4 min read

Across The Severance-Honnold-Zelda-Verse

Spider-Man type figure standing on rock outcrop, looking out over a fantastical Breath Of The Wild style view.
Generated by Nate Green using Midjourney.

Welcome to the June 2023 edition of...
What I'm Into, What I'm Up To

It's been a minute, fellow sapiens!

Sometimes I put off writing these emails way too long because I get discouraged about this form of communication. It's so one-way. I'm a big fan of a good, long, sit-down conversation, where I talk less and you talk more. BUT, I do enjoy this process and I like looking back to see what I've been up to in past months and years. Also, helps me realize how much I get do actually get done and how full my life really is, which I often take for granted.

(Also, I must admit that keeping an active email newsletter is the #1 most recommended marketing tool for indie authors by pretty much everyone.)

Alright, here goes...

What I'm Into

  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse—just saw this, can't recommend it highly enough. It might not be for everyone, but it is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. It's like all the best parts of superhero movies, anime, comic books, video games, music videos, and just plain, old-fashioned, good storytelling, all mixed up into one beautiful act of near-perfect creative expression. What's not to like?
  • Severance—we were late to the Severance train, but the hype was justified. Wendy is so obsessed with this show, she is now listening to a play-by-play podcast about every episode.
  • Alex Honnold—this is a person, not a show or movie or video game, but like many people I'm fascinated by him. If you haven't seen the doc Free Solo about his climb of El Capitan without ropes, you should check it out. The husband and wife team who made that film, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin are also pretty incredible in their own right (they executive produced 14 Peaks, another incredible climbing doc).
  • The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom—I would be remiss not to include the sequel to one of my top 5 favorite video games of all time, Breath Of The Wild. I was worried TOTK would not live up to the high standards set by BOTW, but my worries were for naught. It's everything it needs to be, and I'm having a great time playing through it whenever I get a chance, no matter how frustrated I get along the way.

What I'm Up To

  • I put the 'final rough draft' of the memoir to bed (metaphorically speaking).

    It's weird—I've been working on it for so long, off and on, and now it's sort of done and sitting in a drawer, cooling off (again, metaphorically speaking), and I didn't celebrate or anything. I finished editing the last chapter, closed my laptop, then started on something else the next day. Feels good to move on.
  • I'm re-working Skytrails, the sort-of-but-not-really-sequel to Greysuits.

    For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, I released Skytrails almost 2 years ago as a sequel to Greysuits. A few of you bought it and read it (thank you!). I got feedback that it was a good story, but calling it a sequel to Greysuits was false advertising and left a bad taste for readers who were expecting it to be something it wasn't.

    That feedback was spot on, so I pulled the book and decided I would re-work it at some point in the future.

    Some point in the future has become right now, as often happens, and though it felt painful and depressing to go back to something I thought was done, I am actually excited about the way it's going and it's more in line with my original intention and plan for the story, so really it's just a lesson to me to stick with my gut and not try to shortcut or shoehorn books to be what they're not supposed to be out of laziness or impatience.
  • As an experiment in AI-assisted storytelling, I've been using Midjourney (the generative AI art platform I talked about a few newsletters ago) to try to illustrate a piece of flash fiction I wrote several years ago for a contest.

    The story is a futuristic tale of a robot called Miso who works in the only meat processing plant left in the world. Miso realizes she's been hacked by a virus, which has caused her to kill all the people in the plant, and now she has to figure out how to stop the virus before it causes more death and destruction.

    It's a little darker than my usual stuff.

    It's obviously not for kids, but I'm using Midjourney to illustrate it like a children's book, and it's coming out pretty cool.

    The hardest part of using 'AI' like this to generate art for a story is getting it to produce consistent illustrations of the same character in different poses or with different expressions. That's not what these things are built for, so you have to really work with it, but fortunately there are people on YouTube and elsewhere who are figuring this stuff out and talking about it at length.

That's all for this month. We're off to the U.K. next month for the biggest, longest, and definitely most expensive family vacation/learning experience we've ever attempted, by far. I'm sure I'll be talking all about it next time.

Hope you are having a great summer (northern hemi) or winter (southern hemi).... Drop me a line sometime and let me know what you're up to and/or what you're into! I love to hear from friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike!

P.s. Here's an alternative cover to this email, also by Midjourney.

Miles Morales Spider-Man as a Legend Of Zelda character.