Monday, December 5, 2016

Just Released: The Sevarine Sidestep

The Sevarine Sidestep released today.

What do you do when your brother betrays you, and you end up on another world, in the employ of a company whose recruiting methods leave a lot to be desired? Well, I guess you keep your head down, while you try to figure out a way to get back home.

And I sure miss home, right now.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Progress Report: Week Ending December 3, 2016

This week, I tried to increase my fitness routine—and, even though it is summer, I tried to incorporate my walking into my drop-off routine, aiming for a regular two-hour walk straight after school drop off. I lasted three days, before I started to get sick.
It might have been okay if the temperatures hadn’t reached over twenty-nine degrees Celsius, before I was done, on each of those days, but it did, and the rest of the week was warmer. On th fourth day, I had mild flu-like symptoms, so I rested for most of the day, but did some vacuuming and gardening in the evening, instead. On the fifth day, I was short of breath, and realised I was reacting to something local, but couldn’t pin-point what. As far as I was aware, I’m not asthmatic, although I may have become hay-feverish since coming to Canberra. Again, I rested, inside, away from the pollen, during the day, but gardened in the evening cool. I was still not a hundred percent on the seventh day, but took a short walk, nonetheless.
During this time, not a lot of writing was done, and I found myself struggling with the last two chapters of Shades of Memory. I was aiming at finishing it by the end of November, but the words were being uncooperative. My word-rate dropped from an average of 1,200 words per hour to 350. When that happens, it’s time to take a break, recharge, refresh… and do some of the chores that need to be done, go for a walk, and so forth. And that was pretty much this week.
This coming week, it’s time to follow the dated task list for the publishing side of this business – which is part of the reason why you see the increase in blogging words, this week, also. Time I got serious, right?


  • New words produced: 8,013
  • Old words revised: 0
  • Outlines and Notes: 0
  • Works completed: 0
  • Works revised: 0
  • Covers created: 0
  • Works published: 0
  • Works submitted: 0
  • Competitions Entered: 0
  • Bloggery: 0
  • University Prep and Assignments: 0

Stepping Up Challenge Update

  • Languages: Trying to get back into the swing of things with languages - having difficulty with the increased preparation for next year's publication schedule.
  • Non-Fiction Reading: Nil

Ingress Updates

As you’ve probably guessed from the writing numbers, I had an easy writing week, and tried to increase my walking – well the hot weather has put an end to that, until I change my routine. However, this is what I achieved this week.

On Monday, I redid 5 missions – and I'll blog about why later this month:

I then did 11 new missions – four on Tuesday, and seven on Wednesday, in two two-hour sessions:


On Tuesday, I got sunburned – Canberra summer is a time for long sleeves, not t-shirts!

The end of Wednesday's walk resulted in a pretty picture, see - check out the top row.

I also levelled, somewhere along the way:

No... Honest, guv. That, wot you see there, is not actually incoming fire from portals. No, guv, I would never attack some poor portal cos it was the wrong colour - never...

So, yeah, all joking aside, I might have been in the middle of turning some green portals blue when that happened, and they were shooting back. You don't usually get lightning when you level. It looks kinda cool, though, right?

PokemonGo Updates

Somehow, in between the ingressing, I managed to do some Pokegoing as well.

Starting the week with a level up was pretty cool:

And then I surprised myself by finding a ditto, when I had given up all hope. It was disguised as a pidgey, and I had one ball in the rucksack, so I was pretty chuffed with the catch:


And I earned a badge for catching fairy-type pokemon:

So, not a bad week for PokeGo, and not a bad week for walking. 

Publishing Tasks

  • Created 14 blog posts for this blog;

New Arrivals

  • Nil

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Progress Report: Week Ending November 26, 2016

Last week’s progress report. Late again, as usually happens when I try to increase one or another part of my routine. I focussed on completing the NaNoWriMo quota this week, after a fairly rough and inconsistent start. Finally, seemed to put it together this week, so it was done.
Anyway, that happened, and I got some gardening done.


  • New words produced: 24,863
  • Old words revised: 0
  • Outlines and Notes: 912
  • Works completed: 0
  • Works revised: 1
  • Covers created: 1
  • Works published: 0
  • Works submitted: 0
  • Competitions Entered: 0
  • Bloggery: 1,164
  • University Prep and Assignments: 0

Stepping Up Challenge Update

  • Languages: Nil progress
  • Non-Fiction Reading: Nil

Ingress Updates

  • No new challenges for me.

PokemonGo Updates

  • Nothing new to report

Publishing Tasks

  • Created 4 blog posts for this blog;
  • Updated royalty records;
  • Created the cover for The Sevarine Sidestep

New Arrivals

The following pieces arrived last week and are awaiting completion:

  • Horror2—Horror Story Untitled 21/11/2016: about vampires and other stuff;
  • UF4B—Tamerlain’s Werewolf: an urban fantasy novel in the Aggie and Tams urban fantasy series in which there are werewolves
  • YANovel30—Home Run: about a mother and daughter starting anew.

