Independence Day

I had every intention of updating with a post about what I’ve been working on. Company is still here, so it doesn’t amount to much. I still need to address the critique feedback I’ve received.

With today being a holiday, I decided to recycle one of Lisa’s best posters and wish you all a happy 4th of July. If you aren’t in the USA, you can still enjoy the poster.

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Stirring things up

One of my goals while not drafting new material is to shake things up around here. It’s nothing drastic, just an attempt to sweep out the old and try some new things.

I need to change my banner, but with a couple of releases looming, I’ll probably just wait until one of the new books comes out. I can recycle the underwater scene when Lanternfish shows up in the Amazon store.

Start over there.

(Not liking this new editor. This should be centered. Probably fix it with the old editor)

In my sidebar, I always keep the two most recent publications available as quick ways to check out those books. I could put all of them over there, but that would be a busy mess. These images are about to be replaced by HMS Lanternfish and The Ballad of Mrs. Molony in the next couple of months.

You can always find everything on my Amazon page, but if you’d like to check out Serang or Grinders, the links are still there. I think they’re two of my better works. Serang is a great way to climb aboard the Lanternfish saga.

Up Top

All blogs have pages, but very few people check them out. I’m making some changes up there, too. If you were familiar with my layout, you’ll notice something missing. I have retired Lisa Burton Radio.

This regular feature was designed so I could pay back all the help others have given me along the way. I designed something a bit different that loaned out Lisa’s popularity as an interview of your fictional characters. They were labor intensive, but quite productive.

Honestly the interviews worked best when I promoted them. By doing that I kept a regular schedule of one per week for over two years. It was fun collaborating with my fellow authors, and we moved a few books along the way, too.

I wanted some of my time back, and quit pushing authors to try it out. They were available upon request, and there’s the rub. Nobody was requesting them. Most authors are introverted to a degree, but we have to promote our wares someplace. Good free options are drying up from lack of use, and Lisa Burton Radio is one of those casualties.

My door is still open to folks who want a place to promote their books, but you can write the darned things now.

Still up there

I’ve added a new page to check out. Music plays a big role in The Hat series. Lizzie and The Pythons play music as a way to get her out at night and travel around as they explore the supernatural world.

Some of my Story Empire friends suggested that playlists are popular and that I should consider sharing one. I’ve never tried anything like this before, and didn’t have a playbook, so I made my own up.

I have a huge playlist on my phone that goes along with these books. However, I limited this page to things that got mentioned in the books. Videos are bandwidth eaters, so I didn’t want a page of videos to clog up your processors. I went with links to most of them, but included a few videos from key moments in the stories.

I won’t publish The Ballad of Mrs. Molony until later this year, but I included the music up above. Maybe it will inspire some interest in that tale. When I have a link and cover I’ll make sure to update it. I threw in a couple of tiny Lisa Burton posters for flavor. As I get those for Mrs. Molony, I’ll add one for that book, too.

I’m looking for feedback on this page. If you think I need the artists, let me know. Some of the older tunes don’t have great videos available so I went with what I could find.

I should change the wallpaper from Frankie’s brindle coat to something more summery. My zucchini is trying to bloom, so maybe it’s time for some bright yellow flowers.

Let me know what you think, and if the pointers are centered when you visit, you’ll know I used the good editor to fix what this abomination thinks I need.

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It’s a staycation

One of the things I enjoy is writing. It makes sense that I would do some of it for relaxation. I worked on a lot of projects, but none of them involve drafting new material.

Yesterday I bought a ladder. Exciting, right? I have a nice six-footer, but have to stand on the top to change the lightbulbs in the living room. (You know that label that says never do this? I’ve been that guy.) Ten years ago that was fine, and I’ve been doing it all this time. Pushing sixty, I’m just not willing to do that any longer. (Plus 2020 doesn’t feel like the year to gamble.) I bought a nice eight-footer, and it’s a simple matter to change the bulbs without risking life and limb.

I collected all my critiques for Mrs. Molony and made changes based upon that input. After that, I sent out the next chapter. There isn’t much left to send out, and after that I’m sure my critique group will appreciate the break.

The short story got to the point where I’m changing things, then changing them back. That’s usually a sign that it’s time to set it free. I emailed it in to the publisher.

I’ll be dealing with Mrs. Molony, either going out or coming back, as it happens. I won’t touch Lanternfish until I get Mrs. Molony to that point.

It’s been months since I looked at the first chapters of Lanternfish, so I could start reading it. I’d love to get it out in a couple of weeks, so I don’t have to kill myself to get Mrs. Molony out for Halloween. Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Halloween season is kind of a stick-pin, so the sooner the better for Lanternfish.

