Category Archives: Monthly Update

April and May Update

Apologies. On the first of last month I was at work prepping the office to move that weekend and completely spaced sending an update. It was a long and grueling weekend but we got the office moved and set up. The new place is fantastic and, to my delight, has a coffee shop nearby I can go write at before heading into work. So I’m getting more writing done, which is always fun. So prepare for two-month update.


Book 3 is well over 50,000 words and closing on 60. I’m largely writing from the two ends to the middle, plugging away at scenes and fitting them in together. The rewrite is going to involve a lot of polishing.

A number of short stories are underway, including a number of Tales of the Templars. The possiblity of a short story collection in my fantasy world, or something of a sci-fi collection, is also appealing to me, since I’m being on my big book writing projects. Hey, it’s words on the page.


Haven’t watched too much new stuff the last few months. I did watch through the Last Kingdom, the Netflix show based off my favorite book series, and did a post about it. That was worth watching, and re-watching.


I started the two-moth period reading through a series of six short stories set in the Battletech universe (science fiction, large robot combat). These short stories dealt with the espionage and special operations the various factions therein did to obtain the plans to build their own battlemechs. They were a good intro to the world (which I know very little about compared to other scifi IPs), but not a lot of exciting mech combat.  

Then came the next book in Philippa Gregory’s series, the Constant Princess, about Katherine of Aragorn, first wife of King Henry VIII. Expect a book review soon.

Finished up a non-fiction book I was reading as research for Book 3. Small Unit Action in Vietnam: Summer 1966 is a collection of reports from squad, platoon and company skirmished and battles in Vietnam. It gave me some good ideas for the fights of book three, though the tech level of the Renaissance Army series is not at the Vietnam levels. Still, a lot of good bits in there.

Ten Tales of a Dark Tomorrow is a collection of science and speculative fiction stories from Keven A Kuhn, a fellow author of the Twin Cities who I befriended doing the Books and Beers events around town. Kevin’s first book, Do You Realize? left me in tears, and this one was just as striking. True, they were some dark tales, but damn if they weren’t good. 

To top off the list of books for the two months are three Warhammer 40K books. One from the Horus Heresy, Slave to Darkness, which was okay. I’ve read it, don’t need to do that again. Devastation of Baal, about the Tyranid invasion of the Blood Angel homeworld, was a fantastic book that felt like a true 40K novel, with heroic characters, alien mindsets, and jackasses I get to see die. The ending is a big deus ex, but against something like the Tyranids it kind of has to be. Finally there’s Gunheads, which pits Imperial Guards against orks. Lots of tank combat, which is fun, and against orks, which is even more fun.


Have not been playing too many story games lately. Working through Warmachine: Tactics, still, but it doesn’t really hold my interest too well. Most of what I’ve played recently has been Surviving Mars and Surviving the Aftermath, two Paradox games about building communities (either on Mars or post-apocalyptic Earth). Both fun, maybe too addictive.

What’s Next

Keep reading and keep writing. I’m gaining traction on Book 3, slowly knocking scenes out and completing acts. If I’m not working on that, I’m working on some other short stories. Now that I’ve got a morning writing routine again, I’m excited to get into some thousand word mornings.


March 1st Update

Well, February was short.

Writing Projects

I added a few thousand words to Book III, but most of the work was outlining the final campaigns and getting a map together to work out how it goes. Some work towards blog posts on various topics.

Movies TV

Surprisingly knocked out five movies and shows off my list, though to be fair the four shows were all one season or less to watch.

Knocked out Girl Meets World, the sequel series to Boy Meets World, which was hugely influential when I was growing up. Also finished Brooklyn Nine-Nine; while that final episode was not great in the annuls of history, it was a very B99 ending to the show. I think it worked.

Saw the movie The Great War of Archimedes, a historical film about the construction of the WW2 battleship Yamato. Though almost entirely fiction, the movie has an impressive scene showing the sinking of the ship and gets into the warmongering politics of pre-war Japan.

I finished off the month by watching the Witcher Season 2 and Space Force Season 2. The Witcher continues to be a fascinating show, set in a world I want to know more about. I expect to check out the books or games soon.

Space Force is amusing but continues to fall short of awesome. It’s such a short show with short seasons it hard to get any development going.


Read three books in February. Ordinary Vices by Judith Shklar, a philosophy book that the Good Place brought up. It was an easier read than most philosophy books, but I probably still missed half of its points.

The other two were both Jane Austin books, Persuasion and Northanger Abby. I still have some trouble focusing past the two-hundred-year difference in writing styles and techniques, but both were good stories to get through. I got through most of Persuasion before I looked the plot up in Wikipedia. Northanger I looked up right away. I’ve concluded if I’m reading something that’s very far out there in terms of style, getting a synopsis ahead of time helps understand what’s going on.

