Fighting Against the Future

I’m not sure how long this post will be, so let’s just dive headfirst into it, shall we?

I’ve seen a rash of opinion articles (sometimes masquerading as “news” pieces) making the rounds lately that have left me feeling just more than a little put out. They’ve been on Facebook and social media, and I’ve seen people posting and sharing them with comments like “Yes, I’d never thought of it this way!” or other statements of affirmation. I’ve even had some of my direct family members talk about them with me.

The thing is? I disagree with these “news” pieces on a very firm level. See, these “news” pieces are written by what I would call “clockstoppers,” or what Axtara would refer to as “a near Pardellian Order.”

Maybe you’ve seen some of them around. There’s been a serious rash of them lately. Articles on the “dangerous conditions of lithium mining.” Or on how maybe “solar panels aren’t so green 30 years down the road.”

These articles make long, emotional appealing arguments about how everyone “thinks” electric vehicles are green, but look at this one lithium mine and what lithium mining is like! Or talks about how everyone is really excited about solar panels and wind turbines, but what will we do when those panels and turbines reach the end of their life in 30-50 years? What will become of us then?

I say “emotional appeal” because that’s what it is. These articles don’t address scientific data or real numbers, or when they do, it’s usually just the one that backs up their point. Which is? Well, to put it bluntly:

We should all refuse these new things because they’re new and scary, and we have something that works “good enough” already.

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Welcome to the Wild: The Bi-Weekly Update

Hello readers! It’s Wednesday, and that means a small news update on how things are ticking along!

First of all, there’s still more news about Axtara – Banking and Finance to deliver now that the paperback is out and in people’s hands. For starters, some of the author copies I promised to people have finally arrived, are now signed, and will be heading out as soon as I get to a post office this week. So rejoice, those of you who are getting one of those: You’ll soon have them in your hands!

Paperback copies of Axtara continue to go out as well. To where, I don’t get to see, but I’ve started seeing listings pop up on other book sites as well (usually European, maybe someone over there loves Axtara?), so they’re starting to spread out. I’ve been told that it’s been ordered by a few libraries as well, which is pretty cool!

So hey, if you’ve found Axtara in the wild, be it at your local library, a bookstore, or a bookshelf, let me know about it! I’d love to see how far she’s flown! Snap a picture with your phone and upload it to imgur or social media, then send me a link! I’ll post it here on the site if you’re willing!

Even if you aren’t, it’d be nice to hear how far she’s made it! How did you find Axtara? And where?


All right, time for other news updates. Starforge continues to make it’s way forward, and now clocks in at 270,000 words. Which may not seem like too much of an increase over the last I shared its progress, but I’ll remind you LTUE happened last weekend, and a big con like that does take a bite out of my writing days. Now I’m back on track and working my way through part three of the draft.


Speaking of LTUE, it was great this year. The team handled the con being all online really well, and a few rough patches on the first day were smoothed out by the end. Those who attended the conference can still go back and watch the streams of each panel, so if you signed up for LTUE and missed something, you still have the option to go see it!

Actually, for those of you who were able to attend this LTUE because of its online nature and would like LTUE to have an online component continuing in the future, let me know in the comments! I’ll pass them along to the LTUE staff and crew so they can see what sort of response they’re getting to keeping the streaming an active feature at future LTUEs!


All right, other relevant news. Computer is still holding up, though occasionally it gets a bit dicey. I’m fairly certain that my GPU is just on its last legs. While the life of that one hard drive can be “extended” by having my rig ignore bad sectors as they occur, a GPU going out is just a case of “it dies until it’s dead.” It’s kind of a shame the market for GPUs sucks right now with all the currency-mining going on; I’d have a better chance of getting a trip to Pisces than a new GPU to replace this old 660 Ti.

Then again, it’s served me long and faithfully. Maybe it can hold out for a year more.

Anyway, there isn’t much other news to share. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get back to whatever it is that Jake, Sweets, and Anna are up to. Which happens to be—

No spoilers. Sorry.


… And I was mistaken. I realized right before I was about to post that I did have one last bit of news. So prior to LTUE, rather than a traditional Being a Better Writer post I had a live Q&A session where I took questions from a chat and answered them on camera. We had a few participants show up, and it was a lot of fun. Which got me wondering: Would any of you be interested in having a live Q&A with a bit more regularity? What sort of regularity, and for what? Leave your comments below if that would be something you’d be interested in seeing, even as a Patreon Supporter Special of some kind?

