Sep 29
2014

Super short story: Drunken Darts

What's odd about this dartboard?

What’s odd about this dartboard? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wrote this a couple of years ago.  Apparently it was inspired by something that happened in the rpg version of the setting.  ~shrugs~  I no longer remember the inspiration, but that’s what the email where I first sent it to a beta reader says.

 Anyway, Kenshin Kenodori is a major character in my upcoming novel, No More Lies.  He’s a retired Sweytzian Special Forces spy/commando.  He’s also an honest-to-god ninja master.  He left Earth as a young man and ended up stranded on Sweytz with his best friend during a misadventure that involved a prostitute, a stolen wallet, and a sure bet that wasn’t.  I really need to write that someday.  I think I’ve got a brief biography of him around here that I could post someday . . .

I think Lyndsey and Katri are explained well enough in the story.  Though posting this did remind me that I never did the post about just what the Daggers are.

I’m not to be held responsible if anyone gets the bright idea to try any of the activities discussed in this story.

Also, I’m leaving the time units and units of measure Sweytzian.  I think you can understand the story without knowing exactly what they mean.

Here’s the story — vignette, if you want to get technical — edited some from the version some of you may have previously read.  And if anyone has a time machine, I’d like to borrow it to go smack two-years-ago me in the head for all the damned unnecessary commas I’ve found.:

Kenshin wasn’t much of a drinker, but he still seemed to end up at The Sword & Scroll Tavern at least once a sulid. Damned near everyone in the area did. Being near a starport, there wasn’t a lack of bars in and near Lus Ville, but to anyone who wanted more than a drink — or who didn’t want a drink at all — the only one was The Sword & Scroll. And, as ex-military, he got a 10% discount.

As soon as he walked in that night, he noticed the unusual amount of noise and the large crowd near one of the dartboards.

“Ha! Beat that!” said a voice he knew very well.  I wonder what she’s up to now, he thought as he wandered over to join the crowd watching the young ninja and a young man that he thought was one of the newer Daggers.

As he approached, he saw the young man take a swig of something clear and far too innocent looking for Kenshin to believe it was anything except high proof alcohol. Then the young man was blindfolded by an attractive young woman who seemed quite pleased to have an excuse to touch him.  Kenshin had never known getting blindfolded to involve so much groping. Oh, drunken blindfolded darts again. I guess Viktor’s not here tonight. Viktor, one of the proprietors, and Lyndsey’s father, had explicitly forbidden blindfolded darts, with or without the additional complication of being drunk, thinking that the game was a tragic accident waiting to happen. Bobby, the other proprietor — and, incidentally, Kenshin’s apprentice — took a much more relaxed outlook and just discouraged those who weren’t ninja, Daggers, or Special Forces from playing.

To Kenshin’s surprise, the young man produced a very nice looking throwing knife out of seemingly nowhere and flung it at the dartboard.  They wouldn’t, he thought before looking at the board; sure enough, a throwing knife he recognized as Lyndsey’s was just a touch farther from the bullseye than the young man’s.

“Impressive,” he commented.

The young man shrugged, looking upset. “Not really. Was a bit off.”

“But you won this round anyway,” Lyndsey said, handing over twenty credits. Noticing Kenshin, she said, “Hey, sensei!”  The alcohol smell on the short woman’s breath was overpowering enough that he wondered how she was still standing.  “I can do better than that, but was takin’ it easy on Katri.”

“Taking it . . . fine, triple or nothing. And no ‘going easy’, eh?” Katri said in an unmistakably lower class Ruvellian accent.

Lyndsey’s smile was huge and cocky.  “You’re on.”

Kenshin smirked, looked at where their knives had hit the board, estimated how drunk they already were, and said, “Let me show you both how to do this right.”

 *****

Half an nulaire later, at least a hundred credits richer — he’d lost count after winning seventy-five, and more than a bit tipsy himself, Kenshin, now smiling broadly, refused their offer of another round.  “I’ve won plenty off of you kids tonight.  And I think you’re both about to get alcohol poisoning.  Why don’t you go home and sleep it off?  Maybe we’ll have a rematch the next time we’re all here?”

He walked away before they could argue, thinking that he should go to the bar more often.  He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had that much fun.

 *****

Kenshin later heard that Lyndsey tried to explain to her father, when Viktor got word of the game, that the notice by the dartboard just said no drunken blindfolded darts, nothing whatsoever about knives, but he was, in her words, “completely unreasonable. Kept going on about how someone could’ve gotten hurt or killed, like the three of us didn’t know what we were doin’, even that fucking drunk!”

The notice was changed. The next time Kenshin was at The Sword & Scroll it read:

Blindfolded darts is forbidden.

Drunken blindfolded darts is especially forbidden.

Substituting throwing knives for darts is forbidden.

Even if you can hit a bullseye with a throwing knife from 1000 varĵé away.

This applies to you too, Kenshin Kenodori.

He smiled at the last line. It had been decades since he’d been specifically mentioned in a list of rules like that.

 

 

Posted in Short stories | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Sep 25
2014

Screw you, Amazon and Google

I try to keep this blog professional and only related to my life as a writer, but this time I really need to vent where it might be seen.  Besides, ranting about the Kindle app for Mac not working is sort of related to writing.

Yesterday I opened my Kindle app and started to read a book. Everything worked just fine. I closed the program and went on about my day.

Today, I opened it and it told me to register. Since “forgot your password” was an option, I assumed this was just the stupidass version of a login screen.

Nope! It opened a Kindle library with nothing but a couple of free books in it!

Much crying and cursing later, I found where the other books are stored on the hard drive, at least, so I can open them. But there’s one very annoying problem: Amazon IDs are the filenames, so I have no fucking clue what anything is.

So, I did what anybody does in a situation like this: I googled my problem. First match was Amazon’s troubleshooting page for the app. It’s utterly, totally, and completely useless. That’s not redundancy; that’s really how useless it is. Most of the other matches were about problems with iBooks and Nook. Because somehow putting “reauthorize Kindle for Mac” into Google matches “Nook for Mac won’t sync”. I’m getting really tired of this sort of thing.

Google, if I type particular words in the search bar, it means I want to search for those fucking words! Quit trying to be smarter than me. You aren’t. Keep this shit up, and I’m going to give Bing a try.

