Knee’d-ful Things (A News Post)

Yes, that title is pungent. As was that. Gotcha looking though, I hope. Because it’s time for the news update! There are a couple of things to bring up, from an injury, to new fiction, to progress on Jungle, Patreon, and info on a Rolling Sale! So keep reading!

So first, why the pun in the title? Well … because one of the things that’s been controlling my life lately has been a knee injury I acquired last month at my part-time job. And on Wednesday, at long last, I got to go see a doctor!

So, turns out I tore my meniscus, which is why I was limping everywhere and pretty much couldn’t walk for a short time (a few weeks, really). It still hurts and swells up a little if I walk very far at all. But the good news? It’s not a permanent injury. Or at least, it doesn’t look like it. If it’s not healed in a few weeks I need to go back and get it looked at again, this time with an MRI, but at the moment the doctor’s pretty sure that it’ll make a full recovery. Now I just need to worry about collecting my workman’s comp (this was a work-related injury) and hope it’s enough to keep me financially solvent. In the meantime, I’m wearing a brace or a wrap everywhere (up from just the brace) and taking anti-inflammatory meds to help with the swelling.

I’ve never wanted to be able to go on a walk so much in my life. I can’t wait to be able to get exercise again.

Anyway, that’s the news on the injury. May I be walking fully again soon! So, onto the next bit of info!

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It’s That Special Time of Year Again …

Ah, what a wondrous time of year it is! Calculators are being dragged out, receipts are checked, and math skills are brushed up on. Everywhere you can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth  of … oh, wait a moment.

There’s nothing wondrous about this at all. It’s tax season. I got my wires crossed. My mistake.

Yes, it’s tax season again. Hooray.

Okay, so some of you are probably slightly puzzled. Maybe you’ve not done taxes before (I know I have some young readers), or maybe you’re thinking “Eh, you’ve got a few months, right?”

Nope. See, I’m self-employed. My taxes are due March 1st. Which is very soon in tax terms.

Also, being self-employed really means you don’t get to see a lot of the safety nets others do. Like standard deductions. They’re there, but they don’t take nearly as much effect. To put this another way … I’ve never gotten a tax return in my life. Well, save that one time I accidentally wrote the IRS a check for a dollar more than I was supposed to.

In other words, the dawning of another tax season means another nice hit to my bank account. Glad I’ve managed to save a little money this year, because it’s about to disappear.

I wouldn’t be so annoyed about it if I wasn’t well below the poverty line. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not begging for cash here. I’m living within my means, limited as they are. But dang, you’d think being so far below that line would matter … but no, it really doesn’t.

Is there a point to this post? Well, as of this moment, not really. I’m just griping. Darn tax season. There, that was the last one. But I probably should provide something other than a cautionary … Huh … You know, discussing finances and some of the differences of being a Self-Employed Author would probably make for a good Being a Better Writer post. I’m making a note of that now.

Right, anyway, other news and stuff. First of all, let’s hit the big elephant in the room. Well, at least, for me: Colony.

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News of All Sorts

Hey guys! I’m here with a few updates. News both good and bad (hence the “All Sorts” in the title).

So, the bad news first. Just going to get it out of the way right away. It’s not that bad … but it will likely be disappointing for many of you.

I’m going to Alaska for a few weeks. I leave tomorrow. I had a last-minute call from an old employer offering a single commercial halibut fishing trip, and after some debate, I chose to go (I basically had a mental version of this battle playing out). If all works out, I should leave tomorrow.

Now, for me I still see this as bad news, especially in the context of this site. Basically, the trip should last about a week, maybe plus another half, as it’s only one trip … but that still comes with about a week’s worth of days around it for cleaning, set-up, etc, plus travel. All in all, I’m likely to lose two-and-a-half weeks, maybe a few days more.

Which means … all of my writing projects will be on hold for that period of time. No editing on Colony. No writing. Nothing. More delays there. It also means that Being a Better Writer posts might get a little sparse for the next few weeks, or go on hold. I’ll be trying to get some posts up on a scheduled buffer … but with this job, I can make no promises, sadly.

Granted, it’s not for long, but it’s still not great. If not for the money, I’d have turned it down. But just expect things to be a little light over the next few weeks.

Now, onto the good news!

First up, you may remember that last week I posted a new short story—The Ride—that I entered into 4A Games’ Metro Fan-creation Contest? Well, the contest results are up, and The Ride took third place!

This makes me quite happy. I really enjoyed the Metro series of games, and was happy to dip my toes into that universe for a short time. And now it turns out that a lot of other people have enjoyed reading that toe-dipping!

