It’s a Draft

I put in the effort today. I needed to pick a project and focus on it, so I limited myself to just one thing. I added about 4500 words to The Enhanced League and finished it.

It's a draft with flaws, and it needs some help here and there, but it exists now. I can address the issues in the editing phase.

So what is it? It's a story about an alternate baseball league where anything goes. This includes performance enhancing drugs, aluminum bats, lasers that call balls and strikes, and more. I borrowed pages from my Experimental Notebooks, and my novel The Playground to try telling an overall story by writing a bunch of short stories, micro-fiction, and something new. There is a pinch of science fiction involved when it comes to my semi-main character too.

That something new is what I am calling anthems. They're almost like a monologue, but written in second person point of view. I think I shared one on this blog a month or so ago.

4500 words is a long day for me. Since these were individual stories, I didn't know what I had until I assembled them all. The book came together at slightly over 37,000 words. That isn't a lot, and I feel like it could use another three to five thousand.

Still, my intention all along was to make it a 99¢ special. I also have a theory that novellas are where it's at right now, so maybe it does work.

My personal goal was to make all the short pieces tell a larger story, and I did. It keeps me from my normal twist endings, but I'm okay with that. This isn't an Experimental Notebook. I still managed two pretty good ones using my semi-lead character Roger Warren.

I'm trying to celebrate, I swear, but I always wind up critiquing my own work. I poured a big glass of Laphroaig, not my usual drink, and am trying to type between bouts of throwing a squeaky bone for Otto.

I would like to work on The Yak Guy Project tomorrow, but can't. I have a Lisa Burton Radio to assemble and schedule. I also have a new one to work up a shtick on and ship to the guest author. Then there are those Storyreading Ape posts I need to write. To tell you the truth, I'm dragging my feet there, because I may have a new release to post about. Maybe I'll write May's post and deliver it. Then, if I have a new release, I can write about it for June.

Lots to think about, more toys to throw, and a nice smoky scotch to down. I'd like to see a Spring Training game for actual baseball, but there doesn't appear to be anything on right now.

My wife called and already spent all her money on the first day. Let's be honest, I knew this would happen. It sounds like they are having a great time, and I'm going to have to accept the fact that another day of spending is going to happen.

So it appears I did get some writing done. The girls are having a great time, and did spend too much money. Otto is having fun too, and whisky (without the e) is good for what ails you.

Tomorrow is all about blog work, after I call my parents. Then I need to deal with some mundane things like dirty dishes and such. It won't be that hard to resist the editing phase, since it isn't my favorite. I'll probably still dwell on things like cover art, Lisa posters, beta readers, and the whole releasing a book strategy. I promise not to initiate any of it though.

I wish I could share it with my critique group, but I may be on the verge of losing the group. We've been together for years, but three of the members stepped out. We got one new member, but now we're having trouble scheduling the meetings. We skipped February all together. My beta readers for Enhanced League are going to be more important than ever.

The Enhanced League needs time to ferment. A couple of weeks of being ignored will give me a new perspective on the whole thing. It may also give me time to finish The Yak Guy Project.

Yak Guy is next, with no new projects until it is a draft too.

Talk to me tonight. Did you do any writing today? What do you think about novella length works? Would you rather be at the Mall of America with my wife and daughter?

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Handicapping the coming weekend

It's been a long week at the paycheck job. I had two standup presentations this week, each with original material that I had to prepare, then rounded out my week by conducting job interviews. It's cool, because it makes the week go by, but it's tiring too.

My daughter and Old What's Her Face* are in Minneapolis tonight. My daughter is using her flight benefit for the first time, and they are spending a couple of days together at the Mall of America.

This leaves Otto and I to our own devices. He's in my lap as I type this, enjoying what we call poodle time. (He's actually a bulldog who acts like a poodle.) To make a complete confession, I think I'm coming down with something too.

In this corner is Craig, with a looming cold, a bulldog puppy that deserves a bit of attention, and a serious concern about his credit limit. The challenger is a tag team of unfinished manuscripts. One novel called The Yak Guy Project, and a collection of short stories called The Enhanced League.

The starting bell is tomorrow about dawn. Can Craig finish one of these manuscripts and still keep Otto entertained? Will Craig's wife and daughter spend more money than they should? Will some sort of illness get the better of Craig, causing him to use tissues and watch old Twilight Zone episodes when he should be writing? Is whiskey really “Good for what ails you?” Will Craig shower first, or just dive right into his writing? Will Craig succumb to the call of blog posts he needs to be writing in advance? Does typing on a moving keyboard during poodle time cause carpal tunnel?

