John S. Westmoreland November 25, 1936 – March 17, 2022
My dad is gone.
A week ago, he had a heart attack, most likely secondary to his ongoing diabetes. He was reluctant to go to the hospital, but my brother saw him while it was ongoing and persuaded him. On Friday, March 11, they took Dad for a scope test and he coded on the way back. They got him back after ten minutes or so, but he didn’t wake up. On St. Patrick’s Day, he slipped away peacefully without a struggle.
I got used to not seeing him much because of physical distance. It’s slowly sinking in that I never will again, until it’s my time to enter the Realm.
I love you, Daddy.
Job hunt is still ongoing. Book 3 is not on hold, but I have no bandwidth for it right now. I extract bits of the conlang and scenes here and there when I can and paste them into my SmartEdit Writer file. If you haven’t read Tunerville or Confluence yet, you can get them at boomkaartbooks.com.
Right now, everything sucks and I feel very unmoored, but don’t worry about me. I will be okay. It’ll be easier when I have a job and a new life to keep me busy. If you have a spare good vibe hanging around, I’d appreciate it if you’d send it to the Job Gods and tell them to get on it.
Tell the people you love that you love them, as often as you can.
I probably should have posted this sooner, but if you follow me or Boomkaart Books on social media, you’ll know I’ve been running a sale on the first two books of the Tuner Trilogy. Through December 25, I’ve discounted the digital and paperback editions of Tunerville and Confluence.
I may continue it through New Year’s Eve; I haven’t decided yet.
BY THE WAY — if you read Confluence and liked it, please please please leave a review. It is naked and afraid!
I also knocked the paperback price of The Shiny Folk and other stories down by a dollar, permanently. It’s now $4.99 and will remain so. That book’s not selling — story collections really don’t tend to do well, plus it’s older, so whatever. WordPress won’t let me offer it through my site anymore without ponying up for a Business plan, and I can’t afford that. So the focus has remained on the trilogy for now.
Speaking of which, I was waffling between finishing The Catalyst (working title; I have a real title in reserve) and writing the third and final Tuner book. See, here’s the thing. I wanted to keep trying for traditional publication. Tunerville got close but didn’t quite make it, and because I needed something, ANYTHING, to put on my resume, I decided to formalize the indie publishing that began with The Shiny Folk. Thus, the raw material for Boomkaart Books coalesced into reality. Sort of like the way the tuner materializes a ghost, ha ha.
If you’ve read Confluence, you know I went totally extra and created a conlang. In fact, the book’s dedication page contains a phrase from said language. Here it is, from the glossary in the back of the book:
The language is called Essdran. Pronounce the double ss like the th in them. It’s based loosely on English and Welsh, with a mashup of tweaked Celtic cognates.
I wanted to write the other book and then finish Book 3 while I was querying. But I’m still job hunting, and I’m too stressed to concentrate on it properly. Plus, my head keeps drifting back to the world of Ilarrya, my fictional country in which Essdran is the primary language. Sooooooo . . .
I decided to work very hard on the conlang, which will feature more prominently in Book 3, while pushing equally hard on finding a job. The language really needs to be more developed before I can dive into the story. The harder I work, the faster it will get done.
Not only that, but when Book 3 comes out, I intend to offer a discount when you buy the trilogy as a box set. Amazon will let me do this through Kindle Direct Publishing; as I’ve mentioned before, I’m still hoping to find another distributor because they suck.
I know some folks won’t buy any books in a trilogy or series until it’s finished, due to the fear that the author may not actually finish it. This poses a bigger problem for traditionally published books than indie ones — if the first book in a planned series doesn’t sell, publishers will drop it like a hot lava bomb. So buy that book, y’all.
That’s not really an issue in self-publishing. I can do whatever I want on my own timeline. Because I want you to have the complete story, and I promised I’d finish it, I will finish it first. Those of you who read Confluence and are pissed off at me over the ending (YES I WENT THERE, MWAHAHAHA) should be happy with this.
And if you like Ilarrya and want to immerse yourself in its backstory, let me know. I could probably offer the world compendium as a companion book.
As you can see from the bafflingly large (?! wtf WordPress) thumbnail in the sidebar on my homepage, Confluence is out!
Click on the picture to go straight to its Amazon page or visit boomkaartbooks.com/books. Tunerville is also on sale through Friday, September 17, just in case you haven’t read it yet (ebook only).
It’s just the ebook right now—a paperback is coming but not until I go through a proof copy. The preview looked okay, but you never know.
You can watch the trailer below. I have better software now and I think it turned out pretty good. I’m not happy with this being the thumbnail, but YouTube wouldn’t pull one from the first bit, so poo on them; it’s their fault. Neener neener!
I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. My conlang needs a LOT of work, and I want to write something else. I promised to finish this trilogy (and I will!). NaNoWriMo is coming up, but in my current situation, I don’t think I’m in the best place mentally to do it, unless I find a job and a place before then.
