News, Present and Future

Happy nearly-Friday, everyone! Unless it’s already Friday when you read this, in which case Happy Friday! Or if it’s another day or if you’re a time-traveler, in which case I invite you to stop making things so difficult for me. What should’ve been a simple greeting became something far more convoluted because of you. Especially you damn time-travelers.

With that out of the way, some news about Misadventures In Fiction and my current projects!

If you’ve been keeping up with this page at all lately, you’ll have noticed I’ve settled into a regular rotation of posts – Fantasy Fridays and Sci-Fi Saturdays. I have two serialized stories for each, which I’m alternating (Fantasy Fridays switches between A Puzzling, New World and Wanted Adventurers, while Sci-Fi Saturdays consists of Warpt Factor‘s triumphant return and Follow The Ashes). It’s been a wild ride keeping up with those self-imposed deadlines, but I love the stories I’m writing and they’ve gotten quite a bit of love especially in these dreary times. I have each of them outlined quite a bit ahead, and so thankfully there shouldn’t be a hiccup for some time.

I say for some time because time is a strange, broken construct in 2020, and before we know it November will be here (and here I am speaking such a time-leap into existence). I made the mistake of suggesting I may participate in NaNoWriMo this year and my wife, Steff, has thrown all of her support behind that very bad idea*. To balance my sanity and not burn myself out, I’m deciding well enough ahead of time that I will be on a hiatus from all other stories during that time. Sure, I may jot down some ideas here and there, but I don’t think it would be wise. Additionally, a wise friend from Twitter (Nisha) suggested such a hiatus and she’s one to juggle projects with ease while knowing a writer’s limits. So great minds think alike, but also if I don’t heed her advise she might kill me in a short story. Which isn’t a bad thing, really? I don’t know, I lost my train of thought since it’s very nearly midnight and I work in the morning.

*NaNoWriMo eats me alive each time I participate, but that’s partially because I let it and I’m too hard on myself for not meeting the word count each day. Yes, I’m finally admitting to those things.

Now, as you’re reading this you may also notice something else different. There aren’t ads currently! Huzzah, yeah? I opted to take advantage of WordPress’s sale and so the domain name is mine until next July now and I also have an ad-free site. Sure, it could use work in other areas, but this feels like a step in the right direction for someone who often…neglects his site entirely.

At any rate, those are the serials I’m working on, but there are short story ideas ready to get drafted so hopefully I can share good news about those in the semi-distant future.

For now? Take care, stay safe, wear your damn masks when going out, and be sure to pause and find magic in the world when you can. It’s still out there, still brilliant, and available to any who seek it. Until next time, fellow Misadventurers!

This Week In Goals: Week One Recap

One week into the new year, and one week of goals tackled. It’d be easy to say I did great or poorly, but I’m stepping back as far as I can and trying to assess my progress this year in terms of efforts made versus efforts that could have been made.

Similarly, I’m also trying to give myself distance from my goals because I briefly toyed with the idea of doing a third Hundred Days of Blogging, but almost immediately realized that is a horrible idea that will only end in misery and sleep deprivation. Lord knows I need less of both of those things.

Continue reading

New Year, New U(niverse)

Same bad puns. Honestly, it sounded better in my head than it reads in the header, but I also originally planned to write it as “You(niverse)”…until that looked dumb, also. So here we are.

Happy New Year to you all, since it is now late enough that everyone has crossed the arbitrary boundary between 2017 and the three weeks of incorrectly writing 2017 on things. I’m sure I will be among those people. I hope you all had a lovely night and didn’t wake up with hangovers today, or if you did wake up feeling hungover I hope it didn’t linger too long. Like many, many, many other people, I am using the new year as a means of setting goals for myself in an effort to talk less and do more. I still refuse to call them New Year’s Resolutions, as the moment that label touches something it transforms into an impossible goal for most people. Continue reading

Finding balance in work and play

Today was a suitable counter-balance to yesterday, I think. I cut the grass at my new apartment, moved a good deal of things in (though there are still many box-loads to go, I’m afraid), and decorated a little. It certainly was no day of playing World of Warcraft and relaxing in my current home, but not every day can be like that (I mean, they could but I would end up very unemployed, very fat, and quite unhappy, among other things), and so the work was both a necessary evil and a nice change of pace.

However, as far as daily balances of work and play (or leisure or whatever) go, I am not particularly good at finding such a nice equilibrium. Some days are very work-oriented, with me accomplishing a great deal of productive tasks. By nighttime on those days, I am tired but I feel fulfilled. It’s all very positive, really, ignoring the exhaustion and that there are some such days I still feel like I fell short of where I should have been. There are other, very similar days, when I have shirked responsibility in favor of relaxing and recovering. Days filled with video games, movies, books, and so on. They don’t really serve a practical purpose, but they leave me feeling rejuvenated and prepared for the next day of hard work.

