What I’ve Been Up to in November (So Far)

I have been lax in posting here because I’ve been a tad busy posting elsewhere. And now I’m going to continue that trend by faking a post. What follows is a list of where my various meanderings have been posted. You’ll find interviews, Q&As, guest posts, other folks talking about related stuff, and…why don’t I just include the first little bit of each post so you can get a feel of what to expect?

November 2: Surviving NaNoWriMo

I used to think Nanowrimo was a town on Canada’s west coast where writers flocked once a year to work on their novels. I still think that’s a great idea.

It seems a little cheeky of me to write about NaNoWriMo when I’ve never actually done it, but on the other hand I did finish a novel (147,000 words) in three months which is a hair off three back-to-back NaNoWriMos. I’m going to pretend that qualifies me to spout advice. Most of this will be coming too late for you this year, but remember it for next year.


Nov 4:  The NaNoWriMo Diet

It’s tempting to let this devolve into a humor piece and talk about my love affair with whiskey and how sometimes, when my brain won’t shut-up and let me sleep, I bludgeon it into submission with liberal doses of Jameson. But no. I’m gonna keep this serious. Well, mostly serious.

My suspicion is that successful writers all have at least a little OCD. Who else would sit for hours on end mashing away at the keyboard with their face? What, you don’t type like that? Weird.


Nov 5: The Cult of the Dead Cat

Teresa Frohock, author of the fantastic In Midnight’s Silence, and Without Light or Guide, talks about Beyond Redemption and American politics.


Nov 10: Rules of a Responsive Reality – part one

Some background: My dark fantasy novel, Beyond Redemption, takes place in a world where reality is responsive to the whims and desires of humanity. Mass belief—be it shaped by religion, politics, or public opinion—can cause sweeping changes in physical reality. Conversely, a single person, if insane enough to believe the impossible with utter conviction, can also twist reality. What follows is a brief discussion of some aspects of that reality.


Nov 11: Rules of a Responsive Reality – part two

Factors Defining and Limiting the Abilities of Geisteskranken

The insane and responsive reality of Beyond Redemption is nonetheless defined by rules. Geisteskranken, while capable of altering—and to some degree defining local reality—are not gods. There are limits to what they can achieve.
On the other hand, if enough people worship them, they might Ascend to become gods. How lovely is that thought? Who demands worship? Sociopaths! And thus most of your favourite deities are Ascended self-centred arseholes.
The factors below are not quite as simple as they seem. They’re interrelated, each touching upon the others.


Nov 11: Teresa Frohock reviews Beyond Redemption

Fletcher’s characters–Bedeckt with his desire to retire; Wichtig, who is determined to be the Greatest Swordsman in the World; Stehlen, who isn’t exactly as she seems; and Konig, who is racing against his own madness in search of wholeness–are the very thing that redeems Beyond Redemption.


Nov 12: Rules of a Responsive Reality – part three

In this post I’m going to look at the many and varied types of Geisteskranken and give a few examples as to how their powers (delusions) might manifest. What follows is hardly a definitive list; there are as many kinds of Geisteskranken as there are people. There is no reason two people’s Cotardism must manifest in exactly the same way.
All of these delusions are based on real/reported cases of unstable behaviour. That said, I have played with them (and how they manifest) to suit the stories. In some cases I have made use of out-dated psychiatric diagnoses because frankly they are cooler. In most cases I have included a link to the relevant wikipedia page on that delusion. It’s been a while since I put this together, so might see text lifted pretty much verbatim from wikipedia.


Nov 13: Grimdark Review – Interview


Nov 13: Bookwraiths review: Beyond Redemption

Exquisite mayhem and madness, Beyond Redemption is a novel which appears once every few years; a harbinger of things to come that takes the familiar fantasy tropes and twists them into something fresh and original.


Nov 14: Beyond Redemption review: Timothy Ward

“Ingenious insight into the human mind of those who feel the pull of failure and the hopelessness of redemption.”


Nov 15: Q&A with BookWraiths


Nov 17: Santa and Fantasy – Guest post at Leona’s Blog of Shadows:

My five year old daughter recently lost her first tooth. She was very excited at the prospect of a visitation by the Tooth Fairy and asked many intelligent questions. How will the Tooth Fairy get in when the door is locked? Does she come through the window? How big is she? Can she carry the tooth if she’s really small?

My wife—who grew up without Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy—let me field the questions. As I answered I began to question what I was doing.


Nov 18: MIND MELD: Our Favorite Animal Companions in SFF

I tend not to pay a lot of attention to pets and animal companions in fiction. I suppose my issue with them is that all too often they are simply a plot device. As soon as you see that the protagonist has an animal companion you know at some point it’ll get hurt or killed and that’ll be the emotional pivot driving the character to do something.

That said, Pip the minidrag from Alan Dean Foster’s “Humanx Commonwealth” books is easily my favourite ‘animal’ companion. She was a character in her own right, not just a crutch for the author.



This will ramble because that’s the way I roll. I can’t plan breakfast, never mind a blog post or a novel.

I have come to realize that I spend a lot more time thinking about themes than I do plot. I know what my next book’s themes are long before I know what horrendous shit happens to the characters. Take Beyond Redemption for example. I had the title before I’d written the first word.

I wanted to write a book where no one learned anything. The novel starts with a host of shitty human beings and at the end of the book I wanted the few survivors to remain shitty. It didn’t quite turn out that way, but I stayed true to that vision. This grew out of a suspicion that people are basically too stupid to learn or change. What can I say, I was in a bit of a dark place. If I wrote the book today it would be different. For one thing, I’ve managed to learn a few things myself—who I am and how I interact with people has changed in the last year.

And if I can change, anyone can.



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