LPEU4: Taking Portugal

Well, Portugal’s mine now. At this point, anything that’s vassalizable by war is too small to be a threat. And in this case, Portugal’s allies dropped the ball too.

With Portugal now in the fold, I want to brutalize Castille again. The idea is to feed Portugal provinces so that it’s big enough to colonize efficiently, and to reduce Castille to a vassalizable size. Then it’ll be more than time to let the Christians forget about me.

This start a longer-than-expected sequence of wars. I weaken Castille enough that Aragon declares independence. Then I end up fighting Aragon, just to put them at truce since their AE is so high from my smashing of Portugal and Castille. In there, I also fight the Mamluks again, and Qara Qoyunlu. And some minor countries here and there. And then I do it again. And again, and again.

Eventually, I vassalize Castille (which will keep on hating me for a long, long time, what with their -450 or so AE against me.) I also start cutting Aragon just to keep them at truce.

Somewhere in there, France loses a war and ends up having to break our alliance – which means they now start to get pissed at me for conquering their neighbors. It’s not dramatic (they’ll calm down enough before our truce runs out) but it means we’re done pissing Europe off for a long, good while. Which means the puzzle becomes “how can I begin expanding in Asia without making more angry enemies.”

Weekly Report

Well, this was a low-productivity week if I ever saw one.

I ended a long work week exhausted, and between much-needed recuperation and uncontrollable urges to relax, I’ve barely been keeping ahead of my non-writing life.

I even managed to have a no-writing-or-editing day, which is frankly embarassing. Editing a page takes about 10 minutes if I do it very, very slowly, and somehow I managed to fail at that for a day.

Hopefully, things will get marginally better. It’s a light work week (although I have some obligations as well.) I kind of want to set myself an ambitious goal for the week… but I’ll wait until Wednesday.

LPEU4: Settling Down

So I thought I wanted to go to war with the Mamluks, but I have a few years left to kill… and I really should grab a few specific provinces to complete a mission, which will grant me a lot of claims on Mamluks land. So I run a few quick wars, against Hisn Haifa (who call Qara Qoyunlu in, letting me take their remaining provinces) and then Trebizond. Then I prepare for war against the Mamluks again (meaning I squash some revolts, put my armies to drilling, allow my tech to advance, and so on and so forth.)

Winning against the Mamluks is easy this time around: after the last big war, they’re no longer in my weight class. I don’t go for the 100% warscore, however, settling for a 70-80% win just because of the timing.

After that, I grab the bull by the horn and declare war on Portugal. The following war goes smoothly, thank to my ally France. I end up cutting Portugal down to “make it a vassal next war” size, and taking another quick bite out of Castille.

And then it becomes complicated. My AE is high enough in the Christian world that I want to keep away from them for a few years at least. But conquering in the Muslim world will create more countries with high AE. So planning my next move is a bit more difficult than I’d like.

I decide to take more land from Qara Q, which works out to putting me near the limit of AE with a bunch of nations, then get ready for a war with Castille. That works out great… except it starts a coalition against me. Uh oh.

As usual, the first coalition that forms can easily be broken up by diplomatic means. Until it does, however, I worry. A lot. But it eventually dissolves, and I turn my attention back to less hostile pastures. Like the Mamluks.

I go for another quick war there, just to throw them back at truce. My next big step is the vassalization of Portugal, which is likely to be a high-AE affair. I can’t really afford to have too many countries pissed at me now. Besides, I can use a couple of years of peace.

Weekly Report

I’ve been struggling with my schedule lately.

Let’s call a spade a spade: part of that is allowing myself more gaming time. But I’ve also been reading a lot. And I’ve been focusing a lot on my life projects too.

Still, I’m on top of my editing tasks, and I’ve really only dropped the ball on writing new words, and that only a little.

I really hope to hit some of my targets soon, however. I’d like to prune my recurring to-do list a bit, and I could use the stabler schedule that would entail. We’ll just have to cross our fingers on that.

On editing Book the First, I’m not quite at the “One Final Push” mark. Editing a page or two a day is slow, but at least it’s progress and doing more than that would just lead to me phoning the editing in. I think in a week or two I’ll reach that Final Push point and take the remaining thirty or so pages down in a few days. But we’ll see.

(Then it’s punch in the corrections, rewrite a couple scenes, and then ten final queries for that project before self-publishing it.)

So that’s it for my week.

LPEU4: Seizing Opportunities

When we last left off, I was planning on ignoring Europe for a while and focusing on the Muslim world.

And then numerous opportunities knocked. I took out some small Islamic countries, but then Naxos and Corfu were just there. And the reborn Knights were allied with Corfu, too! And Crete broke free from Venice! And then there’s Serbia, right there!

…You get the idea. I did get into an initial tussle somewhere in there with the Mamluks and Dulkadir, but I peaced out after a quick landgrab as I wasn’t in a good position for a long fight.

But that is my next target. I really do have to let Europe relax a bit more now. While that truce runs out, I keep seizing those small opportunities, and then allow myself a few years of peace to let my manpower recover, and to deploy sufficient amounts of cannons to make the next war easier.

And it is easier – I end up taking a 100% warscore peace deal, breaking off large chunks of the Mamluk’s empire and especially their hard-to-punch-through forts in Aleppo and Damascus.

