Category Archives: Emo shitfaced crying

Safe and Healthy, Relatively speaking

So, before I talk about the fan-fic stuff, the ‘real news’:

  1. Thus far, my immediate family is health and safe. Fort Worth is continuing to climb in COVID-19 cases, but I am still working from home.
  2. There have also been protests in Fort Worth and Dallas, but rioting so far has not impacted me and is limited to more public venues.
  3. XPO (my employer) has not had to layoff any more people so my job should be secure. Finances are still shit but stable.
  4. I’ve had a couple of friends get COVID (one died) and several family members in California and Virginia are in jail due to protesting.

Other than the above, things haven’t been so hot. Ankle and knee are slowly getting worse and I can’t do any therapy with the curfew and COVID lock-downs, so I have to manage with ice packs and grit.

I got one chapter of TWCD out, as well as an entirely new work, the Bird of Hermes. Set in between ATTWN and TWCD, Bird of Hermes is a sci-fi horror tale of the System’s Alliance exploration and evacuation of a pre-Inusannon colony world code named Rho-19. It ties in with a planned RPG segment I will be doing with some of my Discord participants, and will end in a series of reports on pre-Inusannon races to further out the backstory.

I’ve also updated Xabiar’s magnificent Citadel document he writes for me, so make sure to check all of that out.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13582864/1/OSABC-The-Bird-of-Hermes

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13384854/1/Broker-Report-on-the-Citadel-Internal-Structure-and-Organization

Also, for those of you who are just finding out about my writing, I finally got around to creating a document to map out the best and recommended reading order for all of this stuff. Check out A (barely) annotated guide to the PremiseVerse:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NrYO5x8huRm1mpK32V96VdE2tIn9vBag1aZr1z_1BOU/edit?usp=sharing

Finally (and most hilariously) I finally decided to take a stab at recording an actual video. I warn you now that this is a low-quality web-cam and in my ignorance I forgot the mic pickup was right next to the A/C vent so the sound quality is absolute garbage.

However, it is a video message that is, according to the people who’ve watched it, worth listening to, so in the immortal words of our Queen Senzawa, ‘here we fucking go’:

I hope everyone is staying safe. You’ll forgive me if I don’t include some kind of pithy statement about the protests and the death of George Floyd, but as you can see from the video I’m tired of almost everything right now, and there’s nothing you can put on the net that will fix what is wrong with the world right now.

However, I will say this. The problem isn’t the ‘police’ or the ‘government’ or ‘hoodlums’. The problem isn’t solved by laws, or by guns, or by protests. The problem is fucking humans not giving a shit about each other, and lots of people are guilty of that regardless of skin color or profession.

Until humans all learn to love one another — white or black, Hispanic or Latinx, American or Chinese, CIS or trans, gay/les/bi or straight, rich or poor — we will all continue by ruled by hate.

Be safe. You are cherished. You are appreciated. You are trolled.

Vigil says hello.

FIRE ON FIRE: FIRE EDITION

Haven’t been on much. Two friends are in critical care with COVID and my uncle passed away due to it last week. Several friends are out of work and with mounting bills, medical issues and no relief in sight, especially in Florida where the unemployment system is… unoptimal.

My place of work laid off more than 500 people in IT and support and more in operations. Critical people, senior devs, code writers who knew the legacy systems. This is going to lag things at work and pile more mess on me and my bosses. Schedule is even more chaotic and I am the on-call this week.

Not exactly happy with the home-schooling options presented by my nieces’ school, went through a social studies section claiming the cause of WWI was ‘economic anxieties’ and a Common Core math section that actually said 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 and 12 * 12 are the same. So now I have to go over that.

Anyway… I have gotten another few pages done on the next chapter of TWCD and may put out a tech guide. Not sure. Haven’t been on Discord lately so please obey admins or there will be more punishment for Susan handed out.

So far, I am not sick and neither is my mom or nieces. Given the asthma both nieces have, my smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure and mom’s issues, none of us will be going out in public for anything. I have no problems with re-openings; there are no good options for the people out of work who are going to be evicted without income.

