out to backers.

Well, not the last last, because someone will come along in July and fill out the address survey, wondering where their books are. But large-scale Kickstarter fulfillment of physical goods is DONE.

It’s sort of amazing how relieved I feel right now.

I still have some books left, and I need to figure out what to do with them. I also have some electronic rewards to finish and deliver. But the physical stuff. Out the door.

The Kickstarter update announcing that, and talking about the next steps, is here.

I may be writing one more KS update. Maybe two. I should get that meatbread recipe figured out.

Looking at numbers, part 2A

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As an addendum to yesterday’s post about not getting responses to my Kickstarter fulfillment emails, it seems that no matter how old I get, I can still be blindsided by the realization that Other People Do Things Differently.

If you offer me something I want, I take it, all other things being neutral. If I’m in a situation where it’s not convenient to take it, I might put it off a while, or maybe not. I did carry a quart bottle of OJ around on a date night with my wife because otherwise no OJ.

I’ve certainly put off dealing with emails that required a response, but to acquire a thing I wanted? It would never even occur to me. It’s the way I was brought up.

That’s why I assumed I could get good open/ignore stats on a Saturday night from an email sent on a Wed/Thu. However, I spent a large portion of yesterday reading tweets, Facebook comments, LiveJournal comments, and emails from folks who will get around to it, who will do it after they finish a book, who have to fight for computer time, who are doing holidays, who are traveling.

You get the picture. What seems, to me, to be a matter of habit and instinct isn’t really.

Sorry for reading so much into things, you guys.

At least I sold a bunch of copies of my short fiction collection.

Packaging for Kickstarter Fulfillment (with pix)

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After being six months past the “there’s-no-way-these-books-will-take-longer-than-this” deadline, I finally ordered the trade paperbacks for my new trilogy, The Great Way. The expected delivery date from UPS was last night, and I rescheduled a bunch of work so I would be ready when the boxes of books arrived (16 of them) and could slip them into the already-addressed and sorted envelopes.

Then, on Tuesday morning, I double-checked the UPS tracking numbers and realized the books had been bumped a day, to Wednesday. Sure, the boxes had arrived in Seattle before 3 am on Tuesday morning, but apparently UPS needed 30 hours to get them on a truck.

Do I need to say I was disappointed and angry? I griped about it on Twitter, and a UPS help account encouraged me to email their customer service department with the tracking numbers and other details to confirm that they were actually sitting in a warehouse down in south Seattle.

The customer service rep confirmed it. My books, which had been delivered to Seattle the night before, still had not been unloaded and sorted. I’d have to wait for them to be delivered the next day.

Three hours later, sixteen boxes of books arrived.

My son, to my great surprise, believed me when I said I needed his help. He got off his computer (not a small deal) so he could slip bookmarks into books so I could turn to the title page quickly and seal envelopes. When my wife got home at 9pm after a long day of physical work, she cheered to see us working together, then chipped in.

I started alone at 5:30. We sent the boy to bed at midnight. My wife and I didn’t finish until almost two am. This morning, we got up early, called a cab, and transported all the books to the local post office to mail them out.

Pictures behind the cut. Continue reading