Let me know, and I hope you’re all having a great week!

Being a Better Writer: The Importance of a Support Group

Hello readers, new and old! Welcome back to another (or perhaps your first) Monday installment of Being a Better Writer! For those of you that are new (and quite possibly discovered the site from your attendance of Life, The Universe, and Everything this weekend), BaBW is a regularly-occurring Monday article discussing all things writing, one topic at a time. Over the years, it has discussed hundreds of different topics, such Sanderson’s Three Laws of Magic, The Five-Man Band, Subverting Tropes, and even The Art of Misdirection, to name a few. Such has been the series’ popularity that if you’ve just discovered Unusual Things for the first time, it’s highly likely that you’ve still seen a snippet of it somewhere, from Wikipedia to Google search summaries on various topics.

Basically, if you’ve just arrived and are looking for writing advice, rejoice. There’s hundreds upon hundreds of articles here, all searchable, categorized, and even tagged. If you want writing articles on everything from brainstorming to formatting, you’re in the right place.

So welcome! To those of you returning readers, I hope you had a chance to attend the aforementioned LTUE convention this weekend. As usual, my daily write-ups are up and on the site, so if you missed the con (sadness, especially as this year it was online due to Covid-19, and easier to attend than ever), you can still catch a summary of just some of the panels that occurred.

And with that, there’s no other news to discuss today. So let’s dive right into our topic. Which is going to be a bit less of a common one. In fact, I was actually planning on writing about another topic until more than a few of those LTUE panels mentioned this one, and I decided it deserved its own place on BaBW.

Which makes today’s topic a slightly rarer one. Usually for BaBW the topics are the nuts, bolts, and washers of fiction. How to sell emotion, or how to make sure that your conflict is gripping readers. The stuff people think about when they think about writing.

But every so often BaBW takes a step back and tackles another aspect of writing that sometimes isn’t given nearly enough credit in the writing process: The health of the writer. The importance of keeping the primary and secondary writing machine—your brain and your body, not your keyboard and your word processor—in good shape so that you can continue to produce those stories that you love so much.

So today, readers, we’re going to talk about the importance of a support group.

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LTUE 2021 Writeup – Day Three!

Hello again, people! This post is the third and final writeup for the third and final day of LTUE, Life, The Universe, and Everything, the Fantasy/Sci-Fi writing convention!

As there have been two writeups prior to this one, I’ll assume that you’re familiar with the process and not bother to re-explain how this works here. So hit the jump, and let’s recap the third and final day of LTUE!

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LTUE 2021 Writeup – Day Two!

WOW! What a day! I am bushwhacked! But not enough that I’d skip this post! LTUE’s second day has passed, and once again, there were a whole array of fantastic panels to attend, question, and learn from. I already explained yesterday that LTUE is online this year, so rather than summarize that once more, I’m just going to dive right into my recap. So hit that jump and get a brief taste of what LTUE 2021 was like on day two!

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LTUE 2021 Writeup – Day One!

Hello readers! LTUE 2021 is here! And that means, in grand tradition here on Unusual Things, there’s write-ups on the way summarizing my experience! Starting with day one!

Now, this year’s LTUE has been a bit different. Thanks to Covid-19, LTUE has been held online, entirely digital, and this has brought positives and negatives. On the positive side, people from all over the world have been able to log on and watch! I’ve seen some familiar names that I’ve not been able to see at LTUE before, which has been awesome. On the negative side, once Youtube (or local ISPs) started throttling a few of the feeds, a few of the streams got … behind. Hopefully someone can sic a dragon on the folks responsible for the throttling, because cons need bandwidth!

But there’s a positive there, too. Everything is being recorded and will be up later to watch, so attendees will be able to see it without the lag. But the lag is a shame because some of these panels are awesome!

As always. It’s LTUE. So, how did my day go? Well, let me recap! Hit the jump for an hour by hour recount/summary of what I made it to or presented!

Oh, but first, let me share this. At one point, in the chat, we were joking about “explaining books as instruction manuals” and I jokingly gave a few of mine a go, including “How a dragon could open a bank.”

Instant reaction from someone in the audience of “I just started reading that today and I love it! How did you hear about that one?”

Me: Well, I hear it’s really good! 😉

So yeah, that pleased me greatly! I wild Axtara encounter at LTUE! She’s soaring far and wide!

Now hit that jump for the summary!

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Life, The Universe, and Everything Starts Tomorrow!

I mean, after a headline like that, what else is there to say?

