Category Archives: Blather

Where’s-the-update update

I recently rediscovered Dwarf Fortress, so my week has been eminently unproductive. I’ll knock out the Friday update tonight, and I’ll see you then.

Also, from March 5th to March 11th, my best-selling1 novella We Sail Off To War will be available at Smashwords (epub format only) for the low, low price of 99 cents, as part of the Smashwords Read an E-Book Week sale. The overall sale page is here; it’ll have a list of everything on sale when the sale begins.

1. By which I mean, the novella I’ve written which has sold the best.

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Missed update update

I was busy building a game over the weekend, and didn’t get much writing in. There will be news on that soon, somewhere.

Also, I’m deep in getting Lost City of Pitu out the door, and that’s approaching hair-on-fire status regarding timing. Also, I went to the gym today and I am quite tired.

Fear not, though. I do have something written; it’s just too short to post today. We should be back to our regularly scheduled antics for Friday.

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Another ‘where’s the author’ update

Coming back soon, I promise! This week, I’m back to writing more than coding; next week, stories resume.

Pop over to the Soapbox today for the start of parvusimperator’s Navy Week, as well as news on the OpenTafl Tafl Open. Pop by tomorrow for news about an as-yet-unannounced but very interesting project, of which you may have heard if you listen to the Crossbox Podcast (which you should). On Thursday, Navy Week continues; on Friday, visit us here for an extra-special… special, and on Saturday, return to the Soapbox for the conclusion to Navy Week.

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Where’s the author update

The author is:

1. Working on the introduction to a new Nexus naval war story,
2. Whipping up a wargame tentatively titled Random Carrier Battles (watch the Soapbox for more), and
3. Preparing for the OpenTafl Tafl Open at the Soapbox.

Story updates will be posted as I have the time.

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WIPJoy Community Fun: Nathaniel Cannon and the Majestic Affair

Bethany Jennings, an author of young adult SF&F, does this thing called WIPJoy, where we authors talk about a work in progress over the course of September. Find other authors on social media using the hashtag #WIPJoy.

We’re wrapping up this week with community fun!

If you could choose any other work to mashup with your own, which would it be?
Obviously, it has to be the fine folks over at Decoder Ring Theatre. Their particular brand of pulpy radio drama would be a perfect fit for the Skypirates universe. Cannon and company in cahoots with Jack Justice or the Red Panda would make for fun reading. (Or listening, as the case may be.)

Shoutout to this work’s most encouraging fan!
I have a few names to name: my pal Rob, who plays tafl with me under the name Nasa (have a look at our annotated tafl game!), and who may be publishing some translated Old English literature here in the coming months. (Look for a formal announcement later.) My wife/editor gets a mention here, for her support (and red pen), and everyone else to whom I’ve sent pre-release stories for feedback, too.

Does your work in progress contain any inside jokes?
Only the usual references to Panama. I waffle on whether I’ll actually decide what happened there to any great level of detail.

Share a line that made someone feel FEELS
This one is hard: Skypirates stories to date have not had a lot of negative emotion in them. Maybe someday.

For things you can read today, my editor still hasn’t forgiven me for a certain crucial passage in my already-released e-book We Sail Off To War. You can find a link to buy that, at a reduced price of 99 cents this week only, behind the ‘books’ link on the page header.

Shoutout to writer friends who inspire you.
My dear wife, for one: the current better-than-average pace at which I find myself writing these days is due to her example.

What’s your work in progress about again? And what are your favorites elsewhere from WIPJoy?
Nathaniel Cannon and the Majestic Affair is a tale of daring and enterprise set in the skies over southeast Asia. Thrill, as our heroes, the Long Nines gang, face off against an old foe—and a new one they never saw coming.

As for my favorites, I’m sorry to say I haven’t been paying very close attention. Getting a story ready for magazine publication, as well as keeping up here, plus writing most of these posts on my Thursday (or Friday, as the case may be) lunch breaks means that I’ve had very little time to follow the rest of the community working on WIPJoy posts. That said, I just poked around at the synposes on Twitter from today’s question (the very last one), and I saw a bunch of fascinating ones. You should do the same: go have a look!

Finally, thanks to the regular readers here for your ongoing support, and to Bethany Jennings, the mind behind WIPJoy, for a nifty event. I’m looking forward to the next one!

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Late update update

Tomorrow’s update will be coming later in the day: I spent my evening on getting email sent from the Many Words webserver properly authenticated (Google has been bouncing them lately, it turns out). Less productively, I also watched the Presidential debate, and am strengthened in my convictions that nobody is qualified. C’est la vie.

