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Amber Spark


"Do it with love, do it with passion and never dream small!” - Author, Designer & Creator - Patreon/Ko-Fi

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May
1st
2019

Takka Takka Takka: May 2019 - EFNW & Coming Stories! · 11:47pm May 1st, 2019

First and foremost: I’M GOING TO EVERFREE 2019! More on that in a little bit.

You all know what my family and I are going through and while I will have the obligatory donation reminder, that’s not what this blog is about.

This is about celebrating the cool stuff. About new stories. About the coming con. About stuff going on in my life that isn’t all AGGGHHHHHHH PANIC PANIC FLAIL EMERGENCY.

Seriously, I’ve had enough of that in the last year and a half to last me a lifetime.

So let’s have some fun today, huh? :yay:


Promised Obligatory Donation Thingy

Let’s just get this out of the way. You know we’re looking for a house. You know our financial resources suck. You know that Patreon is the best way to help by buffering our monthly charges. You know that if that’s not feasible, we have PayPal (marcusjsimms[at]me.com - use Friends & Family), Ko-Fi and GoFundMe.

And if you didn’t know, you do now. Let’s get to fun stuff. :rainbowderp:


Teahouses of Saddle Arabia

When I first finished On the Brewing of Saddle Arabian Teas, it was a tangled mess of a story. Bloated in some places and horribly thin in others, there were plenty of parts that didn’t make sense. I intentionally ran long in numerous places because I was writing during NaNoWriMo 2017. There were blatant MacGuffins, concepts of Wavelengths Twi being the literal “Chosen One of the Librarians” (no, I’m not kidding) and so many references to Discworld that the Terry Pratchett Estate would probably sue me for copyright infringement.

Yeah. That happened.

I dreaded attacking this story. It was 80K when it should have been 50K. It was a giant mess I didn’t want to deal with. But all of Wavelengths was getting backed up because of it. I avoided it actively by working on story after story that wasn’t Tea. And then, after clearing the story that got me back in the groove, The Librarian’s Torch, and then clearing out my completed story backlog with Silver Lining and In Transit, I decided it was time.

I had already begun to rewrite Teas at some part with an entirely new opening to fit the motif of the story, introducing a few fun new characters and the sight of Canterlot totally decked out for Hearth’s Warming.

And then, things got interesting. The editing of Tea became what I eventually called “copy/paste rewriting.” I would use some elements of the old story, but a great deal of it was completely new. Characters were redone to keep them more consistent with previous events. An entire chapter was completely ripped apart, leaving only the new character semi-intact, destroying a great many problems, but forcing me to rewrite quite a bit in the process.

Because of the length of the chapters, I needed to introduce “Transit” chapters where the main characters moved from one location to the next. Ironically, one of these Transit chapters is, as of the Second Draft, the longest chapter in the book.

I even did something I had never done before in any store: I reordered the chapters, changing a key “Transit” to a different location in the narrative. I greatly expanded several sections. One chapter and location was outright removed, as Beltorn and Cursori both agreed it wasn’t necessary (and I did too, eventually).

While I finished the Second Draft of Tea a few weeks ago, I’m about to launch on the Third Draft rework. There are still some changes that need to be made. But the end is far closer. It’s my hope that I’ll be done with this within a month or so. Also, expect a slightly faster release schedule, perhaps with a Sunday, then Monday release.

This time, it’s real folks. Teas is coming.

What became Teahouses of Saddle Arabia greatly expands both the scope and the stakes of the Wavelengths Timeline and is easily my most ambitious story to date (if you don’t count SunLight Sliders, but that’s not mine). Our heroines will face things that will have major lasting repercussions for years to come. You’ll be introduced to dozens of new characters, including an old friend from my original fiction stories and a guest star from another very well-known MLP fandom universe.

More than anything, this will push our characters further down the road to prepare for what we all know is waiting for them on one very specific night. That is, if they don’t shatter first.

And while many of you have seen it, I’d like to reveal the synopsis & short synopsis for Teahouses of Saddle Arabia.

