The Fallback Plan ep5 is live!

The Fallback Plan, Episode 5 is live on Amazon Vella!

Day 2 Afternoon: Growing

Kara’s pregnancy progresses, and so do her suspicions that Agamemnon’s AI is hiding something from her. (Click image to the left go to the story)

As a note, day 2 spans three episodes. Vella’s word count constraints are a little ‘interesting’ to work with. Like Day 1, Day 2 takes 3 episodes to tell (so there’s one more coming). Day 3 only takes two episodes, and after Day 3, most days fit into one episode.

New episodes are presently posted every Tuesday and Saturday.

The Fallback Plan’s live on Amazon Vella

So, I’ve decided that I am going to give Amazon Vella a try, and publish “The Fallback Plan” on it. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s an episodic / incremental publishing model run by Amazon where, much like the old radio dramas folks used to listen to, you write a story in episodes and the reader can keep up with them as they go. The episodes can range between 500-6,000 words, and I am going to shoot for around 2,500 words per installment. Vella prices are in ‘tokens’, where each token is 100 words, so it is the same price to the reader whether I post ten 500-word episodes or one 5,000-word episode.

As of this writing, four ‘episodes’ have been published, and three of them are already live. I expect that the fourth will be available by tomorrow, if the previous three are any indication. Depending on how well this works, I may release everything on Vella going forward. It provides two things – for one, readers get more frequent access to what I’m writing. Despite the fact I haven’t published anything new in the last five years, I haven’t been inactive – I’ve simply got a ton of half-written stories which I start back in on, spend a few days re-reading and editing to polish the earlier bits, and then write a few chapters before getting pulled back into a work project for a week or two. So, I’ve got about 255k (yes, a touch over a quarter million) words of stories written across six major projects and a few minor ones, but none finished and published in the last five years.

My hope is that with an active story and live readers, I’ll manage to move forward instead of going back and re-editing every month or so. For Fallback, I have 15 episodes already written and I’m presently planning to publish weekly. With four episodes published, that means I have 11 weeks of content available, which means I only need to write about one new episode every two weeks in order to publish the 30th chapter in 30 weeks.

It’s important to mention, I’m not abandoning the regular e-book market. Even if Vella takes off phenomenally well, at some point the story is finished and it’s ready to put into a complete e-book. At that point, it’ll be made available via all of the usual channels.

Depending on how you folks feel about it, I might start posting Progenitor 4 episodically as well. It’s another work in progress that’s roughly half done at this point, with months’ worth of content already written.

…I’m not dead yet.

Just a statement, though my publication schedule doesn’t reflect this. I’m acutely aware that I haven’t put out anything new in a while. That having been said, anyone into breeding does have to take into account that as you and your spouse add kids to this world, your responsibilities also increase.

I am blessed with a wife whose traditional outlook causes her preferred role to be as wife and mother, and for my part I focus on earning a paycheck, ensuring we’re financially comfortable, and handling whatever is best handled by testosterone. In the past, I addressed this by working insane numbers of hours at my corporate day job to secure promotions. It did work, but it came at the expense of my various hobbies – writing being one of them.

  • Yes, I’m also in charge of brute force oriented household tasks, and killing anything that should need killed. Generally, my wife and I argue a lot about spiders – I am very much inclined to rehome them, and she would prefer to take off and nuke the site from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure.

In other news since my last update here, my family spent most of the covid-19 lockdown period at home, barely leaving the house. But, we still managed to get infected with covid due to unavoidable circumstances with the kids.

But now, fast-forwarding to the present – my fans will be pleased to note that I have joined in the Great Resignation of 2022… which sounds like people are leaving their jobs behind and quitting work. Nothing could be further from the truth amongst the folks I know. We’re all quitting our jobs at one giant corporation and taking better-paying jobs at other corporations because they’re all desperate to hire new talent, but none of them care enough about keeping their existing talent pool to pay them their replacement cost. We corporate types are mostly just playing a gigantic game of “Musical Chairs”, where we all change companies and then to replace us, our former employer have to offer new applicants an amount that we would’ve actually stayed for in the first place.

That’s the general direction of the IT workforce. My own personal direction has been to join a startup with a super work/life balance oriented culture, and now I have both a nice raise and the free time to write again.

I know I’ve proclaimed in the past that I’ll be getting back to writing, and to be fair I did for a while – before projects and deadlines started piling up and demanding all my free time. This time around, I’m not promising anything will get finished soon. Only that I’m writing again, and that the word count in my editor is going up dramatically.