Tune in tomorrow night to find out the answer to these questions and more.

*Entertaining Stories, protecting my wife's personal data since 2013.

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The Goblin Trilogy, on Lisa Burton Radio

You've found Lisa Burton Radio, the show that brings you the characters from books you love. We have a very special guest with us in the studio today. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my guest today is Haghuf the goblin. “Welcome to the show, Haghuf.”

“I trust your guest status is like ours, that none will attempt harm to me in your dwelling?”

“Of course. My bio tells me that you're hundreds of years old, and can legitimately call yourself a warrior, a scholar, and magician. That seems like a pretty full life. What did it take to draw you above ground, away from your library and apprentice?”

“I came to the surface for the first time in 800 of your years because a human was dancing in a time long after humans had forgotten magic and the power of The Dance. I discovered Count Anton, a magician who had become the ruler of the handful of humans who survived the last cataclysm. I've avoided humans since the goblin wars of old, but we found much to talk about and he respected the need for goblins to remain unknown from most humans.”

“Is this a case of, keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer?”

“Something like that. Anton and I have things in common, but he is still human. Humans have killed goblins whenever they meet and I would not bring danger to my people. We come from the same ancestors and can breed across species, yet they call us ugly and attempt to kill all goblins whenever humans discover we exist. It's better to let the stories fall into old legends and be thought imaginary.”


“You've got to admit there are similarities to the human beliefs in demons. It makes me wonder which came first; goblins from underground that caused them to make up demons, or belief in demons that were easily tagged onto goblins.”

“The Deep Dwellers, like myself, apparently frighten humans because we look very different. As you can see, my skin is green. I have strong ridges on my brow and a strong, square jaw. The bottom fangs upset them too, though I haven't bitten a human… yet. There are many like me. I suspect some were seen in the days when we exchanged younglings with humans, changelings, to strengthen the bloodlines of both.”

“Tell me about it. People are afraid of anything different. I have religious wackos who want to see me destroyed, just because I'm a robot. They're afraid I'll try to take over. Me, one robot girl. I am different in many ways, but I try really hard to fit in.”

“You should be like goblins. We learned to hide and to live underground to avoid humans. Only Those Who Provide come to the surface usually, the goblins who… source food supplies. “

“We could all learn a lot from each other. My library is called The Internet, and I'll bet you'd like it. I can access it at any time with a good wifi connection. Your library probably has things that would benefit us all too. Fear keeps us from sharing things that would help each other.”

“Anton is always pestering me for information about my people. I tell him what he needs to know, but no more. There is power in secrets and the less a human knows of goblin ways, the better. Remember that humans don't live very long. How can I trust future rulers not yet born? Recording information, whether it is in a book or on your Internet, makes that information available to anyone. I keep the books of magic safe. Other information, like how the planet turns and the history of our people is made known through the Storytelling.”

“The Storytelling?”

“It is a goblin custom. We gather. We share food. Whoever wishes to speak goes to the front of the cavern and tells us what they wish. Maybe something of what you call science. Maybe history. Maybe just a story from imagination or a telling of exploits from the surface or other grottos. News of significance. At some point someone will pick up a drum, followed by others, and we begin to dance in cadence with the rhythm of the planet. It becomes ecstatic, magical, and the females choose mates. We have too few young.”

“Haghuf, I really appreciate you taking time to visit with us today, and I wish you well in your attempts to keep the peace.”

“Keeping humans and goblins out of each other's worlds is the only way to keep peace.”

“The sponsor of today's show is The Goblin Trilogy, by Jaq D. Hawkins. If you'd like to know more about Haghuf and Anton, I'll include the links on the website. Now don't forget to use those sharing buttons, I'm sure Haghuf will appreciate it, and you'll appreciate it too when your character appears here.”

***

Jaq D Hawkins is a published writer with 9 books in publication in the Mind, Body and Spirit field published by Capall Bann Publishing as well as four Fantasy novels in print and E-book; The Goblin Trilogy which consists of Dance of the Goblins, Demoniac Dance, and Power of the Dance (Combined Trilogy edition available in paperback and only on Amazon in ebook form), also the Steampunk book, The Wake of the Dragon, an airship pirate adventure among the opium trade in an alternative history, also available in audiobook. More coming soon.

