Category Archives: Blogging

A blogging kind of day

I didn’t set any gigantic goal for this weekend. Life has been throwing me curves lately, and plans seemed like a bad idea.

Today was a day to pick something up, finish it, and move to the next project. With that in mind, Lisa Burton Radio is assembled and scheduled for Thursday, and so is the following Thursday. This actually feels kind of good to get ahead a tiny bit. I used to track every questionnaire I sent out, and do appropriate follow up, but I stopped doing that this year. People seem to be benefitting from the interview slot, but they need to have some skin in the game too. There are probably ten or more questionnaires out, but it’s up to them to respond and get back with me. Makes my part of the process less stressful, and that’s a good thing. I’ll be here for you from now on, but I’m not twisting arms to fill the interview slots.

I also spent some time writing, assembling, and scheduling my next post over at Story Empire. It’s up on Wednesday, and I hope it comes across well.

Oh yeah, there is this post too.

Life continues to throw us curves. The range decided to go out, including the oven portion. We’ve been doing without it for a couple of weeks now. Between the barbecue and the microwave, we’ve survived. Now that Frankie seems like her old self, today was time to address our appliance problem.

The old range was original to the house, so seventeen years old. In this day and age, that’s a good run.

The debate of the day was whether to pay for the range or finance it. Holding back a tiny bit of cash seems like a good idea in light of current events. Free delivery swayed us to use our Sears credit card. In event of another emergency, we have a few bucks available, and can make minimum payments if we have to. If everything evens out, I’ll probably take two months to pay it off. That way we get a couple of paydays in there and don’t strap ourselves.

Delivery will happen next weekend. At that time, I’ll probably wake up Tituba, my sourdough starter and christen the new oven the right way.

To her credit, Old What’s Her Face chose a very reasonable range. There was a time when both of us did a lot of cooking. As the kids have moved out, the appeal of a Wolfe gas range isn’t there any more. We wound up with a decent Kenmore electric that matches all the rest of the appliances. Honestly, I’ve always had good luck with Kenmore stuff.

After signing the papers, we walked over to Old Chicago for pizza and beer. We called it an early night, because my wife has to work this weekend. A few Winter Olympics and I’ll figure out what tomorrow has in store. I might even add some new words to my work in progress. Maybe I’ll paste together a new background for Lisa’s Facebook page. I have some new images that might be fun to use as Polaroids on her table.

The dogs are getting some ball time right now. All posts are more popular with a picture, so here’s Otto being a crazy man with his oversized tennis ball.

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Running on empty

Look at this one as a real world example of being an author today.

With the release of The Hat yesterday, I have a lot of things to do to bring it to the attention of the masses. I’m quitting now, but it’s not quite as lazy as 11:00 AM sounds.

I woke up in a pile of bulldogs at 4:00 AM this morning, and have been largely covered with them all day in various positions. They like their early morning poodle time, but I can place my iPad on the arm of my chair and type away.

Old What’s Her Face decided to wash our bedspread yesterday, so we had an alternate last night. This freaked the dogs out for some reason. They were kinds of twitchy all night. I swear they are like Sheldon Cooper in that regard. Between the dogs, the nightly kink in by back, and my bladder it was just easier to get started.

I tweaked six different posts about the new book and sent them to their respective hosts. This included all the necessary attachments and such. Then I filled out an interview form for another one, and assembled a post for Story Empire later this month. All of them required at least one extra email, and my iPad battery is about dead too.

Then I assembled no less than four guest posts for Entertaining Stories. Seems like a lot of other folks are releasing books right now too. Everything is scheduled to post right now.

There will be traffic jams, but I’ll simply have to deal with it. My guests can have the spotlight until after I get home from work. If one of my hosts posted that day, I’ll try to reblog it then. I want to reblog in the hopes of sending my hosts as much traffic as I can. They don’t get much out of this, but maybe I can get them a follower or two.

As for me, I’m calling it a day on the author front. Old What’s Her Face found some strange ice cream I’ve grown fond of, and I feel like I deserve a treat. It’s made with marscapone, figs, and balsamic vinegar. Don’t wrinkle your nose up until you’ve tried it.

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Where have all the bloggers gone?

This post is going to ramble here and there. You’ve been warned.

A few years ago, WordPress became the simple way for small businesses to creat a web presence. I get it, they have templates, you can make multiple pages and widgets will help too.

