Wednesday, December 1, 2021

December 2021 News

Oh gosh it's time. Hey December. 

One day I'm going to never be cold again. Unsure how but I'll figure it out. Subscribe to this channel and smash that mf like button to make sure not to miss a thing. Or something.

For the record, I never want one of these updates to stand in the way of actual progress. If I ever have to choose, creating (which means editing right now) will supersede the update. 

Edits

Would you believe I'm not done yet? Because I'm not.

Schala

I haven't spoken on her lately. I should. 

Looking back, she's yet to be defined in any meaningful way on this blog. That won't change today. But I'll tell you this: my firstborne is a math major who graduates in the spring. He's been a sounding board for Schala since her inception but is lately finding his place in her design. He fashioned some formulas using nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory that allowed us to create a prototype of her majesty. They look a little something like this:

I'm sorry it's so vague.
Just know that those waves (sinusoids if you're a nerd) are all chasing one another.
They're chasing an unobtainable balance, exactly as hoped. 
This was a huge breakthrough.

Is it playable? sort of

Presentable? hard no

The problem is that even in its current state it is highly stealable.

Schala is a project that if I don't hurry up and build, someone else will. That horrifying fact looms over me all the time but I will not let it disrupt my current endeavor: finishing V&V - an Epic Fantasy Fiction Novel featuring magic, monsters, and mayhem.

Pics from my phone

Speaking of being cold, my brother and my firstborne and I went camping the other weekend. I wasn't actually too cold, having learned to layer upon layer my clothing. Here are some pics

Arrival and setup! And throw back some yard beer cos why not?

Scratch-made Chicken soup!
(yes that's noodles of ramen, but without the accompanying spices)

Sunset on day 1

Sunrise on day 2

Sausage & Eggs

Coffee

path to the river to go wash dishes

KICKIN' IT.
I busted some woods-yoga on a full belly then napped it up.
I'd do it all over, and in colder weather, for this.
No cell service, data, clock, obligations.
For mental rejuvenations, I cannot recommend this enough.

Din din!
(you might have noticed that FOOD was a major theme of this trip)
Skewers on coals. I have plans to improve on these.

The fellows did fellow stuff. I pulled an old man and photo'd them.

Sunrise on day 3
Easily the most magical vistas thus far

vistas, contd.

vistas, fin

Taters n peps (and coffee obviously)

Breaking it down
(my heart breaks in remembrance)

Leaving no trace

As far as rough camping goes, this might have been my favorite experience. I've had far worse. And I came out of it with plans on how to improve. My only regret is that the very best weather for camping (COLD) comes with the least hours of daylight. Ah well.

Next Month

Does it matter? Dwelling on all these pictures has rekindled the zen in my heart that the trip ignited. What else matters than the moments we can feel with our very fingertips? Tell someone nearby how you feel. Let the stress out of your shoulders. Forgive someone who hasn't earned it. Focus on your mind and your heart and your lungs and those who need you. Release the hate. Release the judgment. Hug a tree if you must, I don't care. 

I'll see you when I see you. 

dtl


Monday, November 1, 2021

November 2021 News

Hi there, hello. This one snuck up on me. Quick update:

Editing V&V 

Last month I mentioned making a plan to fix a broken character. I'd said "There are only five scenes from his point of view. Here's hoping it comes naturally."

It did come naturally, and he became more lovable and unfortunately characters are starting to like him...

That's nearing completion. 

Pics from my phone

What? This a new thing or something?

Yeah. I take a lot of pics and they just sit on my phone. Time to share some!

Aren't there apps for that? Like FB or Twidder or IG? Or all that kid stuff like ... the yellow one or the dance one.

Yeah but fck them. FB and IG are data-whoring, ad-loaded leeches, run by uncanny valley pseudo-human Marcc Zuccergerbil: the 1994 Ford Escort of androids. He can eat an electric dick. Also my original content on Twid gets zero feedback.

Normal people just post it there anyway and look sad and pathetic. You're supposed to add a mountain of hashtags, each with the expectation of drawing more attention to your tediously mundane content.

Yeah but I like taking sad and pathetic to a whole nother level, for example having a blog in the year 2021. Plus these monthly updates get more clicks if there are pics. #sad #pathetic #morepicsmoreclicks

Last kayak rental of the season? Twas a good first year for LHKRAD.