Amazon, don’t bother with having troubleshooting pages if they only are going to list problems that I’m pretty sure my baby niece could manage to solve. Congratulations. This was your last chance after several screwups. I’ll only be using your app for books that … no, wait: I’ll see if Calibre does a good job of converting books that are only available for your app to .epub. If it does, then I will not be touching your piece of shit app again.

Posted in Rants | Leave a comment
Sep 24
2014

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!

The prices on all Universal Nexus ebooks have either just been slashed by a dollar or will be in the near future.  Yes, this means “Once A Hero, Always A Hero” is now free!  (Except on Amazon and Nook where I can’t make it so.)

There are many and varied reasons for this change, but they all boil down to one simple, irrefutable fact:  The ebook market is a new industry and what’s true one day may not be true the next.  My apologies to anyone who was interested in my work before but refrained from buying it because it wasn’t priced competitively.

Print books will stay the same cost as I can’t sell them for less and still make any profit.

 

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Sep 22
2014

Wanna help me make a decision?

Which of these should I work on for NaNoWriMo?

Space Opera: The Artist's Book, Michael J. Wel...

Space Opera: The Artist’s Book, Michael J. Weller (Visual Associations, 2000) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. Richie

Synopsis:  Slice-of-life in a space opera setting about an up-and-coming rock star trying to juggle that with family life.

First paragraph:  Somewhere out there in the tri-galaxies, one of Richie’s older sisters was fighting to free a world from tyranny.  Somewhere out there, another of his older sisters was engaging in a bit of smuggling.  He, however, was in the nursery of his house in Namenlose Province, Sweytz, trying to convince his daughters to take a nap.

Pros:  It’s different, which might be what I need to recharge.  Despite this, it’s a setting I know very, very well.  I love Richie.

Cons:  Richie presently occupies an annoying place between ordinary person and could be the protagonist of a more exciting story, which makes it awkward to write.  It’s been over a year since I touched it.

Amount already written:  1,622 words

Aiming for:  Novel or series of novels

  1. Kayden

Synopsis:  Slice-of-life in a space opera setting about a stay-at-home dad, his apprentice jeweler husband, their baby girl, and Kayden’s large family, most of whom are in some sort of exciting career.  Focus would be on the contrast between his life and that of his siblings.

Pros:  It’s different, which might be what I need to recharge.  Despite this, it’s a setting I know very, very well.

Con:  Kayden might be too boring to carry even a slice-of-life story.

Amount already written:  Nothing

Aiming for:  Novel or series of novels

  1. Bobby’s Daughter

Synopsis:  This is sort of a sequel to the novel I’ll have coming out next year, No More Lies.  Twentysomething years after it, someone shows up on Bobby,’s the main character of both stories, porch claiming to be his daughter.  A bit of self-loathing occurs and disappointment from just about everyone, then adventure will happen.  And a bit of stupidity.  It’s a space opera, though a bit small scale for one.

First paragraph:  The knock on the door surprised me a bit.  Most people who’d be visiting unannounced at that time of day would’ve just walked in.  I slid a knife into my left hand and opened the door with my right, figuring I could never be too cautious . . . especially after the shit with Andrei last year.

Pros:  I just wrote a whole novel and rewrote a short story in Bobby’s voice, so I’m very, very familiar with it now.  I know the setting very, very well.  I have notes on some of what will happen next, so I’m not completely pantsing it.

Cons:  I’m a bit tired of Bobby and would like a break.  Feeling less than confident in my ability to handle any kind of story that requires an actiony plot after getting lots of bad reviews in the past couple of months.

Amount already written:  4,172 words

Aiming for:  Novella or novel

  1. Giant Space Spider

Synopsis:  In a different, more pulpy space opera setting than the other works, a ship goes to investigate a world no ship has ever been able to get past.

First paragraph:  No one knew what lurked beyond Alzas.  Spacer rumors had put everything from ancient evils from before the dawn of time to pirates very determined to keep their stronghold secret.  All that was known for sure was that something was there, and that something didn’t let anyone past.

Pros:  It’s different, which might be what I need to recharge.  It’s more pulpy than any of the others on this list, so I don’t have to worry about so much about things like psychological realism.

Cons:  I know no more about the setting or story or characters than what I’ve already written.  It’s been over a year since I touched it.  Feeling less than confident in my ability to handle any kind of story that requires an actiony plot after getting lots of bad reviews in the past couple of months.

Amount already written:  789 words

Aiming for:  Novella or novel

  1. Jake’s Early Years

Synopsis:  This is a prequel to my novella Jake’s Last Mission.  This would be the story of how Jake went orphaned ranch hand to military officer.  It’ll start a space western and shift as it goes on to military space opera.

First paragraph:  “I can quit school.  I already know how to read and do math and such.  I can figure out anything else, Dad,” I said, sounding as mature as I could at eleven years old.

Pros:  I know the setting very, very well.  I love Jake.  I already have a timeline of the major events in it.

Cons:  I stupidly switched from first to third person partway through the part that’s already written, so I need to rewrite it.  I’m not sure it’ll actually be that interesting.

Amount already written:  Don’t know as some of it is handwritten.

Aiming for:  Novella or novel

  1. Second Kavaliro Cousin, Version 1

Synopsis:  Lyndsey and Taliza, the main characters from my novella The Crown of Eldrete, and a team are going to Polthaina to try to secure the space port and naval base with the help of local rebels.  Someone’s been feeding the bad guys intel.  It’s space opera.

First paragraph:  When Lyndsey got to the bridge of the yacht, Taliza was already there and talking to someone.  “I understand that,” she was saying, “but we’re unarmed, so clearly there’s no reason to fire on us.”  Taliza hit the button that let other occupants of the bridge hear what was being said over the comm.

Pros:  I know the setting very, very well.  I get to write Lyndsey and Taliza again.

Cons:  I don’t know if I really want to continue this version of it.  I’ve already cut 9,000 words.  I’m not completely more than the plot of the bit I left is salvagable.  I haven’t touched it in over a year.  Feeling less than confident in my ability to handle any kind of story that requires an actiony plot after getting lots of bad reviews in the past couple of months.

Amount already written:  2,553 words

Aiming for:  Novella

  1. Second Kavaliro Cousin, Version 2

Synopsis:  Lyndsey and Taliza are meeting up with rebels on Polthaina.  That’s all I know.  This one is more space fantasy than straight up space opera.