That being said… God gave you common sense for a reason and I certainly won’t be interacting with anyone who thinks a bar crawl is a good idea at this time.

Still alive : coronavirus edition

So, the world has gone to shit.

The coronavirus shares several frightening characteristics with a theoretical flu variant call the Wheeze I came up with for the backstory of PV Earth, a virus that killed tens of millions of people and was one of the key factors in shattering world civilization into the mess that became the Days of Iron. As several other factors in my work have also come to pass, I begin to grow worried.

That being said, I am a paranoiac and disaster prepper anyway, so this outbreak hasn’t affected me much IRL. I already have high quality filters for my air, lots of toilet paper, MRE’s, canned goods, and the like. And I had a stack of N95 masks and surgical gloves after the SARS outbreak that are still here. I am able to work from home and my company is deeply involved in shipping medical supplies and food. Given the importance we have I am unlikely to lose my job.

I haven’t gotten much writing done, mainly because I’m having some blocks on the next main chapter, but also because my work schedule is chaotic. Our company lost our disaster response team so I’m part of a rotating on-call 24/7 response group. Yesterday, I worked from 5 AM to 2 PM, got 3 hours sleep, worked from 5 PM to 9 PM, got three hours sleep, and then again from 9 to almost 6 AM today. This erratic pattern doesn’t allow for good introspection.

I do have some updates, however. Thanks to the efforts of the Patreon donators, we have new art of Shepard — specifically, her attire at her wedding and a close up of the Star of Terra.

Sara Shepard, dress white formals.
SoT by Wele.

Right now, the current plan for the fic is as follows:

  1. Side Piece work — tech guide on battle suits, finish refurbishing the Order of Battle Document, and rework a few things in the Biotic Encyclopedia
  2. Finish next main chapter of TWCD
  3. Put out chapter of Lions
  4. Put out chapter of Alliance News Network interviews — Anderson

Beyond that… I dunno. This virus is a scary thing, but so is what it is doing to society, to economy, and to the lives of the poor and without resources. My work at my company is literally saving lives so for the moment I am more focused on that. On the other hand, with everyone shut in and isolating, I know a distraction is valuable, and I have certainly not forgotten any of you.

Feel free to email (viley@att.net), PM in FFN, DM on Discord or comment here if you need to discuss anything, need advice or want to ask a question. Please stay safe. Please self-isolate and don’t take stupid chances, this thing is containable if we just all act intelligently.

YES! NEw Chapter of TWCD is out on time!

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11178712/52/OSaBC-II-That-Which-Cannot-Die

I am satisfied with this 26k chapter. Have a wonderful new year and let’s hope 2020 is better than 2019. MAJOR thanks to the Editing Gang for pulling together and getting this one out the door, and with the suggestions that made the re-write work.

Also, we’re in the New Roaring Twenties.

THE DEATH MARCH

You may have noticed no new chapter is out yet.

The Editing Gang took a first look at what I had scraped together a while back and said “No”. I started editing that, then work conspired to interfere.

Until things calm down at work (this is the first day in over two weeks I have not pulled at least a twelve hour day) I won’t have any time or energy to do anything.

Depending on how stupid the week of Christmas is I may or may not have an STG file. We’ll have to see, but for the moment don’t expect any kind of updates until January at the earliest.

Finally, the new chapter

So, the good news: the new chapter is with the Editing Gang and should be out by next weekend (unless a rewrite is needed.)

Bad news: As it stands, it ends on a cliffhanger.

I need to write the Shepard-Liara scene, but I want to do it the right way, since it is going to be a critical thing. And as I may have pointed out before I am not a female so I want advice and feedback on how to proceed before I do so.

The semi-good news is I will try to have that chapter done before Christmas. We’ll see.

No, I’m not dead yet.

The next chapter of TWCD just went to the Editing Gang.

I haven’t written much (and thrown out a lot of what I have written) due to some issues: back pain, wrist pain, the same old shit.

