Fevered Imaginings

Important safety tip: the flu is a great time for weird, out-there thoughts and dreams with all the potential in the world to turn into cool stories. It is also, however, a terrible time for remembering those ideas…

Two nights in a row there were wonderfully interesting ideas.  And two mornings in a row there was a distinct lack of energy and focus with which to actually turn those fevered imaginings into something even so basic as a character or a setting.

Ah, well, such is life — it’s not like I need more little ghosts fluttering around the back of my mind demanding to be written.  I have enough of those, thank you very much.  Hell, there are a couple that date back to, err, well…

Let’s not get into how far they date back.

When I was young, I used to bitch and complain about writers who got distracted in the middle of a series. “How can you,” I would scream, “start writing something else right now?!  Finish the goddamned series first!”

Umm…okay, so I actually still do that.  I’m looking at you, Patrick Rothfuss…*

Ahem.  Let’s not get into that.

As a writer, though…

As a writer, I completely understand that urge to explore different characters and different stories.  There are so many stories to tell.  And, as I’ve said before, the next story is always the most interesting one.

Which, of course, does NOT mean the Kingkiller Chronicles can sit there unfinished without massive consequences!  Well, not without massive, ongoing nerd-rage, anyway.

Wait, what was I saying?

Crap, I can’t even claim a hangover, let alone a long New Year’s Eve, as an excuse for today’s random ramblings.  Nope, the plague get’s that particular credit.  Woohoo, sickness for the win!

Where was I?  Oh, yeah: finishing stories.

You — well, I — “budget” a trilogy at roughly 350,000 total words.  We — nope, still I — sit at the 200,000 word mark…and those fluttering ghosts still won’t shut the fuck up.  Those other damned stories still want to jump up and down and demand their own attention.

And I still want to listen.  Then again, in my defense, some of those stories sound like a lot of fun!

Those ideas, by the way, are precisely why this blog is semi-anonymous.  Not only do I write fiction with a pen-name, but the sci-fi and fantasy stories get different pen-names.  And 75% of those fluttering ghosts just happen to be fantasy stories.


I suppose there’s only one thing for it — time to get back to the writing…

*Just remember, Mr Rothfuss: even while you finish the third book, I still need my regular doses of Viari and Dreibus on Acquisitions, Inc!

The Other Stories

One of the hardest parts of writing – at least to me – is keeping all of the other ghosts at bay. You would think, with all of the focus and emotion and effort that goes into writing, that the other ideas would shut the fuck up for a while and just let you get on with things.


Not a chance.

Damned ghosts, they keep calling…

Even as I’m finally planning and writing the actual scenes for Silence, all of the other unrelated, unrealized characters and ideas keep fluttering around, making noise. Well, all except that damned passive-aggressive conspiracy theory story that’s been lurking in the background for fifteen years. That one knows it can piss me off more by just looming quietly at the back of my mind – very obviously, very annoyingly, and very aggressively quiet. Bastard.

It wouldn’t be so bad if some of those ideas were related in some way other than my own (overactive) imagination. But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it? Can’t have easy. Nope, not in this life of mine.

So, while I’m busy writing scenes about Connor in prison, I’m also contemplating stories about an exiled god, about a soldier sold into slavery on the far side of the world, about a deposed queen who will do anything to protect her kids…


I know there are folks out there who can write multiple stories at the same time. I think about that and all I can say is: “what the fuck?”

How on Earth can anyone do that? I most definitely could not keep the emotions and needs of all those characters straight. Writing is nutty enough for me, but trying to do two stories at once? I’d have to move right past booze and go straight for electroshock therapy…

Maybe I shouldn’t have killed Oz – him I could count on to always keep me on track. Connor, on the other hand, is as much a slacker as I am, and he’s letting me get away with far too much!

Dancing Ghosts and The Next Story

Remember when I talked about the ghosts of ideas fluttering around? Yeah, those keep fluttering…and talking and distracting. Not as bad, or as loud, as Connor and Oz were, but they do sometimes like to jump up and down, dance around and draw notice.

There are times a scene comes to you, one that connects and works. When that scene is part of the story you are currently working on, things work out quite nicely. You get it written down and then decide where it fits in the story. In my file for this story I already have half-a-dozen such snippets saved and ready.

But what happens when that scene is for something totally different? What if it’s for a story you haven’t prepped, haven’t worked on, haven’t even really thought about?

