“FreeBSD Mastery: Jails” and a new novella

The paperback, hardcover, and electronic versions of FreeBSD Mastery: Jails are all available at multiple stores. Not all stores–Powell’s and Waterstones, for example, always seems slow to get my new books. But it’s at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and several others. And the reviews seem positive:

The timing for this book release is perfect; coinciding with my exploration of the use of jails within FreeBSD. I’ve yet to read this book, however, the author being Michael Lucas, I trust it will not disappoint.

Haven’t read it, but trusts me? That’s great, and slightly worrisome. I hope I don’t find one day it’s been revised to a single star. In any event, the jails book took longer to write than any other tech book I’ve written. I hope you find it useful.

And then I have a new novella out–Winner Breaks All. And it already has a review:

Do you ever wonder if you’re a psychopath or just really efficient?
Do you think indecision is the worst possible sin?
Do you really dislike when people talk about curing you of what makes you you?

Then this is the book for you.

A fascinating and insightful exploration of “personality disorders” and what can be done about them and what should be done about them packed into a very tightly plotted story of future corporation intrigue.

Although I’ve published this on 1 April, it’s a very real post.

“Sudo Mastery 2/e” sponsorships available

People, especially those who have previously sponsored my books, keep asking me when the sponsorships for the second edition of Sudo Mastery will be available.

I don’t intend to start seriously writing this book until the end of April. May has Penguicon and BSDCan, which will take lumps of time out of my schedule. I meant to hold off. But people ask enough that it’s turned out to be easier to open sponsorships than keep answering “not yet.” So:

Here’s ebook sponsorships and print sponsorships for the second edition of Sudo Mastery.

Patronizers, of course, will get their name in this book as their patronage level dictates.

And as a reminder: I now have a mailing list to notify people when I’m ready to take their money for no good reason I have sponsorship opportunities.

Ebook sponsors get their name in the mobi and PDF versions. Print sponsors get their name in every version of the book, plus a physical gift to show my gratitude.

Why am I not starting work on this book until late April?

My health was iffy for the last couple of years. Now that the bad half of my thyroid is out, I feel much better.

But during those two years, I started four novels. I finished zero, because I lacked the energy to drag the book through the critical middle. That many incomplete manuscripts has built up into a mental bugaboo, a nasty little voice in my head that says I can’t finish a novel any more and that I’ve lost the mysterious “it” and I should get a job as a hamster cage cleaner.

If I take two-three weeks and pound hard on Terrapin Sky Tango, I will a) finish a novel and b) get that little voice to shut the heck up. I know what the rest of the book is. Sort of. Okay, I know where the climactic final fight is, that’s close enough to knowing the ending, right? And it’s a blood-and-guts novel, which comes more naturally than eating gelato. I’ve spit out some successful short stories after that bad lump of Lucas Loaf got extracted, so I know the fiction-writing brain works again.

I just need to grit my teeth and spend some time with Beaks, crushing that inner critic. Which isn’t that bad. I mean, if I get killed hanging around with her, she’ll feel bad about it.

MWL’s 2018 Wrap-Up

I set some ambitious goals for 2018. How did I do?

There’s a few reasons why. A relative fell off a roof and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I’m the family member that won’t get fired for not showing up to work, so I handled a bunch of it. There’s something about arguing with hospitals and rehab clinics that totally saps one’s mental energy. I lost a few months of productivity.

I figured that was why I was tired and slow. But: no.

Enter HP Lumpcraft, also known as “the abomination formerly known as the right half of my thyroid.” The surgeon did a fine job. It looks like I won’t even need a zipper tat to cover up the scar.

Theoretically, a slowly escalating thyroid debacle explains last year’s anemia.

With HPL out, I’m feeling better than I have in a long time. Sadly, my cardio is utterly shot. I haven’t only been forbidden to exercise for the last few months, I’ve been forbidden to do anything that made me sweat. Apparently a “thyroid storm” could stop my heart. That sounded bad. I chose to become one with the recliner.

The upshot is, in 2018 I wrote 51,000 words of nonfiction. They appeared in:

FreeBSD Mastery: Jails was delayed by the aforementioned TBI and thyroid. It’s about half done.

On a more upbeat note: SSH Mastery and Relayd and Httpd Mastery are available in hardcover. And to my surprise, you people are buying them. All future tech books and novels will appear in both hardcover and paperback.

