A Little Give

One of the things I learned during my late teens was that all things pass, no matter how horrific, no matter how much it feels like there is no chance for hope, it will pass and things will clear up. In a lot of ways, Sand and Blood was a lot about putting those ideas into words, to never give up.

When I'm anxious, the best thing to do is write. But, at the moment, I've been beyond the ability to sit down and really write something, so I'm using less satisfactory methods of relieving pressure, which is to say I'm festering, complaining, and whining a lot.

Looking Back

But “it” gets better. The pressure can't build forever. Fortunately for me, the last few weeks have been things resolving or completing instead of getting worse. The biggest are three major threads that I have seen as part of my entanglement.


I finished a commission that I started last year. It was a nasty one, at least in terms of complexity and it was a big one to start with (50k words). It ended up being about 20k words over that, but I basically wrote a short novel. Now, as much as I love getting paid to write (commissions are pretty much my only writing income), there is just too much else going on so I asked the commissioner to hold off on the next request until 2023.

Now, there is another commission still undone but that one is half in limbo and half haunting me. In other words, the commissioner is willing to wait and I'm basically triaging it. They are aware this is happening because I finished the original commission but there was something they weren't happy with, so I'm trying to go back and make them happier but it isn't simple as switching out a Diet Coke for a Diet Pepsi, it was rewriting close to thirty thousand words.


The other good news that has come my way is that the dishwasher was finally repaired. That was one of those “please make it simple” when it became something bigger. But, six weeks after we bought it, it works and has worked for a week. And it actually solved the problem that we were having with the old one which was to say it actually cleans dishes instead of just splashing water on them.


I'm also finally “done” with a big project at work. Not quite, there are a few minor left over and I still need someone to review close to ten thousand files, but I'm able to move to the next thing.

I'm so close to an item I really want to work on because it would benefit the entire application as a whole. That will remain out of reach for a few more months and I'm fighting upper management to keep it.

I only hope it benefits us as much as I hope it will. It's hard to keep the faith when struggling.

Looking Forward

There are still a lot of things left to get done, but most of them are “stable” in that they are pressing but not getting worse. That ends up being a big category.

Derecho Repairs

The last major derecho repair is the gutters. I found a place that I thought would work, but then they turned around with a “we'll show up randomly” things which I'm really not fond of, but getting household repairs has always been very messy and difficult.

I figured I'll give it another month before poking them to do it, or start looking for a new gutter replacement service. I have the money to pay for it but I'm always worried something is going to go horribly wrong and I'll need liquid funds for that.

Related, I need to finish up my mother-in-laws shower stall, remove the carpet from our basement, and start to clean up my office.

Flight of the Scions

I'm waiting for the sensitivity reader for Flight of the Scions. It was supposed to be only a few weeks but things have gotten off track. My hopes is to get it done by ICON this year so I have a book on the table.

And that leads into the other big task for Flight of the Scions: redoing the cover. I wasn't happy so I've been messing around in the last few weeks to try coming up with something new. Not sure if it will work (not sure where to get a good critique on those type of things), but I want something that fits all my books, past and near future. I'm also trying to use LCH/LAB colors so they have the same brightness which was always glaring to me.

Proposed Fedran Covers

Larger Thumbnails

Creating covers is difficult because I'm mostly doing it in a void. I haven't found a good place to ask for critiques. More importantly, ask for iterative critiques. Obviously, I want somethin appealing but I'm also getting closer to my skill as an illustrator with some of these.

The main ones are the Flight of the Scions and Second-Hand Dresses covers. I learned a new technique for doing fires and I really like how the bonfire of Sand and Ash turned out.

If you want to give me feedback, please do.


I also want to finish Nitride because I need to convert a couple websites, including https://fedran.com/. This is “blocking” my writing because I'm having trouble getting new stories to wire up properly, so I want to fix it properly but switching to the new static site generator I wrote to solve the problems.

And I need to get Allegro done by September.

Leaning Back

Coding projects like Nitride are peaceful for me, as it working on the covers. I'm also playing a lot of Satisfactory despite the fact my laptop can't actually handle anything other than 90s era graphics in the game (I have everything dialed way down).

Tweaking my website's generation is also fun.

Gitea and Gitlab

I also spent my anniversary weekend learning about Digital Ocean and switching to a private Gitea server. I didn't really plan on doing this, but GitLab is switching to a new business model (e.g., reducing the number of hours for the CI/CD servers) but the way I organize things doesn't fit it.

I had this problem earlier when I tried to pay for a higher end a few years ago. I was a major fan of GitLab, including answer questions on Stack Overflow and telling everyone about it. But the fact I organize things into groups (one for accounting, one for Fedran, one for Measured Stars, commissions in one, one for each major OSS project) doesn't work because you have to pay “per user per group.” Well, that would mean I would need to get 6-7 user licenses for just myself. They also don't have a good mechanism for handling commissions, a single user who shows up for a few months and then goes away. They want me to pay for each one.

So, spinning up my own Git server. It's been a fun adventure and I have a while to go, but it was a trade-off of personal time verses having it managed. When I had the CI/CD minutes, it was not really a need to decide but there is little ground for me where I go from “the free tier” to “a few hundred a month.”

I could use the self-hosted GitLab, but with their recent push to limit services, I honestly don't know if they are going to do the same thing for self-hosted, so I decided to look for different pastures entirely.


I'm still experiencing a lot of PTSD and trauma with all of this, mainly because I still have a lot broken that I can't fix. It's little things, like expecting the dishwasher to stop working, or the house to fall apart, or “something” to go wrong. I can't just look at a completed project and go “this is done and I am happy.” Even the new siding is still “new” to me.

Eventually, this will also pass. Things will stop being novel and just be the norm. But the scratches and bruises of the last few months make it difficult to look past those.

It just takes time.