Category Archives: Blogging

Things authors worry about

I managed to write eleven unique posts to promote The Midnight Rambler. I wish I had a purchase link to insert, but I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks. I’d like a few more posts, but they’ll have to wait until I have a few spare moments.

I wrote a post about the music, keeping the setting consistent, and expanding this universe. I think it was pretty good stuff and those who follow the eventual tour shouldn’t be disappointed.

While hacking these out, something dawned on me. I came up with a cool new character and a way to introduce him. His role is to show there’s more going on around Lizzie and the hat than what they can see. I even figured out a great way to blame his actions on them and tie it to Night Bump Radio.

Then it occurred to me that he would be awesome at the final act of the Asian end of the world story I’ve been dreaming up for two years. This is the problem. In my schedule, the end of the world story comes before the one where I want to introduce him.

It would be cool to intro him, then see some problems he causes for Lizzie and the hat. Then he gets an important cameo in the Asian story. Don’t know how to solve this problem, but I have a couple of years to figure it out.

Back to work tomorrow, so my author hat has to come off for the week. Maybe something will come to me during the commutes.

35 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Writing

Different kind of productivity

It wasn’t exactly my goal today not to write new fiction. It just kind of turned out like that.

I wanted to rough out a few posts for the Story Empire site. I had a couple of ideas to get down before I forgot about them. I wound up completing all three ideas, then scheduled the first one.

I’m still not convinced I took the best approach to relaying my concepts, but I have a month before the first post goes live. It’s not unheard of for me to edit a few times after something is scheduled.

I opened up the MS for my Lizzie and the hat story, and wanted to work out a couple of timing and plot issues with it. I might have added 100 words before my daughter walked in.

I was told she was coming today, but had forgotten. She had a few errands to address over here. This led to us chatting and before we finished Old What’s Her Face walked in from work.

Today was almost a complete loss. If you count blogging, it wasn’t. I roughed out three Story Empire posts and wrote this one, too.

There isn’t much to be positive about anywhere around me, so I’m going to declare today a win.

Sundays usually aren’t good fiction days, but I might give it a go. Getting to visit with my daughter also counts, so I’m trying to look on the bright side here.

I have a theory that losing my flex day is going to make every lost day that much more important. Still assessing on that front.

31 Comments

Filed under Blogging

From weird to productive

Today is my flex day, and I started off with no idea how it was going to go.

I’ve had 1.1 hours of comp time on the books for a couple of years now, so I decided to simply waste it and come home early last night. It was one of the best things I ever did. For some reason, I was wiped out going into the afternoon.

When I got home, I crawled into bed, freezing, and slept for over two hours. Old What’s Her Face even played ball with the dogs, and I didn’t stir. She said they tried bringing me their toys and I never woke up. She had to shake me to come to supper.

I wound up sleeping around eleven hours last night, and only woke up when Otto decided he was hungry. For whatever reason, I feel great today.

I wasn’t feeling particularly creative, but I wrote anyway. That’s what I have to do with sporadic times available to me. I snuck back in. Meaning I backed up a couple of chapters to do some light edits and get back into it.

Percy was in the process of blowing crap up, and that made it easier. I didn’t plan it that way, but it was a fortunate accident.

I finished the adventure part, then moved into the assessment phase. There’s really only a couple of things left to do before book one is finished.

This will leave me with a decision to make. I could write another Hat story, but I already have one in the can. It’s probably a better move to write something completely different. It would be a bit more grim than I’ve written lately, and a stand alone tale.

The word count came to almost exactly 2000 today, so I’m pretty pleased with it.

In other news, my peach tree is in full bloom. Earlier this week it would have made a great picture covered with snow and ice, but the overcast skies didn’t make for good photography. I snapped a quick one, then updated my background. I also changed my header for a different look. It’s Springtime now, so it was time to give the old blog a facelift.

27 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Writing

International Day of Awesomeness

Hi, gang. A little something special for you today. Sally Cronin has been a huge supporter of mine, both here, and at the Story Empire blog. She’s always there to share my new releases, and to review my books.