I wrote 121,800 words of fiction. That should be at least a novel, but unfortunately I didn’t finish any novels. Finishing a novel demands a mental clarity I lacked. All my the fiction that actually entered the world was:

Winner Breaks All will be issued as a standalone in 2019, as soon as I get the rights back. When I get the rights back to SttH, it’ll go to my Patronizers but not to the general public. Giving SttH a cover that matches the Immortal Clay tales is prohibitively expensive, and short stories don’t make that much.

Here’s a partial pic, minus Face Less and BSQ #4. I’ll post a true final 2018 pic once my copies of both arrive.

2018 in print

So what does 2019 hold?

I am assuming that the thyroid lobectomy fixed my root cause problem. It’s a hopeful assumption, yes, but I can’t plan based on the idea that my health is still mysteriously fubar. The only evidence I have for this is that my word-per-hour productivity more than twice what it was before surgery. That’s the only indicator that matters, right?

First, I must exercise. A healthy writer is a productive writer. I gained a good twenty-five pounds this year, and blame HPL for every one of them. My double chin is his fault. Losing weight is straightforward: eat well, and exercise. The latter is where I’ve fallen down.

I’m working back up to an hour of forms first thing in the morning, five days a week, plus 2-3 nights at the dojo. I started today with ten minutes, and plan to add a minute a day. Yes, that’ll stagger back and forth as my body demands. I turn 52 this year, I can’t charge full speed ahead any more.

My flexibility is gone. You are as young as you are flexible, and my physical inability to kick people in the head really wounds my soul. After each bout of exercise I’m spending fifteen minutes on the stretching machine. For the record, this morning I hit 49″ between my ankles, or not even a right angle. This measurement is personal to me and this particular stretching machine, but the only person I’m competing with is me, so it’s all good.

I still have the standing desk. I’ve been using a stool most of the time since September, but standing full-time is the goal.

The last health goal is to master a split keyboard. Should make my shoulders happier. The Kinesis Advantage2 made my wrists happy, but rather than the Kinesis split keyboard I decided to try a Keyboard.io because the connector cable is a standard cat5. The Kinesis split keyboard has a built-in cable that maxes out at twenty inches, which is too limiting for my eventual use plan. (As I work at a standing desk, I’m pondering strapping a keyboard to each thigh and truly relaxing as I write.) I’m already pretty well adapted to the keyboardio, except for the all-important arrow keys. My most frequent key combination, CTRL-SHIFT-arrow, is kind of annoying on this critter.

I’m breaking up my word goals a little differently this year. Last year I wanted to write 600,000 words. This year, I want to write 50,000 words a month, or… 600,000 words in the year. Only words meant for inclusion in books and magazines count towards the 50kwpm goal. This blog post doesn’t. Book announcements don’t.

Why do it this way? A yearly goal is difficult. You can’t get to December and go “oh crap, I’m 200k words behind!” and make it all up. With a monthly goal of 50,000 I can get to January 25th, say “Oh, crap, I’m 20,000 words behind!” and make it up in a couple of long-but-not-impossible days. I’ve written 18,500 words in one day when I really needed to. (No, I won’t tell you which words they were… but you lot bought them, read them, and told me you enjoyed them.)

That’s 2-3 hours a day, six days a week. It leaves time for tech research, experimenting, and testing, plus the annoying minutia of being self-employed. (Sometimes, owning the means of production kind of sucks.)

Also, if I fail one month, next month is a clean slate. I want to set goals I can achieve. Psychologically, it’s better for me to say “I met my goal ten months out of twelve” than “I failed my 2019 goal.”

So, there we are.

What books will those 50,000 words per month be? FreeBSD Mastery: Jails for sure. Probably second editions of N4SA and Sudo Mastery, because of stupid publishing industry reasons. But I honestly have new content for both, so that’s okay. Finish novels I started, like git sync murder and Terrapin Sky Tango.

After that? You’ll know when I know…

New “Immortal Clay” short story

I’m pushing to get Bones Like Water, or Immortal Clay #3, finished by the end of 2018.

While you’re waiting for that, though, the latest issue of Boundary Shock Quarterly has an Immortal Clay short story. Shoot Through the Heart is about a couple of teenagers “survivors” having a really bad day while trying to make the world better. Get it at Amazon, Kobo, or anywhere else ebooks are sold.

Don’t want to buy a whole magazine for one story? Buy it for all the other stories too. I’m appearing with a bunch of other authors. If you’re not convinced, SttH will appear as bonus content at the end of Bones Like Water.

As it’s halfway through 2018, I should confess that I’m not going to accomplish my 2018 goals. Life simply hasn’t gone as I’d hoped. I’ve pushed too hard on projects I should have given up on, and not worked on projects that my heart is screeching to work on. But, there will be jails. And there will be watery bones.

