Tag Archives: bulldog

A blogging kind of weekend

I didn’t even try to write new fiction this weekend. I only get two days, and Old What’s Her Face was off for both of them. I decided to dedicate my time to blogging.

Most of this is the slow promotion of Grinders. I wrote a post that should go live tomorrow, and I’ll try to find time to share it here. I was also invited to do an interview for an old friend, and that will post next week sometime. My promo is all set through this week.

I’m enjoying this promo tour a lot more than past ones. I can manage two a week, and it’s far superior to multiple posts per day for one week. There could be something to keeping the book in the public eye for a longer period of time.

I also wrote and scheduled my next post for Story Empire. I’m working my way through the Character Archetypes over there, and most of them have been pretty fun. This post was work. The Trickster is an odd character to write about, and there are nearly as many opinions about it as there are writing blogs. I have it ready to post later this month, and there is time to tweak it here and there.

Aside from that, welcome to Daylight Savings Time. There is a bill running through the Idaho Legislature to pick one and stay with it all year. Of course it didn’t happen in time to prevent us from changing today. I really don’t care, but know it bothers a lot of people. I need to call my parents this morning, but I’m dragging my feet. Mom probably won’t adopt DST until she gets up this morning.

We managed date night last night, since it was payday. We went to Old Chicago for beer and pizza. I’m halfway toward earning my St. Patrick’s Day tee shirt. We can go back the next payday and complete it. After that we stopped off for tennis balls and Nylabones. It’s not like the dogs are neglected, and sometimes we ought to remember the marketing is designed to hook people.

I’d like to do some reading, but between feisty dogs with new toys, and Old What’s Her Face, it might not happen.

I noticed that I haven’t had a lot of images here lately. All blog posts are better with graphics, and I know that. So here’s a picture of Otto, trying to talk Mom into taking him for coffee. He likes the ride, the baristas all pet him, and he gets one called a pupaccino.

Mom, it’s time to go.

43 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized

2020 Business Plan

I just recapped 2019 (Link) and consider it a success. It wasn’t exactly profitable, but I learned some things and was able to publish three titles last year.

One of the main things is that I can write more than one story at a time. I call the secondary one my side project and chip away at it when my main project bogs down. I’ve been known to park my brain for weeks dwelling on a plot issue, then hit the keyboard after I’ve worked it all out. It’s worse while working on my trilogy.

By having a side project, those lost weeks are pointed elsewhere, and somehow the main problem works itself out anyway. My side project jumps ahead, and when it’s time for it to emerge from its cocoon as the main project, I may be 50K words into it.

It’s kind of like how I keep multiple storyboards going. I always have something ready to start.

I intend to keep doing this in 2020. I don’t have a side project right now, but once HMS Lanternfish hits somewhere around 50K words, I’m going to start another one.

I finally wrote that cyberpunk story I’ve been bringing up for years. It needs a cover, a final read through, and formatting, but it’s very close. I enjoyed taking modern problems and poking them with a stick to see how our world might look in a hundred years. It’s called Grinders, and will be coming your way in early 2020.

With an incredible stroke of luck, I could release it for Chinese New Year. This is the Year of the Rat, a big part of the story goes down at the parade in San Francisco, where it is also the Year of the Rat, and a couple of rats play an important role in the story. Yours Truly is also Year of the Rat. That’s some serious juju right there, and I’d like to publish it then.

I don’t think it’s a deal killer if I don’t hit that target, the best laid plans of rats and men, etc.

Grinders is my stand-alone title for 2020. Sequels will eat up the rest of the time. I can’t seem to give up stand-alone work, and it’s something I really enjoy.

As far as sequels are concerned, I need to produce the next Lanternfish tale in 2020. I’m working diligently on it, and would love to have it available before the schools get out. My track record at that deadline is horrible. I don’t seem to have any luck with summer releases, so I dream of having it ready before then.

Another loose target is the Halloween season. I have this earmarked for the next story about Lizzie and The Hat. They are finally going to face actual vampires. This won’t be anything like you’ve seen before, and will take place mostly in the country music environment. They’re going to have to stalk their enemy across rodeo dances, county fairs, and such. There are some fun scenes already planned out, and Lizzie is going to tire quickly of this kind of music.

There is also a new character that I can’t wait to bring into the tale. I see him as a possible recurring character. If you’re old enough, you remember how James Garner always seemed to have that one smarmy guy show up in his work. My new character will fill that role, and could fit into future stories. Besides, he has a speech impediment that The Hat will make fun of. That brings out Lizzie’s “social justice warrior” and adds a few fun interactions.

