Rings of Power 2

Real talk, it’s 3/5 or 4/5. The first episode was 3/5, but the second got better.

It won’t create a dynasty, though. It’s not itself enough.

The big criticism of Rings of Power that’s reasonable is the way it ignores the lore. I’m not talking about Tom Bombadil being cut from the movies. I’m talking about whole chunks of backstory excised, ignored, or butchered. The writers or producers, perhaps someone else, clearly stomped over a script and ordered the people writing it to hit certain beats. But those beats were hit with no attention to the underlying bones of Middle Earth, its melody. Jeff Bezos is Morgoth.

RoP isn’t Tolkien. It’s good generic fantasy. It’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It’s fine, and given how little is out there in the fantasy space, honestly it’s pretty good. We should be happy Galadriel isn’t in a battle bikini.

In the first bit of the first ep, Galadriel heads up to the frozen north. She wants to pursue Sauron, her team doesn’t, and eventually, they mutiny and turn back. This moment can be looked upon in two lights.

1) This is a generic movie with no connection to Tolkien’s lore. As such, the meaning of that scene is to show Galadriel’s relentlessness via comparison. It builds the character of Galadriel.

2) This is a garbage Tolkien movie that just dumped on history. Galadriel already took her company across the Grinding Ice. She chased her enemies across the frozen north already, and brought most of her elves through. Why then did her platoon refuse now? Why is this different? No explanation is given because the writer’s don’t care about Tolkien’s backstory.

The writers or the producers who demanded a specific story care so little about Tolkien’s backstory, they don’t understand that people could. When someone complains about the loss of the lore, the dev team doesn’t understand that lore is something people can care about.

There’s a romance between an elf and a human in Harad.

1) It’s forbidden love. Get that romance angle going.

2) Tolkien states that romances between humans and elves don’t work.

This is a bit more plausible from a narrative standpoint, as the elf/haradim romance could exist and just tank. They might go down in flames. She or he dies. That would actually help the forbidden love angle too.

Galadriel and her team sail to Valinor. It’s said they were the first ones offered such a privilege.

1) idk. Why is she swimming?

2) Um, no? Any of the elves could? A whole bunch of them did after the defeat of Morgoth.

2a) Also, Arda is, like, right over there. It’s not displaced from Middle Earth yet. It’s a long sail. It’s a one way trip, but it’s a very doable one. That’s why there’s a city in Linden.

2b) Are we skipping the whole fall of Numenor bit? Before the end, Valinor was just some distance west.

2c) Are we doing the founding of Numenor? Is the dude on the ship Elros Tar-Minyatur?

Anyway, luls, no one cared.

The thing here is that there’s nothing beyond shallow entertainment. The show has no depth, and without depth, it won’t last. There’s nothing in it worth exploring, because the entire history and backstory is cludge, slapped together with wishful thinking and special effects when the action requires it. It doesn’t have depth, because the people who made it didn’t care. The dev team didn’t care at all. They were hitting demographic checkboxes, unwilling to explore anything with care. It’s high budget and low effort.

I guess that’s the big problem. Tolkien’s world was a high-effort making. He put work in, and it showed. This wasn’t. No one involved in the making cared. That’s why nerds like me get so frustrated. What I wanted was something made by people who cared about the world not just the casting. And it isn’t there.

It really isn’t that bad. It’s Valerian. Valerian was fine.

Valerian didn’t spawn any sequels.


Mara and the Trolls Kindle Version is opened for preorders and will go live on Amazon June 1st.

The paperback should go live May 15th, but Amazon isn’t taking preorders for that. If they do, I don’t know how to do it yet.

The ebook will go up for $10 ($9.99), and the paperback for $14.99. Pricing is largely set by Amazon, and I don’t have a whole lot of control over those levers. This a full length book though, about 279 pages. BH was much shorter.

Speaking of BH, I’m not sure why the new edition isn’t automatically updating on Kindle readers and the Windows app. I’m going to work on that while I’m waiting for responses on the Mara stuff.

Self Publishing

Every single part of self publishing takes longer than you would expect. I thought I’d have the paperback of Bloodharvest up weeks ago.

I submitted the manuscript to Amazon and got a proof. It looked fine. Not great, not terrible, it was fine. Wanting something a little better than fine, I shopped around for someone to do layout. I found someone (I’m going to put his contact information up in the Books page when I’ve got everything done) who did a full layout, but it took a few weeks including both work and searching through samples. He was great. After reading through the layout for the paperback, I realized it was much, much better than the ebook layout, so I took his recommendation for an ebook layout service and contracted them. They said by the end of next week or the beginning of the one after, they’ll have my layout done.

