Category Archives: Writing

Today is the day

I warned you about it on Friday, and the day is finally here. You can grab your copy of The Yak Guy Project for free today. To quote pop culture, “Free, free, free, free.”

This is my attempt to ease your isolation by offering something fun to read. I suppose you could grab a copy to read this Fall, too, if you want. Anyway, here is a cover and blurb, plus a purchase link.

Imagine waking up in the desert with no idea what happened to you. You have clear memories of situations and places, but a complete loss in personal matters… like your own name. This situation is bad, and you have no idea how to get home.

When you’re rescued by a talking yak, the situation gets exponentially worse. You’ve obviously lost your mind. The immediate needs of a ride off the salt pan and searing heat, along with a drink of water, outweigh the concerns about your mental state.

This is exactly what happened to the Yak Guy. In fact he’s been placed in an alternate world and given a chance to start over in life.

Can this selfish, almost parasitic, young man learn to start over in a world where charity is hard to find? Life is brutal and short here, but he’s going to have to adapt or perish.

The Yak Guy project is loosely based around The Fool’s Journey from the Tarot. Those with experience in Tarot will spot people and situations from the Major Arcana.

I linked the cover, but this is also a purchase link: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B07D1QY9Y7

Feel free to share this post by using the buttons below. Maybe one of your friends would like a copy.

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Time for a Freeby

Everyone is self isolating, if not outright quarantined right now. It get’s boring, even for those of us who can work from home.

Add into that, a whole bunch of people who lost their jobs and are trying to file for unemployment right now, and we could all use a break.

Reading is a good way to spend a few hours, and all authors would love to have you check out their wares. I don’t want anyone to accuse me of taking advantage, so I’m going to do a free promotion. Even folks who lost their jobs can take advantage of a freeby.

Don’t freak out on me just yet, because I set it up to run on Monday. This post is just so you can line up ahead of time, while practicing your social distancing skills. I’ll run out another post when it goes live.

I try to have a method to my madness. Yak Guy is an older title these days, and I never thought it got as much love as it could have. The reviews are all positive, but there just aren’t enough of them. Hopefully, you follow my logic. I’m not linking the cover, because the freeby trots out on Monday.

This is the one where I based the characters off the Fool’s Journey from the Tarot Deck. Yak Guy is The Fool who goes on the journey. He meets other Major Arcana characters along the way. Obviously, I had to weave in a few others, but it made for a fun way to tell a story. I was kind of proud of my Wheel of Fortune. (It’s an entire city with multiple choices of roads leading out.)

For today, you might want to give your yak an extra ration of oats, maybe use some saddle soap on your rigging. The journey begins Monday.

Lisa says he likes carrots, too.

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Logging in today

This was my flex day, today. I dabbled on a lot of things, and didn’t really have much focus. Eventually, I decided writing might be a bit more focused.

I stuck with The Ballad of Mrs. Molony, which is my side project. I didn’t even keep a word count this time, but it feels close to 3000 words. Might be 2800 or so, but I have no way of proving it. It provides enough to send out to my critique group. I’ll have to do that later tonight.

I’m still trying to provide some fun things for everyone, but don’t have any new photos. It’s rainy outside and not worthy of photography. Both dogs have been to the vet this week, so they aren’t photo worthy either. We’re poor until payday, now.

In an effort to provide some fun things, I’m posting some Pinterest pages. People like memes, cute pictures, and graphics, so why not. The first one is the board I keep for Lizzie and The Hat. You can see what they did from other books, what they’re currently up to in Mrs. Molony, and what they might get up to in future books. Here’s the link.

The next one is my board for Grinders. If you’ve been curious about cyberpunk, some visuals that helped with the story, and other tidbits you can check it out. I shared some of my tour posts here, so you might have to scroll down a bit. I’m not going to post a purchase link today. The cover in my sidebar is linked if you’re interested. This is the Grinders Board.