I’m still gathering followers, but they are all small businesses now. I’ve gotten plumbers, clock makers, and lots of travel companies. Some of these folks might be interesting, and they might honestly be interested in my fiction. However, I think they are simply trying to gather followers using the Twitter method. How this helps an Etsy store or travel agency is beyond me.

Where are all the next generation authors? I used to glean a couple of those per week. I’m not really into poetry, but I used to get a few of those per week too. It’s much more likely that I would have something in common with those folks. It could be fiction, or even the self promotion blues, but something.

Is anyone else seeing this happen on your sites?

I also have some who drop off the face of the Earth every year. We’re good friends, everything is cool, and they just disappear. There has been a bit of an increase in that this year. Two of my friends crawled out of the woodwork this week after long absences. Maybe they’ll stay, maybe they won’t, but I wish them all well either way.

In other news, I skipped Lisa Burton Radio this week. Last week was on purpose because of the holidays. I have a half dozen interviews circulating in cyberspace right now, but nobody delivered in time. Oddly enough, I heard from two of them this evening. I’m pretty sure there will be something up next week.

If you are interested in taking part in Lisa Burton Radio, she is about due for more guests. To make this work, there are usually a half dozen in process at any time. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, like today.

Lisa’s show remains pretty popular, so if you have a pending release or a promotion in the works you might consider making this one of your stops. They usually take a couple of weeks, but can be done in a weekend. Other folks are long term planners and take months.

I also attract a lot of beauty bloggers. This has to be because of Lisa. Honestly, some of them give me ideas for the next piece of Lisa artwork.

Just look at that face. Don’t you want your character on her show?

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2017 can kiss my ass

Every year, I try to do an assessment of the year that was. I follow this up with something I call a business plan for the new year. This is my assessment of 2017.

I always have a few goals, and 17 was no exception. I wanted to release The Enhanced League, and The Yak Guy Project. I’m going to declare victory, but it rings kind of hollow.

I released The Enhanced League around the time of Major League Baseball’s Allstar Break. It was a little bit off from the Opening Day release I had planned. Honestly, it sold like crazy… for about two weeks. Then it completely died. I haven’t moved a single copy since the end of July.

Reviews of Enhanced League were all positive. I don’t like throwing a lot of money behind my 99¢ specials, because my royalty is about 34¢ per copy. I view my short form stuff as a way to drive readers to take a chance on my novels.

I knew a fictional baseball league would have a limited audience, so I was aware this could happen. I also know that baseball returns like Spring flowers, and it could have some longevity over the years. (I count down opening day like others countdown Christmas.)

The Yak Guy is a finished book and has been for several months. (Yeah, you can’t read it yet, but I’m looking for something positive about 2017.) I drug my feet here, for a lot of reasons. I waited for a couple of my favorite beta readers to have an opening, and took their advice to heart. I also wanted to submit it to a publisher. This caused me to hem & haw and drag my feet. Yeah, I’m a procrastinator.

I waited for openings with these readers, because I lost my critique group. We held on for years, then everyone kind of drifted away. I found the process very helpful, but there is nothing I can do about it now.

Yak Guy is the story of a spoiled and lazy young man who winds up in an alternate world. He has to learn a thing or two to even survive, let alone thrive. This is the one I based upon the Fool’s Journey from the Tarot. Yak Guy meets many mentors along his journey, and astute observers might recognize them from the Tarot.

I fiddled around for a month or so, then submitted it to a publisher. All I have to do is wait around and see what happens. It’s one of those where they don’t reject you, they simply don’t respond at all. I sent a nice cover letter and a synopsis. About two days after I sent it away, I realized they wanted the synopsis in the body of the email. Mine is an attachment, so it’s probably an automatic rejection. How do you do a cover letter if that isn’t the body of the email?

Aside from that Quantum Wanderlust is the the only other thing I had cooking. This involves one short story, Swift Wings, that is part of a larger anthology. I even did a small bit of promotion and commissioned some Lisa Burton artwork to help things along. It seems to be holding its own, but reviews have been hard to come by. There are some fabulous authors in this collection, so you might want to check it out.

That’s my entire 2017 publishing file. One actual book, and one short story.

My blog stats are stagnant. I have almost exactly the same number of views as I did in 2016. In past years, my stats grew exponentially every year. This concerns me, because this blog is the heart of my presence online. There were referrals from all of the popular social media sites, so that’s good. The biggest referrer was Flipboard. Flipboard is kind of strange, because one post can go crazy there, the others can be completely ignored. Facebook and Twitter are more stable.