Meanwhile I resubmitted the paperback and found that the revision resulted in some cover bleed. The number of pages changed, so now the cover doesn’t quite fit. No worries. My cover designer (also to be revealed when all the books are ready) said she was more than happy to fix things. It’s just a scaling issue. Her schedule allows her to take care of it next week.

So next week, or maybe the week after, I’ll have a paperback and an ebook with the improved interior up on Amazon. Unless something else comes up.

OTOH, I had a complete surreal moment holding my proof. It’s signed and dated, the first of my fiction to be printed, and it’s on my desk. It’s almost done. I just need some text shrunk, and it will go live on Amazon. Concurrently the ebook should be sent back, and that will go live too. They’re both vastly better than what I could have done myself.

I wrestled with that for a while. Your humble narrator is not rolling in money, and layout is not cheap.

But it’s worth it. The product is just better. And while it’s all well and good to trumpet things aren’t people and we shouldn’t care too much, creating something like this, a book of my words and my ideas, is a reflection of me.


A while ago I helped my father move a desk. It was a ponderous old thing, built like a cube of solid wood. It had to weigh a hundred pounds. But it wasn’t that hard to move for the same reason: it was built like a cube of solid wood. I could grab it anywhere. The top had a lip, and being a plank, I could carry it by that lip. The legs were thick posts bolted to the body and ran straight to the top where it was screw together. Any possible orientation of the desk had big, beautiful hand-holds.

Comparatively, when I moved in Maryland last, I had one of those light, particle board desks that was a bear to move. It was trivially light, about thirty pounds, and between two people it was lighter than a moderate backpack. It was nothing. But it was made of nothing, and you couldn’t hold it any which way because it would break. It crumbled under finger pressure.

The light desk was vastly more challenging to move through hallways and doors than the heavy one because every movement was a calculation. We couldn’t just shove the little one. Dad’s heavy desk cared not. It cared nothing for walls, because the walls were going to break before that thing. Orientation was no concerned because every angle had a great hold. The little one was almost impossible, and I wound up throwing the light thing away so I wouldn’t have to deal with it any more.

Publishing is moving the light desk. Nothing is really hard. Writing the book is hard, but publishing it isn’t. I’ve worked with several freelance editors, and the lead content editor on Bloodharvest, September C Fawkes, was a delight to work with. She did all the heavy lifting on that project. But I used to write in LibreOffice, so I had to convert files. Then in Word I reformatted them, and formatted them again when Augustin of Wordy did brave battle with atrocious grammar. Bowker is the reason monopolistic behavior requires regulation.

Here’s the kicker. None of that was more than an annoyance. None of it was hard, certainly not compared to writing the stupid thing. What was a problem was that every step was a calculation, and I never really knew what the next step was. At no point was step C clear from B, and I was rarely confident that step A had been completed to perfection. It was just anomalous difficulty.

Where I’m going with all this is that Bloodharvest is now in the Amazon Kindle store here.

I wanted it done, so I could approach Bedtime Stories with some idea of how to publish. I wanted a road map, and in self publishing, I had to make my own. It’s done now.

What do you  think? Is it reasonable or not? Are there typos? Is the price respectable? You can read it free in a few places by clicking on theArchives tab. If any of the readers want real, live input on a published novella, now’s your opportunity.

As I look now, the cover preview doesn’t appear. I need to fix that, and I don’t know how. I really want to know how the table of contents works on other devices.

How do I feel about it? I don’t know. I’m elated it’s out there and worried because of the same. I’m resolved. Bedtime Stories and Death Mountain are coming, and I don’t have any fear now that I won’t be able to self publish them. But I also don’t know how I will. It’s not a cheap endeavor.

I’m relieved. It’s done. It’s like my first 5k. A 5k may be nothing, and there are pro authors who drop novels and novellas like it’s nothing, but they’re not me. I don’t have to beat them. I have to beat the guy I was yesterday, and as of this writing, me of 24hrs ago didn’t have a book on Amazon.

Bedtime Stories to editing by Jan 1st, 2019. Death Mountain, full length, 1st draft written by Feb 1st 2019. The timelines of the goals are flexible. Accomplishing them isn’t.