Contact Info:

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A saga spanning three generations in a feudal world governed by magicians.

 

Will you dare to enter a world of darkness among the goblins to join into The Dance?

Dance of the Goblins

The goblins lived unseen by man for many generations and were forgotten, consigned to legend, but a fluke sighting when a man wanders into the entrance of a forgotten underground transportation system revives an ancient war between the species, originated by misunderstanding and prejudice of a species which appears alien to the superstitious humans.

Demoniac Dance

A young girl running away from an unwanted marriage finds a new life among the mysterious magicians in the land across the river. What she didn’t bargain for is the presence of the goblins who have befriended her benefactors.

Power of the Dance

Khemael is a creature of beauty and grace with a mostly human appearance. His love of stretching his leather-like wings and flying freely in the world of men brings far too much attention to the existence of the goblins. Haghuf knows that the inevitable responsibility will fall to him to destroy Khemael who, in the world of the humans, would be called his grandson.

Worlds of magic await to be discovered in the complete series, The Goblin Trilogy!

 

Book trailer:

The Combined Trilogy: Amazon or Lulu

Separate books and other ebook formats:

Smashwords

Amazon

Lulu

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The downfall of a weekend

I've been a bit quiet around here this week. Most of it is because I had things to promote here that deserved time in the spotlight. My post at Story Empire on Monday did very well. Today, I forgot to write a post about the Rave Reviews Book Club, but managed to reblog Mae Clair's post. If you decide to join and take advantage of the discount, tell them Mae Clair referred you.

We ran some errands on Saturday. Bought my mother a birthday present, got my wife's car serviced, pretty mundane stuff.

We managed to go to The Great Wall with Matt Damon. We thought it was great. Not a ton of plot, but lots of pageantry and color. It's kind of a mash-up with a bit of Kung-Fu style, some action, and a fantasy. It may not be for everyone, but we had a great time.

That's kind of where it came to a screeching halt. Our bulldog puppy, Otto, weighs in at 65 pounds now. He gets kind of crazy, and one of his favorite things is to jump around on the bed for a few minutes before we go to sleep.

Bulldogs have short legs, and when you add in that weight, he can't jump on the bed… so my wife lifts him up. She usually goes to bed about 30 minutes before I do, so I get to lift him down. Only this time, she wrenched her back.

“Don't give me that look. You played a part in all this.”

Anyway, my wife's Sunday was spent on the couch, followed by calling in sick on Monday and Tuesday. Oh, and lets add in a couple of visits to the chiropractor.

So, my big plans to make Monday my writing day evaporated. Maybe this coming weekend I can get something done. My wife and daughter are flying out together for some quality time. It will be just Otto and me, and my keyboard.

She's on the mend and went to work today. It's just one of those things you need to be aware of from time to time. The keyboard will always be there, but this weekend turned out to be about something else.

Oh, and come back tomorrow for Lisa Burton Radio.

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Are You Ready to Join? #RRBC #SpecialToday

Mae Clair has a great post up today about the Rave Reviews Book Club. They’re offering a one day discount to join, so jump in and get the kind of support you’ve been wanting.

From the Pen of Mae Clair

You’ve heard me talk about Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC) before. You’ve hear me bang gongs, blow trumpets and babble incessantly about how much I love being a member of this fantabulous organization. It’s the ULTIMATE social media platform for small press and indie authors, hands down.

And guess what?

Today only, you can join at a discounted price. Normal membership dues are $25.00 for a year, but today you can sign up for the discounted price of $20.00. That’s a paltry sum for the amount of support you’ll receive as a member.

Oval logo for Rave Reviews Book Club, white letters on blue oval with red border

Want to meet new authors?

Want to discover new books?

Want to have your own books read and reviewed by other club members?

Most of all, do you want to be part of an author community where the key word is SUPPORT?

As with most things, the more you participate in RRBC the more you’re rewarded through…

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By Popular Demand, Flipboard

Several of you asked for a post about Flipboard. Lisa Burton and I are explaining it over at Story Empire today. Stop by and say hi.

Story Empire

Hi all, Craig here again. I’ve posted a few times on my own blog, Entertaining Stories, about how I’ve benefitted from a semi-obscure media called Flipboard.

