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Andrew G. Schneider
Andrew always wanted to be a wizard when he grew up. Now he makes magic with words.
Andrew always wanted to be a wizard when he grew up. Now he makes magic with words.


Nocked is back on the App Store! Huzzah!
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I’m flattered to say that my iOS game, Nocked, was nominated for DragonCon’s Scif/Fantasy Indie awards (on the same day it was removed from sale by Apple in their misguided gambling app purge, natch)... Anyway, it’s me, some MMOs, and Beamdog’s Planescape port, so if you’re so inclined, grab a ballot and vote!

Nocked may be banned for the time being, but you can make sure it’s not forgotten!
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Sit tight Nocked fans, we’ve been hit by Apple’s gambling app purge. There’s no gambling in our game, and we are working to get the app reinstated! Hold on to your arrows...
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‪There’s still time! Nominate Nocked! for DragonCon’s dragon awards in the Mobile Games category! Let’s get on the ballot!
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I’d like to share a story of my novel, Nothing Left to Wish For, included in the SFWA space opera story bundle. (17 books, Pay what you want. Ends in 2 days!) - here we go...

"Is that the end?"
Nothing Left to Wish For, my latest novel of swashbuckling adventure, was a complete draft and ready for publication; this was not the response I expected from my wife – my most loyal beta reader, first draft editor, and sexiest critic. After all, the previous chapter’s draft had been met with a smiling "that was really good." Maybe she had lost the last paragraph – really, only an unnumbered loose-leaf printout – on the Metro. I couldn't remember the page division; were those essential words "the end" lost between the seats, even now on a trip to the end of the Red Line and back?
To this day, that remains the most cutting critique I've ever received. I thought the retort inevitably, inexorably, must be "no, that's not the end." But if that wasn’t the end, what was? Where did it all go wrong? Could I fix it?
It’s an important point: where is the line between fix it and failure? When do I say I have not succeeded, that nothing can be salvaged? In Nothing Left to Wish For we meet Esme who, when she fails her final exams to become a wizard, doesn't turn away from her dream to master runecraft – the magical symbols that are the key to success and wealth in her world. Instead, she trades her hand for a metal graft, a rune-enhanced replacement that allows her to interact with runecraft more readily than any wizard.
Esme didn't fail, she took her disappointment and found a different path to pursue her dreams without the blessing or sanction of anyone else. Walking the path of self-publication feels similar; we authors gain ultimate power over our work. We are free to cherry-pick criticism, forging boldly ahead with our artistic vision while incorporating critique into the story on our own terms. Like Esme’s graft, we can create something better without destroying what’s already there.
But this power can blind us to catastrophic failure. When Esme's crew are unfairly killed and imprisoned, and she's wanted for a crime she didn't commit, a friend offers her a way out. It's an escape, though, that doesn't lead to anything she's ever wanted; exactly the opposite. She would have to give up her long-cherished dreams in order to start again, and when she jumps ship in spite of the odds, she compounds her failures and embarks on a journey to the very depths of despair.
I write all my drafts by hand with a fountain pen (the current ink color is purple). Writing by hand forces me to really think about what I'm saying, to craft the complete sentence before putting it on paper. But it's also a crutch, a little bit of self-denial – much like Esme, refusing help in order to follow her dreams, even if those dreams were already ashes – I tell myself that sentences written by hand are somehow better. That they're good enough to sketch out the plot, to explore the characters, and can be revised later. That, in truth, if I just keep writing, the words on the page will resolve themselves into something great simply by virtue of being there.
When it came time to look over my latest draft for Curse of the Hierophant, the sequel to Nothing Left to Wish For, I didn't need four words from my wife to take a good, hard look at what I'd written and rethink some – no, all – of the ideas. I could tell, being honest with myself, that it wasn't any good. “Is that the end?” prompted a comprehensive review of Nothing Left to Wish For’s characters, story, and plot; in which I scrapped 15,000 words and added 50,000 more. With Curse of the Hierophant, I scrapped the entire draft.
Total failure is a hard thing. Harder, though, is the acknowledgment of that failure; not stubbornness or gumption, but acceptance. Picking up the pieces and starting over – not abandoning the dream, but learning from it. The misbegotten months of work on Curse of the Hierophant left me with three solid characters, the makings of an excellent story, and a vibrant, living world in a place where I thought I'd already said everything. Creative, aspirational failure is a path to learning and growth, and can bring us to a better endpoint than if we had succeeded in our original idea.
We cannot imagine our successes – we can only work towards them, and be inspired at the result. Esme would understand, her failures only the first steps on the path of a longer, stranger journey than she could ever envision.
"Is that the end?"
No. It's only the beginning.

Nothing Left to Wish For is available in the current story bundle. The sequel, no longer titled Curse of the Hierophant, is coming in 2019.
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The Space Opera story bundle continues to destroy worlds (in which my works humbly appear)!, 6 books for nearly free, 17 if you pay us $15 dollars. Now you can gain insight into what makes us authors tick:
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A bundle so packed full of space opera,
we had to assemble it in orbit. (And I’m a part of it, until May 31st!)

