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The Neurodiversiverse Kickstarter – and Clockwork Alchemy Author Guest of Honor!

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Hey folks! This is a "sticky" post up for the next week or so to remind you that I will be Author Guest of Honor at Clockwork Alchemy - and that we're running a Kickstarter for The Neurodiversiverse! Please check out the Kickstarter - and click to be notified when it goes live, I'm told that helps "the algorithm" when it launches.

I was selected as Clockwork Alchemy GOH not just because of the Jeremiah Willstone steampunk series, comprising one novel and a dozen stories featuring the rayguns-corsets-and-aliens world of Victoriana, but also because I've been involved in Clockwork Alchemy since its inception. Please visit us at the con!

At Clockwork Alchemy, I will be joined by my Neurodiversiverse coeditor and friend Liza Olmsted. Our schedule at the event is the following - including a Tea with the Author on Friday and the debut of the audio drama "Jeremiah Willstone and the Choir of Demons" on the anthology panel on Saturday:

Friday, April 19

  • Own Voice Stories - 2:30pm / Synergy 5 - Liza Olmsted, M.D. Neu, Sumiko Saulson, Emily Flummox
    Why promoting and celebrating 'own voices' stories is imperative!
  • Tea with the Author Guest of Honor - 4pm / Synergy 2-3 - Anthony Francis
    Come have tea with me! Ask your questions. I don't promise enigmatic answers!
  • Author Signing with Anthony Francis - 6pm / Convene Lobby
    Come get your books signed!

Saturday, April 20

  • Steampunk Vehicles - 1pm / Inspire 1 - Anthony Francis and Michael Tierney
    We'll talk about airships, land walkers, behemoths, and time machines!
  • Author Signing with Anthony Francis - 4pm / Convene Lobby
    Buy more of my books in Author's Alley, and I'll sign them too!
  • Bringing Anthologies to Life - 5:30pm / Synergy 5 - Anthony Francis, Liza Olmsted and Dover Whitecliff
    We'll discuss the challenges of bringing anthologies to life, and debut the very first Jeremiah Willstone audio drama, "The Choir of Demons"

Sunday, April 21

  • Favorite Steampunk Books - 10am / Synergy 5 - Anthony Francis, Madeline Holly-Rosing, Dover Whitecliff
    What are the greatest steampunk books and series? We have opinions! And will share.
  • Author Signing with Anthony Francis - noon / Convene Lobby
    Buy more of my books in Author's Alley, and I'll sign them too!
  • Author Signing - Last Call with the Author's Alley - 4pm / Convene Lobby
    Buy more of ANYONE's books in Author's Alley, and we'll all sign them! Or sign our own. Whatevz.

Finally, for the duration of the campaign, neurodiversiverse.com will link through to the Kickstarter! We're campaigning to get enough funds to pay our authors full "pro" SFWA rates, and if we surpass that, the funds will go to the planned second book in the series: The Neurodiversiverse - Binary Stars! Back and share, folks!

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one one three]: a special place

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Likely out all day today hiking with my wife, so just a quick post for you.

I missed the big dance show at Clockwork Alchemy because I was, frankly, exhausted after the Author Guest of Honor events (and the de-briefing that my co-editor and I had after the con where we tried to figure out what went wrong, what went right, and what to do next). But even then, late late late Saturday night, there were still music acts going - I believe this was Unwoman, who has definitely still got it.

-the Centaur

Pictured: um, I said it, the dance floor at Clockwork Alchemy Saturday night at something like 11:45 pm. In previous years it's been more hopping super late, but now the concerts start earlier at 6:30.

[twenty twenty-four day one one two]: adios clockwork

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Crashed out after finishing my Camp Nano wordcount for today; full debrief on Clockwork tomorrow. Zzz....

-the Centaur

Pictured: A crow, or perhaps raven, or just a sculptural cartoon average of the two, which is supposed to be a lampholder, instead serving as a book card holder, because his little light was too darn bright.

[drawing every day 2024 post one one two]: late again

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Woke up at 2:45 am realizing I hadn't drawn today. Same idea as two days ago, informed by the comic-book style from one day ago, but done in a consciously cartoony style that abstracts away the details, like a Bill Holbrook drawing. I like how it turned out, though it isn't a substitute for planning for success.

The drawing at the top took not much longer than the drawing at the bottom left, even though it looks way more like the drawing at the bottom right.