First paragraph:  Polthaina had been attacked by enemies so often in its long history that the entirety of the world was covered in ruins.  Lyndsey paused to try to read an inscription on a vine and moss covered arch in one of these ruins.  “Hey, Cousin?  You got any clue what this says?”

Pros:  I know the setting very, very well.  I get to write Lyndsey and Taliza again.

Cons:  I have no clue where to go from the beginning I’ve got.  I haven’t touched it in over a year.  Feeling less than confident in my ability to handle any kind of story that requires an actiony plot after getting lots of bad reviews in the past couple of months.

Amount already written:  363 words

Aiming for:  Novella

  1. Lyn, Rek, Ana, and Bobby Have An Adventure

Synopsis:  This is set years before the Kavaliro Cousins series when Lyndsey’s wife, Anastasia, was a Dagger (rebel-for-hire) too.  She and Lyndsey were on a mission when they ran into Bobby (from No More Lies and Bobby’s Daughter) and his best friend, Rek, who are on a mission for the Sweytzian Defense Force Special Forces.  The two groups are targeting the same organization, but for different reasons.  It starts with Rek’s disguise being good enough to fool Lyndsey so she shoots him, and things go downhill from there.  This one is also space opera.

First paragraph:  Son of a fucking bitch! Lyndsey thought as the guard got into sight.  He was looking right at her.  Guess I’m not as well hidden as I thought.  With a quick prayer, she pulled her holdout blaster and shot the guard.  Having not taken the time to aim, the bolt only scorched his leg a bit.  Should at least slow him down some, she thought, quickly hitting a button on her comm with the hand that didn’t have a blaster in it.

Pros:  I know the setting very, very well.  I get to write Lyndsey and Bobby.  It’s probably going to be pretty fun.

Cons:  Feeling less than confident in my ability to handle any kind of story that requires an actiony plot after getting lots of bad reviews in the past couple of months.  I think I might want to switch it to first person, which would mean rewriting what I already have.  If I do that, it would mean more Bobby first person stuff which I’d like a break from.

Amount already written;  6,809 words

Aiming for:  Novella or novel

  1. Magi

Synopsis:  Elianthir has just become a mage.  His grandfather died under mysterious circumstances years ago.  His girlfriend, who’s a member of his hometown, just found brutally killed sheep.  An evil mage is somehow involved in all of this.  That’s all I know so far.

First paragraph:  Elianthir touched the intricately carved silver cover of the codex with trepidation.  He knew that once he opened it, all of his grandfather’s hard won knowledge would disappear from its pages.  The words — those the Order of Tylar considered important anyway — had been carefully copied into the Grand Codex of Tylar, of course.  But that didn’t stop Elianthir from feeling like he was about to destroy something of great value, to destroy the last remaining bit of his grandfather, who’d vanished in a cloud of pale blue smoke while fighting a telazir years before.

Pros:  It’s different, which might be what I need to recharge.  It’s fantasy which is what I really wanted to write for years.

Cons:  I know nothing more about the setting, story, or characters than what I’ve already written.  Feeling less than confident in my ability to handle any kind of story that requires an actiony plot after getting lots of bad reviews in the past couple of months.  Been reading Name of the Wind and now feel like my idea is seriously lacking in awesomeness.  I’ve not been able to finish a fantasy story since a horrible creative writing class in college.

Amount already have:  2,619 words

Aiming for:  Novel or series of novels

  1. Loving Her

Synopsis:  Renata, Bobby’s sister and Lyndsey’s mother, is stabbed in the lung and nearly dies.  The story contrasts the way her husband of thirty-three years and her “not-a-boyfriend” of a year and a half handle this, and the “not-a-boyfriend” realizing he can’t keep up the charade that he doesn’t love love her.  Her marriage is open, so this has nothing to do with a love triangle or anything like that.  This will be a romance in a space opera setting.  It also will have stuff about her debating retiring from being a Dagger.

First paragraph:  Renata and I had been enjoying each other’s company in my tent when the alarm sounded.  Within moments, ((enemies)) were pouring into the camp from every direction.  The battle was long and hard, but I don’t remember much about it now.  Nothing about it was nearly as important as what happened near the end.

Pros:  I’ve got lots of little ideas for bits to have in this.  I know the setting very, very well.  Quinn and Viktor are interesting to write from the viewpoints of.

Cons:  I’m not really 100% sure what tone to take with this.  I’ve already started it over once because of this.  It’s a bit more depressing than I tend to like writing.

Amount already have:  2,601 words, and some bits here and there from a writing exercise thing that I might be able to incorporate

Aiming for:  Novel

  1. Super Hero Story

Synopsis:  Super villain stole an important thing.  Super hero team that usually deals with such things is too well known to super villain, so they’re recruiting a new team.  I think I was planning to go with something Avengers like . . . new team learning to work together while thrust into the crucible sort of thing.

First paragraph:  The red energy field contained by the pentagon pulsated.  Mona Cathar, known to most as the Pink Spider, studied it from afar, daring not to get close enough to be tempted to try to touch it.  The others present, actual scientists, unlike her, jabbered about “revolutionizing our understanding of Quaglon science” and “non-electrical power” and other such things.  Mona, however, saw one thing when she looked at it:  Money.

Pros:  It’s different, which might be what I need to recharge.  It’ll probably be really fun.

Cons:  I haven’t touched it in over a year.  I know nothing more of the characters, setting, or story than what I’ve already written.  Feeling less than confident in my ability to handle any kind of story that requires an actiony plot after getting lots of bad reviews in the past couple of months.

Amount already have:  372 words

Aiming for:  Novel or series of novels

  1. Viktor’s Life Story

Synopsis:  Viktor has finally conceded to have an official biography written, decades after killing the tyrant Drochslem and bringing peace to the Vorton galaxy.  That’s the frame story to him telling the tale of how he went from quiet bookish teenager to war hero to Dagger to Drochslem’s slave to Drochslem’s killer to crippled bar owner, poet, and professor.  Space opera, needless to say.  Space fantasy to a certain extent too, I think.

