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. 


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. 


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. 


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.


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?


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. 


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. 


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


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. 


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. 


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.


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


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


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. 


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.  


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


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

August 2022 News

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


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:

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.


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


Friday, July 1, 2022

July 2022 News

Last month I wanted to come here today and report another record month for Lake Hartwell Kayak. Well here I am, doing it. June was a record month. 


It's a funny industry - kayak rental and delivery. You might have a span of days where you drive ~500 miles, dropping off and picking up 20 kayaks. Then you have 3 dry days and you start second guessing every life choice you've ever made, sure that your business will crash and burn tomorrow. Maybe that's the tourism industry in general.

I'll tell ya how I expend my energy and thoughts while not directly working on kayaks or driving: I analyze data. All the data. Rentals, purchases, locations. I try to make operating expenses cost less money and time. Try to make the income more often and higher. At first I was only rocking an Excel sheet for data analyzing but it got too complicated and error-prone. I needed a database. 

For a long time I've wanted an excuse to learn SQL. This is a perfect one. I want to generate reports, determine our busiest days, slowest days, busiest areas by city or zip, slowest areas, rental behavior of campers and of airbnbers, etc. 

Learning SQL will also help eventually with..


.. the dynamic environment simulator engine. What better way to store and reference and update a thousand living objects? Or a thousand thousand. SQL obviously. 


Last month I also hoped to return here and report that V&V is complete. I can't do that, unfortunately. Mr. Jarrold began his read through on April 19th and is still at it. I'm not complaining. There's enough going on and as soon as he's done with his part, it will be time to chisel at that manuscript again (not to mention pay him my other leg). 

Regarding V&V, I think I'm changing the name. V&V should be the name of the series. I want to focus the names of book 1 and 2 on something more story-specific. On what exactly? I have no idea. Why do books need names by god?

Next month

Will I report another record month? The completion of the book? Time will tell. 

See you then


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

June 2022 News

Happy June to you. This month's most poignant updates are on the yakkery. Long story short: It's going quite well.


May 2022 marks Lake Hartwell Kayak Rental and Delivery's 1-year anniversary. 

our very first waiver, written on a McD's bag

In May of 2021 we did a total of one rental and made $90 income (not to be confused with profit). Since then we've made some improvements. I won't bore you with the details but in May of 2022 we made almost $3,000 income. It was our best month by a thousand dollars. As my buddy Peter would say, "Yippy kayak mother****er!"

I'm excited, but also nervous. We're venturing into uncharted waters. This business will sink or swim based on decisions made exclusively by us. Storms will come along to try and steer us off course. Worst of all: I may run out of water metaphors.


Edits are still underway for book 1. Meanwhile book 2 is coming together. I'm drafting and compiling the notes I've been collecting. I think all told it's about 30k words worth out outlines, quotes, notes, etc. 

Captain Jeret leading Promontory soldiers
art by Felix Ortiz

It's kind of intimidating to write the follow up to this novel. Book 1 is 285k words, epic, and was written during unusual circumstances. Book 2 promises to have more epic scenes, more tragedy, more magic and monsters and weather-manipulating monks. 

"But," said that wee inner voice, "What if I can't deliver?"  

I suppose that same question can be asked by anyone, at any time, about any endeavor, including making lunch for the kids or going to work. Well, I have to at least try.


The Kingdom of Zeal is coming along. Most of the trickier parts--fountains, hoses, filtration, draining--are done, or at least plotted. Some might argue that the truly tricker parts will entail a non-biologist plebian maintaining a living, closed environment with as few extinction events as possible. 

Zeal in progress
(it doesn't look like much, I know)

Don't worry, I'll start small. Plants, moss, algae. Once it is thriving, we'll see about adding more mobile heterotrophs.


I love and hate finding good shows. They tend to inhale me and prevent me doing anything besides vegetating until they've run their course with my attention and emotions. Thanks, Ozark.

The latest season of Love Death + Robots did that and more. It inspired me. There's so much imagination going on in those short episodes. I highly recommend it. It's like Black Mirror, but more sci fi, more violent, and animated.

Next Month

My hopes for next month are that I'll be reporting Hartwell Kayak's most successful month again, and announcing the completion of V&V Book 1.

I'll see you then


Monday, May 2, 2022

May 2022 News

Welcome to News. News you can use, no less. For what is up to you. tp?

Reading / Writing

I messed up and read the 1975 historical fiction Shōgun by James Clavell. Amazing book. Loosely based on and inspired by actual English navigator William Adams aka Miura Anjin and James Clavell's own adventures as a WWII prisoner of war in Japan and Singapore. I say I messed up because it makes my own work look pitiful in comparison. 

