July 1st, 2023
June can unfortunately be added to the list of difficult months that were not as productive as I wanted them to be.
It’s not that I got nothing done in June; that is far from the truth. It’s just that I don’t feel like I got much done. Part of that is because June was spent working on things that lack the sense of progress attached to polishing off chapters, part of it is because I had a large number of difficult distractions that really did limit how much I could do, and part of it is that those distractions weighed heavy on me this month, and at present, maintaining a positive outlook on things isn’t the easiest thing for me.
I guess the best place to start is probably there — those distractions and the weight they placed upon my shoulders.
I dedicated a large portion of last month’s blog to discussing my great-aunt. I mentioned that she had contracted terminal cancer that was inoperable and that it was something I was struggling with.
That did not improve this month. That was, of course, inevitable — but that did not mean it was easy.
She signed a MID (medically induced death) form on Tuesday and her wishes were fulfilled around noon EST on Thursday, June 29th.
My views on things like religion and the afterlife have always been a bit hazy. I have identified as agnostic since I grew old and weary enough to understand the social and political implications wrought by the distinction, and I do not in any way mean for this to stir up conversation or debate.
I just wanted to put a little something here, even though I wrote plenty about her in the last blog, in case she is somewhere reading this right now. It’s probably childish of me and somewhat out of character, but I want to do it anyway.
Thank you. Thank you for being the glue that held a turbulent family together. Thank you for supporting both my cousins during their respective spats with their mother. Thank you for always lending an open and objective ear, even when it was being filled with the nonsensical concerns of naive children. Thank you for financially supporting my grandmother when no one else could. Thank you for hosting all of us so many times, thank you for cracking a much needed joke when no one else could, thank you for humbling us all in the most affectionate and sarcastic ways. Thank you for everything; thank you for loving all of us no matter what and for never playing favourites. Thank you for teaching me the value of perspective, and for showing that not all leaders are obvious and that they need not all be so outwardly commanding.
I’m sorry that we didn’t always make it easy. I’m sorry how often I was gone these past years and how obsessed with my own goals I always was. I’m sorry I was never half so selfless as you always were, and for what’s going on now following your passing.
I am grateful for everything you did, everything you taught me, and despite how much it tore me up not being there per your request this past month, I am grateful that my final memories containing you are pure and joyous. I know that’s what you wanted, and at the end of the day, that is what really matters.
I promise that I will try and be less selfish. I promise that I will try and fill as much of the gap left by your absence as I can. I promise that I have thought long and hard on what I learned from you these past days and that I will try and pass all of it along to the next generation of our family.
I cannot promise I will do any of it half so well as you did, but I promise that I will try — and as I heard you tell my cousin so many times, sometimes that’s all you can do.
I love you, REDACTED. I always have — even though I’ve never been the best at showing it — and I always will. If you really are somewhere beyond my reach and reading this, then I will one day join you and say all of this properly. If you’re not… well, I’m glad you went out on your own terms and in peace.
That entire situation has been a dark shadow this past month. Numerous days were spent attempting productivity, only to realize I was emotionally sapped in a way that was not conducive. Add onto this that my great-aunt’s daughter is currently being one of the worst human beings I have ever dealt with and doing her utmost to tear apart a family in grieving, and you get a concoction that makes me wonder how I got anything done at all.
But thankfully, I did get some things done.
I finished reading The Wheel of Time for one — all 4,400,000 words of it. It ranks very high in my list of favourite series and has, over the past fifteen months, changed the way I read, write, and appraise the genre as a whole. I have great admiration for the late Robert Jordan; for his exquisite prose, for his vast and complex world, for his deeply human characters, and for his rich, complex methodology in constructing one of the true masterpieces in fantasy.
I plan on rereading this series at some point simply for the sake of learning. I will then study its construction and its writing in a similar way to how I have in series like George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
Alas, that day is not today. Too much needs doing, and with that, I should probably discuss what you all came for.
My focus in June, as I mentioned during the last Monthly Forecast, was Road to Hell revisions.
I am happy to report that I am finished — kind of — with these revisions. At least, I no longer need to set aside dedicated blocks of time.
I did a deep content pass earlier this month — that actually was the majority of my workload in June, the undertaking was quite tireless. I then had Matt — you probably know him as DarknessEnthroned, the author of works such as A Cadmean Victory, or as M.J Bradley — look it over.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Matt for doing so. His schedule is relentless and my request was not a small one, given that Part I of The Road to Hell spans some 150,000 words. Matt’s readthrough was prompt and precise. The majority of his feedback will actually be handled during the line editing stage as I go along each week because it’s deep detail stuff that isn’t a lot of work but that makes a massive difference.
