The Year Of Initialization So Far

So this is my year of initialization. And as we come to the end of the third month, how’s it going?


I’ve talked here before about how training for the Flying Pig Marathon takes up a lot of time, more than a half marathon. Compared to a marathon, training for 10K races are a pleasant jog in the park.

But last week, I reinjured my knee, a similar strain I had happen last fall. That forced me to stop running for the week, which in turn opened up a lot of time in the evening. Yes, it’s a lot easier to work on web design and prep a book for production when you’re not spending an hour and a half running, stretching, and toweling off before hitting the computer. I even got to watch two episodes of Gotham. (Well, that had more to do with Fox’s schedule than mine, but still…)

So how are things going?

  • Web Design:
    Responsive web design diagram

    Muhammad Rafizeldi by Creative Commons

    If you’re reading this before April of 2016, you know I haven’t gotten around to revamping this web site. But I’m learning to build themes from scratch, or rather on top of the _S theme from WordPress. I want to build three sites: the new theme for this site,, and my design business site. The third will come last as I have business tasks to complete, like a company name, logo, and domain. That’s not as easy as you might think.

    Also, I want to do a handful of freebies. I have a barter deal I’m discussing with someone I frequently do business with, a band I also am familiar with, both of whom need a redesign or just a site. I’ll probably knock out a volunteer project while I’m at it. All this is portfolio building. But to turn this into a revenue stream? That may not happen until later this year. Sometimes, I look at my bills and my bank balance and think, “I really need to get cracking on this.” But everytime I’ve dived into web design professionally with an eye on a quick paycheck, it’s turned out badly. I was cheated out of payment by one client, and a miscommunication cost me another. Those I consider fail-forward moments. A freelancer needs to choose his clients wisely. And while I have a day job, I have to treat my employer like my primary client. It increases my focus at work while also giving me a bulwark against that one person all businesses run into who wants you to drop everything right now because the font on the About page is soooo 2012.

  • Writing:

    manuscriptThe First One’s Free is finally permafree. Only took Amazon a month and a phone call to fix that. Gimme Shelter is out and in print. My focus now is on The Children of Amargosa, the first full-length Compact Universe novel. I have to walk a fine line here. The novellas, including the ones in the can or in progress, do not focus on Children‘s main characters (except for Gimme Shelter.) Sometimes I worry because Gimme Shelter is not exactly flying off the cybershelves, but it’s been pointed out that the Compact Universe and even the name TS Hottle don’t have a lot of books out yet. The plan is for the novels to focus on JT Austin and another protagonist who debuts in Children, while the novellas flesh out the Compact Universe, even visiting the very aliens invading Amargosa. Part of this is to quickly build up a library. Part of it is for my own personal edification. The more canon I can draw on for the novels, the better this series will be. My readers so far may be few, but they seem to love what I’ve written.

    And then there’s the reboot of the Jim Winter name. I need to get the Nick Kepler series and Road Rules organized in anticipation of Holland Bay‘s debut early next year. I may take a similar tack with the Monticello series as I am with the Compact Universe: A novel a year with a series of novellas in between. Monticello is an even more developed setting than the Compact Universe, so there’s lots of fertile ground to mine. Just turn on the news and drop what we see into this fictional city.

  • Running:

    Bear chasing you. Now you're a runner.This isn’t really an initialization project. I ran a half marathon last year. But I’ve had a knee strain from my recent 22-mile workout. (Which felt great, by the way!) Thanks to some quick advice from some friends who run, I’ve come up with a manageable recovery plan. I’m typing this on Sunday afternoon, after which I’ll head to a nearby park for a ten-mile power walk, assuming my knee permits it. Even if it comes up short, it’s a beautiful day for a walk. Beyond that, I’ve decided to do the Loveland race annually for the foreseeable future, and possibly the Flying Pig’s Half Marathon event. 13 miles is doable. The most recent formal spousal unit wants to do Loveland. I told her once she’s trained to handle that distance, it becomes a long, pleasant weekend jog. Well, that’s if you’re just trying to finish. Might be a bit harder if you’re running competitively. But half marathons require just enough running to help me get my health problems under control. My numbers are looking better with each doctor’s office visit, and I think if I start focusing more on diet after the Pig, I may just finally shed the rest of this weight I’ve put on since my thirtieth birthday (a couple of presidents ago.)

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