Wipe the smile off its face.

Long time readers will recall that I grew up in Nevada. Casinos are a part of life. You have machines in grocery stores, laundromats, everywhere. There is a lingo that goes along with casinos too. I’m referring to slot machines in this instance. Etiquette says to never leave a machine showing the jackpot you just won.

In this case the term was to “wipe the smile off its face.” You added one more coin and removed the sign of your victory. It’s just something everyone does.

Right now, I feel like something is taunting me. Take a look at this photograph.

It’s been like this for weeks. In this case the “smile” is 39 reviews and not 40. Somebody get in there and wipe the smile off Amazon’s face. The Hat is a fun story, and I’m going to write more stories about Lizzie and the hat. This is a decent time to jump on-board and check it out. It’s still 99 cents, and it’s a short read. Check the reviews before you commit your coins, they’re all good.

I linked the picture, but here is a more traditional link if you like: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B078YYCNSF

 

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1400 words today

I turned my attention back to the group story that still needs a name. Lizzie and the hat took care of a bunch of zombies, but the main focus was on Clovis and Gina.

They had to clear out a building where the virus is being loaded into vaccines. I probably need to go back through and ramp up the creepiness factor, but I like how it came out.

My favorite part was when they all got back together. The hat was absolutely manic, and laughing himself silly. I liked the part where he said, “If I had a bladder, I’d wet my pants.”

My heroes were forced to torch the building holding the virus, leaving one contaminated person inside. Since he’d never survive the virus, it was a bit easier for them.

I also revealed the big bad for the first time. This is the paranormal entity that’s behind all these shenanigans. She got away this time.

Still 1400 words isn’t too bad.

I also spent a big part of my morning monitoring that Facebook lounge post about Lisa Burton. It cut into my writing time, but all in all it was a good day. A good weekend for that matter.

Tomorrow, I have to go back to the job that actually pays me. I think I’ll call it a weekend and goof off this afternoon.

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Is it productive? It feels productive.

I have no idea how many words I wrote today. This is because it spreads across two different stories.

I woke up about 5:00 this morning, and dug right into Serang. I wanted to show Yong on the mend from his spider bite, but not completely healed. This may haunt him for the rest of the book. Right now he’s yelling at Serang for not doing chores and exercises.

Their next move is to leave town with a caravan, and I wanted to set that up before I stopped.

Then I called my parents. I always talk to them on Sundays, and kind of look forward to it. Sundays aren’t the best writing day because of it, but I like keeping in touch with them.

After we finished, I made a fresh pot of coffee, then turned to my critiques. I made a lot of changes to the unnamed project, and think it really improved it. There were some redundant words, a few verbs that could be improved, but it really helped in the overall feel of the story.

This also served as my review of whatever I wrote there last, so I moved the story ahead. Gupta is wounded, and the hat popped him to their secret cabin for a bit of first aid.

Turns out Lizzie’s ancestors collected things from their adventures with the hat, and those are in the cellar.

This led to a fun bit of research, and I swear one of the articles I found online was titled “So, you want a flamethrower.” Yes. Yes I do, at least a fictional one.

Lizzie and the hat popped Gupta back and joined in the action once more. This time with archaic weapons at their disposal.

Lisa is still all screwed up, and they caught her using a Nazi hand grenade to curl her hair. Haven’t decided if this should become a poster or not. There are a lot of great poster ideas in this story.

About the time Old What’s Her Face showed up, I’d shifted to Clovis and Gina. They were invading a building to clear it of zombies. They suspect this is the lab where the Marburg virus is being spread from. (They are right, but haven’t confirmed it yet.)

This gives me a place to start tomorrow morning. If it all goes according to plan, I may even reveal the main villain tomorrow.

One of these days I’ll have to come up with a title for this one. I keep thinking one will reveal itself, because it’s happened before. About all I have now is Mustang Sally. There’s going to be a woman, a super Mustang, and then there is the musical connection in these tales.

Right now it’s time for ball with bulldogs.

Tomorrow, I’m participating in something called a character takeover on the Fantasy and Sci-Fi Readers Lounge. My time slot is 12:30 – 1:00 Eastern Time. There seems to be some debate whether this is adjusted for Daylight Savings Time, so I’ll check in frequently. (Kind of like to see what others are doing in their slots anyway.) This is a Facebook thing, and Lisa Burton is the character that’s showcased. This is the link if you’re interested https://www.facebook.com/groups/FantasySciFiReadersLounge/ Maybe I’ll share some old Lisa posters with book links.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Fantasy Voyage Of The Lanternfish by C.S. Boyack @virgilante

Another great review from Rosie’s Book Review Team. As an author, I recommend submitting your books to them.

Rosie Amber

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Voyage Of The Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack

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I really enjoyed this book. It is a wonderful adventure of pirates on the high seas, along the lines of the famous Treasure Island, but filled with marvelous creatures and unusual beings and people, in the manner of The Hobbit, and incorporating a splash of the science fiction innovation found in the Harry Potter series of books (which I loved). I enjoyed Voyage of the Laternfish more than either Treasure Island or The Hobbit because it also contained some humour and there is nothing like a bit of well written humour for great reading pleasure.

