?

Log in

WisCon Schedule

On Thursday through Sunday, I’m planning on being in Madison, WI at the WisCon convention. This is the first of two conventions I’m planning on going to this year.

Monsters and Mirrors: a Reading of Speculative Prose and Poetry

Sat, 10:00–11:15 am

University D

I’m going to be with three other writing doing a chapter from Flight of the Scions. So, if you want to hear me talk about the world and the chapter, please check it out. I’m hoping to double the number of listeners this year, which would make four.

Writing and Tabletop Role Playing Gaming: Intersections and Divergences

Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm

Conference 4

Let’s examine the interface between tabletop RPGs and writing. James L. Sutter’s piece on tor.com, “What Roleplaying Teaches Writers,” is a good starting place, but it’s only the beginning. We will explore what RPGs can and cannot do for writers, what writers do that RPG referees do not, the meeting points and the divergences between playing and writing, the place of rules in both writing and playing, “railroading” versus creative freedom, etc.

Analog and Digital Writing Tools

Sun, 8:30–9:45 am

Conference 1

Writers, bring your favorite writing tools—laptop, tablet, quill, or steam-fueled ideatron—and share the pros and cons of your favored method of writing with others! We’ll talk software, hardware, analogware, old-fashioned methods as well as new. If you’re willing to share your beloved your writing gear, others may be eager to give them a try.

The SignOut

Mon, 11:30 am–12:45 pm

Capitol/Wisconsin

This is one of the final events of the convention. Please consider picking up my books at the A Room of One’s Own table at the convention and I’ll be glad to sign it. And talk about it.

Last year, no one came to my table. Please, break the trend?
I like writing stories about weak characters. Not characters who start weak, but ones that have limitations that pull them back. My main characters are not the Chosen One in the slightest bit, they aren’t going to wave their hand and make their enemies go away.

One of my favorite struggles is the jealousy of those more powerful. I like to see people struggle to become more, or struggle to accept what they are not. It is a hard one that I don’t see frequently in fantasy novels. When it does show up in fantasy, then it is usually a couple chapters away from the characters bypassing the source of their jealousy.

Rutejìmo will always be the weakest. Kanéko will never have magic. The difference is while Rutejìmo never exceeds his limitations, Kanéko will eventually thrive in them.

Sand and Blood 14: Coming Back

In some aspects, I pull a lot of this novel from samurai dramas. I like the idea of honor in the desert. The language, the reactions, the expectations are all part of something I find fascinating. For my world, it is tied into the clans and the desperation to survive that permeates their culture.

The idea of a fifteen year old offering his life to someone in apology comes from those stories also. Rutejìmo knows that he did the unforgivable by leaving an injured clan member, so he needed more than a simple “I’m sorry” to make amends.

Likewise, Chimípu accepting his life says a lot about how people grow up in this world. Could she cut the throat or kill a boy who she grew up with? Would she take his offered life and end it? These aren’t questions we normally think about, but at the same time, they are questions that come up across the world. Not everyone gets a sweet, simply childhood where the most terrifying thing is finding out which car they get when they graduate.

This culture keep children on the edge of innocence right up to the point of their passage, but then expect them to be instantly grown up when it happens. There are reasons (education makes it harder to manifest powers) but it also has some interesting consequences.

Read Sand and Blood 14: Coming Back at http://ift.tt/27ARjyN.

Flight of the Scions 20: Landslide

This chapter has so much packed into it. It ties into the idea of stress creates magic. Actually, this is the first scene where I realized that my world would have this concept of “threat creates power.” The more powerful the threat, the more powerful and useful the magic. It ties into the safety of civilization creates weaker magic.

When Maris falls during the landslide, she knew that she would probably die. There was no question, she knew it was coming, so that single point of time determined how much power she would have. There is also natural talent involved also, not everyone becomes powerful mages just because they fall off a cliff. In her case, falling off the cliff resulted in her gaining air powers (which I think is the most unrepresented “elemental” magic).

This chapter also shows Ruben’s power and shows another aspect of Kanéko’s mental strength. It is a precusor to explaining how telepathy works in my world. It also ties into Kanéko’s talent in visualization and creativity, which I consider a very powerful skill. Just not a magical one.

