Teaser Tuesday: What is the secret?

pelletstove

You know what sucks? When it’s 20ºF on a Sunday evening—and your heat goes kaput.

We heat our home with a pellet stove. It’s awesome and pumps out a lot of heat. That is, until it makes clunky noises and stops working. Also sucky? When your service guys are so swamped they can’t even get back to you till Tuesday morning—and that’s after playing the “my wife is about to go into labor” card.

But they rang first thing this morning, and it turned out the problem at hand was one I could actually fix. After a couple hours, a lost wingnut, some sawdust vacuuming, attempts not to swear with the toddler in the room, and realigning a chain that had come off its gears, we have fire again!

All that to say, even with cold hands, a busted stove, and a wife soon not to be pregnant, I’m still cranking along on Lotus, the fourth Rucksack Universe travel fantasy book. As I write this post, I am one scene away from the end of Act I! So far I’ve written 20,851 words, or about 80 pages. Here’s a wee teasery snippet from the past week’s rough drafts:

“Now, Feckniss,” said Blanders, “what is your assessment of this morning’s chatter?”

Feckniss began outlining his analysis. Together they conferred on the likely fallout from the announcement, and various ways the company could respond.

At ten minutes to ten, Blanders nodded. “We’re ready,” he said. “But Feckniss, you must remember something crucial. This is the end. But it’s only the beginning.”

“Of what?”

“Of everything. Of nothing.” Blanders smiled. “Guru knows.”

“Is that the secret, sir?”

Blanders shook his head.

“What is the secret?”

With a smile, Blanders leaned forward until his mouth was next to Feckniss’s ear. “It’s simple, my dear boy.” Feckniss felt the smile grow wider. “The secret is that there is no secret.”

Feckniss tried to understand or think of a reply. Blanders rose and stepped out of the cubicle. “I’ll come back after the announcement, and then we’ll debrief.” Alone, Feckniss tried to think of what his manager meant. He thought and thought, and almost had it, but then the clock struck ten. On the radio, in the office, all over the world, the voice of Guru Deep began to speak.

Lotus is the codename for the fourth Rucksack Universe travel fantasy book, coming 2015. Join the adventure with the first 3 books, available now »


Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!


2 Homebrew Clubs & More Craft Beer Stories

Image: Oregon Beer Growler

Image: Oregon Beer Growler

Here in Oregon, the cities of Eugene and Corvallis are known for their football-driven rivalry. During November, that comes to a head in the Civil War game. And when it comes to beer and homebrew, there’s lots going on in both cities too.

In the November 2014 edition of the Oregon Beer Growler, I’ve written the cover story of 2 homebrew clubs, one in Eugene and one in Corvallis. There’s also a big round-up of everything craft beer in both cities. So if you want to know how to get your beer (or brew) on in these areas, you are all set!

Read the Oregon Beer Growler online or find a print copy »

See more of my Craft Beer Writing & Homebrew Articles


Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!


November News: Baby Marvelous, Lotus, Quality, Ethics & New Author Interview

November! Autumnal temperatures. Dark beer. And lots and lots of writing. It is chilly in Eugene today, but thanks to my wife’s incredible knitting skills, I am cozy warm in one of my hand-knit man sweaters. Here’s a man sweater selfie, plus news of the latest in my wee world:

#mansweaterselfie

#mansweaterselfie

Lotus

Drafting continues on the fourth Rucksack Universe travel fantasy book, codenamed Lotus. I only have a few scenes left to draft in Act 1. Everything I’ve drafted so far is with my Chief Reader. As of this post, I’ve written about 60 pages, not bad for a book I only started writing at the end of October.

Baby Marvelous St. Clair

ultrasound

Our due date for Baby Marvelous St. Clair was Nov. 13. No baby yet, but all is well. Jodie and I are enjoying some one-on-one time with our son, and are just overall keeping things moving toward meeting our new child. Once baby arrives, there will be posts. Oh my will there. Thank you for all your good thoughts and support.

