Whilst it’s been months since the last of the Peaceforger books was published, I’m still processing their impact on my life. I think that the value of doing creative things is often under-realised, and I want everyone—even if not for money or fame and regardless of talent—to have the goodness of doing creative things. So, to inspire you to go do creative things, here is a list in no particular order of…
5 unexpected ways writing the Peaceforger books has made my everyday life better
Katja was pretty good at placing blame where it belonged instead of letting guilt that wasn’t hers hang around. Writing her let me practise that enough that her voice now lives in my head…And now I’m better at applying that to my own life. Sorry (not sorry), corporations and capitalism and other structures and people that profited off me not realising the guilt was theirs.
I watched people support me and I witnessed one beta reader bravely trust our friendship as she overcame fears about ruining our friendship to give me complete and honest feedback. The end result was that the beta readers and those who supported me created stronger relationships with me.
With multiple reasons to consider what makes someone a person, I got the fun of pondering philosophical topics, a few new writing ideas, and a chance to explore common societal biases most of us don’t recognise, which I hope has helped me cleanse some biases I didn’t notice from my brain.
I learned more about how my brain works and about what things I actually do have loads of capacity and capability to do. Knowing this is great for planning self-care but also for having something to counter the negativity when I am made to feel bad because of things for which I have little to no capacity and/or capability.
I gained more faith in myself as a writer because…1) Finishing one book is a lot, but it’s a whole other thing to pen a sequel and then to finish a trilogy…and 2) I ended up with a different process for each book, leaving me more open to a variety of approaches. Now, I stress less when things that worked before don’t work now. I know I can do this if I just keep poking at things.
I could make similar lists, each with unique items, for writing poetry, making music, acting, making videos, and all my other creative endeavours (including the ones I’m not at all good at).
What unexpected goodness have you gotten by doing creative things?
A smattering of other things (including, but not limited to, bookmarks, blogs, and bookplates).
Is this wrap-up causing some Feelings? Definitely. These characters and their stories have been part of my mental landscape since I was 15, so I’m kind of melancholy that this part of that relationship is over. And it just feels unreal and kind of weird and uncomfortable, because there are lots of ways that moving on will change what fills my head and my hours. But I’m also rocking some celebratory feelings and am proud of myself, especially as I think of all the people who struggle to finish even one book. High five, self!
Plus, I’m excited to work on my next thing, because it too—at least the “it” that I’m currently working on that I think will be the next thing—has been part of my mental landscape since I was 15. (Not all my friendship choices were bad when I was 15…Heh!)
So, what is next? I’m glad you asked. Except that I’m also not going to give you too many details yet.
Currently, if I get no new ideas ever (which I used to fear but now think is unlikely)…
I’ve got at least 6 more sci-fi novels lined up (1 is near-ish past, 4 are near-ish future, and 1 is faaaaaaaaaaaar future and might become a trilogy). Of them, 3 of the near-ish future ones have been in my head since I was 15 and the faaaaaaaaaaaar future one(s) arguably started putting down roots in my brain when I was maybe as young as 5 or 6. But I promise that they’ve all grown up with me, so they shouldn’t seem like that time your nibling told you long, rambling stories that let you practise your “fixed smile to prevent accidental hurt feelings.”
I’ve got 2 novels that I’d categorise as fantasy-ish, though both also definitely have some sci-fi to them. Actually, I’d be more likely to categorise one of those as sci-fi with some fantasy to it. Both are present or very-near-future. The idea/full plot for one of those is years old and the ideas and bits for the other just started assaulting my brain this year, though both are rooted in things I’ve loved since I was a kid. (Don’t worry; I was a weird kid who had interests that were beyond my years. And that just means I’ve had extra time to think about how to make good use of those things. Fingers crossed that I actually do make good use…)
And, of course, I’ve still got ambitions and bits of work going on around my poetry and music, even if life makes it hard for me to do All The Things at once. Not to mention some other creative ideas and projects that have been pushing for my attention. Obviously, I’ll also continue to look for excuses to make videos.
I just hope I can get enough of these things out of my head and into the world in a good way before the dark future takes me out. Or make peace with being just another artist who never gets to it all…
Today is the day! Peace State, the final book in the Peaceforgers trilogy, is out today. I hope you will agree with beta readers and find it a satisfying conclusion to the story.
If you donâ€™t have your copy, you should be able to find it (or have them order a copy for you) wherever books are sold. And, just in case you prefer to buy online and donâ€™t feel like searching, here are some links to the most usual of suspects:
Cramming a few posts into one! If you care about the Radio Edit, you’re looking for the Cussing section.
