(Part of) Reorienting AEP

I’ve been doing a lot more thinking about this site and what I should do with it. To be honest, some things are probably going to remain up in the air for quite some time to come; I’m just undecided on a lot of things about it. One thing I’m certain of, though, is that I need to move away from placing personal posts on here. The results of November’s election made me aware that I have too much to say that I don’t want to adversely affect people’s reaction to my writing, especially since I have plans on putting it out there.

So I’m not posting any more personal stuff up here. No more health reports, no more mentions of goals outside of writing, no posts about what I’m doing in my daily life. I’m moving all that to a blog on another site. Someday, I may connect the two—that blog and this site—from there, but I don’t think I’ll be providing links here to that site. There’s too much stuff that will upset future readers for me to do that.

From now on, this blog here will mostly concern writing. My writing, topics about writing I have an opinion on, et cetera. If you have a deep need to see my personal posts, use my contact form to provide me your email address, and I’ll give you the link to my journal/blog thing. But don’t do this on a whim. If you are not liberal in your social and political views, if you have any issues with people who have mental health problems, if you’re in some way fundamentally religious and have no room in your mind and heart for an alternate view (even one you don’t happen to agree with), or if you merely have a history of getting all riled up from the opinions expressed by a writer whose works you enjoy, please don’t ask for the link to my blog. In my mind, it would be far better for you to continue in your life with your idealized version of me in your mind than for you to be in any way disillusioned by the real me.

If you’d like a peek at the real me without going full-force, follow me on Twitter. I’m not there much right now, but I am on occasionally, and may come on more frequently in future; take a look at my previous posts. On Twitter, I’m a little more real. It should give any who are curious about my social/political and religious leanings a good idea what I’m like and where my feelings on certain aspects of life and the world lie. My Twitter handle is at the right.

Reading Goals

I used to be an avid reader. Literally any book had a chance of catching my attention. I checked out books from the library, bought books, borrowed books from friends, picked them up at flea markets and from FREE BOOKS bins and boxes. Recently, though? Especially the past several years? I haven’t been as avid for books. I don’t know what changed in my psyche, but I now spend more time reading my own work than I do reading others’ writing. This is something I don’t like.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for books, I do want to read more. This is more a conscious decision than anything else. I’m in a place where I have to be conscious of my reading habits, since they aren’t natural to me any more.

So this is what I’ve done:

Right now, I’ve got a number of books I haven’t finished readin. My goal this year is to finish reading at least some of those books. There are eleven books I need to finish reading, but I’ve set my reading goal on FM to twelve. One book a month is doable, even for me.

My sister got me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas this past year. I’ve already added some new books onto it, and I’ll be taking it with me wherever I go. These, I’ll start reading after I finish a few of those incomplete novels. Also, I’ve set up an Amazon Allowance of five dollars a month to use for getting more books. In addition, I’ve created a Goodreads account since it sort of “comes with” the Kindle, and I’ll be reviewing books I’ve read there. For those I’ve purchased at Amazon, I’ll be reviewing them there too—basically copy-pasting my review.

I also own a Nook, and it’s got a number of those books I’ve not finished reading on it. This year, I’m going to read those books, and review them on Barnes and Noble’s site, as well as on Goodreads.

Also, I’ve signed up for a Wattpad account. In part, this is to post some of my own writing, but it’s just as much to expand my reading. Since there was a smartphone app, I downloaded it to my phone. I’ll start reading the books I’ve selected on Wattpad after I’ve finished those I need to finish reading.

Lastly, there are a number of print books I need to read. They’ve been sitting on my bookshelves for years in some cases. I haven’t read them in part because my hands cramp and grow tired with holding print books these days. So I can read them, I must set them on a table or my desk—something that holds the book for me. Doing this requires me to bow my head over the book, which in turn causes a tension pull headache, where a muscle at the back of my skull tightens until I have difficulty moving my head. As a result, I don’t often read print books. I think I’ll be looking for them as ebooks and purchase them as I have the funds.

In this way, I’ll never be without a book at hand. So far, it’s worked this year. I’ve read more of others’ books than I did by this time last year.

