Things have just been too busy for my next “Ravencon Panels (I actually DID do)” to be ready even by next week, and I’m over a week late already, so I figured I’d post something a little less labour-intensive to tide any regular readers of this blog over. I need a longer block of time for those series posts, but I can block out five or ten minutes of time here and there to work on the blog. If I manage that, I bet I can cover a potpourri of topics that wind up being longer than my average blog series post.
I. To start with, I may have FINALLY found a cover artist for The Merrimack Event. He gave me some homework to do, first (which has partly been why I’ve been too busy for the blog, lately), but that’s finally complete and things are moving forward. Getting him has been a bit of a coup, given his pedigree. I’m still waiting on some paperwork to be completed before I announce just who it is, however.
II. I’ve been seeing a lot of odd writer’s or sci-fi\fantasy focused events, lately. Things like An Evening With Neil Gaiman at the Wolf Trap Theater (I was hoping to attend this, but as of when I’m typing this, it doesn’t look like I’ll make it), Dune: The Ballet (seriously? This really exists?), a comicon-style cosplay event at a local bar (which was last week, which is why I haven’t included a link; I missed it), and a Harry Potter for Night for Adults from our local library (we’ll see if I do that). No real point here — just an observation.
III. Something that nearly inspired another part in my Weird Research blog post series: I saw an ad for a booklet, 10 B.S. Medical Tropes that Need to Die TODAY, on Facebook. It was free at the time (regularly $0.99), so I picked it up. It was very informative, and quite useful for certain genre, but it didn’t address my main concern with medicine in stories: Useful medical treatment in a fantasy setting. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, I’ve been able to pull a lot of medical research from the following sources:
For medication, I found an easy-to-understand compilation of modern-science studies on the effectiveness of herbs, botanicals, and similar products thanks to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
For surgery or other medical treatment… I suggest that you read the sports pages regularly. Search through them long enough and you’ll find a lot of discussion of treatments, healing rates, and the long-term effects of various injuries, and it’s all in layman’s terms — you don’t need to learn too much jargon to figure it out. Of course, if you want something more in-depth, I still note that when it comes to broken bones, separated shoulders, muscle tears, and (increasingly) concussions, it’s the field of sports medicine that is generating the most studies.
IV. I rarely talk about my novelette, To the Rink of War. It’s been a big disappointment for me — I originally intended for it to be a series of connected shorts (the first of which being the one I released) that would expand into a larger universe, which I would then start opening up for a multi-author shared-universe anthology. I have Part I published, and in rough form I also have parts III and IV complete (in need of editing), with V mostly finished and II… well part II needed a complete re-write, but I figured I could get that done well before I was projecting its release.
But that, obviously, never happened. The initial release of To the Rink of War was disappointing — I had no budget for a cover, and what I was able to cobble together without a budget was underwhelming; it was very short, but at the time of the release the lowest price I could set for it on Amazon ($0.99) was the most popular price point for much larger self-published novels (while that price point still exists, I’ve noticed fewer and fewer indie writers charging that low), so it was no bargain. And it’s been a while since I published, but I seem to recall I managed to (unintentionally) time its release to the lowest-selling week of the year for me (and several other indie writers of my acquaintance).
The failure taught me several lessons, but I was saddened. I was really invested in that world. It had the development of a new sport, Microgravity Hockey. It had interesting characters (and I do mean characters) like Emperor Norton II (yes, based on the guy I linked to), who may not be quite as crazy as he is letting you believe. It had a mining asteroid colony setting (sort of like the popular Expanse series, but I like my stories a little less dreary than that). On the other hand, it was kind of labor intensive to write, requiring me to do things like plot a course between asteroids using Celestia, and then using math in ways I haven’t since my high school days to figure out the actual travel times between the asteroids my characters were inhabiting.
The horrifically poor sales and math-heavy worldbuilding weren’t the only things working against its sequel. My release schedule was utterly wrecked when first The Kitsune Stratagem was released late, and then The Merrimack Event’s initial “development hell” moment pushed back several of my other books (a small part of the long delay between In Treachery Forged and In Forgery Divided can be attributed to my attempts to get this… situation, if you will, resolved). Re-writing Part II for a story with such horrifically anemic sales as the Rink of War had seemed like a waste of time better put into getting the rest of my books out there. It worked fine as a stand-alone (it was initially conceived as such), so if I never got out part II it would be fine.
Lately, though, I’ve been giving thought to reviving the story, revamping Part I and re-tooling parts II-V so that I wound up with something more resembling a novel. Still thinking of exactly how to do that, but depending how things go with The Merrimack Event’s eventual release (please, let me FINALLY get that thing out the door!) and the completion of In Division Imperiled (Book III of the Law of Swords series) I might be able to find time to look into that some more. Though I also want to get By Claw and Arrow (the sequel to The Kitsune Stratagem) started, soon, so… we’ll see how things go.
