Tag Archives: Baseball

Researching The Enhanced League

Hi, gang. I’m over at Sue Coletta’s place today and the topic is the research I put into The Enhanced League. It’s kind of broad and you can apply it to any type of speculative fiction. Sue is a wonderful crime author, and embarrases me with the amount of research she does for her books. She’s also a great supporter and friend, so make sure you look around while you’re visiting her site. There is a wealth of information there.

***

My guest today has taken his research and used it in a unique and compelling way, a way unlike anything I expected. Craig is a master at short storytelling; I always enjoy his super creative tales. If you’re not following Entertaining Stories, you may want to take a peek. Not only does he feature Lisa Burton Radio, where one character interviews another in radio station format but he also has The Idea Mill, where he shares real-life science as well as strange and unusual tidbits to use in fiction. Shawnee Daniels appeared on Lisa Burton Radio, and we had a blast. Welcome to Murder Blog, Craig!

Thanks for having me over again, Sue. Looks like we both have new books to promote, so don’t be shy about borrowing my space any time you like. Keep Reading here

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Today’s Efforts

You might guess that I spent a lot of my time today sending out blog tour posts. I have a bunch of them pre-written, but got a few requests for some custom pieces and wrote those too. I still have half a dozen to send out, and a few more to prepare. There are also some long term supporters who I haven’t heard from yet, and I expect them to show up too. These are people with lives, who don’t spend every waking moment behind a keyboard. I expect to custom write a few of these pieces too.

Preparing blog posts is easy enough on work nights. I’ll tap away at them throughout the coming week. It’s easier to support all of my hosts if they spread out a bit too. My posts are all unique, so watch this space to keep up with my personal challenges, Lisa art posts, and more.

Lisa Burton Radio is all scheduled for this week, and I know what’s going up next week too. I’m in good shape there.

I also cracked open a new book today. I didn’t get far, because Frankie needed a lot of poodle time, and we played a lot of ball too. I always miss the best events with my video camera, but posted the final few seconds of Frankie chasing the reflection of a wristwatch over on Facebook. It’s like cats with laser-pointers, but with a bulldog puppy. Unfortunately, I missed her lioness stalk, rush, and pounce.

I need to start my next Story Empire post, and have a vague idea of what I want to write. I have a week plus to post it, so it has time to take form.

My baseball team took a nosedive over the past week, and it feels like they need the Allstar Break to regroup. I hope this is the case, and they can return refreshed and tough for the second half. I managed to watch a few games, and pieces of others. I also played a few video games in the late evening.

Finally, this makes me happy. Maybe it will make you happy too.

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With a Little Help from my Friends

It feels like it's been a long time coming, but The Enhanced League is a genuine book now. I played the usual games with my Mac before uploading it. It generally works like this:

“You've been logged out. Please enter your iCloud password.”

I loaded my password.

“You have upgrades.”

I start downloading the newest and greatest to the operating system.

“Your upgrades have just been upgraded.”

I start over. Looks like it will take about thirty minutes. I check back in half an hour. Twenty seven minutes remaining.

Play with he dogs and talk to my daughter before checking back.

“You've successfully upgraded your operating system. Please enter your iCloud password.”

When I clicked the keys, nothing happened. Replace the batteries in everything.

“Something went wrong. You have upgrades.”

Start all over again. Repeat the waiting times, and password entry.

“Do you want to activate Siri on this machine?”

“Whatever! Just get on with it already.”

“Please enter your messenger password.”

“I don't even want messenger on this machine!!!” I click the red dot to close the window.

“Please enter you messenger password.”

“FINE!”

Anyway, after about three hours I was allowed to do the only thing I need the Mac for. Everything else can be done on my iPad.

I just got the email from Amazon that I am live right now.

I'm not the best blurb writer, but here's what I wrote:

The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.

Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.

I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — CB

***

This is where I ask for a little help from my friends. There are a few things you can do to help, if you're willing.