This story will be the side project once I nudge Lanternfish along a bit. After it moves into the main slot, I might start another side project. This one would be a post-apocalyptic story with many earmarks of a western. I will also return to first person POV in this one.

This is an ambitious year, but I think I can make it happen. I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve after last year. First is that Grinders is already written, much like the first Lanternfish book was. Second is that stories about Lizzie and The Hat are generally short novels. If it works, the post-apocalyptic thing could be ready prior to 2021.

I have one problem that I’m trying to sort out. Maybe you can help me with that. I’m convinced that my best promotional effort is to publish the next book. Being a self publisher is a numbers game. I’ve been around long enough to see people fade after a book or two. I’m not one of those people.

Readers could take authors more seriously with a number of titles under their belt. That’s pure theory, and they would have to be good stories. I feel like I’ve reached that level, and could attract new readers by having a decent catalog of titles.

The problem arises in timing of those releases. I ran into a problem of releasing two books sixty days apart. Viral Blues did well enough, but I think Serang suffered because of this. This is a complex problem, but here are some of the factors to consider.

• I have a personal phobia of the summer months for a new release. I’ve never done well during summer, but that limits me to the nine other months. That becomes a book every three months during the sweet spot.

• Promotional fatigue is a real thing. It hits my blog followers, online circle, and it hits me, too. I will need to identify many more sites to promote my work. I don’t want to wear out my regular group of hosts. I like my hosts and regulars. I want to balance being a friend, offering my space to them, and being able to promote my own projects on occasion.

• Lanternfish is a trilogy. I don’t expect much fanfare for the second book other than from those who loved the first one. In my imagination, book two may sell better after the trilogy concludes. With this thought, could a summer release for book two serve just as well? That would help spread things out around the year. Am I selling the second book of a trilogy short?

• Could a blog tour with two or more books on the same tour have any benefit? This would cut down the number of promo posts, but each title would have to share stops along the tour. Is there a way to use pre-release sales in this scheme? You can have one book right now, and the other will be delivered in 60 days?

• Does the crack dealer method still work? Meaning does a giveaway for book one help move sales for book two or three? It used to work, but has that also changed?

Personally, I don’t like the idea of giving my work away. If $2.99 is going to break someone’s budget, they’d be better of paying the power bill. I have to admit, there might be a strategic advantage to some freebies. There used to be one, but things change so fast I don’t know anymore.

As far as titles that could serve as the gateway drug to my writing, The Playground kind of leads to Viral Blues. The Hat leads to Viral Blues and any other book in the series. Serang and Voyage of the Lanternfish could serve the same purpose for the Lanternfish trilogy. Honestly, 2020 might be too soon for this concept, but I’m open to suggestions if you have them.

I want to keep blogging two to three times per week. Yeah, it’s a place to talk about my work, but it serves its own purpose, too. I like chatting with you guys. I’m not afraid to talk about my writing efforts, but sometimes you get bulldogs, sourdough bread, camping trips and other things that add a bit of quality to life.

Otto is helping Dad today.

Story Empire has been a good thing for me, too. It challenges me to come up with appropriate topics, and while I don’t always pull it off, I come fairly close to the mark. I don’t know how much more I have to share there, but there are always new writers coming along, so revamping some things might be possible. That usually takes me a couple of times per month, so I’ll be seeing many of you over there during 2020.

These are ambitious goals, but they are within reach. I might not hit all of them, but I intend to give it my best effort. I hope you guys will come along for the ride. Do you ever make a business plan for the year?

36 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Writing

A blogging kind of day

I didn’t set any gigantic goal for this weekend. Life has been throwing me curves lately, and plans seemed like a bad idea.

Today was a day to pick something up, finish it, and move to the next project. With that in mind, Lisa Burton Radio is assembled and scheduled for Thursday, and so is the following Thursday. This actually feels kind of good to get ahead a tiny bit. I used to track every questionnaire I sent out, and do appropriate follow up, but I stopped doing that this year. People seem to be benefitting from the interview slot, but they need to have some skin in the game too. There are probably ten or more questionnaires out, but it’s up to them to respond and get back with me. Makes my part of the process less stressful, and that’s a good thing. I’ll be here for you from now on, but I’m not twisting arms to fill the interview slots.

I also spent some time writing, assembling, and scheduling my next post over at Story Empire. It’s up on Wednesday, and I hope it comes across well.

Oh yeah, there is this post too.

Life continues to throw us curves. The range decided to go out, including the oven portion. We’ve been doing without it for a couple of weeks now. Between the barbecue and the microwave, we’ve survived. Now that Frankie seems like her old self, today was time to address our appliance problem.

The old range was original to the house, so seventeen years old. In this day and age, that’s a good run.

