Draft III is Done

I’ve wrapped up my line edits of draft III in a nearly 100-page spree of grammar and clunkiness now made more grammary and less clunky. The final word count was 117,974.

If you want to know how I feel it is mostly awesome but also sort of worn out, it was hard getting here the way I did but I am better for the journey.

I think the correct next steps is to get a good meal in me, maybe a stiff drink or two, write about some soccer perhaps? But most certainly, get to work on book 2.

Book 2 has to be top priority now that Sun-King is finished. It is being started over essentially from scratch as well and will hopefully help broaden the series to “epic” levels.

But for now, the big thing I’m facing is that I chose writing over eating this morning and afternoon. Now I am rather hungry. I should get to fixing that. I can really go for a hotdog.

Winding Down

Word count is currently 117,159 for the interested.

I’m on page 457 out of 565 of the manuscript (no clue what it is in book form) but we can guestimate that it is about 95,000 words in give or take. The last chapters are action-packed so their word density is probably lower.

Just did an actual calculation when I realized the manuscript was still open:

  • Guess – 94,764
  • Actual – 94,839

The law of averages is pretty amazing sometimes, eh?

Anyway, I am winding down. Had to work double-time today because I was busy all last night. I want to be wrapped up by the end of the weekend and get the new draft into the hands of first readers. At this rate, I should make it with plenty of time left. It was looking iffy for a while. These last few chapters must have been written with a wee drop of whiskey in me because there was a lot that needed fixing.

But it is fixed and I still managed 42 pages tonight. I’ve usually only been doing 15 to 30 on weekdays so today was surprisingly quick for having so much work to do. I don’t think there are any “bad” chapters left to get through, especially not after the whole rewrite that I made a huge deal about.

I’m very happy with the way things are looking. Very happy.

So that is good.

That is very good.

Oíche mhaith, bitches.

Why I Write

I’m not an author, but I am a writer and I’m going to talk about a pretty common topic/question that writers get so don’t expect anything ground-breaking here.

Anyone with a passion has at some point been asked “why.” Why do you write? Why do you paint? Why do you fix cars? Why do you go to work each day? Everyone has their own answers, something that drives them. It could be internal, external, a mix of both. A person might slave away at work for the family just as easily as an artist slaves away at a painting because of expectations.

There is a stereotype that sometimes people like me take cubical jobs for the stability and then everything is happy forever. Sure, the stability is a huge part of it, it is certainly nice to know that for 8 hours of work I’ll get 8 hours of pay. I got into a twitter fight with an “arteest” type who essentially told me all cubical jockeys were cunts who expected life on a silver platter.

Needless to say I no longer buy his stuff or go to his site at all.

But I digress. Engineering is a passion of mine and luckily one in high enough demand that I can use it to fund my more creative endeavors like writing and going to sports games in an increasing number of scarves. I’m lucky that I can enjoy going to work long enough to not go crazy. Not everyone is lucky like that.

Every economy has two sides: creator and consumer. If you are an artist and all you do is mock and bash middle America, your consumers, you’re pretty much a cunt. There is more to life than a pay cheque and day-in and day-out the grind gets boring. We look to artists to provide. I’m fairly confident that most people like me are more than happy to pay for escapism. Yet I constantly see creators complaining that we want it free, or treat them poorly. Maybe I surround myself with decent people but I rarely hear engineers talking about how artists don’t deserve to get paid. I rarely hear CAD designers talking about stealing music.

I do hear it from a lot of people who’d rather not resort to it. People who illegally download the CDs to afford the concert ticket. I won’t defend their actions, but I rarely see people download something because “Fuck the artist, man!”

And it is just that, people who spend five days a week in a cube often are the people who need and want escapism the most. Are the most willing to pay for that hour or two in bed next to a loved one reading a book or listening to Starbomb’s newest album.

My writing comes from a different sort of escapism. It was an escapism of school, of bullies, of social insecurity. It was also an escapism from what teachers wanted me to read. Dull, dry books that were better for putting young boys to sleep than engaging them with the arts.

Too often I was told I should read literature instead of genre so I chose to hate literature and create genre. I wanted to write stories about knights and dragons, about hidden languages and magic, about nations at war and getting the girl.

My writing filled a hole left by the constant demand of school to read things deemed “important” or “significant.”

Things deemed “important” and “significant” rarely contain dragons.

