Wednesday, March 1, 2023

March 2023 News

Spring is in the air. How did it get there? Was it thrown? Did it bounce? Is it stuck?



Book 1 of V&V is back in the hands of the copy editor for his final touches. After he's done this is a finished book. It's a finished book. You'd think after so many years I'd be really stoked by that sentence. All I see is the nitpicky work that remains, including type-setting and arranging the manuscript with distributors. I'm terrible at nailing down the blurb and pitch and ads. I have a reader who's interested in ARC reading, but I'm clueless how that works. 

David you've had a long time to work on all this. Stop crying. This ain't your first rodeo. Don't you remember ASH?

You mean ASS? You're right. It ain't my first. But times change. Besides, I flushed that era out of my memory in therapy.

Well there are dozens of references to get good at it. You've no excuse.

Dozens of references? Try thousands. And they all have their own slant. It's intimidating and inconsistent, which is one reason I broke down and queried literary agents. 

It'd be amazing if I could outsource some of the work. I'd even take the royalty disembowelment ya get from tying yourself to a traditional publisher. I never planned to get rich off this book. I only need it to make enough to fund the next. 

Anyway, I did query some agents. I examined every agent who has a presence online. Narrowed the list down to around thirty based on interests. Cross-examined those and removed all the ones who have ceased to represent authors, or ceased to exist outright. Got down to ten promising agents. I emailed the first. Waited a week, then sent out two more. Got a rejection from one, who helpfully explained that while she didn't consider the book a good fit, others might. For a rejection, it was quick and nice. Can't ask for more than that so I replied and thanked her for her time. Too many literary agents just don't respond at all. That's not how to do business. I don't care what's the history or tradition or whatever. 

But David, they see so many queries a day! It's so hard and difficult and arduous to read that much! Think of their poor eyes' balls.

Read my lips. I  don't  give  a  single  f. Respond to emails or build a bot that will. 

I'll probably not send out more query letters. I get salty, and I don't wanna be salty. Querying irks me, drains my soul, and fails entirely to entertain. It's more productive to spend my time writing...

Book 2

I'm following an outline which lists all major events, plot-wise and character-wise. Currently about 8 chapters into it, and remembering exactly what I love and hate about first drafts. I love them because they're wide open and you can write whatever you want. Some of my favorite scenes have come about on accident. I hate them because deep inside I know every chapter I write will need touchups, if it even survives the day. 

Point is I'm making good progress, averaging 2k words a day.


We did a rental a couple weeks ago, which was our first for February. As the globe continues warming up, we hope to see winter rentals increase. S'long as the lake doesn't dry up we're golden, baby. When it does we'll switch to renting sun screen.

Also we're finally throwing our efforts into merch design. We desperately need merch. I mean, look at this logo! It would look good on EVERYTHING. Thanks BranDuncan. 

the lady of the lake of the Hartwell

Last month I mentioned something in the works for LHKRAD expanding to Lake Russell, and I'm pleased and anxious to announce it's still moving forward. Nothing's promised yet, but we'll know soon. By this time in April there'll be news.


The Kingdom of Zeal is thriving, thank you for asking. Check out a picture of Hans, who it took me six months to name.

Hans shows himself so rarely and is so hard to photograph.

As I shamelessly mention every month, follow me on IG to see more fotos and phootage of the kingdom.

Next Month

I've said this before but maybe NEXT month we'll have news on the podcast I want to do. I'll tell you my hang-up. I have guests in mind, plenty of whom are willing and won't require kidnapping. I have questions in mind. I have the means of recording a Zoom call (a phone).
I just don't cherish the idea of long-distance interviews. I'd much prefer a physical meet-up, at least for some of these interviews. But that comes with its own challenges and unfortunately at this time, the interview podcast isn't as high a priority as other endeavors. 

Next month is April, according to my calendar. See you then.


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

February 2023 News

Happy February.


Copy editor Lee Burton has completed his first pass and returned his notes, the marked up document, and a style sheet (which is really exciting to me for some reason). 

I'm loving his work. The idea that the grammar in my book can be consistent from beginning to end is ... it's too alien a concept for me to even imagine. 