The debate of the day was whether to pay for the range or finance it. Holding back a tiny bit of cash seems like a good idea in light of current events. Free delivery swayed us to use our Sears credit card. In event of another emergency, we have a few bucks available, and can make minimum payments if we have to. If everything evens out, I’ll probably take two months to pay it off. That way we get a couple of paydays in there and don’t strap ourselves.

Delivery will happen next weekend. At that time, I’ll probably wake up Tituba, my sourdough starter and christen the new oven the right way.

To her credit, Old What’s Her Face chose a very reasonable range. There was a time when both of us did a lot of cooking. As the kids have moved out, the appeal of a Wolfe gas range isn’t there any more. We wound up with a decent Kenmore electric that matches all the rest of the appliances. Honestly, I’ve always had good luck with Kenmore stuff.

After signing the papers, we walked over to Old Chicago for pizza and beer. We called it an early night, because my wife has to work this weekend. A few Winter Olympics and I’ll figure out what tomorrow has in store. I might even add some new words to my work in progress. Maybe I’ll paste together a new background for Lisa’s Facebook page. I have some new images that might be fun to use as Polaroids on her table.

The dogs are getting some ball time right now. All posts are more popular with a picture, so here’s Otto being a crazy man with his oversized tennis ball.

35 Comments

Filed under Blogging

Dialing it in

Today was one of those days. It all started in the middle of the night when Frankie, our bulldog, decided to be sick. About two weeks ago, she decided to swallow a piece of a toy. I know the risks, and this is serious stuff. There is a watching phase, but there can also be an emergency phase. She’s been her normal crazy self this whole time, until last night.

We’ve been on poop patrol for weeks, and no sign of this chunk of toy. Last night she took a tough turn. She tried to vomit, but it didn’t do much more than make her pass out. This has to do with the bulldog breathing system being all squooshed together. We got to the emergency vet sometime after midnight.

A pile of x-rays later, and no determination of anything, they told us to take her home. She spent the rest of the night panting and staring off into space. This morning we ran her to our regular vet. They kept her, did more x-rays, and I have to take her back for an ultrasound tomorrow.

They really can’t see things like plastic or rubber on an x-ray, and there is a pretty good chance it won’t show up on an ultrasound either. The punch line is that the ultrasound will confirm the need for a surgery, or the need for exploratory surgery. Seems like surgery is the end result in either case.

Right now we are hemorrhaging money, and there is no end in sight. I transferred what we had in savings to cover the costs today. Payday isn’t until Friday.

We were also afraid Frankie aspirated something from last night, and one x-ray seems to confirm some of that. They gave her some medicine.

So for today, I had to call in to the office. Sleep deprivation is no way to get work finished. Not to mention the need to run Frankie 20 miles one way through heavy traffic. The emergency vet is only half that far, but there is no traffic at midnight.

I surfed through a few blogs, and hit a few like buttons. My heart wasn’t in it, so I’m sorry if I didn’t leave a comment.

My regular day off is tomorrow, so that worry is off my list.

44 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Meet Frankie

Did you guys miss me? The big tour is over, but it was a bunch of fun and I'm calling it a success. I had three different books crack the top 50 in their category, and Experimental Notebook #2 was at number 2 when I woke up one morning. It may have been higher, but a guy has to sleep sometime. Thank you all for making my guests feel welcome while I was visiting their sites.

We drove halfway across Idaho today. It's time to see the puppies and make a selection. Otto went with us, and his breeder is impressed with the way he turned out. He got to meet his mom and dad again, and they were so cute. We also met the mother of these puppies and she is cute too. The puppies and Otto share a father. Otto's dad is massive, and I have no doubt Otto will be too after he fills out a bit.

It rained on us the whole time, sometimes it was so heavy we couldn't see well, and it even turned to hail and snow briefly.

Here is a herd of bulldog puppies, oh and Otto's foot:

The pictures aren't great, because they don't stand still for long. Otto thinks puppies are awesome.

They're still babies, and won't be ready to move to their permanent homes until early May. It's nice to choose, and get out of the way of others. So this is Frankie and she'll be living with us after she leaves home.

Cute right? And so is the puppy. Here is a better look at her.

She's darker than Otto, but the breeder said he was dark too at her age. She could stay this dark, or may be more of a match for his copper brindle coat. Either way, she's the one we want.

Otto doesn't enjoy car rides, but he was a trooper. We stopped off at the pet store and let him choose a toy before coming home.

Tonight we're going to squeeze in date night somehow, but it might have to be pizza and beer, maybe a baseball game. Hope you guys had a great Saturday too.

45 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Road Trip!