More importantly, this is the first introduction to one of the two Big Bads in this novel, Damagar. I’ll talk about him later, but right now, big glowing eyes is bad.

Read Sand and Blood 20: Landslide at http://ift.tt/250yvHe (subscribers)

Patrons

My writing is supported by patrons and donations. There are multiple ways to help, but if you like what I write please consider subscribing. All the money is going into getting these edited and released as Creative Commons books.

Sixteenth Anniversary

Sixteen years ago, I stood in my living room thinking about the movie Hackers. I was supposed to be paying attention to the pastor but he had quoted Corinthians which is also in the movie.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

When I finally realized I was supposed to be paying attention, I managed to choke out a “I-I do.”

I’ve never been really good at that type of thing. I wasn’t too graceful with the proposal either. It was drawn out over a year of me telling her “I’m going to ask you to marry you, I’m just too scared to ask.” It also ended with “I think I just asked you to marry me. Did I?”

When it comes to people, there aren’t a lot who understand me. I have certain quirks and obsessions that would drive most people bonkers. I’m picky about certain things and (as a coworker once said) I’m rather “self-described.” I like to think it means I know what works for me, but it also means that I get wound up when my keys aren’t in the right place or I spent two hours trying to find something that is right on top. I’m broken and functional.

And somehow she’s remained with me all this time. Through the fights and the laughter. We didn’t have children until eleven years after we got married (my parents may have thought we were never going to get around to it) and they were wonderful years. The years with EDM and BAM in our lives were just as amazing, just different. Different fights, save love.

We always talk about our fifty-year marriage. Fifty years and then we’ll decide if we want to stay married. It was a compromise between me wanting to renew every decade (and to give her a chance to walk away if I got too annoying) and her desire for “you are with me until the day we both die”.

For sixteen years, we’ve said “forty nine to go. Forty eight. Forty seven” and now “thirty four.” Hard to believe that I’ve been with someone for sixteen years (and over twenty that we’ve been “more than friends”).

I’m pretty happy and lucky.

Sixteen years down.

Thirty four to go.
One of my observations during my lunch walk is that my characters are somewhat intelligent, but they in different ways. The three main characters of Flight of the Scions are probably the best example and I would say Rutejìmo is probably the least intelligent character I’ve had as a main character.

Sand and Blood 13: Breaking Up

A long time ago, in a book I haven’t read for decades, I read an interesting discussion about angels. In that book, it discussed how angels didn’t have free will which made them functions of the universe (god, Bob, whatever you want to call it). The angels’ purpose wasn’t to evolve themselves but to be way points and beacons to guide others.

This influenced how the clan spirits work in my world. They don’t really have free will and they are not capable of enlightenment. They can get more powerful, but it is based on rules that mortals don’t understand, but Shimusògo will never become one of the Great Triad.

This chapter actually demonstrate a tiny bit of this internal cosmology. Shimusògo, the spirit, provides power to Rutejìmo because he is in the right place, has the right mental state, resonance, and is ready to accept his power. It wouldn’t matter if the clan (the social structure) accepted it or not, the clan spirit connected to Rutejìmo and he is spiritually part of the clan.

Now, being accepted socially into the clan, that’s a much bigger difficulty for Rutejìmo’s case and probably the subject of the entire novel.

Read Sand and Blood 13: Breaking Up at http://ift.tt/1Xm5Sly.

Flight of the Scions 19: Travel Partners

Intelligence, this is a hard one to talk about. While I was walking, I realized that even Maris was rather intelligent despite her lack of education and her innocent nature.

There are many types of intelligence (generically speaking). The three main character of Flight of the Scions demonstrate different aspects of that.

Ruben is the easiest. He knows things and has a vast repository of useless knowledge (just like it says on my website). Internally, he has a copy of Wikipedia for my world, though it is a few years out of date. However, knowing details doesn’t mean comprehension. Maris mentions that in this chapter about how Ruben knows how to speak Miwāfu but can’t teach it.