First paragraph:  I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d expected Viktor Blue to look like, but it certainly wasn’t the gentleman standing in front of me.  His silver hair, the only part of him that betrayed his age, hung to just past his waist, part of it pulled back in an elaborate braid.  His clothing was much like that his husband normally wears, but tamer:  a loose, long-sleeved white shirt with ruffles at the cuff and collar; a black vest with silver embroidery; black silk pants; and black boots polished to a gleaming shine.  His jewelry was plentiful, but simple and understated, save a pair of silver filigree earrings he absent-mindedly untangled from his hair as he limped towards me.  There was a black cane with a pearlescent handle next to his chair, but he’d left it behind.  He was tall with piercing blue eyes and spoke in a cultured baritone.  He sighed softly before asking, “You’re the Royal Historian, I presume?”  His accent was odd, which I didn’t find surprising since he hadn’t learned to speak Allurian until he was in his thirties.

Pros:  It’s interesting to write from Viktor’s viewpoint, partially because I get to describe things more.  I have very old versions of some bits of this to draw from.  I know the setting very, very well.

Cons:  I feel like maybe I’m ripping off Name of the Wind a bit much with how the frame story goes.  I’m worried that maybe his life story isn’t actually going to be as interesting as I’ve always thought it would be.  There are parts of this that will be very, very depressing.  Feeling less than confident in my ability to handle any kind of story that requires an actiony plot after getting lots of bad reviews in the past couple of months.  This is my severalth attempt at this, so I’m not altogether confident I’ll ever be able to finish it.

Amount already have:  1,111 words

Aiming for:  Novel or series of novels

Posted in Writing process | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments
Sep 22
2014

Confession time

I have a confession to make that won’t make me many friends:  I like hyper-competent beautiful characters.

Notice I didn’t say “I like Mary Sues.”  There’s a reason for this . . . read carefully because lots of people seem to have trouble with this one, more every year:  They’re not the same thing!

First, let’s recall what sort of character “Mary Sue” originally referred to:  the idealized, usually teenaged, self-insert in fanfic, the sort that could out-logic Spock, out-captain Kirk, out-doctor McCoy, out-engineer Scotty, and seduce all of them easily . . . at least as far as I’ve been able to tell. That’s pretty damned far from the definition used today.  Today, I’ve seen the term used for anything from a female character that is good-looking and good at anything, which is so annoyingly sexist that it makes me want to ask what decade the person saying it time-travelled from, to characters who have become super-competent at one skill through a lifetime of hard work, but most commonly it refers to any character who commits the current literary (or at least pop culture literature) sin of being both beautiful (or handsome) and skilled in more than one thing, especially if they have an angsty backstory.  People defend this definition by saying that characters like that are unbelievable, that they warp reality around themselves and therefore ruin the suspension of disbelief necessary to enjoy a story.

I say “Bullshit.”  Some characters like that do, in fact, ruin a story.  But some don’t.  It’s a matter of, more than anything else, the writer’s skill.  Look at Verity Price.  In the hands of many authors, she would be utterly unbearable, but in Seanan McGuire’s hands, she’s a talented dancer, cryptozoologist, and . . . parkour-doing-person, I don’t know the word . . . but utterly believable, at least within the confines of the story, because she still has problems that we can identify with, and these problems aren’t exaggerated to make her more pathetic.  She feels like a real person.  That’s the mark of a good character, regradless of how talented they are.

You know, I had a similar discussion years and years ago on an rpg forum.  I was explaining why I like high level/high point total characters and was told, pretty much, that I was engaging in silly wish fulfillment gaming instead of Serious Mature Gaming.  What’s wrong with a little bit of wish fulfillment?  Do most people really want to pretend to be commoners in revolutionary France . . . this is a real GURPS game someone I talked to was running once, by the way?  Do they really want to read about Joe Ordinary and his ordinary day?  Of course not!  That shit’d get really boring, really fast!  We want to read about John Carter, Conway Costigan, Lazarus Long, Wolverine, Snake Eyes, Verity Price . . . even Jo March and Anne Shirley weren’t ordinary people.  Or at least that’s the sort of character I want to read about.  I, by the way, write for people who want those sorts of characters.  If you don’t, sorry, mate, you aren’t my target audience.

There was another point made in that long ago discussion that is relevant to the whole thing about alleged Mary Sues ruining stories.  That was that it’s too hard to identify with powerful characters.  Again I say, “Bullshit.”  Too many people have been reading superhero comics for too many decades for me to believe.  People identify with characters that are believable, as I said above.  Characters with flaws and problems, but not ones that are so overwhelming that it’s unbelievable they’re not curled up in a corner crying all the time.  Characters that, regardless of how beautiful they are, can’t get every person they want to fall in love or lust with them.  You know, characters that are like people . . . but a little better in some way so they’re interesting enough to read about, because, as I said, we don’t want to read about perfectly ordinary people doing ordinary things . . . Bilbo was not an ordinary hobbit, before anybody says it.  Tookishness, remember?

I guess, in short, what I’m saying is that traits aren’t what makes a character a Sue or not.  It’s how they’re handled.  Look at the original definition.  That’s not a character.  That is just wish fulfillment.  Unless you’ve got a damned good explanation of how they got to be so smart and irrestible to men who I’d imagine have very diverse tastes.  See?  Even then it comes down to how well written the character is.

Posted in InCryptid praise, Rants | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments
Sep 19
2014

Works in progress, September edition

Welcome to the first installment of a new regularish feature where I will share info on my works in progress.  I used to do this regularly, but then my blog had a readership of me, so it was pointless.  Now I have a slightly bigger readership than that, so it’s not pointless.

Also, I like lists way more than is sane and this is an excuse to make a list.

And I just have to mention that Zemanta is currently suggesting as a related article something about some Bollywood actress‘s cleavage.  I think whatever it uses to determine related articles is a bit screwy.

1)  No More Lies – if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you’ve heard of this one.  It’s my first novel, and I’m just about to start revising it.  It’s about Bobby Kavaliro, a spy posing as an assassin for a dictatorship who finds true love on vacation . . . around the same time the dictatorship starts suspecting he’s a spy. It’s the tale of him learning to be an adult without someone giving him orders all the time, learning how to keep his temper so as not to lose the woman he loves, dealing with the fallout from running away from home ten years before, and dealing with all the changes time has wrought in his friends and family.  Oh, and trying to manage his first real relationship in years.  It’s a space opera/coming-of-age/romance with some action-adventure stuff in it.

2)  Second “Kavaliro Cousins” book — this exists in two incompatible partial drafts on my hard drive.  Yay.  I got what I thought was a pretty good distance into it, then suddenly realized I’d started the story about 10,000 words too early.  For a novella, that’s a terrible, terrible mistake.  Then I got an idea for a completely different approach.  What I know it will feature:  Lyndsey showing off her mad fighter pilot skills, Renata (her mother) showing off her mad swordwoman skills, and a bit more space opera-y-ness in general.

