ANNOUNCEMENT – Steve’s Storytime Sanctum has been launched

I am exceedingly happy to introduce my new video channel – Steve’s Storytime Sanctum! This is where I will introduce you to my latest story publications, catch you up on stories that were published before the Storytime Sanctum was launched, and in general talk about any writing-related (and an occasional non-writing-related) topic that currently has my attention.

You know the quote: “Like the video, leave a comment, and subscribe to my channel.”

Steve’s Storytime Sanctum
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Rear View Mirror – May 2023

This month of May did not work out anywhere close to the way I was expecting and/or hoping. Several real-world distractions and issues requiring my attention got in the way, but most of the deviation from my intended flight pattern was caused because I insisted on dwelling in a state of R&D for much longer than planned.

You’re not hearing me complaining about it, though.


I’ve learned a great many things about my new recording equipment and software.

I’ve learned the basics of how to create drum beats via laptop software. Some of them actually turned out good.

I’ve even learned how to piece instrument tracks together to create complete songs.

It should be no surprise that this segment of my month was where I went nuts with the R&D exploits. The trippy part is…I look back on this past month, and I feel as if I didn’t spend nearly enough time exploring what I could accomplish.

Oh…did I mention that I completed two intro/extro clips of music for my videos? One is a simple drum beat and a few software-generated synthesized notes. The other is a 46 second clip where I’m playing the music! On real instruments! Except for the drum beats. But, still…I’m extremely happy with this accomplishment.

Video Channel

Armed with my new intro/extro music, I’ve produced two complete videos that I will post when the site goes live. Expect that to be within early June.

Metzgerhund Retreat progress

Story number eight is being cleaned up as we speak. Story nine needs help. Story ten’s various arcs are finally in focus….except for a troublesome contradiction I discovered this morning.

Other Stuff

Yes, I’ve been playing around with other stories. The shorter of the two (potentially a flash story) poses a scenario that’s interesting to me. The longer of the two seems like it would be fun to write, but I’m still not sure in which direction I wish to take it; the story currently leans towards a particular ‘commentary’ which I’m not sure I want to support, so more brainstorming is in order.

Typing up this review, I still feel as if I could have done more. I have a sneaky feeling I will make up for any perceived lack of productivity in June.
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Boss of the Year

For those who didn’t know, I retired from working for other people this past June (2022), and have been building my writing / creativity career since then.

This arrangement allowed me the opportunity to make the pleasant discovery that I am the best boss I’ve ever worked for.

I’ve also come to discover I am also the worst boss I’ve ever worked for.

I give myself plenty of time off to spend with family, to attend to personal issues, and to occasionally do nothing at all.

I make myself work through mealtimes, work through the night, and (the most unforgiving) get up early to get even more stuff done.

I expect too much from myself.

I cut myself too much slack.

Sometimes, I’m too inconsistent and unconventional.

Other times, I’m too rigid and predictable.

In all of this, I managed to discover something important: everything that happens to me is on me.

There is no one else to blame but me.

There is no one else holding me back but me.

And, as far as my alleged unconventionality vs rigidity…that’s just me being the exact type of boss at that time that benefits me. That has proven valuable to my goals.

It might still be too early to make this call, but I am the only boss I want to work for.

I might even nominate myself as Boss of the Year.

But it might be a bit weird having to pay for my own celebration.

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Rear View Mirror – April 2023

It was hard to concentrate on my indoor tasks during the first half of April because the weather—and especially the temperature!—started turning to my liking. But then…the temperatures dropped, and the rain decided it wanted to challenge all the small creeks. In other words…the second half of April is when I achieved most of my writing-related goals. Weird how that works.

The upgrade of my studio / sanctum continued with a couple of purchases…an audio interface unit, and a pair of studio monitors to go with it. This steepens my learning curve just a bit, but so far I haven’t run into anything I haven’t been able to figure out.