I also committed to hosting a friend. She sent me all the pieces, and I need to assemble it. That will probably be top priority tomorrow. I might even try some of it at the Toyota dealership. I have to take my truck for service early, but they have WiFi.

I also picked up a book I started months ago and read a chapter. Something is lost by doing it that way, but I admit to having a sneak peek at it before it was published. More reading is on my list during my break.

I don’t have to return to work until Monday, so other things on my list could happen. I need to start a storyboard for the final Lanternfish book. The next book about Lizzie and the hat could benefit from one, too.

Honestly, I still love my stand-alone titles, and I have I couple of nearly complete boards for two. I’m going to have to park on those because I’ve committed to series work for now. Halloween will be a stick-pin for one, and I want to conclude Lanternfish in 2021 as well.

I think I can accomplish more before I have to return to the office. Eventually, I’ll be down to storyboards and reading. That’s going to be nice, and will clear some room to get Lanternfish out the door.

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Yesterday’s Office.

This is mostly going to be the photos I couldn’t upload yesterday. I’ll throw in a couple more. I intended to post a different update today, but without much of a connection, you kind of get the words yesterday and the pictures today.

We’re home now. I had my usual comedy of errors getting out of there. I couldn’t remove the sewer cap to flush out our holding tank. I left the dump station rather than back up traffic waiting to use the septic system.

I forgot my block for the trailer jack, so we had to loop back through the campground. It was still where we left it. While there, I decided to take a rock to the sewer cap and it worked like a charm. One more lap through the dump station and we got to head home.

This was what I wanted to call my office in the post yesterday.

This is the little doe that hangs around the campground. She browsed about ten feet from Otto this morning while he had his breakfast. Nothing interrupts that boy’s breakfast.

A glimpse at part of last night’s supper.

Lobsters

These boys were hanging around the dump station this morning and posing for photos. These are all mule deer, for those who only have white tails around.

There are three of them, but one of the bigger ones is behind the little guy

I always hate to come home, but it’s good to be back.

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Today’s Office

It was supposed to be a lovely post. A photo of my campsite in the ponderosa pines with an undergrowth of blueberry bushes. Then there was the mule deer doe that hangs around the edges of the campground. However, I’m down to a cellular hotspot with only two bars of service. I spent two hours trying to get the photos included, but no bueno. In fact, I have my doubts whether this text only post will upload, so here goes nothing.

It was hot yesterday. Somewhere in the nineties. This is tough on bulldogs, but we have power here, so the AC helped a bunch. They were restless most of the night. Otto decided to get up somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 this morning. It’s either listen to him pace and whine with no hope of going back to sleep, or get up. My MO is to get up. When it’s time for breakfast, it’s time for breakfast.

Frankie rarely eats when we go out like this. Otto was content to clean his bowl, then hers. I picked it up before he got a double breakfast. Old What’s Her Face got to sleep in a little, then she gave them some hamburger and an egg, so Frankie isn’t starving.

I plopped down under the awning while it was still dark. The first order of business was to deal with the final critiques for Lanternfish. I don’t need wifi for that, and it’s all resident on my iPad. It can save to the cloud when I get home. Good suggestions, and it’s in the fermenter for a couple of weeks. Then I have to read it from start to finish, because there are always things that get missed.

Next order of business was to send out a chapter for Mrs. Molony. For some reason, while slow, that went off without a problem.

I’m still going to add a couple of paragraphs to this story. They aren’t needed, but there is a minor theme that could be addressed. I’ll let my critique group decide when they see the final chapter.

That left me the short story with Jason Fogg. It’s time for it to come out of the fermenter and get the last reading. Only I found two boneheaded errors. I fixed those, then put it back in the fermenter. I’m on vacation all week, so during the staycation part, I’ll make sure it gets submitted.

We took a drive today and saw quite a few deer. I only took the one picture and it didn’t upload anyway. I hoped for an eagle here on the lakeshore, but he never showed up.

There are still quite a few mushrooms in the darker parts of the forest. I hoped to do a snoop for a good one to add to my breakfast, but the mosquitos were pretty bad. I’d sprayed myself with repellent, but my wife was having none of it.

I did see one I’ve never seen before called Dead Man’s Fingers. It was a pitiful example, and looked more like a bunch of thin black spikes. I have a hunch it wasn’t mature yet. This thing looks like zombie fingers poking from the earth if you find a good one. I fully intended to look for one, because I wanted a photo. But Old What’s Her Face insisted we leave.

Tonight we dined on grilled lobster tails and some kabob vegetables. I’m washing it down with a bottle of stout right now. We’re having a good time, but the post would look better with pictures.

