September’s Succulent Sausage

(This post went to Patronizers at the beginning of September, and the public at the beginning of October.)

While “See the Sausage Being Made” is an accurate description for the $1/month Patronizer level, I’ve been pondering renaming it “Give Lucas Money Just For Still Being Alive.” Because that’s kind of what it feels like over here.

Hi, folks. August was dominated by an exploding air conditioner, the Apocalypse Moi Kickstarter, and the writing grind.

The old air conditioner was installed in 1994 and featured some interesting design decisions. My home has boiler heat, so the AC is all Spacepak-style small ductwork. When you need to get ductwork around a corner you can either cut the duct and install a 90-degree joint, or–bear with me here–you can beat on the duct with a hammer until it bends to more or less the shape you want. The electrical was wired directly into the meter, without circuit breakers. The coolant had leaked over the years, and replacement coolant was several hundred dollars a pound. We needed three pounds. Oh, and the coolant pipes were likely to blow if we fully pressurized the system.

Average lifespan on that system, if properly installed, was about fifteen years. We were fourteen years past that.

So we now have new AC. The emergency fund we’ve built over the last decade is basically wiped out, but that’s okay. That’s what it’s for. We didn’t have to borrow money, so we win.

The Apocalypse Moi Kickstarter worked well. I asked for $500, and it closed out at $2741. If I had managed to sell a collection to a trad publisher, I would have been lucky to get $2000. My back-of-the-envelope math says I’ll spend roughly a grand on fulfillment, but I won’t have to waste time and energy negotiating with a publisher, so I’m content.

The good news is that I’ve worked out a way to reduce the mental overhead of marketing Kickstarters. Shilling my own work is horrid, so I shilled this one by shilling other people’s apocalyptic art. My marketing is all Facebook and Fediverse/Mastodon these days, but if you search either one for the hashtag #30DaysOfDoom you’ll find a whole bunch of my favorite apocalypses and dooms. (Fun fact–did you know that George Miller never made a first Mad Max movie? Strange but true!)

I got invited to contribute to another Christmas anthology last month. Wrote that, sent it in. If they buy it, you’ll get to read it in December. That also gives me enough Christmas stories to release a collection. I’ll be Kickstarting Harm for the Holidays next summer.

Young Lucas would have never believed this. The narrowminded idiot.

The Christmas story invite soaked up my fiction writing time, which pushed off the Prohibition Orcs baseball story I need to finish for last year’s Kickstarter backers.

After hunting up some missing parts and making some tweaks, the Writing Chariot I discussed last month seems to be working. I have one keyboard on my desk and another at my hips. The desk keyboard gets used for mouse-heavy work, like balancing the credit card statement and doing page layouts. The hip keyboard is for making words. I’m not entirely satisfied with the Chariot yet, but my arms and shoulders are far more relaxed when I use it.

Or, in short: the damn thing works. I think I can do better. Even as it is, it will extend my writing life. Yes, I’m at the age where I consider matters based on how much longer I expect to live. Still shooting to get that “100 Books” award before I keel over.

Work on Run Your Own Mail Server grinds forward. I’m writing about debugging IMAP by hand. This book is very much turning into “How Lucas Deploys an Unfamiliar Service,” but at least the Star Wars motif is holding up.

The Detroit summer is waning, so I took a couple days to do some fun things. We also had some lovely storms, water in the basement, power outages, and visits from Valkyries, but I managed to keep plowing through the words anyway.

I try to give longer Sausage posts than this, but that’s really all the news. Words. More words. Still more words.

I hereby declare that I will get the dang orc baseball story finished before October, by the way. Hold me to that.

Take care, everyone.