New paddleboard mount in garage.
Donavon doing differential equations for Schala.

Magical looking morning web.

Gargantuan Joro spider.

Fam and friends closing out an art exhibit featuring
memorials for the late, great Jason Tasi.

My buddy Brandon's new pup. It's smoll.
I think the brand is chirgel.. or corghuahua.. or something like that.

Next Month

Probably editing still, but here's hoping the apocalypse interrupts that. Imagine the pictures if so!

see you then,

dtl

Friday, October 1, 2021

October 2021 News

Let's flap gums on editing for a minute. I've been at it a while and certainly have some expertise. I'll keep it exciting. And packed full of jokes, apparently.

John Jarrold is the developmental editor for V&V and he is a gift. However amazing this book was destined to be, he's already made it far better.
John's well known in the industry, having worked as an agent and editor with a ton of influential authors from the late 80s and still to this very day. A recent acquisition of his I enjoyed was 2019's The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan (which I've described as Avengers meets Bloodborne). It was this fact that convinced me he'd fit well with my story.

I sent him my manuscript. He did his initial run and commenting and edits and sent it back a while later. I've told you before that he told me he enjoyed it, and that he said other kind things that I'll save in my heart. I also mentioned that he ripped some of it apart, thereby kicking my heart in the nuts.
He's not the first to read this story. Two in my reading group have been through the entire story. That's three opinions besides my own to compare and contrast but John's carries the most weight. Partly because his is the most expensive. Partly because he's worked closest with the industry for the longest and I trust his judgment. Does that mean I'm blindly acquiescing to his every reaction? Not necessarily, but I'm considering them all very strongly. Here's a quick account of some changes he suggested and inspired.

DONE
-Story-level he had some complaints with one of my main characters, and after much heartache and consideration I realized he's right. The character was intolerable, despite the improvements he undergoes about halfway through. He's now been rewritten entirely. That required significant rewrites or revisions of more than eight chapters (about 40,000 words). It was the most intensive job John gave me to do, and probably most crucial. 

DOING
-These suggestions are more sentence-level, and in the camp of copy-edits. He pointed out some bad habits I employ. I've fixed a lot, as the following image indicates. This will probably be the last thing I finish but luckily it doesn't require inspiration, only grind.

wherein I isolate offending words/phrases and reduce their count

UNDONE
-He's asked for some clarification of geography, history, and backstories. Those are all legit requests as well. I've taken for granted my god-like view of the map and all that has happened here and I don't want to prop a weak description up with a map not everyone will see.
I've broken this into a procedure. In short, by the time I rely on a location or creature or character or magic for the plot, they must have been properly introduced and foreshadowed. That can be as simple as referring to them three separate times before they appear. 

-John stated at two points he's concerned about the number of POVs happening. In fairness, there are twenty-two total, of whom several die in their first and only scene. I've removed one already. But the placement and manner of his criticism didn't convince the count itself is the problem so much as how they negatively affect pace and rhythm. I believe I can improve it by fixing yet another character. This fellow gripes and complains and is negative as hell. When future events befall him, his fate won't draw tears from readers, as I'd prefer. It will draw relief. I need to make him sympathetic. 
[update: Between drafting this news letter and posting it, I've come up with a solid game plan to fix him. There are only five scenes from his point of view. Here's hoping it comes naturally.]

~

None of the remaining edits are as intimidating as what's already been done. The only hurdle now is finding time to sit down and focus. Time is truly the most expensive commodity. I can't wait to duplicate my consciousness and double my productivity. 

See you next month. By then I'll hopefully be reporting on the next step: copy-edits.

dtl

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

September 2021 News

What's better, to watch and mark the relentless passage of time or to turn a blind eye and pretend it sits still? 

For the first all you need is a monthly newsletter requirement. That could be enough to unnerve you and bolster self-loathing. It does me. 
If you need something stronger, get a weekly calendar to keep up with and warn of key events. These help to pretend our weeks are unique and that time matters. Watch in horror as week after week rolls by and your goals go unmet. 
If those fail to grind your spirit to dust and you're needing something really hardcore then get a grandfather clock or loud pocket watch. Maintain a silent environment so you don't miss a single deafening tick. This way you're forever aware of exactly how much of your life is irreversibly slipping by without you adding a thing to it. 

Ignoring the passage of time seems better for sanity, but that's hard to achieve while also making the most of each moment and learning from mistakes. There must be a compromise. 

