With only a week to go before the release of Underlord, I was trying to decide what preview I should share with you.
Then I had an epiphany! I epiphanated all over the couch. It was messy.
Travis Baldree, the awesome narrator of the Cradle audiobooks, has been sending me some last-minute typos and corrections as he recorded the Underlord audio. So I thought I'd share with you the lines that got changed out of context and you can milk them for spoilers!
Also, on the night of February 28th, I'll be reading the first Lindon chapter aloud on Discord at about 10 PM EST! And then I'll probably be chilling on voice chat for the next five hours until the book comes out at 3 AM my time.
Discord invite: https://discord.gg/9jSwwKE (I don't know how Discord works, so if this isn't right, just...figure it out.)
[OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING EVEN THOUGH THE SPOILERS ARE MILD]
Page 40: "...if it drew on itself for power, it would only last for a few days before needing replaced." >>> "...before needing to be replaced."
Page 64: "Cycling aura here will be much faster here than back home..." >>> "...here will be much faster than back home..."
Page 68: "The second step of the [SPOILER MAN]'s instruction was set of soulfire control techniques..." >>> "...was a set of...
Page 108: "Her father was a significant figure in the Naru clan, and had taken to direct their defenses." >>> "...taken to directing their defenses..."
Page 146: "They didn't believe her, though she wasn't taking the situation seriously." >>> "...thought she wasn't taking..."
Page 147: "...languish the second prince with praise..." >>> Curse you, autocorrect. "Lavish."
Page 148: "Charity says" >>> "Charity said"
Page 178: "[SHE] abandons her advancement seeks a hearing with her own mother." >>> "advancement, seeks"
Many of you have been waiting for the big announcement I’ve been teasing for today, and now I’m thrilled to announce: I have Hamilton tickets for tonight!
I knew you’d be excited!
I’ve never liked musicals, but that’s only because they usually stop the story dead for the musical numbers. Don’t give me music, give me story.
But my sister’s been obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack for over a year now, so when she finally tied me down and forced it into my ears, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it’s, you know, awesome.
It’s won so many awards that I knew it would be a top-notch production, but I had no idea how great the storytelling would be.
So when I found out there was a Hamilton showing coming to Orlando in February, I immediately booked tickets! And tonight, the time has finally come!
I’m especially looking forward to it because there’s a lot of story information that the soundtrack alone doesn’t give you, so I can’t wait to get the full picture.
And I knew you guys would be excited on my behalf!
P.S. Also, Underlord March 1st.
Only one more week before there's real book news, so definitely don't look for any book news in this post. Just my impressions about a new video game.
Yesterday, the standalone sequel to Subnautica, entitled Subnautica: Below Zero, entered Early Access on PC.
Subnautica is a survival game about crash-landing on an ocean planet and surviving in an alien ocean while unraveling the mystery of what caused your ship to crash and figuring out how to get off the planet. It's one of my favorite games of all time because of how immersive it is; the environment design is insane, and it really conveys the feeling of being alone in an alien ocean.
It's scared me more than any horror game ever has, and it's not technically horror. You just don't know what could be beneath you in the ocean as you're swimming along. Hearing strange noises.
I initially found Subnautica shortly after it was released in Early Access, and I fell in love with it when it was unbelievably buggy and had no content. Every patch, I played through it again, because I was hunting for those little moments when I was lost in a dark ocean shivering because I was sure there was something behind me and I didn't want to turn around to see what it was.
Below Zero is already far more complete than the original game was in its first release, which is to be expected for a sequel made using the original engine and assets. The first game is a survival game with a story, while this strikes me more as a story game with survival.
You play as a researcher in the arctic of the same ocean planet, and this time you're exploring the depths of a freezing ocean while investigating the history of some alien artifacts. Your character actually has lines and personality this time, and she interacts with her sister, who monitors her progress from an orbital station.
There are only about three hours of story content in the game so far, but I've already played it for about five, just building and seeing what new arctic creatures I can find.
If underwater alien survival sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend giving Subnautica a try if you haven't already. And if you have, Below Zero is shaping up to be a worthy sequel.
