The End of the Year – Guest Post by, Craig Boyack…

I’m up over at Chris Graham’s place today. The topic is how I end the year, and start the new one, as a writer.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Licence to use obtained – Copyright : Dmytro Pauk / 123RF Stock Photo

Hi all you Story Reading Ape fans. Craig here again with another slice of the author’s life. This time it’s all about ending one year, and beginning a new one.

December poses multiple problems for authors. Holiday shopping and events take center stage and chew into that all important writing time. Different folks handle it in different ways. I’ve seen bloggers take a leave of absence until the new year. Others breathe a sigh of relief that NANO is over, and let their baby manuscripts incubate for a month before taking them up again.

I’m of the “No rest for the Wicked” mindset. December has always been some of my prime writing time. I like the great outdoors, but am old enough that rain, snow, and getting stuck don’t hold as much appeal. Indoors with central heating…

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It’s a fool’s errand

I tried this morning, I really did. It took me about half an hour to get out of bed. It took me that long and more to pull on pants. I called in, and basically for the rest of the week too. The doctor gave me some better meds, and I decided I’d better write before I start taking them.

I decided to tackle my Pinterest issue this morning. I originally made a few boards that relate to what I write; paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy. Beyond that, Lisa has a board, and my books and reviews have a board. The bulk of everything went onto a board called Loose Collections. I tried to keep it simple.

It turns out some new concepts are showing up in Loose Collections, and should have their own boards. Sounds easy enough, right? I made boards for cars and bikes, pinup girls, tiki stuff, Gypsy Caravans, horse cavalry, pirates, and more.

Re-arranging things was pure effort. One image has to be pinned into the board it belongs in. Then the one in Loose Collections has to be deleted. Seems like they could benefit from a mass select that would let me re-pin or delete as I choose.

Here’s where it get’s crazy. I have some images with a cartoon girl who is a pirate, leaning against a large tiki carving. Where do I pin that one? I also have some awesome custom hearses in the paranormal folder. Should I now move those to the cars and bikes board? Should I make a hearse board too? What about the cartoon girl blowing a hole through a zombie? Is that girl-art or is that paranormal?

This stuff drives me crazy.

I surprised myself with how much creepy gothic furniture and how many fixtures I’ve pinned. I made another board. Now what do I do with the apothecary and witch’s pantry stuff. Is that paranormal, or is it now furnishings?

I also noticed I’ve pinned a lot of guns. Famous ones, engraved ones, some with gold inlay, that kind of thing. I’ll probably make a guns board too.

This stuff makes a great writing reference. Need a decked out Indian motorcycle? I have pins. When I need ideas for the next Lisa project, there are some cartoons and models who can help with poses and settings. How about a nice Gypsy caravan, there is a young board of those. I looked at and pinned a lot of GTOs when coming up with Clovis’ car in The Playground.

Pinterest is a valid tool for a writer. If I catalog things well enough, I can find things when I need them. These could be character ideas, bits and pieces of setting, props, outfits, all kinds of things. I am starting boards for all future fiction projects, and will leave them up beyond publication. I don’t want to cross post things, so there may be a threshold as to how well I can file things away. The pirate girl with tiki could go onto three distinct boards.

These boards can help you too. Dreaming up a science fiction project? Maybe you want to surf through my board for some visuals. You’re more than welcome. Here is the main link for me on Pinterest. If you decide to check it out, let me know if I’m on the right track. Now I need a gun board, and have to figure out what to do with those hearses.

This day is in the books. I’m going to take some controlled substances and retire for the night. Maybe I’ll dream up a crackerjack of a story while I’m zonked.

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Heartstone, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey there, all you casters and spell slingers. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Sylvie Sirx, of The Drowned Tower. “Welcome to the show, Sylvie.”

“Glad to be here, Lisa.”

“My bio doesn’t actually say this, but a girl can read between the lines. You have a conundrum. Your friend Jack wants out of the Drowned Tower, and you have a pretty sweet deal there. I mean, apprentice to the head of the Tower and his heir apparent. So, give us the scoop; are you going to leave with Jack or stay put for the big payoff?”