Just saying.

My first book is lost, it was last seen on a 3.5″ floppy. My next one was probably right beside it. Everything after that is saved. I have it on this computer I am typing on right now. That includes

  • An insane Harry Potter knock off if instead of magic it was ROTC on crack
  • A nihilistic sci-fi take on World War I set in space
  • A Forest Gump-esque take on vampire novels
  • Several dystopian war novels
  • A rehash of the nihilistic WWI novel set in a PMC operating inside western China
  • Several hundred ideas for a series of slap-stick short stories involving “Percival Mellowfeather” a joke shared among a group of friends
  • Project XIII – my successful attempt at NaNoWriMo in 2012
  • Project XIV – my unsuccessful attempt to turn PXIII into a real novel
  • Noortland

Noortland was something strange. Probably my first foray into “Dark Fantasy,” a place I am still firmly rooted. It is based off a particularly thrilling game of Civilization III I had back in highschool. It involved Lammert, a ranger; Alexandrine, a vampire rogue; Antonius, a wolfman; and their quest to overthrow the vampire King Constantine on behalf of his brother, Valentine – Alexandrine’s father.

To be fair, it was kind of shit.

To be honest it was total shite on a stick.

That’s where we come to Project XV, which has the working title “Sun-King” (and it is still a working title).

Sun-King is, in so many ways, is Noortland given new life. The maps are similar-ish, the settings are similar-ish, the characters are similar-ish.

Project XIII struck a chord with me, I knew that I wanted to write in a darker tone, I wanted to write from the perspective of characters that were not all good but not all evil. Like Noortland Project XIII was heavily based on an experience from a video game: namely that evil characters in a rail-roaded video game are still inherently treated as good. In my own case, my back-stabbing rogue who was an embodiment of the Void (death) was still treated as the great hero so long as I kept killing dragons.

I was infinitely amused at character’s willingness to trust me in story missions but on the flip side, essentially had to play two characters – my character outside of missions, killing and plundering all the way; and this second character, honest and trustworthy inside the story. So Project XIII was about two characters stuck in one body, one wholly good and the other wholly evil. Plus it involved Ice Elves, which I think are decently rare.

That was fun.

Project XIV… I don’t really remember anything from project XIV.

So in 2013, when I got laid off, I took a chance to start writing again. Having recently quit writing my serial, Baltikja, on the Paradox fora I had some free time and a willingness to write. A passion and a drive.

I wanted, I guess still want, to finish this.

From August 2013 to June 2014 I wrote Drafts 1 and 1.5. Draft 3 was written from December 2014 to January 2015. I documented some of that process here making sure to stop in just about every single day.

Project XV is Noortland re-imagined, re-invigorated, and the proportions blown up. It is written from my perspective, seen through my lenses and informed by who I am. All the characters are slices of myself or people I know. The interact with each other, with their world, and more importantly with me.

Because I don’t write for you, dear reader, I write for me. I write for years lost to reading trite that I  despised. Years spent reading pseudo-intellectual new-age bullshit for the appeasement of high school teachers rather than my own curiosity. Years spent away from fantasy and genre and buried to my neck in things I didn’t enjoy.

So my apologies to Mr. Albrecht, if he is even reading, I liked your class. I liked working with you in theater.

But holy shit, to my English/Reading teachers in High School – fuck you and the horses you road in on.


I write, primarily, then to make up for lost time. So it is no surprise then that Sun-King involves Einar, the ranger; Rozenn, the immortal knight; Pallas, a wolfman from the highlands; and newcomer Gwennerch, a witch from a far-off land. It is no surprise that A work of my youth is finally so close to life. So close to publication that the younger me is starting to emerge again.

I have found new first readers. I hope that within a month I can begin the last bit of editing before I send the draft off to copy editing and then, maybe, start the hunt for an agent or finish putting it together for self publication.

Who knows?

I certainly don’t.

I just write for the fun of it all.

Conlanging (Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck)

Son of a bitch, I told myself I wouldn’t do any conlanging for this series.

I told myself and for some reason I have the wikiarticle to the International Phonetic Alphabet open in one tab and a multitude of grammar articles open.

Last night, filled with some ideas, I started writing in my little gridded notebook some notes that to the unenlightened would look little different than Quenya.

