Category Archives: Writing

A writer’s holiday

After the goof off weekend, I planned on one more day of writing. It turned out pretty well, but wasn’t a banner day. My iPad battery says it’s time to recharge, so I’m writing this while it’s on the wire.

I have two of three critiques back for Serang, and will wait for the remaining one. Maybe I can address all of them come Saturday.

Today I focused on the unnamed team-up adventure. I stopped doing word counts, but it feels like about 2000. Lizzie and the hat had a small spat, because they always do. They teamed up with Clovis to chase a red herring that revealed a big surprise. Of course he busted some heads along the way, because that’s what he does. He even got to kill a zombie using a sledge hammer. Fun, fun, fun.

Oh, and Lizzie and the hat stole a second upright bass. It was right there, what were they supposed to do?

Lisa and Jason got the last scene, so they faded into the background for this section. Jason is thinking about going home and cutting his losses. Gina and Gupta shared a new development that raised the stakes and anchored everyone until the end.

I have a conundrum with this one. I want it at novel length, but it’s looking like about 50,000 words will wrap it up. I’ve always said a story should be as long as it needs to be, no more – no less. I still believe that.

My problem is that I have enough 99¢ titles out there. If someone needs a stepping stone into my work, there are plenty of options, even a couple of free anthologies. I want to price this one at $2.99 like most of my recent work. I’d like some feedback here, but I won’t pad word count. I have several big scenes, and can’t be completely sure until I wrap it up. What’s your advice on pricing? Would you pay $2.99 for a short novel?

Keep in mind that my publishing desire is Serang before school lets out, then the un-named project around Halloween. I may park the unnamed one, finish Serang, then see if more ideas pop up for the unnamed one during the Spring.

In other news, the experimental bread rose well overnight. Sourdough is slow and you have to be patient. I punched it down before sunrise, but it’s taking its sweet time on the second rise. If I need to nudge it a bit, I’ll place it on a hot pad.

For the rest of the day, I’ll kick back and wait for the black helicopters to land. Why you ask? These are the windows I have open in my browser. It could give you some insight into both stories I’m working on right now.

  • My blog, Entertaining Stories.
  • Yin and Yang comparison.
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Fever.
  • Marburg Virus.
  • English to Chinese translator.
  • The Chinese Cobra.
  • Three different tabs for an online convention I’m interested in.
  • A chart about how fast Ebola spreads.
  • A map of the districts in Chicago.
  • Amazon for Voyage of the Lanternfish. (I was checking for new reviews. I need more.)

What’s your browsing history look like?

This afternoon, I have to get on with an interview for Lisa Burton Radio. Interest in these has tapered off, but I’m still doing them. I may use the online convention to push them a bit more.

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It’s a goof off weekend

Old What’s Her Face is off Saturday and Sunday. While this is great, it also prevents me from doing some things.

I sent off a big portion Serang to my critique partners. One has already trickled back, and I’m sure the others will in the next few days. It’s a good time to pause this one. She and her master wandered to the high desert, far from the Emperor’s focus. There are soldiers here, but the main focus is along the Northern Coast.

There is a thieves market here, and I want Serang to change her viewpoint toward them. Right now, she thinks they should all be hanged. If she’s going to become a pirate, this is where her attitude must change.

The vendors all have something similar to a Tibetan mastiff protecting their shops. This is a bit of scene setting for something I need to explain explain from Lanternfish.

I’ve come across several places like this in the story. Because it is a prequel, I have to live with everything that’s come before. I’m really enjoying the challenge. Right now, it’s a good time to pause and think.

I made a loaf of very good sourdough, but it’s gone now. Today I started a new batch of experimental bread. This time I added sesame seeds, sesame oil, and a big scoop of chili-garlic sauce. Might be a disaster, might be pretty good. I wish I had a scoop of leftover rice, but such is life.

We watched a bunch of movies, and with the crappy weather it’s a good plan. Watched Silverado. Odd cast for a cowboy movie, but it’s a great film. I actually based a character in Panama around Linda Hunt from this film.

