I’m enjoying one of my routine staycations this week. I was about to max out on accrued leave, so I decided to treat myself.
I had a list, but I haven’t gotten real far on it. The first point was a big one though.
1. Finish my WIP. 2. Work on a project for a friend. 3. Return to Midnight Rambler for a complete read-through. 4. Consider a cover and Lisa Burton posters for Midnight Rambler.
I haven’t really gotten that far, but I’ve been consciously trying to goof off a bit, too. Here it is Thursday, and I finished my manuscript.
Percy the Space Chimp has his first book finished. I want this to become a trilogy, so we’ll see what the Muse brings me here. I still don’t have a title for the damned thing, but once the trilogy is finished it might come to me.
I know it’s Thursday already, but I’m trying not to take on so much my staycation becomes stressful. I’m bound to get at least one more thing accomplished before I have to return to work.
Somewhere soon, I need to decide what to write next. My heart lies with the Hat Series, but I already have one I could publish. Maybe I’ll see if I can dream up some more post apocalyptic elements for my revenge in the swamp story. I might even write that at the same time as the next Hat story.
I always liked writing two at the same time, and I think the world is ready for another stand-alone title from me.
The word metrics aren’t that impressive today. It came across at a little over 1900 words. Let’s face it, those 5000 word days don’t happen very often.
I’m mostly posting to share some new artwork. I’ve threatened to have Sean Harrington prepare some artwork for the Research Sirens for a long time. They seem to show up at the writing cabin frequently, so I’m going to use the group poster today. He actually sent each one individually as well if I ever want to use them.
I got to the writing cabin early this morning. Temperatures have gotten into the seventies recently, but at 5:30 it’s still pretty cold. Percy the Space Chimp was asleep on the couch, so I had coffee in the kitchen with Lisa Burton my PA and robot girl.
“People loved the poster of my tagger girl over at John Howell’s place this week,” she said.
“See, I thought it was a poster of Hellpox.”
“Let’s face it. I’m the spokesmodel, and it’s always about me to a degree. Besides, readers love my shining personality.”
“That’s true, you always seem to make more sales than I do on these tours.”
“Good to know with my performance review looming.”
Percy wobbled in still wearing his flight suit. “Are we finally going to work on something today?” He poured himself a steaming cup.
“Yeah, but these are hard sections for me. I have to deal with the fall out from your relationship with Buffer, then set up some character growth for you.”
“That’s all crap. Plop me in a star fighter and let’s blow some shit up. Readers like that.”
“They do, but they also like to see you change over the course of the story. You’re defensive about people’s prejudices toward Space Chimps, but you have your own prejudices as well.”
“That’s what makes me charming. Isn’t it enough that you ratted me and Buffer out? Can’t you leave me something of myself?”
“The goal is to have you become a better person amid all the spying and warfare around you. I’m also about to reveal a cool plot twist involving your favorite comic, Agent Golden Gibbon. I just need to decide how the real world part of that is going to come across, then save some for the second book. The guy’s going to need a name, and a description and I have to look some of that up.” We all headed for the writing office.
I froze at the sight. My office had been invaded by the Research Sirens.
“You really shouldn’t make a move without digging into your new character a bit.” Libraria dropped her book bag on my desk then parked herself in my lounge chair.
“Ugh! Not these chicks again,” Percy moaned.
Wiki patted the side of her beanbag, wrinkling her nose at him in a kind of smile.
“I don’t think Buffer would approve.” He sat beside her anyway.
Conversia guided me to the couch, then sat uncomfortably close. “What kind of character do you have in mind?”
“I’m thinking he’ll use a pen name for his comic, because he’s kind of a spy. I want that to reflect in the name he uses.”
Wiki typed away at her iPad mini. “Thesaurus indicates something like Supermole would work.”
“I can use that as a place-marker, gives him a bit of personality already. Change it later if something better comes along. Supermole writes this comic, but it gives clues as to terrorist events that haven’t happened yet. Leo figures it all out, which gives him a nice spot to shine.”
“What kind of alien will he be?” Lisa asked
“I thought it might be fun to have him be an actual gibbon. I’ve already sold the idea that Space Chimps exist, so why not?”
The sound of nylon on nylon held everyone’s attention as Libraria crossed her long legs. She dropped a huge book on the table before me. “There is some argument, but there appear to be about twenty species of gibbon alive today. Once you read this, you’ll have a better idea of what you need. Once you finish it, I have another one about the fossil record.”
Conversia leaned in until her Afro tickled my ear. “I still hold there’s great value in oral stories. They give a wonderful flavor to the history of gibbons. We can fly to the South Pacific so you can see wild gibbons, then interview the elders who live there for some of their stories.”
