Category Archives: Checking In

What’d I tell you?

Replaced the un-updateable Goodreads sidebar thingie with two Amazon sidebar thingies. Not one hundred percent what I wanted, but it’s a step forward for now.

General updates:

  • Attempting to check and update the keywords on everything, which is turning into An Undertaking. I’m not even being strategic about it; Amazon is just very slow for me. [Edit: I found a way to make it work. Inside baseball: Don’t use the save buttons at the bottom. Use the tabs at the top.]
  • Also? Since the last time I updated the Healers keywords, ‘Zon now asks you if you used AI to do your work for you. AI didn’t exist in its current form when I wrote Book 1. Back then it was just fodder for funny Tumblr posts about made-up NES titles or recipes or what have you. Instead of, you know, *waves vaguely around*.
  • Also, I’m never fucking using AI, at least not knowingly, nor purchase services from anyone who does. No, not even for grammar checking. I do not care what anyone else does with it; I’m just not giving them money for it.
  • Following r/writing is making me cranky. Let’s see how long this lasts.
  • I plan to bump up the price on Therapist singles to $1.49. [edit: $1.25, I scared myself off] So if you got in while they were 99 cents, hooray? Basically I’m just trying to thread the needle between “people are still willing to buy this” and “I feel like I’m undervaluing my work.” Someday we’ll find a sweet spot, I hope.
  • Just got back from a weekend trip to a hippie/gardening/artisan festival in a neighboring state, dedicated to a particular native fruit with a cult following. Had a great time. I am moderately obsessed with backyard fruit growing (not orcharding, which is fine but not my thing — just working it into the landscape). We don’t currently have accessible space for any new trees, so I didn’t buy any on this trip. Someday, though. Someday.
  • The first draft of Therapist 5 (which backtracks to overlap books 2-4, because I can’t stop shooting myself in the foot) is about 1/3 of the way through and moving along. 6 and 7 have first drafts done. I plan to stop at 8, I think, though I have a couple more ideas for that setting. It’s going to be high time to switch back to Healers at that point.

And on that note… how’s it going with that update, Amazon? … Sigh.

Sincerity: It won’t kill you!

I just spent a lovely 45 minutes listening to this podcast episode:

579. Punk Rock Writing with Chuck Tingle | Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (

…while a) working on my Halloween costume, the first I’ve done since 2016 and something that has been making me happy lately*; and b) making a stack of crazy quilt squares that I don’t know what to do with yet. And c) drinking some hot beverages.

I don’t write erotica, not because I have anything against it, but because I’m not any good at it. (Same goes for horror!) But I have found Chuck Tingle incredibly inspiring for years. I’ve had a screenshot of a particular tweet saved on my phone for ages, meaning to literally embroider it and hang it on my wall by my writing desk. I am not kidding. (Part of it goes “put love at [the] center of what you make and it will bloom.” I love it so much. Sorry I corrected the typo. My brain won’t let me not do it.)

Anyway, I don’t write erotica, but I am terminally sincere. I cannot turn it off. I grew up in an age of ironic detachment (and spaghetti strap sheath dresses), trying to play along and failing miserably. And now that we’re in another age of ironic detachment, I refuse to engage. (you go ahead and spend your life worrying about being labeled “cringe” on social media; I’ll just do whatever the hell I want, thanks)

So what Dr. Tingle talks about in relation to art and sincerity and love really speaks to me. Hell, and the stuff about privacy. I get it. In short, I don’t enjoy it ironically. I don’t really do irony. Camp Damascus was heartbreaking and affirming and had so much heart.

Terminal sincerity is, to a lot of people, a character flaw. A lot of people don’t like being around it, and that’s their right. But it’s how I am. So every now and then, it’s nice to celebrate it for a change.

* Halloween costume: It’s a local in-joke specific to this year (CW: photos of insects). It’s been fun to try. We’ll see how it turns out. Do I have anywhere to wear this damn thing? No, of course not. Not the point! Doing it anyway! Because it’s fun!

Nerd minute, August edition

Hooray, I’m not the only person swearing up and down that Buddy Daddies had some layers (as well as some extremely bad decisions in the last story arc)

We’re still hanging onto Masterful Cat, though I feel bad for anyone who thought this show was soothing going into it. I don’t like the judginess of the term “cringe comedy”, but Human Whatsherface is useless, and the show seems to know it. Sometimes the joke is that her cat is her mom, usually the joke is that she’s the cat and the cat is the human, but I’m not so sure they really care about one another so much as that she’d die in squalor without him. Which is pretty cynical. Maybe on my part, if I’m misreading the situation.

