Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas readers!

Sands and Storms, it really has been a whole year, hasn’t it? It almost doesn’t feel like it, but another one has passed. Somewhere between the hours poking away at a keyboard, it all added up, and once more we’ve arrived at the finale of the year.

Christmas.

Okay, some might count New Years, but dang it, that’s next year. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The last holiday of the year, the one that matters most to me, is Christmas.

A lot of reflection goes into this season. Which it should, don’t get me wrong. This is a holiday dedicated to remembering the birth of the Savior and all that comes with it. Ideally, self-reflection should be involved. It’s a holiday where we can sit back and think about things for a little while. Look at where our lives have been. And where they’re headed.

This, by the way, isn’t at all what I expected to post when I started writing this, but then again that’s sometimes how these things go. I’m just rolling with it.

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Your Year in Books

Okay guys, this is cool. Yesterday I was alerted via Reddit to a feature of Goodreads I was not aware of: The “Your Year in Books” feature.

What is it? Well, the name is pretty self explanatory, but basically it’s a shareable page that summarizes all your reported reading so far that year. The number of pages you’ve read across however many books, the most popular book you read, the least popular book you read, your average review rating, the highest-rated book you read, and so on and so forth. Basically, it summarizes whatever you’ve put into their site into a really neat little infographic you can look over and see. It’s your year of books at a glance.

So, that’s pretty cool. If you’re a Goodreads user, at least. And while I’m not a heavy user by any means, I have been using it to simply leave a rating for each book I read, and even that’s enough for it to make a neat little page on it.

But they also made these pages shareable. That’s right, each one’s got a link you can share so you can swap pages on books read with people you know. And well … yeah, why not? After all, it’s kind of fun to see what people read.

Anyway, here’s mine. Everything’s there save the book I’m reading right now, which in all honesty isn’t getting a great rating anyway. Take a look, and while you’re at it, if you feel like it, share yours in the comments. I’ll keep a close eye on the filter so that they don’t get filed under spam.

Is there something deep behind this? Not really. It’s just fun. I like looking at stats for things, and this is a neat one. Plus, it’s cool to see all my readings in one place and kind of laid out with some additional info. I definitely can see a few series I binged on here, as well as some random pickups from my library, some of which were good, and others which were … not so good.

Just fun, end of the year, holiday stuff. So, what’d you read?

In Sickness and in Health

Sands and Storms, guys, I almost can’t believe how much I’ve been sick lately. Except I have to because I’m living through it. The little bout I had in October? Nothing compared to the last … two weeks. I swear I’ve caught every cold out there this season, one after the other, and cycled through them all. I think I’m on the last one: A chest cough that has knocked me down for a week and been the cause of much lack of sleep problems (though now that I can sleep, I’m catching up by, as I did today, sleeping until 2 PM).

The ultimate problem in all of this? I don’t write well when I’m sick. With the back-and-forth nature of the last few weeks I’ve had some good days and some bad days, but I’m likely to still come in a good 1/3 short of my monthly quota. For those of you wondering why that goes down … let’s just say all my Alpha and Beta readers can attest to what happens when I write with only a fraction of my normal brainpower. Things get bad. Fast.

Granted, my part-time job doesn’t help. They’re classic current US-job, which means you work if you’re sick or not. Oh, they might say at some point during the day “Why not see a doctor?” or something. But they’re paying low enough that seeing a doctor isn’t an option, and if you take a shift off? Well, that’s money you need, since their wages are low. To which you might say “Get another job!” but … it’s the modern world. Local businesses all know what their competitors are paying, so they all pay the same lowball number. Why compete when they can make everything just as appealing?

Unless you’re a manager. According to local data in my area, Managers make anywhere from 2 to 6 times as much as other employees. Curious that.

Anyway, not really sure what the point of this post is other that to say that I’m finally feeling better. Illness-wise, not job-wise. Job-wise I’m pretty sure that my company is an open-and-shut case for the current growing income inequality issues in America. But aside from that, I’m finally feeling a bit more alive and aware, so I’m going to try and finish up a chunk of Hunter/Hunted today and hopefully get things back on track. I really, really have not enjoyed all the crap getting in the way of my writing this year.

Anyway, with that in mind, I really need to get to it. Oh, but before I go, today is the last day in that week-long sale on my books. If you’ve been looking at one and sitting on the fence, now is the time to make your decision!

And with that, I’ve got writing to do!

Happy Thanksgiving, Readers

Hey everyone. Happy Thanksgiving.

I know not all of you celebrate it. It’s a pretty American holiday after all. Based in old harvest festivals and American history, but still kicking, Thanksgiving is probably one of the most American holidays there is: Gather together, be thankful … and eat until our intestines beg for mercy in a traditional feast. Then eat some more.

