Anyway, if the prospect of reading farther than two paragraphs is daunting, here's the TL; DR version. 1) Arrivederci barbarossa! 2) Long pig! 3) Patronapalooza yay! 4) Wonder Woman! 5) Cookies yum! 6) JDP writes!
Also, this computer has UNLIMITED EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!
Let's go already!
DECIDERS vote : The poll last week was to decide what I should do with my facial hair for the next six months. My precious face, the plaything of your aggregate wills. Who else gives you that kind of power?
Anyway, the results are in. I'm going to play both sides of the TV talking head contrarian duo and say both that the vote was a close one (Decided by one vote!) and a blowout (33% margin of victory). You guys can argue about which of me is right in the comments. In any event, the verdict is:
SHAVE THAT FACE!
And so, obedient to your commands, I shall wear no facial hair until at least Christmas. And as I accept my sentence, I realize that it is a far, far better thing that I do with my face than I have ever done.
Also: Some things should not be left to the hive mind.
Upcoming Story of the Month : For July, I've picked out a really special story-- the very first story I actually got paid for. "Long Pig" is a little slice of dungeon-crawling life, and it was first published in Bards and Sages Quarterly in 2013. And (in keeping with the zeitgeist) it features a powerful warrior woman who has been the heroine of several of my stories.
Elke is a tomb-raiding mercenary, trapped by a cave-in. She and her treacherous business associates know they're running out of candles, but they don't know that they're also running out of time. When everything goes dark, who will survive long enough to dig their way back into the light?
Read the tale right here on Patreon, July 3.
Report on the inaugural Patronapalooza : Last month we held the very first Patronapalooza. It may make me sound vain, but I must confess that I was hoping that this brand new holiday I created completely ex nihilo would go viral-- and it did!
In fact, it was so successful that it emitted a festive burst of tachyon particles which traveled back in time and caused people to begin celebrating even before I invented it completely by myself and very originally! So, well done, patrons. You partied so hard you broke the space-time continuum. Excellent.
As part of the festivities, I made audio recordings of the first few chapters my work-in-progress novel The Mundanes and put them up on YouTube. They're gone now, but like Brigadoon they'll be back in a hundred years. Or in the last week of July, when we'll be celebrating our second Patronapalooza. Hooray!
(Details to follow in next month's newsletter.)
Movie review : Thanks once again to the best in-laws in the world, my very own warrior queen and I got away to watch Wonder Woman. And despite popcorn which had been sitting under the warming lights since the days when Lynda Carter wore the tiara, we had a blast!
Gal Gadot completely inhabited the role, thanks in part to the best costume for Diana ever. She perfectly walked the balance between sunny (perhaps even naive) idealism and fiery determination. (Why can't we have a Superman like this?)
And she was funny! Not a quality I usually associate with WW, but I loved it. Her hilariously, adorably awkward scenes with Chris Pine were absolutely my favorite parts of the film. (Plus, I loved pretending he was Captain James T. Kirk on a secret mission to help save Earth's past.) Forget a movie sequel. I want a weekly Lois & Clark style TV show so we can really spend some time with these two.
(Yes, I know he got blowed up. Which, spoiler alert on that, I guess. But it's a comic book movie. And he died off screen. And we didn't see the body. Totally still alive.)
My only nit to pick is that, as a war nerd, I really wanted this to work as a World War I movie. And on the strategic level, it does not. At all. One single trench between Allied forces and German High Command? In 1918? And breaching that lonely trench line to liberate an occupied town results in ZERO reinforcements arriving--either from the Central Powers or the Allies?
I know this is a cartoon movie about superfriends, but I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to get past the utter ridiculousness of the war scenes. Which is a shame, because there were some moments that really captured the brutal, desperate pointlessness of the Great War-- plus lots of great Amazon butt-kicking! (Pow! Take that, bell tower!)
Rated 4/5 wonders, with a half-wonder subtracted for the extreme telegraphed obviousness of Remus Lupin's supposed-to-be-surprising face-heel turn. Come on, now. The man is a werewolf. Of course he's a bad guy.
Life updates : The best part about moving so far is cookies. See, we need to clean out our cabinets, and clearly that means using up all that excess sugar and flour we have lying around. Also chocolate chips.
Plus, baking cookies makes the house smell like someone just baked cookies. It's a subtle way to get prospective buyers to subconsciously associate this homely house with comfort, warmth, family, and adult-onset diabetes. That's your perfect storm of happiness right there.
In other news, our little Seabee is starting to make the most adorable human-like sounds. Here's a picture of that.
Above: The sound of cuteness. Also pictured, the smell of cookies.
Oh! And the image at the top of this newsletter is the new and improved logo for my writing business, now in glorious Extra Color! Many thanks to the lovely and talented Matt Malo, whose art is amazing and everybody should hire him.
Accountability : Speaking of money being exchanged for goods and services, let's talk about what your patronage is buying-- besides Matt's awesome art.
Frankly, I probably should have done this from the very start, with the first newsletter, but that's why pencils have erasers. So, starting this month, the newsletter will include a very brief report on the writing your patronage has been supporting. There are at least three objective-ish ways to measure this, viz.:
1. New words: In terms of raw productivity, I've pounded out roughly 7,000 words in the last month or so. That translates to about 28 pages, or a little less than a page a day.
2. Works completed: "Soul Invictus," a short story to follow my novel The Crown and the Dragon. I plan to submit it to an upcoming anthology, and also to use it as the prologue to C&D's sequel, which I'd like to write next year.
3. Submissions: I had a plan to submit something every single working day in June, or to try until every story I have in my stable was out somewhere. I didn't make that goal, but as Dean Wesley Smith says, I failed to success by aiming for the stars and still hitting a pretty high mark. My totals: 7 submissions of short stories for publication, 3 form rejections, 2 personal rejections, and 0 acceptances. Not too shabby, actually. (My typical acceptance rate is something like five percent; it's a numbers game.)
All in all, I'd like to be able to report greater productivity and success, but considering everything we have going on right now, I'll take it.
Which is probably as good a note as any to end on.
So, for your encouragement and support as I develop my skills, thank you, my friends.