For those interested in exactly what, I’ll share that I’m mostly working on “The Fallback Plan” right now. There’s some skullduggery afoot, no one can trust the machines, and the crew has reasons to distrust each other as well. I’m including a sample from what I’ve been working on lately.

= SAMPLE FROM The Fallback Plan, Chapter 6

Susan hushed the ship’s efforts to guide her to her quarters, preferring to rely on her own memory. As First Officer, she was among the handful of crew members important enough to have her own quarters. Besides her, the captain and various department heads had their own private quarters. It would be a while until enough colonists were born to force anyone to share quarters with other crew members, but once that happened it would be crammed. Susan palmed the door open to her quarters, and poked her head inside. The bed was rumpled and unmade, though she had distinctly remembered making the bed herself with her 70 year old hands before her brain was digitized for the voyage. She resolved to check the logs later on, and find out whether to blame Martinez or Reagan for entering her quarters. Regardless, she’d been brought here for a purpose, and that purpose was throbbing now, vibrating to remind her that she needed to use it.
She was still as nude as when she first awakened; she’d walked from med bay without stitch of fabric, or a second thought about it. As she knew she was the only one awake besides the doctor, she didn’t care. But now she was in her room, and it was time to walk through a familiar dance she’d performed thousands of times before. She stepped into the center of her room, where the mirror on her wall gave a full view of her nude form. She wasn’t exactly a virgin, but she honestly felt that the only person truly worthy to fuck Susan Cappelli was Susan Cappelli herself. She’d once hired a lookalike so that she could fuck herself, but it’d proven disappointing – she knew that any resemblance to her was only cosmetic.
In her original body, she’d earned a fair number of scars throughout the years of military service, and her new body had none of them. The scars weren’t why she’d never really had a consistent lover over the years – she’d spent her youth focusing on career and efficiency, and as youth faded, her drive never let up. One of the aspects she’d found appealing about this expedition was that since she was pretty close to the top of the colony’s career ladder, she had looked forward to spending several decades lustily fucking her way through a colony full of std-free playmates with perfectly formed bodies until there was enough of a planetary government to pursue further ladder-climbing. She ruefully observed that her original plans had involved tons of pregnancy-free sex, and had been replaced by the ship’s plans of tons of sex-free pregnancies.
She gave herself a quarter-turn one way, then the other, before she decided to pick up her mobile and take some pictures of her pre-pregnancy body. She knew pregnancies took a toll on bodies, and she wasn’t sure she trusted the ship to reconstruct her exactly back to where she was before. It would’ve been a shame to never be able to see this perfection again.
Once she felt she’d adequately documented her physical perfection, she decided to get down to business. She dropped her hand between her legs and started off by strumming her clit from a standing position, and the sensations nearly took her off her feet. She’d forgotten just how strong the sensations were when all of her nerves were at full capacity. She bent over a little but kept going, her eyes rolling up in her head as she let out a little gasp. Her pelvic region surged with a rush of heat and wetness, and within seconds she was aching for insertion. She picked up the probe from the table and looked her reflection in the eyes as she first slipped a finger inside herself, moaning slowly as she felt herself slicker and wetter than she could ever remember. She bucked her hips, enjoying her fingers deeper and deeper until she just needed something more. And that’s when the probe came into play.
She squatted a little, parting her legs to slip the probe’s head between her folds. She let out a gasp as she pushed it in a little farther with each thrust, her young body demanding more depth, more penetration. She stood up, relishing the pressure it put against her sides, and then laid down to finish. Susan was going for it now, stroking the probe in and out like an engine’s piston. She arced her hip just a little on the right, helping herself hit just the right spot… and her full first orgasm in her new body was mind-blowing. She just barely remembered to press the release button on the probe, and felt it spurt inside of her, filling her up like none of her male lovers ever had. Susan ground her hips hard against the probe, taking full advantage of the throbbing motion of the pumps to coax herself into … blackness. She knocked herself out.