V. Speaking of In Division Imperiled, I’m thinking of returning its title to “In Division Deceived.” Or maybe even changing that third word to something else altogether. For those who weren’t here, or don’t remember the story, the Law of Swords series was conceived as a five book series. In my efforts to better position my book for a Trad-Pub contract, I revised the outline to make it a four book series. The title change was a result of the outline change, blending the title of book III and IV together. Well, now that I’m self-publishing, I’m back to a 5-book outline.
But the outline has also changed significantly, as well, and the titles of the remaining books no longer fit the storylines explored as well as they had under the original outline. At this point, the only thing I am certain of is that book three will have a three word title beginning with “In Division.” I’ll see how the final word of the title fits once I’m done writing the darned thing.
VI. My local library may or may not be hosting an event for local authors in October. I may or may not be interested in attending, or even participating. But the library is giving so little information about it (other than that it might be what they’re having this year as a substitute for Indie Author Day) that I have no idea what, exactly, the event is. Or rather, they’re giving me the when, the where, the who, the how, but not the what or the why. I may or may not revisit this topic once I know more. You may or may not be interested.
VII. I went from binge-watching the Guy Williams-led Zorro (1957) to binge-watching the Richard Greene-led Robin Hood (1955) to binge-watching the Raymond Burr-led Perry Mason (1957). All of these shows were some I had seen before. All of these shows were made well before I was born. Somehow, however, I enjoy re-watching these shows a lot more than the bulk of my more modern favorites. I don’t know if that’s from a subconscious bias towards the “classics,” or if the TV storytelling of the era just fits my interests more. Something to ponder.
VIII. The point of a multi-author anthology like Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders is to introduce the existing audiences of each of the contributing writers to the works of all of the other writers. I don’t know how successful that has been, so far. On the other hand, it’s also the sort of thing that might have more long-term marketing effects. Now, any time any of the writers in the anthology have a new release, that author’s new readers — exploring the writer’s other works — will see, and may purchase, the anthology… and be introduced to us other authors, as well. It would help encourage those introductions, though, if the book had more reviews, so if any of my regular readers are willing to review that book it would be quite helpful. (mentioning my story in the review would be nice, too)
IX. I will need to update all of my Kindle eBooks, soon. Apparently, something was changed in how Kindle interprets eBook files, so most of my scene separations are gone. I’ll be introducing fleurons to restore those separations, so I’m open to making minor revisions in the files. If anyone knows of or has found any typos in my books, lately, now is the time to let me know so I can make corrections.
X. I may have mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I received an invite to be a guest at another convention (I haven’t announced which one, yet, and it feels like such an announcement deserves more prominent placement than as the tenth item of this slot). I keep hoping for my name to appear on that convention’s website before saying anything, but it hasn’t yet. It didn’t for the Ravencon convention I was a guest at earlier this year, either, until a couple months after I got the invite. I guess this is a standard practice?
XI. (written several days after topic VI, above, but not related to it) My local library had a “minicon” yesterday (Saturday). It might have been an event that I would have been interested in, but I only found out about it after it was long over. I keep myself tuned in to the library’s social media pages as much as is reasonable, but this isn’t the first time I’ve missed an event I might have serious interest in; in fact, I’d say it’s the tenth or eleventh… this year. I wouldn’t even know about the October event from topic VI if I hadn’t queried them about Indie Author Day. I’ve frequently found my library to be very supportive, but I really have to wonder what I need to do to be kept informed about their events.
XII. As someone else said they had in the comments section of this article (which inspired this part of the post), I “broke my teeth” in writing with fanfiction. I stopped posting fanfiction in 2005, but I didn’t entirely stop writing it. I posted an update to one of my fanfics shortly after publishing my first book, trying to encourage my fanfic audience to seek my professional fiction, but that proved too ineffective to resume my fanfic career (even as a marketing gimmick for my professional fiction).
But I do have quite a bit of fanfiction stored… well, somewhere in my hard drive. None of it is edited (not all that significant; my fanfiction rarely, if ever, got anything more than a spellcheck in the first place. I was creating fanfics as a writing exercise, not as an editing exercise, and I never had enough constructive feedback to make effective revisions anyway). Few, if any of them are finished. But still, I probably have hundreds of thousands of words worth of various unposted fanfics just sitting there, gathering dust.
That article had me thinking back to those unfinished, long forgotten fanfics, and wondering if I should do something with them. I considered “filing the serial numbers” off a few of them to try and make them publishable, but I believe my fanfics are too tightly wound into the original source for that to work. It wouldn’t take much time for me to upload them to fanfiction.net and put them out there for people to read, but I have no intention of finishing any of them, and that might annoy people.
Still thinking about it all.
XIII. Still undecided about what to do with my old convention calendar. I thought writers and fans might find it a valuable resource, but it gets little traffic and almost no-one says anything about it. It takes a great deal of effort to update and maintain, so if no-one’s using it there doesn’t seem to be any point. Ah, well.
XIV. And it’s time to post. Hope you found something here to interest you….