It’s very possible to make those two days into a daily thing. I realize this is all very “hey, that’s obvious” territory, but I excel at the obvious.

What I’m talking about in this case is a total revamp of my schedule as I know it. It’s probably going to be Hell for a while, but I think if I can pull it off that it will provide me with tremendous benefits. That’s what I’m going for here, by the way. A Phil who can find a daily balance of hard work and relaxation time in the face of working eight hours five days a week and trying to become a writer, all while pretending very well at being a responsible adult. A lot of this will revolve around me making a number of relatively large changes over however long it takes, and I imagine it will involve a great deal of swearing along the way. Continue reading

The good, the bad, and the ugly of down-time

Well-known fact: I have poor time-management skills for someone who works a 40+ hour a week job but also wants to become a relatively well-known writer. Or maybe it’s a little-known fact for some of you, in which case I’ll take a moment and appreciate my good fortune that not all of my readers readily identify me as a terrible, lazy slacker.

Let me ruin that for you. I came home from my first day back at work and napped, off and on, for about two hours. My body doesn’t always appreciate naps, but it seemed like a particularly necessary evil tonight for some reason. Probably because not being at work for eleven days and then returning after a day of furniture shopping makes for a rather tired person who can’t stop thinking “I need a vacation”. During my vacation, which had been filled with plans of creative time while Jason worked and potentially drunken shenanigans while we hung out, I accomplished far less than I had hoped to during my plotting of said vacation. My world-building for the still-unnamed novel project found some good points here and there, and a couple characters were really fleshed out more than I could have hoped. However, this was not nearly what I envisioned myself getting done.

I’m only somewhat okay with calling this more of a success than a failure, if only because failure seems to indicate there was absolutely no movement towards my goals (which included writing multiple short stories, sending them off for consideration, and accomplishing a great deal towards the page count of the previously mentioned novel project). I can’t, even in my magnificent self-loathing, call last week a complete failure, anyway.¬† Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Forty-One

This is my two-hundredth post on this WordPress. Let’s ignore that I took several month-long hiatuses, and that my posting is spotty at best, and focus on how awesome this sort of milestone is. The only major disappointment I have is that this isn’t also day forty-two of my One Hundred Days of Blogging. Oh well. I’ll just have to celebrate like a hitchhiker traveling the galaxy in tomorrow’s post.

Now I could very easily talk numbers about Misadventures In Fiction, but that would be a pretty short and sad post. And it would interfere with my vacation prep week posts. Can’t very well let that happen. Mostly because my viewing figures are actually on the same level as some reality TV shows, and that’s a little soul-deadening.

Quick update to the intro before I continue (I have methods to my madness and I don’t like deviating from them) – Apparently, as part of the contract I won through Cary Press, I’ll be having a book release party? So that’s mind-blowingly exciting stuff. I have no idea how to react right now other than “Oh wow, holy shit”. Probably the appropriate reaction, right? More details on this, and Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King‘s release, as possible. So exciting! Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Thirty-Eightish

My focus is more on the little red notebook, and still slightly directed towards the oh-shit possibility of a bat getting in. Again. More importantly, I feel I should bow out from last night’s topic idea, if only because I don’t think I could handle it in a way that would read well. The short version, simply put, is there is nothing wrong with seeking help. Life will take you on magnificent journeys, but sometimes you may end up in dark places. Those are the times seeking outside aid shows true strength.

I’m happy to report I’ve added a good bit of detail to my new unnamed novel project, which has its own notebook…and is the newish topic of tonight’s post. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Twenty-Seven

My laptop returned home today, and the actual problems were far worse than initially thought. Instead of my graphics card being dead, it was apparently a bad motherboard and hard drive disk. The BestBuy employee asked if I had an unexpected power outage or something, but it was just my laptop very suddenly and violently shitting the bed. Yikes.

Thanatos has been renamed Wheatley because 1) it better fits the Portal and Portal 2 themed names I have for my Surface 2 (Aperture Surface) and my desktop (GLADESKTOP) and 2) it’s a more fitting name given how derp my laptop has been so soon. I’m not looking forward to resurrecting all of the files from my external hard drive, and I’m fairly certain I lost a couple short stories and other projects forever. Like my forever-backburnered first episode of the Misadventures in Podcasting podcast.