[hjmi njfɔlm] “I had a dog”

[mia njfɔlm] “We have a dog” (We here is inclusive, meaning the listener is included)

ɪmiga e mjfɔlwð] “He will have the dogs”

So that is about all the language has right now. I have a verb for “to go” as well and some pronouns, though as you can probably notice the subject is optional when made obvious by conjugation (e.g. “I” is made obvious because it uses the first person singular conjugation, but he/she/it use the same conjugation and therefore need it).

Conlanging then, if you didn’t get it, is the art/science/past time of making up languages. There are lots of ways to do it, it is a ton of fun for those of us with a background in linguistics or a pretty alphabet. It can be as simple as Pig Latin  or as complex as Ithkuil. It can be as realistic as Quenya or as simplistic as Esperanto.

Right now the language as it is is strongly rooted in the languages I speak or have been studying: English, German, Irish, and Esperanto.

So shall we deconstruct things a bit? That’s sort of what I want to do because talking about it with you will help me think about it as well. All these examples are, therefore, works in progress. In two weeks none of these things might exist. They might all be different. So grain of salt and such.

Okay, so we are going to take a step back. Of the three sentences two of them have only two words. I’m going to shorten them into something I can write with only my keyboard and not copy-pasting. By the way, things in //s are theoretical and things in []s are in practice. So let us transcribe these three sentences.

“hmi nfolm” I had a dog

“mia nfolm” We have a dog (inclusive)

“thmiga e mfolwth” He will have the dogs

So, between sentences 1 and 2 the change is “hmi” to “mia” and the changes in English are “I had” to “We have.” So we can guess that “nfolm” means “a dog.” This mostly implies that the language is either VSO or SVO (Verb-Subject-Object) or (Subject-Verb-Object).

We can confirm the word order with sentence 3, where we go from “mia” to “thmiga e”. We are assuming that the words “hmi” and “mia” are verbs that imply pronouns, something that is common in languages. Since “thmiga” has that “mi” base, we can take “e” to mean “he.” So the language is VSO, and uses conjugation to imply pronouns.

Now we only have three sentences, which makes data gathering hard. Lets add some more.

[ɹ̝̠̊en] “hren” – I go

[ɹ̝̠̊en] “(h)hren” – I went

ɪɹ̝̠̊en] “thhren” – I will go

Oh no, things aren’t getting easier. Two of those are pronounced the same! Well, as the language’s creator I can tell you the theoretical pronunciation of sentence 5:


Which is very difficult to pronounce, in real life it would be realized as the given sentence 5.

We can combine 1, 2, 4, and 5 and see that going from present to past tense adds a /h/ at the head of the word. In the same way we can use 2, 3, 4, and 6 to say making present to future tense adds /θ/ at the head of the word. Using English words it would look like:

(I) Go – I go

(I) Hgo – I went

(I) Thgo – I will go

So if “hmi” is “I had” and “mia” is “We have” we can subtract the “h” to get “I have” (“mi”), which means that adding an “a” at the end changes the plurality of the person (“I” becomes “we”). Same Idea as above:

(I) Go – I go

(We) Goa – We go

So, what about the end of that? “Thmiga e”. If we know “e” is “he” and the “th-” is future tense, that makes “-ga” the third person singular conjugation.

It is going to get a bit harder with “nfolm” and “mfolwth.” The word for “dog” is “folm.” In my work so far “n-” is the indefinite article and “m-” is the definite article. The plural is “-th” but it also mutates the consonant before it. /M/ just happens to mutate to /w/ in this particular case (funnily when /m/ undergoes lenition in Irish, it turns into /w/, that is why “good” is “maith” and “good night” is “oíche mhaith”).

Anyway, I am rambling and I am actually going to do some editing tonight. This is a pleasant distraction to me and I’ve enjoyed sharing a slice of madness with you.

Oíche mhaith! [ihə wa]

Kit Nerd 2015

Okay, so hopefully by now most of you have seen that I posted some dream kits for DCFC. I am rather proud of them so I want to spend some additional time egobating (ego+masturbating) all over your faces by sharing some thoughts over them.

So let’s start from the big picture: brand and names.

I chose Adidas as the brand for two reasons. First, they have a great kit customizer, so that is a huge plus. Second I am a big fan of Adidas kits, I think they look better and look professional. It is an instantly recognizable brand. Stripes on the shoulders give it away and I think it gives us a hugely professional feeling. With the rumors of an NASL-bound DCFC in the next five years, looking good now is a big deal.

