Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Missed by That Much (#IWSG September 2023)

I was really hoping to have an update today that the first draft of Gale Harbour Book 3 was complete. Alas, it was not meant to be. I'm close, I have about 1.5 chapters to go, but I couldn't get it finished by this weekend as I had secretly hoped to. That's okay. It's been a crazy year and the fact that I've gotten this close is still really good. Just another week or two to the finish line...

Strangely, I had steady sales and page reads on all my books last month. I usually get a sale or two here or there, but August showed a noticeable (though still small) spike. There were page reads every day, on all of my books no less! It was probably just a fluke, and I have no idea what caused it, but it's really making me want to finish book 3 so I can get it out there and get back to marketing and pushing the completed trilogy.

Hopefully it's better than the end of this trilogy.

September Question: The IWSG celebrates 12 years today! When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect, and how has it helped you? 

That's easy. I discovered the IWSG in April 2015, while I was doing the A-to-Z Blog Challenge. That was the year I made the stupid and arrogant decision to write about characters from unpublished stories in the Closet. Who the hell wants to read about characters no one has ever heard of, from an unpublished writer? Someone must have, because it was in the comments in one of those posts that someone suggested I check out the IWSG. I apologize that I don't remember who it was (all of my blogger comments got deleted a few years ago). 

My first IWSG post was May 6, 2015, which was my 35th birthday, and the date I officially hit "publish" on my first book. It was a big day. I haven't looked back since. Of course, I've only published four books in that time (with a fifth coming soon!), but I've hardly missed an IWSG. 

The IWSG has helped me by becoming my first writer's network. It has helped by providing supportive comments during hard times, helped in promoting my books and writing, and hell, many of the members have bought my books! It's introduced me to some of my favourite writers, too.

That's it for me today. Gotta get back and finish that manuscript!

Hugs & kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

I feel the conflict within me (#IWSG August 2023)

Writing on Gale Harbour book 3 continues. I'm regretting that I gave so many characters their own side plots, because I feel like I have to tie everything up, and it's making the story a lot larger than I anticipated. This has evolved far beyond the simple sci-fi/horror adventure series I originally set out to write.

I joined a Facebook group for writers called 20BooksTo50k, the premise of which is if you have 20 books that are making moderate sales, you can make $50k per year self-publishing. You may have heard of it. It's a group for self-published writers to share what has worked for them, and there are some very successful people in the group. 

It's a simple concept, and mostly it's just a forum for people to ask about the specifics of self-publishing (which boxes to check, which genres categories to select on Amazon, marketing tips, etc), as well as post success stories of their making five, ten, twenty thousand dollars (or more!) in a single month. It's overwhelming to be honest. I can't even imagine making that much money from writing, nor did I ever expect to. But there are more writers out there than I realized having staggering success, so it's hard not to be a bit shocked and maybe even a bit jealous.

August Question: Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out, or rewrite it?

I am constantly conflicted. There's the infamous story of how I got eliminated from the my first SPFBO because the reviewer didn't like a joke in my book. I thought long and hard about whether to keep it, and the fact that this negative review had been at the top of my reviews on Goodreads ever since really eats at me. I eventually did change it, because it's not just a book about sex jokes and I didn't want an early off-colour joke to spook people. As I've gotten older and found my voice I've definitely tried to tone down my writing a little. But it's not made a lick of difference. I think sold all of three copies of Ten Thousand Days since that review came out, and I haven't received a single new review, either. Did I cave? Should I have left it alone? I still haven't decided.

It's the same reason I'm considering taking down the "Werebear vs. Landopus" stories, and related to why I'm thinking of re-branding the Gale Harbour books. Like I said, I never imagined to have a huge success in self-publishing, and I know I will never live off of my writing, but I keep wondering if I could maybe expand my audience, at least a little bit? I want my writing to be true to my original ideas, but I also know that every weird title, sex joke and off-putting gross detail will make my audience just a little bit smaller. I don't write bizarro fiction (though occasionally there are elements), so maybe I should steer clear of it?

Who the hell knows why we do anything?

Hugs & Kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

Friday, July 7, 2023

July is really freakin' hot (#IWSG July 2023)

Don't take me off the list, I'm still here!