Drawing every day, even if I've forgotten to.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Cinnamon. It took about as long to draw this one

[twenty twenty-four day one one one]: cheers from clockwork

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Friday was slow, but Saturday was a pretty damn good day at Clockwork Alchemy. I have wordcount on Camp Nano and a late night event to attend, so I'll give a fuller update tomorrow.

-the Centaur

Pictured: the "Louie", a very nice variant of an Old Fashioned unique to the San Mateo Marriott "Craft / Code" bar, which is going out of business next week as the hotel is closing.

[twenty twenty-four day one ten]: at clockwork alchemy 2024

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So we had a great first day at Clockwork Alchemy! I got a great Guest of Honor banner for my table, and we had a delightful Tea with the Author Guest of Honor in the con's amazing Tea Room!

My co-editor for The Neurodiversiverse, Liza Olmsted (far left on the picture below), was on an #ownvoices panel, which was very informative! I particularly liked her quote:

The world is so much more beautiful with intersectionality ... everything is so much more nuanced."

Liza Olmsted

"Intersectionality" is a funky word for the simple concept that people aren't a single attribute, like "black" or "women" or "gay" but that each person is a combination of all these things - and discrimination isn't just additive, but can compound in interesting ways. In one famous court case, for example, a court ruled that a group of black women weren't discriminated against because the company had hired a lot of black men (in a factory setting) and a lot of white women (in an office setting) thus improving the percentage of blacks in the factory and women in the office - but the point was, the women were being discriminated against for being black and women at the same time, and the court was essentially arguing you couldn't be one or the other. But, if you acknowledge that people can be more than one thing, you can take their distinctive appearances into account into how you treat them, rather than sweeping it under the rug.

Neurodiversiverse author Clara Ward dropped by and left us a few of her new book, "Be the Sea", which is (as I gathered from discussions) a climatepunk story featuring neurodiverse and nonbinary characters. I worked with Clara before on Doorways to Extra Time and we're excited to have her back for this one!

We hope to see you tomorrow at the con! Next up, Steampunk Vehicles, Bringing Anthologies to Life, and the world premiere reading of "Jeremiah Willstone and the Choir of Demons"!

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one oh nine]: cheers

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Clockwork Alchemy is tomorrow, but my wife and I took the evening off to go to our favorite vegan restaurant (and best restaurant in the Bay Area) Millennium.

It's great, but we hung out there so long we closed the place out almost!

See y'all at the con tomorrow. And please back our Kickstarter!

-the Centaur

[drawing every day 2024 post one oh eight]: phalangus interruptus

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Got interrupted twice when finishing this drawing - once when I tried to finish it before the trip, and the second time when the plane landed and I had to pack up. So, it is what it is. Might tackle this one again.

Drawing every day is a discipline. I wish I was better at that.

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one oh eight]: entitle me, bro

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Not much time to post today - flying out to Clockwork Alchemy, where I am the Author Guest of Honor. But, it's still Camp Nanowrimo, and I had wordcount to get in on Jeremiah Willstone #2, THE CITADEL OF GLASS. And, yes, I do count it as word count if I'm futzing around in the appendix reviewing the characters and revisiting ideas for the title, but the bulk of today's word count was in the climax, which I had sketched out earlier (almost a decade ago!) and am now adjusting to fit the new ideas in the fleshed out plot ... so I can in turn reverse-engineer how that plot shall proceed to reach that climax. Very ouroboros.

-the Centaur

Pictured: A title brainstorming session for CITADEL OF GLASS.

[twenty twenty-four day one oh seven]: departure angle on viewer

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"Off we go towards Clockwork Alchemy ... there we'll have tea with all of our fans." I'd say "sung to the theme of 'Wild Blue Yonder'" but I actually don't remember the words to that other than the first line - and it's relatively hard to parody something you don't know all that well.

Regardless, we'll have books, and panels, and the debut of Jeremiah Willstone and the Choir of Demons!

-the Centaur

Pictured: an accidentally blurred shot of my book stock, and a fortuitous super closeup of the books that I had taken pictures of at the Kickstarter.

[drawing every day 2024 post one oh seven]: more kickstarters

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SO! Our Kickstarter for the Neurodiversiverse is live at neurodiversiverse.com (which just links through to the Kickstarter page for the duration of the campaign). And I'm proud to say that we are number one of projects if you search for neurodivergence!

