I love it when a plan comes together

I failed to take my own advice last night, and didn't do my word searches on The Enhanced League. I read the whole thing from start to finish last night, and I like it. The word searches can happen at any time, and maybe I can deal with some of them on the road during the week.

After I finish with them, this book will be ready for beta readers.

I slept in a bit this morning, but was still up before seven. Otto needed some “poodle time,” But he's snoring away in his bed right now.

His down time leads to my opportunity. The first draft of The Yak Guy Project is in the vault. I ended with a couple of emotional scenes, but it was the right place in my mind. I always like the “life goes on” ending, and after I wrapped up some threads, it just felt perfect.

It still needs some things, no doubt. This one is in first person, so I'm sure most of the sentences start with I, my, or we. This is the bane of first person, but I usually manage to change enough of them to make it palatable. Right now, it needs to rest while I turn full attention to Enhanced League.

My plans don't always come together, but this is exactly where I wanted to be sometime today.

I still worry about word count, but I've convinced myself that shorter is better for 21st century sensibilities. Enhanced League is 37,000 words more or less. Yak Guy is a novel at nearly 70,000. This will change during the editing phases, but it gives you a rough idea.

I don't know what to do with myself for the rest of the day, but I'll probably start those word searches. I need to read some blogs too, and now I have time to enjoy them.

Sounds like I need a new plan, and that has to be a call for beta readers. If I'm lucky that will happen next weekend, but I'd have to get incredibly lucky. Doubt, the raven, is whetting his beak as I type this. He loves my editing phase.

I also owe Chris Graham a few more posts, but if I drag my feet, I may be able to write about a new book.

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Runs, Hits, Errors

This was not an overly productive day today. The big thing was managing to pay all the bills before I leave town.

I managed to get through my critique, and made all the changes I could. This particular critique had more good remarks than bad ones. Believe me, it doesn't always happen that way.

That's really about it on the productivity front. I spent too much time playing with the dog, and I watched a baseball game. We finally decided to take the plunge and get the MLB package, now I can watch baseball all summer.

I've reached a point where I have to change part of my plans. I cannot put off editing of The Enhanced League until I finish the draft of The Yak Guy Project. That was a good plan, before we drifted into Spring. With Summer fast approaching, I'd like to get The Enhanced League out there.

This isn't a horrible option, because I don't require the silence to edit. In some ways, a bit of peripheral noise keeps me from getting into the story and lets me concentrate on the line by line stuff. This means evenings will be spent editing. I'll take my iPad to Louisville, but may not have time to work on that kind of thing. At least I can answer comments, emails, and may get to update my blog. I can also follow along with the RRBC party if I wake up early every day.

Then there is my error… I told all of you I have the post tomorrow at Story Empire. This is because when I checked the scheduled posts, mine was next. This is not the case. My post is up Wednesday, and someone else has to post tomorrow. Sorry about that, but with my iPad in tow, I can mange comments on Wednesday. Visit tomorrow anyway. Story Empire is made up of some awesome authors and you're bound to find something good.

Tonight, I'll probably start on my word searches. This is part of my editing process, because after this much time I know what errors I usually make. I have a living document with them and can go through them in order.

Tomorrow, I am going to start with The Yak Guy Project. It's my last good day to draft new material for about two weeks. Fingers crossed.

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Projects and family

I managed to assemble a future Lisa Burton Radio interview early this morning, but that was about it. I don't actually have a lot of projects looming right now, so I feel pretty good about this. I hit it hard during my time off and cleared some space.

Our daughter was here, and we all had a nice visit this morning. She and my wife went to the mall, but I still didn't get a lot done. Otto was pretty lively, and I admit to spending a good chunk of time playing with him. About all I managed to do was add one line to my list of short stories. It isn't a bad idea and might make a decent Macabre Macaroni someday.

My main goal now is to finish the first draft of The Yak Guy Project. After that comes several rounds of edits on The Enhanced League. Right now it's looking like Monday is my best opportunity. I have the post over at Story Empire that day, so I'll have to monitor comments more closely. At least I hope there are comments to monitor. It's an opinion piece about “write what you know,” and I'm trying to be opinionated this time.

