I started kind of late today. I wanted to write and had a fun scene in mind. It required me to have Mari do something nice for a kid, then make it dark and dismal right after.
I’ve probably been under a rock somewhere, but recently saw the term PTSD dreams. These sound kind of like what Mari is going through, but I won’t use that term in the story. If I don’t have it absolutely right, I could inadvertently offend someone going through this issue.
Mari will continue to have her dreams, but I’m not putting a name on them. This time it got weirder than they have previously, and her dead son made an appearance.
I’ve put her in a strange position of discovering some good in the world, but getting sucked down by her own past at the same time.
Her life now involves one gigantic ox, who she doesn’t exactly love, but has grown to respect. There’s also a coonhound pup at that gangly stage where she’s all legs and enthusiasm, and Mari loves her dearly.
I need to milk this for some emotion between her own suicidal quest and concern for her animals after she’s gone. Must remember to do that.
As far as the word metrics go, it came to 2000 words today. That sounds wonderful until you realize it’s also 2000 words for the week.
I no longer have a flex day I can dedicate to writing, so this is my new normal. Things will slow down, but I can still push out something every year.
My Pinterest boards have been getting some wonderful comments, so I’m going to keep sharing them. Today, I’m going to share one that is a subset of locations. I call it “Decay.” https://pin.it/E5d3QUa
Took off at noon today. I have bread dough rising for some nice rolls. Most years I stay up until midnight doing this, so it’s a nice change. I forgot to add all the special ingredients like garlic and Parmesan, so I had to knead them in. I do this about half the time and it always works out.
I’m close to the end of Goodby Old Paint. There are a few sections I want to rework for smoother flow. This is always a concern with comedy. One liners are one thing, but other sections need some setup and sometimes I have to go back and clarify some of that.
There are still some miles to travel in Once Upon a Time in the Swamp. I came up with a good bit while commuting to the office this morning. I’ve been tormenting Mari in some fitful dreams. I have a cool section I can use this once more. I’m liking the dreams, because she tends to interact with a skeleton and a dead snake as much as humans. Works for my strange mind, and yet, since it happens in dreams the story stays more grounded.
After I wrap these up, there will be an editing phase, but I’m in no rush to publish. My last blog tour didn’t produce much at all, so I’m going to start doing things on my time. October was always a great month for me, as was January. There was soooo much competition in October, and I know of a bunch more coming for January, I might just avoid all of those.
I generally develop stories years into the future, and if I told you how many I have planned you’d be shocked. By dwelling on them for as long as I do, there is usually plenty to put into a story.
My next stunt is to return to Percy the Space Chimp and start his second volume. The first one is complete, but I’m not publishing until I have an entire trilogy ready to go.
I’ll also start another Lizzie and the hat story, because I enjoy having two projects to bounce between. I’ve been building this one for years. Most of you don’t know this, but Good Liniment was supposed to be a pivotal book in this story. We meet the local coven and many of those characters appear in subsequent tales. It was a long-term plan, because Lizzie needed some people she can talk to about the supernatural world.
The next story I’m starting will feature one of these characters. I designed him so he has a ton of personality. He’s not unique, but the way I present him is. I got some nice comments about him when Good Liniment dropped, and it’s time for him to step up.
Tentative title for this one is Run For The Roses. (Subject to change) Here’s a little hint
Turn the speakers up for this one. I doubt I’ll get a lot of action today, or tomorrow, but blogs are forever. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and catch up with me when you get a break.
It seems like progress in the writing game just involves planting yourself before the keyboard and chipping away at the outline; written or mental. That’s how I approached my day.
Once Upon a Time in the Swamp is as much about the post apocalyptic world as anything else. I’ve had some fairly grim sequences, and decided to make this stretch a little happier.
Mari came to a city that seems to have accepted their world, and life is much nicer here than anyplace she’s been so far. She’s been in a dark place, and this will give her something to think about as she continues her travels and the hunt for those who killed her loved ones.
She might even have fleeting thoughts about what might happen after her quest ends. This section was kind of a nice respite, but I won’t let her make too many long term plans. Her quest is a life or death kind of thing, so she’ll turn dark again fairly soon. This usually happens when she’s alone once more.
I chose a place called Spanish Fort, Alabama for the town that’s moved on from the historical disasters. Mobile won’t be quite as nice after she leaves.
I’m at around 47,000 words now, and added about 2500 today. Might even get a few more tomorrow.
Old What’s Her Face has to work tomorrow, and we had a nice breakfast before I sequestered myself away. Not exactly date night, but it was great.
It’s time to think about what I need as I approach that arbitrary 80,000 word target. We can learn more about the world, but she needs another fresh clue about the men she’s chasing. Eventually, she has to catch up to them, and this story is going to require a longer denouement phase. I don’t have a hard plan for the number of words, but it’s on my mind now.
