A Solo Cello

Everyone’s changing, I stay the same, I’m…
A solo cello, outside a chorus.
I’ve got a secret, it’s time for me to tell
That you’ve been keeping me warm.


History repeats itself.

The short version: I’m going to shift “Epsilon” updates to being every two weeks. The long version is, as usual, rather more complicated. Feel free to read on, or not.

I’ll start by admitting that I’m not sure if this marks the beginning of the end. That’s certainly how it was with my personified math serial. The good news is, after 14 months of deep slumber, that did return from the ashes (as a webcomic). Similarly, “Time Untied” continues to percolate through my mind, and there is liable to be something there eventually. (Whether that story reaches completion is another issue entirely, as is how this site continues in the meantime.)

What kills me about this situation is just how similar it is back with the math serial. Then, Audrey was reading my backlogs just as everything imploded. This time, I’ve got Steve S following regularly, and people commenting, even as the situation seems to force me to scale back. I feel kind of bad about that.

Shouldn’t what little I have be enough? Why isn’t it enough? Maybe on some level I want to sabotage myself?

Thing is, I know my writing is niche. That solo cello, constantly playing its refrain of time travel, mathematics and multiverse insanity… in a fiction world of superheroes, YA romance and RPGs. I didn’t expect to gain an audience overnight. So why am I feeling the weight of it more now?


Last week’s vote, mainly. Three votes, all for different options. If that had been the sort of poll where I could have multiple people win, I’d do that. But I can’t, the whole point was I felt a need to split the cast up. If there was an easy tie breaking vote to cast, I might have done that, but there’s two equally enjoyable options for me going forwards. But even if I had picked something, I’d still be feeling this way. As there’s only three votes.

In the previous week, the week of June 25th, there was also a tie (2-2-1) on the Wednesday. (Also overall my lowest week for views so far in 2017.) I tweeted out, anyone want to break that. I got two more votes, resulting in a come-from-behind victory (2-2-3; in a way, that’s another reason I’m hesitant to break the tie myself). Despite that, this week, when I tweeted out the tie (1-1-1)… nothing.

I tossed out a Twitter poll a bit before midnight on Wednesday, asking should I wait a day? A week? (Give up entirely?) I got four responses, with the majority saying wait a day. So here we are, Friday noon, still a three way tie. I fail. Though, of course, there’s a bit more to it when placed in context.

Rewind to a year ago, “Epsilon Story3” routinely got between 3 and 5 votes. This year, we’d started “Epsilon Story4” with 5 to 7 votes. That felt like an improvement. So to drop back to 3 votes? And to stay there, despite me tweeting out “Hey, it’s a tie, yours is the swing vote to personally influence my writing!” and get nothing? That’s, frankly, kind of crushing.

The writing mind wonders. Maybe people went on vacation? Maybe the only three people voting now are the ones who had their choice picked last time? Maybe I can’t hold anyone’s interest week to week. Maybe people hate the characters. Maybe people are only humouring me for this story. Maybe I should quit while I’m ahead. One tries not to listen to certain inner voices but the spiral does go down.


It’s never one single thing. I have a day job as a high school teacher, but I took a year off work to clear my head. Meaning for the last 52 Weeks, writing has been my focus. I completed my T&T Book 4 Edits. I wrote a 90,000 word novel during NaNoWriMo (into December) about Rose Thorne. I did a number of guest posts for other blogs; Jim Z’s, Drew’s, Stable’s, the Time2TimeTravel site. Got a review on WFG and Rev Fitz’s blog, expanded to RRL, and participated in online chats.

Despite that, somehow, I’m right back where I started a year ago. On this site, days with over 20 views across all 240+ posts is an oddity, not the norm. (There’s been seven in the last month.) Add to that how I can’t even push past 3 votes on a story which is meant to be based on audience votes. Despite k-fish linking back at me. (From a voting serial story about girl love, Redwood Crossing, check it out in the side links.)


And the voting period is longer now than ever before! I picked Thursday morning figuring that gives me Thursday to consolidate and outline in my head, Friday to write (it takes me around 6 hours to crank out 2,000 words), and Saturday to edit. Last week, I pushed the envelope to do it sooner because Saturday was Canada Day, and I also wanted to submit a short story elsewhere by June 30th, and after all that effort…

We’re at the next Friday and I don’t even have the votes. So I’m writing this post instead. I should probably be marketing, but I’ve had 52 Weeks of fail there. Not only with this blog, but Wattpad too, and I just dropped in rank on RRL. My math comic, now in year six, also had two consecutive days of zero views last week.

I’m tired.

I’m teaching a new course in September.

Technically it’s not new, but they’ve redesigned the Ontario curriculum since I last taught Grade 10 computer science. That’s going to suck up more time during the summer, as I haven’t even done any computer programming in 10 years. Meaning I’m being pulled away by my job, and I don’t seem to have the foundation here to keep me from being uprooted.