The majority of clicks on my site were on media. I checked it out and they are all Lisa Burton art. I wish they were my books, but I can handle this. It has to do with that tiny bit of subconscious recognition. Ya’ll come back, there will be more art and you might decide to read something too.

Lisa Burton Radio grew by leaps and bounds. I was nearly able to post every week. The only gaps were ones I caused, and I can live with that. Children’s books appeared for the first time, and overall they were really popular posts.

There are some things I do here on a sporadic basis. The Idea Mill posts and my October event called Macabre Macaroni. These continue to be popular, but not overwhelmingly so. A lot of authors visit here, but not all of them are speculative fiction authors. To them, the Idea Mill might be amusing, but it doesn’t exactly relate to what they write. I’m going to keep doing these, because I enjoy them. I think I’m allowed a bit of fun on occasion.

The Macabre Macaroni that got the best response was the one about the comatose lady who imagined life with the daughter she lost. I never know which one is going to be the favorite from short story to short story.

I’ve been around long enough that my old posts are getting regular action now. This is a good thing. They aren’t all gems, but it’s nice when a few of them have longevity. I like to think I have a chance of gaining followers when they search for something and find me.

Story Empire is a group blog I helped create. This site is growing like crazy, and I’m honored to be part of it. It started smaller, so it’s easier to gain growth. (It’s easy to get 100% growth when you have one follower; that theory.) It’s doing very well. We did a group promotion we called the Bookmobile, and it was a rousing success for me. All we did was post on each others’ sites, but I moved more copies during this event than any other time of the year. Unfortunately, it was the only group promo we did. I hope we can cobble something together again in 2018. (Hint, if the rest of you stop by.)

On the writing front, it wasn’t great. Flat blog stats, only one book release and it was short lived, and one anthology story. The anthology is still selling, so there’s that.

On the personal front, 2017 pretty much sucked. Part of this was the 2016 political landscape. It felt more like the line from Ghostbusters than anything else. “Choose the form of the destroyer.” Nice to have a choice, but a destroyer none-the-less.

We thought we were doing a good thing by adopting two bulldog puppies instead of one. We wanted to save a tiny baby from a cargo flight to Florida. With their short faces and breathing issues, it was a coin toss as to whether she would be alive at the other end. We brought home Frankie and Nyx. Nyx died in my arms on the Fourth of July. She got heat stroke in a shady back yard with access to plenty of water. My son swears she was only outside for about fifteen minutes. I guess she would have been better off trying to go to Florida. There isn’t a day that passes without my thinking of her.

Shortly after that, their older brother Otto hurt his back. He literally crawled around using his front legs and dragging his hind legs for over a month. He woke up in the middle of the night screaming on more than one occasion. Fortunately, many dollars and drugs later he is back to his active old self.

I feel for him more than you know. I did something to my own back in early December, and missed a week of work. There were times when I needed help to get out of bed or to lift the toilet seat. I had my own drugs to help things along, and am still not perfect. I missed an occasional work day even after the first week.

Somewhere along the way, we lost half of our annual income. My goal was to pay off as much as we could before this happened, but it landed about four months early. We’ll be okay, but it is a life changing set of circumstances. On the bright side, we had that income when Otto was in pain. I shudder to think of the choice I might have been forced to make had the resource dried up back then.

I wound up getting some kind of flu on a working trip during the summer. On a positive note, it led to Marissa Bergen to write a song called Vending Machine Imodium. Marissa completely made it worthwhile.

So overall, 2017 didn’t have much to recommend it. I’m going to take it for a walk in the desert. Just look at the flowers, 2017. What? This revolver is for protection from coyotes.

My 2018 business plan will post shortly after the new year arrives, and it’s going to be a lot more positive. I try to assess the year honestly, but my outlook is unfazed.

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A rare Tuesday post

My pals and I at Story Empire have been nominated for an award as a Favorite Writing Blog. If you like our blog, please visit the Positive Writer post and leave our name (Story Empire) and URL (https://storyempire.com) in the comments along with a brief statement of why you like our site. You don’t have to fill out any forms or click on a series of links. There’s no poll or checklist, and you definitely don’t need to subscribe to anything. Voting is as easy as putting our name, address, and a short sentence or two in the comments. (And if you want to ask your friends to do so as well, we’d be doubly grateful.) Voting ends December 1, so the clock is ticking.

This would bring recognition to our efforts, and help us gain a bigger footprint. If we’ve helped you in some way, or even entertained you, we would appreciate you leaving a comment in our favor.