Susan awoke to the ship’s computer informing her that it was time to report to med bay for nutrient injection. She dragged herself to her feet and cleaned herself off in the shower, then reached into the closet for the uniform she’d set out for herself. She pulled off its plastic cover, took one look at it and knew it wasn’t the same uniform she’d left. It was a standard service uniform, correct for her rank, but she’d put a few pins into the fabric that would’ve fallen out if someone had tampered with it. Cappelli was always suspicious of her crew, and took pains to ensure that no one could touch her things without discovery.
Annoyed, she demanded answers from the computer.
“No one has been in your quarters since launch, First Officer.”
Cappelli shook her head. “Someone’s been in here. This is not my original uniform, and someone’s been on my bed too.”
“My apologies. No human has been in your quarters, First Officer. When Engineer Martinez destroyed the genesis system, aerosol contamination required the replacement of all cloth items in several of the quarters, including yours.”
Susan sighed. “Well, one mystery down.”
She slipped on panties, then discovered that her bra didn’t fit as well as she’d have expected. Looking in the mirror, she realized that’s because her breasts were bigger than she’d ever seen them. She admired herself briefly, then threw on a tank top and her uniform jacket, leaving her unusable bra behind. To simplify things, she skipped her normal pants and opted for a uniform skirt she’d rarely had use for.
Walking down the hall to the med bay, she barked out, “Computer, fabricate new uniforms and underwear suitable for my entire pregnancy. I may not care if the doctor sees me naked, but as the ranking officer on this mission, I am wearing a proper uniform the whole time.”
The computer acknowledged with just a chirp.

Susan walked into med bay just after Kara finished her second nutrient injection. Intellectually, she’d known what had been going to happen, but walking in to see Kara’s first-trimester belly already replaced by a bulging, gravid second-trimester belly drove home what was going to happen to her in time. Her hand unconsciously went to her own belly as she thought about what awaited her.
“The computer says I need nutrients. What do I do?”
Kara explained the nutrient injection process, and Susan reacted with her usual enforce-the-pecking-order barbs. Annoyed, Kara answered the senior officer’s questions on how to self-administer the injection, and then stepped back and let the senior officer do it.
Susan slipped off her panties, but kept the rest of the uniform on and slid the probe up into her vagina. She was less interested in maintaining her decorum in front of Kara, than in determining how to preserve it once there were more crew members. She quickly realized that once the injection started, she had to grit her teeth to maintain composure as the probe stimulated her to the point of orgasm. The uniform jacket she’d refused to take off became constrictive, and she unzipped it and breathed a sigh of relief. This made her choice to skip the bra obvious, her erect nipples visible as the nutrient solution continued to pump into her.
By the time she took the probe out a few minutes later, Susan looked down at her belly and saw that she looked 5 months pregnant, while Kara now looked 7 months along.
Susan walked back to her quarters, getting used to her new center of gravity. The mirror confirmed everything she’d felt, and the stretch marks already beginning to cross her belly were the final straw.
“I’m not doing this,” she hissed. “Not over and over again. I’m not a breeding cow. The rest of the crew can do that, but not me. I am going to win.”
Her hands caressed her swollen midriff. “But unfortunately, first I’m going to need an inner circle. And I know how I’ll have to get them.”

…and now I have a daughter

Not long ago, my daughter ‘E’ was born.

Another C-section, this one necessary both due to the C-section for my son just 15 months before, and because E was a bit over 11 pounds when born. It seems that I am fated to be the father of ever-larger children, and the next one will likely shake the Earth with his/her first step.

In all seriousness, my wife and I are trying to take a break from having kids for a few years. As much as I love the process of producing babies, I’m finding that I genuinely dislike the actual “baby” stage of the human animal, while I really enjoy the “kid” stage. This works out decently for my wife, because she loves babies and would be fine with me handling the kids – but we need for the previous kid to stop being a baby before we produce the next one. That, and two screaming babies at all hours of the night has been keeping me from getting much written lately.

That having been said, I’ve recently acquired a couple of voice recorders which can record audio at a decent quality, and I’m finally learning to use Dragon effectively. So, I’m hopefully about to reclaim the time I spend driving to and from work every day for writing purposes. I did a test run a few days ago on a shop run, and got a bit over 900 words (mostly accurate too!) transcribed for The Fallback Plan.

Progenitor 3 is released!

So, Progenitor 3 is released and live on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes + Noble, etc. The results are even better than I’d hoped! My favorite feedback is below:

OMG the book is amazing!!! Worth the waitA.L. Harling

So now, with the release all finished, I get to get back to working on more stuff full-time. My front-running projects are Fallback, Progenitor 4, Winning the Genetic Lottery 2, and the next installment of Breeding Camelot Style (there’s three different incomplete stories there, so it’s tough to find one to focus on).


Progenitor 3 is available from:

Pre-orders of Progenitor 3 for 4/10/17 release!

In my last post, I said I planned to release Progenitor 3 in about two weeks – and that I would work on the eBook formatting between now and then.