I loved it. Strong and varied characters. Gripping, if wandering, plot. Authentic world-building (but is it world-building if it's historical fiction?). A guy Wikipedia quotes called Shōgun "a virtual encyclopedia of Japanese history and culture; somewhere among those half-million words, one can find a brief description of virtually everything one wanted to know about Japan."
I'd only modify that to say "... about 1600s Japan."

If I had a nit pick it would be the usual for classics of that era: Pacing. There are parts that could have been tightened up and parts that could have been better expounded on. 

Critique aside, Shōgun has done the evil deed of making me highly critical of my own work in progress. I think this was inevitable though. It doesn't matter how much I love the book I'm writing, if I sit on it too long my contentedness erodes. It needs to be freed. I'm making progress on that. Final developmental edits are done and I've given the manuscript back to John Jarrold for his perusal. After he's done his finishing touches I'll approach a line editor. Hopefully by that time the band will have made me some more dollars, because it ain't cheap to outsource edits on an eight hundred page book. 

Lastly on writing, I figured that while John's holding the manuscript ransom and it doesn't behoove me to chip at it, I should start the next book. It had been a while since I simply wrote, particularly first draft / paving the road writing, so I was worried it might be hard or even insurmountable to write the 285,000 word sequel. But I opened a document and had a thousand words down in less than an hour. This is promising. 


The business is up and running. If you're reading this, I need you to go like/follow my Facebook and Instagram pages, please! The more the merrier. Who knows, I might just convince you to rent a yak. 

Made some progress on the automated booking feature of the website. It's brand new and needing feedback. If you have the time/means, look at it (on our webpage), try to book a yak and tell me how it could improve.

The Kingdom of Zeal

You know, the ol' paludarium. I've progressed this a bit - building the structure that will house the pumps for the creek / waterfall. Here comes a pic to tide us over. I don't share a lot of pictures because I know how "work in progress" this is, and how the potential is not self-evident. 

Pictured: Pump housing disguised by lava rocks, with four pumps circulating water


Oh uncle Davey, it's been a while since Gaming made an appearance!
That's because it's been a while since a game impressed on me. Then came Elden Ring. 

Picture courtesy of the Guardian.

I'm sure everything of value has already been said elsewhere and more betterly than I can. I'll just focus on what I love. The world is epic. Monstrous things of all shapes and sizes are around every corner, and each is more violent and/or disturbing than the last. The setting is incredibly unique and varied throughout. You might find a cave opening in the corner of unassuming ruins in the middle of nowhere that leads to the most mesmerizing game environment you've ever seen. Firstborne was playing over the weekend. He got to a new area and said "I've said this like twelve times surely, but this might be the coolest place I've found so far."

The game gives you ultimate freedom to explore wherever you want, ignoring whatever main quest there is as you please. This means you can just as easily wander into low-level goblins (who can still murder you if you take them lightly) as a dragon that could one-shot you even if your level was doubled. It really raises the stakes of exploration, while making it worthwhile with the items and experience you gain doing so.

I won't call it perfect, but it has been a long time since I played so immersive a game.

Next month

Yak biz will be in full swing. We might even have a new webpage by then. I'd imagine edits will be back from John, and I'll either be applying fixes or have handed it off to a line editor. P'raps Zeal will be full of life. 

I'll see you then


Friday, April 1, 2022

April 2022 News

There's a single thing this month's post is going to focus on and that's

Lake Hartwell Kayak Rental and Delivery. 

(image for those of you who can't read text)

I want you to follow our page on FB -

I want you to also follow our page on IG -

Even if you've got yaks already, follow us. I'll post pictures that make you hate your job, just like you like it. 

Hey, what's that new thing in the corner? you desktop people might be asking. (Sorry mobilers)

oh you mean this?

That's a link to our website, you sweet child. Currently it only holds our rental rates and the means by which to reserve your yak (my burner number and our email address) but anticipate epic upgrades forthwith!

Also in news

Yesterday was my last day at my full time job. I walked out the door despite girthy monthly bills demanding my coin so I can heave all my tremendous effort into the yak industry, which is known for being cut throat and corrupt. April Fool's. It's chill and enviable. I mean look at this freakin picture:

Myself, Wild Jax (rip), Boyo

But David what about...

...that book you've been writing?

Still in the works baby. You'd be surprised how much more writing I can accomplish when I'm not dedicating 45 hours of my work to saying 'Have you tried restarting your computer?'

...that paludarium you were building?

