Tag Archives: banner

Not doing what I should be doing

While I’m following my blog tour around, I’ve found it hard to write. That doesn’t mean I’ve been completely idle though.

I have bulldogs that need cuddles, a daughter who likes to talk about her big promotion, and my back to deal with. For some reason, my back issue decided to remind me it’s not over yesterday. It’s a bit worse today. This is an important week at work, so it needs to go away.

I reblogged Joan’s post earlier today. Now that it’s after five here, I’m going to mention that it was my turn over at Story Empire. There is a neat conversation going on in the comments about how different we all are when it comes to developing character. Stop over and join in the conversation, I’ll be monitoring the comments.

I also took some time to give my blog a facelift. I found some cool snowflake wallpaper, and Lisa went out to the island and made a snow sculpture for the banner. Then I assembled and scheduled this week’s Lisa Burton Radio.

One of the things I’ve been doing between comments and tweets is looking at my outlines. Something odd happened and it deviates from my master plan. After I finish the novella, I’m supposed to start on a novel called Grinders. This one is a cyberpunk novel about people who do extreme body modifications in an attempt to become better than everyone else. There will be some bio-hacking and such to flesh out the world.

The deal is that it’s not quite ripe when it comes to plot. I have some great characters, locations, and events. It just needs more time in the fermenter.

While I was doing that, one of my problem children kind of grew up. This one started off as a fantasy. Then it evolved into a flintlock fantasy. Somehow, in the past few weeks it became a pirate story and it all seems ready to go. Maybe it has something to do with my new hat stands. There will be magic, some artifacts, and monsters to make it one of my stories. The only remaining question is whether it’s our world or an alternate.

Sometimes it happens this way. I didn’t think this one would be ready for a couple of years. It’s nearly there, and whatever else it needs will come to me as I’m drafting it. I went from one act that I completely reworked, to three acts that are ready to start writing. You know, after I finish the novella called Estivation.

The Hat is still selling, and the reviews are all favorable. I’m so glad that people are enjoying this one. It needs more action, but I have faith in this little story. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, click on the image in my sidebar and drop 99¢, I think you’ll be glad you did.

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Ah, Flex Day…

I enjoyed visiting with my parents this weekend. I always have to choose to a degree, and spent most of my time with Dad this go round. We still all went to supper, and we all had breakfast together on Sunday.

My wife and I had some shopping to do on Sunday after everyone left. I'll tell you more about that in a future post, but it's all good.

Today became my time to do something on the writing front. Finishing up the short story I'd worked on for so long opened up the flood gates.

Lorelei, the Muse sent me some cool imagery so I wrote it all down. I don't have a story to go with it, but that's exactly why I keep notes. It's like some people wake from dreams and write down thoughts so they don't forget. It's all about roots and cocoons, and stuff. It should have a use somewhere, someday.

I didn't do any review for my novel in progress, so I skipped writing it. While making the story notes, I reviewed my short fiction list. I managed to write two of them today. I'll call them micro-fiction, but one of them exceeds 1500 words. I could probably get away with posting it on a blog, so I'll tag it as micro-fiction.

I intended for one of the stories to be a fantasy, but kind of missed the requirements. It's something else, even though it has the medieval setting. I'm not going to mourn the fantasy idea, I like the way the story came out.

The other one is science fiction, and I really like it. As a micro, it may even deserve a follow up story. Can I get away with using the character again in the same publication? Maybe. Place one early, and another one toward the end?

Right now, I have enough shorts and micros to publish another Experimental Notebook. I'm a little disappointed that fantasy didn't make this round. I love fantasy, but never did write gobs of it. That doesn't mean I'm finished though, and one may turn up.

Summer has always been a dry spell for me on the sales front, and even though it's still raining and windy, Summer is upon us. Based upon my past, it makes no sense to release anything until school starts back up. That means I can keep writing and stockpiling short form stuff.

Most of it needs some kind of edit or polish, and I can also fiddle with that during the summer months. Then I can separate everything into three piles, Experimental Notebook II, Macabre Macaroni for the blog, and salvage for reference.

I wound up with a couple of tales that don't have a speculative element in them. It isn't unheard of, but I don't know exactly what to do with them. I like them, and should share them somewhere. Maybe I'll include them in a future Notebook, but make them extras. Meaning a dozen speculative tales, plus two free ones. Something like that.

I still have a long list of short form tales to write, and some of them are demanding keyboard time. I'll probably slow down now and pick away at one during the evenings.

In other news, I worked on a future Lisa Burton Radio slot and sent it back to the author. If any of you would like to get your character interviewed by Lisa, drop me a line. The instructions are at the top of my blog, and have their own dedicated page.

It's approximately noon here now. The bills are paid, the shopping is finished, I managed some writing time too. I may just veg out, but I'll probably play with my banner some more. I never got any comments on this one, so maybe something else will spark some interest. I have an idea or two in mind.

Back to the grind tomorrow. Hope you're all having a great Monday.

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Easter Eggs and the saga of Wednesday

I really wanted to do a facelift on my blog. My regulars will remember me asking if I should go even deeper down the wormhole I've created using Lisa Burton as my spokesmodel. Popular consensus was not to do that, and keep a piece of it for myself.

One of the things I really wanted to do from my very first blog post was to include Easter eggs here somewhere. Not the kind you get at Easter, but the kind that show up in video games and such. Fun little things that will change from time to time.