I’m not quite hate-watching, I guess? Yukichi the Cat is great. I want better things for him that I know he’s never going to get. Occasionally it’s funny, particularly the mental contortions the side characters go through to avoid realizing the premise of the show. But the colors are still distractingly ugly.

Undead Murder Farce is fun, though. Yes, it’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Anime. Yes, it turned the Phantom of the Opera into Arsene Lupin’s sulky bishounen boyfriend. (not literally, settle down, but… basically.) You can either get on board and hang on, or give it a hard pass. I am entertained.

Spy x Family is coming back in the fall, along with The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent, which I haven’t watched yet but seriously mean to, and Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, kind of, with some kind of wacky-hijinks sidestory thing. (Bananapants title, surprisingly cool show, by the way.) Two currently airing shows feels like enough for me, since I probably won’t be caught up with Omnipotent anywhere near then, but we’ll have to see.

[edit: An odd bit of trivia, too: This month was the first time Therapist outsold Healers in terms of sheer numbers across their respective series, although Healers 1 was still the top single book. Vaguely interesting. However future months shake out is also fine, though; I don’t have a real plan here. Just moving forward.]

[Edit 2, a week later — so after Masterful Cat episode 8 — I take it back, that headbutt was heartwarming as hell. Though I think the episode hiccupped and repeated half a scene? Was that a wrap around a commercial break, maybe? Anyway, Useless-chan shows that she is good at something, and Yukichi is adorably Concerned. Though in the grand tradition of overthinking everything, I can’t help but notice the weird combination of “gross jokes about marriageability” + “female character who gets to be a complete hot mess” + “male character who unapologetically loves cleanliness, cooking, and idol singers and wears a frilly apron to the grocery store”. Is this show accidentally doing a gender thing? My head hurts.]

Good news & bad news

Well, Goodreads believes I’m C.A. Moss. So much so that they merged the author profile with my actual reading profile, which is not, you know, Crafted for Maximal Social Media Engagement(tm). On top of that, the widget I included with the SER book list (currently on the right sidebar) has since been deprecated, so I literally can’t generate one for the new name. I didn’t realize that till I got into the author account and then did some googling about why most of the widgets were gone.

So now I have linked that account to my personal one for absolutely no reason~

(Hi, I have had Wonderbook in my “currently reading” for almost four years now. It’s a good book! I don’t know why I haven’t finished it! Everybody be cool, okay, I’m insecure about what a slow reader I am. That example is excessive, but just generally. I can’t seem to sit down and read anything for hours on end unless I’m on vacation. It’s not good.)

Oh well. I at least updated CA’s profile. Honestly, it’s okay from this side of things. It’s a system for readers, and I don’t intend to do any publicity through it. Just thought it would be nice to have the little graphical list on the sidebar. SHRUG.

(It has bugged me for a while that the widget shows the old cover for Healers 1 — which I liked, but that I couldn’t expand into a series, since it was a one-off cover — soooo maybe that plus the lack of symmetry will eventually drive me to take that one down. We’ll see.)

100% whole bean, un-ground whatever-it-is-I-do-here

Recently I came across this essay, “Be Whoever You’re Gonna Be” by Dave Walsh. TBH, I don’t know who this is, but I really appreciated the essay. (I found it through the always entertaining blog of romance author Jenny Trout; I appreciated her reaction to the essay too.)

Okay, so I started self-publishing in 2014. After the initial “gold rush,” but a hell of a long time ago in internet terms. I have never, for basically one nanosecond, done anything Right(tm) according to any advice doled out for people in this situation. This used to bother me! A lot! A whole hell of a lot. When I started out, bright-eyed and ready to learn, I joined some self-publishing forums. I was told all my efforts were worthless because I hadn’t quit my day job, and as such, nothing I did counted or meant anything. I was told nobody would ever read anything I wrote because I didn’t devote my entire life to marketing. I was told so, so many things. It used to bother me so, so much.

Because I care about this stuff, you know? I love writing. Sometimes it’s frustrating and sometimes it’s hard and I’m never quite as good as I want to be, but imagine that: I like doing this thing that I have chosen to spend a lot of my free time on. Also? I was raised to base my own self-worth on what other people say about me. It’s not good. I’ve been working on that. It’s gotten a lot better.

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t need to slag people who spend a lot of time on marketing, or who research their keywords in order to come up with a story, or who publish every month. Whatever they do doesn’t have any bearing on what I do, and I don’t spend my time slinging shit at them or telling them they’re worthless. Because I don’t need to justify my decisions or cover up my own insecurity.