It has occurred to me I’ve been working on this mess since 2012, which is impressive in how lazy I am. I already talked about this in another message, but I’ve gotten PM’s asking if I’m alive and what not.

There’s times I just don’t write, and I should probably drop messages here more often but… a lot of times when I get home, I just want to decompress.

Anyway. The Editing Gang says the chapter sucks even more than the last one, so no telling when they’ll get done fixing it. I’ll see if I can get one more out the door before October.

A new chapter is almost ready for the editing gang : Some words on updates

I’m about 14k into the next chapter, and 6k for the chapter after that. If all goes well I should get the next chapter to the Editing Gang on May 4 towards the evening.

Today someone PM’d me and asked why the first two books only took three years for 1.2 million words when the third has taken four years for half that much.

Given that I’ve gone for months and months without an update, I think it’s fair to kind of go over whats been happening and why. This is a long rambling post, so you don’t have to read unless you’re actually interested.

The Early Years (OSABC, Mother’s Tears, the original STG files)

So, back when I started this entire mess, I really didn’t plan on writing three million words scattered across some fifty stories. The first couple of things were just me playing around.

At the time, I was very much trying to distract myself from my wife’s death. I was trying to throw myself into activities (writing, painting, guitar, hiking) to focus my mind, distract my emotions and let me function again after almost a year of sitting in my house and only leaving to go to work or buy food.

When I started writing I had no large plan. As I’ve said elsewhere, the whole ‘sheep and battle chicken’ thing came out of a set of nicknames, the idea of comraderie and friends for life that (at the time) I felt bitter about missing.

As such, a lot of people have commented on the disjointed, overly emotional and angsty tone of OSABC, and the depressive overtones. That’s to be expected.

My wife was dead. My brother was dead. My father was dead. My two closest friends had been blown to bits by an IED in Iraq. My cousin, the one I looked on as my heir, was diagnosed with epilepsy and couldn’t finish college. My relatives bickered over the property of dead people. My career was a wash and I had lost most of my savings, and the last bit of love I had left, my mother, had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Go write some fucking sunshine shit when this is on your plate, and more. So I used OSABC to distract, and at times, I vented. I spewed out concepts and words and beliefs that I needed to get out before they poisoned me, even if at the time I was unaware I did it.

But more than that, OSABC chapters were often short. Some of them weren’t even two thousand words. Before I started writing I had outlined a great deal and it was easy to just fill those outlines. There was one period in which I dropped 150k words in ten days. (The DLP people can confirm.)

At some point, for some reason, people began reading, and word spread. It went from being some mangly thing with 200 reviews to having 1.5k reviews and being on the first page of FF.net results for Mass Effect fan fiction.

At this point I had just finished off OSABC and made friends with people like Bebus, Progman, Wordkrush, and jay8008, all of whom influenced how I wrote and what I wrote.


The Explosion (ATTWN, the Cerberus Files, the STG Files, and No Single Raindrop)

Due to the influence of people who could actually write, ATTWN had a much stronger emotional tone to it. Many of the critical pieces I took from conversations with Progman and Bebus, and others from Wordkrush. Things from Shepard burning her Penal Legion Blanket to the N7 Parade of Swords Passant to the honeymoon on Inte’sai — all came from the influence of others.

It was also around this time I began chafing even more at the limits of canon and more importantly, the blank spots. For such a vast universe that ME provides, we know very little. And so to distract myself further, I began to fill it.

I had to research math, cultures, physics, musical styles, biochemistry. I had to come up with histories spanning millennia, truly alien biologies, and alien mindsets that both fit canon to a degree and yet built on it in the Premiseverse way. And all this study distracted me further, because it was interesting.

If OSABC was an exploration in grandiose melodramatic storytelling, ATTWN was emotional. At times it was more draining than I expected, and other parts were difficult to write, and yet I got most of it done in a single year.

It was towards the tail end of this effort that a few of my more devoted readers had conversation chains with me, mostly via PM in FF.net. Most of them had the same complaint: I love the writing but you have a lot of typos and errors.