I have a million things to do today (I always have a million things to do.) We decided to goof off and drive over to Twin Falls. We met my parents there, and went sight seeing. It's about the same distance for them, only we get freeway all the way.

I've talked about the Bonneville Flood on this blog before. It's an ancient event that carved the Snake River Canyon across the western USA. (Pardon the cell phone shadow. I couldn't move the sun.) The attraction today was created by that event. It's called Shoshone Falls.

When you first approach, the humidity is visible, as demonstrated by this rainbow. It wasn't the only rainbow present.

This is the same bit of canyon that Evil Knievel tried to jump and failed. Yeah, yeah, some guy recently did it, but who cares about him. He isn't Evil Knievel.

There is a huge home just above the falls to give it a bit of perspective. These things are huge, and with the runoff from our massive winter, there's a lot of water flowing by.

Oh, and the bulldog ambassador to the world must have made over a hundred new friends today.

I swear, I'm going to buy Old What's Her Face a tee shirt that says, “Pet the bulldog, $2.00.”

So not much work got done today. I need to catch up on blog reading, and may work through my critique, but that's it until tomorrow. Hope all of you had a great day, even if you were goofing off.

PS: I posted a short video clip of the falls over on my Facebook Page, if you're interested.

39 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Handicapping the coming weekend

It's been a long week at the paycheck job. I had two standup presentations this week, each with original material that I had to prepare, then rounded out my week by conducting job interviews. It's cool, because it makes the week go by, but it's tiring too.

My daughter and Old What's Her Face* are in Minneapolis tonight. My daughter is using her flight benefit for the first time, and they are spending a couple of days together at the Mall of America.

This leaves Otto and I to our own devices. He's in my lap as I type this, enjoying what we call poodle time. (He's actually a bulldog who acts like a poodle.) To make a complete confession, I think I'm coming down with something too.

In this corner is Craig, with a looming cold, a bulldog puppy that deserves a bit of attention, and a serious concern about his credit limit. The challenger is a tag team of unfinished manuscripts. One novel called The Yak Guy Project, and a collection of short stories called The Enhanced League.

The starting bell is tomorrow about dawn. Can Craig finish one of these manuscripts and still keep Otto entertained? Will Craig's wife and daughter spend more money than they should? Will some sort of illness get the better of Craig, causing him to use tissues and watch old Twilight Zone episodes when he should be writing? Is whiskey really “Good for what ails you?” Will Craig shower first, or just dive right into his writing? Will Craig succumb to the call of blog posts he needs to be writing in advance? Does typing on a moving keyboard during poodle time cause carpal tunnel?

Tune in tomorrow night to find out the answer to these questions and more.

*Entertaining Stories, protecting my wife's personal data since 2013.

33 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The downfall of a weekend

I've been a bit quiet around here this week. Most of it is because I had things to promote here that deserved time in the spotlight. My post at Story Empire on Monday did very well. Today, I forgot to write a post about the Rave Reviews Book Club, but managed to reblog Mae Clair's post. If you decide to join and take advantage of the discount, tell them Mae Clair referred you.

We ran some errands on Saturday. Bought my mother a birthday present, got my wife's car serviced, pretty mundane stuff.

We managed to go to The Great Wall with Matt Damon. We thought it was great. Not a ton of plot, but lots of pageantry and color. It's kind of a mash-up with a bit of Kung-Fu style, some action, and a fantasy. It may not be for everyone, but we had a great time.

That's kind of where it came to a screeching halt. Our bulldog puppy, Otto, weighs in at 65 pounds now. He gets kind of crazy, and one of his favorite things is to jump around on the bed for a few minutes before we go to sleep.

Bulldogs have short legs, and when you add in that weight, he can't jump on the bed… so my wife lifts him up. She usually goes to bed about 30 minutes before I do, so I get to lift him down. Only this time, she wrenched her back.

“Don't give me that look. You played a part in all this.”

Anyway, my wife's Sunday was spent on the couch, followed by calling in sick on Monday and Tuesday. Oh, and lets add in a couple of visits to the chiropractor.

So, my big plans to make Monday my writing day evaporated. Maybe this coming weekend I can get something done. My wife and daughter are flying out together for some quality time. It will be just Otto and me, and my keyboard.

She's on the mend and went to work today. It's just one of those things you need to be aware of from time to time. The keyboard will always be there, but this weekend turned out to be about something else.

Oh, and come back tomorrow for Lisa Burton Radio.

35 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

An Otto update

There were enough comments in the last post about how big Otto has gotten that I decided to start my day with a dog discussion. I've always been a dog guy, and at my age I've owned quite a few.

