It's time to get back on that horse.Le Logo

And by "horse," I of course mean life. We're here at the summery (in the southern hemisphere, anyway) outset of 2021. Welcome! I hope the year is set to kick ass for you, as opposed to 2020's kicking your ass.

This week:

Before we get into it, I have what we in the biz refer to as an impassioned plea. My new series (the Splintered Land, ref: bullet 3, above) has (again what we in the biz refer to as) fuckall reviews. I don't understand it. Quite a few people grabbed it (which was surprising, considering my zero marketing strategy).

Thank you! But, pretty please: if you read Blade of Glass and liked it, could you leave me a review? You can do that at this handy store link - you know the rest. It makes a hyoooge difference.

As a special motivator for those in the US of A: at time of writing, the United Kingdom has more reviews than the United States. Their country is tiny compared to yours! And they are kicking your asses. Just sayin'.

I don't read encyclopedias for fun...

...which means non-fiction needs to be engaging, hopefully funny, and have a point. Not everything delivered! But a few things delivered enough to earn a solid recommendation from me. These books might inspire or help you as you hit your 2021 journey. Here's hoping, yeah?

Something in that list is bound to float your boat. Yeah, no starships, because the last rocket ship manual was hard going (c'mon, JPL, you're our only hope).

The Empire

About this time (vacation means headspace to spare) I rationalise stuff. This year was all about removing a lot of digital cruft from my life. Services that take up time or emotional energy when they don't need to - so, the theme of 2021 is cut, cut, cut. If it wasn't returning Big Huge Value™️ it was on the block. This isn't a commentary on whether these services are cool, or cool for other people - just what they mean for me.

This all started when I saw the changes WhatsApp (...which means Facebook, really) made to their privacy policy, so I yanked that shit off my phone and then went hunting for more things I don't need. It's been very theraputic! It's also re-instilled my love for Signal, which seems a common theme as oh my I have never seen so many new people over there in my life.

Most of you won't notice an impact, but for my 2 fans on Twitter, I don't have one of those anymore. Redbubble is similarly gone. The flip side is our Facebook group Discount Druids is back, baby, and is joined by Patreon because more than a few of you said I should get one of those. Let's see if you like having these things in your life.

If you're hot on stalking me at your convenience, the paths to my heart are now: my site, email, Patreon, Facebook, and Pinterest.

And now, an Essay from the Heart™️

Requiem's Justice comes out at the end of January. It's the third Splintered Land book, and - zang - shit is getting real in there. I've had some great thumbs-ups for the ending from advance readers, but no one's seen the from-the-author bit at the end yet.

This is because I hadn't written it until recently - I was wrestling with how to put on paper the why of the series without getting political, mushy, or angry. 2020 was a hard time, all right?


I decided to just ... write it. Put the words down, and see how they sounded. All the reasons for Geneve's journey, why it's important, and what I hope (beside learning cool ways to cut people in half with a bastard sword) people could learn from her path. The (very brief!) essay is below, because whether you get the book or not I'd like you to join me on an epic quest.

We're going to change the world. We're going to do it by helping people, not hurting them. Because if we don't, well ... the distopian hellscape isn't far away.

This is a Story About You

When I started writing the Splintered Land books, it was 2019. You remember 2019, right? North Korea and US nuclear talks (and trade agreements) stalled. Brexit was a train wreck. The Amazon burned. Protestors in Hong Kong took to the streets.

Social media was really heating up. Facebook's algorithms promoting controversial content seemed to work on a stretch goal plan. More than ever we saw inflammatory talk about politics and vaccines. Don't get me started on Twitter: they wanted your eyeballs and attention just as much. Echo chambers surged to the front. People seemed to spend more time at their keyboards arguing with people they barely knew about topics they were ignorant about.

Not to be left out, I felt traditional media and its click-bait articles poured a lot of gasoline on any fire that looked about to go out. They wanted your attention too and would use your fear and anxiety to get it.

Meanwhile, three novel-ass novels took a while to write. 2020 arrived. Everything that was bad got worse. Don't forget, aside from all the stupid shit we humans managed to do, we got a pandemic as a cherry on the top. As far as cherries went, it didn't taste good. People were driven inside, and spent more time at their keyboards. They were afraid, and fear and intelligence aren't good bedfellows.

I saw people wanting to be right more than they wanted to help each other. The left wanted gun control and the right wanted armed teachers. Neither wanted to start from the place we all agree on: no child should die at school.

This is not the way.

Geneve's story is ... your story. Her world was shattered by an ancient war between powerful societies. The technology that destroyed her planet isn't far off what we've got now. And their people were no cleverer than those we see today arguing about whether vaccines cause autism.

She was born into the hellscape that followed. Technology fell. Monsters roamed. The gods were lost, but gods have never been very good at stopping us shouting at each other. Geneve gathered people she didn't agree with to right a wrong that wasn't her fault. Fault had nothing to do with it; it was still her responsibility.

That's what heroes do. Heroes like you.

"It is the great honor and privilege of the strong to help those they can."

- Knight Champion Geneve.

I hope you loved your time in the Splintered Land. I also hope you'll think about how you can change the world. Next time you see some asshat posting on Facebook, think about how you can help rather than fight. Think about how often you've had your mind changed by someone's post or email (never, amirite?), and consider a balanced response. I know we want to tell motherfuckers they're wrong, but we're often wrong too. We can find common ground if we want it enough.

Be a champion for the voiceless. Become the strong right arm the world needs, and use that strength to lift people from the darkness rather than punching them in the face. You can do it. I know you can. We can be better. We do the impossible every time we work together.

We are Boundless.

- R.P.

January 2021

That's it from me this week. I know, big email, but there's a lot going on! Again, if you thought Blade of Glass was cool, could you leave a review?

May 2021 be the year your life grows wings. Peace be upon you.


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