My thought process went like this. Easter eggs, Easter, Easter Island… How do I keep a bit of myself in this and make it about me?

Dear Sean Harrington, I need a new banner. Here's what I have in mind… It involves leaving an open area where I can place whatever I like.

I got my new banner yesterday and assumed I'd be working on it today. That was before the disaster of italicized words showed up.

I woke up at 7:00 this morning. That's sleeping in for three hours by my work schedule. I ran out and checked my email first thing. Nothing from Amazon, lots of blog comments. Then I heated up some coffee and got some breakfast. This should give you an idea of my mindset over the italics fiasco.

Sat down with my coffee, and responded to blog comments. All combined, an idea was starting to form in my brain. Mae Clair was the one who pushed it over the top. Something had to be wrong with the way my word processor was closing the HTML command to close the italics out.

Apple Pages won't let me look at the HTML code. If it does, I haven't been able to figure it out.

Checked email. Nothing from Amazon.

Decided to get all artsy while waiting for Amazon. (Patiently, because that's how I am.) Used my Apple Pencil to modify my groovy new banner and include the Easter Egg. Right now it's Clovis' car and the dog from The Playground. This also comes with a bit of a learning curve, and some trial and error. It involves using something called masques, then layers, then making the background of the Easter Egg opaque. Turns out there is a vocabulary to this stuff too.

I'm 55 years old, I shouldn't have to learn new things. Why do I have to learn new things?

Check email. Nothing from Amazon. Look at that, Apple released a standard sized iPad Pro, and it has its own keyboard available and supports the Apple Pencil. Should I be mad? Am I mad? No, I like the larger amount of real estate, and the larger keyboard.

Delve deep into the inner workings of WordPress to change my banner. Stop, check email, nothing from Amazon.

Load my groovy new banner. Admire my handiwork.

Check email, nothing from Amazon. (I am so proud of how patient I'm being.)

Decide to change my Gravitar. Delve back into the inner workings of WordPress. Make appropriate changes. Like one of my own posts. It didn't work. Unlike that post.

Check email, nothing from Amazon.

Click on unchanged Gravitar, and attempt modifications through that system. Test by liking one of my own posts. It works.

Check email, nothing from Amazon.

We're burning daylight here people. I have Wednesday off, but I don't have Thursday off. I have to get up at 4:00 tomorrow.

Decided that it had to be something with the HTML code. Maybe if I typed and changed the font to italics when I typed, then changed back, the coding would be correct. The important part is manually changing it back.

Checked email, nothing from Amazon.

Made changes to a future Lisa Burton Radio episode. Emailed the author back. Check email… You know the drill by now.

Worked up the initial shtick for an even more future episode of Lisa Burton Radio, forwarded it to the author. Check email etc.

Open up The Playground in Apple Pages. Modify the italics sections line by line. As an example, if I write, “But you are stupid,” I deleted 'you' 'are' and 'stupid.' Then I retyped those words using “Courier – Courier italics – Courier.”

Checked email, etc. Fill in the blank.

Checked Facebook, accepted a friend request.

Checked email, (all together now) still nothing from Amazon.

Created an ePub version of The Playground.

Maybe I should check email one more time. Nothing.

Upload the new and improved version of The Playground to Amazon and wait for the document to process.

While I'm waiting, I can check email using my phone. Nothing.

Check The Playground using Amazon's previewer Kindle thingie. Everything looks great now. Am I good at this? I could be good at this.

Tap fingers, tug at beard.

Upload a new version of The Playground. Begin waiting 24 hours to see it go live. Then I can grab a review copy and check it line by line. (Looks like someone is going to be up past bedtime tomorrow.)

What the heck, check email. Amazon has answered. The guy was a total professional, and asked for more information including screen captures. I thanked him for his efforts, told him what I'm trying, and promised to get back with him either way.

Checked other forms of social media. John Howell left me an awesome 5 star review on Goodreads. I liked that puppy to get it into my timeline for my friends to see. Ran to Amazon and saw it was there too. Feel like a million bucks now. Probably ought to figure out how to share that on Facebook. New things, I swear I shouldn't have to learn new things.

I'm still uptight about things not working like they should, but I feel much better about it now.

If this all works, I have a dozen short stories to go through using the same process, and then there's the 35000 or so words in The Yak Guy Project. My attempt at an epistolary style short story is going to be a mother with the italics issue. Will that stop me? Noooo, but it may require some complaining.

Here are the takeaways. I have a cool new banner, and the ability to include Easter eggs. I have a new Gravitar image coming soon to a blog near you.

If you already bought The Playground, there may be a decent repair job available tomorrow for you to get. If you haven't, what are you waiting for. Read John's review and let him convince you.

I confess that I didn't get to read all the blogs today. I usually browse the 1000 or so that I follow and read the ones when something catches my eye. I finally made a list of must read blogs and put everyone who interacts with me in there. Today, I managed my list but that's about all. (Bonus takeaway: Those who interact are more likely to get read.)

I have a full growler of Old Chub Scotch Ale by Oskar Brewing, in Colorado. This is one of my favorite beers. I may start early today. I missed my nap, but beer is its own reward.

I hope it all works now. I won't have another chance to pull my beard and work in panic mode until Saturday.

By the way, Lisa Burton Radio is going to be fun tomorrow.

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