Blog her? I hardly knew her!

It’s been a while since I’ve done an actual blog post. If you’ve signed up for my newsletter, you’re already up to date but for everyone else, I’ll try to go through the highlights from the year so far and my plans for Orctober.

The By Demons Be Driven Kickstarter did not meet its goal because I launched it and then COVID descended upon us.

I finally got a new PC built and started streaming on Twitch over the summer. I’m halfway to my Follower goal to start working towards becoming an Affiliate. You should give me a follow. I’m streaming on Tuesdays at 5pm central right now.

I restarted my newsletter because a friend pestered me into it. I decided to try to make it positive on top of Ashe news and share cool stuff.

I kept slowly pecking away at the third draft of By Demons Be Driven because working this year has been fucking hard. I got it done though. I’ll be starting the fourth in the near future.

I posted a Grimluk short story over on Patreon. “Big Iron”, his first assignment as a full hunter, inspired by the song. You can read it for a buck, along with the current project: The Battle of the Bands. I recently decided I wanted to try my hand at DMing, thus beginning the process of building a heavy metal fantasy world. Thus far, I’ve posted a few Lore facts and a lot of the setting, including a very basic map shape. I’m pretty excited about what I’m building.

I have no plans for Orctober this year but I DID just drop a box set for all three Grimluk books in one handy package for a measly $9.99 at your preferred outlet.

I have FINALLY done a sleep study and gotten a sleep apnea diagnosis. I actually started using my CPAP two nights ago. My head doesn’t hurt nearly as much this morning and I felt alert faster. I look forward to seeing what this does for me long term.

I also started playing guitar again recently. I made a deal with my partner that if I practice at least three times a week, they’ll buy me an attenuator for Christmas. That’s a little device that will let me use my very powerful amp at apartment levels.

I think that’s everything. I will be relaunching the Kickstarter for By Demons Be Driven in March once more and HOPEFULLY I can get funded this time.

And I apologize for the lack of Orctober shenanigans this year but given the hell year, and the lack of any ideas (or new books), I didn’t really have anything I could pull out. Hopefully next year will have a book release!

So that’s been my 2020 so far. Been some other personal stuff that’s happened but mostly it’s been that. That’s it for now!

A Demon in the Desert Fifth Anniversary

A Demon in the Desert cover

It’s been five years since I published A Demon in the Desert. Some time after I put it out, I blogged about everything I’d learned from. Five years on, those things still hold true but I’m not taking active lessons from it anymore. It serves as a very mixed gateway into the life of Grimluk and his adventures, with some people loving it and a few thinking it’s garbage. It’s a first book. And I don’t know what else to say on it.

I could talk about how sometimes I think about rewriting it but my desire to let it stand, as its own thing and as a sign of where I started mostly wins out there. It will stand as it is.

I could talk about how my friend, Krista Ball, told me about the five-year issue. It takes five years before you really get anywhere. But my fifth year is also the year of COVID-19 and I still only have three books. By Krista’s fifth year, she had 12 books out (or, as she put it when I asked, “A lot, and probably not enough, but also way too much.”). In self-publishing, quantity DOES matter, at least more than in traditional publishing. It’s also not smart to compare my journey to someone else’s. While Krista’s level of success is where I’m aiming, I’m also not her and I don’t write what she writes. Also at least one of those was a non-fiction and those always sell.
 
The truth is…this doesn’t feel like a big deal to me anymore. I’ve written and published three books and written a fourth that just needs the money for editing, proofing, and artwork (along with another couple of drafts). Releasing a book is still a big deal. Releasing a book is a big, nerve-wracking event where I push another piece of my very silly soul out into the world for people to consume, come what may. But the march of time? Not really.
 
The biggest thing about having been doing this for five years now is that…I can’t see myself not doing it anymore. Paying for the publishing sucks and is the hardest part of this, followed by marketing, but I love doing this. I love writing. I love creating. I love entertaining and it still makes me feel real. So even with COVID-19 rolling around, and the US absolutely DUNKING on itself, that hasn’t changed. Sometimes I feel like I’m being frivolous writing Grimluk and not like, some politically-charged, current events commentary sci-fi story. Which is kind of silly considering Grimluk is politically-charged in a different way. Part of a recent review for The Demons Within read:
 
I also like how Ashe has pretty seamlessly incorporated queerness and gender diversity into these books. In that respect, I do actually think I’d recommend these as good fantasy for middle school age queer/trans teens and early high school age queer/trans teens. Though gender and sexual diversity aren’t the main focus, Ashe incorporates them in a way that makes them feel normal and a part of the world, rather than make those characters anomalies or always in danger of persecution and ridicule. Not many other fantasy series featuring genderqueer orcs or queer elven or dwarven couples as a normal and accepted part of the world!
 