I’ve been sharing Pinterest boards and have gotten some good comments about them. These were all made at ten minutes per night over a long period of time. I don’t use the app like everyone else. My boards are all writing related, and are more like a visual notebook or inspiration board. This one is called Magical Gadgets, Mad Science. https://pin.it/3peGbLC
Let me know what you think. Almost anything can be a magical gadget, but it’s nice to have a reference and that’s what I’m building. Is there something here that might fit into one of your stories?
I looked up from the roll-top desk in my paranormal office and sighed.
Lisa Burton, my robot personal assistant was lounged out on the couch. “What’s the matter?”
“I added fourteen-hundred words today and it looks like Lizzie’s story is going to come up a little short. I still have to add her big tantrum at the end, but the President and the courts are messing with me over that. I have no idea how student debt is going to play out.”
“Then make it up. You have the basis in fact that you’re always harping about.”
“I know, but I’m not completely in the swing again.”
“These are supposed to be short novels. They seem to be character driven, so you know, drive that.”
“I am. I keep thinking up junk for a story about three books down the line and just need to focus.”
“I’ve been your PA for enough years to know how it works. Just let it happen. You have a brand new book on the shelves and you can wrap this one up later. Go back to Mari’s story for a while.”
“I need to do that, too. There’s just this missing piece for the future storyboard I can’t quite get a grip on.”
“Maybe we can help.”
I snapped around so fast I nearly fell over.
“I don’t have time for your antics right now.”
“Actually, you have nothing but time.” Libraria, the leggy blonde, took her time slowly leaning over the coffee table to put her books down.
Conversia slid into my easy chair, stretching her legs out full length of my ottoman. “Tell us about the problem. I’m sure you’re due for a break. Sounds like a decent word count already.
I wheeled my chair over. “I really want to write this Asian afterlife tale into the Hat Series, but there are some problems. I want to respect the differences between Japanese, Chinese, and other cultures, but I also kind of want a bit of all of them. If I explain that the afterlife has everyone all together, maybe I can get away with it.”
“What’s the story about?” Wiki turned her iPad mini my direction. “I can look some things up for you.”
“It’s the Chinese version of Armageddon. I’ve already discovered the lore from it. I want to steal some from Journey to the West and made some notes there.”
“I have a complete, unabridged version.” Libraria tapped one of her books. “What seems to be the problem?”
“I also have a ghostly character who is Yakuza. That’s Japanese. Lizzie fights monsters, so I’ve been looking into Japanese monsters. Some Asian things are scary as hell, like the one whose head leaves it’s body at night and flies around with its entails trailing after it. All of them are big on demons, too, so I need to consider some of that. I also don’t want the same old thing for Lizzie to deal with and have other characters to consider.”
“I think you should take a tour of Asia,” Conversia said. “Just the Pacific coast. Talk to some of these people. I think you’ll find a lot already blends together, despite the source. There are a lot of variations as well, so you can meld and merge to your heart’s content.”
“You’ve been trying this for years. I’m not going on an extended trip with you.”
“We could make it fun.” Libraria practically sang the last word.
“Stop that. I’ve already pushed it back and another year isn’t going to kill me now. I have two books before that one. I just have to figure out how to—.”
“Why’d you push it back?” Wiki asked.
“Because I came up with another cool character, and it would be perfect to use him. His intro is in a different book, so it has to come first. Then I have to figure out how to write a musical competition show and not have one of the judges come across like Simon Cowell. It’s a chance for Lizzie’s band to climb out of the doldrums a bit.”
Wiki flipped her iPad around to display a creepy picture. “Jiangshi.”
“Not that. Jiangshi is also known as the hopping vampire. He hops because of rigor mortise, and sucks souls instead of blood. Some legends have it as more of a zombie. Lots of variables, so you can put your own spin on it. Cool stuff with vinegar, yellow paper, and something called Joss paper. He’s afraid of a rooster’s crow. Maybe she can fight these things.”
“My cool new character is actually a rooster. I can work with this.”
Libraria selected one of her tomes and started flipping through it. Stopping at Joss paper.
Conversia said, “Maybe I can set up a Zoom meeting with an actual Shaman for you. Do you speak Cantonese?”
Lisa stood up. “I’ll put on the coffee. I can tell where this afternoon is going.”
I started pretty early today. Otto’s stomach doesn’t understand the big time change yet, and I was okay with that.
I added 1300 words to Once Upon a Time in the Swamp. Mari dug up a grave and gathered a bit of a clue about her self-appointed mission. Because it’s post apocalyptic, I also had her discover an abandoned mine field. Milked that baby for a bit of tension.