Turn of the Year Update

It occurred to me that I should probably give a rundown of the past two or three months since my last Nano post, which, according to my records, was around about the 14th of November. This will encompass the end of Nano through the 15th of January 2017.

To begin: Nano.

For Nano in November, I ended up writing on four different projects. The first, Independent Investigations I: Boost, I’d started in October. I think I mentioned I was going to start off November with that project. Well, that fizzled up ’round about the 10th of November. But, thankfully, my Creative Mind wasn’t done with writing, it just switched gears and got me going on Dagjhir’s second book, The Prophet of Venjhelin 2: Uncertain Times. I worked on that steadily until the 18th, then did one final scene on it on the 20th. On the 19th, and for the next five days, I worked on a brand new project set on a brand new world, Brother Exile and Brother King, which is a standalone. Then, on the 24th, the last day I wrote on BEBK, I started another story on the same world, The Legend of Boikal I: Unspeakable Evil. TLOB1 broght me to the end of Nano, with just a little over 100k words for the event. So, Nano was a grand success! I’m still proud of that word count. I’ve never gotten a 100k Nano before, and I’m not ashamed to admit my Creative Mind took me on a tour through four different projects to get me that count.

I didn’t write again until the 6th of December, beginning what’s looking to be a trilogy. There’s no series title in the first few entries of the story, just the book’s title, No Man’s Child. It’s set on Dagjhir’s world, in another country, and will, if I can write the entire thing before I die, a revolution. That dried up around the 8th.

Another brief dry period followed, and then I wrote on TBK1. Made a bit of progress on it, but it didn’t last long. Just 4 days, including the first.

Then I wrote a little on a couple of gay romances whose titles I won’t share, one new, one a rewrite when the desperation for words got to be too great. I appear to be making it a habit to rewrite incomplete gay romances I’m not satisfied with. Given my last experiences with them, I wish my Creative Mind would forget about them altogether. I do not want to repeat 2012. But writing on those gay romances happened on the 25th and 26th of December.

On the 27th and 28th, I worked on a new story, Mirrorsoul I: Revelation. I’ll let you ponder just what a Mirrorsoul may be. I’m not sure about keeping that series title, but I may have figured out a way it applies—to the last book in the trilogy. This is set on a new world, and I decided to experiment a little with the chapters. Instead of multiple scenes per chapter, I decided to see if I’d feel in any way comfortable with doing one scene per chapter. It was a tad bit uncomfortable for me at first, but the second story, set on the same world, that I started and wrote over the 29th and 30th, helped with that. I haven’t decided if I’ll rearrange my other writing, but to be frank, the task is rather daunting, though I really like the 1-scene chapters. This second story is titled, Return of the Moribund God I: Life After Tavrinia (ROTMG1), and it’s the first in what is currently a planned 4-book mystery series.

And that’s December. January has been much less . . . busy on the writing front.

On the 2nd of January, I wrote a scene on ROTMG1. Then I lost interest in all my writing. At least, until the 15th. That day, I wrote a bit on Mirrorsoul1.

Happily, the periods when I haven’t written haven’t been completely noncreative. I’ve spent a lot of time plotting and worldbuilding during those dry spells, especially this month. When I say, “writing”, I mean, specifically, putting new words down in a story file.

I’ve also been reading a lot. I was gifted a new Kindle Paperwhite by my sister for Christmas, and with the $50 Amazon gift card she sent me, I’ve purchased some books, including an omnibus edition of an old favorite trilogy that I’ve been devouring. I’ll admit, there are some obvious similarities in what I’ve got planned for my Mirrorsoul series to this old favorite trilogy, but there are also some very stark differences. The necessary twisting to make my stories different from this trilogy, and fitting the story into this new world, have created something of its own. I suspect this is as close to writing fan fiction I’ll ever get, and it’s not the first time I’ve lifted various ideas from some book I’ve read and twisted them to my own purposes.

One big difference? The MC in my favorite trilogy to read ultimately dies. My MC won’t, but he’ll certainly wish he would.

I’m Still Alive

Sorry I haven’t been very active on my site or Twitter over the past few months. The whole presidential race took it out of me, and I’m really only now starting to come out of my little mental self-protective ball. I’m not making any promises I’ll be back in any way permanently on Twitter until after January 20th, and I’m not willing to give a specific date. My bipolar is doing its thing, making me not care about crap to the point where it’s taken quite a bit of effort to type this message up. I have some goals for the year, and I’ll get around to posting them once I’ve managed to organize them enough to do so.

