Dear Lisa Vol. 2, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey, hipsters, Lisa Burton the robot girl here, and today we’re doing something fun. I don’t have a guest to interview, so we’re holding another episode of Dear Lisa. This is where I flip through some of the fan mail, and answer it on the air. Stick with me, it’ll be fun.

Our first letter comes from Long Island and wants to know what my first job was.

I try really hard to be just as human as everyone else, but admit that I’m a little different. I was created in a concept lab as both a promotional tool, and to demonstrate what the future of robotics could hold. Part of the bargain was to plant me into society and see how I adapt as a human. Some people are nervous nellies, and were terrified that I’d go all Skynet on them. That meant the police department was the only place they’d let me work. They were better equipped to watch over me, so to speak.

At the Hudson Police Department, I was assigned to the homicide squad. My absolute very first job was to make a Vice sweep. It’s kind of a hazing slash welcome to the department kind of thing. I caught some perps too. The night ended early when we got a call about a body someone found.

This next one is kind of sad, and I’m going to read it so you get the gist of it.

Dear Lisa,

Lately my boyfriend is always showing up late. He tells me football practice ran late, but I’ve got my doubts. I’ve also noticed him checking out my fellow cheerleaders when he comes to pick me up. I’m afraid if I confront him, he’ll leave me. He’s the most popular boy in school. I can’t lose him. What should I do?

Signed,

Heartbroken in High School

This is something I can really sink my teeth into, and there are a couple of ways to answer you. Since it’s my show, I’m going to do both. You can’t hack into his phone and computer, like I can. You can try taking a look at his phone when he’s at practice. You might find all kinds of evidence on social media, text messages, those kind of places. There are any number of small drones you can use to see what he’s up to when you’re out of sight too. That seems simple enough, but may not be the best option.

The second part of this answer is that you seem to need him to establish your own value. The only way you described him is how popular he is. You didn’t tell me anything about him except that he plays football and is popular. No mention of his cute smile, or how he makes you feel. You need to find a way to feel valuable without him. When you’ve done that, he might be an asset. Without your own feeling of self worth, you’ll never be stable in the relationship.

The last one for today is from Yukon, Canada. This person wants to know why Bunny is so important to me.

For new people, Bunny is my pet rabbit. He and I have a lot of similarities. He is a genetically modified organism, I have GMO human skin covering my chassis. My original experiment involved me being broken down into my component parts at the end to study for wear and tear. Bunny is a Kansas City Broiler, and he was going to be broken down into his component parts too.

I rescued Bunny and saved him from the butcher shop, and in doing so he inspired me to save myself. I found my own self worth, and decided not to be broken down at the end of my experiment. It was a struggle, and I suffered some real loss. Bunny and I got through it together, and we stay together through thick and thin.

That was fun, and we should do it again some time. In order to do it, I need your fan mail. You can drop me a comment here on the blog, Facebook me, or send me an email. I’ll hang onto the the questions for a future edition of Dear Lisa.

This broadcast is primarily for me to interview characters from the books you love to read. I’m in need of characters again too. I have a few questionnaires out in cyberspace somewhere, but nothing broadcast ready right now. Authors, send me your protagonists, your colorful supporting characters, even your antagonists. I’d love to help promote their books. Return visits aren’t just allowed, they’re encouraged.

If you aren’t an author, you can still send a question for me to answer. You can also tell someone about Lisa Burton Radio by using the sharing buttons below. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton. Have a great day.

***

Lisa can be reached at coldhand (dot) boyack (at) gmail (dot) com, on Facebook, or in the comments.

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The End in Mind

Harmony has some great suggestions on planning out your next novel. Visit the Story Empire blog today for more details.

Story Empire

Hello SEers! It’s great to see you here today 🙂

When we write, we create things twice—first, in the mind, and then in the real world. To make the best reality, we have to begin with the end in mind. If we want to tell a story, to sit and write a novel, then we need to know the end (or have a good idea of what we intend).

Even though things may change as we invent, we still need to begin with at least a rough outline of the beginning, the middle, and the end. We need to have an awareness of the point to the tale. Both our characters and plot need to show some development and change by the time it’s all finished and done with.

If you envisage the end clearly enough, you will find less trouble in writing your way there. I have no doubt…

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Freedom From Distractions

Here’s a handy tool to minimize all those distractions during your writing time. Quality writing time is hard to get, and this may help make the most of it.

Story Empire

Good morning SEers, Joan here. Happy first day of Spring! I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the longer days of summer, especially those summer evenings. But I digress.

Are you a disciplined writer? I admit to being easily distracted, and it often interferes with my writing time. Here’s what an ideal writing day might look like for me.

