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Rucksack Universe update: Wander cover coming soon

In further exciting news, my cover designer had sent me mock-ups of what the Wander cover might look like. Chief Reader and I extensively reviewed and discussed the designs… and then I sent my designer the go-ahead.

Stay tuned: Soon you’ll be among the first to see the cover for Wander, the next Rucksack Universe book!




Get behind the scenes of my writing life

Anthony St. Clair is creating fiction and non-fiction. Back his work on Patreon today

 

Since 2013, Patreon has helped fans all over the world financially back content creators, from visual artists to video makers, podcasters to writers. A couple of years ago, I first learned about Patreon, and today I back creators on there.

Patreon is similar to Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, except that instead of pledging one time, you support a creator on an ongoing basis. Creators worldwide are making a living, or at least getting extra income, thanks to people who support them on Patreon for as low as $1 per month.

Now, folks can support me too.

Why am I on Patreon? I want to push my creative self. I want to write and release more fiction and non-fiction that entertains and helps more people. And I want to engage more people creatively, and let them see into my creative world.

After months of research, prep, drafting, revision, feedback, tweaking, more feedback, and more tweaking, on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, I released my own page on Patreon.

The same day, I got my first patron. Shout-out to Sallie D. of San Jose, CA, USA, for being the first to back my work!

Here’s the link to my Patreon page. I hope you’ll consider backing my work. In return, you’ll get some pretty sweet rewards—and you’ll get to see behind the scenes of my writing life.

Honestly, at the very least, check out my Patreon page so you can watch the amazing intro video that Jodie made me. I still tear up when I watch it. It is so, so cool.

Back Anthony’s work

P.S.: Please also share my Patreon page with people you think would be interested in my work.




Rucksack Universe update: Novel leads to short story

When your main character is ten thousand years old, sometimes one story can point you to another that you have to do up too.

While underway on drafting Wet, the seventh Rucksack Universe book, I had to veer onto a wee tangent for a bit. Wet deals with something from Rucksack’s past that comes to be a threat again, hundreds of years later. I loved thinking through the back story for all this, and as I was drafting the actual scenes, I kept thinking that the back story itself would make an interesting story.

So I decided to take some time to work up this story. It’s going to be called “The Forgotten City.” The draft is just about done, and soon I’ll be submitting it to short story markets. It’ll be a companion story for Wet as well.




Rucksack Universe update: The Roving Fiddler

While at fiddle camp, I wasn’t working overall, but I continued to write every day. I also wanted to try out a slightly different project. I wanted to figure out a short story that might go with the fiddle camp, but also work in the Rucksack Universe.

So I figured out a story about Aisling, the Awen of Ireland, from when she was younger and wandering the world, determined not to be a prisoner of a destiny she’d been told. Aisling is musical, a fiddle virtuoso—so I started to figure out a story about her at a fiddle camp in Oregon, but where she also must confront something in her past.

I’m not happy with the ending yet, but otherwise the short story “The White Sign” is shaping up pretty well. And it’s leading to some other ideas for Aisling during her world-wandering, roving fiddler years…




Announcing the release date for WANDER, the next Rucksack Universe novel

Wander - The next Rucksack Universe adventure awaits

The new can’t-miss Rucksack Universe prequel novel

Oct. 16, 1834

The explosion that comes to be known as The Blast burns across Ireland and England. The fires alter the course of history. A new era begins: “AB” or, “After Blast.”

Oct. 19, 1834

After failing at his most crucial moment, a burned and broken hero collapses into the void between living and dying, and is lost to the world he spent his life protecting.

Oct. 19, AB 100

A hundred years later, a wanderer falls between worlds. A wounded hero wakes. A guardian pursues a shadow covering all things in darkness. Their story is the story of Wander.

And on Fri., Oct. 19, 2018…

Wander will be released worldwide in e-book and trade paperback.

Follow the Black Road. A hostel in Morocco. The hills at the western edge of Ireland. The Irish Sea. A London rebuilding. The Black Cliffs of Dover at the southeastern edge of England. Wander will take you on an adventure like nothing you’ve encountered yet in the Rucksack Universe—or anywhere else.

