Merry Christmas From Unusual Things!

It’s that time of year once again.

Okay, so it has been for a while now. This post is probably a little late to comment on the “arrival” of the season, seeing as Christmas Eve is tomorrow, and Christmas Day—Well, it comes right after Christmas Eve. That’s kind of a given.

The season isn’t “coming.” It’s here. And I’ll be honest, it’s one of my favorite seasons. For a lot of reasons. Like hot chocolate. The wondrous drink known as eggnog (non-alcoholic, just to be clear). Upbeat music about finding happiness and joy in family, faith, or even just the most ordinary things (I mean, think about it, what other season gets music that urges us to look at the weather and enjoy it so wholeheartedly?).

But those are all … elements. Things. And to be fair, I can enjoy them any time of the year. So while they’re part the pieces that make up the Christmas holiday … they’re not Christmas itself. They’re not integral. They’re signs of Christmas. By-products.

Because Christmas is about more than just hot chocolate, pretty lights, music, or snow. Thankfully, since I don’t even have that last one at the moment. Or the lights. But I don’t have to, because Christmas isn’t about those things. They add to it, but only because we let it.

Christmas is built, not on those, but on something grander.

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2016 in Review—What’s My Progress So Far?

Sands and storms, it’s time for one of these already? Even more alarming, this nears marking the the third anniversary of Unusual Things?

Boy, the days really fly, don’t they?

Well, it is what it is. Time marches on. Which means that once again it’s time to take a look back at my goals, accomplishments, and the like during this year and see what I’ve gotten done. It’s time to put 2016 under the microscope and look at some hard data.

Honesty? I expect that I got less writing done this year … though I published more, and definitely worked just as hard. It’s just a byproduct of what I worked on. 2015 was lots and lots of writing, while 2016 ended up being the year I published a lot of that writing. Which meant that I spent a lot of time trapped in the editing process.

Plus, I started working a second job every week to make ends meet, which also cut into my writing time.

I mean, that’s not bad. But both definitely slowed my pace, and while my “total” word count for productivity stayed pretty good (remember, I count editing as a 20% wordcount for tracking reasons), my actual wordcount for words written probably dropped for the year.

Granted. Next year I think I may see a bit more equilibrium. Maybe. Right now I’ve only got one book in editing, and one that I’m working on. Then again, next year may be a repeat of this year: two releases, lots of editing.

I guess I’ll find out. For now though, let’s take a look at 2016.

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Some Thoughts On the Business Side of Things from Mad Genius Club

Some musings on paper books, indie books, hardcovers, and publishers that showed up in my feed this morning. Thought I’d share:

One of the puzzling things about the writing business, right now, is that “nobody knows anything” (or in proper vernacular “we don’t know nothing.” So I am continuously puzzled watching indie authors who are doing better by an order of magnitude than any traditional writer I know succumbing to the lure of a traditional contract. […]

via Some Hard Thinking About Our Business — madgeniusclub

Advent Faces a New Foe: Jake, Anna, and Sweets Join X-Com!

This is not the Earth we remember …

 

Yes, that’s right! Fresh from exposing a few of the many mysteries of Pisces come Jake Tames, Annalyne Neres, and Ray “Sweets” Candy, ready to put their boots on the ground (albeit with a little shaking in Sweets’ case) and take on Advent as they try to make their way home.

If you own X-Com 2, the entire team can be downloaded and added to your character pack by downloading and importing the character pool found here. And you know you want them. Just look at those faces!

Instructions for how to import said character file can be found here.

Note that both packs may use armor skins or elements found in the following Mod packs, which are recommended for maximum enjoyment: Military Camoflague Patterns, Ink and Paint, Custom Face Paints, Destroyer’s Female Hair Pack, More Hair Colors, CapnBubs Accessories Pack, and the X-Com International Voices PackThese packs are recommended.

As far as sending them out to battle goes, I personally recommend making them the classes you see above for maximum parity with the source material: Jake being a sniper, Anna a Gunner (or SMG Ranger), and Sweets a Specialist. But it’s up to you. Enjoy!

And

Advent Faces a New Foe: Jacob Rocke and Hawke Decroux Join X-Com!

They’re here …

That’s right, they’re finally ready. Jacob Rocke, the unflappable NSAU Spook, and Hawke Decroux, the man who speaks with squirrels, have finished their training, strapped on their gear, and joined X-Com, ready to put their own unique skills to good use while they look for a way home!

If you’re a player of X-Com 2, these two new characters can be added to your character pool by downloading and importing the character pool file found here. And you know you want them. Just look at that duo!

Instructions for how to import said character file can be found here.

Note that both packs may use armor skins or elements found in the following Mod packs, which are recommended for maximum enjoyment: Military Camoflague Patterns, Ink and Paint, Custom Face Paints, Destroyer’s Female Hair Pack, More Hair Colors, CapnBubs Accessories Pack, and the X-Com International Voices PackThese packs are recommended.

Personally, I recommend making them Psionics, as then you can take advantage of their natural talents in that area, but once they’re in your game, it’s up to you, I suppose. Enjoy!

Christmas Clamor

Okay, so it’s not too much of a “clamor,” really. More of just a general “busyness,” but I really wanted to get that alliteration in the title, you know?

Anyway …

So, this post is essentially the usual “information” post keeping you guys up to date. If it seems like I’ve been quiet, well … that’s because I have been. I’ve had family in town visiting for Christmas, and that’s taken a bit of precedence over my usual schedule.

Which is fine. I actually gave myself a lower-than-average quota to fulfill for the month of December. Something I did last year as well. I’ve learned.

Anyway, with where Christmas is falling this year, and with this being Monday, the usual posting day of the weekly Being a Better Writer post, I thought I’d deliver some quick updates for everyone.

First of all: There will be no Being a Better Writer today, nor will there be one next Monday. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be anything coming. Instead, you expect a Christmas message sometime this week to replace the missing BaBW post. Because it’s the season to focus on more important things. “More important things than writing?” you might ask? To which I’d say “Yes, they’re rare but they exist.

And yes, Star Wars: Rogue One (which I will see this Wednesday) happens to be one of those things.

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