Category Archives: Ahern Would Say I’m Whining

July 2020 update: Plasma on fire, supernova edition

It has been an interesting month, in the Chinese sense of the word.

Due to work events, I have not been as productive as I would like, but I have managed to overhaul the Patreon stuff and get some organizational work accomplished on things in the background.

The next TWCD chapter is mostly done — about 70% of it is with the Editing Gang, I just need to put the final few pieces together. The outline for the chapter after that is coming along…slowly.

I put out a Naruto chapter a few days ago due to insomnia, I will probably do more as I hit bits of writer’s block here and there. The first few entries for the PV WriteCon are coming in and I will set up a page to display those here very soon.

There’s also some new art that’s been completed, Uressa T’Shora is finally done:

Uressa T'Shora

Work has not really improved. Things have become… messier in the real world. The issue with Coronavirus, protests, climate issues, and the rest of things feels disconnected from ‘life’ when you are basically super-isolating yourself from others. There are always challenges to overcome, but each one feels less and less like ‘accomplishment’ and more and more like an endurance time trial.

(Warning: Rant below)

That being said, I’d like to take a few moments to address a common theme I’ve been seeing and hearing in regards to all kinds of things; namely, intolerance to those who disagree. It’s an insidious poison, one that makes anything that doesn’t fit your filters just get ignored, and blinds many people to reality.

This is not limited to any one group. I have no ‘formal’ political affiliation that makes sense, given my views are mishmash of hard left, hard right, and draconian. But I always, always try to take the time to listen to people who disagree, or who have mindsets different than mine. And what I find is that most people I know are doing the opposite: refusing to listen to anything from anyone who is not in agreement with their own views… regardless of the validity of said views.

You see it everything now, from left to right wing, from various interest groups and blocs, from fans on shows to people discussing what should be hard science. We have now come to a point where facts, discourse and compromise are less important than irrelevant shit like ‘purity’, ‘wokeness’, ‘patriotism’, or whatever the fuck other whack-ass bullshit drives any particular brand of wonkery.

“Well that’s great, you senile old bitter bastard, what the fucking duck does that have to do with the fanfic stuff?” I’m glad you asked.

Ironically, my fic started as me venting negativity to get it out of my system, and now I realize I was actually not negative enough to match reality.

The Earth went to shit in the Days of Iron in my fic because people took a hard-line stance on everything and doubled down on Fuck You Syndrome. People wanted ‘strong leaders’ but no longer trusted government. Wars erupted not over real problems but over the egos of their nation’s leaders. Resources were ruined and destroyed rather than shared because by then people had convinced themselves that anything not from their nation was evil.

When I wrote that outline of the future, back in 2012, I was bitter and depressed at the death of my wife. I was upset because Barrack Obama was wasting political capital on projects I knew full well would not work out due to political infighting. I was somewhat negative on my views of the future.

But in my wildest, most fucked up nightmares induced by drinking Jack Daniels and eating cheese pizza after midnight, never did I imagine anything like what I set forth in a Series of Sorrows Unending would ever come to pass.

Now?

  1. We live in a world where the Wheeze is real (COVID-19), and even worse than I set it out to be.
  2. We live in a world with worse climate change conditions than I set up, with 100f + temperatures in Siberia and massive wildfires in Australia, and that if we had any kind of nuclear exchange as in the Days of Iron would actually be WORSE than my depiction. If all the carbon locked up in tundra lets go, the sea level rise would drown billions.
  3. We live in a world where the structure of transnational cooperation is not only frayed but is basically destroyed, where the UN is increasingly seen as a laughingstock with countries like Uganda and North Korea on the Human Rights council and its toothless peacekeeping forces helpless to stop ethnic cleansing in Myamar, China, and elsewhere.
  4. We live in a world where the power of the rich and influential is so much stronger than it was just a decade ago, where already we see the rich talking about orbital stations and moon colonies. We live in a world where the rich are idolized and all that drives people is status and money and goddamned Twitter followers.
  5. We live in a world where actual achievement is sneered at, and where fucking participation alone is supposed to be worthy of appreciation, where scientists and artists are backed not due to the brilliance of their creation but if they are black or lesbian or whatever.

I set out to make a Days of Iron that was supposed to be ridiculous and over the top, because of course no one wanted rich autocrats to rule them, or to have draconian laws, or to start world war III over petty shit.

Now, standing on the cusp of what is a nightmare given flesh and form, my own words mock me. And the shape of what has transpired is because we no longer take the time to listen to those who disagree.

Instead, people define everything in their life by what separates them — race, sexual orientation, gender definition, political affiliation, belief in pseudoscience — and then get offended when others judge them based on what they define themselves by.

We now live in an era where science, common sense, and generosity are not only ignored but openly mocked, where virtue signaling is more important than empirical data, where ‘critical thinking’ is actually being derided and instead people cling to horoscopes, numerology, or (God give me strength) fucking homeopathic crystals.

A lot of people have said “OSABC is too depressing and grimdark things would never turn out that way on Earth”. And they are right, things are turning out worse. Victor was a monster but at least he was competent and had a certain level of grace and pity. I doubt very strongly any of our leaders, potential leaders, or corporate CEO’s have his level of vision.