This can’t-miss Rucksack Universe prequel novel sets in motion a speculative fiction series of myth, adventure, and intrigue. Library Journal says the series has “universe building reminiscent of Terry Pratchett,” and readers say they love the Rucksack Universe’s unique combination of “quirk, wit, travel, and magic.”

Wander
A Rucksack Universe Novel
Available worldwide Oct. 19 in e-book and trade paperback

Pre-orders and more details coming soon.

Get updates (and a free book)




Rucksack Universe update: Wander nearly ready, new manuscript underway

Last week I did something I’m so excited to tell you about.

I signed off on the copy-edited manuscript of Wander.

Yup. That’s right. My copy editor and I had some final discussion about a few points, I made some last tweaks and polishes, then told him we were good to go.

What’s next? I’m giving the manuscript one final pass, then I’ll send Wander back to my editor for proofreading. He’ll make sure everything is spelled right/consistently, things are dotted and crossed the way they should be, line breaks and chapter breaks are good, all that sort of technical stuff.

Once I’ve processed his proofing, the manuscript will be locked. That means no changes (unless I find some wayward typo). No rewriting. No second-guessing.

No touch booky.

From there, Wander will go into publication mode, being prepped for e-book formats and paperback.

What does all this behind-the-scenes author/publisher geek-out stuff mean for you?

It means that I’ll shortly be telling you the release date for Wander.

Get ready!

P.S.: Over the weekend I also started drafting the next Rucksack Universe book, codenamed Wet. I’m a couple of scenes in so far. I’ll keep you posted.




Sneak peek of Wander, the next Rucksack Universe book

Sneak peek of Wander, the next Rucksack Universe book


“How did you know it was my birthday?” asked Wander.

Sitting behind his desk at the front of the hostel, the elderly proprietor looked up from his computer and smiled. “Your passport,” he replied. “Twenty. A wonderful year. A time when many things may change.”

Wander smiled back. The past five years had been nothing but a time of change. Six months wandering South America, and another two years wandering Africa. Seven months in Ireland, a year in Russia. Indonesia in the morning, Australia at night. With no family or friends, birthdays had been just another day to check off the calendar. Now, at the southwestern coast of Morocco, the warm waters of the eastern Atlantic sent salt on the breeze, maybe a birthday could be something to look forward to after all.

Wander leaned forward. “So, what should I do on my birthday?”

“Ahh, now that is a good question.” The proprietor sat back in his chair. “Check your email and all those social thingies, then come back. I will tell you then.”

Logging on to the hostel’s computer, Wander wondered how many other people in the world had access to the internet but didn’t have a Facespace account. Or a Twitlinkpinstagramr+. Opening the daypack, Wander took out a small flip phone. A traveler on a couch looked up from their bright-screened, too-big-for-the-hand Apsamgoo iGalixel and smirked.

“Trust me,” said Wander over the beeps and boops coming from the traveler’s phone. “Last thing I need is a data plan or unlimited messaging.”

It had been a while since Wander had checked email—somewhere between Thailand and Morocco, but that time had been such a whirlwind Wander could hardly remember. Not that it mattered.

Zero messages.

Not that there was anyone who would be emailing. Or showing up for a surprise party. Or sending a card.

When your only friends were your backpack and the stretch of road currently under your feet, you learned not to make birthdays a big deal.

Still, that hadn’t been the only people. And for twenty, well, Wander couldn’t help but hope. There were people Wander had connected with over the years. Random wanderings together in a new city. Dormmates in a hostel room. The traveler in Galway, Ireland. When they met, Wander wondered what else could have happened between them. They’d exchanged info… that last touch of hand on hand had been so hard to let go… but now, on Wander’s birthday… nothing. Wander looked away. The screen must have been too bright. Of course that’s why Wander’s eyes eyes hurt all of a sudden.

There was always Paithoon in Chiang Mai too. Then again, thought Wander, maybe not hearing from Paithoon was a good thing.

