Quick Chickpea Curry

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Everyone, my newsletter readers liked the idea that I’d post recipes now and then. We creatives get awful busy, so knowing how to make good, fast, nutritious food is important. So I’ll do this every now and then.

This one is a fast curry that you can throw on rice or polenta and just eat right away. Serve with a good spinach or kale salad for a full meal!

2 servings.

  • 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes (one 14.5 oz can drained, or 2-3 tomatoes)
  • ¼ tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 ½ tsp curry powder (use S&B)
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (one 14.5 oz can drained)
  1. Mix all but chickpeas. Microwave on high for one minute.
  2. Stir. Microwave on high for one minute.
  3. Mash tomatoes with fork. Add chickpeas
  4. Microwave for one minute.
  5. Serve

NOTES:
May want to substitute other peppers like chipotle or ancho for black pepper.

If you want to work greens in, put about 10-16 oz of spinach in the bowl first with just a bit of water, and microwave a minute or two so it wilts. Then add the rest of the ingredients. On top of rice you’ve got two veggies, one grain, and your proteins!

Steven Savage

Make It So: Spreading Indie Works

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

As an author, I believe in spreading the word about my fellow indie authors. I’ve been thinking about how to do this, how we can support each other in different ways to get the word out. I wanted to go beyond the usual blog tours and shared podcasts.

To that end I’ve put together a few thoughts.

Library Blitz: Libraries take book donations. Now and then I donate my books among others to libraries for stock or sale. So let’s donate the books of other indie authors to our local libraries.

Newsletter Swap: Use SurveyMonkey to find who on your newsletter would like to subscribe to the newsletters of other authors you know and get the word out.

Newsletter Plus: Could indie authors of a similar bent (location, etc.) combine to do one newsletter to share the word? Thinking that could help.

Shared Tables: A lot of us would get tables at conventions and events but we’re busy, tired, speaking, or wearing 50 pounds of cosplay. So why not gather together and have a table among authors? Ten people together could man a table for a large con effectively.

Giveaways of Others: We do book giveaways often. What if now and then you gave away work of your fellow indie authors?

Promo Together: If you have enough people do book promos, such as the ones at Prolific Words, where you can promo with a theme and cross promote tightly.

Write Together: I’ve done a few books where authors collaborated together, usually by contributing specific essays. It’s a bit of effort, but it’s a fun cross-promotional.

Little Free Friends: As noted before, why not stock other’s indie books at Little Free Libraries (within reason).

Advice Giveaways: If you’re doing panels and there are fellow indies that do advice books that are relevant, share them as prizes!

I hope that gives you a few ideas! I’m also looking for any suggestions to add!

Steven Savage

Real Fun Is Subversive

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Real fun is subversive.

I’m not talking fun that offends. Offense isn’t subversive. Fun that offends is trapped by its need to offend, lacking the sense of sheer joy unbound that healthy fun has.

I’m not talking fun that is a “guilty pleasure.” A guilty pleasure requires you to have something to feel bad about – then not feel bad about. Guilty pleasures aren’t subversive, the very name suggests they’re less guilty, more pleasure

I’m not talking about doing the “big thing.” You may enjoy that, but also you might just be following along with the crowd, having fun because you have to. “Required fun,” as joyful as it is, still jabs you with that razor edge of control from outside.

I’m talking fun that’s just . . . fun. Sheer joy of something, the happiness in being there and enjoying yourself. It’s a kind of connection and expression that’s just being you. That’s incredibly subversive.

When you have fun you’re just being yourself, experiencing joy, doing what you like, living. It’s almost a meditative experience if you pay attention – fun is when you’re you. You just might be having too much of a good time to notice it.

Think about it. For the moment you’re truly having a good time, that one moment you’re you. You’re not what people told you you are – or told you you’re not. You might rebel against constraints of society by being the real you – or perhaps in joy discover social connections that real mean something.

Fun isn’t just subversive against society’s pathologies. Maybe your social ties and society are fine – but fun helps you discover yourself. Bad habits and unhelpful attitudes can vanish when you experience joy, in those moments you’re in touch with yourself. You might be bad at being yourself – fun can help you discover it.

Finally when one is enjoying themselves, you can find new ideas and inspiration. You’re open to experiences – or perhaps the kind of fun that limits your experiences so you’re thinking clearly is what you need. These are moments where you can become something better by being yourself, enjoying – and seeing what evolves.