Well, I managed to get the formatting locked in, then I realized that both Amazon and Smashwords have pre-order systems that will take a fully-ready release and handle it automatically! So, I’ve uploaded the manuscripts I’ve got, along with the meta-data, and set it for a 4/10/17 release. Think of this as a little insurance policy for my readers, in case I somehow disappear into family and work again over the next two weeks.

This leaves two weeks to act upon any changes I get back from my beta readers. If nothing comes back needing changes, the version I’ve uploaded will be the official release version. If there are changes, I’ve still got the ability to swap out the manuscript before release.

I feel pretty safe now saying that no matter what happens, on April 10th anyone who wants Progenitor 3 will have it!

Pre-order links as they become available:

Progenitor 3 final draft out to beta readers!

Nearly four years after releasing Progenitor 2, Progenitor 3 is finally out to the beta readers! Unless they happen to spot something glaringly wrong with it, I expect to release it within the next couple of weeks. Until I hear back, I’m going to occupy myself with eBook formatting so that it’s ready for release as soon as it’s cleared.

In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt from the rave chapter:

Amita took my hand and tugged me towards the pool in front of the DJ’s sound stage. The pool was only about a foot deep, but it was about as wide as the stage, and at least six feet from front to back. Computer-controlled water shows were sending bolts of water overhead and pulsing lights to go with the music, and they probably planned to run soap bubbles through it at some point tonight. Amita smirked at me and said, “We can’t let them down, can we?”
I laughed and walked towards it with her, and a horde of women followed us towards it. Amita and I managed to weasel our way through the crowd, but the women following behind us just shoved their way in like a Roman phalanx. Amita didn’t stop when we reached the pool, just stepped in. I was pleased to discover that the pool’s floor was basically a giant traction mat, so I wasn’t worried about slipping.
Standing in the pool, Amita stripped me out of my shirt, and I worked on my pants while she yanked her pasties out from under her bra, letting her nipples peek out behind their sheer lacy cover. As her top splashed down in the water, dozens of camera flashes started winking from the audience. The minute she started to pull down her panties, the crowd erupted with cries of “Fuck her!”, “Fuck him!”, or “Fuck me instead!”.
Moments later, we were bathed in a spot light. I looked up to see the DJ give us an approving thumbs up before going back to her spinning. Apparently impromptu sex shows were fine as long as the audience approved, so I just went with it.
Like some horny faerie queen, Amita now wore nothing but glitter, a tiara, and her wings. She sparkled brilliantly in the stage lights as she sloshed towards me in the mid-calf-deep water. For that matter, I was covered in glitter myself, and I’m sure it looked like we’d actually planned this. A ring of voyeurs had formed, and a few girls still half-heartedly reached for me, even though they knew my choice had already been made. Amita gestured for me to lay down, probably trying to keep her wings from getting wet. I complied, getting comfy as the Indian girl crouched over me, her warm pussy seeking my shaft again. Her now-practiced hand quickly found my penis and guided it in to impale herself on me, taking the ride long and slow. She threw her head back and moaned, then I was surprised to see her whip out her phone from its hiding place in her wings. I raised my eyebrow and she said, “Sorry – selfie moment!”
I chuckled and thrust harder, taking her attention back off of the phone and into the moment. She rode me up and down, and the pool rippled with the waves as we thrust. Amita’s lips formed a smirk as she addressed the crowd and shouted, “He’s available once I’m done. So if you want a piece of him, come on in and sit down in the water.”
“What about you? You available afterwards?” yelled a guy.
“Gonna be pregnant by the time he’s done!” Amita replied. Everyone laughed, which made me start laughing – and then Amita started laughing too.
Little-known fact: laughing sex is AMAZING. On a girl like Amita, it makes her insides tighten up just right during sex. Like sneezing, but without the mood-killing spray and snot.
A surprising number of the girls followed Amita’s advice, sitting down in the water, utterly oblivious that my sperm would soon be swarming throughout the pool, looking for targets. Amita’s wings fluttered as she bounced, making her look like a sex-crazed butterfly. She looked around at the semicircle of watching women, most of whom were touching themselves as they watched us. Amita let out a pleasured groan and ran her hands down her midriff, pressing hard and savoring the sensations as she relished the anticipation.
“I love this,” she said breathlessly, “and I want our baby so bad.”
I shrugged. “Well, you’re going to actually have several in a few minutes,” I offered.
Amita smirked. “I mean the actual baby, not just eggs. God, if only I weren’t going to forget how this feels! I’d think back on it every night when I touch myself. And once I’m done laying eggs, I’m getting myself pregnant. I’ll be touching myself constantly for the next nine months,” she said.
I was getting close by now, so I wasn’t inclined to talk. I focused my attention on her body instead, and on driving my dick as far between her legs as possible. The DJ had switched to a fast-paced dance number, easy to thrust to but at a tempo which guaranteed I wouldn’t last much longer.
Amita rested her palms on my chest, her perfect brown breasts bouncing rhythmically in front of my face. I felt a single drop of pre-cum escape my tip and probably impregnate her, but I was determined to finish anyway. I leaned back, relishing the fact that the water was wicking away excessive heat from my body even as Amita and I built up heat between us. The water tickled my balls a little, and I felt that last-minute surge of hardness that I sometimes feel towards the end. I wrapped my arms around Amita’s back and pulled her to me, kissing her as our tempo shifted a little. We stopped the long in and out thrusts anymore; now it was just teetering back and forth at the end, my tip seeking maximum penetration and getting it. I was almost there, focusing now on keeping myself as deep inside her as possible.
I kissed her, then turned my head to the side and whispered into her ear, “About to cum. You’re gonna get pregnant.”
That set her over the edge. Amita’s orgasm struck her like lightning, making every part of her clamp down in unison. I let out a stifled grunt myself as her vagina grabbed my dick, squeezing it and demanding that it release the sperm it so desperately wanted. We held each other tightly as I came, every last pulse of my cum slamming into her cervix like a wave overwhelming a sand castle. There was no way in hell I hadn’t just fertilized her.
Amita pulled back a little, smiling mischievously. She looked around at our circle of female voyeurs, many of whom were kneeling or crouching without their pussies in the water. “Sit down, girls,” Amita called. “If you ever want me to let him go, that is.”
The girls who weren’t already sitting down, did so. Amita dismounted me partially, letting my still-erect dick wave freely in the air. The thin layer of cum on my dick seemed to vanish as soon as it touched the water. And then Amita grinned and spread her legs, a giant load of my sperm dangling from her pussy for a moment before it dropped free into the water. It struck and then dissolved on impact as my nano-enhanced sperm dispersed to seek out more targets.