A lot of people have said they don’t like ‘reading depressing things because I want to escape from that’. And this is why the entire fucking planet is going to shit. Because people can’t be bothered to spend two hours doing Meals on Wheels. Or skip playing CoD to work at a soup kitchen. Because people don’t want to deal with ‘bad things’ and ‘depressing things’.

Well, folks…that is how you get to the Days of Iron, basically. By ignoring the reality going on around you, and by pretending it will all be okay, until you wake up one morning and discover everything isn’t okay. For some people, that is happening right now, with COVID, or with drastic temperature changes. For a lot of others, it hasn’t happened yet.

But it will, and by then it will be far too late to do anything about it. I’m aware that almost everyone reading this is probably feeling like you have no power.

I reiterate the wisdom of Benezia T’Soni, which someone recently reminded me of myself, that when it comes to changing anything, you always have to start from zero, and that any increment is progress. That is true in both regards. If you work towards change, even if you do nothing but improve a single person’s life for a few hours…that is still improvement.

And the flip side of that is that lack of trying, of telling yourself you don’t matter, that you can’t fix it, that it is not even worth trying, becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy if enough people buy into it. If you let yourself be neutralized by despair, then you add one more tally stone to the stack of shit already tipping us towards the abyss.

Or, in other words…no single raindrop blames itself for the flood.

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.

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.



The GDPR and You — more shit you didn’t need to know.

I don’t give a fuck about your personal information.

I don’t believe I collect any. If I did, I guarantee I will only sell it to people not involved in the production or support of Kanye West videos.

On a more serious note, this is what I have:

  1. The website itself (which includes the forums) : I collect your username, a ‘real name’ (which can be anything), your IP (although this is not something I view or keep) and your email address. I currently only utilize the email address for the mailing list and newsletter. As far as I know, my security features (Wordfence and Akismet) ensure none of this is exposed. I certainly don’t sell it and the only time I look at your IP is in preparation for total exterminatus banhammerings, so I doubt it will matter much.
  2. Discord Chat: Discord handles all the data functions there. As far as I know they are GDPR compliant. If (how in fuck I have no clue) they are not and this becomes an issue we will look for alternatives.
  3. Google Docs: Google handles data functions for this. If you are in the Editing Gang and use Google, there’s a good chance Google is going to fuck it up. Just be aware it’s them and not me.
  4. Fanfiction.net Data: Who the fuck knows? In theory I can’t see much beyond your penname. I can see rough counts of where people are signing in from by country. Everything else is handled by FF.net.

If you have a concern regarding the GDPR and LogicalPremise.net feel free to leave me a reply here or an email. I can’t imagine anyone doing so, but I’m always prepared.

Business Travel & Personal Bullshit

I’m unfortunately traveling on business, and in an area that’s from the 1950’s or fucking something because internet is beyond shitty.

Aside from that, I’ll be back on Friday, but Monday morning I’m going to be in court due to some family complications. I haven’t had a chance to do anything with the fic, but (so far) my health is stable and I should have a chance to work on it when I get back.

There’s no telling what the Editing Gang or the Discord Group have gotten up to in my absence. If another crackfic chapter is produced I cannot be held accountable.

🙂

July Update

I’ll be brief:

  • My back has not improved, and due to some complications, surgery is … risky. I will need to wait until my vertebrae heal to have that done.
  • Until I have the surgery back pain will get worse along with possible nerve damage
  • Finances are not good enough to risk taking long leave periods and work is … unstable.

As a result, it is very unlikely that the next chapter of TWCD will be out before August. I’m sorry to have to put things off at a cliff-hanger, but that’s the facts.

The fic is on hold, not dead. Even in the extremely unlikely event that I cannot finish it I would find a writer to continue it and provide ideas and support.

(Liethr: Medical details are in the chat, Cat can tell you, I’d appreciate your opinion. )

Progress on next chapter

It’s about 10k words so far, and progress, while a bit slow, is a lot faster than on the previous chapter.

My back is not being cooperative, but I am working steadily towards getting this chapter out as soon as I can.  So far, so good.

Updates and no I am not dead

The past… weeks? Month? have been extremely bad!hectic!messy. The reorganization, several other issues at work (all of them retarded), back pain, financial issues and a lot of other stuff have derailed the update schedule completely.

The Good News: I have material ready from co-author Jacob, most of a Lions chapter, most of a tech guide update, and most of a Cerberus files thing on the batarians, as well as 4,000 words of the next chapter of TWCD.

The Not-so-Good news: My work responsibilities have become a lot more demanding, cutting down on my free time

The Bad News: I don’t know when things will let up.

 

I am taking a vacation in early April to try and decompress. I may work on the stuff then, or I may just finally rest and work on it when I get back, but it will get updated.

Some of you have donated to the Patreon. We’re currently looking for a new artist after some issues with the old one. Anyone who is interested in making money (a lot, not $5 or $10 but potentially several hundred dollars) who can do artwork is encouraged to contact me DIRECTLY at viley@att.net with your portfolio — we have art waiting to be done.

Aside from that, I’d like to also give a reminder to everyone that you should be reading Aberron’s Living an Indoctrinated Dream.