Book 3 is out!

After fixing the link to the cover artist credit, we are now good to go on Gumroad and Amazon. Nook and Kobo are processing now, and should be ready within the next couple of days.

Amazon US / UK / CA / AU – ebook and print [as of 8/15]
Gumroad – ebook (EPUB, MOBI or PDF)

Summary:

When the Academy sends a new batch of healers into the field, Agna finds herself in an unexpected position of authority, on top of managing her new art gallery. She jumps at the chance to prove that she deserved to escape her father’s shadow. As her colleagues begin to fall victim to an unexplained loss of healing power, it starts to seem like too much for one healer to handle alone.

Keifon’s new life seems like more than he’d dared to wish for: friends, security, a chance to advance his career as a doctor. He has also confessed his feelings to his dearest friend, or so he thinks. But while he waits for her reply, his life continues on a path he never foresaw, and he begins to find new sides to his calling.

The city takes in its new transplants and offers opportunities, but not without a cost. Now that the friends — or perhaps partners — have found a place for themselves, they may find themselves doubting their direction.

Content notes here.


Whew. Feels strange that this story exists in the world after all this time. I don’t expect anyone to remember parts one and two. And that’s okay. I’m a different person than I was when I wrote book one. But I wanted to see this through, and I really do like the finished product.

Print layout next. I hope by jumping directly into it, I won’t start procrastinating… And this time, I’ll make notes for myself about what I’m doing so that it will be easier next time.


Update, Tuesday 8/9 [the timestamps are perpetually a day ahead of me, for some reason]: Print layout done, proof ordered. Nook and Kobo are ready to go.

Barnes & Noble / Nook – ebook
Rakuten Kobo – ebook

Considering the print proof needs to be, well, printed and then mailed, everything will hopefully be sewn up by next week. At that point I guess I’ll bother the mailing list.

It’s funny: the print version sells about a tenth as many copies as the ebook version, and add into that the drop-off between books 1 and 2 – I don’t expect to sell many print versions of book 3. Still, I just want to make that option available in case anyone wants it. It feels rude not to, since I know I’m capable of doing it. Why not, you know?

(I’m not complaining about the drop-off, by the way; if someone had a decent enough time with book 1 and then stopped, I still feel like my job here is done. Book 1’s ending is extremely not a cliffhanger, either. Ha.)

Update, Monday 8/15: Print verson is available at Amazon now.

Moving parts, continued

The release post is now stickied, so I can keep posting about follow-up without feeling like I’m burying the announcement.

Also, I forgot to include this song, which has been stuck in my head intermittently through this process. [They Might Be Giants, “Number Three”]

The print version is now live on Amazon. I’m about to send my first email to the mailing list, which I find very daunting despite the fact that these folks specifically signed up for updates. Impostor syndrome 101, right there.

After that, it seems like the only loose thread is Goodreads; I don’t think it has populated there yet. I have found and bookmarked the instructions for requesting an addition, but I’ll wait a little while before going that route.

[EDIT: As soon as I posted this, I saw that Goodreads has populated book 3. All right! Updating link lists now.]

Non-book stuff: vacations and exergames

We’re goin’ in.

As soon as my creaky desktop decides to cooperate, I’ll start formatting Book 3 for the digital/ebook release. I do plan to release it on paper, but formatting for print is a separate process, and I’m much rustier with it. So it’ll be ebook first, within the next two weeks if all goes well; paper after that sometime.


For the first time, one of my anime-related rambles relates to my hashtag-content: we’re trying out the currently airing Parallel World Pharmacy. I don’t hate it yet! Hooray! It’s not my favorite this year, but it hasn’t fucked up monumentally yet (as of episode 5), which is extremely high praise for an isekai series.

There’s even a scene in the most recent episode where a side character, who is opening a store, intentionally hires women who have been forced out of their past careers because they had kids. Let me tell you that given the current state of isekai anime, this is some kind of burn-it-all-down ~radical rhetoric~.

Heh.

One worrisome bit: it was weird to me that there was such a focus on cosmetic bloodletting, because bloodletting used to be seen as the cure to basically all ills. This series acts like it was a cosmetic procedure that women took to look whiter. Y’all, they stuck leeches on you for basically any reason. Got the flu? Too much blood. Depressed? Too much blood. I’m oversimplifying, BUT. Not by much.

Maybe that’s a difference between Japanese medical history and Western. I don’t know. I don’t have time right now to fall down a rabbit hole of bloodletting in Japan, because I’ve got a book to format. It’s just the first side-eye I’ve given this series so far.