With a sigh and a shrug, Wander logged off email, then the computer. Moving to the little table at the window of the hostel’s common room, Wander stared at the ocean. Blue rising. Whitecaps cresting, then falling. The dry air mingled with the sea spray, suffusing everything with the taste and scent of salt. The few days Wander had been here had been calm, refreshing—badly needed, especially after all that had happened in Thailand.

The memories stirred, the remembered dreams, the remembered past, hard won from five years of traveling and weeks of frustration and sleeplessness, trying to uncover Wander’s own forgotten history. Wander had been more than ready to move on. The southwestern coast of Morocco, staring out over the Atlantic, was as good as anywhere else, but those final moments in Chiang Mai still clung to Wander’s mind. A storm had come, a storm had passed, and now Wander was enjoying the calm. At least, it felt like the calm. But Wander knew a question cast a shadow even over the bright Moroccan morning: was the storm truly over, or was this the quiet eye—to be followed by more storm?

A tap on the shoulder made Wander turn.

The hostel proprietor smiled and held out a large envelope, bigger than a regular sheet of paper.

“What’s this?” asked Wander.

He shrugged and set it down. “Today’s mail,” he said as he went to answer the phone.

The side Wander saw was blank. Turning it over, there was no return address—not even a mailing address. Just “Wander,” written in a fine script with immaculate—and familiar—handwriting.

Wander opened the envelope and gasped.

The stiff, thick sheet inside was like Wander’s favorite painting, called “The Wanderer in the Fog.” In the painting, the figure held a walking stick, wore a black tailcoat, and stared out over mountains and valleys. This was similar, but different.

Running a fingertip over the surface of the art, the rough and smooth textures left no doubt that this was a painting. On a narrow outcropping sticking out from the edge of a rocky cliff, a figure stood before a sheer drop to a white-capped, gray-blue sea below. At the far edge of the sea, Wander could just make out a thin line, as if a new world lay just beyond. Despite the blue sky, shadow obscured the figure so much that Wander could not tell if it was a woman or a man. The black rock of the cliff didn’t look like it was in shadow though. It looked like it had been burned and charred. Below the cliff, a strange, shadowy light seemed to glow upward from somewhere unseen, somewhere down the cliff toward the sea. It enhanced an overarching conflict, as if the painting were caught between darkness and light. Calm seas had grown teeth, whipped into a growing frenzy as a storm blew in.

“The Wanderer” showed only one figure. And so did this painting—except in the foreground, at the left bottom corner.

Gloved in black leather, a left hand reached out toward the wanderer at the edge of the world.

Heart pounding, Wander turned the painting over and read:

No matter where you wander,

May you always find a

Happy Birthday

The Thai madwoman had signed her name. Wander smiled and let out a chuckle. It made no sense that the madwoman’s painting had gotten from Chiang Mai to this hostel in Morocco, but if anyone would have managed it, it would be her.

Beneath the message was a P.S.:

I dreamed recently, and at the last moment of the dream, this is what I saw. I don’t know how I knew it, and I don’t know where this is, but I knew this was you.

Wander stared at the calm seas outside the hostel’s window. The madwoman had to be wrong… but Wander knew better. Trembling a little, Wander tucked the painting back into the envelope.

“Happy birthday,” said the traveler sitting nearby, with a nod toward the card. “I couldn’t help but see.”

Wander shrugged. “I’m glad someone noticed.”

The sunlight coming through the window was warm, bright but soft. Wander had savored every moment so far, every bite of breakfast, every sensation, the touch of water on hands, the scent of tea. But the painting changed everything. A shadow hung over the sunny morning. Wander looked at the card again. A birthday could be a momentous day. A day where everything could change. A day where someone could make a decision that just might change everything.

Wander considered going back to the dorm room and putting the card in the big pack there, but decided against it. The card was a memento, a reminder of what the madwoman had helped Wander learn, there in Thailand, those lonely, hard weeks ago. The daypack always went with Wander—and so would the card.

Wander unzipped the daypack and put the card inside. By now, after all these years, the pack reminded Wander of a dog, though by now it was an old dog. It was the one thing Wander still had from then, from there, when as a teenager Wander had been left with nothing and so had left with nothing. Except for the backpack. The one constant in Wander’s life for the last five years.