I’ve sold books on days when Sally posts a review or shares my newest news. She’s a very active blogger, and someone every author should get to know.

She also bundles up her promotions and posts a Weeky Roundup which gives authors a second bite at the apple. She does all of this without being asked, and never asks for anything in return.

She also covers such diverse topics as cooking, health, music, and more. She’s traveled the world, and lived in an interesting few sections of it. She’s also hosted her own radio show. Through it all, she’s managed to publish over a dozen books of her own. I don’t know how she keeps up with it all, but she does.

What I’m getting at here, is that Sally is a very interesting person.

Someone smarter than I am thought it would be wonderful to do a surprise blog blast on her behalf. I couldn’t agree more.

She’s benefitted my career, and helped us grow the Story Empire blog.

It’s the least we could do to try driving some of our traffic back her direction. I think Sally is someone you should get to know. Won’t you visit her site today, leave her a comment, and check out all she offers?

Just click this link, to visit her site.

This link will take you to her Amazon Page.

92 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized

A small update

I’m going to be pushing The Hat Series all this month. Regular readers will have noticed the reblogs for the first book. To kick things off, I made The Hat free for a few days, announced that at Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising event, and hired a push by Fussy Librarian.

Stacking events might be the way to go. I try to share results, both good and bad, but this time they look pretty good.

The Hat made it up to number four on the free lists, and I’m surprised it didn’t climb higher. This is because during the free days I managed to give away 1144 copies of the book. It could be a tougher genre than last time, but those last four notches must require another 400 copies each.

I took a photo, but I’m not sharing it. I want to share this one instead. This was early Tuesday morning when it first hit the free promo. It is a paranormal title, and I thought this was funny. Check out that ranking under Paranormal & Urban Fantasy. Ha ha!

During all this, my pages read really spiked. This seems to be across the whole series, so it must have something to do with the push. Those who understand the indie author’s life seem to get that Kindle Unlimited is still free for them, but I get paid a little something out of the deal.

There will be promo for the other series titles, and I’m also stacking one of those in a couple of weeks.

I mention these things, because some of you might want to try something similar. This time it seems to have worked. It’s October, paranormal titles, blog tour, give always, plus a small paid promo. This could work with the right titles at Christmas, Valentines, and more.

As the rest of it shakes out, I hope you’ll forgive the reblogs. I want to support my hosts as much as possible, and if I can drive them a little traffic, or introduce someone to their sites, they deserve it.

I also had the post over at Story Empire today. I started a series about Three Act Structure that some of you might enjoy. You can check that out here.

This afternoon, Old What’s Her Face and I drove to Twin Falls and met my in-laws. They bought two pigs, and we bought half of one from them. The small freezer is packed tonight, and I’m kind of tired.

Tomorrow, I’ll catch up on your blogs, check for comments on the sites that hosted me, and might even manage to write a chapter. I need to start hacking out my next Story Empire post as we move into Act 2. Then I need to look to my Lanternfish manuscript. It’s back from the formatter and I need to check it this weekend.

I have a hunch there is some ham for breakfast somewhere along the line, too.

37 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Writing

The best month of the year

It’s October, and I love it. Things are cooling off after the outrageous summer we had. Leaves are starting to turn, and everything feels right again.

I was an October baby, so maybe that’s part of it. Old What’s Her Face made me some pumpkin cinnamon rolls for breakfasts. They’re nothing fancy, just the Pop & Fresh kind, but it was sweet of her.

I’ve been working my way through a variety pack of pumpkin beers from Elysian brewing. The Dark ‘O the Moon Pumpkin Stout is really good.

Pumpkin isn’t the only Fall flavor in my world. Mom sent up some of her homemade chokecherry jelly. I would have preferred syrup, but I had it on a pancake this morning anyway. It’s a taste of Fall from my childhood.