Looking forward to spending some time reading some easy sci-fi or historical fiction, get away from the heavy reading of the last few months.


Completed the story for Halo: Infinite. It was okay. It just doesn’t feel like a whole game. The entire story between Halo 5 and now, which I was looking forward to, is gone. The game ends but there’s still more to do. A lot of mysteries were brought up but not completed. What’s going on? Who knows?

(I actually looked this up; the story between games is told through some books and another video game, Halo Wars 2, which is a Real-Time Strategy. So I guess there is a way to learn what happened).

What’s Next

March is dedicated to advancing writing projects. Maybe I can’t finish off a rough draft of Book III or my fantasy novel, but I can get words recorded, complete a few of the Acts. Look into some conventions and whatnot. See if I can get something going.

January 1st Update

December was a fine month; got a lot done, and still had time to celebrate the holidays. All while psyching myself up for 2022.

Book Projects

Added several thousand words to a number of projects, but the big news is I figured out all the plot points for The Colonel Lieutenant and I’m in a good position to complete the draft by the end of the month. Of course, I said the same thing a month ago. Will it work this time? I’ll let you know in a month.

Movies and TV

Continuing with What we do in the Shadows. Finished off Hawkeye and started Book of Boba Fett. Also worked through the second season and various single films of The Goes Wrong Show which is outright hilarious. In terms of film I got out to see Spider-Man: No Way Home, which was a fantastic movie. Loves it, can’t wait for it to get released.


Slowed down a bit in December; only finished three books. One is a book with advise on how to make tabletop wargames (oddly enough, entitled Tabletop Wargames). Just for fun, in case some of my other projects take off.

Both the other books were hard reads: White Princess¸ Book 5 in the Plantagenet and Tudor Series, about Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII, who is often forced to submit to the whims of her husband and his mother (the Red Queen of Book 3) in humiliating ways.  The second is Last Girl by Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman from Iraq who was a slave for Isis. It is her story, and while not graphic, it is not a happy read. Worth reading, yes, but not happy.


I finished the story for Horizon: Zero Dawn but I’m still playing through the side-bits. Lots of little quests and errands to run. Also finished the main story for Star Wars: Squadrons, the VR-flight game. That was also a lot of fun, but knowing how the Star Wars sequel trilogy goes sapped a lot of my enjoyment of the end video.

Started up two other story games. Halo Infinity on the console and Warmachine: Tactics on the PC. Halo is a first person shooter, but unlike other Halo games there’s an open world element to it, which I’m having fun exploring. Warmachine: Tactics is a game version of the tabletop wargame (which I also play). I kickstarted it a long time ago but never got around to actually playing it. Now I will.

In Pen and Paper, we finished up the Alien RPG, which was phenomenal, though since we were playing through a pre-planned adventure, I’m not sure how a custom built campaign would run. My Pathfinder 2E game is moving along nicely, and I’ve worked out some of the endgame for that.

What’s Next

I do not have anything on the schedule at the moment; during January I’m going to sign up for one or two conventions this spring and summer, and send some emails to breweries for Books and Beer events. Hope to get back out there soon.

Happy New Year!


December 1st Update

November was a busy month, with a trip out of state for a family birthday, then a trip back home for Thanksgiving taking up two whole weekends. What free time I have had has been geared towards my upcoming pop-up bookstore (see below for details), but I still managed to get some writing and, just as importantly, some planning done.

Book Projects

I got The Colonel Lieutenant to well over 20,000 words, which is nice. What’s even better is that one of those scenes proved to be a blessing. While writing it, I realized I was going about one of the subplots completely the wrong way. Now, I have a much better idea of how that will play out. My goal is to get a rough draft done by the end of the month. Doable, but a stretch.

Not much work done on Orcfyre or Tales of the Templars, but I’m still picking at them.

Movies and TV

Worked myself to the end of Season 2 of What we do in the Shadows. Still enjoyable, but not bingeable. Saw the first two episodes of Hawkeye with family over Thanksgiving. Looking forward to how that plays out.

Got out to see Dune in the theaters for my birthday. Overall I liked it; they kept to the story but got the feel of the Dune universe. Also saw Shang-Chi when it got to Disney+. A lot to like about that movie, though I could nitpick it if I wanted to.


Managed to finish an impressive five books over the month, getting me well over my 36 books for the year goal. Now I’m aiming for 45 books.

Knocked out two more books in Philippa Gregory’s Plantagenet and Tudor novels, the Red Queen about Margaret Beaufort and the Kingmaker’s Daughter about Anne Neville. Expect Book Reports on those soon.