But whether or not you’re participating in this great battle of gluttony, I do hope you’ve got something out there to be thankful for, small or large, that you can take some comfort in today. You don’t have to post it or share it.

I just hope you have it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. And don’t forget, with Black Friday (the other most American “holiday”) comes a sale on my books! There will be a post about it tomorrow, but if you’re one of those folks that really wants to get in early, it starts at midnight.

Now, I’ve heard there’s pie …

“A Game of Stakes” Has Been Submitted! And Other News.

That’s it! As of a few minutes ago, A Game of Stakes has been sent out to the editor of the folks who asked for it. Thanks again to all you Alpha and Beta Readers, and as usual, when this gets published (either in the collection it’s been submitted for, or in More Unusual Events) I’ll make sure to ask how (and if) you want to be credited for all your help.

I’ll admit, I really enjoyed this one. It was just a fun story to write, and the characters and the faint inklings of the world were fun to play with too. I still do have to sit down and rewrite the original story that was going to be for the collection, which ended up being more of a novella length. That one I’ll likely publish separately (it’s been a while since I’ve done something like that) rather than stick into More Unusual Events since MUE is already going to have another novella length story in it. Two novellas in one “short” story collection is a bit much. I’ll get to that … maybe after the Halo novel submission. It’s just too good to let rest. I mean, the name is Axtara: Banking and Finance and the protagonist is a dragon. The original draft may have grown well past the scope of a short story, but as a novella? I think it’ll be a fun little adventure in economics, industry, and what happens when a young dragon moves to the edge of civilization with grand designs.

But I’m getting sidetracked. Point is, A Game of Stakes has now been sent in. Thank you everyone who helped with Alpha and Beta reading, and I’ll keep you guys updated.


Other news! Hunter/Hunted is about to enter Part three (the final part). I can see this being done early in December, or even the end of November if I get a few good writing sprints in. There is one specter hovering over it, however, and that’s the Christmas season. Long story short, Christmas means lots of hours available at my part-time job, and since hours are generally in short supply before Christmas, well … I kind of need the extra cash. I may be really limited with writing time in December.

Yeah, I know, the holiday season means working harder than the rest of the year. It’s just how things end up working out. It might mean a few delayed or missed Being a Better Writer posts, though, just so I can get Hunter/Hunted finished.


More news! Don’t fotget that a number of my books will be going on sale Thursday at midnight! Deeply on sale. Now’s the time to grab something if you’re tight on cash!


Okay, last bit of news: I’m only a few ratings away from cracking 100 ratings on Goodreads! My goal has been to surpass 100 by the end of the year, and as of right now, I’m only 14 away! If you have a Goodreads account and would like to help, well …


Anyway, that’s it for news. Thanksgiving is coming, along with a Black Friday sale, A Game of Stakes is in, and … Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

Time to get back to work on Hunter/Hunted.

A Note About Broken YouTube Links

So occasionally I’ll check outgoing links on my site from the control panel I’ve got, just to see what people are following, or in the case of YouTube links, watching. Sometimes I’ll use YouTube to show a video that serves as a good example of something.

However, in the last few weeks I’ve noticed that some of these links go to YouTube videos that no longer exist. Which … is fair. YouTube is changing a lot of its rules and operating terms lately, and channels are being shuffled around or closed off as it happens. It’s the internet. Things come and go.

But personally, I’d rather fix those broken links if possible. There’s simply one catch: My stats page doesn’t tell me what page sent my readers to that YouTube link, nor does YouTube tell me what the name of the removed video was (which would at least give me a clue). Thus, the only way for me to know what link could be bad would be to hunt through every single post on this site (which is several years’ worth) looking.

This … is not feasible. I don’t have that kind of time. And nor do you. But that doesn’t mean it’s without hope.

So open call: If you happen to be using the resources here and find a broken link? Just post a comment letting me know, and I’ll see about fixing it ASAP. Don’t feel a need to go hunting for them. Just … if you see one, I’ll see about fixing it. Or, if I can no longer find it, I’ll make that known in the original post.

Simple and straightforward. If you find something that’s broken and you feel like letting me know, do, and I’ll see about fixing it.

Over and out! I’ve got writing on Hunter/Hunted to do!

“A Game of Stakes” Beta Call!

Sorry this is a bit late, but the Beta Call for A Game of Stakes has been sent out … almost a week ago? Crud, yes, it was a week ago. If you’ve been a Beta Reader in the past, check your e-mail inbox! I’m going to try and have this one polished up by this weekend, next at the latest to get it in early before the submission deadline.

Check you inboxes. That’s all I’ve got today!