You write the scene…obviously!

Last night(ish) a scene like that came to mind. A scene helping to define two main characters, and a key moment they share, for a MG/YA fantasy story that’s been fluttering around with the other ghosts for a while now.

So, instead of working on finalizing my plot and pushing the process along for the current story, I just spent the morning writing a scene for a story I’m not sure I’m even going to write!


By the way, this is how Connor and Oz started…by intruding on other stuff I was supposed to be working on. And I’m starting to think these two new characters* might start to follow the same path and take on a life of their own…remember the next story is always better!

*Three MCs for the story, actually, but the third wasn’t part of this scene.

Recycling, and the Redemption of a Character

One of my big failures in Wrath & Tears was with Nat: she had a lot of potential as a character, especially as a note of dissonance in Connor’s world, but I never did right by her. I never developed the character the way I should have, as an individual. She was, to my shame, a servant of the plot…and of the real story about Connor and Oz.

I thought, even after I decided to start looking at doing a sequel, that she had been a one-time character; someone necessary to draw Connor (and by extension Oz) out of stasis and into action and conflict.

Oh, was I wrong.

She is more. Very much is she more.

I was sitting here doing some notes and thoughts on how Connor had changed between stories to help me get things moving from his POV when an urge struck me to look at Nat again.img_0014

*Insert evil laugh here*

I have certain themes and ideas I want to develop in this new story, but I wasn’t quite sure how I would introduce them. That just changed…thanks Nat!

I love it when a plan (or lack thereof) comes together!

Now I just need to spend…oh, I don’t know…countless hours of work to figure out how to pull this off! Shit, life would be so much easier if I hadn’t made the commitment to have every single word of Connor’s stories come from his POV…

Lifting the Fog

As a note – I’m not touching the election results.  No sir, no way, not interested. I played poker with friends, ate chili and got drunk last Tuesday night…you know, the important things in life.

This is something of a continuation of Monday’s post…mostly because I left that thought (very) unfinished. Oh, not in concept – characters and people are still the genesis of pretty much every story I can picture – but rather in what follows immediately after.

Those writers/dreamers who have ideas that manifest in terms of plot are, in some ways, a step ahead. They already have an idea of what needs to happen, and of what dynamics are in play, and can “fill in the blanks” around that proto-plot {random edit thought – why the fuck does spellcheck deny “proto” as legitimate?! Gah!!}. Character folks – and those who see settings first – get to wrestle with making everything fit neatly together…or not-so-neatly, depending on who you like to read.

I’m hip-deep in background material for the next story (yes, there’s a probable title and no, I won’t share it yet…call it “DockRat 2” for now), so I’m thinking of all the little things I have to do before a story really starts to come together for me. I’m not talking about the level of detail I need to write a scene (or even plan one), but the background material that helps define the world the characters inhabit. To be honest, this process really helps me to finalize the story itself: as I take barebones thoughts and work through them to put some meat on those bones, the socio-economic and political dynamics that define the world in question begin to take on a life and depth of their own.

Those dynamics are important – those dynamics help create the details of the plot. As an example: it wasn’t until I worked through what dockside was really like that I understood the powerful role the Families played therein.

What I am defining right now for Connor’s “new” world (nope, not on dockside again…at least not yet) is how the various levels of society – from the rich elites to the bottom-of-the-barrel – interact and function, both in social terms and in terms of the economy. Throw in mega-corporations, government bureaucrats, criminal syndicates, and people just trying to get on with their lives and all of a sudden the fog starts to lift and I see opportunities I hadn’t thought much about before.

I can’t tell you how important it is to spend enough time (maybe not as much as I do…but at least a day or two) thinking about the unwritten dynamics of your world. How do the minor and background characters function? What drives them?  What are their everyday needs? Why are things the way you as the writer chose to make them? Doing this step correctly helps to see complexities and realities you might not  otherwise have considered…and to bring in elements you might not previously have so much as seen.

On a related note – that tone your idea had when you first dreamed it up? That’s vital to this part of the process. If I were going for optimistic and utopian in this story, the planet and its population would be vastly different. I am, however, going for a darker and more gritty feeling, and that colors everything I create as I work through the process. And that, in all honesty, is the way it needs to be.  Screw this part up and you end up with all of the ruthlessness and violence of Game of Thrones set in the innocence of Narnia…

And don’t even get me started on identifying the root society and language from which everything else descends.  For me – as a linguist and historian – identifying and defining that is huge…and also probably is a post in and of itself.

