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Knives Posts

Episode 30, Almost Known as “Hekka’s Middle Bunghole”

This is one of the big ones, so it’s a time to thank all my patrons for their continued support. Thanks! You guys put the iron to my backside.

The title of this episode is “An Ethical Foundation”, which is a central idea in the story as it develops, but I toyed with calling it “Hekka’s Middle Bunghole”.

I was searching for the perfect profanity for the moment after someone explodes, and I never found it. What I came up with might have been perfect, with the proper setup: Hekka is a God known in the south, who has three heads and who gave birth to heaven, hell, and our world. Elena, apparently, stopped to consider what three heads might imply on the other end.

There was no way to fit that bit of information into the narrative without breaking the flow of the story; perhaps a future “bonus content” project could be a series of short legends about the deities I pull out of my (only) bunghole when I need a good profanity.

Speaking of bonus content, my fake user accounts with the same settings as my loyal patrons can all see the bonus content properly. Patrons, please let me know if any of you are still having trouble. If it’s working for you, I’ll start loading up Kat’s backstory.

Meanwhile, on the writing front, the curse of the serial novel is starting to bite me. I’m deviating from my plan as I come up with ideas during the flow of the writing. I like the direction I’m heading, but some of the big-picture stuff is starting to drift. But you know, I’m just going to run with it for a bit, and focus on the relationships that will drive the story. What could possibly go wrong?

Enjoy An Ethical Foundation

Episode 29 Published!

A quiet murder, followed by a confrontation. Martin doing what Martin does best. But this time, his best may not be enough.

This episode went well, writing-wise; there were some details I had to work out for realism but the overall chain of events was pretty set. The rest was a matter of the small things. If there’s one thing I regret about the serial format, it’s that when I read an episode long since published I often wish I spent more time on the small things. It’s a lesson the Kansas Bunch has been trying to pound into my head for years now: The life of the story is in the little details.

We have in the narrative an honest-to-god MacGuffin now, and I have mixed emotions about that. It’s a time-honored device that appears in some of the best stories ever, but it also serves as a crutch in some pretty bad writing (see, “The Quest for the Important Thing to Defeat the Evil Guy”). I had intended to resolve this particular item fairly quickly, making it more a clue to the mystery rather than an object of great contention, but… well. I might not.

Please enjoy Episode 29.

Episode 28 released!

It’s been a while, for which I apologize. This episode was more difficult than I anticipated; on the surface it’s just a series of actions, but adding the nuances of Martin’s voice to narrative was trickier than it should have been.

Next episode has killing in it, so it should be easier.

Behind the scenes, my new health regimen has been a little at odds with my writing routine; so I’ve made the command decision to allow health rule breakage in cases where writing benefits directly. This might be the time to buy shares in Scottish distilleries.

Please enjoy Episode 28: Down the Hole.

Working out the Patreon Kinks

The code provided by the very nice people over at Patreon that was supposed to help my faithful patrons get access to special content turned out to be broken beyond redemption. Sorry about that, folks. We’re moving on from that now.

The new process is much more manual on my part, but I don’t see the day coming soon that it becomes a burden for me to maintain patron’s accounts (though we can always hope…). So here’s what happens now: I get notified when I get a new patron over at patreon.com. I then create an account on this site using the same name and email that is on the Patreon registration. I create a wacky password and send it via email, along with a welcome text and login and password-changing instructions.

To those patrons who already have accounts here, please contact me if you need me to reset your password. I suspect that is most of you; one of the things the old plugin seemed to have a hard time with was sending out the email with new account information.

At this time the new setup is untested (even a manual method was not as simple to set up as one might expect). Current patrons, please let me know if you have any difficulties.

Knives Episode 27 Released

Actually I hit the “publish” button a few days ago, but never got the announcement out. Whups.

In this episode the group, now one larger, returns to the ruin to get the thing that’s under all the bodies. Whatever is is. We learn a little more about the woman who lends her name to the title of this episode, and a little of Bags’ history as well.

Speaking of Bags’ history, I’m giving up on the Patreon plugin for WordPress that is supposed to “simplify” the process of allowing patrons to see content others can’t. It’s just not very good, and I simply don’t have enough patrons to warrant trying to fix it. This weekend I’ll set up a simpler, manual system to allow my bestest friends in the whole world to see the backstories without the current malarkey. I look forward to the day that manually granting access is overwhelming.