With a sigh, Wander went back to the front desk. “So, what did you decide this traveler should do today?”

He smiled and leaned forward.

On a small piece of paper, he drew a map. He said nothing, only occasionally looked out the window, as if gauging something, checking something. Whenever he did, when he looked back the smile would be gone from his eyes, as if it had been taken by whatever he was looking for.

Or maybe he just wasn’t looking forward to cleaning up the puke in the upstairs bathroom.

Accepting the map with a thanks, Wander started to walk away.

“Wait,” said the proprietor. “What you got in the mail. Was it good news?”

Wander shrugged. “You tell me.” Reaching into the daypack, Wander handed him the painting.

He looked at it, saying nothing, staring and staring. He read the back. Then, at last, he looked at Wander.

“Well, this is interesting,” he said. “I indeed gave you one map, one option. But if you want, you could go here instead.”




Rucksack Universe update

2018 is a year of shorts. For ages I’ve been wanting to do more Rucksack Universe short stories. I’ve been practicing, seeing what works and doesn’t work in my odd wee story brain.

Now, after much experimenting, I’ve been submitting stories to various publications. Some are longer, some are under 1,500 words. Some will be standalones. Some will expand on snippets of feeling or moments from current books.

Some will lead to bigger things too. I’m outlining a series about Aisling, the Awen of Ireland from Home Sweet Road, right now. There’s always been so much more I’ve wanted to do with her character, so I’m planning a mix of short stories and novels focused on her—and how deeply connected she is to so many other things in the Rucksack Universe.

I’ve already gotten my first short story rejection, and I’ll let you know where stories will be published. All stories will also be released through Rucksack Press as standalone e-books too.




What I’m doing now, February 2018

Writer, wonderer, wanderer: Me in a nutshell

I create compelling fiction and non-fiction for a curious world.

If you’re new here: Hi, I’m Anthony St. Clair. I create compelling fiction and non-fiction for a curious world full of everyday discoveries, endeavors, and surprises. Since 2000 I’ve worked in online content, and I’ve been a full-time independent writer since 2011. I am the author of the ongoing Rucksack Universe series; cover craft beer, food, business, entrepreneurship, and more for various publications; and am a copywriter and content manager for select clients. When not at my desk or in my kitchen in Eugene, Oregon, I’m on an adventure with my wife, son, and daughter.

Writing streak

Over this past weekend, my son hit a huge milestone for his violin practice:

300 practice days in a row.

Yup. Every day for the last 300 days, he’s practiced his violin.

He’s 6.

I brought up my son’s practice streak at a writing and publishing master class a while back. One of the instructors pointed out that if my son could make a streak, so could any of us.

Point taken.

2017 had some ups and downs in my production schedule. However, as I examined my data on how much I could write, the writing goals I’d like to be hitting, and how long it took me to write a decent bunch of words, I realized that I had absolutely no excuse for having a day that didn’t also have writing.

Starting in November, I’ve been writing at least 1,200 words a day, every day.

2018 writing so far (as of Feb. 14, 2018)

  • Goal for 2018: 420,000 words (up 70,000 from last year’s goal of 350,000 words; 35,000 words per month)
  • Stretch goal for 2018: 500,000 words (42,000 words per month)
  • Writing streak, beginning November 2017: 122 days so far
  • Average words per day: 1,532
  • Words written in January: 50,835

Those new words range from outlines and fiction drafting, to articles and copy written for clients. There’s the occasional internal writing too, such as some words I got down before working on this to go over things I need to redo and reconceptualize on my website.

2018 writing:

  • Goal: 420,000 words for the year (plus a Stretch Goal of 500,000)
  • Monthly target: 35,000 words per month
  • Daily target: 1,200 words minimum per day
  • February so far: 20,170 words (as of Feb. 14)

Excited for Black Panther

When one of my friends saw Wonder Woman, she told me later how amazing it was so see a woman, on the big screen, being so on-her-own, unabashedly, completely, bad-ass.