I missed the IWSG post this month (by two days, anyway), but I have been writing. A couple more chapters of Gale Harbour book 3, changed around an old one, two. This will definitely be the longest book of the series (possibly by a lot). I added too many characters. :-(

I've also been considering changing the branding on the series. I love titles like "Psycho Hose Beast from Outer Space," and "Revenge of the Space Surfing Butt Monkeys," and those who like them like them alot, but I do think some people may roll their eyes at it. I've sold a lot of copies to relatives and my parents' friends form back home, and I've met people who are literally embarrassed to say the names of the books out loud. That may be a marketing issue.

So I'm considering changing the covers to highlight the "Gale Harbour" part, and then making the individual titles more like a sub-title. Something like this:

This is just a mock-up, but you get the idea.

I like that my books have a slightly off-beat feel to them, but I do worry that it will limit my audience (and make them harder to find). 

This is what I'm thinking about when I should be writing.

Hugs & Kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Finding stuff to do is not my problem (#IWSG June 2023)

May chugged along, writing-wise. I finished a couple of more chapters in Gale Harbour book 3, and had lots of ideas how to fix some glaring problems in previous chapters. It really feels like it's starting to come together, which is good. I still have another 20-30K words to go, but for a long time I was stalled and it felt like I would never be able to get it back on track. Now the end is (almost) in sight. It's certainly not going to be published this year as I had originally hoped, but early next year is a distinct possibility. 

(Dammit, I shouldn't have said anything, now I've jinxed myself)

I like the question this month, so let's get to it:

June Question - If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?

That's easy, and I'm already kind of doing it - painting miniatures and crafting. I did a whole month worth of posts about miniature painting for the A-to-Z Challenge. I'm already spending enough time (and money!) on painting and crafting that I'm taking away from my writing time. If I stopped writing, I would be painting even more.

Just some of the finest zombie slayers Canada has to offer.

Of course, I always have other creative hobbies. I like to make games (both tabletop and video), and I've been thinking for years about picking up guitar again. I just know I don't have time for it in my current situation. 

We've always got to find some kind of creative outlet, right? If not writing or painting, then I would probably be making stop-motion LEGO movies. I would actually LOVE to do that, if I had the time. 

Finding hobbies is not my problem. Finding time to actually do them is a whole other issue.

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

April Fooled Me But Good (#IWSG May 2023)

April was rough. On the First, my daughter suffered a concussion (no, not related to failed April Fool's prank). We ended up in the hospital emergency room all weekend, from which she picked up a nasty stomach flu. The flu proceeded to work its way through our house, and took us two whole weeks before everyone was back on their feet (we completely missed Easter). We got better for one day, met with in-laws for dinner, and then they got sick for two weeks. 

Through this, my kids have been seriously stressed out. I don't know if it's recovering from the illness or growing pains or what, but their mood and mental resilience have been terrible. Meanwhile, my union went on strike and I was walking the picket line for ten days. There's just no end to it.

It was not this cute.

The strike is over and I'm back to work. Everyone seems to be healthy and the kids are coming around. May is always an exciting month - my birthday, my wife's birthday, Mother's Day and our anniversary all fall within a ten-day period (we did not plan that well). So hopefully life will improve.

Oh, and did I mention that I kept up with the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge through all this, and didn't miss a day? Still don't know what I was thinking with that.

Somehow, through all of this, I actually wrote several chapters for the next Gale Harbour book. I don't know if they're any good yet, and I know they don't have any of my regular humour. I guess I just wasn't feeling very funny. I'm going to have to go back and put jokes in during the revising phase.

How was your month?

Please check out my A-to-Z posts

May Question - When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

This is interesting, because it doesn't say what inspires you to write the story, but "when you are" working on a story. I get ideas to start stories from lots of different places, but the inspiration to keep working on it, that's something else.

Sometimes I write because I want to see how it ends. Sometimes I genuinely don't know. Sometimes I'm trying a new idea or writing style and I want to see how it turns out. Sometimes I have a deadline, for a contest or submission. But most often my biggest inspiration is just wanting to see it done. I hate having unfinished projects (and I have so, so, so many of them), so being able to add something to the finished pile is just satisfying. 

Is that a good reason to write? Maybe, maybe not. But if it gets me to finish writing, then I'm not going to complain.

That's it for another month!