Check out the boards and talk to me. There are some cool graphics involved, and obviously, you can share them on your own boards if you see something you like. Am I the only author who uses Pinterest this way?

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As authors, what do we do with it?

I’m in a quiet house this morning. My daughter is here, and she brought a Rottweiler puppy with her. These all belong to her room mate, and nobody seems to want this one. He’s cute as hell and they’re trying to give him away. I tried to snap a photo for you guys, but he’s kind of a perpetual motion machine. He looks more like a Black and Tan coonhound right now. They never got His tail docked, but I have a hunch this will change once he fills out. You’ll have to make due with Frankie and I.

As authors, we’re all kind of observant. There is a lot going on around us right now, and I wondered what to do with it all.

I remember my grandparents talking about quarantines and such. One of my grandmother’s sisters was quarantined at Ellis Island, because they thought she looked sickly. Grandma had to make her way to Utah alone. They were both children. I think grandma was eleven at the time, and her sister was a similar age. One parent in Wales, the other in Utah and they shipped them between the parents.

I’ve heard them talk about the kind of quarantines we see today, but always thought that was something for the history books. Something to use in one of my historical pieces, or maybe fantasy. Here we are in the 21st Century and living it. I told my son he should grab a couple of rolls of toilet paper and try to find a girlfriend this weekend. “Hey, baby. I have toilet paper.”

I added some quarantine issues to Viral Blues, but obviously got a few things wrong. I hope this doesn’t kill the enjoyment of the story. I had my quarantines limited to specific areas, and I never anticipated the hoarding and shortages that we’re seeing.

When I think about my Lanternfish project (70,000 words and growing) the Coronavirus isn’t going to make a difference. It’s set in a fantasy world, and nothing will have to change.

That may not be the case with my side project, currently called The Ballad of Mrs. Malony. (10,000 words and now what?) I dealt with some monsters in Viral Blues, but an intentional spreading of disease was the undertone of the story. This poses some issues for me. The Hat stories are set in the modern world. Sure it’s supernatural/paranormal, but in our world. I’ve already dealt with a virus in this series.

In the stories, Lizzie and the Pythons are a cover band that allows me to move them around the country to discover new paranormal adventures. Nice trick for an author. However, bands play in nightclubs. Those are all closed today. How realistic is it to have them doing this in their stories? I don’t want to trash what I’ve already created, but I have to admit the opportunity to show them out of work and have Lizzie bicker with The Hat over such things has merit. Maybe they have to deal with looters and riots. The Hat always said humans are the worst monsters of all.

Part of the problem is that I have long term plans for them. I have two and a half more books living in my head, and changing continuity of their story isn’t something I relish. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s a great way to lose interest in writing them.

In a perfect world, this will all blow over in six months. I’ll look like a genius to future readers, because I have my virus story in the continuity of the characters, and nobody will check the publication dates and compare them to the current outbreak. Fun times for everyone, etc.

What about our future projects? Are all of the real world stories going to have to acknowledge the happenings of 2020? Our world will change because of this, whether it involves where people work, health insurance, vaccines, or any number of things. Our economy will change, too. Should we all hold off on real world settings until we see where we’re headed? It might seem odd to readers if the world looks like 2019, but they’re reading it in 2022. Maybe traditional things will become a page in the history books, and having fictional kids going door to door on Halloween will be an archaic reference. Big family Thanksgiving??? I think you can see where I’m going with this.

I decided years ago that any science fiction I write is better in the near future. I don’t think I write outer space all that well. Honestly, it’s okay not to be great at everything. Having some parameters on my imagination is a good thing. However, I have a nearly complete storyboard for a post apocalyptic story. The world tore itself apart, and I can draw from some of the things I see going on today. But, do I have to acknowledge 2020 in some small way? Today would be part of history in the setting this story will take place in.

You’ll probably see me around next week as I continue touring Grinders around. This is some of my near future science fiction, and doesn’t reference Coronavirus at all. It didn’t exist when I was writing it.