Second, I wanted to add permanent names to the kits. This goes back to that “professional” feel, but with so many DCFC players heading to the pros as well as so many homegrown heroes I’d love to be able to have a kit signed by the guy whose name is on it. It will also help build the relationship between players and fans. Sometimes you only know someone as “Number 12” but what if there are three “Number 12s” running around? So for that reason I want to see permanent numbers even if we can only buy generic kits like usual. This of course will come at a cost, it means no sharing kits.

Lastly, sponsors. I’d love to see a sponsor on the front of those kits. I don’t have any good vector images to throw on it though, nor do I want to sully them for the time being if DCFC is scouting around to attach a big name on them. Mostly I want a good quality image and don’t have one. But I’d assume there would be a sponsor on there. A big one. Helping pay for these lovely kits.



Back Whole - Front


The hoops return in lovely Rouge. This time the Rouge on Rouge effect is actually thin black pin striping in the hoops that gives the two-color effect.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, these kits are specifically invoking the 2014 Weltmeister, Germany’s Red and Black beauties (though I am being told they are very Manchest United-ish). However, since we are le Rouge, the focus here is on the red and not the black. Black would be a new color for our kits, but I think it is a good one. I think it is a strong color and gives the team that gritty feeling that we love so much.

On the edges I went with the closest thing to Old Gold that Adidas had, giving a little hint of “treasure” in all that blood.

Moving down, I went with a black base for the shorts with red highlights/inserts and the treasure stripes. I like the continuation of that black. I’m obviously biased as a Northern Guard member, but this completes the rough, angry look of a Detroit team that truly embodies our fair city.

Lastly, the socks. Socks are often something easily forgotten in a kit (at least for me anyway). I went with rouge. First, because it looks good with the treasure stripes and logo. Second, I actually wanted to leave a little “Kendall” signature there, so I actually turned to Kendal Town FC for some inspiration. One of the most obvious parts of their kits is their socks, which are red in stark contrast to their magpie kits and black shorts. So taking that little piece of Kendal gives me a literal Kendall signature.



BackWhole - Front

So the first thing I want to note is the socks – the blood and treasure socks feature on all three designs. Again, this is my signature, but also it gives them a bit of commonality.

For the aways I wanted to pull away from the addition of black and go to white. I’m not a fan of plain white kits. Our away kits from last year were especially bad, I think. So I am trying (and likely failing) to give a bit of life to white kits everywhere. Using the gold on the shoulders with the red accents is a nod to the 13 white kits, which is actually one of my favorite kits of all time and something I am have been photographed in quite a lot. So blood and treasure mingle again on the edges of a white canvas.

The shorts are the home kit pants with white instead of black. I’m fairly confident that the black shorts and the shorts from the alternate kit will work well this this set up, which is a great thing to have if you want to mix it up a bit and sometimes you have to.

I just checked. Looks great with the black shorts from above.

Whole - Front w Black

So there you go.



BackWhole - Front

I decided to add a third change just in case we need some more color in the stands or we want to wear something special for play-offs or anything like that. These kits are much cleaner looking and are actually a throw-back to season one when our second kits were plain gold with white shorts. Here we have plain gold with red accents, including the shorts.

Not much you can say about a throw-back kit. The socks continue to unite all three designs and I think the black or white shorts will go awesome here. After such a complex home design, with all sorts of colors, stripes, and everything I think it was important to keep it simple. So there is a flow here.

I think gold is an often forgotten color of ours. I mean the logo is Rouge and Gold. Our chant is “Com’on you bhoys in rouge. Com’on you bhoys in gold.”

Bring the gold back, please Detroit City.

And wouldn’t you know it. Black shorts – totally work as well. Whole - Front w Black

So if corners have to be cut, cut them there. Three great shirts, one great set of shorts and socks. But if the boys head out onto the field in May wearing that top set, you better believe I’m going FKN (full kit nerd) on them.

I hope everyone enjoyed this little look into my kit nerdom. Onward Troity!

ConFusion Wrap Up

Brigid and I spent Friday through this afternoon down in Dearborn enjoying ConFusion, which is honestly one of my favorite weekends of the year. For me it is mostly a weekend spent trailing my wife as she goes about her schedule as her pack mule, but when I can I try to catch some interesting stuff and shake hands with people who know more than I do and listen and perhaps pick their brains.

