Word Count: 25,145

Chapter Seven finished, Chapter Eight is wrapping up but I’ll finish it tomorrow morning before hitting Chapters Nine and Ten. I am very, very happy with my progress.

Going to do anything but read for the rest of the night!

Slán, you merry motherfuckers.

Nearly-Noon Writing/Holiday Update

Maidin mhaith, two people who read my writing updates!

Been hard at work since like seven-ish. No plans today to get in the way, eating some waffles, so this has been a great day thus far. Finishing up Chapter Seven, dreading moving into Chapter Eight, the first of three slash-and-burn chapters (chapters that are unusable in the next revision). I am fairly confident, though, this one should go rather smoothly. There is a lot to fix, but what doesn’t work is fairly obvious so I should be able to fix it more easily than I think.

We’ll see.

But as a reward, if I get through it I make it to Chapter Nine (which is actually being split into Chapters Nine and Ten, I think). And those are likely going to be really fun to do as well. So I am excited.

I can do this.

I also understand that today is Christmas Eve, I wish everyone following a great set of Holidays, regardless of when/how/why you celebrate any combination of them.  Brigid shot down my plan of building a giant Yule Goat in the cul de sac and then ritualistically burning it in praise of Thor, so my holiday break has been a little uneventful.

Beannachtaí na bhFéile Daoibh!

Word Count: 20,952

I’m not going to spend too much time on this because it is getting late here.

Another 3,000 words added today. Helps make up for yesterday’s short fall. I am hoping I can add 5,000 tomorrow and bring my total up for the week to move 25,000! That would be great.

Oíche mhaith!

Word Count: 17,902

I was a little short of my unspoken 2,000 word goal, but that is okay. I wrapped up Chapter Four and moved into Chapter Five. Chapter Five is the first needing serious, serious reworking (instead of voluntary reworking) so I expect that the going is going to get slowed down.

Tomorrow I am hoping to dive back in and use the carrot of better, more “fun” chapters to come to drive me to resume that blistering pace from earlier. But a break might be in my future. I’ve never written quite this fast in my life.

Anyway, so life goes.

Oíche mhaith, bitches.

Fan v Supporter v Ultra

Maidin mhaith, motherfuckers.

NGS’ foremost photographer,  Dion, has spent this morning keeping everyone in the City spirit. When I am in the City spirit I like to think about time spent prepping, time spent hanging out, time spent bathed in sulfur and fire, and time spent after a match (win or lose) sitting on the benches long after the normal people go home. All photo credits go to Dion.

I love it.

Makes summer go by way too fast.

I have and will keep talking about soccer in the terms of an ultra, because that is what I am. To me there are essentially five levels of fandom (and there is certainly some grey and some crossover):

  • Fair-Weather Fan
  • Fan
  • Supporter
  • Ultra
  • Hooligan

Some of these the average American reader will get instantly, others they might have the wrong idea, and for others there is literally no idea. They might think they know what an Ultra is, but no. They just don’t. So lets go over them all so in the future we’ll be speaking the same language.

Fair-Weather Fans exist in every sport and every culture. Americans know this one as well as anyone else. But for consistency let’s talk about these spineless fucks. Fair-Weather Fans are the reason that a stadium is empty on a bad season and full on a good season. Hell, they might not even show up themselves, but suddenly their desk will have a little “Lions” sign when we’re 11-4 and a picture of fishing with the kids when we are 4-11.

We all hate these guys because they belittle the energy of a good season and amplify the hurt when you lost the big game. To see someone so easily flick the switch from “on” to “off” makes you question your own commitment. If that is “normal” why would you put that energy in yourself?

The only time you should deal with Fair-Weather fans is if you think you can upgrade them to…

Fans. See what I did there? That’s called a fade. Anyway.

From where I sit “Fans” are those people who go to one or two games a year. Maybe more, but they aren’t certain and after the game the energy the spend on being a fan is pretty low. They don’t turn completely off, they might save tickets to great games, they might have some well-worn gear, and win or lose they always have that picture of them and their family sitting in the stands.

Not everyone can be a supporter. Not everyone can spend that sort of time, money, sweat, and blood. We understand that. If Ultras are the Imperial Guard, fans are the rank and file solider. We see them as comrades in arms, but we also know that they are more worried about getting home in time for dinner than drinking with the team.

Never turn down the company of a fan. Who knows, maybe that big project will end and you’ll have a new supporter on your hands. These are the people who look up to you and look to you to make their day great.

Supporters are the next level. When I talk “supporter” I mean the average member of the Northern Guard.

SupportersSupportFor supporters the team is more than a team. The pitch is more than a pitch. The badge is more than a badge. It is who they are. It is a commitment. It is a piece of who they are. They might not return with too many souvenirs, but they hardly miss a game. They never go home with a voice. They’ve spent countless hours at the bar beforehand and afterwards. They’ve been to a scrimmage, they’ve been to a social gathering. They order season tickets the second they come out and they always get an extra for whoever they are dragging with them that day.