This seems dark. Maybe I shouldn't draft these news updates on a Monday. Then again, maybe Mondays won't always be a scourge. Anyway

Editing

good lord, you're not done yet?

No. I'm working on it. Not as quickly as I'd like but that's the nature of a world where being alive costs money and money is the reward for sacrificing time. One day being alive will cost less money, and money will be awarded for investing time. For that goal I aspire. This is why I edit.

Next Month

Wait, that's it? 

Yeah. I have to change the flavor of these now and then or else they all run together. 

Until next month, stay alive. 

dtl

Friday, July 30, 2021

August 2021 News

Happy August to you. I'm posting this two days early because I ain't messing with it over the weekend. Lucky you.

Writing/Editing 

Edits go well. I'd mentioned that I'm making substantial changes to a real tosser of a character. The character's arc makes a heroic upturn maybe halfway through his story. I've finally arrived at that point, praise Imala. Our tropical hero has had his nihilistic arse dragged and torn all over the jungle. He's found his spine, made a heroic sacrifice, and is about to discover a reason to live (simplified: some damn girl). 

I'm hoping the brunt of the remaining changes for him are all just for continuity's sake.

Some folks ask me when this book releases. I don't have a date. Here's the long answer. I'm sorry.

  • Finish developmental / late-stage edits
    • I'm finishing the hardest part now (fix the sociopath), but after that are smaller details
    • Return my changes to John. He'll do his part and send me his final suggestions.
    • I apply those.
  • Copy edits
    • I don't have a copy editor in mind just yet but I have some ideas on how to find one.
    • This story is 280,000 words. They could take 2-6 months. I'm going to try to find a quicker one, but as always quality will determine, not speed. 
  • Cover 
    • Illustration/Painting. Done! Felix Ortiz is a wizard and it's a damn crime that I'm sitting on so much of his art versus sharing it! You know what? I'm sharing some. Scroll down.
    • Typography. In progress! Working with Shawn T. King on this. He and Felix do great work together.
  • Typesetting
    • This is the finicky little tweaks and turns you have to apply to a document to make it work as an ebook. I sure do want to outsource this, but do you see all the above? Those are all significant expenses. My coffers will likely be dry by this point. 
  • Hit publish!
    • Not that easy actually. This go round (unlike my debut) I want the book to be seen. I'm going to have to organize a release extravaganza for marketing/promoting purposes. Don't ask me how much info I have on that. Not a lot. 

So when will all that be done?

Honestly I'm stupid enough to think a 2021 release is possible. Copy edits will tell. They're quicker than developmental edits but, again, this book is the size of three The Hobbits, and that single book warranted *14 hours of cinema. 

*It did no such thing. Forgive my sarcasm.

Artwork

Here are a couple of teaser snippets from the cover/banner art, created by Felix Ortiz. I kept 'em small to keep you thirsty.  

Lieutenant's Second Mourt, Fohrvylda's Domestic Patrol
"An orcane rider breaches the town square well ahead of the main force. He lurks in his saddle watching them silently. Mourt. Just seeing him chills Irdessa’s blood. There are too many rumors of his depravity for them all to be false. Seems he acquired a new mount. The thunder of hundreds of marching boots follows him."
~

Kraus the Thirsty Bandit
"Kraus has never ran this long in his life. Surely no one has. Who would? And why? If you hate yourself enough to submit to an all day marathon, then just stick a knife in your neck. There are easier ways to die."
~

Irdessa the Undying
"In the years of her life that other girls might seek a trade or hook a man to make their own daughters, Irdessa learned how to spot weakness, exploit it, hold her weapon aloft while her enemy bled to death under her boot. The intimacy she had room for was the sort only one party survived."
~


Magus Kalderys, Consonant Baromancer
"His sentinels sing of the splendor of this moment. Kalderys sings of the moments to come. Of a white fire birthed to sweep the jungle like a shell comb, removing tangle from the trees with teeth made of lightning. So fast time is irrelevant, so bright all else is dark. Kalderys loses himself in the Song and lets instinct guide his steps. The power magnifies. His destination approaches."
~

These folks get into a ton of fun in the book! Through hilarious antics and fond adventures, they all wind up the best of friends. None of that was remotely true.

