Category Archives: Writing

Secrets, colds, date night, and new words

I took vacation from Wednesday through Monday. This time, I didn’t tell anyone, including my wife. This is because the last time I tried to get some writing time it got pirated away. I lose the vacation hours either way, and my employer doesn’t qualify whether I was content or not.

While everyone was reading my group post about hosts willing to promote our work, I was working on new fiction.

Old What’s Her Face was off Friday, and we both woke up with colds. No idea what that was about, but we were phlegmy and both had headaches. She got over it before I did, but by mid-afternoon we both felt fine. Fine enough to go to Old Chicago for pizza and craft beer.

I slung quite a few words today, but didn’t keep score. My tale moved from a transition scene into an action scene, and those move quite a bit faster.

I’d have to consider this vacation a success already. Tomorrow I dedicate some of my morning to calling my parents, so I don’t expect much else to happen. My story is at a point where I have to think about it, and hopefully the Muse will show up for me.

I’m also off Monday, but so is my wife. This isn’t necessarily a deal killer for new fiction, but it’s usually much less than when I’m alone.

If I were to wish for anything, it would have been a couple of guests for Lisa Burton Radio. I didn’t get any takers, and don’t quite understand why. I’ll probably do a promo again, but the risk is to get over a hundred at once like the last time. (At one per week, that’s two years of applicants to get through.)

I could have done without the cold, but it’s been a pretty good vacation so far and I have two days left. Maybe I should look for some December wallpaper.

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When you want to scream, but shouldn’t

Ahh, writing vacation-time. It sounds lovely. It has such promise to it. Time to sling words at my iPad and build something wonderful.

It didn’t work out like that, and I regret using my vacation time for this. Here’s how it came out. A writing day, for me, is never a day. It’s a matter of hours, usually in the morning. When my wife is at work, I get quality time to chip away at my projects. She’s doesn’t work dawn to dusk, however. Her shift at the hospital usually puts her home around noon. You can see how a day get’s trimmed down to six hours or so, at best.

Wednesday was my flex day. I would have gotten it off regardless of vacation time. My wife got off at 8:00 that morning. I managed 1700 new words before my house got noisy, and bulldogs went berserk over playtime, etc.

Last weekend, we got the camper winterized. The man’s first move was to look at our roof and tell us we needed to have the entire roof recaulked, and quoted us a price of $900. (Dennis Dillon RV, in case you’re keeping score.) I’ve been around a scam or two in my day, and did not bite.

When a service costs more than my house payment, I tend to dig a bit deeper. It turns out my brother had his done in Elko, Nevada, for $175. He did this, because he didn’t have time, but said it was fairly easy to do.

My first idea was to tow the sucker several hundred miles and get it done there. Elko is a ridiculously expensive place to have anything done, but at least it’s cheaper than this clown wanted.

It turns out, my brother had all the time in the world right now, so he wanted to come up and look at my camper. We made arrangements for him to come up Thursday.

My wife was off Thursday, and it wasn’t a writing day anyway. Good deal, right?

He never got here until late afternoon. We looked at the roof, and he said the skylights and vents needed to be caulked, but the rest of it was fine. However, moving into Mountain Standard Time, we were out of daylight. We dragged the camper home, and waited until morning.

Frost killed some of the momentum, because this requires a dry environment to work properly. We went to the store and bought four tubes of caulk, just in case. Turns out these weren’t cheap, and I was into it about sixty bucks.

By mid-day, we were able to remove the old sealant, and do the caulking. We weren’t cheap about laying down the beads either; however, we only used one tube of caulk.

My wife had to work Friday, but my writing day was lost. Don’t get me wrong, visiting with my brother, and just hanging out with him was wonderful. I never regret spending time with family.

After we finished, we returned the unused caulk for a refund. In other words, I spent fifteen dollars to do what Dennis Dillon RV wanted to charge me $900 for. Oh, there was pizza, beer, and other expense involved, but you get my point.

Today, he didn’t hit the road until about 10:30. We did some more visiting over coffee this time. I really enjoyed our time together… but the writing time today is a total bust too. My wife will be here soon, and that’s all she wrote.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is the day I call my parents. This destroys Sunday mornings as writing time. My wife has to work again, but it is what it is.

We’re both off Monday, for Veteran’s Day. This means no quality time for writing purposes. Six glorious days turned into a few hours Wednesday morning.

My writer’s soul wants to tear shit up and burn it to the ground. I wish I’d never wasted my vacation time on this crap. We could have visited and fiddled with the camper on the normal days I get off and it would have worked out the same.