My favourite character was … the root monsters. They were the most fascinating creatures ever reduced to the written word by an amazing imagination. Of them all, Trubba (Trouble) was my favourite…

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A mild writing day.

I allowed myself to sleep in a little. My wife has to work all three days that I’m off, so there is some writing time available.

Today, I took up Serang and moved her story ahead. This one involved her helping out the thieves to pay for the medical care her master needs. She deviated from the thieve’s plan and wound up killing a bunch of soldiers. She’s Serang, so that’s kind of expected of her.

Some camels died too, but she didn’t do it. These are Bactrian camels, the two-humpers. This is a fantasy world, but I want some similarities to Asia, so this desert is high and cold.

What Serang doesn’t realize, is that she is doing things she’s frowned upon previously. With her master on the mend, he’s going to call her out for this. She’s going to justify it in her mind, because they are soldiers. Doesn’t mean she’s right, but young people tend to find justification for their actions. It makes sense that she would too.

I’m at another transition point in the story, and those slow me down. I know what the next events are, but I have to get the characters in the right place and set the stage for it all to happen.

They’re going to join a caravan, travel with them for a while, then deviate for their own quest. While I think about this, I should probably come up with another fantastic creature of some kind too. This world doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of fantasy beasts, but there are some and it’s about time again.

I can’t just miraculously heal Yong, her master. This kind of thing takes time, but maybe he can hold himself in the saddle so they can move on.

I got all my critique samples back for the other story. This is the one with no name yet, and involves a bunch of my previous characters in a team-up kind of story. I need to work through them, then will probably take this one up again.

I might have gotten more done today, but bulldogs were involved. Frankie is more aloof than Otto and rarely wants lovins. Today she did. She wanted cuddled and scratched, and rubbed. How could I resist?

Of course, Otto was up here most of the morning, but he just hangs out and lets me write most of the time. Frankie insists on direct attention when she gets in the mood.

The writing wound up being nearly a chapter. Not a great day, but I can’t complain about it either.

Otto, just hanging out with Dad.

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The Fondant Five, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Don’t touch that dial! You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love. Today might be one of the sweetest shows we’ve ever had, and I mean that literally. “Please give a warm welcome to my special guest, the fondant lion.”

“Thank you, Lisa, I am so happy to be here, I feel a roar coming on. RRRROOOOAAAARRRR!”

“I know you are famous for your thick mane. Is it thicker because you live in the zoo?”

“Yes, that is likely. I don’t live in just any zoo, I live in the Chocolate Land zoo and it is a special place. All the fondant animals that live here are very happy and we receive excellent care from Sir Chocolate and his helpers. One of our favourite meals is Sir Chocolate’s famous custard. He makes it for us in an enormous pot. I can assure you it does not last long once it is made.

“I have lots of friends in the zoo and they treat me with respect. I am the King of the Jungle in the wild and the animals here all recognize that and let me take the lead on decisions regarding the zoo. I am better off than my brother who lives in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. He doesn’t always get as well fed as I do and sometimes, he has to fight other animals to defend his pride of fifteen other lions. It can be a hard life living in the wild especially when there are wild fires or droughts that destroy the vegetation. Finding food and water can be difficult at those times.

“The one thing I don’t have that my brother does is a wife. I have friends but I am lonely for female companionship of my own kind. I would like to have a family too. Lots so cute little fondant lion cubs running around would be wonderful.”

“Aww, poor guy. Maybe Sir Chocolate can find a wife to live with you.”

“It’s a good life here in the zoo. I get to meet lots of people and children. Sometimes we get to visit a school and that is great fun. During our school visits we teach parents, teachers and children about the benefits of creative art. Sir Chocolate brings fondant along for the children to play with and they learn how to make all sorts of fun figurines and other things out of it. Fondant is fabulous stuff, it is like play dough, but you can eat it. It is stretchy and elastic, and you can mould it easily into shapes. One of the children made a fondant hippo and she came to live with us in the zoo after the fruit drop fairies gave her life with their magic sugar dust.

“Our school visits are not always to demonstrate fondant art, sometimes we teach the children about baking. Sir Chocolate says that baking is very beneficial for children. It helps them develop hand-eye co-ordination, bilateral co-ordination, strengthens their little hands and helps them improve their planning and maths skills. As the King of the Jungle, I am proud of being part of something so useful to children and their teachers and parents.

“All of our books include five fun recipes for children to do with their teachers, parents or grandparents. The children love making the recipes and it is a nice way for parents and grandparents to bond with their children and occupy them doing something beneficial and entertaining. It is hard to complete with television and computers, but baking does. The kids love it!

“I do have one complaint, Lisa. I don’t have a recipe in Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five. There are five recipes. Sir Chocolate, Lady Sweet, buffalo and rhino all got a recipe, and even cheetah, and he isn’t even a big five animal. I didn’t get one and I think I should have but never mind. Perhaps I will get my own recipe in another book or on Robbie and Michael’s baking blog, Bake and Write.”

“Fondant sounds amazing.”

“You know what isn’t amazing? Royal icing. That stuff is like concrete.”

