March/April Recap

“Monthly”

Episode Two: Rest Days wrapped up, even if I had to drag each chapter across the completion line. The multi-PoV ‘urban’ episodes always present difficulty. Compressing each character’s mini-story into a single chapter, and the whiplash of switching my mindset from one to another, is a challenge. But it’s an important check-in for each of them, especially since everyone’s slated for a full episode of their own further down the line.

Episode Three: Old Oaths is halfway complete as of this week. It’s an order of magnitude easier than its predecessor and contains some long-awaited kick-offs and info-dumps.

Improved consistency is the name of the game this month, namely pulling chapter updates back to Wednesday mornings. March and April were minefields of distraction and momentum breakers. I’d prefer a higher cadence of output, but that’s a stretch goal for now.

The flying isn’t always smooth, but we’re pressing on, all the same.

February Recap

A short recap for a short month.

Episode One of Season Two is complete. Last Call was an odd episode that started out under one concept and evolved into something adjacent but quite different. It was a bit of a momentum breaker in the first couple weeks of the season, a victim of being the opening chapters of both the season, and a longer 4-episode arc in and around Hub. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, honestly.

Episode Two: Rest Days started this week. This one’s a parallel to season one’s Gloria episode, showing a day or two in the life of the rest of the crew. In defiance of jinxing myself, this one feels a lot smoother and should roll out without issue. I settled into a good grove of production over the last couple weeks of February and should keep that rolling through March and into spring.

There’s a new Guidebook entry: Airship Classes. This is something I’ve had in partial form for a while in my internal worldbook. Now it’s cleaned up, expanded, and made official.

January(ish) Recap

January is always a rough patch of the year for me when it comes to writing. So much so that it has become a tradition to slump after the holidays, spend a couple weeks wondering what’s wrong, then realize it’s happening again and make the requisite mental and physical course corrections. Nothing fancy, just more reading and running when weather allows.

Season Two of Skies Unbroken launched on schedule with Episode One: Last Call. The follow-up left a lot to be desired and I’m not satisfied with how the rollout’s gone. This episode is turning out to be far trickier than I imagined. I think I’m past the rough patch, with the rest of the episode shaping up into something useable. The ending is…curious and more of a question than a resolution. The first arc of episodes in season two are generally shorter and add up to a single finale. Or that’s the plan, anyway!

I released a commercial ebook of Season One on Amazon. This is an optional way of supporting the series, available on Kindle for $1.99. There is no new content in this release. You’re not missing out on anything compared to what’s on my website or the free download available on the Season One page.

A commercial ebook implies a couple things by definition. First is cover art. You can see my serviceable amateur efforts on the Season One page. Graphic design is hard. Any emergence of an art budget will replace this cover in short order.

Second is a Goodreads page for Skies Unbroken – Season One. Add, rate, and review as you wish.

At some point, Skies Unbroken picked up a TVTropes page. I discovered this a couple hours ago and its made my day, despite how surreal it is to see. So, a shout-out and a toast to whoever created and filled out that page!

Finally, on February 1st, I was the Writer of the Day over on the r/Fantasy subreddit. Feel free to check out that post and a handful of questions about me and my writing.

Hmm. Now that I’ve laid everything out, I do feel better about how the first month-ish of season two went. I just need to pick up the pace on actual chapters.

Onward, then!

A Bookmark Story

Sophomore year of high school (1999!), a friend loaned me a copy of The Eye of the World. I started reading it during lunch, was confused as hell by its prologue (standard procedure), and needed a bookmark to keep my place because I wasn’t a savage who dog-ears borrowed books. So I took out a sheet of loose-leaf notebook paper, folded it three times to one-eighth the size, and jammed it in there.

This bookmark rode through the entirety of the then-current Wheel of Time series, eight books. By the end it was already slightly stained from rubbing against the ink of 6,000+ paperback pages, a weird, faint gray texture. At some point in those six months or so it picked up a couple scratched up notes relating to easter-eggs in Asheron’s Call and Baldur’s Gate, marking a trifecta of life-long fan associations I’ll stump for to this day.

I still have that improvised bookmark. It’s not in great shape, but it’s a 17-year-old sheet of folded notebook paper, disposable by design, meant for pre-calculus homework. One of the quadrants isn’t even attached to the whole, a loose piece that needs to be carefully folded into the middle so it doesn’t fall out. Honestly, I’m surprised the whole thing hasn’t disintegrated into dust and memories.

I still use that bookmark under certain conditions that evolved over time. I used it for the latter half of the Wheel of Time book as they came out. It took a brief dive into the Sword of Truth series before fleeing halfway through book three. I’m sure it put in appearances elsewhere in the initial years, but it definitely put in work for Otherland, a series that bridged the end of high school and the beginning of college. It might have been the only bookmark I took with me that fall.

Time passed and the bookmark saw more action. It got refolded multiple times to open up fresh sides to be stained by more ink. At some point it became a ‘Thing’. It was now the Epic Fantasy Bookmark. Let other bookmarks put in work for literature classes and sci-fi novels. It started living in The Shadow Rising when not in use, and waits there now. Eventually books had to be worthy of the Bookmark. They must be epic fantasy, Otherland grandfathered in. They must be at least a trilogy (don’t waste my time with stand-alones). They must be good enough in the first 200 pages or so, potential winners, before the Bookmark would deign to descend from its cozy WoT#4 home and grace the challenger with its presence. And it would depart if the book was anything less than great, demoting the novel to one of the other pile of bookmarks I use, improvised or otherwise.

The most recent Bookmark-qualified series is the Magister’s Trilogy by C.S. Friedman. I finished Feast of Souls recently and snap-ordered book two. We’ll see if books two and three can maintain the Bookmark’s increasingly miserly blessing.

The Year Ahead: Skies Unbroken in 2017

And we’re back! What’s in store for Skies Unbroken in 2017?!

Season two of Skies Unbroken begins next week (January 11th) with a short Prologue. The first episode, Last Call, will start up on the 18th. Season two will be longer than season one, though the precise number of episodes is still in flux. I would like to contain the entire run within 2017, but that’s a far too large and distant goal to commit to a flimsy promise on the Internet.

New Guidebook entries will run parallel to the current episode and be topical or tangential to whatever the crew of the Wink and Smile are up to this time around. Originally these were gap-fillers or introductory content, but with weekly chapter updates, they didn’t really have a place. So they’ll be their own little sub-series and give the DM in me an outlet.

The Quarterly Reports will be discontinued and replaced by slimmer monthly updates and recaps. These always felt like an afterthought and were precisely infrequent enough to sneak up on me. The general goal is more content around the weekly chapters, which will give me something to actually recap.

The website itself will see some visual updates. This theme, while clean, doesn’t really match the aesthetic of what I’m laying down here. Or I’ll just change the font and banner image and call it good.

A commercial ebook release is upcoming. Given there’s already a free compilation available here, this release is more of a support option and SEO/visibility move. It also forces me to gin up some cover art with a budget of basically zero, which will be pretty special.

Onward, then, into new uncharted skies.