First is to reach down inside the couch and find ninety-nine cents (99¢), then go to Amazon and pick up a copy of The Enhanced League. This is the link. The widget on my sidebar is also linked. If you need an e-reader, there is a link for one of those on the side too. Grab a hotdog and a beer and have some fun with it.

Second, I need some blog hosts. I have several different posts already written. Let me know in the comments if you'd like to participate. You can request me, or a visit from Lisa Burton, and Lisa has some awesome new posters to share with a baseball theme to them. Let me know in the comments.

I also have a couple of posts I've written by request, and need to get them out to the hosts.

Third, don't be afraid to share the news, reblog one of the posts that pops up online, and tell your friends. I'll be doing the same on your new releases.

Finally, to the awesome group of volunteers who served as beta readers. I used many of your suggestions to improve this book. There is no expectation whatsoever, but if you'd like to post a review I'd really appreciate it.

I'm off to do a whole list of things next. These involve Goodreads, pinned tweets, my book club and more. I'll surf through and keep up with the comments.

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Working on my edits

I took a more leisurely approach getting to the writing cabin today. Puppies decided to wake up at 4:00 am, and they were hungry. After feeding and walking them, I went back to bed and all of them crawled in with me.

Bulldogs apparently don't have any concept of personal space. Otto was the best of the three, because he was happy to conk back out. After repeated attempts to keep tongues out of my nostrils, and noses out of my armpit, the puppies went back to sleep.

The writing cabin was a cold quiet place this morning. Lisa* is absent for a few weeks. She is hanging out with Sean Harrington and working on promotional posters for The Enhanced League, and The Yak Guy Project. I found detailed instructions for everything from making coffee to feeding her pet rabbit, Bunny.

I dragged my feet taking care of everything. Editing of any kind is not my favorite thing, and I knew what waited for me in my office.

He glared at me with inky black eyes. It was a look you might see at the end of your life, like when a great white shark bears down upon you. His black beak aimed my direction and followed me to my desk. I took a seat and opened the files I would need.

Doubt, the raven, hopped off his perch and glided to my desk. I paused, then opened the window in hopes he would leave for the day. He looked at me like he was disappointed at my childish antics.

I don't speak raven, but they make the damndest collection of noises. They aren't crows, and this one is from Mt. Olympus. He's more than an ordinary raven. He paced across the desk while waving his head from side to side in disapproval. “Jugaluggg, blork. Jugaluggg, blork.”

I knew what he meant. He thinks it's all crap. I massaged and tweaked my manuscript while he voiced his disapproval.

Enhanced League got a lot of volunteers for beta reading. I hoped for four, and got seven. I only hope Yak Guy will get half that many when the time comes. Everyone had something wonderful to offer. Commas were deleted, then added back, before being deleted once more.

My UK readers had a tough time with this one, and I expected that. Baseball is popular in North and South America, and in major parts of Asia. Not so much in the UK. I struggled with how to make it accessible to everyone, but had to make an executive decision. Professional ball players would not realistically discuss the basics of the game. They are veterans of the sport, and some things are understood so well they would never come up. This means, I've limited my audience for this book. It makes Doubt happy. He feeds off my worries and concerns.

One of them suggested that some baseball cards might help keep track of everything. It's an outstanding and creative idea. I just don't think I can commission the artwork to support a .99¢ book.

I managed to get through four of the reports before the real world called me back. I'll need another day to get through the rest, but that won't be the end. I will have to re-read it one more time before I can send it to the formatter.

All in all, I feel pretty good about it.

* Lisa Burton is my robotic personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for my writing career.

***

In reality, it looked a lot like this. IPad Pro with its split screen; one side for Enhanced League, the other side for email. This is because some readers sent notes in an email along with the attachment. My old iPad has all the beta read documents on it. I do it this way, because the pro won't allow me to use the split screen on the same program. I can't open my word processor twice. Truth be told, I really like this setup, and I'm glad I kept my old iPad for this reason.