See above answer. I've actually made progress on the kingdom of Zeal, but amn't dropping a photo here because this is a yak post, fool.

...that dynamic environment simulator engine called Schala you promised?

See above! My quitation results in everyone winning! ... Except the IT department I left behind who might be starting to feel the deep agony of my departure (if nothing else, because I had the filthiest banter in the group chat).

Next Month

Expect to see me on the curb with a cup begging for your change, unless by some stroke of fortune kayaks are fun in which case look for me on the cover of Forbes. There's no in between.

I planned to be done with editing by now, but the day job was gripping my final minutes there like some desperate ex. Soon? I hope.

I'll see you then


Monday, March 7, 2022

10 Year Anniversary

I just noticed the 10 year anniversary of this blog is upon us. Figured I'd look back on the blog's origins and see where I was. See what's changed, what's the same.

First off, a picture guarantees higher views so let's knock out the me 10 years ago vs today bit:

Exploring the woods of the Sandbar with sunglasses I bought on honeymoon
in the Dominican Republic. Jax the dog was surely with me (RIP).
And I bet I turned this day into a short story.

a month ago

Right. I'ma just post my very first blog and react to it in bits. (Original post here)
Bolded, smaller text is the original, posted March 2nd 2012. All else is my reaction.

I am one hundred percent new to blogging.  This is partly because I've never felt I had anything worthy of being heard to say and partly because it has no immediate return on investment for me. (I am a simple person)
However, with the rise of social networks, let's face it; we're all bloggers to some degree, albeit some more detailed than others.

I'm no longer new to blogging, but I have solved the dilemma of believing I have nothing to say worthy of being heard: I don't care! I post for future me.
'No immediate return on investment' still rings true. What's the point of this post? Nothing really other than to document one slice of one moment in time. I do value that. Things change a lot. When I wrote the above, chances are I didn't know that ten years down the road I'd be a bereaved parent nearing the far side of a global pandemic. 
Lastly, I'd say that we're more bloggers (aka micro-historians) now than we were then, but now also vloggers and streamers, etc.

My main motivation to blog (I really do hate that word... and twit... seriously) is to post news and status updates of my writing.  I am currently in the wild throes of writing my first fantasy novel (based in a new and as yet unheard of world) and it is a learning experience to say the least.  I am hesitant to write anything specific, including words, names, events, histories, etc. so therefore, I'm not very sure exactly what it is I will write... I guess only time can tell.

I'm over my aversion to blog. Twit is still stupid. Then again, I'm not sure it was ever a term.
Little did I know this blog would become my definitive 'news and updates' solution.
I'm now in the wild throes of writing my second fantasy novel, based in the same world as the first - Silexare.
It's adorable to look back at my overprotective nature about revealing writing specifics. I know some part of me is like "this is subject to change" and that is a valid reason not to discuss details. But a larger part was fiercely (naively) protective of my own ideas, as if an idea without work is worth a half a hill of steaming shit.

It would still be three years from that post until I eventually published A Sawmill's Hope. I hope it's not another three before I publish V&V.

As I log more, you may notice a subtle (and by subtle I mean extreme) inconsistency in my writing style.  To be clear, this happens as my mood shifts and flares... In my finished work, I have means of solidifying a style and I intend to administer said means effectively.

Accurate prediction, I'd say. And with lots and lots of time, my writing has gotten more consistent despite mood shifts and flares. My novel-writing style is still a work in progress and hopefully it always will be.
But I have no idea what that last sentence was referring to. More naivety, doubtless.

So, concerning my current project...

So far it is a tale of several fellows who set out from their homeland to search for a ___.  Actually so far it is a story of a young man who seeks to save his family's business and possibly gain some sort of acceptance from his mildly disappointed father...  Actually so far it is just some guys wandering around in the woods.  

Another thing that hasn't changed since then: I'm absolutely horrendous at succinctly pitching my books.

I have had to take a break in the actual writing, however, to learn everything I can about alchemy.  When I tell this to people and they ask me, "What is alchemy?" I find that my wildly uneducated response has changed depressingly little despite the hours and days of research I've put into the subject.  This is mainly because alchemy, for its purposes in the book, will have its own definition, history and uses; all based loosely on my studies of alchemy's true, shady history.
That said, after compiling all my notes down from over a hundred pages to a single MS excel document (an annoying habit I have) I think I'm ready to continue writing.

We shall see.

Here's a thing I've improved. I am more able to recognize and differentiate productive writing time from other things. I studied alchemy for months. I'm still infatuated with the topic. But it wasn't at all necessary. In the chapters in question I could have written [they do alchemy stuff] and moved on in the draft. Then on second draft, I could have expounded. As it was, I stopped writing for like two months and when I returned to write out the scene I was overburdened with concepts I found cool, but that didn't add to the story.

