• Traveling

    As those subscribed to my newsletter know, my maternal grandfather recently passed after electing to stop treatment for an ongoing condition. This was not much of a surprise as he has been in poor health for several years now, though there really isn’t any way to fully prepare for these sorts of things. My mother has been busy helping to settle his estate, and starting on the 29th I shall be heading over to help her do so.

    I know book 3 is already running quite late (and while I am tempted to blame the pandemic, it is only partly the cause). A lot of progress has been made recently, but I am not sure how much this trip will impact things. Certainly, preparing to go away for a month or two has made writing difficult (traveling always has some stress associated with it, and doing so during a pandemic only increases that). Although I am keeping the newsletter up-to-date on things behind the scenes, I figured I might as well do so here as well considering the pending trip.

    My current “goal” is to have the rough draft of the book finished sometime around December…which is nearly a year late I realize. Realistically, it may happen before then but that depends on how busy I end up during this trip and how long I am away. If I was confident in my ability to keep writing at the pace I have been keeping, I would say that it should be done by October, but with how the year has been going and my own inability to meet my goals, I want to give plenty of leeway. This seems especially important as I’m not really sure how I will be affected when I’m going through my grandparents’ house and getting it ready to be sold considering the memories I have there.

    In any case, this felt important to share. I will be trying to continue writing during the trip, and just hope for some understanding if things continue to take longer than I would like.

  • A Simple Mission

    “Just a simple mission,” they’d said, like what they wanted wasn’t at all unusual.

    Another chance to serve my country by removing an obstacle to social progress. Despite the euphemisms, I knew exactly what they really wanted. They called it an execution. Told me it had been approved by the courts after a proper trial and everything.

    But what court doesn’t even tell someone they’re on trial? What execution involves slithering into someone’s house while they sleep?

    I shouldn’t have listened. Should have known better. About the guilt. About how from then on I would always see the blood on my hands no matter how often I washed them. If that was it, perhaps I could have gotten over it. Found a way to live with myself.

    Only it wasn’t.

    Now, barely a day goes by without that familiar prickle running down my spine when I least expect it. Sometimes its in the mirror. Sometimes out of the corner of my eye. Once, even at my daughter’s school.

    I’ll be minding my own business only to look over, and there he’ll be. Standing there. Watching. Smiling at me like he doesn’t mind the bullet hole in the middle of his forehead.


  • Oooh boy

    Just a short little update. Am on travel, watching my aunt’s dogs. All of them are dears in their own way (although the middle child has more energy than I know how to handle). One was sick yesterday, however, which has derailed things. Poor girl tries so very hard to be good too. Thankfully she seems to be doing better now, but the complication is forcing me to reevaluate how to approach their care which in turn impacts my writing.

    On another note, this is NaNoWriMo. I will not be participating, but wish everyone who is good luck!

  • On Kami

    Writing this has been a long time coming; almost from the moment I decided that since my Honor’s Path series takes place in a Feudal Japan-like setting that I should use largely Japanese religious traditions and ideas within the story. A quick disclaimer, I am not a follower of Shinto and cannot claim to be an expert on the religion. I have, at best, a lay understanding of the material. With that addressed, let us continue.

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  • 5 Tricks to Avoid Writer’s Block

    One thing I’ve noticed when writing, there are numerous sources about how to cope with and move past writer’s block. Not surprising. Anyone who’s sat down to write a story has reached a point where they simply do not know how to proceed. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t know what happens next (although that is common). It could be also be they are unsure of how to proceed, or simply lack the necessary motivation to continue.

    While I could give advice on how to overcome writer’s block, my experience has been that what works for one person very rarely works for another. This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. Everyone’s creative process is different. Same for our strengths and weaknesses. Thus, I suspect, the exact problems every writer must contend with when facing writer’s block are also likely to be completely different.