A supporter’s passion, enthusiasm, spirit, and  their over-brimming joy just to be there converts many, many fans into more supporters. They might not know who makes the flags or how. They might not want to be too close to the smoke when it goes off. But they want to be there. A supporter gets strength and energy from being in the thick of it. A supporter moves a thousand miles away and never forgets, never moves on.

A supporter doesn’t ditch to catch a “more important” game.

Because there isn’t a more important game than the one going on right now. So if that is what a supporter is, what does that leave for Ultras?

Ultras are what supporters congeal around. Ultras don’t miss games willingly. They might get dragged into family matters, or deal with work and school but they’d always rather be at the field. They apologize for missing that 1-3 loss like they were the reason we lost. An Ultra always uses “we” to refer to the team.

Ultras run the blogs, take the pictures, make the flags, bring the smoke, plan the tifos, write the songs, harass the other guys on twitter, follow the team in the cold months between seasons, march in freezing weather on Paddy’s day. They bring drums, they bring trumpets, they are the first to arrive and the last to leave, often only after helping pick up trash.

An Ultra never stops supporting. Long after the songs have quieted, long after the field goes back to high school gridiron, they are still telling people about the great game or the last game and you’d swear it was yesterday. There is a sparkle in their eye that only exists when talking about their team. Even if the team fades away. An Ultra picked their side, they won’t change it lightly.

Hooligan has two definitions, and this often leads to confusion when talking across the pond. The American definition of “hooligan” is generally the same as an Ultra or Supporter who’s had a few too many. For an American, a Hooligan is that fan who curses and yells and gets thrown out. In Europe hooliganism is something much worse. A hooligan there is someone who comes to the game looking for a fight or to start a riot. So that is how “Hooligans for Heroes” in America is a completely positive thing (check them out, it is a charity that supports wounded veterans through soccer events).

Ultras and Supporters in the United States might often use the term “hooligan” to refer to themselves, but if you are European or just more used to the European phrase, understand that 99% of Ultras and Supporters in the US are committed to eradicating hooliganism. Violent or unruly people are often removed from the stands. Racist, homophobic, or otherwise discriminatory language is nearly universally banned.

As an added bonus let me also talk about Squatters. A “squatter” can be any of the above but there is one problem: they aren’t loyal to a team, they are loyal to a league or a future. A Squatter will come and cheer, they might even bring a drum or hang some shitty banners made on bed sheets. But don’t be fooled. They aren’t there to support the team that is playing. They are there to support getting a “better” team (usually an MLS team in soccer) to replace the one on the field.

Usually the first sign is that their group colors clash with those of the team they are rooting for. The second is they often distance themselves on their public media from the team. They talk a lot about “growing the game” and their news might concern anything but the team. They are really fond of teams like Seattle, Orlando, and Atlanta despite the fact that two of those teams have never played a game in MLS and one has never played a game ever.

Often they don’t see “what the big deal” is. They talk about quality of play and how cool it’ll be when they are all on TV. If you call them out for squatting they might quickly release their gear in team colors but they never change their logo.

A lot of fan conflict in American soccer is between Ultras and Squatters because despite a long history of soccer and soccer leagues in the country, to 99% of Americans it started in 1993 with the MLS. And that’s how you get a tier-four team with more history than an entire league put together.



Dion and I have been chatting about squatters because that’s what we do. He’s made some good points so here are some updated thoughts.

First, some squatters are good at blending in. So they might wear the team colors and you’ll only tell they are squatting from actually talking to them. In Detroit the squatters here wore the colors of an old team (Blue and Orange) which clashed very obviously with Rouge and Gold.

Squatting, like any opinion is also not permanent. Someone might go “I only root for MLS. Oh, wow. This is awesome” and never look back. Don’t think that a squatter is a lost cause. They are just misguided.

Fair-Weather fans are often likely to be a “low-level” or “passive” squatter, though maybe unconsciously. In America there is usually only tier-one sports. They don’t understand that anyone would root for anything but a tier-one team. I don’t give them much grief for this, its annoying – sure – but they assume that this is what everyone wants. It is your job as a supporter or an ultra to tell them why this is wrong, and to do so constructively.

But you should know that already. Supporters and Ultras should want more people to become crazy like them. This isn’t supposed to be an elite club of people who “get it.” The team needs fans and fair-weather people to survive. Season tickets are often heavily discounted. If you support a team you want to keep supporting that, and that means tolerating anyone willing to cash in. Except active squatters. Fuck active squatters.

Word Count: 16,104

Today has been very successful and I am very pleased with myself. In celebration I think I’ll let myself have a good night’s rest and think about what needs to be done tomorrow.

Still in Chapter Four, working around a lot of edits and reevaluating the whole exchange within it. This chapter has very, very little carry over, even compared to some of the last chapters.