There is always something to do at the office, and I wish I’d have just went to work. When I return on Tuesday, I’ll be behind again, but didn’t get to do what I wanted with my vacation time.

This kind of thing frequently happens to me. Life tends to throw these curveballs my way more often than not. I’ve actually gotten about four hours of writing time in the last month, and they were all last Wednesday.

This is an author’s blog, and I try to give it to you warts and all. Sometimes I’ve been know to write 10,000 new words in one day. Sometimes I get 1700 in a month. We have real lives too, and life tends to get in the way.

I’ve learned to be grateful for other things over time. I got to visit with my brother, which rarely happens. I saved $885 that I don’t have too. This week, I got what I needed. This song has become the theme of my life. Maybe you can relate to it.

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Macabre Assessment

There is never a good time to assess a cluster of posts. The first one had longer to get discovered than the last one. This seems like as good a time as any to tally up some results that won’t teach me a damned thing.

Every year, I’m baffled by the results, and this year is no different. My favorite is never your favorite, and that’s okay. I’m not going to change my novel writing schedule based upon the assessment of 1000 word blog posts.

Your favorite story was the one called Flipping. It involved a property flipper who had a ghostly encounter inside his newest acquisition. I have to admit there was a strong character in this one, and I think that carried the banner to victory.

Your least favorite one was All the Time in the World. This one involved a time traveler who screwed his own timeline up beyond repair.

Dishonorable mention to Companionship, that involved a ghostly dog waiting for his owner in a rest home. It only had one more view than the time travel story did.

The rest fell somewhere in the middle. My favorite was Our Secret lives about two werewolves who hate each other in their human lives, but are mates when the full moon shows up.

You also liked the Halloween Pack about the app that created a monster. It had a certain Goosebumps quality to it that I thought was fun too.

What does it all mean? Nothing actually. Maybe it involved the day I posted, and the results would be completely different if I’d changed the order.

I’m leaning toward doing it again next year. It all depends upon life and what it throws at me. I write them for my own entertainment as much as anything, but I hope you enjoyed them too.

I’m not going to scrap any works in progress, or storyboards, and rush right into another haunted house story based upon these results. They’re just for us to have fun. Maybe to start a discussion.

There are a couple of points to make here. If you missed one, or just want to revisit them, they are under the “Short Stories & Vignettes” category in my sidebar. You might find some other interesting things there too.

Lastly, I want to touch upon the point that I have books available. If short stories and micro-fiction is your thing, I have either two or three collections depending upon how you score them. I say this, because The Enhanced League stories serve to tell a bigger tale overall. The Experimental Notebooks involve more true collections.

All of the short fiction is .99ยข on Amazon.

Lisa wants to know if there are any tricks to removing “Sharpie” marker from your skin.

Lisa Burton

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Planning and scheming

This is my flex day. I mentioned before that I work ten hour days, and get a rotating day off each week. We get the occasional three day weekend out of the deal, and this is one of mine. It also allows for a bit of manipulation if you watch the calendar. That’s what I’ve done for November.

My next flex day is Wednesday the 7th. I took vacation on the 8th and 9th. This means I’m off from the 7th through the 12th, because the 12th is a holiday. Burn 20 hours of vacation and get six days off. Not a bad deal.

This weekend is going to be all about clearing the decks. We’re taking the camper to have it winterized this afternoon. Since we got paid, we’ll probably work in date night. I can still get my Halloween tee shirt at Old Chicago if we hurry, and that’s likely where we’ll end up. Probably time to coil up the hoses and drain the water heater to keep ahead of the silt. I might even get a haircut, just to get it out of the way.

I’ll have time to work on some Lisa Burton Radio slots if anyone is interested. The recent ones have produced really well. Some of that has to do with the book being presented, but also the involvement of the author. The last few authors have shared everywhere, and are still sharing everywhere. I see the click throughs to Amazon too. Lisa could use another few guests right now.

I’ll probably keep polishing up Lanternfish this weekend.

During my vacation I want to hit it hard. There is a new story I started, and my work life just didn’t allow me time to do much with it. If I clear the decks this weekend, my vacation time is wide open to make some real progress.

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Happy Wednesday

I’ve been slacking off on the blog, because I’ve been doing a lot of things that don’t relate to the author’s life. When I do, they aren’t the sexy things. One of the things I’ve always done is share this life – warts and all, so that’s what today is about.

I spent the last week in a trade conference for my paycheck job. There weren’t a lot of extra hours available. Next week, I’m going to Texas for a conference that is more directly related to what I do. All part of the job.

This week was my week to catch up… except… we scheduled job interviews. This is because all of us on the interview team have been in and out for a month. The other two members are tied up for the next two weeks.