I kid. There’s plenty! LTUE 2021, or Life, The Universe, and Everything, the writing convention for writers of Science-Fiction and Fantasy, starts tomorrow and runs through the weekend! Attendees will be able to choose from the hundreds of panels available on a wide variety of topics, covered by experts and experienced authors from those fields. Hours upon hours of content, all day, through the weekend, on just about every topic you can think of associated with writing.

But wait, there’s more! See, due to Covid-19, LTUE this year is not happening in person. It’s all being streamed. Online. Over the internet. And while this does come with some sad drawbacks (no signings, or fun crowds in the halls geeking out over various things) it does have some advantages of its own. Being all online, the geeking out can occur in Discord channels, but with a wider audience than ever before! Where just one year ago your only option if you couldn’t afford a plane ticket to the con itself was to sadly watch the weekend pass by with no writing con experience whatoever, this year thanks to the magic of the internet anyone can watch!

Well, anyone who’s become a member of the convention. These things still are a huge amount of work. But you can register right now at this link if you haven’t yet. And hurry, because the convention starts tomorrow!

As for me? I’ll be there. In fact, I’m presenting on several panels as you can see from this bit from their guestbook:

Now as always, I’d love to hear that you enjoyed one of my panels, but if there’s one at the same time you also really want to go to, I understand. My convention schedule often has two or sometimes even three panels at the same time that I’d like to attend, forcing me to choose, so I get it. There’s always a tough choice to be made. Or sometimes not so tough.

Point being, LTUE is full of amazing panels on all sorts of topics. I will be watching as many as I can with great glee, and hope that with LTUE being online this year, more of you get a chance to attend than ever before.

It’s full of expert advice, insights on the industry, goofy fun (the Fantasy-Romance panel still stands out as one of the funniest panels I’ve ever attended), and lots of chances to geek out over Sci-Fi and Fantasy in all forms.

Hope you can make it.

Today’s Being a Better Writer Will Be Tonight … and a Live Q&A! TEST CLOSED!

EDIT: Thank you to everyone who showed up, asked questions, and helped me test the stream! We went for an hour and a half, and it worked great!

All right people, pay attention to this post! We’ve got a special event happening tonight!

So, as most of you should know, this week LTUE 2021 is happening, or Life, The Universe, and Everything. It is the writing convention for Science-Fiction and Fantasy writers, and in a unique twist that makes sense as long as you haven’t been living under a rock, is online!

Yes, that’s right. Due to the coronavirus there will be no physical meet-up this year. Instead the entire conference will be held in digital space, with streams of the panelists up to watch for those that have registered for the conference.

So what does this have to do with today’s lack of a Being a Better Writer post? Simple. I’m one of the panelists. Which means I’ll be streaming my panel thoughts, comments, and knowledge out over the internet this Thursday-Saturday. However, I don’t want to do so without testing my system first.

To be more accurate, without stress-testing my system. I want to make certain that the camera, mic, headset, and everything else I’ll be using will be functioning properly when this Thursday arrives, both in the short term and over the course of an hour or so. I want to make sure that the tone is clear, that there’s no disruption or distortion from overlying cables … You know, the works!

How am I going to do this, you might ask? Simple! Tonight, at 6 PM, this post will gain a discord link after the jump. It will take those who click it to a discord server set up just for this occasion, where I’ll be using Discord’s streaming capabilities to stream myself and answer any questions people have about writing, my books, whatever! It’s going to be a bit of a free-for-all, and I’ll try to keep things running smoothly (bearing in mind that my goal is to test my mic and camera setup, as LTUE’s staff are handling their own server and streaming for LTUE.

So yeah, that 6 PM Mountain time. I know it’s short notice, and an odd time, but I just want to see how well my rig runs things and if there are problems. Note that if there are problems (like say, a BSOD), I’ve got multiple backups that should enable me to keep streaming. Same with LTUE. But the point of this stress-test is to make certain my system is up for this long term in advance. So we’ll go for an hour. 6-7.

So, come back at a little before 6 PM Mountain time tonight and look after the jump for a link to the temporary server. The rest of this post (also after the jump) will be some news for all of you to enjoy. But mark your calendars (or leave a note on your phone or whatever) so you don’t forget!

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News and Updates!

Hey readers! Guess what? There’s only ONE WEEK left until the Life, The Universe, and Everything writing convention!