Synopsis:

Twilight Sparkle joins Sunset Shimmer in her search for a Hearth’s Warming gift to Princess Celestia. There’s only one problem. To find the perfect gift, they must brave the chaotic establishments of Canterlot’s darkest secret…

Used bookstores.

Short Synopsis:

Never underestimate the eccentricities of used bookstores on a cold Canterlot night.

I hope you’re just as psyched as I am. :duck:


As the Raven Flies

As the Raven Flies is the next story in the Wavelengths Timeline. Set about three months after the events of Teahouse, the story is told entirely by the beloved personal aide to Princess Celestia herself, Raven.

Previously seen in The Cloudsdale Report and getting her own perspective chapters in A Study on Chaos Theory, this is a relatively short short (for me) at 10,000 words. Raven and Celestia discuss what’s been going on with Sunset Shimmer in the wake of Chaos Theory and Teahouses. In addition, that guest star from Teahouses is going to make a reappearance in a very big way as for the first time, we’ll witness a magical duel between Sunset and her opponent… and we’ll see just what Wavelengths Sunset is truly capable of.

Raven offers a unique perspective, as she isn’t one of Sunset’s inner circle of friends. She has a unique relationship with Sunset. She knows what’s at stake, while still being just a pony. More or less. After all, no one in Wavelengths is exactly who they appear.

The first draft of Raven actually finished just yesterday. The good news is that it’s a relatively small story, so hopefully it’ll come out directly after Teahouses. And then, we’ll have one more story before the beginning of the next major arc in Wavelengths, a three-story series similar to The Applications Arc, that will redefine a lot of things for all of the Wavelengths Seven.

Excited yet? You should be. I’m so ready for this. :pinkiegasp:


EFNW 2019: Muggle Edition

Yes, I am totally attending Everfree Northwest 2019. I love EFNW. This con has been great to me. However, unlike last year, I won’t be returning as a Community Guest. Neither will I be returning as a member of the Staff. After a long internal debate, I decided I simply didn’t have the mental strength to handle everything the staff has to deal with. Like or not, I’m still in recovery from The Quiet War, and asking to do that much from myself is unfair to the people I should be helping and even more unfair to myself.

As such, I’ll be going as a “Muggle.” Meaning, just a normal con-goer. I may or may not be doing a writing panel (I’m not sure if I’ll be ready for that yet, so I’m not committing, though I have a spot). But if I feel awesome, I might just decide to crash a writing panel! (No, I’ll ask and stuff, don’t worry.)

Other than that? I plan to get an autographed print from Silverstreak’s VA (I have a weakness for hippogryphs, apparently) and to hang out with all my friends from near and far, from the Nook and more!

And I feel the need to mention that things were in motion for EFNW 2019 before we realized how dire things were for our housing situation. Our situation is the reason I’m not trying to go to BronyCon this year. EFNW will be the last big event for me.

So I plan to make it awesome. :pinkiehappy:


Codename: Serenade

Serenade has been going along great. I’ve shifted gears a little bit, as it had been a year since I worked on it. But I even seen the fruits of my labors on this secret project recently in a very, very big way. This is definitely something I’m having a lot of fun.

And yes, I’m totally challenging you to figure out what the hell I’m talking about. HA! :rainbowlaugh:


Therapy Thoughts: Selfish Vs. Self-Care

I want to start helping folks a little more. I’ve been through a lot and I’m hoping you can maybe benefit from some of that. So, I’m going to start talking about some mental health things.

There are days in life that feel like nothing more than a slog. Where one thing after another hits you and you’re screaming “can I get a damn break?” Well, I’ve had a lot of days like that. And as Sunset still needs to learn (and I’m trying to learn), there’s a difference between Selfish & Self-Care. I don’t remember who said this to me first. Maybe it was Heartshine. Maybe it was a therapist. Maybe it was someone during The Quiet War.

But it’s true. Taking “Mental Health Days” are a good thing. We need them. Don’t be afraid to carve out some time for you. Heartshine once told me “You can’t save the world running on fumes.” (I may quote all of her silly words in the Nook, but I’m going to quote her wisdom here.).

I’ve learned to do this, even with a wife and two children. I know some of you may have multiple jobs, have intense school schedules, or heck, have even more kids. Do yourself a favor and really look for time. Or occasionally say no to a party, a friend, a significant other, or something else.