Can I share some of his words with you? They're very flattering. He said,

"As I related, I quite enjoyed the piece, and said I’d try to make a point to illustrate in what ways I enjoyed the piece. But even now I find myself falling short in being able to do that at a functional level, because, frankly, the book works, and all its elements are tied together in such a way that everything complements each other. It’s difficult to point to one thing and say I liked this, as everything is part of a unique, competent whole. You have a diverse range of characters, all with their own interesting motivations and character arcs. You have an interweaving plot that never gets dull or lingers. You have an intricate backstory for the world that contributes to the present. You have an intriguing promise of a future that draws the reader through the story. Obviously, a lot of work has gone into your worldbuilding, and in such a way that it’s apparent that each element is not separate from itself but interrelates and connects with the other elements of the story—ie: the story is not happening against a still, placid, incidental backdrop, it’s taking place in a natural, living, breathing ecosystem with an interesting political past, present, and future unfolding for the characters within it. The world works. The book works. I think it is a good book, and I was glad to be reading it and working on it."

I think I'm putting that on the spine of the book. Trust me, there's room.


We had a canoe rental this week. If my records are accurate, (they are. In fact, they're immaculate) this is a first for January. *cue celebration*

We're looking into expanding onto Lake Russell but not exactly as we do in Hartwell. Russell doesn't have residential docks, so delivery isn't as feasible. That said, something is in the works and I'll tell you more as it's confirmed. Just know that I'm stoked.

The Kingdom of Zeal

I recently cleaned it up a bit. Clipped the old dead or dying leaves from the plants. Replaced the 'mechanical filter' (sponge). Cleaned the pump tank and got them all working nicely. While doing that I had to turn off the water flow, and when I did that I observed several fresh water snails living in the creek bed. I'd not noticed them before, but they seem to be doing well.

I need a better close-up camera

Zeal doesn't experience rapid change, at least during the winter, so I won't drop a pile of pics here. But follow me on Instagram if you want to see some recents. I just made a post last Friday.

Next Month

Hopefully there's more to say on the interview podcast I mentioned in passing last month. I want to get that cracking. The goal or theme of the podcast is clarifying in my mind, gradually. I think I want to focus on work, occupations, fulfillment, and the lack thereof. 

Sunday, January 1, 2023

January 2023 News

Welcome to 2023. Indulge me for a moment. Let's do a 'best of'. 

I don't like "What's your favorite ...?" questions because tastes shift and time passes and nothing that's my favorite today will necessarily be my favorite tomorrow. Also, I couldn't possibly recall all the games, shows, books, films I ingested since this time 365.25 days ago. That's a lot of of days.
But for the sake of the turning of the year, here are some objects of media that stood out to me as out standing in the year 2022. I'll wrap up with the state of the book and business. 

Favorite Game:

image courtesy of

Elden Ring. Without a close second. Exploring this world was amazing. Hours melted while I roamed the Lands Between. The enemies are monstrous and the combat is stylish. If you die, which you will, chances are it's your own fault. 

Runner up: Skyrim. Yes, I'm playing it again. I got Boyo (11) playing it and he loves it too. As it should be.

Favorite Book:

image courtesy of amazon

This is a tough one, but I bet it's Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Uplifted spiders who eventually take over a planet and reach low orbit (and beyond?) with their webs and constructs. Craziness I tell you. Adrian seems to come up with a wild concept (or perhaps even a pitch), then reverse engineer it. Genius. And his eyebrows? Possibly the best in the business.

Runner up: The Last Kingdom, Bernard Cornwell. Also, I don't remember if it was 2022 in which I read Shogun but it's definitely up there as well. 

Favorite Movie:

image courtesy of

Gonna ask me that right now? On the wake of seeing Avatar 2 a couple days ago? Avatar 2. I think effective world-building, or at least convincing enough to serve the story, is my kryptonite. Impressive choreography in asymmetric warfare is a plus, too, and Avatar 2 crushes that.
A sentient alien whale getting vengeance on technologically advanced whalers? Yes please. 