We had date night at Red Lobster, and got our cheddar biscuit fix. It was a nice date, but we're back home now. Nothing too spectacular, just a few hours together.

Party day was a big success once more. It started off a little slow but that was my fault. Club rules are to send in a link before it goes live so they can include it on the tour page – piece of cake. They also want the post to go live around midnight Central Daylight time. I always schedule for midnightish, so that's what I did. Then I rolled back the time by a couple of hours to make sure it was live when the club expected it to be.

Yeah, when you roll back prior to midnight it doesn't change the date. This means I had it scheduled about 23 hours later than it was supposed to be.

I got it fixed about 4:30AM and sent an emergency email to the club. They fixed me up, but it took several hours. I know I missed some of the early traffic, but it was completely my fault. What a rookie.

There was still a lot of sharing, and some great comments. I gained blog followers too. Every little bit helps. The club will tell me who won the mugs, and I hope to get them sent out PDQ.

There may be a week long delay in shipping. My paycheck job is sending me to Louisville on Tuesday for a convention. I'm excited to go somewhere new, even though I'll be working most of the time. Maybe I'll see something interesting to share with you while I'm on the road. Is there anything I can't miss while I'm there?

I keep thinking about how one week later might have been more interesting, and caused me to stay a few extra days at my own expense. I've always wanted to attend the Kentucky Derby, and I'll miss it by one week. I have a hunch some bourbon will get sampled as a consolation prize.

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It’s a party, yo! #RRBC style

Welcome to my stop along the Springtime Book & Block Party route. Let’s get the preliminary stuff out of the way first. I’m giving two prizes away, and you don’t have to be a member to win. All you have to do is leave a comment, and a random draw will decide the winners. Contestants are only eligible from North America, due to the restrictive cost of shipping.

So what could you win? How about one of these awesome coffee mugs, featuring my personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for my writing career, Lisa Burton the robot girl.

Look how beautiful that marble bust looks, oh and Lisa looks nice too. These things are huge, and you’re going to want one.

This time the party took me by surprise. Last time we did one of these, I timed a book release around it, and that worked out extremely well. I don’t have a book release today, but I can still give you the tour.

At the top of my blog there are a couple of pages that might interest you. There is the standard “about me” page, but there is also a free selection of Lisa Burton paper dolls if you’d like them. I wanted to come up with some swag for an author who only has ebooks available. Make sure you print the pdf files and not the images shown.

The fun one is called Lisa Burton Radio, I’ll let her tell you about it.

“Hi everyone, welcome to the new visitors, and I see some familiar faces here too. The show is really fun, and I interview the characters from your books. At the end I include covers, bios, purchase links, whatever you want, really.

“When the post goes live, I share it to Flipboard, Stumbleupon, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and two Facebook sites. I try to help as much as I can. I’m always looking for guests, so drop me an email. If you want to check out past interviews there is a link in Craig’s sidebar. I’ll let him tell you about the sidebar, he loves his sidebar.

Thanks, Lisa. I also tweet out the five most recent interviews every week after Lisa finishes with them. My sidebar starts out with a link to obtain a free reading app. As an ebook guy, I don’t want to make it difficult for anyone to read my stories. Then I post the two most recent publications with direct links to those books. I have all the covers in a slideshow, because it doesn’t feel right to have them all on there. Lisa mentioned the blog categories, and this is where you can always find her interviews. Those of you who write speculative fiction might find some inspiration in the Idea Mill posts too. Oh, and before I forget, there is an Entertaining Stories Facebook page too, if any of you are so inclined. It’s the only place you can see videos of my dog, Otto. (Don’t laugh, I know some of you are into this stuff.)

That’s the grand tour. Hope everyone is enjoying the party, it’s one of my favorite events. I hope to have two new books coming out soon, but I got caught without them ready yet. One is a collection of short stories called The Enhanced League, about a futuristic baseball league. The other is kind of an alternate world fantasy novel called The Yak Guy Project. Coming soon, I promise.