He could easily tell you the details of every magical system in the world, the lineage of every politician, and the history behind the units of measure. What he doesn’t know is how they relate to each other. While teaching Miwāfu, he can only say if Maris is right or wrong, not how to speak it.

Maris, on the other hand, is efficient in her intelligence. For someone who didn’t learn how to write until a year before, she has advanced far beyond what most teenagers learning how to write for the first time. She learned numbers without formal education. She also has social skills and a better handle on how people work (for example knowing that Pahim wanted to fuck Kanéko and giving Kanéko the contraceptive tea).

Her limitation is when she figures out something, she doesn’t push herself to improve. She figures out something and then uses it.

And then we come to Kanéko. She doesn’t have magic, but her “power” as I envisioned it, is tied into her ability to adapt, comprehend, and learn. She can also visual and capable of building up three-dimensional models in her head to help understand physical constructs.

She also has a body of knowledge and trivia. That helps drive her need to improve beyond “what works.”

Put together, this gives her on par with a telepath and… whatever Maris becomes.

Read Sand and Blood 19: Travel Partners at http://ift.tt/1Xm5SlA (subscribers)

Sand and Ash

Sand and Ash has gotten through the first editor of two. Shannon Ryan did a good job of development and line edits and I think it is a much strong piece (coupled with the beta readers at the same time). I noticed I had a couple new trouble spots, mainly “But “ and “ as “ so I’m going through a quick round or two to work on those before passing it to the copy editor.

If I didn’t have hopes of getting it done for Wiscon, I would have done the beta readers first and then passed it on to Shannon. I’ll probably do that for Sand and Bone once Ash comes out.

I think I’ve also finalized the cover for the book. I still need to redo the cover for Sand and Blood but I’m pretty happy with the results. It is more “literary” than the illustrated version, but maybe that’s okay? Either way, it is what I’m working with now.

Patrons

My writing is supported by patrons and donations. There are multiple ways to help, but if you like what I write please consider subscribing. All the money is going into getting these edited and released as Creative Commons books.
There are a couple of spoilers in this one, but that should be obvious from most of these posts.

Sand and Blood 12: Investigating the Night

Independence. Most teenagers go through a phase where they try to find their own way of life, sometimes a way that is completely contradictory to the one they were raised with. I think that is the best way to describe Tsubàyo in this chapter; he is rejecting the Shimusogo Way (no accent, it’s a possessive here) and finding his own. Too bad it involves stealing horses.

This chapter also is the second time I really show that the world is in the beginning of the Industrial Age. The giant mechanical scorpion is definitely not a fantasy troupe (unless you include Maze Mega Burst Space).

I didn’t want to write a world where everything was steam-driven and amazing (also known as steampunk). Instead, part of the world is moving into the age while other parts are still clinging to the old age of magic. As it happens, both Sand and Blood and Flight of the Scions are both located in low population areas without a lot of mechanical development, so they are both focus on the magical age. At the same time, we have a road rally (a real one, not the “rally” from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) going along the west coast, a factory city from the south (where the giant scorpion came from), and growing acceptance in other large cities.

By the time we get to Sand and Bone, which is the third book in this series and fifteen years later, there is a lot more mechanical devices running around in the background, not to mention a couple six-story snakes that shoot fireballs. At the same time, Kanéko is deep into the mechanical age of the world and has a lot of industrial devices that should be firmly in the steampunk genre.

Read Sand and Blood 12: Investigating the Night at http://ift.tt/1Y83LQt.

Flight of the Scions 18: Lessons Learned

This is the first chapter where Ruben speaks and it drives me nuts. He has a particular speech pattern that is sometimes a difficult to make flow easily but at the same time be just a bit unnatural.

He uses big words. They should be correct, but he uses larger words when smaller words would be sufficient. The problem is, I need to make sure they are the correct large word, including various connotations. And that makes his speech pattern come off as a bit unnatural.

The hardest part is that it shouldn’t come off as forced. I’m pretty sure there will be multiple rounds of going through his dialog (I was hoping Author Intrusion was much further along since I wanted to write a tool to help with that.