In addition, the companies I bought from have been sending me emails to on-line resources, up to and very much including a treasure trove of free digital audio tools. And, just like that, the learning curve grows more radical. What can I say? Bring it!

These purchases have prompted me to push back my plan of acquiring a new synthesizer. The reason: I know myself well enough to know that, once I get my hands on that synthesizer, I will spend all my time creating new sounds and new songs instead of learning how to use my recording equipment. One step at a time, I tell myself. Yeah, that sounds kinda boring.

Video channel
I’ve only recorded one new video during April that will be uploaded when I officially launch the channel. Instead, most of my efforts have been in coming up with unique ideas on how to shoot the videos. This has turned out to be a much more enjoyable task than I expected it to be.

Metzgerhund Retreat progress
The ‘pieces’ I mentioned last month to the last three stories in the series are in place (mostly), and I’ve been filling in the scenes and the dialog. I estimate I still have 32,000 words left to type, but at least I have a much better idea of how the scenes are supposed to go. Or, so I keep telling myself.

R&D Ate the Time I Was Supposed to Use For Doing My Homework
Research and development, when done correctly, is a black hole that gobbles up time you are perfectly acceptable to exchange for the knowledge and—hopefully—the success you gain during the process. So, when it becomes obvious to me that not all my projects will experience expected progress due to time spent on my R&D exploits (exempli gratia: notice I didn’t even mention anything about my alien world books this time around), I accept it without much thought and no noticeable regret.

In preparing this post, I also wrote an entire essay regarding my experience implementing the R&D approach during my software development days, and how not all managers / clients / stakeholders understood and/or accepted the practice. I realized it was getting lengthy, so I will probably turn it into a separate post for another time.

Suffice it to say…for someone whose only boss is myself, I can practice any methods I desire. And, if anyone thinks I’m spending eons of time increasing my audio and video knowledge, wait until I buy that next synthesizer!

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The pursuit of perfection—and especially the pursuit of ensuring my creative output says exactly what I want it to say—means that I might not offer up everything I create to the public. Exempli gratia: I just finished reviewing a recently recorded video, and realized I inadvertently left the impression that certain people who proport to be my fan are not worthy of me seeing them as such. The comment was spoken in such a way that most people might not even pick up on the potentially ill-willed and very much unintended sentiment. But I did pick it up. And it was not the message I wanted to convey. Ergo, I’m going to reshoot the video in its entirety. I want there to be no misinterpretation about what I said / meant / intended.

But how bulletproof can any of us make our content or our words? We all know how our society works, where unhappiness and adversarialism is more entertaining than truth and peacefulness. Because of that, there are those whose sole purpose—and, apparently, whose sole talent—is to stoke controversy whether it exists or not. In other words, they enjoy stirring up a pot that didn’t need attention, then sit back and enjoy watching people freak out over the mental odor. It has been my observation that the vast majority of these acts are performed by those who don’t actually create anything of worth. The advent of social media has magnified the ability to perpetrate this sort of nonsense, but trust me when I say this penchant for causing unnecessary discordance has been going on well before Internet access showed up on the timeline.

There was a point where I was meticulous—paranoid!—about what I wrote and what I said. I wanted my point and my meaning to be so clear that only someone who has been clinically braindead for a few hundred years would miss it. Unfortunately, I found out there are those out there who will interpret my words in any way that will guarantee their purpose of creating a trigger point. I’m at the stage now where I refuse to give in to my former bouts of paranoia. Conflict mongers are going to be conflict mongers, no matter what. I insist on being an artist, a creator, and entertainer, a purveyor of thoughts and ideas and points of view that might spark others to do the same. But I am still dead set on one insistency: if—when—I’m going to be called out for anything I release to the public, I want it to at least be based on something I actually meant to say.

But I doubt my negative-dwelling counterparts will expend enough brain wattage to care about that, either.

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Enjoy the Process

Sometimes, I feel like my science fiction World Books are taking as long to come into focus as did our galaxy.

But, of course, the galaxy is still evolving. So, why should I expect anything less from my World Books?