I guess if I’m going to promote something, The Playground could use a bit of review love. I know some of you are holding shiny new Amazon gift cards at this point in the tour. The club even has a list of who you are. Mwa ha ha…

For those of you who aren’t RRBC members, this is an awesome club. We thrive on mutual support, and it’s kind of a pay it forward system. We’re growing by leaps and bounds, and we’d love to count you among our members. There are too many benefits to mention here, but things like this blog party are happening all the time. Why don’t you check it out at this link.

Party on! Sign up for your own character interview. Leave me a comment. I love interacting with everyone, and you could win a prize.

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The Drowned Tower, on Lisa Burton Radio

Don’t touch that dial. You’ve found Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that interviews the characters you love to read about. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Jacques Dace. He’s currently locked in a tower under the sea. “Welcome to the show, Jacques.”

“Just Jack actually, and it’s a pleasure.”

“Alright, Jack. Tell our listeners how you came to be locked up in, I believe it’s called the Drowned Tower.”

“Oh, that wonderful place. If you must know, my parents are both… important people I suppose is the word, though busy works just as well. Regardless, that doesn’t change the fact that there are so many capable of using magic in this world—or practitioners as we call them. But with so many greenhorns, there aren’t enough Masters to properly teach them all. So, my parents had the brilliant idea of sending me to the Drowned Tower for better private training. There are a ton of Masters there that would kill for the chance to personally mentor the son of Leonas Dace.”

“Learning things is good. Locking you up sounds a bit extreme though. Is this for your own safety, because it’s under water?”

“Ha, I wish! Those old codgers in the Drowned Tower’s Assembly are just so afraid of us deserting and doing something awful that they decided to restrict our freedom. It’s baseless fear of the unknown. Nothing more, everything less. You should see the rest of the practitioners in the Tower! All pale-skinned and petrified by the sun.

“Though we are allowed out sometimes… some of us anyway. Mostly those specifically chosen by the Assembly to help deal with their… problems. I’d love to elaborate on this, but—I can’t. Confidentiality and all. The Assembly will have my neck if I do, and I’m already shoulder-deep in the wrong side with them.

“But really, of all the places my parents could send me, they choose the Drowned Tower! Was the Weeping Grove not an option? Or the Red Veld? At least they allow some semblance of freedom.

“Creator, those two have more than a few screws loose. I swear I’ll change my world as soon as I get the chance to return to the Diamond Alps. That’s the only place you can get anything done in this godforsaken world.”

“Why don’t you just sneak out and go to one of the other schools?”

“If only it was that easy. A long time ago this practitioner named… well, let’s just call him, ‘Old Bag A,’ so I’m not reprimanded for directly slandering his name. Anyway, he made this nifty little curse called, the Demar Spell. It’s a dream for all stalkers out there. Let’s the caster know where the casted is at all times. It’s used by all the schools, though some use it more often than others.

“I won’t go into the specifics about how the spell works, but I’ll tell you this—in the Tower, running off without one is enough to warrant a call to the Hunters. They round you up and send you down to the lower floors where the old dungeons are. I hate that place. It smells like old fear and iron. There are rats there the size of my head. They like to gnaw on your clothes while you sleep.

“Run off enough times and you’ll get sent away to a… <swallows>… special place.”

“It can’t be all that bad. Maybe the Drowned Tower is a really good school, too. Surely you graduate eventually and get to leave. Think of it more like a stint in the Army, or in the Tower’s case, Navy.”

“It’s a good school alright—for a certain kind of practitioner that is. The only escape from the Drowned Tower is by becoming a Master or receiving an invitation to the Diamond Alps up north. Trust me when I say that there are those that have spent their lives trying and failing to even be noticed by the Elders in the Alps. Those demented old bags can’t even stop squabbling long enough to notice the rest of the world around them. All they do is sit, smile, and lie to each other. I’ve vowed to never be like that. I don’t lie.”

“Never?”

“Never.”

“Not even a tiny kind of joke lie?”

“Never.”

“Let’s test that, shall we? Do you think I’m cute?”

“Ye—Wait, what? For the love of… what kind of question is… how did we even get here? <cough> Okay, fine, just to prove that I never lie… yes. Yes, I do.”