After that, we’ll see.

Author Discoverability

I’m at BSDCan, so it’s a great time to talk about the discoverability aspect of being a writer. My goal is to make a living as a writer for the rest of my life. My literary craftsmanship affects that, but it’s not the biggest factor.

When you read a book, a couple things can happen. You might get quit reading partway through and forget about it. You might read the book, take what you need, and move on. Or, if the author twiddles your brain just right, you’ll track down everything else the author has written and buy it all.

As a matter of craft, I need to improve my writing so that it’s more likely that people who happen to encounter my books experience that addictive dopamine rush.

But as a business, that’s insufficient. Businesses can grow, stagnate, or wither. I can scrape by on stagnation, but eventually my current readers will die and my business will wither. Yes, yes, dead readers are a tragedy and I’ll mourn each and every one of you, but more importantly, they’ll interfere with paying my mortgage.

So I need to grow my business, which means expanding my readership.

Growth means exposing my work to new readers. Every reader exposed to my text risks experiencing that dopamine rush and suffering addiction. This is called “advertising.”

I appreciate all the folks who tell others about my work. Frankly, a person’s word to a friend is the most powerful advertising you can have. But in some ways, I’ve achieved market saturation. If you run a BSD, you’ve been exposed to my books. If you watch BSDNow, you know who I am. I’m grateful that Allan and Benedict admit that I exist.

Parts of the non-BSD world know I exist. Every time Julia Evans says something nice about me, I get a sales surge. NixCraft supports my work with reviews and public statements. These folks help pay my bills.

So, I know my work can generate appeal beyond my core BSD crowd.

I’m now looking for other podcasts to appear on, for both fiction and nonfiction. I’ll be on IT in the D on 30 July. A couple other podcasts are in discussion.

Ideally, though, a book sells itself. A book generates buzz. One book that “hits” drags in many new readers.

I’ve had a viral hit in the last twelve months. A book brought in more readers than any podcast I’ve been on. That book is, of course, Savaged by Systemd.

When something works? Do it again, but differently. Maybe as a dystopia rather than satire. And with blockchain instead of systemd.

In unrelated news: I’m a bad person, and I should feel bad.

MWL’s 2017 Wrap-Up

It’s that time again. Time to reflect on my myriad personal failures in 2017.

The obvious place to start is my 2016 wrap-up post, where I listed goals for 2017. As usual, these goals were wildly delusional.

The short answer is, my iron was back up to normal. My writing speed wasn’t, though. I’d lost too much general health, and needed hard exercise to recover it. Yes, writing requires physical endurance. Maintaining that level of concentration for several hours a day demands a certain level of blood flow to the brain. I could have faked it in a day job, but when self-employed as an artist? Not so much.

Then there’s travel. I did my usual BSDCan trip, plus two educational trips to Lincoln City, Oregon. The current political mayhem convinced me that if I wanted to hit EuroBSDCon any time in the next few years, I should do it in the very near future. So I went to Paris, where I promptly got pickpocketed. (Thankfully, they didn’t get my passport.) I was actively writing the third edition of Absolute FreeBSD, so I visited BSDCam in Cambridge to get the latest information and a sense of where FreeBSD was going. I also did weekends at Kansas LinuxFest (because they asked and paid for my trip) and Penguicon.

(Because people will ask: why EuroBSDCon and not AsiaBSDCon? A six-hour transatlantic flight requires that I take a substantial dose of heavy-grade tranquilizers. I’m incapable of making intelligent decisions while on those drugs, or for several hours afterward. They don’t last long enough for twelve-hour flight to Japan, so I need to be accompanied by someone qualified to tell me when I need to take the next dose partway through the flight. This isn’t a predetermined time that I can set an alarm for; it depends on how the clonazepam affects me at those altitudes. A drug overdose while flying over the North Pole would be bad. When I can arrange that qualified companion, I’ll make the trip.)

I need most of the preceding week to prepare for long trips. I need the following week to recover from time shifts and general exhaustion. Additionally, I have to hoard people juice for a few weeks beforehand so I can deal with folks during these expeditions. Travel disrupts my dojo time as well, which impacts my health.

Taken as a whole: I didn’t get nearly as much done as I hoped.

Here’s my complete output of big books.

Or, everything I put out: one novel, one tech book, one story, and one novella.

I wrote more stories, but Kris Rusch bludgeoned me into submitting them to trad markets. (The woman is a brute, I tell you. Cross her at your peril.)

