Category Archives: Books

Two notes: print and WTF

Just two things before I forget, it’s been a long day:

  • Took print off the agenda for Therapist. I did a print layout, but the spine is so tiny that I can’t get a reasonably readable title to fit on it. It feels like a silly outcome, but oh well. I plan to continue with ebook releases and then put together a print edition if (when!!) the four novellas are done. An omnibus would be comfortably book-sized.
  • In the anime roundup, I forgot to mention another back-catalog series we started: Kemono Michi: Rise Up. Boy, where to even begin. Pro wrestling. Magical animal loving. Isekai. Yeah, I guess you begin there. Nearly every character is wholesomely dumb as a bag of hammers, especially the lead, who lives to a) pet every animal b) cause cartoonish bodily harm to anyone who harms animals and c) nothing else, that’s all, that’s the whole list. This was Spouse’s choice (as a pro wrestling fan), but I’m surprised how much it’s made me laugh. Who knew?

New record

Everything was ready, as far as I could tell, so I went through the set-up process on Amazon, uploaded the new book file, and hit save. It went along its merry way of … doing whatever it does for 72 hours, probably making sure it’s not plagiarized or something.

And I realized

The title page still says “published on [date]”

New record: Stupidest possible mistake

Ughhhhhhh

So… new non-Healers, “light-ish novel” book will be out tomorrow, hopefully. This is just for the ebook so far, so I just have to re-upload it. It’s…. …. …fine. It’s fine.

It’s fine.

EDIT, next day: Okay, it’s fixed. It’s up on Gumroad as pay-what-you-want, because I wanted to experiment with that option. So… next would be print formatting, which is a complete self-indulgent bit of nonsense, but hey, so is this whole project!
EDIT, the day after that (11/30): Print formatting done. Ordered a proof. Amazon lost the cute font I was using for the chapter headers, so I’m a little salty, but I really should have known better. Oh well. We’ll see how it looks in the proof.

“I paid for Crunchyroll and I’m using it, dammit”

We’re about a week out from my self-declared due date for novella feedback, which means that if all goes well, I can launch it within a couple of weeks?!

  • collect any other feedback
  • make some more edits based on that (I’ve gotten some great comments already!)
  • finalize text, test digital version again, lay out for print
  • design paperback spine/cover (have the digital/front cover now)
  • Today I’ve managed to outline most of 5 novellas in the series, to complete the overplot that’s teased in this first one. ???? I mean, none of this existed even in the slightest glimmer 3 months ago. I’m consciously deciding not to question it, and to run with this as long as it lasts.

Still working on outlining the next Healers book, too. I feel like I’m still in the “dump out all the Legos on the floor and sort through them” phase.

Fall 2022 Anime Rambling

Sticky post: Recent Releases

Welcome! Here are the newest releases. (I’m trying to be concise for once. Can you tell?)

Healers / Balance Academy Series Book 3: The Healers’ Purpose

Amazon US / UK / CA / AU – print and ebook
Gumroad – ebook (EPUB, MOBI or PDF)
Barnes & Noble / Nook – ebook
Rakuten Kobo – ebook
On Goodreads – rate and review

Content Notes / Trivia

Released mid-August 2022

Fantasy novella (“light-ish novel”) Book 1: How I Became a Therapist in Another World

Amazon (ebook): US / UK / CA / AU
Gumroad – ebook, pay what you want

Content Notes / Trivia

Released late November 2022

It’s been a year. I mean month.

How about that! It’s been a month since book 3 came out, give or take a few days. It’s going nicely by my standards — about 85 copies sold. I think I mentioned this already, but about 1/3 of the people who bought book 1 have gone on to buy book 2, so I’m curious to see what the ratio (conversion rate? that sounds weird) is for this one. If it’s also 1/3, we’re almost done. Heh.

It’s likely to be more, I think, but that’s not based on science or anything. More a vague notion that if you went on to book 2, this is probably Your Kind of Thing, and so you may be more likely to keep going.

Either way, it’s fine. Book 3 is doing its thing. If you’ve read it, I hope you liked it; if you haven’t, I hope you give it a try. If you want to. I’m not the boss of you.


What have I been doing for the last month? Well, a) stressing about stuff in real life (it’s okay, plans are in the works); b) playing video games far, far too much; c) repainting some rooms in our house; d) writing down some haphazard brainstorming for book 4.

Gamewise, I got through the entirety of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Dare I say… more than the original? I’m gonna say it. I was not a completist, because eff the bandit quests mostly, but I recruited all but one of the townsfolk and got to the point where money no longer meant anything. So a lot.

Then started Ooblets, a game that I think I’ve had in my bookmarks, “keep an eye out for this” style, for five hundred and fifty years. But now it’s out on Switch! So I’m playing it!

Stardew Valley meets Pokemon” is basically built in a lab to appeal to people with my gaming taste, and it seems almost too on the nose that the titles/UI use the same font as Steven Universe. The character/NPC design and monster design is simplified and cute and weird. I like the not-too-complex card battling mechanic, because I am not a deck-building game person normally. The toddler-speak style of the UI language — item names, confirmation boxes, etc. — annoys me, but not enough to drive me out of the game. I kind of stopped seeing it after a while, especially with the NPCs that use it a lot. I’m at… what I think is the next to last town?, stuck, on the verge of looking up some tips, but still enjoying it overall.

And all the bugs so far have been funny, so I’m not remotely mad about it. Once I showed up on a map looking like my character was 100 feet tall. And this might not even be a bug, but my character regularly loses control of their torso and whipsaws around from the waist up while running in a way that still makes me laugh, dozens of hours into the game.

Probably not going to be a completist for this one either, but I will probably sink a fair amount of time into it by the end.


The brainstorming for Book 4 still hasn’t coalesced into an outline. Because I’m starting to feel scared of starting, I’m jumping in by writing some scenes just to see how it goes. This is not a good idea; do not do this. This is how I started book 1. It took what, like, eight years to write or something. But here we are, and it feels good to try.

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

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.

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.