Yeah, that’s headline number-one today. As of today, we’ve only got a week left! Are you ready? I’ve been letting my brain boil over my panel topics, as well as making sure I’ve got a working setup to stream myself live. In fact, I’m considering doing a test run over Discord to see how my mic holds up, maybe a sort of live Q&A in place of next week’s Being a Better Writer, just to see how it goes. I’ve got a decent mic and headset, but I could also borrow a better one if needed. And I should have a decent webcam, but again, I could perhaps get a better one working. We’ll see. Look here for further updates. Point is, LTUE is coming and I’m excited! Are you?


Next up, let’s talk about Axtara! So the ebook has been out for over a month now, and the paperback a little over a week. How has everyone been finding it so far?

Spectacular. Okay, that’s my own reaction to the public’s reaction, but I’ve got those too. Reviews have started to roll in from a wide range of sources, and so far they have all loved meeting Axtara and getting to know her and her world. For example, we’ve got this bit from a review from a reader on Goodreads—

… Florschutz hit it out of the park with “Axtara–Banking and Finance.” … Regardless of whether you have a mathematical mind, I would highly recommend “Axtara–Banking and Finance”, and if the author is considering making a sequel, I would definitely look forward to picking it up. 

—or from this review on Amazon—

I’ll admit I was drawn to this book by the cover and the tittle, I mean a dragon banker, how could I not check this out? And this book delivers with laughter and intrigue … everything you could ask from such a book. 10/10.

—or this one—

… I loved it … it does leave it open for a sequel too, and I hope that there is one – or more – eventually!

—or this one—

I’ll give a try on kindle unlimited to most any book with a dragon as the protagonist, but I quite liked this one enough to leave a good review. I was particularly interested in the entrepreneurial elements as Axtara works to establish her bank. Axtara’s focus on reaching break-even point shows the author did their research here, and the business side seems well grounded and interesting. The fantasy setting was a lot of fun seeing how business would work there, and had some interesting hints as to other things yet to be discovered in the world (I’d definitely read a sequel …)

—that all seem pretty certain that they love Axtara and can’t wait to see more! And yes, there will be a sequel. I already knew the basics of the plot before Axtara was even halfway finished, and it’ll come along in due time. There also will be, and has been, more in the same setting (A Game of Stakes, my short in A Dragon and Her Girl, takes place in the same setting but a few decades earlier, while the as-yet-unpublished Trial for a Dragon stars Axtara’s older sibling Ryax).

But that isn’t the only feedback I’ve had from people regarding Axtara either. I’ve got two others I’ll share with you guys, though not in direct quotes. I’ve been told via Facebook by several people that their teenaged (or near it) daughters have been reading Axtara.

The ultimate test, as that is the intended audience. And …?

Well, in the words of one parent, and I quote, “She loves it!” Which has been the response from the other parents that have told me about their kid’s experience. Axtara, it would seem, is indeed a winner!

Oh, but that’s not all. Behold the following picture! It’s beyond the jump, since this post was getting long.

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Being a Better Writer: Gripping Conflict

Hello there readers! Welcome to February!

First of all, I apologize for the lateness of this post. I had family stop by and catch up, and well, it had been a while so we chatted for a time. So this post got a little delayed (though lately there have been some late posts, something I should fix, and am apologizing for now).

Second, a reminder that LTUE is next weekend! That’s right, it’s almost upon us! I wrote a bit more on this on Saturday, but LTUE 2021 is online this year and will be taking place February 11th-13th! You can find more information at LTUE’s website, or by going over my post from Saturday, but as LTUE this year is online that means it’s a lot easier for many of you to “attend” so I hope to see you there!

Lastly, just a general reminder that paperback copies of Axtara – Banking and Finance are now available! You can order your own dead-tree version of Axtara from Amazon.com (or .UK or whichever you use), or even hop down to your local bookstore and ask them to order a copy for you! Sands, you can even request your local library order a copy and read it that way!

Okay, that’s all the news, so let’s get talking on today’s topic: writing gripping conflict.

I’ll admit this is pretty straightforward and simple topic for a Being a Better Writer article, so I’ll say up front that I don’t expect this to take too long. But the topic was inspired by, if I’m remembering things correctly, a discussion chain on a writing chat about keeping conflict gripping that was … Well, let’s just say they were missing the mark a little bit. That’s not to say that they were wrong, but that they were only halfway there.

So let’s dive in, talk about the half that this chat got right … But then talk about the half that they were missing. Let’s talk about what makes a conflict grip the reader and pull them in. Hit the jump.

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