7/17/17

Personal Things and Personal Experiences


So, I haven't posted about my downsizing journey in some time, so I thought this would be a good time to revisit the topic.

The above picture shows just about all the personal stuff I own. In this box are the con badges and program books I've chosen to keep; the maps, brochures, business cards, and other bits I'm hanging onto; a few issues of magazines in which my fiction or nonfiction appeared in; and other personal odds and ends. This doesn't include the print books I still have or what's on my desk.

One box. Why so little?

It's easy to accumulate things, even when you live a life that's not all that active. You don't have to go to that many events to accumulate quite a number of badges, program books, business cards, and so on. Live long enough and the "stuff" will add up. It's why we now have a whole industry devoted to renting spaces to store what we accumulate when we can no longer store all of it in our own homes.

In recent years I've realized that I was keeping things that meant little to me. Why keep every piece of correspondence? Every badge and program book from every con I've been to? I have digital photos and memories, so do I also need to keep the physical stuff, too?

My personal answer is "no." Things seem to matter less and less to me. I'm trying to get to a place where experiences matter instead of things. It's ongoing work for me, at least the "having experiences" part. But I'm finding that I'd rather have experiences, however few they are, than having lots of things.

I'm going to try to write more about my downsizing journey in the future. I hope those posts will help you, or at least get you thinking about your own life and where you're going.

7/10/17

The Andrew Manson Steampunk Mysteries


This is the last series consolidation of the year, but it also includes some newly-published material. It's The Andrew Manson Steampunk Mysteries, and here's what it's about:

Andrew Manson is an inventor with a passion for mechanics and a knack for getting embroiled in mysteries.

From Florida to New York City, to Washington, and back again, Andrew finds himself dealing with shady characters in an America where airships won the Civil War.

Will Andrew be able to get his combustion engine working? Will he ever escape trouble? And what about the fashionable young woman in the Airship Dress?

This volume contains all five Andrew Manson mystery stories, including the previously published short novels WILLOW HILL and EIGHTY HOUSE.

This is in both print and ebook editions. Willow Hill and Eighty House are no longer in print, as they're in this collection. Check this page for store links.

7/3/17

Writing Stats for June 2017


Here is the latest update about how much I'm writing this year.

I plotted out some stories and, on June 12, I got back to writing. Over the rest of the month I wrote 115 pages. That's only a dozen pages shy of what I could have done if I'd met all my session goals during that time. The main reason why I didn't was that I also had to proof another book so it would be ready to be released. Stay tuned for that news next week.

Aside from the story I'm writing, I have three more plotted out. Two are in the universe of this current story. The other will return me to the "Jake Bonner 'verse," though not with Jake himself. As it happens, plotting out that story might allow me to salvage another work I'd written and set aside.

If all goes well, I should have some good writing months ahead of me. Here's hoping!

6/19/17

The Lays of Marie de France


As I was trying to figure out what to write next, I went back to poking around medieval ballads. I came across The Lays of Marie de France. I downloaded the book at Project Gutenberg and read it.

Unlike other collections of this sort, the works in Lays are mainly romantic stories. One or two have themes of friendship and platonic love, but most are about romantic love between men and women. There are tales of the triumph of love, interrupted love, and the betrayal of love. I recall at least one being about adultery.

Perhaps the most well-known of the stories in the Lays is "The Bisclavret." It's an early werewolf story. Strangely, it's not about how the man turns into a werewolf, or how a woman falls in love with a man who's a werewolf. It's about loyalty, both to partner and to the nobles you have to answer to.

Originally these works were written as ballads to be sung orally. However, the most common way to get the stories today is to read them as text. While there is something to be said about losing the poetry of a ballad, these works were written in French (albeit for an English king). Any translation out of the original language wouldn't be ideal for getting the flow of the ballads. As it is, these stories seem to be told in full as text, which makes for good reading.

Overall I enjoyed the Lays. A couple gave me ideas for stories I'm writing or planning to write. If what I've described interests you, go ahead and download the collection (seeing as it's free.)

6/12/17

Fixer Jake


As with the trend this year, I've consolidated another series, but this time into separate print and ebook volumes. First is Fixer Jake:

The three novellas featuring Jake Bonner (Expert Assistance) have been available for some time now. However, they’ve only been available as separate volumes. Now all three, Heroes Eat Well, Janitorial Service, and Haven are together in one volume.