3)  Loving Her (title not final) — this is a space opera romance that’s heavier on the romance.  So far.  It’s about the contrast in the way two of Renata’s lovers experience her recovery from a traumatic injury, mostly.  So far.  I’m not very far in, really.

4)  Jake’s Early Years (title very not final) — this is a prequel to Jake’s Last Mission that tells the story of how he went from a ranch hand on a middle-of-nowhere world to . . . well, I’m not sure whether it’ll end with him joining the Sweytzian Defense Force or him getting commissioned.  I made a serious error and switched which person I was writing this in somehow, so I’ve got to fix that before I can go any further.

5)  Magi (title not final) — this is not a Universal Nexus story.  It’s a fantasy, that I’m not sure I’m going to discuss much on here as I’m considering publishing it under a pseudonym.  It’s got a newly minted wizard, his warrior girlfriend, a quirky elderly gnome wizard, and and evil wizard who’s plotting against the new wizard because of something his grandfather did.  I’m not very far in and I probably need to do some serious world-building before I write myself into a corner, but I’m having fun doing something totally different.

6)  Bobby’s Daughter (my working titles are awesome, aren’t they?  Yeah, this one’s not final either) — Twenty something years later, the main character from No More Lies answers a knock on his door to find someone claiming to be his daughter, conceived days before No More Lies started.  Then I’ve got a couple of different ways things can go and haven’t decided which to go with yet.  I’m further in this than the last two, but still not very far.

7)  Sequel to “Once A Hero, Always A Hero” — Lance and the Tezarin find out what was going on with Lerexit and kick ass.  This is more of a concept so far than an actual story.  I think I have a page written, maybe?

8)  Vik and Ren love story — I actually have an old short story version of this one, about how Renata and Viktor met and fell in love, but it’s only about 3000 words, so it really doesn’t do justice to the story.  I’m going to be fleshing it out.  Eventually.  Right now, I’ve got a paragraph.

9)  Giant Space Spider (again with the title that is very much not what I want to be stuck with) — this is a space opera, but not Universal Nexus.  It’s more an old school, pulpish, there are ruins in our solar system, sort of thing.  It was inspired by a picture of a nebula that looks like a spider.  It’s very slow going because I have to be in the right kind of mood to work on something like that.

10)  Lyn, Rek, Ana, and Bobby Have an Adventure (totally not the final title) — well, the title kinda explains it, but since you don’t know who Rek is, I’ll go ahead and explain things a bit more.  Lyn and Ana, who was also a Dagger at the time, are infiltrating a building where bad stuff is going down.  Bobby and his best friend Rek, who are members of the Sweytzian Defense Force Special Forces, are infiltrating the same building for a different reason.  Neither team knows the other is there.  Lyn shoots Rek because his disguise is a bit too effective, and it’s downhill from there.  I’ve written myself into a corner, but think I know how to fix it and then this should go smoothly as I have a pretty good idea what’s going to happen.  This one is a blast to write because the characters play off each other so nicely.

11)  Viktor’s Life Story (probably not the final title) — I’ll give you the in-universe blurb for the story within a story in this one first:  Viktor Blue, the Slayer of Drochslem, has been the subject of many books since that fateful day so many years ago.  But who is he, really?  How did he become the man who killed the warlord most thought unstoppable?  Why did he leave the warrior’s life behind after that?  For the first time, he answers these questions within.

The not-in-universe version:  Vik’s one of my favorite characters.  He’s . . . cross Ned Stark, Kvothe, and Duncan MacLeod and you wouldn’t be far off.  I’ve made innumerable attempts at writing his life story, and . . . what’s greater than innumerable? . . . at specifically writing about him killing Drochslem.  I think, courtesy of pretty much ripping off The Kingkiller ChroniclesI’ve finally found a way to do it that will work.  I think this is what I’m going to be focusing on for a while because I’ve enjoyed it so far and already know large chunks of the story.  I just realized that this probably means #8 will be incorporated into this instead of a separate book.  I bet this gets really long.

12)  Various short, short stories — I really need to get back in the habit of posting these somewhere.  And editing them.  I’ve got lots of little things that zoom in on just one moment in people’s lives — frequently Vik’s brother Vinnie, lately — that I’m pretty proud of.  I’ve just been letting them sit on my hard drive for a while, since no one was reading them on the main site.  My rule of thumb is that if the story is under 2000 words, it goes on the website instead of asking people to pay for it.

13)  Superhero story — I started this as a reaction to City of Heroes closing.  I have a villain, I have a good guy group.  I have an event to kickstart it.  I don’t, however, have any idea what’s really going on yet.  Also not Universal Nexus.

14)  Richie story — I’m honestly not sure if I’m going to continue this, start it over, or what.  It’s a story about Lyndsey’s younger brother and his family and was an attempt to write a purely slice-of-life story in a space opera setting.  Richie may have been a bad choice for that since he’s an up-and-coming rock star and his wife is a reasonably well-known archaeologist.  I might write one about a different brother, Kayden, who is a househusband married to an apprentice jeweler.  I think he might be a better vehicle for the “this is what ordinary life is like in this cool, futuristic setting” thing I want to do.  Basically, there’d be references to what his more . . . ambitious isn’t quite the right word . . . adventurous, maybe? . . . siblings are doing, contrasted with his boring and safe life.

So, any of these that sound particularly good to you?  Any that sound really bad?  Suggestions for which of these should be my Nanowrimo project this year?  Any title suggestions?

 

Posted in No More Lies, Writing process | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments
Sep 17
2014

Some things that need to stop

I had another post in mind for today, had a clever title even, then something happened in a

Scarlett (G.I. Joe)

Scarlett (G.I. Joe) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

book I’m reading, something I’ve seen far too much lately, and I need to vent a bit now.

 

Author of the book?  If you happen to see this, remember, it’s not about you.  You didn’t do anything that hundreds of other authors haven’t done, that’s why I’m ranting about it.

 

The book in question was a pretty good fantasy.  A bit first novel-y, a bit “yeah, this was definitely self-published”-y, but not bad.  Then something happened that’s making it hard for me to enjoy it.