This is one reason fun, joy, entertainment, is so valuable – when done in a healthy manner. Its moment of being oneself, a moment of clarity, and a moment of safety. In those moments we’re us.

Being us is pretty important. We might not even like what we find – but then we can deal with it. But, good self or bad, fun is one way to subvert what holds us back and disconnects us, and find something more we can be.

Steven Savage

You’re Responsible To Share Creative Power

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Creativity is a tool for freedom and a tool for a functional society. It enriches and empowers. It provides new ideas and lets us see old ones in new lights. It topples tyrants and leaves potential tyrants in fear. If you’re a creative person, you’re morally obligated to empower others to use their creative abilities to ensure freedom and a functioning society.

To help people be creative means that they can think outside of the cages built around their heads. It means they’re harder to rule and control, and more able to be responsible citizens. Creativity is freedom – but also it’s a chance to take responsibility in new ways.

Helping people to be creative also gives them options that go beyond thinking. It may help them find a new job, freeing them of financial chains. Creativity gives them abilities to find solutions to problems, allowing them to fix things as opposed to following snake-oil charlatans.

Showing people the power of their creativity and how to use it finally means happier people. Creative people don’t just have the chance to be freer, more responsible, more powerful – they can experience joy more. When you can dream and imagine, you can find what you enjoy kand new ways to enjoy – and happy people can be hard to control.

How you help people be more creative, however, is a trickier bit. Each of us has our own creative tools, methods, and inclinations – these may not fit those we want to help. Each person we wish to aid has their sown situations and challenges and desires. To share creative power means asking what you can share and how to share it – it’s a journey, not a destination.

An excellent place to start is to ask how you got inspired, who helped you be more creative, what helped you see what you could do with creativity. This may be only relevant to you (and probably is), but analyzing the experience will help you find lessons to apply to others. If a supportive parent helped you, then you have a place to start – be supportive as they were.

Finally, keep in mind that this call to action is not one of superiority or a chance to lord your creativity over others. We’re all links in the chain; others aided your creativity before, and in turn, you pass it on. Each person you help is not “beneath” you – sharing and supporting is a mutual learning experience, because you will learn from everyone you want to nurture. Be humble in helping because then you’ll learn (possibly about your flaws).

So let us inspire others, share power, encourage creativity. We’ll empower and guide, help people be more, and build a stronger society. It’s a responsibility, but such a glorious one.

Steven Savage

Steve’s Update 8/6/2019

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

As you may guess, I’m keeping these updates! I just may not post them as widely to my four (really) different platforms.

Warning, it has been busy lately, and there’s a lot going on. August is gonna be complicated.

So what have I done since last time?

  • Way With Worlds: I’m back to doing the News book – which is shaping up really well. Still looking at a September publishing date.
  • Chance’s Muse: That’s the name of the Seventh Sanctum book – I’m integrating reader feedback. It’s looking mostly good, and I plan to get it to my editor for September.
  • A School Of Many Futures: The sequel to “A Bridge To The Quiet Planet” is now being plotted – in fact I have most of the basic outline down and am plotting the character arcs!

What’s next?

  • Way With Worlds: Pretty much write it, but next time you see this post, I should be done or just about done.
  • Chance’s Muse: Finish my edits, then start a full grammar edit. That probably won’t be done by the next update.
  • A School Of Many Futures: Finish up the character arcs plotting – and start plotting the book in detail!
  • Seventh Sanctum: I plan to get back to the Python coding, and possibly – possibly – start another generator!

Steven Savage

You’re More Of A Writer Than You Know

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

So lately I was reading the FATE Core system. Yes, I read gamebooks, not just to play them, but because of a possible side game project. While reading, I put some other reading on hold as a gamebook is, well, a book.

This had me thinking about how much writing we do that we don’t think of as writing. You, a potential or current writer, may not see how much of a writer you already are.

If you write a report at work, people might not think of it as writing – including you. That thing may be 60 pages of prose, infographics, and careful phrasing, a virtual novella of workflows. Yet, some (including you) may not think of it as writing.

If you create a newsletter for your friends and family every month or every quarter, it’s writing. Sure, it’s got a zip file filled with cat pictures, but it’s writing. In fact, if you do a newsletter for your own writing, that’s writing.

If you’re a Business Analyst, a lot of what you do is writing. Feature sets and Scrum Stories, updates, and wireframes all involve writing.

Think of any of the above works – they involve enormous amounts of skills. One has to craft communications, pick words, create enormous amounts of writing. Creators format and organize and edit these seemingly “not-so-writerly” creations. They’re writing.