I should tell myself to have more patience, accept the fact that the World Books will always be evolving, and simply enjoy the process of creating them.


As it just so happens, some of my works in progress are waiting for various species-related World Books to take enough of a shape so the stories can be told properly.

This, as you might understand, is making me antsy.

This is also, of course, when I tell myself to relax, and enjoy the process of creating.


I mentioned in an earlier post about me playing with the idea of creating an online video presence. This endeavor, as you might already know, is very much in progress. The ideas for this task are coming to me faster than expected, and it has been a frantic—albeit, encouraging—challenge to put all the pieces together in a workable order.

Still…sometimes, I get frustrated.

Guess what I tell myself during such times?

Enjoy the process of creating.

Easy answer.

That’s why I’m having as much fun as I am.

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Rear View Mirror – March 2023

March was so busy for me, I probably don’t remember everything I did. I’m still debating whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.

PUBLISHED – “All the Time in the World”
Getting this novella published was special for me for the simple fact that It’s been ‘in the works’ for a heluva lot longer than I want to reveal. Check out All the Time in the World here!

I did a bit of equipment shopping this past month. I bought a used 4 channel amp that matches the one I used to use on stage way back when. I bought a new speaker cabinet, probably not as powerful as the ones I used to have, but just right for what I’m doing now. I bought a microphone and stand. I also bought an assortment of cables and adaptors. I purposely avoided the keyboards and effects sections; those purchases will come later.

Video channel
March saw me performing much R&D work in preparation of launching my vlog channel. I even recorded and produced two ‘short’ videos (one I like and have slated for eventual launch, the other I like well enough that I want to make it better by re-shooting it). What I learned in March will be put to use in April; it’ll still very much be R&D based, but I’m expecting I will be ready to create launchable videos by this time, next month.

Progress of Metzgerhund Retreat
My March efforts here have not so much been with actual writing as it was with putting the story’s pieces together. One of the most frustrating things for me is to complete what I think is a solid story arc, then to read through it and realize there are loose ends…or, worse than that, continuity mismatches. I really don’t like it when that happens, but I’m happy and relieved when I uncover them. It reminds me of my days as a software tester, and how many times the developers got pissed at me because I showed them their code wasn’t as bulletproof as their egos convinced them it was. I told them: “Would you rather have me find your mistakes, or the paying customer?” Same logic applies here.

Alien World Books
Not much was accomplished here. I worked on maps. That was about it. But, as it just so happened, I was leafing through my hard drive files, and came across a few directories that host several of my space-based science fiction story ideas. The ideas I’m itching to turn into reality. Sooner than later. Finishing the alien world books will lead the way for that reality to happen. And, just like that, there’s my kick in the pants.

April, here I come!
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Books of Influence – Rogue Warrior

Next up in my Books of Influence series…two books, actually!

Former Navy Seal Richard Marchinco, among all his other achievements, wrote two business books that were valuable to me: Leadership Secrets of The Rogue Warrior and The Rogue Warrior’s Strategy for Success. I’m counting those two books as one entry. Deal with it.

I stumbled across these books almost two years after starting my software development career. I performed sustaining engineering duties (a.k.a. change control and updates) during those early days, but wanted a shot at new applications development work. One day, I found out I was placed on a team that was taking over an application we acquired from another company, but I as slated to be a tester. No biggie, I told myself; even that early in my career, I understood the importance of learning and participating in every aspect of the software development life cycle, so I dedicated myself to the testing mindset with somewhat of a smile on my face. Then, just as I thought I was getting important attention from those who had the power to promote me, my team lead made an uncomfortable quote: “You’ll be our tester forever.” I don’t know if he thought he was being funny or stating the company’s ultimate plans for me, but it pissed me off. I remember telling myself I needed to keep an eye out for any opportunity to break out of this rut that somebody else shoved me into and create a chance to earn the spot I wanted.