Wiki wrinkled her nose then turned her screen to show me a video. “Gibbons are the fastest arboreal animals in the world. Even faster than some birds as they swing tree to tree.”
“I have to use some of that. It would be kind of an adventure to add a chase scene that doesn’t involve cars. Maybe Percy here could swing after him.”
“Are you crazy, dude? I can’t keep up with that.”
“Keep it in mind. Maybe you can drive him to the Cicis for capture later on. First I need to decide how much of a role to give him.”
“I think he would be one of the good guys. Leo and I love Agent Golden Gibbon, and it would be fun to meet the creator.”
“All good ideas.” Conversia wrapped her toned arm around my shoulder. Her perfect manicure tapping over my heart. “I figure no more than six months in the jungle and you’ll have all the gibbon knowledge you need. I can use my recorder for the stories, then you can have Lisa make transcripts once we return home.”
“Look, girls. I appreciate the zest, but I only write fiction. I have to live in the real world, and they’re going to miss me at work if I leave for six months. I have to make some of this up as I go. Besides, Old What’s Her Face wouldn’t like me spending six months in a grass hut with three Sirens and a robot girl.”
“We’re harmless, mostly.” Conversia pressed her bosom into my side.
“You should still ground the story in reality,” Libraria cautioned.
“Okay, how do you feel about a trip to the Boise Zoo. Best I can do. They even have ice cream.”
Friday was my only writing day. I went through the Serang MS with the intention of deleting a chapter. I know we’re supposed to kill our darlings, but in this I failed. I deleted 10 words.
Part of this has to do with setting up some tragedies that wouldn’t be as tragic if treated as backstory. While Serang is a character from Lanternfish, her story does not have the comedic undertones that Lanternfish has. She is a serious character in that book, and her origin story is serious too.
Who knows how it will be received? I never do.
After I finished that project there was no time left for new words. Old What’s Her Face is off Saturday and Sunday, so that might be it for writing this weekend.
I may rough out some cover ideas tomorrow in anticipation of hiring Sean Harrington to start my artwork.
Speaking of Sean, he made me some cool pointers. I have a whole collection of them. Mine are more monstrous than the typical fingers you can find on Pixabay. Their purpose is to give direction on my blog.
It works like this. My sidebar has linked covers to my two most recent titles. By clicking on the covers you can grab a copy of The Yak Guy Project, or Voyage of the Lanternfish. I recently shared three wonderful reviews of Lanternfish, and I have the intention of writing more adventures for the crew.
You can also find a slideshow featuring all of my covers. There is a link to my Amazon page if you’d like to check out the older titles. There’s going to be another story for Lizzie and the hat. You might want to jump on board with The Hat about now too. I’m thinking of holding it until October. It will fit the Halloween theme pretty well.
I had a gift card to Old Chicago Pizza, so we decided to go there tonight. It was kind of disappointing this time. Our server didn’t know anything, and simply told me they were out of every beer I wanted to order. Finally, I told her the guy at the table across from me just received the beer I tried to order. Lo & behold, they did have it and she brought me a pint.
The pizza was off tonight too. It’s almost like there was old dough in the freezer or something. We’ll still go there, but we’re chocking it up to a bad night. Didn’t recognize a single person working there, and we go there a lot.
After that, we went to check out the new Albertsons on Fairview. This is their version of competing with Whole Foods. They have over two acres under one roof. They have some cool stuff, like jackfruit and a million kinds of salami. It’s one of those places where you would make impulse purchases. With lines about a quarter mile long at the checkout stand, my impulses didn’t happen. Maybe we’ll go back in a couple of weeks when the newness wears off.
As for writing, well… I have Wednesday off. I have one chore to take care of though. I have to go to town to get my truck sniff tested. The test doesn’t take long, but the travel back and forth does.
I think I could have accomplished more, but this cold is lingering. I’m still phlegmy and coughing. I feel a lot better, but I still missed one day at work last week. This thing can’t go away fast enough to suit me. It makes my mind foggy, and that isn’t good for writing new words.
Some of you might remember me taking delivery of two cool hat stands about a month ago. The third one arrived last night. This one has a cross bone that is kind of cool. Here they are all together.
They are hat stands after all, so this is what they look like after I put them to work. I found the bone to be a great place for one of my bandanas.
Some hats I wear, some are just for looking at. The one on the left is a cool witch’s hat, but I tipped them all back so you could see the stands. I have a theory there is an awesome pirate hat in my future that would look great on one of these. And Captain Jack’s is just the place to acquire such a thing. If you’d like a cool hat stand, or a pirate hat checkout Captain Jack’s and ask for Jeff MacKay. Tell him I said hello.
