Not quite what I needed

They say things come in threes. I hope not, but if they do, this is number two.

I threw my back out somehow on Saturday morning. I woke up, got dressed, fed the dogs, all my normal routine. I sat down with a cup of coffee and checked through social media, then worked on some of the interview stuff for Lisa Burton Radio.

When I got up to use the bathroom and get fresh coffee. Well, I didn’t get up. Pain shot through my back, and my legs went out. I couldn’t stand. Fortunately, I was right beside my chair and went there.

This stuff happens sometimes. It happens to me about every other year. Usually I can take some aspirin and get it to crack. This time it’s exponentially worse, and aspirin is a worthless effort. My wife had to help me out of bed in the middle of the night. Bending down to raise the toilet seat was a major undertaking. Fortunately there are multiple walls to work my way down and back up.

Getting dressed this morning was kind of a circus. Pulling pants on, and my slipper-socks was a big accomplishment.

It hasn’t eluded me that this could be stress from our other recent disaster. I’ve had stress pain before, but this usually happens in the back of my neck. This is in the small of my back.

I told my boss I can’t make it tomorrow. Fortunately, I have a great boss. Honestly, I don’t think I can crawl up into my truck for the commute.

I’ll try to work on interview stuff and possibly some new words of fiction tomorrow. If I’m going to have to hang out here, maybe I can get something positive accomplished.

Hope you guys had a better weekend than I did.

Advertisements

61 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Idea Mill #32

The articles are pouring in rapidly now. We had a drought of decent grist for the mill for months. This time I am holding five new articles. This post will address three of them, and I’m fairly sure the next Idea Mill won’t be long in coming.

For the new readers of these posts, I set a bunch of push feeds to send me articles that relate to my interests. Some of them get pretty repetitive, but some of them feed my Muse. These can lead to new stories, or morph into elements in those stories. I share them here in hopes of kicking your own Muse in the pants.

There is an added bonus of that small slice of reality. I like to base my speculative fiction in as much reality as possible. That way, when I ask for a leap of faith, it’s isn’t a death defying jump. Weaving a few of these things into a story helps set the stage for that leap.

Here we go. Our first article is a strange medical phenomenon. It seems a man became a father. A DNA test proved he was not the father, which is something that happens. What is weird is that his brother fathered the child. (Also been known to happen.) Where it goes completely off the rails is that he has no brother.

To make this even better, the baby was conceived in-vitro. This adds all kinds of intrigue and blame to a story. The poor woman was impregnated by someone else’s sperm. Except that isn’t the case here. It turns out the man is a human chimera. At one point, he was a twin. His twin brother was “absorbed” and fused with the remaining fetus. The father of the child is an amalgamation of two different people. The parts that father babies actually belonged to his secret brother.

The article gives hints of others in similar situations. It even gives some interesting possible physical indicators that can play right into character descriptions. Read the story here.

This alone would make for a great family drama. “You’re not my father,” takes on a whole new meaning from a bratty teen. Because of who I am, I would take it in a different direction, somewhere out near the Twilight Zone. Have the guy go through the stages of grieving. Let the brother assert himself in a split personality kind of way. Maybe the brother is a better man, a better provider, a better lover. Drive the poor guy into a deep hole. Find a way to let readers know the poor guy is being absorbed, just like his brother was.

What would you do with it?

Next we have The Radium Girls. The United States Radium Company was a highly successful business about a hundred years ago. They made clocks, watches, and gauges for aircraft. Their claim to fame was the fact that the numbers and pointers glowed in the dark. This was the result of radium based paint. The Radium Girls were factory workers who applied the paint.

I remember the old-timers in my family being deathly afraid of wristwatches that glowed in the dark. This is because radium is a deadly radioactive substance. The Radium Girls were told it was safe, and encouraged to lick their paintbrushes to obtain finer points for detailed work. The girls even played with the paint, applying it to dresses, fingernails, etc. I can just see one of them painting a radioactive seam up the back of her legs to simulate nylons of the day.

Of course, this didn’t end well. It led to a giant lawsuit, destruction of the company, and a whole lot of pain and suffering.