The reason Ruben speaks the way he does is because he has a dictionary built into his head, this world’s version of Wikipedia, and he doesn’t normally speak out loud. As a natural born telepath and a fifth generation of Vo, his “native” language is telepathy even though there is no one in the area who is telepathic (except his father and we’ll talk about that). Speaking will always be unnatural for him. Coupled with his knowledge, I thought that bigger words would be appropriate for his pattern.

Speaking of patterns, you may notice that Maris almost always starts her sentences with conjunctions. While this is not really grammatical, it reflects her environment when she grew up: where there were over a hundred dalpre all speaking over each other. Almost every sentence is chained from the one before it but it may have been someone else’s sentence. In other words, they interrupt and steal conversations constantly, guiding it in the direction they want. Her father did the same thing, but he didn’t have nearly as many words to let the reader really see the conjunction-leading sentences.

Over time, both of these characters’ speech patterns will slowly change to be more “normal.” I figured it will be a natural evolution as they leave their previous environment (silence and overwhelming noise) and interact with more standard speech patterns (e.g., Kanéko).

I have no clue why I do things like this. I’ve been writing long enough that leading dialog with conjunctions or using a large word when a smaller one is frustrating. My heart says “wrong” but my plans say that it is correct.

Read Sand and Blood 18: Lessons Learned at http://ift.tt/1Y83LQv (subscribers)

Sand and Ash

On the Sand and Ash front, I have a bit of news. The first editor should be done by the end of the week. Once I integrate that feedback, I’m going to send it to the second one.

The main reason I have two is because they focus on separate things. The first one is a development and line editor, the second is a copy editor. I also know that I really need at least two rounds of editing because of mistakes I made with Sand and Blood.

I won’t have a copy for Wiscon though, not unless I decide to spend an extra $50. Given that no one has ever asked to see a copy of my book at Wiscon before, it’s probably not worth the money.

This week, I need to work on covers, assigning ISBNs, and basically get the packaging stuff done.

Patrons

My writing is supported by patrons and donations. There are multiple ways to help, but if you like what I write please consider subscribing. All the money is going into getting these edited and released as Creative Commons books.
As it sometimes happens, there is no commonality between these two serials. Remarkably, this is also where you can see the difference between the two protagonists. Rutejìmo is introspective and somewhat passive, he makes a lot of mistakes and doubts himself. Kanéko, on the other hand, doesn’t hesitate long before coming up with a plan, even if it ends up being a mistake. She may not have magic, but she’s observant and bright.

Sand and Blood 11: Standing Alone

There is a point in most people’s lives where they are at home getting ready for bed or making dinner when they realized they had just made a terrible mistake. They didn’t think about it at the time, they just responded, but introspection forces them to reliving the experience and point out every flaw in their being.

This is Rutejìmo’s chapter for that. He isn’t a bad guy, per se. I see him as not trusting himself, terrified of making waves, or even speaking out for himself. The kernel of being a hero is there, just buried a bit. Obviously, there are some rather oppressive folks he’s traveling with. Tsubàyo is right near the top of the people who are most likely to abuse Rutejìmo.

But, why would he go with his bully instead of staying behind? Why would someone willingly go into an abusive relationship? Well, there are a lot of reasons. Rutejìmo was guilty for what he did to Pidòhu or, more importantly, what he felt he was responsible for letting Pidòhu get hurt. There was also the unfamiliar situation where Tsubàyo was a known (the devil you know) but the others weren’t. It is hard to break out of a relationship even when others say it is terrible for you.

I occasionally hear someone wondering why someone else would go back to abusive husband or a cruel boss. I think it is the same way. There is a known factor, a rut that has been worn down that gives someone a sense of being even though it is a painful route. There is more than “well, I would just leave.” No, not always. Sometimes, it is just as painful to leave as being verbally or physically abused. It takes a lot to pull away, either it be fear of the unknown, protectiveness of a child (how will I pay for them if I don’t have…), or any other factors.

It is rarely as simple as “well, I would have left.”

More importantly, it is cruel to tell someone “you should just leave” as if it was that simple. If it is that important, the better question is, “what can I do for you?” or “how can I help?”

Read Sand and Blood 11: Separate Ways at http://ift.tt/1SNZYtg.

