Another orc story, and more fiction stuff!

The “Face The Strange” anthology has escaped, including my Prohibition Orcs tale “Woolen Torment.”

I sold this story to this traditionally-published anthology back at the beginning of 2018. It was due to come out this fall, but the publisher cancelled the anthology this spring because of the plague. Thankfully, the editors chose to release it themselves on a royalty share basis. That’s less than ideal, sure, but after waiting so long I’m glad to see it happen.

The important thing about “Woolen Torment” is that every word is absolutely, 100% fact. It is an entirely true story. Other than what I made up, of course.

“Woolen Torment” will be available on its own in a couple months, once the exclusivity period expires. Patronizers will get their copy then.

You can get the ebook of FTS on Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

On a related note:

My short story Drums with Delusions of Godhood is now available on its own. Originally published in Boundary Shock Quarterly: Apocalypse Descending, it’s full of euchre and Front Line Assembly and genetic engineering for supremacy in Dungeons & Dragons. Plus, loss of innocence and the meaning of life and all that serious stuff.

“git sync murder” status

TLDR: git sync murder will be out this year.

Slightly longer: it won’t be early this year.

In February I started writing git sync murder, a sequel to git commit murder. I’ve run at this book before, but the world put a 22-centimeter cyst on my thyroid to stop me. This time, it’s pulled out a pandemic.

The book is going slow right now. The git murder books, like all cozy mysteries, are about community. Our communities are going through the Cuisinart right now. My two primary community gatherings, Penguicon and BSDCan, have both been virtualized. I might discard the story I have and write about murder over YouTube and Zoom, but that’s not the direction I want to go right now.

As a bonus my wife is a nurse practitioner. I hear all sorts of inside information about how the pandemic is doing, and its impact on health care workers. The pandemic is doing just fine, thank you very much. The health care workers, not so much. Anything I write now will be extremely dark.

One of three things will happen (plus infinite variations on and gradiations between them, of course).

  • The pandemic will pass. Life will establish a new, sociable normal. All manner of things will be well.
  • The pandemic will hang around for a couple years, but we will fairly soon establish a new normal to cope with it.
  • Civilization collapses.

In two of these scenarios, things stabilize in a few months and I write the book. In the third, I’m grateful that I have all of my books printed on soft, absorbent paper.

I’m therefore focusing my attention on TLS Mastery and a different novel. Not saying what that novel is, because it might implode, but I’ll give the curious an extremely feeble hint. (If you figure it out: good for you! Now hush.)

New “Prohibition Orcs” today

People ask me why there haven’t been any more Prohibition Orcs tales.

They exist, but you haven’t seen them. Traditional publishers have bought them. And traditional publishers are sloooow. They pay, though, and they get me exposure. (How do you know getting paid in exposure is real? Authentic exposure comes with a paycheck. Anything else is a knock-off.)

But today witnesses the escape of a new Prohibition Orcs story.

I’m this issue’s guest author on Uncollected Anthology.

You can pick up the entire anthology, or grab just my story. But really: less than five bucks? Get the whole thing.

This story will come out in print on October 1st 2020. For those of you collecting in print, it’ll be branded like the other print titles. The ebook version is branded like an Uncollected Anthology project.

And no, this is not an April Fool’s joke. April Fool’s has been cancelled this year.

Sponsoring a “git commit murder” sequel

With my travels over the next couple of months, I’m not getting much done on my next tech book. I haven’t even definitively chosen what’s next; writing SNMP Mastery burned out a few critical nonfiction brain cells, and who knows when I’ll find fresh replacements at Dollar General. (I shoulda sprung for an IKEA brain.)

So I’m writing a sequel to git commit murder.

After some highly informal and scientifically bogus polling, I’ve decided to offer sponsorships on this book.

The first time I tried a sponsorship for a nonfiction book, I thought it was a daft idea. It worked. I’m still shocked, but it seems that the financial bucket I call “Give Lucas Money For No Good Reason” is now a substantial part of my income.