The Ramblings of a Diseased Mind

I know I should probably be a bit on the sad side that I’m not writing the conspiracy story, but…well… Committing to writing Connor’s sequel feels good. It shouldn’t: this universe focuses on the darkest and most painful aspects of people and the universe. I shouldn’t enjoy writing that. But, God help me, I do.

Maybe I’ll add a new title to a business card: “Tormentor of Worlds”. Has a nice ring, doesn’t it?

Besides, the conspiracy story has been waiting for better than fifteen years…what’s another year or so between friends?

Actually, I very much doubt that story is my friend. In fact, I think it probably hates me by now and would happily see me dead. It just happens to be far too much of a slacker to actually do anything about the problem.

Committing to this story is freaking satisfying. I didn’t expect that. I expected to waver and question. But nope, not a bit. I’ve been sitting at the coffee shop today working on background stuff and figuring out just how I’m going to torture Connor* and a thought for this post came into my head.

*Hey, it’s his own fault – he’s the one who demanded this story!

I started thinking about the underpinnings of the story itself, and the question of tone and intent. Now, Wrath & Tears was intentionally melancholy and sad. Not quietly bittersweet, but full-on, punch-you-in-the-face sad. If the reader doesn’t shed at least a tear or two at the end, I failed. Completely. But the sequel? The sequel can’t share that same dynamic. Oh, it will still be dark and bitter – it is IS Connor’s story, after all – but Connor has learned and grown, and his outlook and perceptions are different.

Plus…Wrath & Tears was written in great part from my own thoughts and memories of suicide, and I am not dipping into that particular well again. I have more than enough personal demons to fight, who needs to double-dip?

There will still be a sense of angry resentment, yes. Hell, the story starts with Connor in prison…of course anger and resentment are part of it! But there’s also a certain tone of bittersweet recovery on the agenda. And, yes, finally there will be an element of hope, and an answer to the question I wrote at the top of the page when I was first working through the details of Connor’s character…the question that kept him alive before he met Oz: yes, there IS more to life than this.

Dare I mention that Connor is growing up, and the wistful nostalgia of passing youth? Not that he had much of a youth…

Do I have to lock these things down just yet? Actually, no. Not yet. But once the background and basic structures are in place, then I DO have to know. How all that background material gets fleshed out into an outline of chapters and scenes is very, very dependent on the tone.

And the characters? They’re even more dependent because they have to be able to respond to that tone, and have their own opinions and reactions. They can’t just slavishly serve as foils for the plot, or for the protagonist’s perceptions and needs. They have to have their own reality, and their own needs.

Okay…enough rambling. That is the price of not planning (in any way) what I’m posting. If you haven’t noticed yet, pretty much everything is pure stream of consciousness. I should probably look at fixing that, but…

img_0011…I slack, therefore I am.

For now, I think I will try to use this space for its original purpose: namely tracking and posting about the process of writing a story as I actually go through that process. The original idea still has something resembling merit (I think). That idea was to create a space where someone just getting into writing long-form fiction could see someone else’s firsthand experiences and lessons without having to do all that inconvenient joining of writing groups and sitting around talking.

It might even work. Hey, you never know…”even a blind squirrel”, and all that!

Of course, this all may change…hell, probably will change. Boredom and the need for change tend to set in, uhh, somewhat quickly in my world. Shit, if you think I’m bad here, you should see my last few relationships…

I Can’t Hear Anything But the Ghost

Oh crap, I think I give up.

I’ve been pushing myself to do the conspiracy story. Friends have been pushing me to do the conspiracy story. Hell, even random passing strangers lean over and whisper, “Do the conspiracy story!”

But Connor’s rattling chains drown them all out.

The little son-of-a-bitch (err, not so little now: he’s been working out in prison, and he’s 6’1″ and 180ish nowadays) has me by the…neck, and he knows it.

I was trying to work on the two potential next stories on alternate days, but over the last week the only thing I’ve really touched is Connor’s sequel. Dammit. I don’t even have a clear plot for it yet! Basic idea, yes, but plot? Not even close. Not yet, anyway.

What I do have is a character I like, a character who has a lot more to give. I also have a universe I am enjoying (now that I turned it all dark and bitter and angry), and a ton of shit to explore.