Flight of the Scions 17: Nobody

For a four thousand word chapters, there is a lot in here.

I’ll start with the easiest: racism. While I made Kanéko brown, it was only a small part of her character. I didn’t want a story about the evils of racism, I wanted a story about a young girl who finds herself in the middle of nowhere and finds kinship where she didn’t expect it. But, the color of her skin is there and people respond to it because I think that is how people would. Racism is there, it just isn’t the point of this novel.

There is also Maris. I love her. She’s adorable, sweet, and brutal. Even though she and Kanéko had a fight, here she is kicking the crap out of people and helping without hesitation. She has no grudges but she’s also mercurial to say the least. Her innocence, in many ways, is a great foil to Ruben’s seriousness and Kanéko’s struggles of being different (racism, lack of magic, being the baron’s daughter).

Mixed in there is economics. Ten thousand crowns is basically ten thousand dollars, a rather significant sum. However, given the distance this village is from the rest of the cities, I’m treating the average income of the farmers to be closer to subsidence farmers who are happy if they make a thousand a year beyond feeding themselves. A ten thousand reward for Kanéko, for them, is a lot of money. Probably on the order of someone giving someone in Cedar Rapids a hundred grand.

Even though Sarom Senior knows it is wrong, it is hard to turn down doubling everyone’s income for an entire year for the price of one frightened young girl. Obviously, Sarom Junior wouldn’t have a problem because he thinks she isn’t really human, but there were some cut scenes that talk about the repercussions of their decisions.

This has a bit of spoilers:

The last point is Ruben power and Kanéko’s lack of magic. This is important because Ruben is a telepath and he was looking for Kanéko. Even though she doesn’t have magic, Kanéko is receptive to telepaths. Her receptivity isn’t magic, it’s a passive ability that ties into her creativity. In effect, she is open-minded (relatively speaking) to possibilities that it takes little effort to “plant” the idea in her head. She doesn’t resist but she isn’t capable of doing it herself. I still feel that fits with the basis that she has no magic.

This chapter has her beginning to pick up on Ruben’s mental search for her. I thought it was a cool effect that tied into Ruben’s father doing it on a far crueler manner at the end of the book. Sadly, that scene was also cut from this book. But, as a teaser, it has something in common with the demons from Disney’s Hercules movie.

Ruben’s way of speaking ties into that. She hears him clearly despite his soft voice because he projects telepathically as he speaks. Most people can’t pick it up, but her receptivity to it means that he is always clear. His vocabulary is also important; as I see Ruben, he has a stale copy of Wikipedia in his head. He tries to use precise words for his situation, though they usually are longer than your average fare.

Read Sand and Blood 17: Nobody at http://ift.tt/21eIu9x (subscribers)

Sand and Ash

And just a brief status update on Sand and Ash. I’ve gotten feedback from three of the four beta readers and integrated them with the current version on the website (version 0.7.0). As soon as I get the fourth, I’ll be finishing up two more quick rounds and then sending it to the copy editor.

If all goes well, I’ll have at least one copy for Wiscon, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Not much left on those tasks: the edits and finalize the covers.

Patrons

For my patrons, I also posted the another two chapters of Sand and Bone for their viewing pleasure.

My writing is supported by patrons and donations. There are multiple ways to help, but if you like what I write please consider subscribing. All the money is going into getting these edited and released as Creative Commons books.
Fedran is set at the beginning of the industrial age, when the age of magic is faltering and technology is taking its place. One of the foundations of the world is that (almost) everyone has a magical talent but the power that talent isn’t that important. Most of the population doesn’t have useful talents, much like the guy in Xanth who only had the ability to change his own urine different colors. Those without magic are considered to be “less than human” or developmentally challenged.

Slight spoiler in the next paragraph if you haven’t read Sand and Ash.

Like many aspects in my world, magic is a evolutionary trait. It originally came as something that enhanced survival, which is why the desert folks are typically more powerful than the ones in the more civilized areas. A good example is Pahim, who can grow flowers in his hand, and Rutejìmo who can run thirty-five miles an hour, throw fireballs, always runs on a solid surface, and transfer kinetic energy easily with other members of his clan. In his culture, Rutejìmo is considered the weakest of his clan. Again Pahim, he is far and away more powerful.