Then I switched over to Goodbye Old Paint, and added 1450 words to that project. Lizzie has finished saving the world, but I still have two threads I want to spend some time with. She made a couple of new friends in this one and I think they’re going to hang out a bit. I don’t think it will be boring at all, but readers will have to decide that one day.
Feels good to be writing once more. It truly is the part I enjoy most, and it was a fairly productive day.
Big Apple update last night. Some of the apps have a little weirdness to them today. I might have to edit my link after I post this.
My Pinterest board got some good reactions, so I’m going to share a few more of them. I tend to give it ten to twenty minutes a day and save things I like. The bigger ones took years to grow that large. This one isn’t as big, but it’s useful. Most of them are about writing. I’ll run one out today that isn’t about promotion.
This was one of those rare opportunities that shows up occasionally. If I take one day off, I could garner four days in a row. Tomorrow is a holiday and it all just fell together.
My plan was to catch up with both of my manuscripts, then add new words. I read through my Hat project over the weekend, so that left my post apocalyptic story.
I spent the morning getting familiar with it once more. I left it at an interesting place, so I figured I might add some new words.
When Old What’s Her Face got off work, she wanted me to go pick up the dog’s meds. She said, “You can get your hair cut while you’re out.”
This really wasn’t my plan, and the vet is a forty-mile round trip from the house. I may have huffed a bit.
She said, “You can do it all tomorrow. Otto isn’t completely out of pills.”
That was enough for me. Rather than lose full momentum for two days, I loaded up and went to town. One bit of good news came from the trip. Turns out the vet made an arrangement with Costco now. They can call the meds in there for us. (Massive volume buying power.)
It’s about fifteen minutes from the house, and their price is 50% off. Doesn’t help this time, but will help in the future. It’s even on my route home from work. Since I was out anyway, I stopped an got my hair cut.
There’s a fairly good chance that I’ll have Mari digging up a fresh grave before bed time tonight. If not, she’ll be doing it in the morning.
Today wasn’t perfect, but those things needed to get done, too. It isn’t like I’m getting George R.R. Martin level hate mail to hurry up and get my next book out there.
Here’s to tomorrow! New words for sure. That’s what I enjoy the most, and it’s going to happen.
Today was the day for medical appointments. All is well, but I have another one set for a few months. Must be part of the aging process. Either that, or they’re really exited that I have insurance.
I spent the weekend reading my own WIPs. I didn’t get all the way through both of them, but anticipate new words some time this coming weekend.
I decided to share something different tonight. I confess that it could be somewhat promotional in nature, but doesn’t have to be.
I use Pinterest a lot. I try to create a board for all my stories, but the older ones aren’t there. When it comes to The Hat Series, it’s all on one big board. You’ll find things that have appeared in the stories. There are some things that inspired something I created for the series, and there are some things I haven’t used yet, but intend to. I have inspirations for Ray’s Harley bagger, his gunstock warclub, several Colt Pythons, and some upright basses.
If you scroll through it, you can use your own imaginations to decide what I might come up with. You can also see the sinkholes, wooden pitchforks, and a broad spectrum of hats. There are even Lisa Burton posters included from various tours she participated in.
I’m going to keep adding to this board and there are some things saved that might not get used for two years or more.
I really haven’t done much since publishing The Midnight Rambler. Most of my efforts went into supporting the tour and hoping to drive traffic to those who hosted me.
Since all the posts were unique, I shared them all here. That way you’re hearing from me, but the content was hosted elsewhere. All of my hosts are wonderful people and I hope you found some new favorite blogs, and possibly a new author to check out.
Before I abandon the topic, The Midnight Rambler could use some more readers and reviews. It will live on my sidebar for about a year and all you have to do is click.
I spent this morning reading. This isn’t a review blog, but it turned out to be the best story I’ve read this year. I just posted a review on all the sites, and you might want to check out The Necromancer’s Daughter.
My next amazing stunt will be to reread my two works in progress. It’s time to get familiar with what I’ve already produced, probably make an edit along the way, then start moving these stories ahead once more.
I only have to work two days next week due to a medical appointment, a vacation day, and one holiday. I might even be writing again before it all wraps up.
There is one other issue I’m going to bring up and it involves things like Copyright. I discovered one of my Lisa Burton posters on a friend’s blog this morning.
Lisa Burton exists to promote my writing career. I share her artwork frequently, but it’s for my own purposes. You will find it here, on my blog tour posts, and occasionally at Story Empire.
When I share the posters, I always invite people to use them as screen background, share on social media, and what have you. Lisa is perfect for Pinterest.
You have to understand that I don’t care if you share them. Print one and frame it. Get it tattooed on your back. This isn’t the same as using her to promote something outside my control.
However, using her to promote your site or books or anything else isn’t something I’m fond of. Lisa is not a free-use character, in prose or her images.