Y’all have no idea how bad this is. Really. The system is so broken. You can’t get a job unless you already have one, because if you don’t have one you’re not a desirable employee? I mean, what is that? Why would I need a job if I already have one?
I just need someone to give me a chance. :'( My creativity has taken a hit. All I can do is my best. I hope you enjoy the new book.
Behold, the cover for Confluence, Book 2 of the Tuner Trilogy!
If you follow me on Twitter at @DameWritesalot or at @BoomkaartBooks, now you know why I kept tagging it with a hole, haha.
There will be a paperback, a bit later but the e-book is imminent. I need time to order a proof copy of the PB to make sure everything prints properly. I did not do that with The Shiny Folk and was disappointed, but oh well, no one is buying that anyway. Anyway, my beta and hard-copy edits are done. Layout is done. The paperback cover is done—I can’t usually do that until I know how many pages it will be, since I have to use a template.
I am nervous, y’all. Ner. Vous. Even though I’ve done this twice now, I’m always scared I messed something up. But I can fix it. I have that power.
Also, I think WordPress has jacked up their editor again. I can’t see headings now. They’re trying to force me to pay to upgrade and that is NOT going to happen. It can’t; I still do not have a day job.
I will make another announcement when the e-book goes live on Amazon. See you then!
Betas are finished. Feedback is good. I have printed, hole-punched, and bindered my hard copy. The latter involved digging through my storage unit for the office box that contained my hole punch and manuscript binder. You see, I packed them, because I assumed I would be in my own apartment and UN-packed by the time I needed them again, but as we all know, the ‘rona is still borking everything up.
At least I think it’s the ‘rona. It could just be me. :P
Photo: Elizabeth West
Don’t pay any attention to the word count; it’s not final.
At any rate, we’re rounding third base and headed toward home now. I recently finished the book trailer for Confluence and I cannot WAIT to show it to you. You’ll get it when the book goes on pre-order. I have better software. It’s so good I can’t stop watching it.
In fact, it’s so much better than the other one that I actually redid and replaced the second Tunerville book trailer. It’s exactly the same; it just plays and looks much smoother overall. Since that video is linked to my portfolio, I decided I’d rather have a better-quality version, instead of the one I made in PowerPoint. Embarrassing!
The next thing you’ll get from me is probably a cover reveal. I will do that before I drop the trailer. Now to make the inside as spiffy as the rest of my materials, haha.
If I can stay off Iceland’s Geldingadalir volcano feeds, that is. I may be slightly obsessed with this thing. But can you blame me?
It is almost July! Still no job! Fuck everyone and everything! Burn it all!
Now that’s out of my system, it’s not all bad. I’ve had a couple of interviews, including a second one (although that company hasn’t contacted me yet; I plan to follow up on Monday but I suspect they went with someone else). I also actually DID get hired for a contract job in March, helping Alison Green of Ask A Manager get her pages and pages of December updates sorted.
I took the CompTIA test—AND PASSED IT! I’m Project+ certified! I don’t ever have to take that test again!
Burying the lede; Confluence has been sent to my two beta readers. I still have to do a hard copy edit, but I didn’t want to do that until I received some feedback, in case I have to move or delete anything. I haven’t even looked at it since I sent it. Instead, I had to study for the test.
Since I passed the test and don’t have to study for it anymore, the project activity list in my WBS (jargon, heh) looks like this:
– Conlang (depending on how extra I decide to be and how far I decide to take it, it could be just an artlang or a whole-ass separate thing). – Beta edits. – Hard copy edit. – Trailer: – Video edits. – Audio edits. – Assembly.
A note here: I know the first trailer was laughably amateurish, and the second wasn’t much better except for the fabulous voiceover. I’ve been watching a lot of professionally produced videos on Twitter and elsewhere and I noticed I’m seeing shots now instead of just content. Seriously, there’s nowhere to go from here but up!
– Back cover layout (I’ve got the front cover the way I want it). I can’t do this until I know for sure how many pages the paperback will have, because Amazon templates depend on page count. – Inside layout (easy; I already did it with Tunerville and all three books will be the same). – Set up pre-orders (if I can figure it out) and submit to KDP. – Paperback proofread. – Get a damn job so I can find another distributor because Amazon
I have a world compendium too, but I haven’t decided yet if that’s just for me or if it will be for you too.
I am so, so tired of job hunting, y’all. Even though working again will mean less hours in the day to write/produce, I think having my own space again will help a lot. The current situation is not good for my mental health, and that does affect my creativity. I’m hoping for a change of scenery far away from here, but we’ll have to see what we get.
I’m very anxious about what my betas will say. The extra outside edit with Tunerville has not happened this time. I just want to finish the story, but I want to give you the best version of it. I was hoping to have Confluence out and Book 3 started by now—between the CompTIA class and the Momergency, it’s just been crazy. (Once again, know the signs of a stroke; when in doubt, call 911 immediately.)