Also read through the graphic novel Harlem Hellfighters about the 369th Infantry Regiment in World War 1, an all-black regiment that fought valiantly in the trenches, often to be ignored by the government of their country. Very hard to read as they author and illustrator don’t hold back from the crap those soldiers had to experience.

During my out-of-state trip I read through a Warhammer 40K eBook, Yarick: Imperial Creed. This is a book set about 40 thousand years in the future in a grimdark science fantasy universe, and covers the first campaign of one of the celebrated heroes in that universe. I’d give it 3 of 5; parts of it are pretty enjoyable, but what could have been a book of political intrigue quickly became ‘nope, it’s spiritual corruption’, supported by a cast of copy/paste characters whose names I’ve already forgotten. At least the character came off well.

The fifth book I finished was a re-read; Call to Duty, the first book in the Honorverse prequel series Manticore Ascendant. Set in the sci-fi universe well before the grand battles of the Havenite wars, the characters of this series have to rely on ingenuity instead of technology to solve their problems. I’m rereading the series in anticipation of the fourth book being released early next year.


Still working through Horizon: Zero Dawn. Maybe about half-way through the main campaign and a bit into a DLC storyline. Still enjoying the game, though like a Farcry game I’m wondering if it’ll keeps its balance between exploration and story.

In pen-and-paper news, one of my gaming groups is working through an Aliens RPG by Free League Publishing. Set after the events of Alien 3, the game puts your characters in the dystopian future of the Xenomorphs. The game, though, is fascinating as it it built to function much like a movie. Our characters have hidden agendas, there’s the possibility of PvP conflict, and the combat is fast and brutal. It’s a simple system but we’re having a lot of fun playing it.

What’s Next

On December 18th I’m running the 3rd AZ Gallery Pop-Up Bookstore, with nine authors set to display their books. The gallery will be showing their Tiny Artwork, all artwork is less than 10 x 10 inches and $100. It’ll be the first pop-up bookstore since 2019 and I’m excited to run it.

Other than that it’s keep writing and keep reading. Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and will have a great holiday season. Cheers!


November Update

October was a good month. I figured out the last few big hurdles for my big projects and read a lot. I also completed the Inktober challenge, one drawing a day for 31 days. My drawing is getting better (though it’s not great), but the big thing is comfortable I am with showing some of it off. It kind of reminds me of my writing group preparing me for publishing a book, in that getting used to a small audience prepares you for a bigger one.

Book Projects

The third book the Renaissance Army series (tentatively titled The Colonel Lieutenant) is at just below 20,000 words. The good news is I figured out one of the subplots and worked out the events of the book, the last few hurdles I was dealing with in terms of preparation. A few minor things I’ll have to puzzle out, but I can at least get a lot of writing done.

The big re-write of my first fantasy novel (Orcfyre) is coming along. I wrote the ending chapters of the book earlier this month, because I needed to know what characters I had to introduce and what themes to play up. Maybe it’ll change, but for now I’m working up to it.

As for short stories, I’m still working on a couple. Want to have the first Tales of the Templars collections out next year sometime, so I’m trying to work out what stories to put in. If you’ve read Templar Scholar, feel free to head over to the voting page and chose which ones you’d like.

Movies and TV

Haven’t watched too many new things recently. Still working through What We Do in the Shadows, the vampire comedy show, about an episode every two or three days. I do like it, but I’m well into the second season and I’m wondering if the characters are going to stagnate. Since it keeps getting renewed, I don’t think it’ll be an issue.


Managed to get through four books in October. Reread Dune in preparation for the new movie. Started a new series, ‘The Plantagenet and Tudor novels’ by Philippa Gregory, a set of historical fiction novels working through the War of the Roses and the following histories. Reading them in chronological order, I got through Lady of the Rivers and The White Queen. Also read through the book 2034, a novel about the next world war and the impact of cyberwarfare on its outcome.


Finished off Black Book, a video game set in Russia in the 1870’s. The main character is a witch, but in Slavic mythology that means something different than what we’re used to in western practices. Her quest to gain power to retrieve her dead fiancé delves into eastern mythology, and the company that made the game (a Russian studio) took efforts to help the translation to a western audience. The gameplay itself is pretty good, combat being done as a card game where new levels unlock new combos. There wasn’t a single fight I got into that I couldn’t figure out with what I had on hand.

Started up Horizon: Zero Dawn as the next story game. An adventure game with the same feel as a Farcry game but far sci-fi. I’m maybe a tenth of the way into the game, but it managed to pull a fantastic surprise on me. I don’t want to spoil it, but the introduction game was setting me up for a very different game than the one I found myself playing. It was fantastic.

In the Future

I’ve got a Books and Beer event coming up in December at AZ Gallery, so at least a chunk of November will be set aside to deal with that. No other events planned, but I expect to get into a couple in 2022.