I think, for the site, I’m going to be pretty random with posts for a while; I’ll try to get something up at least once a week, but there’s just no way I’m mentally capable of keeping to a schedule at this time. Still not sure just what I’m going to do about the site, though I intend to make some decisions about it this year and do some sort of overhaul on it. Last year was just not a good year for anything, really, except my writing, and I’m hoping that this year will improve shortly.

2016 started off with a bang on the writing front, but so far 2017 has proven to be very lackluster on that front. I’ve managed to write maybe one or two scenes and done some editing of one of my complete stories since the 1st, but not much else. It hasn’t been a completely uncreative writing downswing, though, so I’m not feeling depressed quite yet. I’m hoping my Creative Mind will wake up pretty soon though. I’d love to write some more.

So that’s where I stand.

Nano Update

Posting a bit late, but this is an important post. I’ll get the story behind this switch up here next week. This week, I don’t have the time for writing even a short blog post on it. All I have time for is a link. Short version—I’m working on a fantasy project for Nano words now and updated my Nano project page so the address has changed.

New Stats Page

Nano 2016

As has become my annual habit, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. It starts tomorrow, and I’ve been looking forward to it for the past few months. My aim is to hit substantially over 50,000 words. By at least ten thousand. Hopefully, I’ll my wordage will come out somewhere between seventy and eighty thousand.

Normally, I spend all of October preparing a project or more. Since 2012, I’ve leapt into the month before November with excitement and enthusiasm for some project or another, and I manage to prep something to an acceptable level for myself. And I run like this the entire month of October—until the last 3-1 days of it, when my creative mind suddenly switches gears and throws me into a totally different project.

This year, I resisted that urge. This does not mean I had a project I wanted to work on for November in mind. I did. My new Science Fiction idea, Boost. I’ve gotten character bios, worldbuilding notes, plot points, and various notes for the story and universe thus far. But I resisted setting it up as my Nano project because I fully expected my creative mind to decide on something else. I intended to stick with that decision until the end of the month.

Well, a few days ago, I finally set up Boost as my Nano project. I couldn’t resist it any more. But I refused to get excited about it. I figured, the less enthusiasm I expressed, the less likely it would be for my creative mind (read: Bipolar) would be to jerk me into something else. It’s now Nano Eve Day (the wee hours anyway, as I write this), and I’m still quite firmly on Boost as my main wip. I’m hoping—again, without much enthusiasm—this will remain the case the rest of the day and all through November. Yes, I’m afraid of jinxing this. I think I’ve never been as superstitious as I’ve been all this past month, and I don’t expect it to end until November starts and I’m either on Boost still, or on something else.

But, in the spirit of the event, I’ll give you links to my Nano pages with the pertinent info (all subject to change):

First: The Stats Page for Boost

Second: The Synopsis

Independent Investigations I: Boost

Independent Investigator for the Haefen Planetary Police Mat Kelly goes with xyr gut in choosing to investigate the death of the prime suspect in a criminal case. Virgil Coleman died of a toxic potion, and Mat feels absolutely certain someone close to him did the deed.

At first look, Virgil seems to be a deplorable person. The detectives who investigated him as a criminal believed he cheated on his wife and participated in a crime ring involving a new series of drugs, called Boost, that bestow a variety of temporary powers upon their users. Having pegged Virgil as a Recruiter, the detectives did their best to prove his guilt, but failed to. And, in the process of their investigation, angered and upset nearly everyone they questioned.

Mat steps into a difficult case and discovers few wish to cooperate with xem, despite professions of their desires to know who committed Virgil’s murder and see that person brought to trial. Even after the suspects begin to respond to xyr patient and careful questioning, the clues fail to help Mat determine who murdered Virgil.

So, in desperation, Mat does the one thing xe thought inconceivable . . .

Third: The Excerpt:

Because, no matter what else, Mat could not believe anyone would imbibe that particular toxic mix in an effort to commit suicide.