But I’ve begun to move into Book 3 headspace. So the machinery is ramping up again.
Although I’ve tried to make Confluence a self-contained story as much as I can, in the vein of The Empire Strikes Back, it’s still a middle bit. Obligatory plug: If you haven’t read Tunerville yet, get it here.
I’m excited about Book 3. I really am. It’s gonna be FUN.
Sorry it’s been a while since I posted. Still no job, still no new place.
This week, I finished a rough cut of the trailer for Confluence and the IRS dropped the $600 stimmy into my account (finally), so I sent off the contract to my voice-over actor. The trailer is much smoother than the first one because I used Movie Maker instead of PowerPoint this time. Making these is kinda fun, I must admit.
I can’t wait to show off my cover! Seriously, I’m really happy with it. Now I’m combing through the manuscript again before I send it to beta readers.
In other news, Mom got Moderna COVID vaccine number one a week or two ago through the county health department. She’s set to get her second shot at the end of this month. She had NO side effects whatsoever, not even a sore arm. I signed up through the health department and a different healthcare system. The latter contacted me first for an appointment.
So, as of yesterday:
You get whatever flavor they have—in my case, it was Pfizer. Side effects so far have included sleepiness (I went to bed at 10:00 pm last night, unheard of for me), a sore arm this morning, and a little dizziness and fatigue, nothing serious. I do have a bit of a headache. But it’s difficult to tell if that’s vaccine-related or because it was very windy yesterday and we’re into allergy season.
Keep wearing your masks and get your vaccine as soon as possible, folks. I recommend signing up via various platforms and also using a vaccine spotter likethis one to snag an appointment when your state opens eligibility. Outside the US, check with your local health authorities. If you’re in Brazil (I have at least one reader who is), please, do your best to stay safe!
Confluence will probably go on pre-order, something I didn’t do last time. I will definitely let you know when that will happen. Meanwhile, if you haven’t yet read Tunerville, grab a copy now—you’ll have a much better reading experience with Book 2 if you read it first.
The Shiny Folk and other stories has come off expanded distribution, as it’s not selling, the royalty is much lower, and I need every penny I can get. So for now, you can only get the story collection in the U.S. I’m exploring options other than Amazon’s platform but that will have to wait until I find work.
The dream of traditional publishing has not died. As writers continue to practice their craft, they get better. Once I finish Book 3 of the Tuner Trilogy, I have another fantasy waiting in the wings. It’s all outlined and ready for me to start work. I’d hoped Tunerville would be the one, especially since I got so close. Maybe The Catalyst will. Who knows? If not, you’ll get it the indie way, unless I massively f*ck it up.
Short post is short since I’m feeling vax-tired. Till next time, keep reading. It’s not like there’s anything else to do in the (hopefully waning) days of a global pandemic.
So you might know that in addition to working on Confluence and planning Book 3, I’m also trying to study for the CompTIA Project+ exam.
The study guide and course do NOT have practical exercises; I guess they don’t think this not-quite-IT certification warrants those. But without hands-on practice (not just quizzes), I’m worried that I won’t retain some of the practical concepts. This really should have been a full-on course, with homework.
I’ve been trying to apply them to the only work I’m actually doing right now, but since I’m well along in the process for Confluence, trying to break it down into work packages retroactively has proved difficult. SOOOOOOOO…
I’m gonna start over, with Book 3 as the project, and plan it using these concepts all the way through.
This means ditching JaNoWriMo but not the writing I’ve already done. It’s okay; I didn’t get very far anyway, and we’ve been pretty busy dealing with a major threat to our democracy, a deadly pandemic, and drastically altered holidays. Starting over on a project just means it gets the attention it deserves.
If you’re tempted to @ me for the about-face, remember, I’m doing all this by myself while also job hunting and looking after my mom. (Although she’s frustrated with how long it’s taking—as anyone would be—she’s actually doing really well.) The stress of being unemployed really does not lend itself to higher thinking.
I just realized I forgot ALL ABOUT THIS (see previous post, the Bad section).
My progress will be slow due to the need to study for that exam. But I just opened a new project in my SmartEdit Writer program, and I have 1,961 words already, mostly from jotting down bits of scenes and dialogue here and there.
Plus, I also wrote some that I thought about putting in Confluence but realized they’d fit better in a third book, and I saved them. I wasn’t going to give myself a word count target; however, the program has set it up at 20,000.
That gives me a 645-word target per day. I can probably manage that. Even if I get behind, I should be able to catch up. A good writing session for me can hit 2,000-plus words easily.
This one’s going to take a while, folks. I don’t have a title for Book 3 yet, but we’re off and running! I’ve dropped a small meter in the sidebar at the right of the home page. I’ll post weekly updates (not daily) because I’m busy.