We’ve been fiddling with Halloween themed shows to watch. RL Stein has a more adult themed series of films on Netflix. Old What’s Her Face loved the first one, but I had a tough time getting into it. It’s a long month, so there could be something good coming up.

She used her birthday money and bought a Traeger Grill. She loves her gadgets and had to have the one that connects to her phone via wifi. She likes the idea of adjusting the temps while out doing other things. This meant she had to name it. She called it “The Chamber of Barbecue Secrets.” I figured you guys would get a chuckle out of that, I did.

Things are going to get busy at Entertaining Stories, too. I’m taking the entire Hat Series out on tour. This involves having written a bunch of unique posts, so they’re all worth reading. I’ll reblog everything here in an attempt to drive traffic to my hosts. There are going to be some free days, so if you’ve wanted to get into this series, this is a good month to dive in. One volume per week, and it all kicks off at Teri’s Bad Moon Rising event. Promoting a paranormal series in October feels like the right thing to do.

It’s important to support your hosts. If any of you feel so inclined, share the posts from their sites. This could boost their traffic and net them some new followers.

I’ll be watching the comments all month, so let me hear from you along the route.

I sent the second to last chapter of Good Liniment out to my critique group, and Lanternfish is in the hands of my formatter. This means starting all over again when I publish Lanternfish, and getting ready for Good Liniment in the late winter sometime.

Are any of you excited for Fall, October in general, or Halloween? Let me hear from you.

28 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Writing

All that other stuff

It’s been hard to come up with blog fodder lately. There isn’t that much interesting stuff happening. I’m still trying to figure out some October promo. I’d better get it together, because it will be here before I know what’s happening.

I came up with a series for Three Act Structure I want to post on Story Empire. One of them is hacked out, but I want to let it ferment for a day or two before I schedule it. The others should be easy enough to create when I need my next post.

A friend is going on a release tour. I assembled all her materials and scheduled her stop ahead of time. I always give priority to others, and try to make sure they’re taken care of.

I’m still swimming in Asian pears. I tried baking one the other day, but didn’t give it enough time in the oven. I also needed better things to stuff it with. Might try it again. I ate a couple fresh from the tree today, so I should be good on the fiber meter.

This afternoon, I sent another chapter to my Critique group. Sometime in the next week I should have them all back. My next amazing stunt has to be sending Lanternfish to the formatter. I want it to come out sometime in November.

Other than that, I dabbled on my side project for a while. Came to 1300 words, so nothing all that special.

Oh, and I spent an hour on the phone with my daughter. She has raccoons in her yard and sent some pictures. They look like this year’s babies and are probably looking for something to eat. Cute, but best to stay away from them.

Doesn’t seem like a lot for a week. I used to blog three times per week, plus host Lisa Burton Radio. This year has really gotten to me and I don’t seem to have some of the same mojo.

Hope all of you had good weeks and have better weekends.

29 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized, Writing

My Annual Assessment, 2020

Well, here we are. We all know what this year was about. Political strife, a global pandemic, and seeing humanity at its worst, with glimpses of us at our best.

With the Christmas holiday, I kind of checked out. We went to our son’s and spent time with the grandkids. Our daughter was here for Christmas dinner, and we’ve been watching movies. I enjoyed myself, despite the restrictions we all face.

This is supposed to be about my annual assessment, so I’d better get on with it. Some of you are probably expecting some doom and gloom, and nobody will blame you, but that’s not how I see my year.

It all started out with such promise. 2020 was the Year of the Rat. I was born on the Year of the Rat. My first publication came out on Chinese New Year, and it features a couple of rats and the parade in San Francisco. It seemed like the table was all set.

Grinders did okay. It has some great reviews, but could use some more. Reviews seem to be harder to come by these days. I think it’s some of my best work and would like to get it to a few more readers.

Performance and reviews are kind of going to be the subject for a few paragraphs. I had an ambitious schedule and succeeded in publishing three books. The next two were continuations of series, which is something new to me.

