Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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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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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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Chipping away at things

So far, I managed to make edits to a chapter of Lanternfish. This is the one my critique partners had recently. Good suggestions this time, and they improved the story quite a bit.

I got the next chapter ready for submission, then sent it off. They only have about a half-chapter left after that. I may add my back material and let them look at it, too.

The next Hat story has been languishing while I finished Lanternfish. I decided to read every single word of it this morning. Never added any new words, but it’s still progress. When I’m ready to write next time, I’ll be up to date.

It rained like crazy this morning. We have ducks swimming above the lawn in the park next door. That’s a lot of water. It’s also giving my Asian Pear tree fits. Fire blight spreads this way, and it has a touch of it. It kills whole trees, but this variety is pretty resistant.

Between projects, I decided to monkey with one of my old cowboy hats. This started life as a custom beaver blend hat. I was always disappointed in it, because it wasn’t quite what I expected. The crown was about 30 degrees crooked, and I had to reshape that myself. It was supposed to be a nice light brown, but arrived in a pumpkin color.

I’ve turned this hat into my lab rat over the years. Recently, I’ve been surfing the web looking for ways to artificially weather hats. They just seem to look better after they break in a little. Out comes my lab rat hat for a bit of experimentation.

I used the tea kettle to steam the crap out of the brim, then used an old round extension cord as a mold to put a kettle roll around it. It looks pretty darned good.

For my next amazing stunt, I used thick instant coffee in a spray bottle to darken it up. This one didn’t work as well as the Internet sold it. It knocked the pumpkin color out, and it’s kind of a buckskin now. (Not horrible) My question is whether it will remain color-fast. Meaning when it rains am I going to have cold coffee running down my neck?

I also spent a couple of bucks on something called fullers earth. This can be used to add some stains for artificial wear and tear. I haven’t tried this, yet. I’ll do it in conjunction with some salt water and olive oil so the colored earth will stick. My attempt will involve lightly using a soda straw to blow the color on in some key places, like the pinch point of the crown. Maybe where I normally handle the brim, etc.

Fiddling around with hats probably doesn’t sound as much fun as writing about root monsters and pirates, but it gives me something to do. Who knows, maybe this hat will be something worth wearing on a camping trip one day.

I still need to go through my short story one more time, but I have a few weeks yet. If there’s any time after I call my parents tomorrow, I will probably tackle a fresh new chapter of the next Hat story.

Hope all of you are having good weekends whatever you’re up to.

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Review for Viral Blues by C S Boyack #HumourousDarkComedy @virgilante

Viral Blues get’s some love today. Go visit and check it out. Jaye and Anita are super supporters of the writing community, and prolific authors. You might find your next favorite blog or new read while you’re there.

Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie ~ Authors

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.
They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.
Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?
Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

Our Review

I wasn’t sure about the premise for Viral Blues, considering the state of the planet right now. I thought it might be just a little too close for comfort, but the cast…

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Not tons going on

It’s rare that I get to this point, but the title says it all. Work this week was kind of a disaster, and I’m not excited about the future of some things right now. I won’t say more, but I need to get in another six years or so before I can retire. Craig will play nice. Craig will do what he must.

I didn’t write anything, but still fiddled with the writing business. I sent out a submission for critique on Lanternfish. I also added some personal information to the end of my short story. No idea whether the publisher wants that, but if I don’t send it, I could be shooting myself in the foot.

I still need to read the short one more time, and may do that tomorrow. Mrs. Molony is still hanging around, but since this is my short weekend, I decided to bag it for now. Getting Lanternfish out is my main priority. The critiques are bringing me closer to that goal. I’m a little concerned about having Mrs. Molony ready in time for Halloween.

My artist is busy with Lanternfish projects, so I won’t swamp him with the Mrs. Molony stuff until that’s finished. I have a cover in mind and some fun Lisa ideas to support the story.

I touched up and scheduled my next Story Empire post. That will show up at the end of next week. I really enjoy posting over there, but need another solid idea. My stronger suit is characters, so I should focus on that again. Trying to come up with something for my July posts. Maybe another Expansion Pack or two.

I also started another pin-board on Pinterest. This one is dedicated to magical items and mad science stuff. I like to have reference points when I write and have found them quite helpful. They’re open to anyone, so if they might help you, feel free to help yourselves.

I spent some time finishing Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell on Netflix. I heard it was going away, and I’ve seen the early episodes a couple of times over the years. It kind of dragged in the middle, but finished pretty well. It gave me a cool new magical idea, so I made some quick notes before I forgot it. Who knows if I’ll ever use it, but it’s down in one of my apps if the occasion should come along. All in all, I’m glad I stuck with it. I may have caught the first parts on PBS years ago, but never saw the end until this weekend.

I’d like to find something else to watch on either Netflix or Disney+. Something speculative in nature. In another week or so, Disney+ has one that looks fun called Artemis Fowl. Any recommendations until then? Leave them in the comments.

I’ve made an executive decision to stop drafting new material after Mrs. Molony gets published. My brain needs a break for a while. (Three publications per year, two years in a row.) I’ll work on some kind of promo, but have no idea what that will look like. I’m also going to turn my attention to my storyboards. I’d love to produce another stand alone title, but I promised a Lanternfish trilogy. This means when I start back up, Lanternfish III has to be a priority. A more detailed storyboard will help with that.

Hope all of you are having a good weekend. We went from sunny and about about 95 degrees to raining and 70 degrees today. When one extreme front meets another, at least we didn’t get the gigantic winds. We don’t seem to get tornados out west, so that isn’t a worry.

Talk to me people. I’m trying to avoid all the negativity in the world right now. What’s fun on television? What kind of character tips would you like to see at Story Empire? How’s the weather where you are?

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Case Study: The Mandalorian

I have the wheel over at Story Empire today. It’s a case study that makes examples of some good writing techniques. Pull on your Wookie slippers, grab your Baby Yoda plush toy, and join me for a bit of pop culture with tips for your fiction.

Story Empire

Hi gang! Craig here with you today. Every once in a while I like to pick something apart for the sake of a writing study. I always use film because more people are likely to have seen what I’m discussing.

I’ve never done this with a television series before, so we’ll see how it goes because there is no end in sight. I was feeling bad during lockdown, because I hadn’t binge watched anything, so I rewatched The Mandalorian. If this post is going to spoil something for you, stop here.

This series is eight episodes long, so far. That means every episode is 12.5% of the total. Keep this in mind as we go along.

There are two immediate lessons that come to mind for authors. First, don’t drown the audience in back story. Second, hold some things back.

We don’t follow Mando from childhood and learn all about…

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