I’m going to rant. If you didn’t know that, hi. Welcome. You must be new here.


Incredibly minor thing, but the content/trivia links for Therapist 4 are fixed. They previously both went to Content. Which, honestly, is preferable to the reverse — the content lists are at least theoretically useful, and I don’t seriously expect anyone to read the trivia.

I just do those because that’s how my own brain works — when I am even moderately emotionally engaged in a piece of media, I feel the impulse to learn everything I can about how it was made. Obviously, most people are not like this. Though some are; <3 to all those minutiae obsessives on TVTropes and IMDB who feed my obsession.

That’s about all for now. It’s only been 4 days since the last release. If I were a real indie I’d be *checks imaginary watch* finishing the next draft by now. But luckily for my sleep patterns, I am not.

Gave up the “level up everything” strategy in Pokemon Violet at level 35. I just could not take it anymore. Instead, I separated my army into types and now level up all of the types needed for the next challenge. Ex., I am taking on the Psychic gym next, so I’m leveling up all of the Bug, Dark and Ghost types. I won’t end up using them all, but that’s how I’m compromising with my usual playstyle.

I also leveled up to the range where I can take advantage of Wholesale Chansey Slaughter Happy Fun Time outside the Fairy base, and that helps tremendously. Between that and Dugtrio Search and Destroy in the mountain pass area for slightly lower level groups, we should be set for a little while.

Forward motion

Writing: As of last week, I reached 200 days working on some aspect of writing every day — either writing or editing. Lately I’ve been alternating between the second Therapist side story and the Healersverse prequel / side story. Trying to get my daily word count up, since there have been some really, REALLY minimal days — but as long as I keep working on something to the extent my focus and energy can manage, I’m all right with it. It’s something.

Meanwhile, the cover for the Therapist omnibus is in progress, and looking great. Looking forward to that. Book 4 is in the hands of one more beta reader and the cover is done, so we’re still more or less on track for an August release for that.

I also signed on to beta read two other people’s novels, and doing not as well with that than I had the last few times. By no fault of the writers at all; my focus is just shot lately. So there’s another goal. Get the word count up, and beta read more.

Entertainment corner: Still grinding away at Pokemon Violet. As I probably mentioned, I’ve always had the habit of leveling up my party evenly in games where you can swap party members in and out, e.g. Final Fantasy Tactics and the like. This habit is beginning to kick my ass in Pokemon. I have about 250 party members, and can only level up 6 at a time. It’s extremely slow going. But I have yet to change my strategy. Podcast on, game on mute, wander around, fight a bunch of things. Repeat repeat repeat.

The current anime season is… …existing.

In which I really start ranting about power fantasies as a concept

Write stuff, break reality, have fun

C.A. Moss’s author page on Amazon is finally up, because I was reminded that author pages exist. (S.E. Robertson’s has been up for ages.) So if that’s a thing you use, there they are.

(Also, there’s no way book 2 is the “most popular?” What does that even mean? Oh well.)

This came out of an interesting discussion with a friend of my spouse’s who wasn’t aware of the extent of the writing I’d thrown out there online. Which is in absolutely no way a bad thing; if anything, it reassures me that I’m not boring everyone around me with my constant nattering about my work. Hopefully.

But the gist of it is that you, YES YOU, can put writing out there if you want to. There is no meaningful barrier to entry, to the endless tooth-gnashing frustration of a lot of auteurs. If you feel like it would be the realization of a lifelong dream? Fucking go for it. Why not. Life is short.

Now, making large quantities of money with said writing is exceptionally difficult. That’s an entirely different topic. So is scoring appreciable amounts of recognition/fame/social capital. There are one million and one hucksters hawking hacks(tm) to beat the system(tm), and I am not one of them. I’m not saying you’ll become An Author or that people will recognize you on the street* or that you’ll earn enough money for a white chocolate macadamia cold brew.

But if you’ve always wanted to try it, and wonder if maybe other people, even in the single digits, would be interested in what you made? If that’s not a blow to your ego but a fascinating possibility?

I, for one, think it’s fun and that you should go for it. People whine all the time that there are too many books out there, but hey, what constitutes “too many”? People whine that a lot of them are bad, but a) who decides that and b) who cares? When it comes to painting or learning to play the guitar, we (“we”) are capable of recognizing that the process is gratifying just because humans love to create things and express themselves, but “we” completely throw that out the window when words are involved.