I've owned multiple breeds, and only one that was questionable as to his pure blood. That was the old pitbull who passed on earlier this year. My oldest son adopted him off the street, then abandoned him with Mom & Dad. He was my buddy for the next 13 years.

I've owned a lot of “bully” breeds, from the pitbull to several bull terriers. Otto is my first actual bulldog, and I have a hunch he isn't my last. I think they do better at home for a few hours when they have a friend. My wife would like to get a female bulldog the next time Otto's breeder produces a litter. I think this is a wonderful idea myself.

Dogs seem to grow for about a year. I'm talking about their framework here. They spend the next two years bulking up and maturing. At least that's my observation with bully breeds. My English setter didn't do much bulking up.

Otto was born, whelped if you like doggy terms, on April first. April Fools Day is kind of fitting for him, now that I think about it. We never got to meet him until Memorial Day Weekend. He looked like this:

That makes him about six months old right now. He will get larger until about April of 2017. Here is the image I took last night. (Again, so you don't have to click back.)

The breed standard is for dogs (males in doggy terms) to weigh about fifty pounds. I think he's going to exceed the breed standard, because he already weighs that much. Imagine him bulking up for two and a half more years.

I believe in feeding quality food, puppy variety the first year, and adult kibble after that. I also believe in letting a puppy eat as much as he wants. The only exception to that was my basset hound. She would eat until she exploded. After their first birthday, I measure what they get.

I have a trick with the short haired breeds. You should be able to tell they have ribs, but not be able to actually see them. This is the right weight for that animal. Otto could be a little chubby right now, but he's a growing boy and I'll address that after his birthday.

He seems to acquire toys at the same rate as the old pitbull did, but he doesn't destroy them at the same rate. This means he's amassed quite a collection. Apparently he needs them all, and I see them all getting played with.

His favorite one is pumpkin ball. When it showed up, it had a flashing light that came on when it moved, and it squeaked when he bit it. Time and usage have killed the light, and it has a hole now so the squeaker is dependent on how it fits in his mouth.

We've looked for a replacement, but there are no more around. It's a seasonal product, no doubt.

Dogs are important to me. Bad day at work, the dog still loves you. Wife's at def con two, dog still loves you. I really appreciate that, and that's why I'm a dog guy. Here's an example:

Otto has a strange habit of always bringing something when we get home. Lately this is pumpkin ball, but it has been any of his other toys, or possibly something from the laundry room. It's like he wants to share or something. When I came home from Coeur d'Alene, my wife let him into the garage to see me. He was embarrassed because he didn't have anything to share with me. He found an old leaf, and brought me that. He cares enough to want me to have something, even if it's an old leaf.

Now, even though this is more of a goofing off weekend, I still want to get some things done. I think I'll start with my markups from critique group… after another round of pumpkin ball.

36 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

One tired bulldog

And the feeling is mutual. We had a house full of company this weekend. My parents were here, my daughter came over from Sun Valley to visit Grandma and Grandpa. She also had a local friend spend the night, so there were a bunch of us. Otto’s weekend was filled with new people to pet him, extra socks to steal, snacks to beg for, and heavy duty play time.

I’m pooped too, although I never stole any socks or performed any tricks, I had the same amount of company. I wound up neglecting this blog, and it’s time to remedy that.

The blog tour is over for my second Experimental Notebook. Early reports are that people are enjoying my experiments. We discussed the difference between short form and novels. We revealed some of the things that inspired the stories in the book. Lisa toured around, and handed out her posters, and it was a lot of fun. A few of you made every stop, and I’m overwhelmed with that kind of response. Thank you to everyone who offered to host me, and I hope I delivered what you requested.

I sold a few copies, and flirted with one of Amazon’s top 100 lists three different times. You know how it works, you creep in and fall out. It happened three times though. I also found a bunch of new blog followers, and that’s wonderful too.

Somewhere along the way, someone called me “The hardest working person in fiction.” I wish that were true, but it made me feel really good. Maybe someday, when I don’t have to hold down a full-time job.

During all of this, my workplace imploded. I really wasn’t effected, but big changes rippled throughout the building. I am playing a pivotal role in trying to heal everything, and am making some progress.

Needless to say, there was no new fiction getting written around here. I have plans to hit the promotional stuff again in October. That gives me a few precious days to think about my own writing. It’s almost a disservice to tear back into my novel, but I have a few short fiction pieces that I could address.

Somewhere in there, I’m going to go camping again. Some way, some how, I need some of that forest time to recharge.

So Otto isn’t the only one who’s tired out around here. I still have some posts to check back on. I like to participate in the comments, and have met some wonderful people that way.

25 Comments

Filed under Writing