“My bio says you have a very close relationship with someone named Sylvie. What do you think she’d say about that?”

Vaklas in an den! Those rumors again! Where’d you hear that one from? That turkey, Tiv? Or no… I bet it was from those new practitioners they brought in yesterday. Gossip travels faster than light.

“Really though, us… close? That’s rich. Sylvie has the talent to change things, yet decides to remain as languid as a fish that never goes against the current. It’s… infuriating. She has a good head on her shoulders though, knows when to draw near and when to back down, and when she is interested in something, her focus tunnels into the immedi—anyway, I’m just helping her figure something out about this Heartstone she found topside a few days ago.

“She didn’t even know what it was at first. I don’t blame her though. The one she found is creepy. There’s… something strange inside it. A woman? Or just her conscience? I can’t exactly describe what it is, but then again I don’t want to. It makes Her seem more… real. She knows things though. Old, ancient truths that could spin the world on its head.”

“Do you think you can trust Her, meaning the spirit in the stone?”

“I don’t know. But it’s not really something I want to put my trust in. I mean, a spirit trapped in some common stone, promising me knowledge and power in exchange for—it just sounds too good to be true.

“Besides, what’s the point of achieving something if I don’t do it with my own strength? I’ve been training for a long time now, and it’s finally time for me to put those skills to the test. The Drowned Tower’s been alive with talk about the Elder from the north that arrived in a few ticks back. They say it’s for a Choosing. Those that get chosen will accompany him back to the Diamond Alps. I’m not going to miss this chance.

“So you kids are going to butter up this Elder, in hopes that he’ll take you away as the champion of this Choosing. I think you have a math problem. There’s two of you and only one winner. How are you going to get around that?”

“Well, the number of people that gets chosen actually depends on the Elder and the Drowned Tower’s Assembly. It can range anywhere between all of us to none of us. In any case, I’ve already told Sylvie about my plans, and honestly, I have no idea what’s running through that head of hers. She claims to be uninterested in the whole affair, yet she plans to run anyway. Granted, she was ordered to by—ugh! Never mind. I don’t even want to think about him.

“All I can say for now is that I’m helping Sylvie figure out the secret behind that stone and waiting endlessly for the Elder to call those he thinks capable of fulfilling his task. Patience isn’t exactly my… strongest quality. And I think that damn Elder is stalling on purpose. I can only guess the kind of job he’ll give. Hopefully nothing too… bloody. Thelarius knows we’ve got enough of that on our hands.

“Personally, I’m rooting for a simple face-off against the others or something that’ll allow us to go topside. This place is suffocating.”

“I wish you guys the best of luck. Maybe a new school would change your perspective of the world. Any closing thoughts for our listeners today?”

“If any of you can hear that thing in the Heartstone, give me or Sylvie a shout, will you? Spirits are apparently selective with their audience, and just for the record, I… or rather we aren’t insane. It’s really there! And it’s awfully annoying. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it a thousand more times: I don’t lie.”

“You can find out whether Jack and Sylvie actually manage to change their world by picking up a copy of Heartstone, The Drowned Tower. I’ll include all the pertinents on the website.

“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons after the show. I’m sure Jack and Nicholas would appreciate it, and they’d do the same for you.

“If you’d like one of your characters to appear on Lisa Burton Radio, drop me a line. I always need guests. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Book Blurb:

“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.

LINKS

My Books:

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Author Bio:

NICHOLAS RINTH lives lakeside in the southern graces of Savannah, Georgia. Where he spends his time fantasizing about other worlds and working on his next novel.

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Hello, Writing Cabin

I tromped into the writing cabin and caught Lisa unprepared.

“I thought you were reading and stuff. Let me just tidy up real fast.”

The office looked emaculate and I told her so. “What kind of mess can one robot girl make while I'm out? You don't even have to cook.”

“Dust, there's still dust even if I'm completely gone.”

“Suit yourself. I finished my backlog of projects, and decided to try a bit of writing today. You know, just to see if I remember how.”

Lisa broke into action, making coffee with one hand while she took out the Swiffer and went over the floor with the other one. She took a dust cloth and ran ahead of me to my writing desk.