Book Quality & Author Ethics

I Adhere to ALLi’s New Code of Author Ethics

I'm an Ethical Author

Pro authors care about quality & ethics. Here are my commitments to both: anthonystclair.com/quality & anthonystclair.com/ethics.

Given all the paid-review, plagiarism, and various other writer scandals out there, sometimes it’s easy to believe that authors are a bunch of scoundrels. Personally and professionally, I try not to be lying jackass. Quality and truth mean a lot to me; they’re part of why I love running my own business as an author, copywriter, and publisher.

As you may know, I’m obsessive about the process I bring to writing and producing my books. (If you don’t know that, here’s my 15-step process for story & publishing quality: http://www.anthonystclair.com/quality.) To that end, I’m elated that the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), of which I’m a proud member, has released its Ethical Author guidelines.

As a quality-minded, professional, ethical indie author-publisher, I am committed to upholding these standards in everything I do. That’s not just because it matters to me, but because ultimately, it means better books for you.

You can see my own Author Ethics page here: anthonystclair.com/ethics

New Author Interview at Highlighted Author

Highlighted Author features Anthony St. Clair

Over at Highlighted Author, the wonderful Jo and Charlene were kind enough to feature me and Forever the Road in a new book excerpt and author interview.

We are excited to welcome Anthony St. Clair to the Highlighted Author. From business writer to fiction writer, Anthony shares his rich experiences as a world traveler in each of his books. Hope you enjoy this feature on his newest release, FOREVER THE ROAD, A Rucksack Universe novel! –Jo Grafford, Highlighted Author Co-Hostess

Check out the full interview here: Highlighted Author » Welcome, Anthony St. Clair!

That’s the news from the Rucksack Universe, where the beer is always fresh, all the locals are friendly, and the food never makes you sick.


Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!


Teaser Tuesday: How to Transform Sunshine into Joy

Chief Reader's purple folder

Just delivered the first half of Act I to my Chief Reader.

Yesterday I loaded pages into a purple folder and delivered the first half of Act I to my Chief Reader. Lotus is cranking along! As I dig in to the last few scenes of the first act, I’ll do my best to share things that aren’t too spoilery :)

Here’s a teaser from the past week’s rough drafts…

Arthur stared deep into Gabsir’s eyes, showing him a deep sadness—but something else Gabsir couldn’t yet recognize or understand. With a sigh and a shake of his head, Arthur replied, “Nothing could make this easier.”

As the brewmaster and his second walked through the brewery, a dry, thick, bitter sweetness took over the air. From Arthur’s office, you could still notice it, but the scent was weaker there, back near the accounting offices, the marketing and publicity folks, the sales offices. But through the hallways connecting the administration offices to the heart of the brewery, the scent grew stronger, becoming not so much an aroma but another state of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma—and brewing.

At its heart, Gabsir reflected, brewing was a practical alchemy that transformed sunshine into joy. The sun helped the barley grow, and the hearty grass could grow all over the world, in places where wheat withered, from the fields of the USA to the high valleys of Tibet. Once harvested and the grains separated out, the barley began a process called malting. First the barley was wet enough so that the seeds were tricked into germinating. Then the grains were dried, stopping the sprouting process and redirecting them from one destiny—more stalks of barley—to another: beer.

Some of the barley for GPS had an even different fate. Instead of being malted, it was roasted. Browned and blackened, the bitter notes and dark color made it the heart of GPS. But in the beer, what could have been astringent and harsh became something else: refreshing, strengthening, emboldening.

Roasted barley. It was part of the heart of GPS, Gabsir knew, but it wasn’t the secret.

The narrow hallway ended at a choice: left, right, or across. Opening on to an open space, the floor ended and down below, the heart of the brewery bustled. To either side, catwalks went around the space, gleaming white from the tile walls. But Gabsir followed his leader’s choice: the catwalk that crossed the dozens of meters between where Arthur and Gabsir now stood, and the opposite side of the space.