Natasha the Spider

I introduced her last month and figured I should cap that story off. She and her brood are gone with no evidence they were ever there. I'd wager this is to be expected with insects/arthropods of that size. They lead fast lives compared to us and go out with a crunch, not a nursing home. 

Next Month

I'm just gonna call it: I'll still be editing. 

See you then

dtl


Thursday, July 1, 2021

July 2021 News

Morning guys. Happy almost independence day to my fellow yanks. 

Writing

Edits are still underway. In fact I've written 15,000 new words based on my editor's feedback. The direction I'm going feels like the way the story should have been from the beginning.
Added objects: 

  • Yet another character hellbent on committing suicide
  • More unrequited love

These don't in themselves feel like strong selling points. I promise they're both overflowing with goofs and gaffes and good times. 

Kayak biz

Did I mention the business idea my wife and I had? Moreso her? Well, we purchased some hardware (trailer, kayaks, paddles, life vests), arranged some insurance, built a brick wall of a waiver (in case ya die), commissioned a logo (can't show you yet), snatched up some online real estate (nine URLs as it were), and (here's the kicker) opened our business on Google. That part just felt like another small step in the process. But as soon as we did it, my phone started blowing up with requests. Turns out the demand is such that our service sells itself. Out of the kayaks we bought, we've already nearly paid off two. We're scrambling to fill requests and we're not even freakin opened yet. Good times. Much busy.

Natasha the spider

We found a black widow in the yard a little over 2 weeks ago. She was protecting her eggsack with unshaking vigilance until a few nights ago, when her new babies spilled out into the web-home she'd made for them.

Overnight we've gone from 1 to 251 black widows in that section of the yard. The nature-enthusiast in me prevented me murdering or displacing her, but I'm second guessing that. I'll keep watching to see what their plans are. I'm no scientist but I'd wager that ~97% of those baby spiders won't live to see adulthood. Time will tell.
Here are pics!

Natasha, our resident black widow


defending her eggsack day and night

snacking on a beetle

fighting off ants

proud mama

hundreds of babies


That last picture was taken a few days ago. Since then the baby black widows have been spreading out, probably already sick of each other's shit. This is resulting in a rapid decline in their numbers, as is surely expected. Not least of all because there's an ant bed on the ground beneath them, and the ants will eat everything they can get their mandibles on, no matter the risk.

Natasha, now having spent all maternal energy and presumably achieved her life's mission, has taken up a new side hobby. She's building a ball of ant corpses. It's about the size of a pea right now. I'd love it if she just keeps adding to it until it's marble sized. What a brutal queen. Meanwhile, the more industrious of her brood have seen their own successes in catching ants and slurping their liquified innards. 

I bet you didn't expect the monthly report to go this direction.

see you next month

dtl

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

June 2021 News

 Hi there hello. This one snuck up on me.

Writing

I'm still editing. Certain scenes have to be rewritten and it's just weird going back to writing mode after all this time editing and nitpicking. Blank-slate mode as it were, for some of these scenes. I don't always feel like what I'm producing is improving on what I already wrote and tweaked. That's the tough part. Once that insecurity creeps in it attacks your motivation. 

I'd love to share some more of the artwork Felix has produced for the cover, but let's save that until we're closer to drop date. 

Business

3 yaks in the cove

Wife and I are opening a kayak business around Lake Hartwell. I'd give you more insight on that but I waited too late to start this news post and now I'm out of time. Don't worry, we're early in the process. By this time next month it will be in full swing. 

Next Month

By Jon Bon Jovi it would be nice if this round of edits are done. Hopes are high and expectations are nonexistent. 

See you then

dtl


Friday, April 30, 2021

May 2021 News

Happy Spring to you fellow northern hemispherans. Here comes a brief one. Sorry, there's work to be done. That's why I'm a day early. 

Writing

Edits are in full swing. Clarifying some references to in-world terms and geography. Ripping out some unnecessary details and over-done descriptions. Doing a bit of an overhaul / attitude adjustment on a certain prevalent monk character named after a rock vegetable. You know the one: 

Basalt Kale & Irdessa the Undying
- by Felix Ortiz

Also, doing a run through the entire manuscript for certain words, phrases, !s, that all need paring.

I can't tell you a specific date of the book launch or even the conclusion of these edits, but rest assured that it's progressing. I still have a launch date of 2021 in mind. 