Screenshot below, just to prove that I'm telling the truth. Nothing to see there except a really cool video game.
I ordered those limited-edition Most Stuf Oreos, and they still haven't come in yet. They were supposed to have arrived today, but when I checked my doorstep, the only package was for tools I didn't want.
Is there anything worse than waiting for news you're really excited for, only to get something uninteresting and mundane instead?
I just can't stand those people that make you think you're about to get the news you want to hear, but no, it's just another day waiting.
You guys wouldn't know what that's like.
...on a totally unrelated note, I met with The Team today. I know when I'll be able to share news. Those of you on my Facebook page my have noticed a countdown. You may have noticed that, if the pattern continues, it will end on a certain Friday soon.
When that day comes, there may or may not be news.
And hopefully by then, I'll have my Oreos.
THE TEAM still has book news under strict embargo for the next few weeks, but I can guarantee that we have something in the pipeline. There's news coming, I swear. News.
...but the members of THE TEAM are slashing their fingers across their throats, so I'm going to have to move on. Here's a quick review for two animated movies I saw recently! I liked them both!
Dragon Ball Super: The Broly Movie, You Know, The One With Broly
I'm a simple guy. I go into a DBZ movie to see Goku power up until he beats the bad guy. Usually, there's nothing else to them, and that's fine with me.
The Broly movie takes it to the next level. There is an actual story, with real character development and world-building that adds to the existing universe and complements the canon. They spend a weirdly long amount of time showing you the cultural impact of scouters and the political shift as Frieza took over his galactic empire from his father, King Cold. They get into Saiyan culture, both its pros and cons. They develop minor members of the Frieza Force into characters with their own quirks, backgrounds, desires, and goals.
...if that makes you say "Ew, no, get all that out of my Dragon Ball. I just want to see Goku punching an oiled-up dude into the moon," then don't worry. The meat of the movie is classic DBZ. But they still fit more character and world development into the first half of this story than into the entire Buu Saga.
Part of the movie's foundation is the parallel relationship between the three surviving full-blooded Saiyans (Goku, Vegeta, and Broly) and their respective fathers.
I didn't know I wanted that until I got it.
All this story is in the first half, and the second half is basically a 45-minute anime music video. So whatever you wanted out of a DBZ movie, it's here.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Why Are There So Many Spider-Men: The Movie
Continuing in the theme of "animated movies I expected very little out of," here's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It's fantastic, and it's not making enough money.
Go see it.
I basically can't recommend it highly enough. I enjoyed the Broly movie, but I'm an unapologetic DBZ shill. I would have walked out happy from an hour and a half of Goku punching some dude. If you're not into DBZ, then sure, don't watch Broly. It's definitely for fans.
But Spider-Man...I can't imagine the person who wouldn't enjoy Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Do you like Spider-Man? Do you like superheroes? Do you like innovative animation? Do you like fast-paced, engaging stories? Do you like humor? Do you like good movies? Do you have a beating human heart?
This is a good movie to see before it's out of theaters, because the music and animation are so cool, but if it's too late for you, watch it on Netflix or however you can get it.
I wouldn't say it's my favorite movie of all time or anything, but it's one of the few that I recommend without reservation to basically everybody. So if you haven't seen it, see it.
Anyway, let me know in the comments what you thought of these movies! Or tell me how I deserve to die because this post isn't about OKAK or Underlord!
P.S. I also saw Aquaman. Yep. That was also a movie that I saw.
I was working on a New Year's post, but I really wasn't feeling it. Mostly, it's because I was using 3-400 words to say "Happy New Year!" and nothing else of substance.
I have book news, but I can't share it yet. There definitely isn't any book news in any images or pictures that may or may not be shared on this post, so you probably shouldn't even look.
And in the absence of book news, as many of you know, I'm always struggling to think of what I should share in this space. If I were you, I'd probably only be following this blog to find out about new book releases, and the second there's a post that isn't about the next book, I'm out.
However, today I decided to talk about what's really on my mind. Which has to do with how I write and produce books.
And that "how" is very simple: I panic.
Tim Urban, on his excellent blog Wait But Why (which you should totally read), has a famous post about procrastination. He does a TED talk on the same subject, which I haven't linked but you can easily find on YouTube.