In Heroes Eat Well, Jake deals with a mysterious woman and her strange red box. In Janitorial Service, Jake has to clean up a planet in an oddly-familiar scenario. In Haven, Jake has to cope with a greedy mogul and secretive androids.

It’s all in good fun until complications arise…


That's the description of the print volume. The ebook volume, Jake Bonner!, contains those three novellas, plus Expert Assistance, the short stories in the Above Average Jake collection, and the short novel The War Scam. You can find links for both at the Jake Bonner 'verse page at my blog.

6/5/17

Writing Stats for May 2017


Here's the latest update on how much I've been writing.

So, for the first 4 days of May, I wrote 34 pages. Not bad for that amount of time. Those 34 pages concluded the project I was working on. That ended all the writing for the month.

However, that didn't end the work I did in May. As I've been consolidating my series, I thought I should do the same for all my short story collections and novellas. After I finished writing I went to work formatting all those collections into three books, both print and ebook editions. I plan on releasing them towards the end of the summer.

In looking those over, I noticed that the bio in the back of my books was getting out of date. It also seemed split between being "about the author" and "about me" in terms of tone. I put together a new bio with a single link here to my blog. Since I didn't want all my works to have a mix of new and old, I put the new bio in ebook editions of all the works I have out now. With the exception of works that are being retired, you'll find the new bio in all my ebooks.

Finally, I had to proof a work that's coming out next month. So that too got accomplished in May.

As for June, I have a new work plotted out. I have another project to proof as well. Here's hoping for more progress!

5/8/17

Two More Series Consolidated


I've consolidated two more of my series. The first to tell you about is The Frigate Victory Omnibus Collection:

This collection contains all the Frigate Victory science fiction short stories. The stories are in chronological order. The contents of Volumes 1, 2, & 3 are together for the first time.

Captain Jason Ayers and his crew deal with aliens, politicians, colonists, and pirates. There are action stories, mysteries, and dramas. These tales have appeared in Tales Of The Talisman, Golden Visions, and The Fifth Di..., among others.

This collection is in a print edition. The ebook edition includes the three short-story collections and the short novel Bear at the Door. Check the stand-alone SF/F page for store links.



The next to tell you about is The Blue Pistol:

"The Blue Pistol" and his allies use guns and magic to fight the Slavers Guild, the ruling power of the Settled Domains. They also use terror, deception, truth, and knowledge in their fight against slavery. This ebook combines the six novels that make up the series into a single digital compilation volume.

This collection is only an ebook. Check the Blue Pistol series page for store links.

5/1/17

Writing Stats for April 2017


Here's the latest update on how much I've been writing, this time for April of 2017.

I finished one work, and there was a brief interruption in the schedule before I started on the next project. That one is speeding towards its conclusion.

I was able to write 162 pages this past month. If I had made all of my daily goals I would have written 180 pages, so I was only 20 pages off the pace. In addition to that, there were two days in April that I wrote 12 pages in a day. So, a little shy of the goal but a good month overall.

As I noted, I'm approaching the end of the current project. After that I plan to pause my writing to take care of some book formatting for next year and maybe do some other things. The May page count will be low, but I hope to get back on track sometime later.

I'll report on my progress in another month!

4/10/17

Two Series Consolidated


I'm consolidating some of my series books into single volumes this year. The first two are now available. The first is The Case Files of Gwen Conner:

Gwen Conner’s world isn’t your typical fantasy setting. She solves mysteries in a land where magic is used to create telephones, dictation machines, and streetcars. It’s also a world of scheming criminals, cheating spouses, and charming con artists. This collection contains fourteen Gwen Conner stories.

This collection combines the previous two volumes of collected short stories into one single volume. It includes the stories “Spook Wagon,” “The 'Affair' of the Love Letters,” and  “The Plum Grove Robbery Case,” among others.

This is available as a print book and as an ebook. Check this page for store links.



The other is Lisa's Path, a consolidation of the Lisa Herbert series:

Lisa Herbert wants to bring back the life that people had before the "Savage Rain" closed the hyperspace gates and isolated colony worlds. She uses trade, compassion, and her wits to bring worlds together and resolve their problems.

This ebook combines the individual novels and short stories that make up the “Lisa Herbert” series into a single digital compilation. This includes putting the short stories between the first, second, and third novels in the series, and for the first time.

This collection is only in ebook form. Check the Lisa Herbert series page for store links.

4/3/17

Writing Stats for March 2017


Here's the latest post about how much I've been writing.