Yesterday I tackled the Lisa Burton interviews. I have twenty-five applicants, but only nine who've delivered the questionnaire answers. (Oops, ten now.) I worked up six shticks and sent them out. This took me six hours. I'd like to have completed them all up to the minute, but I have to face some facts.
Six hours is an effort on my days off. It will take me twenty-five weeks to post them all, so I'm ahead of the game. I hope nobody gets disappointed, but I can only do so much. It adds up to a considerable word count too.
I used part of today to work my time travel story up to 2500 words. This one is taking me way too long, and I'm feeling some pressure. Truth is, I never intended to write a time travel story. I like a challenge, so we'll see how it comes out. Writing to a theme and a target is kind of new, but fun. My MO is to get it done with enough time to make requested changes. I may only have a week of padding, but it will be enough.
I got the final Lisa poster for The Yak Guy Project, then did something crazy. I thought it might be cool to have a Lisa poster to promote the anthology with. The other authors can do what they want, but I'm going to have some artwork to promote with.
My time travel story spent a couple of months in the daydreaming phase as a Western. It didn't come out that way, and I hope it intrigues a few readers. Sorry, no cowgirl Lisa, at least for now. You might like what I changed it to.
This story is taking some serious research too. I'll bend some facts, but I want to have the rest of the details right so my changes don't stand out. Things like train times, actual hotels, and more help sell the twists.
While I was at it, I decided to order enough art to get me through the end of the year. These will be mostly for holidays wishes, but one is for my Macabre Macaroni short stories. (God, I still have to write those too.) The deadlines are spread way out, so Sean can take his time.
We had a quick date night last night, since my wife won't be here. Just a quick dinner and a beer. I had scallops with squid ink pasta… in Idaho, just imagine. It was wonderful too.
My wife headed for Nevada this morning, but not so early as to allow me to get some major work done. I dabbled and had some moderate success. I got a proof back from the formatter for The Enhanced League, and there are a few minor adjustments to make.
For the rest of this vacation, I would like to finish my short story, write three more promotional pieces for The Enhanced League, and schedule next week's Lisa Burton Radio. I might chuck some of it and publish The Enhanced League instead. No, it isn't too much, I might be able to do it all with a little bit of luck.
I don't think I'll add any more than that. The interview is all done and awaiting a link. I have ideas for the promo stuff, and I'm 2500 words shy of a short story draft. Two days is a nice pace without killing myself over it. If Enhanced League gets out next weekend, that's fine too.
I took an actual vacation day today. I've done this for writing purposes before, but not this time. This time, I wanted to fulfil some reading commitments. I've been reading one book for far to long, and wanted to finish. I also promised a friend a beta read by March. I always try to meet my deadlines, and needed to clear my slate so I could start on the new book.
I got that much done today. I have a clear deck now, but did not start the new reading. I also have 2.5 Lisa Burton Radio spots to get started on, and will probably address those tomorrow. This is the life of a modern day author.
I also worked on some blog art for my next Story Empire post. With the new group members, I'm not up again until late February, but it's still something I needed to accomplish. My Apple Pencil needed charging, so I goofed on social media while I waited.
I need to think up something for my February banner, but nothing is clicking there. I have time, and something will probably come to me. February is just a boring month. Maybe I'll make something that has nothing to do with February.
Writing takes a back seat, but reading is good exercise for a writer. In that spirit, it wasn't unproductive at all. Promotion must be done, and I'm tricking myself into thinking the radio spots are branding for me, even though the posts are about the guest authors.
I'll probably pick up my critiques and work on those to fill in the corners. Maybe I'll change my pinned tweet again. It's been a couple weeks since I changed it, and it's time.
Tonight we're going for pizza and beer. A guy can only do so much of this stuff in one stretch. Maybe the elixir of creativity will give me an idea for my next banner art.
I allowed myself to sleep in this morning. I think I could have lasted another hour, except for my wild alarm clock. There was a duck quacking right outside my window. It's kind of funny when you think about it. I still got to sleep in, but it is what it is. What do you think possessed him to come in my yard and act like that? I expect this out of the tiny birds, but waterfowl should be better behaved.
When I got up, my daughter was already downstairs. Saturday is usually my best writing day, but this Saturday was going to have to be a compromise.
I managed to get my wallpaper changed for May. It is a little bit cramped on my iPad, but it looks great on the Mac. I'm going to assume it looks great on PCs and laptops. I'm sure it never looks good on phones, but I can't help that.
