News

Been a while. Have some news.

I thought maybe I’d announce this finally. I recently went looking through my story ideas file and saw one that creeps into my mind every so often. I got to thinkin about it again and decided it would make a great project for Patreon. So here’s what’s I’m gonna do…

Starting in September, I’ll be starting a new episodic story. A reverse portal fantasy about an orc from Arkod’s (that’s the name of Grimluk’s home planet in case you forgot) past gets sucked into modern day America. This will be a slice of life kind of thing. Going from flash fiction to short story length. Very rare on the action. I want to get writing again but my book projects seem too big still. And since I have been too quiet this year, this should be a win-win for my patrons. So far, the folks I’ve talked to about the idea really like it. I hope that continues. I just want something a bit softer and easier right now. And this will be a Patreon exclusive, too.

I don’t know if I’ll do much in the way of new D&D homebrew for the foreseeable future either. I may eventually do some more Battle of the Bands stuff but considering how precarious scheduling is for my gaming group right now, I’m not sure when or if my first foray into DMing is going to happen. But, ya know, worst case, I make it into its own book. Maybe do a kickstarter for it. Who knows.

I also had an ADHD eval on Monday and, for the third time, was told that while I have symptoms, it’s all depression, anxiety, and trauma. So I’m going to be trying a higher dosage of the drug I take as a sleep aid, since it’s actually an early psych med. Supposedly the bigger dose will help me sleep even more than the baby dose, which I desperately want right now. Here’s hoping things improve. The past few weeks have felt particularly bad for me being able to get stuff done.

So that’s where I’m at right now. Still trying to get my bodily and mental health taken care of. Gonna work on this new project for the time being. And yes, there will be a new book eventually. Who knows, if the increased medication works, my production schedule could actually become an actual, stable schedule. I’ve got The Once and Future Slayer ready to start and the Crimson Warrior (or whatever I end up calling it) is also ready to go. Grimluk 5 is like half-formed in my head already, I just need to actually set up an outline, do all the preproduction stuff I do.

And to reiterate, the new slice of life stories? Patreon exclusives, which you can keep up with for just $1 a month. Link in the sidebar.

Hope you’re doing well. I hope your summer treated you well, and if it didn’t, I hope the fall treats you better. Be safe, be kind, be excellent.

Life

I have not put any updates here in a while. To be fair, I’ve had few updates to give to anyone anywhere. The past six months have been…a time. Sales (and reviews) for By Demons Be Driven have been sparse. I’ve got two new books ready to start, each with a new protagonist, but I have yet to do so. Patreon content has been very low.

Burn out is the name of the game right now. I’m just burnt out. Two years of pandemic life, combined with its effects on my writing career, and a bunch of health stuff (for me and my partner) have me feeling empty. Add to that all the news that keeps flooding our eyeballs, and yeah. I even took a twitter break last weekend, I felt so bad. Then there was a shooting here in Tulsa.

I’m just not getting to live enough life right now for a variety of reasons. Covid is surging again so the summer is going to be bad for that. I still wear my mask when I go out. I’m sure we’ll all need to get another booster too.

So that’s where I’m currently at. Struggling to create anything right now and feeling ashamed of it. Struggling to take care of myself and ashamed of it. I’m trying but I hit a level of empty I’ve not felt in a very, very long time. As I told everyone on Patreon, I’m trying to get better. Please be patient with me. Which is not a thing I would say anyone needs to say but the grip of capitalism runs deep.

Hope you’re doing well. Take care of yourselves.

A whole mess of news!

First things first, you’re gonna want to come and join me on reddit for the By Demons Be Driven cover reveal! I’m so excited to finally get to share this cover! It’s up for pre-order on Amazon now.

On top of THAT, I’ve also permanently lowered the price of the ebook of A Demon in the Desert to 99 cents AND, with Amazon rolling out hardcovers, I’ve added hardcover editions to the first three books. There will be a hardcover for By Demons Be Driven as well, available along with the paperback on October 1st! I’m still waiting on Demon Haunted to finish its review as there was an error with the spine text but that should be done some time today.

I’ve also updated books 1 and 2 somewhat. I cleaned up a bit of formatting in A Demon in the Desert that I had missed, to try and at least nudge it towards my current standards without just rewriting it, and I updated the cover font and back art. I updated Demon Haunted to have the elder sign POV separators like in Demons Within (and soon, By Demons) as well as the front cover font. Mostly this is a “branding” thing as the Kirsty font used in the title of Demons Within was one I really liked and looks good in a variety of sizes. Now everything matches.

I’m also planning on doing some sort of shop thing for bookmarks and stickers and whatnot once my partner and I find a house and get moved. That will probably be a next year thing but it’s in the works after I figured out I just need to buy a crafting printer to print my own bookmarks.

That’s all the news for now!

By Demons Be Driven Kickstarter Redux

I tried this a year ago and then COVID-19 dropped on our heads. So here we are a year later, trying again. Goal’s a little higher this time because I’m going with a different artist. I hope you’ll join me and back the project! Join me over on Twitch today, too! And on March 30th, I have my first OFFICIAL Reddit AMA on r/Fantasy!

You can check out the campaign here!

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.