March was an up-and-down month. When I was been working, I produced. But I had quite a few interruptions, errands mostly. That means I wrote 157 pages during the month. If I had written to my goals, I would have gotten 200 pages written. So, I was about a quarter off the mark for the month.

I have a little ways to go before I hit the end of the current project. I'm working on getting a plot assembled for the next one. Here's hoping that April goes well!

3/13/17

Two Defender Volumes


Tales of the Defender: Volume 6 is now out. Here's the blurb:

Allan began life poor, and knowing that magic was the stuff of ancient legends. One day he discovers that the magic never went away, and that he has the gift of using magic.

He decides to fight injustice as The Defender, and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. His wife Nancy joins him as The Moon Spirit. Although she can’t cast spells, she can fight and use the enchanted equipment Allan crafts.

This volume contains the Defender stories 26 to 30. The Defenders have power and influence, which brings more adventure. They’ve also made friends, one of whom comes from a distant land with an ancient book full of dark knowledge…

This is available as a print book only.



Also out is The Defender Chronicles, Volume 3. Here's the blurb for this one:

Allan began life poor, and knowing that magic was the stuff of ancient legends. One day he discovers that the magic never went away, and that he has the gift of using magic.

He decides to fight injustice as The Defender, and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. His wife Nancy joins him as The Moon Spirit. Although she can’t cast spells, she can fight and use the enchanted equipment Allan crafts.

This volume contains Defender stories 21 to 30. More Defenders are joining the fight for justice. They’re also fighting ignorance, and rediscovering the knowledge that was lost when magic disappeared centuries ago.

This is an ebook. For store links for both of these Defender volumes check the Defender page.

3/1/17

Writing Stats for February 2017


Here's an update on my writing output for February.

I was doing pretty well until late last week, when I came down with a cold. I wrote 131 pages, plus I prepped the next Defender print and ebook collections. That's about 45 pages off what I could have done if I'd made my schedule. Still, I did have a few 10- and 11-page days this past month, and one 13-page day, so I'm not complaining.

Hopefully I'll be better soon and back to writing. I have one story to finish and another to resume. Also, keep watch for updates to some of the books I already have out.

2/13/17

Tales of the Defender: Volume 5


Tales of the Defender: Volume 5 is now out. Here's the blurb:

Allan began life poor, and knowing that magic was the stuff of ancient legends. One day he discovers that the magic never went away, and that he has the gift of using magic.

He decides to fight injustice as The Defender, and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. His wife Nancy joins him as The Moon Spirit. Although she can’t cast spells, she can fight and use the enchanted equipment Allan crafts.

This volume contains the Defender stories 21 to 25. Other Defenders have joined the fight for justice. But justice isn’t always easy to come by, and the Defenders sometimes must make strange and worrisome allies…

This is available as a print book only. The next Defender ebook will be out next month. Check the Defender page for store links for Volume 5.

2/1/17

Writing Stats for January 2017


Another year brings another series of posts about how much I'm writing.

I think due to a little sickness, plus some holiday laziness and a few errands, I didn't write at all the first week of the month. After that the words just flowed. I've had quite a few sessions where I wrote more than the expected 4 pages a session.

That means I wrote 164 pages in January. That's just under 30 pages less that I might have written had I been writing the whole month. In other words, I may have lost a week in days, but I lost less than a week in actual pages written. I'll take that!

I'm close to wrapping up the piece I've been working on. I have another to start on when that's done. In writing the present story I had an idea for another story in this world, though I haven't yet plotted that one out. There's also another story I could continue working on. I think I should be able to keep up a good pace in February. Here's hoping!

1/3/17

Writing Stats for December 2016

Here's the last post updating you about how much I've written in 2016.

I spent part of the month adding material to two novels I'd recently completed. They're both still on the short side, but for now I'm okay with their lengths. I then spent some time assembling some of my series into consolidated volumes, and prepping works for future publication.

In short, I only wrote 72 pages in December. Still, I do have everything ready to be published for quite some time, so that work is done.

As for the year, I wrote a total of 1,483 pages. Honestly, that's about two to three months shy of what I could have accomplished, if I'd stuck to my daily goals. On the other hand, I've written two full-length novels (85,000 words and 72,000 words) and two short novels (56,000 words and 54,000 words). The 85k novel is the longest work I've ever written. I might not be happy with the raw numbers, but I am pleased about having written longer fiction in 2016.

As for January of 2017, I have a new work to start on. Here's hoping for good numbers in the new year!