I have the entire day to myself. I’m on vacation from my job. I don’t have any chores to do, errands to run, and I’m not expecting any visitors. My husband is at work, the cats are asleep, and I plan to write.

So, I sit down at my computer, open Scrivener, and get busy. An hour has passed, and I’ve written 2500 words.

Feeling energized, I take a short bathroom break and grab something cold from the refrigerator. The words are flowing, and I feel as if…

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Fashion and Fiction with Our Guests C.S. Boyack and Lisa Burton

Charles Yallowitz, Lisa Burton, and I are talking about fashion in fiction. Come join the conversation over at Charles’ place.

Legends of Windemere

Lisa Burton the Robot Girl

The doorbell rang at the writing cabin, and Lisa Burton the robot girl answered. “Charles Yallowitz, what brings you out here?” She gave him a huge hug.

“Hi, Lisa. I was talking to Craig about fashion in fiction and he told me to come back for a chat.  After all, this really isn’t my area of expertise outside of magical armors, so I thought he would be a better source for my blog readers.”

“He’s back in his office. Let me get you some coffee, and I’ll take you back.”

They walked to the back of the cabin, and Lisa situated everyone on the couch and recliner.

“Thanks, Lisa,” Craig said.

“You’re welcome, but if you think I’m leaving you’re crazy. If you boys are talking outfits, you’ll probably need me.”

“I’m pretty sure you’re right.  Honestly, I was hoping you would be sitting in…

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Let’s all be punks!

I've been toying with where to pigeonhole The Yak Guy Project when I finally finish it. It occurred to me there are a whole bunch of new categories that I might explore.

It all started with cyberpunk. It soon branched out into some of these other genres:

  • Steampunk
  • Dieselpunk
  • Biopunk
  • Clockpunk
  • Splatterpunk
  • Elfpunk
  • Magepunk
  • Wizardpunk
  • Atompunk

It seems to me the common denominator is punk. A big part of this is because everyone likes to make up new words. It's like a word for a celebrity couple, like Benifer or Kimye. In other words, it doesn't mean squat. Oh, and it also all seems to involve one of the speculative genres.

 

Let's pretend there is something to all this for a moment. These things involve alternate realities. Heck, I could get into that. I write stuff like that. They generally involve whatever fictional world being under complete control of the first half of the term. Steampunk = Steam, get it.

 

The punk part usually means that some fringe person or group doesn't agree with the status quo. They go on to face the villain using their mastery of the same technology everyone else has.

 

All in all it isn't a bad way of telling a story. I just don't love the terms. They tell me something about the era, and give me an idea of what to expect though. Dieselpunk means I expect a specific era in time, say from WWI to about the birth of the atomic age, after that it's atompunk.

 

Maybe my novel will spawn a whole new genre, yakpunk. In fact, I can see a whole bunch of new genres in my future, providing they don't already exist:

 

Monsterpunk – Frankenstein, darn.

Robotpunk – I Robot.

Apepunk…nope.

 

Alright, let me try again:

  • Flintpunk – a stone age political thriller involving tribes and species.
  • Bowpunk – angsty young archers storm the castle.
  • Rocketpunk – may already exist.
  • Bronzepunk – Are we not entertained?
  • Punkpunk – a late 20th century setting with lots of music.
  • Circuspunk – crazed clowns are overthrown by freaks riding circus elephants.
  • Crudepunk – the oil industry battles the EPA over leases and nature preserves.
  • Ritalinpunk – just, no.
  • NASCARpunk – self explanatory.
  • Junkpunk – everyone lives in a junkyard and government scavengers are taking all the best junk.
  • Spelunkpunk – everyone lives in caves, and access to daylight is denied. Thank god for some wild eyed youths.
  • Cowpunk – westerns with oppressive controls in place.
  • Romancepunk – despite an oppressive regime, love conquers all.
  • Heropunk – everyone is a hero. A group of outcast youths become villains to balance the scales.
  • 50shadespunk – everyone is a sex weirdo, but a group of friendship ring wearing virgins stand up for their rights.
Okay, enough. What do you think about genres? What about genres that are too specific? Do you think fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and even horror are enough?

  • Authorpunk – in a world where everyone is an author (Somebody help me. Send beer.)
  • Artillerypunk – (I'm not kidding, send beer.)
  • Siliconebarbiepunk – (Maybe something stronger)

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Detour Trail, on Lisa Burton Radio

Coming at you with 1.21 jigawatts of power, all across the known universe and dimensions you’ve never even heard of, this is Lisa Burton Radio. The only show out there that interviews the characters you love to read about.

I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and we’re broadcasting remotely today from the field just outside my studio. This is because, my special guest today can’t fit inside the little Airstream that houses the studio. “Welcome to the show, Jake.”