Please note: I have never aspired to be a great author... only to create.  The ability to tell stories began as a child when I discovered that fiction was far less incriminating than fact.

That part hasn't changed at all. I don't aspire to be a great author. I do aspire to create, and whatever quantity of ideas and plans and inspirations I experienced ten years ago have only multiplied since then. I've learned to create outlets for my ideas and those outlets aren't always going to be books. If I get the ideas out, more spawn. In themselves, ideas are cheap. I shouldn't treat them like gold nuggets. 

Don't get me wrong. My manuscript in progress is (against all odds) still my very favorite fantasy novel to read. Editing it is challenging every single time because I just want to read it and experience the story again and again. I don't mean any of that in a narcissistic way. Writing and reading V&V is therapy. It's also a collection of people, places, and things I find awesome. I believe the world's population is large and diverse enough that, by great coincidence, someone else will inevitably feel the same way. 

If you asked me to pitch the story in a sentence, here goes:
V&V is a gritty epic fantasy that explores how grief transforms us, for better and worse.

Let's meet back here in 10 years. Compare again.

see you then


Wednesday, March 2, 2022

March 2022 News

These always sneak up on me! Here comes a lot of pics & some updates.

February Recap in pics

Camping & caving

Camping in 25ish degrees Fahrenheit was a first for me, and not something I care to do again soon, although by the end I'd pretty much figured out how to conquer the cold. 

we fashioned a clothes line and got mistaken for gypsies.
I wish I was kidding.

Day 1 cave was a casual exploration just off the highway. Quite muddy.

Day 2 we had to scour a mountainside to find the cave entrance.
It honestly reminded me of Indiana Jones;
studying the map, the compass, the topography, the hints.

Entrance 1. It wasn't the 30' drop that stopped us on this one,
it was the waterfall at the bottom.

Entrance 2. Mark and Trevor got deep enough to realize our timing was off.
The tunnel they crawled into was half-submerged in icy water.
Regrettably we had to withdraw.

Entrance 3. Way more accessible than the other two, 
but it only accessed a side quest, not the full cavern.

Good place to stop for lunch though!
The insides of caves hover around 65 degrees F, even in the dead of winter. 
Bear that in mind if, for example, nuclear war sends us back a few thousand years.
Caves might be how the species makes it through.

pictured: Myself and Firstborne
I've never managed to capture the wonder and 
claustrophobia of caves in picture form,
but that doesn't stop me trying.


Boyo was Dickon in The Secret Garden
It was his first "real" play (including grown-ups)
and he is madly in love with it. I may have a theater child.

Ben Weatherstaff and Dickon Sowerby

Rock show

SoS returned to play at South Hart Brewery.
There's B.Dunc in the setup-process.
The crowd got kind of nuts toward the end, but nothing was broken,
no one was too hurt (or at least we weren't),
and no one ended up in jail (to my knowledge).


We're closing in on the end of developmental edits. Dev editor John Jarrold (yes, I'll drop that name every chance I get) showed me a lot of "opportunities for improvement" in my story and I've taken the last YEAR to work on them. Yes, it's a long time. The book is 285,000 words which is roughly a thousand pages. Is that too long? I don't know. Probably. I won't make any excuses. On the plus side, I anticipate more writing time in my near future. (that feels like a dangerous thing to announce)

After dev edits come copy edits. My aforementioned band (Something Once Sacred) has some good-paying shows these days so the expenses should hopefully be covered. 

After copy edits I get to figure out how to type-set again. (kill me)


It's almost time to go hard. There's social media pages to build, imagery to upload, ads to create, boats to clean and decal. Fun times. By God I'm looking forward to sunshine, fresh air, and 100+ temperature days.


Job Opportunity

Royston LLC is seeking to hire an IT help desk position for its Royston, GA location. Entry-level with the potential to learn and grow. If you get in on this in time, I'll train you. 

Job's recommended stats: 5-10 years trouble-shooting PCs and anything that can connect to a PC. Yes, anything.
My recommended stats: The ability to confidently approach, communicate with, and get along with literally anyone.

Follow this link to apply: Technician, Help Desk 

Schala & Zeal

It's too cold to progress Zeal and we're too busy to work on Schala prototypes, but that's okay. They're both solid enough endeavors to weather a little neglect, and perhaps even improve in clarity because of some distance.

Next Month

So much uncertainty. I'm not making any promises. Except that I'll see you then.