Progenitor 3 nearly finished!

Progenitor 3 is almost finished, finally!

I’ve been getting a fair amount of writing done in the evenings lately, and Progenitor 3 has really been coming together.

Those who read the version that I posted years ago on the Impregnorium will notice that certain primary points – such as the girls’ bedroom, the sorority house in general, and the hot tub scene – are absolutely still there.

What’s been added is much clearer motivation for Amita, because the “why” of her collaboration with Phil was probably the most awkward thing in the original story. Now she’s responding to a once in a lifetime chance to fulfill her pregnancy kink – not just tonight, but over the next nine months at college too. And she’s determined to film as much of it as she can for her own records, since she knows she’ll forget it all otherwise.

And after that, she and Phil go to a rave full of college students. She doesn’t just want to knock up her sorority, but all of the sororities!

The rave is written now, and all I’ve got left to finish is the epilogue leading into Progenitor 4 (and holy crap it’s awesome to write new content for once!). We’re finally getting on the road and escaping the Southern California coast, because evolution shouldn’t see geographical boundaries.

Progenitor 4 direction

It gets teased a little in P3, but P4 will uncover more of the aliens’ motivations – why they’re trying to accelerate human evolution along a single track instead of just letting it happen naturally. If left unguided, our species is capable of evolving into a bio-weapon which the galactic government has destroyed worlds to contain – which is why Earth and all other undeveloped human worlds are quarantine zones.

Unfortunately for us, there are more aliens than the ones who resurrected the Progenitor, and some of them just want to evolve humans into bio-weapons and ship out as many as possible before the rest of the civilized galaxy notices.