Several Clint Eastwood films filled out the bulk of the day, plus Deadpool 2. Right now, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is on. I know everyone is down on Nicholas Cage, but I always liked him.

While the bread is rising, we’ll probably watch movies all day. That, and I need to sew a button on a favorite shirt. The damned thing broke in half. I’ve never seen that before.

I get the holiday off tomorrow. I need to read back a couple chapters, but I do that every writing day. If my luck holds, I’ll move the team-up project ahead. They’re getting closer to the paranormal bad guy, but not just yet. They have a red herring they need to chase, and might get to chase it tomorrow.

Hope all of you are enjoying your weekend. Tell me about it in the comments.

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A writing day

I drew the lucky straw for the first time in years. My flex day at work is Friday. Combine this with the Monday holiday, and I get a four day weekend.

We gain a lot of leave hours where I work, so I decided to add a day to my weekend today. If I’d have been thinking, I’d have taken Tuesday instead. Today costs me 10 hours of leave; whereas, Tuesday would only cost me eight. Oh well, I’m glad to be off.

It’s raining like hell here today, and as much as I love it, Frankie does not. She’s one of our bulldogs, and I spent the bulk of my morning trying to get her outside so she could pee. She wanted out, but not in the rain.

Her older brother, Otto could care less. Finally, I lied and told him the squirrel was outside hoping they would both take care of business. He blustered out while she watched from the doorway. Finally, she ran outside, bit him in the head, then ran back in. He wanted to stay out, because he doesn’t care.

Eventually it stopped for a moment, and she did her business outside.

Besides tending dogs, I managed some writing today. This time it was Serang’s turn. She managed to catch a fish. This may not seem like much, but her father was a fisherman, and it means everything to her. He died when she was young, and being able to do this is very important to her. She shared the fish with some poor villagers that the soldiers took everything from.

They moved locations, which allowed me to introduce some minor fantasy creatures. Then she killed a couple of soldiers, stole their money, and fled for her life. They were some of the bad guys, and this needed to start happening.

She still isn’t completely mature, and there are some big lessons she needs to learn. She met another surviving monk and overheard the adults talking about her. Now she’s about to undertake a large journey, but she doesn’t know it yet. I’ll handle that tomorrow.

It feels like around 3000 words. I want to dwell on the next section, because I’m changing environments again. We’re leaving the cliffs, bamboo, and jungles and going to a high desert for the next portion. Serang and her master forage for a lot of their food, and I’m not quite sure what they’re going to find out there. I may just have them take it from their pursuers. In fact that sounds more adventurous.

Right now, I’m done for the day. I have some sourdough rising, and my wife is making soup when she gets home. Whatever you guys are doing, I hope it’s a good day.

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One of those kind of days

I woke up this morning to the mellow tones of Otto barfing on my bedroom floor. That’s one of those sounds that wakes you completely up. It was 4:00 AM. He’s fine, sometimes he gets snotty and chokes. I’ve woken up coughing more than once myself.

Since I was up, I had some quiet time and spent it reading. I don’t often get to read these days, and relished the opportunity. As a young man I could devour a book per day. These days it’s more like a book per month.

I’m currently writing two stories at once, and intended to devote some time to both of them. I had a pile of critiques to address on one of them, and did that this morning. If I don’t do anything else, at least I got that done.

I looked to the other one and discovered a problem. This is me, being anal, but it completely stifled me. I’ve been working on it using two different computers, one Apple and one PC. (We get a lot of hour long lunches during January and February due to the holiday weeks.)

Specifically, I’m using Microsoft Word and Apple Pages for iPad. My problem involves straight quotes vs curly quotes. Shouldn’t be a problem, right? Some whizbang formatting trick and all should be well. (Apostrophes are the same way.)

I tried the help link in Pages to no avail. I Googled what to do, seemed like some reasonable suggestions, except they didn’t work. I found instructions to try on a Mac. Okay, I have a Mac. I opened my manuscript and went through the step by step instructions. Very easy to follow… except it didn’t work.