I’m wondering if there will be a similar sense for people when they watch Black Panther:

Review: ‘Black Panther’ is dazzling grand-scale filmmaking | Entertainment | Eugene, Oregon – The Register-Guard

I dabble in superhero movies and shows. They’re something I enjoy… somewhat. Of late I’ve been finding them a bit stale. Big powers, big fight scenes… yawn.

But Black Panther. There is so, so much more going on here that just a superhero movie, and I’m excited to see this come to the big screen.

Submitting Rucksack Universe short stories

One of my new goals for 2018 and beyond is to get rejected—and published—by the finest short fiction markets. I’ve got one rejection already, and immediately sent the story to another publication.

Can’t wait to tell you about my next rejection. And first acceptance.

Speaking of short fiction, if you’re trying to figure out getting your short fiction published by different markets, I highly recommend this book:

It’s not a craft book. It’s all the business side, and I’ve found it invaluable.

Rucksack Universe stories

I’m using short fiction to dive more into other parts of the Rucksack Universe. Develop different characters, and share other aspects of characters we’ve already met. Currently I’m working on some stories about Aisling, the Awen of Ireland we met in Home Sweet Road. There are things in her origin story I’ve been expanding on, and I’ve outlined and am working on lots of stories about her.

Filing and publishing articles

I filed 9 articles in January. Here are articles published over the last few weeks:

Disrupting an Industry Takes Not Just Tech, but a Human Touch | LivePlan Blog

How Data Can Drive Your Business Growth | LivePlan Blog

Two New Breweries Bring Innovation to McMinnville and Beyond | Oregon Beer Growler, February 2018

Flavor matchmakers | Food | Eugene, Oregon – The Register-Guard

What’s your story?

Always intrigued by other people’s stories, so feel free to email me: writer@anthonystclair.com

I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: February 15, 2018.




What I’m doing now, January 2018

Writer, wonderer, wanderer: Me in a nutshell

I create compelling fiction and non-fiction for a curious world.

If you’re new here: Hi, I’m Anthony St. Clair. I create compelling fiction and non-fiction for a curious world full of everyday discoveries, endeavors, and surprises. Since 2000 I’ve worked in online content, and I’ve been a full-time independent writer since 2011. I am the author of the ongoing Rucksack Universe series; cover craft beer, food, business, entrepreneurship, and more for various publications; and am a copywriter and content manager for select clients. When not at my desk or in my kitchen in Eugene, Oregon, I’m on an adventure with my wife, son, and daughter.

Writing streak

2017 saw some challenges and big changes on my overall writing. In 2015 I started tracking my writing, and it’s helped me understand how I write, how long it takes me to write, and when I’ve been consistent and inconsistent. In 2017, I started setting some bigger goals—and later in the year committed to writing every day. Here’s how that’s going so far:

2017 writing:

  • Goal: 350,000 words
  • Actual words: 364,016 (yay!)
  • Average words per day: 1,280
  • Avg. words/month: 30,335

Not bad. Starting in November, I put into place more concrete goals for 2018. Here’s where things are right now, with numbers as of Jan. 14, 2018:

2018 writing:

  • Goal: 420,000 words for the year (plus a Stretch Goal of 500,000)
  • Monthly target: 35,000 words per month
  • Daily target: 1,200 words minimum per day
  • January so far: 21,488 words (as of Jan. 14)

Year’s off to a good start. Articles are getting filed. New short stories are getting drafted, and I’m looking ahead to the next Rucksack Universe books to work on too. Outlines and character notes are being developed.

I’ve also been curious about how long I can hold a writing streak, where I write every day in a row. My son has been doing this with his violin practice—and he’s currently on pace for 300 days in a row. I’m at 91 days so far with my writing, and at 100 I’ll take stock.

Updating AnthonyStClair.com

After starting my business in 2011, I spiffed up the website, but it’s time for a refresh. With 4 books and hundreds of articles out, the site needs to better reflect what readers, editors, and such are looking for. That work is underway, and I’ll be working on it throughout the year.