I had my phone there too, but used it to snap this picture, so you can't see it. The other important device is a cup of chicory in a weak attempt to hang on to my vacation.

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The time has come

I finished my edits. I wanted to make a fun post about Doubt the raven, since he always helps me with editing. My regular work schedule just doesn’t allow me any time for this. I had to make a choice, and either forge ahead, or put everything on hold for three weeks. You guys probably know me well enough to predict what I chose.

So here we are with a 37,000 word manuscript all ready for beta readers. My goal is to get five or six of you to read it and give me feedback. It’s a short book, so it really shouldn’t take very long.

Regulars will know that I’m constantly experimenting. It’s how I develop and grow as an author, and this book also had a personal goal. I wanted a collection of short stories that told an overarching story this time. There is a semi-main character, but he’s not in every story.

The Enhanced League is an alternate baseball league where anything goes. You’ll read about performance enhancing drugs, alongside a group of misfits who couldn’t get attention in the Major Leagues. The rules are a bit different, but not so much as to be unrecognizable.

This is also the one where I experimented with what I’m calling Anthems. These are second person presentations about the game of baseball that are intended to enhance the experience for the reader. I intend to call them out in the table of contents, but they aren’t called out in the MS yet. (Can’t make the TOC until I finish the beta adjustments.)

So there it is. I hope there are enough human elements to keep the book interesting for those who aren’t sports fans, or specifically baseball fans.

If you’d like to be a beta reader, I’m looking for about five of you. I can send a Word, Pages, EPub, PDF, or RTF format. All you have to do is drop me an email and let me know you’re interested.

I’d like to have the reports back by May 23rd. This is a week less than I usually allow, but the book is half as long.

If you’re still game, here is my email address, just modify it into a real email address. Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com.

*  Quick edit here. I have enough volunteers for this book now. If you still want to volunteer, I will have The Yak Guy Project at this point fairly soon. I’ll put out a call for beta readers just like I did for The Enhanced League.

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Runs, Hits, Errors

This was not an overly productive day today. The big thing was managing to pay all the bills before I leave town.

I managed to get through my critique, and made all the changes I could. This particular critique had more good remarks than bad ones. Believe me, it doesn't always happen that way.

That's really about it on the productivity front. I spent too much time playing with the dog, and I watched a baseball game. We finally decided to take the plunge and get the MLB package, now I can watch baseball all summer.

I've reached a point where I have to change part of my plans. I cannot put off editing of The Enhanced League until I finish the draft of The Yak Guy Project. That was a good plan, before we drifted into Spring. With Summer fast approaching, I'd like to get The Enhanced League out there.

This isn't a horrible option, because I don't require the silence to edit. In some ways, a bit of peripheral noise keeps me from getting into the story and lets me concentrate on the line by line stuff. This means evenings will be spent editing. I'll take my iPad to Louisville, but may not have time to work on that kind of thing. At least I can answer comments, emails, and may get to update my blog. I can also follow along with the RRBC party if I wake up early every day.

Then there is my error… I told all of you I have the post tomorrow at Story Empire. This is because when I checked the scheduled posts, mine was next. This is not the case. My post is up Wednesday, and someone else has to post tomorrow. Sorry about that, but with my iPad in tow, I can mange comments on Wednesday. Visit tomorrow anyway. Story Empire is made up of some awesome authors and you're bound to find something good.

Tonight, I'll probably start on my word searches. This is part of my editing process, because after this much time I know what errors I usually make. I have a living document with them and can go through them in order.

Tomorrow, I am going to start with The Yak Guy Project. It's my last good day to draft new material for about two weeks. Fingers crossed.

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And I’ll never have that plan again.

I took a vacation day today to finish a couple of projects. While the bookmobile tour was on, there were still projects that needed tending.

My truck needed to be serviced, so I made the first appointment of the day – 7:30 AM. I decided not to change my alarm clock, and left it like any regular work day at 4:00.