 

You see, there’s only one female character . . . that alone isn’t that big a deal as the cast  is pretty small . . . and at first she’s competent and awesome and all that other sort of stuff.  Then she falls in love, suddenly, like the author suddenly remembered there needed to be romance in the story . . . as an aside, I’d like to remind authors that it is not, in fact, necessary to have romance in every story, as this is the third or fourth book I’ve read in the past few months that has had one abruptly happen with no development . . . anyway, author suddenly has two characters fall in love, and now the one female character exists pretty much just to burst into tears and fall into the guy’s arms.

 

Fuck that shit.  Seriously.  I’m tired of it.  Just because you have a female character and a male character does not mean that they have to fall in love, lust after each other, whatever.  Just because your female character is now in love does not mean she is now some fucking helpless damsel in distress.

 

Love does not, despite what entertainment media would have you think, turn a woman’s brain to goo.  Stop this nonsense.

 

It’s one thing for women not to be equal in the fictional society of your story.  I know some people like to insult GRRM because women are seen as not as good in Westeros, but I’m cool with that.  It’s his setting and that’s how he wanted it to work.  I’m not cool with people writing women like we’re not capable of being competent once we’re in love.  I’m not cool with people automatically pairing up the sole female character with the hottest male one . . . save it for the fanfic authors if it’s not actually part of your story.

 

Hell, this seems like a good time to go off on a tangent and talk about something else that I’ve been meaning to for a while.  Maybe this time I can manage it without saying “fuck” twice a sentence.

 

I know part of the reason romances are shoe-horned into stories:  this crazy ass idea some people have that you won’t get female readership unless you have a romance in the story.  That is, quite frankly, utter, total, and complete bullshit.

 

You know one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve had in the past few months?  The current storyline in GI Joe: A Real American Hero.  Not a hint of romance in it.  It’s been a straight up action-adventure, military fic, storyline for months now.  Hell, I can’t remember the last time Scarlett and Snake Eyes or Lady Jaye and Flint were even in the same place . . . oh, wait, I can.  Scarlett and Snake Eyes were working together to be sneaky, deadly, and awesome.  And that was six months ago.  So, for six months I’ve been reading a comic with no romance in it.

 

Now, to be honest, I don’t know what first attracted me to GI Joe comics . . . wait, yes I do.  It was . . . well, this whole issue:  http://www.yojoe.com/comics/joe/joe61.shtml.  Or at least the bits with ninja and Cobra Commander, as I don’t remember the rest of it, it turns out.  Still, no romance.  Okay, so I was maybe nine when I first read it, possibly younger, but still . . . to listen to some, even then I would’ve only been interested if there was a love story, because that’s the sort of thing that appeals to females.  Yet the scene from that comic that I can still see as clearly in my mind as the day I first read it is the one where Fred shot CC in the back.  I remember the “Oh my god!” feeling I got right then, the total shock, wanting to know what happened next . . . At no point did I care who was in love with who.

 

You know what appeals to me in a story?  Cool characters, awesome world-building, some humor, and good writing.  Those are the main things.  True, I’m more likely to have even noticed the story in the first place if it fits under the broad headings of “action-adventure”, “fantasy”, or “space opera”, but even those aren’t a necessity.  One of the best books I’ve read the past few months was a work of “chick lit”.  No romance, though a cheating husband is what triggered the plot.  Okay, the narrator’s deep, loving relationship with her husband was an important feature of the story.  But that was a character defining element, not a plot focus.  Her close relationship with her best friend was just as important, really.

 

Now, I’m not going to run screaming from a story if it has romance in it.  Romance is an important thing in lives, after all, so it’s natural it’d show up in stories.  But it doesn’t needed to be shoved in where it doesn’t fit in some mistaken idea that no woman will read your story without it.  Sure, there are women who won’t.  There are men who won’t too, I’m sure.  There are people who won’t read your book if it has elves.  There are people who will only read your book if it has elves.  Different tastes and all that.  To quote one of the best TV shows ever, “Some people juggle geese.”

 

Oh, hey!  There’s another example!  I wasn’t watching Firefly for Mal/Inara or Simon/Kaylee or Zoe/Wash.  I was watching to see what Mal got himself into this time, to hear witty dialogue, to hopefully find out more about Book . . . somewhere on that list might be wanting to see Mal and Inara or Simon and Kaylee hook up, but it’s nowhere near the top.  If I’d wanted to watch a romance, I’d have watched a romance.  I wanted a space opera, and that’s what I got.

 

Really, don’t put in romance to get female readers; don’t put in fight scenes to get male readers.  Just write your story and readers who like that sort of thing will read it . . . if they can find it, which is a whole other issue that I’m not getting into right now.

 

In closing, I’ll quote GRRM when asked how he did such a good job writing female characters:  “You know,

 

I’ve always considered women to be people.”

 

Posted in Firefly praise, GI Joe praise, Rants | Tagged , | 1 Comment
Sep 12
2014

Jake’s Last Mission, conflict, a defense of Kristark’s Coronation as a story, probably other stuff too because I’m writing this right before bed so my inner editor is already asleep

Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, I apologize in advance for, even for me, an unusual amount of rambly-ness in this post.  And typos.  And homonym errors.  If I had any sense, I’d probably wait until tomorrow . . . err, later today, I guess . . . to write this.  If I had any sense, however, I’d have gone into a much more lucrative career than writing space opera, so . . .

Second, this isn’t complaining about my reviews.  My reviewers are entitled to their opinions.  They just gave me something concrete to point at while I make a point about something that’s been bothering me for quite a long time.

Now, on to my actual post:

Ursula K. LeGuin said:

Modernist manuals of writing often conflate story with conflict. This reductionism reflects a culture that inflates aggression and competition while cultivating ignorance of other behavioral options. No narrative of any complexity can be built on or reduced to a single element. Conflict is one kind of behavior. There are others, equally important in any human life, such as relating, finding, losing, bearing, discovering, parting, changing.

Change is the universal aspect of all these sources of story. Story is something moving, something happening, something or somebody changing.

I just discovered this quote a few days ago, but it’s something I’ve thought of before.  Years ago, in fact, I argued this very point on a rpg forum when I was told, pretty much, by some people that my games couldn’t possibly be fun because conflict wasn’t the driving force.  And it wasn’t even a “rpgs are about killin’ things and gettin’ mad loot” or whatever thing.  Apparently if there’s a love story in your game or story, the drama and change that comes just from being in a relationship isn’t enough, you have to bring in soap opera elements like love triangles and kidnappings and such, for example.  Change wasn’t enough; there had to be conflict, according to these people.