I get it, that Lisa is picturesque and draws attention. I designed her that way. I also shell out a lot of money for these posters and hold the rights to them.
I might have approved the usage, but I wasn’t even asked. I also wasn’t credited in any way. I want to remain friends with everyone and am not going to call anyone out. It could be that someone just didn’t understand the rules.
Let me hear from you. The tour is behind me. I read a great story, and am looking forward to producing new words very soon.
Let’s all give a rousing welcome to Jan Sikes today. She’s here to tell us about Saddled Hearts. This is the third volume in her White Rune series. Jan is a long-term friend, a contributing member of Story Empire, and just an all around neat lady. Please help her out by using those sharing buttons today.
I am super excited to be visiting at your blog site today, Craig. Thank you so much for offering to let me take over. Your support is much appreciated.
Every story must have conflict. Without it, there is nothing for the characters to achieve. And our job, as writers, is to keep ramping up the conflict throughout the story until we reach the black moment.
When my protagonist, Colt Layne, is arrested and charged with murder, it increases the tension and gives him a pretty big obstacle to work through. He must prove his innocence, but the evidence against him is strong.
Today, I want to share with you the moment when he realizes he’s been framed for the murder of Jeremiah Tompkins.
He jumped to his feet. “Yes, sir.”
“Follow me, please.”
Colt nodded and fell in behind the young, uniformed officer.
The man stopped behind a desk in the back corner and motioned to Colt to sit across from him. He pressed a button on a digital recorder, then opened a file. “Mr. Layne, I’m Officer Daly. I understand you’re here to make a statement about the events from last night regarding the death of Jeremiah Tompkins.”
“Just so you are aware, this conversation will be recorded.”
Colt cleared his throat. “I understand.”
The policeman rattled off the time and date and Colt’s name in a bored monotone before he proceeded.
After Colt relayed every detail from the night before, minus his foreman being with him, he leaned back in the chair. “That’s all I know.”
The rookie officer clicked off the recording. “Okay. Thank you for your time. You are free to go. We’ll contact you if we need any further information.”
Colt had expected a barrage of questions. He breathed a sigh of relief, stood, and shook hands, then weaved his way through the desks back to the front door.
As he was about to walk out, Toby called out his name. “Hey, Layne. Wait a minute.”
He turned to see two men in suits and ties standing with Toby. “Yes?”
“These men need to speak to you.”
What now? Colt took a few steps toward them. “What can I help you with?”
One man flashed a badge. “I’m Detective Lopez, and this is Detective Roberts. I think you better come with us.”
“I’ve already given my statement. The officer said I could go.”
“Yeah, well, something’s changed. Come with us, please. Or do we need to cuff you?”
“Cuff me?” Colt frowned. “What in the hell are you talking about?”
One of the men stepped forward. “Colt Layne, you are under arrest for the murder of Jeremiah Tompkins. You have the right to remain silent…”
The thudding of Colt’s heart drowned out the rest of what the man said. What in the holy hell? This couldn’t be happening.
Over the next hour, they took Colt’s fingerprints, mug shot, and confiscated his personal belongings. His head spun. Nothing made sense.
No matter how many questions he asked, no one told him anything. Finally, he was allowed his one phone call.
“Jag.” He breathed a sigh of relief when his friend answered the phone. “This is Colt. I’ve got a problem.”
My late husband was arrested and convicted for a crime he didn’t commit, and that personal experience gave me fodder for writing this scene. Have you ever had one of your characters falsely charged with a crime? Let’s talk!
Colt Layne owns the Layne Horse Sanctuary. He lives an idyllic life between caring for the animals and playing music with his band. That is until a stranger appears with unreasonable demands. When someone murders the man, Colt is arrested. He’s been framed, but by whom and why?
He needs to talk with his deceased grandfather. But that’s impossible. Or is it?
Sage Coventry is gifted with the ability to communicate with the deceased. Skeptical but desperate, when Colt consults with her, he gets more than messages from beyond the grave as she breezes into his heart with sweet patchouli fragrance and tempting lips he longs to kiss.
The race against time to clear his name and save the ranch launches them on a mission that brings shocking revelations.
Let’s go on a scavenger hunt! Hidden within the blog posts are clues you will need to look for.
The theme is “Things You’d Find On A Ranch.”
When you find these clues, email your answers to me at
I’m visiting with Colleen today in what’s become a Halloween tradition for us. Colleen is a prolific lady who runs the largest poetry blog I know of. She’s always been a big supporter of independent authors, and I’m proud to consider her a friend. While you’re over there, please check out all she has to offer and consider following her interesting blogs.
Hello everyone! Welcome to the Halloween edition of Colleen’s Coffee Klatch. Since at least 2016, C. S. Boyack has spent every Halloween with me on the blog. He usually has a new book to discuss, and this year is no different.