As they crossed, Arthur stared at the men and equipment below. Large gleaming tanks shone silver-gray and rose from the floor like mountains. The two-meter wide cylinders rose to a height of ten meters, then tapered to a point at the bottom. Flowing across, between, and all around, pipes connected the tanks and kettles like arteries and veins. Steam hissed from a pipe as a brewer adjusted a temperature setting on the mash tun, an open pot large enough to be a small swimming pot. Inside, malted and roasted barley was soaking in hot water like the world’s largest cup of tea, converting the barley’s starches into sugars that yeast could eventually eat and create alcohol. In another part of the room, Gabsir could see where the the thick, dark, sugary liquid from an earlier mash had been separated from the grains and transferred into a large pot for boiling. The transformation of barley to liquid wort, then wort to beer, was underway.

Lotus is the codename for the fourth Rucksack Universe travel fantasy book, coming 2015. Join the adventure with the first 3 books, available now »


Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!


Teaser Tuesday: Always Timeless. Always London!

Image: Dale https://flic.kr/p/eFiX8U

What a week! Drafting is still off to a strong start, and I’m well underway on the latest Rucksack Universe travel fantasy story. Major characters are being introduced. We’re getting a sense of where we are. We seem on the cusp of major events… but there’s still much to find out about what’s going on.

Here’s a wee Tuesday teaser from this past week’s ROUGH drafting of Lotus, Book 4:

IT WOULD HAPPEN AT TEN, said the flat radio voice. As if we don’t know already, thought Branwen as she carried her purple bowl and Zara’s yellow bowl to the kitchen. Well, almost. The short stretch of counter gave a passable impression of being a kitchen, but only if you were good at juggling and didn’t mind moving the plug-in kettle, the dish drainer, and the messy meters of clear plastic tubing when you wanted to make a cup of tea. Or set down the breakfast dishes.

“Zara?” she called, balancing two bowls on one hand while she made room. “Weren’t you going to clear up the tubing and dishes?” Again. Branwen glanced at the narrow door on the wall past the counter. She smiled. At least it’s almost ready.

A horn blared. Outside the window over the sink, four floors below, Branwen stared down at London. Red buses, thick crowds, and the city’s distinctive white taxis bustled. They teemed around the diversions, detours, and delays of construction sites. “ALWAYS TIMELESS. ALWAYS LONDON!” beamed the bright, colorful signs all over the city. The traffic swarmed around the black too. The blackened rocks, the blackened patches of ground, the black moods that still could take the city when they stared too long at what was black. What was black had once been burning.

There was a long time when black had been all that was left of London.


Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!


October Update: Lotus, New Interview & Universe Bundles

As far as the blog goes, it’s been a quiet few weeks. That’s by design, pretty much. I’ve been focusing on talking up Forever the Road and the Rucksack Universe, and I was also finishing up some planning for a certain wee something. We’ll get to that in a sec.

I’m also making some overall changes to the blog. Overall I expect to be posting less and less frequently, using social media and my email list more instead. But I’ll always have something here to let you know the latest in this wee author’s life & scribblings and such.

Such as now.

Announcing Book 4: Lotus

The Rucksack Universe is both ongoing and non-sequential. Each book builds on the others, but they all can stand alone too, sort of like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. So when it came time to finally look beyond Forever the Road, there was all this opportunity in front of me.

And boy howdy, I’m running with it. The fourth book is codenamed Lotus (but no, it’s not set in India. Far from it, in fact). That’s just a working title, btw. I started outlining this book in August, and just finished the planning last week. As I work up this post, so far I’ve written 2 scenes.

What’s it about? The Sword and Laser described my work as “beerpunk,” and Lotus is the most beerpunk of anything I’ve done so far. But really, this book is going to be all about…

Well, I can hardly tell you that, now can I?