“Lisa, Hi! Nice field, by the way.”

“Thanks. Now for our listeners out there, you’re actually a mule. Can you tell me a little about your parents?”

“The first thing I remember is my mother–she was a beautiful red mare–red roan they called her. She was so beautiful and gentle. She taught me manners–and to be careful around humans. My father? I only saw my father once; he was a big black jack–blacker than me, but I’m even bigger than he was.”

“So how did such a noble creature as yourself, wind up on a wagon train during the westward expansion?”

“I have to tell you about Tommy first. I belonged to Tommy; he raised me and trained me and taught me tricks. ‘Course I trained him too, and he talked to me, even when the other kids made fun of him. We went to school and to the store and everywhere together.

“But then Tommy’s father heard that a woman was in town buying livestock and supplies for her wagons. I knew Tommy’s folks needed money, and Tommy’s mother wanted to go back home–that was way back east. Tommy explained it all to me and showed me pictures of houses back east–not like the tiny dark cabins out here–and no trees. His mother looked happier in those pictures. I could see that–maybe more than Tommy. He loved it here. We’re settling the frontier, he said. But they needed money, and his mother made him understand that a mule wouldn’t be happy because there’d be no room for him there. Not enough grass either, I think.

“So Tommy led me to town; it took longer that way, and I nudged him a few times to tell him he should ride, but he shook his head and kept patting my neck as we walked along together. At first the woman told us that she didn’t need any more animals; I could see the other animals and chickens, and it didn’t look like she needed us. Me. Tommy turned away and wiped his eyes; we both thought she’d be better than a mule skinner or farmer. But Lorrie’s friend Star talked to her, and Tommy told them how smart and well-trained I was. Then he said that they needed me more than he did. The two ladies looked at each other; I could see that Lorrie was still undecided so I lipped her jacket and snuffled Star’s hair. I could tell they liked their horses and were good to their livestock. (Well, Sunny told me so.)

“They discussed my price after that; I didn’t understand the numbers, but Tommy seemed pleased until he turned and looked at me. He took me aside and explained what was going on, though I knew that already. Then he said good-by, and we all watched him walk away, but soon he began running, and I could hear him sobbing as he headed for the woods. I knew he wasn’t going home yet.

“Star knew more than Lorrie about loading me so she kept adding packs until I told them that was enough. You can say a lot by stamping your feet and shaking your head. Tommy could read me real well, and I knew I could teach them. When I remember Tommy, I remember how he took care of me and taught me things that I still use…”

“Lorrie sounds nice, but it almost sounds like she has her own problems getting out west.”

“Yes. I learned more about her from the horses, Sunny and Shadow. She was traveling with her uncle on a big wagon train, but he was killed by a thief who was after his money belt. Well, after that, the wagon master told her she couldn’t go with them, of course, because she was all alone. She needed to go back east and find a husband to take care of her. That made her mad, they told me. She even stamped her feet later, but she was polite to him. Naturally Lorrie didn’t agree, so she waited for another train. It was getting late for taking the Oregon Trail, but while she was waiting, she learned about a black couple–runaway slaves maybe–other humans guessed. And then she rescued a brother and sister from bullies. Together they joined another train–with her niece and nephew and her people, she always explained. And she had her uncle’s money belt and bought a couple more wagons–they did break down–and livestock. That included me, you understand. And she added a human family later on.”

“It sounds like the makings of a pretty good story. Two characters with tragic backgrounds come together to accomplish something great. I’ve read your bio, and there is much more to you than pulling a wagon. You’re almost a watchdog for the group. What can you tell me about that?”

“Lorrie did need me–as Tommy told her–and sometimes when there was danger, she didn’t load me up at all. She talked to me the way Tommy did and explained her–our–plan, and I ran loose or skulked alongside the trail and listened. And when we visited that old hotel far off the trail, I could smell the blood and death, and I pushed her out of the barn and stamped on the wooden floor. It was covered with dirt and straw, but I could smell the blood and bodies beneath it. She looked down and walked away and put me in a stall that she made sure was unlocked.

“The danger didn’t always come from men. Blizzards could trap us too. She took chances when running low on supplies for her people, and she and the oxen were buried once. They kept her warm, but the tent was buried under the snow, and I dug her out. I wrecked the tent, but when we made it to the nearest ranch, the people there looked at the tent and me and nodded. I think they gave us both the credit…

“The men along the trail warned us about the chances of a blizzard because winter was a lot closer now, but you never could tell, they said, how the weather would behave. Safest not to take chances, but Lorrie had to keep her people safe and supplied. And the livestock needed hay too, so she took a chance with the possibility of a blizzard and the cold. When she was trapped under the tent, I could hear her coughing, and I knew I had to dig her out, but carefully, so I tugged on the tent and dug when I could feel my way. She hugged my neck as I backed away and pulled her out.”

