August in a Nutshell

The last few weeks of August have been very busy, both in terms of obligations, deadlines, and events of note. Some of them are negative while others are positive, so give me a chance to tell how my month has been going.

The Trip

The month started with a trip to the family cabin. It was about ten days, mainly because Partner had things going on and was unable to attend (various reasons of their own, I don't force them to come to my family events). It ended up being ten days and fourteen hours of driving (I do not like driving long distance, period).

My younger brother did a lot to spruce up the cabin and he brought the results of his multi-year project: a boat he had been restoring that my father had helped build. It was cool and nice to see a slice of my childhood in the water again.

I didn't get on it. Not that I didn't want to, it just didn't work out. The younger cousins (my kids and his kids) were having fun with rafting and water skiing. That meant I was well suited for jumping into the water around the dock and occupying them as they took turns, helping guide the boat into position, and assisting in my kids (who don't know how to swim as well as his).

I still had a ball. I like visiting family, seeing my brother, and just remaining in contact since I'm really terrible at initiating conversation outside of those events.


One of the projects I started in August of last year was trying to get broadband into the cabin. The city had a large-scale installation and we got free installation of fiber (about twice as fast as I have at home). It was pretty much installed a year to the week, which worked out because my company stopped providing an access point and my phone doesn't work that far north†.

Having that there means that there is a better chance I can have a “writing weekend” where I got up for a couple of days of writing and work since everything I do is remote. I just have to get a better monitor/keyboard set up there.

Still, when it comes to reducing the chaos in my life, this was something that was hanging over me as one more item in the entanglement.

† T-Mobile started saying “99% coverage of the population” which is a lot more accurate because 99% of 329.5 million is still missing out on 3.3 million people. As such, that is Verizon territory and my phone pretty much craps out the second I hit the interstate. (I won't buy non-GSM phones and Verizon screwed me over more than once because I hold onto phones for about a decade before buying a new one.)

Flood Five

Now, I wouldn't be mentioning the entanglement if there wasn't something that went wrong. When I came home and went into my basement office, I could smell moisture. That is rarely a good sign and something that is quickly triggering PTSD.

Apparently, there was a major rain while I was gone and the sump pump had died so the entire basement flooded. Every scrap of carpet, soaked drywall, and ruined boxes were laid out for me to manage. Today, I got all of the carpet and padding out and into the garage; I'm planning on getting a dumpster in late October to get rid of it along with the rotted wood from the shelves and furniture and everything else that needs to get tossed.

One thing I find fascinating is that of all the six floods I've had in the basement (first one didn't really count since that was the week I moved in), they have all had entire different sources:

  • Flood Zero: Water main cracked
  • Flood One: Derecho in 2020
  • Flood Two: Cracked pipe inside the slab
  • Flood Three: Refrigerator water line snapped
  • Flood Four: Mother's Day toilet explosion
  • Flood Five: Sump pump

Floods two through five have all happened in the last twelve months. The end result is that I used to have a finished basement. At this point, I think the entire thing has been gutted enough to consider it no longer finished.

With best estimates, I figured I'll get it back to speed in five to ten years. I'm still working in the basement, I just have everything on naked concrete.


In 2020, I caught Covid. I suspect twice, once in February since I had all the symptoms and then in November where I had all the symptoms but even worse. During the first one, I coughed so hard I hurt myself but it was a minor hernia so the doctor's dismissed it (probably because I'm fat) until it became obvious that it was steadily getting worse.

Fast foward to July: that is when we can change our benefits at work. I switched from high-deductible to PPO and then got the doctor to look at it with something more than “well, that looks painful, so how is everything else?”

Next week, I get surgery to fix that and I have so much hopes that it will handle the nigh continuous pain I've been in for the last four months. Given that I'm hypersensitive to input, that has been a distraction for almost everything I do and prevented me from sleeping well.

Of course, I have to get through the pre-op exam, the pre-pre-op tests, the pre-op phone call, and the pre-op billing statement first.

This also put a knife edge on the deadline for the carpet removal from the flooding since I won't be able to pick up anything heavy for a while. Wet carpet is not… light. Nor is moving water-logged furniture.


A while ago, I contributed to a fund-raiser to send some writers to Clarion. Call it a wish fulfillment since I won't be able to go myself. One of the rewards was having another author read a book (or a chance to play with an AI novel writing tool). I decided to go with the reading and that meant I needed to finish “something” before September.

Since I was stalled on Allegro, I committed to finishing that novel for September. Earlier this week, I got the first draft done and I'm so excited. For what is a glorified fan-fiction of Lindsey Sterling's Roundtable Rival set in Fedran, I'm pretty happy with a 105k word novel coming from a four minute music video.

It ended up being a much different story that Lindsey's video. It ties into Songbird in a Kitchen and the general build up of stories to Fedran's world war (it's a Phase One story). Regardless, I'm really happy with the results and I hope I can polish it up to make it my sixth published novel (Second-Hand Dresses will be my fifth and Nor Curse Be Found will probably be my seventh).

Flight of the Scions

Before the trip, I got the “release candidate” for Flight of the Scions done and sent to Ingram for a print version. It came while I was at the cabin. It looks beautiful and I'm really happy how the new covers turned out.

I also botched the layout (missed one page of padding so everything has the wrong margins), so I need to order a new one. That also means I have another chance to look for typos. My dad sent me a bunch, I found a few, I'm just going to work on them in September because of Allegro.

I think I'm on-track for the November 8th release of Flight of the Scions and I'm so excited. I will have early copies at ICON this year since I'll have a table in the merchant area along with Shannon Ryan's Merger of Evil.

For a novel I've been working off and on for almost two decades, having this out will be both a relief and a source of constant anxiety because it doesn't have my full evolution of writing (I couldn't rewrite it one more time, I just couldn't). It also means I need to get off my rear and start writing Pack Daughter, the second of four in the series.

Fedran Website

Of course, I want to show off since my books are available to read even before they are for sale. Unfortunately, the site generator that uses, Gatsby JS, proved to be too fragile for how I use it. Plus it doesn't play well with my goal of getting my site on Gemini.

That means I need to get it migrated over to Nitride as soon as reasonable. Until then, the site is pretty much static until I can do that. It also means I can't start posting weekly chapters for Allergo until that comes out (even though everyone will be able to read the entire thing).

I just like having that weekly post. It makes me feel good to see that steady signal. I have no clue if I'm going to try again for three hundred consecutive weeks like before. In most regards, I just effectively took a year off from writing.


September is going to be a busy month for me. I have Allegro to get out, Flight to polish, and fix the little things that are needed to get the book out the door.