The Quiet War taught me this lesson the hard way. And even though I’m still taking hits, I have the looming terror of the loss of our house, the stress and frustration of looking at other houses, dealing with the kids and more… I’m usually dealing with it better. Don’t get me wrong, there’s more to it, like my therapist, psychiatrist and the medication I’m on.

But finding time for what recharges you, be it a book, a movie, a game or something else can make a miserable day a workable one. Try it. It’ll help.


Epilogue

I think that’s it for this month! I’ll be spending a ton of time touring new places to live and praying we can find something. In the meantime, I’ll also be doing a ton of writing.

Another special thank you to all my Patreons helping my family and I survive all of this. All of you, even if somehow I miss your name.

:heart: :heart: :heart:

Regnorash, Frodo, Rose Quill, Ebon, E. Miller, Vren55, Pyradon, Cursori, A. Pam, B. Woodman, J. Rushton, Tyan, Krickis, Little Tinker, River Road, Undome Tinwe, Jay Bear, Kaipony, TheVetPony, Gara-the-Author, J.P. Courville, Tsitra, N. Wirfel, I.R.D. Burns, DrakeyC, Hubris, Nilaru and ramm. 

:heart: :heart: :heart:

You all encourage me so very much... and give me hope that we'll be able to pull this off.

I may see if I can blast out a quick short story soonish about something or rework a finished story, something not attached to any timeline. We’ll see what happens! I did have a story about Celestia deciding to be a duck… maybe that should get ressed (inspired by the pic below)!

Until then, have fun!

-NI & AS

Comments ( 17 )

Everfree Northwest is going to be amazing, and I'm so glad to see you're feeling well enough to look forward to it and enjoy things. Keep taking care of yourself!

Looking forward to seeing you at EFNW! :pinkiehappy:

First and foremost: I’M GOING TO EVERFREE 2019!

Woo! :pinkiehappy:

I will be going for the first time this year myself. Hopefully I'll get a chance to say Hi in person.

Eagerly looking forward to the next installments in the Wavelength's 'verse either way.

Well that just makes me wish I could go! Sadly I don't have the means to do so on such short notice. If they do it next year, though, I could be convinced to attend.

Have fun at EFNW! With that first picture, If you are planning to do a crossover with "Your Lie In April" I Know you would be able to do an awesome story!:pinkiehappy:

This year's Top-Left Horsefest will be the best one so far.

5052331
That's Czar! I'm really psyched. I kinda need this getaway from RL. I know the tagline is "bringing Equestria to Earth." I am SO VERY DOWN for that.

5052338
And I, you. I'll have a handshake ready for you. ^^

5052349
I look forward to seeing you there! I'm usually pretty easy to spot since Overlord Neon did a gorgeous con badge for me a while ago. Spend enough time near the writing room (or look for yet another person in the vendor hall going WHY DON'T I HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY THIS ROOM) and you'll fine me!

5052370
I had to look that one up and I can confidently say that will never happen, mainly because I don't like stories that end on that depressing of a note!

5052399
That's some high expectations, son. I'm just gonna enjoy it!

5053165
It's super effective!

5053164

Cool, I'll definitely be around the writing room at some point. :pinkiehappy: Probably a lot of some points. If you see a tall geek with long gray viking/nazarite/homeless-guy hair and beard, with glasses and black leather, looking decidedly lost and uncomfortable, that's probably me. (Where's a Starswirl the Bearded emoticon when you need one?)

5053162 I knooooww. Right around this time last summer I kind of fell off the face of the earth in terms of most of the places I hang out online, so it's going to be wonderful to see and meet everyone again.

Also that first Shim isn't a Your Lie in April reference? Huh, could have fooled me.

Hmm. Question! Raven's story is the next one, which was listed on the timeline on the front page. Is that still updated, as in will we still be getting all three of the stories after Raven before moving onto the Everfree Arc? Or are you cutting two of them - or mixing it up completely.

5090859
Minuette's story has been moved to after the Everfree Arc, while the other story may get added in as a one-shot at a later date. I realized that Raven did the job of that story as well.

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