I attempted to make a focused effort to fix that, but work became more hectic and slowed that down.


The Current Period (TWCD, Sorrows, Memories)

When I wrote OSABC, I had outlines for everything and knew exactly what I wanted to write. When I wrote ATTWN it was just plugging things into existing frameworks, not a lot of originality was needed.

At the start of TWCD, however, I was running from whole cloth pure AU. The startup ‘tutorial’ sequence in the game never sat well with me, and in scrapping that (and tossing away the last rags of canon) I had to set out to write a story that incorporated all of the many setups and foreshadowings I had while preparing more for the later installments.

So I began to write, and at first I cranked things out fast, but the chapters felt a little.. flat. And around this time, one of the people I’d been talking to, Comma, decided it would be good to help out editing my work. The first efforts of this were done in shared Google Docs, and the chat function of Docs allowed me my first real time chats with my readers.

Their input cleaned up the work (A LOT) and also began shifting my focus. I incorporated suggestions and trimmed entire sections, sometimes tearing out entire outlines to put in a really good idea.

As time went on my job got more and more intrusive. Instead of working 9 to 5 and having from 6 to midnight to myself, I had to juggle managment, taking care of Mom, dealing with church events, and a much longer work schedule.

To help out further the Editing Gang was officially formed, and at some remove, a Discord was created…bringing us to today.


Look, LP, that’s all great but why the fuck did you go from putting out 150k in 10 days to one chapter every four or five months?

Four reasons, really.

  1. OSABC and ATTWN generally followed at least parts of canon and were outlined and partially drafted before I started putting anything on FF.net. TWCD, on the other hand, only has an outline of the ‘big events’ and is completely AU. As more material gets added, it means I have to make sure I’m not contradicting my own lore, inducing plot holes, or other such nonsense.
  2. OSABC and ATTWN were both written without a serious attempt at polish, editing, or redrafting. I just let my fingers go and then hit publish. TWCD has several drafts that I go through now: one initial rough draft, then a check for plot holes and inconsistencies, and then a draft that the Editing Gang sees and usually tears apart, sometimes so much I have to rewrite large portions of the chapter. The pre-drafts usually take a least a couple of weeks and it can take a week (or more) for the EG to all finalize their work.
  3. My personal life has gone from mostly stable to… somewhat unpleasant. I’ve had to take a demotion, my heir has turned out to be a disappointment, and my family has become intolerable. On top of that, I now have had multiple medical issues — my back can seize up and cause me pain that lays me out for days and now my wrist is causing me pain when I write. For about three months I simply couldn’t write more than a few short sentences at a time.
  4. Most importantly, writing TWCD has been a lot harder on me emotionally than the first two. Digging to find the emotional depth opened up some scars. It’s tiring, and the reason there’s so much new side material is that I enjoy writing that more than the main story sometimes.

I am glad you have all made this insane journey with me, and barring something terrible happening to my health, I plan to keep writing out my series. For the moment I’ve put my original fiction on hold (although I dabble at it from time to time) because the market is so bad right now.

I know the stories are at times… not the best. There are typos or missing words, or too much focus on the Rule of Cool. There’s a lot of angst and perhaps not enough light. I am trying to make it enjoyable and entertaining, for no other reason that I’ve had people tell me what I’ve written has gotten them through a shitty day, or inspired them to write, or helped them get past a dead relative.

If I can do that, then what started as just me trying to distract myself is a goal worth pursuing. Thanks for reading.



New chapter of TWCD… with bonus

It took a bit longer than I would have liked, but I finally got it done.

I’ll be pretty busy the next few weeks, but I hope to get one more chapter out (6k so far) and most of new Volus and Drell material going.

As for the new chapter, well… did you really think it would be that easy to be rid of krogan Dr. Doom? LOL.

Next chapter of TWCD with the eDITING GANG!

Right now, I’m hoping to have it ready to go by Saturday night, or at the latest Sunday. Then I’ll do a bit more work on the STG Guide and Tech Guide before another chapter release before Christmas.