And then I hit an important decision point: Castille is at war. France is willing to join me in a war against Castille. It’s, technically, an opportunity. So I decide to be manly, and move onto Castille.

And I win. Admittedly, not a huge, game-changing victory, but that’s two provinces less to conquer later on. And it’s a confidence booster. And it’s more AE that can bleed off in time.

After that, it’s more opportunities. Qara Qoyunlu. Genoa. All get downsized significantly as I see good chances to weaken them. And then… time to get ready for another big war against the Mamluks.

Weekly Report: Progress

Not much to say, or to complain about lately. I’m progressing on editing, on writing, I’ve got a solid lead on a major life improvement… the works.

It’s all positive… but the kind of positive that’s a bit of a mental challenge. Everything’s going well from a process point of view, but of course there’re no results to show for it. An unfortunate consequence of long-term projects.

Still, I have no right to complain. So let’s keep going, shall we?

LPEU4: Again

So I need another fix. Try to go for an Ottoman World Conquest again!

I’ll be a bit more efficient on posts going forward, however. A blow-by-blow is kind of boring, so we’ll just hit the highlights.

Let’s get started!

The World Has Changed. In particular, the Ottomans no longer have bunches of cores to reconquer in Anatolia, meaning they generate a lot more AE than before.

On the other hand, I don’t necessarily want to rush as fast as I usually do: in retrospect, it’s much better to have a solid economy in place and to hit the important tech levels as early as possible than to have grabbed every last 1/1/1 province I can grab in Siberia.

So… let’s talk about the starting years.

One of my goals is to vassalize the colonizing European countries as early as I can. If I vassalize them, they will create colonial nations for me, effectively conquering the New World in my name.

To do so, I declare unprovoked wars on Granada and one of the minor Irish kingdoms. The idea is to create bridgeheads on parts of Europe. It does create a rather stupid amount of overextension, but that’s fine – an early coalition of Irish minors form, but it’s manageable with diplomacy. When I finally vassalize it, turns out it’s already at war with its neighbors and so I get to grab another province for my newly-minted vassal.

Then it’s time to seize Constantinople, a bit ahead of history (but later than I usually do). But that’s fine, it lets me work away some potential coalition-forming countries in Ireland.

After that, I seize an opportunity to take out the Knights (and their annoying raiding ability) along with Cyprus. I do that in a way which lets me skirts coalitions, but after that it’s time to take a year off (and then to focus a bit on the Muslim world, as the Christians are pissed at me right now.

 

Some Thoughts on a Writing Career

I’ve spent some time thinking about my not-budding writing career in the last few days.

The fact is I wrote Book the First in large part to see if I could, then began querying agents to see if it was good enough, and then kept writing and doing this blog and re-editing because in a vaguely defined future it’d get me to being a full-time writer.

That hasn’t worked out so far.

So I’m looking at plausible paths to the future I want.

Option 1 is simple: I could quit, focus on getting a marginally better job, and just have the job-family-leisure lifestyle most people seem content with. This isn’t a dig at anyone, by the way: if anything, it’s probably the realistic, grounded choice.

Option 2 is simply keeping at it: in other words, keep juggling job, family, fun and writing, and hoping that an agent eventually falls in love with my book, and then that we find a publisher, and then that the book actually sells well so that I can finally maybe justify freeing more of my time to write.

There are a three interrelated problems with that plan. First, the whole “finding an agent” bit is… not working so well so far. But it’s a more complex issue: this plan relies, effectively, on lots of things I can’t control. I might very well never find an interested agent, regardless of the quality of the works I pitch.

Second, even if I do get the book published, that doesn’t mean I’ll make enough money to justify switching from a full-time to a part-time (or no-time) job.

Finally, even if I do find success… it may not happen in a timely manner. Sure, I’ll eventually reach retirement and have more time to write. At least, I hope so. But the point is to improve my quality of life by doing what I love to live. And that means doing it as early as possible.

And then there’s Option 3: self-publishing.

Three years ago, I hesitated a good, long while before trying to look for an agent. It wasn’t entirely clear which path was the best. Three years later, the arguments for writing e-books only got significantly stronger… meaning I’m rapidly reaching the point when the whole agent search feels like a waste of time.

Really, at this point going the traditionnal route means two things: somebody else will pay for professionally editing my book, and I get to have physical copies of my work on store shelves (in all likelihood, spine out on the second-to-last shelf.) The price I pay for that: significantly lower royalties on what I sell.

So I do have to do some thinking…

Sick Time

So – last week was a total waste of time. I blame the mutant flu for this lost productivity.

Back to healthy, also worked on some noncreative but really important projects. Ready to get back to normal right about now.

 

 

Good News!

No, I haven’t found an agent.

But lately I’ve started editing the first few chapters of Book the Second (mostly because writing didn’t fit my schedule at all and I wanted to keep my streak of good days going.)

So for a brief window I’ve been editing my first draft of Book the Second, and the later, already edited once or twice parts of Book the First.

And Book the Second is so much better. Seriously, there’s a massive jump in quality between the two novels.

I’m pretty sure it’s not new project enthusiasm. It’s straight improvement. Which means that Book the First was probably worth writing even if it never gets published, just because of how much better it made me write.

Hopefully, I’m better enough to find an agent for Book the second. We’ll see!