For this project I had to create about fifty images in Photoshop - mostly by remixing other imagery we had, admittedly, but sometimes it took a bit of cleverness to make everything work out, as in this physical picture of most of our books and flash fiction postcards - not all of which I had on hand for the picture, and some of which don't even physically exist yet, like the softback of The Neurodiversiverse:

Liza and I (with the help of Betsy and Keiko) put a lot of time into this and I'm proud of the result:

So, please check it out and back us ... we have reward tiers everything from $1 for token support, to early bird ebooks at a discount, to the book and the ebook themselves, all the way up to getting your name listed in the acknowledgements at the back of the book:

And, while I hope to get in some real drawing today, I am unabashedly using this as my Drawing Every Day post, because I spent hours and hours on art today and that should count, dang it.

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

[drawing every day 2024 post one oh six]: more sticks

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More stick figure studies from "Wizard: How to Draw". They look simple, but part of "planning for success" in drawing is creating rough sketches to help find the right composition of the piece - and you can't do that if you have to do a full drawing every time, or if you don't know how to draw a simplified sketch.

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

[drawing every day 2024 post one oh five]: footbones

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Another study from Goldman. It's interesting how different the structures are INSIDE the body from the landmarks they create OUTSIDE the body. So much complexity, in something as simple as a heel and its joint to the rest of the foot - a joint that enables you to waggle your feet independently of the positioning of your ankle and the wriggling your toes (try it). Yet all that complexity must exist inside for us to achieve something as simple on the outside as stretching your feet a little bit.

Drawing (on average) every day, posting every day if I can.

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one oh five]: going back to victoriana

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Hey folks! I've got just a quick post for you now, because I need to go heads down on Jeremiah Willstone #2, CITADEL OF GLASS, for Camp Nanowrimo. Prepping to be Guest of Honor at Clockwork Alchemy next week - and creating the Kickstarter campaign for The Neurodiversiverse, which we want to go live before CA - has put me behind on my word count for the month ... so I need to make a few changes.

In "normal" circumstances, I have a pretty simple day: take care of food, cats and laundry, work for several hours on the project of the day, and then break - on Mondays and Wednesdays, a late break for dinner where I catch up on reading, on Tuesdays and and some Thursdays, an early dinner break before writing group and the church board meeting, and on Fridays and Saturdays, an early break for coffee and drawing / writing before a late dinner and more reading (with date nites with my wife thrown in). This structure makes sure I'm both making progress on life and work projects during the day, and creative projects at night.

But you can't do that during Camp Nanowrimo or regular National Novel Writing Month - at least, not if you get behind, because if you do, you will fall farther and farther behind. Writing in Nanowrimo actually makes it easier to write more in Nanowrimo - generally, you can raise more questions for yourself than you can answer in a writing session, creating the fuel for future sessions. But once behind, that can jam up - stuck in "writer's block" where you haven't raised enough interesting questions for creative mind to answer, or not thought through the answers enough when you get to the point of writing the outcome of a confrontation.

When I'm behind on Nano, I have to drop my normal "read and eat" strategy in favor of "crack open the laptop at every available opportunity". And I won't limit myself to "write and eat" during meals and "laptop in the coffeehouse" sessions: at the very end of the day I'll set up the laptop in the kitchen , sitting down to bang out the day's wordcount before I let myself crash for the night, where both I and the laptop recharge.

"Autistic inertia" is the way many autistic people describe their inability to start or stop tasks, and some feel it is one of the most disabling aspects of autism. I don't have a formal diagnosis of autism, but informal tests put me on the spectrum - and being aware of your own neurodivergence and the experiences that other people have with the same neurodivergence can help you find strategies that work for you to cope.

For me, I can work on tasks for hours and hours on end - but if I don't have a long enough block to do a task, I tend not to start a task. Now that I understand that I may be struggling with autistic inertia, that helps me understand what may be going on. The feeling that I won't be able to get anything done if I don't have time to get everything done is just that, a feeling. In reality, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step towards it ... and the journey towards 50,000 words in a month begins with one word on the page.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Normally, there should be an open book or sketchbook next to those delicious fish tacos.

DON'T FORGET: Please sign up for our Kickstarter at neurodiversiverse.com - my understanding is that the more people who sign up to be notified when it goes live, the better the campaign will go on launch day! And if you're in the Bay Area, please come see me at Clockwork Alchemy where I'm the Author GOH!