The other day a friend noted that it seemed this book was coming along fast. “I suppose it is,” I replied. “It’s the first one without any baggage.”

I’m really excited about Lotus. As fun as it was to write and publish The Martini of Destiny, Home Sweet Road, and Forever the Road, those books all came about during a very different time in my life and career. Each of them went through multiple versions and revisions; some started as short stories, the original drafts are completely unrecognizable from their final forms.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. As an author-publisher, I knew I was learning a lot about how to write, revise, project manage, and publish a book. I was really getting a working understanding of my world and this varied cast.

I also didn’t have my writing process down. It’s taken 3 books, lots of trial and error, a few barrels of coffee, and lots and lots of words I’m glad my son wasn’t in the room to hear, but I’ve worked hard to become a better author. I knew that I needed a process to my work, that helped me write quickly and true to story.

Lotus is the first book I’m creating where I feel that process, that confidence and experience, are in place and working together.

It’s an exciting story. We’ll meet some new characters, and we’ll get to know some new things about people we’ve met before. We’ll also meet some folks who have only been indirectly mentioned in other stories.

I’ve got a wee teaser of some of the early draft here.

Lotus will be released in 2015.

New author interview

And Then They Author Interview with Anthony St. Clair

Carolyn Frosaker-Williams is an Oregonian teacher, book lover, blogger, crafter, mama, and much more. She and her family are really cool people, who my family and I know through a really cool playgroup we’re part of. So when Carolyn came to me and said she wanted to do author interviews on her blog, And Then They, I pretty much ran not walked to be part of it.

I’m starting a new project where I will have author interviews up on the blog. I’ve read a lot of author interviews on the internet. Mine will be a little different. As a middle school English teacher, I have different questions than most bloggers. When I sub in classrooms, or have a long term job, I hear a lot of things that lead me to believe that middle schoolers are at a precarious literary place. So, my questions are (selfishly, I must admit) partly aimed at inspiring the kids I am aiming to inspire. Also, (selfishly) I’m hoping to get some hints at how to be a better writing teacher, and a better writer myself. If I can share that with my readers, then we’re all getting something out of this!

Carolyn just posted her interview with me, the first in the series:

My stories are both realistic and fantastical, and since they are all based in globetrotting and wandering, I refer to them as “travel fantasy.” There’s urban fantasy, the supernatural, alternate history, mythology, and lots of beer, but ultimately every story comes back to travel. Traveling the world has defined my life in more ways than I can count, and the world of the indie traveler is the world of the Rucksack Universe.

AND THEN THEY Author Interview with Anthony St. Clair »

Check out Carolyn’s blog for more cool posts and future author interviews »

Universe Bundles

Rucksack Universe Paperbook Bundle

Behind the scenes, I’ve also been adding some new things to the site that have been on my list.

A while back I added direct sales to the website, so you can now get Rucksack Universe books directly from me. (Thank you Selz for the cool e-commerce system!)

I started off with individual e-books. But now you can do far more:

When you get books and e-books directly from me, you are directly supporting me and my work. I love having my books available through other stores, but the bottom line is that I also make the most money on books that I sell directly. The signed paperbacks are also only available from me (at least until Jeff Bezos clones me and has a proxy Anthony signing books in an Amazon warehouse).

Check out my online store »

And That’s the news from the Rucksack Universe, where the beer is always fresh, all the locals are friendly, and the food never makes you sick.

Have a great day. Now to get back to work on Lotus!


Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!


Teaser Tuesday: Book 4 is underway!

From the Big Board

From the Big Board

3 travel fantasy books are out. My wife and I are days away from meeting our second baby. So what am I doing now? Starting the fourth Rucksack Universe book! Technically I’ve been working on it since August, when I first started outlining the story. I recently finished meeting the characters and planning the book—so now it’s time to write!