Among my 2017 titles, my fiction outsold the tech books. No, not Prohibition Orcs–all four of the people who buy those love them, but the sales tell me I’ve done something wrong with those tales.

My cozy mystery git commit murder outsold Relayd and Httpd Mastery.

But what outdid them both, as well as most of my older books? What title utterly dominated my sales for the last quarter of the year? It was of course, my open source software political satire disguised as porn Savaged by Systemd: an Erotic Unix Encounter.

I can’t believe I just wrote that paragraph.

The good news is, once I recovered from EuroBSDCon, my writing got better.

I finished Absolute FreeBSD, 3rd edition and submitted it to the publisher.

I wrote the second edition of SSH Mastery (no link, because you can’t order it yet.)

I’m plowing through git sync murder, the sequel to git commit murder. I don’t get to see the new Star Wars movie until I finish GSM, so hopefully that’ll be this month.

All in all, I wrote 480,200 words in 2017. Most of that was after September. It’s annoyingly close to breaking half a million, but after 2016’s scandalous 195,700, I’ll take it.

One of the nice things about being an author is that most of your income is passive. You do the work, and the money trickles in for years afterwards. I had money coming in while I was out of commission. The bad news is, that income slowly drops. If I’m to stay an author instead of becoming a wage peasant, I have to schlep some books out PDQ. I can do it, provided I remain focused on production.

That slump is the big reason why I broke down and started a Patreon. It’s why I started taking sponsorships for tech books. You folks carried me through my health problems. I can’t thank you enough.

The fact that AF3e is trad published complicates the financial picture. I won’t see any money from that book until 2019. No, I’m not complaining–that’s just a fact of life, and I knew that going in. But it provides extra motivation for getting my butt in gear right off in 2018.

So 2018 will be my Year Of Making Words. The finest words, of course. Artisinal. Straight from Detroit, a third world city in America’s heartland.

So what’s on tap for 2018? What’s the plan?

  • BSDCan, Penguicon, and two educational trips to Lincoln City, Oregon. That’s it. Under no circumstances will I leave North America, sorry.
  • write 600,000 words, or 50,000 words a month.
  • Complete and release four tech books
    • SSH Mastery 2nd ed
    • FreeBSD Mastery: Jails (I suspect this will turn into two books, it’s a huge topic)
    • either Mastodon Mastery or Ansible for Legacy Systems.
    • #MWLSecretBook, which I can’t talk about until for now, for reasons which will become clear once the book comes out
  • Write the tech book I didn’t complete above, and release it if there’s time
  • Write four novels
    • git sync murder, a sequel to git commit murder
    • Bones Like Water, or Immortal Clay #3
    • Drinking Heavy Water, Montague Portal #5 or Aidan Redding #4
    • To Be Decided From a List of Candidates, All of Which I Really Want to Write
  • Be sufficiently flexible to kick Ray Percival in the head at BSDCan. A front kick will do, but I’m shooting for the high-flexibility side kick as a stretch goal.
  • Exercise enough to drop twenty pounds
  • Stay married while doing all of the above
  • Stay alive

Other than the last two, these are all deliberately fail-forward goals. If I only get three tech books done instead of four–hey, I’m ahead by three tech books! If I only drop ten pounds, that’s better than gaining ten. “Stay married” and “stay alive” aren’t fail-forward goals, but I have a good idea how to achieve them both.

This time next year, come back to see exactly how I failed!

Leveling Up

For those who can’t be bothered with long posts, here’s the short version:

My novel Immortal Clay is now featured as part of Kris Rusch’s Fear Bundle on Storybundle, one of the major book bundling sites. You can grab my novel, as well as thrilling and scary books from authors like Dean Wesley Smith, Leah Cutter, Rebecca Senese, Gary Jonas, Mark Leslie, Sean Costello, J. F. Penn, and Kristine Katherine Rusch.

If this was all that was going on, it’d rate a blog post. Storybundle is a big step up for me. I’m proud to be there. But this tale’s a little more complicated.

Immortal Clay is what writers call “a book of the heart.” Even as a child, pod people fascinated me. The Body Snatchers are Invading? I’m there. Carpenter’s The Thing is a favorite film. Philip K Dick’s tales of things that look human, that think they are human, but aren’t, have been my literary comfort food for decades.

In 1995, I realized that these tales all had one thing in common: they didn’t go far enough. The lightning strikes of implications and possibilities drove me to fill entire notebooks in an effort to get that inspiration to stop ricocheting around inside my skull.