Outside of panels, which I’ll get to, my favorite thing of the Con was a lunch-time round-table with Laura Resnick, Jim Hines, and my father-in-law Ron Collins. They had a lot of interesting conversation concerning agents and dos and don’ts and though Jim insisted he was still looking for the smart people his advice was as invaluable to me as anyone else’s. Plus time spent with any of them is always fun especially with a few pints of Guinness or a glass of whiskey in me.

So thank you for the invaluable info guys, I greatly appreciated the chance to bump shoulders with you, especially in such a casual environment. I hope I wasn’t too annoying.

That said,  the panel that really got me motivated again (or really, made me antsy that I was sitting at a Con and not writing) was “Building the Next Great Epic,” which included Laura. The panelists had a moment when they focused on what can make something that might not be epic in the first book have an undercurrent of epicness so that readers know what to expect and this certainly made me focus on my work’s short-comings.  What I have lacks some of what they are talking about, but because I am still in that drafting and editing phase, I can fix that, so I will. Eye-opening and vital.

The other was a panel just this morning featuring Brigid which was essentially a crash-course for new-ish writers who are actually planning on going into business. Brigid was the only panelist who was self-published, so her expertise was not always “in demand.” I personally feel that there is a portion of the soon-to-be, or might-be writer population who strongly focus on traditional publishing and sort of write indy publishing off. Which is strange when more and more of their panelists are starting to build a hybrid portfolio. Brigid, for example, has self-published her novels but is traditionally publishing her short stories.

I can only conjecture so much, but Brigid (having attended many more of the business-y panels than I) says that unpublished writers are usually chomping at the chain to get an agent when ink on the manuscript’s first draft is still wet. My imagination says their a certain amount of ego involved in that. But I can’t really say, obviously I could be painting with a rather wide brush.

But to bring this around full circle, my favorite part of any small, intimate convention like ConFusion is the live networking that is done over scrambled eggs and toast; or a few pints of Guinness; or a few pints of Guinness, some shots, and a huge plate of nachos. Obviously I am slightly more gregarious than some other people. A lot of people I spoke to always seemed to preface things with “I’m pretty introverted…” and having lived with Brigid I’ve sort of numbed myself to that.

It is easy for people of my character to just go “Ah! Just talk to them!” but if they could they would. I mean, that is what makes them introverted.

But drinks (of any alcohol proof 0 to 200) and food is a great way to break ice and it was fun talking to all levels of writers, both budding and well-established. My suggestion to some of the more introverted people who occupy that “budding” category, come to the bar afterwards, but maybe grab a seat near everyone, but not in the middle, up at the bar perhaps. That allows you to turn around and face the bar tender if things become overwhelming, but stay close enough to get that critical info that might be floating around.

You don’t want to lose out, but at the same time we don’t want you to shut-down or walk away more daunted than helped.

And if all else fails and you can work up the courage to talk to a nobody like me, I can always help try to organically drag someone you actually do want to talk to in for you.

Always happy to help in those few ways I can.

Wrapping up: hopefully this is my last ConFusion as a visitor and next will be my first as a panelist. I’m looking forward to an exciting 2015.

Sláinte, bitches!


PS: The site now has a contact page! So check that out if you ever need to reach me.


Edit: Added some super commas.

Word Count: 113,634 & The End


Here it is, the last word count post for a while.

Tonight I wrapped up the Mark III draft of my first novel: Sun-King. Over the next while I’ll probably talk some shop, talk some soccer, talk some life, and whatever.

But there are some other things that need to get done. First, I’m glad to have my life back. This last month I’ve done almost literally nothing but write. I think I played D&D twice and Minecraft twice. I’ve skipped out on a lot of stuff that I might have otherwise enjoyed so, probably not going to do that again any time soon.

Friday through Sunday, Brigid and I will be at ConFusion in Dearborn, Michigan. Brigid will have some copies of her books and be giving panels and I’ll be wandering around.

After that, over the next month, I’ll do my line edits and get the novel to my “first” readers.  After that, more editing, though hopefully less, and then copy editing.

I know I’ve already essentially made this post but a lot of this need reiterating for my own purposes rather than yours.

Once things move along I’ll probably post some tid bits here for you guys to enjoy.

So, signing off these word counts!

Oíche mhaith, bitches!