The main reason is that survivability in civilized areas is a lot higher. You don’t need to create walls of fire, be able to break the sound barrier, or explode people’s hearts when the most struggle you have is getting to work on time.

Over time, magical talents weaken. There are powerful ones, Kanéko’s father, Ronamar, is very powerful but he is also from a line of mage-knights, but for the most part, the civilized people (which are mostly white because of physical location) actually have weaker talents but sometimes more useful (such as Falkin’s ability to see the profit/loss statements over everyone’s head).

One way magic is evolutionary is when it manifests. In most cases, this happens during puberty. If someone has a perfectly safe and quiet life, they will manifest some talent usually based on their interests but would be relatively non-powerful. This would be Pahim’s ability to grow flowers or Lily’s talent to color fabric.

On the other hand, if during that time, a teenager is under duress, the resulting power will be significantly more combat or survival-related. We will see that later in Flight of the Scions.

Related to this is knowing that stress causes manifestation makes it harder to manifest. It is hard to have that “I’m going to die” when you also know “that my near-death experience will give me awesome powers!” The knowledge that you will probably survive means it isn’t as life-threatening as you think which means less stress.

You may have noticed that both Rutejimo’s and Desòchu’s manifestations are very rapid (hours from the moment of being abandoned). This is because the clans are very good at creating powerful manifestations by watching when they were emotionally ready to “pop”, putting them in a high stress environment (abandoning in the middle of the desert happens to be the Shimusògo clan’s preferred method), and setting them up to have the most powerful talents they are capable of manifesting.

They are also kept in the dark until then, without any adult even giving a head’s up with the events that would happen. Even the dullest kid would realize that powers happen during the rite of passage, which is why most desert children are a bit… surprised it happen. Combine that with a sociey that won’t talk about dying or sickness, kills off their elders who drink too much or abuse their spouses, and you have a situation where the children are emotionally and intellectually stunted.

Now, if Kanéko had the potential of a magical talent, this or the previous chapters (in her story) would have been the chapter where she manifested her powers. In a different world, she would have either gained some pretty decent combat powers or water-bending (to use a common phrase). But, she didn’t.

Sand and Blood 10: Separation Anxiety

One of the complaints I’ve had about Rutejìmo as a protagonist is that he isn’t the hero. He isn’t the one leading the pack or making grand decisions. Instead, he is in the back struggling with guilt and questioning his decision. Of course, that stress is the final capstone of his manifesting and he finally gets to see the clan spirit, Shimusògo.

Of course, he has no clue what is going on, so he gets mocked by those who have not manifested their powers.

Read Sand and Blood 10: Separation Anxiety at http://ift.tt/1TikT4w

Flight of the Scions 16: The River

Poor Kanéko. After having her crush betray her for a ten thousand crown reward, she is lost in the middle of the woods with nowhere to go and no ability to defend herself except for her wits. And when she wakes up, she is knee deep in mud next to a river without a clue where her hunters are or how to get back to the Boar Hunt Inn.

In the original version (now in Kin-Killer), Garèo is in full-blown panic trying to find her. There were two chapters of him running back to the inn and realizing that his nemesis (Cobin) was hanging around.

Read Sand and Blood 16: The River at http://ift.tt/1TikT4y (subscribers)

Patrons

For my patrons, I also posted the another chapter of Sand and Bone for their viewing pleasure.

My writing is supported by patrons and donations. There are multiple ways to help, but if you like what I write please consider subscribing. All the money is going into getting these edited and released as Creative Commons books.
This is one of those weeks where a lot of people get hurt. In Sand and Blood, we have a compound fracture in the middle of the desert. This was actually the original idea for the novel, to write a story about my Boy Scout manual’s survival chapter which I thought about for a long time.

I like gritty stories. I like seeing people struggling with their injuries and not get magically healed for the next battle. I like damage, mainly because it is one more thing that lets them shine. True nature comes out in moments of stress, not wandering around being awesome (which is why I don’t like playing Exalted anymore).

