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.

The State of the Kickstarter Address

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You guys know I’ve finished draft zero of The Great Way and that I’m planning to bring it out into the world myself, via Kickstarter. “Where is this Kickstarter?” some have asked, “I have money I want to give you!”

Hey, I want to have new books to sell you, too. Since finishing Circle of Enemies, I’ve written more than half a million words, and only King Khan, the Spirit of the Century tie-in novel, is set to be published (later this fall). Sure, I was in a couple of anthologies last year, but you know, this is not how careers are built.

So, Kickstarter: since finishing the draft, I’ve been working pretty hard setting up the pledge drive. I type things, I erase them. I shoot a video of myself explaining the project, then watch it, then apologize to my wife for the way I look, then shoot another one. A lot of other peoples’ projects have little animations at the front, so I tried to make one, too. In the end, I pitched 90% of it. So while I wouldn’t say that time was wasted, I… oh wait, yes it was. Those days were totally wasted on stuff I’m not good at.

I’d hoped to be finished in time for a mid-August launch. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Once the project was ready, I asked some people to take a look at the preview and give me some feedback. Now I have to tear it all apart and revise.

Well, not all of it, but I’m a writer who lives and dies by his revisions. This needs revisions. And since the best time to launch a Kickstarter is the second half of the month, I’m now looking at mid-September.

Which means I don’t have to worry about the Labor Day weekend, I can revise the textual description of my books, and I can redo the video.

Yeah, that means you get the books a month later, but what can I tell you? Things take time, you guys.

When the cat’s at home the mice bust their asses

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This week my wife’s workplace is shut down for their annual week of cleaning, which means that she can take kid patrol duties from me. A whole week.

I haven’t been around much lately but this means I’ll be on the internet even less as I try to get work done. My list

Finish and send short story
Finish KS video
Get KS up and running
Finish Lightning Source Registration
[Thing]
Send emails
Start revising The Great Way

Not in order of importance, obviously.

I expect this will keep my hopping while she’s gone and while she’s here, too. Hope you guys are doing well.