Overall I am very happy with the new work. I have a stronger vision in my head, which has been sorely needed.  Especially with how characters sound and how they talk. I like that now as I write I can hear the characters in a much more real way. I’m still having trouble with dialect though. The debate on how far to go rages on in my head and will likely see some discussion with my wife and readers.

And on top of it all I continue my Irish lessons online. What a great time to be alive!


Late Night, Not Done Yet Thoughts

It is currently 7:30 in the evening. For me, the day is twelve hours old and I still have a few hours of writing left. I took a few hours out of my day today to test-play the new version of D&D (I play Pathfinder) and found it enjoyable, but not as good as Pathfinder. Call me stubborn.

So, at this point, I’ve effectively had seven hours to write and my current word count is quickly headed toward 15,000. I’m very confident that will be broken tonight if I don’t spend too much time on this.

Chapters One, Two, and Three have all fallen into place. Those were three of the weaker chapters because many of the issues later reside in these three. Characters needed strengthening, motivations needed realization, a lot needed fixed. But that is in the past. Now I have to keep my focus on not slipping. Hopefully sending it past a quick first (second?) read will ensure that it is being fixed properly. Actually, just emailed it to her now. We’ll see how long it takes for her to check. She’s been busy with minecraft.

I’ve added four pages to the book already, but that seems to be holding pretty constant. Almost all of it is from the prologue which got completely overhauled. I’m coming up to the first chapter (Chapter Four) where I suggest a complete overhaul to the chapter. This is amusing to me because I feel like I’ve been focusing on complete overhauls so far.

So, we’ll see.

See you at the end of the day.

Mid-Day Thoughts

Maidin mhaith!

Word count is climbing, I’ve been writing since 7:30, so plenty of time. Plus I still have the rest of the day ahead of me. But now is as good as a time as any to stop and write down some thoughts that I’ve been ignoring lately.

First, writing is much, much easier when you have already written it before. I find myself much more willing to rewrite than I had first expected. When I first deleted my entire first book (in a separate, new file mind you) I suspected that I’d be about 30% “new” stuff and 70% “old” stuff. I find myself much closer to 50/50 if not actually favoring to write completely new material.

And I haven’t even hit any of the “bad” chapters yet. When that happens I might run the counter all the way to 100% new! Who knows, but I feel good about the Mark III (as I’ve been found of calling it).

Unfortunately the changes might force my already paid-for cover to essentially become unusable. I’ll mull that around a bit.


Meanwhile, in sports, Newcastle continues to sail down the rails like an out-of-control rollercoaster headed toward disaster. All three of our keepers have been injured in the last week, the big derby is tomorrow, a keeper finally got off the bench and it is our triple fall-back. Completely blew our chance at the cup by losing to a team we had already sank this year.

Manager Pardew continues to prove that only he can be awarded “Manager of the Month” while in a four-game losing streak (for the previous month after five wins seemed to completely turn our chances around). For fuck’s sake I hate him. His inconsistent leaning toward losing. But apparently five wins and is enough to completely overlook months of constant failure and dismay, despite a return to his normal form.

I don’t know what he’s doing at training but all the fucking injuries that are coming out of that pitch makes me think he is walking around beating everyone with a cane.


On the Detroit side of things, perennial pain in our ass and complete failure of an owner Dan Duggan is once again promising a USL Pro team in 2016 and he’s even building a stadium in Detroit. By which I’m assuming Pontiac because he can actually afford that. I really wish he’d just fall of a financial cliff and disappear forever.

The good guys however are rapidly expanding. Season ticket sales are rumored to be coming up to a sales cap in order to ensure that tickets can still be sold at the gate. It might actually hurt our financials because season tickets are so much cheaper for us and them.

However, to help compensate, DCFC gear is going retail. A local sports chain here has started carrying gear and tickets, which is absolutely awesome. Brigid and I have talked a few times about how you know that the team is really getting acceptance and having your stuff in retail was a huge part of that.

I will admit being worried that our grass-roots movement might take a battering from corporate asshats like Duggan, but I think if we can persevere we’ll make it through the storm in the end. But sitting in the past looking forward is much scarier than sitting in the future looking back.

Word count will be posted at the end of the day. Spoiler alert, I’ll likely break into five digits.


Word Count: 7,539

Brigid and I had some shopping to do today so we could completely avoid going within five miles of a grocery store as Christmas approaches. Currently the planned holiday meal at the Kendall residence is “frozen pizza” but that might change depending on several variables.

Got to make this quick, Brigid is sleepy from a long day at work. Most of tonight’s work from from scratch as I tried to clean up some rough spots and get it to flow. Chapter One is complete though, so my main goal has been accomplished.

Tomorrow I really hope to get through all of Chapter Two, but I have a feeling that it’ll take two days or more.

Chapter One really was a beast, though. I hadn’t noticed before. I tried splitting it into two chapters, but it still read as one chapter to me so I removed the header and so you all are stuck with one hell of a first chapter.

Hope it doesn’t suck.