And that is a huge thing for me with this. So, sure, it’s trash adventure stuff but I’m still putting myself and my friends into it. Even if I was just writing pure adventure trash, oh well, people need that sometimes.
 
I’m just gonna keep going. In another five years, I’ll reflect on a decade as an author. Hopefully I’ll find 2025 a more welcoming place. A more stable and secure place. Here’s hoping we all do.
 
Now, given that I wasn’t really sure what to talk about and have rambled, mostly, I’m happy to answer any questions anyone has. I know most of you don’t really read these, but if you do, and something pop up, leave a comment or tweet at me or whatever and I’ll compile them together in a Q&A.

Stay safe.

2019 Year in Review

This…was a weird year. Professionally, I have very little that happened. I finished the first draft of By Demons Be Driven around the end of November. Then Rachel Sharp put together the Gay Apparel anthology and I put a Bakhor-POV flash piece in there. That’s really about it. Book sales have been low in the later half of the year. October was the worst month I had when it’s usually one of my better. I think that came down to not doing anything for Orctober. I’ve got the second draft of By Demons Be Driven started now and I’m getting everything set for the Indiegogo campaign. If you’re curious why I’m switching from Kickstarter, it’s because of Kickstarter’s blatant anti-union stances. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to finish in January and get it to some beta readers.

I shared some of my struggles getting this first draft done over on Patreon. Between Nici getting a new job, health stuff, sleep apnea, being unhappy with the ideas I was getting, it took me longer than I wanted.

Personally, I’ve been quite busy. February saw me run a GoFundMe for dental work, which was successful. I got a whole mess of fillings done, a tooth pulled, and then, finally, a partial denture. I ran another campaign for my partner, finally ridding them of their wisdom teeth. I also started going to yoga every week, which has been good for me. It’s a slow process though. I’m a bit of a mess. In July, I finally got a new bed. In September, finally got a new car. The new bed also, ironically, ushered in more issues with my sleep apnea, which prompted me to begin a third gofundme for that.

And over on r/Fantasy, I’ve been running a Dresden Files read-along. I managed to somehow pick the perfect schedule when I started in April. We read Dead Beat for October and now, with the Peace Talks release coming in July next year, we’ll be able to finish up Skin Game in June, read some of the short stories in July, and go straight into Peace Talks.

I also just celebrated my 7th anniversary with Nici. That’s wild.

And then there’s the unending hellworld bullshit that’s happened throughout the year. I can’t even remember everything that’s been in the news because of the sheer, ceaseless flow of it all.

That’s been my 2019, to the best of my memory. I hope your 2019 was good. I hope your 2020 will be amazing. Remember to take care of yourself and step away from the swirling vortex of terror that is social media and the news sometimes. I’m hoping my 2020 will be pretty damn good. June will be big. I turn 35 and it’ll be the 5th anniversary of A Demon in the Desert. I’m hopefully putting out a new one in October. I may get to do my first convention. Hopefully this will be a big year for all of us.

Big thank you to all my patrons and readers. Even the some of you who were friends to begin with. I’m incredibly grateful to have your continued support.

Take care of yourselves. And stay safe while partying!

Hark, some Holiday Stories

So, Rachel Sharp decided she wanted to put together an LGBT holiday-themed anthology of flash fiction. Because she’s punk rock like that. She asked me to include a story if I had one. I had an idea for another story I’m planning on doing and decided to make the little piece a lead-up to that one. There’s like twenty authors. You can get a copy from any of us by donating/pledging/backing/whatever. If you’d like one from me, I ask for a minimum of $2 to my sleep apnea gofundme campaign. I am a charity unto myself at the moment. Upon donation, I will send you a link with a zip file that contains an epub, mobi, and print-formatted pdf that you can print out for you own enjoyment.

gayapparel

Oh boy, GoFundMe Part 3

I said I was going to draw this month, and finish Grimluk 4 (that might still happen) but uh, I’ve been dealing with my sleep apnea a LOT lately. And by dealing with, I mean, it’s kicking my ass. So I started another campaign. I’ve needed to get my sleep fixed for a LONG time. It’s interfering with my ability to work once more so here we go again. As always, you can buy my books or become a patron as well.

Help Me Treat My Sleep Apnea

 

Orctober Drawings Week 1

Thought it might be time to share some of the drawings I did. Unfortunately, I only managed four so far. Still, they’re something. These are all fast and dirty.