(Side note to the side note, though, Spice and Wolf covers humorism amusingly — no pun intended — in a scene where one character smugly mansplains the theory to a character who’s never heard of it. A+.)


OK, the computer caught up with itself. Here we go.

See, this is why people go to school, I guess

Finishing the last (fingers crossed) edits on Book 3 and brainstorming for Book 4 (i.e. a direct sequel to book 3, not Strangers). And by “brainstorming” I mean noting all the loose ends / unfinished business in book 3, and looking at where all the characters are, what their goals are, and how their goals might clash and intersect.

Except I mentioned this in passing in a “how was your week” thread on a writing forum, and the group reacted like I’m attempting to walk backwards up Mount Everest while juggling chainsaws. Are you… are you not supposed to figure out character motivations? Like… how do you not… figure out character motivations?

I went to school for science, okay. I know things about outdated research technology and botany and sometimes, when I can remember them, names of bones and shit. They did not tell us how to write a novel outline in science college. That would have been completely counterproductive, you see. I learned how to write a research paper, with an abstract and charts and whatnot. That does not come in handy these days.

I truly and completely don’t know what I’m doing wrong. It sounds like most people were losing their heads over the fact that I had something like 20 characters in book 3. I’m pretty sure I had 20 named characters in book one. That doesn’t seem so extreme? Two narrators plus their families / love interests / inner circles is like 10 characters right there, and then there are side characters, antagonists, etc. I could name 20 people I know IRL easily, and I’m a dang hermit? I feel like I’m losing my mind. I need to set this down for a bit.


Probably not helping my mood is the fact that I followed up Chicory with a replay of Night in the Woods, a game I rabidly love and relate to, but that taps into a weird, depression-adjacent headspace. Which is one of the reasons I love it! But, you know. That plus being in an off mood can be an odd combination.

(I grew up in a town about two notches more urban than Possum Springs, in the same region it was based on. We had a big strip mall and a medium-sized hospital, and one heavy industry had managed to hold on through my childhood while a lot of nearby towns had lost theirs. But, well, a lot of things in the setting and the story feel very real, in a way that I just don’t see that often.)

(We lived there till I was midway through college, then moved a bit closer to the city. I went back to visit family who still lived there, but didn’t rove around much otherwise. Now I don’t have any reason to. But I still have dreams about riding bikes through it. Go figure.)

(A cursory Google search suggests that the plant is still open in the year of your lord 2022, somehow??? Wow. Wow. )

Anyway. Go Smelters.

[Edit: On the plus side, the “sign up for update emails” widget is now fixed. I … don’t know how long it was broken. Huh.]

Something something learning experience

It’s July, the gooseberries are ripening, so self, START WEARING GLOVES for the love of all that’s good and holy. Every time I go out to harvest I’m like “oh, I’ll be careful” and come back in looking like a pack of cats went to town on my arm, because it’s a big overdue-for-pruning maze of extremely thorny stems with berries hidden underneath. But after all that I have berries to show for it, so. Um. Let’s call it even?


All of the beta reads are done, except for the very last read-through requested by my spouse. All were fantastically helpful, and I’m making edits based on recurring comments and good ideas all around.

Currently, that means weeding out the pack of side characters, combining six characters into three by cutting the three that had the least to do. It’s gratifying because I always enjoy editing, but it’s also a strange feeling to go through a story and make some of the people in it not exist. Like, they used to. I gave them lines and names and a little bit of backstory. But in the end they didn’t contribute much to the plot, and so when it’s done… they were never there at all.

I’ll probably recycle the names and concepts for later stories, especially if we come back to this setting. In the meantime, their bits in the story are being handed off to the other three side characters. Which is strengthening the remaining three, I think. It should be interesting to see how that works. I haven’t really tried it before.

Still aiming for the end of August as my personal goal, and I think I can make it. Onward and upward.

The summer of awkward midcentury secrecy

Just noting that I still exist, on another editing break and working on the side project The Strangers’ Crossroads which… may be a thing. It’s nearly 50 pages in now, so it seems to want to exist. I do enjoy that phase of the story where both narrators are truly unbearable human beings, see also the first half of Healers’ Road.


Taking one thousand years to get through Chicory because I am very bad at it; I think I’m just not suited to the Switch stick controls with this game. Oh well. Not the game’s fault. I’m constantly lost and skipping a lot of the optional puzzles, but enjoying it enough.