The fact that this happened, means the research material is out there somewhere. Here is the article, but it’s one of those clickbait style things. This builds a solid foundation for that leap of speculative faith we were just discussing. Want to write a superhero story in a dieselpunk environment? How about Radium Girl? She cleared the trenches in France, and cured trenchfoot all at the same time.

There have been some radioactive assassinations in fairly recent history too. Maybe you prefer more of a radioactive Unibomber type story. Radium could be a basis for that too. Glow in the dark chocolates anyone?

We’re going to wrap this up with the most dangerous object on Earth. It’s called the Elephant’s Foot, and it’s a blob of material from the Chernobyl meltdown. Spend 300 seconds around it, and you have two days to live. This thing is so hot it melts concrete and sand. Hey, it will get less dangerous over time. In 100,000 years maybe they can paint watch faces with it. Read the article here. I should mention the last two articles have some interesting photos.

This is like a gift to thriller writers. Someone making off with this thing, or even a piece of it, gives you an automatic maguffin for your super spy to chase after. You wouldn’t even have to sell the dangers very hard. You can start right out kicking ass and bedding babes on your way to preventing a nuclear ice cream truck from driving through the city. Spreading radioactive love as it drives past schools and call centers. (Okay, maybe park it overnight by the call center, and a timeshare office too.)

I’ve done my part for radioactive murder. Reference Practical Geology in my second Experimental Notebook. Maybe granules of this thing make a good catalyst to create lush green worlds out of distant space rocks. We fire them off today, and by the time colonists arrive it’s a garden of Eden. Maybe Radium Girl brings it to life and she and her blob save humanity from the terrorists. What would you do with the Elephant’s Foot?

Part of these posts involve me coming up with a shtick using all the stories. I’m thinking thriller today. Our hero’s mother was one of the original Radium Girls. This caused a problem with her pregnancy, and our hero has the pale markings of a human chimera. Maybe he has two different colored eyes too.

After a long military history, he settled down and started a family, only learning of his chimera status after his child was born. This leads him down a rat hole of self doubt and split personality issues. He’s recalled into service when terrorists get their hands on the Elephant’s Foot. He embarks on a global chase for the maguffin, all while battling with his internal brother, who turns out to be the extra manliness he needs to save the day.

What would you do with these snippets of history and news?

36 Comments

Filed under The Idea Mill

Body Armor on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you secret society members and sequestered royal families. This is Lisa Burton Radio. The only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we’re going to peek inside a clandestine operation that protects one of the world’s royal families.

My special guest today is Carmina Orsini. She is the maternal grandmother of the Notaro girls. They are the last living descendants of the Medici family, and someone is trying to kill them. It’s understandable that Carmina is a little bit worried. “Welcome to the show, Carmina.”

“Ciao, Lisa. Thank you for having me here today.”

“My pleasure. The bio I have says you’re particularly worried about Donni Notaro. Can you tell our listeners why?”

“Ah. My granddaughters, all of them, are strong women. Very accomplished, very smart. But they are in over their heads this time. Madonna mia, I pray for their safety. I know their heritage is supposed to be a secret, but merda, Franki’s and Jo’s stories are already out there. Their men are watching out for them. But now, Donni—she seems to be the one being targeted. Her protector, Nico Micelli, has her hidden away in Italy to keep her safe.”

“Under the circumstances, that doesn’t sound so bad. I mean, people want to hurt her.”

“That’s what has me so concerned. Not the hiding in Italy part, but the people wanting to hurt her part. It’s bad enough her father was killed by these… hooligans. And her mother was injured in an early battle and is currently in a coma. Now Donni is a target. Her father can’t help her. Her mother can’t. And I’m an ocean away. Her life is in Nico’s hands. I’m certain they are capable hands, but I still worry.”

“Still, they sound like good protectors. In desperate times, there are bound to be a few injuries and losses. I’m really sorry about your daughter.”

“Thank you. I know she’s in good hands. Mike, the leader of the Protectorate, is seeing to her care, and he’ll spare no expense. And Nico has personally assured me that my Mary is safe and well cared for. He’s a good boy, Nico is. It’s clear to me he takes his responsibilities seriously. Donni is safe with him. And I wouldn’t trust her safety to just anybody. But, cazzo, if you’ll excuse my language, for as bright as these two are, they’re blind as bats. They care for each other far past the professional level. They’re good for each other. He would make a good husband for Donnatella.”