“Interesting. I would think the King of the Jungle would demand nothing less than the royal variety.”

“Well, Lisa, royal icing does taste rather amazing and it is very useful stuff. Sir Chocolate uses it to glue his chocolate and gingerbread houses together and, boy, does it stick. My friends and I had a bad experience with it in our book. We were kidnapped by the Wedding Cake Elves and taken to the home of the Chocolate Giant. His daughter was getting married and the giant had asked the elves to make her a wedding cake with an African theme. She specifically wanted the big five animals. They are lazy little fellows, so they decided to kidnap my friends and I rather than make their own fondant animals for the cake. Fortunately, they only took the fondant five, that is Rhino, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and me. A few of our friends were left behind in the zoo.

“We were dragged out of cages one night and made to march towards the Chocolate Chip Hills which is where the giant lives. When we arrived, the elves set about making a delicious tiered wedding cake and then …. [gulp] … they attached us to the cake with royal icing. It was a terrible feeling, Lisa, to be attached to a cake by your paws so that we couldn’t move about. Just thinking about it gives me the chills. The only redeeming factor is that the elves were smart enough to put me on the top of the cake. That is right for the King of the Jungle.”

“Kidnapping is bad. What did you do?”

“We couldn’t do anything, Lisa, glued to the cake with that terrible icing. Sir Chocolate saved us, he is a kind and generous man and would do anything for his friends. He discovered from the fondant giraffe and monkey what had happened during the night and he came to find us. Along the way he met up with the wily fondant cat who also wanted to help so the four of them arrived at the castle to implement a rescue.

“From our position on the cake on the table we could see Sir Chocolate’s rescue plan unfold, Lisa. It was really ingenious how he used each animals’ talents and special features, like the giraffe’s long neck, to rescue us. If I had a hat, I would take it off to Sir Chocolate.

“We all got away and went back to our lovely and peaceful life at the zoo. It turned out that Sir Chocolate knows the giant and he told him about those naughty elves and they were suitably punished for their laziness.

“Chocolate Land is an amazing place. Everything is edible from the trees to the houses and there are lots of amazing creatures and people who live here. I hope you will come and visit us at the Chocolate Land zoo and share our latest adventure. You will like it so much here that you will want to find out about all of Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s other adventures too.”

“You can learn all about the Fondant Lion and the rest of the Fondant Five in the book Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five, by Robbie Cheadle and Michael Cheadle. This is a children’s book, and you get a bunch of extra stuff out of it too. There are recipes for children and their parents to make together. We should have made a fondant Lisa Burton and had me visit Chocolate Land. That would be fun one day. Anyhooo, this is an amazing series for children and their parents or grandparents. Any of the books are enjoyable, but the one on display today is Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five.

“We’ve presented Chocolate Land on this show before. Robbie and Sir Chocolate would hit those sharing buttons for you, so won’t you please give them a bit of love today? For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. 

Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Robbie has also recently published a poetry collection, Open a new door, together with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

You can find Robbie at her website: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/https://bakeandwrite.co.za/

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Some new words, some chores too

Today was my flex day. I was looking forward to getting some new words down, and I managed that to a degree. It feels slightly over 1000 words, so it isn’t much.

This time I worked on Serang. What I wanted to happen was for her to fall in with a gang of thieves. It started out with her master being bitten by a camel spider.

These are hideous beasts with long pointy jaws. They live all over the world, and I even killed one in my home when I lived in Nevada. People there call them air scorpions. Most of them aren’t hairy like this photo, and they’re a disgusting smooth nude color. This was the free-use photo I could find.

A bit of research revealed they are not actually poisonous to humans, but they are believed to be by the common people. I decided since this is a fantasy world, they’ll be venomous if I say so and went with it. They can also be as big or small as I want.

This also led me down a path involving a city at the beginning of a trade route. The country of Di Guo Quishi is a fantasy version of China, so think about the Silk Road here.

The Emperor has taken most of the men for his war. Many of the normal jobs are held by women or even children. How might the goods be exchanged, purchased, stored? How might the money flow? What kind of goods might flow into the west?

Most of these things involve one line or word, but I like to put the thought into them.

After this leg of the journey, they’re going to continue with their little quest by joining a caravan. I needed someone from the western world who will lead them. I decided since Don Velasco (From Lanternfish) was the fourth son in his family, I had one Velasco son to spare. (The eldest inherits the estate, the second gets a military appointment.) Everyone else had to fend for himself. This third Velasco son is the captain of a caravan heading back to his country.

This city has an active thieves market, and young Serang is kind of judgmental about it all. Eventually, if she’s going to become a pirate, she has to make an adjustment.

Unfortunately, I never got to the thievery part. I had chores to do. I have a hunch it’s going to turn into a massacre, but haven’t decided yet.

I ran into town and got my truck sniffed for emissions. It passed, but killed an hour of my day. When I got home, I had just enough time to schedule Lisa Burton Radio for tomorrow. Then I had a deviled ham sandwich.

Please come back tomorrow and check out the Fondant Lion. He’s pretty cute, and I think you’ll like the book he’s in too.

Today, Frankie helped me write. I may have gotten more done without her, but she’s hard to resist.

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