(I named my character Coffee without realizing that they were an apprentice / replacement to a character named Chicory, which, among other things, is a coffee substitute. Irony? Ha.)


I convinced my spouse to start Spy x Family once we finished Villainess, and let me tell you, the internet is correct: this show is fucking excellent. After watching Villainess fall apart in its second season, I still brace myself for disappointment down the road, but so far? No notes. OK, except that I have found out that it’s pronounced “spy family” and may continue to call it “spy ex family” because I think that’s more entertaining.

One note, then. Also I hate Yuri after 1.5 episodes, but the story has not yet expected me to sympathize with him, so that’s fine. I just got out of two shows in a row with stupid incest plotlines; get this shit off my television please and thank you.

Other than that? Chef’s kiss.

Hooray, more backlog

Get out of my head, AV Club: The 22 best LGBTQ+ video games to binge-play during Pride Month

(We’re halfway through, though, some of us have to work haha)

Played: 8. Arcade Spirits, Bugsnax, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Gone Home, Hades, Night in the Woods, Spiritfarer, Stardew Valley.

Already wishlisted/backlogged: 5. Boyfriend Dungeon, Dream Daddy, If Found…, Life Is Strange, SU: Save the Light. (Halfassedly; I loved SU when it was airing, and my enthusiasm evaporated immediately afterward for a bunch of reasons, both story-based and personal. Might still play it sometime with my spouse for the nostalgia factor.)

[EDIT to correct: I might not have If Found…; what’s on my backlog is a different game called if not us, and I misremembered. However, the cover for If Found… looks familiar, so it might be buried in my backlog somewhere too. The curse/blessing of bundles.]

Not played: 9. Celeste (I suck at platformers), Drag Her! (not my thing, fun idea though), Ikenfell (never heard of it, super cute!), The Last of Us part II (this is not a Playstation house, sorry), Life Is Strange: True Colors (let me play the first one and see if I like it, damn, people), Mass Effect: Andromeda (maybe… maybe, also this one sounds like a stretch?), An Outcry (never heard of it, looks scary), The Sims 4 (not my thing), Tell Me Why (never heard of it)

Okay, so roughly half-ish. Of the last category, I’d probably try Ikenfell, Andromeda and Tell Me Why, and maybe True Colors if I end up liking the first part. Do we really need two entries in the same series here? Oh well.

Right now I’m playing a game called Wytchwood that I think I just grabbed from a Switch promo or something, because I don’t recall where I first heard about it. It’s a “run around grabbing items and crafting things” game a la Don’t Starve, but instead of edge of the seat Edward Gorey style stress, it’s mostly laid-back fairy tale witchery. As in, the player character is a cranky swamp witch with a cauldron helmet and chicken feet who goes around mixing eye of newt etc. into various potions to dole out doses of poetic justice. Quite fun so far.

And now I really, REALLY need to get back to editing.

Squee, trees

We have a finished cover for book 3! woohoo! I’d say “it feels like this is actually happening”, but honestly, I’ve felt that way for a little while now. There will probably be more edits to come; I don’t know if the last act of the current draft will fly, and I’m working on that “folding together two plot points” thing from the last post. But it feels within reach!

I’ve been listing a lot of media lately and that’s not very interesting, so I’ll just say

  1. Enjoying Paper Mario: The Origami King more than I enjoyed The Thousand Year Door, and the latter was generally fine. Might actually finish this one?? [edit: I did, the following day. boy, that last battle was effing annoying. but now it’s done.]
  2. Just finished the first season of Our Flag Means Death. Direly tempted to recreate the cat flag for our wall. Maybe a mini version.
  3. Really looking forward to a concert next week, which will be the first indoor show I’ve been to since COVID hit. Feels kind of weird. Yeah sure, plenty of people have been “back to normal” for a year now, but, well, we all make our own choices. I’m cautious. I’ll own up to that. But I’m still looking forward to it.

Welcome, everything is backwards

Upon nearly finishing what was supposed? to be my final read-through, an idea came to mind to fold together two of the plot points in a way that would strengthen the themes, cut down on redundancy, and bring some of the conflict closer to the leads. You know, the kind of thing that you’re supposed to think of before writing 150,000 words.

Better late than never? Hopefully?

It would only take a substantial rewrite of three or four chapters and some smaller edits. I just have to decide when in the story to resolve this new plot point, look it over, and decide whether to do this.

Additionally: giving “My Next Life as a Villainess” too much credit, and continuing anyway