I acknowledge that there’s a bit of a pallor cast over the day for most people. Russia’s long-hinted at invasion of Ukraine is … Well, there’s no way to sugar-coat it. Unwelcome feels like too polite a word for things. Over there. I actually do have friends in Ukraine who’ve been watching things shift and slide, and so this latest development … All I can say is that I hope they’re okay.
As far as what Putin hopes to achieve with this naked aggression, I can only say that those who aspire to power will constantly crave it in any form they can find, and when that power starts to erode, desperate, foolish grabs become more and more appealing. Foolish grabs like starting a new war in Europe.
Anyway, I’m not deeply read-in on a lot of what’s currently going on over there, and furthermore with all the misinformation around the invasion it’s currently difficult to say what’s happening in the moment (side note: to all those uploading fake videos on youtube, twitter, and other sources to try and score internet karma off this war, you people are sick sick sick and I hope real karma catches you for it), it’s definitely clear that Russian armored forces and paratroopers are in the country and seizing territory.
Either way, I pray things conclude quickly and in the manner that’s best for the Ukrainian people and government (which, if you’re not clear, would mean Russia pulling out, just so there’s no misconception here).
With all this going on, it seems almost strange to suddenly kick back to “what I’m working on right now” but at the same time, I’m reminded of something Howard Tayler said while working on Schlock Mercenary after 9/11, which I’m definitely pulling from memory here, but was something along the lines of not letting the mire overwhelm and giving people something that could make them smile and laugh.
While don’t do comedy (at least, not nearly to the masterful level of Howard), I think there is wisdom in that idea. So yeah, update time. The world can’t stop, and all of us probably need something to take our minds off of what’s happening in eastern Europe.
So what’s the first big update? Starforge! A number of Alpha Readers are almost a quarter of the way through, and with that progress made, I plan to start making edits and changes to the material they’ve covered starting next Monday. Or possibly Tuesday, depending on how the short I’m working on now looks. I may do both for a few days, just so I don’t catch up to the Alphas that quickly.
Why wait? Why not immediately respond? Well first, I can edit faster than they can read. Second, I wanted to gain a larger consensus on a few things in the early chapters (and there’s still one Alpha Reader whose feedback I’m waiting for). And third, I didn’t want to be making daily changes in the moment until I’d had some time to think on what needs to change.
Because there are changes that need to be made. There are signs that I was pretty stressed when I wrote this. Already I can think of a very specific chapter that needs to be sanded, smoothed, and in general improved. A few minor inconsistencies—usually with characters repeating info—have been noted. In general there are just some minor issues that need to be fixed, but it’s sometimes helpful to mull on those fixes so that the solution is something refined, and not just immediately move to shore something up.
Anyway, Starforge Alpha edits for the first Alpha will start next week, so Alpha Readers, you have until then to get as much of a lead on me as possible. It’s likely I’ll go through the end of Part One, which most of you are close to anyway (and those who are not, now you know what to aim for).
Now, this isn’t all, so hit the jump, and we’ll talk about a few more bits, bobs, and updaves.
Yes, “updaves” was intentional. After bobs I thought it was funny.
Anyway, let’s talk about sales for a moment! Just a moment, I assure you. First, I want to thank and welcome everyone who picked up a copy of Axtara – Banking and Finance over LTUE or the last weekend. It’s no secret that LTUE this year was a huge success for my work, with both Axtara and Shadow of an Empire selling out before the end of the con (almost by the morning of the second day, actually), and boosting my sales quite high for the month as a whole. I’ve seen a several new review/ratings drop in the last few days as fallout, and all of them have been positive, which is excellent.
Hopefully this means my market has reached a new plateau, or even better is climbing to a higher one. Axtara getting listed at Wal-Mart probably doesn’t hurt, either.
Anyway, if you’re a new reader coming from this year’s LTUE, welcome to the site! And to a pretty deep library of awesome content. I hope your next few weeks (or days, depending on how quickly you read) are full of fun!
Now, above I mentioned some writing. This is accurate, and not as of this moment reflected on the “Current Projects” page. I’ve been working on a story for the “Troubadours and Space Princesses” LTUE anthology submission, which you can read more about here.
Actually, to be more accurate I’m working on a second story for said call. As with what happened to my initial submission for A Dragon and Her Girl, my first attempt would up not making the cut due to length. Okay, technically this one could have made it, but there’s just so much stuff crammed into this little short, it’d be better off as a novella. Or, as in the case of what happened with Axtara, a full novel.
To rectify this, I spent this last weekend thinking over an alternate story, and once I’d “finished” the (admittedly very) rough draft of the first story, immediately began work on this second story, currently titled The Minstrel and the Marshal. And already it is going a lot smoother. I’ll work on it a bit more today, though I’ll have to stop early because—
Taxes! That’s right, it’s tax season, and owing to some fishing money from that trip last year, mine are due at the end of February. Fun …
All right, I’m not going to go off on how awful the US tax system is … but it is really bad. I once listened to a tax accountant who compared it to a grocery store you have to shop at, but unlike other grocery stores this one has no prices. Rather than being told what you owe, you have to guess the cost of each item. If you’re wrong and overpay? Then the store just gets an interest-free loan. If you underpay? JAIL.
Meanwhile, every other civilized country just sends out a notice of “here’s what you owe/get back.” Something I think about every time I sit down with literally six different forms, each one interacting with one or two others, and work out what I owe.
And that’s about it for the news and updates today. February is almost over, with March approaching. Tomorrow I’ll be back here with a discussion post, see if we can’t kick off some chatter leading into the weekend.
Outside of that, enjoy your day folks, I’m going to get some work done on Minstrel and then do some tax math! Wish me luck!