I’m up at Story Empire tomorrow, and the topic is an odd bit of world building for us fictioners. I look forward to seeing you there.

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Blogging – like a boss

I started my day off like most of them. Feed the dogs, make coffee, surf social media. I had tomorrow’s Lisa Burton Radio to assemble and schedule. I should note this is no small feat. Most of these posts come with a lot of links, and that all takes time.

Right after that, I had my regular – and invasive – checkup with my doctor. Everything is fine, even better than last time. It still wasn’t fun, despite the good news. It also cost me a couple of hours just in driving time.

When I got home, I decided to assemble and schedule my Thanksgiving post. This one wasn’t too tough, but I needed to get it done. I have company all weekend, and more coming next week. This was my version of making hay while the sun was shining.

I felt pretty good about myself at that point, then realized I’m up over at Story Empire next Wednesday. I hacked out a post about a part of world building that sometimes gets overlooked. I hope it comes across well, because I didn’t have weeks to worry about it. Wow, three blog posts in one day.

However, this post has to count too. I know it isn’t long, but I still wanted to check in. I need to get my butt in gear and start writing Estivation, my next short project. I’ve been a little bit loath to do it, because I have too many unfinished projects. Maybe after Sean Harrington finishes my promotional posters for The Hat, I can publish that one and will feel like I have some room.

Before I leave tonight. I snapped this picture before my doctor’s appointment. I like the idea of Frankie saying, “Don’t make me tell my big brother on you.”

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Hi, remember me

There’s been an awful lot of guesting and hosting going on lately. It’s going to slow down, but not go completely away. I will say that it was all original content, even if you followed me to another site or heard from one of my guests. Quantum Wanderlust seems to be selling well, I’ve never seen it out of the top twenty, but reviews have been hard to come by.

Yesterday was a strange work day. There is an airshow going on at the Boise Airport this weekend. Yesterday the USAF Thunderbirds were practicing outside my office window. I tried to get a photo for one of those “looking out my window” posts. You know the ones where a fox came by or something. Those darned Thunderbirds are fast. We still have leaves on the trees and all I got was quick fly-bys through the gaps. I saw some diamond formations and at one time they were about thirty feet from my window. Really shakes the glass.

I read a short story in Quantum Wanderlust during my lunch hour. That’s the only way I can get through it, one story per day. This one is about a Navy pilot and the added sound effects really enhanced the story.

Today, I dedicated my time to blogging. I assembled and scheduled three posts for next week. In some cases, I had to follow up with someone for a bio or something, but they were all good about sending things to me. I also had to write Lisa’s lead in to this week’s Macabre Macaroni story.

Some reading time found me this morning. Don’t know what I did to earn that, but I made full advantage of it. I enjoy reading, but it’s a rare few hours in my life.

There are still two more posts I have to write, but they won’t post for weeks. Yes, I could have dedicated my hours to those, but I wanted to read. Sometimes want-to plays a role.

2017 has been a strange year. My timing feels off somehow. I just completed a paranormal tale, but it’s in draft form. It’s fermenting before I take my editing passes at it. If I’d been thinking, I would have started sooner, and released it during October. Now I’m asking myself if I should put it away for a whole year and release it next October. I’ll never make it. It’s a fun story, and I can always give it a second push in October 2018.

I’ve been focusing on pushing my other paranormal tales, but the results aren’t what they were in previous years. There are pages being read on my Amazon report, so it isn’t all grim. I don’t mean to sound grim.

As far as October themed tales go, not all is lost. Right now the Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing. That’s very much an October thing. If you’re looking for something that screams October, without blood and monsters, maybe you’d enjoy The Enhanced League. It’s a steal at 99¢.

In other news, we took the camper and had it winterized this afternoon. It’s kind of a bummer. The hospital screwed up Old What’s Her Face’s schedule, so we don’t get a lot of weekends together. We only got to take it out twice this year. Hopefully, next year will bring a more promising schedule her way.

Next week, I have to make a work trip to Portland. I’ll be able to play in the comments, but may be out of touch for a few hours at a time. If I get a few moments, I’ll try to update from Portland. Might see something cool.

Way out in the future, we scored a pair of tickets to a Pink concert. Yeah, yeah, the show is in Las Vegas and everyone has to say something about the shooting. I can’t cower inside forever. We can use our daughter’s flight benefits and fly for free, which leaves us with lodging and food for a fun long weekend next Spring.

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