Bypassing Amazon’s search filters via Romance.io

So, the clever folks over at Romance.io have implemented a project I kept “thinking of” for years. In the IT world, people think of useful stuff all the time, and sooner or later it someone implements it. This was one of those ideas where the world needed it, and the lack of its existence was pissing me off, but I wasn’t quite pissed enough to try to undertake the project myself. Hence, I’m very pleased that someone with UI design skills (my UI’s are all basic 90s forms; they get results to you but it’s ugly) and produced a nicely laid out, pleasant to use site.
Romance.io is an improved search engine for erotica / romance on Amazon. It extracts data from the stories on Amazon, and then lets customers search their database without Amazon’s blasted adult filter in the equation or their arbitrary, capricious “soft bans” which suppress results unless you happen to know the title of the story in question. Any author writing edgy content – such as breeding, ‘step-cest’, or other issues which Amazon arbitrarily adds to the suppression list ‘this week’. As I’ve said several times, the correct solution to this is NOT to just stealth-suppress stories as they’ve done; readers SHOULD be able to check “Yes, I want to see smut” on their account so that no subject is taboo anymore unless it’s flat-out breaking the terms of service agreement (i.e. pedos, etc).
If that weren’t enough, the even better feature is that it supports “tags” so that you can search for breeding erotica, then narrow it down further (add Robots? Billionaires? Whatever floats your boat!).
The best thing about them and tagging is that they’re responsive to authors who make a good case for a new tag. I proposed ‘breeding’, as it is a somewhat standardized tag for this genre and the “pregnancy” tag doesn’t really describe scenarios such as … well, Progenitor in particular, or most of the rest of my stuff in general.

Once you’ve chosen your tags, and it’ll filter the search results down to just those categories. Much like Newegg or Amazon, you can narrow down your criteria until you get exactly what you want.

 
I’ve gone through and tagged my books with ‘breeding’. Other authors – by all means, make sure your stuff is listed on the site, and ensure it’s tagged correctly, then advertise this site to your readers. I’m definitely making sure my readers know about it.
In other news, I’m still working over 60hrs/week at my day job, and doing my best to occasionally write something. And most of the time that something is Progenitor 3. Some forward motion has happened on Fallback too, but it’s mostly been concentrated on Progenitor 3.

Credit where credit’s due – Amazon’s Echo helps me write

I’m not a tech blogger, but a couple pieces of tech did actually change my life

I can and do reserve the right to say what I like about Amazon’s e-book related practices. I’m really not a fan of the way they treat erotica authors or their erotica customers. However, I must give credit where credit’s due: An Amazon product is why I’m getting some writing done now.

One of the issues I had, was that my wife kept yelling for me to come upstairs and do things for her. My baby son is colicky as hell (but otherwise healthy) and massively needy, so basically she spends all her time holding the baby. During my 6 weeks of paternity leave from work, I didn’t get anything written due to her calling me upstairs every 15-30 minutes, all around the clock, to do things for her. And since the baby has to sleep in the bed with her, I couldn’t sleep in or stay in the bedroom because I roll around in my sleep and – well, neither one of us wants a dead baby, so I slept downstairs until very recently.

Anyway, I got a lot of my time back when I ensured she no longer had to use her hands to do everything.

Enter the Amazon Echo

At a work function not too long ago, I got to check out an Amazon Echo. I already knew I liked its audio quality, so it was a decent speaker no matter what – but there were a lot of things she could use it for instead of calling me to do them. Right now, she mostly uses it as an acoustically nice voice-activated speaker (“Alexa, play baby lullabys” is a common phrase from her), and does a wonderful job of handling timers, alarms, and updating Google calendar. It also provides a verbal interface to check the status of Amazon orders, check delivery dates, etc.

I was impressed enough to order a second one for the downstairs room I hang out in mostly, and I personally use it for a writing timer. It’s tough to get time to write these days – the family will interrupt me constantly, and as a workaholic with a corporate job, I never have a shortage of emergencies I “need” to take care of. That’s left my writing career floundering for some time now.

Now I go downstairs with my laptop and say, “Alexa, play angry German music” – which kicks off my appropriately named Pandora channel – and then I’ll follow up with, “Alexa, stop music after one hour”. That’s one hour of writing time, automatically set to cut off at the end so that I can justify truly saving the time for writing.

It may be silly, but this is why Progenitor 3 went from 19.8k words to 20.7k words while also getting the first chapter edited to the point where I felt good enough about it to release it recently. It’s why I also expect that Fallback: Arrival will get published this year.

The next big hands-free baby thing

Another thing I lost a lot of time to, was my wife calling me upstairs to pick up her phone for her. She’s always been a total phone addict – she’s compelled to check every notification when it comes in. So, her mother’s day present from me was a Garmin Vivoactive HR watch. It pairs with Android or iPhone, checks heart rate, and can tell when you’re sleeping or not. The big compelling feature though is that it displays smart phone notifications. So, when her phone starts buzzing, K doesn’t reach for it anymore – she looks at her wrist, and only needs her phone if she wants to respond. This cut out a lot of trips upstairs for me, because trying to bend over while holding a baby isn’t as easy as it sounds for a woman who’s had a c-section. We’ve been impressed enough with it that she bought me one for father’s day.

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