In addition to that consideration, Virgil had gone to get groceries. In Mat’s experience, people who were committing suicide wouldn’t take a toxic potion then blithely go grocery shopping. No, they’d sit at home and wait for their guts to dissolve. They did not behave as though life were normal. Suicidal people didn’t plan for the future, and there were few activities that more strongly indicated someone doing so than shopping for food. Why go buy food you weren’t going to eat? Sure, he had a family, according to the detectives’ investigation into Virgil’s apparently nonexistent criminal life, but even so—if Virgil had been suicidal, he’d far more likely have taken himself either off to some secluded location if he didn’t want to be discovered, or if he wanted his body found by someone in his family—perhaps in some misguided hope of punishing them—he’d have stayed at home to die.

So, he’d been murdered. By someone angry about the infidelity? Perhaps, though Mat wasn’t willing to decide yet. According to the detectives’ file, Virgil had a wife, a boss, a brother, a lover, and there was at least one displeased parent bent on seeing Virgil’s conviction, if not utter ruination, for his presumed role in the death of her daughter. Any one of them could have done this.

Mat called up the map of the area around the scene of Virgil’s death. His home was within twenty minutes of the store, even if he were in a ground hover and had to stop at every single intersection. Virgil’s boss was out of the way by a good fifteen minutes, but that didn’t mean his boss hadn’t visited him and somehow doctored his beverage, though why Virgil’s boss would want to kill him was a bit of a mystery in itself at present—maybe Virgil’s boss had a role in this possible Recruiting scheme and wanted to get rid of Virgil because he knew something? Perhaps. The bereaved parent who’d been after Virgil lived right down the block—no more than a five minute walk away. The lover and brother were out of the way by about thirty minutes for the former and twenty-five for the latter, but, again, either could have visited and somehow fixed Virgil’s tea to their desires. And then there was Virgil’s very own wife. Right there in the house with him, she had an excellent motive in his infidelity, and more than ample opportunity. But possibly too simple, too easy, too straightforward. Though not out of the realm of possibility, not enough reason to focus on her exclusively just yet.

So, five suspects. A tougher job than xe had anticipated, but not impossible to solve.

Science Fiction

There’s a reason why I don’t actively try to pursue very many Science Fiction ideas. I’m not a very science-oriented person, and I feel inadequate to the job of creating a believable SF universe without it. Back in the early 1990’s, I wrote more SF stuff. This was before I had regular access to the internet. I soaked up just as many SF stories of all kinds as I did Fantasy novels and stories. I was much more confident in my SF skills, focusing on characters and plot instead of the science—definitely a “soft” SF writer at the time.

Since, I’ve not developed very much interest in science. I follow a notable scientist or few on Twitter, several astronauts, NASA, and I read various articles about science. But nothing really in-depth or detailed. Nothing like research—not the focused kind anyway. I don’t do it for my Fantasy stuff, so why would I do it for SF? As a result, the closest thing to SF I’ve had is Chraest, which is descendants of humans who landed on a planet already occupied by a native intelligence, with magic. Chraest is and always has been as much Fantasy as it is SF.

So it’s rather startling to me to be developing a more SF-focused idea. It started with a prompt on FM’s prompt board. Basically, imagine a drug that gives you the ability to see the future accurately—but it is highly addictive and has debilitating side effects. Would you take this drug? Explore in the point of view of a character of your own.

Original conception of the idea this prompt sparked could have been almost any speculative genre. Almost any kind of Fantasy, or Science Fiction. I may use a variation of it for Fantasy, but this idea became specifically SF. I saw, in my head, planet-hopper ships, companies and organizations recruiting users of this drug, and contemplated the possibility of this drug being based upon some as-yet-undiscovered Element, so I looked up the Periodic Table of Elements and started worldbuilding.

I now have vague notions for a Recruiter character, and a solid concept for a sleuth. I’ve named this SF universe and created a Scrivener file for it. My confidence in pulling off SF isn’t any greater, and it’s complicated by some plans I have for both characters, but I’m determined to see this through. For one, I know little of drug addiction and recovery, and that’s going to be absolutely necessary for me to research.

But I do know I look forward to writing these books. My first SF idea in over 20 years. It’s going to be an adventure.