That being said, the first few chapters look very different now than they did prior to his readthrough, so if you’re a Discord member or a patron, it might be worth giving those another lookover. The content is the same, but the way it is presented has been altered in a way that I hope will deepen reader immersion and create a greater attachment more quickly.
This is being written on the evening of June 30th, but given when it will be posted, you guys now know that Sam Gabriel has recorded both the prologue and the first proper chapter of The Road to Hell. This recording took place at noon EST and similar recordings will happen biweekly. Sam will record two chapters each session, that way we can maintain a weekly upload schedule for not only the text, but the audiobook as well.
I have my fingers crossed that the audio version of the prologue, plus some cover art Sam is doing for me, will be ready in time to begin posting later this week, but it will probably end up being the week after.
Audiobook chapters will be posted every Friday, with the accompanying text put on FFN and AO3 two days later. This means that if you are not reading ahead — though anyone reading this probably is — then you can get the chapters two days earlier if you listen to the audiobook opposed to reading the text.
If you guys would like to keep up with the audiobook, the best way of doing so is equipping both the “YouTube News” and the “TRtH Book Club” roles on the Discord server — head over to #reaction-roles and click on the corresponding emojis to do so — and by subscribing to the ACI100 YouTube channel. All audiobook chapters will be posted there completely free of charge; just remember to like the videos and subscribe to the channel if you enjoy the content.
This is an ambitious and an expensive undertaking. The ACI100 PayPal has been created with a false name and linked in the audiobook announcement post on the Discord in #server-news, and will be posted soon in the #aci100-links channel. If you want to chip in and relieve some of the financial strain, any money sent to that account will go directly towards funding the audiobook.
Do not feel at all obliged to help fund the project. This is not an ultimatum, just a humble request for a little bit of help if you are in the place to provide some and feel inclined to do so.
The audiobook is one thousand percent happening regardless. I will fund it even if not a single cent is donated, this is just an option for you guys to help me do it if you want to.
I was originally not planning on providing this option, but this year has been tough and I am significantly more stressed about funding it now than I was back in January. I can and will still absolutely be doing it and it isn’t going to bankrupt me by any means, so feel no pressure, I’m just explaining what led me to change my mind.
This will not happen, but just in case it SOMEHOW does — if we ever raise more money than the audiobook costs, the remainder will go towards future audio projects if I choose to commission any, and if not, that remainder will be Sam’s tip for her excellent work.
Since I know there has been some confusion, I will also just take this opportunity to reaffirm that The Road to Hell is now on a weekly schedule for all Discord members, with new chapters becoming available each Sunday.
The other thing I worked on this past month that will probably interest people is Perversion of Purity.
I really sat down and worked out a detailed timeline for the next handful of chapters, which is something I desperately had to do. That took more time than one might expect, but I also managed to write two chapters of this fic in June.
I know a few of you have been grumbling about the delay between books. I can only apologize for that. This story has suffered under the weight of other projects this year. First it was finishing Conjoining of Paragons, then it was wrapping up Part I of The Road to Hell, and last month, it was revisions.
The good news is that should not happen again this year and that the immediate future for this fic is bright. I plan on making this my main priority in July. I will be splitting time between this and my novel — which I still haven’t had time to dedicate to since writing the last blog — but this fic will be on the favourable end of that split.
Patrons, two thirds of your chapters this month will be PoP chapters. Discord members and other readers, I will take a pretty big leap forward in book 4 this month. There is still a lot of work that needs doing, but we’ll get there.
Last month, I mentioned a fanfic side project that may or may not ever be posted. This is sort of my stress relief project right now — something I can work on free of deadlines, pressure, and expectations — and as I’m sure you all can imagine, I was quite stressed this last month. So I did write another 14,000 or so words on this, taking the current word count to just short of 27,000. That’s not a ton of writing, but it’s not nothing, and at this point, I am all but certain this will eventually be posted. That just won’t happen any time soon.
I mentioned already that I had no time this past month for the novel, which is really frustrating. The latter half of May and all of June were both supposed to be blocks of time spent working on this, and I have managed to spare a single week for the novel during that time. That is why, in July, PoP will have to share time with this project because I am now very far behind compared to where I hoped to be. That is sort of the story of my life right now — it frustrates me to no end.
That’s about all I have to say for now. I am just hoping for a less disrupted month that allows me much more work time. That’s all I can really hope for at this stage.
Thank you guys for your support throughout this chaos. I have received a number of kind, supportive messages on Discord over the past couple of days and really since the last blog was posted. I have lacked the time to respond to all of these — I’m actually very behind on replying to messages on most platforms right now — but I have seen and appreciated them all.
Happy Canada Day, for any fellow moose lovers who might be reading this. May the fireworks be bright, may your syrup be pure, and may your beers be cold Moulson Canadians.
Have a good July everyone — I hope you’re all making the most of summer.