Itâ€™s less than a month until Peace State is out. Youâ€™ve still got time to pre-order your own copy! For those of you who want the version that is truly chock-full of swears, hereâ€™s a wee link roundup if youâ€™d like to pre-order the ebook at the bigger Usual Suspects:
But I also know itâ€™s being sold through smaller (aka I donâ€™t really know them) outlets, and the paperback should also be available everywhere. Eventually. At the very least, once itâ€™s out, you should be able to ask your fav indie bookshop to order it for you!
Here’s the trailer, which Iâ€™m using to celebrate having passed the one month mark:
And hereâ€™s the cover for that version, in case you havenâ€™t seen it.
You have probably already guess that, like the first two books in this trilogy, Peace State is Really Quite Sweary. Really.
The short version: Whist there is less swearing in this book than the last, thereâ€™s more than in the first book. Which, please believe me, is still more than those of you who donâ€™t like swearing think. But I have also made a Radio Edit version, just for you anti-swearing people, where Iâ€™ve removed the cussing but not all the rude words. (Pre-order that version here.)
The long versionâ€¦
Actually, Iâ€™m going to refer you back to the swearing post for Peace Fire for all the context and thoughts and such. Here, Iâ€™m going to tell you the numbers (whilst using enough censorship that this post stays swear-free). You know, in case youâ€™re skipping the other swearing post and so still underestimate just how swear-y this sequel is.
Letâ€™s pull out ye olde swear jar and calculate the damage. In my 329 pages of story, the following words (or variations thereof) show up the number of times listed here:
H-word: 50 (This is after subtracting false positives, because this also returned words like â€œshellâ€ and â€œhelloâ€)
Rude words related to male genitals: 3 (but only when used in that sense, because, for instance, one can be cocky or be pricked by a needle and thatâ€™s not rude)
A-word: 79 (Spelled the â€œusualâ€ way or the variant that includes an R. This is after subtracting false positives, because this also returned words like â€œparse,â€ â€œassume,â€ â€œpassword,â€ etc. In fact, there were about 165 of those false positives, and I am paranoidly sure I missed something in my edits. Apologies in advance if thatâ€™s so.)
B-words: 31 of one and 25 of the other (Plus once instance of â€œbastardized,â€ which research tells me isnâ€™t a swear, so I left it in.)
Because it is of special concern to some of you, whether you read the normal or edited version, I want to note that I did not use the Lordâ€™s name in vain.
But, as promised when I made the first one happen, Peace State gets a Radio Edit version as well. (And now Iâ€™m going to pretty much repeat what was in the first post. If you just re-read that, unless you need to know the other, less-likely to offend US English people words in there, you now know everything! Well, everything covered by this post.)
I called it the Radio Edit because, as most of you probably know, music is a massive part in my life. When I think about voluntarily censoring something Iâ€™ve created, my mind immediately goes to radio edits of songs. Though I could totally use words on the radio that Iâ€™ve taken out of the Radio Edit. I could also have way more sexiness on the radio than youâ€™ll find in the Radio Edit.
Because itâ€™s the culture in which the story takes place (and, yes, what counts as swearing varies based on which English-speaking country youâ€™re in), I did the edit based on US English swearing. It should be good for you non-swearing folks in general, given my experience has been that, overall, US English is the most limiting variation. Unless you have a problem with words like â€œcrap,â€ â€œpiss,â€ and â€œjerk,â€ in which case I really canâ€™t scale it back enough for you. (I also left in phrases like â€œthe evidence was damningâ€ because there are non-swearing uses of words that US English considers swears in other contexts.)
Actually, hereâ€™s list of words that are something like those mentioned in the last paragraph that are not edited out or were actively used to replace actual swears:
The swearing was not removed by just using the Find and Replace function. (For instance, I did not just replace every f-bomb with the same word.) That would have left a massively inferior book (instead of one that I just feel isnâ€™t as authentic sounding). What actually happened is that I made a list of every swear word I could think of and a few extra-rude words, and then I used Find to locate them. (If I missed anything, please accept my most sincere apologies. The cost of a full line edit and the impact on timelines was not something we could work out.) I then made changes on a case-by-case basis. (Which only confirmed my belief that swear words serve particular purposes and carry their own, unique connotations and nuances. But this edit isnâ€™t about me; itâ€™s about you. So, I did my best for you, all things considered.)
Because itâ€™s not the way things are normally done and due to the cost (in terms of time, money, and energy), it will only be an ebook. Currently, Amazon is the only place Iâ€™ve confirmed it will be available for pre-order. (If you donâ€™t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app to your computer or device. Thatâ€™s what I use!) If you search for Peace State at your preferred ebook supplier, unless the cover is the one you see above (with the Radio Edit stamp on it) and the description notes that it has been edited for swearing, I canâ€™t guarantee thatâ€™s what youâ€™re getting. Shop carefully!
Peace State (Radio Edit) is now available for pre-order here