Also, I’ll be posting the last, sloppiest, part of Bags’ history, so I can get to the job of posting Kat’s backstory. Once I get that out I’ll start twisting arms again to get people to spread the word so we can cross the next backstory threshold.

Read the episode!

Episode 24 published!

Sorry for the delay; it’s not that this hasn’t been in the chute for some time, it’s that I got so caught up in writing Kat’s backstory as a “special treat” for patrons (be careful what you ask for) that I let the actual story moulder for a bit. This episode is compact, but I like it for two reasons: Something important happens, and as a bonus we catch a glimpse of Captain Baldwin’s humanity.

Speaking of the backstory, I took the last week off my day job to bang out a sloppily-written long-short explaining why Kat is such a hard-ass, and perhaps to provide clues to unlocking her tightly-wound soul. Alas, it took a few days to gain any traction, and the story is not finished yet. There are two big events I still need to write, and a third I need to finish or jettison. I do have the first chunk ready to publish, however, and I will be trying to remember how to post patron-only content on this site.

NaNoWriMo is coming, and I will be spending a lot of time on a different story, but I hope to keep moving Knives forward at the same time. That would be easy, were it not for the aforementioned day job. Where oh where is that $5000 per episode patron?

While we all work to find my sugar-person, please enjoy Episode 24: Conscripted.

Episode 23 published!

About a week ago I decided it was best to release episodes on weekdays, so I decided to wait until Monday to unleash Episode 23. Whups. The good news is you won’t have to wait so long for the next one. This episode is more about intrigue than overt action, but Martin does do something he’s likely to regret.

On the writing front, Episode 24 is rolling down the release ramp. The events in that episode were not part of the original plan, but they really help the next few episodes make more sense. It also pushes off for yet another episode that will allow me to release the rest of Bags’ backstory. But it will come, I promise. In other news, I have set aside a chunk of time to whip out the next backstory; I will be reaching out to the Mighty Benefactors to see if they want Kat (as I originally promised) or whether they would prefer someone else.

Please enjoy 23: The Well

Episode 22 Published!

And it’s a big’n! For those who started reading when this story was still known as The Fantasy Novel I’ll Likely Never Publish, this passage into the unknown carries extra symbolism.

While rain falls only to be turned to steam, Martin is the first witness to the slaughter at Brewer’s Ford. Nothing remains above ground; any answers that may still exist lie below. When he reaches the bottom, Martin makes a promise. The sort of promise that Martin generally scoffs at.

I delayed publishing this episode a little extra to make sure that commitments I make now will work going forward. Episode 24 is kind of a tipping point, plot-wise, and I need to be careful running up to that. Or maybe I’m just thinking too hard.

Anyway, please enjoy Episode 22: Into the Darkness.

Episode 21 is Real

Martin at last gets a little time alone, although cooking to death might be the cost. His first look at what once was the fortress at Brewer’s Ford is sobering. But maybe he has friends he didn’t know about before. And Elena says something that you should pay attention to.

What is moving Martin now?

It’s an odd double life, writing Episode 23 while trying to move Episode 21 to “ready”. Knowing that as soon as I send this installment into the world I’ll find a fatal flaw. But I’ve gone over Episode 21 enough times to know it’s pretty damn tight. As tight as I’m going to make it anyway.

Meanwhile, for the patrons, the rest of Bags’ backstory is coming real soon, I promise. We just have to cross a certain spoiler line in the main narrative first.

Episode 21: Ruin

Episode 20 Released!

This is a significant milestone in the story and in the history of the Soul Thieves. We don’t know anybody who sits at the big table where decisions are made, but something has gotten the wizards worked up enough to make a big move. If this were chess, the Soul Thieves just moved their queen. That’s a bad strategy early in the game, but who knows how long this contest has been going on?

Behind the scenes things are proceeding apace, but I did realize while working on episode 21 that I had messed up an important detail back in episode 17 or so. I went back and made some changes to those episodes, but nothing Earth-shattering. Ah, the joys and pitfalls of serial fiction. Good thing I don’t have very many readers yet.

Thanks, as always, to my patrons. Some of the beer I drink writing each episode is funded by you, and it makes me proud and grateful to have your support.

Episode 20: Conflagration