“Carmina, I’m not without my own resources here at Lisa Burton Radio. Being a kind of supercomputer myself, I reached out and have a little surprise for you. On the phone right now is your granddaughter, Donni, and don’t worry, I scrambled the connection.”

Nonna! What are you doing, spilling our secrets on the radio? And Nico heard what you said about… being husband material. What were you thinking?”

“Don’t you sass me, young lady. I’ll speak to whomever I want, and I’ll say what I like. Your heritage isn’t as big a secret as you think, and if you weren’t so darn stubborn, you’d admit your feelings for that boy.”

That boy has a name. One you weren’t afraid to announce on the air a few minutes ago. And before you go calling me stubborn, take a good look in the mirror.”

“I don’t care for your tone. Or your implication.”

“I’m not implying anything. I’m flat out saying it—if I am stubborn, I come by it honestly. From you. And as for my tone, I’m sorry, Nonna. But I’m scared.”

“You’re with Nico. He’ll keep you safe.”

“I’m not scared for me. Not really. The guys have things under control here. I’m scared for you. You, like Mama, could be attacked to get to us. I’d feel much better if you were here, with us, under guard.”

“Bah! I’m not going to have someone fly me over to Italy and whisk me off to—”

Nonna! You’ve said more than enough! Do NOT give away our location!”

“Mi spiace. I’m just worried. For you, not me. I got carried away.”

“Carmina? Nico here. I know you’re sorry, but you’ve got to be more careful. Here on air and back at home. In fact, you shouldn’t be on air at all.”

“Nonna, you’re lucky Nico didn’t just hack Lisa’s show and shut you down.”

“Carmina. Donni’s hanging up now. Watch what you say, or I’m shutting you down. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye, Non—–-”

“Well, Lisa. It appears I’m now officially censored and can’t say anymore without my granddaughter’s protector taking you off air. He’s quite the accomplished computer genius in addition to being a stalwart warrior. I know you’re a computer in your own right, but I don’t want to cause you any trouble. I hope I didn’t make Donni’s situation worse. I just wanted to get her story out there, maybe find some support for her… not that I can reveal where she is.”

“I understand the seriousness of the situation, but it sounds like the girls are in good hands. At some point, you have to trust the Protectorate to do their jobs.”

“You’re right. I know you’re right. But I’m her grandmother. And the only family, outside of her sisters, who is in a position to help right now. Yet there’s nothing I can do. I wish I could be with her, could do something for her. I trust Nico and the Protectorate. I do. But we’re a family of hard workers. It’s not in my nature to just wait. I like to act, not react. Eh. Mi spiace. I’m babbling on and on, taking up your valuable time. And I’m sure Nico’s listening. I should go.”

“Well, thank you for being on the show today. Any last thoughts for our listeners?”

“If you’re the praying sort, please pray for Donni. For all my girls. I’m afraid they’re going to need more than the Protectorate to see them through this, and divine intervention never hurt anybody. Grazie, Lisa.”

“You can read all about Carmina and the Medici sisters in The Medici Protectorate Series, and specifically in volume three, Body Armor, by Staci Troilo. I’ll post all the pertinent links on the website.

“Take a little extra time today to use those sharing buttons. I’m sure Staci and Carmina would do it for you when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

Transformation is progress. Until it implodes.

Pursued across the globe by the forces of a shadowy, unknown enemy, the warriors of the Medici Protectorate face their most dangerous challenge yet in the defense of the Notaro sisters, the secret legacy of the ancient Medici line.

Nico Micelli shows the world a calm, mild-mannered personality, but under the surface simmers ferocious passions he struggles to suppress. To say he has a wild side is an understatement. As his work with the Brotherhood intensifies, he finds it increasingly difficult to temper his emotions. It doesn’t help that his charge continuously tests his limits.

Donni Notaro lives under Nico’s protection. She and her sisters are in constant danger simply because of their ancestry. Without the protection of the Brothers, their lives would have been forfeit long ago. But that security comes with a cost—her freedom. Essentially sequestered, she becomes Nico’s shadow, her clandestine pursuits putting both of them in peril.

To defeat their foes, Nico must not only acknowledge his wild side, he must thoroughly embrace it. But the transformation may take him down a path he can never return from.