“You… um, you jump straight to the good stuff, don’t you? Well, I don’t hate that. But to tell you the truth, I don’t plan on leaving. I’m perfectly content where I am. Now, that might sound disappointing to all you listeners out there—and really, it is to most. You won’t believe how much backtalk I hear about my decision to remain, but like you said, Columbus Cephas, my master, is head of the entire Tower, a position that will be handed down to me upon his passing. Many have died achieving less. I know more than a dozen master-less practitioners that would jump at the chance to stand where I do.

“Besides, what’s not to like about the Tower? Practitioners are free to stay and live out their lives in comfort, regardless of talent or skill, so long as they abide by the rules of the Institute. Not a bad deal, I’d say. Their rules can be a tad stifling, but they aren’t entirely unreasonable.

“Still, what I want can only get me so far. Master Cephas is pushing for me to participate in the upcoming Choosing. An offer of apprenticeship in the Diamond Alps doesn’t come every day after all. Really, he’d be better off endorsing Jack. He’s been the obvious choice from the start, and more importantly, he actually wants to go.”

“Is there anyone you can talk to about this? I mean, I’ve met Jack. He’s a little brash, but he has some worthy goals. Is he running from the oppression of the Tower, or pursuing those worthy goals?”

“I can tell you this, if I’m still in the running at the end, I’d find a way to back down. What are they going to do? Drag me kicking and screaming all the way to the Diamond Alps? That would just be a headache for everyone involved.

“And Jack, he… well, he wants to do a lot of things. His dreams are grander than most. Certainly grander than mine. His lineage isn’t anything to scoff at either. A prominent family name will serve him well in the future—and he knows it. But it’s hard to say for certain what exactly it is he’s doing. He spins you around with a lot of talk and opinion, then gets upset when you can’t follow. If anything, I’d say he’s pursuing his goals in order to escape the oppression of the Tower.

“Rather than simply deserting and being chased for the rest of his days, he wants to change his world from the inside. But people fear change. They also fail to realize when they might need it. I doubt his views will be well accepted, especially in the Alps. He’s a bit like the First Zenith in that regard. A group of four practitioners that reformed the entire Institute, abolishing slavery and crafting many of the councils and regulations that we have today. Though Jack goes against most of them, the fact that he’s looking to change things through the proper means is worthy of respect.

“And look, ages later, the First Zenith are regarded as apotheoses. Worshipped across Ferus Terria with statues built in their honor. Oddly enough, I can imagine a statue of Jack somewhere with people kneeling in devotion before him. But whenever I think of them singing songs of praise, all I hear is him spewing a mouthful of Íarre curses in response.”

“Sylvie, maybe you can both take an internship at the Diamond Alps. That allows you to keep your master happy, and still hang out with Jack. Do you both practice the same kind of magic? That way you aren’t competing with each other.”

“We don’t. I’m a Conjurer. We control one specific elements all our lives—fire, wind, you get the picture. Jack’s an Elementalist, and Elementalists are a different breed entirely. They’re able to draw upon all the primal forces in nature and use every element to their advantage. They’re powerful, to be sure, but are the master of none types. The Elementalists are special in that they’re a dying breed. They’ve dwindled over the years, and no one knows why. So, every Elementalist that’s born is carefully watched after. Conjurers, in comparison, are more common and are usually trained in other skills to be more rounded.

“There are other kinds of practitioners, too. Healers and Amorphs. My older brother belongs to the former, which is self-explanatory. Healers carry ungainly grimoires on their person at all times, and most are trained in some form of hand to hand combat. Amorphs, on the other hand, can take the form of animals, though their eyes always remain the same—black and abysmal. There is a certain group within the Alps that are specifically educated in identifying and tracking Amorphs.

“While those are how practitioners are officially classified, there are also sub-types for those gifted with magic in their veins, but don’t have the ability to properly draw it out, or for those that simply want to pick up other skills. Embrocologists, for example, create tonics and salves. Gavinists survey the land and Enchanters use charms.