The raven of Doubt glared at me from his perch. He bobbed up and down a few times in excitement.

“Not yet, dude. I'm not doing any editing today. It's time to move the Yak Guy ahead.” He knows The Enhanced League is ready to start editing, but I don't feel rushed to dive in yet.

I started by rereading my last few chapters. I made a small correction or two, and Doubt gave me the stink eye. Lisa showed up with coffee about the time I started writing.

I wrote one short chapter and it was kind of draining. It came in slightly over 3000 words. I don't know if it's because I hadn't written in a while, or because of the content. This chapter involved the end of the yak. He's been such a central character to the story it was hard to see him go.

“I'm really going to miss him,” Lisa said. “He's been at the cabin for a long time.”

“He has, and the next go round maybe we'll see the end of yak guy, Ted.”

“Then what?”

“Then, you probably have to pose for more posters and plan for a worldwide blog tour – or two.”

“That's always fun, then I'm going to use some vacation time.” She opened the window and let in some fresh air. Doubt took the opportunity to stretch his wings at the same time. She sighed as the yak crossed the meadow and headed for the snowy peaks. “He played a mean game of chess, you know.”

“Really, how did he move the pieces?”

“He told me the moves, and I moved them for him.”

“Kind of like he was playing against the computer then?”

“Not kind of, he was playing against me, my processors, and memory. He won more than a few too.”

“Maybe you can get him to come back for your radio show someday. Did you put his data in your Rolodex?”

Please, I'm completely electronic, you should know that by now, and yeah, I have his contact data.”

I checked email, and answered blog comments while she stared out the window.

“So what happens next?”

“Yak guy has to finish his journey. After that, I have a couple of novellas I want to try. That's how it will work out in a perfect world. They could be long short stories or short novels depending on the experiment.”

“What are we talking here? I might need to buy some new outfits for these stories.”

“One is a kind of paranormal superhero origin story.”

“Is that the one with all the hats?”

“Yes, ma'am.”

“So you'll want the paranormal office then.”

“Absolutely. The other one is a spin on the lifeboat story. It has a science fiction background, but they're stuck in an underground bunker for a specific amount of time. The problem is they can't leave, and the antagonist is in there with them.”

“Got it, I already earmarked a bunch of hats and can get them ordered. I wonder what scream queens are wearing this season?”

“I'm sure you'll figure it out before we start. We have to give yak guy some closure first.”

The enchanted beer horns sounded off and came running. They curled around my ankles like a pair of cats.

“Hi guys, I missed you too.”

Lisa said, “I got a nice doppelbock from McCall Brewing for you to try. It's called Dunce Cap.”

“Huh! Did you pick that specifically for me?”

“Of course, I know doppelbock is your favorite.”

Woosh!”

“Don't woosh me, I know what you meant. Do you want the beer or not?”

“Of course, besides, these guys won't stop honking unless we fill them up.”

***

For those of you so inclined, I opened a Pinterest account earlier this year. I started a couple of boards called The Hat and Estivation that relate to my upcoming projects. You can check them out here.

 

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Look What I Won! @stacitroilo @virgilante #books #amreading

So glad Teri likes her prizes. I’m giving away more stuff on the 21st, so make sure you stop over.

Books and Such

If you read my latest Downsizing the TBR Pile post (here), you know that because of the Story Empire Roadshow, I’m probably changing the title of that feature to How Many Books Can I Buy Before My TBR Crushes Me – only shorter.  I’m open to suggestions.  But not only did I acquire some fantastic reads, I also won some goodies!

I won this notepad from Staci Troilo’s newest collection, Medici Protectorate series.  Although I haven’t started those books yet, I’ve read the first book in her Cathedral Lake series and have the other two in the TBR.  If you’re a fan of romance/paranormal/suspense, check out Medici Protectorate.  Swing by Staci’sblog and say hi – and maybe add to your own TBR while you’re there.

If you’re a frequent flyer over at Craig Boyack’s blog, a certain robot lady depicted on this mug needs no introduction.  If…

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April 19, 2017 · 9:50 AM