Besides, I’ve already dealt with suicide; it can’t get any worse than that…can it?

Abandonment issues…family issues…survivor’s guilt…and, of course, the bullshit of the elites and their exploitation of the “little guy”. Yup, still got some stuff to work with. Besides, everyone needs a teen-aged thief who appreciates good booze and good music, and can scam the shit out of anyone he meets!

The fact that he’s an emotional cripple with serious anger and resentment issues is, umm, secondary. Ish.

Fine. The ghost wins. He gets to tell his next story. But I am gonna make him suffer for this!

What are the odds he gets a happy ending this time?

C’mon, it’s Connor…

Lazy Post of the Month

Hmm…I’ve only got one post (Wednesday’s) queued up and ready.  I like to have 2-3 posts ready so I can slack off.  I need to practice my slacking off, and God forbid I let this blog get in the way of that!

I had the beginnings of a different post I wrote over the weekend, but it involved cheese sticks and nukes, and I’m not sure I’m ready to go there yet…

Screw it, time for another writing snippet I guess.  Below is a (very) early version of the opening scene for Connor’s (potential) sequel.  Keep in mind: usually I create a plan and outline before I sit down to write a scene.  This one never had that, it was done purely off the top of my head.  Unlike the other snippet I posted, I likely will use this in the story itself, but only after some serious revision:

The whirring of another lock in another cell door. Connor would never get used to that. It was just as bad now, two months after his eighteenth birthday, as it had been at thirteen. Shit, in some ways it was worse. The years in between had taught him about suffering, yes, and about the price always waiting to be paid, but also about love and friendship.
A gulp, then, at the thought of friendship. Of absent friends. Of Oz.
Blood on the floor…blood on the knife…blood on Oz’s wrists. And Connor too late to do anything other than hold his friend – his brother – as the last of a too-short, too-painful life dripped away.
At least Oz hadn’t been alone. Only one thing had ever scared Oz: alone. Being alone and, especially, dying alone. Alone was worse. That was lesson number one, a lesson Connor would never forget.
But Connor was alone now.
Oz was dead. Marie and Vin were dead. Fadi had crawled into a bottle and disappeared. And Nat? A second gulp, almost as big for her as for Oz. Nat had washed her hands of him. Takie princess that she was, pretty and rich, she had had enough of her foray into rebellion and danger. She had cleaned away the dirt and grime of dockside, and Connor with it.
“Move your ass,” a voice barked from the small intercom by the door. “Work details leave in ten minutes.”
Connor didn’t want to crawl out of bed. For all its faults, the bed was warm. The prison’s floor was cold. The cell was cold. Hell, the whole fucking place was cold. Less than a year into his five year sentence and Connor was already very, very tired of the cold.
At least it wasn’t dockside.
If they’d put him into the much smaller jail out there he’d have been dead months ago. Too many people knew who Connor Spogelse was. Too many people blamed him for the violent gang war now ripping that space station apart. And far, far too many people wanted him dead. The cops almost as much as the remnants of the crime family he had betrayed.
Grim humor, and the memory of his sarcastic friend, were always enough to find the absurdity in his life: how many people could say they’d betrayed a major crime family, brought down an entire government, and earned a price on their head, all before their eighteenth birthday?
He could all-but hear Oz’s laughing voice in his head, “Fuckin’ overachiever.”
Out of bed he did get, in spite of the cold, and down to the entrance of their pod of cells. Even after many months the ground felt weird to Connor. Most of his life had been spent in the artificial gravity of a space station, and the regular, ‘real’ gravity of a planet was just different enough to be disconcerting. He felt constantly like he was about to fall over. And that was before he went outside and saw all that emptiness hanging over his head…
As stupid as it sounded, even to him, his mind just couldn’t accept concepts like ‘sky’ and ‘horizon’. And God help him with crazy shit like ‘scenery’ and ‘weather’. He just knew he’d never get used to any of it.
The lights were still dim and just eight prisoners waited by the door. The only ones of the forty in their pod with the privilege – and the drive – to get out of bed hours before the rest and go to work. The others gave Connor a certain amount of space while they waited for the guard to get his shit together and lead them out into the halls.
With nothing to do but work, read and exercise, Connor had finally started to fill out his height. He would never be considered big or bulky, but he was no longer the slight, rail-thin teenager he had been just a year ago. It was more than just size, however. What Connor had done to the last aho who had thought he could hit on the youngest kid in the entire prison brought its own respect, as well. Dirtside criminals and thugs were little prepared for the sheer violence any dockside ikiryo could bring to bear with no warning.
The heavy door to the pod clanked open and the watch sergeant stuck his head inside. “Alright, let’s go.”
The prisoners filed out, moving automatically to walk in single file against the corridor’s righthand wall. You didn’t have to be in Chapman Penitentiary very long before the rules became automatic. Fucking with the guards could be fun, but it most definitely did not make getting through your sentence any easier. And Connor wanted to get through his sentence; wanted to get through with as little trouble as possible.
Down the long hall they marched, whispered jokes and comments the only sound. It was early enough that not even the other guards were moving around if they didn’t have to. Later, when the day shift started, the halls would have guards and staff walking in packs alongside the ever-present movement of prisoners.
The small group reached an intersection and had to wait while the sergeant called to the control room to open the heavy security door sealing the end of their corridor. It was a major crossroads, this, and each of the four corridors leading off was similarly sealed.
A wave and an incomprehensible mutter from the sergeant sent Connor over to the one door painted a different color from the others. Sky blue this one was, indicating it opened into an area that led outside the prison. The others, connecting only to other internal parts of the facility, were a dull, earthen red.
A few steps and Connor pressed the small control on the door’s heavy metal frame and stared up into the holo camera. The door would not open until the operators in Central Control had verified his identity, and his permission to access this particular door. No smile showed – could never show, not for this – but his access to this door was his greatest scam to date. Quite how the prison officials had overlooked Connor’s past as a criminal specializing in cracking computer security and networks he didn’t know, but his first job in the prison library had offered him just enough access to arrange this very special gig.
“C’mon you little fucker,” the sergeant yelled, “hurry up!”
While the door behind Connor remained open, no other door in that intersection could open. Connor almost laughed at the grumbling he heard from those behind. The other prisoners were all headed to jobs in the prison’s kitchen and storage areas, and he could never understand why anyone would be eager to start burning fake-eggs and slopping out pseudo-oatmeal.
Finally, a buzzer sounded and the door behind Connor slid shut. The dull thud of that door was followed by the popping of seals from the one he faced. A heartbeat later that door slid aside. Even the air smelled different inside. Instead of the stale, chemical air of the prison, there was a hint of…something very different.
A wave of sound washed over him, and an air of activity. Two steps inside and he was almost run over by a rushing prison guard. Short and pretty this one was, with brown hair and bright blue eyes. She threw a distracted smile and a half-hearted wave. “Sorry, no time to get things set up right now. Just hit the basic stuff. By the time you’re done the rush should be over.”
Her accent was strange, vastly different from the hint of dockside’s patois that still clung to Connor’s tongue.
A glance around and Connor saw twenty new prisoners standing in a line, wrists and ankles shackled and orange jumpsuits rumpled and dirty. Four guards stood near that group, talking amongst themselves as much as watching the criminals in their charge. More guards were seated behind the nearby counter, checking ‘screens and preparing to call out names.
The prison’s Admissions and Processing Center, its link to the outside world. Work in that area was one of the best jobs a prisoner could get…and was far and away the best job a data-thief like Connor could get.
His smile was satisfied as he went to the closet and began filling a mop bucket. An hour of cleaning and four hours of network access every day? Yes, please.
Maybe he’d arrange a little ‘donation’ to his commissary account today; why eat prison food when he could just buy his own with someone else’s money?

I Finally Solved the Problem!

Err…okay…that title may be a bit, umm, ambitious. Not to mention misleading as hell – I have way too many problems to solve at one time. Or, well, at all.

But I did figure out why the conspiracy theory book was not clicking with me, and that’s a huge hurdle to overcome. The early process of creating the structure and plan for a story should, for me at least, follow pretty smoothly on the heels of finding/creating the main character and general intent.

It didn’t, not this time.

Because I was doing it wrong.

Well, at least “wrong” for me.

I had been coming at this from the top-down. I was researching conspiracies and secret societies and trying to come up with a plot based around them. That’s…err…very, very wrong. Four times I sat down and tried to come up with just a summary of the story, and an idea of how things would progress, and four times I failed. There are far too many conspiracies (not to mention just plain random craziness that also fits the bill) for that to work. It’s the equivalent of trying to create a fantasy story by starting with the armor.

most-interesting-squirrelADD random-thought warning!