And of course, if you’re writing a game manual, then you’re a writer.

Which means there’s a very good chance you’re a writer right now.

Which means even if you think of yourself as a writer and do these things, you’re more of a writer than you know.

Which means a lot of things you do are writing. So if you feel you aren’t enough of a writer, or can’t be a writer, chances are that’s B.S. – you’re a writer. You just want to be more of one about specific works.

SO next time you doubt your writing, ask about all the things you do at work or at home. Chances are you’ve got less to doubt, do more than you think, and are learning more than you realize.

Now, use it to be the writer you want to be.

Steven Savage

Creators: Focus Not Exclusion

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

If you’re a creator – writer, artist, cosplayer, etc. – then there’s probably a list of things you have to do. This list, no matter how organized and ranked, can be a source of stress as there’s just so much to do. Sometimes being well-organized can be stressful as you have a very good grasp of how overloaded you are.

It’s hard to pick what to do isn’t it? Sure you can do this item, but what about this one? What about this new demand? Maybe you can get things in order, but you want to do these other things. You have a lot of ideas and don’t want to exclude them.

Let’s think about it differently.

We’re afraid of excluding things, but don’t think of making choices what to do as exclusion. Think of it as focus first.

To get something done you need to focus, from 30 minutes of writing a day, to a weeklong binge to finish a costume. When you focus there are things you don’t do, but not as you’re excluding them, but instead focusing on getting something done.

Don’t think of all the things you’re not doing – instead choose to focus on one thing and get it done at a time. Take the first item on your list and finish it. Then the next, then the next. Your intent is not leaving things out (even though you are), but it’s getting something accomplished with focus.

Yes, this is a trick of language, a sort of word hack. But it works. It’s a way of changing perspective to see what you’re doing differently so you’re less worried (and thus distracted) and more getting things done.

You’re a creative person. Getting creative with perspective helps you get more done.

Steven Savage

Steve’s Update 7/24/2019

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Hey gang, still debating these updates. Starting to think they’re more suited for my newsletter or monthly. Any thoughts?

So what have I done since last time?

  • Way With Worlds: Still working on this, but I’ve had delays as it’s just been so darned busy. Won’t make too much of a difference in release, since I don’t keep these to tight schedules, but just a note if you follow my books intently.
  • Seventh Sanctum Book: Prereaders have had great feedback on readability, so I expect to get that soon – say middle of next. Then diving into editing! I got the final editor lined up, still looking at November.
  • Sequel to “A Bridge To The Quiet Planet:” The plotting has come along and I worked out the big beats, and it’s going to be great. Get ready for a lot of cool stuff, humor, darker turns, and observations on our tropes about chosen ones. Also, someone will solve a magical puzzle by shooting it.

What’s next?

  • Way With Worlds: Trying to get back to working on it regularly. I expect to be able to do so this weekend.
  • Seventh Sanctum Book: Getting back the book, hopefully!
  • Sequel to “A Bridge To The Quiet Planet:” Deep dives on the character arcs, then if all goes well, fleshing out the plot in detail!

Steven Savage

Make It So: More Little Free Libraries Ideas

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

I’ve been writing about Little Free Libraries on and off for awhile. Lately I got some ideas for how we could do some different geeky things with them. So here are suggestions if you run one, want to run one, or have friends who do or may.

Let’s think about ways you can theme, shake up, or vary Little Free Libraries.

Themed Libraries: What if you did a library that was all career advice, or all science fiction? You could also have a multi-shelf library with themed shelves.

Indie Libraries: If you want to be more specific – and probably make some purchases – have your little free library promote indie authors. You could even ask for donations as well – plus network locally.

Game Libraries: Though they’re expensive, game manuals and RPG supplements often make their way to discount and used bookstores, or people get tired of certain games. Why not a game library? This also could be good at a game store.

Comic/manga Libraries: If you’re like me, you probably have a few leftover manga, you can find tons of them at used book stores, and I’m sure you have friends with series they’re done with. Let’s get outside of text-only books and into graphic stories!

Rotating Libraries: What if you had a monthly themed library? Every month, switch out the books in the library with others, each time based on a different theme. Maybe you have six themes, and rotate them one month at a time, keeping the books appropriate to the theme in storage.

Book Club Libraries: If you run a book club, changes are you’ve got people with leftover books. So make your own Little Free Library for the club – with flyers for your club. However you may need to avoid having twenty copies of the same book . . .

Have any other ideas? Let me know!

Steven Savage