I Don’t NaNoWriMo, But I Do Self-Publish

I’m definitely an agnostic on National Novel-Writing Month. I’m not down on it, and if someone wants to take the moment as a inspiration to create, I’m the last guy to wrinkle my nose at such. Write, you guys. Write like the wind.

But I also don’t participate. I’ve got a few reasons for this:

  1. I Can’t Write a Novel in a Month. Based on past experience, it just doesn’t work for me. I’ve got a job and a house and a family. I consider having finished The Sword as fast as I did an achievement, and I had to abandon that several times, because reasons. Trying to squeeze one out in 30 days just isn’t realistic for me.
  2. I Don’t Like Being Told When to Create. Call it a mental habit or even a mental block, but trends annoy me. Jumping on a bandwagon because everyone else is doing it makes some part of me not want to. I want to create according to my own time and schedule. I want to set my own goals, and then meet them. Again, if you find NaNoWriMo useful, good for you. I personally don’t.

That being said, I have some plans for this November. First of all, I’m planning on rolling out some new covers on my back catalog, including giving Solar System Blues a hardcover edition. Second, I have some new poems I want to offer up in a ebook-exclusive collection, as it’s likely to be shorter than Stir. All of them were written this past year. Planned title: The Short Cool Summer.

Watch this space.

Caligulia, Dictatorship, and Monarchy

Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein had been ruling that country with an iron fist for over three decades. He had prepared the way for a dynasty: his second son Qusay was his intended successor, and by all reports, Qusay was a chip off the old man’s block. Had things proceeded according to plan, Qusay would have become President in much the same way that Kim Jong-Un, and his father before him, became President of North Korea.

The obvious statement is that these are monarchies in all but name, perversions of republican forms. They claim legitimacy from the people, but all power is held by one man, and then his children. We call these governments dictatorships, Aristotle called them tyrannies.

We’ve seen this movie before.

Ancient Rome began as a monarchy, and then removed the monarch and replaced his duties with elected magistrates, elected from and overseen by the Senate, which consisted of the aristocracy. This system worked well until the pressures of governing overseas provinces created opportunities for military adventurism. The legions, drawn from the lower classes, became political institutions, on whose support a successful general could rely on when it was time to cut the Gordian knot of Senatoria conspiracy. This reached its head in the dominance of Julius Caeser and Caeser Augustus.

But Augustus did not establish a monarchy. He very carefully preserved republican forms, holding “elections”, while gathering for himself a combination of political, military, and religious positions that ensure his perpetual authority. On his deathbed, according to Suetonius, he invited the gathered senators to “applaud the comedy”.

Already power has become dynastic. The Crisis Augustus inherited is long gone, replaced by peace and order, but the combination of offices passes down to the next of kin. First Tiberius, Augustus’ stepson. Then Caligulia, Augustus’ great-grandson. Then Claudius, Augtustus’ grandson. Then Nero, Augusus’ great-great-grandson.

Nero had no heir of his body, so this would have been a fine time to restore the Republic. But the Romans had become inured to tyranny. Instead a quick succession of generals and pretenders squabbled for Augustus’ position, until Vespasian, a general lately in charge of suppressing the Jewish Revolt, established himself. He passed down power to each of his two sons in turn. The second of these, Domitian, was assassinated in 96 AD.

File_001Domtian was also childless, and here was another opportunity to end the hidden monarchy. But they did not. Instead, the Five Good Emperors followed: who governed with wisdom, care, and benificence.

Rome, it seemed, wanted neither rex nor res publica. So the tyranny continued until Diocletian and Constantine established formal monarchy in the 4th century AD.

All of which means that in the next chapter of The Meditations of Caius Caligulia, our boy is going to get into his political theory. Look for it in the next issue of Unnamed Journal in January.

 

 

Monsters and Aliens for October – Unnamed Journal 16

uj16

All kinds of bad craziness. We have three, count ’em, three, chapters of Ulysses and the Fugitive, in which the aliens start taking over and sending their agents to do their bidding. Then Drunk Vampire Hunter makes a return for When’d He Go?, which is absolutely a pun on the name of the cannibal monster from Native American legend. We also return to the universe of Chamber of Pain and Cantilever Jones Lands Hard, in which the Imperial Deathguard trap a star monk in a ruin and immediately regret it. I call it Ash on the Wind.

Read for Free on Joomag

The Chamber-Cantilever-Ash universe is currently organized under the working title Gods of the Sky. There may or may not be a novel or novella from this, or I could just keep pouring out shorts. All my Star Wars and Dune fanboyism is just pouring out of me in the process.

Break Over. Time for New Work.

When you finish a big project, you’re allowed some downtime. Now that The Sword is in the hands of readers, I’ve been letting myself do nothing. Now it’s time to get the juices flowing again.

I’ve got some stuff to write for the next UJ, and I might squeeze out a novella before the year’s out, while doing an edit on The Sword. That’s doable in the next few months, and doable gives me momentum for the next big project:

It’s sword and sorcery. It’s high fantasy with a Robert Howard flair. It’s going to be rad.

Stay tuned.

The Most Satisfying Words an Author Ever Writes…

“The End”, obviously.

I finished The Sword last week. I’ve put feelers out for Readers on my Facebook author page. I have the current draft in a Google Doc. After I’ve gotten some feedback, I’m going to begin the editing process. I can already think of some changes that need to be made.

To wit:

  • Some of the minor Characters (the Soldiers of the Foraging Detail, specifically) need a little more work.
  • The Character of Kip might require some revision.
  • Some bits and bobs to the last chapter.
  • A possible prologue.

But I’m not doing any of that right now. Right now the thing is lying fallow. Which brings me to questions of the Next Project. I’m torn between writing the next logical book after The Sword, which is a western (tentatively titled The Whorehouse), or writing the first book in a trilogy set in my most ancient of Fantasy realms, Cevalon. I’m leaning towards the latter, because I like the idea of starting a different product stream. The first book would be called The Lord of the Black Tower. 

Both books would be bigger and take longer two write than The Sword has. I started The Sword two summers ago and took long breaks from it, but the bulk of the writing has been done this year. I made it a goal to finish writing it in the first half of 2018. I achieved that goal.

There’s other business as well. In Unnamed Journal, I’ve been doing pieces for a project I conceived a while backThe Meditations of Caius Caliguilia. That is progressing at a reasonable pace and I may throw it out as a novella at some point. There’s other projects swimming about in my head as well.

This is all the beginning, is my point.

Slow Progress is Still Progress

It’s always easier to start something than to finish it. I can sit here right now (I am in fact) and throw down the first few lines of a new project that’s been marinating in my head for a few weeks. Might be a short, night be a novella, might be a whole new novel. Anyway, it’s easy to start. Because it’s new and you can put whatever you want without the critical voice saying “no, that’s not in line with _____”

Meanwhile, I’m still sloughing through Chapter 13. I think I under-outlined it. I might cull some in editing. I don’t know. But I put in some solid work yesterday.

I keep saying the end is in sight. But I still have to walk there.