That might actually be a fun writing challenge for when I’m bored and sick of everything else. Start with an empty suit of armor…add a sword, although for the sake of variation maybe I’ll make it a club since there’re too many magic swords in stories…then come up with a heroic story from THEIR point of view.


Okay, I’m over it now…back to the post I meant to write.

I know it sounds so basic it shouldn’t have to be stated, but I had to go all the way back to the beginning and start with the story first. I sat this morning and figured out the structure of the book (not as hard as it sounds – I have a certain structural model that makes sense to me, and helps me to plan things out), then I started planning out the story itself, and what I wanted to accomplish in each part.

Finally, things clicked. Thank anything and everything in the universe!

That 5-1 game I mentioned before? The conspiracy theory book finally scored a few goals. It’s still 5-4 with a minute left, but at least it’s a fucking game now.

Again, I know it sounds trite to go back to such basics, but sometimes that’s what you have to do. Well, at least, that’s what I have to do.

The other “realization” that helped me was when I remembered I don’t need to know and define every single twist and turn before I start. Especially not in a book like this. I need a good general picture, not an infinitely detailed outline. This is a story based on humor & satire, I can let the writing take me to places I hadn’t really counted on – within reason, of course.

Now it’s time to celebrate with a beer*.

*Note – had I failed at “solving” my problem, it would be time to console myself with a beer. There’s nothing quite like flexibility!


Perspective, Language and Mood: Pt 2, Voice

POV is only half the battle, of course. Actually, it’s probably less than a quarter of the battle. POV is what you do, but Voice is how you do it. Voice should be a natural part of the story – if you, as the reader, think about the Voice, the writer screwed the pooch – but there are all kinds of ways to handle it. I mentioned a long while back that the last two stories I wrote were…umm…boring, conventional and completely soulless. Plot and planning had something to do with that, but it also came down a great deal to the Voice. Too formal, too staid, too reserved, and way too much like a narrator from some 70s drama.

Now, I’m a character-driven guy. My protagonist has to have his own take on everything, or the story falls flat. I struggled with Connor’s voice in Wrath & Tears. Oh, not because I didn’t know what he should sound like, but because I had trouble letting-go of my ingrained inhibitions enough to actually write him the way he needed to be written. That critical little voice in my head kept pissing away at me about swearing, about cynicism, about alcoholism, and about the bitter despair that colored everything.

Listening to that little voice had made the previous stories blah, so I wasn’t going to repeat that mistake. Not listening to that little voice is hard, by the way. Most of us little writer-lings have had language and formality drummed into our heads. Ignoring all those lessons (from editors, from teachers, from your mom…) isn’t easy in any way, shape or form.

Now, first off, I need to say that I’m happy with Connor’s Voice. Yes, it’s foul. Yes, it’s bitter and angry. But it very much is true to a seventeen year old guy still learning what it really means to be worldly and “tough”. That being said, it was initially very hard to put on paper – err, on screen, actually (I write on an iPad, mostly). The proper tone and rhythm and language ran counter to many, many instincts.  Connor’s Voice, simply put, breaks a lot of rules.  I intentionally made things choppy and ragged, and filled with little asides and interjections, to reflect the way he thinks and functions.

It took one key step for me to actually let go those inhibitions and just write him: writing at the brewery. As often as I joke about “my office”, I would not have been able to pull off anything close to the Voice I did without that environment around me. One of the things I’ve learned is just how much your surroundings color what you write. When I write at home, the scenes are slower and more intellectual. Slow and intellectual might have worked for Asimov and Clarke, but definitely not for me. I want and need the immediacy and visceral reality of raw emotion.

Does it, I hear you ask, have to have quite so many swear words? Yes, yes it does. Connor is seventeen and anary at the entire universe. To write him honestly I had to “channel” the angry, confused person I used to be…that I still sometimes am. I also had to remember a great deal of my own past…which was the point of the story, by the way.

One reason this blog is “anonymous” is that my intent is to publish Wrath & Tears under a pseudonym. I have a long-ass list of reasons why, but to keep things simple I will just say I want to lock that book (and possible sequels) into a separate little box. The language & tone, the personal shit, the entire experience…they are their own world. Let that world color itself. When and if I write a fantasy story/series, it will have a different feeling and tone. Keeping things divided and separate will be fairly necessary, both for business reasons and for what’s left of my sanity.