I’d almost forgotten about that discussion until recently when Jake’s Last Mission started getting review after review (and a couple of private messages) that mentioned the lack of real conflict and tension and all that other sort of thing.  Here’s the deal, guys:  It’s not that kind of story.  I’m sorry.  I can see how the blurb might make you think that.  I suck at writing blurbs.  If I could tell a story in that few words, I would.  But my attempts at drabbles and flash fiction tend to suck. Brevity and conciseness aren’t my strong suits.  But, anyway, what the story is really about is right there in the title:  “Jake’s” the first word for a reason.  It’s about his last mission, yes, but ultimately, it’s about him.  It’s about a man who’s served his adopted planet for forty years and is about to retire and the last thing he gets involved with before he does.  It’s not about the events of the mission.  See up there?  “Change is the universal aspect of all these sources of story.”  Jake’s changing from commander to civilian; Kristark is changing from decorated captain (very, very loose translation of hulvim) t0 emperor.

By this same definition, “Kristark’s Coronation”, the short story included with Jake’s Last Mission, is a story.  It’s the final step in his change from his old life to his new.  Something happens, ergo, it’s a story.  Maybe not an exciting story, but a story nonetheless.

I was starting to wonder if maybe I’d been wrong to call “Kristark’s Coronation” a story instead of a vignette or something when I went looking for reviews of a book I was interested in and noticed that almost all the “bad” reviews criticized it’s lack of a central conflict . . . even though I’m only 11% in and am pretty sure there is one, it’s just “the human heart in conflict with itself” is apparently really hard for lots of people to spot when it’s happening, unless the author is burying us in so much angst that I, at least, want to shoot the character because then they might stop fucking whining.  No, I’m not a nice person, nor a patient one.  Anyway, this book, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, apparently doesn’t have a central conflict that some readers can spot, ergo, it’s not a story.  So, I got to thinking about some of my favorite books.  You have to really, really stretch things to find a conflict in These Happy Golden Years.  Little Women is a bit easier, but the second part, Good Wives is pretty much just “And then this is the rest of what happened to the March girls.”  Cheaper By The Dozen is mostly just a series of anecdotes, which I guess makes it not a story since there’s no conflict, yet as it tells events in a roughly chronological order, and is, really, about growing up in that family, it’s a story.  Growing up is some of that “change” stuff again.  Slice-of-life stories are still stories.

So, “Kristark’s Coronation” is a story; the short stories on the main page of the website are stories, and I’ll get back to editing to them so they aren’t quite so embarrassing to actually link to.  I’ll, maybe, even get back to writing Lyn and Rusark’s love story.  It doesn’t have any conflict, except a bit of internal stuff on Rusark’s part, but it’s still a story.

Really, when I was a kid I had a book that was about a girl breaking her arm and going to the hospital.  There was no conflict.  She broke her arm and had to stay in the hospital overnight.  She got a tour of the hospital.  She went home the next day.  I’m pretty sure that’s all that happened.  It was a story.  It told events that happened.  No one would’ve told six-year-old me that it wasn’t a story, yet if I write something that’s a more grown-up version of that, it’s not a story?  How does this make any sense at all?

And, yeah, this did get pretty damned rambly.  Oh well.  I made my point.

And I understand there’s a whole series of space opera novels, The Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, or something similar, that’s nothing but pure slice-of-life, yet still loved by most people who read them.  They’re outselling my stuff, so clearly there’s an audience for books with no conflict.

Posted in Jake's Last Mission, Kristark's Coronation, Rants | Tagged , , | Leave a comment
Sep 05
2014

The Yellow Wallpaper, the problems with star ratings, and escapist fiction

Cover of "The Yellow Wallpaper and Other ...

Cover via Amazon

In college I briefly was an English major.  During this less than enjoyable time, I had to read many, many depressing stories.  “The Yellow Wallpaper” has come in my mind to represent all of them, partially because it was one of the final straws in me changing my major.  It was a brilliant story, an important story, a well-written story.  It was not, however, a story I enjoyed at all. Because of this, if I were to give it a rating somewhere like goodreads or amazon, I’d give it only two stars if I were to try to be honest to what the stars mean.

You see what many people don’t realize, unfortunately, is that those stars are supposed to be a rating of your enjoyment of a story, not its technical merits.  They’re supposed to mean, on goodreads:

1 — didn’t like it

2 — it was ok

3 — liked it

4 — really liked it

5 — it was amazing

and on amazon:

1 — I hate it

2 — I don’t like it

3 — it’s ok

4 — I liked it

5 — I love it

You notice how all of those, except possibly “it was amazing” are opinions, not an actual rating of the quality of a story?  Annoying, isn’t it?

Now, for some people, like the founder of one review group I’m in and most English majors I’ve known, this isn’t a problem.  Their enjoyment seems to be based on how well-written a story in and have nothing to do with whether or not the story itself is actually enjoyable.  For me, however, this creates a serious issue when it comes to reviewing things.

You see . . . oh, screw it, I’ll let Neil Gaiman explain it:

“And while we’re on the subject, I’d like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if it’s a bad thing. As if “escapist” fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.

If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn’t you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.”

That’s what I enjoy in fiction:  escaping from reality.  There’s nothing fun about reading about depressing situations that have no hope of getting better which is what so much literary fiction seems to be about.  It may be brilliant, but I can’t say “I love it” when I come away from the story needing to watch hours of The Guild and play fetch with my dog to remind myself that there is still such a thing as happiness and joy in the universe.

This is presently causing me a serious dilemma.  I’ve got a book of short stories I agreed to review.  From a technical side, they’re wonderful.  There have been a few punctuation errors and a typo or two, but other than that, they’re nearly perfect.  Unfortunately, they’re also all depressing.  Every one of them is about loss and despair and other such cheerful subjects.  So do I give the collection four or five stars for being well-written and doing exactly what it set out to do (four because some of the shorter pieces are too short to really tell the story they’re trying to tell), or do I give it only one or two because it is so very, very much something I’d never want to read?