In this post, Tim imagines two forces battling in the procrastinator's brain: the Instant Gratification Monkey and the Panic Monster.
The Monkey lives in your brain and always begs you for something now. It tells you to check Reddit every two seconds, and that you can always start working in just a second, because now you should watch that new YouTube video.
The only thing that scares away the Instant Gratification Monkey is the Panic Monster. When you panic, when the deadline is looming and you have no time left and you're going to fail the class, the Panic Monster takes over. And now the Monkey runs away. It's easy to avoid procrastination when you're panicking.
This concept resonated with me so much that, a few years ago, I actually bought a plush Instant Gratification Monkey that I keep around my house. Here he is lurking behind my laptop as we speak:
I've written a lot of books. More than most people do. But all of them, I've written while the Panic Monster is in charge. Which means I durdle around for too long and then shotgun out a book in a panic.
That's not great. So I've been working on trying to control my procrastination, so that I can write books in a steady, healthy way, rather than with the Panic Monster at the wheel.
...although I haven't been super successful thus far. Maybe tomorrow.
P.S. For real, though, go read Wait But Why.
Now that I've adjusted my peg leg and straightened my eyepatch, I emerge to share my wishes for you this Christmas!
May you open a gift and find a dragon egg waiting for you within, iridescent to the eye and warm to the touch.
May you find a worn and battle-scarred Santa waiting for you with his hat in his hands, begging you to take over his powers and defend the North Pole from eldritch invaders.
May you roll a snowball only to find its cold seeping through your fingertips, into your veins, crawling up your bones and changing the very heart of who you are...you have received the Gift of the Snowball, and now you can conjure a perfect snowball into your hands at any time of year.
May you dig into Christmas dinner to find that each bite sends new strength flooding through you. Every bite of ham drives away your old wounds and illnesses. Every cranberry sharpens your eyesight, every dinner-roll your hearing. The potatoes pump power to your limbs, and every sip of wine (or juice--I don't know how old you are) quickens your thoughts. You emerge from the dinner table in a perfected version of your old body.
May unseen elves clean up your wrapping paper. And also your house while they're at it.
And if Christmas has already ended for you when you read this post, may you raise your eyes from this screen to see a red-and-green portal ready to take you back in time to a Christmas day on which all of these wishes came true.
Starting tomorrow morning, I'm going on a cruise. A writing cruise.
...which only means that I've booked a cruise ticket with the sole intention of staying on the boat writing. Where am I cruising? I don't know, and I don't care, but I know I'm going to get a chunk of prose done on the way.
I'll be gone for about a week. In the meantime, Blackflame is supposed to be released from Audible's imprisonment any day now. We're also planning a pre-Christmas sale on books that I'll have details for when I return!
And speaking of Christmas, DID YOU KNOW THAT I SELL A BUNCH OF MERCHANDISE? WELL, I DO!
We've got hats, mugs, shirts, cursed antiques*, posters, and forgotten souls*! If you have a friend, family member, or hated enemy that could use some materials goods with a simple emblem on it, then look no further!
More when I return!
*(subject to supply; curses and forgetfulness not guaranteed)
I know I've been talking about this a lot lately, but uh...we've had a lot of audiobooks coming out lately.
Both City of Light and Blackflame are to be released very soon! The Cradle narrator, Travis Baldree, has been a joy to work with, and the audiobooks are coming out way faster than I could have hoped.
In the meantime, I hope you all had a great Brown Thursday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, and that you're all hyped up for Lavender Tuesday tomorrow. I went camping and fried a bunch of turkey, then I went back to writing.
I'll be doing a short story for Christmas in a few weeks, too. I was thinking Traveler's Gate, but I know there are few Elder Empire or Cradle short stories (although it's been a while since I released a short story of any kind). Last year I did Santa's list, so I could do another cross-universe holiday thing again. I haven't decided. Always in motion is the future.
Let me know in the comments what sort of short story you'd prefer, and tell me how your Thanksgiving went!
(...and I am working on books still, I swear.)
"The sea was empty."
84% of draft
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