So, if you want to take a look at the winning entry itself, it’s here on my writing sample page. And honestly, if you’ve not looked at it yet and its victory in the contest isn’t enough to sway you, I’d encourage you to take a look anyway simply for the unique style and voice; once again I tried something new, and it turned out pretty well.

Okay, one other bit of good news. Some early responses for Shadow of an Empire‘s initial draft have been trickling in.

And they … are … positive.

Obviously it’s not perfect. There are a few small quibbles of detail to work out here and there, but so far it’s mostly little stuff like lead-line versus a picket line for a horse. But as far as the whole story itself goes, the feedback seems to be quite positive that I have nailed the western aesthetic.

This news comes with more good news, too. The better shape a book is in, the sooner I can get it out there. Right now (barring that fishing trip), Colony is the number-one priority and will be coming out next, but if Shadow feedback stays this clear, I could have it out by the end of the year.

Which would mean, yes, that I would have had three releases this year alone (Unusual EventsColony, and Shadow) totaling in at around 750,000 words.

So yes, that’s definitely the goal. And the news. Outside of me not being writing for the next two-and-a-half weeks, everything is actually looking pretty awesome.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have got to go pack. I’ll try to bring back some pictures for you guys, and see if I can’t stir up a little content while I’m gone.

Unusual Events Has Been Removed From SPFBO 2016

All right, guys, it’s official. I just heard back from Mark Lawrence, the head of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, and now that the competition has begun, my book could not be moved to another reviewer, so instead, I’ve elected to withdraw my entry from the competition (for the reasons for doing so, see this post here). It’s sad that it had to be done, but I feel my reasons were sound.

It is somewhat of a disappointment, however, in more ways than one. First, it’s a shame that it had to come to a removal. I was really interested to see what reviews would have cropped up from the SPFBO, as well as what sort of extended audience I could gather. But in light of their review practices … no gain would have been worth throwing my support behind it. Secondly, it is a shame that such review practices are even a small part of the SPFBO. Perhaps that will change, I would put my voice out as saying I strongly encourage them to do so, but I’m not holding my breath.

So, that’s the bad news. Sort of. I can’t help but feel it’s a good thing, in the long run. There are some things one just shouldn’t associate with, and reviewing and rating books with the focusing lens of “Is the character/writer X race or not?” is one of them.

In other news, the book in question can still be read and enjoyed by those of you who won’t care so much what Samantha’s, Alma’s, Jacob Rocke’s, or Mathoni’s gender or ethnic heritage happen to be over getting a great story. You can find the book here.

Thanks for the advice, guys, and thanks for standing with me on this one. I’m glad I’m not the only one who considers this important.

 

EDIT: Whoa. This blew up. This was just supposed to be news for my regular readers. So let me make something very, very clear, just in case. This was a news post keeping my readers up to date. I voiced a concern about one of the sites in the larger picture, and when SPFBO couldn’t bump me to a different review site, decided to withdraw. That’s what it is, please don’t make a mountain out of a molehill or put undeserved antagonism on the wrong party, and keep a level head.

Monday Will Be Tuesday

Bet that title got your attention. Ahem. Allow me to elucidate:

Monday’s Being a Better Writer post will instead be Tuesday.

Why? Because I’m working a ten-hour shift Monday, and that means I won’t be able to put the post together. So it’ll be going up come Tuesday.

Oh, and we’ll be discussing, by request, writing mysteries.

This is going to be fun.

Side Bar and Other News

Just some little small things going on, poking around the site. First, if you’ve been hanging around Unusual Things for long you might have noticed that the sidebar got a bit of an update late last night. It now has a “Latest Release” box, which as you might guess, gives a link straight to whatever the current release is.

The other thing that’s going on (and this is admittedly less small news) is that my writing is about to take a small bit of a slowdown. Simply put, despite living as light as possible while still actually living, my finances are at the breaking point, and I’m looking to pick up additional work in order to make rent next month. So, unfortunately, my writing is about to slow down. I wish it wasn’t so, but that’s how it’s going to be, unfortunately, until my income picks up enough that I can get back to writing the majority of the time.

Does this suck a bit? Yes. Yes it does. And it likely will slow down my work at getting Colony published by May (though maybe I’ll still get lucky), so there goes my goal of publishing 1,000,000 words in under a year. Maybe.

But I like my cheap apartment (you can’t get cheaper here, and I’m at the max legal number of roommates), and I can’t drop my health insurance (thanks, Obama, and that wasn’t sarcasm), which would save me $100+ a month. So another job it is.

Sorry guys. More on this as it develops. Hopefully I’ll be able to at least keep BaBW going up each week, as I have for the last 3 years.

Wish me luck! Or, you know, support me on Patreon or by buying a book. That helps too.