“What else is there to watch out for? Are we talking Indians here?”

“Oh yeah… That’s when we met Grey Cloud. His companion, Brock, was ambushed by Indians–a different tribe from our own Indians. Grey Cloud was a big gray wolf, and when he came to our cabin, naturally I lit out after him. I chased him around our cabin a few times until he vanished into the woods and up the mountain. He came back with a bloody rag; I let him show it to Lorrie while I watched; and I stood guard at the cabin later after Gray Cloud led us to Brock; he was badly wounded, but Many Stars took out the arrows and nursed him. Life became even more interesting after that.

“Later, because Lorrie’s companions did worry about her, she sometimes took a human with her. Like when she heard about the people disappearing at an old hotel far back in the woods off the busy trails. She just had to find out what was happening and laid a trap for them. I was outside in the barn, waiting and listening too. A man came out and went after the horses with a knife, so I went after him…”

“It sounds to me like everything is dangerous. There’s the weather, the environment, the Natives. I’ll bet there isn’t a decent shoe store for weeks in either direction.”

“Funny you should mention that. There isn’t a store of any kind, and supplies are hard to come by…. Lorrie traveled back and forth along the trail; sometimes she’d hire a mule train. I went along as a guard, of course. And we got supplies further west from a fort and ranches.”

“Jake, it sounds to me like Lorrie, Sunny, and the others really need you. It’s so important to be doing meaningful work.”

“Thank you, Lisa. I knew you would understand. Speaking of that… now I have to go home; they need me. It was great talking to you, Lisa. It’s harder with humans, as you may know.”

“I understand, Jake, and thank you for taking time to tell your story to our listeners today. Any last thoughts for your fans?”

“Be kind and be careful–and don’t overload anyone’s pack!”

“Jake appears in Detour Trail, by Joy V. Smith. I’ll include all the deets on the website. Do Joy and Jake a solid, and use those sharing buttons today.

“I’m always looking for guests, so if you know of a character that would like to appear on a future Lisa Burton Radio, drop me a line. Stay awesome.”

***

Westward bound on the Oregon Trail, Lorena Emerson is alone after her uncle is killed by a thief trying to steal his money belt. Ignoring the wagon master’s advice to go home, she rounds up others needing help, and they join a later wagon train and are soon slogging through dust and mud and steep mountain passes. It’s a long way to Oregon, and because another woman needs her help, Lorrie again goes her own way, leaving the wagon train and the Oregon Trail to travel onward—off the beaten path—with her small group of wagons. She’s helped by members of her wagon train, people she meets along the way, and the mule, Jake, an integral part of the story. You’ll meet them as they join in her travels and encounters with enemies and as she searches for a new home and supplies as winter reaches out its icy hands…. Settling the frontier isn’t easy!

 

Detour Trail, is available from Melange Books, the publisher, and elsewhere online : http://www.melange-books.com/authors/joyvsmith/detourtrail.html

http://www.amazon.com/Detour-Trail-Joy-V-Smith/dp/1612355706/

 

Joy V. Smith has been writing since she was a little kid; she loved to read, and she wanted to create her own books, so she did, complete with covers. Now she writes fiction–her favorite genre is science fiction–and non-fiction. (She loves settling planets and the frontier, which is why she wrote Detour Trail.) Her short stories have been published in print magazines, webzines, anthologies, and two audiobooks, including Sugar Time. Her books include Detour Trail, Strike Three, and Sugar Time (revised print edition) She lives in Florida with Blizzard the Snow Princess and Pemberley the tortoiseshell kitten.

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Guess what happened yesterday afternoon!

Otto’s half siblings were born. The ultrasound predicted six puppies, but eight showed up. That is a C-Section scar, because those big heads are hard to pass.

We wanted two originally, but Otto’s litter was all spoken for. This time we’re first in line. We’d like to get a female to stack the deck that they’ll get along better when we aren’t home. The litter is four boys and four girls. We haven’t been told which are which yet, but they’re still fun to look at. I tend to go for the ones with the most white, because I like the contrast. It doesn’t appear any brindle showed up in this litter.

The breeder also sent us a short video that’s almost annoyingly cute with it’s nursing sounds and little whimpers. It’s hard to imagine Otto ever being able to fit in one hand like these guys can – for now.

We’re talking about a visit in about four or five weeks. It’s only a few hours from home, and I know the lady would love to see Otto again.

So it’s looking like another summer of sleepless nights and potty training for old Craig.

What the heck, here’s a shot of Otto for all the new followers. He’s a lunker, and his first birthday isn’t until the first of April.

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