Hey! I know it’s been a while since I updated the blog. Sorry about that. I guess I’ve been focusing my writing energy on projects and these posts usually take a lot out of me for some reason. Not sure why. Maybe it’s a hold-over from me being naturally shy and introverted. Maybe it’s because I try to make this blog as brutally honest as I can about my experience of being a self-published author. Maybe it’s just that it’s a tiring struggle trying to balance those two things. More likely, it’s a lack of interest. In the beginning, I was all excited to proclaim to the world “Hey! I’m a writer! Weeee! Look at me! These are my books!” and now I’m just like “I write for a living. It’s really hard. I love it. Leave me alone.” Is that bad? That’s probably bad. Okay, I’ll add that to my “stuff to work on” list. For real. I have a list. It’s right here on my desk.
But this blog is not just about me, it’s about you… and me. So, let me go first. I’ll blab for a while and then you can tell me what you’ve been up to. If you don’t want to share with the group, that’s completely fine. We’re all here for you no matter what, especially me – except when I’m not, and by looking at the frequency of my posts… that is most of the time. Ummm… OH BOY, do I have a ton of updates for you on what I’ve been up to!
UPDATE ONE: Sometime in June, I decided to do myself a favor and quit my delivery job to focus on my writing this summer. At some point late last year, I began to realize that the time I was spending delivering might be better spent writing, so I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while. The years 2020 and 2021, I was delivering pizzas full time and working about twenty hours a week on the writing for Jagged Alliance 3. It was exhausting and I found I was making very little progress on finishing the next Grant Scotland novel. I know there are success stories out there from plenty of authors about how they work three jobs and raise two kids and still find time to write novels. Let me be clear so there is no confusion – I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. I need time to fuck around. My fuck around time is very important to me. Thus, I quit pizza delivery for the summer and am making HUGE progress on finishing Grant Scotland Six (title reveal coming soon). I’ll probably go back to delivery again in the fall, but I’m thinking I’ll work for one of the on-line delivery services so I can keep my schedule flexible.
UPDATE TWO: I am running a Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons campaign for a group of friends via ZOOM meetings! I started creating it sometime in 2021 and have basically written a full book about the lore, peoples, and places. I know, I should have been writing Grant Scotland, but I also know I’m not the only writer who starts taking on new projects before finishing old ones. Don’t judge. And sometimes my fuck around time yields something productive, so who knows? Maybe this will yield publishable material. We’ll see. That wasn’t the reason I wanted to do it. I started watching Critical Role in the early months of 2021 and just got inspired and wanted to play D&D again. What Mercer and his crew do is quite simply everything I ever wanted D&D to be, so I went and got some miniatures, a webcam for a battle table, some sound effects, and some music and off we went. And it’s been going great! It’s a hell of a lot of work being a Dungeon Master, but it’s very fulfilling.
UPDATE THREE: I’ve been making incredible progress toward completing Grant Scotland Six this summer! I think I’ve written more of that book in the past month than I had in the past year. It’s easy to slide into Grant’s head and get his feet moving (although he always complains about that). There’s so much I want to cover in this book that it looks like it will be considerably longer than previous books, but I still want to keep it under 100k words. I’m on track to get the first draft done sometime this fall, but I want to spend extra time revising it, so I’m looking at a release date of March or April next year. I think I’ve stated before that this will be the last Grant Scotland book, so there’s a lot to wrap up, but I like that all of these books are quick reads, so I want to keep it that way. And while it may be the last book in the Adventures of Grant Scotland series, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the last book I write that takes place in that world… (dramatic eyebrow-raising music swells)
However, that would probably depend on publisher interest. After this book, I will likely no longer be self-publishing. The self-publishing experiment was by no means a complete failure, but from a sheer economics stand-point, it has not proven to be worth the time. I’m glad I did it, for a variety of reasons, but unless the series somehow skyrockets in popularity, it just isn’t worth it for me anymore. I’ve got a budding career writing computer game story/dialog now and I can’t even describe how great it feels to get paid for writing. It’s definitely a dream come true. So, I’ll be focusing on pursuing and expanding that opportunity and at the same time trying to find someone to pay me to write novels.
UPDATE FOUR: The writing for the Jagged Alliance game is going great! There are so many cool and quirky characters, and each one has a distinct speech pattern, motivation, and sense of humor. It’s incredibly enjoyable to write funny and/or interesting lines for them. The release date hasn’t been announced, so I can’t say when it will be available, but I can tell you that it looks good and is very stable and has all the ingredients of a great game – now it just needs time to cook!
In case anyone is curious about how to enter the field of “Game Writing”, I can tell you my own experience is probably typical and also not very helpful. I spent about nine years in computer game development, first as a Quality Assurance Tester and then later as Game Designer and then at the end I was sort of a mix of both. When the Great Recession hit, all that ended, and I resigned myself to the fact that my career as a developer was over. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to make some friends in my time in the industry and when one of them reached out to me many years later to see if I was interested in doing some creative writing for a project he was working on, I got the opportunity to dive right in. So, the only truly helpful tip I can offer you is to try to stay in touch with friends that for one reason or another drift away from you. It’s not just good for emotional health, but it also helps create opportunities to enrich your life in so many ways.
OTHER UPDATES: I’ve been watching some great shows! I want to talk about Stranger Things, Umbrella Academy, The Boys, The MCU… star wars (maybe), but I think I’ve talked enough for one post. I’ll try to post again soon and we can geek out about all that stuff.