Two Years Online: Looking Back and Racing Forward

What’s that? A special event? You’re right!

As of yesterday, Unusual Things has passed its second annual landmark. That’s right, as of March 2nd, 2017, Unusual Things is now two whole years old!

Holy cow. Two whole years. Which means that it’s been over four years since my first book was released. And maybe three, three-and-a-half since I started writing posts about writing that would transform (or evolve, take your pick) into a weekly series called Being a Better Writer.

But the work hasn’t stopped there, either. Since the creation of this site, I’ve released several new books, completed drafts on a few more yet to arrive, started a Patreon account … and who knows what all else. I’m probably forgetting a few things.

It’s been a busy year. Few years, really.

Anyway, my point is that it’s the second anniversary of the site! And you know what that means!

Stats! Oh yes. It’s time to dig in and see how the site has done compared to the first year, and how it’s doing overall! So, to start—

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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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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!

Colony Beta Progress + A Distraction

Just the usual quick update for all you readers out there! Colony‘s Beta is progressing at a truly impressive rate. So impressive, in fact, that my current crop of Beta Readers have outpaced me in both their eagerness to finish the story and their heeding of my own words about my time constraints. Outpaced to the degree that they have now finished their Beta 1 read-through, while I find myself just over halfway through my own meticulous read-through.

On the plus side of things, however, that’s half of Colony‘s length edited in just four days (as my weekend was otherwise occupied). Another few days, and I’ll be ready for the Beta 2! Then the copy edit … and the cover … and I’ve got another finished book.

Wow, that just sunk in. I’m really, really close.

Anyway, it’s close. Start saving your spare change. Colony is coming at last! Hopefully I’ll have a cover to show off in the next week or so as well!

And now, a distraction!

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A 2016 Halibut Trip, With Pictures

So about a month ago I disappeared for a while. Posts stopped for two weeks, and no one could reach me.

Thankfully, it wasn’t without warning, at least for those who had kept up with my prior posts. I’d been offered a lucrative trip to Alaska to make some quick funds, and it was funds that would be greatly appreciated. In the end, despite losing a few weeks worth of writing work, I decided to take the job.

And along the way, I took a bunch of pictures.

So, you guys already know about my adventures getting to Alaska (I wrote about it here), by one thing I left out of that account was a write up of the actual fishing experience itself. Well, you’ve waited long enough. Patreon supporters got it, and now you’re getting it.

So, what was my fishing trip like? Read on.

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And the Unusual Events Giveaway Winner Is …

Peter Vanella!

In a blind drawing of eight entries (4 entrants, 2 entries apiece), Peter came up the winner to take home a copy of Unusual Events for kindle! The copy has already been sent, so Peter, if you’re reading this, check your e-mail, it should be there somewhere (it’ll come as a gift from Amazon). May you enjoy the adventures contained within!

To the rest of you who entered, thank you for participating! If you had your heart set on getting a copy, don’t feel too despondent. There’s still the future (or you can always buy a copy).

So, congratulations to our winner; may you enjoy your prize!