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) joins with 18 different Authors in a massive twenty-book storybundle to warp the space-time of readers everywhere. Featuring New York Times Bestselling authors Michael Cooper, Mike Shepard, and Felix R. Savage, USA Today Bestselling Author Kevin McLaughlin, International Bestselling Authors Glynn Stewart, Craig Martelle, Jennifer Foehner Wells, Terry Mixon, Amy DuBoff, and more!

StoryBundle is a way for people to discover quality books written by indie authors. You know how it's always hard to find something good to read? StoryBundle can solve that. We take a handful of books and group them together to offer as a bundle. Then you, the reader, take a look at the titles we've chosen and decide how much you'd like to pay. We mean it; you set the price that you pay!

Books included:
Space Carrier Avalon by Glynn Stewart: Carriers clash and starfighters duel in Glynn Stewart’s epic far future novel of a cold war on the verge of turning hot.

Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells: An expedition to a derelict alien ship spirals into chaos and linguist Jane Holloway must decide if she can trust an alien’s help to survive. Fluency won the Gold in the Fantasy/Science Fiction category of the 2015 eLit awards.

Enemy Unknown by Mike Shepard: The war is over, so why are merchant ships still vanishing? Is it pirates, or is humanity no longer alone in the galaxy?

Rika Outcast Micheal Cooper: Rika is mech-meat, a cyborg killing machine, created by the Genevian military and cast aside when the war was lost; she wants to build a new future for herself, but hope doesn’t buy repairs, and Rika will find her fighting another people's war just to stay alive.

Cygnus Rising by Craig Martelle: From space they came, to space the returned, humanity searching for a way home.

Storm Divers by Terry Mixon: Adam Hale thought diving deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere was the most dangerous thing he could do, but that was before a beautiful spy that hated his guts came looking for him.

Troubled Space by Amy Duboff: Aspiring smuggler Jack Tressler is subscripted into a pirate gang where ambitious heists, poor planning, and food-related distractions are a way of life in this farcical space opera adventure.

Crapkiller by Felix R Savage: Elfrida just graduated from the Space Corps. She was expecting a holiday on Ganymede, but instead she's roped into a vermin hunt that plunges the new Space Corps graduates into a dangerous world below the ice.

Accord of Honor by Kevin McLaughlin: A retired admiral and a young spaceship captain are all that stands between a defenseless Earth and those who would take total control over all of humanity.

Tomorrow Log by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: Master Thief Gem ser’Edreth’s first mistake: refusing to steal what the planetary crime boss wanted. His second: stealing it anyway.

Ithaka Rising (Halcyone Space, book 2) by LJ Cohen : After a reckless young computer programmer resurrects the damaged AI on a long dormant freighter, she and her accidental crew blunder into a galactic conspiracy forty years in the making.

A Rose From Old Terra by Don Sakers: A group of far-future librarians travels to a distant part of the galaxy to save civilization.

The Dark Between by Stephanie Bedwell-Grime: A dark mystery lurking on a derelict spaceship leads to a desperate fight for survival.

Compete by Vera Nazarian: The Asteroid is coming... Your two options — die or Qualify...I am Gwen Lark. Nerd, klutz, loser, awkward smart girl... Somehow, I will save you all. Compete is the second book in the series. Book 1 is available for free from your favorite ebook retailer

Some Distant Shore by Dave Creek: Two star systems are colliding, and Mike Christopher of the Earth starship Asaph Hall is rushing to unlock their mysteries, even as two alien races on the journey are keeping their own potentially deadly secrets.

Nothing Left to Wish For by Andrew G. Schneider: Step onto the deck of the skyship, the Pirate Queen and join first mate Esmeralda, Prince Sasha, and the genie Sting on a spectacular voyage across the Endless Desert.

The Dream Guild Chronicles Three-Book Set by David Bruns: Lost in Space meets Big Brother in The Dream Guild Chronicles. Experience time-bending space travel and exhilarating first contact adventures among alien civilizations set against the backdrop of one family’s struggle for survival.
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40,000 words and Done — additional draft text for the desktop release of Nocked now complete. In layman’s terms, that’s about 150 pages of a novel. Now onto tearing apart and rebuilding the Resource system...
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My new gameplay rules system for Nocked (in which I tear out the old, integrate the new, and add lots of words), now making more narrative sense! There’s only a nagging suspicion that I’m missing something important. Thoughts, anyone?

Story choices grant Resources
Resources are used to build up your Base
Base expansion opens up Special Missions and Influence Rewards (Perks)
Base & Missions grant Regional Power
Power is used to resolve Crises, gain Favor with Factions
When you have enough Favor (like an XP track), you gain Influence
Influence is used to buy perks & bonus resources from factions
Wash, Rinse, Repeat; defeat the Sheriff of Nottingham
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Looking forward to playing +Keith Stetson ‘s new game. Another Kickstarter success!
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