“But I’m just going off on you, aren’t I? Regarding what you first said, I suppose we could both go to the Alps, but I’m mostly set on staying in the Tower. It would have to be a truly spectacular offer for me to even consider going.”

“About that. My bio says you like to hang out in someplace called Archive 19. What’s so appealing about that place? I mean is it a cool bar or coffee shop?”

“No, nothing like that…”

“So, if it’s more of a quiet place, maybe you could ask the chick inside the rock you found.”

What! Jack told you about Her? Of all the—Silas’ holy pyre! When I get my hands on him, I swear… Well, since he’s already loosened his tongue, the rock is officially called a Heartstone. It’s an old, enchanted thing meant for storage. Use the proper spell, and you have your own tiny room for your luggage. Convenient, isn’t it? I thought so, too, but the one I found is… infinitely creepier. There’s a woman inside, no, surely she’s some kind of ancient, heinous being. She likes to whisper things. Riddles, mostly. The first time I heard her sing, my blood burned, as if she was calling out to me for— I… I think I’ll stop there.”

“I wish you luck in deciding which path you’re going to take. Any last thoughts for our listeners today?”

“I know Jack had a segment before me, and even though he’s prickly, he can be persuasive when he wants to be. Don’t let him corrupt your views of the Institute too much. He’s only expressing the opinion of one side after all.

“With that said, if any of you happen to come across him, send him to my archive, would you? I have more than just a bone to pick with him.”

“You can read all about Sylvie and Jack in The Drowned Tower, by Nicholas Rinth. I’ll post all the links on the website.

“Help me keep the lights on around here, by using those sharing buttons on the way out. It’s simple, it’s fun, you get to help someone. I know Sylvie and Nicholas would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

“If the future was bared before you, would it still be yours?
If the past could chase you, would you run from it?
If the world crumbled tonight, would you carve your own?”

Freedom is out of the question for practitioners of the Institute, and any supporters otherwise are dealt with violently. A system Sylvie Sirx neither refutes, nor endorses—born from an enviable family, talented in her skills, and entirely too content with her position, her path has always been a straight one… until now.

Her qualifications backfire when an elder from the north descends upon her home for a Choosing. He calls upon the Drowned Tower’s most sought after practitioners for a simple job that ends in blood, and then Sylvie’s blissful world erupts. She finds herself in the company of the Elementalist, Jacques Dace, an insufferable but deadly enthusiast of personal reform. Together, they’re swept into a spiral of powerful magic and ancient grudges. Where truth bends, stones whisper secrets of the past, and their home lies at the heart of what could very well be Ferus Terria’s next recorded war.

And for once, she is forced to choose a side, learning for herself what it means to master fate.

 

Author Bio:

Nicholas Rinth is the author of Sitting in Silence and the NA fantasy series, Heartstone. He currently lives lakeside in the southern graces of Savannah, Georgia, where he spends his time fantasizing about other worlds and working on his next novel.

LISA BURTON RADIO: JACK INTERVIEW

Contact Nicholas Rinth:
Blog | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Amazon

The Drowned Tower is Available for Purchase Here:
|EBOOK MASTERLINK|

PAPERBACK:
AMAZON UNIVERSAL LINK

 BARNES&NOBLE (USA) | !NDIGO (CA) | BOOKTOPIA (AU)

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Trying to get something done

I’ve had a lot of time to myself, but not a ton of motivation. That isn’t quite right either, I desired to work on some writing related projects, I just didn’t feel like it. Today seemed like a day to accomplish a bit more.

My daughter happened to be home again today. This means she talks my ear off. I’m pretty patient about such things, because I know there will come a time when she has better things to do. For the last three days, I’ve learned how to load a pit on an airplane, how bags get broken by falling off the conveyor belt, how some people try to sneak pets on the plane without paying for them, etc. Today I learned all about the color wheel and how to apply eye makeup. At some point my ears started to get tired.

After my makeup tutorial, I told her I needed some quiet time to get some things done. She decided today was a good time to run some errands downtown. It feels kind of mean, but she is an adult and I need my time too.

My partner and I went to work on projects.