I’ve talked about my concerns with writing around the outbreak. I also have to admit it offers some new and realistic opportunity. Your super spy runs into a roadblock because the airports are closed. Cute romance involves a quarantine, but they both live in the same building. Heroic stories about coming up with a vaccine, or delivering one to a decimated area. There are some possibilities here. We can use the selfishness, create new forms of prejudice, add some riots, all of these make good story turns.

Since I’m rambling, here’s one more Boyack thought for you. When the media creates the next generation of heroes for us, I hope they skip over the sports stars, the box office heroes, and the musical starlets who can’t seem to wear enough clothes. Maybe there ought to be some space reserved for the scientists, the CDC workers, even the truck drivers, and those who are serving our elderly. I would watch their awards show.

Talk to me people. Do we need to rethink our works in progress? Are you excited to fictionalize the things you see going on today? Do we need to reassess what a real hero is? I know you’re all home, and if you’re reading blogs this weekend, I’d love to hear from you.

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Vacation day

This is one of the busiest weeks of the year for us at work. With everything pretty much settled now, I decided to take today off.

I didn’t have any specific goals other than not having to get up and commute. This week began with a return to Daylight Savings Time, included a full moon, and ends with Friday the 13th. None of those are particularly troubling. In fact, I published Viral Blues the last time Friday the 13th rolled around.

The news is depressing with all the viral scares going around. I was looking forward to baseball season, so that’s kind of disappointing. I understand why they’re making all these changes, but I don’t have to like it.

Fortunately for me, there is the writing thing. I need to address some critiques I have back, but I don’t have them all. With that in mind, I decided to add more words. It wasn’t a banner day, but 1600 new words are more than I had when I got up this morning. I kind of like them, but always reassess when my next writing day begins.

The tour for Grinders is ongoing, and I needed to deliver some materials for that. I think it’s time well spent. No sense publishing these things if I don’t try to make people aware of them. This tour hasn’t been any more productive than any of the others, but there is one noticeable difference. I’m enjoying it more. By only having two posts per week, I don’t feel rushed and harried to cover all the comments and such. Comments have been great, too. There seem to be more of them this time.

This could actually be a good thing in the long run. I buy books by earmarking them in my head, then getting to them when I have some time. I don’t always remember all the things I was interested in, and sometimes a reminder will send me running to Amazon. Perhaps, by spreading the posts out, I can have those little reminders online for those who are more like me.

Two years ago, I decided that writing my next book was my best source of promotion. It seems to be working to a degree. My backlist is getting more action than it ever has. It isn’t a lot, but it’s noticeable. More publications means I’m out there more frequently than ever before. Phase two of this idea will be some “specials” when my series books are ready to come out. It’s possible I might weave in a free day for one of the older titles, too. That’s all speculation. My main goal is to get the next Lanternfish book ready to set sail.

Those 1600 word might be all I accomplish this weekend. There could be a few more, but the story has moved to a point where I’m not stressing about it. If I can’t get it finished before Summer, I may just release it in the middle of Summer. I never have great luck with Summer releases, but I’ve been told the middle of a trilogy is a tough sell anyway. They usually don’t move until the series concludes.

I’m open to suggestions on that point. Let me hear from you in the comments. I’d like to learn your release day and promo secrets.

Oh, Public Service Announcement: Hiding in the closet with a copy of Grinders is a great way to spend the weekend and will not expose you to Corona Virus. It’s an E-book, so you can’t substitute it for toilet paper, but you won’t want to after you get into it.

On one of my last posts I tossed a photo of Otto out there to draw interest. Frankie demanded equal time, so here she is on one of the rare times when she pauses in her playing.

Being good, temporarily.

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Time for some Woodford Reserve

Today was my flex day. I started off with my usual surf through social media, read blogs, etc.

Then I turned my attention to the Lanternfish manuscript. I always read my last chapter before starting, and managed to correct a couple of typos. (Probably missed some, too.) I do this to get back into the story.