    So instead of giving some advice that might be partly useful to one or two people in the world, I figured I would instead tackle the larger issue of how to avoid writer’s block entirely. In all honesty, I believe this can be applied to any endeavor where people feel like they are getting stuck, however my application has to do exclusively with writing. Also, as with overcoming writer’s block, I do not expect that works for me will also work for you. Instead, it is my hope that reading this will make you think about how you go about doing your own work, and identify the habits you have that ultimately sabotage you from making progress.

    I’m also going to give a shout out to the book The War of Art, which helped me immeasurably. I probably bring this up every time I talk about writer’s block or productivity. There is a reason for that.

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  • What Do Artists Owe Their Fans?

    I brought this up in my newsletter, but the fallout I have witnessed from the final season of Game of Thrones has been fairly interesting. This isn’t a show that I watched at all (I do not watch much television and my interest in the series had already been lost as a result of the slow release of the books), so I got to see this as a mostly peripheral observer. As I write stories myself, it should come as no surprise that what I see had given me quite a bit to think about.

    There is a LOT of ground to cover, and more I will leave uncovered, because this is already too long. I sort of rolled up most of the questions I ended up thinking about (concerning GoT) into a single post to keep this contained. Also decided to focus on the show in particular as much as possible.

    Woah boy. Better get started.

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  • Legend of the Five Rings: What I Love About The Story

    Originally, I wrote a (quite long) post about the story of Rokugan. After I finished, and was looking at the 2000 words I had put down, I realized something: It read like a wiki post. Greatly informative if it is about a topic you are already interested in, but otherwise I expect it is quite dry.

    Initially, I wasn’t sure what to do. On the one hand, I had spent a few weeks working on it. Shouldn’t I just post it, since it represented two weeks worth of working on content for my blog? On the other, everything I wrote about was easily available from different sources. As such, I really wasn’t bringing any additional value to the table. I was merely regurgitating information that is readily available.

    After some deliberation, I’ve decided to hold back on everything I wrote for now. If it seems relevant later, I can always post it then. Instead, I have decided to explain exactly what I loved about the story Legend of the Five Rings created.

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  • Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans pt1

    A good place to start explaining my love for L5R is the factions that exist within the setting. Originally, there were 7 Great Clans (although when the game first launched one of these had been “destroyed” and was reintroduced later in the story). Every clan tends to revolve around particular themes, although individuals within that clan may deviate from the norm.

    Obviously, this was done mostly for gameplay reasons. By having every clan wear a unique hat (so to speak), it makes it easier for prospective players to understand what mechanics each clan is most interested in interacting with. It is actually something I do like. For one, this means that every clan ends up representing different aspects of Asian cultures. Also, while the game does take this specialization to an unrealistic extreme, it isn’t entirely unheard of (the English and Longbows, French and Knights, Swiss and Pikes, etc).

    For the time being, I am going to focus on a few of the 7 Great Clans, and cover the others in Part 2. I may also go over some of the other factions (three or four in particular), but do not want to get bogged down. These background posts are supposed to be an overview, not a setting sourcebook. Also, these clan summaries obviously give my perspective of the different clans. As such, they highlight the things I find most interesting about them.

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  • Legend of the Five Rings: Introduction

    This was originally going to be something for my newsletter (for this month even) before other events overtook it and I realized this probably makes more sense as a series of blog posts anyway. Before I begin, allow a brief explanation about what Legend of the Five Rings is:

    The Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) is a fictional fantasy setting that focuses on the empire of Rokugan, which borrows heavily from various feudal Asian cultures and (Japan in particular). It was originally associated with a Collectible Card game, however, this expanded over time to include a large amount of official fiction, a tabletop RPG system, and now a Living Card Game.

    So all of that is nice, but why bring this up on a blog about my writing? Because it was probably the thing that introduced me to Asian culture and has undoubtedly had a strong influence on my writing as a result. Although there are a number of criticisms that can be leveled at L5R, notably that it westernizes the subject matter to fit the audience and portrays things in a (generally) idealized manner, it is a property that I have enjoyed throughout a significant portion of my life. That being the case, it seems worthwhile to discuss the setting and what I liked about it. Consider this an overview.

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