Watching


I watched Mortal Kombat (2021) and freakin loved it! Yes, it had some questionable casting, garbage acting, a chasm-ridden plot, and even some subpar fight choreography. But what it had to offer made up for all that. I came in expecting brainless fun and hoping for awesome matchups and brutal fatalities and was not let down. Kabal was in it! And Kung Lao! Jax does his fatality! As does Liu Kang and Sub-Zero! They stuffed the majority of the movie's personality into one character... And if you've seen it or the memes you know who I'm talking about. He's vile and hilarious. There were some missed opportunities in there, but in all it was fun. 
I did a little discussion on it with my S.O.S. brothers and Ryan on CapeCast. Check that out here. I liked it more than they did!

See you next month

dtl

Thursday, April 1, 2021

April 2021 News

 I'm so glad it's warming up. I prefer being outside. None of that was an April fools joke.

Writing

Last month I forecasted that I'd be in edits right now and here I am. I also mentioned the high praise my editor gave the book in his general notes / reaction. It's a good thing he complimented the book. Not for my ego, but for what came next. The edits. 

I've worked with an editor before and with beta readers. Now and then they'll utterly miss a point I thought I nailed. That kinda scuffs but it's expected. V&V's editor, on the other hand... left me feeling like a punching bag. I need someone to tell me I'm pretty or something. He hated one of my central characters. Hated him, and didn't miss an opportunity to say so. He had zero reservations calling this character annoying, selfish, a bloody idiot, you name it. I'll spare you the details but I had to Google "tosser" in the process of determining how to unf*ck this character. 

If he'd not complimented the book as he did, I'd have decided this character, their thread, and the book in general were utter codswallop and I might have thrown it all on a funeral pyre. But even while wallowing in the soul-crushing rejection brought on by accurate criticism, I am well aware that this is the very best feedback I can ask for and worth every penny I paid. 

My work is cut out for me. Simpler stuff will be quick. "You use too many exclamation points." "Don't rely on 'go' so much." Easy. Ctrl + F and nuke those bastards.

On the other hand "He is basically unlikable. This is a problem." will have deeper roots to excavate. I wanted a distinct character arc before our little buddy turns heroic. I may have nailed the "pre-heroic" part too well. 

There is a silver lining. If he had such nice things to say despite that he abhorred a significant character, how much more compelling can this book become? I hope to find out. 

dtl

Monday, March 1, 2021

March 2021 News

Hi there, hello. 

Last month I told you I might reach out to my editor and ask him how it's going while I sit anticipating the 280,000 words worth of work he's about to drop in my lap. Well I broke down and emailed him "May I ask your impressions of the story thus far?" 

I'll spare you the details, but his response was very flattering. Better than I hoped for or expected. I'm going to be riding that high for some time. For you, please take it to mean that an industry professional has given the book his stamp of approval. When I phrase it that way, it feels like a first for me. 

Now back to research on marketing, promoting, a press package, synopsis (aka the devil), etc, etc, etc. 

Next month

I'll have the editor's first round of revisions back. I should be in the throws of responding to that and making fixes to the manuscript. It's nice to have the end in sight after all this time. 

I'll see you then

dtl

Monday, February 1, 2021

February 2021 News

I'm murdering my Facebook Author page. Facebook only shares posts of that sort of pages if you pay them money and frankly, no thanks Mark. Follow my regular Facebook page if you must, or Twitter, or sign up to this very blog for email updates. I bet that's a thing this blog can do. Maybe. Unsure.

Writing

Last month I mentioned the editor I'd corresponded with. We've moved forward. I'm paying him in pounds and he's paying me in attention to my manuscript. He estimated some 5 weeks initial turn-around for 100k words so if my calculator is a calculator then I should hear back from him within eleven weeks. April 19th at the latest. 

I don't want to drop any spoilers, but I gotta tell ya his initial feedback. While reading through my first chapter he said "I like your writing". Can you believe that!? Ah. Anyway



While he keeps me on the edge of my seat by failing to email me every 30 seconds, I'm plotting out the next story in the series. The finale. I've got 38 mandatory events/scenes/chapters listed out. Honestly I could probably start writing it right now. Half of these details will change in the process because at some point the characters are going to look at the path I set before them, pull a RatM and tell me "F** you I won't do what ya tell me", then go their own way like Fleetwood. Are you supposed to wait until the previous entry in a series is published or at least edited before starting the next? Surely not. This is only a first draft anyway. It'll all be burned and rewritten multiple times. 