Purchase Link

Web | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook Group | Twitter | Facebook | Other Social Media Links

54 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Some good, some bad

I write a post along these lines every once in a while. Typically, I get to whatever I’m excited about, then throw out the bummer thing. I’m going to change it up, because I want to end on a high note tonight.

Last night we learned we are losing about half our annual income. We both still have our jobs, but there was a royalty we’ve become accustomed to getting. This has ebbed and flowed for decades. Usually it tapers off for a year or so before it goes blank. This time things were flying high, and without any warning, it ended completely.

This is a huge hit for us, and we were counting on it for part of our Christmas. My ultimate goal was to pay off my truck and furnace before it trickled away this time. At least I’m close. The truck will get paid off around February or March. That will really help. It also helps me make up my mind about trading it in. It’s going to have to last a few more years.

I also afforded my writing habit with some of this money. Let’s face it, breaking even is a worthy goal for a writer today. I used it to commission book covers and promotional posters. I think I can still do this, but I have at least three books I’m planning on releasing in 2018. I already have two covers and most of the posters, so there is that.

Enough of this unhappy shit. There is some decent news too. Back in October, for my birthday, I bought myself a gift. Had I known about the royalty, I never would have done it, but what’s done is done. I commissioned three hat stands for my office at the house. Things like this look better in threes, and two of them arrived today. There is one more to come.

I own a lot of hats. I usually wear one of my fedoras, but if we’re camping there are a couple of nice cowboy hats too. My old hat tree is full to overflowing, and I even have some in boxes in a closet. Now I can put more of them out. Hats aren’t for everyone, but I’ve been wearing a hat since I was a child.

Anyway, they turned out really cool. Here is a photo.

C. S. Boyack

The remaining one will have a cross bone for scarves and such. It’s hard to see in my lousy picture, but the top skull on the stack has a gold doubloon in it’s eye socket.

This guy also makes custom pirate hats. I gave some thought to ordering one depending upon how the stands came out, but under the circumstances, this will have to do. I’m sure a pirate hat would make a great display on one of these stands. I do have a cool witch’s hat that can substitute.

This weekend, I’ll be going over the Christmas shopping list and trying to salvage what we can of the remaining shopping. Perhaps I should wear my witch’s hat while I do it.

Psssst, hey buddy. Want to buy a book? Will write for food, etc.

41 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Kero’s World – now in audio book

Written by Victoria Zigler – and now with an audio edition read by Giles Miller – the “Kero’s World” stories are all about the adventures of my West Highland White Terrier, Kero, who made that journey across the rainbow bridge a little over three years ago. So, read his stories, and see the world from the point of view of a little white dog.

***~~~***

Book 1 – Kero Goes Walkies

If there’s one thing Kero loves more than going for a walk, then it has to be going for a walk that takes him to more than one place. Today his walk will take him both to the park and to the beach. What will he find there? Who will he see? And what will a little dog like him think of it all?

Buy “Kero Goes Walkies” as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback – in some cases two or more of these formats – from iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Book 2 – Kero Celebrates His Birthday

It’s Kero’s birthday, and his humans are doing everything they can to make it a special day for him. What will Kero think of all the fuss and attention? And what exactly makes a birthday special for a dog anyway?

Buy “Kero Celebrates His Birthday” as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback – in some cases two or more of these formats – from iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Book 3 – Kero Gets Sick

Kero isn’t feeling well at all, and that means only one thing: a trip to his least favourite place in the world… The vet! What will the vet do to make Kero feel better? And will Kero think it was worth the trip to the vet in the end?

Buy “Kero Gets Sick” as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback – in some cases two or more of these formats – from iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Book 4 – Kero Celebrates Halloween

Something strange is going on, and Kero doesn’t know if he’s more confused or frightened. All he knows for sure is that the humans are calling it Halloween. Will Kero be able to make sense of this Halloween thing? Or is it just too scary and confusing for a little dog to understand?

Buy “Kero Celebrates Halloween” as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback – in some cases two or more of these formats – from iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Book 5 – Kero Goes To Town

Kero’s very excited to find he’s going to town with his humans. He’s sure there must be loads of great things to do there, after all the humans go there all the time. But what kinds of things can a little dog do in town? And will it be as much fun as he thinks it will?