 

Update: The guy camped across the street from us is a piece of work. He is there with a girl of about thirteen and a son at about four, if I had to guess. Then grandma is with them. He’s one of those guys who is on his phone all the time. He tries to sound like a big deal, and has that wheeler-dealer mentality. He called his boss and is going to miss work on Monday. I couldn’t help but overhear. Something about the ex-wife and how he had to hire a babysitter one night because he had some function to attend. Then he was contacted by Central District Health. There is a trail of Covid-19 exposure going through the alleged babysitter. He said he has to take Monday off to get his entire family tested, but none of them are showing any symptoms.

I’m not totally freaked out, and they are about fifty feet from us. He’s been down at the dock fishing with the post-toddler. The dock is swarming with people. He’s also been in the neighboring camp telling them about his fishing prowess. Not one mask in sight.

If I’m not mistaken, the rules are to stay home until you get the all-clear. Not to go camping and mingle with other people, because you might not have Covid. The teen had the little one and was pointing into our camp. “Look at the puppies.”

No. Don’t look at the fucking puppies and keep on your side of the god damned street.

He’s a tent camper, too, so that means they’ll all be using the restroom facilities.

Between you and me, I think the guy was lying to his boss. He’s that kind of bullshitter. I’m not willing to take that chance, and if Otto misses out on making one friend he’ll get over it. We have social distancing on our side, and we’re outdoors to boot. I’m not letting any of them near my stuff, or allowing them to pet the dogs.

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Shifting gears.

It wasn’t part of my long term plans, but I’m going to take a kind of break. This doesn’t mean I’m not writing, It just means I won’t be drafting new stories right now.

This morning I finished the draft for The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. I’m debating a couple more paragraphs, but don’t know if they’re necessary.

This story involves Lizzie and the hat in pursuit of a pair of rodeo cowboys. These guys are now members of the undead. This allows the band, Lizzie and the Pythons, to explore country music as part of catching the bad guys. Made for some cool outfits and hat styles, too.

Lizzie has a small melt-down over the music. At the end she returns to more familiar ground. I could add a couple of paragraphs to show how they weave in some country songs without compromising what they like. Or I could leave it out.

I’m calling it finished, regardless of what I decide. I need to work up some blog ideas for the books, work with my cover artist, decide if I’m spending any promo money, but I doubt it. Think about formatting. Oh yeah, I’m going to need some of those silly graphics to put in Mrs. Molony so as to keep with the theme.

I’m going to be storyboarding, too. The final Lanternfish is going to require a storyboard. I have two novels full of information that I have to stay faithful to. There are a bunch of loose ideas for the finale. A board helps me mold all that into a decent story.

I think next year’s Hat story could benefit from a storyboard, too. I want this one to be more grim with an undertone of sadness, while still keeping the humor going. Not an easy task. It’s my intention to break Lizzie mentally toward the end of the next one. That will lead into another one that has a lot going on including a revisit with the witching community.

Aside from that, I have some stand alone novels that are already in the early phases of storyboards. I should probably hold off on these until Lanternfish is complete.

There’s also reading. I haven’t taken a serious reading break for a long time and there is a lot I want to catch up on. I also have a bit of a blog makeover in mind.

Honestly, if I can get Lanternfish out this summer, then Mrs. Molony for the Halloween season, I will have met my yearly goals. If I don’t write another word this year, I’m in pretty good shape.

Just because I’m not working on a draft does not mean I’m not working. We’re going camping this weekend. I’ll probably do some reading while I’m up there.

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Something fun

Old What’s Her face received a box of items because she works at the hospital. It’s a good box of fresh produce and even included a small ham. All of the workers got one. It includes a bag of peaches, one of apples, potatoes, onions. Good stuff.

You might imagine it isn’t perfect. She also got a few yams. It isn’t even a bag it’s more like a half bag. We talked all morning about what to do with them. Neither of us likes the old-school candied yams like people serve on Thanksgiving.

Maybe one of the television chefs had some kind of recipe for them. We spent some time checking those out. In despair, she said we weren’t going to be able to use them.

It was then I had a different idea. “Who wants a new toy?”

The dogs were apprehensive to say the least. Otto eventually took one and walked off polite, but obviously disappointed.

Old What’s Her Face asked if they were safe for dogs. I had to admit, that hadn’t even crossed my mind. She said she would Google it.

I decided to take them away, but Otto was having none of that. He trotted away, then headed for his favorite obstacle course – under the table. Frankie was excited because she could make hers roll across the hard surface flooring.

Turns out, yams are considered a nutritious treat for dogs. They noted that some are sold as dog treats and some dog food brands include them.

About that time, Otto decided to bite down a bit harder on his. He thoroughly enjoyed chewing his up, and wound up eating quite a bit of it.