Next Month

If we're honest (and I am sometimes) I'll probably reach out to my editor and ask how it's going. Not to rush, just to get feedback. The fact is, he's been at it for 3 weeks and has yet to email me saying "I refuse to be associated with, or even proceed to lay eyes on this asinine drivel. Burn this document and the computer you used to write it." Maybe he won't say that. Maybe he's so enrapt with this story that to his mind I've become something of a deity and he's afraid to reach out to me lest he call down my fury and earn himself a cursed bloodline. That isn't likely. I think individuals with debilitating psychosis active imaginations shouldn't be left to their own devices like this. 

If I do reach out and he updates me, I'll let you know.

til then

dtl



Friday, January 1, 2021

January 2021 News

Starting around 2016 it seems, the trend of calling the current year a dumpster fire really kicked into high gear. It carried on to 2017, 2018, 2019, then sorta faded from common use, either because people were sick of hearing it by then or because they realized the truth: When a whole calendar year is an actual dumpster fire, it doesn't have to be announced. 


I sincerely hope the scholars of disaster and erudites of historic calamity who deemed 2016 to be any kind of landmark for atrocities have kicked their own asses. Then again, what have facts ever had to do with propaganda? I'd wager there are opportunistic graphic artists out there already fashioning the "2021 Dumpster Fire" tee shirt.

*Please note, that is not me calling the year 2020 a dumpster fire. I, for one, have observed the consequences of tempting fate.

**UPDATE January 6th: I hate eating my own words. 

Writing

In 2015 when I published A Sawmill's Hope (ASH) I set some goals and determined I'd reevaluate this path by the end of the year 2020. I'll spare you the details but here we are, with me having released nothing since then. Still relying on day job. Silexare not having grown but probably shrunk, as far as public awareness goes. Maybe I should listen to the haters that tell me "stick to the grind" and "leave hobbies as hobbies."
No. Turns out I'm only more passionate about building Silexare. The show must go on. Major goals at this moment for the next three years: Finish this book and the next one, completing the series. Build Schala.  

Events to note:

-I spliced Turesia books 1 and 2.
It really is V&V at this point and pre-edits it clocks in at around 275,000 words, or around a thousand pages. This is the opposite of a smart business move for an independent author. They typically build a career by dropping a bite-sized book a year, if not more than one. Too bad I'm stupid.

-I reached out to a publisher.
I'm not naming them here yet because who knows what the future will hold. Some time ago I met the owner/operator of this particular hybrid publisher. Knowing I plan to be the 'general contractor' of my book's publishment, I really savored the idea of hiring a 'handyman' to whom I could outsource more than one of the duties. In this case, that would include marketing, promoting, editing, printing, distributing. I've already purchased cover art from the one and only Felix Ortiz and it is a goshblamned shame I can't share it with you yet.
Anyway, I had some good talks with the publisher and he asked me to send him my manuscript. I couldn't yet. It wasn't ready but I told him I would as soon as it was. Well on October the 16th, or about 1.5 years after our talk, it was ready so I reached out again. That was 3 months ago. 

-So I reached out to an editor.
I can't wait on someone else to grant my book a pass. I learned this with ASH over the course of a year. Luckily it only took me since October 16th to relearn it. 
I found an freelance editor (putting it lightly) on Twitter and reached out. This individual has been in the industry for a long time in various positions. As an agent he's recently acquired and sold some novels that I not only like, but that have a similar target audience as V&V. He can be found in various interviews online discussing his priorities when acquiring a book. He claims he can know as soon as page 1 whether he'll want it. He values voice, which as far as I'm concerned is the most important quality a book can have.
I think he'll be a good fit. It really helped sell his services to me that he responded to my initial email within 5 minutes. His timeframe, price, and the subject matter he'll produce are all within reason. We speak again January 4th. 

Otherwise, I'm still editing, or at least tinkering. We're down to about 9,000 words of notes and some of those are older than the story itself. It just sucks when any three of them (for example "Outlaw vs mercenary") can potentially consume a morning to resolve.

Elsewhere

The time will come I can tell you all about Schala, in whatever form(s) she eventually takes. For now, let's stick a fork in this turkey before she becomes a cow.

Happy New Year. Eat vitamins and exercise your bod in some fashion every single day. Drink a ton of water. You made it to 2021. Now survive it.

dtl