And I lacked the writing skill to do anything with them. I tried, but… no. I just wasn’t good enough. So I wrote other novels, trying to develop the ability to express that manic inspiration.

Time passed.

I kept writing. Kept practicing. I love stories, I love storytelling, and I was going to master this skill.

I wrote in a bunch of different genres, sent out submissions to different short fiction markets, and collected the obligatory ticker tape parade of rejection slips. My favorite genres to read are SF and mystery/thriller, but what initial success I had came in horror.

Apparently I was a horror writer.

I focused my fiction writing time on horror, without much more success. Every day I polished my technique, obsessed with perfecting my storytelling.

Meanwhile, my nonfiction career writing about Internet technology exploded. Internet tech meshes perfectly with horror, by the way.

But then my fiction career stalled. After that initial small success, nothing happened for years.

I kept learning. And seeking teachers.

I’m selective on teachers. I want a mentor who has, say, won multiple awards over a course of multiple books. Or a working writer who’s consistently published many books, over decades, through a variety of channels. And in either case, they need to be a good teacher. Despite the old saying, not everyone who can do can teach.

Kris Rusch is one of the few authors who’s published literally hundreds of books and who teaches the craft of writing.

My first course with her was challenging–not because of the lunatic pace, or the jetlag, or being away from home for ten whole freaking days when I’ve successfully arranged my life so that I only need pants for the grocery store and the dojo. No, the hard part was how she methodically, kindly, and mercilessly blasted down my mental barriers. She has a rare talent of adjusting the lessons to the students. The lesson I needed involved dynamite. The second day, she called for someone to bring a bucket and a mop, because my brain had exploded out the back of my head.

I’m sheepishly proud that I was the last straw that finally drove her to write a book about how writers mess themselves up. (I’m in that book, anonymously. The truth is far uglier than what she wrote.)

During an afternoon break in the middle of the week, she asked me to stay behind. I knew what was coming. Obviously, she didn’t want to flunk me out in front of the class. It would be best for everyone if I just quietly slunk away before anyone came back from the bathroom and the snack table. After all, who wants a big messy scene?

Instead, she told me I could write fiction. That I could do it well. And she said something I never expected to hear: “Do you know you’re a science fiction writer? Has anyone ever told you that?”

No. Nobody ever told me that. I had a stack of rejection letters that said I wasn’t.

But Kris is not a person who sugarcoats the truth. That week, I watched her politely and helpfully feed people all sorts of bitter medicine–always with encouragement, yes, but a bunch of folks got sent back to the basics of the craft.

After that class, I went home and slept for three days. When I woke up, I waded through the wreckage of my mental barriers and started writing Immortal Clay.

Immortal Clay is science fiction, straight from the Pod People Playbook. It’s got a lot of horrific elements in it–it starts with the extinction of the human race, and goes downhill from there. People tell me it’s about hope and what it means to be human, but I’m pretty sure it’s about horrible monsters, small town secrets, and the importance of flamethrowers.

It’s horror by an SF writer–or SF by a horror writer. Something like that.

Starting this series felt I’d finally let out a breath I’d been holding for twenty years.

And of all the books I’ve written, it’s the one that generated the most demands for a sequel. The first pleas for book 3 arrived the morning after Kipuka Blues appeared. (Bones like Water will escape in 2018.)

And now, my teacher curated a Storybundle.

She asked for the book of my heart.

And the Fear Bundle is stuffed full of books written by folks who bled just as much to learn their art, and put just as much of their own hearts on the page. Seriously, I’m just stunned at the names I’ve been packaged with. The authors I haven’t read? I’ll be reading every one of them, just based on the company they’re keeping.

You really want this one.

New story: Savaged by Systemd

Yesterday, I put a short story up as an ebook. This was a wild experiment that I wrote on a whim.

When I say “wild experiment,” I don’t mean I decided to play with tenses and point of view. No, I decided to spend one day writing a lunatic piece, something that I’ve never written before.

Erotica. Sort of.

Computer erotica, to be specific.

Linux sysadmin erotica, to be more specific.

OK, fine. Systemd erotica.

It’s called Savaged by Systemd. And while it certainly contains erotic content, it’s got a bunch of other things in it too.

I try to wait to announce these things until they’re available in both print and ebook. But some weird things happened.

Here’s last night’s Amazon “hot new erotica releases.”

#2? This is madness.

Hot new releases only include titles released in the last little while. It doesn’t mean much compared to the general “books that are best-selling right now” list. So here’s a screenshot of Amazon’s erotica best-sellers from last night.