Buy “Kero Goes To Town” as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback – in some cases two or more of these formats – from iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Book 6 – Kero Celebrates Christmas

Christmas is here, and with it comes snow and Santa Paws – whoever he is. What will Kero think of the snow? Will he be able to make sense of all the holiday activity? And will he be able to stay up long enough to catch this mysterious Santa Paws?

Buy “Kero Celebrates Christmas” as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback – in some cases two or more of these formats – from iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Book 7 – Kero Crosses The Rainbow Bridge

Kero is sicker than he’s ever been before, and has been for a while now. It looks like it’s time for another trip to the vet. But this time Kero’s human won’t be bringing him home; it’s time for Kero to cross the rainbow bridge! What does this mean? And what will Kero find on the other side of the rainbow bridge?

This is the final book in the “Kero’s World” series, and tells the story of the saddest and very last chapter in the life of a beloved dog, as he goes to the place where all of us must go eventually.

Buy “Kero Crosses The Rainbow Bridge” as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback – in some cases two or more of these formats – from iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

“Kero Gets Sick” book excerpt:
“I feel bad enough without all this,” Kero complained.

But, of course, neither his human nor the vet understood him, and Kero was sure they wouldn’t have listened even if they did.

“I don’t understand how this is supposed to make me feel better,” Kero whimpered, knowing he’d get no answer.

Finally, the vet was finished with his examination.

“I’ll give you some antibiotics for him,” the vet said. “He’ll be fine in a few days.”

“What are antibiotics?” Kero wondered.

But, after what seemed like hours to Kero, he was allowed down from the table and out of the room, so he stopped wondering about antibiotics and started trying to get to the door so he could go home.

“Let’s get out of here!” Kero said, pulling towards the door.

His human didn’t understand what he was saying, but his attempts at pulling her out of the vet made it perfectly clear what he wanted.

“We have to pay the bill and get your pills first,” his human told him.

Kero had no idea who Bill was, but hoped his human could pay him quickly so they could leave before the vet tried to stop them from leaving. And what was this about pills? The vet had said antibiotics… Were antibiotics and pills the same things? Kero was confused.

At last they were leaving the vet and heading home.

“What was the point of that?” Kero thought. “If anything I feel worse!”

***~~~***

About the author:
Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors. When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time. To date she has published 8 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.
Author links:
website, blog, Goodreads, Facebook Author Page, Twitter, Google+.

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

“Digging in” for a new project

Company left early this morning. I had a quiet cup of coffee with no distractions. I didn’t even check email or anything else, just soaked up the calm. Sunrise here was beautiful, and I snapped a photo. It might not be creative, but would make a nice background for December. Then I opened my iPad and hacked out another one of the interviews and sent it out.

I arrived at the writing cabin in the late morning. Lisa wore one of her traditional pinup style outfits. She followed me into my office.

“Are you ready for this?” I asked.

“Not really, I mean, yes. Everything is physically ready, I just think it’s a bad idea.”

“It’ll be fun. We sequester ourselves inside the bunker for three months, just like the characters in Estivation will. That will really help me get the setting right, and the mood it has on them.” I headed out to the circular door atop the culvert in the front yard.

Lisa went first. “I’ll give you the tour.” At the bottom of the ladder, she threw a switch for the power. A tube of concrete and corrugated metal sprung to life around her. She led me into a concrete pod that served as living room, kitchen, and general gathering place. Different culverts led off the great room and served as bedrooms, a walk-in freezer, bath, and pantry.

“You did a great job on this. After the weekend I’ve had, some peace and quiet is just what I need. Is Bunny already down here?”

“Not yet. I mean, what are you going to do with the raven, Doubt?”

“Maybe I can open the window and give him free rein.”

“I hate to tell you this, but Idaho winters can be brutal. Leaving a window open for three months will be a disaster for your cabin.”

“Oh, come on. Where’s your sense of adventure?”

“There is adventure, and then there’s common sense. I have things to do. I still have to work with Sean Harrington to make posters for The Hat. You want to get that published don’t you?”

“Sure, but this place has great wifi. Maybe you can use a video connection to work with him.”