I think sponsoring a novel is a daft idea. It’ll probably be pointless. But what the heck, it’s no more absurcd than writing a book about the Standard Unix Text Editor.

If you are so inclined, you can sponsor git sync murder in print or ebook.

My stretch goal is to have this book ready for Penguicon 2020. If that fails, it’ll be a month or two after. I know what the book is; all I need to do is sit down like a proper pulp author and type the blasted thing out.

The MWL 2020 Asia Tour

Yep, I’m a big star now, touring Asia and everything! Sort of. Two countries. Two cities. The world’s most minimal tour. I’m a big star, in a really really tiny universe.

19-22 March 2020, I’ll be at AsiaBSDCon. I’m presenting a four hour tutorial on FreeBSD jails, as well as attending the conference.

The fine folks at HasGeek are sponsoring me on an accompanying trip to Bangalore, India, for three events. (Cool fact of the day: they’re not conferences in India, they’re events, because a “conference” apparently involves the Indian government and this isn’t a government thing.)

25 March, I’m offering a public lecture on Where is the Sysadmin Today at Juspay’s offices. I have rants thoughts. Oh, do I have rants thoughts.

27 March, I’m attending Netconf. This is an Unconference (Unevent?), so the program won’t be set until it starts. I’ll be proposing my new SNMP talk. I could also give any talk I’ve given before. If you’re attending and want me to give a specific talk, please comment or use the contact form to ask me to submit it.

28 March, I’m doing a reading of git commit murder at Champaca Bookstore, as well as a Q&A with Swapneel Patneka and anyone else who opens their mouth.

Why do this trip, when I loathe travel? Over the last twenty years, I’ve promised several folks that I would one day attend AsiaBSDCon. I keep my promises. I’m looking forward to being there, but not to getting there. The Bangalore trip is serendipitous. Presenting technology is how I built my career. Bangalore is a technology center and obviously a place I should present in. HasGeek asked if I would be interested, I said “if you could put an event by AsiaBSDCon,” and those folks actually went and did it. I’m simultaneously amazed and honored that they’ve gone to such trouble.

Plus, HasGeek opened discussions by promising gelato. They did their research.

I’ll have a couple free days in each place, yes, and I’ll take advantage of them. I’d rather like to attend a few classes at the Hombu Dojo, but… Fly across the world, teach crowds of strangers to whom English is a second language, talk to folks about areas I’m an expert in? Sure. Set foot on Ueshiba’s tatami? I’ve only practiced martial arts for eighteen years, there’s absolutely no way I’m worthy.

And India’s history is thousands of years deep, plus there’s elephants and tigers and… and… everything. I can’t decide what to see.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m cutting down my traveling. This trip will cost me at least a week of writing time before the trip, and probably two weeks of writing time afterwards as I recover. It’s at least a month of proper writing, all told, and probably more. I can’t authoritatively say that this is my final trip to Asia, no matter what. I can say that I’m not planning to travel so far again. If you’re on that side of the world and want to meet me, this is your best opportunity.

I will do Penguicon and BSDCan in 2020, but otherwise, I’ll be home making words.

A different sort of interview, on tabletop RPGs

Obscure MWL historical trivia: I got my start writing tabletop role playing games. It seems they have greater staying power than I ever thought they would.

The Plus Or Minus podcast interviewed me about my TTRPG Gatecrasher, which came out in 1995. A good time was had by all.

Also: 1995 was a quarter of a century ago. Not quite half my lifetime. Dang. I’m old. When did that happen?

Hear Me Read Without Leaving Your Chair

Last winter, I sold a story to a Pulphouse Magazine anthology called Snot-Nosed Aliens. Shortly thereafter, I read the entire story at Penguicon 2019. It was caught on video.

Now that Snot-Nosed Aliens is out, I’ve uploaded the video.

I’m told by a parent that this tale is PG-13; comic violence and a couple of “hells,” but no f-bombs or people being eaten alive by their spleens or whatever. So, consider yourself warned.

Patronizers, I’ll have the rights to the story back in a few months and you’ll get your spiffy ebook.

“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.