Hugs & Kisses,

P.S. Seriously, check out my A-to-Z Blog Posts. If you're interested in miniature painting, wargaming, model building, crafting... there's a little bit of something in here for you. He's the full list of topics I covered, from A-to-Z:

A is for The Army Painter
B is for Basecoat
C is for Contrast
D is for Dry Brushing
E is for Edge Highlighting
F is for Feathering
G is for Games Workshop
H is for 'eavy Metal
I is for Inks
J is for Jokaero Orange (paint)
K is for Kolinsky Sable Brushes
L is for Layering
M is for Masking
N is for NMM (Non-Metallic Metal)
O is for OSL (Object-Source Lighting)
P is for Primer
Q is for Quality
R is for Resin Printing
S is for... (Stippling, Shading, Scatter Terrain, Sprue)
T is for Terrain
U is for Undercoat, UV Resin
V is for Vallejo
W is for... Washes, Weathering, Wet Blending, Wet Palette, Warhammer
X is for XPS Foam
Y is for... (Flash, Kitbashing, Varnish)
Z is for Zenithal Priming

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Z is for Zenithal Priming

Zenithal Priming is an advanced priming technique that attempts to simulate shadows and highlights created by the sun at its zenith.

Basically, you prime the entire model in black, then spray on a white primer from above only. This leaves any lower edges and recesses black, creating baseline shadows even before you start blocking in your colours.

I've also seen this done with black, then a grey layer and then just a touch of white for the top most highlight.

All photos from The Army Painter

You don't even necessarily have to use white and black. You can also use complementary or contrast colours to get different, interesting effects:

And that's it! Twenty-six days about miniature painting! I did it, Ma! Thank you to those who stuck around for the full month, and I hope you learned a thing or two, or at least weren't too bored. Maybe you laughed at some of my terrible jokes or painting. Either way, you came back, so I appreciate it!

Hugs & kisses,


Saturday, April 29, 2023

Y Can't I Find a "Y" Word?

Y can't I find painting terms that start with Y? I've been trying to come up with something for almost two months and I can't think of anything good.

Oh well. Instead I'll talk about a few terms that I missed earlier in the month.

Flash is the excess plastic on the seam lines of models, where the piece was previously attached to the sprue. These are usually easily removed with a sharp blade (like an X-acto knife), though they may also need sanding at times.

This model piece has a very pronounced flash line running all along its side. Hopefully it can be removed without slicing off the model's finger.

Kitbashing is taking pieces from different model kits, and putting them together to create a new model. Many miniatures that require assembly (ie, Warhammer) come with extra pieces for customization (like alternate heads, weapons, etc). After you've been building for a while, you inevitably collect a variety of leftover pieces. These can be put together, or the "kits bashed" together to make completely new models.

This was very obviously put together from random parts. I have no idea what it's supposed to be, but it's kinda cool.
Source: Reddit

Varnish is a final layer of clear coating applied to a finished model to protect the paint job from the regular handling, bumps and scratches of gameplay. Though pretty much all painters agree that varnish is required, there is a variety of types to chose from. A matte, anti-shine varnish is most popular, as it prevents light glare and reflection, which can make your model look weird at such a small scale (remember how we talked about how light behaves differently on tiny models all the way back on Contrast day). There is sometimes use for gloss or satin (semi-gloss) finish, however, such as to simulate different textures or materials on your model. On my recent Darth Vader mini, I used matte varnish on his cape to make it look more like cloth, but satin on his armor to give it a more hard plastic and/or leather look. And gloss varnish is great for making things look wet, like eyeballs or fresh blood.

Varnish is commonly applied with a spray can, as aerosol varnish, like paint, tends to go on more evenly. That said, sometimes you may not want or be able to use spray varnish (varnish is even more sensitive to temperature and humidity than paint, and it also smells bad), so brush-on varnishes are also an acceptable option.

The difference in this one is a lot more noticeable, as I used a full gloss for the helmet and matte for the rest of it. In retrospect I probably could have used a satin for the helmet instead, but the gloss certainly gives a strong contrast.

Fun-fact: spray varnish and spray paint actually dissolves untreated XPS Foam, unless you seal it first. Like many other modelers, I learned this the hard way. Now that I seal the foam with a mixture of paint and glue before painting, however, I am able to use a spray varnish to finish my terrain.

One more day to go!

Hugs & kisses,
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