Favorite Show:

Not gonna lie, I've largely burnt out on Disney (which includes anything under their umbrella). Marvel, Star Wars, even Willow. I don't think they're putting their remixes and remakes and reboots into capable hands, or else surely I'd recall at least one of their recent productions. I can't. Ando seemed like it would be good and I've heard great things. I got 2 episodes watched and enjoyed them. But I couldn't justify one worthwhile show toeing the entire Disney+ bill so I didn't finish it. 

Watched Rings of Power and as a lot of folks have already said more eloquently, Galadriel is a toe. What's she got going for her?
Agency? Sure. She knows what she wants and she's going to go get it.
Motive? "Because I have to." That's garbage.
Relatability? Not really. She wants to war and that's what she's going to do, no matter what. *Yawn*
A character arc? Debatable. If anything, she gets dumber over the season. She never learns from her mistakes. When the time comes to do the deed she's been attempting to do for thousands of years she flops utterly. Doesn't just fail but fails embarrassingly. Will she learn from that? Unsure, but honestly it's kind of too late. I don't like her. 

image courtesy of HBO

Watched House of the Dragon, and I guess if I have to pick a favorite, it's it. Miles better than Rings of Power, but I hate comparing the two because they serve different audiences. As expected with Game of Thrones content, each character has their own motives and will do what they must to see those met. These characters aren't portrayed as immaculate and when they inevitably make mistakes, they pay for them.

House of the Dragon was such a hook for me that I watched the entirety of Game of Thrones again after finishing it. The flu helped buy me time to achieve that. 

I'll tell ya this though: They shouldn't have used GoT's intro theme fpr HotD. Get a new one for f's sake. I think we've heard GoT enough times, and reusing it suggests a void of new ideas. 

Favorite Band / Musician / Composer:

Hitoshi Sakimoto is my favorite composer at this moment and he has been for a while.

The Prodigy is possibly my favorite band at this moment.

None of this is necessarily unique to 2022 but now you know.


Would you believe that we haven't rented out a kayak in weeks? I already told our guests that temperature is just a number. Unsure what they're waiting for. Ice to melt?

image courtesy of me

As far as year review, this one's been great. 2021 business numbers suggested that I'd be safe quitting my day job in IT to pursue this full time. So I quit my job in the spring (but stayed on part-time as I was needed) and put a lot of effort into the kayak biz. Does it pay as well as the day job? No. As great as it did, it didn't pay half as much as the old day job did. Luckily I have a beautiful and industrious wife who believes in me and our business and can carry us during lulls. 

All in all,
Judging this as a business, it's done and is doing great.
Judging it as just another endeavor of mine, it's doing miraculously good. I've spent a lot of time and effort on far less successful endeavors and some of those have almost killed me. 

Kingdom of Zeal

It's so hard to get a good pic of Zeal

I believe that's Bertha, but it could be Ariel

The glass prison thrives. Since it's in my garage the flora and fauna don't feel the cruel bite of winter. Greenery is growing. Minnows are minnowing. As the greenery thickens, it should create the resources for more land-based creatures. Like a frog. 


Here's the meat 'n taters, as far as I'm concerned. 
painting courtesy of Felix Ortiz
I'm not ready for a cover reveal so until then 
his stylish portrayal of Basalt Kale and Irdessa the Undying will hold the place

We're getting close to release, fam. March maybe? 

Brace yourself for shameless name-dropping.

John Jarrold's developmental edits are complete. In late November copy edits began with Lee Burton. He mentioned getting them finished by the new year, and while I'm stoked for that, I told him not to sacrifice personal time or leisure time on my project. Work shouldn't come above sanity or health, ever. Anyway, once he's done I'll go through his changes (quicker than dev edits, surely) then it's on to cover finalization and type setting and arranging this beefer for ebook, print book, audio book. 

Felix Ortiz is my cover artist, and he nailed it as far as I'm concerned. I'll be hitting up Shawn T King again for the cover text (and whatever else I can commission from him). I reached out to him already but truth be told, I jumped the gun. Wasn't 100% committed to my title at the time and may have come off wishy washy. Hopefully I didn't spoil potential business with him because his work is impeccable.  

Next Month

Among other things, we'll be closer to publishing. 

Oh, also, I want to start a podcast where I interview random people. Riveting, I know. Unsure exactly what's driving me to do this but I can't shake it. 

See you then