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WIPJoy Deep Stuff: Nathaniel Cannon and the Majestic Affair

Bethany Jennings, an author of young adult SF&F, does this thing called WIPJoy, where we authors talk about a work in progress over the course of September. Find other authors on social media using the hashtag #WIPJoy.

Share a line that hints at your theme.
This is difficult: if I have a theme, it’s that adventure is cool, and the whole story illustrates that point.

What’s one big reason you’re writing this story?
SF&F these days is full of what I like to call ‘message fiction’: that is, a story written to make some broader point. I’m not going to claim that message fiction necessarily sacrifices story, but I do think that we lose something when the big authors in the field are concerned first with saying something. Sometimes a story should just be a story.

What kind of reader desperately needs this book?
If you agree with the previous answer, you’ll probably like all of my stories.

What’s been your biggest challenge with this WIP?
That’s a great question. It might be my continued insistence on writing with pen and paper—I’ve assumed, in the past, that pen and paper and its free editing pass when I type improves the quality of my drafts, but my last few drafts may have put that theory to bed. I guess we’ll see.

Describe your work in progress with a single image.

What aspect of this book is the most unique?
I hope it’s my commitment to scientific and historical plausibility even in the midst of stories about ancient mystical artifacts. The zeppelins designed for Skypirates stories are within about 10-20% of being plausible from a lifting capacity standpoint, the performance characteristics of the airplanes are more or less accurate, and of course the firearms details are pretty spot-on.

Share a line that’s a fantastic example of your writing voice.

It had started a week ago, in Australia, when Pietro di Giacomo, one of his mechanics, received a telegram.

“From my cousin,” di Giacomo explained. “He read of your venture in Panama several years ago, and he thinks he has a problem you can solve. He says he can pay, but mio capitano, he is a monk, a man who has taken vows of poverty.”

Cannon had given him the third degree, and decided that most monks weren’t of the type to lie outright. Inconstant was due for a trip to Europe in search of spare parts anyway, so Cannon rounded up his crew from Darwin’s bars, gambling halls, and houses of ill repute, and set his course for Istanbul by way of Arabia. It had been an uneventful crossing until the HMS Sparrow turned up.

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WIPJoy Protagonist Takeover: Nathaniel Cannon and the Majestic Affair

Bethany Jennings, an author of young adult SF&F, does this thing called WIPJoy, where we authors talk about a work in progress over the course of September. Find other authors on social media using the hashtag #WIPJoy.

Good morning. I’m Nathaniel Cannon, captain of the pirate zep Inconstant, and it looks like I’m here to answer your questions.

Share a deep regret.
I’d rather learn from my mistakes than dwell on them.

What’s that? You won’t let me weasel out of this one that easy? Fine. I’ll name two. First: Panama. I lost friends there, and almost lost everything. Enough said. Second: my early years with Inconstant. Look, in my line of work, there’s no room for soft people, but you don’t have to be a brute to be tough. It took me too long to learn that lesson. I owe my friends more than I can say for sticking around while I did.

How do you really feel about a character closest to you?
That’s Joe Copeland. We first met in the skies over Dayton: he was flying for the Rebels back then. I came in on his four o’clock and put a burst into his engine. Turned out he wasn’t that steamed about it. For a slave pilot, crash-landing alive on the Union side of the lines was about the best thing that could come of a forward patrol. I stopped by the field hospital and met him face to face, and we hit it off. He’s been around ever since, even when he had a good excuse to leave. He’s as good as a brother.

Weapon of choice?
That would be the Mauser Broomhandle you see on my belt. I took it from a Rebel pilot during the war, after I brought him down east of Cincinnati. It’s served me well ever since, for ten years now. Another decade like the last one, and I’ll have to have Iseabail knock together a new barrel for me.

How do you feel about romance?
Put me down for ‘yes’. No, I won’t say any more. A gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.

How do you feel about your author?
Who, Lachapelle? The little Frenchy sold us out in Panama, but ended up stuck in it right with us. It took us a while to get past that, but now—

Oh, that author. Well, I’ll tell you this: if he weren’t around, our lives would be a whole lot duller.

Any words for future fans of you?
I hear there’s a fan club out of Columbus, but they aren’t affiliated with me. Keep an eye on the newsreels and the papers, that’s my advice. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for our author to get the stories done, and we all know what a wait that can be.

Do you make faces in the mirror when you’re alone?
For the record? No.

Between you and me? You bet I do.

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