As a quick aside: it’s very difficult to type when a small kitten keeps hopping onto the couch and dancing across my laptop keyboard. She wandered back into the living room just as I was typing that and did it again. Precious little bundle of mischief.

Anyway, time to get moving on this. I’ve got my standard Monday headache, like clockwork. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Twenty-Three

Before I even start with today’s post, I need to mention a gem I forgot last night. That whole post about my workstation, happy as I am to have the desk and desktop set up, was written on my phone. If you’re feeling an overwhelming urge to roll your eyes about now, that’s probably a natural response to such a statement and it should be embraced. Go on. Roll them like someone just told a really awful joke.

This post is going to follow my writing and creative efforts of the day, with some degree of detail (with some omitted because I don’t want to bore anyone to death). That way I can focus on this, but focus more on the proofreading, writing, and submissions I need to get done today, as well as get a little cleaning done in preparation of Marceline (Or maybe Meowrceline? No, that’s just awful.) being brought home. In case I failed to mention it explicitly: there will soon be three cats wandering my house, which means the cats will outnumber humans. If I go missing for a great length of time, assume I’ve expired and the cats have made a meal of me.

Veering back on topic and away from whatever dark place that joke went, this post will also provide a great way for me to scold myself later for not being able to stay on task for more than ten minutes at a time (that’s a really generous estimate). Typed that last sentence while thinking how I could really benefit from a shower and some breakfast about now.

Prepare to be bored, probably. Or amused. Maybe a mix of those two things. Boredmused? Whatever. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Sixteen

Let it be known that I started this before midnight, and will consider this a slight cheat-day, if only because the whole evening was a magnificent series of problems and frustrations.

Thanatos, my new-ish laptop, died. Take a moment to appreciate the humor in something named after the God of Death kicking the proverbial bucket. The entire process of figuring this out took about two hours, and one trip to BestBuy. The diagnosis: one very dead graphics card.

Suffice it to say, I was not happy. However, some good came from that, and so I’m going to postpone my post I’d planned for today in favor of another. It seems more appropriate, given the circumstances.

Day Sixteen – The best laid plans, the way they crumble, and the good that can come of it

It’s been said I have a little black cloud that floats over me, and there are days I’m inclined to agree with that. My history of dental problems that could have been avoided if procedures had been done correctly speaks to this end quite loudly, and with many expletives. It helps no one that I am quick to find myself in a bit of a down in the dumps state. I dare say I’m a bit of a high-maintenance person at times (that is not a happy self-assessment to make).

One thing I have been is a planner. I’m not very good at spur-of-the-moment, and my whim decisions are usually a bit expensive or end poorly (see also: my purchasing a Surface 2 or the time I decided to test the flammability of hand sanitizer). I may not always plan a great deal ahead, but I like to have a general idea of what I’m doing (except in writing, for some reason, which is generally drafting like mad and then calculated editing). Suffice it to say, I usually get pretty frustrated when things go ass-over-elbows on me.

There’s an unsung good side to when the best plans go to shit, though. Tonight is a very good example of that. My very good friend, and brother-from-another-mother (I went there because he’s called me that before, but I think it sounds ridiculous), Jason was so kind as to build me a desktop for Christmas. It’s a decked-out behemoth of a gaming PC, and I got plenty of use of it before I moved to Hollidaysburg.

Somehow, along the journey to my new home, my screen got scratched up a good deal. I had it wrapped in two microfiber fleece covers, with a pillow pressed against¬†it for support, and so I have no idea what the hell happened. I do know that particular monitor isn’t very good at being functional now, which is kind of what matters. And so my desktop just sort of sat around. I could, and should, have replaced the monitor and used my desktop, but I had plenty of excuses instead. I didn’t have a desk here. I have my laptop to use (and now my Surface 2). And so on.

When my laptop of less than six months bit the dust tonight, that was enough of a wrench in my usual writing and gaming routines to force me into some action. After leaving Thanatos in the capable hands of the Geek Squad, I bought a monitor for my desktop. And then I bought a desk, which ended up half-assembled because no one in their right mind assembles a desk after 10:30 at night. I am prone to some very stupid decisions occasionally, but we’ll not dwell on that.

Most importantly from this all: my evening was going to be spent getting some work done on a short story (which is presently in Limbo, unless its last upload to my OneDrive worked), and relaxing to some WoW. Thanks to that unhappy incident, I am now most of the way towards having set up a much-needed space for writing (and PC gaming, yes).

Beyond that, I am very ready to make my trip home to Carnegie, see my family, and just decompress for the weekend. It’s a much-needed vacation, I think. Eighty-four days remaining.