I fiddled around myself, and if I delete my paragraph marks, the entire super-paragraph takes on the format I want. Then I can hit return again, make the quotes the way I want them before moving to the next paragraph.

This is possible, but I’m not going to do it just yet. I’m going to see if I can fix it using Word. At this point I gave up completely.

This is my short weekend, and I have other things that need tending. I got a haircut, paid the bills, and we have some errands in town. We’ll probably go out to dinner while we’re out.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, and I’m not going to address it then either.

I have some decent time coming up, and I’ll take up the keyboard then.

I hope you are having a better weekend than I am. Boise is covered in snow and ice, but it’s pretty shallow. More freezing than anything else. Maybe some beef and beer will improve my outlook tonight.

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Punking out today

I’m not doing much of anything today. Everyone is home, and the dogs are noisy to the point of nuisance.

I could have done some reading. Could have done some writing, but they both require a quiet place.

Did a lot of internet surfing today. Found some nice reviews for Lanternfish. Seems odd to me that the USA reviews post on the UK site, but the UK reviews don’t post on the US site. I have a great review on the UK site too.

Lanternfish is thing. People seem to be enjoying it. If you haven’t picked up your copy, you still have time to do so and tell your friends, “I was into Lanternfish before it was cool.” Think how much you’ll enjoy that.

All you have to do is click on the cover, over there.

I managed a bunch of daydreaming and added a ton of lines to a notebook about future stories. This is pre-storyboard stuff, but they make cool vignettes, scenes, characters, monsters, etc.

It helped with the ideas that the Harry Potter and Magical Creatures marathon is on television today.

With tomorrow being Super Sunday, I doubt I’ll be any more productive. I have Monday off, so maybe there’s hope for it. I have a wonderful book I’m reading, and the mashup story could use another chapter.

I left Jason Fogg inside a skyscraper trying to steal some corporate documents to help the group gain an advantage. I’m pretty sure he’s going to get thrown off the building. He’s Jason, so he can fog-out before hitting the street. I can still build some tension in that his thrower is watching, and he has to time it right to convince the guy that he splatted on the ground.

Jason’s stories were always in first person, and it would be great in a scene like this. It doesn’t work in the mashup, because all the players get time in the spotlight.

I also woke up Tituba the sourdough starter. She’s bubbling away and ready to bake. I might do some of that too.

I hope all of you are having a great weekend. I couldn’t care less about the game. It’s the ones who got there on a bad call vs the ones who got there on a lucky coin toss for possession. There will be the advertisements, some great craft beer, and my wife promised hot goat cheese dip with poblano drizzled over the top. Go craft beer and goat cheese! Nom.

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Pulling back the veil

I wanted to hold some of this back, but I find myself lacking for things to blog about. I have some goals that are kind of opposed to each other for the year, and I’m going to have to make a small change.

Lisa BurtonOne of my goals was to include more posts from the writing cabin. This is where my robotic assistant and I plan out the day, and write the stories. This is hard to do when she isn’t there, and that’s the big problem.

I’ve started writing a book that includes Lisa Burton. That plays into my year of sequels, and it’s kind of a crazy idea, because it’s a sequel to multiple books. It makes for a fun learning experience, because I have to live with character histories. I also have to make it stand alone if someone hasn’t read a previous book. Actually, it’s a wonderful goal.

Here are the players in this story:

  • The Playground – Gina Greybill, Mohan Gupta, Justine, and Clovis.
  • The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack 1 & 2 – Lisa Burton, and Jason Fogg.
  • Wild Concept – Lisa Burton
  • The Hat – Lizzie and the hat

There are going to be some minor characters who appear too. Others will be a nod within the story, like The Enhanced League. I have a surprise or two along the way that I’ll keep close to the vest for now.

I had a fun teaser idea where I would post some old blues video and a Lisa Burton poster, then stay quiet about the whole thing. Invite followers to guess as to what’s happening. I think that would have worked well, and I can still do it without the guessing.

Part of the fun is making sure everyone gets their moment to shine. At this point, it’s coming out very well, without a whole lot of backstory to clog it up.

