The LTUE 2018 Report

It’s time for another LTUE (Life, The Universe, and Everything) report! And this time, not in place of Monday’s Being a Better Writer post!

Why, you may ask? Okay, and you may be asking “What’s LTUE?” as well. So, in reverse order then.

LTUE is one of the best “secret” cons for writers out there, if not the best. It always has a massive, smashing guest list full of friendly authors, editors, and publishers, hundreds of awesome panels those same people participate in … and then just plenty of fun stuff too. Want to learn how to write romance, or common submission pitfalls? Want to catch the latest scuttlebutt and undercurrents from the industry, or hear embarrassing mistakes from now-famous authors?

Okay, you might not get all of that in one year, simply because you’d probably have to hit multiple panels at the same time, but all of that can be found at LTUE. It’s a convention for writers, about writers, by authors passing on their knowledge. If you like BaBW, LTUE is a con you should go to. February of every year in Provo Utah.

Now, the second question: Why is this report going up early? Oh, and shorter? Well, quite simply because I wasn’t paneling this year and was too broke to go to all three days (much sadness on that point). LTUE is a con, after all. Expect to pay (though students get in for $5 a day).

Anyway, with my knee dragging my finances down, I only was able to afford going to a single day. Naturally, I picked the day I most wanted to go to, which included a relaxed sit-down with Larry Correia (because the guy is fun to talk with), and went then.

So, what’d I pick up from this year’s LTUE? It was a mixed bag. Not at all because the con wasn’t as good this year or something, but because, personally, where I’m at.

Look, I’ll get two things out of the way right away. The first is that LTUE is fun. Like, ridiculously fun. Even if you’re there flying solo, it’s a good time. Everyone is there to talk about writing in some facet or another, from just starting out, to being stuck in a death spiral, to trying to submit their first manuscript. That’s awesome.

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Hardware, Halloween, and Other Updates

You know the deal, guys! It’s a news post. And there’s a lot of it this week, but I have categorized it, so skim through and see what the updates are!

Hardware Horrors

You might have noticed I’ve been quiet this week.

Like, quieter than normal. And it’s not just here. I’ve been almost 100% silent across all my usual online hangouts. And the reason for that is actually pretty simple. Right now, I’m writing this post through a tethered connection with my cell phone.

No, Google Fiber didn’t go down. My phone’s buzzing through them. The ethernet port on my desktop shorted out. Thankfully, without taking the rest of my motherboard with it.

Yeah, I’m still nervous about that one.

For those who aren’t computer literate, however, the ethernet port is what you plug the internet into if you’re not using wi-fi. Desktops don’t usually come with wi-fi, and I prefer the speeds and latency that a cable offers over a wireless connection (it’s a bit more reliable).

In any case, I’ve ordered an ethernet card for my desktop, but it won’t even ship until the 30th. So … I’m a little disconnected at the moment. Which leads me into my next point here—

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Being a Better Writer Delayed

Just a heads-up, guys, but you probably won’t see this week’s Being a Better Writer post until tomorrow. I’ve got an early-morning work shift today, then a physical therapy appointment (one of the last, thankfully, as my knee is healing) right afterwards. Then another early-morning shift tomorrow. And in my current financial situation (which is really bad), I need every shift I can get.

BaBW for this week will likely hit tomorrow morning or afternoon, as a result.

 

In the meantime, there are years worth of archives to binge through!

The Rolling Sale – FINAL ROUND!

FIGHT!

No, I’m kidding. But most of you who had a childhood in the 90s probably thought that. But moving on …

So, in a surprise, last second upset, Unusual Events sold enough to unlock the fourth sale tier for Colony! Which means that Colony, starting next week, will be 50% off!

Except it won’t.

Okay, that was mean. What I meant to say before I gave into the urge to yank the rug out from beneath you guys is that due to Amazon’s 90-day cycle being in the middle of a renewal next week, if Colony did go on sale starting Monday, said sale would also end Tuesday, since you can’t crossover between cycles.

So yeah, this one’s partially Amazon’s fault for having such a dumb restriction in the first place, and partially my fault for not seeing it coming in the first place.

However, this does not mean all is lost. No, the sale is still going to happen. Just it will be delayed by a few days. Possibly until Friday (you have to put these sales in a few days in advance, so with Wednesday being the renewal day) … I swear it’ll come as soon as I can make it happen.

However, I feel bad, since I know for a fact many of you were waiting eagerly for Monday (I’ve gotten e-mails and messages to that effect). And this one was kind of my own fault, so to make up for it, I’m upping the reward tier to rank five.

That’s right, Colony won’t be 50% off. It’ll be 63% off. And I’m thinking I’ll make the sale go for seven days as well, as an additional apology for the delay.

So yeah, extra discount and two extra days to rack up sales for the final reward tier.

What’s that? You thought Colony would be the end of it? Oh no … I’ve got a surprise coming. But I’ll save that for another post. But suffice it to say that you can expect that copies purchased during this sale will … well, you’ve seen how the rolling sale has worked thus far. So you might be able to hazard a guess.

Regardless, that’s the news for today. Apologies for the delay, sincerely, and I’ll see you all Monday.

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.