February Introspections

Beloved Reader,

Music first, as always, and then I’ll give you my thoughts.

There are difficult times in one’s life where one falters, fails, and invariably cannot pull himself up in time to recover before the referee’s whistle sounds out through the court. You have been signaled as the loser, someone (a person, a thing, a time) takes that trophy from you, and you simply must live to bear with the shame of failure, with the question of what could have been.

That is, of course, if you consider that one failure in time to be the only one that decides the others.

The truth is that life is full of moments where you are not the one most prepared to fight through that day, whether you’re competing against yourself, others, or your environment. You will drop into the mud, the sand cutting in through your clothes, and despite your body exerting to its maximum capacity, you will still feel the cold sting of the night crawling across your body.

At times like that, at times when you must fail, you can only decide how you feel about it.

At times like that, my thoughts turn to the words of one of Rome’s wisest rulers:

“Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.”

Marcus Aurelius – Meditations

Verily, at times when preparation, motivation, and action all fail you; when your control has been utterly, inexorably lifted from your clammy, trembling hands, all you can do at that moment is perhaps the most important thing you can ever do: choose what goes on inside of you. Is this failure a lesson, or is it simply an unavoidable tragedy: I tell you that we’ll be tempted to choose the latter first. It feels good not to account for one’s own shortcomings and instead blame it on our environment, our rivals, our ungrowing natures.

At times like that, however, you need to cast it aside, look deep inside of yourself, and even though you’ve appeared to have lost your health, your mind, and your honor, you must continue moving forward bravely, because you’ve decided that even this does not harm you: it is only the universe’s reaction to your own choices.

Too often we get back on our feet in action, but not in spirit. We must do both to keep our failures from defining what we can do.

We have to keep on with it, hand-in-hand, together, because that is what makes life so worth living. Struggle is the peace of the common person, and to avoid its pain is also to avoid its growing sunlight.

Excuse me, I’ve been in a severe mood recently due to some real-life work situations. I promise I’m okay. I just needed to get all of that off my chest, I think.

Let’s talk about books.

Finishing what we Started

It’s such a shame when you start a book series that’s incomplete, and it never gets finished. The investment of emotion you make into the world, the characters, and the story simply gets tossed up into the mists of time, lacking that so-vital ribbon of fate anchoring it all together into a complete narrative.

As a younger analyst I told myself I’d never do such a thing to readers, but if we look plainly at what’s transpired, we can see that is what happened.

While I’ve been good at releasing books with relative certainty (up until Certain Vengeance last year, at least) it’s often been a tossup as to which books I’d be releasing. I’ve been a wild gardener leaping from plot to plot, planting and watering half-tilled beds willy nilly with little regard for the people eating the vegetables that would emerge.

“I know half the carrots aren’t here right now,” I’d say, “You’ll have to wait for me to plant the rest!”

And then this salt-hungry Nocturna League fan, who wants nothing more than to see The Captain violate the rights of people with complete impunity, ends up waiting years for the next few books to release.

I mean, on one end I have trouble blaming myself: I would tend to release more of whatever books were the most successful and try to finish them up as quickly as I could. On the other hand, however, we can also accuse me of dropping things simply because they haven’t done as well.

Some will say I’m being too hard on myself with this, and that it’s not a proper “business” decision to focus on the things that aren’t pulling in the money, but the issue there is that the Holy Verses is entirely interconnected. It’s not like I’m writing an unpopular book about ugly robots when I could be writing a much more popular book about sexy robots: the fact of the matter is that this series with ugly robots enriches the satisfaction of the sexy robots: even if it’s two series, they are also one in the same in the grand scheme of things.

Now, I won’t delude myself into thinking that a book of ugly robots will do spectacularly well when placed side to side with a book of hot, sexy robots doing hot sexy robot activities, but I am trying to explain that the two of them are so deeply connected that ugly robots makes the sexy robots, much, much sexier by existing.

Okay, I’ve pushed this metaphor too far.

One set of unpopular books becomes that much more rewarding to committed analysts who want to understand as much as they can of the more popular books. It’s not simply connected to an author you enjoy, but the story itself has details, characters, and contexts that, while aren’t vital to a series, makes said series an entirely more-satisfying experience.

This isn’t one of those “crossovers” where characters are arbitrarily set together to go on an equally arbitrary adventure: there are no alternative timelines, there are no “multiverse versions” of characters (despite how likely that might seem at times) and there are no bad guys that just show up for the sake of being a bad guy. Everyone in the Holyverse has their one life, their one story. The stakes are far more real than a comic artist “interpreting” the story a different way: the things that happen within the Holyverse are of biblical repute, and can be treated as such.

It’s all quite important, and I need to start acting like it again. I’m committed to finishing The Courts Divided, Nocturna League, and Soot Knight before moving on to anything else, and from now on when I publish a book I am going to go all the way through it. I simply cannot continue working on more than two projects at a time, both for my sake and the sake of our Readership of Analysts. We all deserve to finish these things and place those little loops in our belts.

With that said, expect Occult Vengeance to be finished, then Courts Divided, and then finally Nocturna League, around the same time I start pushing out a one-off novel or two.

Now, onto the second state of affairs:

Books that don’t fit the Holyverse, but are still awesome

So, I have a lot of book ideas.

Like a lot.

Sometimes these ideas actually have nothing at all to do with the Holy Verses, or they do take place in them, but the relation is so small that it’s practically disconnected. An example of this would be Halloween Knight, a very cool holiday-themed book that has like one character that you might see in the Holyverse, but the story has positively nothing to do with it.

I’ve been pondering if I should “out” myself and show my “face” as it were. By opening another pseudonym, I could publish these single-book works (some being more romance, horror, or simply off-key fantasy) without distracting prospective readers. Don’t worry, I’d tell you fine folks who it is and where to find them.

Do you like the idea? I don’t want to be accused of being too “off-genre” in my already multi-genre sort of universe.

Time to try something out: a vote!

Let me know what you think.

Prompt: what’s Chaos’ favorite food?

I’d like to try something different this time. Above is the question prompt I’d like you to answer. I don’t consider my committed readers to simply be bystanders, but participants. Could you help me do a little analytical work? I know I know, it’s technically my job to look through all these causal narratives and find the truth, but sometimes the four lenses get a little foggy.

Could you help me figure out what Chaos’ favorite food is, really and truly? Please back up your answer with a reason or two – Chaos may be a master of wild mayhem, but that doesn’t mean we should follow his example and assign favorite foods willy nilly.

Please comment, email, or simply contact me with your thought. The analyst that delivers the best insight will see it added to Chaos’ official lore page for all of history.

Conclusion:

I love you, dear readers, analysts, compatriots and all. Thank you so much for your support and patience as we fight through the dark times together. With effort, we will forge a new light to see the world with.

Ever inkward, ever your friend,

Kell Inkston

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