Aside from the goal of “Entertaining Stories” there could be some additional benefit here too. Some people love Lisa, Clovis, the hat. Here is their chance to revisit them. Hopefully, the line will work both ways. Maybe someone reads this book, then decides to learn more about Lizzie and the hat, or Jason Fogg.

Best of all, I’m having a good time. If there isn’t any money in this business, fun is all that remains. Fun also translates to the page and makes the books better.

Right now, I’m fast approaching 25K words. So far, Lisa gets along with everyone. Clovis and the hat seem to be finding common ground. Lizzie is fine with Lisa and Gina. Jason is a bit standoffish, but he always was.

Today, Clovis broke off from the group, because he’s like that. He gathered evidence in a way that only Clovis can. After depositing the bodies, he and the dog went out for hotdogs.

When I stopped for the day, the group compared Clovis’ findings with Lisa’s web searches to get closer to an answer. Right now the clues are organized crime, pharmaceuticals, and two kinds of zombies. At the end of this writing day, someone mentioned the word wraith.

I mention this, so you can see how Gina, Lizzie, and the hat might tie in. Gina is a doctor who fights paranormal evils. Lizzie and the hat use a kind of symbiosis to become a paranormal avenger… and to play rockabilly music in a band.

I’m making Lizzie and the hat kind of the lead into the story, but others will have their moments to shine. I’m going to include some fun graphics like I did in The Hat, and even have an alternate ending worked out. I’m going to include this after my author section kind of like the end of a Marvel Comics based movie, because it’s fun, and because I can.

At the same time, I’ve also been writing a book called Serang. This one is a stand alone story, but is previous to Voyage of the Lanternfish. Serang is a neat character from Lanternfish, and she wanted me to tell her story. I’ve taken her from childhood to teenager. The last bit I worked on has her talking to an ethereal dragon. She hates dragons, but might wind up finding some peace with them. It’s also in the 25K word count area.

Not too bad for a weekend warrior like myself. Winter is the best time for me to write, so I want to sling the words while I can.

Eventually, I’ll have to park one of them so I can complete the other one. It would be fabulous to release them both this year. Ideally, Serang before school lets out, and the unnamed team-up somewhere before Halloween.

It’s a tough goal, but it is possible with a bit of luck.

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Temporarily out of service

My daughter just headed home. I always love seeing her, and we had a nice visit. She and Old What’s Her Face went shopping yesterday while I was at work, so I know they had a nice visit too.

Her work schedule isn’t one that allows actual full weekends, so we take what we can get.

The blog tour for Lanternfish is officially over. (Try not to cheer too loud.) This is the longest tour I’ve ever done, but I had a lot of hosting offers and didn’t want to let anyone down.

I’ve always been blessed in that my regulars will follow the tours, at least in part. Some of you made every stop and I’m so grateful for you. This is a benefit to those who hosted me too. It increases their blog volume, and they might gain a new follower along the way. My hosts were all pretty interesting people, so it’s fun to get acquainted that way.

We sold some books, had some fun conversations, and kept each post unique. It’s pretty tiring though. I have a habit of checking the comments for several days. I don’t want anyone to think I snubbed them. Every night, I surfed back across four or five posts to see if there were new comments. I’ll keep doing that for the last couple of posts.

It’s time to kick back and watch for reviews. Hopefully, there will be some. I try to reblog those that do blog reviews, but Amazon is what I’m watching.

My mind is filled with creative ideas this morning, but I’m not going to do any writing. This is a good weekend to spend some time with the Muse. I need to string some scenes into the overall plot of my stories. A bit of thought makes for better tales.

Work was crazy this week too, and is scheduled to continue into next week.

Right now, I’m watching the original Star Wars, except it’s the one they added extra crap to. They should have just left it alone.

We hope to work in date night tonight. No specific plans, but probably dinner somewhere. (Update, Old What’s Her Face just made reservations at PF Chang’s.)

For me, I’ll check blog comments, but otherwise, I’m temporarily out of service.

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