Revising Wander

Chief Reader has finished reading Wander (previously known as ROADSONG)! We have some last notes to go over this week. I have a few things to re-work, then will get MS over to my copy editor and start the cover design process with my cover designer. Wander will be out to you later this year (and I’ll let you know when a free sample will be available)!

Now that Chief Reader is done with Wander, she’s going to be turning her critical eye to some short stories and then to Cloud Fortress. She’s got a busy year ahead!

Adding more short fiction to the Rucksack Universe

For ages now I’ve been figuring out how to do more short fiction in the Rucksack Universe. It’s been really, really hard, and I have a Scrivener file littered with false starts and abandoned stories. Over the past few months I’ve finally been making some headway. Some final pieces to the puzzle included a chat with my colleague Mary Lowd, as well as this illuminating Creative Penn podcast interview with speculative fiction author Douglas Smith. I recently finished his book on the subject too, Playing the Short Game: How to Market and Sell Short Fiction.

This year I’ll be writing more short fiction in the Rucksack Universe, introducing new characters and telling some various pivotal stories about characters you’ve already met. Those abandoned stories in Scrivener? I know what to do with them now—and they’re going to get done.

Speaking about how setting brings stories alive


On Jan. 4, Mid-Valley Willamette Writers hosted me for a presentation on setting. We had a good house at Tsunami Books in Eugene. I shared my 4 principles for how setting brings a story alive and brings readers to the heart of a story, then we went into a robust Q&A session where I took people’s questions about their own thoughts on setting, or challenges they were working on in their own writing. It was a wonderful evening, and it has me thinking about doing more with my talk on setting.

Filing and publishing articles

2018 has already had a few deadlines, with more to come throughout the month. In 2017 I published 66 articles. Here are 4 recent ones:

How Data Can Drive Revenue and Growth Strategy | LivePlan Blog

Brighten Up Winter with Citrus | ZeroCater

Tastings 2018 | Cheers to wintry beers – The Register-Guard

The Future of Oregon Beer – Oregon Beer Growler, January 2018

Getting healthier

Whenever we visit some particular friends in Portland, I always have a few goes on their Perfect Pullup Bar. So, for my birthday, my family got me one!

I’ve been following one of Perfect’s workouts, and am feeling stronger. Or, to put that another way, I started being able to do 1 pullup, and now it looks like I’m at two. Not a bad start, and I’m curious as to how far I can go with pullups (and the other ab and such workouts that you can do with the bar). Even though I have my own bar now, I’ll still have a go on our friends’ bar whenever we’re in Portland.

I’m also a big fan of Yoga With Adriene’s free yoga videos & online yoga classes, and have been working through her #YWATrue 30 Days of Yoga. A challenge from last year was working more yoga into my week—and I’m finally making headway. I’m seeing that I can do yoga every day if I commit to it and keep it top of mind, just like my writing. This year there will be lots, lots more yoga in my life—and I’m really glad. I can see and feel the benefits, and love how yoga makes me feel.

Playing more games

Over the holidays, various family helped us build out our collection of games. Previously we’d had some games tucked away in a nearby closet (in part because we were still in that period where there was a young child who decide game pieces were edible). I reorganized some shelves in the family room to make the games easier to see and get out. It’s been so fun to play games with Jodie and the kids—and I’m seriously in love with Qwirkle.

Baking cornbread

Some nearby friends recently started a winter game night and potluck. For a recent one, I whipped up this delicious King Arthur Flour Cornbread Recipe (and added some minced sage from the garden). The cornbread was moist and flavorful, with the right chew. It also baked up really well in the new 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet my wife gave me for Christmas.

What’s your story?

Always intrigued by other people’s stories, so feel free to email me: writer@anthonystclair.com

I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: January 15, 2018.




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.

FREE Sample

Check out this free sample of FOREVER THE ROAD

Anthony's third book, FOREVER THE ROAD, is a Best Books 2015 Fantasy pick from Library Journal's SELF-e, and a 2015 Oregon Book Award nominee.

Download your free sample to find out why Nth Degree's reviewer said this "high-stakes story, told with wit and compassion," left him "completely gobsmacked."

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

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