The following older pieces of writing were rediscovered and assigned a project code:

  • UF4A—Shades of Memory: an urban fantasy novel in the Aggie and Tams urban fantasy series, in which the two meet, and explore rumours of a secret Australian research centre on aliens, while Aggie finalises her art commission for the Australian War Memorial.
  • UF3A—Appleby’s Tale: an urban fantasy story set in the pixie dust setting from the flash fiction and poems.

Ingriess: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Playing

I started playing just over 12 months ago, three days before Niantic’s birthday celebrations for the third year of the game ended. I reached level 4 by the end of November, 2015, and level 13 by the same time this year. I enjoy the game, and I’m fitter for it, but there are a few things I wish I’d known when I started:

The Sojourner’s Medal

The sojourner’s badge is awarded for hacking portals during consecutive 24-hour periods. Like all the other badges, it has five levels, the highest being black, or onyx. If I’d known about the sojourner’s badge when I started, I would have made it onyx by today. As it is, I didn’t cotton on to this fact, until I’d spent my first 15 days hacking and the badge lit up on the Agent’s screen… that took me almost two months, and I still have 49 days to go.

The Importance of Medals in General

In Ingris, you can level up by earning points known as AP, right up until Level 8. After Level 8, you need a certain number of badges as well as AP in order to progress. You can find this information at: Knowing this early is a good way to start playing in a way that helps you achieve these before you need them, and reduces any stress involved in getting there. Reduced stress is important for enjoying the game.

About the DeCode Ingress and Ingress Support sites

These sites are very helpful in explaining the game, and understanding how to play—even after you’ve been playing for a while:

About Missions

I’ll make no bones about it; I love the missions. I didn’t understand at all how they worked, or how to find them, but, when I did, they very quickly became a part of my regular walking routine. Missions can be found on the scanner, by going into ‘Ops’, and then scrolling through the options at the top, until you find the Missions tab. Opening that will show you the missions closest to you. If you want to plan where to go before you leave home, go to the Ingress intel map at, log in, and highlight the area of the map you’re thinking of visiting. Click the ‘missions’ tab in the bottom right-hand corner and then click on the missions to see what portals are involved. Oh, and there is a medal for the number of missions you complete. Also, if you choose missions that only require hacking portals, they are achievable even when you are at a low level. Missions that require linking, fielding or capturing can be difficult to complete at low levels where you might not have the firepower to take down a higher level portal.

About Mission Series

Sometimes you’ll see a mission that has numbers or Roman numerals as part of its title. The medals earned for these missions sit beside each other and form a mosaic picture. They need to be done in order for the picture to form properly, and you should only start them when the next mission medal you earn will be at the start of a new line, otherwise the picture won’t work properly. Knowing this means you won’t have to move mission medals around until the picture works.

How to Move Mission Medals

Basically – you can’t. The only way to shift the position of a medal is to re-do the mission. As I discovered when I found I’d started a series mission before the end of a line. I’ll blog about that later.

About Guardians and Guardian Hunters

There is a medal called the guardian medal. You earn it by capturing and controlling a portal for a certain number of days. To get to black, you have to keep that portal under your control for 180 days, which is a very long time in Ingress terms. There are also players on the opposing team who look for long-lived portals and capture them, while leaving other, less long-lived portals in the area alone. I’m not sure why this happens, but it does. Guardian is a badge that requires a certain amount of skill by way of selecting a portal and maintaining it, and then you need a lot of luck to keep it. It’s not a reflection on how well you play if you cannot keep a portal until you earn the black medal. Remember, no one ‘owns’ or can claim a portal as their own in Ingress, and it’s kinda obligatory for the other team to capture as many portals as they can. If the portal you are a guardian of is captured, just start again. Many players capture and maintain several portals at once in an attempt to gain this badge.

It’s Not Mean to Take the Opposition’s Portal

Don’t laugh, okay, but it took me while before I stopped feeling guilty about capturing the other team’s portals. For a while I just took on the grey ones, and then the other team helped me get over the guilt, by taking them back. Now, I see it more like a game of chess. We all make a move—sometimes we even remember to take turns. It’s fun, okay?

It’s Okay to Build on Portals that Your Team has Already Captured

While it sometimes happens, you are not likely to fry anyone else’s plans to field or link, if you use a portal you haven’t captured yourself to field or link from. In fact, if you’re going to play this game successfully, you kind of have to. It’s also okay to replace resonators on a portal that’s been captured by another player, add modules to protect it, and link it to as much as you can link it to. No one ‘owns’ a portal. You are on a team. Helping that team earn points, or keep a portal longer, or capture mind units is what you’re meant to be doing. So, get out there and do it.


The recharger medal is one of four medals completely in your control. The other medals include: trekker, spec ops, and sojourner. They’re not reliant on anything but your own efforts to achieve. Recharging can be done using portal keys wherever you are at. By recharging as much as you can, you not only make portals harder to capture, but you work towards the black level of this badge at a steady rate.

And that’s it, for now. Time to move.