I opened my art program and did what I could to decorate for Christmas on my blog. Could be better, could be worse. It was time to retire the time machines and move ahead. It may seem like a tiny effort, but I’m counting updating the site as an accomplishment.

My app added some cool new brushes to the mix. Now it does things like add falling snow with one swipe. There is even one for a corrugated tin wall. Don’t know how I’ll use those just yet, but they’re cool.

I finished up a small guest post I committed to and sent it off. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, but it’s all delivered.

I lengthened my manuscript out to the end of a short chapter one. Two thirds of my characters are on the page, they have a problem, and a dream for the future. What they don’t have is personality. The damned thing reads like deadpan facts. I need to work on it, and have a few physical hand brushes and such that can add something to their relationship. Rather than just grabbing a quick bite before they head for the shelter they could feed each other. Little flourishes, but I’ll work on it.

Chapter one ends with a scream, and chapter two will introduce my antagonist. (There are only three characters in the story, plus a few news reports and such.)

I’m going to claim daily blog updates as an accomplishment too.

I fiddled around with Pinterest, which is a great time waster. One of my folders is called Loose Collections, and it’s getting too big. There are some things I can break into their own folders, and should do that. I have a lot of classic cars, some pinup art, that kind of thing. I also need to revisit the board for Estivation. I’m writing it now, so there some inspiration and a few reminders are stored there. Moving things around is kind of a pain from what I can tell. First I have to make the new board, then re-pin everything I want in it, then delete the pin from Loose Collections. They really need a way to mass select and move the pins.

On the spinal front, I managed a tiny pop yesterday, and it felt a bit better. The pain has virtually gone from my left leg. I started waddling up and down the sidewalk out front. Just short stretches, multiple times. I feel like I need to move around.

Yesterday I was limping on two legs, today it’s just one. I didn’t feel like I was getting a full stride, if that makes any sense. I leaned against a post, and just swung my leg. It may have looked like a kick, but it was more of a dead-weight type thing. My back popped again. I felt even better.

Everything is improving at the speed of a glacier, but it is improving. I’m determined to go into the office tomorrow. It all depends on how hard it is to get out of bed, and get socks on my feet. I’ve been sleeping in a chair, and I’m trying the bed again tonight.

I already told my boss I would try. I also told her I might not last all day. That all depends upon how my desk chair treats me. It’s pretty hard, but it’s uber adjustable too. She has no problem with me staying home, but I’m dedicated.

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And now for something completely different

Yeah, I’m still at home and in pain. My keyboard and mind still function. Well… my mind functions at its normal level, never said it was great.

I’m about ready to fill a hot water bottle with a big Tom & Jerry. It can medicate in multiple ways.

If I were in charge, and I should be, I would add one thing to the end of Game of Thrones. I was exchanging comments with Charles Yallowitz early this morning and this came to me.

After the last episode aired, I would require all the dead characters to return in full costume. I’d make them all into a chorus, and I’d even hire Eric Idle to direct them. Then they’d all sing this song:

Of course, we’d have to change one line somewhere to accommodate Hodor. Maybe Eric Idle can help here.

I swear to God, it would be an internet sensation. Think of the video you could make. A little girl burning at the stake singing along, one several being eaten by dogs, seas full of drowning sailors. It would be awesome. Just think of old man Lanister sitting on the toilet, full of arrows and whistling.

It could work for The Walking Dead too, but not quite as well in my mind.

I had an email exchange this morning with one of my favorite authors. We’re putting together an upcoming Lisa Burton interview, and there is no word to describe a sigh. Think about the “radio” format. If someone sighed you would hear it. I don’t want to break the format to tell listeners a guest character sighed, so what would it sound like?

Think about it. We have “words” for: tch, hmmm, ahhh, oooh, mmhmm, even hmph. We need a word for a sigh.

She suggested perhaps there is an Onomatopoeia Control Board we can petition. Authors need a word for a sigh.

My wife has been watching The Hallmark Channel. I’m a captive audience, I can’t exactly run screaming from the room currently. I have to prop myself against the back wall just to go pee right now.