Lisa Burton

“Look, I’m not staying in a smelly culvert for three months, just to hustle you coffee. I’m not missing Christmas either. The confinement will drive you crazy, and I don’t want to deal with that.”

“It won’t drive me crazy. I thrive on peace and quiet.”

“It will in three months. Check your outline and what you intend for that nice young couple. You can come down here and write all you want, but you need to air out once in a while.”

“It won’t turn out quite the same, you know.”

“If you lock yourself down here, it won’t turn out at all. You’ll be chewing on your iPad and drooling in two weeks.” She opened the refrigerator. “I bought a growler of the last pumpkin beer. Write for a couple of hours, then I’ll bring down the enchanted beer horns. You’ll get plenty of stress and strain from this industrial style furniture. I know you hate it.”

“I really do hate it, but pumpkin beer sounds good.” I opened my iPad and sat in my bent-pipe style desk chair. “Seal the door behind you. Wouldn’t want any snow to get in.”

32 Comments

Filed under Muse

Ahh, the holidays

I’m the poster boy for introverts. I swear these holidays are going to kill me.

Company arrived on Wednesday. They’re still here, and they brought their dogs.

Thanksgiving day we had twelve of us, and my son’s family also brought their dog. I mention this, because we just put in a new hard-surface floor. Doggie feet are loud on it. My dogs tend to take the occasional nap… but not when there are other dogs around.

There are three doors to get outside my house, and on Thanksgiving day they were all in use. (Think grandchildren here.) My son deep fried our turkey outside, and the kids were in and out in some kind of revolving door situation. I didn’t want my dogs out front, because they aren’t familiar with cars and streets. This meant a constant checking every time the doors opened. Add in the fact that (doing higher math, bear with me) ninety doggie toenails clicked across the floor every time someone touched a doorknob.

My brother in law likes to rough house with the bulldogs. In his defense, he doesn’t have large dogs at home so it’s kind of unique. Roughhousing at six AM is not quite what I want when I wake up.

Working at a small government office yesterday was kind of a godsend. It was calm and quiet. I think I had one telephone call all day and managed to get some long suffering paperwork finished.

Last night we all went to dinner together. This included my son’s family too. It was nice, but the Black Friday crowd made for long waits. We even paid valet parking at the shopping center because it was that busy. Five bucks was much nicer than forty minutes of cruising followed by a half-mile walk.

Today, the in-laws and my wife went shopping. I’m here with the four dogs and my other son. He’s upstairs doing his prescription opioid addiction problem right now. He’s snapping his fingers and slapping his chest all while swearing and hollering in an argument with someone who isn’t actually there. Before you ask, he doesn’t have an internet capable device, so he isn’t playing a game online.

It’s still noisy here.

I managed to prepare and send out one shtick for Lisa Burton Radio. I want to do a couple of others, but we’ll see how I hold up. These things don’t write themselves, and I need to keep the line moving. I also assembled and scheduled a guest post I agreed to host.

I finally got five minutes to debate women’s dress sizes with my favorite consultant, my daughter. Then I incorporated some small changes to The Hat. I also heard from my last beta reader for this project, and he seems to have enjoyed the story. He said notes are coming, so I’m watching my mailbox.

On a “just for Craig” basis, I wrote a little new fiction. I don’t even know what to call it, but it’s one of those pages that goes between the copyright page and chapter one. It isn’t really a dedication, so that word doesn’t fit. It’s more of a definition. It’s part of the story and helps folks understand what’s going on.

I also wrote the opening paragraphs and stopped early on purpose. My goal was just to start. This also means I started a separate “cast of characters” sheet which I always make. Starting a couple of paragraphs is always a bigger effort than it sounds.

Here is my thing that comes before the story. I am considering italics and squeezing the margins, just to make it stand out.

Estivation: In times of environmental stress, some species are known to estivate. They slow down their breathing, heart rate, and intake of food and water. Estivation occurs under times of excessive heat; whereas, hibernation occurs under times of extreme cold. The processes are similar, in that resources are limited or non-existent. When the situation improves, these creatures leave estivation and go about their normal lives.

So what do you call a page like this one? Does it intrigue you to read on? Now all I have to do is write the story. (And survive the holidays… or become a super-villain.)

43 Comments

Filed under Writing