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November was an interesting month. It started off being excited for NaNoWriMo, was asked if I was interested in working on a project, and ended in the company of friends and family. All in all, it was a great month.

For the Thanksgiving holiday, the Davidson clan headed out to see family. We first headed out to see my two youngest children’s great-grandparents and talked with them while my wife prepared her legendary desserts before heading out to her sister’s house for a day of feasting. All in all it was a great time. I was tackled and beat up by my nephew and youngest daughter, and caught up with various members of the family. Aside from the emotional scars left from the brutal beating mentioned earlier, the day was a lot of fun and the food was pretty darn good, too.

NaNoWriMo – I am off to a good start on Unity, my Post-Apocalyptic Supernatural book that I’ve been planning for a while now. While I did not manage to write 50k words, I can’t complain with the progress that I made. During the month I ended up getting wrapped up in plot issues and research various items while succumbing to my own perfectionism and was victim to a nagging cold which drained my energy and wiped me out, creatively speaking, for a good third of the month.

Books read – This month I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and a short story – Zombie Attack by Robert Bevan immediately prior to that. I’ve already written a review of Zombie Attack, so I will simply state that it was a quick, fun read. American Gods on the other hand was a much longer, in depth tale that reflects on cultural icons, both past and present that, for me, expressed an opinion of how interchangeable and replaceable our own beliefs and cultural identities are – considering we, as a modern American society, do not have one set of common cultural beliefs or icons. Gaiman really shows through Shadow, the protagonist, that cultural opinions and beliefs are mutable and not given much importance in our society while not giving judgement as to whether this is a good thing or not. I really liked how Gaiman pulled elements of lore from many different areas, and while the story seemed to fall stale in brief sections, the overall plot and how it progresses, tied with the plethora of characters who Shadow meets really made the book worth reading for me. 4.5 stars. I will be posting my review of that book when I find a moment.

Recent Books Purchased :

The Way of Kings – by Brandon Sanderson : This looks good. And long. Will need to set aside time to devote to reading this one.

H.E.R.O. – New Markets – by Kevin Gerald Rau. : I’ve read the first book in this series and liked it well enough. I have a soft-spot for super-heroes, so will likely enjoy this one as well. As I am writing this, I am making a mental note to myself to write a review for the first book.

A Dance With Dragons – by George RR Martin : I picked this one up knowing that eventually I will be reading the series (Yes, I’m one of those holdouts who has neglected reading his George RR Martin. And yes, I’ve read the scads of reviews citing that this is not nearly as good as the first three books in the series. We’ll see.)

Ex Patriots – by Peter Clines : A while back I read the first part of Ex Heroes and really liked it, just never got back to reading it. I’m holding on to this, the second in the series until I get back to reading the first one. Zombies and super-heroes – what’s not to like?

The Heroes – by Joe Abercrombie : I’ve been hearing good things about Joe Abercrombie and figured I’d take a peek at his work.

Steelheart – by Brandon Sanderson : OK, it’s Brandon Sanderson AND super-heroes. Double win.

Goals for December –

Projects – In November, I was asked if I was interested in writing a lower level adventure for NeoExodus. Now, being an avid role-player for as long as I have been, I’ve done much in creating custom rules, custom scenarios, and DM’ing, but these were all for home-brewed variants off of other games such as Rolemaster or Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve been playing Pathfinder for two or three years now, and creating an adventure for NeoExodus really seems like a good fit. NeoExodus is its own campaign setting that uses the core Pathfinder rules, but with races and specifics of its own. I had my first taste of NeoExodus while at PaizoCon, and played a game that was GMd by NeoExodus’ own JP Chapleau. He is a great storyteller and really seemed to enjoy hosting the game. I look forward to working with him and seeing where this adventure leads. My December goals for the adventure is to write up the basic outline and get started on the rough draft.

Writing – November has seen some good progress on Unity and I’m eager on moving forward with the book. In the course of writing, some changes have surprised me in regard to the direction of the story. For the premise, Unity is set predominantly in eastern Washington in 2036, 24 years after the apocalypse has taken place. Only this isn’t the apocalypse that everyone was expecting. Instead of a simple blanket destruction of mankind, the world itself was upended when the original denizens of earth, along with others, returned from a banishment of over 2,000 years. The world is in the process of acclimating to the Homecoming, and many aspects of life have changed drastically. Political, social, legal, and even moral boundaries have been moved – some changed for the better… others reflect a dark contrast of better times. There are those who think the re-introduction of undead to our world is the worst thing that could’ve happened since the Homecoming. They would be wrong.

December’s Reading List :

The Stars were Right – by K M Alexander. When I first bought this, it looked like an interesting read.  Starting out, my first impressions are favorable.  As I have recently begun this book, it occurred to me that if you are in the Pacific Northwest, you might recognize Lovat as an alternate version of one of our cities – which I liked. The ebook is available, and the paperback is currently being prepped for release. Judging from how the book is progressing, I think it’ll be one to watch out for. Plus the author’s a cool guy to boot. Pick it up.

Riddle in Stone – by Robert Evert. I haven’t looked too closely at this one yet, besides hearing some good things from others. What I can tell you is that the protagonist isn’t your typical hero-type, and from reading the premise am anticipating an interesting read. Definitely looking forward to this one.

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