I know what I’ll do this time, since it’s a book for a review group.  I’ll give it four or five because of all the stuff I talked about in my last post on reviewing.  But, what if it was a book I’d bought because I’d been interested in it?  What would I have done then?  I’m not sure.  Because I wouldn’t want people to get the impression it’s poorly written — and let’s be honest, more people pay attention to the stars than they do the actual reviews, but on the other hand, I’m lying to say it was something I enjoyed.  Maybe I should just do what one of my favorite authors did on a book, say something like “The star rating system is inadequate to explain my feelings on this book” and then review it without leaving any stars.  Doesn’t work on amazon, but it does on goodreads, which probably has a more intelligent user base.

I don’t think I’ll be doing any more review groups.  They are a great way to get reviews, but my experiences have not been great, and I’m way behind on my for pleasure reading.  Unless anyone would be interested in starting a space opera specific one?  Maybe I could get behind that . . .

Posted in Rants, Reviewing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment
Aug 30
2014

Authors Are People Too

Cover of "The Name of the Wind (Kingkille...

Cover via Amazon

In defense of George R. R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and any other author who doesn’t churn out books as fast as their readership thinks they should:

Neil Gaiman says it best here, but after spending some time reading reviews of Patrick Rothfuss’s books today (I’ve read part of Name of the Wind and was wanting to know if it stays as good as it starts.  I’ve wasted too much money on books with good opening chapters but sucky everything elses.  So, I read reviews before buying books now.) I feel compelled to share my feelings.

Look, as amazing as some people might find this, authors aren’t machines.  We’re, amazingly enough, actual people.  We have lives outside of putting words to the page.  We have families.  We have hobbies.  We have obligations that have nothing to do with the book we’re currently working on.  We get random inspirations for other things that we have to write right then so they don’t get lost forever.  We have crises.

In other words, aside from maybe the random inspiration thing, we’re just like you.

Yes, I know that there’s a common thing now — I saw it in way too many Nanowrimo pep talks last year, in fact — that when working on a book the author has to make it their whole life.  Kids, spice, taking care of yourself when you have the flu from the ninth layer of hell . . . none of that matters as much as writing.  That, dear readers, is utter bullshit, in the same way putting any career ahead of everything else is bullshit.  If I have to explain that statement to you, quit reading.  You won’t get a damned thing I say.  Ever.

To those of you still reading, yes, I know that there are authors who can write x number of words, pages, chapters, whatever a day without anything else suffering.  Awesome.  That doesn’t mean everyone can.  Or even that they can all the time.  Life happens sometimes, you know?

And sometimes, sometimes regardless of how much you want to sit down and turn out several thousand words a day, the story just won’t cooperate.  I fully expected the second Kavaliro Cousins book to be out by now.  Instead, I’ve barely even looked at the file since last August.  Why?  Because it’s just not working.  First, I realized I started in the wrong spot.  Then, once I realized what the focus of the story really was, I realized that I’d gotten my characters into a situation that I had no clue how to get them out of.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, I later got a completely different idea for what sort of space opera the second book should be and started over completely.

Now, I know I can, supposedly, avoid all of this if I was a planner instead of a pantser (as in “write by the seat of your pants”, cute, no?).  But even that doesn’t keep a story from falling apart.  I was writing a romance last year with a pretty good idea what was going to happen and when and things like that.  Then as I wrote it, I noticed something horrible:  the only way to generate the drama and such necessary for it to work was for the characters to act horribly out of character.  So, I abandoned that story.  Luckily I was less than twenty pages in, but I’ve heard of things like that happening to authors much further in.  No plan survives contact with the enemy, and, believe me, characters can be the author’s enemy.

“But,” some of you are saying, “Patrick Rothfuss had already written his books.  They just needed revised!”  And I can tell that you’re not authors.  Revision is not an easy process.  Revision is a bitch.  You’ve got this book you’ve dedicated all this time to writing, right?  You know it’s not perfect, but you think it’s pretty good when you finish it.  Then you, and frequently other people to, start reading it critically.  Sometimes you’re lucky.  Jake’s Last Mission changed very little from first draft to published form.  Sometimes you’re not so lucky.  The first version of Stolen Time and the published form differed in things as big as what person they were in.  And then there are times when the revision process means you have to add or seriously change scenes because of some little change you made somewhere else.  I’m anticipating this with No More Lies because there’s one scene I really want to change, but changing it means I’m going to have to redo about three other scenes slightly, and changing them may mean I’ll have to change others and . . . now you see how “just” revising can take years?  I’m going to have No More Lies out by no later than next June because I know me.  I need a hard and fast deadline or I’ll do one of two things:  I’ll either keep tinkering with the book until I’ve sucked all the soul out of it, or I’ll keep putting off revising it forever.  From what I can tell, that’s not what Rothfuss is doing.  Just from reading some of his blog posts, I think it’s pretty safe to bet that if he released the book as is, it’d still be pretty good.  Thing is, “pretty good” isn’t what he or his publisher wants.  “Pretty good” isn’t what got him #1 on the NYT Best-Sellers List, I’m pretty sure.

(And if you’re one of those crazy authors that considers revision the fun part, please comment explaining this, because it makes no sense to me at all.)

Let’s see, what haven’t I covered yet?  Oh!  Right, them working on other projects or even doing things besides writing.  Look, I’m very much a “stick with one story until it’s done” sort of author, but lots of authors aren’t, and even I have times where I have to take a break and work on something else, or even take a break from writing completely, to refocus myself.  And lots of authors?  They’re working on several different things at once all the time.  Don’t assume that just because they just released a novella it means that they weren’t working on their other book too.  There are authors who write best when they take months off at a time.  Some writers have to write every day, not for any sense of duty or whatever, but just because it’s what works for them.  I have to do something creative almost every day to keep those muscles exercised, but I can’t write every day or I start writing from a sense of responsibility instead of from love and my prose suffers as a result.  Again, it’s all about what works best for that particular author.

Now, my final point:  this weird ass idea that you are somehow owed the next book because you bought the others.  No.  Purchasing their book is not, amazingly enough, signing a contract with them that stipulates they will release the next book when you want to read it.  It’s purchasing that one book.  If they want to take twenty years to put out the next book, that’s between them and their publisher.  If they want to stop writing the series completely that is a slightly different matter . . . in my opinion, you have the right to be pissed then, but, ultimately, it’s still between them and their publisher.  They’re not violating any sort of agreement with you.

And I have no pithy or witty or anything like that way to end this.  That kind of sucks.

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