I don’t know, maybe it’s good that I didn’t get the fourth vote on Thursday. Sending me back towards the thing I get paid for in money, rather than in enjoyment. Because being overlooked in a participation piece isn’t that enjoyable anyway. And I KNOW I’m niche, but to be back here, after a year of making the effort?

Still, as I said at the start, I’m not quitting, only scaling back to every other week. Hell, when I scaled UP in September, posting twice per week instead of once, my overall views WENT DOWN. (So does that mean by posting less often now, my views will go up?) I swear, anyone who says as long as you push out content regularly means you will eventually have an audience find you is a damn liar.


I’ll close last week’s vote once there’s something definitive. (The voting does wipe IP memory a week after your last vote, if you’re real keen on your choice. Though I guess if you were that keen, you might’ve logged into second computer to vote. Or maybe that’s already happening and only three people ever read each week…) [UPDATE: 4th vote now in. Poll closed.]

The plan had been to rerun an old story once we’d finished this “Epsilon” story entry, and that’s still the plan, it’ll just take longer to get there. Though that one might go weekly. Maybe I’ll put things to a vote. We’ll see. I really don’t know what September’s going to do to me.

Also, as long as I’m talking the audience (preaching to the choir), I noticed last week that someone’s still voting for T&T at Top Web Fiction. Thanks for that. I still get hits from there, which likely keeps us from plunging to zero views. (The person from Australia reading T&T Book 2 this past week also helped there.) Thanks also for those who have participated in weekly votes, who ReTweet, and for all comments over the past two months. I know I’m not a big part of your life out there, but I’m glad we can share that time together, no matter how brief. It makes me feel like it’s somehow worthwhile. 🙂

With no new fiction, I’ve leave you with this little AMV that Rose might enjoy watching, were Rose to know much of anything about anime.


Don’t tell me you have to go…
In the heat of summer sunshine,
I miss you, like nobody else.
In the heat of summer sunshine,
I thank you. I guess we’ll see where this goes.


  1. You have to do what you have to do! While I won’t lie and tell u I won’t miss the weekly post I understand where your coming from. Take your time and get your head wrapped around what YOU need to accomplish for yourself. I won’t abandon you or epsilon or T&T for that matter. Maybe continue to provide the voting link on each post. Even though I’ve read it through I don’t mind continuing to vote but like many of us the reminder to do so will help. Keep your chin up everything is cyclical. I’ll email you something tomorrow. Thanks for all that you do it is appreciated!

    On a side note can we start calling anime from Canada canine?


    1. Part of my issue is that I feel like this decision is being forced on me by circumstances, versus being something I chose. (The reality is, my psyche is probably choosing the path of greatest sanity for me, based on said circumstances.) I mean, will I make the best of it? Yeah, that’s the plan. Is the reading habits of summer likely a factor? Sure. Yet, of course, it’s still painful.

      That said, I’m glad to hear you’re on board to the extent of not abandoning. Wow, thanks. O.o *^_^* Got your email too, hope to get to that later today. As to voting, the current plan is to close the poll on Saturdays, assuming there’s something I can work with (and I *can* sometimes work with ties), or to leave it open through Sunday if it’s not definitive… I doubt I’ll post reminders. (Might tweet ’em.)

      Can’t really speak to Canadian anime. All I’m aware of in terms of genre is things like “Totally Spies”, the co-venture with France. (I can say the auto correct feature is annoying.) Anyway, thanks for the comment and encouraging words!


  2. With just 25 days, it’s hard to get a proper feel for the trend, especially with the long weekend. I find that the weeks before and after one tend to be a waste for getting things done as people take time off to go on vacation. But, if the trend is something that started in March, then there may be something else going on.

    Lack of feedback is tough, especially when there’s a screen and an Internet separating you from readers and all you have are usage stats. I wonder if there will be an uptick again in August as people return from vacation.


    1. Trends are a little hard to gauge because of my guest posts, which cause sudden spikes that eventually slide back down to “normal” viewing. My post on Drew’s site gave me 1,149 pageviews the week of May 22nd, as people took a look here. Comparatively, the end of April was about 170 views in a week, which is what we’d declined to by about the middle of June.

      If that’s “normal” though, ever since the latest Epsilon’s Part 4 went out, I can’t reach 100 views in a single week, which is what it was like back in February. (I’d compare to last July, except that’s when I guested on Jim’s site, so not a good baseline. ^.^ Though that July spike steadily declined through every month until December.)

      I may have plateau-ed in terms of voting feedback. I wish it could have been at a higher number. Dropping from 30 readers to 27 isn’t felt as acutely as a drop from 6 readers to 3… the true evil is percentages. At least I can acknowledge that mathematically. Thanks for the comment though, that helps!


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