Sand and Blood 9: Blood and Bone

Rutejìmo is not a hero. I mean, he isn’t the type of person who charges into danger and, frankly, he freezes. I wrote this because I see that most people do that when something terrible happens. Strangers stare at car accidents with horror but they don’t do anything. They don’t rush forward, they don’t run away. They stare in shock. There is a term for some of it, bystanders apathy and it is a terrible thing that allows for abuse.

It is hard writing a character that doesn’t charge into the thick of things. Instead, he stands there, unsure of what to do. And then later regrets not doing anything because I think others do the same.

Chimípu, on the other hand, is the hero and this is where she shows it. She is the one who goes to help Pidòhu without a second thought. Again, this is part of the basis. Rutejìmo isn’t the hero, he is the man next to the hero.

Also, while Chimípu’s struggles are about self-sacrifice and serving the clan, Rutejìmo is fighting his personal demons more than anything else. And I’m not talking demonic creatures, I’m just talking the terrified core that exists in most of us.

Read Sand and Blood 9: Blood and Bone

Flight of the Scions 15: Reward Money

When I first wrote this, I had a much longer scene than before. Instead of Kanéko just running off as soon as she crushed poor Pahim’s balls, there were multiple fights as she tried to escape Cobin and his men. However, those specific scenes were lost somewhere in my historical repositories and I couldn’t find it. So, I rewrite the chapter to give Pahim’s final blow a bit more detail and to add more to the story. After this, I should be back on track for new chapters.

Read Sand and Blood 15: Reward Money (subscribers)

Patrons

For my patrons, I also posted the first five chapters of Sand and Bone for their viewing pleasure. This is only moderately edited but it gives a preview of the final tale of Rutejìmo’s story.

My writing is supported by patrons and donations. There are multiple ways to help, but if you like what I write please consider subscribing. All the money is going into getting these edited and out faster.
I know I said I was going to take April off to settle a few things, but I didn’t want to lose the momentum. So, I’m starting to serialize Sand and Blood starting with chapter eight since chapter one through seven were already available on my site.

Sand and Blood started quite a few years ago as a placeholder novel. Flight of the Scions was submitted somewhere and I thought I had a good chance of making it. I distracted myself by reading The Language Construction Kit and they had this neat little section about world building. Of course, the author was suggesting writing a 200-300 word story to show someone in the culture, I was just going to write a little 20k word novella showing the culture that Kanéko was missing.

Almost eighty thousand words later, I was only a third done with the story. Blood was the beginning of that journal. It isn’t a “typical” fantasy in that the main character isn’t the grand hero, and I found that a lot of people don’t really care for it, but there are some who do.

But here we are, at the beginning (-ish).

Like Sand and Ash, these chapters are going to be released under Creative Commons and will be available for free on my site, Patreon, Ello, and Wattpad. I’m dropping Penflip and Diaspora because they really didn’t produce any feedback from the last few months.

Sand and Blood 8: The Morning Sun

I really should have ended the preview at chapter eight. Everything up to this point was getting Rutejìmo in the middle of the desert. Chapter eight is when he wakes up abandoned by all of the adults (elders) of the clan and he’s stuck with four others in the middle of nowhere.

The idea of this reminded me of a Japanese anime when ten students go out on a journey, but when they get there, they find out there were supposed to be only nine of them. Since the students didn’t know each other before the journey, none of them knew which one was the extra and a lot of human nature came out of it. (It was also done nicely in Eureka.)

This is inspired by that story.

Read Sand and Blood 8: The Morning Sun

Flight of the Scions 13: The High Life

My “break,” as it were, comes from working on Flight of the Scions. Sand and Blood is pretty much final, complete with multiple editor runs, so I don’t really have to do much other than write my thoughts. Flight, on the other hand, requires a bit of editing as I go.

I added a section into chapter thirteen that was cut. It was a sweet little scene between Garèo and Virsian as Kanéko realizes that they are actually interested in each other.

The new section starts at:

As he returned to the room, Kanéko leaned over the railing and looked down. A large garden filled the space behind the inn. It was a couple chains deep, going from the wall of the inn and reaching into the woods. From her vantage point, she could see dozens of little paths leading to dead ends filled with benches and quiet places to talk. She amused herself by tracing them with her mind.

