Category Archives: website news

Happy-crying while bowling is the new smiling while eating salad

So I’ve been having a meh kind of week, especially with regard to my writing projects. Full of optimism and ambition for once, I asked for help on a writing forum that’s known for its very knowledgeable user base. I said my stuff is a little off the beaten path, but I know it appeals to some people, and I’d like to figure out the best way to give it a shot at finding people who might like it. In other words, now that the thing exists, how do I wrap it up and send it out there so that it reaches its audience? Covers, descriptions, that kind of meta thing.

The knowledgeable user base said LOL no, you’re wasting your time writing your own work, and there’s no point fretting over its packaging. What you need to do is sit down and copy a more successful book, scene by scene. Change some things up so it isn’t exactly the same, we don’t want a lawsuit here, but you basically want a near-copy of something that’s making bank so you can ride its coattails. Think Hunger Games spawning Divergent, to pick an ancient example. Not exactly the same, but not not the same, you dig? People want more of what they like. Give it to them. Anything else is a waste.

And you know, on so many levels, they’re right. It’s efficient, it gives readers more of what they love, and plenty of people have done it and succeeded enormously. I respect the hell out of that hustle.

But I don’t have it in me. I have to have a personal stake in what I’m writing; I don’t have the discipline to put in the work otherwise. I barely have the discipline to write my own work, when I have full creative control. I could no sooner write a market-optimized book than I could grow wings and fly.

So I plummeted into the grumps, read every 1- and 2-star review my first book got on Goodreads (I normally try to avoid reading reviews because it’s a) bad for me and b) not the point of reviews), and submerged neck deep in Talentless Hack Wallowing. Other good things have happened — I released my seventh novella / tenth work overall amidst all this, and had an encouraging talk with my spouse about improving my old covers in spite of the experts’ advice. But going back to the documents and trying to continue has been like pulling teeth. I had to stop working on my two current projects and went back to an older one, hoping that maybe it had a chance of escaping the talentless-hack miasma.

Monday evening after the day job, I fired up a game of Switch Sports bowling. If you remember the smash hit Wii Sports, it’s… a flawed copy that is still reasonably fun to play. (HEY LOOK, A PARALLEL) And while waiting for the other players to connect, I found out that my spouse had sent in a shout-out for my work on an awesome podcast. Because from day one, he has believed in me and my work. Always.

Turns out you can throw a strike on Switch Sports while happy crying. In my defense, the game dings you for quitting in the middle of a match. I can do two things.

If you got here from the Daily Beans, HELLO! Omigod. The where-to-start post is stickied above. Or hey, thanks for just giving it a click.

Can’t be productive, too surly

Here’s what I did today instead of anything useful:

  • Added a statement to the Healers page explaining that it is not categorically cozy fantasy, FFS, please stop complaining that it’s not (and I know that won’t stop anyone, but hey, I tried)
  • Editing out the “Uncategorized” tags on this blog
  • Breaking up the “Checking In” tag into its component parts – usually games nattering, anime nattering, and book nattering – and leaving “Checking In” for year-end posts and other truly uncategorizable whatsits

Why? Because the next thing on my agenda, aside from beta reading an excellent book that I’m about halfway through, is diving into Healers 4 planning. And as much as I love this world/story, I’m daunted. Almost discouraged. Let’s be honest, though, I’m going to make a solid try of it. Because I love it too much. It’s just hard to take that first step right now.

Let’s wish one another good luck and try again tomorrow.

We have some lore.


Is it yet another procrastination tactic? Yes.

Is it something I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages? Also yes.

For now we’ve got places, groups, belief systems, and a summary of the magic in the series. Eventually, I’d like to add character profiles, especially since it’s been several lifetimes between the book releases, and I don’t expect anyone to remember who the hell any of these people are.

You’ll notice none of these statements say “maps”, and while maps are fun and a classic addition to any worldbuilding, I am not good at drawing them (or anything else, really). I’m also a bit wrapped around the axle over all the mistakes I’ve made in placing mountains, rivers, biomes, etc. etc. etc. even in the vague geography mentioned in the story so far.

But who knows what the future brings! Maybe I’ll finally learn to use one of those fine mapping softwares out there (some of which I’ve already bought). And figure out how to fix the rain shadows / tectonic plates / etc. It could happen. Anything could happen.

For now, we have lore. Goodnight.

Time for a new tag

…I have a dark sense of humor, so… no offense meant. [edit from later: this referred to the “Checking In” tag, which was originally called “proof of life”. I later repurposed Checking In to use specifically for numbers posts.]

Still writing. Still here, along with my loved ones; we’ve been very lucky and as careful as we can be. Mostly lucky, and fortunate enough to be able to work from home at our day jobs and isolate fairly well.

Yet Another Draft of Book 3 seems to be creeping ever closer to completion, so I’m trying not to lose hope. Do I remember anything about formatting ebooks? No sirree. Those are skills I learned just long enough to do the task, much like how I learned calculus in college. Short-term memory only. That’s okay. Maybe it’ll come back to me. If not, relearning it is my next “fun” “new” “project”.

Also turned off comments, so hey bots, find somewhere else to spam. I’m too lazy to keep on top of your flood of nonsense. Humans, on the off chance you want to contact me for something that is not trying to sell me snake oil: I can be found at u/ofthecageandaquarium on the gayer, less reactionary areas of Reddit or technically, by the email listed on the About page, though to be honest, I don’t check that either.

This is what separates the hobbyists from the pros, I think. I’m so bad at social media. If I could think of something interesting to post on Twitter that isn’t burning trash, maybe I’d do that, but uh, not so much! I do use it to read other people’s stuff, so if you want to contact me for something that isn’t a trash fire, I’m technically at @sadsackgetdown.

(two unrelated handles, both They Might Be Giants references. Yes.)

Either way, if you’re trying to sell me something, you are trying to get blood out of a stone, friend. If I had money, I’d be hiring an editor for these beasts or supporting my many causes.

Anyway, still writing, hope all is well, stay inside if you can, wear a mask until further notice, don’t be an asshole, goodnight and good luck.

Mistakes… were made.

So, uh… funny story. Not so much “funny ha-ha” as “funny I think I’m going to hurl.”

I had to update my payment info for website hosting because, as happens so often these days, my card was compromised in a data breach. So I updated that. So far, so good.

Bear in mind, my website hosting skills and understanding are still pretty much mired back in the late ’90s, when you could hand-code a site in basic HTML, FTP it up to your host, and that was that.

After updating the payment stuff, I thought, you know, I don’t use one of the domains I’m sitting on anymore — at all, ever — so why don’t I just let that expire? I’m paying for it for nothing.

What I meant to do was to stop using that URL.

What I actually did was to delete everything based on that domain, including the previous incarnation of this site.

Because, originally, this domain piggybacked on that one. It was just instead of, genuinely,

I’m, uh… rather upset with myself.

So here’s the deal. I’m going to try to rebuild all this jazz. Better? Smarter? Hopefully? And I will do the giveaway, but I will do it properly on Goodreads like I should have at the outset. Links soon.

Edit: Today I learned that it costs a hundred and nineteen dollars to do a print giveaway on Goodreads. Woooooooooow. I mean, I’m not begrudging them their business model, but I can’t afford that. So. Email it is. Details on the Books page.