Schlock Mercenary Has Come to an End

Surely the author won’t mind me using the logo of his comic to promote it, right? Right?

If you’ve perused my website a little, specifically the links page, you may have noticed that one of the links I’ve had around since the very beginning leads to the most-excellent webcomic Schlock Mercenary, by Howard Tayler. Schlock Mercenary has been a long-time favorite of mine since checking it out in … 2005, I think (?), after I saw Howard present at a few panels at a convention and speak on two topics, one of which would go on to play a vital part of my future career. The first was about how comedy writing was really hard, which I noted. But the other, the big one, was how to take something independent, like a webcomic, and make a living at it.

‘If you can get 5000 people to be fans who will buy and watch your stuff,’ Howard said. ‘You’ll make it. That’s what you need.’

And he knew what he was talking about. See, Howard had left his middle-management job to pursue being a writer (and artist) in the webcomic sphere full time, selling books, prints, and as he once noted with “dark scatological undertones” … maybe even Schlock-in-a-cup.

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Invisible Censorship and Books

I made an interesting and alarming discovery a few weeks ago.

Like most authors, I happen to love reading books as well. Between my local library, the occasional purchase, and my Kindle, I go through a good number of them every year. I have my entire life. Sands, in my small-town library, if I happened to be around the librarians would sometimes ask me if I knew a book a patron was asking about. I read a lot.

So, naturally, I gravitate to places online that talk about books. Forums that offer book reviews, or book chats, etc etc.

It was on one of these forums that I discovered an extremely disturbing trend.

Let me catch you up. One of the book places I hung out at quite regularly—or did, before this discovery, which all but killed my interest in it—was a place for book recommendations. It was pretty simple and straightforward: One person posts what they’re looking for, be it a historical romance with specific traits, or just something like what they’d already read and enjoyed, like Dune. Then, participants could post replies listing, detailing, or talking about other books that the poster might be interested in.

Good idea, right? I sure thought so. And so I went to it. It was fun dredging my brain sometimes for lesser-known authors or books that someone might have missed, or thinking “Oh, what was the name of that book!” and digging back several years through my Goodreads list to find it.

It was pretty good … Or so I thought.

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Where Am I?

So, first of all, I apologize for what must seem like my disappearance over these last few weeks. Or the last week, if you’ve been satisfied and entertained by my previously scheduled posts. Though you might have been wondering along with everyone else where on earth they went this week.

Don’t worry, I’m not quitting. This isn’t some “doom and gloom” post about how hard life is and how I’d rather be doing something else all day. I haven’t run off with all the Patreon funds I’ve been given to start a new life in some other country. No, instead the explanation for my absence has been much simpler.

I moved.

Yes, as promised—and as was contributing to my stress levels for so long—the move finally happened. My apartment of six years has now been sold and scheduled to be demolished, and I’m gone from that place and in the new.

So, why the big writing hang up? Why no posts? What could have kept me from delivering my usual promised content?

Pretty simple, actually. I have no internet connection at the new place. The only connection I have to the digital world is via my phone, and as you can imagine that doesn’t really perform well for editing or posting writing guides.

Why no internet? Well, the previous occupant, despite living in a place and time where the internet is sort of a requirement for life, apparently never bothered to wire the place. So the number I keep getting from the provider is “60-90 days.”

Oh boy.

Now, to circumvent those who immediately postulate “Why don’t you just take your laptop to a library/coffee place and work there?” I don’t have a laptop. I write from a big, custom-built desktop that weighs about 30-35 pounds. I’m not hauling that to a coffee shop.

So for the foreseeable future, I’ll be writing all of my posts away from the embrace of the digital net, and uploading them via a public access computer at my local library when I get the chance.

Bogus? Most certainly. And definitely cramping the final alpha editing on Unusual Events as well, since the internet is kind of a cornerstone of being able to communicate with my alpha readers and editors in real time.

So wish me luck in convincing my neighbors to let me run a 100-ft Ethernet cable down to my new place. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to bring everything back to the usual schedule.