“It is a lovely night.”

Kanéko gasped as she heard Garèo’s voice from below. She ducked down and leaned on the railing to peer over the edge, her heart beating faster as she waited for him to call out to her.

Garèo and Virsian walked with arms intertwined as they headed into the gardens. The cat woman’s tail swayed lazily as she spoke, the tip of it occasional tapping against the back of Garèo’s leg.

In the original book, there is actually a chapter before and after this from Garèo’s point of view when he is flirting with Virsian and then one with him and Maris. Neither of those are going to be in the book since they will show up for Kin-Killer if I write it.

Patrons

My writing is supported by patrons and donations. There are multiple ways to help, but if you like what I write please consider subscribing. All the money is going into getting these edited and out faster.

Sand and Ash

Thirty-five weeks ago, on my birthday, I started posting Sand and Ash on my website. There were a lot of reasons I started posting or my decision to release it as a Creative Common licensed serial. Most of those reasons are still true, over half a year later.

There is a reason I’m woolgathering at this point: Sand and Ash is now completely released. Tonight, I have posted the final two chapters of the novel on the website. In doing so, most of the subscriber-only features disappeared and everything is now unlocked including the full EPUB, MOBI, and PDF versions of the novel.

I love this novel, mainly because it was different than anything I had written before. It was dark and gritty, but also filled with hope and drive. The main character broke down more than a few times, had his heart ripped open, but still managed to stand up and walk forward. He fell in love poorly and died for it, but in the end, he found something far more important than winning some fight or making a girl love him.

My reasons

In my original post, I wrote a few reasons why I was doing it.

Editing: Every chapter that I posted, I also edited one more time. That gives it at least six rounds for every element, though I introduced a few typos as I went along. Overall, I think it ended up being a much stronger story in the places it was weak.

Obscurity: As far as I can tell, this still remains a problem. I’ve had a few votes on Wattpad, a number of retweets on Twitter and Facebook, and some loves on Ello. That was great that I got those, but I didn’t really gain in interaction. No one asked about the characters or the plot, no discussions or “moars!”

Patrons: There was one kind soul who decided to help me out with subscriptions and another who gave me a hunk of change (effectively a year’s worth). Those two are fantastic. I was hoping for more, but obviously I’m not there yet.

Giving Back: This wasn’t listed but it is true. I made this Creative Commons because I wanted to give something to the community and I felt this was a good way to go about it.

What’s next for Ash

The next steps are going to be pretty simple but take time.

I want to go through the novel and document every character, created world, and epigraph. I did this with Sand and Blood and I thought it created a more interesting world that I used to write this one.

Get a beta reading from a friend. He offered to read it for me and I’m going to take him up on the offer.

Get a final copy editing. This will take a bit of time, but I should have enough saved up to have this edited formally and then get it polished. This is what the subscriptions were going to help with and I’m going to use all the money to get the final polish.

Finish the covers. At the end of last year, I decided to go with a more abstract style of cover that fits some ideas I liked. I hadn’t finished the series to prove out the ideas, but I like how it has turned out so far. I need to work on the other covers before I can finish it, but it should be done by the time I get it fully edited.

Get it printed and ready for the author signing at ICON. It probably won’t be done for WisCon unless things go a lot faster than I expected.

Other plans

I’m getting ready for the next serial. I’m thinking about making Sand and Blood, the first book, public in the same manner. For those who are interested in giving me feedback, were the notes interesting? Worthwhile to keep going? Or should I just have a short note that there was a chapter and leave it at that?

I plan on starting with chapter eight of Blood on the first week of May. I may switch to a different day though, Sunday? What is the best day for anyone?

I’m also going to post the first ten or so chapters of Sand and Bone for subscribers on the website. So, if you want to read the conclusion of Rutejìmo’s story, please consider subscribing.

Next week, I’ll be back to Flight of the Scions for subscribers.

Thoughts

For those who have read the novel, thank you. You have made my day.

For those who have retweeted and shared my posts, also thank you. Without you, I would be in that empty room.

And for Susan, who gave me the time to write this, I love you.