HMS Lanternfish is book two of a trilogy. It sets up some things that will happen in the final volume, which I’m writing currently. I don’t know what it means, but HMS Lanternfish has less than half the number of reviews than Voyage of the Lanternfish.

I know Voyage has been available for a year longer, so that makes some sense. I also know that it’s a small dataset. Hard to draw conclusions with those kind of numbers.

Rumor has it that with trilogies sometimes the sales pick up after the whole trilogy is available. Some readers have been burned by authors who never finished the job. I understand that, but am working on the concluding tale.

Then there is the Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This is the third entry into the world of Lizzie and the hat. These have all been well received, but nowhere near as popular as the original volume. This is my open ended series, and I intend to keep it going for a few more years. I’m also currently working on volume four of this series.

It’s important to remember that reviews aren’t the same thing as sales. Most books sell more than what they garner in reviews and mine are no exception.

I also took most of the summer off. Three publications per year, for two consecutive years, got kind of draining.

I wanted to post at Entertaining Stories somewhere between two and three times per week. The year started off that way, but in the last month or so I’m lucky to get one weekend post put up.

I will blame some of this on Covid. My blog includes a slice of life along with the antics of Lisa Burton, or my word metrics updates. With Covid, there hasn’t been much of a life at all, let alone a slice worth sharing with the world.

Another excuse is also blog tour fatigue. When promoting three publications, there are a lot of blog tour posts. They fatigue me, and my readers. I keep every post unique, so they’re worth reading, and that is a bit draining.

The Story Empire blog is another pet project. I kept my end of the bargain and covered all my assigned days. I write this every year, but I’m wondering how much more I have to offer over there. I love helping others, and will keep chipping away at it. There comes a point where I have to rewrite and repackage some of my content. New writers are always showing up, so it kind of works. I already have my first January post written and scheduled.

To wrap all this up, I think 2020 was successful. There was a lot to overcome, and we’re all still dealing with it. However, I published three books, interacted with many of you, and met all my goals. In a different year, I might whine a little about low success, but in 2020 I’ll take it.

Once 2021 arrives, I’ll trot out a business plan and we can all converse about that.

Talk to me. How did your business year play out?

27 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Writing

Running out of steam

Old What’s Her Face went to Nevada again. It’s just me and the dogs this weekend. My brother-in-law and his wife moved into their new house, and they’re throwing sod this weekend.

Dog sitting duty hasn’t been that hard, so I tried to use my time wisely. I’ve been mostly blogging all day.

That means sending out letters with proposed dates for tour hosts, then writing their posts as they respond. I still have one more to prepare and will try to do that before I call it a night.

I also marked up a critique sample for one of my group members and sent it out. I like to turn them around fast whenever possible. I only have weekends to work on things and others might be in that boat, too.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, I wrote and scheduled my next Story Empire post. I spent far too much time monkeying around with the block editor, but I need to do that. It looks like it’s here to stay and being curmudgeonly about it isn’t going to help me.

I know the original editor wasn’t exactly self explanatory either and I messed with it for a long time before I found the things I actually use. I never did figure out what that tool that looks like a highway stripe actually does.

Somewhere between waiting on email, and writing posts, I snitched a little reading time. I’m not the proficient reader I was as a youngster, and take frequent breaks. I’m enjoying some quality time to dive into a good book, but I have to do it my way. Eye fatigue is part of the issue.

It got cold here overnight and I actually ran the gas fireplace to take the edge off. I spent about two hours watching the temperature parked at 58 degrees, then decided it wasn’t actually going to warm up. They promised us some rain today, but it only drizzled for a short while. I hope it was enough to settle some of this smoke. It feels like it helped.

Old What’s Her Face comes home tomorrow, and Monday is a holiday. It’s smart for me to accomplish all I can today. It’s relatively calm, but I’m starting to burn out. Maybe, after that last post is sent off, I’ll try to find something on television. I’m in the mood for something Halloween related, but not a slasher.

35 Comments

Filed under Blogging

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.

39 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Lisa Burton Radio, Writing