I’m #15. This, also, is madness.

But this book involves technical topics. It’s also showing up in the Unix category. Here’s a screenshot of Amazon.ca’s Unix Hot New Best-Sellers.

Hitting #1 in the Hot New Unix Books category is no big deal for me.

This morning’s SF Erotica best-seller list?

Strangest of all?

Here’s my Amazon ebook sales dashboard for the last three months, displaying unit sales.

Those little yellow marks all along the bottom? That’s my living. I’m not complaining about it. I get a reasonable middle-class wage compared to non-tech workers. Don’t get me wrong–if you offer me money I’ll take it. Reader donations in the form of book sponsorships have helped me out in desperate times.

And Savaged by Systemd is only $2.99, so I don’t make nearly as much off of one of those as I do a tech book.

But still: that’s a mighty pretty looking set of spikes, over there on the right hand side.

And it’s getting reviews. Goodreads is famous for giving lower reviews than most other book sites. Not only is SbS getting all five-star reviews there, it’s getting long and detailed reviews.

One of those reviews captures what I was trying to do.

Writers are pretty good about hanging on in the face of adversity. We’re accustomed to the larger world pretty much ignoring our feeble efforts.

Success disorients us.

My social media accounts are flooded. My email is worse than ever. Everybody on LinkedIn suddenly wants a piece of me. (I only LinkedIn with people I’ve actually worked with, btw.)

Despite the heady rush of literary success, I need to make some words. The deadline for the new Absolute FreeBSD is pretty inflexible, if I want it in print for BSDCan.

AF3e status, 22 August 2017

Your irregular “Absolute FreeBSD” status report!

It’s at 123,700 words. 12 of 26 chapters exist as first drafts. (Yes, the last report said 7 of 24. I can’t count.) Two more chapters are partially done. One of those partially-done chapters, on “Pre-Install Considerations,” won’t be done until I finish the whole book. I keep going back to add tidbits to it. It’s complete, except when I find something else I have to add to it.

The current status looks like this. Chapter titles subject to change. Again, the ideal chapter length of a No Starch book is about 5000 words. The really long chapters have no obvious breaking point, so I’m kind of stuck.

0 – Introduction (7500 words, sent to NSP)
1 – Getting More Help
2 – Pre-Install Considerations (4900 words)
3 – Installing (write last, because screenshots are evil)
4 – Booting (11,400 words, sent to NSP)
5 – Backups
6 – Kernel
7 – Networking (8800 words, sent to NSP)
8 – Configuring Ethernet (8500 words, sent to NSP)
9 – Security
10 – Partitioning & GEOM (10700 words, sent to NSP)
11 – UFS (9000 words, sent to NSP)
12 – ZFS (8000 words, sent to NSP)
13 – Other Filesystems (11,700 words, out for review)
14 – More Security
15 – /etc
16 – Packages (8600 words, NSP tech review done)
17 – Ports (6800 words, NSP tech review done)
18 – Advanced Software Management (7400 words, in process)
19 – Upgrading
20 – Small System Services
21 – Performance and Monitoring (14,000 words, out for review)
22 – Jails (6100 words, sent to NSP)
23 – Misc Crap
24 – Panics & Bugs
Afterword

See the prior status report on why I’m writing in this order.

Progress is slower than I’d like, thanks to my trip to England for BSDCam. (Jet lag and travel kills tech writing.) But BSDCam changed the content of this book to your benefit. But I have a few more weeks until EuroBSDCon, so I’m grinding out as many chapters as quickly as I can without sacrificing quality.

I suffer for FreeBSD, so you don’t have to.

The real challenge here has been my fiction projects. I’ve been working on a new Beaks novel, but it’s just not working. I tried switching to the third Immortal Clay book, but those words just won’t come.

And by “won’t come,” I mean I’m producing about 700 words an hour. And I’m actually relieved when my 90 minutes of fiction writing time ends. That’s bad. It’s stressing me out.

Both IC and Beaks are kind of dark. And right now, it seems that my brain doesn’t want dark. Part of that is the world, and part of that is my serious effort to get AF3e finished in time for BSDCan 2018.

On a whim, I started working on the next Montague Portal novel. Montague Portal is light and escapist. Yes, there’s murders and stabbings and stuff, but they’re fun murders and stabbings. My subconscious sighed with relief and started spitting out 1200 words an hour from a cold start.

So, it looks like “Drinking Heavy Water” will be my next novel.

More updates as events warrant.