I assembled next week's Lisa Burton Radio post, and it promises to be a fun one. I also spent some time working on future posts in this arena, and it looks like I'll be able to keep it going for a while.
I checked my sales page, and it looks like a few more sales recently, and a few pages read. The sales are mostly due to the Wild Concept sale, but there are a few Experimental Notebooks, and Playgrounds mixed in. The pages read are mostly The Playground.
I received a couple of invitations, and need to ponder them. I love challenging assignments, so I'll have to see what I can come up with here. I have about a third of one in mind, and maybe my Muse will show up and inspire me for the rest.
I found a great new 5 star review for Experimental Notebook. The reviewer said, “Mr. Boyack must be a strange man. I like the way he thinks.”
You know, I probably am a strange man, because this quote gives me great pleasure. I've been cracking up about it since last night. Besides that, 5 stars is awesome! Reviews have been really hard to get lately, so I'm thrilled.
I played around a bit more with my art app. I'm getting a big kick out of messing with the blog banner. I have a bunch of ideas, but not a lot of talent. We'll all find out together if I can pull it off.
I spent some time surfing around for stuff to use in Lisa's artwork. It seems like I have more ideas than money to get the art made. This round is so I can stockpile stuff to use on the blog, Facebook, etc. I have other ideas for specific book promotions. I consider this to be research, but it isn't totally unpleasant. There are a lot of retro pinup models online these days. It kind of makes me want another antique car. I used to have one I took to car shows in the last century.
Other than that, I haven't been very productive. The new issue of Heavy Metal arrived the other day, but I haven't taken the wrapper off yet. My wife wants to take me for beer and pizza tonight, so that's good. I know it's her plan to trick me into shopping for shirts at the mall. I need some new short sleeve shirts, and beer is always good. I'm going to go along with her nefarious plan, and not tell her I'm onto her.
I raced through social media early this morning. I wanted to force myself to take up the keyboard once more.
This led to +/- 2000 new words on The Yak Guy project. Ted, the yak guy, finally gets to be with the girl of his dreams. I have a hard time writing these scenes, but I think it came out okay. (I’m one of those males who never got a lot of female attention. Therefore, I’ll just make it up.) The story is from Ted’s point of view, so it might not be as romantic as if it were from the woman’s viewpoint.
Next on the list, Ted has to second guess the whole thing, and wonder what it all means. Then he gets to meet her dad and get the crap beat out of him. By modern standards, I ought to have him getting beat up pretty fast. I kind of want to have him question everything though. This is a conundrum for me. My plan is to write it my way, and see if it needs to be eliminated later on.
I got two requests for a review copy of The Playground, and sent both of them out. (Booyah) I hope the reviewers enjoy it. It’s a little more gritty than my usual fare. Maybe the contrast between The Playground and yak guy’s love scene is causing a short in my brain.
I got asked why I didn’t set up the 99¢ sale for Wild Concept in the UK store. It’s because I didn’t know I had to. I thought it happened everywhere. Turns out those are the only markets available to hold a sale. If you’re completely out of those markets, let me know and I’ll find a way to fix you up. Does this mean I need to start using these things £ or €? Look, it’s a man in a top hat with a big mustache =):€
The sale starts in the UK sometime on the 28th. Then I returned to WhatsApp and let them know. There isn’t much point if I don’t say something about it. Thus, the mention here too.
I sent out another Lisa Burton Radio kit, and finalized another post for one of those spots. I have several partial posts out in cyber space, tomorrow’s is pre-scheduled, and another one nearly final. I’m feeling pretty good about this spot today. We have some fun characters coming up.
Then I got a cool request to write a guest post about how I started writing short stories. This one made me think, because it just kind of happened. I love it when someone asks a question that makes me assess something. I wrote about 800-900 words of blog post and sent it out too.
Finally, I picked up my art app and messed around with my banner some more. I’m really not an artist, but I can cut out and paste things. If it looks cheesy, I’m okay with that. I’m all about the cheese here at Entertaining Stories.
I love it when I have a productive day, and wish there were more like this one.
I should probably return to social media and promote the Wild Concept Sale, and The Playground. I feel like such a book whore, but I don’t see any other way to get the word out. I’ll probably address some of that this afternoon. I found a new place to do paid promotion, but I have to make my own artwork. It’s also kind of complicated to set up. I’ve been whining about it for weeks, and would probably do better to cobble something together and quit crying about it. Getting closer on this front.
Finally, today is my daughter’s birthday. She went to Sun Valley to party with friends, but is due home today. We have plans to go to dinner somewhere tonight. That will be fun too.