My goal was to have them sail away from their stop in Giapon by the end of the morning. I kind of made it.

This is because there was a lot to do. Serang needed to appoint officers on her inferior ship. None of the people aboard like each other, but she made a good start with them. Its sail pattern is inferior, and its going to have a hard time even keeping up with Lanternfish or La Girona, and they aren’t fast ships.

This led to some team building when a new sail pattern required construction of additional sails. They used people from all the various factions and Serang made them work together.

I also planted a little surprise for James in the form of a gift from the shogun. He isn’t interested in his new teenage concubine, but his adopted son sure is. The hopes are that some of this tension can carry my story while they sail the arctic waters. This new character will get a bigger moment later in the story.

In an emergency, I have a loose idea for an encounter with a monster that will happen outside of James’s view. He will only get a report from the root monsters after the fact. I need to figure out how to drop enough clues as they call the monster Waltus, so readers can figure out it was a walrus monster. I’ll only write it if I think the story could use it.

At the end of my day, Lanternfish and La Girona were still tied to the dock. Serang’s ship, called a turtle boat, was being pushed away from the dock by some pole men. May sound lame, but I’m counting it. They’re leaving now.

Research said the turtle boat was a real thing, and seems to have some connection to the Korean Peninsula. I also got lucky with names again. While Giapon is an old reference to Japan, Goryeo is an old reference to Korea. These make good names for my fictional locations.

I ended my fiction at 2900 words. My next section will be finishing the repairs while at sea. James wants to get the natives away from Giapon, and hopes to avoid a revolt over taking them away. It was a good day for me.

Grinders is still chugging along. I contacted two more hosts for next week, and already heard back from one. I prepared that post and sent it out. It’s a post about my antagonist, so I think it could draw some real attention.

Tonight it’s Woodford Reserve on the rocks. Back to the paycheck job tomorrow.

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Ahhhh!

I spent yesterday clearing my plate of busy work associated with promoting Grinders. This worked out well, and other than a few tweets, I don’t have much to do on that front.

I also addressed the critiques for both stories, so that left me free to write. I opened the HMS Lanternfish manuscript and read my last chapter. After that it was off to the races.

I answered some questions about a ghostly encounter Mule and a couple of the other officers had. Since this is pseudo Asia, there are some awesome ghost stories to pirate from. I also set Mule up to have another one at a later time. I don’t know if it will happen in this book or in the next one, but this book seems more appropriate. It would be pretty easy to do either way.

A lot of research went into the world of Giapon. Not only ghost stories, but something cool called a turtle boat, too. James and friends are stuck with three ships now, which prevents his ability to leap magically ahead. He’s stuck sailing the old fashioned way. Obviously, I’ll free him to maneuver later on, but for now, this suits the story.

Perhaps the most fun part was putting Serang in charge of the turtle boat and all it’s inhabitants. These aren’t people who are glad to see her, but I like the way she handled herself. She also promoted herself, and General Serang is going to have some interesting adventures ahead of her.

I still need to iron out some details, then they’re going to be leaving Giapon. Other details can be worked out at sea. I had to stop because the general needs to assess her army and appoint officers. This is going to require me to do some research into names, and come up with a bunch of new characters. (As if Lanternfish needed more characters.)

I need to do a flashback to Serang’s past, but I can manage that at sea as they head north.

All this will be worth it when they get back to the actual war, and even the land war. I also need to come up with some fantasy ideas for arctic exploration, because that’s where they’re headed next. I’m trying to include some fantasy elements at every stop. I have the weird creatures on the floating island, the ghosts of Giapon, and I want to keep that coming.

I still need to work in a little surprise I have planned for James, the captain. This is going to be a fun plant that I can do many things with later.

I actually checked my numbers, because it felt pretty good. Today it came to 3800 new words. That’s a pretty great day by my standards. Yeah it probably needs some work, but it exists to be fixed now.

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