Writing is fun. Do it if you want to. Share it with people. Maybe no one will be interested. But maybe someone will. And at that point, you’ve already had your fun, so no harm done.

You have my permission as an internet rando, if you want it. Try it.

* I’ve never been recognized on the street. Shudder. But I did experience a moment of extreme internet weirdness today when I popped into a book rec thread to collect some book recs and found my book on the list. A “but doctor, I am Pagliacci” except with books about sad jerks who don’t slay dragons. My brain is still turning itself inside-out. I mean it’s an honor, but also *incoherent shrieking noises*.


  • Therapist 4 is as edited as it’s going to get. Waiting on the finished cover now. 3 just came out, so I’m going to spend the next few weeks waffling around for no constructive reason before finally releasing it. There will be a lot of work after that point, formatting the omnibus etc., so maybe I ought to enjoy the break.
  • Of the four potential Therapist side stories, I have a first draft of one of them and a first draft of a second about a quarter to a third of the way along. Still moving ahead.
  • Currently playing Pokemon Violet. This is the first time I’ve played a mainline Pokemon game, actually. In games when you have a number of characters that you can swap into your active team, I always level them more or less evenly. This habit is going to be the death of me this time, I think.
  • Skip and Loafer still excellent. Witch from Mercury catch-up continues; still excellent. I am now distracted wondering what in the hell people in the otherworld eat in Restaurant to Another World, since they are constantly talking about how terrible their own food is. Guys. Is the drinking water full of lead in your world? Are you okay?

Greetings, (title here). Nothing to report.

Writing: Therapist book 3 seems to be stuck in limbo; I haven’t heard from the cover artist in three weeks. I’m going to reach out one more time before I try to commission someone else. Fingers crossed. [Edit: It worked! I feel kinda bad, but at least it’s concluded! So we’re one step closer.]

Otherwise, I’m noodling along on a) a side story for Therapist, which is almost finished at novella length; and b) a long-running side project in the Healers universe.

I honestly don’t know what to ~do~ with the side story, because I’d kind of rather drop a dictionary on my foot than venture into commissioning another cover artwork right now. I’ll probably stick it in a proverbial drawer for a while, and focus on getting the main series out there.

Also beta-read another novel draft, which makes 4 within the last year. I really enjoy that process. And if you’re thinking “yay, time to send SE my first chapter,” I love your enthusiasm, but hold up. I only want to read finished drafts, and even then, only in a couple of genres. Shoot me an email or a Reddit PM if you have a finished draft in light-ish/non-grimdark fantasy or science fiction that is NOT, I repeat, NOT a power fantasy aimed at teenage boys. There are plenty of other people who can help with that. Like…the entire rest of the internet. Good luck.

Gaming: Finished Cult of the Lamb and started Harvestella.

Come for the farming, realize it’s only about 20% of the game. But actually, I like it fine.

Unrelated notes, end of April 2023

Therapist 3’s text is a wrap; waiting on the cover artist now. The actual release date depends on the cover timing, plus an attempt to space out 2 and 3 semi-similarly to 1 and 2. (i.e. a couple of months, contrary to every recommendation for indie publishing ever*) Book 4 is in the beta reading phase, after which we’ll move onto more edits and another cover commission.

After that, I plan to bundle them into a print edition (which will involve a more complex cover commission, so there’s time involved in that) as well as an ebook omnibus. Then, maybe a trial run on Kindle Unlimited instead of Gumroad. We’ll see.

* That said, Healers goes against every maxim of indie publishing [it’s long, it’s slow, the books were released far apart, it isn’t based on any genre rules, I have zero social media presence], and yet it’s still chugging along 8.5 years later. So either I hacked the Matrix, or the hard-and-fast rules aren’t hard or fast.

Ongoing background health stuff is resolved. Verdict is “it might get worse at any point, but until then, you’re worrying too much.” That does sound like me.

During a spate of (non-COVID) flu this past week, I started and got distressingly hooked on Cult of the Lamb. This is a video game that is a little like Don’t Starve‘s base-building combined with a rogue-lite, with a tongue-in-cheekishly over-the-top Lovecraft/metal tone (eldritch gods! ritual sacrifice! cannibalism!) starring cute little cartoon animals.

Let’s recall that I am bad at roguelikes — and basically any game with active combat — and yet I keep trying. My management style falls mostly on the “benevolent overlord” side, except that I took a perk that incentivizes a Logan’s Run-style culling of every critter that gets too old to work. That might have been a mistake. But it adds to the extremely dark humor, too.