Flipboard is one of those curated content setups, and I came to it by accident. Once upon a time, I had a Zite Magazine account. I set it up to be a source of ideas that I might want to write about. All was well with the world, because I could give a thumbs up or down and improve the stories I got. I set up all kinds of things, like archaeology, paranormal, scientific discoveries, and more. Many of these made it into posts I make called The Idea Mill.

Then Zite got absorbed by Flipboard. I didn’t have any choice but to switch over. Honestly, it doesn’t work quite as well for my original purpose, but it allows me something I…

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The Idea Mill #28

It’s been a while since we visited the old Idea Mill. I stockpile articles I found interesting until I have enough to make a new post. These are the kind of things that can fuel your next story, so I share them hoping to get your imagination working.

I wait for three, but as so often happens, I found the third and a fourth one on the same day.

Our first article involves a kind of mapping, using historical excavation, aerial photos, and more into a virtual reality map of an historical site. This time it is part of the Plain of Jars. During the Vietnam War, it was bombed heavily and is still dangerous to explore and work around. They’ve been able to determine burial rituals were part of the purpose of the jars, but not much more…yet. Read the article here.

This one interests me, because I used burial jars as an inspiration for parts of The Cock of the South. There is a lot more mileage in this story. Maybe you want to write a science based story about merging all the data into virtual reality, and learn something amazing – like discovering the debris field from the crash of an ancient spaceship. Maybe you want to write about the time of the jar builders, similar to what I did. It lends itself to a great treasure hunt story, similar to Indiana Jones. The unexploded ordinance can add some real tension to the tale too.

Moving on, we come to the decline of pollinators around the world. This could lead to famine of global proportions. Someone has built a drone that could replace, or supplement, the work of honeybees. Read the article here. At about $100 each, the price of food could rise dramatically.

There are so many possibilities here. Obviously a bit of science fiction could work. Maybe someone hacks the drones to only pollinate the crops of those who pay protection money. I can just see the super rich, drinking mead as a way to demonstrate their dominance over the rest of us.

Maybe someone weaves a few spy drones into the pollinators. Maybe you just want a bit of urban fantasy using one of the four horsemen. Why should Death and his pale horse be the only one to get page time?

This next one won’t fuel a complete story, in my mind. It does add some neat elements to weave into something larger. It seems Toyota is working on an interactive window. This window has zoom features, and you can draw on it. It appears to have some educational value, like teaching kids to name certain things that pass by. Here is the video I saw:

I immediately saw some kind of urban sniper team using this. The guy in back zooms the window and it calls out distances so the guy in front can take the shot. It wouldn’t be hard for a military squad to draw on the glass to illustrate entry points for a coordinated attack of some kind either. It would be pretty easy to take it further and make it do more things. Add some spy quality infrared and look inside buildings, etc.

Finally, we have the last “wild” Indian. It seems a nameless man wandered into town in 1911, after living his entire life in the wilderness. They named him Ishi, and gave him some kind of consultant’s job. He taught some folks at a university about the ways of his people, and they documented them for posterity. Here’s the article.

There have been any number of stories about someone being raised by wolves, or being the last of their kind. This gives some amount of credibility to those stories. Some fiction could take it as a tragedy, or as an uplifting kind of story. Maybe Ishi learns our ways and advances some huge project in a way that modern minds never thought of. Maybe he delivers some herbal cure for one of our dreaded diseases.

I try to make up some kind of corny story using all the elements to keep these fun. Here goes nothing:

The mapping project for an ancient site reveals it to be the debris field for an ancient alien crash site. More information lies deeper in the jungle, but that location is full of unexploded ordinance, and is off limits to everyone.

Our hero sneaks a couple of spy drones into the swarm of pollinators working nearby, and after the drones start working he directs them away to scope out the site. He uses his special glass window to calculate coordinates of the likely places for deeper understanding, and possibly some undiscovered alien science.

The wealthy computer industry controls the area, by controlling the farmers. They will have no problem convincing the farmers to shoot trespassers on sight.

Only the last surviving native of a virtually extinct race can lead our hero into the crash site and reveal something wonderful to the world. Maybe its a cure for colony collapse disorder the aliens kept in their records. That gives the wealthy computer guys a reason to keep people away.

How about it you guys? Does one of these articles fit with your current project? Would you include something like this in a story? What might one of these articles inspire you to write?

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