It took Frankie a bit longer to come around. She was busy rolling hers across the floor. When she saw Otto eating something she had to check it out. Then she returned to hers and gave it a try.

Tomorrow, we’ll probably have a nice Denver omelette including some green peppers and the ham that came from the box. We have a few more dog toys left as well. (Don’t tell the root monsters.)

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Romance Christine Campbell, #Sci-Fi A.C. Flory

I’m being showcased over at Sally’s place today. So excited that she enjoyed Viral Blues enough to include her review. Stop over and check it out. Sally is a super-supporter of the writing community and you should brows her site while you’re there.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet C.S. Boyack

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other…

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Psst! Have you Heard?

Story Empire is growing. Please follow the link and make John Howell feel welcome. I know you’re going to love his posts.

Story Empire

Hi, SEers! It’s a Tuesday, a non-normal post day for us, so you know what that means—time for a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! <insert drum rolls, fanfare, and parades>

We don’t roll these types of posts out that often, but when we do, we have news we want the world to know.

Today, we’re doing cartwheels—well, virtual cartwheels for most of us, but it goes without saying we’re giddy.

Why? Story Empire is adding another new member. Huzzah!

Funny Bengal cat in a pink collar waves his pawPlease welcome John Howell, who will be sharing his first post tomorrow. John is an excellent author, an all-around terrific guy, and a fabulous supporter of others. A real class act.

We couldn’t be happier that he accepted our invitation to join us at the Empire.

High five to John! We look forward to his posts and hope you’ll make him feel welcome.


Hey, SE Readers. Joan here to help roll out the…

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Not really an oracle

You have to admit, life has been strange for a while now. I’ve been fighting with technology, old and new. Working from home, and all the learning curve that entails. I wish I really were an oracle, maybe I could make some kind of plans for the future. Here are a couple of interesting things that have happened across the last year. I’m not ready to pick lottery numbers or dive into the stock market, but they’re kind of crazy.

Back in September, on Friday the 13th, I released Viral Blues. This is a story featuring Lizzie and The Hat, and deals with tampering of the nation’s vaccine supply. Not quite the same thing as COVID-19, but maybe it’s just circumstantial. There is localized quarantine in the story. This is dark humor, so I’m not sure anyone is ready for that right now.

I released Grinders on February 18, 2020. This one is a cyberpunk tale that projects what I was seeing at the time into the future. It has cyber-shut-ins in the story. These are people who never leave home. They work from home. Play and gather online. Even take advantage of deliveries for every personal need. I had no idea we’d be living this mere weeks after I published it. It’s kind of starting to creep me out.

Recently I’ve been drafting HMS Lanternfish. This is the second book of a series about pirates in a fantasy environment. A gunpowder fantasy if you like that term. I don’t have a link for this one yet, but here is one for Voyage of the Lanternfish, book one in the trilogy.

A big part of the story is the environment they live in. This leads to what gamers call random monsters on occasion. The first book had a creature called Buwaya. This is like a mashup of a crocodile and a dinosaur. She walks upright on land. She never appeared in the story other than via some vocalizations and stories.

Part of her story is that one day her mate just swam away. Aptly named, Buwaya’s mate, appears in HMS Lanternfish and is a bit more active than she was. (Naming kind of reminds me of Grendel and Grendel’s Mother.) Here is the weird part. Scientists have just discovered a fossilized trackway in present day South Korea. It provides conclusive evidence of crocodiles who walked upright on land. I swear, I didn’t miracle this into existence somehow. It provides some of that reality I try to bring to my speculative fiction. I’ll take it.

Maybe they were in shallow water, and the article didn’t address that. I’ve seen photos of crocodilians standing up in the water with only their nostrils above the surface, but this doesn’t sound like what they discovered. There were no tail-drag marks like you would expect.

Maybe something like this? Maybe not?

If you’re interested, you can check the article here https://tinyurl.com/y7xxu96c

I wish I were an oracle, and these were more than blind-assed luck. I’d find a way to sell a few more copies of these books, and to end this infernal lockdown without making everyone sick again.

The only draft I have going is The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This is a new book for Lizzie and The Hat. After that, my focus will move to publication and promotion for the new stories. I’m going to take a break from drafting new material to work on some storyboards.

With my recent string of luck, maybe we’d all be safer if I avoid anything too futuristic for a while. I have one historical piece I could move on next. Or there is the post apocalyptic tale I have roughed out, but it includes autonomous zones and some things you might not want me poking with a stick.

I’d appreciate it if you’d check out the links above. I think these are all good stories, and you might find something that appeals to you. You can also read about the scientific discovery and that might spark you to try out Lanternfish.

What weird circumstances have you stumbled across lately?

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