Book 4 is codenamed “Lotus,” so that’s how I’ll usually refer to it, btw:

Here’s a snippet from this week’s ROUGH drafting:

ON THIS DAY over 10,000 years ago, the man and the woman stood at the edge of the smoking field. Their sad eyes watched the gray-and-black storm clouds roll away, toward the mountains beyond the valley. Where the clouds went, rain came. Where rain came, life followed. Unless the fire came too. And the fire had come, slashing silver through the storm’s thick air and gloom, into the center of vast field.

“The barley had just gone from green to pale,” said the woman. “It was almost ready for harvest.”

The man nodded. He reached for her hand. When she squeezed back, silent tears made tracks through the dust covering their dark brown faces. “All that work,” said the man. He stared at her growing belly. “All that food.”

The smoke had brought them. Though they had come with buckets of sand and buckets of water, the terrible orange flowers had bloomed blazing. The heat had driven them back, until all they could do was watch, refusing to turn away.


Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!


Halloween Beer: McMenamins Black Widow Porter

McMenamins Black Widow Porter 2014

The other night, my wife and I settled down to watch Great Estates Scotland: Rosslyn Chapel on PBS. I popped a beer that had come my way recently: McMenamins Black Widow Porter.

It was a lovely companion for learning about one of the world’s most mysterious buildings.

Black Widow poured thick and dark. On the palate, a silky, rich texture gave a pillowy mouthfeel, while bringing on flavors of plum and a hint of licorice, with a nice balance of sweet and roasted malt plus a refreshing bitterness. Given the pleasant tang on the finish, I was all the happier to savor this beer.

McMenamins Black Widow Porter 2014

  • Malts: British Pale Malt, Munich, Flaked Barley, Wheat, 135/165 Crystal, Black, Roast
  • Hops: Horizon
  • Additional Ingredient: Licorice Root
  • OG: 1.074
  • TG: 1.017
  • ABV: 7.35
  • IBU: 40
  • SRM: 38

Black, roasty, smooth, and scary good, Black Widow Porter is available only during October at select McMenamins locations throughout Washington and Oregon.


Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!


Reading at The Bier Stein, Today, 6pm, Eugene

Forever the Road paperbacks in a box

OK, today’s the day! Join me at Eugene’s The Bier Stein at 6 p.m. PT for an evening of wit, adventure, and beer. I’ll be reading from the newest Rucksack Universe book, Forever the Road—and who knows, maybe some of the other books too.

P.S.: Word is there’ll be plenty of stout on hand too :)

The Bier Stein
1591 Willamette St.
Eugene, OR
thebierstein.com
541-485-BIER


Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!


There’s only one thing better than a box full of books

The only thing better than this:

IMG_0363.JPG

Is this:

IMG_0367.JPG

A week after launch. Wow. And thank you. To all the friends and family, Beta Readers, fans, you name it.

Thank you.

Now to get a new box of books emptied…

P.S. See you at The Bier Stein, 1591 Willamette St., on Sept. 22, 6 p.m., for an evening in the Rucksack Universe of readings and signings!


Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!


Hi.

Anthony St. Clair - Travel Fantasy Author / Craft Beer Writer / Business Copywriter

Author and copywriter Anthony St. Clair has specialized in online content since 2000, blogged since 2004 and is the author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series.

Get the first 3 chapters of Forever the Road

Sign up for Anthony's free email newsletter, typically 1-3 emails per month.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!

Rucksack Universe

Travel fantasy tales
of wit, adventure & beer

Forever the Road by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novel - learn more and buy now

Home Sweet Road by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novella - learn more and buy now

The Martini of Destiny by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novella - learn more and buy now

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Specials, News, Bonus Content & More
  • FREE Sample Now of FOREVER THE ROAD, the newest Rucksack Universe adventure
  • First to know author & book news
  • Book discounts
  • Event announcements
  • Pre-launch special offers
Travel the world of the Rucksack Universe fantasy series!
Sign up for Anthony's newsletter
%d bloggers like this: