Thursday, December 1, 2022

December 2022 News

Happy December. Please forgive this post's brevity. I'm trying to shake a cold but it's shaking me. 

Writing

The most crucial thing to report is that copy edits are underway for V&V. Lee Burton of Ocean's Edge Editing has begun his holy work on this behemoth. Join me in wishing him godspeed and a Midas touch. 

You'd think seven years would be plenty of time to settle on a title. Turns out if you're me it's not. Crazy thing is, I know the title of the sequel already. That one's easy. I digress. 

Kayaks

We're in the market for merch. I'd love to have something available before Christmas. Shirts and hats at the least. Time'll tell. Watch LHKRAD's social media for details on that. 

Paludarium

The Kingdom of Zeal thrives. I've named the four minnows, since they've all developed personalities. Of the ladies, we have Ariel and Bertha. One is quite independent. The other gave birth after arriving in Zeal and now runs the pond. Of the fellows, there is Meeno--named by my 4 year old--and Timmy, after the runt from a Christmas Carol. 

Next Month

It's possible that the first pass of copy edits will be done. See you then.

dtl



Wednesday, November 2, 2022

November 2022 News

Happy November, family. 

We camped last month. It was refreshing and well needed. A bit cushy for my minimalist preferences but I'm not complaining. 

food is my priority while camping and we brought a ton

watching slasher flicks in the wood at night

Let's get into it shall we?

Writing

This part'll be quick. Copy edits are due to begin late Nov / early Dec. 

Meanwhile, I've updated chapter headings to have more detail and personality. Some readers might hate the wordiness of these new chapter headings. Personally I love 'em. For the most part, I just snatched a line from the chapter that exemplified the mood. Bonus points if it's ambiguous. This works so well it feels like cheating.
Examples include:

*bear in mind that final edits aren't complete and these may change*

My objective was to give readers a sense of physical location (if you read the book you'll understand why that's helpful), and a glimpse of the point of view character's mindset. 

Paludarium

I've learned that Zeal is either infinitely studyable and entertaining or numbingly boring and pointless, depending on the audience. Some of my friends can't bear to lay their eyes on it, apparently out of fear of spontaneous narcolepsy. Others want details and updates constantly. "How's the oak tree doing?" "Has mama minnow laid her eggs?"  That sorta stuff. 

I find it enthralling, luckily. It is my baby after all. The majority of the life inside has been there for about 1 month, so I began a journal of my observations. Only then did I truly appreciate how much I've learned about these plants, insects, mussels, crawfish, snails, and minnows. 

Today's report for you will focus on the death and life of an apple.

It started as a snack for snails.
They loved it, but continued to wander and graze elsewhere as well.

When the apple core fell over, I noticed new life arising.
(not just the penicillium expansum, aka blue mold, that enveloped the apple.)

The snails love munching certain leaves, and apple seedlings aren't exempt.
I encaged these two young apple trees for their protection.

Zeal started as a way for me to attempt to maintain a somewhat enclosed ecosystem, particularly with the goal of eventually applying some of what I learn to Schala, the digital enclosed ecosystem. Lessons, confirmations, and surprises have abounded on that front. I've grown fond and protective of my collection of invertebrates, flora, and fishes. 

Kayaks

Yakkery diminishes in these cooling months, but it never dies. A couple weekends ago we rented out almost our entire stash to an outdoors club at a local university. 

Gearing up to paddle out

Off they went, never to return.
Just kidding. They returned the next day.

In the coming weeks we have requests from canoeing campers and brave yakkers. 

I pledge to camp on an island before the year is out!

See you next month

dtl

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

October 2022 News

Late post, apologies. I blame holiday and information overload. There's news on all fronts and pictures I want to share and I've been on a break. 

Writing

I've secured a Canadian copy editor (they taste the best) and gotten on his schedule. If all goes well, we'll complete copy edits by February. Sooner, maybe. Then it's a matter of finalizing the cover and setting up the manuscript for ebook and physical print layout. 

Nice! So the blurb or synopsis or maybe a brief description is available? 

Ha. Hahaa. No. Surely there's someone who can devise that for me. I'll pay. 

You're telling me you've been writing this for seven years and you don't know what it's about?

Pretty much, yeah. But that doesn't mean it's about nothing. Just means I'm too close to it. Can't see the forest for the trees, you know?

I guess. So then how do you plan to sell it?

I figured I wouldn't. Just trying to get it written and off my plate so I can get on with my life ffs. 

I'm not feeling very encouraged to read it. 

Would threats help?

Not really. I'm an abstract manifestation of some type of devil's advocate. A product of your insanity. What could you hold over me?

How about crazy pills? I'll start taking them.

No! I'll read it, I promise!

And buy it?

Yes, and buy it.

Sweet. NYT best seller list, here I come. 

Paludarium

The Kingdom of Zeal is alive! 

sure is hard to do it justice with pictures

snail munches apple

minnows cavort

snails roves detritus

mussels lick

I'll tell you some present occupants and their presumed tiers (in general terms). I'm limited to reporting what I've seen. There's surely a pile of objects in there I'm not even aware of. 

T0, detritovores: Snails! A bunch of them. I dropped some detritus in the glass prison for them, and they love it.
Fresh water mussels! Probably 7-10 total. They licked the water, liked it, and promptly buried themselves in the pond floor.
Also got some millipedes and springtails and the occasional cricket.

T1, producers: Moss, river grass, small yard plants, algae, an oak tree. The sphagnum moss I mixed with the soil has sprouted. I didn't know it would do that, but the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned. I'm going to bonsai this oak tree. 

T2, consumers: 4 minnows (and I think one's pregnant), 1 juvenile crayfish (he's sneaky. Never know where he is, and I'm not reaching in there to flip over rocks). Some of the larger snails veer into this tier as well. We had a giant leopard moth caterpillar guest, but I think he bailed.  

T3, secondary consumers: None at present, aside from tiny spiders that come and go. Zeal can't support T3s yet.
Zeal does, however, foster local wildlife as opportunities arise. A lizard crashed here for a bit to recover, after surviving a run in with mama kitty. A joro spider came to visit the garage and was introduced to the paludarium. She didn't stick around, but I don't blame her. Their webs are way bigger than this aquarium, and Zeal's not crawling with bugs yet.

To get the T3s cracking, I need more T1s and T2s. For that I can either wait for them to naturally grow or catch some local flora. But it's fall. My options are limited. 

T4, tertiary consumers: The apex predator will arise from this tier. We're definitely not here yet. I expect that a lucky bullfrog might one day fill this role.

Schala

On the subject of home-made, interactive environments, my Firstborne (aka Donavon, graduate of UNG with a degree in Mathematology) has put our pontification and plotting to purpose by fashioning a playable demo of Schala using C++ and higher math, not limited to the Lotka-Volterra equation, which deals specifically with population growth. I'm very lucky he's a genius. Not sure how I'd have progressed elsewise.

I promise, it's way cooler than it looks

He's on version 3 (at least) of a text-based program that allows one to hunt, gather, and travel and observe their effects on an environment of variable size and biodiversity. It's very promising.  

The Yak Bizz

You know what it is. Runnin yaks and taking pictures of the lake from all angles. 

Oh, we got a canoe! Call us now for all your canoeeds. 


Next month

Maybe I'll post on time! See you then

dtl

Thursday, September 1, 2022

September 2022 News

It's cooling off here in South USA. I know some folks look forward to Fall and Winter. Not I. Summer is my favorite. Give me muggy 100 degree days over boots and coats and steaming breath any day. Any day, I tell ya. 

I visited the site of the Guidestones. It's all flat earth now. No sign of the massive monoliths. Just thought I'd share that. 

not even a chunk of granite remaining

Writing

My developmental editor, the inimitable John Jarrold, has finished his work and given his feedback on my edits and his response is overwhelmingly positive. He's made such gold-plated comments as
"This is working better now"
"Ausgan is definitely more interesting"
"Obsydia's dealings with Haik are more understandable"
"these changes add both interest and weight".
I know those words in themselves mean little to you, dear patient reader, but they lift my spirits through the ceiling. 

He's voiced some ideas on how to tweak this big baby book further, to crank more personality out of the characters. I'm considering and applying those forthwith. 

Next is line edits and my dilemma, as I've mentioned, is how to get this stage done quickly and effectively while spending less than a million dollars, by God. I just ran the document through a browser-based manuscript analyzer that promises to fix grammar. It had some hilarious results, and a couple of 'hooks' to try to get me to spend money. 


So much data, and I don't know what it's suggesting. 90% fast paced paragraphs seems like a good thing, though, for an adventure story about monsters, magic, and murder!



I find this one funny. 
AutoCrit, "Adverb count is nice and low. But your Generic Descriptions, as compared to GENERAL FICTION is looking rough. And so is Showing vs Telling. And don't get me started on the loathsome Filler Words!"

me, "That sounds serious. Can you give me more info on that?"

"Yeah, as soon as you pay me."

It's almost as if generating intrigue, rather than ensuring document's wellbeing, is the purpose of the free version of AutoCrit. Hmm.



This one just baffles me. Power Words? Is that a phrase I should recognize? I use 255 forbidden power words? I don't think it means swears because the book has about 240 instances of f*ck alone. There are greedy and lusty power words? 1,470 fear power words?? I'm clueless. 



This report is particularly useless. The book is 3rd person limited, present tense. But if a character remembers a thing, now we're in past. And if a character sees a root that might trip you if you're not careful, now we're emulating 2nd person, future tense. 

Fact is, I'm going to need a human for line editing. I don't trust AI to respect character voice or a fantasy worlds or style. 