I have a party post to write for the Rave Reviews Book Club's month long blog party. I also have a couple of fresh new Lisa Burton Radio posts to work up. I decided to route home past Staples to buy some shipping boxes. I'm going to be giving away a couple more coffee mugs during my party stop, so I decided to buy extras.

There is also a book I want to finish reading. Besides that, I promised a friend a beta read, and another friend an ARC read with the intent of a review. I only mention this to illustrate that I need to kick it in gear. New writing has come to a standstill, but manuscripts don't spoil. They'll be there when I get back.

My whole life seems like one broken plan after another, and today was no exception. After enough broken plans a guy gets experience at dealing with it somehow. The only smart thing I did was to take my iPad with me to the dealership.

Turns out, my truck was overdue for several odd pieces of maintenance. You know the ones I'm talking about; flush the brakes, power steering, etc. They were available to do it right then and there. The desk kid said it would take another two hours. He was wrong, it was more like three.

I managed to finish Type & Cross, by Staci Troilo, while I waited. I left her a five star review about an hour into my wait. Staci did a fabulous job on this book, and I recommend it to all of you. Tell me if I'm unique here, but as an author, I tend to read more critically these days. I intend it as a compliment to her writing that I haven't been so absorbed in a book in years.

Hey, not just the finished book, but the review too. I still had hours to wait, but didn't know that at the time.

The dealership had absolutely terrible wifi. This seems to be a trend with businesses, and I don't understand it. It's like they offer it, because everyone else is offering it, but it feels cheap not to have it functional. It can't cost them any more to have good wifi, but it feels that way. Some commercial wifi will not function with email either, and this was one of them. I wound up linking to my phone's signal and working that way.

Never underestimate the hours that correspondence and social media takes either. This involves trying to support those who support me on Twitter, Facebook, and others. Eventually, I moved on and managed a partial shtick for one of the radio interviews. By pigtailing into my phone, I got it sent to the author too.

That's about it. I should have worked up the other Lisa Burton interview. I could have started my RRBC post, but I just didn't.

I stayed up until midnight playing video games with my son, then got up at 4:00. Quite honestly, I ran out of gas.

When I left the dealership, I headed for Staples to get my shipping boxes. About half way there, I realized I'd forgotten my coffee cup. This is one of those metal thermos style cups, and I didn't want to abandon it. I called the dealership and they promised to hold it for me. I decided to go to Staples and loop back for it.

Things are spread out in Boise, and I wound up spending a lot of time on Eagle Road. Eagle Road is always bumper to bumper, and the loop was about twenty miles. I pulled into the garage at about one o'clock this afternoon.

Funny thing, the last time I had my truck serviced, I left the exact same coffee cup and had to loop back for it. Maybe I should buy one of those belt loop things to keep track of it.

At the paycheck job every single day is like that. I commute while forming a plan of attack. By the time I boot up my computer that plan is out the window. It really stresses me out, and I think it's part of the reason I have high blood pressure. When it comes to my vacation time it's intolerable.

One of the things I try to do is avoid days like this in my writing career. The only deadlines are the ones I set. I vow not to start another manuscript after I finish Yak Guy. The Enhanced League has a cover and promotional posters are in the works. I need to edit, seek betas, make adjustments, and get it out the door. Yak Guy is right on its heels. The realistic time to start the next project seems like once those books are available on Amazon.

I give you permission to kick my butt if I post about writing The Hat prior to that time.

I have the two promised reads to get through, and I'll start the beta project right away. After that, I need to read some things of my own choosing. Every book I've read for nearly two years has been something for a friend and supporter. They support me – I support them, that's how it's supposed to work. I fear the day when I have to say no. Does anyone else out there struggle with that?

So here I am, updating my blog while watching a baseball game. The Diamondbacks look like they're in trouble this time, but I took great glee in seeing them in first place this morning. That hasn't happened in years, and it's probably fleeting, but it felt nice. I think I'll take my own Lisa Burton mug, make some grandfather style tea, and start formulating a plan for those two blog projects.

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