There is an outside chance that I can make some real progress on Friday, so I have my fingers crossed.

On the writing front, this was my flex day, and I spent it working on the stuff nobody ever talks about. It’s part of the writing life, and it has to get done too.

I wrote a post for Story Empire that will go live next week. I also assembled and scheduled a Lisa Burton Radio interview. I mention this, because this stuff takes time. It has value, so I forge ahead. It has value to me, and it helps other authors too. If you haven’t checked out Story Empire, you might want to cruise over. There is a wealth of information authors can take advantage of.

I dedicated a big part of this morning to finishing up a book I’ve been reading. I fiddled around with this for far too long, and I needed to finish it. I even resorted to reading one chapter on my 30 minute lunch breaks. At least I got four chapters per week that way. It was a wonderful story, and I gave the author a five star review on three different sites.

Time. It’s all about time, which seems to be in short supply these days.

I like to read on airplanes, but I like to find things I don’t necessarily have to finish. This time, I have a couple of craft books saved that I might dive into. Other flight, I’ve chosen short story collections, or even novellae, because I can finish them. (I made that word up, but novellae seems like it should be right.)

On Tuesday, I got another Lisa Burton poster via email. (It looks really cool too.) That means I have the Lanternfish cover, plus two promotional posters. I ordered the last one, and it looks like I’ll be able to meet my winter publication deadline pretty easily.

To round out my day off, I worked through nine chapters of Lanternfish. I found a few things to correct, even though this is about my third pass. Good news is that I’m really enjoying the story still. I think that bodes well for my future readers.

I nearly wrote that I worked through nine innings of my book. Can you tell I’ve been watching the baseball playoffs? I don’t have a dog in this fight, but the games have been very good. (I’m not cheering for any specific team, but I’m glad the National League will go back to Front Row Amy’s ballpark.) There’s one on right now, and I’d better get back to it.

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What do you do?

I’ve been pretty quiet here this week. Things are going on at my paycheck job that have kept me hopping. It’s convention season, and I’ve had to cover the office while others are absent. We’ve all been tied up at one this week, but at least it’s in Boise. I’ll be heading to Texas soon for my own convention, followed by another week of covering for others.

This is how real life works sometimes. I try to keep the blog updated regularly, but might have let it slip this week. I have my Macabre Macaroni tales on Tuesdays this month, and I usually have Lisa Burton Radio. There has been a drop in authors wanting interviews, and honestly, I needed some of that time. There are two in the works right now, so we will likely have a couple of interviews over the next few weeks to help keep some original content here. Lisa needs guests, so if you could use a bit of free promotion, drop me a line.

On top of it all, I will have company at my house before I get out of the convention tonight. I’m looking forward to the visit, so it isn’t a burden or anything.

New fiction slides at times like this too. I have some editing to deal with, but might not be able to get serious about it until November. Since there is nothing I can do about it, there’s no sense in dwelling on it.

This is the kind of stuff you never seem to get on other author sites. We would like you to believe it’s all robot girls, and rocket packs, but that isn’t realistic. Authors have to deal with real life too.

I have a draft underway, and might not get to revisit it until November. I’ve always filled in the cracks with writing related projects, but there aren’t many cracks right now. About all I can manage is to read a few blogs before work, and tweet those out to help the bloggers out. I’ll get back in the swing of things, I always do.

What do you guys do about the real life stuff? Do you wring your hands and gnash your teeth, or just go with the flow? I’m learning to go with the flow. It’s about time for me to clock in, and I hope to deal with comments later this evening.

Have a good weekend everyone.

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Productive, in its own way

I had today off as a holiday. I’m looking forward to the eight hour shifts next week, as opposed to tens.

My plan was to deal with a bunch of author chores that didn’t involve new fiction. I was moderately successful, if not completely.

There were some blog chores. I traded pages with a few other authors. I got one shtick out the door for an interview, plus I sent an additional questionnaire out.

I finally took the time to work through my own critiqued pages, and that was wonderful. I haven’t had a critique group for a while, and it’s nice to get back to it. These small changes led me to add a couple of lines that really improved my story.

Beyond that, I did a bunch of research on infectious diseases, as one does. I swear, if anyone ever looks at my browsing history I’m in big trouble.

I wanted to at least start on another complete read of Lanternfish. I made some changes and need to re-read it to look at the big picture.

I also wanted to work on a couple of storyboards, but that fell by the wayside.

October is going to be a busy month for me, so these chores may get finished in bits and pieces.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend, and a happy Columbus Day if you got the day off too.

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