Kayaks

With this cooler weather the yak industry is slowing down. It is holding steady for us though, what with the varying school start dates and Fall break schedules of the surrounding areas. 

The fam and some friends had a little yak adventure the other day. We were out exploring an island on the lake and a storm fell on us. We had to take shelter in a cave. Not my beloved though. 

Wifey preferred the fallen tree over the creepy cave

We're gearing up for the Fall and Winter. Planning for different strategies and clientele. Looking into fishing kayaks and canoes.  

Gaming

I'm back into Stardew Valley again. This is a great stress-purging sorta game. I'm making a vineyard, like I do, and maximizing my farm's profit which feels somewhat antithetical to the game's whole point. 

Still playing Elden Ring. It might be my favorite game. I rarely deem a game 'favorite' or even top 5. But this game... It's so good.
I see myself eventually buying one of those thick, official strategy guides. Not to learn to play better but to dig deeper in the lore and the bestiary. 

Next month

Will the book be done? Probably not. But that'd be cool. Then you'd be able to read it. In reality, I'll probably make plans to slather the internet with it, then revert to my usual introvert self and not even mention it's released. 

Time'll tell

dtl


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

August 2022 News

Welcome to the narrow slice of internet wherein I record some doings.

Music

My bandmates and I saw Rage Against the Machine Sunday night. I've wanted to see them forever and it was everything I ever hoped it would be. Here's a couple pics.

da boys

RAGE! Zack hurt his leg and was sitting the entire show.
It's okay. We did all the jumping for him.

A little bit of the ol' F you I won't do what ya tell me

I missed moshing!

To be in their 50s, they've still freakin got it


Lake Hartwell Kayak Rental and Delivery

Would you believe it? Another record month, and this one by a landslide. Thank you thank you, hold your applause until the end please.

I'm always a little hesitant to discuss details of the trade. I prefer it remain mysterious and I make it all seem super easy. Also, the day will come when real competition arrives and it doesn't seem smart to give them a leg up on how to out maneuver us in this industry.

The fact is that competition WILL arrive, it's just a matter of when. And sharing my tips and tricks might indeed improve them. But this isn't necessarily bad for LHKRAD. I believe the lake is big enough for all of us. I also believe the service and prices we offer will be hard to beat. I also believe if a business or service requires monopoly to be worthwhile, then it's not a sustainable business. All that said, here's a bit of behind the scenes.

Improvements and upgrades this month include:

www.hartwellkayak.com

A new website!

My good friend Drew built it and I love it and am still adding to it and I want you to go look at it now. Now. NOW! We're doing a give-away on social media. Go follow us on IG or FB and share that post up top and comment and maybe you'll win $100 toward any rental package. 


The tandem hauler. 

This thing is a life saver. When I get to a location, I have zero expectations of guests helping me haul yaks (but I will not put up a fight if they insist). They paid me. They're on vacation. I'm on the clock. I'll do the work. But there are only so many rocky mountainous terrains I can haul a 70 lb kayak up in 90 degree weather before developing resentment, no matter how many pushups, pullups, and squats I bang out. I know that resentment is the endgame of any and every job but it must be forestalled!

Two life jacket racks (not pictured). Not one, but TWO. Crazy, I know. It's not high-engineering but every little convenience helps.




The double decker truck rack. 

Some of my deliveries take me places that are not at all trailer-friendly, usually because of steep inclines on skinny driveways flanked with decorative stone and no space to turn around. That's not a problem if I can just pop the trailer off, turn it and the truck around, then reconnect. It's not heavy when it's empty. But it's not always empty. And in the spirit of preserving my ancient decrepit bod and preserving myself so as to continue this as long as possible, I can't be manhandling a fully-loaded trailer in the dark and hoping it doesn't slip away from me and careen merrily into a guest's car or their AirBnB or their tent. That would negatively affect our bottom line.

I double-decked the truck and sideline the trailer unless absolutely necessary. 

Things to do before cold season:

Get my hands on some canoes and fishing kayaks. We've had inquiries for both, particularly in colder months.

Things to do beyond that:

Branch out and conquer other lakes. 

Fully eliminate the expense of gas by acquiring an electric vehicle.

Writing

My second novel, codenamed V&V, is first of a two-book series. It's in late stages of developmental edits. I'd love it to be on the market in 2022 and from where I'm sitting, there's no reason it shouldn't be (which is a perfect thing to announce if you want to curse the whole endeavor). 

I'm 2,000 words into the outline of the sequel. I could be further into the actual writing of it but there's a lot fighting for my attention at the moment and I admit I've neglected it. How long will it take me to turn this outline into a novel of comparative size to book 1? A billion years if experience is any indicator.

I mentioned last month that I amn't loving the title anymore. I hate coming up with titles. I suck at it. If I could outsource that, I would. My beta readers offer the most useful feedback on title ideas, them being among the very few who've read the story already and know where it's going. If only they'd just name it for me. 

Next month

I hope to update you on book stuff! 

see you then

dtl