Everyone of these stories is the same damned story. Life-changing boyfriend with a mansion and a helicopter gets dumped in favor of a small town bumpkin with a broke-assed dairy, because love. I know dairy farmers, and there isn’t a lot to look forward to. Oh, and the actors are all exceptionally pretty, even the men. Aside from the actresses, their characters are always adorable. This time of year there is the added requirement of Christmas being involved. Bumpkin shows her the true meaning of Christmas, that kind of thing.

What kills me here is people eat this crap up. I should rip off about a hundred or so of these and retire. They teach us not to have Mary Sue characters, but there they are in abundance. I’d probably blow it by creating unique characters that don’t fill the recipe out right. Grouchy old bastard with emphysema reconciles with ex-wife who once shot him through the liver. Expect scenes of making a noose out of red & green ribbon and suggestions of where to stick those baubles.

Okay, enough of my nonsense. Pass me the hot water bottle and always look on the bright side of life.

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The Beat Goes On

Last night was no better than the one before. I tried to roll over in bed and couldn’t move. Everything sent pain shooting through my back and legs. It hurt either way, but less so to just get up.

At about 2:00 AM, I used the walls to wobble into the bathroom. I spent the next half hour trying to pull on some lounge pants and slippers. This led the dogs to think it was breakfast time, so I fed them. Then I tried to sleep in a chair.

It feels better to sleep in a chair, but I tend to slouch after I fall asleep. This leads to waking up whenever I move. Right now, I’m kind of lacking for quality sleep.

Eventually, I woke up with Frankie on my footstool licking me. I must have slept somehow for her to get up there without waking me up.

Yesterday, my wife massaged it briefly, and that helped enough to take a bath. We repeated that event today, and it helps temporarily.

She also went to the store and picked some things up. I have a large medicated bandage she stuck over it. It doesn’t stick well, and feels kind of wet. It seems to be helping a bit. The hot pad helped, but the box says not to use one if using the bandage thingie.

She also bought me some Aleve. I haven’t tried that yet, but my favorite aspirin hasn’t done a damned thing.

Today, I worked on more Lisa Burton Radio stuff, and added 500 words to a new project. That’s a lousy word count, but I’ll take it considering the circumstances. I also worked on a blog post I need to send to a friend. Tomorrow is looking like more of the same. I’ll schedule one interview, write the shtick for another one and send it out. If I still feel like it, I’ll open my manuscript once more. If I finish that guest post, I’ll send it out too.

I complain about lack of quality writing time, but this isn’t quality time. I need to be at the paycheck job, but I can’t get in my truck.

Tonight, I’m going to start out in the chair. I have one of those old toilet seat pillows for use on airplanes. At least my head won’t flop around.

It’s a writing blog folks. You get it all, warts included. Hopefully this will pass soon, and we can get back to something a little more fun.

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Not quite what I needed

They say things come in threes. I hope not, but if they do, this is number two.

I threw my back out somehow on Saturday morning. I woke up, got dressed, fed the dogs, all my normal routine. I sat down with a cup of coffee and checked through social media, then worked on some of the interview stuff for Lisa Burton Radio.

When I got up to use the bathroom and get fresh coffee. Well, I didn’t get up. Pain shot through my back, and my legs went out. I couldn’t stand. Fortunately, I was right beside my chair and went there.

This stuff happens sometimes. It happens to me about every other year. Usually I can take some aspirin and get it to crack. This time it’s exponentially worse, and aspirin is a worthless effort. My wife had to help me out of bed in the middle of the night. Bending down to raise the toilet seat was a major undertaking. Fortunately there are multiple walls to work my way down and back up.

Getting dressed this morning was kind of a circus. Pulling pants on, and my slipper-socks was a big accomplishment.

It hasn’t eluded me that this could be stress from our other recent disaster. I’ve had stress pain before, but this usually happens in the back of my neck. This is in the small of my back.

I told my boss I can’t make it tomorrow. Fortunately, I have a great boss. Honestly, I don’t think I can crawl up into my truck for the commute.

I’ll try to work on interview stuff and possibly some new words of fiction tomorrow. If I’m going to have to hang out here, maybe I can get something positive accomplished.

Hope you guys had a better weekend than I did.

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