Days later, these two books made themselves known to me. Another example of how those whose intentions are clear and desires are strong will be presented with the tools to create the reality they want.

One of the lessons I learned from my readings was the importance of preparing for any software presentation in such a way that will be more demanding, and more insistent of ‘on the fly’ thinking and adjusting, than what the clients and stakeholders would demand of us.

It was decided my presence was not necessary for this presentation, being I was still considered a “junior” programmer. A slight obstacle for me, perhaps, but my desires to contribute to our project’s success was not going to benched that easily. I choreographed a ‘random encounter’ in the hallway with the department supervisor and recommending we perform a dry run of the presentation prior to our presentation. We would practice setting up and taking down our presentation equipment. We would practice presenting everything in the software we changed and enhanced. We would bring in people from other departments in our office who had no idea what we just built and have them ask questions that will test the presenters’ ability to field questions they might not see coming. I summed up my suggestion: “We need to work ourselves harder and push ourselves farther with our practice run than anything the clients can throw at us.” I even referred to this plan as conducting “war games.”

I had to at least respect the department supervisor for being polite and respectful when he told me this exercise was not important.

Ergo, my proposed “dry run” was never performed.

And we paid for it. The presentation team rolled into the client’s headquarters in DC, set up shop, and realized just as the meeting started that the bulb in the projector was burnt out. So, they had to go a few blocks away to our field office to get another one, but apparently grabbed the wrong size. That was actually the last update anyone back in the northern Virginia office wanted to relay out loud, but I did hear the phrase “it’s going downhill” way too often. At one point that afternoon, the department supervisor walked up to me and said, “You were right, we should have rehearsed the presentation. What did you call it? War games?”

That comment let me know my efforts to learn from these books was one of the best ‘business’ decisions I ever made.

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Exiting 2022 – That’s It?

That’s what I asked myself when I reviewed my Exiting 2022 notes. Why do I only have two entries? That’s it? There was a third post at the beginning of 2022, but that told of what I wanted to do, not what happened, so it technically doesn’t count. Seemed to me like 2022 was much more active than that.

It was. I took two roadies. One was to Raleigh NC to see one of my nephews getting married, the other was to Roanoke VA to help one of my sons scout out a potential place for him to relocate. Cool roadies that I had fun with (except for being sick during half of the Raleigh trip), but they were still fundamentally family business trips. At least, during the Raleigh trip, I defended my family miniature golf title. Twice.

The overall issue with 2022 is that I spent the first half of the year attempting to set up for my retirement from working for other people, and the second half setting up the infrastructure for my new career / life.

So, a heluva lot more than just two blog entries worth of stuff happened in 2022. It’s just that much of it is something I don’t wish to share at this time. I’m private / enigmatic / paranoid that way. Or we can say that there are many things still ‘in progress.’ Regardless, my exit from 2022 saw me striving towards goals that I sometimes doubted I’d ever get to.

But I’ve got my hands on them now.

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PUBLISHED – All the Time in the World

I’ve always liked this title. So, it makes sense to me that, at a subconscious level, this might be the reason I expended so much time getting this one ready to market.

Would anyone know this is not the life they’re supposed to have if they never knew they had another life to choose from?

Memories of living a peaceful and productive life are disappearing from conscious memory. Those few who still remember this life realize those memories contradict their dim existence within a bombed out community, where assassins from both the past and future are killing people one by one.

Former army sergeant Curtis Nystrom had a sad history of charting courses that punished those who tried to follow. He was catapulted fifty-eight years into the future, to this brutalized version of his hometown, in hopes he could see what others could not. Curtis realized he needed to learn the rules of time traversal in the hopes of uncovering and outmaneuvering the opponent who was behind these horrors. An opponent who could move to multiple points in time at once. A course Curtis needed to learn how to chart.

All the Time in the World
This novella is book one of the series Some Other Time. You might remember that I published book two first, for no other reason than it was completed first. On that note, I cannot guarantee the additional stories to this series will be published in order, either.
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